Target: You

Chapter Twenty-three

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Magicman/Smokegirl: Please don't hate Bakura! Eek! He's just mad-Makes a bunch of excuses for his mean behavior- XD But seriously, guys... Yami Bakura isn't exactly nice in the manga! Lol...

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Four days after the betrothal ball, Bakura found himself drudging in the direction of Anzu and Ryoko's quarters. He knew he should have been far away from Earth by now, but here he was, and still in the palace, no less.

The morning after the betrothal ball when Bakura had put all of Anzu's secrets out into the open, he had left that loathsome corridor with every intention of getting the hell off Earth and never returning-he would simply have someone else check inventory on the backwatered hell-planet. He had shooed Careen away to pack, so that he could bask in his victory in peace, but his solitary gloating over the Prince of Earth and Anzu had been short-lived.

Twenty minutes or so later, Malik had stormed into their quarters, slamming the door shut behind him. With arms crossed and eyes ablaze, he had stood stalk-still in front of Bakura with a scowl so furious, it would have sent Careen or any one other than Bakura running for the door. After nearly a minute of being pinned by the angry expression, Bakura had finally demanded what was wrong with Malik.

"In nearly twenty years of being your friend, I have never been ashamed of you. But just now, I was pretty damn close," Malik had replied harshly.

Bakura had been rendered speechless for a few seconds. His prideful happiness over knocking Yuugi down a peg and teaching Anzu he wasn't a toy to play around with was quickly fading. "This is a joke, right," he asked in bafflement.

"I can't believe you could be so heartless and such an idiot at the same damn time." With that, Malik had swiftly crossed the main sitting room to his bedroom, slamming yet another door with a resounding smack. Bakura wasn't sure how long he had stared at his cousin's uninviting door, but he had been broken from the spell by Careen's timid voice.

"I am ready to leave at your order, my king," she said softly, looking at the plushly carpeted floor. He stood from the couch, and she quickly backed away toward the wall.

"Oh, not you, too! For God's sake, I'm not going to beat you," he snapped. The lovely blonde didn't look up or reply. With an angry growl, Bakura stormed from the quarters, unsure of where he would go, but needing to get away from the disdainful air Malik and Careen left in their wake.

I had every damn right to do what I did! They were asking for it! he thought to himself.

Bakura sighed at the memory. After having had three days to cool down, he realized he had been way too harsh, and that he had had no right to reveal Anzu's most personal secrets. He hadn't seen her-or any other Earthling, for that matter-since the scandalous event happened, but he was positive she would definitely not want to see him. Still, he knew he had to try to make amends before he left.

He stopped in front of her door which seemed ever daunting now. He steeled himself and banged his fist on the wood door, harder than he had intended. A few moments later, the door was opened by none other than Anzu herself. The door was promptly closed in his face.

Bakura scowled and knocked again. Once more, she opened the door a crack.

"Leave me the hell alone," she ground out slowly and moved to shut the door again. He stuck his foot in it.

"Anzu, hear me out," he said, trying to squeeze his way through the door. Although she was tough, her strength was no match for his, and he shoved his way inside.

"How dare you even come here?" she asked with a disgusted shake of her head.

"What I did was uncalled for," he began, holding his hands out in surrender. "I shouldn't have spoiled all of your secrets. I was so mad already because of what you said to Lady Mai, and then stupid Yuugi picked a fight, and-" He stopped his rantings and cleared his throat. "And I'm sorry."

She laughed shortly. "You're sorry? You can't even begin to be sorry! You don't even know the meaning of the word! You ruined my life!" she yelled, emphasizing every word. Bakura had to force himself to stand still, for the urge to back away from her was overwhelming. "Any chance Ryoko had at growing up with a loving father has been ruined because of you! So, congratulations, Bakura. You got what you wanted! After all of these years, you finally got back at me." She shook her head silently, hardly even able to look him in the eye. "Let yourself out." She pivoted on her heel and quickly left the main sitting room.

Bakura's eyes had become so large, it hurt to look forward. He would have preferred a physical punch straight to the face rather than her verbal assault. He would have even preferred her when she was holding him at gunpoint that night four years prior when he had realized he cared about her.

Hot, wet tears ran down his cheeks, but the notion was so foreign to him that it didn't even dawn on him that he was, indeed, crying. He merely swiped at the offending drops unconsciously. "I didn't get what I wanted..." he whispered.

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The next day, Anzu received another unexpected visit. She had avoided the dining hall completely and had only seen Mai since the morning after the betrothal ball (with the exception of Bakura).

The knock on the door brought no suspicions-she merely guessed it to be a servant-but she was surprised to see Yuugi standing awkwardly off to the side when she opened the door. He was looking all around himself as if he had never before seen her door and the corridor it was in.

"Yuugi," she finally said.

"Hello," he replied quietly. He clasped his hands behind his back and shifted from one foot to the other.

