The following week was the most bizarre one Yuugi had ever had in his twenty-three years of life.
The night his grandfather died, Atem had taken Yuugi back to his place, away from all of the reminders of Sugoroku that still littered Yuugi's small home. He stayed up with Yuugi all night that night. He watched as Yuugi grieved, and once his tears had lessened, they talked.
They talked about everything. Yuugi learned that Atem was twenty-five years old. He learned that Atem had gone to a high school only six blocks away from him. He learned that Atem was of middle-eastern descent, but whether is was Arabic or Egyptian or somewhere else, Atem didn't know. His parents did not leave record of who they were and where they were from for him to find out. Yuugi learned that Atem always ate gummy-bears with his lunch, and that he had a soft spot for cats.
Atem learned that Yuugi was quite a brilliant person. He learned that the Kame Game Shop was making twice as much money since Yuugi took over the business. He learned that the younger man had an uncanny knack for games, that he had a love of ancient cultures, and that he was kind-hearted to a fault. The two of them talked until they ran out of things to talk about, and kept going.
Their conversation kept Yuugi from dwelling on the terrible event that had just transpired. Once the night had worn away, and after Yuugi had napped or a couple of hours on Atem's couch, he was able to be pulled back on task as Atem started making coffee for them.
For this, Yuugi was beginning to love that man even more.
Jou found out later that morning, as Yuugi took deep breaths and carefully explained the events of the night before over the phone. Jou told Honda, Mai, and Shizuka, and later that night they all got together. Shizuka cried, as was her nature, and even Jou shed a tear. Honda and Mai were quiet that night, for they too had known the man and had respected him greatly.
The following days to come were filled with Atem helping Yuugi with the final arrangements. They met with Sugoroku's lawyer together. Atem helped Yuugi, who choked up again when he started to rifle through the phone book, pick out a funeral service. It was even Atem that called the hospital and informed them of the location.
Sugoroku wrote in his will that he wanted to be cremated, and have his ashes scattered to the Egyptian winds. He had been an archaeologist, and spent most of his youth in Egypt digging up the past. So Yuugi told the funeral home to burn the body and place it in an urn. He did not pick which one. He didn't have the heart to do it it. After all, the container didn't matter. His ashes wouldn't be in it for long, anyway.
Yuugi nearly had a heart attack as the medical bills began to pour in, but then he found out Sugoroku had a surprisingly large life insurance policy.
One million yen.
Yuugi was able to pay off all of the medical bills without blinking. Some of the rest of the money he stashed away in his savings account so he could take that trip to Egypt and fulfill his grandfather's passing wish. Some he, along with the knowledgeable advice of Atem, invested in bonds and high-yield savings accounts. As for the rest of it-
He knew just what he was going to do with the rest of it.
It was time for the Kame Game shop to receive a make-over. It was time for a fresh start. The whole place would be gutted. Stripped from inside and out. New windows, new floors, new walls, storage room additions, new furniture. After all, Yuugi owed it to himself and his grandfather. The little shop had kept them fed and housed ever since Yuugi could remember. It was his favorite place as a child. Exploring a game shop and enjoying the new games first hand was every young boy's dream. Yuugi loved the shop, and wanted to keep it. He just didn't know if he could still live inside of those aging walls and old furniture that still smelled like his grandfather.
At the end of the week, Yuugi's head was still reeling, but he was coping. He and Atem had met for coffee and breakfast every morning that week. They talked and laughed and, in Yuugi's case, did some more crying. For Yuugi, the morning ritual and turned somehow therapeutic. At night he would dream of the relative he'd lost, and in the morning his meeting with Atem felt like poison was being sucked from his veins. He could breath properly again after he saw that handsome face.
Everyone one else warmed up to Atem quickly. Shizuka nearly adored him. She said he was the most charming man she'd met in quite some time.
Honda's feelings were only a little hurt, as Atem was very clearly gay, and therefore not a potential threat to any straight relationship.
