It was never silent in the halls of Domino Central Hospital, but after lights out there was a fair approximation of it.
The nurses and doctors quietly did their rounds, not wanting to wake their charges. The charges in question were either fast asleep or semi-silently reading or playing handheld games by the light of their bedside lamp, trying to avoid attracting attention or waking their roommates. For those lucky few who had single rooms the silence was made almost complete by their closed doors and their curtains hid them from sight, giving them a little more leeway than those who had to share with others.
For a certain teenager with tri-coloured hair whose hospital bills were being funded by his place of employment, this meant that he could sneak in his two Pokémon - a small, six-tailed red fox and a large beige feline and as long as they hid when they heard the door open and didn't make any trouble.
It also meant that you could hear a pin drop, so when the teenager in question mumbled in his sleep, the other figure in the room heard every word of it and stopped dead on the spot, hoping for a moment that he wasn't waking up.
When the teen curled tighter around the broken golden object he was cuddling and settled back down, the second human in the room let out a soft sigh of relief.
The icy blue haired girl didn't quite understand her current mission, only that it had to be her team to undertake it. None of the older Paradius members could do it. Alister wasn't suited, Raphael would have done something drastic and Valon hadn't reported in for the last week or so.
So instead she and Miko had slipped quietly into the hospital to recover three of the pieces of her benefactor's plan. This part she understood, taking away the enemy's strongest Pokémon so they could be looked after properly and couldn't be used to hurt anyone else. What didn't quite click in her head was the reasoning behind leaving behind the Puzzle that contained the soul of the King her sister was on the run from.
She understood that moving it would be dangerous, she'd overheard the Galactics discussing a 'Legendary class' threat, but the boy who was curled around the broken Puzzle, sleeping peacefully, didn't look dangerous. Besides surely she'd be doing the boy a favour by removing the item that had been brainwashing him. That way he'd be free of the darkness that was trying to consume him and Jamie could come out of hiding.
Carefully looking through the boy's deck before she did anything else, she eased out the three cards she was looking for, trying to ignore the feeling of power radiating from them as she did so. It felt like they were burning her hands as she removed them from their Trainer's possession, as if they didn't want to be rescued. Though she examined her hands swiftly once she'd pocketed the cards and found nothing marking them, she still felt like she'd been burned as she moved carefully and quietly to the boy's bedside.
The Legendary class threat looked pretty harmless asleep like this, but then she'd heard the horror stories about Trainers who had made the mistake of poking a sleeping legendary often enough that she didn't want to risk waking the boy. Dartz didn't seem to think he was that dangerous and that it was the Pharaoh who was the one to watch out for. However she had, during her brief stay as Galactic's 'guest' directly after Canalave had been rended, heard that it was Yugi Mutou who had Legendary level power not some King from the ancient past.
Was it possible that they were both wielders of a Legendary class power? Dartz had told her himself that it was the Puzzle's fault that poor Yugi was host to the evil King. Obviously the boy was just another victim of the King's greed, just like her sister. The King was obviously just using the boy's power as his own.
Scooping up a couple of pieces of the Puzzle she'd been ordered to leave alone, she backed away as she examined them. They didn't look like much, just golden shards of something much larger whose shape she couldn't grasp from looking at the pieces.
She froze and turned to look at the source of the low, growling meow and grimaced as she realised that the boy's Persian had awoken and was stalking towards her, hissing as it did so. She reached for her Pokeballs, only for the huge Classy Cat Pokémon to leap at her, trying to pin her.
She narrowly dodged the huge Kanto based Pokémon only for it to crash into the bed, knocking it over. The boy on it let out a terrified yelp as he was shocked awake by the impact and the sensation of falling before landing on the ground hard, Puzzle pieces landing everywhere.
"Bast?" The boy asked, getting to his feet as quickly as he could, though she could see that it took him a lot of effort to do so, "What's... Jamie? Why...?"
She stared at him for a moment and he stared back, then she bolted dropping one of the pieces she'd picked up as she did so, not willing to get into a brawl with him and his Pokémon when she knew full damn well she was no match for a Legendary class threat.
"H...Hey! Wait!" It took him a moment as what she'd dropped and the sight of his deck scattered across the table registered in his mind, then footsteps followed her. The sound faltered and stumbled in places as the boy's injuries kept him from catching her and allowed her to reach the stairwell before him. Still he followed, giving chase to the thief and managing to gain ground as he used the banister to slide down and she got caught running in the halls by one of the nurses.
