Disclaimer: I do not own anything that has to do with Yu-Gi-Oh or its characters. Ryou Byakuya's last name is owned by Bleach, but everything else is mine!
Title: An Artisans Craft
Ch 9: Childhood Memories
As Yuugi slowly shuffled down the street, he thought about the weird sensation he felt when he was waking up. It was a feeling of familiarity, longing, excitement, and... He blushed. He was surehe woke up thinking of Yami – or more specifically – Yami's voice. He sighed dreamily, his mind wandering to his crush, when he crashed into something. Hard.
Yelping in shock, he fell to the ground with a thump, wincing in pain and rubbing his abused back. That's what he gets for not paying attention to his surroundings. Amethyst eyes widened in shock when he heard a familiar chuckle. His eyes first landed on a pair of black Doc Martens that were partially covered by black leather trousers. As they traveled up, they skimmed over the form-fitting pants up to a dark sapphire blue, short-sleeved silk shirt that covered a muscled torso, a partially exposed collarbone fitted with a leather chocker, a chiseled jaw, a sensuous mouth, and locked onto laughing crimson eyes. Eeping in embarrassment, Yuugi lowered his eyes to the ground and feverently wished the ground would swallow him up whole.
"Are you alright Yuugi?" a smooth baritone voice asked courteously. "I would lend you a hand, but they're kinda full at the moment."
Nodding his head, Yuugi climbed up off the ground and took another look at his crush. He noticed this time that Yami was holding the same backpack from yesterday, a plastic grocery bag, and two styrofoam cups in each hand. Cocking his head in confusion, he looked at Yami, looked at the cups, and then looked around the street.
"What are you doing in this neighborhood?" the younger man asked. "And with all of that stuff?"
The taller man grinned. "Well, I woke up disgustingly early this morning," here he made a face and grumbled about the good-old-days of sleeping in til past noon, "then I stopped by the store to see if you were there and noticed that you weren't. I wanted to check up on you after last night," he added, smirking in amusement at the renewed blush on the other mans cheeks. "Thinking – and hoping - that you were still at home getting some well-deserved rest, I picked up some food," he lifted the grocery bag slightly, "and some coffee," nodding towards his cup-filled hands. Seeing the thankful look on the little ones face, Yami smiled and handed one of the cups to Yuugi. "I'm guessing by that look you either haven't had breakfast or coffee yet."
Humming a sound of agreement, Yuugi contently breathed in the smell of freshly brewed bean. "My grandpa drank all the coffee this morningand ate the last of the bread in the house before he left for Egypt this morning," he grumbled, wondering mentally if he should thank his guardian for his unconscious actions now that Yami was here with apparently both.
"Egypt?" Yami asked questioningly as he gestured for the little one to start walking back towards the Game Shop.
Nodding his head, and turning around, Yuugi started explaining about his retired archaeologist father-figure that frequently helped out his old partner with digs. "He goes back to Egypt around twice or three times a year whenever his old colleges want some help from a veteran like him," here he paused to dig out his keys and let Yami in. "I've personally never been myself, but he loves it there and can't get out of the work even when he's retired. He usually ends up going for a couple of weeks to a month before he comes home."
Making a sound of understanding, Yami let his eyes wander around the store they entered. Seeing the orderly array of old and new toys and games, he smiled softly, imaging growing up in a comforting place like this. Following the other man through the store to the back and up some stairs, he also saw some pictures of a happy home life. Coming to a stop in front of a particular photo, he studied it carefully, not noticing Yuugi look back and stop too. Recognizing the elderly man from last night, he grinned when he saw how happy and content he looked even when sweating and covered in sand and dust. The scene was obviously in the middle of a dig, with Yuugi's grandfather leaning on a rock with a bottle of water in one hand and some kind of blueprints in the other. A pyramid rose majestically behind him in the fading daylight, and Yami could see a chipped statue of a Sphinx lying regally in the background.
"That's a picture of Grandpa in Giza outside of Khafre's pyramid," said an amused voice next to him. Turning his head, he saw amethyst eyes looking at the picture with a sort of amused resignation reflected on his face. "Unless you want to know about every square inch of the place, with detailed stories about all the traps and hieroglyphics, I wouldn't mention it to my Grandpa," Yuugi said, shaking his head in false concern. Yami just smiled, and looked back at the happily smiling man in the photo.
"It must be nice to have a person like him in your family," the crimson eyed man said softly. "He was so nice when I met him last night, just smiling without a care in the world, totally trusting me, even though he's never met me. He couldn't stop laughing when I told him how you fell asleep and joked about how I should have left you at the worktable to 'teach him not to work so late again,' and even offered to drive me home since it was so late at night. When I declined, he offered me money to grab a cab and invited me in to have coffee."
