Author Note: Okay, do any of you remember this title? If yes, than you must have known that this was the original title of In Darkness's Grasp, before it was sadly (extended and) deleted. I am sorry to disappoint you (says that sarcastically), but this is not the same fiction. (Come on, would I really be so much of an idiot to post it twice? Come on…) This is a new story, the only similarity being the fact that it has the same title. Also, this story has no connection to In Darkness's Grasp; it is its own little story. This story is my own little prequel to Yu-Gi-Oh R, which actually came to me in the form of a dream (I'm not kidding—I'm that obsessed (anime sweat-mark) Ah-heh-heh-heh). Any-who, please enjoy this story. If you would so much as read and review, I would be very much pleased.


Announcement: Please read the author note above. (If you are still under the delusion that this is just the first chapter of In Darkness's Grasp) I can assure you that it is a very, very important note. Thank you.
Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh or Yu-Gi-Oh R. If I did, Pegasus wouldn't have died and I would have had Tenma kiss Anzu already in order to get Atem pissed off enough to kill him… (day-dreams over it) Awwhh…
Plot: - A Prequel to Yu-Gi-Oh R. - After defeating Malik Ishstar, Mutou Yuugi and his mysterious counterpart have come out of the esteemed Battle City competition victorious. Now in possession of four Sen-Nen Items and the Genshin kaados (god cards)—things are looking pretty up. Until a dark shadow (invisible to their awareness) begins to lurk around them and their companions, targeting the one person they both can't deal without: Mazaki Anzu…
Genre: Angst/Romance/Horror/Suspense/Drama/Action Adventure
Parings:

Yuugi/Anzu
Atem/Anzu
Yakou/Anzu
Getsukou/Anzu
Otogi/Shizuka
Honda/Shizuka
Ryou/Shizuka


Warning: Rated T (PG-13) (Parents Strongly Cautioned) For Sensuality, Cursing and Misdeed.
-Imperfect Paradise (Yamiko)

Before R-A Project
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By Imperfect Paradise


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-Chapter One-
"Isn't it strange?"


The stars shone brightly that night from the distant abyss of the sky. There were only a few wisps of clouds covering the deep, everlasting darkness, making it look somewhat mystical with the light of the moon as its conjuror.

Anzu sat on the porch on the Kame Turtle Game shop, the home of Mutou Yuugi and the esteemed champion of both Duelist Kingdom and Battle City. At this very moment, he was the talk of the news, and the highlight of duelists from all over the world. He was now the Duel King—the most powerful card battler in the world.

Tonight was a celebration party, thrown together by Yuugi and his grandfather. Of course, all of his friends were invited to the party, as well as the other participants from the tournament. So, Jounouchi, Honda, Otogi, Ryou, Shizuka, Mai and herself were invited. Malik, Rishid, and Isis were also invited, but they couldn't accept the invitation—they needed to return to their home land, Egypt, to spread the word to their fellow grave keepers that they were finally free. Kaiba was invited too, but he didn't even bother to call up to disincline to their offer. Knowing him, he probably put the invitation through the paper shredder right when he read the return label (which bore Yuugi's name in bright bold letters) when he first received it. Anzu wondered why Yuugi had even bothered sending him an invitation. It was impossible to get Kaiba to loosen up.

So, here she was, at the present moment, taking a break from the rousing fun of the party, staring up at the late night sky from her position, admiring it with a fond expression upon her delicate features. She had escaped from the celebration for a little quiet time—eager to leave the scene where Jounouchi was stuffing himself fat, much to the disgust of Mai, who watched from the corner while holding her drink. It was quite embarrassing, to see her friend making a total pig of himself, pizza sauce and hot fudge running down the side of jaws with him not caring about his appearance or impression all. In fact, Jounouchi was so occupied with his disgusting habits, that he hadn't taken notice of Otogi Ryuuji and Honda Hiroto constantly trying to court Shizuka. Otogi had been trying to get Shizuka to go outside and look at the moon with him, but Honda wasn't going to stand for that. Without Jounouchi noticing, they secretly began a competition of trying to draw Shizuka away from the other.

