Ah, it looks like AoM will be finished before the rest. Oh well, welcome to the final chapter.
~ o ~ O ~ o ~
Yugi awoke to the sounds of someone breathing softly in his ear, strong arms holding him tightly as the person behind him slept on. He blinked a couple of times as he took in his surroundings. The last thing he remembered was seeing those eyes. He shuddered and the arms that were holding him tightened.
"Are you alright Aibou?" Atemu asked sleepily.
"I'm fine Yami." Yugi replied with a yawn.
It took the smaller teen a couple of minutes to realize where he was, since he wasn't in his own room. They were laying on the fold out couch, wrapped in a warm down comforter. And all around him passed out on the furniture were the rest of his friends.
Marik and Malik had staked out the second fold out couch, Jou and Seto were passed out on the blow up air mattress in the center of the room. Bakura and Ryou were curled up like a couple of cats in one of the larger chairs; Tristan and Serenity were on a pallet by the hallway and Anzu and Duke were occupying the other chair, wrapped up together in a blanket. They must have all decided to stay.
"Is it over?"
Yes little one…it is finished." Atemu replied with a chaste kiss to the teen's forehead. "And I apologize for my behavior. I truly was acting like an ass."
Yugi looked up at his darker half with a sleepy smile. "It's okay Yami. I know you were just looking out for me. Just don't do it again."
With that said the smaller teen gave his darker counterpart a playful punch to the arm. Atemu grinned widely at the action before pulling the boy back into his arms.
"I am suitably chastened…From this moment on I will not seek to bend you to my will."
The two snuggled together on the couch for a few moments, before loud noises from the store room caught their attention. Atemu scrambled from the bed, fearing the worst. That the Yukaza had found out they were responsible for the downfall of one of their members, and they were here seeking retribution.
"ATEMU MOTOU! MARIK ISHTAR! BAKURA…ah damn it! Whatever the hell your name is…get down here now!" The words echoed around the room, waking everyone with same effects as a glass of ice water in their faces.
Bakura, Marik and Atemu stared at each other with wide eyes. Mr. Motou had returned! And he didn't sound very happy. Everyone in the room started to move about, blinking at each other as they attempted to gather their thoughts.
"Boys you have two minutes to get your butts down these stairs before I come up after you!"
At that call the three scrambled out of their beds. Not happy? Scratch that. Downright pissed off was more like it. What the hell had him in such a bad mood? Whatever it was he had found out, they didn't want to make it any worse by having to make him come after them. The old man could be a tyrant when he wanted to be.
Yugi glanced fearfully at his darker half. He recognized his grandfather's voice, but he had not heard that tone in a long time. What had his darkness done to earn that? It was then that the small teen realized that he hadn't seen his grandfather in almost two years. But right now he wasn't sure he wanted to. That tone still frightened him.
"Breathe little one. I shall return in a moment." Atemu shushed him, smoothing the hair back off his forehead before joining the other two as they made their way out to the game shop.
What they found when they made it out into the shop was Solomon pacing back and forth as he muttered obscenities, his wild hair standing on end. Lieren was trying her best to calm the old man, but from the looks he was ignoring whatever she had to say.
Atemu swallowed his pride as the other two stood beside him. "You called?"
Solomon stared hard at the three teens standing before him. "You, you and you! What the hell are you thinking?"
"Now Solomon calm down, this isn't good…" The old man glared in Lieren's direction and she trailed off in the face of his show of anger.
"About what sir?" Bakura questioned respectfully. Atemu shot the white haired thief a questioning glance. Since when was the thief respectful?
"About what?" The old man stopped and stared at the three. "You know damn well what I'm talking about! The mysterious disappearances…one well respected doctor going crazy…a man killing himself, but with signs of breaking and entering!" His voice rose with every sentence. "What the hell is wrong with you? I go on vacation and you use the time to wreak havoc and cause chaos! You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. The three of you know better than to behave like common criminals! I ought to box your ears, each and every one of you!"
