Disclaimer: I don't own YuGiOh 5ds, XXXHolic or Jasdevi.
A/N: I apologize to all my readers for the long and horrible wait. Unfortunately, my computer has decided to go into early retirement and so until I get a new computer updates will be slow (even more than usual) for all of my stories. No, I haven't stopped writing or anything of the sort. In fact, I'm fill with a bunch of new ideas. Sadly, though, my computer doesn't give a shit.
Fanart of Amaya! http(semi colon, double slash)hotblackangel(dot)deviant art(dot)com(slash)art(slash)Shattered(dash)Butterfly(dash)125691963
Krow pulled the D-Wheeler to a stop some feet away from a ramshackle hut. Here in the Satellite, there were many homes that had seen better days, but the one he was in front of was probably the worst. Busted in windows, faded paint that was practically ripping itself off, no door and basically unlivable.
But it was here that she had chosen to live.
He let the engine die and sat there watching, trying to get any thing, movement by the window, a flickering light to see in the dark, that could tell him something. Did she need anything? Would she allow him to come inside for a little visit? Could she even stand to see him after what had happened in the past?
He sighed and lifted the visor of his helmet to get a better view. Of course, she wouldn't see him. Hadn't seen anyone these past few years. In fact, if Martha hadn't made it her duty to go check on her, Krow had no doubt she would already had let herself perish.
And it hadn't been her fault. None of them in Team Satisfaction could have predicted Kiryu's insanity. What began as a means of survival in the harsh reality that was the Satellite became a cruel design of tyranny. It was what made him leave in the first place. Dueling, despite what Kiryu had believed, should be for anyone, not just the strongest duelist. Otherwise, what would be the point of the game?
Still, Krow knew he could explain all this to her. Again. And it wouldn't make a difference. Again.
Sighing, he rubbed the Marker on his left cheek, the yellow insignia that was like an ID for Sector Security's criminals. He wonder if it was a good idea to go and check out the house, see if she was there. Surely she wouldn't mind a friendly visit from him, wouldn't she?
Startled, Krow turned midway on his back and came face to face with the recluse living in the crap she called her home. Long, layered black hair framed a pale heart shaped face with red lips and brown, expressive eyes. She wore rags like most did in the Satellite, but unlike few, these were clean and somewhat presentable. She was carrying several items of more clothing in her thin arms, wrapped in bundles.
Krow stood and got off from his bike. "Better let me carry those," he said, his own arms outstretched and taking the clothes away.
She lifted an eyebrow but didn't otherwise fight for the right. "Can I not be trusted to hold mere clothes, Krow?" she asked.
He grinned sheepishly. "Sorry, Nora, but you don't look like you have the strength to hold even this much," he pointed out not so subtly.
It was true. In the time he'd watched her, Nora seemed to shrink, to become younger and more fragile. He wanted to blame it on the stress Kiryu's foolishness had given her, but he knew it was more from her own guilt. She blamed herself for what happened and he couldn't even stop her from doing so.
Nora shrugged, thankfully taking his mind off his dark thoughts and motioned for him to follow. She led him inside the house where it looked better than its outside, more homely and actually livable. There was a small clean cot in the corner where a warm looking blanket had been neatly folded. On the other side was the kitchen area, with a working stove that already had water boiling. Small cabinets hung overhead and filled with plates and cups, from where Nora was reaching to get some tea cups.
"Put them on the bed. I'll deal with them later," she told him softly, busying herself with the making of tea.
Krow did what he was told and looked around almost in relief. It had been better than his musings led him to believe and he felt more relax, though a bit awkward at the silence between them.
"So," he drawled, thinking for something to say. He glanced at the steaming water and prepared tea. "Are you expecting someone?"
"You could say that."
He pause, then continued, "Me or is there someone else coming?"
"Considering I only have two cups, my guess is you." Nora poured an significant amount of tea in both their cups. "Also, you are the only who knows where I live, so I hope I don't get any other company."
"What about Martha? Doesn't she come to visit sometimes?"
"She does but with her I don't have to worry about unwanted guests." She put down the pot and sighed. "I want you to stop coming here, Krow. I understand your good intention, but I want you to believe me when I say its not safe for you to be seen with me anymore."
"Why?" Krow grew tense. "Did something happen? Is Sector Security still bothering you about that-?"
"It's of a more personal thing," Nora said. "Things are changing to a point where I cant be the same anymore. I'm sorry that I cant tell you anymore than that."
"What is it?" he demanded, taking hold of her arm. "Tell me, Nora. What is happening? I know that I can help."
