SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1Disclaimer: *crickets chirping*
Warning: Sappy. ^^; Maybe…
A/N: Hallow!!!! *cough* Did anyone miss me? ^^;; Sorry for taking so long, but…yeah, writing's hell. *grin* Please enjoy as always more AN can be found after the chapter.
/…./ someone's thinking //….// yami's thinking
*****flashback***** ~*~someone's dreaming~*~
Darkness IV TC \l1 "
//Yugi what are you doing?!//
/That man's right Yami. We need to get Mokuba out of here. He shouldn't see this/
"Come on Mokuba." Yugi whispered softly, gently turning Mokuba away from the sight of his brother, trying to ignore what was going on behind him, trying to remain calm. Not only for his sake but for Mokuba's and Yami's as well. 'Shhhing' quietly he picked Mokuba's trembling body up, carrying him down the hall. He could feel something wet soaking into his shirt where Mokuba was griping it and pulling Mokuba's hand away he noticed for the first time the giant gash in his hand. "Come on lets get this cleaned up."
"Se…Seto…" Mokuba sobbed, burying his head into Yugi's shoulder. "I…I don't…"
"Shhh…it's ok. I'm sure Seto will be alright, that man will take care of him."
"That's right Akeno-san will take care of your brother, now let me take care of you, ok. Everything's going to be just fine." /I hope…/ Sighing Yugi shifted Mokuba to a more comfortable position, making his way to a bathroom.
Yugi could feel Yami grow more and more restless as they moved farther down the hall, away from where Seto and that strange man, who he was assuming was Akeno-san, was. He knew that Yami was not very happy with him at all for leaving Seto in that mans care either and knew that is was only a matter of time before Yami decided to move on his own, compelled by his emotions to act. Yugi knew that in his current state of mind Yami wouldn't be able to see the fruitlessness of those actions, so he waited for his darker side to make his move.
//That's it Yugi I can't stand it any longer// With that Yugi felt Yami's consciousness pull away from his own and take on a physical form in front of him. "I'm going back."
"No Yami. I need you to help me with Mokuba."
"Seto needs my help!" Yami yelled, nearly hysterical.
"There's nothing you can do Yami. All you'd do is get in the way…" Yugi whispered, hating himself for causing Yami even more pain by pointing out this simple truth. He could see the pain clearly in Yami's stance, in his expression; in the way his eyes gleamed with sadness, unwilling to let the tears fall from them. Swallowing lightly Yugi fought to remain calm, a role usually filled by his darker side. But now that darker side, the one who had always been his pillar of strength in moments of weakness, his mind of reason in times of chaos, needed him. Yami needed him. "Here take Mokuba."
Yami hesitated for a moment, torn between wanting to do anything to help the man he loved and the knowledge that that was impossible, that there was nothing he could do. After one last glance down the hall, in the direction they'd just came from, he stepped forward carefully taking Mokuba's trembling form into his arms, holding him protectively against him. If nothing else he would look after the most important person in his loves life.
"Come on." Yugi whispered softly opening the door to a bathroom ushering Yami and his charge inside.
As Yami moved over to the bathtub, sitting on its rim and moving Mokuba to sit on his lap, Yugi went to the cabinet and got a plush dark blue cloth. Walking over to the sink he turned on the water, making it slightly warm, allowing the washcloth to absorb the liquid. As he turned off the water, ringing any excess out of the washcloth, he looked over at Yami and Mokuba from out of the corner of his eye.
Mokuba sat trembling and sniffling softly on Yami's lap, his head resting on his right shoulder and his hands clenched tightly in his shirt. His eyes were half lidded though, as if all of his tears had drained him of his energy and he no longer had the strength to fight against his shock and the fatigue that followed it. Yami, for his part, didn't seem to mind the fact that Mokuba was drenching his shirt in blood and tears; actually he didn't even seem to notice it at all. His head rested lightly against the top of Mokuba's, his eyes gazing worriedly at the door, as he held Mokuba securely in place.
Folding the damp washcloth neatly Yugi moved over to them and kneeling in front of Yami carefully disentangled Mokuba's injured hand from his shirt. Mokuba sniffed and stirred a little in his half conscious state as Yugi ran the washcloth lightly over the cut, wiping way the blood. He was almost finished cleaning the wound when Yami stiffened slightly. Pausing in his administrations Yugi glanced over his shoulder.
/Where did that boy take Mokuba?/ Wiping the evidence of his tears away Takama moved farther down the hall. Seeing a light coming from an open door a ways down he quickened his pace, before slowly approaching the doorway. As he stepped quietly into the room he stopped confused, as he was greeted first with a pair of fiery crimson eyes, and then by a pair of soft violet eyes, as the boy who had his back turned to him looked at him from over his shoulder. He recognized that one, but the other… /There hadn't been two, had there?/
Before he could speak the boy holding Mokuba jumped to his feet, nearly knocking the other boy down in the process. "Where's Seto? Is he alright?"