At the end of the week, once the final paperwork was finished and the cremation was completed, everyone met at a small restaurant and celebrated Sugoroku's life. He had been a constant in all of their lives. Jou, Honda, and Shizuka had known Yuugi since junior high, and they had spent countless hours at the game shop with Yuugi pouring over the merchandise, playing games, and being happy children.
Everyone joked about how Sugoroku always let Jou peek at the new inventory first. It sometimes felt like a birthday present every week, for he got to see new releases of things before anyone else at his school did, and the friendship that had developed between him, his sister, and Yuugi, was one that could never be broken.
Everyone told Atem about how much he would have liked the elder Motou, and he felt somewhat grateful to be included in their camaraderie, their almost sacred circle of friendship that seemed almost too precious to be allowed in so quickly.
When everything was said and done, when Yuugi had picked out a contractor for the game shop and started going over blue prints, he decided perhaps it was time to push aside his silly hesitation, and he asked Atem out on a date.
It was nothing terribly special. They went to a movie, shared popcorn and a soda, and ate dinner at a fast food restaurant. It was nothing special at all, but Yuugi wouldn't have traded the night for anything else. Not even dinner in Paris with a handsome, wealthy stranger would have parted his company with Atem that night.
On their third date, still alcohol free and with no lack of conversation, Yuugi began to realize that perhaps he was falling in love after all.
Atem checked his phone for the date and time. It had been three days since he'd last seen Yuugi. He knew that the slightly younger man was still pouring over blue-prints for the game shop. He was so excited for the renovations, he could hardly contain himself sometimes.
Still, though, not even a phone call had been had. Atem wasn't sure if he'd done something wrong or not. Granted, there was a lot of work for him to catch up on, as the past week had eaten up all of his time. He had four computers left to build within two weeks, and if there were any problems he encountered, it was going to take all of that time just to get it resolved.
But still. Not even a phone call. He frowned, then flipped the lid of his cell phone and dialed Yuugi's number.
The voice that answered the phone was not nearly as warm-hearted as he thought it would be. "Hello? Atem?" Yuugi sounded tired, stressed, and strangely hesitant.
"Yuugi," he began. "You haven't called at all. What's wrong?"
Yuugi was silent on the other end for a moment. "Oh, Atem...it-it's just...things have been hard. I-I'm really sorry, I..."
Atem's frown deepened. Yuugi sounded strangely at a loss for words. "Yuugi, is everything okay? Why haven't you called me?"
The sigh from the other end sounded strained. "You've been the greatest help, Atem, but things aren't going to work out right now. I'm sorry. I-...sorry, I have to go."
Atem's mouth dropped open as the phone line went dead.
How could he, after all this, just say 'things aren't going to work'?
Clearly, Yuugi had been distracted on the phone. Just what was he thinking?!
With a growl, Atem threw his coat on and headed towards his car. This was absolutely ridiculous. Of all of the times to say such a terrible thing, it was then. He was heading straight over to Yuugi's house just to find out what was going on. Clearly he wasn't going to get anywhere on the phone.
Considering Yuuig's place was only a few blocks away, Atem got there in under three minutes. He slammed the door closed and locked his doors. He was a patient man, but even he had limits. If he's going to break my heart for the final time, he'd better have a damn good reason for doing it.
The game shop was currently closed, as the movers were getting ready to move all of the merchandise into storage until it was ready to be opened up again. By this time, Atem knew his way around to the back of the building, where a back door entrance to the living quarters was. The Motou's had been instructing the postal service to drop off private packages there for years now.
Atem rang the door bell and knocked twice. Because the living quarters were upstairs and the door was on the street level, he didn't hear anything until the pounding of feet were reverberating along the old stair case.
When Yuugi opened the door, his faced paled. "What...what are you doing here?"
Atem crossed his arms. "I deserve an explanation."
Yuugi squeezed the hand that was still around the door knob. He looked like he hadn't slept well in days. "Atem, this really isn't a good time." He looked back up the stairs nervously.
Atem's red eyes flicked up the stairway, but was unable to see anything beyond. "Is there someone here?"
The younger man shook his head. "No, well..yes, but..." His face looked desperate for an end to the conversation.