As she crossed the threshold of the door to the outside world the Puzzle piece was snatched out of her hand by the older Trainer who'd been sent with her. Miko shoved her, indicating for her to continue running before planting herself in the way of the boy who was literally just seconds behind her, reaching for one of her Pokeballs as she did so.
"Yugi!" Miko called to the boy, who was shaking heavily with the exertion of chasing the thief, showing him what she held as she did so. The teen had been asleep through most of the last week and comatose for the fortnight previously, suffering from wounds of both body and soul that had been caused by Spectre and his ghost Pokémon. He could barely stand but still he refused to back down.
"Give that back!" Yugi demanded, watching the Puzzle piece glinting in her hand, his voice wavering as he spoke, thick with anger, fear and exhaustion.
"You want it, you'll have to fight me for it." Miko replied, urging her companion to run as she did so. She took the Bug Trainer's advice on the matter, heading for the rendezvous point as Miko sent out one of the Pokémon she'd picked up in case something went wrong and Yugi's Persian stepped forward.
She sent out a scout as she ran, leaving Miko behind to battle the Legendary class human. She narrowly avoided being roasted when a fire attack, possibly Flamethrower roared up the alley she had sprinted down. Pausing in her sprint to turn around, wondering if the boy had managed to fight his way past Miko so quickly, she saw the boy's Vulpix glowering at her but no Trainer.
Well as much as she felt mean for doing it, she had a sure fire method of getting rid of fire types. "Tide, I choose you!"
The huge Swampert appeared from its Pokeball in a flash of light and bellowed at the small fox who, to its credit, was as stubborn as its Trainer and didn't back down.
"Vulpix Vul! Vulpix!" The red six tailed fox shouted at them.
"Tide, Hydro Pump!"
Jamie frowned as the phone on her Pokegear rang. What did Kaiba want now?
"What the hell do you think you're playing at?" Kaiba sounded furious, much to Jamie's shock.
"Kaiba, I have no idea what you're talking about." Jamie growled back only to get snapped at.
"Where are the God cards?" Kaiba demanded with a snarl.
"How in Arceus's name would I..."
"You broke into Yugi's room last night and stole them, that's how."
It took Jamie a moment to recover from the shock then she glowered down the phone as she snarled, "Kaiba, you know full damn well I'm not allowed out of the PokéCentre right now. How the hell could I have gone from Canalave to Domino and back again in one night. What do you think I did, walked through the Torn Dimension?"
"I don't know how you did it, but I have video footage of you fleeing from the hospital last night."
"That's not... Oh Mew..." Jamie's face paled as she suddenly realised who it could have been, "Kaiba, you might need to check your footage again. I think you'll find that it's not me on that camera but a younger model."
There was silence for a moment, then Kaiba's voice came over the line, deadpan and slightly exasperated, "You have a younger sister."
Jamie could hear that it wasn't a question, but she responded anyway. "Yeah. Lizzie. She's three years younger than me. I thought she was on the other side of the Rend."
"That makes her twelve." She couldn't read Kaiba's tone at all, "I'll be checking your story."
"'Kura was with me last night, and Nurse Joy can vouch for me too." Jamie informed her boss milliseconds before the call dropped. She stared at the phone for a few moments longer before tossing it across the room to bounce off of her backpack and hit the floor. Her head sank into her hands as concern coursed through her, "What have you gotten yourself into, Liz?" She asked the empty air around her.
"Jay?" Mai asked as she entered the room, having seen the flying phone go past the window next to the door, "Everything alright?"
Jamie's bitter laughter wasn't a reassuring answer.
The nameless spirit of the Puzzle gazed around at his surroundings.
After uncountable years of being trapped within the darkness, it was weird to be in an area that while not brightly lit was not coated in Shadows, but instead was built of dimly lit stone passageways, staircases and hundreds upon hundreds of doors.
Curiosity pulled the nameless ghost in two directions for a moment, wanting to both examine his surroundings and find out how he'd been freed. Eventually the need to find out how he'd been freed from his long imprisonment and why drew him towards the exit and towards the light he could sense beyond.
Stepping from 'his' room and into the corridor beyond, he paused between the two rooms, noting the differences between the room he'd awoken in and the one that contained the light that drew him in, like a moth to the flame.
His room was dim, cold and dank, pushing at his mind as if trying to both tell him something and not at the same time. Just from the few moments he'd been awake in there, he knew there were secrets that were held deep within the maze's depths.
