A/N: This is a fan-fic based off the original concept of Yu-Gi-Oh! before the card game took over the whole thing with my OC, Carrie West, added to the mix. I will be using the characters' original Japanese names here because those were their names in the Manga, so yeah. I hope you like this, and if you are ready to give this story a chance, please read on and enjoy.
Follow Your Heart
It was a day like any other day when she came into their class. An American transfer student with blonde hair and green eyes, she only managed to fit in because her mother was Japanese and therefore she had some Japanese characteristics. Her uniform was the same as every other girl only the skirt was a bit longer than the other girls' for some reason unknown to the masses. She refused to meet anyone's gaze as she stood in front of the class and the teacher introduced her to the other students in the room. A cold air surrounded her, making her nearly unapproachable for anyone with any brains in their head. She didn't even wait for the teacher to assign her a seat; she just took the one in the back of the room far away from everyone else.
Her name was Carrie West, but that was all anyone knew about her. There were rumors about how she was supposedly the niece of a very wealthy man and she was a talented gamer, but no one could confirm those rumors without talking to the cold girl. An accepted belief for her appearance in Domino City was that her mother had wanted to return to her homeland, but that was just another rumor. Nothing was known about her and no one wanted to learn anything about her when she gave off this unfriendly aura.
Honda jokingly called her a vampire when class was in break, referring to her reclusive nature and many unknown secrets. Anzu hit him in the back of the head and told him to be nice, but it really didn't matter because Carrie was not around to hear him. She left the classroom and headed up onto the roof to get away from the questioning stares of her classmates. She glanced out at the world around her, this world she had been forced into, and wondered if a new life could begin here.
A hand-shaped bruise hidden underneath the elongated hem of her skirt began to ache, but she hardly acknowledged the pain. She was more worried about fitting into this new school, something she had never been able to do back at her old one. Back there, she had gotten into fights often only to keep herself alive. Everyone was against her. She had not one single friend to turn to save her little sister and they could hardly stand to look at one another since they were in the same situation. Her little sister had it a bit worse because she was only her half-sister through their mother, and Carl didn't like that…
"Hey there. Why you up here all by yourself?"
Carrie glanced over her shoulder to see one of the students from her class standing there. If memory served her from time in the classroom, this punk was named Jonouchi. Her expression hardened now that she wasn't alone—she wouldn't let anyone inside her heart to give them the chance to hurt her nor would she even let them see her emotions—and she looked away from him. He didn't understand her cold nature, but he wasn't much afraid of it, either. He had acted kind of the same way back when he used to be a bullying punk. In that sense, he could relate.
"You know, whatever's bothering you will feel much better if you talk about it and stop isolating yourself from everyone. You might be a foreigner, but we natives won't bite," Jonouchi told her, taking a step closer to the transfer student. "Come on, sister. No one wants to be alone all the time. Don't you want to have any friends?"
The blonde said nothing to him and briskly walked right past him towards the stairs without so much as another glance in his direction. Jonouchi stood there for a moment, puzzled by her. No one liked solitude, especially not a girl. So why was this girl purposely avoiding all people like they were the plague? What was wrong with her, for surely there was something wrong with her for her to be behaving like this? He would have to consult his other friends about this before things could take a turn for the worst.
Jonouchi headed back to the classroom and wasn't surprised to find that Carrie had not returned there. Yugi, Anzu, and Honda were off by themselves, talking about he didn't know what but it couldn't have been as important as what he had to say. He knocked his brunette buddy aside and made room for himself around Yugi's desk. Honda grumbled something about his rude behavior but did nothing about it.
"That new girl is just so strange! She hasn't said a word to anyone and she acts so cold! We have to figure her out before she does something or somebody does something to her!" Jonouchi declared.
Anzu blinked, confused. "What do you expect us to do? She never talks and never answers anyone's questions. Confronting her won't do any good. Besides, we shouldn't be putting our noses where they don't belong. If she wants to tell people about herself, then she'll do so on her own. Just leave her alone, Jonouchi, before you end up making a fool of yourself."
