Humm… Yah I really don't know about this…. It was supposed to be a writing assignment that went… a lot longer than it was supposed to. I swear my teacher nearly died when I gave her all 20 pages. ;)

Basically it's an Au of the events of the final duel between Yami and Yugi, and while there are a lot of those out there, I wanted to try one... So I did.

It's a little long, and a lot not happy. So… yah.

Disclaimer: I don't own Yugioh, and the beautiful and perfect quote in my summary was written by a 1950s writer named Gloria Naylor

/

The two of them must have been planning this moment for a while.

Maybe they had started when they had boarded the ship that had brought them here. Or maybe it was the moment they both realized they where going to be separated.

That certainly sounded like the both of them, plotting something like this. But it just seemed so hard to believe that they had been secretly planning this moment since before Battle City had even ended.

Jounouchi knew that he should not have been surprised.

He should have been expected that they would do something like this.

Jounouchi had seen first hand what it was like when they where separated. Neither of them functioned, and rational thought went out the window. He had seen them put everything on the line just so they could be with each other again. Even if it was only for a few minutes.

So why had Jounouchi not been prepared for this scenario?

Why could Jounouchi feel himself freeze in shock and fear.

This…

How did he not realize…

Why on earth had he not suspected it would come to this?

They where standing, deep underground, beneath the sands of Egypt. This had been the moment the entire group had fought so hard for. Both himself, Anzu, Honda, Bakura, Atem and Yugi. So many adventures: Duellist Kingdom, Battle city, The Millennium world… all had levelled down to this.

The Ceremonial duel.

The last challenge that stood between the Spirit of the Millennium puzzle Yami, or Atem now, -the soul of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh that had sold his soul to save his country- and eternal rest in the afterlife.

Maybe Jounouchi should have been suspicious when Yugi had said he would be the one to duel Atem. Knowing full well that if Atem lost, he would finally be allowed to go to the afterlife, leaving his friends behind.

Sure Yugi's reason had been innocent enough; He said he had wanted to prove that he was strong enough to stand on his own. That he could survive with out Atem's constant presence guiding him through life.

But now as Jounouchi thought those words over, he realized that they didn't sound quite right.

Scratch that!

They sounded plain, old fashioned, wrong!

Everything about Atem and Yugi's relationship was based off of equality and partnership. Neither doing something without their other's complete agreement. Atem had even gone as far to give Yugi the pet name, Aibou. Which, meant Partner in the most literal of forms.

So where had this sudden need to prove which one was stronger come from?

Jounouchi should have known…

He was such an idiot.

The duel had ended, quite literally with a bang. Yugi's Silent Magician blasting the remainder of Atem's life points with ease. Everyone gathered in the large room had held their breath, waiting for the smoke to clear. Even the usually distant Seto Kaiba had been watching with intense concentration.

In the end, Yugi had won. There was no last minute trap or magic card, no last minute strategy that would have saved Yami. When the smoke had cleared they all saw Yugi on his knees, tears streaming down his face, and Atem knelt beside him, hands on Yugi's shoulders, and a sad smile on his face.

The first true smile most of the group had ever seen from Atem.

Nobody else moved to comfort Yugi as he sobbed. None of them could bring themselves to try and intervene. They figured he and Atem where saying their final good byes, before they had to face the group again. Jounouchi knew that the others, much like himself, could not move. The moment was too special, even breathing could ruin it.

The nearly identical men slowly rose to their feet, Atem's hands never once breaking contact with Yugi's thin shoulders. The younger's body still shook slightly under those tan hands, but he was starting to calm down.

Beside Jounouchi, Anzu moved forward as if to say her own good byes. From Jounouchi's other side however, Malik leaned foreword and grabbed onto her shoulder preventing the brown haired girl from moving. Anzu looked startled, and moved to shot the blond a glare and snap at him, but Malik's beautiful, black haired sister Isis placed a fingers to her lips.

"They deserve this moment Anzu, more than anyone else in this room. Let them have it." Isis said under her breath, her eyes never leaving her Pharaoh and his Hikari. Anzu's shoulders slump dejectedly.

Jounouchi saw Isis' point however. This was probably the first time Atem and Yugi had been able to interact with two physicals bodies. And after all that had happened, they did deserve it.

Besides, Atem and Yugi had a relationship that Jounouchi knew he would never understand. Hell, Jounouchi didn't even want to try to understand it.

Probably make his head explode before he touched the edges of it.

Yugi had tried to explain it to his friend once. But even he could not put words to the relationship.

"The simplest things are the hardest to explain" he had said in a quiet voice, not really sure of his words.

