When It's No Longer Cliche

By SilverLily aka Blood Moon

A beaten, abused boy? Lonely and broken with a golden puzzle? A spirit who has claimed to protect him? …But what happens when the typical cliché is no longer cliché, and something is not quite right with the character? What happens when the innocent don't really need to be protected?

And what happens when broken games become bloody obsessions? A new twist on a battered beginning.

The boy breathed in again, his breath hitching once more as his tears became lodged in his throat. He hated when it did that, but he couldn't always control his breathing. Not with his pain.

A tear fell down his cheek, landing on the large hunk of gold in his hand. It mixed in oddly with the splatters of red adorning the smooth, multi-angled surface. It was a strange puzzle, and it had been taking his so long to accomplish. He wasn't quite done with it yet, though. Still a few more pieces to go.

Chink!

He cursed to himself, angered at his carelessness. That piece of the puzzle had just become attached, trapping his blood in between. Of course, it wasn't the first time something like that had happened. But every time another piece fit in to place, he couldn't seem to be able to remove it. It was like a powerful magnet locked it in place. With my tears and blood and I shall breath life into you… He just wondered what the dried blood was going to do to the gold. Would it harm it? He didn't know for sure. He'd never gotten his blood on any gold before this…

He shook his head ruefully, thinking upon a book he recalled seeing. Blood and Gold, by Anne Rice. And so the sweet temptations of the night. Oh, but weren't vampires such fun to read about? If only such deadly games could be played, and he be on the winning end.

Oh, no. He was never on the winning end. He never would be, would he? He was a low, worthless sack of garbage that no one ever wanted around.

Screw the world. I don't need them. People live alone all of the time and make do just fine. If they can do it, so can I.

He sneezed, and immediately regretted it, having to brace himself against the floor to keep from reeling into unconsciousness. His head was splitting in half, and he knew he was woozy from blood loss. He tried to swallow the phlegm in his throat, accumulated from his tears of pain. His ankle was still killing him, and he knew that his hip would cause him to limp the next day. Bastards, his heart clenched. More salty vapors sat just behind his eyes. Why do they have to hurt me so damned much?! Fuck them!! He squeezed his eyes closed in heartache, trying to dwell on his anger. His anger kept him strong, and it kept him going. It was the only thing he had. If he didn't dwell on his anger, he would fall into a depression that he could never hope to pull himself out of. He was crushed, and crushed even further every time he was hit, abused, and lectured to the point of tears.

He did a lot of crying these days, and it was driving him crazy.

What was he thinking? He already was crazy! Every genius has their side of crazed insanity.

But was he by any means a genius? Maybe. Maybe not. It depended on what one considered genius material. Games? Oh yeah. He could do games. He invented game after game, simply as a way to keep himself occupied. History? He could rattled off any date you needed, if perhaps a few years off. Architecture fascinated him. Art?

He was the best artist in the school. No one could out-draw or out-paint him.

Math? Science? Logic? Perhaps not so much. He could understand obscure logic such as philosophy with ease, but other than that, he could never hope to be an engineer. He couldn't put together anything mechanical to save his scrawny little life.

Chink! Another piece fit into place. He didn't even have to think about that one. Sometimes he wondered if the puzzle simply wanted to be put together.

He stopped and set the large hunks of gold down. He needed to get some sleep, if he was going to stay awake in school the next day.

He liked going to school. It was a welcomed retreat to the wretched place he lived in.

Hiding his treasure underneath of the loose plank under his bed, he eased himself onto his pitiful mattress, hiding underneath of his thin covering. The batting was all but gone from the inside, and the cotton material was nearly see-through.

But it was better then nothing. And one day he would break free of his wretched prison. If only he could get enough food in him to gather the strength to fight back…

His thoughts were on blessed freedom and the numbing cold around him as he drifted off to sleep.

The blonde walked…or rather, waltzed into the classroom, albeit begrudging the fact that he had to waste a perfectly good day indoors trapped in a desk. In truth, he felt good today. They were going to be playing football in gym class. When him and his buddy Honda got together on the same team, they had a blast pummeling every one who got in their way of the goal.

"Hey, mutt! Did you remember to do your paper?" Oh, speak of the devil…

"Yes, as a matter of fact I did. Did you manage to finish your math homework?" the blonde retorted. He already knew what the answer was going to be.

