Yu-Gi-Oh! Fan Fiction ❯ Echoes of Forgotten Times ❯ One Day at a Time ( Chapter 10 )

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

Echoes of Forgotten Times
Written by Shukumei no Kagi
Notes: Back from a Christmas break with another chapter. Hopefully over the holidays I've not lost anyone who really liking this fanfiction. Read and Review please!
Warning: Yaoi, sorta deathfic

Chapter Ten ~ One Day at a Time
Yugi lay with his hands resting peacefully folded to rest over his chest in his sleep, his hands holding on lightly to the sheet that covered him. He was still asleep when he stirred, sighing softly the contentment which was the soft bed as he tugged the sheet up to his chin with one hand. He snuggled back down on the bed, the movement only then starting to wake him from his dreams. His drifting to wakefulness slowly crept upon him, though he remained peacefully laying there, his eyes shut despite his imminent return to consciousness. As relaxed as he was Yugi just wasn't ready to open his violet eyes and acknowledge that he was really no longer asleep.

Even only half-conscious as Yugi was, he knew that he was in the unused bedchambers of the dwelling. Did he have to wake up? He didn't want to yet. Yugi sighed nearly echoing his earlier one contentedly. He didn't even want to move from the bed, there wasn't the slightest feeling of concern about the situation he was in and for a moment it would have been just so easy to drift into slumber once more. All he had to do was lay there, then he could be back in his quiet dreams of being home amongst those he knew, his old life not having been shattered by what had happened to his mother or puzzle of the pyramid.

His mind already was fading to dreams when warmth spread over his face, the sensation returned him to wakefulness. The air heated gently around him as he woke more fully, becoming aware of the presence of a soft glow flickering beyond his eyelids.

Sleep slipped from his grasp at that instant as the realization that the room was no longer dark like nighttime set in. Yugi stayed still a moment longer to be sure, but grew more certain, as he noted each flicker of the lamp, that falling back to dreamland wouldn't happen now.

His eyes responded first to the intently glowing lamp, fluttering open for a second before closing as a yawn sought to escape. He was quick to cover up the gesture. In his tired state he merely tugged at the sheets, not bothering to let go of them as he place the curled up hand over his mouth as the yawn got free. The exhalation of air slowly cleared Yugi's head, he could tell the difference immediately as the cobwebs of exhaustion were chased off.

Lowering his hand first, Yugi blinked with some surprise at the sudden clearing to his conscious mind. Only his gaze still held a lingering sleepy daze. But he pushed himself up with his elbows to be sitting on the bed, blinking blearily around at the room before dropping away the sheet that had been covering him during the night. Freed of the covers, he rubbed at his eyes, trying to rid himself of the remaining exhaustion enough to be able to view the room clearly.

Only to lower his hands a moment later so he could glance at his surroundings again, finding himself where he'd expected himself to be. He felt pride swell briefly since it had only taken three days before he was no longer thinking that he was waking in his dwelling with his mother nearby. He gently sucked at his lower lip while his gaze went toward the single lamp of the room, and then to the bed which he was sitting upon still. The room might be small compared to others in the dwelling, but with those furnishings being the only things that were in the nearly empty bedchambers, save for himself, it made the room seem bigger. But his heart sank again shortly there after, being weighed down by a disappointment at the lifeless room that was around him.

Not even the lively flickering of the lamp made the room seem right to the teen. Though he was grateful for the light provided by it, recalling as he was that he'd discovered the first morning here that Khenemet sneaked out of her cell to light those lamps and make visible the interior of the dwelling. Which, he realized, meant that Khenemet had already been up and lit the burning objects.

But Yugi did note curiously that he wished that he had more of his own things around to make the room seem more like it was fit for living.

He paused with that line of thought, his gaze dropping then to the pyramid which he'd kept around his neck during the night. It's about all I have left, he thought before looking further down past the golden object. His gaze landing on the kalasiris he was still wearing, his violet eyes seeing that the old linen was really starting to show it's age now with both dirt and wear having faded the robes. Yet those two things were all he had left.

