Disclaimer: YGO belongs to the great Takahashi-sama… which is good because I can't draw for beans anyway. gets pelted by rotten vegetables KYAAAAAAA! glad she didn't mention anything about her lack of writing skills… gets pelted by more vegetables and finally shuts up
Look the Other Way
Last chapter, minna! It takes place directly after the previous chapter and continues on to the wee hours of Monday morning, and is in Seto's POV. I ended up beta-reading this myself, so I apologize beforehand for any possible mistakes. I assure you… they're all my fault.
Additionally, several people have been asking if they can use concepts from these stories… like the word 'yadonushi'. Well, if it's something like Yuki (not that I actually think somebody would want to use him, but he's popped up in some pretty unexpected places), then that is mine and I would like you to ask. But if it's information that I get out of the manga or anime, you don't need to ask. It's not mine anyway. :)
With that said, I hope everyone enjoys this chapter. Arigatou for making it this far, mina-san!
Why do you people always blame yourself for things that you cannot control?>
I am about halfway out of my seat when the Sennen Ring's spirit suddenly pulls us into the darkness. It is a strange feeling that still seems familiar, even though I have never participated in a yami no game (2). Scowling, I start to sit back down only to realize that there is no seat. I stand up, keeping a wary eye on the former thief. Although the 'former' part is only a guess on my behalf… since I have not seen any news detailing the exploits of three thousand year old thieves, I only assume that he hasn't been stealing.
There is a smirk on Yami no Bakura's face, and I know that it is no use to ask him how he has managed to accomplish any of this. But I must take a certain amount of relief from his presence; after all, he would not leave you if you were still in danger since he needs you as a host to survive.
Although I suppose there is more than a slight possibility that you are dying and he has come here only to punish me before both of you disappear forever.
My heart jumps as I shake my head, trying to clear that thought from my head. I honestly hope that is not the case, and I refuse to believe in the possibility that I might end up losing you again… and this time for good. I know I have made a lot of mistakes, but it doesn't change the fact that I can't lose you. Not like this… not so soon. It's taken me so long to figure out what I really wanted, and now that I have I can't let it slip away.
"Shinkan Seto," Yami no Bakura greets sardonically as he uses my past title. At least, that's what I think it is from my conversations with Yami and Isis. I don't know why he does it though; I know nothing of my past as part of the pharaoh's court. It is something that I don't particularly want to know either. There are already so many things I need to do in my present, so why bother worrying about the past? It has no direct effect on what I do now, and thus it is not important. That is one of the things that always frustrated me about Yami… this obsession with his past. He gave it up in order to stay with Yuugi, but I don't see why it's so complicated.
After all, sometimes things are better on being left alone.
"What are you doing here?" I can only assume that he is now capable of speaking because we are no longer part of the real world, but it doesn't really make much of a difference. Although I wonder why humans are able to think of such ridiculous things at a time like this. When one should be worried by matters that are very grave, why do we think of things that make no difference? It is almost as if we can't help being so odd.
"Shouldn't I be the one asking what you are doing here, shinkan?" he asks as he quickly dodges my question. "After all, this strange country is quite far from where you live. Don't tell me that even after scaring off the yadonushi, you chase after him like a dog nipping at the heels of someone who is already walking away."
I can only grit my teeth as my fists clench. It is probably a good thing that he has brought us into the darkness so that no one can see me lose my temper so easily. Or the entire fact that I am speaking to someone that nobody else can see.
Immediately, I am reminded of what happened eight years ago. Although Yami no Bakura had chosen to approach Yami instead of me that time, I could still see him. I chose not to acknowledge that fact, and he did the same. Still, this is a stunning reminder of events that happened so long ago.
He hasn't changed at all… Yami no Bakura, that is. He, like Yami no Yuugi, continues to look the same way that they did fourteen years ago. Both of them do not age, and it is strange to watch both you and Yuugi grow up while your darker counterparts do not.
The few times I have spoken to Yami no Bakura, your presence was always there to keep him in line. The only time I saw him without you was that time he went to Yami in order to help rescue you from Big 5's subordinates. To be frank, I never could figure out why he bothered to help. You weren't being threatened directly, yet he still intervened on your behalf.
I once tried to ask you about this, and the only thing you did was look somewhat surprised before replying, "Just because he doesn't act like it doesn't mean he never cares."
As soon as those words had left your mouth, you winced as if you had been hit. I knew at once that it was Yami no Bakura, who is a witness to everything we do. Which, in my opinion, is not a good thing. But we both learned to live with it, and he didn't interfere in your life as much.
"Why do I need to explain myself to you?" I snap, my temper short. What I want most right now is to know how you are, and instead I am being confronted by your other half. "Why do you care about why I am here?"
"I don't care," is the simple reply as Yami no Bakura leans comfortably against an invisible pillar of some sort. "But the yadonushi does."
