Hi everyone. This story has been around for awhile, but I'm revising the author's note to take out all the explanations that were present about the little contest between this story and Blindsided, which this story lost (dries this story's tears...it is angsty, after all). I chose to do this partly because I thought the long author's note was overlong and annoying, and partly because I've had a strange urge to update this story recently. Hopefully a new chapter will be in the works as soon as I'm done altering this one.
I have to thank everyone who reviewed this when I first posted it. Lots of you were kind enough to leave comments for both this and for Blindsided. In some cases it helped make my decision easier, but response for this was so positive all around that I really had trouble putting it on hiatus! Even if this does get an update, I can't say that status will be likely to change. Two multi-chaptered stories is about all I can reasonably handle.
Concerning this story: It doesn't follow the plot of the manga or the series, necessarily. I haven't seen the series all the way to the end (I'm trying, I promise!), and I don't know what exactly happens. So what occurs here should just be taken for what it's worth. It's an exploration of a scenario, you could say. Call it AU if you wish-- I'm pretty sure that would be an accurate description.
Disclaimer: I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh. Don't own the characters, either. I guess I might own the plot, though I must say it feels a little cliché. Seriously, if someone else wrote something exactly like this, let me know (crosses fingers)! I'll try my best to keep it original...
Chapter 1: Prologue
xxx Anzu xxx
The plane lifted off from the runway. In addition to its many other passengers, it carried one very mysterious spiky headed and-- apparently-- young man. This man was leaving, on a journey to discover the secrets of his ancient past. Yami was leaving Domino, knowing full well that he might never return.
Alone in the airport terminal observing the plane as it ascended stood a dark-haired girl in her late teens. Her other friends had long since departed, though Anzu privately suspected that Yugi was lingering somewhere in close proximity, alone with his thoughts and apprehensions as she was with hers.
The aircraft continued to rise. Anzu watched as it disappeared from sight, taking away the one to whom she had given her heart. A numb tingling began to overtake her stomach as her eyes scanned the now empty skies. The parting had not been particularly emotional. Most of the drama had already taken place, when he first expressed his intentions to her. What was it he had said?
oooo Flashback oooo
"Anzu, you know I must do this. It may be the only chance I have to discover who and what I truly am. I have to make this journey. Wouldn't you?"
Tears clouded Anzu's blue eyes, blurring the image of the man standing before her. "But why? Why now? We've just discovered these feelings..." She choked back a sob.
Yami looked stricken, but determined, reaching out to tilt Anzu's face toward his. "I know. But until I fully realize myself, how can we be sure that my...feelings for you are as they should be?"
She stared into his eyes, which was easy as he wasn't that much taller than her when she wore heels. She could almost taste his guilt and regret, wondering to herself whether it existed because he was leaving her or if it was because he'd decided their involvement had been a mistake all along. She slipped her hand into his, clutching it.
"Please, at least let me go with you. I might be able to help, like I did before! I promise I won't get in the way--"
"No. I already told you, Anzu. It's important for me to do this alone."
He silenced her with a piercing look. "I don't think you understand. Don't you see? Depending upon what I find, I may not be returning."
Anzu had frozen at his blunt admission. Not returning? But what about--
"Look, I know how you feel for me, Anzu. And I believe in my heart that my feelings are the same. However..." His eyes dropped away. This was it. He was ending it. They had taken so long to grow into their love and now it was over before it even had a chance. She stumbled back from him, jumping as his arm reached out to steady her.
"I don't expect you to wait for me. In fact, I'd be happier knowing you hadn't. You deserve to be happy, Anzu. And then, perhaps, someday..."
Wrenching her arm from Yami's grip, Anzu stalked away. She tried to tell herself it was anger that made her flee, but the tears rolling down her face told a different story.
Anzu sighed, trying to imagine what it had been like when Yami had confided his plans to Yugi. She imagined that conversation had probably gone better all around...
