Alia: *holds up sign that says: ALL EXCUSES FOR DROPPING OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH ARE CURRENTLY ON PROFILE* Here's hoping I haven't gotten rusty. Enjoy.

Title: Hope Hates Reality

Author: Alia D

Part 1/?

Rating: R

Pairing: Atemu/Anzu, onesided Atemu/?

Spoilers: YGO series

Warnings: Het, Yaoi, Language, OOC

Disclaimer: I do not own (and wouldn't want to) Yu-Gi-Oh anime series, or the game or anything else that I might mention. I am making no money with this but here's hoping I'll get plenty of reviews.

Summary: People change but what changes even more is perspective. Yami had his own ideas of those closest to his heart, but events have a habit of changing people and perspectives.

Author's notes: I'm using all English names for all but Anzu. I like her Japanese name more. Everytime I tried to put Tea, I got upset. Also, the -san, -sama, -kun thing. I don't know why I did it. It just happened that way. I may edit it out later.*shrugs* So enjoy.

Hope Hates Reality

Shivering slightly, the young man pulled the black leather jacket closer around his thin body as he walked past the automatic sliding door. He headed down the short corridor until he reached the front desk. Two long halls fell to either side of the wide circular desk, creating a perpendicular point for the three hallways.

A brunette, her hair in a messy bun, glanced up from her computer with a soft smile. She was dressed in white with a royal blue sweater. "Hey there, kiddo."

How she could call him kiddo and she was only six years older, he simply wasn't sure. He gave her an amused look. It didn't really reach his eyes and his lips only quirked. "Sakura-san."

The nurse nodded her head over to the corridor on her right. "He's just been cleaned up and he's all ready for visitors." Sakura looked at him with what she probably thought was encouragement.

He stared at her for a moment. The skin around his knuckles lightened with the tightening of his fists in his jacket. "No changes?" His voice held no real hope or expectations. It didn't mean he wasn't hoping for...anything.

He didn't see her hands shake ever so slightly. He didn't know how she sometimes hated her job. Sakura shook her head. "I'm sorry, kid. Nothing. His diagnosis is still the same."

"I thought so." He said blankly. He frowned, feeling the nauseous feeling in his stomach grow. "Thank you, Sakura-san."

"Use the call button if you need anything." It was an offer of comfort for him. She started giving it when she and the other nurses realized he came every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday like clockwork. He didn't try to forget or put it out of his mind. He didn't put in sporadic visits. He came those three days a week for months now without fail. He had no intentions of changing his schedule any time soon. At least not yet.

Like all the other times the comfort was offered, it was ignored. He'd had enough of it all. He was sick of getting it from his friends and family. He even received it from random strangers when the recognized him on the street. Things had simply reached a pinnacle point and he couldn't stand it anymore.

Besides, the one person that could use comfort was growing angrier and angrier with hatred toward him and the others. He couldn't be upset. The hatred she was beginning to display, especially toward him, was deserved.

Nodding to the considerate nurse, he headed to his left and walked slowly down the hall to room 915. The simply patterned floor lead his feet down the wallpapered hallway to the seventh door on his left side. He paused at the door, reading the black numbers etched into the plain brass plating. Fingers twitching at his side, he glanced down the corridor toward the desk to see Sakura turn her head back to the computer quickly. She'd been watching him.

A frown moved onto his already pale features as he turned the cold knob and opened the white door. He was greeted with a warm smile and big brown eyes under a short bob of gray. "Right on time!"

"Masuyo-san." He gave her a short nod, before stepping inside. He closed the door gently behind him, rose madder eyes focusing on the bed. Masuyo gave him a sad yet unseen smile as she continued writing on the patient chart. She looked at the prognosis. Persistent Vegetative State. She let her eyes drift over the chart in her hand to look at the two men.

The one on the bed was slowly beginning to lose the deep tan color that his skin held. Much of it was hereditary, but the darkness in his skin from the sun alone was beginning to fade. His hair, a mix of black and red with blond bangs, hung limply unlike the way it once stood proudly. The colors almost seemed faded and lifeless. It was now all tied into a ponytail to the left side of the man's neck. Someone had pushed the blond bangs from his face. He was clothed in plain blue hospital gown and was covered with a thin white sheet and a thick taupe colored blanket. His arms, slowly losing the muscular definition they once had, lay at his sides.

Looking at the visitor, Masuyo couldn't help but think that he should be checked into the hospital as well. He was so much thinner than he was formerly and considering how skinny the boy was before... The jacket, red t-shirt, and black jeans were looser than they were the last time Masuyo had seen him wearing them. He never looked like he slept enough. The poor guy's eyes had pretty deep bags under them and the bright color those eyes once held were darker. His hair still stood proudly, but it looked like it was holding on by sheer will. It looked as tired as he did. His breathing was lethargic and he moved so slowly. As for the man's pale skin, it now looked even paler. Masuyo had to ask herself if that had anything to do with the young man's visit.

