Disclaimer: I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh.

Summary: Ryou agrees to baby-sit Mokuba Kaiba and finds out a secret about Seto. Ryou agrees to help Seto win his love over, but what happens when Ryou begins to fall for the billionaire?

Oh, and for a little note, I'm calling Ryou both Bakura and Ryou. Yami no Bakura isn't in this fic very much because no.

The pairings introduced right now:
Anzu/Yami Yuugi

The crushes introduced right now:
Jounounchi/Ryou

Not very serious, just there for humor and plot. Yes, there's plot. Almost.

Thanks: Relinquished for beta-checking? Thank you!


Chapter de First: Lobster

Did you ever hear a song so many times it made you sick to listen to it again? Did it feel like every time you heard it you sighed and changed the station, or fidgeted until it finally ended? Well, that's really what it's like when Anzu gets on her soapbox about things. She's a good person and all, but can be annoying at times because of her tirades, her treatises on friendship and the like. Everyone enjoys a good, heartfelt rant once and a while, but some tend to overstay the welcome. Anzu is one of those people.

The reason I am bringing this up is that, right now, I am listening to one of these aforementioned tirades. As the lecture keeps going, I'm finding it very hard to stay awake. I remember reading about a form of torture where a prisoner was kept awake for hours with no light, no food and no rest. In fact, I think it was from my own part of the world, so maybe that means it was designed specifically for people like me? Maybe that's what's needed to break us. I wonder if something like this toture will happen if I allow Anzu to keep going. Will I just waste away as she goes on and on about whatever it was she's going on and on about? Will she notice as I thin out? As I fade away? As the wind lifts me up and carried my weightless form off towards distant woodlands? For some reason, I doubt she'd mind.

"You understand, right, Bakura?"

I look up and nod. Maybe my lack of attention won't be too obvious. If she sees I was too wrapped up in my own thoughts, I'm doomed. It's happened before. She'll tell me about how inconsiderate I am and that I'm only thinking about myself all the time. That the reason I'm so ditzy and distant is because I never seem to get out of my own head.

But I wasn't thinking about me, so that'd be a lie, right? I was thinking about her and her love of making a point through never-ending speeches. That isn't too terrible, is it?

"Wow. It's been real great to have someone who listens, Bakura" says Anzu now when I have no idea what she was talking about. "You don't know how much it means to me to get this all out and heard. I really appreciate your attention."

Is she trying to send me on a guilt trip? I sometimes wonder if Anzu can read minds. That would be frightening, as I'm sure there are some things in my head I don't want her to see. Some thoughts should be known by no-one. Some are best kept private forever.

Even more are better off left forgotten. If she can read my mind, can she see my forgotten thoughts, or can she just see the surface ones flitting by that I myself am also aware of?

"Well I, uh, really enjoy listening to you, Anzu…" I reply lamely. I'm fully aware this happens to be a lie, so don't start hissing and spitting in my direction. It's not like I have anything better to do than to listen to Anzu, believe me. I just have trouble turning people down. This trait screws up my life more than you could believe, but I've built around it.

"Well, it's been great talking, Bakura, believe me. Getting all this off my chest has really helped improve my mood. I'm really sorry I have to end the conversation so soon, but I can't miss the bus downtown."

I nod quietly. I can't really say I take our parting quite the same way.

"Bye," she waves and dashes outside to wait at the bus stop. I watch as the large vehicle pulls up and unloads passengers. Anzu and a few other people hurry on. I try to remember where she is going again.

Oh yes.

Her and Yami no Yuugi have something set. She's going to rendezvous with him at the park across town. I don't know which one picked the location, as it turns out to be a great hassle for both parties; or at least for the poor Yami. If he's late and tries to apologize, Anzu accuses him of not being considerate. If she's late and he hints on a complaint, she tells him he needs to think about others for once, that it clearly wasn't her fault she happened to not be on time.

It's a win-win situation for Anzu. For Yami no Yuugi, it's best he just nods at all the right pauses in Anzu's basically one-sided conversation. She usually forgives people after they make an effort to worry over her. I don't think she likes to think she's being avoided. She must hate being alone sometimes. I don't.

Actually, I am alone now. It's not bad, not really. I'm still in school, but the only people around me are those with extra-curricular activities. And the only reason I'm here is because Anzu wanted to talk. I don't see why she even bothers, really, she'd get pretty much the same reactions complaining to a wall. Actually, I think the wall would listen better than I ever could. Not many people talk to walls, so it might appreciate having the attention on it for once. I don't know, but as I stare at the brick structure outside I wonder what it's thinking.

Then, walls don't have brains. There goes that thought bubble.

"Bakura?" a voice behind me asks uncertainty. I turn around to see some random classmate who I have no clue what their name is. I blink. I wonder what it is he could want. Is he in chess club or something, ready to yell at me for not having anything to do but stare out the window?