Yuugi grimaced and was about to apologize about his well-meaning but sometimes overly concerned family member, when he saw the look on Yami's face. It was slightly nostalgic and sad, but gentle and happy at the same time. He was confused until it dawned on him. "You don't have a family anymore?" he asked softly.
The older man turned from the picture and looked at Yuugi. "None that I remember," he answered back, shooing the smaller man forwards again. When they reached the kitchen, Yami put down his bags on the table and started rifling through them. Pulling out a box of danishes, a container of fruit salad, and some plastic forks and napkins, he gestured for Yuugi to start eating and sat down across from him. "My parents died when I was still a child. They were quite wealthy, but since their parents had died already and they were both without siblings, I grew up in an orphanage until I was around 15. That's when my family inheritance kicked in. Since I was mature for my age – and with the help of one of my family lawyers – I was able to get a early emancipation since I was self-sufficient. I moved out into the apartment I live now and continued high school, then was able to get a scholarship at the University of Domino," here he paused to take a sip of his coffee.
Munching on a strawberry danish, he looked over at Yuugi's sad face, "Of course, I had a lot of people supporting me. When I met Bakura in high school we used to crash at my place a lot since his father is away all the time for business, and the dean at the orphanage still calls once a week to make sure I'm taking care of myself," here he chuckled, "His daughter, Isis, is like an older sister to me and always pops her head in once a week to make sure I'm not surviving on coffee alone, and her brother Malik is always wanting me to get her off his back and take refuge in my apartment. Their family kind of took care of me and I sort of think of them as my cousins."
Yuugi giggled. Thinking to return the favor, he told Yami about his deceased parents, and how his grandpa raised him in this very house since he was a baby. Having no other family, the elderly man had been all too happy to have the infant to raise when his son and daughter-in-law had died in a plane crash, having left Yuugi with his grandfather until they were home. With the spritely, game-loving, and adventurous grandpa as a father-figure, Yuugi had grown up to love Egypt and all kinds of games. He confessed to Yami about how he grew up listening to stories of excavations and Ancient Egyptian myths as bedtime stories.
Enjoying the food and the nice company, they traded funny and sometimes embarrassing stories of their childhood, laughing over Yuugi's descriptions of his goofy friend Jou's foray into the world of cafeteria food, and Yami's humorous stories of how he met Bakura trying to steal the school flag and thus living up to his last name, Kaitou. The amethyst eyed man reluctantly told the older man about his embarrassing first date with his childhood crush, Anzu, where he tried to take her to lunch but had forgotten his wallet and fell into the pond when they went to the park. Luckily she had laughed it off and it had become an inside joke every time they went out lunch together. Yami told Yuugi about his most embarrassing date, where he had accidentally taken a girl to the same restaurant a guy that kept trying to hook up with him worked as a waiter. Nevertheless, he had ended up with his soup dumped in his lap by the overly obsessed guy, and his date furiously thinking that he was two-timing her. He had never gone back to the restaurant ever since.
Sharing stories, hopes, and dreams, Yuugi learned that Yami was hoping to sell some of his art and photo's, but was unsure of what he wanted to ultimately do in life. He said that there was so much stuff to see and experience that he couldn't decide on one field of study, and although he had enough money to live comfortably, he wanted to do something meaningful.
Yuugi told him about how he was called a prodigy at metalwork by his grandpa's friend and his apprenticeship with the old craftsman when he was in high school. When his mentor had retired, he had given Yuugi the shop, in exchange for making his family anything they wanted at a special discount. He confided to the other man that although he had enough money to live away from his grandpa, couldn't make himself to leave the elderly man even though he had apparently tried to convince his grandson to do so. Smiling to himself, Yuugi told Yami about the day he had opened the shop with himself as the manager and part-owner, sharing the responsibility with his grandpa till he was old enough to manage it on his own. With great enthusiasm, he talked about his first sale and frequent repeat customers, and when the store made its first big appearance in the world with the help of Seto Kaiba, old time rival and friend, who was the teenage CEO of Kaiba Corp.
