Hi everyone, this is my first fanfic, so I hope you like it. The story is finished, and I can update as much as you want; just tell me in your review how often you think I should post.
Disclaimer: I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh.
I paced slowly across the thick carpet, watching my feet as I contemplated. Why did he help me? Even after the terrible way I treated him and his idiotic friends, he kept trying to help me, to let me know I was his friend... Although I certainly didn't need his assistance, and definitely didn't want his friendship.
Sure. Kaiba, you're getting worse at lying to yourself.
Well, in a way it really was true. I couldn't understand him, and being near something I didn't understand made me uneasy. One of the unfortunate side effects of being a genius, I suppose. But still...the same mystery that made me so leery at the same time drew me to him irresistibly. He saved me, time and again- at Duelist's Kingdom, in my virtual game, in Noa's World; and each time he never expected anything in return, not even my gratitude.
But I think he knows that I gave it to him anyway.
And I had tried to repay my debt. Pacing the office floor, I remembered the way I had rushed to the top of my duel tower at Alcatraz, praying that he hadn't begun his final duel- the one that might cost him his life. How could I have even considered leaving him to his fate? Was I really that bitter over my loss? In my heart, I had always known that he would beat me in our duel; I was his rival, but never quite his equal.
Using every inch of my height, I managed to reach the top of the tower just as he climbed to his duel station. He faced the psychopath before him with his cool, proud gaze, not a trace of fear on his lithe form. I came to a halt just below him and withdrew my Devil's Sanctuary from its place in my deck.
"Yugi," I called, and he turned his confident scarlet gaze in my direction, raising an eyebrow slightly. "I have something you need before you start this duel. It could save you, if you have the sense to figure out how to use it," I continued in my usual harsh tone, and tossed him the card.
He caught it and shuffled it into his deck without even glancing at the card I had given him, ignoring the protests of the mutt and his other cheerleader friends. His crimson eyes met my blue ones, and he nodded imperceptibly. "Kaiba, you and I may not always agree, but I still trust you," he said.
I never forgot those words. After he beat Marik, as I had known he would, Yugi and I parted ways. I went to build Kaiba Land and he did whatever he does with those losers he calls friends, but I always expected us to meet again. Just not like this.
This morning, my little brother Mokuba had come running into my bedroom, grinning like a loon. "Seto, Seto, guess what?" he chirped. I smiled; Mokuba was thirteen now, but he still acted like a little kid sometimes.
"What is it, Mokuba?" I asked patiently.
"They're all coming to the Kaiba Land grand opening tomorrow! I invited them, and they're all coming!" he shouted.
"Yugi-tachi!" he responded happily. I blanched. I hadn't seen him for almost two years, and now the first impression he would get of me would be the opening of my newest creation. What would he think of it? Wait, why should that even matter?
"Yugi's coming?" I asked neutrally. "Well, it should be interesting to see him again."
"Yeah, and you know what? That Sennen Puzzle thing, that made it so Yugi and a spirit shared one body, well it split or something, so now little Yugi and the other Yugi are two people. Don't ask me how; it's pretty complicated," Mokuba said.
"Mokuba, you know I don't believe that nonsense," I replied, shaking my head. I paused, however, remembering that last duel at Alcatraz. There were two Yugis then; the little one, trapped in the shadows, and the other one. The other Yugi. He was the one who dueled Marik; the one who said he trusted me. He was the one I....
"Well, you'll see for yourself tomorrow," Mokuba said sulkily, interrupting my thoughts.
He had left after that, and the rest of the day those words were all I could think of. He was coming tomorrow. The other Yugi. I didn't want to see him; didn't want to remember how he helped me without hesitation, and trusted me when I had never shown him anything but hostility. But most of all, I didn't want to look into those crimson eyes again.
Because if I did, I would know that I still hadn't repaid my debt. And that I probably never could.
The next morning dawned clear and bright, and the sun shone cheerily through the curtains into my sleepless, bloodshot eyes. I cursed myself mentally for worrying so much over an old rival, and finally managed to push the thoughts of Yugi from my exhausted mind in the hustle of fixing last-minute problems before the grand opening.
At promptly 10:00, Mokuba bounded into my office, bouncing on his heels in excitement, and dragged me outside to greet the first camera crews. I reluctantly left the technical work to my subordinates, and straightened my long coat as cameras zoomed in on me.
"Welcome to the grand opening of Kaiba Land. This project has been the greater part of my work at KaibaCorp for the last two years, and I hope that you all enjoy it. I believe that's all there is to say, so go on inside," I told the reporters briefly, nodding at the security guards. They unlocked the gates, and hordes of chattering people flooded into my amusement park.
I watched them with my cool, neutral gaze, trying not to let my excitement show. Truthfully, I felt like bouncing on my heels just as much as Mokuba. I would probably trip over my coat if I tried, however.
"Congratulations, Kaiba," said a deep, confident voice from directly behind me. My eyes widened slightly in recognition and I slowly turned, lowering my cool gaze to scarlet eyes.
"Yugi," I nodded curtly. "Where are the rest of your followers?"
