A/N: Greetings readers, here is a another one-shot that features our favorite pairing. It came to me as an inspiration from watching the finale of Yu-Gi-Oh. I hope you all enjoy this piece that I have created.
Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh!
It was another quiet night here within the city of Domino. Nothing out of the ordinary. It was the same empty streets with hardly any people or vehicles going by, being that it was late in the evening. However, the lights continue to glow upon the tall buildings, many homes, dozens of light poles and out of the most beautiful of them all...the ever glowing sphere of the Moon that shines above the night sky. Giving off the soft, radiant and heavenly ray of light on the trees and all of nature's glory.
But alas, no one was witnessing the glorious atmosphere of this twilight hour. No soul was found to breathe and soak in the stunning scene of the twinkling stars or the blinking fireflies that happened to appear throughout the entire area. To feel the musky, yet gratifying breeze that blew through in this summer season.
Only one person refused to miss a second of this beauty. While the rest of the world have retired to their beds for a night of slumber, she remained awake to take in all of the surroundings for herself. That's how it has been for her - that's how it has always been for the past two years. Yes, there were times when she felt lonely...but who could she share these awe-inspiring nights with? There was only one person who she would rather share this with. And unfortunately, he was not of this world anymore.
Cerulean eyes glanced upwards towards the Moon and stars as Anzu Mazaki thought about her last moments with the ex-pharaoh who has captured her heart. Ever since that heartbreaking day when he returned to the afterlife, Anzu spent her nights sitting under the night sky - in all of its glory - and silently prayed that he was finally at peace. After all, it was what he deserved after spending five thousand long years trapped in the Millennium Puzzle and warding off many dark evil forces countless times.
But was it so selfish for Anzu to feel this way? To feel broken and devastated after losing a very close friend she has come to know over the years? Even though Atem and Yugi were sharing a body at one point, Anzu felt that Atem was more than just a spirit that took over her childhood friend whenever trouble brew time and again. He became apart of their lives...apart of her life. She knew that she needed to move on, but that was easier said than done.
Her friends were also downtrodden by Atem's departure, but they were able to pick themselves up and live their lives. Even Yugi - who has understood her feelings and shared a closer bond with Atem out of them all - was able to find the strength to move on.
This was a difficult task for Anzu. Yes, she was called a weak, little girl in the past before, but how could she get her heart to move on...when the only man that she has ever loved, so deeply, has possession of her heart? Some would probably tell her that this was a silly, little crush, but what did they know? How could they know how she felt until they were in her shoes? This was not something that she could just move on from. No matter how hard she tried. This twenty-first century girl was deeply and utterly in love with an ancient pharaoh. Call it a forbidden love or a love that transcends time...but no matter how it was described, Anzu did not care. It was still love.
Deciding to take a break from her deep thoughts, Anzu did the only thing that would lift her spirits - if only just a little. She rose up from her seat in the soft, lush grass and began to dance gracefully and beautifully. It was like she was preforming on stage, the fireflies were her audience and the Moon was her spotlight. However, her dance was only made for one and she hoped, somehow, that he was able to see her. Wherever his spirit may be. It was the last promise that she made to him...on a night just like this. And as she continued with her steps, she hardly took notice of the tears that were beginning to form through her closed eyelids. That night was still very fresh within her mind, as if it only happened yesterday.
She stared from her window as the ship sailed across the ocean, watching as they were slowly making their way to the place where she wished everyone could turn back from. She could not sleep, her mind was in an anxious state. Thoughts of how the outcome would be from this one last duel between Yugi...and the Pharaoh were swimming non-stop in her head. It had been close to an hour when she last checked in on Yugi and she caught a glimpse at the cards he was planning to use. She showed him a reassuring smile after Yugi asked if she was okay, but on the inside...she wanted to shove those cards to the floor. But then...that would have proved her selfishness. So, when she left the room abruptly, Anzu couldn't hold back the tears that she was trying, so desperately, to keep inside.
Even now, she felt another wave beginning to hit her. Her face was buried in the palms of her hands and she succumbed herself into more of her sadness. She didn't have to hide her sobs. She was alone in her room where no one could hear her. She did not care if she cried until she passed out. The pain was just too much for her to bear.
There was a knock at the door and all of her sobbing stopped right then and there. Was she crying just a little too loudly for someone to actually hear her? And how long was she crying for? She needed to quickly think up a story. She didn't want anyone to know the reason to why she was crying in the first place. Anzu knew that she looked a mess, so she hurried and cleaned her face to get rid of any evidence that proved of her weeping.
However, when she opened her door, it only just made her want to continue her sobbing. For the visitor was none other than Atem himself. She froze in her tracks as she stared at him so closely. And she dared not make a sound, hoping that no words would stop time and allow them to look upon each other for as long as possible. But the more Anzu did that, the more sadness consumed her in knowing of the upcoming morning...where her first and only love will say his goodbyes. She tried to shake off the new tears that were starting to appear and give her companion a smile. She didn't want him, of all people, to know what was bothering her.
Anzu supported herself against her door, since she could not trust her quivering legs. "Pharaoh...hey there," she replied, trying to sound cheerful, but failing immensely. And she knew that Atem saw right through her. Although, that didn't mean she would give in. This would be like having her own duel with him. To show him that she could keep her emotions in-tack.
"Would it be alright if I come in?" he asked monotonously, but gently concerned. Denying him the request would automatically give him the idea that something was wrong. A part of Anzu wanted to send him away...but the part of her that loved him so much, granted him the passage to enter her room. So, without needing to answer, Anzu opened her door a bit wider to allow Atem to come inside. She closed the door making sure to hear the soft click, letting her know that they wouldn't be disturbed.
Silence...neither one of them made the attempt to speak. In hopes that the other person would make the first sound. Anzu never made any notions of turning towards him. In fact, she just stayed planted against the door because once Atem got a lock on her eyes, she wouldn't be able to keep herself from breaking down. She risked looking over her shoulder and watched as Atem staring at a portrait on the wall. His hands were tucked in his pockets, looking the same way he did all of the time. Why was he here?
Deciding that trying to bury herself into the door was not going to make matters go away, Anzu slowly turned towards the ancient pharaoh. Keeping her back pressed against door in order to keep her balance. "So, what brings you by? Shouldn't you be working on..." she stopped. Unbelievable...she could not muster up the courage to even say it. If she couldn't do that, then how was she going to get through watching the duel? It was completely impossible.
"I had sensed very deep sadness while I was...preparing myself for my final duel," he said while turning slightly to her.
She clenched her hand into a fist. There was that word again...final. Was everyone trying to rub it in her face? She gets it! Everything was coming to an end! Atem was leaving! Why did everyone have to torture her this way?
She kept her smile, but on the inside...she felt like a train wreck. Anzu's heart was breaking more and more by the second. "Oh...you did?" she asked, pretending not to know what Atem was referring to. "Do you know where it's coming from?"
Of course, Atem made no attempt to answer the obvious question. He already knew the answer from the way he was staring at her. What was she thinking, trying to fool him? It was just as Atem had said, he could sense the sadness. Never had his powers been wrong on anything before.
She found the strength to push herself away from the door to pace around the room a little, but she kept her back turned to him. She wasn't ready to meet his eyes. Although, it didn't mean that she couldn't feel his eyes burning on her.
"Would you like to talk about it?" he asked her.
Anzu almost laughed bitterly at that question, but she made sure not to be rude and do so. "I'm sure that you already know what I am going to say, Pharaoh. There really isn't a reason to talk about it. You're leaving...that's all there is to it."
"When I see a friend who is struggling with sadness, I would like to do whatever I can to help. However, in this situation, there is not much we can do. My memories as the pharaoh have been revealed to me. Fate has decided that my time in this world is not very long. My destiny has been fulfilled and - "
"Destiny! Fate! Please, just stop saying those words to me!" Anzu exclaimed cutting him off and turning to meet his surprised and shocked stare. She was surprised herself for shouting at him that way, but from the way she was feeling, it didn't matter. "Fate and destiny mean nothing to me right now! Do you not understand what is going on? You are LEAVING us! And you're standing there, talking like it's no big deal! It makes me wonder if you really even care!"
She felt herself being pushed roughly against the wall. It all happened so fast, but when Anzu was able to use her eyes again, she was met with two, very intimidating crimson eyes. Atem was holding both of her arms, so she couldn't really move as much. He had her trapped, just as if she was dueling against him.
But truthfully, she really was. This was her own personal duel against him. She knew that what she'd said came out the wrong way, but her emotions were spinning out of control. Everything was coming out twisted and confusingly.
