Like I said, I'm trying to update my older stories, I think next will be 'Scientifically in Love'. In the middle, the Italiac part is being told by Atem, that's why it's in first person. I do, however, have a draft of 'The Union' in the works and should be up in a few days, if not tonight. I've been so miserable b/c people that used to talk and play with me about this stuff have all moved on and I feel as if I'm being left behind. There's no one left to talk to ... at least, no one my own age. It's never going to be the same here or at dev ever again, but I don't care. I'll keep it alive.
The lone boy stood in front of the mirror, looking at himself. He had to admit that what he saw looking back at him did not look healthy. The skin was abnormally pale, the once bright amethyst eyes were now blood shot and nothing but a dull purple. There were dark circles under his eyes, either from the tears or the lack of sleep, he did not know. Slowly, he raised a hand and placed it on the glass of the mirror. He pitied himself, just like everyone else did. He could remember the conversation that had taken place downstairs between Atem and Grandpa, Atem's cruel words from a few hours ago:
"The worst part was that after a while, he asked me why I took him to all those places and then asked if he was a nerd."
"A nerd?" Atem nodded.
"He asked if he was a nerd because, and I quote; 'only nerds do pointless crap like what you're showing me now'. To tell you the truth, I think he was trying to tell me that I was a nerd as well."
"I'm sure he didn't mean it like that. He was probably just still confused." Atem shook his head.
"You should have hard it, Solomon. He was putting everything down. He had an insult for everything. I don't think he's confused anymore, I think he doesn't want to remember!"
"Why do you say that?"
"Because he wouldn't work with me!" Atem started to hyperventilate now. "Every time I tried to help, he refused it! He insulted me, and made smart-ass comments on everything! He won't be the same person anymore. Yugi has lost himself in his amnesia." A few tears started to flow down Atem's face in his hysteria. "I spent the whole day trying to look for my little Yugi … but instead, I was stuck with that … that brat!" Solomon was a little confused.
"What do you mean looking for Yugi? He was with you the whole time."
"No, I mean my Yugi. The one I know so well … the one who's innocence, light, purity and creativity I cherish so much … But instead, I had him; that twisted, sarcastic smart-ass!"
All the yelling that Atem ended up doing had been enough to catch Yugi's attention. He was about to make his way downstairs when he realized that their conversation was really about him. Was that really the way Atem saw him? A 'sarcastic, smart-ass brat'? Well, if he preferred that Yugi not be around, he should have just told him. Yugi looked into the eyes of his reflection. "If that's the way they feel about me, then maybe I should just leave. This can't be my real home …" He had himself convinced that his parents were, in fact still alive and well, not to mention together, out there and waiting for him to come walking in the door. "I never truly belonged here …" He still had no memory from before he woke up in the hospital. Everything and everyone around him just felt so strange. To him, everything these people have been telling him was nothing but lies. He was sick and tired of those lies. Kids should be with their parents, not people who talk about them behind their backs. Yes, it was time to go find where he truly belonged.
Silently, Yugi gathered a few things he believed he would need such as money, clothing, and a small snack and put them into a small knapsack. Not once during the item gathering did his mind reconsider his decision; which meant that he truly believed that this was not his home. In his mind, he registered the thought of how his real parents would react to his homecoming. As the boy reached the front door, he took one last look around the dark, quiet place he stayed in during his so called 'recovery'. Letting a tear roll down his cheek, the amnesiac boy closed the door, planning never to return.
The next morning, Atem was not having a very good start. First, he looked quite the mess when he woke up, almost completely scaring himself when he looked into the mirror. Not only that, but he almost fell down the stairs because he had not been watching where he was walking. He slouched himself down in a chair at the breakfast table. Solomon was already up and at the stove, cooking breakfast. Atem could smell eggs, bacon and sausage. The elder of the household looked behind him to see the resurrected Pharaoh having a hard time waking up for some reason.
"You look like you had a rough night." Atem seemed to glare, but did not really mean to.
"Ugh …" He groaned. Solomon could not help but let out the small chuckle he was trying to hold back.
"Want to talk about it?"
"I'd rather spend another five thousand years in darkness …" Solomon raised a brow. He placed a plate of eggs in front of Atem. The Pharaoh took the fork and just played with his food for a while.
"Atem, something is wrong; tell me." Atem sighed. He hated talking about what was bothering him with anyone other then Yugi.
"I have this feeling inside me … it's eating away at my insides. It's the strangest thing …" Solomon rubbed his hand against his face.
"That feeling's called 'guilt'." Atem blinked cluelessly.
"The best way to get rid of that guilt would be what caused you to feel guilty in the first place." Atem did not want to admit it, but the reason for his guilt was the words that left his mouth about Yugi the previous night. "Let me guess: it has to do with what we discussed last night, doesn't it?" Atem looked up from playing with his food.