"It's such a large part of my being that I have never really thought about it before, neither has Mou Hitori no Boku, I bet. It's not boyfriend and girlfriend love per say, nothing like that true love stuff stories try to sell. It's more like an odd cross between lust and addiction. We always want to be as close together as humanly possible. Since our souls are technically one, they are always trying to repair themselves. And we can never be close enough to sate that desire. But we'll do anything to try and take the edge off, because separated it's too much to bare."

Jounouchi and Honda had stared at their smallest friend as if he had grown a third head when he gave his response. Yugi had lasted under the double stare for no more than 10 seconds before he had started laughing so hard that tears streamed from his large amethyst eyes. Honda and Jounouchi had joined in a few minutes later.

At the time the odd answer had seemed hilarious, and yet Jounouchi had figured out the hard way, just how serious Yugi had been at the time.

He should have known.

For a single second, it looked like Atem and Yugi had finally decided to return to the rest of the world. Atem's hands released their grip on Yugi's shoulders, and the tears stopped flowing down Yugi's round face.

The group slowly moved forward, prepared to say their own goodbyes to the man that had changed their lives in ways they would have never thought possible.

A smooth arm wrapped it's way around Yugi's waist however, Pulling the smaller boy flush against him. Yugi relaxed slightly, and leaned carefree against his dark, letting himself be led to the large imposing door in the back of the room.

Jounouchi, Anzu and Honda, followed them to the door. Neither of the boys seemed to notice their presence however.

It was as if there was no one else there but them.

Maybe there wasn't.

They refused to beak contact for even a second it seemed. Atem's arm had become permanently wrapped around his Aibou's waist. Yugi's fingers interlaced with the hand, gripping at the tan fingers almost desperately. Both were basking in the sensation of being able to touch each other on the physical plane. The fingers on Atem's other hand reached out to gently stroke Yugi's cheek, and Yugi leaned into the caress.

Normally Jounouchi would have found himself laughing at the pink tinge that spread across Anzu's face. If this had been any other time, he would have teased Atem about the random show of affection.

It didn't seem right however.

Not this time.

Slowly Atem's face broke away from Yugi's and looked towards the rest of the people in the room for the first time. "Thank you, my friends" he said quietly, but still loud enough to echo around the room. "You can never know how much you have helped me during this. Helped the both of us. I'm sorry that it has to end this way."

Jounouchi smiled, blinking away the water that had started to swell around his own eyes. "I should be thanking you Atem. For all that you did. So don't be apologizing, you have every right to this, and you know it!"

"That's right!" Anzu agreed, "Besides, it's not like your leaving forever. We'll always remember you, so you'll still be here. Well all be fine, right Yugi?"

Yugi's smile faltered slightly, and the smallest flash of hurt flashed in his eyes. but the look was gone and suppressed in less than a second and that grin was there to take it's place. "Of course." He said happily, not missing a beat as he pressed himself closer to his darks body. "As long as we remember them, no one is truly gone."

The hand around Yugi's waist tightened slightly, and Yugi looked up at his dark. "You ready?" He asked softly, looking straight into his dark's crimson irises. Atem nodded, pulling Yugi tight against his chest and wrapping both arms around his body. A small sigh escaped Yugi's lips

The others watched, slightly confused, as Atem's lips moved down to the shell of Yugi's ear, whispering words that none of them could catch, they were too quiet. Yugi seemed to hear what his dark said however, as he nodded his head against Atem's chest.

One of Atem's arms slipped away from his almost choke hold on Yugi's body, and seemed to reach for something in side the many pockets of his blue jacket. All his muscles tensed noticeably, and the arm shook from within his sleeve.

Yugi frowned slightly, and placed his hand over top of Atem's upper arm. He reached up to whisper something to his dark, just as the latter had before. The shaking stopped and Atem buried his face in the crook of Yugi's neck, just above the collar bone, completely blocking his features from view.

"I'm sorry… so sorry that I have to do this, to take him from you. Please forgive me."

Jounouchi blinked as those soft words reached his mind. But they where gone as quickly as they had began. Jounouchi was sure that it had been Atem's voice. But it sounded so out of character, so hurt, damaged, all sense of pride and dignity gone.

Jounouchi knew he had to be imagining it. Atem wouldn't say something like that.

Besides it made no sense.

Who could he be taking from them?

"I am the son of King Aknamkanon. My name is Atem" Atem yelled as he tipped his head skyward, towards to the large stone door before him. Jounouchi's previous thoughts left his mind.

This was it.

The door to the afterlife was open.

The game was over.

But had they won or lost?

The heavy door groaned as it was slowly opened by Atem's true name. Golden light started to stream from the growing crack. It bathed the previously dark room with it's glow, and filled all of the rooms contents with an addicting warmth. It felt so good.

