This is one of my first Yu-Gi-Oh stories… A song fic for JMProductions' song fic contests so be on the look out for other contestants, okay?
The song being used is Almost Lover by A Fine Frenzy.
Well, I never want to see you unhappy
I thought you'd want the same for me
There was a supposed reason for falling in love, Téa supposed. However, she hated that feeling. She had fallen for the one person she could never have, the one person she never would have. The ancient Pharaoh would never know of her feelings for him. He could never know. She swallowed hard, trying to forget the man for a moment. She was in dance class and yet her thoughts were plagued by him, so much she was surprised her heart didn't start beating his name along with the beats: Thump-Yami, Thump-Yami, Thump-Yami. But it wasn't just dance class that thoughts of the former Pharaoh haunted her.
Ever since he got his own body after the Ceremonial Duel, a gift granted to him by Ra himself, at Yami's request. He even gave up his past name in order to stay in the modern world and live a normal human life. He had no magic, no more duties to protect the world from total and utter chaos. For a while all was well… That was until Vivian found out that Yugi had a 'totally hot, foreign cousin' that had recently come to live with him. Téa could almost scream her rage to the heavens. She wanted to strangle the other woman for making a move on Yami. He had just gotten back to Domino when she had managed to stick herself to his arm like a leech. In Téa's mind the woman was slowly sucking the life away from Yami but that was just her own hatred for the woman and utter loathing speaking for the lack of Yami's words. She tried to shake her head but since the dances they were doing in class involved a lot of twirling it only served to make her dizzy. She stumbled, missing a few steps as she twirled out. She nearly fell to the ground but her partner, a man named Jared, slowed the spinning to a stop. He looked at her worriedly.
"You okay, brah?"
Téa smiled. Jared was Hawaiian. He used slang on her all the time. Brah just happened to be friend and to her that's what he was – the older brother figure who was helping her accomplish her dreams of dancing as a professional. He had been in many Broadway shows and had danced in huge competitions around the world. She was lucky to have him tutoring her the way she was but with her head in the clouds and on Yami instead of dancing she was never going to learn the waltz in time for her first ballroom dancing competition in England. Her parents would be very upset if they found out the money they spent on the tickets to England wasn't going to be returned like she promised she would if she placed.
"I'm fine," Téa lied, "It's nothing to worry about!"
Jared frowned. He knew better than that. He knew her better than that. If she wanted to convince him she'd have to lie to him a little better than the one she was giving him. Jared crossed his arms over his chest. Incredulity was written all over his face. He was used to having Téa countering his concerns and questions as usual, since she normally pushed herself to the limit when she was dancing. She would work herself to the point of nearly passing out. These actions often required him to take her home more than once ore twice because of it, but her dodges as of late were missing the usual combativeness and teasing tone.
"Den why… are you making dat awful face?" Jared pressed.
Téa tensed. She hadn't realized that she looked at him like she was going to cry. She couldn't help it. The one person she loved just called her a month or so ago, telling her he was going to go out with Vivian, the god awful woman, that they had met in Kaiba Land due to Kaiba's tournament. He sounded happy when he called her and that's what tore her heart to shreds. She just laughed and told him she was happy for him and in a way she was. But it ached to know that she wasn't the one he would ever be happy with. She couldn't help her thoughts were on Yami and only Yami. She had even had nightmares of him sending her to the Shadow Realm for either letting him be in the relationship with Vivian or ruining what he had with the other woman.
"You're lolo, Téa… Let's call it quits for the night," Jared said.
Jared gave her a condescending look, shaking his head. He started to walk over to his things to gather them up for the night. Téa's distress spiked. She had only so much time before the competition. She had to practice or she would never be ready. She would never move on. Too many things were counting on this one competition. Her parents spent the money for her tickets almost having to sell their car to do so. But they managed to scrape by. She had promised to pay them back. She wouldn't dare ask Yugi or Yami for money, even though could probably charter a private jet for her if they wanted to.
"But I haven't learned the dance yet!" Téa protested.
