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Title: Liquid Diamonds
Theme number and theme: #36, Guilt
Pairing: Peachshipping (Yuugi x Anzu) implied Puzzleshipping (Yuugi x Yami no Yuugi)
Genre: aaaaaangst
Rating G
Warning (if any): None.
Short summary: When guilt dictates your life, you’re willing to do anything to make it go away.


Maybe they would interpret her tears as tears of happiness, not of sadness and guilt. Mazaki Anzu was about to become the beloved wife of Mutou Yuugi, and she was ready to take her vows. Her smile was one of the loveliest anyone had ever seen, and she was beauty and grace in her strapless dress, perfectly accentuating the contours of her elegant dancer’s body: not too buff, yet strong and supple. Everyone had expected her to return to Domino City after she had finished up that ‘funny school’ in New York. Just a bit of dancing, that could hardly be called a study, right? Nobody had seen her tears, not even her fellow students, when she was agonizing over an audition, when all that dancing just became too hard, when it stopped being fun and the passion was almost killed… nobody had seen her tears, when the passion and inspiration returned, and when she danced, completely and utterly surrendered to the music, to the art…

…. “… of course Anzu-chan is coming home,” they said. “We’ve been lenient enough to let her go all the way to New York, away from her friends and family, just so she can dance. But when she’s done with that silly school, she comes home again to find a husband, a job…”

“You should go,” Jounouchi said. “Get your ass to New York and show them what you’re made of!”

“You should go,” Honda said. “Follow your dream, follow that passion, go for it!”

“You should go,” Yuugi said. “I’ll wait for you.”

He didn’t specify why he was waiting. Or what he exactly was waiting for. He had to know, he knew, that she wasn’t planning on coming back. She wanted to make a career out of dancing, and all of her options were in the United States, not Domino City, Japan. She loved her friends and family, but why could only her friends see that it was time to let her go, and not her family? Yuugi inquired weekly updates and he stuck to that schedule, time zones be damned. Anzu was happy to talk to him, absorbing his support like a sponge. Oh, the first months in New York had been horrible – the school was extremely demanding, her English wasn’t all that good, the food was different, the pace of life was different and she had to share an apartment with three other girls who didn’t seem to like her and yes, she had broken down in tears a couple of times, confessing to Yuugi that it all had been a mistake and that she wanted to go home.

“You can do this, Anzu,” he said, with that confident, warm voice of his. He hadn’t sound that deep and reassuring before. More so, his voice had been terribly high-pitched when she first met him, that small shy kid who brought games to school as to entertain himself. He never went out of class during recess, because he knew he was going to be picked on. That lonesome kid who cherished a golden box filled with puzzle pieces that, once reassembled, would grant a wish.

“Of course it’s hard for you now,” he continued. “Don’t forget, you’re in a completely different environment. Once you’ve got a better grip on English, once you get to know your roommates better, once you get into the flow of your new, daily life, things will better. You don’t want to come back, Anzu. You’ve worked so hard to come this far. Don’t throw it away.”

Of course she didn’t want to throw it away. Of course she didn’t want to come back. All she wanted, was a listening ear, and Yuugi provided the comfort and support she needed. Jounouchi and Honda would simply scream her head off, calling her crazy for giving up so soon. They’d always been bad at seeing the larger picture, but she missed those goons. Jounouchi would love to sample all the steak around here, and Honda’s eyes would bug out from seeing all the beautiful girls around here. Yuugi… Yuugi would just simply smile and encourage her to go on, knowing which words she wanted… and needed to hear.

“Congratulations, Anzu-chan!” Shizuka was just as exuberant as her brother. She was careful to kiss Anzu on the cheeks though, aware of the perfect make-up she was wearing. “How do you feel?”

“I feel wonderful, Shizuka-chan,” Anzu said. She could say it without feeling her stomach tie itself into knots. She was getting used to it already, repeating the same lie over and over again.

