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.

The spirit of the Millennium Puzzle was confused. He did not know the way home as well as Yuugi did, but he knew it well enough to be certain that the way Yuugi was currently going was not it.

Aibou? Where are we going? he asked, but Yuugi didn't answer. Aibou?

There's something I have to do, Yuugi said sharply, his mental voice sounding off in a way the spirit couldn't quite put his finger on.

None of this seemed quite right to the spirit: it was unlike Yuugi to suddenly change plans and not tell him about it. Then there was that strange tone of voice, even stranger when the spirit considered that Yuugi had been laughing almost the whole day so far.

The spirit's worry grew more and more as Yuugi walked further and further off the proper course, to some unknown new destination. The direction they were going would take them near the train station, although Yuugi seemed to be veering a little to the right of the station itself. Of course, the spirit supposed that it could be something innocent; maybe Yuugi just didn't want his other self to know where he was going. The spirit might even have thought Yuugi was taking him back to the museum if they hadn't been going the wrong direction.

Deep down, though, the spirit knew he didn't really believe that everything was fine. He could still remember what had happened with Jounouchi just a few days before; this seemed far, far too similar. It could easily be the same thing. Jounouchi had been able to shake whatever it was off with Yuugi's help—maybe the spirit could do the same for Yuugi? Even though he wasn't sure quite how Yuugi had done it, and couldn't exactly ask Yuugi for help right now.

It was at this point that the spirit stopped came out of his thoughts long enough to notice that Yuugi had stopped walking. He was standing by the train tracks, looking down them, apparently waiting for something. After a few moments he must have seen whatever it was he was looking for, because Yuugi stepped out to cross—just as the lights that signaled a train was nearing began to flash—and paused, though he didn't seem to have lost it.

There's a train coming, the spirit said, hoping that perhaps Yuugi had been concentrating so hard on the thing he was looking for that he hadn't noticed it somehow, since there was no other reason he could think of for Yuugi to be standing on the train tracks. You should get out of the way.

Yuugi didn't budge at the spirit's suggestion, except to glance in the direction the train was coming from. The spirit—and, by extension, Yuugi—could hear the train now as well as see it.

Aibou—Yuugi! he shouted, but Yuugi made no sign that he heard him, or even noticed the oncoming train. With only a split second to act, the spirit did the only thing he could think of: he shoved Yuugi out of control of their shared body (fortunately, whatever had come over Yuugi did not cause him to resist) and dove out of the way of the train, only just in time.

The spirit fell flat on his stomach when he landed, and lay still on the ground as he felt the pull of wind from the passing train. When the air had stilled, he stood up again, shaking from adrenaline. The people on the side of the tracks were saying things to him—they had been the whole time, the spirit realised—and some offered help, but he brushed past them. He needed to get home, somewhere he could go to his soul room and find out what had happened to Yuugi.

The spirit did not pay any more attention to his surroundings than was necessary to make sure he was on the right path; he was too preoccupied with worrying about Yuugi to spare his thoughts for anything else. He hadn't gotten much further than horror that Yuugi had tried to throw them in front of a train, and hope that a visit to his soul room would explain something, though, before he was tearing up the stairs to Yuugi's room and locking himself in.

Getting to his soul room was easy, and he knew the path to the door so well he could walk it in his sleep, but the spirit moved more slowly than he had to, dreading what he might find at the end.

There had been no need for the spirit to worry quite so much, though; when he opened the door to his soul room, he found nothing out of the ordinary. The door to Yuugi's soul room was closed, but in retrospect he should have expected that: in his hurry, he hadn't bothered to warn Yuugi that he was coming. So the spirit pounded on the door and called for Yuugi to come out, but there was no answer. He tried reaching out mentally to Yuugi next; their link was weaker in here, but it would probably work if Yuugi didn't block him—or if Yuugi wasn't in his soul room (something the spirit sincerely hoped wasn't the case). It was a success, sort of: he did manage to sense someone—but it was not Yuugi. In fact, the one he found seemed more like the strange man who Yuugi had bumped into on the street than anything else. The man who, according to Yuugi, had given them a rod made of gold to hold onto while he picked up his bags. Of course! That had been a Millennium Item, and the man (probably Marik, a part of the spirit's mind that was far too calm for the situation supplied) was using it to control Yuugi!

