This fic will have Puzzleshipping and Tendershipping…and a lot of other random stuff…just a heads up for those who don't like that sort of thing…
Yu-Gi-Oh! Zero Hearts:
The bell rang to signal the start of lunch break, it's loud buzzing echoing through the quickly filling halls of Domino Senior High School as the students rushed out of the classrooms with bright, excited smiles on their faces—there was a big game of basketball, girls vs. boys, planned for that afternoon and nobody could wait to get in on the action. Nobody except one spiky haired boy by the name of Mutou Yuugi who was completely absorbed in building up the large castle of cards that he had been working on since their teacher had run out of the classroom—to help break up a fight in the courtyard directly below their classroom—and was quite happy to continue doing until lunch was over.
"Oi Mutou-Kun," One of the boys, a stocky brunette with dark brown eyes, heading outside called for him. Yuugi looked up, and sighed quietly to himself as his castle fell apart, but his classmate continued in his strangely unassuming voice, "Why not join us for a game?"
"No, it's alright…the team I'm on would loose the game…" Yuugi laughed nervously and threaded his nimble fingers through his extravagant tricolored hair—multiple layers with long blond locks for his fringe, the rest featuring five casually tousled spikes colored black with a magenta sheen along the edges—in an attempt to distract himself from the sight of his ruined challenge.
"That's true enough!" He laughed, spinning the orange rubber ball on the tip of his index finger, before running out of the classroom with a quick shout of, "See ya' later."
Yuugi's pale amethyst eyes sparkled with an almost childlike innocence as he turned to stare down through his heavy, dark eyelashes that made it seem as if someone had outlined his eyes in kohl at the shining golden puzzle—a beautifully crafted inverted pyramid—hanging from the sturdy strip of brown leather around his neck. He idly traced the raised Egyptian eye on the puzzle's face and laughed softly at the way it seemed to tingle beneath the sensitive pads of his fingers in time with the gentle rhythm of his heartbeat, wondering if he should have agreed to come and play with everyone.
Shaking his head, Yuugi stifled another laugh at the very thought of him being able to join in—just because one person had asked him didn't mean the others would have agreed—and pulled his pale green backpack to sit in his lap as he began to slowly gather to customized playing cards scattered over his desk. Small hands sliding and shuffling them into a neat stack before wrapping a perfectly stretchy elastic band—a strange reddish orange in colour—around the deck with three precise twists of his fingers and a satisfied smile on his childlike face.
A larger, slightly calloused, hand invaded his field of vision as it waved back and forth teasingly in front of his face before reaching down to snatch up the deck of playing cards—made of a precious, yet sturdy, glass and imported into Japan by his grandpa as birthday gift—long fingers sliding over the Egyptian designs printed on the backs. The small sixteen year old looked up from his task, surprised to find that someone had stayed behind in the classroom with him until he noted that it was in fact a very familiar blonde with fiery chestnut brown eyes, a look that seemed a mixture of amusement and mischief plastered on his admittedly handsome face.
"Ah, what is it Jounouchi-Kun?" Yuugi asked meekly, childish voice wavering in hesitant curiosity as the other turned to stare down at him with a grin promising all sorts of trouble that Yuugi knew he should be wary of. Jounouchi Katsuya was generally a nice guy and quite laid back about things that would make other people upset, easy to talk to, but still the sort of person who wouldn't hesitate to wallop someone just for the hell of it and therefore not someone people wanted to associate themselves with.
Jounouchi smirked and looked down at him, one dark brow twitching sporadically as his sharp hearing caught Yuugi's rather undignified whimper, pointedly ignoring Yuugi's question as he asked one of his own, "Why're ya always playing with these pointless kiddy toys?"
"…I like games…" He defended himself, and his hobbies, weakly trying to snatch the cards back from one of the people he could hesitantly, silently, refer to as a friend.
"That's why nobodies gonna' want ya ta hang out with 'em," The blonde said with a casual shrug, elaborating at Yuugi's questioning look, "Yer always acting like some wimpy little squirt."
"But…I don't like fighting or violence or any of those sorts of things Jounouchi-Kun…"
"Which is an admirable trait in its own right, little Yuugi-Kun!" A brunette boy with his fringe gelled upwards into a singular, rather ridiculous, spike declared from his position by the blackboard where he had previously been attempting to scrub away the chalk marks. Clenching a fist before his face, he directed his bright green eyes towards the ceiling as if it made his statement more important and bounced over to stand behind Jounouchi with a grin.