"Do you actually believe that I don't care or understand what is happening? Honestly, Anzu, I may have spent five-thousand years inside of the puzzle, but that does not mean that I am heartless! Of course, this is a sad way of closing everything. What you have to realize, Anzu, is that you all are saying goodbye to one friend. I am saying goodbye to ALL of my friends. All of you that I have created strong bonds with. Do YOU understand that?" he asked in a gruff, expressive tone.
She heard him. She could hear the growing sorrow that was coming through his words...but Anzu could not help but feel overwhelmed by her own sorrow. And because of that, she began to struggle out of Atem's grip on her, which only made him hold onto her even tighter. This was too much for her.
"Why did you have to come into my life, only to be taken away from me? Let go of me! Just let me..." And it happened, Atem strongly pulled her into his arms. Anzu's emotional state was so high, that the entire wall collapsed. Leaving this teenage girl completely broken. She welcomed the embrace of Atem, sobbing into his chest as they spent these final moments alone together. It was the first time that he has held her this way. Yes, he had held her before, when he caught her on the train after being separated from Jounouchi and Honda, but this was totally different. Atem was so warm and comforting...just as Anzu had imagined him to be. And she only wished that she had more time to learn more of his touches.
She looked up into his eyes, not wanting to let go of him. "Don't go...please, don't go. I'm sure that if we talk with Isis, we can find another solution. There has to be a way for you to stay here with us without the use of the puzzle! Just think about it...you could have your own life. A second chance. Even YOU deserve that much, right? You've sacrificed so much to save our world. It's only fair that you get-" she was cut off by Atem's finger gently touching her lips, getting her to stop talking. But she needed to explain this to him. Her only response was seeing him shaking his head in disagreement.
"I'm sorry...but this is the way it has to be," he said in finality. "Even if I wanted to stay, I would not be granted that wish."
Anzu just lowered her head dishearteningly. She knew that she had to be realistic, but that was easier said than done. Were fate and destiny really laughing at her now? To make her fall in love with someone only to have him leave her? It was a cruel, sick joke.
Reluctantly, she removed herself out from Atem's arms and walked over to her window. The night sky was so beautiful...the perfect moment to create a romantic memory, had it not been for this situation. If only things turned out differently, she thought to herself. Anzu hugged her arms around herself to keep from sobbing again. She did not want to make Atem see her in that fashion again. It was unfortunate enough that he did the first time...but Kami, did it ever feel so good to have him holding her the way he did.
She heard him coming closer and her heart was thumping with every step he took. A blush crept up to her cheeks when she noticed how closely he was standing next to her. She glanced back out at the celestial, moonlit sky and kept her emotions under control. "I'm making this harder for you than it already is...and for that, I'm sorry. I just hate that this is happening..."
"You have nothing to apologize for, Anzu. I can relate to what you are feeling. None of us are happy about my departure...but it is the way it was meant to be. Do you remember our day out together? The one that...Yugi planned for us?"
Anzu laughed a bit, how could she forget? That day was one of the greatest days ever. She was able to spend time with Atem and also learn more about him. "I do, Yugi was confident in believing that I would be able to help you in finding out your past."
"And you did. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have been able to seek out the main points of my past. You were the one who suggested that we should attend to the Egyptian exhibit." He stopped for a moment to meet her gaze. Anzu felt that she could stare at him for eternity. "Do you know what my most favorite part of that day was?" When Anzu gave the notion that she didn't, Atem continued. "Seeing you dance for the very first time. Never have I've seen such beautiful movements as yours. You truly are a rare gem of this world."
Hearing him saying so much praise made Anzu blush again, but also causing tears to form once more. He thought her dancing was beautiful. Those words had touched her heart and he would never know just how much. "Thank you, Atem...that means a lot coming from you," she said quietly.
"Will you promise me something, Anzu?"
The question caught her off guard, but that did not mean she would deny him of such a request. "What is it?" What she didn't expect was for Atem to bring her into another hug. He kept her head firmly planted against his heart, making Anzu hear the magnificent sound of the organ in her ear.
"Your words of encouragement have always helped me get through my most toughest of duels, so it is my turn to offer you the same. Keep working on reaching your dream. Nothing or no one should ever stop you from making it come true. When you feel that first sign of doubt or sadness, I want you to dance under the stars and imagine yourself dancing in front of an audience who is waiting to see a tremendous performance from you. Including myself...because I will make sure to have a front row seat. Promise me this, Anzu."
If Anzu's heart didn't burst with immense love before, it was surely doing it now. Atem had truly reminded her of just how much she loves him. She could easily confess her feelings to her pharaoh right now. Nothing was keeping her from doing so. This was the perfect chance to get everything out in the open and hopefully, get a response of his feelings returning to her, too. That he felt the same way about her as she did about him. She could do it...right now even.
"I promise, Atem...and I will keep my promise for as long as I live."
But she didn't take the chance.
She kept her feelings buried inside. Telling Atem of her feelings would not change the outcome of tomorrow's duel. It wouldn't have the power to make Atem stay here in this world instead of leaving to the afterlife. Her feelings were not important. As much as she wanted to tell him, she couldn't. And it was hurting even more that she was letting him go without telling Atem how she felt.
She just hoped that somehow - someway - Atem was able to sense those feelings just like he was able to sense her sadness tonight.
Unfortunately, that wasn't the case and she was forced to keep everything hidden. But to Anzu...it was okay. Even though he didn't know, she had the amazing experience to know what true love felt like.
She tightened her hold on Atem, giving off the action of him knowing how deeply she would truly miss him. This embrace, as well as their others, would always be in her memory. Anzu would remember the gentle way Atem held her like this. And as she took in more of the feeling, she allowed silent tears to fall down her blushing cheeks.
Anzu lost her footing on the twirl she was perfecting when she realized that her memory was nothing more than just that. A memory. Every detail felt so real to her, that it was as if she was saying her private goodbye to Atem all over again.
She settled herself on her knees, breathing heavily from her dancing. Anzu had no idea how long she was dancing for, but looking at the way her breaths were coming out so quickly, it had to have been for a long while. Time didn't matter to her. It was like being in a world where time did not exist. If only it was like that for her now. To wish for her pharaoh to return without having to worry about how much time she had with him. They would just live in the moment. Take in the beauty of their surroundings.
Something faint was glowing in front of her. Anzu looked up to see two little fireflies dancing around each other. She wondered to herself if these two little glow bugs were in love. The way they were flying, almost looked as if they were creating their own dance beneath the stars. And right then...she thought of Atem. She looked into the night sky to find the stars right where she saw them last. Nothing was different about them. That is, until she witnessed one star out of the whole bunch. One that was glowing more brighter than all the rest. She wondered, in the deepest part of her mind, if that star represented him. If that star was him. Telling her - in his own way - to be strong and live happily.
But how was Anzu suppose to do that? How could she live happily when the only person, who filled the majority part of her heart, was gone? The others may have had the strength to move on, but unfortunately for herself, she couldn't. She could talk to Yugi, but she would just be hearing the same thing. And in her state, she wasn't able to hear a repeat of what was told to her before.
As much as she wanted to stay outside for the entire night and be surrounded by this exquisite world of nature, Anzu realized that she needed to get inside. The autumn season was just around the bend and the nights were getting colder. The last thing Anzu needed was a cold to make her even more depressed.
Anzu made it back to her cozy, one bedroom apartment in a record of three minutes. It was very convenient for her to live so closely to the park where she was residing in just a few minutes ago. She could go and come whenever she pleased and being on the top floor, gave her access to look out through her window when there were nights she had trouble sleeping. But tonight, she just felt like going out and consuming the last of the air summer had to offer for the season.
Coming inside, she was met with the same sound as any other day.
It was another blow that reminded her of just how alone she felt, but she was used to it. Even though she didn't want to be. As Anzu stood, leaning against her door, she began to drift into a pleasant image of what it would be like if Atem were to have stayed, rather than leaving. And it got her to thinking...would they have been together? Would she have had the courage to admit her true feelings to the once nameless pharaoh? Would he have felt the same way? Her heart thumped so powerfully just imagining his embrace again. Only this time, he would hold her the way a man truly and wholeheartedly loves a woman.
Yes...just like right now. She could almost feel Atem reaching out to hold her at this very moment. She allowed her entire senses to succumb in his hands. Shivering from the way they were slowing gliding their way up and down her back. In a sensual way, if she were asked to describe it. She wanted to give him the same treatment. Just a few seconds to breathe in his masculine scent.
However, as her arms moved around to greet him, Anzu realized that she was only hugging the air. Opening her eyes confirmed it clearly. Everything that she'd felt was all just an illusion. Her innermost thoughts coming to her in a reality sense, but not as real as she wished it to be.
Anzu sighed, placing a hand over her eyes. She felt so emotionally worn out. How long was she going to keep doing this to herself? Two years...two years of feeling this way. But even if she decided to take the initiative to move on, she couldn't. Why was it so hard for her? It's as if there was something within her was forbidding her from making that decision.
