**Spoilers for those who haven't seen the end of Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Monsters ahead**
Yu-Gi-Oh! Zero Hearts:
Yuugi panted softly as he jogged down the street towards his bus stop with his bag slung over his narrow shoulder—hoping no one would notice the tender, quickly yellowing, bruise on his cheek that he had gained just the night before as he idly pressed the tips of his fingers to it with a barely suppressed wince. The rubber soles of his tattered white and gray sneakers tapping loudly against the concrete as he picked up the pace, his pale amethyst eyes widening comically as he was brought face to face with the sight of his school bus pulling away from the stop a good ten minutes earlier than usual.
He skidded across the ground, breath coming in ragged gasps as it jarred his aching ribs, and hurriedly stumbled up the steps, feet clanging on the metal as he went, and through the automatic door of the bus, into the crowded interior, with a relieved smile breaking onto his face. Yuugi quickly maneuvered his way through the numerous passengers with practiced ease and headed towards the empty space towards the back, nodding a greeting to the strangely unfamiliar teenager beside him when he finally found a comfortable, safe, place to stand.
The boy nodded back, smiling brightly and gentle peridot* eyes sparkling with mirth as he gave a quiet chuckle at Yuugi's enthusiastic behavior, disheveled snow white hair falling to frame his oddly pretty heart shaped face as he turned away again—Yuugi was pleased to note that the boy was still smiling. He stared at him with a thoughtful frown, noting how his unusual hair seemed to curl slightly around his shoulders and how pale, foreign, his flawless ivory skin looked when compared to the other people on the bus, before sighing softly and directing his gaze out the window.
He pressed the toe of his left sneaker against the floor, knee bouncing up and down repetitively, and hummed a simple festival tune quietly to himself as he adjusted his bag to sit further up on his back with a soft smile. The bus came to a stop with a soft jerk that's sent him stumbling into the boy beside him—who had tripped and slammed his forehead against the top of Yuugi's head—and smacked his head against a surprisingly smooth, feminine shoulder as the two boys smiled apologetically at each other, rubbing their new aches and trying desperately to stifle the giggles that wanted to escape, before Yuugi grinned at him and made his way off of the stuffy, cramped vehicle.
He walked into the school grounds with a bright smile plastered across his face, trying his best not to listen to the heated whispers spreading between students and teachers alike about Ushio's sudden descent into madness and the strange way he was found—he had coated himself in trash, leaves and other unmentionable things, claiming it was money—earlier that morning. Taking a few steps toward the modern styled building set in the very centre of the large plot of land, he swallowed the growing lump in his throat while glancing down at his puzzle to see the sunlight wash across its golden surface.
"Today should be better than yesterday at least…" He mused quietly as he reached up to finger it lovingly, instantly offering up a lopsided grin as he noticed the curious looks tossed his way by a few of the people walking by him as he began to move again.
The moment he entered the hallway of the first floor, a familiar voice called out to him, "Mornin' Yuugi!"
"Good morning to you too Jounouchi-Kun," Yuugi greeted the taller boy, blowing his unruly golden bangs away from his eyes as he turned to smile at him.
"Y'know I've got something that belongs ta ya…" He said casually, stepping in to walk beside Yuugi as the smaller teen headed for the door of the large classroom that housed a third of Domino High's first year students. Jounouchi smiled apologetically as he pulled something small out of his pocket and sighed, "I forgot I still had when I left yesterday. Sorry 'bout that."
Yuugi's eyes widened in surprise as a familiar deck of cards was held out under his nose in Jounouchi's trembling fingers, he looked up at the blonde with a bright grin that caused Jounouchi to tilt his head to the side—in a way that Yuugi was sure was the same as a puppy who had just been hit on the end of the nose with a newspaper but didn't know why—and stare blankly at him. He couldn't stifle the giggles that wanted to escape at the utterly adorable look on the other boy's face as he spoke, "Its fine Jounouchi-Kun, thank you for giving them back to me."
"That's what friends do right?" The blonde said nervously. "Ya don't need ta thank me."
"Really…we're friends?" Yuugi asked hesitantly, amethyst eyes wide and sparkling with hope.
"'Course w-we are, ya said so l-last night….a-anyway…class's starting!" Jounouchi stuttered—desperately trying to hide the vivid pink blush dusting his cheeks—and started to run away but, as he did so, one of the soft, canvas indoor shoes that he had half-slipped on his feet slid out from under him leaving him skidding across the floor on his sock clad foot.
Yuugi quickly rushed after him, picking up the abandoned shoe with one hand as he ran down the hall, calling worriedly, "Jounouchi-kun, you forgot this!"
Jounouchi turned to walk backwards, almost tripping over his own feet in the process, a thoughtful look on his face and still blushing despite his attempts at forcing it back as he reached out and snatched back his shoe with a grateful smile. Hopping on one foot, Jounouchi pulled it on over his pale gray sock and grinned sheepishly at the people who turned to stare, giggling quietly amongst themselves, at the blonde teen while Yuugi merely shook his head in fond exasperation.