"Yeah?" I ask.

Oh, how very thought out for me. Instead of 'Hello, is there something I could assist you with?' it's 'Yeah…?' Score one for originality. Subtract five for being incredibly rude.

"What do you want?" I add. Incredible. I sound terribly rude now. I really need to think before I talk, or just shut up. I have a horrible habit of embarrassing myself with words. If I were paid for every time I shamed my intelligence with opening my mouth, I'd have more money than Seto Kaiba.

Hahaha. No. Kaiba Seto would still have more money. Seto Kaiba is richer than god.

"I mean, I uh," I try to correct my error and fail, "…yeah, what do you want?"

"Ah. So that's your name, right? Bakura?" he asks me. I nod again. So what else is new? "Great. That guy, Seto Kaiba, sent me," he says, "I've been looking all over for you."

Really? He's been looking for me? For what, may I ask? I wonder vaguely if he was sent to kill me. That would be weird, because I always thought of Kaiba as a semi-decent guy and only homicidal to those he lost games to. Sure, his adopted dad was a little-strange in an abusive way (that sounds terrible, I'm terrible, what does "strange in an abusive way even mean?"), but Seto's not that bad from what I've seen. Maybe I'm just not as observant as I like to think I am.

"Why?" I ask.

"This," the kid says. Unceremoniously I am given a piece of paper. It is a letter addressed to Bakura from Seto Kaiba. I stare at it quietly. The paper is card stock; more expensive than what I'd ever bother to use for an envelope. It's heavier than normal paper. Man, if this is how all Kaiba's letters are, he's just begging to get kidnapped for ransom. But, I highly doubt he wouldn't be able to defend himself in case such an event should arise, which it probably has. He'd probably thrown one of these cards at someone and slit their throats. I heard he killed a man with a Kuriboh card once.

I look up at the student in front of me. Why isn't he gone? What does he want now, a tip? Do we tip our classmates now for passing us notes?

"Eh?" I ask at this boy's intent on staying where he is.

He looks at me in apprehension. There's a pause.

"Well, aren't you gonna open it?" he asks.

I scowl slightly (as in imperceptibly) at this. Rude!

"Of course I'm going to open it-" I start cheerily. He looks at the envelope expectantly, "-just as soon as you're gone," I finish.

It's almost funny how fast the boy's face drops. He frowns at me and walks away, hunching low. Hey, it's not my problem he was raised to be nosy. He needs to change his nature or he's en route for trouble. That kid can sulk all he wants; I like my privacy.

Once I'm sure the messenger is gone, I open the fancy little sticker seal. Inside is a slip of folded paper. It's soft. I look at the surface. Oh, how posh! The paper has got to be ninety-nine percent cotton. Who purchases cotton paper? You can't even call it paper anymore; it's practically cloth. I could blow my nose with this.

Sorry, I tend to get upset and picky at absolutely nothing. Especially things involving Kaiba. I mean, there he is, this rich, powerful king of the financial world. But, then there's Yami no Yuugi. Yami no Yuugi, the former Pharaoh, who actually saved the world and yet now lives above a game shop with his hikari and hikari's Grandpa. Kaiba, who can order servants to do his homework and only goes to school because it is his duty (as he's underage), has so much more power than the person he once served in his past life. It's the most terrible role change I've ever seen.

I'll just focus on the letter now. It's best.

So, the letter. The letter is typed. I wonder how long that took for Domino's greatest computer genius? Five, maybe four seconds? I still don't see why he gets to run an entire corporation whilst Anzu can't wait tables at a burger joint. I guess it just proves that money talks. Kaiba's probably too smart to really need to go to school anyway. Why does he even bother? Is it just an excuse to have fan girls get together en masse just to rub against him? Somehow, with his cash flow, I don't really think so. But then, it isn't like it was any of my business in the first place.

I open the paper finally after just staring at it stupidly for several minutes. I'm still not over the eighty-nine percent cotton icon in the paper's weave. Yes, I said weave. It's not paper; it's fabric. (A)

'To Ryou Bakura;'

I wonder if I should be surprised Domino City's most promising prodigy and eligible bachelor knows my name?

'I have arranged a meeting with you at 5:45 PM today. We will meet at the school parking lot. I have a very well paying job offer for you. You will be there. As long as I know you have this letter I won't take any excuses. It is in your best interests to appear promptly.

Seto Kaiba'

Uh…. How blunt.

I study the letter again. A job offer? When was I asking for money? I don't recall any financial problems recently, unless my father hasn't told me something. What is Kaiba getting at?

Hold up a second while severe confusion rushes in.

