This is the longest one-shot I've done in a while. I'm actually kinda proud of this one because I tried to keep everyone IC. It's M because of dark themes towards the middle. I own nothing.
She had waited so long. So very, very long. She could remember the first time she had seen the pretty ballerinas at the Domino Theater when she was a child. Her grandmother had taken her to see 'The Nutcracker,' because "all young girls should see it at least once in their life." And she had loved it. More than loved it, actually. It was as if when the dancers were twirling and she was vibrating from the crescendos of the orchestra, she felt as if her very soul had been awaken. And in that instant, when the Nutcracker had been reunited with his love Clara, she knew she wanted to be a dancer.
As she grew older, she spent her money sparingly. She saved half of her paycheck from her secret jobs to help pay for her dream: To fly out to New York and study dance. The other half she spent on taking lessons in secret. She even practiced during her free period at school.
Her parents never came to her recitals. She never told them about them or her love of dance. In fact, her only friends that knew were Jonouchi and Yuugi. And, of course, the Pharaoh. He had even seen her dance before. Even if it was just at DDR, she was pleased that he was the only one that had seen her. She felt that it made their bond more special. That they had a secret.
She knew that her secret would not get out to her friends, teachers, or family, too. She had made a deal with her dance instructor that whenever her name would be mentioned in a playbill or news report, it would be under the pseudonym "Téa Gardner." Unless someone actually went to one of her performances and noticed her, no one would ever know. Even if they did go, it would be difficult to recognize her in the stage make-up and costumes she wore. Also, she had very few major lead roles.
She felt like she lived a double life. Dancing waitress by night, school girl by day. Though, the day that those two worlds would collide was growing near. Graduation was fast approaching and was holding her acceptance letter to Juilliard. Juilliard. It was one of the top dance schools in New York and she had been accepted. And, to top it off, it was a full ride.
Her hand clutched around the cut-out cross necklace she wore. Her grandmother had given it to her shortly before she had died. It was hard to believe that the woman that had sparked her life's passion would not be there to see her success.
A small smiled touched her lips, tears of melancholy joy pricked at her eyes. "Grandmama, I did it…" She murmured to herself.
She rushed downstairs, her hair bouncing around her shoulders as she breathlessly went to her parents. They stared at her with looks of confusion and curiosity. She beamed. They had been pestering her for weeks about which college she would attend. Now, she finally had her answer. She triumphantly held up her letter, slightly crumpled from how tightly she had held onto it in her joy.
"I was accepted!" She chirped.
Her parents gasped and stood from their places where her father had been reading the evening newspaper and her mother had been knitting. Proud smiles lit across their faces as they hugged her tightly. Her mother had tears in her eyes.
"Well? Are you going to tell us where to, honey?" Her father questioned, squinting to see the print on the letter.
Anzu's smile grew. "It's a full ride and it's one of the best schools for my passion," she began. "It's the Juilliard School in New York!"
There was a beat of silence as her parents glanced at each other, the confusion once more on their faces. Anzu's smile faltered a bit. Her mother's brows furrowed as she turned back to her. "New York? As in America? That's…rather far, don't you think?"
Anzu shook her head. "Not really, Mama. It'll just be for a few years and then I can come back."
Her mother didn't look too convinced. Her father, however, cut straight to the overlooked reason for going so far. "What is it that you're leaving for?" He asked, adjusting his glasses and reaching for the letter. It slipped from between Anzu's fingers as he snatched it, giving her a small paper cut. She yelped quietly and fisted her hand, bring it to her chest. "Well?" Her father asked again, his eyes scanning the letter while her mother leaned over his shoulder to read as well.
She closed her eyes and stiffened. This…This was not how she had imagined her parents reacting. She had hoped they would be happy for her choices. Stealing herself, she whispered, "Dance."
Her eyes flew open when she heard the sound of paper crumpling. She gasped once more, her chest tightening when she saw the crumpled acceptance letter in her father's fist, his knuckles white. Her mouth went agape.
Her father tossed the paper on the ground. "Unacceptable!" He shouted. Anzu winced and held herself.
Her mother shrunk away, moving back towards her chair, her eyes averted from her family. "This is a disgrace! Prancing around on a stage in a tutu is not a real career! It's absolutely worthless! You will never be able to support yourself doing it! And what are the odds that you're even good enough?"
Her heart pounded painfully in her chest. "Papa…I am-" Her response was silenced when he reared back his hand and slapped it across her face. Anzu yelled in pain and surprise and dropped to the floor, her hand cupping her stinging cheek. She stared up at her father, her sapphire eyes wide, as he stood over her. Her mother began yelling in the background, her voice shrill. Anzu heard none of it. All she knew were the cold eyes –eyes so similar to hers- that stared down at her with a look of absolute disgust. He pointed his finger at her briskly, causing her to squeak and curl into herself as she gazed up at him.
"We have let you get away with so much. All of those late nights out. All of those weeks you've spent with that Mutou boy and those two other heathens. This is where I draw the line. You will decline this acceptance and find a suitable college closer to home that will actually teach you."