"Won't you come in?" she offered, sensing his hesitation. His shoulders relaxed slightly when she stepped aside, and he entered the main sitting room. He stood awkwardly to the side until Anzu motioned for him to sit on the couch.

"Anzu," he began slowly. "about what happened. Well, I'll just come right out and say it. I'm sorry I shunned you. I am so sorry," he said, grapsing her hands in his. "When you first came to Earth and you were pregnant, I just started to think of Ryoko as my daughter because I've had the pleasure of watching her grow. When I found out he was her father, it just shocked me severely. And then to find out that you have been... well, I was just stunned."

Anzu sniffled and nodded. "I cannot even express how sorry I am. Yuugi, I just hope that you will not hate me forever."

His brows lifted. "Hate you?" He laughed. "Anzu, don't be silly. I couldn't hate you! Actually, what I came here to ask was if you would still consider marrying me."

Anzu's heart pounded in her chest. Ryoko's chance at a happy future wasn't ruined after all! Bakura's face appeared in her mind's eye, but she shoved it away internally.

"I don't deserve you," Anzu told Yuugi, shaking her head.

He smiled tenderly. "You made one mistake. Everyone does. That doesn't mean you're unworthy of being happy."

She laughed tearfully and hugged him tightly. "Thank you," she said sincerely. He returned the embrace for a minute before standing.

"Well, then, I guess I had better stop the servants from tearing down the decorations. Married in two days. Can you believe it?" he asked. He shook his head with a grin before bidding her goodbye.

Anzu sighed and leaned against the door after Yuugi had left. She was overjoyed at the prospect of Ryoko having a loving father, but thoughts of Bakura threatened to drain her of any happiness. But she couldn't think of him now. He had nearly destroyed what she had worked so hard to attain. She shook her head as if to clear any remaining thoughts of him.

Ryoko entered the main room from her bedroom. She walked up and hugged her mother.

"You look tired, mommy."

Anzu smiled. "It's been a long week, sweetie. But as long as you're here, I have energy! I love you!"

Ryoko giggled and replied, "I love you, Angel."

Anzu looked down sharply at her daughter, a sudden pain constricting her chest. "What did you just say?" she asked slowly.

Ryoko suddenly looked distraught and wondered if she had upset her mother. "Nothing, mommy. I didn't mean it."

Anzu knelt down in front of her daughter. "No, no, no. You're not in trouble. Tell me where you heard that," she demanded softly, her heart pounding in her chest. Her face was hot and she heard a distinct ringing in her ears.

"When daddy was here," the little girl whispered, still wondering if she would get in trouble. Anzu sat back on her heels in shock. She swallowed painfully. He loved her...

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The night before her wedding, Anzu turned to the side in front of the full-length mirror, examining herself. Her ivory wedding gown was absolutely breath-taking, but she felt incomplete in it. She forced a smile onto her face and practiced a curtsy in the dress.

I love you, Angel.

Anzu shook her head fiercely. She could not think about that now. Her and Bakura simply weren't suited, that was all there was to it.

I love you, Angel.

She swallowed a sob and sunk into a nearby chair. She wasn't being fair to herself or Yuugi. He didn't deserve to marry a woman who was in love with another man. There was nothing for it. Anzu had to break the engagement off before she truly ended up hurting Yuugi. She would simply have to be enough for Ryoko by herself.

Resigned and depressed, she shrugged out of the wedding gown and carefully folded it. After laying it on her bed, she exited her rooms in search of Yuugi before her courage left her.

The Prince of Earth looked up as she entered the small library he was in. He embraced her, and he noticed she was hesitant to return it.

"What is wrong?" he asked, concerned.

"I can't do this. I'm so sorry, but I can't marry you," she begged off. Yuugi's heart sank, but he wasn't truly surprised.

"You love him, don't you?" he asked. Seto Kaiba had asked her the same question four years prior and she had denied it, but she found she could not deny it this time.

She nodded dully. "Yes."

"Well, then, it would not be fair to you to be married to me," he replied softly. She looked up, heartstricken.

"You can do so much better than me! Please forgive me," she pleaded. He took her hands in his.

"I hope we will remain friends at least," he told her, trying to hide the heartbreak plaguing him.

"I am not worthy of being your friend, but thank you," she whispered. He hugged her tightly one more time, and she left the library. He held a hand out after her for a minute before finally letting it numbly fall to his side.

Anzu sunk down into a heap in the shadows of a rarely-used corridor.

"Lady Anzu?" a female voice inquired quietly. The brunette looked up miserably. She was surprised to see Careen standing before her, worriedly. She wondered what the woman was still doing on Earth. She figured Bakura would have left the day before. Careen noted the circles under the younger woman's eyes, and she broke down.

"Oh, Lady Anzu, it's all my fault! I am so sorry!" she cried, falling down next to the Earthling with her head bowed low. Anzu was momentarily shocked into speechlessness at the outburst.

