Title: Wana ni Kakeru

Summary: Seto thinks about the day Ryou left for America.

Coupling: Seto*Ryou

POV: Kaiba Seto

Timeline: Between "Fairydust" and LTOW… so about four years after "Fairydust" and eight years after LTOW?

Notes: I have no idea what led to this story idea… I think I was just going through the dictionary looking for interesting words when the idea suddenly came to me. -_-;; Not sure about the relationship between those two things….

Anyhow, this fic basically describes what might have happened if Seto had actually gone to the airport when Ryou had first left for America. It's kind of a weird one because it could be considered an AU fic… since in some chapter of LTOW Seto mentioned that Jyounouchi called him with the news "telling [him] that [Ryou was] gone"… so it kind of implies that Seto didn't finally find out that Ryou was leaving until after the call. But this fic basically goes under the assumption that he did know, and the call wasn't really any surprise. ^.^

Also, many, many, many thanks to rayemars-san… I'm sorry I had so many grammatical errors in this one. I seriously should have read it over before I sent it…. ^^;; *huggles* Thanks.

        Your father was the one who told me, although I do not know why he did. Perhaps, like all parents who care for their children, he was attempting to give his younger son a last chance at happiness before it was too late, even though it's already been over a month since we broke up.

        Although to be completely fair to you, I suppose that to say we broke up isn't exactly accurate. After all, I was the one who left you, and you had little to no part in the decision. I could point out that you might have seeked me out after I left, but I know for a fact that you wouldn't have. I counted on that fact.

        It doesn't have anything to do with the possibility that you simply did not love me enough to come after me. When I wrote that letter telling you that it was over, I tried my best to make it hurt you as much as possible even while trying to be extremely polite. I needed to hurt you, so at least you wouldn't think that it was your fault. But I doubt that is the case… you always end up blaming yourself for things that are completely beyond your grasp. Why is that, Ryou? Do you feel some sort of obligation to carry the weight of the world on your back? You cannot enjoy it… and as sadistic as the spirit in the Sennen Ring is, I doubt that even he is that crazy.

        I'm not one to talk about crazy right now though. Especially after everything that has been done. I loved… no, love you so much, you know that? There was a time when I thought I had to be crazy to ever even think about leaving you, as if the possibility simply could not exist.

        But look at us now, Ryou. Look at where we are.

        You're sitting at a small café right next to the terminal where your plane is going to depart from in an hour, just like your father told me. The boarding will start forty minutes earlier, which means I have twenty minutes to rectify all my mistakes before I miss the opportunity forever.

        I couldn't believe it when he told me that you were leaving. For one thing, I couldn't believe he would tell the man that just broke his son's heart that, as if he truly did hope that I could do something before you were gone. He was right in a way… I am here. But why are you here, Ryou? Why are you at the airport, waiting for a flight to America? What's there for you that could possibly make you just pack your things and go, without even saying good-bye to Yuugi-tachi? I know they don't know because knowing them, they would give you a big farewell party if you did. There would be hugs and wishes of good luck as you board the plane, and you would no doubt be absolutely horrified by all the attention. Your cheeks would turn bright red and you would stutter, and maybe you would even change your mind and right when the plane was about to take off, it would come to a screeching halt because you would realize what a mistake you were making.

        Because this is a mistake, isn't it?

        When he told me, I thought it was a dream. And perhaps this is still a dream, and none of this has really happened. Maybe I will wake up to realize that this past month has been some nightmare, that you're really right there next to me. I've done that so many times… dreamed that you were there only to wake up to discover that you weren't. That what I had done had truly happened, and that you weren't anywhere to be found.

        Sometimes it seems that reality hasn't sunk in until now.

        But Ryou… how could you just leave like this? Yuugi-tachi… pathetic as they are, they'll miss you. And knowing you, that's the thing that matters most to you. You don't want to disappoint them, do you? You don't want to act the same way that I did when I left you, and leave them all with such disappointments. Don't you wonder about how they will feel once they realize that you are gone? How long it might take them to realize it? And then the guilt will set in because they will wonder why they weren't able to prevent it. They'll all think about the inevitable 'what if'… such as what if you had told one of them? Maybe they would have been able to stop you, and you wouldn't be running away like this.

        Don't act like me, Ryou.

        It's difficult to admit, but I do. I ran away from you for reasons that are sometimes so clear to me and at other times are impossible to grasp. It seems that this is one of those times… impossible to grasp times, I mean.

        It would be so easy to just step out and let you know that I am here. What would happen then, Ryou? We haven't spoken since that day, and I doubt you would want to speak to me now. But you don't always do what you want… sometimes it seems impossible for you to do that. You worry so much about what other people think and how they perceive you that you're willing to bend over backwards to satisfy them.

        Although I suppose I shouldn't be lecturing you. It's the same thing I did when I gave in to all the pressures and left you. And it's the same thing that is holding me back right now.

