Ugh...someone shoot me now and put me out of my misery. Yuugi rolled over sluggishly. His head was pounding with the worst headache he'd had it quite some time. It nearly felt like his eyes were going to pop out of his skull from the pressure. ...Fuck. He rolled over and draped his arm across the end of the bed he was currently on. At least, he believed he was on a bed at the moment. It felt like it was a bed. Maybe it wasn't?
He hated hangovers.
Slowly he sat up as he attempted to hold his head straight. He barely had the will to lift it correctly with the throbbing pain swarming within his skull. Just what had he done last night? He certainly didn't remember going to bed at all. Hell, he didn't even remember leaving the bar.
Huh, where was he then? He opened his eyes slowly. There was very early morning sunlight just starting to pour through a window. He blinked as he attempted to get his vision to focus. The room definitely didn't look familiar. The wall color was a soft gray, which certainly wasn't the color of his own bedroom. In fact, none of the rooms in his house were painted gray.
He looked down, and saw that he was in a bed with black sheets and a charcoal gray comforter. He was also...very undressed. He frowned as he looked down at himself. I certainly don't sleep naked, either.
Movement from the other side of the bed caught his attention. There was another person laying down next to him, still sound asleep. Yuugi felt his eyes widen with horror. I didn't...
Slowly, quietly, he removed the blanket from himself and eased out of the bed. Luckily for him, the bed must have been rather new, for it did not creak or groan once as he eased his way away from the person he had been previously sleeping next to.
He also tried to ignore the fact that he had been sleeping next to another male. Oh, dear lord, how drunk was I last night? Oh my god...
This couldn't be good. No, not at all. He felt himself flush with embarrassment and shame. How could he have been so drunk to do something so stupid?
He also refused to listen to the tiny part of his brain that noticed how handsome the man still sleeping was. His skin was tan, his hair a deep obsidian black. There was a hint of deep purple red at the ends of his hair. He was on his side, facing away from Yuugi, but a foggy part of his memory started to pull the face out of the alcohol clouded depths.
Dark red eyes, a chiseled face. Yuugi backed up as he felt the blood run to his face. God, he didn't even remember the man's name.
In a quiet panic, Yuugi gathered his clothes from the floor and headed to the bedroom door. Once outside of the room, he quickly dressed. He checked his pockets, thankfully finding his wallet and keys. At least nothing had been lost. He was grateful for that.
Slipping his shoes on, Yuugi wound his way through the house and found the front door.
Jeez, this was a nice house, too. Whoever the man was, he was either going to be angry when he woke up, upset with the fact that Yuugi left without even saying goodbye, or sad, wondering what he'd done wrong.
If Yuugi was lucky, the man would have been drunk enough as well to not even remember what had happened the night before.
Heck, even Yuugi wouldn't know what had happened if he wasn't as sore as he currently was. Once he was outside, he saw that it was not a house, but rather, a condo-like townhouse that was squished in between multiple other homes. He rubbed his hand through his terribly tousled hair as he made his way across the street. What had he done? How can I face my friends and family after doing such a thing?
He didn't even want to think about what Anzu was going to say, if she ever found out. Perhaps it would be best left untold to anyone. After all, Anzu was still in New York, over nine thousand miles away. It should be fairly easy to not let her know.
...What would Jou say? Yuugi shuddered. Knowing Jou, he would laugh, then tell everyone he knew about it. He was a good guy, but quite the blabbermouth.
The neighborhood he was in was one of the nicer ones in the city. And, conveniently enough, it was very closed to his own house. Yuugi had always felt pretty lucky about his home's location. Considering it was placed directly on top of the Game Shop that he ran, he could get away with living right in the middle of the very nice, very well maintained business district. And he was never bothered by solicitors.
All he could think at the moment, though, was that he wished he lived completely across town. Maybe even in another city altogether. As far away as he could possibly get from this mistake was all he could hope for.
He rubbed at his eyes as his hangover headache pounded again. What have I done? I don't even remember his name...
