A/N: Somebody call the media. This must be a new record. A new chapter out in three days? IMPOSSIBRU!
I noticed I didn't even get twenty reviews this time, when it used to be like twenty to thirty each chapter. Q.Q #foreveralone
Granted, the spacing between the updates is shorter, but still, I am disappoint (even though it's my fault for not updating for such a long time T^T). I did see some new readers put me on their faves/alerts though, so howdy there! Consider yourselves lucky to have begun reading this after my huge update funk. I'm thankful for your time (even though half of you didn't review COUGH COUGH)
This chapter's not as long as the last one, but I had to stop it there or it would be awkward. Also for cinematic effect because I'm taking trolling lessons from Tite Kubo. /shot/
On with the show!
He had an uncle. An uncle!
Yami had been staring numbly at the opposite wall for the past several hours, the idea that he had another relative still whirling around in his head. He had tried several times to reach back into his memory for one of his father's brother – but had come up with nothing. He had probably been very young when the man had visited, if at all.
Yami wondered why it had taken this 'Akunadin' person so long to contact the hospital. He had been here for ten years, for Pete's sake! He made a note to ask the man when he arrived, but then froze. Had he really just subconsciously considered leaving with the man? A stranger who he didn't know?
It would be nice though…to get out of here, Yami thought wistfully, gazing up at the barred window in his room. I could see the world…go to Egypt, my homeland! But what about…
What about Yugi?
Yami thought back to the letter Yugi had sent to him. He had seemed unhappy in his letter; something about going to school and bullies. But surely that must have passed by now? Yugi must have made lots of new friends and was now having the time of his life. Without Yami. Without the asylum. He hadn't even visited yet. Yami knew that wasn't fair, as it had only been a few days, but he had thought that maybe Yugi cared about him enough to at least drop him a call. The hospital's number was right in the phone book. Had it not occurred to him?
But you knew this would happen, didn't you? Yami asked himself bitterly. He's forgotten you, just like everyone else. Yami appreciated the company of the others. Jou, Malik, Ryou, Bakura, and Marik were great people and Yami did like them. But none of them came close to Yugi. To his wide violet eyes and angelic smile.
But was it really fair to either them if Yami chose to stay on the off chance he saw Yugi again? Yugi shouldn't have to be tied down to someone like Yami. He deserved to move on with his life – Yami knew that Yugi was destined for great things if he put his mind to it. Whereas Yami would never amount to anything. If anything, he would only hold Yugi back. And didn't Yami deserve some happiness as well? Even if that happiness might come without Yugi? The tanned boy knew that he would like Egypt – its warm sands and blazing sun. Just the thought of seeing his homeland with his own eyes was enough to make his skin tingle with excitement. But was it worth it? What if Yugi visited after he left? Yami would have missed his chance – but this 'Akunadin' thing was an amazing opportunity as well.
Groaning, Yami grasped at his hair. All this thinking was making his head hurt. He had to come to a decision soon. Saturday was the next day. His uncle would be here the next morning and Yami had to have an answer for him. If he even took 'no' for an answer.
Sighing, Yami looked up at the moon behind the bars of his window, and came to a decision.
Malik remembered the day his father died clearly. The memory was burned into his mind, unable to fade away. It had happened right in front of him. It had been his fault.
He and his father had been home alone that night. Ishizu had gone out shopping with mother, and had called that they would be returning home late after a movie. The young teen and his father had decided to have some 'manly bonding' time and watch a horror movie. Malik remembered exactly at which point in the movie they had been at when it happened. Just as the girl on the screen was about to get jumped by the serial killer, there was a loud knock on the door. Malik's father had paused the television and went to see who it had been. Malik remembered that his father had run back into the room without opening the front door, eyes wide and expression almost…fearful. Malik had never seen his father like this before.
"Malik, go hide in the closet! Don't come out unless I say so!"
"Just do it, son! Don't ask questions!"
Malik had done as he was told like a good thirteen-year-old son. He had curled up into the fetal position in the coat closet, and slid the closet door shut just as whoever was at the door broke it down. There was the sound of heavy boots in the hallway and a good deal of shouting. His father spoke to the men in fast Arabic. He sounded pleading and frightened. Malik remembered thinking that he never wanted to hear his father sound like that again.
"Please, just give me more time!"
"We've given you enough time, Ishtar. It's time to pay up!"
"But I don't have the money!"
"Then you'll pay with your life!"
Malik had slid the closet door open a tiny bit to peer at what was going on outside. What little Arabic he understood translated into a conversation that he knew wasn't going to end well. He watched, horrified, as his father had struggled with the burly men. Though his father had been quite adept at fighting, he was no match for three muscled henchmen from the Egyptian mafia. A single gunshot was all it took before his father fell to the ground. Malik could only watch, petrified, as the men looted his home, taking with them all of his mother's gold trinkets, his sister's jewelry, and his father's most prized possession, a gold Egyptian scepter with the eye of Horus on it.