Except for his new friend!

Yugi grinned happily for what he did have, knowing that he wouldn't want anything else instead of those three things. Though he had no idea about where Khenemet was by then.

I wonder if she already went back to her cage? Yugi questioned to himself while his smile brightened, eager to go find the girl he'd been spending most of his time with. He didn't mind that part of the reason for that was because there wasn't anyone else around to talk with, or at least he'd certainly tried to speak with the other monsters.

Yugi didn't even lose his smile at that remembrance. It just made things more interesting to wonder what new stuff he could find to talk with Khenemet about. He'd already told her about the rules his mother had given him, though they had puzzled the teenaged girl as well. Yugi giggled softly as he remembered the blank look on her face when he'd told her the rules. 'Okay. So now I understand confusion!' Was what he remembered her saying to that with a laugh.

He'd found it amusing too, though his laughter was fading by then for he'd rather seek out Khenemet. Yugi quickly pushed the covers aside and swung his feet over the edge of the bed while thinking he'd rather not be spending the day by himself. After having grown used to keeping company with someone, being alone seemed even worse. The teen didn't think he'd be able to take having to keep himself company.

The bright smile didn't fade as he placed his feet into the waiting sandals, much too intent on seeing if Khenemet was still up. Yugi just rose, stepping forward toward the door of the bedchambers.

Only to suddenly be falling, before there was anything he could do to react! The teen not realizing what else was happening except how his feet had gone out from under him, sending him pitching backwards sharply with his feet thoroughly tangled in the hem of his robes. It was all Yugi could do to give a startled squeak as surprise and terror struck, expecting pain of colliding with the floor.

That being the only sound he managed to get out relative to the unexpected tumble before his back hit something softer than ground.

The teen shook with fright, not realizing right then that he was okay. He waited for the pain that hadn't struck yet, for the moment only able to blink at the darkened ceiling far above his prone form. Yugi's only thought so far was to hear his own heart thundering in his ears as a testment to his shock. His fingers slowly curled into what he'd fallen on, which he noted felt nothing like the stone ground he'd been expecting. The cloth was warm to his touch, the bed having been right there to cushion his landing and it was still holding a good deal of the teen's body heat.

Somewhere through the dazed fog of shock Yugi could barely think, mere understanding of what had just happened was sinking in. But for that time he was too stunned to react to the knowledge he was becoming aware of. Then Yugi slowly took a deeper, if hesitant, breath, meaning to calm down. Though he didn't dare to move yet...having no plan to leave while his heart hammered away so swiftly in his chest!

The beat thrumming away with a rapid rhythm, though one the teen thought was neat. Even though he wasn't that much into frenetic music. Yugi gave a smile at those thoughts, before he had to breathe more. He took deep breaths, swallowing with his dry mouth as he recollected his wits enough to cautiously sit up on the edge of the bed, setting his feet seemingly on the ground. This time, curiosity played on Yugi's features. The teen lifted the kalasiris just enough for him to look, wanting to see for himself that his feet weren't tangled a second time within the cloth. Yugi leaned forward a bit so his gaze could take in both his feet and linens to be sure that everything was okay. The glance over faltering for a moment when his eyes found a new tear at the bottom hem, fortunately the loose fragment of cloth wasn't quite long enough to be dragging over the ground...yet.

If it gets longer I'll trip again, the teen mused thoughtfully to himself, in short order releasing the kalasiris from his grip and straightening as much as he could since he didn't particularly want to trip a second time while he was living there. Yugi quietly nodded to agree with his thoughts, he didn't want to trip but he didn't see anyway he could fix the robes either. And why would there be a kalasiris around here in my size? He added silently, even not sure what he'd do once his kalasiris was beyond use.