Sighing Takama closed his eyes for a moment, before stepping farther into the room, ignoring the boys' questions. Yami's jaw clenched in anger as the man approached them and Yugi, sensing this, reached out to take Mokuba from his arms; least Yami did anything rash and forgot about the boy he was holding. Yugi knew that Yami wasn't prone to making rash decisions under normal or even abnormal circumstances for that matter, but this situation was like no other before and the fact that Seto was involved only served to complicate matters. Not knowing what Yami would do, and not currently trusting him he whispered softly. "Yami please don't…"
Yami glared at him before folding his arms over his chest and turning his heated gaze upon the man instead. Unbelievably the man ignored the look, much like Seto did, and moved past him to look at Mokuba.
Sniffing lightly Yami stalked past him moving to the door. "I'm going to check on Seto."
"Don't touch him." The man said over his shoulder, causing Yami to stop. After a moment Yami nodded and exited the room.
"Here…" The man said softly, gently taking Mokuba's sleeping form into his arms, and taking Yami's abandoned station on the rim of the bathtub. Yugi bit his lower lip as the man examined Mokuba's left hand carefully. "What's your name?"
Startled Yugi looked up into the tired eyes before him. "Yugi."
"Well Yugi, do you think you could run down to my car and get the first aid kit? It's under the drivers seat."
Yugi nodded and started to turn, but then stopped, looking uncertainly back at the man. "Akeno-san…?"
"Don't worry kid it's unlocked. Just hurry, ok."
Nodding once more he turned to do as Takama asked. Sighing Takama reached out picking up the washcloth from where Yugi had left it and finished cleaning the blood off of Mokuba's hand.
As Yami neared Seto's office his pace began to slow, uncertainty starting to sink in. Stopping he uncharacteristically bit at his lower lip, mirroring Yugi's nervous habit, and looked back down the hall to where he had left Yugi and the others. Scowling at himself he turned and continued to move towards where Seto should be. His pace slowed once more however, as the ajar doors to Seto's office came into view.
Once more biting gingerly at his lip, he stepped quietly up to the doors, softly pushing one open. His heart skipped a beat as he stepped inside and looked at the still figure lying before him.
Seto had forgone his usual pale color to take on that of a corpse, a sickly, ghostly pallor that had no business on a living creature. If Seto was even living… Disconcerted Yami held his breath, taking a tentative step forward. There was nothing more that he wanted to do at this moment other than to run to Seto and hold him, but that mans parting words made him weary of such actions. Plus the scene seemed vaguely familiar…
As he knelt down by Seto's side, the source of this other sense of unease hit him, his dream… In the endless, blinding white plains of his dream he had found Seto lying much as he was now. Remembering the rest of the dream Yami looked around uneasily, half expecting the phantom from his dreams to appear and claim Seto as his own.
However nothing seeped out of the shadows to torment them and Yami scowled, berating himself for letting his imagination run away with his dreams, to let his dreams effect him in the waking world.
Sighing softly he sniffed and turned his full attention back to the only thing that mattered. Seto. He wished that he knew what was going on, he wished that there were something he could do… He reached out gently brushing at the damp fringe of Seto's soft hair as a tear finally freed itself, running silently down his cheek. "Why…why is this happening to you?"
Choking down a sob he withdrew his hand, closing his eyes in an attempt to stop his tears. They refused to stop however, continuing to seep from under his lashes defiantly. Giving up he let them fall, his damp lashes fluttering open. "Seto, I…I've been afraid to tell you this, but…"
Uncertain he bit at his trembling lower lip, turning his gaze away from the still figure beside him, looking out of what he could see of the window behind Seto's desk. The seconds seemed to last a lifetime, punctuated and counted by the barely audible sound of Seto's shallow breaths. //God he's barely breathing…// Sniffing, wiping at his tears with the back of his arm, Yami looked back down at the man who had won his heart so long ago with his gaze alone. "But…if…if I don't tell you now then…I…I might never get the chance to…"
Stopping he closed his eyes, taking in a deep breath, trying to steady his voice. His sobs quieting he opened his eyes and reaching out ran his fingertips softly along the side of Seto's face, barely touching him. "Seto I… Ever since that day we first met I knew…I knew that we were meant to be…that we belonged together. I felt it in my soul…"
Trailing off he sobbed softly before raising his hand to rest lightly over his heart. "I felt it here…in…in my heart… Seto I …I love you. I love you with everything that I am. I love you as I have loved no one. I would do anything for you. I would…I would die for you… I would gladly give my life now at this moment if it would stop whatever's happening to you… Without hesitation or regret I would die…"
Forgetting the mans warning, Yami leaned forward gently brushing Seto's lips with his own trembling ones, before moving his head to rest lightly on his chest, his left hand coming up to grip tightly at the material of Seto's shirt. Closing his eyes Yami listened to the barely audible sound of Seto's heartbeat as his heart slowly fought to continue its unsteady rhythm. "Please…don't leave me…"
Yugi glanced down the hallway towards Seto's office, before turning, going in the opposite direction. He held the first aid kit tightly as he approached the doorway to the bathroom, slipping quietly inside. As he entered he found himself unable to move or speak, afraid to break the stillness of the moment, the surreality of the scene before him.
Akeno-san had moved to lean lightly against the wall, his eyes closed. Mokuba, who was still asleep, was resting comfortably in the mans arms, his head resting along the inside of his right shoulder, the top of his hair brushing softly against the mans chin as he breathed. In all appearances it seemed as though Akeno-san had followed Mokuba in his tired journey, Yugi would have thoughten so too if he hadn't caught the slight movement of the mans lips.
