Something Completely Different
A Yu-Gi-Oh 30kisses fic
By: Azurite (azurite AT fanfiction DOT net)
For the LiveJournal community 30kisses #10 theme (#10).
Completed: 6/11/05

Notes: This is a companion piece to the kiss for theme #20, "I Walk Alone." It's not a sequel, prequel... yadda, yadda. If you've ever read my Mash/Pop "doubleshot," you know what I mean. I have no plans on continuing either THIS or "I Walk Alone."

P.S. Can you guess why I picked #10?

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.

My key's already in the lock and I'm halfway through to turning it when suddenly I think of you. It makes no sense-- the thought's just out of the blue, not connected to anything or anyone. At least, that's what I imagine at first. As I let my mind wander and I'm standing there in the hallway, the pieces start to fall together and I realize why I thought of you just now, in this moment.

I'm standing alone in the empty, ivory colored hallway, with it's ugly, brand-new gray-blue carpeting. My hand still rests on the cold brass of my key-- the key in the lock to Apartment #10, in the brand new condominium complex here in the Japantown of San Francisco.

I'm not where you think I am, where I thought I'd be... where anyone imagined I'd be at this time of my life.

I can't really imagine your (or anyone else's for that matter) reaction, but... right now, I feel as though you're with me, that you can hear me, and that somehow, you'll understand why I did what I did.

Do you remember that night that I showed up on your doorstep, and I dragged you out into the cold and the dark, to come with me to Harajuku? We walked up and down those narrow streets, mingling with the Gothic Lolitas and the cosplayers like we belonged there. But we didn't. But no one noticed, anyway. No one came hollering up to us screaming "You're those duelists!" or in your case, "You're that CEO!" In fact, if anyone had come running up to us, it would be to admire YOU, or get YOUR autograph. No one knew me as anything but "that girl" that was always at the side of "those famous duelists."

That was part of the reason why I wanted to leave Japan so badly. I knew that part of me would always be held back --pinned down-- by my relationships with you guys. Yes, "you guys." Yuugi, Jounouchi... and you. The big names, the top duelists, the champions. My friends, my companions, my...

I still haven't found a proper word to describe the relationship between "us." You and me, I mean. We were never quite friends, but... well, I guess we're just the type of people to defy description, aren't we?

I hated the idea that I was leaving simply to get away from everything that mattered to me. It didn't compute right, so I tried everything to convince myself that there was another way. In the end, there just wasn't another way-- I had to get away and make those sacrifices. But it ended up being for the greater good, because... well, I'm not doing what anyone thought I would be, but I am happy.

Anyway-- that night? We went and got crepes. I don't think you'd ever eaten a crepe in your life before, because you looked downright confused about how to go about it. I knew you were waiting for me to take the first bite of my crepe --my favorite, strawberry cheesecake-- as a sort of direction for you to take, but I put it off as long as possible because it was just too cute watching you angst over how to eat a crepe.

You made me smile. You made me forget that I was leaving everyone and everything that ever meant anything to me.

I couldn't --can't!-- thank you enough for that moment, because it's one of the few treasures I have with me, always.

So I finally took a bite, and then you did-- and you seemed to get the hang of it. And we walked along that night, not blending in with the usual Harajuku crowd, but not standing out like we --I mean you -- always did, either. Suddenly, we were back out where the main thoroughfare met the Harajuku strip, and you turned to look at me, with all the noises of the crowds and the blaring television screens suddenly fading into the background. All those flashing lights, and you, Mr. Champion Duelist had a blob of whip cream, right there on the corner of your mouth.

I acted on impulse, I admit it. I wasn't thinking about kissing you all night long. It was just something that popped up in my head in that instant, and before I even knew what I was doing, I just wanted to kiss you.

That's the great thing about Harajuku, though-- you can be anything or anyone, and no one will notice unless you purposefully make yourself stand out. Tourists and cosplayers alike can all blend in if they want- all they have to do is stand next to one another. Well, in our case, I was pressed up against you, not NEXT to you, and I was kissing you in the flashing lights for the whole world to see.

But everyone just kept walking by us, and when my senses finally returned to my head, I realized several things:
One, your arms were around me.
Two, you were very warm.
Three, you were an amazing kisser, even if it had only lasted a few moments.
Four, no one was saying anything, pointing and staring, or taking pictures. The world kept on moving.

That was the "epiphany." That was the moment when I realized that, come a few hours later, it would be okay to leave. I'd spent the rest of the night before going to your house saying goodbye to everyone else-- Yuugi, Jounouchi, Honda...

It was after I'd finally kissed you that I got the "closure" I'd been seeking for so long.

When we parted later that night, we pretended that we'd see each other in school the next day... even though we'd both graduated months before, and a pretty big part of us knew we'd probably never see each other for the rest of our lives. Still, the thought didn't hurt me as much as I thought it would.