Yugi really hadn't thought anything about this before since the linen might have been old but it wasn't torn up. All the rips in it had come while he was here. Which must really mean that feeding Shadow Realm monsters isn't good for cloth, he decided with a smile and a bit of a laugh. The thought reminded Yugi though that he'd been about to go see if Khenemet was around still to keep company. His expression flickered for a moment before Yugi hurriedly moved, walking right toward the open door of the bedchambers.

He set off down the hall, quickly veering into the pillared hallway with a certainty of where to look since in the few days he'd been around he normally got up in time to find her setting up things in the kitchen... That is when she hasn't returned to her cage! Yugi thought to himself as he made his way past the pillars, angling toward the kitchen door while really hoped she hadn't headed back downstairs. Yugi had only missed her once in those days, by the time he'd gotten down there Khenemet had been sound asleep in her cage and Yugi hadn't wanted to wake her.

There really hadn't been that much to do by himself, Yugi realized as he approached the kitchen. As interesting as the other monsters were, they still didn't talk back to him.

He was pondering the other created beings below there while reaching out to open the kitchen door. His hand touching the smooth entrance when a sudden noise drifted through. Yugi gasped, surprised despite the fact he was quicker to recognize the thump for what it was. That being a door shutting within the kitchen. It was just unexpected to his distracted ears.

Yugi flushed with color sheepishly since that was twice in one day that he'd been surprised. But there was still a delight at the meaning of the sound, Khenemet was still up! He nearly half-skipped forward in delight, he wouldn't be alone today! That was what occurred to him but he then stopped himself with a guilty start, feeling bad for thinking of his loneliness first instead of Khenemet. He calmed somewhat before pushing the kitchen door open

"Good morning, Khenemet!" He called out with a glance around to see where she was, pausing as he saw her freeze in place for a heartbeat, then she whirled around with a definite nervousness so as to face where he was. Yugi managed to blink once in confusion since the actions were ones she hadn't displayed around him lately, then her gaze lit upon him. Khenemet's eyes rose to meet his first, not relaxing until his violet eyes met her hazel ones.

"Oh! I didn't think you were awake!" Khenemet gasped out, though Yugi did hear her tone sounding shaky still, even though she wasn't as tense. "I didn't intend to wake you."

Yugi was puzzled more by her reaction, though he'd gotten the words every other time he'd greeted her. Hadn't this time...sounded more hurried? He wondered uncertainly as he blinked again toward her, trying not to hesitate as he replied. "You didn't!" He informed her, stepping closer to her and patted her arm in a familiar gesture of comfort. A bright smile gracing his face since there wasn't anything really wrong, even though Khenemet seemed to think there was. "There isn't anything wrong with waking me, Khenemet." Yugi added, resting his hand on Khenemet's arm in want to comfort her. Only there was a flicker of something out of the corner of his eye.

Yugi paused for a moment with surprise in his violet gaze, knowing that there was something red off to his side though he wasn't sure if he should look just yet. His gaze did catch how Khenemet's eyes strayed over in the direction he'd seen the red in. Whatever it was Yugi wanted to know! His curiosity getting him to turn toward the abnormality even as Khenemet's voice broke the silence to explain.

"I thought to get the food out. Knowing that you aren't that fond of the cellar and all." Khenemet spoke up just before his gaze landed on the pile red chunks sitting in wait upon the cutting board, a bright red coloration only a bit toned down by the blander sheaves of grain resting in the baskets on either side of the cutting board. The heaping piles of both items seemed much too big to the teen but he wasn't going to comment about that, he was just glad he wouldn't have to go into the cellar.

Yugi's expression brightened with that awareness and he turned thankfully to gaze at Khenemet. "Thank you, Khenemet!" He said in pure delight, thrilled by the gesture though he certainly didn't want the other teen to be putting it upon her shoulders to be getting things for him. "You didn't have to." He said even though he hadn't lost his cheer expression, he was just informing her about that. "I might not like the cellar, but... shouldn't I get used to it sometime?" He questioned somewhat to be sure of what he was saying. Yugi knew he should do things for himself more often but that didn't stop his current relief, he still was having to resist shuddering at the memory of the cellar.

