Hey all, here's a one shot for you all to keep you occupied while I work on the next chapter of Dark Side of Amestris. When I thought of this, I realized that it would make a really good Halloween story, but Halloween had already passed and I didn't want to wait until the next one to publish it, so here it is. The information provided in here is not mine, the links for where I found everything are at the bottom of the story. The symbol is not mine either, the link it provided to the rightful owner. Also, the song that inspired this belongs to Heather Alexander. It is entitled Black Unicorn. I suggest you all go listen to it, its awesome. I suggest listening to this while reading the story. Apparently it sets the mood and helps provide the image that I was going for with the story.
Here is a link to the song http : / www . youtube . com / watch ? v = EaaOzeHiPGw I really hope you like it as much as I do.
I really hope you all like it, a lot of thought went into this story. I thank HappiestUnderClouds for beta reading for me and Zaleone for talking me into writing this now and not waiting until next Halloween.
Yes! if finally letting me upload this! ::does random happy dance::
Standard disclaimers apply.
Joey was a fool and he knew it. Only a fool would be roaming around the slums of Domino at night. And that was precisely what he was doing. It's not like he had a choice in the matter. It was either walk the slums or stay at home while his Dad partied with his friends.
Joey hated alcohol with a passion; all it did was turn smart men stupid. His dad used to have a really good job at the main branch of Domino's First Choice Bank as a security guard, but when Joey's mom and sister left, his dad turned to alcohol as a way to cope and has been coping since.
Joey remembered that night like it was yesterday instead of eight years ago. He had just finished getting ready for bed and was about to go say goodnight to his sister when the yelling started.
"How could you, that job was all that was keeping us out of the poorhouse! I'm leaving and taking Serenity with me!"
"Honey, wait, it wasn't my fault. The company had to get rid of positions and mine was one of them. Give me a month and I'll have another job."
"This was your last chance; it's always another month, another month! I'm tired of waiting!"
A door slammed "Mama, what's going on?" I heard my sister ask.
"We're leaving that pathetic excuse for a father and his equally pathetic son."
A frightened Joey heard Serenity crying and tried to get to her, but his bedroom door was locked from the outside.
"Serenity, Serenity!" He banged on the door to be let out as the front door slammed and the sound of Serenity crying vanished from the midnight air.
Joey was shocked out of his memories by the sound of hooves on pavement. Looking from side to side, he could see nothing but shadows.
"What the hell is that?" Joey muttered to himself, while looking into one of the darkest alleyways. What little light there was seemed to be swallowed by the darkness, leaving the alleyway looking a bit sinister. A look of confusion passed over his face as he realized that the area that swallowed the light left a vague outline, a darker shadow amongst shadows.
'It looks like a horse.'
Between one blink and the next it was gone and only the desolate shadows of the night remained.
"Just great Joey, now you're becoming paranoid like Pop; always jumping at shadows and imaging things. Guess I should explore a different part of town for a while, I know the slums like the back of my hand."
Shaking his head, Joey turned on his heel and headed for the middle class district, completely oblivious to the cold, piercing blue eyes that burned into his back, along with the fiery red of their companion.
The next day in school Joey was exhausted. He knew he shouldn't have stayed out so late, but he had to be sure his dad was passed out and his drinking buddies were gone. Joey hated what alcohol did to his dad. After a few rounds, he turned depressed and started apologizing for the least little thing, not to mention that he turns violent when he's angry.
A ruler slapped the desk in front of Joey causing him to jump in his seat. "If you would care to join us for class Mr. Wheeler, we can start."
Muttering his apologies, Joey took out his notebook and prepared for another boring class.
"As I was saying before, for the next few days we will be learning about the different legends that surround Halloween as well as its origin. On Halloween itself we will be watching the Legend of Sleepy Hollow in class."
The entire class cheered at this announcement. It would be an easy week for them all.
"For today's lesson, we shall cover the Pooka and the Black Unicorn."
The class looked interested in the two subjects for the day. They had all learned about the origin of Halloween and most of the legends associated with it, but they had never heard of the Pooka or the Black Unicorn before.
The teacher cleared her throat and started the lecture for the day.
