DISCLAIMER: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh! or Pokemon. I'm just using it for my story. I do own Savannah Mire, Jacob, Joana, and Chelsea, though, and I designed Yugi and Respiro's teams. Nor do I own Splat, that amazing hair dye that I wish I could use. Stupid work dress code policy -.-

Italics = thoughts

The Path Less Travelled

It was the summer after Atem's departure into the afterlife. The first day of summer vacation, in fact. It was raining, so everyone was hanging out in Yugi's living room...

How can everyone be so...cheerful? Yugi wondered. Joey and Tristan, wrestling on the couch...Tea and Rebecca, who was visiting for the summer, chatting about some new movie...everyone being loud, talking, laughing, happy...

It was enough to drive him insane.

"Yugi, you okay?" a girl asked him quietly, so as not to draw attention to his melancholy.

He looked at her. Her name was Savannah Mire, a transfer student from America. She had transferred at the beginning of the school year, and had seemed immediately drawn to Yugi and his circle of friends. Her hair was white blonde, and she had green eyes. Right now she was wearing jeans and a black tee with a howling wolf on it.

At first, Yugi had been wary of her; he assumed she knew his "reputation," and was only hanging out with them to duel him. But when he asked her, she acted confused and said she had never played Duel Monsters before.

For a while, he remained suspicious. But after a few weeks, as he slowly accepted her more and more, she became like a breath of fresh air. Her insistence that they talk about something other than Duelling after Joey and Ryou nattered on about it for hours...her questioning why such a complex game was so popular...her scoffing at powerful cards like the Egyptian God Cards, saying Pokemon was ten times better and so much simpler...

And she could take his mind off things. Like now, her question jolting him out of his thoughts. "Yeah, I'm fine," Yugi assured her. He pasted on a grin, one his friends always accepted...but of course, Savannah didn't. No one could throw on a smile that fast and make her believe everything was okay.

"How's that game coming along?" she asked, choosing to stay quiet about her thoughts.

Oh, yeah, that Pokemon Black game, Yugi thought idly. Savannah had let him borrow it, not really explaining why, just shrugging and saying she thought he would enjoy it. And she was right; once he got into it, he loved it; the Pokemon were cute and strong, and the storyline was interesting while still being easy to follow.

"It's great." Yugi's smile became genuine. "I got Oshawott all the way to Samurott. And I have a candle sitting in my storage."

She laughed. "Man, I love those things. One of my favorites." She glanced around at the others, still caught up in their conversations. "I can't wait for that tournament," she said dreamily, leaning against the couch.

"Tournament?" Yugi perked up. There were Pokemon tournaments, like there were for Duel Monsters?

"Yeah, a little thing in the park in a few weeks. My sister and I set it up for the players in the area, got it circulating in the right circles...Hey, want to play in it? We've got room for one more."

"Can I?" Yugi asked happily. He could test his skills against other players! Finally, he could see if he was as good as he thought.

"Can you what, Yug'?" Joey asked curiously. It seemed he and Tristan had stopped wrestling finally, and Yugi's exclamation was loud enough for everyone to hear.

"Oh, um..." Yugi hesitated slightly. He realized he hadn't told Joey he had started playing Pokemon. "Savannah let me borrow her Pokemon game and wanted to know if I wanted to play in a tournament in the park." No sense in lying, especially to friends; he trusted them, and vice versa. They wouldn't make fun of him.

"That's awesome!" Joey exclaimed. "I didn't know you could play against other players."

"Yeah, the DS uses a wireless link for trading and PvP battles," Savannah explained. "It works as far as one hundred feet."

Joey whistled. "You can battle anyone at that range, and they probably wouldn't even know who you were."

"Yeah, I guess," Savannah said thoughtfully. "So, do you want me to put you down, Yugi? I can give you the rules, it's no problem," she assured him.

"Yeah, definitely!" Yugi jumped up. "You gotta tell me the rules, though. I don't want to screw up."

...THREE WEEKS LATER...

Yugi sat across from his first opponent, a girl with dyed red hair, obviously a product of using Splat Luscious Raspberries and...Oh My Ra, did she streak her hair with Pink Fetish? Yugi flinched at the brightness. A volunteer referee stood between them. Up in front, Savannah's sister stood waiting for the appointed time. Ra, what was with all the Splat coloring? Savannah's sister (Yugi realized he didn't know her name) had died her hair Lusty Lavender.

"Alright, Pokemon fans," Lavender finally said, "it's time to get this show on the road! As a reminder, each battle will be at Level 100. The first team to defeat the other completely wins the battle. The referees will check to make sure you are following those rules. There is no time limit, but you options need to have your team as Set, to move things along. Trainers, you may now start your battles!"

"Chelsea, Yugi, you are clear to start the battle," the referee affirmed after checking both screens.

Yugi smiled. Here goes nothing, he thought fiercely as he sent his Samurott out into battle.

...A FEW HOURS LATER...

Yugi heaved a sigh of relief as he made it past his last opponent, a not-particularly-good attempt at a rain team. She had been taking him hit-for-hit with Pokemon high in HP, but she didn't seem to have a good grasp of her Pokemon's weaknesses and strengths.

Really, it was almost painful.

A few tables away, he watched Savannah stand and shake hands with some guy who insisted on wearing a hoodie and sunglasses, hood up, even though it was boiling outside. There seemed to be no hard feelings between them, and he admired the way Savannah could keep from feeling bitter about her losses, as well as how she didn't brag about her wins.

With the last matches reported, everyone turned once again to the front, where Lavender was preparing to announce the finalists. Yugi fully expected to be facing Savannah.

"When I call your name, come up to the front to prepare for the final battle," Lavender announced. "I give you all the first finalist, Yugi Mutou!" There were some appreciative applause from the few other contestants as Yugi joined Lavender. He held his breath, waiting for Savannah's name to be called.

"Please welcome our second finalist, and Yugi's opponent, Respiro!"