A/N: I do not own Yu-gi-oh… if I did… let's not even go there…
I know this has been a long time coming, but it is quite long, so I hope that makes up for the delay a bit. I also had to sort out my plot before I went ahead, this story is moving quickly. I must also warn you that things are not what they appear to be. I will be mixing it all up quite a bit, I won't give the plot away, but be warned—if you think this will be a repeat of the first story you will be mistaken. I will be quite original…promise!
Thank you for the continuing support…if any fans for this story still exist. Please read and review—let me know if you want to see this continued.
No Where to Hide
The heat from the bath water was finally beginning to soothe Serenity's aching muscles, as well as the pain behind her eyes. Seto hadn't provided many answers for her; he did tell her that Tristan was released on some plea bargain deal. It made her skin crawl to think of him walking freely through Domino.
Lifting the sponge, she squirted a hefty load of scented bath gel on it. After she worked it into a thick foam, she traced it down her battered arms, all the while wincing at the bruising. That guy had been some piece of work; did he take classes on how to hurt a girl in all the right places? Her upper, as well as her lower, arms were freckled with bruising—some of it light and some darkening with time. At least the police had documented why she had assaulted the man, it hadn't been because she was in some deranged rage.
Leaning back in the tub, she sighed and closed her eyes. It had been a lousy day. The knock on the bathroom door startled her slightly, but she still called out to see who it was.
"Are you all right in there?" Seto asked in a concerned voice.
"Fine, just enjoying the warm water." She explained through the closed door.
She heard the doorknob turn, but didn't flinch as he entered the room. The bubbles covered her more than adequately. He sat on the ledge of the tub and stroked his fingers through the water in a minor attempt to get the bubbles to part. Serenity opened one eye and smiled at him. His sleeves were rolled up to his elbows, his tie had been discarded, and the top buttons of his shirt were open. This was Seto Kaiba attempting to relax. He looked amazing.
"I don't recall inviting you in," she chastised in a mocking tone.
"I seldom wait for invitations," He explained. "If I waited opportunities could pass me by." His fingers continued to trail through the water. Seeing her in this setting was calming him considerably. A few short hours ago she had seemed so small and lost, and the handcuffs had almost driven him mad. Lifting one of her wrists, he examined the assorted contusions and scratches. Gentle fingers stroked her skin. A soft sigh caused him to lift his eyes and see the tenderness in her features. "Falling asleep in a tub could be dangerous."
"You taking me out of the tub could be even more dangerous than drowning Seto," she giggled, her eyes closed.
"Do you think I would act improperly after all you've been through today?" He asked as the bubbles began to fade even more.
"You wouldn't be Seto Kaiba if you didn't try." She sighed. She loved him so completely.
He stood, causing her eyes to flutter open. A fluffy robe was hanging on a nearby hook and he snatched it. Holding it open, his azure eyes closed, "Before you become water logged, maybe you should get out. I won't peek—scout's honor…"
Serenity frowned. She knew eventually they would have no secrets. She was going to be his wife, would it be so awful to just stand, slip into the robe and be in his arms? Standing, she smiled as the bubbles slid off her body and plopped back into the tub. Stepping out, she slid into the open terrycloth.
"So trusting…" He mumbled as he closed the robe around her, wrapping his arms around her as he did. "You should know I was never a scout."
Serenity leaned back against him, "That's alright, I prefer bad boys."
He bent and slipped an arm under her knees, and one behind her back. Serenity hugged his neck as he carried her, like a child to the bed. "Will you ever get tired of carrying me?" She asked, recalling their adventure in the rain all those months ago.
"I don't believe I will ever tire of it." He explained as he sat her on his bed.
Serenity leaned over and picked up her bag, rummaging through it, she retrieved her comb. Her hair was in tangles.
"I can handle this," she said as she pulled and grunted, but was silenced with a long gentle kiss.
"I do owe you an apology," he mumbled as he pulled back to watch her. "I knew about Taylor and I didn't inform you. I wanted your opening to go flawlessly and I thought if I just put some men on you secretly and kept you in the dark…" The comb stopped. "If I would have warned you none of this would have happened."
"It's okay Seto," she shrugged. "I thought I would be angry, but it isn't worth it. Besides, you did get me out of jail—which was very nice of you." She rolled her eyes and giggled slightly. It seemed as if the whole event was a distant nightmare, a bad dream he had chased away. Seto usually chased away the things that frightened her most.
The comb began to sort the knots again.
"Stay with me Serenity," He asked, his warm breath on her ear. "Stay here, not because you're afraid, or because your safety is an issue—stay because you want to."
Tilting her head, she placed the comb on the bed next to her. There was no doubt in her mind what he was asking. Yes, she had shared his home and his bed many times, stopping short of becoming his on many occasions and driving them both to the brink of complete frustration. Her fingers, instinctively, slid to the ring on her necklace—wrapping around it and pressing it to her heart.
