Very few people liked long flights. They were often rather hellish experiences, especially when you were travelling in the economy class. There was always at least one obnoxious idiot playing their music too loud, and if there wasn't a grouchy baby screeching its lungs out on the other side of the aisle there was an irritating little brat in the seat behind kicking their legs – repeatedly – into the back of your chair. Not to mention the irritating individual in front, who liked to push their seat all the way back, forcing the drop-down tray smack into your chest, or the guy in the seat beside who pushed his bags into your leg-room, snatched up the window-seat, and then demanded you shift every half an hour so he could squeeze past to go to the toilet. No, very, very few people liked long flights.
Worse than long flights, however, was the getting off them. Having gone through the not-quite-so-metaphorical hell people looked accordingly crappy as a result, hair mussed, skin wan, clothes creased and rumpled.
I just had to get a red-eye flight, didn't I? Mazaki Anzu, suffering all the abovementioned problems with her appearance - not to mention a slight limp from the horrible pins and needles feeling in her leg after having fallen asleep on the flight in a rather uncomfortable position -, smothered a yawn with one hand, the other pulling the medium-sized suitcase trundling along on the ground behind her. It was two o' clock in the morning and Anzu hadn't had any sleep since five am the day before, knowing for a fact the bags under her eyes would be stretching down to her chin but frankly too tired to care. Yugi – non-judgemental, charming, totally-her-best-friend-forever-and-not-liable-to-care-about-what-she-looked-like Yugi – had volunteered to pick her up from the Domino International airport, and Yugi would be kind enough to just smile and shrug everything off, taking her to –
Oh hell. The main foyer of the airport was packed with people. Very critical-looking people, a large majority armed with notepads. Pens. Cameras. The media, men and women swarming around a circle of black-clad bodyguards, all trying to get a shot at the two young men standing at the circle's centre. The two young men Anzu strode towards, feeling extremely exposed in her none-too-flattering state, bodyguards moving aside to let her through.
"Mouto Yugi," she spoke to the slightly shorter of the two men before her, hands on her hips as soon as she'd stopped moving and stood her suitcase upright, tone scolding, "you never mentioned anything about the paparazzi to me in your last phone call."
Yugi had the grace to looks abashed. "Er – well -"
Anzu stared him down, unimpressed. If she couldn't go for the glamorous look before the reporters, she at least wanted intimidating. "Just what is with all the fuss?"
"Ah, sorry," Kaiba Mokuba, standing about a metre off from Yugi and looking deeply immersed in a conversation on his mobile phone, dropped the device from his ear to his chest for a moment, his expression apologetic. "That's my fault."
"It's the SolidVision, as well as the fact it's being integrated into a new game." Yugi attempted to explain, taking the handle of Anzu's luggage and leading the way towards the exit. The bodyguards moved accordingly alongside them, the paparazzi scurrying to keep their place on the defence's circumference. "Both Kaiba and Mokuba have gotten a lot of attention ever since they put the sneak-preview out at the national gaming conference -"
"To the point where they're being stalked to the airport?" Anzu irritably ran a hand through her messy hair, aware of a few camera flashes in the background. Mokuba returned to the conversation on his phone, looking scarily like his brother as he slipped once more into professional-mode.
"The unveiling's in a few days, and it is a rather exclusive event…" Yugi could only shrug a little helplessly, the group stepping outside into the cool Japanese night. The breeze was a cold one, waking Anzu up but making her shiver as well. "As head designer I had reporters outside my house for a few days as well, before Kaiba stepped in and had a parameter set up."
Anzu couldn't help but smile at that, albeit rather wearily. "It's helpful working for the guy who practically owns Domino City, isn't it?"
"It has its benefits, I'll admit." The stopped at a waiting limo, a chauffeur opening the door for first Yugi, then Anzu, then Mokuba to slide in, shutting the door and then removing Anzu's luggage to the boot of the vehicle.
"And yet you still won't consider it as a full-time occupation." Mokuba had ended his conversation when his two companions hadn't been looking, sliding his phone into some hidden pocket and reclining back into his seat with grace born of years of practice. (Although both Yugi and Anzu could recall only a few years previously, when Mokuba had bounced up and down on those self-same seats, tugging on his brother's arm to get him to do something.) Grey-blue eyes eyed the other male in the trio with fond exasperation, just as the driver got into position at the wheel. "It's not as if your grandfather can't spare you for the work… If I had to place a bet, I'd say you were doing this more because of a warped sense of principles than anything else."