No one could know. Never.
"I did it again, Jou."
Jonouchi Katsuya looked up from his blueberry muffin across the table at his best friend since high school, Yuugi Motou. "Did what, Yug?"
Yuugi sighed into his cup of coffee. "I got drunk again last night."
Yuugi and Jou were currently at one of the local coffee shops next to his game store. It was a cloudy Tuesday morning, and people in business suits were currently milling about outside the window their table was set next to. It was just starting to warm up outside as spring drew to a close, and some people were still wearing colorful scarves to ward off the cold.
Jou set down the mug of coffee he was just about to drink from. "And you...you know, woke up there again?"
Yuugi hung his head; his admission of guilt for doing so.
Jou chuckled quietly. "Yug, that's what, the second time now?"
"Third," Yuugi correctly morosely. Yuugi swore he would never tell anyone after the first encounter he'd had with the man, who's name he now knew as Atem, but after it happened again, he simply couldn't keep it a secret anymore. He'd have to stop hanging out at the same bar as that man from now on.
This time, Jou's chuckle was hearty. "Dude, why don't you stay when you wake up already? Find out who he really is, and why your drunk self likes him so much!"
Yuugi winced at such a suggestion. He held onto his cup of coffee firmly. "Jou! How could I? What would Anzu think?"
Jou's features softened at the mention of their dancer friend from school, and Yuugi's once girlfriend. "Yug, we haven't heard anything from her in seven months. Ever since she went to Juliard for dance-"
"She's just busy," Yuugi cut him off, attempting vainly to defend her. "You know their school semesters are different from ours, she'll have plenty of time for a break soon. Don't they have, like, a month or something around their Christmas holiday?" he asked.
Jou shook his head. "Christmas for America came and went already, Yug. We didn't even get a phone call. She's not coming back."
Yuugi was deflated to learn about the passing of the American holiday season without so much as a phone call from Anzu, but in his heart he knew it was true also. Her departure had been rather distant, with barely a platonic kiss on the cheek from her when she boarded the plane. Anzu had no intention of returning to Japan.
Yuugi sighed. "At any rate, I'm not even supposed to be gay! How can I suddenly decide it's time to turn around, just because I keep getting too drunk to remember what I was even doing?"
Yuugi's blond friend shrugged. "Hey, it's not like anybody asks to be gay. It just happens, pal. You know I don't think any less of you for that."
"And what about my grandpa?"
Jou's face soured at that. "He's old, Yuugi. You know that as well as I do. I'm sure that he wouldn't even hear half of what you'd say if you told him."
Yuugi drank from his coffee and looked out the window. "I'm worried about him, Jou."
Jou tore a small piece of his muffin out and ate it, although he was sure that the taste would lose its flavor once he heard the news he was about to be told. "What happened?"
"He's lost weight again."
Jou dropped his muffin. "Again?!"
"Ten pounds." Yuugi squeezed his eyes closed. It was so hard watching his grandfather die. He was the only living relative he had left.
"Shit." It was the only thing Jou said in reply. They both knew what it meant. Sugoroku Motou was not eating as well as he used to. Most of the things he ate anymore either passed right through him, or didn't stay down. His hearing was almost gone, and his vision was terrible. The doctor's said he only had a few months left before his body would simply give out on him. Yuugi was not handling the news very well.
"...I can't keep going on like this, Jou." Yuugi's comment was soft and quiet. It was a plea for help.
"So what are you going to do about it?"
The young man propped his elbow on the table and rested his head on his hand. "I don't know what to do. I wish grandpa could live forever. I wish Anzu would come back. I wish I would stop getting drunk and doing stupid things. I don't know how to reverse two of the three things I've listed."
The both of them knew why Yuugi was getting drunk sometimes. Jou wouldn't say it out loud, especially in front of Yuugi, but he knew. His best friend was having a hard time coping with his grandfather's imminent passing, and the bottle was much easier turn to in order to forget things for a while rather than face them head on. It also slightly worried him, as Yuugi had never been a man that needed his vices. Truthfully, Jou hoped Yuugi would get involved with his mystery bed mate. From what little research he'd gleaned from the internet and public records, Atem was a decent guy.
