In The Beginning
Yugi rubbed his eyes, sitting up in his bed. He yawned loudly, stretching his arms. Rubbing his unruly, tricolor hair, he jumped out of bed. He took of his pajamas, and slipped on a t-shirt. Grabbing his shorts, he quickly tried to put them on, but in his hurry, tripped over them. The small boy hit the floor with a thud. He heard the creak of his bedroom door open, and looked up to see his grandfather.
"Yugi," Sugoroku said, "what happened?"
"I tripped," the five-year-old said sadly.
Sugoroku knelt down and picked up the small child. Yugi pulled up his shorts and buttoned them. "What are you doing up so early?" Sugoroku asked.
The child looked at his grandfather, a wide smile appearing on his face. "Mama and Daddy come home today," he said.
"Yes, but they don't come home until dinnertime."
"I know," Yugi said, "but I thought that if I woke up earlier, then dinnertime would come quicker, and Mama and Daddy would be here sooner."
Sugoroku smiled, shaking his head slightly. His grandson was very smart for someone his age, thinking things through and using logic to figure things out. Yugi loved to play with puzzles and games more than anything, and he loved to do things that were really challenging.
"Well, as long as you're up," Sugoroku said, making his way to the door, "you should come down and eat breakfast when you're ready."
"Okay," Yugi replied. Sugoroku closed the door as Yugi fished around for a pair of socks. Going down the stairs, Sugoroku wondered what to do about his grandson. At his school, Yugi's kindergarten teacher had told him over and over how Yugi didn't play with any of the other kids, and spent his playtime looking at books, or playing with a puzzle.
Entering the counter area, Sugoroku saw a picture frame hanging on the wall. In the picture was Yugi when he was three years old. A man and woman were there also, standing behind the small child. The man had unruly black and crimson hair, his bangs sticking out in shapes of lightning bolts, with blue eyes. The woman had long, blond hair, tied in lose pigtails, her violet eyes full of happiness. That picture was taken once when they had come back for a visit, but they left Yugi with him at his game shop again. They would come back for visits once every two or three months, but they would leave again soon afterwards.
Since he was so young in the picture, Yugi didn't remember his parents ever really being there for him. The first he could remember, his parents were away. When he first really met them, he was kind of afraid of them, but he later learned they didn't mean to harm him. He would look forward to their visits, and was always really anxious as their day of arrival came closer and closer.
But the small child didn't really know his parents. He knew that they were his parents, and that they loved him as much as he loved them, but he didn't know anything about them. And they knew nothing about him, either.
Sugoroku heard footsteps running down the stairs, and the five-year-old quickly dodged in to the kitchen. The old man smiled as his grandson quickly ate his breakfast and, with backpack in hand, ran out the door.
Yugi burst through the door that afternoon when he got home. "Hi, Grandpa!" he greeted excitedly.
"Hello, Yugi," Sugoroku replied. "How was school?"
"Great!" he ran around the counter to his grandfather. "I made this picture today for Mama and Daddy!" he pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to Sugoroku. Taking it, the old man looked at the crayon-colored drawing.
"This is very nice," he said, handing it back to his grandson.
The small child smiled proudly. "When they get home, I'm gonna give it to them!"
"I'm sure they'll like it." The small boy ran upstairs and shut himself in his room. He pulled out a puzzle from his backpack and started putting the pieces together. He loved doing puzzles, especially ones that were tricky and kind of hard. But the puzzles in his classroom were too easy to do, so he brought ones that he had to do while the other kids played. For some reason, he didn't mind not playing with the other children in his class. He liked doing the puzzles he brought by himself, but he was never sure why.
He finished the puzzle rather quickly, then put it away. He wanted something else to do, so he decided to ask his grandfather and see if he had something fun. The small boy ran back downstairs.
"Grandpa!" he called. He saw that Sugoroku was still standing behind the counter.
"What is it, Yugi?" the old man asked.
"I finished that puzzle you gave me. I have nothing to do now."
