AU. Two friends must deal with the death of their loved ones, and the Millennium Ring. Non-shonen-ai.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the very recognizable characters. I'm making no profit off of this (though it is great stress relief), so please don't sue.
Bakura Amane shook her head, tears pouring down her pale cheeks as she stood in the grim cemetery. Her brother and mother had just died, leaving her alone at the tender age of fifteen... There had been a tragic fire, trapping and killing them both in their fourth story apartment, while her father had taken her to a doctor's appointment...
Jonouchi Katsuya watched from a short distance as his sister's best friend broke down into sobs at her brother's grave. He knew exactly how the younger teen felt, as his own mother had been buried the year before, and it was likely that his sister would soon follow, leaving Katsuya with no one but his idiotic father to rely on.
Quietly, so as not to scare her, Katsuya walked over to Amane and gently wrapped hit arms around the sobbing girl. She looked up briefly to see who it was, and upon seeing her friend's older brother, buried her face in his chest and sobbed her heart out. Katsuya simply sat there, holding her, not caring in the least that it had started to rain and that he was getting mud, tears, rain, and snot all over him.
Two months later...
Amane rushed through the streets of Domino, Japan, hurrying to get to the hospital in time to see her friend one last time.
Kawai Shizuka, Amane's best friend, was dying. Amane never understood the entirety of what was happening (and neither did Shizuka), but something was wrong with her, and it was causing her organs to shut down one by one. Katsuya had just called to tell her that their father had finally decided to pull the plug...
Bursting through the emergency room doors, she ran to the help desk and asked for her friend's room number. The guy was used to her coming in by now and merely smiled at her, pointing down one of the halls. "Room 2117, upstairs, third door on the left."
Nodding thanks, she ran up the flight of stairs, much too impatient to take the elevator. She arrived at the room to see Katsuya sitting in one of the chairs...dully staring at nothing.
"Katsuya-san?" Amane asked softly, placing a hand on the older teen's shoulder.
"She....she's gone..." He said, numbly, causing the white-haired girl to gasp.
"What?! I thought-"
"Dear ol' dad got fed up with waiting." He sniffed, the contempt he held for the older man evident in his voice. "Wanted to get out of here, so they already did it." Katsuya shook his head before standing up. "They already took her out of the room, five minutes or so ago... See ya around..." Head lowered and eyes downcast, he left the building, leaving a shocked Amane in his wake.
Katsuya looked up when he heard knocking on the front door of his apartment. He'd moved out less than a week after Shizuka's death, and no one other than Mutoh Yugi, his best friend, knew where his apartment was. However, Yugi was busy solving that Puzzle of his that he'd been obsessed with since elementary school. He swore he was close to finishing it. Therefore, whoever it was knocking...well, it couldn't be anyone he knew.
However, that knocking was annoying. It was too late to be a salesman or one of those freaky religious people, so he figured he ought to answer the door.
Opening the door, he saw a young woman with short white hair standing there. There was a large artifact looking vaguely like a golden dream-catcher hanging around her neck.
"What, you already don't recognize me, Katsuya-san?" she asked, a small smile on her face. Looking into her light blue eyes, it clicked who this strange looking girl was.
"Amane-chan?" Katsuya's face was a mask of confusion. "Wha-how?"
She shook her head. "Yugi-kun gave me your address when I asked him at school this morning. I wanted to see how you were doing...since you've been avoiding school..."
'And me...' Came the thought, unbidden. Hastily, she shoved the thought aside.
"What...what happened to your hair?" the blonde asked softly, ushering her in from the hallway and shutting the door as she sat on the couch.
"I cut it off, obviously. I decided I...I didn't want anything to remind me of him. Besides, I donated it to that company that takes people's hair and makes it into wigs for kids with cancer. It was a good cause. Do you like it?" She asked, tilting her head slightly in a way that reminded the older teen of both her brother and Yugi at the same time.