"And you ain't gonna if you got yo' head in da clouds!" Jared protested, "So go get some z's brah…"
So Téa was forced to walk her way home to a small little apartment in the middle of town. She trudged along, trying to stop her heart from feelings sorry for herself. The fact that life just wasn't fair was an overused and highly battered cliché… but she thought it fit her own life rather nicely. If anything, she had gotten the short end of the stick. 'What stick?' she wondered, 'Who cares about a bloody stick?' That stick should just burst into flames or something. In fact she didn't care if burst into flames. But it would do more for her as kindling than fairness. It was like the gods had selected randomly, and just decided to pick on her. It seemed to choose random people as Fate's favorite chew toys. She was one of those unfortunate people.
Téa wanted to hate him. She wanted to be able to yell and scream at him and curse him to Hell a thousand times over for actually falling for someone as horrible as Vivian. At the same time, she wanted him back, because as much as Téa hated hurting like this she hated missing the pharaoh even more. Missing him was all she could do because she never had a claim on him but at one point she might have but she had been too afraid to act on her feelings to do anything. Even more confusingly enough for her she was happy that he was happy, that he was finally at rest and where he belonged – where he wanted to be. 'Even if I can't be with him anymore…' she thought bitterly, 'Even though Vivian will never let me see him again and I just can't hate him. I hate that I can't hate him!'
She immediately looked up, gasping in surprise when she found Yami standing outside of her apartment. He wore a tight red leather shirt that showed off his upper body, and tight black leather pants that were a bit ripped around the hem of the pants legs. He also wore a sliver chain with ankh at the end of it, a necklace that belonged to Yugi's father, silver bracelets, and black combat boots. He nervously twisted the bangles that he had added on at the last second but he just smiled up at her for the lack of anything else to do.
She didn't know what to say, particularly because she hadn't seen him since Vivian took him away from her before she had a chance to tell him how she really felt about him. She was happy for the two of them. Really, she was. At least they got a happy ending, unlike her. She really thought that things had changed for her. She thought she had finally had a spurt of good luck and that's why she risked herself in a situation where she could be shut out again – because she thought she had good chances of finally being accepted but she was wrong.
"Yami, what are you doing here?" she asked.
"I called you, remember?" he asked, "I was going to visit you for a week…"
Téa blanched. She dimly recalled making the arrangements for him but she was distracted when he called her, far too wrapped up in her own hurt to remember the call with distinct precision like she was normally capable of and she had really only made the arrangements because Yugi kept calling her and telling her just how worried Yami was that she had been avoiding him. She wanted to appease the younger duelist, particularly since the boy was like her younger brother, whom with time had only become a little less of a 'little' of a brother that he was.
"Oh no!" she whispered.
Yami chuckled but Téa was far too embarrassed at forgetting to look at his face. Her face was burning a deep peach color that he felt suited her well, though he wouldn't comment just yet because it would make her all the more embarrassed and she might just hit him like she normally did with Joey and Tristan. Yet she didn't notice the laugh he gave was a bitter laugh that escaped his mouth and a sound that was not at all amused as it seemed. There was something – which she wouldn't share – bothering her. He knew that he couldn't force her to tell him. This much he knew from experience with Yugi and even Kaiba.
However, he knew also from experience that people were more willing to talk when other matters distracted their minds. A distraction was what he could provide for her. Granted, some people were harder to distract than others. The only way to find out if Téa could be distracted was to try. He paused for a moment, thinking about what could have helped him distract the woman from her problems. He looked over her, noticing she was just wearing an old tank top and sweat pants that said duel down the pants leg, something Joey had bought for her in hopes that she would actually learn to like dueling enough to start to duel.
"I take it you forgot…"
"I d-didn't think it was th-this week!" she argued weakly.