Anzu shook her head in denial. "I hate you…" She choked out before lurching to her feet and running from the room.
They didn't follow. Even when she left the house.
Above, the sky was growing darker. It was late afternoon and she could feel the pressure changing in the air around her. A storm was coming. This was confirmed by the droplet of water that fell and slapped against her head. Water slaps surrounded her as more droplets fell, darkening the light grey sidewalk to charcoal. Her clothes clung to her and her hair grew heavy as it stuck to her face in thick trendles. The cold bit her roughly, causing her to shiver.
She ran faster, blinded by a desire to escape the ridicule her father had given her. She was thankful for the rain. It gave her a chance to hide her tears. To the rest of the world –though, all save her was tucked away in their warm homes- she appeared to just be a girl rushing home to get out of the rain.
If only that was true.
She did not know if she would ever be able to go home and face her parents. She had worked so hard for this...and they didn't care. They were her parents, for Ra's sake. They were supposed to support her. It wasn't fair.
Of course, she could always move out. She was 18. She could live with Miho or Shizuka. And when the time came, she would board her plane and fly across the ocean to America.
She would just have to learn to live with the fact that her parents would hate her…and that she would never be welcomed into their home if she ever returned.
She chokingly gasped, her eyes stinging with tears.
She had never felt this way before.
It was an odd feeling. Almost as if she was unwanted. That she was a bother.
So…what was the point in going back? She wasn't wanted. Shizuka had her own problems to deal with, such as a drunk father, dimwitted brother, and a mother that had separated the siblings. Miho…was, well, Miho. She would never understand. As the fake prophet had said she did not take life seriously. To her, it was a game. She never-
A small sparkle of hope flickered in her heart. Yuugi. Maybe she could go to him. Or the other Yuugi. They never failed in making her feel better. She could go to them and spend the night. Calm down. Then she could go home and have a rational discussion with her parents. The other Yuugi would be certain to give her some form of advice that would make everything seem not so helpless.
She couldn't do that to the Pharaoh or Yuugi. They had enough on their plate trying to revive the Pharaoh's lost memories. They had no time for her petty problems…
She tilted her head back, closing her eyes. The cold water pelted against her face, wiping away the salty tears from her eyes and cheeks. Her face felt clean. It was a good feeling.
The idea occurred to her then.
If water could erase the evidence of her tears…
Then maybe it could erase her as well…
It was late when the phone rang at the Kami Game Shop. Gramps and Yuugi had long since gone to bed. However, that did not stop a sleepy Yuugi, still wearing his childish blue pajamas to slowly get up and answer the phone.
"Hmm…'lo?" He mumbled.
"Yuugi-kun!" The female's voice was desperate. He immediately woke up.
His attention focused on the caller I.D. "Mazaki-sama? Is everything alright?"
"Yuugi, is Anzu there?" She asked, her voice rising in pitch as terror seeped into it.
His heart sped up. Blood pounded in his ears. Adrenaline coursed through his body. He knew this feeling. This was how he felt before the Pharaoh took over. "No. I've not seen her since today at school. Is something wrong? Is she okay?"
He heard a quiet sob. And then the words that caused him to lose his mind. Literally.
"She's run away!"
She felt calm. Free. There was nothing holding her in this world anymore. Just one small step forward, and it would all be over. Just a few moments for the water to enter her lungs, for her oxygen to leave her, her lungs to bust.
And it would all be over.
As she looked down, she could not even see her reflection in the black, choppy waters. The storm made the ocean even more violent.
Maybe the tide would slam her against a rock, breaking her neck.
She closed her eyes, though she need not. It was pitch black. Not even the few light posts offered much light in this storm. With the sickening beauty of a ballet dancer, she raised her arms over her head, her right leg lifting up and out to the side. She lowered her arms down in front of herself, her hands clasping the slick railing of the metal fence before her. Her blank eyes slowly opened. Her foot came down on the bottom railing and she carefully hoisted herself up and over the fence, her tiptoes barely on the edge of the dock. The fence pressed into her back, her hands still clutched to it behind her.
One last tear trickled down her cheek…
He dashed forward, his slick hair hanging limp in his face and slapping him as he ran. He could just barely see her outline…
"Anzu!" He screamed over the roar of the rain.
She gasped loudly when she felt something grab her arms tightly. Painfully. His breath was ragged behind her as he pulled her closer to himself, the railing separating their bodies from fully touching.
"How dare you." He hissed lowly.
She turned her head to the side. Physically, it was difficult to tell if he was Yuugi or the other Yuugi in the dark and the rain, his hair not slickly or wildly styled. But, she knew. She knew which it was.
"You came for me…" She whispered, awe coloring her tone.
His grip on her tightened as he pulled on her, urging her to climb over to safety. Her eyes only glanced away from his momentarily to watch her footing as she carefully climbed back over. As she stared into the other Yuugi's eyes, closer to her level than when he was regular Yuugi, she felt tears coming once more. As the rain began to let up to a light drizzle, she began crying as she realized what she was about to do.
How could she have been so stupid?