"There." She signed her name on the chart and walked to the door to replace it in the plastic holder. Masuyo turned to smile at the two, the warmth in her eyes grew along with her sympathies as the young man clutched the hand of his counterpart's in his own. "Have a good afternoon, dear." She closed the door, not bothering to wait for a reply.

The click of the closed door echoed sharply but only lasted a second. He didn't pay much attention to outside noises. All his concentration was focused on the man sleeping peacefully on the bed. His thumb rubbed the soft skin under his hands as he silently gazed upon the sleeping man's face. He tightened his lips and blinked his eyes furiously for a few moments. The visits always started out the same. Every time he visited, he found himself wanting to beg the other man to wake up. He often found himself wanting to cry, to burst into tears and fall to the ground sobbing, still begging for the man to open his eyes.

That incident happened the first time he visited alone, much to his shame. He hadn't done it again. He kept his tears, sobs, and words to himself. The unconscious man wouldn't have wanted to see him like that.

Letting go of the still hand, he walked around to the other side of the bed. An old, but comfortable chair sat beside the patient's bed. The cushion had not yet worn down and was covered with a plain burgundy shade. He grasped one wooden arm of the chair and pulled it away from the wall to the side of the bed. He sat down in the well-used seat and raised his hands to take the warm one laying before him on the bed.

He held his friend's hand and wondered how it could be so warm. The room itself was at an average temperature, and it wasn't as if the comatose man on the bed had been moving around. He played with the fingers, staring at the growing nails. "I'll bring something to clip your nails next time. They're getting long again." He took a shaky breath, thankful that something had been said to break the ice. It wasn't awkward on his friend's side of things, but when he visited, he always struggled to find a way to start.

"It's been raining all this week. Today is the first break Domino's had for a while. Grandpa says that the city needs a little rain but he started pulling his hair out after my last visit. I don't blame him. He's been cooped up in the house all day everyday with...with Anzu and I. It won't be for much longer. This is around the time of year that Arthur will start dragging him away to more expeditions in Egypt." He smiled wearily. "I know you're worried about those, but Grandpa's friend has a healthy respect for tombs after last time."

It was stupid to hope for any type of reaction, but he couldn't help riding the rollercoaster. One minute he'd be so hopeful only for it to crash swiftly. He squeezed the hand in his own and continued playing with the other man's fingers. "Joey found out. About Serenity and Kaiba. He's um-," His lips curled into the biggest thing resembling a smile he had shown all day. "Let's just say that you were right about his reaction. Joey is a little apprehensive about his sister dating Kaiba."

He wasn't the type to underestimate a reaction, but really seeing Joey faint dead away like that... And not only that but the rather explosive reaction he'd had when he had woken up... He didn't know his friend's voice could reach that high. Or that Joey's face could get so red. And really, it wasn't Tristan's fault he didn't have any paper bags when Joey started hyperventilating again.

The small smile stayed on his face as he again looked up at the sleeping figure. The amusement that had grown upon Joey's memorized reaction faded. "Tristan has started cooking school. He wanted to wait until-," he cut himself off with a dismissive shrug, "but we all convinced him that it would be a good idea to go ahead. He's pretty excited too. He wants to continue working at that small restaurant near the university while he does his schooling. It's a good idea and keeping busy will help keep his mind off of Duke. They're still ignoring each other. I know they were drinking at the time but they need to talk about this sooner or later. Mai thinks they're both just being stupid. She came back to visit. She'll be here for a couple of weeks." His eyes dropped into his lap to stare at the black denim. "I think she came to visit you yesterday. To see how you were doing."

Silence reigned for a short time as he gathered his thoughts. The air wasn't warm or cold, but he was tired. Working two jobs was difficult, even if one was just with his Grandpa's store. The fact that he wasn't sleeping well didn't help either. He didn't feel safe. Not like he used to. He didn't feel safe the way he did now, though that made no sense. Of course, the ugly little situation at home didn't help either.

"Kaiba," he gave a little smirk, "Kaiba says to tell you again to stop faking, get off your lazy ass so he can duel you. He knows that we're the only ones that can challenge him and right now I simply don't have the time. Mokuba tells us that he's just restless about the situation with him, Serenity and Joey." He gave a short, weak laugh. He kept his eyes to his lap and the floor. His hands squeezed the man's on the bed gently. "He told me that his brother has been taking out his frustrations on his employees and that the turnover rate for Kaiba Corp's employment has risen. I have no problem with beating Kaiba soundly," he sighed. "I simply do not have the time."

His eyes closed and he leaned forward to rest his head against the special mattress they made for coma patients. For a minute, he wished more than anything that strong hand would tug at his hair teasingly. "Anzu is..." He frowned and squeezed his eyelids tight. A sick feeling shifted around in his stomach. That was strange as he hadn't eaten since breakfast that morning. Grandpa had forced that down his throat.