I've always hated the way he calls you that. I don't see why you accept it so quietly, and we've argued about that on several occasions. We probably shouldn't have, since the Sennen Ring's spirit is capable of watching your every move, but I was just so angry and I couldn't understand how you let him treat you in such a fashion.
It's hard dealing with Yami no Bakura's presence. I would like to think that I can protect you from anything, but how can I protect you from somebody who lives within you? It never fails to escape me that often times, I can't protect the people I care for; that instead, their welfare does not depend on me but the good will of others. Take Mokuba, for example. I would not have been able to save him if it wasn't for Yami and Yuugi, although I would prefer to pretend that the incident never took place. And you… I can't tell Yami no Bakura to act kinder to you. I can't do anything, it seems. I can't protect you from him, the accident, yourself….
My nails dig into my skin as I try to calm myself. To my surprise, Yami no Bakura doesn't say anything… I can sense him watching me, but he has yet to say something cruel or sardonic. Which is out of character for him, considering what I have heard said about him.
"Is he going to be all right?" I find myself asking, completely against my will. But it is a question that has been plaguing me for some time, and it doesn't fail to escape me that the person best-suited to answer that question is the one who is tormenting me so. Not to imply that I think he will answer my question; frankly, I do not think he will. But there is a possibility, although slim, and I will use it.
"He'll live, if that's what you're talking about," is the unruffled reply. "He'll be in one piece. The broken bones… they'll repair themselves. I can use the Sennen Ring to heal him faster, at least. It isn't as if I can get anywhere if my property is damaged like this."
My temper snaps, although I am still able to keep myself from rushing the thief. "Don't call him that, damn it! He's not your property!"
"Oh, let me guess," the red eyes narrow although the mouth is still twisted in a smirk. "You think he's yours, hmm? Yours to do anything with, whether that is to make yourself feel better or to convince yourself that you're in the right no matter what you do. Yours to sleep with, to use as comfort, or to throw away like garbage when you are no longer in need of him…."
"How are you any different from me, shinkan? Are you any different from me? You may sweeten your thoughts and intentions with nice words, but when stripped of your excuses and decorations, we really are the same when it comes to the yadonushi. I do believe that you don't have any right to lecture me."
"I. Care. For. Him," I hiss through gritted teeth. If I wasn't so angry, I might applaud this being. Few people have the ability to turn the tide against me so quickly; suddenly, I am on the defensive while he reigns supreme. How did he manage to do that, I wonder.
But now is not the time to be wondering about such petty things.
"And I suppose in your small mind, that makes all the difference," Yami no Bakura smiles . "Both you and the yadonushi need to grow up, I think."
A split second later, I am lunging at the spirit. But before I can draw back, or even brace myself, I find myself going through him as if he is not even there.
"Ku." He clicks his tongue as he turns around, hand on his hip in a pose that suddenly reminds me of Otogi. "Even though this is my territory, I still don't have a physical body. Better not try that again, shinkan. You might just end up hurting yourself again, and I don't think the yadonushi would like that."
"And since when was that of your concern? You didn't even manage to take care of him when the car was heading towards him! Did you get scared?" I spit out, practically seeing red.
Before I can blink, Yami no Bakura has grabbed me by the shirt. I suppose the rules of not having a physical body do not apply to him, but I don't care anymore. I reply by gripping his wrist and wrenching myself free. I barely notice the fact that he is quite solid.
"Who ever said it was my duty to take care of him?" the white-haired spirit hisses as he nurses his wrist. I must have used more force than I thought, but that is not of my concern. "I can't make him do what he doesn't want to do. I can't make him live if he doesn't want to live. You tell me that I interfere too much with his life, and now you are asking me why I didn't interfere with his life enough? Don't you think that is contradictory?"
"What are you getting at?" I growl.
He throws his hands up, obviously exasperated with my behavior. "Don't you think I tried to take control? Do you think I like the idea of having my host, my body being hit by one of those metal horses? Now he's going through one of those ordeals where people cut him up… ah, so modern! You seem to think that I wanted all of this to happen… as if I have something to benefit from this situation. Shinkan, any idiot can tell you… you don't deliberately try and hurt what is necessary for your existence."
"Why didn't you take control?"
He rolls his eyes, leaning against that invisible pillar again. I almost want to reach out and see if there is anything there but I have a feeling that there isn't. I'm beginning to think that everything in this place depends on your belief. That ultimately, your belief dictates what is really there and what isn't. If you believe in something, it will appear. And if you choose not to believe in something, you can erase it from your own, personal reality.
"He blocked me," he mutters, shaking his head.
I start. What is he implying? Does he honestly think that you really wanted to…?
A bark of harsh laughter jolts me out of those thoughts, and I look up to glare at the thief. He is laughing, red eyes gleaming sadistically as he says, "He's not suicidal, if that is what you are thinking. I doubt that the yadonushi really meant to do that… if he did, he probably would have done it a long time ago. It was an accident… the fool didn't even know what he was doing. But because of that, I couldn't get through and I couldn't take over."