He laughed. "Only you would think of them as my followers. And it's Yami these days," he added.
"Yami? Why?" I asked, a little confused.
"Since Yugi and I are two people, we can't really use the same name, can we?" he replied, still sounding amused.
"Not that Necklace nonsense again," I groaned. "Why don't you just go join your friends?"
"It's Puzzle, and I will. I just wanted to give you something," Yugi-wait, I mean Yami-said, and handed me a Duel Monsters card. I looked at it and shook my head, backing away as my heart thumped loudly.
It was the Devil's Sanctuary.
"Yugi, no. I gave that to you. It was the only way I could repay..." I trailed off, realizing I'd said too much.
"Repay what? You don't owe me anything," he replied, sounding confused. "I thought it was just a loan, and I always meant to give it back to you but I never saw you again until now."
I remained silent, staring at him in wonder. Didn't owe him anything? I owed him my brother, my life, my sanity... Well, maybe not that last part. Shaking my head once more, I turned my back on his lean, proud form and stalked away, not glancing back to see the look of surprise in his crimson eyes.
An hour later, Mokuba found me back in my office, working furiously at my computer to remove mundane glitches as if my life depended on the absolute perfection of my amusement park. He watched me silently for a moment before speaking.
"Yugi-tachi is downstairs," he informed me.
"Good for them," I grunted.
"I told them they could eat lunch with us," Mokuba added.
"They can eat with you. I have work to do," I replied, staring into my computer screen.
"Yami's there, too," Mokuba continued, as if he hadn't heard my response. "He asked specifically if you were coming."
"Why should he care?" I asked neutrally, though my heart had resumed its pounding.
"But I told him you weren't," Mokuba finished.
"WHAT? WHY DID YOU DO THAT?" I shouted, tearing my eyes from the computer screen to see my little brother's smirking face. Then I paused, confused at my own reaction. "I mean... Good. Do you need some money?" I pulled out my wallet, but Mokuba shook his head and backed toward the exit.
"He seemed disappointed, so I told him he could bring something up here and eat with you," Mokuba told me quickly and ran out the door.
I stared after him with my jaw hanging open in complete shock. What was Mokuba thinking? He probably was trying to get me to be friends with Yugi-tachi again, something he had often tried but I REALLY didn't want to do, not even for my beloved little brother. But being friends with Yami, on the other hand... Well, at least he was more tolerable than the mutt.
I sat back at my desk and resumed typing, torn between waiting for the door to open and the desire to bolt it. After a few minutes I heard a quiet knock. "Come in," I said disinterestedly, and kept typing. Soft footsteps approached my desk, and through the corner of my eye I saw pale, slender fingers set a wrapped up sandwich and a Styrofoam cup beside me. Yugi- I knew it was him even though I still hadn't looked up –sat in the chair on the other side of my desk before he spoke.
"Why would you think you owed me anything?" he asked calmly.
He wasted no time on small talk. That earned one point in his favor. "Because you saved my life and Mokuba's. I needed to save yours," I replied shortly. Finally glancing at him, I noticed the way his slender fingers threaded absently through his blonde bangs as he contemplated my statement.
"I understand that, I suppose. You're very honorable, Kaiba," he finally said.
"We're a lot alike, as much as I hate to admit it," I said, smirking a little. He grinned back at me, and a tiny dimple appeared beside his upper lip when his white teeth flashed in my direction. Hmm, I was certainly observant today.
"It's about time you did admit it," Yugi- that is, Yami –teased, and the two of us started on our lunch in silence.
"So, how long have you been like this?" I eventually asked, vaguely waving a hand toward him.
"You mean how long have Yugi and I been separated? Only for a week or so," Yami answered. "It was the strangest thing I've ever seen- and that's saying a lot," he interjected and shot a grin at me. "Yugi was working in the game shop when Bakura walked through the door... Remember him? He's the white-haired thief who lived in the Ring..."
"Yes, I remember," I cut in. "Just get on with the story." Despite myself, I was intrigued.
"Anyway, he came in the game shop and suddenly grabbed the Sennen Puzzle around Yugi's neck. Yugi shouted and tried to break free of Bakura's grip, but Bakura muttered something and the Puzzle glowed, and I appeared, just like I am. Bakura grinned at us and said, 'If you want to stay like this, you have to find and accept your equal.' Then he just left, before we could ask him any questions." Yami shrugged and frowned a little at the memory.
"What happened to the Puzzle? Is it still the same as it was before?" I asked, trying not to think about the 'equal' part. No one was Yami's equal, so he was doomed to return to the Puzzle...if he could. The idea left me feeling oddly depressed.
"It's still around Yugi's neck, and I think it would still work if I needed to go back inside it, but I haven't tried. I like being a separate person," Yami replied, a little guiltily. "Oh, but I did end up with a mark on my chest shaped like the Puzzle. It looks like a tattoo." He unashamedly pulled his shirt over his head and dropped in on the chair, and walked around the desk to show me.
"See? It even has lines like puzzle pieces," Yami said. He sounded proud, for whatever stupid reason. I hesitantly reached out a hand to touch it, expecting him to flinch away. He didn't. I held my breath as I traced the lines on Yami's warm skin, feeling his fluttering heartbeat under my fingers.