"Oh, it's the first year class president reject, our very own student janitor Honda Hiroto-Kun~" Jounouchi said cheekily, winking at Yuugi as if encouraging him to join in on tormenting his best friend.
"I'm not a janitor; I'm a beautification club member!" Honda shouted heatedly, continuing despite Jounouchi and Yuugi's attempts at recovering from the earsplitting noise, "And I may have been rejected for class president but I am not disappointed, I have been reborn a new man through beautification!"
"Your voice is too loud Honda…ya don't need ta yell so much." Jounouchi grumbled, idly dangling the deck just out of Yuugi's reach as the much smaller boy jumped for it, hands grasping desperately at the corners before he slipped back down to the floor with a weak laugh.
"And you don't need to pick on people weaker than you Jounouchi Katsuya!" A young girl wearing the basic blue blazer and skirt combination of Domino High growled, her saccharine soprano voice reaching a shrill note that Yuugi—had he not been switching between bristling over being called weak and being inexplicably pleased his childhood crush was sticking up for him—would have found extremely impressive as she stepped in to the classroom.
"Lighten up a little Mazaki, ya don't need ta be runnin' around like ya just lost ya head!" Jounouchi drawled back at her, relaxing into a habitual slouch as he finished with a mumbled, "I was jus' tryin' ta make Yuugi a man after all…"
The brown haired girl glared icily at him as she wandered over to the desk beside Yuugi's gifting him with a sweet, almost sisterly, smile as she placed her empty bentou box on the wooden surface and began sifting through her bag in search of something before pausing with a strange shimmer in her warm brown eyes. Yuugi's smile brightened dramatically as he noticed where her gaze had landed and cupped his treasure between the palms of his hands, halting his attempts to get back his deck as he spoke up, "You like my puzzle Anzu-Chan?"
"Hai, it really suits you Yuugi! I've never seen you wear it before though, is it new?"
"Iie, I just figured out how to put it together but I've had it for the last eight years." He said with a sheepish laugh. "Nobodies been able to finish it for almost 3,000 years…mostly because it was stuck in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings and Grandpa's friend was the one who found it."
"That's so cool!" Anzu exclaimed cheerfully, fingering the puzzle before pulling her hand back quickly with a look of shock on her pretty face and saying softly, "It zapped me…"
"Ah! It doesn't like being touched by anyone but me…weird I know…but…" Yuugi trailed off realizing exactly what he had just said as the other three stared at him in disbelief. He stepped back slightly, stroking his thumb over the puzzle—it had begun to thrum faster and faster in a reaction to his fear—in a futile attempt to calm it. He had to admit he'd been rather freaked out when it had started reacting to his touch but he'd gotten used to it already and he winced, mentally berating himself for forgetting that the others' wouldn't understand it's…Shadow Powers…as his grandfather had called it, before glancing shyly up at the silent trio.
"Whataya mean 'it don't like', the thing ain't possessed is it?" Jounouchi asked almost nervously and Honda turned an incredulous stare to the blonde as he reached out to cuff him upside the head, an eyebrow raised in incredulousness.
Anzu gave a small laugh, and stated calmly as she could in that rather awkward situation, "It's probably just made of some sort of weird metal that reacts to touch…or something…right Yuugi?"
"Yeah, that's exactly what I meant!" Yuugi said, nodding his agreement vigorously on the outside while mentally giving a sigh of relief as their expressions morphed back into nothing but vague curiosity—and some embarrassed suspicion on Jounouchi's part.
With a pleased giggle Anzu turned back to her bag and gave a cry of triumph as she pulled out what appeared to be a letter addressed to their math teacher Ishida who would be taking class 1b in the next session. Yuugi watched in confusion as she skipped over to the desk and laid the letter out in plain view of anyone who went to stand behind it before giving him an apologetic grin and walking back over to ruffle his hair.
Flushing a vibrant shade of pink, Yuugi whispered hesitantly, "Anzu-Chan?"
"I'm sorry Yuugi; I've got to go early today as well so we can't walk home together." She said sweetly, sending a harsh glare in Jounouchi's direction as she spat out, "If I catch you messing with Yuugi again you are going to be in big trouble!"