"The Pooka is of Irish origin and is usually classified as a shape shifter who commonly takes the form of a horse, rabbit, goat goblin or a dog. Though it may change form, it will always have fur of the deepest black and has eyes the color of sulfur.
"It has been known to cause much mischief and harm. It often roams large areas of countryside at night, tearing down fences and gates, scattering livestock in terror, trampling crops and generally doing damage around remote farms.
"The mere sight of it may prevent hens from laying their eggs or cows giving milk, and it is the curse of all late night travelers as it is known to force them up onto its back and then throw them into muddy ditches or bog holes. The Pooka has the power of human speech, and it has been known to stop in front of certain houses and call out the names of those it wants to take upon its midnight dashes. If that person refuses, the Pooka will vandalize their property because it is a very vindictive fairy.
"In some areas of Ireland, the Pooka is rather more mysterious than dangerous, provided it is treated with proper respect. The Pooka may even be helpful on occasion, issuing prophecies and warnings where appropriate."
The sounds of pencils scratching paper filled the air as no one wanted to miss any information on this new legend.
"The second legend we will discuss today is the Black Unicorn. There is not much known about this creature. The only information available comes from 'eyewitness' account. It has been reported to be quite tall, taller than the tallest horse.
"As told by the name, the Black Unicorn has a hide that is always pitch black and a magnificent spiraled silver horn on its forehead. The black unicorn has been reported to have hellish glowing red eyes that never blink and poisonous breath. The last identifying feature of the Black Unicorn is the huge fangs that protrude from its mouth, making it look like it always has a wicked grin on its face."
The class murmured in surprise, many of them having never heard of the Black Unicorn before. Joey looked around at all of his classmates reactions, surprised to see that Seto wasn't as relaxed as he normally was. His back was ramrod straight and he looked slightly afraid.
Joey shrugged it off, knowing that Seto probably just remembered that he forgot to sign a multi-million dollar contract or something.
A few hours later, as Joey was walking out of school, Yugi finally caught up to him.
"Hey Joey, Yami wanted me to tell you to be careful. We both know that you like to walk around the city at night, but, well, just be careful. There was a suspicious death last night in the slums."
"Yugi, it's the slums. It's a rare night when there isn't something illegal going on down there."
"Just please be careful Joey."
They walked together for a few blocks before they had to part ways; Yugi to the game shop and Joey to his new afterschool job. He had just been hired at a music shop in a better neighbourhood to work the last few hours the store was open and to restock the shelves after the store closed.
The few hours he worked that day were filled with people talking about the mysterious death the previous night. He learned what Yugi hadn't told him; there were no marks on the body, but everyone though that he had been frightened to death due to the look of absolute terror that was frozen on his face.
After hearing that, Joey decided he would escape to the business district if needed.
As it turns out, Joey was glad he had made that decision earlier. He could tell that his dad had already started drinking by the reek of alcohol that assaulted his nose and the drunken laughter that filled his ears when he opened his front door.
He closed it immediately and started walking to the so-called business section of town. In all reality it was a section of the city that only housed middle class business. Passing all of these businesses made Joey think about his plans for his future, or more precisely, his lack of them. He knew there was no legal way for him to get enough money to go to college and his grades weren't up to par either.
"I resigned myself to menial jobs a long time ago, why is this starting to bother me now? Screw it, I'll get a decent job and plan my way from there."
Feeling better about himself, he was about to turn and head home when he heard an out of place noise.
Looking around, Joey frowned. "The sound of hooves again, I must be really tired if I'm hearing sounds that aren't there."
Turning around, Joey headed home, unaware of the figure that solidified behind him into the shape of a fiery red eyed horse and icy blue eyed rider.
The next day at school, almost everyone was talking about the second mysterious death in as many days. Well, everyone except Joey and Seto. Joey has no interest in gossip mongering that day. He was busy reading a book about the Black Unicorn; unfortunately, he was trying to walk and read at the same time and ended up running into someone.
"Sorry, wasn't paying-" Joey stopped speaking when he got a look at who he ran into, and then frowned. "Never mind, I'm not sorry for bumping into you."
"So the Mutt can't do tricks and he apparently doesn't know how to be obedient."
"Piss off Kaiba. I don't have time for you today."
"I will say this once and only once; for your own good, stay away from me." With that said, Kaiba turned and walked away, his coat fluttering behind him.
