This was originally planned to be a one-shot, but it would've been way to long, so I broke it up into chapters. I hope you enjoy! I do not own Yugioh.
Exodus: Meaning, a leaving or great migration.
Based on the song by Evanescence.
It was October. The red and yellow and brown leaves that had fallen to the earth crunched underneath his feet as he ran to the only sanctuary he had known as a child: Home. Or, it was the closest thing to home that he knew. They had done it again. They had made him feel stupid, pathetic, and worthless; they made him feel like a child, they made him feel weak. And they had done all that in just one day. Hot tears ran down his face, soaking his cheeks as he ran away from his tormentors, clutching tightly to the straps of his backpack. People were giving him strange looks as they stared at the crying teenager. They always stared. Why wouldn't they? He was sixteen, but had the stature of someone six years younger. His hair was even odder than his height. It stood up and pointed out, like a star, and was colored black, yellow, and red. It always made him the center of attention.
But he didn't care whether they were staring at him because he was crying, or whether it was his hair, or of his height. The point was they were staring, and he hated it when they stared. It made him uncomfortable. It made him feel small. It made him feel as though nothing was in his control. And his tormentors knew that. It was why they always made other people stare.
He stopped outside a building with large red letters on the outside labeled Game Shop. It was his home, his sanctuary. He waited outside the door for a few minutes to compose himself. He couldn't let his Grandfather see him like this. His Grandfather didn't need to be burdened with his problems. He never bothered his Grandfather with his trouble with the bullies at school. It wasn't his problem, and Yugi needed to fight his own battles. Once he had stopped the tears from falling and was able to speak clearly, he pushed opened the door and the little bell chimed.
"Yugi?" A voice called from the back storage room. "Is that you?"
"Yeah, Grandpa." Yugi said dully walking over to the door to help out his Grandfather. He pushed opened the door and saw Grandpa going through boxes, making stakes of Duel Monster booster packs. The small, aluminum packs were stacked neatly, sorted into separate piles of whatever monster was on the cover. There was a Kuriboh pack, a Mystic Elf pack, and a Dark Magician, which called beckoned Yugi. He bent down and gently picked it up. He caressed the face of the Dark Magician. Yugi always wanted one. He had searched through at least one hundred booster packs, but none of them ever held the Dark Magician as the packing would advertise. Yugi had never owned one, but it was already his favorite card and he couldn't wait until the one day when he peeled over the wrapper and saw the Dark Magician staring back at him.
His Grandfather saw the way his grandson looked at the pack. He knew of Yugi's love for the game of Duel Monsters, and he knew how hard he had been trying over these last few years to create the perfect deck. "Yugi," he began, "this is our new shipment. Who knows what kinds of cards might be in them? How about instead of an allowance this week, I let you pick out a few of these packs?"
Normally, Yugi would have agreed without hesitation to his Grandfather's proposal. He only got his hands on a few packs each year, mostly because his tormentors at school always had a way of getting their hands on his allowance. His Grandfather had never offered this kind of exchange before. Yugi wanted to say yes, but after what happened today, he felt that he would need the money more than he would need the cards.
"Actually, Grandpa," Yugi said, avoiding his Grandfather's gaze. "I kind of need the money right now. For school." He quickly threw in at the end, to avoid any suspicion. He already had a plan in mind of what he was going to do. He had thought it a thousand times, but this time was for real. He wasn't playing any more games. He was going to do it.
"That's not a problem, Yugi. Just grab it out of the cash register."
"Thank you, Grandpa. I have homework I need to do." He lied. He wasn't going to be doing any more homework for a while. Maybe not ever again, if things went his way.
"Alright, just come down in time for supper."
Yugi nodded and turned around, letting the booster pack of Duel Monsters fall from his hands onto the ground. He left the room without a second thought and went up to the counter where the cash register was. He imputed the correct combination and the drawer popped open with a small ding. Yugi reached for the ten dollars he was given each week, and found himself staring at the rest of the money. It wasn't much. Maybe fifty bucks. Yugi sighed. The Game Shop hadn't been doing too well finincally ever since videogames were becoming more popular. Board and card games were now becoming digitalized, no one needed the board games, or the actual cards anymore. Yugi felt extremely guiltly as he stared at the few dollar bills in his Grandfather's cash register. It wasn't fair; his Grandfather worked so hard, but in the end he ended spending the majority of the money he had earned on Yugi.