"You finished that puzzle already?" Sugoroku scratched the back of his head. What could he give the little boy to do now? He had finished other types of puzzles, so what could he give to Yugi now?
Yugi looked up at his grandfather as he was thinking. Then, he looked up at one of the shelves and saw an old box. Looking at it, he could see it had a lot of dust just sitting up there.
He tugged on his grandfather's sleeve. "What's that?" he asked, pointing to the box.
Sugoroku looked up, then grabbed the box from the shelf. "This?" he wondered, presenting it to the little boy.
Yugi took the box from his grandfather. He blew on it, the dust flying into the air.
"'You can see it,'" the young boy read slowly, "'but you haven't seen it.'" He looked up at his grandfather. "What does that mean?" he asked.
"It's a riddle," Sugoroku said. "You have to figure it out."
The child opened the box, discovering small, gold-colored pieces. "It looks like a puzzle," he said.
Sugoroku nodded. "It is a puzzle. It's a little different than the ones you put together, though."
The small child looked at his grandfather excitedly. "Can I have it? Please?"
Sugoroku scratched his head. "Well," the old man said, "I was going to give it to you as a keepsake for when you were older…"
The old man smiled, wondering why he could never say no to his grandson. "I suppose. It might even keep you busy for a while."
The youngster jumped up and down with joy. "Thanks, Grandpa!" he yelled, and ran back upstairs to his room, locking himself inside again. Opening the box again, Yugi looked at the pieces as the glimmered in the light of his room. " 'You can see it, but you haven't seen it.' It must mean something really cool. But what? Maybe if I put the puzzle together, I'll figure it out. But…" he picked up a piece from the box. "…it looks so hard."
He spilled all the pieces of the puzzle on his bed, picking up each piece and examining it. He studied the shapes of each individual piece. This is going to be challenging, the young child thought to himself, smiling. But it should be really fun to do.
Yugi heard a car drive up to the game shop. He went over to the window, peeking down as two people got out of the car. He felt the enthusiasm rush through him as he ran down the stairs. As soon as he got there, the door opened, and a blond-haired woman walked in, her hair in familiar pigtails.
"Mama!" the small child called out. He ran up to her, and she knelt down as he jumped into her arms. She cuddled her son tightly, stroking his hair with her hand.
"My little boy," she whispered in his ear. "You've grown so much since last time." She pulled away from him and he looked into her violet eyes. "How are you, Yugi?" she asked.
"I'm good!" he said, happily. Her warm smiled deepened.
"Glad to hear it," she said.
"Where's Daddy?" Yugi asked.
"Right here," a deep voice said. The small child looked up at the opened door to see his father.
"Daddy!" His father picked up the boy from his mother and embraced him. Yugi wrapped his arms around his father's neck and clung securely.
"Whoa, tiger, easy there," he heard his father say, pulling back. "Any tighter, and I won't be able to breath anymore. That's some grip you got there." Yugi giggled as his father placed him back on the floor, messing his hair.
Yugi watched his father walk up to Sugoroku and embrace him. "Hey Dad," he heard his father say. "Good to see you again."
"Same here, Hiroshi," Sugoroku said. Both pulled back, and Yugi's mother embraced her father-in-law.
"It's been a while," she said.
"Yes it has, Amaya." They both pulled away, and Sugoroku looked at the young child. "Yugi, don't you have something for your parents?"
Yugi gave him a confused look, tilting his head to the side. Then, he remembered what his grandfather was talking about and ran upstairs. Coming back down, he presented the picture to his father, who knelt down and looked at the piece of paper.
"I drew it in kindergarten today," he said proudly. He pointed to each figure, explaining who each person was. "This is you, and that's me, and that's Mama, and Grandpa, and our dog."
"We don't have a dog, Yugi," his father said.
Yugi looked at his father, then back at the picture. Looking at his father again, he said, "Can we get a dog?"
The three adults looked at each other, and then looked at Yugi. Finally, Sugoroku said, "Maybe when you're older, Yugi."
