Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Part VII: Knowing What You Got

Disclaimer: Red Rover, Red Rover, send the Yugioh! rights right over! (still do not own Yugioh!) Btw, I also do not own 'Believe in Father Christmas' by Greg Lake or 'The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)' by Nat King Cole.

Note: This chapter might be a little strange considering that it might not fit in with the Christmas mood. But it is important. In every story there is a point where something ultimately snaps in the hero. This may not be the ultimate point, but this is where something's going to strike Yami's nerve. As I told my friends (they are also reading this) this is where Yami is supposed to start getting his butt in gear. Heh heh. So if you think this is a bit odd for a Christmas story, there is a reason for that. But don't worry. This is probably the only chapter I'll do this way. (Maybe.) Also, read to the end if you will. I did end with a cute little scene.

December 7th

The city streets that Yami walked down that night looked much different from the ones that he had walked down that day, though they were all one in the same. There were fewer people now. He probably passed by about two or three people. There was a sad, melancholy feel to them as though they were just as invisible as he. A shiver ran up his spine, though he was immune to the cold, and quickly hastened his pace. The windows, once so bright and merry, were now dull and the numerous ornaments and decorations now looked lifeless and limp. Yami didn't like this. Yami didn't like this at all. There was no laughter, no singing. No merry voices yelling out greetings.

'Where did all the joy go?' he thought. 'How can people make it disappear so suddenly?'

Such a thing unnerved him.

He walked faster.

It wasn't as though he knew where he was going. Quite the contrary, he had no idea where he was headed to. He was starting to get doubts, but he continued to stride forward. Something told him that he was to be out here. There was somewhere he needed be right now.

Hours passed and the night seemed long to the angel. There was just a sliver of the moon out that night. Also, it might've just been him, but Yami could've sworn that the more he walked into this city, the fewer stars he saw. Everything was drab and everything was dreary. The street lights, their tiny beams lighting up sections of the sidewalk at a time only made things look more in a gloom.

The town underwent a transformation as Yami continued to walk. Buildings became drabbier and more worn down. Most were old apartments that were falling apart. Alleys now littered the off roads of the sidewalk, but they became haunting menaces. Not for the entire world would Yami go down one of those. The sun began to rise and Yami began to see just how worn down this section of the city was. Gutter water lined the edges of the streets, overflowing with litter and clutter. Some sections were so filthy Yami had to advert his gaze in disgust.

'There will be people about soon,' he thought as he paused to watch the sun rise. 'Perhaps it would be best to hide during the day so as to not run into any awkward situations.' He looked about, searching for someplace that would provide a good, temporary shelter.

Yami was able to spot a good spot. It was in a nearby ally that, now viewed clearly with daylight, didn't look too terrible. There were piles of garbage spread out through out the edges, but the spot Yami was looking at was made up of cardboard boxes. Huge boxes, some intact and some not, were piled up on top of each other and conveniently made a big enough arch for a person to sit comfortably and out of the way.

Content with his surroundings, Yami leaned back and waited patiently for the day to pass.

They said there'll be snow at Christmas,
They said there'll be peace on earth,
But instead it just kept on raining,
A veil of tears for the Virgin birth.

Despite earlier occurrences, angels do not truly need sleep. They can, however, be sent into a non-observant mode as a way to pass time on Earth and to conserve magic or energy. A human equivalent would be to "zone out".

This is what Yami did to pass the time. Countless faces passed but registered not a single one. A group of teenage boys passed by in a "taped together" car playing rap music at full blast but Yami did not hear it. A couple of times, as the hours went by, there were the sound of glass breaking or a door slamming here. A police siren rang out more times than uptown folks would be comfortable with but still Yami did not twitch. It was dusk before he came to again. The nighttime had started to send out its shadows and grasp this weary part of town with its long fingers. Another siren rang as Yami blinked back into life, but in his ignorance he paid no attention to it. Pulling himself out of the tiny shelter he stood. Again the streets were bare as Yami gazed upon this town with ghosts locked inside its buildings. For a minute or so, he stood there unsure of what to do. There was no place in particular to go to and no plan to follow.

Had Yami been human his heart would have been pounding.

I remember one Christmas morning,
The Winter's light and a distant choir,
And the peal of a bell and that Christmas tree smell,
And eyes full of tinsel and fire.

Realizing that it was ridiculous to just stand there all night, he moved out into the open world. Again it was cold, though he did not notice it. Again it was dreary, but this he noticed. This place must surely have been worlds from the place he left so distant was the constant happiness and cheer and color.

'Yet still I am looking,' he rolled his eyes at the idea of the fool he was being. 'For what, I don't know. I am meant to see something and of course it would be too much of a hassle to tell me what to expect.' He started to walk past an apartment building, one no different than the others next to it, when he heard a loud 'CRASH'. Startled, he jumped and paused. Shouts and yelling were coming from a certain apartment on one of the higher levels and crashes continued. 'Though I'm starting to get the feeling that I'm not going to like it very much.'

