Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh nor do I make any money from this piece of fanfiction.

Reader Warnings: Post-canon, Blindshipping ahead!

AN: I had originally intended for this to be my entry for theme #52 (blind faith) for the YGO Drabble LJ community. I went with something else instead (see Moving On) but I figured I'd post this here anyway, since it's a completed drabble.

A clatter of bells hailed the end of the school day, its shrill ring answered by the pounding of feet toward the foot lockers in the entrance. A solitary boy, shorter than his classmates despite his recent growth spurt, lagged behind, his mind immersed in thought. Friends and classmates rushed by, bidding him farewell as they hurried home or to their clubs. A few months ago, he would have answered with a bright smile and a cheerful wave; nowadays, it was all half-hearted smiles and small waves. He stopped at his shoe locker to put on his well-worn sneakers, and a wistful smile flitted across his lips: they'd met face to face while he wore those shoes.

He'd meant it with all his heart when he promised him forever and always, that he would give him all of his memories if the other never found his.

He walked outside, and a chilly autumn breeze blew through the courtyard, causing a few red and gold leaves to flutter down onto the sidewalk Red and gold, just like his eyes and jewelry in the Memory World. He subconsciously reached up to where the cartouche lay beneath his black shirt. Atem. The name of the Nameless Pharaoh, and the name of the god of the evening sun. The setting sun. The final rays of light before the coming of darkness.

The one who saw his inner strength before even he himself had.

And held him in the highest regard.

And, most of all, believed in him more than anyone else ever did.

He continued out of the school grounds, onto the sidewalk, toward the Turtle Game Shop. Just how many times had they walked home, just happily chatting with each other about the most meaningless things? He'd taken it for granted then, never once considered his comfort at the other's more tactile approach to showing affection, because he'd believed that they would be together, forever and always. More than once, he'd wondered, what would have happened if he'd blurted it out then, as the other was leaving.

But you didn't, did you? the cynical part of his mind taunted. He sighed, and continued walking on autopilot, each step a memory, a stab in his heart with a blade sharper than any knife the other Bakura had ever wielded.

"Forever and always" wasn't supposed to end with "til death do we meet". And he would have done anything, at that moment, to have mad But he'd stopped believing in those words the moment Atem had walked through those doors without so much as a backward glance.

Up above, unnoticed by the boy, a solitary peregrine falcon circled the skies as it followed him home, landing on the roof of the Kame Game Shop, where it began preening its feathers. And as the boy entered the shop without so much as an upward glance, its expression shifted, as though to say, If only you still believed.