"We had a math assignment!? Why didn't I find out about this?"

He gave the tall brunette a punch in the shoulder. "Probably because you spent the whole time doodling crappy manga strips."

"Hey! Shut up! Those are gonna make me rich one day!"

"Yeah, right. Just like my dad is gonna quit drinking anytime soon."

Honda grew very quiet at that. "Sorry, Jou."

The blonde snarled. "Now, I told you! Quit apologizing! I don't wanna hear it!" It's not like there was anything that Honda could do about his problem. No one could.

Jou glanced around the now filling classroom, noting all of the people that were either seated at their desk, or up and about still, waiting for the bell to ring. One person caught his eye in particular, and why…well… he couldn't really be sure. The kid was always the one that was looked over, quiet, and usually seemed to prefer to be unnoticed. What was the kid's name again? Right…Yuugi. Odd name. Who would name their kid 'game'? Of all things?

Yuugi always sat in the back of the class, and always kept quiet during lectures. He never said much of anything, nor did he seem to want to. He was just…there, but not really there at all. No one ever noticed him. It hurt Jou's head to think about.

Yuugi was sitting quite slumped in his desk, his head resting on the hard plywood and his hands carelessly strewn off the side. He was starring dazedly out the window, eyes frighteningly glazed. He didn't look like he cared about much at the moment.

What happened to all of those schools in America? He thought he remembered hearing about it on the news…Oh, right. It was the quiet ones that were ignored that ended up trying to kill everyone in the school with guns.

…Perhaps he ought to say something to the kid? Let him know that he didn't need to go and blow everyone up?

Honda gave him a quizzical look as he walked past and up to Yuugi's desk. He stood there a moment shiftily, unsure of what to say. Yuugi didn't seem to even know that he was there.

"Uh…hey bud." Yuugi didn't respond. That glazed look was starting to scare Jou. Was the kid still alive? Is that why he noticed him?! "How ya do'in?"

The kid…sighed. Well, I guess that means he's still alive. "I'm fine…how else would I be," he replied quite sardonically. A shiver ran up Jou's back. This kid was, by no means, all right. In the head, surely, but he could also definitely see it in his skin tone. He was starkly pale, bruises running up and down his neck, his eyes red and swollen, and his hair looked rather dull. He looked like he hadn't had a decent meal in days. Months even. And the teachers haven't noticed this? What's the matter with them!?"

"You don't look so good," Jou stated tentatively.

"How kind of you to notice."

"No, I'm serious. You don't look good at all. Is everything all right, man?"

Pained violet eyes looked up at him, but the face remained stoic. "Even if it wasn't, what could you do? What would you want to do? Pity me? Please. I get enough of that from religious rants from priests and pastors. I don't need anymore." His eyes moved back to the window.

A hand on Jou's arm pulled; bringing him back up to the front of the room. "Man, what are you doing?" Honda asked bewildered.

"I was jus' try' in to see if he was okay! He looks practically dead!"

"Dude, that's why no one ever talks to him. He's always like that. There's a rumor around that doctors have him on every kind of pill imaginable just to keep him under control. Even lithulum!"

Jou sighed. "It's lithium dumbass. And those are just rumors. No one knows if they're true or not."

Honda just shrugged it off. "Whatever. You're waste of breath, man."

The bell for class sounded, and he and Honda hurriedly found their seats, along with the rest of the class.

Kawatta, his mind hissed. Why would he care about me? Seeing some lowlife down in the dumps. 'Let's be the bigger person and help out! They need me! Aren't I a good person?' Pah! He doesn't really care. Even if he did, he's a little late now. Best laid plans gone to waste. After all, isn't the road to Hell paved with good intentions? That's what the Christians say. Yeah. Screw them, too. Yahweh has done nothing for me.

Inside, Yuugi's heart clenched again. He was so painfully lonely. He wanted a friend so badly. But it was useless. No one liked him, especially after they got to know him. He was only saving himself from heartache. Keeping his tears at bay, he reminded himself again that nobody cared, and that nobody mattered. There was nothing for him to fear losing, for everything was already lost.

His mind drifted back to the puzzle under his bed, and he wished he could be working on it at the moment. It was the only thing he had, and the only thing he looked forward to each day. The prospect of getting it done. Aside from his anger, it was the only thing that saw him through day to day.

"Okay, class, I hope you all finished your research paper and your short story that's due today. I'm looking forward to grading them this weekend."