"Would you have?"
"Omoshiroi (3), shinkan. You seem to have many questions now." Again, he dodges the question. And again, I feel unreasonably upset and frustrated by his behavior. Few people dare to treat me that way, and I don't like it when people actually do.
"Daga… (4) like I said, I can't make him live if he doesn't want to. I can keep his body alive, but to actually live? He has to do that on his own. I can't do everything for him… it isn't practical. It'll really just be a waste of my time, and I don't really like wasting my time. If he wants to live, he has to do it on his own. I can't help him there. I can't force him to do something as big as that. Can you?
"He is my responsibility, I suppose. But I can't live his life for him. I can't tell him what to do all the time. He may be older than I was when I started to steal (5), but that doesn't mean he isn't still growing and making mistakes. I allow him to make those mistakes… he needs to see the consequences of his actions. If it's gotten to the point where he will die, I interfere. But otherwise… it's his life. Not mine. It's not mine to meddle in."
He takes a step closer to me, finally straying from the invisible pillar as he steps right up to me. I am much taller than him, but he still seems menacing.
"But I'm meddling now, aren't I?" he seems amused by this idea as he runs a finger across my face (6). "You look much nicer now then you did in Egypt, shinkan. I think it was the hat… I personally found it very ugly. About as bad as Mahaado's… I don't know if he was deliberately trying to look like a horned animal, but that was always the impression that I got."
"Get to the point," I growl, feeling very impatient.
"Do I have one?"
I scowl as I push him away, "You must have one, if you are taking the time to talk to me like this. You said it yourself… you don't like to waste your time. So if you are doing this, you must have some reason. And I would like to know what that reason is rather than having you waste my time."
"My intention could be as simple as trying to mess with your mind, you realize. And what does it matter to me if I am wasting your time? Since when do I need to care about what happens to you? If I do care, the only reason is because of the yadonushi. Who, by the way, is currently unconscious and will never know of this conversation if I don't want him to."
"You care enough to come and ask me why I am here," I reply as coolly as I can, although I don't really feel calm. There is something about Yami no Bakura that just gets me, although I do not know what it is.
"Because of him. He cares for you. I don't know why he does… sometimes, I have to think that the pharaoh's barking friend has a point when he asks why the yadonushi cares for you. Especially after what you did to him. Do you know what it's like having to listen to eight years worth of complaints and self-doubts? Honest to Ra, I was ready to throw him back into your arms if only to stop his whining. Eight years of that, shinkan. I suppose you know that already…. But that is why. I really, really just want him to shut up. This isn't half as annoying as the time he ran around humming love songs… although that was pretty annoying too. If he has to be happy to be quiet, I will make him happy. If the only way for him to be happy, he has to have you, I will get you for him. And if you are here, I will tell you to talk to him as soon as possible and to get this whole mess done with so that at least he can have some peace of mind. Ra knows he needs it….
"I'm telling you this right now because I don't want anyone to think that I am becoming soft. I just want him to shut up and move on with his life, and the only way he can do that is with you."
I can't help but be shocked by his words, although I manage to hide that shock by smirking, "But you do care for him, don't you?"
He grunts as the Sennen Ring glows and he moves closer to me so that I can feel his breath on my neck, "Don't push it, shinkan. Out of all of the pharaoh's witless friends, I should be glad the yadonushi chose you. But either way, the last thing I will admit is that I care for the spineless idiot."
Then, before I can blink, he pulls himself up in order to bite on my earlobe (7). I manage not to yelp although it hurts, and my eyes water slightly from the sudden pain.
The next thing I know, I'm back in the hospital room and sitting down in the seat. Yami no Bakura is nowhere to be seen, and I might have thought this was all a dream if it wasn't for the continued stinging pain from where he just bit my ear.
I wince as I finger my earlobe. It hurts quite a bit, and I tell myself that I will have to have a word with you about your psychotic spirit (parasite) when I get to see you.
"What happened to your ear?" a voice asks from next to me, and I turn to see the girl who was sitting in her mother's lap. However, she is now sitting by herself, and a quick glance tells me that her parents are speaking to the receptionist.
My face flushes as I silently curse Yami no Bakura, "Nothing, ojouchan (8)."
"Oh… are you Japanese too?" she shifts in her seat. "Mommy and daddy's friend is Japanese… he's nice to me. I hope he's okay. You know him, right?"
She says everything quickly so that it takes me a while to fully acknowledge what she is saying. I wonder why she doesn't bother to catch her breath, but wisely decide not to ask her that.
"Who is your parent's friend?"
"Mr. Bakura, of course," she looks at me with this expression that seems to radiate Yami no Bakura's condescending glares. "You did come here to see him, didn't you? I heard you talk to the receptionist that you are."