However, what they both had failed to notice, was that someone else was watching the young auburn haired woman. Ryou, who was sitting at the far end of the room, with a Pepsi can (A/N 1) in his hand, was casting nervous glances at her, Shizuka not noticing them at all. From her spectator's view, Anzu, at one point, did notice Shizuka turn around to actually look at him, but Ryou quickly looked away and starting gulping from his can. In truth, Anzu felt a little sorry for Ryou, knowing that Shizuka would never notice him as the long as the apes were giving her their mating calls. The poor thing.

As Anzu sat outside, continuing to watch the stars come out, something abruptly caught her attention. On the other side of the street where the Kame Turtle Game Shop lay, was the sound of branches cracking and leaves rustling. It was the kind of sound a bird would make while emerging from a bush or tree. Anzu quickly looked over in the direction where she had heard the sound, but saw nothing but darkness. There was nothing there… Wait a minute. There was a—

She squinted her eyes, trying to make out what she thought she was seeing. Her eyes widened as she saw—

"Anzu?"

When Anzu heard her name called by a familiar voice, she quickly turned around. Her eyes met up with a figure, standing right behind her. The figure clicked on what appeared to be a porch light, revealing his identity. When Anzu saw him, her eyes widened and her jaw dropped. Then, catching herself, she quickly looked away, blushed and spoke, "Oh! Uh… Hi, Yuugi…" She then looked back out at the sky.

The figure smiled slightly, and then began to walk over to where she was sitting. As she sat there, Anzu could feel herself growing rather anxious. The figure sat down, taking his place right beside her, and then took to staring out into the night sky, just as she was doing. He stared up at them for a moment, before he said, quietly, "You know, Anzu… It really isn't fair to call me Yuugi…"

Anzu turned around to look at the nameless Pharaoh and asked, "Well… Then what would you expect me to call you?"

"Pharaoh would be more appropriate…"

Anzu countered, "That isn't a real name—you disserve better than that…"

The other Yuugi looked at her. He asked, "Why would you say that?"

Anzu's face only grew redder and she said, unable to hide the stuttered in her voice, "N-no reason…" With that, she then turned away again, trying to hide the red mess which was spreading all the way throughout her face.

The Pharaoh took notice of this, smirked for a brief moment, then closed his eyes fondly, and looked back up towards the direction of the sky again.

As he did so, Anzu could feel her heart rate increasing rapidly.

She… She just couldn't believe that this was happening. It couldn't be happening right? Yet, it was… The other Yuugi had willingly come to her side and was talking to her. Was… Was this for real? Nah—she had to have been dreaming or something! It was the only explanation. She then looked back at him, and noticed that he was staring at her again. What she saw astounded her.

By, God… He was… He was just so beautiful… The light beams of the porch light were mixing into the light of his eyes, bringing out the full beauty of his panther purple, magenta irises. The light did more than that. It also produced a shine atop of his golden bangs, making them look almost like delicate, beautiful strands of sunlight colored silk. He was so…

The other Yuugi then scooted closer to her, and reached out for her hand that was clutching the edge of the porch step. Stroking it with his own, he spoke, "Anzu… I owe you so much…" Anzu looked at him as he continued. He began to explain, "You have done so much for me… and Yuugi, and I—"

He paused in his speech, not saying anything. Anzu stared at him and asked, "Yes?"

At first, the nameless Pharaoh said nothing. Then, after sometime, he closed his eyes and inhaled sharply, before he looked at Anzu and explained, "I have never actually thanked you for your kind efforts." He turned all the way around to face her and spoke, "Other than Yuugi, you are the one person who has made this new life for me worth living—and I thank you for it…"

With that, he stood up off of the porch, turned around, and began to head back inside. As he entered the shop, he paused in his steps, turned around again and asked, "Do you want me to leave the door open for you?"

Anzu gave a single nod. The other Yuugi smiled, and then walked back inside, Anzu watching as he disappeared into the building.

As the sound of his footsteps began to fade, Anzu couldn't help the smile that spread across her lips. She then gazed back out beyond the shop, not noticing a figure from about twenty yards away, staring straight at her…


"Oh yes… The Duelist Kingdom party… I should have known…"

The next morning, Mutou Yuugi, Jounouchi Katsuya, Bakura Ryou, Honda Hiroto, Ryuuji Otogi and Mazaki Anzu were all standing in a straight line, inside the Principal's office, all facing the same direction in the room, where their focus cast upon a single, pacing figure, with nervous glances following every step he made.