He shook his head. He didn't mind, not really. If she forgot that was okay. She wasn't sure what he was doing there alone but it couldn't bode well for his relationship with Vivian. He should have had Vivian with him. It wasn't right for a man to go and see some other woman when he was dating one already. But some small part of her reminded her that she should have seen this coming, that Yami was far too good for her in the first place. He had probably figured out her dirty little secret and came to tell her off himself because that's just how his mentality was.
"That's alright… I can get a hotel if this week is an inconvenience to you…"
"No!" She shouted, quickly.
Then she winced, realizing she had spoken a little too loudly, judging by the raised eyebrow on Yami's face and the slightly worried look. She cleared her throat and shook her head, wanting to hit herself for being so stupid. Yami was just so distracting. She always felt an odd something stirring inside her chest every time she watched him. Her heart picked up beats and pounded like a drum within her chest. She felt warm as she listened to him laugh. She enjoyed spending time with him. Her palms got sweaty whenever she got too close to him. They were all the symptoms of love, surprising enough for her that Yami hadn't picked up on it yet.
"I mean, no… C'mon in!"
We walked along a crowded street
You took my hand and danced with me
Yami nodded and followed her into her small apartment. Téa grimaced, wishing that she had remembered so she would have been able to clean up a little. It wasn't messy but she didn't like to have anyone believe she was slacking in her home. But Yami didn't seem to mind and she didn't find it the least bit intimidating when he made sure to lock the door behind him before taking off his shoes, as custom in Japan. She nearly smiled as she recalled her first visit by one of her American friends and how horrified she had been when the girl hadn't taken off her shoes.
So upon his entrance to her home she made sure he was settled and taken care of. Then she had made him dinner and the two of them were just basking in one another's presence after the meal. Yami insisted it was really good but Téa only told him it was reheated pizza from the night before. Yami felt bad when he found out that it was all the food she really had left in her house because of her small budget. As a poor dance student in a foreign country she had about as much money to her name as an average college student, perhaps even less because unlike college students she didn't get grants or as many scholarships as easily as other students did because she wasn't doing it for academic purposes as much a profession. They both knew that Yami could probably buy a home in New York if he wanted to but he chose not to.
"So how have your dance classes been going?" Yami asked.
"That bad?" Yami asked worriedly.
"It's not bad… It's just…"
She tried to find a reasonable explanation that would leave out her distraction caused by him. There was no need to cause him guilt when he was just so happy with his life at the moment. Téa just grimaced. Yami placed a hand gently on Téa's hand. She didn't move her hand away since it made her feel like he actually cared for her more than he cared for Vivian but she was fairly certain she was just fooling herself all together. She just looked the ex-pharaoh in the eyes. His hand was warm, greatly so and it made her feel a little less like the Ice Queen some of her dance classmates referred to her as.
"I just can't learn the waltz," she explained, "I just don't want to let everyone down… Mom and dad already work hard enough to keep me here when I could have gone to college or something…"
She was almost ashamed of herself. All of her other friends had chosen to become college students while she seemingly wasted her life away on dancing. She wasn't even sure if she was going to be able to make anything of herself and yet her friends constantly encouraged her to follow her dreams when her dreams could be the reason she was having so many problems in the first place. She swallowed nervously and looked up at Yami with anxious and uneasy eyes. She wasn't sure if she even wanted to see his reaction to everything or not yet.
"I can teach you if you want…" Yami offered, "I'd hate to see you give up when you've already come so far…"
"You know the waltz?" Téa asked.
"It's a descendent of some of the dances we did back in Egypt…" Yami explained.
The look her gave her was enough to nearly make her heart stop. She could feel a hot blush crossing her cheeks as he got up from his chair. He offered her his hand. Hesitantly she took it, nearly cringing at the warm of his touch and the way he looked at her like she was the only important thing in the world. Her blush darkened when he took her hand and placed it on his shoulder. He heard her gulp slightly but didn't let her relent, not when she was just really starting to open up to him. He wondered if she even noticed how affectionate he was being but eventually pushed the thought away, dismissing it as cruel and selfish. She had yet to tell him that she didn't want to dance so he was going to try to encourage her to the best of his abilities. So he took her other hand in his and placed his free one on her waist. She looked at him and he could see the alarm and worry dancing in her eyes.
