Disclaimer: Not mine. The end.

This is an independent follow up to 'Mistakes'. Either can be read as a stand-alone story.

Comments are always welcome.

Grace-In a Little While

By, Nicole Silverwolf

"We crossed the line

Who pushed who over?

It doesn't matter to you

It matters to me."

-U2 "So Cruel"

I used to finger the Dark Magician card all the time. Sometimes I still do. It's the most worn card in my deck. The edges are soft and rounded to the touch, one corner is torn almost completely off and there's one that bends back and forth freely. It used to offer me comfort when I was lonely at school and calmed me down when I was nervous or upset.

For a long time that card was one of my closest friends, sad as that might seem. But I was the quiet, short, shy, weird kid who liked to play puzzles and those titles (while most of them true) made it hard to make any friends.

I couldn't throw my cards away.

Does that make me weak? For being so sentimental, that I needed a card for comfort?

Or does it make me a hypocrite?

Because I might need them.

For actually considering dueling again after I swore I never would.

My throat's all tight and achy again, I think I'm going to cry. I've indulged in that too much in the last couple of hours.

I can only remember certain things about that battle. The end especially.

I remember telling him I didn't want to do this. Grabbing his arm in our, my? his? mind and trying to get him to listen. I remember the way he showed me Grandpa and told me there was no other way. Even then I knew this was still so wrong.

But he sounded so sure. I trusted him. I had all the times before this. He'd never steered me wrong.

I remember Tea shouting.

She was right.

Suddenly, I was desperate. I didn't know if I could actually manage to hold him check.

And for that brief moment, when I stood in front of him and TOLD him we couldn't let this happen...I saw what he looks like when he battles. When I battle.

It scares me. It scared me so much--worse than anything I can remember.

That single-minded determined anger. That's what scared me. Because for the very briefest of seconds...all that anger was directed at me.

Neither of us was in control of my body for a second or two. Only when my knees connected painfully with the ground did I actually get control back. It was so close in so many ways.

Because for a long second I didn't know if I wanted to take back that move.

Seto Kaiba. I'd almost killed him. KILLED HIM!

To win a duel...a stupid game!

It doesn't matter that I wanted to win just to save my Grandpa. How is it any different from Seto trying to save his brother?

Crap. There are tears on my jacket again. Must be crying.

I want to take the puzzle apart. Take every piece and throw it to the far corners of the world so no one will ever be able to assemble it again. And that scares me. What happens to the other spirit inside me? I know he's tied to the puzzle. Would I kill him if I took it apart like that?

What kind of person does that make me? What's wrong with me?

I hate myself too. For failing my Grandpa.

I swore to him. I promised I'd get him back.

My mom's never been around a whole lot--she has to work really hard to support us so she's constantly at work or traveling. I don't resent her for that. I love her. But she was never as close to me as Grandpa was.

Every afternoon, even if it was only for a few minutes I'd sit and listen to him talk about anything. About where he'd been, the people he'd met, the things he'd done before he retired. About mundane things too...what the weather was like, what I'd done at school or how the day had been for him. He taught me everything I knew about Duel Monsters. He listened when I had a problem, told me when I was being stupid and encouraged me when I was stuck or frustrated with anything.

I'm never gonna see him again.

What am I going to tell my mom?

On all the nights we've slept outside, and all the times we just couldn't get a fire started, no matter how much kindling we fed in or how much effort we put in, I've never been as cold as I am right now. It's the kind of bone deep cold that doesn't go away no matter how many layers or blankets or warmth I might try to smother it with.

Nothing stays in my mind long enough to consider for even a fraction of a second.

I want someone to tell me what to do.

No. That's not it. That's what got me into this mess in the first place. Taking a back seat when I couldn't handle what was going on didn't help anyone.

And I definitely don't wanna burden the guys with anything else. They're too freaked about this as it is. So that only leaves one other.

I can feel him. Faintly.

Even when I'm not battling, he's there. I think it's the same when he's the one in control.

And it's nothing so concrete as a face or a body usually. More like an impression or a collection of things that just distinguish him. Strength and confidence mostly. Something I don't think I have a whole lot of.

He's warm, like the sun, which is kinda ironic considering he's apparently my 'dark side' or something.

A temper. Pretty obvious--and if I'm honest--I have one too.

