Hey! I'm back! I'm reposting this story. I'm sorry I took it off, but I thought I'd never finish it. I was uber prego, which kills your brain, but now I can write like a super sayan and my baby is adorable! His name is Kai. ^.^ I will update this once a week since I have a backlog of many chapters.
Please review, because I desperately want to know what you're thinking! It helps me become a better writer. Please enjoy this rough draft.
The Wings of Time
Chapter 1: Caught Dumb in the Rain
"I swear! There were great bloody pads all over my tent! Women are not innocent or nice at all-gods, Tristan, stop laughing!"
The young man in question just howled all the louder, rolling back onto the seat of the van Yugi's grandfather had rented for the weekend. Joey glared at the brunette besides him.
"It's not funny! I was traumatized for life! And then they started screaming in the middle of the night like their heads were being torn off and screaming about bears! No one could have being unscarred by that."
"Obviously," snorted Tristan. Behind him, Yugi smiled weakly to Tea, who sighed heavily, leaning on her hand and looking out the tinted window. Her short, brown hair hid half of her expression.
"We won't be eaten by bears." said Yugi calmly. "I'm pretty sure there aren't bears in Japan anyways. Right grandpa?"
"Oh no, there's something worse than bears. The Yeti."
Yugi blanched. Tristan laughed some more, and Joey gritted his teeth.
"I hope something ugly eats you in the middle of the night." he said to Tristan. "You'd deserve it."
"Aw, come on, that's not very nice." said Tristan, wiping tears from his eyes.
"It's plenty nice where I'm coming from, you git."
"Hey, gramps, how long until we get there?" asked Yugi, not bothering to ask what the Yeti crap was all about. He had a hard enough time sleeping outside as it was ever since duelist kingdom. His grandfather smiled in the rear view mirror to them. Spruce and various trees slipped past them as the white van weaved through the narrow roads.
"Just about there, if you lot can stay quiet long enough for me not to drive over a cliff."
Tea sighed again. The sound caught Yugi's attention and he turned to her with a faint look of concern. She had been the one to suggest the camping trip for summer break, but so far she had fallen quiet, so unlike her bubbly chatty self, sighing and staring at the window with her lips pursed tight. Yugi had the feeling he didn't want to know, but felt the question bubble to his lips anyways.
"What's on your mind?"
"I already told you, it's nothing." she said.
Yugi scowled. Besides him, invisible to all but him, sat a nearly mirror like image of himself, except taller and with sharp, challenging eyes. The spirit frowned at Tea as well.
"I've seen women act like that before." he said to Yugi, the only one that could hear him. "It always has to do with some romantic interest. Don't ask." He made a face and Yugi had to hold down a chuckle. It wouldn't do to suddenly burst out laughing, even when his friends knew that Yami existed. But his comment only made Yugi wonder more: did Tea have problems concerning romance?
The thought made him strangely uncomfortable, and he fiddled with his millennium puzzle, a nervous habit he had picked up. He didn't much like thinking about girls in that category. Being an official midget with a score of geek points to make even the greatest nerd embarrassed made dating a dangerous subject to think about.
Yami now frowned at him too.
They eventually made it to the legendary camping spot of his grandfather's. To Yugi, it was beautiful, like a secret getaway, but to his friends it was simply a flat spot in the middle of some trees with a stream besides it. What Tea thought about it all was a mystery. The only times she bothered to speak were to scold Tristan and Joey for joking about falling into the river while doing number two and fish that swam into uncomfortable places if you peed in the wrong place. It was one of the few times Yugi was jealous of the ancient Pharaoh, who laughed long and hard without fear of her angry gaze. But that jealousy soon vanished as the spirit amused him with bewildered inspections of the hot dogs.
That night, after loud storytelling, fire roasted foods, and old astronomy lessons from his grandfather, Yugi still felt the strange discomfort. As he heard Joey, his tent mate, slowly slip into snores, he sat up and unzipped his tent.
"Where are you going?"
