One day was all that was left. This day. The next would hold something dire, whatever it turned out to be. Like a general preparing for war, Kaiba ran over all the defenses his mansion had and checked that all the goons knew what to do.
Once before, he had gone upstairs and fingered the Rod, wondering if it could really send people to death or control their minds.
"Nonsense," he had muttered. Then, he had remembered what he had thought of past lives. "Anyway, I don't even know how to use it."
Padding feet went by the door, faded away, then returned. That happened about three times before Kaiba opened the door and looked out. There was Mokuba, pacing down the hall.
"Good morning, Seto," the boy said miserably. He obviously could not forget which day it was.
Eyes following the boy without turning his head, Kaiba finally stopped him after the fourth walk by him.
"That's not doing anything constructive. Why don't you go play with Metsukiao?"
"She's too little to really play."
Those words might have meant something more—something like an echo before a fight long ago—but Mokuba was too unhappy to know what they sounded like. While he may have been blessed with growing happy so easily, that meant he had to be down often enough to get happy.
"Then go tell Kiseira I need to talk to her."
That caught Mokuba's attention. He had always been a little suspicious about the two of them in a way that made Kaiba uneasy. "Hmm. What is that supposed to mean?"
"What do you think it means?" he asked, exasperated. "I need to tell her what she is to do tomorrow. You, too."
Walking down the hallway, Mokuba trod carefully in order to be quiet. He did not know what his brother was thinking, sending him for Kiseira at barely five-fifteen. It was possible she was awake, but the boy was not going to wake her if she was not.
Fortunately for him, Metsukiao began crying before he ever got there and the baby made certain Kiseira was awake. After telling her to go see his brother, Mokuba went back down the hallway to learn the plan.
It was not much of one. The only part they played was to hide in the basement all the next day. Goons would be out on the grounds watching for any of the gang members. They had permission to take needed action if they were attacked or attacked the house. And, though he hated hiding, Kaiba would be there with them.
The plan was pitiable, but he had not been able to come up with one that would better remove the threat as well as keep his promise and obey the law.
Of the visitor the previous day, the CEO said nothing.
It had been his intention to never be alone in the same room with Kiseira, but he had not counted on her determination to speak with him once more before the next day. She simply let Mokuba take care of Metsukiao and left on a break.
First, the young woman tried his room, but no one was there. Searching the entire mansion was a formidable task, but she was so determined it did not slow her down at all. A few maids smiled at her, and several other workers nodded to her. It was astounding how they all had gotten so used to her in just three months.
Such thoughts troubled her, and Kiseira was even more resolute not to regret anything. She knew that when the time came, it would be exactly what she wanted. Just now it was difficult to think of it.
The first floor was where he was, talking to some goons, reiterating orders. When Kiseira noticed that, she stepped away and waited out of sight and sound. About ten minutes later, the men in suits walked back. Kaiba was not far behind.
"Seto," she said, intercepting him. "I'm sorry to bother you, but I had one request."
He was waiting, very patiently it seemed.
"Mokuba was telling me about Duel Monsters, and I was wondering if I might see a Blue-Eyes White Dragon."
Blinking once, the iron of his face relaxed slightly. Kaiba reached a hand into his white coat and pulled out his dueling deck. It was always so close to him. There, on top, was one of the famous cards. He looked at it himself for a second before carefully handing it over.
Pale fingers brushing against smooth texture of the card, she stared wordlessly at the image. Such a beautiful creature. So powerful and pure. Smiling, Kiseira handed it back, and Kaiba was careful not to touch her hand.
"I'm sure it will be loyal always," she said, still smiling.
Her words had been odd again, yet Kaiba did not say anything. He merely slipped the deck back into his pocket.
"Thank you for everything," she whispered. Then, the pale girl turned aside to go back upstairs.
Frowning after her, Kaiba thought her words sounded a lot like a farewell.
The following day taunted them all by appearing as a regular, usual day. The school finally called for more answers, and they did not seem to like the truth as an explanation. Kaiba told them to contact the police to see if he was lying about the threat they faced and hung up.
Today, the police were going to be waiting in the area around seven o'clock. Kaiba had shown them the threat before the piece of paper had vanished. He hoped they might manage to stop some action of the gang.
