Author's Note: Well here I am again, and so soon too! I got something a little different for you all this time. For one, it's Yu-Gi-Oh! instead of Kingdom Hearts, and two, it's a B-Day present for my darling nii-san. He put this idea in my head!
It was pretty much spawned while we were watching Yu-Gi-Oh!, and the bro said "I wonder how the Yugi-tachi would deal with the Munchkins."
If you don't know what Munchkin is you might not understand the story. It is a real game, produced by Steven Jackson Games. It pretty much works the way it's described in the story. Nii-san and I love it and have most of the versions.
This is a sort of prelude to another story in which they're actually trapped (again) in the game, but they're scattered through out the different genres. This is just about how they started playing the game. If you guys are interested, I'll post that story.
On a side note, I don't hate Anzu; she just really annoys Bakura in this story. If I continue the story, she'll get better I promise.
Also to the reviewers of Empty Lullaby, thank you for you're kind words. It means a lot to me.
Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh! or Munchkin.
Warnings: Not too many. Rated T b/c Bakura needs to have his mouth washed out with soap.
Kill the Monster. Steal the Treasure. Stab the Pharaoh.
It had been a birthday present from Rebecca.
After seeing the title, Yugi had decided that it had to be a gag gift. Miffed that his American friend had seen fit to tease him about his most obvious shortcoming he'd left the game on the shop counter without even opening the plastic. When he'd returned it was gone.
When questioned later, Atemu said that Grandpa had set a stack of games that weren't selling on the counter and told him to put them away somewhere to make more room in the front of store. So Yugi's gift was now probably somewhere on the top shelf.
Yugi didn't consider it a terrible loss; in fact as far as he was concerned the offending game could stay where it was.
The King of Games really should have known better. All games have a life and heart of their own and Yugi had just broken the heart of this one. For all his talk about "the Heart of the Cards" he hadn't even given them a chance, and hell hath no fury like a game scorned, especially this one. So the game sat and brooded on its shelf, awaiting a mind that would appreciate it.
"Uno," Bakura declared, but without much enthusiasm. It was only the first game of the night and his temper was already worn thin. Yes, there it was, that all too familiar and completely repulsive glint in the Pharaoh's eyes. How had his hikari convinced him to come to this?
Earlier that day:
"Everyone's coming over for game night right?" Yugi asked almost bubbling over with excitement.
"Wouldn't miss it."
"You can count on us."
"Count me out," the last comment came from a rather moody Bakura. Was it really time for his weekly night in hell already?
Everyone stared at him as if he'd just killed someone, except Ryou who looked like he was getting a headache. Well this was just ducky.
He didn't need this. He'd had a very bad day. He'd over-slept, missed breakfast, had to stand in the hall for being late, and failed a pop-quiz on (of all things) modern Egyptian cities. While he'd been cursing all social studies courses he had realized he had no lunch and by the time he'd found Ryou to bum some food off of him, Malik had beaten him to it.
Being reminded that tonight was the night that he had to go to the game shop and watch the Pharaoh win every single game the Mutous owned, again, wasn't helping.
Yugi was becoming, unduly in Bakura's opinion, upset. Why did it matter if he went to these game nights or not? With exceptions of Ryou, Malik, and Mariku, no one liked him.
"Why don't you want to come Bakura?" Yugi whimpered.
"Yeah, how come?" great Jounochi was getting in on the act.
"Why do you think?" Bakura snapped. A mental count down started in his head.
The others looked shocked, again except for Ryou, of course, who was pinching the bridge of his nose and Malik who looked amused.
"How can you call yourself our friend and say–"
Ah Anzu, right on cue, Bakura thought before he cut her off.
"I don't call myself your friend. And I'm fucking sick and tired of this so-called 'game nights'. If I want mind numbing monotony, I'll watch reruns of Dragon Ball Z."
And with that he stalked off leaving Anzu gaping.
"How dare he!" Atemu snarled furiously. "He knows why game night is so important."
"He's just had a really bad day," Ryou said soothingly. He put a hand on Yugi's shoulder "Don't worry. I'll talk to him. We'll be there tonight."
Yugi smiled gratefully at him. "Thanks Ryou."
The white-haired boy smiled back and then chased after his yami.
The little group set off towards the game shop again, chatting about preparations.
Yugi trailed a little behind others, still feeling down about Bakura. Malik fell instep next to him.
"You know Yugi," he whispered once he was certain the Pharaoh and Anzu were out of earshot, "He may has been a complete ass about it, but Bakura has a point. Playing games with the Pharaoh, and no offence, you sort of loses its appeal after a while."
