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[personal profile] tuulikannel
Unfinished old Yugioh fic from years ago. Posting it here just because... well, just because. It was inspired by the first Pirate of the Caribbean movie... yeah, it's been a while since I wrote this, as I said. xD (Oh, it's also partially inspired by Neko-chan's Yami no Malik fics. Especially the prologue.)
Don't expect this to be updated.

-------

Prologue

Under the soft light of a pale, almost-full moon a great ship glided slowly forward, the dark waves of the ocean rolling gently against its side, as if afraid to make any noise. The wind was quiet too, and the silence felt almost unnatural; one would have expected a ship this big to make at least some sound.

A lonely man was standing in the bow of the ship, watching the waves with a small smile playing on his lips. A smile, which could have sent a cold shiver down anyone’s back, had someone seen it. He stared at the dark, dark waves of the ocean, deep in his thoughts, very pleasant thoughts, one might add – in fact they were almost enough to make him quite ecstatic. Soon, very soon, this ship would arrive at the port of Domino, and then… Then. The smile on his lips turned into a grin, and the imperfect moon took refuge behind the clouds. Still, he was in no hurry. There would be plenty of time, and he could very well spend this night, this wonderful, dark night, savoring this excited feeling and the knowledge that soon, after far too many years of waiting, searching and planning, he would finally reach his goal.

Hesitant steps broke the silence, stopping right behind him. For some time the newcomer hovered there, shifting his legs nervously, before quietly clearing his throat. The other said nothing, still leaning against the railing and staring down at the waves through slit eyes.

“Umm… Cap’n?”

A sigh. “Yes…?”

“Well… the others… um, they’d like to know if we’re gonna get to the shore soon… I mean…it’s been real long and they’re gettin’… uh, kinda impatient…”

“Impatient.” The word was cold, lacking all feeling, and the seaman took involuntarily a step back, hoping that he could return to the safety of his cabin. As if sensing his restlessness the other turned around to face him. “Now there, calm down. It is perfectly understandable, I know we have been sailing a long while.”

The seaman smiled uncertainly, not yet daring to relax.

“So…” the captain said, tilting his head a little as he looked at the seaman returning his smile. “If they are impatient, why are you here speaking with me?”

The man’s smile wavered. “We drew lots… and I got the shortest stick,” he muttered, knowing better than to lie, and dropped his gaze down to the deck.

Unlike him, his captain smiled even more widely. “Bad luck. You simply had bad luck, didn’t you… But I’m glad you came. Really glad of your company… come. Come here.” He gestured at the man to come to stand beside him. “Tell me, what do you see?”

“I…” The seaman licked his dry lips nervously, wiping away a sweat drop from his cheek. He was a stout man, with a receding hairline – although he had hidden that under a red scarf. He kept on fingering nervously his leather vest, as he stared into the night, wondering what he was supposed to say. Thinking had never been his strong point.

“There’s the waves and the moon and some stars… and, well…” His captain was looking at him expectantly. “Well, it’s so dark, difficult to see nuthin’ else,” he finally said.

“Indeed.” His captain smiled at him widely. “It is dark. Do you like darkness, hmm? Do you love it like I do?”

The man blinked. “Well… dark’s good for business,” he finally answered reasonably. “Ya can hide in it if ya want to rob someone or somethin’ like that… so yea, I guess I like it.”

“Good. That’s very good…”

With one swift movement the captain had drawn a small blade that had been hidden in the folds of his clothes, and before the man had had time to react, he had slit his throat open.

“So glad you came…” he muttered as he held the man’s body over the railing, watching how the coppery droplets fell down to the sea, an offer for this ever hungry beast. After a while he let then go of the seaman. With a big splash the body hit the water, disappearing from the sight for a moment, before it again floated back to the surface. The small smile was back on his lips as he watched the body. His gift to the darkness.