"You know, Yug, that Atem guy's not so bad. I still think you should give him a chance. You've got his phone number, call him. Ask him out to coffee. I'm sure he'd love the chance to meet you when you're sober."
Yuugi justed sighed and drank the rest of his coffee. Perhaps someday Jou would understand. He couldn't call that man. He couldn't get drunk anymore, either, if this was what kept happening. She'll come back soon. I need her to come back soon. Everything in my heart says we're over, but I still have this nagging impression that she'll show up here soon, and it's going to change everything. I can't be mixed up with someone like Atem when that happens. It just...won't work.
Yuugi slapped a few yen on the table to pay for his drink. "I have to go, Jou. Duke's almost done with his shift at the counter. I need to count the registers before the next shift comes in."
Jou waved Yug away as he finished his muffin and coffee. "Say hi to Duke and grandpa for me."
"Will do," Yuugi replied. He buttoned up his coat and left the coffee shop. Jou himself wasn't too far behind.
Yuugi locked the doors of the game shop and turned off the 'open' sign that was hanging in the window. Valon was busy sweeping the floors free of debris and dirt. Yuugi walked over to the registers and took out his key. Once he opened up the cash drawers, he started his nightly counting.
Valon had not been working at the Kame Game Shop for long, so Yuugi did not know him very well, but he was good at his job, and showed a real enthusiasm for the merchandise he was helping to sell. Yuugi was grateful for the extra help. It used to be just him and his grandfather that ran the shop, but two years after he graduated high school and Sugoroku became ill, Yuugi found the need to hire extra help that could run the shop during the day without supervision. Between the bookkeeping and his grandfather, he was short on time to sit in the game store every single day and actually run the counter. Besides, it seemed that the new faces at the counter helped with revenue, and the help in the end paid for itself.
Yuugi put the cash in the deposit envelopes and started counting the checks.
"Hey, Yuugi," Valon started.
Yuugi looked up from his counting. "Yes?"
"Is it all right if I take Saturday off this week? I know that you have to work on Sunday too, and you know I wouldn't normally ask, but my sister is flying in from Osaka and I haven't seen her in a year and-"
Yuugi laughed at his employee's rambling. In fact, he was actually pretty keen on accepting the Saturday shift, considering the fact that he didn't really need to be out on a Saturday night and be tempted by Jou's party-going nature to get drunk and end up once again somewhere he didn't want to be. "It's all right Valon. I don't mind taking your shift. Enjoy your Saturday with you sister."
Valon smiled. "Thanks, Yuugi."
Yuugi finished counting the checks and filled out the rest of the closing paperwork. After he put it in the small safe behind the counter, he let Valon out and locked up once again behind him.
It was well past dark by then. Yuugi went upstairs into the living quarters of the shop. The house upstairs was dark as he made his way up. Yuugi turned on a few of the lights as he went. He needed to bring his grandfather his dinner that he never ate, and make sure that he was all right before he went to bed himself.
The nightly routine usually lasted a couple of hours. Yuugi never made it to bed until well past midnight.
Sugoroku was asleep on the recliner in the living room when Yuugi entered. The television was on, but the sound was off. He probably dozed off to the lights, as he couldn't really hear the sound anyway. Indeed, the subtitles were still blazing across the screen. Yuugi sighed and turned the TV off as he did so.
Sugoroku Motou's face was pale and drawn. His wrinkles were very pronounced in his old age. Yuugi thought his skin looked paper thin, and if someone were to touch him, he would crumble away. It made his heart break to see his elder, and really, only parent, in such a state. You've been there for everything, Grandpa. What am I going to do without you?
Yuugi decided not to wake him for dinner. Sugoroku wasn't falling asleep at all, either, so Yuugi was keen to not disturb him if he did find him asleep. Instead, Yuugi brought over a box of crackers from the kitchen and silently left it on the table beside his grandfather's chair. If he did wake up at some point in the night, at least he would have something close at hand. I love you, Grandpa. Have sweet dreams.