"I don't know…He does kinda have a point. The quiet ones are usually the ones that cause the most trouble around here," Honda pointed out. "Then again, some of the obnoxious ones tend to be behind problems as well, so…Maybe we should be a bit more wary of this newbie."
"What, are you afraid of a girl?" Anzu asked.
"I don't like what you're suggesting here, Anzu," Jonouchi remarked. "I'm not afraid of anyone, and I especially ain't afraid of a girl. I'm just looking out for everyone else. Whenever someone starts things around here, they usually go after Yugi. I won't have anyone threatening my pal as long as I can protect him. Even if it's a girl that's after him, if she dares lay one finger in a bad way on him, I won't hesitate to knock her flat on her butt. That's what she'll deserve, after all!"
"Yeah right. You don't have the gull to hit a girl in any situation," Honda muttered.
"Why are you even thinking about hitting girls? That's just wrong," Yugi pointed out.
"I don't wanna hit girls, Yugi. I'm just saying that if one threatened and hurt you, I'd have no choice. But it's not likely to happen. Girls can't fight all that well, anyway. I mean, they're too afraid of messing up their hair or breaking a nail to really fight," Jonouchi commented, making Anzu angry.
Before his female friend could go off on him, one of their fellow students came running in to inform everyone of a fight going on in the hallway. She said it was the new girl going against three guys that were picking on her. The gang worried that she might be in trouble and ran out with the other students to watch. The three guys were huge and bullies that no one really liked but no one had the guts to stand up to them. Anyone else that entered a fight would have been knocked out cold within the first minute. But Carrie was hanging in there, kicking ass actually. She didn't care about the condition of her hair or her nails, contradictory to what Jonouchi had just claimed. She just fought like a street fighter, tearing those bullies apart until they lay on the ground in pieces from her punches and kicks.
Her hard eyes flashed up to look at the people in the crowd around her and everyone quickly looked away to avoid her stare after seeing what she was capable of. Her clothes were wrinkled and unkempt now, as was her hair, but she didn't seem to care. She walked back towards the classroom like nothing had happened; the crowd cleared the way for her, glancing at her and whispering about her as she passed. The way she ignored them was uncanny. Yugi wondered about her and doubted this was the first time she had fought anyone. The way she took out those guys proved it to be so. Only people that had been in battle before, like Jonouchi and Honda, could ever defeat an enemy that quickly and effectively.
He felt something as she passed him and the others, something he didn't understand. He sensed that she was in a lot of pain, though not of the physical sense. How he had come to feel this was beyond him, but now he was left wondering what had the cold girl in so much emotional pain. Maybe Jonouchi hadn't been completely wrong in wanting to look into this girl's life. With her pain and her fighting prowess, she could either be a big help or a huge threat.
"What are you expecting to find out about her on the internet?" Jonouchi asked tiredly, leaning against the table while Yugi typed on one of the computers at the public library later that day.
The spiky-haired kid shrugged. "I don't know, but this is the only thing I could think of to find anything out about her. Unless you wanna go ask her…"
"Nah, I think I like this option better. After seeing what she did to those guys, I'm not in a hurry to try talking to her again. This guy likes life, thank you very much," Jonouchi stated. "It's just too bad Honda and Anzu couldn't join us. They would be interested in learning about her, too, especially after what she did in school today."
"Yeah, but you know Anzu has to work and Honda is babysitting for his sister again. It couldn't be helped," Yugi reminded him.
Searching Carrie West's name popped up with some links, but hardly any of them were for the Carrie they wanted to know about. One of the links had her as a sub-note to another person, a man named Carl West. Yugi clicked that one and a website for Carl's business appeared on the screen. The homepage had a picture of the man and his family, which was the only reason Yugi did not leave the page immediately. The blonde-haired green-eyed cold girl was in the picture, along with her gray-haired green-eyed father, orange-haired blue-eyed mother, and black-haired pink-eyed sister. Their names were listed below the picture as Carl West, Megan Pegasus, and Jessica West. No one looked happy at all in that family portrait and Yugi could almost swear that he saw a bruise on the side of Jessica's face poorly hidden by her hair.
"So you've found her family, huh? What a happy-looking bunch," Jonouchi remarked sarcastically. "West Intel Company…So that's why she was forced to come over here from America. Her father's business moved over here to attract more customers. Must have been doing really badly in the States for him to make such a drastic move."
