In a castle, hidden from the world by the woods, lived a prince by the name of Seto Kaiba. He was unkind and didn't seem likely to change. Until one day, an old woman came up to his castle in search of shelter for the night, a rose as her payment. The prince scoffed at her and refused her offer. The old woman transformed into a beautiful enchantress, surprising the prince. He begged for forgiveness but the enchantress had already seen the evil in his heart. She cast a horrible spell on him and the servants of his castle. The rose she had offered became a timer of sorts. If the prince could learn to love and be loved in return by his 21st birthday, then the spell would be broken. If not, he would be doom to be a beast forever.
In a little town in a quiet village, Jounouchi Katsuya walked through a street before stopping in the card shop. "Good mornin', Mr. Motou!" he said happily, waving to the old man organizing the packs of cards on a shelf.
"Good morning, Jou," Solomon said, smiling at the youth looking through the packs of cards near the door.
"Do you have any new cards today?" Jou asked, his blonde hair falling in his amber eyes. "I'm lookin' for the one I lost."
"What did you lose?" Solomon asked back, pulling out a book. "Maybe I have an extra."
"Red-Eyes Black Dragon," Jou replied, flipping through the pages until he stopped on a card with a flying black dragon with red eyes on it. "Here it is!"
Solomon laughed. "If you like it so much, here." He pulled out the card and handed it to the blonde. "You can have it. You come by here so often, it's the least I can do."
"Thank you, sir!" Jou smiled happily as he pulled his deck out from his case on his belt, flipping through the cards as he walked out of the store and down the street again.
Everywhere he went, people stared. It was only natural. Jou was the most beautiful person in town with his natural blonde hair and amber eyes, wanted by both men and women, but he always had his head up in the clouds, his hands were always on a deck of cards. Ootogi, the town's best hunter and gambler, sat outside a bar, his right-hand man, Marik sitting beside him. "There he goes, Marik," he said, watching Jou walk by. "The most beautiful person in town besides me."
"But he always has his head in the clouds with those stupid cards of his," Marik said, looking over at the black-haired man next to him. "He never notices anyone but that father of his."
"I can hear ya, ya know."
Ootogi and Marik turned to see Jou standing in front of them, hooking his deck case back on his belt. "Jou, those stupid cards are getting to you," Ootogi said, standing up. He slung an arm around the blonde's shoulders. "You need someone to keep you safe and love you. And that someone is me."
"Okay, one," Jou said, slipping out of Ootogi's grip, "eew. That's disgustin'. And, to, ya have plenty of girls just dyin' for a second of attention from ya. Go do stuff wit' them and leave me alone."
"And what'll you do?" Marik asked. "You've got nothing going for you except for your idiot of a father."
"He's not an idiot!" Jou yelled, hands clenching into fists at his sides. "He's more than you'll ever be!"
Suddenly, there was an explosion and smoke leaked out from the house Jou and his father, Raimundo, shared. Ootogi and Marik burst out laughing as Jou raced for his house. "Well, I guess you won't get Jou," Marik got out between laughs.
"What're you talking about?" Ootogi asked, smacking the back of his head. "Jou will be mine. No doubt about it."
"Dad!" Jou yelled, coughing as he opened the cellar doors. "Dad! Are you okay?!"
"Stupid thing won't work!" came the reply between a few coughs. A tall man with short dirty blonde hair brushed aside the boards covering him and kicked the machine next to him.
"Dad, are you okay?" Jou asked worriedly. "There's a lot of smoke."
"I'm fine," Rai promised. "I almost had it working and then it blew." He slid under the machine again, slipping on some goggles. "Hand me the wrench, son." Jou reached into the toolbox on the ground and handed the wrench to his father. "So, did you do anything interesting today?"
"I got some new cards," Jou said, straddling a wooden chair as he watched his father work. "And Ootogi tried t' do somethin' again."
"Ootogi is a nice-looking fellow," Rai said, sliding out from under the machine. "Why don't you go out with him sometime?"
"Because I don't wanna stay in this town my whole life," Jou explained. "I know there's somethin' better out there and I wanna find it. I wanna make somethin' of myself and most of all, I don't love Ootogi. I don't even like him a little."
