It's kinda early, but I didn't do a Christmas fic, so this being earl will make up for that...maybe? Anyway, I hope you all enjoy it and Happy New Year! A.N.: I don't know how the Japanese New Year is celebrated, so I used the American way.
Happy New Year
A chilly breeze cut through the bustling town of Domino City. Despite the late hour and cold weather, large groups of people were clustered together in Down Town Domino. Laughter and voices mingled together and almost swallowed the cheerful and upbeat pop music that blasted from speakers hidden around the square. Large televisions displayed the time in giant, bold numbering while a countdown ran underneath the time.
T-minus one hour until the New Year.
Anzu Mazaki had had enough of crowds. Ever since Yuugi had started playing Duel Monsters, it seemed that they were always in a crowd. This year, she decided the stay home to ring in the New Year. And she wouldn't be alone. The reminder of that caused her hand to shake as she unlocked her door. Stepping into the warm room, a blush spread across her face. It was less from the heat than it was the fact that Yuugi had wanted her to celebrate New Year with the Pharaoh.
She had planned on spending it alone. Honda and Jou were off to some party with Miho and Mai. Her parents were spending it in Hong Kong. And she had assumed that Yuugi would spend it with his family. And being the master of last minute dates, Yuugi hadn't asked her for the Pharaoh until yesterday. New Year's Eve. Truthfully, she did not mind spending the night with her spirit friend; she would have just liked more than a day's warning.
As she sat her paper grocery bag on the counter, she reached in and began pulling out her supplies. Since it was Other Yuugi's first New Year, she had gone all out. Sparkling juice and noise makers made up most of the bag. She set the red grape juice on the counter and pursed her lips. She knew her parents had some Champaign glasses somewhere.
Turning, she headed towards the cupboard above the sink. She thought her mother kept all of the "special" eatery up there. Standing on her tiptoes, Anzu opened the doors and, bingo, there were the glasses; sitting beside the stack of her grandmother's fine China.
Anzu's mother was about the same height as she was; therefore, they kept a small footstool in the pantry so that the both of them could reach food on the top shelf of the pantry or the China without having to wait on Father coming home. After fetching the stool, Anzu tried once more to collect the glasses. This time, it was truly much easier with the added foot. Carefully, she step down and rinsed the glasses off in the sink. There was no telling the last time they had been used.
Chewing her bottom lip nervously, she wondered how long the Other Yuugi would stay. He wasn't due for another fifteen minutes or so, and surely he wouldn't just up and leave as soon as the ball dropped. It made her a little anxious to think about being left alone with him for any amount of time. It wasn't because she was scared of him. It was more because she was scared of herself. Left alone with each other for an hour or more would be plenty of time for her to slip up and confess her secret. And that absolutely terrified her.
She could never tell him that she liked him.
Sighing gloomily, she carefully dried off the glasses before placing them on the counter next to the juice. Methodically, she set about moving the noise makers over into the living room to be placed on the coffee table. As she gently sat them on the table, she fingered the blue one she had picked up for the Pharaoh. Would he even want to celebrate this holiday? He was a standoffish and quiet guy. He wasn't one for crowds either and he didn't ever make a lot of noise. Anzu could not even think of one instance where he had shouted for joy like was customary once midnight struck. She had a terrible feeling that he would hate this holiday and their visit would be one of the last times they ever spent alone.
Standing, she shook her head. She had made a promise to herself that day with Shizuka that she would enjoy their time together. No matter what happened tonight, she would make sure he had fun. Her time with him was limited and Anzu wanted it to matter. She wanted to look back on these days years from now and smile fondly at them.
Because at the end of the day, her memories were all she had left.
The doorbell rang then and Anzu found herself rushing to the mirror that hung over the couch to check on her hair. Smoothing a few fly away strands, the dancer deemed herself ready and moved to the foyer. After one last steadying breath, Anzu opened the door for her friend. She did not need to fake a smile for the moment she saw him, one broke across her face. "Hi, Pharaoh."
Tonight, he was dressed for the cold weather for once. He wore black jeans and a black sweater that accented the muscles he had acquired from the battles he had fought. To add some color to his Goth look, he had added grey vest and his multitude of studded blue belts and bracelets. As always, he wore the Millennium Puzzle. Anzu had always been awed by the gaudy thing. The gold pendant was what connected the Other Yuugi to this time. To her. And it absolutely amazed her.
It seemed that in the time that Anzu had spent studying him the Spirit had been studying her as well. Nervously, Anzu pulled on the hem of her light blue sweater. Normally, she would have worn some revealing outfit consisting of a short skirt and a tiny tank, but the cold weather had forced her to dig into the very back of the closet and dig out jeans and a sweater. Anzu hoped he didn't think she looked stupid or ugly.
"Hello, Anzu," he greeted her at long last. His voice sounding beautiful and smooth.
