A/N: This was finished last Sunday, precisely at 04:04 AM. And in case you forgot, this is the END.
Disclaimer: I know it. You know it. Kazuki Takahashi knows it.
Warnings: I don't think there are any. How about – unpredictable ending?
Half Of Your Heart
Where Do We Go From Here?
The beach had lost its magic. The raging waves were unfriendly and threatening now, the ocean was no longer fascinating, and he felt horribly out of place. He no longer knew why he had come here, what had he been looking for. Why was it that he could not make a single step without encountering him? Was this some sort of curse for everything wrong he had done?
But the grey waters just raged on, paying no attention to the unfolding tragedy. Human problems paled out in comparison to the drama of the oncoming storm – the force of nature that crushed everything in its path.
Something as insignificant as a human was not going to stop it from its rightful riot.
Amelda was irritated beyond belief, although he was not sure about the target of this emotion. It might have been Kaiba as well as himself, and the redhead searched no further. His surroundings had lost that nameless feeling he had been looking for the moment he was made aware of the other's presence. He wished it had been someone else, anyone else. Even Varon. Yes, that Australian brunette was annoying, but at least he knew when to leave Amelda alone. And he too had his own inner demons to fend off and therefore they could share the same space without weighing one another down with their presence. Not too much at least. Eventually they had come to some sort of understanding, but it had taken time. A lot of time and countless pointless arguments.
Kaiba was unsure of what to do. Had Amelda noticed him yet? The redhead down there might as well be carved in stone – he had not even moved. He did not seem to be looking this way either, but the considerable distance made it rather hard to tell. Kaiba was here, and his former rival, his former enemy was here, too. Now, what could he do about the situation? Suddenly the CEO wished to have fought back that ridiculous urge to get out of his office and away from all the work. He will have to catch up to it anyway, and that usually meant some extra hours of work during nights. The brunette was not sure about his feelings at the moment. What did he feel? Out of the mismatch of different emotions annoyance won out rather easily. Could Amelda not get the hell out of his life and get his own damn life already?
Dared he to leave now? Surely, Kaiba would take that as cowardice. As if he would be running from him. That, however, was true. He was running from him, in a sense. So, dared he to leave? Kaiba would no doubt notice him then. If he hasn't already. But Amelda had come here first. Was it not only logical if he left first, too? Besides, the waves were getting fiercer with every passing second and staying so close to them for any longer was as good as a death wish. Especially if the flood was about to start. With this thought kept in mind, the redhead got to his feet and left, avoiding glancing up at the cliff. He was not very willing to see the figure standing atop it. If he got lucky, Kaiba would not even notice him. But it seemed that today his luck had taken a day off.
Should he leave? Or should he stay? Kaiba did not know the answer to his own question. His cerulean eyes blankly stared at the raging waters below. He stubbornly avoided landing his gaze on the dark figure with flaming hair. He had come here to gain some freedom, but had found another spellbound circle instead. The brunette's head snapped up with defiance. What was he thinking? He was not going to leave. If Amelda wished, he could leave. Kaiba was not going anywhere. He would stay here and freeze his ass off if needed until the redhead left. A motion from below drew his attention and he stared at the mentioned redhead leaving the site. Suddenly the brunettes's feet seemed to move on their own accord, carrying him over to where the possible path down might be.
As Amelda emerged from the shelter of cliffs and took the last turn in his way of retrieving his motorcycle, he was met with cold cerulean eyes. Reaction was immediate. The both of them froze with alarm and identical glares lit up in their eyes. Time passed by in heavy and unpleasant silence that was broken only by the dull drumming of waves from below and the occasional howl of the wind.
Finally the redhead remembered to speak. "What do you want, Kaiba?"
A shadow of a smirk crossed those fair, but cold features. "What don't I want?"
Grey eyes narrowed unfriendly. Amelda wanted to leave. He had to leave, otherwise… Otherwise that black void would devour him again, and this time getting rid of it would not be half as easy as it had been the first time. To break free, his soul had been sacrificed then. The stakes would definitely be higher now, and he did not want to know exactly how much higher. After the first sighting of Kaiba, the inner darkness had restarted growing and developing. Emerging from the deepest and blackest corners of his mind it had started to consume his sanity. He had to leave. Now.
"What you want is none of my concern," Amelda snapped coldly, feeling irritated for being held back and certainly not in the mood for mind games. "Since you're in my way, get out and stop keeping me away from things more important than this idiotic conversation."
"Are we conversing?" Kaiba raised a brow and put a fist to his hip in attitude. "I guess I didn't notice because you were talking all of the time." Kaiba could not decipher what the redhead was thinking. Not that that would be a surprise. Most likely something along the lines of throwing him off the cliff. Which was very easy to be accomplished in the current situation, as he was forced to realise. Such knowledge could be very unsettling sometimes.