Soon the body had disappeared from the sight, and he was alone again. The moon was again covered in the clouds and now the sky was black, just as black as the ocean under it. In the horizon, it was difficult to say where the sky ended and the water began.

So, the crew was growing impatient, were they? Very well, tomorrow night they would set out in full sail. Maybe it was time, anyway. Time to raise his black flag and go to get what was his. But this night he would spend enjoying of the darkness around him.


Chapter 1

Forcing a smile on his lips Yami bowed slightly at the fat, flushed man, who was just introducing his fat, flushed daughter to him.

“Welcome, my lord, my lady; I am glad that you could come. My father will be happy to see you, he seems to have some questions concerning the fishing areas.”

The man’s smile became forced as well; fish weren’t what he had come to talk about to this party. He didn’t have a chance to say this, though, since Yami was already claimed by the other guests who flocked around him like seagulls around a fishing ship.

It seemed as if every bigwig in the empire had come to celebrate the birthday of their crown prince. Actually, that might have really been the case given how crowded the palace was turning. The empire wasn’t that big, consisting only of a handful of small islands, and there weren’t too many noblemen or other persons of importance around there. Even so, the crown prince was currently seriously considering cutting their number by half as soon as he could.
This is going to be a long night, Yami thought sadly, as he greeted yet another blushing young lady whose eyes were twitching quite uncontrollably. Immune to the girl’s charms he turned to receive an elderly gentleman, who had quite a mischievous spark in his eyes. This time, his smile was genuine.

“Welcome, Grandpa,” he said softly, and ignoring the protocol hugged the old man, father of his mother, gently. “I’m glad you could make it.”

“Oh, I’m not so old yet that I’d miss my grandson’s eighteenth birthday party.” He returned the hug with fervor. “You do have your admirers, don’t you? Who would have thought you’d turn into such a ladies’ man?” the old man added quietly with a knowing smile.

Yami snorted. “I could have survived very well without them,” he said dryly. “Honestly, they drive me crazy… I’m afraid that I’m going to do something drastic before this night is over.”

“Oh?” His grandfather raised a questioning eyebrow. “Like what?”

“Strangle the next girl that comes to bat her eyelashes to me, escape through a window, and live the rest of my life as a homeless wanderer, forsaking my place as the Crown Prince…” He flashed a quick smile at another well-wisher, trying to ignore his grandfather’s laughter.

“I don’t understand what is wrong with the youth of these days… if I were of your age, I surely wouldn’t be ignoring these lovely ladies,” he said with a wink to a girl who was walking by.

“By the way… where is your brother?”

Yami turned back to his grandfather with a sigh. “Oh, I’m sure he’ll be here soon. He doesn’t have it too easy either,” he continued with a smirk. “You know, he is sooo cute!”

The old man laughed even louder at his grandson imitation of a high-pitched, girly voice.
Giving him a friendly slap on the elbow he walked away after telling the youth to be a good boy with all the ladies.

Yami watched after him a little exasperatedly and turned then to receive the next guests. Oh Yuugi, what’s taking you so long? If you were here, I wouldn’t have to deal with all of them alone.

-


The object of Yami’s longing was currently sitting on his mother’s bed, kicking his legs tiredly as he watched his mother trying on all her jewels, one after the other.

“What do you think about this, honey?” she asked turning to look at her son.

Yuugi sighed as he watched the great amethyst. “You look great, mother, just great. That color fits your dress quite well.”

“You think so?” she gave an estimating look at the mirror. “It is not bad, I guess… and we are late already. Yes.” She nodded. “I will use this one. Come on, honey, let’s go,” she said to Yuugi who was now lying on the bed, looking really bored. She shook her head as she looked at her son. “Try to cheer up… it is your brother’s birthday, after all.”

“I know…” And I know that he hates every minute of it too, he thought, but knew better than to say that aloud. As years went by he grew all the time surer that birthdays were their mother’s way of getting revenge on them for the pain they had caused her when they were born.

