Chao- This store must be told!

Disclaimer: DarkChao1663 does not own Yu-Gi-Oh!

Summary: Yugi slowly pushes his friends, family, and even Yami away. He then becomes very ill and starts to suffer from nightmares. Could this be another test of the Puzzle? And can he make it through with so much on his mind and heart? Doesn't Yugi know if someone lives in the past, they cannot live in the present and will lose sight of their future?

Warning: Rated M for extreme themes of depression, loneliness, minor swearing, and bullying.

Parings: None

"Talking."

"Thinking."

/Yami and Yugi's mind link./

Chapter 1: Beyond the Present

The early a.m. was a quiet time; hardly any cars passed by. Not even the birds were awake to chirp their cheerful morning songs. No motions occurred within the Turtle Game store. However, in his unkempt bedroom, a teen with tri-color hair tossed and turned uncomfortably in his sleep.

Yugi's Dream

The same teen was walking down a familiar, dim hallway filled with grey lockers and a tile ground. His black shoes with the studded belt clanked across the floor.

"Where am I?" he asked himself out loud, perturbed as he took in his surroundings. "Am I at… school?"

He wondered why everything was quiet. He soon came upon a door. He slid it open and saw his own classroom. The rows of desk were in line, and no chalk markings were on the board. Cautiously, he walked in. As he did, he saw his two friends, Joey and Tristan. He walked over to them and asked, "Hey, do you know what's going on?"

However, the two boys did not respond. Yugi smiled, assuming his friends were playing a prank as they sometimes like to do.

"Um… Hello?" he asked in a childish tone.

However, the two tall students did not reply; they remained completely still. Both held stoic expressions upon their faces and acted like they were only statues. They appeared as though they did not see the small boy at all.

"This isn't funny anymore!" Yugi protested, becoming upset. He sighed with frustration as he gave up. He turned around and saw his friend Tea walking pass the classroom outside.

Before leaving, Yugi looked back and saw his two friends, who still did not respond to anything at all. The petite teen hopped out of the classroom to greet his buddy.

However, the female student just walked right pass him. She also possessed a blank look.

"Huh?" Yugi questioned confused. He was puzzled about the events around him. Glancing further down the very dim hallway, he saw his darker half.

"Yami!" he called out with joy. As he raced over towards his partner, the area around them grew darker and darker. Just as Yugi was about to reach over towards his friend, the spirit vanished.

"Yami!" Yugi screamed, his heart filling with anxiety.

The hallway soon fell apart, and Yugi was left alone in complete darkness.

"What's going on!?" Yugi bellowed, fear creeping into his mind. His head swirled with emotions of terror, anxiety, and loneliness. He did not want to be left in darkness all alone like he had in the past in his early childhood.

He cried desperately, "Please! Don't leave me!"

End Dream

Yugi awoke a tad earlier than normal. The morning was quieter than what he was accustomed to. He tried to move, but his entire form felt too heavy to shuffle. His body ached all around, as though he had been smashed by a speeding semi-truck. He moaned in pain. Attempting to sit up, he rubbed his stomach; the area caused him tiny amounts of discomfort. He began feeling small cramps in that area not too long ago.

Bit by bit, he opened his eyes. His vision was at first blurry, and his head felt very heavy. Stepping out of bed, he approached his dresser and reached for a fresh pair of clothes.

He strolled over to his door and walked down the hallway towards the bathroom. He hopped in for a quick shower, trying to wash off the unpleasant smell and sweat that had formed during the night. He quickly dried himself off with an old towel and changed into his school uniform.

Finished, he thought back to the nightmare he had. At once a quick, sharp sting emitted from his stomach. He leaned over the sink for support as he grunted a little. He recalled the pain started to form the other day.

Flashback

"What!? Ryou is going to study overseas!?"

The teen with white hair smiled his calm, cheerful grin. Everyone was sitting outside enjoying their lunch under a shady tree. They leaned over and listened carefully to their friend's story.

"Yes," Ryou answered lightly. "I think it'll be best if I continued my studies elsewhere."

"Aw, we'll miss you!" Tea said with sympathy.

"He's not the only one who will be missed." Tristan noted, glancing towards the female member of their group.

"I know," Tea agreed. "But I still want to study dance in New York."

"That's a long way." Duke commented as he took a sip of his drink.

"She'll be fine!" Joey remarked with his usual silly grin. "Any guy that gives her trouble will be sorry for messing with her!"

