Ryou'd brought his current project with him to the Game Shop when Yami demanded he come to join the others, including Kaiba, who had to be here just to pay off some sort of bet. The CEO seemed to have made the same decision he had, bringing his laptop to work on, the way Ryou'd brought an experiment he was doing, trying to design a puzzle similar to the Millennium Puzzle, only without the magic and carved from wood, rather than cast from gold and the bodies and souls of 99 people. He'd already carved copies of the Millennium Ring, Eye, Rod, Key and Tauk as well as some parts for the Scales, just not the thin chains that held the pans, which didn't actually require too much in the way of thought. Bakura'd come along because he knew that the Ishtars would be there, and the three of them were plotting something, probably a prank rather than anything dangerous. The two Game Kings were playing Duel Monsters against each other, with the others just playing audience...since they weren't bothering with duel disks or anything and they didn't even have any interesting stakes it was pretty boring to watch in Ryou's opinion, he'd rather work on his puzzle and he wondered why he'd been invited.
-The same reason everyone was invited...so Pharaoh no baka could have a nice appreciative audience. Can you think of a good reason for knowing about The Foxhole?-
:Youko, Ragnarok Online.:
:Yes, should I volunteer to get passes:
-See how it goes Yadonushi-sama.-
"What's it like having a hikari that's actually innocent Bakura?" Marik's voice was loud enough for the whole room to hear.
"Blood innocent you mean." Ryou spoke absently, more focused on carving the raised eye of Horus on the key piece to the Puzzle than on the conversation. "Don't think even Yugi's a sexual innocent anymore."
"Oh I don't know about that. Judging from the blush our little Pharaoh's sporting I'd say they're both sexual innocents." Malik was still bearing a bit of a grudge for the whole 'carve the Nameless Pharaoh's memories on the Tomb Keeper's back' thing, and it showed.
"Unlikely. No matter how young he was when he took the throne he'd have been required to marry - even if it was in name only. And he was certainly old enough to be sexually active when he died." Bakura's off-hand explanation sounded almost like something his father would say, something Ryou was tempted to laugh at.
"But we all know he can't remember anything from back then."
"I am not innocent, in any way." Yami's outburst was so distracting that Ryou had to put his carving aside, to keep from messing it up. He looked up to find Yami standing, red with a mix of embarrassment and anger, hands clenched into fists at his side, and everyone else staring at him.
"Care to prove that, Yami?" Kaiba's voice was smoothly confident, Ryou could tell he was jumping at the hint of weakness.
"How could we prove something like that Kaiba-kun?" Now Yugi was getting in on the act.
"Go to a club with lots of witnesses perhaps? Bakura-sama, didn't Youko mention he was opening a club called The Foxhole here in Domino City when he e-mailed us to explain why he couldn't get online with us for a while?"
"The Foxhole...that's the new BDSM club isn't it? You two know the manager?" Of course Marik would know what sort of place The Foxhole was.
"Online with you?" And Jounouchi would be confused about what Ryou was referring to.
"Youko took his online name from a legendary kitsune, you do the math." Bakura didn't explicitly tell Marik who Youko was on the scene, but if Marik had the right connections he'd know.
"There's a MMORPG called Ragnarok Online, I've taken up playing it with Bakura-sama since I learned that no one will play table-top RPGs with me anymore." There was absolutely no hint of accusation in Ryou's voice, there didn't need to be. "We play as a Priest and an Assassin. Youko's another Assassin who sometimes joins us. In Rune-Midgard, the 'world' the game takes place in a Thief who gains enough experience becomes an Assassin."
"Stupid mortals. The skills aren't the same."
"Please Bakura-sama, not now."
"All right Yadonushi." The spirit laughed. "So Pharaoh, are you willing to prove your words by visiting The Foxhole, and trying not to be spotted as a tourist?"
"And will you try to pass as a dom, or a sub?"
"More fun to let chance decide that, don't you think Marik?"
"You're assuming that there's anyone but you interested in going Bakura-sama."
-As if you aren't Yadonushi-sama.- Bakura smirked at Ryou's words. "Well, who's willing to play?" Within a minute Kaiba was the only one who hadn't agreed. Ryou picked up a sheet of paper and began cutting it into 16 equal pieces while he waited.
"I couldn't afford to be recognised at a place like that." From Kaiba's tone it sounded as if he could be persuaded...
"Then wear a mask or something. It's acceptable for doms and subs."
"Five doms and five subs then? So we can go in pairs as an excuse to ward off any unwanted attention?" Ryou was already writing the letters 'D' and 'S' on five pieces of paper each. :The sub pieces are marked with Shadow Magic.: Albeit a very subtle hint of it. "Malik-kun, if you've got a small bag on you," and he did, the Egyptian hikari still carried his money around in a belt purse, "could you empty it out, fold the slips and put them in there for everyone to pick a slip. They don't all have to be folded identically, but don't make it so you can tell what a slip is from how it's folded. If you get a blank just put it back in." Everyone gaped at him for a few moments, but Malik moved to obey when Bakura glared at him. "It didn't look as if anyone else was going to get organised any time soon."
"You want to do this?" Jounouchi sounded confused, Ryou couldn't blame him.
"I've learned it's easier not to fight my yami's whims - especially not when they're as harmless as this one. Pass me the bag so I can draw please Malik-kun." Ryou smiled at the blond, and he obeyed wordlessly. The first slip Ryou drew out was blank, and he showed it to everyone "So you know it really is blank." before putting it back into the bag. Then he drew out a piece marked with a 'D'. "So I'm supposed to play dom. Bakura-sama, do you want to try next?"
"No, let the Pharaoh and his midget pick first. Unless you're scared that is?" That was enough to have Yami snatching the bag almost defiantly, and putting his hand in. There was a flicker of a strange look on his face for a second, but it quickly disappeared, and he pulled a slip out, opening it - and paling ever so slightly when he read it.
"If you got a blank you have to show it around." Marik's comment seemed to strengthen Yami's spine.
"How dare you insinuate that I would cheat." He slapped his slip down on the table in front of him, letting everyone see that he was supposed to be sub. "Aibou, here." He handed the bag over to Yugi, who drew out two blanks before he got a dom slip.
"My turn now." Marik pulled the bag out of Yugi's hand, taking his own slip out quickly, too quickly to notice the Shadow Magic, laughing so hard he ended up on the floor when he saw that he was supposed to submit. Bakura was the only one willing to get close enough to take the bag from him, pulling out his sub slip without hesitation, but not saying anything, just sitting down and looking at it, eyes unreadable to anyone but Ryou. Malik got his dom slip first try, Seto pulled out two blanks before he got a sub slip - proving that he certainly wasn't aware of the magic involved. As the bag got near to empty more blanks were being pulled out before people got their assignment. Honda pulled out five blanks before he got the final sub slip.
"Don't bother girl. Dom's all that's left."
"You got sub as well Tomb Robber. That had to be fixed somehow!" Yami started to rant, glaring accusingly at Bakura and both Ishtars.
"Yami-san, the only two people who had the chance to 'fix' the results were myself and Malik-kun. I'm flattered that you think I could cast such a subtle and elaborate spell without you noticing, but really, how plausible is that?"
"It's funny as hell, but I didn't know Marik was going to react like that - you really think I'd risk it?" Their reasonable words seemed to calm Yami down, a bit anyway.
