Disclaimer: Though the desire to say I own YGO is great, to be accurate I’d have to be Kazuki Takahashi, and I’d make one butt-ugly man.
A/N: Originally written for the 1sentence challenge on LiveJournal. I've never written Anzu and Yuugi in the context of anything other than (often skewed) friendship, so this was a bit of a departure for me, and I think that shows up in places.Uses Theme SetGamma as a base, for those who know what that means and are even vaguely interested.
NB: These are not a list, nor are they a non-story. They are fifty thematic parts of a single story collected in one document.
Influences: Draws from Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes and The Hours by Michael Cunningham, both of which gave me some Important Ideas to think about.
Feedback: Always appreciated, forever gratifying. It’s nice to know you’re not talking just to yourself, y’know?
Pineapple Heads and Helper Monkeys
First Published March 2006.
#01 – Ring
Anzu didn’t sleep much on Kaiba’s airship, too worried about what might happen and what had already happened to do anything but stare at the ceiling, and then look for concealer to cover bags that would make Yuugi fret about her when he should be concentrating on Jounouchi and himself.
#02 – Hero
“You’re fine just the way you are,” she told him, and he remembered that when he doubted his ability to do the right thing and be a hero like the universe wanted.
#03 – Memory
Yuugi couldn’t stop taking out the memory of her embrace after he escaped from Dartz’s soul prison, unwrapping it like a family heirloom and hugging it to him, so tight it might break were it not so strong and vivid.
#04 – Box
A clumsily wrapped little box arrived on Yuugi’s birthday, stamped all over with international postmarks, but when he opened it all that fell out was a fine chain and a tiny silver cartouche inscribed with his name.
#05 – Run
Yuugi was so unused to people defending him that when Anzu hissed, “When I say run, you run,” he almost didn’t do it; and when she lifted her skirt and flashed the bullies into drooling submission, he almost didn’t run again.
#06 – Hurricane
Yami was like a hurricane in their lives, upsetting the comfortable little rituals they’d developed and rushing them into mortal peril, where things always feel stronger than they do in normal life.
#07 – Wings
It was easy to characterise Yuugi and Yami as lighter and darker halves of the same coin, innocent and not, angelic and demonic – except that Anzu was fairly certain angels didn’t get so caught up in their sweaters that they needed disentangling.
#08 – Cold
She didn’t call his name when she was duelling in Noa’s world, nor when the ice was crawling up her body, restricting her breathing, numbing her fingers so she could barely hold her cards, but he liked to think she wanted him to save her for once.
#09 – Red
Anzu wore lipstick to Sugoroku’s surprise birthday party, turning her mouth into a cerise slash that made Yuugi wonder why he’d failed to notice they were all nearly adults now.
#10 – Drink
Anzu’s hands trembled around the drink Otogi passed her, the one she didn’t even raise to her lips because she was trying not to blurt out how unfair it was, how Yuugi didn’t deserve to be taken away just for being a good person, how she wished she’d been awake in time to smack some sense into the pair of them, or knewenough about duelling to have taken his place, or how stupidly guilty she felt because Yami had done this and she couldn’t bring herself to hate him.
#11 – Midnight
Yuugi stayed awake, listening to his new friend cry in the sleeping bag on his floor, and when it sounded like she’d stuffed her fist into her mouth it seemed totally natural to creep out of bed, stroke the top of her head and whisper, “It’s okay, I haven’t got a dad either.”
#12 – Temptation
The first time Yuugi saw Anzu in a skirt that wasn’t regulation school uniform, he had to scoop his eyeballs off the pavement and get a book about puberty from the library.
#13 – View
It’s funny, Anzu reflected as she looked for her seat and tried not to remember the clutch of figures waving behind the boarding barrier, one far smaller than the others, caring for someone just means you’ve got more ways to hurt them.
#14 – Music
Anzu moved like she breathed music and had it in her veins, but Yuugi had two left feet and couldn’t even stumble out onto the dance floor without falling over.
#15 – Silk
Yuugi was a terrible shopping companion – he told Anzu she looked great in everything, even when the outfit included green on yellow polka dots, a top with purple and orange horizontal stripes, or a silk scarf emblazoned with unicorns and rainbows.
#16 – Cover
Sugoroku learned not to be surprised when the little tomboyish bundle appeared on the front step, clutching a sleeping roll, even though she’d been absent from his grandson’s life long enough for the games to start again, because if he questioned it then little Yuugi would just look at him with those big, serious eyes and say, “Her parents are fighting again,” as if it were the most logical explanation in the world.