Amelda wanted to growl in anger and annoyance, but that, obviously, was what Kaiba was trying to achieve. He restrained his volcanic temper just enough to find a decent and icy comeback. "If you don't have a point to get, get out of my way and quit wasting my time."
Kaiba, however, did not have a decent comeback this time. That had sounded so much like what he would say. When I still had a point to get, Kaiba smirked at himself sarcastically.
Amelda took that as Kaiba smirking at him. What rights did he have, even with his multimillion-dollar company? Did he think he could just waste anyone else's time just because he desired on it? Did he think he was above everyone else? That his social status gave him the priority to treat others like dirt? Oh, how gladly Amelda would punch that smirk out of his face and toss the CEO over the cliff's edge! He could feel his hands itching to just do that. Then he would be rid of him once and for good.
But the redhead did not do it. He merely confined himself with glaring holes in the brunette man. He knew that one wrong move could cause them both falling to their death onto the rocks and into the waves below, and he did not want to die because of some lowlife bastard.
While Amelda was fighting with himself, Kaiba had made his mind up. Completely surprising his former enemy he strode around him and headed down the path the redhead had used recently. Rather soon the brunette realised that it had only looked easy – the way Amelda had done it. The rocky and at some point narrow way was as full of tricks as an old horse.
Incredulous Amelda turned around to stare after him. Did that moron have a death wish? Could he not see that the flood had already begun? Or did he consider himself so great that the ocean would retreat just because he approached it? Deciding not to think about what he was about to do, Amelda followed Kaiba down. The brunette was way ahead already, stumbling his way to the stone-coated shoreline.
Seto Kaiba had almost reached the beach – only a few metres remained. The narrow shore was now mercilessly assaulted by salty waves eroding the coast and drawing the little of the fine sand back into the depths of the ocean. Adrenaline was running high in his veins and reigning over his senses, his common sense above all. Kaiba's mind refused to register the danger he was putting himself into. His inborn striving for competition and victory was blinding him more than ever before.
The storm was gaining power. The wind was cold, wet and fierce, and the cruel breeze was throwing splutters of icy saltwater in Kaiba's face and mercilessly pulling at his clothes, threatening to rip them apart. He was strangely relieved when his feet finally made contact with the saggy and dirty sand. The next moment he almost jumped because Amelda appeared in front of him. Had he not left the redhead far behind? He must be a ghost if he could move with a speed like this. But ghosts don't exist.
"Are you out of your mind?" the redhead snarled with fury that superseded the one of the oncoming tempest. A large wave washed over the stone-filled beach, reaching them and leaving half an inch of water behind. Amelda did his best to ignore the rising water and how deceptively it churned around his ankles. They had to get out of here as soon as possible, but Kaiba seemed to be caught up in some delusion. "Do you have a damn death wish?"
"You're in my way, Amelda," came the cold reply. "And I would appreciate it if you moved out of it."
"Like hell!" the redhead snapped. "In your way of killing yourself? Snap out of it!"
Eyes of icy blue concentrated on him full force. What the hell was he talking about now? He was not trying to kill himself; he was trying to prove that he could do just as much as Amelda could and even more than that. "Move out of my way before I make you to do it. You won't like that, I assure you."
Storm-like eyes showed that Amelda was ready no matter what he would do. He could handle him if need be. But why did he find it so important to prevent Kaiba from killing himself? He was not his damn guardian angel or anything. Granted, there were times when he still wanted him dead, but to witness it in person? And was this even his business if the idiot had suddenly gone suicidal? "Why the hell do I even bother?" Amelda muttered to himself and stepped aside, giving the CEO a disdainful look. He had given up with his inner struggle. "Fine. Go on. I won't stop you. Why should I care if you live or die?"
"That's certainly none of your business," Kaiba replied coldly and walked past him with determination. Waves were whispering and splashing around his ankles, and steadily rising higher. The unfriendly water field held a different kind of magic now – a dangerous magic. Its rage was hypnotising. Addictive. And Seto Kaiba was just a human witnessing its destructing power. The ocean seemed to call out to him. It told him how peaceful and warm was it within its depths; how calm and free he could become if he gave in to the alluring force. There were no problems, no rush, and no stress down there. Warm and dark waters would close above his head and he would be forever rid of the human world, forever rid of its pathetic, insignificant problems. Endless peace and serenity – both in his mind and in the world around him. A new world. A better world. An eternity without problems and stress, work and meetings, challenges and losses. Only never-ending freedom.
Amelda was glaring at Kaiba's retreating back. With his arms folded, he followed the brunette's motions and how he approached the ocean. The storm was drawing nearer and the waves rose higher. He was almost knee-deep in water now and soon it would overflow his boots. Yet Kaiba didn't stop. He just continued on with his way deeper into the water. Right now he was walking past the rock Amelda had been sitting on. The redhead frowned. Something seemed to be wrong here. The waves were washing around Kaiba's thighs already; there was no way for him not to notice that. Then why didn't he turn back?