"Yes, I did," I acknowledge, wondering why I am doing this. She kind of reminds me of Meimi… except she talks faster (and in English) and is a little more straightforward. Meimi has this habit of running around in circles before she asks her questions, which both makes me want to laugh and scream at the same time.
"Daddy's his editor," she informs me. "But he's also a family friend. Mommy says he's going to be okay. I really hope she's right."
I find myself smiling as I say, "Daijoubu da. He'll be okay."
"Are you his boyfriend?"
My mind immediately draws a blank. If you were here, I can just see you turning a bright shade of red as you try to stammer an explanation or a question or anything along those lines. As for me, I feel so calm right now that I choose to answer the question without worrying about the consequences.
"Yes. Why do you think that?"
Perhaps that is a bit of a lie… since we're not quite together yet. I hope you don't mind a little white lie, but I don't really know what else to say. I don't know how much you have told these people about your past relationships, and I don't want to reveal anything that you don't want them to know.
"My teacher says that if you really love someone, you can sense them and how they feel," she explains simply.
There was a time I would have wondered what on earth teachers have been filling kid's brains with… especially such romantic notions. But in a way, you learn to read people when you're close to them. I don't think her teacher meant those words in a way where you can sense them psychically, but being in the same room and such. She might have simply misinterpreted it.
I am about to reply when I am interrupted.
"Naomi, don't bother other people," her mother suddenly comes up. She looks up at me, an apologetic look on her face, "I'm sorry… I hope she wasn't being troublesome."
"It's okay… she wasn't bothering me at all."
"That's good," the woman smiles as she ushers Naomi away. "I'm sorry, but I've got to take her out to eat something. Would you like anything?"
"No thank you," I reply, the smile still on my face. I don't quite know why I am still smiling like this, but I can't seem to wipe it off my face.
In a way, Yami no Bakura's words did help me… and I can't help but wonder if that is what his real intent was. It's hard to tell with him, and I know if I ask him he will just try to kill me. I know he won't, deep down, because as he said, you still need me and anything to shut you up….
For the first time since I got off that airplane, I feel relaxed. Rather than being worried about how everything can end up failing, I can only think of how for once, everything seems so much better….
Several hours passed before we heard any update of your condition, and I used that time to make a phone call in case the others heard the news. I don't know if they would have without my call, but I called Otogi nevertheless. I'm not sure why I called him… I'm closest to Yami, although that really isn't closeness but a rivalry. Still, Otogi seems to be better at handling situations than the make inu, and I didn't want to deal with a long bellow about how I should have taken care of you using psychic powers or something of the sort.
Speaking of which, Otogi was pretty reasonable… after he calmed down from one of his hysterics. Perhaps I should have found some way of saying 'Ryou was hit by a car' more delicately, but those were the first words out of my mouth and before I could assure him that you would be all right, he was ranting and raving. Perhaps it is a good sign of how much he cares for you and all, but I would have found it terribly annoying if he was doing that for me. I already found it tedious to listen to him act like that already, and it took me quite a while to shut him up to tell him that you were going to make it.
Perhaps I should not take Yami no Bakura's words completely to heart, but on this point I just have to trust him. It's better than imagining that you might wind up being a vegetable for the rest of your life… I don't know what I would do if that was the case.
I've never been much of an optimist, but I don't think this is really being optimistic. I just have this feeling, this intuition, that you are going to be fine. Well, physically and mentally, at least.
Yami no Bakura seems worried for you, you know. Yami no Bakura, of all people… he doesn't need to worry about emotions. As long as you have all your limbs working and your mental state is secure, he shouldn't need to care anymore. Emotions are not necessary to him, especially yours.
He claims that he is tired of listening to you. I can't help but smile every time I think of that… it is really just a way of covering up his concern for you, isn't it?
It is lucky he cannot hear my thoughts….
The nurse came in a while ago to tell us that the operation was over and that you were going to be okay. Of course, I already knew this, but she gave us a run down of all the different injuries. You had been lucky in that the driver had been somewhat intelligent enough to slow down when he saw you, but that doesn't take away from the fact that you might have a slight limp for the rest of your life.
I'm not really that worried though, Ryou. You're such a paradox… at some times you seem so fragile and delicate, able to shatter at any moment. But I know that you're strong, and that you will get over everything. Despite everything that happens, you will be able to find peace and get over this incident.
I don't think I've ever really lost sight of you all this time. Even though you were not by my side anymore, it was as if I could always sense your presence… so motivating and loving.
We'll get through this, Ryou. I can only hope now that you will let me help you in that process.
Currently, the people who have been sitting in the waiting room seem to be playing a game of musical chairs. Some of the people are still here, but others have left and been replaced by new people.
Naomi is sleeping in the chair next to me. Her parents had been speaking a while ago, but then the receptionist called over her father and they are still talking to each other. The mother has dozed off during the conversation, and I feel like following her example.