"Really?" Yugi felt worse than ever.
"Yeah," Malik grimaced. "It's just the same games, the same winner, it gets old."
"What if we found a new game would that help?" Yugi asked hopefully.
"It might," Malik said carefully. He didn't want to tell Yugi that the thing that would really help was if the Pharaoh lost once and while to someone other than Yugi. The little duelist had cheered-up and he didn't want to depress him again. Upsetting Yugi was like kicking a puppy.
At the Bakura residence, things were finally going better for the tomb robber.
He knew that Ryou was buttering him up to convince him to go game night, but at least it meant a hot meal and several cups of strong, heavily sweetened, milky coffee.
He watched as Ryou packed a satchel with snacks, a few board games and a pack of Starbucks Double Shots to temp his yami with.
He looked the tomb robber straight in the eye.
"Bakura," he said, "are you going to come quietly or are we going to have a fight about this?"
Bakura stared back. He really didn't want to go. On the other hand he really didn't want to fight with Ryou. He might've looked soft, but underneath his hikari was made of steel.
"Only if I don't have to share the double shots," he grumbled.
"Draw four Tomb Robber," Atemu smirked as he played his card. "The new color is red," he added.
Bakura drew his cards and looked around at the other players. There was Jounochi, Honda, and Anzu who'd helped set up, Shizuka who'd brought snacks, the Ishtars who'd brought trouble and more snacks, Mai, who Jounochi had invited that night, Ryou, and Otogi who'd helped Mokuba drag his brother there.
Bakura wasn't sure how Yugi'd convinced the CEO to come, but he assumed blackmail was involved.
He looked at his cards. None of them were red. "I don't need the Sennen taulk to know how this game will end," he grumbled under his breath. Malik who was sitting next to him tried, unsuccessfully, to suppress a snigger. Of course, Anzu noticed.
"You two had better behave yourselves and start taking this seriously," she chided. Ra, how he hated that bossy tone of hers!
"Take it seriously?" he baulked. "Listen to yourself Mazaki, it's Uno for Ra's sake!"
"Yeah, Anzu. I mean it's not like it's a Shadow Game or anything." Wait, was that Yugi sticking up for him?
"Or even Duel Monsters," added Mai. Yup, she was as bored as he was.
"But guys, he doesn't appreciate us at all!" Anzu snapped, "He could care less that we've been nice enough to put up with his bad attitude, and tried to be his friend. He just doesn't care!"
"You're right I don't, so stop wasting your time!" Bakura spat back and threw his cards on the table.
"But don't you want to know how the game ends?" Mokuba asked as the yami got up.
"Chibi-Kiaba, I know how the game ends. It'll come down to a show down between the Pharaoh and the High Priest. Kiaba will almost win before the Pharaoh pulls off some "heart of the cards" bullshit, yes on Uno cards, and snatch victory at the last moment. Everyone says how great the Pharaoh is, Kiaba shoots himself, I puke (1), The End."
"Bakura-" Atemu warned. But the tomb robber had had enough.
"Stuff it Pharaoh," he snarled and stalked off in the direction of the shop.
Ryou sighed and put his cards down.
"I'd better go after him," he said.
"Don't Ryou," said Anzu gently, "Let him stew and stay here with us. He doesn't deserve a nice hikari like you."
Ryou shook his head, "Sorry everyone. But I have to."
Anzu huffed at the mild rejection. "How can you be so nice to someone like him?" she demanded.
Ryou's eyes went cold. "I just think it's about time someone was," he turned to Yugi with a softer expression, "Besides I should really keep him away from the register."
The inside of the shop was dark, the only light spilled from the door to the house.
"'Kura," Ryou called softly, "Are you in here?"
"I'm over here," a voice said somewhere in the shadows, "Don't worry, I didn't touch the till."
Wow, he must be really angry Ryou thought. He couldn't see his yami at all. Whenever Bakura was really upset he always retreated to the shadows, wrapping them around himself like a kind of two-dimensional security blanket.
"I'm not going back in there, Hikari!" the tomb robber hissed.
"They'll drink your starbucks, if you don't."
"I can buy more coffee. It's not worth their fucking high and mighty attitudes."
Ryou pinched the bridge of his nose.
"What I was going to say was that I was really proud of you tonight, well until you started fighting with Anzu."
"She started it!" Bakura protested. "I didn't do anything wrong."
Ryou smiled. "I know you didn't Yami. Besides you telling them off certainly made Kiaba feel better. He was about to go off too, you know."
"Well whoop-de-fucking-do" Bakura snorted. "I made the freaking High Priest feel all warm and fuzzy."
