sephydark: (evil yuugi)
[personal profile] sephydark
Title: Choices
Pairing: Puzzleshipping (Yuugi/Yami no Yuugi)
Genre: adventure
Rating: PG
Summary: Just before the Battle City tournament begins, Yami Yuugi faces the most important choice of his life: whether to search for his memories and possibly have to leave his friends, or keep things as they are and stay with Yuugi for the rest of his life. He chooses Yuugi.

a/n: It's never spelled out, but you should know that my headcanon holds that Yuugi and Yami Yuugi can touch the other one when in spirit form, but not anything else. It's never really spelled out in here, but certain scenes make much more sense with this information in mind.

Jounouchi was missing from school, for only the second time since Yuugi had known him (at least, the second time Yuugi hadn't been with him), and Yuugi and his friends were worried.

"Maybe he just got a cold? I know he doesn't get sick often, but it has to happen sometimes." Anzu said, but she sounded unconvinced.

Honda shook his head. "I got a weird phone call about him this morning; it sounded like he was in some sort of trouble."

"Could it have something to do with that gang he was in, then?" Yuugi asked, though he felt sure it didn't. Not when he still remembered his and the other Yuugi's worries about Shadow Games.

"I don't think they really want to have anything to do with him after what happened last time," Honda replied. "I don't know any of the details, but I hear a bunch of them ended up in the hospital."

Other me? Yuugi asked, without speaking. His other self had been listening to the conversation, though he hadn't said anything so far.

We knew something like this might happen, the other Yuugi said, sounding frustrated. I should have been able to do something!

It's not your fault, Yuugi replied, trying to calm him down. I was the one who thought they wouldn't attack any more, after all.

"Yuugi, are thinking about something? You seem awfully quiet." Anzu asked, breaking in on his conversation.

Yuugi took a moment before he decided to tell his friends what he had been talking about. "The other me and I think that this might have something to do with all those injuries at Battle City—that's the name of the Duel Monsters tournament that was held here a few weeks ago." he added when his friends looked puzzled. "We think that it might be someone with a Millennium Item."

"A Millennium Item? That's bad, right?" Honda asked.

"Yuugi's Puzzle doesn't seem 'bad'," Anzu pointed out, "Though I don't want to run into Pegasus' Eye and Bakura's Ring again."

"Well, if this person had anything to do with Jounouchi's disappearance, they can't be good news," Honda said matter-of-factly.

"We still don't know who or where this person is, though," Yuugi said. "We'll never find them if we have to search the whole city."

Didn't we see a picture of a woman with a Millennium Item when we were in the hospital? the other Yuugi asked suddenly, sounding as though he had only just remembered. Yuugi certainly had forgotten. I think she had something to do with the Egyptian exhibit at the Domino Museum.

"You're right! I had completely forgotten about that," Yuugi exclaimed, grateful to his other self for remembering. It wasn't until he noticed his friends giving him odd looks that he clarified: "The other me remembered that we saw a picture of a woman who looked like she had a Millennium Item with some stuff about that exhibit on Ancient Egypt that's at the Domino Museum right now."

"That settles it," Anzu said, a determined glare on her face. "After school we are going straight there."

"Don't you have work?" Honda asked.

"I'll call in sick. If they fire me, I can always get another job. This is much more important."

* * *

The rest of Yuugi's school day dragged on and on: minutes felt like hours, and hours felt like centuries. He was painfully aware that every second he spent in school was another second not spent searching for Jounouchi. When the bell signaling the end of the day rang, he immediately jumped out of his seat and practically ran out the school gate before stopping to wait for his friends to catch up so they could walk to the bus stop together. The bus to the museum was running slow, and Yuugi was impatient and fidgety for the whole ride. Glances at his friends told him that they were not in much better states. All three of them were at the doors before their bus even stopped, and Yuugi had to grab on to keep himself from tumbling out when they finally opened. From the bus stop it was less than a block to the museum, and then all they had to do was buy their tickets and they were in. Yuugi was too distracted even to correct the lady behind the counter when she sold him a child's ticket.

We're just here to look for this person, right? No looking at the exhibits? the other Yuugi asked when Yuugi and his friends had stopped to figure out where exactly they were going. Yuugi thought he sounded worried about something—something other than Jounouchi, that was.

