Chapter One: Goodbye
Written by Pixiedust291
Illustrated by Rutilus-penna
His entire world was crumbling right before his eyes. His body trembled "No. You… you can not mean…" Tears brimmed his eyes "You can not mean you're actually going!" he practically screamed.
"Yugi I have to. It is my duty." His brother did not look at him but continued to wash the dishes, a sure sign that he wasn't telling him something. "It is an honor to protect my country and my family."
"So you'll die for honor!" Yugi cried. "What about what you said! You promised you would not leave me. That no matter what you would always protect me!"
His brother froze and after a seconds hesitation he resumed washing "You're sixteen now Yugi. Already a man... You don't need me to-"
"Shut up!" He sobbed, bringing his hands to cover his face "You can not do this. You can not leave." He slammed his fist on the table "If you leave you will die! What honor is there in dyeing and leaving me-"
"Yugi I have already given my word to the general. I ship out tomorrow morning. Early."
Yugi stared at Yami's back for several moments in stunned silence. His brother had decided all this without even consulting him? Something was up. Yugi knew it. More then that he could feel it. "You're not telling me something Yami. What is it?"
Yami sighed and turned away from the wash bin as he dried his hands "I'm not keeping anything from you Yugi."
"Then why don't you look me in the eye and say that."
His brother's breathtaking ruby eyes turned and looked straight into his own amethyst ones that were swimming with unshed tears. "Yugi, please don't cry."
"Don't cry?" Yugi coughed "My brother just up and decides to join that band of knights that paraded through here not just a day and a half ago and I'm supposed to be what Yami, ecstatic. Happy maybe..? Happy that I'm losing the only family member I have left! The only…" he cut himself off before he finished that sentence.
"Yugi I don't expect you to be anything. I just…" he looked away, his gaze and tone hardening. "I want you to understand that I need to do this."
"Need..? What need? You always told me when we were growing up how the only thing you wanted to do until the day you died was to make me happy."
"You remember that?" His tone took on a more surprised hilt before it became cold again. Yami laughed "Yugi we were kids."
Yugi's mind snapped. He stepped forward and raised his hand to slap his brother across the face. Yami caught his wrist easily. Yugi resisted with everything he could, teeth gritted in anger. They wrestled for a moment and then fell to the floor. Yami pushed him down and straddled his hips, pinning him in place. Yugi struggled with all his might, even thrusting his body upward to try and get Yami off of him. He screamed his rage and then ultimately gave up. He fell limp and opened his eyes to look up at Yami. His older brother's wine colored gaze looked down at him, full of pity and some other emotion Yugi had never been able to read. He freely let the tears fall from his eyes and streak down his pail cheeks. How many times had he imagined the scene they were in now? His brother pinning him to the floor, straddling him, both of them out of breath, and their lips mere inches from touching... He knew it was wrong. He had been telling himself that since he started puberty. It hadn't changed one damn thing. Yami didn't know of course. How could he? Yugi closed his eyes. Why? Why after everything else was this happened? It was as if the gods had decided to punish him for his secret sinful love. Every dream he had, every fantasy, every time he looked at his brother when his back was turned. All of it had lead up to this heart breaking punishment. His own brother telling him he was leaving to join the war.
"Yugi… Please believe me when I say I have to do this. That there is no other way." Yami's voice sounded almost pleading to his ears. Yugi opened his eyes and moved to lean up, Yami moved away to allow him. He sat on the floor staring at his hands.
"If I begged you not to go..?"
"I have to." Then there was nothing he could do. He lacked the physical strength to stop him. Yugi rose to his feet and began to walk toward his room. "Yugi..? Are you not going to have dinner?"
"No. I'm no longer hungry."
"Yugi… it's my last night. Please eat with me." Yugi stopped and then turned to look over his shoulder. He looked at the man who had taken responsibly and cared for him since their parents had died. The man who had been more than just his brother but also his only and closest friend... Even if he was leaving and unknowingly shattering Yugi's entire world, he was right. He not only owed it to his bother to share his last meal with him, but also he knew himself that he didn't what him walking away to sulk in his room to be the last time he saw Yami. He nodded and came back to the table. The food tasted like ash in his mouth, even though it was his favorite.