"Come on Bakura, no one ever said we had to all play the same game. Let's get the Ishtars and play one of my board games."
"Why do have to play games at all?" Bakura complained. "I know the only way for this stupid business to truly be over is if the Pharaoh and I come to terms with each other. So why couldn't it be movie night, or a club or hell, I don't know, a theater troupe?"
Ryou chuckled sadly, "Because it was Yugi who set the terms with Shadi, and what else would Yugi pick?"
"How am I suppose to forgive the fucking Pharaoh if he crushes my ego every week?"
"I don't know Kura."
"He won't even play the games I like. We haven't played Monster World even once since this thing started."
"Nothing that was used as a Shadow Game, Kura," Ryou sighed. That rule had really bummed him out.
"And then there's the friendship freak," the tomb robber was on venting roll now. "Why does she have to be here? All she does is make it worse."
"Anzu does have a good side."
"I'd settle for a quiet side. Fuck, hikari the only thing worse than the Pharaoh's bitch is someone who wishes they were the Pharaoh's bitch."
Ryou rolled his eyes. He hoped no one else could hear his yami.
"And the way she goes on about friends. You'd think she'd take her own advice. It's because of people like her that I don't have friends."
"Well, what am I?"
Bakura shrugged. "I dunno, my hikari I guess. I just refuse to apply that trite, clichéd, hypoglycemic word that Mazaki whores out every chance she gets, to you."
Ryou smiled. "That's sort of sweet, in a sick, twisted and incredibly vulgar way."
Bakura sighed, "Just once, I wish the games were on my side, not the Pharaoh's." He kicked the shelf he was standing next to. With a sort of narrative inevitability, the offended shelf dropped a box on his head.
Bakura swore in Egyptian.
"What happened?" Ryou asked.
"The stupid shelf dropped something on me."
"Probably serves you right. What is it?"
"Bring it over here."
Bakura emerged from the shadows rubbing his head and holding a small beige box. Ryou held it up in the feeble light from the door and both he and his yami inspected it.
"I've heard of this before," said Ryou eagerly, "people talk about sometimes on the role playing message boards. It's supposed to be hilarious."
Bakura shrugged, although he was intrigued. After all the game's motto alone seemed promising.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the game was pretty much going the way Bakura had predicted. It was down to Kiaba and Atemu, but only Anzu and the Pharaoh himself seemed to care about what was going on. In fact, the Pharaoh was getting annoyed. Kiaba wasn't really trying, and when he spoke it was a sarcastic tone that sounded as if he was reading a script, badly.
The others had more or less, completely lost interest. Honda and Jounochi were throwing Uno cards like darts, with Otogi's hair as the target. Otogi was trying to hit on Shizuka and dodge the cards. Shizuka was ignoring him to help Yugi, Mai, and Mokuba build a card house. The Ishtars had fallen asleep.
Kiaba had just gotten to the part where he was holding his index finger to his temple in order to "shoot" himself in the head, when the door opened and Ryou and Bakura came back in.
"Hey Yugi," the other duelist looked up at Ryou intrigued by the eagerness in his friend's voice. "Can I open this? I'll pay for it."
Yugi wrinkled his nose in distaste when he saw the box. "Oh that was just a gag gift from Rebecca. Do whatever you want with it."
Ryou looked confused. "Gag gift?" he muttered. "I heard it's a best seller in the States."
Ignoring Anzu's cheery "How about one more hand?" Bakura walked over to the snack cooler and grabbed the rest of his double shots. He continued to ignore her angry glare as he plopped himself down on the sofa. The others were reassembling the deck, except for the cards the Ishtars were sleeping on. As a wise man once said, "Let sleeping psychos lie."
Ryou sat down on Bakura's lap making himself comfortable, and ignoring his yami's grumbling. He tore the plastic wrap and opened the box. He handed the two decks of cards to Bakura and began to read the instructions.
Every so often the Uno game heard a giggle from Ryou or a snicker from Bakura. When Ryou started laughing outright, Mokuba, bored with Uno, wandered over to see what was so funny. After a moment he was laughing too.
"Hey Yugi," he called out between giggles, "Can we just try this game, please?" He gave Yugi the look that always melted Kiaba. Yugi, also a master of the dreaded "puppy eyes" technique, had never been on the receiving end of that look before, and was now realizing its true horror. He knew enough that if he gave in to it now he'd be in wielder's thrall forever.
Mokuba cranked the cuteness level up to eleven. Atemu and Kiaba, both regular victims of "the look", were watching him closely to see if he'd cave. Kiaba, Yugi noted, couldn't even look at his brother. In fact, he was beginning to sweat from being in the same general direction as Yugi.