"This is coming from someone with experience." Tristan sighed.

"Hey! Shut it!" Joey protested angry.

"I think you should focus more on passing." Duke advised towards the blonde.

"I got this!" Joey growled. "But what about you, Dice Boy?"

"I'm good with school," Duke replied with an arrogant shrug and grin. "But since you asked, I think I'll just take some online courses as my parents are thinking about opening another location for the Black Crown game store."

"That sure is something." Tristan applauded. "As for me, I think I'll take a year off and go with work with my brother, then see if I can go to a community college."

"Yeah, he's better off working with his brother than his sister," the blonde snickered.

"Let's not get out of hand," Tea ordered as she wanted to enjoy her lunch time. She then smiled as she asked, "What about you, Yugi?"

"Me?" the smallest teen asked as he pointed towards himself.

"Yeah, Yug," Joey joined in, also curious.

"Well," Yugi scratched the back of his head. "Isn't anyone going to Domino University?"

Silence grew among the group. They all looked around and waited for someone to answer, but no one did.

"You did say university," Duke repeated. "Those are more expensive than community colleges."

"Oh." Yugi said with disappointment.

"Don't worry," Tea tried to cheer up her friend. "I'm sure you'll make plenty of new friends there."

Yugi stared at his food with a crestfallen look. He did not want to start over again. He wanted to stay with his friends. When he was younger, he did not want to start high school. Even though he had to put up with bullies, he wanted to stay with Tea and be with her. A part of him deep down resented change, though he kept that to himself.

"Do I have to go at this alone?" Yugi thought sadly to himself. He packed away his lunch quietly as everyone else continued on with theirs. He suddenly lost his appetite.

End Flashback

Slowly, the teen lifted himself up from the sink as the sting diminished. He continued on with his morning routine as normal. Opening the door to his room, his eyes were pulled by the light that shined off the Puzzle sitting upon his desk.

He reached for his pendent and placed his prize possession around his neck. Despite his treasure taking him eight years to solve and did cause plenty of trouble, the overall wish of him receiving friends was well worth it. His Puzzle had helped him through high school, but Yugi wondered what would help him in his college years.

/Is everything all right?/ a spirit asked with concern for his partner. /You don't seem to be well./

/Just… a long night./ Yugi replied softly. He walked down the steps and into his kitchen where he prepared himself a glass of orange juice.

"Good morning, Yugi," a woman greeted with a yawn. The boy turned to see a woman with short, maroon hair wearing a pink robe. She was a bit surprised to see her son ready for school so early. She normally had to toss him out of bed or found him sitting on the ground playing games. Placing aside the unusual, she asked kindly, "Did you want me to make you something? Pancakes? Eggs?"

"No, that's ok." Yugi insisted. "I'll be going to school now."

"Ok, then," the woman yawned once more. "Have a good day."

The boy placed on his shoes and left for school. Less people were out, which made Yugi feel a tad more comfortable. He did not want to be around so many individuals at the current moment. The walk over was quite peaceful.

Coming up to his learning destination, some students had already arrived, having been dropped off by working parents or had needed to catch an early bus ride. Although many teenagers prefer to sleep in until the last second, some attempted to finish their homework before the start of first period in their quiet rooms filled with distractions.

Stepping into his classroom, Yugi gazed around seeing a few other peers rushing with their assignments. He grew surprised another adolescent with white hair already sat at his desk but worked diligently with a worried expression on his face.

"Good morning, Ryou," Yugi greeted with a small smile.

"Can't talk," Ryou quickly explained. "I fell asleep forgot to get this done!"

"Oh, ok." Yugi understood his friend.

The same incident had happened to him several times in the past. All the time needed could not be wasted with mindless chatter. Yugi took a seat next to his friend as he glanced around the classroom once more. He knew how much time he had before he would be in a new classroom, in a new setting, in a new school, and with new people, but he turned curious about how much of an emotional impact it will have on him before the end of the school year.

He began to reminisce about his first year. He was a lot smaller than he was now, both physically and emotionally. He was nervous meeting so many new students and seeing his old classmates grow taller. He always held a good relationship with Tea, but the girl was very outgoing. She would join clubs, take on new positions, and made friends easier. Yugi recalled he would just sit around in his classroom and played games by himself.

"I wonder if anyone likes games in college," Yugi mumbled to himself. "Or… will they think that that's just childish?"