"Well...it is out now, so there isn't any need for you to go down there." Khenemet pointed out slowly while gesturing to where the meat was set out for preparing. Though Yugi didn't think that it was that bad, not since Khenemet had explained the first day that he shouldn't pull any ropes while in there, and he had to layer any cloth to cover his nose in order to breathe down there since a good portion of the meat was already rotting.

"I'd think that is a good thing." Khenemet was adding though, to which the smaller teen had to agree. It might not be as bad now. But that didn't help as much as anyone, especially Yugi, would have liked. Yet Yugi was willing to try handling what was down there.

"That's true!" Yugi replied brightly, his eyes shutting with a cheery smile in place as he did. Though he opened the violet eyes quickly to a glance toward the food, not wanting to wait much longer before getting started since it would take awhile to make. "Did you want to help make it, Khenemet?" He asked with his gaze turning back to Khenemet, noticing that his question had her starting from whatever she'd been thinking about. Yugi hadn't meant to startle her. "There'll be plenty to help with, if you want." He added for he didn't want Khenemet to feel like she was being left out. He knew what that was like since he'd been left out of things due to his mother's rules.

Yugi remembered very well how empty he felt when he had to avoid fellow kids. Like how he couldn't have approached the siblings he'd seen playing in the Nile the day that....

"What is it?"

Yugi gasped at the sudden question from Khenemet, he'd briefly forgotten about the fact that he had been waiting for her to answer him. He bit at his lip sheepishly for having done that, before looking up rather apologetically toward her, intending to let her know that he hadn't meant to not pay attention.

"It's nothing! I was just thinking about before I'd come here." Yugi responded, his face getting covered with a grin to keep her from worrying or anything of that sort. He didn't wait this time but turned to the food he should have been focusing on. Just like how he was keeping the pyramid safe after all. "If you wanted to help..." He gestured to the meat.

"Um...I don't know...if you need it." Khenemet's reply was spoken in naught but a whisper, her gaze not leaving Yugi. The teen blinked back at her, wondering why she was staring questioningly at him with that continuing watchfulness. It didn't make sense to him, replying seemed easier.

"Help is always welcomed!" He stated simply, truly believing that with all his heart. He hesitated just after speaking, knowing there were somethings which he didn't want help with even if he'd welcome it.

Yugi brought his hand up to finger at the smooth gold surface of the pyramid, thrilled that he'd kept it safe so far. The silent determination he had to carry out his mother's wishes hadn't faded, his certainty of that choice still firm as it had been when he'd first made it. If anything Yugi thought it was stronger, not that it needed to be since he wasn't aware of anything here that would keep him from taking care of the golden pyramid. But that task was one thing he didn't want to risk other people's lives for.

"It would get done sooner that way." He added with his hopeful expression that she'd take the offer in place. His hands still resting upon the pyramid as he looked to her for an answer. His attention returned by the fact that she was still looking at him questioningly. Though her gaze noticed his own and she looked away from him suddenly to the food.

"It looks to me like I'd help more by finding you another kalasiris." Khenemet said softly seeming embarrassed by the staring she'd been doing. She just did her best at giving a polite nod toward where Yugi knew there to be tears in the fabric he was wearing.

The teen grinned though somewhat chagrined as the flaws were pointed out but nodded in his own agreement though it would leave him by himself for awhile. "Well, I suppose a new one would be easier." He answered politely before looking up very slowly to her, his gaze bright with gratitude. "Thanks for offering, Khenemet."

"You're most welcome." She responded simply turning with that toward the door.

"Okay! I'll manage here!" And he actually could, it would take longer since he was only starting to get used to this cooking for so many monsters. But with it being the same thing over and over each day that wasn't hard. At least he got to play with the food! Or so Khenemet had once said! Yugi turned attention going toward the food before she could leave. "Good luck." He offered kindly to her, not all the sure how easy it would be to find something his smaller size.