They sold me a dream of Christmas,
They sold me a silent night,
They told me a fairy story,
'Til I believed in the Israelite.

There was a louder, more final slam of a door and pounding feet raced down steps. Yami looked up and spotted a small figured racing down the front entrance's stairs. It was a child, probably not much older than Yugi though a bit bigger in stature. His short logs were apparently going a bit to fast for him and stumbled down the last few steps and crashed down onto his hands and knees. Shaggy blonde hair covered his head and his small frame shook. Little did the little boy child know that just a few feet away, an angel was watching him with wide curious eyes.

With an almost awe-like curiosity, Yami took a few steps forward. Upon closer inspection, it was discovered that the boy was not heaving from sobs as Yami suspected but shaking with what seem like utter despair. Breathing was repeated with strangled chokes and brown eyes seemed to narrow at the ground. He was soon rocking back and forth moving up and down from the floor respectfully. The cold soon gripped him and Yami could see his breaths come out in pale steam.

The angel was utterly stupefied.

Up from the apartment came more yells and curses. More things broke or thrown against the wall by the sound of it. The boy just flinched and tried to press further down onto the ground. His eyes were squeezed shut and the rocking became faster. He seemed to be murmuring to himself.

Yami did not like this. He did not like this one bit. His mind in a sort of state of shock, he made a move to leave, turning his back on the child.

And I believed in Father Christmas,
And I looked to the sky with excited eyes,
Then I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn,
And I saw him and through his disguise.

'How could you just leave him like that?'

Yami stopped in his tracks.

'What?'

'Honestly, I don't know how you can live with yourself. Turning you back on a miserable child- honestly! You have a strange habit of doing this to kids don't you?'

Yami growled.

'This is not the time for an inner-voice argument about morals!'

'Pft. Please. I'm way too good to be one of your inner voices. You have quite an ego there, don't you Yami dear?'

Yami blinked.

'Who are you?'

'Your sanity. I've come to say goodbye.'

What in the.. Yami froze. How could this be?

Suddenly, the voice broke out into bright, hearty laughter. 'Oh, please. I was kidding. You really don't have an imagination, do you?'

Yami scowled. 'Why don't you just leave me alone?' He did not like being made a fool out of.

'Tsk, tsk, tsk. Yami, you should know by now that that is not how things work.'

'How what works?'

Pause.

'Oh.. whoops! Hee hee... never mind. Can you pretend I didn't say that? Don't want to be giving away too much now do we?'

'Uh huh,' Yami felt a sweat drop sliding down the back of his head.

'If you don't mind, can we get on with it? In case, you've forgotten there seems to be a certain someone that needs your help.'

This new voice, much deeper and softer, than the first and served to remind Yami about the miserable child before him. Looking once more, down at the shivering, disheartened youth, Yami felt a moral conflict that made his head hurt more than the two insisting voices. 'I'm caring too much,' he thought, trying to turn away. But he couldn't. He just couldn't- and that got him rather frustrated.

'You're frustrated? Hmph. Try working with someone like you. Now that's frustrating.'

'Can we please focus?'

'Right. Yami, listen. You may feel an emotional block, for some unspecified underlying principle, that suggests that you withstand yourself from all others, but there is now a necessity for you to unearth some sort of motivation in order to flourish in your specified position.'

'Huh?'

The second voice sighed softly.

'She said that you have, for some reason or another, emotional issues that don't allow you to complete your duties to the fullest but now you have to work past that.'

'Huh?'

Bu now the first entity was getting frustrated.

'Translation...: FORGET YOUR BLOODY PRIDE AND GET YOUR BUTT IN LINE!'

Yami gritted his teeth. How dare these people (or whatever in the world they were!) tell him what to do! In his irritation, he blocked out the child's whimpers and focused in on his indignation. Forget this! He turned his back and began to walk away...

'This child is no different than Yugi.' This time there were no thoughts, no other influences than his own true heart. 'What if it was Yugi? What would you do?'

I wish you a hopeful Christmas,
I wish you a brave New Year,
All anguish, pain and sadness,
Leave your heart and let your road be clear.

Joey couldn't be sure, but as he kneeled there on the icy sidewalk, he could almost have sworn that a pair of warm arms had gone around him. For one more used to harsh words and stern looks, this kindness and gentleness was unsettling. Startled, he stiffened and his head shot up, brown eyes searching.

But there was no one there.

"Calm down," a soft yet gruff voice soothed. "You have nothing to fear from me."

The boy swallowed.

"Who are you?" he asked bravely, readying himself.

"Pft. Don't waste your time worrying about it, kid. It seems to me like you've got more things to worry about."

Joey began to fidget. "Yeah, so?" he narrowed his eyes in bravado. "What do you know? Things could be worse."

"Who says they couldn't be? I just thought you should have a moment to live without fear?"