Yugi laughed, stretching a hand to pet the other's head affectionately, the car starting up beneath them. (Anzu wondered where all the bodyguards had gone.) "So you've caught me at last." (Anzu wondered where the two got the energy to be so awake at that hour of the morning.) "So…Anzu," Yugi had changed the topic, "how was the flight?"
"The less said about it, the better." The young woman stretched out in her seat, loving the space, before slyly glancing to her oldest friend. "…If I'd known there'd be such a crowd at the airport to welcome me home I would've stopped off at the toilets to freshen up before collecting my luggage."
Yugi looked apologetic once more. "Well, I was going to pick you up by myself in my car, but -"
"No-one thinks he's old enough to drive it yet." Mokuba's grin was teasing, even when his boyfriend elbowed him in the side. "I volunteered the use of the limo, and he all but snatched the offer out of my hands."
"Driving when half-asleep isn't a very pleasant experience." Yugi attempted to defend himself.
Mokuba poked him in the ribs, mostly in return for the earlier jab. "You look awake enough to me."
"I'll crash when I get back to the Game Shop."
"Ah, bed." Anzu smiled rather blissfully at the thought. It had been longday.
"KaibaCorp did offer to put you up in a hotel suite whilst you were in Domino," Mokuba reminded her slightly reproachfully.
"I didn't want to impose." Anzu's reply was warm. "Besides, Yugi offered, and the Game Shop…feels as good as home – if you know what I mean?"
"'Home is where the heart is'?" The quote was a quiet one.
Mokuba withdrew from the conversation after that. Not overtly, but his answers were a little softer, a littler shorter, his eyes a little more focused on Yugi alone, cutting Anzu off. It was probably unintentional but Anzu still felt it, the tiny prickle of envy coming from the youngest among them.
Anzu could understand where it was coming from too – she was Yugi's oldest and dearest friend after all, not to mention the male's first – and longest – crush. Although there was no romance between them their closeness could be interpreted as implying otherwise, friendly familiarity something that shut outsiders oh-so-firmly out, intruding a little upon Mokuba and Yugi's still rather young relationship. Mouto Yugi had only gotten more handsome with age, but kept his wonderfully sweet personality –
"We're here!" Yugi's bright announcement pulled Anzu out of her musings, startling Mokuba – who had been busy staring out of the window on the other side – as well.
"So soon?" The Kaiba heir looked taken aback, some of his tiredness beginning to leech through into his voice. "Alright…I'll see you tomorrow?"
"I've got to call in at KaibaCorp and deposit some of my designs for safekeeping, so I'll be in in the afternoon." Yugi cupped his boyfriend's face gently, pressing a swift, chaste kiss to the other's lips.
"Thank you for the ride." Anzu got out of the car, nodding graciously when the chauffeur handed her her suitcase. Yugi followed her out a few seconds later, the two standing together as the limo drove off.
"…Come on." Yugi had fished his door-keys out of his pocket, approaching the dark house with Anzu directly behind him. "There's a spare room available for weary wanderers, and the pillow has your name on it."
"I don't care if it's got the Emperor's name on it," Anzu smartly replied. "I'm using it." She hated red-eye flights…
It was the sky, a snapshot of an image of a summer day. She could see the blue, stretching on all around, with faint, fluffy clouds on the distant horizon. Above was the warm sun, below was the earth, gold and green and living. The wind was on her face, the breath of life within her lungs. The breeze tangled in her hair, sweeping it back to contrast against the never-ending sky.
A hand touched hers and she looked up. Still, for a minute, all she could see was sky, and then she realised that those were eyes she was looking into. Bluer than the sky.
"…It's lovely up here, isn't it?"
Anzu came around to the mid-morning sunshine, her legs tangled in the sheets of the bed she was lying on, one hand propped under her pillow. A little stiff, totally jet-lagged, and in desperate need of the toilet. Although possessing no great desire to shift from her comfy sprawl the undeniable call of nature hollered, Anzu forcing jellied limbs into movement and shuffling in the direction of the Moutos' bathroom.
