Yu-Gi-Oh! Fan Fiction ❯ Echoes of Forgotten Times ❯ Watering Hole ( Chapter 12 )

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

Echoes of Forgotten Times
Written by Shukumei no Kagi
Notes: I've been asked this many times before but...I'll give an answer. Yami will be more toward the middle of the fic. Which is many chapters away....
Warning: Yaoi, sorta deathfic

Chapter Twelve ~ Watering Hole
The load on the tray weighed down heavily upon his arms, the limbs already being worn out from carrying food back and forth for many moments before that. Yugi shuddered sadly at the stiffening he could feel in his limbs which were unused to this treatment. I do my best, Yugi thought with a sigh, though he was glad for one thing. Namely that he'd finished below and the monsters were plenty well fed.

Yugi just didn't want to drop this food, no matter how much his arms ached from having done this every day since he'd arrived. This was the last of the stuff made so far today and he was going to make sure it got to Khenemet.

It would mean making Khenemet wait, until I get more ready at least. Yugi told himself slowly as he kept moving, the hesitant pace he'd set in order for him not to lose his balance as he walked carried over to his thoughts as well. Each step took him forward with his sandals clicking on the stone floor, the sound insuring to the teen that it was floor and not torn parts of his kalasiris underfoot. The cloth he knew would trip him and tripping was bad, Yugi added to himself while trying to keep it all in synch with how his feet moved.

But the tray was trembling in his tired arms. Yugi paused, flickering his gaze nervously down to the rattling of things shifting about, the glance to make sure that nothing was in danger of falling off. His examination found neither the water nor basket of meat to be in any danger, he certainly hadn't filled the glass very much nor was the meat looking unstable enough to be spilled over the edges. Especially since, during preparation, Yugi was already planning on being exceedingly careful not to spill any of that food when he was moving...

Relieved he looked up again toward the doorway, heading for it once more. The teen more feeling his way along with his feet now as he started off. He was used to doing that when he carried food, especially when he was going down the stairs at the other end of the pillared hall. Only right then Yugi wasn't going there, since he'd discerned earlier that Khenemet was in that room working on his new kalasiris again. So he cheerily had figured that she would still be there focused on her work. He wasn't going to interrupt that to make her come get the food...no matter what the situation.

Despite that Yugi could feel his arms protesting against the bulky weight he was carrying for like the fifth time that day. He wasn't going to stop though, Khenement needed to have her food too and, as far as Yugi felt, it was only fair that he bring it to her since she was making him that kalasiris. Right?

I'd say so, Yugi thought while he reached the doorway to the other hallway, turning to step sideways through for he knew from experience it was the only way the trays would fit past the doorways. Yugi froze as the tip of the tray bumped into the doorframe, but then a rather loud scratching noise reached his ears. The high pitched noise filled his head and Yugi shuddered at the awful racket with a pout as he wondered why the trays had to keep doing that. The grating sound had been bad enough the first time for him to yelp in shock while not knowing what it was.

Why does it always have to? He wondered while bracing himself to continue moving, the sound echoing into the air again as he hurriedly stepped through the doorway. Actually fitting between the door frame was a tight squeeze which had the tray edge pressing unpleasantly into Yugi arms, forming a reddening a ridge on his skin as circulation was cut off in the brief moment. He bit at his lip with his violet eyes locked firmly on the doorframe, his gaze shining there in pain from the ache running through his limbs.

"There's got to be a better way." He lamented as he squeaked the rest of the way past the door, where he paused to glance at the doorway. The teen hadn't really given much thought to that before since his arms hadn't felt this bad, they'd just kept aching more each day as he went without rest. The tray shook unsteadily in his grasp then, reminding him that he was still carrying the awkward item. Yugi was so tempted to just set it down and carry everything separately no matter how many trips it took!

The thought had Yugi seriously beginning to consider making three trips instead of just one. He definitely hoped that it would be easier. His aching limbs having such a heaviness that Yugi was faltering in discontentment, thinking that he should be able to do more than that. It was the beginning of his second week here after all, shouldn't he be able to do more than this?

