All characters and settings of Yu-Gi-Oh! belong to Mr. Takahashi. This fan fiction shows my continuing appreciation for the complexity of his characters and the world he created.
Haunting blue eyes shimmer with secrets that, for sanity's sake, are best left obscured. AU. No ship.
I'm dreaming. It's happening more and more lately... No, that's not right. I'm more aware of it. That I'm dreaming that is. I am beginning to think that my life - my existence - is nothing but a dream.
The nature of that dream? Mundane stuff. Attending class. Sitting down at the dinner table with my younger brother for a meal. All the basic, ordinary stuff of a normal life.
But, the eyes...
Sometimes I see eyes, when I close my eyes. Sometimes, at night, when I compose myself to sleep, I see them. Always the same. Never changing. Beautiful blue eyes, staring into the distance, never quite looking into mine. I used to wonder about the blue eyes, but lately...
I see them during the day, when I'm awake, sometimes. Most often, when I'm dueling. Yes, I play the game that has captured the attention of so many of my classmates. I'm not half-bad, but, my success is really due to my cards - especially the grand four that somehow or another, through amazing strokes of unbelievable luck, found themselves in my possession at one time or another. My success with dueling is due entirely to their presence in my deck rather than any skill I hold. It's all my cards and the unrelenting blue eyes that won't let my spirit waver, no matter how hopeless a game seems. The pitiless, demanding blue eyes.
I admit I'm afraid of them. Does that fact that I see them while I'm awake mean that I'm...? And, that I think they are somehow communicating with me, does that show that...? I don't want to admit my fear - that perhaps I'm going mad, driven into insanity by a pair of spectral blue eyes.
Try as I might, even though I can sense a face around the blue eyes that haunt me, I can't make out any other feature.
"...Dark Magician!" my opponent calls out with that odd blend of eagerness and triumph that I've come to expect from him whenever he manages to get a card he really wants onto the field.
I cringe at my opponent's words. Internally, I groan. Dark Magician? In Yugi's hands, that card is a massive pain in the butt. I wonder why it seems as if this duel monster really has it in for me, almost as if if relishes it when Yugi uses it to defeat me. I might have better cards, but this card, in Yugi's hands, more often than not, is impossible for me, or for anyone else, to beat. I look up, expecting to see the spellcaster's trademark smirk aimed my way.
The duel monster is looking at me, but not in any way that I've ever seen before. Dark Magician floated over to my side of the field, even past where my monsters are arranged, and is staring down at me, peering at my face very closely.
"It's nearly over. All your doubts and questions will soon be answered," the Dark Magician tells me.
Yugi seems to be oblivious to how strangely his monster is behaving.
"You have been dreaming. For eighteen long years your life as you know it is only a dream. The dreamer is about to waken." The Dark Magician's disconcerting stare lifts as he gazes off into the distance.
"I-I don't understand. I am awake - aren't I?"
The duel monster locks his gaze to mine again, and I could believe there is compassion in his stare. "As you say. However, I never said you were the dreamer. You are merely - the dream."
"Kisara, yours is not the soul that was supposed to be born. Your spirit is tied up so tightly in his, you were the first vessel of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon after all, but in this existence, you usurped another's lifespan. He has grown strong enough to take it back. He is about to waken from his dark dreams and claim his life back. I'm truly sorry, but your appointed span resides in the past of three thousand years ago. You were never meant to be born in this age."
"What madness is this?"
But, even as I phrase my vocal protest, I see those arresting blue eyes. This time, unlike any other time, I know they can see me. They pierce me, and, and...
The world whirls away. Or, maybe I am whirled away. The only constant in this maelstrom of shifting, fluid, bending reality is the Dark Magician. He holds out a hand, offering stability. I take it.
"Seto has claimed his rightful life again. The true Master of the Blue-Eyes White Dragons has taken his place."
But, what then, am I?
"A displaced spirit. One that, in the past, held the glory of a dragon in her very self. But that glory is no longer yours to hold." Again, that compassionate glance. "You were not strong enough to withstand housing the dragon. Instead of residing in your spirit, for you to call upon when you had need, as it does with Seto, it consumed your life force. It took both your spirit and the energy of your life to bring forth the dragon. The dragon was only able to manifest when you asleep or unconscious. Therefore, it is more accurate to claim that the dragon possessed you rather than the other way around. The dragon needs a strong master. Seto is that master."