Kaiba's all but threatened my life if I don't go, and I have this sinking suspicion that he's still openly hinted on it somewhere in the notice that I haven't looked at carefully enough. Would Kaiba knock me off like that if I didn't comply? I don't want to die young, thank you. I'm really starting to enjoy the feeling of my soul attached to my body. I also have this weird, unshakable fondness for breathing, you know? Don't ask, I know you feel the same way.

Time, I need the time!

I look at the clock. The numbers read 4:46 PM. It's telling me I have one hour to decide whether I want to live or not. I think you know just as well as I do what my course of action is.

Patiently, I wait.


Thirty minutes into my final hour to live, Jounouchi breaks into the classroom.

"Bakura, there you are! I was looking all over for you!" he says loudly. I wish myself out of existence, and it doesn't work.

The chess club is mortified. Who is it who dares to ruin their vital concentration with such rowdy outbursts? I see terror on a few of the faces. They know who Jounouchi is, apparently.

Why am I in the chess club meeting anyway? I can't even play chess.

"Hello, Jounouchi," I mutter quietly, embarrassed for some reason I don't really see. I can feel my face turning red. It's like I'm always ashamed of something, really. I could be in a record book for single person who blushes most frequently. Honda used to tell me that all the time. It never helped; well, unless he was trying to make me blush even deeper.

"Hey, I didn't know you were in chess club, Bakura," Jounouchi says, looking around at last.

I blush even more and laugh nervously. Oh, about that….

"Heh, that's cause I'm not in chess club."

Jounouchi nods, confused. He doesn't ask about it though. Smart boy. He's always so great about that. I loathe those who pry into other peoples' business. I wonder if I got Jounouchi a birthday present for not being nosy?

"Come on, Bakura. Lets go, I'm finding myself getting more and more bored by the second," he says. I find suddenly I don't want to leave. My meeting with Kaiba is in less than thirty minutes. I have no time to go and come back. I have to be here to walk down to the parking lot. Jounouchi doesn't know this. It's in his best interest that he doesn't try to find out. Or at least it's in my own. Jounouchi has a severe dislike for Kaiba.

"Come on, Bakura," Jounouchi eggs me on. He looks tense, like he really wants to get out of here.

I shake my head. My blush is now officially gone. I find I'm proud of this.

"I'm staying right here, Jounouchi," I reply to him stoutly. I wonder how long this sudden confidence burst will last?

"No you're not," he informs me. This is the only warning I get as he picks me up and hoists me over his shoulder.

"JOUNOUCHI!" I scream. I kick and thrash. What in the world is his problem?

The chess club watches silently as I am carried from the room against my will. Judging how Jounouchi has bullied them in the past, they silently accept that I'm doomed. I despise them for it. Throughout my protest, Jounouchi still manages to open the door, exit, and close it behind him. I'm being carried like a kidnapped bride.

"Jounouchi, you're embarrassing me!" I wail into his shoulder blades. I can't say I really appreciate my wonderful vantage point of his back rear. My face most likely resembles a large round scarlet vegetable of sorts now. Maybe a tomato. But then, that's probably a fruit. I don't know; you decide. You're not the one being kidnapped by an insane mutation that's taken control of someone you though was your friend. I wonder how long Jounouchi has been hiding this? A few days? A few weeks? His entire life?

"Bakura," he grunts as he makes for the main hall. My face pales as I imagine him carrying me in there. I'm still blushing, though, so the result is a botch mosaic of red, pink, and white.

"Uh?" I grunt as I continue frantically pulling his hair out, ten to twenty strands a second.

"Unless you want me to drop you onto the hard tile, I suggest you stop struggling," he says, letting go. I begin to plummet head first to the floor and grab at his throat. He readjusts his grip and keeps going.

"You're not taking me through the lobby!" I gasp as we approached the door.

"That I am," he says as he opens the door. I choke back a scream, a shriek of wrath and terror.

"Touché, I give, put me down now!" I beg. This new mutation of the boy I once called a friend ignores me.

I know what I want to do now; what I'm going to do now. I'm going to get rid of this monstrosity that used to be Jounouchi. I think I'll lock him up in a prison or a bottomless pit. Maybe I could drown him in the Mariana's Trench, or strand him on a deserted isle. No, I saw Castaway, so scratch the island. Maybe he wants to go on a trip? How about Mt. Everest? The Grand Canyon? The Gobi Desert? And then I can begin the important mission of discovering where the real Jounouchi went off to.

I am silent as we enter the lobby. The desk woman looks up at us. I can't see her, but I can hear the soft, feminine murmur of surprise. I'm hanging limply now; I know Jounouchi isn't going to let me go. As he heads for the door I can finally see the woman. I wave politely and continue to dangle.

"Can you put me down yet?" I ask Jounouchi, as we exit the school.

"No," he says with a smirk.

