Things Like This Happen

It's been a while since she last saw the busy streets of Domino. Asuka smiled, admiring the view outside the hotel room window. Cars were bumper to bumper, passersby walked around like ants on that busy day of stocking food before winter, and the sky was as gray as it it could be. It was the average New York city-like day for Domino. Contradictory to the atmosphere outside, Domino was a breath of fresh air for Asuka. Being sent to America and live in a dorm with people of another culture, people she did not grow up with, was a handful. She enjoyed college, but, as Dorothy said, there's no place like home.

Her parents thought it would be great taking an internship at the local hotel. At first, she was reluctant, for it was silly to be living in a hotel when you are in your hometown. But the Tenjoins were a career-oriented bunch. It was the career that was always placed first, so there she was, standing on the carpet of a hotel she did not even know existed.

She heard her door unlock. Someone must have a master key. Asuka turned and saw the manager of the hotel walking in and greeting her.

"Like the room, Ms. Tenjoin?" he asked.

"Yes, Mr. Shigekazu, it is quite nice." Asuka replied, a hint of excitement in her tone. She was so happy that a professional such as Mr. Shigekazu would be able to teach her a couple of things for her future career.

Mr. Shigekazu cleared his throat. "Now then. There will be a welcoming dinner at seven tonight. For the rest of the day, we will be holding workshops for the interns. Your student pass has access to everything in the hotel, so it is up to you which of the workshops you would like to attend. None of them are mandatory."

Shigekazu handed a student pass to Asuka. "Here is your pass, Ms. Tenjoin."

Asuka's face lit up. "Thank you, sir!" she took the pass from the manager and placed it around her neck.

Mr. Shigekazu smiled. "Well then, I must be on my way. Farewell."

When the manager left, Asuka fell on her bed and heaved a huge sigh. Workshops? I wonder. She turned to her bedside and took the paper resting on it. The list of workshops seemed to go on forever.

Asuka ventured out the streets of Domino after attending the last of the workshops. There was a lot of information given to her up front, that she needed to take a break from it all. The welcoming dinner was in two hours, so she had time to have a nice walk down the city.

The amount of people walking back and forth the sidewalk was astounding, Asuka was almost shocked. She couldn't help but notice all the billboards and signs that talked about an upcoming tournament. It was filled with so much color, some catchy slogans, and bright, flashing lights, almost like Las Vegas. Some of the billboards were digital, so the pictures changed every few seconds. The Kaiba Corporation was holding their annual tournament this coming Saturday. And apparently there were more candy counters and food sales, since it was the biggest event of the year.

One Billboard read: "Imagine more snacks than you can imagine." Then it flickered to a series of pictures of the food they were going to provide. "What other event can provide this much snacks AND your favorite celebrity duelists? Don't miss Kaiba's Corp's Annual Tournament! This Saturday, 7pm, at the Kaiba Colisseum!"

Kaiba Corporation's Annual Tournament. Contenders include: Katsuya Mikami, Sayu Megumi, Ohara Jyou, the pictures of the duelists flashed on the Billboard screen, and it went on... and then she saw him. Hell Kaiser Ryo. Asuka's heart skipped a beat. His eyes stared back at her with a piercing sense of pride. His mouth was closed, tense, and ever-frowning, like nothing in the world pleased him. His arms were folded together and his duel disk now had a peculiar symbol Asuka has never seen before. Was he a part of a cult, now? A familiar pain in her heart stabbed her like a knife.

Kaiser… Asuka thought. She remembered the old Kaiser like it was yesterday. He was a great friend. Every night, they would have a private chat about their day near the Duel Academia lighthouse. At school, they would always sit beside each other, together with their other friends at lunch period. They would have their secret friendly duels, when Asuka would sneak into the boy's dorm and duel with Kaiser to test a new deck. Kaiser would do the same thing, too. They would be texting each other during class, and watch duels of their friends together. But those days were over. Ryo had changed. After losing to Edo Phoenix, he found himself at a constant losing streak… and finally arose from the ashes as Hell Kaiser.

Hell Kaiser, a person who knew nothing but victory, who would do anything to win. This wasn't the Ryo she knew. How could someone so honorable turn into a power-hungry jerk? Asuka shook her head. He'll be back.

She missed him. She missed the days where she could freely text him when she needed someone to talk to. She missed that moment when they both uncomfortably told each other how they truly felt... and even that minute that happened immediately after when her brother Fubuki popped out of the bushes and said, "I knew it!"