Something caught Jounouchi's attention however. The bright light coming from the door had reflected off of something metallic. Jounouchi fought the urge to squeeze his eyes tight against the glare. At first he thought it was coming of the numerous amount of buckles that Kaiba was wearing.

But that wasn't right.

Kaiba was standing behind him.

Then… where was it coming from.

That's when Jounouchi saw it. And the soft words that he originally thought he had imagined, clicked into place.

Atem's clothes, originally his dark blue jacket and black shirt changed into the pharaoh's garb they had seen him wear in the Millennium world. White linen kilt tied with a gold sash. The purple cape swirled around his ankles, and the large amount of gold on his arms, chest and head shone brilliantly around the room.

But not quite as brilliantly, as the ceremonial dagger that was clutched tightly in Atem's left hand.

It was a beautiful knife. It's hilt done in shining gold, twisted in a design that was nearly impossible to follow with the human eye. The metal twined down until it smoothed out, and merged with silver to form an electrum blade. Delicate hieroglyphs where engraved into the wickedly sharp blade.

And the tip was resting against Yugi's back.

Jounouchi felt himself freeze up. All his muscles locked in place, and his heart started to race. What in hell was Atem doing! He was supposed to protect Yugi! Not hold a dagger to his back.

Yugi's shoulders flexed involuntarily against the sharp point that barely touched the skin, and he whimpered slightly when the point nicked his skin. Jounouchi watched dumbfounded as Atem's expression flickered to panic, and his knife hand tried to move away from Yugi. The younger's hand reached behind however, and gripped onto Atem's wrist. Keeping it there, steadying it.

"Together…"He whispered to Atem, feeling Atem's wrist shake underneath his own. "I promised you, my dark that we would do this together."

Atem shook his head slightly and when he spoke his voice wavered with uncertainty. "Aibou I can't. This is going to hurt you, I can't be the one to do it."

"We don't have a choice Yami, you know that. Besides you're the only one I would want to do this beloved. You should know that better than anyone. Whatever pain there could be will be more than worth it to spend an eternity with you. Have a little faith Mou Hitori no Boku, we were meant to do this as one."

"I...I... Of course Mou Hitori no Ore, always as one."

Yugi's face split into a huge smile, his expressive purple eyes glittering in happiness and tears. "Exactly."

The ancient's Pharaoh's eyes softened as he listened to his partner's soft words. He could feel his little one remove the knife from his hand and move it, so the point was against Yugi's chest and not behind his back.

"Together" Yugi whispered as he moved Atem's hands overtop of the hilt, and curling his own remaining hand around them so the both of them where holding the knife. "Always together. My darkness, my life."

They where both at the edge now, a single push would be all that was needed to bring them both to the afterlife. And Jounouchi didn't know what to do. Why on earth would Yugi and Atem do this to them. Leaving everyone alone. Their friends, Grandpa, Yugi's mother.

What where they thinking?

Anzu was screaming at them to stop, tears breaking up the loud noise as Malik tried to hold her in place, his expression completely devoid of emotion. Yet his knuckles where nearly white as they pressed against Anzu's shoulder, something Jounouchi doubted was from holding Anzu in place.

Didn't they see what they where going to cause by doing this!

Jounouchi should have known they would do something like this.

He was such an idiot.

Atem stated to push the knife forward, and Yugi's body was tensing as the blade slid effortlessly into his body. Yugi's head titled back and his mouth slid open in a silent scream. Atem's own eyes started to squeeze shut in a different form of agony.

And he hesitated.

It was only a second.

But Atem hesitated.

And that second was all it took.

If one was to ask Jounouchi later, what had happened in those last few seconds, he would never be able to give an answer. He knew what he was doing was stupid, he knew their would be consequences. And most of all, he knew he was being selfish bastard. But at the time, he hadn't thought of it that way, he thought he was doing the right thing.

With a speed that he had never known possible, Jounouchi leapt forward. Atem's sharp red eyes moved away from Yugi's and stared at their blond haired friend in shock and surprise. Jounouchi grabbed Yugi around the middle. Pulling him away from Atem, and the dagger that was threatening his little buddies life.

The knife slid to the ground with a clang, and blood slowly started to seep down Yugi's chest as he slumped against Jounouchi's chest, unconscious. Jounouchi staggered under the sudden dead weight, trying to hold him up.

They couldn't want this.

Both of them leaving the world with out even trying to live on their own.

There was no way they would give up like this.

But the moment Jounouchi saw the look on Atem's face as he fell backwards, alone into the afterlife, he had to wonder what he had just, so royally, screwed up.

The man's red eyes where wide, and filled to the brim with terror. Atem started screaming as the door's started to close. As soon as the pharaoh gained his footing, he started to run away from the light, towards Yugi, screaming the boys name.

But Atem was not quick enough.