Moving closer he caught the sound of words, whispered softly and in a language he didn't understand. The way they were said though reminded him of singing, like when his mother would sing to him when he was sick or couldn't sleep. A lullaby maybe?
Shaking his head softly Yugi broke out of his trance and cleared his throat to get the mans attention. "Akeno-san…?"
Opening his eyes just enough to peer out, Takama stopped his soft singing, fighting back the exhaustion that had swept over him as soon as he'd sent the boy on his errand. But now the boy was back and he still had much to do. Sighing he closed his eyes, before opening them fully, pushing himself lightly away from the wall he'd been leaning against. "Thanks…Yugi, right?"
Biting at his lower lip Yugi nodded, handing Takama the first aid kit he'd been holding. "How do you know Seto?"
Takama glanced at him before turning his attention back to Mokuba's hand. "Well…I knew his parents along time ago. Right now I'm trying to act as his doctor."
"He's stubborn." Takama mumbled rifling through the first aid kits contents with one hand while holding Mokuba with the other.
Yugi smiled lightly at Takama's response, the knowledge that he was a doctor lifting some of the worry from his mind. "Yeah, Kaiba is stubborn, among other things."
Takama snorted softly as he started to carefully wrap Mokuba's hand up with gauze, a few remaining drops of blood and disinfectant staining the white material, only to be covered by more of the clean fabric. "So Yugi, how do you know my name? I think I would remember meeting someone like you."
"Like me?" Yugi questioned softly.
"Your hair." Takama smiled, glancing up quickly before finishing off the bandage he was putting on Mokuba's hand.
"Oh…" Yugi whispered, blushing softly. Unconsciously he reached up fingering at a strand of his multicolored hair. "Well, Mokuba said a name while I was carrying him here and I just assumed it was yours…"
"Hnn…Well Yugi," Takama said closing the first aid kit. "You wouldn't happen to know your way around this monstrosity of a house would you?"
Biting at his lower lip Yugi shook his head sadly. "I've only been here once before."
Sighing Takama frowned slightly before gently trying to rouse Mokuba from his sleep. "Mokuba I need you to wake up for a moment."
"Akeno-san…?" Mokuba asked tiredly then softly sobbed. "Where's Seto? Is he ok?"
"Shh, Seto's fine Mokuba. He's sleeping." Takama said softly, gently brushing at the fringe of Mokuba's hair. Sniffing Mokuba clung more tightly to Takama, finding his presence comforting and reassuring. "Mokuba, can you tell me how to get to your room?"
Mokuba sniffed and nodded, but didn't loosen his hold on Takama's shirt. After brushing at his hair once more time Takama stood and exited the bathroom, followed silently by Yugi. As they made their way back down the hall Mokuba started to fall once more into a light sleep, too emotionally drained to stay awake.
By the time that they made it to Mokuba's room the boy was barely conscious and gave no trouble as Takama laid him on his bed, gently untangling his small hand from his shirt. Not wanting to, but having no other choice he woke the boy once more, just long enough to get the directions to Seto's own room, before pulling the covers up over the boy and quietly exiting the room.
"I thought I told you not to touch him."
Startled Yami snapped upright, turning slightly to see Yugi and the man from earlier standing in the doorway. After a moment he regained his wits and was fixing to say something in return when the man sighed, raising one hand in dismissal and started towards them, Yugi following closely behind.
"Yami this is Akeno-san. He's a doctor." Yugi whispered softly as he came up behind his other. Yami just sniffed lightly in reply, turning his gaze back to Seto.
"If you don't mind could I…?" Takama trailed off, gesturing at the space that Yami and Yugi occupied.
Reluctantly Yami allowed Yugi to pull him to his feet as Takama took the space they'd just been occupying by Seto's side. Reaching out he lifted Seto's eyelids, quickly examining him. "Did he move any? Wake up?"
Shaking his head Yami whispered. "No."
Sighing Takama ran a hand through his hair, before gently beginning to move Seto so that he might be able to lift him easier. With Seto's limp body carefully nestled within his arms, Seto's head resting lightly against his shoulder, he turned, moving quietly past Yami and Yugi into the hallway outside.
"Seto!!" Mokuba cried out, sitting bolt upright, the sound of his brothers head hitting his desk reverberating in his mind. /Where am I? Where's Seto?/ Blinking his eyes Mokuba strained to see past the darkness that surrounded him and was soon greeted by the familiar surroundings of his room. As he reached up to wipe at his eyes and nose he felt a rough material pressed against his skin and looking down saw that his left hand had been neatly wrapped in bandages. After running his fingers lightly over the material he sniffed lightly and moved to get out of the bed.
As his feet touched the floor the sound of cracking glass filled the silence of the room. Quickly stepping back Mokuba bent down to see what had caused the sound and found a picture frame face down at the foot of his nightstand, small pieces of broken glass peaking out from under its frame. Biting his lip lightly he reached out, carefully lifting it off the floor, more pieces of glass falling free as he did so.
