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.

When Yuugi returned to school the next day he explained to his friends the conclusions he and the other Yuugi had come to during their conversation the previous night, about the man who was probably Marik and the lack of any immediate danger to him, and provided them all with a description of the strange man he had met before the... incident.

"Hey, I remember seeing a guy like that, too," Jounouchi said when Yuugi had finished talking. "I didn't pay attention 'cause he didn't look dangerous, but it was just before you guys say I disappeared, too."

"All right, that settles it. After school, we go find this guy and make him sorry he ever messed with us," Honda said, cracking his knuckles with a look on his face that said he wanted to kick someone's ass right here and now.

"I don't think that's going to work very well," Anzu replied, though she sounded as though she wished it was. "We don't even know where he is." She gave a sardonic laugh.

"Anyways, with his Millennium Item, he'd probably just do the same thing to you that he did to me and Jounouchi," Yuugi added, although some rarely voiced part of him quietly thought that it would be easier if they could just beat Marik up. He squashed that thought before it could get any farther. "So, um, who wants to go to the arcade after school?" he asked after a moment, figuring the group could use a change in conversational topic (and possibly a way to let off some steam).

* * *

The next few days passed relatively normally, although Yuugi could tell that his friends were on the alert for a man matching the description he had given them. Not that he was surprised; both he and the other Yuugi were also being extra-vigilant. But it wasn't until Thursday that either of them really thought about anything more than avoiding Marik.

It hadn't started as any sort of battle plan, of course. Yuugi hadn't had much homework to do for the following day (and didn't, as a general rule, start his work earlier than he had to), so to pass the time he sat down to play a board game with the other Yuugi.

"It's been a while since we did anything like this," Yuugi remarked a few minutes into the game, letting the dice fall from his hand. They came up four and one. "Five, so I get to put my last piece in," he added, placing it on the board.

What about the other day, when you took me to the museum and we went to the arcade instead? the other Yuugi asked. He gestured for Yuugi to roll the dice for him, which Yuugi realised he had forgotten to do. I'd say that was similar.

"Oh yeah! But we haven't done much besides that day. Which piece?" The other Yuugi pointed to his choice, and Yuugi moved it the number of spaces indicated by the dice. "I can't believe I forgot about that," he added as he made his own dice roll. "I had so much fun that day. We should do that again some time."

Perhaps we should skip the part where you get your mind taken over and try to kill yourself next time, the other Yuugi suggested, sounding amused.

Yuugi chuckled, feeling a bit surprised that they were at the point of making jokes about that so soon. "Yeah, that might be for the best." He moved his own piece three spaces forward. "Although... I do wonder what we should do about Marik. It doesn't seem like a very good idea to just let him keep wandering around."

You're right, I don't like that much either, the other Yuugi said, watching Yuugi's turn. He winced as Yuugi used his roll of two fours to capture one of his pieces. That was good luck getting a second roll, but you'll need more than that to beat—What? You blocked me in? How—?

Yuugi just shrugged, but came as near to smirking as he ever did as he looked at the two pieces preventing the other Yuugi from putting the recently captured piece back on the board. "You did say I'd need more than just luck to win."

In other games, this was the point at which the other Yuugi would make some sweeping pronouncements about what he was fighting for and why his opponent could never beat him. But it was only a friendly game, and his opponent was only Yuugi, so he just sighed instead. The only way I can think to stop Marik is challenge him to a Shadow Game, he said, coming back to their earlier topic of conversation as Yuugi cast the dice again for his roll, though he didn't indicate where he wanted to move his piece. Should I do that?

Yuugi shook his head hard, and exclaimed "No!" a bit too loudly before remembering that he shouldn't be speaking out loud. No. Those things are horrible! There must be something else we can do.

Well, we could get him to challenge us to a Shadow Game, the other Yuugi said, though Yuugi could tell that he didn't expect this suggestion to be taken seriously.

Yuugi smiled a little at that, even though it wasn't much of a joke. I'm worried, though. If we don't stop him, he could do it again. We can't be on our guards all the time, and he could just use someone else to get to us, anyways. Or play Shadow Games against them; that would be bad too.

You refuse to let anyone play Shadow Games, we couldn't beat him up even if you would be okay with that, and we certainly can't go to the authorities with our problems... The other Yuugi trailed off here, but Yuugi understood his meaning well enough.

I guess you're right about the authorities, Yuugi said. I mean, what would we tell them—'There's someone called Marik running around controlling people's minds and playing Shadow Games with them. Oh, Shadow Games are these evil magical games which cause the losers to go crazy; I know because the other me who lives inside my head used to play them against people'? They'd probably throw me in the insane asylum for that.

The other Yuugi chuckled darkly. They'd take away the Puzzle, too, once they knew I came from there. Yuugi joined in with his other self's laughter, though he wondered why he did; he wasn't usually one to joke about danger. Though, on the other hand, the danger he'd been in before had always been much more present.

