Dancing on the Tide

Summery: (AU Yoai) Four boys and four mermen will meet for the first time; bring together what had been believed never to happen again. Pasts will be revealed and the future now looks uncertain. BxR, YYxY, YMxM, SxJ

Warnings: AU, Yaoi, mild cussing

Chapter Name: Simple Words

Disclaimer: If I owned Yugioh then life as I know it would be a lot more exciting. But it isn't so my pathetic little existence is null and void.

Author Notes: I don't really have any important notes to say but as usual I want to thank everybody who reviewed. And even more people added me to a list! I feel really honored, really! Thank you!

It been hard writing. I love writing stories for all of you and I won't stop until I completely finished all the stories I began, I promise, but it may take a while. Please hang in there with me.

I typed most of the chapter with two of my fingers taped together… Yeah, I don't know how that happened. It made things slightly more difficult.

"Blah, blah, blah," English

"Blah, blah, blah," Meridian

Sometimes she really wondered what she was doing here. She had the ability to do so much better, to live a grander life and to be her own self after so long. In fact, once upon a time she lived like she always dreamed of living like now. She had been foolish and stupid, always wanting more than what she had and doing whatever she could to get it. It had been her downfall. The fact that she still had that overbearing weakness just made her hate her past even more.

This life of meekness and humbleness did not suit her, not in the least, but she had been pretending for so long now, she could change personalities faster than anyone she could think of. It was a gift, sometimes a curse, but, in the end, it paid off where it was needed. After all, her whole life had been about masks. Everyday, every hour, every minute, and every second a new mask was made.

She looked down at the delicate coral comb and the long length of folded blue silk in her hands, her lips curled slightly in a sneer of distain. Long, elegant fingers curled over the items, almost crushing the costly comb but restraining herself with practiced ease. This was not the time.

"Where are you? Hurry." A growl was forced back down her throat and she quickly schooled her face into polite indifference. With graceful haste she made her way out of the small closet into a larger, more furnished room.

The room was large and spacious, with an open balcony draped with purple and white silk drapes that swung gently with the currents. The walls were made of polished marble and chrysanthemum stone, the blacker stone decorating the edges of the circular room and outlining the large balcony entrance. The bed took about a fourth of the room and took on a comfortable round shape made of the softest sea sponges available. The covers were thin and silkily smooth. All this expensive taste made her want to claw everything to shreds if only because they weren't hers. This was not the time.

"What are you waiting for? Move." That soft but unbearably shrill voce hacked at her brain but nothing on the outside showed of her feelings. She couldn't afford to let it show.

"Coming," she replied emotionlessly, carefully holding the comb and silk cloth in her hands with delicacy.

On the wall opposite to the bed, stood a tall mirror with a silver frame, easily topping her height and reflecting everything in the room without remorse. She almost drifted backwards when she caught her mirror image of the smooth glass but controlled her foolish reactions. This was not the time. A sophisticated dresser made of the smoothest wood had been placed a few years ago under the silver mirror, the malleable brown color only accenting the fine swirls and circles of silver that encircled the mirror, making the metal shine even without light. In front of all this was a small stool, simple compared to everything else in the room, and sitting on that stool, waiting silently but ladylike and proper was Anzu Masaki.

Her famed sapphire tail was curled stylishly around the stool, her gossamer pink-tipped fin dexterously tapping slowly on the marble floor. Her fair hands were vaguely clasped together on her lap, her peach skin contrasting with her turquoise and pink scales. Her bare back was straight as proper mannerism taught her as a child and her head held high. Her apple chest was covered by the standard white clam shells, tied in the back with braided yellow seaweed and a pink pearl clasp. Her impossibly shinning blue eyes calculated her reflection in the mirror with only a slight flicker telling that she knew she was here.

"What took you so long?" Anzu's soft and musical yet screeching echoed inside the silent room. Her eyes moved to study her in the mirror.

"Pardon, I couldn't find the right color," she said civilly and emptily, flicking her tail to approach the other mermaid as slowly and vigilantly as one of Anzu's position deserved. She yearned to swim away from this room, the closest thing to prison that she had ever been through.

Eyes still looked at her reflection. She wanted to scream. "It's alright I suppose," Anzu said faintly, finally moving her eyes from the approaching mermaid. "But time is running short. Please do your best quickly."

"Thank you. I will," she murmured and she floated to a stop behind Anzu, not raising her eyes to look at the accursed mirror. She courteously presented the silk cloth to Anzu, who simply nodded and took it with soft hands. Their hands touched briefly, almost like she imagined it but she knew she did not.

"You may begin," the blue-eyed mermaid commanded quietly, once again looking at the other's reflection in the mirror. She really wished that she wouldn't look at her. It made it that much harder to contain herself. She wanted to scratch and destroy those alluring blue eyes. This was not the time.

"Yes," she replied just as quietly.

She raised the comb and gently ran its teeth throughout Anzu's hair, careful not to scrape the skin. The glossy and sleek brown strands danced through the coral teeth and tickled her hands like the feelers of a spider crab. She kept her gaze on her task, refusing to meet the questioning and probing eyes in the mirror. She knew they were there. They were always there. They had been there for years.

The comb went in and out the short brown hair, smoothing the texture and gently prying what few knots there were without hurting its owner. Very beautiful hair yet so ugly and short like someone butchered the length of hair with a broken spear. She was one of the only mermaids in Taikai that had short hair. No one knew why she had it so short. But she didn't care. She desired to tear off every single striking strand of the small mane but, instead, she diligently groomed it to a shade of perfection which the mirror captured greedily.

Silence. It was so silent. Not even the background noise of the servants working dared penetrate this sanctuary of her desolation. Only the soft noise of Anzu's breathing reached her ears, wrenching something inside her every time she heard that wretched sound. It reminded her of who she served and why she was stood in front of a mirror, a comb in her hand, face blank and dead.

"That's good enough." The comb instantly stilled and was moved to the dresser, her arm faintly brushing Anzu's shoulder, sending shivers of loathing up her spine. Her breath almost caught in her throat but she managed to regain it without pause or notice. She craved to sink that comb into Anzu's chest but instead it was deftly placed on the dresser, amid other accessories and combs.

"What do you wish this evening?" she asked noiselessly, not touching anything she should not be touching.

"The wrap and the pearl pin, if you please." Why is she always so polite especially to her? She itched to shut her up forever just so she won't hear that voice. She didn't want to hear the pity, the yearning. This was not the time.