Yugi smiled and nodded. "Okay!" he said.
Sugoroku nodded. "Now, you should wash up before dinner."
The young child nodded and ran up the steps. As soon as the boy was out of hearing range, the old man said, "So, where do you two plan on going afterwards?"
Hiroshi simply shrugged. "I don't know," he said. "We haven't decided yet."
"We were thinking that maybe we'd go to Central or South America," his wife said.
Sugoroku shrugged. "You could," he said. "Or you could try staying here for a while."
They both looked at the old man. "I'm serious," he said. "Yugi would love it if you two would stay."
"I wish we could," Hiroshi said.
"Why can't you?"
"It's a lot better if we travel, away from Yugi," Amaya said.
"What would be a lot better is if you two were actually there for the boy," Sugoroku commented. "He misses you two so much, but he knows nothing about you. And you know just as much about him. I think it would be better if you stayed."
"We can't," Hiroshi said. "Dad, we've been over this before." He combed his fingers through his wild hair. "We can't stay here."
Sugoroku shook his head. "There's no reason why not," he replied stubbornly.
"We just can't," Amaya said.
Upstairs, Yugi sat on the floor near the steps. When the adults didn't say anything else, he quietly got up and left.
After dinner, Yugi helped his mother put the dishes in the sink. He watched her while she rinsed and soaped them, and dried them off when she handed them to him. He tried to do it carefully, so he wouldn't accidentally drop or break them. He felt really proud when they finished and he hadn't dropped one.
Looking at the clock, Yugi noticed it was almost time for bed. "I have to go to sleep soon," he told his mother.
"Well, then, you should get ready," she respond.
The small boy nodded. "First I have to brush my teeth, and then I have to take a bath."
"Would like some help?"
The little boy nodded anxiously. She laughed, holding out her hand. He grabbed it, and the both of them walked upstairs to the bathroom. While the child brushed his teeth, his mother drew the water, adding some bubble solution. Yugi took off his clothing and got into the tub.
Amaya poured shampoo into her hand and rubbed Yugi's head with it. Scooping up some bubbles, she placed them on the boy's nose, causing him to giggle.
Yugi scooped up some bubbles in his hands and blew them in the air, laughing as some landed in his mother's golden hair. She laughed, too, as the small boy pulled out a rubber duck. He squeezed it, and it gave out a high-pitched squeak. He let it float in the water, watching it disappear under the mountain of white bubbles.
"Uh-oh," Amaya said playfully, "where did the duck go?"
"It got lost in a fog," Yugi said, giggling.
"Then we have to find it." The small boy inhaled deeply and blew away most of the bubbles, revealing the yellow duck.
"I found it!" he said.
"Good job, Yugi." She pulled out a brush and rubbed it with some soap. The child leaned forward as she began to scrub his back gently. The small boy looked up at his mother, a wide smile appearing across his face. It felt really nice that his mother was there, and he felt very safe there, and that with his parents home, everything would be all right.
When she finished, Amaya rinsed the child off. As he pulled himself out of the tub, she handed him his towel. The small boy dried his hair, then his body. His mother couldn't help but smile.
He pulled the shirt over his head, and his tricolor hair popped through the hole for his head in his pajama. As he was putting on his pants, Amaya asked her son, "So what have you been up to lately?"
"Nothing much," he said. "Grandpa gave me a new puzzle today."
"Is that all you do all day?"
"Don't you ever play with your friends?"
Yugi looked up at his mother. "I don't have any friends."
"Don't you ever get lonely?"
He thought about it. "Sometimes," he said, "but I'm okay with it."
"But a young boy should have some friends," his mother said. "Real friends, who would never betray you, or that you would never betray, no matter what."
"Betray?" he asked. "How?"
She shook her head. "You'll understand when you're older, Little Yugi." She picked up the small boy and walked into his room, turning on the lights. She noticed a bunch of gold pieces on his bed.