Becoming tired from so much thinking for one night, Anzu made sure her door was securely locked and collapsed, tiredly, on her sofa. She spent most of her day going to one dancing audition and two call backs. Unfortunately, it was the same as before; she did not have the potential that the judges were looking for. Anzu was not the kind of person to give up, she knew that her moment was coming soon. Right now, she only wanted to concentrate on resting. Her body was completely spent from her impossible jumps, twirls and stretches. Not to mention the passionate dance that she'd just performed under the stars. For a certain someone...
Anzu sighed irritably, she needed to get her mind focused on something other than Atem. But how exactly was she going to do that? Maybe watching an hour of television will help, but as she thought about it, there really wasn't anything interesting to watch on the tube. It was at that moment, her eyes landed on an slightly open box sitting on her table. She remembered taking it out to look at her special trinkets inside, but never took the time to put it away. She was actually glad, too.
Grabbing the box and sitting Indian style, Anzu browsed through her overflowing box of treasures. Pictures of herself together with the others were found and she silently looked through each one, remembering every event or silly moment that had happened. She even kept a personal diary. Writing about all of the adventures and the terrifying duels that the group had to face with one enemy after another. But mostly, she wrote of her blossoming feelings for Atem. How she was extremely and utterly head over heels for him, how her heart rapidly thumped within her chest whenever he placed himself in the line of fire - afraid that he would seriously damage himself.
But that was one of the many, many qualities that she admired about him. When there was a defenseless person who needed help, he would automatically jump in to protect them. She would gladly make herself as an example. Since the first moment that she heard his voice, Anzu knew that her heart was claimed by this heroic pharaoh.
Shuffling through her box some more, Anzu found another special item that she kept sacredly with her. It was a blank cartouche pendant, just like the one she had given to Atem. She never told anyone that she had bought two cartouches instead of one. The reason was because Anzu wanted to keep a piece of Atem with her always. The pendant may be blank, but the item meant so much to her. She was thinking of taking up hieroglyphics and maybe carve her own name inside. She traced the outline of the pendant, thinking about Atem's cartouche. How he had thanked her for giving him the trinket in order to help remember his name, if ever he forgets it again. Anzu blushed at the memory. Her heart was beating tremendously through her chest when Atem gave her his gratitude. She thought, for sure, that her entire heart would simply melt from his deep, overpowering voice. The same voice that she so dearly missed.
Keeping the cartouche held safely in her hands, Anzu looked through her box again for the final item that was sitting inside. This was another treasure that she kept closely with her. She'd never told anyone, but when the Battle City tournament had ended and everyone set off back to their respective places, Anzu went and obtained a Black Magician Girl card for her very own. Although she didn't play Duel Monsters very often, she wanted to have it for many reasons. When the bubbly magician became her deck master in her duel against Shuzo Otaki, Anzu formed a special bond with this card. In a way, she felt that the Black Magician Girl was, somewhat, like a guardian angel.
She stared at the card with a forlorn look. How Anzu wished, for many nights, that the Black Magician Girl would magically appear as she did for her before and help her in this situation. But that was just it. Wishing...wishing was never the greatest factor for her. None of her deepest wishes had came true. Sure, she wasn't worried about her dancing career, Anzu would never quit no matter how many rejections she gets. Her deepest wishes were the ones that were never going to happen for her. She knew that. The rational side of her knew that. But the side that wanted those wishes to come true, it hurt excessively that she would never get one glimpse of it.
And even then...it still did not stop her from bringing her card up and whispered her most powerful wish. The wish that she wanted, but could never have. "Please, Black Magician Girl...if I never have anything else in this world, allow me to have just one more moment with him. I want to be with him..." She didn't finish her wish, since she happened to find another wave of tears crash through her, but it was incredibly clear at what her heart yearned for. She couldn't forget about him.
Without realizing, one of Anzu's tears fell upon the card like a magical pearl dropping into a pond. And when that happened, the Black Magician Girl card began to glow mysteriously. Once Anzu opened her eyes, she had to close them again from the intense luminosity appearing through the card. Wiping her tears, she took a chance to reopen her eyes and was shocked to see a beam shooting out - turning itself into the glorious Black Magician Girl herself. Looking at this pink and blue bubbly magician, Anzu wondered if she had fell asleep without any knowledge and stumbled into a dream. It was remotely impossible to summon a duel monster without a duel disk.
And yet, when the Black Magician Girl took a hold of her hand, it was confirmed that she was real. She just smiled at Anzu, no words were spoken at the moment, but she felt herself becoming lightheaded; faint. She was slowly losing consciousness and it was terrifying that she had no clue as to what was happening. However, as she caught blurry visions of the magician, Anzu figured that where ever she was going...it was where she needed to be.
Silence was the only thing existing as Anzu opened her eyes and was very confused to her present surroundings. She hoisted herself up into a sitting position and was shocked to find that she was not in her apartment anymore. Instead, she appeared to be in a very, exotic bedroom. A bedroom that was larger than her entire apartment put together. If she were to remember correctly, this bedroom looked faintly familiar to one of those beautiful pictures of Egyptian rooms that Anzu had been reading about.
But how did she get here? Was this a dream?
The last thing she had remembered was making a wish on the Black Magician Girl, only to have her materialize from out of her card and take hold of her hand. And she was real...very real. How could Anzu grasp her mind on what was a dream and what was reality? Much better question, how was she going to get back?
"Are you certain that you want to leave?"
That voice...Anzu could recognize that voice from anywhere. And it wasn't until she realized a faint glow coming from the corner, belonging to the Black Magician Girl. She floated across to her, still carrying her trademark smile. Anzu was beginning to wonder if this was, indeed, a dream after all. It was absolutely impossible for this to be real. Or so she believed.
"Don't worry, Anzu," the Black Magician Girl spoke telepathically, "I can see that things are confusing right now, but allow me to explain to why you are here. I have granted the wish that you have bestowed upon me."
Yes, the same wish that Anzu was now thinking about as she regained consciousness again. Did she really just say that her wish was granted? But that would mean...
"I'm in Egypt? You've brought me back to ancient Egypt?" Anzu asked in disbelief.
The Black Magician Girl giggled a little before answering. "Not ancient Egypt, but an afterlife version of ancient Egypt. I have brought you here because your heart has been longing for the pharaoh deeply," she replied.
Anzu did not realize that her heart was pounding so hard after the mere mention of Atem. She was going to see him again. It was her most greatest wish and it had now came true. What would he look like? Was he still the same man that she fell in love with? Had the past two years changed him? Had he...forgotten about her? And after that thought, she quickly shook it away. There was no way Atem would forget any of their times together.
The anticipation was growing from the knowledge of seeing him again. There were so many things that she wanted to tell him. Things that she only wished she had the courage to mention to him before. Even if it wouldn't have changed anything, at least Atem would have known of her true feelings for him - especially, if those feelings were only one-sided. She looked around the spacious room once more, trying to see if there was even a glimpse of the mysterious, tri-colored haired pharaoh. She needed to see him. She was so close, just one push in the right direction was all she asked for.
But before she could even make one move, Black Magician Girl stopped her for the moment. It seemed as if her bubbly mood had disintegrated. Now, she appeared to be sadden about something and Anzu was afraid to even ask why.
"There is one thing that I have not mentioned to you. You will be able to see the pharaoh...but you only have a short amount of time to be here," she said, turning her eyes to the ground.
Anzu's eyes widened by this information. She wouldn't have that much time with Atem? She wanted to be with Atem, yes, but not be with him only to be torn away from him again. How was she going to go through another goodbye again? The first one was hard enough.
Even so...she would rather have this chance than not having one at all. She would make sure that her limited time with Atem would be as special as the last - maybe more. "How much time will I have?" she asked.
"With the help of my magic, you only have an hour. I'm sorry, Anzu, this is just because you have entered the realm of the afterlife. You cannot stay for over a long period of time."
Anzu sighed, she knew that there had to have been some sort of a downside to this. Although, she could not complain. One hour with Atem was better than not seeing him at all. She would treasure every minute, every second and every millisecond with him.
Voices were heard and Anzu turned to the doors, watching them open. She panicked, what would she do if someone caught her within the pharaoh's quarters? Would she even be seen by anyone other than Atem? She turned in hopes of asking the Black Magician Girl on what she should do, only to find her winking and whispering good fortune to her as she disappeared from sight. Now she was completely on her own. The first thing Anzu could think of doing was hiding behind one of the stone pillars located by the bed. She peeked a little to see who was coming in through the doors. One of them appeared to be one of the royal associates for Atem, due to the royal garments he was wearing. He had a sparkling resemblance to the Black Magician. She also spotted the hyper, energetic girl called Mana. She remembered meeting her from the time Atem was reliving his memories after going through the ancient tablet.