/I must have knocked it down/ Mokuba thought as he turned the picture frame over. He was greeted by the not quite smiling face of his brother and his own happily smiling one as he half-hung from his brothers' arm. It had been taken a few years ago at a carnival, he'd been so happy when Seto had agreed to take him…
/Nii-sama…/ Sniffing lightly he set the picture back up on the nightstand and picked up the pieces of glass, throwing them into a waste basket before stepping out of his room and into the darkened hallway. For a moment he just stood there, not sure where to go or what to do. He wanted to find his brother, to make sure he was alright… Biting at his lower lip he started to move slowly in the direction of the stairway.
As he started to make his way up the stairs to the third floor he paused, noticing a light coming from downstairs and the soft static murmur of voices. Wiping at a tear as it slid down his cheek he glanced back up the stairs, before turning and moving carefully down the blackened stairway to the first floor landing.
Once there he followed the sound of softly murmured voices and the soft glow of light that seemed to fluctuate from light to dark, and as he entered into the main living room he found the cause of both.
The light from the TV softly illuminated the form of Akeno-san, who lay sprawled along the length of the coach, his right foot planted firmly on the floor and his left arm flung across his face, covering his eyes. The remote lay limply in his other hand, its end resting lightly on the floor.
As the light from the TV brightened it lit up the assortment of scattered papers that lay upon the coffee table, making them shine luminous against the otherwise pitch-blackness of the room.
"Akeno-san?" Mokuba whispered softly as he took a small step towards the coach, relief flowing through him at the knowledge that the young doctor was still here. That he wasn't alone…
Takama mumbled something unintelligible before rolling onto his side, the remote slipping from his fingers to lay on the floor as he wrapped his arms lightly around himself and drew both his legs up under him. After snuggling further into the back of the coach he mumbled once more then settled to lay quiet, but for the soft stirring of his breath, his back facing Mokuba.
Glancing once more at Takama's sleeping form Mokuba moved to pick up the remote from where it had fallen and set it on the coffee table, his eyes glancing briefly at the papers that littered its surface.
As the light from the TV grew a name on a paper lying within an open folder caught his eye. Kioko Watanabe. /Kaa-san…/ Reaching out he carefully lifted the folder, examining it. It was his mothers' medical file… Setting it back down he picked up the notebook that lay open beside it. The page it was currently open to had his mothers name at the top and many notes and long words that Mokuba couldn't read or understand. Many of the longer words had been crossed out and at the bottom of the page there was a giant ominous question mark which had been retraced and encircled multiple times.
Biting his lip gently Mokuba turned to the previous page, which listed even more long, hard to read words, even without the trademark doctors handwriting, which had also all been crossed out; the lines through each of the words likewise cutting deeper and rougher into the paper as they neared the pages end.
/Why would Akeno-san have Kaa-san's medical file?/ His brows furrowing slightly Mokuba set the notebook back down on the coffee table like it had been before. Reaching over he hit the power button on the remote, plunging the room into total darkness, before carefully, but surely making his way back to the darkened staircase. As much as the question regarding his mothers' file intrigued him, it wasn't nearly as important to him as the one person whom he now sought.
A couple stumbles and a few minutes later found Mokuba on the third floor slowly feeling his way down the hall to his brothers room, hoping that that was where he would find him. He vaguely remembered Akeno-san asking about it…
Reaching the door to his brothers' bedroom Mokuba reached out resting his hand shakily on the knob. Biting his lower lip softly he took a deep breath, then slowly turned the handle, cracking the door open.
Moonlight flooded into Seto's room, lighting everything in a soft glow, and as Mokuba peered inside he saw the still form of his brother lying in the dark folds of his bed.
"Nii-sama…" Mokuba whispered softly as he entered the room, slowly making his way to the foot of Seto's bed, before crawling onto it and making his way over to his brothers' side. For a long while he simply sat there looking down at the pale form of his brother, fear building inside of him with every small shiver that racked through the still form.
Reaching out with his right hand Mokuba gently brushed at the sweat soaked bangs that clung to Seto's forehead, before trailing his fingers down the side of his face to cup his cheek gently. Leaning down he closed his eyes then brushed his lips softly over his brothers in a feather light caress. "I love you Nii-sama…"
Leaning back up Mokuba sniffed softly, feeling tears start to form at the corners of his eyes. Sniffing once more he wiped at his eyes with the back of his sleeve, Seto never liked to see him cry and he didn't want to make his brother sad. Sighing shakily he lifted up the covers crawling underneath them to lie by his brothers side. As the black silk settled soothingly around him he cuddled closer still to his brother, resting his head on Seto's right shoulder, the fingers of his hand coming up to grip tightly at the material of Seto's shirt, over his heart.
Looking into the darkness across from him Mokuba tried to suppress a shiver as another small tremor ran through Seto's body. "Nii-sama…you won't leave me will you?"
Another, slightly stronger, tremor was his only answer and Mokuba closed his eyes, a single tear escaping from them to run coldly down his cheek. Tightening his grip on Seto's shirt he whispered softly. "You promised, remember? You promised me you wouldn't…"
Pain. It shot through every nerve, every fiber of his body. Hot, white liquid fire burned his eyes, searing into the flesh beyond, branding itself deeper and deeper into his mind, until it threatened to explode in pure agony.