It was a testament to just how tired she was after her flight that she just meandered straight into the – closed – bathroom without knocking to check it was empty first, blinking rather blearily as a waft of heated steam hit her in the face, bare foot touching the wet tiled floor as –
"Anzu?" Yugi – very, very underdressed Yugi – was standing in the middle of the bathroom, clearly having just came from a shower, and – um –
Yugi snatched up a towel.
Anzu stared some more.
Yugi defended himself with said towel.
Logic appealed to the only awake part of Anzu's mind. "…Going would be very good thing to do right now, wouldn't it?"
"Very." Yugi nodded.
Yugi looked on, amused, as his closest friend stopped and gaped up at the ceiling of the KaibaCorp foyer, shielding her eyes from the sunlight that streamed in through the endless wall of windows to squint up at the swooping holograms far, far above her head.
Four Blue Eyes White Dragons shimmered through the air, tumbling, twining, arrowing down into steep dives before arching off to rest on lofty perches. The daylight from outside glittered on their wings, tiny kaleidoscopes of light reflected down to the thronging masses on the atrium floor.
"They're all rather active today…"
Anzu jolted at the sound of her companion's voice, drawn out of her awe-struck daze to glance at the man beside her. "What?"
Yugi was immune to the awe, having seen the beautiful creations too many times before, but his smile, as he looked up to he dragons above, was oddly nostalgic. "All four of them are active today;" muted roars drifted down to them, as if confirming the duelist's words, "usually at least one of them is resting."
Anzu quickly glanced up once more, unable to resist admiring the gleaming holograms. "Are they projected using the new SolidVision system?"
"No," Yugi easily replied, "there would be no point to it. The dragons never come down from on high, so there's no need for them to be corporeal." He ran a ringed hand back through his close-cut hair – an unconscious gesture -, before adding rather wryly, "besides, if they were solid, I think Kaiba would be a little too tempted to get them to eat those over-puffed businessman that pass through here from time to time. And as for the lawyers…"
Anzu laughed. "It would bring an entirely new meaning to 'here be dragons', wouldn't it?"
"Less 'here be dragons' from the spectator's view, and more 'here be lunch'." Yugi trailed off, a new thought striking him. "And Kaiba would probably sue the corpse for giving one of his babies indigestion."
Anzu smothered more laughter, following Yugi as he signed her in as an official guest, getting her a clearance card and beckoning her over to the elevator. The young woman was willing enough, genuinely intrigued by the technology around her.
"How much does Kaiba pay you?" Anzu spoke again when they entered Yugi's office, a little cowed by the elegant atmosphere therein.
"A stupid amount, and I've scolded him for it." Yugi went to his desk as his companion went to the window, Anzu admiring the comforting sprawl of Domino below. "I think my freelancing spooks him a little – but I only freelance for KaibaCorp! Like I'm really going to accept an offer from elsewhere when he gives me an endless amount of men and money whenever I mention I've got even the slightest inkling of a new idea…"
"Opportunist," Anzu accused, teasing, looking away from the landscape. "Why don't you just sign an agreement with Kaiba to work on a contractual basis?"
"That would take all the fun out of it…" Yugi beamed, and Anzu laughed once more. "…Talking of which, I need to go check-in with Mokuba. Will you be alright if I leave you here for a little while? I've books scattered about the place if you want something to read, and the toilet's just down the hall -"
"I'll be fine." Anzu shooed the other away, sinking down into the couch running along one wall with a soft sigh.
She actually couldn't be bothered to read, and was content to bask in the afternoon's warmth, watching the clouds sail by in the sky outside as she daydreamed hopelessly. In so many ways Domino City had changed since she'd left for American shores, but in so many other ways stayed exactly the same. Domino's heart was constant, as were the hearts of her friends. Scattered about Japan – or the world, in Jounouchi's and her case -, they kept in touch, emails full of brightness, sunshine, news, joy. Leaping from strength to strength to strength, skidding a little, stumbling, but wobbling ever onwards once more.
"Yuuuuu-giiiiii, I heard you were in the building and I need to talk to you about the armour modifications you suggested for the – oh."
