Altered States

By: Zoicyte aka Johnnyjosh

Fandom: Yu-gi-oh!

Pairing: Seto/Joey

Rating: NC-21

Warnings: Yaoi, lemon, language

Disclaimer: I don’t own YGO or its characters, and am making no money from this.

Notes: OOC, TWT, AU, General Weirdness.  This idea came from a piece of fanart I saw on the web, and was further developed thanks to some RP with my pal Kyrre.

Summary: Joey and Seto find themselves the victims of a little wild magic in the midst of an accident, and both of them go through quite a few...changes, both inside and out. 

“ ” Speaking

* * Thoughts

~~oOo~~ Change of scene or POV




          “Hey, Joey, what’s up with you?” Yugi asked, brushing hair out of his eyes for what seemed like the umpteenth time.  He, Tea and the blond were currently occupying the backseat of Duke’s convertible, Tristan and Duke of course taking up the front, as the five of them headed to one of Kaiba Corp.’s testing facilities.   

          Mokuba had invited Yugi and the gang to be the first to see the extensive modifications his big brother had made to the holographic image generators, and wouldn’t take no for an answer.  Yugi had simply put it down to all of them not seeing each other for several months, and this seemed like as good an excuse as any for them to get together.     


          “Dunno, Yug’,” Joey answered, a pensive expression on his face as he stared at the back of Duke’s headrest, fingers toying idly with the hem of his white t-shirt.


          “Come on, something’s up, I can tell from the look on your face,” the diminutive teen said, as he gave his friend a gentle nudge and gazed up at him worriedly. 


          “It’s just...  Am I the only one that’s got the feeling things have been a little too quiet around here lately?  I mean-Hey!”  He yelped and scowled, as Tristan turned around in his seat and swatted at the blond with a rolled-up magazine.   “What’d you do that for?!”  He asked, then smacked the brunette’s shoulder.


          “Shut up, man, don’t jinx us!”  Tristan scowled back, before turning around in his seat again and tucking the magazine back into the inside pocket of his grey, waist-length jacket. 


          “He’s right, I am kind of enjoying not having to worry about nutty kids trying to trap us in virtual worlds and steal our bodies, or magic-wielding crazies out to destroy all mankind,” Duke said, slowing the car and turning into the parking lot, taking a spot in front of the main doors before he and Tristan got out of the car.


          “Hm, I don’t know,” mused Tea, leaning forward to look past Yugi to gaze at Joey, before she opened the door and got out, turning to look back over her shoulder at them.  “I think you may be right.  Whenever the entire group gets together, including Kaiba, weird things always seem to happen.  I think we’re just about due for another battle with some millennium item-seeking whacko...” She sighed, hands moving to tuck her sleeveless pink blouse in and smooth down her denim skirt.


          Yugi, meanwhile, fell silent, a slight frown marring his features. *What do you think, Yami?* He asked the spirit of the millennium puzzle around his neck. 


          *I don’t know...* The Pharaoh answered after a moment’s hesitation. *But I do know this much.  Like Joey, I am getting the feeling that this peaceful time we’ve had is merely the calm before the storm.  With all of us together like this, something could very well happen, and soon.  Perhaps it is best to be on guard.*  


          *I had a feeling you’d say something like that,* Yugi answered, looking troubled. 


          “Hey, Yug’, come on,” Joey said, clapping a hand down on the dark-haired teen’s shoulder. “Let’s go kick rich boy’s butt in that fancy new dueling arena of his, right?” 


          “Yeah, let’s go, Joey,” Yugi smiled, scooting over and climbing out of the backseat, blue school jacket slung over his shoulder as he fell in step beside Joey. 


          “Well, Yugi will kick his butt, while you help us cheer from the sidelines, at any rate.  Otherwise we’d just be handing Kaiba his first victory with the new system,” Duke said, smirking and trying to step out of reach, only to be blocked by Tristan, who cheerfully held the long-haired teen in place long enough for Joey to catch him and grab him in a headlock. 


          “Hey, you guys!” Mokuba called, waving at them from the main door.  “Come on in, everything’s set up and waiting!”  He ducked back inside, and Yugi and Tea quickly made their way to the door.  Joey released Duke from his hold with one last growl, and the raven-haired teen turned to give Tristan a withering glare, before the two of them followed the blond. 



