Peneia Teke: Wow. I can't believe it's been almost three years since my last update. It's crazy how the time flies. Um, all I can say is I hope this chapter is worth the wait.
I was asked in a review why Kaiba has high school classes with Yugi and the gang. Most high schools have at least some electives that any year can choose to take. It's not really unusual to find freshmen mixed in with higher grade levels. Besides, in the first episode you'll notice Kaiba sitting in the back of the room reading a book while Joey, Tristan, Tea, and Yugi are gathered around a desk playing duel monsters. I hope that answers your question.
IMPORTANT: If you're an olderish reader please reread chapter nine. Otherwise, you'll probably be confused about what's going on. That is all.
Disclaimer: How many times have we been over this?
Ryou shifted and stepped uneasily away from the livid form of Seto Kaiba towering over him, fear consuming his normally soft, brown eyes. "And what exactly do you mean by that?" Kaiba asked in a voice much calmer than what he was currently feeling. He snapped the phone shut, emergency call forgotten.
"Well..." Ryou hesitated, "I'm, um, not sure. I can't remember..."
"…I see." The white haired boy was about to give a tentative nod when Kaiba's fist hit him square in the jaw, sending him sprawling onto his back. He gave a choked gasp as the air was knocked out of his lungs but could do nothing more as Kaiba swooped down on him and hoisted him up by the collar. "Maybe this'll jog your memory," he snapped, shaking him roughly. He slammed him against the door of the limo.
"Stop!" Ryou wheezed, grabbing hold of Kaiba's wrist with both hands. "Please! I can't... I can't breathe!"
"Are you working with him?! Where is he you stupid piece of shit!?" Kaiba bellowed, balling his hand into a fist and raising it threateningly above Ryou's head. "What have you done to my little brother?!"
"Kaiba, please!" Ryou whimpered in panic as blood flowed down his lip. "I don't know! Put me down!" His legs bumped helplessly against the door as he tried to find a foothold to ease the pressure around his neck. Finally, Kaiba's mouth turned down in disgust and without warning he dropped Ryou in an ungraceful heap on the ground.
Ryou rolled onto his back in the grass, squeezing his eyes shut as Kaiba loomed angrily over him. When nothing happened, he cracked open an eye and slowly pulled himself to a sitting position. As he rubbed his back where it'd been knocked by the car door he peered up warily at Kaiba who seemed less angry, his face now a mask of apathy. Neither said a word as they regarded each other until Kaiba turned his back on him and started back toward the car, trench coat flapping in the breeze. His voice was loud and clear as he addressed Ryou. "Get up if you don't want to be left behind."
Bakura fingered his collar uncomfortably before pulling himself to his feet and hurrying to catch up with Kaiba. "Wait! You mean… you're going to help me?"
"No. You're going to help me." Kaiba paused and turned slowly to face him. "Let me make it perfectly clear that I don't care what happens to you. I'm only doing this to benefit myself."
Kaiba ignored his shocked expression and began an interrogation. "You said that you may have had a hand in my brother's disappearance and that you did something that's preventing you from returning home… I'm assuming the two are related?"
"Yes," Ryou replied, deciding it would be best to answer truthfully.
Kaiba shoved his hands into his coat pockets and began to pace. "Does this mean the police are involved?"
"…Well…" Ryou hesitated, thrown off by Kaiba's unease. "I suppose so. Two officers came around earlier asking if I'd seen him, though at the time I thought they were referring to you…"
"How much earlier?" Kaiba demanded.
The other teen flinched and took a step back. "I suppose… around an hour or so ago?"
Kaiba cursed softly and continued his pacing. "How the hell did they find out so fast? This could ruin everything…"
"I don't know, but they're dead, now." Ryou admitted. His voice shook slightly.
"I didn't do it!" he replied defensively. "I mean I did... but..." He took a deep breath and started again. "There's a spirit that lives inside my ring. He takes possession of me. I swear it's the truth," he added to Kaiba's disbelieving expression. "He makes me do things; terrible, violent things. And he knows I can't remember, so he describes them in detail to me, afterwards. I-I can't make him stop."
"Have you ever considered throwing away the ring?" Kaiba asked, raising an eyebrow.
"I've tried that, but it always manages to find its way back to me."
Kaiba ignored him, reaching a hand into his pocket to retrieve his buzzing cell phone. He scowled before flipping it open and turning away from Ryou. The person on the other end was obviously someone he had a great dislike for and several tense minutes dragged by in which Ryou thought the CEO was going to lose it, again.
When he finally snapped his phone shut the white haired teen knew better than to try to coax him into civilized conversation, given the fact that he seemed to be having a difficult enough time with his temper as it was. Instead, he stood awkwardly near the limo, sneaking sympathetic glances at Roland's unmoving body. Finally, Kaiba turned sharply on his heel and began stalking toward the car.
Ryou hesitated for only a moment, knowing he wouldn't get another invitation. "Wait, Kaiba," he called, hurrying after the CEO. "I'm coming with you."
"Fine, but until I find my brother, you're to do exactly as I say, got that?" The way he said it made Ryou feel as though his mere presence was a huge inconvenience for Kaiba, which in a way it probably was, but he couldn't really help that.