"We could make it into a game, perhaps. Go in as pairs, hikari and yami, last pair to be recognised as tourists wins."
"What sort of stakes?"
"Winning pair each take one card from the decks of each of the losing pairs, so if you won you'd get a card of your choice from Yami-san and Bakura-sama's decks, and Malik-kun would get cards from my and Yugi-kun's decks."
"No God cards." Yami seemed to be getting into this now...he'd probably be perfectly willing to submit to Yugi, but no one else. Still, there was no way he'd be able to win.
"If more than one pair lasts to the end of the night the pair that's taken most risks wins." -And we'll do a scene, so you can get passes Yadonushi-sama.-
"Put my Blue Eyes White Dragons in the same class as the God cards and I want in on the game - that's if you think you're up for it mutt."
"Sure I'm up to it. As long as you make it worth my while."
"Definitely. I'll pay the cover charge for all of us then."
"No need, I can get us passes. Save us the bother of hanging around in the queues. But you could arrange for transport to get us there and back."
"I don't want to be recognised, so...lending a limo to one of you would work."
"The mutt. If you're going to have him play your dom you have to show him some trust." Bakura could be so cruel, Ryou hated it, except for the part of him that was Wraith.
"You'll all need to agree on what's acceptable and what isn't before we go, and it'll take some time to get costumes together, so, say...three weeks from today?" Ryou knew that the others were a bit shocked at his apparent knowledge of the scene, but Bakura's smirk kept them from saying anything.
"Get there at seven, leave at midnight?"
"Meet at my house an hour beforehand. Agreed? Mutt, come see me sometime tomorrow." And with that Kaiba left.
Seto paced, cursing his decision to enter the 'game' Ryou had come up with on the spot the night before, with the mutt as his partner - but the mutt was better than the only other option. Anzu...any female...was too much like the whore Gozaburo had given him on his thirteenth birthday, as a 'reward' for the lie he'd used to excuse his nightly visits to Mokuba. And he hadn't been able to resist the idea of beating Yami at something.
He'd left orders for the mutt to be brought straight up to him when he arrived. By the time he did it was the middle of the afternoon, and Seto was beginning to wonder if he'd come at all - and why he hadn't started making plans for this game himself.
"Hello bastard." The insult sounded like habit by now, just like mutt did.
"Mutt. What took you so long?"
"I needed to do a bit of research. Unless you've got information about this sort of thing lying around?" Seto hadn't even thought about that.
"If I do I don't know where it is. If we do better than Yami in this game, but don't win I'll give you any three cards in my collection besides my Blue Eyes White Dragons. If we win I'll give you any ten cards. Acceptable?"
"I can't think of ten cards I want off the top of my head. We win, you help me pick those ten cards...agreed?" Was that a genuine request, or just a counter-offer for form's sake? It didn't matter, in a way it was a compliment, annoying as it was. And it impressed Seto that the mutt would either come up with a counter-offer so quickly, instead of just accepting his own offer, or be willing to learn from someone he hated.
"Agreed. Now, what did you come up with in this research of yours?" He wasn't expecting too much from the mutt. So he was surprised at the book the blond pulled from his bag, page already marked.
"Costumes first..." The mutt was opening the book as he spoke; Seto had to make something clear.
"I'll pay for both of our costumes, and I'll give you money to pay for drinks before we go out. You can keep whatever's left over whether we win or lose."
"Thanks. In that case I'll be wearing black leather pants and boots, and a black silk shirt. For you I thought something a bit like this, but better quality, and perhaps closer fitting. And the headcloth should be gauze or something like that." The picture was of a woman from one of the more fundamentalist Muslim countries, loose black pants and tunic, both too baggy to really see her figure, and a length of black cloth wrapped around her head, hiding all but a strip of her face around her eyes.
"I'll give you some money for your costume, this..." Seto wasn't sure what to say about the suggestion. Was it some sort of subtle insult, implying that he was weak in some way? Or was it something else?
"You don't want to be recognised, and from the way you dress I guess you don't want to show too much of your flesh. Well, this works for both. It could look kinda sexy I guess, done right. But it's certainly exotic, and it gives an excuse to hide your face and covers you up the way you like. You do know you can't wear that necklace you've always got on don't you?"
"Of course!" Did the mutt think he was stupid?
"Sorry, just you might be so used to wearing it that you forget you've got it on." Another unexpected insight from someone who often seemed determinedly unobservant. "That happens sometimes. I figure you'll need a padded bra, something to keep your family jewels out of the way, and a wig - any colour but brown." Another separation from his real identity. "Got a copy of the house rules from The Foxhole too, all subs and slaves are required to wear a collar," Seto shivered, he couldn't stand to wear a dog collar again, or anything similar, "and there's a number of different types suggested. You want to take a look through it?"
"Yes." Perhaps there'd be something there he could stand. If he had to back out without even playing...one suggestion was a fine chain with a heavy pendant that hung where a sub's collarbones met. "This will work. I'll get something suitable. No leash." It wasn't required by the house rules.
"Not an issue." Seto hadn't remembered that the mutt had his own issues with that sort of thing. "We've covered costumes, and what I get out of this. Now don't we need to decide what's acceptable behaviour?"
"No restraints." That was the first thing that came to mind, even if he was pretending to be someone else Seto didn't want to feel vulnerable that way. Looking through the booklet advertising The Foxhole's amenities and stating the house rules something else came to mind when he saw the mention of a 'punishment area'. "And no public 'punishment' either."
"I'd probably give us away if I tried anything like that. But you can't be so...you've got to let me touch you without hitting me or pushing me away unless you want to give us away."
"We'll have to practise that then." Seto hated acknowledging that, the mutt was seeing things he didn't want him to. "Do you think I can get away with rejecting anyone else's touch?"
"The first couple of times let me do it for you. I'll say I don't let anyone else touch you without my permission. Then you can do it yourself. Keeping quiet should be easy for you?" Seto nodded, in social situations he rarely started conversations himself, and with Gozaburo...
"Speak when spoken to then?" Seto was getting the uncomfortable feeling that if he wanted to do this he'd need to bring out all the lessons he'd learned from Gozaburo, and put them to use. But he wasn't going to back out now. He refused to let anyone see him as weak. In any way.
"Yes, or given permission to speak - guess we can arrange some sort of cue for you to ask permission to speak, but you'll have to be polite and respectful." The faintly mocking smile on the mutt's voice told Seto that he didn't believe Seto could do it. He wouldn't have survived Gozaburo if he couldn't put up a show of submission occasionally. Not too often, or he'd have lost interest in Seto, but when he needed his 'father' to think he'd won. He let his gaze fall to the table between them, a very faint smile on his face.
"I can be polite, when I choose to Jounouchi-san." Then he looked back up at the mutt, knowing that his expression was the one he wore when he was winning at Duel Monsters. "I just don't see any reason to bother with it around Yugi and his groupies."
"That a compliment, or an insult? I figure it'd be in character for me to grope and manhandle you at the club - can you handle that?" Seto blinked in shock, he hadn't expected anyone, let alone the mutt to realise what a display of trust it was for him to allow himself to be childish and rude around the Game Kings' friends.
"Practice again mutt. I'll work out a schedule, and give it to you tomorrow." Where could he take the time from safely? He wasn't giving up Mokuba, but perhaps...
"What if your schedule doesn't work for me bastard?"
