Kana: And the rumor that I'm gay spreads…
Disclaimer: Saying I own YGO is like saying I own Hellsing. Neither is going to happen, and that makes me very, very sad.
Season Four, Round Eight of ComputerFreak's YGO Contest: Nurseshipping (Mai Kujaku x Shizuka Kawai) Yuri? (shrugs) Alrighty then.
Summary: AU. In a game of stepping on cracks and black cats with bells around their necks, someone's bound to lose an eye in all the excitement. Or two…
In the city of Domino, there is a small shop in the grungy downtown district. And in this small shop, a young girl known for her red, long hair sold objects of a most peculiar nature. Cuckoo clocks that pecked out the eyes of their holders and chattering teeth that gnawed through the receiver's hands. Pictures whose inhabitants murdered the sleeping house owners and taxidermal animals that came to life at night to steal away children.
One was warned about these homicidal objects very liberally, but people still went in and bought things as souvenirs – most notably the poor ignorant tourists – and appeared a few days later with a gnawed off hand or one eye gone. The skeptical went away with a plastic baggy of worry stones or chewing gum or a book of riddles, but were never ever seen again.
And now, one brave woman was about to step into the horror shop and claim some objects to prove that it was all rumor and propaganda.
When Mai Kujaku stepped into the shop, she had to push aside a few red silks that were draped across the room like party decorations. Her shoes stepped across jewelry that were scattered around the shop's floor, waiting to trip someone. What looked to be deer hooves were stringed up as festive streamers, and she had yet to find the rest of the animal.
"Oh God!" Mai cried as she came face to face with a massive wolf's head, which was locked, even in death, in a fierce snarl. In the dim light of the shop, it looked too alive for her tastes, with its glass eyes shining from the flickering candlelight.
"Something about gods?" said a tiny voice, and a girl came out from behind a black silk drape. She looked no older than a middle school girl, and her large eyes got the same glinting effect from the candles as the wolf's. The first thing Mai noticed was her long, silken red hair, as red as the silks, that was tied back with a band that looked like birchbark.
"You're that girl," Mai blurted out without thinking. She gave herself a pinch for doing so.
The girl smiled. "'That Girl' is not my name. Neither is Shizuka, but that is what I have people call me." She was wearing what looked like a terribly immense and bright muumuu that was belted at her slim waist by a dark red scarf. She began to walk towards the back of what Mai had thought was the shop, but it turned out to be nothing more than a hallway leading into the shop. "Follow me."
Mai frowned deeply, but did so, following Shizuka down what seemed to be a long hallway lined with more stuffed animals, ranging from more frozen wolves to diving eagles to threatening felines. "You do realize it's illegal to kill some of these animals, right?"
Shizuka looked over her shoulder and gave her one of the sweetest smiles she had ever seen. "Oh, they were not killed by my hand. They were killed by another's." She continued under a sheet of silk and bent down once to pick up a tiny black cat with a bell around its neck. The cat's green eyes looked at Mai, and she swore it was giving her a condescending look. "This is my testimony to them."
She began to hum a disturbing tune about dead boys and swords. She gave Mai the same sickly sweet smile and held back a particularly long drape of dark purple satin.
When Mai stepped through that opening, her entire world was turned upside-down.
A lush garden full of the greenest trees and shrubs was inside the shop. Ivy grew up the dark brick walls and butterflies were landing upon honeysuckle that looped around the building's support beams. An oak tree's roots snaked into concrete while its branches tried and failed to break through the ceiling. And the thicker, lower branches had somehow been twisted and flattened, now serving as shelves that nearly went all the way across the room.
And laid out on those shelves, were some of the most out of place things that Mai had ever seen. Chattering teeth were next to ancient leather-bound books. Paintings with chipped colors were hanging on nails that were embedded in the tree next to the famed cuckoo clocks. The cat flew out of Shizuka's arms and rested in a lone patch of grass under a hot lamp, its bell tinkling.
