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Author’s Note:  A few people were wondering about what I had Yami do to the men in the last chapter.  Well, I wanted it to be a combination of things.  From what I know of Yami, he’s always had complete control of his power.  He can summon monsters in the past with ease as seen when he first arrived in his memory world.  And according to the early manga and Series 1 of the anime, he can also summon the mystical energies of a “Game of Darkness” or the “Shadow Realm” as they call it in the dub, much like Pegasus, Bakura, and Marik did.  And yet, Yami has never been angry, truly angry as I described him to be in my last chapter. 

                To me Yami has always had his emotions in check (which is another reason I wanted to write this story since I wanted to delve deeper into his thoughts and feelings, opposed to what has been shown in either the manga or the anime).  I began to wonder what would happen if he were enraged enough, what kind of power he would call forth!  Surely he would be a force to be reckoned with if all of this were happening in the present!  But in my story he doesn’t have full control of his abilities yet, as seen with the difficulty that he had at the end of my last chapter when trying to take hold of it all.  But there will be more on that later….. 

                In short, I wrote that Yami was angry enough to summon forth a “Game of Darkness”  himself, the same kind that Pegasus used that nearly killed Yugi during their duel, and I had him attempt to summon a duel monster from the “Temple of Tablets” that Simon mentioned at the beginning of the “Egypt Arc” of the manga.  Whether it was a normal monster or even a god that he summoned, even he, and perhaps even I don’t know as I intentionally wanted it to be vague.  However, because of his inexperience, the added pressure in maintaining the “game of darkness” or the “shadow realm,” his feelings for Teana in the mix, and perhaps the absence of a tablet to help contain the monster that he called forth, Yami found himself overwhelmed, failing to do what he originally intended. I hope that clears things up!  Now, on with the story! :)

Chapter 6

                                “Just one swift clean crack….  That’s all it would take…..”  The man had said. 

                That brute…..  How could he?  He had treated Teana like an object, a thing…..  How he had frightened her, begun to defile her even….  And how he had laughed…..  Images such as these had started to flash in Yami’s mind, as he slowly awakened from his earlier loss of consciousness….  What he comprehended….was that he was now laying on his back, though curiously he felt his head resting against something...soft…?!  In addition to these observations, for a moment he thought that he had heard the sound of weeping…  He then became aware of the warmth and smoothness of skin on his cheeks, as well water or some sort of liquid dripping on his head….  And yet before he could respond to any of it, before he could open his eyes, the darkness returned, and he sensed no more…..

                Almost simultaneously the Yami of the present, the one who was reliving this memory, saw the many parallels with his current situation.  For a split second, the line between past and present, if the setting within his “memory world” could even be considered the present, had been blurred.  Was he awakening on the cold tiling of the palace floor, with Teana at his side?  Or was he beginning to stir from that terrible encounter that he had had with the thieves?  As he had concluded beforehand, his pain, which surely would have been the defining factor in this mystery, was still dulled, thus forcing him to confuse his surroundings and the time frame that he was in even further.  And yet, just when Yami would have guessed that he was indeed in the present, he soon found himself unable to ponder the situation any longer.  He was, unquestionably, taken back to that very instant, the last moment of the recollection that he had experienced…..  He was taken back to that same night…. 

                Reviving once more, this younger Yami again noted that he was lying not on his stomach, as he would have presumed, judging by the way he had fallen, but on his back, his head leaning on….something other than sand!  His right hand however, was pressed within that coarse desert sand; he knew for he felt its grainy texture between his fingers as he cautiously began to test the extent of his body’s mobility.  He knew that a presence was nearby as well….  Someone….sitting next to him perhaps…?  However, these minor details quickly became the least of his worries as Yami suddenly discovered a new cause for concern!  Before he could even regain the use of his senses, he soon felt a hand on his shoulder, near his neck!  His unsteady mind began to panic at that realization as he began to relive that evening's events once more.  As he did so, Yami’s anger was rekindled; it all rushed back to him immediately!  Was it him?  That man….  That vicious, horrid man….  Was it he that was there with him....?  Yes, Yami could still see his face…  That sadistic grin….  Those merciless eyes….  Everything was still so fresh in his mind!  It was all so vivid….  So real….  “The little wench is all yours now!”  The thief had taunted as Yami again watched; once more, he saw the man callously toss Teana aside!

                                “No!”  Yami growled, feeling his energy return to him. 