"You may need it more." She countered, then Yugi heard her footsteps heading for the door, though she didn't close it behind herself when leaving Yugi alone in the kitchen.

He moved to get to work, stopping for a moment in place as his gaze found that the meat was already cut up into little shapes. For which he rejoiced, it was one less thing for him to do. Yugi made note to thank Khenemet for that, it was only right for him to do so since she'd been working so much before he'd gotten up. Yugi almost started to work, only to have his attention caught by the meat again. The closer look showing just how busy Khenemet had been, what with the top piece sitting there as if staring at him.

He laughed softly in delight. I think it's a horsey? He noted as he grinned back at the chunk. "Hi there!" He said to it, not expecting an answer at all but he couldn't resist kindly chatting with the little animal shape. The idea that it might talk back getting another a giggle from Yugi. It is a good horsey! He acknowledged with a bright smile to the animal shaped bits of meat before he started them cooking. Khenemet already had a fire going for cooking with the trails of smoke disappearing up a stone pipe about the size of Yugi's fist. The warmed stones over the flames being perfect for the cooking.

With that done he got to work on the grains.

Yugi had to keep a close eye on everything since this cooking was rather hard for him to do. He kept shifting his attention between the meat and then back to the grains and so forth. But he somehow made it through the cooking with some difficulty, only a spill and one well burnt handful of grain which he'd dropped at the wrong moment. Yugi quietly gathered up the meal, smiling at the horsey he'd first noticed before.

He couldn't really bring himself to put it with the other food he'd be taking downstairs, he put it ever so gently on a separate tray then glanced up, just then becoming aware of the fact that he was done and Khenemet wasn't back.

Yugi glanced out the door, curiosity making him wonder if she'd found something or why she was taking so long. He kind of wanted to go see what she was doing now, the only thing stopping him was that he didn't want to let the food chill too much. And the monsters might be lightening up to him, at least Yugi assumed that's what it meant when the twin-headed dragon thing wasn't trying to claw him as much, but the old robes were better for shreading.

Yugi paused, softly reminiscing about how much closer he was to being accepted by the Shadow Realm monsters. It certainly was different from several days ago when they were banging madly at the bars of their cages.

Which Yugi couldn't fathom as having been good for them, especially since the cage hadn't given any under the assault of even the largest of the monsters. He could understand why they'd do it. If he could have he would have let each and everyone one of them go free, he didn't like how they'd been so close to injuring themselves.

At least they weren't hurt. He thought with a good deal of relief while he bent to pick up what baskets and trays of food that his small self could carry. The last tray being heavier than he'd expected and Yugi gasped as he was almost pulled over by the weight of that one! Yugi frantically shifted, his world rocking in threat of tumbling as he adjusted his balance again in an attempt to keep from falling over. He was left standing there wobbling dangerously for a moment before he stablized enough to set some of the stuff down without spilling any.

Everything stablized for Yugi, he shut his eyes in a bout of relief at how he wasn't being dragged over this way and then another. He opened his eyes after relaxing for a second, turning his focus to carry what he already had in his arms out of the kitchen. By now Yugi nearly had this path memorized from having followed it everyday in the same order for feeding the monsters.

He kept his pace slow so he wouldn't fall, especially as he set his feet upon the stairs. He made his way down carefully, listening both to the nervous thoughts about how he didn't want to ruin the food and to the soft padding of his sandals against the steps. Yugi reached his foot out to feel for the next step downward. The entire descent taking only a few moments and he stopped only when he reached the first cage, turning to the bars that held the giant dragon only to have his eyes widen as he found himself face to faces with the creature waiting there.

