When the sky bled orange that night, and the smoke blocked the stars, no one blamed young Otogi for the ashes.


Tick tock, tick tock
Tick, tick, tick
Fly little birdy

Fly away quick
Tick tock, tick tock
Tick, tick, tick

Soft sounds, her smiling up at him. She laid a card down.

"This one?"

He looked thoughtful. "No, no. It's weak, and you'll lose to my monster if you do it."

"Oh. This one?" It was picked up, and another card dropped.

"Yes. That's a good one."

The princess smiled and played her card and the boy she called prince watched in silence.

Swish. The sound of a card being pulled from his deck, another laid upon the ground. "But I still won."

She pouted at her friend, and he grinned back, devilish green eyes laughing at her.

Violet eyes laughed back, as her lips pursed in a frown. "I never win, Oto-kun," she whined.

Otogi laughed, patting Mai's hair. "You will someday, Mai-chan. You will someday."

"But I wanna win now," another whine.

More laughter from the prince of her dreams.

"Maybe next time. Right now, I hear your mother calling you." More pouting, then a bright smile, bright as her hair.

"Well, alright Oto-kun, but we'll duel again tomorrow!" she said, climbing to her feet. He grinned.

"Of course we will."

"Goodbye!" she called, running home. Otogi watched Mai run off into the trees around them, smiling.

---

When the sky bled orange that night, and the smoke blocked the stars, no one blamed young Otogi for the ashes.

---

Mai stared blankly ahead, and Otogi smiled at her.

"See Mai-chan? I told you we'd duel again today. And look, you're winning this time."

Mai's silence never wavered.

And the brave little prince just laid down another card, while his pretty pretty princess sat there, just like a doll.

Tick tock, tick tock
Tick, tick, tick
Fly my little birdy
Fly so quick
Tick tock, tick tock
Tick, tick tick...


I don't quite know why I seem to enjoy having a horribly morbid ten year old Otogi, or why he likes to set things on fire, but... -Shrug- If it works, it works. Obviously, I played with ages and with timelines to make it work, so. Don't bug out on me.