"Of course," was the only answer she was allowed to give. Her restrictions pressed around her and silently choked her like a prisoner condemned. She felt like screaming and crying while standing strong and killing. She was a prisoner but a prisoner of a different kind.

She was a prisoner of the heart.

Her fingers reached around Anzu's still form to delicately grasp a long golden pin with three shinning white pearls going down its length. It stung her hand like a snake and she almost dropped it in screaming pain but she tightened her grasp on it, ignoring the string like it didn't exist. But it did.

"Hurry up please," Anzu ordered mildly, her deep, deep eyes locking on the older mermaid's lowered eyes. "Time is running out." Her soft hands caressed the silk cloth in her lap fleetingly like the touch of a lover. Wrap it around her neck, choke her. But no. This was not the time.

"Yes," she murmured, bringing the biting pin to the glossy brown hair. She had a sudden image of plunging the sharp end into the head before her and the need gripped her so tightly she couldn't breathe. But just as quickly as it came it disappeared and she regained her sanity. Never free. This was not the time.

The free hand carefully burrowed into the brunette stands, permitting herself the small luxury of feeling them run through her fingers, knowing she was allowed to touch Anzu's hair when fixing it. Then she gathered a smooth bunch of hair from Anzu's left side, bringing them to the top, and let the hair pin close around the end and the hair underneath. She slowly returned her hands back without a word, still not looking up. Never looking up.

"Here," came the soft whisper. She took the offered length of silk without having to retch and wrapped it loosely around Anzu's long neck. Waves upon waves of blue fabric were weaved around the pale neck and shoulders, drawing them in its embrace. She wanted to rip it off. This was not the time.

The pin was slanted at an angle, the largest pearl shined at the tip right above Anzu's forehead. The loop of thick tresses dangled majestically on the left side of her face, exposing her left ear and the emerald loop that hung there. She knew Anzu's eyes glowed even more brightly, the silks bringing out all the shades that dwelt deep in her soul. She looked so beautiful. Just like she knew Anzu would look.

One more soft brush against the hair then she floated backwards, her own hair tickling her face. She fixed her eyes on Anzu's back, following it as she moved. With a soft push from her tail, her fin cartilage waving, she stood straight, looking nowhere but the mirror. Her hands drifted over her silks then moved to her hair, a soft smile touching her lips. With grace that rival the late queen Umi she twirled around, her hair moving so delicately, and for the first time that night faced her without the need of the thrice-damned mirror. Words dangled from the silence that she wrung and she merely dazed passively at her.

She didn't look up. She couldn't. She wouldn't bear to look into those eyes. They belonged to someone else.

"Thank you." Anzu always said that. Every time she did something that pleased her she thanked her. She didn't want to be thanked; she wanted to be cursed at, spat at, and shouted at. Anything but this polite voice thanking her for doing what she was forced to do.

She bowed her head in response as Anzu looked out at the balcony, the drapes swaying in time with the currents. She knew what Anzu was thinking. She always did. Anzu was thinking about how she was to be married at the end of summer. But her fiancée was missing, somewhere out there being the foolish merman he was. Anzu wished to marry, she really did. As much as her heart pained her, she knew she and Anzu were alike even if it was in only two ways. Anzu also lived by masks, by two masks. One while in this room, one while out there, acting like the spoiled and brass girl that had everything a mermaid her age would ever want as everyone expected her to be. She wasn't like Queen Umi, she couldn't keep her masks off. But that's okay. It didn't matter. Not in this room. This room that took her prisoner.

Anzu, she was so beautiful it hurt to look at her. That's why she didn't. She had already made one too many mistakes in her life. She would not make another one. Funny, she had nothing to lose and she refused to be wrong when before she had everything to lose and didn't care if she lost.

She wouldn't look up.

"It's almost time for the dinner to start," Anzu uttered, tipping her head up slightly. She knew Anzu has turned and was looking at her now. "It will last a good while. I trust I will still find you here afterwards?" Rippling voice washed over her and all she wanted to do was to get away from this deceiving mermaid.

"Of course," she affirmed, stopping herself from ripping Anzu's skin of her porcelain face. Why did she have to ask? She already knew the answer.

"Thank you," Anzu said softly, smiling that sad smile of hers which made her look that much more glowing.

There was no answer as Anzu started moving, the ends of the silks floating behind her. She drew nearer like a siren in the middle of a moonlit pond and she could feel her presence like an oncoming disease, making her swallow painfully. She couldn't help it, not this time. Her eyes looked up at the advancing figure. She could feel the brush of skin and water as Anzu swam silently past her, her eyes for the first time meeting her own in jarring accuracy.

She hated it when they looked gazes. The moment she looked into those eyes, a jolt of power ran down her gut, filling her to the brim with emotions. She saw pity in those blue orbs that made her want to scream her lungs out and attack the other, to rip out those eyes. She want to mar that beauty, she needed to destroy everything Anzu stood for. She was the one who held her here. It was her fault for chaining her heart. She lost everything: her family, her friends, her money, her freedom, and her heart. She lost all of them because of her. She just had to strive to be better than her, to be more beautiful, more desired. It was too much for her in the end and she landed here, with nothing. She tired to do the impossible and now she was paying the price. The Council and the citizens never forgave her but Anzu did. For some reason she did. But now she wished she had been condemned after all.

She knew what Anzu saw in her eyes. She saw the sorrow, the yearning, the self-loathing, the hate for life and her. She saw the whole thing and, this time, she let her. Go away, let me live. Die and stay with me. Look and detest me. Unlock the chains and watch me. Touch my hand and scream. She saw her eyes soften. Rip them out. This was not the time.

"I will see you tonight," Anzu said, her voce so soft it hurt her ears. The answer she always gave her, no matter the difference in words she used, was the same. 'No, I can't do that. I'm sorry.'

She closed her eyes and the spell was broken. She refused to open them even as she heard Anzu sigh and swim to the door. The door was pushed open then closed and she knew Anzu Masaki had gone. A grave chill fell inside the room and she shivered, holding her arms at her side, rejecting the urge to wrap her arms around her suddenly shivering frame. She was still inside her prison. She could not let her mask fall even if there was no one here but her.

Her full lips were pressed into a firm line, unwilling to make a sound. A sudden current blew into the room from the balcony, throwing the drapes into the air. Once again she didn't move even when her teeth began chattering. Anzu was expecting her here and she had to stay here, in this very spot.