By nine in the morning, the four of them were in the basement hideaway where he kept his talking computer. There was a library down there, and Kaiba read most of the morning, while the others looked at all the books and read pieces, but did not sit down for a serious reading. The basket with Metsukiao remained at the tall CEO's side.
It was only a little after eleven when Mokuba sank down by his brother and sighed. Bored already.
"You could read." Kaiba's eyes were still following the words on the page.
Wrinkling his nose, the boy shook his head. "I'm not in the mood. I want to run and climb and jump and breathe fresh air. But that won't be happening for awhile." He looked hopefully at his brother. "Do you want to play a game with me?" All the boy's solitary games were in the mansion. But here, in the back of the room, he had discovered an old chess set.
"Let my type something up for work, first."
"Okay." Mokuba knew his brother was fast at typing; he only hoped what Seto was typing was not extraordinarily long.
Pulling out his laptop, Kaiba began typing and once he started, there was no lull in sound. As his fingers tapped the keys, Mokuba stared enthralled at the speed of their movements. Gradually, being aware of the amount of time going by, Kaiba stopped after fifteen minutes and put the computer away.
"All right, let's play."
Chess games these days had a tendency to last a long time. Kaiba would debate every possible move thinking of future ones until his brother grew so bored he walked away and did something else. Then, Kaiba would finally move his piece and call Mokuba back. The boy never took nearly as long turns, yet somehow, they both captured almost equal of each other's pieces. Sometimes, Mokuba thought his brother was being nice to him on purpose, but Kaiba never admitted to it. It was obvious the CEO was, however, because on the days Kaiba gave in to play reluctantly, the game was over in about four moves so Kaiba could take care of some business.
This time, the game was lasting a long time. Having started at 11:20, they finished at 1:30. Kaiba won. Then, they ate lunch with Kiseira and did solitary things again. After dinner, the time was growing near the meeting time Huto had set, so Kaiba played another game of chess with his brother.
At 6:35, when Mokuba had been pacing as he waited for his brother to take his turn, he realized Kiseira was gone. He searched the entire area and could not find her.
"Seto, Kiseira's gone."
Kaiba looked up from moving his bishop, and in that moment, something clicked and made sense in his head.
History repeated itself; that was what all this reincarnation and past life dreaming and experiencing was about. It was astounding that only now did he guess it applied in every way. She had died before—he had been holding her body. That was when he realized who had really taken the paper with Huto's terms on it.
Kaiba got up and raced out of the underground library.
"Now I'm alone," Mokuba said sadly, looking at the goon at the door. He did not really count. Sighing, he sat down next to the chess board and took his turn. "Checkmate," he whispered.
It was difficult to discern who was worthier of respect: the young woman who stood there defiantly, fearing nothing, or the young man terrified to his wits' end who still had come running to stop her.
Huto and his gang stood around the pale girl by the time Kaiba had managed to make it to the rendezvous. Kiseira still looked healthy and unharmed, so he hoped he had come in time.
"Ah, we have two people coming to answer the summons. And early, too. That is good. Now we can make sure both of you understand exactly what the new terms will involve. And you can take the punishment for what you did before." Huto hauled forward his sister by the arm. She stood there, glaring, as Huto held up the hand that had felt a card's bite. The red mark was still visible. "That might not be painful or even unneeded,"—he glared right back at his sibling before shoving her behind again—"but, Mister Kaiba, you took down her pride. And by doing that, you have to answer to me."
Now that things were proceeding along this way and Kiseira was unharmed, Kaiba's fear was vanishing. Instead, their roles were reversed. Now, she was terrified he would be hurt and he was enjoying himself. A battle of words was one he could win.
"Well, I have my own mark to show you, then." Kaiba pointed to Kiseira's forehead, which, despite the three months, still showed the mark well. "Your sister's little gang did this to someone who was under my protection. So, I made them answer for it. It seems to me everything has been settled." Had he been close enough to grab Kiseira's arm, he would have pulled her along with him as he left. Because he could not, the tall young man stayed where he was.
On the edge, staring at both Huto and Kaiba, stood Lai.
"You don't seem to understand. You still have to answer to me. Not only because of my idiot sister, but from what happened in the alley. So, which one of you wants to take the blows? We might be satisfied with just beating one of you up."
"You will not be satisfied," Kaiba scoffed. "Besides, I want to see you try to take me one on one. Your whole gang was not slighted by losing in the alley, so your whole gang should have no part in the retribution."