"Maybe. The stats seem to support that," Yugi agreed as he brought up a financial overview on the website.
He left that website and found another link about just Carrie. It showed her holding a trophy after dominating a gaming tournament without a single loss. All the people around her in that picture were happy over her victory, but there was not one trace of happiness on her face. The caption of this picture said this was her sixth consecutive win in this tournament; no one had managed to even come close to getting the better of her in six whole years! Further research proved this to not be the only tournament she had been winning for six years. But one thing remained constant in her pictures—she never smiled nor showed any signs of happiness.
"Pull up Carl's financial report again. I think I see a connection," Jonouchi said, and Yugi opened up that link again. "Go back to six years ago, when Carrie first started winning game tournaments. See? His business was starting to head south here, but then in March it went back up a considerable amount. March was when Carrie won her first gaming tournament. It happened again in June, then September, and again in every month up to December. The pattern probably repeats in the years after this one."
"So her father was using Carrie to keep his business from going under," Yugi assumed.
"Yeah, but it didn't do him all that good. There's only so much money a girl can win in tournaments, and it's not nearly enough to keep a business from falling under," Jonouchi pointed out, indicating the most recent numbers for West Intel Company.
"But to use his daughter like that…It's just plain cruel. No wonder she never looks happy to win. It kinda makes you wonder what happens when the cameras are not on her or her family. If Carl is controlling enough to force her into various tournaments just to make enough money to keep his business going, there's hardly any doubt that he abuses her and possibly her mother and sister. I wouldn't be a happy, talkative person if I were in her place," Yugi murmured.
"I bet those gaming tournaments are another reason Carl had the family relocate here. I mean, what country in the world hosts the most tournaments? If it ain't Japan, I don't know where else it would be," Jonouchi commented.
Yugi nodded. "I think you're right. But what are we supposed to do about it? It's not like we can just go up to her and tell her we know what's going on. You saw what she did to those guys earlier. What if she thinks we're annoying and decides to beat up on us? I don't know about you, but I've been beat up enough times in high school already to last a lifetime and I'm just a freshman."
Jonouchi laughed. "Yeah, I see your point. Maybe we could just try talking to her in a way that she can't possibly get mad at us. Should be easy enough for you, what with you being so small and adorable like a little kid. If she finds a reason to get mad at you, then we'll know for sure that something's wrong with her beyond being used by her own father."
"If my size and cuteness could save me from people's anger, I wouldn't have been beaten up at all," Yugi muttered unenthusiastically.
"Well anyway, it'll be worth a shot at least. We can't just let this girl suffer even if we don't know her all that well. No one deserves to suffer at the hands of their father…I would know considering I live with a problematic man who's supposed to be my father," Jonouchi told him. "We'll meet up tomorrow before class with Anzu and Honda and then take care of things from there."
"Okay. Sounds like a plan," Yugi agreed.
Carrie wasn't in school the next day.
In fact, she wasn't in school for the rest of the week.
The other students weren't all that concerned with her absence, but that was because they didn't know a thing about her. Yugi, Anzu, Honda, and Jonouchi knew some things about her that made them worried about her not showing up for so long. They could only assume what might have happened to her, which made their minds create some pretty scary scenarios for the poor cold blonde girl. Many of those scenarios involved her being beaten to death by her cruel father, unable to fight back to protect herself.
She made her reappearance on the Monday of the following week, her uniform once again altered so more of her was covered than any of the other girls. One of her eyes looked darker than the other, like it had been bruised recently but was recovering. She apologized for being out for so long—her excuse was her little sister had been sick and she had to take care of her while her parents were at work, and then she had accidentally hurt herself by running into a door—and then took her seat without saying another word. The first words spoken by this girl had been an excuse for her prolonged absence and injuries. It was a classical abusive setup.
The gang volunteered to help catch Carrie up on her missing assignments. Their teacher was skeptical that they would be the best to help her, but since at least half of them had good grades, he allowed it. After he handed out their assignment and the class was left to do their work, the gang moved to the back of the room to where Carrie was seated. She didn't even glance up at them as they crowded around her desk though they were careful not to get too close so they wouldn't upset her.
