The words hung in the air for a moment. "Them?" Jou asked disbelievingly. "Assassins?"
SHADI nodded solemnly. "No one would suspect them of being dangerous, and their psychic abilities give them advantages which very few other people could match."
"Very few?" Seto asked, eyebrow raised.
"It is not unknown for people to have psychic abilities without being involved in such experiments."
"Oh, like those weird stories going around about Ishuzu seeing… the… future…" Honda trailed off in realisation.
Ishuzu nodded. "Exactly like those stories." She sighed. "Unfortunately, I cannot control what I see of the future. I know that if we do not strike against him within the next three days, he will defeat us. I also know that if we strike before we are fully prepared, he will defeat us. And we cannot bring anyone else into this – with the exception of Yami's grandfather, of course. But leave telling him what you've learned here until after our battle with him."
"And who is this him, exactly?" asked Seto, irritated by the secrecy around the name of his enemy. "Some third world dictator? An insane politician? Sorry, that's too wide a range – a homicidal politician? Are we likely to have heard of him before?"
SHADI looked at him calmly. "You certainly will have. He is one of your main competitors, after all. He owns Industrial Illusions."
Seto's eyes widened as he realised who he was. "Maximillian Pegasus?"
"You are intended to be the first target of the fourth hikari. He is designed to have an advantage against you that none of the others can claim."
"Oh?" Yugi shivered at the change in Seto's emotions. "Is his DNA taken from Jou?"
"No." SHADI looked at Seto sympathetically. "It is taken from Hikari."
Seto paled. Before anyone could react, he ran from the apartment. Yugi glared at SHADI as Jou ran after his lover. "You hurt him."
The others looked at the door. Honda asked the question they were all wondering about. "Who's Hikari?"
Jou looked around the door of Seto's office cautiously. The owner of KaibaCorp was sat behind his desk, staring down at his hands which were folded together in his lap. "Hey, it's me," Jou said, stepping into the room. "You kinda freaked out back there. What's the deal with this Hikari? I've never heard of –"
Seto glared at him until he shut up, then looked back at his hands. Jou walked around the desk until he was looking over Seto's shoulder.
Seto was holding an old photograph. In it, a young boy with brown hair was grinning, holding up a toddler with long black hair so that she could wave into the camera. Both of the children had sapphire-blue eyes.
Jou looked at the picture, then at Seto. "Hey, is that you?"
Seto nodded, lips tight. "And my younger sister." He swallowed. "Her name was Hikari."
Jou's eyes widened. "How come you never told me about –" he cut himself off. Seto never talked about his past at all, if he could avoid it. "Tell me about her," he ordered.
Seto stared at the picture blankly. He began speaking in a low monotone which wasn't at all like his usual clipped speech. "This was taken on my sixth birthday. She was two.
"It was a good day.
"Our father hadn't beaten us.
"Four days after it was taken, he got angry with Hikari because she was laughing too loud and he wanted to concentrate on – something. I don't know what.
"He threw her down the stairs. I tried to get there in time to catch her. I wanted to protect her.
"He beat me for trying to get past him – broke my ribs. Cracked my skull. But I managed to call an ambulance before I passed out." A hint of pride at the accomplishment coloured his voice for a moment, but then it vanished completely. "Hikari died in the hospital. I failed her."
Jou stared at his lover in silence. In fifteen sentences, he'd just learned more about Seto's past than over all their time spent together. "I thought you were adopted," he managed to say.
"Yes." Seto took a breath. "I was taken away from him after the government found out what he'd done. I got Kaiba's attention easily enough. He adopted me because he wanted an heir who was intelligent enough to be a credit to him." The familiar arrogance returned to his face for a moment, but it was a pale ghost of his normal expression. "I am." He looked back at the photo again in silence.
Jou thought about how he would have felt if he'd been in Seto's position; if Serenity had been thrown down the stairs – if he hadn't been able to help her…
"Well, you know what this means? You havta join them and help rescue this fourth hikari!" he said emphatically.
Seto blinked, startled out of his private musings. "Why?"
Jou sighed with exasperation. "Didn't ya hear what they were saying in there? Most of the DNA comes from the person who – whatever, it means that this hikari is gonna be mostly your sister, and that means that this time you can protect her!" Jou finished triumphantly. "Him," he corrected himself. "Whichever, you can't just leave him there, 'cause he's mostly Hikari. So come on, we have to get back there and see how far they've got wid planning what we're gonna do."
Seto stared at him blankly for a few moments. 'A… second chance?' he asked himself, considering the thought. 'A second chance. This – person – won't be like Hikari, but he's the only chance I'll have to make up for her. I was too young to protect her when she needed it, but now…' He stood up decisively. "Come on. I need to talk to SHADI about the security arrangements at the laboratory, and what equipment we're likely to need…" He fell silent as he made his way to the door, already planning what they were going to do. Behind him, Jou smiled smugly.
'Oh, yeah,' he thought in satisfaction. 'Ya just have to know how to handle him.'
Keith glared at his two subordinates. "What do you mean, you can't find him?"
"Well, we don't know who we're looking for, boss!" one of them protested.
"You're looking for the ------- hikari's yami," Keith growled. "They're -------identical!"
"Yeah, but what's his name?"
Keith opened his mouth – and it stayed open, as he realised he had no idea. The realisation made him angrier, and he clenched his fists, wanting to hit someone; preferably the hikari, but the two cowering idiots in front of him would do.
Recognising the danger signs, they began to back away slowly. "Never mind. We'll find him," the one who hadn't spoken yet said.
"How?" the other asked, but by that time they were out of Keith's range.
"Work something out! We don't want him upset with us…"
"Why should I be the one who works it out?" he began whinging, but it was too late. The other one had already vanished. "Huh."
With nothing better to do, he logged on to the computer and checked his e-mail. YOU HAVE MAIL!
When he opened it, a picture of the hikari appeared on the screen, together with a name and address.
"Bakura Shikai…" he read. "Hey! I found the yami!"