Maybe this is why my life always felt like I was merely dreaming it, rather than living it. All on the surface with nothing underneath. Well, almost all. My love for my little brother never felt dim or dull. I clutch my head in pain and disbelief in the impossibility of it all. I am - just a dream? What of my brother, my friends, my life? I have only this duel monster's word that I lived in the past and wasn't supposed to live now. His word - and the blue eyes that have haunted me my entire life. And, a feeling deep inside me, that the magician's words, as weird and alarming as they are - are true.
So I - never was a real person?
"No." Dark Magician shook his head. "You were, and are, a real person, Kisara. You simply are too gentle a soul to contain and control the Blue-Eyes White Dragon. It always controlled you."
"Your span, your human span, began and ended thousands of years ago. But, during that span, you were the vessel of the White Dragon. There is a spiritual connection between you and the dragon, and Seto, whose connection to the dragon is as strong as your own. This universe has corrected a mistake and his soul is now the one taking its rightful place alive in this time. I am sorry, Kisara."
I can fight it.
He nods. "You can. A soul displacement and spiritual changeover of this nature is a very fragile process. While your will wasn't strong enough to control the dragon, it is certainly strong enough to fight against this."
"The universe, and what should have happened, are stronger. You will hurt yourself, shred your soul, if you fight. Not only that, you will hurt Seto, too. The universe will win, in the end, but you could well render Seto a mindless idiot and your own soul a tortured, never-ending remnant struggling in the void by the end of the futile struggle. I would strongly advise against fighting."
So, I've lost. I didn't mean to do anything! I was just born, and living my life - yes, my life! - like any normal person! If this Seto was supposed to be born instead, why wasn't he? Why torture me in this way, with awareness of a life I shouldn't have had? I clutch my hands to my chest to contain my agony, and wind up hugging my own shoulders against the pain. It hurts so deeply, that, that - I'll never see my little brother again. He needs me, bullies pick on him, and I protect him. What will happen to him now, if I am gone?
Dark Magician reaches forward to ease my hands from my shoulders, and gentle me out of my self-hug. His huge hands dwarf mine, but I'm not alarmed that he keeps possession of them. "Kisara, it may have felt like your life, but it was Seto's all along. Everything that you did, everything that you felt, every connection to another human being that exists and is important to you - is really his. Seto will be Mokuba's big brother, feeling the same love and protectiveness toward him that you do, down to the very last drop." He squeezes my hands. Of course, now I wonder if I really have hands after all this talk of spirits and snatching lives, and soul exchanges. This might only be a place of spirit, I might not even have a 'body' now, but what feels like tactile contact still comforts. "It will be all right, Kisara. I am here to help. I wanted to make certain that your soul wasn't simply whirled away and stranded in the void. You deserve a much better fate than that. I know you didn't do anything consciously to cause this situation. It is normal for a person to want to live, no matter what, and, despite your lack of ability to control it - the power of the dragon knows and recognizes your soul. Perhaps the dragon itself caused this mix-up, knowing that you aren't able to control it as well as Seto. It has always been wild, willful, and prideful."
I don't really care about all this. Seto, is it? I want to hate this 'Seto' based upon what was happening to me, but deep inside there is an unexpected well of caring, instead. He is to inherit the life I'd lived for eighteen years, and everything I'd managed to do during that short time. I hope he doesn't make a mess of it. What happens to me, now? I just disappear - die again - never to be born? Is that - my fate?
"I had been a spirit sorcerer in my own life before the existence I carry now. I can sever the connection to the dragon in you, if you wish, freeing your soul to proceed to the afterlife, or..."
"I can bind your soul to that of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon even as my soul has been bound to the Illusionist Magician. You can remain on this side of the divide between life and death, as a duel monster, serving the Master of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon even as I serve my master. In duels."
I will be - a dragon?
"Kisara - you always were a dragon. It's just that no one, not even you, realized it."