Liar. And yes, I finished mine two days after it was assigned. What else am I going to do with my time? Go the arcade? Shifting his gaze from the window, Yuugi pulled his paper and short story out of his bag and handed it forward, along with the rest of the class. That blonde that had spoken with him earlier grumbled something inaudible in his desk, slumping down as he handed the papers from behind him forward, only placing one of his own on the top of the pile. You're going to end up failing the class if you don't start getting homework done…

"Jonouchi Katsuya, if you don't start doing some homework in my class you are going to fail," the teacher began.

"Un, Sensei Aino. I will," he muttered.

"You said that the last three assignments, Jonouchi. One more, and I'm going to sign you up for an after school study session to improve your grades." The teacher's eyes looked at him harshly, and Yuugi had a feeling that he was wishing Miss Aino would at least blink.

Jou sat up instantly. "No! Don't do that! I will get my work done, I promise!"

Yuugi noted mildly interested that Jou seemed to be extremely on edge about going to an after school study session. It's probably not 'cool' for him to do so.

Yuugi sighed, unheard and unnoticed by the rest of the class. Just another day at school…I wish I had a new life. I hate mine.

"Jou, what are you doing," Honda hissed almost venomously. "We got a fight in ten minutes! You can't chicken out on me here!"

Jou snarled, tugging on his clasped arm. "Lemme go, man! I'm gonna follow him!"

"Why the hell are you gonna do that," his friend wailed.

"Because I wanna see jus' what's up with him, ya mind? No one has spoken to the kid all year, and I for one don't want him to decide to blow us all up with a shot gun!"

Honda stopped short, contemplating this statement. Jou knew that comment had to get his attention.

"Oh, good point man. Hey, I'm go 'in with ya. We'll deal with Ushiro later." Repositioning his backpack on his right shoulder, Honda stepped in stride with Jou as they began to discreetly follow Yuugi to his house…wherever that was.

The kid was walking rather slowly, not really seeming to pay attention to the rest of the people around him. He could, however, walk swiftly through people- he had gotten quite good at it as Jou and Honda were coming to find out.

Yuugi knew that if people didn't see you, they didn't move, so you had to move around them, and the more quickly you could get out of their space, the happier they would be.

"Man, is this kid like a ghost or something, how is he moving so quickly," Honda complained, pulling Jou into an alley quickly as Yuugi turned around to look behind him.

"He's probably had a lot of practice," Jou stated, thinking about the strategies he came up with to be quiet and move swiftly through his father's apartment so as not to disturb the unhappy drunk.

Taking a peak around corner, Honda pulled Jou along again.

"Since when did you take over this expedition," Jou asked incredulously.

His friend merely shrugged. Typical answer.

"How long before you think we'll make it to his house," Honda asked quietly.

"How should I know? I look like a psychic to you?"

Honda scowled, but didn't respond.

As luck would have it, it actually wasn't too far off. In fact, Yuugi made a sharp turn…

Right into the low-rent district.

"Oh, man. No wonder the kid is never happy. Look at the neighborhood he comes home to everyday. This sucks!" Honda stated.

Jou agreed. He may not have a very nice home on the inside, but miraculously his father managed to keep an apartment in a relatively good district.

As Yuugi began to wipe his feet off on a door matt of a particularly ruddy house, Jou could see that he at least had that much. Except that it was not much better than a run down shack.

If that.

When Yuugi opened the door up, yelling from inside could be heard. Some foul language that would make a sailor blush filtered their way, and Jou noticed Yuugi shiver before he went in all of the way.

"Man, I feel really rotten," Honda stated. "If I'd a known he was coming home to this everyday…I don't know. I feel like I should make an attempt to help him out if I can. I see him get picked on by bullies and stuff."

Jou ran a hand through his messy mop of blonde hair. "You said it. Come on, maybe the arcade is still giving out free cheap prizes. I need to get my mind off of this for now."

Yuugi skittered past the entryway and through the living room. He only wanted to get up to his room.

"The fuck's that matter with you bi…what the hell did you think yo…" The voice of his father yelling at his mother drifted his way from the back bedroom, and Yuugi's heart jumped a beat. Hopefully they wouldn't catch him. Normally they left him alone so long as he didn't get in their sight, but if he got in their way…well. The puzzle had enough blood in and on it to prove that it was a very poor idea.

