[[ Hey everybody, looks like I finally had to do a puzzleshipping/ yugioh yaoi fanfic! Yugioh, yugioh yaoi, and especially Puzzleshipping are my liiife c: In all seriousness though, Yami x Yuugi has changed my life and made me a better person, and it got me through some really tough times. If you guys have the chance, read "Seniors, Freshmen, and a Learning Experience" and "Sophomores, Freshmen, and a Love Story" both by ClassyVenus on , and "High School Love" by Yugisgirl on . These three stories are the most important to me out of all, I hold them in the highest regard. ANYWAY! Enough of my fanboying. (Yes, I'm a BOY uke, -gasp-) Time for the fic. Btw, pleeease please please if you enjoy the story, leave a review, I'm even open to constructive criticism if you've got it. Just NO FLAMING. YAOI. BOY X BOY, YAMI X YUUGI, BAKURA X RYOU, MARIK X MALIK etc. GAY ROMANCE. DON'T LIKE? DONT READ. Ok, now that the warnings out of the way...enjoy:) ]]

Yuugi was reminded, today, of the day years into the past when he, then age 6, had dropped an open tray of wet watercolor paints in art class. At first, he'd been laughed at, wide amethyst eyes glimmering with embarrassed tears. When the teacher's hand had landed on his tiny shoulder, he had jumped with a startled whimper, turning to face her. He had thought he was in trouble, but she was...smiling?

"Yuugi-chan..." [1] she said, gently, the boy nodding to show he was listening.

"Look at the colors, not the mess...see? All of those beautiful colors are blending, like they were meant to be put together. It's pretty, isn't it?"

Yuugi blinked, looking closely, as she'd told him to. It was beautiful...Just like the sky that hung overhead today, 10 years later. He shook his head to clear it, blonde bangs swaying with the motion. He didn't know why the sky brought back that memory of all things. After all, he'd seen many more beautiful things over the past decade, most of them a lot more pretty than spilled paint...Maybe it was a sign of things to come?

He shrugged as he walked into the first building of Domino Gakuen. [2] Freshman year began today. He looked around the hallways that were quite vast both in size and differences compared to his old middle school

So many students... he thought, gazing timidly at the mobs of people caught in the flow of traffic. He didn't recognize anybody...

Yuugi was beginning to feel really intimidated, his gaze shifting lower and lower as it darted about, looking for even ONE familiar face. Just as his eyes had his shoes, a vibrant voice and a maybe-just-a-bit-harder-than-neccessary clap on the back caught (or maybe grabbed would be more accurate) his attention.

"Hey, Yuugi, you made it! I knew you'd get through entrance exams if I managed 'em!" Katsuya Jounouchi nearly shouted in Yuugi's face, yet the significantly shorter freshman only giggled at his best friend's antics. He had really missed the blond over the hectic summer break.

"Jou, do you really wanna shout that in the hallway?" he retorted playfully, earning a fake gasp from Jounouchi followed closely by a headlock/ hair- ruffling combo from said blonde, who was "teaching Yuugi a lesson" in his own words.

"Jounouchi, remember what I said about having to be more careful?" Another boy said. His pointed brown hair and eyes that matched his hair perfectly gave Hiroto Honda a serene air about him, though such wasn't indicative of his entire personality. He and Jounouchi had been, and still could be, quite the pair of troublemakes.

"People like Yuugi and Ryou are more fragile than you are, so you have to be gentler with them, it's not like they'll slug you if you hurt them, like we would each other!" he added. Jounouchi's face was very veeery skeptical, though just in case, he let Yuugi go, much to the other's amusement.

"Jou, I'm not a glass figurine, I won't break into pieces or anything. Honda-kun is just messing with you! Right, Honda?" Yuugi said, looking up at both taller boys in turn. Honda waited a moment before smirking, then smiling, then all out grinning as he burst out laughing.

"Of course I was just messing! He's just too easy!" Honda said, throwing his arm around Jounouchi's shoulders as the blond half laughed, half glared at him.

"Laugh it up, Honda. Go riiight ahead." He murmured loud enough so they both could hear, his tone threatening and strained, but in such a way that it was obvious he was joking as well.

As the three teens shared another laugh, a boy far closer to Yuugi's height, only about 4 centimeters taller than him, walked over to join them. His snow white hair, accented by chocolate-colored eyes that were always warm and gentle like doe's eyes, always set Ryou Bakura apart from the majority of students and citizens in Domino City, though there were people like Yuugi who's hair far "out-wilded" his own. And yes. Yuugi's hair was natural, just like Ryou's.

"I'm missing out on something really funny, aren't I?" Ryou said with a wide smile that told of his own amusement at the scene.

Honda was quick to fill him in.

"I was just pointing out how gullible Jounouchi is." He said, as if it were some obvious, "everyday knowledge" kind of "fact." This promptly earned him a smack in the head from Jounouchi himself, though the blonde still smirked amiably.