She sighed. "I'm afraid nothing in this world can help me." She froze and pushed him aside, away from the open windows and door-less hole.
"Sh!" Nora stood in front of him. "Whatever you do, don't let go of my hand."
The sky exploded, leaving the gleaming impression of a smile. "Hello there, Nora."
Nora growled in hostility. "Hello, Reaper-sama."
-At the Mansion-
That night, Amaya dreamt of fire.
No, she did not burn in the dream but rather was comforted, as though the chaotic element had sensed her fragile state of mind and sought to help. It felt nice and she slept with a slight smile on her face. She had the impression of it being the Crimson Dragon's doing, as to relieve her from the stress she got of being its Sacrifice.
The peace, however, lasted until morning.
She laid on the bed several minutes after waking. Her arms burned, as did the middle of her chest. She looked at the ceiling, finding it almost to believe that later this night, it would be the final match. Yusei against Jack.
It didn't take a genius to know Yusei would be the one to face him. It was their destiny, to be rivals as well as allies. And yet, Amaya had the feeling it was going to change. That after this match, neither of the boys would be the same.
"It's time to wake up," Ascaria materialized by the bed, holding that cute yet grotesque black bunny toy as always.
"Or do you need help again, my lady?" Jasdevi followed after, showing a grin full of eagerness to "help" her out of bed. He looked messy today, his long blonde hair a bit muzzled and his red suit a bit disarrayed. He looked tired too, an expression mirrored by his pale twin.
Amaya sat up in the bed, looking at the both of them with concern. "What's wrong?" she asked. "Why do you guys look so weak?"
Jasdevi's grin turned feral as he gave no answer. Ascaria frowned at him in disapproval and began to explain. "My lady, we have not fed in a while."
"In a long, long while," the blonde twin added, openly staring at the opening in her shirt, where her pulse, her life essence, flowed.
Life essence, Amaya thought as she realized what they meant. "Cant you eat regular foods? I'm sure there are some meals that wont be missed in the kitchen," she suggested, clutching the plunging neckline together.
Ascaria shook her head almost apologetically. "No, we cannot," she said. "It simply does not sustain us. It would just be a waste of time to try."
"And energy and we're kind of running out of it," Jasdevi warned and moved away towards the bathroom. "I'll prepare your bath my lady."
Amaya watched him go, pulling her lip between her teeth to bite on it. Yuko had told her of the Suicide's diet; in fact, it was where they got their names. But could she really let the twins go and kill someone, even if the person had desired it? Could she live with that on her conscience? She didn't think she could but there really weren't other options, other alternatives. It made her sick but it was a necessary. She needed the two Suicides by her side at their most strongest.
If she wanted her wish to be granted at all, it must be so.
Something stirred under the covers of her sheet. She pulled them back to reveal the gray Mokona, dishelved as she must be. The blue gem on his forehead seemed to be gleaming softly as he offered the girl a warming smile.
"Morning, Amaya-chan," he said cheerfully.
"Do not worry about us, my lady," Ascaria said, moving away from the bed towards the closet. "Jasdevi and I can sustain ourselves without the need of death. So please, focus of today's matches."
It was a subtle way to drop the subject, dismissing the problem so easily. As if it were that…
The arena was filled to the max, all who came eager to see their new champ. And yet beyond all the chaos, Jack managed to find a place so they could speak freely.
Amaya looked over the rail where Yusei was currently dueling the last competitor, the Black Rose, Aki. Her heart went out to the so-called witch, feeling the girl's torment through the connection they shared through their marks. She wanted them to stop fighting, but also knew it was necessary.
This time. After all, only the Stardust Dragon had the capability to reach within the thorns and find the true Black Rose.
Jack turned from the match to watch her, his entire demeanor oozing suspicion and wariness. She did not need to read his mind to know what he was thinking: What the hell is going on?
"Okay. We're alone and later has passed," he said, a bit loud to be heard over the roars and shrieks of the crowd. "Goodwin wont be able to pick up anything from up here. Now tell me, what's going on? Where do you fit in this scenario?"
She sighed and lifted Mokona where he was curled against her sleeve. "Jack, meet Mokona."
Coming to life, Mokona stretched his stubby little limbs, making a big show about it . He was clearly enjoying this, especially the flabbergasted look on Jack's face. He waved enthusiastically, saying, " Hello there! My name is Mokona. It's nice to meet you, Jack-kun." Then he jumped from Amaya's outstretched hand, landing perfectly on the rail.
She leaned back, looking above her. "Ascaria, Jasdevi, you too," she commanded.
Reluctantly, the two of them appeared on opposite sides of Jack, Ascaria on his right and Jasdevi on his left.