At least he was past the worst doorway now! He smiled, his relief lighting up his face pleasantly, the expression growing more prominent and joyful as Yugi agreed with himself to remember next time to make more trips! Yugi was nearly beaming in satisfaction at that decision as he looked away from the obstacle he'd just left behind. His violet gaze landing immediately upon his destination, his eyes widening while the rest of his features turned to disappointment as he saw the closed door in his path.

He would have to open doors now too? Yugi wasn't so sure that he'd be able to lift the tray afterwards no matter what he did, be that set the tray down or just lift it enough so he could reach the door. Yugi pouted cutely, the expression turned to the door though it would do no good. He didn't want to have to stop now! There were only two more doors then he would be done... Yugi was rather disappointed but he didn't have a choice, did he?

Slowly, with his movements kept as smooth as he could manage, the teen knelt on the ground and lowered the tray. His arms hadn't hurt too much when Yugi hadn't been moving them but they ached worse after the extra exertion, getting Yugi to wince with a trickle of tears escaping as pain went up his stiff arms.

That had really hurt! He thought while he bent down to get rid of some of the stress on his limbs. There he settled the tray to the ground and pulled his arms back, relieving himself of the burden of the bulky tray.

Yugi sat back on the ground, he barely noticed the hard floor under him as he focused more on the relief flowing through him. Yugi glanced down, blinking at his arms while being aware of the ache in them subsiding away until only a faint stiffness remained to plague him. Yugi brought his arm up carefully, hand to his mouth hiding his smile, but his gaze brightening to gleam with relief as the answering ache wasn't anywhere near as bad as it had been before.

Maybe he really should quit using the tray... Yugi lowered his hand as he considered that, still resting there without a sign of planning to move. Delivering the monsters's food might take forever then but wouldn't it be faster that way since it might leave him still able to pick up the food? The thought made lots of sense to Yugi even though that wasn't what he was supposed to be doing right then. He did have to get Khenemet her food...

Yugi reached out to snag the glass of water from the tray, planning to move the tray later once Khenemet had her food. He carefully got his feet under himself, slowly pushing his way back to his feet. The teen briefly taking a moment to be glad that his legs weren't sore like his arms. Yugi didn't have any idea what he'd do then, and he didn't want to have to find out since he had so much to do.

Like stepping over the tray of food as he moved toward the bathing chamber doors. Yugi fell into a hesitant pace, one like he'd had before. Though it didn't seem to take him long in reaching the door and he pushed open the door gently with his freehand. Yugi almost stumbled as the door seemed to give away, swinging open with an unexpected ease which had him gasping worriedly as he staggered forward. His attention shifting swiftly to the glass as he tried to keep the water from spilling out.

He found his footing with another hurried step, the swaying of his balance halting even as Yugi wasn't quick enough to stop a little water being splashed. Moisture sank into his kalasiris and he shivered at the chill spreading deeper into his skin.

Another shiver went through Yugi, while his eyes dropped sheepishly to check on the glass. The teen's worried gaze drifting over the glass which was tightly gripped between shaking hands, the water within trembling but not enough so that he couldn't tell how much had been spilt. Though there was clearly still enough liquid in the container. The realization abated Yugi's fears and his features filled with a brightness. As he didn't even consider how much easier that had been with his hands free.

Yugi just looked up again to where the rug had been pulled aside from the bedchamber door, his glance noting that this door too was closed. Not wasting a moment, he walked over toward it and rested his hand against it. This time Yugi pushed the smooth door open much more gently, letting the door glide open silently before him.

"Here's som...." Yugi began as he stepped inside, trailing off his words even as he froze with his glance around the room stopping on the form sprawled out on the floor. Her hazel eyes were blocked from his view by her eyelids and the makings of the kalasiris was left carelessly bundled up in her lap. Even her wings were laid carefully on the floor, partly spread in the small space she had to lay them out.

A soft smile graced his face, showing his heartfelt joy at the sight of the sleeping Khenemet. So this was good, very good! There was no way Yugi would wake her, he didn't want to! Not since he was glad to see her like that for a change, it wasn't something he'd seen happen often anymore since she'd started on the kalasiris. Yugi figured they could always reheat the food later when she woke up, she did need the rest after all. Food could wait.