“Oh, I am late,” she was muttering currently as she adjusted her tiara in the front of the mirror. “I have to go now. You will come soon too, won’t you?” She threw a questioning glance at her son, who sat up smiling weakly.

“Yeah, of course, mother.”

“Good.” Gown rustling she hurried out of the room and left the young boy alone.

Yuugi sat on the bed for a while, and got then up sighing one more time. I guess it can’t be helped… anyway, dad’s always saying that you must not run away from your responsibilities.

He started to shuffle towards the door, but thinking about his father had brought a certain other thing to his mind, and he stopped hesitantly.

I guess it doesn’t matter if I go to take a look on it, no one’s coming here anyway for some time…

He turned around and headed towards his father’s private rooms.

-


Four bored harbor guards sat in their office playing cards to pass time. The nightshift was always downright apathetic time – nothing happened, but still they had to stay awake while all other people were free to sleep in their comfortable beds. Not that anyone would be sleeping tonight. As well as the aristocrats, also the ordinary people were celebrating their prince’s birthday – and knowing this did nothing to improve the guards’ moods.

Guard number one stared at his cards deep in thought. “Hmm.”

“Umh,” answered guard number two, looking at his cards with a frown. “Umh-hmm.”

Guard number three only sighed, placed a card on the table, and nudged guard number four who looked like he was falling asleep. “Your turn.”

“Mhm?” Number four woke up with a start. “Oh.” He glanced at his cards and threw them on the table. “I give up.” He got up from his chair as number one hmm-ed again and played a card. He walked to the window and looked out to the sea.

“It’s a dark night,” he muttered, trying to see something. It was in vain, though, it was as if a dark veil had been drawn in the front of the sea. “Can’t see a thing…”

“And what’d be there to see, anyway?” number two asked irritably. “Damn… I give up too. No point to continue this game.”

“Nothing, I guess,” number four answered, “but it is a little weird… I think I’ll go out to check if everything’s okay.”

“Hmm,” number one said staring at his cards with a frown.

As he stepped outside of the little office building guard number four took a deep breath of the cool night air. This was what he needed to get his mind cleared up. But it was weird how dark this night was… as he stared at the sea he couldn’t see anything. With a deep frown he walked to the decks, eyes slit as he tried to spot something on the sea, even one little piece of wood floating on the waves or… what was that?

He blinked.

Something did move there, but it was much bigger than just a piece of wood. Actually, it appeared to be ship-shaped, and it was close. Automatically he raised his eyes to where he knew its flag would be to see under which colors it sailed. For a moment he couldn’t see anything, but after a while he started to distinguish something that appeared to be even blacker than the night sky behind it. He took a sharp breath, feeling something cold grasp his heart.

The Ghouls…

Quickly he turned around, but before the warning cry could escape his lips an arrow pierced his throat and he fell down without a sound.

Behind his lifeless corpse, the black ship sailed soundlessly to the shore.

-


Gods… I’ve been here only twenty minutes, and I already wish I were dead…

Yami smiled at the young girl who was chattering to him. He was starting to feel quite braindead, and by now he didn’t have any idea anymore of what the girl was talking about. She was simply too boring.

Suppressing a sigh he continued smiling, making small noises every now and then to give the girl the impression that he was listening.

I hope they’d the dinner will start soon… He was getting hungry. All this babbling around him was very draining, he really needed to get some nourishment soon. Some chicken would be really good now… or maybe pork. He frowned a little. Well, anything goes, really, as long as it’s edible…

“…So what do you think, your highness?”

“I think I’d prefer some duck, after all,” he said, and blinked then as the girl stared at him with wide eyes. Heh… wonder what she asked… He bowed slightly. “Excuse me, milady, I need to go to see my father.” With that he left the girl standing alone quite dumbstruck.