            “Well, well, look what we have here, the dweeb patrol…”  Kaiba sneered, arms folded, eyes narrowed as he looked down at them from one of the raised platforms, his purple trench coat swaying slightly in the breeze from the open doors as the other teens made their way inside.


          “Can it, moneybags,” Joey brandished a fist, and narrowed his eyes dangerously.  “You’re in for an unpleasant surprise, today.” 


“Yeah, big talk for a guy that’s about to get served,” Tristan smirked, moving up to stand beside Joey. “Yugi’s gonna kick your kiester into next week!”


“I’m not talkin’ about Yug’, I mean me!”  Joey growled, advancing on the CEO with a determined expression on his face.  “Today’s the day, Kaiba.  The day I knock you right off that high horse of yours.”


Seto merely threw back his head and laughed.  “You, Wheeler?  You intend to challenge me?  What a joke!  You really are lame, even after all those pathetic attempts to beat me, you still haven’t learned your lesson!”  He shook his head and gave Joey a disdainful glance.  “You’re just a dog that keeps getting kicked by his master, yet turns right around and comes back for more,” he smirked, tilting his head up and to one side, eyes closed.   


Joey hunched his shoulders, teeth bared, brown eyes flashing with anger at the brunette’s comments.  “That’s it, Kaiba, you and me, right now!”  He snarled as Tristan grabbed his right arm, and Duke latched onto his left. 


“Joey, come on, man, calm down!” Tristan said, trying to hold the blond back from rushing the CEO. 


“I am calm,” growled Joey, glaring up at Kaiba.  “What’s the matter, Kaiba?  Worried you might lose face, by losing to me, your first time playin’ in your shiny, new arena?” 


Kaiba chuckled, then the sound quickly turned into a harsh laugh.  “Afraid, of losing to you?  Not in this lifetime, Wheeler.  I stand more chance of losing to a five-year-old.”  He snorted and turned away.  “There’s no point accepting your pitiful challenge, I’d mop the floor with you in thirty seconds flat.”   


“Yeah?  You think so?” Joey bellowed, making his way to one of the duelist platforms and picking up the duel disk.  “Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is, then?  If you are so sure you’ll win so quickly, then why are you refusing?  If you’re right, which, of course, you’re not, then you won’t have lost anything, but a little bit of your time, enough for Yug’ to prepare to come kick your ass, like he always does…” Joey goaded, smirking as he saw a spark of anger in the blue eyes that snapped back to meet his. 


“All right, Wheeler, you’re on,” the CEO’s voice was low, his gaze icy as he stepped up onto the other platform.  “You’re going to regret challenging me again.  Although, I suppose I should be thanking you,” he sneered.  “For giving me such an easy victory, during my first demonstration of the new system.” 


“Yeah, yeah, we’ll see who wins, Kaiba.  I got a few surprises in store for you,” Joey said, a confident smile on his lips as he tossed his head, shaking his unruly blond hair out of his eyes.  “You’re goin’ down, rich boy.”  The teen chuckled, drawing his hand. 


“We’ll see who ends up going down, Wheeler,” Kaiba growled.  “My move,” he summoned a monster, and placed a card face down on the field. 


“Hey, you guys,” Mokuba ran over and grasped Yugi’s arm. “Let’s go up to the balcony, we can get a really good look at the new holograms from up there,” he said, pointing to another platform with steel railings around the edges. 


Yugi followed the boy, stepping up onto the balcony, Tea and Tristan close behind. 


“Doesn’t look like this offers much in the way of a better vantage point,” Duke observed quietly, glancing over as Mokuba laughed. 


“Watch this,” the younger Kaiba said, while he picked up a control box and pushed the green button.  He smirked when everyone else gasped and scrambled for something to hold onto as the platform started to rise, and then shifted forward until it was nearly over the dueling arena. 


“Whoa,” Duke leaned forward a bit, peering over the rail and down at Kaiba and Joey.  “I take it back, this is pretty cool, and check out those holograms!  Those are the best I’ve seen yet.” 


“Looks like things are already starting to heat up down there,” Tristan observed, grasping the rail in both hands as he glanced down, noticing that each of the duelists now had a monster, and two facedown cards on the field. 


“Joey better start showing some of those new skills he bragged about, he’s already down by 600 life points,” Mokuba observed, a smile tugging at the corners of his lips. 