They were always yelling about something, and most of the time it was the fact that their union was a mistake. In fact, if they hadn't had a mistake and had Yuugi, they would be divorced.

Unfortunately for Yuugi, his mother believed that no matter what happened, if there were children involved, the couple should never get divorced.

That just meant that Yuugi was the Abomination that made their life miserable, even if they hardly ever saw him. So he did his best to stay out of the way.

After all, no one liked him. Why would his parents?

Able to bypass another beating for the evening, Yuugi limped upstairs and into his bedroom, feeling his stomach eating a hole inside of himself. He usually went without dinner, eating free breakfast and lunch at school. They usually fed well, but he was painfully starved by nine o'clock at night.

Feeling his heart flutter for the first time that day, he reached under the bed and removed the loose plank carefully, lest he make any noise, and withdrew his one prized possession. The eye on the gold box that housed the precious pieces seemed to wink at him as he held it close, even though there was very little light in his cramped little room.

His bed creaked and groaned under his weight as he sat down. He wondered how much longer it was going to be able to support his weight.

A gold piece felt warm and smooth to the touch as he picked it up. He loved this puzzle so, so much. He was positive that it was going to be a perfect pyramid when it was all done. He didn't have too much further to go.

Chink!

The corners of his lips curled into a ghost of a smile.

Chink!

He didn't even want to think about what would happen when it was done. Then he would have nothing left to do, and nothing else to look forward to. No, he wouldn't think about that right now.

Chink!

"Yuugi! Where the fuck are you!?"

The young boy winced as he heard his father calling him. Oh, gods, what could he want right now?

Hiding his treasure under his flat pillow, he headed out of his room and down the stairs. His father was in the kitchen, standing in front of the fridge with his arms crossed. "Where the fuck is all of my beer? There's two bottles missing! Where are they! I know you took them!"

Yuugi stood at ridged attention. He had never taken a bottle of beer, nor did he care to. It was a ridiculous accusation, and his father knew it. He did not want to end up like his parents. "I don't know where they are, sir. I didn't take them."

His father stepped forward, and he knew that he was going to become a battered scapegoat.

Pain shot through his cheek as skin made harsh contact with his skin, his flesh beginning to sting as the blood rushed to the surface.

Reeling into the counter, Yuugi felt his father wailing away on his back, and refused to let his tears fall, even though he kept gasping in pain and fighting back his cries. Young boys ears are on their backs, the only way to get them to listen is to beat them.

Damn those old proverbs! He thought to himself. Damn everything!

Falling to his knees in pain, his father kicked him out of kitchen with a swift hit to his chest. "Get out of here before I do more!"

Struggling to his feet, Yuugi stumbled up the steps as fast as he could.

Again, he was crushed. How could his father be so careless? So cruel? Was there not one good bone in his body?

Allowing the weight of his body to close his door, Yuugi tripped over his own limp and fell to the floor, now letting his tears fall freely. Something warm dribbled down his chin, and he knew that an old wound had been reopened with that smack to his face.

Grabbing his puzzle from under his pillow, Yuugi began to work on it again. He had to. He was going to go insane if he didn't.

Chink!

A drop of blood dripped down onto the puzzle, and before he could wipe it away, the new puzzle piece in his hand was snapped into place, as if drawn in by a magnet. More blood trapped in the puzzle. From my blood and flesh you shall grow…I will breathe life into you with my breath and tears.

Chink!

His breath hitched. He got off easy tonight. Easy. Easy for someone who has never felt affection… I'm so alone…

Chink!

His eyes were wide, and he was working with a delirious fervor. The hole inside of him was growing larger.

Chink!

Another tear fell into the puzzle, mixing in and diluting some of the blood that was still falling. A strange pink glow began to develop on the sparkling gold.

Chink!

Another piece sealed in place. He could never remove it now. I don't want to live anymore…I don't care how strong I tell myself I am…

Chink!

Yuugi felt around in the box for another piece and found it…empty.

Empty?

Yuugi looked over what he had done, finally taking in the full object. It was…complete. Fully and completely. But…what was he to do now? He was suddenly lost. After eight years of working on it, trying to finish it, and watching his blood fall into every piece of the creation…

He wasn't sure what he was supposed to do now.

The puzzle was so warm. He loved how warm it was. It was…bright. Very bright.

