Disclaimer: Aisaki is a poor student and does not own anything here except the strange plot.
Under the Falling Sky
By: Aisaki Sumi
Summary: They met and parted in the rain. The goodbye was rushed and easily brushed off. They never looked back because both were too proud. But neither of them expected to meet once again ten years later on the same empty playground in the softly rustling rain.
A/N: This is a Seto centric fic, Semi-AU, and his view on Anzu and his relationship. Elements of romance has been added to the story but it is mostly mild angst and drama and with the falling rain as its main setting.
The sky above
With the heavy burden it carries
Cries for nobody but itself
Blue eyes set up the buildings afar, like cutting diamonds carrying so much depth and secrets and glints of nostalgia. Tapered fingers curled around the handle of the beige colored mug. The white misty steams swirled upward in spirals and dissipated soundlessly once it reached further up into the air.
Seto took a sip of his black coffee and watched the rain pouring down upon the earth, burying the surface of the planet under a layer of holy liquid from heaven, cleansing the mortal realms of its unforgivable sins and secrets it hides.
He watched the darkening clouds tinged gray and black roaming in the sky, and the occasional splash of lightning across the gray fabric, threatening to tear it apart.
Watching the world drowning in the great Neptune's ocean from the twentieth floor of a sky scraper was spectacular and Seto remembered that it was on such day he met her—a certain blue-eyed girl with short hazel hair and a bright smile, who spoke highly of friendship and pursuing one's dream. She was always in a cheerful, chirpy mood and he wondered if anything had ever upset her.
They weren't much to each other back then in Domino Heights, just two strangers who supposedly hated each other. She never really forgave him for the things he did to her best friend's grandfather for that blue eyes white dragon card, just like she had never truly understood him.
Surely he gave away the impression of a ruthless businessman who would do anything for power, even if it meant to cast aside his morality and rip out his heart. But one also needed to kindly remind those people that first impression is never right, as history has proven this notion from time to time. Yet certain people who were oblivious to the facts still decided to ignore it.
She was one of those people, embraced by bias and misconceptions and was always judgmental of others. She knew nothing about pain and growing up alone and being raised to hate, to destroy anyone who dared to get in his way, to remove all obstacles at any cost, and to be as cruel as one could possibly be.
Just like everyone else, she was a spoiled brat, brought up by two loving parents and friends who cared about her. It wasn't just herself that irked him to no end, but her repetitive and lame speeches on her idealistic beliefs of life and friendship, of what was right and wrong.
How could she possibly lecture others on how to live their lives when she didn't even understand it or experienced enough of what reality was like herself?
He thought he had her all figured out, and sneered at her and the Yugi-gang whenever he passed them in the hallway. They truly belonged together, a bunch of pathetic-friendship-hogging-freaks was what he dubbed them as.
But occasionally, he couldn't help but taste the sore and bitter flavor at the back of his mouth as he watched them laugh and joke away about life and the future.
Truthfully, he didn't remember when he started to pay more attention to her but he remembered clearly how it started.
It happened one day before their Japanese Literature class. Seto was sitting at his desk, reading the novel they were told to read for the Independent Novel Study unit and was greatly annoyed by a certain blonde's loud laughs and stupid comments.
He twitched at Jounounchi Katsuya's sudden almost dramatic gasp, sounding as if he had just choked on the air. Deciding to steal a glimpse at what the dumb blonde was doing again, he glanced at the Yugi-gang at the corner of his eyes.
There, he saw the three guys crowding around their only female friend, Masaki Anzu, with excessive concern written all over their faces. "What happened Anzu? Who did this to you?" Jounouchi demanded hot-temperedly, throwing a first into the air as his way of demonstrating his anger.
"Oh it's really nothing, I was practicing my spins in the dance studio again and then tripped and fell." Seto saw Anzu laughing nervously, a sheepish smile on her face as she scratched her head.
"Promise I won't be this clumsy next time!" She held out her pinky. He could tell the gang wasn't exactly convinced by her explanation but grudgingly accepted and patted her on the back.
It was the first time he had seen her smile cracking. Her usual bright smile seemed feign and her clear blue eyes were for once, slightly hazy and held traces of sadness and unspeakable sorrow.
For the first time ever, Seto was surprised when he noticed the bruises on her face, hands, and legs. There was no way this could have been resulted from a clumsy fall.
Ever since then, he began to pay more and more attention to her, mostly because of his innate curiosity. Seto wasn't nosy or gossipy, but he was inquisitive and never backed away from a challenge and in this case, he wanted to find out her darkest secret, the face that she purposely hid behind that cheery smile.
