Yu-Gi-Oh! Fan Fiction ❯ Echoes of Forgotten Times ❯ Strike One ( Chapter 20 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]
Disclaimer: See the prologue.


Echoes of Forgotten Times
Written by Shukumei no Kagi
Notes: So many riddles and I haven't had enough inspiration to consider them seriously. Though given how sardonic I was being when I got the riddles, some of the answers are less than appropriate. I'd take a guess but I've thought of so many possible answers. However....
Burning-Yami-Rain: About your riddle, it reminds of this song I once heard. I can't remember it exactly but in it, I think the singer was saying that fate or time was the answer. But that doesn't really have much bearing on my thoughts on the matter.
At least I have gotten around to writing Chapter Twenty. After you've read it, please review.
Warning: Yaoi, sorta deathfic

Chapter Twenty ~ Strike One
~
The tone that filled Bakt's voice lingered with the teen after the words had died away. Bakt for a change hadn't sounded quite as cold as he normally did, so that was enough reason for Yugi to wonder about the man's actions. Yugi was more caught on the fact that there had been something he couldn't quite identify in the man's voice, he was without a doubt that there had been. Whatever it was that Yugi'd heard in the man's tone certainly had his attention. The fact that the threat had trailed off too quickly for the teen to tell what emotion had lurked in Bakt's words nagged at him, he at least wanted to know that much.

Mostly since it had chilled Yugi much worse than Bakt's nastiness had. He shivered at the chill which affected him, the sound having made the teen certain that the man was very serious about carrying out the ominous promise.

It was this idea that had him faltering as his bright features looked toward the man, his motion freezing nervously as he just didn't know what to do with the knowledge of having heard something. Yugi had no idea of whether or not that clue might be important when he didn't even know what it had been! Though the teen was sure there were lots of possibilities about what he'd heard, it didn't stop him that he didn't even know where to start. If he tried he didn't see why he wouldn't be able to figure it out. But Bakt didn't give the teen much chance to consider. The man simply stalked forward, dangerously looming over the teen as Yugi's violet eyes were drawn into watching the slow, threatening progress toward him with troubled concern.

Bakt closing in like that held the teen's attention, distracting him from any thoughts but with that threat hanging in the air Yugi was too nervous about what might happen if he looked away from the man even for a moment. Despite his alarm there was a corner of his mind that was still racing for an answer. Yugi was certain that there had to be one.

There has to be! He decided with an inward nod though there was a slight uncertainty questioning that idea. Right? He added for good measure. There wasn't anyone to answer him in his head but it seemed like such a simple thing that Yugi didn't see how there couldn't be an explanation. He really would have liked to know, especially if it might help convince Bakt to be nice. Yet, though he wanted to have an answer, he couldn't think of any at all.

It would have left him confused except that he blinked, more attentive to Bakt stepping closer than he was of his own thoughts. The teen couldn't make any sense of many puzzling things which Bakt did, only the confusion Yugi felt from that didn't have a chance to settle. The thought was fiercely pushed aside in his head for now by the main thing that troubled him, allowing him to pay closer attention to the growing sense of fear that had him tensing under the cover of his feathers. He shifted uneasily, his eyes glistening worriedly at the feeling that he should to do something. It was the "what" that escaped Yugi as he stared with a mere nervousness as he regarded the man, his mind not supplying him with anything but the fact that Bakt looked mean. That worry being even more insistent to him since he could feel the wall already at his back, preventing him from getting any further away.

And he decidedly wanted to go farther than where he was! Yugi didn't feel very safe standing there staring at Bakt approaching with those calculated steps. It was discomforting to him how that looked like he was being stalked. The teen quietly bit at his lip as he was transfixed sheer determination that maybe his vigilance would keep Bakt away. Somehow that thought seemed familiar to the teen.

As focused as he was, he didn't notice another sight creeping into his attention until his mind grasped the realization that he saw nothing but open space from the corner of his eye. Startled by the sudden discovery, the teen blinked in a good bit of surprise without the thought of what that meant for him occurring right away.

Yugi blinked another time as the actual understanding that he could still move somewhere hit him. The teen trembled lightly under the weight of the realization that he didn't have to keep standing there under Bakt's continuing threat. That wasn't of much comfort since he'd still be in the cage. It won't help! The teen thought mournfully, sighing faintly as his eyes drifted past Bakt toward where the cage door stood firmly locked shut making his escape from there not possible.

Merely getting away from the man would have been enough for Yugi.

But I would like to leave too, he corrected, though his thoughts continued along despairingly. I want us all to leave, he finished with a slight hopeful pause. He'd only heard the lock clicking shut, maybe that didn't mean that Bakt had actually locked the door. The teen sort of liked that idea and Yugi's eyes started to trail along the edge of door, searching for any sign that it might be unlocked. He'd barely begun that when his attention was torn from seeking a way out to the white-haired man by a flicker of movement.

