She was sleeping peacefully when the bright light flashed through her room, causing her to jolt awake. She squinted her eyes, reached out, and pulled the chain on the lamp beside her bed, lighting the room, and gasping at what she saw.
Her long hair was disheveled from sleeping, and she was wearing a tank top with some flannel penguin pajama bottoms... and sitting at the end of her bed, facing away from her, was none other than the Pharaoh.
She let out a squeal and quickly pulled her hair up into a messy bun, shoving her glasses onto her face, and then stared apprehensively as the ghostly figure turned around to look over his shoulder, still in cartoon form. He let out a small gasp, his mouth hanging open.
"Pharaoh!?" She replied, tilting her head in confusion.
"Y-your hair is so long!" He stuttered out, pointing at her messy bun. Of course, when he'd known her, it had been cropped incredibly short. No way she could have worn it like this. "And you have glasses!"
"Yeah..." she raised an eyebrow. "That's what happens in five years. People change... we get older... stuff like that."
"Five years?" He looked confused. "But I was just talking to you! You were about to go through the portal, but then I-" he froze.
Kaylie's stomach clenched, and her eyebrows raised as she quickly realized why her midnight visitor had so suddenly appeared, "and then you kissed me."
"I'm still seeing your future..." his shoulders slumped. "And since this is your world... I guess I know what your choice is."
Kaylie reached out and put her hand on the Pharaoh's shoulder, "It is so good to see you, after all this time..."
"You are doing well then?" The Egyptian asked, moving so that he was sitting on the bed, facing her.
She smiled and nodded, "Well enough."
"Even after that boy used you...?"
"Kaylie wrinkled her nose in confusion, "What are you talking about?"
"He had darker skin... dark hair..."
"Oh..." Kaylie winced, and the Pharaoh could tell he hit a nerve. "That boy." When he had told her all those years ago that he'd seen her future, she had no idea to what extent... but it seems knowing about her future relationship had been part of it, and he had seen how spectacularly it failed.
"How long has it been since he...?"
"Dumped me?" She smiled. "He didn't, not really. Not in his mind, anyway. I said goodbye to him. After being used like that, and then being told it was my fault he felt rejected because I wasn't ready to take that step and cringed when he did it..." she took a deep breath. "I didn't need that in my life..."
"You walked away..." the Pharaoh looked at her in awe.
"I knew I deserved better," she smiled sadly at him. "So don't worry about it. It's been a few months. It stings a little still, but I'm getting stronger every day."
"How is your friend... Zac?" The Pharaoh asked after momentary silence.
"He's fine, as far as I know," Kaylie frowned. "We don't talk much anymore."
"Did you tell anyone else what really happened to you?"
"Weeeeeeeeell..." she smiled. "Not exactly... not in the traditional sense anyway."
"What do you mean?" He questioned.
She swing her legs over the side of the bed and picked her laptop off the floor, opening it and typing in a web address. She clicked a few buttons, and turned the screen to face him so he could see. After a few seconds of reading, it clicked.
"You wrote it out and posted it online?"
She nodded, letting out a soft sigh, "It's just kind of nice to get it out there, ya know? Even if everyone thinks it is a made up story about characters from my childhood."
Another couple seconds of silence went by, feeling like an eternity.
"Do you ever wonder what would have happened if you decided to stay?" He finally asked, turning his violet eyes on her.
Without vocally responding, she clicked a few more buttons on her laptop, and showed him again.
"But What If...? The story of what might have happened if Kaylie had stayed..." he read off the screen, allowing silence to fill in. "You have thought about it."
"A lot," she admitted. "Almost every day..."
"Do you ever regret your decision?"
"Yes," she gave a sad burst of laughter. "Every time I think about it... But that doesn't mean it was the wrong choice. I regret that I'll never truly know what happened. I regret that the goodbye had to be so sudden, and that I didn't have more time to mull the choice over in my head..." she put her hand on his, and smiled. "But I don't regret coming home to my family. If you could have seen their faces... and I don't regret any of the steps I've taken since... even if it meant being in that awful abusive relationship, and going through all those things that you saw..."
"What am I to tell you then... back in my world?" His voice quivered.
"Tell her..." Kaylie started, then corrected herself. "Tell me that I'm going to be alright..."
"It'll be enough," she chuckled softly. "I used to hang on to those words, because they came from you. They got me through so many dark times... And now I know that it was really me talking to myself..." she closed her eyes, tears lightly dripping down her face. "But it really only meant something because it came from you."
The Pharaoh swallowed, glancing around one last time. His time was short, they both knew. He jumped slightly when Kaylie suddenly reached out and hugged him, "You're going to be alright too."
The Pharaoh hugged her back. They sat that way for until Kaylie was aware of his presence disappearing. He moved her chin up, and in their final moments, gave her one final kiss. Then, as quickly as he had appeared, she was alone once more.
She lay in her bed for a long time after. Sleep was evading her, and her mind was racing with memories. It was as she was going over her goodbye to the gang when she remembered Mokuba's gift. She shot out of her bed, flipped the light back on, and began searching through boxes in her closet.
Zac had helped her hide the duel disk and Mokuba's gift for a few weeks while things blew over with her parents and the police. It had been months before she'd finally been able to pick them up. She was also going through a hard time with her family, and feared that opening it would only throw her further into depression, so she had put it in a box, and forgotten about it. Until now.