After that, they became the most popular couple in Duel Academia, which Asuka thought was probably Fubuki's fault. The public knew them as the 'perfect match'. Of course… who wouldn't think they were? They were the two most popular students in school. It was almost too perfect, like something you only see in the movies. Then that day came when Kaiser had to graduate. He promised her that they would still talk to each other, everyday. And for a while, it went on that way. Their relationship was at its peak during his Pro League days. Asuka would visit him when she could, in his fancy hotel, and they would spend the night together.

But then, that day came when Kaiser faced Edo. Asuka called him immediately after the duel to calm him down. He sounded better than he felt, Asuka knew. That same day, she visited him and comforted him. And finally, after years of being together, they both decided to consumate their relationship. However, after that night, Kaiser lost again. And again. And again... Until eventually, he did not answer her calls. He did not call back. He ceased any form of communication with her. The public did not know what was going on with him either. His little brother Sho was worried, too. The Marufuji family asked her if she heard from him. But all of them were left in the dark.

After a few weeks of nothingness, he came back… donning a new black outfit and an angrier look on his face.

The look or his new dueling style should have discouraged her, but Asuka loved him. She visited him one day, to ask how he was doing. But all she received was a door shut in front of her face. It was clear to her that her Kaiser was gone… And Edo killed him.

Asuka kept walking, thinking of her Kaiser. It has been a long while since she thought of him. She had buried the thought of him a long time ago. Being in America and meeting new people helped, too. Kaiser... are you okay? She wondered, Are you doing well?

Her thoughts were interrupted when she felt a sharp tug harshly pulling her back by the neck. Asuka angrilly spun around sharply- only to see that her student pass got tangled with another person's bag.

"Oh my gosh!" Asuka exclaimed, walking closer to the bag, "I'm sorry about this..."

"-No, no, it's my mistake. Here, let me-" he unhooked the string of her pass from his red keychain tag, with the initials: E.P. "There," he said after detaching them.

Asuka smiled and looked at him, and recognition hit her like a bullet. Almost immediately, her gratefulness left her. "You!"

The boy's blue eyes looked at her, bewildered at her antagonizing stare."I'm sorry if I hurt you in any way," he replied gently, "if you want I can treat you for coffee?"

"I don't drink coffee!" Asuka shouted, stepping closer to the boy.

"Hey," the boy said, hands raised and stepping back, "I don't want to cause any trouble!"

"Oh, you have caused more trouble than you think, mister," Asuka growled. She raised her arm, and the boy visibly flinched. Asuka pointed to the billboard behind her. "You see that sign?"

He glanced up and furrowed his eyebrows. "Er... about the tournament this Saturday?"

"My friend is a participant in that tournament. He's winning his duels. He's gaining credit. But you know what? His life is shit. And it's thanks to you!" she took another step closer, and then another, "You good for nothing, prissy little rat!"

The boy stared blankly back at her, and a few moments passed the two of them. Then, all of a sudden, he posed a sly little smirk. "You must be Asuka Tenjoin."

At this, Asuka was shocked. How did this boy remember her? He only went to Duel Academia a couple of times and only saw her much fewer times than that.

"Kaiser talked to you all the time." he said knowingly. "Yeah. I remember. You talked to him before our duel. I walked passed his dressing room and overheard him telling you all the mushy stuff women want to hear."

Asuka glared at him. "He meant those things, Phoenix. It wasn't meant to be flowery. It was real." she pointed an accusing finger at him. "And you had to ruin it all! You had to take him away from me!"

Edo chuckled. "Hey, don't blame me for your boyfriend issues. Whatever rut Kaiser is in right now is his problem and he put himself in it. Not me." he turned away to the other direction. "See you later."

Asuka's blood boiled as Edo walked away from her. "Edo Phoenix is a big fat jerk who doesn't care if he steps on some people to succeed!" she shouted at the top of her lungs. Edo stopped. The passersby stared at the two of them, curious on what was going on.

Edo reached for something in his pocket. Then, turning toward Asuka's direction, he tossed out some coins at her. "Get yourself a relationship therapist. My treat."

"Ugh! You fucking bastard!" Asuka shouted, storming toward him. She raised her hand and swung it across Edo's face. Then she turned the other direction and walked away.

"Don't forget your money!" Edo called out, "I'll even schedule an appointment for you. Is 10:00 tomorrow good?"

Asuka stormed off, not daring to look behind her. That man was not only a professional duelist, but a professional jerk. His sarcasm and confidence just got Asuka all furious. She continued walking, not realizing that she was headed towards an unfamiliar street. And, as the surge of adrenaline drifted away, Asuka noticed that she was being followed.

