Chasing the monster
Warnings/notes : none, just Seto and Mokuba being brotherly.
Disclaimer : I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh.
written at 29th december 2003, by Misura
The tall building that housed the most important departments of Kaiba Corporations, a monstruosity of steel and glass with twenty-six floors of offices and high-tech labs, was nearly all dark at a few minutes before midnight.
Only in the gate-house there was still activity, shades moving past the window with steady intervals to check on the security-cameras that were located all through the halls, to make sure no intruders would get a chance to steal the plans for Kaiba Corp's new products and projects. In the offices themselves, no cameras were located, to spare the employees the additional stress of feeling constantly watched.
Instead, the last worker to leave a specific department was supposed to lock off his or her part of the building. The system had worked well thus far, though the considerable security surrounding the grounds around the building might have helped too.
Unseen from the outside, a light was also still burning in an office on the top floor, where only the sound of typing prevented the silence of the night from being complete, every once in a while broken by a murmured string of words, intended merely for the person speaking them.
It was a rather young man who was still at work at this late hour, sitting in an uncomfortable office-chair, his gaze never seeming to wander from the screen, while his nimble fingers danced tirelessly over the keyboard, showing no signs of exhaustion or weariness. If it hadn't been for the clock that hung on the wall of his room, one might have easily been led to believe it was the middle of the day.
A normal employee would not have been allowed to stay this long past the building's official closing time of seven o'clock. Exceptions were made on occasion, of course, but only rarely. And never for the blue-eyed teenager who currently took a moment's pause to enjoy the quiet and peace of the deserted offices or, perhaps, to contemplate a certain line in the program he was working on.
He didn't need them. Security could no more order him to leave the building than it could command the sun not to rise the next morning. They were, after all, his employees as much as everyone else who worked in this building by day.
Seto Kaiba nodded once, apparently having made up his mind about the next string of code that was to make up his new game. He had hardly finished one line of it, when the sound of a cell-phone interrupted him. Frowning, he typed up the beginning of a new line, but his movements were less sure than before. The cell-phone rang again, in spite of the glare that was directed at the suitcase that contained it. Finally, at the third ring, he swiveled his chair away from his desk to answer the call.
"You should have been in bed a good three hours ago." Seto's voice sounded harsh, stern. Any of his employees would have cowered because of it, brabbling apologies and obediently nodding their heads, going 'yes, Kaiba-san'. Many people not his employees would have reacted the same.
Not the person on the other end of the line though. He was not like most people, a fact already proven by the fact that he was one of the few who had the number of Seto Kaiba's private cell-phone.
"And you should have been home at that time," a cheerful voice quipped in reply. "You made a promise, big brother. Don't expect me to follow your rules if you don't stick with them either. We had made an agreement that you'd stop working so late."
"It's not -that- late," Seto protested, cursing himself for that weak defense the moment the words had left his mouth. Perhaps he was more exhausted than he cared to admit to himself, if he was slipping like this so early in their conversation.
A soft laugh. "No? Then why should I be in bed? Or wait, maybe you're right. It's not even 'late' anymore, is it? It's -early-. Morning."
Seto checked his watch, noticing it was indeed a few seconds past midnight. He sighed. "Listen, Mokuba - "
"Good morning, Seto, will you be here in time for breakfast? Is that what you want me to say to you?" Unlike his big brother, Mokuba's anger was hot, burning. Its flame was usually not warm enough to be a match for Seto's own, ice-cold rage, but he was tired. Besides, what was there to be angry about?
Mokuba was in the right. Seto -had- promised to be home in time, to stop pushing himself so much, merely to get a project finished a few days earlier.
"I'm sorry." He hated having to apologize to anyone, even to Mokuba. Or maybe especially to Mokuba, because needing to apologize to Mokuba meant he had done something to wrong the only person about whose opinion he really cared. "I'll make it up to you."
Somehow, he would. Surely there would be an opportunity to do so soon, a period in which he could be missed at Kaiba Corporations ...
"You always say that!" Mokuba accused him. "But you never do, not really. If ... if you cared about me, you'd come home right now!"
Before Seto could reply to that outburst, a soft click indicated Mokuba had hung up. For a moment that stretched into minutes, he just sat there, the phone still in his hands, his face not giving a single hint as to what thoughts were spinning in his head.
Then he put down his cell-phone and returned to his computer, of which the screen was now showing flying Kaiba Corp-logos in all kinds of colors, coming at him out of the darkness. Seto stared at them blindly, seeing the face of his little brother instead, looking at him with eyes that showed a mix of hurt and anger.
"If you cared about me, you'd come home right now!"
A jerking movement of his hand brought the program he had been working on back on the screen. He saved it, more calmly now that he had made his decision, logged off quickly, as if scared that he'd change his mind, that he'd be unable to leave his work unfinished if he gave himself time to start doubting.
Two pairs of eyes watched the blue-eyed teenager leave the building, stalking through the corridors with a scowl on his face. Two people shook their head, before sipping some more coffee to stay awake and look alert in case their employer would actually see them as he passed their desk.
"Seems like Mokuba finally lost his patience again," the woman remarked with a chuckle. Although they weren't allowed to listen in on any conversations, Security did keep a log of all incoming and outgoing calls.
"And about time too," the man grumbled in reply. "That poor brother of his is crazy enough to keep working all night long without a second thought. Good thing Mokuba's there to remind him he's just as human as the rest of us."
"Seto Kaiba being human? I seriously doubt that sometimes," the woman laughed, mirthlessly, quickly schooling her face back to a neutral, respectful expression as the doors on the other end of the reception-room slid open and the subject of their previous conversation stormed past.
-to be concluded in the second part-