"Is that the puzzle Grandpa gave you?" Amaya asked, setting the boy on the ground. He nodded, walking to his bed and putting the pieces back in the box, placing it on the nightstand next to his bed. He got into bed, and his mother pulled the sheets up to his chin.
"Mama?" the young boy said.
She sat down on his bed next to him. "What is it, Yugi?"
"Why...why can't you and Daddy stay?"
Amaya blinked. "What?"
"I heard you and Daddy talking with Grandpa about it," he said. "You and Daddy said that you could never stay here with me. Why not?"
"Yugi..." Amaya said, searching for the right words.
"Don't you love me?"
She was slightly taken aback by the young boy's question. She leaned forward, kissing her son on his forehead. "Yugi," she said, "it was never a question of not loving you. Your father and I love you very much."
"Then why can't you stay here?"
"We're just afraid, Yugi."
He looked at his mother. "Afraid of what?" he asked.
"We're afraid that we won't be good parents to you, and that we can't take care of you as well as you should be taken care of. We're afraid to hurt you, and we don't want to do that. So we thought it would be better if you were under your grandfather's care, and that we keep our distance from you."
"But," he said, sitting up, "I miss you guys all the time when you're gone. Sometimes in kindergarten, we have things that involve our parents, and I get jealous when all the other people have their parents."
He looked down. "And when you and Daddy are gone for a long time, I get afraid, too."
Amaya tilted her head. "Afraid of what, Yugi?"
"I'm afraid that you and Daddy might forget about me."
Amaya looked at her son, stunned. She pulled him into her body, hugging him tightly. He hugged her back, just as tightly. "We could never forget about you, Yugi," she said soothingly. "You're our only son, and we we'll always love you, no matter what."
Yugi held on to her, feeling safe and warm in her embrace, afraid that if he let go, she would disappear. But she let go, and he lay back down in bed. She kissed his cheek, and walked to the door. "Goodnight, Little Yugi," she said.
"Goodnight, Mama," he responded, rolling on his side as she turned out the light and closed his bedroom door.
Yugi rolled over in bed, before realizing he was very close to falling off of the bed. He grabbed the sheets, but they slipped with him, and he dropped to the floor.
"Ow…" he said, rubbing his head.
"Yugi?" he looked up to see Hitoshi standing at the door way. "What happened here?"
"I kinda fell," he child answered.
Hitoshi knelt by his son. "So I see," he said. He helped the boy as he untangled himself from the sheets. Placing the sheets on the bed, he said to Yugi, "Breakfast is ready."
Yugi smiled. "Okay."
"Wash up, and then come down stairs."
The small boy nodded.
"Do you have school today?
"Daddy, it's Saturday."
Hitoshi looked at his watch. "Well, look at that," he said. "It is Saturday."
Yugi giggled. "You're a little behind, Daddy."
His father shrugged. "So what else is new?" he asked. Yugi giggled some more. Hitoshi kissed his son's forehead, then scooted him to the bathroom.
As the small child was washing up, he couldn't help but think about what his mother had said to him last night. "We're afraid we won't be good parents to you," she had said, "and that we can't take care of you as well as you should be taken care of. We're afraid to hurt you, and we don't want to do that." But why? He wondered. Why couldn't they take care of me? And how would they hurt me, if they loved me like they said they did?
He just couldn't understand why his parents would be afraid to take care of him. What did that matter? How would they know if they could take care of him or not, unless they tried?
The small child pushed these thoughts out of his mind as he walked down the stairs and into the kitchen. His mother was at the stove, cooking, from what he could smell, eggs. His father was reading the paper and eating at the same time. He kind of reminded Yugi of his grandfather when he did that. Speaking of which…
"Where's Grandpa?" Yugi asked as he sat down.
"He went out on an errand," Amaya said, scooping the eggs onto a plate. A piece of toast popped out of the toaster, and she placed that on the plate next to the eggs. She laid the plate in front of Yugi.
