I posted the epilogue right away for two reasons. One: when I said the last chapter, I meant it. This was the last upload for No Strings Attached.
Two: Well, you'll see. You're all probably going to want to kill me for this epilogue, but... I don't want to give away the ending of chapter twenty-eight. That's for the sequel. Muahaha!
Wow, guys. Just...just wow. This had to have been the most epic writing ride that I've ever been on. I know it's so, so very corny that I'm getting choked up, but I can't believe that this is over.
Well...for now. :D
I'm glad that I got to write this. And I'm double glad that this story hit it off as well as it did. Thank you, so, so much. All of you. I don't know if I'd have completed it without everyone who's joined me on this journey.
So, then, this is for you.
Disclaimer: For the last time in this story, I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh or Harry Potter. But a girl can dream, can't she?
No Strings Attached
The Shadows were whispering.
A young man shivered in the cold breeze, pulling his jacket up around his chin. He hated cold weather. He really, really did.
This day, however, he was only partly concerned over the weather. His mind was more focused on a considerably more important fact:
Somewhere, somehow, something had upset the balance of the Shadows.
"Yugi, are you okay?"
He glanced up to the curious but worried face of the brown-haired young woman he was walking with. She had her coat pulled tightly around her, her head buried down and her shoulders held high, trying to find some semblance of warmth in the cool, Japan air.
It took him a moment, but finally he nodded. "Yeah," he said entirely unconvincingly, "I'm fine, Anzu."
She sighed, grinning in exasperation. "Yugi, I know you. What's wrong?"
He glanced out to the empty street.
"I'm feeling...something wrong."
"Something...wrong?" she clarified slowly, rolling the words around her tongue in obvious confusion.
Yugi nodded. "With the Shadow Magic. With its balance."
Anzu's mouth popped open, and her eyebrows drew down in worry. "Is it Ryou?"
"I don't know."
The young woman hugged her arms around herself, shivering. Yugi knew that that shiver hadn't been for the cold. She was worried now, and when Anzu worried about a friend, she really worried. Yugi almost regretted having said anything at all. If he couldn't provide her with an answer, it was only going to upset her further.
"Don't worry, Hikari," a familiar, deep voice rumbled across his mind. "I'm sure it's nothing."
After everything that had happened, all of the disaster with Atlantis and Darts and the Orichalcos, Yugi could wish for nothing more than there being nothing.
He just wanted calm, for once. Japan, at least, seemed calm enough. Domino City seemed entirely at ease. There seemed to be no magical foul play about.
So, then, what was this feeling?
He suddenly felt a hand curl around his own, startling Yugi from his thoughts. His cheeks turned pink as he looked up into Anzu's worried face.
"Let's go," she said firmly, giving his hand a quick squeeze. "Let's go to your house and call Jonouchi and Honda, okay?"
Nodding numbly, Yugi let Anzu lead him down the street, towards the Game Shop that he called home.
"I hate to think that something's happened," Anzu said after a few moments. "I hate to think that there's something wrong."
"It really could be nothing," Yugi reassured her, using the Pharaoh's words. He just hoped that they'd help.
Thankfully, the words worked, at least a little bit. A small smile formed onto her lips. "Yeah, probably."
As they approached the shop, his grandfather waved from the entrance. Yugi couldn't help but have a grin tug at his lips. His grandpa was always sweeping the front. Always.
"Hey kids," the old man rasped, putting a hand on his side. "What are you two up to, today?"
"Just going in, Grandpa," Yugi answered. "Do you mind?"
The old man laughed. "Not at all, Yugi. Your other friends coming, too?"
"Yes, I think so," Yugi said, scratching the back of his head. His grandfather only nodded in reply, so Yugi gestured for Anzu to head on in. He opened the door for the both of them.
Anzu shrugged out of her coat and stepped out of her shoes, moving into a spare pair of slippers that were usually left for Yugi's friends. She moved to the couch and lay her coat on top of it. She took a moment to stretch before smiling back to Yugi, who was just finishing putting his coat in the closet.
"Your grandfather looks well," she commented.
"Yeah," Yugi agreed, grinning out the window as the old man finished sweeping, turned tail, and went back into the shop. He sighed.
"You don't think it's 'just nothing', do you?" the young woman speculated, leaning against the back of the couch. Her brow creased in evident anxiety. "I don't even have that feeling that your getting, and I don't think it's nothing."
Anzu looked up into Yugi's serious eyes. It was at times like these that he truly looked more like his Yami than he looked like himself. It made the hair on the back of her neck prickle in natural fear. The Pharaoh had a very daunting presence, something which seemed to rub off on Yugi at certain times.
Times like this.
"I don't think it's nothing," Yugi said, his voice quiet, "but it may not affect us at all. Or any of our friends."
Anzu smiled again, but it seemed a little strained. "I hope so. I really, really hope so."
They fell into silence for a moment, and Anzu pulled her phone out of the pocket of the jacket lying beside her. She pressed a few buttons, obviously texting either Jonouchi or Honda, before shutting off the phone and replacing it on top of her coat.
"Jonouchi should be on his way. I'll text Honda in a minute." She said, explaining her actions. Yugi nodded in response.
The silence lapsed again, but only for a moment. It was ended by Anzu's very worried, very tentative question:
"You don't think it's Ryou or Malik, do you?"
Yugi blinked for a moment, before looking away. Yes, he did think that it had something to do with one or both of them. Still, he wasn't going to tell Anzu that.
"I really don't know," he answered, only feeling partially guilty for his half-lie.
Anzu seemed to consider that for a moment before she giggled nervously. "I mean, they're on a road trip in Europe, right? What kind of trouble could they possibly get into in Europe?"
Yugi's agreement was only half-hearted. "Yeah. I can't imagine a thing."
But the Shadows only continued to whisper, speaking in tongues that neither Yugi nor the Pharaoh could decipher. Yugi shivered. At that point, he really didn't know what to think.
"They're fine," he said, not sure whether he was reassuring Anzu or if he was reassuring himself. "I'm sure they're just fine."
His worst fears would be confirmed, however, when a letter from Ishizu that had been forwarded through Kaiba Corp. landed on his doorstep two days later.
Part I Concludes
Well, there we go. It was short, yes, but it was an epilogue. Epilogues are usually meant to be short. Besides, I was really only looking for a surface-view of what the other characters are going through. Two of them, really, but still. It shows what's happening in Japan. This is immediately post-Orichalcos.
Ishizu's letter would take some time to reach them, especially if Kaiba was being a jerk and decided not to forward it immediately. Even longer if Ishizu couldn't send it right away.
That's really just an explanation for consistency's sake.
It's over. For now.
If you have any questions, I'll answer repeated ones on my profile. Any others, I'll answer through a PM to you. :)
I really, truly do appreciate all of you who have stuck with (and those of you who've just arrived at) this story. I did go through the biggest journey during No Strings Attached. I learned a lot about writing and my own personal writing style. I hope to make Blood-Bound bigger and better to prove to you how much I've grown.
Thank you to everyone, and I hope to see you all for the sequel (which should be up within a few weeks at the very earliest).