It wasn't supposed to have happened this way, she had been waiting for the opening of the gallery to tell him she would take his name and be his wife. They had been through so much, and yes, at first it had been hard. In fact, it was still hard. He was still Seto Kaiba.
Nodding, she looked up at him. "I'll stay because I love you."
"Like hell you will!" Joey's voice boomed into the room. There was his little sister in a robe on a bed with a man he still detested.
"Find the doggie door, did you?" Kaiba quipped as he stood.
"Son of a—," Joey growled as he lunged towards the smug CEO. Thankfully Mai was behind him and grabbed at Joey's collar.
"Seriously! The two of you should have learned some type of maturity by now!" Mai growled at the testosterone driven boys.
"Where are your clothes Serenity?" Joey asked through clenched teeth.
"I took them off when I took a bath," Serenity explained calmly. "I told you I was in a holding cell. I also told you I was in pretty bad shape—I wanted to relax and just…"
"So you took a bath with him?" Joey accused, his eyes widening as steam practically poured from his ears.
"You really are stupid Wheeler, does it look like I took a bath?" Kaiba asked calmly.
"You could have changed," Joey fumed.
Mai shook her head and rolled her eyes again, "I hardly think they did anything like that—or intend to." She walked over to the bed and sat down next to Serenity, "Are you feeling better?" She asked as she took the comb from the bed and finished detangling the rest of the Serenity's hair.
Serenity nodded, "Seto's attorney assured me I would be fine. Since that man assaulted me first—there is no way a judge would come down hard on me because I was struggling to free myself. It was a defensive move on my part." She looked up at Seto, who was still glaring at her brother. How would she tell Joey she intended on staying here? The truth was—she had no intention of leaving the mansion to go back to her room at Joey and Mai's place.
"Everything has been taken care of." Seto confirmed.
"Then I'll be taking my sister and leaving." It was a flat statement. There was no room for arguments.
"She's a big girl, if she chooses to stay—I'm all for it." Mai hugged Serenity from behind and then stood up, moving closer to Joey.
"Like hell she'll stay here. They aren't married—heck, they aren't even engaged." Joey growled. "What makes you think he won't take advantage of her and then toss her out once he's done?"
Kaiba's eyes glowed red as he moved around the bed, ready to throttle Joey. Serenity quickly stood up and placed her hands firmly on Seto's chest, stopping him in his tracks. Shaking her head and giving him imploring looks.
"Fighting won't solve anything Seto." Serenity, once sure Seto was calm enough to turn her back on him, glanced over at her brother and smiled. "Joey, I'm twenty-one, technically I'm an adult and can do what I want. What I want is to stay here, I might as well get used to it, seeing as I will be his wife." She turned back to look up at Seto, but found he was already looking down at her.
"You're accepting?" He asked in a quiet tone, devoid of emotion.
"Geez," she mumbled, "can't you believe I finally came to my senses?"
"Came to your senses?" Joey squawked, "More like—lost your mind!"
Mai grabbed Joey's arm and started tugging him from the room. "I think they need time alone, say congratulations Joey…and let's wait downstairs." It was a struggle, and Joey said many words, none sounded like 'congratulations'.
When the door clicked shut, Serenity let out a breath she had been holding.
"Well?" Kaiba asked, sounding reverent.
"If you still want me, I would love to be your wife." Serenity explained, as a tear slipped down her cheek.
Gently, softly, Kaiba reached out and wiped the tear with his thumb. He then cupped her cheek and tilted her face up to him. "I don't think I've ever waited this patiently before."
Serenity placed her hand on top of his and pressed it tighter against her cheek, "I intended to tell you the night of the gallery opening. I wanted to make it special and perfect and…"
Seto claimed her mouth, catching her whisper with his lips. The taste of her sigh, the scent of her body, the magic of her acceptance. Nothing compared with that particular moment in time. He loved her, probably had started loving her at the motel all those months ago. Losing her had never been an option, but had almost been a reality several times. He had chased her to New York, kidnapped her, and then allowed her to take her time coming to him. Now, here she was, in his arms—safe for the moment. The world would constantly try to invade, but she would be his.
Lips parted as the kiss deepened. The familiar taste of coffee quickly invaded her mouth. He was her creature of habit now. Battling for dominance, she quickly surrendered and allowed him to explore and plunder her mouth completely. A satisfied growl made a sensual shiver race across her skin. His arms wrapped around her slim waist as he hauled her up against his body, stealing the breath from her lungs. Realization settled in, she was no longer standing, but floating in his arms—their world had gotten smaller. It was now to be her and him and Mokuba here in this house. Pulling back, she looked into the eyes of her future husband—smaller? No, bigger was more like it. Because as much as Mokuba would be her brother, Joey would be his. It brought a smile to her lips, though she would keep her thoughts private for this instant.