        If only your father had called one of your friends, Ryou. Why did he have to call me, of all people? Yuugi would have been a better choice, or maybe Otogi. Even the make inu, although there is a grave possibility that he would botch this all up and you would be taking an earlier flight. But why did your father dump this decision on me? Especially since I was the one that caused all of this to happen? Did he know I could never be brave enough to face you and admit what a mistake I made, or at least be able to explain why I had done it? Or simply to apologize… make you know at least that I still care for you but that our relationship simply couldn't work.

        … I doubt it. Especially since I have so much trouble convincing myself of that lie.

        You're nervous. I can see that. The book that you're reading is folded back, basically destroying the cover. You hate doing that, always trying your best to keep the covers in perfect shape. I don't see why you bother doing that… it's nearly impossible. Books are meant to be read, not to be kept perfect… unless you're going to sell it. I never could see why you were so obsessive about that point, but I never pushed it. I had other concerns on my mind and besides, you probably have to deal with more of my bad habits than the other way around.

        Your light blue eyes keep glancing over at your watch, at a consistency that makes it difficult to imagine if you are actually reading the book. It's doubtful… you've been on the same page for the past ten minutes. It's one of your favorite books… one of those books that you've practically memorized. It shouldn't take you ten minutes to read one page… no, you're distracted and unable to concentrate.

        It dawns on me that I don't have much longer.

        Again, I can't help but curse your father. It would have been so much easier to believe that you were still in Japan, only to discover in several weeks from one of your friends that you were not. By then, it would be too late, and I would not have to deal with any guilt in that I might have been able to stop you. Certainly, I would feel guilt from the knowledge that it was I who drove you to this. Perhaps that is the greatest benefit of America… the fact that I am not there. But can that be the only reason you're leaving, Ryou? There are places closer… places more convenient so that at least your friends can visit you. Why are you leaving to go to someplace so far away?

        "Boarding for flight 592. Boarding for flight 592…" the voice causes me to start, and you jerk as well. We both know that it's not your flight, but the knowledge is starting to take hold that it will be soon.

        You're too nervous to keep reading your book, and you finally shut it and put it back in your carry-on bag. What thoughts are going through your mind right now, Ryou? Doubts? Second-guessing? Maybe even elation that you are finally getting away from this place and all its memories?

        Oh god Ryou… I didn't mean to. I never meant for this to happen. Does that change anything? If I ran right now, out of my hiding spot behind this large plant where I pretend to be engrossed in a book, would that stop you from going?

        … you would. I know you would.

        Sometimes, you take me completely by surprise. The way you snap at me when I call Jyounouchi a make inu… a name that he completely deserves, by the way… the way you laugh at the most unexpected things. The way you stand up for yourself when I least expect it… well, nobody can be completely predictable.

        But something like this? You would stay. What reason would you have to go? There's nothing there for you in America… everything you love and need is here. In Domino.

        I need you here too.

        Even when we were apart… it always seemed to bring me this strange sense of comfort knowing that you were still here. That if I needed to, I could phone you up and pretend that nothing was wrong. And to have that reassuring thought that if I ever became brave enough, I could find some way to bring us back together.

        I can't do that if you're in America, Ryou.

        My mind is screaming for me to move, to allow my presence to be known. But it seems like I'm frozen, and I can only watch you as you keep glancing at your watch, somehow managing to tear your eyes away from the wall to look at the small instrument that can completely change your life. I want to yell out to you, to let you know that I'm here for you and that this was all just an honest mistake. I don't want you to go… I can't let you go.

        Knowing that though, just isn't enough. Because despite everything, I am still standing here while you are still completely unaware of my presence.

        How is it that something so easy… so important to me… can still be something that I just let slip away without a fight?

        I can't let you go like this. I just can't. With your eyes so sad and with… with everything I have done to you. You shouldn't be forced to leave like this, not because of me. I can't let you go through with this… can't let you throw your life away because of something that I have done.

        You won't be happy doing this. You're not thinking clearly enough right now to realize it, but you just won't be happy leaving everyone behind.

        I can't let you do this.

        I slowly put the book back, finally ready to step out so that you can see me, when the ominous voice on the intercom crackles overhead.

        "Boarding flight 618 to Los Angeles terminal. Boarding flight 618 to Los Angeles terminal. Please make your way to the boarding area."

        The voice is so polite, so like you, and obediently you get up and start to pack up your things.

        And all I need to do is step out.

        Step out and admit that I was wrong. Step out and just might be able to take back the biggest mistake of my life. Step out and stop any of this from happening, so that maybe we can pretend that it was all just a nightmare and that we've finally fallen back to our dreams.

        It's just so easy.

        But instead, I can only stand there and watch you walk out of the small café and towards the boarding area.

        It takes me a moment to attain the nerve I need to follow you, and once I find it only pride keeps me from breaking into a run. You're already so far ahead, and so much time has passed. The boarding area is close, and it's only a matter of time before you get on the plane. And once that happens, I'll be alone again.

