The Ghosts of Christmas Past and Yet To Come

By Snare-chan

Ratings
: K+
Category(ies): General
Warning(s): None
Status: One-shot, complete
Summary: Anzu, while on a break from her mad rush of last minute shopping, takes a moment to look into Yami and Bakura's strange and unusual relationship.

Notes: Holy crap long title. But I thought it fit, so it stays. . ;

I've had a small idea revolving around how the members of Yugi and Yami's group would take the news of the spirit dating anyone outside their close-knit little posse, much less my favorite tomb robber. This thing has been stewing in the back of my head for literally years now, but I hadn't the urge to mess around with it till I was re-reading my drabble of Jounouchi reasoning (see: lecturing) Yami about how Bakura is too much of a nutcase for him. I added in some holiday spirit (pun not intended) and hot chocolate and came up with this. Hopefully Anzu isn't too out there, since I found myself having a tad bit too much fun writing this.

And I'm actually proud of this fic! BE AMAZED ONE AND ALL! It could still use a huge overhaul and I'm also aware the middle seems rather rushed, but considering I can talk about this fic at all says a lot in concerns of how I normally feel about my YuGiOh! fics.

Disclaimer: I dun own YuGiOh; wish I did like everyone else. They should put YGO in stock, then I'd buy it all!


Carols and bell chimes were blaring in the background.

The city was aglow with green and red lights.

Wreaths with berries and bows were hanging off lampposts.

And, most notably of them all, Kaiba Corporation was sporting more toy commercials than usual.

It was that time of year again, and Christmas seemed to be approaching full force and more swiftly this time around. Or, Anzu quickly thought to amend, it's because the one time I forget to get all my friends Christmas presents beforehand is the one time I'm most busy. Normally, she would be at home enjoying a marathon of her favorite holiday movies while drinking some of her mom's homebrewed hot chocolate, but this year, that wasn't the case. Somehow time had gotten away from her, and when she came back to it, there was only a week left to get any of her shopping done. And when your town is the KC headquarters, it's never easy to get much of anything done, never mind purchase gifts during last minute seasonal rushes.

Shifting around the rather large bags with the items she'd already managed to manhandle out of cash-hording shops, she hurried past another set of windows sporting televisions, all of them displaying holiday cheer and some new, improved toy from none other than Kaiba's line of…whatever. She felt free to leave the ending to that open, knowing full well that it didn't matter what it was. Seto Kaiba basically owned and operated everything these days. She was surprised he hadn't renamed the city by now. Facts such as that made her heavily pity his younger brother, Mokuba. It must be horrible trying to find the right gift for the man who has everything.

She shook her head clear of those thoughts, feeling a tad ashamed for getting distracted and thinking such things. There were more important matters she should be occupying herself with, like getting her gift-getting spree over and done with so she could get out of the cold. She paused then, deciding to go over her checklist before continuing on down the street and possibly passing by the store she needed. Clumsily reaching into her coat pocket with her gloved fingers, she snatched the small, crinkled piece of notebook paper out to inspect.

Fortunately, she didn't have a lot. All presents for distant relatives were a group effort between her and her parents, in which her entire family agreed upon it, her parents bought it, and she signed the card that went with it. She had a rather large family, and only her mom was really any good at keeping track of who wanted what, so she didn't feel any remorse over the fact that she didn't play a bigger role. Her parents and her friends, however…

Mom/Dad – 12 multi-colored rose bouquet (m), assorted ratchet toolset (d) + jumbo-sized variety candy box. Check!

Jounouchi – new earmuffs w/ matching gloves + $25 certificate to Burger World. Check!

Honda – bike wax + cologne. Check!

Yugi – DM card packs, brainteaser 'box' + some new belts. Check!

Yami.

Her mental checking off of each person and their designated gifts came to a dead halt. All the others had been straightforward and rather easy to obtain, but the last person on the sheet of paper she'd intentionally left blank. At the time, she'd reasoned that at least one thing would have come to mind by now, yet this was apparently not so. She glanced up and around, wondering if anything would magically pop out to her.

Nothing did.

