Characters: Anzu, Jounouchi, Miho, Honda, Yugi

Note: Takes place during episode 21 of series 0. I know it contradicts the end of the episode but you're seriously telling me they would have left Yugi alone that night?

Never Lonesome

Putting away the last piece of kitchen equipment, Anzu let out a quiet sigh of satisfaction. Cooking could be hard work, but now she had ensured that each of her friends would have a lunch to enjoy. They would need all of their energy tomorrow, especially as neither knew exactly what Kaiba had planned.

She glanced inside the refrigerator to double check that they were all there and ready for her to pick up tomorrow. Then Anzu called to her mother, telling her that she was going over to Yugi's and that she'd probably spend the night there. At first she had considered saying that Miho had invited her for a sleepover. But lying wasn't something that Anzu did, especially not to her nearest and dearest. Besides, her mother had met Yugi and liked him enough to allow her daughter to stay over at his home.

Picking her coat from off the hanger, Anzu slipped into the pair of shoes beside the door that belonged to her and left the house. It was evening and the clouds were painted with shades of orange and yellow as the sun set. Were it not for her deep concern, it would have been an even more beautiful sight.

Anzu hurried to Yugi's, not wanting to get caught in the dark for too long.

---

Jounouchi couldn't tell which crashes and bangs were coming from his old, rather battered video game and which ones came from the police chase show that his father was watching in the other room.

It didn't matter, Jounouchi decided. His attention hadn't been on the game at all. Concern for Yugi overrode whatever he tried to make himself sit down and do. Worry made Jounouchi frustrated. And when he was frustrated, he was restless.

That was why it was no surprise to him when he found himself getting up, pulling on a grubby pair of trainers and walking towards the door. His father didn't look up from the glaring television screen when he passed to retrieve his coat and leave.

"Where're you goin'?" came a gruff voice from the armchair.

"Out," was Jounouchi's simple reply. "Goin' to Yugi's."

"Be back before eleven."

Jounouchi didn't reply. He knew that his father would be asleep before then, so it didn't matter.

He put it out of his mind and left.

---

Miho had been brushing the same strands of hair for a good fifteen minutes. For once, she paid no attention to what she was doing as she gazed out of the window at the approaching night.

Two single events had ruined what had started off as a good day. First Ryou had suddenly fallen ill, then Kaiba had announced that he had kidnapped Yugi's grandfather. It was such a disgusting action, Miho thought to herself, tugging the brush through her hair a little harder.

A few hard yanks later and Miho finally pulled firmly enough to snap herself out of her thoughts. Glancing down, she saw quite a few long, purple hairs nestled amongst the bristles. Somehow, and she wasn't sure of the exact explanation, that prompted her to get up and change out of her nightdress. She would do what she could. Even if it was only cheering, at least she could be proud that she had tried.

They weren't due to go to Kaiba's until morning, but Miho wanted to move now. At least Ryou was probably with his family. Yugi was all alone.

---

As he looked at his clock yet again, Honda was surprised to see that only ten seconds had passed. He was sure it had been at least fifteen minutes. Looking down at the homework he had tried losing himself in, he saw that the pages were still blank.

It was useless, Honda decided as he set his pen down. His heart just wasn't in it. Any other evening he would have been able to make himself work despite that, but it was different now. There was an even bigger burden on his shoulders than securing a good future.

He rose from his chair, rubbing the back of his neck as he did so. It was a larger burden because sometimes things were more important than handing in every piece of homework, Honda told himself. Grades could be raised later, but Yugi needed him now.

Leaving the house, he called to his mother that he was going to spend the night with some friends. Which wasn't a lie, even if he had used the plural.

---

There was a news programme on. Or was it one of those quiz shows? Yugi couldn't quite tell from where he lay horizontally on the sofa, and he couldn't bring himself to make his eyes focus again so that he could tell.

It didn't matter what it was anyway. The television was only on to provide a bit of background noise. Because it was quiet. Far too quiet. The absence of his grandfather left Yugi feeling as empty as his home was. It seemed much darker too, even with all the lights switched on.

"Yugi!"

Along with a knocking on his door, that voice sounded suspiciously like Anzu. Yugi thought that maybe it was just the television. His hazed mind was only making him think that someone was calling his name.

"Yugi-kun!"

Now it was making him think that Miho was calling him as well.

"Yugi, are you gonna let us in, or am I gonna have to break down the door?"

"Jounouchi!"

Yugi sat up, now becoming more and more convinced that those voices weren't an illusion. His mind cleared enough to recognise that the television was showing some sort of nature programme. So it was very unlikely that it had been calling his name in several different voices.

Once he had passed through the darkened game store (where he couldn't quite bring himself to look at the counter his grandfather would often be standing behind), Yugi opened the door. Despite hearing their voices just moments ago, he was still incredibly surprised to see all of his school friends standing outside.

"Guys?" he blinked, wide-eyed. "What are you doing here? You all got together and came?"

"Not exactly," Anzu smiled. "We all met each other at various stages of getting here. Guess we all had the same thoughts."

"Thoughts?"

"That you shouldn't be alone now," said Jounouchi. "Now are you gonna let us in, or are we gonna stand out here all night?"

"Oh! Sorry," Yugi stepped aside, finding that the corners of his mouth were starting to turn upwards. "Please, come in."

"We could all sleep in the living room," Jounouchi decided as the group went past the closed-down shop and into Yugi's home. "It's big enough."

"I'll make some tea," Anzu called, disappearing into the kitchen.

"Yugi, do you have some sort of camp bed for Miho-chan?"

As Yugi watched from the doorway of the sitting room, Anzu came to join him. "Tea should be ready in a minute," she said.

Yugi looked up at her, not sure whether he should be laughing or crying. To Anzu's relief, it looked like laughing was winning. "Thanks. You didn't have to do this."

"Yes we did." Anzu winked. "What are friends for?"

END