Someone save me from here, he thought as he wandered through the flocks of guests, trying to look like he had something important to do so that no one would come to bother him. The incident with the girl was amusing, but it wasn’t enough to cheer him up. Too bad I’m the prince here – if I were a princess in distress some brave knight might come to save me but now… whoever made the rule that there are no knights to save princes?

“How about a game?”

A voice behind his back made him start a little. Rolling his eyes he gave a small groan. “Not you. I’m not so desperate I’d accept you as my knight in shining armor.” He turned to look at his friend with a little smirk.

Tossing a couple dices up and down in his hand Ryuuji, Duke of Otogi gave him a weird look.

“Hey, I asked if you wanted to play a game, I didn’t propose marriage.” After a while he added,

I’m not that desperate.”

At that Yami laughed aloud. “Good for you.” With a quick move he snatched the dices the other boy was throwing. “I’m always in for a game.”

-


“Alert! The Ghouls are attacking! Ring the bells! Ring the be…” An arrow cut the shout off and for a moment the silence was unbroken. Then, as the darkness crept towards the city, the bells started ringing.

-


“What the hell?” Yami looked sharply up from the dices he had just thrown on the table.

Ryuuji blinked at him. “It’s the warning bells.”

“I know that, idiot.” Yami jumped up from his chair and was just about to run to a window when a breathless soldier ran into the hall.

“Ghouls! The Ghouls are attacking!”

This, naturally, caused a panic.

“Idiot,” Yami cursed the soldier quietly under his breath, and began to run towards the door, dodging the screaming women.

“Where are you going?” he heard Ryuuji’s voice from behind himself, but he just ran on with a manic grin appearing on his lips. If you really had to attack, you couldn’t have chosen a better time than this…

“Yami!”

…Damn.

“Stop there, boy!” A strong hand grasped his shoulder. “Where do you think you’re going?”

Clenching his teeth Yami turned to face his father. “Father, please, I just…”

The emperor wasn’t listening him. “You two!” he shouted at two guards who were standing by the door. “Accompany my son and keep him out of trouble. You are not to leave the castle tonight,” he added sternly to his son.

“Yes, father,” Yami muttered quietly as the soldiers, two young men, one blond and the other brunet, came to stand beside him.

-


In his father’s rooms Yuugi had opened a golden box carefully. In it lay a golden pyramid with a weird-looking eye-design on it. Hesitantly he picked it up and raised it in the front of his eyes.

That pyramid, the Millennium Puzzle, as it was for some reason called, was the mark of the emperors. For thousands of years it had passed on from father to son, and someday it would pass on to Yami. For that Yuugi was a little jealous to his brother. It wasn’t that he would have wanted to rule – definitely not – but for some reason he didn’t understand, the golden puzzle had always fascinated him. It was very tempting to try it on, but he wouldn’t do that – it would be a sacrilege. Only the emperor was allowed to bear the Puzzle.

A real puzzle you are, at least to me, he thought as he stared at the golden object. I guess I should put it back and go to the party, he thought a little reluctantly.

Just then he heard the bells.

What?!

Jumping to his feet he ran to the window. Looking out he saw the approaching darkness, and the blurred shapes moving in it.

“Ghouls!” he heard the distant shout, and gulped.

Oh gods… I have to go… or maybe… breathing a little too quickly he tried to calm down. Maybe it’s better to stay here… this is probably the safest place to be right now.
He put the Puzzle back to its box, placed the box back to the cabinet, and sat down into a corner where he wouldn’t be seen from the window.

-


Pure chaos ruled on the streets. The darkness sneaked forward, and with it came the pirates, bloodlust shining in their eyes, and after them… strange shapeless creatures onto which the shadows hung tightly. Silence was long gone, and the air was full of screams, those of fear and agony.

In the castle, Yami heard the distant screams. Clenching his fists in rage he stared out of the window as the first buildings burst into flames. “Damned bastards…”

“Your highness?” he heard a quiet voice from behind himself. “Please, move away from the window… you really should go somewhere where it is safer.”