"How long are you going to stare at that card, Seto? You gonna play it, or not?" Yugi called, bringing Seto's mind back from its wandering. "I haven't got all day. Grandpa's going to need me at the shop, soon."
Blue eyes. Seto's attention was drawn to the tiny, but vibrant blue eyes of the white dragon on the card he'd just drawn. It had been his latest, most unlikely, acquisition. No one ever thought that Professor Hawkins would give up his 'lucky card' - heck, he hadn't even given it to the guy who was known to be his best friend. Seto received it early this week, in a hand-delivered courier package from the eccentric professor, with a scribbled note that read-
The dragon isn't happy with me anymore, and wants to be with you. Treat it well. -AH
Of course, Yugi had no way of knowing that. Seto grinned internally, knowing that he was about to knock his unassumingly cocky friend down a peg or two. People discounted Yugi and his ability because he was so short, but that never deterred Seto from knowing the true, ruthless if need be, nature of his friend. He'd given Yugi a card, one of his three Blue-Eyes White Dragons, at a time when Yugi was scared, and feeling all alone. Seto hadn't been allowed to stay with Yugi at the hospital that night, since he wasn't family, the night that the doctors told Yugi his grandfather was 'touch and go'. They told Yugi that if his grandfather lived through the night, he'd most likely survive and recover from his 'massive cardiac event'. Seto knew his friend, his best friend, wouldn't leave his grandfather's side the entire night, so he would be there, all alone, if the worst were going to happen. Seto wasn't permitted to stay, but just before the nurse shooed him forcibly from the room, he'd pressed the card into Yugi's hands. It felt like such an inadequate gesture in the face of what his friend was dealing with, but it was the best he could do.
Yugi tried to give it back afterward of course. Seto asked if Yugi had looked at the card at all. If Yugi hadn't needed it, Seto would take it back; but if Yugi had looked at it, and drawn comfort from it, even if only once...
Yugi wouldn't meet his eyes when he admitted that, in the dark and quiet hours of the night, when it seemed as if his grandfather's life was ebbing to a low point, he'd placed the card in his grandfather's hands. He'd whispered to his grandfather that everyone, he, Seto, all his friends, and even the duel monsters wanted the old man to live, and chase them around with a broom, and bellyache that kids should play with good old-fashioned boardgames instead of those brightly colored monstrosities on the cards instead. Yugi's eyes were wide when he told Seto that it seemed as if that was the moment his grandfather's struggle turned around. As if - maybe the Blue-Eyes White Dragon were giving his grandfather the strength to live.
Seto couldn't take the card back after that. Yugi had since honed his dueling skills to the point that dealing with Seto's two Blue-Eyes White Dragons was commonplace. Seto never begrudged Yugi the card, not with what it meant to his friend, and, as Yugi never played it on him, it served as a tacit, though unremarked upon token of the friendship between them, but he did miss being able to summon his ultimate monster. If, for nothing else, to wipe the smirk from Yugi's Dark Magician's face. Now, though, with the fourth Blue-Eyes White Dragon card, the last in the world, making its way into his deck, he could finally do it.
"The book of Secret Arts and the field card Yami make my Dark Magician enough of a match to withstand your dragons, Seto," Yugi noted in his not-quite-gloating way.
You go right on believing that, Yugi Motou, Seto thought. It will make this return of my Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon all the sweeter.
Seto opened his eyes, transitioning between sleeping and waking in a scant second. He breathed in deeply, and forced his mind into waking, organized pathways, instead of the rambling wanderings of dreams.
It wasn't unusual for him to dream of dueling. It wasn't at all unusual for him to dream of dueling against Yugi. Indeed, one of his greatest goals in life was to duel his rival and win in a such a clearly decisive manner that his prowess at Duel Monsters would never be challenged again.
Seto scooted to a half-sitting position against the headboard of his bed, and crossed his arms behind his head. What was unusual, was to dream of this, or of anything, as lucidly as he'd just done. The colors of his dream were exactly as vibrant as real life - not half-leeched away, nor luridly bright. The sense of time passing was linear, too. There was no weird stretching or compressing of time. The tactile sensations made the dream far more 'real' than any he'd ever had before. That he could recall it with perfect clarity, as if it were a memory and not a dream was decidedly against nature, too.