Anzu looked up, blinking a little at the sight of the newcomer in the doorway. "…Rebecca?" Yugi had mentioned the girl as working as one of the chief programmers at KaibaCorp, but she'd never thought –
"Anzu…" Rebecca Hawkins looked just as taken-aback as the elder woman, visibly floundering for a second or two before suddenly rushing forwards, a smile breaking over her face. "Anzu! Yugi told me you were coming back for the new game and SolidVision launch, but he never said this soon. Have you been back in Japan long? Ooo, I'm going to hit him next time I see him; he's keeping everything from me these days -"
"My plane got in last night." Anzu gently cut off what looked like was going to be a long rant against the many injustices Mouto Yugi heaped upon the poor employees of KaibaCorp (a few wicked emails layered in faux-sweetness from the spiky-haired male had assured Anzu quite a few months back that Yugi delighted in winding the souls up until they got so exasperated with him they bodily booted him out of their office/area/building).
"And he brought you to KaibaCorp on your first day?" Rebecca looked sympathetic. "Surely you're jet-lagged?" Anzu nodded. "I'll dump some cold coffee over his head in retaliation for you later then, alright? Since he seems to be AWOL right now – do you know where he's gone?"
"He said he had to check-in with Mokuba -"
Rebecca groaned. "Then we won't see him for hours." She stomped over to Yugi's desk, snatching up a set of Blue Eyes White Dragon-shaped post-its and scribbling a note on them.
"…What are you doing?"
Rebecca didn't bother to reply, tearing off her note with one hand and grabbing Anzu's arm with the other, hauling the other up and out of the room after her, sticking the note on the outside of her co-worker's door as she left. "Come on!"
"Rebecca-!" Anzu was thoroughly ignored, given no chance to protest as she was dragged along. The brunette did, however, get just enough time to glance back at the post-it left behind:
Yugi, I have stolen the precious. If you ever wish to see her alive again, come sacrifice yourself to the fires of Hell in her stead. If you do not show by early evening, I'm feeding her to Kaiba's dragons.
Love, Rebecca x
PS: Bring coffee, damn you, or I'm telling Mokuba. (The percolator downstairs is still broke.)
Anzu suddenly feared for her life.
Anzu had had a good day, despite the rather ominous message Rebecca had left on Yugi's door. The teenager – for Rebecca was only nineteen, however intelligent she was – had been a lovely hostess, taking Anzu to the basement levels to look at some of the latest programming produced by KaibaCorp in action. Holograms, simulators and on-screen software…Anzu had been given a whirlwind tour of them all, head full of bright images and brighter chatter as Rebecca proudly took her through her own team's work, before starting on some individual programmers' ideas.
Yugi finally showed up in the late afternoon, bearing coffee to appease the precious-stealing thief. Rebecca took the drink with thanks, and then proceeded to roundly scold the man for disappearing off the face of the earth so often. Anzu went back to examining various Duel Monsters holographs, tuning her friends out as they went from scolding to intense techno-babble, the semantics flying straight over the brunette's head.
(For an instant she thought she saw a monster watching her, but she only saw it out of the corner of her eye, and she had probably imagined it anyway. It was gone when she tried to look at it directly, and she couldn't think of any man-sized cards with green hair…)
"You designed this?" It was later, after Yugi and Rebecca had finally finished their discussion, Anzu being shown one of her best friend's games by the two.
"And Rebecca programmed it." Yugi was quick to give praise where praise was due. "Amazing, isn't it?" Rebecca beamed at the compliment.
Anzu nodded, captivated by the graphics on the screen before her. "Wonderful." She poked Yugi in the side. "Is there anything you can't do?"
"Spelunking," Yugi told her, perfectly serious. "I keep getting tangled up in all the ropes."
If Anzu had wanted to count up the hours of her life and divide them by category, she'd come to a rather predictable result. For those hours she hadn't either been sleeping, eating, or dancing –
I spent them with, Yugi, or waiting for him. Like the majority of the denser half of the human species, Mouto Yugi and punctuality just didn't get along. There seemed to be no concept of urgency in a man's brain for the more mundane days in life, and so Anzu was forced to hover, awkwardly, outside the men's toilets on one of the upper floors in the KaibaCorp building, waiting for Yugi to come out so they could go back to the Kame Game Shop.
I thought it was women who were meant to take their time…
Anzu grumbled under her breath, crossing her arms beneath her breasts and pacing a little way along the corridor, weary of standing in one spot so long. Tiredness from before was beginning to sneak up on her, irritableness from too long a day for a one needing sleep.
The blue glow on the wall a few metres away, muted as it was, couldn't help but snare her attention.