"What makes you say that?" Solomon sighed.
"You always mope when you say or think things about Yugi that you don't really believe."
"Well, I guess I was a bit … out of line …" The elder scoffed.
"A little? Atem, you called him a bratty sarcastic smart-ass." Atem cringed. Hearing those words again made him feel even worse. "You should go talk to him." Atem hesitated a bit.
"S-shouldn't I wait a little longer?"
"No, you do it now; I can't stand you boys giving each other the 'sad' cold shoulder." Atem sighed again. He hated it when he and Yugi acted like t hat around each other as well. He nodded and slowly made his way back up the stairs to Yugi's room. Seeing that the door was closed, Atem was tempted to just turn around and walk away, but he knew that that would not help the situation. He sighed and finally knocked on the door.
"Yugi? Can I come in?" There was no answer. At first, Atem assumed that Yugi was still asleep, and if he was, it was time for him to get up anyway. He knocked again. "Yugi, if you're asleep, it's time to get up." After no response was given, Atem opened the door ever so slightly, just enough to peek in. "Yugi?" He looked around. There was no sign of the boy anywhere. Atem's eyes widened slowly before he took in a deep breath and yelled loudly.
"GRANDPA!!" He screamed as he ran out the door and down the stairs.
On the other side of the city, Yugi walked around, confused after he got off of the bus. 'My real family has to be around here somewhere, I just know it.' He still refused to believe that he lived in a place where he was not really wanted and where people were lying to his face. However, he had no idea where to start. 'How am I going to find my real family?' For some reason, this part of town looked familiar to him.
Suddenly, a thought came to him. A funny scene began to replay in his head. He saw himself, in a preppy uniform … sitting in a place filled with books. 'A library!' He had no idea where to look for the library, but it seemed that his legs did. Absentmindedly, he allowed his legs to take him to the place that appeared in his memory.
He walked down the street. As he saw more and more places, more distant memories flew into his mind. He knew they were memories of his past because he could see himself as small child. Suddenly, he gasped, eyes wide open. "I … remember!"
"Alright, we need to look everywhere, leave no corner unturned. I want posters, I want milk cartons, I want an AMBER alert, I want"--
"--'Tem! Get a hold of yourself, man!" Joey yelled. Atem was in such worry that he literally had to shake the former ruler by his shoulders just to calm him down. Atem took a deep breath as Tea told him to.
"I'm sorry, it's just that … well …" Tea gave him a small comforting hug.
"We know, you hate it when Yugi gets himself into trouble, and how he's out there, all alone and confused. But believe me, we will find him." She giggled a bit, just enough to cheer Atem up. "Besides, you guys do tend to stick out, so it shouldn't be that hard." Tristan shrugged.
"Yeah, but still, he could be anywhere. We should split up." Solomon nodded.
"Good idea. I'm going to go down to the police station and file a missing person's report. You kids search his usual haunts and we'll take it from there."
Tristan and Tea decided to check out any of the bookstores around town. They started at the nearest Barns and Noble. "If Yugi doesn't remember anything, then how can we be sure that he'll go anywhere that he used to? Tea asked. Tristan shrugged as he picked a book off of a shelf.
"Maybe intuition will guide him to some familiar places." Tea looked at him with a long look. "What?"
"That was really deep, Tristan." The brunette boy raised his arms, confused.
"What, what's that supposed to mean?"
"I thought you didn't believe in that psychological stuff." She moved around a shelf to look at a different category of books.
"I didn't until this happened. I guess the mind really is more than just another vital organ." Tea sighed.
"Yeah …" She was looking at books on psychology and picked one up. It was a book on mental disorders. "Hey, Tristan, look at this." Hearing his name, Tristan walked over to Tea and looked at the book she was holding.
"It's a book on mental disorders. There are chapters for Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's."
"Does it have a chapter on Amnesia?" Tea turned to the back of t he book to look in the index.
"Not a separate chapter, but it does mention it." She turned to the page that mentioned Amnesia. The two friends both hoped that this would lead them to their confused friend. Tea skimmed over the two pages on the condition and gasped.
"Listen to this: Victims of Amnesia usually regain older memories then recent memories. Due to this, there have been reports of Amnesia victims never gaining back their memory."
"So … Yugi's old memories are probably about his parents … more specific, his mother." Tristan's eyes widened. He remembered the story Solomon had told them about Yugi's relationship with his mother.
"Y-you don't think … he would go looking for her, do you?"
"I don't know, but we better tell Grandpa about this."
Atem and Joey walked around the park. Yugi usually liked to take walks along the walking path here. Atem walked slowly with his hands in his pockets and his eyes to the ground. He just could not stop thinking about the argument he had had with Yugi. Was that the reason Yugi ran away? What kind of guardian was he? He had let Yugi down twice. The ancient one felt very low right now. He was brought out of his thoughts when Joey nudged him.
