Seto sat on the bed and stared at the glass wall in front of him. The only door in the narrow room led to the bathroom, which meant that there had to be a hidden door somewhere else, and the only other else was the glass wall. It wasn't sealed around the edges like most windows, but the edges fit into gaps in the concrete walls. It must have been designed to lift into the ceiling.
And that meant that Seto couldn't get out. It was the only way in or out of the small, starkly white room, and he could do nothing but stare at it.
Nothing in the room would help him. The bed was bolted to the cement floor, cold and rough under his bare feet. Beside the bed was a side table, also fixed to the floor. A bookcase was mounted to the wall a few feet away, empty but for three books, one in French, one in Russian, and one in Spanish.
As tragically empty as the bedroom, the bathroom held nothing of significance, not even a shower curtain or curtain rod. He had found a razor, hardly a weapon, but thought provoking.
And finally, there was the small door that wasn't really a door, but more of an access point in the glass. It was at the bottom, just a small panel, hinged with a handle to allow it to be opened. It also locked from the other side, just a simple latch like the ones that locked a toilet stall, but Seto couldn't reach it and therefore couldn't open it.
It wasn't like he could fit through a space that small.
The only lights were in the hallway on the other side of the glass. The hallway ran too far in either direction for Seto to see the end, with only the light fixtures placed every few feet to look at.
After searching through the room half a dozen times, Seto settled in to wait. He supposed that he could have read one of the books–he spoke Spanish and Russian–but was more concerned with the why of his situation than anything else. Reading would be an insufficient distraction, and he worried that he might miss something if he picked up a book.
He leaned back against the wall, concrete like the floor, only the walls were painted white, just like the bed frame and the bookshelf. Wearing all black made him stand out against the flat white, and he almost considered pulling the blanket over his lap to cover what he could. He was thankful that the blanket was thick, because a chill had found its way into his spine and had settled there since he had woken up. The room was frigid and Seto wasn't wearing enough to keep warm.
Seto didn't know why they–whomever they were–had taken his shoes or switched out his clothing. The new set was similar to his last, only without the trench coat and accessories that typically accompanied the outfit. And the new set was silk, which made it fall into the category of pajamas rather than day wear.
Seto closed his eyes and ignored the camera staring down at him. It had been the first thing he noticed and the easiest to ignore. The glass cage was a fairly obvious sign that he was going to be observed, so whoever had brought him into the cage might have been looking through the camera's eye while Seto explored his tight allotment of space.
This set up was too elaborate to have been anything but meticulously planned. There wouldn't be a clear or easy way to get out of this sort of set up. He needed time, and that would only be earned from cooperating to Seto's limit.
It had to be about KaibaCorp. Everything was about Seto's work, that or a card game, but despite the rather extravagant attempts people had made to take something from Seto using playing cards as a weapon, nothing had come close to the glass cage Seto found himself trapped inside. In Seto's past experience with being kidnapped, his kidnappers had never really restricted his body. While Pegasus had kept Seto in one of his dungeons, the door hadn't been locked. It was Seto's soul, or at least that was what Muto's squad had told him, that had been trapped. And when Gozaburo reappeared during Battle City, it had been Seto's mind that was locked away while his body was resting unrestrained in one of his pods. Dartz used a method similar to Pegasus in trapping souls.
But Seto never found himself tied up or locked in a room. This was different, and that made Seto curious. If his kidnapper wanted him dead, then he had the chance to do so while Seto was unconscious. And creating this cage was unnecessary if the person or people who kidnapped him had any interest in physical harm.
It was too expensive of a setup to have been for ransom, too clean to have been revenge. Seto couldn't think of any reason someone would want him here, like this. It had to mean that Seto was needed alive, for himself and his mind, and maybe the hold on KaibaCorp.
"Are you hungry?"
The voice came through a speaker, garbled and crackled, but Seto hadn't seen any speakers. It must have been a part of the camera, which was the only thing in the room Seto hadn't been able to get a closer look at.
"Starved," he said, although hunger was nowhere near his priorities. The hatch on the door must have been for food or clothing to come through, which meant that someone would have to bring it to him.
"I'll be right down," the voice said.
With the speakers as fuzzy as they were, Seto couldn't make out any indicators of who the voice might have belonged to. He could wait. He had to wait.
Seto scooted his feet up on the bed so he could slip them under the blanket. He was barefoot, which only made the cold worse. The lack of shoes made Seto feel more vulnerable than anything else, too exposed and too naked, although the rest of his body was covered.
He watched the glass wall and waited for someone to show. He didn't have a clock to gauge the time passing, and he didn't know what the voice from the speaker considered "right down" to mean. It probably took time to make the food into account, and possibly walking to Seto's cell. Seto assumed that he was underground, but had no way to verify the assumption or to disprove it.
After a few minutes, Seto caught a flash of red at the edge of the glass, and then heard the speaker crackle back on. It was clearer this time.
