Hi again, everyone! First of all, I want to thank all the nice people who reviewed Delicate. I'm so happy with your wonderful reviews! :) Because of you, I was encouraged to write a sequel. I hope I won't disappoint you.

I picked the night before the Ceremonial Battle as the setting because I've always felt Anzu and Atem deserve some personal closure in the series but the author of Yu-Gi-Oh didn't provide it. :(

If you see any errors, I'm sorry; please bear with me. I'll try to edit my work more after finishing some personal business. As always, I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh.


The moon shone brightly outside the ship but Anzu paid no notice.

It had been an hour ago since she changed into her night clothes. But instead of sleeping, all she ever accomplished was staring at the wall, unsettled about the coming Ceremonial Battle.

A knock on her door.

Puzzled, she got up from her bed to open it.

"Anzu."

"Yug—Atem!" She would never get used to calling him by his real name. If she could, she would rather call him by his borrowed name for the rest of her life. Just like how things used to be.

He looked at her appearance for a while, she in pink pajamas that reached below her knees, with its partnered thin-strap buttoned top. "Sorry for disturbing you." He turned to close the door behind him.

"No, no, I wasn't sleeping," she said hastily, ushering him inside. "So... what brings you here?"

"I came to see you."

"Why? I'm taking it you're done creating your own deck?"

"I'll finish it later."

"But Atem, you should have done that first! That's your top priority, isn't it?"

"Partner gave me the entire night to construct it. I'm not in a rush."

"But if you continue it now..."

"Anzu, Partner told me that you came to our room because you wanted to see me. I couldn't concentrate on my deck; I figured it must be so important."

Her heart skipped a bit. She knew that she should seize this last remaining chance to ask him questions she couldn't find the answers to, to open her heart to him, and a lot more. But how to express all those things now was something she didn't know. Maybe she wasn't as ready to confront him as she'd thought.

"I never told Yugi that," she answered instead. "I just wanted to inform him about us arriving tomorrow morning."

"I see." He was silent for a while. "If that would be all, then I have something to say."

She blinked. "What is it?"

"I want to thank you for everything. For being by my side all the time especially when I was down or at my worst. For pulling me back to my senses when I lost sight of what was more important or when I lost my grip. But most especially, thank you for your invaluable help. Without you, I wouldn't have been able to defeat Zorc."

"Oh, because of the cartouche? It's nothing, really. I can't take credit for it. I mean, even I wasn't counting on it to turn out to be helpful in that way." She looked down. "All I wanted was just to help you remember your own name, that's all."

"Don't underestimate yourself. Without you, I never would have the push to face my uncertainty and fear in discovering my identity from the start, which led everything to this point where we are right now. I owe you my existence, Anzu. I'm really grateful for that."

Anzu gazed at him. "Atem..."

"Well then, good night." And then he left with the door closed.

"Good... night..." Her words were left hanging in the air. For a while she didn't move, his words echoing in her mind. Atem had gone here just to show his gratitude to her. She stepped outside her room, watching his retreating back until he reached his own sleeping quarters. A wave of regret washed over her.

No, I shouldn't be here! She didn't know how to convey it but she had to express herself to him tonight or else it would burden her forever.

So without a second thought, she ran after him.


Atem removed his jacket and draped it over the nearest chair, settling the Millennium Puzzle on the table, ready to work again on his cards.

Already he had noticed Anzu's red-streaked but dry eyes the moment he saw her. He knew right away that she was telling the truth: She wasn't sleeping. Or more precisely, she couldn't.

"Wait!"

He turned to find Anzu by his door, slightly surprised. "Anzu."

"Yugi was right. I did want to see you."

He motioned for her to come in, which she did. "What about?"

"The Ceremonial Battle..." Anzu seemed unsure how to start. "It's really happening tomorrow, isn't it?"

He gazed at the night scene beyond the window. "Yeah."

"Do you really... have to go through it?"

"This is the call of destiny. It's the only way my long journey would have closure."

"But surely you will win, right? You always do."

"Partner has grown strong, no, maybe even stronger than me. But if he loses, I don't move on to the afterlife."

