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30 January 2011 @ 05:32 pm
Twenty Tiger Tales: Taniya x Misawa  
Title: Twenty Tiger Tales
Author: cynthia_harrell
Romance: Taniya x Misawa
Rating: PG-13
Notes: I 'ship Taniya x Misawa like burning and seeing her vilified in fanfic irks me to pieces. So, I wrote this.


One: Cheers rose from every corner of the bar as Blaine the Battle Ox slammed his tankard down on the table, sat there for a moment blinking his bleary eyes. Then his eyes rolled up into the back of his head and he fell over backwards, knocking one or two other tankards over as he did.

Taniya kept hers off the table and drained it in three heartbeats before she waved to the bartender to bring her another one. Misawa glanced at the rest of the people, human and otherwise, seated around the bar, a warm smile on his lips.

“Does anyone else want to challenge Taniya to a drinking contest?”

Two: Taniya opened her eyes for a moment, tense and ready to close them again if the light were too bright. Should’ve known. Not only was it not so, but a tray rested by the bed with a cup of hot tea and a light breakfast.

She sat up and attempted to move her ponytail out of the way, not at all surprised to feel another pair of hands taking care of it. “Good morning, Misawa-chii.”

He leaned over her shoulder and smiled at her. “Good morning, Taniya. How’s your head?”

“About what I expected.” Thanks to him, she’d learned how to avoid hangovers. She hadn’t asked how he knew; she was just grateful that he did. She reached over to pick up one egg and nibbled on it. So far, a very good morning.

Three: “Taniya, thank you.” Misawa wrapped his arms around her and held her with all of his strength. When she returned it, it was all he could do not to cry out as some of his ribs protested. But he kept quiet. She wouldn’t really hurt him. She knew her own strength.

“For what?” Though perhaps she didn’t know everything that she’d done for him. Perhaps even he didn’t know everything. But when he looked at who he had been and who he was now and knew why the changes had happened…

He knew, at least.

“For everything.” What else could he say?

Four: Taniya made her way back through the gateway that connected the worlds, sliding back into her human form as she did. A warm smile touched her lips as she thought fond thoughts of both Yuuki Juudai and Misawa Daichi. Juudai was quite the duelist, though not what she’d wanted in a husband at all.

As for Misawa Daichi: he also wasn’t what she’d wanted. But he could be, in time. She held no regrets for having defeated him or having lost to Juudai. She’d joined Kagemaru for the simple purpose of finding someone who could make her heart race in battle and in love, and she’d found such a person, twice.

Of course, Misawa needed a lot of work before he’d really measure up to her standards. Perhaps one day they would meet again. Until then, there were other men for her to meet and other duels for her to duel.

Five: Misawa’s eyes widened in delight as the morning mail was passed out and the large brown-wrapped package was handed down to him. He tucked it beside his chair and paid no attention to it as he finished his breakfast. Though he did glance around a bit, wondering if anyone was going to ask him what it was.

No one did, so once he had finished eating, he hurried back to his room to unwrap it. He still had a few minutes before he had to go to class. Perhaps not enough time to try it on, but he could at least look at it.

It was everything that he’d dreamed. A perfect fit, he imagined, as he held it up against himself. I wonder what Taniya would think of me in this? He admired once again the Amazon Tiger costume and wondered if he could find an excuse to wear it in public.

Six: “Where did you get that?” Taniya poked the Amazon Tiger costume with one finger. She wasn’t sure what it was made of, other than ‘not actual tiger fur’, or why someone would want to wear it in the first place.

“I ordered it from a store a couple of months after you left,” Misawa admitted, a hint of a blush staining his cheeks. “It came in handy when Osiris Red had a cosplay duel a while after that. I didn’t have to fight anyone else for a costume.”

She lifted one eyebrow at him. “Cosplay duel?”

“Everyone wore different Duel Monster costumes for it. Except Juudai, eventually.” As he told the rest of the story, Taniya wondered just why he’d bought it. But she didn’t ask.