“How can you build a career on dancing?” Her father was a hard-working man with love and respect for his wife and child, but he had not even one ounce of imagination or artistic empathy in him. He consumed his daily manga, watched some TV and listened to music every now and then, and that was it. Dancing was too abstract, too far-fetched; he did his best to support his daughter, but he simply couldn’t understand that her dreams were built on something that he couldn’t grasp. What about her friends? Honda, joining a military program. Jounouchi, working a job. Yuugi, working at KaibaCorp. and generally seen as the new and upcoming game designer. Good, respectable jobs and careers. Dancing? Some kind of show ballet?

Anzu didn’t fault him, or blame him. Nothing like that at all. She could see him, over the top of Shizuka’s head, sitting at one of the tables and the look of pride on his face was amazing and heartwarming. She knew what he was thinking; about how she left her folly dreams behind and had gotten herself a good party, a respectable KaibaCorp. employee with a nice income. Next to him, her mother, obviously thinking the same while dabbing at her eyes; their daughter was settled for life.

She wondered if her perfect make-up was ruined by her own tears. She hadn’t stopped crying since this day came. Everybody offered handkerchiefs, kind words, sympathy. Yes, it was an intense day. No, they had never seen Kaiba himself attend a wedding. Oh, but Yuugi was such a warm and attentive husband already, hovering over his wife and standing at her side constantly. Look how much good care he took of her, this was a dream marriage come true! Of course the bride was crying; many girls wished they could be standing in her shoes today!

“One day, I’ll get married too,” Shizuka said, smiling at her. Anzu simply nodded.

“I’m sure of it,” she said, though the words sounded hollow to her ears.

“Then you’ll be my bridesmaid, right?”

“Of course I will, Shizuku-chan.” Was it another lie? It didn’t feel like it. Anzu took a deep breath and forced the tears to stop. She wouldn’t be able to hold on for the rest of the day, the tears just… came and refused to stay away. Anzu turned her head just a little, infallibly catching Yuugi’s gaze. For the briefest moments, a millisecond, it seemed like his face had looked different. Yuugi had literally grown the last couple of years, in height as well as in personality. Anzu had always known that Yuugi was strong in his own right, but now he realized this important trait himself. He was still modest and humble, no longer shy and insecure. In these moments, she saw the Pharaoh in him; the man he has become, the man he could’ve become. Anzu has the exact date engraved in her mind, and she hadn’t said a thing when Yuugi suggested this date… today. The end of a chapter. The start of a new life. She wished she could believe such hollow platitudes, and she knew he would, too.

She’s not sure if she can live her entire life with this massive amount of guilt. Of using him. Of not believing him when he says he’s alright. Of marrying him. Of making love to him, knowing that she wasn’t his first one. One day, he’ll call out his name instead of hers, and she wouldn’t fault him for a second. Guilt towards her parents. Guilt towards herself. She should’ve stayed in the States, it wasn’t like her parents would fly over and physically drag her out of New York. But she felt guilty towards them, and the promise she had to make before leaving. You’ll be back, won’t you, Anzu-chan? Here’s where your heart is, your family, your friends. Do that silly dance thing and come back to us. As if it didn’t matter what she wanted. As if it didn’t matter what she felt. As if it didn’t matter what she had become.

The tears started all over again.


Maybe they would interpret his tears as tears of happiness, not of sadness and guilt. Mutou Yuugi was about to become the beloved husband of Mazaki Anzu, and he was ready to take his vows. His smile was his usual thousand-watt smile, turned up to eleven as he greeted and chatted with the guests. They were all gushing over his blushing bride of course, how beautiful and how elegant she looked. The dress had to be a real Vera Wang, or a Stella McCartney, flown in from the USA because well, Anzu had studied dance in the States, surely she would’ve picked up on some outrageous ideas there?