Dread strained her tone. "And if he wins?"

He gazed at her. "You know the answer to that."

Of course Anzu knew that. Both of them knew that. It was not a matter of extracting information but rather hoping the information was not true.

Anzu fell silent for a while. Then she smiled brightly but her smile didn't reach her eyes. "Well, good luck to both of you. May the best man win."

Crooked golden bangs hooded over his eyes. "It's happening again, isn't it?"

She blinked. "What?"

"It's happening again. I'm making you feel delicate again." His shadowed expression remained. "But only this time, I'm shattering you..."

"Wh-What are you talking about?"

"...with my departure."

"What on earth are you saying? Of course, you won't leave. You're going to win tomorrow!"

He turned his back on her. "I'm sorry."

"You'll win," she stressed. "Why are you making it seem so final? And what are you being sorry about? That you'd give Yugi the victory?"

"I told you before, I'm going to handle you carefully." He looked up. "But with the way Partner has grown strong, I'm ending up just breaking you with the possibility that I would lose."

"But you're not breaking me," she said, laughing and smiling. "Why would you be?"

"Anzu, you don't need to hide it from me."

"I'm not hiding anything! I'm okay. Of course, I want both you and Yugi to win but I'll be fine, whatever the outcome of the Ceremonial Battle would be."

His bangs shadowed his eyes once more. "If what you're saying is true..."

Anzu continued to smile.

"...then why are you crying?"


Startled, Anzu blinked, then chuckled, touching her face. "Now you're really spouting nonsense, Atem. Why would I cry now? I don't have any reason to—"

But the rest of her words died when her fingers felt something wet.

No...

"Oh, what's this?" she asked herself lightheartedly. "I guess I'm getting sleepy; it's late already, isn't it?" She stretched her arms over her head to make her point, but more liquid spilled from the corners of her eyes. Her hand automatically wiped away a trail on her cheek. "I must be really sleepy, hehe..."

Atem finally faced her. "Anzu."

"It's nothing, Atem."

"It's not nothing."

"I told you, it's nothing." More liquid now began flowing down her face. "Hey, why is it not stopping?" She laughed, her palms trying to catch every drop but kept missing a lot. "Why am I even crying, anyway? Talk about being so foolish." She smiled, laughing again. "Hey, this is being unfair, really unfair..." She continued to laugh but as she did, her vision blurred, her laughter gradually changing to forced laughter until it turned into sobbing. "It's just unfair!"

He took a step near her. "Anzu..."

"It's just not fair! Everything! It just isn't!" she cried out, trembling with her hands balled at her sides. This time she just let the tears fall freely. "Why do you have to be pitted against Yugi? Why isn't there another way to solve this? Why is it that the right thing that should happen is for you to go?" She choked back a sob. "It hurts... hurts so much. I love you too much that it really hurts!"

Atem's eyes widened.

Her confession came out not the way she'd planned but right now Anzu couldn't care less. She fell to her knees.

"Anzu!" He rushed over to her, kneeling on one knee in front of her.

Anzu could feel her chest breaking from the inside. She hugged herself hard, trying to keep it intact, but all she felt was she was crumbling. Atem was right: He was shattering her.

But he wasn't at fault for that.

He placed one hand at the back of her head, his free arm wrapped around her shoulder. The top of her head made contact with his chest. "I'm sorry," he apologized. "I'm sorry."

"I-It's not your fault," she answered between sniffs. "I'm just too weak to withstand it." Yet even as she continued to sob, she was aware that Atem wasn't even shedding a single tear. "Why can't I be strong like you?" More tears came. "Why is it so hard to be strong?"

Silence was all she received.

And she continued to cry so hard until she felt so empty inside.


Atem held Anzu as she continued to cry. He wanted to give her an answer but what could he really tell her? Even he was powerless against the situation. He hated the fact that he was the cause of her pain, how he had caused it, and that there was nothing he could do about it or to really comfort her. It frustrated him so much.