It had to be uncomfortable on the floor, he decided though he was not thrilled by the fact that there was little he could do about that without waking her. He was still smiling as he stepped past Khenemet to set the glass of water by the bed so that it would be safe from being knocked over by her or him. Turning from doing that, Yugi swiftly tugged the sheet from the bed an idea having formed. He could happily at least make sure that Khenemet wouldn't be too cold laying there.

He stayed carefully silently through that as he knelt beside her there, gently placing the sheet over her form to keep her warm. Yugi spread the fabric out for a moment to make sure she was covered then carefully tucked her in. "There, that's better I think." He whispered very softly, still more content to know that his friend was resting... "Good night, Khenemet." Yugi added as he got back to his feet, not pausing before stepping over her and heading for the door. He didn't want to disturb her any further, he'd be happier to let her wake on her own.

Yugi made his way back to where he'd left the rest of the food. Picking up the basket first, he carried one thing at a time back to the kitchen. Which seemed to him the best place for food and set the items safely by the main cooking pit before returning to collect the tray. These trips turning out to be easier for him, his arms certainly weren't aching as much carrying things in this manner. Not that Yugi noticed the difference much, but there was a soft joy written all over his features as he picked up the tray, clutching it to himself as he started to head back to the kitchen. The teen was not really paying as much attention to his sore limbs now that other things were on his mind. Even his pace was quicker than before and he soon was laying the tray down on the shelves.

Yugi stopped then to stare rather blankly around at the kitchen, uncertain about what to do next and it showed as he stepped back away from the cooking materials. The teen had eaten enough already that he wasn't hungry and Yugi wanted to do something that didn't involve the kitchen or waking Khenemet. Though he would have liked to have some company, someone to take his mind off of the emptiness he felt. But Yugi's gaze turned thoughtful in the knowledge that he was on his own.

Like so many other times in his life loneliness settled upon his shoulders and Yugi stepped back rather firmly against the cool stone wall. The cold cutting through him almost as much as the emptiness did and Yugi shut his eyes in response, even biting at his lip to keep sadness at bay. Though it wasn't working at all. As seconds crept by, he was just still warmed from the work he'd been doing.

He opened his eyes again, the violet of them glinting sadly as he looked around the kitchen. The loneliness unpleasant to him, his eyes took in everything but found nothing that caught his interest except for the cool wall behind his back. The chill feeling was rather refreshing to Yugi, though it wasn't doing anything to chase away the loneliness it did make him feel better to have that unwavering support.

His tears dissipated at the fact there was something holding him up, that maybe he wasn't so alone. Even if it was just a wall Yugi grinned with hope for some of the loneliness had left, his heart lightening a little more from the comfort. Yugi hesitantly pushed off from the wall, his expression lighter and his features covered with cheerfulness that reached right to his violet eyes and stronger footsteps.

Just because he was alone didn't mean he had to feel so empty. Yugi smiled brightly as he stood more certainly in the center of the kitchen, not sure where to start but an idea was forming.

A bath, since he was probably all dirty the idea made sense. Yugi rather wanted to be clean, the idea being welcomed by his bright features as he knew there wasn't anything that could be as nice as washing up would be right then. Maybe he could wash away some of the aches! He really hoped so, those were something Yugi was really tired of...

Happy with his idea, the brightly expressive Yugi moved toward the wall that held hidden the stores of water. He'd passed the cleaning pit many times before, enough that he knew that the water there was getting old and too dirty for use. Fresh water was needed in there before he would be able to clean up. Which was why Yugi made his way over to the rug on the wall, slipping beyond, both it and the door, like he'd seen Khenemet do many times before. Something he never got much chance to do since the girl more often beat him to it, like this morning.

Yugi went straight for the nearest bucket, stopping once he reached it and peering into it's confines. The teenager blinking down several times at the empty interior before turning to the next bucket, only to find it just as empty as the first. Worried now, Yugi began walking to circle around the room, heading for each container that was supposed to be holding the liquid. But he wasn't finding any water within the buckets.