He gave a quick nod and asked, "What about that man in the limo? Aren't you calling for an ambulance?"
"It's been taken care of."
They both got in the convertible and Kaiba put it in reverse and stepped on the gas. The car shot backwards as he turned the wheel sharply in a u-turn. The car screeched as he slammed the stick into drive and floored it down the highway, leaving two long, black streaks where the wheels ground against pavement. Ryou grabbed his seatbelt and leaned stiffly into the seat, staring anxiously out the window. "So…" he trailed off, unsure what question he wanted answered first. "May I ask where exactly it is we're going?"
Kaiba didn't reply right away, so Ryou turned back to the window, thinking it'd be safer to let the subject drop. Kaiba, however, surprised him. "We're going to the Domino Market."
"To the dilapidated warehouse behind it. I'm sure it's the idiot's idea of a clever hideout."
Ryou turned to look at Kaiba but couldn't judge from his expression how he was supposed to respond. Kaiba's face was as dark as ever. "I don't quite understand what's going on."
"Does the name Rakion Yuko sound familiar?" he asked but continued before Ryou could answer, "Probably not. Doesn't matter. He's the CEO of an electronics company. Or was, anyway, before he went on this idiotic escapade." Ryou was about to question the CEO further but was cut off, again. "He thought he could force my hand by having my little brother kidnapped, but he's just an idiot who doesn't know his head from his ass. There's no way I'll let him get away with what he's done."
They both fell silent after that, Ryou out of weariness and Kaiba because he had nothing further to say on the subject, but when the silence started to weigh down too heavily on the white haired teen he finally worked up the courage to ask, "What will happen?"
Kaiba's grip on the wheel tightened and Ryou noted his jaw clench just slightly. Why he felt the need to pick up such a trivial detail at a time like this was beyond him. "Nothing," Kaiba finally responded as evenly as he could. "As long as we play by his rules. Which reminds me," he added, "you're not even supposed to be here, so keep quiet when-"
As if on cue he was cut off by the ring tone of his cell. He pulled out the small device, and after giving Ryou a warning look, put it on speaker phone. "What is it?" he demanded gruffly.
"You know I don't like that tone, Kaiba," said a voice on the other end. "I was just doing a check up… you're taking quite a bit longer than I anticipated. Is there a problem or are you trying to test my patience?"
"Everything's fine. I'm about five minutes away," Kaiba retorted, and Ryou took note of the sudden acceleration of the vehicle.
"Very well. I'll call back in ten minutes with your next set of instructions. You should have your supplies by then." There was a beep and the line went dead.
Kaiba scoffed and stuck the phone back in his pocket. "Asshole."
"…What was that about?" Ryou finally asked. He'd been leaning in closer to Kaiba in hopes of getting a better reception of the conversation.
Kaiba gave him a sideways glance and curled his lip in a disgusted sneer. "That Yuko bastard has my brother."
Ryou gave a slow nod, eyebrow raised. "Yes, I think I caught that part."
"And he's sending me on a wild goose chase in exchange for his life," Kaiba snarled, eyes glued to the road. "Like a scavenger hunt by the criminally deranged."
"What sort of goose chase?" Ryou asked suspiciously.
"Guess you'll find out," he replied grimly. Neither said a word as Kaiba finally pulled into the parking lot of Domino Market, which despite its name wasn't a food market at all. It may have been at one time, but now it was simply a dilapidated old building being used for storage space. Kaiba took one of the side roads to the back lot where several warehouses were tucked away. It was much darker now that they were off the main road, and the only spotlight in the lot flickered whenever a breeze picked up. "Get down," Kaiba suddenly commanded as he stopped the car and turned off the engine. Ryou unbuckled himself and slid down into an uncomfortable position in the space under the glove compartment. "Don't let anyone see you," he warned, "I'll be right back."
The chilly night air wrapped itself around him as he stepped out and walked across the lot toward the one street lamp that was working. The idea of standing under a light in the middle of a dark parking lot didn't sit well with him, especially when his enemies had the upper hand. He may as well have been wearing a neon sign that flashed 'SETO KAIBA HERE' for as much good as it did to hide his identity. However, that had been one of Yuko's strict orders.
He crossed his arms over his chest but didn't have to wait long before the door to the nearest warehouse slowly opened and a dark figure emerged, cradling a large suitcase in his arms. He looked to be around 5'3" with a fairly thin body weight, though it was hard to tell judging from the black cloak he wore. He teetered toward Kaiba and dropped the case at his feet. "For Seto Kaiba," he said without looking Kaiba in the face, "from The Boss."
Kaiba grunted and nudged the case with his toe. He waited until the man had disappeared back into the warehouse before leaning over to peer inside. There was a fire extinguisher that smelled strongly of gasoline, an odd metal can, and a folded up piece of paper, which he assumed was from Yuko. Kaiba dragged the suitcase to the car and threw it into the backseat. Then he sat down without a word, staring straight ahead. Ryou ventured out from his hiding place and sat back down as well, glancing from Kaiba to the bag in the backseat. "What's in there?" he asked warily, nodding toward it.