And then...her eyes landed on the last being. The one who she wanted, so badly, to see again. Anzu had to restrain herself from not running out from behind the pillar and giving Atem a heartwarming hug. His features were so different. His skin was tanner, he was a bit taller - taller than she was, she could tell - and his eyes...his eyes were incredibly breathtaking. Even though there were little things about him that were different, Atem hardly changed at all.
From her position, it appeared that Atem was bidding goodnight to the two visitors. The anticipation within her was growing from knowing that her chance to meet and speak with Atem was approaching. She watched as he closed his door, only to lean on it for a few moments. It seemed the smile he held just now had evaporated the moment he was alone. What exactly could he be thinking about? He looked as if he was alone without any companionship. Sure, he had his subjects and the people he knew from his past life, but it made her wonder if he was alone. Did he ever think about Yugi and the others?
He pushed himself away from the door and headed across the room to look out his balcony. He was so close to her, she couldn't believe it. Her mind was still wondering if this was a dream or reality. So as much as she wanted to walk out to greet him, a part of her was afraid that she would somehow wake up and be back to feeling this large, empty void inside her heart. A void where only Atem would be able to fill. However, just as the Black Magician Girl told her, Anzu only had one hour before she was taken back. Was she really willing to waste her chance because of fear?
No, she wasn't.
Without making a sound, Anzu moved out from behind the pillar - feeling completely exposed now. Nothing was keeping her hidden anymore. And as she walked closer to Atem - who had yet to know she was here - her heart was pounding and beating faster and faster with every step she took. Her legs were beginning to feel wobbly, but she managed to keep them moving. Her breathing became a little difficult for her to control. It was shallow, then normal and then she held it in order to keep her emotions from bursting out.
But as she tried - hard as she might - Anzu could not stop that little tear from escaping from her eye. She was now standing behind Atem, within touching distance of him. She kept her hands clutched to her chest, trying to gain a little composure. Her mouth opened, but no sounds were coming out. Like her throat was closing up and keeping her from speaking. Oh, she would not allow this. Anzu came this far, she would not do this to herself. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath and felt a new ray of energy beam into her body.
"Pharaoh..." she whispered, not exactly sure if Atem had heard her or not. But when she saw his entire body stiff up, she knew that her crackling voice had reached his ears. He turned around, eyes widening when they saw who had called him and speechless to even know that she was here. As their eyes met, Anzu wasn't able to keep her tears in anymore. They cascaded down her cheeks like beautiful crystals dropping into the center of sparkling lake on a moonlit night. The corners of her lips were turning up into a watery smile. There were so many things that Anzu wanted to say, but the silence was enough for now as they both took in each other.
However, the anticipation was breaching to its formidable drive. She couldn't resist any longer. Anzu threw herself to hug Atem, only to have him return the embrace with so much emotion. She missed this. It felt so good having his arms wrapped around her. She had been dreaming of this feeling every day when she woke up and every night when she went to sleep. A light cinnamon scent filled her senses and she felt happy that Atem still smelled the same as before. It was true...nothing about him had changed.
"Anzu..." The way her name slipped from his lips sounded just as lovely as pure music to her. His deep, masculine voice - that always made her melt - was one of the many things that Anzu had missed about him. Just hearing him, after two long years, felt so wonderful to her. And now, it was becoming hard to even wonder if this was a dream at all. His touch, the sound of his voice, his luxurious scent...everything was so real.
When he slowly pulled her out of the hug, Anzu felt that she could gaze at him forever. She silently wished that Atem would pull her back into his arms again, but the need to speak with him - to tell him all of her inner feelings - was winning the battle.
"I don't understand...how are you here? How is this possible?" he asked while gently squeezing both of her shoulders and making sure she was real.
She did her best to try and form her words in order to explain, but she let out a choked sob as her tears continued to drip down her cheeks. And it was then that Atem brought up one of his hands to cup her face and wipe her tears away. She felt herself leaning into his hand. That touch sent shivers up her spine. It was such an amazing feeling. "I was brought here by the Black Magician Girl. She...granted me the chance to see you again," Anzu replied, regaining her ability to speak. "I've missed you so much."
Atem smiled, looking upon her with such glorious admiration. "I have also missed you. Not a day goes by when I haven't thought of you, Yugi and the others. I still can't believe that you are here."
"I'm still trying to wonder if this is really happening," Anzu replied, taking in this great joy. This was the first time - in a long time - that she had ever felt as happy as she did now. But as soon as the feeling enveloped her, a sense of sadness came along with it. Her smile was slowly disappearing. She realized that this happiness would not last for very long. She would be back in her apartment again after her time limit was up.
"What is it?" Atem asked with much concern.
Her expression didn't leave any hidden details as Atem noticed her sudden mood change. Well, she had to let him know the reason. "It's just...I've wished for so many nights to see you. Now that it's happened, I'm realizing that we are going to have to say goodbye again. I only have an hour to spend with you," she replied with such disappointment.
As she was taking in this reality, Anzu felt herself being pulled into the warmth of Atem's comforting arms again. Those arms that she wanted to feel around her for the rest of her life. If only that was the case. If only she had the power to change that one hour into one life for Atem to have.
"Well then," she heard him begin to speak. "Let us make the most of the time we have together. To me, that is more important. Wouldn't you agree?"
And just by hearing that, Anzu could not stop the growing smile that was now present upon her face. So, that was exactly what they did. Anzu had told Atem about the others and how they were progressing in their lives. Even Yugi, who had - like herself - also went through a rough patch after Atem's departure. But with time, he was able to get past with the help of everyone of their friends. Together, Anzu and Atem both shared moments of laughter and memories of the times before. With those experiences, personalities were changed for the better. Anzu even mentioned the first time she had ever noticed Atem through Yugi. He was amazed at how long she had always known of his presence. The conversation was then turned to how Atem was handling himself here in this world. How things have felt much easier knowing that all of the darkness was wiped away and peace was restored. It was the kind of peace that he had been longing for.
It was quiet for only a few minutes as both Atem and Anzu took in this new knowledge of each other. Atem sat against his pillows while he watched Anzu laying comfortably on her back, staring at the ceiling. She could feel his eyes burning on her, urging her to speak again. But she knew once she did, it would be about her inner feelings for him. The feelings that she have kept secret from him. Anzu was struggling on where to even begin to start.
"Anzu...I wish to know about you next. Have you been doing alright?"
She wasn't surprised by the question considering that she knew Atem would ask her, and that she avoided any subject pertaining to her. With the time limit floating around her head, Anzu couldn't afford to lose this chance. She needed to do this. Her eyes met with Atem's again. It was always such a pleasure to look upon those glorious amethyst orbs of his. Just seeing them gave her the courage to move forward through whatever situation she faced.
"I would, most likely, be lying if I told you that things have been going great for me. I mean, my dancing career is taking a positive turn. Even though there hasn't been an opening for me yet, I just know it will happen soon."
"You've always been the most optimistic among us all. I'm sure things will turn out wonderfully for you," Atem said while smiling, but that smile wasn't visible for very long. "I can sense a great deal of pain from you. Much more than that night when we had last spoken."
Anzu sat up and turned her eyesight to the flapping curtains from the balcony door, noticing how the stars were glittering in the night sky. The same way she had seen them when she was dancing tonight. "I can never figure out how you're able to guess how I'm feeling, but you've always manage to be right about it. Can I tell you something?"
"Of course, anything you want."
"Did you know that when you had your last duel with Yugi, I was secretly rooting for you to win instead? I was hoping that if you did win, you would have been able to live your own life again. In a different way, without worrying about beings from the Shadow Realm," Anzu smiled sadly. "I know...I'm such a dreamer, aren't I? Even if that did happen, you still would've been bound to the puzzle. I wouldn't want to wish that for you."
She felt Atem gently taking her hand, holding it like a protective shield. "Do not belittle yourself by dreaming the way you do. I think it's a gift to have an ability to dream. And the way my duel ended with Yugi, I feel no regrets on the moves that I've chosen to make. Because in the end, Yugi was able to come out of that duel a stronger man."
"I hear what you're saying...and you're right. Yugi's become much more confident after that duel. He's come a long way from being the kid who was always bullied a lot. I've always told him to never let anyone walk over him like a doormat. To stick up for himself and for what's right. In a way, you were the one who taught him the meaning of courage. Even when Yugi didn't realize who you were at the time." Anzu stopped to close her eyes, hoping to stop the tears that were beginning to break through again. "I understand why this happened...but I can't help but feel the way I do now."