Joey looked across the dueling arena at his opponent, eyes narrowed as his gaze raked over the CEO, from those narrowed blue eyes to the arrogant smirk on the teen's face. Kaiba was up to something... *And I just know it's not good news for me,* thought the blond, eyes darting to the two face-down cards on the brunette's side of the field. *I've seen this before, too many times, two facedown cards and a dark type monster. That cocky bastard...* Joey thought with a scowl as he drew a card. *He's gonna do the same thing he always does to me, that Crush Card Virus, I bet…*He nodded to himself, then took a look at his hand, a nasty smile settling on his lips. "Bingo, that's just what I needed to draw…*  “I sacrifice my Rocket Warrior, to summon Jinzo, in attack mode!”


“Hey, Joey’s got his Jinzo on the field, good call,” Duke observed, noting the two face-down cards on Kaiba’s side of the field.  “I guess Joey figured Kaiba’s going to use the same move as he did the last time they dueled.” 


“Well, looks like Kaiba’ll have to choose a new strategy this time,” Tristan smirked, leaning over the rail to yell down to the blond. “All right, man!  Good play!” 


“You can do it, Joey!” Tea yelled, appearing at Tristan’s side. 


Duke leaned down to murmur in Yugi’s ear. “He might have been able to wipe out all of Kaiba’s trap cards this turn, but you and I both know that won’t stop Kaiba for long.  If one of those Blue Eyes White Dragons of his makes an appearance, that Jinzo’s done for.” 


“True, but don’t underestimate Joey, he has worked hard to improve, I know he’s got what it takes to win this,” he said, setting one foot on a lower rung of the rail and leaning forward. “Be strong, Joey!” 


Everyone watched as Joey launched an attack, only to be thwarted by one of Kaiba’s face-down cards, which of course, was not a trap, but the magic card, Card Guard, instead. 


“Aw…man!  Looks like Joey was wrong about Kaiba’s strategy, what’s he gonna do now?”  Tristan wondered aloud, wincing as he saw the look on Kaiba’s face.  “His monster was protected by that magic card, and there were no traps for Jinzo to destroy.  This can’t be good…”


“Looks like Kaiba deliberately led Joey into believing he had his Crush Card down there, just so he could lure out Jinzo, then get it out of the way,” Duke said, a frown on his face.


“My move,” Kaiba smirked, eyes narrowed. “I activate the magic card, Cost Down, letting me sacrifice my Vorse Raider, to summon Blue Eyes White Dragon!”  The shimmering creature appeared on the field, as Kaiba let out a harsh laugh. “Say goodbye to your monster, and those pathetic hopes of defeating me.  Blue Eyes White Dragon, destroy his Jinzo with white lightning attack!”  The brunette watched with a grin as the blast neared his opponent’s monster. 


Joey looked up with wide eyes as the large dragon towered over him and his monster, and he turned his head away at the brilliant blast, closing his eyes for a moment, one arm coming up in front of his face.


“Oh no!” Tea and Tristan cried out in unison, both of them gripping the rail and staring down.


Yugi looked on, eyes wide.  “Hang in there, Joey!” The diminutive teen shouted to his friend. 


“It’s just like I said,” Duke sighed, shaking his head.


“Way to go, Seto!” Mokuba yelled, grinning as he waved to his brother.


Joey’s fingers hovered above one of his face down-cards, but he chose not to activate it, instead letting his Jinzo be destroyed.  *I’m gonna enjoy the look on your face when my favorite monster takes down yours,* Joey thought to himself, a slight smile settling on his lips as he looked down at his hand. *This card’s just what I need, to get around having to keep two monsters on the field with his Blue Eyes out there waiting to blast me, not to mention whatever face-down cards he might play.*


“I place two cards face-down, and that’s all the damage I’ll inflict, for now,” Kaiba gave Joey a smug look, then shook his head. “Pathetic, as always, Wheeler. You just can’t accept that I’m out of your league.” 


“We’ll just see about that, Kaiba,” the blond said, an angry scowl on his face as he drew a card.  *Oh yeah, this fits in perfectly with my plan too!* He smiled to himself.  “I play the magic card, Foolish Burial, to send a card from my hand, to your graveyard.” 


*What’s that loser up to?* Kaiba wondered, eyes narrowing as he glared at the other teen. 