"Hmm." Joey began to, without even realizing it, relax. For one long moment, it really did happen. There was a moment of no fear. Had Joey been older, he probably would have question the 'how' or the 'why', but as it was his young heart had nothing but acceptance. Then, all too quickly, the arms began to draw away. He cried out, alarmed at loosing the fleeting peace, scared of loosing that sense of caring that penetrated the inner heart. But the warmth was gone and Joey was filled with despair at the loss of caring.

"People care." The voice said one last time. "It may seem silly, but they do. Heaven knows why they do, but there are people in the world that care about you. Perhaps you just haven't found them yet."

And with that the presence was gone.

Joey was alone on the street but the winter cold was no longer reflected in his soul. There was now an inner sort of strength that he felt to his core. It wasn't very much but it was there all the same. Shaggy blonde hair shuffled as the boy turned to look back up at the apartment. Someone was there to care for him. A small girl's face appeared in his mind- his little sister. His heart pounding, the small child went back inside the apartment building.

There was someone that needed him for Christmas.

Yami watched the child he had comforted turned back and face his fears with an impassive face. With the closing of the door, it was now he that was alone on the street with a chill setting in. For a long, long moment, he just stood there with no expression on his face. Then, with a surety that had never quite been there in his stature before, he turned around and started walking- back in the direction of the gaming shop. There was someone waiting for him there.

They said there'd be snow at Christmas,
They said there'd be peace on earth,
Hallelujah! Noel, be it Heaven or Hell,
The Christmas we get, we deserve.

Yami couldn't believe it. Walking into the game shop was like walking into another dimension - a wonderland of a dimension. The Christmas decorations were up and the angel had to admit that the old man hadn't done so bad. With trimming lining the walls and playful, little trinkets here and there, the place now had the season's cheer. Fake, cotton snow lay on the store's counters along with a model of a winter cabin complete with a miniature wreath.

The part that took Yami's breath away, however, was when he walked into the living room.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
Jack Frost nipping at your nose,
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir,
And folks dressed up like Eskimos.

If the store had been decorated like a fantasyland, then the living room was a dream. The Christmas tree was there, complete with trimmings and lights. There was no particular theme but rather a scattered array of random ornaments here and there. A small toy train hurried on its plastic tracks that led only around the tree as though anxious for someone to notice the lack of presents. Figurines here and there decorated the room showing many different worlds of life playing at one time. Homemade quilts decorated with red and green gave the room a cozy little feeling. And there atop of the tree was she: the Christmas angel. She smiled gently down upon a little scene in the corner that melted Yami's heart.

Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe,
Help to make the season bright,
Tiny tots with their eyes all a-glow,
Will find it hard to sleep tonight.

The two main occupants of the house were asleep. The grandfather sat on his rocker, a quilt on his knees. And laying his tiny head on his folded hands atop his grandfather's knees was Yugi. He kneeled on the floor and a content smile made his face glow. They were an unusual family to be sure, just two mortals sleeping amongst a fantastic dream. As though they needed nothing else in the world but the comfort of each other's presence.

They know that Santa's on his way
He's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh,
And ev'ry mother's child is gonna spy,
To see if reindeer really know how to fly.

His body moved on its own as it crossed the room and stopped in front of the slumbering pair. Such contentedness; such a wistful sort of happiness. Any banker, any realtor, any person of the bill could walk right up to this place and say that these two did not have very much at all. More than some people certainly, but nothing to brag about. Yet to someone who had felt out of place for as long as he could remember, who had nothing he had ever really believed in with all his heart and soul, who had nothing to protect and cherish, such a sight like this brought home how truly alone he was. Before these two, he was the poor one. So caught up was he in thoughts like this that he never really considered his next actions. Bending forward, he gently grabbed hold of Yugi and knelt himself onto the floor. Then, with a bit of maneuvering of himself and a quilt, he leaned Yugi up against him and his own back was to the chair's side. His mind still hazy, he tucked the quilt in among the two of them and started to zone out. Just as he did so, he felt the faintest tugs on his hair. It was Grandpa, old fingers curling through what he thought was his grandson's hair.

And so I'm offering this simple phrase,
To kids from one to ninety-two,
Although it's been said
Many times, Many ways
Merry Christmas to you.

And watching this little scene, unnoticed by any of the three occupants, was a shimmering image of a smiling lady with long orange hair. There was a glowing light upon her and as she watched this cute little "Kodak moment", it was clear that there was nothing but good wishes from her to the trio. She and Joey's angel had persuaded and watched in frustration as Yami had to deal with that "mission" she had sent him on. But it had been necessary. She understood that now. Otherwise, he would never be prepared to handle what was coming and still be able to take care of her little charge. Joey's angel had been relived as well. Now, all that was left was to see how Yami would fare in the upcoming challenges.

"Good job, Yami," she smiled, blue eyes sparkling. "You're finally on the right track. Now let's see how you do now that the show's on the road."

And so I'm offering this simple phrase,
To kids from one to ninety-two,
Although it's been said
Many times, Many ways
Merry Christmas to you.