"Thanks, Mama," the child said. Grabbing the butter and a knife, he scooped some and spread it on the toast. He took a bite out of it, swinging his legs as he ate.
"It's a nice day today," Hitoshi said, putting down the newspaper. He stabbed pieces of egg with his fork and popped them into his mouth.
"I agree," Amaya remarked. "It's very nice outside."
Yugi took another bite from his toast. They're getting at something, he thought, but what would that be?
"Yugi," Hitoshi said, "why don't we go out today?"
The child looked at his father. "All three of us?" he asked.
"Why not?" Amaya asked.
"Really?" Yugi felt excitement rush through him. He and his parents never did anything like this before. He really wanted to spend time with them.
But he remembered what his mother had told him last night. Did his father know that he knew why they couldn't stay? Or did his mother ever tell him? He wanted to know why they were afraid to take care of him, and why they said they were afraid to hurt him.
"What do you think, Yugi?" Hitoshi asked, snapping the young child out of his thoughts. "The three of us, going out?"
"I don't know," Yugi said hesitantly. "I want to, but…"
"But what, Little Yugi?" his mother asked.
He tried to find the right words. "Mama, I need to ask you something."
"I still don't understand what you said last night."
Hitoshi looked at his wife. "What did you tell him?"
"That you were afraid to take care of me, and that you might hurt me if you tried."
Hitoshi and Amaya looked at each other. "I thought we agreed not to tell him until he was older," Yugi's father said.
"I didn't have a choice," she replied. "He had heard us talking about it, and he needed an answer. My hands were tied."
"You didn't tell him why, did you?"
"No, not yet."
"But that's what I'm asking," Yugi interrupted their conversation. "I want to know why."
They both looked at him. "When you're older," Hitoshi said, "we'll tell you."
"Why can't I know now?" the child asked.
"You're not ready yet," Amaya told him.
Yugi looked down at his plate, then pushed himself away from the table. He went upstairs, locking his bedroom door. Sitting on his bed, he grabbed the puzzle box and dumped all the pieces onto the bed, trying to put it together. You can see it, but you haven't seen it. He read the riddle and tried to understand what it meant, but to no avail. I'll figure it out someday, he thought, just like I'll figure out why Mama and Daddy can't take care of me.
"Is that all the bags?" Hitoshi asked his father.
"I believe that's all of them," Sugoroku said. His son closed the trunk of the car as Amaya stepped out of the Turtle Game Shop.
"I think that's everything," she said. "Where's Yugi?"
"He's upstairs in his room," Sugoroku said.
"Doesn't he know we're leaving now?" Hitoshi asked.
"Of course he does. Maybe that's why he's not down here." Hitoshi and Amaya looked at each other. "Maybe you should go up and see him before you go," the old man suggested. They nodded, and went back inside, heading up for Yugi's room. Opening the door, the found him lying on his stomach on the bed. Amaya sat down next to him, placing her hand on his back.
"Little Yugi," she said softly, "your father and I are leaving now."
"I know," he answered.
"We just came up to say goodbye," Hitoshi said.
"I don't want to say goodbye," the child said sadly. He sat up and looked at them, a glassy layer of tears shown in his eyes. "I want you to stay here, with me and Grandpa."
"We can't, Yugi," Amaya said. "We told you that before."
"But why not?" he cried. "Why can't we be a family?"
"We don't want anything to happen to you because of us," Hitoshi said. "We can't handle that again."
"Again?" the little boy asked. "What do you mean?"
His parents hung their heads, quietly thinking for a minute. Finally, Hitoshi looked at his son. "A few years before you were born," he started, "your mother gave birth to a little girl."
"I had a sister?" Yugi asked.
"Yes," Amaya said, "but not for very long. A few weeks after she was born, she fell sick. Your father and I tried everything we could, but she died."
"We blamed ourselves," Hitoshi continued, "that we didn't take care of her well enough. So when you were born, we were afraid that the same thing might happen again, and we felt it better that you were taken care of by your grandfather, and not by us."
