After the Funeral

Yuugi dropped his books onto a secluded table and began working on his math homework long before anyone else arrived in homeroom. He was deeply submerged in a world of numbers by the time most everyone came running in at the tardy bell. "Eighteen times the quantity of twenty-two minus x over the quantity of xyz equals the quantity of forty-seven plus xy minus the quantity of zx. Solve for z. Seriously?" he muttered. "That's…oh. In the following problems, x=7 and y=-3. Well, I guess that's a little more reasonable. Okay, so—"

"Hey, Yuugi!"

Yuugi looked up to see Jounouchi grinning down at him.

"I've been polishin' up on my duelin' skills with Honda over here. Whaddya say you put them to a real test, huh?"

"I'm busy," Yugi replied as he returned to his work. "Go ask Otogi. I'm sure he'll play with you."

A shadow crossed Jounouchi's face. "I ain't talkin' ta lover boy over there. He still hasn't shut up about the date he took Shizuka on when she visited last week. C'mon, man, just one duel!"

"I have to finish my homework before school's out. Go ask Kaiba."

"Maybe ya haven't caught onta this yet but…we kinda hate each other, Yuugi."

Yuugi looked up in surprise. "You and Anzu?"

"Wha—? You said Kaiba."

"Did I? I meant Anzu." He looked back to the math problem.

Jounouchi covered the paper with his hand. "What are you workin' so hard for?"

"The same reason I've been working so hard for the past month: I have to run the game shop after school today. And tomorrow. And the day after that."

"But I thought that Gramps said that if you decided to keep the shop you were supposed to close it over the weekend so you'd have time to hang out with us."

"It's only Wednesday."

"It's Friday, Yuugi."

He paused. "Oh…well…I have to clean."

"Honda, Anzu, and I helped you clean last night, after closing. Remember?"

"Please move your hand, Jounouchi. I have to finish my homework." He jumped out of his chair and dumped his books and papers into his bookbag as the bell rang to end the day. "I'll see you later, Jounouchi-kun. Tell Honda and Anzu I said hi." Yuugi ran off, leaving his friend to stare blankly after him.

:::

When Yuugi finally finished the last problem at five, he put the paper inside his math book and leaned back in his chair. The house was so quiet. The lingering silence just brought reality on him that much harder: Grandpa was never coming back. Never. It wasn't so long ago that they had been joking over supper that he must be immortal, that he would never die. And then, just like that…he had a seizure. He'd stayed in the hospital for three weeks, living in a half-conscious state. Yuugi skipped school, asking his friends to bring his homework to the hospital every day and to take it back to school for him the next. Finally, the doctors had okayed Grandpa to go back home, to the shop. He had seemed good as new: he was chatting with the customers as cheerily as ever, asking Yuugi's friends how their lives were going, teasing Yuugi about Anzu.

Then came October 4th: Grandpa was about to blow out the seventy-four candles on his birthday cake. Yuugi, Anzu, Jounouchi, and Honda had spent hours making it special for him, drawing their own smiling faces on it with colored icing and putting their special surprise in the left corner, Grandpa's favorite piece. They'd watched him with excitement as he'd bent over the cake with a grin and took a deep breath. Just as he was about to exhale, his bangs had swung down into one of the candles and caught fire. It would have been no problem…had he noticed. But he was completely oblivious to the flames that were quickly eating his frail gray hair; the seizure had killed most of the nerves in his head. Anzu had been the first to react: after staring for an endless moment in disbelief, she dashed to the sink, filled a cup with water, and dumped it over his head, extinguishing the fire. She had been too late, though. Grandpa's hair was gone, and his skin was charred. Jounouchi and Anzu had helped him and Yuugi onto Honda's motorcycle and watched as the three sped off toward the hospital.

Four days later, Anzu came into the room with a small box. She'd handed it to Grandpa, urging him to open it. Inside was the left corner of the cake and a fork. He had dug in gratefully, glad to be getting something to eat besides hospital food. As he got to the center of the piece, his fork struck something. He put it down and pulled out the picture of him, Yuugi, Jounouchi, and Honda in front of Yuugi's Puzzle at the museum. Pasted beside Yuugi was a cut-out of Anzu kneeling. Grandpa had pulled the two into a hug and thanked them; as Honda and Jounouchi entered, he'd embraced them too and told the four that they'd given him the best gift an old man could receive: a reminder that he was still loved.