At the same time, I can't sleep because I'm too busy trying to eavesdrop on the conversation between the two, but it hasn't been very successful. I have no idea what is going on, and I can't figure it out at all.
My attempts are finally interrupted when the two break off the conversation, causing me to sigh. I wasn't able to hear anything except some muttered fragments, and that was absurdly unhelpful. I'm now starting to feel even more annoyed, especially since I know nothing of your progress since this whole ordeal started.
"He's awake, Kim. The nurse we can go see him."
I immediately jerk as I stare at the couple. Naomi is still asleep, but I'm sure that will not be the case any longer. Still, that's not why I am suddenly so awake.
Why wasn't I informed of this turn of events?
I quickly get up, wincing slightly as I have been sitting in the same position for the past couple of hours or so. Walking over to the nurse, I try to remain as calm as I possibly can. After all, it wouldn't be very good to get kicked out of here when I'm so close to seeing you again….
"I'm sorry, but only relatives and close friends are allowed to see the patient," she says without even looking up at me. It's almost as if she is psychic, but that amusing concept fails to have any impact on me.
"But then when can I see him?" I reply, completely ignoring the fact that a pleading tone seems to be laced in my voice. I don't want to sound pleading… I hate it. I hate thinking that I am in someone's debt, that I need somebody's assistance, but this is more important than my pride.
This is… you.
"Visiting hours are from noon to four, Monday through Saturday."
"Demo…." Her eyebrow raises at my slip of Japanese, but I ignore that. I can be patient, I guess, but there is only so much else I am willing to go through today. I have been running around trying desperately to get a word in with you. The plane trip, the delay, the traffic, this whole hospital stay… it's almost as if everyone is trying to keep me away from you today. I finally find the confidence within myself to do something about my mistake, but no one is allowing me to do so. Instead, I keep getting blocked by event after event, as if this is a test.
If he has to be happy to be quiet, I will make him happy. If the only way for him to be happy, he has to have you, I will get you for him. And if you are here, I will tell you to talk to him as soon as possible and to get this whole mess done with so that at least he can have some peace of mind. Ra knows he needs it…. Yami no Bakura's words echo in my mind, over and over again.
"I need to see him now."
"I'm sorry sir, but the rules say…."
I don't want to beg, I really don't. But I'm about to start doing it anyway.
"Please… I have to get in there."
"I'm sorry, but…."
"But he's Mr. Bakura's boyfriend!" Naomi pipes up, and there is a long moment of silence following her statement. I turn slightly red (whether from embarrassment or annoyance, I'm not sure) when everyone turns to stare at me. "He told me so himself!"
Well, actually she asked….
"I wasn't aware that Ryou had a boyfriend yet… he seemed quite depressed when he came to visit me last night," her father comments mildly as he looks at me. This time, when I flush, it is definitely from embarrassment, as I know exactly why you were so depressed.
"We had a misunderstanding."
We had a misunderstanding eight years ago, to be exact. It took me eight years to fix my mistake… and I know that is rather pathetic, but better late than never, as the old cliché goes.
"What took you?"
I stare at him, although I manage to keep my expression somewhat calm, "What do you mean by that?"
"I had expected you to come earlier."
My eyebrow raises and I decline to reply, instead waiting for him to explain further. I guess that means that you did talk about it once or twice… although that sounds pretty out of character for you, if I do say so myself. You don't like discussing your private life, even if it's with somebody who is very close to you. It took me so long to get you to talk about your younger sister and the divorce your parents had… remember? So I am surprised that you would have talked about us to these people, no matter how close they were to you.
"Before I take on anyone, I like to check their history. My Japanese isn't very good, but Kim's is. And you might be surprised to see how many articles there were about the two of you on the Internet," he explains, a knowing smile on his face. I can't help but feel like I'm being looked down upon, something that definitely does not bode well with me.
"Does Ryou know you know?"
"He doesn't talk about it to me, so I don't talk about it to him. But it did explain why he always seemed so lonely the entire time he was here."
Again, I don't reply to that observation. I don't really know how to reply anyway… I could agree but he already knows that I agree. So there would be no point in doing that.
"I just need to see him again," I finally mutter, looking away. I hate surprises like these… usually, I can predict what is going to happen and then brace myself for it. But this…? I didn't see any of it. I never contemplated a relationship with you, and once we were together I never expected to break up with you. I didn't expect you to come back either, and to awaken all these feelings that I tried to keep buried. I didn't anticipate this need for you, this desire to keep you safe by having you close to me. I didn't think any of this would happen, but now that it is I can't do anything to stop it.
Do I want to stop it though? Do I want to go back to my life without you?
I thought of you so often… I can only wonder now why I never came after you. There are excuses, of course, but all of them seem petty and frail, too weak to have any substance. Was it fear then? Fear that I would come and you would just walk away from me?
