Chapter 48: Old Instincts

Yami had thought that he'd be able to keep his eyes open and trained on the beast in front of him as the Laviathon lunged forwards, but at the last minute they had failed him, and closed upon instinct as he fought back the flinch that his body wanted to act upon. What surprised him however, was that instead of being attacked by the beast, he had heard the sound of it hitting something else. But if it hadn't reached him, then what had happened? He instantly flew his eyes back open in confusion and almost gaped at what he saw in front of him.

Rose had jumped between him and the beast, and surrounding them both was a glowing wall of semi-transparent gold. She actually did it, he thought as he stared at Rose in awe with wide eyes. She put up a shield around us both! He knew Rose was exerting a lot of her strength in doing it, too. Her arms were spread wide as she stood in front of him, while the Laviathon continuously tried to strike at the shield, each time showing how tense her body was as she fought against it. Yami then snapped out of his initial shock and ran forwards towards her.

"Rose, what are you doing?" he asked, before realising that as the distance between the two of them had changed, the shield had followed him inwards, and thus was now smaller. He noticed Rose relax ever so slightly. The beast was now roaring in anger, and Yugi had put his hands over his ears to try and drown out its screeching.

"Pharaoh, let me protect you," Rose replied, still facing the beast as she spoke, afraid that she would lose her concentration too easily. It was much more of an effort than she thought to get this shield up around both of them, let alone keeping it up, and she could already feel her muscles begging to let go. She had to raise her voice so he could hear her over the screeching of the Laviathon as she continued, "It's the least I can do after letting you down."

Yami was then confused, as he quickly raked his memory for what she meant by that. It didn't take too long for him to figure out what she was referring to. She feels guilty about losing her duel to Mai, he realised. He was about to reply, when something else occurred to him. It had only been triggered by those 4 simple words that Rose had just said to him-let me protect you-but it was something that had been plaguing his mind for a while.

"What was that?" Yugi asked sleepily, rubbing his eyes as he sat up in his bed.

"It sounds like some sort of disturbance coming from Rose's room," Yami noted, his spirit sitting on the end of the boy's bed.

"I better check to see if she's okay..." Yugi got out of bed and opened his door. Rose's room was right across from his, and he heard another thud, followed by a murmur. He quietly padded across the hall and pushed Rose's bedroom door open.

"Rose," he whispered, "Is everything alright?" There was no response. He looked across to the bed, where Rose was sprawled across the sheets, tossing and turning. She was murmuring something also, as if she were distressed. She rolled over again and hit the wall. Yugi guessed that's what had woken him.

"Can't...hold on..." Rose murmured.

"Should we wake her up? She appears to be having a nightmare," Yugi whispered, looking down at her with worry creasing his eyebrows.

"That would probably be best," Yami replied.

Yugi walked over to the bed as Rose rolled over again, still murmuring, "always...protect..."

Yami found himself staring into space, currently unaware of his surroundings as the thought dawned on him. Back then, they hadn't known anything about the Millennium Heart or Rose's past residing in Egypt with him. But now that he had this information, a small puzzle piece seemed to click together in his head. In those nightmares of hers...could she have been trying to protect me...?

Yami was suddenly pulled out of his thoughts when the Laviathon took another strike at the wall surrounding them, and Rose let out a tense groan. She was struggling to keep the shield up, it was obvious even from where Yami was standing behind her. Her tense shoulders were trembling along with her arms that were still outstretched, and he could see her knees on the verge of buckling beneath her.

"Rose," he called out over the screeching of the beast, "You can't do this, it's exhausting you!" Although he couldn't see her face, he knew there was no doubt that she'd have that unbreakable mask of determination on.

Her voice was strained when she replied, "I'm fine, I won't let the beast get to you again. I have to make up for my mistake." Rose wasn't entirely sure if she would be able to stay on her feet for the duration of this conversation, let alone how long the Laviathon would be striking at them for, but she had to try, and she wasn't going to give up now.

"No you don't," Yami persisted, "I know what I have to do now, but you need to step aside." He hoped the earnest tone in his voice was enough to sway her.

Rose went to protest, "But you'll-"

"I'll be fine," Yami assured her. "Please, trust me."

A moment passed before anything happened. Yami wasn't sure if Rose had decided to drop the shield or if she had run out of strength to hold it up, but either way she instantly fell to her knees. The shimmering wall of light that surrounded them suddenly disappeared, and Rose put her hands on the ground in front of her, trying to steady her breathing. Why did that take so much out of me...? She thought, as she wondered why the ground looked like it was warping in front of her. Her arms were trembling as she fought to keep herself up, but soon she found the ground was growing closer, and next thing she knew she could feel the cool hard stone on her cheek. Voices were swirling around her as she tried to comprehend what was going on. She heard Yami call out her name, before he let out a shriek of surprise and there was a crash. Then, Rose could hear Yugi hovering above her, followed by him begging her to open her eyes, but no matter how much she wanted to respond, her body was drained of energy, and the voices around her became distant. It almost sounded peaceful to her, distant cries lulling her into a slumber. Not even the feeling of a hand on her shoulder and more panicked cries directed at her and Yami were able to pull her out of falling into unconsciousness, and the last thing she was aware of was a menacing laugh, that no doubt came from Dartz.

The next half an hour or so, Rose was barely aware of her surroundings. She would feel like she was waking up every now and again, but each time, it wouldn't take long for her to drift back into nothingness. As time went on, the distant commotion ceased, and she was slightly aware of a pair of strong arms wrapping around her and lifting her up, before she felt soft material on her cheek instead of the hard ground. She wanted to open her eyes, to find out what was going on and why it was suddenly quiet, but her body wouldn't allow it. The sound of a deep baritone voice above her suggested that Yugi and the Pharaoh had swapped, and so she welcomed the radiation of warmth from the person holding her, as she was carried away to an unknown destination. Had her mind been awake enough to think, she would have guessed that they were heading back to meet up with the gang. All too soon however, she was pulled back into unconsciousness, to wait out when she would wake again.

