A/N: I'm going on vacation in a few days, but I had this idea. While swimming. Enjoy! I'll write more when I come back. Also, I'm being more careful about spelling.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but my plots and OC's.
Chapter 1: I Am Gone
I wonder how long I could stay underwater if I held my breath, even when I could feel my body trying to breathe. Sometimes, I only last a few seconds. Other times, I'm under the water close to a minute. I'm doing that now. I can hear the muffled voices of my friends as I swim. The water does a good job at blocking the noise. They should line motel walls with water. Or better yet, build them on the bottom of the sea. I heard about a glass hotel they were building in Australia that would be underwater. I wonder how you throw rocks at a glass house under the sea. I wonder how they'll get the water out. I wonder-
Joey jumps into the water and bubbles cloud around me, sending me to the surface, quietly gasping for breath.
"Damn I love pools. Best birthday present ever."
"It's Tea's you dumbass," Tristan says from a corner of the pool. Tea rolls her eyes. Two years ago her mother died of cancer and her father's been treking around the globe, doing something with stocks or insurance. Anyway, he gets her whatever she wants and this year she asked for a pool for her birthday. What Tea wishes, Tea receives. And her sad and lonely father had a pool built for her. The bottom is rough and hurts my feet, but I spend most of my time floating just beneath the surface. Trying to hold my breath. Trying to trick my lungs.
"Jesus it's hot," Tristan mutters, dipping his head in the water and coming back up. He's right. A heat wave has hit Domino City. The streets are a little emptier, and the public pool a bit more crowded. The water park remains the same. Loud and full of toddlers. We don't go there very often anymore. We're college students now. The big kids on campus. Juniors.
"Thanks for the compliment Tristan, but I don't swing that way." Joey does another canon ball into the pool. I want my own water. Something I can live under whenever I want to. Lean and quick and slippery like a fish I am. Have always been. Will always be. I make small talk with my friends. Something I'm becomming worse at each day.
"What's this stuff on the bottom again?" I ask, feigning interest.
"Pebbletech," Tea says, not any more interested than I am. She's flipping through a magazine, large sunglasses covering her face. In a few weeks, we'll all start classes again. But we can do this for now. We can be this way today.
I'm under the water again. And when I come up, when I break the barrier between air and water, I wonder if that's what it's like to be born.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
"Grampa, I want a pool."
"Sure Yugi. And I want to own my own arcade, but we can't all have what we want." He laughs and hands me my dinner. "Did you have fun?" Like I'm in middle school still. Not halfway done with college.
"Yeah. I did."
"Good." We eat and talk. But I'm not any better at talking to my grandfather than I am at talking to my friends these days. And as I sit there and eat dinner, listening to him complain about our new employee, it all seems so trivial. So dull. So...pointless. My life seems to be going nowhere and I don't understand it. I help him clean up and then go upstairs to stare at the ceiling.
At what point did I realize that my life was so completely boring? At what point did that realization come over me? Maybe it was this past semester. Maybe it was all the days I hung out with my friends, only to realize we'd done the same thing since high school. I sigh and get up, pulling off my clothes and heading to the shower. The hot water pleasantly sears my skin. I stand under the flow of the water and let everything from today slide off. The pool and being born and wondering why Tea doesn't care any more than I do. Why it's so hot all of a sudden. I think maybe the universe is trying to tell me something.
Your life is a waste of space Yugi Mutou. Get out and do something.
Sometimes, the universe can be oddly specific.
I get out of the shower and towel myself dry, pulling on a tshirt and pajamas and crawling into bed. I can still feel the chlorine on my skin, drying me out, leaving me there in a shadow of water. I want to be hidden under it again. I want to be submerged and surrounded. I like the quiet. The moon shines through the space in my curtains, leaving lines on the floor like paths to places I don't know the way to. Places I've never been. Places that seem so far away. I wonder if I could follow these moon-paths and find my way there.
I wonder if the moon and the stars would be my map. If I am worthy enough to use them. I wonder and wonder until I finally fall asleep.
"Yugi. Yugi, where are you?" A sweet voice. It calls from a far away place.
"Yugi. Over here."
"Papa!" Their voices. They carry over and around me. I am stumbling. A garden. I fall and get back up, but their voices get carried further and further away. I need to see them. I need to know they're safe. Even though I already know the truth.
"Yugi! Hurry up, you'll miss it!"
"Miss what? What will I miss?"
I sit up in bed and look around. Early morning sun is falling through the curtains. No more moon-paths. Just sunlit trails to places I've already been. I've had that dream before. Where I can't find my family, not matter how hard I try. Always that fucking garden, it's weeds and trees choking me and tripping me and stopping me from what I really need to do. From what I've always wanted: my parents.
They died when I was very young. I only remember them in bits and pieces. The smell of my mother's hair. My father's heavy coat that he would throw over me and then playfully wonder aloud, "Where's little Yugi gone? Where is he?" And I'd jump out of the coat and shout, "Here I am." Surprise was my father's forte. That and family. I remember him being a good husband. A wonderful father. But they left me with my grampa one day and went to Europe. And they never came back.
Not alive, anyway.
I get dressed and wander downstairs. No one's there. Grampa left a note saying that he went to the store. The shop is closed today-- it's Sunday. I pull on some shoes and leave. I need to get out of here. Need to be somewhere else. Can't be here. The streets of Domino are safe, usually. No one is too angry here. Or too strange. But I've only really explored my part of the city. Today I go a little further. The dark narrow streets between buildings become covered in shadows. The people are a little thinner. I've never seen this side of Domino. And I like it. It's different from my usual travel circle. Just what the universe ordered, right?
"Hey Yami!" A man grabs my shoulder and spins me around. "I want a fucking rematch, you got me?"
"Don't fucking pretend you asshole! You cheated and I know it."
"I don't know what you're talking about. My name isn't Yami."
"The fuck it is!" He punches me in the gut and I go flying. Who the fuck is this guy and why is he called me Yami? He kicks me again. "Give me my money or I won't scalp you motherfucker." He kicks me in the side and I fall over, clutching my stomach.
The universe just wants to fuck with me. I know that now.
"You were looking for me?" a smooth dark voice says quietly. I open my eyes and see myself standing above me. I think. He looks from me to the man who just got started beating the shit out of me and then laughs. That laugh sends shivers down my spine, makes me feel strangely alive, all of a sudden. My twin stares hard at the other man who just makes nervous noises.
"You, uh, got a twin, Yami?"
"Never even met this kid before. What did you say you wanted? A rematch?"
"You know, actually, it's not that big of a deal. I'll, uh, I'll be seing you." The coward runs off, leaving me and my other self to our devices. I moan and cough, feeling like I got hit by a semi-truck. He leans down and helps me up.
"I think you stole my thunder," he says, gesturing toward my hair.
"Born with it,"I manage. He laughs that laugh again and puts his arm around my shoulder.
"Come on. My place is over here. Let's get you cleaned up before someone else mistakes you for me and wants their money back."
Yeah. Hot guys who look like me and people who want to kill me.
The universe has a sick sense of humor. But Yami is funnier, making jokes at me expense and leading me up to his apartment. He cleans the cut on my cheek and gives me some painkillers and water.
"Believe me, I'm used to getting the shit beat out of me. I mean, it's been a while, but it used to be a daily thing."
"You? A punching bag? But you're so innocent looking."
"Yeah, that's my problem I guess."
"What's your name?"
"Yugi. Yugi Mutou. And you're Yami?" He nods. Smiles. And I am gone.