"It has nothing to do with you, Little Yugi," Amaya said, stroking the child's bangs, "we were just afraid of what would happen if you died because of us. We didn't want anything to happen to you, the way it happened with your sister."
"We weren't sure if we could take care of you," Hitoshi added, "after what happened with your sister, and we didn't want to risk it."
"But how could you know how well you take care of me," Yugi asked, "if you've never even tried? My sister died, but that doesn't mean it was because of you, and it doesn't mean that I was going to. You could have tried to take care of me, couldn't you, then left me and wondered if you were ever capable of doing so?"
They both looked at each other, then at their son. Amaya took her son into her arms and embraced him tightly. "We'll be back for another visit," she said.
"And until then," Hitoshi said, "keep working on that puzzle. I tried that one, and I was never able to figure it out."
"But you won't be around when I finish it," he said sadly.
"We'll be here when you put in the last pieces," his mother assured. "We'll be here to see you complete it."
"Really?" the child asked.
"I promise." She kissed him on the forehead, and made room as Hitoshi picked up the little boy and kissed him, too. Then, setting him back on the bed, they walked out of his room.
Yugi didn't follow them, but hopped off his bed and walked to the window gazing down that the car. He saw his parents emerge and enter the vehicle, as his grandfather waved goodbye. Then, it drove away, and the small child watched until it disappeared from his sight.
One month later
Yugi opened the door to the Turtle Game Shop, dragging his backpack along. "Grandpa!" he called. "I'm home!"
"I'm in the back!" he heard his grandfather answer. Yugi shrugged, and walked around the counter, heading for the kitchen. Suddenly, the phone rang, and since his grandfather was busy, Yugi grabbed a stool and got on, reaching for the phone.
He placed the receiver by his ear. "Hello?" he said. "Turtle Game Shop."
"Yugi?" a familiar, female voice said.
"Hi, Little Yugi."
It was definitely his mother. "Mama!" he said excitedly.
"How's my little one?"
"I'm good, Mama."
"I'm glad to hear that."
"Why are you calling?" Yugi wondered. "Is there any news about you or Daddy?"
"Well, actually, yes. Your father and I have some news that might interest you."
"Really? What is it?"
"We've been thinking about what you and your grandfather have told us, and…"
"…we've decided to move back in with you."
"You mean you'll be coming back? And staying?"
"That's the plan."
Yugi squealed in delight. "Really?! Are you serious?! You're staying for good?"
Yugi couldn't contain his excitement. "Yes!"
Sugoroku walked in. "What's going on, Yugi?" he asked. "Who are you talking to?"
Yugi looked at his grandfather. "It's Mama!" he said happily.
"Yugi, could you please let me speak to Grandpa?" Amaya asked.
"Ok." The child handed the receiver to his grandfather and ran upstairs to his room. Shutting himself inside, he felt the energy well up inside. They're really coming home to stay! Yugi thought to himself. They're staying for good!
Yugi skipped as he walked home that afternoon. It had been a week since the phone call from his mother, and his parents were due home any day now. He was so excited. "We're finally gonna be a family," he whispered to himself. "They're gonna stay home with me and Grandpa, and we're gonna be happy."
He wondered when his parents would be home. He couldn't wait to see them again. It had only been a month, but he missed them already, and wanted to see them. He wasn't finished with the puzzle, because it was so hard. He couldn't understand it at all. Maybe Mama and Daddy can help me figure it out when they come home, the child thought to himself.
He reached the Turtle Game Shop and opened the door. "I'm home!" he said, but noticed that his grandfather was on the phone. Yugi walked around the counter and into the kitchen for a snack. Opening the fridge, he searched around and found an apple. The child went to the sink and rinsed the red piece of fruit. He dried his hands on his shirt, and took a bite out of the apple.
He went back into the counter area and watched his grandfather talk on the phone. He looks...upset, the small child thought, taking another bite into the apple. Yugi wasn't really paying attention to what his grandfather was saying, and he walked upstairs to his room.