He shot an irritated glance at the young soldier. He did know that the man was just doing his duty – and he didn’t even want to think what his father would do to these guards if something happened to him – but still he hated it when he was being babysat.

With a sigh he stepped away from the window. Damn them… I don’t even want to think how many people will die tonight. He startled as a new thought suddenly came to his mind. Yuugi must be terrified… I wonder where he is.

Slightly worried he turned to the guards. “Have you seen my brother?”

The guards shared a glance and shook then their heads. “No, your highness, we haven’t,” one of them said. “Maybe we should go to check if he is in his rooms?”

Yami nodded. “Yes. Let’s do that.” He walked briskly towards the stairs and away from the window, not wanting to see any more of what was going on outside.

-


One tentacle of the darkness had found its way to the castle’s walls. The guards faced it bravely and managed to stop it, but that wasn’t enough. In the protection of the darkness couple of men succeeded to sneak behind the guards, and climbing the walls with inhuman agility they reached a window and slipped into the castle.

-


Still sitting in the same corner Yuugi tried to shut his ears from the screams he heard from outside. Gods… this can’t be happening… he thought trying to held back a sniffle. Why isn’t anyone coming here… have they forgotten me? Mommy knows I’m here, why isn’t she coming… or Yami…

Steps. Someone was running outside the room. He raised his head hopefully as the door handle was pushed down.

“Yami? I…” What he was saying was cut short when two widely grinning pirates entered the room a little wreath of darkness floating around them. He froze in shock, only for a moment, but it was enough for one of the pirates to reach him with few long strides and knock him down.
When his brother and the two guards came to look for him, the rooms were empty, and there were no sings that anyone had been there.

-


The soldiers were rejoicing: the darkness was retreating. The shadows lingered still in some small alleys, but slowly they were fading away, leaving behind mutilated corpses and destroyed buildings. The soldiers chased the dark all the way to the harbors, the thought of victory driving them wild – what they didn’t know was that the darkness was leaving because it had already gotten what it had come for.

-


“Where the hell is he?”

None of the servants had an answer for their prince. They watched worriedly as Yami went round in circles, hands clenched into tight fists. “He has to be somewhere here,” he muttered quietly, but deep inside he was beginning to doubt this. They had turned the whole place upside down, but nowhere there was a sign of his little brother.

He stopped walking when his parent’s entered the room, and grew even more worried as he saw his father’s stern look.

“What?”

His father walked past him without saying a word and sat down on a couch before turning to look at his son gravely.

“The Millennium Puzzle is gone.”

Yami blinked as the servants murmured with alarm. The Puzzle was gone? Something like that had never happened before…. With a sinking feeling he remembered his brother’s weird fascination towards the Puzzle, and suddenly he knew without question what had happened.

“They took the Puzzle… and him.”

His father nodded as his mother to start sobbing quietly. “I think so. But we’ll get them back. I have summoned the Council, and as soon as…”

“The Council?” Yami snapped. “We don’t have time for that. We have to go after them right now! I…”

“No.” His father’s expression grew even sterner. “You will do nothing. It is enough that they have one of my sons – they will not get the other.” As he glanced around he saw the two soldiers he had ordered to guard Yami standing behind his son’s back. “You two will continue guarding him. You will not leave him alone for any reason.”

“Sire.” The soldiers stood to attention, avoiding the murderous looks they were getting from their prince.

The emperor turned to face his son again. “The Council will meet in a half an hour. If you want to have a say on this matter, I suggest that you will be there.”

Yami stared at his father biting his teeth together, gave then a curt bow and marched out of the room, the two soldiers and his mother on his heels.

‘Meet in a half an hour…’ And then they’d spend Gods knew how many hours fighting over what to do. They needed to take action, and they needed to take it now.

“Yami…”

Still fuming over his father’s stubbornness he didn’t even notice his mother before she placed a hand on her arm.