The two walked into the classroom through the already open sliding door and, eyes latching onto his pretty brown haired friend, Yuugi grinned as he practically skipped over to his desk, followed by a snickering Jounouchi who seemed to be watching Honda attempt to talk with a soundly sleeping blue haired girl. He sat down in his uncomfortable plastic chair, carefully stuffing his deck into the smaller section of his backpack. Yuugi paused for a moment at the look that Anzu gave him, returning with his own stare. "What is it Anzu-Chan?"
"I'm guessing that you haven't heard the rumors?"
"I'm not really the type to listen to rumors." Yuugi gave a small laugh. "I did hear about Ushio-Senpai though…"
"We're getting a new student." Anzu sighed, expression turning dreamy as she continued, "A really cute, really smart foreign boy apparently."
"…Really?" He asked shyly, wondering if this new student was the pale, kind, boy from the bus. He nodded to himself; it made sense for him to be a new student really, seeing as he was not only quite exotic in his appearance but also a fifteen—he looked more like he was fourteen in Yuugi's opinion, but then again Yuugi was often mistaken for twelve—year old who caught the same bus s him that he, oddly enough, didn't recognize at all.
"I think ya need to take a break from all this stuff Mazaki, yer gettin' wrinkles." Jounouchi laughed as he leaned over the top of his desk and rubbed the tip of his index finger in the sensitive area between Anzu's eyes, just above the slope of her nose. Anzu smacked him over the head in response.
"Isn't he cute when he thinks?" Honda asked Yuugi playfully, both grinning when Jounouchi turned away from his little talk with Anzu to glare at them suspiciously. The brunette boy fiddled with the perfectly buttoned collar of his gakuran and murmured in his ear, "Do you think…maybe…Jou's got a crush on Mazaki-Chan or something Mutou-Kun?"
Yuugi was unable to answer as their teacher, Chouno, strode into the room with a cheery little wave directed at the students. "Today, let's begin by introducing our new transfer student." Chouno cheered as she twirled a silky auburn curl around her long, delicate fingers. "Please come in, no need to be shy."
Yuugi blinked before looking over at the smiling woman standing in front of the blackboard, long eyelashes fluttering against her cheeks. Running the young teacher's words across his memory, his befuddled thoughts didn't allow him to think all that clearly as he was still stuck on trying to answer Honda—ending with him whispering a rather odd reaction, "Jounouchi-Kun's the transfer student? I thought it was that guy from the bus…"
Honda laughed lightly and reached over—he sat behind him, Jounouchi was beside Honda and Anzu, who sat to Yuugi's left. There was a single empty desk to his right—to ruffle his hair, directing his gaze towards the slowly opening door as a handsome boy with flawless coppered skin and gravity defying tricolored hair stepped into the room with a rather irritated sigh. He lifted a hand to brush his long blonde bangs away from his smoldering crimson eyes before giving the class a frown and something that vaguely resembled a look of incredulousness as he raised one finely arched brow and stared blankly into the whispering crowd of students.
"Everyone this is Amun Atemu-Kun and I hope you'll all treat him with respect." The pretty teacher continued, turning to the blackboard and writing out an odd string of characters that had Yuugi blinking in bewilderment as he read over it. The transfer was definitely foreign.
His name caused some laughs to echo throughout the classroom as some of the students turned to each other and repeated his name curiously, eyes darting back to the board and the teacher waiting impatiently at the front of the class with a wide smile spread over her glossy, red-painted lips. Yuugi found everything about her smile to be terribly discomforting; it was as though she was enjoying the way they were acting towards their new classmate even though she had just finished telling them to be respectful.
"It's…nice…too meet you all." Atemu said curtly, hands smoothing imaginary creases from the front of his formfitting leather top as his ethereal crimson eyes scanned the room absentmindedly.
"Now everyone is free to ask a few, tasteful, questions about Amun-Kun." Chouno said sternly, her saccharine voice holding hints of cyanide promise for those who dared ask something she didn't think was appropriate.
As the first question came up, Anzu's voice carrying over the quiet muttering of the other students, Yuugi perked up again with a small smile. "Where are you from?"
"Khemet…" Atemu replied softly, before sighing and elaborating for the confused first years, "Egypt."
"Are you related to the pharaohs?"
Yuugi blinked, slightly taken aback by the question, before Atemu answered in the same husky monotone he'd used the night before, "Very closely."
There mutters from around the classroom grew in volume and Chouno quickly silenced them with a flippant wave of her hand, her lips parted into an 'oh' of false surprise as she said sweetly, "Please sit next to Mutou-Kun."
Shock came over Yuugi's face as he turned a fetching shade of rosy pink and shakily held his hand up in the air, drawing the calm gaze of the new student towards himself and—despite Yuugi's obvious desire for the floor to open up and swallow him—Atemu's scowl seemed to morph itself into something more welcoming as he walked over to the empty desk. Licking his lips nervously, Yuugi whispered to his new classmate, "Hi I'm Yuugi."
The other gave him a lopsided grin, full lips parting just enough to reveal perfectly straight white teeth, and whispered back, "And, as you are no doubt aware, I'm Atemu. It's nice to meet you Yuugi-Kun."
