Unreasonable Demands
A Yu-Gi-Oh ONESHOT by Azurite
azurite AT fanfiction DOT net
azurite DOT incandesce DOT org

Completed: July 16th, 2004

This is a response to Harlequine (wickeddawn)'s 30 Minute Challenge #2: I demand an explanation! As usual, it's implied Azureshipping (Seto x Anzu), and... I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh. This is for entertainment only.

It was a complete and total disaster.

It defied every single rule, broke every law, and confounded Seto Kaiba totally, completely, and utterly.

"I demand an explanation!"

And of course, all he he got in response was a flat, unamused stare.

"You might be CEO of a major corporation, Mister Kaiba, but so long as you're in my classroom, you'll do what you're told, or you'll pay the consequences with your grades. Now will you and Miss Mazaki please return to your seats and get to work on the project?"

Kaiba blinked, having never been told off before. Especially not by a teacher. Damn this woman! Damn her! Her and her "new" teacher status. She thought she could boss him around, and pair him with --that was when he bothered to actually look at Anzu, and he noticed her for what had to be the first time that school year.

She was standing not far from him, hands clenched in loose fists at her side, her gaze fixed on her feet. A veil of brown hair covered most of her face from view, but he could just barely make out the hints of her cheeks, stained a cherry red. She hadn't bothered to say a single thing --not even when Kaiba, upon hearing the teacher's announcement over who that term's project partners were, leapt to his feet and started yelling about being stuck with her.

On one hand, she desperately wanted to shout back at Kaiba, and tell him that she didn't appreciate being stuck with him either, and that she'd rather eat a banana slug than be paired with him for every single psychology project for the remainder of the year. On the other hand, Anzu wasn't one to court embarrassment. Not unnecessarily, anyway.

While Kaiba was one of the smartest people in school, his frequent absences --always relating to his company, never anything mundane like sickness or the death of a pet-- had made him a relative unknown when it came to the gifted and talented branch of classes at Domino High. As a result, it wasn't until his third and final year that he was given notice that he would be allowed into one of the elitist and hardest-to-get-into classes-- Advanced Psychology.

And Anzu? Well, she was a quiet genius. She didn't brag about her achievements, but she certainly made it a point to juggle her school work with her social life, her secret job, and her love of dancing. Most nights she was up either studying or working up until two in the morning. It made for a very rough lifestyle, with very little sleep, but the rewards she reaped outweighed any suffering she endured.

That, of course, included Seto Kaiba and his big mouth.

He just had to complain about being stuck with her, didn't he? He probably hadn't even noticed she was in the class until the teacher had announced that they were to be partnered together. And what a fool he was for that-- if you looked at the class roster, he was Boy #17 on the list, and she was Girl #17. They were ALWAYS paired together, but this was the first time since school started that they had a mandatory paired project.

But why was he complaining, anyway? He couldn't possibly claim that she wasn't smart enough to work with him-- she had, after all, earned her way into the class, same as him. Hours of rigorous study had finally rewarded her with an acceptance letter into Domino High's hardest classes, and Anzu took them on with a smile on her face. Sure, it meant spending less time with the guys, but they understood. They always had...

That had to be it, then.

Kaiba just complained because he still associated her with being the "cheerleader" of Yuugi's gang. One of "the mutt's" friends. He didn't even bother coming up with a creative name for Honda; Kaiba didn't even acknowledge his existence. But Anzu? No, he proclaimed her existence for the whole classroom --no, the whole WING of the school building!-- to hear! He had to be stuck with her ? He demanded an explanation, and he got one.

But Anzu wasn't sure whether to applaud the teacher for shooting Kaiba down --as Anzu had wanted to on every occasion she had the chance-- or to smack Kaiba (and risk detention) for his audacity in the first place. In the end, common sense prevailed, and Anzu didn't do either. She kept her gaze to the floor, staying completely silent as she walked back to the two chairs where she and Kaiba typically sat.