And the dead was never meant to linger.

The doors shut with a bang, and Atem's desperate screams disappeared, never to be heard again on the mortal plane.

Jounouchi slid to his knees, still clutching Yugi's limp body. Tears streamed down the blonde's face as he tried to comprehend what had happened. Atem's screams had shaken him to the core. They had been even worse than the time Atem had lost that Oreikalkos duel. And Jounouchi had sworn to himself that he would make sure Atem would never scream like that again. Yet in the end he was the one to cause it.

Anzu slipped down beside him, tears still streaming down her pretty face. But even through the sad aura that hung in the air, she could not prevent the small smile that came with seeing her friends safe and sound. Reaching forward, she carefully moved Yugi's head into her lap. She brushed one of Yugi's blond bangs away from his face, before looking down at his chest. "Yugi…"

The cut on Yugi's chest was deep, and blood seeped from the wound, staining the shirt he was wearing. His breaths had become ragged, and his skin was clammy, lathered in sweat.

Mokuba came up beside the friends a second later, folding up his yellow vest and pressing it against the still bleeding cut. "We need to get him to a hospital" the youngest Kaiba breathed softly, pushing his vest a little harder against the wound, trying to stem the flow of blood. " Judging by the amount of blood, I don't think the dagger reached his heart. But he'll need treatment. We'll take the jet to Cairo Hospital."

The last part it seemed was not directed at the group, but more towards his brother, Seto. It sounded like a challenge, almost asking for Seto to turn him down, as he normally would.

But in the end, it wasn't necessary. For the eldest Kaiba was already shouting orders into his cell phone. Ordering the poor man on the other end to warm up the jet, and to set up a room at Cairo Hospital.

Mokuba smiled softly, "Thank you, Big Brother" he breathed as he pressed his jacket a little harder onto the wound. "Come on you guys we have to get him out of here"

Dimly Jounouchi felt himself nodding as he carefully picked up the body of his frail friend. Yugi's face was paler than normal, and the vest was nearly completely soaked through with blood.

"Come on Jounouchi, we have to hurry!"

The room was starting to shake beneath their feet, and the rock walls started to crumble. "Hurry up!" Malik yelled from the door way, Ryou at his side. "We are all going to be squashed if you don't hurry the hell up.

Grunting, Jounouchi shifted Yugi in his arms, and ran as fast as he could out of the self destructing room. The rocks where really starting to fall apart now. And on more than one occasion Jounouchi had to dodge the falling boulders. Eventually he made it outside in one piece.

As soon as the large group left the shelter of the know completely caved in tomb, the scorching heat of Egypt once again whipped at all their faces, burned their skin.

But Jounouchi didn't care.

He didn't even pause to regain his breath from the mad escape from falling rocks. His feet just moved on their own, working on to carry Yugi to Kaiba's Blue eyes jet, despite the rest of his body's screams at him to stop moving.

He had to get Yugi to safety…

The well aged stone that the tomb had been made out of slowly turned into soft sand, slowing Jounouchi down. Everyone was gaining in front of him, finding the path across the sands far less difficult with out the addition of another persons weight. His feet sunk into the sand, and Jounouchi felt himself stumbling as he ran, nearly falling flat on his face on more than one occasion.

The other's were calling for Jounouchi to hurry up from far in front now, and Jounouchi shook himself as he struggled to get through the sand to where the huge jet was waiting for them.

In the distance Jounouchi could see his friends had stopped to wait for him, shouting encouragements, waving at him frantically to hurry up. Their words all disappeared however, When Yugi shifted slightly in his arms, and groaned loudly.

Kaiba and Mokuba where no where to be seen by the time Jounouchi finally made it up to the plane. But by the sound of the huge engines of the jet roaring into life, they where already in the cock pit, ready to leave.

Together; Ryou, Malik, Isis, Honda, Anzu and Jounouchi piled into the plane. Jounouchi passed Yugi up to Honda and Malik, making sure the boy was secure before jumping into the back himself. The last bit was made difficult by an uncooperative Kaiba, who started to move the plane forward the moment Yugi was placed in the plane. Jounouchi was forced to run after the plane and with a loud grunt pulled himself in, falling on top of Ryou as he did so.

Faster and faster the plane went, trying to gain enough speed on the sand to pull itself into the air. And as soon as Jounouchi was up, and had a firm grip on Yugi again, Malik and Honda moved to the door once more, to close the door before they lifted off.

It took a lot of effort to pull the heavy door shut and they where already in the air before it was done. Honda and Malik struggled with the latch, with Ryou pulling on Malik's back trying to help in any way he could. The wind pulled at their clothes, threatening to pull them out of the plane. Eventually the door slammed shut with a deafening clunk.