The room across the corridor however was much brighter and he could feel the heat radiating out of the door. The presence inside was bright, incredibly so, except... Concern coursed through the spirit as he stepped into the room, making sure he didn't step on any of the toys that were spread all over the floor. Examining the room carefully the spirit's heart skipped a beat, or it would have done had it been beating in the first place, as his eyes fell on the sole inhabitant.
A young boy with spiky black hair whose red tips drooped and whose blonde bangs covered his eyes was fast asleep on the bed at the back of the room but that wasn't what had affected the ghost so badly. In fact the ghost didn't understand why his emotions fluctuated so wildly as he took in the burns that went up the boy's arms and disappeared under his top, the clamminess of the boy's skin and the obvious injuries that looked like they were slowly starting to heal.
However the spirit knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that he needed to protect the young man and help him recover if he could. Carefully moving around the room, he stopped at the boy's bedside, trying to understand why the sight of the badly wounded teen both drove him to insane fury and guilt so deep it rocked him to his core. He reached down and went to brush the boy's bangs away from his eyes only for contact with the boy's skin to kick start something within his mind as the final piece of his soul clicked into place.
He wasn't nameless, he had a name, it wasn't his real name but he was happy to answer to it and this boy, this teen who he felt an insane urge to protect, was his light, his savour, his best friend.
The spirit's name was Yami and the boy on the bed was Yugi Mutou.
"Yugi!" Yami yelped, the boy's injuries meaning so much more to him now he understood everything properly again, his mind swiftly searching through his memories of what had happened preceding his return to the Shadows in order to find the cause for his light's state.
He remembered Anubis, he remembered oversleeping and Yugi having to rush to school, having to sit though a whole day of boring teachers and trouble causing ghosts...
"Ghosts!" Yami snarled, reaching the memories of his light being held prisoner by a Trainer's Dusknoir and the fact the Puzzle had been shattered when he had tried to activate a Shadow Game to win his light's freedom and punish the one who had dared try and torture information out of Yugi.
Spectre had obviously kept trying to get that information from his light after the Puzzle had shattered and Yami had been sent back into the darkness that had held him before Yugi had set him free. He wouldn't have gotten it though. It wasn't possible for Yugi to have given it to Spectre even if he had been willing to do so. Not after what Yugi had done.
Yami tried to wake Yugi as his mind flashed over the memory of Yugi's plan. The hikari had come to Yami after they'd sat in on the discussion about what was going to happen to the Masterball and asked if Yami would do him a huge favour. Offering Yami a small figurine which contained all of Yugi's memories about the Masterball, he had asked Yami to hide it in the maze within the Millennium Puzzle.
Yami hadn't been happy in the slightest at the suggestion. That Yugi had admitted that he was planning for a situation where the Puzzle had been taken from him or worse, smashed, piqued Yami's pride as Yugi's protector, but he had seen the sense behind Yugi's request. He had often had nightmares of what could happen on those rare occasions where Yugi took the Puzzle off and unfortunately Yugi had been right when he had said that he was the weak link. Without the Millennium Puzzle and Yami, Yugi had no real way to defend himself. His Pokémon weren't as strong as Jamie's or Joey's and he had no powers of his own that he could use in their place.
Hence why Yugi had wanted Yami to hide the memory away. He couldn't betray his friends, even unwillingly, if he didn't have the information in his mind to surrender. Yami had gone along with it, though he had been against the plan from the beginning, not wanting to believe there would come a time that he wouldn't be there for Yugi when he needed him. Now he was semi-glad he had, though he didn't want to admit to what he would have done to keep Yugi from being reduced to the state he was in.
When it became obvious that Yugi wasn't going to wake easily, Yami made sure that his light was comfortable and slipped into control of the body to see if he could find out how long he'd been out and what had happened in that time. Despite the need for information, Yami swiftly wished he hadn't bothered. His stomach felt like it was one solid bruise, it hurt to move and though it wasn't in as bad a condition as Yugi's soul which had been the focus for Spectre's assault, the body still ached enough from half healed wounds that Yami let out a hiss as he forced himself to sit up.
"Easy Yuge." Joey was half out of his chair before Yami had finished the action, concern obvious. "You took quite a beating."
"How long?" Yami asked, knowing Joey well enough to tell that the blonde knew which Yugi he was speaking to.
"Almost three weeks." Joey admitted slowly, as if dreading his reaction to that news.
