A/N: A shorty for one of my favorite YGO shippings, Heartshipping, as well as referring back to past possible Puzzle and/or Blindshipping and Tender and/or Gemshipping. This came to mind while writing out copious notes for a larger YGO fic I'm working on, and is possibly one of the quickest ones I've ever written. For all that, I think it still came out pretty well. ^^ Enjoy!

Shippings: For those who don't have them all memorized:
Heartshipping: Yugi Muto / Ryou Bakura
Puzzleshipping: Yugi Muto / Yami Yugi
Blindshipping: Yugi Muto / Pharaoh Atem
Tendershipping: Ryou Bakura / Yami Bakura
Gemshipping: Ryou Bakura / Thief Bakura

Warning: Rated M! If you dislike or are sensitive about male / male romantic or sexual relationships, please turn back now. As always, any flames from slash / yaoi bashers will be instantly deleted. Take the hate somewhere else please. Constructive criticism is welcomed and encouraged. :)

Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh! and related characters are © to Kazuki Takahashi.

Don't Speak

Raven Ehtar

Ryou shivered as slim, pale fingers traced the edges of old scars set deep into his chest. There were five of them, each dark, triangular and puckered in the way of old puncture wounds and formed an incomplete circle over his sternum. Each one was delicately outlined with the barest of touches.

"He hurt you a lot, didn't he?"

Ryou's shoulders tightened reflexively. Don't talk about him, he thought. Instead of speaking aloud, he only nodded.

"I'm sorry," came the still softer voice.

Ryou took a breath, steadied the trembling that crept over him. He cupped the soft cheek, stared into eyes the color of blackberry stains on fine linen, gentled away strands of hair both dark and pale. "So am I," he whispered, and covered yielding lips with a hungry, insistent kiss.

Yugi responded in kind, pulling Ryou closer to him until skin met skin and they shared the heat of the moment. Shoes were discarded carelessly; remaining articles of clothing pawed and tugged at until they, too, were cast-off. Skin was caressed, shivers were elicited, soft sighs and breathless whimpers given to the waiting shadows around them. There were no words now, nor would there be for the rest of the night. There never was when they met like this. What could there be to say?

It had probably seemed inevitable to all of their friends in high school that Yugi and Ryou would follow the same path in life, and would end up attending the same college in pursuit of it. They were both studying the ancient cultures of Egypt; both wished to pursue careers as Egyptologists, Yugi as an archeologist, and Ryou as an anthropologist. Even those who were not aware of their histories with the millennium items were not overly surprised. After all, hadn't Yugi's grandfather spent some time in Egypt in his youth? And hadn't Ryou's father himself been an Egyptologist? It made sense; it was only natural.

As their circle of friends disbanded, each going their own ways, it had been a blessing to find one familiar face in the same college, attending the same classes, sharing the same lively passion that even other students seemed to lose over dry material. And if they joined the same RPG clubs, or frequented the same gaming shops, that was nothing surprising, either, was it? They shared more than one common interest, so they often found each other meeting that way. It was only natural.

It was only natural to spend more time with each other than fellow students; they had been friends for years. It was only natural to spend hours reminiscing or studying shared material or discussing new games or to share news of far-flung friends. It was only natural to seek out each other before attempting to forge new friendships. Besides, who could they find, even out of an entire college of peers, with whom they could share their unique experiences? Who could believe as tall a tale as the one the last few years of their lives had centered around had been? And even if they believed, who would understand?

A sharp gasp was forced from Ryou as sharp teeth clamped to the flesh of his shoulder. Yugi released him almost immediately and murmured wordlessly into the crook of his neck. He gasped in his turn when Ryou pushed him backwards to tumble into a nest of sheets.

It was only natural that the two of them would seek comfort from the only other who could understand. That from friendship, and pain, and loneliness, and… desertion… would spring something more. It was only natural, perhaps fated, and possibly inevitable. They had both of them played host to a secondary soul, had shared their bodies with spirits sprung from over 3,000 years in the past and played roles in their ancient drama. They had both of them known what it was like to share, on a very fundamental level, a piece of themselves with another entity. While their personal experiences may have been different, the sudden loss of that twinning of soul was the same:

Quietness. Emptiness. Loneliness. Feeling as though there was too much space inside your own mind, so your very thoughts echoed. It was a void opening up within yourself so vast and so powerful and yet so unexplainable it left you dizzy with vertigo.

They each knew what it was like, they each had had to find ways to continue to function, and they each recognized the struggle mirrored within the other.

And yet it was still dangerous to take this kind of comfort, despite all of that. For that's what it was – comfort, the filling of a need, the selfish taking to smother a festering pain. Perhaps they had been insightful enough to recognize that from the beginning, but if they had, they had each ignored it. What was maturity before isolation so great it threatened to consume you? What was better judgment before a means offered that could save you from that fate?

For a moment the two of them merely held each other. Ryou ignored the irritating itches that sprang up in the wake of sweat rolling off of him in beads and clung to the slighter boy, holding him to his body with all of his strength. Yugi did the same, squeezing so hard Ryou couldn't breathe. He didn't care. It was as though they were trying to fuse their skins together, to become so close by strength alone until they became one.

Each sought to regain something they had lost.

Yugi was the only one who could possibly know what Ryou had gone through… and yet he didn't, quite. He was the only one who could understand, and at the same time, he understood nothing of Ryou's experiences with the millennium ring and the spirit it had housed. Just as Ryou could never fully know or understand all of what Yugi and the spirit Atem had shared.

It was almost a rule, though not one they ever discussed, but just knew. Neither of them ever spoke of or asked about the spirits they had once harbored. It was a delicate subject, and while with old friends they might smile and satisfy a question with some shallow reply, with each other, such dodging maneuvers would be seen for just what they were. And while the experience of sharing a soul, the kind of intimacy they had known, was one each knew well, the natures of the souls they had housed had been very different.

Do not speak of my Yami, Yugi, Ryou thought, holding that same boy as close as possible. Do not tell me what you think of him or ask what I think. What you know is what Atem knew, what you see is only what he could see. You did not share his soul… you can't understand. Yes, he hurt me. He hurt me in ways you can't imagine, left scars you will never see… And yet, I miss him. To ask you to understand that would be too much. So don't, don't, don't…

It seemed a cruel joke, that the millennium items would throw the two of them onto such similar paths, yet the experiences with the spirits hidden within them would forever separate them by that last degree.

Don't…

Yugi shuddered, fingers of one hand twisting into the sheets while the other left nail impressions where he gripped Ryou's arm. His hips bucked, his eyes squeezed shut and his head tossed to one side, wild hair splaying on the mattress in a colorful halo. He bit his lips, and then parted them. "Ah… a-ah… ah…"

Don't…

No, they didn't speak about their Yamis or what they had once meant to them. And they never spoke during times such as these, for who knew what might be said?

"… hah… a-ah…"

If they were allowed to speak, who knew what those sounds would become in the heat of the moment?

"… ahhhh…!"

Or what names might be called out in the darkness?

Don't speak.