The strange red-haired, riddle-loving girl picked up a bag of what appeared to be vibrantly colored sucking candies. "My shop sells vengeance toys." She plopped the bag into Mai's hands. "These will make a disloyal lover's mouth ache like a sore wound." Next was a beautiful pair of pristine white gloves made for a lady's petite hands. "These are for the one he was disloyal with. They will make her hands forever scald a man until she is alone and unwanted." The sweet smile made Mai horribly sick now.
"Is this like a store that sells tricks?" Mai asked nervously, running her finger along the surface of a magnificent lamp. The tag said it would blind the thief that stole it. As did most of the perfect paintings, except for one knockoff of the Mona Lisa, which would steal the soul of a rival.
"No," Shizuka sniffed, hurt that Mai found none of her products amazing. "They are used for revenge."
Out of no where, Mai felt something fly into the side of her head with a squeak. At first she thought it had been a ridiculously big butterfly, but then she looked down and saw a tiny pale man rubbing his head and looking annoyed. He was no higher than her middle finger, and wore a kilt made of tiny bud leaves, with his long white hair up in a bushy tail and elbows like thorns.
After he stopped nursing his aching head, the little man looked up at her sourly. Then, to her amazement, he stuck out a tongue no bigger than a seed.
Mai made a choking sound as the little faerie – for what else could he be? – flew up on gossamer wings and sat on Shizuka's shoulder. He pointed at her with needle-like fingers. "It's rude to stare! I'll put tangles in her hair if you don't stop!"
"Oh god," Mai instantly looked away, too afraid to do anything else. She did not want that little man in her house, tangling her hair and doing god-knows-what.
"Why so moody today?" Shizuka asked the faerie man.
The faerie sulked, his red eyes flickering without candlelight. "I'm bored and Seth keeps poking me."
"Tell him I'll put iron in his honey if he keeps doing so," Shizuka said sweetly, letting the little Seth-hating man flutter away.
"Uh huh," the faerie zipped away, obviously dodging Mai's head this time, who was going into a state of shock.
"Are you convinced now?" Shizuka giggled, and then sent her away after selling her the sucking candies and a jeweled necklace that stole the energy of someone else. "Come again soon."
Mai did not go back for another four months.
Mai Kujaku did not use the candies on a lover. She stored them away and never looked at them. As for the necklace, she pawned it off and regretted it soon after.
She regretted it when a blond boy appeared at her apartment door a few months later, with blood running down his cheek and a big shiner smudging his left eye. Her eyes scanned the black cloak he had wrapped around him and a large golden bell hanging around his neck.
"Oh no," Mai tried to close the door in his face, but a hand that had abnormally long nails stopped her. "I had enough of your freaky shit the last time!"
The boy hissed irritably. "Will you let me in!?" he yowled unhappily, pushing against the door until he was able to slip through. "It's your fault!"
"What's my fault!?" Mai snapped back when something tiny and familiar shot through the crack in the door, scaring her effectively and allowing the cloaked boy through.
It was the faerie man, and he was jabbing those fingers into her exposed arms and neck like a bee. "Rude again! Rude again!" he shrieked.
That was when Mai cracked. As the faerie stabbed her and the boy got his bearings together, she snapped. In a flurry of blond hair and nails, she swatted the faerie away as if he was just a gigantic mosquito. He was caught by the boy, hissing and spitting curses.
"This is all your fault," the boy seethed.
"So you're telling me that, because I sold that necklace, a bunch of bad –," Mai did finger quotes for emphasis, "- faeries bought it and used it against your master," and she finished with more quotes.
"Correct," said the boy, who called himself Jounouchi. He had a little pouch slung over his shoulder, where he kept the little man named Bakura. The bag was bulging as the faerie kicked and squealed, complaining loudly even though they were in a crowded subway.
"Let me out! It smells in here!" Bakura whined, forcing open the zipper a little and poking his white head out. He gulped down the filthy muggy air before pointing his red eyes at Mai for a second. He glared hatefully at her before sinking back into the pouch.
"How the hell can something like that," Mai gestured to the bag, "be threatening?"
Jounouchi eyed her in annoyance. "Some faeries are not like him, some are big, like Master or me. We are all different."