After some time of pacing around in the room, the Principal of Domino High finally took his place back down in his desk, and entwined his fingers together. He let out a huge sigh and explained, "I really hate to repeat myself on account of something I have already explained, just as so many other students have done before you—but this is something I cannot let by so easily." He focused the center of his attention directly on the kids and spoke, " I understand, that dueling is quite the trend now these days, almost as good as an actual sport—nonetheless, it still remains a toy, and you are not graded and excused for childish games!"

As he reached over for a pen on his desk, Jounouchi turned towards Honda and asked, "Psst—Honda! How do you think Kaiba got out of this?"

Honda rolled his eyes and muttered, "Bribery—the one rule the school is willing to bend…"

"Honda! Jounouchi!"

Honda and Jounouchi jumped as their names were called, returning to Earth with a costly jolt, Anzu rolling her eyes in response to their insolence. After they had recovered, the Principal took his pen and pointed it in their direction, and while glaring at them dangerously, explained through clenched teeth, "If you value your petty student records here—and believe me, when they say are petty, they are quite petty—you will listen as a result of your academic sin—now be quiet!"

Honda and Jounouchi said in unison, "Yes sir."

"Good" The Principal stared at them for a moment, glaring with both anger and disappointment, and then slowly reached over for six almost identical-looking envelopes, that were just recently brought into the office by the school secretary. They contained their progress, high points, low points and incidents they have had during their school terms. When he took up the first in his hands, the eyes of Yuugi and his friends widened, fearful for what would become of their student records now.

As for the actual files, the first three (Anzu's, Ryou's and Otogi's) were actually quite normal looking. Their length only exceeded to about a fraction of five centimeters or less. Yuugi's was slightly larger in its thickness, but didn't look as abnormal as the others the Principal had to put up with—which came by the truck load, day after day. Honda's was pretty big, containing incidents from elementary and up—but was nothing compared to Jounouchi's. Jounouchi won the prize for thickest portfolio, containing not only incidents, but damage reports, damage receipts, complaint notes from teachers and beyond.

The Principal set his pen down, picked up the first one and read the label. He opened his mouth for a brief moment (not saying anything) before he spoke, "Alright… Mazaki Anzu—third year, Junior…"

Anzu let out a small squeak, all her friends turning around to face her. Without another word, the Principal opened it up and examined it. After taking half a minute to read the contents, he turned to face the young woman, and explained, "Anzu… You have well completed and exceeded the community service requirement, you have high marks in all your classes, recommendations from your professors—a scholarship for Tokyo University for crying out loud (Honda whistled—earning himself a glare), job offerings and yet you choose to openly cut classes and school, and for what purpose?"

Anzu opened her mouth (looking as though she was about to comment on that) but then closed it, deciding against saying what she was about to. The Principal saw this and raised an eyebrow. He asked, bitterly, "Well?"

Anzu tensed up for a moment, before she looked down at her feet, and let out a small sigh. She explained, "I have none—sir…"

The Principal continued to look a her for a brief moment, before he explained, "I am very disappointed in you—Anzu… Very…" With that, he took a small red slip from the other side of his desk, retrieved his pen and began to write down on it. After he had finished, he slipped the piece of a paper into the portfolio and closed it, placing it on a different part of his desk, right beside the pile. He then reached for the second.

"Otogi Ryuuji, fourth year, senior class…" Otogi looked up as he heard his name. The Principal opened it up, did the same as he did Anzu's before he looked Otogi squarely in the eye and explained, "You weren't involved during Duelist Kingdom—why did you decide to take part in Battle City?"

Otogi Ryuuji tried to smile, reached over to scratch his back and explained it what was supposed to be a cheery voice, "Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time, sir—"

"Well, judging by the situation now it seems like a really bad idea—now doesn't it?"