Rai smiled and shook his head. Jou was stubborn and knew what he wanted and nothing could stop him. "Well," he said, standing up and brushing dirt off his pants, "let's see if this old contraption will work." Jou walked over to a wall as Rai turned it on. Whistles sounded and the axe perched on top slammed down on a log, cleanly cutting it in half. Another part of the machine kicked the log and it landed on a pile.
"It works!" Jou exclaimed. "Dad, it works!"
"It works?" Rai repeated, not believing it himself. "It works!"
"And you'll win first prize at the festival," Jou said, smiling.
Pretty soon, Rai set off with his new invention in a wagon led by their prized horse, Kimiko. Jou was left alone as his father rode off.
After a few hours, Rai was in the woods and didn't know where the hell he was. He came to a fork in the road; one way was sunny, the other way was dark and mysterious. Kimiko obviously wanted to go down the sunny way, but Rai insisted on going the dark and mysterious way. Stupid Disney movies! Don't they know the dark and scary path is NOT good!!! Anyway, as Rai and Kimiko rode down the path, wolves attacked, scaring Kimiko off with the wagon and leaving Rai alone in the dark. He began to search for a place to stay the night. Staying in the woods overnight didn't seem like the greatest idea. He walked for at least 10 minutes before coming to a pair of wrought-iron gates, a large castle looming behind them. Rai knocked on the heavy castle doors, walking inside when he got no answer.
"Hello?" he called, shivering a little. It had started raining when he was walking and he was soaked to the bone and freezing cold, to boot. "Is anybody here? I-I lost my horse and it started raining and I needed a place to stay. Hello?"
Hiding behind a vase, a small Dark Magician peeked out at Rai, his gold bangs peeking out from under his hat that hid the rest of his black and burgundy hair. "Yami!" he hissed, floating in his position, calling over a twin version of him as Slifer the Sky Dragon. "Look!"
Yami floated over and peered around the vase at Rai as he kept calling for someone. "Yugi, we need to get him out of here," he whispered. "The master won't like it if he stays here and we don't want him to get hurt."
"But Yami," Yugi pouted, holding his staff even tighter in his hand, "look at him. He looks so cold and he's soaking wet."
"Yugi," yami warned.
"Hello?" Rai called again. "Is someone there?"
"It's just us," Yugi replied, flying over to float in front of Rai's face. "Don't be scared."
Rai yelled out in fright, falling backwards. "Wh-What are you?"
"I'm a Duel Monster," Yugi stated simply, smiling. "You look cold. Come on, there's a fireplace over here."
Rai didn't know about trusting the small monster, but he followed Yugi anyway, sitting down in a large armchair in front of the fireplace. "No, no, no," Yami said, flying over by Yugi. "Not in the master's chair. Yugi!"
"He's freezing, Yami," Yugi said, glaring at his twin. "Lighten up a little."
"But if the master finds out…"
Yami didn't finish his sentence as the fire blew out and a shadow was cast over the chair Rai was sitting in, now scared to death. "Master!" Yugi quickly tried to defend. "He was just cold and looked like he wanted someplace warm to stay for the night…"
Rai jumped out of the chair and stared at the shadowed silhouette of Seto. "What're you doing here in my home?" he growled, baring the fangs that rested in his teeth.
"I-I'm sorry," Rai stuttered nervously. "I just wanted a place to stay for the night. It's cold and raining outside and…" He stopped as Seto stepped into the light slightly.
"So," Seto growled again, grabbing ahold of Rai's shirt, "you've come to stare at the beast, have you?"
"N-No!" Rai struggled to get out of Seto's grip. "P-Please!"
"Fine, then you can just stay here forever!" Seto dragged Rai away, leaving Yugi and Yami alone by the fireplace.
"See what I meant about letting him in?" Yami asked, seeing Yugi's eyes fill with tears.
Ootogi and Marik stood outside of Jou's house early in the morning, Ootogi in his best suit. "Today is the day, Marik," Ootogi said, readjusting his tie. "Today is the day Jou's going to marry me. You remember what I said about when we come out?"
"I strike up the band," Marik said, bored with the conversation. "I got it, just get the guy."
Ootogi grinned and walked up to the front door of the house, knocking once on the door. "Ootogi?" Jou asked as he opened the door, the black-haired man stepping past him to walk inside and close the door. "W-What're ya doin' here?"
"I've come to tell you that you have the great pleasure of being my wife," Ootogi said, still grinning. "Or in this case, husband."
