by: Xananddare Liadon
Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah. I know. The old legal yadda, yadda. But it has to be done. So ::takes a deep breath:: I neither own nor am I affiliated with Yu Gi Oh!. Yu Gi Oh!, it characters, concepts, images, etc are all copyright 2001 Kazuki Takahashi.
Rating: PG-13 for shonnen-ai, some language
Genre: Romance/Angst, Yami/Yugi pairing
Summary: Set after Battle City, before Doom. Something strange has happened and somehow Yami and Yugi are separated. Yami, more alone than hes ever been, must find out how and why, and decide how hell reunite with his aibou.
Special Thanks: This was inspired by the above fanart that I found on the net. When I looked at it, I wondered what the artist was thinking. Why would Yugi be a merman? This story comes from it. Whoever you are, thank you. If anyone knows who drew it, please tell me.
He sat in the rowboat leaning over the side and looking down at the water, green and cloudy. His violet-red eyes seemed to be trying to penetrate the depths by sheer will alone, but all the sea would show him was his own face, crowned by a halo of fire, streaked with golden lightening.
Using the bond that somehow still existed between them, Yami called out to his other half, calling his name, begging him to come back to him. Hours fled by him, but Yami neither knew nor cared how many. He knew Yugi was in the ocean, somewhere, sensed he was still alive, but he wasnt answering him.
He didnt know what had happened to cause them to separate, couldnt understand how Yugi could be alive somewhere in the depths of the ocean. All he really knew now was that he had never felt more alone than he ever had in his life ...
Mako had taken Yugi and his friends on a little pleasure trip in his new boat, finally and proudly earned from prize money won from a tournament last spring. They were thoroughly enjoying themselves. Even Joey, after emptying the contents of his stomach over the side, was starting to enjoy the fresh salty air.
Then, almost entirely without warning, a thunderstorm arrived, a fast mover that would later threaten to flood the coast. Yugi and his friends fastened themselves and each other to the deck, able to only wait it out.
And then came something strange. Yami remembered flashes of green and turquoise light, of a figure looking like a blond-haired elf with a fishs tail sitting on the edge of the deck looking at Yugi, then the sense of old, strange magic and an alarming sensation of Yugi being torn away from him, and finally a red-haired figure disappearing over the edge of the boat and Yami helplessly watching, yelling his aibous name.
All Yami knew for certain was that some kind of ancient magic had pulled their two souls apart, but he had no idea who or why. Why him? It made no sense, and he had no idea where Yugi was, except the vague idea of the near-infinite depths of the Sea of Japan.
Yami rested his head on his arms, watching the surface of the water. He was tired, but he had to keep hoping that Yugi would answer him, that he would find his beloved, somehow.
He had caught himself falling asleep when he saw movement beneath the waters surface. It was red, and at first he thought it might have been the waters reflection, but it wasnt moving with him. Yugi? he whispered, hoping against everything he had ever hoped for. The spot of red grew in size until it broke the surface with a splash. Yugi! Yami cried in unfettered joy and reached over to hold the young man in his arms, nearly tipping over the boat. Yugi hugged back, eagerly, desperately, both crying unashamed.
Yugi. Yami finally pulled away enough to brush a few wet strands of hair out of his face, and noticed the new pointed ears. What happened to you?
I, Im not sure, Yugi replied. But that woman we saw? She was Nela, a sea elf. Theyre like mermaids. Theres so few of them now, so she and some others used some kind of really old magic, and um ... As if to explain, a man-sized turquoise fish tail briefly flapped up out of the water. They made me one of them.
Then we have to make this Nela change you back!
She cant! Yugi said helplessly. She doesnt know how anymore. Nela said the magic was from Oceanus, some ancient kingdom that existed the same time as Atlantis, and most of it was lost. She wanted to, really. He pulled Yami closer. When she realized what she did. They didnt know anything about us. They thought wed be happier with our own bodies.
Yami shook his head, unwilling to believe that hed be separated from Yugi forever. There has to be something we can do!
I dont know. Ive never he paused, his face taking on a listening expression.