That night, just as Yuugi had begun to fall asleep, the steady beep beep beep of the heart monitor changed. Beepbeep beep beepbeepbeepbeep beepbeep beeeeeeeee… Yuugi had jumped up and pressed the call button, started screaming, "No! No! You can't! You're immortal, remember?! GRANDPA!!!"

He'd been shoved aside by the nurses who ran in with a defibrillator. "Clear!" Buzz. "Clear!" Buzz.

eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…

The nurses shook their heads.

Yuugi had burst into hysterics, dropped on his knees beside the bed, his tiny body trembling as he sobbed uncontrollably.

Anzu had been called to calm him down, and at midnight, she, Jounouchi, and Honda had walked in slowly, and together were able to move Yuugi to his make-shift bed, where they all sat the rest of the night.

Yuugi returned to school at the beginning of the next week, but he had so much trouble concentrating that eventually he was sent to the counselor, who advised that he stay home a little longer. And so Yuugi had, receiving his homework from his friends, who visited every day, each attempting in his or her own way to cheer him up.

After the funeral, Grandpa's will was read. He had given Yuugi everything, including guardianship of himself if he wanted it. All he'd left for Yuugi to do was put his signature on the papers and he'd legally be an adult. So he had, and became owner of the Kame Game Shop, under the condition that the shop would never again be open during the weekend. Grandpa had left a private letter for his grandson, which he'd been given after the reading:

Dear Yuugi,

I know that you'll probably keep the shop, but please don't let that keep you from following your dreams. I want you to go to college, even if that means you have to do it on the Internet. If you decide you don't want the shop, whether that be now or in a few years, give it to your friend Ryuji Otogi. I know that he'll have some use for it, and I've come to like that boy: he's a respectable businessman. Whatever you choose to do, just be sure that the choice is coming from your heart.

I love you with everything I still have,

Grandpa

And now Yuugi sat in front of his desk, the same desk at which he'd solved the Millennium Puzzle after eight years of effort. The same desk at which he'd wished on the Puzzle for friends, and discovered that his wish had come true. "I know I'm only supposed to make one wish on you," Yuugi said to his Puzzle, "but will you please help me to be happy again? I know that's what Grandpa wants, but I miss him so much."

I miss him too, Yuugi.

"Who's—" Yuugi turned to see Yami's apparition sitting on his bed. "Oh. Hi."

We haven't talked in a while.

"I know. I've been busy."

So I've seen. It's good of you to keep the shop.

"It was almost everything to Grandpa."

That's not true, Yami said as he stood. You and your friends were almost everything to him. You still are.

"What?"

He'll be alive as long as you let him. Don't forget, and don't let anyone else.

"How could I?" Yuugi replied as he stared out his window into the darkening sky.

Yami walked over and placed a hand on Yuugi's shoulder. Don't forget, but don't let the memory consume you. Your grandfather wants you to move on and live your life to its fullest. And Yuugi?

"What?"

Anzu will be coming over tonight.

He looked up in shock. "What? Why?"

I noticed yesterday, while you were cleaning, that she found a note. I read it over her shoulder. It was from your grandfather, addressed to her. He told her to come over the night after she found the note and ask you if there was something you wanted to tell her.

"He what?"

Jounouchi found a note too. He's supposed to keep you entertained however he can. And Honda is supposed to help. Yuugi, your grandfather put thought into how to make you move on. You should let your friends help you.

"But I'm not ready to move on."

You've mourned for far too long. There she is, Yami declared, pointing out the window to where Anzu was walking toward the shop. He may have enjoyed harassing you about Anzu, but he really meant for it to be encouragement.

Yuugi looked down at the Puzzle, then at the sky, and smiled. Thank you, Grandpa.


Hope you liked it! I felt like writing an angsty fic about Grandpa dying. If he actually did, sorry for changing the circumstances. In case you didn't know, Otogi is Duke and Shizuka is Serenity. And yes, I realized that I mixed the dub and the original manga. I started it based on the dub, but I realized that it made more sense to me based on the manga, but I still liked Jounouchi's dialogue in the beginning. Anyway, please review!