Seven: “Oh, Misawa-chii, you’re so brave and strong!” Taniya giggled in his ear as she snuggled up against him. “I knew you’d be the one who would get rid of the Society of Light. No one else could do it half as well as you could. You’re the greatest duelist that I know. The greatest duelist ever!”

Her lips nipped at his ear and down his neck, her hands racing a moment ahead of them…

Misawa’s eyes flew open and he sat up, his heart racing. A…a dream? Yes. A dream. He shook his head and rubbed his eyes. He’d worked too hard on this new deck, it seemed. At least it was finished and now he could challenge Saiou.

I wish Taniya were here to see this. It had been too long since he’d seen her anyway. That dream hadn’t been quite right, though he couldn’t put his finger on why…

No matter. Time to prove himself once and for all.

Eight: Taniya tapped her fingers on her knee for a few moments as she listened to Misawa’s recitation of what he’d done over the last few years. Joined a cult with the intention of taking over the world. His reasons for it alone made her blood boil, and not in the way she liked to have it boil.

“Why did you do that?” He winced at the tone in her voice, as well he should have. She’d torn people apart if their answers didn’t please her after speaking in that tone.

“I wanted…people to admire me.” The words fell with great reluctance as he stared down at his lap. “I also wanted to be a better duelist. Everything I did before then, none of it helped. But when I saw Professor Zweinstein duel Juudai, I realized what I was missing out on, why Juudai, Manjoume, and everyone else could always beat me. I left the Society then and went to work with the Professor.”

“And that is why you ended up here.” Taniya’s tone now made that a statement, not a question, and Misawa nodded. He’d seen the truth. She wouldn’t have to put him on the couch for the night.

Nine: Amazoness Holy Warriors. Amazoness Swords Women. Amazoness Fighting Warriors. Amazon Chain Masters. Amazon Archers.

None of them were Taniya. Misawa suspected he might be risking his life by traveling through Amazon Village but he did it anyway, wanting to know if Taniya were there. He asked anyone and everyone that he met, only to meet with denial every time.

“She might not live in this village,” one of the Archers told him. “There are others. Some of them have had a lot of troubles lately and from what you say, she’s the type who would go to help people.”

To say the least. Misawa nodded and thanked her for her assistance, then continued on his way. These worlds were strange and life threatening, and finding an old friend would only help him survive.

Ten: “Taniya!” Misawa leaped to his feet as he realized who stood in front of him. “What are you doing here?” That was a stupid question, he told himself. After all, he didn’t even know where he was. This could just as well be her home!

She smiled. “I could ask you the same question. I wasn’t expecting any human, least of all you, to appear in this place.” She folded her arms over her chest and continued to look at him. “So what are you doing here?”

“I came with Juudai and some of the others. We’re looking for one of our friends who could be trapped somewhere here.” He hesitated; that hadn’t been as informative as it could be. “Let me start at the beginning.”

He didn’t see the way her smile warmed as he kept going, nor the gleam in her eye when he mentioned that he’d been trying to work out how to find Johan when he’d fallen into her path.

Nor could he hear her thoughts. So you finally grew up, Misawa. About time.

Eleven: “Misawa-chii. Misawa-chii.” Taniya stood before him, a warm welcoming smile on her lips and one hand held out to him. Misawa’s eyes widened, dryness prickling at them. He reached out for her; it had been so long since he’d seen her! And there she was, in the middle of the desert, having found him at last! “Oh, Misawa-chii…”

“Taniya…” His cracked lips formed the words as his fingers brushed across hers…

And she was gone. Misawa stared at the expanse of golden sand stretching before him and shook his head. Another…another mirage. He fumbled for his canteen and tried not to let himself scream in rage. Mirage after mirage taunted his mind the longer he stayed in this world.

It’s what you deserve, he reminded himself, and kept on walking.

Twelve: “I’ll hold them off, you get in there and find those books!” Taniya drew out her deck and slammed it into her duel disk. Misawa hesitated for a few seconds, his hand twitching toward his own deck.

She’s good enough to do this. He had to trust she knew what she was doing, but the thought of leaving her to fight alone twisted his stomach. No. Juudai needs my help for this and I can’t help him if I get myself killed.