Moaning softly Seto stirred and the pain receded slightly, retreating into the dark shadows of his mind. Shivering lightly he slowly opened his eyes only to snap them shut again, a small whimper escaping his throat as the world around him flared white. After a moment the blinding intensity lessened, his vision turning from white back to a more familiar gray.
Vaguely he acknowledged the fact that he couldn't feel his right arm and wondered distantly why this didn't seem to bother him, before bringing up his left hand to help shield his eyes from his tormenter. Once again he preceded to open his eyes, refusing to close them as his vision flared bright again, instead lowering them slightly and waiting patiently for the blinding light to fade, using all of his skills and training to block out the nerve searing pain that filled him as it tried to force its presence to the forefront of his consciousness.
Gradually the blinding intensity of the light around him began to fade, the sheer white dulling and dissipating, merging into familiar shapes and patterns. Blinking his eyes a few times to adjust to the change Seto allowed his hand to drop back down by his side, vaguely noting the soft caress of the sheets on his damp skin.
/My room... How...? Why am I here.../ Closing his eyes for a moment he allowed his mind to drift as he tried to recall what had happened and why his head felt like it had been used for target practice.
Wincing he clenched his hand into a fist as a mocking pang of agony raced through his being, a reminder of the pain that, just moments before, had filled him, and yet still the reason or cause eluded him, the last he remembered he'd been talking to Mokuba. Mokuba had been crying...
His eyes slitting open Seto sighed tiredly, a tightness starting to form within his chest. A soft movement against his side reminded him of the fact that he couldn't really feel half his body and letting his head lull slowly to the right he was greeted with a shock of ebony hair and a pale face, peaceful in sleep, that showed trails of dried tears along its smooth, childish surface.
/Mokuba.../ Slowly Seto brought his fingers up to brush lightly over his brothers tear stained cheeks, the tightness in his chest intensifying at the contact. Moving his fingers gently back through the hair at his brothers nap he rested his head lightly against the others, a single tear slipping unnoticed to trail silently down his cheek as he stared blankly at the window across from him.
The soft sound of his door opening slowly drew his gaze away from the mocking blue sky and sunlight before coming to settle on a man who stood uncertainly just inside of the room, his hand still resting on the doors knob beside him.
Frowning slightly Seto studied the man for a moment, his frown deepening as a flash of memory came to him. "I thought I told you to get the hell out."
Stiffening slightly the man narrowed his eyes and moved further into the room, mild irritation written in his stance and movement. "I don't believe it was worded quite as nicely as that, but yes you did tell me to leave."
"Then why are you still here?" Seto asked, his voice coming out more weary than angry, which irritated him.
Takama stopped at the side of Seto's bed and looked down into the boys deep cerulean eyes; at the moment the only emotion held within that gaze was one of a weary tiredness, a sadness so profound and yet nearly completely hidden within their icy depths. His voice soft and gentle he quietly asked. "How much do you remember from yesterday...Kaiba-san?"
His gaze lowering Seto turned his head slowly away from Takama to once again gaze out at the mocking sky, his voice soft as he answered. "I was talking to Mokuba.... He'd been crying..." /Pain/
Running a hand through his sleep mused hair Takama repressed a quiet sigh and reached out gently for Seto's wrists so that he could check his pulse, not having expected Seto to remember much more, if any past that. At the slight contact however, Seto withdrew his hand, his voice so soft as he spoke that it was barely audible. "Akeno-chan... could you take Mokuba back to his room?"
/Akeno...chan...?/ Takama raised a brow at the use of the familiar, but mumbled in assent before moving to the other side of the bed to gather Mokuba into his arms, careful not to wake him. As he settled the boy comfortably in his arms he glanced over at Seto, the distant, almost empty gaze that met his sending a small shiver down his spine. It was as though Seto wasn't wholly there, but somewhere else entirely. /Akeno-chan eh?/
Smiling softly Takama laid Mokuba gently down on his bed and untangling his rumpled covers pulled them up, brushing the boys unruly hair from his eyes. After studying him quietly for a few moments he turned and exited the room heading down the stairs to retrieve a kit he'd had the hospital drop by last night before heading back to the stairs.
As he started his ascent a loud knock sounded from the main entrance and frowning slightly Takama paused, unsure if he wanted to answer or not. He didn't want anyone from Kaiba Corp. to come in and demand that they see Seto, he didn't want to have to deal with that or the stress that it might cause the boy. However it might also be someone from the hospital... Sighing in defeat he set the kit down on the landing and went to answer the insistent call for admittance and opening the door found himself staring down into crimson eyes that narrowed with annoyance as they met his own.
After a few moments of mutual silence the boy crossed his arms over his chest. "Well are you going to let me in?"
Takama blinked at the boy, whom he vaguely recognized from the night before, before murmuring an apology and stepping aside so that the boy might enter, quietly closing the door behind him. "I'm sorry, I don't remember your name..."
"Yami." Arms tightening slightly around himself Yami let his gaze wonder lazily around his surroundings as he tried to get his rising emotions under control, before alighting that cool gaze upon Takama who still stood by the closed door. "Akeno right?"
Nodding slightly the man stepped around Yami, making his way over to the landing of the stairs where he picked up what appeared to be a medical kit of some sort before starting up the stairs. "Shouldn't you be in school?"
