Title: Colors of the Soul
Author: Crimson Eyed Dragon
Pairing: Mentions of Marik/Yami
Warnings: Language, mentions of rape
Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh
Summary: It's been three years since anyone has seen Yami and when the Kaibas' find him, even Seto's best efforts to heal this broken spirit may not be enough.
"I'm telling you Mokuba, he said 'Seto-blue, black minus white. Failed.'"
"And this was after the whole kitchen thing?"
Seto nodded his head as he paced around his bedroom, running his free hand through his hair, unknowingly mimicking his brother's own movements. "Yes. I couldn't believe it when I heard it. I asked him to repeat it just to make sure, but of course he didn't. Just rolled over and stared at the wall like he normally does."
"Well it sounds like a small step in the right direction, calling you by your name and all, even if he still added the color blue with it. And then there's the fact that he actually told you something else – failed. Sounds like he thinks he failed Yugi. Which of course he didn't."
With a sigh, Seto stopped pacing and sat down on the edge of his bed, his eyes darting to the door to make sure Atemu hadn't wondered into his room. "No, but I could see how he would think that." He snorted. "Hell, I've failed you enough to know."
"Don't start that bullshit with me Nii-sama. We've been through that enough. But for the record, let me repeat myself. You. Have. Not. Failed. Me. Got that? Or do I need to send you a virus so it repeatedly shows up on your computer as a form of 'daily inspiration'?"
"Just try that you little snot," he growled out even as his younger brother laughed at him.
"So," Mokuba began once he had calmed down. "What are you going to do now? And what's with the whole 'minus' bit?"
"I believe, that it means Yugi's not with him anymore. We know, especially after last night, that white is hikari and black is yami. So substitute those words for Yugi and Yami and you get Yugi minus Yami. And about the other part," Seto pinched the bridge of his nose with his free hand, "To tell you the truth, I'm not sure. I mean nothing I've tried has seemed to work and it took a month of being here just for him to progress enough to 'paint' out something we pretty much already knew." He sighed, eyes drifting back towards the door.
"And how are you holding up?"
Seto blinked, frowning at the phone. "I'm fine."
"Ah, more bullshit I see. Seriously Nii-sama, this has to be affecting you whether you choose to admit that or not. And I worry about you."
He snorted, walked across his room, pulling out his chair and sitting it. Leaning over, he placed his elbows on the dark cherry wood of his desk. "Don't worry about me, worry about him." He flinched slightly at the sigh he heard on the other end. Why did his brother have to know him that well? "Fine, you want to know the truth? It's eating me alive. Every single night we go through the same thing. He wakes up from some nightmare and either he wanders the house the rest of the night like he's looking for something, or he goes and sits by the window and stares out into space.
"The sitting at the window doesn't bother me, he can't do much damage there, but when he wanders around, there's no telling what he can get into. So, not only do I not sleep anymore, my state of worry has rose to the breaking point. He's not who he used to be and there's not a damn thing I can do about it!" The last part came out more as a frustrated scream as he stood up, his free hand tangling in his hair, pulling at it while he tried to calm down his breathing.
He had been trying so hard to maintain his usual confident self, the emotionless attitude that had always gotten him by in life, but now… now it was proving very difficult. Atemu, in this last month, had taken up a good portion of his life and nerves. And as much as he knew it was not the other's fault, that still didn't make it any easier on him.
But he would be damned if that stopped him from continuing to do whatever he could for Atemu, even if that meant he never slept again for the rest of his life, or never stepped another foot into his building to conduct a business meeting, or he, for that matter, ever stepped outside his own house.
No, this was yet just another challenge…one that he didn't take lightly. He would get Atemu back to normal, even if it cost him his own life in the process. He growled in frustration. Too bad he had absolutely no idea how to do that.
Clearing his throat, he glanced at the digital clock sitting on the corner of his desk, noting the time was a little before lunch. "Would you like to speak to him? He's been asking for you."
"Actually I can't right now. I'm late for class as it is, but I'll make sure to call back tonight and talk to him then. So, will you tell him that for me?"
"Yeah, I'll tell him."
Seto nodded his head at the whispered 'thanks', ending the call soon afterwards. Placing the phone back on the hook, he closed his eyes and exhaled a deep breath, calming himself down before he went to get Atemu and make some lunch for them both.
Last night he had come to the conclusion, after failed attempts to sleep yet again, that he was going to have to sit Atemu down and almost force him to 'talk' to him about what happened. It had been easy to see last night that his cousin, at that moment, felt the need to tell him something, but with his limitations, Atemu couldn't get much out more than a 'failed' and the better understanding of what 'black and white' meant. Which had been so obviously simple, it was a wonder he didn't pick up on it before.
Black and white – yami and hikari – dark and light.
And yet, even his brilliant mind didn't pick up on it until a stupid food drawing on his butcher block and his few simple words all but spelled it out for him. And even though it was never said, he could also figure out the 'red' part Atemu was so fond of saying when he was distressed over something.
He could still see the white figure smeared with ketchup…blood.
