Yugi never wanted to dress as a girl.

For anyone who happens to hear about his epic tale of despair and downright awkwardness, he'll say this once, perhaps twice, maybe a few hundred times: he doesn't have anything against girls, but he honestly has no desire to become one.

Yet at the same time, he loves his grandfather and his friends, and if he wants to stay near them, hiring a hitman isn't an option, nor can he take over a multi-million dollar company. He needs to keep the Millennium Puzzle safe, but the artifact won't be safe, whether he places it in a museum, a bank, or tosses it into the ocean so the the item can never fall into the wrong hands. Personally keeping an eye on the puzzle remains his only option.

Knowing he has no other choice doesn't make it any easier for him when Anzu walks into his bedroom carrying the girl's uniform of Domino's own boarding school and oh, he really, really hopes that isn't make-up—

Of course it is.

"I'm sorry, Yugi," she says, holding up the black stick of death. He thinks the curious item is called mascara, which Anzu claims dates all the way back to ancient Egypt, where both the men and the women would darken their eyelashes to ward off evil spirits. She says Yugi needs all the protection he can get, as if the fact that makeup was first used as wards for both genders would comfort Yugi, especially since its Egyptian history is oddly appropriate given the Millennium Puzzle.

Yugi finds little solace in Anzu's attempts to cheer him up, because he thinks that mascara could have just as easily originated in medieval times, as a torture device.

"Yugi, please hold still," Anzu insists, and he winces at the tugging, sticky sensation of the mascara clinging to his eyelashes and his self-respect burning to a crisp. She hovers over him and simultaneously finishes his left eye while she also avoids stabbing it—she has an incredible talent and doesn't even realize it, she'd have gold if only there was an olympic event for dressing men in drag—and finally appears satisfied, but then she moves onto her next victim.

"Anzu-san, I don't think this is necessary—" Ryou protests, but she thoroughly ignores him. Yugi guiltily notes that the other boy does a much better job at holding still than he did, but doesn't quite understand how he could not to squirm when he's in a skirt and a stuffed bra when he has trouble even thinking the word, much less acknowledging it. His already tender masculine pride is damaged beyond repair.

Jounouchi seems to share his sentiment, at least.

"No way," he declares when Anzu moves onto him, and he holds up his hands to block his face and mind from unwanted traumatization. "No. Fucking. Way-" he starts, but Honda manages to sneak up behind him. "What the hell? Goddammit, let go of me...!"

Yugi watches the ensuing chaos with fluttering hands, trying to speak up in Jounouchi's defense, but Anzu is far too fair and Honda far too evil to let Jounouchi go without sharing the same pain as Ryou and Yugi. Admittedly, he probably needs the feminine touch the most, since even with the skirt, hair extensions, and shaved (much to his horror) legs, he doesn't pass as a girl with the same ease as the other two boys.

Still, when he sees Jounouchi with black-rimmed eyes and howling with lost man-pride, he can't help but wish his friend could have somehow escaped the ridiculousness and unsolvable issues that is them. Honda doesn't help the situation by being an ass, and in fact he seems on the verge of hyperventilating because seeing his best friend in drag is apparently the most hilarious thing since Jounouchi got a negative score on his math test.

"Oh, don't be a baby," Anzu scolds Jounouchi as he stares in the mirror with mounting panic. Even Yugi thinks this a bit cruel, since it only calls attention to the fact that no, Jounouchi isn't a baby, he's a girl. Or at least, he looks like one.

"Yeah, you're the one who volunteered and said Yugi needed backup going into this thing," Honda snorts, unsympathetic and more than a little amused. Yugi's still concerned the taller teen might suffocate on air and spit, unable to control his own laughter. Ryou just sits there and raises his eyebrows, as if silently asking the question, 'what am I, chopped dignity?' but doesn't say anything.

"Not as a girl," Jounouchi wails, pointing at the mirror with horror akin to what a teenage girl might feel after saying 'Bloody Mary' three times to her reflection and swearing that she saw a ghost. "I meant I'd switch schools and go as a guy, not a girl...!"

"Ryou and I will be all right, Jounouchi, you don't need to force yourself," Yugi speaks up quietly and without opposition, but his friend only shakes his head.