Did it feel…lighter? Or had he lost too much blood now?

He knew he was insane when the puzzle lifted right out of his hands and began to grow brighter and brighter. There's a fine line between genius and insanity…I'm just not sure which side of the line I'm on. He knew now. His grandfather had told him ages and ages ago when he had last saw the old man that the greatest minds had tried to solve this puzzle and utterly failed at it. He had to be a sort of genius to be able to solve it, and now he knew he was insane when the puzzle began to levitate of its own accord. Whatever happens now, I know it's not real…

There was a bright flash of light that was surprisingly silent, bathing the room in a glorious golden glow.

Then swiftly it was gone, leaving in its wake a dark figure standing tall and proud.

Yuugi was dumb with shock, rather unable to take in what he was seeing at the moment. A person…or rather, a handsome person was simply standing in his room, rather aloof of his surroundings.

The male in front of him sniffed a little, his nose wrinkling in disgust. "What a dump," he commented.

Could he be any more blunt? One might think he'd have better tact than that. "Not by choice," he whispered.

The figure turned to look at him, glowing crimson eyes gazing at him through the shadows of his dimly lit room. The eyes looked at him rather contemplatively, narrowing as the mind behind them thought. Yuugi was suddenly struck with the realization that they looked so much alike. "What is your name," the person asked.

Yuugi shook his head ruefully, looking off to the side and finding the dirty floor interesting. "Does it really matter?"

"Yes." The answer was simple and curt.

Yuugi frowned. "Yuugi. My name is Yuugi Motou."

The figure was silent again, thinking of his next question. "What are you doing here? Of all places?"

Yuugi sneered, disdaining his answer. "I live here. I'm not old enough to be emancipated."

The person turned and walked up to him, looking at him closely. "How old are you, Yuugi Motou?"

"Fifteen."

Yuugi suddenly froze when he heard a scratchy voice calling him. "Yuugi, damn it! What the hell are you doing in there?!"

The figure noticed that the young boy on the floor before him looked like a deer caught in the headlights, shaking worse than a leaf in a fall breeze. Pounding on the stairs ensued, and Yuugi couldn't tear his eyes away from the door.

The new occupant of his little room looked at him, curious at the reaction at first, then suddenly angered when the fear that was radiating off of Yuugi was practically tangible. Grabbing the boy's hand, he pulled him over to the bed, sat down, and pulled the boy with him. Yuugi was still shaking profusely, but did not fight the person off as he wrapped his arms around Yuugi and held on to him tightly.

When the person waved his arm, though, and a silver sheen clouded his vision, Yuugi turned to look at those bright blood red eyes in question.

"Hush," he whispered. "Don't move, don't breathe; don't even blink. If you're quiet, your father will not even know we're in here."

Nodding his head in petrified compliance, Yuugi began to enjoy the warmth that had settled around him. His room was at the north end of the house so was usually cooler than the rest of the house, but coupled with the fact that it was winter and his room was poorly insulated, Yuugi was usually very, very cold. At the moment, though, he was contentedly warm, and realized that the body next to him was strong, and yet somehow soft against him.

This isn't really happening. I'm dreaming all of this up, and my father is going to beat the illusion out of my head.

His door burst open, and the wild eyes of his drunken father moved swiftly through the room. "Where are you, you son of a bitch," he muttered, stepping in and looking about. His eyes landed on his son and Yuugi started to shiver, but the arm around his chest tightened slightly in reassurance, and he was able to stay silent. That's when he noticed.

He's not looking at me; he's looking through me.

"What the hell is he doing in there," the voice of his mother drifted from the living room.

"The bastard's not in here. He must have snuck out the window."

"Good riddance to him, too!"

His father snarled, turning to walk out the room. "Shut up, bitch! Nobody asked you!"

"Oh, shut up, Yogosu! I don't want to here it!"

His door was slammed closed harshly.

Yuugi let out the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding, slumping into the chest that his back was currently pressed against. "He didn't see me. I was right in front of him, why didn't he see me?"

"Magic, Yuugi. What else could do that?"

Yuugi turned and looked at the person whom's name he still did not know, suddenly choking on sobs surfacing in his throat. Yes, he was still crushed, and yes-he was getting crazier. He was just depressed that such a thing had to happen to him. "Who the hell are you," he sobbed, his grip on the stranger's leather shirt almost lethal.

