The bright April sun bathed the streets in a soft white light. People walked briskly down sidewalks, enjoying the warmth after so many months of bitter cold. Friendly chatter and easy laughter echoed off buildings and rode the gently wind.

The gaiety of the day was lost on one melancholy teen. At the age of seventeen he was short for his age. His black spiked locks tipped with red seemed to droop as gold bags framed a sorrowful face. Dusty violet eyes looked up from studying the sidewalk to glance at the group of teens ahead of him. Suppressing a sigh the teen returned to studying the pavement that passed underneath his sneakers.

"Hey guys how 'bout we hit the arcades for a while?" Joey's voice suddenly rose above the other teens'.

"Why Joey? Are you eager to loose to me again?" Yami, his dark voice holding a hint of amusement, asked.

"That's what you think Yami. Today I'm going to kick your butt!"

"Ya right. The day you beat Yami is the day the shrimp becomes worth talking to." Tea mocked.

The trailing teen flinched.

"That reminds me," Yami turned suddenly cold crimson eyes on his small light "Yugi go home and tell Grandpa I'll be home later. And don't pester him to much."

Meekly Yugi nodded and watched as his friends disappeared into the flashing shadows of the arcade. Slowly he turned in the direction of home, and then started on the longest five minute journey.

'Why?' Yugi thought. 'Why is everyone ignoring me? What did I do to deserve this?'

Over the past month Yugi noticed his friends slowly start to ignore him. It had started slowly; they left him out of conversations or talked over his head. And it hadn't been everyone, at first it was only Tea and Tristan. But then Mai, Joey, even Yami started leaving him out. Yugi tried to reestablish his part in the group, making comments or observations. His friends would acknowledge the fact and then ignore him again.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~(Start Flashback) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Three weeks ago Yugi found himself trailing behind everyone. His friends seemed to gravitate around Yami, even to the point of pushing Yugi to the side. Tristan had done it so hard that day that Yugi had fallen. His palms scraped the sidewalk so hard blood pebbled on his lightly tanned skin.

"Oh just get up and stop sniveling." Tea had snarled when she was forced to walk around the fallen youth. "What a baby."

Everyone nodded in agreement. Even Yami.

They had been on their way to the movies. Hurting both physically and emotionally Yugi muttered something about going home. No one bothered acknowledging that he had spoken nor did they try and stop him from leaving. With tears balancing delicately on the rim of his eyes he dashed home.

~ ~ ~ ~ (End Flashback) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The tinkling of the silver bell over the door announced Yugi's arrival. Slowly the teen trudged up to the counter. His grandfather glanced up from his account books to the boy standing in front of him.

"Well?" Solomon said.

"Yami went to the arcade with everyone. He said he would be home for dinner." Yugi's soft voice answered, sorrow and loneliness tinting each word.

"Fine." Grandpa's once loving and cheerful voice was now filled with icy contempt. "Go do your homework. We're to have spaghetti and salad for dinner at six."

For a moment Yugi stood there. The need to unburden himself to his grandpa like he use to overwhelmed him. But the elder Mouto had turned back to his books, effectively ignoring Yugi. Suppressing another sigh Yugi trudged up to his room. Inside he took out his books, got some paper, pencil and with a numb heart started on his homework.

~ ~ ~ ~ (Later) ~ ~ ~ ~

Yugi had almost finished preparing dinner when he heard the shop's bell announce someone. As he poured sauce into the grave boat he heard his grandpa lovingly greet someone. An energetic dark voice answered. Yugi's hands shook; water read drops splashed the counter. Yami was home.

Yami was home and Grandpa was happy. Yugi set the porcelain boat on the table and then cleaned up the mess his traitorous hands had caused. 'He's happier to see a five thousand year old spirit than his own grandson.'

Yugi scrubbed the empty sauce pan and put it in the dish drainer. He was just getting a glass of water when Grandpa and Yami walked in. Neither glanced at him as they got their own drinks and sat down.

Yugi seated himself a second later and waited until Grandpa and Yami had taken servings of spaghetti and salad before serving himself. Throughout dinner he stared at his food while his darker half and the only family he had left talked spiritedly about the day. A single tear raced down his cheek as he remembered the day his Grandpa abandoned him, just like his friends.

~ ~ ~ (Start Flashback) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The bullies had been exceptionally rough with him that day. They had been ecstatic to realize that their favorite bunching bag was back. Without any friends to help him Yugi had to dredge up the old habits of running and hiding. Unfortunately today the bullies had caught him and made up for lost time.

Yugi couldn't wait to get home. Grandpa would help patch him up and Yugi could tell him all of his problems. It would just be like before he had any friends. True, Grandpa had been distant lately, but Yugi put that down as stress. It was tax time and Grandpa had been busily figuring out and balancing the books. This year was probably just a little more hectic.

As Yugi wearily trudged in, stopping for a brief second when he noticed that Yami was there. As he walked up to the counter he saw Grandpa's eyes take in his black and blue eye and slight limp.

"What happened to you?" Grandpa asked.

Startled Yugi took a step back. Grandpa's normally concerned voice was angry, and almost weary? 'No! Not Grandpa too!' Yugi swallowed the rising lump in his throat.

"T. . .the bullies at school. They. . ."

Grandpa snorted in disbelief. "Yugi you're a sophomore in high school. I highly doubt bullies are a problem. Let me guess you got into a fight and lost. So you tell me this story to cover up your failure."

Yugi just stared. "N. . .no Grandpa. I. . ."

Grandpa dismissed Yugi's explanation with a waver of his hand. "No more excuses Yugi. Go fix yourself up and do your homework. I'll call you down for dinner."

Yugi just gaped at his Grandpa's displeasure. Yugi glanced at Yami, hoping for support or sympathy. The dark spirit just wore an angry frown. Yugi gulped, grabbed his book bag and fled the shop.

"Wearisome child." Yugi shook with silent tears as his grandpa's cold voice followed him up the stairs.

~ ~ ~ (End Flashback) ~ ~ ~ ~


The harsh voice of Yami cut threw Yugi's musings. Yami and Grandpa were glaring at him. Yugi huddled more in his seat. At that moment he wanted nothing more than to sink into the floor and disappear.

"You should pay attention when someone is speaking to you." Yami growled.

"Sorry." Yugi whispered.

Yami just glared. "Grandpa and I are going to the card fair. Clean up and do any homework you have left. We won't be back until late."

Yugi nodded, not bothering to look up from his plate. There was a rough scraping of chairs and then the sound of footsteps. He stayed in that position until the front door slammed shut with a bang.

It took over an hour for the small teen to get the dishes done; his hands were shaking so much. During that time he had come to a decision. He was almost glad Grandpa and Yami were gone. It would make leaving that much easier.

It took Yugi less than ten minutes to get everything into a duffle bag. The only thing he took with him that wasn't clothes was his deck.

Dusk was settling as Yugi locked the door to the Turtle Game Shop for the last time. Carefully he put his key under the mat. Yugi took one last look at the game shop, no tears came. There were none left. Hitching his bag onto his shoulder Yugi walked off into the night.

* * * * * * * * *

Treska: *Bouncing proudly in* Tada. Yet another story for me to freak out about.

Yugi: Why do you insist on making my life miserable.

Treska: *Pinching Yugi's cheek* Cause you're just so cute.

Yugi: *Red with embarrassment* You so need to get a life.

Treska: *Nods vigorously then notices Yami coming in* Okay review please. *Edges slowly towards another door.

Yami: *Advances holding something behind his back* Ohhhhhh Treeeeeeeeessssska!!

Treska: *Gulps and then runs* Quickly please.