"NO! You won't touch them!" Yugi shot between the three startled spirits, holding his arms out as he stood between them and the old man, his teeth bared in a snarl.
Solomon jumped back a foot when he heard his grandson's voice, his heart beating wildly. His jaw sagged as he laid eyes on the longed for sight of his daughter's only child, as the boy glared at him fiercely.
"Grandpa, you don't know what's been going on! You can't punish them for what they did! You can't!" Tears welled up in amethyst eyes and Atemu rushed to the boy's side, cradling him tenderly to his chest. "Th-they did it…for me!"
"I think we need to sit down and discuss this." The former ruler stated calmly as he picked the little one up and made his way out of the shop.
"Y-Yugi…?" Fat tears welled up in Solomon's eyes, as he stood rooted to the spot. "It's…it's really you? You're really here?"
The small teen struggled from his darkness' grasp and Atemu set him on the floor, only to watch as his little one bolted into his grandpa's waiting arms.
"Grandpa!" Yugi sobbed, crushing the old man in his embrace.
"Oh my god! Yugi!" Solomon returned the embrace with equal vehemence before memorizing the boy's cherished face with his hands. "I never thought…I…oh god, it's a miracle!"
The pair collapsed to the ground and the four others in the room ran to their assistance. But they couldn't seem to pry the two apart. Lieren finally backed the others off as the rest of the group wandered into the game shop, finally deeming the area safe enough. They stood by with tears in their eyes as they watched the emotional reunion.
Many long minutes later the group adjourned to the living room, finding it quite tidy for as many people as had slept there the previous night. Atemu settled onto the couch, Yugi dropping down to sit on his lap and Solomon picking a spot next to him – unable to let go of his grandson's hand for even the shortest time.
Bakura and Ryou curled back up into their chair as the others gathered around to occupy what was left of the furniture.
"How…? Why…?" Was Solomon's only question as he gazed at his youngest family member.
Atemu and the others took turns as they tried to give a full accounting of what had taken place over the past nine months. From the first moment they laid eyes on Yugi to the moment that they entered the doomed mansion. There was much arguing as points of view and opinions differed, and each time the old man put the teens back on track with a well-placed word or look.
By the time the sun was high in the sky, the entire story was out in the open, including the three spirits behavior towards their look alikes for the past three days. Each of them held the look of shame as they glanced at their feet, waiting for judgment to be cast from either the old man or their little ones.
"And they're all gone?" Solomon queried. "You've taken care of all of them?"
"Yes sir. "Marik answered.
The old man sat back with a sigh. "I think the three of you have learned a valuable lesson. I should still box your ears for that…but I think I'll let Yugi, Ryou and Malik decide this matter for themselves. It was them you wronged after all."
The three spirits nodded; their eyes still downcast. It was apparent to all that they had never been reprimanded before, and so didn't know how to take the scolding. Their guilty behavior mystified many of the others.
"Damn…when you guys feel guilty you really feel guilty!" Jou remarked. "Hey Yugi, you could ask for anything right now and Atemu would give it to you just that quick." The blonde snapped his fingers.
Yugi wrapped his arms around his darker half possessively. "Yeah, but I've already forgiven him as long as it doesn't happen again."
Atemu glanced up into those warm amethyst eyes, seeing the look of complete forgiveness. He returned the heartfelt hug with a true smile – the first Solomon had ever seen. "I promise little one."
"Don't get me wrong boys. I approve whole heartedly of you ridding our society of scum like that. But don't lose yourselves in revenge. It only hurts those closest to you." Solomon warned. "I don't want to see you lose what you've worked so hard for. Yugi, I'm so happy right now. I never thought I would see your smiling face again!"
The two embraced again and a cheer went up. The nightmare was finally over. Their little friend was not the same smiling, cheerful boy they would always remember, but in that boy's place stood a young man who was stronger than any of them could ever imagine. And he would be just fine.