She didn't know how long she floated there, closing her eyes and looking the space above the mirror alternately. That damn mirror never left its place. It would have been so satisfying to see it crash to the floor and break into millions of tiny reflecting shards of glass. Then she wouldn't have to see the whole picture, her whole reflection. She didn't want to see it. It reminded her too much of her mistakes.

She usually followed Anzu wherever she went inside the manor and out. She was like a shadow that almost never spoke to anyone other than Anzu. She was present everywhere she was expect in private affairs like family dinners. But she was there when Anzu's parents started criticizing Anzu for her behavior, for the seamless way she wore her outside mask of greed. Anzu, for some reason that would one day kill her, trusted her. She knew many things about the Council and their decisions. The Masakis lived in the same manor after all. She knew too much. She would always know too much. Another curse.

She hated Anzu yet couldn't live without her. If Anzu never existed then she wouldn't have had the feeling to be superior and this would have never started. She had been here for years, long, revolting, peaceful years. She didn't deserve to live yet that was not her choice. It would never again be her choice. She knew Anzu inside and out better than anyone else in the oceans and she wanted to kill herself for allowing herself to sink so low, lower than ever.

That's why when the door opened again she knew it wasn't Anzu. Anzu would never open the door like that: without knocking and announcing herself. She knew even without opening her eyes. The chill in the room increased to point of freezing at this trespasser's intrusion in her hellhole and horrid waiting. A feeling of wrongness draped over the heart that was not hers and she felt the need to slaughter whoever dared to come into a place where only the damned entered.

A sly chuckle made her want to draw blood and she instantly recognized the somehow bigger aura of the trespasser as it drew closer. She relaxed and tensed at the same time, her own organs strangling her. He was not allowed in here yet that never stopped him before. What does he want?

"Still doing the old job, huh?" his voice never changed and she slowly opened her eyes, unwilling to be too vulnerable against this menace. "Ah, there we are. I don't know why you hide such pretty eyes."

"What do you want?" she said shortly and rudely, finally giving into the urge and crossing her arms across her chest. She had to stay strong. She was strong. No one save for Anzu had ever beaten her.

"Still as bipolar as ever," he said amused, flicking his black hair from his eyes. "But that can't be helped I suppose. I'm calling in a favor." He grinned widely and she steadier herself long enough to glare strongly at him with venom.

"A favor? I'm surprised," she hissed softly, throwing her head back to move her hair from her face. "You would lower yourself to my level to ask for a favor. Sorry honey, but forgive me if I don't believe you." She has never completely trusted anyone for years and she would not ignore her instincts for this merman.

"You still haven't changed a bit, eh?" he laughed, displaying his canines. His laughter decreased as he gazed passively at her. She saw a glint of anger and promised pain in his eyes but nothing he could do scared her. "Well, that's what I'm partly counting on. You can't refuse me. You asked my help when you needed it, and now you owe me. It wasn't my fault in backfired on you."

There was something different about him, something that wasn't usually in his confident stance. She could feel his aura, it was huge and slimy, a poisonous green shade, reeking of power that she knew didn't come from anything on this planet. His muscles were sharper than before and his eyes were the slightest bit slanted and his eyes, which had been a powerful bottle green, were now so many different shades of scum-filthy green. Her skin crawled just looking sideways at him. She narrowed her eyes. This was not the merman she had the displeasure of knowing. Something happened. And that something was probably what he wanted her help with. Her instincts shouted at her to escape before it was too late but she knew she would not be able to break away. Anzu was expecting her to be here when she came back.

"Don't ever mention that again," she growled, pure anger and poison lacing her every word. Her hands fisted until she felt her nails draw blood.

His disgusting eyes glanced at her wound dispassionately and he smiled so disturbingly she snarled back at him. "Now, really, stop that." His voice grew sly and dark. "You owe me a blood debt for what I did for you. I gave you what you wanted but it just so happened that Masaki beat you at your own game." His voice changed into a serious tone that warned her. "You owe me big time and it's time I came to reclaim my side of the favor."

She didn't say anything, thrust unexpectedly and cruelly into the past. She had first seen Anzu when she was eight while the Masaki family was traveling the short distance to the castle. The small merchild had been so beautiful with a smile that warmed every heart around her. She felt so much envy and jealous that everything else dwindled away, leaving only the decaying picture of that perfect girl. She was the better-looking one, she was more beautiful, and she was the one who deserved to have all the attention on her. For seven years it burned away at her soul, using magic and forbidden arts to pile up on beauty, to make her gorgeous. But it wasn't enough, that girl was still more cherished than her. She was going insane with resentment and bitterness for the girl she had never spoken to.

And that's when she made the biggest mistake of her life. She met him. He knew about her after just one look, all her boiling feelings and hatred. He offered to lend her his assistance in return for a favor he would later collect. She immediately took it without second thought, never his seeing how cruel his eyes looked. A blood pact could not be broken by anything short of unwilling death or murder. He gave her the power to mar, to burn the skin off a merperson's body in the form of a small crystal. She had never felt as powerful as she had felt that very instant.

Vomit started crawling up her throat but she pushed it down forcefully. It didn't work. She should have known that Anzu would have protective spells around her whenever she went outside. In fact she knew that he had known the second he offered to help. He was swine, worse than filth. He was a monster hidden in a pleasant body. She hated him even more than Anzu. She wanted to feel her hands as they sank into his stomach and ripped him apart from the inside out, his mouth choking on his own blood. The crystal's affects didn't work. It bounced off the shields. She had never felt as afraid in her young life as then when the spell was thrown back at her without mercy, a scream in her throat. She managed to turn around but it hit her in between the shoulder blades.

She knew true pain that night. She lost everything she ever had. Her family disowned her and turned their backs on their daughter and sister in need, crying pitifully. The Council had been ready to condemn her to the granite caves, a sure death because, in their hard eyes, it had been an attempted assassination on a high ranking member of Taikai. She cried so much, every single ounce of water had been squeezed from her heart but no one looked on her with pity, no one had sympathy for the poor selfish girl who was to die during the next months. No one looked at her and saw anything other than a future murderer and a monster.

No one…except the cause of her fall, Anzu Masaki.

"What do you want?" she whispered, what was left of her heart aching for peace, for rest. She was left, abandoned by all except the one she hated the most. Her dead orbs gazed blankly at him, who smirked in triumph.

