Author Note: I dropped my previous format in favor of simplicity. Enjoy the newest chapter folks.
By Imperfect Paradise
We are sending you BACK- to the Future!
He looked down at his abdomen, and watched as his diaphragm rose up and down with each and every breath he took, the blanket having fallen to his knees during his previous struggle.
It wasn't his abdomen.
He stared breathless, reached out and held his hands out before him, almost denying that this miracle had occurred.
They weren't his hands.
He broke into a fit of chuckling laughter, and wiped his forehead with his right hand while clenching his other, not believing that he had finally returned to the world of light. He felt the smooth skin on his cheeks, the sharp brow above his forehead, all foreign, but strangely and remarkable amazing. This body, that he was able to move so fluidly without any problem at all, wasn't his, hadn't been his, but now… it was his, and frankly? It felt wonderfully… absolutely wonderful.
He hadn't though it possible, that he could be capable of doing this. Life after death was a hard feat after all, and he knew it well. When he had encountered Shadi before during the time of his years of absolute grief and despair, he had no idea that power he had received (already having been beyond his wildest dreams) could potentially do what it had done, with such remarkable and astounding results. It was amazing. …and he loved it.
Of course, in the midst of his joy and amazement, there was something troubling him; an epiphany that now, in the midst of his uplifting incredulity, slowly began to resurface. His newly acquired smile began to fade, as he now went over the facts in his head. He now knew, that him being here… in this body… and in this room… and whatever time he was in, meant only one thing.
The outcome he had strived for didn't come out as he anticipated. Meaning? Duelist Kingdom hadn't been a success. But, to put it all a little more simply—
He… … had failed.
The puppeteer of Kaiba's hands gripped the blankets so tightly, that he nearly ripped them apart. He felt sick and angry at the same time, and felt bile rise in his new stomach, in realization of this sudden truth. God… damn, he thought bitterly.
How could he—the creator of duel monsters—have lost to such an ordinary boy? What the hell could have happened?
He attempted to recall where his failing was, but everything that had transpired before was so foggy. He couldn't remember anything. All he remembered was the duel with the boy whose body he now shared, and then his trip down to the bowels of the castle… but after that, nothing. Was it just the distortion of coming back to life?
Or was it because when he had sealed part of himself in stupid little Kaiba boy, that he wasn't in possession of the proper knowledge or memories of how his reign had come to an end?
Biting Kaiba's lip in a bemused fashion, Pegasus continued to contemplate on what exactly had transpired… but nothing came. Never had something irritated him so much.
Yet even so, he took his perplexity as an opportunity to allow himself to adapt to his new living conditions. Looking around him, he absorbed the detail of his new room, and couldn't help the sly smirk that came over his face. Strange. The room before him was a maroon color with yellow and gold. He would imagine himself with such a room. Maybe Kaiba-boy had some decent taste after all. He then tore off the blanket and stood up on Kaiba's feet, getting a feel for the world as he knew it now. It felt weird being on different feet but walking was something he could easily maintain. It wasn't like he was crippled or anything, it was just a new body. He found himself perfectly balanced and took a few steps foreword. He then took notice of something next to the bed. It was a full-sized mirror, and with that, he nonchalantly approached it, and allowed himself to peer into it.
It was an eighteen year old boy staring right at him. It wasn't the genius businessman whom he had made himself out to be, nor was it that incorrigible brat, Kaiba, it was just… him. Yet the resemblance was striking. The only differences he took note of (he was a former artist, after all, and he remembered every detail down to the last eye-lash) were that his eyes were of a red-wood/amber reddish color. He was more lanky than muscular, and his jaw was just slightly longer than Kaiba's. Also, while Kaiba's hair fell down in wavy bangs (and curled up in his some places), his were straight and fell before his eyes almost perfectly parted.
After admiring his new body for a moment, he then decided almost spontaneously.
Well, might as well get acquainted with this life. Sooner is better than later, I suppose. He then took graceful strides towards the door, and nonchalantly walked out, smirking at his environment in a pleased and complacent way.
He didn't know how he knew where he was going. Only that he knew. Perhaps it was just Kaiba's mechanical way of thinking or just his silly brotherly connection, but he seemed to know the exact path of his destination.
I've had a long couple months in limbo with a horrible fate to seal 'em off. Being a minor, Kaiba obviously has no merlot nor sauvignon blanc, but (he smirked insidiously) that doesn't mean I can't have a little fun at his at his brother's expense.
The next morning, with less than three hours before his meeting, Kaiba woke up with the worst head-ache he had ever had in his life. He groaned within seconds of opening his eyes (the light nearly blinding him) and instantly threw a pillow over his head.
God… It felt like someone had lodged an axe within the center of his forehead, splitting it evenly into two different parts and was still being pushed forward. All in all, it was enough to have bile rise to his stomach.
He could only remember one other time when he felt this way, and did his best to suppress that memory.
Oh so you remember? I am flattered!
Shut up, Kaiba thought, too tired and subdued by his headache to even acknowledge the obscurity of what just transpired.