Seriously, though, this is bad. It seems like there's nothing we can do, but we can't just do nothing. Yuugi was beginning to feel as though he wanted to cry, and maybe he would have if it weren't for the other Yuugi being just on the other side of the game board from him. He wondered if it would be okay to hug the other Yuugi for comfort, but it would be too weird to just ask for something like that.

I know what you mean, the other Yuugi said, turning serious as well. But I will tell you, aibou, if he ever hurts you, I will not hesitate to destroy him in a Shadow Game.

"I guess I'll just have to make sure not to get hurt, then," Yuugi murmured, scooting closer to the other Yuugi, feeling that even if throwing his arms around the other was out of the question, getting a little closer couldn't hurt. Belatedly, he realised that his movement had knocked some of the pieces on the game board out of position, but it probably didn't matter. They hadn't really been playing since the topic of Marik came up anyways.

Of course, if you really want to make sure nothing horrible happens to him, the other Yuugi said, giving Yuugi a look that he couldn't quite figure out, you'd better make sure Anzu doesn't find him either. I wouldn't want to be the person on the receiving end of her anger.

Yuugi laughed out loud at the joke, even though he knew it wasn't that funny. It was either that or cry. "She is pretty scary when she's mad," he said when his laughter had died down a little. "She even used to boss Honda and Jounouchi around back before they were our friends." He shifted closer again so that their arms brushed—it wasn't what he really wanted, but the contact was comforting. The other Yuugi didn't seem to mind.

They sat like that, shoulder-to-shoulder, long into the night, discussing the future and making unfunny jokes to distract themselves from the hopelessness of their situation.

* * *

When his alarm went off the next morning, Yuugi wondered whether he could ignore it and pretend to be sick. He certainly felt tired enough; he had stayed up far too late the previous night talking to the other Yuugi. The splitting headache that showed up shortly after made up his mind for him, though. He had probably fallen back asleep by the time his mother came in to yell at him to get up, because it didn't even seem like a second later.

"Yuugi, what are you doing? It's almost time for you to leave and you haven't even gotten out of bed," she said, sounding annoyed.

"Don't feel good. Headache," Yuugi grunted, barely lifting his head from the pillow. The movement caused the Millennium Puzzle to dig somewhat painfully into his ribs; he must not have put it on the table when he went to bed last night. At least he seemed to have unlooped the chain from his neck; otherwise it would probably have strangled him in his sleep. That would have been somewhat ironic, he thought with as much amusement as he could muster in his current state, if the very thing which housed the spirit who protected him had also been the cause of his death.

Yuugi's mother was yelling at him again, but all he was able to get out of that was that loud noise made his head hurt more, as did the light that came in when she drew the curtains. He groaned and tried to bury his head in the pillows, wishing that the other Yuugi could do something about this.

It was as Yuugi was wondering whether his headache would be better or worse in his soul room that his mother pulled his pillow away. He opened his eyes to look at her, and—ow. That had been a mistake. His headache was feeling worse than ever.

Aibou, are you alright? a familiar voice asked in Yuugi's head, and he clutched the Millennium Puzzle to him like some sort of charm.

"Head hurts," Yuugi replied, the pain making him forget that speaking out loud to the other Yuugi might not be a great idea when his mother was in the room with him.

I could tell, the other Yuugi said, and Yuugi remembered that they shared things like headaches. If there's anything I can help you with, though...

Yuugi didn't answer, but they both knew there wasn't much someone without his own body could do to help. He wondered idly whether he looked as miserable as he felt.

"You do look like you're feeling pretty bad, though. I guess you can stay home," Yuugi's mother said, answering his unspoken question. She put her hand on his forehead. "You'd better not be coming down with something," Yuugi heard her add as she walked out of his room, and thought he could hear her saying something else, probably to his grandpa, but he was too busy arranging the pillow she had given back to him under his head to care much.

The next time Yuugi opened his eyes, he had to look at his clock again to make sure he hadn't read the time wrong. "Other me, does that clock say what I think it does?"

Probably, the other Yuugi said. It was pretty clear that he hadn't bothered checking. Did we sleep late?

"Really late. At least I'm feeling better than I was." Yuugi's stomach grumbled a little, and he suddenly remembered that he hadn't eaten breakfast yet—or lunch, for that matter. "I think maybe I should go look for something to eat." Yuugi went downstairs to prepare himself a sandwich, giving assurance that he was feeling much better now to his grandfather along the way.

A few hours after his meal, Yuugi was sprawled out on the couch, watching TV. He was feeling a bit bored: it was showing some history special his grandfather had put on, which didn't really interest him, but even after his long sleep and his lunch Yuugi didn't have the energy to do much else at the moment. He hadn't even bothered to change the channel when his grandfather left to go back to minding the shop.

It was only natural, then, that Yuugi had no idea that his friends had come over until they burst into the room.