“Now, I use Monster Reborn, to bring back my Red Eyes Black Dragon!” The sleek, black monster appeared before Joey, the blond giving the CEO a cocky grin.  “Pretty slick, eh, Kaiba?  Thanks for helping me summon it without the usual two sacrifices,” he chuckled.  “Next, I’ll place one card face-down, and that’ll end my turn, for now.” 


“What the…  How did he..?” Mokuba asked, shocked as he watched this sudden turn of events. 


“Now THAT was a sweet move.  I have to admit, I’m impressed,” Duke smirked, folding his arms and gazing down at the blond. “Two magic cards, and he manages to bypass Kaiba’s traps, and having to sacrifice two monsters to summon his Red Eyes.” 


“All right, man, awesome move!”  Tristan called out, one fist raised into the air as he cheered the blond. 


“Way to go, Joey!” Yugi shouted from his perch, still leaning over the rail a bit, waving down to the other teen.  “Keep it up, you can do it!”


“What?!” Kaiba’s expression was one of surprised anger as he realized what Joey had done.   “That third rate excuse for a duelist used MY graveyard to help him get his favorite monster on the field?  You’re done, Wheeler…”  Seto growled, drawing a card, then glancing down at his hand, before he looked up in annoyance at the other teen’s cheering section.  “Don’t get too excited, Yugi, this duel is almost over, then I’m going to crush you, next!”



Mokuba set his feet on the bottom railing, lifting himself up and leaning over the top rail beside Yugi, waving and shouting down to his brother.  “You can do it, bro, you’re the best!"  The dark-haired boy bounced on the railing a bit, leaning forward a little more over the top rail, his position becoming precarious.


Joey looked up and gave Yugi a grin and a thumbs-up sign, even as his mind raced and his chest constricted with worry over whether or not his face-down card would be enough. "Thanks, Yug'," he called back, chuckling at Mokuba's energetic cheering.


Yugi waved back, returning the grin with a wide one of his own.  The spiky-haired teen glanced over at Mokuba, blinking and wincing as he felt the lower railing vibrate when the boy jumped. "Mokuba, be careful, you don't want to-No!" Yugi cried, as the younger Kaiba slipped, overbalancing and nearly toppling over the rail.


Tristan’s eyes widened in alarm as the bar he was gripping vibrated a bit in his hands.  He glanced over as Duke stepped up beside him. “That kid needs to chill, he keeps bouncing around like that, and he’s going to-AAAHH!  Mokuba!" Duke, Tristen and Tea cried in unison, reaching out, but they were too far away. Only Yugi was close enough to grab the back of Mokuba's shirt, but given that the two were nearly the same size, it only took a split second before Yugi found himself in danger of being dragged over as well.


Joey's eyes widened as he saw Mokuba’s foot slip, the young boy nearly hanging over the railing and about to take Yugi with him. "Aw, shit, no!" Without conscious thought, Joey vaulted over the rail of the platform he'd been standing on, sliding down the curved front and landing on the glass plates covering the dueling arena. "Yugi!" he shouted, moving carefully but quickly across the glass, intent on getting beneath the other two.


Kaiba stared up at the platform, blue eyes wide with shock as he watched his brother and Yugi.  “Mokuba, hold on!”  He too vaulted over the front of the dueling platform, landing gracefully and moving quickly to get underneath his brother, as some of the employees present scrambled to find a way up to help the younger Kaiba.  “Don’t touch that!” he shouted, seeing one of the men moving over to the controls to bring the platform back down. *If they try to lower it, the sudden jerk is guaranteed to make them both fall,* he thought, striding forward.


Yugi held on to Mokuba for all he was worth, as Duke, Tea and Tristan tried to pull the two boys back. He heaved a sigh of relief as he felt himself shifted back, no longer in danger of falling. But his relief was short-lived, however, as the chain holding the millennium puzzle slipped from around his neck just before his friends righted him. "Oh no, the puzzle!" He cried, watching helplessly as it fell, pointed end down, hurtling toward the glass below.


"Look out!" Tea cried, as Duke gasped.


"Oh no, what'll happen if that thing smashes one of the glass plates?" The dark-haired teen asked nervously.


"You don't want to know!" Mokuba said, then shouted out to the other two. "Seto, Joey, get off the glass, now!"