I think he hates me. I wonder if he knows I was going to meet Kaiba? That would mean he could read minds. Funny, Anzu does that too. Maybe they could teach it to the ungifted in that field. It really seems everyone knows that little trick but me. I feel I'm at a tragic disadvantage.

"Where do you want to go?" Jounouchi asks. I look at him (well; I look at the back of his head) startled.

"How about off your shoulders?" I suggest hopefully.

"I know, the park!" he exclaims. I sigh and wince. There is a cramp forming in my back. This position can't be good for me.

I'm wondering what I did in my past life to deserve this.

(I know the answer to that.)

I furrow my brow and look down at the Sennen Ring dangling from my neck, swaying with each step Jounouchi takes.

I blush at the strange looks we're getting now. I can't believe Jounouchi's doing this. I think I'm going to die from the strain of having all the people watching, not looking away. I wouldn't be surprised if a reporter's van pulls up and takes pictures to put us on the world news.

Earlier today it was proven that the lunch food in Domino High and many others throughout the country is indeed drugged. The pathogen in the strange and questionably edible concoctions fed to the children has been proved to invoke random phases of insanity. Local physicians have been alerted and a vaccine is underway.

Yeah, that's it.

"You know," I say as we enter the grassy clearing of the nearby city park, "it's a good thing I look like a girl and all. Otherwise someone might, you know, think we're gay or something…."

Jounouchi starts to laugh and for a few seconds I'm terrified he'll drop me. I cling to his shoulders. If I fall, I'm going head first into a concrete walkway. And I'll be damned if I don't take him down there with me.

I'm very annoyed at Jounouchi. Why can't he let me down? I think he's made his point, walking halfway across Domino City with me thrown over him like a living sack of potatoes.

I regretfully decide that now it's time to wage war. This might get ugly.

For those who don't know, Jounouchi is gay at the current time. I am too except it's all the time, but I don't ask other people out. One of Jounouchi's weaknesses, though, whether its a guy or a girl, is his major crushes. He used to like Yuugi a lot and then Mai. Currently though, I'm the item of affection, because I guess I don't put up a fight. I don't know how it happened, I don't know how long my power will last, but I think I'm ready to use this to my advantage. I don't use many things to my advantage, especially another's delicate emotions, but now is a desperate time, calling for methods I would otherwise not enlist.

"Jounouchi," I say, like I'm beginning to cry softly. "Please let me down, please. I'm sorry."

I have one amazing talent I know of, besides blushing. This other gift is that I can cry on cue, whenever I want. I'm ready to invoke this power now. This isn't any of that flashy, mysterious Sennen Ring magic. No this real, from whatever gods there are. I was born with the gift to cry. (I was born weak and destined to be a pathetic whiner, it's probably all predetermined with my luck.)

"Bakura…" he starts, but I allow a few crocodile tears to fall on his back. He freezes and lifts his hands to lower me down gently.

By then, I've dramatized the whole thing. I'm very afraid I'll start hyperventilating any second now. So yeah, I don't know the meaning of restraint, and it's hard to stop once you get going with tears. Jounouchi is so kind-hearted anyway that he won't notice, especially since he is currently convinced he is in love with me.

The second my feet touch the ground I'm off, tears forgotten. I run like mad down the concrete pathway. I can't help but laugh as Jounouchi yells at me from behind. I look over my shoulder to see him tailing me. It's not the best thing I could have done. In fact, I think it's the worst mistake I've ever made, but I go for it. I run onto the grass and into the nicely spaced trees. Dumb plan. I trip over a root and Jounouchi takes a flying leap after me. I'm pinned down in mere seconds. I forgot there was a reason to why Jounouchi signed up for track and field, and I signed up to sit around playing RPGs at a table from which I never had to stand for hours..

"Bakura? Jounouchi?" a voice calls far away.

Hello, God, Allah, Ra? Has Jounouchi killed us?

Suddenly Yami no Yuugi is there and I rejoice inwardly as Jounouchi climbs off. I dust the dirt off my clothes and wonder if someone's missing. Wasn't Yami no Yuugi supposed to be with—?

"Hello, guys!" Anzu greets perkily, if that's even a word. She's got plenty of perk.

Ugh, I'm too young for this.

(I'm too old for this.)

I sigh and shake my head. Anzu watches me, offended. Her expression tells me I must apologize or suffer the consequences of my thoughtless transgression.

"Oh, sorry, Anzu, it's the spirit in my ring."

She nods stiffly, but it's very obvious she doubts this excuse. I'm pretty sure she should get right over her self, though. I don't mean to sound cynical, but you try to think nice of people after being publicly humiliated and cramped by hanging over a dubiously titled "friend's" shoulder for the past quarter of an hour or so with no way to get back to school in time for a very important meeting. I have completely missed Kaiba's invitation to meet, and I kind of wanted to see him, even if now it's just to tick Jounouchi off.

