An Otogi fic by WSJ
WSJ: ^-^ No one writes anything about Otogi... *grumbles* So I did! ^^\\// Reviews appreciated, but not required.
Disclaimer: I don't own YGO. >:p Drat.
Note: The popular belief is that Amane Bakura is Ryou's younger sister, which is what I personally believe. But I have heard the theory that she was older, and for this fic I'm pretending she was about six, maybe seven years older then Ryou.
Timeline: After Otogi duels Yuugi, but before Battle City. (Or at least, before Otogi meets up with everyone else in Battle City)
It was almost six o'clock, and Otogi Ryuuji was closing up his game shop for the night. After his duel and resulting defeat at the hands of Yugi, he and Mr Moto had worked out a compromise. Otogi's shop, while it carried everything, centered mostly on Dungeon Dice Monsters, while the Kame Game Shop specialized in Duel Monsters.
Otogi was glad it was time to lock up and leave. He'd been meloncholy all day, and had refused to tell anyone why. It was spitting rain outside, so he pulled on a long black coat on over his usual sleeveless ensemble as he stepped outside. He closed the door behind him and locked it, checking to make sure all the lights were off and he'd flipped the sign in the front window to 'Closed'.
Stuffing his hands in his pockets and trying to ignore the chilly rain, Otogi headed off into the evening. If anyone had cared to notice, he was walking in the opposite direction of his house. But no one did.
He stopped by a small flower shop that was still open and bought a bouquet of yellow roses. Yellow had always been her favorite, he reminded himself. She said it was cheerful, and always reminded you of the sun, and how things would always look brighter in the morning.
Somehow, Otogi doubted that things would be better tomorrow.
Walking into the cemetary, he made his way to the grave under the willow tree where his hero lay burried. No, not Pegasus. He'd met his real hero a long, long time before he knew Pegasus. In fact, she'd been his babysitter...
"Otogi! Where are you kid?"
Otogi giggled as he tried to squeeze himself into a tighter ball under the table. She'd never find him here! He could hear her footsteps as she walked through the kitchen, and into the dining room where he was hidden. "Oh Otogi! Come out come out wherever you are..."
There was another giggle from under the table, and fifteen-year-old Amane Bakura smiled to herself. "Otogi? Where are you?! Oh no, what am I going to tell his parents when they get home? I lost Otogi!"
"No you didn't 'Mane!"
Amane pretended not to see eight-year-old Otogi poking his head out from under the table cloth and looked around franticly. "Who said that? Otogi, have you come back to haunt me?!"
"No! Here I is!" Otogi crawled out from under the table and hugged Amane's legs. She laughed quietly and picked him up despite her small size, and carried him into the living room. She sat down on the couch and held him on her lap, all mirth suddenly gone from her big brown eyes.
"What's wrong 'Mane?" Otogi asked. Amane had been his baby sitter since she was twelve and he, only four. Otogi had come to think of Amane as the big sister he never had, and while Amane already had a little brother or her own, she loved Otogi like another one.
Amane looked sad. "Otogi, I'm not going to be able to baby sit you for awhile."
"Why not?" he asked. There was a pile of clean laundry on the couch, and he snatched one of his father's socks, pulling it over his hand like a glove.
Amane chuckled at him, but there was no humour in it. "I'm... Gosh, how do I explain cancer to a little kid? Telling Ryou was bad enough. I'm sick, Otogi-chan. I'm going to get some tests done, and I will get better, but for a long time I'm not going to be able to come see you."
"You're sick?" Otogi abandonned the sock and looked up at Amane. "Can I come visit you, instead of you visiting me?"
"If you want." Amane said, smiling a little bit. "I think I'd like that."
Otogi yawned and snuggled up against her. "Me too 'Mane."
"Otogi," Amane hesitated. "Otogi, don't forget what I always told you, okay?"
"'Kay..." Otogi said, already half asleep.
"What did I always tell you?" Amane asked. The tone of her voice was teasing, but she wanted to make sure Otogi remembered. He and Ryou were the two most precious things in her life, and she was afraid of letting them go.
"You said... You said never stop dreaming, because the farther your head is in the clouds, the easier it is to reach the stars. But 'Mane, that makes no sense!"
Amane smiled sadly. "It may not now, Otogi-kun, but it will. It will." As Otogi drifted off to sleep on her lap, Amane played with his ponytail, trying to force back the tears that came to her eyes. "And don't worry Otogi, I will get better. I will..."
But she hadn't.
Otogi sniffled and swiped at his eyes as he drew nearer to her grave. His hair was soaked, and beads of water would drip off his bangs and into his eyes, mixing with his tears. He didn't care. The rain suited his mood perfectly. And out here, there was no one to see or care if Otogi Ryuuji cried.
He noted with some surprise that there was already a bouquet of yellow flowers at Amane's grave, these daffodils and daisys. They looked like they'd just been put there. Otogi wondered briefly who would be visiting Amane's grave, but then shook the thought from his mind. Kneeling down in the mud, he put his own flowers next to the ones that had been already left.
He traced his fingers over the carved headstone.
June 19, 1980 - June 18, 1996.
Reach for the stars.
One day short... One more day and she would have been able to celebrate her sweet sixteen. "Reach for the stars..." Otogi said quietly. "Thanks for the advice Amane. I do understand now, and look where it's gotten me! All because you convinced me to keep dreaming."
"Those are powerful words, aren't they?"
Otogi turned around to see a young man about his own age leaning against a tree. Otogi realized with some chagrin that he must have been standing there all the time, Otogi just hadn't noticed. He was tall and slender, dressed all in blacks and greys except for the single yellow daisy that he had tucked behind one ear.
"You brought those flowers," Otogi realized, pointing to the other bouquet.
The boy nodded and kneeled down next to Otogi, neither of them heeding the mudd that was soaking into their knees or the rain that was coming down on them. "Those are powerful words." he repeated, almost to himself.
"They are." Otogi agreed solemnly. "She's the one who told me to keep dreaming when everyone else kept trying to tell me to grow up and get my head out of the clouds." He sighed as another tear slid down his cheek, although it was impossible to tell it apart from the rain that had already soaked him through. "I miss her so much..."
The other man looked vaguely surprised. "Who was she to you?"
Otogi chuckled and shook his head. "I'm not a reletive, if that's what you were wondering." He sighed again and failed to notice the other man's bemused expression. "She was my baby sitter, and I thought of her like a big sister. She didn't treat me like just some kid she was grudgingly baby sitting for money, she treated me like she really had fun when she came to visit, like I was a real person who mattered, and not just some kid."
"So, she made you feel special too, ah?" The man nodded and smiled sadly. "That makes two of us."
Otogi wiped away his tears and quickly got to his feet. "Well," he said, his voice gruff. "I just wanted to come and see her. After all, tomorrow's her birthday. But I'd better go before I catch cold. Wouldn't do to have to close shop tomorrow because I was sick." He looked away brusquly, but the man who still kneeled on the ground could easily see the emotion and love on Otogi's face. Gently the dice master ran his fingers over the top of the headstone. "Bye 'Mane... See you next year." Then he turned abruptly and left without another word.
The other man stayed kneeling for another moment more, looking after Otogi. Then he too climbed to his feet. He laid one hand over his chest briefly, and there was the soft sound of clinking metal, as if he carried too much change in his pockets.
He took the daisy from behind his ear and kissed it, then laid it on top of the headstone. "Well how about that Amane, guess you touched another life with those powerful words of yours. I know you touched mine." He was quiet for a moment, and then he turned to go.
"Bye 'neesan. See you next year."
Who taught me that I was more then just a kid