After what seemed to be forever, Anzu's tears gradually subsided. Clearing her face with the tissue paper from its dispenser nearby, she tried to smile. "What a mess I am. I'm sorry for this, Atem. I really meant to wish you good luck but instead I ended up like this. Sorry for causing you this trouble. I don't want to hinder you or bother you but I did, didn't I?"

Wait, Anzu! he wanted to protest as Anzu pulled away from him.

"I mean, you have a better place to go to, don't you? I shouldn't try to stop you."

Stop me! His frustration was mounting already. Make me change my mind. Make me defy my fate. Our fate!

She stood up to head toward the door.

Anzu! But Anzu was already by the door, and the frustration had reached its threshold. No, this can't be the end!

"Well, enough about me. I think I should go now. You need to finish creating your own deck and get some rest." She turned the doorknob. "Good night."

No. His bangs shadowed over his eyes. "Anzu."

She stopped. "Yeah?"

He seized her wrist and pulled her suddenly to him, and his free hand grabbed her back and shoved her toward himself.

"Atem—?"

He cut off her yelp of surprise by capturing her mouth with his, drawing back his hand grasping her wrist away from him so that she would not escape. As his lips grew insistent against hers, he pressed her harder against his chest and then practically slammed themselves against the door, closing it.

"Why must it be like this?" he uttered between burning kisses. The decisive battle he must go through with Yugi... The growing possibility that he might not see Anzu anymore starting tomorrow... The fact that he was so powerless to do anything to alter the situation... The fact that he couldn't do anything to make Anzu feel better... At the moment there was no other way to release himself than through this. And now that he had already started, he couldn't find the strength to stop. Every strength of pressure of his lips on hers evaporated an equal amount of the stress and pressure that kept building inside, and he was so desperate in making them all vanish.

His hands ran all over her, causing her to gasp and moan. Her skin was just as silky as her nightwear, so soft. Yet he couldn't get enough of her. So he fumbled for the door to lock it, accidentally knocking the light switch to OFF in the process. Maneuvering her body until they reached his bed, they collapsed into it, sinking in its soft mattress. Kicking off his shoes, he began exhausting his frustration on her.


Anzu couldn't believe what was currently happening. Minutes ago she was in Atem's arms, empty, and now she was lying under him on his bed.

If his kisses were comfortably warm before, now they were dangerously hot. His strong hands that used to take care of her were now alluring, having their own minds, giving in to indulgence. Yet the way they and his lips were insistent made her sense that he must be venting out something inside him, that there was something bothering him inside. So when his kisses left her lips to trail her jaw, she asked him, "Atem, what's the matter?"

But Atem didn't seem to hear her, instead just continuing his work now along her jawline.

She tried to ask him again but when he began breathing on her, her words wilted. She couldn't deny how hot his breath was on her, how pleasing his kisses were, how much they have weakened her to the point of rendering her helpless against him, how paradoxically coaxing his sudden aggression on her was.

He pressed himself hard on her yielding frame. Before she knew it, his fiery mouth was upon the crook of her neck and shoulder, consuming her hungrily. His hands moved, exploring her all over, relentless.

"A-Atem..." Her hands gripping the bedsheets, Anzu kept turning her head from side to side, unable to contain the highly enjoyable sensation spreading over her. His kisses, his touches, the heat surging through them—they hypnotized her.

She looked at Atem through half-lidded eyes. Or more precisely, he himself seemed hypnotized by what he was doing. The way he was so urgent on her was as though it was the last and only time he could do this to her.

He took her wrists to pin them beside her head. But instead of remaining there, his hands slid to hers and clasped them.

She was again delicate in his hands, a prisoner in his arms, breathing nothing but his manly scent. She could feel his power coursing through his body again. But this time, she didn't care if he exerted it fully on her. In fact, she would welcome this power heavily on her.

For she understood him. For this was the last night she would ever feel this delicate around him. And she had to accept that tomorrow he might be here no more.


His frustration didn't seem to run out but this time, Atem didn't mind at all, burying his face on Anzu's neck.

