The Darkness Within
A Yu-Gi-Oh Fanfiction
by Azurite

This is a song-inspired fic (a lyricwheel, more accurately) for the livejournal community ygo(underscore)lyricwheel. For Round #1 (6/28/05), the theme was "Whispers," and the song I was assigned was Evanescence's "Whisper." (How ironic.) This is NOT a song fic in that the lyrics are not included throughout the fic... however, they are included at the bottom of the story for your reference. I do not own or claim to own the song, but I do support the artists and I did by the "Fallen" CD!

This fic also happens to fit for my 30kisses (also a LiveJournal community) theme #26: if only I could make you mine (from the original list).

I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh or the characters within-- they belong to Kazuki Takahashi, Weekly Shounen Jump/Viz LLC , Konami, and various other entities. I make no profit from this fanfiction; it's merely a work of entertainment.

Finally, this is a bit of a dark fic, centering on Seto Kaiba. It is an implied Azureshipping (Seto x Anzu), but then again, when is it NOT with me?

There is a force in this world-- something which has no real shape and no real face.

It sucks us dry of our happiness, of our bright memories, of our deepest desires, hopes, and dreams.

It leaves us cold, empty... bitter.

Many have tried to give it a name, but for some, there is only one thing that it can be known by.

For Seto Kaiba, that darkness had a very specific name, and a very recognizable face: Yuugi Mutou.

Ever since they'd first met --all those years ago-- Seto Kaiba harbored a deep hatred for Yuugi Mutou. It was not that Yuugi had done anything catastrophic to Kaiba... rather, he hadn't done anything at all, and that was why Kaiba hated him so much.

Little Yuugi Mutou had things, things that he didn't work for, but simply ended up in his lap, like golden treasures bestowed upon a boy prince.

He hadn't suffered, hadn't fought his way through a gauntlet to get where he was.

He was constantly surrounded by friends and loved ones, and now...

Now he threatened to take away the last bit of livelihood Kaiba could claim for himself.

Despite being the president --the owner and chief executive officer-- of his own corporation, there was very little Seto Kaiba could truly lay claim to being good at. Not just good, but an expert, the top ranking person, the best of the best. What's more, what he could lay claim to being exceptional at, he didn't really like it all that much. He was only good at such tasks because he had to be.

All but one.

Duel Monsters.

And then little Yuugi Mutou stepped into the spotlight, and--

With him, all his friends.

Katsuya Jounouchi, a rough and tough fighting "mutt," as Kaiba liked to call him... though grudgingly, Kaiba admitted that Jounouchi had as much reason to fight as they all did. Yuugi for his grandfather, Kaiba for his brother... for his own life. But something about Jounouchi continued to irk Kaiba at every moment when they crossed paths, and he didn't care too much for discovering what that "something" was.

Then there was Hiroto Honda, the "wingman" who always seemed to be on the side-- a shadow of Jounouchi, but not really a man in his own right. He seemed to come and go at the oddest intervals. If there was anything that truly drove him or motivated him, Kaiba knew not what it was.

And then... there was her.

Anzu Mazaki.

There was no reason why she should have been any different from the rest of them -- just another fixture at Yuugi's side, another "friend" to cheer him on and support him, even though such support did nothing for the cards he drew or the deck he played.

But there were differences nonetheless, ones that shone as brightly as the sun in Kaiba's eyes.

For one, she was female. The rest of them were rowdy, unsophisticated boys-- Yuugi the perpetual geek, the shy and quiet boy who could never voice his feelings... Jounouchi, the former gang-member and loudmouth, who liked to talk before he thought his words through... and Honda, the perpetual shadow who could talk and act, but was rarely seen doing either.

Anzu was none of those things-- despite her tomboyish attitude, she always managed to exude an air of sophistication, of femininity. While she could talk with the best of them, making threats and defending herself and her friends, she was never seen getting into physical fights like Jounouchi, nor shying away altogether and hiding in the corners, like Yuugi once did.

She was bright-eyed and beautiful, and never went along with any set crowd-- not unless you counted Yuugi and his friends, but since they weren't exactly trendsetters, they didn't count.

She was immensely irritating too, if only because she occupied his thoughts in this manner.