"A month of your time," he declared offhand, aware the sudden stiffening of her spine and the incredulous look she shot him. "A month of doing what I ask and you'll be free of the blood oath. A small price to pay for your misguided greed, I think, isn't it?" The vampire smile that bloomed on his pale almost sent her reeling back with paranoia and abhorrence.

She was shaking inside but she refused, absolutely rejected the mere idea of showing any kind of weakness in front of this backstabber. He would milk it for all its worth and continue killing her, bit by bit. She had no choice just like she didn't have a choice in anything.

"I can't do that," she continued denying it. Her eyes flashed. "You know that the decision is not up to me." Hateful bitterness clouded her voice and she resisted the urge to turn her back on him.

"You don't need to worry about that," he grinned, waving his hand as if to dismiss the notion. "I have plenty of ways that I can make the Masakis give up possession of you for a couple of weeks. So what do you say?" The drawl at the end of the sentence told her that he knew exactly what the answer was going to be.

And, unfortunately, so did she.

"What do you need me to do?"

This was not the time.

Tick tock, tick tock.

His left eye twitched.

Tick tock, tick tock.

His hands fisted, his palms damp with nervous sweat.

Tick tock, tick tock.

The thick air was making it rather impossible to breathe.

Tick tock, tick tock.

He couldn't swallow.

Tick tick.

He was starting to- wait, tick?

Tick tock.

Either there was something wrong with the clock or his hearing was playing tricks on him.

Tick tock, tick tock.

Okay, now that sound was getting very annoying. If it kept this up then he might have to do something drastic like, oh he didn't know, throwing the clock against the wall. Yes, that would suite his needs very well.

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, ticktock, ticktock, -

Someone stop the carefully timed madness! He could help it anymore! His nerves overrode whatever common sense his mind had been shouting at him and his hands shot out without him even realizing it to knock into the slippery black clock, pushing it off the little table until it was suspended in midair by the cable that was still plugged to the wall. It swung slightly.

Jou couldn't help but flush as seven pairs of eyes fixed on him, making him mentally curse himself, some gazes nicer than others. He coughed embarrassedly and gnawed at his lower lip.

Now you may be wondering how this little get-together came to be. He would have preferred to avoid this little shindig altogether but even he knew it was necessary. He couldn't help but feel jumpy and restless as the unfamiliar eyes watched him and his friends, protectiveness itching at him.

Now, to understand how positively agitated and fidgety he was the beginning understand you must. Apparently all four of them had momentarily forgotten their guests in a fit of overdramatic, friendship-consuming, stairs-hating wrestling match including spectators and at the end they had wallowed in their glowy glow of comradeship before something impolitely reminded that the four of them weren't exactly alone in the humongous beach house. And that 'something' just happened to be a gigantic, shattering world-destroying explosion.

Okay, not maybe it wasn't that gigantic and the world hadn't been destroyed seeing as they were all still alive and in one piece and the only thing that broke was Malik's sanity (but that was cracked was before that) but, come on, a hole in the wall and a slight ground tremor has to count as some kind of explosion if not one on the Richter scale. Shocked the hell out of all of them, let him tell you. It was kind of like waking up next to a grizzly bear. With rabies. Painted orange. And with squealing hamsters tapped to its back. So before their brains were shaken out of their skulls the tremor stopped (made Malik and Jou fall (again) and almost roll out the door never mind that the door was locked and bolted).

So they had all run upstairs without tripping over themselves to ogle at the scene in the hallway. It seemed that the merman with the uncanny resemblance to Malik had somehow crawled out of his designated room and into the hallway with his blanket still saving everyone's virgin eyes from burning away and curling like snails when someone showers them with salt.

He'd smiled at them, quite disturbingly happy, and had started shouting "Hey, guys, we're in shrimp-land!" over and over again like some kind of diabolical broken tape from the darkest pits of the craziest asylum from Hell. Well, maybe that description was a stretch but it was really annoying.

And then everything went down the metaphorical drain. Apparently Bakura had woken up and had done exactly what he had before. He went berserk and the poor victim turned out to be the wall (researching sources are confirming whether or not the spontaneous combustion of wall plaster that was produced had resulted from a detonation of charged light made by marine alteration. Thus far the sources have had limited success due to the fact they are four underage, teenaged children, only one having acquired and kept the license registration card needed to manipulated a land vehicle. Therefore they, currently, have no traces leading to the answer. But we have obtained a quote by one of the investigating subjects on his expression of his belief by claiming quote "He did the freaky light thing again!" unquote. We have not yet found solid proof of this phenomenon. We will continue to keep searching and inform the public later on the progress of this case. Thank you and goodnight.) What surprised (read: horrified) them was that the wall Bakura had conveniently blasted a hole in was the wall that separated his room from Yami's so, of course, it shocked the other merman, who probably thought he was being attacked, into screaming to high heaven like a little Nancy boy. Seriously, not even Ryou could have screamed that high even though it had come pretty damn close.

So they had had a pretty odd situation on their hands. One merman was on the hallway floor like some breed of spiked, shouting, mutant caterpillar, one merman was having a panic attack, one merman was heaving and shedding sparks like some kind of flamboyant fairy, and the other one still hasn't said a word or shown any sign of coming out of the room (the reason is debatable seeing as maybe he could walk yet). Yes, it wasn't an everyday scenario but Jou had a sneaking suspicion that it was not going to be unusual for very long if things continued going the way they were. Those suspicions are damn sneaky.

But, in the end, they unfortunately had to do something other than gawk and gape. They would have liked to just stand there looked on stupidly then melt into the carpet but that's not how life rolls. And Jou knew very well that life liked to roll downhill. Damn gravity. So they had to move before their feet grew roots and started running around like headless chickens on fire. Well, actually that was just Ryou and Yuugi but, hey, who's counting? It's not like whoever rules over life has a pocket-sized calculator the he/she/it can whip out and curse them all with endless first-grade math question that would eventfully and slowly chew at their brains and make them foam at the mouth before screaming like burning chimpanzees and promptly committing a ritual suicide. Yeah, math can be that scary.