His words broke the spell casted over her and she remembered her manners. "Oh, come in!" She stepped aside and allowed him to pass. The girl was awed once more at the obvious change of height when the Spirit was in control of Yuugi's body. Closing the door, she began to prattle. "Just make yourself at home, Yuugi! Nothing really happens for about half an hour. I guess we can just hang out until then. Say, was the walk here bad? I mean, how were the streets? Many people out?"
Anzu finally began to wind down her monologue as the Pharaoh turned to face her. He blinked those crimson eyes of his and as his lashes kissed his cheekbones, she felt her knees go weak. Yep. She was definitely not getting out of this intact.
"I believe it was worse when you took me shopping that one day last month." He replied finally.
Anzu could not hold back her chuckle. He was referring to when she had dragged him Black Friday shopping. Yuugi had told her to explain the customs of this time, and well…That was a new custom that was rapidly growing. "Oh come on," she teased. "You got that really cool tin thingie for cheap."
Reluctantly, he nodded in agreement. "I suppose you are right."
Grinning, she playfully punched his shoulder. "'Course I am. I'm the official "Welcome to the Modern World" person."
A small smile twitched at his lips. "Indeed you are. And thank you. You've done so much to welcome and help me."
"Oh, well…" The dancer's face heated up and she moved around him to sit on her couch. "No problem. That's what friends do and stuff." She always liked it when he thanked her. Even though it was just his personality and the proper way to react when one does something, it made her feel special when he thanked her and gave specific reasons. When he did that, she knew he wasn't just brushing her off. Anzu knew he was genuinely happy and taking everything she had done for him to heart. "I'm sure you'd do the same, you know." She smiled and patted the spot next to herself on the couch. "Why don't you sit down?"
"Is that all we do?" He asked, curiosity getting the better of him as he deftly sat beside her.
"Kinda," she allowed. "Actually, if we went out, we'd just be standing around. I figured it might be nicer to just sit at home. It's quieter and warmer." And now that he was here, she was finding she enjoyed being alone with just him. And, well, Yuugi too, but did he really count? He was in the puzzle wasn't he? "That's weird." She murmured.
"Hm?" Other Yuugi rose a slender brow and Anzu's words finally caught up to her. Yelping, she slapped a hand over her mouth and blurted. "Sorry! That was just me thinking!"
The Spirit chuckled and carefully pulled her hand away from her mouth. "About what? You should never apologize for thinking. Quite frankly, I like it when you think. You blurt out some rather interesting ideas and helpful encouragements."
Anzu blinked in surprise. "Wow. You really think so? I always just thought I was just some annoying girl that kinda tagged along, you know? I mean, Jou or Honda could have helped you a lot more than I did." Seeing a disapproving look enter his eyes, she quickly added, "And they could at least help you with Duel Monsters. But thank you, anyway."
"Don't." He commanded firmly, his fingers intertwining with hers.
She peered down at their hands and felt her heart rate kick up. "Don't what?"
"Don't sell yourself short, Anzu-chan. Each of our friends has their own special place in our group. And that includes you." He raised their intertwined hands from the couch so that they lingered between the two. He placed his other hand over hers, completely covering her hand with both of his. "Your place is very important, Anzu-chan." He whispered earnestly.
The dancer's mouth hung slightly open. She wasn't quite sure what to say. A simple "thanks" did not seem good enough. Had he just said that she was important…to him? Sure enough he had always held a special place in her life, but with constantly having to save the world and learn of his past, was it even possible for him to think of her that way? She was probably just thinking too much into their conversation as he was merely just trying to stop her from belittling herself.
Maybe the truth was the best way to answer. "I…don't know what to say, Spirit. That's really sweet of you to say that."
The Spirit smiled at her and replied, "I am glad your spirits are no longer 'in the dumps.'"
Anzu knew he was trying to be serious, but hearing him say the modern slang had her laughing. A tear or two leaked from her eyes and she found herself breathless. "I'm sorry…it's just…different hearing you say something like that." It took her a few tries to get her words out between her giggles and gasps.
Pharaoh chuckled. "I'm glad I amuse you."
The girl smiled softly and tilted her head to the side, her eyes twinkling. "More than you will ever know, Pharaoh."
Her confession confused him as his brows burrowed together. Though, as Anzu's eyes slid to the clock ticking away on the wall, she gasped and darted up, her hand pulling away from his. "Ohmigosh. We're gonna miss the ball drop." Quickly, she snapped on the television and darted to the kitchen to pour Other Yuugi and herself some juice. Frankly, she would have much rather enjoyed some of the wine her parents had stored away, but her senses were impaired enough when she was around the ancient spirit without adding alcohol into the equation.
Returning to the living room, she saw that Other Yuugi had picked up one of the noise makers and was examining it. Sitting beside him and placing the glasses on the table she picked up her own noise maker. "You might not like these. Yuugi and the guys do, though. They're called noise makers. When the ball drops, you blow into it and it makes a noise. Like this," she raised the device to her lips and demonstrated. An annoying loud noise pierced her quiet home and the Spirit wrinkled his noise. Smirking at his expression, she tossed the noise maker on the table. "Figured as much."