He shuddered, suddenly, feeling coldness creeping upon his skin, causing him to rub his bare arms to ward it off. His mind supplied the images…of Yugi, dead, lifeless, drenched in his own blood…red blood and it suddenly switched to a raven-haired little boy looking back at him with dull, slate-gray eyes. His own eyes closed, fighting off the terrible nightmare that invaded his mind.
Grinding his teeth, he forced his eyes open, holding his gaze straightforward, trying desperately to shift his mind from one thing to another, banishing the gut-wrenching image of his brother. Gods, that was something he never wanted to see…real or otherwise.
And yet, Atemu had. He had witnessed it, with his own eyes. He lived with the fact that he couldn't protect the one thing…one person that was like a little brother to him. What had Atemu done when he looked upon that blank stare? Had he tortured himself and drown in guilt till his mind snapped and became nothing more than a color-filled shell?
Was that how Atemu handled it?
Was that how he would have handled it?
He banished that thought quickly as he turned on his heels and started walking out of his room towards the closed door of his cousin's bedroom. He didn't want to think about that, cause he didn't want to think of the reason for it in the first place. His brother was safe and would be safe… and that's all that he needed to know.
Seto raised his hand, knocking on the door lightly. "Atemu?" he called through the thin wood. "Its lunch time."
The door opened slowly, revealing a lightly tanned face and eyes that were as dull as ever. His long black hair was still slightly wet, evidence of having recently been washed, and tucked back behind his ears along with the golden bangs that were back to all their glory now that the hideous dye had grown out. Atemu still wore his usually garments of dark colored long sleeved shirts and jogging pants but…on his feet were bright blue socks with little images of a baby-like Blue Eyes White Dragons. Something he recognized instantly.
Atemu was wearing his brother's socks.
He should have been mad, he should have demanded to know what this person was doing in Mokuba's old room, but… this was Atemu and at the moment it was amusing and odd. He lifted an eyebrow, his finger pointing at his cousin's feet, a small smile pulling at his lips. "Never thought I would see my greatest rival wearing my Dragons on his feet."
Blue eyes watched intently, studying, looking for any evidence of some emotion and to his surprise he got a response. Crimson eyes looked down, toes wiggling oddly in the blue socks before they looked up. Atemu's arms crossed, his hips cocked just slightly, enough to remind Seto of the way his rival used to stand on a dueling platform, his body clearly stating he was annoyed by Seto's teasing, even if his face never changed from its emotionless stare.
And Seto was thrilled more than he realized.
Two breakthroughs in two days, a month's worth of work all for his name and a body response to his teasing. Mokuba would have 'whooped' with joy but Seto just reached out and ruffed the shorter man's hair playfully, letting a small smile grace his face.
"Come one Socks, lets go eat."
And as he turned to walk away, he could have sworn he heard a mild huff of annoyance.
Seto narrowed his eyes, mentally growling as he watched his cousin continuously push his salad around on the plate, his eyes distant, his hand seemingly working on his own accord. They had been sitting at the table for over thirty minutes now, Seto having finished his own meal a while back and Atemu's plate was still full, just scattered across the fine china.
Crimson eyes blinked, coming out of his self-made trance, his hand stopping in mid stroke. They flicked in Seto's direction, then down to the meal. He shook his head, his hand placing the fork on the table, while his other hand rose from his lap and pushed the plate towards the taller man. "White."
"White?" he asked, curious. "What's white got to do with this?"
Atemu pointed to the salad, "White…no."
"I don't understand."
Dull eyes closed, his head bowed slightly, blonde bangs shadowing his face. "White…not…" Seto leaned forward, watching, listening and waiting, "..black….not white."
"White? Yugi?" Atemu nodded his head, his right hand curling into a fist. "Black is you…so not white would be…not you?"
His hand curled tighter, his the skin on his knuckles turning pale as they were stretch across the bones. "Black minus white, black not white…," His jaw snapped closed, teeth grinding against one another. "Seto-blue plus white-yellow, black minus white….black plus yellow…no…black minus yellow…."
Dark eyebrows furrowed, Seto's mind racing to put the meanings behind the simplistic words, "I don't understand Atemu. Me plus white-yellow? There is no such color. Mokuba is yellow, right? Yugi is white…you are black. You aren't making any sense. And how are you 'minus yellow'?"
Atemu rose from his chair, the wooden legs making an eerie noise against the hard tiled floor. He smacked the palms of his hands against the table, hard enough that Seto was sure that they stung but from the way his charge's head still hung low, he wasn't able to see a reaction. "Dark Purple!" he growled out, turning his head to the side, his breathing now coming in hard pants. "Seto-blue plus white-yellow, black minus white, minus yellow. Seto-blue plus black….not invisible… not right. Seto-blue need white-yellow, black needs….."
The phone rang, the shrill ringing interrupting the rest of Atemu's words, causing Seto to scowl, throwing a glare in the phone's direction when Atemu pushed further away from the table, silently walking out of the room. Seto was frustrated not only because what he heard didn't make any sense, but also because he knew his cousin was about to say something important but now… he was closed off again, the answer forever lost.
