azurite: (Default)
[personal profile] azurite
I posted this on Tumblr yesterday to see if I could stir up any kind of a response from this "teaser" for the first chapter of a new fic I'm working on. I'm not "holding it hostage" or anything-- I've written more of this than what's posted, and I'd like to finish it, but I'd like to know what people think.

More notes follow.

Thrice Gone
A Yu-Gi-Oh! Fanfic
By Azurite - azurite AT seventh-star DOT net
seventh-star DOT net

Rated: T/PG-13
Pairing: Seto x Anzu (Azureshipping)
Timeline: Post (anime) series – within a few months or so, when the gang is in their third and final year of high school.

Idea Date: 5/16/2004
Written Date: 8/10/2015 - Happy belated birthday, Anzu! Sorry Not Sorry I keep throwing you into tragic situations for the sake of romance.
Posted Date: 9/24/2015 - Part 1

Disclaimer: I don’t own Yu-Gi-Oh! This is all for fun, not for profit.

Author’s Note: So yeah, I’ve been off the radar, so to speak, for what, several years? I’m sorry. A LOT has happened. Suffice it to say, I got writer’s block of epic proportions, despite “What Doesn’t Kill You” chapter 27 being 75% or more written, with the outline complete… but I can’t write duels to save my Life (Points). Anyway, thanks to a combination of re-watching the series again from the start in Japanese (!!) and my awesome boyfriend/editor, the chapter is now coming along more-or-less nicely (unless you’re Kaiba, then it’s being somewhat mean). And in the meantime, I’ve decided that if the writing bug strikes me and it’s not for WDKY, who am I to fight it? So here we are with an idea I’ve had for a long time, prompted to finally being in prose form thanks to a fully-realized scene that popped into my head today.

Thanks for joining me.


Seto Kaiba smelled the rain before he saw it.

Though he supposed the sky had been a monotonous field of gray the entire day, he hadn’t really noticed it until he and Mokuba were leaving the cemetery where their parents’ ashes were interred. But he’d smelled the late season rain approaching when he’d kneeled before the family marker, placed a fresh bouquet of vivid lavender aster flowers, delicate cherry blossom branches, bright daffodils, and, as an impulsive last-minute addition, red spider lilies into the vase.

Something about the soil seemed to indicate that it would rain–heavily, and soon–and they shouldn’t stay long.

***

While Seto went through the motions of offering a prayer to their deceased parents, Mokuba stood by his side, looking a bit lost in the cemetery. His dark gray suit was getting too small for him, and he kept fidgeting, pulling at his sleeves and the black tie around his collar.

Truth was, he didn’t actually remember much about his parents–nothing about his mother at all, and very little about his father. His mother had died shortly after he was born, and his father just a few years after that.

Seto didn’t exactly talk about them, either. He just had this ritual of coming to the cemetery on the same day every year –the day their father had died, Mokuba learned– and making a silent prayer, leaving a bouquet of flowers Mokuba only half-recognized, and then leaving. When they weren’t here, it was almost like they had always been Kaibas, never had been thrown out of their family by greedy aunts and uncles who’d spent their inheritance and thoughtlessly left them at the city orphanage, and later adopted by the monster that was Gozaburo.

They didn’t talk about the past.

“Hey, Big Brother–” Mokuba started, but Seto clapped his hands and rose to his feet before interrupting his brother.

“Let’s go, Mokuba.”

He strode away from the grave marker–one of hundreds in this cemetery, many of them with similar bouquets of flowers, some with photos or incense or some other combination– without looking back once. Mokuba couldn’t find the words he’d been about to say.

He glanced at the marker with his true family name on it, with the names of his real parents. His father’s name still bore traces of red inside of it, somehow. A long time ago, when Mokuba’s inquisitiveness was the norm, he’d asked about it; Seto had gruffly told him that because their mother had died before their father, their father’s name had been engraved on the stone and inked with red, to indicate that he was still living. The red was supposed to have been removed upon his death, but traces still remained, year after year.

Mokuba wanted to think it meant something, but…

“Wait up, Big Brother!” He scrambled after his brother, his undone dress shoelaces flicking fresh mud up onto the hems of his pants.

Typhoon season had supposedly ended for this part of Japan already. Mokuba could hear the limousine driver’s grumbles at the broadcasting radio even through the glass partition. He was going on about how strong the winds were. Mokuba hazarded a guess that the typhoon season, which should have ended last week, while it was still typical humid July weather, wasn’t over just yet. What had started out as a light drizzle quickly turned into a torrential downpour, raindrops hitting the side of the car with such velocity that he thought it might be hailing.

‘Good thing we made it into the car before it started,’ Mokuba thought, eyeing the compact umbrella Seto kept tucked in one of the door pockets. They hadn’t taken it out with them to the cemetery, but it definitely looked like they’d need it as soon as they got home–whenever that would be. At the rate the limo was going, they’d be lucky if they made it home before New Year’s.

Mokuba sighed. Seto was already typing away on his ever-present laptop, back in work mode. They made time for their real parents precisely once a year, for about ten minutes. Mokuba never complained about going–he didn’t have any problem with it–but he wanted to know more about his parents, even about the family that had left them behind at the Domino Orphanage. But Seto never seemed to want to talk about it, and Mokuba… he didn’t know the right words to ask.

For some reason, he thought this time might be different. He thought he could screw up enough courage to at least ask one thing about their parents. One thing, out of the million and a half questions he had. He was thirteen, after all; how long was he expected to simply not care about who he really was, and where he came from? Was Mokuba supposed to let what had happened with Gozaburo dictate his life, the way Seto had?