Huto slowly smiled, showing his filthy teeth. "But you don't know gang rules, Kaiba. The boss always has to let his little helpers have fun. Snide one of us and you snide us all. And that's what you're doing now. I won't take it." Huto continued to grin as he snaked out a hand to grasp Kiseira's arm. He pulled her closer to him and turned to Kaiba. "How would you like it if I had some fun with your girl?" Huto brought his reeking face closer to the pale girl's as she struggled to get free.
"Don't touch her," Kaiba warned tightly.
Huto laughed and released her though she had no where to go. Now, there were two circles of gang members. One around Kiseira and the other around Kaiba.
"Just think about it like that. We're all a gang of Kaibas and we all need to let out our payment for what happened. For that is what it is. Everyone here is the same as I am, so when I'm mad, they're mad. Not letting them get revenge would be like watching me do something to her as you're unable to act."
These word games were not amusing anymore. "Then have your revenge. But let her go back, first."
A few of the gang members protested, but Huto held up a hand and silenced them. "You swear you will remain behind? How sweet; I guess someone has managed to penetrate your cold heart." He leered. "Or maybe you're the one who's done th—"
"Shut up!" Kiseira did not need to hear anymore. The poor girl was already being tainted just by being around these fools.
Kaiba balled his hands into fists and glared at Huto. "Those are my terms. Take them or leave them."
The gang quieted itself as Huto made a pretense of debating. Then, blackish teeth showing once more, he said, "Agreed."
Instantly, those around Kiseira shoved her out of their midst and made the circle completely around Kaiba. An outcast, the pale girl stared back at the gang with wide, terrified eyes. From the back, all she could see was movement that seemed to involve kicking and punching. A few groans came from the center, but soon that was indiscernible for the hoots and laughter.
This was not what was supposed to happen! Kiseira picked herself up from the ground. The ring was intimidating, but something more powerful than fear was within her, and not to answer to it would be unforgivable.
It was amazing how utterly their attention was on Kaiba. As soon as she had been shoved out, they had forgotten her. Well, Kiseira would be giving them something to remember from now on.
What was the best way to enter the circle? All of the broad-shouldered young men were too close to slip through. Wait—she saw now that one was holding back, not looking pleased at all to be there. His eyes looked as if he wished he could be somewhere else. None of the battle rage that was in the others' eyes was within his own. Once, he glanced up and met her eyes.
There seemed to be a kind of understanding. He did not move, but Kiseira came closer, gradually picking up speed. The man stepped aside as she came close and let her within the circle.
All the hoots and jeers were slowing up as they realized the foreigner in their midst.
The girl raced forward to take the blows, and for a moment, all their senses deceived them. It seemed a powerful creature, maybe even a dragon, had rushed forward, spreading its wings in a shield to save one.
They all stared and froze as the mirage took place before their eyes. Arms were pasted to their sides and legs sturdily on the ground. No one dared to move. None, but one.
A quick movement came from behind Huto, and something glittering flew toward the innocent white creature. There seemed to be a roar as the object came closer, and great blue eyes were furious.
Then, as the knife penetrated the white skin, the girl was back—struck, bleeding, and weakened.
Everyone stood stock still in silence.
Finally, one gang member, in the silence, took a step forward. Nervously, he said, "I hear sirens."
The whisper of police went through them, and the gang dispersed.
Huto turned to his sister and swore at her. His sister's action had the unnatural feeling of slaying a unicorn. A curse would inevitably follow the murder of an innocent soul. "Now, look what you've done!" He grabbed her arm and dragged her after him.
Lai looked at the two on the ground and hesitated. But, the thought of Metsukiao made him turn aside. If he wanted to get control of his daughter, he could not have a criminal record.
When the blows had stopped falling, Kaiba had merely tensed to prepare for more. Still, he had not been ready for the crumpling of someone on top of him. At first, he had flinched. Then, as feet ran away, he uncurled himself painfully and looked what had fallen on him.
"Kiseira," he said, staring. Quickly, he straightened her, hand finding the hilt of a knife in her chest. Trickles of blood had already started coming from the wound.
Her eyes fluttered open at the sound of her name. "Seto."
"What did you do?" he asked, horrified. The sirens were coming closer. Somehow, help must be coming. People could survive wounds like this today. The knife had not struck her heart, he was certain. It was on the other side.