And then suddenly Amelda knew. The unsettling realization struck him like a lightning bolt. He was not going to turn back. The redhead knew what this was. Memories swirled in his mind like a hurricane. Fire… Flames… So hot… So mesmerizing… Home… Destroyed… Don't! Brother, stop! Dancing, flickering flames… Amelda! Brother… Flames… Explosion… More flames… He squeezed his eyes shut and shook his head to free himself of those images.
During the war, when he had watched his home burning down, he had gone through something similar. He could still remember how mesmerizing the flames had seemed; they had called out to him, invited him to become a part of them. And Amelda had given no account to his actions, had not controlled himself, and he had almost walked into the burning house, but his mother had restrained him. Even now the memories made him shudder. He would have walked into the house and burnt alive if he hadn't been stopped.
But who was going to stop Kaiba?
And more important – was that even possible?
Several times the brunette tripped over the underwater rocks, but still he stubbornly fought his way through the powerful waves. He had to. The depths of the ocean promised absolute freedom. Kaiba did not register the increasing strength of the currency that pulled him in deeper. To him it was the ocean's welcoming. He was alone. Abandoned. Used. Empty. The ocean promised silence and peace. Yes, he wanted to be at peace. To be free. And it was here: within a reach, under the surface, in that endless grey depth. Just a little more… And then… Freedom…
A hand roughly pulled him back – another obstacle to be removed. Someone was trying to keep him from his release. Someone did not want him to be free, to be rid of that vicious circle that had kept him trapped for years. Kaiba showed that person away, but he, whoever he was, was not giving up so easily. Someone was still trying to restrain him, and the brunette fought against it with passion. He had to break free!
Amelda grunted, receiving an especially harsh blow to his chest and for a moment was left struggling to breathe. It was not very surprising that Kaiba resisted. Amelda had fought against his mother's grip, too. But his mother had been stronger than little Amelda, while Kaiba was a considerable match. The brunette was not in control of himself, and neither had been the redhead all those years ago when the war was going full force. "Kaiba! Stop being an idiot and snap out of it!"
The features of his opponent seemed familiar to Kaiba, but he was not in the state to place the appropriate name with the image.
"Quit being an egotistical bastard and think about Mokuba for once!"
That name… Kaiba stopped. Breathing heavily, he stared at his opponent and felt as if a veil had been lifted off of him. His mind clicked in gear again and he could fully comprehend the situation. Incredulous, he blinked. "Amelda?"
"Yeah. Hi," the redhead stated with an odd kind of sarcasm and let go of him.
Only now Kaiba realized that he was cold. They were standing chest-deep in water. Freezing cold water. The pressure of the waves grew even more noticeable as they continued to just stand there. How on earth had they ended up here?
"I hope you're a good swimmer," Amelda's voice snapped him out of the reverie. The redhead's mask had slipped and he looked exceptionally tired. Courtesy of Seto Kaiba in all his glory. "Because I suck at it."
Cerulean eyes widened and his jaw almost dropped open, but he was thankful that it did not because of the huge wave that crashed over them in the next moment. The last thing Kaiba saw was Amelda closing his eyes when they were buried under, as it seemed, a ton of water and lost their footing. The ocean drew them in deeper with frightening force and speed. Kaiba regretted not closing his own eyes because the saltwater stung in them and made everything blurry once he had fought his way back to the surface. A small panic attack visited the otherwise collected businessman. The brunette no longer knew which way was the shore, and the raving water made it even harder to see anything that was further than two metres.
"That way," stated an annoyed voice to his left, and he turned his head to see Amelda. Kaiba assumed his shock and relief must have shown, because the redhead gave him a slightly disdainful look. "I'm not that hopeless, Kaiba."
Seto chose to keep his comments to himself and proceeded to fight his – their – way back through the waves. The mighty roar of the water drowned out any other sounds, making any verbal communication impossible. Thankfully the currencies of the flood lent them a helpful hand and carried them over to the cliffs where all the help ended. Amelda slipped from Kaiba's grip and stayed floating in the waves, while the brunette got picked up by the current and thrown against the cliff. Even the redhead's try to pause the younger man gave no visible effort, it only pulled him along as well. The impact hurt more than either of them would want to admit.
Waves were tossing them about like rag dolls and threatened to draw them under as they made their way along the cliff. Both men had been carried a considerable distance away from where the path up was, and now the way back seemed to stretch out more and more instead of diminishing. To make the matters worse, an annoying drizzle had started and the wind had turned from cold to icy.