Of course not; we don't have time to stop, Yuugi replied, being careful not to say anything out loud—it was one thing to slip when only his friends were around, but he didn't want people staring at him here. Why? Is there something you want to see?

Nothing like that. I just wanted to know, that's all.

Yuugi felt a bit curious as to what the other Yuugi would care, but he didn't get a chance to ask about it because at that moment Anzu had figured out the way to the Egyptian exhibit, and, hopefully, the woman they were looking for.

"We just make a left into that hallway down there. It'll be a few doors down, but I think there'll probably be a sign."

There was indeed a sign, and the group rushed through the marked door. They hurried through the exhibit, not stopping to look at any of the jewelry or pottery on display. Even the giant stone tablets contained in one room didn't get more than a passing glance from any of them.

Their hurrying was halted at a room with two exits. "Ugh, which way should we go now?" Anzu asked, sounding as frustrated as Yuugi felt.

"I was hoping we would have found that woman by now," he said.

It's possible that she isn't here today, the other Yuugi said in reply. I doubt she comes every day.

"You know, it would be a bit more helpful if you thought of those sorts of things before they become problems!" Yuugi snapped, earning himself funny looks from the other people wandering through the exhibit. He immediately regretted his outburst. I'm sorry, other me. I don't know what came over me; I didn't mean to yell at you like that.

I understand. We're all worried about Jounouchi.

"What's the matter?" Anzu asked, after the other Yuugi had finished talking (it seemed to Yuugi almost as though she knew he was done).

"It's just—what if that woman's not here? What if she left?" Yuugi said, trying to stop himself from panicking and breaking down into tears, or something—that would be supremely unhelpful right now.

"We will find her," Anzu said in a determined voice, although Yuugi thought she looked as though she didn't quite believe herself. "If she's not here, we'll find someone who knows where she is."

"It'll go faster if we split up," Honda said. "Anzu and I will take this hall," he gestured to the door on Yuugi's right, "and Yuugi, you can go over there. We'll meet back here when we finish."

"Why do I have to be the one who goes alone?" Yuugi protested, only half serious.

"You're already like two people, right?" Honda replied, laughing a little. Yuugi laughed too, wondering how they could be making jokes during such a serious situation as this was.

Yuugi took the new corridor more slowly than he had the previous rooms. The other Yuugi was beside him now, helping him to look around, but he still felt far too alone and vulnerable without his friends by his side. After a bit, he felt a hand resting gently on his upper arm. I'm worried too, if it helps. I only hope that this woman doesn't sneak up on us.

Yeah, me too, Yuugi replied, but already he was starting to feel a bit more relaxed. The other Yuugi was there too; he wouldn't let anything bad happen to either of them. Things were going to be okay.

"I was wondering when you would arrive, Yuugi. I've been expecting you for some time now," a soft voice said then from just behind Yuugi, causing him to jump and spin around faster than he thought was possible.

Let me deal with this, Yuugi heard his other self say. Yuugi didn't even bother giving himself enough time to answer before allowing the other Yuugi to take control of his body.

"I dare say you were expecting me." The other Yuugi glared up at the woman. Yuugi echoed the glare even though he knew the woman couldn't see him, holding onto his other self's arm in a show of support. "Who are you, and what have you done with Jounouchi?"

"My name is Ishizu Ishtar—but Jounouchi?" she asked, looking confused. "Who is Jounouchi?"

"Our friend who went missing. You must know where he is."

The woman shook her head, the expression on her face only more puzzled.

I think she's telling the truth. She really doesn't know what happened, Yuugi told his other self.

"A new Millennium Item shows up, someone starts playing Shadow Games, and our friend goes missing, and you're telling me they aren't related?" the other Yuugi said, and Yuugi couldn't tell whether it was to him or to the woman in front of them.

"Shadow games? You must be talking about Marik. I suppose it would have been possible for him to cause your friend's disappearance."

"Marik? Tell me who this Marik is, and where I can find him," the other Yuugi said, giving voice to Yuugi's thoughts.

"Marik... is the possessor of the Millennium Rod," Ishizu said. She sounded guarded, and Yuugi suspected that there was quite a bit that she wasn't telling him about Marik. "He came to this city looking for God Cards, and for the Pharaoh—you."