That night he had lain awake in his bed, feeling empty and hollow. "There must be something I can do." He kept repeating over and over again in his mind. Anything at all... Why? Why would his brother do this? Three days ago an army approached their village. The general had announced that the country was at war, and that all families who could spare a son where required to give up their eldest boy to join their ranks. Yugi remembered the fear that had gone through him at the words. He had immediately gripped Yami's hand and looked up at him. His brother had given him a comforting smile and whispered "Our family can not afford to lose me. I'm not going anywhere." The words had quelled all fears in Yugi's heart. The next day, while he had been minding the pub while Tea made more mead, Yami had left to go do some shopping. That night he had come back with not only a small amount of food but he had also looked as white as a ghost. When Yugi had asked him what had happened, Yami had brushed him off and had gone straight to bed. On the third day, while he had been delivering old pots to the blacksmith, he had seen Yami talking to the general and then later to Tea. They had seemed to be having a pretty sad discussion. Yugi had hoped Yami was finally confronting Tea about her attraction to him and letting her down gently that it was never going to work. Yugi bit into his lip as new tears threatened to spring to his eyes. They must have been talking about his leaving. How incredibly foolish he was. Yami had known even then and he had not told him. From his window he could see that the morning sun was just begging to rise. Already the rooster was crowing. Yugi gulped and got out of bed. He made his way to the window, brushed off the early morning condensation, and looked out at the dirt and cobblestone streets. A mule drawing a wagon filled with hay passed by. To most people in the village it was another gray and overcast day. Yugi moved away from the window, trying to decide what to do.
Instead of feeling sorry for himself he should do something. Yami wasn't gone yet after all. A though occurred to him. He should make breakfast. Putting his personal feeling aside he tugged his nightgown over his head and began to get dressed. He could make breakfast and at least allow Yami to leave with the last memory of his brother being a happy one. He slipped on his brown tunic and then grabbed his belt. He tugged on his leggings and then grabbed his boots. What should he make? Yami was really fond of biscuits and gravy. Yugi looked out his window again. He just bet Rebecca had some fresh ones coming out of the oven. He quickly tightened his lacings, snuck out of his room and down the street to the town bakery. He went around the building and opened the back door that led into the kitchen.
Rebecca was busily kneading more dough when she noticed Yugi. Her face immediately brightened. The girl's freckled cheeks were smeared with flour "Good morning Yugi!" Yugi smiled back kindly. Rebecca's crush on him was well known throughout the town. At first her feelings had made Yugi a little nervous, so he had tried to not be around her very often. But then over time when she did not confess anything to him or try to touch him romantically, he relaxed on an occasion when she had been particularly nice he had flirted with her. Besides, flirting with her kept up the appearance to Yami that he was not already in love with him.
"Good morning Rebecca. Do you have any biscuits?"
The girl giggled "This is a bakery isn't it?" she jerked her head to the right "Just came out not fifteen minuets ago. Just don't take too many."
Yugi walked over to the counter and after looking at the bakers dozen of biscuits selected the three that were the most golden. He brought them to his nose and inhaled deeply. Their warm, honey scent spoke to his soul. He turned back to the Rebecca "Do you have any bacon left over from the meat pies?"
She stopped kneading and tilted her head as if in thought "I believe so. Not very much though... It'll be in the back in the bowl." Yugi turned toward the back where the wash bin and flour sacks were kept. He only had to look around for a moment before he found a wood bowl with some seared meat inside. Smiling he grabbed a small handful, went back to the kitchen, gave Rebecca a kiss on the cheek as thanks, then left and dashed back down the street. He started a fire and got the meat cooking. He looked around their small kitchen for any spices Yami had lying around. He was rewarded when he found the salt in one of the small cupboards. When the meat got hot enough that it started spurting its fat Yugi added the salt and then poured the contents over the tops of the biscuits. He set them on a plate and then set that in the middle of the table. He knew it wasn't exactly biscuits and gravy, but he didn't have the time to go out and get cream or any of the other things usually needed to make gravy. He supposed this would just have to do.