He turned toward the half-ruined castle behind them, then glanced back at Taniya. “I’ll see you soon.” In those few words, he put all of his trust in her, and hurried away.

Thirteen: Misawa turned the old, crinkled pages of the book, not certain if he could believe his eyes. This is unreal. If he hadn’t had the experiences he had in the last couple of years, he might not have believed it.

He glanced over his shoulder to where Taniya stood guarding the door. She’d finished her opponents in record time, all five of them, and now watched to make sure he wasn’t interrupted in his research.

Juudai. Yubel. The Gentle Darkness. Juudai had to know this, or some of this, as soon as possible. He’d think about just how to phrase it on the way. For now, the sooner they got moving the better.

“Is any of that useful?” Taniya asked and he nodded without a moment of hesitation.

“What I found out could help Juudai save the world.” He turned to look at her, a pleased smile hovering about his lips. “This was a good idea, Taniya.” He wasn’t used to listening to other people. Maybe for her, he could make an exception.

Fourteen: Taniya’s gaze remained steady on the doorway, her duel disk at the ready for any other intrusions. She’d already had to kill five of Haou’s warriors so Misawa could get into the library. She’d kill five more, or five hundred more, if she had to, in order to make sure he found out what he needed.

She didn’t look back at him; her attention had to be on her duty. But she was aware of him all the same. Aware of his deep concern for his friends. He really has changed. He hadn’t been like that when they’d first met.

I can’t tell him. Not now. He didn’t need to be distracted. But once this was over and Juudai had saved the world, then. Then she would tell him how much she liked this new Misawa. And what came of that, the future alone knew.

Fifteen: Misawa tried to get to his feet but couldn’t move. One thought kept roaming around and around in his mind. She likes me. She likes me because she thinks I’m…cute?

In all of his fifteen years, Misawa couldn’t remember anyone wanting anything to do with him just because he was apparently cute. He shook his head a little and stayed on the floor of the arena, trying to get his thoughts to clear up.

Most people who wanted to hang out with him did it for his brains. The best of the Ras, one of the finest duelists in the school, always the kid who brought home the highest grades…

And now Taniya came along and changed all of that. She’s…special.

And he was her husband.

Sixteen: “Taniya, how can you do it?” Diana murmured to the Amazon. At Taniya’s curious glance, the Witch of the Black Forest gestured to where Misawa sat discussing matters of math with Magical Scientist. “He’s a human. You’re not.”

Taniya took a hearty draft of her beer and shrugged. “What’s that got to do with anything?”

“I just…I just don’t get it, I guess.” Diana shot another look over there and shook her head.

“Humans aren’t that different from us,” Taniya pointed out. She’d learned that back when she’d met Kagemaru.

Diana nodded, though she wasn’t in perfect agreement yet. “I suppose it’s something you have to get used to.” She tried to be at least as neutral as she could be, but the concept was strange to her.

Taniya’s lips twisted up into a grin. “Don’t knock it til you try it.”

Seventeen: Misawa couldn’t stop himself from watching Taniya as she flowed through her usual morning workout. He’d seen her dance through these movements more times than he could recall and each time was unique. He shifted for a moment, dropping his bag to one side, and waited for her to realize he was there.

That happened a scant moment later as she whirled and caught his gaze. He swallowed almost at once and said something very hard for him. “I’m sorry. I was wrong.”

For a moment he wondered if too much time had passed since their fight and it was too late to make up. Then her arms were around him and her lips were on his. “So am I.”

Taniya didn’t finish that workout, but both of them got quite a lot of exercise that day.

Eighteen: Misawa slammed one hand down on the jury-rigged device that masqueraded as a computer: and the only possible method of communication with Earth that he knew of. “Juudai! Dr. Zweinstein! Anyone!”

The only answer was a faint crackle of noise and Misawa considered smacking the device again. It wouldn’t do anything. Except make me feel better.

Taniya’s shadow fell on him from the doorway and he shook his head, knowing the question before she ever asked it.

