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Fandom: Yu-Gi-Oh GX
Title: Maniacal
Author: Fenikkusu Ai
Pairing: Ryo Marufuj x Edo Phoenix
Rating: T
Disclaimer: Nothing of YGO GX belongs to me.
Summary: Ryo has…an unusual reaction when arriving in Dark World. Edo is the unfortunate witness. Takes place after the events of episode 131.


His "companion" is still staring at him. Edo mildly stares back, but when no spark ignites in those dark lidded eyes; Edo thoughtfully scratches his head and turns his head to inspect their situation. He fights the urge to swear when the wind sweeps across the war-torn landscape and quite nearly blows gritty dirt into his eyes. Above, the atmosphere is dirty and thick with threatening clouds. If there is a sun, it isn't shining in this sky.

A perfect portrait of Edo's life.

Somebody must have really, really, hated Edo. Either that or he had the most rotten luck in the world.

"So…what now, Kaiser?" Edo's tone more confrontational than he would have liked.

Ryo says nothing. In a kind of wonder, he follows Edo's cue and takes in the scenery with a neutral expression before a choked snigger erupts from the bowels of his throat. Ryo's pencil-straight mouth suddenly begins to quiver like a leaf caught in a breeze. Edo raises an eyebrow in confusion before cautiously stepping backwards and is eternally grateful he does so.

Unexpectedly, Ryo lets go like a volcano and begins to spew laughter like jets of red hot lava. The maniacal cackling only allows the knot buried deep in Edo's stomach to grow progressively tighter.

Now, what the hell is he going on about?

The intensity of the rolling hysterical laughter causes Ryo's entire body to shake. Even Edo is frightened when the older duelist whips back his head, his wide shoulders rolling, and stretches his mouth wide like a hungry dragon. Weakly, Edo shrugs his shoulders and tries to take his mind somewhere else. Somewhere…quieter. Besides, who was he to judge another duelist's meltdown? Though, admittedly, to take it this far was a little much. Ryo's wave after wave of pent-up anguish disguised as the funniest thing in the world was too informative for Edo's liking.


…what was so damned funny? The notion that life had yet again handed them a crappy hand? That they had to depend on each other for survival? He failed to see the humor in the situation. Maybe Edo should start laughing as hard as he can too—make a competition out of it. At the moment, it seemed as if older teen could laugh himself to death with ease; a semi-real possibility with Ryo's weak heart.

But, is it medically possible? To laugh yourself to death?

However, Edo fiercely counters that he isn't as concerned about Ryo's life as he is for his own safety. The repeated clash of egos aside, Ryo is undeniably a powerful duelist. Edo needs his deck, and he needs him rational enough to play it, not this nonsensical nonsense.

I…need him…

He did not just think that.

Besides, Edo doesn't want to be left alone with a dead body. Not again. Once was enough.

"Um, Ryo?"

No response.

He's still laughing. Sighing, Edo folds his arms protectively across his chest as his eyes narrowed in anger. It was getting cold in this dark world after all, and they were losing the element of surprise.

In fact, they were going to attract attention. It's suddenly fitting that the forest encircling bears a striking uncanny resemblance to the lethal curve of a noose because Edo could swear he hears the muffled noises of something trying to remain unseen.

After all, twigs just didn't snap by themselves.

"Shut up," he finds himself hissing as he seizes Ryo's sleeve only to find himself stumbling backwards when the Hell's Kaiser's hand connects with his shoulder. Warningly, Ryo eyes Edo fiercely. His message is plain.

Don't ruin my fun, Phoenix.

Edo flicks Ryo's hand away. "Are you insane?" he growls.

The laughter continues.

Well, that answer was obvious…

Edo tries to imagine how the scene would appear to an onlooker: two filthy rich strange duelists dressed in their professional best—the taller of the two dressed in black gleaming leather raising a ruckus courtesy of his mouth—the shorter of the two getting a tension headache in a suit of shining silver silk complete with a cute little tie. Both stood overdressed and camera-ready in the middle of nowhere in an alternate dimension. Both were moving targets; presents wrapped in pretty paper for anything to find.

So, even if the Hell Kaiser had temporarily snapped; Ryo was abusing the privilege.

In a one final attempt to get through to the raving duelist Edo parts his lips to speak (while contemplating another manhandling) when a booming voice that rises from within the trees beats him to the punch. "Over here, men!"

The two Vorse Raiders look absolutely murderous when they amble into view. Edo's eyes widen as the very sharp and very real jewel-encrusted swords cut through the brush. Their duel discs flash in this world of shadows. To entertain himself, Edo tries to weigh which of the two will kill them first.

Ryo ceases his laughing so abruptly that it's no different from a light switch being shut off. It just…stops—whatever craziness that had seized hold of Hell Kaiser gone. Which is fine. One problem solved. One had to think in steps when staring death in the face.

Edo should be surprised when one of the creatures speaks, but he isn't—a crucial portion of his mind elsewhere.

"Looks like somebody lost their human slaves," the one on the left drawls accusingly. "And, from the looks of it, they appear to have a wealthy master. Their clothes…"

"…are strange," his impatient and more suspicious partner finishes for him. "And, why do they possess duel discs? No self-respecting master would do that. Gives them too much power." A fiendish smile then pollutes the duel monster's already grotesque features. "Come now, strangers. You can answer all our questions along the way. We wouldn't want to…hurt you."

"Our duel discs just aren't for decoration," Ryo declares as he steps forward; dueling arm ready.

"You've got that right," Edo chimes in after regaining his mental equilibrium, earning another glare from Kaiser.

Long after the Vorse Raiders are defeated, at least ten—no—twenty assorted duel monsters take their place. It isn't long until Edo grows to count on the long wilderness to deliver more danger with every step, his slightly unhinged traveling companion to be criticizing that every step, and endless enemies to defeat to gain that every step. Endless stress. An endless battle for survival.

And, soon enough, Edo is grinning too and on the verge of irrational laughter himself.

Apparently, insanity could be infectious.