"If you have outside obligations then tell me about them." Highly unlikely Seto thought. It wasn't as if the mutt had any...
"A part time job, fixing cars. But I don't have permission from school, so I can't let anyone find out. I know my friends wouldn't deliberately betray me, but didn't someone say two can keep a secret if one of them's dead?" Seto blinked, he wouldn't know, his education had been almost purely in the sciences after Gozaburo adopted him. Still, that sounded more like something he'd say. "The hours aren't exactly predictable either. I usually know the week ahead, but not much more."
"Give me your hours for the next week before you leave then." Perhaps he'd misjudged the mutt a bit, none of the bullies back at the orphanage would have bothered doing something like that.
"Thanks. What else do we need to sort out?"
"I think we need a set of rules for my behaviour as well." It would probably be a lot easier for him to beat Yami if he had a specific set of rules. Seto knew about following rules even if he didn't want to or understand them. Gozaburo's rules hadn't always made sense, and he'd changed them unpredictably sometimes.
"Yeah, I forgot about that. I got a list of suggested rules. Here." He pulled out a few sheets of crumpled paper, blushing faintly as he handed them over to Seto. "I'm sure half of them won't work at all - cut and paste's a wonderful thing. Just pick out whichever ones you think you can deal with for five hours. Then we can argue over them if we have to. I'll write out the rules we've already agreed on."
"Hmm." Seto was already focused on the list the mutt had given him - or rather the lists. Some of the rules were seriously scary - 'the slave will always have something inside him, a butt plug, a dildo, a vibrator, or his Master' for instance, and half of them were repeated in slightly different forms throughout the list, usually in a different font each time. "Have you actually read these?"
"No, just cut and pasted the examples of rules I could find. I didn't have time to do anything else. Told the librarian I was doing a project on abnormal sexuality for extra credit." That might have been more believable if he'd researched anything besides the BDSM scene. "Anything useful?"
"Yes...there are some rules that would work for me." Seto paused before continuing and the mutt seemed to think that was a hint.
"Well here's what we've already got." They'd talked about everything on the list except for one, and Seto had to admit that it would work better if he used feminine speech patterns. "Add what you think you need, then we'll talk after I've read it." The rules Seto added were surprisingly close to some of the rules he'd lived with when Gozaburo was alive, obedience, keeping a properly deferential attitude - eyes cast down and following a few steps behind - kneeling at the mutt's feet when he sat down would be the only unfamiliar thing.
"Two amendments - unless I send you on an errand you'll always be within arms length, and if I want to haul you up into my lap I can."
"Agreed." They'd decided everything important, Seto gave the mutt enough money for his costume, telling him to keep any change before he left.
Yugi kept on touching his neck as he waited to be shown to wherever Kaiba was letting everyone meet, he missed his collar, almost as much as he missed the belts and all the buckles he normally wore on his shirts. Still, his outfit wasn't that different from what he normally wore, black leather from head to toe, but without all the straps and buckles - he'd figured they'd make him look like he wanted or needed to be restrained. And of course he was wearing the Millennium Puzzle, Yami seemed to prefer it that way - Yugi had a vague feeling he should be insulted by that somehow, but he wasn't sure exactly why. Yami was still wearing his collar, and they'd had a small copy of the Millennium Puzzle made to attach as a tag. Besides that Yami was wearing mostly jewellery, armbands and bracelets from his soul room, along with anklets and a white linen kilt.
Yugi was grateful that they weren't the last to arrive; Ryou and Bakura hadn't got there yet. Malik was wearing a white tunic, with a broad purple stripe at each hem, sandals, a purple and crimson toga and a belt with his Millennium Rod and a number of pouches attached to it. Marik was just wearing a loincloth and a white leather collar, showing off the scars on his back. Anzu had found a white dress that looked vaguely like the ones Yami remembered from his time, and she was wearing an elaborately braided wig while Honda was just wearing a pair of black jeans and a black, spiked dog collar. Jounouchi was wearing all black, leather and silk, and Kaiba wasn't there, instead a woman with red hair to her shoulders dressed in black from head to toe, wearing a wolfs head pendant at the base of her throat and carrying a large, thin black scarf sat beside him.
"Has he decided he doesn't want to play after all?" Yami was smiling cruelly...he really shouldn't say things like that.
"You didn't think I was going to risk being recognised, did you Yu-gi-oh?" Hearing Kaiba's voice coming from the woman was such a shock, but looking at him harder Yugi could see that he didn't really look that feminine, it was just what they'd expected to see.
"I don't think you need to worry about that Kaiba-kun. Is Ryou-kun running late?"
"No, you were just all early." There was a weird edge to Ryou's voice, at least...
:Yami, that is Ryou right: The pale teen was wearing a long black hooded cloak, falling open as he pushed the hood back to show the tight black leather beneath it. He didn't normally move that silently, or with such grace.
-It doesn't feel like the Tomb Robber aibou.- Yami smiled at him as he unfastened his cloak, just letting it fall to the floor, revealing the knife at his hip. "So, has the Tomb Robber decided to back out after all Ryou?"
"Wraith. Tonight you can all call me Wraith. You should pick usenames for yourselves as well. And Silver's in the Ring, he didn't really want to walk through Domino City unarmed dressed the way he is." Ryou's hand reached up to stroke the Ring as he spoke. "Silver, come out now."
Bakura looked...incredible, more fragile and feminine than Ryou ever had. He was simply dressed in a white tunic and pants, both so thin Yugi could see through them, and there was a silver collar on his neck, with a tag hanging from the front. There were silver bands on his wrists and ankles and a silver chain at his waist, and his finger and toe nails were all painted silver. His hair was tied in a french braid and he was wearing make-up, silver paint on his eyelids and red on his lips. He didn't look up, or speak, instead he knelt to gather Ryou's cloak and settled on his knees at Ryou's feet when the hikari sat down. He looked up at Ryou, head tilted slightly, and touched his braid.
"Go ahead Silver, I think it's been in long enough to have the effect we wanted." Ryou reached down to stroke Bakura's face as he spoke. Bakura immediately bowed his head again as he began loosening his braid in a strangely seductive manner.
"Tomb Robber, what in Ra's name's wrong with you?" Yami was finally frustrated enough to snap at them. Bakura didn't respond at all, and Ryou smiled at them.
"Silver, you may speak, to answer the question and no more."'
"Yes Master. It's called getting into character - I am a good actor, as you should know."
"That's why we'll probably win. Have you decided on your usenames yet? Dom's names should imply strength, and for subs there's two options, either degrading names like Bitch, or names that imply they're treasured, like I treasure my Silver here. If you choose a degrading name your actions have to live up to it."
"How do you know all of this?" Marik was looking at Ryou and Bakura in total disbelief.
"It's called research pretty demon slave." Ryou's smile was chilling. "Did none of you do any?"
"Hey! We did research."
"Although you seem to have found much better sources." Hearing Kaiba using feminine speech patterns, and changing his voice, lowering it to a husky near-whisper made almost everyone stare at him. "I decided that Silver has a point."
"And what about speak when spoken to my Priestess?"
"Forgive me...Master." Kaiba slid to kneel at Jounouchi's feet, his entire body language changing before their eyes, and he laid a hand on Jounouchi's thigh.
"You called me Priestess?"
"Bakura keeps on calling you Priest, and a female priest...any ideas for me?"