"Tell me what you are feeling. What is it that's not allowing you to move on?" Atem asked, moving closer to Anzu in case she needed comfort. Instead, she stood up abruptly and faced Atem with a tear-faced frown. It saddened him that Anzu was carrying around such sorrow. Like she was being trapped inside of an unbreakable cage, pleading for anyone to set her free.
"That's just it, Atem...I can't move on. I've tried so hard to do it, but I just can't. This is not something that I can grow out from. You don't understand the feelings that are inside of me right now. I'm angry and hurt...and sad. I want to scream to the entire world on how unfair this is!" And just as she did tonight in the park, Anzu cried. She was taken, once again, into Atem's secure embrace. This was exactly like when he came into her room that night on the ship.
"So much sadness from such a beautiful soul." Atem lifted Anzu's head until he was able to see into her cerulean eyes. "Has my departure affected you this much, Anzu?" he asked while gently caressing her cheek.
More of her tears constantly kept dripping down her face, causing Atem to instinctively wipe them away.
Anzu could not hold her feelings anymore. She needed to confess. "It was so hard watching you walk through that portal. Knowing that it was the last time I would ever see you again. I wanted to stop you from leaving...to beg for anyone to think of another alternative for you to stay. But all I did was stand there, frozen like a statue and watch you walk away. Do you know how much I've imagined for everything to have been different that day? All I wanted was to pull you back and hold on to you. To tell you how much you mean to me. To have a life with you...because I love you to the point where my heart longs for you to be with me."
She stared at Atem, waiting for him to say anything, but he was caught in a whirlpool of shock. Her arms began to slowly loosen from him. Did she say too much? Did she push him away and make him feel uncomfortable around her? Anzu was beginning to dread the silence from him and wondered if it was the best decision to even confess everything she held inside her.
"You love me?"
Anzu was startled when she heard Atem speak suddenly. But what really surprised her was seeing how much emotion he was showing from his eyes. Like he was trying to ponder if everything she'd just told to him was heard correctly. Once she gave a confirmed nod, Anzu was pulled back into Atem's tight, loving hug. It was then that all of her fears were magically dissolved away.
"Why didn't you tell me, Anzu?" he asked, shaking a little in the embrace.
"There are so many reasons why I've never told you, Atem. The timing wasn't right. And even if it was, I didn't know how to come out and say it to you. It's like...whenever we would find peace from an evil being, we were always trampled again by some other force coming after you. But then, I was afraid - every time - when that happened. Even though I knew you would come out of those situations valiantly, Atem...it made me fear for you. Always wondering if your next duel would be your last. I couldn't bear the thought of losing you."
Anzu gave out a little laugh, realizing the irony from this. "But either way, I've still lost you, right? I fell in love with someone I could never have. It didn't matter if I had told you my feelings or not. Things wouldn't have changed for us."
"I know...and still, I do not care about that." Their faces were close enough where they were able to see the windows through their souls. "You have just said how much you love me. Do you know how elated that makes me feel? I know it may not have seemed that way, but Anzu...I have always felt an attraction to you. I don't know when it started or even how it started, but you've made me feel a way that I've never felt before. Not even during my time as pharaoh had I ever felt this...incredible sense of joy flowing through me. Part of me was afraid of what this feeling was...but at the same time, it was something that I'd never wanted to let go of."
Atem took Anzu's hand, taking in on how smooth her velvet skin was on his fingertips. "And I, especially, did not want to let it go if you were the source of it. So, if this is what it's like to be in love with someone, then I must confess...I love you, too."
And just as Atem said those words, their lips came together into a blissful union. Sparks flew and fire burned from the contact. Anzu knew that kissing Atem would feel like a dream made in Heaven, but as she felt his lips mold together with hers...it was like she had been caught in a ball of flames that would never hurt her. It welcomed her, protected her and loved her. Her first kiss was exactly how she wanted it to feel like. They both moaned in unison when the kiss was deepened. Giving them the chance for their tongues to explore the beauty of their pleasurable dance. To explore their senses, their touches and their love all in one. The kiss was broken, not because they wanted to, but because of the lack of air that was traveling through their lungs. But as soon as the kiss was broken, Atem and Anzu rejoined once more for another remarkable kiss. They refused to let this moment end for anything or anyone. Not even for the use of their lungs to breathe.
But it was only so long that they both could hold their breath in that amount of time. And reluctantly, they were pulled from their everlasting kiss. Completely breathless and flushed from their cheeks, but their sparking eyes and contented smiles were noticed the most. From those long and agonizing two years, this was the happiest that Anzu had ever felt. The more she heard of Atem's loving words, the faster her heart began to speed up through every beat.
Her smile grew a bit more, and she felt her face heat up from the way he was staring at her. He truly loves her. Nothing could ever compare to how happy that has made her.
"I'm feeling a bit dizzy now," she said.
Atem became a little alarmed as he placed his hand to her forehead. "Are you alright? Are you getting feverish?"
Anzu just giggled and took his hand away, but kept it firmly within hers. "It's okay, I'm fine...don't worry. I like knowing that you make me feel this way." She buried herself into his arms once more - enjoying just how incredible he felt against her. And with every minute she spent in his intimate touch, the more her heart sped up with undying love. "This kind of dizziness feels amazing, trust me."
"...Is that normal when you are in love?" he asked, feeling a little foreign to the concept of what he was feeling towards Anzu. He loved the way she was affecting him. Like he was being engulfed by something so pure for a change, instead of being surrounded by darkness and evil. But even if that ever happened to him again, he would always think of Anzu and that darkness will disappear.
"I hear it's something to get used to," Anzu replied with a smile, wanting nothing more than to feel Atem's lips press upon hers again. To feel the overflowing love that was never expressed before, but now had blossomed through their words. She could see Atem taking in everything just as she was. Getting accustomed with the new level of closeness between them. "Are you okay, too?"
"I am...in fact, I've never felt this...blissful."
To Anzu, that said so much for her. It was what she had hoped to hear from Atem. Finally, after so many days and nights of wanting to confess her feelings to this once nameless pharaoh and thinking of him - constantly - in the two years time...Anzu's visions had came true. The one she loves so dearly, loved her the exact same way. Everything was as perfect as she imagined it; maybe more.
However...that moment would not last forever.
Because right when Atem and Anzu were about to share another passionate kiss, Anzu's hand was becoming slightly transparent. Which made them stop in order to wonder why. Realization engulfed Anzu's mind when she noticed that her time with Atem was running out. Soon she would be leaving him...to never see him like this again.
No, not yet! Please, not yet!
Fear was now being taken over by the beautiful senses she was feeling. Anzu just held onto Atem, keeping herself planted in him embrace. Not wanting to be taken away from the man she had been dreaming about for countless nights. "No...I can't leave you. It was hard enough saying goodbye to you before. I'm not going to be able to do it this time!" Anzu felt the tears beginning to rise through her eyes again. Knowing that the thought of leaving from Atem's arms and not being with him again would hurt her worse than anything that has ever hurt her before. "I'm staying here with you. If I leave now...I'm not going to be able to survive through this pain!" she said emotionally through her sobs.
Holding her was the only thing Atem could do to calm her down. He was just as depressed as Anzu was from their last moments together. He wanted her to stay...he really did, but he also needed to be sensible. "I can't ask you to remain here with me, Anzu. Everything and everyone you love is back - "
"Not everyone, Atem!" she said, cutting him off and giving him a pleading expression. "You're not there! And I want you with me more than ever. You don't know how many nights I've cried just thinking about you. How can you expect me to go back after what we'd just said to each other?"
"How can you expect me to allow you to give up on your life...your dreams?" He cupped her face, taking in all of her natural beauty; inside and out. "Listen to me, I understand how you're feeling. I feel the exact same way. But Anzu...giving up your life for me is not something I want you to do. There are so many opportunities awaiting for you. You cannot just throw that away."
"None of that matters to me. My dreams will never be complete...without you in them, Atem."
He couldn't stand it anymore. Atem quickly brought Anzu into deep kiss. Much deeper than the one they had shared moments ago. He knew that he had surprised her, but she immediately surrendered herself to him, kissing him back just as deeply. And for the first time, Atem was afraid. Yes, all of his previous duels had brought tons of fear, but none of that compared to the fear he was feeling now. He was afraid of letting this woman go. There was never a time when he had gave up on anything. He was not going to start now. Anzu had just admitted that she wanted to share a life with him. He had to do something...anything to make that happen. He had to make her wishes come true.
Once the kiss had ended, their foreheads stayed planted against each other. Atem stared at Anzu's flushed cheeks and the way she was breathing heavily. She looked so enchanting.
"Anzu..." he called out to her in a whisper, "do you trust me?"
"With all my heart," she replied without hesitation.
