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

Challenge Name and Number: #076, Distance
Drabble Title: Symbol
Word Count: 532
Warnings: None, really, just tons of post-canon creative liberties.
Pairings: None.
Summary: It had been a silly little thing really, a symbol marked upon them by a black marker. But it kept them going even now, even though they've separated and are chasing their dreams in different parts of the world.

A stumble. A fall. A sprained ankle. To most other dancers, this would have been discouraging, but to her, it was alright. Even as she carefully sat back up, taking care to avoid putting too much weight on the injured ankle, she clenched her hands, eyes, focused on her right hand the whole time. The ink may have been washed away years ago, but even now, she could feel it – the bond of friendship that had been created that day. She knew, the moment she went back to her tiny apartment in New York, and blogged about her day, that she would be met with a deluge of support and concern.

A chase. A swerve. The piercing wail of a siren. Amidst the chaos, he caught sight of his right hand as he frantically wrenched the steering wheel to follow the criminal's car. Another stomach-turning turn to the right, down an abandoned alleyway, but over the adrenaline rush of the chase, he could feel it – the support of his friends as they cheered him on. They'd counted on him to physically protect them in high school, and they counted on him now to keep their town safe.

A card. A fist pump. The loud cheer of the crowd as he played the card. He'd always been the underdog, the one everyone underestimated. Even now, with the world's two best duelists pursuing other interests, he was still compared to them. But he'd learned to stop listening to the critics long ago, and simply believe in himself, and his friends. After all, he thought to himself as he watched the animated demon drop the dice, he'd learned from the best, and knowing his friends were watching him play this match, live, from wherever they were in the world, was more than enough for him.

A letter. A sigh. The feeling of disappointment washed over him as he received yet another rejection. But he let the feeling go, choosing instead to focus on that pattern of black ink that once marked his hand. He wouldn't give up, not yet. He knew he had a great story – it was written from the heart, after all. It was a tale of courage, wishes, and friendship. Of never giving up, and always believing in oneself to achieve your goals and dreams. All he had to do was to keep sending out his manuscript to other publishers, and keep on trying. His Other Self never gave up on him, so why should he?

They'd all come a long way since that fateful day, when they'd been little more than a bunch of high school students in over their heads, but those obstacles taught them one thing: Even if their dreams take them to the farthest corners of the world, all it takes is a simple glance at their right hand to remind them they're never alone.

"Everyone, put your hands together," she said, pulling out a black marker from her school uniform jacket. As they did so, she continued, "And I'll mark us with a special sign." As Jounouchi and Honda pulled their hands back in confusion, she explained, "It's a symbol of our friendship."