A Yu-Gi-Oh Oneshot
By Azurite - azurite AT fanfiction DOT net
azurite DOT incandesce DOT org
Completed: March 19th, 2005
No, I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh. Yes, this is a faint, implied Azureshipping (Seto x Anzu).
The only reason why he was even still at school was because it was quiet. Seto Kaiba valued the quiet. Nay, he loved the quiet. If only it meant he could concentrate uninterrupted, for just a brief period of time. As of late, he hadn't been able to concentrate, not even in his own office. It didn't matter if he closed all the windows and doors and shut off the ventilation (which made the whole space unbearably hot and humid), refused to take any calls, and shut off his speakers-- it was just impossible to get complete silence at work. He could always distantly hear phone ringing and people milling about, voices and conversations...
Home wasn't much better. Even if he could concentrate better there, it still wasn't quiet enough. And there were distractions. No, make that distraction . In was summer time, and unlike the high schools, Mokuba's elementary school had an extended break. That meant Mokuba was home all the time , and that meant constantly getting pestered. It wasn't as though Seto minded his brother's company, bu the younger boy was a bubbling ball of energy, constantly wanting to do things and go places. And as much as Seto hated disappointing Mokuba, he couldn't always go swimming, shopping, exploring, or playing in the park.
He had work. Always work, endless piles of work...
Seto's desire to find that "perfect place" to get everything done --just once, so he could go home and actually spend time with Mokuba-- resulted in him staying a few hours after school clean-up ended. And suddenly the annoyingly noisy Domino High School plunged into silence. Absolute, blissful, perfect silence. So Seto continued to stay there, hidden in the shadows of the classrooms and tucked away in the library, long after faculty and students alike left.
But one day, just as the sun was began its trek down to the horizon and Seto was getting to work, he heard something.
Chords of music filtering softly into the classroom where he usually did his work (at the teacher's desk, no less!), gentle music wafting its way through the halls and down the stairs...
But where was it coming from?
Hadn't everyone left school? If there were any club members left on campus, they were distant enough not to be of concern to Seto-- until now. Perhaps the orchestra was practicing? But no, that made no sense-- the orchestra always practiced in the auditorium, which was entirely sound-proofed. Seto knew that only because his own company funded the effort. Now the place was named after him, a fact that made him feel ridiculous every time students were called to assembly there. But at least he knew for a fact that the whole place was sound-proofed, which meant it couldn't be the orchestra, which meant something wasn't making sense.
And the music-- it wasn't annoying pop music. It wasn't even close. It was simple piano, light and soft. Classical music, really. Under any other circumstances, the music wouldn't have bothered him in the slightest-- except by now, Seto was used to silence, and now he wanted to discover the source of the music. It sounded as though it were coming from far away and close up, all at the same time. How was that possible?
So Seto rose from the teacher's desk and started to walk around. As he neared the far right corner of the classroom, he discovered a speaker that he hadn't even noticed before, not once during his three-year tenure at the school. And from that tiny, dust-covered speaker...
Faint, but audible nonetheless.
So. That meant someone had somehow tapped into the school's PA system, and had some sort of player next to it. The music was being filtered throughout the entire school...
Was someone onto him? Did they know that he was on a quest to find that perfect silent place to work, and now that he'd gotten comfortable at school --of all places!-- someone wanted him out?
No, that was silly. Besides, the school was open for students at any time. There were plenty of unsupervised clubs that arrived at school as early as 5:30 in the morning, and others that stayed well past 10:00 at night. Most of them were athletic clubs that occupied buildings an acceptable distance from where Seto was, so if they were there that day, they weren't bothering him.
But this music...
Seto inhaled a deep breath, glancing at the pile of papers he still had to go through-- forms to authorize, mergers and acquisitions to review, personnel files to examine... in other companies, herds of people did this kind of work. But there was a reason why Kaiba Corporation was #1 in the company. There was a reason why it was the best rated corporation for people to work at, with the best coverage, financial security, and highest-paying entry-level jobs. There was a reason why it was praised by people in all walks of life, working for all sorts of industries. There was a reason why he had such a low turnover rate... because he did his job, unlike the countless other bland and boring businessmen that merely barked out orders and wore expensive suits.
