Like cat and dog

xxx

Warnings/notes : Seto/Joey, fairy-tale-ish AU, third pov, slight fluff, hints at Yami/Yugi and Ryou/Bakura, Mokuba, Honda, Otogi, Shizuka, Anzu, Mai, Rebecca.

Disclaimer : I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh.

written at 3rd june 2004, by Misura.

Note : I slightly extended the cast. Not sure yet if there'll be more pairings as well.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

(Prince Seto)

He wasn't lost.

Princes didn't get lost. Especially not if they were named Seto, and widely known for their intelligence.

He wasn't lost.

He had escaped from the death-trap of being forced to let some witch cast a spell on him that would make him -like- that worthless, good-for-nothing Prince Jou, a process that would obviously destroy his sanity, good taste and brains.

As long as he possessed those things, he could -never- like Prince Jou. Thus, he had had to grab his chance to get away when it presented itself. To save his life.

Prince Seto sighed, staring suspiciously at a tree. It looked awfully familiar.

Of course, he was in the woods. There were lots of trees around here, and Prince Seto couldn't say he perceived any great differences between them.

Still, to be absolutely sure, he fished a red ribbon out of his saddlebags, to tie it around one of the branches of the tree in question.

Half an hour later, he realized that he had never carried red ribbons in his saddlebags before. Especially not of the kind that girls wore in their hair. And definitely not pink ones, and mint-green ones, and purple ones, and yellow ones, with little bunnies embroidered on them.

Eyeing the pile of ribbons, Seto wondered who on earth would carry a ... collection like this with him. Or her, in theory, except that he was pretty sure that the ribbons had to belong to either Bakura or Yugi.

Hmm. A vicious, dangerous, psychotic criminal, or a soft-hearted, overly kind and gentle push-over. Prince Seto didn't even need to use half his brains to determine the culprit.

Not that knowing -who- did it helped him any in getting his own saddlebags back, which were stuffed with useful things, such as maps, a compass, a waterbag ... normal food.

His current saddlebags only contained disgustingly sweet candy, that would probably make him sick if he ate more than a quarter-bite of it. All in all, it appeared that Fate had once again been utterly unfair and unkind to him.

Vowing to exact a blody revenge on Prince Jou for bribing Bakura to make Seto die of hunger -and- to fill his saddlebags with useless junk, Prince Seto nudged his horse to continue walking.

Ten minutes later, he noticed a red ribbon hanging in a tree.

He was lost.

xxxxx

(Prince Jou, Ryou and Yami)

Ryou was hungry and tired. His back and legs were aching from traveling on horse-back, his shoulder was bruised from Prince Jou stomping it, and his pride was hurting worst of all. Because neither Prince Jou nor Yami showed any sign of suffering even a fifth as much as Ryou did.

Of course, Ryou knew he wasn't as adventurous or energetic as Prince Jou, nor as used to hardships as Yami, but still ... he was supposed to -protect- Prince Jou. (Mostly against Prince Jou himself and his well-intended follies. That wasn't the point though.)

"Uhm, Ryou? You might want to stop ... "

Ryou blinked, turning around to find Prince Jou and Yami some distance behind him, staring at something in front of him. Or rather, -someone-.

"Excuse me, I hadn't seen you," Ryou said absently, wondering why the man hadn't stepped aside, like any prudent and reasonable person would when he saw horses approaching. Besides, the road was wide enough for -three- horses. There was no reason at all to walk in the middle of the road.

"Very funny." The man waved with a crossbow. A -loaded- crossbow, even. The lack of sense of some people astonished Ryou.

"Did you know that what you're doing is quite dangerous?" Ryou inquired, trying to keep his tone somewhere in between 'stern' and 'parental'.

"Your money or your lives!" The crossbow was directed at his chest. "I'm the well-known thief and robber Bakura, and I will not hesitate to shoot you!"

Ryou felt a headache coming up. He was already having a really bad day. Why did Bakura have to pick -this- day to ... Ryou frowned.

The man in front of him had brown eyes, brown hair, a brown skin and was wearing a brown jacket, with brown boots and brown trousers.

"You're not Bakura," Ryou informed him. "Bakura has long white hair, a pale skin and he always wears flashy, bright clothing. You're a -fake- and I'm not in the mood for this. Be so kind as to get lost."

For a moment, there was silence. The kind of silence to indicate the most painful kind of embarrassment. Then the fake Bakura jumped into the bushes, yelling the cheesiest line for villains ever:

"I'll be back!"

"Gods. I hope not," Ryou sighed. "And what are -you- looking at?" Prince Jou and Yami were staring at him as if he had grown another head.

"Someone who's almost as brave as I am!" Prince Jou beamed at him, stomping his shoulder. Ryou managed not to wince too much. "The way you faced that robber down, even while he was aiming a crossbow at you! -I- could have done it better, of course, but I was concerned that perhaps you or Yami'd get hurt."

Ryou blinked at him owlishly, the words only registering slowly. Was Prince Jou saying that he could actually have gotten injured? Surely not.

"Almost as brave ... or almost as foolish," Yami murmured, soft enough not to be heard by Prince Jou.

xxxxx

(Yugi and Bakura)

"Isn't this a wonderful morning?" Yugi remarked cheerfully.

"A morning started off with a burnt breakfast can never be 'wonderful'," Bakura grumbled. He had miscalculated the time he could spend on getting properly dressed and found Yugi had eaten -half- of the sausages prepared for breakfast, greedy little pig that he was.

Bakura was almost twice as tall as Yugi, so, obviously, he required twice as much food.

"It's so lovely quiet and peaceful," Yugi chattered on.

"Yeah. Now that we lost Prince Sunshine," Bakura muttered. "No more ranting about puppies and dogs and mutts and all other things canine."

"The birds are singing, the sun is shining ... what else could I wish for?" Yugi beamed.

"A brain?" Bakura suggested. "A portion of good sense? A painful death for your enemies? A cute girlfriend? Gold?"

"You shouldn't be so materialistic," Yugi reprimanded him. "Or sexistic. A boyfriend can be just as cute as a girlfriend."

Bakura chose not to dignify that with an answer.

"I just keep having the feeling we're missing something ... " Yugi frowned.

"I haven't got the slightest idea what you're talking about. I don't miss anything," Bakura smirked, patting the small package in a pocket of his jacket that contained some dried forget-me-dos. After all, he hadn't visited the Woods of Peril for nothing.

-tbc?-

A/N : Anyone wants to guess what all those ribbons are doing in Seto's saddlebags? Or whose they really are (because no, they're not Jou's)? -winks-