Fortunately for Anzu, there was no blood on the carpet. Nor on the walls, or the tile of the kitchen; however, looking up, you could see plainly a hole where the bullet must have gone. She assumed, since nobody came down from the apartment upstairs, it was either empty or they were accustomed to things like this happening. She fervently hoped it was the former.
"So-tell me." Anzu stood in the middle of her living room, hands on her hips, looking expectantly towards her white haired guest. "Do I want to know what happened, or should I count on plausible deniability when the police find the bodies?"
Bakura flopped onto the couch, glaring at her. "This is the thanks I get for saving your prissy ass?"
Anzu opened her mouth to retort, but closed it, realizing he had a very good point. She sighed, flopping herself down on the other end of the couch. Burying her face in her hands, she mumbled an apology.
"I'm sorry. I really am. You're right-you did save me. I've just never seen a dead body before, and I'm trying to come to terms with the fact he died because of me."
He snorted. "I didn't kill anybody. Leaving those fools alive allows them to send a message to anyone else foolish enough to try what they did." Looking towards her, he lifted a brow. "Are you still going to have hysterics?"
She lifted her head, and crossed her arms tight against her body. "I wasn't going to have hysterics in the first place. It would've been his own fault had he died-he shouldn't have been here." Truthfully? She'd planned on breaking down ten minutes after Bakura left for the night. And although, after his confession, a wave of relief washed over her she couldn't stop the small tremors that still shook her body.
Bakura simply stared at her. She didn't really notice, though, her mind wrapped up in her own thoughts. Adrenalin had run its course, and she was beginning to feel the fall-out.
'Bakura, you son-of-a-bitch, pull her over here!'
The boy shook himself slightly, as though waking from a doze. '…what?' What the fuck was his other side talking about?
Ryou spoke slowly, as if to a child. 'She's tired. She's scared. She needs to relax. So pull her over here, and let her rest on our shoulder.'
Bakura snorted. 'You're nothing but a lovesick fool. You think she's going to relax around someone like me?'
His lighter side gave a short laugh. 'A hero you're not, far from it in fact. But we did save her-and right now she's probably feeling vulnerable. And anyways-'he gave a depreciating sigh. 'Something tells me we're not going to get another chance like this for a long time.'
'If it will get you to shut the hell up-'
Sometime during their little argument, Anzu had uncurled herself slightly to pick up the remote and had turned the television on. Her blank unwavering stare belied any interest in the program that was on-but she had rather hoped she might be able to drift off to the mindless noise of the tv.
She was broken from her reverie by a pale hand on her shoulder. Still in a haze of weariness, it took her a moment to remember who it belonged to. 'Oh, that's right, Bakur-'
One moment she was curled up in her corner of the couch, and in the next her head rested on Bakura's shoulder, leaning against him with her legs stretched out on the cushions beside her.
Wide blue eyes gazed up at him in shock. She opened her mouth, and knowing he was about to face the inquisition, he moved his eyes from the television to glare at her. The short growl seemed out of place with his arm draped so casually around her shoulder; Anzu was unsure whether or not to press her luck and say what she wanted to.
Bakura returned his gaze to the television. "Go to sleep, you insufferable woman."
'Yeah, right, like that's going to happen.' Despite her negative thoughts, a small smile found its way to her lips, and her eye lids drooped shut. It surprised her and him both that she was, indeed, comfortable enough that she began to feel drowsy. A few moments passed, and she deemed it safe enough to speak.
"Bakura?" Although she couldn't hear it, she could feel him give a sigh.
"Thank you. If you guys hadn't been here-"
"Don't mention it." He threw a narrowed gaze at her. "Seriously. Don't."
Her muffled giggles could be felt against her human pillow. His sigh this time wasn't so inaudible.
He started to say something, but Ryou gave him a little mental shove. Taking a closer look at the girl, he realized she was, indeed, asleep.
'The times I get to say 'I told you so' to you is few and far between.' Ryou had a very smug quality to his voice.
Bakura shook his head. 'Shut up, Ryou. Between you and that woman of yours- I'm beginning to believe in the concept of karma.'
Ryou gave one last laugh, and left Bakura in peace, which turned out to be somewhat of a mixed blessing. Without the distraction of Anzu's caustic comments, or Ryou's complacent ones, he found his mind wandering to the events of that night. His actions. Her actions.
He didn't think he liked where his mind was wandering.
- - - - - - - - - - -
The midday sun shining insistently on her face was what awoke Anzu from her slumber. She stretched, her toes touching the arm of the couch on one end, her hands meeting the other one. Couch? 'Oh, yeah.' The events of the past night suddenly rushed to the fore. Quickly sitting up, she looked around for any sign of her guest- strangely disappointed to see none. She let out a cheerless sigh. 'Should I really have expected anything different?'