He couldn't even think about all that now, or all those idiots. If he wanted to concentrate and continue taking Kaiba Corp. on the road to victory, he had to find out what the source of the music was-- where it was playing, and why. Who else was in the school with him?
It only took him a few minutes, walking briskly, to discover the source of the music. Only two places in the entire school had access to the PA system-- the dean's office and the dean's secondary office used in emergencies. With the latter room locked tight and dark as a crypt, Seto quickly made his way to the dean's main office, and discovered the door wide-open-- with a compact cassette player leaning against a pencil case, right next to the PA microphone. A rubber band kept the recording switch in place, so the music continued to filter throughout the school. And the cassette player was set to reverse repeat, so the tape would play over and over again without stopping.
He could just press the stop button, remove the rubber band, turn out the lights and toss the player into the garbage can. He could just close the door and walk away, but...
Who else was in the school with him?
He didn't know why that simple fact bothered him so, but maybe it was because the person was being so elusive. Seto had walked half the length of the third floor and hadn't seen a soul-- so where was the person listening? Were they below him on the second or first floor? No, that wouldn't make sense-- why would they go so far away and leave the door of the dean's office open.
Matter of fact, how had whoever it was get the key to the dean's office anyway? It couldn't be the dean himself, or even his perky secretary-- Seto had seen them leave hours ago. So who...?
It didn't take him long to find out who it was. All he had to do was round the corner from the east half of the 3rd floor to the west half, and he had his answer.
" Ronds de Jambe à Terre... " A slender leg moved to pointe before pushing the toe forward, gliding the foot along the ground to the front, the side, and finally back, to close in what looked like a painful stretch-- a ballet position.
The dancer's fingers were closed tightly around the pole of a large push broom-- which Seto realized with amusement was acting as the girl's barre and as her dance partner. She swung the broom around, not even noticing Seto standing at the end of the hall, a smirk slowly creeping its way across his lips.
Broom in hand, she positioned her arms with her elbows pointed outward, keeping her left leg thrust back, ready to push forward.
" Un, deux, trois..." And a one-two-three steps forward, alternating legs pushing powerfully off the ground, keeping the toes in a pointe .
'Ah. A waltz step.' But her feet were turned out wrong. Dancer she might be, but practice she needed.
It made sense now-- why the once-mysterious dancer had chosen this place to practice her art, where no one's eyes could distract her. Or at least, so she thought.
He could just announce her name and startle her out of her reverie, but where was the fun in that? Besides, he was quite amused, watching her glide up and down the hallway, taking the broom along for the ride. She'd probably told her friends that she'd take care of class cleanup, and no, no, she didn't mind. She had things to do anyway...
Or something like that. It was all too easy to imagine her voice echoing reassurances to her friends that she was a big girl, and she could handle it. But there would be an underlying tone of mischief in that voice, one that no one but Seto could hear-- if only because he'd had so much practice detecting such tones in his brother's voice.
Then again, children had a much harder time hiding it than 18-year-old girls did.
The dancer took three steps forward before turning her right arm outward, her left hand's fingers still clutching the broom. She gently pushed it outward to sweep in a small spiral before bringing it back in again, gently touching the pole with the palm of her right hand. And in... out... again. Thrice she repeated the motion before taking three more steps forward, and then she turned around.
She still didn't notice him.
Seto kept watching, though he couldn't fathom what was keeping him there. He knew the answer to his question now, and it would be all-too easy to bring Anzu Mazaki out of her little fantasy world. But there was something about that sphere she was in --that world of music and dance-- that drew Seto closer. He felt half-in and half-out of it, every moment she came closer urging him to step forward and replace that dust-ridden broom with a real partner.
He might not know ballet from salsa, but he at least knew how to waltz.
Mazaki obviously didn't, with the way she kept turning her feet, losing her balance whenever she tried to turn. Yet she kept right on practicing, sweeping the same length of hallway over and over again, not once noticing Seto.
It wasn't until the fourth repetition that brought her within arm's reach of Seto that he announced himself.
"You're doing it wrong."
Her eyes flew open with a startled blink, and she looked for all the world like a deer caught in the headlights-- or a rabbit caught in a hunter's gaze. The broom clattered to the floor noisily, but Anzu didn't move to pick it up. Instead, she stood there, staring at him as though he were an alien from outer space.