"Is this wise, my lady?" Ascaria asked.
"Can he be trusted?" Jasdevi demanded with a growl.
"I trust him," Amaya said firmly, "and that should be enough."
"Heh," Jack gave a wryly smile, now that he was past the shock of the twins. "You shouldn't say that so carelessly. I'm not the kind of man that can be trusted. If it benefits me, I will betray you, use you to my convience," he warned. "Just ask Yusei and his rag tag friends back in the Satellite. They'll tell you about it, exactly how I managed to steal Yusei's card and runner, what I did to achieve them. I am a man who enjoys putting others down. Can you still risk to trust me?"
The twins bristled protectively but Amaya raised her hand, stopping their movement. "Of course," she smiled. "The fact that you admit that about yourself gives me all the more reason to trust you."
He stared at her in open surprise, unable to reply. She continued to smile and began.
"Goodwin must have already told you, the history between these marks and the danger they bring. Well, it's all true, but what he didn't tell you was about me."
Jack agreed and nodded. "All he would say about you is that you had the ability to talk to the Crimson Dragon. That's why you were yelling that time."
"I was yelling because the duel was wrong," Amaya corrected, "But yes I do have that ability and the other ability I showed you, summoning monsters. But what did Goodwin call me?
"He didn't call you anything, only that you weren't a Signer."
"Really?" Somehow, she wasn't surprised. Goodwin, after all, was not one to spill his guts to anyone, not even his allies. There was still so many things he hadn't told her. Like why he wanted the Crimson Dragon so badly. If he waited, the Signers could have helped him achieve it. It made all those endless hours of experimentation all a waste.
Jack narrowed his eyes, ignoring the tremors that went through the building as Aki made her move. "What are you, Amaya?" he asked.
"I am, to put it simply, the Sacrifice, the monster you need to release to gain a higher monster. Is that right?" she asked slyly, bringing a bit of their past lessons into it.
He ignored her attempt at humor. "Sacrifice? Do you mean-?"
"Yes," she said. "When the time comes for the Crimson Dragon to be summon, I shall be the vessel from which to bring it forth. So I've been told."
Amaya unveiled the bandages from her arms, showing Jack what she had discovered this morning. He stared at her with wide, shocked eyes that quickly turned to angry, narrow ones.
"The wings are on my chest," she told him, watching as he grabbed his own mark.
"What else?" he demanded. "What about the ones on your legs?"
"They're still the same. They haven't changed," she answering, allowing Ascaria to returning the bandages onto her arms. "Jack, don't look at me like that. This really doesn't come as a surprise."
"This is the fate of my family, you see. We were born into misfortunate, live as misfortunate and eventually die in misfortune. We are the scapegoats of other people. If there is no other way, the people comes to us. We are shamed in their place. We were not meant for happiness or joy. Those are emotions that are simply foreign to us.
"Five years ago, my mother tried to break that cycle. In order to protect me, her child by a man on the outside. She had the same power as me. And she used it to kill herself.
"That is the tale of us monsters begins. And my wish to save them."
"That was cruel of you. After all, he was only protecting you."
"Shut up," Nora snarled. "And who was he protecting me from?"
The Reaper only smiled. He sat on the crummy bed, careful not sit on the perfectly folded clothes. It was surprising, how despite the destruction and debris surrounding I, only the bed stood intact. Though, it was an improvement from how it looked before.
Their battle had been brief, mostly defensive spells. Nora had been too intent on protecting the human boy while he had been too intent on not using anything dangerous. He wanted her alive and to gain her trust once more. Now, they sat in the after glow, Nora carefully manipulating the memories of the boy she had called "Krow," to erase any sighting he might have of the monsters they called Chimera, or her very own perfections.
She erased anything that might've driven him mad.
He watched with an appraising eye, taking in the gentle way Nora treated the boy and smirked. "No wonder you look so frail! You haven't managed to eat for a long time, haven't you? Well, until right now," he amended, nudging the corpse on the floor with the toe of his boot. "I imagine every time you see a potential meal, you see their face instead. Your boys? Or is it that of hers?"
Nora growled a warning, not bothering to give the asshole any reply. She refused to look at the body, with its blissful expression and pallid skin of unhealthy conditions. The wound ran through all the vital points on his chest, where the sickle blade tore through the heart and all the arteries that were connected with the organ. She could feel his life energy running through her veins, felt the taste of depression on her tongue.
It made her ill.
Unfortunately, Krow had seen her make the kill. Watched as the first strike came, and to protect him, saw the morphing of Nora's hands into wicked scythes as they inflicted the killing blow. It all had been deliberate, with the goal of forcing her to feed.