#17 – Promise
Once, Yuugi tried explaining to Anzu how to play advanced-level Duel Monsters, to invite her more fully into his world, but she just blinked at him and said, “If I pretend I understood every word of that, will you promise not to ask me to repeat it?”
#18 – Dream
Yuugi wondered what it was like to have the kind of focus it took to keep a dream alive as long as Anzu had, to devote yourself so fully to one thing; and he kept wondering as he diligently sent her emails and booked plane tickets and trekked unfamiliar streets to find her tiny apartment.
#19 – Candle
Anzu was entwined in Yuugi’s memories, flickering in and out like a candle’s flame: a rumpled smile on a sunny day, the scent of new-mown grass and vanilla bodyspray, learning (or trying to) the waltz to help with his clumsiness, waiting alone by the lockers as she walked home with her friends, Those Girls, the girls all other girls wanted to be … then the flame would extinguish and he’d relight it to start back at the beginning again.
#20 – Talent
Anzu had a gift for making Yuugi feel better when he was down; whether by holding forth an encouraging friendship speech, or by boxing Jounouchi and Honda’s ears, she rarely failed to raise a smile from his downturned mouth, and it was only when she failed that they knew something was really wrong.
#21 – Silence
Anzu summoned up old maths lessons in the stifling silence, telling herself it was impossible for there to be less space inside a room with just her and Yuugi present than when Jounouchi, Honda and Sugoroku were there as well.
#22 – Journey
Yuugi’s journey was that of the chosen, the special, the destined; Anzu’s was that of the cheerleader, the supporter, the helper monkey, and she couldn’t seem to convince people that she stuck so close to him because she was devoted to her role, not because she wanted to be special too.
#23 – Fire
Anzu sat by Yuugi’s hospital bed, the smell of antiseptic strong in her nose, and tried hard not to think about how deceptively frail he looked, or how it wouldn’t have taken long for something so small to burn up if Jounouchi and Honda hadn’t arrived in time.
#24 – Strength
Each of them thought they were protecting the other, and neither realised the world could tip over those careful defences whenever it damn well wanted.
#25 – Mask
Yuugi and Yami were so separate in her mind now that Anzu felt ashamed she’d ever confused them, or mistaken one for the other when they were so clearly different.
#26 – Ice
The pit of Yuugi’s belly felt like ice when he realised Malik was going to hurt his friends – hurt her – to get to him, and the guilt was so much he almost couldn’t hear Yami reassuring him with promises of rescue and vengeance.
#27 – Fall
Anzu wanted desperately to know what Yuugi said when the Oricalchos took him away – she had an idea, but she realised with a horrible lurch that she wasn’t sure, couldn’t predict, and she sort of hated herself for not knowing him enough to at least guess without doubting herself.
#28 – Forgotten
Yuugi pulled out a photo album while cleaning the attic, and showed around the pictures Anzu had taken with a disposable camera that time at the funfair, she and he posing ridiculously and pulling faces; but he couldn’t understand why she blushed scarlet and snapped it shut when it came her turn to look.
#29 – Dance
When they were eleven and her parents couldn’t go to her recital, Yuugi skulked in the back row, unaccompanied by an adult, and watched with eyes like new moons as Anzu flowed across the stage in a costume that was most definitely not a tutu, as light and graceful as the Sugar Plum Fairy she emulated.
#30 – Body
There was something undersized about Yuugi that made people want to protect him; from Jounouchi and his fists to Rebecca and her hugs, and every time Anzu saw it she fought down the urge to kick them for taking over her role, because she’d never been very good at it in the first place, had she?
#31 – Sacred
She kissed him goodbye at the airport, a chaste peck on the cheek, but it lasted just long enough for it to feel like a sacred moment.
#32 – Farewells
Yuugi walked past her house after he watched her plane fade to a speck in the sky, and he thought this was the time in a movie when he would see afterimages of them as kids, sitting on the front step in old clothes stained with ice-cream and dirt, poring over a small handheld game and blinking against the bright sunshine.
#33 – World
“England does have the Royal Ballet,” she mused, and Yuugi just nodded at the suggestion, uncomfortably conscious that Dartz had spoiled the memory of America for all of them, but that nobody except Anzu had ever had any intention of going back there.