The sound of gentle waves lapping along a shoreline slowly reached Rose's ears, followed by the feeling of sand under her back. She quietly groaned as she felt all the feeling in her limbs return, sure that this time she was more awake than she had been since she collapsed. She carefully lifted an arm up to rub at her eyes, and she became aware of a person moving in the sand beside her.

"Rose...?" The Pharaoh. Despite her confusion for her current whereabouts and the events of the last half hour, the sound of his voice eased her slightly, and with little trouble, she opened her eyes. A warm afternoon sky filled with orange, pink, yellow and covered in soft clouds was the first thing she was aware of. She then turned her head to the side and saw Yami kneeling beside her, a gentle smile on his face. The rays of light from the sunset cast a warm glow over his features, and Rose silently mused to herself how gorgeous he looked in the afternoon sunlight. She then tried to clear her head of such thoughts, thinking that this was probably not the time to be assessing his looks.

"Hey," she croaked, pulling herself into a sitting position. She looked around, and just as she thought, they were on a beach. Rose was utterly confused, last time she checked, they hadn't been anywhere near a beach, so where were they?

"Are you alright?" Yami asked, placing a careful hand on her back as she looked down at herself, looking for any clear signs of damage.

Rose turned and smiled at him, "I'm fine," she replied. "But what on earth happened?"

Yami returned the smile, before he sat back in the sand once more, "I think the amount of energy you needed to use to keep that shield up was more than you could handle," he explained. "Though I have to say, I was amazed that you managed to pull it off."

Rose laughed softly, "When I want something enough, I'll eventually get it," she replied. "Though it did feel overwhelming."

Yami nodded in understanding, "Well, I managed to destroy the beast," he explained, before adding, "You were right, Rose."

"Hmm?" She tilted her head in confusion, "Right about what?"

He leaned back on his arms, "Do you remember back on the train, before we ran into Weevil?" he asked. Rose nodded. "You said that I was a good person, and didn't have to worry about falling into darkness." The corner of his lips twitched up into a soft smile. "You were right. In the end, it came down to what was inside my heart, and because I had chosen the light, I was strong enough to overcome the beast and destroy it."

Rose smiled, "That's great," she replied. "But...where are we?"

Yugi seemed to have been hiding in the puzzle until that moment, when his spirit appeared beside Yami. "The island collapsed," he explained. "But the Dark Magician girl and a few other monsters lead us here so we didn't drown."

Rose seemed satisfied with the explanation, and instead of worrying about how they were going to get back to the others, she decided she had a moment to enjoy the sunset while they were there. She mirrored Yami, leaning back on her hands as she looked out over the ocean, watching the waves move with the wind. "It's beautiful, isn't it?" she said to nobody in particular.

Yami was also staring out over the ocean as the sun cast its warm colourful rays over the water, "It is," he agreed. Now that he had some time to relax and think after all the stress and commotion of the last few days, he noticed that he was much more aware of the person beside him. He stole a sidewards glance at Rose, seeing her dark hair being caressed by the cool breeze. He tried to search his mind to find why he felt so odd, but before he got very far, a distant noise caught his attention.

"Is that...?" Rose didn't need to finish her sentence as the both of them recognised the KC helicopter heading towards them. With a relieved smile, Yami stood up, brushing the sand from his pants as he did so. He held his hand out to Rose, and she gladly accepted it as he helped her up, before Yugi took his place and they headed off down the beach towards where the helicopter was landing. Yugi and Rose were still running along the beach as the rest of the gang jumped out of the helicopter and greeted them, voicing how glad they were that the two of them were alright.

Seto stood in front of Rose with his arms crossed, "And here I thought you were right behind me," he joked.

Rose shrugged, "I was, but you failed to notice that the Laviathon wasn't dead," she poked his chest with a smug smirk, and he waved her off lightly.

Yami's spirit hovered beside Yugi as Joey had the boy in a headlock, joking that he wasn't going to let the kid out of his sight. It was a pleasant scene, he thought to himself, seeing the gang surrounding Yugi while Rose joked with Kaiba and his brother. She seemed to be the only person who could have a half decent conversation with the man, he noticed. As he watched Rose interacting with the CEO however, he once again noticed something tugging at his mind. But what was it? He had gotten a slightly similar feeling when he met the girl, but he had figured it was because he used to know her when he was Pharaoh. This time it was different though, and he already knew of their familiarity back in Egypt. So if it wasn't that, then what was his mind trying to tell him? It felt like he was missing something, and it seemed almost important to him, but he just couldn't figure out what it was, no matter how much he dug in his mind. As everyone moved to get back into the helicopter, he sighed and turned to follow them. Rose paused just before she climbed into the helicopter, and turned back to him with a smile. He may not have been able to figure out what this odd feeling was, but he was sure of one thing: she had a damn beautiful smile.

Hey guys! So that's it for part 2! HOO-RAY. I'm actually really happy with how i ended Waking The Dragons, and I'm so excited i'm gonna start on part 3 right now! (well, once i post this more like) So I hope you liked the chapter and please let me know what you think! I'm always looking for ways to improve my writing! (And yes, there will be romance, calm yo shizz. I've got it all planned out, you just have to be patient xD It is quite a long story, after all) As with parts 1 and 2, part 3 will be its own story, so if you're not following me it may be hard to find out when it gets posted (wow thanks captain obvious /facepalm)

Anyway, I hope you're enjoyed part 2! Now onto part 3! (which i am yet to name, suggestions are always welcome)

Over and out,

PharaohsThrone :)