His concern growing in bounds, he headed to the last bucket only to have his heart sink at the sight of the empty container.

They were totally out of water?! Yugi sighed softly, his features reflecting a disappointment that could have been contagious if anyone else was there. He had really wanted a bath! It was kind of out of reach now until there was water for him to use. Yugi merely glanced around at the buckets, his violet eyes resting lightly upon one small enough for him to handle quickly enough. He smiled a bit at the sight of a bucket he could manage carrying without any trouble and moved, letting himself hurry over toward the container.

Heading over to it he wanly put off any thoughts of cleaning himself, favoring instead getting the buckets refilled. Which made more sense to him, particularly because he didn't want to have to do this too many times. So filling them all now was better for Yugi and he hurriedly snagged the little bucket when he reached it.

Yugi held tight to the container as he spun swiftly from the room, heading out at a lively pace. The teen being exceedingly eager to get that water from the well, there was even a curiosity blossoming at the idea of being able to explore the last of the dwelling. Yugi hesitated for he hadn't expected that delighting interest but he was then rushing out the door and then down the stairs. He breezed past the resting monsters with only the barest glance to see how they were doing.

Most of them were resting as he went, leaving them behind as he took the familiar corridor down toward the cage holding the half-woman archer. It was almost habit that Yugi slowed, his feet still falling in a hurried pattern though he wasn't on the verge of running anymore. His violet eyes turned from the path he was following to take a look at the clam shell. The exterior as firmly shut as it had been since the creature had spoken to him, there wasn't a sign that she'd opened her shell. Only his seeking gaze found her food missing, Yugi hoped that she had just taken it into her shell. He didn't want to think about the idea that someone might have gotten the snack. It was supposed to be her's!

Yugi blinked as he realized that he'd stopped in front of the cage. He hesitated a moment longer there, eyeing the clam for signs of life though he wasn't given any to ponder. Not even a hint about where the food had gone. "I hope you got it okay." He told the shell, pausing for a response only to be answered by the sounds of monsters further back moving around. Disappointed by the lack of...anything...Yugi turned away, sheepishly laughing at himself as he had to tear his curious gaze from the mysterious shell.

He was thinking to continue on his way for a moment, but his mind was frozen then. 'Sounds not, there is some. Unless slipped might not be, only just not that way.' It might have been a memory but Yugi distinctly recalled the words almost too loudly to just be thinking them.

Startled, Yugi turned back to the cage, his eyes widening expectantly as he thought to see the archer out of her shell. His mind silently praying that he'd really heard the speech instead of having just remembered what she'd said before. His violet eyes sought out the shell, landing on the object which was clamped shut without any signs of having been open for the creature inside to speak. There wasn't even a breath of air from the cage...

His hope drooped along with his face, his expression filling with confusion. Did I imagine it? Yugi wondered softly in his head as he turned his wide eyed stare from the cell, not moving away immediately. The words the archer monster had spoken were back in his head, wanting to be answered but there was no meaning to them that Yugi could tell and his features twisted up in confusion. 'Sounds not, there is some. Unless slipped might not be, only just not that way.' Yugi thought softly as he tried to make sense of the twisted statements but coming up with the same results as always before. He had no idea what *that* meant! It could mean anything right?

Yugi shook his head deciding that it would come to him if it was important for him to know. Hoping that was true, Yugi moved away from the cages again. His pace somewhat slower now as he wound his way through the stone hallway with a thoughtful look to his eyes and features as he was still thinking about the archer's strange words.

In his distracted state Yugi didn't really notice the distance that he was covering. One moment he was just leaving the cages, then...

Yugi blinked as a raised circle of stones that delineated the well came into view as he rounded a corner. The stones were set carefully to form the wall, it was one of the few things there that didn't appear to be carved out.

He hesitated a moment in disbelief, confusion prominent mostly as he looked back over his shoulder to see that he was well out of view of the cages. Something he hadn't been expecting and he did a double-take both directions in surprise, not sure if he believed what he'd been seeing. But the well was there and Yugi started forward to where it was set at the end of the corridor in a low alcove.