“Yami, you know he is just as worried as you are. But we cannot just go running blindly after them.”

With an angry move he shook her hand off. “So he thinks it’s somehow better to waste time with arguing with those old cowards? Damn… if he’d only let me go after them, I’d get the Puzzle and Yuugi back in a moment.”

“Who cares about the damned Puzzle.”

He stopped with a start as he heard his mother’s quiet and uncharacteristically bitter voice and turned to look at her. She was clenching strongly her fan a she walked, lips pressed into a tight line. Still, he could see that the bottom lip was quivering a little.

Suddenly feeling vaguely guilty he stopped and hugged her softly. First she tensed in his arms – she had never been one to like physical contact – but relaxed soon giving a sobbing sigh. “I just want my baby back,” she whispered as she hugged her son back.

“We’ll get him back,” Yami promised her quietly, patting her back a little. Damn it, he thought as his mother sighed again, I have to do something.

-


“So?”

Ryuuji rolled his eyes towards his friend. “Give me a chance to draw breath, will you?” He dropped to sit on a soft coach and leaned back stretching luxuriously, ignoring the stares he got from the ever-present soldiers from breaking the etiquette.

“So?” Yami repeated impatiently and sat down beside him.

“For the past hour,” Ryuuji started slowly, “I have been running around this city like a common servant, faithfully trying to find out a way to help you. I am exhausted, I need my rest.” He raised his head a little. “Could you give me a glass of wine?”

With a deadly glare Yami reached for the wine bottle and glasses placed on a small table. “Here you are, my lord. Anything else you want?” he asked with sarcasm as he offered a glass to his friend.

Ryuuji took a sip of the wine and gave a content sigh. “Wonderful. Really good vintage. And yes, now that you mentioned it… some grapes would be nice.”

The lethality of the glare aimed at him grew even higher, but he was happily ignorant of it as he lay back on the coach enjoying its softness.

Yami looked at the soldiers with a sigh. “You two… make yourself useful and fetch some fruits for us.”

The soldiers shared a hesitant look.

“I’m sorry, your highness,” the brunet one said, “but your father ordered us not to leave you alone.”

“So?” Yami turned to glare at them in their turn, and the soldiers winced as all the deadliness fell upon them. “You’re not leaving me alone, my friend’s here.” For some reason this didn’t make the soldiers look very convinced, and Yami frowned at them again. “Go get the damned fruits and do it now. I’m not going anywhere.”

Obviously, the soldiers decided it wasn’t a good idea to test their prince’s temper any further, and with quick bows they retreated from the room.

“Well…” Ryuuji opened his eyes and glanced around. “Now that we’re alone, we can finally talk.”

“Indeed,” Yami stated sourly. “So, what have you found out?”

“I was at the decks, checking out which shipments were supposed to leave tomorrow. Most of those have been cancelled, of course – and after all, the Council is quite likely to forbid any ships to leaving – but…”

“If they can get something decided some day,” Yami cut him of dryly.

Ryuuji shrugged, taking a sip of his wine. “Anyway, as I was saying, there is one ship that, quite unlike the others, started getting prepared to leave as soon as possible. Most probably the owner doesn’t want to fall behind his schedule because of this.”

“What?” Startling a little, Yami spilled some of his wine on his hand. He placed the glass back on the table and wiped his hand absentmindedly on his trousers as he stared excitedly at Ryuuji. “Whose ship is it?”

Ryuuji snorted. “What would you think?”

Yami leaned back on the coach and stared thoughtfully into emptiness. “Gozaburo Kaiba,” he muttered quietly and Ryuuji nodded.

“It won’t be easy to get him to…”

Yami cut him off with a wave of his hand. “I’m most definitely not going to approach him on this matter.” He got up from the coach. “When is the ship going to leave?”

“As soon as it can – they don’t want to wait till the Council makes its decision.”