"Can we get rid of that ridiculous necklace now?" Seto asked as he nuzzled her neck, dragging his teeth across her skin. She nodded. He released her and placed her gently back on the ground. Serenity struggled to breathe as he slipped his hands around her neck and unclasped the chain, which held her prized possession.
"Are you sure?" He asked in a whisper, as he let the ring fall into his hand.
She nodded enthusiastically, tears evident in her honey colored eyes. Holding up her left hand, he took the ring and slipped it on her finger gently.
"I suppose it's all official now," he smirked, as he pressed a kiss to the back of her left hand. "I'll hold you to your promise, from now on you'll never be rid of me." He moved to kiss her, but she pressed a finger over his lips.
"Do you promise?" She asked, a smiled on her face as more tears slipped down her cheeks. "Because I'll be very annoyed if you ever leave me."
"I'll be with you until you beg for my absence, even then, you should know—if you run away I will be on your heels. I have no problems kidnapping you again." He shrugged and then stood before her, smugly.
Quirking an eyebrow, she regarded him. So beautiful and perfect and all hers
"Well, then I guess my plans for racing off to some far city will have to be put on hold…for now." Serenity stared at the ring that now decorated her finger—it had never been on her before. Only her neck had been graced with the blue diamond, and then it had been on a chain.
"I never said you couldn't race off," he explained as he circled her, then wrapped his arms around her waist as he tugged her back to rest against his chest. "You just have to take me with you."
"I suppose you have a date in mind?" Serenity asked as her hands settled on his arms, her head resting back on him.
"Naturally I want to do this as quickly as possible, especially since you could be in danger. I can provide you with more protection as my wife." He said in a matter-of-fact tone. "We can have a quick civil ceremony, or an elopement if you prefer."
Serenity felt downtrodden suddenly, "I always saw myself in a white gown in a church with a big reception. Lots of flowers, bridesmaids, going insane over invitations and writing my vows. I suppose I won't get the fairytale." An ache developed deep inside of her in that moment.
"I love you Serenity," Seto sighed deeply. "If you want the fairytale I'll do my best to deliver it. Money can be an asset at times. You can have the main dining room decorated to your heart's desire and I suppose we can have the ceremony on the back balcony. I have servants to help pull it together and my connections will come in very handy. We just need to do this quickly—I waited so long for you to say yes, and now that you have…" He squeezed her tighter.
She nodded, she had kept him waiting for a long time, and now that Tristan was on the loose—it was in her best interest to be Seto's wife.
"I don't want to step on Joey and Mai's plans, I don't want their day to be eclipsed with ours. Maybe we should have something simple for now—and then we can have a large reception at a later date. Would that be okay?" She turned in his arms and looked up at him. "I told you what I wanted in a wedding, what do you want Seto?"
"To make you mine." He explained simply.
"There was no way we could keep the girl in custody, not when there were no real charges to press against her." The voice on the phone explained to Taylor Senior. "She pled self defense and Seto Kaiba had one of his high powered attorneys yank her out of here post haste. Honestly, the precinct will be lucky if it isn't slapped with a lawsuit."
"I don't like it when my bidding isn't done correctly. Damn that little red-headed brat." The older man fumed. "I suppose my son is already trying to get access to her."
"That was why she was running, at least that is what it says in the reports. She was running from Tristan Taylor, when caught by an individual and thusly she assaulted said individual when the man refused to release her." The voice explained.
"This is ridiculous, I put my best men on this—and it gets screwed up? Who do I have to pay off now?" He fumed. "Unfortunately my son never did get a backbone. Where is he anyway?"
"The last I was informed, he was back at the mansion. He's hell bent on seeing the girl, but that will be decidedly more difficult now that she is in Kaiba's mansion. Security there is tight."
Taylor senior snorted, "Tight, but not impenetrable. You forget, I'm influential as well, and anything Seto Kaiba knows—I know too. The girl isn't safe anywhere, and she can't hide indoors forever. She has very public places to be—a gallery to open, a wedding to attend, a masquerade ball to make an appearance at. She is wide open for the snatching. Don't screw this up or I swear…"
"We won't fail you again, Sir." The line went dead as Taylor Senior slapped his attorney's phone shut.
His attorney sat there shaking his head. "You know you're playing a dangerous game?"
Taylor shrugged, "I already, supposedly, have life in prison to face. If I gave up my freedom for my son—he will damn well obey me and do what he's told. I have a feeling that if I hold his heart's desire in peril—Tristan will be a good boy. Don't you agree?" The cold sound of his voice and the blank expression on his face left no doubts that he was a lethal man.