"Carrie, are you really okay?" Yugi asked after Anzu had explained her missing work to her thoroughly.
The blonde girl did not answer him; she remained as silent as she had been ever since she had given the teacher that lame excuse. Her gaze remained on her work while she completed it, never looking up at him or the others. Honda, Anzu, Jonouchi, and Yugi exchanged glances; no one knew where to go from here or what to make of this. She wasn't cooperating or even acknowledging their existence. Could it be that she was just cold-hearted and they had misjudged the evidence?
"Hey you, we know what your father has been doing these past six years," Jonouchi stated—she responded by pausing in her work for a second. "Carl West has been forcing you into those gaming tournaments to benefit from the money you win so his business doesn't sink. He's been using you since you were ten. And when that wasn't enough to keep West Intel afloat in America, he had you relocated to Japan to participate in more tournaments to bring in more money. I'm right, aren't I?"
Carrie's green eyes flickered up to his face for a second before they went back down to her work. That seemed to be answer enough.
"And to ensure you remain loyal to him and never step out of line, Carl West has been abusing you for all these years," Honda continued.
She froze upon hearing this information come out of his mouth. The sudden stiffness of her body warned Yugi that she wouldn't react well to them speaking about this topic, but it went mostly unnoticed by the others. Most abuse victims denied they were being abused and some even defended their attackers. Why should she be any different, especially considering that her attacker was her own father?
"He uses his dominance over you to make you do whatever he wants. His fists enforce his words, making you feel weak and insignificant and worthless. You try not to set him off, but something always manages to make him mad at you and you suffer for doing nothing wrong. To make up for what you can't change at home, you control every other aspect of your life by staying away from everyone so they can't hurt you like your father has hurt you. Anyone that tries to control you is put in their place immediately. It's clear as day that this is the case with you," Honda said bluntly.
The girl opened her mouth like she might say something to him, but then shut it just as quickly. She put her belongings away in her backpack and stood up, purposely knocking her desk over as she did so to warn them to back off. Despite the teacher practically ordering her to stay put, Carrie briskly walked out of the room and was gone. All eyes were focused on the people that had been talking to Carrie, wondering what they had done to upset her. Yugi, Anzu, and Jonouchi were looking at Honda, who just shrugged innocently under their gaze.
"We shouldn't have cornered her. It put her on the defensive and made her want to leave," Anzu remarked as the teacher told the other students to get back to work.
"Yeah, and Honda shouldn't have been hounding her about what Carl does. I'm pretty sure she's fully aware of her situation and didn't need you to remind her," Jonouchi commented, shooting a dirty look at his close friend.
"Hey, don't hate on me. I was just trying to get the truth out of her," Honda snapped.
"Guys, guys. Calm down. There's no need to get snippy. And this isn't the end of the world, you know. She knows we know about her and that she isn't the only one that knows what she's going through anymore. She was even about to say something for a moment there. Just because she blew us off this once doesn't mean we can't still try to help her. We still have plenty of time," Yugi reminded them.
"Yugi's right. We can try again tomorrow," Anzu agreed.
The gang returned to their seats for the most part. Anzu asked if she could use the restroom and the teacher permitted her to go—his attention was distracted due to him calling the office to report Carrie walking out—despite it not being in his character to let anyone do anything. He couldn't do much, considering that he had a class to tend to and Carrie was a new student, but no one really cared about his position. He was just a teacher, after all, and they all had their own problems.
Anzu left the classroom and headed down the hall towards the bathrooms. She walked into the ladies' room and went into one of the stalls without noticing the bathroom wasn't empty. She just went about her business, exited the stall, and approached the sink to wash her hands.
It was while she was washing her hands that she noticed she wasn't alone in the ladies' room. Out of the corner of her blue eyes she saw Carrie's backpack lying on the floor near the door. That led her to see the blonde girl standing in front of one of the mirrors farther down from where she was standing, holding up the hem of her unusually long skirt. There Anzu caught a glimpse of several large bruises, the kind that could only be caused by being struck with a blunt object very hard. Carrie's sleeves were rolled up as well, revealing other dark secrets about her. Her arms were covered with cuts and bruises, with most of those bruises being in the shape of hands and fists. Anzu could only imagine the terrible things Carrie was hiding underneath the rest of her clothing.