She was a little nervous. She knew that if she started dancing and preformed poorly in the competition everyone would think a little less of her, perhaps, that she was just some girl who had gotten in way too far over her head and couldn't follow rules and stipulation of a formal dance. Yami gave her a kind, patient smile, but he could feel her shaking slightly in his hands. He couldn't tell if she was nervous or scared. He watched as she took a deep breath to prepare herself. When he believed she was as prepared as she was going to get he began to move his feet, slowly as not to alarm her. Her eyes widened in surprise, and then she began to move, fumbling to copy his movements. He stepped backwards, bringing her with him. She was caught off guard and she stumbled, nearly tripping on him. Immediately she let go of him and sprang back, taking her warmth with her. He wanted to growl and yank her close to him again.
"I'm sorry…" she mumbled.
"We'll try again," he told her.
He replaced his hand on her waist and pulled her closely to him. He could still feel her shake a little, reminding him distinctly of a leaf in the wind. She was still nervous around him, which he didn't know why but he was going to find out. She looked up at him anxiously. He was worried she'd push him away with a cry of outrage and run off. She simply wanted to learn so she didn't look like the measly street dancer that people claimed she would only amount to be. She was too afraid to ask for his help and assistance since it would also hurt her dignity. He started to move once again. This time he moved a little slower so that she could pick up on the patterns and the motions. She followed his movements, although, not as gracefully. Slowly she looked up, trying to see an approving look on his face. She found one as he laughed at the childish expression on her face. She didn't appear to be offended by his laughter. She was too dazed to question why he was laughing in the first place.
"See?" he questioned, "You're doing fine."
Yami suddenly threw her into a deep dip, and held her steady for a second before bringing her back up and twirling her around like a ballerina. Yami stopped twirling her around, and returned to a rotating box step. As the step ended he stepped back, away from her, twirling her outwards, while she was looking the other way. Quickly he pulled her back in towards her, a little too hard. She stumbled again, bumping into him, making her stumble. She looked at him in complete anguish. She felt like she wouldn't be able to ever get it right so she let him go so she could walk away with what dignity she had left.
"I… I can't do this…" she muttered.
"Don't give up now," he told her.
Reluctantly she nodded and put her hand in his and the other hand on his shoulder. She sighed, signaling she was ready for – in her mind – more torture. It was an action that made the Pharaoh smile. He started to turn in a slight circle, stepping backwards, and then forwards. The young woman just stumbled around in a circle as she tried to keep up with his fluid movements. In the steps she was utterly lost and completely confused. The Pharaoh gave her points for effort.
"You can do this," he said gently.
She gave him an unconvinced smile. She doubted whatever faith he had in her. She was concentrating her hardest to get the dance right. Her brows were knitted together and she was frowning once more. She commended him for not giving up but even he had to admit that she was a hopeless effort. He was fighting a losing battle but he was determined not to give up, even if she had already lost all hope for herself and her shoddy formal dancing skills. He could see she was getting frustrated since she didn't know the steps. He started to laugh once more but it was cut short when she suddenly twirled outwards. He caught her as she twirled back in. There was a look of surprise on her face. She hadn't thought she'd get it right. She had finally started to catch on. He couldn't help but be proud of her. She doubted herself but because of his coaching she had finally accomplished it.
"There, you got it," he said.
She was slightly dazed as she looked up at him. She gave him a brief smile before looking down to her feet as they moved, trying to match her steps perfectly to his. His partner looked back to him. She smiled up at him and giggled slightly. Finally, she had gotten it right. The young Pharaoh knew the young woman was happier now that she knew what she was doing. He twirled her outwards, and then she twirled back in. When they let go of each other, stepping in a circle, faced back to back, she looked over her shoulder at him. Once more they took hold of each other hands, none too eager to end just yet, not after she had finally understood what to do and how to do it. The young man twirled her in and out, making her feel the slightest bit dizzy, but smiling all the same. In step they joined back together. She gripped her partner's hand tightly. He smiled down at her, glad that she needed him. Téa stared at his mouth. It was hovering right over her. They were just so close together that she could almost hear her heart pounding in her chest.