The spirit of before, Yami, crouched beside him in the tent, his eyes curious. Yugi waited till he was outside to answer.
"I'm…not quite sure. I'm just worried about Tea. And…I dunno. I just can't sleep."
"You sense it too then?"
The Pharaoh frowned towards the forest. "I'm not sure. Just…anticipation. I've been feeling it since I've gotten onto this mountain."
"Well…no. And if I did I probably mistook it for excitement. I like camping."
Yami smiled. "I know."
Yugi followed his gaze to the trees. The night wasn't as foreboding as he thought it would be without his flashlight. The moonlight and stars lit up the land and he thought he could make out even the shadows beneath the gentle, silvery light. He could hear his grandfather's snores sounding across the clearing, nearly in perfect timing with Joey's. It made him grin. Still, the uneasiness swirled in his stomach.
"Yugi, where are you going?"
There was a sense of alarm to the Pharaoh's voice as Yugi made his way down to the river. The cool air of the night made him shiver inside his dark blue flannel pajamas.
"I'm just…going to go think."
"What do you have to think about? Is something bothering you?"
Yugi hesitated before sitting down atop a boulder next to the stream. "I'm not sure…I just feel…uneasy. I don't think Tea's bothered by anything romantic. I think it's something else."
The spirit sat beside him on the rock, violet-red eyes watching him carefully.
"I'm sure there's no reason to worry. With all those rants on friendship I'm sure if it was something bad she would tell you about it. Have some faith in her, Yugi. She can take care of herself."
"Yes, but…" Yugi didn't know where he was going with that sentence. But the kind smile Yami gave him assured him he understood. He put an insubstantial hand on Yugi's shoulder, which he oddly felt.
"You have a loving heart, Yugi. You're friends are lucky to have you."
His face heated up and he ducked his head in attempts to hide it between his legs. "If you say so. But I think I'm the lucky one. I'm not much use as a friend compared to what they have done for me…for what you've done for me."
Yami shook his head, gripping his hikari's shoulder tighter. "When will you get over that mindset?"
"Don't worry about it."
Yugi sighed, a thing not unlike Tea's own sighs that day. A comfortable silence passed between them in which crickets thrummed in the grasses and the stream hushed to them. An owl hooted somewhere in the distance. Yugi found himself fascinated by the glitter of the stars reflected on the faceted surface of the river. It made the water look like diamond.
"So," asked Yugi a few minutes later when his feet had turned numb against the stone. "If Tea is in the throws of some crazy love, who do you think is the special someone?"
"Why, me, of course."
The spirit just threw his head back and laughed bark-like into the night. Yugi couldn't help but laugh as well.
Stars blinked down upon the palace corridor. Gods carved out of granite sat against the wall with their various animal heads gazing out through the pillars and down into the great city of Thebes. The night lay still upon the land. Not even a breeze rustled the air.
A pale figure darted around the corner, her long, wavy white hair flying behind her. In the quiet her breath came out in loud gasps, and no one would be surprised if even the stone gods stopped their steady gaze to watch in alarm.
No sooner had the maiden appeared when a dark skin man tore around the corner after her, his exotic, multi-colored hair his most striking characteristic. He wore little more than she did: an off-white, dress-like robe of linen.
"Please! Wait!" he cried. "It's only me, please! For the love of Isis!"
For a moment, it seemed like she had chosen to ignore him. But, reluctantly, she slowed to a halt, her slender, pale legs trembling like a fawn's in the faint glow of the many stars. As the man approached she turned on him. Tears glimmered on her flushed cheeks.
"Don't ask anymore of me. You know I don't belong here."
"You belong with me." he panted, approaching her cautiously. "Please, I love you. Stay, I beg of you."
She hugged herself as though to protect herself from his words. "No. This isn't my time, you know that. I…I don't even know how I came here. Don't ask such from me."
The young man's red-violet eyes sparked with a light she had come to associate with an undefeatable intention. "No, I will ask such from you. Marry me. I will make you my queen—you'll never want for anything."