The Saturday crowd had been pure madness. Yuugi found himself so busy, he even had to call Duke in for extra help. Apparently, Kaiba Corp. was holding another Duel Monster tournament, and it seemed every twelve year old boy in Domino had shown up to buy more packs of cards. Yuugi was grateful for the business, but he was dead exhausted when the day was finally done.
He let Duke go home early, being as he wasn't even supposed to come in on that day, but the last two hours had been blessedly easy compared to the earlier afternoon. It took Yuugi an hour just to get the tiny shop back in order again.
It was alright, though. His tiny cash register was bursting with money. Yuugi actually smiled while he was counting the money that night. Two hundred percent to budget! I cant hardly believe it! Wait till Grapnda hears about this. This will surely cheer him up a little bit.
Yuugi hurriedly checked the locks on the doors again before he made his way up to the living quarters. He burst into the kitchen and threw a bowl of rice and some beef into the microwave. Surely his grandfather would be able to keep that down for a little while.
"Hey, Grandpa! I've got great news!" He walked out of the kitchen as the bowl in the microwave began to heat up. "Grandpa?"
Yuugi found him in the bathroom. His spirits plummeted when he heard the sounds of retching coming through the open doorway. He's throwing up again. "Grandpa?" he tried again.
Sugoroku cleared his throat and flushed the toilet. "In here, Yuugi. What is it?"
Yuugi made his way over quickly when he saw the old man had trouble standing. He came up to his elder's side and helped him back into the living room. "The shop made double the original budget today. I've got enough revenue to close shop for a week, if I wanted. Isn't that great?"
Sugoroku only nodded and released a heavy sigh as he was helped to sit down in the recliner again.
Yuugi pursed his lips together when he received no other response. Before he could prod again, the microwave beeped. The bowl of rice was done being warmed up. Yuugi went into the kitchen and grabbed it. He pulled a set of chop sticks out of the drawer and brought it into the living room.
His grandfather sighed as he turned the television on. "No dinner for me tonight, Yuugi. I'm not hungry."
"Please, Grandpa," Yuugi pleaded. "You need to eat something. Do it for me."
Sugoroku looked up at his grandson with tired plum colored eyes. He knew he couldn't eat, and Yuugi knew it too, but still he tried. "All right, Yuugi. One bite." He picked up the bowl and used the chopsticks to pick up a small ball of rice.
Yuugi didn't want to notice how Sugoroku wasn't holding on to the chopsticks very well. His hands, old and weathered, were being racked with pain from arthritis.
One bite. Sugoroku almost choked it back out again for how fowl food seemed to taste anymore. He didn't, though, and set the bowl back down on the table next to him. Yuugi placed a reaffirming hand on his grandfather's shoulder before he left for the kitchen. "Get some rest, Grandpa."
Sugoroku grunted in agreement, but did not respond further.
Yuugi went to get himself something to eat. As he looked at the contents of his fridge and pantry, though, nothing looked good. His grandfather was killing his appetite, too. Instead, Yuugi pulled a beer out of the fridge and headed to his room.
He wasn't sure how much longer he could handle this kind of slow torture.
By the time he should have been getting ready for sleep, Yuugi was already drunk and getting his coat on. He was bored, and lonely, and wasn't tired. When he placed his hands in his coat pockets to check for anything, a habit he'd had for ages now, his left hand pulled out a piece of paper that was folded in half. When he looked at it, he saw the name and phone number written on it.
It was Atem's.
Yuugi pulled his cell phone out of his pants pocket and dialed the number.
"Hello?" a deep voice asked from the other end.
Yuugi paused for a second before he replied. "Atem?"
The person on the other end was silent for a long moment. "Yuugi, is that you?"
Yuugi giggled stupidly. "Yeah."
Atem sighed. "I can't do this anymore, Yuugi. My answer is no. I can't deal with the disappointments anymore."
