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Petty Little Crushes

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She wasn't quite sure, initially, whether it was just infatuation, or if it was true emotion she felt for him. After all, wouldn't any average teenage girl develop a crush on a guy if he was somewhat cute and had a knack for saving her? Mazaki Anzu had no problem with believing this. Then again, she realized, she was indeed the stereotype of the situation.

In short, she had truly doubted that what she felt for the guy was anything more than the average crush, which would be hard-hitting and possibly long-lasting, depending on the guy's true nature. She could believe he was a God set above them all, one she wished to admire on a platform.

And in the end, he had ended up to be the next best thing: a five-thousand-year-old Pharoah.

Yes, Pharaoh. As in Egyptian king of kings, his highness, yada yada, so on and so forth. She closed her eyes and meditated for a moment, losing herself in his mysterious nature. He was so regal, like he could still rule the masses. She was sure he could, but today's day and age was not meant for a man of his stature. Chivalry was not dead to him. And while that was refreshing, it was dead to everyone else, so he really didn't seem to fit in.

Blue eyes glanced over to her desk, from where she lay, sprawled out on her bed. She longed so much to speak to him on matters that would not cover his world-saving-agenda, or his past which he longed for so long to discover. She truly longed to just speak to him about life, about the virtues they shared and the love and care that she showed to their friends and the same that he showed when defending their lives and all they held sacred.

In the end she was just a little cheerleader. Now, that didn't really bother her. A few snide comments from rich-boy Seto Kaiba always hurt her, but she was not afraid to say that she did root for him at any and all opportunities. He never meant to hurt anyone, with the exception of those who made threats on both her and her friends lives, and even the lives of a few aquaintances of whom his exceptional judgment deemed worthy of his saving graces.

Anzu smiled as she rested her eyes upon an old picture of the group, one taken when things had finally stopped including worlds that lied beneath the sea. She could never watch a movie about Atlantis again, as she had pretty much had her life's worth of fish tales.

Needless to say, this picture was extremely cheerful. Yugi had been just recently restored to them, and his eyes were brighter than bright, their amethyst color seeming brighter than the flash of the camera. Next to him, on the end, had been her position. Jounouchi and Honda had stood behind them, being the tallest of the group, as well as the goofiest.

Her fondest memory of that picture was when she had felt a hand on her shoulder as they got into place. When she looked over, she had seen nothing, yet she knew it was entirely something and someone. Though she had never truly been needed before, that was one point in time in which she had been useful, as opposed to the sideline cheering bench warmer. That hand had meant a lot to her. Perhaps it was his way of thanking her, or perhaps it was his way of aknowledging her.

Either way, she felt appreciated. She felt needed.

That was a refreshing change, but it was not so much to last. She was always one for premonitions about the Pharaoh, knowing first hand that something was about to change their lives. She was the one who had asked him to inscribe his name upon the necklace she had given him, she was the one who was always used as the puppet or bait, and she was forever the one telling him that he was no Yugi, and that they loved him anyway.

He would always be a prince in her eyes, even if he was never one to begin with. She sighed. That sense of hers, her inate sense of change, seemed to instill to her a taste of a life to come. One in which she felt empty. That was when she knew what was going on. The Pharaoh, Atem, as she had learned he was named, would be returning to where he rightfully belonged.

Sadly, that was not with her.

A rap upon her door one that she knew immediately by the gentle nature, awakened her from her thoughts. "Anzu," Yugi's small voice called, through the hardwood door. "May I come in?"

She realized that Yugi had changed too. The Pharaoh had changed them all, perhaps the two of them the most, but definitely all of them. Yugi was no longer as passive. He asserted himself and belived in what he wished for. Anzu wished both he and his other half the best in whatever paths they would follow.

"Oh, yeah," She said, trying to lift the cheerfulness back into her voice. She was great at faking it, but Yugi and his dark half could easily see through it. Perhaps Yugi knew what was coming as well. Either way, she had a feeling that this was it. It would be goodbye.

The sound of boots on the tiled floor leading into the room made her sit up, smooth out her shirt and skirt, and sit up on the edge of the bed. Yugi immediately took the chair across from that, smiling up at her in his usual way. It was so full of life and so cheerful. Yet, she could read emotions too and she knew very well that the hints were not so easily masked. He was sad too.

"So this is it," Anzu said softly.

Yugi looked up at her in shock. "You felt it too?"

She smiled, laughing softly. "I suppose Atem has opened our eyes to things we do not understand, but somehow know."

"Yeah," he said, no longer masking his pain with a cheerful expression.

"When you duel him tomorrow, you can't go easy on him," She said, twisting the hem of her skirt. "He can see right through you, and you through him. It wouldn't be right, you know?"

He nodded, and she saw the crystalline tears in the corner of his eyes threaten to spill over the edges. "It wouldn't, but it just feels like-"

"Like he's a part of you." Anzu smiled. She looked down at her hands then back up. "I know it's silly," she said, "but I can't help but feel like I'm losing someone really important."

Yugi felt terrible, but in the end, the same way. "I know," he said softly. "Like a brother, or a friend," he added.

Anzu couldn't speak, she merely nodded, tears now spilling down her cheeks. She wasn't a typical cry-baby, instead, she was a fiesty girl who supported her friends in every way possible, and cried when she lost someone she cared about. With her head down, she didn't notice the shift in the being in front of her.

"Perhaps the word you're looking for is one Yugi did not mention, is a lover."

Her head snapped up to meet the slightly redder eyes of the Pharaoh, Atem. "I- um, I-" She was speechless, however, she knew that his mastery of people's hidden emotions probably revealed this to her a long time ago.

The usually distant Yami moved next to her, and drew his arm around her in a way that was uncommon for him to do. He was royalty, and he was not Yugi, so therefore, the contact he made with others was different and less touchy-feely.

"Please," he said gently. "Tell me what it is you wish to say. I will not be here for much longer."

She closed her eyes and sighed, brushing away her tears, choosing to look into his eyes with hers crystal clear. "I don't know how to say this to you," she began. "I don't want you to go, and I know you have to. I just feel like-"

"Anzu," he spoke, interrupting her before she faultered, "We are not just regular friends. We are more than that, and I will never forget you. Five thousand years time will not change that."

She gasped, shocked at his words. He embraced her in confidence, holding her into him. She wasn't sure how long that had lasted, but she released the final of her tears for that night into his traditional navy overcoat.

When that unknown amount of time had indeed passed, she sat up, looking intently at him. Yugi must have known this would have happened. "I'll never forget you either," she whispered quietly.

Atem took her hands and pulled her up, so that she faced him, with not even two inches between them, anywhere. She was used to their close proximity. He pulled her arms up around his neck, and placed his on the small of her back.

"Arigato," He said, his lips brushing against her forehead in a kiss. "For everything," He added as an afterthought. "For helping me find myself."

She smiled as his lips rested against her forehead in a sensual mix of both emotion and pleasure that surged through her body. "I didn't do much, Atem. You saved me so many times, it was the least I could do."

He looked as if he was about to make a response, but immediately stopped, thinking about his words.

"Anzu," he said softly, lifting her chin up with his thumb, "A-"

"Please," she whispered. "You don't have to say it." She searched his eyes with her own. "I already know." He smiled at her and dipped down to kiss her.

She didn't want that night to end. In looking back, the morning of that final duel, she saw it in his eyes. She didn't want him to say that he loved her, but before he left, he had said it anyway, leaving the single envelope on her desk that would tell her the ultimate truth, the truth that she knew in the beginning.

Best friends were forever, and petty little crushes meant everything when they were on ancient Pharaohs.