Orpheus in Japan: A Fable

By Kabuki

July 2004

I've been working on a project off and on and this is the result thus far. Quite a peculiar little tale if you ask me, but then I'm not the best judge of such things. This is a crossover for those curious betwixt The Sandman books by DC/Vertigo and Yugioh. Sandman is property of DC/Vertigo Comics and Neil Gaiman. If you don't find the idea of Pegasus taking a mythological journal appealing, then please vacate to room immediately. I won't tolerate flames concerning my choice in characters. I've always had a passion for crossovers, and this will be my second in the Yugioh fandom. Huzzah. I was inspired by many, many things in this story. It could get weird.

Oh and by the by, I've been watching the Japanese and Dubbed episodes interchangeably and have grown attached to certain names. There is no rhyme or reason to this, but as a reader of Yugioh fic I think everyone understands the name thing. Email me if you have any questions, k? For instance, Joey is Joey, but Cecelia has become Cyndia just cause the voice actor for Pegasus made a great impression on me.

(oh, and the emoticon is courtesy of Squidman … I think …)

Prologue: Dream Within A Dream

A Dream Within A Dream

Edgar Allen Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!

And, in parting from you now,

Thus much let me avow-

You are not wrong, who deem

That my days have been a dream;

Yet if hope has flown away

In a night, or in a day,

In a vision, or in none,

Is it therefore the less gone?

All that we see or seem

Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar

Of a surf-tormented shore,

And I hold within my hand

Grains of the golden sand-

How few! yet how they creep

Through my fingers to the deep,

While I weep- while I weep!

O God! can I not grasp

Them with a tighter clasp?

O God! can I not save

One from the pitiless wave?

Is all that we see or seem

But a dream within a dream?

Somewhere, a clock was still ticking steadily, measuring the minutes as his life slipped through his fingers leaving him desolate and alone in his misery. The clock was rhythmic, the ticking endlessly monotonous, determined to remind him that by all clinical standards life does indeed go on. He watched the heart monitor, the jagged line of her heartbeat growing weaker by the moment. How desperately he wanted to rush into the hallway, alert the staff, drag all those pretentious doctors he'd hired back into the room and demand that they help her! If he knew how, Pegasus would have massaged her heart alone. He would have done anything…

But no, said her parents, that could never be. Cyndia wouldn't want to be a burden, they said. She would want to be allowed to die in peace. Pay no attention to that man sitting constantly by her side as she lays in that comatose state – he's nothing to her. They'd signed the statements as easily as a check, their plastic smiles unconvincing even to the nurses. They rarely visited after that, leaving their youngest daughter alone in the sterile bed to await her death alone. There was nothing to be done, no matter how many doctors he could drag into the room. She had no living will, and he was not her husband. Their engagement bands held no weight, and now the vows would never be exchanged. He'd never imagined life could be so cruel, that fate would deal so harsh a blow for no apparent reason. Cyndia had never harmed anyone; her nature was naturally considerate and loving. No matter how hard he tried to rationalize there was no sense to be made.

He'd been holding his breath for some indefinable amount of time, his lean fingers clutching the crinkling fabric of her hospital gown as though he could through sheer force of will yank her soul from the impending void. Those eyes, once so clear and blue as to rival the sky of a perfect summer day, were open wide and seemingly overcome with some unrevealed ecstasy; yet slowly, oh so slowly, a cloud was falling over that perfect shade, the sky he'd once thought would be endlessly reflected there now growing increasingly overcast. He held her, gathering her pliant body to his breast and cradling her soft-spun golden hair. "No… oh no…"

She was already growing cold in his arms her eyes still wide and unseeing, as though in surprise at the suddenness of her own demise, when he pulled back a little to stroke her tender cheek. He gazed into her sweet face, nibbling on his lower lip absently. "Oh Cyndia, please…" He buried his head in her golden hair, breathing in deeply; but instead of her sweet scent the antiseptics of the hospital greeted his nostrils. Naught could he sniff out in that final moment of calm. He sighed, laying her back against the pillows and thumbing her eyes shut with trembling hands, the same hands that had once held her so tightly through night after night. He pulled the blankets up to her chin, a practiced motion since she'd been hospitalized. He hadn't slept in weeks, remaining by her side day and night. At first the hospital staff had barred his entry, he wasn't related to Cyndia in marriage or by blood, but he'd pleaded so dreadfully that finally he'd been allowed admittance. Their room was generally avoided by the hospital staff unless absolutely necessary – so young and so tragic, it was just too terrible for any of the young nurses on duty to handle.

Tucked in nicely, he stood by the bed and allowed his eyes to shut as a shuddering sigh escaped his lips. It was a miserable sound, but the tears didn't come as he'd expected. Instead a dreadful numbness had seeped into his chest, and in a final flare of passion he bent forward to kiss his beloved a final time. Their lips met in a familiar touch, but her life was gone, ebbed away in the fluorescent haze of the tiny hospital room. She was already cooling against his touch, and the young man broke away miserably, bowing his head.

He didn't even hear the door open as a nurse checked in on the pair, or the gasp from the young woman as she realized what had happened. She was gone in an instant, and a group of six or so crammed themselves into the tiny room checking for pulse and respiration among other things. The fair-haired man sat perfectly still, his amber eyes unseeing as the room was filled with a flurry of activity. They'd expected it, they'd known she didn't have much longer and that no amount of rescue effort could pull her from the brink. Cyndia's case had been a lost cause, and without her the surviving lover was simply lost. One or two people came to check on him a little later, but the young man ignored them. There was nothing he could see except the shell of his beloved, lovely even in death, cold as a plaster angel in some hideous tableau. He had no concept of the passage of time, but soon enough her parents arrived. They'd been out of town, they said, and did Cyndia specify how she'd like to be buried?

He stayed by her side until they covered her body and wheeled her beyond his reach.