Two tall, huge shadows loomed over hers. Asuka glanced behind her and saw two mn in thuggish black clothes walking in pace with her. She walked a bit faster, her heart skipping beats. She glanced at them again. They were walking just as fast. Asuka dashed off, turning at the next corner in an attempt to lose them. She heard them running after her still. She turned left on the next corner, then left, then right, then left again... but the persistent footsteps remained to threaten her. Finally, Asuka turned to the right- except it was a long, dark alley with no way out. Desperate, she turned back, hoping to run another way, but the shadow of the thugs appeared in the exit. Panicking, Asuka ran toward the dark alley, hid behind the trash bins, and grabbed her cell phone.

The dial tone was the slowest it's ever been. And then, the voice of her brother went on the line- "Hey, there, bunny bear!" Fubuki greeted cheerfully.

"Oniisan!" Asuka exclaimed. "Listen to me, I-"

"-Sike! Ha ha. Fooled you, didn't I? I'm busy right now, so... leave a message after the beep. 'Kay?"

Asuka cursed. Before she could leave a message, someone grabbed her phone from behind her. She looked and saw one of the men flashing her a manic smile. "You don't need to call the cavalry, little lady." he said, closing her phone.

"Give that back!" she pleaded. The other thug grabbed her body. "Let me go!" Asuka shouted, trying her best to conceal her fear.

"Such a strong personality for such a pretty face," one of them said. "I bet you'll look even hotter without your clothes on."

Asuka gasped."Don't be scared, little lady. We'll take good care of you." the other smiled, taking out a pocket knife. He neared the sharp object to Asuka's neck.

"Get that thing away from me!" she shouted, her head instinctively jerking away from the blade. The two men only laughed, obviously enjoying the fear that was slowly creeping in her. The man who held the knife suddenly slashed Asuka's shirt.

Asuka found herself shrieking… A shriek that gradually turned into a desperate cry for help, as the two men started touching her.

"Stop it! Please!" Asuka begged, tears bursting out of her eyes. "Stop!"

"What? What did you say? You wanted more?" the man asked, touching her large breasts.

"She's so damn hot!" the other declared.

Asuka shut her eyes tight, trying her best to imagine everything away. She wanted to believe that this was just a nightmare. All she wanted now was to wake herself up and transport her back to her nice hotel room. Heck even back in time with that argument with Edo. Anywhere but here. Wake up, Asuka! God damn it, wake up! This is just a dream… a horrible nightmare!

But all she could hear was the laughter and enjoyment of the two rapists. Asuka felt hopeless; she screamed all her might.

Then, the thug that fondled her stopped. Asuka couldn't feel him any more. Despite this, tears were gushing out of her eyes, accompanied with an already raspy-voiced cry.

"What the-" the other thug said, and then she couldn't feel any more intrusive touches. Asuka curled herself up in the fetal-position, hugging her legs and crying.

She heard thumps, grunts, and cursing. And then it was nothing but her whimpers that filled her ears. It all seemed to happen so fast. There was shuffling and cracking, and more grunting and cursing. Asuka shut her eyes tighter. She did not want to hear anything, see anything. Suddenly, she felt cold, alternating wetness touching her skin. The wet drops were slow to land on her, but then it became more frequent, until finally it began pouring heavy rain.

She heard another grunt, this time from a more youthful voice. A curse, from the same youthful voice. And then footsteps. Lighter ones than the thugs that raped her, but even then Asuka was horrified that it seemed to approach her.

Her whole body tensed. She hugged her legs tighter. "No!" she shouted desperately, "Please, no more! Please..." she cried again. She was losing her voice but she was crying even harder than ever. "I can't do it anymore... I can't take this... Please... go away! Go away!"

The footsteps made splashing steps from the heavy rain. Asuka screamed and more tears fell. A hand touch her shoulder. She flinched away. "No... No!" she pushed herself to the side. "Please... just go..."

The hand never touched her again. Instead, she felt a wet, warm fabric wrap around her cold, tense body. Slowly, Asuka wiped her tears with a shaky hand and opened her eyes. A concerned Edo stared back at her, his hair wet and clothes soaked from the downpour. Yet his blue eyes shone in the night, a beautiful sapphire. She looked at herself, and realized that Edo's silver blazer was the fabric that consoled her.

"It's alright, Asuka," Edo murmured gently, "You don't need to be afraid anymore."