The older man opened his mouth up to reply, but a wail from up the stairs stopped him.
There was a baby crying.
"...Yuugi?" Atem questioned.
Yuugi looked up the stairs, clearly torn. He seemed to want to ignore it, but when the sound wailed again, he let go of the door and made his way up. Atem followed without even bothering to ask. He closed the door behind him.
Once up the stair case, Atem saw a small baby carrier sitting next to the couch. Yuugi walked over and clumsily picked up the crying infant. It was currently wrapped up in a light pink blanket with yellow stars on it. Yuugi looked up at him, a visible pain evident in his eyes. He looked away quickly, though, unable to hold Atem's gaze. "Anzu came back from New York yesterday. She didn't call me and tell me. I had no idea."
The child in his arms quieted down now that it was being held.
It felt like Atem's stomach dropped to his knees. So this....this was why. Yuugi didn't want him to know. "The child is yours?" he asked.
Yuugi sat down on the couch, unable to stand anymore. "We only had sex once. Just once. She left for New York last fall, and I was sure that I'd never see her again. She came back yesterday with...this." He closed his eyes. A small tear fell down his cheek. "She told me she couldn't have a baby and go to Juliard. Once the baby was born, she got on the first plane she could and came here to give it to me."
Atem's eyes narrowed. "Is she...did she..."
"She's already flown back. Her flight left last night at midnight."
The breath was suddenly sucked from his lungs. It made so much sense now. It seemed uncharacteristic for Yuugi to have such a change of heart over a three day time span. He was afraid. "Will she come back for the child?"
Yuugi's face hardened. "No." He held the baby closer. "I made her sign over full custody to me before she left." He hung his head. "She chose dance over her own child. I just don't know how she could..."
Atem walked over and sat down next to Yuugi. The younger man refused to look at him. The baby fussed for a moment more. "This changes everything between us," Yuugi stated. "I...not even I'm ready to be a father. I'm so lost..."
Yuugi felt a warm hand touch his cheek. Atem pulled his face up to meet him eye to eye. "Yuugi," he started. "You are a good man, but your head is incredibly thick." He closed his eyes and leaned his forehead against Yuugi's. "Things will be different, but that doesn't mean I'm not willing to give it a shot. We've got something really good, Yuugi. I don't think we should throw it away, just because of this."
Yuugi's breath hitched. "Are...are you serious? This doesn't bother you at all? I'm going to be a.." he paused as he pushed the word past his lips, "a father. I can't just run around and have fun anymore. Everything's..."
Atem chuckled. "I know what the consequences are. You certainly didn't ask for this. I...think I'm starting to love you. I want to be there for you for everything. This is apart of everything, isn't it?"
"Atem...you're too good for me." He chuckled a little as he began to cry. "How can I not love you now?"
He felt himself smile despite himself. "May I hold it?"
Yuugi laughed. "It's a her...and yes." He moved his arms and allowed Atem to take the child in his arms.
"How old is she now?"
Yuugi shook his head. "Five days, I think." He placed his hand on Atem's knee. "She doesn't really have a name yet. Anzu named her Sarah, after some dancer friend of hers, but I'm going to change it."
"To what?" He marveled at how the young infant already seemed to look so much like her father. Tiny wisps of black hair peeked out around her head, which was partly covered by the blanket.
"Yumi, I think."
Atem smiled. "I like that name. Yumi." He looked down at the little girl in his arms. I'd entertained the idea before, but never thought it would happen. Being a father...
Everyone knew things changed, and nothing could really be planned. Atem knew this too. He also knew, deep down in his heart, that he wasn't leaving Yuugi's side, and that he, too, would eventually be this little girl's father.
When Atem kissed Yuugi after that thought, it was the first time of many that they would kiss and be sober for it.
Yuugi also tasted better when there wasn't any alcohol on his breath.
Yuugi questioned Atem when he suddenly laughed. "I just realized," he began. "That Jou and the others are going to spoil this little girl rotten."
Yuugi hadn't thought that far ahead, and when he finally did, the relief the laughter brought made him smile.