        You were the only person except Mokuba that I could love like this, Ryou. But Mokuba isn't going to need me around much longer. Already he's starting to fight against all the restrictions I used to place on him, and soon he'll be searching for a life of his own that I can no longer control. And all the feelings of being needed will fade away because he won't be there needing me anymore, and you won't be either.

        I need you so much, but it seems like I can only admit that to myself. I can't admit it to you, and I can't admit it to the world. Maybe it's because I'm afraid that if I do, something will happen to you. But probably it's because I know that I can't deal with the world knowing how much I care for you.

        I wish I could say that I didn't care about them. Sometimes, I truly think I don't. If I called your name out right now, somehow got you to just look at me, I could prove that to both you, me… everyone. All I would have to do is get you to look at me in the way that you always do, almost as if you could see into my soul and know exactly what I was thinking.

        You're already giving the attendant your ticket up ahead, but you could still hear me. It's not too late… not too late for anything.

        Except it's too late for me. I know, already, that I can't face you. I can't face your eyes or your expression if you should turn to me, and the way your face will just ask why. Why did I do this to you? How could I do this to you?

        That expression has ensnared me in a way I cannot describe. It comes so innocently… you don't mean to do it. You don't mean to put me under your spell, yet still I cannot resist every time I look into your eyes. I want nothing more than to protect you, to care for you, to make your sad blue eyes smile.

        How did you ever manage that? Mokuba… he's my brother and I've known him for all my life. His eyes can turn me into butter if he can somehow manage to pull the right heartstring (rarer these days since I keep getting used to his expressions, forcing him to search for a more pathetically adorable one), but how could an outsider like you do it?

        If I was able to look into your eyes when I left, I never would have been able to go through with it. I'd have been paralyzed, unable to move and resist the utter, overwhelming need I have for you.

        You smile at the attendant as she wishes you a good flight, and I wonder if she can see the sadness in your eyes. You've barely looked at her but the emotion just surrounds you, but then I blink and you're no longer there. Almost as if you were never there….

        I blink again, almost in disbelief. You can't be gone, can you? Not this fast, not this easily. You're still in hearing range… I can call your name. I can ask the attendant to hold the plane before rushing over to a shop to buy you a bouquet of dying flowers in order to woo you back. I can do so many things, but none of them I will do because… I just can't.

        I can't do anything to bring back one of the most important things in my life.

        People are starting to bump into me, all of them giving me strange looks. Slowly, mechanically, I walk towards the large glass windows, where I can see your plane. Soon, the plane's doors will be closing and it will pull away from the gate. Soon, the plane will be speeding down the runway and taking off into the air. Soon, you'll be on your way to America, and I can only stand here knowing that I wasn't able to do anything to prevent it.

        If it was Mokuba, I know I would have been able to stop it. But with you….

        I swallow and wonder if perhaps I want to cry. Knowing me, I won't. Knowing you… if you do cry, Ryou, whenever that may be… would you ever cry for me? Or will it only be because of what I did, and what you ended up doing because of my own, foolish actions?

        Before I know it, the gate is drawn and the plane is starting to pull away. Can you see me Ryou? Can you see that I am standing here, watching you disappear before my very eyes?

        And if you do see me, would you think that it was nothing more than an illusion brought along by pitiful dreams that can so easily break?

        Or perhaps… perhaps you will know that I do care for you. That I will always care for you because there is no other reason for me to be here. I do not need closure… I will never have closure.

        Despite the effort I keep into trying to keep track of your plane, it's not longer before you're lost in the mass of machines that are going through their daily routines with startling precision. You're not the type of person to get lost in the crowds, no matter how hard you try, but this time you've managed it. I no longer know where you are, and I no longer have any chance of stopping you without doing some completely foolish.

        All I can do is straighten my back, the same emotionless expression that has been on my face this entire time, and then turn to walk back towards the place where both you and I belong.

Eyes I dare not meet in dreams

In death's dream kingdom

These do not appear:

There, the eyes are

Sunlight on a broken column

There, is a tree swinging

And voices are

In the winds singing

More distant and more solemn

Than a fading star.

 ~ T.S. Eliot, "The Hollow Men"

        The title, translated, means "To Ensnare". The poem, an except from T.S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men", kinda has multiple meanings. The beginning describes how Seto is unable to face Ryou and his need to have him back… he accepts it but is unable to act upon it, at least. It's really open to interpretation, but I included it to kinda emphasize how meaningless this entire scene was since he wasn't really able to do anything. ^.^

        And success~! I finally remembered how this fic came to be after I finished reading the second Shopaholic book… my fic was inspired by the last couple of scenes in it! So pathetic of me to completely forget…. --;;

        Anyhow, this fic is kinda a two-parter… there's (hopefully) going to be a second part in Yami no Bakura's point of view once I get my act together. ^-^


~ September 23, 2003