Disclaimer- YuGiOh does not belong to me. It is the property of 4Kids and a number of Japanese people. Please do not sue or sic a Blue Eyes on me. Kaiba, however, you can send over any time. :) This little short is inspired by the YGO movie, set after same, and has NOTHING, Absolutely NOTHING to do with my other stories. Well, except the mild hints of Seto/Joey friendship. This fanfic is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association for language.
For want of a nail, the shoe was lost,
For want of the shoe, the horse was lost,
For want of the horse, the rider was lost,
For want of the rider, the message was lost,
For want of the message, the battle was lost,
For want of the battle, the war was lost,
For want of the war, the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail. -- Unknown
Soft footfalls on concrete made him look up, but Joey Wheeler already had a pretty good idea who was approaching. Sure enough, he saw the unmistakable figure of one teenage CEO, white trenchcoat stained the color of blood in the sunset light. Despite the blue glare fixed on him, Joey remained unconcerned, leaning back against the twisted railing that had once ringed the upper deck of the Duel Dome. Now it formed the only barrier between torn concrete and the ocean below.
"What are you doin' here, Kaiba?" the blond asked lazily. "The shape this place is in, it oughta be condemned."
"I could ask you the same question, mutt. Not to mention YOU are trespassing on private property." Still, Kaiba made no move towards the security handset clipped to his belt, simply moved to share Joey's perch, looking at the ocean.
The other boy shrugged. "Ah, I needed to get away, do some thinkin'. Figured none of the others would think I'd ever come up here."
"I certainly wouldn't," Kaiba replied. For a moment the two of them were quiet, listening to the whistle of the wind. Then Joey noticed Kaiba had his Duel Deck out, staring moodily at one specific card.
"He doesn't use them." The comment was almost lost in the whisper of the ocean and rushing air, but Joey heard it anyway. He looked over to see his companion staring sightlessly out at the ocean, blue eyes blank and far away.
Joey blinked. "What, the God cards? Sure he does, sometimes. Like any other card in his deck."
"Exactly. He has the three most powerful cards ever released by Industrial Illusions, cards that could wipe out any Duelist in three turns flat... and he doesn't use them. He draws one, maybe two per game... Why?"
Blink. "Didn't you learn ANYTHING when Pegasus Virus Crushed your deck? Power stacking your deck isn't a sure win. Besides... It's like Exodia."
Kaiba frowned. "What are you talking about, mutt?"
"Exodia's an instant win. Assuming you can assemble it. But if you got it... you start depending on it. Like that Rare Hunter of Marik's... you can't fight without it. And what do you do when somebody takes it away? Yugi doesn't wanna get dependent on the God cards. Besides, it's supposed to be a DUEL, not a beat-down."
"Like you can ever tell the difference with Yugi Moto."
"Oh for God's sake..." Joey rolled his eyes. "You still don't get it, do you? WHY he always manages to beat you?"
Blue eyes flashed. "If you say one word about friendship or the Heart of the Cards, I will throw you off this balcony."
"Phhsht." Joey waved a hand. "Hey, I might BELIEVE in it, but I leave the speeches to Tea and Ya- Yugi. No, I'm gonna give you a nice, logical answer your nice, logical mind should be perfectly comfortable wrapping around. It's simple. You're all about power. The most powerful cards, the strongest Duelist... It's all about control."
Seto made a sound, somewhere between a snort and a chuckle. "You say that like it's a bad thing, mutt."
"I dunno," Joey shrugged. "Doesn't look to me like it's made you very happy. But, like I said, no philosophizing. I leave that to better minds than I."
"Not narrowing the field much."
"Stuff it, Moneybags. The simple fact is, straight power might work on most Duelists. Hell, it worked on me, and we both know I'm good, even if I can't beat you... yet. But it is NOT gonna work on Yugi. And it doesn't work FOR Yugi. That's why he won't use the God Cards. It just wouldn't be... RIGHT for him.
"Look... Ever squeezed an egg?"
The other shot him a sidelong glance. "I have better things to do with my time."
Sigh. "Fine, then, think of it like architecture. Why do you build in a dome?"
"The curve distributes the load evenly across the structure, making it stronger... oh."
"Right. 'S why a five-pound chicken can sit on an egg without breaking it. But you give that egg a tap on a pan... and it breaks right through. Same with the God cards. One card hitting the right place gets better results than all three hitting straight on."
"So... this is all about effective resource management-- wait, I'll use smaller words."
Joey waved a fist in the other's direction, but the threat was half-hearted at best. "It's not just that, wiseass. What happens if you hit an egg wit' a hammer?"
"... I see. Doesn't bode well for the fate of your omelet."
Staggering, the blond grabbed his chest, pretending shock. "Did you just make a joke? Man, we really ARE at the end o' the world."
The CEO just shook his head.
"Basically, it's not about who's strongest. It's about usin' power RIGHT. An' I'm not just talkin' morality. You gotta wonder... when does getting what you want become more expensive than not havin' it? Yugi doesn't wanna win so bad he loses his skill at the game. He doesn't want to sacrifice the GAME for the title. So... yeah, he wins because of his friends, I guess. Because he loves the Heart of the Cards. But mainly, he wins because he knows when to hit, an' how hard. An' what he's not willing to give up for it."
The pair fell silent then, Kaiba still toying with his deck. After a long moment, he pulled a single card from the mass and offered it to Joey, held between two fingers.
"Here. I... want you to keep this for me."
After a second to realize what the card actually was, Wheeler's eyes doubled in size. "Your Blue Eyes Shining DRAGON?!" Joey's voice was high enough at the end that it started to fade out. "You gotta be kidding me!"
"I'm not," the brunette replied roughly. "It doesn't threaten me... you can't use it without a Blue Eyes Ultimate. And... I don't want it. Like you said... there are other ways to win... I know what I'm not willing to give up. But... if we ever need it again..."
Anubis. The name lay between them, unspoken. Despite Pegasus' bold words, neither of them believed the Lord of the Dead was truly defeated. They'd learned the hard way that Death was hardly a certainty when Dueling was involved.
Nodding soberly, Joey tucked the card away in the back of his Dueling Deck. "I'll keep it under lock and key," he promised, truly serious for the first time that day.
"Good." The two of them turned from the ocean to survey the Duel Dome's rubble in the last rays of the sunset.
"Ey, Kaiba?" Joey ventured at last. "What are you gonna tell the insurance guys about this, anyway?"
For a fleeting second, something like a smile pulled at Seto's lips.
"Act of God."