DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction produced for entertainment purposes only. Yu-Gi-Oh! and all related characters are the creations of Kazuki Takahashi.

Of Teapots and Begonias
by Shadow's Mirror

Taking a deep breath to steady his nerves for what he was about to do, the Dark Magician lifted the knocker on the front door of the Castle of Dark Illusions and let it fall. Once. Twice. Thrice. He was about to lift it again when the door opened and a panting D. Human blinked at him.

"You are not the Stern Mystic."

The Dark Magician blinked back at him. "Well I should hope not. I am wearing quite the wrong hat if I am." As the full effect, and all of the horrifying possibilities that came with it, of the Shadow Monster's words hit him, he eyed D. Human warily. "Er... Am I to understand that you are expecting the Stern Mystic to visit here? Today?" It was always best to qualify as much as possible when speaking with this particular being.

D. Human nodded and grinned cheerfully. "Yes, but not until tea time. He always shows up at tea time."

"Oh good." The Dark Magician made no attempt to disguise his relief at the news. Tea time at the Castle was still a good hour away, so he should be safe enough. "When are you taking off?"

The Castle of Dark Illusions was currently in landed mode, however it was fully capable of flight. A feature that its mistress made sure to use every time one of the Shadow Realm Elders was expected to make a visit there.

D. Human's grin widened. "In about forty-five minutes."

"Then I had best speak with my sister quickly. Or... perhaps you can help me instead." Why bother her when the one who was most likely able to help him was right in front of him, after all? "I need to borrow a teapot. Would you happen to have one to spare?" He looked as hopeful as he possibly could without allowing his desperation to show.

"One? You know perfectly well that we have twenty-seven teapots at the moment. You sent us twenty-six of them while testing that packing orb spell of yours, last week." The sweet tone had an amused note in it, despite the rather testy words. As Dark Witch moved into view behind D. Human, her arched eyebrow confirmed her good mood.

"Ah! Greetings, my dear sister." The Dark Magician smiled at her and tried not to worry. He knew how mercurial her moods could be and he was not exactly her favourite Shadow Monster, due to a little... misunderstanding... over her being entrapped inside a magicked jewel for a couple of years. Or ten. Actually it had been ten years and a couple of months, but who had counted? Other than his sister, of course.

"Greetings, my dear brother." She smiled sweetly at him. "Are you here to visit with the Stern Mystic? He will be here soon." Her smile widened as the purple-robed mage visibly shuddered at the thought. "No? Then you had best say your piece now. Did I hear you correctly that you wish to borrow a teapot?"

He managed to calm down and nodded. "Ah. Yes, you did indeed hear correctly."

Now she looked curious. "Why do you need to borrow one? I had thought from the fact that you sent me twenty-six last week that you were positively brimming over with them."

"Well, in a way. I had the ones I sent you, of course. I also had a further fifteen that I sent to Bakura."

"You sent him fifteen?" She frowned. "Why did he only get fifteen while I got twenty-six?"

He quite saw her point. It did sound as if he had been rather unfair with his teapot distribution. Fortunately, he had his reasons. "I sent you four orbs while I was testing them. Twelve teapots were in each, however very few survived the first three tests. Once I had the spell sorted out, I wished to test the orb to make sure it would hold while going through a Shadow portal. So I sent one to Bakura. The spell held, I am happy to confirm." He looked a little sheepish, then. "My apologies, again, for all the dust from the first three. I trust the dust removal spell I included with the first orb sorted that out?"

Dark Witch nodded. "It did. It is also the only reason that I am currently inclined to speak to you. Poor D. Human was quite upset over his nice clean kitchen getting all that dust in it. Not to mention that the exploding teapots woke up Nemuriko. His Sleep Fiend was most unhappy about that, by the way."

She was still smiling. A chill ran down the Dark Magician's spine.

"Ah. Oh dear. Well... About that teapot...?"

"You still haven't told me why you need one. You sent me twenty-six... no, forty-eight, counting the ones that exploded, then Bakura received fifteen... Surely you kept one for yourself?"

He nodded. "I did. I had intended to send Bakura sixteen, however Dark Magician Girl broke mine when she crash landed in the begonias, so I kept one back to replace it."

"So you had one... wait..." Dark Witch frowned at him. "Begonias?"

"Yes. They are a type of flowering plant," he offered helpfully before falling silent as she made a shooing motion with her hand.

"I know what they are, brother. I also know that you do not have any begonias." She was now looking a bit confused.

"Ah. Well I will have some soon. I would have had some already, except Dark Magician Girl came in at entirely the wrong angle of descent while bringing them to me. She crashed and ended up right in the middle of them. They are still recovering, however I hope to be able to get them outside soon." He sighed heavily. "I was looking forward to planting them out. I only had the begonias and daffodils to go."

