Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh nor do I make any money from this this piece of fanfiction.
Reader Warnings: Puzzleshipping, Peachshipping, character death
AN: This was going to be my entry for the YGO Drabble LJ community for this week's theme. Except it came out much longer than I intended, and I didn't really want to cut it short. So instead, I wrote something else for it, and this became a separate one-shot instead.
Do Not Resuscitate
She heard the news as soon as she got there. Mutou Yuugi, former King of Duelists, was dead at sixty during emergency surgery for multiple stab wounds sustained from helping a teenage girl who was being mugged in broad daylight in one of Domino City's many dark alleyways.
It should have been a routine emergency surgery, except there had been complications.
And while those complications had caused his heart to stop, there should have been no problems reviving him on the table.
Except, there was this little note at the bottom of his patient file that read: Do Not Resuscitate.
And when she heard about the note, she cursed fate, destiny, the universe – everything. Not for the first time either. She'd cursed when she realized, after their first date, five years after that day, that he would never be completely hers, that he would never completely get over Atem. Hell, she'd cursed when she had to watch Atem walk through that door – Jounouchi had been wrong when he thought she'd wanted Atem to win because she was in love with the spirit. She wanted Atem to win because she was positive that Yuugi loved the pharaoh as much as the pharaoh loved him, and damn it all to hell, why couldn't he stay so they'd both have a chance at happiness together?
So of course, when the doctors told her, that Yuugi had gone to the trouble of getting a Do Not Resuscitate order put on his medical record as soon as he was old enough to – and without anyone else knowing, for that matter – she could only sit in the lobby, and cry.
Cry, for the half-life Yuugi had lived. Cry, because she loved Yuugi, and, if she were to be truly honest with herself, Atem too. Cry, for their children (and future grandchildren) who would have to continue through life without Yuugi's laughter and guidance. Cry, because some jealous little part of her secretly wished that she could go back in time, and change something, anything, at all, so that Yuugi could have had a real chance at happiness with her. Or, the hidden romantic inside her piped up and said, with him.
"Anzu, did you hear? Did the doctors tell you?" Jounouchi all but shouted in the lobby as her tears continued to flow. There was no doubt as to what he had been referring to.
"I know," she quietly answered, "and all I can say, is I hope he's finally found happiness."
Jounouchi whirled around and grabbed her shoulders, "What do you mean?"
She laughed, a bitter, broken sound. "You guys never noticed, did you? But I supposed it was to be expected, you didn't know him the way I did. Still don't. You never noticed the way he smiled at that Puzzle back in high school, or the way he held it like it was the world's most precious treasure, more valuable than the gold it was made of. You never realized just why he still wears that studded leather choker, why he takes such good care of it. You never saw the way he looked at the Puzzle box through the years. You never realized that there were cards he never played in his later dueling career, even though they were still good cards, or in exhibition matches. Like the God Cards. Or the Black Magician." She paused to give an ironic smile. "Or Monster Reborn."
"I just thought he -"
She continued as though she never heard Jounouchi speak up. Her tears had dried up by now, and she knew that if she let anyone stop her, she would never be able to say what needed to be said. No, not needed, but certainly what she wanted to say. "You just thought he changed strategies. Trying to keep it fresh for his competitors. But he wasn't. He never played them even in exhibition matches. He's had to turn down requests, you know, from people wanting him to play his 'God Cards deck'. He always offered to use his deck from his final world championship win instead, and sometimes, the organizers get angry at him for believing in some stupid superstition, in their words.
"But you know, there are times when I've caught him in the study, with that box in front of him. Every time, it's open, and he's flipping through a deck. And it's his deck," seeing the confusion in Jounouchi and Honda's eyes, she clarified, "Atem's deck. He can still recite what happened turn for turn; I hear him mutter it often enough in the study where he thinks no one can hear him. The cards are still in the same order. The chain and the leather thong he wore the Puzzle on are in there too. He even cut through the back of the book case in the study to install a safe there. He tells me it's just there to keep the Puzzle box safe, but that's not all that's in there. There's a little stash of hairspray, hair gel, bobby pins, eyeliner, and mascara in there. Every Saturday morning, at 4am, he has this little ritual. He thinks I don't know about it. I've heard him talking to himself in the mirror, like he's talking to Atem. He thinks he's quiet and careful enough when he climbs out of bed, except I'm a lighter sleeper than he gives me credit for, and I've looked in the study before while he's in the bathroom, and the safe's open, but it's empty except for the Puzzle box.
"And did you think it was purely because he loved games that after he announced his retirement from professional dueling, that he would go into Egyptology with a focus in ancient Egyptian games? The public all thought it was just his love for Duel Monsters leading him to create a more 'mature' career out of it. They were wrong. It was all for him. It was his way of keeping Atem alive in his memory. And I loved him anyway, even though I've known ever since we came back from Egypt, that I'd lost any chance I ever had with him. Don't get me wrong, he loved me in return, in his own way. But never to the same degree as he loved Atem, his other self. Never."
Jounouchi and Honda both looked at Anzu, faces mirrored in a mixture of pity and realization. Were they simply blind, or had they simply chosen to ignore the obvious signs? Or, and they were beginning to realize this more and more, had Yuugi simply been that good at hiding it all? And if that were the case, how well had they, who Yuugi himself had admitted on more than one occasion to be his closest friends, ever known Mutou Yuugi to begin with?
Her face twisted itself once more into a bitter smile, "All I can say now, is that he has my blessing to go onto the afterlife with no strings attached, and find the happiness he was denied in life. We only ever said, 'Till death do us part', even though we had decided on writing our own vows. If there was any doubt that I wasn't the one that held his heart, that was it."
A nurse came by then, with a stack of release forms for Yuugi's body. Dutifully, she signed each one, and handed them back to the nurse. And despite the nurse offering to let her go into the room and see the body one last time, she declined, and opted instead to leave the hospital, with its scents of sanitizer and medications. As she stepped out into the setting sun, she thought, Atem, he's in your hands now. Please take care of him as I never could.
And as she hailed a taxi to return home, she thought she heard a familiar voice – or was it two? - in the breeze say, "Thank you, Anzu. For everything."
1) I just could not resist throwing in this small piece of self-referential material to another of my one-shot drabbles, Reflection. Goes without saying that's also another depressing fic.