Greetings everyone! This is Ferris. So I'm starting this new story. I actually abandoned it for a while but recent events have convinced me to start it up again.
This story is going to be pretty different from my other fics. There's barely any comedy. It's angsty but I could only fit two categories so I'm telling you that now...um...Oh yes, this is a serious fic dealing with some issues I'm going through. Touches extremely close to home for me. One of our good friends has gone over the deep end...completely lost touch with reality. And being in the USA we're not allowed to take him in for treatment if he doesn't want it. (grimaces) So yes, I've decided to continue this fic for him.
Just for all you new to my fics, I start off each chapter of my stories with a poem I've written. (occasionally I use other peoples' works that I make sure to give credit too.) This chapter's more of an introduction more than anything else. It bounces about a lot. Later on you get a lot closer to certain characters. Just wanted to point that out. Please continue...
With a single touch
A chair turns to gold
The floors and the hallways—
My entire abode.
But flowers in the gardens
No longer smell sweet.
Water turns to solid
And food, I can't eat.
My companions have all fled
In fear for their lives
They ran from the palace
Forgetting their pride.
I offered them golden
Ornaments and rings,
But they abandoned their ruler,
Their power, their king.
Now the castle is empty
I am left all alone.
It's a place full of gold
But it isn't a home.
There are no more songs
Or merry events.
It's silent and dead—
All the happiness spent.
My wife and my daughter
Are all that remain
Refusing to leave me
In sorrow and pain.
My daughter is smiling
Her arms are held out
To give me a hug
And erase all my doubt
At the flight of my servants,
My friends, and the guards;
My wife reaching out to her,
Eyes fearful and hard.
On her cheek is a teardrop
For what I must endure.
It's still on her soft face,
Bright golden and pure.
Their skin isn't warm now
With stiff, cold, still hearts
From my curse—my greed
From which all madness starts.
Chapter One: The Game King
Yugi stomped angrily through the rain, sneakers and pant legs getting thoroughly soaked. He didn't care though. It didn't matter. Nothing mattered anymore, save one thing…
The crowd erupted with uproarious cheers as Yugi's life points dropped to zero. Yami stood tall at the opposite side of the platform unable to hide his grin. This was his very first duel in his own body, separate from his hikari. He turned, waving to the bystanders who in response began chanting: "King of Games! King of Games! King of Games!"
Yugi stared in mute silence at the life point board, his side flashing a large red zero again and again. Zero…zero…zero…
Their friends gathered around the pharaoh as the platform descended, cheering excitedly. Yugi stood wordlessly as he waited to be taken back to the floor, picking up his deck and shoving it in his side pocket. His darker half was positively beaming, exiting the lift and stepping onto the floor, striding toward his hikari.
"Good duel, Yugi," he smiled warmly pulling his lighter half into a hug.
The light didn't respond to the embrace, standing stiffly in his darker half's arms. The others didn't notice, too busy patting Yami on the back and congratulating him. The pharaoh noticed though, squeezing his lighter half's shoulder in concern. Yugi pulled away, plastering on his face a smile that was obviously forced.
"You too, Yami." Zero…zero…zero…
The hikari growled as the rain began to come down in sheets, much harder than before. Sopping wet, he shivered, making his way for a small bar in the distance. It was run-down; the letters of the sign all dead save for a B that was flashing its dim blue light on and off. The door stuck when it was half-way open. It flew wide with a bang with one vicious kick from the drenched boy.
The men at the counter turned, dubiously eyeing the short tri-colored haired boy. Yugi strolled across the floor wearily, slumping down in a random booth. There were murmurs all about the room, people looking uncertainly from the newcomer to one another.
"Hey kid, you lost?" someone yelled. There was a round of laughter.
"How about a soda? Or maybe a cup of ice?" anther yodeled. More laughter.
"Isn't it past your bedtime?" a gravelly voice rasped from the booth next to his. Yugi turned to the lone figure in the shadows.
"Bakura!" he exclaimed in surprise.
He wasn't so shocked to see the yami as the fact that he hardly recognized him. The thief's usually jagged hair was stringy and limp. There were dark circles under his red eyes. The structure of his face was more pronounced, skin clinging tightly to his skull giving the pallid appearance of a corpse.
The darkness chuckled before taking a swig from his glass. "No shit, kid. What the hell are you doing here?"
"Getting out of the rain," the hakari answered simply, standing slowly while eyeing the other warily.
The tomb robber snorted. "Not soon enough by the looks of you."
It was true. Yugi's blue jacket was completely soaked through. His normally spiky hair was wilting, falling forward into his face.