Bakt curled his hands into fists as the teen's violet gaze returned, finding Bakt being much closer than Yugi'd realized. When he'd taken that moment to examine the door Bakt obviously spent the time closing the distance between them. The man was so close... Yugi gasped with his eyes widening, not having actual time to realize what was about to occur, the fact that the man's hands were in fists was enough for the teen to be terrified. He shied frantically away from the threatening man, his steps taking him to the side following along the wall in his hurry to get away.

A chuckle drifted almost leisurely from the white-haired man as Yugi scrambled. The teen didn't see any signs of concern from Bakt, though the man also didn't hurry in turning after Yugi. The teen didn't have any idea about what to make of that. Not that Bakt needed to rush, Yugi peeked to the side as he was aware that he had practically nowhere to go except for edging around the cell.

"You have nowhere to run." Yugi looked at the man, shivering as he was in time to witness the sight of a nasty smirk spreading over Bakt's face despite how calmly those words were spoken. He shivered as fear made him lock his gaze on the man, too unwilling to risk looking away.

"Stand still, runt. It'll make things quicker." Bakt snapped as he paced himself after the retreating teen. Yugi faltered slightly as Bakt advanced toward him, scared more by the smirk which was turning into a superior sneer. It wasn't a pleasant look, the teen blinked with a benign smoothness a few times to be certain of what he was seeing. He wasn't even finished with that before his fingers were digging deeper into the protective shield his wing provided, the digits curling up to cling onto the feathers for comfort as what he was seeing was less than reassuring. Yugi thought it appeared a little like Bakt was looking forward to this...

But the teen knew better than to actually stop.

"Not when you're being mean I won't!" Yugi stated, nodding determinedly with a pout gracing his features. He had no intention of stopping when Bakt was threatening such things! What Bakt was doing bothered Yugi a lot. Enough that he shook his head vigorously to reiterate his denial, showing just how intently he was opposed to the idea of letting the man get hold of him. I'm not going to do that, he thought simply. With his pout still in place, he deemed that it was safer to not just linger in wait for something to happen.

Yes, that idea at least seemed to make sense to the teen. His eyes flickered, nervously knowing that it especially seemed right with Bakt advancing so menacingly. He at least figured that to mean he was in serious trouble and Yugi didn't want to have to tangle with the man who was bigger than him. He'd probably just get hurt and since Yugi didn't want to be hurt, he hoped that it wasn't too hard to convince Bakt to stop this. "There's no reason for you to be like this! It won't get you anything that being nice wouldn't." It was with carefulness that Yugi pointed that all out. His voice trailing off with his belief in his conviction still displayed on his face, his matching wide eyes focused solely on Bakt in hopes of seeing the man softening up.

His words were shrugged aside and Yugi's heart sank, his eyes losing their hopeful look when Bakt snorted at the suggestion of being nice. The man started to snicker smugly after another step toward the teen, appearing to not think much of Yugi's idea. "Oh I will get what I want." The man stated that so coolly and with so much confidence that it seemed like another promise. The teen shuddered without being certain whether liked this promise any better than the last one. Couldn't Bakt have been nicer? He wondered, his brief train of thought suddenly interrupted.

The teen's eyes went huge when Bakt lunged for him swifter than Yugi had thought possible, the man reaching out with his hands open toward the teen. Yugi reacted, not fully grasping what was going on but he stumbled a step out of the way of the lunge. Since Bakt was already almost close enough to grab him when he moved, the shock of having Bakt looming there so big had the teen faltering instead of running, which Yugi thought would be a good idea just then. Only he froze, too stunned by events to do anything but gape as the man shifted to follow him. He barely had a chance to blink surprised eyes before Bakt was moving after him almost too quickly for Yugi to keep up with. The intentions Bakt had becoming clear as he reached for the teen again. His mind was too mired down in the concept that he was about to be caught, Yugi hadn't that much chance to react even before Bakt was reaching.

That is rather fast, he thought, amazed despite the daze he was in. His mind clearing at the consideration, allowing the teen to vaguely grasp the notion that he should do something now or he'd certainly be caught. Yugi trembled at that realization, trying to move like his mind was telling him to. Only he was shaking so badly that he couldn't get his feet to actually move.

Which, considering Bakt's threat, Yugi thought sounded like bad thing. The teen squeaked in fright, thinking to move away from Bakt's charging mass before he could be reached. He frantically started. It was Yugi's want to flee from the danger which got him to move in time, stepping back trying to escape out of pure instinct. Only for that second did Yugi forget that there was no room left to move back.