She snorted, wet and clogged with tears. "Aren't pharaohs suppose to be famous for having many wives and concubines? I couldn't live through that anyways."
"Where in the world did you hear that? Is this something people have concocted from your time? Honestly, why can't you believe me?"
"Because I've seen otherwise." Her expression darkened. The tears on her face had stopped and begun to dry, and she faced him now with a solid determination to match even his. Perhaps, if he challenged her to a Shadow Game, it would be quite a match to behold.
The Pharaoh fell to his knees. This surprised her. And he didn't stop there, but fell to his hands until his forehead practically touched the floor. The pale beauty bit her lip. This wasn't right. This man was made to stand before gods without flinching and now he bowed to her, a mere mortal. Her heart trembled.
"I beg of you with every fiber of my being—please! Stay! You don't have to marry me if you don't want to but don't leave me here alone, without you."
The silence of the night filled in the broken space between them. Her doe like legs were trembling more than ever and she staggered back while lifting a hand to him. Her blue eyes quivered on him prostrated before her on the floor, his millennium puzzle poking out by his shoulder.
Her resolve wavered. But, she shook her head, looking out at the clear, unpolluted sky.
"I'm sorry, Atem," she murmured, "But…I don't belong here…and I can't trust you as much as I would like. Besides, now that I've found a chance to get home, who knows if it will be my last. I don't know what will happen, but I have to try it at least."
He looked up just in time to watch her dash out between pillars, white hair flared behind her like wings, and leap over the edge, eyes to the sky and something shining in the palm of her hand. The stars seemed to flash, drowning the Pharaoh and the many god statues in brilliant light. He called out for her, crying her name until his voice had grown hoarse. Long after the light had died away he still felt blind as tears filled up his eyes. The uncaring gaze of the gods watched as their chosen son crumpled at their feet, his hands racking through his thick, spiky hair.
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Yugi woke up the next day to patters of rain atop their tent. His grandfather cursed on the other side of camp. So much for a three day weekend of camping. The weather forecast had said nothing about rain, but that just goes to prove that luck is luck, and sometimes she wasn't with you. Since it hadn't been forecasted, Tea suggested that the rain would soon stop and that they could probably wait it out in their tents. After several torturous horror stories from Joey (Yugi hated horror stories, though Yami was unfazed by them), and a quiet conversation about the importance of weak monsters in a duel deck with Yami, the rain had yet to stop. In fact, it only increased. Was it just him, or did the river look like it was widening?
He couldn't tell what time in the day it was when his grandfather decided to call it quits.
"Those clouds aren't looking too good," he said, "if this rain grows into the good sized storm its threatening, it won't be safe for us anymore. There could be mudslides, lightning, and who knows what else."
Joey and Tristan were probably the most disappointed. They had planned an intricate war game to play in the forest with air-soft guns. Yugi was disappointed for this too. As they loaded all their goods into the white van, getting muddy and soaked in the process, Yami took his place by Yugi.
"I feel it again. Something is going to happen."
"Good or bad?" asked Yugi, attempting to stuff the tent that was nearly his same size into a small hole in the luggage in the van. Yami wavered hesitantly with his hands over Yugi's before Joey rushed over to save his friend from being squashed.
"I don't know. It could be either. Or, it may just be nothing."
"With you, it's rarely nothing." said Yugi, face flushed and hands on his knees. "Boy, what I wouldn't give to be bigger."
"You'll hit a growth spurt eventually, don't worry, and I guess that comes with being an ancient spirit."
Yugi nodded, dusting off the mud from his hands.
"Well, I just hope it's good. I think I've had enough trouble to last me a lifetime."
Yami gave him a wry smile. "And more."
"Hey Yug, you talking to Yami?"
Yugi cringed. Joey didn't look disturbed, but Yugi was so self-conscious he didn't like looking like a crazy in front of his friends. But he nodded. If he had wanted to, he could speak with Yami inside his mind, but often times he forgot to and fell into speaking out loud.