You have already walked away from me several times in the past week, and it is something that is very painful. But I lived with it, despite everything. And although I know it can easily happen again (although in this case, I will have to be the one dragged out of the room since you are probably in no condition to get up), I'm willing to risk it for a chance to make you smile again.
This past week… for the first time, I really got to see how sad you were. It was as if our relationship had never occurred, but then I would catch glimpses of your smile. Especially with Meimi… you really seemed to love her. Do you know how much she loves you too? She's always been accepting, but never this quickly and this deeply. I don't know what you did to her to leave such a strong impression, but perhaps it is what you do with everyone. Your gentle kindness and quiet personality… it's entrancing and intriguing. You're such a wonderful person, Ryou, but it's almost as if you won't see it unless somebody shows you.
I jerk when the receptionist places a hand on my arm, her eyes soft. This entire scene is rather embarrassing, but I'm beyond the point of caring. The only thing I can think of is how much I want to see you, how much I need to speak to you.
You've had such an effect on people, although I doubt you've noticed it. Yuugi-tachi, Meimi, Mokuba, Emi, Aoko… sometimes you've only seen them once and already they care for you so much. Mami is the only person who I have ever seen hate you, but that is the person she is. She hurt you, and I hate her for that. But you can't really let her affect you that much, can you? She might believe she is right but that doesn't mean she is….
"I don't want you getting him worked up, you understand?" she asks me firmly, although I am a bit lost on what this 'worked up' means. I don't quite think I will be making him work at anything, but it might just be some phrase that I haven't learned yet. My English is great but it's not perfect… probably not as good as yours anyway, since I only bothered to learn for the sake of my company while you learned because you came to live here.
"Yes," I reply, almost mechanically.
"Don't make him stressed, and if he is tired I want you to leave the room immediately," she continues sternly, her expression reminding me of you that time you tried to lecture me about being more polite to others. What ended up happening was that I interrupted your lecture by kissing you, and the rest of the conversation more or less died as we engaged in more pleasant activities that didn't involve glaring and scowling.
"Yes," I repeat, grateful but somewhat impatient. I can't help but be thankful that she is letting me see you, but at the same time she is still keeping me from you with her seemingly endless rules and regulations.
She looks at me suspiciously before sighing, "All right. Come on."
"Good luck," the woman… Kim, I believe is her name, smiles encouragingly.
I pause from where I had been following the receptionist before turning to look at the three of them. And I smile again, despite the nervousness I am feeling.
"Mr. Bakura, there's somebody to see you. Are you fine with that?"
I can't hear your reply, but several seconds later she opens the door and ushers me in briskly. As I enter, I can see your eyes widen and you try to sit up. That attempt doesn't last long because next thing I know, she's shoved right by me and is glaring down at you with fire in her eyes.
"Don't you dare try to sit up, young man," she seems to snarl. Both you and I sweatdrop as she continues to rant and rave about safety and not overworking yourself, etc., and the din seems to last for several hours before she finally walks out of the room, shooting both of us a suspicious glare as she leaves.
I'm still staring after her, somewhat dazed, when your voice breaks me back to reality.
I walk to where a chair has been placed next to your bed, nodding as I do so, "Ryou."
"Wha… what are you doing here?"
"Otogi told me what happened. The dog gave me your address, and then…."
"Don't call him that, Seto," you plead, although exasperation is lacing your words as well.
I smile apologetically as I brush away the bangs that have fallen into your face. I don't know why I did that… but I always do it to Meimi. I always did it for you.
"All right, although I can't guarantee my promise will continue after you get out of here," I murmur as my eyes glance around the room. Everything is so white, and it is almost as if you can get lost in all of it. The only thing that really stands out is your blue eyes, but they seem pale and dull in comparison to when you smile.
A moment of awkward silence follows my promise, and I don't know how to break it. You still seem to be in shock at my presence. Again, I just allow myself to move automatically as I take your hand.
You blink and shyly turn away.
"Were… were you here the whole time?"
I fidget nervously at your question. I always wonder how you manage to do this to me… even Mokuba and Meimi could never manage to make me nervous this effectively.
"Hai," I answer.
There's an uncomfortable silence as you finally turn to look me over. To look at me, rather than always looking the other way to avoid me. There's no malice in your light blue eyes, although there never is even when you are extremely mad. There is only curiosity and confusion… must you wonder so much why I am here? I know I hurt you eight years ago, but I had hoped that some of my words might have had some affect on you in the past week.
Right now though, I'm just glad that I haven't let go of your hand yet, which is still soft and warm. I realize, again, just how much I've missed this.
Of course, I wish it could have been under different circumstances, but I'll live with it. It's much better than having nothing, anyway.
"Gomen, Seto." I stare at you in shock as you apologize again… although I have no idea what you could be apologizing for. "It looks like I'm causing you trouble again, aren't I?"