"I-I'm very flattered, Ootogi," Jou stuttered as Ootogi pushed him against the door, his hand fumbling for the doorknob, "but I don't love ya!" He pushed open the door and Ootogi fell face-first in a pile of mud. The band started up as Ootogi fell forward, Jou slamming the door shut again.
Marik laughed as Ootogi raised his head. "Guess you didn't get him, huh?" he asked, still laughing.
Ootogi punched him. "I will have Jou," he growled, walking away and wiping mud off his face. "Mark my words.
Jou looked out the window as Ootogi and Marik left. "I can't believe he wanted me to marry him," he said aloud, walking out the back door. "Can you believe it? Me? Ootogi's dotin' little husband? And he wants at least 7 little boys to keep him happy! Serves him right if he got 7 little girls that wanted manicures and ponies all their lives." He kept ranting until he saw Kimiko running toward him with the wagon still attached to her harness. "Kimiko!" he yelled, calming her down. "Where's Dad? Kimiko, you have t' take me t' him!"
Jou left the little town in jeans, a black T-shirt, and black Converse, a red cloak wrapped around him with hood up over his head. He rode Kimiko, minus the wagon, back to where she had lost his father, stopping in front of the wrought-iron gates. "Good girl," he said, sliding off Kimiko to walk up the gates. Slipping through them, he walked inside the castle, sliding his hood back and running his fingers through his hair a couple times. "Hello?" he called. It was his father's mistake all over again. He didn't find anyone, finally turning for a suitcase when he saw a glowing green light coming from it. "Hello?" he called, racing up the staircase. "I'm looking for my dad. Have you seen him?"
No answer came. Jou kept climbing the stairs until he came to the top of the tower. "Dad!" he cried. He raced over to the door where Rai peered out, coughing madly.
"Jou," Rai said weakly, coughing again. "Katsuya, you have to get out of here."
Suddenly, a shadow was cast over Jou and Rai, the silhouette of Seto once again scaring the crap out of both men. "Why are you in my home?" Seto growled.
"I was lookin' for my father," Jou replied, standing up. "Please, you've got t' let him go. He's sick."
"He trespassed," Seto said. "And for that, he will stay here forever." He started to leave.
"Wait!" Seto turned back to the blonde. "What about a trade. I'll stay here if ya let my father go."
"You," Seto growled, then took a second look at the blonde. "You'd do that for him?" Jou nodded. "You understand that you'd never be able to leave and have to stay here forever?" Jou nodded again. "Fine. You can stay and he can go."
"Wait," Jou called again. "Come into the light." Seto took a deep breath and stepped closer in the light of the moon coming through a skylight in the tower roof. Jou gasped. Seto was wearing a pair of black boots and black pants with a black turtleneck, but he had fangs sharper than your average dogs like a dragon, blue and white streaked wings, a blue and white streaked tail dragging behind him on the ground, sharper nails than any normal person should have and his brown hair was streaked with blue and white as well as the rest of his skin. On closer inspection, one could see small blue and white scales mottling his skin in various places.
"No, Katsuya!" Rai yelled as Seto took him out of his dungeon cell and dragged him downstairs.
Seto tossed him onto Kimiko, slapping the horse to get him moving. "Master," Yugi said, following Seto up to the tower again, "maybe we could give him a room. It'd be better than the tower."
Seto stopped in front of the dungeon door, staring down at Jou. "Come on," he growled, turning around.
"I'm not gonna stay here?" Jou asked in confusion as he followed the brunette down the tower stairs.
"No," Seto stated simply, leading the blonde down winding hallway after winding hallway. "Since you will be living here as well, you are allowed to go anywhere you like except the west wing."
"What's in the—"
"It's forbidden!" That shut Jou up immediately. Seto opened a door an elaborate bedroom, waiting as the blonde walked in.
"Invite him to dinner!" Yugi hissed in his ear.
"You will join me for dinner," Seto growled. "That's not a request!" He slammed the door. Jou collapsed on his bed, crying his eyes out.
"Why are you crying, hon?"
Jou looked over and saw a Harpy Lady floating beside him. He practically jumped halfway up to the ceiling and fell over off the bed. "Hey, don't be scared," she said. "I'm Mai."
"J-Jou," Jou stuttered, not believing his eyes. "Y-You're a Duel Monster, aren't ya?"
"Guilty as charged," Mai replied, smiling. "Why are you crying, anyway?"
