Alright then this will be the last chapter I assure you, I cannot drag this on any longer. At least I don't think I can, we shall see.

The Way We Used To Be

They had hoped that the hot shower would relax them, that their earlier activities would make them forget the current situation. It had, just not for very long. Seto and Joey emerged from the bathroom fully clothed and clean. They could hear the angered shouts as Kasakabi argued with the scientists from the basement. Joey's ears went back and he sighed. They didn't know when they were supposed to go down to the basement, so they sat in the cell. An hour into the wait Joey was nervously pacing around the small space.

A lot of the facilities lights had been turned off, making Joey even more nervous. Meanwhile Seto sat on the bed leaning against the wall. He hadn't been getting sufficient rest since yesterday, the gruesome images of Joey tearing apart the men still fresh in his mind. Seto's ears twitched and Joey stopped pacing and stared at the door, one of his ears standing up while the other lay against his head. As Kasakabi came to the cell door Joey's ears went back and he moved closer to Seto. The giddy look on Kasakabi's face was quite unsettling, it looked almost unnatural on the man's face.

"Today is a very exciting day my pets, a most spectacular show will occur." The excitement in his voice wasn't contained, he reminded Joey of a schoolgirl getting expensive shoes. Kasakabi signaled for them to follow, and they began the slow walk to the basement. As they descended the stairs Joey grasped Seto's hand in his with a firm grip. Seto could feel the small tremors and gently squeezed his hand reassuringly.

The only word that could describe the scene in the basement was chaos. Aggravated and nervous scientists were scurrying everywhere and checking the equipment. Akim stood alert, watching and making sure everything went smoothly. Damon and Zeke stood close to each other near the entrance to the basement. Joey made his way over to them but Seto stood and stared. Soon, everything he knew would be gone.

Damon smiled widely and let go of Zeke's hand, throwing an arm over Joey's shoulder.

"So did you have a good morning?" An all-knowing smirk was present on Damon's face, making Joey blush.

"How is that any of your business?" Joey jumped slightly as Seto seemed to suddenly appear right behind him, with the usual scowl on his face. He growled as Damon's tail wrapped around Joey's thigh, Damon unwrapped it and stepped away from Joey with a grin.

"Just curious is all." Seto snorted.

"A little too curious." Zeke laughed and lightly caught Damon's wiggling tail.

"Well he is a kind of cat, so he's bound to be curious don't you think?" Joey giggled and Seto rolled his eyes. Loud clapping made them all turn around and look at Kasakabi. A scientist stood next to him with a handful of papers.

"Alright everyone we are about to begin!" He looked at them and signaled for the four of them to approach him.

"We need to keep our distance from the machine while it is going off." He waved another scientist over.

"Are the other labs prepared as well?"

"Yes sir, we are all awaiting your signal."

"Very good. In exactly five minutes the bombs will be launched, keep your fingers crossed!" To the right of them a digital clock sat on a desk. The count down had begun. Joey grabbed Seto's hand and leaned against his side, Seto wrapped his arms around the blonde's shoulders and brought him against his chest. Zeke had let go of Damon's tail and draped an arm around his shoulders. The two couples seemed to be reacting opposite of each other. Seto and Joey looking nervous, while Damon and Zeke appeared to be quite calm. Three minutes and nineteen seconds remained on the clock. A majority of the scientists moved to the back of the room behind Kasakabi, while a few remained at the large computer waiting to set off the bombs. Kasakabi stared at the large device that sat in the middle of the room with a look of pride. It made Seto nauseous. Two minutes and forty seconds left. A few tears fell down Joey's face, Damon looked at Joey with concern and lightly tugged on Zeke's shirt, making their way over to Seto and Joey. Damon lightly leaned against Joey's side so he could feel that he was there. Joey turned to look at Damon and smiled lightly, Damon smiled back and nodded. One minute and thirty seconds left.

"Seto?"

"Hmm?"

"Are we going to be ok?" He nodded and kissed the top of Joey's head.

"Yes, we'll be fine. I promise." The last minute of the countdown was torturously suspenseful. Joey stared at the clock until ten seconds remained. He turned into Seto's chest and hid his face in the brunette's shirt. A loud humming noise sounded in the air, followed by a loud bang. The noise made Joey yelp and jump in surprise and Seto tightened his arms around him. For a few seconds it was deathly quiet, until a loud explosion went off. It sounded like a windstorm outside, and for a few seconds the building shook violently. A couple of Scientists fell to the ground and Joey and Seto were barely managing to stay on their feet. Then just like that, everything was silent again. The shaking ceased and everyone that had fallen were now back on their feet. Kasakabi remained where he stood with a huge smirk on his face.