"Heard about you getting your ass kicked a month or so ago," the yami continued downing a shot.
Yugi bristled. "So?"
The thief choked a moment, coughing harshly. "So," he hissed, voice scratchy. "I've heard a rumor that you've stopped dueling."
The hikari frowned, looking down at the table that was littered with empty glasses and shot cups. He jolted when Bakura's face was suddenly right in front of his, grimacing at the overwhelming stench of alcohol radiating off the thief. He wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the other started sweating the stuff.
"So it's true then," Bakura muttered with narrowed eyes.
Yugi scrunched up his nose. "Are you drunk?"
Bakura sat back waving his hand dismissively. "S'not important. So tell me how it was, eh? He totally annihilated you or d'you go down fighting?"
"It was fair, if that's what you're asking," Yugi answered coldly.
"So using a god card against you is fair?" Bakura smirked when Yugi's eyes darkened. "Hmm…one would think he'd let you keep at least one of them after he got his own body…"
"He…they were always his cards," Yugi stuttered, doubt clouding his violet eyes.
Bakura shrugged. "If you say so." He leaned in again, pointed canines visible in the dim light. "But let me point out that if it weren't for those damn cards I would've defeated him…as would you. Just because he possesses them doesn't mean he's the strongest duelist."
Yugi backed away as if he'd been slapped. People at the other booths quieted, turning to find out was going on.
"I…I think I'll go home now," the hikari whispered, turning and dashing out the door into the pouring rain.
Bakra watched him leave with amused eyes. As a waitress came by he slapped a wad of money on the table top. "Another round."
She frowned. "Don't you think you've had enough?"
He rolled his cynical blood-red eyes. "You're new here, aren't you?"
She scowled. "Perhaps."
He smirked. "Let's get something straight. When I say I want another round you bring me another round. So…" In an instant he was on his feet twisting her arm sharply in his fist. "Honey, I want another round," he hissed in her ear.
"R-right away," she winced.
He sneered releasing her from his iron grip. "That's better."
Yugi entered the house through the back door, shrugging off his sopping wet jacket and draping over a kitchen chair. He froze in mid-step at the sound of laughter coming from the living room. Jou's voice was excitedly recounting the details of one of Yami's latest duels. Honda would occasionally cut in with a remark about Yami's skill and how his opponents never had a chance.
"Yami here butchered 'em! Utterly annihilated 'em!" Jou exclaimed amidst the chatter.
"You should've heard the crowd roar," Anzu sighed in admiration.
"Or seen Kaiba's face. He was sitting off in the shadows pouting. Guy can't believe Yami's King of Games still," Jou cackled with glee.
"Well he's only held the title for a month," Mr. Mutou's voice commented.
"Yeah but we all know it was Yami doin' the dueling way before that. Yugi just got the credit," Jou huffed.
The hikari stood in the doorway staring at them in disbelief. Were these the people he'd been friends with only a month ago?
"If Yami'd had a body the whole time…"
"Yugi," Yami said standing quickly to his feet.
The hikari didn't reply, staring around the now deathly quiet room for a moment before turning and running up the stairs. A second later a door slammed. Yami sighed, sinking back down in his chair.
"I think he heard you, Jou," Honda mumbled.
Yugi buried his face in his pillow, shoulders jolting as he sobbed. He'd lost everything. His friends. Yami. His title…The boy froze, sitting up. Strewn all across the floor was pile upon pile of envelopes. He leaned down, picking up a handful. His hands began to tremble as his eyes swept over the words:
King of Games
To the King of Games
For the Game Master
Letting out a yell of frustration Yugi threw the papers to the floor. Violet eyes that were usually so happy and gentle were ablaze. So no one believed he'd ever deserved the title. To them—to everyone—it was all Yami.
"Someone should go see if he's all right," Ryou suggested as the silence continued downstairs.
They all nodded, everyone staring at the floor, unable to meet each others' eyes. They weren't meaning to leave Yugi out of things. He refused to go to the dueling arena with them. Jou had offered a friendly duel a few days earlier but the boy had rudely turned him down.
Ryou rolled his eyes when not one of them moved, getting up from the couch and ascending the stairs. Yami sighed heavily, burying his face in his hands.
"Don't worry 'bout it, Yami," Jou said resting a hand on the former monarch's shoulder. "It's just something he's gonna have to accept sooner or later."
The game king nodded glumly. "I know. I've tried everything though. I'm at a loss for what to do. I just wish it'd be sooner rather than later."
"What?" Yugi muttered at the small knock on the door.
"It's Ryou. May I come in?"
Yugi grit his teeth. "Fine."
The door creaked open, the other hikari standing nervously before him. Yugi sat up on the bed.