"Of course I have to go," he says stubbornly and with such certainty, Yugi can't argue and even Honda stops laughing. "I have to, or else who's gonna be there to kick the asses of the bad guys and no-good thugs if they come after you?"

And Yugi appreciates the sentiment, he really does. But he wonders if Jounouchi won't regret this whole fiasco in an hour and a half, when they arrive at the school and attend their first day of classes.

He thinks they all will.


So it turns out that it's still illegal to lie about your gender, and to acquire fake legal documents confirming such a lie.

Actually, those 'legal' documents are actually very, very illegal. It is not, however, as illegal as getting a false name and living out of a cardboard box in the Netherlands by stowing aboard a rowboat, hiking through Asia, and crossing the border without permission. Which is Yugi's other option.

Because of this, he decides to go with his first option, the slightly less than severely illegal plan of taking Ryou up on his offer to contact his convenient acquaintance who has the cute hobby of creating fake IDs. Yugi's life is now a lie.

Of course, in reality, he knows he's only lying about the fact that he is not Miss Yuri Mutou, the cousin of the mysteriously reported missing Yugi Mutou. He also knows it's worth it, to stay close to his family and friends. It's a good deal.

This does not make him any less nervous when three slightly less than severely illegal boys walk into Domino Academy bearing identification which oddly proclaims them female.

"I think I'm going to throw up," Ryou announces when they reach the front gates, saying their goodbyes to Anzu and Honda as they prepare to part ways. In fact, the white-haired boy does look worryingly nauseous, and if possible, even paler than usual. In order to accomplish this, he has mastered the art of translucence. Yugi is impressed, takes notes, and applies what he has learned accordingly.

"Do it on Honda," Jounouchi suggests, and the scuffle that follows involves several punches and Anzu shouting "Honda, don't mess up his hair!" accompanied by a mumbled "I'm really not feeling well" and Yugi trying to tug apart his wrestling friends and pat Ryou soothingly on the back all at the same time.

The tension finally breaks when the school clock chimes seven, meaning that classes start in half an hour and the countdown to their demise has reached its final stretch. Anzu and Honda will be late if they don't leave now, since their school is on the other side of town, and they hastily give their last goodbyes, good lucks, and good punches. Honda rubs his bruising arm as he leaves.

The three boys-who-look-like-girls stand silently in front of the entrance for several minutes after their more fortunate friends leave.

Eventually, Jounouchi interrupts the dread-filled quiet to say his final words. "Ladies first," he professes grandly, opening the gate and gesturing for the other two boys to proceed, morose humor etched across his face.

Other students are milling about the school grounds, and Yugi can't help but notice that it is infinitely better kept than Domino High School. The cement isn't cracking, mold isn't growing, and the walls aren't decorated with the lewd and amusing compositions found everywhere reachable at Domino High. In contrast, the public high school is to the academy what a shack is to KaibaCorp headquarters. Yugi, Ryou, and especially Jounouchi never would have been able to afford this place if Yugi's grandfather, Sugoroku, hadn't called in a favor with an old friend who works there in higher places.

Rather than the grounds, though, the students end up capturing most of Yugi's attention and unease. They all keep looking at the three of them, and Yugi thinks oh no, they've already been found out, and any moment now they'll hear sirens wailing and gunshots and then next thing they know they'll be in jail—

The reality turns out to be much more disquieting. "Dude, check out those girls," Yugi overhears a group of boys talking, and much to his horror, he sees one of the boys pointing at them. "I'd hit that," another replies while sending a flirtatious and disgusting leer over at the trio.

"Oh god, I really am going to throw up," Ryou says faintly, and Yugi now knows that he's not the only one who overheard the most disturbing thing in the history of Japan and America combined. But not Canada, because they have Justin Bieber. Not that Yugi has anything against the singer himself, but pillows and blankets with the idol's face already pushes the line for him, and when throwing Justin Bieber shower curtains into the mix, that line is not only crossed but jumped over and left in the dust.

"What are you lookin' at?" Jounouchi shouts over at the boys while displaying a particular manicured fingernail, since he's not one to take such shots on his pride, no matter how unintentional or supposedly complementary. Fortunately he's not so far gone that he forgets to use his more girlish tone of voice, although it still doesn't sound natural, even after Anzu's coaching.