Joey frowned at Kaiba's back, wondering what had gotten into the teen. 'That was odd, he can usually think of better insults than that…and why does he look so pale?'
Shrugging off Seto's weird behavior as a bad night's sleep, Joey placed the book in his book bag and walked out of the school and headed off to his after school job.
It was only when Joey arrived to work that he heard about the death the night before, and it was only here that Joey started thinking about these deaths.
'I've walked the slums and the business district these past two days and there has been a mysterious death in both places. Maybe Yami was right, I need to start being really careful. I know! I'll go to the high class neighborhood tonight. I may get questioned walking around there, but no one would dare kill there, the police respond immediately.'
Joey was enthused when his work shift was over; it meant he was free to explore a part of the city he had only been in a few times before. It was in this part of town where he learned how dangerous this midnight killer actually was. Flyers were posted everywhere warning citizens to stay indoors at night, as there was no set demographic of the victims linking them together.
'I've been in plenty of fights, I can protect myself; but maybe I will go home early tonight just so I can tell Yami that I'm trying to stay safe.'
As Joey turned around and started walking back the way he came, he heard what sounded like hooves behind him. Concerned, he stopped to listen. After listening for a few minutes and hearing nothing, he started walking again, only to hear the rhythmic beat of the hooves start again. He stopped and slowly looked around, seeing if he could finally spot where the sound of hooves was coming from. Seeing nothing, he headed home.
A dark horse shaped figured materialized where Joey was standing not even minutes before. His pale rider sat tall in the regal black saddle that was decorated with intricate blood red scroll work.
"Stay away Joey or you shall suffer the same fate as the rest."
The next day at school, everyone noticed that Seto Kaiba looked sick and pale. He growled out while shooting off an icy glare that could freeze anyone in their tracks that he merely had a cold and to leave him alone. Yami figured the long hours at the office finally caught up with him and now he was suffering the consequences. Well, not everyone noticed. Yugi and Joey didn't notice the change in Kaiba. Yugi was trying to calm Joey down since he was freaking out about the murders and the fact that he was at the location of the murders shortly before they took place.
"Joey, calm down. There is nothing you can do about it. Stop wandering around at night and you'll be safe."
"Yug, you don't understand. What if the killer is after me and is killing the people that get in his way?"
Yugi sighed at Joey's hysterics, surprised that no one seemed to have noticed the blond waving his arms around in the middle of class.
"Joey, no one is stalking you, stop being paranoid. Just stay home or at my place tonight and you will see. You can help me hand out candy."
"Candy, what the… oh yea, its Halloween tomorrow. Why do we hand out candy on the day before Halloween and not on the day itself?"
"Heck if I know Joey. Just stay at my place tonight, and tomorrow you'll see how paranoid you are being when someone ends up dead and you weren't there."
"You know Yugi, that's a really morbid thought for you to have. I would expect Bakura or maybe even Yami to think that, but not you."
"Joey, I'm dating Yami, did you really not expect his mannerisms and thought processes to rub off on me?"
Joey shuddered with the thought. "I don't want to know what of his has rubbed off on you."
"Joey, get your mind out of the gutter!" Yugi turned away, face burning with embarrassment.
Before Joey could respond, the teacher walked into the room and over to her computer.
"Ok class, before we start on today's Halloween topic, I thought I would share this song with you about the Black Unicorn. I received it anonymously, and usually I would ignore it, but it has some good information about the appearance of the Black Unicorn. So everyone listen and maybe you will learn something."
The song started and Joey was in awe of the sound. It sounded slightly disconcerting and slightly wicked. Just listening to the song made him admire, yet fear the Black Unicorn. For some reason Joey felt paralyzed by the song, afraid to move and afraid to breathe.