The half of Yuugi that was still hearing things properly felt guilty. It was clear that he'd hurt this man. It was clear that he shouldn't be doing this anymore.
The other half of him, the half that was currently in control, was too drunk to care. "Ah, Atem. Not like that. I'm just bored, and lonely, and Jou's busy tonight and-"
The phone line went dead. Yuugi hung his head as he closed his phone. Damn. Looked like he was going out to the bars alone tonight. He couldn't deal with the silence of his house anymore.
The night air was crisp and just a little chilly, but he could still slightly feel warm summer air begin to penetrate the cold of winter.
He was about to turn left and head to Second Avenue, his usual bar of choice. The small part of him that was still trying to force him away from Atem, that part that failed once already that night from stopping him, instead made him head right towards Loft Eleven.
It was a couple of blocks further away from his shop, but it was still within walking distance. Loft Eleven was a slightly nicer place, with a bigger bar and less beer. Jou liked beer and pizza in one establishment, and Loft Eleven had little beer and no pizza. That was why they always went to Second Avenue.
Yuugi wasn't looking for beer tonight, though. And Jou was busy doing something with Mai.
He made his way in and ambled on over to the bar. When he sat himself down, the bartender gave him a dirty look. "No one underage is allowed to be at the bar."
Yuugi sighed as he pulled out his ID. He was always accused of being an underage drinker. Not that he could help it, though. "Gimme a bottle of sake," he said.
The bartender looked at the ID in shock. This man, who looked no older than seventeen, was twenty-three? Impossible!
The ID wasn't a fake, though, and he'd become good at spotting fakes. "Fine," he replied, and plopped a bottle of sake on the counter for the young looking customer. He didn't bother to ask what kind of sake, and Yuugi didn't care. He was after the alcohol, after all, and didn't really care what it tasted like.
It could have been and hour, or it could have been three, because by the time Atem walked up to him at the bar Yuugi had lost all track of time.
Yuugi looked up at the man that was suddenly seated next to him. He burped as he leaned over close to Atem so the handsome man could hear him in the crowded, noisy bar. "Hey, I thought you said 'no'," Yuugi nearly burped.
Atem looked at him, but his eyes were red, and were not clear. "And I thought you were staying in tonight." He downed the rest of his drink and slapped it on the counter. It was clear that he was also very, very drunk.
Yuugi giggled. "What are you doing here, anyway? I came to this bar to avoid you!"
"How could you come here to avoid me, when I came here to avoid you?"
Yuugi thought the question was funny, and apparently Atem did too, for they both laughed. Yuugi pulled a couple more yen out of his wallet. "Bartender, one more shot!"
The bartender shook his head from the other side of the bar. "Sorry, sir. You're cut off for tonight."
Yuugi leaned back against his barstool. "Damn."
Atem was still chuckling as he pulled out some money as well. "I'll take one more."
The bartender shook his head, but poured on more shot of sake for Atem. "This is it for you, too. It's almost closing time. The two of you need to scram. Go home."
Closing time? Yuugi looked at his watch, but he did not comprehend the numbers he was seeing. "Hmm," he thought out loud. "Wonder what time it is."
Atem snickered as he stood up and leaned over Yuugi. He pulled the smaller man's arm around till he could see the time on his watch. "Looks like...I dunno. Late."
Yuugi giggled. "Guess we should go..."
Atem helped him off the stool and they staggered their way out of the bar. Yuugi kept giggling into his side as Atem supported his weight. "You're supposed to hate me, you know, and I'm not supposed to go looking for you anymore."
Atem pushed him up against a wall of a random building. Yuugi didn't even know how far they'd walked. "And you're supposed to stay sober, and stop avoiding me by finding me." He pushed his lips against Yuugi's, and it was all the smaller man could do not to moan loudly into the kiss.
His drunk mind remembered again how warm Atem always was, and just how good he smelled.