"Your brother still needs you," she wheezed, looking at him through half-closed eyes. "That is…why you had to live."
She coughed, bringing up blood. The knife must have sliced straight to her lung…
Kiseira struggled to draw breath enough for talk, despite being told to just concentrate on breathing. "I…wanted to protect…you, remember?" A tremor went through her body, but she still smiled.
The red blood did not look right on her skin. He wiped it away from her mouth, but it left a nasty residue. Her eyes were still partially open, but she had not blinked for a long time. There was one more shaky inhale before the air left in a soft whoosh. All was then quiet.
Cold she had ever appeared, but warmth had been her very nature. Gathering her into his arms, ignoring his own pain, Kaiba gazed down at her truly pasty face, the scar avidly sticking out. Softly, he touched his lips to its mark and carried her away. His first and last kiss of Kiseira.
By then, the police had arrived at the scene and were coming nearer.
"Where were you?" he asked, bodily literally shaking with anger.
One policeman looked at what he was holding. "I'm afraid we were held up with another call, sir. Come this way—"
"Don't touch me," he said coldly. "You mean you were too frightened to show up before the appointed time? You thought you might actually have had to deal with the gang?"
"That's not exactly accurate, Mr. Kaiba. You yourself said you would be hiding, so there seemed no need to hurry here. We had to answer a different need in another part of town. The rest of the police were going around this area to set up traps to ensnare the gang in."
"And did they work?"
The officer looked away. "We caught one."
Kaiba laughed bitterly. "One. Thanks for that."
An ambulance's sirens blared nearby, and the workers rushed out, taking Kiseira's still form from him. They would try to revive her, but Kaiba knew nothing would bring her back. She had already returned here once. There was no reason to come again.
A few days had passed. Kiseira had had a very small funeral at the expense of Kaiba, who remained stony-faced throughout the entire ordeal. No one arrived but the people of the household. Later, after all of them were gone, a different man approached the grave that held but a first name and death date. There was also a picture of a Blue-Eyes White Dragon.
"I'm sorry, Kiseira," Lai murmured. "If I hadn't let you in, you would not have died. Maybe, if I had been brave enough to stand up to Huto before, none of the fighting would have happened. But, I can't help but feel that somehow, this was what you wanted." He placed a white carnation near the roses and left.
Mokuba had been very quiet, but the worried expression he wore on his face merely made Kaiba angry each time he saw it.
"I'm fine," he said once, even though Mokuba had said nothing.
"No, you're not, Seto."
Kaiba did not answer, merely thinking to himself, what was the point of knowing history and past lives when one could not change them?
It seemed the boy could read his thoughts. Or maybe, their thoughts had gone in the same direction. "You wish you hadn't known Kiseira, then?"
"Yes," Kaiba snapped.
Mokuba just sadly looked after him. Some, it seemed, would rather feel no pain than remember the joy that had once been theirs.
The boy went up the stairs to answer the crying of Metsukiao. Once again, the maids were helping, but Mokuba did most of it. He even got up in the night to care for her. His older brother would not go near her.
"It looks like it's just you and me, now, Metsukiao. I wish you'd stop crying. I miss her, too."
The mind has certain defenses to help it cope with stress and great trauma. One of those ways is to forget. So, that is what he did. Kaiba began to forget Kiseira completely.
Mokuba never tried to bring up the girl as a topic any longer because it led to more silent responses. Instead, he stayed away from his brother more and more because he wanted to remember the girl who had come here and put a smile on all their faces.
And, as usual, Kaiba turned toward work as a way to hide from the real world. There were plenty of nights he stayed late trying to get pieces of work completed that were not very important. His brother said nothing. Instead, he just watched his brother slowly becoming more machine-like. Seto was worse than he was before Kiseira. At that moment, Mokuba, too, wished she had never come.
School was something the Kaibas had to think of once more. It would be a welcome relief and an aid in ridding the memory of Kiseira forever. However, going to school meant Mokuba would not be at home to help take care of the child. But, the fear of who would take care of Metsukiao during the day vanished.
There was a phone call one night, and after it, Kaiba had gruffly told Mokuba to say goodbye to the child.
"You should, too." Mokuba went upstairs.