Finally, the emotions he'd felt, some of them not even his own...
Blue eyes, seemingly as real as his bed post, flashed across the vision of his inner eye. Those are - Kisara's eyes.
Seto vaulted from his bed in a single move. Water. Maybe if I wash my face, and drink some water, real actions with real things, the dream will settle down and behave the way dreams are supposed to, Seto thought, suiting actions to thoughts.
Seto couldn't meet his own gaze in the mirror. There was something odd, something he didn't want to remember, whenever he looked at his own reflection. Shaking his head, reminding himself that he never backed down from any challenge, no matter how weird, Seto stared for a long moment into his mirror.
It's - my eyes. Seto finally realized. They are the eyes that this Kisara was haunted by in my dream. He brushed the glass surface with the merest touch of his fingertips. The mirror shattered into thousands of shards. In each shard, Seto could see a pair of blue eyes - his eyes - each holding a different expression. Some eyes were fierce, others kind; some resolved, others resigned; yet others happy while others welled with inexpressible sadness. Are all of those - my eyes? What is happening to me?
Seto closed his eyes, unwilling to meet the myriad gazes that tried to trap his attention. But, even with his eyes closed, a vision of eyes swam before his mind's eye. Thankfully, these eyes didn't mirror his own, they appeared to be Kisara's eyes again. He dared to open his eyes a crack, wondering if he would see thousands of Seto eyes looking at him, or broken bits of mirror all over his bathroom floor.
The mirror was whole, reflecting only his own troubled expression at him. Seto reached forward to touch the cool, slick surface again and managed a nearly soundless laugh under his breath. How many years of bad luck is it if you break a single mirror but see it a thousand times? Shaking his head, trying to shake the images from his mind, Seto entered his bedroom again. Perhaps these vivid dream images would slide toward the oblivion of forgetfulness if he could fall asleep again.
"That wasn't a dream, Seto." Dark Magician turned to face him. In this night of impossible dreams, somehow, he wasn't surprised to find the purple-armored duel monster in his bedroom. Seto realized the spellcaster was holding his deck of Duel Monster cards.
"Those are mine!"
Dark Magician handed the deck to him. Seto glanced down, and noticed the face-up Blue-Eyes White Dragon card on top. "That wasn't merely a dream, Seto," the duel monster repeated. "It really happened."
Seto lifted an eyebrow and said, "Really?"
"Allow me to amend: you dreamed it, so in that way it was a dream, but what you dreamed happened. Your dream revealed real events."
Seto stared, knowing the skepticism showing on his face would do little to deter this duel monster.
Dark Magician smiled at him. "You don't believe me, but you know better than to argue. Perhaps you are starting to learn, dragon duelist. I will simply state the facts for you to consider and believe, or not, as you deem fit. Kisara unwittingly usurped the life of Seto Kaiba," Dark Magician held up one forestalling hand, "not in this iteration of the universe, but one of those alongside ours. I suspect the Blue-Eyes did have something to do with it, for she has always been much easier for the dragon to control than you, any version of you, ever was. Be that as it may, the will of the universe is stronger even than the will of the White Dragon. I sensed the impending spiritual event and did what I could to minimize the destructive impact on everyone involved."
"Assuming I take you at your word on this - why would I dream of it? Why would I even be aware? I'm not that Seto Kaiba. I don't even believe in all this spiritual crap," Seto stated.
"It is as I told Kisara. You are the true master of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon. What happened in that universe affected not only that version of you, and that version of Kisara, but the Blue-Eyes White Dragon as well."
"Hmm. Not 'that version' of the Blue-Eyes, but the Blue-Eyes," Seto was quick to point out the difference.
Dark Magician nodded. "There are..." He stopped, and sighed. "Forgive me. I am tired this evening. I had thought I was the only one so affected, but it turns out the Blue-Eyes White Dragon, the core spirit that invests all three of your cards in this reality, and the various numbers of them in all others, now shares my fate. We are - omni-present."
"Are you saying whenever the - the Dark Magician is active in any reality, it's you?"