"Then you must trust me when I say...that I will find you again." He watched as Anzu's facial expression turned into an even deeper forlorn look. He had expected this. Knowing that she would - mostly likely say - that "it's impossible" or "there was no way of him returning".
But he quickly caught her lips again, stopping her from uttering out those words. And once he was able to absorb them, it gave Atem the chance to continue. "After what has happened between us, I can't imagine not being able to share another second without you. No matter what the odds are, I will find a way for us to be together. But in order for that to happen, you need to have faith and believe in me, Anzu. Can you do that for me?"
It was then that Anzu felt the first glimmer of hope in such a long time. And it was good to have this feeling again, knowing that it was coming from Atem himself. "If it means that I can be with you again, then I already believe in you. But how are you going to do this? How will you...? When will I - ?"
Atem smiled, amused by Anzu's never ending curiosity. "So many questions, but not enough time to answer them. You just have to trust me."
It was all Anzu could do, but she had complete confidence that Atem would keep his word. Like he has done many times before.
The seconds were ticking away and it was time for Anzu and Atem to say their goodbyes again. Something that Anzu dreaded, but it wouldn't be forever this time; thanks to Atem's promise. Before she left, Anzu had to connect her lips to his one more time. To remember the feel of them in her memory. To remember the way his lips felt the first time they'd kiss. But when she tried to, however, something was blocking her image. It was as if their first kiss never happened.
She was frightened by this. What was happening to her? Why was she suddenly forgetting these precious memories?
It is alright, do not be alarmed.
She could hear Atem's voice in her head. He was speaking to her through their kiss.
I'm sorry to do this to you, Anzu, but in order to protect you from any more pain...I need to erase myself from your memories.
No...she had to stop him. But trying with all her might, Anzu couldn't find the strength she needed. She didn't understand why Atem felt the need to do this.
Don't worry, your heart will still remember me. But I do not want you to have another night full of tears. The moment when we are reunited, your memories will return. Be strong...until we meet again. I love you...
The last thing that Anzu remembered was seeing a vision of darkness as her mind began to drift away. Before that...nothing.
Here she sat in her usual spot by the window, drinking her vanilla cappuccino and watching the rest of the world moving in a blurring rush. Some were heading to work, some were going home and others were meeting their matches for special evening occasions. For Anzu, this was apart of her daily routine. After spending close to two hours practicing her dancing, she relaxed herself by coming to her favorite cafe. It was quiet, so she always had a chance to sit and think for a while. Or even get back to a good book she had been meaning to catch up on.
This time, Anzu just decided to look upon the wonders of the city. She watched, in envy, as people laughed like there were no worries on their shoulders.
She, on the other hand, felt a void within her heart.
She could remember it very clearly. A year to this day, she had awoken from a dreamless slumber. Her head felt as if millions of bricks dropped onto her and she saw pictures scattered all over her coffee table. Thinking that she was looking through her belongings, Anzu placed everything away without even looking over them again. Trying to go through that day normally was a difficult task. No matter what she did, Anzu felt that there was something she needed to remember. Something that was ripped away from her. Nothing, not even her dancing, could fill this empty space.
Sighing once more, she finished the rest of her cappuccino and decided to leave for the evening. Maybe a walk around the park would help ease a bit of her depression. There was still a touch of sunlight left in the sky. Perhaps she could bask in the comfort of these heavenly colors before they disappeared for the night.
She couldn't help but to run into a couple coming in the opposite direction. Watching as they were walking very closely together and whispering sweet nothings to each other. They didn't notice Anzu as they walked past her, but Anzu stopped for a moment to watch them walk away.
They both looked so...happy. Completely lost in the clouds as if they did not have a care in the world. At that instant, she felt a sense of want. Wanting something as special as those two lovers shared.
But who was she kidding? A love like that only existed once...maybe twice in a lifetime.
Her feet continued to lead her to the destination at the park, but something stopped her again as she was heading there. Something that had caused her to widen her eyes in fascination. The sunset...it was positively glorious from where she was standing. The way its glowing rays were dimly lighting the sky with a mystical red-orange and a mixture of yellow. It was also illuminating over the sparkling waters as she stood against the railing, becoming transfixed with the beautiful imagery.
As she stared at the sunset...there was a spark of recognition here in this spot. Like she had came here before and watched this same sunset. Although, that was impossible. She would have remembered seeing something as magnificent as this.
When she tried to throw the thought from her head, her heart would mysteriously give off a tugging feeling to keep her from forgetting. But the question Anzu asked herself was what exactly was her heart trying to help her remember?
And when she looked over to her left, somehow...there was a sense of loss from that spot. Like a person was once standing right there. Someone she had known before.
You're losing it. Anzu quickly shook these ridiculous thoughts from her mind and turned back to the descending sunset. What is wrong with me? I'm trying to remember something that had never even happened.
She kept gazing at the fiery sun, wishing that this glowing ball could stay in this same position for as long as she wanted. Sometimes I wish you could offer advice. That way...you could tell me what I can do from torturing myself like this.
"A beautiful sunset, isn't it?"
Anzu gasped as she heard a stranger's voice next to her. She was completely startled by his sudden appearance. He must have known that he'd frightened her by the way he quickly gestured that he was no threat. "I apologize, I did not mean to give you such a scare."
When her heart rate returned to normal, Anzu felt the shock easily melting away. "No..no, it's fine. I guess I was just so deep into myself, that I didn't take notice that I wasn't alone anymore. But to answer your question...yes, it is a beautiful sunset. Words can't describe just how glorious it looks."
"I was taking a walk, but I couldn't pass up a chance to watch this amazing scenery. I came here before...with someone very special to me. We'd watched this same sunset together." She could feel the man's eyes upon her. It was weird, but in some way...a bit comforting. "You've also took my attention as well. You seem very unhappy. Something as wonderful as this sunset shouldn't bring a sad face."
"...It seems that I'm always sad lately. Actually, I don't think I can remember a time when I smiled or laughed...things are just off for me. But hey, don't let me ruin it for you. The last thing you want is to hear a sob story. Especially from someone like me," Anzu said, giving this stranger a smile. But the smile was not reaching her eyes.
"I certainly cannot enjoy this sunset and knowing that you are deeply troubled. Would you like to talk? Maybe I can offer a little advice. That is, if you don't feel uncomfortable talking with me."
Was this guy serious? He wanted her to express her inner feelings to him like they were long time buddies? They hardly knew each other, for crying out loud.
But he sounded so...concerned for her. And in a way, Anzu wanted to talk with this stranger. Even if the situation was a bit peculiar, she felt like she could trust him. He had nothing to gain, but he seemed to have so much to give. Someone who was willing to drop anything just to listen. That was what Anzu wanted right now.
"I can't even recall when this had started, but there's something missing in my life that I feel needs to be there. My heart knows it, but my mind cannot grasp to what that is. My dream goal in life is to become one of the most successful dancers in the world. To light up the stage and bring the audience to an awe with my performance."
"A dancer...that is a lovely dream. I'm sure that you dazzle anyone who has the pleasure in watching you."
Anzu was trying to fight the blush that was slowing appearing to her cheeks. This guy sure has a way with words. He magically turns them into pure poetry, a rare ability to find in a man nowadays. She continued speaking without taking her eyes off of the now disappearing sun. Taking in the new ray of colors that were beginning to develop in the sky.
"Thanks, that's sweet of you to say, but I still have a lot learn. At first, I'd thought that that was what I needed - to spend more time and attention perfecting my dancing. But I could dance for so many hours everyday and still wouldn't be able to fill this empty space inside of me. It's like...my life isn't about just being a dancer anymore. There is something else that my heart is calling out for, but I don't know what. And the more I feel this way, the more it hurts."
Anzu stopped. She knew that if she went any further, she wouldn't hold her composure. She could not allow herself to break. Especially, not to in front of someone she didn't have an acquaintance with.
She tried her best to give him a smile, but all she wanted was to run to her apartment and cry into her pillow. Just to drown out the world so she could drown in her sorrow. "I'm sorry...I feel that this was a mistake telling you all of this. You shouldn't have to hear about my problems when I'm sure that you have many of your own. I appreciate you listening though, but this is something I should handle by myself. It was nice meeting you," she said in a rush while gathering her bag from the ground.
Anzu didn't get very far, however. Her wrist was caught by the stranger in a gentle grip. She turned around to politely ask him to release her, but her voice was trapped within her throat. She did not give much acknowledgment to his appearance when she spoke to him at first, but when she did...Anzu's heart skipped a beat when she realized how intense this man looked. But what really caught her attention was his eyes. Never had she seen such unique pupils before. And what bothered her the most, was that a feeling passed through her. Telling her that she did cross paths with these eyes. But where and when exactly?
