I know I said my next would be vexshipping, but this one came to me and it was all "write me or be Mind Crushed!" And I quite like my mind not crushed. lol. I own nothing!


Several thousand feet in the cool, night air, a massive grey blimp lazily sailed through the sky. Below it, choppy, murky waves gently rolled across the black top of the ocean. A few thin, grey clouds moved lazily in the night sky. The sky itself was of the darkest of blacks, with stars like glitter thrown about it, as if an eager child had decorated an art project.

Inside the blimp, a group of six friends sat together at a table in the dinning area of the blimp. Talking was scarce, as was eating as most just played with their food. How could they relax after their blonde, self-confident friend, Mai, had been sent to the Shadow Realm? Each person occasionally winced as they heard her final screams in their minds. Each person had dark rings under their eyes and their bodies were tired and wary.

However, none were more upset than the one with star like hair. Hair that was dark as night with blood red tips and golden fringe bangs that stuck up wildly. His eyes matched the tips of his wild hair, being as dark red as fresh blood. Thick, ebony lashes lined his hypnotic eyes, making them stand out more so in his pale face. He wore a blue high school uniform in his own unique way, having replaced the stark, white shirt with a black, leather muscle shirt. He wore a matching leather choker around his slender neck and hanging below it on a heavy chain was his most prized possession: The Millennium Puzzle.

Yami's eyes searched everyone in the room, committing every face and feature to his memory. He had already lost one friend. He refused to loose anymore. His heart lurched each time his gaze swept passed Jounouchi and his sister, Shizuka. The siblings offered the other encouragement every few moments. Jounouchi would grip his sister's shoulder tightly and then let his hand fall away. Then, Shizuka would smile weakly up at him. He would return the smile. Though, neither smile reached their eyes. Then, the process would start over.

Honda was just as unusually quiet as Jounouchi. He continuously pushed around his French fries, making designs on his plate with the ketchup.

Ryuuji entertained himself by swirling his signature dice in his hand. The soft plastic knocks were the only noises in the room, save for the occasional clank of someone's silverware as they played with their food.

Yami knew that each of his friends were suffering in their own way. He could not help but blame himself. If he had only warned Mai sooner…

A soft sigh drew his attention to his friend at his right side. Anzu poked at her salad with her fork. Her sigh had caused the others to look up. At seeing that she had nothing to say, they each returned to their previous doings.

Yami's throat tightened. It was unwonted of Anzu to not be able to say anything after what had happened. Before, she would step up and say something about how hope wasn't lost. How friendship would see them through it. If Anzu was giving up…maybe it was hopeless…

As if on cue, Anzu threw her silver fork down angrily. Everyone jumped lightly and looked up at the dancer. She narrowed her eyes.

"Oh, come on, guys! Mai wouldn't want us to mope around like this! She would want us to get ready to face Marik!"

The Pharaoh's eyes lit up slightly. That was his Anzu. She was like a flickering candle flame in the never ending darkness. She was his anchor. He knew that if there was still a shred of hope, Anzu would hold it tightly, refusing to let go.

And that is why he needed her. Why he cared so much for her. She kept his darkness at bay. Even he had to admit that he had been almost as evil as Marik when he had first been awoken, but it was Anzu that had ultimately reawakened the light inside him. The best example would be the time he had nearly killed Kaiba by attacking him at Duelist Kingdom. Anzu had rushed forward, screaming for him to stop. That had allowed Yuugi to regain control and surrender the duel. If Anzu had not of stopped him, only Ra knew what would have happened to Kaiba.

Honda slammed his fist on the table, rattling glasses and plates. "Anzu's right! If we let ourselves get depressed, then Marik will be able to pick us off like cattle!"

The brunettes' words of encouragement was able to dispel the dark clouds of doubt that had settled over the group. Soon, Ryuuji and Honda were back to their flirtatious antics of vying for Shizuka's attention. Jounouchi would yell every so often at one of them for "goin' over the line."