Amelda was not far from cursing out loud. The rain would make the rocks slippery, and even without that Kaiba was not an expert climber. It would be a pure wonder if they made it out of this alive. Figures, he thought cynically, that Kaiba would find it damn funny to get all suicidal on my ass.
Kaiba was certainly relieved when they reached the path up. Yet he knew that it was too soon to relax. The hardest part, perhaps, only lay ahead. He turned towards Amelda, taking in his tired appearance. "You go first."
"You go. I'm a better climber, and I'll make sure you don't fall off or something." Amelda did not want to take the chances and take another swim in case Kaiba was smart enough to slip and fall into the water below. One time was lousy enough, and the redhead did not want it repeating. His muscles were already going numb from the cold, and his sense of touch had stopped to function properly a while ago.
"And I'm a better swimmer. You're too tired to hold on against the waves. You should go first." Was he trying to play the saviour of the day? Seto Kaiba did not know. For some reason he felt obliged to act the way he was acting right now.
Irritation flashed across the redhead's face and with one hand gripping at he cliff for support, he reached out with the other to run his fingertips over Kaiba's forehead. This action startled the brunette, and when he withdrew, he saw that Amelda's fingers were stained with red. Kaiba assumed that he must have gotten injured when the waves threw them against the ragged cliff. The icy water had obviously numbed his senses because he had not felt anything.
"Climb, God damn you," Amelda growled, and Kaiba found it smarter to listen. He found a place for support and outstretched one hand to help the redhead up. He took it without a question.
They were almost halfway up the cliff when Kaiba slipped and lost his footing. Amelda's hand immediately shot out to pause his fall and pull him back up. This almost made the redhead lose his own balance. After a desperate struggle, they were up in safety and could take a relieved breath. Both men were standing side by side, breathing heavily from the amount of energy spent and still slightly disbelieving that they had made it. They also felt thankful to whomever it was that had allowed them to survive.
The once enemies simultaneously turned to look at one another, and following a strange spur of the moment, Kaiba leaned forwards to capture Amelda's lips in a fiery kiss. Grey eyes widened in shock. The contact sent tingles through both their bodies, but the redhead chose not to respond. Slowly he withdrew and simply stared at the brunette for a long time.
The wind was howling around them and the rain grew in force. The strange silence that had settled above them felt uncomfortable and unsettling.
"Go home, Kaiba," the older man finally spoke with a hint of tiredness. "You've caused enough damage for one day."
Kaiba felt as if he had received a punch in the face. He was quite shocked himself, but what had brought that about – he did not know. It could either be his own actions, or Amelda's calm reaction, or most likely a combination of both. Gritting his teeth, he turned around and left as respectfully as his soaked clothes allowed him to. Once again he was falling back into the same circle that he had tried to get out of. The routine began again.
Amelda watched him walk away and a smirk slowly spread across his features. The former World Champion had an aura of defeat now even though he tried to look impressive. A pitiful look indeed. But that was not what Amelda was smirking about. He had just realised something. Something very important. He had been cured from his addiction. He was free now. He could leave any moment he desired. A strange, happy feeling was building up in the redhead's chest. It only increased as he watched his former enemy getting in his car and driving away.
Kaiba reached his car and shuddered involuntarily. He could still feel Amelda's eyes upon his back. He had just added another reason to the redhead's miles-long hate list. What the hell had gotten into him that he had gone and done something as utterly idiotic as kissing Amelda? Was it a temporary insanity or some lame survival instinct, or whatever you were supposed to call those kinds of things? He cursed at himself and started up the engine, then turned the heater on to chase that icy feeling in his chest away. He drove away without a single backwards glance, once again haunted by that strange feeling that if looked back, he could see Amelda. And he knew that this time he would, indeed, see him. But he did not want to see him. Not now, not ever.
Kaiba was angry, enraged and all those good aggressive emotions fused into one. It had been long since he had last gone and made a fool out of himself in front of someone. The fact that it happened to be no other than Amelda this time was even more aggravating. And the tone in which he had been dismissed… Amelda had been so calm, too calm. Almost like a marble statue, he had just looked at him indifferently and then sent him away, and even if Kaiba was very much the same, he hated people of that kind with passion. Especially the red-haired ones.
Amelda walked up to the highest point of the cliff and allowed the fierce wind and icy rain whip at his battered body. He should go home and change into something warm and dry, but not yet. A laugh was building up in him, and this one was a happy laugh. Not insanely happy, but happy happy. The kind of he had not had in years. It came soundlessly at first, and then steadily grew in volume. He was free now. The spell was finally broken. He was no longer bound to Domino City. He could leave now. He would leave, but not just yet. There was something that he had to do first.
Despite the wind and the rain, and his own soaked clothes, the redhead outstretched his arms as wide as he could, threw his head back and screamed out his freedom.