Ignoring the question Yami asked one of his own as he started up the stairs in Takama's wake. "You are a doctor, are you not?"
Looking briefly over his shoulder Takama answered with a simple, softly spoken 'yes'.
His eyes lowering to look at the steps before him Yami remained quiet for a moment, stilling the anger and confusion that stirred in his heart. "Then why... Why didn't you take Seto to the hospital last night?"
Pausing Takama sighed softly before turning towards Yami, who for the first time saw the weariness and soft fear in the mans deep cerulean eyes. Closing those eyes Takama remained still for a few moments. "Seto... has had some very bad experiences concerning hospitals and... doctors, I didn't want to put him through the stress that waking in one would cause him." Turning Takama lowered his gaze before wearily starting up the stairs, a tired whisper trailing behind him that made Yami's blood run cold as a shiver ran the length of his spine. "Besides there was nothing they could have done for him... Nothing that they can do."
Frowning Yami silently repeated what Takama had told him over and over again in his mind, the words, or rather meaning behind those words bringing a vile, bitter taste to his mouth. If the man spoke truth then he could only assume that they did not know what was afflicting Seto or how to treat it.
Scowling at the thought Yami glanced up from the stairs to the mans back his scowl deepening as he did so, his thoughts no longer on what the doctor had said, but how he'd said it. His words, his expressions had both been filled with a quiet sorrow, a pain which ran far deeper than the man let on. To Yami it was obvious at that moment that this mans interest in Seto went beyond that of a doctor and patient.
And that thought sent tendrils of anger throughout his body. Seto was his. Yami paused slightly in his pace as that new thought entered his head replacing his previous anger with a more subtle emotion, one he couldn't quite place. Trepidation perhaps?
Coming to the top of the third floor landing Yami shrugged off the unknown emotion, dismissing it and waited patiently in silence as Takama knocked softly on Seto's bedroom door. Receiving no answer the doctor slipped quietly inside, muttering something under his breath as he looked at where Seto lay.
Closing the door silently behind him Yami watched as Takama approached the still, sleeping form, his skin prickling as he came up behind the doctor taking in Seto's deathly pale, sweat sheened skin. Biting his lower lip for a moment Yami regarded Takama as he shifted Seto to lie on his back and picked up his wrist to check his pulse. Resisting the urge to deepen his frown Yami straightened and moved around the bed to stand in front of the windows Seto had been facing and looking out of them silently watched the reflection of what was happening behind him in the glass.
Yugi's hand stopped in mid-motion, his head tilting slightly to one side at the soft whisper in his mind. /Yami, is everything ok?/
There was a short pause of silence at his question, Yami's turmoiled emotions softly rippling through their link. Biting softly at his lower lip Yugi concentrated harder on that link silently encouraging Yami to reply to his query, trying to exude confidence and reassurance to his other self.
//That…man is here//
/Yami/ Yugi sighed quietly.
Ignoring the slight irritation in Yugi's voice Yami continued, barely pausing. //He doesn't know what's wrong with Seto. He said that the people at the hospitals can't do anything for him either//
His gaze lowering slightly Yugi tried not to let his anxiety reach Yami, which would only fuel that of the others. /I'm sure Kaiba will be ok, they just need a little more time is all/ Closing his eyes Yugi resisted the urge to bang his head on his desk; that sounded so lame, even to his own ears.
//I don't like…that man Yugi//
//Hai. There's…just something about him. How he acts around Seto. There's more to them, more to his interest in Seto than he is letting on. I don't like it.//
/Yami you're probably just ima…/
Startled at the loud shout Yugi squeaked and jumped in his seat his connection with Yami forgotten as his attention snapped back to his current surroundings and the beat read face of his teacher as he leaned across his desk, their noses just inches apart, his hands griping the front corners of Yugi's desk so hard his knuckles were white from the pressure.
"An…Anda-san." Yugi stuttered, his own face turning red with embarrassment, his cheeks flushing bright at the knowledge that every eye in the room was trained on him.
A false and very, at least in Yugi's opinion, frightening smile formed on the teachers face. "It's nice to have you back with us Mutou-kun. Now would you please answer the question?"
Shrinking back and down into his seat Yugi glanced at the other students, their expressions ranging from indifference, to annoyance, to surprise and even thankfulness that they hadn't been the ones caught daydreaming and not paying attention. Only one gaze held understanding, combined with sympathy and irritation, the later directed at Anda-san's back rather than himself.
The sharply spoken word instantly brought Yugi's attention back to his teacher who was practically frothing at the mouth in anger and not for the first time Yugi cursed Seto's sense of timing and inability to seek help which had lead to their previous teacher taking an extended leave.
"Mutou-kun you will stay after class the rest of this week and all of next week. Now go stand in the hall."
"Yes Anda-san." Yugi mumbled quietly as he slid out of his seat and exited the classroom trying to ignore the gazes that followed him.
Leaning back against the cold wall in the empty hallway he sighed, closing his eyes and tentatively tried to reach out and touch Yami, but the others attention had left him and fixated on something else. /Yami if only you knew how much trouble you get me into. I never got in trouble before you, but…I also didn't have any friends either/
"Yeah! Well I don't want to be in this stupid class anyway!" The shout and following slam of a door was followed by a soft, nonchalant whistling. "Hey Yug."