I rarely speak to Kaiba directly. I guess I wanted to see if Kaiba was human up close; if I'd learn something about him by him actually directing conversation into those twin holes burrowing into my skull called my own ears.

Like, is he human enough to not want me dead now?

Now I'm living on borrowed time. What, so I'm terrified of Kaiba Seto? Believe me, you'd be to if you meant him. His rich and powerful and he damn well knows it. He can get away with pretty much anything, arranging my murder at the very least. From what I get to see of him (which isn't much, since he's usually dealing with Yuugi's other mind and has no idea I even exist), Kaiba is arrogant and almost entirely self-serving, save for the things he does for his own kid brother, Mokuba. Unlike everyone else I know, I've seen almost nothing of the younger heir to the KaibaCorp throne. Or well, not while Mokuba was conscious. Or in daylight. He's just a puff of wild, dark hair in my mind. Like a human-Kuriboh hybrid in a striped orange shirt.

I'm wondering what Kaiba will do to me. This is futile, though, almost like wondering over all the things fate can do to a person. That's how much influence Kaiba has over Domino. He's got computer systems everywhere, doing stuff, watching us all. I still can't believe he was allowed to take over the entire city for his Battle City Tournament. He might as well elect himself the official mayor now, since no-one seems to question his authority.

And he's still in high school.

I'm sorry, but that kind of unnerves me a bit. He's roughly my age and has this entire place under his thumb. How can we let him get away with it? If I had that kind of strength, I can assure you we'd all be doomed. When given a control board, there's a ninety-five percent chance I'll find the one trigger that activates the self-destruct mechanism.

"And whatever you do, Bakura, don't press this…"
BOOM!
[Insert screams of terror and anguish here.]
"….red button."

Yeah, it's kinda like that.

Hey, it's not like Kaiba's doing a bad job. I mean, the whole city isn't underwater or just a gaping hole in the ground (at least not yet). But, it's just not right that a fellow classmate can decide whether or not we get to have sixth period algebra tomorrow by hacking into the school board's main computer system. (B)

And I turned him down. I skipped his arranged meeting.

You will be there. As long as I know you have this letter I won't take any excuses. It is in your best interests to appear promptly.

Goodbye, fair world! I'm doomed, for sure.


As I enter the seafood restaurant, I can only stare at the floor. I have coupons for a meal. They expire today so my father gave them to me to go eat. I still don't see why we can't just let them burn in a grate; I'm not all that crazy about seafood. I'll eat it, but I get really tired of shrimp and rice and-I think it's called salmon? That pink fish people wax poetic about how health and delicious it is? Whatever; just don't open tuna within smelling distance from me. Cat food, that stuff. I could never stomach it from the can or packet. (C)

To the envy of many people, I get prime real estate by the lobster tank. I don't see why they are so angry with me; I'm sitting by a pool of doomed marine life. Not quite unlike myself. The doomed part, sorry; I'm not an aquatic mammal.

I look around nervously. There is a tapping sound next to me. I turn in terror to see one of the lobsters watching me. I swear, it beat on the glass to get me to look at it. Now it's waving its little antenna at me mockingly.

Seriously, it is. I'm almost afraid.

And I wish I were lying, but I'm not. It's the most foul, awful thing I've ever seen. Lobsters are giant aquatic insects that people actually eat. They are ugly even when cooked. And now the crustacean in the tank is tapping the glass and scratching its spidery legs against it in a rather threatening gesture. I'm worried. I pray it doesn't break out. How strong are those bands on it claws?

"Sir," a waiter asks. I turn from the traumatizing sea demons to the tall man with the serving tray.

"Yes?" I ask him. I try to look as normal as my fear of the lobster besides me isn't.

"Do you mind if we sit a party with you for the night? The other tables by the lobster tank are filled and our new guest strongly desires a set within range," he says. His tone doesn't sound like I have a choice.

Actually, I do mind, but I didn't really pay to come here, I had coupons. Maybe that puts me at a disadvantage. I nod for the okay. The waiter does some demented half bow and leaves. Within minutes my tablemate arrives.

"Oh, cool!"

A little boy, about as tall as Yuugi, rushes up next to me and sticks his face against the tank so fast I'm surprised he didn't just slam it into the glass while he was at it. His dark blue eyes fill with awe at the hideous creatures. The lobster near me waves his antenna smugly. I place my hand on the glass to block out the insult. I feel the claws slam against the glass where my palm rests, hard. I'm a little creeped out, but also superior. The lobster ultimately can't do anything to me. I could get up and walk away and he'd still be in his cage, cat food.

"Look at that lobster. It looks like he's trying to get your attention," the boy pipes up. It takes me a few seconds to realize he's talking to me.

