Disclaimer: All canon-based characters, situations, and plotlines are copyright to their original owners, creators, and designers. I make no profit, nor want any.
Title: Silver Tongued Fiend
Romance: Yubel x Johan Andersen
Word Count: 4,050
Genres: Romance, Angst
Challenge: 15pairings: Set #3: Claim: Yu-Gi-Oh GX: Prompt: #11, mind games
Notes: This takes place during Juudai's conquest of Dark World. It is also really, really screwed up and mind-bending. I was really not sure on what pairing to claim this as, given that it's got some Juudai x Yubel, Yubel x Johan, and Juudai x Johan, but since they're the main characters, I decided on Yubel x Johan, in a kind of light one-sided, mind-twisted kind of way. Comments and criticism gratefully accepted.
Summary: Yubel needs a little help to persuade Juudai that he loves her and only her, just like he promised. Who better to lend a hand than the one who may be stealing Juudai from her in the first place?
Light surrounded him, bit into him. Far too bright for him to see. If he so much as tried to open his eyes, double daggers of pain forced them closed again within seconds. He wasn't even sure if he could move. If he tried, that pain racked him once again.
What happened? It was the first coherent thought he could remember having at all. Everything was a huge blur. Faces and images flickered through his mind, but nothing stayed there long enough so he could recognize any of it. He tried to cling to something, anything, but it all fled through his fingers, as ephemeral as light itself.
Some sort of groan echoed around him, and he realized only after he heard it that he himself had made the sound. He still couldn't open his eyes or move, though as the moments ticked by, he began to have the odd sensation that there were eyes on him.
Not just eyes, but something else as well, something that for lack of a better term he wanted to call, calling to him. Something or someone was calling to him, but he couldn't hear it. Her. Him. Them. Whatever. He just knew they were calling.
Again he tried to move, and again a pained groaned echoed back from whatever it was that surrounded him. He winced, tried to move in a little closer to himself, and found once again that moving was not possible.
Still, nothing would remain in his mind long enough for him to be certain of what it was, much less who he was. He wanted to know. That search for identity had been a part of him for as long as …well, not as long as he could remember, which consisted of the entire span of time that he'd been there in agony and in light, but it just felt as if it were a part of him.
More images flickered, just as swiftly as before. Perhaps they were some of the same. A white tiger, striped in black. A magnificent winged unicorn. A large turtle, green as emeralds. A wildcat, pale violet. A smaller cat, pale red, with a gemstone in its tail. A brown-winged bird. A large hairy elephant. And over them all, a shimmering white dragon with gemstones set into it.
For all that his heart called to them, the images themselves once more only stayed in his mind for a moment or two. Even as they vanished, he tried to reach out to them, wanting to know why they were even there.
They…mean something to me… All that he remembered was that what he had seen was something that he wanted to see again. Even if it cost him pain, he would keep on trying to see them. He tried to move a third time, and such agony shot through him that a raw scream was torn from his lips. He panted and gasped, tears of pain dripping down his cheeks, and tightened in on himself.
Why was this happening? What in the world was the meaning behind any of this? Did it have a meaning, or was someone just doing it to him for the fun of it? If there was a meaning, what was it? Why torment him like this when as far as he could tell, nothing was coming of it?
And still, those eyes, that awareness, that sense of being watched was there. Whatever those images that he could not remember were, they were not this. This was different. He could feel the emotions behind them, cold and calculating, yet burning with a fire that could only be called hatred.
He swallowed the best that he could. His throat was raw and parched, aching from the scream. Shouldn't there be a place to get some kind of a drink around here? He thought…no, he couldn't be sure anymore. He wasn't sure of anything except the pain, and even that had uncertainty about it.
There was another quality about that awareness, which was slowly growing into a presence. He wasn't so certain of what to call this new quality. Expectant? Waiting? That was close. Not perfect, but close indeed. Was he hearing breathing or was it his imagination? Which did he want it to be? If it was another person there, then he would have help of some kind…unless it was this person who watched him with such hate.
Yes. Definitely breathing, and very close to him. He tried to move another time, and the pain was too great for him to scream. A low, exotic laugh echoed around instead. He didn't think he'd lost his mind to the point he wanted to laugh instead of scream, though. So…was that someone else? The someone else?
He opened his mouth, wanting to ask only who was there, when a powerful kick landed in his side, knocking him over. It was the most he'd moved since he'd awakened, but all things considered, he would have preferred staying where he was.
"Do you enjoy pain?" It was a female voice. That much he was sure of. There was hatred and loathing laced between every word. None of it made the slightest bit of sense. He tried to nod; maybe he'd heard wrong and they'd asked if he was in pain? Though the fact he'd been kicked made the question more or less redundant… "Liar."