"What is your fault, Careen?" she asked, baffled.

"I told Lady Mai about you and King Bakura! Please forgive me!"

Anzu sighed and sank back into the wall. "It is not your fault Yuugi found out. Mai didn't tell."

Careen looked up with relief clearly showing on her pretty features. She cast her eyes down. "Still, I am forever indebted to you for trying to sabotage you. I was just so jealous of you! But now I know that King Bakura will never love me like he loves you."

Anzu rested her hand on top of the other lady's and squeezed gently. "There are other men who will love you."

Careen shook her head sadly. "No, there isn't. Even King Bakura thinks I'm an annoyance, and he lets Lord Malik be mean to me," she said, her voice cracking as she started to cry. Anzu did not know if she felt worse for herself or for Careen at the moment. She rubbed the other woman's silky, gold locks.

"Did you ever think that maybe Malik is mean to you because he doesn't respect you?" Anzu inquired gently. Careen looked up with a sniffle.

"What do you mean?"

Anzu chose her words carefully. "Careen, you are a lovely woman; you don't need to give yourself to every man. Someone will love you for who you are."

The concept seemed foreign to the Bakurian woman. "Do you really think so?" she whispered.

Anzu shook her head. "I know so."

"My lady, I beg of you to stay on Earth and be your ladymaid," Careen pleaded. Anzu smiled.

"I could never ask that. But there is something you can help me with," she responded and pushed herself to her feet. The other woman quickly jumped up.

"Anything! I'll do anything!" she exclaimed. The complete turn-around in Careen's personality astounded Anzu, but she smiled reassuringly anyway.

"Please follow me." She motioned for the blonde to follow her down the corridor in the direction of her rooms.

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Near eleven o'clock that night, Malik boarded the Bakurian spaceship to prepare to leave Earth. He shook the raindrops from his hair and walked the remaining distance to the sleeping quarters. Entering the main sitting room which led off to five separate bedrooms, he spotted Careen on the far side of the room.

"What is she doing here?" he exclaimed, noticing that the head Careen was drying belonged to Ryoko. The woman didn't respond, but instead ushered the little girl and Chisara into one of the bedrooms and tucked the toddler into the bed. She returned to the main sitting room to find Malik still standing in the same place, calmly regarding her. Apparently, he figured out what Ryoko was doing on the ship since he didn't question her further about it. Instead, he sauntered up to her with a smirk.

"If it isn't everyone's favorite little bedbug," he purred as he stopped in front of her. "You can be my bedbug tonight."

Careen smiled mysteriously. "I don't think I will. I can find someone to love me for me and not for my body," she replied.

Malik was so shocked at having been rejected that he did not notice the woman sail past him with a triumphant grin gracing her features. Finally, he looked toward the door she had closed moments before. He grudgingly allowed a small smile to tug up the corner of his lips.

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Bakura's eyebrows narrowed in his sleep as a peculiar dripping on his forehead bothered him. After a second and third drip, he finally opened his eyes. He gasped as his eyes adjusted to the darkness, and his gaze fell on the laser gun pointed at his head. He looked down his body at the person straddling him.

"You still sleep like a rock," Anzu told him lightly.

"I no longer have a bounty on my head," Bakurainformed her,equally casual.

"So I heard," she replied. She shrugged. "But a man who doesn't tell the woman he loves how he feels deserves to be shot."

His heart leapt in his chest at the smile playing on her lips. Slowly, a teasing grin spread on his face. He pulled the gun from her hand and tossed it over the side of the bed. He rested his hands on her thighs.

"Well, can I bribe you with a piece of ass instead?" he asked seriously. She appeared thoughtful.

"That just might work," she replied. They both shared a laugh.

She leaned forward, her wet hair brushing his cheeks coolly as her lips lowered to meet his passionately. After a breathless minute, she pulled back a few inches.

"So, do you?" she whispered.

"Do I what?" he asked knowingly.

"You know."

He chuckled. "Yes, I do."

Happiness welled up in Anzu's breast. With her heart pounding, she said, "Me, too."

The End

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Thanks so much to everyone who has been following this story. It really means so much to me! Thank you for the wonderful reviews and encouragement. If you liked this story, I really hope you'll continue on to read the sequel, Target: Destiny. The first chapter will be posted shortly. A summary is below. Thanks again to everyone, and I hope to see you around!

Target: Destiny - A/U - Yami Bakura x Anzu; Bakura and Anzu have been happily married as king and queen of Bakura for the past four years-when they're not biting each other's heads off, that is. However, someone seems to admire Anzu; but, what starts out as admiration turns into obsession. And if her stalker can't have her, then nobody will...

Lastly, I've just opened a Yami Bakura x Anzu fandom site for fanfiction and fanart. I beg of you all to visit it and submit works of your own! I'm going to be collecting a lot of works over the next few weeks to build it up. Please visit Vexation at http:an-eternityDOTcom/vexation.