Two damn chairs away from him, and he hadn't noticed her until now!

Stupid Kaiba.

Why did that hurt so much?

Maybe because he paid so much attention to Yuugi --even Jounouchi!-- when he fought them. When he dueled them. Even in their arguments, there was never a moment when you could doubt that Kaiba was listening. He was attentive, obsessively so, taking in every detail and memorizing every word. He knew everyone at every time, and was never caught unawares. He didn't have any weak spots-- he was Seto Kaiba!

And she was invisible to him. Not a duelist. Not competition at all, even outside of the dueling arena. She was invisible to him now, and that hurt so much that the once-embarrassed blush returned, but this time, as the result of anger, simmering just below the placid surface of Anzu's face. She didn't want to land in detention, let alone get stuck with more work to do, not when she had work tonight...

"We might as well get started." And she sat down in her chair, opening her textbook to the appropriate page, and starting to formulate an outline for their project. She worked quickly and quietly, not noticing until Kaiba's rather large hand covered her textbook that he hadn't been doing the same.

She glanced up only to find his eyes staring right at her --and the embarrassed blush returned. All this time, all these years, and he'd barely favored her with more than a three-second glance. And the few times he had looked at her, he'd usually been filled with utter contempt. He hated her, didn't he? Wasn't that why he so callously demanded an explanation, just because he was paired with her for a silly class project?

Okay, so it wasn't silly-- it was half of their final grade, at least, and it meant the world to Anzu, who was hoping to have enough good grades to get her into Tokyo University on a scholarship. But Kaiba was probably a shoo-in for places like that. Knowing him, he'd probably been accepted to prestigious universities around the world, and didn't care about projects, because he could always do them on his own, at home, in ten minutes or less...

He was Seto Kaiba, after all. Genius, champion... loner extraordinaire. He didn't need anyone, least of all her .

Stupid, stupid Kaiba.

"You aren't bothered by it at all?"

She dropped her gaze back to her notes, continuing to plan despite Kaiba's hand still covering the textbook.

"Bothered by what?"

Had she looked up at him at that moment, she would have seen an expression of surprise cross his otherwise blank face. Wasn't it obvious?

How come she hadn't exploded in self-righteous anger, too? He'd actually been expecting it. If she had, he probably wouldn't have embarrassed himself so badly. The two of them could have argued and argued until the teacher was finally won over, and then...

But she hadn't argued. She'd just walked up to the teacher's desk quietly, head hung low and voice mute. She'd accepted everything the teacher said with a silent nod, and walked back to her desk and gotten to work like there was no problem at all. But there was a problem, a most grievous problem.

How could she possibly stand working with him? Didn't she hate him?

She spent so much time in the past two years lecturing him, railing on him for his self-imposed exile, for his lack of a social life, his attitude toward others-- she even had the nerve to spend time with Mokuba, and then lecture Kaiba about not spending enough time with his younger sibling! She was... frustrating. Annoyingly so.

Or she had been, at any rate.

This whole year, she'd been nothing but mild-mannered compared to the girl Kaiba had become familiar with over the course of the past two years. Duelist Kingdom, the Virtual World... Battle City. Was this the same Anzu Mazaki that had boldly confronted him after his stunt at Duelist Castle, and asked him if he even knew what the value of life was? Was this the selfsame girl who had pushed her way out from between her friends, and told him that he was no different than the machines and computers he worked with?

Where had that fiery Anzu gone?

He sort of missed her, in an odd sort of way, but he certainly wasn't about to tell her that. No, instead, he'd demanded an explanation from the teacher, hoping --with the tiniest degree-- that such a provocation would spur the Anzu he knew into returning. In all honesty, he missed verbally sparring with her...

She was the only one left, anyway. The only one who would argue with him with every ounce of her being and then smile at him in the hallway a few moments later.

Maybe the teacher wasn't the one he should have demanded the explanation from.