Otogi recoiled when he heard this, acting as if he had been stung… The Principal put on a rueful smirk, before he continued to look over their files. (A/N 2) Then, (after some difficulty) he was able to move the next (Jounouchi's) onto the center of his desk. He quickly opened it up and glared at Jounouchi, who grinned nervously in his direction, sweat pouring down the sides of his temples. He read the label and smirked. He spoke, sadistically, "Jounouchi Katsuya—fourth year Junior—"

Honda looked at Jounouchi and spoke, "I thought you told me you didn't repeat the tenth grade…"

Jounouchi stuttered nervously, "Well, that is, I—"

The Principal cleared his throat and they both turned around to face him. He was now glaring at them more dangerously than he had before, and they decided to take that as a sign to be quiet. He then opened the portfolio and began to nail down the contents. He glared and read as he flipped through them, "Midnight Graffiti and toilet paper roll sprees, sabotaging Ms. Chono's car, digging up the school campus without a warrant, bullying, borrowing student property, spreading false rumors, stealing the clothes of and bathing suits from the members of the swim team, ditching classes, porno swapping between students, smoking behind the school—may I go on, Jounouchi Katsuya?"

All eyes were on Jounouchi in the room, and he was fully aware of it. His friends were appalled and shocked by hearing the things that their friend had done throughout his service in the school. After a moment, Jounouchi squeaked out, while trying to avoid the gasps and glares of his friends, "No sir…"

The Principal stared at him severely. He then said, dryly, "Okay then. My point is, is that you can't afford to have another accident such as this one! You continue on like this, and you will be facing complete expulsion from this school…"

Jounouchi gulped and nodded.

The Principal smirked, and then tried to clasp the portfolio back together, but found himself in somewhat of a jam. After a minute or two (he had strained over it for quite some time) he finally tied the clasps together and set it down on the table. He then let out a sigh, and reached for the next one.

"Okay… Bakura Ryou—"


"I didn't know you repeated the tenth grade—why didn't you tell me?"

Jounouchi muttered as he moved the mop up and down the floor, "Shut up, Yuugi…"

Yuugi sighed and then continued to polish the trophy case. The janitor made it clear that he wanted it shined to the point where he could see his very face in it, and Yuugi had no choice but to comply. As he continued, he muttered, "So that's why you weren't in any of my classes that year…"

Jounouchi then grumbled something that Yuugi couldn't quite make out, but then hushed himself and continued to clean.

On top of being sent to the principals office, they also received a whole school-week of detention as an anecdote to their skipping school. Their job involved several chores—which included anything from mopping and polishing inside the school building, to digging and weeding in the outer boundaries on the campus. They were expected to do this Monday through Friday, after class, for three hours a day—with no complaints. Also, their term of serving the school couldn't be overlooked under any form of circumstances.

After throwing the pledge soaked rag back down into the bucket, (he had finished cleaning the outer part of the case) Yuugi turned all the way around, so he looked directly at Anzu. Like Jounouchi, Anzu had mopping duty as well (at the other end of the hallway)—but at that moment, she seemed… well… distant.

Yuugi stared at her oddly. What is with her, he thought? He cleared his throat, and asked, "Anzu?"

Anzu snapped out of her almost trance like phase, and looked directly at Yuugi. She quickly asked, "Yes?"

Yuugi, staring into her sky blue eyes for only a moment, blushed and then looked away, pretending to be preoccupied with opening the trophy cabinet. Anzu stared at him, awkwardly. After opening the case, and then reaching down to take up the rag again, Yuugi hesitated for a moment, before asking, "What did the other me tell you last night?"

Anzu set the mop against the wall (letting it lean there) before looking back at Yuugi. She answered, "He wanted to thank me for something…"

"What for?"

Anzu lied, "Nothing important. Why do you ask?"

Yuugi heard this and didn't say anything. He then looked away and stuttered, "N-Nothing, really… … Really!" With that, he took one of the bigger trophies in his hand, and with the other, began to wipe it clean. Anzu, returning to her own duties, reached for the mop, and continued to move it up and down the floor, spreading water all across of it. As they continued to work, what they didn't notice was that Yuugi was looking rather down. As Yuugi's back faced her, a tear fell down from one of his panther purple eyes. He thought, Anzu… I… I just… I…

At that moment, however, the groundskeeper/janitor of the school walked by, holding what looked like an ordinary clipboard in his hand. Not even looking at them, he muttered, "Time's up, kids… You can go home now…"

Anzu looked up at him and asked, "What about—"

"I have already sent your other friends home for the day. Bakura Ryou, Otogi Ryuuji and Honda Hiroto should be on their way by now. "

With that, the groundskeeper left them alone, and without another word, they began to clean up their supplies, endorphin and happiness spreading through all parts of their minds and bodies.