Her thoughts were probably something along the lines of 'What is he doing here? How did he find me? What--?' Or something like that. From the look on her face, it was just as likely her thoughts weren't coherent at all.
So the silence had been broken, and so had the peace. So had the fragile existence between two people within the same building, two people just looking to get some work done undistracted. But he'd gone out and sought her, not the other way around. She probably had no idea he was even in the building, or that he'd made it his ritual to get his work done in the class around the corner.
If ever there had been some unspoken agreement between the two of them, it was broken now. There was no turning back.
Acting on impulse, Seto grabbed one of Anzu's dangling arms and clasped her hand --were girls' hands really that small?-- and held it out with his own, tossing her other hand around his shoulder, while his own hand slid easily around her waist. She was awfully small, but he supposed that was what made her perfect for being a dancer. Too bad she had the attitude of a wet cat.
Mentally aware of the tempo of the music still wafting in the air, Seto chose an apt moment and stepped out to the side. Her dancer's instinct abruptly kicked in, Anzu stepped with him --trying to lead, for just a moment before relaxing into his arms. It felt... nice.
It was disturbing that it felt nice, because for all intents and purposes, Seto Kaiba should NOT have been able to fathom what "nice" felt like.
Again, one-two-three, one-two-three. A complete repetition of what Anzu had done before, only with a real flesh-and-blood partner (and feet a good three sizes or more larger than hers) to stop her from turning in the wrong direction and losing her balance.
It had been a good long while since Seto danced with anyone, let alone a female who actually knew what she was going. On top of that, a female who seemed perfectly sized too, to fit right into his arms.
A few more steps in each direction-- front, side, back, and center once more, and Seto acted on the lessons ingrained in his head from so long ago. He released the hand around Anzu's waist and spun her outward-- but she didn't spin. Instead, she put a gentle, light hand on his shoulder and balanced on her toes, stretching her right leg out in a perfect arabesque . She didn't care that her skirt was riding up her thigh to the point where the slightest of breezes would reveal her panties-- a thought which had Seto briefly glancing at the windows to check and see if any were open.
Anzu laughed at the expression that had found its way onto Seto's face.
"Did you think I was going to spin out and back into your arms again?" It was a rhetorical question... right? "I wasn't trying to ballroom dance."
He knew that.
Anzu lowered her head, smiling. Seto wasn't sure, with the way the dimming sunlight played shadows across her face, but was she blushing? Hmph.
"Thanks-- I think I'll be able to get the waltz step now."
That wasn't what he'd intended at all-- not really, anyway. But what exactly could he say, anyway? This seemed to be one of those moments where the "right words" weren't coming to him at all. Not like most of the time, when he knew the answer to any question posed to him, even before the person asking finished. Words could just spill out of Seto Kaiba's mouth-- words of varying degrees, tones, and implications.
The strains of music faded into the recesses of his brain, and Seto felt that odd sense of calm that had evaded him for so long. The sun reached the horizon and abruptly cast the hall and its two occupants into orange-red light. Anzu's shadow seemed to stretch on for meters and meters, making her look even more slender and fragile.
She was anything but, and Seto knew it. And yet...
The words still wouldn't come. So Seto Kaiba turned on his heel and started to walk away, back to the classroom to finish his work. The music wouldn't distract him now, for whatever reason. But before he rounded the corner, he cast one last glance in Anzu's direction.
She was dancing again, swaying in the light of the setting sun, her ears tuned to the strains of the music she must have heard hundreds of times before. But this time, a visible smile graced her lips, her arms held out just-so... she didn't look as though she were concentrating so intently now. She just relaxed and moved to the music naturally, as if she belonged to one of those unusual, once-in-a-lifetime moments that sunset brought with it. Different everyday, and occasionally so amazing it could cause your heart to clench in your chest. A feeling so distant, so hard to capture and describe...
Fleeting... strains of gentle music...
Okay, I said my two bits-- inspired by ballet. Basically I wanted it to be a oneshot from Kaiba's POV. Not really him crushing on Anzu or anything, just observing her and (of course) correcting her. But she corrects him, and surprises him while she's at it. So consider it "faint Azureshipping," if anything at all. :)