"Hey, you alright, 'Tem?" Atem continued to look at the ground and sighed.
"Yes, Joey. I'm fine. I just … How could I keep letting Yugi down? I'm supposed to protect him, not hurt him any more than he already is …" Joey rolled his eyes.
"Dude, you gotta stop blamin' yourself. You're starting to sound like Yugi." Atem looked at him with a confused look.
"Yugi blames himself for every bad thing that happens to us, and now you're blamin' yourself for Yugi's memory loss." Atem glared.
"This is different, Joey. I promised Yugi that I would protect him at all costs. And for a while, that's what I did … until the ceremonial battle …" Joey shrugged.
"You might still be able to protect him when we find him."
"Why do you say that?"
"From what you've told me, it sounds like Yugi's not angry at you, he's angry at himself. We're probably going to have to keep an eye on him when he find him." Joey said. When no response came, Joey looked at Atem, who had his eye focused on the ground once again. He had the feeling that Atem was only half-listening to him. He nudged the former Pharaoh again, this time, harder.
"Ouch! What the hell is your problem?!" Atem exclaimed, rubbing his arm.
"Were you listening to me at all?!"
"Yes! I heard everything you said!" Atem answered, still rubbing his arm.
"Sorry, Man. Just wanted to make sure I go through to ya." Atem sighed and looked around.
"I don't think he's here, Joey. If he was, he'd be somewhere by the lake, and I don't see him anywhere …" Joey nodded in agreement.
"Maybe we should go …" The blonde replied.
Back at the Game Shop, Solomon told the friends that he filed a missing persons report with the police and they are currently out on the look for them. Somehow, Atem still was not satisfied.
"Mr. Moto, Tristan and I found this book in Barns and Noble, it's about mental disorders, and it mentions amnesia." Tea said. She gained the attention of everyone in the room.
"What about it?" Solomon asked. Tea opened the book.
"Well, it says that Yugi might regain older memories before he regains more recent ones." The elder gasped. The boys looked at him.
"What's up, Gramps?"
"Well, if that's true, then I fear that Yugi may regain memories of … his mother …" This time, everyone gasped.
"Wait, I thought his mother was in prison." Tristan said. Solomon nodded.
"She is, but that does not mean that he knows it, or knows why." Atem pondered all of this.
"Do you know where he would go?" Solomon shrugged.
"Probably to the house that he lived in with my daughter." Atem's eyes widened in horror. Even before the puzzle was completed, he was conscious enough to watch over Yugi as he grew. He knew the horrors of what his mother used to do to him early in his life. He placed his hand over his mouth, trying not to scream for Yugi.
"'Tem, what's the matter with you?" Joey asked. "We're gonna find him before he goes looking for his mom."
"None of you understand what it's like … I haven't just been protecting Yugi since he solved the puzzle, I've been protecting him most of his life." Solomon and the teenagers were all confused at this point.
"What do you mean, 'Tem?" Tristan asked. Atem sighed and sat down, the others following his example.
"Solomon, you found my puzzle in the 1960's, right?" Solomon nodded. "For thirty more years, my soul slept in the puzzle, was tortured by the darkness, but the day Yugi was born, my consiousness awakened. I could feel his presence because he is a part of me. I was still trapped, but I knew my savior had been born. His room was the room my puzzle was kept in. He was so close that I was able to project my consiousness when he was near me." Atem smiled. "I remember that night …"
My consiousness had already been awakened from slumber, and I could feel my lighter half coming near me. I projected myself into the room and looked around for my lighter half. I heard footsteps approaching from the floor below. I hid in the closet. It was then that Solomon and his daughter entered.
"Ashita, he can use this room as his room." Ashita turned her nose up at something. Whether it was the room, or her child, I could not tell.
"There's no need for that, it can sleep in my room." I gasped. I could feel that the child was my light, and I would have been devastated if he were too far away from me. Then I saw Solomon cringe.
"'He', Ashita. He's a boy." The baby's mother rolled her eyes.
"Whatever." She handed the child over to Solomon, who whined. I felt so sorry for the baby. I could not imagine a mother talking about her baby in such a manner. Solomon sighed and placed the child in the crib.
"I'm sorry, Yugi; I think your mother's just suffering from postpartum depression." I studied the name. Yugi … interesting name. Solomon placed a kiss on Yugi's forehead and left. After the door was closed, I left the closet and moved over towards the crib. I gasped when I saw a baby that looked almost exactly like me. He did not have the full head of hair he has now, but the fuzz that was there showed that he would has the same features as I have. Yugi lay sleeping in the crib, fists softly clenched. I smiled at seeing such an innocent little baby. I knew that he was a part of me, and I wondered how something that was so connected to me could be so pure. Yugi squirmed for a moment, and I thought I woke him up, so I left him alone.