"I can't leave here," Jou said softly, watching the rain pound against the window.
"Hey, it's not that bad," Mai told him, sitting on his shoulder. "The master isn't that bad once you get to know him. Now come on. We've got to get you something to wear to dinner."
"I'm not goin'," Jou said as Mai opened up the closet, sliding off his cloak and setting it on the bed. "He can tell me I have t', but I'm not goin' t' listen t' him."
Downstairs in front of a fireplace, Seto paced back and forth as Yugi and Yami watched him nervously on the dinner table. "Master, you're going to ruin the carpet if you keep pacing," Yugi said, shrinking down behind Yami as Seto turned to glare at him.
"Why isn't he here?" he growled, returning to his pacing. "I asked him to come down and he's not here."
"Perhaps he's just getting ready," Yami said. "For now, let's see a smile." Seto tried, but it just came out as a scowl. The door opened and Seto spun around, expecting to see Jou walking in. Instead, Mai peered around the door, her wings moving rapidly up and down.
"Um, master?" she asked nervously. "I'm sorry, but Jou has decided not to come down."
Seto raced up the stairs and banged on Jou's door. "What do you think you're doing?!" he yelled, failing to get the door open.
"I'm not hungry!" Jou yelled back, his back to the door. "Leave me alone!"
"Fine, then," Seto growled, his fist still on the door. "Then you can just starve!!" He stomped away, retreating to the west wing.
Jou sat on his bed, his eyes filling with tears when the door opened. "Hello, sir," an Injection Fairy Lily said, smiling as she flew into the room with a Blast Magician following her. "I'm Serenity. Are you okay? Do you need anything?"
"I am kinda hungry," Jou replied softly, wiping his eyes. "Do you have anythin' t' eat?"
Serenity smiled, tugging lightly on the bottom of his shirt. "Come on. Mokuba and I will show you the kitchen." Jou followed the two down the stairs and into a kitchen were Yugi and Yami were sitting on the counter.
"No, Serenity!" Yami said as she led Jou over to the refrigerator. "The master won't be happy at all if he finds out he's down here!"
"Which is why he won't find out," Serenity said as Mokuba pulled out a cup and a plate. "He's hungry and we can't let him starve, can we? Yugi, can you help?"
"Fine," Yami reluctantly agreed. "Glass of water, crust of bread. That's it."
"Come on, Yami," Yugi pouted. "He's a guest. You're treating him like he's a prisoner. By the way, we never caught your name."
"Jou," the blonde replied, making a sandwich on the counter. "Jounouchi Katsuya, actually. This master of yours…does he have a name?"
"Seto Kaiba," Mokuba replied. Serenity helped him pour a glass of milk for Jou. "Don't worry, we'll take care of you if he won't."
"I have a question," Jou said, biting into his sandwich. "Why do you guys look like Duel Monsters?"
"You play?" Yugi asked.
Jou pulled out his deck. "A little. I'm not that good, though. There's no one to duel at home. They all think it's just a stupid game."
"Well, you can always duel us," Yugi said, making the blonde smile for the first time since he'd gotten there.
"Ootogi, why are you acting depressed all of a sudden?" Marik asked. Ootogi was sitting in the local bar facing the fireplace, his chin in his hand. "Is this about Jou?"
"Why wouldn't he want to marry me?" he asked. "Am I that unlikable?"
"No!" Marik quickly assured him. "Ootogi, any girl or guy alike would die at the chance of marrying you! Jou doesn't know what he's missing. Hey!" He turned to the men sitting in the bar. "Which of you thinks that Jou should marry this man?" Every hand in the bar went up. "See? You're just tearing yourself down for nothing, Ootogi."
"You're right, Marik," Ootogi said, standing up. "I will have Jou as my husband if it's the last thing I do."
Suddenly, Rai came racing into the bar, breathing heavily. "Please, someone help!" he cried, desperately trying to get someone's attention long enough to talk.
"Calm down, old man," Ootogi said as Rai raced over to him. "What's the matter?"
"It's Jou," Rai gasped, still trying to catch his breath.
"Jou?" That certainly caught Ootogi's attention. "What happened?"
"I was riding through the woods and I got caught by a beast!" Rai tried to explain. "Jou came looking for me and now he's trapped at the beast's castle!"
"Was it a big beast?" Ootogi teased, grinning.
"With razor sharp claws?" Marik asked, following his friend's lead.