Anzu felt much better after taking a shower. Throwing on a pair of shorts and a shirt, she walked into the kitchen still towel-drying her hair, intent upon making breakfast. The towel dropped from her suddenly nerveless fingers at the sight of her counter.
A kitchen knife, slightly larger than one used for eating was buried half-way through the fake marble counter top. Walking closer, she could see a small piece of paper pinned beneath.
Try taking care of yourself for once.
The last, lingering bits of the warm fuzzy feeling from the previous night were immediately doused. Her hands fisted at her sides- the note wasn't too condescending (for him, anyway), but the knife was not necessary. Angrily, she stomped up to the counter, grabbed the handle, and pulled. And then pulled again. She tried using both hands, but still not a budge.
She held onto the handle with both hands, braced a foot against the counter edge, and pulled. Unfortunately, her hands slipped, and she fell to her bottom on the floor.
Anzu slapped her hands over her mouth, eyes wide. A frustrated, inarticulate scream of rage sounded as she picked herself off the floor. Ripping the paper from the knife, she threw it into the garbage and slammed the lid shut. She then went back to pulling, this time keeping both feet on the ground.
"Bakura-you'd better hope I don't get this knife out of my counter, because if I do I'm going to skin you alive!"
- - - - - - - - - - -
Fortunately for Bakura, he wasn't the first one on Anzu's hit list. Her way of thinking was thus; despite the intentions behind the actions of both boys, she wouldn't have had a problem with Bakura if Kaiba hadn't taken it upon himself to furnish her apartment. Then those would-be thieves wouldn't have come in, and Bakura wouldn't have had to 'save' her. Although, she held a sneaking suspicion that he enjoyedbeating them senseless way too much to really blame her, as his note insinuated he did.
And anyways, she still hadn't gotten that knife out of her counter. So, Kaiba was first.
Which explained why she was sitting in front of the KC building on a nice Saturday evening. They may have been closed, but she knew Kaiba better-at least she thought she did. The boy genius was a notorious work-a-holic, and she figured he was sitting in his office right now typing away on whatever computer he might have in front of him. She was content to wait all night for him if she needed. Making herself comfortable on the ground, she sat with her back against a column, facing the front doors he almost always came out of. Two steaming cups of coffee sat nearby, and her backpack held a cd player and some paperback books. A couple of granola bars sat in one of the side pockets. Yes, she was prepared to wait all night.
By the time eleven o'clock rolled around, one cup of coffee (no longer steaming) remained, and only half of the granola bars were left of a package of eight. The two books that accompanied her she'd lost interest in long ago and she found herself wishing she'd brought along more than just the one cd in her player.
Sighing deeply, she began to pick up her things, placing all but the coffee back into her pack. "I guess I might as well drink this one too." She looked up, following the mostly dark windows to the top of the building. "Guess I was wrong. He'd be out by now if he was in there, wouldn't he?"
Walking out from behind the column she spent so much time at, she stretched, and began walking back home. She hadn't gone ten steps though, before she saw a black limo approaching the building she'd just vacated. Stopping, she watched as the vehicle pulled up and parked in front of the main entrance to Kaiba Corp. However, moments passed by and nobody seemed to be getting out of the car. A minute more and the proverbial light bulb went off in Anzu's head.
'Kaiba's still in the building! He must have called for the car to pick him up.'
No sooner had the thought crossed her mind, than the object of her musings appeared at the doors. He didn't seem to notice her at first, turning around to key in the security code that locked the building. Whirling back around, he was half-way to the vehicle before he noticed the figure not five yards away. He raised his brows, startled by her appearing at his workplace.
Anzu couldn't help the silly grin on her face at seeing him. Raising the coffee cup, she shook it enticingly. "I've got caffeine…" she sing-songed teasingly. A twitch of his lips was the only reply she received, and he once again started towards his ride.
She sighed, her heart strangely heavy. 'Well, that was a waste of…how many hours?' Turning around, she began the long trek home.
'Why is he still mad at me?' she mused, looking into the cup she held. 'Maybe he's not mad- maybe he just doesn't want to waste his time walking with me when he already has a ride…' Heaving another sigh, she tilted her head, taking a drink of her beverage.
Or she would have, had a long, slender hand not snatched it from her at the last second.
Kaiba took a swig, eyes glancing to the side to take note of Anzu's startled reaction. Once the tepid liquid hit his tongue, he made a face and glared at the cup in his hands. "It's cold."
Anzu stuck her own tongue out at him playfully. "It was hot a couple hours ago."