However, Yugi was not about to fall for his own trick. He looked Mokuba right in the eye and smiled.
"Sorry Mokuba but I'd rather not."
The "look" was immediately shut off. Yugi could practically see the "Damn, I wish I could do that" thought bubbles above Atemu and Kiaba's heads.
"But why not?" the little Kiaba whined.
"What do you have against this game?" Ryou chimed in holding up the box.
Yugi rolled his eyes. "I dunno, the title maybe."
Ryou looked confused for a moment and then realization dawned. Behind him Bakura sniggered.
Mai squinted at the box.
"Munchkin?" she read allowed.
Kiaba sat up from where he'd been pantomiming vomiting since the Pharaoh had won another game of Uno and Bakura was otherwise occupied.
"Munchkin?" he said taking an interest in, well anything, for the first time that night. "All the gamers in the States and Europe are chattering about that one. A lot of my international market is pushing for me make a virtual version of it, but I haven't played it yet."
"Well this is the perfect chance, then," Bakura grinned. If he could get the High Priest on his side…
"What's it about?" asked Mai.
Kiaba tried to remember what he'd read about the game.
"From what I recall, it's supposed to be parody game like a role playing game without the role playing, just the hack and slash."
Jounchi and Honda perked up at this.
"Well say no more," Jou grinned. "Let's crack it open!"
"Hack and slash sounds good to me." Honda chimed in.
"We're slashing what now?" a bleary eyed Malik asked. Bakura's discarded Uno hand was sticking to his face.
"Muchkins apparently," Shizuka answered, "And I'd like to add I find it disturbing that the phrase 'hack and slash' woke you up."
"Meh" said Malik and he started peeling cards off his face.
"There's all kinds of weird monsters, and freaky items that boost your power," Ryou continued eagerly.
"Yeah and I read that there's all kinds of expansions too," Otogi added. "Like an outer space adventure and kung-fu movie."
"Anything's better than this," Mai indicated the now defunct Uno game.
"But Yugi said he didn't want to play it." Atmeu said flatly. Everyone went silent. Yugi was uncomfortably aware that all eyes were on him. Everyone had gotten fired up again. Even Kiaba. He didn't want to ruin that. He'd only said he didn't want to play based on the title. Now that he knew what the game was about, he was interested too.
"We won't if you don't want to," the Pharaoh said encouragingly.
"Yes," Anzu added primly, "Besides I don't think it's a good idea for us to play a game that says 'Stab your buddy' right on the box."
"No it's okay," said Yugi quickly, "I didn't know it was a real game. I thought it was just something Rebecca had made to tease me." Besides he thought, a new game might help.
"Jolly good, let's play!" Ryou beamed.
With record speed, the Uno cards were cleared, Malik woke his yami with a kick to the shin, and the new game was set up.
Ryou read the directions aloud, garnering several sniggers from the others. As he continued, Bakura felt an unholy glee rise within him. Lie, cheat, and steal, if you could get away with it, it was legal. If you were caught, no problem, half the fun was trying to trip up the other players anyway. Hell, you could keep playing even if you died.
This was his kind of game.
Bakura glanced at the others. Oh yes, they heard the siren song too. Come on, whispered the cards. Be as bad as you like. You know you want too, we won't tell. It'll be our little secret.
Except for the Pharaoh. He looked worried. So did Mazaki.
A few rounds into the game, Atemu (now an elvin wizard) was fuming. He'd just lost a combat to the Potted Plant, courtesy of Kiaba (a dwarven cleric) Enraging it, and Bakura (a half-halfling thief) back stabbing him. He cheered up a little though when Kiaba kicked down the door and found the Duck of Doom.
A few rounds later…
"Okay with this spell card I can slay the Gazebo," Yugi (halfling warrior) cheered, happy he'd found a way to defeat the maniacal garden accessory.
"Sorry Yug, but it's Ancient."
"Wha- Jounochi how could you?"
Jounochi grinned sheepishly. "Sorry Yugi, but you're already level eight."
Mariku sniggered. "What'd'ya gonna do now mini-pharaoh?"
"Scream for help."
"I'll help you Yugi," Anzu trilled.
"Can't," Kiaba grinned.
"Yes I can! I always help a friend in nee—"
"No you can't," Kiaba said hurriedly cutting her off, hoping to head off the ensuing lecture, "Read the card. It says you must face the Gazebo alone."
"Awww drat! It does say that," Yugi groaned. "What do I do now?"
"You could try to run away," said Otogi offering a six-sided die to Yugi. "Roll a five or a six to escape, otherwise the Bad Stuff happens."