She didn't even realized how close he was to begin with. The way his hand reached forward to softly caress her cheek in a lovingly manner. This shouldn't be happening. Anzu just met this man and here he was, touching her in an innocent, but intimate way. She needs this to stop...but his caresses felt so good. All of her rational thinking was being tossed out her mind and she only allowed this mysterious man to comfort her.
"So much sadness from such a beautiful soul."
Anzu's hazy mind was clearing away for a moment. She'd heard that before. Someone had originally said that to her, but she couldn't pinpoint as to who it was. She gazed a bit more closely at him. Into his...amethyst eyes. Deep within his inner thoughts, if it was even possible. There was definitely something familiar about him, she was sure of it.
"This may seem bizarre...but I feel like I know you," she hesitantly said.
The stranger only smiled at her, and she could have sworn that his eyes held some form of relief. She didn't understand why. To think, she was just about to leave for home, planning to barricade herself away from all signs of life. But now...she only wanted to stay here with this 'stranger' who she seemed to have a recognition to in some way.
"Everything is alright now," he began to say. "All will become clear for you again and your pain will be lifted away permanently. I won't allow any more sadness to fill your heart." Before she could even ask what he was talking about, her lips were engulfed by his incredibly warm ones. Once it happened, Anzu felt a brand new source of energy flowing through her. It was like becoming reborn in her basket of memories. Everything was returning to her. Her last encounter with him as they shared their feelings towards one another. She remembered the man who was kissing her so deeply. This is what was missing. This is what her heart was aching for. And she realized now.
Atem had finally come back to her.
The kiss ended, but Anzu was so overwhelmed with such emotion, that she could not support herself anymore. Thankfully, the strong arms of her beloved was keeping her safe and secured. Just as he has done many times before. She could feel him patting her hair and whispering soft, shushing sounds in her ear while lovingly placing kisses along her forehead.
"I told you that I'd find you again."
Through her cries, she found the strength to lift up a bit to gaze up to him a little clearly. Now that Anzu remembered, she wanted to be sure that everything she was seeing and feeling was indeed real. Atem looked just as he did two years ago, but a little of his facial features have matured. Making him look even more handsome than ever.
"You've kept your promise..." she replied as she held Atem's face in her hands.
"A promise made to you, I can never break. I'm so sorry that it has taken me this long to come back to you. I hope that I'm not too late and some other bachelor has swept you off your feet," he jokingly said.
Anzu just giggled and shook her head. The first real smile she was able to make after being trapped in a cloud of sadness. All thanks to Atem. "No way, my heart is already claimed by the pharaoh of my dreams. This so unreal..."
"Ah, but my love, it is real," Atem smiled affectionately to her and helped her to stand again. "And as much as I want this to continue, I feel that we should take this to a different setting. Come with me, there is much to be explained to you."
Contentment and exhilaration were two of the many list of emotions Anzu was feeling now as she gazed upon this extraordinary view. Atem had brought her to his home after their silent, but comfortable car ride away from the city.
Miles from the city, deep into a forest like atmosphere in his glorious Japanese style home. She was completely speechless by the interior design. It held the traditional creations of a Japanese home, but to a more modern style. Almost all of Atem's furniture was dark, but it was just like him; comforting and inviting. He had outdid himself with his homey touches.
And as she stared outside at the sparkling koi pond, Anzu confirmed that she wouldn't want to be anywhere else than right here. Everything was beautiful to the touch. Anzu felt like she was transported into a world where no one else existed. A world full of magic, where only she and Atem were allowed to witness together.
Her eyes danced away from the scene in order to catch something that was incredibly astounding to her. There was an easel against the wall that held a glorious painting. Upon close inspection, the painting was incomplete, but Anzu could tell that it was an image of what she was just watching outside. So, real...so lifelike. Every detail, every color, every shade and line were so accurate.
"That one is still in working progress."
Anzu was startled a bit from Atem's voice, still not used to him actually being here. But feeling those warm, powerful arms wrapping around her body made it all factual. She was believing less and less that all of this was a dream.
"It's amazing...I didn't know that you could draw," she said with such praise.
"Honestly, I did not know of this talent myself. It took having you vanish from my arms, to make me realize that I had this gift." Anzu felt Atem release her, already missing his warmth and wanting him to return as she watched him walk across the room. He began moving random items aside to look for something. She heard him muttering about where it was, making her give a little giggle when he started pouting his lip in wonder.
She decided to offer him a bit of assistance when he smirked victoriously after he found what he was searching for. It appeared to be another painting, but this one had a special sheet covering it. "What's that?" Anzu asked curiously.
"This is the first of my many creations. The one that had made me discover my ability as an artist."
He offered Anzu the painting and she was apprehensive to even hold it within her hands. She carefully lifted the sheet away from the picture only to silently gasp at what her eyes were laying upon.
In the painting, there was a picture of her.
She was dressed in a beautiful creme Egyptian silk dress, peacefully staring out of the same balcony from Atem's bedroom. Both the drapes and the tresses of her hair were blown softly from the wind coming into the room. The illuminating light from the Moon was glowing on her face, making her look so mystical as tiny lights from the fireflies flew around her. The entire painting was a pure source of enchantment. Atem put his entire heart and soul into this painting, she could tell. He was remarkable. His brush strokes spoke magic.
"It was devastating that we had to say goodbye to each other again. I had to find some way to hold on to you. This was the closest way of doing that. Since I've made that portrait of you, it was like a piece of you was still with me. It's what got me through my most toughest of trials."
Anzu silently placed the painting on another easel, afraid that she would disrupt any part of the portrait if she didn't take extra care of it.
"Trials?" she asked, not liking how that word sounded. Just thinking about Atem had to do in order to come back to her, made her completely worried for him. Did he have to endure pain? And if he did, how long? She knew that he was a powerful pharaoh back then. Not to mention how valiantly he fought against the darkness, but even he had his limits.
"It's nothing for you to fear," he said, as if sensing her thoughts. "This was why I had to take any memory carried of me, away from you. I wasn't sure of...how long it would take for me to return. And I did not want you drowning in sadness."
"But don't you see, Atem? That was even worse than drowning in my sorrows. I know you meant well, but going day by day with this emptiness inside me was too much to bear. My heart wanted something and I didn't know what."
"...I'm sorry," Atem turned Anzu around and kissed her tenderly. "I did not mean to cause you any more pain. At the time, I thought it was the best choice for us both. Can you forgive me?"
Anzu could see the guilt building behind those amethyst eyes, and she didn't like it for a second. She knew that his intentions were to the root of selflessness. He was content with living with the fact that she wouldn't remember him, in order to keep her from having anymore days and nights of tears. Atem was incredibly genuine...and she was thankful knowing that his love was hers.
She only smiled, hoping it would lessen the uneasy guilt that Atem was feeling. "It's okay, you know? And yes, I forgive you. None of that really matters anymore, just having you back makes all of the difference." She moved to embrace him again, loving the way she fit into his arms. "I missed this...I missed you."
"The feeling is mutual, koishii. I promise to never leave you again."
It was what Anzu had been hoping to hear. Now that she has, she couldn't help but to allow her tears to escape from her closed eyelids. However, this time, these tears were of intense joy and pure happiness.
She wiped them away and giggled when Atem lightly tapped her nose. "I don't mean to ruin anything by asking this, but I just want to know how you got here. When did you even come back?"
Atem only chuckled as he guided Anzu to sit with him on the bed. The shoji door was still opened slightly, so they were able to catch the first sign of the fireflies flying near the koi pond.
"My memory is a bit blurry. There are things that were blocked after I've returned to this world. I think it's for the best if anything from before, was forgotten completely. The moment I opened my eyes, I found myself lying in sand...lots of sand. I felt so weak, constantly drifting in and out of consciousness. But my mind was still grasping to the fact that I was somewhere in Egypt. Just when my eyes were beginning to close again, I heard a voice being heard in the distance. It was faint, but someone was calling out my name. I did not respond, thinking that it was all in my head, but as soon as the voice grew louder, I knew there was no mistake. It was Yugi. I was smiling...knowing that I had returned back to the place where everything began. Where all of our adventures ended victoriously and all of my strongest bonds were formed."
"So, Yugi found you?" Anzu asked in amazement. "He did tell me that he was staying in Egypt for a few months. Since my memories of you were erased, I thought he was just going there on some sort of expedition."
"Yes, I was very surprised myself to find him. He was telling me that he'd went to Egypt to visit Isis, Malik and Rishid, but he was also planning to visit the place where our final duel was held. It wasn't until then, that he found me collapsed in the sand. Along with the Ishtars, they've helped me until I was able to gather my strength again. Of course, they were all wondering how I was able to return here. It took a lot of explaining, but I assured them all that I was here to stay." Atem finished with a smile, remembering the tears Yugi cried out while hugging the friend who had became his brother.