Turning away from the viewing platform as the sun began to set, Anzu felt an empty pit slowly overtaking the still-fresh pain which accompanied Yami's departure from her life, possibly forever. All the love she'd possessed, she'd tried to give to him. And it still hadn't been enough. Why bother giving yourself to someone so completely if it would end up like this?
Anzu made a very reckless promise to her wounded heart as the sky blazed orange and purple behind her. The promise to never let herself be hurt this way again.
Three Months Later
xxx Seto xxx
The plane crashed into the forested mountainside at an alarmingly high speed. At impact, the metal and fiberglass broke and shattered and bent into unnatural shapes, a cruel parody of what was happening to the bodies of the passengers inside.
Of the four people who had been aboard the small aircraft, one had expired immediately. The other three had sustained injuries of varying severity. A bodyguard with a broken arm was the first to emerge from the wreckage. He was followed directly by a tall figure, looking less polished than usual with a ripped trench coat and blood dripping steadily from a gash above his left eye. Clutched in his arms was a small, unconscious figure. A boy.
"What the hell are you waiting for? Call for help, you idiot! Now!"
The bodyguard hobbled up the hillside, trying to obtain better phone reception as he began speaking in clipped tones to the emergency dispatcher. Seto Kaiba strode briskly away from the flaming wreckage of his private jet, eventually laying the prone form of his younger brother carefully on the ground several hundred yards away.
Seto did not feel calm, or cool under pressure, or level-headed as he may have appeared on the outside. He knew Mokuba way badly injured, a concept his mind could barely process. The boy's limbs were twisted into positions a contortionist would have had trouble with, and his left arm bore a long, jagged cut. Seto tried to stem the bleeding by tying a piece of his ripped coat tightly around his brother's arm.
Mokuba was breathing, but rather faintly, unsteadily. Seto suspected broken ribs as a likelihood. He didn't even want to contemplate the possible internal injuries. There had also been a knock to the boy's head, evidenced by a trickle of blood down the side of his face.
The world moved around Seto in an unpleasant blur as the emergency personnel arrived. He watched numbly as his brother was strapped onto a stretcher and prepared for the airlift. He wanted to strangle the paramedics for daring to shake their heads sadly as they secured Mokuba's body. That was his brother they were examining, not some normal, fragile, vulnerable child. Something as stupid as a plane crash could never finish off the Kaiba brothers...
Before he knew it, Seto was standing in the corridor of Domino Hospital, watching his brother being wheeled into the emergency room with all kinds of tubes and machines attached to him. His body looked so small.
Unable to move his feet, Seto stared at the swinging doors. Raising a slightly shaky hand to the bandage on his forehead, the elder Kaiba was filled with tremendous bitterness. Why was he standing here with little more than a couple cuts and bruises while his little brother...while Mokuba was...
Seto sank into the nearest chair, allowing his face to fall into his hands. He registered, on some detached subconscious level, that those hands were still somewhat caked with his brother's blood. His hands clenched in his hair, tight with worry. Mokuba was the only thing he cared about, and it looked as though he couldn't even protect him...
It should have been me, he thought to himself. I should be the one on the operating table.
He hated himself possibly more than ever at that moment. Hated that he'd come out of the accident unscathed while Mokuba suffered. His breathing was fast and uneven, nerves on the edge of panic.
If some higher entity was trying to punish him, it was working. All too well.
Okay! That's the end of the first chapter of this one. If this ends up being the one I continue with right now, Seto and Anzu will be meeting up in the next chapter. Just so you know, I have NOT killed Mokuba. I originally planned to, but I think the plot of the story is easier to work with if he's still alive. Either that or I chickened out and couldn't do it. Pick one. This story will have its fair share of angst, but it is, at the heart of things, a romance. Just to tell you. (grin)
Updates for this story are likely to be erratic and far apart, at least for the time being. It may not receive updates at all for long periods of time. Be warned! But please, if you enjoy it do make sure and let me know! You can never tell; it might even catalyze faster posting.