"What about 'Wolf', Master?" Kaiba lifted his hand obviously touching the pendant at his neck.
"I like it - much better than mutt for certain."
"I'm Apollo then, and this is Aku." Malik pulled Marik to his side, forcing his tongue down his yami's throat.
:He's going to take full advantage of this, isn't he mou hitori no boku. Any ideas:
-No, aibou. I can't think of a suitable name for either of us. Can you blame Malik for enjoying the chance to dominate Marik?-
"I'll be Bast then."
"And I'll be her Guardian." Honda stood and moved to stand just behind Anzu, in the classic bodyguard position.
:No I can't.: Everyone was waiting for Yami and Yugi to tell them what to call them. "We can't think of any names."
"I have an idea, Yugi, your name would translate into Latin as Ludos, and Yami, you could be called Puzzle. It would fit with your tag too. By the way Priestess, if you're uncomfortable with using the title Master you could address Wolf with the title 'Lord Wolf', if he doesn't mind."
"Yeah, that's fine by me."
"Very well. We'll use the names you suggested Ryou."
"It's Wraith. And it isn't your choice little darkling. Yugi-kun, do you accept the names I suggested?" Ryou's voice softened on the last sentence, showing none of the near-contempt from addressing Yami.
"Yes, they're fine." Yugi was a bit annoyed that Yami hadn't consulted him before agreeing, but the names Ryou'd suggested would work as well as anything else and there was no point in trying to think of others just because of that.
"Glad to help, Ludos." Ryou paused, shutting his eyes in a visible effort at self-control.
"What aren't you saying...Wraith?" Yugi deliberately used the name Ryou'd told him to, and smiling at him.
"I'm just reminding myself that it's rude to advise another Master on how to discipline his slave without asking. Of course neither you nor Puzzle are in character yet, not really."
"No, we're not. Wraith." How had Ryou managed to goad Yami so effectively in such a short time?
"If you want to stand any chance of winning this game you'll have to be able to put up with a lot more than that pretty Puzzle. Was self-control ever your strong point?"
"We need to get going." Jounouchi was playing the peacemaker, calling for a limo before Yami could respond to Ryou's insinuations. Had Yugi slipped into some alternate world or something? First Bakura acting like the perfect slave, then Ryou almost picking a fight with Yami, and now Jounouchi stopping a fight?
"Yes, we do." Ryou stood, and just glanced at Bakura before he rose as well to put Ryou's cloak around his shoulders, stepping back afterwards, to trail just a step behind his hikari. When they got to the limo Ryou pulled Bakura into his lap, and the spirit seemed perfectly content to go to sleep there.
"Bakura-kun, you shouldn't let-"
"Bast, for the third time, tonight it's Wraith. And no, Silver isn't in any danger from doing this. I'm safely strapped in, and in an emergency I can send Silver back to the Ring with a thought, as long as he's asleep. If he was awake he'd do it himself if he had to."
"Wraith, you shouldn't cut Bast off like that." Jounouchi seemed to be better at remembering Ryou's rules.
"She should learn to remember what my name is for tonight." Ryou's voice was uncompromising. He refused to say anything for the rest of the journey, petting Bakura's hair carefully. Bakura and Kaiba were the only two 'subs' going barefoot, and for some reason that bothered Yugi. But at least the limo took them directly to the entrance of the club, and Ryou skirted the line, leading them directly to the doorman and offering a card to him.
"You and your guests are most welcome Lord Wraith." The doorman knelt and bowed to Ryou, head to the floor, holding the pose until they'd all walked past him. Ryou didn't waste any time staying with the group, only telling them that he'd rely on their honour to admit if they got caught out while no one would hear him.
-It's time Yadonushi-sama.- Ryou reluctantly acknowledged his yami's veiled suggestion.
:Are you still sure you want to do this: He asked as he disengaged from the woman he'd ended up chatting to about RPGs, a touch to Bakura's bowed head the visible cue for him to rise from his kneeling position and follow him to the freestanding platform even now being cleared.
-They'll think this is just a way to win that bet, you know that.- Not that any cards besides the God cards were worth doing this if you didn't get some enjoyment out of it, but that was beside the point. Ryou always loved playing this game with his yami because it was one of the few ways he felt he had any power, any control over his lover, even if he knew that control was an illusion, but he'd never understood what Bakura got out of it. -Especially given the script we came up with.-
:I guess.: Ryou still wasn't convinced of that, but he snapped his fingers and pointed at the table on the platform anyway, smiling as he watched Bakura climb onto the table and kneel obediently in place. His yami deliberately knelt wrong, legs together, sitting back on his heels, hands in his lap, giving Ryou the excuse to position him correctly. But first...
"You are not to respond in any way to this. Do you understand Silver?" The question was a trick, and he paused for a full minute to see if Bakura would fall for it, raising whispers of speculation in the island of silence his clear command had invoked. "You may speak now."
"Yes Master, I understand." Ryou didn't envy Bakura the task of suppressing his inevitable arousal, but if they'd both known he had to if they wanted to keep this a secret - and they did. And now he set to work adjusting his slave's posture, getting into the requisite mindset for this as he folded Bakura's hands at the nape of his neck, pulling him up and back until he'd just started arching his back, showing a smooth line from his knees to his chin and finally spreading his legs to shoulder width at the knee. He knew for a fact that Bakura could hold this posture for up to three hours before he showed any strain, other than the fine sheen of sweat that usually started about half an hour in, so he had no hesitation in turning away and inspecting the selection of toys available. He already knew there were no flechettes, but the inspection was part of the show.
"The toys offered are woefully inadequate. I need to get my own knives, but I'll give you something to be thinking on." And then he drew the knife Bakura had given him to use as Wraith. First he retraced the lines of the scar on his face, reopening them carefully, and then he made a small cut down the centre of his lower lip, something that, for a human would take a long time to heal, and hurt throughout, before claiming those lips in a kiss, sucking the bleeding lip into his own mouth. "You!" There were three slaves of the club standing by the platform, in case he needed anything. "Get me a basin of boiling water, two soft towels wrapped around a hot water bottle and a glass of iced water." There wouldn't have been so many if Ryou hadn't arranged this with the owner beforehand. He'd offered to pay in cash for the privilege, but when a threesome had been suggested as an alternative means of payment he'd agreed, only specifying that he had to be dominant, and condoms were to be used for any penetration. The other man hadn't really been interested in Ryou anyway and had agreed easily. And Bakura had found it hilarious...at least once he'd finished ranting about Ryou's lack of consideration in not giving him a safe word. "You, I left some toys here in case this happened. Take me to them."
He wasn't going to let anyone else carry the box with his blades and other toys in, but he let the slave carry the bag containing an outfit for Bakura to wear afterwards. There was a crowd gathering, whispering speculatively, but the other slave hadn't quite gotten back yet. Ryou busied himself by positioning the slave with him on his knees, hands raised above his head, supporting and offering the box to him. He'd delayed enough for the other slave to arrive, carrying the things he'd asked for.