He turned his head fully to look at her this time. "A 'couple hours' ago?" Giving her a smirk, he continued. "Do I have another stalker to worry about?"
If looks could kill…
"You wish." Anzu bit out.
He took another drink of the lukewarm liquid, then asked the question that had been on his mind since seeing her at the building. "What are you doing here, then?"
She stopped, abruptly, taking Kaiba by surprise. He stopped a few feet ahead, and faced her. For a moment there, she had forgotten why she had come up here.
The poor boy discreetly swallowed hard when his companion's face darkened. He didn't take a step back when she took one forward, but he sure looked like he wanted to. Anzu began her little rant, poking him in the chest with her finger at various points.
"You conniving little son-of-a…what the hell were you thinking?"
For the first time in a very long time, Kaiba felt a little out of his element. His brows drawn in confusion, he lifted his hands, burdened as they were with the cup in one hand and his briefcase in the other. "I thought the coffee was for me?"
Growling in frustration, Anzu buried her hands in her face. "I'm not talking about the fricking coffee." She all but snarled. Glaring at him once more, she continued. "What do you think I came home to last night?"
The puzzled expression on his face stayed for a second more before comprehension dawned and returned to him his stoic mask.
"I have no idea-"
She grabbed his coat lapels and pulled down, placing his face inches from hers. She bit out her next statement between clenched teeth. "If you say you don't know what I'm talking about I'm going to hurt you badly."
He let both cup and case drop from his hands, and grabbed Anzu's wrists, trapping her hands against him. He felt oddly bemused, and thrilled? with her anger. He smirked, adding fuel to her fire. However, before she could vent any more than she already had (or, god forbid, make good on her threat of violence) he responded.
"I was going to say 'I have no idea why you would be upset with your furnishings'-unless they're not to your taste?" She tried jerking her hands from his grasp, but he simply tightened his hold, his smirk becoming wider. "Is that a 'no, I like them but I'm not going to admit to it' or was it 'yes, I hate them but I'm going to be the nice little perky twit I am and say nothing?'"
She lunged forward this time, and, him being mostly unprepared for it, she almost got her hands within reach of his face; had she not made the 'I'm going to claw you're eyes out' statement (at least, that's what he thought she shrieked) she might have made it. As it were, he became off balanced, and landed on his back on the ground. He didn't release his grasp on Anzu, however, so a fraction of a second later, she landed on top of him- in a very compromising position.
"Oh my god, Kaiba, are you okay?" Eyes wide with concern, she went to shake his shoulders, but her wrists were still in his hands, and even now, he tenaciously held on. His eyes cracked open a bit, and he stared at her from beneath his lowered lashes.
"Are you this forward with all your 'friends', Anzu?" His voice was a bit unsteady, but still held a tint of humor.
Anzu was shocked almost speechless. "Are you trying to piss me off? You ungrateful bas-"
She was interrupted when Kaiba shifted; a blink of an eye later found their positions changed- Anzu was on the bottom, arms pinned at the wrist above her head. He straddled her, a strange glint in his eyes. "Oh, yes…" he purred. "Let's talk about being 'ungrateful'."
Her eyes narrowed. "Get off me." she growled.
He glared at her in return. "I don't think so. You explain to me first why it's so wrong of me to help you."
"I don't want your help! I don't want anyone's help, alright? I want to earn the things I have-not have everything handed to me on a silver platter!" She fought the rise of her frustrated tears, and bit her lip. "I won't feel right about it otherwise."
She couldn't see the expression on his face; his head was hanging, and his bangs obscured her view. She felt it, though, when he heaved a great sigh, then rested his head between her own pinned wrist and head.
"I have never had a...'friend'" he spoke quietly, mindful of the close proximity of her earlobe. "My actions and words I take from half-formed instincts; the majority of the time I have very little clue what to do, what actions are appropriate. I don't like it." that last comment had a bit of a snarl to it.
"I am trying, the only way I know how, to be 'friendly'. I find myself, for the first time, wanting to learn. I see you exchange gifts with your little group of friends at the school-why is this any different for you?"
Wow. When he wasn't being an overbearing asshole, he sure was sexy.
Anzu did a mental head-slap. Now was definitely not the time for thoughts like that. Not when he was practically laying on her.
She almost missed his next remark, it was so quiet. "Is it because it's me?"
"No!" Anzu rushed to reassure him. "No, that's not it at all. It's just, well, when the guys and I exchange gifts, well, anybody really-" she realized she was rambling; she was all of a sudden nervous. She took a deep breath and started over. "You just don't give someone a real…expensive gift like that, unless you're more than just friends." Okay-it was official. This was the single most difficult conversation she'd ever had.