But even in his state of pain, Seto Kaiba was still Seto Kaiba and he began his day as he would with any other. He sat up out of bed and walked over to the connecting bathroom, stopping by the counter and its perpendicular mirror. As he normally would, he turned on the faucet and unscrewed the cap of his Listerine bottle, taking in the smell of wintergreen. Yeeup, totally normal morning. He then seized his toothbrush and dunked the tip into mouth detergent, making sure the fibers absorbed the purple liquid. After finding the levels of the liquid substantial, he moved the brush to his mouth and made eye-contact with the mirror, making a motion to brush his teeth. After a moment of just staring at his reflection in a bored stance, he suddenly took note of something rather aloof regarding the person staring back at him.
Strange, he thought to himself. His bangs weren't normally that straight were they? Nor had they been they as long or perfectly parted for that matter. While someone he knew would have thought that they might have grown over night (said someone being that idiot Jounouchi) Kaiba had a more plausible theory. Rolling his eyes, he thought bitterly, Damn… Noriko must have purchased the wrong conditioner again. What, do I have to write a list for everything?
He once more ignored that rather annoying chuckle emanating from the back of his mind. After spitting out the foam in his mouth and rinsing shortly afterwards, he turned away from the mirror, he reached a hand upward towards his head and ran his fingers through his bangs (almost as if it were an attempt to move them back into place), but then felt his heart jump as his hand made actually contact with them.
Whatever the mirror had showed him was simply not true. To double check, he brought both hands up and ran his fingers through their strands.
His bangs hadn't changed. According to his sense of touch, they felt like they did every morning. A little messy, but thick and properly curved inward. Heh… They weren't even parted. Deciding to look back at the mirror to confirm that his mind was playing tricks on him, (man, that headache was really doing a number on him) he gazed into the reflection in his bathroom and almost dropped dead on the bathroom floor.
His reflection completely defied his actual body. While he was standing in place, completely rigid with his hair stood on end, the Kaiba in the mirror was leaning up against the bathroom wall, with his arms folded across its chest. While Kaiba gasped at the situation in complete horror, the reflection (for it was obviously not his) was just smirking at him within something smack between a smug yet playful expression. After chuckling a bit, the reflection opened its eyes, revealing reddish brown irises and then waved to him in an amused way.
Top of the morning to you, Kaiba-boy. Have a good night's sleep?
Kaiba just stared at himself lost for words. Heck, he was having a hard time registering whatever he was staring had just said to him. After a while, his train of thought returned to him. Night's… sleep, he thought, contemplating while trying to register this newly found information with the greatest of care.
After a minute or two of this (the reflection looking at him sort of oddly) Kaiba finally snapped back to his senses. Enough sleep? He thought mockingly, Well that's stupid, I obviously haven't gotten enough. Chuckling darkly, he vacated the bathroom (the reflection suddenly smiling and waving him good-bye) and began to go through with the intention of crawling back into bed (he decided that on the subject of Microsoft and Sony, he would flip a damn coin and have that decide it all) when he was abruptly stopped in his efforts.
A knock on the door sounded before him. Still feeling somewhat unresponsive from what was turning into a fully fledged migraine, Kaiba groaned and snapped at the door, "What is it?"
"Mr. Kaiba," his maid Noriko called in from the other end of the door. "May I please speak with you?"
"Not now!" he snapped irritably. Then while reaching for the covers, he rolled his eyes and shouted, "Look! Just tell Microsoft I am sick of foreign investors and tell SONY to stick with that crappy Eye of Judgment game! I am don't have time for this nonsense, alright?"
The door creaked open slightly, as Noriko peered in, looking perplexed. Raising an eyebrow, she asked in an inquisitive yet bemused sounding fashion, "…seriously Mr. Kaiba? Is rescheduling such a hard thing to do?"
Kaiba responded by pulling his covers over his head and throwing a pillow on top as well. "Look…" he murmured, "I'm not feeling too well, just get me a glass water and a dose an aspirin and I'll tell them myself. Now piss off, I just want to sleep."
Ignoring Kaiba's poddy mouth as she did on an hourly basis, she took note of this and sighed, "Okay, whatever master Kaiba wants… but to be strictly honest with you sir, that wasn't exactly why I am came by so early in the morning."
Hearing this, Kaiba's eyes opened slowly, registering this information. Removing his self built padded fortress from his head slowly, Kaiba slowly looked at her with black circles under his eyes and mouthed out the word, "…Whaaaa?"
Noriko nonchalantly let herself in and said, "Its your brother sir. I don't know what happened last night because the cameras were disabled, probably while your brother hacked them the evening before" (Kaiba growled, remembering what had transpired just the day before) "but he seems really freaked out. He's locked himself in his room and is refusing to come out."
Hearing this information was enough to have Kaiba eye's shoot completely open. Sitting up off of his mattress, he stared at Noriko, and clarified, "What was that?"
Noriko answered, beginning to feel slightly uncomfortable. "Well… he won't come out of his room, and when I tried convincing him otherwise, I could have sworn he was almost crying.
Mokuba. Alone. Crying. These words were a dangerous mix for the big brother/father figure known as Seto Kaiba to hear. Bolting from his bed and towards, nearly shoving Noriko out of the way in the process, he then began to hastily walk towards his brother's room, almost forgetting about his headache.