"And teeth, too!"
The whole bar burst out in laughter. "Well, Raimundo," Ootogi said, leading Jou's father to the door again, "we'll be sure to get him back."
"Really?" Rai asked in disbelief. "You'll help?"
"Sure thing, old man," Ootogi said. "Right after we run out of beer." He tossed Rai out into a pile of snow, laughing as he slammed the door shut.
"That crazy old man," Marik laughed.
"Yeah, but that crazy old man is Jou's father," Ootogi thought out loud. "And if I'm gonna marry him, his father is the way to go." Marik was still confused as Ootogi led him to Jou and Rai's house. Unfortunately, Rai had decided to save Jou himself and left.
"Oh, well," Marik said. "He's gone. Let's go back to the bar."
Ootogi grabbed ahold of Marik's collar and pulled him back in a snowbank. "Oh, no you don't," he growled. "You're gonna stay here until he comes back. Then, I'll have Jou."
Jou wandered down a hallway that he didn't know was the west wing. Yugi and Yami had been taking him on a tour of the castle while Serenity and Mokuba cleaned up in the kitchen and when they'd passed a hallway that Yugi and Yami refused to let him go down, he'd gotten curious. The two had no idea he wasn't following them anymore and he headed down the hallway, looking at the ripped wallpaper and curtains surrounding him. Jou peered through a slightly open door and, seeing no one around, snuck in. He ran a hand over a painted portrait, the claw marks in it slashing it open. More pieces of furniture surround him, both slashed and charred from fire.
"What are you doing here?"
Jou gasped, spinning around to see Seto glaring down at him.
"I-I'm sorry," Jou tried to apologize. "I-I was just looking around."
"This is the west wing," Seto growled, slowly circling Jou, restricting his view of the rose sitting on a table right inside the balcony. "It's forbidden."
"I-I'm sorry," Jou apologized again.
Jou ran as fast as he could out the door and down the hallway, grabbing his cloak on the way downstairs. He ran outside and through the snow, tripping over a tree root and face-planting in the snow. The blonde spit out a mouthful of snow and leaned back on his knees, trying to ignore the water seeping through his clothes. A growl interrupted his thoughts and he looked over to see a wolf leering at him from between two trees. A second look around showed even more wolves surrounding him on all sides. Jou grabbed a stick and swung it at the first wolf that attacked him. Bad idea. The rest of the wolves attacked, ripping Jou's shirt and pants nonstop.
A roar sounded. Jou turned his head and saw Seto leaping over him and growling at the wolves still surrounding them. Seto slashed out at a wolf, knocking him back only to get slashed at by another. The brunette roared out in pain as the wolf's claws sank into his arm through his turtleneck. One more wolf hit a tree and the rest ran away in fear. Seto glanced back at Jou, breathing heavily before he collapsed to the ground. Jou helped the brunette up and helped him back to the castle.
"Yugi," Jou said, setting the brunette down in a chair, "can ya get me some hot water and a rag?" The little Dark Magician nodded, floating off. A few minutes later, Yami came back with the rag followed by Yugi and Serenity, a bowl of hot water in between them.
"What happened to him?" Mokuba asked in concern as the 4 of them watched Jou dip the rag in the bowl of water.
"Wolves," Jou replied, Seto's eyes fluttering open as he rubbed the cloth over his open wounds.
"What are you doing?" Seto asked, watching Jou clean the blood off his arm.
"I'm cleanin' this so it won't get infected," Jou stated simply, running the cloth over the cut again.
Seto roared in pain. "That hurts!" he yelled.
"Well, if ya wouldn't have frightened me I wouldn't have run away and ya wouldn't have gotten hurt!" Jou yelled back. Seto immediately shut up as the blonde wrapped a clean cloth around his arm, standing up. "Now if ya don't mind, I'm gonna be up in my room." He started to walk out of the room.
"Wait." Jou turned around to face Seto again as he stood up and walked over. "I've got something to show you. Close your eyes." Jou looked skeptically at the brunette, but closed his eyes anyway. Seto took his hands and led him down a hallway with Yugi and Yami floating beside them.
"Master, where are you going?" Yugi asked as Seto stopped in front of a set of double doors.
"Just go find Mai and tell her to find something for Jou to wear tomorrow," Seto ordered, the small Dark Magician floating away.
"Can I open my eyes yet?" Jou asked as Seto opened the doors in front of them.
