Title: A is for Aftermath
Couple(s): Yusei Fudo x Aki Izayoi, Tetsu Ushio x Mikage Sagiri
POV: Aki Izayoi
Language: Medium
Maturity: Medium
Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's


"Why love if losing hurts so much? We love to know that we are not alone."

- C.S Lewis


This is what it feels like when the thought that you may never see your loved one again dawns on you: the pit of your stomach turns to stone, while your muscles freeze as though the tissue had been exposed to frozen air. Your heart begins to race, as does your mind. Your throat seals itself shut, even as you try to cry out their name. Fear breathes down your neck like a terrible monster with sharp, hideous teeth.

I coughed violently, and fell to my knees as the excess of thick, black smoke burned my throat. I remembered being taught in school safety that if you were in the midst of a fire, you should get down and crawl to avoid toxic fumes from killing you. I briefly wondered though, would it be better to suffocate from the fumes, or to burn in the flames? I didn't have time to think about it.

I wanted so badly to run back and look for him; I didn't care if he told me to get out and run. I couldn't bear to think of losing him, and it was already hard enough to leave him in his heated duel with Placido, even under his orders. If he died in this hell of a burning furnace, then I don't think I, myself could go one living.

"Is anyone there!?" cried out a male voice from far ahead of me. His words seemed to blur muddily together. I lifted my head slightly and narrowed my eyes as I looked ahead into the mix of crimson flames and black smoke. I could see no one, but I heard the voice cry out again, "Please, I'm here to help you!"

At this point, I recognized this person's voice as Ushio's, so I mustered up all of the remaining strength within me and replied, "Ushio-san, I'm over here." My voice cracked and wavered, but I knew that he heard me as a clatter of footsteps came my way. I then realized that my vision had become blurry as the security officer came into sight, blacks and greens and browns all swirling together like ink when water had been spilled on it...

I stifled a yawn.

"Aki!" he said in surprise, as he scooped me up into his arms. "Don't you worry, I'm gonna get you outta' here, don't you worry..." I looked up into his face, which still looked like mush to me. I could barely make out the scar upon his cheek. 'Idiot,' I thought to myself as he started to clamor through the agonizing heat. 'He probably ran into the burning building recklessly to impress Mikage.'

I shortly passed out after this, and didn't come to until I could hear the sirens of ambulances and firetrucks in the distance. My eyes twitched, but I didn't dare open them; I feared what I would see, I feared what others would tell me... I clenched the ground beneath me, feeling the fresh dirt collect under my finger nails. Then, all reality came rushing back like a brisk slap in the face: my throat moaned with thirst, and my head was pounding with a powerful beat. I could taste coppery blood in my mouth, and I became very aware of every ache in my being, including my wrist, which I felt was broken.

"Oi! Mikage, it looks like she's waking up!"

"Oh, thank God!"

Mikage and Jack's voices hovered above me, and despite my sincere desire not to, I opened my eyes. The first thing that came in to focus was Mikage's honey irises, then the rest of her, and then Jack. I groaned and tried to sit up, but not before pain shot up my left arm. Mikage bit her lip and touched my shoulder very tenderly, easing me back down to the earth.

"The ambulance will be here soon, Aki-san, just wait a little bit longer. You're going to be fine, Ushio-san saved you..." I stared at her blankly; she blinked and looked up to Jack, who shrugged in response. I shut my watery eyes for a moment and sighed. I could feel my stomach churning uneasily, and I knew I was unsettled because of one thing.

Swallowing, I opened my dry, cracked lips to speak, "Where's Yusei?" Mikage gasped.

"I-I'm sorry, we haven't managed to find him..." Although I almost expected her to say such, it felt like everything in my world had suddenly come crashing down, like all the stars in the sky had actually fallen. My blood ran cold, and I felt like vomiting. If they hadn't located him by now, then he was gone, burned in the flames...

My shooting star was gone.

"No..."

I sat up for a second time, this time paying no attention to the sores in my body; I was too numb to feel, anyway.

"No..."

Mikage tried to lay me back down again, but I pushed her away with the what little strength I had. I staggered to my feet, my eyes widening as I saw the burning holocaust before me. The whole building was engulfed in flames, as if the entire warehouse was part of an unearthly bonfire. The smoke was smeared across the blue sky, and almost gave the impression of an oncoming storm.

I realized that I was shaking, and I felt someone put their hand on my shoulder. I glanced backward, and realized the person was Crow, still dressed in his delivery uniform--perhaps because he might have ditched out on his daily duties when received word that disaster had struck. I bit the bottom of my lip gently, and studied his features for a moment; the criminal marks on his face, his dull, gray eyes, his plain lips, which were curved downward in a frown. It was plain to see that he was worried, (more than worried, actually) yet he said to me calmly, "I still have faith that he's alive."

I couldn't tell whether he was lying or not. His voice was flat, almost dead.