Her surprise at seeing Carrie's abusive battle wounds made her gasp before she realized it. Anzu clamped a hand over her mouth, but it was too late. The blonde's eyes shot up from inspecting her bruises and turned in her direction. She allowed her blue skirt to fall back over her legs and rolled her pink sleeves back down to hide the evidence once again. Anzu tried to leave, but now that she had seen the truth and Carrie knew she had seen it, the cold green-eyed girl couldn't let her leave in one piece.
She grabbed the brunette by the shoulder before she could reach the door, pulling back her other fist as she did. Then she punched Anzu right in the back of the head with all the force she could muster, bringing the poor girl to her knees with one blow. Carrie kicked her in the back, causing her to collapse on all fours on the floor. She proceeded to beat up on Anzu until the brunette girl was battered and almost unconscious. Satisfied that she had gotten her message across—the message to keep her nose in her own business—Carrie stopped hitting Anzu and left her lying on the bathroom floor. She grabbed her backpack and exited the bathroom without another look at the brunette girl.
Miho found Anzu five minutes later, and by that time the brunette was unconscious. The blue-haired girl ran out to call for help; an ambulance was called in to take the girl to the hospital. No one was sure what had happened, but people had their ideas that involved a certain blonde newbie. The facts supported the rumor that she had beaten up Anzu in the bathroom, and it didn't help matters that she had gone missing just after the incident. But Carrie wasn't one to attack just anyone—she had to have a motive. What had happened to make her hurt Anzu?
Regardless, her three guy friends weren't happy with the situation. None of them could understand why Carrie would turn on someone that hadn't provoked her, knowing that Anzu wouldn't have done anything to provoke her because that wasn't how Anzu was. Jonouchi and Honda argued about it while Yugi listened silently for the rest of the school day, though the latter wasn't really paying them any attention. He was too worried about what Carrie could have done to Anzu in her attack; what if she had broken bones or was in critical condition and was dying? The violet-eyed boy didn't want to think about a world without Anzu though he would never admit it to the others. Miho put an end to that thought pretty quickly as a friend of hers at the hospital called her and told her that Anzu was awake and in good health. She just had quite a few bruises and a minor concussion, so she would be fine.
Thinking of how easily and heartlessly Carrie had hurt Anzu made Yugi very upset with her…Perhaps a little too upset…
The Millennium Puzzle reacted to his emotions and a darkness he wasn't aware of took hold of his body, setting its sights on a cold attacker.
Carrie stood in a back alley that night, leaning against the wall of some building as she waited for him to show up. She had been surprised when Yugi had called her house and invited her out, though it had had its consequences. Her hand came to rest over her abdomen as she recalled what Carl had done after she had gotten off the phone without saying a word to the caller—no one was supposed to call her or Jessica. She brushed aside the pain and focused on whatever was going to happen here.
She wasn't wearing her school uniform anymore. In its place, she had on a pair of blue jeans, a plain black tee, a black leather jacket, and simple tennis shoes. This was how she had dressed back in the States on a daily basis—it felt good to go back to her roots. She felt like a fool for ever thinking she could start over or fit in anywhere. This place brought her back to her old habits. It was practically the same as New York City, only full of brash Japanese people instead of rude American people. A single tear slid down her face as she felt herself give up hope of ever being happy.
Then she saw a shadow in the alley where one hadn't been before and knew her company had arrived. She glanced to her right to see Yugi standing there, but something was different about him. Maybe it was in the way he carried himself or that evil little grin on his face. Whatever it was, she didn't feel like she was in the presence of the same boy that had wanted to help her with his friends. Still, he would be taken care of like every other person that ever crossed her the wrong way…Just like that Anzu chick.