Another cry of pain shot out as his head was yanked back, and something slender and sharp was placed at his throat. His eyes fluttered briefly, and this time, there wasn't quite as much agony when they were open. He kept them a little cracked, some gut instinct telling him that he didn't want them open all the way just yet. He took in a few shaky breaths and tried to see what little he could.
Which was far less than he'd expected; only a partial vision of someone. Again they laughed, and he was certain that they were laughing at him. "You don't enjoy pain. You fear it. You try to hide from it."
Well, at least he was certain that he'd gotten the question right, even if he'd answered wrongly. That was something, he hoped.
"Who…" he squeaked the word out, his throat closing even as he did. He needed water, badly.
"If you enjoyed pain like I do, you would know who I am," she murmured, fingers going through his hair. "You had better not lie to me again. Your life depends on me."
Considering that he didn't even know his own name at this point, he was not at all capable of arguing with her. He wasn't even sure if he could stand without her assistance, which she did not seem inclined to give. Grudgingly, unwillingly, he abruptly nodded. If he could at least get some water, maybe he'd be able to talk and find out what was going on.
"You're so hurt from the duel and our trip here." Her tone was light and mocking now. "Perhaps I should do something about that."
Duel. His mind caught on that word. Was it as important as those vaguely recalled impressions of images? Yes, it was. Duel. Dueling. Duelist. He…was a duelist? Yes. He repeated it slowly, giving it a slight questioning edge as he did.
Again her fingers, which seemed to be more like claws, he realized, went through his hair. It wasn't a very loving gesture, but more as if she wanted to keep him close to her. "Yes. I know how you feel. I was the same way when I came here the first time."
He was about to try to ask for the water again, when she interrupted him. "Do you enjoy pain?" This time he knew what the right answer had to be. He shook his head quickly, not trusting his voice until he had that liquid. "Good."
The hand in his hair was pulled away and in a moment or two, a cup pressed against his lips. He focused on it enough to realize that it was indeed water, then tilted his head back to let it pour in. He coughed some as a bit of it went down the wrong way, but most of it went right where he needed to. He drained the cup, then another, and worked on catching his breath once he was done with that.
He found he could open his eyes some more, and he did so, getting a better look at the person who was there. Person, not man or woman, though he couldn't shake the desire to call her 'her'. She was taller than he was, and looked much like what might exist if a human and a dragon were merged together somehow. She had three eyes, each a different color, and all three were intently focused on him.
"Who are you?" It was the first real complete sentence that he'd managed to utter since waking up. Other pieces were starting to fit into place in the back of his mind, though as of yet, nothing to do with those curious images he knew that he'd seen, but he couldn't remember.
"I am Yubel." She folded her arms across her chest and stared down at him. "What do you know?"
The answer to that should have been much more than it was. "Not much." He shook his head a little. Who was Yubel? Why were they here together? Why did she hate him? Even with that mild seeming courtesy, that hate was still palpable.
"Perhaps this will help, then." Before he could avoid her touch, her hand was on his forehead, and her third eye glowed for a moment. There was not even time to scream before the light burst through him, leaving in its wake everything that he'd been missing.
Johan. He was Johan Andersen. Those visions, those voices…those were the Gem Beasts. His Gem Beasts, his family. He still didn't know where they were, but he knew what had been going on. He looked around quickly, hoping for some brief glimpse of someone…someone very specific.
He had no sooner uttered the word than he was flying, and landed halfway across the white walled room they were in. The floor was slick against his hands as he tried to push himself up, trembling in every limb.
"You don't speak his name." Yubel hissed out the words. "He is beyond you. Above you. You don't know what it means to love and be loved by him. My precious prince of darkness…"
All right, now he was confused. Well, more confused than he'd been. "What are you talking about?"
And this time, no sooner had he said the words, but he was flying again. This time he ended up pressed against the curve of the wall, his wrists yanked up by some unseen power, and shimmering chains appeared to bind him, wrapping across his wrists, ankles, and waist.
"I am going to teach you who and what my beloved Juudai is," Yubel said, floating over to stand in front of him. Her claws clenched and unclenched as she stared at him. "You will learn what you are trying to get in between, and I will not permit you to do so."
Johan strained at the restrains almost by instinct. At least he wasn't suffering intense pain by doing so. Though he did not doubt Yubel had something of that sort in mind. He didn't know her that well, but what he did know made it rather plain that 'batshit crazy' was probably the most polite term to describe her.
"What is with you? Why are you after Juudai? Why'd you do all that with Martin?" Those were just the first questions he wanted to ask. There were several more lurking behind his lips, mostly concerned with where they were and how could he get back to Earth from there. He didn't mind having sacrificed himself to get them back home, but if he could get there too, that would be even better.
