"The Responsibility of Seeing In the Dark"

"I ever tell you guys how much I HATE this place?" Katsuya Jounouchi asked his friends nonchalantly. Not one of them believed the tone, considering the fact that his knees were knocking.

"Only about three or four times in the past thirty seconds," Honda replied dryly. "Chill out, Jounouchi- it's a park, not a graveyard."

"That's just your opinion," the blond retorted cryptically.

/This place is haunted, Aibou, / Yuugi's other side observed.

The boy winced. //Let's not tell Jounouchi-kun that, // he muttered, then said aloud, "Don't worry, Jounouchi-kun, it's just a little dark out. This park is probably very pretty in the daytime."

"It. Isn't," Jounouchi hissed through his teeth. "It is always ugly and frightening, because it is an evil place."

Anzu and Honda burst into laughter at his tone, and even the more polite Yuugi and Bakura couldn't help snickering a little. Jounouchi glared at them, his expression perfectly serious.

"Do you think I'm overreacting?" he asked calmly. "There are angry ghosts here, and no one even cares anymore."

"That's because no one cares about old nightmares," Bakura sneered, his other side taking control and grinning with something not unlike amusement. "And that makes them even angrier."

"Shut up," Jounouchi said automatically, but he shivered. "I hate it when you do that, y'know. Freaky as all hell." Bakura's other side just smiled sweetly, though his eyes gleamed with wicked light.

"You shouldn't be here. It makes them nervous- they'll think you want to exorcise them," an annoyed voice spoke up suddenly, and the group turned to find a boy a few years older than they were standing before them. He was dark-haired and wearing a black sweater and jeans, making it easy for him to blend in among the shadows.

"Fuck off," Bakura replied cheerfully, offering a not-so friendly gesture to the darker boy, who retaliated with a glare vicious enough to put any misbehaving tomb robber in his place.

"I don't WANT to be here!" Jounouchi wailed. "These idiots wanted to take a shortcut, and they dragged me with 'em before I knew where we were goin'!"

"You should've known. You all should've," the boy snapped. "It's your responsibility, because you can see what other people can't."

" 'Responsibility'?" Yuugi asked in confusion, cocking his head. "What are you talking about?"

The boy calmed down slightly and pushed his too-long bangs out of his eyes. "You're too powerful; it upsets the spirits here," he explained while the others balked. "They know what you are. You should just let your magic go and move on. If you make them too jealous, they might try to attack you."

"Move on?" Yuugi blinked. "To where?"

The boy gave him a dubious look and pointed upward. "That place. I meet a lot of stupid people, you know, but honestly, I'd think that was pretty obvious. I can tell you aren't evil; why would you stay here when you can go on?"

"He's talking about the other you," Jounouchi realized after a moment of general puzzlement from the rest of the group.

"Oh!" Yuugi gasped and his hands flew to the puzzle. "But- how did you know about him?"

/Aibou, he's got magic too, / his other side spoke up. /Lots of it, but most of it is being used by someone else. He can sense me, but I doubt he's a threat./

"Whatever," Jounouchi said distractedly. "I coulda told you that."

"Told us what?" Anzu raised an eyebrow at him.

"Um . . . Never mind." He coughed slightly. "Oh, look, a pretty flower." The others gave him dubious looks.

"Spit it out, would you?" Honda said with a sigh.

"You can't all hear him, eh?" The dark-haired boy peered down at the group. "Sorry; you're all so close that I can barely tell who has magic and who doesn't. Are you trying to hide in each other?"

"Not exactly," Jounouchi muttered. "I mean- that's not why we hang out or anything . . ." He trailed off, looking nervous.

"I can tell you aren't lying," the boy assured him. "But I can also tell you're afraid. What are they doing? I can't quite . . . " He cocked his head very slightly and narrowed his eyes a bit. "I can't quite see them, you see. It's been getting stronger, but . . . still, I can't quite see them anymore." He smiled, and it was half-sad and half-relieved.

"They aren't doin' anything," Jounouchi mumbled. "Just lookin' at us, is all."

"That is technically something, don't you think?" Bakura smirked and tossed his hair out of his face. "To be stared at by little girls with cracked heads and men with bloody holes in them . . . "

Jounouchi shivered again. "I can see them just as well as I can see you, idiot. You don't have to try an' freak me out."

"See who?" Anzu asked helplessly. Jounouchi winced and looked away.

"The dead souls that are here." Bakura's smile widened, becoming even nastier than before. "They're hideous, Anzu; I do wish you could see them too. Bleeding and rotting and crueler than anything I've come across in centuries . . . " He chuckled.

The dark boy snorted and gave him another silencing glare, then began walking towards the edge of the park, pushing Jounouchi and Bakura ahead of him and giving the others significant looks. They followed- what else was there to do, after all?

As the group exited the park, Jounouchi visibly relaxed and the tomb robber reverted to his present-day incarnation, which didn't even seem to faze the dark boy. "Enough of that park, all right?" he said. "The ghosts were very upset by you, and now I'm going to have to go back and calm them down. I'll be late to meet my friend now."

"Sorry," Jounouchi said regretfully.

"Not your fault," the boy replied dismissively. "I used to go through here a lot when I was still at full power, and I hardly ever had trouble. It was more the dead ones than you."

"Er . . ." Yuugi winced.

/Now we're the dead ones. / His other side seemed amused. /But I like him, Aibou, don't you? He doesn't spare time worrying about subtlety, but he has a good heart. /

"Thank you." The dark boy smiled at him very slightly. "That's probably what I could say about you too."

Yuugi's other laughed, and Yuugi huffed in surprise. //Well, what do you think of that. //

"I think 'that' is probably going to kill us when I tell him what a nice guy he is and not to worry about the ghosties," Jounouchi replied cheerfully, easily dodging the dark boy's half-hearted shove.

"Consider yourself lucky that I agree with you," he informed the blond as he checked his watch. "Yue will sulk if I'm late for our date anyway. I'll talk to them tomorrow."

" 'S okay, I'll do it," Jounouchi told him with a sheepish smile. "My fault for lettin' Yuugi an' Bakura into the park in the first place."

The dark boy flashed them all a very brief and slightly awkward smile. "You sure? Thank you. If you meet a Chinese kid with a killer aura in there, don't worry about it; just try not to piss the brat off."

"Got it. I need to start cleanin' up after 'em anyway. Haven't done it as much as I shoulda." Jounouchi grinned and nodded to the others. "See ya tomorrow, guys," he said.

"Ah, right." Yuugi nodded quickly. "Tomorrow. You'll be okay, won't you?"

" 'Course I will," Jounouchi replied easily. "I can see in this kinda dark."

A/N: If ya'll can't recognize the haunted park or the dark-haired boy with the glare, I'll just assume you've never read Card Captor Sakura and leave it at that. As for Jounouchi's sudden possession of magical powers, well, I think the guy at least deserves a reason to be mind-numbingly afraid of ghosts and superstitious, don't you? Besides, he's heard Yuugi's other side speaking before, so it's not like it's totally unprecedented.

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