Author's notes: Well. You know the disclaimer and shit- so I'm not going to repeat myself like a parrot.

Thank you to all my reviewers!!! OMG you guys are great!!! I love you so much!!

!#$%&()

Chapter 2

Joey woke up with a start, his eyes searching around in the darkness for the source of the soft sounds that had disturbed his sleep.

He quietly rolled over in his bed- but wait... this wasn't his bed...

Holy shit. Where the fuck am I? Joey wondered, panicking slightly. This is definitely not my room.

The side of the bed that Joey had rolled onto was warm, which indicated that a person had been lying there before.

He gave a small squeak of surprise when a hand suddenly tapped his shoulder. Joey whipped around and glared angrily at Seto who looked back at him, obviously amused.

"Did I scare you, mutt?

"No! Of course not!" Joey snapped, his heart thundering furiously in his chest. He took a deep breath, and sat up. "What am I doing here?

He doesn't remember, Seto thought, somewhat disappointed. Oh well.

"You fell asleep." he replied simply.

"Really?" Joey blinked several times. Images started to piece together in his mind- him being comforted by Kaiba, and sobbing into his chest, then falling asleep in Seto's arms. He stared at Seto in confusion, though he kept his emotions well hidden. Years of living with Shinji had taught him as much.

"Well." Seto pulled away, and straightened. "If you need me, I'll be in my office."

Joey sat up, the blankets falling off his chest and pooling by his waist. "Can I go with you?"

What if Shinji's following me? What if he's out to get me? Joey thought, panicking. Maybe it'll be safer to stay with Kaiba.

"Scared, mutt?" Seto mocked. He sat down on the edge of the bed, buttoning up his trench coat.

Joey remained silent, and simply looked out the window. There was some frost forming on the edge of the glass, and Joey make out his breath in front of him. He pulled the blankets around him, trying to gather as much warmth as it was humanely possible.

Seto gave a sigh. "Fine, you can come if you want. Just follow my orders and obey them like a good pup"

Joey glared at him, but said nothing. He climbed out of bed, and realised that he was wearing nothing but boxers.

Seto saw the surprised look on his face, and quickly started to explain. "You were tossing around in your sleep last night, and you were collecting a temperature, so I took off your outer clothes." he walked over to his closet and tossed some spare clothes at Joey, who caught them deftly, and quickly pulled them on.

Somehow his nakedness embarrassed him while he was around Seto, as if he wouldn't be perfect enough for the CEO.

What am I talking about? Not perfect enough for Kaiba? As if. Joey shook his head to clear his thoughts, and stood up, now fully clothed in a turtle neck, and dark pants.

"Don't you have any t-shirts or anything Kaiba?" Joey asked, tugging at the pullover which clung uncomfrotably close to his skin.

Seto, however, couldn't do anything but stare at his puppy.

Who would've thought that Wheeler would look so good in my clothes? he mused. I will make him wear turtlenecks and long pants that aren't jeans more often.

"No. Coming?" was all he said aloud.

"I guess. Nothing else to do, is there?" Joey asked, looking around.

Seto shrugged, and started to stride out of the room. All of a sudden, a mobile started to ring.

Seto frowned. "That isn't my ringtone." he commented. He noticed how white Joey had gone, and the way his body was trembling violently. "I never knew you had a mobile.

"It's like a tracking device." Joey muttered, staring at his jacket which was strewn across the floor. "Hagashi gave it to me."

Silence stretched across the room, and still the mobile kept ringing. The high pitched squeals grated on Seto's delicate ears, and finally he snapped, and grabbed the mobile.

"What the fuck do you want?" he snapped into the phone, and heard a sharp gasp of surprise on the other end.

((Who is this?)) Shinji asked suspiciously. ((Where the fuck is Wheeler?))

"Does it matter? Stop ringing, and I'll consider not going to the police." Seto replied smoothly.

Joey gestured wildly at Seto to hand the phone over, but the CEO did no such thing, and instead moved even closer to the window

Joey finally raced over and slammed Seto to the ground and grabbed the phone.

"Give that phone back now, mutt!" Seto growled, not wanting Joey to have any kind of communication with the person who had been abusing him for the past several years.

To his surprise, Joey hung up and threw the phone out the window, giving a satisfied smile when he heard the phone crash to the ground below, splintering into millions of pieces, completely and utterly destroyed.