"Oh, you'll learn those answers." Yubel moved closer, then gestured briefly. A screen of light sprang up between the two of them, and Johan fought back the urge to ask for popcorn. "Look and see what you dare to stand between, thief."
The screen rippled for a moment, then cleared to show a seaside city. It wasn't a modern one, there were no skyscrapers or cars visible, but it was clean and thriving. "This is where Juudai and I lived, long ago." There was a hint of longing in her voice now, and Johan watched, wondering just what she was talking about. Juudai had never mentioned living anywhere like this before.
Just like in a movie, the scene shifted, and now he saw a young boy, perhaps fourteen or fifteen, running on the beach. There was someone else with him, and if his hands had been free, Johan would've rubbed his eyes. It was a girl, but she looked just a little like him. It was something mostly about the eyes and the hair a bit, but nothing more than that.
"Come on, Yubel!" The boy shouted, and now Johan could recognize his voice. It was Juudai! But he looked different, his hair was cut differently, and he wasn't wearing the Academia uniform. It wasn't any kind of uniform or outfit that Johan himself recognized either. "Father wants to talk to you about something!"
The girl laughed, a rippling merry sound, and Johan gasped a bit to realize that this was Yubel.
"Yes. That was me, when my beloved Juudai was prince of Kuragari, a kingdom now long since destroyed. Now, watch." The two teenagers paused for a moment at the foot of a winding staircase, and Juudai leaned in quickly to brush his lips across Yubel's.
"I'll see you after he's done. He wants me to go have another riding lesson." Juudai's opinion of that was evinced by the rolling of his eyeballs, and Johan's lips twitched. Rather obviously, some things never changed.
The scene followed Yubel as she went up the stairs, which led to a balcony that looked out over the city. There was a man with long dark hair waiting for her, who was apparently both Juudai's father and the King of this place, if the crown on his head was any evidence. He turned towards her as she came to stand beside him and nodded a little.
Everything froze then, and Yubel came to stand before him. She took his chin in her taloned hands and lifted his head, staring at him. "Now. Watch and see what real love does, foolish thief."
With little else to do, Johan did watch, as the King spoke to Yubel of the supreme darkness born within Juudai, and of how he would need someone to protect him as he grew to be an adult, a dragon whom nothing could hurt and whose stone-hard skin would repel all attacks, turning their power back upon those who would wield it.
"I'll do it," Yubel of the past said without a moment's hesitation. "If it means that I can protect Juudai, I'll do it."
"You will no longer be pretty, or even human," the King warned her. "The alchemists have advised that the process is painful beyond words. It may take days or weeks or months for you to even be able to walk again."
Yubel shook her head fiercely. "I don't care. I'll protect Juudai no matter what happens to me!"
The scene faded briefly and Johan swallowed. To give up one's humanity for another…he wasn't so sure that he could do that. Sure, he would like to think that he would, but…would he? He didn't know. And she had done that for Juudai?
"Yes." Johan wasn't sure if Yubel had read his thoughts or not, but the answer came. "I was cut apart and put back together, granted power beyond your imagining, for the purpose of protecting my beloved Juudai. Now, watch again."
This time, Juudai and Yubel, now in the form that she wore before him, were at the ocean, on a rock. Juudai was holding her, tears streaming down his face. "I'm so sorry, Yubel! I wish I didn't have this power, if that's what it made happen to you!"
"Juudai…" She touched his face with a tenderness Johan would never have believed her capable of until he saw it now. "Juudai, I don't care. I'd rather be a monster and be with you forever than be human and never see you again."
He stared at her, his own eyes shimmering still with tears, and clung to her more tightly. "I love you, Yubel. I'll always love you and just you, no matter what. No matter what anyone says or does, you're the only one I'll ever love."
Yubel's eyes widened and she wrapped her arms and wings both gently around Juudai. "I love you, too," she murmured softly in his ear, though Johan could hear it quite clearly. "I could never love anyone else but you."
Again the screen went dark, and now Yubel stood before him again. This time she didn't touch him, for which he was grateful. He tried to think of something intelligent to say and only managed a confused query of, "How long ago was that?" It had to have been hundreds of years. Maybe thousands. He'd never even heard of a kingdom called Kuragari. Though, to be honest, he'd never heard of vampires either, outside of the movies, but Juudai had told him of Camula of the Seven Stars.
"Long enough. But everything comes to an end…especially human lives. Juudai and I both died, and in time were reborn. He was human, while I became a Duel Monster. I watched over him from the spirit world until an artist created my card, and I guided it to my beloved Juudai's hand once again."