"Mmmm," he murmured, his lips becoming more insistent by the minute as they brushed her skin. He could feel the pounding of her heartbeat and he inhaled her scent of apricots, intoxicated. If he had thought before that it was a cool, fresh scent, it was now dangerously erasing all his self-control.

Now he just had to feel her mouth again. Atem helped himself to it, and how he loved it. Anzu's lips were wine; the more he kept himself away from them, the sweeter they became. Probably even sweeter than the best wine he has ever tasted in his reign as a pharaoh. So he savored her again and again.

Anzu remained in his grasp, so powerless, letting him do whatever he wanted to do to her.

Moonlight was spilling through the window, shining softly on the bed alone like a spotlight as Atem raised himself, so he had a good view on what was happening to Anzu. Her cheeks were flushed, her breath in short gasps, a far cry from the relaxed and contented Anzu he had handled before.

Suddenly he felt something strike him inside. Handled?

He took in Anzu's disheveled state. What on earth am I doing? he realized, breathing hard. Anzu was more vulnerable now than she was the rainy night he spent with her in her room. Why was he handling her so roughly now? Hadn't he told her he would handle her carefully? Told himself he would take care of her?

Horrified, he released her hands from his clasp and backed away from her. "I shouldn't be doing this to you. I don't know what came over me. Anzu, I'm so sorry," he apologized, hanging his head low as he looked away.

"Don't be."

He turned. Anzu's eyes were half-lidded, a look of something akin to frustration on her soft face. Anzu... you don't want me to stop at all?

Anzu turned her head on one side, a silent invitation.

"Anzu..."

She closed her eyes, waiting.

Atem gazed at her for a while. If you really want it to be that way...

He would not be selfish anymore. If this was the last night he would ever be with Anzu, he would make sure she would enjoy it as much as he would.


The room was dim but Anzu could see everything Atem had been doing to her in the moonlight. As she closed her eyes, she just hoped he could see just as well that she didn't mind and he had nothing to be guilty about.

She got what she had hoped for. Atem picked up her already surrendering body by her bare arms, caressing her lips with his. They were warm again, just like the first time he had physically handled her. As exciting as his heated ministrations on her were, she missed this familiar way of him treating her. After sometime, his mouth began sucking her lower lip slowly, as though extracting something sweet from there.

Weak as she already was, she fell back but her palms landing behind her on the white mattress caught her balance, her stretched arms steadying her. Nonetheless, Atem didn't lose contact with her, supporting his own balance as well.

Then she felt his mouth leave her lower lip, traveling ever so slowly but wonderfully along her jawline, then her earlobe, which he gently sucked too. Then he gave minute kisses along her entire ear, and Anzu couldn't help but smile as he paid attention even to the littlest detail about her. After a while, she felt his pressure behind her ear like waves of water, which soon flowed lower and lower...

Feeling her arms about to give way, Anzu broke away, lowering herself back on the mattress. Without thinking, she rolled herself so that she was lying on her stomach. She rested her temple on the soft pillow, wondering, anticipating what would happen next.

Then she felt Atem lie down behind her, with him planting his hands and lean arms on both sides of her head, dominating her. Felt the pressure of his mouth on her nape, felt it gentle at first but gradually gaining strength.

Anzu propped herself up with her elbows on the mattress, allowing Atem greater access to her neck, to which he took advantage. But just as she thought he would continue all the way to her throat, instead he stilled, each of his arms embracing an arm and shoulder blade of hers. Wordlessly he buried his face deeply, fondly on her nape and hair and stayed that way for a while. And through it, Anzu could feel his great sincerity effusing from him. I want to make you feel good, he was conveying silently. I really want to.

Overwhelming warmth flooded her, emotionally stirred her. Without breaking contact, she turned her head toward him, acknowledging his message. Because it's you... She faced the headboard, closing her eyes slowly as she lowered her head, relishing this personal moment with him.

Because it's you, anything you do will.

He got her message, his warm mouth passing lightly over her nape at first, then massaging it.

She delighted in the relaxing yet heart-pounding sensations washing over her. Her breathing began turning slightly ragged as he bent his head more to reach her throat and sucked. "Mmmm..."