But back to the story. So Yuugi and Ryou were panicking and Malik and Jou were standing there stupidly, nothing new here, but that was before there were two yelps and two thumps, almost in perfect synchronization. Oh, yeah, vocabulary word right there. Which naturally made the two little ones run to see what was up or down in this particular case. When Jou heard two smacks almost right away he was throw into action. Literally. Malik almost tossed him over his shoulder to investigate. What kind of friend throws a guy into a possibly dangerous situation? Really… At least Malik forgot that he was stuck with mutant worm-boy there. Hee hee.

But Jou was heroic and all that crap so he gallantly galloped to the crime scene never mind he didn't know why he was galloping. And he found Ryou sitting on the floor next to Bakura's room door, rubbing his forehead gingerly. Jou deduced with his amazing detective skills that Ryou must have run into the closed door. No? Ah, he ran into the wall next to the door. That makes even less sense. But Yuugi was nowhere to be seen. So Jou again deduced with his amazing detective skills that Yuugi must have made it inside the room. For some odd reason it worried him more. So he took a stab and went to have a look-see.

Now there are two things that a young teenager never ever wants to see in his lifetime and his afterlife as well. Many a kid has been mentally scarred for life after witnessing one of these acts and if the poor schmuck is unfortunate enough to see both of them (even worse at one go) he might have to be shipped to the nearest metal facility ASAP. And these two life changing experiences are One: his parents getting it on the bedroom with the lights on and the door conveniently open if you know what I mean and Two: his friends getting it on with the lights on and the door conveniently open if you catch that drift. Yes, these two things are not welcome to a teenager's eyes more so if they happen to be virgin. Which they were.

The first thing that his mind registered was that Yuugi had fallen. The second thing was that Yuugi had fallen on something. The third thing was that Yuugi had fallen on someone. The fourth and final thing was that Yuugi had fallen on naked mermen flesh. Which, if you looked at it from a 45 degree angle upside-down, looked suspiciously (damn the sneaky) like something heated was going down tonight. Which would have been amusing to see the reaction. Now everyone knows that Jou didn't follow many rules but everyone also knew that the only ones he did follow were, like every decent teenager would, the Universal Rules of Teenagery and Underageness (including the Acts of Rule-breaking and the Decrees of Unwise Dating added in 2000), and this scene was a trespassing of the Law of Friends and Virgin Eyes and thus he thought it was only logical to scream like someone drop their chips in his nuts and jump out of the room faster than Speedy Gonzales (you know, the little Mexican mouse that goes really fast…Yeah, okay).

So, yes, his eyes did end up burning away and curling like snails when someone showers them with salt. But it was all okay, his eyes were pretty resistant (except water-proof. Sea salt does not like his eyes).

But what does Speedy Gonzales, snails, and chips with nuts have to do with the little jamboree of nice/not-so-nice looks of curiosity/meanness you may ask? Well good luck getting that answered! Jou was just as clueless as a Clue game board with only one card in the little evidence envelope. Do you know how hard it is to play Clue like that? No one ever got the right answer, kind of like what Jou was feeling right now. Then, as things happen to go like in his weird twisted life that he happily (mostly) called his, things got slightly weirder.

…Pfff. Scratch that. What happened next roughly sent him into a thirty year coma with an IV and everything. And he hated needles.

A rough but lyrical accent glissaded into the room like morning mist, the voice twisting and turning into so many words and vowels that it spun in no obvious pattern. A sudden feeling like a splash of cool air struck his lungs lightly like he just came from a shower. The voice held a tone of suppressed anger that he rarely ever had heard, the closest had come from his father when he was eight and forgot to close the door so that their TV got stolen and even that barely even scratched the tip of the iceberg that was this cold voice. Jou had gasped and whirled around.

The door to the room that was in front of Yami's and right next to the wall was open when Jou could have sworn that it had been closed mere seconds ago. A slightly webbed hand grasped the frame of the door tightly, nails digging shallowly into the wood so that tiny brown chips fell to the floor. A tall tanned body, taller than him by half a foot, was heavily leaning on the frame as well but the back was straight. A clumsily wrapped pillowcase was wrapped around lean hips, exposing long miles of muscled tanned legs with webbed toes and soft blue scales that shined dotting the ankles, trembling slightly as if they wanted to bend under him and only were held up by willpower. Strong, wide shoulders were squared sturdily even though the right shoulder was heavily leaning against the wall.

But let's go on to what almost made his heart stop beating (not that he would ever admit it).

The face was refined like a form of striking royalty with shapely cheekbones and a stern mouth that looked severe. His face was as tan as the rest of him, giving the skin a smooth quality that reminded him of an amber gemstone. A messily mussed mane of thick chocolate brown hair faintly covered a pair of pointed ears and floated almost menacingly over his forehead like the fur of a cornered lion. They reflected the weak artificial light with ease and just about transformed into silk. The strands dipped and almost hid the eyes that were pointed in his direction with the deadly accuracy of a viper. But there was no way those two eyes could have been hidden anywhere.

They were slightly slanted in an exotic appearance and the tan skin only made them stand out stunningly. Jou had never seen such a painfully blue color on anyone before. Deep, deep blue eyes that looked like a piece of freezing ice. It was one true pure color of blue that was dark as night but as sharp as a piece of stained glass. The blue was a dark aquamarine that reflected like arctic water and the lines of sapphire mimicked the waves of a storm, deadly and precise. They were so cold and icy that they looked like they held winter eternally and would unleash it without care.

A flash of pain flew across the teen's face, briefly marring his features before a cold, stoic expression firmly appeared. His eyes hardened once they landed on him and he, has was proud to say, didn't step backwards but did his best to meet the gaze straight on though he had to look away after a few seconds. Not because the blueness unnerved him, no, certainly not. It was just because he heard Malik start screaming about perverted lunatics down the hall. That was it.

That and those frozen cerulean blues scared him.

"I suggest, human, that we go somewhere to talk about this," the merman said quietly but strongly, there was no need to speak any louder as the tone commanded attention all on its own. Shivers racked up his spine for no apparent reason other that the voice gave him chills. It was cold and hard like it had an edge of steel.

Yeah, well, fuck that.

Jou frowned, not liking the way the other was talking as if he was a simpleton which he wasn't! He open his mouth to retaliate with something when the merman's eyes flickered to the right rapidly and he felt a small hand touch his elbow gently. Jou jumped and looked down at the culprit.

"I think he's right," Yuugi murmured quietly, his face still decorated with a delicate sort of blush. Where did he come from? Malik's screams suddenly quieted down then a concert of thumps echoed down the hallway, giving Jou the suspicion that Malik ripped off a painting from the wall to use as a multicolored mallet. If he broke that then it wasn't his fault.