I shook my head and fell to my knees. I wanted to beg him to pinch me, just for the reassurance that this all wasn't real, that this was just some terrible nightmare; that I would wake up and roll over to see Yusei beside me, sleeping soundly. And I could scoot closer to him, and then a little closer, and kiss the tip of his nose, so that I would no for sure that this was all fake, a fabrication of my subconsciousness.

Reality is unkind, though.

"Do... Do you really think so?" I asked Crow quietly, pathetically really. He stared at me silently, but gave no answer. I shut my eyes and felt burning hot tears start to build up. So he really was dead; everyone else was just feeding me sweet words of hope, lies in order to keep me from breaking down.

Why was I stupid enough to fall in love with him in the first place? I'm positive that if I hadn't, this, this feeling right now, wouldn't hurt so much; it wouldn't wouldn't feel like my heart had just been ripped out of my chest, it wouldn't feel like the whole world as I knew it had just fallen apart... I start to sob, silently, before I heard shouts and cries of awe ripple like a wave through the assortment of people behind me. I looked up.

And there he was.

His hair and clothes were singed, parts of his skin were burnt and black. His eyes were watery from the smoke, and forehead was dashed with a streak of blood, looking almost as if it had been painted on. But he was there.

And he was alive.

He stopped. And smiled. The edges of cobalt blue eyes softened mercifully, as if he had expected to find me in this state, battered and broken; just like when he first met me. I sat there motionlessly for a moment, shaking uncontrollably as I stared up at him, wondering if he was real, or just a figment of my imagination. Yet, the words tasted so sweet in my mouth, 'He is alive, he is alive, he is alive.'

Now I just had to know for sure.

Bringing myself back to my feet, I stumbled forward, and he accepted me with open arms. 'Oh God,' I thought as his arms encircled my waist protectively, like a robe, 'He really is alive.' I cupped his cheek and kissed him; it didn't matter that the entire Security force was watching, or half of the whole damn city for that matter. He was here, and he was OK.

Yusei remained despondent for a moment, but he soon kissed me too. And then again. And then again. And then again, until I briefly wondered whether the spectators behind us were starting to feel awkward. I imagined all their faces for a moment, assigning everyone some sort of reaction, one by one by one... Mikage was beaming, Crow was smirking with his arms crossed, Ushio was whining because he wished Mikage would kiss him like that, and Jack vomiting behind a bush. Yes, that sounded appropriate.

I felt as though my heart would burst, I was so relieved. It felt as though the whole ordeal was some sort of miracle, like heaven had opened its gates and poured out the blessing of life (or rather, the continuity of one.) And his affection made it all real, assured me that I was standing on real soil, that I was kissing a real man.

Perhaps, it was a miracle.

"Excuse me," said a deep voice a strong arm rudely pried my lover and I apart. I blinked and glared at the man, a firefighter whom had arrived on the scene a few minutes ago, "but we're evacuating the area. The fire is spreading, and the smoke has grown to pernicious levels." Yusei nodded in understanding, and taking my hand, lead me away. I noticed he was limping, much like myself. Mikage, Ushio, Crow, and Jack rushed to greet us.

"God, Yusei, you really are immortal," mentioned Ushio jokingly, although Mikage gently elbowed him in the ribs, warning him to be serious.

"There's an ambulance here, waiting to take you two," explained the blue-haired woman as her partner slipped away, dejected. Her eyes then fell to us, her lips pursed together, looking amazed. "It's incredible that you two are even standing; a normal human being could not endure such... injuries without constraint." Jack suddenly laughed.

"Unfortunately, they're not normal human beings," he added in amusement. Mikage blushed, realizing her error. Yusei only tightened his grip on my hand, and smiled at the woman sympathetically.

"Don't worry, Mikage-san, Aki and I will be sure to allow the medics to examine us." He said this with his usual, nonchalant demeanor, as if there wasn't really a burning hell behind him, as if he had simply forgotten that he had escaped it. Mikage stared at us incredulously as we walked toward the ambulance, and we could hear Jack and Crow break out in laughter again.

"You know, Ushio is right in a sense," I said aloud, looking at Yusei. "You're like a cat; you have nine lives." He chuckled and leaned over to kiss me on the cheek.

"I have a reason to live."


Comments: fhjghiue REVERSE ORDER. I don't know, does anyone else find it ironic that the first chapter of this story is called "Aftermath?" Whatever.

Um, I feel like such a thief. Artemis Ignitan (Excellent writer, by the way, you should read their works) also did an ABC type of thing. But I didn't steal. I swear. I've wanted to do an ABC fic for awhile now. Um...

Also, this is super cheesy, but I so do not care because I need a little cheesy crap in my life right now. Mmm, delicious. Oh, and by "Not a normal human being", I meant that they're signers, and therefore immune to death. (I'm sarcastic, obviously. It's just that the Signers have found themselves in situations that they would have normally died in, except they didn't.)

Reviews are love. So if you love me, review. If you don't love me, review anyway.