Of spacedogs and butterflies

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Warnings/notes : SF AU, Seto/Joey, Yami/Yugi, Bakura/Ryou, Marik/Malik, evil Anzu (or so it would seem), Mokuba, Mai, Pegasus, Otogi?, weird stuff

Disclaimer : I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh. This fic was inspired by two things : Kaira-chan's Seto/Anzu-fic "Dreams aren't reality" (Joey the Evil Spacedog) and the Deathstalker-serie by Simon R. Green, on which the setting is based, more or less.

written at 1st november 2003, by Misura

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Violet eyes ...

She was restless today, pacing through her quarters - her big, *cold* quarters, stuffed with books, reports and meaningless gifts from meaningless people. The whispered comments behind her back had finally driven her to break off the audience, to give in to the urge to be petty.

Her gaze wandered around, searching for something to smash, to release the fury in her that had been building all through the day. Discarding a set of lovely carved antique vases, her eyes were drawn to the portrait they were arranged about.

"Stop *looking* at me!" Her voice was near breaking, far too close near breaking now, like the rest of her. Not a good thing that. Not good at all. She was never unobserved.

If the wrong persons found out she was as weak, as vulnerable as this, all her careful plans might be torn apart, all her sacrifices made in vain. She simply couldn't allow for that to happen.

Violet eyes ...

They were like sharks, all of them. And she was bleeding. As soon as they caught on to that, they'd be onto her, no longer held back by the illusion of her power and invulnerability. They'd turn on each other quickly enough, but not before she'd have been reduced to nothing.

Chaos would rule then, the order that she had established irretrievably lost in the rising tides of blood and destruction. She had to prevent that at all costs, regardless of what she had to give up to accomplish that ultimate goal. Or who.

"I wish I'd never seen your face!" Her hands reached out for the portrait, like claws wishing to rip something apart. Like she was some witch out of a faerietale. A monster. She shivered.

Violet eyes ... a soft voice whispering ...

In the end, she did break the vases. They shattered on the floor in what seemed like hundreds of pieces, big and small. She stared down at them with a grim sense of satisfaction. Better some pieces of pottery than a portrait that could never be replaced after all.

She sighed, sinking down in a chair, staring out of the window. The nightsky was of the deepest black, with only a few stars bravely spreading their light in the darkness. Below her, the city-lights twinkled in all kinds of colors, painting a deceptive picture of merriness.

Violet eyes ... a soft voice whispering her name.

"Anzu."

She spun around, only to be faced with emptiness. As she should have known. As it had been all those other times when she had heard that voice.

*~*~*~*~*

"Who's *that*?" Yugi blurted out, his face growing red as soon as the words had left his mouth. Fortunately, the girl he was talking to (what was her name again? Miho?) didn't seem to mind. Or maybe she simply assumed he didn't know any better, coming from a pretty backward planet and all that. That thought made him blush even harder.

Only when the person in question lazily strolled in his direction, with a slightly amused expression on his face did Yugi realize he had spoken loud enough to be overheard by the subject of his interest. Thoroughly embarrassed now, he stared at his feet, wishing he could vanish from here.

"Who?" Miho turned around, an expression that was a mixture of distaste and uneasiness appearing on her face as she noticed the person in question. Who completely ignored her as if she wasn't there, making a slight bow for Yugi instead.

What would have been a gesture of respect or at least condescension from anyone else, somehow became an act of establishing superiority from this tall stranger, that could have been Yugi's mirror-image, had it not been for the differences in height and clothing.

"My name is Yami. And you are ... ?" Yami voice too wasn't the same as Yugi's. It was deeper, more controlled also, sounding fully neutral without giving away any of the feelings of its owner. Yami's eyes were of a deep ruby red, their gaze dispassionate, as if Yami wasn't too interested in anything. At least, Yugi hoped it wasn't just him that Yami found so boring.

After a while, Yugi realized he was staring at Yami, instead of answering the question. Blushing even deeper, Yugi stammered : "Yugi. Yugi Mutoh." He noted Yami hadn't given him any second name, but Yugi couldn't really think of any way to find out without seeming even more of an oaf.

"Pleased to meet you, Yugi. If you don't mind me calling you that." Yami smiled, almost as if he was amused at the concept that Yugi might, in fact, object to being adressed by his first name. Yugi told himself he was being a bit paranoid, that Yami might well be smiling simply because he wanted to put Yugi at ease, or because he genuinely *was* pleased to meet Yugi.

His instincts didn't agree with his rationalisations though, insisting instead that Yami was an arrogant and probably dangerous person Yugi had better get away from, the sooner the better. Yet as long as there was no polite way to end this conversation, Yugi guessed he'd better do his best to hide his discomfort and try not to blunder too much.

*~*~*~*~*

"Well? What do you think?" Malik inquired, after Ryou had left to return to his own hide-out, the location of which he had never entrusted to his sometimes employers. They knew where it was nonetheless, though Malik had never been quite sure if Ryou was aware of that. He and Marik had preferred not to flaunt their knowledge, instead leaving messages in specifically designated place to contact the young thief whenever they had a use for his talents.

The arrangement had suited both parties in the past, forcing neither of them to reveal their secrets or, in Ryou's case, to move elsewhere for the principle of his personal haven needing to be kept utterly secret. Ryou was no fool ; it was highly unlikely that Malik or Marik would have been able to track him by mundane means.

Marik shrugged. "He's got the Ring and he's hiding it. He evaded our questions about whether or not he took anything with him, before downright lying to us and claiming not to have seen a single object in that tower."

"That's not what I'm asking," Malik replied, impatiently druming his fingers on the table-surface. "By tradition, the Sennen Ring is connected with the ghost of the person who tried to rob the grave of one Akunamunkano, whose supposedly divine guardian-angel locked the culprit's soul in the Ring to serve and protect its wearers until he had made sufficient amends for his crime."

"You know my opinion of that story," Marik snorted. "To bind such a dark soul to an object of such power would have been the act of an irresponsible fool. Still," he added pensively, "we have found documents that seem to indicate the existence of such a ghost. But I didn't sense anything of something like that around Ryou."

"Neither did I," Malik admitted. "Perhaps the Item is no longer possessed, after all this time. Or ... maybe Ryou *is* the thief reincarnated."

"Impossible." Marik shook his head. "You're looking for explanations for something that doesn't need one. We should be glad there's no bothersome Spirit around to stick his nose in ours and Ryou's business. Everything will be much easier this way, with Ryou unaware of what the Ring can do and us still holding all the trump-cards."

"I still have an uneasy feeling about this," Malik muttered. Marik ignored him.

~discontinued until further notice~

A/N : Make a curious authoress happy and guess whom Anzu was thinking about?