"Well." Seto wasn't sure what to say. He was still lying on the ground, and Joey was half lying on top of him. He sat up slowly, and knew that there would be a large bruise on his lower back the next day. "You're strong for such a pathetic looking creature." he smirked at the indignitant expression on Joey's face.

"I'm not pathetic." he protested, following Seto down the corridor and into his office. "I thought you worked at Kaiba Corp."

"No, I work at home now." Seto replied. His smirk grew wider as Joey took in his office.

"Wow... it's so large..." Joey gasped out. He walked around as if in a daze. With a view of the whole city, it was the size of Joey's entire apartment multiplied by 20. "How do you manage to work all by yourself here?"

Seto looked away. "It used to be a ballroom." full of life, full of... love...  "But I changed it to an office, since I have no use of a ballroom."

Joey glanced up at Seto. "Why don't you turn it into a... I don't know... perhaps a party room?"

Seto simply stared at him.

"Okay, so that was a bit impossible..." Joey grinned sheepishly, and shrugged. "You never know."

Seto laughed, and Joey stared at him in amazement. It wasn't forced, but was truly genuine, and managed to fill the whole room.

"You should laugh more often, Kaiba." Joey said quietly after the laughter had died down.

Seto peered at him, as if seeing if Joey was playing with him or not. "What?"

"It suits you." Joey reached out and suddenly placed a finger on the edge of Seto's mouth. "You have a small dimple right there, did you know that?"

Seto's muscles had been rendered useless as soon as Joey's flesh had made contact with his own, and he managed a small shake of his head after a few seconds of silence. Disappointment rose within him when Joey pulled away, and walked over to the window.

Does he know what havoc he wrecks on my body? Seto wondered, ignoring the hammering of his heart. "Don't bother me while I work."

Joey nodded distractedly, his mind obviously somewhere else. His honey brown eyes raked over the city, and Seto couldn't concentrate on his work, and his gaze always found its way to Joey's back, no matter how hard he tried to ignore the blond.

Finally Seto stood up and walked over to Joey, following his gaze to find himself staring at the slums.

He laid a pale, slender hand on Joey's shoulder, and drew the blond boy close.

"You alright?" he asked softly.

Joey stared at him in surprise.

"Kaiba? Why are you being so nice to me?" he asked suspciously.

"We're grown men now. Surely we can hold a civil conversation?" Seto asked reasonably.

"I guess... is there a catch behind this?" Joey demanded. He turned around so that he was facing Seto directly, ignoring their close proximity.

"No." Seto replied bluntly. He smiled sadly at the wary glint in Joey's honey brown eyes. "Have 10 years changed you that much, mutt?"

"See?" Joey asked. "You still call me mutt, and yet you ask if we can hold a civil conversation. Your statements all condradict each other Kaiba, and that's what sets us apart."

Seto frowned, but said nothing, and simply stared out at the city. He flinched when he saw a familiar looking person walking down the street.

"Was Hagashi who you were staring at?" he asked.

"Yes." Joey admitted. His hand sought Seto's, and their fingers intertwined around each other, as if drawing comfort and strength from each other. "I'm so scared of him, Seto."

Neither men noticed that Joey had called his rival by his first name.

"Tell me more about him."

Reluctance was written all over Joey's face, but he began his story. "I met Hagashi at a bar... he was so nice at first, so charming. I thought I was in love with him. He knew about my alcoholic and abusive father, so-"

At that point, Seto interrupted him. "Your father is an alcoholic and was abusing you? For how long?"

Joey frowned. "I don't know... since I was a little kid." he replied. "And to the time when I moved out at 18."

Seto nodded, through he still looked slightly shaken. I never realised that all the time that I knew him, Joey was being abused by his father. What an idiot I was! And still am.

"Where was I? Oh yeah- he knew about my father, and so he asked me to go and live with him. I accepted, of course." he laughed bitterly. "What a mistake that was. After I moved in, he started revealing his true side- coming in late, reeking of alcohol, and after a while he lost his job, leaving me to bring the money in. Around a year had passed, and he started to get possessive, and ordered that I stop seeing my friends. Another few months after that, he demanded that I quit my job. I had to- he can be very... persuasive..."