Behind him was merely the wall which he recoiled uselessly against. He realized that as soon as his back hit solid stone instead of the open space the teen had been hoping for, but by then Bakt's fingers were shoving past the teen's wings. The feathers ruffled from the invasion, letting Yugi be vaguely aware of the hands in the warming appendages. He desperately thought of continuing to move sideways too late. Bakt didn't hesitate, clamped down on the front of his kalasiris with a hard grip and Yugi gasped in shock as he was yanked upwards off of the ground. Before the teen could do anything, the solid slab vanished from under him in a mere breath.

"I want my satisfaction." Bakt growled fiercely, giving Yugi a vicious shake. The teen was already scared to the point where he could do little but tremble in the man's grip, the shaking only intensifying Yugi's longing to get loose and away from Bakt preferably without being hurt. That he was caught just made it easier for the man to hurt him and Bakt wasn't showing any signs of planning to release the teen from his tight clutches anytime soon. Why won't he just let go, Yugi questioned plaintively though the man was making it plenty clear that the teen was now in deep trouble. Especially as the man considered and seethed wordlessly.

That fact along with Bakt's previous demand reached Yugi, having him blinking clueless as his mind grasped that last comment. What did Bakt mean by satisfaction? That could mean a lot of things, he noted with another puzzled blink of his violet eyes as he tried to figure it out. His thoughts pausing as Yugi realized that he should get loose no matter what it was that Bakt was talking about, or thinking of, that had a vicious smirk beginning to cross the man's face. Yugi merely hesitated, swallowing down a lump of despair that was growing in his throat as he didn't actually know what to do. There had to be something he could say! The teen frantically grasped for any idea that he could think of which might get Bakt to set him free...

Just so long as he didn't have to hurt anyone to do it.

"And I'll get it." Bakt suddenly added. There were so many things in Yugi's head still, it was just that he was out of time to ponder the uncertainties he'd been left with. Bakt was already jerking the teen forward suddenly with an intent vigor. Yugi gasped in shock, his biting at his lip an indication that he hadn't been prepared for such a yank.

Neither apparently had his stomach for it lurched suddenly from the sudden violent movement. Yugi swallowed in an effort to keep his stomach down though it didn't particularly want to be contained. It left him feeling abruptly ill, that sensation discouraging him from wanting to even consider what Bakt might do next... Unfortunately the teen was forced into thinking of it when the forward jerk was abruptly reversed, his stomach faltering once more though it wasn't the only part of the teen affected by the jarring.

All his thoughts, all his considerations were left behind as Bakt drove him vehemently backwards. Yugi knew that he hadn't been drawn that far from the wall, it couldn't be that far behind him. The surge of realization had him turning wide eyes toward the man in shock that he'd do something that drastic for his merely speaking up. "No!" He gasped out trying again in horror, there being still some hope in him as his gaze went pleadingly straight to Bakt. His voice being laced with determination to try and make himself be listened to by the man. Though what Yugi wanted and preferred mainly right then was to be loose before he hit the wall and his hands came up wildly toward the grasp holding him. He wouldn't hurt the man though, the teen wasn't willing to give up on the idea of getting Bakt to be nicer.

Bakt disappointingly didn't even give any sign of having heard Yugi at all. The slamming motion was swiftly finished just as strongly as the man had started it and Yugi cried out as he was smashed into the wall. That hard blow was enough that the teen's wings were snapped forward too sharply, promptly crushing them up behind his little form. It was the bones in his clean white wing which snapped with a loud crunch that rang out through the confinement of the teen's cell. Yugi choked in the middle of inhaling at the terrifying racket. He grimaced in shock as the first pain went through him, terminating his soundless horror with an instant wailing that was smothered as the searing jolt knocked the air right out of Yugi in one great heave. He was now simply dangling in Bakt's grip, gasping fervently for needed air. That pain exploding through his body mercifully drowned out the sound in the teen's head of his bones cracking. The teen wildly inhaled with desperation.

"That sounded painful." Bakt chortled coolly, grinding Yugi back up against the wall in an unrelenting assault that denied the teen any relief from the pain. Yugi was stunned by the intense agony flowing through him, it tore into him without remorse and the teen paled. He gave a very long whimper as he was pained by wing bones crushing together, the ache not only withering the extra appendages but the sensation made it's way throughout his entire body. Wheezing, what little air he'd gathered already was wrenched from him by the vehemence. He still tried to scream though he hadn't the air to even whisper, his hands flying uselessly to clutch at his throat as he struggled to make a sound.

As Yugi struggled there was a snort from the man. The teen's eyes were already blurred from the lack of air, but the sound drew his attention back to Bakt and Yugi silently choked mournfully as he saw the man's expression. Bakt's nasty sneer was still there only intensified by a smirk that had the teen shuddering from how wicked the man looked. The tremble unfortunately did nothing but cause more pain to pound throughout Yugi's skull and he winced, groaning even more as the hurt didn't fade. Instead it resurged, Yugi's wings abruptly reacting to the growing injury by shifting reflexively around him. The gesture that wrapped Yugi into what should have been a warm embrace sent pain cutting through the teen's senses.

