Automatic Paranoia
by Apollymi
Disclaimers:  Same as Chapter One.

He awoke with a start.

For a long moment, he was uncertain as to just what woke him up. The droning voice at the front of the room seemed answer enough to that. How in the world had he managed to fall asleep in class? It had been forever since he had done that, since he left his old school in fact. Maybe that hadn't been that long ago, strictly speaking, but it might as well have been lifetimes ago.

Absently, he groped against his chest, breathing a little more easily as he felt the cool gold of the Sennen Ring beneath his uniform. It had reappeared shortly after Yuugi and the others had left his apartment from the debacle that was the Monster World game. /Are you there?/

It should feel a little weird talking to a voice in his head, especially one that had so very recently put him through hell again and again and again. But it was reassuring too in a weird way. In an entirely too frightening way, it had been nice to have all his friends with him at all times. It had been nice to have someone to play with - and the voice in his head had given him that. And now that they were gone, well, at least the voice would be with him forever.

/As long as you have the Ring, baka yadonushi,/ it returned snidely. /Only as long as you hold the Ring. Good job on not letting them take it./

It was probably bad to beam under praise like that, but it was hard not to. In his life, praise had been all too rarely dealt out. In fact, he could barely remember a kind word from his father; those had been restricted to Amane, while he and his twin brother were lucky if their father ignored them completely. But at least his father was dead, Amane was safe in Tokyo with her mother, and Bakura...

No, wait, that wasn't right. Amane was dead, not his father. His father was alive and well in Tokyo, if still ignoring him completely. And he had never had a brother, let alone a twin. Where had that come from? He may have had some days where his brain didn't want to process things quite correctly, but this was beyond the pale even for him. Maybe it was that he wanted a brother, wantedAmane back, wanted not to be alone anymore.

/Are you going to keep whining all day long? If you are, I'm going back to sleep./

And that was where the voice of the Spirit of the Sennen Ring came in: it was always going to be with him as long as he held the Ring. It might not be family, not for real, but it possessed a permanence that family sometimes failed to provide.

/Do you ever dream?/ He just barely held back a wince, completely unable to believe he had dared to ask the Spirit that.

If a disembodied spirit could roll its eyes, he was pretty sure the one living in his head would have right there. /Yadonushi, what are you on?/

/I was just curious. I had a weird dream just now, and I wondered if you ever dreamed./

/Weirder than your life? That's pretty damn weird, brat./

He nearly started in his seat. How strange that the Spirit would chose to call him that. The brother he had in the dream called him that. He couldn't remember if the Spirit had ever called him that before; he was almost positive that it hadn't. It had always been yadonushi or nothing.

/I dreamed I lived in a world where vampires and shapeshifters existed. I had an older twin brother who could call ghosts and spirits. Kaiba-san was a vampire - the Master of Domino even!/ He resisted the urge to look at what he had found out was Kaiba Seto's empty seat. The CEO had been in some sort of waking coma for weeks now; he had overheard from some of the girls in the room that it had started at or just after something called Death-T.

It snorted, sounding terribly amused at the description. /Mister President Kaiba would be something like that. What about the fucking Pharaoh? And his little midget?/

/The other Yuugi was in it. I think he was involved with my brother./


He bit back a grin that wouldn't be a bit appropriate for school. The Spirit had made no bones about disliking the Spirit of theSennen Puzzle. In fact, he had gone to great lengths to explain - in very vivid terms - exactly how he felt about the other Spirit; the usage of crowbars and acid had been included in that rather impressive rant.

/I think the other Yuugi could also see spirits and stuff like that,/ he paused as the Spirit snorted its laughter, /but his power seemed to be more about binding spirits to him than calling them. Niisan - I mean, my brother in the dream could make them do what he wanted. Hmm... Jounouchi-kun was also in it./ He hazarded a glance over his shoulder at his blond classmate. It looked like he was asleep or at least completely uncaring about what was going on in the classroom around him. /He was a shapeshifter, a wereleopard, I think. And there was someone in it who was something called a soul eater./

/An ahmet,/ the Spirit provided. It seemed puzzled that it had provided that tidbit of information to him, if the confused sound it made that was ringing around his head was any indication.