Joey turned away from the window, his face twisted in pain, and strode away, leaving Seto standing alone, watching the rest of Domino.

"...Joey..." Seto whispered, not expecting the blond to hear him.

But Joey did- and he paused by the doorway. "I'm going out for a while. Pick up a few things from-" he paused, searching for the right words "-the apartment."

I could never call it home- I suppose it will alwyas be just 'the apartment' to me, Joey thought sadly. Am I doomed to live my life in houses but never homes?

He remembered the first apartment he had shared with his father- he had thought that was hell, but then he had moved in with Shinji.

If that's not hell, then I don't know what is, Joey thought.

"I'm coming with you." Seto said immediately.

Is it just me, or am I beginning to sound like a mother hen? Seto wondered. I must be losing my edge. he gave a soft gasp of horror. I'm going soft!!

"Kaiba? You alright, buddy?" Joey asked, an anxious note in his curious voice.

"I am not your buddy, Wheeler, so don't call me that." Seto snapped. He grabbed something from a drawer and stuffed it in his pocket before walking over to where Joey stood. "And I'm not letting you go back into that shithole without help."

"And what are you going to do if Hagashi attacks you, huh? Show him your business card?" Joey demanded sarcastically.

"Shut the fuck up, Wheeler." Seto growled.

Well, he's in a bad mood. Damnit, he was so nice and caring just a few seconds ago- what changed? Joey wondered. If Kaiba has PMS, I wouldn't be surprised.

He grinned at the thought of Kaiba having a period, and pushed past the brunette, ignoring the curious glance Seto sent his way.

What's he grinning at? Seto thought, frowning deeply. Is he amused at my weakness?

"Well, you coming or not, Kaiba?" Joey asked, almost teasingly. "I can't wait all day for you, slowpoke."

Seto bristled. "I am not slow, mutt." he started walking.

After a while of walking through Seto's gigantic mansion, Seto realised that Joey always walked a few steps behind him, never beside him. Thinking that he was going too fast, Seto dropped his speed by a few notches, but so did Joey.

"Afraid of bombs, mutt?" Seto smirked.

"What do you mean?" Joey asked cluelessly. He looked around as if expecting a bomb to jump out of nowhere and attack him. "What bomb?"

Seto rolled his eyes. "Baka. I wasn't talking about a real bomb, mutt."

"Then what were you talking about?" Joey asked impatiently.

What the fuck is he on about? Joey wondered. He's wasting time. Hagashi will be back soon, to get lunch.

"You. You always walk a few steps behind me. Why?" Seto asked, and there was a genuine note of curiosity in his voice.

Joey flushed- he hadn't noticed that he had slipped into one of his habits when he had been with Hagashi- then again he had been with the raven haired man for nearly 10 years.

"Well.. Hagashi never wanted me to be in front of him..." Joey mumbled by way of explanation. He couldn't meet Seto's ice blue eyes.

He must think I'm a weakling who can't take care of myself, Joey thought sadly. And I am. Why can't I manage my own life? he expected Seto to mock him, but the brunette did no such thing.

"Hn." was all he said, before pulling Joey next to him. "You walk beside me, from now on."

Joey practically drowned in gratefulness. Who thought Kaiba could ever be so nice? he wondered.

"Th-thank you." Joey whispered.

"Hn. Doesn't matter mutt." Seto snapped, and carried on walking.

Yes it does, Joey thought. It matters more than you'll ever know, Kaiba.

!#$%

"This is it, huh?" Seto looked around the apartment, his nose wrinkled in disgust.

"Mm." Joey grunted, not really paying attention to Seto. He rushed around, stuffing things that he needed into a bag. "Kaiba- grab that book, won't you?"

Seto picked it up. "The Da Vinci Code," he read aloud. "Good God, the mutt can read!" he gasped in mock amazement.

Joey growled angrily, and snatched the book off him. He had almost finished packing before the door burst open and Shinji strolled in. Joey's mouth hung open and his eyes widened in horror.

It was hard to tell who was more surprised- Shinji or them. No one moved for almost a full minute before Joey took a mad rush for the door.

Shinji regained his senses quickly, and grabbed the blond roughly by his collar and threw him into the wall.

"You fucking bastard!" he half screamed, half shouted. "You think you can fucking leave me just like that?" he snapped his fingers.