Perhaps after he unlocked all her secrets, he could expose them to Yugi and the gang, and sneer at their face in mockery how they didn't even understand the girl who they claimed to be their best friend.
Seto wasn't cruel of course, but he had his slightly sadistic side just like everyone else.
His first glimpse at her other side was on a rainy day when he was on his way home from school. It was pouring quite heavily that day, but to clear his mind off work and school and many other things, he decided to take a long walk through the rain.
After all, he loved rainy days. There was just something about it that was soothing and soul-calming.
While he was crossing the Domino park, he saw a familiar figure sitting on the swing. The playground was vacant, the only occupants were the melodious rain and a hazel-haired girl. Taking a step forward, he took the time to think through his actions as he strolled toward the swings.
He halted into a stop when he was only a few meters away from her. Recognizing the frail figure, his sapphire blue eyes narrowed slightly. Her head was dipped low, her wet hair covered her unusually pale face as she stared down at the muddy ground. Observant eyes trained on her, Seto took the time to scrutinize the girl before him.
Her school uniformed was soaked, plastered to her body in a highly uncomfortable fashion, but she minded none of it. There were new cuts and bruises on her hands and legs he suddenly noticed as his gaze traveled down her body.
She remained in that position, not bothering to look up. "Leave me alone Kaiba, I'm not in the mood to entertain your insults and taunts." Her voice was harsh and cold, sending out the vibrations of leave-me-alone.
Instead of snorting out loud and tossing her one of his usual insults, he decided on a more appropriate comment. "And you're in the mood of getting soaked." The implicit sarcasm resounded in the heavy silence between them.
"Just go away." She meant it to be harsh but instead, it came out broken and hoarse and Seto realized that she had just pleaded at him. "Just go." Collecting herself together, she repeated, but with more dignity and indignation this time.
She waited for a moment, allowing the silence to wash over them along with the rain. She probably expected him to turn around and leave. But he didn't. Instead, he closed the distance between them and held the umbrella over her.
Her body tensed a little as she felt the gentle beating of the rain stop, looking up, tearful crystal blue orbs met deep blue, dark and mysterious like the deep unexplored ocean.
She watched him in surprise and slight bewilderment as he took off his coat and passed it down to her. He gestured her to wrap it around herself but she capriciously turned down his offer.
"Don't be so stupid Masaki, if you think you're going to be a hero that way, you're dead wrong." He scoffed, grip tightening around the handle of the umbrella.
She fell silent right then but took the coat, looking down at her frozen hands as her wet sleeky hair cascaded over her bruised face, masking her expression and making it unreadable.
"I'll phone Moutou for you." Tearing his gaze off her, Seto stated curtly as he took out his cell phone, ready to dial the number that he never thought he would use one day.
Just before he pressed the send button on his phone, she tugged at the material of his shirt. "Don't." She requested in a small, almost timid voice. "Don't tell Yugi anything."
"Do you want me to phone for an ambulance instead?"
She gave him a dry look even though he was semi-serious about taking her to the hospital for a check up. After all, wasn't it the place people go to whenever they get hurt or sick? He wouldn't know of course, since he always had his own highly skilled doctors who would do practically anything, and they worked for him only.
"Change into something dry Masaki, you look pathetic and vulnerable like that."
Seto passed the umbrella down to her before twisting around and walking away from the swing. The rain was falling into his eyes, patting its fingers through his now flattened chestnut hair. The rivulets of water ran down his face, the light fractured by them was startling clear against the lightning-lit sky.
"Wait…" He was halted into a stop by the soft whisper. "Can I…" He could tell she was trying hard to find the right words to put together without making herself sound more pathetic than she already was. "Can I borrow something dry from your mansion?"
A snort was his reply as he signaled her to follow him.
That fateful raining afternoon marked the beginning of their strange, undefined relationship. Their worlds collided unexpectedly, and their hearts were brought closer together slowly by the falling rain. They still weren't friends however, but they weren't strangers either.
He had promised to keep her secret, in which she later shared with him somewhat unwillingly.
It turned out that ever since her mother died in that unfortunate car crash, her father had turned to drinking to escape the pain brought upon to them by the harsh reality. He abused her on those nights when he was impaired.
Her cries were unheard. She bottled up all the pain and fear within herself. She didn't want her friends to worry about her, especially when they all had a problem of their own to stress about.
It was the first time Seto saw the other side of her that he only took a glimpse of earlier.