So that's the story, folks, of the events leading up to the assemble of humans and mermans-that-were-mermans-but-were-now-turned-into-humans-by-something-that-can't-be-explained. Yuugi just looked at blue-eyes, nodded, and gently herded Jou-who was protesting the whole time- down the hallway, collecting Ryou and Malik on the way. It turned out Malik had been using the painting of a winter forest scene to swat the crawling bug that was trying to hug his 'Malik-pretty.' Needless to say the painting wasn't as sturdy as Malik thought it would have been and it now hung on the wall with the hole the size of a head right in the middle. Hopefully Ryou's uncle won't realize it until they were long gone. Then maybe he wouldn't notice the hole in the wall in one of his guest rooms. Certainly he would have enough money to fix that. Let it never be said that Katsuya Jounouchi was a pessimist.

So now they were all sitting downstairs, fidgety and nervous like they were waiting trail for trying to steal an egg roll from the Panda Express. Hey, it could happen! They were at the mall food court one day when a guy started running around like crazy, holding an egg roll in his hand while being chased by a screaming chef with the Panda Express logo on his apron. In the end the mall security caught him and hauled him away. The poor dude, maybe he'll survive the jail for Chinese food stealers.

But whatever, that's not the point. The point is that somehow all four mermen stumbled down the stairs to the first floor. And as you probably noticed the word 'stumble' in the previous sentence was too tame for what the fish-boys were doing. It was more like they were tripping, staggering, slipping, falling, and lurching their way down the stairs. The Malik look-alike practically rolled down the steps in a mess of spikes, skin, and blanket. The others: blue-eyes, Yami and Bakura valiantly made their way clutching the handrail as if their lives depended on it, legs shaking and knees giving out like newborn babies. It would have been hilarious if they hadn't been glaring fiercely at them, pain occasionally showing on their faces. Jou felt Yuugi fidget next to him and he couldn't help but discreetly smile. Yuugi, he always wanted to help people even when they weren't exactly people.

Of course, now, the sea-guys, being who there were, barely had enough clothes on to be a centimeter away from being decked out in their birthday suits. Blue-eyes still had his pillowcase, and the rest were dragging sheets along with them. They had obviously gotten the message that they weren't allowed to go around with nothing but their scales on. But nevertheless it was making Jou kind of, um, what's the word? Um, hmm, let's go with antsy, shall we? Yeah, antsy Jou.

So there was no way his eyes strayed where they didn't belong. Nope, they stayed right where they were accepted, on the couch right in front of them. He, Ryou, and Yuugi were squished into the large black couch while Malik tested his luck and bravely took the loveseat to the right with his legs folded so that they touched his chest, eyes looking for crawling bugs on the floor. He was a brave little thing. Jou promised to remember him when he was gone.

So with acrobatics and ninja-like moves that Jou kind of envied the mermen had situated themselves on the couch in front of them awkwardly like they were afraid that the couch was going to bite them. But who knows? Maybe down under they have couched that do bite. He wouldn't know.

The look-alike Malik had spotted Malik isolated in his little chair and all alone and had happily crawled/hopped over to him. Malik shrieked briefly and huddled himself even closer, trying to meld with the fabric. Jou would have gone to help him if the scene hadn't been so damn funny and Jou didn't think that the insane merman would actually harm his 'Malik-pretty.' It was kind of disturbing but, if it was happening to Malik, then it was funny.

"No! No! Get off! Get off!" Malik yelped repeatedly, trying to kick the slinking merman away without actually touching him. He shot them a look which possibly meant why-the-hell-are-you-just-sitting-there-you're-suppose-to-be-my-friends. Ryou and Yuugi were probably guiltily squirming but not Jou, oh, no.

It's funny. You'll see teenagers, or kids for that matter, help each other with homework, help each other with their nonexistent love lives, and sneak out in the middle of the night to prank teachers' houses then point the police to their old school enemy. But never will you see a friend help another out of an embarrassing situation. It was just too funny to pass by.

Suddenly Bakura spat something in that fish language of his and the slinky merman scowled but complied, slinking back to his fellow bottom dwellers. Now there were many couches in the living room but there were just enough so that Yami and Bakura had one and Seto and the other could have their own sofas though the latter chose the one closest to Malik who was starting to look severely annoyed.

But once everyone was situated silence fell down on the room. This is where Jou decided that the clock next to him was evil and needed to be knocked down. But now back to the thing at hand.






What was it with merman and uncomfortable, awkward silences? Yuugi didn't like this scenario very much. It wasn't only because his stomach was suddenly a bird motel and he was starting to tremble with nervousness but because he knew that these teens shouldn't be up and about yet. They were still recovering and Yuugi was fearful that one of them would suddenly bend over and die, foaming at the mouth. He didn't care if they were probably three times bigger than him, he was the medical authority around these parts and nobody could get up from their beds without a signed release form signed and initialed by the Sheriff of Health and Wellbeing A.K.A. Yuugi Mutou. He had prescription sleeping pills and he wasn't afraid to use them!

But, maybe, he should wait until they all got a common understanding in what was going on. He knew that if things weren't straightened out early then it would get much worse later on and he would be the one cleaning up the mess.

He felt like shit. Every single part of him ached like he had personally wrestled a shark and barely got away. His bones didn't feel like bones, they felt piece of rock, grinding against each other in a feat of rage and stifling every move he made. His eyes throbbed fiercely and he could barely see anything other than dull blurs. All the colors melted together into a gray blob that resembled some of the experiments that Yami's assistant Mana deiced to cook. Thank Poseidon that she had forced Yami to eat it instead of him. The only way he managed not to crash into anything was thanks to his sense of smell and hearing that remained unchanged, guiding him like he was blind. He might as well be! He felt like a damn invalid.

He was going to murder Yami. He was going to chop him into little pieces, stitch him back together, and smash his head repeatedly against something hard and stab him with his own hair. Then repeat. Until nobody would be able to recognize the pile of mush he would be. Bakura felt a grow crawl from the back of his throat as he glared wrathfully at who he hoped was Yami. It smelled like him anyway. Not that he went around smelling random people. That was a little too stalker-ish for his tastes.

His legs hurt like hell's hell. Now that was something he never ever thought he would ever have to deal with. It isn't a very usual trait for a merman to have human legs. But even with the lame eyesight and the on-the-verge-of-breaking legs weren't enough he also found another problem with himself when he woke up.

