A Rose in the Stars

Prologue

Akiza sat, trembling uncontrollable, in the sparkling white hospitable bed, her newborn daughter cradled in her arms. Everything was white here – too white. It was making her nauseous; she was the Black Rose, after all. Her almond gaze turned back to the little girl nestled comfortably in her embrace, deep in sleep. One thought raged consistently through Akiza's mind.

I can't do this, I can't do this.

She hung her head shamefully, she couldn't do this. She was a monster, and monsters couldn't be mothers. It just didn't work that way.

She was afraid, she admitted, more afraid than she had ever been before; even more than when Sayer died, even more than when she first discovered her psychic abilities. When she had discovered that she was pregnant she hid away for months and wouldn't talk to anyone, not even to Yusei or her parents – well, it was kinda Yusei's fault that she was in this situation in the first place: sure they loved each other and all and had been dating for almost two years, but this reached a whole new level.

"I can't do this, I can't do this," I whispered as tears began to leak down her face. What could she do? She was nineteen, for pity's sake! This wasn't suppose to happen, not yet!

She snorted at the thought; she could save the world and do crazy stunts Duel Runner but children? Nu-uh, no way. Even Luna and Leo were a challenge for her and they were both almost fourteen now! So a newborn, her newborn? If only this where happening five years from now, but no, it just had to happen now.

Her crying increased, and her body shook with silent sobs. She watched as a tear trickled off her face and landed on the cheek of the still sleeping infant in her arms. Akiza gave a tiny gasp as the tiny baby yawned widely and very slowly, its eyes fluttered open.

Akiza felt her heart shatter as she looked into her daughter's eyes, Yusei's eyes. But they were catlike, like hers. A perfect mixture: the exact same shape as hers and the exact same colour – deep sapphire – as her father's, and shining with the exact same intensity, as if they were staring into her soul, reading it. Hesitantly, Akiza stroked the baby's soft raven black hair, streaked with magenta. She lowered her head until she was level with the baby and, for the first time since the birth, sobbed audible, the tears sliding off her face. A tiny hand reached up and touched her cheek, catching a tear as it fell. Akiza gasped and pulled away, staring in wonderment at the little girl who was still staring up at her with those enchanting sapphire eyes.

So much like her father. Her mind echoed distantly. Then it clicked. Her father! Of course! She couldn't raise a child, but Yusei could! It all made sense now, Yusei would raise their daughter and she… she… it would be better for everyone if she just disappeared. She swung out of the bland white hospital bed, slightly unsteady on her feet, and found her clothes tossed over the foot of the bed. She gently put her daughter into the crib and hastily changed, not caring if anyone else saw. She found a long hooded jacket and threw it on, she didn't want anyone to recognise and it was raining outside anyway. She then gathered the infant into her arms, tucking beneath the heavy coat, and headed for the exit. Wherever that was. Her Duel Runner was just outside.

In Yusei, Jack and Crow's Apartment, on the other side of New Domino

That Yusei was worried was an understatement. He hadn't seen, heard or spoken to Akiza in over seven months. Hell, no one had, not even her parents.

"Yusei, will you quit pacing!" Jack yelled irritably from the sofa, "it's really getting on my nerves!"

The fact that Jack had his back to Yusei and was actually staring at the TV screen made no apparent difference. He claimed that he could see him "walking up and down the room like an idiot for the past seven months" in the reflection.

"Ugh," Yusei muttered, flopping down beside Crow, "what could've happened to her?"

Both Jack and Crow turned to look at him: Jack's cold amethyst eyes shining with irritation and Crow's with understanding – he had lost people he loved too.

"She's probably fine, Yusei," Crow comforted, "I mean it's not like she died or anything…" Yusei's face instantly hardened and Crow could tell that it was the wrong thing to say. "I mean, she and her folks probably just moved out of town."

"Her parents are still here, and they haven't heard anything from her either," Yusei murmured. "I'm worried about her."

Jack frowned, since when had Yusei become such an emotion-expressing idiot?

"Maybe she's on vacation?" Crow suggested.

Jack put his drink down and turned to stare at Crow. "Crow," he said slowly, "who goes on vacation for seven months straight? Answer: NO ONE!"

"Someone might!" Crow retaliated.

At that moment the doorbell rang.

"I'll get it," Yusei said, thankful to get away from his friends' bickering. He passed through the garage space where their Duel Runners where stored and climbed the steps to the door. He opened it just in time to see a Duel Runner speed off into the night, it looked familiar but he couldn't tell due to the pounding rain.

It was then that he heard it. A baby's cry. He looked down, and there wrapped in a blanket was a infant lying on his doorstep. Hesitantly, he bent down to pick it up. He brought the child up to his level and stared at it. Blue eyes stared back. His eyes.

Yusei gasped in shock and stumbled backwards, almost dropping the baby-with-his-eyes in the process. A letter fell out from the blanket. Shifting the baby so he was holding it with one arm, he reached for the letter. He unfolded it and began to read.

Yusei,

I'm sorry I disappeared for all those months without telling you, or anybody else, but you have to understand how scared I was. If you want to know why I was gone, you're probably holding the reason in your arms right now; and yes, she's ours.

You must understand that I can't raise her. I'm a monster, no matter how many times you tell me otherwise I know it's true, and monsters cannot be mothers. I'm begging you to raise her with all the love and affection that you feel for me, and that I feel for both of you. Please. She was created in love and I want you to know that that love still stands strong. Since I cannot, please raise her with enough love for both of us. This is my last request of you.

I named her Destiny, as I know she has a great one ahead of her. She will be everything we have ever strived to be. I know she will.

I just want you to know that its not your fault I'm doing this. I will always love you. And Destiny.

Until meet again,

Akiza

Yusei blinked. Once. Twice. Then stood still in the rain, still holding Destiny, before finally crumpling the letter in his hand and heading back inside, his mind numb from information overload. He was a father?

As he entered the living room Crow and Jack turned to him, they had stopped fighting.

"What was that all ab–" Jack broke off has he caught sight of Destiny in Yusei's arms, his eyes going impossibly wide – a sight that would have been comical were the occupants in the room not all staring at the baby girl in Yusei's arms. "You have got to be kidding me."