"Um, yes, he does, doesn't he?" I reply. Indeed, that is just what the Hell Crustacean was doing. I glared at the lobster that just doesn't know when to stop.

"We're gonna eat one with pasta and I get to choose," the boy says, bragging a little.

"You don't say…" I look at the lobster next to me and cock an eyebrow threateningly. The tapping ceases. Victory to superior mammalian brain. The brain that knows how to put lobsters in tanks and eat them at its leisure.

"Yep, we're here 'cause I wanted seafood tonight, and my big brother will do anything for me," the boy brags further. I feel sorry for the kid. He needs to be saved from spoiling soon, or it will all go downhill for him and that poor, poor brother.

I nod with the boy's boasts, certain the lobster is staring me down now. "So if you wanted to taste what real Florida orange juice is like, he'd drag you to the Southeastern United States?"

"Yep, probably; when he had time."

"Ah, time," I muse, "Does he ever not have time?"

"Yeah, but I'll make him go anyway."

"You'll force him to do these things for you?" I ask, imagining who this pushover loser of a brother could be. I pictured him hunched over and prematurely balding. My mental image is thirty years old than this kid. I don't know why. All rich young men who can afford to buy lobster are, in my mind, tired-looking and prematurely balding. How else does one get rich before 30?

The boy looks down now almost guiltily. "Yeah, I do," he says, though he quickly defends himself. "But, he doesn't mind. Not really. It's important to him."

"Do you ever thank him?" I ask. Yes, I know I'm being cruel, Mr. Lobster, but I'm going to improve the life of this kid's brother so stop pointing your claws at me. This kid's going to express so much boundless gratitude that the guy might grow a few hairs back from shock.

"Yeah."

"All the time?"

"No."

Bingo! That's what I was looking for.

"Why, he's doing these things to make you happy. You need to let him know you appreciate his efforts all the time. Make sure he can see you care. Is your brother only special to you because of his presents?"

"No!" the boy shoots back defensively.

"Does he know?"

"Yes," he snaps smartly. I think I hit a nerve.

"Are you sure?"

The boy looks at the ground, worried.

"Don't worry," I encourage him comfortingly, "When your brother comes back, let him know real nice. Thank him for everything."

The boy nods enthusiastically and turns happily to the lobsters again.

"It looks that lobster is mad at you," he says, pointing to my nemesis. The kid's observant.

"I know," I grumble, casting a sideways glance at the crustacean.

"Bakura," a voice comes behind me. If I'd found the momentum to jump right at that word, I'd be crashing quite ungracefully into the moon right now.

I know some divine power must really hate me. I mean, really, really hate me.

"Here you are Mr. Kaiba, right next to the lobster tank like you requested. I'm sorry for the boy here. He can be moved."

At first I think the waiter is talking about the kid next to me. Then, I realize no, he's talking about me.

"Thank you," Kaiba replies. There is not one tone of thanks in his deep, cold voice. Everything it says sounds like 'Bakura Ryou, you're going to die.'

"BIG BROTHER!" the boy, who I've been gleefully terrifying, shouts in joy. He runs up and hugs the stone cold businessman like it isn't Seto Kaiba, who I'm looking at. The lobster taps the glass with a sarcastic thud. Did I just try to improve the life of Seto Kaiba? He's not even balding.

Kaiba's eyes grow soft as he watches the boy smile at him. He doesn't return either the expression or the embrace, but still obviously cares. I watch, completely freaked, because even his eyes softening is unnatural and strange for me to witness. Is that really Seto Kaiba, the one person in Domino I fear more than anything now, or is it some clone sent here to take care of Mokuba?

"Thank you for bringing me here, big brother. I really like lobster even if it gives you gas." Seto's eyes harden slightly, making him appear more normal, but Mokuba wasn't too loud. I blush and try to pretend I didn't just hear them. I swear that lobster is laughing at me. I glare at the creature again. Such an ugly animal. Such a cruel, ugly, intelligent spawn of all the devils created.

"Thank you Seto, and don't you think I don't care, because I don't know what I'd do without you to watch over me," Mokuba finishes. Kaiba strokes his little brother's messy, black hair softly. Maybe Mokuba got a haircut or something, because he doesn't look like half the pint-sized Kuriboh puff I remembered him to be. Still, I have to admit, from what I'm seeing in side-glances, it's one of the sweetest scenes I've recently watched. I always was a sentimentalist. I guess I enjoy seeing others be so happy with just being, existing in the same room as someone else. I've haven't really felt that way since I was younger and my father came home. The man seemed to light up the room miraculously when he appeared, and I'd find it so hard to picture him gone again on another trip. Then, of course, he'd leave, and I'd be alone in the apartment with nothing but the dots on the wall.

I counted all of them after the first year and a half or so.