Although the spirit did not consciously try to leave his soul room, he found himself suddenly back in control of Yuugi's body, panting as if he had just run a marathon. He ripped the Puzzle off of his neck, hoping that breaking his link with his other self would also break his link with this strange man who seemed to have taken Yuugi's place. It worked as well as could be expected; in the space in his mind where Yuugi's presence had always been the spirit now felt nothing at all. It was an incredibly lonely feeling.

With no real need to act immediately and no other ideas to try, the spirit sighed and slumped into Yuugi's desk chair, putting his head in his hands. It wasn't supposed to be like this. He had chosen to stay to be with Yuugi, not to have Yuugi taken away forever. He growled in frustration; there must be something he could do.

Instead of doing anything constructive, however, the spirit now remembered Yuugi's worries about the strange man they had bumped into (Marik, he reminded himself), and how he had rationalized away Yuugi's fears. How could he have been so stupid? That golden rod had obviously been a Millennium Item; he was willing to bet that if he had really looked at it—something which he obviously should have done—it would have been marked with the same eye that the other Items held. But dwelling on the past wasn't going to do much to help Yuugi in the present; the spirit needed to think of something that he could do now.

Yuugi's rescue of Jounouchi sprung to the spirit's mind again. Yuugi had told Jounouchi the story of how they met, which, the spirit now realised, was something that had significance for Jounouchi—for both of them, really. Perhaps he could do the same thing? The spirit cast around with his mind for something he could use. The time Yuugi had released him from the puzzle was out: Yuugi couldn't remember it, and the spirit thought Yuugi wouldn't be entirely happy if he had a full account of what had happened. The first time they had spoken, when they were dueling Pegasus, might work—but the spirit wasn't sure that it would be enough. The time when Otogi had stolen his Puzzle would be, but the spirit hadn't been present for it (what with the Puzzle having been stolen and all), and he was almost certain that Yuugi had left some things out when he retold it.

The spirit couldn't think of any other stories he could tell, but perhaps there was something else that could remind Yuugi of himself. Obviously, the Millennium Puzzle and things relating to it weren't going to work; Yuugi had been wearing it all along and that hadn't done anything. A game would be the spirit's next choice, but he would have to get Yuugi to play it first. And none of that was going to do much of anything if he couldn't even contact Yuugi.

The spirit's thoughts continued in this vein until Yuugi's mother called him to dinner. He didn't particularly feel like eating, but Yuugi's family might worry if he didn't show up, and they didn't need that. He didn't engage in conversation, answering any questions in monosyllables, and afterwards he shut himself in his room again and did his best to distract himself with some of Yuugi's single-player games. It wasn't terribly effective, but it was better than running his mind around in circles worrying.

* * *

The spirit didn't leave his room at all the next morning. He hadn't even wanted to get out of bed at first, but it became too frustrating just lying around thinking about what had happened; he hadn't even come up with any new ideas to fix the problem. Yuugi's morning routine wasn't much of a distraction, even though the spirit couldn't do it nearly as mechanically as Yuugi could, and card solitaire didn't prove to be much better. Around noon, though, Yuugi's mother interrupted him by knocking on his door, saying, "Yuugi, are you going to come out today? Your friends came to see you."

The spirit pushed the cards from his half-finished game into a pile and went downstairs to greet his friends.

"We felt bad that you had to miss going to the amusement park with us yesterday, so we decided to drop by," Anzu said, by way of explanation.

"Honda couldn't come because he had to watch his nephew, but he says hi," Jounouchi added. "So, what did you have to do yesterday that was so important?"

"Um," the spirit said, trying to think of something to say. He had the feeling that neither "We walked around town all day," nor "Aibou bumped into this strange man and now he's controlling aibou's mind," were really appropriate right now. Finally he said, "Tried to buy a duel disk."

"One of those things Kaiba's making?" Jounouchi asked, trying (and failing) to sound derisive of the devices. "Did you get it?"

"No, it was too expensive," the spirit replied. "Listen, there's something I need to talk to you about. In private. Would you mind coming up to my room?" He didn't really want to trouble his friends with what had happened, but he figured that where he couldn't think of anything, they might be able to.

