|Stone Tablets and Cherry Blossoms
Author: Scribbler PM
Ten years in the future, life has settled down for the gang. Their problems are a lot more mundane than they used to be. Still, they'll never forget Atem, or what he did for them. “Do you think he would have liked me, Daddy?” Yuugi/Anzu.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Family/Romance - Yūgi M. & Anzu M. - Words: 1,545 - Reviews: 23 - Favs: 59 - Follows: 4 - Published: 10-29-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4623884
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Stubbornly not mine.
A/N: I actually had this idea when writing for As Deep As the Sky and Sakura's Theme by Toshiro Masuda came up from the Naruto soundtrack. Then, lo and behold, during my latest round of request-giveaways on LiveJournal Cypsiman2 asked for some Anzu/Yuugi.
I am aware that this is probably the ultimate in fanfiction clichés, next to the unholy trinity of AUs (high school, vampire and superhero) and songfics using Evanescence lyrics, but hopefully I haven't committed this sin too badly. Set post-canon, obviously.
Stone Tablets and Cherry Blossoms
© Scribbler, October 2008.
While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about. ~Angela Schwindt
The little girl wasn't actually running away, though to see her scampering across the quad, leaping and twirling so as not to stand on cracks, you could be forgiven for thinking she was escaping from some parent. In actual fact she wasn't even with her parents, and she certainly wasn't trying to escape – proven when she turned and gestured frantically for her 'pursuer' to catch up.
"Come on Uncle Jounouchi! You're such a slowpoke."
"Slowpoke! Me? I'll show you slowpoke!"
She smirked. "You already did. Can I see you go fast now?"
The tall man huffed up to her and bent at the waist, bracing his hands against his knees. "You got … whew. You got too much of your mother's smart mouth on you, kid."
She smirked again and set off at the same breakneck clip. He groaned and followed, climbing the long steps to the entrance with the air of one who knew he was in a race he could never hope to win – even if he did have several feet of height on his opponent, most of which was leg. It was no advantage though. He couldn't believe how much energy she had, especially since they were going to a freaking museum. A video arcade or toy store he could understand, or even the park, but not a museum. He would've been dragging his feet if he'd been her age. Hell, he was dragging them now, and only partly because he couldn't keep up.
The little girl jigged from foot to foot at the top. She kept up her impatient dance until he'd paid their entrance fee and taken her by the hand, leading her inside to the hush that always pervaded this place. He stared around, familiarity instantly spreading through him, though it had been over ten years since he last set foot inside. Knowing his luck they probably still hadn't fixed the candy bar machine –
"This way, Uncle Jounouchi."
"Hold you horses, kid."
"But Mom and Dad said they'd meet us in the -"
"I know what they said. I'm just appreciating the view and junk. I paid for you to get in here. The least you can do is savour it too."
She rolled her eyes but did as she was told. She was quite astute for six, though the feeling she was indulging him rolled off her in waves.
When he felt they'd done enough savouring he set a much more sedate pace along the corridors, up several winding staircases and through a heavy door that had swung shut when someone kicked the doorstop out of the way. He put his shoulder against it and burst unceremoniously into the Egyptian Suite, nearly knocking over a miniature replica of the sphinx when he staggered inside.
"What an entrance!" said a voice inside.
"Mommy!" The little girl dashed across the room and into the arms of a woman who swept her up into a hug. Their matching hair and eye colour made it easy to tell they were related, though the texture of the little girl's hair definitely erred more on the side of bizarre than her mother's straight bob. "Is Daddy here? This is his exhibition, right? Right? We came to the right room, didn't we? Mommy? Did we come to the right room?"
The woman laughed. "Yes, you did, and yes, he's here. He's been working hard getting everything ready, but he's made a special effort to be finished in time to show you around. This isn't open to the public yet, so it's a special treat for you to be allowed in here -"
"Daddy!" The girl leapt from her mother's arms and into the embrace of a short man who'd just emerged from behind a display case. It was even easier to tell they were related, the matching spikes of their hair declaring them kin even more than the way they acted and addressed each other. "Is this all the stuff you discovered on your dig, Daddy? Is it? Wow, it's a lot. Did you find it all by yourself? Will you tell me all about it? Were there any curses or mummies when you found it? Uncle Jounouchi took me to the library and we read all about ancient Egypt so I'd know more about it. All the books talked about horrible curses and mummies covered in bandages, and a dung beetles that rolled the sun across the sky, and how they pulled people's brains out of their noses with hooks -"
"Jounouchi took you to a library?" Her mother arched an eyebrow at him. "Voluntarily?"
The tall man spread his palms wide. "Hey, what can I say? I can't resist her when she does the puppy-dog eyes."
"He read to me," declared the little girl. "But I had to help him with some of the big words."
"Now that sounds like Jounouchi."
"Hey! Don't diss the guy who spent the day looking after your kid, Anzu."
"Didn't you like spending the day with me, Uncle Jounouchi?"
He looked at the childish wide blue eyes, a perfect foil for her mother's knowing ones, and sighed. "Wouldn't have changed it for the world, kid."
"Awww. You're just a big old squishy softy aren't you, Jounouchi?"
"Wash your mouth out with soap, Yuugi. Better yet, let me do it for you."
The short man laughed and set his daughter down. "C'mon, sweetheart. This is what you call a collaborative collection, which means people from all over the world have donated different things so people here can look at them and know how people lived thousands of years ago. It's not all stuff I discovered, though I did have to make a lot of phone calls and do a lot of begging to get permission for some of it to be here."
"And Mommy helped too, didn't she? Even though she doesn't work in the museum, she helped too, didn't she, Daddy?"
"Mommy proved that you can get to know bigwigs through more than just meeting them on the lecture circuit," said the woman, propelling the blond man after them. "You'd be surprised how many eccentric collectors of ancient artefacts like ballet. Or at least have wives who like ballet – wives who can twist their husbands' arms to do pretty much whatever they want."
"Like donate priceless artefacts to some tiny Japanese museum in the backside of nowhere. Hey, ow! Anzu!"
"Don't make light of how hard we had to work to put all this together, Jounouchi."
He rubbed his reddening ear and scowled at her. "I wasn't!"
"It was worth it, though," the shorter man said in a placatory voice. "There are some things in this collection that haven't been in Domino for over ten years."
"You mean that stone tablet of the Nameless Pharaoh, don't you?" piped up the little girl.
"Only we know his name was really Atem, don't we Daddy?"
There was a slight catch in his voice when he replied, but it was mostly hidden by his smile and the obvious pleasure he took in showing her his work. "Yes, we do. C'mon and I'll introduce you."
"Do you think Atem would have liked me, Daddy? I like the sound of him from all the stories you and Mommy and Uncle Jounouchi and Uncle Honda and …" It took her the whole journey through the collection to reel off the names of her various 'uncles' and 'aunts'. "From all the stories everybody's told me," she finished at last. "He sounds nice."
"He was nice," said her father, half happy and half sad.
"He was very special to your father." The woman laced her fingers with his and offered him a conciliatory smile. "To all of us. He changed our lives."
"Sorry, sorry – darn straight."
"Do you think he would have liked me?" the little girl asked.
Her father picked her up, giving her a better view of a face carved into the ancient stone tablet on the wall. Framing the face was a spiky hairdo much like his own, though it was wrapped under layers of protective glass, security codes and millennia of secrets. "I think he would have loved you as much as I do, sweetheart."