“You know, I really thought she was going to stay in New York,” Jounouchi said as he picked off another chicken teriyaki skewer. The buffet was loaded, much to his delight – with this many guests, and knowing his best friend’s appetite, Yuugi hadn’t skimped on the food. Yuugi smiled at him, mentally relieved that Jounouchi was too busy with eating than to pay attention to him. Jounouchi always saw through Yuugi’s smiles, when they were fake, cramped or simply ‘off’. And today his smile was the most ‘off’ that could ever be, and he praised every moment that nobody picked up on it. “And now you’re married,” he continued, waving the skewer around. “The first of us! You really set the bar high, Yuugi.”

“It’s just how life is,” Yuugi said and it sounded far less enthusiastic than he meant. His eyes were constantly darting around, to his guests, to his grandfather, to his mother, to his wife. Anzu looked radiant as usual, like a true angel she was the epitome of beauty and grace. He was sure that her stomach was tying itself into knots, just like his. They both hadn’t touched a single bite of food, unable to keep it down and afraid of throwing it up. He could see that she was crying; there, she went with a handkerchief to the rim of her eyes again. Her make-up stylist had worked miracles, because Anzu looked just as beautiful, even with the teary eyes. He hadn’t been able to stop crying either, his friends gently teasing him with the liquid diamonds, but chalking it up to the emotions of the day.

“Yuugi, you’re working for me,” Kaiba had told him the day he had graduated. The tall CEO had almost plucked him off the stage where he had just delivered his valedictorian speech. Yuugi protested; he had planned to help his grandfather, close to retirement, at the Game Shop and decide on his studies later. “What studies?” Kaiba had snorted and offered him such a good position on the spot, that he would’ve been crazy to say ‘no’. So he had accepted. His grandfather could retire earlier and his mother wouldn’t be dependent on his father’s salary alone; he brought in the money now, providing for his family… and now providing for his wife as well.

Anzu kept catching his gaze. She returned his smile, she returned his love. Oh yes, there was definitely love between them. He had always admired her for her strength and determination. He had always encouraged her, and he would always support her – she meant a lot to him. But she wasn’t his everything. Deep down in his heart, he hadn’t expected her to accept his proposal. To be sure, he wasn’t sure why he was proposing to her at all. Just like Jounouchi, he figured Anzu was going to stay in the USA and create opportunities for herself; but during the video chat in which she told him that she was coming ‘home’ again, he couldn’t encourage her to stay.

He wanted her back. He wanted her in his life and it made him feel terribly guilty that he hadn’t fueled the flames of her independence, but that he had asked her… begged her to come home. He wasn’t the only one, albeit for different reasons. Her parents insisted that she’d return, disbelieving their own daughter’s capabilities. “It’s just dancing, Anzu-chan,” their words had cut her like a knife, “it’s something that you can do here as well. But now it’s time to come back again.” You had your fun. Now come take care of your parents. Good people, but so… terribly set in their old-fashioned ways.

“Awesome party, man!” Honda pat him on the shoulder. “Do you mind if I make a pass at one of the bridesmaids?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact, I do,” Yuugi said. One of the bridesmaids is Jounouchi’s younger sister, and Otogi was at the party somewhere too. “No trouble today, guys.”

“Yeah, you’re right. Sorry,” Honda apologized. Yuugi showed him another one of his brilliant smiles to show that no offense was taken, no harm was done. Jounouchi bumped his friend on the shoulder.

“Moron,” he said. “Let’s go back to the buffet!”

Honda grumbled something in return but he followed Jounouchi nonetheless. Yuugi knew he had only a couple of seconds before another guest would come up to congratulate him, or to simply talk to him. His eyes darted over the crowd again. Unbelievable that Kaiba himself would show up on his wedding, but he was there, along with Mokuba and he seemed to be in a good mood. Yuugi made a mental note to thank Kaiba personally for his attendance, he really appreciated it. Where was he? Oh yes, thinking of his wife and her parents. He met them of course, back in the days of him walking to school together with Anzu, mostly to avoid bullies. They were thrilled with their son-in-law, with such an upstanding job and ties to the community. Yes, of course he would take good care of their daughter, and no, he didn’t know they had always known they’d end up together. Another smile that pushed down his guilt.