Approaching the set, he could see more clearly a pulley fastened into the roof only it was becoming clear to him as he got closer that said alcove was still bigger than he was!

Yugi didn't think anything of it, but he instead walked over to the stone wall engulfing the well. His gaze trailed over the two ends of the rope attached to the pulley, following them down into the silent depths as they were swallowed by the darkness below. Not a sound or sight of the sought after water reached his gaze. Everything just spiraled down there, pulling his gaze to the pure blackness until Yugi was leaning forward to try and see...anything.

Startled out of his curiosity by the alarming depth of his downward peering, the teen looked back up to the rope. Yugi shuddered as he remembered the last time he'd pulled on any rope around there, his nose wrinkling cutely at the thoughts of the smelly trunk he'd ended up with in his hands that time. That had been icky as far as he was concerned, Yugi severely hoped right now that there wouldn't be something like that at the end of these ropes too!

Hesitantly he set the bucket down, slowly drawing up one end of the rope. Hand-over-hand he drug it up, his face set in concentration for Yugi was trying not to think about the last time he'd done something like this.

I don't want to find something like that ever, ever again. Yugi told himself as he was careful not to reach down into the darkness, too nervous about what his fingers might find if he did try that. Each time his fingers got close to the darkened depths the teen trembled and reached back up further to grab another handful from the pulley.

Would there be another trunk at the end? Yugi wondered for the umpteenth time, not liking that idea even as a second question found room to fit into the mess of thoughts that ran through his speeding mind. Would it be as bad as last time? He couldn't answer them, that uncertainty reflected in his wide eyes as they nervously shifted about at the darkness in the well. Yugi was unable to help searching for signs of another trunk threatening to appear, though he was also still hoping that maybe something not bad would be at the end.

By then he'd drawn up lots of that rope, the coils falling to disappear back down into the depths on the other side of the pulley. He just kept at it, inwardly nervous though as the lengths of what he'd pulled up previously vanished into the darkness. Yugi was beginning to not be sure what to think. The rope just kept coming up without any signs of an end that he could tie the bucket to. The well couldn't be bottomless right? He wondered as he paused in his pulling to look downward, his nervous being joined by an intense curiosity about where the end of the rope was.

The teen drew back to firmly pull at the rope, more curious now than nervous. Where was the end? He wondered as he went back for another pull, that tug sending the end of the rope almost flying into his face. Yugi recoiled startled into trembling too much to keep his balance and he went down, gasping in, as the rope rattled roughly through the pulley, the weight on the other end pulling to knotted end Yugi's just found to slam against the pulley.

Yugi glanced up as the pulley rattled, his eyes widening as the pulley tilted unnervingly creaking as it threatened to be pulled out by the awkward weight. The teen froze for a moment at the sounds which seemed to be indicating that the pulley was about to be ripped free and disappear into darkness with the rope, leaving everyone without water. It can't, that wouldn't be good, Yugi half-panicked as he knew that, but for a moment he could only watch the pulley in worry. The item rocking slightly with another long creak filling the air and spurring more concern through him, finally making him able to move and he scrambled to his feet, levering himself up faster by grabbing at the wall of the well. Yugi knowing full well that he couldn't afford to lose that rope.

His eyes were wide with that knowledge as he stretched to reach for the knot, desperately grabbing at it, his fingers closing about the knobby ties on the first try. A relieved sigh rushed from Yugi's lungs. His eyes filled with that single emotion as he pulled the knot to himself in order to cling to the rope, not intending to lose it easily.

With the weight balanced again, the pulley righted itself ceasing the creaking and leaving Yugi's ears to silence. The quiet merely adding to his relief that it hadn't been anything worse than that. The pulley surely wouldn't have given way...

It couldn't have. Yugi thought while his attention slowly diverted to the bucket still waiting by his feet to be filled. He had to get this done before anything else happened! Yugi quickly bent down, pulling down more rope to slip through the bucket's handle. He tied the bucket securely before picking it up to position it over the well, slowly lowering it into the well.