"Spectacular! By now the gamma and heat blast have gone, as well as the pressure wave. We may or may not have the black rain in this area, but the soot will block the sun. Let's hope you two can survive the drop in temperature when that time comes." Seto glared at Kasakabi as Joey's eyes widened and he gripped Seto's shirt tighter. Kasakabi smiled at Seto and looked up at the ceiling.

"You four come with me upstairs." He pointed at Seto, Joey, Damon and Zeke. Then he gestured at the scientists.

"You all stay down here, keep an eye on the computer and machine. If everything looks alright after an hour or so I only want a couple of you back upstairs, is that clear?" A chorus of yes sir's sounded and Kasakabi nodded in approval. He looked at the group of teens.

"Let's go then." Damon and Zeke immediately followed Kasakabi up the stairs, but Seto stayed behind with Joey for a second to try and snap him out of his shock.

"Pup, come on we have to go upstairs." Damon ran back down the stairs and looked at them.

"You guys coming?" Seto nodded and carefully picked Joey up and followed Damon up the stairs. Kasakabi looked at Joey.

"You may take Joseph back to your room Kaiba, you two may as well. We may not move out until late tonight or tomorrow. The injections given to you have made you very resilient, I doubt you will suffer from any radiation poisoning." Seto sent a glare Kasakabi's way that clearly said, "you're not helping." He either shrugged it off or just didn't notice.

"I will tell you when you will be moving out. So please rest until then. I look forward to lunch Zeke." As Kasakabi walked away Damon gripped Zeke's hand tighter. Zeke squeezed back before looking over at Joey.

"He Ok?" Seto looked down at Joey and frowned.

"He just needs some quiet, I'm going to take him back to the room now."

"Right, I'll bring lunch up when it's done." Seto nodded and started walking towards the stairs. At some point on the way up Joey had fallen asleep.

'Good, he needs the rest.' Seto gently laid him on the bed and pulled the covers over him. The event hadn't been as, well, eventful as he thought it would be. That was probably a good thing though. He tenderly brushed back a lock of hair from Joey's eyes. Their worries were far from over though. Yes, they were just beginning. As happy as he was that the bomb did not backfire and harm anyone in the underground lab, they still would have the threat of the radiation outside. He wanted to question Kasakabi on how the injections would guard them against the radiation, but he had no room for error. They were closer to being free, and while it would of course take a while, they could wait. Joey turned into Seto's hand and smiled lightly. Seto's ears twitched and he looked at the cell door, he calmed as Isa walked in. She looked at Joey with concern.

"Damon wanted me to check on him, he said he didn't look so good."

"He's fine, just scared." Isa nodded.

"Understandable." An awkward silence filled the air and Seto sighed.

"Joey wanted me to ask you something." She tilted her head and looked at him curiously.

"Oh? About what?" Seto beckoned her over and she complied.

"He wants to know if you wanted to come with us when we leave." Isa's eyes widened.

"Did you not hear a single word I said the day you arrived here?"

"Did you honestly think we wouldn't try eventually?" Isa stared at him in shock and disbelief.

"I was kind of hoping you wouldn't." Seto snorted and combed through Joey's hair with his free hand.

"Just answer the question. If you want to stay here that's fine, it's none of my business, Joey's the one that wants to know." Isa frowned and shook her head.

"I'm afraid I would have to decline. Even if we could get away, Kasakabi would come after us."

"He couldn't come after us if he was dead."

"If he…died, I would leave. I don't think I would last long though with the radiation, my place is here." Seto grunted and Isa walked out of the cell. He sat on the bed for what felt like hours, letting Joey get his rest. He soon found that he had been sitting for hours when Zeke and Damon walked in with lunch. Zeke looked at Joey and Damon was oddly cheerful.

'I don't want to know.' He cringed as all the possible reasons for his happiness sprung into mind. He blinked as Damon set the tray in front of him.

"It's a special lunch today."

"No it's not."

"…" Zeke faltered as Damon glared at him, a bead of sweat falling down his face.