Later in the night, after Solomon had gone to visit some friends, Ashita was left alone with Yugi for the first time. Yugi began to cry. He was practically screaming his lungs out. I could hear him in the puzzle and it pained me to listen to those cries for so long. I did not do anything, thinking that his mother would take care of it. After Yugi had been crying for too long, I came to the conclusion that Yugi was on his own. I appeared by the crib and watched Yugi cry for a few seconds.
"Hey, why are you crying?" I was answered with just an even louder cry. Sighing, I figured I needed to do something; after all, I was this boy's darker half. I gathered energy from the puzzle and created myself a temporary corporeal form. Hesitantly, I reached into the crib and picked Yugi up. He was, of course, still screaming. Panic filled me as I held the little life of my light in my arms. Then suddenly, he stopped. I looked at him, wondering if something was wrong, but then he opened his eyes and looked at me. I never felt more at peace then I had at that moment. It was then that I decided that I would protect Yugi forever. Carefully, I went over to the rocker in the corner of the room and began to slowly rock Yugi back to sleep. I gave him a kiss on the head. That was the first time Yugi smiled at me. There's no feeling in the world like having a child smile at you with all the trust in the world. We stayed like that for a bit longer until Yugi fell asleep. After that, it became a nightly ritual for me to rock Yugi to sleep after Solomon put him to bed.
Seven months later, Yugi was able to see me even in spirit form. I remember one day, when he was learning to crawl, he lay on the ground, looking at me as I sat on the other end of the room.
"Come on, Yugi. I know you can do it." He looked at me with such large eyes. Finally, he began to move, worming, really, not knowing that he needed his knees in order to move forward. After a while, Yugi became frustrated because he was not moving fast enough.
"Ehhh!" He whined. I laughed, thinking how cute he was.
"Oh, it's alright, Little One. Try again." He did, but still would not use his knees. He looked at me, and I could feel that he was wondering what was wrong. Laughing at him again, I went over and helped him. "Here, you need to use your knees." It took a few tries, but eventually, Yugi was able to crawl towards me and into my arms. "Very good, Little One, you did it!" Yugi let out a happy squeal. We were both happy.
A year later, Yugi and I were coloring in his room. Yugi was at that point where he was experiencing holding the crayons in both hands. He kept switching from one hand to the other. At this point, I was able to gather enough energy to create a form that lasted a few hours.
"Yugi, can I use the blue?" I asked. Instead of answering me, Yugi began to color the whole page of his coloring book with the blue. "I take it that that's a 'no'?" He did not answer me, but he did not get a chance to. It was all of a sudden when his mother opened the door and began yelling at him. Luckily, I was able to vanish before she entered.
"Yugi!" He tried to run, but she grabbed his tiny wrist with a fierce grip. "How many times have I told you to clean up your toys when you're done?!" Yugi tried to get away. I wanted to help him, but I could not reveal my presence at the time. I could hear Yugi trying to call me for help, but could not. I was back in the puzzle and watching the situation through Yugi' eyes. I could feel his fear. Suddenly, to my own terror, Yugi's mother brought her hand up and savagely slapped him across the face. I even felt it, but I could handle the burning pain better then an eighteen month old could. Yugi screamed his lungs out, breaking my heart. I thought she would be finished after slapping him so hard, but I was wrong. She took her fist and punched him in the eye. After that, she slapped him again and spanked him harshly. Yugi was in a fit after his punishment was over.
"Next time, when I say clean up your toys, you clean them up!" She let him go and slammed the door on her way out. Once she was gone, I gathered energy and held Yugi on my arms as he cried. It was terrifying, I was even scared. Seeing things from a baby's point of view can be very scary at times. I felt terrible that I could only watch as Yugi was beaten. I pitied myself, asking myself how I could call myself his protector.
"The beatings continued, and they continued to get worse and worse as time went on. When she began to starve Yugi, I wanted nothing more than to rid that woman of her pathetic life. Well, I was insane back then but still, a mother should not cause her child such pain." The group listened intently. By the time Atem was finished, the teens had tears in their eyes.
"You witnessed all this?" Joey asked, trying to keep his voice steady. Atem nodded.
"A year later, she took him away and I did not see him again until he was ten. By that time, the damage had already been done and he was broken." Atem hid his face in his hands in his shame.
"We were always wondering why Yugi would stay in his room for so long … now it all makes sense." Solomon said. Atem ignored him,
"What if Yugi goes looking for her again? How will we get there in time?" He asked to no one in particular. Solomon nodded, determined to find and protect his grandson.
"We'll start at their old house. I still know the address."
End of Chapter