What is it?
All sea elves can speak telepathically to each other, like we can. Nelas calling me back, I have to go. Yugi hugged Yami one last time, then pulled away.
I cant. They need me back. His body disappeared beneath the water.
Yugi! Without caring what might happen, Yami dived beneath the water. The green waters were worse than any fog, but that didnt matter. He followed their bond and found Yugi, seeing him fully as a sea elf for the first time.
That didnt matter either. Yami took him into a tight embrace, refusing to let go. Yugi, after his initial shock, held onto Yami just as tightly.
/Yugi, I am not losing you again!/
/But they need me./
/I need you! You are the most precious part of me. Without you, I dont know how Ill live./
/But I cant go back with you. Im a sea elf now. The others cant change me back./
/Then Ill find a way. I may not know how they changed you, but Ill make you human again, I promise. Until then, please come back to me./
/I will. Ill visit you here everyday, I promise./ Gently, but insistently, Yugi pulled himself out of Yamis arms. /But I have to go now./
Reluctantly, Yami let him go, watching him disappear into the depths, taking his heart with him.
Every morning, Yami would borrow Makos rowboat and meet Yugi on the sea. Most of the time, Yami would ditch his jacket-cape and boots and dive in with him. Theyd talk for hours, about everything.
Nela said most of the magic they knew has been lost or forgotten when Oceanus was destroyed in a war with Atlantis, Yugi told Yami one day. But its possible some of it was saved with some of the people who escaped the city.
That matches whatve Ive learned, Yami said. Im coming closer to a way to change you back. Im sure of it. Soon, well come home together.
Thatll be great. Yugi wrapped his arms around Yamis neck and pulled him into a tight hug. Ive missed you so much. I miss you everyday.
So do I. Yami returned the hug with equal enthusiasm, but with a part of himself held back. He had to, fearing the new emotions that had been emerging since their two souls had separated and they began meeting like this, emotions that had begun to frighten him. How can I even think of being more than friends to him? hed often scold himself. Hes so young, it would change everything between us. Hed remind himself that itd be just a little longer, then life would return to normal and he could put these feelings aside.
Yami? Yugi gazed at him with a concerned expression. Is something wrong?
Its nothing, he said hastily.
/Yami, you cant hide anything from me, remember?/ Yugi said through their bond. /Youre trying to hold something back. Why?/
Yami looked down, wishing he could be open with him, but at the same time ashamed of what he was feeling, of how right now he wanted to kiss, but would never let himself even consider it.
Yugi held his aibous face in his hands and stared deep into his eyes. Yami felt his soul baring himself beneath that breathtaking violet gaze. Though it meant Yugi learning how he felt, he never wanted to break away from those eyes.
Then those eyes, those beautiful eyes, softened and revealed a kind of affection Yami had never seen before, affection that was making his heart thunder in his chest. We cant, he protested.
Who says we cant? Yugi pulled his face close and met Yamis lips with his own. All of Yamis protests shattered, and he pulled his aibou, and his love, closer and let himself be lost in the kiss.
And for the first time, Yami seriously wondered what it would be like to always be with Yugi like this.
Yami laid awake in Yugis bed, his body curled up to fit on the short mattress, and stared at the wall.
Somehow he had never gotten used to sleep. As a spirit, he never needed it, and the only time he had ever slept in Yugis body before they separated was when the blast from the Winged Dragon of Ra knocked him unconscious in Battle City.
That, his fears for Yugi, and his preoccupation with finding a way to reverse the spell and make his aibou human again resulted in spending most nights an insomniac. Now he had another worry to add to reasons keeping him awake.
I never should have let it happen, he berated himself over and over. How could I have kissed him?! We dont love each other like that!
Giving up on sleep and trying to push the self-accusatory thoughts out of his head, Yami sat up, turned on a lamp, and studied his latest batch of notes on what he knew.