"I see you came early," Yugi commented, and Carrie realized his voice and mannerisms were quite different as well. "It must have been hard getting past your abusive father to come meet me. No doubt you suffered some wounds from the experience." His violet gaze rested upon her abdomen, almost like he knew she had been struck there by her father's angry kicks. "But you and I have a problem that needs to be dealt with, regardless of what condition you are in. You put one of my friends in the hospital, a very close friend in fact. She did nothing to you and yet you attacked her without mercy and left her on the bathroom floor. I cannot let you get away with that."
Carrie said nothing. She simply glared at the short kid and cracked her knuckles, relaying a message to him that she could easily put him in the hospital, too, without speaking a word. Dark Yugi was not fazed by her threats.
"You are a talented gaming champion. Perhaps instead of solving this with violence as you are accustomed to doing, we can settle this in another way. Let's play a game, dear Carrie. A Shadow Game," Dark Yugi suggested.
The blonde girl gave him an odd look but still kept silent. She waited for him to name the game, certain that whatever it was she could handle it.
Dark Yugi pulled out a simple deck of playing cards. "I am sure you know of the game of war. It is a relatively simple game. Cut the deck evenly among the players, and whoever manages to obtain all four aces wins the game. In this Shadow Game, however, things will be a bit different. The goal will still be to obtain all the aces, but the loser will suffer a penalty game. And one more thing before we begin…The cards become attached to your soul. Every time you lose a card to your opponent, regardless of if it is a lowly two or a high king, you will experience some…discomfort."
The cruel smile that appeared on Dark Yugi's face unnerved Carrie a little, but she didn't believe him about any of this Shadow Game junk and she never backed down from a challenge. Her opponent threw the deck at her and she shuffled the cards for them. They sat on two small crates with a larger one between them to serve as their table. She dealt twenty-six cards to each of them. There was no telling who had how many aces until they would go through one round—for all either of them knew, they had lost already—but neither was one to give up so quickly.
"Game start," Dark Yugi stated as he laid down the ten of clubs.
In the beginning, war was mostly a game of chance due to the player being unsure of what cards they had. Even later, it was still very chancy, but both players would come to know what card would come up next and could stack their won cards in any order in preparation for their opponent's threat. For now, Carrie would just have to hang on. She flipped over her top card and laid it next to Dark Yugi's. It was a five of diamonds, which meant she had lost here.
A sharp pain stronger than anything she had ever felt before struck at Carrie's heart, making her double over and gasp as Dark Yugi moved the ten of clubs and five of diamonds to the side. It took her a moment to recover, but that pain never really left. It hurt more than anything Carl had done to her thus far. She wondered if that was what he meant by a Shadow Game where the cards were connected to the soul, but didn't have to ask because the answer was in that cruel little smile of his.
The game proceeded with both sides taking losses and claiming victories. Carrie was not the only one in pain as the rules applied to both participants, which meant Dark Yugi was suffering as well. The higher the card value, the greater the pain experienced by the one whom lost it in war. Yet she was the only one who was doubling over in pain. Dark Yugi just gasped and gritted his teeth, almost like he was accustomed to such a hurting sensation in his body. What was he made of? Or was he just some sort of masochist? Well, whatever the reason, by the end of the first round it was discovered that each had two aces—Carrie had the ace of hearts and the ace of clubs and Dark Yugi had the ace of diamonds and spades.
Carrie slipped up for some reason, or at least she felt like she slipped up. Dark Yugi started getting the advantage on her, causing her even more pain. She lost one of her aces, the ace of clubs, and actually ended up screaming in agony from the shot to her soul it caused. Dark Yugi watched her suffer with emotionless eyes, just as uncaring as her father. It was all she could do not to cry. It took her a full three minutes to get over that pain enough to continue with the game, though sweat was beading on her skin and she felt like crying because this game was making her feel like she was dying. Couldn't she just die already…?
Her cards began running short until she only had four left, including her ace of hearts. The pain pushed her so close to the edge of the darkness of unconsciousness, she could almost taste that release. But it was not to be a quick rescue. Her ace of hearts matched up with his ace of spades. She set her last three cards across from three of his, knowing this would be the end of her now…Knowing, and yet…
She broke down in tears, burying her face in her arms. "…I'm sorry…"
Dark Yugi was slightly shocked upon hearing her speak to him for the first time and halted in finishing her off.