More tears fell from her eyes. She whimpered in reply, for she had no more power to speak.

"Here," Edo said, offering his hand, "I'll help you up."

Asuka brought out a shaky hand and held his, a soft, warm hand, despite everything. Edo carefully wrapped his other arm around her waist and guided her up. Asuka leaned on him when she finally stood, her legs still aching. "E-E...do..." she finally said.

"What is it?" he asked, "Is my grip on you too tight?"

Weakly, Asuka shook her head. "Thank you..."

He looked relieved, and then he gave her a pleasant smile. "Can you make it for a few blocks? There's a motel up by the next corner. We should stay there until you feel better."

Overcome with emotion, Asuka only managed to give him a nod. They walked slowly to the motel, without another word passing their lips.

When they finally reached the motel, Asuka felt a little better, already able to walk on her own. Yet she remained silent, still dazed after all the events that happened that night. Edo opened the motel door and offered the way to Asuka, who walked inside. As they both entered, everyone in the lobby eyed at the two from head to toe. Edo faced her. "Wait here," he said softly, then proceeded to the front desk.

"Good evening," He greeted the concierge, who was writing something in a piece of paper. He put down his pen and faced his customer.

"Hello, sir." the man said.

"…We need a room." Edo stated, gesturing toward Asuka's direction.

The man looked at Edo suspiciously, then turned his attention on Asuka. He gave Edo an appreciative smirk. "Whoa, nice catch sir," He congratulated.

"Oh... It's not like that." Edo admitted, although he felt his cheeks burn a little.

"Oh!" the man exclaimed, leaning forward on the counter, getting closer to Edo. "A one night stand... Even better!" he said with a wink. He leaned back, trying to find a room key.

Asuka walked toward Edo. "What did he say?" she asked.

"Huh?- Oh, nothing. He's just being crazy." Edo informed.

The concierge finally brought out his hand, presenting a key. "Here you go! That'll be 3,500 yen."

Edo pulled out his wallet and gave the man a 5,000-yen bill. The man opened the cashier and got 1,500 worth of money and handed it over to Edo, as well as the key.

"Thank you," Edo said, taking the room key and his change.

"Oh," the concierge said, leaning over Edo once more, "I have great advice that I picked up from the studs that come here often, want to hear them?"

"Uh- no, no thanks. Not at all. Let's go, Asuka." Edo said quickly, holding Asuka by the arm and walking towards the elevator.

Edo pushed the "up" button. He stared at the number on the top. It was on the second floor.

"So," Edo said, "How are you feeling?"

"I'm better, thank you." Asuka replied.

Edo nodded. "Good. That's good."

The elevator door opened. Edo and Asuka walked in the elevator. Edo pushed the button labeled, "1", then hit close. As the elevator door shut, Edo caught a glimpse of the conceirge winking at him in "knowing". Edo shook his head at the thought of the misunderstanding.

"What's wrong, Edo?" Asuka asked, her voice still strained, "You almost look... embarrassed. Are you humiliated because it's your first time in a 1-star?"

"No," Edo said crossly, "I'm not a stuck-up rich boy you think I am, Asuka."

Asuka frowned. "I'm... sorry if I offended you. It was meant to be a joke."

Edo looked at her sadly. "Right... I'm sorry. I guess you would think that, considering that I threw my coins at you earlier today. I apologize for that... it was uncalled for."

"No, Edo..." Asuka said. The elevator door opened.

"After you," Edo said, ushering her out. Asuka wanted to tell him that it was not uncalled for, considering what she did to him. And despite all that, he still had the heart to save her, comfort her, and pay for a room until she got back her strength.

"Hm… 108… It's this way." Edo said, seeing the sign posted on a wall. They turned to the hallway down the left. The numbers that were displayed outside the rooms were decreasing as they walked farther from the elevator. Asuka observed him, the hero of the day. Or night, she should say. Her hero.

"111… 110… 109… Oh, here it is. 108." Edo chimed, bringing out the room key.

As he placed it inside the keyhole, loud moans of a woman's voice were suddenly heard. Edo and Asuka looked to their right.

A couple, who just came out of the elevator, had their top clothes off and were kissing their way towards Edo and Asuka's direction.

"Alright.-109.-It's-this-one.-" the man panted, trying to get the key from his pocket. The girl giggled and started to kiss him again. Again, the familiar moans of the girl were heard. She ended the make out with a soft smack. Then, after staring at her boyfriend for a few seconds, she laid her eyes on Edo and Asuka, who were still standing their, dumbfounded. The girl frowned.