"Atemu, I need you to go to the store and pick some munchies and pizza. We're gonna have us a good, old fashioned welcome home party." Solomon gazed over at the former Pharaoh amidst the noise.
"I am forgiven?" Atemu glanced at the old man wide eyed.
"There's nothing to forgive young one. You made a mistake, that's all. And you did so much good, that as long as you remember it, it doesn't matter." The old man replied as he held out the money.
"Thank you. I will remember it well, and I will be a good partner to Yugi." Atemu bowed his head as he took the money.
"I know you will." Solomon patted his head.
Yugi scooted off his darkness' lap and plopped down next to his grandfather where they started a discussion on anything and everything that caught their interest. Soon the others joined in, and that was the scene that Atemu looked back on as he made his way out of the house with a serene smile on his face.
~ o ~ O ~ o ~
It wasn't two days later and the former spirit was dropping his heavy burden in the passenger seat of Mr. Motou's old station wagon, eager to get home to his little one. It had taken him all day to find a gift perfect enough for his Aibou.
"I could kill you right here and now…and no one would say a word." The whispered voice came from right beside his ear as the former spirit sat down in the driver's seat of the car, finally glad to be free of the packages that he had sat in the seat next to him.
Dark shadows began to wind their way around the former ruler's slender body as he questioned the man with the gun to his head. "And why would you wish to do that?"
"My mother's very distraught right now. You killed her sister's favorite son. I've been watching you for the past two days. I know you did it. Truly I couldn't care less; the man was quite a cocksucker. But my mother would disagree." The hammer cocked back with an audible click.
"I would suggest you look again before you think that you have the upper hand." Atemu replied calmly.
There was a stunned shriek as the masked man realized that he was no longer holding a gun, but rather a poisonous asp and he dropped the snake to the floor of the car with a squawk of fright. A quick glance around the interior of the car told him that he was no longer inside of a car, but standing on what seemed to be an endless blackness. And for a moment he wondered how it was he hadn't fallen yet.
"You are the leader of the Yukaza?" Atemu questioned from directly in front of the man.
The masked man nodded hesitantly, still wondering how he had lost the upper hand, and where in the hell he was. Beads of sweat broke out on his covered brow and his hands shook as he gazed back at the unaffected teen.
"Honestly I hate to kill someone without provocation, so it seems we need to come to an accord."
The man licked his lips. "And what agreement would that be?"
"The one where you leave my family and friends alone. Where they are free of your retribution. And I, in turn, will leave you and your organization alone." The former spirit replied with a smirk. "And the next time you set up a house of ill repute, you do it with those willing to sell their bodies. Not young children who have no say in the matter. It is the only allowance I am willing to make."
"Little kids?" The man exclaimed before he could stop himself.
"Yes. Children. Do we have an accord?"
The man thought about it for a minute. It wasn't as if he was going to disagree right now. This kid could have killed him at any time. But he hadn't yet, and was quite content to sit back and let him decide how this confrontation was going to end. It just stunned him to realize what his creepy cousin had been into all this time. Sure he had his own whores and often visited houses like that just for a little bit of fun. But even he had his principles. And this shocked him even more than he let on.
"Okay…I agree to leave you and your friends alone. And you agree to leave us alone as well, am I correct?" The man held his hand out.
Atemu shook the offered hand with a nod. "That is correct."
All of a sudden the suffocating darkness lifted and the man found himself once again in the back seat of the car, his gun lying harmlessly on the floor. Atemu raised an elegant brow as he caught the stunned look in man's eyes.
As soon as he gathered his thoughts, the man said. "Right…so…" And he fled the backseat of the car as fast as his legs could carry him.
Atemu chuckled quietly to himself. His wannabe murderer was rather brave for his first time facing the shadows. Most of his victims pissed themselves when confronted with the gathering darkness. That would be the last time he heard from that group.
The former spirit started the car and drove out of the parking lot. He needed to get home to his Aibou. He had a surprise waiting in the passenger seat that his little one would just adore.
~ o ~ O ~ o ~