Disclaimer: I do not own or claim to own Yu-Gi-Oh! or any characters and situations presented in the manga/anime. No profit is gained from the publishing of this story, no copyright infringement intended.
Should this story be deemed offensive by the creator, Mr. Takahashi, his solicitors or any of the (unsettling amount of) companies holding licenses to the series it shall be of course taken down without hesitation.
A/N: The last chapter – I do hope you enjoy it.
This doesn mean anything – Everything
When she stepped into the dance studio, it was a sunny afternoon in late March. Sunlight flittered through tree branches, birds awoken by spring time sang their song, flowers stretched from the beds they were confined in to raise their petal-crowned heads towards the sun. Spring had come, finally, to wake nature with its ever fragrant, playful kisses and Anzu hated every moment of it.
It is not fair, that the world should cherish and rejoice in the season of life, while she is slowly dying inside. After all, this – meaning them, him and her – doesn't mean anything.
She dances to every tune, to every beat, but her movements are off, her smile is forced. Her dance is not a welcome of life, but rather the mourning of its loss. Her instructor notices but does not comment. Art has always been like this.
It didn't mean anything, right from the start. I shouldn't have…
But she knows she has as she had known she quite possibly would. Quickly and without a struggle she has fallen in love with him. Risks be damned, throwing caution to the wind and head over heels in love falling – including all those gruesome and cruel consequences that came with his rejection.
He has called 'it' off. Their little agreement of him spending her time at his leisure is no more. She should have expected that – this day was bound to come eventually. She didn't.
She hurts all the more for it, because a part of her had believed that there was a connection. A part had believed it would have meaning, even though he had told her it wouldn't.
The pain she feels is no one's fault but her own. This doesn't mean anything and why should it?
It is a fragile pain she dances, an agony so perfect that it is hatefully beautiful. The skies finally become aware of her sufferings. They send vicious rains accompanied by howling winds, ominously clapping thunder und malicious lightning to fork across the sky. The thunderstorm raging within her is mirrored by the one just outside the dance studio. She takes no notice as she dances because her mind is lost in every movement, as it always is.
True to form and true to her heart, the lack of – for lack of better words – employment does not bother her as much as the lack of his company.
She has come to enjoy his presence, to anticipate it and revel therein, as any girl in love would. She took solace from the fact that she could be by his side to admire and love him from physically up close, even if emotionally afar.
It is late in the evening, when her dance instructor finally manages to get through to her. So intense was her dancing, that she noticed neither the progress of the day nor that of the pain. For tonight, she has done enough damage. She throws away the pair of blood-stained socks, taking her time to bandage each toe individually.
She has not cried – but her feet have. Tears they are, bloody ones.
This doesn't mean anything, she knows and that knowledge mocks her.
Gingerly, she takes one step at a time down the stairs to the lobby of the dance studio, pausing ever so often. Her gaze does not wander across the room. It does not stop at the lounge area where someone – a man – sits, reading the Wall Street Gazette.
The newspaper, or rather its owner, speaks to her only, when she is within earshot.
"We need to talk."
He is not surprised to see her eyes flash in indignation. He is not surprised, that it hurts him to see them so.
This doesn't mean anything.
She stops, glaring at the Wall Street Gazette.
Oh, this is rich…
"I wouldn't know what about. You have made yourself very clear."
Harsh words, just as harsh as the ones he used only yesterday. Words not meant for her.
"Have I? Then perhaps you did not fully grasp what it was I meant."
"It is of no importance, is it, Mr. Kaiba? This doesn't mean anything."
She bites out his name as if it were the vilest insult she could muster and then rubs his mistake into his face, for good measure.
I probably deserved that.
She stalks towards the exit, never once slowing her pace although he knows that her feet must hurt. Although there is a thunderstorm outside and she is ill-equipped to face it. The Wall Street Gazette is unceremoniously dropped into a neighboring lounge chair and he follows. He has the advantage of perfectly rested feet that have not been danced bloody. Therefore he is level with her in just few, quick strides.
"I wish to talk to you. Decorum demands that you at least wait and listen!"
She does neither, violently wrenching the door open and steps into yet another storm. Of course, he follows suit.
This doesn't mean anything?
He grabs her arm, just above her ellbow.
Will you listen now?
"What is it you want from me now? Haven't I entertained you enough?"
Anger. Hurt. His words were badly chosen. So was her timing.
"I want you to listen to me, Anzu. We are not yet done with each other."
"Done? Done?! Of course we are done! You no longer wish to spend time with me – I think that makes us very done, don't you?"
And it hurts… you cold bastard, it hurts because I want to spend time with you so badly.
"I never said that!"
"Right. You yelled it!"
"It wasn't meant for you to hear in the first place and you wouldn't let me explain!"
"There was nothing that needed further explaining."
"I am sick and tired of seeing her like that and having to pay for it! It's not worth it!"
Those were his words, as they both know. And they stand off against each other, with the ghost of that shout hovering between them.
They are in midst of storms and they do not care.
This doesn't mean anything…
"Yes, there was. What I meant was not, that I didn't want to see you again. What I meant was that I didn't want to force you to see me because we had a contract of sorts!"
He all but screams it and a clap of thunder punctuates his angry shout with flourish.
Then why didn't you take your money back when I offered it? Why didn't you answer me when I asked what it meant?
She looks at him, levelly.
"What does it mean? Seto, what does it mean? I need to know."
But they both know why. It was stupid of him to even ask. He had needed, had wanted to know, too, badly. He hesitates.
This is uncharted territory.
She makes a move to liberate her arm and he lets go only to latch onto her hand.
"At first, I thought it was a good idea. I thought it would take an edge off of all those stupid rumors. They've always bothered Mokuba. At the beginning, the idea did not include you specifically. I mentioned it in passing, fully expecting them to suggest someone else instead. I don't know why, but I said your name and they liked the idea so much that I could no longer back out. I thought you would refuse. You didn't. And then, eventually, I realized I didn't want it like that. I wasn't sure what I wanted; I only knew that I didn't want that."
His gaze finds hers.
"You asked what it meant and I didn't know how to answer you. I wasn't entirely sure whether it meant the same for both of us. So I decided to end our little charade. I meant to talk to you about it – but you overheard me telling my public relations director."
Her voice is quiet, barely a whisper and the storm calms down long enough to ensure, that he hears every syllable she speaks.
"I am asking you for the last time: what does it mean, Seto?"
There is a note of urgency in her voice, a plea. It is, he realizes, his only chance.
The one shot that can make or break whatever that is that is between them.
An eternity passes within the blink of an eye and he answers.
"What it means? To me?"
There is no nod of encouragement, no flicker of hope. Only this guarded expression that tries to hide her hopes and fears. He answers with one word only.
The rain continues to drench them, drowning out the rest of the world and washing away the remnants of the storm that has been brewing between them ever since that first picture had been taken – or maybe even long before that.
This does, in fact, mean everything.
To both of them.