As Anzu walked home that late afternoon by herself, she couldn't help but continue to wonder what the other Yuugi had meant the other day. It was strange… And baffling… When she had heard those compassionate, warm and almost 'loving' words pour from his lips, she felt as if she had been lifted.

She couldn't deny that she had always adored the nameless Pharaoh. Heck, she owed him so much in life. Such as the time he had pulled her away from the convict at Burger World, as well as the time when they went to the amusement park, where he had risked everything to save her from the terrorist bombing.

There was more to him though then just his noble and gallant intentions, though. He was also intelligent, clever, as well as crafty and quick witted. He was everything a girl would want in a man. How could any girl refuse his charming allure? Why, she wouldn't have been very much surprised if there were other girls in the world who adored him as well. She narrowed her eyes when she thought about that.

It was understandable. Yuugi and his alternate personality were now world famous. The Defeat of Kaiba at Death T was merely the first step of his non-intentional quest to the top. Sometimes, Anzu couldn't believe that a simple card game could change the world as it had. She suddenly smirked, thinking, My hat's off to you, Pegasus… Pegasus J Crawford had been a tricky costumer at the time, and his defeat had given Yuugi fame beyond anything the defeat of Kaiba could ever give. Duelist Kingdom had certainly increased it, but it had been Battle City that had disclosed the case of Yuugi's talent. He was unbeatable—unconquerable, invincible.

Yet those words… Those words he had told her… Coming from him, out of all people. Yes, she had crushed on him, but in her wildest dreams, she had never ever thought of it actually coming true.

A small breeze suddenly blew by, the leaves that had once been resting on the sidewalk were now waltzing with its fluid like movement. However, it was at that moment, with Anzu suddenly shuddered, and the reasons as to why, were beyond her knowledge. It wasn't because of the wind, on the contrary, the temperature was actually somewhat warm—even at this time of day.

Yet, deep down in her gut, at the center of her very heart and soul—something told her that something had changed within her surroundings. She didn't know what it was, but it made her feel nervous and anxious.

She continued to walk slowly, her speed decreasing ever so slightly within the seconds, until she heard a sound of a twig snapping from behind. She spun around, and found herself staring into what appeared to be sterling silver irises.

She gasped at what she saw, certainly not expecting to see something like this. It was a kid or… a man? Which was he? It was very difficult to determine his age. He was very tall, standing at almost six foot, six foot one, he was somewhat ripped, but not as excessively as some people she had seen, yet his face was boyish and innocent looking. Down the side of his broad shoulders, was long, silvery white hair, that reached almost to his breast, while the rest of it fell down behind his back, looking almost like a waterfall made entirely of silk.

However, that wasn't what concerned Anzu. What worried her was the uniform he was wearing. It was a dark, navy blue colored uniform jacket, (relatively similar to the royal/cobalt blue colored uniform that her friends wore) with silver colored buttons fastening it together across the chest (with pants to match it), accompanied by the coat of arms bearing an all-too familiar name: Rintama. (A/N 3)

Staring at him nervously, she quickly looked around to see if she was alone. (She didn't want to be jumped—and she had learned her lesson well with Malik and his Rare Hunters) After concluding that she was, she cleared her throat and asked, "Can I help you?"

The young man smiled and spoke, politely, "Sorry… I hope I didn't scare you… I just happened to have been going in the same direction that you were going… I am sorry if you felt I was intruding—I really didn't mean to frighten you, you know…"

Anzu smiled slightly, and instinctually answered, "Oh no… Not at all… It's just, that…" Her eyes immediately stared back at the coat of arms on his jacket again, but then caught herself and looked back up at him. The young man took notice of this, (Did he just smirk? She couldn't tell) then looked back up at her and smiled, as if he understood. He said, in that same, passive tone of voice, "Oh… Don't worry about that… I understand that Rintama has a very bad reputation. In fact, I just transferred into that school today. You don't have to worry about me doing anything illicit or illegal…"

Anzu blushed and nodded, although at the same time, wondering about who on Earth is his right mind would transfer into Rintama if he knew the school's public image in the first place. However, as the man continued to stare at her, she added, trying to be polite back, "R-right…"

"What's your name?"