I am he that knocks on your windowpane,
I am he that stalks the night
I am he with silver shot through my mane,
you'll dream of me with fire-eyes bright
If you ever meet me standing there,
you'll wish that you were never born
I'll seize your soul and strip it bare,
I am the Black Unicorn
My horn is forged of silver fire,
my shoulders bear leathern wings
I am the nightmare of your own desire,
I am the song that the Devil sings
Hellfire dancing in my eyes,
my coat is as black as coal
Mortals are so quick to hypnotize,
and then I merely take your soul
Teeth sharp as daggers cooled in the snow,
and hooves that burn through the ground
Follow me not where I lead you to go,
for then your soul will be devil-bound
There is but one who rides my back,
and keeps his soul ever free
His heart is cold and will not crack,
and he is as cursed as me
Gaining the courage to move his head, Joey looked around to see that Seto looked like he was cringing in his seat. He could slightly understand why Kaiba looked slightly afraid. What surprised him was that he was allowing others to see it. Heck, Joey was afraid himself. His mind started running rampant with thoughts of the mysterious deaths that had been plaguing the town and how this mysterious beast of legend could be responsible.
'Get a grip on yourself, there is no such thing as a Black Unicorn, and even if there was, you are certainly not being stalked by it. There is just a random killer out there that just happens to kill in the same place you were on those nights.'
Joey did not hear the rest of that lecture, or any of the lectures in his classes that day; his mind was too busy running in circles with thoughts of being stalked by a killer.
He finally snapped himself out of his worrying when the final school bell rang for the day. He knew that all of his worrying wouldn't help him any, that he was only freaking himself out needlessly. 'Damn, if I don't get a hold of myself I'll be jumping at shadows soon.'
Lost in his thoughts, Joey didn't hear Kaiba walk up behind him.
"Lost in your thoughts Mutt? Guess anyone could get lost in the empty space in your head."
Joey jumped and spun, screeching as he did so. "Make some noise next time, moneybags, I could have hurt you."
Kaiba chuckled darkly at this comment. "I doubt it. Stay inside like a good mutt tonight if you know what's good for you."
Joey fumed with anger as he watched Seto turn to leave, his blood red coat flaring out behind him in its own gravity defying way.
'How dare he presume to tell me what I can and cannot do! Just for that I will stay out tonight.'
A few minutes passed before he suddenly stopped and turned around, gazing in the direction Seto had gone. 'Since when does Kaiba have a red coat, much less a deep crimson one the color of blood? Oh well, must be in the Halloween spirit for once.'
He continued on to work, satisfied with his explanation for yet another change in Seto's personality and appearance. He allowed himself to forget his worries of the killer and his paranoia and obsession with the Black Unicorn.
Work that day was crazy for Joey. They had a huge shipment of music that needed to be put out before the next day as they had a huge Halloween Sale going on for one day only. It took Joey hours of labor to get the shelves and bins stocked correctly and arranged for maximum impact for the customers. By the time he was done, it was nearing midnight.
The boss said his goodbyes and locked the door behind them and started walking home, the opposite direction of Joey. Joey shivered as a light breeze blew his way. The slight chill in the air reminded Joey that it was indeed autumn and that winter was not far off. Pulling his jacket closer to his body, he tried to keep himself warm. The clock struck midnight and Joey realized it was Halloween.
Looking up to the sky, he realized that it was a perfect way for Halloween to start. Dark clouds covered the moon, casting shadows across every surface and lending a slightly creepy feeling to the air.
'Damn, I've been reading too many scary stories lately; I'm starting to get freaked out by normal shadows now.'
Hoof beats rang loudly in the air down the street behind Joey. He froze where he stood, one foot slightly in front of the other, trying to stay as still as possible, hoping that if he didn't move he wouldn't be seen. The sound stopped when it seemed to be right being Joey, leaving a slight electric tension in the air. Joey turned around slowly, lowering his head slightly so he wouldn't look whoever was stalking him in the eyes.
His eyes landed on the black hooves that sparked fire as they pawed the ground. As he raised his eyes, the clouds moved, bathing the horse and rider in the bright light of the moon, highlighting the contrast between the rider's pale skin and the dark fur of the horse.
The fiery red eyes captured Joey's and tried to stare him down. Joey stared back, gaze full of defiance and fear; afraid to break the gaze least the creature to which the eyes belonged should attack.
A cold breeze blew through the air, causing the hair on the back of the horse shaped creature to flow through the air. The silver strands that ran through its mane caught the edge of Joey's peripheral vision. He managed to tear his gaze away from the eyes that he felt was trying to hypnotize him, eyes that he felt tried to take something from him.