When Yuugi awoke next to Atem that morning, he once again wondered how he could have forgotten everything again, and how Atem could stand to look at him, even when they were both shit-faced drunk.
Yuugi was almost panicky as he opened up the doors to his shop fifteen minutes late. I can't believe I did it again. I can't believe it! Plus I was late getting in to work today! I didn't even get a shower...! Yuugi continued to beat himself up mentally as he walked back to the counter and sat on his stool. He was determined to throw away every bottle of alcohol still in his house, and he was never going out to a bar again. He didn't care what Jonouchi said to try and persuade him, this time, he wasn't budging.
The bell above the door jingled as the first customer of the day came in. Yuugi gave a half-hearted grin in greeting. At the moment, he was pouring over the medical bills for Sugoroku.
Things weren't looking nearly as good as he'd hoped they would. Surgoroku's savings were nearly used up. Yuugi was going to have to start taking from his own reserve funds soon just to keep up.
Yuugi's cell phone rang in his pocket. At first, he was afraid to see who it was. If it was that man that was calling...
He sighed in relief when he saw Jou's picture flash on the screen. He flipped the phone over. "Hey Jou."
"Hey, Yug," Jou greeted. "I was just calling to let you know that Mai and I won't be able to make it over tonight for dinner. There's this concert thing that came up with my sister, and she wants to go."
Yuugi sighed internally. Another night alone. If Jou and Mai were doing something with his sister, that meant Honda would be with them too, as he had recently started dating Shizuka. "That's cool, Jou. Thanks for the call."
The other end of the phone was quiet for a moment. "Yug? You all right?"
Yuugi rubbed his fingers over his forehead as the first customer of the day slipped out. "I did it again, Jou."
The silence this time was longer. "Yug...are you serious?"
Yuugi's silence in return was his answer.
"Shit, Yug! How did you-"
"I don't know!" he cried into the phone. "I think I even went to a different bar last night to avoid him, but he was there! And just as drunk as me when he found me!"
"Yug, buddy, listen-"
"I've thrown out all of the alcohol in my house," Yuugi replied quickly. "And you're not taking me out to a bar ever again."
There was an exasperated chuckle on the other end. "All right, Yug. If you say so. I'll see you later."
Yuugi hung up his phone just as another customer came into the store. He couldn't wait for this day to be over.
This time, Yuugi did not care that it was completely silent in his house. He was glad the lights were out, and he was glad the television was silent. He didn't know if he could deal with any more noise that night.
The shop had not been too busy, but in his current state just one person was one to many to deal with. He turned the light on for the living room as he walked towards the kitchen. His stomach was growling with a raging fury. He didn't even take a lunch break that day.
His grandfather was not on on the recliner watching TV, even though the device was turned on. Yuugi walked into the kitchen to grab a glass of water. The first glass went down so easily, he filled it a second time and started to sip it as he made his way out. The light in the bathroom wasn't on, either. Yuugi frowned. Sugoroku did not sleep in his bed anymore. It was too uncomfortable for his arthritic old bones. The only place he could fall asleep anymore was the recliner. His grandfather hadn't really left his post there in over a year.
So where was he?
When Yuugi turned the light in the hallway on to find his bedroom door, the glass in his hand slipped from his fingers and shattered on the wood floor.
Slippered feet were lying at the entrance to his room.
Yuugi rushed over to his grandfather's side. It appeared the old man had fallen in the entrance between Yuugi's bedroom and the hallway.
Yuugi noticed he wasn't breathing, but his skin was still warm when he checked for a pulse. "Grandpa? Grandpa!" He didn't feel a pulse.
Panicked, he fumbled with his phone as he pulled it out of his pocket. He dialed the emergency number he'd memorized so long ago.
"119 emergency?" the dull voice on the other end droned.
"Help me, please!" Yuugi cried. "My Grandpa collapsed on the floor, and I don't know what's wrong. I need an ambulance right away!"
The responder on the other end was suddenly more attentive, and asked for his address and name. His grip on his phone turned his knuckles white. His stomach spasmed with fear.