"Are all faeries as fucked-up as you?" Mai snapped, remembering Shizuka's giddy reactions to the scariest things.
The boy said nothing as they neared the teller, but Bakura made some more angry spitting noises. Mai took the time for one last jab at his pride. She patted the bag, murmuring "shut up or I'll feed you to the sewer rats."
That was when Mai realized she only had enough change in her pocket for one ticket, not two. The only thing in her pocket was her house, car, and mailbox keys on a link chain, a can of pepper spray that was nearly empty, a couple bobby pins, and a few crumpled tissues. When she told this to Jounouchi, he glared at her sourly.
"And you didn't grab money on the way out because?" Jounouchi asked, his bell tinkling as though to state how pissed off he was.
"Because when someone tells you 'hey, since its your fault my master is in a fatal situation, I've decided to make you help us because the only person I know is my sidekick Squeaky the Albino Chew Toy' you really don't have a lot of time to do shit," Mai said, and blinked.
When she was done blinking, Jounouchi was gone, but his bell was still ringing. So Mai looked down, seeing the irritable black cat with honey-colored eyes. It gave her another ticked-off look before clawing its way up her pant leg, settling in her arms as if to say 'you're carrying me at least.'
So Mai sighed, and bent down to pick up the wriggling bag containing the Bakura-faerie. She tucked it in the large pockets of her trench coat to muffle the little squeaks of displeasure he let out every so often, and strode up to the teller with a cat in her arms and a faerie in her pocket. And when she paid for only one ticket, she felt a little ashamed cheating the system. But, to be fair, the other two people weren't necessarily humans.
As soon as she stepped onto the subway train, the cat's fur stood on end and it decided to dig its nails into her skin.
"It reeks in here," the cat whimpered in her ear, kneading its paws against her shoulder in obvious discomfort.
Mai sniffed the air, and although there was something foul in the air, nothing was crippling. "What's the matter?"
"The iron," said her pocket in a weak voice. She could feel Bakura crouching closer to her side, as if to defend himself against the scent of the iron that covered nearly everything in the train. "It smells vile." She felt him burrow deeper into the pouch, grasping at the tag on the inside.
Other passengers began to stare at her when she spoke gently to her suffering faerie partners. "Then just hold your breath or something. It's only a five minute ride."
The cat leapt out of Mai's arms as soon as the train's rusted wheels shrieked to a stop. She found Jounouchi waiting for her a few minutes later, eating something that looked and smelled fruity, though it was blackish and had red juices. And when he tossed the core and seeds away, Mai saw the juices splash on a brick building. In front of her very eyes, vines sprouted from the bricks, green and vibrant with life.
"What -?" Mai's voice was all air.
Jounouchi shot her an impatient look, stepping over a crack in the sidewalk extravagantly. "Who do you think is responsible for the inflictions of ivy on some buildings?" His grin was mischievous. "Imagine the terrible things people do for us to seek revenge."
The pouch had grown silent, so Mai flipped it open, pulling out a limp Bakura. "Oh…"
There was much sighing as Jounouchi took the faerie from her as if he was just a tiny rag doll, looping his thumb and forefinger around Bakura's torso. "Never, never tell a faerie to do something unless you mean it, because he'll do it no matter what. You told him to hold his breath, so he did until he passed out." Using his thumbs, Jounouchi massaged the tiny man's body until his chest was fluttering again, and his eyes groggily opened.
"Rude," he murmured, curling up in Jounouchi's warm hand as if he was been only sleeping. Bakura yawned, exposing a mouthful of fangs, and allowed himself to be tucked in a spacious pocket on the black cloak.
"Remember that for next time," Jounouchi warned, leading her along the filthy street. Mai's hands felt oddly dry, so she rubbed them on a damp building, brushing any leftover gravel off on her pants.
"There won't be a next time," Mai said glumly.
"Oh, there will be," Jounouchi said grimly. "Once you know about us, we never leave you alone. You'll be constantly watched by hobs, and you will be followed by pixies. We will never leave you alone."
"And why is that?"