They had to find a way to contact Juudai. With every passing day, more and more of their friends vanished. Or so Misawa presumed, since Amazon Village had many more empty huts than it should have had.

“Misawa.” He looked up at his name and saw her staring out into the village. When he came to stand beside her, he saw two identical men in tight-fitting leather, with duel disks on their arms.

He turned his gaze up and met Taniya’s. There was no need to talk about. In perfect unison they declared, “Duel!”

Nineteen: Misawa rubbed his eyes, trying to see what was going on around him. Taniya’s familiar warm laugh echoed from somewhere ahead of him. “Taniya?” He took only a few steps before halting in his tracks.

There stood Taniya, arms wrapped around a tall, burly, handsome man. Misawa didn’t hesitate another moment but raced over and set one hand on her shoulder.

Or tried. His hand went through hers as if he were made of mist. Misawa’s eyes widened and he tried again, only to gain the same results. “Taniya! Taniya!”

Yet no matter how much he screamed, she paid him no more mind than if he weren’t there at all. Misawa backed up, his heart racing, and tried to think about this with some kind of logic.

She can’t hear me. Or see me. I’m not dead. It’s like… The logical conclusion sent his mind skewing away from it. It couldn’t be. He existed. He mattered.

Misawa didn’t know how long he stood there before a voice he’d thought once he’d never hear again cracked through his mind. Juudai spoke of hope and faith, of bonds formed by dueling and adventures spent with one’s deck and one’s friends, words Misawa had heard before but which now took on a whole new meaning.

Water Dragon. Even as the name of his favorite card floated through his mind, he could see it before him. He’d used this against Taniya, as he had all of his other decks, and she’d beaten him.

He existed. He had made a difference, small as it was, in the world. He was there and he loved Taniya and she loved him. Nothing could prevent that, not even the power of Darkness.

Between one moment and the next, everything changed. Where Taniya had had eyes only for another, now her hand folded around his and she smiled at him. “Misawa.”

All around them, Amazon Village restored itself. Misawa leaned into Taniya, breathing in the warm, strong scent of her. They were alive.

Twenty: “You’re just a quitter!” The other duelist spat the accusation across the dueling field. “I’ve heard all about you, Misawa Daichi! You’re famous in Ra Yellow for quitting! You gave up your Spirit Key for a woman and you lost that duel to the Society of Light for no reason!” He sneered at the gray-eyed duelist. “And then you just quit school altogether! You never have finished anything right in your life! You just quit all the time!”

Five years ago, Misawa reflected, those words might’ve hurt more. Now, he only smiled. “I had reasons for everything that I did.” Even if they were the wrong reasons then. “But I think it’s time to finish this duel.”

With just three cards in his hand, that was exactly what he did, wiping out his opponent’s life points. Taniya clapped from where she stood on the sidelines and he shot her a warm look.

He’d lost against her and against Manjoume for the same reason: letting what he wanted override his good sense. He could admit that now; he couldn’t have when he was sixteen.

I think she’s a lot more my type than Saiou or Manjoume ever would be. And he was glad of that.

The End

 
 
 
Nana Banana: My card piles will crash your smilespeaky_bean on January 31st, 2011 07:48 am (UTC)
Awesome, yet another claim fulfilled! I wasn't really expecting anyone else to come back and do that, but I'm thrilled that you did. Thank you for posting!

I really enjoyed this story. Taniya/Misawa is one of those pairings that was just so blatantly canon that you can't really argue with it, and you can't help but like it, at least just a little. The way you described their relationship was brilliant. I love how Taniya was so unimpressed by him in the beginning, and it took a lot of growing up on his part for her to be interested...and yet from the beginning she was going on about how cute he was. It's a complicated relationship and you did a great job portraying that. I also like how you incorporated so many specifics from canon--I have trouble recalling exactly what happened in the plot, so I'm always impressed by people who have such a strong grip on it. Oh, and I like the way you handled the "human/not-human" issue--Taniya didn't really care one way or another, and didn't think anyone else should either. Oh, and her reason for joining Kagemaru was great, too.

Overall, wonderful piece. Thank you once again for posting!