Yami nodded. “Good. Let’s go to the decks and…”

“Go to the decks?” Ryuuji arched an eyebrow. “What about ‘not going anywhere’?”

Yami stopped on his heels. “Damn…” For a moment he considered the situation. True, unthinking he had promised the soldiers he would stay in the room, but on the other hand, they didn’t have any time to waste, and most importantly, Yuugi needed him. “We’re going,” he grunted, marched out of the room, and with a shrug Ryuuji followed him.

As they walked out of the room, they didn’t notice the figure that had been eavesdropping behind the door, quickly hiding as they left. The brown-haired soldier took a glance after them from behind the corner, and seeing that the way was clear followed them quietly. On the way he stopped a maid who passed them on the corridor.

“Hey… do me a favor and tell Jou to come to the decks, and quickly,” he whispered to her, and the bewildered girl nodded.

-


It didn’t take long from the two friends to reach the decks. There had been soldiers patrolling on the streets, but avoiding them had been easy, too easy, as Yami a little angrily muttered to his companion.

It was just as easy to find the ship they were searching for at the decks. All the other ships were dark, but there was constant bustle around one ship.

As they walked into the ship the guards tried to stop them, but one glare from their prince made them to back off hastily. Ryuuji tried to hold his smile in check as Yami marched right to the first officer he saw and demanded to see the captain.

The man recognized him immediately and took them to the captain who overseeing the loading of the cargo. The elderly man committed a quick bow as he saw the Crown Prince of the realm, and asked how he could be of assistance.

Yami took a look around the ship and sailors who were throwing curious glances towards his direction before turning his attention to the Captain. “I request this ship for the use of the Crown,” he answered quietly. “Cease the loading. We will sail immediately and follow the pirates.”

The captain stared at him in disbelief and blinked then slowly. “Uh… I’m sorry, Your Highness, but… we… I can’t… you see…”

Yami stared at him irritably. “Yes?”

“What he is trying to say,” a cold voice cut in, “is that this ship will not sail anywhere else than to its set destination, and with its full cargo… Your Highness.”

Yami turned around slowly, trying to keep his rage in check.

“This ship,” he said, voice dangerously composed, “will sail where I say it will sail. If you, or your honored father, have something against it, feel free to seek audience with the emperor. Meanwhile, we’ll be going.”

“I wouldn’t advice you to stand on his way now, Kaiba.” Ryuuji cut in. “He’s not in the best of his moods…”

Seto Kaiba shot him a cold glance. “And neither am I. Crown Prince or not, you can’t just walk here and hijack the ship. I’d suggest that you return to the shore and let the emperor take care…”

“The hell I will!” Yami grasped his arm eyes flaring up again. “Before those old fools can decide what to do it’ll already be too late! We are going after the pirates, and we are going now. If you have a problem with that, I can’t help it. But you have to know that I have every right to do this. Every ship is obliged to give its help to the country in military operations, and this if anything is wartime!”

“I don’t remember anyone declaring…” Kaiba started to say, but Yami cut him off.

“Cease the loading! We will sail now!” he shouted at the crew, while Kaiba glared daggers at his back.

“Sorry, man, but I don’t think there’s anything you can do,” Ryuuji stated. “He is the crown prince, after all. I’d say you’d better just…”

Kaiba turned his glare at him.

“If I ever get so desperate that I would need your advice, I will jump to the sea,” he snarled, and stomped away before Ryuuji had time to retort.

-


Somewhere on the sea, the pirate ship sailed onward under its black flag, already far away from the city of Domino. In the captain’s cabin, two of the pirates were beginning wonder if it had been a good idea for them to stay there. A random passer-by – of course, it isn’t really possible that there were random passers-by in a pirate captain’s cabin, but let’s ignore that – might have found it a little weird that two burly men would have been sweating like this under the glare of one slender youth… at least, he might have found it a little weird to the moment the slender youth’s glare would have been aimed at him. Then there would have been three sweating men wishing they were somewhere else.