His smile sent chills down her spine. "So that, if you ever try to give away our secret, we can kill you." Then he stepped on a crack, and Mai's world gave way into blackness.
When Mai came to, she was back in the garden, surrounded by monsters. And Jounouchi of course. She had her hands cuffed behind her back with iron fetters – must be a faerie thing – and she was so close to the shape shifter than she could smell the burnt flesh around his wrists.
At least a half dozen creatures were around them, toying with the shop's products and basically lounging around. They were a menacingly delicate three feet tall, but they had the proportions of adults, and carried bows made of bleached wood. The quivers on their backs contained arrows tipped with iron.
"What happened?" she asked drowsily, shifting onto her good side. The other one was numb from loss of circulation and soon began to prickle painfully.
Jounouchi looked her way blearily, and cracked his neck. "They ambushed us right outside the shop. One of them got you on the back of the neck. That's all I remember."
"They chloroformed me," Jounouchi began to cough as if he was going to hack up a lung. "Foul chemicals." One of the tiny hobbit creatures looked their way, and grinned, revealing a mouthful of gleaming white fangs. It held something up, and Jounouchi gasped in horror.
The hobbit/goblin hybrid held Bakura in its long fingered hand, the faerie struggling and cursing with all his might as it kept him down by one of his silken wings. He was digging his fingers knuckle-deep into the hand, drawing large rivulets of blood that the hostile elf didn't seem to notice or care about.
It nodded. Jounouchi shook his head frantically, desperately, his eyes wide in horror. The elf nodded again before tearing off one of Bakura's thin wings like it was a candy wrapper. The faerie shrieked in a way that made Mai wish she was deaf.
Then the tables turned. Bakura wiggled his way free, no longer bound by that particular wing and the other one torn in places. Then, with all the speed of a snake on crack, he leapt at the elfin creature's face, using his sharp fingers and thorn-like elbows to tear out its eyes, leaving bloody gush in their place. The monster screamed, and Mai found herself rooting for the insane little thing.
The creatures eventually caught Bakura, but only after two more of them lost their eyes and one had its throat slit by those lethal fingers. The victorious goblin was able to pin the enraged faerie between its finger and thumb, and began to shake him viciously. The faerie's cries sounded like those of a really mature child's on a roller coaster.
Jounouchi somehow popped his shoulders around and caught Bakura in his chained hands when the monsters threw him their way, the winged creature spiraling in the air because of his one remaining wing. The faerie was bleeding from his nose, eyes, ears, and mouth, but he was still mumbling curses and his tiny hands fumbled for more eyes to claw out. Jounouchi took time to relocate his shoulders back into their sockets – must be another faerie thing – and held the bleeding thing to his chest.
"Will he be alright?" Mai whispered, putting aside the fact that Bakura had threatened to tangle her hair.
"I can't be sure until we fine Shizuka-sama," Jounouchi murmured, wrapping a finger in the hem of his shirt and gently cleaning the faerie's face. Bakura caught the finger weakly and bit into it, lapping away the beads of blood eagerly with a tiny tongue. And Jounouchi let him.
"Seth-chan…" the faerie whimpered. "Seth-chan…"
"I know," Jounouchi wrapped the faerie in a few tissues from Mai's pocket, and then tucked him in his cloak pocket, carefully making sure he was safe.
Mai's rage boiled inside her as her hands searched her pockets, her fingers closing around the chain that held her keys. "You said faeries are harmed by iron?"
"Yes," Jounouchi held up his wrists and the bloody scabs from where the fetters touched his skin. "We don't know why, but enough of it can kill us."
She held up a bobby pin. "Can you pick a lock?"
Ten minutes later, one of the goblins looked up to see the blond human they had supposedly chained swinging a deadly weapon of jagged iron at its face. It screamed as the iron dug into its flesh over and over until it curled into the fetal position. This took all of three seconds, and soon the remaining two saw and experienced the exact same thing.
Mai wielded her key-weapon expertly, beating the goblins down and yelling with anger. Then she searched the dead one that had torn off Bakura's wing and took out a small case full of faerie wings from previous victims and handed them to Jounouchi, who held it as if it was a bomb about to go off.