"What's the point in doing that?" He asked. Though the question was blunt, Anzu knew he was not being rude. He was honestly curious.
She shrugged. "There's not really any point. Just something people do, you know. Part of ringing in the New Year. But, there is one thing that does have a point," she informed him as she reached for her glass.
He watched as she held it before her. "A drink?"
"Like a toast. Sorta. Usually people use alcohol but just because your three thousand years old doesn't mean you're physically the drinking age now." She tried to joke but judging by the twitch of his lips, he wasn't too amused. "Ok. Forget that. Anyway, when midnight hits, we just kinda say something we want to happen in the New Year and gently clink our glasses together. And then drink. Don't worry. It's just sparkling juice."
The Pharaoh nodded in understanding and glanced at the T.V. "How much longer?"
Setting her glass down once more, she pointed to the corner of the screen where a countdown displayed four minutes and a few seconds. "See that? It'll stay small until about a minute 'till. Then it'll go to a big countdown screen and show the ball."
"Ball? You keep mentioning a ball."
"Oh, duh!" She smacked her forehead. "It's just this really big ball thing they made out of gold and gems that slides down a pole as we countdown and once it hits the bottom, it's New Year. Then the real celebration begins."
The crowds on the screen began to scream louder and the teens turned to see the matter. Grinning, Anzu grabbed her glass once more and handed the Spirit his own. He thanked her quietly as the countdown went to thirty seconds. At fifteen, Anzu joined in. Other Yuugi was content with merely watching the events unfold. And finally…3,2,1…"Happy New Year!" Anzu yelped in time with the others on the television. The camera then moved to show the crowd's reaction. Anzu smiled softly as it panned to a couple proposing and another couple kissing. "Aw," she whispered.
"Why are they doing that? I thought that was Valentine's." The Pharaoh asked her.
She shrugged. "No reason. It's just a romantic thing couples do. Or if you're with someone you care about." She peeked over at the Pharaoh and he was staring back at her blankly. "Uh, anyway, so, what do you want to happen this year? You know, besides finding your name and saving the world from evil?"
He seemed to contemplate that over for a time. "I'm not sure. I know Aibou has a few…resolutions, but as for myself…I've never really thought too much pass finding my name and saving the world."
Anzu smiled. "No time like the present to find your resolution then." She peered down at her glass and then back up at Other Yuugi. "This year, I want to do make excellent marks and continue towards my dream."
As the Other Yuugi pondered his own resolution, he watched the people still proposing and kissing on the screen. Yuugi had said a few days ago that New Years was about letting go of the past and looking towards the future. It was about realizing your faults and setting forth to correct them. What had he done wrong this year? Several instances came to mind such as putting Anzu and the others in danger time and time again. He turned back to the girl sitting across from him and decided what he wanted to do in the New Year. "I want my friends to be safe. I want them to know that I truly care about them and appreciate everything they have done for me."
Anzu nodded in approval. "That's a good resolution. But, we already know you care about us. And besides, that's what friends are for."
"True," he said, returning his unused glass to the table. "However, I feel as if I've not done anything to prove that."
"You've saved us. Isn't that enough? I mean…" Anzu realized the Pharaoh had a few topics that they needed to discuss that were more important than a silly drink. "I'm sure I would be dead if not for you saving me," she continued as she returned her glass to the table once again.
"You would not need saving if not for me," the Spirit disagreed.
"Not true. Remember the convict? He would have killed me and that had nothing to do with you. And the time at the ballet studio? That was all me."
He shook his head. "It doesn't matter who was the target. Before me, your life was normal. No magic and no mad men. I keep putting you in danger and I honestly don't mean to do so. You…really mean a lot to me," he whispered softly.
"I…" Never in a million years had Anzu thought their night would turn into something like this. "I care about you too, Pharaoh. And that's why I don't mind all of this. Honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way."
He smiled faintly. "True be told, it has been enjoyable going on adventures with you…and the others."
"Yeah," she grinned at the memories. "Not every sixteen year old can say they've seen and done what I have."
Both seeped into silence as they listened to the pop band play on the television. Anzu hadn't really listened to the American singer before but she found herself tapping her foot in time to the beat. "I may have to find her CD."
She turned to face him and his next actions surprised her. He leaned forward and pressed a gentle kiss to her cheek. Anzu's eyes widened in astonishment and by the time the gears in her mind started functioning again, he had pulled away. She had never been kissed before and even that little tiny peck felt fantastic to her. It made her stomach flip and her toes curl as her face turned hot. "W-what was that for?"
He turned back to watch the singer finish the number and in the faint glow of the screen, she swore she saw him smirk as he replied, "Just showing you I cared."
Fin. Thanks for reading.