Jounouchi slumped against the shaking metal wall of the jet, panting heavily as he tried to regain his breath as they squished themselves into the small place. From beside him, Jounouchi heard Ryou, Malik and Honda falling down beside him, trying to take up as little space as humanly possible.

It was a tight squeeze inside the plane, which had originally been designed to only fit two, maybe three people comfortably, with a small space designated for storage. With Mokuba and Seto in the front of the jet, they had kindly left the seven other passengers to try and fend for themselves in the claustrophobic space.

It took along time for everyone to find a place inside without squishing each other too badly, and still be able to keep a watchful eye on the person that had been carefully laid down in the middle.

With infinite care, Jounouchi slowly placed Yugi's prone body onto the ground, shifting so Yugi could rest his head against Jounouchi's lap as a makeshift pillow. Honda leaned across them both as carefully as he could, to a pile of stuff that was stashed in the corner of the plane. He grabbed onto one of the fire blankets that had been stowed there, and draped it over Yugi, to try and protect him from the chill that would soon come from the blood loss.

The yellow vest that Mokuba had used to cover the wound was now a deep red colour, and felt absolutely soaked when Jounouchi tucked the blanket around Yugi's quivering shoulders. Jounouchi felt as if he could be ill at that moment. The blanket too, was starting to turn red.

"Atem…" Yugi moaned miserably, his head shaking back and forth desperately in his sleep. " Yami, where are you."

Jounouchi could feel tears starting to fill his eyes once again.

What on earth had he done?

Why had he separated them?

That feeling of Nausea was returning at an alarming rate. Starting to feel dizzy and closed in, he lifted Yugi's head of his lap, passing the hurt teen off to Ryou. The white haired boy nodded as he accepted Yugi's weight. Ryou ran his pale finger along Yugi's cheek, whispering comforting words in the smaller boys ear, hoping to calm him down.

Jounouchi couldn't stand it anymore.

He had to leave.

He was suffocating,

But there was know where to go.

On shacking legs, Jounouchi stumbled across the large mass of bodies inside the jet, he tried to make it to the front of the plane, spotting a plane plastic door up in front of him. Jounouchi pulled the door open and stumbled into the small space, and shut the door behind him.

Jounouchi slumped along the wall against the metal toilet, He pulled his knees up against his chest and wrapped his arms around them, desperately trying to find some sort of comfort as his head fell against his knees.

Atem's final screams where still echoing inside his mind. Jounouchi couldn't get them out of his head. Atem had sounded so terrified…. More terrified than anyone else Jounouchi had ever heard in his life.

"What have I done?" he moaned miserably, squeezing his eyes tight to prevent any of the water gathering there from leaking out. It seemed to be a losing battle however, and Jounouchi felt his eyes starting to burn. Somehow he was managing to keep himself together, but Jounouchi wasn't sure for how much longer.

"That's what I wanted to ask"

Jonouchi's pale face perked up at the sound of the familiar voice. Watery eyes trained across the room, slowly focusing on the sight of Malik leaning against the bathroom door, a harsh scowl on his tanned face.

Jounouchi didn't even react beyond looking up, and he dropped his head once more, placing it once more on his knees. Why couldn't he just be left alone?

"Go away Malik, I don't want to talk right now."

Malik didn't respond, instead he too pushed himself into the bathroom, locking the door behind him with a loud click. Something Jounouchi realized he should have done in the first place. " Jonouchi. I don't give a shit about what you do and do not want right now, because you and I need to have a talk. Or more I need to talk, and you are going to sit there and not breath a single word. Or Ra help me I will wring that pretty little neck of yours, because only he knows how much you deserve it!"

Shocked, Jounouchi, could only look up at Malik with a stunned look on his face. This had to be the last thing Jounouchi needed right now. And yet here Malik was, here to rub it in his face, with the attitude to match.

"Do you have any idea how much work, how much effort you just ruined?" Malik hissed, his lilac eyes flashing dangerously in the dim light. Once again Jounouchi didn't respond to the accusation, it was taking all his effort to keep eye contact with the obviously peeved teen.

Why couldn't he just leave?

"No? Than let me fucking well tell you. Everything that has happened since Yugi solved that damned puzzle has now become worthless. Every trial, every ounce of pain, anyone of us has gone through, meaningless. All because of you Jounouchi Katsuya."

That was the breaking point.

"What the hell are you talking about Malik!" Jounouchi yelled back, defending himself for the first time, struggling to stand of the metal flooring. Jounouchi felt his fist clench tightly now level with that tanned face. But Malik had boxed him in, backing the taller teen into the small space between the sink and toilet. "I already feel like shit about this. I don't need your melodramatic bullshit making it any worse!"