Seto threw to his feet in a second, crossing the small space so that he could confirm Pegasus was standing there, carrying a plate and pressing his finger against something on the wall that was out of Seto's sight.
"What is this?" Seto asked. He stood at the glass so he could see Pegasus clearly, although there must have been a panel on the wall beside the glass that Seto couldn't see, maybe an intercom to control the speaker.
Pegasus gave Seto an exaggerated sigh and pressed something else on the panel before walking over to the center of the glass wall, stopping with the hatch by his feet.
A dozen possible answers floated through Seto's mind, but he settled with the most pressing.
"This," he said while giving the glass a little knock.
"Glass, Kaiba-boy. I thought you'd be familiar with it."
"Why am I here?"
"Now, are you talking figuratively? Because I've always believed—"
Seto turned around and took a step away from Pegasus, although there was nowhere in the room he could escape to. Escaping confined would be pointless though, because he needed answers, not the vague nothings Pegasus was throwing his way.
"Literally. What am I doing here?"
"I brought you here. You said you were hungry," Pegasus said before lifting the plate an inch or two.
"Why did you bring me here?" Seto asked. He realized Pegasus wasn't going to give him any information unless it was specifically requested, so a round of twenty questions was in order. He turned back around to face the glass.
"To keep me company, although, I have to say, you aren't being very polite."
"You kidnapped me and locked me in some freak show of a dungeon."
"If you'll recall, this is actually a much nicer accommodation than your brother received back during that little tournament of mine. Well, not his first room, which he broke a window to escape from. To the point, you should be thanking me for giving you such a pleasant space to live in."
Seto started to speak, but Pegasus cut him off with the wave of a hand. "Oh! And you should be polite because you're in there and I'm out here. You know it's rude to curse at your host."
The chills that ran up Seto's spine stopped him from speaking. He didn't know if it was a result of Pegasus's words or his feet on the concrete, but it took a second for Seto to be able to go on.
"So what do you want this time?"
Pegasus frowned and cocked his head, his hair falling from behind his shoulder. "You should really listen when adults are talking, Kaiba-boy. I want your companionship."
Running his fingers back through his hair, Seto scoffed. If Pegasus liked to see Seto riled up, then the best Seto could do was to stay calm and think through his actions and words to ensure that they would have the least effect on Pegasus's amusement.
"No one wants my companionship."
"Which just means I can hog it all to myself."
Pegasus knelt to unlock the hatch, sliding the plate through before closing it again. Seto hardly gave the plate a glance. "And I'm supposed to believe that you built all this," Seto said with a gesture to the room, "-and kidnapped me just for conversation?"
"I'm an eccentric man with eccentric tastes. You can hardly fault me for owning my flaws."
"I don't believe you."
"You've known me for quite a few years now. I assume you've experienced my ecc—"
With an irritating smile, Pegasus folded his hands together and stepped up to the glass.
"Believe what you want to. I'll just prove it to you later on," he said. "I didn't bring you a drink. There's a cup in your bathroom, so you can get water from the tap."
"People are going to notice I'm missing."
Pegasus laughed. "You're all over the news. For someone who believes people dislike his company, your disappearance certainly causes an uproar."
"Why can't I remember what happened?"
"The drug I had to use to sedate you has some side effects. I think you'll remember it all eventually."
The more pressing question, the one that Seto wanted to ask but knew would be broaching on dangerous territory, sat on his lips. The last thing that he remembered was driving somewhere with Mokuba. Something in his mind told him more came after that, but it was all gone. Mokuba had been with him at some point that day, whatever day it had been. For all Seto knew, he had been dropping Mokuba at a friend's house or at school.
If Mokuba was somewhere safe, Seto didn't want to provoke Pegasus into bringing him along. Pegasus didn't have a good track record of keeping Mokuba out of his schemes.
"What now?" Seto asked. "I wait for you to get bored?"
"Kaiba-boy, don't be like that. I highly doubt that I will get bored of you. We're going to be good friends."
"Friends who interact through a glass wall and a glitchy speaker system?"
"Play nice and in a year or two, we'll talk about upgrading your living quarters."
"A year or two?"
Pegasus tugged on the cuff of his sleeve and revealed a watch, giving it a brief glance before righting the sleeve. He stepped back to lean against the wall behind and cross his arms.
"For some reason, no one from Duelist Kingdom reported me to the authorities. Maybe it was the magic, but I took your brother without the use of any. You even had witnesses to corroborate any claims you might have thrown at me. But you didn't. I doubt I'll get so lucky again."
Ignoring Pegasus's attempt to change the subject from the duration of Seto's imprisonment to the foolishness of not calling the police three years back, Seto focused on what he was really saying.
"So since we let you get away with your crimes once, you're going to keep me here even if you get bored, just so I don't turn you in this time around?"
"Why are you so focused on the idea that I will become bored of you?"