There. A small white box, nestled in next to her duel disk that she had kept hidden for so many years. She gently took the lid off, and pulled out the note she knew Mokuba had written.
Why didn't you tell me I had spelled your name wrong before?
I hope this chip works out for you. It's hard to know, seeing as I've never been to another world like you, but I did my best using my knowledge of your phone. Speaking of which, I want to know if it does work. Since you can't just come back probably, I've sent this phone along. It has my number programmed in it. Following the same conditions as your phone, you should be able to call. There's a charger to get it all charged up. The only problem is that it has limited minutes. It was the only phone we had readily available. Sorry.
I look forward to hearing from you soon! I hope everything worked out when you got home!
Kaylie could barely contain her excitement as she quickly plugged the phone in and waited for it to boot up. Her hands shook as she found Mokuba's number in her contacts, and hit call. She paced her room as the phone rang once... twice...
"Hello?" The voice was much deeper than she was used to, but somehow she knew...
"Mokuba! It's me! Kaylie!"
"I'd recognize that voice anywhere!" Mokuba laughed. "I thought you were never going to call."
"I'm so sorry... Things got complicated when I got home. I just barely opened your gift after... well... I received a visit from the Pharaoh tonight..." she slowed down, holding back tears. The whole thing felt surreal.
"Oh yeah... He mentioned having a conversation with your future self after you left. How are you holding up?" Mokuba asked.
"After your breakup with that awful boy..." he explained.
"I see the Pharaoh also has a big mouth..." Kaylie muttered.
"Not really, I knew already..." She could practically see the smile on his face.
"Do I dare ask how?" She chuckled into the phone.
"It's a secret, sorry..."
"Well, I'm doing okay. Thanks for asking. It's been a few months now, so I'm back on my feet, finishing up school," she fiddled with the chip from the box, trying to get it into her duel disk with one hand.
"Still going into theatre?"
"You betcha!" She smiled, prying the back of the duel disk off. In the background, she could hear someone talking. By the sarcastic tone, she knew exactly who it was. "And your brother still thinks I'm crazy."
"He's just grumpy cause he told me you'd never call."
"Well there is nothing I love to do more than prove your brother wrong," Kaylie giggled.
"You're lucky you are a world away, otherwise I would take you down right now," Kaiba's voice came through the phone much more clearly, signifying that he had taken Mokuba's to talk with her.
"Sorry to ruin that plan," she smiled to herself, activating her reassembled duel disk, and placing her Mystical Elf card on it. To her delight, the hologram appeared in her room. "Because my duel disk is perfectly functional, and I would love to have someone to battle."
She spent a couple more minutes getting caught up with the brothers and exchanging a few good natured insults. Mokuba then offered to pass on Yugi's number so she could talk to him, and maybe the rest of the gang if she was lucky. She bit her lip as she said her goodbyes to the Kaiba brothers and tearfully hung up.
Yugi answered rather quickly, and didn't even give her the chance to talk before he started in.
"Kaylie! I had a feeling you'd be calling today!"
"Hello to you too?" She snickered. "And I'm learning not to ask, but how did you know?"
"Pharaoh mentioned the date he came to visit you. He saw it on your computer. When you didn't call within a couple months of leaving, he mentioned you might not think to until some time had gone by..."
"Geez..." she smiled to herself. "Guess I am rather predictable... He's gone then?"
"Yeah..." Yugi's voice grew sad. "I miss him, but it's nice to know that he is at peace." Some silence slipped by, then, "Hey, the rest of the gang is here. Since we thought you might call, we all got together. I'll put you on speaker and you can talk to everyone!"
She didn't know how much time was left on her phone, but she talked with her friends for an hour, learning all sorts of things. Weevil and Rex would ask about her occasionally, and she regretted not being able to say goodbye. Mai had eventually returned to work things out with Joey, and things seemed to be going well between them.
Finally, she asked the question that had been bothering her for some time, "How is Jay doing?"
"Jay?" Joey laughed. "He's doin' just fine. Not surprisin' considerin' he came here wit cards dat haven't even been created yet. Pegasus took a shine to 'im. He hasn't lost a duel since arrivin'."
"Nothing from Armitlye then?" She frowned.
"Notta," Yugi sighed. "But he seems to be doing fine. We'll tell him you said hi."
Another couple minutes of swapping stories and assuring them that she was fine, despite her 'broken heart', and the phone began beeping.
"I think I'm out of time," she frowned, feeling the tears coming again. "Guys, it was so nice to talk with you..."
"You too," Yugi replied. "You take care of yourself. The Pharaoh was definitely right... there is something special about you."
"Good luck all of you..." she could barely get her voice above a whisper.
"Good night!" Came the chorus of voices, and then the phone cut the call, notifying her that she was out of time.
After putting her duel disk and Mokuba's note away, she crawled back into bed and turned the lights off. Sleep didn't avoid her this time, like it had before. Just as she was drifting off to sleep, she remembered that final kiss, and smiled. Even though it was hard, she knew she was going to be okay.
(Author's Note: Thank you so much for taking the time to read this story, and for the encouragement and support. Please let me know what you thought and drop me a PM or a review! Also, But What If? is an actual story that I am working on, so if you're interested in that, take a peek. Thanks again! Couldn't have finished without my awesome readers!)