And with that Anzu left the classroom again, sighing in either exasperation or irritation—Yuugi thought it was more likely the latter than the former—as she strode confidently down the hall. Jounouchi seemed to notice this as well and asked, "Any of ya notice that Mazaki's been acting a little strange lately, stranger than normal?"
"She doesn't visit our game shop as often lately…"
Jounouchi's only response was to laugh heartily and make a rather odd remark, "I hope she hasn't been dating fer pay."
Honda looked insulted by the very idea and shouted his protest, "What are you saying? Our fair school doesn't have those…those sorts!"
"But there've been rumors that some girls here've done that for a pocket money…" Jounouchi pointed out, playfully shuffling Yuugi's cards as he snapped off the rubber band. His expression turned thoughtful as he cast a sly glance to the brunette fuming behind him and brought up one such rumor, "Some say Nosaka Miho-Chan from our class, y'know the student librarian, is doing it too."
"M-my beautiful-l Miho-Chan is too p-pure and innocent to ever do tha-tha-that! Take back your heinous accusations-s or I'll kick your ass, here and n-now!" Honda spluttered, eye widening to a comical extent as he waved his arms around wildly in a way that only Yuugi seemed to find threatening, the tall blonde just looked amused.
"Yer so naïve, ya know that?" Jounouchi sighed, shaking his head in over dramatized exasperation. He went on, blithely ignoring Yuugi and Honda's attempts to interrupt, "The lunch Nosaka-Chan and Mazaki bought themselves today were the top level bentou that hardly anyone's ever tasted before! They must be getting' that sorta' cash from somewhere. "
"Wait you mean…the fabled stamina bentou?" Honda asked, eyes widening further as Jounouchi nodded and gave him the most serious look Yuugi had ever seen the other boy wear.
He supposed it was now or never. If he wanted to find out the answer to his own question he'd just have to ask them whether he was embarrassed about his ignorance or not, he took a deep breath and murmured quietly, "What is 'dating for pay' anyway?"
"Ya know Yuugi I was thinkin', if ya toughened up a bit more since yer about as frail as a three year old girl, maybe we could hang out sometime." Yuugi's face brightened quickly and fell just as fast, "But ya go and prove me wrong by getting kiddy on me again. Lets go grab lunch already Honda"
With a sigh, Yuugi tried desperately not to cry as the others sauntered out of the room, laughing and joking together the way Yuugi had always wished he could do with someone and yet never had the chance to even try. Anzu was the only friend that he had, his best friend, but even she didn't want to spend time with him any more, he was just to immature in the eyes of others' and it wasn't just his looks that made them think that—his whole personality was wrong.
The bell rang once again and a loud curse reached Yuugi's ears as students began shoving their way back into the classroom, many sweaty and smudged slightly with dirt as they tried desperately to adjust their uniforms before the teacher arrived. Yuugi smiled sadly to himself and pulled out his social studies textbook, freezing in place as he realized Jounouchi had forgotten to give him back his precious cards!
He shook his head as visions of explaining the loss to his disappointed grandpa surfaced in his mind and focused on what he hoped was true. Jounouchi was a nice enough guy; he'd give them back straight after class and even if he didn't they were in the same year, they had desks next to each other, so he could just ask for them back when the blonde arrived. Unfortunately, Yuugi was wrong, Jounouchi Katsuya had completely forgotten about the glass deck shoved carelessly in the pocket of his gakuran as he wandered along the winding back streets towards the burger joint with a distressed Honda—shouting about the wrongs they were committing by skipping afternoon classes—jogging to keep up.
Which was why twenty three minutes and seventeen seconds after school ended he found himself still there and walking towards what he was now sure was his imminent doom as he allowed his wide eyes to trail over the hulking forms of the muscle bound brutes lounging lazily against the wall behind the gym. Yuugi knew he shouldhave waited— shouldhave stayed by the gates and waited a few minutes longer in case Jounouchi returned but the dark storm clouds brewing overhead had made him nervous and so when Ushio had approached him with that kind smile he had lost his sense of self preservation to fear and followed along like a gullible child.
"Ushio-Senpai, what's going on?" Yuugi asked the tall senior, swallowing thickly passed the lump that had lodged itself in his throat out of fear.
"This." He said simply, still smiling that warm, welcoming smile, and gestured towards the building with a wave of his large hand. Beady gray eyes sparkled triumphantly as they looked down at him, hiding the malicious thoughts of their owner from discovery behind a mask of pleasantness.