With the deed done, Nora flicked her arm backwards, changing the metal back into flesh as it struck Krow's neck, rendering him unconscious for the duration of the fight. She held him now, laying his body against hers like she once did when he was a child. When she still worked with Martha at the orphanage.
It was funny, really. Her whole situation was a laughingstock. She, a high class Suicide, was portraying herself as human. Most of her kind saw it as insanity while others looked at it as a curiosity. Nora called it atonement. After all, she had failed 5,000 years ago, failed to protect the one human she cared about. All this time she had been trying to repent and finally found it in the ruggedness of the Satellite. Here, she felt as she truly belonged, regained that felling from so long ago. So, Nora decided that she wouldn't eat, had been good on her promise despite a few close-calls.
"Why are you here, Reaper-sama?" she asked. "If it was to feed me, why now? You haven't cared before."
"You're right. I didn't care because I had no reason. To each their own." His eyes narrowed. "However, the times has changed, one you're fully aware of, I'm sure."
Nora sighed against Krow's spiky hair. "The Sacrifice has returned along with her Signers."
"That's not all," he continued. "I'm afraid this time around the stakes are higher. All thanks to your little friend. What was his name? Forgive me if I don't remember the names of our meals."
Nora faced him squarely, glaring. "It's Rex Goodwin and please get to the point. Despite my knowing him, I really do not see the point of my involvement. Why are you seeking me out when there are others more qualified?"
"Ah, but only three can be considered Reapers."
She closed her eyes in exhaustion, the buzz from the life essence beginning to dim. "I thought I told you not to involve me in your groups," she said. "My power is gone. I'm as weak as a newly born Level E. there's nothing of value you can attain from me."
Nora fell back, letting go of Krow, as the force of power attacked her. Her own rose to defend her, the five Chimeras whose deadly potential gave her the Reaper status. Biting her lips to the point of breaking the soft flesh, Nora stilled her beings and forced them back into submission, a difficult feat with her weakened condition.
"You bastard," she snapped, wincing as the ripped flesh healed herself roughly, a nasty effect of going so long without feeding.
"And you are a liar, Nora. A very poor one at that," the Reaper grinned and licked his fingers with the tip of his tongue, wiping off the black blood. He stood and stretched "Not that it matters. I find it quite charming that you seek to be human, to repent for what happened 5,000 years ago, but it's time to drop it. Such meaningless ideals is not going to keep you alive, Nora. Your friend has made his move and the first battle of the war is underway." He flicked his hand and Nora caught the envelope, crushing it in her fingers. "I know you call yourself the Stray, from your annoying tendencies to stay out of conflict," he said softly, with some feeling a though he understood her. "But it's time for that to change. Nora, my child, it's time to be a Suicide again. Forget the past if you must, but begin to eat again. I, and the Sacrifice as well, will need your powers and your wisdom." He vanished.
"I may be old," Nora remarked dryly to the air, "but I haven't learned anything new. Only that it was foolish to try and hide from you."
Her partner Chimera trembled, wishing to be free and comfort its master. But like always, Nora pushed it away, ignoring its good intentions.
She stood up once more and went to sit by Krow, who was beginning to stir. She had a lot to explain to him - what happened; why was he on the floor; what happed to her crappy house?
And most of all, why was she suddenly leaving to Neo Domino City?
-At the Shop-
Yuko leaned back and sighed. Watching her old friend fight that monster had been exerting, as though it were she who had lashed against him. The worst part had been desiring to help her, but without a wish there was nothing the witch could do.
Besides, wasn't it time for her to get back on the battlefield?
She opened her hands to reveal the old Egyptian watch from before. Memories rushed through her mind, of that night when she first met a Suicide.
Broken, wild-eyed, the young woman with the strange protrusions thrust the artifact in her face. "Take it," she rasped hoarsely, "and grant my wish. I want to be neutral, I want to repent for my sins. Please, I wish for the strength of a human."
The clock had been an heirloom from the Suicide's human life, filled with power and mystery. In her Level E state, it was the only thing she salvaged in the wreckage that was her life. It made a good bargain for the wish.
So, Yuko granted it.
The Suicide had been a female calling herself "Nora," or Stray. Her reason for such madness? "I want to atone for my sins." It was such a human reaction, for the moment all Yuko could do was stare in shock. But then Nora told her, her story and for once, the witch felt sympathy.
"Our time has come," she told the clock. "Maybe this time even the butterfly can have her wish granted."
A/N: Things are going to be moving fast from now on. Thanks to all my patient readers for continuing to stay with the story and again I apologize for the lack of updates.