She's not telling us something, Yuugi whispered to his other self, forgetting no one else could hear him. Be careful.

But it seemed the other Yuugi had something else on his mind. "Pharaoh? Why did you call me Pharaoh?"

"You are the spirit of an ancient Pharaoh, sealed into your Millennium Puzzle for thousands of years. It is your fate to gather the three—"

Other me... Yuugi said warningly, trying to remind the other Yuugi what they were there for. If you want to hear what she has to say we can come back later.

The other Yuugi gave Yuugi a barely perceptible nod of acknowledgment before turning back to Ishizu. "I don't have time for this. Where can we find this Marik person, and what can we expect if he has Jounouchi?"

"I do not know exactly where he is, though I do know his boat is docked at the port. I can show you which one it is if you need me to. But if he does have your friend... that is not good. Not good at all. You may not be able to save him."

"We'll never know if we don't try," the other Yuugi replied. "Once I get my friends, you can take me to Marik's boat, alright?"

"Very well. But be quick in finding your friends."

Yuugi allowed his apparition to fade away as his other self went to look for their friends; the other Yuugi did not need him right now. It wasn't even a very long search; their friends were waiting at the place they had separated.

"Yuugi, there you are!" Anzu said, sounding relieved to be seeing him again. "We were worried something had happened to you."

"Did you find the woman?" Honda asked, more matter-of-factly.

"We did. She doesn't know what happened to Jounouchi, but she does know who might," said the other Yuugi, and he explained to them about Marik and his boat at the port.

"We're not going to rescue Jounouchi if we stand here talking," Honda said when the other Yuugi had finished. "Let's go!"

The port was near enough to Domino Museum that Ishizu and Yuugi's friends simply walked to it. Not many boats were docked there right now, so it was easy to find the one they were looking for.

"You may find the person you search for within, but I will go no further," Ishizu said once she had pointed them to the correct one. "I do wish you luck in finding him, though."

"Thank you!" Anzu shouted back at her as the three of them ran to the boat. They climbed on board (Yuugi needed someone to help him up) not caring that what they were doing probably counted as trespassing. They were far too worried about Jounouchi to be afraid of the police; anyways, if Marik had captured Jounouchi he must have been expecting them to come.

Yuugi (or, rather, the other Yuugi; he hadn't changed back yet) and his friends found nothing on the ship's deck, not that they were really expecting to, so they moved into the cabins on top. The interior was dark, and none of them could see much at all after the bright sunlight outside. They made their way around the few rooms on that deck mostly by touch, at least until their eyes had adjusted (there were surprisingly few portholes, even though the boat had plenty of room to put them).

"Shouldn't there be some sort of way down to the rest of the ship?" Honda asked the rest as they finished the last room. "I think we've just about finished searching up here."

They turned and left the room, hoping to find some sort of hatch on deck, when Honda said, "What's this? We must not have noticed it on the way in because of the da—wagh!" followed by a rather loud thump.

"Are you okay?!" Yuugi heard his other self and Anzu ask in unison.

"I'll be fine," Honda replied dismissively. "In other news, I think I've found us the way down."

Honda turned out to be rather lucky that he had managed to grab the corner of the wall and save himself from falling down a narrow stairway none of them had noticed on their first time through the area. Its base was shrouded in darkness, preventing them from seeing anything about where it led.

The other Yuugi led the way down the stairs, with Anzu following him and Honda bringing up the rear. The stair was as steep as it was narrow, but fortunately all their eyes had adjusted well enough to the darkness that none of them stumbled. They would probably have broken their necks if they fell.

At the bottom, the stairway opened onto another corridor, longer than the one they had just come from but otherwise not much different. To the left were more doors, one of which was open, though the room behind it could not be seen. To the right, the corridor contained—Jounouchi! Yuugi cried, momentarily forgetting that only his other self would be able to hear him right now.

"Jounouchi?" the other Yuugi echoed, causing his friends behind him in the stairwell to draw breath; Yuugi could imagine the excited looks on their faces. The boy in the corridor, however, made no sign that he heard anything, or recognised Yuugi.

"I thought you might find me here," the boy (because Yuugi couldn't imagine Jounouchi acting like this for anything) said in a monotone. "Follow me."

