High Regard

By: Vaniti

Disclaimer: Yuugiou © Kazuki Takahashi

Synopsis: Atemu had been acting in his old haughty and egotistical ways once time had passed and he regained a body. Done out of a seeming lack of purpose he loses the approval of someone close; someone that he realizes he does have sincere feelings for. Humility's a hard pill to swallow, but so is botching a relationship. Pharaoh x Anzu

Edits Made: 12/08/11


It had been a bland, automatic kind of work day so far.

A steady stream of customers continuously flowed in to place their orders and occasionally request the Coke product refill. Tips had been average at best, but it was still cash she had not been in possession of earlier. Thankfully, no one had been discourteous or demeaning to her, which was always a nice bonus. So, work had been average; decent at best. That was when he walked in.

And she very well knew not to be distracted by his tanned lithe build that demanded attention or the enigmatic wine gaze.

He smiled unhurriedly and her heart palpitated piercingly against her ribcage.

Call it intuition, or even paranoia, but she realized in that smile that she was in trouble. "Atemu. This is a surprise, what are you doing here?" Anzu made a commendable attempt at concealing her shock, which amused Atemu more so by the provoked way she annunciated her words.

"What any other respectable, paying patron would be doing at a cuisine establishment," He responded in a velvet drawl.

Halting for an instance and sweeping her deep cerulean eyes back and forth, she pressed her lips together. For now her tables had been taken care of, but she never knew where her pompous manager could be lurking in the grubby shadows.

"Atemu, please don't play your coy act with me. I don't have the time to entertain you today. I'm busy and if my manager catches me interacting with you again, that's it. I'm out the door, and I cannot afford that presently, as you are very well aware.

"Coy? Don't have time? Those are things that should never be said around me," Atemu's cat-like eyes reflected his mirth.

"And another thing; I would hardly consider Burger World to be classified as a respectable cuisine establishment."

"It serves food, henceforth cuisine, it is an establishment, and I am a respectable paying customer. Now if you are finished questioning the semantics of my vocabulary I would be most humbled if I could order something off of your extensive menu and served especially by you."

Anzu's lips all but disappeared in a thin, stressed line as she stared the ancient pharaoh down.

"Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable."

"I concur; I've been standing here for a solid five minutes and have not been seated yet."

"Atemu, I can't seat you! My manager —"

"Is a pot-bellied old fool who dropped out of high school and now has an unhealthy dose of superiority because somewhere along the chain of mediocrity he bumbled his way up the fast food chain ass-backwards."

Anzu blinked in amazement. And then shook her head, not allowing him credit.

"Point taken there, but he's still my boss nonetheless. I'm going to walk away now and someone else will come by and take care of you. If you really are being serious about staying."

Atemu folded his arms over his chest causing his chains to rattle. "I will only have you."

In frustration, Anzu slapped a laminated menu down in front of him at the hostess stand.

"Somehow I don't see cheeseburgers, fries, or chili dogs in your area of choice," She raised a dark brow at him.

Atemu haughtily tilted his head up. "Then I shall take a salad."

"We don't wash the lettuce or vegetables here."

"I really don't think it's appropriate for you to tell me that."

"And the silverware doesn't always make it to the dishwasher so sometimes soaking in lukewarm water will suffice instead."

"I will settle with the plastic ones then."

"The tables aren't always even wiped down, and you can forget even asking for the soup, unless you enjoy days old gump that sits there stewing."

"Mazaki." A low and nasal voice whispered dangerously.

A thousand-legged bug of trepidation darted up her spine as she recognized the owner.

Atemu's eyes slid from Anzu to the alleged pot-bellied manager standing a few meters behind her, a pen tucked behind his ear, arms folded over his chest. Anzu gritted her teeth and was prepping herself to look at him, when Atemu quickly stepped in.

"Sir, rest assured, Miss Mazaki was only being most beguiling candid in telling me the cleanliness of your establishment. Quite frankly, it appalls me at how you're even able to pass health inspections."

"Mazaki, grab your belongings. My office."

Anzu's face scrunched up and if the ancient pharaoh didn't know any better, he read her lips producing the most obscene curse word.

The blatant silence between them profoundly weighed down on their shoulders.

Allowing a few more seconds to roll by, the ex-ruler chanced a glance at her out of the tail of his eye.

"I apologize about your job, Anzu." Atemu finally said after a pregnant pause.

Anzu pinned him with such a look that, Atemu could earnestly compare it to the sensation of being pinned against a bull's-eye, and having daggers tossed at your body.

The two diverse companions were walking side by side, through the thinning streets of Domino city, as the sun tucked down for the evening casting warm fingers of color.

