A Touch of Victory
A Yu-Gi-Oh 30kisses fic
By: Azurite (azurite AT fanfiction DOT net)
For the LiveJournal community 30kisses #16 theme (invincible, unrivaled).
Completed: 5/9/05

What is 30kisses? It's a community on LiveJournal-- a fanfiction challenge community. People choose a pairing from a fandom (in my case, I chose Seto x Anzu from Yu-Gi-Oh) and then write 30 fics or a combination of fics and art to fit 30 different themes. The requirement is that each piece of work also has to have a "kiss" in it! But whether a kiss is literal/physical or metaphorical, it's up to the writer...

Feel free to join us if you have a LiveJournal account-- tons of pairings are free, and we have alternative lists for you to try in case the original 30 kisses don't interest you!

By the way, I will NOT be posting the other oneshots as chapters to this; they are oneshots, and I intend to post them standalone, as such. It might take a bit longer for me to post them on my site and major archives because of this (as they were originally written for LiveJournal only), but they WILL make their way there.

Read and review! Let me know what you think about this fic...

Disclaimer: Kazuki Takashi owns it. Not me.


He wished to be invincible. He wished to be unrivaled. He wished to be the best.

He never expected his wish to come true.

Seto Kaiba was the sort of person who didn't “waste his time” wishing and hoping, or praying and dreaming. He went out and did things, because that was how he lived his life. Only by going out and doing did one accomplish anything.

But every now and then, a childish wish would slip into his thoughts, and he'd find himself foolishly wishing for something he knew he couldn't have. Something that was beyond his reach, something

In times like those, he simply squelched that voice with his own sense of reason.

“There is nothing I can't have. There is nothing I can't do. You either do something or you don't. End of story.”

But the world isn't quite so simple. It doesn't follow any one set of rules, or anybody's expectations. Least of all rational Seto Kaiba's.

One day, he wished to be invincible. Unrivaled. The best.

And he got his wish… but not how he wanted.

Every morning, the same. He woke up, got dressed, ate breakfast, and went to school. School. What a pointless waste of his time. He wasn't learning anything new there, really. He wasn't even required to be there, since the Japanese government only mandated education through junior high.

So why did he keep going?

Was it for his brother's sake, to set a good example? Was it to keep his image as a genius and a businessman? Or was it because some part of him, deep and hidden away, actually treasured the mere sensation of being surrounded by people who didn't particularly care about his money or his fame?

Maybe it was being surrounded by the very people that knew what made him who he was….

Duel Monsters.

A simple game to some, but so much more than that to Seto Kaiba.

And to Yuugi Mutou, Katsuya Jounouchi

Even Anzu Mazaki, the girl whose smile never faltered.

(Well, only once. And that had been when she had a two-ton crate looming above her head, certain death a mere moment away.)

Despite the fact that He was gone (He being the “Pharaoh,” though Kaiba would never say as much. He didn't want to seem like a fool for believing in magic and reincarnation, even though he'd seen it all with his own eyes, and experienced things beyond logical explanation), Kaiba still had that insatiable urge to beat Yuugi.

To defeat him once and for all, and…...

Well, to get his title back. But here they were, only a few months shy of graduating high school and truly moving on with their lives, and yet all he could think about was the almost childish pursuit of being “the best.”

It didn't matter that he had an assortment of other titles that he carried with him. It didn't matter that people stroked his ego on a daily basis. He didn't want to be the richest individual in the gaming industry, or the youngest Duel Monsters champion. He didn't want to be the only one to go into and come out of an inexplicable coma, like he was some sort of medical miracle.

He just wanted to be the best.

Was that so wrong?

Apparently so. The gods (or whatever Powers That Be) decided that it was high time for Seto Kaiba to learn his lesson—that there was more to life than victory. And so, one day, Kaiba woke up and went to school… and from there, everything went downhill.

It was simple—the day stretched on endlessly, as cold winter days tended to do. Morning classes finally breached into the early afternoon, and it was lunch.

He'd forgotten his lunch.

It never happened before.

He felt like a fool, but what could he do? The lunch period was only a half hour long, which wasn't nearly enough time to go home and fetch his lunch. And if he were to leave campus and pick a desirable restaurant to go to, he'd be late to class as well.

So Seto Kaiba rose from his chair (something that never happened during the lunch period, mind you, so it caught the attention of several people) and decided to force his way through the crowds fighting over different kinds of bread and sandwiches.

And then the mutt came barreling toward him, a slew of breads in his hand, with Honda or whatever his name was yelling right behind him.