Yugi looked to the ground. This really was the last time he was ever going to see Yami. It was well known most people who went to war never came back alive. He shook his head. No, there was no guaranty that Yami was going to die. So he should just put that thought out of his mind. Yet, all the same if this was that last time… maybe he should tell Yami how he felt about him? The thought was immediately extinguished as soon as it came. To tell Yami such a thing as he's about to go off to war would just be selfish and it would only make things between them awkward. Composing himself again he went to Yami's room and knocked before opening the door. "Yami! I made your fav…" his voice died when he saw the empty room. He stared for several minutes before he dragged his feet back to the table and sat down. He stifled his tears as he picked up the fork and began eating. After three bites he gave up.
When night fell Yugi made himself a sensible small meal and then feel into bed. It seemed to him that he was slowly dyeing. It was strange; he never knew that a broken heart could lead to death itself. That night his sleep was wrought with disturbing dreams. Visions of death, blood, and disfigured faces chased him. He could hear the agonizing screams of men and women as he ran away from the flames that enveloped his village. He heard a horrendous roar and when he turned out of the darkness two red eyes stared at him with fix fascination. Yugi awoke screaming, drenched in a cold sweat.
The rain, as it did almost every day, was beating down unmercifully upon the village of Quafin. Yet seemingly undaunted by the extreme weather all the inhabitants carried on nonetheless. As they toiled away with their provincial lives, everyone, even the very few women and children, were sopping wet. The horses tied to their stakes, had their heads drooped with their mouths a-gape. Every man's clothes were soaked and clung to their large bodies. Yugi stared at them from the only window in the washroom, and cringed. He hated hairy men they reminded him of bears for some reason. Wiping the back of his hand over his forehead, he turned his attention back to the dirty water his hands were currently submerged in. To his right was an excessive pile of bowls, pots, pans, and utensils. He hated dish duty, but it was better then listening to Tea blather on and on. To keep his mind from wondering what disgusting half eaten of digested food he was touching, he thought about other things; mainly the dream that his mind had been questioning since yesterday evening. The eyes disturbed him. They had seemed so cold like those of a predator, but yet also full of wisdom. Eyes the color of blood, could it have been a demon. There were said to be demons in the forest that separated this country from its neighbor. Everyone in this village had brown eyes, save him, but he was not born here in the village. He did not know where he was born; all Yami had ever told him was that their parents brought them here when he was about five and Yugi was still an infant.
A loud crash sounded and Yugi lifted his head to see a group of men failing to put a wheel back on a wagon. He watched their antics for a moment, specifically watching the one man who was in charge of holding the wagon up while the others put on the wheel. He was a younger man, his arms lean; he obviously did not have the strength to carry out the task. As their success continued to elude them, Yugi found himself wondering why they just didn't put something under the wagon that was a heavy inanimate object. That way the object could keep it steady, rather then the poor young man who was struggling. He contemplated going out there and telling them such, but he only shook his head. They would not listen to him; the men in this town believed women and children to be weak and simple minded; and though Yugi had reached his majority his height and looks still cause his to be considered a child. It made Yugi's blood boil. Finally, a brown scaled lizard around six feet tall came to the aid of the men and had the wheel on in less than a minute, using the idea Yugi had just thought of. Some men exchanged wide smiles with the lizard; others just regarded him with quiet anxiety.
This dusty village was one of only three stops on the long road across the wet Morex valley to the city of Domino. Quafin had two water wells, a small feed and supply store, an inn of sorts, and of course the pub and bakery. It had a few houses as well, but only a few people actually lived here in this barren, brown, sink hole. The majority of the people that came and made the village look so populated, were actually just passing travelers, merchants, or warriors. The true inhabitants of the town were suspicious of all. The ones they particularly feared were demons, which didn't make much sense to Yugi considering the townspeople thought everything that wasn't human was a demon, yet on the same token every time a lizard merchant would come into the center road bringing medicine that didn't work, or clothes that were over priced, they would not say a word. The lizard merchants with their scaled green or brown skin, their sharp pointed teeth, and their shifty golden eyes, made Yugi's skin crawl. If anything should be called a demon they should. He had asked Yami once, when he was younger, why the people did that. Yami merely had responded that people will believe what they want to believe; and it is up to a person themselves to see outside what is told. Yugi didn't really understand what that meant, however, he was sure that it would make sense at some point in his life.
"Yugi!" called Tea from the dining area.
Wiping off his hands and yelling back a "Coming!" he hastily made his way out of the kitchen, rolling his eyes as he wondered what the girl wanted now.