Seto crossed his arms to mimic Pegasus's position. "It's not like I can be interesting in a display case."
"Actually, I find you very interesting right now. Watching you tiptoe around any subject that might lead to your brother is fascinating. You're not asking the questions you really want to ask, and you are trying to stay rational enough to get information out of me. But I'm an open book, Kaiba-boy. Ask away."
"Did you hurt Mokuba?"
"Of course not. He is at home, asleep in his bed, dreaming about finding you and making sure you're safe. Okay, he might not be asleep or in bed. This has been a stressful day for him."
Pegasus's words held little value, but Seto found himself comforted by them nonetheless. It was a better mental image, and one that Seto wanted to believe. If he thought Pegasus would concede, Seto would have asked for proof.
"You run a business," Seto said.
"Then I assume that even though I'm here, you won't be seeking my company often."
"I work nine to five, just like most of the workforce. Fine, eight to five. But I do so from home. If you need anything, just wave at the camera. Someone will notice."
Which meant that Pegasus had people helping with this whole ruse, and more people meant more chances of a mistake. Pegasus had to have taken that into account and paid them more than Seto could offer.
"And if I don't cooperate with you?"
"You'll what? Throw yourself against the glass? Off yourself with the razor?"
"I could refuse to talk to you."
"No threats?" Seto asked.
"Why should I threaten you? I think you see your situation perfectly. I could threaten Mokuba, but I really have no interest in bringing him into our budding relationship. I could withhold food, but I get the feeling that you will probably do that to yourself, and I'll have a harder time trying to convince you to eat anything I offer. I could leave you in the dark with nothing to do but wait for me to show up and provide a few minutes of respite from the cold darkness. I could just leave you here and never come back. You're out of the way and no one will ever come looking for you. Is that what you want, Kaiba-boy? Would you like me to play a villain?"
Pegasus smirked and combed his fingers through his hair. It fell over the eye that used to be gold, and Seto wondered if it was a hollow socket or if he had replaced it with glass.
"I trust that you are smart enough to understand your situation. This is only as miserable as you make yourself. I intend to be accommodating and polite, even if you act out. You're not going anywhere, Seto."
Oddly, the use of his name was the most threatening thing Pegasus had said in his entire monologue. This wasn't a fight because Seto couldn't strike back. He didn't have the weight of his influence behind him. It wasn't a game because Pegasus had taken away all of Seto's pieces.
This was Pegasus's world, and Seto wasn't Kaiba here, just Seto.
"Okay," Seto said. "Let's assume I believe you, that you are so pathetic you resorted to kidnapping to find company. Why me?"
"I've always liked you, Kaiba-boy." Seto had never been so relieved to hear the nickname. "You are smart, spirited, and stubborn. I always regretted that our business relationship never panned out."
"Instead of asking for a license to my software, you kidnapped Mokuba and tried to have me killed."
"We are going to put that in the past and start getting along."
"You still didn't answer."
"Fishing for compliments?" Pegasus asked. He checked his watch again. "Ah. We'll have to pick this up later."
Without another word, Pegasus stepped back over to the hidden panel on the wall. If it was really the intercom, then once he turned it off, Seto wouldn't be able to talk to him or get any further answers. And he had one left for now.
Pegasus paused inches away from pressing his finger to the wall. "Yes?"
Seto took a deep breath and tried to think of a way to ask his question without sounding like a frightened child.
"You called this situation a relationship. You just meant conversation?"
The hand not reaching for the intercom pressed against the glass, like Pegasus was reaching out to Seto. "Just conversation, Kaiba-boy. You're not my type."
Seto nodded at the button was pushed, and the crackling from the speaker stopped. Pegasus left his hand on the glass for a second longer before waving two fingers in a rough goodbye.
With the layout of the hall and the glass, Seto couldn't see him for more than a second before he disappeared. It left the plate of food as Seto's sole object of attention, and he stared at the sandwich and chips longer than he would have outside of this situation.
He had always known of Pegasus's insanity, but even this was too far. But if everything was true, then Mokuba was okay, and all Seto had to do was talk to Pegasus whenever he visited. If Pegasus was truly an open book like he claimed, then something he said or did had to give Seto a way out. While patience and passivity were far from Seto's strong suits, relying on them seemed like his only option.
Or finding a way to trick Pegasus into letting him out. If Pegasus wanted to play mind games and tell lies about what was really going on, Seto could play that game.
a/n: I'll only post my first author's note here, and then the rest will be on my profile page. You can keep up with chapter schedules there, or on my tumblr page.
Most of my chapters will be around this length, typically just one scene or two. I am planning to post a chapter every Wednesday and Saturday. If there are any delays, I'll leave a message on my profile or on my tumblr. And there aren't any real warnings for this piece, maybe just some language and Pegasus's general creepiness.
Thanks for reading! You can expect an update on Wednesday, January 13th.