"I'm sure a pretty woman like yourself would have a radiant smile…"
His forehead was pressed right up against Téa's forehead. She blushed hotly, trying her best not to smile at the comment. She didn't want to just give into his request so easily. She wanted to have a little more class than that but she knew that with his eyes watching her the way they were she wasn't going to keep frowning for much longer, particularly after such a heart-racing dance with him. She saw him swallow, his adam's apple bobbed in his throat before resting once again. She subconsciously licked her drying lips. His breath was mingling with hers.
"If I can have this honor, will you smile for me?"
The way he said it was just so formal, so uncommon to the time that Téa couldn't help but smile. Yami's hand moved to her face. He touched the other side of her face, holding her in place to look at him. She wondered if he was doing this as a friend or if there was something more behind his actions. He had helped her grow as a person but she still depended on him so much that he was like a drug to her system. He was the security blanket she didn't want to let go of but was being forced to quite cold turkey. She hadn't called him in weeks. She hadn't written him in months. She doubted that she had even seen him in an entire year and each passing day was harder than the next. And she was glad that he came to her now.
"You're alright when you smile."
"Why?" Téa asked.
Her voice was soft as ash. She shivered. She knew that the others revered him as some god-like being. She didn't exactly think they saw him as human with the same intensity as Yugi did, as she did. To them, he was probably the incredible person they had never expected to befriend them. He was the mature, mysterious, and infallible man who always made them look just as cool as he was. He was made for better things than the normal house chores, mundane mistakes, odd habits and the childish, nonsensical impulse that may strike the average teen. Téa saw a boy who had never got to live out his childhood, someone who was force to grow up quickly in order to rule a country.
"I don't know…" Yami admitted, "For some reason when I see you smiling, I forget how sad I am… Maybe… it's because we're the same?"
"You're sad too?"
She realized immediately she had let too much emotion into her voice because pulled back and looked at her worriedly. His violet eyes studied her as she stood there in his arms. She was clutching the fabric of his shirt like some scared child with a security blanket which must only make her look more pathetic. She leaned close to him, taking in his warmth but also unable to meet his eyes out of shame and embarrassment. She bit her lip, knowing that she had said too much. She had been so alone as of late because her friends were all in Japan. Sure, she had friends in New York but none of them were as close to her as Yugi and the others were, probably because they hadn't bonded over saving the world.
"All the time… but it doesn't feel so bad now…"
"What do you mean?" Téa asked.
"I'm with you now aren't I?"
She blinked owlishly in surprise. Yami just laughed that deep and rich sound that made her heart light and fluttery once more. She didn't realize her smile grew once again. His violet hues were showing the same compassion that he held in his voice, leaving her no choice but to nod. His smile grew more sincere as he pressed his forehead against hers once more. This time they were a lot closer. The tips of their noses were barely touching.
"B-but Viv-Vivian…" Téa stammered.
Yami touched her face and made her look up at him. She barely had time to react, let alone say a word to him before his lips covered her. Téa closed her eyes and leaned closer. But all too soon their chaste and innocent kiss ended. Téa could feel her head spinning but it wasn't an uncomfortable unpleasant spinning but a delirious mind-tingling sort of spinning that made her long for more, until Yami pulled away. She fought to keep from kissing him again.
He spoke with such nonchalance, like it was the most normal thing in the world to say and moved on to another topic, but Téa was stuck, still having a hard time restarting her heart. It seemed that it wasn't as hopeless as she thought after all. This time Vivian would be the one left in the dust, the one to spend so many saddening nights, crying into her pillow over things once lost and maybe, just maybe things would work out just fine.
So long, my luckless romance
My back is turned on you
Should have known you'd bring me heartache
Almost lovers always do
Read and review please!