As the sun set, night came swiftly at its heels, the tables filled with the girths of men, however, something struck Yugi as a little odd as he poured a pitcher of beer and surveyed the room. "Tea..? Where is Mr. Mouto?" Mr. Mouto was more commonly known as the town drunk. The man came into the bar every night with his loyal hound dog, had five pints, and then passed out. For him not to be here was very unlike him.
"I don't know; probably home." answered Tea as he struggled with four plates at once.
"Possibly…but he always comes in around this time. And I've never known him to be a minute early or late."
"Don't worry about it Yugi. Maybe he worked too hard in the sun today and is just sleeping it off."
He doubted it. Mr. Mouto had never had a job in his life; but, not wanting to argue, Yugi nodded and headed to the tables to distribute the alcohol. Though his suspicions still were not quite sated... As he set down each drink in front of a man, he tuned his ears into all the conversations around him. Some of the men were talking about their wives, others talked about how heavy their work loads were today and what magic the lizard-merchant's drugs were doing to their various body parts. Yugi filtered through all that he heard, but as he turned to head back to the counter he picked up on a harsh whisper.
"Hey…did you hear about what's going on in Domino."
"Noth, what news do ye' have?" was the drunk slurred reply.
"Word going around is that Shadow, the country just to the east of here, had an uprising. The people didn't like the king see, so they killed him; slit his throat with a hot sword. Now they have a new king and the people of Domino city are now saying that they've seen troops from that kingdom camping near their mountains."
"Ye' saying that the country of Shadow is going to start a war with this onez? They people heres are nothing but human aren't they?"
"That is little concern, all I do know is that I believe a country that was just newly taken over has no business having troops at the base of another countries territory."
"Tis true, I's suppose. However, if Shadow does go to war with here…then other wars must also be on this new king's mind as well."
"It's not our concern; we do not hold lineage to any country, we will simply join with the victor after all bloodshed is final." a chuckle fallowed.
It was two of the lizard merchants that were speaking, of that much Yugi was sure, though he dare not turn around. Yugi retreated to the back to prepare some bread for tomorrow's crowd. As he mixed the ingredients together he processed all the new information he had just overheard. Shadow was indeed this country's southern neighbor. The last thing the merchants said worried him; that more wars were on the new king's mind. If that were true then even if his brother did survive he still would not likely come back for a very long time. If he even came back at all.
He put a towel over the bowl and set it near the stove to rise. Then again maybe there was no war afoot, and the troops at the mountain base were simply guards to keep war from coming to Shadow's new king before he became settled. A soft thud startled Yugi out of is thoughts, and looking outside he saw Mr. Mouto's old hound stumbling around outside in the darkness.
"What the…" Yugi broke off as he grabbed a lantern and a wool wrap before heading outside.
"Will he be alright?" Yugi asked, holding the dogs sagging head in his lap. He had gone into the cool night to retrieve the staggering dog only to have the animal faint the moment he touched it. After struggling to carry the animal into the kitchen it was only then Yugi had seen the several bite wounds on the hounds legs and neck. The old village healer had been immediately called, as well as Mr. Mouto, and the old women had come slowly yet promptly.
"He'll be fine deary; looks like he just got into a struggle with some animal." the women cajoled in an aged and soft voice.
"Some animal..? But there are several bites, surly you can not think it was just one animal that did all this?" Yugi countered as he smoothed the old blanket that he had used to cover the dog.
"Yugi please." said the pub keeper. His name was Joey, and he was a man in his late twenties with bright blonde hair. He had been awoken by all the commotion of Yugi and Tea gathering towels and rags to halt the animals profuse bleeding. "Thank you very much for your time Healer. Please have a safe night." Joey offered as he led the Healer to the door.
Yugi watched them leave and sighed before looking down once again to the limp body that was Mr. Mouto's dog. The shock of it all had made him uneasy, for just the other day the old hound had been fine. The back door creaked open loudly as Tea returned.
"Did you find Mr. Mouto?" Yugi asked
"No…his house was…empty." Tea answered slowly, not gazing up from the floor. She had a bewildered and slightly awe struck expression on her face.
"Empty? What do you mean by empty? Was he out?"