Kaiba jolted to the right, shoved aside by Jounouchi's shoulder—but when he turned around to scowl at Jounouchi, the mutt was gone. Honda finally caught up with him, and realized Kaiba was staring in the same direction Jounouchi had gone –but even though the crowds were thinning, the blond was nowhere to be found.

"“Have you seen--"—” Honda began, but Kaiba cut him up with a brusque wave of his hand.

“No.”

Almost an entire half hour later, the bell was about to ring and Kaiba was even more irritated than he had been before. He was still hungry, but he wasn't about to sink to the level of the idiotic students shoving aside the younger students or the females trying to get their lunches. So he waited patiently… but when he finally got to the bread stand, there was nothing but bean paste bread left.

Not just any bean paste bread either, but a single, squished loaf of the stuff, with a burgundy-colored ooze swelling against the plastic.

It wasn't Seto Kaiba's attitude to accept what was “better than nothing,” but in this case, there was truly nothing he could do about it.

He went back to class hardly satisfied, and not in the least bit concerned with the fact that Jounouchi never returned to class.

Perhaps it was his hunger coupled with his lack of sleep, or maybe Kaiba's irritation lay in the fact that he'd been thinking about victory almost non-stop for… well, he couldn't even remember. A long time. It was an obsession now, wasn't it? But was it such a bad thing to want? It was certainly better than wishing to go unnoticed, unloved, and hidden in the shadows.

That was no way to live.

It was eating away at him to the point where the ticking hands of the clock grew increasingly louder in his ears, where he could feel his stomach grumbling as it attempted to digest day-old bean paste, and when every little move that one of his classmates made was like a fly buzzing next to his ear.

'‘Irritation, annoyance, bothersome… do something about it!'

When the bell finally rang to signal the end of the school day, Seto Kaiba stood up from his seat and abruptly strode over to the aisle where Yuugi was discussing something with Anzu.

Kaiba tried not to pay the girl any mind –she was always a distraction—and instead focused on Yuugi.

"“Duel.”"

It was all he said, and it was all he needed to say. Yuugi stared up at him with wide eyes, though there seemed to be a hint of something else –tiredness, perhaps?—in their depths. Could it be that his long-standing rival had given up on the game?

“"Hey now, don't be such a pest,"—” Honda interjected from the side, but Kaiba didn't even face him. The moment Honda got too close, Kaiba thrust out a warning hand, and Honda didn't speak any more.

Anzu stared at Kaiba and then at Yuugi —and she turned to face Honda to see his reaction to all this, but Honda wasn't there.

Perhaps he'd decided to give up on arguing with Kaiba. As Anzu had learned after a long time, it was a rather fruitless endeavor.

But that by no means meant she was going to leave Yuugi. She was his friend through and through, no matter what.

Pharaoh or no…...

Yuugi just sighed and shook his head, and walked right past Kaiba, his small frame not even brushing against Kaiba's imposing one. Anzu trailed after him slowly, casting a hesitant glance back at the CEO.

She looked as though she wanted to say something, but she couldn't decide what words to use.

Hmph. He hated people like that.

As if she'd heard his thoughts, Anzu's expression suddenly became sad, and she too left the classroom without a word.

It took Kaiba a minute to register that in that moment, he'd been doubly rejected, and without cause. Once that realization sunk in, he grabbed his satchel and dashed after Yuugi.

He found the shorter boy putting on his outdoor shoes over near the cubbies, but before he could lock his school shoes away, Kaiba grabbed his wrist, and—--

Yuugi was gone.

That was just it, gone, vanished, right before his eyes.

In a single moment, Yuugi's wrist had been in his grasp. In the next, nothing. Empty space. Yuugi's cubby remained open, swinging in the chilly winter breeze.

"“Hey Yuugi, are you ready to—--"” Anzu stopped, the smile on her face faltering when she realized it was Kaiba standing where Yuugi should have been. She didn't look suspicious, but the tone of her voice was enough.

“"Where's Yuugi?”"

What she really meant was "“What have you done with him?”"

She was just as overprotective of her friends as the mutt. But somehow, it seemed a bit more acceptable with her. Perhaps it was because Kaiba hadn't encountered too many women who were so loyal

"“He just—”--"

How could he explain without sounding like a complete fool? What was he going to say: “He just disappeared right in front of my eyes?” No

Anzu stepped closer to him, tilting her head and narrowing her eyes. She regarded Kaiba in a manner that suddenly made him feel distinctly uncomfortable. He was unused to being looked at in this way by anyone. No, not just anyone, by a female. By her.

