Disclaimer: Touchily not mine.

A/N: Written for Challenge #018 – 'Touch' at ygodrabble over on LiveJournal.


© Scribbler, October 2010.

He stroked her hair carefully, taking the fine curls at the back of her neck between thumb and forefinger. It was soft, like fur. No, like down; the fuzzy white stuff on chicks, which hung around under their adult feathers. No matter how many times he drew each curl straight, they always twisted back to nestle against her skin.

She wriggled. "Quit it!"


"That tickles."

"Baby fluff."

She turned over, squinting sleepily. "You can be so weird sometimes."

"Good weird?"

"I dunno." She stifled a yawn. "Too-early-in-the-morning weird. It's barely light outside. Plus, I know you were watching me sleep. Do you understand just how creepy that is?"

"Good creepy?"

"There's no such thing as good creepy."

True. Dartz's odd-eyed stare rose in his memory, effectively killing his mood. Creepy was a good description of that guy. Likewise Raphael, with that aggressive dedication to 'the cause', or Amelda's descent from obsession with Seto Kaiba into full-blown psychosis. He can remember sitting round that big wooden table in Dartz's office, before board members entered for the morning meeting. They would get their orders and leave before the public face of DOMA could see them. Raphael would sit, arms folded, eyes closed, not saying a word except to kowtow to 'Master Dartz'. Amelda would twitch like a druggie missing his fix. The slightest thing would set him off, usually so he could storm out early. Then Mai came along and he was setting off more than a firecracker doused in gasoline, but he stopped storming out because she gave as good as she got and provided a good target for his frustrations. Every morning was strained and tense, waiting to see what would happen next. They were society's broken; the damaged and deranged, given weapons beyond imagining, plus targets to aim them at. Creepy? It barely covered that whole era.

To break the unpleasant cycle of his thoughts he reached around and pulled her back against him. She squeaked but didn't fight him. Instead, she moved her head so he got a mouthful of hair. He spat it out, rearing back as it caught on his nose and over his ears.

"Take that!" she crowed.

"You need a shower."

She batted with her hand, but the angle was bad and there was no power behind it. He had been on the receiving end of her whaps before, usually upside the head when he had done something wrong. Once upon a time nobody would've been allowed to dictate right or wrong unless they had an ancient deity and a shitload of magical power backing them up. Once upon a time he wouldn't have let anyone touch him unless it was a punch – or he was too unconscious to know he was being cradled like a baby. How times changed.

"Truce?" she said after a while.

"Truce," he agreed.

"Go back to sleep. I have a duel today and I need to be on top form."

"You'll win." He stroked those baby fluff curls again. This time she didn't protest. "You always do."


He remembered the first time he saw her, proud and victorious on a duelling field. The arrogant tilt of her chin invited the world to take a pop at it, and the way she could run in stilettos said she'd kick it in the nuts if it did. He thought he couldn't love anyone after Mai's rejection. He thought a lot of things that were wrong in hindsight.

"You're being creepy again. Since when are you so touchy?"

"Since you find it annoying." He kissed her neck. "Vivian."