                In an attempt to defend himself, he had quickly reached up, forcing the figure to the ground.  Using his upper torso to hold the potential attacker in place, he then proceeded to claim the advantage, his grip tightening on that person’s own neck.  Still rather groggy, with his vision unfocused, in addition to the darkness of the evening hour, Yami concluded his forward advance by flashing an angry glare at the one he held, ready for any retaliation.  All of this had occurred in a matter of seconds.  And yet….  He was a moment too late to realize that it wasn’t the despicable thief that was within his grasp.  No, it wasn’t him who Yami had suddenly, violently, pinned down, in a possible attempt; though he couldn’t be certain due to the pace of it all, to squeeze the man’s very life away with his bare hands!  Before he had even become fully lucid in his mode of thinking, Yami’s eyes had burned a hateful, threatening gaze….at Teana….. 

                She didn’t move……though her body was clearly on edge.  She trembled slightly, her shoulders raised in a protective manner.  Mostly, however, she just continued to stare back at him, her expression filled with nothing but dread once again.  Because of her fear, all she was able to manage was her rhythm of short breaths that sounded as quickly as Yami sensed her heartbeat raced.  No, Teana never even had a chance to scream as he lunged atop of her…..  There was only a deep gasp, a startled intake of air, then a pained grunt when her back had slammed into the earth.  It all happened so fast….  If only she had cried out, said his name….anything that would have given him an indication that it was her….  Maybe then he would have been able to stop himself!  But no, there was no point in making excuses.  He had done it….  All of it….  Starting with the fact that he had allowed his anger to take hold of him, not once but twice!  Yes, he knew that he was guilty….that he was at fault….  If there was any blame for what had just occurred Yami had already placed it upon himself. 

                Yami’s rage was gone…..  Whatever was left of it had been replaced…  He now felt only an awful, paralyzing remorse….  He found that he was unable to speak at that time as well.  He had tried, but his mouth seemed frozen, his voice refusing to function, to state the assortment of words that he so wished to say!  Instead, Yami attempted to allow his eyes to beg for forgiveness as he continued to agonize over the look that Teana was giving him. *No….  Not again….  Please don’t look at me that way….*  Yami thought internally.  In the back of his mind, he began to question what she would do next.  Would she run from him again?  Is that why she had left him as she did, earlier that night...?  Because she had found something in him to be afraid of?  Through it all, Yami failed to realize that he had lost himself again, though this time within the depths of his contemplations.  He didn’t even notice, at first, that his hand was still around her throat!  How long had he held her like that?  A minute?  A second?  Regardless of the time that had passed before he had acknowledged his stance, he quickly released Teana, his hands shaking, shooting back, as if her touch had been blazing with heat!  He then raised his body, retreating away from her, allowing her room to collect herself.  Teana too forced herself up then, coughing, inhaling deeply; rubbing her neck as she waited for her breathing to stabilize again.  

                As she did so, Yami discovered that he was now sitting a few feet away, unable to do anything but stare into space.  For some reason, he thought back to when he had first met Teana, that innocent, almost comedic collision, when he had been running through the streets of the village market; mentally mocking his determined pursuers like an insolent child!  In the end, he and Teana were in a position much like the one they had been, moments ago…..  The only difference was that she had been angry….  Though not like he had been….  No, it was nothing like this….  Just days before….  At that time, Yami had felt certain that that encounter was the beginning of something….something that he found himself looking forward to, to see how it would develop.…  It was all so different from now....  Yes, how ironic it was indeed that an aggressive yet similar circumstance would mark the end for them instead! 

                Breaking the silence and the inactivity between them, Yami then noticed the Millennium Puzzle at his side; the gold-like, overturned, pyramidal structure, partially buried in the sand, while the section that was visible to his eyes gleamed brightly in the moonlight.  Placing a hand on it for a moment, he felt a slight sense of relief amongst his sadness.  He was thankful that it hadn’t shattered, that it hadn’t broken into its original separate pieces during its previous fall to the ground.  He then raised it, placing the thin rope that it was tied to over his head; until it finally rested around his neck.  Without a word, Yami stood up, still facing away from Teana.  “I’m sorry.”  Yami said at last.  “I never meant to hurt you….  Or frighten you.  I only hope…. that someday you can forgive me….”  He closed his eyes for a moment as he concluded his remark.  He, and perhaps even Teana, noticed a certain finality in his words.  Somehow Yami knew that if he walked away from her now that it would be the end.  He would probably never see her again.  But then….  Maybe that was for the best….  Perhaps too much had happened…..  Yes, it was very possible that they would never be able to move past this, this unforgettable night…..

                It was then that, Yami felt yet another new emotion course through him!  He sighed.  What was it this time?  He was already nearly overcome with his remorse, his despair….  And yet beyond that, he now experienced guilt and shame….  Guilt for everything that had transpired thus far, and shame for what he was about to do, how he would leave things.  All of these wild, troublesome sentiments!  How oblivious he had been to these foreign sensations before he had met Teana!  He felt his face harden at that thought, as aggravation was added to the already abundant mix!  Perhaps that was the problem…..  He had allowed her to get too close…..  He had willingly let down his guard; he had broken away from the facade that permitted no such feelings!