#34 – Formal
“As if I’d ever date someone so … so surly and … and formal,” Anzu exclaimed, shoving aside the tabloid article romantically linking her to Seto Kaiba while Yuugi made sure his shirt was untucked and his shoelaces untied.
#35 – Fever
“You’re enjoying this way too much,” Anzu mumbled around the thermometer, but Yuugi ignored her and blew steam off the chicken soup he’d painstakingly made, poured into a flask, and rushed over to her house with.
#36 – Laugh
“Don’t be gross, Jounouchi, Yuugi’s my best friend,” Anzu said with what was meant to be a tinkling laugh, but which sounded more like someone smashing up a cargo of crystal.
#37 – Lies
Anzu was a terrible cook unless food came with instructions, but Yuugi tried to eat the teriyaki anyway, praising it until she clipped him lightly and told him to stop lying to save her feelings.
#38 – Forever
They’d always be teenagers, because that was when their lives changed (diverged, developed, altered) and Yuugi couldn’t forget that.
#39 – Overwhelmed
Sometimes Anzu felt so overwhelmed with worry – when the true weirdness of everything about Yuugi and his situation hit her, and she realised how stupid and dangerous it was to hang around with him, and how stupid and dangerous she was for not being able to pull herself away … those times it was all she could do not to seal herself in her room and never come out again.
#40 – Whisper
It was the faintest whisper down the phone line, but to Yuugi it sounded like the loudest amplifier in the history of mankind: “Yuugi, I … I really miss you.”
#41 – Wait
Jounouchi, who had a nasty habit of speaking close-to-the-knuckle truths like he was discussing Duel Monsters results, very nearly socked his best friend when Yuugi declared he was willing to wait some more without taking the risk.
#42 – Talk
Yami encouraged him to talk to Anzu about his feelings, which was such an unusual concept – Yami very rarely talked about his feelings for anything outside duels – that Yuugi consistently failed to register the catch in his voice when he said it.
#43 – Search
“I guess everybody’s searching for their happy ending,” Jounouchi mused, staring at where the sun was setting fire to the sea, thinking about Mai and so totally missing the way Yuugi and Anzu didn’t look at each other.
#44 – Hope
They didn’t fit into each other’s worlds, but they were in them anyway.
#45 – Eclipse
Yuugi allowed the strength of their bond to eclipse the ignoble beginnings of their friendship, but somewhere deep inside Anzu could never bring herself to forget that she’d been a poor friend for longer than she’d been a good one.
#46 – Gravity
The gravity of the situation struck Anzu like a slap as she stared at the scenery zipping by the train window, mocking in its sameness: Yuugi was gone, really gone, and they might never get him back.
Alternate #46 – Gravity
Anzu sighed and shook her head; expecting Yuugi not to worry that her problems were his fault was like expecting a boulder not to think about gravity.
#47 – Highway
The highway always seemed like the border between their world and the outside; it marked the very edge of Domino City, where they were who they were and where they’d made more memories than some people are allowed in a whole lifetime, and it was sobering to learn someone had built a footbridge over it.
Alternate #47 – Highway
Sometimes Anzu wondered what it would have been like to just leave and never come back, to go with her dad when he offered, drive down the highway in the back of his car, move to a new city and live with him and his new girlfriend, maybe be one of the popular girls at a new school where nobody knew her; then she imagined a world without Yuugi and everything that had followed in it, and she decided she’d been right to say no.
#48 – Unknown
Anzu compelled Yuugi’s interest in refusing the future she’d been offered and demanding another, one that was devised and owned by her in every respect; her dreams were indebted to nobody but herself, she didn’t owe a single part of them to anyone, she couldn’t blame anyone but herself if they went wrong, and he wondered whether he could – would – ever be able to strike out into the unknown like that.
#49 – Lock
Anzu was a latchkey kid, but once she lost her key at school and Yuugi went past his own house to sit on the low wall outside hers, donating moral support and money for food from Hoka-Hoka Bento while she waited for her mother to get home from work.
#50 – Breathe
Anzu scared him a little, not because she was bossy or overbearing or aggressive – she was all of those things and more, but what scared Yuugi most was how she made him breathe like he couldn’t stop, and something you couldn’t stop was dangerous, like an avalanche or a tsunami, or a bus careening towards you in the middle of a narrow street.
Originally written back in March, uploaded now because ... I felt like uploading something and needed a dose of saccharine.