"Now," Seto replied, pushing on Jou's back slightly.
Jou opened his eyes and was blown away by the room he was standing in. The walls were covered with silver as well as the ceiling, various computers and video games surrounding the entirety of the room. Various books of cards sat against the far wall, a few duel disks in a case sitting next to them. "This is my duel room," Seto said as Jou looked around, amazement showing in his eyes. "You're free to use it anytime you like."
"Really?" Jou asked, looking up at the brunette. "Ya mean it?"
"Yes, go ahead." Jou smiled and walked toward the books of cards, looking through them as he sat in an overstuffed armchair near the shelf they sat on. "Seto, come here and look at this." The brunette walked over and sat on the arm of the chair Jou was sitting in. "This is a Blue-Eyes White Dragon," the blonde said in amazement, pointing to a card with a white dragon with blue eyes on it. "There are only 4 of these in the world."
Seto smiled slightly, enjoying the pleased look on the younger's face. "Do you have one?" he asked.
"I wish," Jou replied, smiling. He pulled out his deck and flipped through it before picking out the card he was looking for. "I have this one. Red-Eyes Black Dragon. It's kinda like the Blue-Eyes sister card."
"It looks like it has spirit," Seto said, looking the card over. He was careful not to rip the card as he ran a finger over it. "Just like you."
"Really?" Jou asked, smiling up at the brunette. "Thanks. Hey, cool! A Time Wizard! I have one of those! A really beat up one, but still."
"I think the master's learning to like him," Yugi said as he, Yami, Serenity, and Mokuba watched from the cracked door.
"There's something there," Serenity added, smiling.
"What do you mean?" Mokuba asked. "What's there?"
"Go on, Mokuba," Serenity said, giving him a little push. "Go see what you can find in the kitchen. I heard Anzu was making some cookies and wanted a taste-tester."
"I'll go," Yugi volunteered before Yami pulled on the bottom of his robe.
"You'll stay here," he said as Mokuba floated off. "We don't need a lovesick Dark Magician and a Magician of Faith together right now when we're trying to get those two together."
"But…" Yugi pouted. "Fine. You just ruined my fun, Yami."
"Just think," Serenity said, watching Jou show Seto some more cards, "we might be human again sometime soon. There's still 8 petals left on the rose and that means the master still has plenty of time to get Jou to fall in love with him."
A week passed. Jou and Seto had grown closer, close enough that Seto thought he might be falling in love with the blonde who had taught him so much.
"Here you go, hon," Mai said, holding up a black suit with a red tie and vest. "This'll look perfect on you. It really brings out your eyes." Jou smiled and Mai looked for his shoes as he changed into the suit, tossing the clothes he was wearing on his bed. He grabbed the black boots Mai handed him and looked at himself in a floor-length mirror.
"How do I look?" he asked, grinning.
"Perfect," Mai replied, grinning. "Perfectly perfect."
Seto spat out a mouthful of soapy water as he broke the surface of the water in his bath. "What was that for?!" he yelled at Yugi, the culprit who had pushed his head underwater.
"You were keeping your head above water," Yugi replied, smirking slightly. "You'll never get clean if you don't get your hair wet!"
"You know I hate getting my hair wet," Seto growled as Yami scrubbed soap on his head. "I hate taking baths in general. It takes too long to get all the water out of my scales and don't even get me started on my wings."
"Yeah, yeah, you're a real drama queen," Yami muttered, dunking the brunette's head back underwater. "Get over yourself and go get dressed." Seto glared at the little dragon as he shook out his hair and wings, using a towel to dry the rest of his body. He walked into his bedroom and pulled out a white suit with a blue vest and tie with a pair of white boots. Changing into them, he ran his fingers through his hair a couple times before heading out to the wait outside the ballroom.
Pretty soon, Mai flew down to float in front of him, a grin on her face. "Presenting, Mr. Jounounchi Katsuya," she said, motioning to the top of the staircase behind her. Seto looked up and saw Jou standing at the top, smiling. His hair looked kind of messy, like he had slept on it wrong, but it only made the brunette smile. The blonde walked down the stairs and took Seto's hand as he was led into the ballroom, some music being started up.
"You look beautiful, Jou," Seto said softly as he started to lead a dance with the blonde.
"Don't call me that," Jou said.
"I'm sorry," Seto apologized. "You look handsome."