"Put them on the other table." He commanded absently as he stalked over to Bakura, and began the process of cutting his white linen outfit off his body, pausing when he'd exposed the spirit's chest. "Peaked nipples...did you forget what I told you?" He made a point of speaking just loudly enough that the nearest of the watchers could hear him and turned to open his box. This had been one of the contingencies they'd planned for, and he pulled out a pair of silver nipple clamps, with little silver bells attached, sucking gently on each nipple before fastening a clamp onto the brown nubs. Then he moved on to the trousers, finding Bakura still as limp as he was supposed to be for this game, and Ryou couldn't resist the temptation to stroke him carefully, despite the guarded fury that flashed in his eyes.
:I do this, then it explains if you do respond.:
-You're assuming I'm going to fail Yadonushi-sama?- It sounded half insulted and half amused, but the was an undercurrent of resignation.
"Put these rags with the water and towels." Ryou picked out the seven candles he'd packed for this, and the lighter as well while the slave obeyed. One by one he lit the candles, setting them in a v-shape between Bakura's thighs...then he cared for his knife, cleaning and oiling it before resheathing it. The slave acting as his table was trembling already, and Ryou didn't bother to hide his disgust.
"Who do you belong to?"
"Kitsune, sir." The owner of the club, not really surprising.
"And he calls you?"
"You shame his training. I must remember to tell him that you need more practice in acting as furniture - that or you need to build up your upper body strength." It didn't need an answer, and Ryou picked up one of his flechettes and went to work on Bakura, tracing careful patterns into his skin. The flechette just barely broke the skin, only enough to make Bakura bleed, and between each pattern Ryou would pause, glance to Bakura's face, and stroke between his legs, once. Sometimes he'd lay one flechette aside, and pick up another for more intricate work, always cleaning one before picking up the next, and coating them with oil as Bakura waited. He could do this for as long as Bakura could hold stance, but that wasn't what they needed for this, instead deciding on fifteen designs. After the sixth design Ryou looked into Bakura's face to see that he'd started to bite his lower lip. He deliberately began to clean the flechette, oiling it and returning it to the box, but he didn't select a new one, or touch Bakura between his legs, instead he turned back to his slave and gave him an open-handed slap across the face, more noise than actual force, but still enough to turn his head a bit.
"Tongue." He didn't need to say anything else, they'd planned this, but Bakura had refused to say when he'd start to bite his lip. Bakura obediently opened his mouth and stuck his tongue out for Ryou to fasten a long silver clamp across it - one of the more painful ways of gagging someone.
-Yadonushi-sama, I don't think I can handle this escalation for as long as we planned. Not remaining unaroused. I hadn't planned on starting to bite my lip until the eleventh design.-
:Start breathing heavily at the end of the ninth design then.: If Bakura did start to get hard despite that Ryou had told him he planned to put a vibrator inside him, switch it on, and add a cock-ring - then leave them until they got home. :But you'll spend a night tied up with something inside you for every design I omit.:
-If you're that something for part of every night, and all of one night you have a deal.- Ryou'd got halfway through the seventh design almost on autopilot, fortunately it wouldn't be obvious that he'd cut the show short with the way he'd positioned the completed designs. Bakura was good. His breathing had started to accelerate as soon as Ryou put the gag on him, but it didn't get to be noticeable until right at the end of the ninth design. Ryou ran his hand through Bakura's now tangled hair, leaning to whisper into his ear.
"Just one more, you can hold out for one last design, can't you my beautiful Silver?" It wasn't really a question and Ryou set to work on the final design, kanji-based like three others, making a total of four kanji-based designs, four hieroglyph-based designs and two fully abstract designs. As they'd agreed Bakura was trembling ever so slightly when he finished, but Ryou ignored that to; first, put away his flechette, showing the same care he had with the others, then, remove the gag, clean it, and return it to its place and only then to move each candle away from his yami's thighs and blow it out. The bells would stay where they were until they got home.
"Break stance." When it was finally safe to allow it Bakura collapsed back on his heels, bringing his legs together and wrapping his arms around his body before slumping over his knees. First, his mouth had to be dry. Bakura cooperated willingly as Ryou manoeuvred him into sitting on the edge of the table, and then he took a mouthful of water from the glass he'd ordered earlier, and let it trickle from his own mouth in his slave's in a kiss. Two mouthfuls would do for now.
Ryou wetted one of the rags he'd turned Bakura's outfit into in the basin of water he'd demanded at the start, now just comfortably warm, and he began to wash him clean, in a wordless form of soothing. He followed the wet rag with a warm towel until finally Bakura was clean and dry, then he dressed him in a new outfit, loose trousers and a loose tunic in soft, warm dark red cotton velvet. He closed his box of toys and handed it to Bakura before leading him off the platform and making his way to the table where his friends had gathered.
"You don't have to stick with me all the time now that we've been caught out mou hitori no boku!" Yugi knew it was as much his fault as Yami's that they'd been recognised as not actually being into all of this...nonsense ten minutes into their visit to the club, but it still bugged him that his darkness insisted on never moving more than arm's reach away from him even after that.
"But I want to aibou. We get fewer propositions this way." True, the only proposition Yugi'd gotten was from a dom while Yami was away from him, but one proposition wouldn't have been enough to have Yami come damn near running back to him.
"And what if I wanted to get propositions?" Yugi was just teasing, he didn't want to have to deal with people wanting to 'top' him, whatever that was. He didn't expect the reaction he got from his other self at that. Yami sort of jumped, looking shocked, and that shock reverberated down their link.
"H-here? If you want me to not be present, so you can find someone else I will, but..." He continued via their mind link -will you at least allow me to retreat to my soul room, and stay inside the Puzzle? I would rather not be with anyone but you.-
:I'm sorry, I was only teasing.: He hadn't realised his dark felt that way about him, not really. They were both revolted by the sort of things they saw around them, but Yami was clearly far from revolted by the idea of being with Yugi, while Yugi just...wasn't sure. He didn't have any more time to think about it either, since they heard what was running through the crowd.
"...carving pictures on a white-haired slave..."
"...looks almost exactly like him..."
"...not allowed to respond..."
"...punished for having peaked nipples..."
:That sounds almost like...:
-Ryou and Bakura? But...I can't imagine Bakura...-
:Neither can I, but...let's go and see anyway.:
-Yes aibou.- Yami took hold of Yugi's hand and began pulling him through the crowd, towards the source of the whispers. But after a while they couldn't get any closer, certainly not close enough to see what was happening on the platform.
:Pick me up so I can see over the crowd.: Yami only had an inch or two on him, not enough to see over the crowd where Yugi couldn't, but he was a lot stronger than Yugi. :I'll relay what I see to you.:
It was Ryou, Yugi recognised him from the outfit he was wearing as well as his white hair. He could feel Yami's shock as he relayed the image of Ryou slapping Bakura across the face, hard enough to turn his head, for what reason he didn't know. It was like a train wreck, Yugi couldn't stop watching as Ryou carved designs on his ever dangerous yami's flesh and reached between his legs to stroke his limp member, wondering just how long Bakura was going to permit these liberties, not even when Kaiba came to them, his costume so good they didn't realise it was him at first, and led them to a table, set up in view of the platform.
Jou was waiting at the table, and Marik was sitting in Malik's lap, hands tied behind his back, his pants open for his hikari to play with him. There were three chairs left, Yugi took one when Yami put him down, and Yami took another and Jou grabbed Kaiba's wrist before he could leave again.
"Been caught huh? We need to leave a chair for Wraith, Priestess, get another chair or two after you find Bast and Guardian."
"Yes Lord Wolf." Kaiba left quietly, looking like any other submissive there.