If only I had done something. I could have helped. I shouldn't have hid like a coward!
Ishizu and his mother had come home to the scene of Malik kneeling shocked beside his father's dead body. He vaguely remembered the two screaming in horror, and his sister trying vainly to snap him out of his stupor. The funeral was held a week later. Malik hadn't attended.
It was only later that Malik found out that his father had had to borrow a lot of money from the Egyptian mafia back when they had lived in Egypt. After they had moved out of the country, his father had thought there was no need to acquire the money anymore. He hadn't thought that the mafia would follow them all the way to Japan.
The days after the 'incident', Malik was a shell of his former self. He didn't pay attention in school, and tried to ignore the whispers around him about what had happened to his family. But the gossip still bothered him, and one day he almost beat a boy to death for making crack about his father being part of the Yakuza. It had hit a little too close to home, and he had ended up sending the boy to the hospital with several broken ribs and a broken arm. The boy's parents had kicked up a fuss and Malik's mother had been forced to send him to the mental ward for behavior correction. Malik had been here ever since.
A year later, Malik found that Ishizu, who had been in college at the time of the 'incident', had switched her major to psychiatry and gotten a job at the asylum. While Malik, thankfully, hadn't ended up as one of her patients, she still took every chance possible to check in on him. Malik knew his sister did this because she cared for him, but he couldn't help but resent her constant presence. It had eased somewhat after she had started dating her coworker Shadi, but she still managed to check up on him at the most inconvenient times.
At least he had had Marik to help keep his mind off things the year Ishizu joined the hospital staff. He and Bakura had been a welcome distraction, and Malik couldn't help being drawn to their rowdy behavior, especially that of the former's. He had initially felt bad for leaving Ryou and Jou high and dry like that, but he'd quickly been distracted by the other Egyptian's mischievous mind and crooked grin. Malik remembered the surprise he felt when later on, Bakura had requested he introduce them to Ryou and Jou, placing special emphasis on the former's name. He'd gotten back together with his other two friends after that, and from then on the group had been nigh on inseparable.
Malik sighed. Marik had become a lot more forward lately in his affections, not that he was complaining. Something seemed to be bothering the elder Egyptian. Something he and Bakura shared. The two seemed a lot more eager to take their time, yet at the same time they seemed a lot more rushed. They talked faster, they insisted the group keep playing games longer. Little things like that tipped Malik off that something was off about them.
Shaking his head, Malik returned to a problem that had been bugging him for the past few weeks. Marik's birthday was in a couple of weeks, as was Bakura's (it'd figure that the two shared the same date of birth – Malik wondered if that day had been the day Satan's power had been at its peak or something, in order to spawn those two terrors), and the young Egyptian still had no idea what to get them. Or rather, Marik. The dark and handsome Egyptian never really hinted at being interested in anything other than Malik, he thought with a blush. And it's not like he could wrap himself up and sit in a box – on second thought…wait, no, bad Malik! Bad Malik! Bad…naughty…images…gah!
Rubbing his eyes tiredly, Malik decided that he needed to catch up on more sleep. His roommate was a total slob, so Malik often stayed up later to clean up after the guy. Tonight, though, he'd be the first to get to bed. Let the guy with the fish-fetish clean up after himself for once, Ra-dammit.
"Malik-pretty loves me. Malik-pretty loves me not. Malik-pretty loves me. Malik-pretty loves me more. Malik-pretty loves me a lot. Malik-pretty loves – "
"Oh for Kami-sama's sake would you shut up?" Bakura growled at him from across the bedroom, and Marik was forced to close his mouth, placing the daisy he had taken from the field on his bedside table. The albino sighed gratefully. "Thank Kami, I thought I was going to go insane. You weren't even doing it right!"
"That's because there's absolutely no question that Malik-pretty loves me!" Marik crowed triumphantly. Bakura rolled his eyes.
"He won't love you for long if you keep acting like a lunatic," he sneered. Marik grinned.
"But that's why I'm here, eh? We're all lunatics here," he responded cheekily. Bakura snorted.
"You know that's not true," he responded quietly. Marik's grin faded and he sat up on his cot. Bakura sighed. "Two more weeks, Marik. Then we'll be free to leave and get on with our lives."
"Have you thought about what you're going to do?" Marik asked solemnly. Bakura shrugged.
"We'll probably have to get some small time crappy jobs at a bar or something first," he said. "Then maybe we could go to one of those career colleges where they train you to be mechanics or something so we can get real jobs. After that, I dunno…"
"We'll think of something along the way. That's what we do best, after all," Marik reassured him. Bakura 'harrumph'ed and turned away, staring at the wall.
"Why did you stay with me?" he asked softly, so softly that Marik almost missed it. "You wasted two years of your life here just so you could stay with me. Why?"
"…Because I loved you," Marik said abruptly. Bakura's head snapped up and he stared at Marik in shock. "I know what you're gonna say," Marik interjected hastily. "But let me explain. I don't love you anymore…at least, not like that. You're more like a brother to me now." Bakura relaxed slightly. "But before, when we just got here…I followed you because I was head over heels for ya. I couldn't imagine my life without you by my side - still can't, to be honest. So I stayed."