"The Unseelies are disgusting," he spat, tucking the container in his other pocket.
"I'm sure nothing is as bad as having a clock peck out someone's eyes," Mai whispered back, seeing movement in the vast oak tree. She wondered if fruit juices had made this thing grow as well.
Without warning, another – slightly taller – hobbit-monster burst from the branches, holding an unconscious Shizuka. Her muumuu was stained with dark blood and her auburn hair had been hacked a few inches in some places, but she was breathing. The creature held her over one shoulder and had a thin hand-and-a-half sword in another.
It snarled and struck at her as if holding Shizuka over a shoulder wasn't a hindrance at all. Mai just barely dodged the attack that would have sliced off her right arm. The beast shrieked and tried again, and this time Mai ducked under the blade and felt it swish over her head, pulled back the arm that held the keys, and aimed for its tender belly. The target was so low that she nearly fell to her knees, but she struck.
The keys cut through the beast's tunic like a hot knife through butter, and made a huge gash that spurted black blood. It howled with pain and faltered, giving Mai another chance to strike. She aimed for one of its eyes, reveling in her power over these faeries.
After taking out an eye, Mai had to deal with an adrenaline-filled, furious elfin hobbit-thing. Its attacks became faster, swifter, and harder to avoid, jerking Shizuka around and making her moan. Mai dug her hand into her pocket and pulled out the half-full can of pepper spray and emptied the rest of it into the creature's face, aiming for the gash where its eye would have been.
The monster's cry of pain made Mai's heart soar. It threw its head back in pain and gave her a clear shot at its throat. And she took her chance grimly.
After the fight was over, Mai suddenly realized that she had saved a bunch of faeries. She was covered with her own red blood and the beast's black blood, and she really didn't care. She and Jounouchi dragged Shizuka from under the Unseelie monster and found another brunette faerie in a white robe hiding in one of her pockets. He had all of his azure wings and looked shaken, but not injured. He darted into Jounouchi's pocket to squeal over Bakura. Mai assumed he was Seth the Satanic Bakura Poker.
"Who…" Shizuka's voice was weak when she finally came to, and her eyes were hazy and had a milky film over them, but she would be fine Jounouchi said. "Who helped you?" she asked the honey-eyed faerie.
Jounouchi pointed to Mai, and she was ashamed to say she looked at her shoes.
Shizuka's voice was nothing but breath. "My golden-haired prince," she murmured happily, drinking from the flask that Jounouchi pressed to her lips. The oak tree's roots were moving to grab the bodies of the hobbits, dragging them under the cement. "Like Henry the eighth – oh," she laughed to herself, obviously picturing Mai as Henry the eighth. The chuckling ended in painful spasms and another sip.
Mai knelt down, feeling like she had to at least help out. Jounouchi was chanting something under his breath, making invisible runes over Shizuka. She pulled the limp body of Bakura out from his pocket, and was shocked to see that the little faerie was no longer breathing.
She told this to Jounouchi, and he scowled. "It just happens," he said sadly, patting away blood and sweat from Shizuka's forehead. The auburn-haired girl looked at Bakura's body and held out her hand.
"Give him to me," Shizuka said, and Mai did so. She held the faerie close and cupped her hands, whispering into them.
After a second, light spilled from between her fingers before dimming. Bakura's white head poked out, his red eyes wide and curious. Seth had been looking miserably out from the pocket, and squeaked with delight when Bakura flew with two bright new wings into it, tackling him down.
"How did you do that?" Mai asked.
Shizuka just smiled. "I told him to begin living again." She sat back and sighed happily. "Good night, sweet prince." Then she closed her eyes and fell into a drunken stupor, but not before giving her a quick peck on the lips.
Mai looked at the flask Jounouchi held in horror. "How strong is that?"
Jounouchi looked at it curiously. "I don't know, but it tastes really good."
Kana: well people, that's all I've got for tonight. I'm home at last! :D After traveling in a plane the size of a toothpaste tube with seats made for grumkins (midgets) and freaking propellers instead of engines, I am home.
Let's celebrate by reviewing.