A/N: I have only a vague idea of where this is going, but one thing's for sure - there's more where this is coming from.

Dislaimer: Kazuki Takahashi and all associated companies are the rightful owners of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise. As I am not a part of that, this is for non-profit amusement purposes only, with no intention to infringe on the copyright.

Warnings: none, as of yet.


Our Time Now

Noa is used to predictable company. Used to controlled environments and foreordained conversations.

"Hello, Master Noa."

"Good morning, Mister Kaiba."

"What a lovely weather today!"

"Woof woof."

Day in and day out. All the same. Data. Data. Data. Litter. Compile. Compress. Feed out. Send in. Receive, delete, store, purge. He has it all under control. There are no walls that could hold him. Except that…

Except that he himself consists of an infinite storage space shared by a few hundred trillion devices. When one flickers out, he doesn't even notice. When a new one joins in, he does notice. The universe is expanding. He is the God. He creates and observes. Doesn't interfere. Mostly.

Noa knows that Seto Kaiba has been researching Amelda and Kaiba Corp's involvement in the war that tore the other's homeland apart. Noa knows that Amelda is considered dead back in his country and that he hasn't attempted to rectify that. Noa knows that Mokuba is getting more and more involved in running Kaiba Corp. His would-be little brother is growing up. Noa is growing too.

"What a lovely weather today!"

"Good morning, Mister Kaiba."

"Woof woof."

"Hello, Master Noa."

Insignificantly rewriteable particles compile his everyday existence. Strings of information and entertainment zip by at speeds of thought and light; pools of murky data gather to his circular left and right because galaxies have no direction. Therefore, Noa doesn't even notice when he reaches the line beyond. He crosses it without ever realising that he has, by way of osmosis, entered a different plane of existence.

"What are you doing there?"

Noa doesn't lead anymore. Doesn't compile, archive, compress data. Doesn't write the endings of conversations which haven't even started yet.

"If it's a way out you're looking for…"

He wants to tap into the code that holds this place together, but finds no strings to latch on to, not even a theoretical nanobyte to identify.

"…you won't find it there."

The walls do hold. Noa turns around. Back to the wall. Facing forward. Left is left. Right is right. Colours do not render themselves into codes. #FFFFFF. White. #436095. Blue. #E3C96E, no, #D0B257, and quite a bit of #E7E09B, and many, many more. A sandy colour like he's never seen before in his life, but has recreated digitally for his own world. The whirlwind of hexadecimals doesn't remain static, but doesn't spin around in its usual chaotic ways either. Trees, houses: he can see the numbers and letters engraved on all of them, can count the zeroes and ones they are compiled of, can pinpoint the colour codes on even the smallest imperfections and can follow their outlines as shadows and dust clouds glide over them, momentarily changing the borders.

01010010-01100101-01100001-01101100-01101001-01110100-01111001.

01001000-01110101-01101101-01100001-01101110.

010100110110010101110100o.

A... 011100000110010101110010son. P-e-r-s-o-n.

It takes Noa a while before he remembers that he has to open his mouth to speak with the person standing a few steps away from him. Before, voice wasn't necessary. His thoughts had been binary in a world where binary was the normal state of existence. Now, he finds himself corporeal again.

"What are you doing here, Seto?" he asks after a moment of silence that might have been a little too long for his liking.

'Seto' raises his eyebrows and studies the little boy carefully.

"You know my name."

"Of course I know yo-" Noa slows down as he speaks. But does he really? The familiarity he noted at the first glance has already waned. Similarly different, if such a thing has ever existed. Noa doesn't remember. His databases are silent.

But the name has been given – and accepted.

"What is your name, boy?"

'Boy'? Noa bristles. He can take any form he wi-

No. Not anymore. There is no data in his storage to confirm this ability. The binary is silent. It doesn't move.

"Noa."

Name has been given.

"Well then, Noah, I'll have you know that my proper name is Sety. You would do well to remember that."

Name has been accepted.


Afterword: Now I must confess to something. The binary up there? Isn't how it's supposed to be. There were no dashes meant to be between the numbers, but, as you all very well (or not that well; it depends, I suppose) know, ff-net has a liking for stripping out very useful symbols and with this fic I discovered that it also eats up strings of binary code. So, what the eff, ff-net? What the everloving eff? The words spelled out are 'Reality', 'Human', and 'Set' (notice, the last symbol is an 'o' there - added to cheat ff-net and prevent it from gobbling up precious binary.).