Yuugi Can.

by rya

Yuugi Mutou always volunteered.

It was a well known fact. Whether in sports or helping others, it was a attribute no one could deny -- whenever anyone asked for help, Yuugi was at their side. Like his yami's passion for dueling, the boy held this duty in high regard... So it was of no surprise when the boy stopped walking from school with us when the new recreational center, newly opened up as a independent from the high school itself, asked for helpers to clean up near closing time.

It was also of no surprise when he refused payment for the job. This, to Jounouchi and Honda, was simply inconceivable.

"Why are you two so material?" Anzu suddenly said, breaking into a conversation already started. It was a nice day, really, one of those fresh ones that wasn't quite cold enough to chill you but just a touch to keep cheeks rosy. Today, particularly, had been a perfect example and since it neared winter, the sunset already covered everything in a orange glow. Anzu's hair was no exception, and it did make her look a bit more prettier then she usually was. "I don't see why it's such a big deal he isn't getting paid. He's doing it out of the kindness of his heart!"

"What do you mean?" Jounouchi was quick to defend himself when attack came on his character, folding his arms over his chest. "I'm not material! I just think Yuugi works way too hard for... for nothing!"

"Hmph," Honda grunted. "I think so too. I mean, we all love Yuugi's innocence and all that... But what happens when he gets out there? In the world?"

"This all comes from volunteering?" I asked curiously, peering down at my three companions. Despite popular belief, I do talk. And why not...? I wasn't just one to stand and state the painfully obvious.

"No..." Jounouchi's eyes softened as he gazed up at me from where I balanced unsteadily on the cement wall trailing beside the sidewalk. He looked thoughtful. "I've been thinking about this for awhile. The recreation thing just actually made me focus on it. Do... do you really think he can take care of himself?"

"Who? Yuugi?" Anzu had drawn her attention back, away from street light, as we moved to cross the intersection that lead us all down the way to the Kame Game Shop. This wasn't my way home, really, but I liked to be included. Jounouchi didn't live here either.

Her face scrunched up with disbelief and I knew she must be wondering if she heard correctly. "He's not a kid, Jounouchi! He's sixteen! Same age as us! Of course he can take care of himself..."

"I don't mean it that way," the blonde shot back. He could be fiery when he cared to. "I mean, like... In the real world? He hasn't technically be sheltered or anything, but you can't tell me I'm the only one who notices Yuugi never watches Channel 34 when six comes around..."

"Oh, that's ridiculous, Jounouchi!"

"The news...?" I wondered aloud, turning my eyes on to Katsuya. Six on Channel 34 meant a full hour of world news. That was strange thing to judge someone by.

"Yeah." He seemed relieved I took some attention to his words. "I'm serious, Anzu... He'll watch everything else --- cartoons, comedies, horror, violence, you name it! But he never, ever watches the news."

"Maybe he just doesn't like it?" Anzu was trying hard not to snap at Jounouchi. I could understand, of course, it was a bit ridiculous... But it caught my interest that Yuugi watched violence. I never noticed before but...

...Come to think of it, he did.

"Exactly!" Jounouchi grinned widely at his accomplishment. "But not because it's boring or stuff like that. I was over at his house once and when it came on... Well, he kind of freaked out. Turned off the television real quick."

"That's odd," I murmured.

"I still don't see your point." Anzu was drifting towards the direction of her home but she remained close enough. We had reached the shop by this point, usually where the five of us would split up and go our separate directions. Anzu and Honda to the left, Jounouchi to the right, and Yuugi comfortably placed in the middle. Me, well, I had a fifteen minute walk still ahead of me to the subway station, but we were all standing motionless, hesitant to break at this point in the conversation.

Jounouchi struggled for words to explain his theory when it struck me... So painful obvious.

"I do..." Curious stares turned to me. "What Jounouchi-kun is trying to say is that Yuugi can watch all this violence, blood, and gore... But when it comes to the line between fantasy and real life, he can't handle it. He can't watch real people die."

Jounouchi nodded triumphantly.

Anzu looked impatient, saying she was getting tired of trying to defend Yuugi from something this silly. "Well, of course! No one can! Why would that make him any less helpless then you or I?"

"Can you watch the news, Anzu-chan?"


"Then you know why."

I smiled and before she could respond, I headed off. Muffled goodbyes suggested the others did too soon after. The Ring quickly became heavy on my chest and I wasn't surprised when Yami appeared beside me.

//She still doesn't understand, Ryou.//

/I know./

//You shouldn't be so damn cryptic all the time! No wonder no one thinks you talk! No one ever understand what your saying!//

The sun was setting quicker then I thought and I tried to speed up our pace. I was still smiling when I looked up at him.

/Do you feel for them anymore?/


/The people you killed./

Yami's face was starting to mirror Anzu's own. //No... Why is that important?//

/Because... You've become immune to death. To killing something alive, something real. And so have I, and everyone else in this modern world. We're not any different, even though half of us haven't even touched another person's blood. That we can all sit back every morning, drink our tea, and read about how someone was brutally murdered yesterday and... forget it, go on with our lives. It's sad, really./

Yami was looking at me in a curious manner.

//You can't care for the whole world, Ryou.//

/No, I can't...

Yuugi can./

...the end