"I would say it's all right, except well, I have absolutely no source of income." She spoke quietly, smoothly, and somehow instead of shouting it made what she was saying all the more serious.

"I offered you my most sincere condolences —"

"Atemu, if that's what you consider a sincere apology, you and I are going to have to sit down and have another long talk." She shook her head, causing her chocolate locks to muss up more so than they already were. "Another time though, another time."

"Anzu, I have money to compensate —"

"I do not want your money or your charity, Atemu." She dismissively adjusted her cream scarf around her neck. "You worked for that money just like I was working at that stupid place to save up for America."

"When one door closes another one opens."

"Please do NOT even try to get philosophical on me! Atemu, I hate to be mean, but you cost me my job. If it was a fluke accident, that'd be one thing. But after I specifically asked you to leave…I'm sorry, but it could have been prevented," Anzu sucked in air here whether to calm down or explode, Atemu did not know. But she did continue. "What's happened with you? I hate saying this; but you're just not the same anymore. When you're not playing games and winning of course it's like you're using us as pawns. I don't like it, and I can speak for everyone else, that they don't care for it as well. Anyway, enough of this. I'm going to go home. Or grab a drink. Whichever comes first."

Atemu barely skipped half a beat. "Let me at least treat you to a drink."


"No?" His amethyst eyes sparkled with the promise of a challenge forming.

Anzu's flicked her hand in exasperation. "Look at you. I'd be surprised if you didn't already cream yourself with the prospect of a challenge already. So predictable."

Atemu titled his head back and emitted a low, velvety laugh. "I do appreciate your colorful wording. And if there is one thing the King of Games is not, is predictable."

"Well, actions speak louder than words and clearly your actions are telling me otherwise. Now, if you'll humbly excuse me. I have to decide what my poison will be."

She turned her back and used her long legs to carry her away. Atemu fell into a quicker, short stride with her.

"So, where are we drowning ourselves this evening?"

The brunette barely cast him a sideways glance. "I can tell you where I am going."

"Come on Anzu, don't be like that," Atemu purred.

"Atemu, I'm not in the mood to deal with your superior attitude right now. I'm sorry."

Anzu had not phrased the words meanly, but it was some tiny cue in them that pulled Atemu back for a moment. This refusal had gone past a few times. When had Anzu ever really turned one of her friends down?

He cast his eyes before raising his chin and crossing his arms over his chest.

"How much money would you have made in these next few months? I will write you out a check for that amount and then some. To be candid, I can hardly see why a young woman such as yourself would have a difficult time finding employment. And may I add that it was not as though I caused a scene in your establishment. If memory serves correctly, it was you who went on a tangent regarding how health-defiant Burger World is."

At this point Anzu came to a complete stop and whirled around. Her stormy eyes were burning.

"I said it earlier, but I feel it appropriate to repeat it again. Unbelievable. I cannot believe you just said that. Atemu, seriously. I'm going. Alone. Goodbye, for now."

Without another glance Anzu quickened her pace to almost a light jog and strode in the opposite direction.

Thoughtfully, he remained in his spot frozen. Did she truly just leave him behind?

He waited for a second brooding. Atemu was not acquainted with this feeling and it made a sluggish sensation drift through his bones; he somehow felt worse. He had not meant for this situation to turn out this way. He teased Anzu so because, well…

His pride flared and told him he should not care to this extent. This was the grand scheme of life; worse could happen. People lost their jobs every day. Bluntly, this would probably be a spectacular opportunity for Anzu to find something better. She deserved better.

It was with a clouded conscious he found himself surreptitiously trailing a safe distance behind, following her steps; he would meet her at whatever place she chose to go and change her mind. He always could.

He could not bear it when she did not smile at him.

It was on that lingering thought, as he held onto it like a saving S.O.S., that he triumphantly registered she was headed to a pub entitled Johnny Malloy's.

He would wait until she was inside before joining her. He could be banal and linger back and order a drink for her. He would have a bartender deliver it to her anonymously at first; she would accept befuddled and when she drank it, it would loosen her up a bit. Then he would approach her, and charm her until she softened up. It sounded like a good plan.

What did not sound like a good plan was when none other than Seto Kaiba stepped out of the foyer to the pub and waved her over.

Hello! This will be a few chaptered little piece of part humor, part relationship fiction. My intentions were to make it solely a one shot; however, I discovered more potential in it, and was not satisfied chopping it to make the one-go category. Hope you enjoyed this little segment; comments, questions, and reviews are always appreciated. Have a great Thanksgiving!