The Photograph

Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh! But I do own Seto Kaiba –gets shot to death-

Okay…I'm going to post this one…because I don't have anything to post…and I'm still brainstorming for my other story, "I Dare You"…Don't get mad at me –dodges flying tomatoes- I'll get back to it once I get some ideas. This is my first YGO one-shot. So please bear with it.

I know this may look like YxA at first, but I just like them as friends. You'll see.

KNOCK! KNOCK!

Anzu stretched her arms, and yawning to herself, she jumped out of bed and wore a pair of slippers and headed out for the door.

KNOCK! KNOCK!

"I'm coming!" She yelled. She winced at herself in front of a full-body view mirror and rubbed her sand filled eyes. Who could be knocking at her door so early in the morning? She yawned again.

KNOCK! KNOCK!

"Yes, I'm there!" Anzu descended down the stairs and dashed towards her front door and panted a bit before she finally opened it. "Yes?" She politely asked.

"Ms. Mazaki, here are your mail." The man promptly handed her a pile of envelopes. "Please sign on the dotted line." He showed her a form and Anzu got the pen and signed quickly. "May you have a nice day!" The mail carrier smiled courteously and left.

Anzu closed the door and brought the pile of envelopes to the dining table. She pulled out a chair and sat.

"What a great way to start my day." Anzu muttered to herself as she tore open one envelope. "Bills…Just great." She mumbled.

She read each one…Water bill, electric bill, telephone bill…and what was that?

She bit her lip. That was definitely no bill. It was a letter from the dance studio where she took classes. She carefully skimmed through the letter.

Dear Ms. Mazaki,

It gives us great pleasure to remind you that you are one of the most eligible dancers of the studio. You have shown great skill and prowess in the art. We are very proud to have you here.

But even though you have talent, we would like to tell you, that in order to keep the dance studio going, you must pay the fee the studio enforces its people. We are sure that you know that very well.

We are giving you a month's time to fully settle your accounts. We would not want to rush you, though we must strictly enforce this rule to all.

Thank you and warm regards.

-Studio Admin.

The letter fell from her hand. Anzu felt her knees weakening. And she collapsed on the cold, tiled floor.

Dancing was her most fervent passion. She wanted to go to Juilliard. It was her lifetime dream. And she would do anything to make it come true.

She felt that she could overcome any obstacle. She thought that money was no hindrance to her dream. But reality bites. Now, it seemed like money could buy everything. Even her dream.

RIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNGGGGG! RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGGG!

Anzu woke up from her daze and stood up to answer the phone. "Hello, this is Mazaki residence. Who is this?"

"Anzu, it's me Yugi." The voice on the other line said.

"Oh, it's you." Anzu's voice softened.

"How are you? Judging from the tone of your voice, you don't seem so good." Yugi told her.

"No, I'm okay. Really." Anzu assured him.

"I don't know. Would you mind if I come over to your house?" Yugi asked.

"Sure. I wouldn't mind company." Anzu smiled.

"Well, then. I'll be there in 10 minutes." Yugi replied. "Bye." Then he hung up. Anzu returned the phone back to its place and went back to the table to clear the bills cluttered on it. She pulled out a tissue and wiped the tears that had formed in her eyes. She couldn't afford to let her friends see her like this. She knew how they would worry about her. And she didn't want them to do that.

She climbed the stairs and proceeded to her room to take a shower. She removed her clothes and threw them to the laundry basket. Then she twisted the shower knob and let the water fall freely to her face and down to her body. She closed her eyes and let the feeling of cold water trickling her skin wash away her problems—just this moment. How she wished she could easily forget her problems just like that. It would be wonderful if they could just vanish in the blink of an eye.

After a few minutes, she exited the bathroom and began scanning her closet for something to wear. She found a blue shirt and a pair of denim shorts and slipped them on quickly. She brushed her still wet hair and clipped it. Then, she rushed down the stairs and waited for Yugi.

KNOCK! KNOCK!

Anzu stood up from her chair and ran to the door. 'It must be Yugi.' She thought.

As right as she was, it was him. She led him to the living room and both of them flopped on the couch.

"Anzu, is anything wrong?"

Anzu sighed. "Yugi, what are you talking about? I'm perfectly fine." She managed to put on a faint smile.

Anzu breathed deeply. She didn't know how long she could keep up with this act. Yugi was her best friend. They had known each other ever since they were little. He had helped her triumph over the trials she encountered. And she did the same to him. They were always there for each other. In good times and in bad. In rain or shine. He knew her all too well and so did she. Sooner, or later he would figure her out. She felt it. No, she knew it.

