Originally written for the LiveJournal community 15hugs.
Warning: Spoilers for the end of the series and pre-GX info.
Author's Note: This story is, without doubt, my most "canon" fanfiction ever. Despite the "fanon" pairing, I think I managed to work the story into the canon plotline nicely without pushing too many of Kazuki Takahashi's boundaries. I'm really proud of myself for having written this. My one regret is that I wrote it almost all in one night and the vocabulary is nothing stunning. But other than that, I'm quite fond of this piece.
And just a bit of trivia before you actually get into the story:
(a) This was originally called "Seto Makes Life" and later, "My Own". I think "Line Break" was the best choice in the end.
(b) As I was writing the first half of this story, I seriously considered turning it into a Seto/Yugi shonen-ai piece... j/k Don't worry, it isn't and there are no hints.
"There are some people we will never see again. There is no way to change this; we must accept it for what it is." Atem had told Yugi this before he left and even though the idea had troubled the young Motou greatly, he knew, for some reason, that this was a statement not meant for his benefit.
Seto Kaiba stared hard at his deck, at the card lying atop it. The Blue Eyes White Dragon, no matter how altered the future versions became, would forever be his signature card. Why?
Yugi frowned, wondering what could possibly distract Kaiba from their discussion. The construction of the Duel Academy was underway and these details, though minor, were essential. Kaiba, Yugi knew, was the kind of person who would be involved down almost the positioning of the last floorboard was it necessary. Glancing at what held Kaiba's interest, Yugi's eyebrows raised slightly.
There had never been any discussion over what had happened with the Pharaoh, about how the knowledge of the events in Ancient Egypt had impacted their lives. Kaiba was prone to disbelief, despite having witnessed the final duel between Yugi and the Pharaoh, but there are some things that cannot be denied. Thinking back, Yugi realized that of them all, Ancient Egypt had probably been most jarring for Kaiba.
Neither he, nor Bakura, nor even Isis could claim to have really had their lives changed because Isis had always known the truth and he and Bakura had simply been vessels for the souls of two far older enemies. But Kaiba….
Kaiba had no "yami". He was the man that they had seen, he was the High Priest. He was the same soul, reborn. And there was no way to separate himself from that priest. The souls trapped in the Millennium Items had moved on (or been forced on in some cases) and so Yugi and Ryou knew, without doubt, that they were separate people with separate lives to live. Kaiba, however, had no such peace of mind.
Yugi almost smirked at the thought of Kaiba being bothered by something he so vehemently did not believe in but Yugi was nicer than that. If he was on the right track, Yugi believed knew what was really bothering Kaiba. He wouldn't be staring at the Blue Eyes that intently if it wasn't: There had been Kisara.
Kisara had loved the priest (and perhaps vice versa) thus explaining why Kaiba felt such an affinity to the card. Mahaado and Mana had been the Pharaoh's most loyal subjects, thus explaining his affinity with the Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl. But that wasn't the same, was it? Old friends are different from old lovers.
"Do you think…?" Kaiba began quietly. He frowned, his question hardening, his steely gaze locked on Yugi. "The Dark Magician will never be reincarnated, correct?"
Yugi nodded slowly. "Never again, Kaiba. He's a duel monster now and forever more."
"Ah…. So if this," Kaiba practically spat, tossing the card at Yugi's chest, "was the girl the priest loved, she'll never be reincarnated again, either, will she?"
Yugi looked down. It amazed him that Kaiba could ever show any sort of contempt for the card that had seen him through so much. It drove home the fact that this was something seriously bothering the man. "I don't think so."
He looked up in time to see Kaiba lift his glasses and pinch the bridge of his nose. Then, leaning back in his chair, Kaiba fixed one of the few people in the world he would acknowledge as a friend with a mordant gaze and twisted smirk and asked, "Was she his only option?"
So that was what he was worrying about! Yugi resisted the urge to chuckle. Imagine that; Seto Kaiba was worried about his love life. Well, Yugi supposed, he was at the age. Kaiba was nearing his twenty-seventh birthday soon and, contrary to popular belief, was the kind of man who wanted a family. Perhaps there were some dynastic motives behind his reasoning but the fact remained that he wanted a chance at a family life and if anyone deserved it, it was Kaiba.
Of course, if he was destined to be in love with a card for the rest of his life… Yugi could hardly begin to imagine how bleak a future that would be. Waiting on Kisara would be like waiting on Mana. Searching for an answer, Yugi remembered what the Pharaoh had told him.
"You know, Kaiba, there are some people we're never going to see again. Some people, some emotions, belong to the past. We can't change it. We just have to learn to move on." Then, with laughter threatening to spill from his lips, Yugi asked, "You're not actually in love with the Blue Eyes, are you?"
"I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that," a new voice intoned. Both men turned first to look at the clock then to the woman standing at the door. "What, not even a 'Hi Anzu, good to see you; we're busy so come back later.'?"
Yugi grinned. "Hi Anzu. We're busy but you can stay."
She stuck her tongue out at him then walked over to his chair and gave him a one-armed hug.
"You're early," Kaiba stated flatly. He had yet to look away from her.