                Undeniably, it was true that he was aware of a playfulness within him, evident by the fact that he did enjoy his escapes, his wanderings throughout the village, but up to that point, up until he had stumbled upon Teana, it had been nothing more than an outlet, a way in which he could temporarily avoid the strictness and severity of his life style: a distant and impassive pretense that his heritage and title, both current and forthcoming, demanded….  Yes, he had always longed to abandon these disciplines, to be like the people he would someday be expected to rule, to be able to freely express himself, to feel…..  But he never wanted this…..  He would now gladly embrace his position of power, to turn back the clock, if it meant that he could rid himself of what currently clouded his mind and heart….  Maybe it was true…..  Perhaps ignorance was bliss after all, though he never ever would have thought such a thing to be accurate in any case!

                And yet not only could he never undo what had happened, but there was also nowhere for him to turn to…  Nowhere that he could run….  If he returned home he would be faced with even more pain, more suffering….!  He would be confronted with the harsh reality that his father would-  He had had enough!  Yami was through with everything!  All of it!  The torment!  The emotions!  His damnable affections for this woman!  Affections…  Even in the midst of his anguish, he still felt it…  .It was there….  Despite his confusion, the suddenness, and, if he was honest, the speed of all that he had experienced with Teana, in some way he felt no regret about that at least, regardless of what had just coursed through his mind.  No, he hadn’t meant it….  He had been lying to himself a moment ago, attempting to suppress his feelings….but to no avail....  Though he wasn’t exactly sure why or how it could even be possible in such a short time, he somehow knew that he would always feel that way towards her…..  It was perhaps the one feeling he didn’t want to escape from, the one pure emotion that he wanted to keep with him, even if he could never experience it again.  But maybe that was enough….  Yes, he had wanted more, but that was over now….  He would have to settle for those brief moments with her.  He would have to leave it at that….  He had to!  And he would….if he could only find the strength, or arguably the cowardice (no, he was done debating this!) in him to walk away for good….  If he could just take that first step....

                Ultimately, Teana had indeed managed to seize control of her rattled nerves.  Her heart beat tranquilly again, as did her systematic inhaling and exhaling.  Allowing her own mind to process the long chain of events that had taken place, Teana continued to sit there, torn emotionally.  She simply watched Yami where he stood, solemnly, wordlessly, though he had long since kept his back to her.  He hadn’t spoken to her at all after his apology.  Yes, she knew what it had meant, what those words suggested…..  During the silence she had attempted to speak several times, even opening her mouth to address him, but she just wasn’t sure what to tell him, how to make things better…..just as she couldn’t earlier that evening…..  Before they….  She wanted to reach out to him, to help him as she had tried to do several times that night, even during all the terror, all the chaos!  She was only able to…when it was too late…..  When he was descending…..  When she watched his lifeless body hitting the ground with a loud thud!!

                She had felt her eyes widen then, followed by a piercing, devastating, sting inside of her!  She had called out to him, crying his name….  It had been a deafening scream....  But that didn’t matter to her….  She didn’t care if her voice cracked or even if anyone had heard her….  She only worried whether or not he had heard, whether or not he would respond….  When he hadn’t, she had begun fearing the worst, that when he had finally gotten control of his anger, his power, that it was more than a simple case of losing consciousness…. 
                Uncertainty and distress had begun to emerge in Teana’s mind.  Several moments had passed and he still hadn’t come to!  Incapable of containing her alarm any longer she began to make her way towards him.  Only she was unable to stand!  Her ankle was still throbbing, still bleeding! But she couldn’t think of that now!  There was no time for that!  With her determination and emotions moving her forward, she then proceeded to crawl to him.  Once more, she disregarded her own pain…  She even dismissed the trail of blood that had begun to soak into the sand behind her….  Her thoughts were filled with nothing else but reaching Yami…..

                When she finally did, she grabbed for his wrist right away, attempting to feel for a pulse.  Having found it, following her tremendous sigh of relief, she then struggled to turn him over, to lay his head on her lap so he could rest quietly.  And there she stayed, holding him, waiting for him to awaken…..  As she did so, she began to feel a deep regret, an overwhelming sorrow that had started the formation of tears in her eyes.  Her vision had begun to blur….  She bit her lip in a last resort to control herself…..  But as she gazed down at his face again, she found that she couldn’t restrain herself any longer.  She felt herself being strongly affected, completely engulfed by her grief…..  At once she lowered her arms and her own head to encircle his.