Anzu approached it, realising the light bled out from a part-open door opposite the wall. Curious, she pushed open the door, unsurprised to see the glow emanating from a computer screen going to sleep, but as for the one in front of it…
It was Kaiba. Kaiba Seto. Kaiba Seto, fast asleep, with her head pillowed on his arms, the screen before him casting him in a shaded blue and shadows, his breathing slow and deep. He didn't seem to have changed much since the last time Anzu had seen him, a few years back, face looking remarkably youthful in stolen slumber, sternness of the day wiped away.
Anzu wondered why the man was there, instead of in his executive office on the top floor. Had it been too busy up there, or something? Kaiba was rarely supposed to venture outside his lair, but there he was; sound asleep on a desk in a room that wasn't his.
…There was a woman behind him. Anzu wasn't quite sure when she was aware of something new being added to the visual picture, because nothing in spirit seemed to have changed at all. There was a woman, of silver, white and blue, and her smile was sweet as she stood behind Kaiba, looking directly at Anzu. Her eyes – blue. Bluer than sky.
"Anzu?" That was Yugi, pushing open the door behind her, finally finished in the toilets. Anzu turned to speak to him but the man had already looked past her, no doubt seeing Kaiba and the girl – "Oh."
Anzu turned back again, to see the strange woman's response but –
Kaiba slept at the desk, alone. Anzu, confused, consented to be led away from the office, and Yugi contacted Mokuba to wake his brother and take him back to the Kaiba mansion.
She wasn't in the sky anymore she knew, but she was somewhere where she could see the sky, sheltered in a cave from the cooling breeze, lying on rocks heated by flaming breath. Safe, treasured, content. Velvet skin and silvery hair surrounded her, cocooning her in gentleness the colour of the lapping waves, the lulling moonlight, warm hands cradling her close.
"One upon a time there was a close-knit group of four dragons…" The words were soft whispers against her ear, a fairytale dream half-spun of magic. "And there was a confused girl wondering how exactly she fit in with them."
"Is that you," she murmured back, half-drunk on bewitchment, "or is that me?"
A smile against skin, indulgent. "I like you. Let's go dragon-hunting first, and then I might be able to tell you who's who…"
"Do you normally space out over your orange juice every morning, or is this just a reaction to me?"
Anzu jolted out of her daydream with a start, meeting smiling purple eyes over the kitchen table. "Yugi!"
"Good morning," the male replied with a small grin. "And how is Elsewhere today?"
"Sunny," Anzu replied a little snarkily, displeased at being taken by surprise, "though the forecast says there might be a little rain later on."
"Then I'd recommend investing in an umbrella," Yugi advised, sorting out his own breakfast, playful tone continuing. "It wouldn't help for you to catch a mental cold. You might become a hypochondriac."
"But then Jounouchi would accuse me of copying!" Yugi laughed at the reply – both of them knew their still rather naïve friend's easily-panicked ways. They'd all known each other for so long, Anzu having known Yugi in particular since middle school – ah, such a very long time ago!
And he hasn't, Anzu mused fondly, changed a bit. She grabbed the man's arm as he went past her, waiting for Yugi to put his cereal down before pulling him down, pressing a swift kiss to the startled male's temple.
"I'm adopting you," Anzu announced.
"…What?" Yugi looked bewildered. "Anzu, aren't I a little old for adoption?"
"You're never too old for adoption," his friend rebuked him.
"Anzu, I know you can be motherly and everything but -"
"I'm adopting you as my little brother." Anzu nodded firmly, cutting the other off. "Mouto Yugi, you are now no longer an only child."
Surprise faded into amusement. "…Does this mean I have to change my surname?"
"No, it just means I get to come over all psychotic on anyone who threatens your honour."
"Because I haven't had enough of those over the years…"
Anzu threw a tea-towel at him.
Time passed in Domino, as it usually did, Anzu whiling away the days leading up the SolidVision/game launch revisiting old haunts, helping out in the Game Shop, and doing things around the city with Yugi and Mokuba. She went out with Rebecca a few times as well, the girl eager to show her the newest coffee shops that had sprung up near the city centre, Anzu stopping by the arcade to check to see if her DDR scores were still top of the scoreboard there. (They were.)