"Don't say that," I snap, causing you to flinch. I must sound harsher than I meant to, so I quickly calm down the panic and surprise that welled up in my mind when you said that, "Don't… don't say that, Ryou. None of this is your fault… none of it. Don't try to blame yourself for something you can't control. You do that to yourself too much, and you shouldn't. It wasn't your fault. Don't let yourself believe otherwise."
"But if I hadn't left…."
"It wasn't as bad as what I did to you," I cut you off as I clasp your hand tighter. You blink at me, your light blue eyes blinking back the tears.
Why are you crying, Ryou? Could it be that I'm hurting you, although that is the last thing I want to do to you? I've hurt you so much, so how is it that I can be hurting you again when I want to help you.
"You gave me a warning… I knew it could have happened," the words stick to my throat as I desperately grab for anything to express what I have been thinking, what I have known, for so long, "I never told you. Never gave you a warning. Just one day we were together and the next I just left you. And I never bothered to go find you, to explain why I did it. I didn't even know why I did it that way. I never bothered to look for you. It wasn't until Jyounouchi and the others told me that you were gone that I finally realized it… realized that I had lost you and that you had more or less faded out of existence. And the most pathetic part about all of this is that it took me eight years to figure out what a mistake I made."
"Meimi-chan isn't a mistake," you reply quickly as you look at me. I can't help but smile… she will be very pleased to know that you are thinking of her, especially at a time like this.
But is it really that odd? We always seem to go off on tangents when we should be focusing on what is most important.
"Her mother sure was," I mutter.
You scowl somewhat jerkily at me, but I'm grateful for it. It's the first bit of life I've seen from you since Meimi's birthday party.
"You shouldn't say such things, Seto. I'm sure Mami-san is a good person once you get to know her better."
I can only stare at you in disbelief, and I wonder if you really do believe that or not. Perhaps you do, but perhaps you don't. Still, I'm the one who lived with her for much too long, and I think I know her much better than I would ever want to know her.
How do you manage to care for people who have done everything in their power to hurt you?
"I'm sorry, Ryou," the words are barely more than a whisper, but the room is so quiet except for the constant beeping of the heart monitor that it's easy to hear them, "I'm sorry for everything. I'm sorry I hurt you so much, that all of this had to happen. I was never good at expressing my feelings, but what I did was still wrong.
"I never stopped loving you. I know it sounds unrealistic since I'm the one who left you, but it's true. The entire time, I still felt the guilt eating away at me, even if it took me this long to figure out exactly what it was.
"Meimi helped. She's like you in so many ways, although I never realized it at a conscious level. Maybe I just didn't want to. Or maybe I did notice, and that's why I love her so much.
"I know I hurt you, and that you're afraid I'll end up hurting you again. I know that I was the one who ruined all of this, and I would understand if you said no but…."
My voice trails off as I try to figure out exactly what I want to say.
If this was right… if we were never meant to be together, why does it hurt so much when we aren't together? Why did I keep thinking about you, and why did you keep thinking about me? If all of this was so damn wrong, why is it that outside of Mokuba and now Meimi, the only person who could make me truly happy was you?
I take in a deep breath as I stare into your eyes, which are still filled with the tears that I involuntarily created. "I came here, Ryou, to get an answer to my question. An answer that only you can give me."
You turn pale, "Seto…."
"I need an answer, Ryou. I need an answer or I'm going to spend the rest of my life wondering if we ever had a chance. I think we do, but it doesn't mean anything if you don't think so as well.
"You told me that once you went back to America, none of this was going to matter. But that's not true, Ryou. It's not over, and it's never going to be over. I still care for you, although I didn't manage to show it. I came here to prove you wrong, so that maybe you can answer that question. Can you?"
You blink again, and some of the tears escape as they fall down your face. Right now, it almost feels as if I'm holding an angel in my grasp, and I'm fighting for the right to take you home with me. Fighting for a relationship that I destroyed, but now want nothing more than to have back.
"… I… I don't know how to answer your question, Seto." You're crying now, and I can feel your hand tighten around mine. "I don't know why I ran away again… I don't know why any of this happened. You've been trying so hard and the only thing I can do is run away when I want nothing more than for you to hold me, but when you do it hurts so much because I get so confused on what you want and why you are doing it and… and I don't know what to do anymore. I was so happy last week and then I wasn't and I didn't know what else to do. It felt so right but it was so wrong and…."
Your voice trails off as you continue to cry helplessly. For a moment, I can only sit there, petrified, as I watch you break down like this.
Then, gently, I lean over to brush away some of the tears.
"Let's try again, Ryou."
You turn to look at me, your eyes shocked and lips slightly parted. I smile, and although it is a sad smile, it's pathetically hopeful at the same time.
"I know I already asked and you already said no, but I have to try again. Maybe this way, we can find an answer together, Ryou. This way, we can put both our doubts to rest.
