Chapter 5: Anzu
Come little children now follow me home
Not a one of you need worry.
Come little children the time's come to roam
Follow me now, please hurry.
Anzu sat on the edge of her hotel bed, frowning. There was so much to worry about. Her kids, whom she had left in the care of a very competent baby sitter (whose father just happened to be a Domino policeman, you can't take chances when it comes to the safety of your children), but that seemed like a minor issue compared to Bakura's demand. Wake Atem? It wasn't possible!
Though they had argued with Bakura about it, it was all in vain. It was that or get their lives systematically destroyed, piece by piece. He had set a 'due date' for when they were to ship off to Egypt, and had left them without another word. It had taken the group a while to settle down, but once they did a plan was hatched. Yugi took the lead as he had so many years before, and they had decided under 'mutual agreement' (which to Anzu meant everyone agreeing with whatever Yugi said was best)that they would stay in a hotel together in Downtown Domino City until the set date when they would all go to Egypt, under Seto Kaiba's funding, of course. At first he had refused to have any part in it, but with a little coaxing from Yugi (and Ishizu) he begrudgingly agreed.
Yugi. It had been so long since she had seen him, and now all of the sudden there he was, back in her life again. And it didn't help that they were about to wake Atem. She shook her head, feeling guilty just thinking about the old spirit.
She jumped as a faint knock on the door startled her out of her deep thought. "Uh, come in." She stammered. Her already beating heart sped up when she saw the oh so familiar spiky hair slide through the door frame. Quietly, so as not to arouse the others who were obviously already sleeping, he shut the door behind him. The carpet swished slightly underneath his feet as he shifted the side to side, trying to come to a decision on what to do with himself. Anzu just stared back at him.
They stayed like that for a while, Yugi feeling too awkward to start conversation and Anzu feeling too hostile to say anything to him. Deep down, she knew she wasn't really mad at him, but herself. She still kept up the annoyed façade, however. Finally she sighed, having lost her inner battle to stay cold and angry, and patted the space next to her "Just sit." He obeyed, despite her unwelcoming tone.
It was awkward again for a moment, then Yugi broke the silence. "I'm sorry for the way things turned out."
She snorted with obvious disbelief. "No you're not."
"How do you know?"
The hint of spite in his voice caught her off guard, and she whipped her head around to look at him. He was still looking at the ground, but hit eyebrows were pulled together in frustration. Anzu wasn't used to Yugi being even the slighted bit annoyed, and for some reason this angered her. She recovered from her shock and shot back, "I was your wife for sixteen years, and there are some things I just know."
"I don't think you do."
"Yes. That's just an excuse."
"An excuse for what?"
"For being wrong."
"Oh, I see. Yugi, the big bad King of Games can't possibly be wrong about someone else's feelings! No, he knows everything!"
To that he said nothing, only sighed. He mumbled something that she didn't quite catch.
"Excuse me?" she demanded.
"I said, I'm sorry I'm not Atem." This caught her completely off guard, to the point of losing her angry demeanor entirely. She couldn't see his eyes, for they were covered by his wild lightning bolt bangs, but she could see the frown upon his lips.
"Wh…What?" Anzu whispered.
"I know that it was really him you wanted, not me. I pretended for years to believe that you and he were never… involved…but the evidence was there all along. I should have just faded away when I had the chance…" his voice broke on the last word, and Anzu could see the tears run down his face.
To this, Anzu had nothing to say. It was true that she hadn't really thought about Yugi as more than a friend until he had started acting different. And then they had realized that it was a spirit, not Yugi whose actions she had fallen for ever so slightly. But, once Atem had left, she had really fallen for Yugi. His experience with Atem had left him more confident, collected, and even braver then he was before.
She hadn't left him because she hadn't loved him. She left because she thought he didn't love her.
He stiffened, not expecting this to be her answer.
"I may have loved him first," she admitted, "but I love you now. More than I ever loved him."
He turned to look at her, not quite believing her, but she was soon to convince him otherwise. Without giving him time to think, and barely thinking herself, she leaned in quickly and kissed him. As their lips pressed together, they soon forgot all of the animosity that had built between them, and before they really knew what was happening they had fallen into bed together for the first time in forever.
The hallways were not silent tonight.
For Marik, it was a night like any other. He was unable to sleep, so he trudged silently through the halls, trying to find something to occupy his mind with that was anything but the current situation. Naturally, he was used to the quietness of the dark expanse. However, tonight there was a small noise at the end of his hearing that kept distracting him. Faint moans and the faint uttering of pleasure that those who spoke them expected to be private drifted through the air. But in their state of bliss they neglected to keep their voices down enough, and the pleasured noises bothered Marik.