They had worked together when Seto had ordered the design of a hand-crafted Duel Monsters trophy. It was for the winner of a children's Duel Monsters championship, that was held in America for the opening of Kaiba Land. It was so well crafted, that newspapers all over the continent had exclaimed over the costly item that was designed as a one of a kind Blue Eyes White Dragon being rode by a small figure holding a Duel Monster card. After that, there had been orders from all over the world asking for their own hand-crafted original trophies, plaques, and medals. Once it was made known that Yuugi specialized in all kinda of metal work, including jewelery, he was undulated with requests for wedding bands and keepsakes. Even now, he was buried in daily mail order requests that he had to go through and usually had to decline because of his work load. The amethyst eyed man told his attentively listening companion about how he couldn't turn down certain requests, be they regular customers – like the older woman who came in to request unusual custom made pieces – to requests for children's things, like baby rattles and small keepsakes. The ones that he never turned down were from hospitals and charities, whether they wanted specially made plaques, to small gifts for the terminally ill patients during Christmas time.
Yami stopped him with a question. "Small gifts for the terminally ill?"
Yuugi smiled. "During Christmas, the Domino Hospital holds a special program that receives donated gifts to give the children in the terminally ill ward. When I was still apprenticing to Mr. Shishou, I used to help him make little necklaces, bracelets, hair clips, and picture frames to donate to the ward. When the children received them, they were so overjoyed that their parents wanted to pay us somehow for them," he laughed indulgently. "We of course declined, but when I continued the tradition every Christmas with the help of my friends who made cards or wrapped the gifts, the children started sending cards back as a thank you. When Seto heard of it he made a donation to my shop, since by then, he was one of the main benefactors at the hospital. When I complained, he told me to shut up and use the money towards making more things for other charities," Yuugi grinned when Yami laughed. "Since then I've made a stockpile of little items that I work on all year and send out every Christmas to the local hospitals and orphanages."
The other man grinned. "That's amazing. I would love to help out this year. Maybe I can put some of my pictures in the frames, or help with the deliveries." He paused in thought. "That's really amazing," he repeated.
Yuugi smiled. "It's really fulfilling when we take the gifts personally to all the children. They're so overjoyed, and there are some kids there that have been getting our presents for years. You should see how well they take care of them. There's one little girl that's been there since I was an apprentice, and she doesn't let any of my friends deliver her gift. It always has to be from me. Every year, she shows me all the little items I've made her and they look brand new because she polishes them everyday. Then she gives me this cute little card that she made herself and gives me this big hug. Every year for the last 5 years," he said. His smile dimmed a bit. When Yami gave him a questioning look, Yuugi sighed sadly. "I've started visiting her every couple of weeks since last Christmas. I heard that she has cancer and her body started rejecting the treatment last year. Since then, I try to go visit her since she's such a sweet girl, but I don't know if she'll last till December."
Seeing his little one so distressed, Yami walked around the table and sat next to him. Gathering him up in his arms, he started to rock Yuugi slowly, almost feeling his sadness as a physical ache. "She sounds like an amazing little girl. Would you like to go visit her today? I would love to meet her."
When he saw the bright smile overcoming the tears in Yuugi's eyes, Yami knew he made the right decision when he walked into Artisans all those weeks ago. Brushing the tears away from those beautiful amethyst eyes, he smiled back as his heart swelled. Gently kissing Yuugi's forehead, he reluctantly let go of the other man and started cleaning up.
They had a little girl to meet.
AN: Another chapter! Woohoo! This one was more of a filler than anything, since I explained about both of their pasts. I'll get into more detail about their friends soon. They'll be making an appearance in a few more chapters. I didn't put in the story of the little girl for a chance to get YxYY fluff... Although it was a good idea in hindsight. She will play a kind of important role coming up.
Also, if no one knows, Bakura's last name, Kaitou, means thief – or more like a title for a thief - in Japanese. In the actual anime, they use Touzoku, which is more like a pillager/thief kind of person. I didn't like that as his last name, so I chose the more 'honorable' name for thief.
Yuugi's Master, Mr. Shishou, is actual Japanese too. The apprentice would call their Master/Mentor/Teacher their shishou. Other people would call them sensei, or teacher, but by their apprentice, they are called shishou.
The scene with Yuugi's Grandpa, is actually a real site. Khafre's pyramid in Giza actually has a Sphinx outside of it (I saw a picture of it in when I was looked up Egyptian pyramids.) I thought having an actual real live Pharaoh's pyramid instead of going through the trouble of making one up would be good. I'm not sure if there are actual traps, but in old tombs, there are usually many traps to discourage robbers going after their treasure.
When Yami talks about getting his inheritance and an emancipation, that is actually very legal. I looked it up. There are some inheritances that are available to the last living heir of a wealthy family, and they can receive them when certain guidelines are fulfilled (ie: age, status, etc.) This is usual in cases where there isn't a will. A youth can get an emancipation before their age of majority if they are self-sufficient, have an educational degree/diploma, or if they are married. Some have to get parental consent or have to have a court hearing. Since Yami had a court hearing and he is self-sufficient, he got emancipated.