Yugi looked at the Bad Stuff. Yeah that was pretty bad stuff. He rolled.
"Alright! Yay five!"
"Wait a minute," said Mai looking at Yugi character cards, "You're a halfling."
"So, you have an automatic minus one to run away. That five was really a four."
"So you didn't really get away," Malik added.
Yugi stared at the card in front of him. Yup, there it was. Printed right there, on the card. Rather prominently too.
A few more rounds later…
Atemu couldn't understand it. He just couldn't! Neither he, nor Yugi seemed to be able to sync with this game. Oh sure they understood the rules, but Atemu could feel the game fighting them. Yugi had died, the others had taken his stuff, but he was still playing determinedly. He'd died again, because of the stupid sex change curse. He swore he was going to get Malik for that. Just as he thought he had a plan, Mokuba played Divine Intervention. Mokuba and Ryou, both got level ten and proceeded to cheer and holler and mock the other players as per the instructions on the card.
It was sometime later and Yugi and Atemu were cleaning up. The others had gone home, some of them in a good mood for once.
"I'm glad that's over," Atemu sighed.
Yugi grimaced. "I don't think it is Pharaoh."
The Pharaoh looked startled. "Why not aibou?"
"The others really liked that game. Especially Bakura and Kiaba."
"Yes, but she was staring to get into it."
"Not really. She just got angry. Besides I don't trust that game. It didn't like us."
"I think that's my fault," he admitted. "You know, for not giving it a chance."
"I still don't want to play it again."
Yugi sighed. Losing was no fun but… "The other's will be upset if we refuse. I kinda got the sense that they liked the idea that they had a chance to win against us. Malik told me that it was kinda tedious playing against us this morning. I guess he has a point. A game's no fun if you know you're going to lose. This new game will balance things up."
Atemu didn't answer. Yugi had apparently made up his mind and would think that he was petty if he persisted in refusing to play the game. Besides he had bigger things to worry about. He had the horrible suspicion that game was on Bakura's side. It didn't necessarily mean it'd help him win every time; it wasn't that kind of game. But it would make sure that he, the Pharaoh, lost all the time.
He recalled a movie that he and Yugi had watched one night, about a boy that was kidnapped by goblins and at one point in the movie there had been a musical number. Some Eighties pop-idol was done up in glam make-up and was dancing around singing with a bunch of freaky-looking puppets (2). It had been the most disturbing thing Atemu had ever seen.
He now had a mental image of Bakura as the glammed-up Goblin King with the Munchkins from the card game dancing around him. He shuddered.
"What's wrong Atemu?" The Pharaoh sent Yugi the image over their mind link. Yugi burst out laughing.
"Oh come on. It won't be that bad."
One week later.
Yugi hung up the phone. "That was weird."
Atemu looked up. "What was weird?"
"That was Otogi. He said he and the Kiabas were going to be early, and I didn't even mention the blue-eyes-white dragon boxer shorts."
"I still think we should put those on ebay. They'd probably bring in enough for a PS3 and a Wii. "
"Careful Atemu, you're starting to sound like Bakura," Yugi teased. Atemu looked thoroughly offended.
"Yugi," he said haughtily, "even as joke, even coming from you, there are just some things you don't say."
"Sorry Pharaoh," Yugi grinned, not as apologetically as Atemu would have liked though.
A little while later the doorbell rang and Yugi let in Otogi and Kiaba, who was carrying a large box. Mokuba trailed along behind, giving Atemu his "oooo you're in trouble now" grin. Kiaba himself was wearing his trademark, "I've found a new way to annoy the pharaoh" smirk, and set box down.
Atemu peered in the box.
"Oh you've got to be kidding me!"
Kiaba's smirk became an unholy grin. "We've got the classic dungeon crawl, the outer space adventure, the Hong Kong adventure, super heroes, spy thrillers, and vampires, werewolves, and changelings, oh my."
"And all of the expansion packs," Mokuba added.
"And the blender pack so we can mix all the decks together," Otogi said. "And look there's even special dice for counters and epic rules."
The Great Pharaoh sat down heavily in a convenient chair. The Munchkins danced devilishly in his mind's eye. He shot a glare at Yugi.
"You were right aibou. It won't be as bad as I thought," he grimaced. "It's going to be much, much worse."
1. Homage to Bart Simpson.
2. I love this movie so much. I just thought it would be funny if the Muppets freaked out the Pharaoh.
Okay guys, let know if I should keep going with this. Drop me a line, especially if you have any ideas which genre Honda (Tristin) should be in, I've got the others pretty well worked out.