"My name is…well…you can call me Yami for now. I know your pain, Yuugi. I've been feeling it for years now."

Yuugi snorted, shaking his head as his tears wetted his cheeks. "How? No one notices me. No one cares. How would you feel any of it? Where did you even come from?"

"It's a long story, Yuugi. But I came from the puzzle. Are…are you bleeding?" Yami removed a drop of blood from Yuugi's chin, eyes wide as he looked at the red drop on his finger.

Yuugi gave a dry laugh, bopping Yami against his forehead softly with the heel of his hand. "Here's your sign. Duh."

Yami was silent as the obvious stupidity of his statement sunk in, and then he chuckled. "I'm glad to see that your spirit hasn't broken yet. You really are strong, and I'll be here now to help you get stronger."

Yuugi rested his head against Yami's chest, slumping in his pain and usual exhaustion. "And enter Ophelia. Tomorrow is St. Valentine's Day…" he began to sing.

"What is this nonsense," Yami questioned.

Yuugi shook his head. "Have you never heard of Shakespeare? Hamlet? Ophelia was in love with Hamlet, but after he killed her father who was eavesdropping on a conversation he was having with his mother, she went crazy, singing songs at random, and eventually drowned herself in the river."

"You think you're going crazy," Yami stated.

"Any other explanation you can conjure up for me that makes more sense? I must be dreaming right now. I finished the puzzle, collapsed in exhaustion, and am asleep right now on my dirty, cold floor with no hope for a better tomorrow."

"Yuugi, do your wounds hurt?"

"…They always hurt. Pain is something I live with all the time now. I can't remember what it was like anymore, to not feel any pain."

That was a dead end. He was probably still crying in his sleep with the agony shooting through his brittle bones and bruised flesh. "How about a bath, Yuugi? You look like you could use one."

Yuugi narrowed his eyes as he thought. "My parents have been coming home earlier lately, and I haven't been able to get showers very much. So long as I stay out of their sight, I avoid a beating."

Yami shook his head, and Yuugi could feel him bristling with anger against him. "They will not, under any circumstances, touch you again. I promise. They'll forget you even live here."

Yuugi laughed bitterly. "Yeah, right."

Yami scooted around him and got off of the bed, and the silver veil over his eyes, and the warmth he had felt, suddenly left Yuugi feeling cold and desolate. He shivered, hugging his arms to his chest. Yami extended his hand, waiting for Yuugi to take it. "Come. We're going to get your wounds cleaned."

Simply shaking his head and wondering when he was going to wake up, Yuugi took the hand, feeling the warmth returning to him. Must be more magic.

Yami held him close as they went down the hall, somehow knowing the way to the bathroom. "Put out the light, and then put out the light; If I quench thee flaming, thy flaming minister, I can again they former light restore, Should I repent me; but once put out the light," Yuugi recited with a bitter ease.

"What is that from, Yuugi?" Yami questioned. "And what does it mean?"

"Othello states this just before he's about to kill his wife Desdemona. He's putting out candles, and it's a reference to the fact that he's going to put out her life, because he believes she was unfaithful. I know that I'm going to die as well traipsing through the house while my parents are home."

Yami shook his head. "It's not right for you to have such desolate thoughts. You're not alone anymore. You haven't been, really, but I could not come to you before the puzzle was completed. The relic would not let me."

Yuugi shook his head as they entered the bathroom. "Are you telling me that you were actually inside of the puzzle?"

"In truth, I'm a spirit, Yuugi. I can go back into the puzzle, too. But at least now I will be able to move freely from this world and the spiritual world."

"So your some guardian spirit that's here to help me out, huh?"

Yami seemed to hesitate a bit. "Not really. Most guardian spirits weren't locked in darkness for ages beyond count. Aside from the darkness, every drop of blood and every tear that fell into the puzzle brought feelings, although terrible feelings. It brought feelings back into my conscious thought. And it's because of your that I'm able to be here now, to see, to feel, and to think. I'm bound to you, Yuugi, and I'm not leaving."

Yuugi still didn't seem to believe. "Whatever, Ultima. I'm just grateful that I'm getting a bath."

Yami decided that he needed to get a hold of the modern and perhaps even not so modern literature; otherwise he'd never be able to keep up with what Yuugi was telling him.

Yuugi stripped of his dirty clothes without a second thought and started the shower, hissing when he got in and the steaming water hit his sensitive skin.