"Hey, Yuugi, are you doin' okay?" Jounouchi asked, looking more worried than Yuugi had seen him around anyone but his sister before.

"When you didn't show up to school we were afraid something had happened," Honda added.

Anzu nodded. "I brought you our homework so you don't miss anything," she said, handing Yuugi a few papers from her backpack.

Yuugi smiled at their concern. "I just had a bad headache this morning, that's all. I probably stayed up too late talking to the other me last night."

"Make sure you take care of yourself better next time," Anzu told him, the sort of anger in her voice that Yuugi could tell was really just disguised concern. "I don't want you getting really sick on us."

Yuugi merely nodded his agreement (he really didn't want another headache like the one he had gotten that morning, after all), but Jounouchi jumped in to defend him all the same. "C'mon, Anzu, Yuugi's a man. He doesn't need you to tell him what to do."

Yuugi tried telling Jounouchi that he didn't mind, but he didn't think anyone heard him over Anzu's very angry response. Jounouchi and Anzu were definitely arguing now, with Honda jumping in to make points for both sides, and Yuugi was worrying over whether or not he should stop them.

I think they can handle this themselves. They certainly do it often enough. Yuugi jumped; the other Yuugi hadn't said anything to him since just after he'd woken up, and Yuugi hadn't been expecting him to speak now.

You're probably right, Yuugi said when he had gotten over his surprise. I wouldn't mind if they stopped soon, though.

The other Yuugi laughed knowingly, though he didn't have a chance to reply: Anzu had stopped arguing so that she could ask Yuugi what he had been talking about so late, anyways.

"It was about Marik. We were wondering what we should do to stop him. Neither of us really liked the idea of just letting him be."

"Did you come up with anything?" Anzu asked.

"I bet he didn't," said Jounouchi. "I met the guy too; there's no way we could defeat him right now."

"Having him take over your mind once does not make you an instant expert on Marik," Honda replied. Yuugi could not help a sigh escaping him at the resumption of his friends' arguing.

"Sorry, Yuugi," Anzu said, even though this time she had not been involved. "What did you come up with?"

"Well, the other me thinks that if we played a Shadow Game against him, we would win. I don't want to, but if he challenges us..."

"It's true that he does seem to be after you in particular," Honda said, nodding.

"You'd better be able to defeat him, then," Anzu said. "I would hate to think about what would happen if you didn't."

Yuugi nodded. "I was hoping it wouldn't have to come to that, though. If there was some other way to stop him..."

"We'll work on it. Right, boys?" This last part was said to Jounouchi and Honda with what could only be described as a warning tone of voice.

"Of course we will!" Jounouchi and Honda said, almost in unison.

"I knew I could count on you!" Yuugi said, feeling relieved. He was sure that with all his friends thinking, too, they could come up with something.

They sat in silence for a moment, and Yuugi couldn't tell whether they were all thinking or simply had nothing else to say, until Anzu glanced at the clock. "I hope you don't mind, but I have to go now," she said, turning towards the door.

"Don't worry, it's fine with me," Yuugi said. He didn't want to keep her from anything important, after all.

"Thanks for that. We should see each other again soon!"

"If you guys want to leave, too, that would be okay," Yuugi added to Jounouchi and Honda when Anzu had left the room.

"I guess I do have some errands I need to run," Jounouchi said, though he sounded like he would rather not. "Tell you what, though. Meet me in the park in about an hour and we can play some duel monsters, okay?"

Yuugi perked up at the suggestion. "Yeah, that sounds great! Should we tell Anzu?"

"I'll get her," Honda said. "She can't have gone that far."

"Well, see 'ya, I guess," Jounouchi said to Yuugi as he followed Honda out the door.

"See you!" Yuugi called back, feeling happy.

Yuugi spent the time until he had to leave going through his deck again to make sure all the cards he wanted were there, occasionally consulting with the other Yuugi when he wasn't sure about something. "I bet everyone would like it if you played a round or two," he said to the other Yuugi as he put his deck in the special belt pouch he had gotten after Duelist Kingdom.

This is your game with your friends. I wouldn't want to intrude.

"It's not like you're making me do this or anything. I wouldn't offer if I wasn't okay with it," Yuugi said, smiling a little.

Then I thank you, but I think I'll sit this one out, the other Yuugi said, sounding more relaxed.

"Alright, but if you change your mind that's fine with me," Yuugi said as he turned to leave his room. Before he crossed into the hall, though, he turned back to stick a deck of playing cards in his pocket, just in case his friends decided they wanted to play something else.

Yuugi explained to his grandfather that he was feeling much better, and anyways, fresh air would probably do him some good, and then he was off to meet up with Jounouchi. As he walked toward the park, though, it came into his mind that he needed to go to Domino's harbor to meet someone. He could not remember having been asked to do so, and had not been down there since Jounouchi's disappearance, but nonetheless his feet turned onto another route, one that would take him to the docks.
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January 2013

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