"The ambulance will arrive in exactly three minutes, Mr. Motou. Please remain calm. Would you like for me to stay on the phone with you?"
Yuugi shook his head as tears started to stream down his face. "No, that's all right. Just hurry. Please."
"The ambulance is on its way," the woman assured him again.
Yuugi hung up the phone and immediately called Jou. His shoulders shook as it went directly to voice mail. Of course, Jou was out at a concert tonight, wasn't he? "Oh god," he whispered. I can't do this alone...
Yuugi looked through the previously dialed numbers on his phone. Everyone else that he would have called first was at that concert tonight, and Valon was busy with his sister. There was no way he'd call Duke over, as he lived nearly an hour away. His eyes widened when he saw Atem's number listed. When did I call him? It didn't matter. He needed someone, anyone, and the only person that seemed available at the moment was him.
Yuugi didn't know why he pushed the dial button, but when someone answered, he felt a small wave of relief wash through him. "Atem?" he asked desperately.
The response was immediate. "Not this time, Yuu-"
"Please, it's my Grandpa. Please," he sobbed. "I can't do this alone."
Atem was silent on the other end. "Your grandfather?"
Yuugi sobbed over his grandfather's prone form. "He's not moving!"
"...Where are you?"
Yuugi rattled his address off once again.
"I'll be right there."
Atem didn't know whether or not to believe Yuugi this time. In fact, he didn't even know why he picked up the phone when he saw that number again. The man was sobbing, though, completely and uncontrollably. Whatever was going, it certainly seemed to sound legitimate.
When he turned the corner and saw the flashing red lights of an ambulance and three police cars, he suddenly felt a little guilty for doubting. He parked his car and rushed up to the Kame Game Shop. I can't believe I've been this close to him the whole time.
When he walked up to the door, one of the officers waved him off. "Sorry, sir, no spectators."
"Please, I was called by Yuugi to come over," he replied. The cop looked at him squarely for a moment, then waved him around. "Mr. Motou's in there. Are you Atem?"
The police officer nodded. "He's been asking for you."
Atem felt himself flush with a little more guilt. He hadn't exactly hurried out of the house, after all. Yuugi was sitting just inside of the shop at the counter, a panicked look in his eyes and his face red from tears. "Yuugi," he tried.
The young man looked over at him, and a look of relief crossed his vexed features. "Atem. I didn't think you were going to come..." He hugged his arms close around his middle.
Atem walked over and embraced him. "I didn't know if I was going to come."
Yuugi clutched at Atem's coat. "The paramedics think he's had a heart attack. They said they need to take him to the hospital for an emergency bypass surgery."
Atem held Yuugi close. Perhaps, a part of him thought, this had been the reason Yuugi was getting drunk as often as he was. Perhaps it was more than casual fun. "Is he still here?"
Yuugi shook his head. "The ambulance is just about to leave, so not for long. I...I need to go the hospital and wait for him."
"I have a car."
Yuugi cried again. "Thank you."
The ride there was quiet. Yuugi would not look anywhere else but the window of the car. Atem felt terribly uncomfortable. After all, this was a person that'd had more than one 'one night stand' with him, and always without so much as a goodbye. Atem should have been furious that Yuugi called him for a matter like this.
When he looked over at the small man, though, he looked terribly afraid and alone. He could hardly condone Yuugi calling him when he was in desperate need of help.
"Where's the rest of your family, Yuugi?"
"Dead," Yuugi responded quickly. Judging by the speed of the response, they'd been dead a long time.
"And your friends?"
Yuugi closed his eyes. "Busy. I couldn't get a hold of anyone." He looked over at Atem. "Do you have family?"
"No," the handsome man replied. "I was an orphan. I'd been in foster care since I was three. Once I left the system, I went to university on scholarships."
Yuugi nodded. "Must have been nice to go to university, though. I had to take over the game shop when I graduated high school. My grandfather was too ill to continue running it anymore."