The cabin was quiet, the sound of the captain drumming the table with his fingers was the only thing to break the silence. Finally he lowered his gaze from the men to the table, on which lay the broken pieces of the Millennium Puzzle. He stared at them for a moment before fixing his eyes on the men again.

“So…” the voice was quiet and very soft, and it made the men shiver, “how did this happen?”

The men glanced at each other hesitantly.

“It aint’ my fault, Cap’n,” one of them exclaimed finally. “Tom’s the one that dropped it!”

“Me?” the other burst out. “You’re the one that shoved me!”

“Just cause you were staring at that servant girl so you didn’t see where…”

“Enough.”

The men well silent in a moment, swallowing the words on their lips. Nervously they watched as their captain rose up from his chair.

“You broke the Puzzle… but at least you got it to me. As well as the one who can solve it again.” He walked to a bed on which was lying a small, unconscious boy. “As soon as he wakes up…” he cut the sentence of in the middle and bent down to take a closer look at the boy. After a moment he cursed so fervently it almost made the sailors blush.

“You bloody idiots!” He whirled around on his heels, and the pirates’ longing to Domino multiplied. “That isn’t the crown prince! What were you…” Once again, he cut the sentence of. After a moment’s silence he gave an irritated wave with his hand. “Get the hell out of here. I have to think.”

The men didn’t wait for another command; they all but fled from the cabin. Alone, the captain sat back to his chair, looking thoughtfully at the small form on the bed. Not the crown prince… but maybe he could find use for this one as well.


Chapter 2

”What took you so long?”

The youth rolled his eyes at the sharp question as he sneaked into the small house. Granted, he wouldn’t have had to sneak as it was where he lived, but old habits die hard.

“It’s storming outside, if you haven’t noticed. Walking on those muddy roads in weather like this isn’t that easy. Besides,” he added, throwing his soaked cloak on a chair and shaking water off from his long, white hair, “an hour to the town and back isn’t long – especially if you keep in mind that I had business to take care of back there.”

The other glared at him sullenly as he dropped to sit on another chair. “Whatever. I’m bored.”

That statement didn’t bring him much sympathy, and after a while he continued, “What news from the town?”

The boy shrugged slightly. “Nothing, really. The same old one-horse town as always. Could you give me a drink?”

“Help yourself,” the other grunted, and resisting the urge to roll his eyes again he pulled himself up and walked to a cupboard.

“Do you want some?” he asked, pouring some water into a mug, but his companion shook his head.

“You know…” he began thoughtfully, as he placed the bottle back to the cupboard.

“No, I don’t,” the other said a little irritably as the silence was prolonged.

The boy blinked at the cupboard and turned to look at his companion. “One merchant ship came to the harbor when I was at the city.”

This awakened some interest. “Really? From where?”

“I think it was from Domino,” the boy sitting down by the table. “I’m not sure, but I think that its name had something to do with seahorses… I really couldn’t see that well in this weather. It is a bit funny… it was a big ship and I just can’t understand what it’s doing here of all places. I mean, there aren’t… what are you doing?”

The other had rushed to the door and was currently pulling his cloak on. “Get up,” he snapped at the astonished boy. “We’ll go back to the town. Now.”

“You can’t be serious.” There was almost a desperate note in his voice when he lowered his mug onto the table and stared at his companion with begging eyes. “Back into the storm?”

The other slammed the door open and walked out. “Start moving!” he yelled, not even looking
back to see if the other obeyed.

Slowly, the boy gathered himself up from his chair. “Such a jerk for a brother,” he muttered as he grasped for his wet cloak and shuffled out of the house.

------


And that's hopw far I've got. The likelihood of this fic ever being finished is small, especially as I'm not quite sure what'd happen next. But yeah, those two were Ryou and Bakura.

May 2016

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