Lucarly: Request for akiza50, 1st place winner of the Unique Pairing Boost. I first and foremost must apologize to all those who are waiting on their requests from me, but I've been terribly busy as of late, and it won't be improving much since school starts on Monday. . .

Aki: You load yourself up way too much.

Lucarly: That I do. But I'll try to get a lot done before the weekend ends. I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's

Dead Air

The sky was blanketed with a thick layer of gray, concealing all traces of the reflected blue and the sun that resided in it. The atmosphere was polluted with a thin fog that dulled the senses, although visibility wasn't completely terrible. To top it all off, there was a light snow--which wasn't actually a bad thing. The falling ice crystals with their complex patterns and designs were the only beautiful portion of the dreary weather.

I pulled my coat around me closer and shivered. I wasn't sure what the exact temperature was, but it was below freezing, I was sure of it; only such a degree of cold could bring the horribly numb feeling in my fingertips. Yet, I pressed on; Aki had requested that I meet her in the park, and I had agreed to do so. Why she had asked of it, I didn't know. But the sense of urgency and hurt in her voice from over the telephone indicated that it was serious; I had even, much to Jack and Crow's chagrin, dropped my work on developing the D-Wheel engine just to see her.

I rubbed my eyes irritably, feeling them start to grow dry from the freezing weather. I started formulating a plan in my head to perhaps offer buying Aki cup of coffee in order to escape the cold. Then I remembered Aki hated the strong taste of coffee, (I'm not exactly a fan myself) so I dismissed the idea. I heaved a heavy sigh, watching the white steam from my hot breath quickly dissipate as left my mouth. How much farther could the park be?

Then I saw her, waiting patiently under the entrance. She was dressed in red, her favorite color, with her hands tucked in her coat's pockets to prevent them from being frostbitten. She leaned up against the pole, her eyes closed and her head hung low as if she were hiding herself from the world. The odd thought that perhaps that was what she was trying to do struck me. Even so, it simply couldn't be done; she stood out against the grays and whites of Winter with the vivid colors of Autumn. The picturesque scene suddenly became depressing, its image flaunting the poor, uninvited season as it tried to lie dormant in another.

"Hey," I said, approaching her fully from the front. Her eyelids lifted, and she slolwy rose her amber irises up to mine. Her whites were bloodshot, and the tender skin around her eyes was a light pink; she had been crying.

"Hey," she replied weakly. An unnerving silence fell from that point, drowning out all other sounds from the city, leaving nothing but an imaginary ringing in my ears as the dead air hung above us. I pursed my lips, and considered I should say; yet the idea of words seemed oddly blasphemous in the disturbing quiet. So much as an audible breath would shatter the world we had entered. So, I merely gestured to a nearby bench.

She followed my lead and we sat together, though I made sure to keep a respectable distance from the fellow Signer; I wasn't sure what had her so upset, but I didn't want to do anything that could set her off. The minutes stretched between us as we sat quietly, watching the snow fall gently to the cold pavement. I was tempted to reach out and catch one of the flakes on my finger, perhaps even my tongue, but something within me forced me to resist.

"I had a fight with my parents," she said finally, rendering the fragile glass that was the silence into nothing but a pile of fine dust. I only looked at her, expecting that she'd continue. "I wanted to drop out of Duel Academy, again. They wouldn't let me."

Of course they wouldn't. They had a hard enough time enrolling her in the school for a second time. So I understood where the senator and his wife were coming from. However, I couldn't pass any sort of judgement until Aki had explained her reasons for wanting to take her leave.

"Why ever would you want to do that? You have perfect grades, and you're at the top of your class. You'll graduate with high honors, and you'll probably receive fantastic recommendations for the Pro-League." Aki looked unfazed upon hearing my praise, her brow remaining slanted downward. I feared that another quiet spell would be cast, but luckily, Aki cleared her throat to speak.

"I hate it there. I hate the looks I receive. People know who I am, who I was. I can hear them whispering behind my back, gossiping. Very few have the courage to even speak with me like a normal human being. To them, I am . . ." She paused, her eyes filling with a fresh batch of tears. "Unforgiven."

I suppose I should have expected this sort of thing. Though Aki's name had long ago been cleared since her part in ceasing the destruction of the cities, no, the world, the judgemental minds of youth was relentless. It was a case of maturity and immaturity. And even Aki herself wasn't completely mature--she was still young and sensitive about the matter of her past. Which would explain her rash decision to try and drop out of school once again.

"But, Aki. . .You are forgiven," I began, hesitantly reaching out to touch her hand. She winced upon my contact, but said nothing in protest. "By Ruka, by Rua, by Mikage, by Crow. . .everyone. Including myself."

"Your circle of friends is not everyone," she said bitterly, refusing to look at me directly in the eyes. It was a sign of fear, and that she wasn't willing to stand up to it. I pursed my lips and tightened my grip on her hand.

"It is everyone who cares about you, in addition to your parents. They don't want you to drop out because they know that your education is important. Do you realize that you have such an amazing advantage over duelist like Jack, Crow, and I? Duelists that never had the opportunity to attend an academy? Graduating practically ensures you a place in the Pro-League, while those duelists who were never gifted with the opportunity have to fight for so little as a chance. So don't waste your future away just because the people who don't love you are unforgiving." Aki lifted her head slightly as I finished, her dim eyes staring aimlessly ahead of her.

"Love. . ." She whispered the word as if it were a sacred gem, which in truth, it was. Finally, her lips bloomed gracefully into a smile, melting the icy, melancholic aura around around. In fact, it's warmth was enough to touch my heart; this was her real happiness, glowing in all of its magnificent glory. The thought helped me to smile myself.

"Yusei. . .Thank you." What she did next was unexpected; cupping my cheek, she pressed her chilled lips against mine in an expression of her gratitude. Or perhaps it was love itself that drove her to do it; after all, the tidings of the heart were one of the most, if not the most, powerful force in the human mind. Whatever her reason was, I kissed her back, though I was sure my part was out of love for her. It was true, my feelings for the young woman, as appropriate or inappropriate as it was, extended beyond the name of friendship. It had been for awhile now.

She broke the kiss, and blushed shyly as I showed her my sincerest smile, a subtle hint of my deepest affections. I then stood and she followed as I clutched her hand with my own.

"Come on, I'll walk you home." she nodded as we started off, making our way through the snow and fog together. As rude as it might've been, I glanced at my watch; Jack and Crow were going to kill me. Well, Jack would at least. Crow would forget about my late absence if I shared the details of my rather intimate moment with Aki. Although, I didn't particularly care to divulge the fact that we had kissed to either of them.

I allowed Aki to lace her fingers through mine.

Especially when I had yet to tell her how I felt; which I would, in due time. But for now, I'll have to wait.


Lucarly: Yay for ending in odd places.

Aki: You're a failure.

Lucarly: Well. . .the detail was nice. Reviews are love. So if you love me, review. If you don't love me, review anyway.