The tearing shock of agony having Yugi longing to cry out. His eyes watering, he was nearly overwhelmed by the pain as he drug in a breath of air just before he was shoved into the wall again. Yugi whimpered, inhaling frantically to cry out and almost choked as his throat closed down in his eagerness to drag in enough air. The teen coughed fiercely, managing to pull in breath but as much as Yugi wanted be able to wail he didn't have enough air to do so.

All he did was sob, Yugi shutting his eyes tightly in desperation to block out the pain. He wanted to make it go away, that was all that was in his mind as the stabbing agony slammed into him. Transfixed as he was, Yugi was aware of feathers slipping past him, the wings flew violently away from him taking the warmth they once provided with them. He had no control over the limb flailing out from his body. They seemed to connect with something in mid-swing, continuing open as they drove the offending object away from the teen. That oddity not mattering too much to Yugi ats the motions drove more agony into his world, the pain was so much that the teen barely noticed he hand being suddenly wrenched away from what felt like a distance to him. Which couldn't be right, he vaguely mused. The hands had been holding onto him until that unaccountable striking which was now leaving him in mid-air with no hands for support.

Yugi squeaked weakly with the realization that there was nothing left under him but air. His stomach lurched as he began to fall without having any idea why that downward sensation made his heart leap. This new terror gripping him for some reason through the pain, though he vaguely remembered hanging over nothing in that dream of before. It was surreal, for a moment as his back left the wall he found himself not so sure that there was ground under his apparently falling form. That thought unnerved him even more than he already was. The ground isn't very far at all, he told himself frantically with a gasp as his eyes were flying open wide to see Bakt straightening a few paces away. As true as all that was, it didn't stop the fear settling in the teen as he was trying to convince himself of that.

The man got his balance back with a glare directed at Yugi. He didn't look very happy with the teen but there was no chance for Yugi to notice anything else going on around him before he was jolted to a stop, his feet hitting the ground hard enough that the sudden halt jarred Yugi's already injured wing. Yugi's mouth opened in a soundless gasp, his eyes showing the pain which went shooting through him from the appendage, striking him with a renewed fury that was strong enough that it brought a renewed rush of tears welling up into the teen's eyes. That rending agony had him biting at his lip with hot tears running down his face, blurring his vision as they continued pouring, without Yugi trying to stop them.

It hurts lots, he noted to himself, merely wanting to get away from the pain lancing up his wing, and he despairingly bit at his lip since that escape wasn't happening! That made his thinking turn simple as he was distracted by a senseless tallying of the amount of pain racking his body.

All of that reeling was making it harder for him to see anything through his violet eyes as they were sparkling from sorrow and pain. The effects of that one incapacity alone was making it clear just how much was going on inside him. In that moment Yugi could merely blink dazedly, trying frantically to make out more of Bakt than just the blurry outline. He was scared that he'd miss something but the pain was more than his mind could handle. With a wince, his thoughts rebounded to the smarting hurt, getting wrapped up quickly in the spikes of sensation which he whimpered at. He was so far out of it that he almost missed noticing the man moving.

"You do have some fight after all." Bakt spoke. The teen had managed to not think much about the man's movement but Bakt's voice unfortunately drew Yugi's attention back to the situation he was in. He whimpered, painfully and forlorn, as he would have rather not been reminded that Bakt was still lurking there ready to strike. Yugi looked reluctantly back to Bakt, the teen though was without the breath for answering the man. He surely couldn't even make much of any noises at the moment. Though he was able to blink, and he did so slowly out of unease as Bakt chuckled. It was a slow chortling. The teen was unnerved, having to resist shuddering as that didn't sound like laughter to him given the circumstances he was in. Should Bakt be laughing? The teen wondered slowly, his considering not stopping and he realized that the man did sound amused about something. That was the case until nasty Bakt spoke again, his tone going wicked as whatever amusement had been there now changed. "You just shouldn't have turned it against me."

The teen shrank away from the man, drawing back against the wall despite the pain that caused. Any amazement from the white-haired man was gone and in it's place was a pure anger directed at Yugi. The youth looked on, worrying immensely at the furious scowl crossing the man's face as Bakt stepped toward him. Yugi's wided eyed expression went wider as the man covered the short distance between them far too quickly for the teen to even blink.

Yugi gulped, flinching fearfully. That reflex and the mere thought of moving making him ache. How he managed it he wasn't sure of, all he knew was how his vision narrowed on the sight of Bakt's hands curling into tight fists. He fairly squeaked out of terror, staring in fright as the man raised his hand in preparation to strike. The teen faltered then started. The sharp motion had the reluctance to move fading away as Yugi found his fear of more pain was stronger.