"Melodramatic Bullshit?" Malik hissed, his tone completely monotonous and cold enough to cut through steel. "Do you honestly think that this is about me!" Malik's tan hand reached out, before doubling into a fist and colliding with Jounouchi's face. "You are a idiot Jounouchi."

Jounouchi glared as blood started to stream from the corner of his eye, but there wasn't enough room for him to get a could strike back in. "LEAVE ME ALONE MALIK." He shouted, trying to push the blonde away from him, but Malik stood firm.

"No Jounouchi. Like I said, you and I are going to have a talk." Malik hissed, reaching out to wrap his hand around Jounouchi neck, applying enough pressure to cut off Jounouchi's ability to speak. "What do you think happened today?" Malik continued on, as if he was having a perfectly normal conversation with his victim. "Yugi just snapped, upon thinking that he was going to be left alone? He couldn't handle it? Here I thought he was your best friend, does that sound like something the pipsqueak would do? Just give up?"

Jounouchi gasped underneath the hand on his throat. He tried to shake his head, but the hand tightened momentarily, and all the breath left his lungs until the hand was loosened to where it was a few seconds ago, allowing Jounouchi to pull a few breaths of air in.

"Or. Did it even cross your pathetic little mind that something else could be happening? That this was planned out? Who am I kidding, of course you didn't. That would involve thinking. Here I'll spell it out.

"Yugi and Yami are one person, Jounouchi-kun and the soul of the Pharaoh was needed to seal up the dark games for an eternity. Yami equals one half, Yugi the other. Together they make up the Pharaoh Atem, not just Yami. They both had to go through those gates for the Dark games to completely disappear, as well as to gain their eternal rest.

"And guess what; thanks to you, that won't happen. The dark games are going to come again, and of course since Atem's soul has once again been separated, by now I'd wagger, Yami's already been locked in the puzzle; his memories being erased, since his half of the soul would be drawn to that forsaken object like a magnet. Not only that, Yugi's half is going to be reincarnated and each time he'll be just like the boy you knew before he got Yami. Quiet, out of place, and more alone than you can ever image, for a reason he won't even know why… Over, and over again, until someone digs up the items again. And once again opens the dark games.

"I dear hope you at least know what that means, Jounouchi. Everything that has happened, the dark games threatening to destroy the world… well that's all going to happen again. All because of you Jounouchi."

"MALIK, RELEASE HIM!"

Malik withdrew his hand with a distasteful grunt as Isis' commanding voice broke threw the small room. With the only thing keeping him in the air gone, Jounouchi sunk to the ground coughing. Gingerly, Jounouchi brought his hand up to his neck rubbing his bruised throat as Malik steeped out of the way, following his sister's beckons. But before he did, he leaned down to Jonouchi's level and once again whispered in Jounouchi's ear

"Best friends forever right? Some way to show your friendship, cursing your best friends soul into constant torment for the next couple thousand years. I wonder how Yugi's going to react to that, oh my goodness what I wouldn't pay to see how Yugi reacts to seeing your lovely face when he wakes up. Because nothing I say will get the point across better than he will.

And with that the Egyptian was gone, following his sister from the small bathroom, leaving Jounouchi on the bathroom floor, gasping for breath. The tears that he had so carefully held in streamed down his cheeks, as he sobbed.

What had he done?

/

It had been three long days since they had arrived at Cairo hospital.

As soon as Yugi had arrived, the doctors had taken complete control over his condition. They had stitched him up, and replaced the blood he had lost. Now the doctors said, it was only a matter of time before Yugi woke up.

Of course the doctors had asked numerous times about how this had happened.

Who had stabbed the boy?

Where was the person?

Did they need to call the police?

Every time they did Jounouchi felt his mouth go dry, and Anzu and Honda where left to create a cover story.

Jounouchi didn't even know what it was.

He wasn't paying attention to anything anymore.

The group could only stay in the hospital room for so much time. It was nearly noon now. Anzu, Honda, and Bakura where down in the cafeteria, trying to scavenge some food. The Kabia's had only stayed long enough to arrange for Yugi's medical bills and to make sure he was settled. Mokuba had placed his number into Anzu's phone, making them promise to phone him as soon as Yugi woke up.

They still hadn't used that number.

The Ishtars had not been seen since they landed in Cairo. Both, Isis and Malik had run of to the museum even before the plane had come to a complete stop. The glare Malik had sent Jounouchi's way still left chills up his spine, and caused the bruises around his throat to throb painfully. When Jounouchi had come out of the bathroom, none of the others had commented on his and Malik's rather loud conversation. But no one had been willing to meet his eyes either, and Yugi had remained in the care of his fellow light, the latter unwilling to give him up.