He pulled out the puzzle, taking another bite into the apple. He quickly finished it and threw the core away. Opening the box, he touched a of the gold puzzle. Suddenly, he felt a cold feeling rush through him, causing him to shudder. He pulled his hand away. What was that? Yugi wondered. That felt...weird. I can't describe it. It was as if... The small boy shook his head, trying to ignore whatever it was. But for some reason, he didn't want to do the puzzle anymore, so he closed the box and put it away.
The small child went back downstairs, and saw his grandfather put the receiver back in its cradle. He rubbed his temples, shaking his head. Yugi couldn't help but notice the expression on Sugoroku's face.
"Grandpa?" the boy said. "What's wrong?"
Sugoroku looked at him, then looked away. He sighed, then bent down to look at the boy at an eye-to-eye level. "Yugi..." he began, trying to find the right words to say.
"What is it, Grandpa?"
"There was an...accident...at the airport," he explained, "and...many people..."
"Yes. So many people died there today. And..."
Sugoroku closed his eyes, as if the very words he needed to say took every bit of strength out of him. "...And among those who died...were your parents."
Yugi shook his head in disbelief. "No," he said. "They can't be dead."
"I'm sorry, Yugi. They tried to help them, but there was nothing they could do."
"Mama and Daddy were supposed to come here and live with us."
"They were on their way here, Yugi, but something happened on the plane, and the died."
The child felt tears well up in his eyes. "It's not fair!" he cried. "They were supposed to come and live here! We were gonna be a family!"
"I'm sorry, Yugi."
Yugi embraced his grandfather tightly, crying into his chest. Sugoroku held the trembling child. He let the tears flow freely, not trying to hold them back. He didn't know what to do now. His parents were gone, they could never come back. They could never be a family.
Yugi lay on his side, his knees drawn up to his chest. The bed sagged under his weight. The child felt the tears well up in his eyes again, as he thought about his parents. It's not fair, he thought. They were on their way here! They were coming. Why did they have to die?
He wiped the tears away with his hand, sitting up. Sniffling a bit, he looked at the box with the puzzle pieces inside. "We'll be here when you put in the last pieces," his mother had said. "We'll be here to see you complete it." She promised, he thought. She promised that they would be here when I finished this puzzle. But they're gone now. What's the point?
He grabbed the box from his nightstand. Hopping out of bed, he went to the open window and was about to toss the box as far as he could.
Little Yugi. The voice in his head caused him to stop. He looked around. "Who's that?" he called.
Little Yugi. the female voice called again. Only one person calls me that, Yugi realized.
"Mama?" he called.
Little Yugi, what are you doing?
Why were you about to throw that away? another voice, a male voice, asked.
"Daddy?" he asked. "I don't know."
Don't you want to finish it? See what it's like? Hitoshi asked.
"Why bother?" the child asked angrily. "You said you would be here when I was going to finish it, but your gone now. What's the point?"
Little Yugi. his mother said. Even if she was gone, Yugi found comfort every time his mother called him that. It's true we're not able to sit beside you, but we'll always be with you.
We're not here physically, his father continued, and you can't see us, but we'll never leave you if you always remember us.
"But we hardly ever spent any time together."
And that's entirely our fault, Little Yugi. Our fear of hurting you kept us from spending time with you, and now we feel so much regret for it.
But even if we're not there with you, we'll be waiting to see the day for when you finish that puzzle.
"You'll always be watching me? Waiting for me to finish?"
Always, Amaya said. I promise. And this will be one promise we can keep.
"But, what am I going to do without you?" the child wondered. "I'll be so lonely, even with Grandpa."
That's what friends are for, Hitoshi said.
True friends, who would never betray you, and that you would never betray, no matter what happens, Amaya said. You can always count on those kind of friends, and you'll never be lonely with them around.
"Friends?" Yugi asked. "That's what friends are for?"
Of course, Yugi.