"No. His…His house was a mess Yugi. Chairs, tables, and everything was smashed. It looked like there had been a massive fight. There was…and there was blood; there was blood everywhere. It was on the walls, on the ceiling, even outside the house." Tea's face turned a pail white; "I've never seen so much blood."
Yugi gaped at this "Well were there any signs of life? I mean were there footprints in the blood or anything? Do you think Mr. Mouto may still be alive?"
Tea shook her head. "I'm not sure, we saw…that is to say that some of the men in the town and I saw, what looked to be a blood smear of a boot sole. And we also saw tracks, animals paw prints, they wear huge paws and looked like a …wolf of some sort."
"A wolf, come on, there are no wolves around these parts anymore. Are you sure it was not just the paw print of Mr. Mouto's dog. The dog is in bad shape; perhaps he was trying to aid Mr. Mouto in the fight?"
Tea shook her head again "No Yugi, I don't think Mouto's dog has paws the size of a man's whole hand."
"Neither does a wolf. Besides, you've never even seen a wolf so how do you know it was the paw print of one?" Yugi said pointedly. He set down the hound's head and motioned for Tea to help him. Together they lifted the animal and made a bed for him in the storage closet. Yugi took an extra moment to set the dogs head atop a pillow and cover him with another blanket before closing the door quietly. "We'll have to take care of him until Mr. Mouto can be found." Yugi stated
"Yeah, and also with those stitches the Healer put in it would probably be a good idea for one of us to check on him in the middle of the night." Tea yawned out
"I'll do it, I don't mind-"
"Na, it's alright. I'll get up and check on him. Besides, I have to wake up to start the meat for tomorrows…or today's special anyway." Yugi nodded and glanced around Tea to the doorway where just beyond he could see the many rows of bare tables. In their excitement with the dog they had been force to close the pub early, much to many a man's displeasure. Tea looked to where Yugi's eyes had wandered and placed a hand on his shoulder "Don't worry, they'll all be back and belching tomorrow."
Yugi smiled at her "Goodnight Tea, see you tomorrow morning."
Yugi woke later then he usually did, do to the late hour he had gone to bed, but assumed his normal routine nonetheless. He rose and filled a small bowl with water before taking a rag and dampening his skin as he washed his body, then dressed in the set of clothes he wore every day, and finally descended the loud stairs to the pub below. It greatly startled him, however, to find Mr. Mouto sitting at the bar and sipping a pint of ale tentatively. He sat there with not a wound on him, seemingly none the wiser of the happenings of the night before. "Mr. Mouto! Good morning, it is so good to see you are well." Yugi beamed as he came to stand beside Mr. Mouto's stool. The old man set down his pint and starred at him blankly for a moment, eyes glazed and uncertain. "Mr. Mouto?" Yugi repeated hesitantly.
The old man still stared at him a moment longer before a violent shudder over took him and then he seemed to be perfectly content and cheerful, recognizing Yugi and smiling. "Oh, kiddo, hello... You must forgive me, I do not feel very well today."
"I can imagine, considering the state of your house and dog." Yugi agreed
Mr. Mouto studied him a moment before saying morosely "My dog?"
"Well- Yes." Yugi nodded. For some reason Mr. Mouto's new low tone of voice unnerved him and sent chills up his spine "He's in the back. We've been taking care of him. I'll go check and see if he is better. I'll be right back." he laughed and hastily ran off. He didn't understand, but he had a very sickening feeling that he should not be around Mr. Mouto for very long.
Running into the kitchen he stopped suddenly when he saw Tea was not there and that the storage closet door was open and broken off one hinge. Small droplets of blood smeared the floor and a bag of grain had been overturned. Yugi ran to the closet and peered inside, the blankets had been torn and there looked to be chunks of fur and skin on the floor. Backing away in rising fear he was about to call for help when a loud curse was heard outside and the sound of splashing water. Exiting the kitchen Yugi found Tea kneeling over a barrel of water with nothing but a thin chemise covering her chest, a bloody rag in one hand. Her eyes were tightly shut, she was sweating profusely, and she had a large scratch that started at her shoulder and racked down her back to her hip. That was nothing compared to the deep and bleeding bite mark on her right arm.
"Tea..?" Yugi inquired softly
Tea turned to him, her eyes were bloodshot and dark rimed "Yugi, Hi." she said before turning back to the barrel and dunking her whole head into the cool water, surfacing and shaking it vigorously like a dog.
