Land of the blind

Warnings/notes : Seto/Shizuka, AU, slightly weird.

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

written at 8th november 2003, by Misura

For firegoddess5, probably the only time I'll ever write this pairing. ^^;

Many thanks to the people who reviewed the first part of this ; I hope this ending isn't going to disappoint. It's very AU *fidgets unhappily*

To Kaira-chan : I don't know why I tend to write her Mom that way, really. I did it in 'Not what you want' too. ^^; Glad to hear you like it!

To Suppis Tenshi : Well, you'll find out his reason below. Thanks for the encouragement! (And thanks for the reading-tip!) ^_^

To Kiawna : Thank you, I tried. ^^;

To Vanillamoose4132 : Sorry, I'm too much of a shounen-ai fan. ^^; Thanks for the encouragment! ^_^;

To heatherthegreatone : Thank you very much. Read and find out the answer below. ^_^

To Flower Petals : Yes, I'm surprised too. ^^; Thank you!

To DarkShadowFlame : It's utterly AU I'm afraid. Originally, I intended this to be in between Joey leaving for Duelist Kingdom and Mokuba getting kidnapped, but that just didn't work out. So now it's an AU in which Mokuba remained unkidnapped, while all other things did happen. -_-;;; Sorry if it's confusing or bad. Thanks for the encouragement! Hope you'll enjoy this second part a little too …

To r*a*d*i*a*n*y : Thank you very much for the detailed review! I feel very flattered you'd think that highly of a fic with a pairing you don't even like. Hopefully, this second chapter won't prove too much of a disappointment. *bites her lip nervously*

To Lethe Seraph : ^^; Glad to hear you liked it!


[the seeing who yet is blinded]


Bright and blinding it fell through the window.

He wondered why it didn't seem to bother her, then remembered the obvious reason.

With a rueful smile, safe since she couldn't see it, he wished explaining his coming here to himself was as easy. She would probably ask him about it too, yet he could not think of a single answer to give her.

For the sake of her brother? Would she believe that? Would he, when he replied thus?

He could not deny there was a certain bond between him and the blond, a certain grudging respect from his side for someone who never seemed to give up, no matter how often Fate kicked him back into the gutter.

Perhaps he recognized a little bit of himself in that, though he liked to think he had dealt with his problems much more satisfactory than the mutt.

"You're such a smug bastard, Kaiba. You just don't have any idea how hard life can be." The accusation was as unfair as it was unexpected.

He parried it with a sneer, as always. "Awww, does the puppy have trouble with understanding the classes again?"

"I'm not talking about school here, you ... you ... " Joey wildly shook his head.

"Did you overload your brains again by trying to think?" he taunted. "You shouldn't ; better be careful with what little you have in that head of yours."

Joey turned red, flushed with anger. Yet speechless. And then his stomach grumbled.

He laughed at that, a soft mocking sound. Even if he recognized it for what it was, a sign of real hunger rather than mere appetite, he still laughed.

Joey glared daggers at him, before storming off. He sobered at that, the need to keep up appearances gone for the moment. Instead, his expression turned pensive.

A discreet remark covered as an insult to Yami and a less subtle hint to Mokuba the next day solved the problem he had made his own. He told himself *someone* had had to do it, that the mutt's friends obviously weren't qualified for that job. That puppies needed taking care of.

"Joey told me about you." He could hear the question he dreaded in her words. "He doesn't like you very much I think."

"The feeling is mutual." The words came natural, like a reflex.

"Oh." There were more questions in that single syllable, more answers he couldn't give because he didn't know them himself.

"We just don't ... get along." It was the best explanation his mind was able to come up with. He could have replied her brother got to him like few others did. He could have admitted to reaping a certain pleasure from riling the blond up. Yet those were effects, not causes.

"I've heard you're going to participate in Duelist Kingdom." The statement was studiously neutral.

Of course, the mutt still took offense to it.

"Yeah, what about it? Do you have a problem with that?" Agression, masking defensiveness and uncertainty.

He shrugged. "I guess someone will get his first starchips pretty easy then." No need to elaborate ; the blond picked up any insult to him just fine, even if he wasn't as quick in other things.

"Wait till I have won the finals!" Self-assurance and pride, hiding desperation. Oh, he knew what was at stake for the pup in this tournament.

He snorted. "I highly doubt that day will arrive any time soon. And you'll never be able to beat *me*."

Honey-eyes blinked. Interesting. Apparently his admission that Joey *might* indeed win the finals, since he himself wasn't participating hadn't been as covert as he'd meant for it to be.

"I have to win." Joey said. "There's no other option. I *have* to win."

He could have remarked on the faultiness of that remark, on the possibility of asking someone else for aid. Someone rich. Someone nearby. He chose not to.

"I suppose you have heard he didn't make it through the finals." His mouth had gone dry somehow. Odd.

She nodded. "I heard it on the radio. But at least he got beaten by Yugi and not by that cheater."

He failed to see why a defeat at the hands of a friend was better than one dealt by someone you could hate quite easily. Yet another mystery to be left unsolved.

"He won't be able to pay for your operation now." She must have known this already, but he needed something to broach the subject. She nodded, remaining silent.

"I can, if you're willing." There, the offer had been made. Even if he still didn't know why.

"Willing to do what?" Her voice quavered a little.

"To accept such a gift from me." It was simple as that.

She made a muffled sound. It took him a while to realize she was laughing. "Who wouldn't? I'm not crazy, turning down an offer like that."

"Your brother might not approve." He wondered why he was giving her a reason not to do what he wanted her to do.

"I'm Shizuka. Not just Joey's sister. It's my life." Her hand sought his, unexpectedly, catching it before he could withdraw it. "And I say 'thank you'."

"You're welcome." He meant it.

She chuckled. "Imagine how surprised Joey will be when I await him at home when he gets back."

Yes, the mutt would definitely not expect that. He found himself smiling, for no reason at all. Or maybe just at the thought that even in doing something nice, he'd annoy the blond.

He gently squeezed her hand, sitting there holding it until she had drifted off to sleep again. Then he rose and left, unable to resist looking back just once. She was smiling in her dreams.

Somehow, it was impossible not to return that smile.


A/N : *sighs* Is it just me or did this story become kind of Seto/Joey all of a sudden? o.O;;;