"Yeah. He says he feels like something's coming."
"Good or bad?"
"We don't know."
"Man, I hope it's good, then. Like stumbling upon a secret garden of hot babes who need a duelist to protect them." Yugi could almost see the drool inching out of Joey's mouth. At that moment, Tea came around, a deep scowl on her face. There were shadows under her eyes.
"Joey, stop it! You have Mai, don't you?"
Joey snapped to attention, instantly apprehensive of the obviously moody young woman. "Well, yeah, but I'm still a guy. Besides, what do you think I'd do if we found some lonely sexy babes who need a protector? Would you just want me to leave them there?"
"Ugh! That's not what I'm saying! You guys don't get anything."
Yugi sensed a fight coming. How unlike Tea. "Um…Tea?"
He flinched at her biting tone, but pointed to the van. "Grandpa's waiting for us. We should get in before we get wetter."
She gave one last seething glare to Joey before stomping to the other side of the van, where Tristan waited for her on the middle seat. Yugi and Joey had called the backseat this time. Joey turned furrowed brows to Yugi, his blond hair dripping past one of his eyes.
"Man, what's up with her? PMS?"
Yugi shrugged. "Yami thinks she's having love problems. I think it's something else."
"Whatever it is, I hope she gets over it soon. I don't know how much longer I can keep my head with her gnawing it off."
"I heard that!"
Both Yugi and Joey winced.
Being out of the rain and inside the van where the heater pumped warm air onto their chilled selves was glorious. Yugi quickly peeled off his soggy jacket and dug out a blanket from behind the back seat according to Yami's suggestion. The spirit's eyes watched over the others, comforting himself with the knowledge that they were all bundling up. Yugi couldn't help but smile at the pharaoh's protective nature as his grandfather drove the van back out onto the road and down the mountain, though he knew there was another reason for his friend's uneasiness. Anything could be coming.
The trip back took about four hours: three to get down the mountain and out of the valley, and then one more to get through town and back to the shop. Tea took out a book from her backpack and settled down to read, while Joey hung over the back of Tristan's seat to watch his friend play a game on his handheld Nintendo. Yugi was content to watch the trees go by. Yami spoke up besides him.
"I don't want to put any of our friends in danger."
I know, Yugi thought to him. But you also don't know if it's bad or not.
"True…true." The spirits eyebrows lowered, and he clenched his jaw, looking intently at nothing in general. Yugi frowned.
What are you thinking about?
"A strange dream I had last night. Usually, I'm not one for sleeping, and I can't recall any importance to any of my dreams, but this one…was peculiar."
"I'm…not sure. All I can remember are these statues of gods glowing with a great light, watching me as I lay at their feet unable to move."
Could it be one of your memories?
"Perhaps, but then we must ask why I would be dreaming of any of my memories. Every speck of my past, including who I truly am, are locked tightly away in my mind. If there is a chance one might have escaped, what could be the purpose of it? What could be happening?"
Yugi was just contemplating a reply when his grandfather suddenly swore loudly and the van jerked to the side. Yugi was thrown into Joey and sleeping bags came tumbling down upon them. He heard Yami shout his name. Tea screamed.
Then all fell still. The van's engine rumbled. Rain pattered on the roof.
"What the hell was that!" said Joey as he kicked his way through sleeping bags. Yugi peeled himself away from his friend as Yami's hands hovered about him, checking him frantically for injuries.
Yugi's grandfather was still swearing every profanity he had taught Yugi to never utter as he threw open the van door, ripped off the seat belt, and slipped out into the storm. All four of them exchanged glances.
"Did you see anything?"
"No, I was playing my game."
"I was reading."
"Uh, I wasn't looking ahead. Maybe it was just a dip in the road?"
"Maybe we got a flat tire."
Yami simply clenched his jaw tighter as he briefly checked the others for injuries and then looked outside. Yugi also pressed his face against the window, following the spirit's gaze.