With my hand still tracing his chest, Yami took a step closer and gently brushed my cheek. "You have something on your cheek, hang on," he muttered, rubbing my face with the pad of his thumb. "I think it's..." he began, and leaned closer to inspect.
The door burst open, and all of Yugi-tachi and Mokuba bustled into my office, talking loudly. Yami and I glanced in their direction and all of their mouths fell open in shock. We glanced back at each other and suddenly broke apart, realizing our position, and Yami rushed around the desk and pulled his shirt back on, with a face as red as his eyes. I just turned back to my computer, ignoring them all.
"Well, Seto, you and Yami have sure gotten close," Mokuba snickered, and the idiots burst into derisive laughter. I chanced a look at Yami, who glared at them all, and felt slightly reassured.
The next week passed quickly, filled with the general setbacks and annoyances of starting a new business. Eventually, however, things settled into a more manageable state, and I found myself thinking of Yami once again. What a sadistic way for the thief to take revenge on Yami- to give him something he desperately wanted only to jerk it away again. I could see how much being his own separate person meant to Yami; his pride in his new body was obvious, from the way he'd carelessly thrown off his shirt to his calm acceptance of my curious touch.
But he could never stay like he was, because he could never find his equal. At least, he couldn't do it alone... My eyes widened.
I'd thought of a way to repay my debt.
I scrawled a note to Mokuba, who was currently at school, and jumped into my newest blue convertible. After a few minutes of giving other drivers the worst fright of their lives as well as a terrible case of road rage, I parked carelessly on the curb in front of the Kame Game Shop.
Yami opened the front door before I'd even had a chance to unfasten my seat belt. "Kaiba? What are you doing here?" he asked curiously, approaching the car.
"Get in," I said curtly, not bothering to explain. He nodded.
"Hang on a second; I just have to scribble a note to Yugi," Yami replied. I waited just long enough to get impatient before he returned to the door, tugging a black leather jacket over his sleeveless black shirt.
"Wear enough black?" I drawled sarcastically. He raised an eyebrow, scrutinizing my attire.
"Wear enough trench coats?" Yami replied with a grin. I scowled at him and adjusted the collar of my newest blue coat.
"So, where are we going?" Yami asked as he buckled his seatbelt. I sped off down the road, ignoring the glares of other drivers as I continually cut them off.
"KaibaCorp. There's a worldwide directory in my main computer of all the top duelists and other successful people. If your equal is anywhere on earth, we can find him. Or her," I told Yami coolly.
"Kaiba... I can't believe this. Thank you so much," he breathed.
"Hn," I grunted, and I scowled, but felt a little pleased all the same.
When we reached KaibaCorp, Yami wordlessly followed me into the basement, where I kept a giant computer, reaching from wall to wall. It really didn't need to be that large, but I liked it. It impressed people.
"Wow," Yami sighed. "This sure is impressive."
I ignored his comment (or pretended to) and started the machine. When I found the right program, I typed in "Yami Mutou" as well as a thorough list of his achievements, and gave the computer a command to find a match. He leaned over my shoulder, reading what I had written, and he sighed. "Kaiba, shouldn't you write some bad things about me, too? Wouldn't my equal have my same faults?" he protested.
"No," I replied shortly, and tried to ignore his warm breath against my neck as he peered over my shoulder. Gah! What was wrong with me? Why did I care about his breath? "I think this computer is large enough for you to give me some space," I grumbled. He immediately backed away.
"Sorry," he muttered. Just then the computer beeped, telling me it had come up with the results.
"Okay, let's see what it says," I said, and clicked the print icon. A short listed printed out, consisting of four names.
"Is that it?" Yami groaned in disappointment, and stepped closer to me again so that we could read the list.
"Well, we can cross that one out," I muttered. A slow red flush crept over my cheeks and I willed it away before Yami could notice.
"Wait, why?" Yami protested. "You are my equal, and I accept you, so we're done! Hah, Bakura will be so furious!" he gloated.
I crossed my arms, giving him my icy blue glare, and waited impatiently for him to quiet. "I think we both know that I'm not your equal, since you've beaten me every single time we dueled. The only thing I was good for was finding the right card for you to use," I spat.
Yami gazed at me sorrowfully through his ruby eyes. "Kaiba, you know that's not true; just because I defeat you in a duel doesn't mean I'm better than you! You beat me, too; what about Duelist Kingdom?" he argued.
I blanched at the reminder of the time I'd almost killed myself to save my little brother; the time I did what I'd said I'd never do- I cheated my way to victory. Perched on the edge of that castle, I lost whatever honor I ever had. Sometimes I wished Yami had let me die that day.
Yami caught my stricken expression and hurriedly apologized. "Kaiba, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to... But I'm not better than you," he said. I stared at him silently, not bothering to change my expression. "I'm sorry, really, Seto," Yami pleaded, and rested a consoling hand on my arm. When I flinched under his grasp he quickly pulled his arm away and glanced at the floor, finally breaking our eye contact.
"Let's just finish reading this," I sighed.