Seto Kaiba didn't mind the darkness. Long ago, he'd let it envelop him, swallow him whole-- and soon enough, he'd become part of it, as dark as the black that surrounded him.

Anzu Mazaki was that one tiny pinpoint of light that broke through his shell, which penetrated the darkness and exposed the core that had very nearly rotted away to nothing.


Even though she wasn't forcing herself into his life, she was a constant presence, a reminder of what could be, and what he could have-- if he only took a chance, ignored the risks, and did something entirely uncharacteristic for him.

If only...

'If only I could make you mine.'

Then the darkness might fade-- and he'd be exposed as the fraud he was, left naked and cold to face the fears he'd locked so carefully away inside all those years ago. He'd feel the same bitterness he'd doled out to countless people on a daily basis... because it was his time to.

If he'd met her only a few years prior to all this --before meeting Yuugi, before getting so involved with Duel Monsters-- he would have been a different man. There was no 'maybe,' there was no 'perhaps.' He knew it within that tiny, rotten core of his-- he met her just a bit sooner, maybe he would have ended up more like them, giving off a light of his own, instead of sucking it away from everything else, exuding only pain and bad memories.

He had become the very force that he defined Yuugi as, the very thing which the naive boy was the antithesis of.

And that meant he would repel her, too.

He would suck in her light, and bring only bad memories to her.

The girl who always seemed to have a reason to smile, a reason to continue on despite the odds against her... he would make her hate the world, hate herself, and become...

'Just like me.'

He couldn't do it.

He wanted her so badly --the darkness always craves the light, no matter how afraid of each other they are-- but he knew he couldn't destroy her like that. And destroy her he would... it was inevitable.

Light always plunges into shadow, into darkness, into black.

If he forced her away --repelled her no matter how much he didn't want to-- she would be safe. She would continue to shine her bright light, she would continue to smile, and he would live his life, rotting away bit by bit...

It didn't matter, anyway.

There was no more room within him for desire, no more time to wish for things that he could never have. Him, the richest man in the country, only getting richer as the days wore on... everyone thought he had everything, but "everyone" couldn't have been further from the truth.

Why was it always the one thing you desired more than anything... you could never have?

It always slipped from your grasp, into the arms of someone else...

It would only take a bit of his strength --his willpower, for which he was so well known. It was the very thing that had gotten him through the deaths of his parents, and the most deprived, abusive childhood one could have known. It took willpower to watch everything he loved and cared about ripped out from under him, for no discernable reason. It took strength to endure the pain Gozaburo Kaiba had brought --the "father" that wasn't.

It would take some of that willpower, that last remaining bit of strength within him... to push her away. To forget about her, and pretend her never had cared.

Just a bit. He could manage.

He would start rotting away the minute her eyes, once bright and beautiful, turned away from him, dim and lacking in understanding. The darkness would surround him again, this time preventing even the tiniest bit of light from entering his frozen-solid shell...

This would be one heart of ice that would never melt.

Not for anyone or any reason at all... Not if he couldn't have her.

And so he became the darkness within... he became the force that ate away at happiness, at memories, at joy, at desire.

Bit by bit, piece by piece, he rotted away without her.

"Whisper," by Evanescence - I make no claim to these lyrics; they are reprinted here without permission for the use of setting the theme of the story. No copyright infringement is intended.

Catch me as I fall
Say you're here and it's all over now
Speaking to the utmost fear
No one's here and I fall into myself
This truth drives me into madness
I know I can stop the pain if I will it all away

Don't turn away
Don't give in to the pain
Don't try to hide
Though they're screaming your name
Don't close your eyes
God knows what lies behind them
Don't turn out the light
Never sleep, never die

I'm frightened by what I see
But somehow I know that there's much more to come
Immobilized by my fear
And soon to be blinded by tears
I can stop the pain if I will it all away

Don't turn away
Don't give in to the pain
Don't try to hide
Though they're screaming your name
Don't close your eyes
God knows what lies behind them
Don't turn out the light
Never sleep, never die

Fallen angels at my feet
Whispered voices at my ear
Death before my eyes
Lying next to me I fear
She beckons me shall I give in
Upon my end shall I begin
Forsaking all I've fallen for, I rise to meet the end