Nela of the sea elves, who still hadnt entirely convinced him they regretting taking Yugi away, had told him of several groups of Oceanean refuges that had fled their doomed city in the last days of the war between them and Atlantis, before the supports holding their city above water were destroyed, sending it to the ocean floor. Supposedly, one of them had made a new home in, of all places, Egypt. They had also saved as much of their libraries, culture, and histories as possible. Among their saved treasures might be the lost magic he needed.
Yami rubbed his forehead in frustration. Even if they did save the magic I need, I dont know where they hid it. That sea witch Nela believes they would have entombed it in a vault as soon as they landed to keep it safe. Its a reasonable conclusion, but where? How? It might have already been found and emptied, its contents in a museum somewhere. He threw the fist-full of notes back on the night stand and fell back on the bed, hitting his head on the headboard. Dammit! Rubbing the back of his head, he curled up again, turned off the light, covered his throbbing head with a pillow, and waited for exhaustion to take him into the oblivion where he didnt have to worry or think.
/They were hovering underwater in an embrace. They didnt say a word to each other, they didnt have to. Instead, they simply enjoyed the comfort of each others presence, one of the things they both had missed the most since the ordeal began.
But then Yugi took on that listening expression Yami had begun to dread. /Nela says Ive been gone too long. I have to go./
/Wait! Not yet, please!/ Yami held onto Yugis hand, unwilling to let go.
Despite his need to return, Yugi held on just as tightly. /I want to! I want to, but I cant!/
/But I ... Yugi ... take me with you!/
Yugi was shocked. /Yami, I .../
/Please, I need you! I ... I .../ He closed his eyes, ashamed he couldnt say what he truly felt, what he needed.
But Yugi didnt need him to say a word. /Ive missed you!/ They pulled each other back into an embrace. /Ive missed you so much!/
Yami brushed his aibous forelocks out of his face. They were always getting in the way underwater.
/We could be together again,/ Yugi said hopefully. /Really together./
After a moment of indecision, Yugi smiled and nodded. /Lets go./
With Yugi using his sea elf ability to help Yami breathe underwater, they swam to Oceanus, rebuilt on the ocean floor centuries after it was destroyed. No one questioned or stopped them. Maybe Yugi had already telepathically told them what they wanted. And maybe Yami didnt care.
Yugi took him to what mightve been a Great Hall or temple. In the center of the hall, surrounded by sea witches like Nela, laid a long stone box like a coffin filled with a pocket of magically trapped air.
With a last embrace before going in, Yami laid inside, letting them slide the lid over him, leaving him in darkness. Then he felt the water begin to flow in, but it was water only in how it was a liquid. He could feel its magic, feel it change his body.
He burst from the box like a reborn phoenix, swimming with an emerald-green tail. Yami and Yugi embraced happily, kissing with the joy knowing theyd never have to stop again.
/Yugi, I love you .../
Yugi! Solomons voice had the effect of a 2x4 on the back of Yamis head. The former pharaoh groaned, his first waking emotions after annoyance at being verbally thrown out of bed was shame. How could possibly dream of Yugi that way? And wake with his arms outstretched, reaching for him? Maybe if there was no way to restore him.
Yugi! Its time to get up! Yami groaned again and rubbed the Sandmans brief gift out of his eyes. Yugis grandfather had reacted to his kidnapping badly. Now he was handling it by not handling it, by being in denial and treating Yami like his grandson. Yami played along, hoping he could bring his aibou back before it got any worse.
Are you coming down to breakfast?
In a minute, Yami yelled back irritably. I need a shower first.
Dont take too long. Youll be late for school.
I know. It didnt matter. Yugis friends were taking notes and collecting homework for him while Yami searched. When Yugi returned, hed have a mountain of notes and the three most devoted tutors in Japan to help him catch up.
Nela, the sea witch and equivalent of a shaman among the sea elves, held herself above the water from the waist up in a way that Yami suspected was done by magic. No one had that good muscle strength. The effect was subtly impressive though, it gave her the ability to see roughly eye-to-eye with him, though he still had the advantage of height being in the boat.
Her hair was long, spreading out from her like a straw fan in the water as her eyes leveled a stare at a pharaoh who was proving he could be just as stubborn as she was. Why havent you traveled to Egypt? she demanded. The magic we both need is certain to be there.
