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Solar Flare

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On a starless night, a crack—barely perceivable at first—appeared on Yuugi's bedroom wall. Its tendrils split up through the plaster, as if trying to cleave open the ceiling. The fracture didn't reveal the world outside. Instead, it bathed the room in bright white light that was both cold and hot at once.

It hurt to look at it. An earsplitting sound echoed through the room, like the universe was roaring in his ears.

"Other me, I can hear them calling me," said Yuugi with arms stretched out toward the light.

"No, Aibou!"

And Yuugi was gone too. There was no other soul room in the Puzzle, just a blank wall where the door of Yuugi's room had been. It was hours later when he finally picked himself off the floor, his body racked with pain and soul torn asunder. Outside, the sun cast everything in a sickly and wrong orange light.

Neither Yuugi's grandfather nor mother were home. Yami tore onto the streets—forgetting to slip on shoes in his panicked haste—but the world was empty. Vehicles abandoned on the road while the traffic lights continued to run through their rotation.

With nowhere else to go, Yami's feet led him back to school, which should have been brimming with activity by this hour. But there were no birds, no sound, and no people. The city had become a graveyard of steel and concrete, devoid of life.

Except for Bakura, who was waiting at the school gates.

"So, Yuugi, even at the end of the world, you and I remain!" Bakura's dark personality declared and threw his head back in laughter.

"What have you done?" Yami clenched his fists, unable to close the floodgates of rage and loss.

"I haven't done anything. You should thank me, Yuugi! The only reason why you and me are still here is because we already exist outside of time. We can't be lost or forgotten like our diminutive hosts, not for a second time," Bakura moved forward and his empowered shadow stretched out to swallow everything left. "Not while we're trapped here."

The Millennium Ring jingled like clear bells.

"We need to fix this, Bakura. If we're the only ones left—"

Bakura pulled a long knife from the folds of his coat. "No, Yuugi, your friends can't save you now. We're going to settle our business once and for all, once I pry that Puzzle out of your cold dead hands."

Yami rolled to the side when the other boy lunged forward. His elbow scrapped against the cement, leaving a thin streak of blood in its wake. Bakura pounced again, one free hand wrapped around Yami's ankle. Yami clawed the ground for purchase as Bakura laughed and pulled him closer.

Bakura saddled his waist and pinned Yami down. Yami tried to lash out and hit the other boy's face. Bakura countered by slashing Yami's cheek with a knife.

"I'm going to take my time." The white-haired monster licked his lips in anticipation.

Yami's attention was focused on the orange sun above. The light it cast grew dimmer by the second, but Bakura was too distracted to notice. He relaxed into the hand squeezing around his neck.

Even if Bakura won, it would be a short-lived victory.

A white comet streaked across the western sky, its tail drawing an arc of fading stardust against the golden backdrop. It smashed into the dying sun and illuminated the heavens in pulses of soft white.

"What?" Bakura finally looked up.

Yami just smiled as the universe righted itself.