"Three...?" Yami couldn't decide if he was concerned or relieved about that. Considering his amnesia when he'd first awoken, he'd dreaded that it had been months or worse, though on deeper thought Yugi would have, or at least should have, recovered had it really been that long. Still three weeks was a considerable amount of time. When he finally got to cast judgement on Spectre back for his crimes against his hikari, Yami would make sure that the time was repaid in full.
"Are you alright?" Joey asked, the emphasis on 'you' causing the former Pharaoh to realise that Joey had been concerned for his safety too, not just Yugi's. It was a nice feeling to know that Yugi's friends were also his own, even if he felt guilty for worrying them.
"I'm fine." Yami replied honestly. There was nothing wrong with him that time and a little magic couldn't fix. "What happened?"
"I was hoping you could tell me." Joey said with a slight frown, "I mean I know the after but...?"
"Yugi took spirit form to chase the ghost down." Yami answered the half question, knowing that Yugi had informed Joey of his ability to do so back when his friend had wanted to know how he got the ghost Pokémon to behave, "He got ahead of me, ghosted through a wall and got captured by Spectre's Dusknoir. By the time I managed to get into the gym, Spectre was already questioning him and the Puzzle was smashed before I could save him."
Joey let out a soft sigh at the guilt in Yami's tone, having felt much the same way himself for the last few weeks, "Why didn't he just jump into the Puzzle?"
"Couldn't." Yami replied bitterly, "There was something keeping me from pulling him back into his soul room. I assume that it was preventing Yugi from jumping there on his own too. Some kind spell that shows itself as an evil eye."
Joey winced, "Red eye with yellow around the cornea? Ominous feeling attached? Kind of scary?"
"I wouldn't say it was scary..."
"Mean Look." Joey snorted, "Stops Pokémon from running away or switching out. Works on ghost Pokémon, must work on human spirits too."
Yami didn't voice his thoughts. Most of them were rude and aimed at a certain Trainer friend of theirs who had brought this all down on their heads. "What happened afterwards?" He demanded of the blonde in the chair next to his bed, "Has anyone heard from Mai or Jamie?"
Joey opened his mouth to say something, shut it again, stared at him for a moment then realisation dawned on his features, "You never heard did you?"
"What?" Yami demanded, "What's happened?"
"Jamie and Mai were attacked the day before we were. Jamie nearly died. Luckily they made it to the Canalave Rend in time." Joey informed him, anger obvious but not aimed at Yami but at the ones who were systematically trying to off his friends. "Bakura's warned me that Venom's his to deal with and if I get in his way Marik's Shadow Game will seem tame in comparison to what he has planned."
"Are they alright now?" Yami asked, knowing that Yugi would want to know when he awoke.
"Mai's fine, a few scrapes and a nasty jolt of Thunderbolt that gave her the shakes for a week or so, but she's okay now. Jamie's still recovering. The combined poisons in her system did a number on her nervous system. She's walking now at least." Joey sounded incredibly relieved by that, "And between Bakura and their new friend, Valon, no Galactic goons' gunna get anywhere near them any time soon."
Silence fell between the pair for a moment as Yami tried to process what he'd been told then Joey let out a sigh, "By the way, I don't know if Yuge told you but we have a problem."
"I kind of guessed that already." Yami snorted, slightly amused. "I believe the problem's name is 'Team Galactic'."
"No, another one." Joey shook his head, handing over Yugi's deck as he did so. "Someone broke into your hospital room..." He trailed off as Yami flipped quickly through his deck, sensing the problem the moment his hand touched the deck of cards, but not believing it until he'd seen every card in it with his own eyes.
"Where are the God cards?"
"They got stolen." Joey answered then ducked for cover, expecting a Pharonic explosion and getting one as Yami's aura flared up to match his temper.
"By. Who?" Yami demanded, rage coursing through every millimetre of him, temporarily pushing away the pain as he tried to get out of bed to hunt down the thief and take back the cards that he and Joey had suffered to obtain.
"Don't get up!" Joey yelped, risking health and sanity by pushing his friend back onto the bed, "Once we know where she's gone, I'll let you go and Game her but..."
"Who. Was. It?" Yami demanded, wanting nothing more than to leave the hospital right now and retrieve them but unwilling to go through Joey to do so.
"Jamie's little sister. She's working for those dudes with the green seal."
Author Note: A short chapter written mostly while I was laid up with a bad ankle. More to follow soon (hopefully)