After all, he was her best friend. He knew her more than anyone else. What was she afraid of? Isn't that what friends are for?

Anzu shifted her position and took a glance at Yugi. "Okay. You got me."

Yugi nodded silently. "So what is it?"

Anzu looked at the floor. "You see, I take dancing lessons, right?"

"Yes." Yugi answered.

"I really love dancing. But I don't earn enough to pay for my studio lessons. And what's worse—" Anzu stopped in mid-sentence as a tear flowed down her cheek, "Is that, if I can't pay them, they won't accept me anymore."

"Anzu—" Yugi softly said as he gently wiped the tear on her cheek. "I can help you."

Anzu went silent. Then she looked up at him, "You can?"

Yugi smiled. "Anzu, I can give you all that I earn and—"

"And?" Anzu asked, her voice ruffled by crying.

"This." Yugi handed her a small flyer. "Someone gave it to me awhile ago when I passed by a corner. I hope it'll help you."

Anzu stared at the slightly wrinkled piece of paper and read it, "Wanted: Anyone who has knowledge with cameras and photography. Interviews will be held at Domino Photo Center on Saturday morning. Amateur photographers are accepted."

A smile made its way to Anzu's lips. Then she turned to Yugi and hugged him, "Thank you, Yugi! Thank you ever so much!"

"Ack—Anzu! I can't brea—" Yugi struggled with Anzu's tight squeeze.

"Oh, sorry." She apologized as she released him.

"Well, that's what friends are for, right?" Yugi never failed to smile. No matter what the circumstances were. Even in oxygen-losing ones.

"Right!" Anzu stood up with her face lit. She was back to her cheerful mood. Nothing was going to stop her from fulfilling her ambition. Not even that dirty paper called money.

"So, do you want me to pick you up for the interview tomorrow?" Yugi asked as he clutched his neck.

"Sure!" Anzu beamed.


"Wow…There are sure a lot of people applying for this job." Anzu gaped at the large crowd of people flocking the Photo Center.

They had arrived at Domino Photo Center—only to be met by hundreds of applicants begging for the same job. It was going to be a tense competition. Anzu only hoped she could catch up with the long line before all the photographer spots would be filled. But looking at this queue as lengthy as a snake, her chances were cut out short.

"Drat, I knew I should've been up earlier." Anzu muttered under her breath.

"Relax, Anzu. I'm sure not all of those in line would be accepted." Yugi reassured her.

"Well I do hope so." Was all she could say.

Hours passed by, the line was finally going shorter—much to Anzu's relief. It was really a pain to stay in one place for cruel hours. Her legs were getting strained and she felt her muscles would twist and turn with just one more minute of waiting. She had even thought twice if the photographer's job was even worth all the trouble. And if it wasn't for Yugi's pleading, she would've walked out a mere three hours ago.

But unfortunately, she couldn't. She was the one in a tight situation. She wanted the job. No, correct that, she needed it.

Eventually, after a few minutes, she reached the shed. She could already see how the process was going through the glass door. Then she bit her lip. Hard.

"Anzu, what's wrong?" Yugi asked when he saw Anzu's face turning red all of a sudden due to an unknown reason.

"Yugi, look." She pointed back to the glass door she had been staring into for the last five minutes.

"Hey, isn't that—" Yugi was cut off by laughter.

"Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!" Anzu almost fell on the floor. She wanted to roll down so badly. The scene she was witnessing was too hilarious to be true. Right in front of her, there was Jounouchi fumbling a camera—and seemingly stupid on how to operate the said object.

"Hey, how do you turn on this thing?" Jounouchi stammered as he turned the camera upside down and back again, shuffling the poor thing—still searching for the "ON" button.

Anzu was sure she heard the interviewer say, "Mister, if you don't know how to use a camera, why are you still applying for this job?" Which made her stifle her laugh a bit.

"I guess Jou's here for the job, too." Yugi sheepishly smiled.

"Tell me about it." Anzu tried not to laugh again—as when she had done so awhile ago, people stared at her as if she was insane.

"Sir, I'm sorry but you are wasting our time. There are still a lot of people waiting so if you would allow, please leave." The interviewer's voice was overheard in the background.

"Darn!" Jounouchi snapped his finger as he exited the glass door with a disappointed look in his face.

"Hey, Jounouchi!" Anzu called out to him, with her hand waving in the air.

Jounouchi looked up, "Oh, Anzu—and Yugi!" He yelled back as he ran over to them.

"So you're applying for this job, too?" He asked.

"Well, I guess you could say that." Anzu scratched the back of her head.