It was far later in the night that Kaiba went to stand by the crib. What he said to the sleeping baby remained silent, for he did not dare speak aloud for fear tears might fall. Never had they fallen yet, and he wanted to keep it that way.
It was probably best that Lai was getting Metsukiao. Kaiba could never look at her without seeing Kiseira. After a small brush of her black hair, Kaiba silently left the room.
The next day, Lai came to pick up the child. Kaiba let Mokuba deal with it.
The man still came and tried to speak with him, but the CEO was hardly cooperative. All he did during the time was continue working.
Lai explained that he had allowed Kiseira into the circle and that he was sorry. Kaiba said nothing. He did not allow himself to think of that night.
Sighing, Lai looked away from the young man's bruised and battered face as he continued, "I know it helps to talk. I've been there. But maybe you don't want me comparing myself to you."
Mokuba arrived with the baby, and Lai's pale blue eyes lit up. He stood to receive her and all the supplies were being packed away as well. Nothing was to remain behind in the house.
He hesitated. "I suppose, now, that she means to you exactly what she means to me. I could let her stay here. I owe you."
Mokuba took a sudden inhale as he looked at his older brother. Lai was also gazing at him trying to hold in his own desires.
Kaiba looked directly at Lai. "Take her away and never let her know she spent time with us."
There was a silence, though Mokuba's eyes filled up and he left.
"If that's what you want," Lai said eventually, scooping up Metsukiao. The butler showed him to the door.
Mokuba was not happy. It was worse than that night on the stairs. When the short kid confronted his brother, he was calm and sincere. "I hate you, Seto."
Kaiba was not surprised, so he moved past to go to his room.
Astonished, Mokuba swiveled around to look at his older brother. Kaiba's lack of answer just made Mokuba more furious. The boy watched his brother leave, and then he went to his own room and locked the door.
The dreams were back to haunt him that night. He did not see Kiseira, for he was truly forgetting her, but a Blue-Eyes White Dragon. Its eyes were incredibly sad as it looked down at something around its neck.
One of the necklaces that the brothers both wore was there. It was open to the grinning picture of Mokuba, and the Blue-Eyes looked from the boy to him. It was obvious what was meant. What was left to him was scantily little. It was best to protect what was there before nothing remained.
Kaiba was in his brother's room the next morning as he woke up. The boy was startled to see him sitting there, but he guessed it was easy to pick the lock. Then, ignoring his older brother, Mokuba got out of bed and headed to the door.
"What?" he asked angrily without turning around.
Closing his eyes, Kaiba took a deep breath. "I want you to know that the feeling isn't mutual. And I didn't mean to break my promise."
The boy glanced back. "You already explained that if you had a good reason, you wouldn't listen to it anyway. And you had a good reason."
Right then, Kaiba was not certain that it was one. When he had gone, nothing had changed, except he was a lot sorer. But thinking about that was a faint memory of her, so he stopped.
"I won't let anything happen to you, Mokuba. That's my promise."
The adolescent fully turned around, the wrath out of his face. His mournful look was almost worse.
"Then I will take care of you, Seto." The boy went back over to his brother and hugged him. "If you would let me."
A trace of a smile was on Kaiba's face. "You've already been doing that well."
Over a month had gone by when Kaiba discovered something he had to do. He could not recall exactly why he had wanted it, but he did know who it belonged to. The CEO had to return something to a certain person. Kaiba did not touch the object, but left it in the bag and walked over to the game shop. Fortunately, Yugi and his friends were somewhere else in the store, and Yugi's grandfather agreed to return it to the boy. Kaiba left as the man was walking in to the group of friends right then.
That was all, then. The memory-stirring Rod was back where it belonged. Just in time to be taken that night, as well…
Author's Note: Now, before doing anything else, post me a review with your true feelings, please! Then come back and finish my note.
Thanks so much for sticking around for the entire story everyone! I really appreciate all reviews and am constantly trying to improve my writing.
I set it up for the beginning of the Egyptian Arc, which starts with the Spirit of the Millenium Ring taking back the Ring from Yugi. (Don't ask how the Spirit could be present in Bakura if the Ring was with Yugi. I don't know; I've only seen pictures and read about the plot online.) Also, I tried to keep the plot parallel to what it was in Egypt before. The role of Kisara saving Seto and Seto saving her a couple times were from that, as well as Kisara wanting to protect Seto.