It is there
But where in Egypt? Yami was not happy that the sea witch had arrived instead of Yugi, but recovered quickly. How can you even be sure its still in that country? The Oceaneans arrived there and made this alleged vault millennia ago. How can I be sure some archaeologist didnt find and empty it before Yugi was even born? I need more than a vague direction without even some kind of guarantee that what were searching for will even be there. For all I know, he accused silently, it doesnt even exist, and you dont want me to find it.
Nela frowned, her ocean green eyes darkening. I knew youd ask that eventually. She fished something out of a belt and handed it to Yami. Here, this is how. She reached into a pouch on her belt and handed him a disc with the care of a relic. It was heavy, and barely fit in his hand. It was carved from some kind of pure white stone, speckled with what looked like diamond shards. An arrow made of a material as green as the sea pointed west.
Looks like a compass. Thats not even working right. Hows this going to help me?
Its not a compass, Nela replied in a tone that couldve added you idiot. Think of it as a homing device. Its tuned to specifically track our magic. If you take it to Egypt, I promise itll lead you to the vault.
It wouldve been much simpler if youve given me this earlier.
Its not a gift, its a loan. And its the only one of its kind we have.
He nodded. Understood. Thank you, Ill take good care of it.
Fine, he thought, trying not to grit his teeth in irritation. Now wheres Yugi?
Im sorry, but we need him right now, especially when we dont know how much longer hell be with us.
Yami frowned. What the h-- what for?
Nela wrinkled her lip, reluctant to answer. He has obviously told you how few of us there are, and how only the sea elves and not the humans who lived among us survived. What he may not have told you is that most of us are female.
Yami quickly put two and two together, and his eyes widened in shock. You mean youre using him for, for stud service?!
Not in the way youre thinking! She immediately protested. Its more like she fumbled for words. Oh, what did Yugi call it artificial insemination.
Now Yami was gritting his teeth. I can not believe still, I shouldve guessed that was why they needed him when there are so few sea elves left. I still dont like it.
Nelas expression couldve replied As if I give a damn.
The plane landed in Cairo in time to see the first rays of the sun caress the desert sands and dance across the river Nile, a view completely wasted on the four leaving the plane.
Joey stretched out and up with a yawn. Man! I know ten hours on a plane is too long, but I still cant believe Im this tired!
Yami looked out the airport windows, staring at the sunrise. Its the jetlag. He looked down at the compass in his hand, its arrow pointing southeast. It looks like Ill be searching east of the Nile.
You? Tea said, as if she wasnt sure she heard. Uh-uh. I dont think so.
Teas right, Yami, Joey agreed. No way were letting you go off into the desert alone.
Yami turned away from the window, his smile sad, but grateful. Thank you, but this is very risky. The only way I was able to get the vaults location was to agree that no one else would know. Thats means wed be on our own. No archaeologists, no guides, no one.
In the desert? Whoa, Tristan remarked. Those sea elves drive a hard bargain. Do they want you to get lost out there?
Yami allowed himself a sardonic half-smile. Good question, but it was the only way. And thats why I must do this alone.
Tea insisted, with a look that promised she wasnt going to take an argument. We know how close you and Yugi are, but hes our friend too. Theres no way were letting you save him alone.
Touched, Yami looked at them with real gratitude. Youre not going to let me argue my way out of this, are you?
If you didnt want an argument, Joey countered, why did you bring us along?
Pooling their money, the foursome rented a jeep, packed it with what they hoped was enough water, food, a first aid kit, a canopy tent, pick axes and shovels and drove south down the main road. after a brief fight over who was going to drive, Tristan and Yami took the front seat while Tea and a sullen Joey took the back.
I hope this jeep is good off road, Tristan shouted over the loud engine. Something tells me this Oceanean treasure isnt going to be near anything paved.
Well deal with that when it happens, Yami replied distractedly, his eyes having never left the compass since they began driving. Go east.
OK ... ehh, which way is east?