"Well?" he asked harshly.
The other looked taken aback. "I…Yugi, we're worried about you."
The smaller boy snorted. "Really? You remember me?"
Ryou frowned. "There's no need to talk like that."
"Then why don't you leave?" was the reply.
A hurt expression appeared on the white-haired boy's face. "Why are you acting this way?"
"They all think I'm a fake…that it was Yami all along," Yugi hissed suddenly standing and leering toward Ryou. "Do you think that too?"
"I…I…" The other hikari wasn't prepared for this, caught off guard.
"So even you," Yugi mumbled turning back and slumping down on the bed.
"Yugi, I didn't…I mean…"
"You can go now."
Ryou blinked, frozen in the doorway. Yugi growled, turning.
"I said go."
"GO!" the boy screamed furiously chucking a wad of envelopes in his direction.
Ryou backed away with wide eyes. Glancing once more at the other he left with his head bowed. Yugi stood panting amidst the fluttering pieces of paper as they fell to the floor about him. King of Games…Yami Mutou…Game King…
Two more months crawled by, spring turning into summer. With summer came the ending of school. This, of course, left more time for Duel Monsters. Yami'd been given invitations to travel all over the world to compete. Large sums of money were the prizes for almost all the competitions. Mr. Mutou was especially pleased when Yami announced he was using his winnings to build a bigger and grander game shop for them.
Amidst it all Yugi was forgotten. No invitations to duels of any kind were sent to him. He was abandoned by everyone it seemed—save one person. Ryou had made a continuous effort to call the boy every other day. The topics of their conversations always seemed to stray to duel monsters. Yugi somewhat begrudgingly accepted this "friendship", seeing it more as pity than anything else. They sat together one afternoon at a small fast-food restaurant gazing ou the dirty windows as they ate their food.
"I've got to get that title back," Yugi muttered to himself crumpling up a wrapper that the plastic straw for his drink had come in.
Ryou frowned. "You mean you're going to face Yami again?"
Yugi sighed covering his face with his hands. "I don't know. He and I shared all our strategies and such. But he has stronger cards. How can I win against Egyptian god cards?"
Ryou quirked an eyebrow as he thought. He didn't like how obsessed Yugi had become with reclaiming the title King of Games but perhaps if he were given an opportunity to at least try for it…Perhaps it could mend at least some of the hurt between the hikari and yami.
"You could ask him not to use the god cards," Ryou suggested before taking a sip of his strawberry smoothie.
Yugi shook his head. "No. They're his cards and he therefore should be allowed to use them. Besides, defeating him even when he's using them will prove once and for all that the title is mine."
A shiver passed through the white-haired teen when Yugi's eyes changed for a split second. It had almost seemed like a shadow had passed over his friend; an unnatural glow overtaking the smaller boy.
"Perhaps we need to look at this a different way," Ryou stated quietly.
"How so?" Yugi mumbled hopelessly.
Ryou furrowed his brow. "Well, suppose you focus on a different style of dueling."
"You mean…start over?"
Ryou grimaced. "Well…if Yami knows your style and cards might changing those give you an advantage?"
"But the disadvantage of it being new to me."
The white-haired boy shrugged helplessly. "Perhaps you could learn from a master of a certain style. You learned from your grandfather about the Heart of the Cards. Other examples are people like Keith with a machine deck and Odeon with his ancient Egyptian symbols and monsters…"
Yugi nodded slowly, face becoming thoughtful. There were plenty of other dueling styles. Not all of them were even from ancient times. It could work. He needed at to find a good strategist though. Ryou watched the thoughts play across his friend's face. Hopefully this was all Yugi needed: a chance to start over and make a name for himself.
"But he's doing all right?" Yami pressed as he and Ryou walked alone down the street.
The hikari shrugged. "I think so. He's getting his old determination back."
Yami sighed staring out in front of them. "I didn't mean for this to happen. I…I should be allowed to duel too, right? To do the things I enjoy…"
Ryou smiled sympathetically. "Try not to worry too much. I'll take care of him."
The former pharaoh nodded, reaching over grasping the teen's hand, "I know you will," and squeezing it lightly.
Ryou frowned pulling his hand away. "You know we shouldn't be seen like that in public. What would Yugi think?"
"He should damn well accept it or I'll…"
"Yami," Ryou said pleadingly.
The pharaoh sighed. "All right. Until he's back on his feet. But I must warn you: I'm not patient."
Ryou winked. "I know."
Okay then. The plot thickens a lot more after this chapter. Like I said, this is the opening that introduces it all. Next chapter has more angsty-ness and all. Until later!