"Not exactly. I would go mad if I had to be every Dark Magician, every time. But the true spirit of the Dark Magician, whenever that is involved in a duel, no matter which reality, that is me, yes."
"You are Yugi's Dark Magician in every reality, aren't you? No wonder you are exhausted." Seto smirked as the insinuation that Yugi was inconsiderate hit home as evidenced by the spellcaster's suddenly narrowed gaze.
"I only truly manifest when something important takes place. What happened today, between the spirit of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon, the Kisara of that reality, and the Seto Kaiba from that reality was one of those important events."
Seto recalled his dream again. "So, Kisara is the spirit of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon now? My dragons are girls?"
Dark Magician smiled at the vague horror in Seto's tone. "Not precisely. The Blue-Eyes White Dragon is as it has always been, but Kisara's spirit is now one with it. That is a fate she is able to accept. I doubt you will notice any difference, and eventually Kisara's individuality will resonate in harmony with that of the Dragon and become indiscernible, but both spirits, if you will, have always had your best interest at heart."
Before Seto's inner eye, Kisara's distinctively shaped blue eyes formed again. The corners were crinkled up, as if she were smiling, and they shook from side to side. Abruptly, Seto realized she was aware of what was happening, and disagreeing with what the Dark Magician was saying.
"If what you say is true, I doubt you are as correct as you think you are, magician."
Dark Magician bowed his head slightly. "I can no longer sense Kisara as a separate individual from that of your dragon, Seto. But, I can sense the spiritual connections attached to you and one of them just quivered. If Kisara believes she will be able to retain some sense of herself, within the mighty spirit of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon..." Dark Magician nodded. "If that is the fate she can craft for herself, you may find the dragon cares for you more deeply than before. You could use a big sister watching over you, Seto."
The eyes, before his mind's eye, crinkled deeper, and nodded.
"You know what I mean. Do not fret. You are only aware of this event because it is one of the few where for a moment, every version of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon, across the multitude of universes, synchronized. You are the dragon's master, after all. If not for this fact, you would not be aware of it. Each moment passing now bears us further away from the event and the unity of the moment fades. By morning, you will not be troubled by dreams. By morning, everything will have returned to normal."
The blue eyes before Seto's gaze assumed an indulgent look. Seto didn't mind their presence. They weren't in the way, and somehow, he could understand exactly what these eyes wanted to convey.
"If you say so. I will be content if I am no longer troubled by you, starting right now," Seto said.
"Hmph. I content myself with the fact there is one universe where you aren't quite so dismissive of me, Seto Kaiba." With that, a disgruntled Dark Magician summoned shadows shot through with purple flashes, stepped through, and was gone.
Seto looked down at the Blue-Eyes White Dragon card in his hand. The depiction of the mighty beast on the card evoked the same fiercely possessive feeling of power it always did. The image appeared as it always did, but...
"This doesn't change anything for me, Kisara," Seto addressed the spectral blue eyes directly. "I have no need of a big sister, spiritual or otherwise, and I'm not going to change how I feel about my dragons, no matter what weird thing that duel monster of Yugi's wants me to believe."
Yeah, but you're seeing blue eyes you never did before, and now you're talking to them. Get a grip, Kaiba. You say you don't believe, but...
"But, whatever's happened, if it's real or only imagined, I'm not unhappy if that magician thinks that something happened that saved your - existence, or whatever. Just don't get in my way, and..."
Threatening a figment of the Dark Magician's imagination, now, are we?
"Oh, hell. I don't understand what's going on, or what to believe. And why would Yugi's duel monster care? Maybe I'm still dreaming, and only think I'm awake."
Abruptly, the blue eyes formed before his mind's eye, again. They appeared concerned. Tentative, half-formed images appeared around them. "There's something you want to show me?"
The eyes slowly nodded up and down.
Wondering if he were still dreaming, and the actions redundant, Seto placed his deck back in its box, climbed into bed, and turned off the bedside light. He settled the covers over and around himself and hoped that one could fall asleep in a dream, if one were already sleeping, because one was in a dream...
He was dueling. Cards fanned between his hands, but he ignored them to sense his dueling mindset first. Every duel was important, and he always fought his hardest, but some duels didn't have high stakes attached to them. Others were more critical, and he had to discern which sort this was before he could evaluate his hand to decide how ruthlessly he had to play.
