DIS: Sigh. How I love my political theory classes. :( It's too bad I've taken all of them this year...boo. Please read below for notes and enjoy!
Title: Are We Saints?
Summary: Azureshipping. Kaiba smiled grimly. "So, if we can agree that every human has evil qualities, that would mean we all have the potential to become saints." Anzu eyed him thoughtfully and then said, "I think even you do, Kaiba." One shot.
Disclaimer: I do not own YuGiOh, nor do I own any of the ideas of St. Augustine or other philosophers that are put forth in this story.
Notes/Warnings: subtle azureshipping; one shot; can be considered a companion piece to Size of a Pebble
Are We Saints?
Kaiba was not fond of unpleasant weather, much less the gloomy, rainy kind that often accompanied fall and spring. No season was good by itself. With summer came heat and the sweat that often formed on a mammal's body from it, the annoying children that were out of school, and the abundance of parties and teenagers at late hours; with winter came the cold and snow, which brought slush, car accidents, clogged freeways, and like last winter in Domino, the city was entirely shut down because of the inches of snow that fell upon it and made it impossible for much of anything to be done. Needless to say, Seto Kaiba took a rather pessimistic view of life and expected the worse. Nonetheless, he had gone out this morning when it was only gray and now that he was leaving his company, he craved some kind of warm drink.
Instead of taking his limo as was customary, he walked to the café that was only a block or so away from Kaiba Corporation. The café was expensive and although there were idiots that patronized the café, they were the wealthy kind and less likely to verbalize their idiocy directly to him; that, and they would not attempt to challenge him. Enough of them had done it already and had learned that he was not a man to be cowed into submission. He found it rather amusing that they would even dare to attempt such a thing.
He might not have even considered the café if he did not know who worked there. It was by chance that he had discovered Yuugi Mutou's female friend, Anzu Mazaki, worked as a barista at the café. Irritated and sick of those that he had employed, he had no patience for the drive home and needed a good espresso immediately and stormed into the café one day. Anzu, at seeing his mood, raised her chin and told him, "Take your foul mood out on me and I'm suing you for harassment." The threat was so abrupt and quite uncharacteristic of her that he had just stared at her in sarcastic disbelief. After seeing that she was quite serious, though, he ordered his espresso and walked back to his company in a better mood. It was the first time a girl of middle-class had ever made a threat to him. It was only later that he learned that many of the CEOs and business people that patronized the café tended to be rude when their moods were less than pleasant.
As it was later in the day than usual and most business people were still at work, the café was empty with Anzu being the only person present. She smiled when he entered, greeting, "Hello, Kaiba." No matter how many times he insulted her or made comments that indicated he was considering telling the school of her job, she continued to be nice to him, both outside and at school. He didn't mind because it gave him an excuse to argue with her. He had turned their debates into a sort of hobby, although he was never the one to initiate conversation or the debate between them; he always left that small detail to her. "I was kind of hoping that you would come by. Mind if I ask you a question?"
"At the moment, yes," he replied. "Get me my coffee first."
She obliged him, rung up the price and scanned his credit card, handing it and his receipt to him. His signed it and returned the receipt to her, where she put it in the till. He took a drink of his sixteen-ounce white coffee white chocolate mocha, narrowing his eyes on her suspiciously. It was not often that Anzu had a question for him, as she preferred not to admit that he had a superior intelligence to those that she hung out with. And, besides that, she said she did not wish to "fuel his ego."
"Your question?" he prompted.
She leaned against the counter, her back to him and hung her head back. He had noticed in earlier conversations or when he was watching her with her friends – something he hated admitting he did – that she did this when she was in deep thought about something. He turned his gaze from her to let his eyes roam the café. The lights and lay out gave it a warm, welcoming look to it. As his gaze moved over the counter, he frowned as he noticed there was a sheet of paper with a quote on it: "...when the will abandons what is above itself, and turns to what is lower, it becomes evil – not because that is evil to which it turns, but because the turning itself is wicked."
"St. Augustine," Kaiba said, recognizing the quote from the saint's work, The City of God. Anzu turned to him in surprise and then glanced to the sheet of paper.
"Oh, that. Yes...It's been bothering me." Her mouth turned down. "Do you think that humans are inherently evil, Kaiba? I asked Yuugi and I guess he has a more Manichaeism view, probably from everything that has happened with the Pharaoh...he told me that we aren't all evil, but that there are good people and bad people and the world is always going to be fought over by both. I was so sure that he would say that all people are good because he acts like no matter what, everyone is going to have a good side...And Jounouchi said flat out that everyone is evil and when I asked if he included Yuugi, he said yes. I was surprised by their answers."
"Wasn't Katsuya raped as a child or something?" Kaiba asked in a bored voice without looking at her.