"Not like there's much point after Wraith put on that sort of show with Silver." Malik sounded almost sulky as he spoke, pointing to the platform Ryou was performing on with his chin.
"Then why do you still have Aku tied up, and your hand down his pants, 'Apollo'?"
"'Cause we're not out of the running until we get caught out, or we leave. They could still be caught out, just because they put on one hell of a show doesn't change anything." Yami actually blushed as he realised that he'd forgotten the rules of this game. Yugi knew that Marik would be riding him about this for a while, and so would Bakura, probably - that or they'd both be riding Bakura about what a good show he put on.
"Looks like Silver's in trouble." A disturbing eagerness edged Malik's voice as he pointed out Bakura's obvious difficulty breathing. Yugi shivered at the cruel smile on Ryou's face as he leaned to whisper something into Bakura's ear and he had to ask the obvious question.
"Are we sure Wraith's Ryou?"
"Yeah, Bakura's pretended to be Ryou before to take advantage of his friendship with us." Anzu had arrived and Honda pulled the last empty chair out for her, standing behind it like the guardian they'd named him.
"Unless they managed to swap roles since we saw Bakura come out of the Ring Wraith has to be Ryou." Yami was being the rational one in Kaiba's place, the CEO had knelt at Jou's feet as soon as he'd brought a new chair to the table.
"Looks like they're finishing up now." Everyone watched in fascination as Ryou gave Bakura a drink from his own mouth and then began to wash him, dry him and dress him, before coming to join them at the table. Bakura was carrying the box Ryou had put his knives in and Ryou took it from him, setting it on the table before he sat and Bakura knelt beside him.
"Hi guys. Enjoy the show?" He opened the box as he spoke, pulling out a metal comb and using Bakura's hair as a handle to get him to lay his head in Ryou's lap. "You can make any noises you want Silver, just as long as there's no actual words."
What was he going to do? Yugi didn't know what he'd expected, but it wasn't for Ryou to start combing Bakura's hair out.
"When did you get so good with knives Ry-Wraith?" Yami changed the name in mid-word in response to the uncharacteristic glare Ryou gave him. "And how?"
"Yami and Hikari, two aspects of the same soul right? Stop me if I say anything you don't understand, pretty Puzzle." Yugi could see Yami gritting his teeth at that comment. "As two aspects of the same soul we both have potential to do well in the same sort of things. We're...less specialised than you two are. You and Ludos are both really good at just about any type of game. We're good with languages, the sciences and knives, even if I don't use them in battle much. I use them to make my Monster World dolls remember? Did you follow my explanation pretty Puzzle? I tried to keep it nice and simple for you." Yami's rage was palpable in the silence that followed, a silence that was broken by a tiny whimper from Bakura.
"Did he just whimper?" Incredulity filled Malik's voice at the concept.
"I think I hit a bloodstain and knocked part of one of the older designs open at the same time." Ryou's voice was coldly detached. "If it's a sharp enough knife you don't really notice the cut until a while after it's been made, and I keep my blades in excellent condition, we both do." Then Kaiba spoke up, after Jou muttered permission, pointing out something they'd all missed.
"Good timing too." Ryou laughed at that, and even Yami had to admit that it was funny.
"Yeah, I guess it is. Wolf, since the house slaves seem to have vanished, do you mind sending Priestess for our drinks? Just...I don't think Apollo wants to untie Aku, and I'd rather not let Silver out of my sight for a while."
"Sure, just tell her what you want and give her the money for it." Jou seemed to pull Kaiba up to his feet by the hand tangled in his wig, but that had to be an illusion. "Get me some beer, and a white wine for yourself." He handed him some money, presumably enough for the drinks.
"Foreplay, a Slow, Comfortable Screw, and a Screaming Orgasm for me - separate drinks, not mixed, and a glass of bloodwine for Silver." Even with the veil Yugi could tell that Kaiba was blushing as he took the money Ryou gave him. "By the way, they offer pretty good mead for a modern club - and Priestess, get Sehkmet's Slumber for Wolf. It's the closest they have to real beer, the sort they had way back when."
-Aibou...- Yami hadn't brought any money, since he'd been supposed to pass for a slave or a sub.
:You want to try that beer:
-Yes, please aibou.-
"Mead for me, and Sehkmet's Slumber for Puzzle. That's a really esoteric name for a beer. Is it at all popular?" Yugi gave Kaiba more money than he expected the drinks to cost, just in case, since they hadn't been to the bar yet.
"I wouldn't know. I just know that it's great." Ryou shrugged carelessly as Bakura whimpered again, barely loudly enough to be heard.
"Screaming Orgasm for me, Aku can have Foreplay." Malik sounded almost insanely cheerful.
"I want sake, a jug, H-Guardian, what about you?" Anzu slipped for a moment there, and Yugi wondered how she hadn't been recognised as a tourist when he and Yami had.
"Just get me another dish and I'll share your sake."
"Did you get all of that Priestess?"
"Yes Lord Wolf." And Kaiba proceeded to recite each order before setting off for the bar.
Seto noted with relief that he wasn't the only sub sent to fetch drinks for an entire table. The house slaves were all dressed almost identically, in only a pair of loose trousers, and a halter-neck top that barely covered their breasts for the women, but some of the slaves carrying trays of drinks were as imaginatively outfitted as he was. This outing had been informative, he'd picked up some knowledge about the proclivities of a number of his business rivals that he'd be able to use somehow, if not directly. It was almost enough to tempt him to do this again. Almost, especially since the mutt had proven to be smarter than he acted and hadn't tried to take advantage of this.
"Your master send you for drinks?" It was his turn.
"For the entire table actually." All the staff were house slaves, no need to show respect, he'd done research as well, if not as much or as wide-ranged as Ryou had. It was worth an internal grimace when he realise he'd followed the mutt's lead in only researching The Foxhole, and stuff that applied directly to them.
"How many groups are they paying in?" He put a tray out and began placing little dishes on it as he spoke.
"Five. Lord Wolf desires a Sehkmet's Slumber and a white wine." Seto only realised what the dishes were for when the slave put the loose change into it, handing the bills back to him. "Lord Wraith wishes Foreplay, a Slow, Comfortable Screw, and a Screaming Orgasm, each in a separate glass, and a glass of bloodwine." He fished the bills for that out of his bra as he'd been told to, noting absently just how close Ryou had been to the total. "Lord Ludos sent me for a mead and a Sehkmet's Slumber." Yugi'd underestimated the price, so he made it up from the money he'd given Jou before the others had arrived at his mansion. "Lord Apollo wants a Screaming Orgasm and Foreplay - separate again." But Malik had been almost as dead on as Ryou, overestimating just a bit. "Lady Bast desires a jug of sake, and two dishes."
Once the tray was ready he picked it up and made his way slowly back to the table - thankfully people had enough consideration to let him through with it. He put the tray in the centre of the table, glancing to the mutt for permission before serving everyone with their drinks and change then sat back down at the mutt's feet.
"Which is which?" Malik sounded baffled, and Seto wished he could see his face. Ryou laughed and told him which drink was which as the mutt's hand tightened on his neck.
"Did you know which drink Apollo asked for is which?"
"No, Lord Wolf." At that the mutt's hand relaxed, and he began petting the wig Seto was wearing.