Scrabbling at the wall, Yugi frantically tried to pull himself along with handholds which were much too tiny. It wasn't that easy but he wasn't going to stop in light of the looming danger. No way would he stop. Yugi stepped sideways with his feet seeking an escape from the coming punch. His first step landed on the ground with a swift thump. The jarring had pain surging as that was enough to inflame the injured wing. He was promptly stunned by that pain, it having him faltering in shock as his eyes went distant from the hurt. His gaze glistened in the available light, the deep violet showing brightly as he was immediately too distracted for him to move much out of Bakt's way. The only thought even in Yugi's head was that of the pain. That agonizing experience being more than enough to block out any other thoughts from the teen's mind.

It was with great care that he slowly blinked his painfilled eyes. Yugi saw the fist swinging for him but he just didn't comprehend what was happening because of the haze in his mind. His confusion was simply too thick for him to react in time. The teen was knocked backwards, his daze of pain being broken by the man's fist connecting to his jaw.

The teen reeled sharply away from the blow, the motion instinctive since he'd been expecting lots of pain. It's going to.... Yugi stopped suddenly as frantic, expectant thoughts were interrupted by a lack of major pain. Shouldn't there have been more? He trailed off with the discovery that the strike hadn't been that bad. My face wasn't hurt bad like my wings were? He blinked cluelessly questioning. Still there was plenty of momentum which sent him stumbling backwards, the teen merely banging into the wall behind him. That wasn't pain, he noted, he just didn't have anywhere really to go.

His noticeable relief was short-lived. Being pressed to the wall had the teen's wings jammed up painfully into his back. Yugi gasped as he felt the pain, which he stiffled into a faint whimper as it reminded him about the broken wing. Bakt pulled his fist back for another swing at the teen, cutting short any time for pondering the injury as fear flashed through Yugi at the sight. The feeling intensified in the teen as Bakt swung for his face and Yugi's whimper grew more pronounced.

That'll hurt! With his attention shifting quickly that thought faded in a flash, leaving Yugi able only to think about avoiding being hit by the enraged man. Unlike before, Yugi didn't falter. The teen frantically lifted his arms from where he had them crossed over his chest. His hands bumped together, slowing down the movement as he tried desperately to get the hands up protectively over his face.

This is enough, he thought firmly. The teen being determined despite tears slipping from his bright eyes as he mournfully noted that it was too late to stop the strike. Bakt's fist merely connecting heavily to Yugi, making his head bang back against the wall.

The bone in his jaw shifted sharply from the blow and the teen cried out as the shards of pain exploded. He was rocked by the sensation, that hurt echoing throughout his entire face. Yugi quickly discovered that any shout was a bad idea, it was all that was needed to make the pain intensify sharply. Yugi swallowed frantically choking back a wail that threatened. A whimper still slipped free with a tensing of his jaw despite his attempt to stiffle it. To his horror it was dwarfed by the loud grinding cruch of the bones in his jaw loosely scraping together. The teen winced in agony as the already horrid sound was accompanied by a shooting pain, promptly riveting his attention to the experience of two competing pains raking through him furiously.

Pain reached a point where Yugi's eyes were flooded from the sheer amount of aching and, while Yugi wasn't actually able to move, there wasn't anything stopping his mental reeling from the assault. The deluge of tears quickly blurred his vision, cutting off the sight of Bakt so the teen didn't see what was happening. He had no clue until he felt hands grabbing hold of his kalasiris once more. Yanked swiftly upward off the ground, he shuddered at the realization that Bakt showed no signs of having any pity nor qualms about continuing.

What's he going to do next? The teen questioned silently, trembling fiercely in fright. His shaking growing worse as he quickly got an answer when the man took a breath to speak. "You are a monster now, brat. You should start acting like you are one." Bakt growled through clenched teeth, though the teen was sure he heard disgust in Bakt's tone. Disgust, with what, Yugi questioned only partly realizing that it was directed at him. Was it because he was a monster or for some other reason? The teen was wanting to know but he had no idea, he couldn't even make out the man's expression. His pained gaze was too blinded by hot, stinging tears to tell what things were beyond the blur.

He blinked deeply, attempting to clear his vision and being at least aware of the man's hot breath on his face. Slow, calm, steady paced breathing. The teen swallowed hard as he was pulled foward away from the wall in a gesture which reminded Yugi of when Bakt had slammed him into the wall.

While he couldn't be totally sure, Yugi swallowed, fear choking him up as he anticipated what the man had in mind. His own sound startling him with more pain. He blinked at that extra aching. That wasn't how he liked feeling! He hurriedly turned frantic blurred eyes toward the man with a slight sniffle as he struggled to get his voice to work around the lump of paralyzing terror which was forming in his throat. The teen struggled futilely to get away and thought better of it, the pain searing his voice back into silence before he could speak.