"Ryou!" Yuugi exclaimed quite excitedly, dashing closer to and sharing a hug with Ryou. Ryou returned the gesture just as happily. Jounouchi was Yuugi's best friend, ever since 2nd grade, but Ryou and Yuugi were just as close, though in a way that was "far more giiiirly," in Jounouchi's words. After saying all of the usual "I missed you's" and "It's great to see you again's" that always came with Yuugi and Ryou meeting after a while had passed, the four headed to homeroom, luck deciding to be merciful and let them all have the same first room of the day. Upon entering, Jounouchi and Honda had launched into a back and forth "discussion" about who knows what. Taking seats next to each other, Yuugi and Ryou began their own conversation, their own quiet voices nearly being swallowed up by the background noise, though they could still hear each other.

"So, Yuugi," Ryou said excitedly. "Bakura goes to this school, too! He passed the entrance exam no problem last year!" His pale cheeks had gained a light rosy blush tot hem as he spoke. Yuugi smiled knowingly; Ryou had had a major crush on the older boy since the end of elementary school , and said crush had grown increasingly stronger over the course of middle school. When Bakura Necrophades had graduated from middle school, Ryou had nearly gone into a frenzy of worry because he hadn't known where Bakura would end up for high school. If they had ended up not attending the same school, then any chance Ryou would have had at winning Bakura's heart would have been tossed out the window. Fortunately, such was not the case.

"That's great, Ryou!" Yuugi said, a wider smile lighting up his own features. "Maybe I'll find someone this year, too!"

Ryou grinned and nodded.

"I hope things work out for us both. Malik can't be the only one with a boyfriend forever!" Ryou said, giggling at the end. Suddenly, their conversation was interrupted, though neither boy minded when they saw who it was.

"I heard my name!" Malik said, pearly white teeth contrasting with his flawless bronze-colored skin as he laughed. "You guys talking shit on me behind my back?" It was obvious that he was joking, his raised platinum-blonde eyebrow only making it funnier to the trio.

"It's so great to see you guys again. I love Egypt and all, but it kinda sucked without you guys around. At least Marik was there..." he said as they all three shared a hug. "Still, it just wasn't the same."

For about half an hour, the three friends talked idly but interestedly, making up for time lost over summer vacation. Sure, Ryou and Yuugi had hung out a few times, but not as much as they'd have liked. When Ryuji Otogi, the last member of their "group" sidled in a few minutes before the bell, the three teens waved excitedly to him, Jounouchi and Honda coming over as well. Otogi's long black hair, tied back as always, looked especially nice that day, as well as the black makeup around his eyes.

"Gotta look good for the first day, right?" Otogi said. Jounouchi scoffed.

"Riiight..." he said. "You take that long to get ready every day, Otogi. You spend half your life in front of that mirror." The group of reunited friends laughed together once again, and any hints of loneliness from missing one's friends vanished from their hearts. Laughter really was the best medicine.

As his friends continued to talk, Yuugi stared out the window, his amethyst eyes holding a distant look. He really was happy to see all of his friends, truly, truly glad, but he had really meant what he'd said to Ryou; Yuugi had always dreamed of falling in love, and he was beginning to wonder if he'd ever catch a boy's eye...

Across campus, in building III

"Dammit, guys!" Atem "Yami" Akhnemkhanen fumed as he rubbed the spot on his head that his two friends had just smacked simultaneously. His deep crimson eyes were a narrowed as he glared at them. Marik and Bakura just laughed at their friend's reaction.

"It's not our fault you were zoning again!" Marik Tokoshie said, looking like he'd smack him again any minute, and would enjoy every second of it. Bakura Necrophades, not one to be left out, laughed his sinister-sounding-by-default laugh, ruffling Yami's tricolored hair, much to the outrage of the targeted teenager.

"You were staring at that window like it owed you money! Either you've suddenly developed an interest in breaking glass, or you were thinking about something really hard."

Yami finally shoved them both off of him, after which they landed on the hardwood floor of Yami's apartment, laughing their asses off like the couple of lunatics many people took them for.

"You were thinking about that brat again, weren't you?" Bakura said rather gruffly. When Yami didn't answer he scoffed. "Man, you don't even know the kid's name! You met him 10 years ago! Gods, Yami, there's no chance of you seeing the kid again. You should've talked to him when you had the chance instead of being a spineless pussy about it and "watching him from afar" instead."

Marik added in with a scoff of his own,

"Yami didn't want to corrupt the kid's innocence, remember?" the Egyptian said as if it were the most ridiculous thing he'd ever heard. Honestly, it was high up on the list.. Yami rolled his crimson eyes and stood up, stretching.

"Eloquent as ever, I see. You two never seem to disappoint." he said, so sarcastic one could almost see it dripping from his words.

"Well, whatever. I just cant stop, guys. Ever since the day I met him, I just...couldn't get him out of my head." Bakura smirked, though this half smile was far less scathing.

"You've got it bad, man." he said. Yami smirked himself.

" At least I never stalked him like you did to that Ryou kid. I'm surprised you didn't just jump him, that seems more your style."

Checking the time, that read 1:45 PM, Marik interrupted them.

"As meaningful as trading insults is, we gotta get going, guys. We'll be in deep shit with Hayasahi-sensei if we're late again. I swear he was about to publicly execute us last year."

