Title: In Which Everything is Fairly Miserable
Onesided Crow/Aki; hints of Yusei/Aki
K+, PG, E-10, ect.
Humor/Angst/Romance combo. Odd, no?

A/N: Just a plot bunny that's been running around in my head for a while.

A little bit of background: this happens after the end of the series, sometime when Aki is studying to be a doctor in…where ever she's studying (isn't it Germany or something?), and decides to pay a visit to Neo Domino. You can decide the rest, but let's just say Yusei's working and Crow's a convenient substitute, so Aki goes with him instead. I seem to think she'd only use him as a replacement for Yusei. Is that mean?

By the way, Downtown means downtown Neo Domino. Crow has various little people inside his head, which are pieces of his personality...sort of. Don't ask if you don't want to know.


Warnings: This fic contains a somewhat less popular shipping (Crow x Aki), gratuitous capitalisation, and just a smidge of language. Also, this fic, although it is a romance, does not contain enormous amounts of snogging (I've read so many Harry Potter fanfictions I've become somewhat partial to the word), and is a bit cynical towards the end. There isn't really much of a happy ending here, so if you want happy, go read the Crow/Aki fics that Triste writes. I adore those. Really, go read her stuff. It's pure happy.

Disclaimer: I own a sheet of paper that says "5Ds" on it. Does that count?

In Which Everything is Fairly Miserable

At night, Crow hates the Downtown. He really hates the Downtown.

Maybe it's the lights. They're these big, ugly, industrial-made things, and the light (if you can really call it that) they cast is of the garish, green-tinged variety. If you ever walk under one of those things, don't be surprised if some poor soul cries, "Zombie!"

But here he is, in the dreaded Downtown (at night, no less, the Tiny Little Voice screams from inside of him), wandering aimlessly around with Aki. And yet, he's happy, even if he knows (hell, everyone and their mother knows, the Voice screams again) she'd rather be walking with Yusei, but Yusei's working tonight, and unless she wants to spend her last night in Neo Domino with her parents, she'd better walk with him.

(And no, he has no crush on her, so please, Tiny Little Voice. Shut up.)

There's an awkward silence between them, which does ruin the mood a little, but that's about to change.

"I hate Downtown."

Okay, that could've gone worse. (It could've gone better too, but that's irrelevant. He kicks the Tiny Little Voice into a * mental * closet.) Aki looks at him curiously, her head tilted slightly to the side.

"Then why did you agree to come," she asks him, the tiniest hint of a smile taking over the left corner of her lips, "if you hate it so much?"

"Because you wanted to go." He shrugs, burying his hands deeper in his jacket. "It's been a while since I last saw you, so why ruin everything? Besides, maybe I'll catch hypothermia and start hallucinating that the Downtown isn't so bad or something. It's certainly cold enough."

She's laughing now, he notes, wisps of her hair (she's grown it all out now, including the bangs, even though she holds them back with her hair-band, the Tiny Little Voice observes, jotting down his findings on a * mental * notepad) flying around in the wind.

"Hallucinations aren't a symptom of hypothermia, Crow."

"Whatever you say, Dr. Aki." He flashes a cocky grin at her, which she returns with a small, this-is-getting-kind-of-old-but-I'll-let-it-slide kind of smile. "Anyway, why did you want to go to the Downtown in the first place? It's freezing."

Her shoulders slump slightly, a change so small that if Crow hadn't been on edge, he would've missed it. "I was originally planning to go out to dinner, but..."

She doesn't need to say any more. He already knows.

("Of course she was planning to go with Yusei! Even I knew that—mmph!" He stuffs the Tiny Little Voice back into the * mental * closet.)

"Yeah. Too bad Yusei couldn't come, huh?" His voice (the one that comes out of his mouth of course. The Voice is currently placing * mental * bets with his Intuition on whether or not he'll "get hitched") takes on an involuntarily cold edge, which Aki seems to notice, because she flushes a little and turns her head away from him.

"I'm sorry if I've offended you or anything," she says quietly, still looking away, "It's just that...Yusei, he's..."