Seto seethed with anger. "Get away from him."

"And who are you to talk, moneybags?" Shinji rounded on him. "You won't get away from this unharmed."

"Oh really?" Seto cocked an eyebrow.

Shinji faltered. He looks weak, but I bet he's stronger than he looks, Shinji thought, taking a good look at the lean figure of the brunette.

"You get out now and I won't bother you again." Shinji forced the words out. Admitting defeat was not one of his strong points. "All I want is Wheeler."

Seto opened his mouth to speak, but Joey beat him to it.

"Don't, Kaiba." he whispered weakly. The knock against the wall had obviously done him no good, and blood trickled from the corner of his mouth. "Just go".

Seto whipped around to face him, astounded and angry at the same time. "You want me to just leave you here with that bastard?" he demanded. "You're either extremely brave or extremely stupid, and knowing you mutt, it's the latter."

"You don't know me, Kaiba, so don't pretend you do." Joey snapped. He had managed to raise himself up into a sitting position. "Just go back to your rich and fancy lifestyle, and pretend that you never knew me."

Seto stared at him in disbelief.

The mutt wants me to just leave and pretend for the rest of my life that he's not being beaten up somewhere? Seto shook his head. If I leave him, one day I'll watch the news and see Hagashi being taken to jail for murder, and they'll show pictures of Joey, and say how he died after being murdered in cold blood.

"Not likely, mutt." Seto muttered. He turned back to Shinji, who was smirking.

"Didn't you hear him, Kaiba?" he asked, and there was a mocking ring in his voice. "Get out. Now."

"The police will hear about this, you just wait." Seto fumed.

Shinji's face darkened, and in a few quick movements, he was next to Joey, holding a knife against the blond's throat.

Seto's breath hitched in his throat. No... No!

Frantic thoughts swirled around his head, and his heart almost broke at the resigned look on Joey's face.

The mutt wants to die, damnit, Seto thought furiously.

"Let him go, now." Seto's voice was tight.

"Just go, Kaiba. Please." a tear rolled down Joey's cheek. Before he kills you, he thought desperately. He knew that Shinji was capable of killing- the man was that mad.

"I'll let him go." Shinji's tone was almost pleasant. "If you don't tell the police."

Seto put his hands in his pocket and fingered the object that he had taken from his drawer. It was a gun.

Never go unprepared, was one of Seto's mottos, along with, Kill or be killed.

"Fine, I won't tell the police." Seto lied. "Now let him go."

"Not until you leave.

"How do I know that you won't kill him after I leave?" he demanded.

The smile on Shinji's face was almost scary. "I'm not going to kill my only fuck toy if you don't tell the police." he laughed harshly. "Just play around with him a bit, that's all."

Seto bit the inside of his cheek until he tasted blood. How dare that little fleabag talk about my puppy like that? he fumed.

He turned on his heel and made for the door. Behind him, he could hear Shinji moving away from Joey.

Joey stared after Seto's retreating back despairingly. There goes my only light in the darkness.

Seto turned back when he reached the door. He saw the tears running down Joey's cheeks.

Just hang on pup, just a little bit longer... Seto thought. If someone had told him 10 years ago that he would be risking all he had to save the mutt, he would have laughed himself silly.

"What are you waiting for?" Shinji demanded. He started to edge towards Joey again.

In a few swift movements- faster than Shinji could see or register- Seto had pulled out his gun and was pointing it at the alcoholic.

Shinji's hazel eyes widened in disbelief. No! he thought furiously, looking for any chance of escape. There were none. I cannot be beaten!

"You idiot. Did you really think that Seto Kaiba would back away from a challenge?" Seto asked icily.

Is that all I am to him? A challenge? Joey wondered bitterly. Figures. To my father I was a pawn, a player in the game of life to raise him to higher social status, to Hagashi all I am is a fucktoy, and to Kaiba I'm a challenge.

"Wheeler. Get over here immediately." Seto commanded.

Joey didn't hesitate. I may be just a challenge, but I will be a living challenge.

"You. Hands up." Seto snapped at Hagashi.

"What are you, a cop?" Shinji sneered, not moving a muscle.

"Put your goddamn hands up." Seto's voice never raised volume, yet it was more defeaning than a shout.

