Valkyria : Welcome! I never figured we'd get this story out so early! We hope you enjoy this story as much as we enjoy writing it!
Griever : We've also starting the first chapter of Whispering Destiny and hope you take a small peak at it, fans of Final Fantasy.
Valkyria : We have no ownership of Yu-gi-oh! Nor any of the characters.
Griever : Oh we will NOT be bashing Anzu in this story -regardless of the fact that we usually do-. She will be a supportive friend in the first two chapters and then she won't appear again.
Yugi never imagined losing his grandfather at the age of eighteen, after having just graduated from high school. He expected to have his only living relative see him off to college, and to be with him on his wedding day and hopefully see his great-grandchildren.
Staring at the grave before him made the reality of the situation all the more harder to take in. Everyone had left hours ago and it was only him now. His friends and his grandfather's colleagues had given him their condolences, but he could see the pity in their eyes as they did.
Pity was the last thing he wanted at this point.
Yugi slowly kneeled down, ignoring the stinging cold he felt once his knees touched the ground, and he reached forward to slowly trace his grandfather's name. His valiant effort to ignore the tears blurring his vision went unheeded.
"I'm sorry, Grandpa," he choked back a sob before continuing, "that I couldn't do more for you in your time of need. All I could do was stand by you as you died." He pulled his hand away, wiping the tears with the roughness of his leather gloves.
"Yugi. You've been out here too long. You're going to catch a cold," a warm voice scolded gently. Yugi turned found himself staring into Anzu's concerned blue eyes. He smiled weakly.
"You go ahead, Anzu. I'll catch up later, okay?" He withheld the urge to laugh as she gave him her so called "mean face", which was more of a pout more than anything, before she turned and walked away.
Sniffing, mainly because of the cold now, Yugi gave his grandfather's grave one last tearful smile before rising to his feet.
"I'll come again soon, okay, Grandpa? And I'll bring some of your favorite flowers as well."
When he arrived home with Anzu, he found Jouonchi and Honda waiting for him in the living part of the Game Shop, with lots of snacks and a stack of DVD's. Comedies most likely.
Jouonchi coughed and scratched the back of his neck nervously. "We'd figured it'd cheer you up at least a little bit, buddy."
Yugi let a smile pull at his lips. "Thank you, Jou. You guys are staying the night, right?" Hearing enthusiastic replies to his question, Yugi released a loud laugh, oblivious to the smiles that his friends were aiming at each other.
"I'm just going to change into something more comfortable," he told them as he walked to the stairway. "I'll be right back."
Rushing up the stairs, Yugi finally let the smile slide from his face as he walked into his room. He appreciated his friends' efforts to cheer him up, he really did, but he wouldn't let them be pulled down into the sadness he felt and most likely would be feeling for the next couple of weeks or months.
Going into his wardrobe, he pulled out a simple gray t-shirt and khaki pants. It was still early so he wouldn't pull on his pajamas yet, and as he removed his black jacket, shirt and tie, Yugi wondered what he was going to do now. He could keep up the Game Shop in the summer time since he couldn't consider going college now. He couldn't afford to hire someone to watch it -they barely made enough for bills, schooling, clothing and food- while he was in school. Besides, he didn't trust anyone with the well-being of Grandpa's shop.
Selling it wasn't even an option. Yugi checked himself in the mirror pulling his face into the most sincere fake smile he could manage before leaving his room and practically running downstairs and avoiding eye contact with his grandfather's old room.
"Come sit by me, Yugi!" Anzu waved him over to the loveseat she sat on. "The movie's about to start!"
Yugi stepped over Jouonchi, who had taken to lying down on the floor, and finally plopped down next to his taller friend.
Anzu reached over and pulled him closer before wrapping the spare cover around them both. Yugi allowed himself to relax for the first time since he came back home.
"You going to be okay?" she whispered, her gaze on the T.V. screen. Yugi closed his eyes and laid his head on her shoulder.
"Yeah," he whispered back, "I'm going to be okay."
It wasn't until an hour into the movie, when Jouonchi suddenly sat up and stared at him with a serious expression, which surprised Yugi, who was used to seeing a bright smile on [the other's] face.
"Jouonchi..?" he asked cautiously. "Is something the matter? You look serious."
"You shouldn't be asking if I'm okay. It's me who should be asking that, but I do have a question for you. Who was that guy at the funeral?"
Yugi raised an eyebrow. "You're going to have to be a little more specific about which guy because there were a lot of guys at the funeral."
"You know," Honda cut in with a frown. "That guy who looked exactly like you. He was sitting a couple of a couple of feet behind you, staring at you the entire time throughout the service."
"Do you know what his name was?" Yugi asked urgently rising up from his seat and rushing into the kitchen, his friends trailing close behind.
"Um, no," Honda replied hesitantly. "There were so many people I wasn't keep track. That was Jou's job."
Yugi turned from flipping through the condolence notes. "Jou?" he questioned. "What was his name?"
Jouonchi frowned thoughtfully. "His name was Ishigami, I think. Ishigami, Atemu."
"Ishigami, Atemu," Anzu spoke up crossing her arms. "Why does that name sound so familiar..?"
"Is he famous or something?" Honda wondered out loud.
Yugi continued checked the notes, scanning the names as he gently put them in a side pile. He stopped once Atemu's name appeared, then frowning, he checked the list that Jou put aside and pulled away as if it burned him.
"You all right, Yugi?" Honda asked, walking to stand beside him. Honda whistled when he saw the amount under Atemu's name.
"Whoever this Atemu is, he sure put a lot in for the condolence money…one million yen."
Yugi frowned and quickly gathered the letters up, putting them back into the box, and shoving the box into the hallway closet. When he slammed shut the door, Yugi didn't wince at the sound echoing throughout the house.
Who the hell did this Atemu Ishigami think he was?
"Yugi! What's the matter!" Anzu cried out, moving towards him. Yugi took a deep breath to calm his nerves. He didn't need any pity from anyone!
He was fine on his own, wasn't he?
Looking up, he saw Anzu staring down at him with watery blue eyes, so he reached forward and held her slim hands in a gentle grip.
"I'm sorry, but I should've been able to pay for my grandfather's funeral, not this faceless man. He paid half, Anzu, half and the just ran off. That's-"
"Not acceptable to you," Anzu finished quietly, pulling her hands away and laying them on Yugi's shoulders.
"He'll come back," Jou put in softly from behind them. "Got a gut feeling about that. I don't care what anyone says. No one's that generous…"
Yugi let Jouonchi's words sink in. He trusted his friend's so-called gut feelings -mostly because they always turned out right- so he would wait until this Atemu came back. In the meantime, he would watch over Grandpa's shop.
"Why don't we get some sleep?" Anzu suggested gently, cutting into his thoughts. "I'll cook breakfast in the morning and we can go out and you can get some fresh air, Yugi."
Yugi sincerely smiled at them and felt his heart break when they weakly returned it. This wasn't the way it was supposed to be at all.
He wanted his grandfather back.
"Yeah," he finally responded after a lengthy pause. "Let's get some sleep."
But they all knew that none of them would be having a peaceful rest this night…..
Valkyria : Okay, this concludes the first chapter of Caged!
Griever : Concerning the cost of the funeral, we looked it up and the average funeral cost in Japan is 2.3 million yen (50,000 in U.S dollars) so in Atemu's condolence letter was about 1.3 million yen, so he practically paid about half of the funeral costs. But enough about that! We hoped you liked the story.
Valkyria : The next chapter should be out in a couple of days! Review!