Smiling Yugi looked over to his left at the tall figure leaning back against the wall his hands stuffed carelessly into his pants pockets. "Hey Joey."
After a moment of silence Joey cleared his throat and with a small nod of his head indicated the classroom. "Yami?"
"Yeah, Yami." Yugi replied softly his gaze dropping to study the floor at his feet. "Something's…really wrong with Kaiba. Yami's…afraid."
One of Joey's brows raised slightly at that. Yami and the word 'afraid' just didn't go together. "Come on Yug, it can't be all that bad."
His eyes closing Yugi wrapped his arms tightly around himself a chill running down his spine as a vision of last night's events ran through his mind. His voice shook slightly when he spoke. "No, it can be. You didn't see what happened last night when we went over there. You didn't see Seto. Yami thought…we both thought that he was dieing."
Joey felt like kicking himself as small tears fell from under Yugi's lashes to run slowly down his cheeks and reaching out he gently pulled the smaller boy into a hug not knowing what to do or what to say. If it was really as bad as Yugi said… He might not like the arrogant jerk but he certainly didn't want him to keel over. Mokuba would be lost without his older brother and Joey did not wish the pain of being separated from someone you love on the little brat.
"Joey I'm scared. If something happens to Seto… If he dies… I don't know what Yami would do. He loves him so much it would kill him…" /I just know it would/
How anyone could love that coldhearted bastard, besides Mokuba of course, Joey still couldn't fathom but just knowing how Yami got when one of his friends were hurt or threatened he could understand Yugi's concern.
"Promise you won't tell anyone. Not even Tristen and Teá. I don't think Seto would want everyone to know and it might make things harder on him."
"Yeah sure Yugi, I promise I won't tell anyone. For Yami's sake I won't."
"Thank you." Yugi sniffled quietly against Joey's chest, taking comfort in the arms of his friend.
Frowning as his connection with Yugi was abruptly terminated Yami loosed his arms slightly from around himself and refocused his vision on the reflection of the room behind him in the glass of the window, unconcerned with Yugi's sudden leave, he was probably just distracted by something.
The sight of Takama unbuttoning Seto's shirt was not one he'd expected to see and heat flushed his face as anger filled him. His back stiffening and his hands curling into fists he rounded on the pair. "What are you doing?"
Surprised by the angry tone Takama looked up from his task at Yami who, before now, had remained silent; taking in the deep flush of the boys cheeks and his tense stance Takama resisted the urge to smirk, amused as those strange crimson eyes narrowed slightly, before turning back to Seto slowly undoing the last button of the boys shirt, pale, smooth skin showing beneath the fabric. "Getting him out of these sweat soaked clothes."
Yami was a bit flustered at the response and a little embarrassed at his own reaction though none of this showed through in his expression. Instead he continued to stand silently and watched as Akeno's fingers brushed gently along an exposed expanse of Seto's stomach, the touch so small that if one hadn't been paying close attention would have gone unnoticed, before the man ran his fingers through his slightly mused black hair and looked over at him with a small smile. "You wouldn't mind helping to hold him upright would you?"
Shaking his head Yami uncrossed his arms and moved next to the bed staring silently down at Seto for a moment before sitting down careful not to disturb the sleeping figure and just as carefully helped to pull him into a somewhat upright position, the feel of Seto's weight leaning against him strange.
Silently Akeno watched as Yami's fingers lifted, almost hesitantly, to brush the sweat soaked fringe from out of Seto's face where it clung to his skin. The touch so soft, so gentle, almost as though the boy were unaware of his actions, his unusual crimson eyes reflecting a myriad of emotions, too many to be clearly seen for what they truly were. It was the same as the night before when he'd gone back to Seto's office to find this boy lightly embracing the other, tears trailing unnoticed down his cheeks. His gaze lowering slightly though still trained on the pair and his voice soft he asked. "Why are you so concerned for him? Are you lovers?"
Yami's hand stills as he sits ramrod straight, bristling softly as he turned slightly wide crimson eyes on the man across from him shocked at his candidness. The surprise quickly suppressed his eyes narrow slightly. "We're friends, rivals."
"Aa." Turning his attention fully back to Seto Akeno began the task of slipping the boys arm out of his shirt, the fabric of which was nearly plastered to his flushed skin, aware that Yami was still watching him intently. He was somewhat surprised at the boys' answer, from his actions towards Seto and towards himself he wouldn't have been surprised if the answer was the opposite of that which was given.
"And if we were?"
/A challenge?/ Smiling lightly Akeno brushed his fingers along the bare skin of Seto's arm before canting his head slightly to look once more at the boy across from him. At the look Yami's breath stilled it wasn't' the look exactly as it was the mans eyes, their blue hues captivating in their unnatural intensity but just as quickly as he found himself pinned by that gaze he was set free from it, the man looking instead towards Seto.
"If you were…" Smiling faintly Akeno studied Seto's still form. His hair as it now hung forward, or in places still clung to dampened skin, his thick, long lashes as the rested gently against his cheeks and his slightly parted lips…
After a few moments of silence and no further movement from the two of them Yami sighed, realizing that the man had no intention of continuing. "And you, why are you so concerned? What's your interest in Seto?"