"I didn't mean that," Jou said. "I meant, call me Katsuya. It is my name, after all."
"Katsuya," Seto repeated, seeming to revel in the name. "It's a beautiful name for a beautiful person."
Jou blushed as Seto continued dancing with him. After a while, the brunette led him out to the balcony, sitting on the railing edge. "The stars are beautiful tonight," Jou said, looking up at the dots of white on a canvas of black.
"Katsuya," Seto said, gaining the blonde's attention instantly, "if your father had not come here, what would you have done?"
"I dunno," Jou replied, the stars twinkling in his eyes. "Maybe just looked for new cards and look for someone new to duel. Nothin' ever happened to me in that town and nothin' ever would. Except, of course, Ootogi, but he's just a big jerk."
"I'm glad you came here," Seto said, taking Jou's hand. He led the blonde up to the west wing, stopping in front of the rose. "Is there anything you miss?"
"I wish I could see my father again," Jou admitted, looking down at his feet.
Seto picked up a mirror, looking at his own reflection before holding it out to Jou. "Here," he said, the blonde's fingers wrapping carefully around the handle. "This mirror will show you anything you want. Just ask."
Jou stared at his reflection for a second before holding the mirror out in front of him. "Show me my father." A green light flashed and a picture appeared in the mirror glass. Rai was lying face down in a pile of snow, his body shaking from coughs every so often. "Dad!" Jou exclaimed in fear, holding the mirror close to his chest. "Seto! My father! H-He's dying!"
"Then you must go to him," Seto said, bowing his head.
"You must go," Seto repeated. Jou looked at the mirror in his hands and held it out to the brunette. Seto pushed it back into Jou's arms. "Keep it. That way, you'll always have something to remind you of me."
"Thank you," Jou said, holding the mirror tightly in his hands. He ran out of the west wing and up to his room, quickly changing back into the clothes he arrived in, buckling his cloak around his neck and slipped the mirror in an inside pocket. He unhooked Kimiko's reins from the stable outside and rode off in the woods. On the balcony in the west wing, Seto gave a loud roar, breathing a tongue of fire that licked the edges of the roof. "Dad!" Jou called, pulling his hood up over his head. "Dad! Where are ya?!" He heard a cough and saw a body lying in the snow. "Dad!" Jou helped his father up onto Kimiko and rode quickly back to their house. As he helped Rai into the house, Marik shook off the snow covering him, grinning to himself as he ran off to find Ootogi.
"Katsuya," Rai said softly as Jou covered him with a blanket, "what are you doing here? What about the beast?"
"Seto let me go," Jou replied, smiling. "He knew I cared about ya and he said I could go help ya." There was a knock on the door and another and another and another. "Ootogi?" Jou asked as he opened the front door to see the black-haired male. "What are ya doin' here?"
"Jou, it's time that we put your father where he belongs," Ootogi said, taking ahold of Rai's arm and leading him outside. In the middle of a mob of people with torches and pitchforks was a wagon for the asylum.
"My father isn't crazy," Jou growled, taking ahold of Ootogi's arm. "Please, you can't do this!"
"He was ranting about a beast and that you were his prisoner!" Ootogi yelled, handing Rai over to Marik.
"He was telling the truth and I can prove it!" Jou pulled the magic mirror out of his cloak. "Show me Seto!" A green light flashed and the mirror showed Seto breathing a tongue of fire. "See?!"
"Is he dangerous?!" someone called.
"No!" Jou quickly defended, holding the mirror closer. "He's really sweet and he's kind and—"
"He's falling in love with the beast!" Ootogi yelled, snatching the mirror out of Jou's hands. "He's as crazy as his old man! Let's go!" He tossed both Jou and his father into the cellar, locking the door and turning back to the mob of people. He led them through the woods to Seto's castle, quickly using a tree trunk as a battering ram on the doors.
"Master!" Yugi yelled, quickly flying into the west wing. Seto was leaning over the balcony, his tail moving back and forth and his wings tucked close to his back with his head bowed. "The castle's under storm! What should we do?!"
"Let them come," Seto mumbled. "It doesn't matter anymore."
Yugi frowned before flying away. "What did he say?" Yami asked as the Duel Monsters of the castle tried to keep Ootogi and his mob from entering the castle.
"We're on our own," Yugi replied. An evil grin crept itself on his face. "I've got an idea."