Dark Witch was now wincing. "I begin to understand. So Dark Magician Girl crash landed, as she so often does, while carrying some begonias... and that crash also resulted in her breaking your teapot." She blinked at him. "Er... how?"

He sighed heavily again. "When she crashed, the begonias hit the ground, breaking her fall, which broke them. Her staff was still in flight mode, however. It continued on without her and went through the kitchen window, breaking that, before crashing into the teapot. Broke it completely. The teapot that is, not her staff. It was quite a day for breakages."

"I see." Dark Witch nodded. "However, that was your original teapot, was it not? You said you kept one back when sending some to Bakura, so why do you need to borrow one?" She arched an eyebrow at him. "You wish a spare?"

He sighed yet again and gave her his best long-suffering-magician look. "I need to borrow a teapot because when she arrived at my tower this morning, Dark Magician Girl again crash landed. This time in the daffodils that I had set out all ready to plant. I have every hope of their swift recovery, however. Fortunately, I had taken the precaution of placing a shielding spell upon them before I took them outside."

"Most wise of you, considering what fine form your assistant is apparently in, this week." Dark Witch grinned at him. "So your daffodils were saved... but I am guessing that was not the end of things."

He nodded. "Indeed. Her staff yet again flew through the window, which was open this time so it did not, thankfully, break that again. It did, however, break my teapot."

Dark Witch was now trying not to laugh. "Oh dear."

Nodding again, he looked thoughtful. "Considering that I had moved it out of the direct line of flight from the window, I begin to think that her staff may dislike teapots in general."

"Well if that is the case, why would I give you one of mine for it to break the next time she crashes?" She managed to keep a straight face while saying it.

"Because, my dear sister, this teapot will have the benefit of my new anti-teapot-breakage spell." He smiled serenely.

"You are going to bespell my teapot?" She blinked at him, not looking too thrilled with that idea.

"Oh no. I am going to bespell Dark Magician Girl's staff so that whenever it tries to hit a teapot, it will find itself in the middle of the Ancient Elf's dining room. If anything will persuade it to stop this teapot breaking spree, it will be that."

Dark Witch blinked at him, then looked at D. Human. "D. dear, please go and bundle up a dozen teapots. I suspect my dear brother will have need of them."

He looked curiously at her. "I will?"

"You will. Your plan has one flaw."

"It does?" He looked worried.

"It does. You appear to have forgotten that the Ancient Elf does not have a dining room of his own. He shares the Fortress with the Stern Mystic."

The Dark Magician blinked, then went several shades paler. "Ah. Perhaps I had best rework that spell to send it somewhere... er... less likely to earn me regular visits from the Elders."

Dark Witch was still trying not to laugh as D. Human returned with a small white orb that he handed to the Dark Magician with a cheerful, "I put a dozen teapots in the orb for you."

As the mage studied the orb, he looked a little worried. "My thanks. Er... this is the fourth one I sent you, is it not? Only... the first three were not quite... perfected."

D. Human smiled even more brightly. "It is."

"Oh good. My thanks, again. D. Human, Sister dear, I will take my leave of you now. Before..." He looked worriedly around and Dark Witch grinned.

"Before Stern Mystic gets here. Good plan. See you later, Brother, dear." She barely kept from laughing as her brother started hurrying away almost before she had finished speaking.

Closing the door, she looked curiously at her cook and close friend of many years. D. Human seemed suddenly distracted. "What is wrong?"

D. Human looked a little uneasy. "Well, his question got me thinking. I'm not entirely sure it was the fourth orb that I used, now. I remember I put the first one on the little side table in the library, and I put the second one in the alcove on the third floor, outside the nursery, but I might have given him the third one instead of the fourth. I thought the one in the kitchen was the fourth, but on reflection... Aqua Madoor borrowed the fourth orb when he was cleaning the lake yesterday. He needed a way to get all of Fiend Kraken's toys out of the way. I don't think he's given it back yet."

Dark Witch grinned at him. "Well, at least we know he has a dust spell to deal with any explosions." She linked her arm with D. Human's and headed with him for the castle's flight control room. "Do not worry about it, dear. He only needed one and the third orb only exploded half of its contents, as I recall. That will give him his teapot and five spares. That should last him at least a day or two. Now then... Far more importantly, how high shall we raise the castle today? Above the clouds makes it harder for it to be seen, but do we have enough time to get it into place before the Stern Mystic gets close enough to see us doing it?"

"I think so. The Dark Magician was heading in the direction that the Stern Mystic always comes from, so he'll likely run into him. That should give us a bit more time."

Dark Witch smiled very serenely. "Wonderful."

The End