"It will be most difficult to pull strings from behind bars," his attorney explained as he put his phone in his breast pocket.
Taylor smiled smugly, "That is why I have paid employees in the most amazing places. I also am optimistic. You see—I did place myself at the mercy of the court in order to save my son. How noble of me. Don't you agree?"
The attorney nodded, even as he likened Taylor to Satan on Earth.
"Oh, my faithful, but blind, representative, even now my special force is destroying evidence and making a mockery of the court system so many place their faith in. When new evidence turns up—and trust me, I have it from a good source that new evidence will turn up. Your justice system will have no choice but to free me."
Blinking rapidly, the attorney could feel his hands shaking. "There are witnesses who saw you kill Max." It was a flat statement; words he wished he could pull right back into his mouth and swallow. Did he have his own death wish? Why would he question this psycho?
"No one saw the deed committed. Seto Kaiba was chained to the wall after the deed was done, and Wheeler was ushered in to see the remains a short time later. No one saw the 'atrocity' committed. Yes, the body was in the room, but I have no knowledge of how it got there. All a matter of timing…" Taylor sighed wistfully and smiled sickly.
"You still have the attempted rape and kidnapping charges. Not even to mention the attempt at corporate espionage." The attorney rifled through his papers. Could this man be serious about being released? It wasn't possible. Everything was iron clad and this monster had to stay behind bars—away from society. He was a…
Maniacal laughter filled the room. "You look scared my friend," Taylor smiled. "I know all about the other charges, and they bore me. First of all the rare hunters were after the device Kaiba Corp. had been working on, I had no hand in the kidnapping—once again—rare hunters, and as for the red-head, well, let's just say she isn't worth my time. I think she misread my intentions, and she has a propensity for violence it seems. She is developing a pattern, even now. Do you know she was arrested for assaulting a poor innocent man? If she keeps assaulting people the court will see that she has a vivid imagination and I was merely trying to defend myself from her onslaught. Besides, the rare hunters were not pay rolled through me—they had me at their mercy as well. I did what I had to do for fear that if I didn't—my son would pay the consequences."
The attorney's blood ran cold. It could be done. A few corrupt officials, paid off judges, planted evidence, contrived run-ins to prove Serenity Wheeler was out of control… Could this man beat his own sentence—even after pleading guilty? Hell, he could do it and come out as a martyr. Pleading guilty to save his son from hell, the papers would have a field day—the man would almost be elevated to hero status. This was sick and twisted and…
Grabbing his attorney's wrist, he squeezed tightly. "I hope you don't intend to go running off in an effort to save anyone. That would displease me immensely. Heck, Max was my best man—when he tried to cross me… Well, let's just say it took many body bags to retrieve all of the pieces."
Sweat trickled down his attorney's spine. This man was an utter monster.
"So, don't try playing hero to my villain role—you won't win and I will destroy your world." Releasing the man's hand, Taylor sat back and examined his nails. "Now, let's say—same time in two days? Oh and be a dear and bring the phone again."
The attorney rose, on shaking legs, and made his way to the door. Taking one last look, Taylor waved at the man. All thoughts of reporting anything flew out the window. Not that anything he reported could be used. Client—attorney confidentiality was a golden rule in law. Anything he said would be tossed from the roof of the courthouse. He looked at his watch as he strode through the prison halls. Freedom was precious, as was his family and his friends. Taylor was the most dangerous man he had ever represented. Funny, it hadn't even been his choice.
"I was so close, so close…" Tristan complained to no one as he drove through Domino. Serenity and Mai had walked to the park, alone. It had been so easy. All he had to do was approach her. When she left Mai's side—it had become even simpler. Until she spied him and began to run.
She seemed terrified of him, why? He wasn't like his father. How come she ran off? She should have been thrilled to see him, heck, she had loved him at one point. Was it all over? Completely? It couldn't be. He would never accept that.
Turning down another road, he noticed the Kaiba Corp. building in the distance. It was all Seto Kaiba's fault. Hadn't he been the one who was a jerk for all those years? Constantly forcing Yugi to duel him, always making fun of Joey? Could it be that now they all were on the same side? He just couldn't see it.
Once he explained to Serenity how he didn't know what his father was doing, well—technically he did. However, it was never his intention to kill Seto Kaiba, he only wanted to master the skills at dueling Kaiba had. It was innocent and simple. Sure, his father wanted him to cheat (using Seto Kaiba's latest invention), but he had been trying to do things the old fashion way. Max had been teaching him as had the other rare hunters. Unfortunately, he wasn't as cunning at duel monsters as Yugi, Kaiba or Joey were.
He would go to the masquerade ball and her gallery opening. There had to be some way to get to Serenity—to make her see. Once she listened to reason he could set this all right. He would get her back, and Seto Kaiba would be history.