Joey stopped running as he realized the other three teens had jumped into action, holding the two boys and pulling them back to safety. "Man, what a relief," he sighed, sinking down to his knees. "That was too close for comfort." He blinked and looked around as light flickered around him, signaling he was kneeling right in the middle of the hologram of his Red Eyes Black Dragon. The blond's lips parted to speak, when Mokuba and the others began shouting at them. "Huh? Get off the glass? What's..." A glint of golden light caught his eye, as something large and shiny dropped toward him.  "What the..." Joey blinked, then gasped softly as the puzzle embedded itself in the center of one of the plates of glass. The millennium item seemed to glint with light once more, before the glass around it began to crack. "This can't be good..." Joey said, rising to his feet and looking down fearfully as the cracks expanded rapidly, soon covering most of the arena floor.


Kaiba paused as he watched the other three teens managing to pull Mokuba and Yugi back, only the CEO’s rigid self-control keeping him from making the same display of relief as the blond.  He turned his head away as soon as he realized his brother would be safe, not seeing the danger.  The brunette did turn back at his little brother’s shouted warning, quirking a brow, then gasping as he too watched the puzzle embed itself in the glass.  “Oh, great…”  He turned to make his way off the arena floor, when bright light flickered around him, making Kaiba aware that he was now standing in the middle of the projection of his own monster. He looked down, alarmed, as cracks appeared in the glass around and under his feet. 



"Hnnyyaaahhh!" Joey let out a loud cry as he felt the platform beginning to give way beneath them, and smoke started curling out from some of the cracks in the glass near where the puzzle had landed. "Okay, I'm outta here," he turned to run, but paused as his Red Eyes hologram moved on its own, seeming to curl around the blond, before it turned into a black and red whirlwind, surrounding him, shielding him it seemed. He turned back, barely able to see Kaiba anymore and opened his mouth to ask what was happening, when a soft, female voice spoke, the sound seeming to come from everywhere at once.


 *Don't be afraid, Joey. You will come to no harm if you just stay where you are. *


 "What? Who... Wait, I've heard this voice before, but where?" The blond gasped as a memory flashed in his mind. "Helmos... I heard you then."


*Yes. You remember me, and we remember you. Don't worry, Joey, you and Kaiba are going to be just fine. *


 Joey hunched over and closed his eyes, arms wrapping around his head as the glass around him started to shatter, small explosions from beneath shooting shards of it high into the air.


          “Cut the power!” Kaiba barked, as he continued to try and make his way off the platform, wondering vaguely why nobody else had managed to think of that rather obvious solution on their own.  He glanced over at Joey’s cry, eyes widening in confusion as the Red Eyes Black Dragon hologram dissolved into a swirling mass of shadow and red light. He looked up at his own Blue Eyes, only to see it looking straight back down at him, which sent an eerie chill through the teen's body. The dragon then loomed down and coiled itself around the brunette in the same fashion the Red Eyes had done with Joey, before it too dissolved into a whirlwind of white light.

 “What’s happening?” he shouted to no one in particular as the light drew closer, forming a shield around him. The brunette took a step to one side, but froze as a female voice spoke up. 


*Don’t move, Kaiba.  Stay where you are, and you’ll be safe. *


 Kaiba whipped his head around, eyes narrowed to slits as he watched more glass shards being blown into the air. “Who’s there?” he cried, looking around and trying to find the source of that vaguely familiar voice.


*Just stay still, let us protect you, we’ll keep you and Joey from harm, * the voice said again, before falling silent.


Yugi and the others watched in horror as the glass began to shatter, smoke and small fires becoming visible. Kaiba's security crew finally jumped into action, cutting the power to the arena and surrounding it with fire extinguishers, and preparing to get their boss and his guests to safety. "Oh no, Joey, Kaiba!" Yugi called, feeling helpless to do anything.


 "Hey, what's up with the dragons?" Duke asked, staring down, brows furrowing as he watched Joey's and Kaiba’s dragons curl around them, turn into a black and a white whirlwind, then seem to shrink down and wrap around the duelists’ bodies, superimposing themselves over the two teens.



Tristan, meanwhile, had snatched up the control box and pressed the button to lower the platform so they could reach their friends.  He held onto Mokuba, for fear the raven-haired boy would try to leap from the platform before it was completely lowered. 


The smaller boy struggled and protested, kicking his legs and pounding on Tristan’s arm. "No! Seto!" Tears began to stream from his eyes as he shouted at the taller teen. "Let me go! I need to go help my brother!"