For the following weeks and then rest of the semester, they stayed as strangers but occasionally met up at the playground on rainy days just to enjoy the view of the world blurring into a gray image, where the buildings were just smudges of black and dark blue.
"I want to go to New York one day to study ballet." She shared her life-long dream with him, the goal she had set out for herself since the beginning of time.
"I promised Okaasan that I would one day dance on the stage and perform Swan Lake for her." Seto didn't reply but watched her silently at the corner of his eyes and there, he saw an eye-stinging dust in her baby blue eyes, sparkling but never rolled down her cheeks.
Most of the times they spent together were in silence. There was simply something very amiable about that mutual understanding they had come to share over the times. And he slowly learned more about her life and character, realizing that she was so much different from what he had expected her to be.
She wasn't spoiled or raised with excessive love from her parents, but she grew up pain and an abusive father, just like him.
She wasn't that much different from him. Perhaps in some cases, she actually experienced worse predicaments.
The more he learned about her, the less he was able to hate her and define her as the girl with caring friends and loving family, but recognize her as a girl with a past and memories that made her cry late into the night where the moon and stars and darkness were her sole companions.
"I always like the rain. It brings a sense of freshness to the world as if cleansing it of its sins. It looks like the sky is crying for the people in the mortal realms, crying for the unfair treatments they've been subjected to, crying for people's ignorance and stupidity, crying for people's sorrows." He remembered her murmur, eyes set on the afar, admiring the beauty of the gray sky. It was shade that wasn't often seen, but was hauntingly beautiful nonetheless.
"Hn." He'd always agreed with her.
"You know Kaiba, you're not as bad as I thought you were." It was the first real compliment for him, out of all the insults she had tossed at his way.
"And you're not that much of a sore eye yourself Masaki." He'd always returned the favor and earned himself a playful punch from her.
Their last year in high school quickly ended, but before their graduation they met up once again on the empty playground in the rain. But this time, instead of bringing them closer to each other and gave their secret relationship a definition. It marked the end of their journey together.
"I received an invitation letter from the New York ballet institution." She stated quietly, with a lack of enthusiasm. Her blue eyes were locked to his in a gaze for a moment too short to be recognized but long enough to crack the layers of emotions embedded in them.
"Congrats." He replied curtly, feeling the heaviness settling in his heart.
"Isn't there…" she hesitated for a moment, "is there anything else you want to say to me before I take off for New York tomorrow?" She asked. He could see a hopeful glint shimmering in her eyes. He knew what she wanted right then, but he wasn't sure if it was something he could give.
"Good luck with your dance career." A cold formality embraced them as she looked down, the small smile waning from her face completely. He saw her lips quivering but she bravely fought back the tears.
"And I hope you'll have a great life too Kaiba."
This was their goodbye, rushed and easily brushed off. Anzu left early the next morning as she had announced. Her friends went to the airport to see her off, while Seto locked himself in his office, attempting to occupy his mind with work and Mokuba.
It was better off this way. They weren't meant to stay together. Both had a different outlook on life, and a different dream and ambition. Their worlds determined that they would never be together and that meeting in the rain was simply a coincident.
Surely they had become a bit closer than before, but that was all. And in the end, he wasn't sure if they even could label themselves as friends. Perhaps two people who occasionally met in the rain and watched the world drown in the holy water from heaven was a better definition of their relationship.
Seto closed his eyes for a brief moment as he finished recollecting the pieces of memories that he thought he could forget with ease the moment he decided to walk away from her, and out of her life for good.
It had been ten years after all and he was no longer the teenage CEO of Kaiba cooperation but a grown man with a successive business of his own. And perhaps, this was a good time to forget everything once and for all.
He put down the now cooled coffee and grabbed his coat, heading for the door. On his way out, he ignored the calls from his bewildered secretary. A part of his heart wanted to go back to the place where most of their memories were stored—the Domino park before he decided to erase those memories permanently from his mind.
Trailing along the side walk, Seto felt the rain pouring down upon him but minded none of the stickiness of the rain. Rather, he enjoyed the cold and refreshing feeling it has brought upon him. The rain was tearing ice paths down his back, plastering his hair to his skull and making water drip off the ends of drenched locks, only to fall into his open eyes.
Before he could even register a sense of direction in his numbed mind, he found himself staring blankly at an abandoned playground. The droplets of rain that landed onto the surface of the puddles of water looked like needles striking a smooth surface and creating small ripples continuously in a perpetual motion.