For a moment, Kaiba thought she might just kiss him, but--

“"It looks like you've gotten what you've always wanted, Kaiba-kun.”"

It didn't register at first. Part of him had still been expecting that kiss.

"“What?”"

Anzu shook her head, her hair catching the sunlight and reflecting a hundred shades of copper and auburn. Her hair was longer now, Kaiba realized mutely. Past her shoulders. But that was just an observation. Nothing more.

“"Don't you get it, Kaiba-kun? You've won!”"

Her exasperated tone wasn't what sparked the irritation in Kaiba. It was that stupid honorific she kept on using. Two years they'd known each other, two years he'd made a fool out of her friends, and two years she still treated him like he was worthy of her respect.

But she wasn't one of those peons who called him “Kaiba-sama” out of fear. She called him “Kaiba-kun” because… because…...

"“Would you stop calling me that?”" He didn't know why she called him that. He didn't like it though.

“"What?”" It was Anzu's turn to be confused, her eyes widening to reveal her confusion.

"“You always call me ‘'Kaiba-kun,' and I want you to stop,"” he scowled.

"“You'd prefer I called you ‘Kaiba-sama', then?”" Anzu drawled, crossing her arms over her chest. It was obvious she wouldn't call him that any time soon.

“"No! Just call me Kaiba! All your other little friends do!”"

Anzu looked absolutely flabbergasted, and Kaiba had to admit –-mentally, of course- —that she looked rather amusing like that.

"“Wh- You… You're asking me to be intentionally rude to you? You do know that the guys don't use an honorific because you don't do the same for them, right? You're callous to them, so they're callous right back!”"

"“What does that have to do with you?”" Kaiba asked blandly.

Anzu flushed pink, an unexpected reaction. There was a brief instant when a lump formed in Kaiba's throat, and his own cheeks felt a bit hot… but he squelched that sensation, that little voice in his head. He had to.

"“I-I'm not like them,"” Anzu responded at last, her voice quiet. “"I don't see any reason why I should be rude to you.”"

"“I've never called you Mazaki-san,"” Kaiba pointed out. “"Or even Anzu-san."”

Anzu blinked and stared up at him. Slowly but surely, a smile crept across her lips.

"“That's the first time you've ever called me by name at all--"” She was about to add, ‘'I like it,' but she wisely closed her mouth.

"“I didn't care about you,”" Kaiba continued, eyeing Anzu critically. He supposed his choice of words wasn't the best, but he didn't care. “"You were the same as all the others-- —their little cheerleader. I tried to kill you, right along with them—“-"

"“That was a long time ago. Besides, you made up for it.”"

She didn't need to tell him when and where. They both knew.

Silence filtered between them, thick and heavy.

The school was empty now, and soon the sun would be setting. The gray skies would get darker and darker, until light gave way to dark and night.

“"Victory," Kaiba,” Anzu finally whispered, dropping her own arms at her sides. Now she was the one who looked defeated.

"“They're gone. You wanted to beat them, to be the best… so they disappeared. Now they can't stand in your way anymore.”"

She stepped closer to him, but on instinct, Kaiba moved back. If she was right –which had to be impossible, because people didn't just disappear like that—- then if he so much as touched a single strand of her hair, she'd vanish.

And… he didn't want that.

"“I don't want-"—” Kaiba fumbled for an explanation, averting his eyes from Anzu's sad look. Closer she stepped, daring him, taunting him.

"“I don't want you to disappear!”"

And then her hand was on his arm. But she was still there. All of her. Not transparent, not fading, not glittering away. Was it all a dream?

If so, he wasn't waking up. They were still standing in the school cubby area, Yuugi's shoe locker door swaying in the wind. She was still smiling at him, and the gentle pressure of her fingers on his arm was there.

"“Then I won't—- if it's what you really want.”"

There was a subtle implication in those words— -if you want me more than you want victory…, if you want me to stay more than you want Yuugi and the others to be gone from your life forever…- then say so. Then make sure it's what you truly desire.

His irritation faded and gave way to a feeling Kaiba hadn't allowed himself to feel for a long time- —nervousness. He didn't know what was going to happen next. He didn't have a plan or a strategy.

But he did know that if it meant everyone disappeared, victory wasn't worth it. Winning only meant something if you had someone else to share it with, and

He nodded.

He didn't need to say "“I want you by my side.”"

Anzu just smiled and slid her hand down to his, clutching it as tightly as she could manage.