He means left! Tea yelled, annoyed at what seemed to her as persistent male idiocy. Look, theres a road up ahead, take it.
You got it.
They drove for nearly three hours, half of it in desert off the road in view of the Red Sea, until somewhere near the coast the jeep overheated, loudly.
Dammit! Tristan yelled in pain as he tried to open the steaming valve bare-handed.
Ever thought of using something like a hot mitt? Joey remarked, then opened the valve with his jacket wrapped around his hand. See? Nothing to it.
Great Joey, Tea congratulated him sarcastically. She had gotten out and was fanning herself with her hat. Any idea how long well have to wait until we can drive again?
It doesnt matter, Yami spoke after being silent for three hours. Were almost there. Without waiting for anyone else, he got out of the jeep and started walking, his eyes still never leaving the tracker.
Well thats certainly a coincidence, Tristan muttered. Well, well have to wait a while before it cools off enough to go back anyway. Lets go.
They grabbed the gear and followed Yami as he walked slowly in a general southeastern direction. He was so absorbed in where he was going his friends had to keep him from tripping and falling, twice. Finally, he put the compass away with a sigh.
Are we here yet? Joey carried one of the shovels over his shoulder.
Close, were so close the compass cant show me anymore. The arrow just spins. Theres too much magic around to pinpoint anything.
Sounds like somethings leaking, Tristan guessed. You know, like radiation or something.
Something like that. Ill have to try another way. Yami closed his eyes and started to pace slowly in a line parallel to the sea, like a blind man feeling his way along.
So whatre we doing now? Sniff it out like a bloodhound? Joey looked around, trying to see anything that would stand out. The sands however, held their secrets, surrounding them with nothing but dunes.
Joey! Tea protested.
Its all right Tea. Thats exactly what Im doing. I have to use my own senses and find where the magic is strongest. ... The others followed quietly, two of them stayed at his side in case he tripped again. Suddenly he stopped dead and opened his eyes.
Where? Joey looked around, but saw nothing but sand around them.
In response, Yami shot out his hand as if he were pushing something away and Called wind to blast the sands away from an emerging smooth flat slab of stone, its color so close to the sands it was nearly invisible. Once it was unearthed, the others examined it while Yami took a moment to catch his breath.
OK, Tristan smiled hopefully and got down on his hands and knees to feel for cracks. So wheres the door? Finally his fingers found a long crack, and traced it until he found a rectangle about half as long as he was tall. Theres no lock, no handle. I think were going to have break in. Joey, hand me that pick-axe.
Wait, Yami stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. I need to open the seal first.
Let me guess, booby-trapped?
Yes. Yami knelt in front of the door. Nela said they probably would have set one, and you dont want to know what kind.
After disabling the trap, it was a matter of sweat and muscle to break the door open. Tea was the last person to get in, dangling from the doors lip and falling in. The inside was about the size of a walk-in closet, which made it particularly cramped inside. Though sunlight streamed through the hole they made, most of the light actually came from the myriad of crystals lining the floor-to-ceiling shelves along the walls. They varied from the tiniest of gems that couldve fit on a friendship ring to pillars as thick as Joeys wrist, and they filled the chamber with an entire spectrum of soft light. Wow, she gasped. Its so beautiful. But why are the crystals glowing?
Yami was picking up the crystals one by one, holding them for a moment with his eyes closed, then putting them away. Its the magic. The Oceaneans used it to store information in crystals. His hands grabbed a turquoise piece as long as his hand and shaped like a miniature obelisk. After holding it a moment, he body seemed to relax with a sigh, though his grip tightened on the piece. Found it. This has the spell to change Yugi back.
Tea looked up at the hole they made. I hope they wont be mad at us for breaking in.
Yami waited until the others were out before climbing up. It wont matter. Once they move everything out, theyll return this place to the desert.
How will they do that?
Yami pulled out a seashell the size of his palm from his jacket. Once I throw this into the sea, itll lead them right here. He began walking to the shore, the others following. Could somebody pitch the tent please? Theyll want us to stay until after they find us.