Hand-over-hand this time he let the bucket drop until it was heavy enough to slide without his help. Yugi kept his hands on the rope so that it wouldn't fall too quickly into whatever water was below. Compared to the time it took for him to pull the rope up, it was much shorter going down, as proven by how soon a plunk followed by a splash drifted up out of the darkness to Yugi. The rope stopped a moment then started to sink some more, Yugi assuming that it had to have been due to water filling the container. The teen hurriedly stopped the rope to keep it from sinking any farther into the water.

Yugi waited more though to be sure that the bucket was filled all the way, only then did he tug at the rope. His arms aching once more at the heavy weight they were dragging up and Yugi winced at the hurt, not liking it but he didn't see much choice if he was going to fill the buckets. He just gritted his teeth before pulling long and as hard as he could. Yugi literally felt like he was dragging all the water up with the bucket, pain was lancing quite thoroughly through his arms. The sensation hurting almost as much as when he'd been setting the tray down in the hallway.

Tears of hurt and determination welled up in his violet eyes, there wasn't any way Yugi was giving up and he reached up to get another grip, then pulled. He got part way through dragging that length of rope down when pain shot through his arms, his arms and shoulders being painfully yanked upwards as the rope violent jerked to a halt.

Yugi cried outloud, his voice laced with pain and shock as he clutched ever tighter at the trembling rope. That hurting dominating his senses, searing through him more than anything he'd ever experienced. It tore his attention straight to it and he couldn't focus on anything else for the split moment it started. His eyes watered from the pain until tears fell and he shut his eyes tightly with a hurt whimper, clutching even tighter at the rope as that single jolt of pain that had shot from his hands right up to his shoulders began to subside. By then any progress he'd been making had stopped, not that Yugi really cared at the moment.

He sobbed softly for he just wanted the horrid pain to finish going away. It was at least fading fast, but a last tear crept down his face after the few others that had gotten free. The tear fell away from his features as the pain abated it's fiery wrath from his senses. Yugi groaned as he blinked his eyes open to the blurry vision left in the wake of the tears. He sniffled softly but bit at his lip as he blinked his sight clear.

What had that been? He wondered without letting go of his lip, his emotions too jumbled for him to make heads or tails of. But mostly he was scared to the point of giving a tremble over the thought that whatever had just happened could occur again.

He didn't want it too! Yugi tugged at the rope, wanting to make it move for he want to get the bucket back up there as fast as he could. Only the rope didn't move, puzzling over that Yugi put all his weight behind pulling but the rope just slid through his fingers as he couldn't hold on tight enough to budge it that way. The teen only succeeded in off-balancing himself, the world tilting around Yugi as he almost sent himself tumbling backward onto his rear. The grasp he had on the rope being the one thing that kept him from actually falling backwards.

Yugi got his feet under himself again, his heart pounding a bit but it swiftly calmed. Though that wasn't helping with the bucket! He tugged futilely on the rope knowing that it wouldn't work. It has to be stuck on something, he decided as he let go of that end of the rope. All he could think of was trying to stir around the bucket end to try and get it loose. He caught at the part of the rope, shoving it away from the wall of the well, tugging once that was done to see if that had gotten it loose.

To his delight the bucket gave, coming up a fraction...

To his horror he was unable to let go in time before the rope was suddenly wrenched back. The motion ripping him suddenly forward against the wall of the well, he yelped in shock as his legs met hard stone. His left hand slipping free then of suddenly still rope to frantically reach for the stone but the rope jerked again. Yugi was already terrified but the fright surged as this time he was pulled over the wall too far...his eyes widening, with his mouth opening to echo his frightened expression, as he toppled forward, losing his grip on the cord as he went into the well with a scared cried!

As the darkness below filled his vision, a sudden growl from the depths rose up to meet and join with his own outburst...

To Be Continued!

A/N: Ahem, a rather literal meaning of cliffhanger. However I have a question... Does anyone want me to put Yami in a chapter sooner than when I have planned? It would seriously take away from the affect when Yami and Yugi do meet, which is why *I* don't want to do it...
Er....anyway, please review.