Anzu smiled. "I caught an earlier flight. Do you have a problem with that, Mr. Kaiba? Perhaps I should turn around, go back and try again tomorrow instead?"
Kaiba simply shook his head. Anzu's eyes narrowed, Yugi realized she'd just noticed that there was something wrong with the CEO. Without hesitation, in a manner that would have made Jounouchi beam with pride, she blurted, "Jeez, Kaiba, what happened to you?"
Yugi found that he was unable to contain his laughter as Kaiba's eye twitched in response. Luckily, Yugi's cell phone rang and, seeing that it was Rebecca, the shorter man decided to take the call outside the office.
As he turned to close the door behind him, he saw Anzu standing directly in front of the CEO, coaxing him to speak.
"Seto, what's wrong?" Anzu asked gently.
He looked at her wondering how on earth he should tell her exactly what was on his mind. Would she appreciate hearing what he had to say? This had not been the way he'd wanted to tell Anzu he loved her.
He had fallen for her slowly, through a process that took years, but he was at the point where he wanted - very much - to love the woman standing in front of him. He wanted to pursue their relationship and, to be completely honest; he wanted to make it work. He knew she loved him. She'd all but told him and despite his cold and uncaring demeanor, Seto wasn't blind. Out of an odd bit of selfishness he'd allowed their friendship to grow and now…. Now, he wanted more.
Moving forward had initially seemed easy. She would return from her latest tour of the US with her ballet company, visit everyone, have dinner at the mansion with him and Mokuba and then, later, perhaps after one of their lunches, he'd tell her. It had all seemed simple until, in bed and unable to sleep, a doubt had wormed its way into his mind: This was insane; he was tripping over himself because of the cheerleader. Yes, he'd come to respect the old group of misfits for their drive and determination but was she really the woman for him? Did he really love her? What if someone better came along?
The 'better' hadn't been anyone he knew. He'd thought about it, pondering it even at the return of the Ishtars' exhibition and, while staring blankly at the stone tablet he'd never forget, it hit him: What if she came back? He couldn't deny that the woman his past self had been attached to was attractive. What if she came back? Would she be a better fit?
As treacherous as his heart sounded, what worried him the most was: would he be unfaithful to Anzu for this specter from the past? Would he be bound to this woman, whether he wanted to be or not? He had snorted at that. Would they be his feelings? Would he really love the woman? Would it even be his lust for the woman? Or would he be, like Yugi had been, a mere vessel?
"I make my own destiny," he murmured.
Anzu leaned closer to him, hands on his face in an attempt to get him to look at her. He hadn't been this out of it since he was twenty-three with a fever and on the verge of a major collapse. "What did you say?"
He looked at her then and she held her breath. It was almost as though he was angry with her but the lack of malice in his eyes told her that he was simply determined.
"I make my own destiny," he repeated clearly enough for her to hear. She was startled. Seto hadn't so much as used the word since they were in their teens and then he had scorned it. He looked at her again and she thought, though she hardly let herself believe, that she saw ardency therein.
She glanced away to hide the bitterness that no doubt leaked into her gaze. He felt nothing more than friendship for her and though she was immensely glad to have gotten this far, for once in her life, friendship was not enough. She was blinking away the thought as his hand reached up to her face. She turned wide eyes on him, finding her face much closer to his than before.
"To hell with dead men's promises," he whispered harshly.
And then he kissed her. Oh, how he kissed her. There were similes for this sort of situation but none would work and her mind had shut down, concentrating solely on the sensory pleasure of kissing the man she loved for the first time. She felt soft lips, the faintest hint of stubble and then she met his tongue. And basically, she shut down right then.
When Yugi's conversation with Rebecca had concluded, he opened the door to Kaiba's office and stopped short of putting his foot over the threshold. Sitting in his chair, Kaiba held Anzu on his lap, arms wrapped around her torso from behind, both of them with the most contented smiles on their faces.
Anzu spotted Yugi across the room and waved at him, leaning her head against Seto's shoulder and giggling when he whispered something in her ear. Yugi's grin spread wide across his face.
Still standing in the doorway, he said, "You know, Kaiba, for a guy who doesn't believe in destiny and insists he doesn't have a type, you sure have a weakness for blue eyes."
Kaiba fingered the card in Anzu's hand thoughtfully then replied, "Can't help it. We're just stuck together."
Anzu spun around, practically rising off of him, pointing two fingers at her own eyes. "Hello! My eyes are blue!"
Seto smirked up at her. "I know."
"There are some people we will never see again. There is no way to change this; we must accept it for what it is. When we do, we must look to the future instead."
Author's Note: I wrote this after seeing an LJ icon of Kisara standing in the same pose as Anzu and I thought, 'If Anzu had been Kisara's reincarnation, that would have come up in the series some time, right? So, obviously, she's not.' However, it is a very fun theory for Azureshippers to play with (I've done so myself). But then I thought, 'If she isn't, how would she and Kaiba get together, working around the huge obstacle that is his love for this very dead girl?' The above is my answer to that. I hope you enjoyed! (And, OMG, I actually stayed in canon!)