As he passed the doors, he could name off whom was with whom inside. Joey and Mai in this one, Being obnoxiously loud and not caring at all. Anzu and Yugi in that one, trying to be quiet but slipping up every now and then with a loud moan. He paused in front of their door only a moment, contemplating how they had barely spoken all that day, Anzu had even refused to sit next to him in the ride over, and now they were obviously over years of stress and hurt.
But what stopped him in his tracks, what froze him to the soft carpet and made him a statue, was when he heard his sister utter, "mmmSeto." In an instant all of his feelings of loneliness and loss rushed back to him. He felt slightly sick. It was all he could do to force himself away from the room his sister and her husband were in. Marik felt better once away, but still not satisfied. After a while more of roaming, he figured it best to go back to his room and at least lie on his bed, even if he knew he wasn't going to sleep.
When he flicked the lights on in his room he grunted, for the sudden change in illumination hurt his eyes slightly. After his sight had adjusted, he noticed for the first time the bottle on his bed containing a dark liquid that was very familiar. He crossed the space, and picked up the wine. Attached to the neck of the bottle by some fancy ribbon was a note that read To Mr. Kiaba's esteemed guest, sincerely the Staff.
It was really a shame to let this go to waste, and he was feeling down anyway, so Marik decided to have some. Or, maybe all of it. He looked at the brand and year, and his face fell slightly. It had to be a coincidence; there was no way the staff could have known…
Coincidence or not, Marik knew that there was no way he could drink this now. At lease, he couldn't drink it alone. He flicked off the lights when he left, alcohol in hand, to find the one person he needed to see.
Ryou sat in the 'living room' that they all shared. This particular hotel's top floor had been made specifically so that Seto could have a large amount of guests in separate rooms and they could all talk to each other in one shared living room area. It was quite comfortable, but Ryou was ill at ease despite this. He frowned, thinking more of the bad thoughts that usually plagued his mind these days. But he did count his few comforts. He was sitting in a chair, for instance. He propped his face up on one hand, his elbow resting on the table beside him. He jumped a little when the bottle of alcohol was placed in front of his face. He sat up and looked at who had set it there, and smiled weakly when he saw who it was. "Marik." He greeted.
"Ryou." He nodded to the bottle. "You want to share it with me?"
It was hard to believe from the staleness of their conversation that that two had once been good friends. They had bonded over their mutual loneliness and torment of being possessed by evil demons. Ryou popped the cork out and looked at the label on the wine. "Hmm, good year."
"Don't give me that, you and I both know that this is your favorite." Marik still knew him after all this time. Perhaps 'good friends' was an understatement. For three years they were the best of friends, almost inseparable, and one of their favorite things to do was drink. Drown their troubles and wake up with a hangover so bad that you couldn't get out of bed until noon.
"You never forgot?" Ryou cocked and eyebrow.
"I'd never forget my only friend."
"Don't give me that, you had more friends than I ever did."
Marik shook his head as he motioned for the bottle and took a swig. "It only seemed that way."
Ryou blinked. "What's on your soul?"
Marik chuckled at their old inside joke. The phrase had come from the fact that they both had someone controlling their minds, and their minds weren't really theirs. Their souls, however, could never be taken away from them. The feelings in their souls were theirs, no matter what anyone else said.
"They all left." He passed Ryou the bottle.
"Care to elaborate on that?"
"Ishizu left me first. Ran off with the 'love of her life' Kaiba." He frowned and motioned for the bottle, which Ryou readily handed to him. He sighed and looked at the bottle, swirling the dark liquid inside.
"What's so wrong with love?"
"It wasn't that. I felt good for her that she had found someone at least halfway worthwhile." They both laughed half heartedly at that. "No, it was that… she never spoke to me again. Not even a wedding invitation. It was like she had just dropped off the face of the planet. It didn't even know that they were engaged until I saw the wedding announcement in the paper. The newspaper, Ryou! How pathetic is that?" he didn't wait for an answer before continuing, but even so, Ryou had no answer to give. "And then Odion left. At least I had seen Ishizu's desertion coming. He was just there one day when I went to work, and when I came home…" he couldn't say. It was too painful. He gathered his strength with a deep breath and another sip of wine. "For the first time in my life," he continued slowly, "I was alone. Completely and utterly alone."