Anzu, who had been watching the spirit intently, now said, "You're not—you're the other Yuugi, aren't you? What happened to him?"

The spirit nodded. "That's what I wanted to talk to you about. Come on."

He led his friends up the stairs and into Yuugi's room, shutting the door behind them. "Yesterday, after aibou tried to buy his Duel Disk, he ran into a strange man who had what I think was one of the Millennium Items. Ever since a short time after that, he's been acting very... odd." That was probably the understatement of the century, but the spirit didn't want to go into everything that had happened right now. It wasn't important, and would probably only worry them needlessly. "When I tried to contact him, I couldn't feel his mental presence. It was—I ended up having to take off the Millennium Puzzle." He gestured to the Puzzle, which was lying next to him on the desk, the same place he had put it the previous night.

"Wait, I thought you came from the Millennium Puzzle or something," said Jounouchi. "Shouldn't taking it off put Yuugi back in control?"

The spirit shrugged in response. "I've done it before and the same thing happened then, too. As far as I can tell, taking the Puzzle off just prevents us from talking to each other."

"Maybe this is the same as what happened to Jounouchi," Anzu said, looking over at him. "Could you do the same thing that Yuugi did then?"

"I did think about that, but I don't know how. I'm not even sure what exactly he did," the spirit said. After a moment's pause, he added, "I miss him."

Jounouchi and Anzu grew quiet for a while; the spirit thought they were probably racking their brains for ideas of how to help Yuugi. He knew that he probably should, too, but every time he tried his mind always went back to Yuugi: his smile, his laugh, the look of determination he got when he was doing something important. The spirit would do anything to protect Yuugi.

On impulse, the spirit reached out to pick the Millennium Puzzle up from where it lay on the desk. He hadn't forgotten the other presence he had felt when he had tried to contact Yuugi before, but...

Other me? Is that you? an unexpectedly familiar voice asked the spirit. In his shock at hearing the voice of someone he had expected to still be unable to speak to him, the spirit nearly dropped the Puzzle, but he managed to grab hold of it before it slipped completely from his grasp. Did something happen? I couldn't sense you; did you lose the Puzzle?

Aibou, was all the spirit said in reply, a small smile turning up the corners his lips before he allowed Yuugi to take control of their shared body again.

* * *

To say Yuugi wasn't entirely sure what was happening would be an understatement. Somehow, as he had been walking home after his attempt to buy a Duel Disk, he had ended up in the Millennium Puzzle, unable to even sense his other self's presence. Based on the way he was holding it in his hands now, he figured the other Yuugi must have taken it off, although he had no idea why. The other Yuugi certainly hadn't told him anything.

Other me, could you please explain to me what is going on? he asked, feeling confused and a bit upset that he hadn't been told anything.

The other Yuugi's reply was a few moments in coming. It's a long story. I think it might be better to wait until we're alone before telling you.

Yuugi realised that Anzu and Jounouchi were in the room with him too, and had been there all along, talking between themselves, although he had been too preoccupied to notice before now.

"Er, hello," he said awkwardly, not exactly sure how he should react in this situation.

"Hello?" Anzu said, sounding confused. "We were just talking to you. You invited us up here, remember?"

"I think that was the other me," Yuugi replied, feeling very weird about this explanation. "Now it's me. Yuugi, I mean. The original one."

"Yuugi?!" Anzu and Jounouchi said, almost simultaneously. "The other you said he couldn't talk to you," Jounouchi added.

"I couldn't talk to him either. I thought he had taken the Puzzle off," Yuugi admitted. "He said he would explain everything when you guys were done here."

"Yeah, I understand. We'll leave so you two can talk in private, okay?" Anzu said, giving a pointed look to Jounouchi.

"I didn't mean you had to go right now," Yuugi said quickly.

"Yeah, and I want to listen. This could be interesting," protested Jounouchi.

"Want to listen to what?" Anzu asked, rolling her eyes. "Half a conversation? You know we wouldn't be able to hear what the other Yuugi says anyways." She turned to Yuugi then and smiled. "And it's fine. We already got the short version, and I think it's something you need to know."

"Yeah, I guess," Jounouchi said, sounding defeated. "Tell us if anything interesting happens," he called back as he followed Anzu out of Yuugi's room and down the stairs.