Occasionally, out of the corner of her eye, Anzu saw silver. They only came in momentary flashes, short glimpses of the edge of a vanishing person, the tip of someone's head, a fleeting glance of blue. They could've been anything though – light reflecting of a window or mirror, a car passing by…anything. She put them out of her mind.
The night of the launch came. Mokuba sent a limo to call at the Game Shop and pick Yugi and Anzu up, driving the two of them to Kaibaland. The new game, worked using the new SolidVision system, was going to be a new attraction at the theme park; a new building installed with new projectors the scene of the launch that night.
The media were everywhere. Anzu still felt a little self-conscious from the last time she'd faced the cameras down, but feigned nonchalance and strolled through the hounds with all the poise she'd learned after being the only female in a group of friends for god-knows-how-many years. (At least she looked better that night, she knew, in a new dress, with her hair artfully pinned up just so.)
Anzu traipsed around the crowds within the building, talking with everyone, whether she knew them or not. She passed by Rebecca, once or twice, the younger woman looking extremely pretty in her sky-blue gown, blonde hair held back in a fine silver net at the nape of her neck, but decided not to go over. The programmer looked a little occupied with her blond male companion, their conversation a little odd –
("But why couldn't it be brown?"
"Do you know how much you look like my boss when it's brown? I'm not kissing him!")
The time for the launch came, and Kaiba – appearing seemingly from nowhere – took to the stage that had been erected at one end of the room, Mokuba at his side. The younger brother was almost as tall as his sibling, but his expression was more welcoming, smile easing through the audience to where Yugi stood, with Anzu at his side.
A secret whisper. "Here be dragons?"
She was pulled back then, to dreams, to silver and blue and the sky. The wind, blowing into their cave, felt good on her face, on her exposed skin. She cupped the face that was near to hers, tucking long hair behind a pale ear. "Are you a dragon?"
"Do I have wings, Anzu, or scales?" Instead of taking her face, white hands pressed against her chest, over the throbbing beat there. "I am a dragon's heart." Quicksilver, lips dove forwards, a breezy kiss to the brunette's mouth. "Catch and keep me if you can."
Anzu came back to herself to the sound of applause, the crowds around her putting their hands together for the Duel Monster that stood before them on-stage then beside Kaiba – the Celtic Guardian. Anzu herself didn't really see what all the fuss was about – it was just a hologram – but….but then, Kaiba put his hand on the monster's shoulder and – and it stayed there.
Solid…really meant Solid?
Kaiba glanced up then, smug, triumphant, and his eyes were so very blue – bluer than sky – and for an instant Anzu saw a girl's smile behind it, the whip of silver hair as someone dove out of sight.
"I am a dragon's heart."
Anzu swayed slightly on her feet, put off-balance for a moment, but found her footing once more. No-one noticed her, too preoccupied with the technological wonder on the stage at the front.
"Catch and keep me if you can."
Anzu was much more occupied with the man behind the wonder, taken aback by –
"What about attacks?" The paparazzi had no time to waste for Anzu's mental crisis, determined to get all the facts out into the air. "With a solid monster behind them, won't the attacks bring serious harm to players?"
"Not at all," Kaiba assured them. "The SolidVision system has been created in such a way that the attacks will become virtually insubstantial upon contact with a human player, physical blows turning to little more than a hard tap – much like if you rap your knuckles a little too hard on a desk." He seemed to be a lot politer to the general public than those who knew him a little more personally.
"And magical attacks?"
"Test subjects describe a magical attack as being akin to being doused in lukewarm water – unpleasant in its inconvenience, no more."
"What about a demonstration?"
Kaiba didn't look surprised at the request. "Is there anyone amongst the audience that would be willing to subject themselves to an attack?"
There was silence for a little while, the crowds glancing at one another, everyone unwilling to be the first to subject themselves to this….experimental system. (Even if KaibaCorp produced the best gaming technology in the world, even if it was all rigorously safety-checked, there was still always a slight chance…)
"I'll do it." Anzu stepped forwards, putting her faith in her friends. Kaiba, Mokuba, Rebecca and Yugi all had a part in this system, and if she couldn't trust them…
Kaiba looked at her, assessed her. His voice remained in its neutral tone. "Would you prefer a physical attack, or a magical one?"
Anzu glanced at the Celtic Guardian's sword, and shivered. "Magical," she decided, doubting whether she'd be able to hold her nerve should the elf come at her waving the exceedingly sharp-looking weapon. She'd always been a dancer, not a duelist.