"Just like that? So easily?" Bakura whispered, expression unreadable.
"It wasn't an easy decision," Marik replied honestly. "My parents were good parents. But they were…dull. You know me, I'm all for excitement." Bakura grinned slightly at this. "They loved me, but they didn't see the real me. No one did. Except you. That's why I stayed. You're my best friend, Bakura. Best friends stick together."
"At least you're not in love with me anymore," Bakura said playfully. Marik smirked.
"Nah, Malik-pretty's way prettier than you anyways."
"HEY! Take that back! I'm fucking gorgeous and you know it!"
"I never knew you were so vain, 'Kura."
"Shut up and go to sleep, Marik." Bakura dug under the covers and flipped off his lamp, and Marik did the same a few moments later. A few minute of silence passed.
Marik could almost hear Bakura smile fondly under the cover of darkness.
"Good night Marik."
Yugi crossed his fingers apprehensively underneath his desk and bit his lip as the instructor passed out their last math test. He had stayed up all night the day before the test in order to study, cramming theorem after theorem into his brain. He had felt pretty good after the exam, but now, waiting for it to be passed back, he wasn't so sure. He was positive he had gotten number thirty-five B wrong. And he probably forgot to carry a one somewhere in problem four. And what if he had confused the formulas for a hyperbola and an ellipse - ?
"Here you go, Muto-kun. I must say, I'm quite pleased with your progress," his math instructor, Suugaku-sensei said, placing the paper face-down on his desk. Yugi, fingers shaking, flipped the corner up and peeked at the score, then flipped the entire paper over and gaped.
Ninety point freaking O percent!
Yugi let out a sigh of relief and leaned back in his seat, grinning at the ceiling. His grandfather had told him he'd accept no less than a ninety, and here it was! A perfect ninety! Yugi figured that some god up there must have felt sorry and taken pity on him, because there was no way he should have kept that point despite forgetting to round his answer. But who cares? It was a ninety-freaking-percent!
Thankfully, math class was the last period of the day, so as soon as the bell rang Yugi shot out of the classroom towards his locker. After changing his shoes, he all but ran the entire way back to his grandfather's game shop, and caused the bell to ring deafeningly as he burst into the shop.
"I got a ninety percent Jii-chan!" he exclaimed excitedly, waving the test in his grandfather's face. Sugoroku blinked a moment, his eyes crossing in an effort to see the words on the paper. Once they focused, he smiled warmly at his grandson.
"Congratulations, my boy! I suppose I'll have to keep up my end of the bargain, then?" he asked rhetorically, chuckling at seeing his grandson so happy again. Yugi's eyes shined.
"Can we go visit this Saturday, Jii-chan?" he asked eagerly, jumping on the balls of his feet. Sugoroku's smile faltered and he shook his head regretfully.
"I'm afraid not, Yugi," he said apologetically. "I'm expecting a new shipment of Monster World merchandise on Saturday and I have to be here. We can go on Sunday instead, okay?"
Yugi sighed dejectedly, but brightened soon after. Later was better than never, after all. "Of course, Jii-chan! I need to get Yami a present anyways!" he into the house and Sugoroku heard him going up the stairs to his room. When he heard Yugi's bedroom door close, he chuckled and shook his head in resignation.
"Kids these days…"
"Well? Have you come a decision, Atemu?" Shadi asked him, hands folded on top of his desk. Yami had requested an appointment with the doctor earlier, and now they were both sitting in his office. The half Egyptian boy nodded at his question.
"I have, Dr. Shadi," he responded, and then paused. Shadi raised an eyebrow delicately.
"And?" he pressed. Yami took a deep, shuddering breath to steady himself, and clenched his fists underneath the table.
"I'll go with my uncle."
A/N: ACK! /dodges thrown objects/ DON'T KILL MEEEH! D8
I just realized that the day I updated was supposed to be the FF 'Blackout' day. Maybe that's why there weren't as many reviews. LOL I fail...my bad. XD Hope I didn't ruin your protest. I'm just one user, right? Heh heh.../sweatdrop/ In my defense, none of my fanfiction subscriptions had any updates telling me about it until after I had updated, so it was a little late. And I'm always logged onto FF anyways, so...
Anyways, please review!
P.S. I was looking back at my old authors notes for this story and I swear I cringed at every single one of them. Was I that much of a dork? Well, I'm already pretty dorky considering I'm writing fanfiction at sixteen but SERIOUSLY? Talking to myself? Making imaginary characters throw me birthday parties? Ugh. I'm the epitome of "Forever Alone". #nolifelol
P.P.S. Stop alerting my other stories! D'8 It's making me feel really bad since I'm probably never finishing them (plus they're really bad, OMG what was I smoking with that crossover?)...I have about fifty bajillion Bleach plot bunnies on my memory stick that are begging to replace them too...