So before you read the actual story/drabble (which, I have the feeling, might be shorter than all of this necessary junk at the beginning and end put together), you MUST read these few things:
1. This is a writing challenge from a LJ community, so I'm following a theme set. Don't like what I'm writing because you don't like the prompt word/phrase? Skip it please, and save both me and you some hassle.
2. In each theme, there might be a different genre and rating. Therefore, in each chapter title in the drop-down bar up there, I'll put it in, so you can take your precautions. Although at the beginning I'll also post these essentials.
3. This claim is on Yami (or Atemu) x Yuugi, otherwise known as Puzzleshipping. So for the next 99 fics you see me post under this title, you can definitely expect Yami/Yuugi. (As if I write anything else, really.)
4. Just to clear things up, I use "Yami" if I use the Sennen Puzzle in it. I use "Atemu" in the case of AUs, because technically they're not supposed to know each other, ne?
5. I will also write in different Point of Views (POVs), depending on how I interpret the prompt word/phrase.
6. The majority of these will probably be set in Alternate Universe, or AU for short. That will also be put in the chapter title drop-down bar above. In other cases, it might follow the manga line, or the animé plot.
7. The length of each story really depends on how much I can elaborate on it. So expect anything from a few lines or paragraphs to a full-blown fic. o.o
8. There may be a blurb between my usual listing of essentials and the actual story that gives a little bit of background about the prompt word/phrase. If you read that it might help you in understanding where I'm going with the story.
9. And finally, these stories have NO relation with the other themes. If there are any, I will put it in and tell you. Sample scenario: you're reading theme 072, and it is set in the same setting as theme 003, so I'll put "Refer to theme 003 for background information", or something like that.
If you've read all of that, I applaud you, because that was important, and I sure as hell won't be posting those nine things in every single 'chapter'.
001 – shitake mushroom
By – Hime no Ichigo
Written for 100(underscore)wangsts, a LJ community/writing challenge. This is theme 001.
Story Type: Drabble/one-shot
Summary: A customer walks in to try and help her father, but it only reawakens a pain that Yuugi thought he'd left behind for good.
Disclaimer: God, does it look like Yami/Atemu and Yuugi will snog on screen any time soon? If you EVER catch an episode where they're going all out AND they're airing it, then you'll know I've finally managed to convince Takahashi-san to give me the copyrights. But for now…you'll have to deal with what he came up with.
Spoilers: None. 'Tis an AU drabble here, folks.
Warnings: This is an AU, right? So I'm at liberty here. Yuugi is a herbalist, not King of Games; his grandfather doesn't own the Kame Game Shop. He owns a herb store, okay? No Sennen Items or Shadow Magic. AU, that's your last warning. You don't like AUs? Click the 'back' button please. Oh, and angsty too, because I'm evil enough to begin this collection with angst. Atemu doesn't make an appearance, so don't expect any real action around here. Character death mentioned in passing.
Lentinus edodes. A dark oriental mushroom widely used as a food. Several anticancer substances have been found in shiitake mushrooms, including lentinan, which has been studied in Japan as a treatment for stomach and colorectal cancer.
– Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, found in the Dictionary of Medical Terms
The bells tinkled as a customer walked in.
The young man behind the counter felt the wind from outside and looked up. He smiled. "Good afternoon, how can I help you?"
There came a sound of shuffling feet and ruffling of clothes, coming closer to the counter. Yuugi—the young man behind the counter—was subjected to a small smile; it was timid, and with it came the underlying feeling of tiredness. "I think I want to look around first." Even the voice was soft. A bite of the lower lip, another hesitant smile, and a hand tugged at hair to attempt to pull out the confidence. It wasn't very successful though.
"All right, no problem," Yuugi said patiently. "Take your time. If you need assistance, don't hesitate to ask, okay?" After seeing a relieved nod, he turned back to his previous work: sorting ginseng into their respective trays.
The customer looked around; there were glass jars and more glass jars on multiple shelves, lining up the walls of the small store, exuding the scents of various herbs. It wasn't…unpleasant, per se, but it would certainly cause noses to scrunch up and questions to arise.