"I-it's different, that's for sure." Katsuya gulped. This was probably the only time the two had actually talked just the two of them...and the strange feeling he'd had in his stomach the past few months returned. "It'll probably just take some getting used to, that's all," he added, seeing the frown that appeared on her face when he'd first spoke.
"Oh. Alright..." She took a quick moment to look into his eyes, then looked at the ground. "So, how've things been? Are you doing alright?"
Sighing, Katsuya sat next to her on the couch, not touching her. "Well, things could always be better, things could be worse. That's life."
"Well, that's good..." Amane clenched her fists slightly where they sat in her lap, so slightly Katsuya nearly didn't notice. "Katsuya-san...I..."
"What's the matter, Amane-chan?"
"Well...father's gone off on another expedition..." Amane raised a hand to briefly caress the golden dream-catcher before continuing. "And... I don't feel comfortable staying in the apartment all by myself. Could I--?"
"Stay here with me?" The older teen raised an eyebrow. "What would your dad think of that? I mean, it was one thing when it was us and our siblings-" his voice caught in his throat for a moment "-but now?"
She shook her head fiercely. "I don't care, Katsuya! I don't want to be alone!" She threw herself across the short distance between them and clung to him as if he was her anchor in this world. "I don't want you to leave me... I've lost too many people I-"
"Shh...." Katsuya ran his fingers through her hair, trying to soothe her. 'Of course she doesn't want to lose anyone else. We all grew up together, the four of us with our parents... But we really never spent time together...not like this...' A warm feeling began to rise within him, causing him to smile softly. "It'll be alright, Amane. I promise, I won't leave you."
"I-I know..." the young girl-/'No, woman-' hiccoughed/. "It's-it's just I didn't think-I didn't realize that they were gone... Un-until dad left last night. I...I guess I expected Shizuka-chan or Nii-chan or Kaa-san or you to come out at any moment...like they were all still around... I realized, I don't want to lose you...I don't want to lose you..." The white haired teen sniffed and looked up, locking eyes with the blonde. "I love you, Katsuya. I don't want to live without you." She closed her eyes as she began to cry again, silently this time.
"Oh, Amane..." he held the girl tighter, and the two sat there into the wee hours of the morning, each gaining comfort from the other. All the while, Katsuya kept thinking over and over, 'Is this what my gut's been telling me? Do I love her, too?'
Amane yawned as she woke up. She was laying on something warm...and soft...but it wasn't a pillow... Her eyes snapped open to reveal that she was laying on top of Katsuya.
'Katsuya?/ Why...oh...'/ Thoughts of the previous night came back to her, and she sighed softly, laying back down to enjoy the comfort while she could. It was Sunday morning, and the one day a week she was able to sleep in.
"G'morning, sunshine." Katsuya chuckled as she curled up on top of him. "Have a good night's sleep?"
Amane blushed as she thought of what could've happened between the two, causing the blonde beneath her to laugh outright upon seeing the expression on her face.
"Oh, I wouldn't have done anything like that and you know it!" he grinned at her as she got off of him and stood up, still blushing.
"Still, if people hear..." The white haired teen found herself in Katsuya's arms again.
"Don't worry 'bout it, Amane. Listen, from now on we'll sleep in different rooms. No one has to know we're in the same house, ya know. Besides, we're too young for anything like that anyways!" He grinned down at her, causing a small smile to appear on the younger teen's face.
"Of course...Um, about last night, though..."
"Shh... I told ya, don't worry 'bout it. Besides...I feel the same way about you." Still grinning, he let go of her and went out into the hall, headed for the small kitchen.
"He...he feels the same?" Amane asked herself softly. "He...he loves me, too?"
[[Of course he does, foolish girl. Not that it will help you for much longer.]]
Amane tensed. There it was again, that odd voice that had been in her head for the past two weeks since her father had given her the strange dream-catcher he called the Millennium Ring. There was no way she could tell Katsuya about the voice, not and be believed...
Sighing, she followed the blonde into the kitchen, silently vowing to discover what the voice was...