"You should punish her for not finding out." A woman's coolly amused voice forestalled any change of conversation, and beneath the table Seto could see that Ryou was hauling Bakura up into his lap.
"Why? She wasn't told to, and it's not her place to take initiative that way, she knows that." The mutt handed his wine down to Seto before he continued. "Besides, I don't do public displays, of any sort. When I need to punish her I'll do it at home, in private." Seto jumped a bit when he heard that...it reminded him just a bit of Gozaburo, something he tried to forget as much as he could.
"There are private rooms available you know. But...if you'd rather not. Wraith, you're surely not involved in that stupid game Ludos mentioned?"
"Should I know you, or what you're talking about? Ludos, introduce us to this...person." Ryou sounded more like Gozaburo than Seto was comfortable with, and he found himself pressing just a bit harder against the mutt's legs, despite knowing how he was embarrassing himself.
"Guys, this is Witch and-" Yugi sounded nervous and Ryou interrupted him coldly.
"You don't introduce slaves or subs. Their Master might, if he, or she of course, feels it appropriate. You obviously recognised me Witch, would you prefer it if I completed the introductions?"
"Please do Wraith." There was an almost fawning edge to her voice and Seto had to wonder how Ryou would react.
"Very well." And now Ryou's voice was as cold as liquid nitrogen. "Going clockwise from myself we are; Apollo, Bast, Wolf, Ludos and Puzzle. You mentioned a game?"
"Tourists visiting in pairs, pretending to be dom and sub, or Master and slave, until someone asks them directly if they are pretending, as I understood it. Ludos and Puzzle were playing it, but they were obviously in the wrong roles." Slightly surprising considering how devoted Yami was to Yugi. "Puzzle was doing a better acting job than Ludos, but they were both messing it up. So, how many of your companions are playing the same game?"
"Here's an idea, why not get your slave to pull up a seat and watch us for a while, then guess for yourself." There was hope in Yami's voice, probably hope that Ryou would be caught out first - which seemed highly unlikely, especially considering that Seto was beginning to suspect that Ryou and Bakura actually did frequent places like this, under the same aliases, on a regular basis.
"If that's alright with you Wraith?" An interesting assumption she'd made - in normal circumstances everyone assumed that Yami or Seto was in charge of the group.
"You should ask the others. I was last to sit down, I couldn't say who was first." A clear implication that the first person at a table had the right to decide who sat there, Seto nudged the mutt's thigh to make sure he picked up on the hint.
"Go ahead, sit wherever you want. I've got nothing to hide." The mutt was a very good actor, better than Seto'd thought.
"Familiar, do it. I would prefer to sit by you?" Witch's voice was so hesitant it had to mean that Ryou had one hell of a reputation.
"Very well. But do try to talk to others, I have no desire to focus on you exclusively."
"There's one thing I wondered about. Why did you tell the slave who displeased you that you'd report his failure to his master, instead of punishing him yourself?"
"House rules say we're not supposed to cut house slaves up. Reasonable I guess, since we don't really know how well they heal, like I know nothing I did to Silver on stage would scar. And nothing but blood would show up well enough on that dark skin of his." Ryou sounded remarkably callous when he spoke to Witch, reminding Seto even more of Gozaburo. Except Gozaburo hadn't really cared about scarring him and Ryou did care about giving Bakura more scars. The mutt passed Seto's wine down to him beneath the table, and he listened to the chat above him without really paying attention for almost an hour.
"I'm supposed to be doing a scene myself in ten minutes - not anywhere near as dramatic as yours mind, Wraith. So, I'll have to leave now, but..."
"You want to make your guesses about who's playing the game and who isn't now?" There was barely concealed eagerness in Yami's voice, almost enough to make Seto laugh.
"Yes. Bast, you aren't even involved with your Guardian, are you?"
"No. We came here to support our friends, nothing more."
"And Apollo, you don't normally dominate Aku do you? I don't think you're really into this sort of thing at all."
"No, we're not. This is a nice fantasy thing, but it's really a one-off, you know?"
"Wraith, Wolf, I have to congratulate you on just how well-trained your slaves are. Even if I would have liked to see you punishing Priestess here Wolf."
"Too bad, you can't. I wouldn't even let my best friend watch that. The public punishment areas in clubs bore me...they always seem to put so much emphasis on physical pain." Seto closed his eyes and shivered at the faintly amused note in the mutt's voice - Gozaburo had enjoyed using punishments other than physical pain too...
"But you will watch my performance? I have the same platform you were on Wraith."
"We might as well I suppose." Ryou's voice held the same cold notes it had all night. Seto opened his eyes when he heard Witch leaving the table to see the gentle way Ryou pushed Bakura back down to the ground, before opening his pants and pulling his face into his groin. Bakura didn't seem to resent the implied order, sucking at Ryou silently, but with every sign of enthusiasm.
"I thought the game ended at midnight...and it's five to now." There was quiet urgency in Malik's voice, for some reason.
"No, the game ends when we leave the club - but we had planned on leaving around midnight?" Yami would want to take the opportunity to extend the time when Ryou and Bakura could be caught out...but he obviously felt obliged to stick to the rules of the game.
"Yeah, but it would be polite to watch her scene, after she made the effort to help our game. That is, if you don't mind Wolf, since we're the only two left?"
"Sure. If nothing changes you'd win, so I've got nothing to lose." The mutt pushed his chair back from the table a bit, and reached down to grab Seto's arm. "Up in my lap Priestess." Seto blushed, obediently sitting sideways on the mutt's lap, at least this didn't bring up any...associations, and the mutt wasn't showing any signs of...interest. He hadn't gotten to see much of Ryou's performance, so he looked over to the nearby platform, to see that a woman, presumably Witch, had another woman stripped to the waist and tied to a frame, stretching her limbs out in an X. It wasn't something he wanted to watch, or think about, but he couldn't show weakness...or could he? He was pretending to be a submissive, and he was unrecognisable in this get up...the sound of the whip on the victim's flesh decided him, and he buried his face into the mutt's neck.
"Witch's technique's rather pedestrian, can we go before I have to tell her that?" The others seemed shocked at that, but as they left the club Seto wondered bitterly how Ryou would judge Gozaburo's technique.
Ryou followed Bakura into the dining room, stifling a yawn behind his hand. He couldn't quite believe Kaiba had insisted on everyone getting up in time to have breakfast at eight after getting in so late last night.
-You shouldn't be surprised Yadonushi-sama, I'm sure he's pulled all-nighters before, to get things done for his company and school.- And Bakura was maddeningly alert.
:And what's your excuse: Ryou didn't hesitate to snarl at Bakura across their link, the yami'd never really scared him, it had just been easier to let Yugi and his friends think that he did.
-I got to nap in the Ring before we set off, and in the limo on the way to and back from The Foxhole.- A mental shrug accompanied his words. -Besides, I'm always alert, except when I'm in the Ring. Survival's a good motivator.-
"Hey, 'Kura, did Ryou really carve you up last night, or did you pull a bait and switch on us?" Ryou was grateful then that Bakura hadn't gone into the Ring to heal last night as he'd suggested, and they both rolled their eyes at Marik's stupidity, considering that Bakura's facial scar was still scabbed over from where Ryou'd reopened it.
"Didn't catch the beginning of the show, did you?" Bakura laughed as he unfastened his shirt and let it drop to the ground with no sign of modesty. Ryou laughed too, dismissing the idea.