With a sigh, he threw those thoughts aside and answered the phone, a frown forming on his features as he listened to what one of his employees were telling him. A problem…a major problem concerning multiple servers…one that would require him to go to Kaiba Corp. Hanging up the phone, he went in search of his cousin, finding him sitting on the small seat beneath the big bay window in the living room, staring out into the world.
He looked so small sitting there, with his knees curled up to his chest, chin resting on them as he looked out the glass without blinking. It made him look more like a child – like his brother used to look – than a three thousand plus human. He looked weak and helpless, and lost. If Atemu still had the black dye in his hair and gray eyes instead of crimson….
Seto shook his head, willing those images out of it yet again. He had other things to deal with…like how Atemu was going to deal with being alone. The CEO had considered taking his cousin with him, but that would mean he would either have to be left alone in his office or he would have to stay with him, in a room with many other people around since the technicians would also have to be there to help solve the current problem that had arose. And since he knew that Atemu didn't deal well with strangers and the fact that he himself didn't want to deal with other people staring at the broken doll, that option was out. His office wasn't a better choice either since he would have to be left alone in a room full of glass, sharp objects, and there was that lingering feeling that Atemu might not understand what was going on, he might not know where he was at and once again feel like he was abandoned.Abandoned
Blue eyes widened. Had that been what Atemu had been trying to tell him? He knew that the smaller male called his brother Yellow, he also understood what minus meant in Atemu's 'language', and black was what he called himself….Black plus yellow, black minus yellow
So, Atemu felt abandoned by the one person that had found him after all these years, the one person that had shown up out of the blue that he knew, the one person that actually made an effort to understand what he was saying and talked to him like he was just as normal as he was all those years ago.
He frowned, one hand coming up to his hair, running through it as he leaned against the wall. Mokuba had found him, had befriended him again only to, days later, 'shove' him off on to his older brother and then carted off back to Japan without the younger Kaiba. Sure Mokuba still called, they still talked on the phone, but… to Atemu's fragile state of mind, that must seem like abandonment, like he was too much of a burden for the other to handle.
For three years no one, not the gang, not Yugi's grandfather had bothered to look for him, no one had found him and when one person finally did…they left him. It was possible that his cousin thought that, with the way he was, that no one would want him, to deal with him, to be near him. After all, if Atemu remembered something of how he used to be, then he would feel….ashamed, confused, and blame himself for others not being there…or wanting him.
And if Atemu didn't already think it, he was going to begin to wonder when Seto was going to leave him too.
He sighed again; his shoulders sagging just a bit when he realized his thoughts had made the tough decision for him. Cautiously, as not to startle the other male, he walked over, his eyes trained on the still body looking for any outward signs of turmoil.
"Atemu." Slowly, the one being called turned his head, blonde bangs swaying with the motion. "The office called…seems there's a problem that they can't fix but I can…" Seto trailed off, frown forming on his face, wondering how he was going to say this without it seeming like he was leaving Atemu for good. Truth was the preferred option, but was it the correct one?
"You're going to have to stay here by yourself," Crimson eyes widened just a fraction and if Seto hadn't been looking for it, he would have never noticed it. "I'll be back I promise, as soon as everything is ok at Kaiba Corp. I would take you with me, but there will be lots of other people there and I don't think you want to be around them."
The sitting male gave a curt nod of his head before he turned back to look out the window. "Black minus Seto-blue."
Seto shook his head fiercely, walking quickly over to his cousin, kneeling down so he was eye level with the other. "No, never. This is my home remember? Your home, our home. I'll be back…just give me a few hours to fix things and I promise I'm coming home…to you."
Atemu gave no reply causing Seto to sigh. There wasn't much he could do to make him understand that he wasn't leaving him permanently other than to just go and come back like he had promised. Simple talk was not going to cut it with someone in Atemu's state of mind. In his case, the phrase 'actions speak louder than words' were what he lived by.
"I need you to be good for me. Don't go wandering around the mansion." He cast his eyes around the living room, doing a once over, making sure that there wasn't anything there that Atemu could get hurt on. But it was still 'child proof' as that was one of the first things he had done when they had arrived back from the United States. "Can you do that for me?"
Another curt nod of his head was all the answer he got, "Good, now Mokuba is going to call you later so if the phone rings, it will either be me or him so make sure you answer it, ok? And if you are unsure, just let the answer machine get it and when you hear our voices then pick up. Understand?"
With one last nod, Seto stood up, giving Atemu a quick kiss on the top of his head and walked out of the room, ready to get going and get back. He never noticed wide crimson eyes following him.
Dark Purple: Frustration – in this case, I used it as "Damn it"
White-yellow: Yes, I know, that color doesn't exist. But it does have a meaning, I'm just not going to explain it now. In the mean time, can you figure it out?
Dragon: Ok, before I get tons of questions about what Atemu was trying to tell Seto, just know this….everything he said is important but only one thing got explained in this chapter. The rest will not until the next story. Feel free to make guesses, but I'm not giving anything away until I'm ready.