Shinji did as the brunette commanded, though reluctantly. I'll get him back. Oh I'll get him back good, the man fumed silently. As soon as he puts that gun down.

As if reading his mind, Seto tightened his grip on the gun. Before Joey could think, or do anything, a shot fired, and Shinji collapsed to the ground, screaming in agony.

"What did you do?" Joey demanded, crawling to where Seto stood.

"Shot him in the leg." Seto replied carelessly. "Let's go."

Joey looked back at Shinji, who was clutching his leg which was bleeding profusely, then back to Seto.

The brunette looked down at him, wondering why Joey was taking so long. It's not as if he would choose Hagashi over me, Seto thought.

"Come on." Seto muttered through gritted teeth. "We've got to go."

Joey nodded, and reached up. Seto hoisted the blond to his feet, and supported part of his weight -which wasn't a lot, to Seto's discomfort- and placed him in the car.

They drove back to the mansion in absolute silence. Joey still couldn't believe that Seto owned a gun, and had used it to injure Shinji.

Sure, I hated him, and he sure as hell deserved it, Joey thought, but what if he tells the police? What's going to happen to Seto?

He glanced at Seto, who, as if sensing it, turned around and met his gaze. They were at a set of traffic lights, with about twenty cars in front of them- the slowness of their journey back was grating on Seto's nerves.

I have to get to the police before that scumbag does, Seto thought determinedly.

"Thanks." Joey said softly.

Seto grunted. "Whatever." he hesitated. "You alright?"

Joey nodded mutely.

They were silent for a while longer. Joey found the silence defeaning, and wished that he could say something to convey all of his gratefulness, all of his worry for Seto, and everything that he felt at that moment.

As he opened his mouth to speak, the traffic lights turned green, and Seto's concentration was once again on the road.

Joey sighed. I'll talk to him later.

They arrived at the Kaiba mansion a mere 10 minutes later -thanks to Seto's amazing skill at weaving through cars- and Seto immediately shut himself in his office, punching in the numbers for the police.

Joey stood in the corridor, unsure of what to do. Is this it, then? he wondered. How can Kaiba be so calm?

He collapsed onto his knees, and leaned heavily against the wall, head in his hands. I'm a walking wreck, he thought. It's hard to think that I'm almost 30- my life is an aboslute mess.

"Joey? Joey, is that you?" Mokuba's voice floated down the corridor.

Joey turned around and saw the 22 year old standing at the other end of the corridor, looking at him curiously. The young man gasped when he saw Joey clearly.

"You're injured! I'll go get the doctor!" Mokuba ran off, ignoring Joey's calls of protest

Great. I've got to go see the doctor. Fun, fun, fun, Joey thought darkly.

Soon he was being prodded and examined by an woman in her late forties with thick glasses and buck teeth. She smiled kindly at his doubtful expression, and poked at a bruise on his back.

Joey gave a small whimper of pain. Ow- shit, what is she trying to do? Put me in even more pain? he wondered, inching away from her.

"Sorry about that, sweetie." she murmured, jotting some notes down on a clipboard. "Looks like we're going to have to take you to hospital."

Joey stared at her. "Why? I'm not badly injured!

The doctor raised an eyebrow. "You have been bashed against a wall several times and could have concussion. Besides, there are cuts that need to be stitched, and you need anaesthetic and the proper tools to do that, along with professionals. All of which the hospital have."

"But-" Joey searched for an excuse.

"But nothing, dearie. You're going, and that's final." she nodded to two men who were in the room. "Take him."

Joey glared at them, but even as they grabbed hold of his arms the room swung sickeningly around, and he soon fell into a blissfull state of oblivion.

!#$%&

Seto hung up, looking as pleased as he could get. Finally, that bastard would be taken to jail- the police had left to arrest Shinji immediately.

Now I can tend to Wheeler, Seto thought, and opened the door. He's gone- well, I guess I couldn't expect him to wait in the corridor all day. I wonder where he's gone?

"Seto! There you are!" Mokuba ran up to him. "Where have you been?"

"Talking to the police. Where's Wheeler?"

"He's been taken to the hospital."

Seto's eyes widened by a fraction. "Hospital? What happened?"

"Well, Dr. Mizuka said that he needed stitches and stuff, and he passed out 15 minutes ago. What happened, Seto? Why does Joey look so bad? Was it Hagashi again?"