                                “Yami!”  Teana cried.  “I’m sorry!  I’m so sorry for everything!” 

                As her shoulders shook, her tears had begun pouring down her cheeks, falling into his hair.  Teana sobbed uncontrollably, mournfully even, and she continued on for what seemed like an eternity….  Finally she was able to take hold of herself….to stop…..  For all that time, it didn’t seem that he had heard her weep and in a rush she quickly wiped away any remaining tears, fearing that he would rise up, any minute, to see the blubbering, wailing mess that she had become!  When she had finished composing herself she simply continued to wait patiently, allowing Yami to sleep comfortably in her embrace. 

                Looking down at him again, she was troubled when she watched him begin to toss and turn, to twitch slightly, as he began to utter faint moans and mumbles.  This was soon followed by the movements of his right hand, as it began to claw deeply within the desert sand.  *Is he having a dream perhaps? A nightmare?*  Teana asked herself.  Seeing a tenseness in his body, she lowered a hand to his shoulder in an attempt to stroke his arm. She had hoped to ease his suffering…..  And yet she had barely touched him when he had suddenly snapped awake…..! 

                Yes, Teana had been afraid….  She had felt the wind being knocked out of her when he had forced her down.  It had been so unexpected!  So instantaneous!  She never even saw it coming….!  But…  She knew…  Somehow she just knew that it wasn’t her that he had thought he was attacking.  It was true that she had been terrified regardless!  She was taken completely by surprise after all, as she was unsure how long it would take for Yami to realize, to fully awaken!  But she didn’t blame him…..  She couldn’t….  *The nightmare…..*  Teana reasoned.  *Yes that’s it!  He must have been remembering!  He thought that I-*  For a moment, Teana chided herself for her actions, for disturbing him with her touch when it was so clear that- 

                 She ended her thought process then, recalling that Yami was about to walk away, to march out of her life forever!  She watched as he had at last taken that first step…..!  No!  She couldn’t let him leave!  Not like that!  She had to tell him that she understood!  She had to tell him about-

                                “Yami!”  Teana began.  “Yami don’t-!” 

                She had attempted to stand as she had begun calling to him, forgetting the extent of her injury, entirely.  Unable to sustain her weight, she then collapsed on the ground with a cry.  In response, Yami turned towards her, hurrying to her side, kneeling by her once more.  “Yami…..  I….”  Teana grimaced, clutching her exerted leg.  She watched as the hardness in his face diminished; as he simply stared down at the deep gash on her ankle.  Afterwards, as if something had dawned on him, he looked down at her lap, then towards the trail of blood, which spanned from where she now sat, all the way up to the wall in which he had seen her positioned earlier.  With a slight nod, it appeared as if he were piecing it together, deciphering all that had occurred in his mind. 

                Seemingly without emotion, and still unable to look her in the eye, Yami then proceeded to tear his cloak, tending to her wound, wrapping it tightly to stop any additional bleeding.  Teana wanted to smile at him… thank him for helping her, to show her gratitude yet again, but before she could, Yami had reached over, scooping Teana up in his arms once more!  It stunned her!  And though it felt like the most inappropriate time to do so, she felt her cheeks begin to burn brightly.  It reminded her…..  She remembered their similar experience days before…even if it had been different then…...

                                “Yami….  What are you-”
                                “I’ll take you home.”  Yami interrupted.
                                “Home?!”  Teana exclaimed  *Oh no!  I can’t let him see where I-*  Teana thought to herself.
                                “Don’t worry…..  I won’t stay.…  When I see that you are both safe and well, I will then take my leave.  I will return to the palace.  You can trust my word on this matter, Teana.  Please, all I ask is that you show me the way.”
                                “Um….I….all right then….  It’s this way…..”  Teana sighed, pointing towards the western side of the village.

                As Teana continued to guide Yami, she noted that throughout their journey, he had continued to avoid her gaze; he continued to ignore her, focusing only on her words and the direction in which he traveled.  This upset her….  It made her uneasy…..  She was now truly concerned that when he did finish his task that he would, in fact, disappear, never to return!  Unless she could do something, she would never see him again…!

                                *I have to explain it to him….make him understand……  I have to tell him what happened, why I….!*  Teana thought to herself.  Looking into his cold expression above her, she felt that ache in her heart return.  She had to raise a hand to her mouth in an attempt to contain her emotions, to hold back her tears once more.  *No….  Yami!  I can’t let it end like this….  I can’t lose you now!  I won’t!* she said to herself.  *Please Ra, just let us get there…..  Let us make it home….  When we do, I promise you….  I’ll tell him.  Yes….  .I’ll tell him…everything……* 

Chapter 7