High stakes. Oh, no. Mokuba. It flashed through his mind. Mokuba was in danger, and this duel was the only way to gain the information he needed to get his brother back.
His. Good, at least he wasn't in Kisara's point of view in this dream.
"Come on, Kaiba. Your turn. Don't you want this clue anymore? You'll never find your precious little brother without it!" Bandit Keith sneered at him and waved a folded piece of paper. "I completely understand if you don't want to be tied down to that worthless, sniveling brat of a brother anymore, though."
Another reality? He questioned internally, gathering his bearings.
Kisara's blue eyes appeared before him and nodded.
And I'm me, from the sound of it.
Again the eyes nodded.
This would be easier if you could just talk.
The disbelieving, indulgent look the eyes conveyed made Seto want to laugh.
Yeah, I tend to not trust talk. Showing me directly is probably the best way. Okay, I'll play along. And, with Mokuba at stake, even the Mokuba from a different reality, I'll win.
Now he looked down at his cards with the proper frame of mind he needed. He received a shock. Looking up at him from the cards in his hands was his Blue-Eyes White Dragon. Even the vaguely sentient look in the tiny dragon's eyes didn't shock him as much as the card next to it. Yugi's Dark Magician.
Wait. Yugi's Dark Magician?
Peering down into the card, he knew it was true, somehow. This card also bore an oddly sentient look in its eyes. And that expression held the same unshakable resolve and unguarded welcome that the dragon's look did.
Why is Yugi's card in my hand? Where is he?
The blue eyes didn't respond, but the history and memories of the Kaiba he was dreaming himself to be supplied the answer. Yugi had perished in this reality. Before he'd died, he'd entrusted his cards into Kaiba's hands, along with... Along with...
The Dark Magician's eyes flashed, bringing his attention to the card again. The tiny eyes narrowed in displeasure, flashed once again, and the dream shredded into tatters. Before his consciousness faded entirely away, Seto noticed one other thing, one thing that disturbed him to the core of his soul as no other revelation of this night had done.
Between the cards spread between his hands and his chest, a flash of gold caught his eye. The unmistakable shape was not that of a ring, or the top look of an ankh... It was a pyramid. An upside-down pyramid. And, just before the dream faded completely away, he realized there was another will, as strong and resolved as his own, putting all of his unique skills and power on the line to save Mokuba, too. A will sharing his mind.
"Kisara?" Seto raised a hand to pinch the bridge of his nose where a discomfort, not entirely unlike a headache, had taken residence. "Don't do that again. I don't need to know about any other whacked-out universes and not-to-be-believed versions of me, okay?"
The eyes appeared before him, with a questioning expression.
"Yes, I now understand why the Dark Magician cares that I know what happened to you and my dragon. I don't want to, and I'll never think about it again - I hope - but I know. Now, would you please leave me alone, so I can finish getting some sleep? Don't send any more dreams my way."
The blue eyes became more vivid, solidifying before his gaze more fully than ever before. Their shape crinkled, and Seto felt a flash of irritation that evidently his discomfort amused this spirit his dragon was now saddled with so much. The blue eyes, so human in appearance slowly morphed into whirling blue-white pupil-less eyes that Seto abruptly realized were the eyes of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon. He heard a familiar roar in his mind, and the eyes faded entirely.
I guess she's about the only 'big sister' I could ever tolerate, Seto thought as he curled on his side, closed his eyes, and hoped for sleep. A mighty dragon... Seto smiled softly. Good thing she can't talk and nag at me... I guess, seeing blue eyes, either my dragon's or a girl's - once in a while - isn't the worst thing... The worst thing is... Seto shuddered. The memory of himself as the wearer and wielder of the Millennium Puzzle pushed against his mind, but before the upsetting revelation could disturb him, he heard a faint dragon roar and fell into a dream of dueling his rival that was far more to his liking instead.
Almost fully asleep, in the pleasant thrall of the dream, Seto turned over in his bed. "Just don't ever think to tuck me in... 'sara... I'm ... Master of the Blue-Eyes - like stupid - magic'n - said..."