"I know Yugi was thrilled to hear that. When did you come back to Domino City?"
"After my recovery, which took about two weeks, Yugi and I caught the first flight back here. I've asked him not to relay the news of my return to anyone."
Anzu took a moment to think back to the day when Yugi had came back home. Remembering how happy and excited he looked when he met up with the group again after his trip. "That was three months ago...that's how long you've been here? Why didn't you come find me sooner?" she asked, feeling overjoyed that Atem was right under her nose this whole time.
"Believe me, I wanted to come to you the moment I had stepped off that plane, but I couldn't. There was a lot of preparation that needed to be handled first before we could be reunited again. However, I was aware of how you were whenever Yugi and I spoke of you. It took every ounce of my strength to not run to you and erase all of your sadness away."
"Wow...this must have been killing you as much as it was for me. But the only difference is that I had no idea why I was feeling so empty."
Atem moved closer to Anzu, hovering his lips over hers and succeeding in bringing her to a blush. "But you do not feel that way now, do you?"
"No," she whispered as her heart began to speed up. "I'm a little afraid though."
"Because I keep thinking that all of this is a dream. And once I wake up, you'll be gone again."
There was no response right away from Atem, which got Anzu very anxious and wondering if her fears were indeed true. That everything she was experiencing now was nothing more than a dream. But when Atem began to descend upon her neck, placing fluttering kisses along her skin, Anzu shivered in a spine-tingling pleasure that she'd never felt before.
He ascended back to her lips. Their breaths mingling together as the temperature in the room was rising. "Then allow me to take those fears away from you. Let me show you that what you're seeing and feeling is all real," Atem whispered as he gently laid Anzu down, kissing her with undeniable passion.
And that was exactly what he did. They explored each other on a whole new level. Soft moans and fervent groans filled the room as two lovers were introduced into their own world of lovemaking. Anzu's mind wasn't concentrated on anything, but Atem. All of her fears and concerns were hardly important to her. She held onto her pharaoh as he showered her with his love, his caresses, his kisses, his sweet words whispering in her ear and those gentle amethyst eyes that were staring at her so softly. Assuring her that he would never hurt her. There were no questions. They've already had the answers. Anzu gave her mind, her body, her soul, her heart and her entire senses to this wonderful man. Everything she was feeling, completely overwhelming for her. She lost count to how many times tears ran from her eyes. It was beautiful, magical...and she was sharing all of this with her one true love. Just like what she had wished for.
A few hours had passed and Anzu awoken to the light breeze blowing through the door. Her hazy vision was trying to process on where she was, the time and her last memory.
Judging by the the night sky, she guessed that it was past midnight. She also realized that her bedroom was a bit out of place. She wasn't in her apartment, but somewhere much more comfortable; peaceful. And it was then that she remembered Atem. She gasped while trying to wonder where he could have gone. It wasn't until she realized that she was lying in his bed, with nothing but the soft sheets covering her body. She blushed, but smiled as she thought about what they've done here on this bed. Making love to him was proof enough that he was real.
Her hand moved to the pillow where Atem's head had rested, trying to determine how long he was gone by the warmth coming from it.
"Don't move yet."
His voiced surprised her, but Anzu granted the request and stayed exactly where she was for now. Her eyes were allowed to move freely, however. She caught site of Atem sitting in front of her, drawing in his sketchpad. He looked so focused, so deep into his work. It was like he was dueling, but this was on a completely different concept. Anzu noticed that she was enjoying watching Atem as he drew whatever he was creating. She found him rather...irresistible to look away and giggled a bit from the thought.
"Do you find something amusing?" he asked, smirking in her direction.
"Only the artist at work. What are you drawing?" she asked in curiosity.
"An image of something that I found very alluring to me."
Atem moved back to his spot on the bed, causing Anzu's cheeks to redden from the fact that Atem was shirtless. She pushed her shyness aside when he passed her his sketchpad. Another picture that showed such amazement, and this one just as magnificent as the rest of his creations. Here she was looking at a well-drawn picture of herself sleeping. Atem had, once again, caught her inner beauty. She had always wondered how she looked when she was asleep. And just by glancing at this sketch, she wondered no more.
She wiped a tear away, feeling touched by this thoughtful gesture. "I don't know...what to say about this, Atem. This is lovely."
Atem pulled Anzu against him, letting her head relax on his shoulder as he, too, gazed at his finished sketch. "Yes, it is...but not as lovely as my inspiration." He gently took the picture away from her as he dropped a sensible kiss upon her lips once more. No matter how many times they'd kiss, Anzu would always feel like it's the first time. Which meant that every time their lips touched, it would feel as special as the first.
Once their kiss came to an end, Atem just continued to hold onto his flower of the Nile. Dropping occasional kisses along her brow and her neck, taking pleasure in hearing her responsive moans. Feeling delighted and relieved that he's the only man that could have this affect on her. Part of him was afraid that when he returned back to her, Anzu had found someone else that claimed her heart. That she would permanently forget everything about him. And he vowed, that if it happened, he would let her go. Only if she was happy.
But that wasn't the case. She was here in his arms, right where she was meant to be.
"You still have your cartouche."
Atem noticed that Anzu was playing with the special trinket she had given to him. He remembered how thankful he was by this unexpected gift. She had wanted to make sure that he'd always had his name, if he should ever lose his memory again. His identity would be kept around his neck. It was the most heartfelt thing Atem had ever heard.
He pulled away from her, but just enough where he could glance into her eyes some more. "Do you enjoy being here?"
"Of course, I do. There's really no point in asking me that, I've waited so long to be with you," Anzu warmly replied. "And your home is like falling into an everlasting dream. I love everything about this place."
"Yes, it does bring out a harmonious sense, doesn't it? I've discovered this place when I was taking a drive one day. It was abandoned, for how long, I did not know. I figured that no one was living here anymore. So, with some work and a lot time, I've turned it into a home."
Anzu snuggled closer into Atem's embrace, loving the way their bodies molded together like clay being created into a unique sculpture. "You've did an amazing job, it's a quiet place to live. So peaceful here..."
"I know, but as peaceful as it may be, there are times when it gets very lonely for me out here. I was wondering...would you consider living here with me?"
Anzu didn't think her heart could pound in gleefulness any more than it already was. Once she heard Atem's question, she couldn't find the words to answer. Instead, she just chose to smile and nod, giving Atem the hint that her answer was indeed the one he was hoping for.
And just when Anzu thought that she couldn't be anymore happier, Atem proved her wrong when he suddenly turned to his night table drawer and pulled out an item. He didn't show her as of yet, but looking into his eyes, she could see a touch of anxiousness, but also a bit of apprehension. What could he want to ask her next? And was is so hard for him that he couldn't look her in the eye?
She reassured him with a touch of her hand. Anzu wanted Atem to know that there wasn't anything he couldn't ask her. She was open-minded about anything he needed to say.
But his question never came out.
Instead, Anzu felt something sliding onto her finger. She gasped when she glanced upon this...spectacularly, gorgeous diamond ring. It was a simple piece of jewelry, but it held an elegant appeal. The diamond was pure blue and on the side were white oval shaped diamonds. It was like she was wearing a diamond shaped butterfly on her finger. She glanced back to Atem, who was now staring at her with those soft eyes of his. Those same eyes that showed such intimidation whenever there was danger. But right now, they only held unconditional love.
He brushed away a tear that seemed to escape from her eye without noticing. "Aishiteru...will you grant me your hand in marriage?"
Anzu never thought that she would feel so much happiness in one evening. But then, the person who was responsible for that was the man who she gave her heart and soul to. There was no hesitation about her answer. She had been fantasizing so long about this moment.
And it was then that she realized...there would be no more nights of crying her heart out. Wanting and wishing for her true love to return back to her. He was here with her. He came back just as he promised her. He kept his word. They were together. He showed her how much he loved her by making love to her. And now...he had proposed to her, asking her to make a life with him.
She smiled, it was becoming such a habit now, but one that was not tiresome. "I love you, too...yes, I will marry you."
As soon as her words were said, Atem brought her into the deepest, most passionate kiss they have had so far. Finally, after years of waiting, fears of rejection, countless duels and numerous enemies that they have encountered in the past, two souls have become one to share. To commemorate their engagement, their bodies to joined together once more. They were allowed to share their love with each other for as many times as they wanted. They had an unbreakable bond. Nothing or no one could keep them separated anymore.
Not even the all powerful shifting sands of time had that ability.
A/N: I do hope that you've enjoyed this, please review and tell me your thoughts. Thanks to all who have taken to time to read this. I've really put my heart into this story. Until next time, readers.