It just took time to get used to it.
"Excuse me, mister?"
"Yes?" Yuugi looked up once more from the mass of ginger-coloured ginseng and smiled politely.
"Uh, well, you see…" A pause. "My daddy, he's…" Why was this so difficult to say? But the employee—or manager, the customer couldn't figure out, why wasn't there anyone else in the store?—didn't seem to mind; he just sat patiently, waiting for her to calm down, and waiting to see how he could help.
"Are there any foods that can help sick people?" There.
Yuugi didn't even seem fazed by the sudden abruptness. Instead, the smile just lingered—although the customer did notice that it somehow seemed sadder—and Yuugi asked back, "Well, that would depend on why he or she is sick."
"My daddy…he has, uh, stomach cancer."
He clucked his tongue in sympathy. There weren't any words, because they were the usual condolences, "I'm sorry," "I'm sorry to hear that," and so on, but the customer, oddly enough, understood and appreciated the fact that this manager-employee didn't bother.
"How should I put this? …there aren't any particular foods that can help cancer patients…cancer can only be treated medically, and while eating healthily can help you maintain a good body, I'm afraid it doesn't help much with fighting out the cancer…"
"But I want to help daddy!"
Yuugi smiled again, a little painfully. "I'm sure you do. But there's very little as to what we can do against those viruses…"
The customer had tears and they wasted no time in falling down cheeks. "But shouldn't the grown-ups know what to do? They always have a solution to everything! Always!"
A woman came into the store, panting; the bells tinkled madly with the force that opened the door.
"You naughty girl, you shouldn't have just wandered off like that."
"I'm sorry, mommy…"
"Here, you dropped one of your mittens outside." The woman straightened up even when her daughter kept clinging to her legs. "I'm terribly sorry if she has been a bother."
"It was nothing, she wasn't bothersome at all. She's a bright child; very persistent." His eyes twinkled as the child stopped crying and looked over at him. She sniffed.
"I'm afraid we'll have to go now," the woman said hastily. "I just got a call from the hospital…"
"What happened? Is it daddy?" Fear was clear in both her eyes and voice.
Her mother crouched down and gave her a tight hug. "Yes… they said daddy's treatment went very well and he's passed the critical stage. The cancer's not spreading and he'll be okay. He just needs to stay in the hospital for a few more days until the doctor says he's all right to go."
A smile slowly spread on the little girl's face and hugged her mother even more tightly. "That's great, mommy!"
They both stood up and turned to the shopkeeper. "I'm sorry we're idling—"
"Did they use lentinan?" Yuugi whispered.
"Did the doctors say what they used in the treatment? In the papers you had to sign to agree to the treatment? Anywhere?"
"Was it lentinan?"
The woman nodded, growing a little frightened at the change in behaviour. She tugged at her daughter's hand, but she seemed rooted to the ground. "I'm sorry, but we really have to go now—"
The bells tinkled for the third time in thirteen minutes.
Yuugi propped his head up with both his hands, letting out a frustrated sigh. He'd knew it all along; even proposed it in their faces and thought with all the medical knowledge they possessed they could see where he came from, but no, they had simply brushed him off and proceeded with a different treatment, a treatment that didn't help in any way, and instead made everything so sickeningly worse.
They had called him crazy, called his ideas far-fetched, and now look, look… His vision blurred for a slight moment before they sharpened. They used his ideas, just six years after he had proposed it, and he, he…
His ideas were helping other people, and that was good; he tried to convince himself but the pain was there, reminding him that his ideas weren't accepted soon enough, and if he had done more to persuade them into using it, they could've saved his life—
He'd lost his soul-mate to the virus before he got the chance to help him fight back…
- Owari -
Story Word Count: 943
Authoress Notes: Strange, right? Yeah, I realized that the shitake mushroom never really came into play here, but I'm free to interpret it any way I want, right?
Besides, if I had used the theme literally, all I could imagine was them having "hot pot"/"shabu shabu", and that doesn't really sound angsty, does it? I was feeling particularly wicked when I looked at this challenge and decided "Okay, someone dies in this."
Reviews will be nice.