After a few minutes, Ootogi broke open the doors to the castle, walking in with his mob of men from the town. "Take whatever you can," he ordered. "But the beast is mine."
"Now!!" Yugi and Yami yelled together. The whole foyer of the castle basically erupted, the miniature Duel Monsters attacking anything that was bigger than them and had 2 legs.
"Come on!" Jou growled, pushing against the cellar doors. "Budge, dang it!" He sank to his knees, his head in his hands. "We'll never get out of here."
The blonde looked through the crack in the doors and saw Mokuba. "Mokuba!" he exclaimed, a smile finally breaking out on his face.
"Step back, Jou!" Mokuba warned, holding out his staff. Jou took his father and pressed themselves against the back wall. A bang went off and the doors burst open. Jou raced onto Kimiko and followed Mokuba back to the castle.
Ootogi crept into the west wing, an arrow already in his bow. He kicked open Seto's door and found the brunette leaning over the balcony. Seto looked over at him without saying a word and then looked away again. Ootogi didn't take a second chance. He let the arrow loose, the head burying itself in Seto's shoulder. The brunette roared out in pain as the black-haired man tackled him, knocking him over the balcony to the roof. "Fight back, beast!" Ootogi yelled, throwing his bow to the ground. "What is it? Are you too in love with that boy to fight back?! Have you gone soft, beast?!" Seto still didn't say anything as Ootogi kicked him down to a lower part of the roof. He jumped down to the part of the roof he kicked Seto to, but the brunette was gone. He broke off a sharp piece of an old statue, holding it in front of him as a weapon. Seto watched as he stood in a shadow disguised as a statue, a growl low in his throat and his fangs bared. As Ootogi passed him, Seto struck, knocking him to the ground. He grabbed the older's neck, holding him up over the edge of the roof.
"Please!" Ootogi begged, grabbing onto Seto's wrist. "Please! Let me go! I-I'll do anything!!" Seto saw the desperation in Ootogi's eyes and his gaze softened, his scowl disappearing.
The brunette looked up and saw Jou standing against the balcony in his room. "Jou," he whispered, throwing Ootogi to the roof again. He unfolded his wings, slowly flying up to the blonde. "Katsuya," he said softly, taking the blonde's hands. "You came back."
"Of course I did," Jou replied, smiling. "I could never leave ya."
Seto smiled before he roared in pain. Ootogi's knife was embedded in his side. Seto's arm came around and knocked him back, sending him off the roof and to his death. "Seto!" Jou cried. He helped the brunette up on the balcony, lying him down on the concrete. Jou's hood fell back off his head as he fisted his hands in the front of Seto's shirt.
"Katsuya," Seto breathed, taking one of Jou's hands. "I-I'm sorry…" Seto's breathing slowed even more.
"Seto," Jou whispered, a tear falling down his cheek, mixing with the rain beating down on them. "Don't leave…I love ya."
Yugi, Yami, Serenity, and Mokuba watched as the last petal dropped from the rose, landing among the others surrounding the empty stem.
Jou cried over Seto's chest before a light shone around the brunette and he lifted up in the air. Light surrounded Seto, changing him somehow. Jou sat back on his heels, watching without a clue to what was happening. After a minute of glowing, Seto floated back down to the ground. He sat up, staring at his hands for a second before turning to face Jou. He looked different; his skin was the same as any person's, his hair a normal brown color. He had no fangs, wings, or tail; he looked just like he had when he'd first gotten the spell cast on him. "Katsuya, it's me," he said softly. "Seto."
Jou looked at him in confusion, pushing himself up to his knees. He ran his fingers through Seto's hair for a second, running the same hand down his cheek. Jou stared into Seto's eyes for a second, piercing blue meeting honey amber. His eyes widened slightly and sparkled with life. "Seto!" he cried, throwing himself at the brunette. "It's you!"
Seto smiled, spinning the blonde around. "Katsuya, I love you."
Jou smiled. "I love ya, too," he whispered before kissing the brunette prince in front of him. Seto pulled away, still smiling, spinning the blonde around again.
"Yugi! Yami!" Seto called, the twins running out to the pair as humans again. "Serenity! Mokuba! You're all here and human!" He turned back to Jou. "And now I have you. My beautiful…Katsuya."
And they all lived…
Wait for it…
Wait for it…
Wait for it…
Yep! You guessed it!
Happily ever after.