Jounouchi could feel his fingers curl around the limp ones of his best friend. The heart monitor beeped steadily now, no longer as hectic as it was before. Yugi's breathing looked better now too, as did his colour.

He was due to wake up any day now, and the doctors were no longer worried about his health

"Your friend will be fine." one of them had said in rough English, the only language they could agree on. "It was a close call, but I am positive that he will wake up."

At the time, Jounouchi had felt incredibly happy when he heard that Yugi would be fine. But as time wore on he found himself worrying what would happen when Yugi woke up.

Was Malik telling the truth the truth?

Had he really hurt his friend so much in the space of five seconds?

Was that even possible?

Jounouchi shook his head roughly. Maybe Malik was right. He was selfish. A part of him actually didn't want his best friend to wake up. Just so he wouldn't have to face the music.

He still had not told the others about the events that had transpired in the bathroom. He couldn't bring himself to tell anyone. And if they had wondered about what had happened to his heavily bruised neck, they had not said anything. Jounouchi often found himself wondering if they had heard everything.

It would explain why no one was willing to meet his eyes anymore. Especially Ryou. The white haired boy had not said a single word to him since Jounouchi had left the bathroom. Would he share the same the fate as Yugi? Probably, Ryou was a light to bonded in almost the same way. Ryou probably thought his ordeal with ancient spirits was over with, only to find out it wasn't.

Great.

Jounouchi jumped when a small groan broke through the silence.

"Yugi?" he asked carefully, squeezing the small hand within his own. "Yugi, bud, are you awake?"

Yugi's previously calm features where scrunched up now, and his eyes where flickering underneath his eyelids.

"Come on Yugi, I know you can do it. Everyone's worried about you.

"Yami?" Yugi groaned, titled his head towards the voice. His eyes remained closed.

"No, Yugi. It's me, Jounouchi."

"Not… Yami?"

"No, Yugi. No, not Yami."

Yugi's eye lids opened slowly, and Jounouchi could see the struggle to remain conscious. Again Jounouchi squeezed his hand in comfort. "It's okay Yugi. Everything's going to be alright."

"W-where's Yami? What's going on?"

The frown returned to Jounouchi's face, all relief at seeing his best friend awake gone. "Yugi… Yugi he's not here."

Yugi blinked slowly, shaking his head slightly to try and remove some of the haze from the drugs in his system. "W-what?". His voice was still blurry from the pain killers and sedatives in his blood stream, but it was becoming more focused by the minute. Looking around, Yugi took in his surrounding. The plain walls. Sterile smell. The lack of decorations, the numerous amounts of medical equipment surrounding him and the tube pressed underneath his nose. "Hospital?"

"Yes. Cairo Hospital to be exact. We took you here after the duel. You gave us the scare of a life time bud."

"No…. no… Why am I here? I… How… how… what?"

Yugi was rambling now, shaking fingers traced the tube under his nose, and the ones connected to his arms. He tried to sit up, but fell back to the hard hospital bed when a sharp pain shot through his chest. Looking down Yugi noticed the white bandage wrapped tightly around him.

" What happened? Jounouchi… I shouldn't be here! I can't be here! Why am I here!"

That was the breaking point. Every defence Jounouchi had been building over the last three days had shattered in an instant. He collapsed, pressing his cheek up against the sheets of Yugi's bed sobbing. Jounouchi felt Yugi's small hand awkwardly patting the top of his head. "Jounouchi please… "

"Yugi… I'm sorry… So sorry! I didn't know what I was doing… But… But Ate…Yami was trying to kill you! That knife, he was trying to stab you with it. So I acted on impulse… I grabbed you, before he could kill you. I didn't want to lose the both of you! I couldn't lose the both of you. it was too much"

The hand on the top of his head was gone. And Jounouchi heard it head the bed with a thump. The blonde sat up, removing his head from the bed. Yugi's face had gone deathly pale, the hand that had previously been comforting Jounouchi was clenched in the hospital gown. Those purple eyes were squeezed shut, almost as if he was looking for something inside of him.

"Yugi?"

Yugi's eyes remained closed. "No… you didn't… please tell me you didn't… please this is a dream. This isn't happening…"

"Yugi… please open your eyes. This isn't a dream… and your not dead! Why aren't you happy. Your with us. Your family!"

Yugi didn't respond, he just continued to look forward, staring unseeingly at the wall.

"Yugi... say something.

"Yugi please."

"I...I..." Yugi's lips where moving, but he couldn't get anything out. The words where stuck, and he couldn't wrap his mind around what it was he was hearing. It was to much to take. "I... What have you done Jounouchi!"

There it was, the same thing that Malik had said three days ago. Almost word for word, and yet the words seemed to have taken on an entirely new meaning when spoken from his best friend. His entire world started to crash around him, Malik had been telling the truth.

