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Chapter 16 - Resistance

"Roaming through this darkness
I'm alive but I'm alone
Part of me is fighting this
But part of me is gone..."
--Three Doors Down, When I'm Gone


Yugi didn't know how it happened, but one minute, he was fighting to remain standing for the crippling pain gnawing through his unseen wounds, and the next it was as though he had never hurt at all; all the agony and the pain lifted from him like a heavy and very unpleasant cloak, and he was wholly himself - energetic and alive.

Yami, however, knew exactly what had happened.

Cora - she... she's gone. The spell - my spell - is broken...!

The intensity of Yami's emotion - always so much more passionate than his own - flooded Yugi; Yami was upset, worried, even angry...

...but, as usual, Yugi's serenity counterbalanced the fervour of the fiery young mage...

We can't! Not now, Yami...!

No, came the reluctant response, you're right... not now...

...and the fury of the mage was directed, focused against the assailant before him, and he cried out what his new strength finally allowed:

"A'nen, Dark Magician!"

As the dark-cloaked mage blossomed out of the ground in front of Yugi, Samekh's shrill summon produced its own deadly flower.

"A'nen, Black Dragon!"

Like a cresting wave, the massive, coal-black dragon reared its head in a serpentine arc, directing its ember-red eyes at the Dark Magician. Samekh's crooked smile disrupted Bakura's face.

"Well, this should be an interesting match, old friend," Samekh cooed. "These monsters are evenly matched. I suppose it's up to you and me. 'The strength of the conjurer determines the strength of the summoned monster, even above its own strength', right, Yami? The Mandates of the Game - your laws, I believe? You and that decrepit excuse for a ruler they called 'Pharoah'."

Yami's dark confidence constructed a return smile from Yugi.

"Yes, I did write it. In fact, I myself made that particular law. I'm flattered you can quote it, Samekh. What a mind."

The sarcasm was not lost on Samekh, who flushed purple in rage.

"But you have, as usual, forgotten one key element here that makes my strength the greater. Can you guess what that is, Samekh?"

"Oh, pray, tell." Both Samekh's fists were clenched, his teeth bared.

"It is that I," Yami said silkily, "have a willing host."

The left side of Bakura's face twitched. "I think you underestimate my power, Yami."

Yami's smile became infinitely more glacial. "I never have before," he replied.

Something inside Samekh seemed to snap. He made a feral sort of sound in his throat, then screamed hysterically: "Attack!"

"Attack!" Yami cried, at the same moment.

The staff the Dark Magician held began to crackle with an unseen energy, but as the Black Dragon drew breath for attack, another scream spewed from Bakura's mouth.

"Nekhet!"

He's strengthening...!

The dragon spat it's red-gold fire from deep in its throat, and an extra surge of brightness met it in the air...

The Dark Magician aimed at the giant fireball, and the end of his staff exploded with purple brilliance...

"Nekhet!"

Yami's voice screamed its own spell, and the purple fire expanded with the force of it...

...then the air was shimmering with silver magic...

Cora...!

She was around them, over them, surrounding them like a blanket. Yugi could feel her presence, alive and strong, and he felt Yami's love for her surge through him like a living thing. She stood over them both, pointing with one delicate hand as her voice sounded as one with Yami's...

"Nekhet!"

...and her spell sparkled life around the purple flare of the Dark Magician's attack, and both attacks met with devastating force...

...but the purple fire engulfed the red-gold flame and grew and grew until the Black Dragon itself shrieked its death cry and was consumed in purple light.

Samekh dropped, screaming, to his knees, and Yami's own fire sparked and burned its fury alive into Yugi's heart, and Yugi felt the tempest of it like boiling lava...

So now, they thought as one, finish it...

"Dark Magician..." he began

But then the aspect of Bakura's face changed. He blinked and looked around, as though he didn't really know where he was, and the black eyes suddenly revealed a mounting terror.

"Yugi," he cried out. "Yugi, what's happening to me?"

Yami froze.

Oh, God, Yugi's stomach spiralled downward, Bakura...

"Kheti." Yugi finished in a stunned whisper, and the Dark Magician withdrew in a cloud of purple mist.

"I can't control it, Yugi," Bakura cried again, "I never could. Please help me...!"

...please help me...

The words he had heard in his dream-vision of a week ago echoed back to him. It was Bakura - asking for help...

The black eyes changed again. A twisted smile appeared, distorting the delicate features of Bakura's face.

"Just remember whose body I'm using, little Yugi," Samekh hissed. "I could make your little friend appear any time I want!"

"Coward!" Yami thundered in fury. "Let him go!"

"I don't think so, Yami. You'd be amazed at how ruthless a couple of Millennia trapped in a ring can make you."

"I don't see much of a change," Yami retorted savagely.


* * *

Blurred images... light... darkness...

Power... so much power... so much pain...

A flash panorama played back through his brain: senseless... disturbing...

...a woman - a spirit - more beautiful than anything he had ever seen - but he was stabbing her over and over again...

... he was creating power between his hands: cold... burning, searing cold...

...he was standing in front of Yugi - he thought he had called out to him - but he couldn't remember now...

Awareness. The barest shred of conscious thought.

It was one tiny glimmer of himself, but he grasped it like a lifeline and hung on to it. Mine. My thought...

Using the thought as leverage - pulled himself further, further out of the black lake of oblivion swirling around his senses.

Being controlled... again...

Have to stop this... have to...

He swam through this inky lake, trying to find his mouth, trying to find his eyes. He turned the mental volume up full blast:

HEY, he screamed, HEY! GIVE... BACK... MY... BODY!!


* * *

 

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