Mokuba started drawing shapes on the condensation that formed on the limo windows. He started out with the characters for the different Duel Monster attributes– Fire, Earth, Water, Wind, Light, Darkness, and Divine – before smearing them together.

It was then that he saw her.

***

“Hey driver, stop the car!”

Despite the irritating pounding of rain against the limousine, the car stopped as smoothly as silk–which shouldn’t have surprised Seto, as he paid for the best mechanics, the best vehicles, the best parts. He could afford to, now.

Every little bit meant he was protecting Mokuba in some way, even if his teenage ('When the hell did that happen?!’) brother didn’t realize it–or simply didn’t care.

They didn’t talk much these days. Seto didn’t know what to say. Or worse, he wasn’t sure how he would –should?– say it.

Before he could voice the first and simplest thought in his head –“Mokuba, what are you doing?”– his brother was already out of the car, umbrella open as he dashed off into the fog and rain.

Seto slid his way across the seat from the car toward the door left ajar, faintly hearing Mokuba’s excitable voice paired with a softer, more subdued one. He was about to step outside and demand to know what his brother was thinking, stopping the car to talk to some stranger in the middle of a downpour, on their way home from their parents’ memorial no less, when Mokuba reappeared.

“Big Brother, look who I found!” Mokuba said, hopping onto his seat like it was the entrance to a bouncy castle.

'I rescind from the record any thought that my brother was growing up.’

A second later, the presumed owner of the softer voice Seto heard appeared, and any irritated words he might have had for his brother clogged in his throat.

A dripping wet Anzu Mazaki lifted one leg–clad in black pants that seemed to cling to her like a second skin– into the car before delicately seating herself on the edge and closing the door with her free hand.

“Hello, Kaiba-kun,” she said with a brief bob of her head. Her sopping wet head. Had she been out in all that rain without so much as a coat? “Thank you for offering to give me a ride, Mokuba-kun,” she added, her voice still surprisingly soft.

That was why his words had stuck in his throat, Seto told himself, not because what few layers of clothing she seemed to be wearing–including a tight gray cardigan and a black collared blouse–were practically adhered to her lithe frame. Since when was Mazaki quiet?

It wasn’t as if they had many classes together these days–what classes Seto bothered attending– in this, their final year at Domino High. Maybe she’d been this way for the past few months now, ever since they’d come back from Egypt and “the Other Yuugi” had moved on, gone to the Afterlife or whatever.

He’d been there, he’d seen it, but…there were still some things he couldn’t quite believe.

It was easier to throw himself into his work.

That was the solution to every uncomfortable conversation these days: ignore it. Work through it. Conversations tended to involve two people, and if one of those two people realized that they weren’t being paid attention to in favor of stock purchases and sales, meeting scheduling and product plans, then the conversation would conveniently fade away, back into non-existence.

So he didn’t talk about Yuugi, about how much his leaving must have affected Mazaki and how, in some small way, he could relate to it all. What would be the point?

***

“So this is a typhoon they said,” Mokuba told Anzu, glancing intermittently out the window, which he’d smeared even more condensation away from. “I heard it on the radio, they said there are going to be winds of around 120 kilometers an hour!”

“Wow.”

Mokuba missed the smirk that curled the corner of his older brother’s lips at Anzu’s response, but she didn’t. Was she supposed to muster enthusiasm for a typhoon that had gotten her soaked to the core?

Well, she supposed it was pretty cool to Mokuba. Maybe he’d never seen a typhoon before. Maybe he and Kaiba were always conveniently out of town whenever the typhoons hit every season. Or maybe they just didn’t see or hear anything of the outside world inside their palatial mansion or executive offices.

Anzu bit her lip. She was only grumpy–no, angry–or was it sad?– because of the day. She had no right to take it out on Mokuba, who’d been kind enough to save her from catching pneumonia in this awful weather, or Kaiba, who was probably reluctant to let her drip all over what was probably rich Corinthian leather or something.

She edged a bit further to the end of the seat, hoping that most of the water dripping off her would fall on the part of the limousine floor that wasn’t carpeted, and would just slide out the car door and evaporate.

Pff!

Suddenly, a white towel hit her square in the face. Anzu grabbed it in surprise, staring at its source–Kaiba, who was actually looking up from his laptop and had his arm around an ice bucket that probably normally held expensive champagne.

He didn’t say anything, and for some reason, Anzu felt her face redden, realizing that he was looking at her–maybe even staring–and she was just dripping all over the place. If he noticed which droplets were rain and which were tears, he didn’t let on.

She scrubbed her face with the towel so hard that if she was blushing, he wouldn’t be able to tell. She hoped.

“Thanks,” she mumbled, using the towel to soak her wet hair and, as an afterthought, absorb at least some of the dampness from her pants and shirt.

Kaiba didn’t say anything in response, but then, had Anzu really expected him to? He was never much of a conversationalist anyway.

Mokuba, on the other hand…

“So what were you doing out there anyway, Anzu?” They’d known each other for years now; why bother with honorifics? Well, it wasn’t as if the Kaiba brothers ever did, no matter who they were talking to. Jounouchi and Yuugi had typically responded in kind; Anzu had only used honorifics for the brothers because…well, because. It seemed like the right thing to do.

It was what she would have done, anyway… Anzu glanced down at the photo frame she held limply in one hand. The rain had gotten in between the photo and the glass, blurring the photo somewhat and causing the already-sunbleached photo’s edges to curl.

'Momo…’

***

January 2016

S M T W T F S
     12
3456789
10111213141516
171819 20212223
24252627282930
31      

Most Popular Tags

Page generated Jun. 23rd, 2017 12:05 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios