Hello there all! Yup yup, this is the end of Harping on History, but don't fret cause the continuation is well on the way. I hope you all are enjoying this as much as I am. I'm getting a feel for character development here and really having a jolly old time. *g* Just a note to those whom it may concern – I don't hate Kaiba at all! In fact I think he's the second cutest character in the show next to Pegasus. I must have a thing for the tortured bishie, but anyhoo, Kaiba is not the real enemy here. I'm sorry if anyone missed that, and I'll make it more obvious in the next story. Now, let me address the responses and then we'll be on our merry way.
Yggdrasil's 3rd Root – Hehe… yeah I'm back after a bit of a hiatus. I'm telling you, that Weekend Detention ficcy is really REALLY addictive for me. As for this arc, though, I've got some good old fashioned angsty romance weirdness coming up. *rubs hands together* Be afraid. Be very afraid. Pegs and Mai are indeed a strange couple, but they're both so set in their ways are you really that surprised to see them going through the mood swing drama? And I did agonize over Pegasus' actions, but I figured the relationship thing was a nerve that hadn't been touched on in a while. Poor guy, he's still committed to his dead wife. That's dedication – ya gotta love the guy! Oh, and I am enjoying your Kaiba/Pegs story though I don't think I've replied yet. Sorry about that. *hides behind a chair*
SetoKaiba419 – Oh you know he's not evil! He's just under the influence of … err … ok, I'll be quiet now. *g* I am glad you liked Mai in this. She's not the kind of gal to be swept off her feet, but then neither is Pegasus. *giggle* Ahem! Seto having the Eye is critical as well, but you'll see why later.
Vyctori – *blush* Thanks, dear! I'm glad you can tell! I worked long and hard on this part, and it made me so hypercritical that I took forever to get this part up and running too. That's what happens when I get set own the road to anal nit-pickiness. *g* I know Kaiba is being mean, even more than usual *g*, but I'm sure his better side will prevail … if he has a better side … hmm, maybe I should ask Sylvia about that. I'm really REALLY glad you liked the Mai/Cecelia comparisons and the way it made Pegsy feel. I think that way too often people imagine Cecelia as a sort of saint when, if you pay attention to the manga explanation, they were *lovers*. It just doesn't make sense this pure and proper image, and though I don't think she was as … erm, outspoken as Mai, I can see Pegasus being reminded of her. I have to admit, though, that SW's Lost to love fic really got me inspired for this whole arc in the first place. If you haven't read it, you really should. She has some great ideas. *g*
Schala – Hey, thanks for stopping by! I know, the Mai/Pegsy thing is a little odd, but I think I can make it work. I'm glad you liked even if you don't agree with the match-up. *smile*
CKthePhantomess – And thank you for a review too! *g* I know, isn't it just the way? They get in the mood and company shows up. But don't fret! Our hero's just going on a little journey – Kabuki style! *g* Actually, now that I think about it, that just may be cause to worry. *L* I'm sure you'll get your story going soon. Sometimes it takes a while to get to the moment of understanding. I am enjoying it, though. When are you going to post more??
Ok, and now, on with the finale! Or the anti-finale. Jinkies, I think I just made a new word!
As soon as Seto Kaiba was out of sight, the security guards began to move forward, closing off any route of escape for two of Duel Monsters' elite. Mai narrowed her eyes, glaring defiantly at the armed men as they smirked and sneered, nudging each other as they looked her up and down. She was used to such lecherous examinations of her natural assets – the lust felt by the burly men was something she could use to her own advantage. She put a hand to her hair, prepared to work the men for all she was worth, but Yami put a hand on her arm. "No, Mai. There's nothing more we can do here."
She blinked at him. "Are you kidding? We can get past these guys, Yugi, and then we can – "
"We have to play this carefully, Mai. There is more at work here than you suppose." He regarded the guards cautiously. "We can find our own rooms, thank you. Come, Mai." Then, grabbing her arm a little roughly, Yugi pulled her forward, and amazingly enough, the guards parted, allowing them passage. She let the petit boy pull her through the throng until she heard familiar voices, which jarred her from the uncharacteristic sense of complacency which had overcome her.
"Hey, look guys, there's Yugi and Mai!"
"Wow, Mai looks awful!"
"Yugi! Are you ok?"
The threesome of Tea, Joey, and Tristan raced forward, surrounding them and making Mai feel very claustrophobic for perhaps the umpteenth time that day. She nudged Yugi gently but firmly aside and addressed the speaker which was easiest to confront. "So now I look awful, huh Joey? You're not much of a peach yourself." She crossed her arms and tried to look snooty and in control despite her ruffled appearance and her lack of shoes. She was still reeling from being in the cramped quarters for so long, and though she knew she should melt right back into her old ways, she couldn't help but think about the man with whom she had just spent so much time. She'd been hurt by men before, arrogant brutes mostly who thought they could sum her up in a set of measurements and her hair color. She'd never had much luck with romance, or relationships in general, and knew that she'd be much better off pretending she'd never even laid eyes on Pegasus J. Crawford at Battle City. Somehow, though, her mind returned again and again to snippets of their conversation, the way he'd beaten her in a duel, and the way he'd been so hesitant. That was it, she reasoned. She'd never seen a man be hesitant about what he wanted. It never occurred to her that a man might not be interested, but for him to deny his desire for so long, even to the point of shoving her away … she had to admit she was intrigued. There was no denying he'd only peaked her curiosity. Seeing him so roughly dragged away had only clenched the matter for her. Inwardly she was simultaneously revolted and overjoyed at the results of her long-buried sense of empathy.
"Well jeez, Mai, ya do look pretty bad. Grr… if Pegasus laid a hand on you, I'll – "
She blinked, confused for a moment before realizing that she wasn't the only one with unquenchable curiosity. She may as well keep her options open and indulge Joey's strange sense of chivalry. "There's no need for that, Joey, I'm fine. Believe it or not, Pegasus was a perfect gentleman."
"Are we talkin' 'bout the same Pegasus here, Mai? I never once saw 'im act like anythin' but a sleeze-ball – well, except when he dropped by ta give Yugi's Grandpa a Blue-Eyes White Dragon card, but that was just less sleeze and more creepy."
Tea nodded. "Yes, he did attack Bakura with a few choice words, but I don't know if we can judge, Joey. Bakura did take his Millennium Eye."
"Tha creep deserved that, too! You saw what he did ta Yugi's Grandpa!"
"Joey's right, Tea," Tristan chimed in. "And don' forget the Kaiba brothers. That was rough too, and he almost killed Yugi in the Shadow Realm. I can't imagine that guy doing anything nice for longer than a few minutes."
Mai turned away from him and back to Yugi, staring curiously when she realized he seemed much shorter. Had it been her imagination, or had he seemed taller just a second ago back there? She shook her head and chalked the strangeness up to the result of being trapped in a dark elevator for so long. "What was that all about back there, Yugi? We should have just gone after them. You're way too timid sometimes."
"That's not it, Mai."
"Oh, I see." She took a step away from the group with a venomous glare. "Do you guys think Pegasus deserves whatever Kaiba dishes out to him? I can't believe you!"
Tea stared at the other woman closely. "Why are you defending Pegasus, Mai?"
"Yeah," Tristan chimed in, "And what were you talking about with Kaiba?"
"You mean you guys didn't see anything?" The confused looks on their faces confirmed her suspicions, and Mai relaxed a little. It wasn't that she was afraid of what they might say, but it was kind of embarrassing being caught with somebody half-dressed in an elevator – especially if that somebody was none too liked by her observers. "Well, Kaiba took Pegasus prisoner, so we've got to – "
But Joey was already laughing. "Aw, man, that's a good one! Mai, yer a riot!"
Mai clonked him on the head, smiling a little at his cry of pain. "I'm not joking around here, Joey. This is serious!"
"Well ya don't hafta get violent!"
Tristan folded his arms, regarding Mai as though in a new light. "And why should we care about what happens to Pegasus? After what he did to Yugi's Grandpa and the Kaiba brothers, I think Kaiba deserves a little revenge. Serves Pegasus right, if you ask me. Especially after the way he acted when he visited us at Yugi's Grandpa's comic shop. Trust me, he was a jerk. Completely loony."
Tea shook her head. "That could have been just because Bakura had the Millennium Eye in his pocket. He really was trying to be nice for a while there."
Tristan rolled his eyes. "C'mon, Tea, we both know the guy can't be trusted! Don't forget what he did on Duelist Kingdom, what he would've done to Yugi if he hadn't won that final duel."
Yugi meanwhile shook his head and fingered his Millennium Puzzle absently. "Don't argue, you guys. Listen, we do have to save Pegasus, but not just because I think his intentions are good or because Kaiba was mean to him." He sighed, looking at his friends slowly, his eyes moving from one face to the next with his large violet eyes. "Kaiba took the Millennium Eye, you guys, but that's not the worst of it. The Eye is controlling him. It's very angry for some reason … and Yami thinks… we think it planned everything."
"Whatcha mean, Yug?" Joey eyed his friend critically. "How did Kaiba even know you had the Eye at all?"
Yugi looked down at his feet, the shame clear on his face. "Well … I showed it to him. Or Yami did. You see, he thought Pegasus was dangerous, and I just couldn't let him do anything drastic. Kaiba only wants to protect Mokuba – he's only interested in the Millennium Eye because Pegasus wants it so badly."
But Mai had already figured out the rest, and she placed her hands on her hips, leveling a furious glare at the short boy. "You showed it to him? Yugi, what were you thinking? You guys are all worried about Pegasus, but kid, Kaiba's no saint himself."
Tea cocked her head quizzically. She might spend a good deal of her time caught up in Yugi and Joey's world of dueling, but she still retained a good share of feminine intuition. "Just how long were you and Pegasus trapped in that elevator, Mai?"
The older woman rolled her eyes and tried to act as though the question was of no consequence, but everyone could see the rising blush in her cheeks. "That's not important! It has nothing to do with –"
"Please, all of you, just stop fighting!" Yami turned to them all, his jaw set fiercely. "Arguing won't get us anywhere. We have to find out why the Millennium Eye wants Kaiba so badly and why it used his anger against its true owner."
Mai shook her head. She'd thought that things were weird when she was trapped in an elevator with Pegasus, but with Yugi talking about the desires of inanimate objects, things had just gotten a lot more complicated. She shrugged, dropping her heels to the floor and slipping her feet inside, flexing her toes comfortably at the vast improvement from cold metal flooring to the comfy insides of her shoes. "Alright, Yugi, but where do we begin?"
"I don't know, and I don't know if we even have the right to intervene. I mean, this entire thing is really between Pegasus, Kaiba, and the Millennium Eye. If we can't find them, we may just have to lay low until something comes up."
Mai narrowed her eyes. "Yugi, would you please quit talking about that thing like it's a person? I can't just sit around and wait for a sign or for some eye to change its mind. That Kaiba kid's a real wacko. I've seen him duel once or twice, not counting that duel between Pegasus on Duelist Kingdom. He was crazy."
Yugi nodded. "I know, Mai, but if we don't have any other option, then that's just what we'll have to do." He turned to Joey and the others, all seriousness. "We still have the threat of Marik out there. We may not be able to worry about Pegasus right now until we secure the God Cards."
Pegasus was dragged down corridor after corridor, but he paid little mind. He was too lost in his own thoughts to plan any effort to escape, and the guards held him so tightly that any hopes of breaking their grips had long ago been abandoned. His only hope was the light piece of jewelry on his wrist, the item which looked like a sleek metal wristwatch but was really a high-tech tracking device. Croquet was former FBI. Surely he would stage a rescue eventually. Until then, there was really very little else he could do except deal with Seto Kaiba in the most careful manner. It would be difficult, though. Pegasus was indignant about the way he'd been treated, but more than that he was humiliated.
And of course, there was the Millennium Eye. It was calling from someplace within the KaibaCorp tower as Pegasus was carried further and further into the bowels of the corporation. He didn't know where it could be, but it seemed very close, and its call was insistent as ever. Insistent and very angry. It pressed hard against his mind, leaving him shuddering and weak in the arms of his captors as it whispered in his head.
:: … why did you not come, Pegasus … ::
He groaned and twisted his arms, but the men held him all the tighter, opening some sort of a door. He barely felt the cold floor against his bare arms as they tossed him in a confinement cell of some sort. He could see nothing but the golden light of the Eye itself, burning into his vision and searing his already fragile mind.
:: … I waited … I grow impatient … ::
He didn't know what to think as the Eye sent its force against him, pressing into his mind with unrelenting fury. In another part of KaibaCorp, Seto Kaiba strode down the long corridor, the blinding heat of the Millennium Eye unnoticed as he fingered it in his trench coat pocket.