"What? No!" She pushed away from the counter, clearly horrified. "He was not raped. He dealt with a lot when he was a kid, though, mostly because of his father and then his parent's divorce and everything." She hesitated. "But what do you think?"
"I think," he said slowly, "that you know my answer without needing to ask. I believe I've expressed how I feel about humans before."
"But are we evil as soon as we come into the world or are there economic factors that make us such?"
Kaiba had a bad feeling about this conversation. St. Augustine's political theory bordered dangerously close to theology, one of the reasons why he hated discussing the man in his Modern Politics class. Everyone had to bring up something about God or counter it with Buddha or whatever other beliefs they had. Eventually Kaiba snapped at the teacher, demanding to know why they were discussing an entity that might not even exist when he had signed up for a class meant to discuss the political ideas of people beforehand rather than their beliefs. From that day on, no god was brought up in any discussion. Kaiba's influence upon the school and their finances was far too great to risk upsetting him. He could tear the entire city down if he liked.
"Economic factors do not make us evil," Kaiba spoke after a brief pause, "but they decide how we feel about our own race. Your optimistic view on life, with how easy and simple it is will no doubt bring you to the conclusion that there is a good side to all of us, that the evil is a mere misunderstanding. It would explain why you haven't yet given up on any villain's soul. Let's count off every demented psycho that has gone after Yuugi and that you still had hope in their good heart, shall we?" He arched an eyebrow at her, a smug smirk slipping his mouth upward.
"I don't think that everyone is good," she said, ignoring his last comment. "Everyone has some bad in them. I do, even Yuugi does. No matter how good of a heart you have, there will still be the temptation to sin, especially in a physical world." She tapped a finger on her chin contemplatively.
Kaiba took a long drink of his coffee. "If we made ourselves detached from the physical world as Plato would like, then we would not need to bother with worrying about the temptations. That's unrealistic, of course, but that would be ideal. Or we could remain in the physical world and only live on principles, keep an active life, and achieve ultimate happiness as Aristotle thinks we ought to. Either that or we accept God as our creator and praise Alleluia to the Lord and have a gay old time." Anzu's eyebrows rose at his caustic tone. "Humans are selfish, greedy creatures. We'll do what we have to in order to get what it is that we want. We could never live simply for a god, we could never obey a god. Furthermore, we could not shun the physical temptations of earth and live only on ideas. We love sinning more than anything else. Those brief moments of happiness are what we live for."
"I guess," Anzu said, not sounding entirely convinced. Kaiba was not surprised by that; she had yet to see some of the things he had seen in the business world. "But I do think we all have bad qualities in us...Everyone, regardless of who you are."
He smiled grimly. She seemed to forget whose theories it was that they were discussing. "So, if we can agree that every human has evil qualities, that would mean we all have the potential to become saints."
She eyed him thoughtfully and then said, "I think even you do, Kaiba." She smiled. "You claim that you're so bad, that we're all corrupt, but there's a soft part in you that you're not willing to accept is there. I've seen it when you talk to Mokuba and there are times, I'm sure, when you've extended some amount of kindness to a person and have surprised yourself. You want to be so much like Scrooge, but you can't quite succeed."
"Dream on, Mazaki," he sighed, finishing the last bit of his coffee and tossing it in the trash. "If I wasn't who I am, I wouldn't be able to accomplish as much as I have in life."
"What have you accomplished?"
"Not working in a coffee shop to go to school, for one," Kaiba snidely told her.
"That's about as long as your list is, though," she returned. "I would never trade your life for mine. I might not have that much money, but I have good memories – of friends, of family, and of emotions. I might cry every once in awhile, yet even that is a good thing. You've made yourself so neutral to everything that you might as well not be alive anymore, Kaiba."
"So I've heard from you more than once. Did I answer your question, Mazaki?"
She paused and he could see the play of emotions on her face, the debate she was having with herself on whether she should continue her criticisms of him or not. At last, she smiled and nodded. "Yes, you did. Thank you." As he turned to leave the café, she added, "But I still think you're a good person inside, Kaiba."
"You couldn't be more wrong," he said without turning around. After he left the café, he pushed his hands in his pockets. The rain was falling harder, making drops cling to his hair and slide down the strands, coating them to his head. A corner of his mouth tilted upward. If there was a good person inside of him, then that only meant there was a bad person in her.
Somehow he felt she wasn't ready to lose that argument quite yet.
DIS: Although you can read this by itself, their subtle romance and some of the references they make to an earlier conversation will be better understood if you read Size of a Pebble before or even after this. Anyway, please leave a review telling me if you liked this and if you didn't, why? Constructive criticism is always appreciated! Ciao!