His magi core was on the fritz. Big time. Even now his core was turning on and off at random times and pulsating with magic even when he willed it calm down. He didn't understand. This never happened before. It was as if his own magic was fighting against his will and straining to get out. His chest hurt with the strain to contain his magical energy and his glare faltered slightly as his eyes lit up then dimmed back, leaving his eyes never worse than before. Damn it to all hells! Bakura wanted to scratch his own eyes out.

He could fell Yami next to him and the soft rustling in front of them made him think that the humans were nervous or impatient. Well suck it up! He could barely see the difference between either species right now! He feels that he's entitled to the privilege of remaining damn well silent! The fabric under him was smooth but faintly sticky, smelling like something slightly animal. It made his skin stick to it and rub in uncomfortable places. Now he knew why humans wore clothing. Damn humans and their sticky pieces of dead animals!

A sudden burst of magic ruptured from him and before he could do anything more than widen his eyes, he felt more than heard the explosion and the following shower of chimes. Several short screams and curses followed the explosion and as several blurs suddenly became one big one. His chest hurt.

"Holy quivering sea sponges!" Marik exclaimed, sounding a bit more excited than he should be.

"Bakura, what the hell was that for?" Yami's voice hissed from his left and a firm hand steadfastly gripped his bicep. He could almost see the irritated and annoyed glare he knew Yami had. Bakura jumped, making the fabric scratch him irritably, and snarled, trying to shove Yami's hand off his person but the stubborn bastard refused to go.

"How the hell should I know?" Bakura spat back, shoving Yami's hand off with his own. The sudden movement shot a jolt of pain to his eyes, making him close them in an effort to rid the pain. Usually he wouldn't dare to let anybody see his pain but, what the hell, he couldn't even see if they were in the room.

"What do you mean how the hell should you know?" Yami voice snapped at him then he could hear the smirk in his voice. "Are you really that stupid that you don't even know your own body anymore?" Goddamn that playful tone. He only used that tone when he was winning at some game which, let's face it, was almost every game he glanced sideways at.

"And whose fault is that?" Bakura retailed sharply. He was NOT feeling good, not even remotely close. He felt his gills flap agitatedly in response.

"Not mine," was Yami oh-so-intelligent response which had Bakura's hackles immediately rising. Not his…not his…not his…! What. The. Hell. He was the only one out of all of them that had the talent and magical ability to even try to do such a thing ridiculous as a (unofficially) forbidden transmutation spell which, he must declare in such a manner that will make your ears bleed, has killed several magicians over the past centuries.

"What the hell do you mean not mine?" Bakura growled, squinting at the star-shaped blob in front of him. "You're the one with the all the oh-so-powerful magical ability that you keep on bragging on and on and on all day!"

"Yeah, well I don't know what the hell happened!" Bakura was so pissed that he didn't register the words at first but, when he did, he was thrown into the throes of confusion. Yami was admitting not knowing about something that he did? Okay, either Yami's brain died or his brain died. It was kind of hard to figure out which one it was. He couldn't feel anything other than stiff muscles.

"What do you mean you don't know what the hell happened?" Bakura retorted, feeling his hands itch to wrap around Yami's neck in frustration. He so didn't need this right now.

"Exactly what I said," Yami cried out in an irritated sort of voice, his hands itching into fists. Yeah, well, welcome to my world buddy. Come and have some saltberries while we cry oceans in frustration and goddamn anger! "I don't know what the hell happened! You weren't supposed to have changed! I didn't include you in the transmutation so either somehow your magic merged with ours at the merging point or you did it by yourself. Take a pick!"

"I'll take a pick! And- wait, if you didn't then how the hell did I end up with legs! That's what I want to know," Bakura said confounded, blinking fast. Partly because of his eyesight and partly because that what Yami said made no sense whatsoever. Now, Yami here says a lot of things that went right over his head without even skimming his batch of hair but this was –just- plain weird. And, trust him; Bakura was the definition of weird, okay.

"That's what we wanted to ask you," Seto's voice drawled out from his little seat-thing that look a heck of a lot more comfortable than what he was sitting on right now. Smug bastard, he probably did it on purpose.

"How am I supposed to know?" Bakura demanded, crossing his arms stubbornly and unintentionally bunching up the sheet which had been wrapped snuggly around him. Stupid piece of fabric. "I was unconscious for who knows how long for the who knows how manyth time! I didn't do anything! Unlike you." Pointing finger aimed towards the Yami-blob with vengeance.

"Yeah, well you-"

"Bickering like this won't help solve anything," Seto cut in with his rude but still somehow polite way. "Because one: you're scaring the humans and two: we know that you did it Bakura and it affected something." Bakura swerved his head around to fixate on the Seto-blur and squinted at him too. If he kept this up then he just knew someone would end up naming him Squinty.

What would Seto be talking about? Curse him and his obscure references to things he thinks they should know. Oh…the humans. He forgot about them. Funny. His nose directed him to the grayish blackish blob in front of him. He could easily pick out a fragrance that he remembered vividly but he could not recall where exactly he picked it up. It reminded him of something that he used to hang around when he was little. It was a fresh kind of smell, like a mixture of herbs that brought him good memories. What the fuck?

But before he could get a good whiff of the fragrance it vanished to be replaced with the smell that he automatically knew was Ryou's. It was milky and sweet, tantalizing but thin enough not to overwhelm his delicate senses. Bakura sat there for a minute, drinking in the scent like water before he snapped himself out of the stupor, growling at himself angrily and turning to glare in the general direction of Seto.

"Um, Bakura? Are you okay? You don't look too good," he heard Ryou's melodious voice whisper timidly in his direction. Melodious? Where does he come up with this stuff?

"'M fine," Bakura murmured, resisting the itch to rub his eyes until they peeled off his face. He noticed his eyesight was getting worse now that he was trying to focus more on the faint outline of Ryou. All he could make out was two green spots and a blur of white. For some reason not being able to see Ryou clearly made him even more irritable. "I hate you Yami. So much."

"Likewise," Yami replied dryly, feeling a kink in his neck. He ignored it and studied Bakura for a moment. Seto was right there was something odd with Bakura, something slightly off with his aura. Bakura had always had a sort of rather dark aura, a molten shade of dark purple, black, and blue all three colors tumbling over one another. Another mark of what the ocean has gifted those of its Royal blood. But it wasn't just purple, black, and blue. There was the tiniest sliver of a different color, a different aura all together.