"What are you looking at?" she asked threateningly.

"Ignore them, babe. We've got a lot of work to do." the man said, opening their door.

The girl laughed. "Those two look like first timers." She remarked, staring at Asuka. "Good luck with the pain, buddy."

The boyfriend chuckled. "And you!" the girl said, this time referring to Edo, "Have you brought protection?"

Edo didn't answer.

"-Oh wow. No protection." The girl jeered, looking at Asuka again. "Like I said, Good luck with the pain."

The two of them laughed as they proceeded to go inside room 109, shutting the door behind them.

Edo shook his head, and gave a nervous chuckle. "I guess you're right, Asuka. I really am a stuck-up rich boy. I've never been in a place like this before." He turned the key and opened the door.

Asuka proceeded inside, and Edo followed. She paced around the room as Edo closed the door.

"Hm… not bad for a motel." Asuka said.

Edo smirked. "So you have been in one before! With Kaiser, I presume?"

Asuka didn't answer him. She felt that familiar pang of pain in her heart again.

"I'm sorry," Edo said, realizing what he did, "It was... meant to be a joke."

Asuka gave him a weak smile. "I guess we are even." she sighed and sat down on the bed.

Edo looked around. "So… any ideas how we're gonna do this?"

Asuka furrowed her eyebrows. "What do you mean?"

"Well, we're both soaking wet, so we can't possibly sleep with our clothes on," he continued, "And there's only one bed, meaning I'll have to go back downstairs and get another room or maybe one of us will have to sleep in the bathroom- which would probably be me."

"What? No! No one's going to sleep in the bathroom and no one's going to get another room." Asuka exclaimed. "I'm not going to let you waste more money on me... you've done so much already. We're gonna have to deal with this ourselves."

"Um… okay…" Edo muttered. "But in case you didn't understand what I just said… We're going to have to sleep without clothes tonight!"

"I know that." Asuka said.

There was a moment of silence.

"…Maybe I can go down and buy you some new clothes." Edo began, "You need it anyway, since your shirt is ruined."

"But it's still raining hard out there; you're going to have to go out there in behalf of my needs… And you're going to spend even more money buying me clothes than it is to cost you two rooms in this place." Asuka said.

"So now what? Don't tell me you're willing to sleep beside a guy without clothes on!"

There was silence.

"…It could work." Asuka said finally.

Edo blinked. "Asuka, I'm afraid I'm not following."

"It's the only choice we've got." Asuka informed.

"I'm still not following."

"Actually, it's simple." Asuka said, "I'll remove my clothes and go to bed first. I'll cover myself with the sheets. Then you can hop in later."

"Whatever you say…" Edo muttered, walking his way to the bathroom. "Tell me when you're done." He said, closing the door.

Asuka removed the blazer that Edo gave her earlier and hung it on the only chair that was in sight. She took off her ripped shirt and unzipped her skirt. Then she pulled out her boots and socks.

Asuka paused for a moment. Her undergarments were wet too… did she have to remove those as well?


"Alright! I'm ready."

Upon hearing this, Edo twisted the doorknob and pushed the bathroom door open. He saw Asuka in bed, covered in layers of sheets.

Edo undid his tie and took his black shirt off. Asuka stared at him with undivided attention.

"What?" Edo asked, noticing Asuka's intentful gaze. "Don't tell me you've never seen a guy take off his shirt before."

"I have," Asuka replied, "It's just that… I've never seen you take off your shirt before…"

"Well, now you have." Edo said, unbuckling his belt. "Now do me a favor and turn the other way."

Asuka turned to the other side of the room. Oh my god… he has such a hot body… She thought to herself. Those abs look absolutely gorgeous! Asuka felt her cheeks turn red. She bit her lip. Damn it. Calm down, Asuka… calm down. Don't let him know you're blushing…

Before she could even calm herself, Asuka felt Edo's weight hop on the bed. Oh God… he's right beside me… and we're both naked…

"I still have my underwear on, just so you know." Edo informed, tucking himself in. He turned to Asuka's direction. "I'm guessing you have them on too, right?"

Silence.

"… Goodnight, Edo…" Asuka squeaked.

"Goodnight…" Edo said, a bit puzzled. As he lifted his blanket to shift sides, he noticed Asuka's bare back facing him. His eyes widened. She took all her clothes off… she's completely naked…Edo thought, a bit bothered by that fact. He faced the other way, refusing to reveal his reddish face.