"…I…I didn't want to hurt Anzu…But…She saw them…No one is supposed to see them. I…I had to make her keep quiet, so I…I treated her like any other person that stood in my way. I held back enough not to seriously hurt her…I just wanted to…to get her to back off. It was stupid…But it was all I could think of doing. It's the only way I've ever dealt with my problems…," Carrie whimpered. "…You were right…You were all right… Carl has been using me and abusing me, but more than that…He does the same to my little sister. Not the using part…But he practically kills her and I can't do anything to stop him…I'm so weak…I act so strong, but I'm just so weak…"
The man with tri-colored hair took in this new information carefully. The Shadow Game had stripped away all her protective shields, revealing her naked soul to him in full. She was not dark-hearted or even all that cold. She was in a great deal of pain from her father's physical abuse and her mother's condescending words, but it was most hurt from watching her little sister suffer and not being strong enough to do anything about it. Her parents had not always been so cruel, but one day something in the both of them snapped and turned them into the monsters Carrie knew now. Thus being the case, she was resistant to letting anyone get close to her because she was afraid they would turn on her in the same manner. Her tough behavior was just a cover, meant only to hide away her feelings of weakness.
"This Shadow Game is…is almost over. Once I lose my last ace…Will it kill me? I hope so…Or will it be the penalty game that finishes me…? Either way…Death is better than this miserable life I'm living…," Carrie sobbed, straightening so the tears falling from her green eyes were now completely visible to her opponent. "…So…Let's go ahead and …finish this."
She flipped over her last three cards: a queen of spades, a jack of diamonds, and a king of clubs. It was a nice lineup, but she knew her opponent could probably pull off a better one to end her here and now. She closed her eyes and waited for her soul to throb in greater pain, not wanting to see her end. Watching it come would make panic rise within her, and she didn't want to go out panicking.
Dark Yugi made a sound of surprise. "Well, what are the odds? It appears that we have tied in this round. See for yourself."
Carrie slowly opened her eyes to see what cards Dark Yugi had played. A queen of hearts, a jack of hearts, and a king of hearts. They were a perfect match to the set she just played, so the round really was a tie. An instance like this was so rare. How would they proceed from here? Carrie knew no rule about how to go about a tie, save by doing the three-card thing again. But she had no cards left, so wouldn't she lose by default?
"Do not fret, Carrie. This game is done, but it will not have a loser. I may have won the most cards, but you achieved your own victory in this game. You finally admitted your situation and exposed your true colors. For that, I cannot allow this Shadow Game to send you into a penalty game. Thus being so, we have ended in a tie," Dark Yugi told her, sweeping all the cards into one pile before straightening them and putting them away.
"No…No, I lost. Why won't you put an end to my misery…? Send me into this penalty game and let me die!" Carrie begged.
Dark Yugi shook his head. "Only those with wicked hearts deserve to go through the penalty game. Your heart is clouded with pain caused by one you once loved, a pain that I would never wish upon anyone. It makes you do crazy things in order to ensure that you are all alone and no one else can ever hurt you like you have already been hurt. I will not have your death on my conscience. You do not deserve to die despite your actions against my friend."
The blonde girl trembled as she cried, though her eyes were now focused on the ground rather than on him. She couldn't understand this guy. One moment he wanted vengeance for what she had done to Anzu in the form of a fatal card game. The next moment he was rambling about how good a person she really was and that she didn't deserve to die. It didn't matter if she didn't deserve to die. She just wanted to die to put an end to her suffering before Carl could hurt her anymore.
She pulled out a knife from a pocket in her jacket and put it against her own throat. If he wouldn't help her die, then she would just do it herself. The world would be better for it. Then she couldn't hurt innocent people like Anzu when they found out about her secrets. She would be free and the rest of the world would be a bit more peaceful without her existence to bring about more violence.
Before she could make the slashing motion that would end her life, Dark Yugi grabbed the knife by its blade and forced it backwards, using all his strength to keep her from slitting her throat. Despite her bruised and beaten arms, she was strong enough to fight against him. The blade wobbled back and forth, but it never made it back to her flesh. He wouldn't allow it no matter how hard she fought him.