Was this marriage doomed to fail? Were they lying not only to all their families and friends, but also to themselves? Probably. Yuugi turned his head to the other side, his smile faltering for just a millisecond - but his grandfather had caught it, and he answered it with a frown. Mutou Sugoroku knew about the Pharaoh. He knew about Atem in a way the others didn’t. Of all his friends, of all the people around him, Yuugi had only confessed his feelings to his grandfather. He loved Anzu. He loved Atem more. He adored him. He worshiped him. His own Pharaoh, his own God. He wanted to feel his arms around him again, he wanted to hear his voice again. That voice that whispered to him what he was going to do to him, sending delicious shivers of ecstasy down his spine.

He had done the same to Anzu. Whispering in her ears, with his arms around her. She had shuddered in delight, but her voice had sounded broken and sad when she whispered “Yes, Yuugi, please” in return. He had made love to her, knowing that they both knew who he had on his mind. She never protested. He never denied. The guilt had been visible all over his face when she had cried in his arms afterwards. Was the feeling the same for her? How much guilt was weighing her down? She hadn’t been able to fulfill her dreams, not the way she wanted to. Maybe he could ask Kaiba to send him for projects overseas, so she could pick up on her dancing career again. She didn’t deserve this. He didn’t deserve this.

“Yuugi.” Sugoroku stood next to him.

“Jii-chan,” he said. “Are you enjoying the ceremony?”

“I would enjoy it more,” the elderly man answered, “if I knew your heart was in it.”

“I love Anzu,” Yuugi defended himself. “We care for each other.”

“I believe you do,” Sugoroku said. “But you’re not responsible for each other’s lives, Yuugi. You have your own ideals, and so has she. I’m not sure if marriage was one of them.”


“I know what you’re thinking and believe me, if I could’ve taken his place, I would’ve done so in a heartbeat.”

Yuugi’s eyes went wide in shock. “Jii-chan! Don’t ever say that!”

Sugoroku shook his head. “I’m an old man who had a wonderful life. He was a young boy who was supposed to have his entire life in front of him.”

“That’s not how it works, jii-chan.”

“Oh Yuugi, please stop with the bullshit about destiny.” He wasn’t bothered by saying ‘bullshit’ out loud, even though Sugoroku looked around to check if he hadn’t offended anyone. Yuugi leaned into his grandfather, due to his growth spurt he was all but towering over him.

“It doesn’t matter anymore,” he said, almost as if talking to a small child. “He’s gone. I’m still here. Anzu’s still here.”

“Sharing grief and remorse isn’t a good, stable base for a marriage, Yuugi.” Sugoroku looked calmly up at his grandson. “Neither is guilt.”

He walked away, leaving Yuugi to deal with the other guests. He knew his grandfather was right. What else was he supposed to do? Stay single for the rest of his life? Answer painful questions why he wanted to be alone all the time? He had recognized the same loneliness in Anzu. New York had brought her so much, but the man she loved. Chances. Opportunities. Fortune. Destiny. It didn’t matter at all, when those doors closed. Yuugi forced his lips to curl up in that beaming smile of his. He wasn’t going to disappoint his guests. He could see his mother from this distance, like a queen herself, reveling in the attention of all the guests congratulating her on the wonderful wedding of her son.

It would’ve been a picture perfect. It would’ve been amazing. It would’ve been wonderful.

Neither is guilt.

They would both say his name. Neither is guilt.

Where are you, Atem?


This entry was originally posted at http://the-goldenpath.dreamwidth.org/87252.html. Please comment there using OpenID.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 15th, 2017 02:46 am (UTC)
Oh this was wonderful and so bittersweet ♥
Jul. 15th, 2017 09:59 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading and commenting, dear! I was in a bittersweet mood ^^; ♥ ♥
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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