Twelve million, eight hundred forty-two thousand, six hundred, one and five tenths (The last dot was smeared in half) counted by me. I counted them all five times a week for four months.

He should never have had to leave like that. It messes with my head and now I think I'm weird because I spent too much time alone with naught but my thoughts. I wonder what it would have been like to have a big brother who could've helped me in my solitude? Kaiba seems such a nice person to little Mokuba.

But then, that's Kaiba, Seto Kaiba. I'm blinking in shock. I think I'm going to freak out. I see that damn lobster waving its legs, urging me to break. I must admit, I've reached a dire acute angle at the moment.

Gag, choke, gag.
Clean up at table nine, Seto Kaiba just killed Ryou Bakura for vomiting all over him and his little brother.

Okay, I'm officially weirded out. I'm considering how it would look, jumping around the room and screaming. Hollering about lobsters and bipolar CEOs, about being forced to ride on someone's shoulder forever (what, so I'm traumatized for life) and sitting through dull, one-sided conversations. I read about a boy who somehow got the notion that eating utensils had feelings. He would try to eat his long noodles without banging his teeth against the chopsticks. Very difficult; I tried after I read it. What would it look like to all the patrons if I started ranting about crafty demon lobsters with crooked ways? About how hard it was to consume food without having your teeth scraping your fork or spoon? I doubt they'd be very thrilled. If those people had wanted to see a freak show, they would have gotten a popcorn dinner at the circus. (D)

I'll just sit here and get to know my lobster friend better. He's my only companion.

So, how many diners have you driven insane? Only one? Me? Wow, tell me how this has been working for you….

And so twists the Technicolor road to insanity.

Finally the Kaiba brothers go to make their lobster selection. I stand protectively next to my tormentor. I find I've developed a demented fondness for the brute. Horribly enough, guess which lobster Mokuba wants….

I'm disgusted watching as the creature is lifted out of his prison by two strong arms. It seems the lobster's lone freedom is death. I can only observe in terror as he is lifted out of the water, legs thrashing desperately. His little black eyes spin around to me. I look away. I can't take this; my enemy is down, victim to a fate I suppose Kaiba will sentience me to as well. Chopped up and stewed till I turn even redder than I've ever been.

"No, not that one!" I yell above the roar in my ears. Mokuba looks at me, surprised. Kaiba turns to me as well. I'm starting to feel very stupid. The man holding my nemesis freezes.

"Uh, nevermindme,I'lljustsitdownnow,sorry,ignoreme,thankyou…" I mutter, sitting down again. I'm going to get that lobster back, but I'm not going to make a big scene now. I owe him that much. I'm not sure what for, but I do. Perhaps I'm masochistic.

Will all those patrons stop looking at me?

Kaiba and Mokuba sit down again at the table. My table. First they take my security, then my table, and now they have my lobster. But not for long, for I have a plan. That animal and me bonded in our mockery. I can't let him die.

"So, Bakura," Kaiba begins, fixing me with an icy glare. "It's so nice to meet you here. What luck, since you couldn't possibly make it to the school parking lot."

Is that sarcasm I'm detecting?

"Yeah, about that…" I mumble. I'm rudely cut off by a single look that reminds me that no excuse is going to save me. I don't know how, but it shuts me up very fast. For some strange reason I feel like I'm in mortal danger if I sit with Kaiba any longer. I'm nervous and I feel very near ill. I can't explain it; the places is just too warm. I want to dive into the lobster tank right now. How nice would that feel, to be wet and cool?

I don't think that would stop all the side glances in my direction. I really don't think it would.

"Don't worry, I saw that little puppy drag you out of the building," Kaiba says, and I blush. He's wrong. I wasn't dragged; technically, I was carried away. But, lets stay off the niceties now, eh? Same difference, right?

Kaiba is about to start a promising lecture about whatever he feels like going on about, when the image of a lobster boiling in a pot claims my vision. I look behind him to the red, hard shell remains of a poor crustacean without a friend at another table. My stomach churns horribly at the sight.

"Excuse me, I gotta go to the bathroom," I try to excuse myself. "I need to go now…" I hint and tense up convincingly.

"Fine! Hurry back," he commands.

I nod and make a dash towards the bathroom. At the door to the men's room, well out of sight of both Kaiba's, I detour to the kitchens. I know what I'm looking for, animal 321. (I memorized his tag number, so what?) Quietly I slipped into the kitchen. I throw on an apron and walk casually down the aisles like I know where I'm going. Like this isn't real, but it just a game I'm in. You can accomplish a lot when you tell yourself everything around you isn't real.

"LOBSTER NUMBER THREE TWO ONE!" I shout loudly above the roar of cooking and fire and lobster death devices. I can only hope I'm not too late.

"Over here getting washed," comes the expected reply. I go over to the sinks and try to look casual.