"Good luck!" Jounouchi made a thumbs-up. "You better do well or else you won't get it. I blew my chance so you shouldn't do what I did." He reminded her. Then he turned to Yugi, "Are you applying, too?"

"Nope. I'm just accompanying Anzu." Yugi meekly answered.

"Anyway, I should be going. Shizuka must be sickly worried about me by now. And knowing Honda, he must've harassed her already. See ya." Jounouchi waved farewell.

"Bye!" Both Yugi and Anzu shouted in unison.

They watched as Jounouchi's silhouette slowly disappeared in the midst of the crowd. It was only now that they realized that Anzu was next.

"Next applicant, please." A voice was heard over the speaker.

"Oh, that's me!" Anzu hurried inside.

She glanced at the place. It was dimly lit. There was a wooden desk in the middle of the room and a chair pulled out in front of her. On the other side of the desk, there was a silent figure sitting. It was the interviewer. Anzu gulped. She almost wanted to run outside. She straightened herself. It was now or never.

She gently approached the table and sat on the empty chair.

"Introduce yourself."

"I'm Anzu Mazaki. I'm 16 years old and I study at Domino High School. I also practice dance at a local dance studio."

"Why do you want this job?"

"I want to have this job because I dream of going to Juilliard and being a successful dancer in New York. But I'm short of money to pay for my dancing lessons at the studio and what I earn at the café isn't enough so I have to get another part-time job. And this is my only solution."

"Very well. Could you please show how you handle the camera?"

Anzu was handed a brand new digital camera. Anzu swallowed. She couldn't flunk on this one. Especially not now.

She swiftly had her fingers go over the camera and clicked the 'on' button. Then she steadied over the still figure of her interviewer and smoothly clicked. Then before her, there was an exact replica of her interviewer on the LCD screen. She returned the camera to him.

"Good. You're hired."

"Sir, did I hear that right?" Anzu asked, not quite convinced.

"Yes. You are hired. Congratulations."

"Yes!" Anzu jumped in victory.

"Before you go jumping all over the place, I would like to remind you that this camera is yours to keep. Please take care of it. You must submit at least two photos every week as your weekly assignment. Remember, you should give us 'unusual' pictures—or to simply put it, such as places given limited permission, rare pictures of very important people and the like. But you can also use your camera for your own purposes. Is that clear to you, Miss Mazaki?"

Anzu's mind had wandered off into what she could take pictures of. This job was fairly easy. It was chicken-feed. Only two rare photos per week was a piece of cake. It was a really good deal—the camera was hers. She could take pictures of her and her friends or just about anything she liked. Besides, cameras these days were rather expensive—so it was plain lucky to get the job. Plus, the payment was really reasonable—it could cover her dancing lessons at the studio and even have an amiable amount left for her enjoyment. It was perfect.

"Miss Mazaki?" The interviewer repeated.

"Uhh…Yes! Got that!" She quickly replied.

"Good. Now here is your camera." He handed her the digital camera he made her use awhile ago.

"Thank you so much, sir!" She said as she exited the room with a merry smile broadcasted on her face. Then she hopped right back outside.

"So, did you get the job?" Yugi asked as he saw Anzu come into view.

"You bet!" Anzu slapped him on the back.

"When do you start?"

"Right now!" Anzu dashed a smile at him. "Now, say 'cheese'!" She told him as she held up her state-of-the-art digital camera and flashed it right away.

"That was bright." Yugi commented as he rubbed his eyes—almost blinded by the sharp, eye-piercing flash the camera radiated.

"Ooops, sorry."

They began walking to get Anzu back home. As they went their way, Anzu was inspecting the other features of her new camera.

"What were the requirements?" Yugi asked.

"Well, they wanted me to submit at least two rare photos every week." Anzu yawned.

"What do they mean by 'rare'?" Yugi was puzzled.

"The rare photos could be rare pictures of very important people, or places given limited access." Anzu explained. "Which is quite easy." She added with a grin cast on her face. Then she stopped in front of a large metal gate.

Yugi looked up at where she stopped. "No way." He gasped. "Don't tell me you're going to—"

"Yes, way." Anzu's grin grew wider. "This is the perfect place."

"If you're planning to stay here, I'd rather go now. I'm sure he wouldn't be so happy to see me." Yugi told her. "I wouldn't like to take my chances with him, you know."

"Suit yourself." Anzu shrugged. Then she pushed the doorbell button.


Okay. Maybe Yugi was right. This was easier said than done.

"Who even gave you permission to enter my mansion?" Seto scowled.

"Please. I need to do this." Anzu almost begged—which she hated so much—seeing Kaiba was perfectly enjoying how she beseeched for his so-called mercy.