"Ah I mean yes it is, very special. Hasn't been made for years actually." He laughed nervously and set Joey's tray down. Seto sighed.

"You don't have to try to act happy you know."

"Well excuse me for trying to lighten the mood." Damon huffed and put his hands on his hips. Damon smiled for a second then he frowned, his face suddenly serious. Zeke held his hand and smiled sadly.

"What's wrong with you two?" They turned to Seto.

"Zeke heard what Isa said when she was up here, it kind of got us thinking. If the injections have made us immune to the radiation, then Zeke would need one." That's right, he had completely forgotten. Zeke was never given an injection. If he went outside with them, he wouldn't make it. Even after the radiated soot stopped falling, the radiation would continue to be around for a long time.

'So, what injection do you want then?" Zeke sighed.

"You know, it's stressful enough just to think about it, let's not talk about what kind I want." Damon giggled and looped and hooked an arm onto Zekes.

"I think you should be a tiger, tails are good for all sorts of things you know." He winked and Zeke blushed. Seto cleared his throat and Damon grinned.

"So how's Joey doing? Better I hope." Seto grunted.

"Considering he's been asleep since you last saw him I think he's better. Usually when he's too nervous he won't sleep, even if I am around. Or maybe he was just too exhausted."

"Either way, you should wake him up. Some food in his stomach might make him feel better. We'll be by later to check on you guys again."

"We don't need to be monitored."

"I never said you did, besides we like visiting you guys. So until later." Zeke waved and Damon grinned as they walked out. Seto's ears twitched as Joey sniffed the air with his eyes still closed. He slowly opened his eyes and smiled at the food. He stretched and kissed Seto's hand.

"Hey."

"Do you feel any better?"

"A little." Seto shoved a tray onto Joey's lap.

"Eat." He didn't need to be told twice, Joey quickly dug in and when he was finished he licked the plate clean. Seto raised a brow but turned his attention to his own food. He barely tasted it though, his concern for Joey and the future weighed heavily on his mind. He had confidence that the radiation would not affect them. The man had after all thought it through. Of course Kasakabi's sanity was questionable. He blinked as a finger jabbed into his side.

"You alright in there?" Joey tilted his head to the side and one of his ears went back slightly.

"Fine, just thinking." He grabbed one of Joey's ears and tugged on it. Joey yelped and frowned.

"Why do ya always hafta do that?" Seto smirked and ruffled the blonde's hair.

"It amuses me."

"Yea I bet it does ya jerk." Joey huffed and crossed his arms over his chest. He smiled as Seto encased him in his arms and leaned over until they were both lying on the bed.

"Do you want to sleep a little more?" Joey turned to face Seto and snuggled into his chest.

"Can we just lie here for a while?"

"Of course we can pup." Joey sighed and closed his eyes, relaxing in the arms of his protective boyfriend. Joey had, of course, fallen asleep. So when Damon and Zeke stopped by an hour later, he glared at them and brought a finger to his lips. They seemed to get the message and left without making a sound. Night came way too soon for everyone's tastes, you could practically smell the fear and anticipation in the air. Downstairs in the lab, Zeke, Damon and Kasakabi conversed. As they got deeper into the conversation Kasakabi clasped his hands together and grinned.

"Really? I have to admit I am quite surprised Zeke, as I recall you were very opposed to the idea before."

"Yea well, I was just thinking how I'd like to go out at some point. If the injection repels the radiation like you say it does then I'd be willing to take a chance."

"You do realize you would be doing field work?" Zeke cringed.

"Yes, I am prepared for that." The grin on Kasakabi's face widened, making Damon shiver. He tightened his grip on Zeke's hand and calmed down after he received a squeeze back.

"Have you thought about what DNA you would like Zeke?" Zeke blushed and looked at the floor.

"I was thinking tiger." Damon giggled and Zeke's blush darkened, Kasakabi smirked and shook his head.

"Lucky for you we have some left, shall we get started right away?" Zeke nodded and they followed Kasakabi further into the lab.

The night was oddly silent. Joey had expected people to be awake and nervous given the circumstances. Seto had fallen asleep next to him and didn't so much as twitch as he slowly sat up and looked around. A faint light downstairs caught his attention, he tried to swing his legs off the bed but Seto tightened his hold around his waist. He gently brushed a hand through Seto's brunette locks and smiled fondly at him. Although he wasn't very tired anymore, he knew Seto was. He was well aware of the fact that Seto stayed awake more often than not to watch over and protect him. He lay back down and scooted closer to Seto, gently brushing his lips against the brunette's cheek and closed his eyes.