He gave a mental snort. Did she think he was that ignorant of social customs?
"And what if that's what I'm trying for?"
He felt her suddenly stiffen beneath him-he wasn't sure if it was a good sign or not. Kaiba lifted his head, watching for Anzu's reaction.
She simply blinked a few times, trying to wrap her mind around the concept. Shaking her head slightly, she asked. "Why?"
Well, that wasn't exactly what he was expecting. He gave a bemused huff, before answering. "Truthfully? I don't know." He gave her a moment- it may not have been the most romantic answer, but he knew she'd appreciate the more honest one.
Since he was being honest, she could do no less. "I-I really don't know what to say. I mean, I never knew you even considered me a friend before tonight." She bit her lip worriedly. 'And I don't know if I really trust you yet.' Anzu wasn't about to say that aloud-she wasn't stupid. She had come farther than she had ever thought to in regards to befriending the brunette above her-which was even more of a shock, seeing how she wasn't consciously trying to. Something…something held her back. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, but there was a feeling that kept her from really trying for a friendship with the intimidating young man.
The gentle brush of his lips against hers startled her back into the present. He drew back, slightly, taking note of her wide-eyed stunned expression. "I can give you time to get used to the idea."
Could she even call that a kiss? Despite the brief amount of time it took, that simple little act was enough to throw her train of consciousness out the window. "Ah, yeah." Anzu shook her head, trying to clear the fog of shock. "Wait a minute-I haven't even said yes yet! Aren't you getting ahead of yourself?"
Kaiba's body barely shook with suppressed laughter. "Yet?" He leaned his head back down, to whisper in her ear. "With that kind of a response? No, I don't believe I'm ahead of myself."
The weight of his body suddenly left her as he got to his feet, and he stared at the dumbfounded girl still on the ground. 'Might as well start acting chivalrous." he thought with a small predatory grin, and extended a hand to help her to her own feet.
Sitting up, Anzu suddenly found a slender hand extended towards her. She looked up at the figure in the dark, certain he was laughing at her; well, if he was looking for a way to shut her up, he certainly found one. Slapping his hand away, she stood up on her own and began brushing herself off. After about a minute or so, she realized she was simply procrastinating; she had no idea what to say, afraid her mouth would betray her yet again. And he was still laughing. Either that, or he was having convulsions. Heaving a sigh, she began walking once more towards her home.
Grabbing his briefcase, (the coffee was, predictably a lost cause) it took a few long strides for Kaiba to catch up with her; Anzu's first guess was correct, he was laughing at her, and it took him a moment to realize she had left him behind. Anzu found it had been a long time since she felt this uncomfortable walking beside her brunette companion; of course, he, on the other hand had a very smug look on his countenance. Things hadn't gone as well as they could have, but they went surprisingly better than expected.
Kaiba rather suspected he'd have gotten a different reaction out of the young woman had she still been hanging out with her motley group of friends. That wasn't to say they weren't friends still-however, with everything going on in her life, she didn't get many chances to see them outside of school.
He wondered, leisurely, as he programmed his numbers into her cel-would he have entertained the idea of a relationship with the "friendship girl" had she still been seeing the rest of her group? Maybe not. However, circumstances being what they were, she seemed to be just as much a loner now as he was.
Perhaps it was time for a change.
- - - - - - - - - - -
Anzu stood before her door, reluctant to enter her apartment. Going over the events of the night before (skipping over some notable ones) she couldn't find anything to indicate to Kaiba there was a fight in her living room. There was no way in hell she was telling that story to the overbearing egomaniac behind her; knowing him, the next time she came home she'd probably find all her things moved into a different apartment- across town.
Her companion raised his eyebrow, questioning-he'd noticed her stalling. "Are you afraid to let me in, Anzu?"
"No!" She huffed. "Why would I be?" 'Other than having a bullet hole in the ceiling…' She finished silently.
He crowded closer to her, resting a hand on the door beside her face. "Well, the temptation to jump me again might prove to be too much once we're in private."
Despite knowing she did nothing wrong, an embarrassed blush stole across her features anyway. Twisting the knob, she pushed the door inward causing Kaiba to stumble slightly. "You wish." She strode into the room, tossing her purse on the coffee table. Turning to deliver another scathing comment to her guest, she paused.
What was sitting on the breakfast counter was not going to make this evening any better.
Ryou idlely spun the butcher knife in his nimble fingers, legs swinging slightly in the air.
This was going to be fun.
The tension in the room tripled when the two young men met each others gaze. Kaiba stood just inside the apartment, letting the door close behind him. "What the hell are you doing here?"