And this is the secret life of Bakura Ryou, the one you never see when people I would feel ashamed around are present. I'm really a very obsessive, single-minded kind of person. My gentle behavior is a defense mechanism. It defends me mainly from the sorry fate of being unloveable and a loser.

After an embarrassingly long time searching, I find that there is a big man with gloves cleaning my lobster. I'm so happy to see the lobster alive alive that I don't feel like speaking.

"Hey, girl," the guy greets me. I blink and look in the reflective machinery besides me. Damn, I look a little too female right now, but I have to get my enemy back. Such is the curse of being such a delicately built guy.

"Hey, whatcha doin'?" I ask him, raising my voice to what I imagine to be a more femine pitch. I think I sound like a cheap transsexual prostitute, but apparently it works out.

"Oh, just preparing one of these ugly bastards," he says with a sneer. He holds the lobster up and shakes it.

"I like lobsters," I defend and lie at the same time, "In fact, I love them," I word uncharacteristically, not sure why. I feel terrible. I must save this lobster, even if it immediately dies afterward from laughing at me.

The man smirks and holds the lobster out to me. I reach for it, but he pulls it away teasingly.

"You want it?" he asks me, taunting.

"Yeah," I reply breathless in my anger and maybe a little bit of panic. Why do I have to put up with this?

"Know what I want?" he questions me. Of course I do. I'm not an idiot. It spelled out in his glaze like neon lights in the desert. I know and don't hesitate once because I'm dedicated to my causes. And, once again, masochistic.

I kiss the large man right on the bristly lips. Oh, he smells like fish. I hate fish. I can't believe I'm doing this for a lobster. I keep the kiss going far longer than I'd ever thought I'd want to. I'm finally pulling away, gasping like a…fish, perhaps. (E)

If there is justice in the universe, I should die of shame right now. But, there is no justice, only irony, and so I live.

"Is that all!" the man says mockingly and releases the lobster into the tub to get his hands on me. I dive around him and soon have the lobster in my own hands, drenching my apron.

"Thanks," I call and make a run for it. I don't look back once, but I can hear the man calling. By his surprise at my leaving, I don't think he actually believed I wanted the lobster. I suppose it's healthy that he has such a high opinion of his attractiveness, but it's still only an opinion.

Other people, waiters, and chefs run to the kitchen to see what the fuss is about, but I'm careful. I walk quickly towards the men's' room. There, I wrap the lobster in my apron, which has successfully kept my clothes dry, but now keeps the animal wet. I walk out cradling the bundle as employees rush past.

"Sir, you see a woman run by here with a lobster?" a random searcher asks me.

"Yes, the strangest thing really. She ran right past here and out that door. I saw her and…" but before I finish the man is off with ten others, chasing after where I supposedly escaped. I make it to the front door with relative ease and give a note to the doorman saying Ryou Bakura had food poisoning and was being rushed home by caring friends. Happily he agreed to deliver the message to table nine, by the lobster tank.

(That is the stupidest thing you've ever done, yadonushi.)

Yeah, whatever. I have a pet lobster and my Yami doesn't. Maybe he wants one though? Why the hell did I want one?

I look back on earlier where I was content to sit and let things happen against my will. I listen to Anzu when I don't want to and let notes bully me in appointments I never set. But after Jounouchi forced me to skip an apparent death threat and I survived, I've had it. I think I'm going insane from being carried around with all that blood pooling around my brain, but still. I'm shocked. I didn't want this lobster killed and I saved it. I did something about what I wanted.

And I never wanted to go to the seafood place anyway.

I better stop this. What if I start to like it, doing dramatic things for myself sans anyone else's consent? That would topple the world I've set up nicely. My other half gets in people's way, lays damsels across their railroad tracks and forces them to stop the train, so I try my best not to. So, what if I stop acting like that? What will happen to everything I consider daily life now? I really do like to please people. I can't possibly be unhappy where I am now.

The lobster just smacked me with his claw. I glare at him. What does he know? I just felt sorry for him; I'm not contradicting anything. I'm just trying to please him by making sure he doesn't die. No revolution from my morals and way of existing.

Why do I feel disappointed at this?


Notes and Stuff:

A: It's cloth! Not paper, cloth! Fabric! Can't you see? I have something against that paper. Why among things I can't afford does there have to be paper, too?
B: I have sixth period Algebra. I'm original.
C: Personally, I have nothing against seafood. But, tuna. That's stuff grosses me out. Cat food.
D: The chopsticks thing came from a report I read about this kid who wouldn't feed himself with any eating utensils because he thought they had feelings. The kid was obsessive compulsive.
E: Ew, tuna! That's the most horrific thing I've ever written. My immature dislike of random foods is strong.

Next chapter will be babysitting..