Yuugi was horrified by what he saw when Ushio stepped back behind him, preening like a particularly pleased peacock as he did so: Jounouchi and Honda lying on the ground, bodies twisted into impossible positions with heavy ropes tied around their wrists, painfully cutting into the smooth flesh, and dark bruises standing out starkly against their sickly pale skin. The dull gray shades the world had descended into didn't help block the scene, or the gruesome sight of blood spilt on the muddy grass beneath his feet, at all.
Screaming their names, he rushed over to the two beaten boy with a look of pure, unadulterated terror blossoming on his childlike face—thunder clapping loudly in the distance and icy raindrops pelting the earth—and frightened, confused tears streaming down his cheeks. Turning to Ushio he asked cautiously, still recovering from shock, "What happened to them?"
"I've been punishing these bullies for you Yuugi-Kun." The blue haired male smiled. "They deserved what they got here, bullying is wrong and against public moral."
"No…Ushio-Senpai, this is just the same as bullying!" He shouted back, eye wide with fear and sweat beading on the back of his neck as he stumbled closer to the only conscious member of the restrained duo.
Jounouchi looked up into Yuugi's eyes, chestnut boring into frightened lavender angrily, with a scowl on his face and wheezed out, "Yuugi…are ya satisfied with this?"
"You…do you really think I would ask for something this cruel to happen to you Jounouchi-Kun?"
"You know we're not quite done with the punishing." Ushio said with a wicked smirk, continuing in a low drawl meant to send chills down Yuugi's spine, "And I believe I'm going to need 200,000 yen from you as payment if you want us to leave them alone."
Yuugi was scared, no he was terrified, for his classmates' safety and quickly threw himself in front of them, his arms outstretched and a determined frown on his face, as if to shield them from the much larger senior looming over them. Eyes squeezing shut as he desperately fought back a flinch, Yuugi yelled, "Stop it!"
"Well, well Yuugi-kun. Are you going to pay up? Or do we have to keep at it…" Came the threatening response
"There's no way I could let you do that to my friends!" Yuugi yelled, and although he couldn't hear it, Jounouchi repeated his words in a pained whisper. He stared up at Ushio defiantly as he choked the words passed his suddenly dry throat, "I'll…I'll get you your money Ushio-Senpai…but…I don't have that much…"
Ushio merely laughed at his efforts, "What a weird guy you are Yuugi-Kun, friends? They're bullies who exploited you." His expression turned calculating. "And I'll let you pay me, but I need to make sure you won't blab…"
He found himself trembling, knees weak and arms held defensively over his head, as Ushio pulled out a thin, dangerous looking blade that clicked into place with a metallic, scarping, sound that had Yuugi flinching and whimpering in fright. Within seconds a loud squelch from tennis shoes moving swiftly over grass soaked with thick, strangely sticky, mud permeated the muffled silence and Ushio was upon him laughing like a maniac, knife in hand.
"Maybe I'll give you a tattoo to remember!" He shouted gleefully and let his fist fly forward, taking pleasure in the agonized cry Yuugi gave as it impacted with the tender flesh of his cheek.
Wide eyes met as he fell to the ground—one set red ringed lightly with kohl, the other his own pale purple—and suddenly Ushio paused, fists still positioned to deliver the final blow, and turned around to face the shadowy figure that stood, much to both Ushio and Yuugi's surprise, twirling the brute's penknife around his nimble fingers. He walked, almost glided, around the shocked Ushio and stood over Yuugi's body with a strange look on his handsome face as he made disapproving cluck of his tongue, directed at the muscular blue haired brute towering above them.
The strange boy kneeled down beside him, crimson eyes glittering with something close to possessiveness, and brushed Yuugi's unruly, blood matted hair out of his face tenderly with a small half-smirk on his tanned face as he leaned forward to press a kiss to his forehead and whispered in his husky, lightly accented voice, "Nobody can hurt you now my precious light, I won't let them."
His face was so similar to his Yuugi couldn't help but think he was staring up at himself and the shadows smeared across those familiar cherubic features failing to disguise the strange, demonic, color of his eyes only made that thought all the more disturbing. Yuugi shuddered as black blurred his vision and he slowly slipped into unconsciousness, beautiful amethyst eyes fluttering closed, despite the sound made when the other delivered his mocking challenge to a shadow game to a bewildered but angry Ushio.