Though he hoped that he might be wrong, he whimpered in disappointment since Bakt was determined. Regret made it's way into the teen's wide violet eyes, with a deep intensity which was rather more begging. Stop, stop it! He thought wildly at Bakt, not able to bring himself to actually voice the words because of the pain. And the teen had had enough.

It's wrong! His mind vocalized, the sound of blood rushing in his ears surging then as Bakt chose that moment to slam him backwards. At least the teen could say that he wasn't surprised by the man's actions, though that consolation didn't matter for much. Simply terrified as his mind focused on what was coming, he bit his lip fiercely in anticipation of contact with the wall.

Mercilessly the act of closing his teeth on his lip was enough to cause a sharp distracting pain. He was grateful that it lasted for only a mere moment, unfortunately it cut off his chance of bracing for the collision. He was slammed back hard, the wall roughly breaking Yugi's momentum as well as his concentration on the pain from his injured jaw.

Yugi groaned as the man ground the wings into the stone. The sound of shifting bones seeming to ring out clearly into the cell as the pain ravaged him physically and mentally.

Bakt chuckled in the silence. The teen was almost withdrawing from consciousness but he fixated on the sound from what seemed like a distance. It felt like the man was far off and Yugi noticed that his fuzzy vision was edged with blackness. His protesting of the pure pain in his wings was the only thing keeping the teen from passing out.

He turned his already moist face toward Bakt. The teen looking horrifically sorrowful considering that he'd cried so much already that he couldn't keep up the sobbing anymore. Instead he shut his eyes tightly against the tears that were trying to get free. There were too many tears still for Yugi to be able to stop them fully, his openly expressive features glistening even more as his sobs trailed off. There was little else for Yugi to even do but tremble at the onslaught of pain. His slight relief as he got his tears under control was weak. There was still so much pain...

His gasped suddenly, surprised by the sensation of Bakt abruptly letting go of him. There was a relief which, in an instant, was promptly crushed as Yugi found that he had little control over himself as he fell to the ground with a soft gulp of astonishment. That whisper leaving his mouth was enough to cause pain to flare but the teen refused to take all this silently. If only there were something he could have done... Without hurting Bakt or anyone else, he told himself firmly. Then Yugi was having to resist setting his jaw in determination as he hit the ground.

At least the noise was keeping any sense of loneliness temporarily at bay.

Or is that the pain doing it? If it was the agony distracting him he'd rather feel empty. The teen didn't really ponder it longer, his mind was jerked elsewhere as the impact with the ground had his legs giving out from under him. There wasn't any warning about it, he just was unable to keep himself upright. All the pain which was coursing inside of him was too much, one moment he was standing and the next he was sliding down the wall. That barrier being all that kept the teen from merely collapsing here and now. He shook his head frantically, in denial of something, though what even he didn't know. It not mattering how he went down, the teen merely ended sitting there on the ground.

Slowly Yugi raised his arms upward over his exhausted face, trying to protect himself from more harm. He shuddered vigorously as his thoughts were overwhelmed from all the emotions and sensations. There was so much, and Yugi was aware that Bakt was still there capable making more. He wondered what the man would do next, the teen uncertainly did his best to brace himself in case Bakt should decide to take another blow at him. Though uncertain, the idea of Bakt still continuing had Yugi unsuccessfully pouting, the pain in his jaw stopping him quickly.

Now what? The teen wondered from his spot behind his hands. Bakt's being so mean, he added as he waited. Or had been, Yugi amended if it was over and having so much say, he tried to speak. "It's not...." His words trailed off at the pain which went through his face. Right to be so mean, the teen thought silently, being hopeful that the man had thought better about being nasty.

Surely that was the case! Bakt doesn't really have to be like this, the teen thought. The tension distracted Yugi and his thoughts slowed as the teen began to notice something, namely the fact that no more blows were falling on him. There was only a total silence around his cell. Puzzled by the quiet, Yugi paused, listening carefully to the area and direction broken only by the sounds of breathing. There wasn't anything else... Yugi opened his eyes behind his hands, his confused violet gaze focusing vaguely on the palms of his hands as he tried to figure the lack of anything happening. His hope growing slightly as nothing more occurred to break the silence.

Surely Bakt should have been doing something. The teen blinked slowly in confusion at the thought even as he comprehended that he couldn't see what was going on with Bakt, there was nothing for him to see with his hands covering his eyes. Yugi was justifiably hesitant to peek out, his mind was actually partly hoping that Bakt would give an audible clue about whether it was over. Then he could look. Maybe he will, Yugi murmured to himself as he hesitated for a moment out of sheer dread of what he might see if he did glance out at the man. As it was Bakt merely took a deeper breath. The teen blinked again at the sound, not entirely sure how to interpret it. The silence was tormenting, he wanted to know what was happening to the point that curiosity was overriding his nervousness about the man. He paused just a fraction as he considered whether it would be safe to look.