About twenty hours later, I found myself staring at the expansive, high-up ceiling of the International Terminal at San Francisco airport. It was just a stop over before I headed to New York, but I was stuck in the city for a good twelve hours. More waiting, more "alone" time... more time to think. But I saw an opportunity, and I went for it.

I decided to make do with what the English I knew, and I grabbed this thing called the "BART train" and I rode it smack into the bustling downtown of San Francisco. It's no Harajuku, I'll tell you that much, but it's certainly lively. People are always everywhere, always going somewhere, always doing something. And there's so many people of so many types! It's like a painting with all the colors of the rainbow perfectly blended with each other, perfectly harmonious... but somehow, still standing out from one another, perfectly individual.

Something tells me you'd hate San Francisco, but I fell in love with the city at first sight.

I must have gotten lost on no less than four bus lines before I found myself subconsciously reading Japanese. Against all odds, I'd found myself in San Francisco's Japantown-- a meager place, to be sure, but simple and pleasant. The "mall" is only about three buildings large-- but somehow my nose led me to a place that reminded me of you...

Sophie's, a small crepe place. They didn't have cheesecake crepes, which was a disappointment, so I settled for a strawberry and whip cream crepe-- the same kind you'd gotten when we went to Angel Heart. I ended up spending almost four hours in the mall-- looking at the "new" manga releases (about two months old compared to the bookstores Jounouchi and Yuugi always dragged me to), boggling at the ridiculously high exchange rate, and quietly listening to the conversations between American school girls.

I guess I got a bit distracted, because the next thing I knew, my cold, half-eaten crepe went skittering across the tiled floor and I was right down there with it-- as was a girl only a few centimeters shorter than me, muttering "ow" in Japanese under her breath. I thought it was cute, given that she was American and she had a very distinct Japanese "accent" -- though I doubt she knew it.

I apologized --automatically in Japanese-- and to my surprise, she responded back, in broken, though understandable Japanese. Somehow, that simple apology turned into a conversation, which turned into a friendship. Our talk alternated from her broken Japanese to my thickly-accented English, and soon I found out that she went to the local state university, and loved spending hours and hours at Japantown, eating crepes and reading manga.

I told her I was just touring the city while I waited for my red-eye flight to New York. That spurred a whole new conversation that took us out of the mall and outside into the cool night-- and believe me, even in the summer, San Francisco is quite cold. I suppose the reason why I took to it so immediately was because in certain ways, it was so much like home. It has Domino's endless fog, the wide variety and mixture of people and places... and yet, there's always more to explore.

Soon we were walking by a large condominium complex with a few retail stores tucked into the lower level-- and my friend abruptly started scowling. When I asked her what was wrong, she admitted that the building once had been a bowling alley: a place she'd frequented with her friends and loved dearly. But a scandal and millions of dollars led to the building being torn down, and replaced with overpriced apartments and retail stores.

I have every right to say "overpriced" because I pay far too much for the space I'm living in now. Yes, Apartment #10 is one of those apartments... I'm living here in San Francisco, and I'm still friends with that same girl. Since I've invited her over, she's grown to like the place a bit-- but she still misses her bowling alley. I promised her that when we both get a weekend free from work, we'll go to the bowling alley near the Golden Gate Bridge, tucked in the shade of the trees of the Presidio.

It's not the same, I know...

The place at the Presidio and the bowling alley that used to be here, I mean. The taste of the crepe I had only an hour ago, compared to the one I had that night in Harajuku. And... my dream of being a dancer and what I've done with my life.

Now I'm a student teacher at an elementary school near Ocean Beach, and in the afternoons I'm a counselor at a YMCA down in the basement. I'm still in university, like I always planned to be-- but so far, dance is just a pastime, a hobby that I indulge in every now and then. It doesn't bother me, though-- I'm doing something that makes me infinitely happy. I'm surrounded by children, by dreams, by hope. I've made so many new friends, and I'm trying new things.

Even my English is getting better.

I'm not surrounded by my old friends --there's no "cushion of protection" around me anymore. I'm a big girl now, out in the real world, all by myself... I've come to understand that everyone reaches that point in their life, when they need to break away from everything they've come to know, just to find out who they "really are" inside.

But there are moments --like now, with me standing stupidly outside my apartment door, one hand still on my key-- when I think back, and I wonder what everyone else is doing. Where is everyone? Where are you? How are things with you and Mokuba? Have you ever gone back to Harajuku, to Angel Heart? Have you ever had another crepe, and when you do, do you think of me? Do you wonder... ever, about what might have been, if that simple kiss had kept me there in Japan?

I suppose I wonder about it more than I'm willing to admit.

But I'm happy here. That's enough for you, right?

Yes, I am "that girl" that Anzu ran into. But everyone knows I don't go to SFSU, and I haven't been back to San Francisco since December. Still, I thought I'd put my knowledge of the city (at least, bits and pieces of it) to good use. Mwaha, my first real "self-insert!"