"Yugi you have no idea how sorry I am about this. More sorry than I have been about anything in my life. But you have to see it from my side! You didn't tell us anything!"

But Yugi wasn't listening, instead he had managed to pull himself of the bed, pressing his cheeks against his knees. His entire body shaking so harshly that Jounouchi was worried that he would rip out the stitches that the doctor had worked so hard to put in.

Carefully Jounouchi reached out and placed to his hand the boys shoulder, trying to calm him down, before Yugi hurt himself. But Yugi ripped his shoulder from Jounouchi's grip, pulling himself as far away from his friend as he possibly could.

Jounouchi pulled back as if he had been burnt, his hand falling limply to his side, before standing up and staring at the figure on the bed. "Alright, I said I was sorry Yugi. But you can't leave us in the dark like that and not expect us not to react when someone starts holding a knife to your chest.!" He said, sadness and guilt starting to take form into anger.

"All I did was save your life Yugi! And now I figure out that you and the Ishtars had some secret reason to keep it to your self that you still won't fucking tell us! Why in hell did you think it was so important that you had to keep it from us. We would have understood!"

"I...I..." Yugi's head pulled up from his knees. "You... Would never have understood... Would have tried to stop us! Now, it's all going to happen again. All of it! Everything we went through for Mou Hitori No Boku. He won't get to rest... It's all going to happen again! And it's going to be because of me!" Yugi's voice grew higher with each word he spoke, until he reached a point that could only really be described as hysterics.

Small hands reached up and grabbed onto the large mass of Black and red hair that crowned Yugi's head. "All me... I... I can't do this again... I can't! Oh Ra... I can't do it... not anymore! This was supposed to be over!" Yugi's breath caught in his throat, and the heart rate be side his bed started to beep louder and more faster as Yugi curled in on himself. "No, More. I can't do this again, Can't do it to him. Almost couldn't do it the first time. Why am I here !"

He was really shaking now, and was screaming into his knees, as he rocked back and forth. From the tight cage of Yugi's arms, Jounouchi could see the blood starting to stain the bandages wrapped around Yugi's chest.

Jounouchi back up as the doctors started to swarm into the room, shouting things to each other in Arabic, Jounouchi didn't understand a single word. A nurse, her black hair done up into a harsh looking bun, stared at Jounouchi as she bustled past, checking the heart monitor. Jounouchi sat their frozen as they all worked, not even reacting as the nurse rushed back over to where he was standing and started to yell at him in Arabic. The harsh words grated at Jounouchi's ears, but the only thing he paid attention to was the growing stain on Yugi's bandages.

"Yugi…."

The Doctor's continued to yell at each other, fighting to get Yugi to lay flat on his back, but he wasn't responding. Still yelling and screaming, that it was his fault. He wasn't letting anyone of them touch him.

Suddenly, a small rip could be heard over the din, causing the doctors and nurses to stare as the stain on Yugi's chest became even bigger. The blood spread across the bandages at an alarming rate, running down his chest and spilling in a quickly forming puddle on the bed.

"Anaesthesia!" One of the doctors yelled, the only word in a long stream of Arabic that Jounouchi recognized. The nurse beside the Doctor, nodded before injecting the clear liquid into Yugi's arm. Yugi tensed up, before his shoulder's slumped and he fell back to the bed, unconscious.

The Doctors all moved quickly, placing Yugi's thin wrists into the leather straps on the side of the bed, to prevent him from doing anymore damage when he awoke. At the other end of the bed, some of the nurse where doing the same thing.

Blood covered the small teen's chest, and the doctors rushed to unwrap the tight bandages around Yugi's torso, trying to repair the damage that had been done when the stitches had been ripped from the body.

"Get out of here!" The black haired nurse finally shouted in Jounouchi's ear. He jumped at the English, turning to face the nurse, who was glaring at him with an incredible force. "You, no come back. He needs rest, you not give to him"

Whatever colour had been left in Jounouchi's face was gone now, and the blonde felt his feet starting to move, back towards the door, only able to watch as the doctors tried to stitch up his best friend. Even before he made it past the doorframe, Jounouchi had turned around, as was running through the hospital as fast as he could.

The plain, white walls, blurred past Jounouchi as he ran, not even stopping when he heard, Anzu, Honda, and Ryou start to yell at him when he passed them.

He just kept running.

/

After my friend read this, she gave me the oddest look, before in a perfectly serious tone, she said, and I quote. "The councillors office is down the hall and to the left."

Humm….

Was Ryou even in the final duel scene… I can't remember… how bizarre. Oh well if he wasn't than it's a good thing this is Au style!

Happy Holidays folks. And Happy Solstice… (My big celebration this time of the year)

Hope you liked it!