Before anyone knew it the sun was beginning to rise. Seto's eyes snapped open and quickly searched the room, they landed on Joey's sleeping form and he relaxed some. He was never relaxed until he was sure Joey was unharmed. The blonde's eyes lazily opened, and the boy smiled and kissed the tip of Seto's nose.

"Mornin'" As if suddenly remembering yesterday's events, Joey wilted and looked towards the path to the basement.

"I suppose we might be headin' out today." He blinked as Seto sat up quickly.

"Seto?"

"We'll be fine pup, we will get out of here. Damon and Zeke will come with us but Isa, she wishes to remain here."

"Oh…" There was no time for an explanation for Kasakabi walked up the steps and into the cell. He smiled at the two.

"You will be leaving shortly, so get dressed and meet me in the lab." Joey sighed and walked over to the drawer after Kasakabi walked down the stairs. He put on some tattered blue jeans with a black belt, the jeans were a size larger than he needed but he liked the bagginess. He removed the shirt he had on and slipped on a black one with an animated pit-bull on the left over his heart. Seto looked at him with question in his eyes as he put a collar with his ID tags on. Joey caught his glance and blushed.

"I like it ok?" Seto smirked and tousled his hair as he walked to his side of the dresser. Seto discarded his pants and put on clean black leather pants, he slipped a black dress shirt on and then put on a dark blue trench coat. He turned to Joey and smiled before grabbing his hand.

"Ready?" The blonde sighed.

"No, but what choice do we have?"

"Hmm none, come on." When they got to the lab Kasakabi was sitting in a chair in front of a table with three scientists talking to him. He spotted the two and smiled brightly.

"Ah wonderful! Come over here you two. You have a long journey ahead of you." Joey sighed deeply and followed behind Seto. A world map was laid out in front of Kasakabi with some areas circled with bright red ink.

"We have discussed which areas of the world are most likely to have more survivors, come look." Seto stepped closer but Joey remained behind his back, not really wanting to go near the man.

"We think that Japan is more likely to have survivors." Seto frowned.

"We have to go all the way back to Japan? Can't we look a little more closer to this area?"

"Afraid not, if we want to get specimens before radiation gets to them we have no time to lose. The tribes here have flimsy huts and are more than likely to be dead. You must travel to Japan."

"By foot?" Joey's voice was small but and timid but the look he was giving Kasakabi was unmistakable. Kasakabi sighed.

"Yes by foot. Your injections have made the cold weather a lot more bearable, I will have Zeke pack food that does not expire for you in packs."

"I doubt a backpack will carry as much food as we will need for this entire trip."

"Yea, and how are we supposed to bring any people back with this far of a walk?"

"When you have found a handful of survivors contact me on the radio, you will have to meet a vehicle quite some ways away. Then you will search for more."

"You have the fuel for such a trip?"

"Trust me, I have waited so long for this. I am fully prepared. You'd better get ready, you have quite a ways to run." Joey crossed his arms and huffed like an upset child, but Seto decided arguing would get them nowhere. He firmly grasped Joey's wrist and lightly tugged him along with him back to their cell.

"He seriously expects us to run thousands of miles? Why can't he get his guards to pick people up? If he's so concerned with the "subjects" health and all they should jus drive there! I mean who the hell does he think owww!" The blonde reached up to rub his left ear as he glared at Seto.

"What the hell was that for?"

"You were blabbering."

"Can ya blame me?" Seto brushed a hand through his hair and sighed.

"I can understand why you are, it is quite ridiculous. We obviously don't have a choice however." Just then Zeke and Damon walked in with four trays of food. Damon looked overly excited, and Zeke looked just as embarrassed as always. Joey squinted at Zeke and slowly inched towards him. As he got closer Damon giggled and tightened his hold on Zeke's arm.

"Holy shit! When did this happen?" Seto raised an eyebrow at Joey. Was the blonde daft? Nothing looked differ-oh. His eyes slightly widened as he took in the two entwined tiger tails. While Damon's was white and black, Zeke's was orange and black. His eyes had turned light brown and his pupils were now slits.