At least they were making conversation. When Atem pulled into the visitor's parking lot of Domino City General Hospital, Yuugi did not look as tense as when he'd arrived at the game store. They got out of the car at the same time. Yuugi looked at Atem in a mild shock. "You don't have to come in with me. It's late, and it's Monday tomorrow. Surely you've got work. Thank you so much for helping me tonight."
Atem came up and grabbed his hand. His deep red eyes were very serious when they looked at Yuugi. "I'm going to stay with you."
His tone spoke of no argument. Yuugi nodded gratefully. "Thank you."
They walked inside together. Yuugi found the reception desk at the front, and asked for an update for his grandfather.
The nurse at the counter looked at her computer screen for a moment and tacked away at her keyboard. "Next floor up, Mr. Motou. He's in surgery right now. There's a waiting room you can use up there that's very close. 12-C."
"Thank you," Yuugi replied.
They used the elevator to make their way up. Yuugi was not liking the silence. "So, what do you do for a living?"
Atem checked his watch for the time. "I design gaming computers. I build them for people according to their criteria for specified needs and games they play."
Yuugi's mind reeled for a moment. "Wow. You build them? That must be hard."
Atem shrugged. "It's easy, once you've done it for a while. Plus I have a degree in computer science."
Yuugi chuckled weakly. "That would help."
They found the waiting room quickly and soon occupied two of the very uncomfortable plastic chairs.
Yuugi rubbed his hands together as he sat in the little black chair. He didn't feel like he could go on with more conversation without apologizing to the one next to him about his past month of behavior. "I'm...sorry, Atem, for all the things I've done. It was terrible, and crude, and mean. I'm so sorry. I've never wanted to hurt anyone."
Atem frowned. "I won't pretend that it didn't hurt, Yuugi." He sighed as he looked down the hall towards the surgery room. When he looked back again, Yuugi did not see any anger in his eyes. "But I think I can understand. I forgive you."
It felt like a small weight had been lifted from his chest. "I don't deserve your forgivness," he replied. "But I'm grateful for it just the same."
Atem's hand found his and squeezed gently.
Looks like Jou was right. He's not such a bad guy after all. "You think he'll be okay?" Yuugi asked.
Atem shook his head. "I don't know. I don't even know what his health was like before hand."
Yuugi sunk down into his seat. "Not well," was all he supplied.
Things did not look like they would go well with that description.
Silence settled over them for perhaps ten minutes before Yuugi's head dropped onto Atem's shoulder. It was clear he was emotionally drained, and physically tired due to the lateness of the evening. It was already one in the morning.
With nothing else to do, Atem dropped his head on top of Yuugi's and attempted to get what little rest he could in that terrible hospital chair.
It seemed like it was two hours later when the doctor finally came out and called Yuugi's name.
The young man's head jerked up right away at the mention of his name. Without even thinking, he pulled Atem along with him as he made his way up to the doctor.
"Mr. Motou?" the doctor inquired.
"Yes," Yuugi replied. "Is my grandfather all right? When can I see him? How long does he have to stay in the hospital?"
Atem knew the answer as soon as the doctor sighed. "Mr. Motou, I'm Doctor Takachi. Your Grandfather, Surogoku Motou, suffered a severe stroke. We went in and attempted surgery, but...I'm sorry, Mr. Motou. He didn't make it. His heart was just too weak."
Yuugi felt like someone had just pulled the bottom of his world out from underneath of him. "...What?"
"We will hold onto the body until you give us the name of the funeral home to release it to."
"...Funeral home?" Yuugi's mind could not take all of that in at once.
His Grandpa, dead? The hospital wanted him to deal with everything that followed so soon?
When Yuugi dissolved into tears for the second time that evening, Atem held him close and did not let him fall to his knees. When Yuugi was babbling nonsense about how it couldn't be true, it was not quite so loud, for his voice was muffled by Atem's shirt.
He also remembered what Yuugi said over the phone. I can't do this alone.
"I'm here, Yuugi. It's going to be all right. I'm here."
Yuugi held him tighter and continued to cry.