His heart sank upon that idea. Games were his life after all. His grandfather owned a game shop, and the young teen had dreamed about bringing friends over to show them old and new games. His wish eventually came true.

"Did you say something?" Ryou asked as he gathered up his materials.

"Hmm," Yugi replied, not expecting anyone hearing him. "No, I didn't say anything."

Ryou sighed with relief when he had managed to finish his assignment.

"I'm glad that's over," he remarked happily. "I hope I don't make this mistake in college."

"Me neither," Yugi laughed.

As the time for first period to begin crawled along, more and more pupils showed up for class, and most of Yugi's group was ready for the day. Just before the bell rang, a slow witted teen with blonde hair raced towards the entrance.

"Made it!" he declared with pride as he tried to catch his breath.

"You want a gold star for that?" Tristan smirked.

"Shut it!" Joey yelled.

Everyone laughed.

Yugi looked around with joy, glad that over time he eventually became friends with everyone. However, his heart hurt a little thinking about life in college away from his high school companions, causing his stomach to twinge.

Although he felt sluggish, the school day went by pretty quickly for him. The only out of the normal routine was the teachers handing out flyers for students promoting Domino University, the same college where many Domino High School students apply and attend first.

At the end of the day, Yugi departed from his usual groups of friends and went home. He greeted his mother and grandfather, and he went straight to his room to finish up his assignments. Because he was not so hungry during dinner time, he set his leftovers in the fridge. As everyone placed their dishes away, the phone rang.

Yugi walked over and answered, "Hello?"

"Hello? Yugi? Is that you?" the other line asked.

"Dad!" Yugi asked with joy. "How are you!? How is your trip going!?"

"Just fine," the man laughed. "How is school going?"

"Good," Yugi answered. His smile faded a little as he asked, "Um… Dad, I was thinking about which college I should go to and… is your job still going to involve a lot of traveling?"

The other side turned quiet for a moment. Yugi waited anxiously for a reply. He wanted to know, so he could better prepare himself for which ever college he wanted to attend. Deep within, a part of him was afraid to leave his mother and grandfather behind. He wanted to secure they would not be left alone.

"I don't know at this moment," the man finally answered. "But whatever you decided, I'm sure we can work around it."

"Oh, ok," Yugi said a little sadly. "Have a safe trip, Dad. Here's Mom."

The teen handed his mother the phone and walked towards his room. He sighed with discontent entering through his door. After taking off his Puzzle, he sat on his chair and thought about his options.

He did not want to leave home and live in the dorms. He was unsure of what his roommate would be like. He was afraid his roommate may not like games at all, or he could possibly be a bully. Yugi shuddered at the thought. He did not want to deal with anymore bullies.

Ever.

Just then, he felt his stomach becoming upset. He placed his hands on his abdominal for comfort. He was really unsure of what the future held for him, and he was a bit afraid.

/Something wrong?/ Yami asked as he appeared.

Yugi glanced up towards his darker half. He did not want to address the problem. He wanted to be by himself and think about his options. He was unsure of what the spirit of the Puzzle could do for him. This was Yugi's future, and he knew he needed to handle this problem by himself. He looked back down as he replied, /I… I just want some time alone… If… If you don't mind./

He felt a comforting hand on his shoulders. He glared back up seeing his partner smiling. His eyes filled with his usual confidence.

/I don't mind./ the spirit said boldly. Before vanishing, he reminded gently, /I'll be in the Puzzle until you're ready to talk./

Once alone, Yugi sighed, unsure if he ever would be ready to talk about it. He recalled he usually dealt with problems by taking them without aide from others. Because he did not want to be a burden to his family, he rarely asked for help. He always walked around with a smile. The grin was not a lie since he was truly happy with the way things were. He only wished for a real friend. A part of him worried if he was truly worthy of having loyal companions.

He sighed as he stood up. He told himself if he wanted to be prepared, he must know what he was getting into. He left his room with his school bag and walked to another room. The area contained a computer, a working desk, a lamp, and a bookshelf. The teen turned on the computer and allowed everything to load. He went through his bag and pulled out a flyer with the address for the website he needed to check out.

When the computer was ready, the young adult opened up the Internet and typed in the Domino University's website.

To be continued…

Chao- Yugi is a bright, cheerful character and he certainly has grown (at least throughout the manga) but does he like himself? Chao was glad this idea, and Yugi's fear of losing his friends, was explored in the Death-T manga arch.