Chapter 39: The path forward (Part 2)

He didn't know how long he stayed in the meeting room after Roland left. His anger had subsided somewhat, thanks to the sacrifice of a few computers and expensive pieces of equipment, but it had quickly been replaced by confusing mix of conflicting emotions. He stayed in the room, simply staring at the ceiling for a long while, his mind simply overwhelmed by everything. It was so much he didn't even know where to start trying to make sense of it all.

He was practically mad with anger, that much he could tell, anger had been such permanent presence in his life he had no trouble figuring that one out. He was enraged at Roland for not telling him the truth before. For years he had lived with the memory of this night, the sight of his step father, the feeling of the blood cooling down on his hands, the constant fear of being found out. He hated Gozaburo with a passion. He often dreamed of killing him, imagined different ways of doing so and prayed more than once for his death. But he had never acted on it, thinking about killing someone and actually doing it were two absolutely different things. The action in itself had been ridiculously easy, it had been over before he even realized what was going on. The hard part was reliving the memory over and over again for the rest of your life, knowing you had taken a human life with your own hands, that you had it in you to do such a thing. There was no going back after it, no possible way to amend for such a thing. For years he had felt 'dirty', unable to wash away the guilt, no matter how he told himself that Gozaburo had deserved it a thousand times. Roland had let him endure that for years without ever saying anything.

He couldn't argue with Roland's reasons for not telling him the truth. Back then, Roland didn't hold a very good spot in his heart. After his bodyguard had refused to help him, he had considered him partially responsible for all his pain. Roland was actually high on the list of people he wanted to make pay for not helping him and he had made that fact very clear to his bodyguard more than once. After Gozaburo's death, he had taken great pleasure in slowly and utterly destroying the lives of everyone he could think of who played a role in his 'upbringing' or simply stood by without helping him.

Roland was the only one who escaped his wrath. He was the one who settled the whole thing, he arranged the scene to make it look like a suicide and handled the cover up on his own, throwing money to the right people to make sure any anomaly found on the scene never saw the light of day. He had no way of knowing exactly what kind of evidence there was nor what Roland did to them. The man was smart and extremely ressourcefull, he wouldn't have such an important position if he wasn't. Kaiba had feared that if he moved against Roland, his bodyguard would drag him down with him so he hadn't dare to go through with it. Yet, the swing went both way, he knew that if he was ever found out, Roland would go down with him as an accomplice. Completely unable of trust, he had based his entire relationship with Roland on that one fact alone: Roland could not betray him, making him extremely valuable and easy to control. But the entire foundation of this relationship had been a lie. Roland hadn't covered up for him, he did so for himself and let him believe otherwise to protect himself.

Even worst was the thought that, in the end, it was Roland, who had stood there watching silently as Gozaburo slowly beat him into insanity for years, that put an end to it all... Roland had waited for years, ignoring his pleas for help until there was nothing left of him to save before making his he had it in him to kill the bastard, why couldn't he do it a day sooner? A week? A month? A year? It made all of his pain and suffering seem even more useless. What if he hadn't lost it and attacked Gozaburo? Would he have kept on watching?

Weirdly enough, there was actually a part of him that was angry at Roland for taking away the satisfaction that killing Gozaburo had brought him. Despite the never ending nightmares and guilt, a part of him had actually felt satisfaction in knowing he had killed him, that he had gotten his revenge.

Now...he didn't know what to think or do anymore. What had happened that night, it had changed him deeply and defined most of what he was today... and it was all a lie. If Roland had only told him the truth, things might have turned out differently. He might have gotten the help he needed back there (even though he wouldn't have wanted it), he could have healed somewhat, maybe even be happy in the end. Now, all those years he spent in the dark, harassed by the belief that he had killed someone, suddenly became meaningless. All his pain had not even been real...

He was tired, so very tired of trying to keep going forward, to try and make sense of everything that happened to him. What for? He had nothing, never had anything. Everyone took everything away from him so long ago. He had kept going because what other choice did he have? He had been forced to endured so much, now that he had made it through (even if he had gave up any will to live long ago) it would have been pointless to stop there. So he had kept on going, simply because killing himself now would really be pointless. Maybe, in a way, he had tried to make sense of it all, find a reason to keep living, make it all worthwhile. But that hadn't been the case. There was just no logic in it, no greater design, no reward for making it through and no light at the end of it all. And after all of this, he spent half his life bearing the guilt of something he hadn't even done. He had had way more than enough...

So then...what now?

Anzu had been slightly annoyed when she woke up and found that Kaiba had left the apartment, although she couldn't say that she was surprised. The former CEO had a habit of running away from her after opening up and last night had been something. In a way, she was kind of glad to have some time alone to ponder over the whole ordeal. Kaiba had shared with her things he had never told anyone, even Mokuba didn't know most of the things Kaiba confided to her. And she wasn't sure what to do with that knowledge, she wasn't sure if there was something she could do. She had always thought of Kaiba as one of the strongest people she knew for making it through everything life threw at him and coming out on top of it all. But that wasn't the case, he had been tied down and forcefully dragged through all of it long after he gave up the will of fighting, even after he lost the will to live altogether. To the point where even now, almost ten years later, that will had not came back.

She wasn't sure if there was even a way to recover from such a thing. His past had been slowly suffocating him from the inside for years. She had thought that she could help him. But, he was starting to lose it, she could see it, he wasn't able to deal with all those emotions face on. She actually feared that by trying to help him, she had only hastened his path of destruction. She was afraid, for herself, for him and for everyone around him.

She signed as she poured herself some of Kaiba's left over coffee, somewhat reassured that the brunet wasn't in such a hurry to leave that he took the time to make coffee...and that he was still functional enough to actually make it. She heard the door of the apartment opening and closing and wondered who it would be, not many people had access to this place. Her interrogations quickly turned to a pleased surprised when she turned around and saw Kaiba standing behind her in the entrance of the kitchen.

"You're still here." She said, smiling. "For a moment I was afraid I'd have to go all the way back to Japan to find you."

Without answering, Kaiba closed the distance between them and pulled her tightly against him as he kissed her. Anzu could feel instantly that something was...different. For the first time, she felt no hesitation, no holding back from him. She felt that, right now, she was the only thing on his mind and it was unsettling. Usually, whenever he was with her, he was usually on his guard and hesitant or acted defiantly, as if he was rebelling against something. But right now he was with her and her alone. She couldn't help but push away slightly to ask if he was alright. When She looked up at him, he was smiling lightly. She could see on his face and in his eyes just how tired and confused he was at that moment, yet, below all of that, for the first time, he appeared to be at peace.

"Probably not." He said, chuckling lightly before kissing her again. "But better than I've been in a while."

So, what's behind this strange switch with Kaiba. Actually, I had hoped to make this longer and go a little farther into things. However, the school year caught up with me and unfortunately I'm left with very little time to myself.

That being said, I have an IMPORTANT ANNONCEMENT: I have my certification examination coming up in less than 3 months (you know, those freakishly long 600 questions exam that decide if you get your diploma or not) This, adding to the fact that all my classes are now exclusively trainning courses that span from like 7:30 am to 6pm with addition of evenings and weekend shift. I am currently either at school, studying for my certification or sleeping. Therefore, I will not be updating again before my exam, which is at the end of november. Don't worry, I WILL finish this story, but right now, I need to concentrate my energy elsewhere.