Was she really going to kill herself just because her parents did not agree with her about her future? It was her future. She would decide what she wished to do. There would be a way for her to still dance.
Eyes of blood searched hers. "Your mother told me what had taken place before you ran off," his hand moved upwards to her cheek, cupping it as his thumb wiped the tears from her damp cheek. "Anzu…how could you have been so stupid? I thought you were smarter than this? What made you think that killing yourself would make everything alright? What about your friends? Were you really going to leave us?"
"I…" She bowed her head, gently leaning it closer to his warm hand. "I'm sorry, Yuugi."
His embrace was firm. It was almost like he was scared she would vanish within his arms. The dancer's eyes were wide as she slowly returned his hug. He had never held, much less hugged, her for the purpose of comforting her. They had only ever been this close because she was in danger. She felt her cheeks grow warm. A small smile grew on her face.
"No words can ever begin to describe the feelings I felt when I saw you on the edge of that dock. I thought you were about to be taken away from me forever and there would be no one I could seek vengeance on. There would be no one to fight or duel that would bring you out of harm's way," His demonic eyes burned into hers. "It was quite the conflicting feeling, Anzu-chan."
Her head tilted to the side as her brunette brows moved together. "Conflicting?" Puzzlement colored her tone. "That doesn't make sense."
He slowly blinked his eyes, his ebony lashes curling together briefly before his eyes opened to bore back into hers. He chose his words carefully. "It was conflicting because in that instant, you were the enemy. You were the one that had placed yourself in danger. I could not hunt you down to the ends of the Earth and punish you."
She forced a light laugh, uneasiness making it crack. "I've done stupid things before, Pharaoh. Remember the amusement park? Or...basically anything I've ever done to help a friend…or you…"
"Your heart was always in the right place," he countered.
She snorted. "Not always. And besides, no one would really miss me. I'm always such a bother to you. And now you really don't have time for my stupid problems when you you're your own. You have to restore your memories…and..." She looked down, her soaked bangs were plastered against her forehead and could not conceal her eyes completely. The other Yuugi could see the tears glisten in the dim light. "My parents made it obvious I'm a burden. It was stupid of me to risk working a job and getting kicked out of school and think that I could be a dancer…"
She sniffled when she felt his calloused hands cup her face, his slender fingers raising her face so that he could peer into her eyes of sapphire. "To begin with, you have never been a bother to me. You are my…friend…and I care very deeply about you. Secondly, our friends would miss you. Miho and Shizuka would cry for days. Jonouchi and Honda would secretly cry, as well," he chuckled for a moment and Anzu relished the sound. "Honda would sniffle and say something along the lines of how a real man should never cry."
Anzu let out a soft giggle. "Yes…He would." She smiled slightly, a small upturning of the corners of her mouth.
His killer's eyes softened. "Aibou would be devastated. Thoroughly shattered. He's always been so fond of you…" His voice trailed off as a wave of guilt crashed through Anzu. He was right…Yuugi would never be able to recover…It was selfish of her to have wanted to kill herself…Her friends would miss her…
He continued on. "And I…" One of his hands moved from her cheek, his index finger moving to her damp lips. His sharp eyes watched as his finger softly traced her peach colored lips. Anzu's lips parted and she stared at him with wide, childlike eyes.
The Pharaoh cleared his throat and dropped his hands. "My apologies, Anzu-chan."
A blush colored her cheeks. "It's…alright…" She was a little breathless. Had the Pharaoh been thinking about kissing her? Impossible.
"As I was saying, you have been an enormous help to me. If you had not agreed to go on that 'date' with me all those years ago, I would never have known that I was the Pharaoh. You were the one that started me on this path. It's thanks to you that I've gotten this far…and…" Anzu thought she could see a faint dusting of pink across his cheeks. His voice grew lower, she had to really strain to hear him in the darkness. "I want you to be there when I finish this path…"
Both looked away from the other. It was quiet for a few moments as each were wrapped in their own thoughts. Anzu was startled when she felt his hand wrap around hers. She returned her gaze to him, his hand squeezing hers gently.
"And as for your parents, I'm sure they were merely taken by surprise. You will be gone for years perfecting a skill that has been such a huge part of your life and yet they had no clue. To them, it must have been like meeting a new person. You are their daughter and they most likely don't want you to leave them."
Anzu looked down. "I guess you're right. I mean," With her free hand, she curled her wet hair behind her ear. "They never knew about my love of dance and then I just dropped on them that I was leaving," she looked back up at him, understanding in her eyes. "I should go apologize."
Yuugi nodded. "And I am certain that they too will be sorry for their behavior."
The dancer pulled him closer, embracing him once more. She felt him tense in her arms before slowly wrapping his around her. "And I apologize for…earlier. It was stupid and selfish."
She felt something warm press against her cheek. She jerked back in surprise, her hand caressing her cheek as she stared at the Pharaoh.
"All has been forgiven, love."
On to the next. I've got a rewrite that needs an ending and I'm working on a peachshipping fic. It'll probably be really short since I'm not very into peachshipping.