Before Kaiba could reply, his cell went off, and he flipped it open with a low growl. "I have your shit, Yuko."
"Good, good," came the muffled reply. "Now, I want you to return home. Upload any work related items onto the disk drive I've provided for you. You'll find it in the inside pocket. Mark it as 'save' and put it in the mailbox when you're finished. I'll come by to pick it up later. Now, I'm sure you've figured out by now that I filled the extinguisher with gasoline. I want you to-"
"Wait, Yuko. Before I do this I want assurances that my brother and Tea Gardner are unharmed."
There was a slow exhaling of breath on the other end. "...I figured you'd say that. I'll put your brother on the line. Do not ask any questions that could jeopardize this mission, understand?"
"Yes, put him on."
"You have five minutes."
There was a pause, and then Mokuba's voice came on. "Hi, Seto."
"Mokuba! Are you ok? Has he done anything to hurt you?!"
"No, I'm ok. What about you, Big Brother?"
Kaiba had never felt more relieved in his life. "Hey, don't worry about me. Where are you right now?"
Mokuba hesitated. "...I, um, can't tell you that, Seto."
"Right. Sorry. Listen, there are a few things I need to take care of, and then we'll be together, again. Ok?"
"I know. I heard what Mr. Yuko wants you to do."
Kaiba opened his mouth in surprise then closed it, again. He felt a wave of deep hatred toward Yuko for involving Mokuba when the boy should have been left in the dark. "Are you ok with that?"
"Sure, Big Brother. They're only material possessions. I just want you to be ok."
Kaiba smiled weakly despite himself. "You're a trooper, kid. We'll go out for ice cream after this, ok?
"Whatever you want. Is Tea there with you?"
"Yeah, she's in the backseat. You want to talk to her?"
"Sure. Just for a minute."
"Ok. Here she is." There was a shuffle as the phone was exchanged.
"Kaiba? Are you there?"
"I'm here, Gardner."
The relief was evident in her voice when she said, "Thank, God! I woke up in some strange guy's van with Mokuba, and he was talking about using us as leverage, and-"
She was suddenly cut off as Yuko came back on. "I thought I told you not to ask too many questions?"
"I didn't," he snapped, "put her back on."
"You have one, minute."
"Sorry," Tea mumbled, sounding sheepish, "I guess I wasn't supposed to talk about that."
"That's ok. Is he treating you alright?"
"Yeah, I guess," she muttered. "He won't tell me what's going on, but he hasn't hurt either of us."
"Good. I'm going to find a way to get you two out of there. Just stay calm, and keep an eye on Mokuba."
"Of course, Kaiba."
"Tell him to listen to everything Yuko says."
"And Tea..." He paused, unsure for a moment what to say. "Be careful."
"Time's up," Yuko interrupted. "You have your assurances. They're both safe and snug like bugs in a rug."
"Cut the crap, Yuko," Kaiba growled. "I'm tired of your games."
"Of course," came the smug reply, "Tell you what. As a reward for being such a good sport, I'll release one of these two after you accomplish your little task."
"Don't shit with me."
"Of course, not. I'll even let you choose."
"What's the catch?" Kaiba asked suspiciously. "You'll kill the one I don't choose?"
"Of course, not, you idiot," Yuko laughed. "What would be the point of that? But now that I think about it, you do seem to favor your brother to the girl. You can have her, instead."
"...If you hurt Mokuba in any way, I'll hunt you down and make you experience pain like you've never imagined. You'll be begging me to kill you by the time-"
"Kaiba, Kaiba, calm down. He'll remain safe unless you disobey my orders. Now, you have an hour to accomplish the task I've given you. The instructions are in the suitcase. Don't forget to upload your software onto the hard drive. Oh, and Kaiba, tell the boy sitting next to you that he can help too if he'd like."
Kaiba immediately stiffened, and Ryou's eyes widened in horror. "Now, hold on a minute," Kaiba started to say, but the line went dead before he could finish. "Damn it!" he shouted, banging his hands on the steering wheel. "He knows you're here. Look around for a camera. He must've bugged the car." They began searching and Ryou finally found it hidden beneath his seat. He rolled down the window and threw it out onto the pavement.
"Well, looks like I'm stuck until the end," Ryou murmured softly as Kaiba pulled out into the street.
Kaiba glanced at him out of the corner of his eye. "Listen, if you don't have to be a part of this, now's the time to get out."
But Ryou was already shaking his head. "I can't just leave, knowing what's going on. Especially since I'm the reason he has your brother."
Kaiba nodded solemnly and gripped the steering wheel tightly as he began to accelerate. "He told me he'd kill Mokuba if I involved anyone else in this, but he knows about you and that didn't piss him off. He obviously enjoys making up rules as he goes."
"Then what are we going to do?"
Kaiba threw him a sidelong glance, and the corner of his mouth quirked up in a smirk. "We're going to beat him at his own game," he said, staring back out at the road, "by enlisting in the help of an old friend."
"That's right. We're going to find Yugi Mutou."
Peneia Teke: So there it is. I think the last section is a little choppy, but that could be 'cause I've been reading it over so much. Reviews are greatly appreciated!