He continued to suck, now gently, for a while. The his lips slowly migrated back to her nape and then danced lower to her upper back, massaging her, overlaying as much skin as her top had left modestly exposed with his rich kisses.

How warm his mouth was, how now comforting and affectionate his kisses were. It was like she was being taken care of again. Anzu continued to close her eyes, savoring such an experience. "Atem..."

He took her arms to raise her in such a way that she was sitting on her knees and legs. Meanwhile, still behind her, he stood slightly on his knees to match her level. Then Anzu felt one of his hands cover her eyes, felt his mouth grazing the side of her neck. "Atem?"

"Relax. Just enjoy," he murmured.

Even as she did, Anzu felt herself smiling. Her neck seemed to be her area he was enjoying the most, even from their previous session. As she continued to see nothing, a wave of nostalgia swept over her. "Hm-mm."

"What?" he asked, still feasting on her.

"I just remembered: This is how we met... In the darkness..." She reveled at how wonderful his mouth felt on her sensitive skin that she kept losing focus, drowning in sheer bliss. "I was taken hostage back then, and... you... saved me through a game... But because I was blindfolded... I didn't know it was you..."

"Ah..." Atem's breath tingled her skin as he recalled, yet he didn't cease in his activity. "It's been... such... a long time ago... hasn't it?"

"Mm. It just frustrated me to no end when I couldn't see you... how I couldn't see you..." Anzu let out a deep sigh of contentment as Atem busied himself with her near-bare shoulder this time. "...but I've never felt any safer in the dark, with anyone than with you..."

"Anzu..." he uttered in a tone that told her he never expected to hear such words from her. He began loosening his hold over her eyes, but Anzu stopped him with her hand over his own.

"Let me be here for a while... in this darkness..." she breathed. "Whatever you do to me now, that feeling when I'm with you would never change..."

"Anzu..."

Anzu's vision darkened again as his hand resumed position over her eyes. Waves of heated sensations were overlapping inside her. His kisses on her neck were whispers on her skin. Then Atem was anointing her shoulder with those kisses, feathers caressing her nonstop. She felt his free hand roam around her waist, along the curves of her hips, like satin running smoothly along her skin.

He was worshiping her again, with his hands, with his mouth, with himself. And how she loved it. Again, this way of making her feel so special, heightened by the knowledge that it was a mighty pharaoh on his knees who was adoring her so thoroughly...

"Don't stop..." she moaned in her pleasure. Please... May it never stop...


A sense of pride spurted inside Atem at Anzu's moan. Hearing her in pleasure that way... She had to experience more of what he could give her. She had to!

Driven by this urgency, he lavished her almost bare shoulder with passion, so much that the thin strap of her silky top fell carelessly to her exposed arm. But he didn't care. Anything as long as he got to kiss her creamy shoulder better.

Anzu tilted her head to the opposite side to accommodate him. "Yes..."

Spurred by Anzu's reaction, he let his lips turn urgent on their own as he removed his hand from her eyes so he could have a better use for it on her. As he moved to her neglected shoulder and devoured as much as possible, that hand stroked her supple thigh through her silky pajamas.

"More..." she uttered as she began to breathe hard, her eyes growing half-lidded.

He let his active mouth travel to reach where her shoulder and arm met, nudging the remaining strap away in the process. There he sucked and sucked to his heart's content as well as for hers, and she threw back her head, sounding breathless, flooded with his yearning.

Leaning back against his chest, Anzu tilted her head, its back resting on his broad shoulder, her neck arched for him as he inclined his head to focus his attention on her throat. She sighed his name endlessly that urged him to kiss her more and more.

Then Anzu drew away and slowly got off him to face him, sitting on her legs.

She was truly a sight to behold. Dressed in that innocent yet very feminine nightwear, bathed in the soft moonlight, Anzu looked subdued, softer, with her eyes lowered, her hair tousled, with both straps falling from her exposed shoulders. It reminded Atem of just how fragile she was when with him.

But he wasn't expecting her to throw her arms around him, to kiss him. Hard.