Yugi pocketed his allowance. He felt bad about taking it, but he needed it right now. It wouldn't matter anyways. Over the next few weeks, his Grandfather would earn some more money and could spend it on what he wanted. Feeling tears starting to sting at the corners of eyes again, Yugi ran up the stairs and into his room where he slammed the door shut. He feel onto his bed and cried for what he was about to do. He didn't know why though. The only person who would miss him would be his Grandfather, but Yugi was sure he would soon get over it. After all, not even his own parents wanted him. Which is why he had to do this.
-Earlier that Day-
It was recess and everyone was outside on the playground. The boys were in a game of basketball and the girls were sitting underneath the oak trees, gossiping and applying make-up. The entire student body was out there.
Except for one boy.
Yugi Motou, the social outcast, the school scapegoat. He sat at his desk, with his head hanging down. His hands were working gingerly on a puzzle. The pieces were 3-D and made out of solid gold. It was why he only worked on it when nobody else was around. He didn't want anyone to steal it. The Millennium Puzzle. It was an artifact from Egypt his Grandfather had given him eight years ago. He spent every day on it, but had only gotten a small amount done over the last couple of years. He had no idea what shape it was, and the pieces had many crevices and could fit in several different ways. But, he had not given up on it, even though he was sure now he would never finish it. He loved puzzles because you could do them by yourself, which is where Yugi was most of the time.
He hadn't any friends. Maybe it was because he was short. Maybe it was because of his odd hair. Maybe it was because of his adoration of games. He didn't know why his peers hated him. He didn't know why he was constantly bullied, why people poured their leftover milk in his hair at lunch, why the tripped him in the halls, or why they shoved him into lockers. He didn't know why the stole his books and locked them in the lockers way above his head, laughing at him as he did his very best to jump up and get them out. He had no idea why anyone did any of the things he went through. But they just did, and that was what Yugi had come to face every day. Yugi wouldn't tell anyone. He didn't want to worry his Grandfather, and he had learned a long time ago that it does no good to tell the teachers.
Click. His heart raced as the two pieces slide together, perfectly in place. It was the first big step he had taken in completing this puzzle in months. Yugi was so engrossed in trying to find another piece to fit in that he didn't hear the footsteps coming towards him. He didn't know that another presence was in the room until the large hand swept down and stole the box where he kept all the puzzle pieces. Yugi gasped and looked up to see who had taken his puzzle box. He gulped when he saw who it was.
Joseph 'Joey' Wheeler. The biggest bully Yugi had to face at school. The blonde looked down at the puzzle box he had picked up with a scrutinizing look. His bottom lip puckered out and one of his eyebrows was pressed down. It made look incredibly stupid, but Yugi knew better than to comment on it.
"Joey!" He cried, jumping down from his seat. "Give it back!"
Joey seemed to ignore the smaller teen's cries and when Yugi ran closer to him he put out his free hand and placed it against Yugi's forehead, pushing him backwards while he struggled to get closer.
"Yo, Yugi," he began, not bothering to make any eye contact with his victim, "don't you ever get tired of just sitting here each day, playing with these stupid toys?"
"Joey!" Yugi had given up on fighting. Joey's hand was still pushing on his forehead, and there was no way Yugi could break free of his grip. "Please, give it back."
"Why should I? I mean, all you do every day is sit here working on this stupid thing. Why is it so important to you?"
"My Grandpa gave that to me. Please, it means a lot to me."
Joey didn't try to suppress a snicker. "Oh, I'm so sorry. I didn't realize your Grandpa have given it to you! That makes so much sense!" He pushed Yugi to the ground and quickly took a piece of the puzzle out of the box. Yugi saw it and rushed to his feet.
"Please, Joey. I need that!"
"What you need, Little Yugi, is to be taught a life lesson." He placed the box back down on the desk, but kept the one he had taken in his palm. He turned around and started to walk off with it. Yugi's eyes widened in panic when he saw Joey walk towards the window.
"No!" He screamed and ran as fast as he could to catch up with Joey. He got there just as Joey had opened the window which was right above the waters that surrounded the school. From the outside, the water was barricaded by a large fence. If Joey threw it out the window, there was no way Yugi could get it back.