He decided to take pity on the Spirit and not inquire too heavily into how it knew such a random detail from his dream. It didn't mean he wasn't curious, but he was starting to learn when it was pointless to push and when he could get away with trying to find out more information. This was not one of the latter times. /Yes, that was it. Anyway, at the end of the dream, niisan - my niisan in the dream - had a fight with the other Yuugi and went off somewhere with dream got weird there. It was like I started feeling cold, and I knew he was in trouble. I remember trying to get to him to help him wherever he was, but then there was this searing pain and then darkness - and then I woke up./

/You dream fucked up, yadonushi. You do know that, right?/ the Spirit commented.

/It just seemed so real - I mean, really real, like it was the reality and this was the dream./

It snorted in his mind. He really didn't need its commentary on his mental state. He wasn't taking psych evals from the voice in his head. It was probably a biased source, after all.

It was sort of weird, though. Up until just now, he hadn't given too much thought about what the Spirit that lived in his head looked like. He had had an image in his head of the Spirit ever since the first time he heard its voice, but he hadn't put too much into it; he just needed a face to go with the voice, so he had made one up. Or had he? He always pictured someone who looked almost exactly like him, just a little taller, with much spikier but somewhat shorter hair. He imagined its eyes would be wilder by miles. For some reason, he had also always seen it with a scar on its face: a wicked line neatly bisecting the right side of its face from forehead nearly to chin. Two smaller lines cut through it just below its right eye, so that it looked like a badly drawnkana for " ki".

No, now that he thought about it, he had been picturing the Spirit of the Sennen Ring looking exactly as his brother in his dream looked. They could be dopplegangers. How strange...

/That would be a nice dream now, wouldn't it?/ it interrupted his thoughts with./ That's not the world we're stuck with though. We have to live in the world we're in, and it fucking sucks. Now listen. What's that they're talking about Pegasus?/

He made himself tune into what was being discussed around him: some sort of Duel Kingdom.

27 October 2008

That was... entirely too long. I'm sorry I put everyone on such a delay with getting this one finished; so much has been coming up lately.

If you've missed my announcements on other stories, come December I will officially be a published author! My first novel, Amaranth: The Preterhumans Book 1, will be out as an e-book on December 15 and as a print novel on January 15. Verdant: The Preterhumans Book 2 will be out in July as an e-book and August as a print novel. I'm actually on work on the third book, Ash, as we speak.

More information on the novels can be found on my publishers website: Cacoethes Publishing. I'm being published there under my real name: Katherine Bell. Please do me the favor of supporting me as readers and purchasing a copy, either as an e-book or in print.

My next fanfiction project will either be to finish a Bakura/Kaiba novella I have going, do another chapter of Whoever Brings the Night, or whip Katsuko into us starting on the next story in this series, Route 666. I'm hoping for the last one.

Much love to all my readers out there!

Apollymi (Katherine)

[ Color of Life 01 | Color of Life 02 | Color of Life 03 | Color of Life 04 | Color of Life 05 | Color of Life 06 | Color of Life 07 | Color of Life 08 | Color of Life Epilogue ]
[ Blood and Sacrifice 01 | Blood and Sacrifice 02 | Blood and Sacrifice 03 | Blood and Sacrifice 04 | Blood and Sacrifice 05 | Blood and Sacrifice 06 | Blood and Sacrifice Epilogue ]
[ Spellbound ]
[ Automatic Paranoia 01 | Automatic Paranoia 02 | Automatic Paranoia 03 | Automatic Paranoia Epilogue ]
[ Route 666 | Route 666 Epilogue ]
[ Cyber Fake 01 | Cyber Fake 02 | Cyber Fake 03 | Cyber Fake 04 | Cyber Fake 05 | Cyber Fake 06 | Cyber Fake 07 | Cyber Fake 08 | Cyber Fake 09 | Cyber Fake Epilogue ]
[ Last Waltz ]