Something was not right. Not right at all. This wasn't like his brother at all. Mokuba was one of the few kids in the world who actually enjoyed his school. He was popular among his peers and excelled as a student. There was no reason at all why he would be so reluctant to get out of bed on a weekday! At least not as far as Kaiba could see.
Turning the hallway where his brother's master suite was, he was surprised to see half of his entire staff, either staring at the doorway looking completely perplexed or trying to coax his brother out of the room. Giving them the same treatment he had done with his maid, he stood before the door rammed his fist against it. He then yelled through the mahogany, "Mokuba, what is the meaning of this?"
Mokuba cried through the room, "Go away! Just go away! " he then broke into a series of sobs, not making Kaiba feel any better.
Tensing up, (either from protective or just flat out worried stance—wait, that didn't sound like him) Kaiba then yelled, spit flying out from his mouth "Mokuba!—you open this door right now!"
Not understanding what the hell was happening, Kaiba suddenly heard as if he himself were thinking it;
What's the problem? All I did was tell him a nice, long, epic bedtime story about a knight n shining armor who traveled to a distant land to save his brother from an evil king, but met with a tragic end. …True story, by the way.
Continuing to ignore this unusual trend of his as his did last night (although, at this point it was seriously starting to worry him), he began to try to force the door open. "MOKUBA!" he roared through the wood, pounding himself into it again and again (though it wouldn't budge) "I am DEAD serious! OPEN UP, RIGHT NOW!"
"Prove to me that you are my brother!"
Kaiba shouted, his voice becoming incredibly hoarse, "What the hell are you talking about?"
"JUST PROVE TO ME THAT YOU ARE MY BROTHER!"
Not knowing how much more he could take of this and rolling his eyes, Kaiba decided to buy into Mokuba's little game. He began, with an incredibly irritable and stressed tone of voice, "The only movie we had at the orphanage was Back to the Future because we only had a BetaMax plaer and we couldn't get a hold of a VHS!"
On the other side of the door, the whimpers and cries of Mokuba suddenly ceased. Kaiba stood there, a little confused, but then felt suddenly reassured with the sound of a few locks (and something that sounded like a chair being moved) that indicated that Mokuba was coming out of the room. The door opened a tiny bit, before Mokuba peered out and looked over his brother. Kaiba stared, very perplexed about this.
"You're…" Mokuba began, "Back… to normal?"
Kaiba heard this and suddenly went rigid.
Was Mokuba actually suggesting that he was the cause of his misfortune? That couldn't be true! He would never hurt his brother.
That was when he completely acknowledged the voice in his head, as it laughed uncontrollably. Narrowing his eyes furiously, he ran to the nearest wash-room, the servants staring at him oddly as he did.
Finding himself back in his chambers, he slammed the connecting bathroom door shut, and locked it, before staring at his reflection. The reflection hadn't moved at all, and still had the same characterized smug and self-satisfied appearance, that looked that at one point, as if just shortly before—it had been laughing.
Staring at it oddly, Kaiba spoke in a threatening voice, "What the hell- are you?"
The reflection, looking directly at Kaiba corrected him, "Don't you think you mean to say… who are you?"
"That's not what I am talking about and you know it!" Kaiba spat.
"Aren't you at all curious?"
"NO!" Kaiba suddenly shouted, though suddenly looked shocked that he had delivered such a response. He looked at the door timidly. What if his staff had heard that?
The reflection chuckled at bit, finding it highly amusing that Kaiba hadn't changed a bit since he had last seen him. Then, clearing its throat, he began, "Well… I hate to inform you of this particlar news, Kaiba-boy, that whether you like it or not… I am afraid I am now taking up permanent residence inside your body."
Kaiba began to sweat almost instantaneously. "Wh-What the hell are you saying?" he questioned, in a voice he hadn't used since Gozaburo was alive.
The reflection stated omnisciently, "Well, seeing as how my actual body is burred six feet under in the Crawford family graveyard, I have no choice but to do so. I have sealed myself within your body, where I will reside until the day the both of us will be no more."
Seto Kaiba paled in realization of this truth, as the reflection that was not his own grinned almost devilishly, in light of his host's epiphany, soon to become a painful truth. "So now," Pegasus J. Crawford began, malice and playful venom laced completely in his words, "I believe we are to be one… happy, little, family—inside your very own mind."
Kaiba didn't even hear the laughter that issued forth, and began to tremble in fear of this horrible reality he was now faced with.
TO BE CONTINUED
Random Note: Pegasus did nothing with Mokuba—just tormented him verbally. In case any of you had such thoughts. And yeah, I am contributing to his category again. Though honestly, I am not as psyched as I used to be. (It's true; I sold all my Yu-Gi-Oh DVDS in favor other pleasures) But you can encourage me to write more… its a common technique, known as reviewing my stories. 'cause unless I get feedback (and decent feedback) on my work, you are not going to see anything updated. I used to pride myself on not being a review whore… but I am sick of punching out full chapter and not getting jack.