Word Count: 1,468
Pairings: None, but hints at a past Pegasus and Seto mentor/friendship as well as past Mai/Keith
Warnings: Since Pegasus isn't dead (yay!), this is set in the Anime universe.
Summary: Just a quick bit of dialogue between Pegasus Crawford and Seto Kaiba.
Notes: This has been sitting in my hard drive for months.
"Ok ok! Two Blue-Eyes White Dragons walk into a bar…"
Kaiba closed his eyes and balled a fist in his trench coat, willing calm even as he wanted to punch someone. A very particular someone. "Will you just shut up for a minute so I can—" He paused when the banging resumed, the tile worker repairing some of the ceramic flooring in his main office.
Pegasus pushed a bit of silver hair behind his right ear. He had retrieved a familiar, worn brown sketchpad from his breast pocket and was hastily doodling something with a KC CORP pen. The ink would be blue, Kaiba knew. In his own office, had a dozen pens like it and had his secretary order two new boxes a year just in case. Despite the public perception that he was a computer junkie, he actually did a lot of work with a pen or a tablet PC. He was forever jotting figures or sketching general layout ideas for new rides at Kaibaland or for the Duel Disk he was always revising. It was nothing like Pegasus' sketches. He could recall sitting by the man during a tournament when a bolt of inspiration had struck. That same sketchpad had been there, or at least one very like it, balanced on Pegasus' knees oblivious to reporters and the tournament players themselves as he created a duel monster from just a bunch of random lines. Seto's own lines were always carefully measured, and any sketches were just for inspirational purposes once he had time to get to his drafting table and tools at home. Pegasus' lines were unpredictable, squiggles became expressive eyes and dashes turned to biceps or a hat. Pegasus had written a little note in his trademark looped handwriting above a sketch of a small magician with a large hat: Silent Sorcerer LV3. He'd seen many duel monsters created that way from a flash of inspiration and some quick scratches into that sketchpad.
When the banging at last stopped, they both breathed a bit of a sigh at the welcome silence. Pegasus would probably forget to return the pen. "What did you have to show me, Pegasus. Just get it over with and get out."
Pegasus nodded as though they'd been talking about the weather over tea. "I'm sure you have an awful headache with that racket. Why are you still in the office at all? But never mind, I happened to be in town and I had a few ideas I wanted to run past you before putting the final cards into production." He passed the sketchpad, fiddling like an addict as soon as it had left his fingers. "I think they're pretty good, to be honest, but I want to know if you think they'll translate well to holograms."
Kaiba flipped to the first page and blinked. It was gorgeous, a dragon rising from flames. There was no color, but the sketch was like a duel monster in the rough. He wondered why he'd never asked to see more sketches before as he turned the next page, and then the next.
"Well?" Pegasus had crept up behind him, watching with obvious trepidation. "Can you read my writing? I have the effects written in right there on the right. They're a tad complex for holograms, I'm afraid. What do you think?"
"Hmm…" He lingered on a sketch of a young man in silver armor, long hair whipping behind his head. He read the loopy text and narrowed his eyes, turning his head to glance at Pegasus over one shoulder. "Kaiba Man? What kind of joke is this!"
"Hey, I thought you'd like him! I didn't plan on making many, and really no one else could use him except for you."
Kaiba reminded himself that he would ruin his teeth if he kept grinding them, "You're squirming."
Pegasus shrugged, "You did read his effect, didn't you?"
He had, of course he had once the name had registered. "Since when do you make cards for me specifically?"
"I thought you'd like him."
"Like him? You must think I'm a fool. You think I need help against Yugi, is that it? You think I can't handle myself against him without your help – help you'll only remind me of later when it's convenient for you!"
"Kaiba! I wasn't meaning it like that, it's just … I thought that you'd like him that's all. Why do you always have to overreact about everything?"
"I don't need your help." He tossed the sketchbook back roughly, and in the confusion it fell to the floor scattering sketches everywhere.
Pegasus made a little yelp and scrambled to gather them all, making sure they were all straight and flat. The glitter of a card had caught Kaiba's eye, however. He knelt beside the frantic man and picked a card from the floor. It was the sketch he'd been examining, the Kaiba Man, but already made into a card. He was holographic. His effect was perfect ... almost too perfect. But the monster itself unsettled Kaiba a little, no matter how useful it appeared: a version of himself so confident and carefree clad in silver Blue-Eyes armor. The monster was smiling, something Seto himself never did if he could help it. Beside him the rustling of paper had stopped. "What are you playing at, Pegasus? Why show me the sketch if you'd already produced it?"
As Pegasus looked up the tile worker began hammering again and for a while they could only stare at each other, and the card, and the haphazard sketches, and Seto's back office where he kept a comfortable couch and his trophies from all the tournaments he'd ever won. Kaiba had time to remember his first few tournaments when Pegasus Crawford himself had introduced him to the other top duelists, Mai Valentine and Keith Howard, and invited him to come spend some time with them. They'd talked duel monsters, of course, and it had been the first time he'd talked with other duelists except when he was intimidating them on the field. In fact, it was the first tie he'd been invited anywhere for something unrelated to business. Keith hadn't been a raving drunken cheat back then, not yet the infamous Bandit Keith, and Mai hadn't been so mired in self-pity and isolation that she could scarcely bear to participate in a tournament. He remembered how Keith had told him to never let his enemy get a chance to regain control once they'd lost it, how Pegasus had given him a few cards to get him started, and how Mai had flirted wildly with him just because it made him blush. How annoying!
Those first few cards hadn't been anything too powerful, but over the years he'd listened carefully to rumors and paid attention to those sudden bursts of inspiration Pegasus was always having. He began to feel more and more comfortable for a time. He'd gone out with Mai, Pegasus, and Keith several times, enjoying their bickering and the way they valued his opinion. He paid attention when Pegasus mentioned new and particularly powerful cards to be released or when Mai and Keith debated strategy. Soon he had at least one of every card in existence – all except the Blue-Eyes White Dragon. But then that had been something he'd had to find on his own.
When the spate of hammering quit once again, Pegasus was already talking. "I made it because I wanted to. There's nothing wrong with it. I just thought –"
Kaiba shook his head. "Never mind. I'll put it to good use."
Pegasus came up short, blinking winking or whatever you called it when a person had only one eye. He stood, his sketchpad gathered almost defensively to his chest but already the corner of his mouth hinted at a smile. "And I suppose you're going to make me swear never to make any others?"
"Why, were you planning on it?" He allowed himself to smirk, just a little, and Pegasus laughed..
"Not really, no! I mean, no one else could use it anyway. Why waste time?"
"Agreed." He looked down at the card in his hand. The man, Kaibaman he sighed to himself, had a look of grinning determination. He was confident. Seto slid the card into his breast pocket. "This repair work gives me migraines."
Pegasus inclined his head, no longer smiling like a giddy fool but pleasantly pleased nonetheless. "You look like a coffee expert. I'm sure you know all the best coffee houses in town. Those are nice quiet places, don't you think?"
Seto grunted, "Well don't just stand there, let's get a move on." He was already through the door and barking orders at his secretary. No matter how much he snarled, he could still hear Pegasus' soft laughter behind him.