"Are you all right, Yuugi?" Yami's voice asked him from outside of the shower curtain.

"Yeah…I'm fine."

Yami was silent for a moment before he answered back. "Liar. And we're going to get your wounds cleaned and dressed."

Yuugi had to stop and think about that for a moment. Someone that was actually going to be able to see past his façade? That would be able to tell if he was being sarcastic? He wasn't sure he knew how to deal with that.

Yuugi froze when the heavy pounding of his father sounded in the hall. Crouching down in the tub, he looked out and saw Yami standing in front of the door, arms crossed, starring straight ahead and waiting.

Yuugi couldn't move, nor could he speak when the door slammed open, and his father starred angrily into the small bathroom. Before the man could open his mouth to speak, Yami beat him to the punch.

"You see nothing," Yami hissed quietly. "The lights are not on, the shower is off, and there is no one in here. You were just on your way to bed."

Yogosu Motou set his jaw tightly, but turned around without so much as a sound and closed the door, the sound of his feet pounding down the rest of the way into the his bedroom.

Yuugi shakily stood. This all had to be too good to be true. "He…he's gone?"

Yami turned to him with compassionate eyes. "Yes. All gone."

Yuugi nodded his head, closed the curtain and went back to his shower. He wished that he could have stayed in longer, but he was dead tired and his scars were hurting under the attack of soap and steam, so he got out a little early, careful as he dried off.

Yami was rummaging underneath of the sink for bandages and anti-biotic ointment, pleased with him self as he found it. His brow was creased heavily, and his stance became more and more tense the more wounds that he bandages and dressed.

But there was one problem that he needed to check much more closely, as he noticed a line of bruises trailing up Yuugi's right leg.

Yuugi noticed as he followed the trail, and he held his towel closely. "It's nothing, don't worry about it."

Those bloodied red eyes looked at him harshly, and Yuugi realized then that he was going to have a hard time hiding anything from this person. Sighing when he realized he wasn't going to sway Yami's position, he repositioned his towel so that just his hip was showing.

The spirit next to him gasped out loud when a mass of black and purple flesh met his vision. Yuugi hissed when he touched it, and Yami withdrew his hand as if it had touched something painfully hot. "I'm sorry, Yuugi. I think that your bone is bruised, though. You have to let me touch it, for I believe that I can help to speed the healing process."

Yuugi rubbed his head. "Let me guess, more magic?"

Yami gave him a puzzled look. "Would it be anything else?"

Yuugi simply sighed. "Double, double, toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble."

Yami frowned hard. "More quotes?"

"The three witches," Yuugi smiled ruefully.

Yami shook his head, and decided to get along with healing Yuugi. The moment he touched the skin, Yuugi cried out in pain, his hand quickly clutching Yami's shoulder and squeezing. A strange sensation began to seep into his very bone, as if small tendrils of electricity were massaging his aching and sore muscles and marrow. He shook a little, faintly reminded of a tickle.

When Yami removed his hand, Yuugi was able to open his eyes again, which he hadn't realized were closed, and noticed that his skin was not longer black and purple, but now purple and pink, with small spots of yellow. "It looks just like it did fifteen minutes after I got it."

Yami nodded, hiding his depletion of energy. "It will take a while to heal, but it will, and much more quickly." Standing, he offered a hand to Yuugi. "Why don't we get you into bed?"

Yawning despite him self, Yuugi nodded and stood, taking the offered hand and obediently following Yami back to his miserable room.

Grabbing a meager set of pajamas, Yuugi sat down on his bed, sighing as it squeaked and groaned underneath of him, and slipped under his only cover.

Yami tucked him in, but watched as he started to shiver all over again. "Are you cold?"

Yuugi almost laughed. "No, I like to shiver for the fun of it. Don't you?"

Frowning, Yami lifted to cover and got into bed with him, pulling Yuugi's back up to his chest. The warmth he had felt before settled back over him, and Yuugi was direly relieved when he saw that silver sheen over his eyes before he closed them. If he was right in his assumption, now no one could see him. "Get some sleep, now," Yami whispered into his ear.

"Yes, mother." Yuugi actually smiled when Yami gave a small snort into his still wet hair.

Yes…some of my other stories were starting to bore me a bit. Maybe this one will help to alleviate that problem. Review for me? Please?