"I thought ya didn't want an injection though Zeke."

"He changed his mind." Damon stated smugly. Zeke rubbed the back of his head nervously.

"you guys are kind of on a time limit, maybe you should eat quickly?" Joey deflated.

"Did ya really have to bring that up again? I was starting to forget about it."

"Oh, I'm sorry." Seto snorted and whacked the back of Joey's head.

"Don't apologize to him, he needs to get over it. Will either of you be joining us on this journey of ours?"

"Afraid not, Kasakabi wants me to train Zeke for a while. So you two will be going by yourselves." Joey groaned but walked over to the trays on the table and picked one up and set it in his lap after he sat down.

"Yea well, I guess it's a good thing you won't be with us. We could, ya know, die with the radiation and all so you're better off here." Seto rolled his eyes.

"Please, we'll be fine. Kasakabi was just trying to scare you. He himself said that he had been preparing this for a long time, I'm sure he would have already tested something like that."

"And what if he didn't? What if it affects us?" Seto closed his eyes.

"Then we die."

"Setooooo!"

"Hurry up and eat so we can get this over with, stalling won't do any good." Joey huffed and ate the food angrily.

"Ah..." Zeke looked at Damon who just shrugged.

"Well, we'll just leave you two alone to get ready. Just leave the trays on the table and I'll pick them up later." Damon skipped over to Joey and threw his arms around his neck, giving him a kiss on the cheek much to Joey's chagrin. Seto growled lightly and huffed as Damon did the same to him, minus the kiss.

"You two be safe alright." Damon waved cheerfully as he and Zeke walked hand in hand out of the cell and down the stairs. Seto glanced at Joey and watched the blonde put the tray back on the desk, the food half eaten. Joey looked over to Seto and eyes his tray.

"Aren't you going to eat Seto?"

"No, let's head back ."

"But were going to be gone for a while, you should eat."

"We'll have food packs, come on." They stood and walked out of the cell.

"So stubborn." Joey mumbled under his breath.

"I heard that."

"Of course ya did, you got these things." Joey skipped up next to Seto and pinched one of his ears. He quickly stepped away but Seto sidestepped and pinched his rear.

"Why you gotta do that?"

"The same reason you would pinch my ear."

"I don't even know why I do it…"

"Hm that's fine." He grabbed the blonde's hand and gently led him to the lab where Kasakabi and a handful of scientists were waiting for them. Kasakabi grinned widely and beckoned them over to his side.

"Today is the day of your departure my friends." Seto snorted, biting back a scathing remark. Kasakabi reached into a box and pulled out two large hiking backpacks.

"There are several large compartments in these packs. Food and water are already inside, but I'm afraid you will have to make due with the clothes you have on now until you return. The radios will not work from such a distance you will be traveling, so I expect you to make wise decisions on your own." He put the backpack down.

"Young adults will be your primary focus." He turned away from them.

"I wish you both luck, be on your way now." Joey looked at Seto and the brunette nodded. They both picked up their packs and walked towards the tunnels. The trek up the tunnels was almost too much for Joey to bear, the suspense was killing him. Would they die from the radiation?

"You're worrying too much." Joey looked up at Seto with wide eyes.

"I think I should be allowed to worry about dying." Seto smirked.

"Please, we're hardier than tanks. We'll be fine pup."

"But what if, right as we step out the door we fall down a really long hole and die?" Seto sighed.

"Hey it could happen!"

"It could, but it's not going to. Now hurry up we are almost at the door."

"Alright alright, jeeze have some patience."

"You and I both know that will never happen." Joey snorted and rolled his eyes as Seto increased his pace. As they neared the door Joey strengthened his hold on Seto's hand. They stood in front of the door. Seto looked at Joey, seeing the nervous look on his face he squeezed his pup's hand. Joey looked up at him.

"Ready pup?" Joey bit his lip, and nodded. Seto looked at the door.

"Here's to a new beginning." Together, they opened the door, ready to face whatever challenges would face them on their way. Both more determined than ever to eventually escape.

All right that's the last chapter of this story, I will now be revising The Future Is A Pain In The Butt. Which will have a new title and you will be informed of that new title. Please review it helps feed my ego . I know it was a little sudden but I just couldn't come up with a satisfying ending. So keep in touch for the sequel! Thanks to everyone who reviewed I love you all!