Coal black leather wings settled at the side of the horse and Joey's gaze was captured again by the horse like creature. A soft, silver glow radiated from a horn that seemed to be made of liquid silver resided in the center of the horse's forehead. The glow slowly started overtaking his vision, driving all conscious thought from his mind.
A sudden realization stole the breath from Joey's lungs, causing him to real backwards and break his gaze with the creature again. With the eye contact broken, the silver glow faded from his vision and he started searching left and right for a way to get away quickly.
'The Black Unicorn, it all fits; the sudden deaths, the hoof beats at night this close to Halloween, the Black Unicorn was stalking me and wants my soul!'
Joey prepared to dart off when he heard a slight cough to get his attention. He brought his head around to look at the rider again and was shocked at what he saw. A pair of ice blue eyes and brown hair that moved with the wind, a gravity defying coat the deepest shade of black available, Seto Kaiba was the rider of the Black Unicorn.
"I told you to stay away for your own safety and wellbeing; why couldn't you have listened to me for once?"
Joey looked from Seto to the Unicorn then back to Seto. "But you... and it... and they... What the Hell!"
Seto cocked his head to the side and looked at Joey with slight amusement. "Is there a coherent thought in there somewhere?"
Joey shook his head, an attempt to get his thoughts in order and to gain control over his thinking again. He ran a hand through his hair, fighting down the panic that threatened to overtake his thinking.
"How can... are you…have you been following me?"
Seto sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose with his left hand.
"In a way, yes. I've been cursed to ride through the night starting a week before Halloween, only allowed to stop once Halloween has passed. As for following you, I have quite the protective streak for people I care about. You can be so foolish sometimes and take unnecessary risks that I can't help but to protect you."
Joey laughed at hearing what Seto said about protecting him. 'Protective of me, yea right.'
"And Bakura's secretly in love with Yami, why don't you pull the other leg Kaiba. You're not protective of me, you hate me. Just tell me the truth and we can both go on our way and forget this ever happened."
"Get it through your thick skull that I care about you!" Seto shouted, causing the unicorn to move slightly and look around for threats, bearing its sharp teeth as a threat to potential attackers.
Mouth dropping in shock, a look of bewilderment crossed Joey's face. "You care for me? All you ever do is yell at me and belittle me, not to mention all the mocking and the treatment that borders on violent sometimes. Why should I believe that you care that deeply for me when you have only ever shown otherwise?"
"You are an idiot," Seto muttered to himself as he dismounted. Turning around he looked Joey in the eyes, and showed Joey just how much he cared.
"I've fought with you to keep you away from me. I've been cursed since I met you and I didn't want you ending up cursed also, which you would have been if I told you how I truly felt. I can't do it anymore; I can't fight needlessly with you anymore. Join my world Joey, be with me for as long as we will be cursed for."
"Before I answer that Seto, why are you cursed?"
Seto turned his head, looking out into the shadows of his memory as he leaned against the unicorn's shoulder.
"Mokuba, it's all for Mokuba. Our step-father was abusive. One night he beat me till I passed out, then he moved onto Mokuba. He nearly killed him that night; it was a really close thing. I bargained with every deity that I could think of to keep him alive. Finally one answered; he saved Mokuba in exchange that I ride the Black Unicorn for a hundred years, and during that time I will not age. And before you ask, I'm not out to kill people, those deaths were accidents. Wrong place at the wrong time, looking in the wrong direction. The unicorn takes human souls when one is so misfortunate to be trapped in his gaze… speaking of which, how do you still have your soul, you were trapped in his gaze for long enough for him to steal yours?"
"I don't-" Joey trailed off mid sentence as he was caught in fiery gaze again and was thrust into the middle of a long forgotten memory.
Joey was fighting the chain that was attached to his leg, trying to make the sole key he had fit the lock.
"Oh man, this key won't work, I need the other one."
Joey released the key from his fingers and watched it float away from him. 'At least if I have to die it's for a good cause; Yugi can get the God cards and can help Yami regain his lost memories. Goodbye Yugi, good luck.'
The burning need for breath finally caught up with Joey and his mouth opened, releasing the breath that he was holding.
'Wish I could have seen Serenity again, at least she knows that I died saving my best pal.'
As Joey's vision started going gray, a small voice ran through his mind "You owe me one."