Little Yugi, we'll be with you always, and we will watch you, waiting for when you finish your puzzle. Suddenly, everything was silent in his room. But Yugi felt a comforting presence there. Looking at the box in his hand, he withdrew it and closed the window. He sat down at his desk, opening the box, and began to work on the puzzle.
8 years later
Anzu laid on Yugi's bed as her friend continued to work on the puzzle he had shown her earlier that day in school. Anzu and Yugi were childhood friends, meeting when they were in second grade. As Yugi was ascending into first grade, his teacher noticed that he was advanced for that grade level, and transferred him to the second grade, where he and Anzu met for the first time.
They were both freshmen in high school, even if Yugi was younger than most of the kids in his class. As he had done when he was younger, he liked to keep to himself and figure puzzles out than hang out with the other kids. But this time, he had Anzu hovering around every once in a while.
"Hey, Yugi," she called.
"Yeah?" he replied.
"What are you planning to do about Jounouchi and Honda?"
He turned around to look at her. "Why do you bring that up?" he wondered.
"I was just thinking about it, and you shouldn't let them pick on you like that. They don't have any right to do that."
The young boy shrugged. "I don't think too much about it."
She sat up. "How can you say that? They stole that puzzle from you, and you're not going to do anything about it?"
"No," he replied bluntly, before returning to his puzzle. She sighed, lying back on the bed.
"I give up," she said, looking on the ceiling. Every once in a while, she heard a clink sound from Yugi as he continued to try to put together the puzzle. Suddenly, she said, "Yugi?"
"Yeah?" he asked again.
"Why do you want to put that puzzle together so bad? I mean, you heard your grandfather. That thing has dark magic and powers and stuff. I know you think that it would grant your wish if you put it together, and I understand that you want some secret wish to be fulfilled, but is there any other reason?"
Anzu heard Yugi drop a piece of the puzzle, and it landed on the table with a clatter as it hit some of the other pieces. He turned around to look at her.
"Now that you mention it," he said, "I haven't thought about it for a long time." He walked over to his nightstand, and opened a drawer. Digging around, he pulled out a piece of paper and sat next to Anzu, handing it to her. She looked at it, and saw a man, black and red hair, bangs sticking out like bolts of lightning, with blue eyes. A woman with long, blond hair, tied in lose pigtails, and violet eyes, and a small boy, blond strands of lightning, his unruly hair sticking in black and crimson points, and violet eyes.
Anzu recognized Yugi in the picture, even if he was so small. "Are these your parents?" she asked.
"Yeah. They died eight years ago."
"Really? I'm sorry."
"I never really knew them, because they were always traveling a lot, but they came for a visit every once in a while. I found out they stayed away because a sister of mine, that had been born years before me, died, and they blamed themselves, and they were afraid that the same thing would happen to me. But later on, they said they were coming back for to live with me and my grandfather. But they died before they ever got here."
Yugi wiped a tear away. "A month before that, when they were leaving again, my mother promised that she and my father would be here when I was going to finish the puzzle, and they would be back by the time I was going to put the last piece in the puzzle."
"So why do you keep continuing the puzzle? Your wish doesn't have to do with them, does it?"
"No. My wish isn't to bring them back to life, if that's what you mean. But the day the day I heard about their death, I swear that..."
He shook his head, lauging at himself. "You're going to think I'm really stupid," he said.
Anzu shook her head. "I won't," she assured. "I promise I won't. Tell me, what happened that day?"
The small boy sighed. "It's sounds strange, but that day, I swear they talked to me, and they said that they would be watching me always, waiting for the day I would finish the puzzle.
"I know they're still watching, and they're still waiting for me to complete it. Plus, my wish has something to do with what they said to me that day."
"But you won't tell me what the wish is, right?" she asked.
He shook his head again. "No, that will remain my secret."
True friends, he thought. Friends that would never betray me, or that I would never betray, no matter what. People I can always count on, forever. Mother and Father said that I should have friends like that, and with the puzzle, I might be able to.