Her eyes narrowed more now. As she spoke, more images flowed onto the screen and he watched. "I taught Juudai how to play the game, and I knew in time, he would remember his duty and destiny, and together we would destroy the Light of Ruin and protect the universe. But there were people who didn't understand. Who hurt Juudai. I taught them that no one would do that and get away with it." The screen showed multiple images of people beating Juudai in duels, or beating him up on the playground, and all of them fell into one accident or another.
"Then Juudai decided to show me how much he really loved me, in a way that I did not know of at the time. I was so foolish not to realize it, however. He is the prince of darkness, Haou, guardian of all that lives. He cannot be kind. He must not be kind. He sent me away, into everlasting pain and torment." She trembled some, and Johan shivered at the remembered agony in her voice. "I thought at first he did it because he was angry at me, and because he hated me for what I had done. But then I realized my beloved Juudai could never hate me, so what he did was because of love. I realized that his pain is love, and his love is pain."
She turned to look at him dead on now, and the screen faded away. "Can you understand that, thief? Can you understand the glorious agony that is being loved by Yuuki Juudai?"
Love. Juudai. Was she asking if he loved Juudai? Sure, they got along together so very well, and just seeing him made that lovely little thrill go all through him. But was that love? Was that even more than the liking of friends? Truth to be told, Johan had no idea.
"Juudai cares about you!" Yubel stared down at him, all three of her eyes glowing fiercely. "He will come for you. But he won't find you until I'm ready for him to, and when he does, he will find me as well."
"I …I don't love Juudai." He had no idea of how true the words were. Until she'd said something, it had honestly not occurred to him. Now the seed was there. How the Gem Beasts would laugh at him. The sudden thought made him stiffen. "The Gem Beasts…where are they?"
She smiled, a smile as twisted and cold as there ever could be. "Here." She fanned out a deck before him, and he had not known what it was to stare until he saw what those cards were.
"A…Advanced Gem Beasts?" He wanted, needed to say something more, but that was all he could pry from his lips. What had she done to his deck? To his family?
Yubel reached out to caress the side of his cheek gently. "You say you don't love my beloved Juudai. Good. You've learned that much, at least." Though from the way she was looking at him, Johan just could not relax. Not with that deck also there. "He will learn not to love you. He will remember what we have been through together, what he promised me, and I will show him how much I love him when I hurt him as much as he has hurt me."
There was a serious lack of logic in that somewhere, but Johan didn't think now was the right time to tell her about it. His eyes never left the deck. "What are you going to do with that?"
"Me?" Yubel caressed it lightly and stepped closer to him. "Nothing. But we can do quite a bit with this deck."
He once again wondered if he'd heard that correctly. "Put them back to normal!"
Yubel stared at him, those eyes still glowing, as if they were reaching into his very soul. "You want to beat Juudai. You want to win more duels, to be the very best duelist that you can be." Her voice was suddenly pitched quite low, and he could hear or see nothing but her voice and her eyes. "You want to help me win my Juudai back, don't you?"
He…whatever he felt for Juudai…and he still could not yet believe it was love…but…it was more than friendship. He was suddenly sure of that. Maybe it would be love one day? But…Juudai had made a promise to Yubel. Yubel wanted him to keep that promise.
But it was another lifetime. Does it still matter? He couldn't be sure.
"It was Juudai who made that promise. Juudai is Juudai. Juudai will always be Juudai." Yubel's words echoed in his ears and his mind. There was nothing else to hear, even if he'd wanted to. "He is breaking his word to me. What do you think of people who do that?"
Johan had never liked people who refused to keep their word. He'd always kept his, no matter what. As a friend, and even with the hint of more, it wasn't right to even consider keeping Juudai for himself.
"Does he…know about this?" Heavy as lead, the words fell from his lips. "About…what you've shown me?"
"No." Yubel smiled a little, hints of viciousness as she did. "Not yet. But all in good time. You'll help me, won't you?"
To defeat Juudai in a duel. His smile widened at the thought. They'd dueled a few times in the days before Yubel and Cobra had changed everything, but Juudai had won them all. To really be the best duelist that he could be…it was a very tempting thought.
"The Gem Beasts…" He could not forget his family, not for a moment. They had only just now become complete. He still barely knew Rainbow Dragon.
"You'll still be with them. Closer than you can imagine right now." Yubel touched his face again and he leaned his head into her caress. She was still terrifying, but how could she be anything else, after what had happened to her? "Will you help me?"
How could he do anything else? "Yes." Her hand was on his face again and he looked up into her eyes, which glowed even more brightly, until they were all that he could see…
Until insane orange eyes looked out of his own face, and Yubel laughed, and Johan slept…