Yami's gaze slid back to Anzu. She was smiling lightly, clearly happy that her friends had somewhat returned to normal. She felt his gaze on her face and her sapphire eyes flickered to his. She blushed under his expressionless stare.

"Everything okay, Pharaoh?" She asked quietly.

A moment passed before Yami answered her. "It is now. Thank you, Anzu-chan. You aroused everyone's morale. It is pleasing to know that you never gave up hope."

Her blush grew. "T-thanks, Yami."

The Pharaoh stood, his chair scooting out behind him quietly. His lithe body moved away from the table. He stared down at Anzu. "Good evening, Anzu-chan. Pleasant dreams."

Anzu peered up at him with wide eyes. "Yeah, same to you. Good luck tomorrow against Kaiba."

Yami nodded his head before quietly heading towards the door that lead to the hallways. He opened the door and stepped into the corridor. When the door closed, he turned back to watch Anzu one last time.

Shizuka had taken his empty seat and the two girls were soon giggling happily as they whispered behind their hands. He chuckled lightly when Honda and Ryuuji launched from their seats and began chasing each other around the room. Jounouchi muttered to himself from his chair.

It was such a normal scene. Yami felt guilty that he had to take Yuugi away from the merriment of their friends, but he had to. They had two major duels the next day and they had to be prepared.

The Pharaoh quietly turned away from the door, but before he could move another step, a shadow in the corner caught his attention. He tensed as Marik stepped out from the shadows, his violet cape billowing slightly behind him. His rod clenched in his left hand tightly. The Eye of Sennen glowed from his forehead. A wicked grin sliced across his tan face as he approached the Pharaoh slowly.

"Good evening, Pharaoh." His voice was distorted and demonic sounding.

Yami's eyes narrowed to slits and his hands fisted. "Marik," he growled, venom dripping from his voice.

Marik smirked as his eyes slid to the window the Pharaoh had just been staring through. "She's quite the beauty, isn't she?"

Yami moved away as Marik moved closer to the window. He peered through the thin glass to the happiness within, his disgusting gaze lingering as he continued. "So light and pure. No wonder you are so fond of her."

Yami felt the darkness swell within him. "Marik!" He warned.

Marik turned his wicked gaze back to the Pharaoh. "If you thought what I did to the blonde was horrid, wait until I get to your little whore. I relish the thought of shredding her soul with my very hands and giving each microscopic piece to the darkness of the Shadow Realm. Watching the light leave her eyes slowly.

"And I'll make you watch every second; chained and helpless."

Yami quivered with silent rage. He sneered, unable to control his expression any more. "If you touch her, Marik, I swear to Ra I will-"

"What? Mind Crush me? Is that your answer to everything?" Marik snapped.

Yami silently watched the fiend, his eyes carefully following his every movement as Marik stepped closer towards him. "I would bet that she's so pure, that she's never been touched." He grinned as evil intentions lit up his vile eyes.

The Pharaoh's knuckles cracked loudly as his hands grew more tightly fisted. His eyes darkened and swirled dangerously.

"I'll ravage her again and again, before I shred her soul. Just imagine it, Pharaoh. Such an innocent child being tormented so while the one that loves her can only watch helplessly. Her screams already have me salivating.

"Imagine the hell she would enter in the Shadow Realm. It's simply beautiful."

The Pharaoh's gaze slid to the window in the door. Anzu tossed back her head and laughed loudly at something someone had said, the soft tingling reaching their ears through the door. Yami's eyes narrowed as he looked back at Marik.

"She has nothing to do with this, Marik. Leave her out of this." He demanded, his voice ringing with authority and dripping with deadly venom.

Marik's face twisted back into a crazed grin. "But, of course, she has everything to do with this, Pharaoh. You decided her fate the day you fell in love with her."

"I have no idea what you are talking about." Yami snarled.