While he couldn't really tell what was detaining Bakt, Yugi could use the opportunity presented and he hurriedly gasped for air. Wonderfully, full refreshing breaths of air. He simply needed to fill his lungs! Careless of the consequences, he unthinkingly nipped at his lip as he gratefully drug in a breath. He was just needing and having to breathe right then.

He did his best to stay perfectly still, he didn't think it would be a good idea to rile up Bakt again right now. Though in his haste he practically choked on the air that was filling his lungs. His throat closed on those quick breaths, refusing to allow the air in and Yugi coughed as his body rebelled against that. His body shook with the coughs that slipped free, both of which accentuated the pain from all of his injuries. Gulping hard he sought to clear his throat of the obstruction and he was immensely relieved as the refreshing sense of air went rushing into his lungs. The teen gave a soft sigh as his breathing evened, his desperate gasps fading out as they were no longer needed. The feeling of his steady breathing resuming had a flicker of ease returning to the teen, with it came a sense of courage to find out what Bakt was doing.

The teen cautiously lowered his hands to spy at the man. With his wide eyed gaze burning brightly in question, Yugi's expression showed both his hope that the man was done hurting him and the pain which the teen was in still. His eyes glistened with emotion as Yugi brought them up from where Bakt's feet were still standing too close for comfort. He noted the proximity with a nervousness but Yugi continued sweeping his gaze on up, noting as he did that one of the man's legs lifted partly off of the ground. The teen faltered a second at that, only the foot neither went back or forward. The lack of action encouraging the teen enough for him to continue looking up, violet eyes traveling along the white of Bakt's clothing and past the man's chest on up to his face. Yugi noted the sneer there with a nervous swallow, the expression was unnerving for the teen to look at, as was the man's fierce gaze when the teen's eyes found Bakt's gaze.

Bakt snorted, the teen did his best not to shudder as the man sneered even more. Bakt's eyes left Yugi's own, glancing over the teen coolly. Yugi felt his mouth going fearfully dry as he had to watch Bakt's features twisting up with anger and disdain. "And this is what happens when you disobey me." Bakt stated with a fierce nastiness which wasn't the only thing in Bakt's tone. Yugi was able to hear a note of disgust in the man's voice too, the both tones going unexplained.

This isn't really making me want to obey you, the teen thought to himself slowly with a firm determined blink. He would have also shifted there on the ground, he did consider crossing his arms defiantly but he was hurt anyhow. He was already doing all he could to try and hold his moves to a minimum unless he had to be faster.

"You would do well to keep it in mind." The man added chillingly, though the teen surpressed the shudder which threatened in response to Bakt's tone. This premonition turning to horror then as Bakt just swung his leg. Yugi's heart leapt as his hope for the beating to be over ended and Yugi barely had the time to notice the movement before that kick landed to his ribs.

The teen wheezed painfully, pulling back when the kick hit, though the strike immediately propelled him over to the side without him being able to stop it. The kick was bruising but his toppling over from the momentum had the broken bones in his wings grinding together, making the kick even worse.

Yugi didn't dare try to stop his fall, he was too stunned to do anything about the wing that twisted with the tumble. That allowed one of the wings to sneak under the teen as he hit the floor on his side. That precious air which he'd just gasped into his lungs a moment before whooshed out of him, swiftly, as various excruciating agonies shot through him, each injury aggravated worse from the crash. They left the teen gasping, dragging in the merest breath of air to start filling his lungs just before a foot stomped down on his stomach. The teen blinked dazedly up along the leg to look at the man. Yugi was barely able to make out Bakt smirking down at him as reality seemed to be swaying. The man slowly pressed his foot down and Yugi choked as the last of his breath was squeezed out of him, increasing the teen's dizziness.

"Stop....." Yugi faltered immediately, pure pain striking him as he tried to speak. He was only able to get that single word out before the rest were driven away by the agony. At that point Yugi could no longer tell which of the dizzying whirl of pain was affecting him.

"Stop what?" The man demanded, cruelly chuckling as he was watching himself grind his foot down onto Yugi's abdomen. The teen wheezed breathlessly unable to even think of anything because of all the pain, much less actually answering Bakt at all. He blinked desperately, sniffling as tears returned, spilling freely to glitter wetly in his eyes.

It all hurt so much! He swallowed a lump in his throat as the only response he could give the man and he shut his eyes. The teen discarding the idea of watching more of what the man was going to do.

With his eyes closed like they were he didn't see it happen but the weight of the foot certainly lifted from him. The teen was in pain but that didn't stop his mind from floundering at the sudden absence of pressure. Something else was going to happen... ? Yugi pondered that but he froze, not being prepared to deal with even more. He was already beyond doing anything else as he lay there shivering at the idea of more. The remaining pain reminding him that movement was a bad thing. A very bad thing, he thought with his teary eyed gaze refocused on Bakt. He was still able to think without having to move, the teen mainly wondering about what Bakt would do next. That questioning thought not as scary as it once was, with all the pain Yugi was in, he was pretty numbed to anything else.

