Lucarly: Wow, I'm persistent.
Aki: Yeah. . .Writing about a couple that doesn't exist anymore.
Lucarly: Oh, hush. It's still my favorite, though I enjoy throwing JaCarly and UshiMikage in the mix.
Aki: Whatever you say. . .Lucarly does not own Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's.
The red operation light flashed on as soon as Ushio's broken body entered the room, leaving all of us behind to wait. Mikage, his female partner in the special cases field, as well as my former secretary, gently let her eyelids fall over her honey irises as she let out an inaudible sigh. It was clear as daylight to me that she was guilty; that she was blaming herself for the matter at hand. Such was in her nature to immediately assume everything was her fault. Two years of living with her taught me that.
Yusei and Crow exchanged glances, unsure of what to say or do. They knew this was a delicate situation, and that Mikage was a very sensitive woman. One wrong sentence could send her spiraling into a breakdown. However, they wanted answers. We all wanted answers. I cast my male comrades a quick glance before stepping forward and approaching Mikage.
"Why did you tell Ushio to do something like this?" I asked as quietly and tenderly as possible. She made eye contact with me for a moment before looking away shamefully. I kicked myself inwardly. I had only said ten words, yet I had already screwed everything up.
"He. . .He didn't think we should ask you for anymore chose to do this on his own," she began softly before closing her eyes once again in an attempt to fight the oncoming tears. "It's. . .all my fault."
There. She had openly stated it was her fault. She was wrongfully taken the blame as she usually did. Mikage paused for a moment before wandering over to the bench and sitting down, crossing her ankles and setting her hands on her lap.
"You should head home. It's late. Some sleep would do you all good." Her eyes were fixed on the ground as she said, unable to bear looking up at our faces. Yusei and Crow suddenly looked at me expectantly. I realized they were laying the decision of what to do on me. Why, I didn't know. Yusei was usually the one who made the decisions. He had the most reason out of all of us, what with Crow and I usually being the hot-headed ones. So why was I now left with responsibility?
I cast a quick glance at Mikage, who was still looking rather pained.
"It's. . .all my fault."
Something touched my heart. I couldn't leave her like this. Most people learned to pick themselves up after a mistake, after an unfortunate accident. Not her. She bound her own arms and legs by an uncuttable rope and threw herself into deep waters, wallowing and drowning in black, sticky guilt. It hurt me to watch. As much as I hated to admit it, my heart did care for the older woman. It was a relatively new thing, as she had before tended to be a nuisance who always worried herself over me.
But several months of separation makes you think. She, in truth, did a lot for me. She took a lot of risks for me. She put her career on hot-waters for me. She even put herself in dangerous, perhaps even life-threatening situations for me.
She truly cared about me; even when no one else did. Of course, I kept this information to myself for our own sake.
"You two go back; I'm going to stay here a bit longer," I said only so they could hear. They nodded and quickly left, leaving and Mikage and myself behind. Alone. She cast her tired gaze up at me, giving me a weak smile. I had a feeling that it was fake, however. I had seen a few of her true smiles before--and this wasn't one of them.
"You don't have to stay here to keep me company; I'll be fine," she insisted. I shook my head. Lies.
"No, you won't be fine." She looked mildly surprised as I sat beside me, folding my arms. I could feel her golden eyes on me for a moment, studying me. She soon looked away however, her fists clenching the ends of her skirt. My lip twitched. I had expected her to perhaps open up to me after my bold statement, but she was actually setting up more barriers. This was going to take some more convincing on my part; which is bad, since I'm not exactly great with words.
I slowly unwound my arms to reach out to touch her hand. I could see her muscles immediately tense at my contact. This was new territory for both of us, and it was a bit frightening. We were never intimate friends; we were two people thrown together by Godwin, forced to be side-by-side all day, everyday for two years. I was her King, she was my servant. I was her master, she was my mistress. I was her superior, she was my secretary.
But then came my conscience's reminder; through the thick of it all, we learned to care about each other. Her before I, but it happened anyway. Time seemed to slow down ever-so-slightly as she blinked and made direct eye contact with me for the second time. I could see her eyes were still glossy with unshed tears.
"Tell me. . .What are you feeling?"
"I can see that."
She looked away.
"It's my fault." I pursed my lips, irritated with her persistence in taking the blame. I forced the cracks between her fingers open so I could slip my own fingers through, lacing our hands together. Suddenly, the irrelevant thought of betrayal came to my mind. What I was doing implied romantic interest. But I loved Carley. Not Mikage. Still, I waived the thought away to continued with my endeavors.
"No, it's not. You said so yourself that he chose to do this on his own," I reminded. She broke eye contact with me, glancing up at the operation light. I gritted my teeth slightly. She was impossible.
"But I-" she began before I cut her off in my own frustration.
"-Dammit Mikage, stop doing this shit to yourself. You're an agent of the Special Investigation Team. People. Get. Hurt. And it's not always your damn fault," I hissed through clenched teeth. Her eyes widened slightly at my use of strong language, and it wasn't long before the tears she had been fighting were rolling down her peachy cheeks. The fact that she was actually crying both shocked me and made me feel guilty. In all my years of spending time with her, I had never seen her actually cry. Plenty of times had I seen her dejected eyes fill with the salty water, but I had never seen it spill.
Her tears were silent (And I silently thanked God for that because it would've been more painful for me to watch if she were moaning), and I could tell she was thinking about what I had said. I felt the urge to wipe her wet cheeks dry as her mascara began to run, but the feeling of betrayal to Carley came again, so I resisted.
"I-I don't want him to die. I care about him, I really do. I-I. . ." Her voice trailed off. I wondered for a brief moment if she was going to say that she loved him, but she seemed to be withholding the confession from me. It was understandable. Love tended to a private emotion, only shared with those you truly trusted. Yet, I couldn't help but feel that wasn't the reason. That there was something else holding her back.
"He'll live," I insisted plainly. She lifted her free hand and gently wiped away the fallen tears off of her face.
"You think?" she inquired.
"I know," I clarified, nodding. She stared at me blankly for a brief moment before letting a small, genuine smile graced her pink lips. She leaned against my shoulder, tightening her grip on my hand.
"I don't care what others think or say about you. . .You're a good person," she said softly still smiling. It was then that realization dawned on me. She didn't just care about me, she loved me. She loved me like how Carley loved me.
. . .
I glanced up at the ceiling, sighing inwardly. And this entire time, I thought she loved Ushio. . .
Then came my second revelation. She loved us both. She was in love with two people. The thought fascinated me, to be in love with two people. It made me wonder, did I love her too? Did I love both Mikage and Carley?
I glanced down at Mikage, her eyelids drooping lazily as sleep was beginning to consume her. I bit my lip. To love someone was to care for them unconditionally, to desire to be with them every waking moment, to be willing to give up your life for them. I suddenly let out a sigh of relief.
No. I didn't love her. I cared deeply for her, but I didn't love her. But then came the question: Was I falling in love with her?
Lucarly: I know, it's kind of an odd point to end a story. But it leaves it open for readers to think.
Aki: Nobody likes that.
Lucarly: I do.
Aki: Everyone besides you.
Lucarly: Eh, whatever. Reviews are love. So if you love me, review. If you don't love me, review anyway.