Behind Kaiba, Mokuba nodded, a Dark Magician suddenly appearing to stand beside his fellow monster, green staff in hand.
Staring the Dark Magician down she was taken back to older days, younger days, days when Yugi had dueled frequently, when the fate of the world had been dependent on the next turn of a card...
"Are you ready?" Kaiba asked her, silver flickering once more. The crowd watched her, fascinated.
Anzu was aware of their eyes, prickling glances that swept down her spine. She forced a smile, taking a deep breath, looking to the Dark Magician, Yugi's monster. He wouldn't hurt her. "No time like the present?"
Arms wound around her back, a chin propped on her shoulder. "I like you."
She smiled, glancing at sky, rested in the cave where she was loved and treasured. "He doesn't."
"Work on it?"
The Dark Magician attacked – Black Magic Attack. Like Kaiba had said, the sensation of the impact was greatly skin to having a bucket of lukewarm water flung at you, unpleasant, but not painful. (And her clothes stayed dry, unruffled.)
"Well?" A journalist nearby demanded after it was done, "how was it?"
"I have," Anzu replied, "experienced more pain stubbing my toe."
The crowds burst into excited chattering. Yugi approached his friend once more, smiling at her. Kaiba watched, unreadable. Silver, white and blue smiled at her from behind the CEO's back.
Anzu looked at the stars above, leaning back against the wall outside the building the launch had been conducted in. People were trickling home in dribs and drabs, the main event and socialising over and done with. Mokuba had said he'd send around a limo to take Yugi and her home, but then he'd got that look in his eye and swept Yugi away, and Anzu really wasn't expecting to be getting back to the Game Shop anytime soon.
"Fleeing already, Mazaki?"
Anzu jumped (and she was getting weary of doing that so often), startled by the voice from nowhere. "Kaiba!" The brunet stood about a metre off from her, clearly having just come from the party as well. "…Are you going home now?"
"I stay until the last guest leaves, or until I can get them forcibly ejected in the most civil manner possible." Anzu winced at the other's brutal honesty. She looked up – so mild humour in blue – bluer than sky – eyes. Whether it was Kaiba or the girl -
"…Congratulations on tonight." Anzu switched the subject. "The launch was a great success, even I could tell that."
"Of course it was a success – I organised it." Another wince, this time for Kaiba's arrogance.
"Don't you ever get tired of being right?"
"It comes naturally," the CEO responded swiftly enough. "I expend my efforts in other areas."
Anzu stared at him. "…Have you ever been hit by a dancer's shoe, Kaiba?" The other looked a little startled at the question. "Because I have three inches here," Anzu pointed to her heel-clad feet, "that would work wonderfully for smacking around your head should that ego of yours make another stupid comment in my presence."
There was a pause, and then Kaiba smirked. "Still jet-lagged, Mazaki?" His eyes were a vivid blue in the night.
"Yes," Anzu replied grouchily, and leant back against the wall rather ungracefully, arms folded across her chest.
Surprising her, Kaiba mimicked the motion – although a tad more gracefully -, looking up to the stars above. "I wanted fresh air," he explained briefly, and then said no more.
It was the sky, a snapshot of an image of a humid summer night. She could see the black, stretching on all around, a dark canvas speckled with glittering pinpricks of light. Above was the white moon, and blow was the night-bathed earth, sleeping, dreaming. The wind was on her face, the breath of life within her lungs. The breeze tangled in her hair, sweeping it back to blend seamlessly with the darkness.
A hand touched hers, moonlight incarnate, and she looked up. She saw blue – bluer than sky, and pressed a finger to the other's lips, silencing fledgling words.
"Who are you?"
"A dragon's heart, I told you."
"You like me?"
"Then you are different from the one you reside with."
"This is confusing."
Silence. The world slept on, spinning on its quiet axis, lost in its place within the universe. Anzu mulled her thoughts to herself, puzzling things through.
"My name is Kisara," the dragon's heart took Anzu's hand, pressing it over the life in her chest. Her smile was sincere, her eyes blue, blue – Kaiba's blue, dragon's blue, Kisara's blue – blue. "Work on it."
Anzu looked to Kaiba, a half-glance, half-hidden. Silver flickered behind his form, a girl's smile, a girl's laughter.
Anzu looked to the stars. Why not?