"No interest. Just…concern." A small sad smile tugged at the mans lips for a moment before he gently shook his head and reached for the medical bag which he had set down earlier taking out the things he would need to draw blood.
Miffed at the conversation and the ease at which he was overreacting to things both said and done Yami dismissed the man and finished removing Seto's shirt, allowing Seto to lay back down when it he was done, his eyes unconsciously traveling along the pale skin as it was revealed before pausing at a thin line that was just visible inside of Seto's right elbow the skin a shade paler than what surrounded it. His head tilting slightly to the right Yami reached out and turning Seto's arm found that the scar ran diagonally from the inside of his elbow down to the outer base of his wrist resting on the bone. "What happened?"
Glancing up Takama scowled and looking away tightened the band he had tied around Seto's other arm. "Officially? About ten years ago Seto got caught up in a fight at school and was injured by one of the boys when they pulled a knife."
Not having really expected an answer to his question Yami looked over at the man. "You don't think that's what happened?"
His scowl deepening Takama spared Yami a glance before indicating the scar with a syringe. "I know that's not what happened. For one that happened in the summer when school was out, secondly it happened extremely late at night and thirdly the cut's too rough to have been caused by a knife."
Watching as blood slowly started to fill the syringe Yami regarded the man then turned his gaze back towards the scar his fingers trailing gently along its path. "How do you know all this?"
A sigh and rustling of materials as things were put away. "I was the one who treated him when his stepfather brought him to Kaiba Hospital."
"Unofficially… I believe his stepfather was responsible, but…you'd have to ask Seto. Even then I don't know if he would tell you what really happened."
/Nii-sama…/ Frowning Mokuba reached out searching for the warmth of his brother beside him, the reassurance that contact would bring. However all that met his questing fingers was the cold emptiness of air and the brush of material that was too rough to be silk, that didn't belong…
His eyes slowly slitting open he found himself staring at a blank white wall and rolling over saw that he was once again back in his own room. /Nii-sama…/
Getting quietly out of bed not concerned with when or how he had been brought back to his own room Mokuba padded across the floor and started once more for his brothers' bedroom. Every step brought back memories, memories of quietly shaking breath and clothes that clung like a second skin to his brothers trembling flesh. Every step, every remembered sensation brought tears to his eyes, tears which were carefully wiped away and hidden as he came up to Seto's bedroom door.
And with trembling fingers still damp from tears he reached out quietly opening the door and slipping inside was surprised to see both Akeno-san and Yami standing on either side of Seto's bed, the two looking up as he entered, and Seto still lying silent, asleep. "Akeno-san…? How's Nii-sama ? Is…is he ok?"
Smiling fondly Takama watched as Mokuba climbed onto Seto's bed beside him his face showing unmasked fear and worry, an expression that seemed misplaced on the boy. "Aa, he's doing better I think."
His eyes lowering Mokuba watched as his brothers' muscles constricted, his jaw clenching tightly before once again relaxing. "He promised me."
Yami watched silently as Mokuba ducked his head, his bangs concealing his eyes, but not the lone tear, which escaped them to trail slowly down his cheek. "Mokuba…do you know how this happened?"
Wiping at his eyes Mokuba looked at the arm that Yami held before guiltily looking away. "Nii-sama…got in a fight, a long time ago."
Clearing his throat Takama drew Mokuba's attention away from Yami and Seto and smiling the man reached out and brushed at the boys' dark fringe. "Mokuba do you know of anyplace that you and Seto might go that would be peaceful or relaxing? Someplace where you could be alone for a while?"
"Well…Nii-sama likes it at our beach house…"
"That's good." Takama smiled brightly. "Do you think that you might be able to convince your brother to take you there for a while?" Reaching up he rubbed absently at the back of his head. "I don't think that he would listen to me if I asked him to go."
After looking downwards at his brother, studying him, Mokuba gently nodded.
More AN: Gah…once again a long chapter and nothing really happens in it at all. O___o. Damn.
hmm….let's see… Me thinks me will address reviews. ^____^.
Andrie – OMG They're dead by now aren't they? *sobs*
Jurie – Bwahahahahahaha!!!!! I thought that was quite evil of me too.
Darkness-sama & Cherrii – He's my fav. char too so torture = good. ^____^.
ShintaHimura – That's ok.
Tainted Fortune – Thank you and yes it is. ^___^.
Unintentional Nightmare – Of course not! I may take forever and a day but no story will ever get dropped. P.S. I loved~~ Shimi : Alti ^_________________^.
I would also like to thank :
Dee-whY-Cee-aRe, Shilver Mist4, Seto-Kaiba's-Fan, Sess9, Smoocher of Evil, Anonymous (You know who are *grins*), Shandrial, Sunrise and Sunset, Blue September, hallowing4, Mononoke, Angel_Soul03, Pikazoom, deaths shadow dragon & Mistal.
Thank You all for reviewing and I hope that you all will continue to enjoy this little fikkie. I'm sorry if I've skipped over anyone or didn't answer any questions that you might have had.
Ians_K – Ji-chan of Saji