Through his daze something strange surfaced in his mind. Wasn't there a discussion about having to keep me whole? Yugi wondered while suddenly recalling that question as a fragment from before. He noticed somewhat in the silent pause that there were no more signs of fury from Bakt. The idea that it might be over occurred slowly this time, struggling between fear of repeated disappointment and the hope in this strange memory. Yugi thought that if there had been such a discussion earlier then it had to have been part of the memories in the dream. He paused again, his attention returning to the fact that there were no hints of anything from the man anymore. At first there was merely silence then Bakt shifted and a toe nudged the teen's side. It wasn't that hard a nudge but Yugi was still leery from the other pains, he was also too out of it for him to shift away from the nudge. He didn't move and at his stillness another pause filled the air, one that was followed with a snort from the man.

The teen was startled by the forced sound, however that faded from his mind as footsteps slowly sounded out around him. One after another thumped to the floor in a steady rhythm that drifted away from where the teen was laying limply. The significance now fully registering with the battered teen right away, then he blinked, realizing that Bakt's footsteps were really heading away from him. As the distance continued to grow Yugi breathed unhurriedly in, drawing air in to try and fill his lungs as he was feeling brave enough once more now that Bakt was farther away.

Is he really going away? He wondered faintly, his mental tones softened as he didn't want to disturb his listening. Especially as the footsteps paused. Yugi froze, holding his breath quickly as he waited for something to happen. Was Bakt going or not? He questioned, having simply to know whether more was going to happen now. Carefully the teen opened his glistening eyes wide, unshed tears still lurked there making it hard for him to see anything. Yugi blinked quickly, trying to see past all the tears. For a moment there wasn't an actual answer that he could tell to his internal pondering and in the tense silence the teen shivered, the uncertainty a bit unnerving even as he was eager to know the answer.

And then the lock on the cage door clicked open. The teen started in surprise, groaning deep in his throat as his wings were bumped up painfully to the wall. His own voice was drowned out by the loud squeaking of the door opening and the teen nearly sighed in joy.

That had to mean something! It had to! Or so the teen hoped, and his belief in that grew as the sound of footsteps proceeding outside of his cage rang out. Those strides were momentarily blocked out as the door swung shut with a loud metallic bang which reverberated through the space and in Yugi's head. Between the aches in his head, the teen figured that must certainly be proof. It has to be over, he thought with a flare of joy that was tempered by pain.

Silently he shut his eyes from the pain. Yugi quietly rested, the relief so profound as to be almost relaxing but the pain kept going through him preventing any comfort he could have had. His injuries drawing his attention and they easily distracted him now that he could finally stop thinking about Bakt.

Yugi started sharply. Even though the movement caused more pain to flare in his body, he just couldn't help it when the sound of Bakt's footsteps picked up again. He was spooked by the idea of the man being around still, though the steps were once again outside of his cell. He didn't find it very reassuring but it was something and he sighed as the man didn't seem to be showing any intention of coming back.

At least that's over, Yugi clung to that thought as he was even wondering why Bakt had quit and headed off. Bakt is wrong, the teen thought in disappointment with a few tears escaping free. He wondered softly if this had happened to Khenemet very much. The teen's consideration of those thoughts faded as another took hold, his attention going to the fact that Bakt was no longer there to hurt him was a relief. That pleasing idea being too strong for him to keep still.

Quietly he sobbed as all his emotions rushed together, confusing him as they clashed for dominance. He didn't know what to feel for that moment as he carefully curled up on the floor in an attempt to get comfortable. There was pain but he pushed through it, wrapping his arms around himself in want to clutch onto what warmth was left in him. The heat provided by the wings was severely lacking, the pain keeping him from moving them. Nor was he sure that they'd have helped as the emptiness of loneliness descended back into his conscious thoughts.

The teen wasn't too sure about welcoming it now that Bakt was gone. A sensation that was so cold stung his already hurting exterior. Softly Yugi sighed without moving at all. All he had to do now was avoid pain until everything was better... How long would that take, he wondered idly. Staying still soon proved harder than he'd expected when another cell door opened....


To Be Continued...

A/N: For awhile now I've been listening to some music gotten me because a few people were tired of the music I'd been playing over and over. I did switch to that music but I think around the same time I lost interest in writing. By now I got tired of that music and returned to these other songs that I liked...with a slight detour to bagpipe music. And amazingly I actually enjoyed writing this chapter. Though I admit it went anything but smoothly and I got frustrated numerous times. So I'm not going say that my inspiration is back, but we'll see what happens.
Please review!


Chapter 19
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