That wine again. He was getting drawn to it once more. But he couldn't allow himself to get drunk by it. He tried to pull himself away from Anzu. "Don't reciprocate," he tried to say between her richly sweet kisses. "I might not be able to stop myself. I might..."

But Anzu ignored his warning and continued anyway.

Atem tried to bring his focus together but he couldn't bring himself to pull away from her anymore. Why would he when it felt so good...

It was Anzu who pulled away first. Looking at him in wonder, she traced his mouth with her fingers first, then melded her lips with his again. This time her fingers drifted lower to his chest before her hands explored his back all over.

It was enjoyment like no other. Atem planted his hand on the wall next to him, attempting to contain himself.

Drawing herself away again, Anzu unbuckled the wide belt around his neck and dropped it on the floor. "Are you just as vulnerable as me without this?" she asked softly. Placing her hands on his broad shoulders, she leaned over to his neck, her mouth latching onto his Adam's apple, before she began slowly sucking it.

"Anzu..." Atem's voice came out low. Wave after wave of pleasure washed over him, and he was surprised at how sensitive he was at such a place that was concealed all the time. He had no time to comprehend it though as Anzu now kept moving from one exposed section to another, raising his vulnerability higher and higher by the second, by the minute. If this was how Anzu felt whenever he was sucking hers...

In the process, Anzu's hands took hold of his sleeveless black shirt, yanking it up. Yet even as she broke away to pull it completely off him, he made no move to stop her, raising his arms instead to help her.

She pushed herself down with him, her sweet lips now dancing all over the smooth expanse of his now bare chest. When she leaned forward to meet his neck, her slender hands now dwelled to his chest and roamed everywhere there before heading south and unbuckling his belt. Yet her mouth continued to bless him again and again and again...

Before he might lose his mind from the intense blazing sensation, he rolled Anzu to reverse their positions and took charge, resuming this time with his mouth kissing her jaw, then trailing down her throat, her neck, her collarbone.

"Nnghh..."

Then he noticed there was more exposed flesh than when he had started and realized that her top button was somehow undone. He glanced down. The last two buttons had already parted too. They must have accidentally been undone during their actions on each other, and only one button was holding her top together. But he didn't mind that for now. He buried his head on her soft cleavage, kissing it deeply.

"Atem..." Anzu's cheeks flushed at this, her head thrown back. "Yes..."

Encouraged and rewarded by her pleasure, Atem pushed his mouth even deeper.

She moaned. "Lower..."

He allowed himself to enjoy his activity for a while. Then his mouth migrated lower, going past the button, down to her flat stomach and rained his attention all over it. "Beautiful," he murmured between wet kisses. "You're so beautiful..."

She gasped. "Atem..."

Beautiful indeed. Atem sat up, his fingers finding that last undone button of her top. One more button holding back her assets...

But as he began to loosen it, a voice spoke in his head sharply that he froze. Partner?

No. It was not Yugi. It was his own voice. Atem tried to ignore it and finish the task but the voice grew louder, shouting this time with all its might until he thought he would go deaf. Finally his fingers stilled.

He couldn't do it. Not to Anzu. Not like this.


Breathless with anticipation, Anzu watched Atem about to disrobe her. Just one more button to go and he'd be... and she'd be...

But to her surprise, he halted for a while. "Atem?"

Atem answered her by kissing her sweetly.

Was he just teasing her into wanting more? He should have known that he didn't have to; she was getting frustrated and agonized already. "Please..." she begged.

He kissed her again, this time fleetingly. "This is as far as I could give you."

What? Her forehead creased. But although she was confused at first, she soon realized why. "You're worrying about me again, aren't you? You don't have to protect me this time, Atem. Tonight, I'm not afraid of being delicate, of being fragile. If there's anyone who's going to break me, I'd rather let it be you."

But he shook his head. "Anzu, you don't deserve to be broken. I know where this would lead ultimately and I don't want you to go through it."

"But you're always putting me first. Why don't you for once think about yourself?" She gazed up at him, hoping he would see her earnestness there. "I'm willing to be broken if it means your personal enjoyment and pleasure in return."