"Don't worry, I will!" Yuugi called after them. "See you tomorrow!"

"Alright," he added to his other self, who had materialized while he was saying goodbye to his friends. "What was it that you wanted to tell me?"

You remember the strange man you bumped into on the street? Yuugi nodded in response. You were right to be worried about him. I think he was Marik, and the gold rod he handed you was a Millennium Item. Shortly after that, you began acting extremely strange. He proceeded to relate the whole incident to Yuugi in considerably more detail than he had given their friends.

"I tried to kill myself?!" Yuugi all but shouted, before he remembered that the other people in the house could hear him and lowered his voice. "And that other presence you felt in my mind—I don't remember any of that. Are you sure it really happened?"

Do you think I imagined it, or that I'd lie to you? the other Yuugi asked, sounding hurt.

"No, I'm sorry," Yuugi said. It was little more than a whisper, but he knew his other self would have no trouble hearing. "It's just too hard to believe that I would do something like that—and now I've completely forgotten it?"

It's hard for me to believe, too. That's why I was so worried, the other Yuugi replied, bringing his hand to rest comfortingly on Yuugi's shoulder. Yuugi allowed himself to smile at this: even if he was just a spirit (and the other Yuugi was much more than just a spirit), knowing that someone was there for him made Yuugi feel a bit better.

You know, this whole thing seems a little like you when I first finished the Millennium Puzzle, Yuugi said after a moment's thought, switching to his mental voice so as not to be overheard. He could see a dark look cross his other self's face, and could sense his distress at having the topic brought up—the other Yuugi, Yuugi knew, was not proud of some of the things he had done when he was first released from the Puzzle—but he continued nonetheless. If this could help them understand what had happened to him, then it would be worthwhile. Think about it: I start acting completely differently from my normal self for a while, and when it's over, I can't remember anything that happened. You even said you sensed someone else's presence in my mind!

Of course! You're right! the other Yuugi said, allowing his hand to fall from Yuugi's shoulder. I think you know what we should do. On his face was the same half-concentrated, half-cocky look he got when playing a game he knew he could win. He snatched Yuugi's hand and, almost simultaneously, both of them traveled to their soul rooms.

As Yuugi glanced around his soul room (everything seemed fairly normal), he realised that the other Yuugi's grabbing of his hand before they left had been pretty useless. Both of them still appeared in their own soul rooms here, after all, and the other Yuugi's manifestation in the real world would disappear when he left it. That wasn't important, though, so Yuugi pushed open the door to the corridor that connected his soul room with the other Yuugi's soul room, looking for him. It seemed that the other Yuugi had taken slightly less time to think; Yuugi could see him just leaving his own soul room. Yuugi stepped out as well.

It only took a cursory glance to tell Yuugi that the corridor they were both in was the same as always. "Well, I don't see an extra door here or anything like that," he said to the other Yuugi, feeling darkly amused at how pointless this all seemed now. "Do you have any idea what we're looking for?"

"No," the other Yuugi admitted. "I thought that there might be something obvious that I missed when I was looking for you before. He was only affecting you, though; maybe there's something in your soul room?"

"I didn't see anything wrong before," Yugi said, "but I can check again if you want."

Yuugi re-entered his soul room to take a closer look, with the other Yuugi poking his head in behind him, but even now Yuugi didn't see anything that looked like it didn't belong, something he told his other self.

"I don't know what this place is supposed to look like," the other Yuugi said (Yuugi had expected that; he didn't remember his other self ever coming in before), "but I'll take your word for it."

"Maybe he's gone?" Yuugi wasn't sure how much he actually believed this, and how much he was just being hopeful, but, well, it would be the best possible outcome. "I mean, we couldn't find anything obviously wrong, so as long as nothing else happens, I'd say that it was only a one-time thing."

The other Yuugi took a moment to think before he replied to Yuugi. "You might be right. We'll keep an eye out just to make sure, but..." He didn't need to finish the sentence; Yuugi was thinking the same thing.

"Yeah, alright," Yuugi replied, smiling slightly, relieved that what had happened was probably not going to happen again. "I'll warn my friends about that guy next time we see them." Yuugi allowed himself to leave the soul room, again taking control of his body.
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