"The Jackal and the Innocent"
Chapter 1: "The Innocent"
Disclaimer: I do not own Yugioh in any way, despite what I may wish. I'm not writing this for my next chapter, so remember this disclaimer.
Spoilers if you haven't read the first manga.
Jounouchi Katsuya/Joey Wheeler
Hiroto Honda/Tristan Taylor
Anzu Mazaki/Tea Gardner
The Innocent wasn't like other children his age.
For one, he was rather small, not just in height, but just all around. He was a very petite boy.
Another reason would be his inability to truly hate anyone. Unlike many others, he had never felt the true burn of hate for anyone in his life, no matter what they had done. He always reasoned that they had their reason for doing what they did. However, despite this, he had no real friends to walk with, to talk with, to laugh with, or to cry with.
He had such an angelic face. With skin as pale as marble, but as soft as white rose petals, and he had a certain glow about him. He could've been a Botecelli angel. His lips were like the ripest of wild cherries, untouched by foreign hands, his eyes were still large and bright with the curiosity that innocence brought. Always shining free of judgment, he would have everyone be his friend if he could.
And, because of this and his size, he was a favorite target of those that had restless fists and jaded hearts.
And so, the Innocent learned to fear, to hide his heart.
The bully Ushio had been known to hassle all the students. Yugi should've been suspicious when the great hulking mass of pure brutality had approached him, telling him that he would protect the smaller boy from Jounouchi and Honda. He should've been more careful of the leering grin. But what could he do?
Later that day, the hall monitor had led Yugi to the broken bodies of the two boys who had tortured him for the whole year. They constantly hazed the violet eyed boy, claiming to be trying to 'make him into a man'.
Ushio grinned, his ugly face becoming even more despicable. Yugi stared in shock as his two classmates huffed and puffed, scratches, bruises and dirt all over them as they lay in a sort of pile against the school building.
"What did you do to them?"
Yugi's fists tightened. The thoughts in his head were going to fast for him to comprehend.
"I just took care of them for you. They won't be bothering you again. Of course, I have a fee for my services…" The greedy grin on the upperclassman's face widened. Yugi looked up at him, his brows knitted together in a mixture of anxiety, worry, and shock. "200,000 yen." (I think that's about $1,800.)
Yugi gasped and stumbled back a bit. "T-two hundred thousand? I-I can't pay that much!" So, this had been Ushio's true motive all along!
"Well, I guess that you'll just have to find a way to get the money, won't you? Have it for my by tomorrow, or you'll end up just like these two." Ushio then made a flamboyant gesture of rolling up his sleeves. "I'd take my aggression out on them now, while they're too week to fight back." Ushio took a step towards the blonde and brunette, but Yugi was there before him, his arms spread out on either side of his torso.
"S-stop it! Don't hurt my friends!"
The three other boys couldn't believe what they had just heard.
Had Yugi gone absolutely insane? Of all people, he was protecting them! All they had done was cause him suffering, constantly throwing things at him in class or playing pranks, trying to make his life as miserable as possible. Why was he doing this? What did he have to gain by calling them 'friend'?
Ushio raised a caterpillar-like eye brow. "What are you doing? Haven't these guys been bugging you?"
There was fear mixed with the courage in Yugi's voice as he replied, trying to defend the two very confused boys.
"They were only trying to teach me to be a man! They didn't mean any harm!"
Ushio just let out a great, croaking laugh, as ugly as his face suggested it would be.
"You're such a little fool, Moto! You're so pathetic; you can't even tell you're friends from your enemies!"
Ushio kicked the spiky haired boy in the stomach, thoroughly knocking the air out of him. He proceeded to pummel the gentle boy, all with that malicious grin on his face. As he walked away, he said one last thing.
"Have my money by tomorrow, or I'll kill you…" Coming from a guy like Ushio, that was no empty threat.
Jou and Honda had lay there and watched the pummeling of their once favorite victim, confusion on their faces. Yugi got up slowly, groaning. His face was badly bruised, and it was probably safe to say so about the rest of his body as well.
"Are you guys all right?"
Jou's mind was spinning and he replied with a question of his own.
"Why did you do that?" Honda dumbly nodded, wondering the same thing.
Yugi simply looked at them confusedly, looking so innocent even with his face seeming like the portrait of defeat itself.
"What do you mean?"
Jou jumped up, almost angrily. His face was wild, as an animal becomes when led into a trap. He grabbed the boy's shoulders, shaking him hard.
"What do you mean, What do you mean?'? I mean, why did you take that beating for us? It's not like you had to. I mean, Honda and I can hold are own, unlike you! I mean, c'mon! Look at you! What kind of dumb idiot told you that," he stuttered. "…that you could stand up to Ushio! You're pint-sized and scrawny! And what do you think you're doing, calling us your friends, you loser?"
Jou looked at him, his eyes angry and confused, somewhat bewildered, and perhaps, a little bit sad, a little bit shamefaced.
Never before had he felt sorry for hurting Yugi, and all of a sudden, he wanted to kill Ushio for hurting the pocket-sized twerp. But, he was just another worthless lump of flesh on the face of this planet, killing the earth so that he himself could thrive. At least, that's what Jou kept telling himself. He didn't feel so bad if he thought about Yugi like that. It was easy because he didn't really know him. But now…
His face fell into one of defeat, his golden eyes looking sadly into lavender orbs. "Why would you try and protect me, after all I've done to you?"