"Joey, please don't!"
The blonde turned back to face Yugi. The look in his eyes was awful. It was almost…demonic. He smiled, revealing his teeth. "I'm doing this for your own good, Yugi."
Everything seemed to be in slow-motion. Yugi watched, frozen, as Joey's wrist was pulled back and then thrown forward, a small glint of gold sparkled in the sun. Yugi could hear the small plop sound as the puzzle piece hit the water.
"No." Yugi whispered, falling to his knees. The tears came. Now he could never complete the puzzle! All those years, those countless nights he stayed up just to get some of it done, wasted! Done the drain! The sentimental value of the gift his Grandfather had given him was destroyed.
"Stop crying." Joey snapped, no sympathy in his voice. "Now you can spend recess with the big boys."
Yugi didn't say anything. He whimpered and let his tears hit the ground. Joey became angered by the boy's silence.
"Motou! I said stop crying!" His fist came in contact with Yugi's stomach, and the blow sent Yugi onto his back. Yugi let out a sharp gasp of pain. From down the hall he could hear the voices of other people coming in earlier from recess.
"Hey, look guys!" He heard one voice call. "Wheeler's beating the shit out of Yugi!"
Before he knew it, a crowd had gathered around him, laughing and pointing as another one of Joey's fist hit him right in the gut. He pulled his knees to his chest protectively.
"C'mon, Motou!" Joey shouted, the frustration in his voice was evident. "Fight back! Be a man!"
The crowd that had gathered cheered. They were stomping their feet. Yugi's ears were on the ground and he could hear and feel the vibrations of them stomping. It echoed inside his mind. They were clapping their hands too, chanting: Be a man! Be a man! Be a man!
He was beyond humiliated. He didn't know what to feel. He just let the tears fall.
"Look guys!" Joey called out in a mocking way. "He's still crying. I think we should teach him how real men act!"
They cheered and whistled again.
"Who wants a shot at him?"
The crowd cheered and applauded. They whistled at the idea to have a shot of beating on the worthless school scapegoat. Yugi was sure they were going to beat him into oblivion, but one student called out, "Shit! Recess is over. Teachers are coming!"
The group ran off, each person going into their respective classrooms. Joey picked Yugi up by the back of his shirt and placed him limply onto his feet. Yugi hung his head so that his hair drooped down and covered his eyes.
"You disgust me." Joey spat. "You had your chance to act to like a man back there and you did nothing! Why didn't you stand up? Why didn't you punch me in the face, or kick me? Why did you just let me beat you?"
"V-violence doesn't s-solve anything." Yugi stuttered, taking short, shallow breaths.
Joey scoffed. "Is that really the answer you're going to give me? That clichéd piece of horse shit everyone's been feeding us since elementary school?"
Yugi nodded, still keeping his eyes covered. He was already ashamed, and his stomach hurt from where Joey had punched him. It was going to bruise, Yugi knew that. He knew the feeling of skin turning purple. At least it was on his torso, where it could be easily covered.
"I can't believe you. You should just leave now, never come back. Nobody likes you, nobody wants you. Just, go away Yugi. Leave and never come back." Joey turned on his heels walked away, leaving Yugi by himself. The words Joey had just begun to sink it. The bell rang, indicating that the next period was starting. Yugi was in pain, not just from his stomach but from the words Joey had just thrown at him. He didn't want to be late to History, though, so he found the strength to scoot forward towards his next classroom on his feet.
Yugi had shed his shirt and was now staring at himself in the full length mirror he kept braced against the wall of his room. There was a large, hand shaped bruise that covered the bottom of his chest down to the middle of his stomach. He poked at it and winced. It was tender and sore. He looked over at the backpack laying on his bed. It wasn't the one he took to school; that one was worn down and too small for what he would need it to do. He had bought this one a long time ago, but never used it. He felt to attached to the beige one. This one was black and many pockets. Inside it were clothes, an extra pair of shoes, and about fifty bucks; all the money he had saved up over the last few weeks. He had the note he was going to leave for his Grandfather already written out. He felt awful about bailing before dinner, but he felt this is what he had to do. If he had to see his Grandfather's face, he may not be able to go through with it.
There was a knock on his door, and Yugi panicked. He shoved the bag under his bed and ran over to his desk where he pulled out a crumpled sheet of paper and pretended to write on it. "Yeah?" He said, panting.