"I want to make you happy again. I don't know if I will succeed, but I want to at least try. That's all I want. I just want to make you happy again."
For a moment, you can only stare at me. And I know that there isn't anything else I can say… anything else I can confess. I've told you everything I could, I've given you everything I possibly can.
It's up to you now, and I can only hope now.
Suddenly, for the first time in such a long time, you smile despite the tears that had been falling only a minute before. And it's almost as if we've gone back in time to over a decade ago, and I'm asking you if we could stop pretending to be lovers and really do so.
You had been crying then, as well. But through your tears, you told me that you loved me. And although you have yet to say those words again now, I can tell from your smile that your feelings have not yet died.
"I'd like that, Seto," you finally whisper, almost shyly.
Before you can change your mind, before somebody can come and disrupt us, or before the sky can fall on our head the earth swallow us whole in another attempt to keep any of this from happening, I lean over and kiss you.
It is a gentle kiss, since you are still hurt and I don't want you to cause you any more harm. But just because it is gentle doesn't mean that it feels any different from before.
Nothing else matters right now, except you. When I kiss you, it's as if all my troubles are temporarily misplaced, and I don't need to worry anymore. Because how can I worry when I have somebody like you in my life?
I wish I could embrace you… hold you and make sure you never leave me again.
But I suppose that will have to wait until later. Right now, as we break apart, I can hear you laughing softly for some reason… I'm not sure what it is myself.
I can only laugh with you before I kiss you again.
I've missed this so much….
Note 1 has been removed, as the song lyrics have been removed and therefore note is no longer applicable.
(2) I decided not to count the duel between Pegasus and Seto in volume 13 as a yami no game because the monsters were still holograms.
(3) Interesting… for some reason, when I was writing this part, I kept hearing Yami no Bakura's Duelist Kingdom voice actress saying this so that's how it got into the story. ;;
(4) But, however.
(5) I figure Bakura was, at most, in his early twenties when he started to steal. In chapter 308 (I believe), the manga goes into how the Sennen Items were made 15 years prior to Yami no Yuugi's memory phase. In it, Bakura looks to be about… 5 or 6, maybe.
(6) If you've seen the duel between Noah and Seto, this scene was inspired by the part where Noah does the same thing to Mokuba. The animation was very pretty… and my friend freaked out so much when she saw it.
(7) cough Chibizoo-san….
(8) This is basically the same word as used in the last chapter, except with a different honorific.
Well, mina-san… that's that. See? I promised I would get them back together (more or less in one piece), and I kept my promise…. :) I hope you are all satisfied with the ending of the sequel to "Fairydust".
It's been an experience, hasn't it? I'm really very happy… I admit that I didn't enjoy this fic as much as "Fairydust", but how can it compare? "Fairydust" was my first real hit, and it was the first time I got to meet so many wonderful people. And by those standards, this fic definitely did not fail me. I have met so many people through these two stories, some through e-mails and IM, others just through your kind reviews and encouragement.
What can I say? I'm really happy, and I'm very thankful to you all. I came across many rough spots in this fic, and school was definitely not helping… but I enjoyed it.
Something I wanted to point out was how it was easy for most characters in this story to accept Ryou and Seto's sexual preferences. While writing this story, I often had doubts about whether or not it really would be this easy for them to be accepted. However, later on, I decided that since this story does take place about ten years into the future, perhaps society has become more accepting. I don't know if that really will happen or not, but it is a nice thought for the future.
Since this is starting to sound like a speech and none of us really want that, I just need to thank somebody before I explain my plans for upcoming fics. This fic, to put it simply, would not have been complete without rayemars-san. Honestly, I really just make such stupid mistakes, some time, but at least you're there to catch them for me. XD Of course, I know this isn't an invitation for me to make more stupid mistakes! However, your beta-reading was just… amazing. It's the only word I can think of (without pulling up the thesaurus, of course), and it made this story the best it could be. Your little side comments really helped too… I still want to put them up in their own special chapter! But I won't, for your sake. glomp Thank you so much.
And, of course, my thanks to everyone who read this story, reviewed this story, enjoyed this story. You've all been great.
As for my upcoming plans… well, I'm not quite done with Seto and Ryou, it would seem. Although I have no intention of committing myself to another long story in this universe (sorry to everyone who wanted a sequel!), I am going to start publishing "Kuwashiku" (Detail), a collection of short stories that take place during, between, or after "Fairydust" and "Look the Other Way". It's not really a big thing… it's just that there are some aspects of these stories that I want to explore with more depth.
Other than that, I am departing from the Seto/Ryou coupling when it comes to my next major story "Painted Sky", a Seto/Ryuuji.
I hope to see you all again in one of these stories or perhaps both… but if not, I can only thank you again. Your support has really meant a lot to me.
grin Shutting up.
July 10, 2003