"Tea what happened…the kitchen…and you?"
"It was that dog! It had been whining ever since it woke up so this morning I got it some food and right as I opened the door this…thing attacked me."
"The dog you mean?"
Yugi jumped at her tone; it was not like Tea to become upset. In his whole life knowing her Yugi had never seen the girl not smiling or making jokes. "Alright, I'm sorry, I didn't understand. I only thought it was the dog because you originally blamed the dog in the beginning and now you're saying it was not-"
"Do you want to know or not?" Tea hissed as she submerged her arm into the barrel. Yugi fell silent, but not out of fear, more out of the fact that he didn't know what Tea was capable of when she was angry, so it only seemed logical to tread softly. "As I was saying, this thing attacked me. It was not the dog, I know it was not because it had these…gold eyes and, and this thing attacked so quickly and sank its teeth into my arm and-" she grabbed her head suddenly and swayed slightly as she lost her footing for a moment. Yugi rushed to her and secured his arms around her torso. On contact with her skin Yugi could feel the intense heat of her body, and her labored breathing.
"Tea you are not well! Please lie down and let me get the Healer-"
Tea shook her head vigorously "No, I'm fine now. It's ok." She steadied himself by grasping one hand on the side of the barrel, but she did not push Yugi away. "The thing-" she began softly "It did something to me. The moment it bit me my body felt as if on fire and, I got a glimpse of it in the morning sun and it was, it looked like something that was already…dead."
"Dead..?" Yugi repeated, Tea nodded and then opened her bloodshot eyes to Yugi's face and for a moment her smile returned.
"Hey Yugi, do you think Yami had a crush on Rebecca when we were younger? I remember that he almost used to go in there every day and bring you some kind of pastry." she laughed hoarsely
Thinking her completely mad, Yugi assisted her back into the pub where he helped her up the back way to her room. After laying her comfortably in her bed he informed Joey of Tea's condition and then hailed a man on a horse outside the pub to retrieve the Healer as quickly as possible. He returned to Tea's room where he sat at her bedside. Her breathing was labored and she held Yugi's hand tightly. He sighed as he looked at her contorted face. It ate at him to see her in such pain, even if he did find her annoying, and he could do nothing to help.
Both of them, the Healer and Joey, stayed at Tea's bed side. Every once in a while they would call out into the hall for Yugi to bring something. Yugi had abstained from also occupying the small room for the simple fact that there was no room, and someone had to watch the pub. They could not afford to lose a days pay again. After seeing to it that the arriving customers to the pub were sated Yugi then turned his attention back to Mr. Mouto; he could not very well leave the man in the dark about his dog. "Mr. Mouto, sir." he said hesitantly. He man turned his head slowly in Yugi's direction and with a look of dull concern on his face. "Sir, It's about your dog…He's gone and maybe, from what I've heard, dead."
Mr. Mouto stared at him for a moment before returning to his drink "So?" he burped.
"So? Sir your dog, he may be dead?"
"I heard you boy. What concern of it is mine, it was just a dog."
Yugi stopped himself from gasping, and as he walked away the chill in his spine grew. He didn't know what exactly was going on, with Tea being attacked and blubbering nonsense about golden eyed beasts that looked dead but were alive, and Mr. Mouto's dog being there last night yet not this morning, he didn't know what to think. There is only one thing he did know though; that man at the bar, he was most assuredly not Mr. Mouto.
A/N: Hahahaha! It lives! The first chapter to my new fantasy mobiumshipping fic is up! I'm not going to hold anything back with this fanfic. I'm seriously going to just let my imagination flow. I'm going to try and incorporate fantasy, erotica, horror, romance, action & adventure, and any other genera a want to add. So let's just see what we get, shall we? *wink* those of you who have read my stories before know how imaginative I can be.
IMPORTANT! – This fanfic will have fanart! Here is the link to the artists deviantart page so that you may view her gallery and find any and all the pictures that she will do for this fanfic, as well as the ones she has already completed for a few of my other fanfics. I do warn you though; you may need a tissue box before looking at her art because you just might die from epic nosebleed and fan girl squeeing.
( rutilus-penna. dev iant ta rt.c om ) without spaces, naturally.