But I have better impulse control.

Something else too. It's sad. Beyond that, he hides it so well that I can't make more of a distinction. I think it might have something to do with the puzzle and the return of the Shadow Games that everyone seems to be referring to. Maybe he's just lonely.

But right now...a lot of puzzlement is mostly what I'm getting. Confusion, a little annoyance and a little anger too. He obviously didn't see this the way I did.

If this had been a clear-cut battle. If this had just been with cards instead of those almost too real monsters. If lives weren't at stake. If I wasn't so unsure of what to do. All the ifs in the world don't change what I almost did.

I would have let him take Seto Kaiba down if any of those things had been true, and even though it might not have killed him physically, I know what he's like. He's single minded to the point of obsession. I would have killed him mentally. He wouldn't have allowed himself to live if anything happened to his brother. I feel the same way about my Grandpa a lot of the time.

He's single minded too. The other part of me I mean. All he can see is the goal, the main thing that I feel when he battles. Can I really fault him for doing the one thing that would have brought that goal within grasp? I'm just as much to blame.

He's NOT evil. This spirit inside of me. I KNOW he's not. It's so easy to label us as that; label it black and white, good and bad. We both have faults--are both gray. The others...I think they look at him and see evil now...it's not like that though.

Could I clarify it for them? No. Not yet at least.


He's quiet when he walks, but I can tell when someone's coming up behind me. Call it the years spent looking over my shoulder for bullies in school. Old habits die hard.

I've never felt so old before. I don't wanna reassure him that everything's going to be alright and that I was just making this 'other spirit' thing up. I just wanna curl up and hide from the world. I can't be the optimistic one tonight.

Judging from Joey's voice though, it seems we've switched roles anyways.

'Am I okay?'

No. I'm not.

Heck, I don't even know what 'I' means anymore. He knows that.

Guess he's trying to be subtle. It never really works out too well for him though. That thought's almost enough to make me want to smile.

"No" I respond. It's the first word I've spoken in hours. It sounds horrible, but I can't get up the energy to care.

Whatever he said next I didn't catch or couldn't remember. I remember what he said after that though.

"You know Yugi, you can't give up yet. Mai's still on the island. You can duel her for the chips you need to get in and..."

They don't understand! Joey! I almost killed someone. What do they call it in America? Attempted murder? I could be put in jail for this. I can't take the chance that that might happen again. I won't put any of you in danger.

Especially you Joey. You've got the chips to enter the castle. What if I have to play you? Would that other spirit try to kill you too? Would he even care?

I can't let them get close. They don't understand. And the best thing would be to get them all as far away as possible so the next time I can't control this presence they don't get hurt. If I do one thing right in this whole tournament, I'm going to make sure my friends are safe.

"Go away Joey," I tell him. "I don't wanna talk about it."

My voice doesn't sound so bad now. I feel worse though. This is for the best and until I figure out what's going on in my head, it's all I can think of to do. It strengthens my resolve a little.

I just didn't expect him to sound so concerned. Like he just lost the whole tournament.

I don't wanna do this Joey. Just please understand and try not to be too mad later. I can't let you get hurt too.

"Just go away Joey. Please."

He responds just one more time and I can tell he won't bother me anymore... tonight at least. It's articulate, and I know that's the real Joey speaking, not the hotheaded showoff who's our comic relief most of the times.

"Y'know Yugi. We all make mistakes. Maybe I make a few more than you do. But you make mistakes. And maybe whoever it is that's inside that puzzle makes them too. You did the right thing, so in a way you helped cancel his mistake. Just a thought."

I understand what he's saying. I really do. It's just...not enough. Not yet. I can't tell him that though. He's trying to help.

We said we played with honor. I want to believe that's enough. I want to so badly.

I look up at the sky.

Grandpa? Are you out there somewhere? You told me that in some cultures each star represents someone's soul. The night sky was one of your favorite things about traveling. It changed wherever you went, but everyone in the whole world was sleeping under the same sky.

I'm sorry I failed you. I'm sorry I'm not the person you thought I was. I'll do everything I can to get you back, but I don't think I can play again.

I miss you. I miss home.


Sooooo what do you think? Flames, comments, praise...anything you'd like to throw at me? Please do so now.

Thanks for reading.