“Just calm down!” Tristan cried, tightening his hold as the platform shuddered and started what seemed like an excruciatingly slow descent. “We’ll be down in a minute.”


Yugi stared in shock as the two holograms seemed to merge with their respective duelists, and the small teen gasped sharply, hearing an all-too-familiar voice in his head, reassuring him that his friends would be fine. "Kaiba, Joey," he called. "Don't move, your monsters will protect you!"


"I know, Yug'," Joey answered, a confident smile on his face as he looked up at them. "It's the same person that spoke to me when I got Helmos. She said I'll be safe, so I just gotta trust in my Red Eyes."


Yugi smiled and gave his friend a thumbs-up, then looked at Mokuba with a sympathetic smile. "Don't worry, they'll be fine," he nodded, then looked around.  “Come on, we have to find a way to help them!” He said, hopping down from the platform as it was finally lowered.


"What, the monsters?" Tea asked uncertainly.


"Well, something better protect them, otherwise that flying glass is going to slice them to ribbons," muttered Duke. "Just look at those security goons, half of them are already bleeding, and their clothes are sliced up." Then he and Tea followed their friend. "Come on, let's get somewhere safe!"


“Idiots…” Seto growled, looking around, drawing himself in as the light from the hologram of his Blue Eyes drew closer to him.  “The monsters will protect us, when will these people learn?!  These monsters aren’t real, they’re just holograms, I… ”  Kaiba trailed off as he realized something. “Wait a minute…I know the power’s been cut to the arena!”  A quick glance right and left confirmed the holographic projectors located there were turned off.  “Then…how are they still visible?”  His eyes widened as he stared around at the rapidly worsening chaos around them.  “What’s going on?” The brunette tried to make a last-ditch break for safety, but found himself immobilized by the bluish white light surrounding him. 


Joey felt his fear dissipate as a strange, tingling feeling spread over his body, and for a moment he felt like he was almost a part of his own dragon. He noticed the glass flying around them wasn't hurting him, but rather bouncing off the barrier his monster had formed around him. "Yeah, just gotta trust in my monster, just like always," he murmured, then his eyes widened as there was a burst of flame from his right, and another flash of light. He tried to cover his eyes, only to give a surprised gasp as he found out that he couldn’t move. Suddenly the barrier around him gave off a light of its own, forcing him to close his eyes.


*Oh no, the magic of the puzzle, it's interfering...* Came the soft voice again. Joey just had enough time to register the note of fear in that voice, before his world exploded in a bright flash of light, searing pain shooting through his body, the blond knowing nothing but darkness.


Blue eyes widened as Seto heard a scream of pain coming from the other duelist.  His mind raced, trying to figure out both what was happening, and how to get out of this.  But before he could even form a coherent thought, bright light surrounded him, making him squeeze his eyes shut.  He too heard the voice, muscles tensing as a tingling feeling ran along his skin.  Moments later the tingling changed to agonizing pain, causing the brunette to cry out, before everything around him faded, Kaiba having passed out from the pain.




            "Joey, Kaiba, wake up, please." That same, soft, female voice reached Joey's ears, and he groaned, wincing as with the return of consciousness came the return of a few sharp stabs of pain.


"Nn...ow," he whined softly, bracing his hands against the ground and trying to lift his head, which felt oddly heavy for some reason.


          "What caused this?" came a much deeper voice, as several shadows fell across the ground around the blond.


 "The millennium puzzle fell onto the playing field," answered the woman. "Its magic must have accidentally combined with our own when we were trying to protect them, and caused this."


          "Well, enough about how it happened, how will we unfuse them, and return them to their own world?" came another male's voice.


Those words were enough to force Joey to lift his head, and he gasped as he recognized the three people...or rather monsters, standing before him. "Dark Magician Girl, Timaeus, Critius...? What..?" He tried to get up, but felt like he was being covered by a huge, heavy weight across his back. "Dammit, where am I, am I dreaming or something? Tell me that explosion didn't..."


"No, you're fine," said a fourth voice, strong hands reaching down to help Joey to his feet, as Timaeus and Critius knelt beside a strange form on the ground to his left.


          “Hey, I remember you, Helmos, wow…” He trailed off, grinning as he looked back over at the others, before he realized the identity of the unconscious form.  “Kaiba?!” Joey exclaimed, his eyes raking over the other, and the teen gasped in shock when he took in the paler-than-usual skin, white clothing, gleaming white hair, and... "Oh, no way," he breathed softly. "Are those...wings? How the hell did Kaiba end up with wings?"