"Yugi?" His Grandfather called. Yugi felt his whole body tense. His Grandfather had no idea what was about to go on, what his grandson was thinking. What he had been thinking. What he was about to go through with. "Dinner's ready. I ordered a pizza."
'Damn!' Yugi thought. There was no way he could bail out now. He would have to wait until after dinner, which means he would have to face his Grandfather and talk with him, which is what Yugi wanted to avoid because if he had to look into his old man's eyes he was sure he wouldn't be able to go through with his plan.
He had to do this. He couldn't go back there. Back where everyone made fun of him, where they teased him and beat him up and threw his possessions into the water, and where no one thought of him as having feelings. Where they placed bets on who could beat him up the most in the shortest amount of time, or on how long it took until he started to cry, or how they circled around him, wanting him to fight back, angry at him for lying there and taking it.
Be a man! Be a man! Be a man!
He couldn't go back to that hell. But, he couldn't avoid his Grandfather now. "I'll be down in a minute, Grandpa." He called out, and at the thought of food his stomach rumbled. Yugi gripped it, realizing he hadn't eaten anything since this morning because someone had stolen his lunch money.
"Alright, I'll meet you downstairs in the kitchen." Yugi listened for the sound of Grandfather's footsteps getting quieter as he walked away. Sighing Yugi turned around and realized he was still not wearing a shirt. He slipped his white tee shirt back on and covered up with his blue blazer. He looked at himself in the mirror. He didn't know why, but he had a hard time taking his eyes away. His stomach rumbled again and Yugi turned around and exited his room, heading downstairs to have dinner.
Night had fallen over Domino. Yugi was eager to get a move on. Dinner with his Grandfather had been awkward for him. His Grandfather had no idea, and Yugi felt awful for leaving, but he just couldn't go back to that school, and he couldn't bother his Grandfather with his problems. But, in another sense, he was just giving everybody else exactly what they wanted. Nobody but his Grandfather wanted him. Everyone else, the kids at school, the teachers, random people. None of them cared about him, or thought anything of him.
Just go away, Yugi. Leave and never come back.
The words of Joey Wheeler echoed inside his head, repeating constantly. Leave and never come back. Never come back. If all went well, Yugi would never have to come back.
He was waiting by his desk, watching the night sky. His black backpack was sitting comfortably on his shoulders. He sighed and reviewed the note he had written to Grandpa, the only family he had known for years. He felt tears prick at his eyes as he re-read it. He just knew it would tear up his Grandfather, but Yugi felt like he had no other choice. He had to do it now. Each second he was still in his home was too much. He climbed over his desk and opened the window. He couldn't go out the front door because of the store bell. It could wake up Grandpa.
Yugi carefully crawled out the window being careful with his footing. He felt the rawness of the shingles pull at his skin, but Yugi managed to crawl over to the large tree just to the right of his window. He pulled at the thick, sturdy branch, and crawled on that. It was a large tree and had no problem carrying his weight. He slowly maneuvered over the branch to the trunk of the tree which he gripped with his arms, wrapping them around the circumference. He slide down and once his feet touched the cool concrete, he breathed a sigh of relief. Pulling at the straps on his backpack, Yugi walked down the street, to the nearest bus stop. It was ten at night, his Grandfather was now asleep, most of the shops in town were closed, but the buses would still be running for another hour.
Yugi found one and sat down at the bench by himself. His stomach was sore and he was tired.
'I'll lay down. Just for a minute.' Yugi thought as he turned onto his side and closed his eyes.
It was the roaring of the bus engine that woke him up. He shot up, his vision blurry. It took him a second to remember what he was doing out here, but once he recollected, he jumped to his feet and boarded the bus. It was completely empty except for the bus driver who was eyeing him suspiciously. Yugi dug through his pockets and pulled out the loose change he had collected over the past few hours and used it to pay the bus fare.
"Ain't it a little late for you to be riding the bus, kid?" He asked.
"Yes, it is." Yugi admitted. "But, there is somewhere I need to be."
"And where might that be?"
Yugi sighed. "What's the farthest you can take me?"
The bus driver groaned and rubbed his eyes. "My bus don't go any farther than city limits. But, that'll get you to the Tokyo city line. That's as far as I go."