He understands. She's smitten with Yusei. It's fairly easy to figure out, to the extent that everyone and their mother knows (he stuffs the Voice back into the closet) of her infatuation. He tries to tune her out. No use getting his heart broken (again).

"...Wonderful, everything a girl could ask for..."

He concentrates instead on her mouth. It's small and pink and—

"Crow? Why are you hitting yourself?"

What? Oh. He smacks himself again for good measure.

"No reason."

"Come on Crow there's got to be a reason. What is it?" Great, she's giving him those big, concerned eyes again. Honestly, if she—


Damn. Life really, really hated him.

The Voice has long since left him alone; at least that's going his way.

"It doesn't seem to be letting up," Aki remarks, sticking a hand out from under their fortress of solace and bringing it back in soaking wet.

When the rain had struck, the two of them had taken shelter at the doorstep of a clothing store, which is where they currently are, sitting shoulder to shoulder under a cloth canopy that's slowly becoming less of a canopy and more of a sieve, with the way the water's dripping through it. It's becoming increasingly difficult to find a place to sit that isn't also a puddle, but since neither of them is stupid enough to leave their only protection against the elements, they stay, huddled together, in one of the few spots that's still relatively dry. Crow's not complaining though. At least he can still keep in contact with Aki.

(God, he's hopeless.)

"So, since we're obviously going to be stuck for a while, do you want to talk?"

Aki giggles. It's a strange, bubbly-ish giggle that sends tremors through Crow's spine, and not just because they're sitting so close to each other either.

"Sure. What do you want to talk about?"

"I don't know. Anything, I guess. What do you want to talk about?"

"I don't know; that's why I'm asking you!"

At this, Crow can't help but laugh, and Aki joins in. It's stupid and not very funny, but there's really nothing else that they can do. Their laughter sounds hollow and a teensy bit frantic, but it helps to lower the tension that's rather evident at the moment. Aki shudders with each laugh, and somehow trips while sitting down and lands face-first in Crow's lap. They stare at each other for a moment, the tension renewed and tighter than ever, until Aki starts giggling nervously, and the duet continues, their maniacal laughing once again filling the street.

After a while, they're calm once again, and Crow is suddenly very aware of how close their faces have become. Her nose is mere millimeters from his, and it's getting harder to resist her, and he tries to look somewhere else, but she's drawing him right back to her and she's moving closer, and—oh.

He's kissing her, really kissing her, and it's wonderful and fantastical and who cares about Yusei right now, because he's kissing her and she's kissing him, and if he died right now he'd be the happiest man in the world—


Everything stops. He looks straight at her, and she's crying, the tears are dripping down her face, off her nose, and landing on his knee—which, now that he's alert again, is what she happens to be sitting on. And she looks so pitiful sitting there, mouthing I'm sorry over and over, that he pushes his heart to the side and leans back in.

"Must've been the wind."

The rain's stopped, but he doesn't want to move.

Aki is sleeping, her head resting on his knee, and he's not sure what he feels right now.

A slip of the tongue. It was a slip of the tongue.

She looks so innocent, lying there. He smiles fondly, and reaches into his jacket for a piece of paper.

When Aki wakes up, Crow is gone, and there's an old lady staring at her. Aki hastily stands up, and a scrap of paper flutters down from her shoulder.

I'm sorry.


She stares at the paper for several seconds, taking in Crow's round, carefully written script (he once told her he's always very careful with his writing, because he's always thought himself lucky that he was even able to learn his letters). She tucks the paper into her jacket pocket and begins her walk back home.


A/N: I finished it. I really finished it.


Sorry, but I've been in a writing rut for the longest time, and this is a great accomplishment for me. Just give a minute to celebrate, and then you're free to tear this fic apart.

I will take any kind of feedback, but treasure criticism the most. I want to keep improving as much as possible, and will take any critique you have for me to heart. Was this too unrealistic? Were my characters out of character? Is my grammar and spelling awful? Well, I hope the answer to the last question was "no", or else two years of grammar school and parsing has just gone down the drain.