"He's not the only one, maybe you should take a look at yourself," Critius looked up at Joey, a grim smile on his face. Dark Magician Girl sighed, conjuring a mirror, which she turned to face Joey. The blond took in his darker skin and hair, his suddenly red eyes, not to mention claws, horns, and yes, huge black wings, and without another word, the teen unceremoniously fainted.


Kaiba stirred as voices filtered in through the haze of pain he was still feeling. “Nn…” He groaned softly, fingers curling, digging into the grass… *Wait, grass? *  He lifted his head a bit, wincing at the pain that shot through his skull.  “What happened?” he murmured, looking around a bit. 


“Good, he’s awake,” said a deep, male voice, a shadow drawing closer. 


Seto frowned as he noticed the figures crowding around them, trying to sit up, only to find himself being weighed down by something large and awkward on his back.  He forced himself to his feet, swaying dangerously as it felt like he was dragging something huge behind him.  His predicament wasn’t helped any by the fact that his head was still spinning, as well as his body making its numerous aches and pains known in no uncertain terms.  “What’s going on, who are…” He trailed off, staring at the four creatures gathered in front of him. “What?  You’re the Dark Magician Girl, and you three…”  He stared at the three legendary knights for a moment.  “This isn’t possible, where are we?  Some virtual world again?” he demanded, doing his best to glare at the others, despite the fact that his legs were trembling slightly from the strain of trying to stay upright. 


“No, Kaiba,” Critias said, stepping forward.  “You’re in the Dominion of the Beasts.” 


“Yeah, sure, whatever you say,” he snorted.  “I’m sure I’ll find out the little scheme and who’s behind it soon enough.” He glanced around, spotting Joey on the ground, doing a double take. *What?!  That’s not Wheeler! * He thought to himself, taking in the horns, the changed skin and hair color, and the black wings and tail that were draped on the ground around the unconscious teen. He scowled angrily, hands clenching into fists, then the brunette gasped as something sharp bit into his palms.  Bringing his hands up to his face, he stared at the long, sharp nails where well-manicured ones should have been.  He lowered his head, lips twisted in a snarl as his eyes narrowed.  “What…?” Blue eyes blinked several times as Kaiba’s hair fell in front of his eyes, but instead of its rich brown, his hair was pure white.  He reached up, grasping a few strands, staring as a loose one draped itself over his finger. “What is all this?”  With a sinking feeling in his stomach, he realized maybe the strange feeling of heaviness in his body wasn’t some aftereffect of whatever had occurred, there might in fact be something there, dragging him down.


“You remember the accident with the dueling arena, I take it?” Timaeus asked quietly, taking a step toward the agitated teen.  “When we tried to intervene, to keep you from being hurt, there was…another accident, because of the combination of our magic, and-”


“Don’t give me some half-baked story about magic!  I’m so sick and tired of you people and your fairy tales!” Kaiba roared, then tried to turn around quickly, intending to start looking around for answers, but the heaviness of whatever was on his back, combined with some strange object that got underfoot, making a sharp spike of pain radiate up his spine as he stepped on it, sent the tall teen crashing to the ground.  He winced and grunted, head coming in contact with the ground, the light bump enough to make Kaiba lose consciousness again.


The four of them stared down at the two unconscious teens in silence for a few moments.


“Well, that went about as well as I expected,” sighed Timaeus, shaking his head.


          The three legendary knights and Dark Magician Girl managed to bring Kaiba and Joey into one of the nearby buildings, setting the two teens down in the bedroom on side-by-side beds. "And just how are we going to fix this again, exactly?" Critias asked, skepticism apparent in his voice.


"The Pharaoh will surely find a way to bring his friends back with our help.  After all, the combination of magic was what caused all this to go so terribly wrong. He'll come up with something, I just know he will," Dark Magician Girl said, nodding her head with a determined expression.


"Well, even so, it will probably take some time to figure out exactly how they ended up like this in the first place, never mind how to reverse it, and get them home. We'd better be prepared to help them adjust to these new forms." Critias said quietly, standing over Kaiba and looking down at him intently.


"That's not going to be easy," murmured Helmos, as he gazed down at Joey. "One doesn't believe in magic at all, and the other believes a little too much, and will probably be a little...frightened by all this."



To be continued…