Joey unslung the tent bundle from his back. How long will that be?
Yami said nothing, perhaps because he didnt know himself. Forefront on his mind though was the hope Yugi would arrive with Nelas promised scouting party.
The party arrived with the sea witch about an hour later. The sea elf watched Yamis friends goofing off in the water and frowned. What are they doing? Dont they realize how serious this is?
Theyre just trying to keep cool. Yami was sitting underneath the tent, pitched close to the waters edge.
Then they should just swim or wade, not act like the sea is their personal playground.
Yami humphed. And they tell me Im too serious. Youre getting what you want, why should you even care?
Nela wrinkled her lip. Hm, I suppose you have a point. She turned to the other six in her party, already forming a circle close to the waters edge. All right, get to work.
Play stopped as nearly everyone watched in wonder as the team teleported the crystals from the vault to the sea. Yami, however, seemed preoccupied. Nela, assured the work was going smoothly, had left without him noticing, nor did he notice much else either. While the complex magic hummed as it wove its strange patterns in the air, the former pharaoh watched the sea, silent, motionless. Finally, he lied on his back and shut his eyes. They didnt let you come, did they?
Hey look! Teas shout broke him out of his reverie. He looked up and saw a flash of red. Joey swam out toward it and returned with Yugi.
Hey guys, Ive missed you!
Weve missed you too, Yugi! On a whim, Tea gave a surprised Yugi a big hug.
Yami sat and watched Yugi catch up with his friends, content to just let him have his time. Hell want to become human again right away, and then well finally go home together. His thumb rubbed over the turquoise crystal absently. He thought he was happy. I should be happy, for all of us. Well be together again, and Ive missed him so very much. But his thoughts felt like he was rationalizing and he knew it. In his heart of hearts, he couldnt decide whether he most wanted to free Yugi from his aquatic prison ... or join him in it.
Hey Yami? Yugi had pulled himself partially ashore, letting everyone see his full sea elf form. The jade scales of his tale sparkled in the sunlight. You want to swim with me a little bit? Before we go?
Anyone needing a second invitation wouldve been a fool. Yami threw off his jacket and boots and joined his aibou, disappearing into the Red Sea.
What do you think theyre doing down there? Joey dried himself off with his shirt.
Probably just getting a little time alone before we go home, Tea replied.
What, so they can make out or something? He dodged Teas first swing, but the second whacked him upside his head.
Joey, that is not even remotely funny! She pulled back her hand for a third swing.
OK, OK, Im sorry! Dont hit me anymore!
Later, as they finished preparing to leave, they watched a small, red-headed, and human figure rise from the sea, and they helped him back to the shore on his feet.
In his soul room, Yami sat on the floor and stared at the walls. He hadnt seen them in a long time, and looking at them now made him realize how much actually missed them, surprising him how anyone could miss ancient brown stone walls with fading paintings bordering the ceilings.
He was not surprised how much he missed the deep quiet, of being alone with his thoughts but still feeling the bond, his reminder that he was not alone, in the back of his mind.
The door creaked open, and Yami smiled at Yugi coming in and sitting down beside him.
Hey, whatre you thinking down here?
Hm, of how much Ive missed while we were separated.
Yeah, I know. I really missed always being able to talk to you when I needed someone. I felt so alone without you.
Until I lost you, I dont think I knew what being alone really meant.
Yugi surprised him by wrapping his arms around his neck, but then he eagerly returned the hug. I can handle this, he told himself. Soon these feelings will fade, and Ill be fine. They pulled away slightly and smiled into each others eyes. Yami gazed into those twin orbs of amethyst and nearly gasped at what he saw there. Is he thinking ...?
Yugi started to pull himself closer.
Yugi, we cant.
Who says we cant?
But we dont
Shhh, dont say that. /Not when we both know its not true./ Yugi met Yamis lips with his own before he could protest more.
Yamis eyes widened to encompass half of his face, then closed as he let himself be kissed, tears threatening to escape his eyes. His arms held his aibou tightly. /Yugi, I ... I love you!/