Collectively pausing to think about how wrathful the English teacher could be, they simultaneously hurried out of the room, deciding it would be best to be safe rather than sorry. Jogging across campus and into the entrance of Bulding I, the three Sophomores rushed towards the English 2 classroom. Yami suddenly cursed, breaking off from the group to go down another hallway to his locker. "I left my textbook! Cover for me!"

His two friends nodded as they ran on, and Yami rounded a corner at a near sprint, crashing hard into a body heading in the other direction at full speed. A muffled "oof!" was the only warning he got before the person he'd ran into toppled onto the linoleum floor. Yami gasped. The boy looked almost identical to him, though he was far shorter, had amethyst eyes instead of irises of ruby red, and his face was rounder, more childish and innocent. Aside from a blonde bang here or there, their hair was exactly the same, long wavy blond bangs like lightning bolts framing their faces, the rest of their hair being black with deep magenta tips. And YES. It WAS natural, thank you very much.

"Y-you!" Yami said in shock. It was the boy who-!

The sophomore snapped out of his shock and reverie when he noticed the cause of the other boy's great hurry. Ushio was stalking towards the younger boy with tricoloured hair, a menacing, (stupid was more like it, to Yami) smirk on his bulky head that matched his bulky frame. Upon seeing Yami, he stopped, paling a bit. Yami was only a sophomore, yet he was already one of the most popular boys at the entire school. But aside from his social strength, Yami had taught Ushio the hard way that Yami was not one to be messed with. Ever. Thinking about it made him cringe, both in humiliation and fear.

-flashback-

Yami had been walking with his hands in his pockets, a new freshman at Domino Gakuen, gazing about with a cool demeanor on his face. Math had sucked that day. Suddenly, when he had been looking away, the crimson-eyed teen walked into what he'd originally assumed to be a wall. It soon proved otherwise as large, meaty hands clenched around his collar, pulling him harshly to stare into narrowed, glowering (stupid, Yami thought) eyes

"Watch where the fuck you're going!" the oversized freshman growled. (Grunted was more like it...) "Don't you know who I am!"

Yami rolled his eyes. "No, I don't, lucky me. Why don't fill me in on what it is I'm missing." The large bully snarled and shook Yami by the collar.

"Don't you disrespect me! I'll teach you what happens when you get a big head with Ushio!"

He wound up and hurled a punch at Yami's face. The shorter of the two narrowed his deep ruby eyes and caught Ushio's arm by the wrist, dodging the punch as well. His grip was like iron, Ushio found out as he tried to pull his hand back. It was too late, however, as Yami swept his legs from under him as Yami's fist collided hard with Ushio's face. He went down like a ton of bricks, with just as much sound as one too. Yami didn't leave him with any threats or finishing blows, even, which confused Ushio to no end. All Yami did was look down at him and sigh, shaking his head as he walked off again.

-end flashback-

Ushio had never gotten over that embarrassment, and still feared Yami after a whole year had passed. Seeing pure rage pass over Yami's regal features didn't help Ushio with looking unshakable either. The snarl that came from Yami next was the finishing blow.

"What do you think you're doing?" Yami snapped. Ushio flinched visibly and stammered.

"I uh I-I..Nothing Yami!...san? I was just leaving!" Yami rolled his eyes as Ushio rushed off with his tail between his legs. Kneeling down, Yami helped his doppelganger up.

"Are you ok..?" Yami asked gently, locking crimson with amethyst. The boy whose shoulders he was carefully holding on to blushed, and the blush only became darker the longer their eyes met. Slowly the smaller boy nodded.

"I-I'm fine..." he said shyly, averting his eyes as he spoke. "Thanks for helping me..."

Yami smiled warmly. "It was no problem at all." he said.

"Yami Akhnemkhanen, pleasure to meet you. What's your name?" The question meant so much more to Yami than the other male could've known, but he answered nonetheless."

"Mutou Yuugi...nice to meet you too." Yuugi said with a smile. Just as Yami was about to say something more, the bell rang in its shrill caucophony of metal-on-metal, snapping them both out of the moment.

"...we should probably get to class." Yuugi said with a small giggle, earning a laugh from Yami as well.

"What room do you have now?" Yami asked the shorter of the two. Yuugi looked down at the paper in his hand, scanning it quickly.

"Um...English 2, it says, but I'm a freshman...that can't be right, can it?" he asked, gazing up at Yami with wide, innocent eyes. Yami had to swallow before talking.

"It's probably because of your entrance exam marks." he said. "You showed a good grasp of the basics, I guess, and thats all English 1 really teaches you. So it looks to me like you're headed to the right place after all. Would you mind if I walked you there?" That blush once again blossomed across the smaller teen's soft cheekbones, and he smiled timidly.

"I'd...I'd like that, but you have to get to your own class, right?" he said. He was confused when Yami laughed, but his smile grew when he received his answer:

"We have the same class to get to. English 2 is my next period as well. The teacher is a real hardass though, so we should hurry, ok?"

As Yami looked down at his companion, leading him towards the classroom, crimson and amethyst meeting once more with wide smiles, both boys found themselves thinking the same thing:

Could this be the one I've been looking for...?