Anzu answered, in what she hoped seemed like a natural speed and tone of voice, "Anzu…"

The young man nodded when he heard this, acknowledging it. Then afterwards, he closed his eyes, fondly and commented, "What a lovely name—If I am not mistaken, it means Apricot in Japanese, doesn't it?"

Anzu nodded, "Yes, it does…"

He chuckled and then opened up his metallic silver eyes up again, Anzu inwardly gasping.

Man, you never saw eyes that looked like those these days. Only Kaiba Seto had eyes like those. The deep, cold, passionate color with the sharp, intelligent and quick witted light that danced within them. They were simply gorgeous… Divine, even.

But…

Anzu then took a closer look at them. She then noticed something rather array.

Although they were beautiful in their own light, there was something—"strange" about them. Now, she couldn't be one hundred percent positive—but they were giving off an emotion she couldn't quite identify. An emotion that looked almost like—hunger; a desire of some kind—one that she couldn't exactly put her finger on.

However, just as quickly as it had happened, the young man broke the connection, reached out, and took her hand in his own, Anzu's heart-beat beginning to speed up in its pace. As he held her hand, he said, in a charmingly dashing tone, "By the way… My name is Tenma Yakou…"

Anzu thought, 'Tenma Yakou… Heavenly Horse Traveling By Night.' She smiled mentally, 'What a lovely name…' Anzu withdrew her hand and bowed, while answering, "Nice to meet you… Tenma-san…"

Tenma bowed back and responded, "Pleasure's all mine." Anzu smiled weakly in response. He then stepped foreword, and casually brushed past her, proceeding to walk towards his intended destination. Anzu spun around, and watched as he walked away, not saying anything. He continued to walk for a few moments, before he stopped in his tracks. He cocked his head back over towards Anzu and spoke, "Perhaps we'll meet again… Anzu."

Anzu stared at him, not knowing what to say. With that, he turned a corner, disappearing from view.


- TO BE CONTINUED -


The following is not meant to be counter fanfictionDOTnet format. These are merely author notes. They are not meant to counteract the rules or restrictions of the webmaster's policies in anyway. Thank you for your attention.

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Author Note 1 – Yes, I am using the "o-so-famous" Pepsi can icon, which is often used in uncut versions of animes (dubbers usually cut it out—most likely to avoid a lawsuit). It has been used in Digimon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Metropolis, AKIRA, and so on… So why not use it here?

Author Note 2 – After judging the antics of the teachers from the manga (such as Ms Chono and the counselor—the one with the wig, I forgot his name, forgive me) it seems like Domino High is a really crappy school with really crappy staff and really crappy security. Remember when the TV station filmed their school?—bad security right there, I mean hey! What school in their right mind would allow that kind of treatment towards their students and would actually want to be filmed for that subject? (student assault by other students) Get real! My point is, that for this fiction, I tried to incorporate the Principal with similar traits and personal issues as the previously mentioned teachers. After all, you can't make stupid decisions (such as hiring the staff) without stupidity, right?

Author Note 3 – This is not made up. This is from the manga. Rintama is the name of a school that Jounouchi's old middle-school companion (Hirutani) attended after he had graduated from Junior High. The school has a very bad reputation, with various problems including theft, violence and drug abuse. Hirutani is desperate to have Jounouchi in his gang, and would stop at nothing to have him back in his circle. He did various things to get Jounouchi to join. Threatening to beat up Yuugi (at one point, he even tried to hang him with his own puzzle—good god) and actually electrocuted Jounouchi with a voltage gun went he denied his request (after having his gang members punch him in the gut—Christ almighty). Hirutani will actually have a slight role in this fiction, but it will be brief. Thank you.


Random Note: Please read and review. I notice that on the new features of fanfictionDOTnet, that there are some people who favor my fictions or have them on alert and don't even bother to review them. I would really like feedback from my readers so I can improve or fix my stories. Thank you.