"Your death is not necessary, Carrie. You are needed in this world, whether you realize it or not. Every good life in this world is precious, and I will not have you throwing yours away so carelessly," Dark Yugi stated, making Carrie's eyes widen in surprise. "You say you are weak despite acting so strong, but you are wrong. A strong person suffers through your life without giving up hope that things could get better. You have just now given up hope, but before you were the strongest woman I knew. You kept your head high despite everything and demanded respect without threatening others unless they threatened you first. Carrie West, you were strong once. What happened to that strength? Why would you give it up, give everything up, just to put a stop to the pain? Have you forgotten all that you have to live for? Have your forgotten Jessica?"
An image of her dark-haired little sister flashed through Carrie's mind, startling her. In this moment of weakness, Jessica had fled her mind and she had only been thinking about herself. If Carrie were to disappear, then what would happen to the pink-eyed girl? Carl hated her enough as it was due to her not being his biological daughter. If his biological daughter were to die, how would he treat Jessica then…? And how would she react to losing her big sister? That would put far too much stress and pain onto the little girl's shoulders. As much as Carrie wanted to stop hurting, she couldn't do that to Jessica. There was just no way she could burden her sister like that, no matter how much she was hurting inside.
"Jessie…," she murmured sadly.
She released the blade and Dark Yugi pulled it away, tossing it casually into the nearby dumpster. He then proceeded to help Carrie to stand as she was too emotional and wobbly to stand on her own. The poor girl whispered her thanks to him for all he had done, to which he replied that it was nothing. She hugged him before he could stop her, not that he would have if he had known she would do it. A girl like her needed some physical contact with another soul, one that wouldn't hurt her like her father had done. He hesitated a moment to return the gesture, but he did return it nonetheless.
This was the start of a wonderful new beginning for Carrie.
"How do you feel, Anzu?" Jonouchi asked in the classroom the next morning as they waited for class to start.
"Eh…I could be better, but I'm just glad I didn't get any serious injuries," Anzu replied. "Of course, it helps that I'm drugged at the moment to deal with the pain of my head injury…because otherwise I might be crying right now…"
"What in the world did you see that made her attack you?" Honda wanted to know.
"I saw her bruises, the proof that she was indeed being abused. She just…didn't want anyone to know about it, so she tried to get me to shut up about it. I suppose we should leave her alone now…She's made it quite clear that she doesn't want any help of any kind or any friends. We don't want something like this happening again," Anzu remarked, gesturing at herself and all the wounds inflicted upon her by Carrie.
"Yeah, I guess you're right," Jonouchi reluctantly agreed.
"…Hey…," an unfamiliar female voice murmured from behind them.
The gang turned around to find Carrie standing there, looking just a bit nervous. They were surprised to hear her speak, shocked that she was speaking to them, and amazed that she seemed nervous about it. She didn't meet their gaze, afraid of what they would think of her now. She did deserve their judgment after the way she had behaved before. If they hated her, she deserved that, too.
"…I…I just wanted to apologize for what I did yesterday. It was wrong of me to attack you without a real motive. Words are just words…They don't make up for anything. But I…I thought you should know I regret what I did and I'll beat myself up about it for weeks to come," Carrie muttered. "You can repay me for it if you want. It's only fair."
Anzu gave her a wan smile. "If there's one thing you should know about me, it's that I don't fight, especially against people that are hurting. I understand why you did it, though my body isn't too happy about it. You're forgiven…Just don't let it happen again, okay? I don't think I could take much more of that."
"What's with the sudden change of heart?" Honda demanded, not buying her apology.
Carrie looked over at Yugi, who didn't seem to know why she was looking at him. Had he forgotten all that had happened between them last night? He was the reason she was changing, the reason she was still alive, and yet he didn't remember? He had seemed different then…Maybe there were two souls in that body or maybe he had an alter ego and couldn't remember what he did in his other form. She managed a small smile.
"Let's just say…I met someone who taught me what it really means to be strong," Carrie said as her eyes came to rest on the Millennium Puzzle around Yugi's neck.
A/N: So, what did you think of Carrie in the original plot of Yu-Gi-Oh!? Please tell me without flaming or being rude. Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful day.