"She's around thirty-one weeks now. She's gotten pretty big. There have been a lot of complaints about the baby kicking her." He couldn't help the trembling smile. The situation was awful. It really couldn't get any worse, but the thought of the baby warmed him all over. "She's having more problems moving around too. Anzu's been having headaches and she is complaining about her ankles more. She said it might cause problems when, um-," He cut himself short and thought about his words. "When she starts dancing again."

He opened his eyes and let go of the slightly sweaty hand between his own. He stood and moved toward the window. The sun had shifted since he'd entered the hospital but not much. He didn't bother checking the time. He wouldn't leave for another three hours anyway.

The people below were moving along at their own hurried paces. Cars zoomed by as life continued on for people outside of the hospital. His own seemed to have slowed. He shook his head and threw a guilty frown over his shoulder as if the patient knew what he was thinking. He turned on his heel and moved back to the bed.

"Grandpa and I started the nursery. Apparently, he kept my old crib and other furniture from when I was young. We'll need clothes though. Mai is going to drag me out sometime tomorrow to get bedding and clothes. Serenity volunteered to help." He stood next to the bed and stared at the relaxed face. He brushed the back of his fingers across a tan cheek. He then tenderly touched the lifeless strands of hair. "I hope you don't mind a lot of blue. The doctor told me the baby's sex." He smiled momentarily. "Someone finally stopped moving so we could take a good picture. I brought one today." He reached into an inside pocket of his leather jacket. Carefully, he pulled out a small black and white photograph.

He gingerly sat on the edge of the hospital bed and held the photograph twelve inches away from his friend's face. "Congratulations, Other Me." He smiled. "You're going to have a little boy. He's going to be strong, brave just like you are." He bit his lip but tried to keep his smile. "You have to wake up. Y-you can't miss his birth. You have to be there for Anzu, right? I know you love her. You told me so. So you have to wake up and-,"

Tears started to swell up in his eyes. He blinked his eyes furiously. "Shit." He turned away from the bed, the photo still in his shaking hand. "I um... I'm going to leave this here for you." Across from the bed, was a medium-sized dry erase board. Pictures and get well messages were all over it. Reaching over to pick up a small magnet, one of the many that Joey had bought for the board, he put the picture right in the center over his friend's name. He made certain not to smear the elegantly written ATEMU Rebecca had put on the board during her short visit.

Losing his eyes to the floor, he went back to his chair and sat down. He folded his hands in his lap and silently waited for time to go buy. He refused to leave just yet. Three hours ticked by slowly, and during this time, the silent room was rewarded with two sleeping men, both looking like twins except for various differences.

Another hour would pass before Sakura peeked into the room. Another nurse walked by shaking her head. Sneering at the woman's back, Sakura walked into the room. She knew their regular visitor's schedule and it was long past time for him to go. Her shoes clicked loudly in the room. She didn't bother giving the patient more than a glance. Sakura's eyes were focused on the quiet soul hunched over in the chair. "Hey!" She called softly. "It's almost time for you to go." She reached out and shook his shoulder.

The young man jumped, his head snapped up quickly. Blinking absently, he slowly recognized his surroundings. "Sakura-san?"

"Yes." She smiled. "Visiting hours are over in another hour. You've stayed longer than your usual time. I came to check on you."

He nodded. "Thank you."

"No problem, kiddo. I'll see you when you're ready to go." Having done her good deed for the day and no longer feeling guilt at eating her colleague's lunch, Sakura headed back to the front desk.

A look to the window informed the visitor that he had indeed stayed longer than he needed to. He glanced at the sleeping individual on the bed. "I think I've overstayed my welcome, Atemu." He stood and walked around to the side of the bed that faced the door. Raising a hand, he touched the man's hand with his own. The other hand caressed the sleeper's cheek. "Someday soon, I want to take you out of here. Hopefully before the baby's born, but," He heaved a heavy sigh but kept his eyes on the other man. "But if you can't, I promise I'll take care of him, Atemu. I'll take care of him and be there for him until you can. I'll love him too. I promise. I promise." He dropped his eyes. "I love you." He leaned forward and pressed a kiss to the comatose patient's cheek. Standing, he turned and walked to the door.

Standing in the hallway and leaning against the door of room 915, the man rubbed his hands over his face before rising and heading down the hall. Sakura smiled at him as he reached the front desk. Masuyo was standing in front of it. The two nurses had been talking before he walked up.

Masuyo smiled. "We'll see you in a couple of days, dear."

He nodded and waved goodbye to Sakura. "Goodbye."

"See you Tuesday, Yami."

TBC

Alia: See, I didn't do too bad. *sees confused looks* Yes, I understand. Why is Yami calling Atemu 'Other me'? I'll tell you next time. I have shopping to do today. So, review (just click the link) and tell me what you think and if there are any critiques.

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October 1, 2010