He could hear the cars in the back of his mind, the violent splashes overpowering the soft pitter-pattering of the rain. He listened to the running water and felt the numbing cold seep into his damp skin. Water ran in rivulets from his hair and down his face in mock tears as he had to squint his eyes slightly to see through the blur of water. It was nearing dark, what little light that managed to seep through the thick clouds before now slowly fading. He could feel the warm murmur humming in his heart fading along with it.
There, his vaguely saw a figure sitting on the swing. The person's short hazel hair was soaked, drenched in the tears of heaven. Slowly ambling over to the swing with a dumbfound mind, the first conclusion he reached was that he was hallucinating.
Stopping right in front of the swing, his eyes never left the figure. The person then looked up, aligning their visions, crystal clear blue bored into mysterious deep blue, reaching out for his soul. Surprise flashed in her eyes, but she shielded it away seconds later.
"It's been a while, Kaiba." The formality still laced in her voice as she addressed him using his last name.
He blinked a few times, pulling himself together before he lost his cool exterior completely. "Hn." He agreed quietly, while his mind spun, unanswered questions raced through his mind at a speed greater than the speed of light.
They hadn't seen each other for ten years. He never contacted her, and nor had she. They were simply two strangers bumping into each other unexpectedly in the rain.
It was just a coincident he told himself once, and he will tell himself again.
She had changed. He noted, studying her face. It was much thinner and longer than before. Her eyes were notably more mature and had lost that bright youthful shine he saw in their teenage years.
The endless blue hinted bits of maturation and experience. They both were already in their late twenties after all, and just in two years, they would reach their thirties. There were small lines around her eyes and the corner of her lips as she smile a little.
His gaze traveled down from her face and down to hand and noticed something he didn't expect himself to see. A diamond ring…
She probably had caught him staring and looked down at her own hand resting on her lap. "I'm engaged." The explanation was short, and her voice was just as soft as ever, yet it was resonating, producing endless echoes in his mind.
"Ah…" he acknowledged, ignoring the slight pain tugging at his heart. It wasn't something he didn't expect of course. He had speculated that the other had probably gotten married and started a family.
"Is that all?" He could hear the sadness underlying her tone, but turned away anyway.
"It was nice seeing you again." He said with his back facing her, ignoring the rain falling into his eyes and the hair that was blocking his view. He didn't want to look back. He couldn't look back. She was already engaged. Their time has passed.
Their paths were never meant to be crossed again.
"Is it really that hard for you, Kaiba Seto, to tell someone that you love them?" She demanded, the question sounded exceptionally loud in the rain even though her voice was slightly muffled by the falling rain. "Isn't ten years long enough for you to realize your own feelings?"
A hiatus followed, providing Seto with just enough time to make up his mind.
"I'm married Masaki and you're engaged." Instead of answering her questions, he decided to remind her of their current status.
Everything became so silent then. Even the screeches of tires skidding across the road had become indistinctive. The only thing they could hear at the moment was the familiar, softly rustling rain beating against their soaked bodies.
"It is…too late now?" Her query was filled with regret and uncertainty and an evanescing hope. He could tell she was still in denial. Seto was always more fond of acceptance than denial. It was always easier to accept the truth and get it over with than prolong the agony. He always thought that.
"We are no longer young Anzu," he spoke so softly, and for once it was nearly inaudible. This was the first time he had used her first name, and it will also be the last time. "Our time has passed already." The words rolled off his tongue with slight reluctance and regret as he started to walk away.
All that left was the empty playground and the softly rustling rain that murmured the goodbye that never took place. But this would be their official goodbye, and the closure that they never reached.
And for the first time ever, Seto had realized that the sky had never cry for the mortal realms, but cried for itself, for its inability to control such thingsas time and fate.
A/N: I'm an angst and imperfect ending whore. I don't believe they'll ever tell each other "I love you". It is just out of their characters for them to confess such thing. I also don't think they'll ever get together, even if the chance was provided. Because both of them are stubborn and proud and neither is prepared to back down until they realize that it is too late.
I haven't been to the Anzu/Seto fandom since forever lolz. XD Hopefully the characterization was acceptable and not too crappy. This oneshot was actually written four years ago, when there were only 2000 stories in the Yu-Gi-Oh section and how look at how the fandom has grown into XD. It has even more stories than CCS or Inuyasha lolz.
Let me know if you liked it or not :P and I might write a short sequel XD
Ignore all the grammar mistakes and typos :P I'm as blind as a bird and my computer hates me. Blink and you'll miss the mistake ne ne?
Be nice and review ne?