"Jou, come on, we're going to be late," Yugi grabs his friend's arm before he can pick a fight on his first day and before the first bell even rings. Jounouchi has that talent.

"I'm a manly girl," Jounouchi mutters to himself, still scowling at the group, who look appropriately cowed beneath his glare. He clenches his hands into fists at his sides and stomps ahead, trudging around the tasteful fountain in the middle of the straight path which indicates the halfway point between the front doors and the gates.

Ryou and Yugi chase after him, and don't try to contradict him. It's true, anyway, although Yugi has a feeling this might result in more problems than solutions. Hopefully no one will be rude enough to question why a girl acts in such a masculine fashion, but then again, Jounouchi would probably be relieved if that happened. Yugi thinks this might lead to confusion, however, if when insulted for his boyish ways, instead of throwing punches Jounouchi tackles the perpetrator in a hug and cries happy tears.

Regardless, they find their way to the office and check in without a problem, and no one questions their gender, although a waiting parent does come over to complement Ryou's unusual hair, telling him what a beautiful girl he is.

Rather mortified, Ryou barely manages to mutter a strained but polite 'thank you'. Yugi sends him a pitying glance; the boy looks scarred for life. As far as mental trauma, it's probably right up there with seeing Jounouchi sit down in a skirt before Anzu shrieked at him to do so with his knees together.

After studying their schedules, they find out they have several classes together, but unfortunately, first period is not one of them. Yugi bids a mournful Ryou off to advanced biology and a bemoaning Jounouchi off to regular physics, and heads to his own English class. Which figures, because saying English is all Greek to him would be very untrue, because he swears that Greek would make more sense if only he was given the option.

Yugi hesitates outside his classroom door, but after a deep breath, forces himself to stride in confidently without thinking too much, so he doesn't have time to chicken out and flee to the nurse. Come to think of it, escaping to the nurse will probably never be an option, given his peculiar situation. He can't decide which would be more awkward, telling her he's cross dressing or had a sex change.

Either way, he's unprepared for the stares he receives when he walks into the room. Class starts in just a few minutes, and students have already migrated to their tables, and he finds himself at the mercy of dozens of curious eyes. Most of the seats are taken, as well, except for one next to a black-haired boy by the front who is watching him much too intently for comfort, and another boy in the back whose eyes never linger from his book even when the whispers start. Apparently, transfer students this late in the year are not the norm.

In the end, Yugi chooses the less uncomfortable option, and scurries to the back, pulling out the chair next to the quiet reader with the strange hair. Hair that looks remarkably like Yugi's own style, actually—or at least, what his style is when he's dressed as a boy.

He's in such a hurry to sit down, however, he doesn't even see the crimson glare directed at him until it's too late. The teacher walks in and the student next to him watches with narrowed eyes for another moment, and doesn't turn back to his book until the teacher starts talking. Yugi shifts uneasily.

Naturally, because the world is out to get him and clearly the normal suffering of the class just isn't enough to satisfy it, the teacher says that today, the entire class period will be spent conversing between table partners in English.

Left with no choice, Yugi gives a resigned sigh and turns to the frowning, glaring boy. He decides to make an effort.

"I'm Yuggg..." he chokes on his own introduction, coughing hastily and cursing himself for already messing up. He practiced, darn it! "I'm Yuri Mutou," he corrects himself.

The other teen doesn't answer right away, but eventually he nods. "Atemu."

Yugi waits, but Atemu doesn't offer a surname. He just sort of stares at him with unsettling red eyes and a confident gaze. Yugi doesn't want to admit it, but the stare sends shivers down his spine, because this kind of confidence is different from Jounouchi's or Anzu's, this confidence is the kind that can tear people apart without the slightest doubt in their destruction, and win a game with a bluff alone.

Yugi wants to be friends with this man, he truly does, but at the same time the gaze scares him a little bit, as if the man can see right through him. Depressingly enough, it also seems that Atemu has taken an immediate disliking to him. Then Yugi makes the teacher hate him too, because when she comes over and scolds them for not starting right away, he accidentally tells Atemu he's pregnant in his haste to appease her. He concludes that he's never going to study with Jounouchi and Honda again.

Five minute into class, and he can already tell.

It's going to be a long day.

Reviews are welcome! In fact, they're much loved. Constructive criticism (as harsh as you deem fit) included. :)