This caught Marik off guard. He looked up at his white haired companion, slightly shocked. "What?"
"I said, not true. This kind of thing, it's what friends are for Marik. I told you, you could always come to me."
"It was years after we last saw each other…"
"Doesn't matter. I would have come to you."
It was quiet as they gazed at each other for a minute, than Marik smiled. "I'll remember that."
Both were silent again for a minute, the wine passed back to Ryou. Then, with a half snort, half chuckle, Ryou said, "What about Yugi's gang?"
They looked at each other and burst into laughter. Like Yugi and his friends would really help! Both Marik and Ryou knew that they were never trusted again by them. Sure, they had tried, but both boys could tell right from the beginning that it was never going to work for them. They always received the little sideways glance that said, 'I'm still not sure if you're going to go crazy psycho and murder me right now.'
It took a while for them to calm down after that one, but eventually they got back into their thoughtful, depressed mode. "Still," Ryou said, seemingly out of the blue, "It's better to have someone leave then be taken from you."
So it came back to Rina again. Marik couldn't help but wonder if he would be as faithful as Ryou, if he had gotten married and had a child. Yes, he supposed. I believe that I would go to the ends of the earth for someone I loved. Isn't that what family is supposed to do?
"I met Rina."
"That thing inside her is not my daughter."
"No, not Bakura. Rina."
Ryou turned to look at him so fast he almost spilled the wine. "What? Bakura let her out?" Why, how?"
At this Marik frowned. What was he going to say, 'I met her because I almost slept with her'? No, no, no. If he knew, Ryou would kill him. Literally.
"He, um, let her out after he was done telling me… to come here..."
Ryou seemed not to notice the lie, probably because he was getting drunk. Marik was just thankful that he was still sober enough to form a lie. Ryou smiled and said, "She's great, isn't she?"
Marik nodded. "Yeah, really nice. If I had a daughter, I would hope she would be like Rina."
Ryou gave Marik a friendly punch on the shoulder, though he actually hit Marik harder then he meant to because the alcohol was making him loose his senses.
They continued in this way until they ran out of wine, then stumbled back to their respective rooms, drunk as could be, before passing out on the nearest piece of furniture.
That morning, no one was on time for breakfast.
All the men had five o'clock shadow, for none of them were awake enough to shave that morning. Marik and Bakura both stumbled in late with a headache from their hangovers. Seto and Joey were sleepy but satisfied, Joey sporting a big goofy grin while Seto was simply more agreeable than usual, though he never smiled. Yugi was practically dizzy with joy over his night.
The women had tried to comb out their bed heads and cover the dark spots under their eyes with makeup, but it did little good for they still looked half dead.
They greeted each other groggily, stumbling about to get breakfast or slumping into chairs around the breakfast table in the first floor dining area. It was mostly quiet afterwards, with the couples shooting each other bashful looks, the kind of glance that people exchange when sharing an inside joke.
When they seated themselves at the table, the couples sat together, attempting discretion. It was not necessary, however, for the only ones not playing footsie under the table or letting their hands wander into their partner's lap were Marik and Ryou. They were holding their water glasses to their heads to try and calm the throbbing from their hangovers.
Rina was restless. She moved about her soul room endlessly, unless she was sleeping. Her feet padded a continuous disjointed rhythm on the hard white floor. Often, she glanced sideways at Bakura, wondering about him, how someone could just be so evil.
At the moment, she could hear nothing from him, and that unsettled her. It was unusual for Bakura not to make some kind of noise, laugh evilly or sneer at her. Now he didn't even move.
Curious by nature, she slowly crept closer behind him. He was sitting cross legged in front of the mirror, and she could see the faint reflection on the surface of the glass that separated the two of them from the scenery behind it.
"Bakura?" she managed to whisper.
She got no reply. His eyes were closed and his head drooped slightly, almost as if he was sleeping. This made her slightly worried, for he had not yet slept the entire time he had been inside her head. Tentatively, she stretched out a hand.
"Bakura?" She asked again, a little louder. Still, he did not stir. Her outstretched hand trembled slightly as she placed it lightly on his bare shoulder.
Her vision flashed white, and suddenly she was not standing in her soul room anymore. There was sand beneath her feet, and the night air around her was hot with fire coming from somewhere behind her. Rina spun around and faced a burning city.