Just before Joey lost consciousness, he saw a gray figure moving in the water around him and felt something grab him around the chest. It dragged him up to the surface and Joey briefly saw the face of his savior, a face that he wouldn't remember saved him. 'Seto?'
With that last thought Joey lost consciousness, lying limp in Seto's arms.
"You're safe now" Seto whispered in Joey's ear as he laid him down on the dock.
Joey found himself blinking tears from his eyes as he was released from his memory.
"I was allowed to live to help Yugi all this time. I have a soul debt also." He turned his head and looked at Seto. "You saved me from drowning after my duel with Yugi. Thank you."
Seto merely shook his head. "I couldn't let you die when I was able to help you. I told you I have cared about you since I met you." He turned around and mounted the unicorn again. "Join me Joey."
Seto held out his hand, eyes beginning for Joey to take it, to ease his loneliness.
Joey looked from the hand outstretched to him up to Seto's eyes. He reached out took the hand. He was pulled into the saddle in front of Seto and felt arms wrap around his waist.
A burning sensation on the back of Joey's hand caused him to hiss in pain and stare at the area where the pain was coming from. He watched as a circular red and black spiral wave tattoo emerged on the back of his hand.
"Ah, I was wondering where that mark would appear on you. It's the mark of those cursed to this fate."
Joey turned his head around until he could see Seto. "Where's your mark?"
"On my left shoulder blade; now hold on, this can be a rough ride."
Joey grabbed the saddle pummel just before the unicorn reared and let loose a scream that shattered the night before bolting into the nearest shadow, disappearing into the night.
The next day, both Joey and Seto were missing from their classes and both Yami and Yugi were frantic with worry; Yami even more than Yugi since he had felt a power older than his own active the night before.
"He did say he was coming to our place last night right Aibou?"
Yugi nodded while looking through his contact list, wondering who of their friends might have heard from him.
"Yea, I told him to come over after work so he would stop worrying about the killer following him… Oh, what if the killer did get him?"
Yami wrapped his arms around Yugi and sighed. "This is Joey we're talking about. Knowing him he probably fell asleep somewhere and just decided to skip school today. Besides, he's one heck of a fighter; he can take care of himself."
"I know that, I'm going to call Mokuba and see if he's heard from Joey by any chance, and see if he knows why Kaiba wasn't in school today."
Yugi walked into the kitchen and picked up the phone. As soon as Yami knew he was sufficiently distracted, he hung his head and sighed.
'Joey, you idiot; how can you put us through this?'
`I'm sorry Yami, please take care of Serenity for me.`
Yami's head snapped up and the Sennen eye appeared on his forehead. `Joey, where are you and what is going on?`
`I don't have a lot of time to explain, and I don't know how I can speak to you like this, but essentially the Black Unicorn is real and Kaiba and I are cursed to ride him for a hundred years. I'll come back to visit you when I can. We crossed the vale into the realm of old magic and can't leave until next Halloween; I'll explain everything more then. Oh, by the way, Seto says to take care of Mokuba until we get back. See ya Yami.`
"Shit, lost him." The Sennen eye vanished from his forehead and he opened his eye to see Yugi staring at him.
"Mokuba said that he found a note on the kitchen counter this morning saying that if Kaiba wasn't there this morning that he is to take over leadership of Kaiba Corp. Who were you talking to Yami?"
Yami smiled a sad smile before answering his aibou. "I managed to get a hold of Joey. The Black Unicorn is real and they are both bound to him and stuck in his realm. They'll be back next Halloween and I've been charged with keeping an eye on Serenity and guardianship of Mokuba."
Yugi blinked, relief evident on his face. "This ranks at the top of the list of weird stuff he has been involved in, but at least he is safe."
As they settled down to sleep, in another realm Seto and Joey were kissing on their bed in their new home.
Thank's for reading this all the way through, please review and tell me what you think. No flames please. All flames will be given to Bakura to make happy havoc with, and we don't need that now do we :D
Information on the Pooka http: / / www . santharia. com/ bestiary /black _ unicorn . htm
Information on the Black Unicorn http: / www . irelandseye . com / paddy3 /monstatxt2i . htm
Picture of the cursed mark: http: / media . photobucket . com /image /curse %20mark /Brandon _ the _ hedgehog /images . jpg?o=16