"Are you my friend Jounouchi?" the other Yuugi asked, clearly feeling the same confusion Yuugi had.

"I am," the boy replied, as emotionlessly as before. "Follow me."

What do you think we should do? the other Yuugi asked Yuugi mentally.

Do we really have any choice except to follow him? Yuugi replied. I can't think of any other way to find out what's going on.

I suppose you are right, aibou. What are we going to do about our friends?

Let them come with us? Yuugi suggested, feeling a bit amused. I don't think they're going to let us leave them behind.

That's probably true, the other Yuugi replied, and Yuugi could feel a faint smile of amusement ghost across his lips before he hurried to catch up with the boy who claimed to be Jounouchi.

The not-Jounouchi led them nearly to the end of the corridor before turning through a doorway whose door was already standing open. The room inside was fairly large, particularly considering that it was on a ship. It was lit by a single, bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling. When Yuugi, Anzu, and Honda had all entered, Jounouchi, who had been standing by the door the whole time, shut and locked it, putting the key he had used into his pocket.

"We've been locked in. Wonderful," Anzu said sarcastically. "I was wondering where that guy was taking us."

Honda, meanwhile, was attempting a slightly more proactive approach. "Come on, Jounouchi, you have to unlock that door!" he shouted, shaking his friend. When he got no response, he tried grabbing the key out of Jounouchi's pocket, but Jounouchi shoved him aside.

"Hey! What was that for?" Honda said indignantly, going after Jounouchi again. This time, Jounouchi punched him in the face.

"Ow! Man, what is wrong with him?" Honda said, rubbing his bruised jaw.

"You can not leave," Jounouchi said in the same monotone he had used before.

A few moments of silence passed as the group thought about what had just happened. Eventually, Yuugi broke the silence (well, as much as he could without having a voice anyone but his other self could hear): Other me, would you mind giving me control for a little while?

No, why? the other Yuugi replied, sounding a bit surprised at the request. Do you have some sort of plan?

I do. If this really is the real Jounouchi, I think it will work, Yuugi said. If he had a mouth to do it with, he probably would have smiled.

Good luck, aibou. I hope your plan works, the other Yuugi said, as he gave control of their shared body back to Yuugi.

Yuugi did smile a little at the encouragement, and walked over to stand next to Jounouchi. "Hey, Jounouchi," he said, looking up at the person who should have been his best friend, "do you remember how we became friends? I brought my Millennium Puzzle to school that day—I hadn't solved it back then—and when you saw me with it you grabbed it and kept it out of my reach. Said you were trying to 'make me into a man'." It was too fast to be certain, but Yuugi thought he saw a flicker of recognition in Jounouchi's eyes at that, so he continued. "The next day after school Ushio took me to see you and Honda getting beat up. He seemed to think I'd be happy about it. I wasn't, of course, so he beat me up too, heh." There it was again—and this time Yuugi was sure he saw Jounouchi remember, if only for a moment. "He told me I had to pay him a bunch of money, but I didn't have enough so I solved my Puzzle instead, except I was missing one piece. But someone brought me the last piece, and I finished the Puzzle, and Ushio never caused us trouble again. Grandpa never told me who it was that brought that last piece of the Puzzle, but Jounouchi, I always thought it was you. We became such good friends after that and it always just seemed to fit."

"Yuugi?" Jounouchi said, seeming as though he was coming out of a daze. "Where are we?"

"Thank goodness you're okay!" Yuugi said, overjoyed that he had succeeded in getting the old Jounouchi back. "You were acting really weird; you locked us in here."

"And you punched me!" Honda added.

"Well, that I don't regret. Whatever you did, you probably deserved it," Jounouchi said, laughing. "But I locked us in?" he added, turning to Yuugi. "What'd I do with the key?"

"It's in your pocket. The rest of us know the way out once we get out of this room."

Jounouchi managed to waste some time checking the wrong pocket first, but he unlocked the door soon enough (Yuugi noticed that time seemed to be going a bit faster, too, now that he was less worried). Anzu volunteered to lead the group out, claiming that she had the best sense of direction, and they left, telling jokes and laughing as they did, but mostly just feeling relieved that their adventures had not ended badly.
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