The place was ancient, that much she could tell. It had no modern architecture, and why it was in the middle of a desert, she didn't know. Thankfully, she was atop a small hill overlooking the place, and was not close enough for the flames to touch. But the burning city was not what frightened her about the place.
She shivered when she heard them. The screams echoed around her, penetrating into her very bones. Women, children, men, teens, babies, all of them; people from every walk of life were in that burning city. Why weren't they leaving? Why were there no others where Rina was standing? Surely some, if not most, of the townspeople could have escaped the flames. Where were the survivors? There must have been someone around to help!
Before she could move, to help or to run, she heard and icy voice from behind her, one she was terrified of. "What are you doing here?" he hissed.
Rina stuttered, attempting speech, but she could not form a complete sentence, or even a complete word, for that matter.
"Get out." He spit flatly.
"I don't know how." She half whispered, half mumbled, and half cried.
He sighed heavily, angry and exasperated. Rina cried out when he wrapped his fingers into her arm and yanked.
And just like that it was all gone.
She was standing in front of the mirror in her soul room once more, and she sighed in relief. Until she remembered whom she had pissed off. She gulped and stammered again. "Bakura…I'm…I'm sorry." Her voice got smaller and meeker with every word.
"Yes, you are." She gulped down a whimper at the poison in his voice as he advanced on her.
A few days later, Marik snapped.
He had had it with being so close to Ishizu and her betrayal. The emotional pressure built up inside him, and it had to spill out sometime or another.
He found her walking alone in the hallway, when Seto had gone off to take care of some business with the Hotel.
She was surprised to see him to say the least. "Marik!" she exclaimed in surprise when he blocked her way.
"We need to talk." He said. His frown made her think this was not going to be a pleasant talk. But that was fine; she wanted to give him a piece of her mind and much as he did.
She pulled him into her room, and then spun on him. "What?" she asked slightly annoyed.
Marik just shook his head in disappointment. "I can't believe you."
"How could you be so calm? After what you did?"
"You're one to talk."
"You're so pretentious." His voice began rising in volume with every word. "To act like you're the one who got hurt, after what you did to me.
"If anything, you should be apologizing to me! What have I ever done to you?" Her voice rose as well, an angry blush growing on her face.
"You left me!" he spat.
"You didn't come to my wedding!" She yelled back.
"I would have if you had invited me!" his voice was so laud now that it echoed off the walls of the room.
At this comment she deflated, her voice returning to its normal volume. "What?"
"Don't act like that! You never asked me to come, so I did what you wanted and stayed away. Don't mock me through your false innocence!"
She blinked and sat down on the bed. She was quiet for a moment, and then she looked up at him with tears in her eyes. "I did invite you." She whispered.
"I'm almost inclined to believe you." He scoffed and crossed his arms.
"Marik…" she shook her head. "I made your invitation with my own hands." At this Ishizu went over to her suitcase, rummaged around a bit, and pulled out an envelope, perfectly preserved.
Marik's brow furrowed as she handed it to him. It had his name on the front, in beautiful calligraphy. He flipped it over, and saw that it had been opened. He lifted the flap, and gently removed what was inside.
It was a wedding invitation. The outside looked plain enough, white paper with You're Invited in gold leaf ink. With shaking hands, Marik opened it. The inside was a collage, made up of all of their memories. The photos that made it up ranged from just after battle city to the last summer they spent together before they split. When he saw the words I love you little brother. Will you be our best man? Scrawled at the bottom in Ishizu's writing, he staggered backwards and fell down into the nearest chair. He ran a hand through his hair, than looked up to his sister. By this time, they were both crying.
He sprang out of his chair and embraced his sister, and she hugged him back just as tightly. "How did this happen?" she whispered after a while.
"Odion told me that you never invited us." He was able to say after a few deep breaths.
"Odion?" she pulled away, slightly startled by her own epiphany. "He told me you didn't want to come."
"I gave him his invitation and yours. The next time I saw him, it was the day of the wedding, and he told me you refused to come."
Marik's brow furrowed in anger, "He told me you didn't want us to come."
They stared at each other for a while, not sure what to make of this revelation. Eventually Ishizu sighed. "I never thought the loss of my Millennium Item would leave me so blind."
Marik had nothing to say. He simply embraced her again.
For a while they cried, for their loss, idiocy, and many other things. When they came out of the room, everyone was surprised to find that they were jabbering on like they hadn't lost any time at all. The stress relief made everyone a little happier.
But the happiness was, sadly, soon to fade. They had a job to do, as uplifting as their respective reunions might be.