But he met her eyes with his, fueled by concern. "Because whenever I think about myself, you're also included in my thoughts."

Anzu's eyes widened.

"I may get all the benefits but I would remain eternally restless knowing you'll bear all the consequences."

"But—"

"And besides that, I'm flesh right now only because of a borrowed body. But even if I had my own right now, my stand would remain the same."

She wanted to protest more, to argue with him on how wrong he was, but deep down she knew he was right. She sat up, looking away. "...I understand. Letting this night play out the way it did... I guess I didn't realize sooner that it must be a way of coping with your possible departure..."

"You don't have to think of it that way," he said. "Think of this night as a farewell gift, my way of saying goodbye."

She looked up at him, pleading. "Then never stop saying goodbye. Or better yet, never say goodbye at all."

"I could only hope that I never would. However, there's something else you should know."

"What is it?"

"Anzu, I've always wanted to look after you, to protect you. But should I lose tomorrow, I'm entrusting you under Partner's care."

She was greatly taken aback. "But—Wait! Yugi's not you. I love him but not in the way that I do you."

"I'm not asking you to force yourself to like him romantically. But you can be open to him. Let him do whatever he can for you. If there's anyone I trust enough to take care of you, it's Partner. He's strong now, and he would continue to grow stronger in the future."

Anzu fell silent.

"And even if it's not him who would make you delicate, there are other guys who could."

She suddenly hugged him, her eyes shut tight at first. "Not in the same way you do!" she cried out vehemently, looking up at him. "Never in the same way you do!"

He stroked her hair. "Maybe so. But even if you believe that only I could make you feel that way, don't let it be a measuring stick for others who may wish to build a future with you. Just as I've changed ever since I met you and Partner, so would you at some point in time."

"Atem..."

"But if you do meet such young men, or any person in general, don't let them shatter you the way I did you tonight."

Anzu looked away. "But I don't have that kind of strength. The strength to stand yet remain intact..."

"Then take mine." He kissed her so softly, reassuringly.

Anzu closed her eyes as he did.

He drew away a bit to brush his lips at the front of her ear. "Remember this night when you feel you cannot move on anymore. All my words earlier declare an absolute truth: No matter how you feel, I believe in you." His lips returned to hers, caressing again.

A tear slid down Anzu's cheek as she received his kiss. "Yes..."

He wiped that tear away from her cheek with his lips, replacing the trail of that moisture with feathery kisses. "Remember this night when someone tries to break you or has succeeded; the pain I've unintentionally caused you, which is much stronger, is something you've overcome by then. There would be no pain you cannot withstand." He melded his lips with hers.

Anzu could taste the salt of her own tear. "I will..."

Atem broke away again, pressing his lips on her temple before gazing straight into her eyes. "Remember this night that I promise you this: It doesn't matter what the time is, where the place is. I'm with you always." He rested his hand at the back of her head, brushing his mouth on hers.

"Always," she whispered.

Atem pulled himself away, meeting her eyes with a reassuring gaze. Then he cupped her cheek and leaned over to her ear. "I will strengthen you the whole night," he murmured, "as much as you need to be."

"Atem..." Anzu let a tear drop one last time as she smiled gratefully. "Thank you."

He took her and gently guided her down.

The air grew colder as Anzu lay on his soft bed, and Atem lay down on top of her, pulling a blanket over his bare back. The night went on as he continued his work on her, whispering words of encouragement, sealing each with his lips' caresses on hers.

He didn't have to tell her that he loved her. For Anzu, his earlier words, his actions conveyed his message louder, clearer.

Tomorrow the Ceremonial Battle would commence. Tomorrow she would risk being fragile again, risk being broken by his departure.

But now with his strength flowing in her heart, Anzu had Atem's reassurance that being broken tomorrow would just be a temporary state. She would use his strength to mend herself again and again until his strength transformed into her own. Because someday, she would definitely encounter being delicate or fragile again.

And this time, she would shatter no more.


The end of sequel. Thank you so much for taking time to read my work. Please review; reviews mean a lot to me and fuel me. Comments are welcome. Thanks! =)