Seto nodded mutely. He didn't want to tell Mokuba what had happened- his brother was too innocent to truly understand.

"Do you want to go and stay with him?"

Seto hesitated. Should I? Maybe I should stay with him while he's in hospital?

Mokuba took his silence as a yes, and clapped him on the back happily. "Excellent! I'm sure he'll be glad for your support!"

"Sure..." Seto muttered sarcastically. However, Mokuba didn't hear him, and instead accompanied his older brother to the car.

"Well, have fun!" Mokuba called out cheerfully. "And tell Joey that I hope he gets better soon!"

"Hn." Seto grunted, and opened the car door and hopped in.

He arrived at the hospital in record time, and strode up to the front desk. "Is Joey Wheeler here?"

The nurse checked the computer and nodded. "Ward 28."

Seto nodded his thanks, and walked over to the ward. He opened the door and peered in. Joey lay on one of the numerous beds, his face contorted into an unhappy frown, his fists clenched. The nurse tending to him glanced up as Seto entered the ward and walked over to Joey's bedside.

"Are you a relation of his?"

Seto glared at her.

She immediately dropped the question and backed off.

"I was just leaving- maybe you could help?"

"With what?" Seto asked suspiciously. Last time he had reluctantly agreed to help a female she had asked him to reach down her top and retrieve her lost bra strap. He had always been a little afraid of people asking for help ever since.

"He's been tossing and thrashing around ever since he arrived. He's very unhappy- maybe your presence here will help calm him down a bit. If it's not too much to ask, maybe you could stay with him for a while and try to help him just calm down?"

"Hn." Seto grunted doubtfully. As if I could actually help the mutt relax.

"Thank you." she said gratefully, and left to tend to another patient.

Seto sat down by Joey's bedside and hesitantly reached out to grab Joey's hand.

"Wheeler?" he whispered.

Joey stirred in his sleep. His eyes opened, and peered around nervously.

"Relax, mutt, you're in hospital." Seto smirked, letting go of Joey's hand quickly, before the blond would notice.

Joey flinched, having not noticed Seto before, and flipped onto his side, albeit slowly and painfully, and stared at Seto.

"Kaiba?" he asked. There was an incredulous note in his voice.

"What?" Seto snapped.

"You came to see me?"

Seto smirked. "Come on now- I couldn't possibly miss the chance to mock you."

Joey growled, and slowly went back to lying on his back. "When can I leave?"

Seto rolled his eyes. "Impatient, aren't you?"

"Just answer me."

"Tch tch, no need to get nasty."

"Kaiba!" Joey yelled angrily.

Seto's smirk grew wider. "Fine, you can leave right now if you want."

"Really?" Joey asked excitedly. He tried to sit up.

"No."

Joey groaned loudly and fell back onto the bed. "Kaiba!" he half yelled, half hissed. "Arghhh! You're so damned annoying!"

Seto merely shrugged and leaned back in his chair. Joey lay for a while, staring at the ceiling, trying to sort out what had happened in the last few hours. Everything was happening so fast- too fast, for his liking.

"Kaiba? May I ask you something?"

"You just did."

Joey had to restrain himself from attempting to strangle the older boy. "Kaiba..." he said threateningly.

"Go ahead, ask." Seto wondered what his puppy was going to ask. Was it going to be about Shinji, or his future?

"Why are you being so nice to me?"

Well, Seto mused, I wasn't expecting that.

"What do you think?"

"I don't know." Joey replied truthfully. "That's why I'm asking you."

"Go figure."

"What kind of answer is that?" Joey demanded.

"It's not." Seto replied simply.

Joey fumed silently on the bed, too exhausted to use up any more of his energy.

As soon as I get out of this damned bed I'm going to fucking strangle him.

!#$%

Author's notes: ok, odd place to end, I know. It's just that I couldn't think of a way to end this chappie, and this was the closest thing I could get to an ending.

Please review!! And no flames please!! .

Thanks to:

Kumori Sakusha formerly Saelbu, deathdragonz, angelofdarkness, fanficlunatic234, ooooo, Ileana DuBaer, Delta VT, bree, Voakands, SnakeMistress, mandapandabug, Dragna Vey, momoka, Sacred Phoenix, marsdemon, LYNNSTORYTELLER, Egypts