What he saw made him gasp, drawing the rest of his friends to the windows as well.
On the side of the road, tangled within the bramble, was a very small figure with a mass of messy, pale hair. His grandfather was carefully picking his way over to her.
There was a peculiar jolt in Yugi's stomach as he scrambled past Joey to the van door. His friends followed after him, including the pharaoh.
"Aw hell, don't tell me we almost hit a person!" cried Joey as they surrounded Yugi's grandfather. The figure in the brambles was twitching and fighting to get through its mane of long, pale hair. As they watched, two bloody, torn hands parted the hair to show the face of a frightened, beautiful girl.
Yugi felt his stomach lurch.
She wore little more than a thin, linen dress that had turned somewhat transparent in the rain. Yugi could feel his face heat up as he noticed just the extent to this transparency and turned his face away, but not before he saw the many scratches and scrapes lining her slender, delicate arms and legs. Blood trickled in a thin stream down her face.
"Aw man…gramps, don't tell me we hit her!"
"Very nearly did. She ran right in front of us. It's a miracle." Yugi watched his grandfather's face move into a deep scowl. "Girl, what were you thinking? What are you doing out here in the middle of nowhere anyways?"
Yugi's eyes were drawn back to her face to the wide, almond shaped blue eyes blink in answer.
"Are you hurt?"
"Do you live around here? Can we help you?"
"What happened to your shoes?"
The girl didn't say a word in response to any of them, but merely stared, like a deer caught in the head-lights.
"I think she's in shock." said Joey.
Tea crouched down near her leg, which twitched in the brambles away from her. "I think we should get her to a hospital. She doesn't look too good. I have a first-aid kit in my backpack we can patch her up with until we get there. Did you say we were about three hours away still?"
Yugi's grandpa nodded. Yugi himself was still carefully avoiding his eyes away from the pale legs showing through her transparent dress. When Joey gave a low whistle he moved to punch him—hard—but then Joey made a comment on her ankle, which he noticed was swollen and mangled. Yugi felt his insides twist at the sight of blood and the pale, bluish little foot attached to it. His friends leaned forward to help her out of the bushes, but she retreated from them, drawing deeper into the brambles. Joey and Tristan exchanged glances.
"Come on, we're not going to hurt you. We just want to help."
But she only pushed herself back further, wincing as her injured ankle was jostled and more branches scratched her skin. Yugi felt himself wince with her and found himself pushing through his friends, hands outstretched.
"Please, let us help you."
The girl froze in her attempts at the sight of him. She looked hesitantly on his hands. When she didn't show more signs of retreating, Yugi took another step forward into the branches, feeling the sharp twigs dig into his pants.
"We only want to help. Promise."
And than he was next to her. Still, she hesitated, seeming to size Yugi up. Behind him, Joey and Tristan held in their breaths and Tea bit her lip.
"You don't think she was…raped or something like that, do you?" Yugi heard her whisper to his grandfather. "She is acting rather strange."
Yugi held out his hands to her. Cautiously, she tugged her small, torn hands from the bushes and took his. He flinched at their ice-like touch. She's freezing.
As he pulled her to her feet, Joey caught her before her injured ankle gave way and Tristan jumped to her other side. Yami appeared besides Yugi as they helped her across the street and into the white van, which she also eyed with unease.
"Do you think this might be what you were sensing?" asked Yugi. Yami frowned, a hand to his chin.
"Yes," he said cautiously, "but whether she is harmless or not…"
Yugi rolled his eyes. "Come on, does she look like she could hurt anything right now?"
Yami said nothing, his eyes never leaving the matted, wet, and bleeding girl as the boys carefully eased her into the seat next to Tea, who had her first-aid kit out and ready. Yugi's grandfather slid back into the driver's seat and closed the door. Rain pattered harder than ever on the roof of the van. Somewhere in the distance, thunder rumbled.
"What are you staring at, Yugi? Get in!"
Giving one last glance to Yami he slid into the van and slammed the door shut.