Well, it's not going to happen any faster by standing still in the snow she reasoned, deciding that now was as good a time as any to have that hot chocolate of hers. It wouldn't be her mother's specialty, but the place she knew of that she was heading towards now was at least second best. Usually it was tea and coffee exclusive, but like many places during these winter days, they temporarily converted their menu to add in certain deals, and the rarer it was and the less often they had it, the better you knew it had to be.

The nameless café snuggly tucked away at the end of the street was just such a place. She didn't like coffee and she was terribly picky with her tea, but on the single occasion she'd visited there on a whim several years ago, she recalled how divine the hot chocolate was.

The building was as tiny and exquisite as she remembered it, and as soon as she'd set her bags down she was already being served. She ordered her concoction with extra marshmallows, knowing full well she'd need the extra sugar energy they would provide to aid her in her thoughts.

While she waited for her jolt to arrive, she plowed on ahead, pulling out her list and staring at the single name at its end. She knew Yami and she were close friends, and she couldn't possibly be expected to describe how many times they'd had adventures together, but she was no closer to deciding what he could possibly want because of it. Then I need to break it down – what do I know about him?

He likes to duel. He's won several local, state, and national level championships, been the top of many widespread and private competitions and, as far as anyone is concerned, defeated every single opponent who's crossed paths with him. So what went with dueling? She had already gotten Yugi the cards, and she'd feel stingy if she gave Yami the exact same gift. Yugi and he already had all the up-to-date equipment to play Duel Monsters, and anything else they could possibly need would either be sent to them directly from the factory to be beta-tested or Yugi's grandpa could provide them. So that was out.

A pharaoh. She recalled him telling her he kind of remembered being a monarch in his previous 'life,' an Egyptian one to be precise. That made him like royalty, right? Anything significant, though, was either locked up tight in a museum or so ungodly expensive she could never hope to afford it, thus not obtain. Gold jewelry might be nice, but to her, that was reserved for purchasing for boyfriends, and he was most definitely…

Her heart sank at the exact same moment as her drink clinked down on the table in front of her, the sounds echoing one another.

She quietly thanked the waiter, tentatively taking a sip to test its warmth and pulling it away the instant the rim touched her lips. It was so scalding hot she couldn't even touch the mug, much less drink what was inside. Sighing, she set it down, ignoring the fact that she needlessly did so too hard.

It shouldn't matter that he's taken she consoled herself. He deserves to be happy.

The words rang hollow in her head. She knew that the problem didn't rely on the fact that he was unavailable. In fact, she was positive she would have (eventually…) gotten over the whole ordeal, 'cause honestly, she wanted to see him happy above all else, granted whoever he was seeing treated him fairly. It wouldn't be easy, and she could admit she wouldn't like it, but for his sake, she would surely try. What she was having a terrible time dealing with was exactly who he was with. Namely, the other only spirit around: Bakura.

At the thought, she scooped up her cup and took a heavy sip, sputtering slightly a second later as she discovered that her drink was still a tad too steamy. She wrinkled her nose at it in distaste.

What in the world could he possibly see in him?

This wasn't the first time she had asked this question. Of all the people who could see what that soul-stealer really was, it would be Yami. Bakura had fought him on more than one occasion and tormented the lot of them just as much. She physically shuddered at the remembrance of such events, all of them none too pleasant. Anzu was not one to hold grudges, so it said a lot about the seriousness of the situation that she held one towards Bakura. And she had every right to! It wasn't like he'd played some simple prank or joke on them; he'd seriously been out to hurt them. It wouldn't have been enough had it just been her being tormented, but this concerned all her nearest and dearest friends, and that just wasn't done.

Sighing at her tiresome thoughts, she reached for her mug, giving it another taste test and finding herself able to finally enjoy it. What's he got that I don't, anyway? Anzu dared to think, since it was just her and her apparently failing sanity. A glance down had her quickly amend Well, besides those differences.

It was a tad disconcerting that the guy she adored, well, leaned that way. Not that there was anything necessarily wrong with that. She prided herself on her open-mindedness and was glad to support those who had made their choice. This just went to show her luck in men, though. In one talk with her mother not so long ago, they'd had an interesting discussion about something similar.