Yugi gulped harder as an impatient rumble rang out, the air practically vibrating around him at the force of the noise. The dragon pressed it's heads fiercely against the bars as if trying to sneak through the gaps that were much to small for it. Understanding that it wanted out, that it wanted the food too, Yugi quickly set the food and water down through the bars so the dragon could reach it. "I guess you're hungry today. It's good that I made so much food, isn't it?" Yugi asked, his tone kind in his greeting of the two-headed monstrosity. He even pushed his hands through the bars as the two-headed dragon dipped it's heads to start eating.

Yugi gently petted the creatures snout as it munched. "I hope it's good." He added to what he'd said early, not aware of it at first but soon Yugi felt a vibration resonating under his touch before the actual sound reached his ears.

Then the rumble started, not a threatening one though. The monster was making no moves to intimidate the teen. It was only the faint rumble that trembled beneath Yugi's palm, if anything it felt like the creature was purring to him. Yugi smiled softly at the friendly noise, assuming that meant the monster liked the food he'd brought. "That's very kind. Thank you so much." Yugi answered politely in reply even though he was only guessing what the monster really meant.

He patted the snouts that were still eating before he withdrew, picking up the food he still had to distribute with this batch he'd brought down. With the baskets balanced in his arms Yugi continued to make his rounds in feeding. Though he was pleased to find that the other monsters were lightening up even more, only banging once or twice against the bars when he approached. They all looked even more beastly as they slammed those few times before settling when he slipped them the food, along with a greeting until he had to go back up to get the next servings of food.

Khenemet wasn't back before he'd gathered up that batch and made his way down to resume feeding. Approaching the next two legged furry monster that was waiting for him. "Hi!" Yugi greeted with a smile as he simply kept up what he'd been doing, glad to see that the monsters seemed so happy for the food and socializing he offered. Finishing with that one he wove his way through the hallway of cages, some branching off to other cages, which were the ones he took care of first before making his way to the main corridor. Yugi past the empty cages without much of a glance, only interested in taking care of the next monster on the list.

Yugi thought the cooking process had taken a long time and compared with the feeding, Yugi soon saw the last cage ahead of him. Beyond that the corridor narrowed to plain stone as it wound it's way further underground and out of sight. Yugi peeked down that way for a moment, having never really gone that direction before since there weren't anymore cages past that point, and no monsters for him to feed. Khenemet had told him though that there was only a well for obtaining fresh water from further that way.

Looking away from the corridor he went right for the cage, this one being the last monster Yugi had to feed. He was looking forward to seeing what Khenemet had been up to now that all the monsters would be satisfied! Though once he glanced in Yugi was more disappointed than delighted by what he saw, the single cell that held the one monster he'd never gotten to see as it had always been hiding in it's shell! Khenemet might have said this one wasn't exactly sane anymore, but Yugi still wanted to see. Her comment having only made him more curious about the secretive monster.

Only today wasn't any different, the clam shell being clamped firmly shut like it always was when he came by to deliver a meal. Whatever secrets it had being withheld from sight. Yugi sighed softly as he picked up the water for this one, setting that first into the cage then picked up the food.

"I've brought you food and water. I did my best with making it. I do hope it's good enough." He said gently, still not giving up how he wondered about this one. But he would respect it's want for privacy. He knelt down just slipping his hand, along with the food, through the bars, placing the meal upon the ground. He gave the items a little push to get them as close to the clam as he could. "There, starving would be bad after all." He added with an air of both politeness and calmness as he withdrew his hand before rising to his feet...

To look right down the shaft of an arrow! Yugi's eyes widening at the sudden sight of that arrow with the bow's string pulled taut. The shiny point of the same arrow being aimed toward his face as if ready to be fired...right at him!

To Be Continued!

A/N: I'll break there though I'm sure most would like me to continue. I would appreciate some reviews please! The explanation about why some characters are a different gender in this is in the beginning notes of a previous chapter.

Salihah/Shizuka/S erenity
Bakare (Bakt)/Yami Bakura
Mekhu/Isis/(However her american dub name is spelled)