Yes, about as much fun as a root canal.
Ryou gave a small smile as he hopped down from the counter. "I was…retrieving an item of mine."
Kaiba looked from the white haired boy in front of him, to Anzu and back again. "Why would your knife be here?"
Ryou did…something that made the large utensil seem to disappear. Casting a glance at Anzu she read as saying "You didn't tell him?" he opened his mouth to correct the oversight.
Anzu spoke up quickly. "It was-a practical joke!" She threw a glare at her friend. "A very bad one."
"Who in their right mind would use a butcher knife in a practical joke?"
'Well' she thought to herself 'Nobody ever claimed Bakura was in his right mind in the first place…' One look at Ryou and she knew he was thinking something along the same lines. He shook his head while she hid a smile. Smiling at the young man in front of him, Ryou brushed his concerns aside. "It's nothing you need to worry about."
A smirk came across Kaiba's features that wasn't too friendly. "Of course I'm going to worry…about my girlfriend."
The humor fell from the white haired boy's face at his remark, and Anzu huffed angrily. "I didn't say yes-"
"Yet" Kaiba finished for her. She sighed and buried her face in her hands. "You really are an arrogant bastard, you know that?" Lifting her head, she noticed the marked absence of her second guest. 'Hey, where did he-'
He had felt Ryou leaving when he turned to look at her. A contented sigh sounded in his mind; this particular rival was taken care of easily enough. He mused to himself-perhaps matters of the heart were easier than that of his company?
Anzu walked towards her open door. 'I wish he hadn't left so suddenly…' She felt the presence of her last guest beside her, and suddenly felt tired. Turning, she found him standing with his arms crossed, a vacant look in his eyes. He must have felt her gaze, however, as it took only a few moments for him to focus on her.
"So…" he began.
Anzu merely lifted a brow in response.
"What are your plans for tonight?"
She looked at him as though he were crazy. "It's one in the morning. On a Saturday-one of my days off. The only thing on my mind is a warm bed."
He couldn't quite hold in the mocking smile as he responded. "And where do I fit in?"
Kaiba found himself suddenly standing in the hallway of the apartment building. "My apartment's not big enough to fit your ego-so outside with you." Well, that was a surprise. 'Perhaps this 'relationship' thing is not so cut-and-dried after all.' With that last, lingering thought, he smiled and started home.
- - - - - - - - - - -
She may have been tired, but her mind couldn't rest. 'What do I do?' It was as though she'd entered some parallel universe (cue the "Twilight Zone" theme, please). She paced the living room of her apartment, worrying.
Intellectually, she knew she had a choice. Kaiba couldn't push her into a relationship if she didn't really want it. On the one hand, she knew exactly what her friends would say about it. Images flashed through her head, briefly depicting a crazed Joey attempting an exorcism on an angry Anzu tied to a chair. She smothered a self-deprecating giggle.
She barely knew anything about him. He was dedicated to his brother, and his company, yes. He was also freaking scary when pissed, overbearing, intimidating, and an all-around asshole. She had to be nuts to even consider it, given their past.
On the other hand (she sighed-there seemed to always be another hand), he seemed to have done, if not a 180°, certainly some sort of change of heart. He seemed so worried about her, even if he did go the wrong way about it. And then tonight, when he confronted her, there was something…desperate in his look. She didn't know quite what to make of that, but it seemed to give him a more human-like personality.
He was also the first male to have ever expressed any sort of romantic feelings towards her.
Anzu flopped on her bed, staring blankly at her ceiling. Did he know what he was getting into? Maybe tonight, he'd go home, and regret everything he said. Her heart sank at that thought-but it was a possibility she wouldn't ignore. 'I guess I'll have to wait and see. If he still feels the same Monday…well, I'll deal with it then.'
She groaned, and buried her head in her pillow. "I can't believe my first kiss was with Kaiba…"
- - - - - - - - - - -
A silent figure jumped from his sentry post on the fire escape to the railings of the building next door without a sound. Climbing up the few flights of metal stairs that ran down the building, he reached the roof top but didn't slow down. He ran it's length, and jumped to the next building top, pausing slightly to look into the alley below.
The sound of cracking knuckles broke the silence. 'I need to find something to kill…'
'Why the hell do you even care, Bakura?'
His eyes flashed in the darkness. 'Who said I cared?' he growled.
Ryou snorted to himself, but common sense told him not to bait his other half at the moment. He settled himself in for a long night.
- - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - -
I don't know if I like this chapter as well as the others…this story's been a lot of firsts for me. First fluff, first romance, first chapter written while on meds…
I'm not joking about that last one either. Lol.