'It's so hard to find good men like your father, dear,' she'd wisely said, 'They're either taken or gay these days.'

She had then gone on to talk about how Anzu had at least found some rather 'nice' men to surround herself with, and 'how sweet and adorable' in particular her friend Yugi was. At that point, she'd put all of her willpower into not rolling her eyes and converted it into much smiling and nodding. If her mom knew half the things they were up to, she'd probably take them all by the ears and threaten their manhoods for putting her in so much danger (even though she hadn't complained for the most of it, and in fact had willingly gone along with the majority of them). She smiled at the mental image before her brain kick-started back to the original topic at hand, sinking her spirits along with it.

Yami isn't stupid. I'm sure he has his reasons, as weird as they might be. At the thought, she tried to fathom what they could possibly be, and leaned back in her chair to get more comfortable. Picturing the spirit wasn't all that hard. Since Ryou was his host, he shared his features – white hair, brown eyes, thin build. Physically, he really wasn't bad to look at and had a certain appeal, if you went for the dominating personality type. When he wasn't dueling in Shadow Games, he was rather reserved, and if you looked past his insults you had to admire his wit.

That last bit inspired the one that followed, which had her straightening up in her chair and almost spilling her hot chocolate all over her new sweater. Brains! The concept made heaps of sense to her now that she'd thought about it. Yami was a very intellectual person and the two of them felt quite equal in that respect. In her mind's eye, she could see it now – the two of them sitting down together and just philosophizing about the universe. Well, maybe not that topic exactly, but the general idea sounded right. But could that alone draw them to each other?

She slumped back again as she found it to be a comfortable musing position and nursed her drink near empty. The only other similarities she could think of were that they were A: both spirits, B: both from the (generally) same time period, and C: both had Millennium Items.

Point A she could understand. She couldn't possibly comprehend what it was like to have died and what it must feel like to have to share a body with a future reincarnation. In that respect, they both knew what the other was going through, and were probably the only ones who ever would. Being able to share that loneliness…it must be such a huge weight off Yami's chest.

And point B! That just added to the first one. Yami might not have his memories, but Anzu was sure Bakura could reminisce about his experiences back then. The kinds of food, the sorts of celebrations, or the everyday events back then – those sorts of things. The two of them may have had different lives, outlooks, and experiences, but being able to see things through another's eyes could be an interesting bit to their relationship. She could see Yami having perhaps a vague curiosity in hearing someone's first hand point of view from 3000 years ago.

C was…kind of what had her worried when she'd first heard of the whole situation. Jounouchi had (thankfully or unthankfully, depending on how you looked at it) voiced their concerns about Bakura only agreeing to go out with him for his puzzle. But Yami had assured them that they'd been seeing one another for a short time previous to the 'meeting' and that the white-haired man hadn't even mentioned the trinket, much less made a single move for it. It'd been awhile since then, and still, no such event had occurred, so there must have been some truth to his words. Of course there was, silly. Yami feels solely responsible for that item and wouldn't be doing this if he thought it were truly in danger.

The waiter returned and took her drink, asking if she wanted a refill. She paused to consider the world outside the small, Christmas decorated window. Snow was falling now in big tufts.

"No, thank you. I'll just take my check, please."

The man nodded and wrote something down on a notepad, leaving said check down on the table. He wished her a 'happy holidays' that she returned, and she started fishing around in her wallet for some change as he walked off to serve a couple of patrons in the booth section. She found the two dollars and sixty cents she owed and set them down, her eyes trailing to her still unfinished Christmas list.

Mom and Dad…Jounouchi…Honda…Yugi…Yami…

No more thinking.

Coming to a decision, she grabbed a pencil and jotted down some last minute notes.

Yami and Bakura – A couple's free meal at The Bluestockings.

Whatever the reason behind their unexpected partnership, in her heart, Yami would always be a friend to her first and foremost. It was time for her to start acting like one. As she stood up to go and get that meal ticket, she couldn't help but wonder, however…would either of them like a pair of matching scarves, too? It must be unusual and extremely cold for those two, being from the desert and all.

-Fin-