The day soon came to an end and slowly the stares and giggles directed at Yuugi's seatmate died down into nothing but occasional glances from the curious students around them or soft blushes from young girls who found themselves caught staring by those intense crimson eyes. Jounouchi was stretching his arms out in pleasure as he tried to ease the cramps gained after a long day of sitting hunched over a desk; Yuugi smiled as the blonde gave a happy sigh and turned to him.
"Oi Yuugi, ya wanna stop somewhere on the way home?"
"Sure!" He cheered, looking over his shoulder at his newfound friend, before hesitantly asking the boy beside him, "Would you like to come with us Atemu-Kun?"
"I would like to if Jounouchi-San finds that acceptable." Atemu responded, staring down at his desk with an almost hopeful look on his face.
"Loosen up a little Amun. You and Yuugi get along; I ain't gonna start things off by saying no ta my buddy's new friend." Jounouchi sighed dramatically and Atemu chuckled softly as the blonde sent a smug smile Yuugi's way. "So, where do ya wanna go?"
"We could go to that new place that's just opened–it's called Burger Land I think." Unnoticed by the three boys Anzu gave them an intense stare and gasped in horror when he suggested that particular restaurant. "I've heard their hamburgers are really delicious." Yuugi finished.
"Good idea Yuugi-Kun…" Atemu said with a smile.
"Wait a minute there you lot." The three boys turned to look up at Honda, who was standing with his hands pressed against his hips. Yuugi giggled softly as the brunette growled at Jounouchi, "You shouldn't be teaching our new student to break the rules. You know nobody is allowed to stop after school!"
"Oh, it's the first year class president reject, our very own student janitor, Honda Hiroto-Kun~!" Jounouchi said cheekily, starting off the afternoon with his usual good natured teasing.
"Not a janitor, a beautification club member!"
"Isn't that the same thing?" Atemu asked with a smirk, winking at Jounouchi who howled with laughter at the utterly flabbergasted look on Honda's face. Yuugi assumed he thought Atemu was going to be shy or nervous, he himself could never see that happening after the events of the night before—he was fairly certain his mysterious protector and Atemu were the same person, he would ask later though just to make sure—even if he had passed out before the finale.
"Hold on," Yuugi turned to face Anzu, noting the way her smile seemed to be sickly and a little forced. "Did you say Burger Land?" Yuugi smiled; perhaps he had just imagined it.
"You want to come too, Anzu-Chan?" He asked, desperately trying to ignore Jounouchi's continued snickering and Honda's stuttered denials as Atemu interrogated him about the differences between janitorial duties and beautification.
"Don't joke about something like that! I heard people got sick on the grand opening day and the food's supposed to be terrible." Everyone, including people not included in the conversation who had been loitering around the room, gave her confused glances as she continued in a small voice, "Besides, this morning's news report told us about that dangerous escaped criminal remember. We've got to be careful."
"Oh, that's right!" Yuugi exclaimed, remembering his grandpa's strict instructions not to walk home alone and the fearful looks people had sent each other on the bus earlier. "He was put on death row for committing a really big crime and the whole town is in panic because of the escape!"
"It's not like he's gonna pop up out of nowhere and attack a large group Yuugi." Jounouchi said, leaning back and rocking his chair despite Honda's pleas for him to stop damaging school property.
"Jounouchi-San, sometimes being cautious of things that are risky is a good thing. In some situations it's better to be safe than sorry." Atemu nodded sagely, sharing a gentle smile with Yuugi.
"A-anyway…you guys shouldn't go." Anzu stuttered, giving them a shaky glare. As she left the classroom, she called back to Yuugi apologetically, "Sorry I can't walk with you again, I would go somewhere else with you three but I have something else to do."
Honda yelped worriedly as Nosaka Miho, the beautiful blue haired girl he had been attempting to talk to earlier, fixed the canary yellow ribbon holding her hair in a high ponytail and rose from her chair in a graceful, fluid motion before gliding over to the door with a soft shout of, "Anzu, wait for me!"
Yuugi was instantly reminded of Jounouchi's comments the day before about both Miho and Anzu's strange behavior and a quick glance to the blonde boy leaning lazily against his desk proved that he was thinking something along the same lines. Atemu slung the jacket of his gakuran over his shoulders casually, as if it was a cape, and as Yuugi and Jounouchi stared at each other—he was sure they were attempting to speak telepathically—mused aloud, "Perhaps we should make sure Mazaki-San is going to be alright. This man was a convicted serial rapist wasn't he?"
"Ah! You're right Atemu-Kun; Anzu might get into trouble if she and Nosaka-Chan are all alone…" He agreed, frowning at the empty doorway that had just moments ago framed the two girls that were the topic of their conversation.
"We can go ta the Calorie Burger place after," Jounouchi said with an indifferent shrug, swinging his bag onto his back and sauntering out of the room, Yuugi and Atemu following after him as they shared small, amused smiles.
Yuugi had the oddest prickling sensation irritating the soft flesh of his taut stomach, directly beneath the puzzle, as he left the school along side his new friends. It was as if his puzzle was warning him that something was going to change…something important…