"How would you be so sure that I'd even allow you to take pictures of my mansion?" Seto gave her an intimidating glare.

"Uhh…because you're nice?" She regretted having said that.

"Since when did I, the great Seto Kaiba become nice?" He gave her another daunting frown.

"Well, you're nice with Mokuba…" Anzu defended.

"Yeah, right." Seto rolled his eyes. "And what do I get if I permit you to take pictures of my sacred mansion?"

"I can look over Mokuba when you're at work." Anzu readily answered.

"Fine. You can take pictures of anything in the mansion. Just. Don't. Bother. Me." He gave her one last glower before sending her away.

When she was finally out of earshot, she mumbled, "What an idiot." Then she descended down the flight of stairs and proceeded to the mansion's garden. She froze in her tracks.

"Oh. My." She sputtered. Before her, was a spectacular display of green and other colors that sparkled in the afternoon light. Flowers of different shapes and sizes glittered about her, creating a magnificent array of blooms and floras that only seemed possible in fairytales. Tall trees shrouded some parts of the garden in mystery—making it a more breathless fascination. Its leaves danced with the wind's blowing rhythm. Grape vines clung on to the greenhouse, crafting a frame of the marvelous scenery. She was a fan of nature. And this was more than what she could appreciate. It was almost like heaven.

And like instinct, she slipped her digital camera out of her pocket, and took facsimiles of the amazing sight she was beholding.

As much as she despised it, she had to leave the garden to take pictures of the other parts of the Kaiba mansion. She went to the kitchen, Mokuba's room, the dining room, the library, the swimming pool, the secret gym Kaiba was hiding from her—evil guy.

After taking pictures of the living room, she decided to take a glance at her watch. It was 5:30 pm. She was so drowned in taking photos that she forgot the time was quickly sliding by. She took a brief gaze at the large, clear window by the sofa and saw that the sun was already setting, painting glorious hues across the horizon. Gradually, the brilliant show of red and orange shades had ended. Now, the sky was covered by a heavy blanket of navy blue—filled with fantastic trails of silver light.

She had to go.

She climbed up the stairs to inform Kaiba her photo session was done. She knocked at his office door.

Silence.

"Hey, Kaiba!" She knocked harder.

Still no reply.

With impatience, she barged through the door—only to be welcomed by a dozing CEO with his head buried on his marble desk.

"Well, well, well. What do we have here? Seto Kaiba, CEO of KaibaCorp—sleeping during work?" She couldn't resist a smirk creeping up on her face. "This has gotta be a joke."

She sat on a chair with her palm carrying the weight of her face. She gently watched as the usually grumpy CEO snoozed off into dreamland.

Then an idea hit her. A sly smile made its way to her lips.


"Kaiba, smile!" She whispered with a laugh as she held up the camera and flashed it to the unknowing CEO.

FLASH!

"Smile, you're on candid camera!" She softly spoke in a low voice trying to contain her laughter.

FLASH!

"Kaiba, say 'cheese'!" She murmured again and clicked another evil flash.

FLASH!

Then she flipped her pocket open and slipped the camera back inside. She smiled broadly, apparently satisfied with her work. "The next time you threaten me, I have blackmail." She had a smirk perfectly plastered to her face. Then she turned her back to exit the door.

She stopped. And turned to look back at the still slumbering Kaiba. She was tempted to give it one more shot.

"I guess it wouldn't hurt to take another photo of you, would it?" She grinned. "But I want a different kind of picture—something fuzzy…and intimate."

She knew the idea was crazy. But it was worth a try.

She softly tiptoed towards Kaiba's desk and pulled out another chair and sat beside him. She gently lifted his arm and draped it around her neck. She snuggled under his neck and felt his steady heartbeat thumping from his warm chest. With her free hand, she focused the camera on them and clicked.

In a few seconds, it was all over.


It was time for developing the photos. She entered the center's Developing Room which was quite dark. Like how she saw them in the movies. Then she began to make shiny paper copies of the photos when she dipped them into water. She laughed as she saw the sleeping Kaiba photos.

Then her heart leapt into her throat.

There was the last photo she took. There they were, with Kaiba's arm draped around her neck. And there she was, smiling so heavenly.

But something was quite wrong with the picture.

Kaiba was smiling, with eyes half-opened.

After drying the photo, she quickly took it and slipped it into her pocket. No one needed to know about it. It wasn't even part of her blackmail plan.

It was, in fact, for keeps.

Well, that's it folks. I know it's not much different from other one-shots. But hey, this is my longest EVER. And I had fun doing it, too.

So, please be kind and don't forget to review!