Yugi just smiled up at him, and even though his face was discolored and scratched, his eyes still sparkled with the same innocence and optimism that they always held.
"No one deserves to be treated like that. Besides, it's true, isn't it? You're just trying to help me face what the world has to throw at me. And, isn't that what friends do?"
Yugi sat at the desk in his room, exhausting his mind for ways to come up with Ushio's money.
His gentle, white fingers ran through his soft hair. He decided to work on his treasure' to clear his mind. Gently, he lifted the lid of a golden box, inscribed with ancient hieroglyphs. Dumping the pieces of the puzzle out, his fingers started working without him even having to think about it. For eight years, Yugi had tried to solve to mystery of the Millennium Puzzle, but he had never been able to solve it before. Soon, he reached the point at which he always became stuck. Letting out a sigh, Yugi's mind began to wander to other things and his fingers flew as he lifted up random pieces trying to fit them into the forming shape, all too familiar with this routine. For some reason, working on the unknown shape of the ancient object always soothed his thoughts.
The boy had become nearly obsessed with solving the puzzle ever since his grandfather told him what the inscriptions on the box said,
'Whoever solves this puzzle
And wield the powers of the dark…'
Or something like that.
The wield the powers… power… hmm….I hope that means it can grant a wish…'
That would be a nice thought. And, he knew just what wish to make if he could.
I'd wish for friends I could depend on, and who could depend on me.'
Suddenly, he felt a click in his hands. One of the pieces had actually clicked into place!
I never knew that piece fit in like that.' Soon, all the pieces of the puzzle fit into one another. Who knew how long it had been since the puzzle had been whole. His heart thumped in his chest, and a few drops of sweat beaded on his face. Yugi, in his excitement and concentration, did not notice it, but there was something in the puzzle, waiting to be free as it had been five thousand years earlier…
It's dark. It's quiet. It's deafening.
Alone. So cold!
The light, so bright, so warm. Gentle. Soft…it melts the dark.
Reach. Have to reach! Must have!
Ah! So sharp. Bleeding. Sharp shadows.
But, I am the shadows…
Must touch, must hold.
Free me! Need you! Want you…the light…
He only needed one last piece. For eight years, he had been waiting for this moment. Yugi's hand reached down to grab the last puzzle piece, only to discover it wasn't there.
What? It should be here! Where could it be?'
Yugi practically turned his whole room inside out looking for the last piece of the puzzle, but no glimpse of it's golden shimmer appeared. He slumped over in his chair and rested his head on his arms. Yugi's heart hurt in his chest as it beat steadily. This was yet another unfairness done to him.
Why can't I find it?'
His tear rimmed lavender eyes drooped, fatigue tugging at his translucent eyelids. It would be so nice to just sleep and escape for a bit. Just for a little while…' he told himself.
Yugi's grandfather came in and saw his young grandson sleeping there. He seemed to have the weight of the world on his shoulders. It broke his heart to know that of all people, Yugi was facing the world with a handicap; innocence. This child was too pure, too good for this realm of shadows and tricks. But then again, the shadows needed the light, and the light needed the shadows.
The old man gently ruffled the boy's hair, speaking kindly. "Wake up, Yugi. I have something for you."
Yugi lifted his head and rubbed the sleep from his bleary eyes. He looked up at his grandfather and smiled.
"Oh, hi Ji-chan! What is it?"
The man smiled and opened his palm.
"A friend of your stopped by the store and told me to give you this and tell you that he's sorry."
Sitting in his palm was a glittering gold eye. It was the final puzzle piece! Overjoyed, Yugi threw his arms around his grandfather.
"Thank you, Ji-chan, oh, thank you!" The small boy threw his arms around the surprised old man and he could only smile at his grandson's joy. "Thank your friend. After all, he was the one who brought the thing." Yugi let go of his grandfather and asked curiously, "Who was it?"
The old man simply shrugged and left the room.
Outside, a brown eyed boy stood on the sidewalk and watched the scene in the window. As he walked away, his shoes squished and his hair, his clothes, everything on him dripped with pool water.
Just to spite him, Jou had thrown a piece of Yugi's 'treasure' into the school pool.
He had thought Yugi such a fool. The kid was just too damn innocent and cheery for his own good. He was too nice... It was so annoying! Or, perhaps, Jou had just been jealous. Maybe he would've done anything to have such a pure soul and such hope for the future.
Even he himself didn't know exactly why he had swam to the bottom of the pool and searched for the puzzle piece, but, he decided he felt his heart become just a little bit lighter; just a little bit. (Read this scene in the manga version. It's really very sweet.)
I finally have it! The final piece is here in my hands!' Over and over, he turned to cool, metallic piece of the puzzle between his fingers. The last piece to the pyramid shaped mystery. What would he do after he had solved this obsession? Would his wish come true? Bah, such questions could wait till after he finished. He set the final piece into the center of the pyramid, the gold eye staring at him blankly. For a moment, nothing happened, and disappointment crept into his mind. Well, almost; it didn't have quite enough time to make it there. Almost as soon as he set in the final piece, the large puzzle grew warm in his hands and Yugi's whole world went completely dark.
(Well, that's it! Read the next chapter!)