Marik laughed. "That girl. You protect her...indulge her...even seem to love her. (1) Do you think I am blind, you fool!"

Yami glowered up at him as Marik neared his face. "When you loose our duel, you will loose the girl." With that being said, Marik pushed the Pharaoh aside and began to stroll away.

Yami whipped around to watch him. "I won't let you hurt her!"

Marik laughed a perverted, malicious laugh. "We'll see, Pharaoh."

Yami seethed as Marik disappeared down the hall. How dare he threaten Anzu. What had she ever done to him?

'You decided her fate the day you fell in love with her.' Marik's voice pierced through him like a lightening bolt.

He went numb.

'You protect her...indulge her...even seem to love her.'

Did he love Anzu? Was that what he felt towards her? Why he needed her? If that was the case…He cursed himself. Somehow she had become important to him. Somehow he had fallen in love with her.

He might as well had signed her death certificate with Marik parading around. He punched the wall. "Damn it!" He shouted.

A small 'eep' behind him caused his eyes to widen as he looked over his shoulder at the said girl standing beside him. Her azure eyes were widened in shock and fear. His arm slowly lowered to his side.

"Anzu." His eyes raked over her. She was still unharmed. Marik hadn't hurt her…yet. And he never would, Yami swore to himself.

Anzu rubbed her right arm with her opposite hand lightly. "Um, is everything okay, Pharaoh? I heard you shouting…and you punched the wall…" Her gaze slid to the small indent in the wall his fist had made.

Yami glanced at it briefly. His face smoothed out. "I apologize if I frightened you."

The girl's face softened and she moved closer to him. Her hand reached out and she stroked his bicep through the soft fabric of his uniform jacket. A shiver of pleasure traveled throughout the ancient spirit at her casual touch.

"You're so tense," she murmured. Her eyes met his. He could see the sadness deep inside them.

Yami reached up his right hand to capture her right wrist and gently pull it away from his left arm. He gently dropped her arm and it fell to her side.

"You should go back to the others." His voice was deeper than usual.

Anzu glanced over her shoulder at their friends' antics inside the dinning room. She turned back to Yami. "They don't need me right now. You do."

The Pharaoh's jaw clenched. He needed to separate himself from her soon. She was in danger every second she was with him…and every second she wasn't.

Her eyes raked over his unruly hair. She smiled lightly as she reached out and felt one of the smooth golden locks that hung in his face. "I've always loved your hair…" She murmured.

Yami wondered if she was talking to him or Yuugi. Her hand dropped back her side and he felt a pang of sadness that quickly turned to guilt. He should not want her hand to caress his hair again.

His breath caught in his throat when she unexpectedly bent closer to him and chastely pressed her lips against his cheek. She pulled back, her face burning as Yami's hand went to his own reddened cheek.


She smiled lightly. "I just wanted to thank you. You've done so much for all of us. Especially me."

Before he could reply, she began to move around him, heading down the hall to her room. His hand shot out against his will and pulled her back by her arm. Her eyes widened as he griped her shoulders tightly and crashed his lips against hers.

Once the initial shock wore off, Anzu eagerly returned his kiss, her hands returning to his hair. Yami's hands slid down to her hips were be gripped her tightly and shoved her against the wall, pressing her against it as he hungrily devoured her lips.

When the need for air made itself know. They quickly pulled away and gasped wildly for another breath before attacking the other's lips again.

Yami suddenly didn't care if Marik knew he loved Anzu. He didn't care to wonder how he had fallen for her in the first place. All that mattered to him was that he had. And he would sooner die than allow Marik to torture her the way he planned to do so. Winning his next two duels now meant so much more. Not only was the fate of the world in his hands, but also the fate of the one he loved.

And he would be damned if he would let Marik hurt her.

"You're mine." He growled huskily against her lips.

Anzu's answer was a low moan of approval.

(1) That line was from 'InuYasha.' Sesshomaru says it.

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