"I don't have the stamina or self-control to do what Bakura-sama did last night." He wouldn't normally use that name for his yami when referring to what they'd been doing, but the shock on everyone's faces when he did now was irresistible. He didn't bother removing his own T-shirt, so with a pointed glare Bakura did it for him, leaving him blushing a deep crimson.
"Any more questions?" Bakura glared indiscriminately at everyone in the room, easily discouraging anyone who might have been inclined to actually ask questions. "Good. Priest, I could use another Dark Necrophia. I expect you've got one. Pharaoh, I want your Summoned Skull. Marik, I want Newdoria from you." Kaiba went for his briefcase, not his deck Ryou noticed. He wasn't really surprised, Dark Necrophia didn't really fit that well with his style. Yami looked a bit relieved as he sorted through his deck to get the requested card. It wasn't particularly rare, but it wasn't one of the really common cards either, and it was powerful, and fitted to Bakura's style. Marik just laughed as he handed the card over to Bakura.
"I figured you'd want this. I don't know your style too well, but everyone knows you use a demon deck." Which was why Ryou couldn't understand the slight surprise Yami'd shown at Bakura's choice from his deck. He knew that at one point, early on, it had been the strongest single card in Yami's deck. It wasn't anymore, but it was still the strongest of the cards he had that fitted Bakura's style. Ryou waited for everyone to hand Bakura's loot over before he asked for his own prizes, filling a bowl with miso as he waited.
"What card do you want from me Ryou?" Yugi was actually the one who brought it up, leafing through his own deck.
"I heard you had two Dark Magician cards now Yugi, that card fits you best, just like the Flame Swordsman fits you best Jou. And Malik, I'd like Spell of Pain, in remembrance of when you shared my body." Ryou blinked in surprise as Kaiba fished a Flame Swordsman from his briefcase and handed it to him. It didn't say much for his powers of observation, but he hadn't even realised that Kaiba hadn't closed it after giving Bakura his prize. "Wha..?"
"I agreed to pay the mutt's forfeit if we lost but still did better than the Game Kings. And since they both got caught out first..." So Ryou could have gone for powerful cards the way Bakura had without worrying about the difficulties Jou'd have in replacing his. Everyone knew about Jou's financial situation, and Ryou'd decided on asking for cards with sentimental value between him and the others to avoid making it obvious that he was trying not to take the blond's more powerful cards. "The trip was informative enough for who I saw there, doing better than Yami at any game was just a bonus. I didn't consider you serious competition in this game." He was referring to the way Bakura was notorious for riding roughshod over Ryou's desires according to Yugi and his friends of course. Ryou bit his lip, thinking about what to say to that as Yugi and Malik handed over the cards they owed him.
"Our little act was pretty choreographed you realise? And with our link Bakura-sama could tell me what I needed to change."
"While we were practising I could just go into the Ring to heal instantly when Ryou screwed up." Bakura sounded casual, and slightly smug. He'd actually had to do that once or twice when they'd first started playing those games - after Ryou'd had a thorough grounding in knifework - but not for a while. "At least after he'd learned to cut deep enough. That was almost harder than getting him to keep the wounds shallow enough not to be a real danger."
"How did you get to do your act anyway? It must have taken a lot of pre-planning." Now Kaiba was looking at both of them with a mix of admiration and calculation.
"We paid for the spot. That's where we got those passes from that let us into the club without standing in line. You can't actually get them without doing an act, and to do an act you have to prove that you're worth watching." Ryou frowned as he explained. "What we wanted to do was exotic and spectacular enough that it got bumped to the owner instead of a manager." And hence the unusual means of payment required.
"You mean the Tomb Robber let you cut him up like that twice?" The shock in Yami's voice was absolutely hilarious.
"No, by the time we were ready for that a human wouldn't have been healed fast enough. I used one of the tools we came up for learning, and Bakura-sama demonstrated his stamina."
"It's fucking hard to hold a pose like that for more than half an hour." Ryou smiled at Kaiba's amusement, as Bakura growled his explanation.
"I can show you if you want. Let me finish my miso and I'll get my flechettes to do the demonstration. I'll also need ten sheets of paper, in four different colours if you've got them. Three sheets each in three colours, and one in the last. But two colours will do as well, three in one, and one in the second colour. I just used the four colour pattern to show even more control."
"Explain." Bakura interrupted then, explaining himself.
"I experimented, and with the right sort of knife, the sort I got for Ryou, it takes about as much force to cut through exactly three sheets of paper as it does to cut just deep enough to draw blood." Ryou took the reprieve Bakura's words gave him to finish eating as fast as he could.
"Really 'Kura? I didn't know that, can I try too?" Of course Marik would be eager to try this out for himself...and Malik looked interested too.
"I'll get the paper. Come Ryou." He hadn't expected Kaiba to actually go after the paper himself, and Ryou obediently followed the CEO. Just as he was about to separate, to get to the bedroom he'd left his 'toy box' in Kaiba took hold of his arm, stopping him.
"What is it?" Ryou had a sinking feeling...
"How much of last night was an act? And how much of it was something you two do regularly?"
:Bakura...: He echoed Kaiba's question back to his other half. :What should I say:
-Go ahead and tell him the truth, if you want to. You can use the Ring well enough to enforce a promise not to tell anyone, or wipe his memory if he won't promise.-
:Yes, I guess I can.: Ryou smiled, the smile he used as Wraith, not the one he used in his 'normal' life. "I'll only answer that question if you'll swear on the Ring not to reveal the answers to anyone. If you don't want to swear..." He shrugged, leaving the threat unspoken.
"What do I do?"
"Touch the Ring, and make your promise." Ryou lifted the Ring on it's chain, holding it out to Kaiba.
"Then I promise never to repeat what you are about to tell me, or let anyone learn about it by my actions. Acceptable?"
"Yes. The personae we used last night...they're pretty well-established in the scene, as Wraith I'm notorious for my skill with knives. We have an agreement...he's submissive when it comes to bedplay and the scene, and I'm submissive pretty much everywhere else. It doesn't bother me," Ryou shrugged, "and truthfully, in most BDSM relationships, the good ones anyway, it's the submissive who's really in charge, who sets the limits and all that sort of thing."
"I didn't know that..." There was an almost musing tone to Kaiba's voice. "You know how to assess someone's skill with a whip?"
"Experience." Ryou shrugged again, and went to get his flechettes.
When he got back to the dining room he found the Ishtars each brandishing their own favourite weapon, and Bakura chewing on a piece of what looked like raw meat, leaning back against the side table. He met his yami's eyes, before rolling his own in shared amusement.
"Those things won't give you much in the way of precision or control. But I hope you aren't dumb enough to expect me to share my own toys."
They didn't have a chance to reply, Kaiba came in then, carrying a pile of papers in four different colours.
"Well, show us." Ryou smiled and picked out ten sheets of paper, layering them with the white sheet on the bottom, three red sheets above that, three yellow sheets above those, and finally three blue sheets on top. He opened his 'toy box' and pulled out a flechette, resting his left hand on the pile of papers, and began to cut. An inverted triangle through the top three sheets, large, the outer lines to form the Eye of Horus in the centre of the triangle to go through the top six, and the circle at the centre of the Eye of Horus to leave only the white sheet uncut. Marik and Malik just mauled their papers, and then Bakura dragged him away...so that they could play in private.