He mixed his aura with that of someone else's? It's happened recently Yami noted. Bakura's aura was still trying to expel the foreign aura but was being held back forcefully by Bakura's own magic. Typical of Bakura to be fighting himself.

"Whose aura did you mix with Bakura?" Yami inquired, sounding offhand but unable to let the smallest bit of curiosity leak through his voice. Bakura started and opened his mouth but Yami cut him off before he could go crazy on his ass. "And don't lie to me Bakura," he said warningly, meeting Bakura's wavering stare with calm. "I can see your aura is trying to dispel another presence and it not one of our own." A sudden idea flew in like a thunderstorm. "It was the Kyroi Heledi wasn't it? Damnit Bakura." He didn't even have the energy to be angry.

"You. Are. An. Idiot." The cold, stony voice was like an artic breeze, chilling even the humans who had do idea what they were talking about. "We will talk about this later Bakura."

Bakura felt another growl try and make its way out of his throat. But he was soon distracted by another burst of magic that his magi core was trying to expel. Goddamnit. His sharp canines dug into the insides of his cheeks and the pain helped to slightly reduce the flow of magic that was threatening to eject like last night's dinner. That bubble of magi was not going anywhere. He was not going to lose control anymore. Thanks to his pigheaded stubbornness his magic receded back like the little loser it was. Take that sucker!

It was official: he was going crazy.

"Excuse me?" Yuugi managed to say nervously but firmly, making everyone's head swerve in his direction like army tanks. He melted slightly under the intense exotic gazes but t Jou's comforting hand on his elbow gave him more courage. "I hope I didn't interrupt anything important but it's getting kind of late and I still have to finish making dinner-" which he would have to double in amount now. He had been making tacos you know "-so I think we should properly introduce ourselves and accommodate everyone for the night. Tomorrow we can talk more. I'm sure you're all tired." He smiled brightly at everyone and clapped briskly.

Yuugi kept grinned as his gaze assessed his practically naked guests. They would have to get them clothes especially for the tallest person in the room, the merman with startling blue eyes. They had nothing in this house which would fit him. He frowned briefly at the problem. Yami would probably fit into Malik's clothes give or take a few inches. Some of Jou's baggier clothes (that teen loved his baggy clothes) would probably fit Bakura and the Malik look-a-like. He really had to get some names here.

"I'll start," Yuugi volunteered somewhat more hesitant than before, seeing as no one else moved an inch expect Malik who was still over there in his little loveseat-island way over there, trying to mentally blow his aquatic copy that staring strongly at him out of the house. Yuugi cleared his throat noisily and winced. He had to stop doing that. "Um, my name's Yuugi Motou. It's nice to meet you?"

There was silence and before any of his friends could come to his embarrassing rescue Yami, the red-eyed merman spoke.

"I might as well go next," Yami said, sounding bored, his eyes fixed on Yuugi from under lightning bangs. "Name's Atemu but I go by Yami, apprentice to the Court Magician and Librarian Mahado and only son of Lady Teinei of Unabara." He fell silent then glared at the taller blue-eyed teen who sighed as if this was all too troublesome to be dealt with.

"Seto Kaiba, only son of Gouzaburou Kaiba, the High Advisor of the Court of Taikai," he said shortly and to the point but sounding coldly polite. His eyes flashed at Jou then settled on Yuugi, fixing him with a mild glare. Yuugi couldn't help but shiver slightly. He was just glad that he was here alone.

"Oh-Oh! Me next!" the sandy spiked merman exclaimed excitedly, waving his arms around in the air. "I'm Marik ya? Son of Omari of Talia and lover of jellyfish and Malik-pretty. Ya?" He grinned widely while Malik spluttered indignantly and Jou couldn't help but snicker. He liked this guy.

Bakura snorted. "Yeah well whatever. Y'all know who I am." He waved his hand carelessly, signaling that he finished his ridiculously short introduction. Then a funny thing happened. His eyes crossed momentarily like he was constipated then uncrossed hazily.

More silence before Yami looked over at Yuugi expectantly, raising a black brow. Yuugi couldn't help but flush under his gaze and coughed, nudging a stunted Ryou in the side. The small albino jumped in shock.

"Oh-um, uh, I'm Ryou Bakura," he whispered softly, hiding his eyes under his bangs. Why were they all staring at him so strangely?

"It's not like any 'of ya care but 'm name's Jou and don' forget it," Jou responded, crossing his arms and sulking like a toddler which made tall blue-eyes Seto glance at him, unimpressed with his maturity level. A flash of anger overcame him for a moment when the inferior feeling that the gaze made him feel. He had the greatest feeling that he and Seto would not be friends any time soon.

Malik mumbled something that was probably not PG rated and sighed nosily. "I'm Malik Ishtar not Malik-pretty or human-cute or squishy-cuddlemuffins or whatever names the creep was calling me!" With a death glare at said offending creep he furrowed himself back into his faithful loveseat.

Marik hummed thoughtfully and tapped his chin like he was thinking deeply. "Okay, I won't call you Malik-pretty anymore." He smiled widely at Malik's suspicious gaze while Yami rolled his eyes and Bakura muttered something under his gaze. "I'll call you Cute-turtle from now on!" He was very pleased with himself for thinking of such a great name for his precious.

Malik wanted to die. "That's even worse than before!" he shouted, pissed. "Can you not call me weird names?" He seethed like the greatest seether live.


"Arggg!" Malik seethed even more, fisting his hair like he wanted to rip it out by the roots. He narrowed his eyes. Watch yourself tonight fish-boy, Malik thought murderously, watch yourself.

"Okay, okay," Yuugi interfered peacefully, giving Malik a warning glance which made him deflate slightly. "I think it's time for everyone to get a break. I trust that you'll be able to make it upstairs." He directed the last part to their unexpected guests and gave them what he hoped to be a reassuring smile.

"We'll manage. Thank you Yuugi," Yami responded giving Yuugi a smile which somehow made Yuugi weak at the knees.

He needed to make more tacos.

I don't like this chapter. It was made while I was in this writer's block and I just squeezed it out. I don't like it. But I promise next chapter will be much better. I'll have some more character and plot development finally there for you.

Even though it was crappy please review.

Ja ne.