Thanks for the reviews guys. I'm glad so many of you are still interested in this story. I actually meant to get this chapter out over a week ago, but there were some issues. Anyways, it's here now, so I hope you all enjoy!

Chapter 18

Despite having seemingly broken the ice right away, it was still hard for the two groups to talk to each other in person. This wasn't helped by the fact that they were already fighting amongst themselves. If they'd thought their internet arguments had been bad, nothing could have prepared them for Kaiba meeting Kuwabara face-to-face. Yusuke had been forced to drag his best friend back while Joey cheered from the sidelines. For his part, Kaiba added a taunt in whenever appropriate. Mokuba's silent rebuke of his brother's attitude resulted in a cease in Kaiba's taunts, but by then it was already too late.

"Perhaps it might be best if we split into groups," Kurama suggested. He, Yugi, Yami, and Ryou were standing off to the side trying to determine how best to handle the situation.

"Awe, I really wanted to get to spend time with all of you guys too," Yugi said sadly. "But I think you're right…"

"Bakura's instigating them," Ryou informed the group worriedly as he watched the bickering group.

"That's what Bakura does," Yami remarked, shooting the Tomb Robber an annoyed glance before directing his attention back to Kurama. "You still have to drop your stuff off, correct?"

Kurama nodded. "Maybe if we split into three groups based on who's staying with who. We can meet up later once everyone's cooled down."

"Alright, that should work okay," Yugi agreed.

"And if all else fails, I can always send Bakura to the Shadow Realm," Yami informed them eagerly.

"Bakura didn't start the fight," Ryou muttered, wondering if there was any point in defending his yami to Yami of all people.

"He would have if they hadn't."

"I'm gonna pound your face into the ground, you jerk!" Kuwabara shouted at Kaiba, struggling against Yusuke's grip.

"You can't fight normal humans, moron!" the Spirit Detective shouted. "Even you don't like him, doesn't mean you can hit him!"

"Oh, you're lecturing me on not hitting people, Urameshi?! You're such a hypocrite!"

"That idiot's not really that strong, right?" Bakura asked Hiei as they watched, Hiei with a smirk and Bakura with the maniacal grin he wore whenever there was bound to be bloodshed.

"Sadly, he is. He may not be very intelligent, but he's strong enough to beat your friend Kaiba there. Your magic may protect you against us, but he has none," the fire demon said.

"Kaiba wouldn't be happy to hear that," Bakura realized with a delighted grin. "We should definitely tell him later. Now, would you four have any of this amazing strength without that spirit energy you mentioned?"

Hiei shot Bakura a measured glance. "No, not quite. Both Yusuke and Kuwabara fought a lot in school before their energy awakened, but they were merely high school thugs. Neither Kurama nor myself would be much without it either, as far as I know. However, it's difficult to really know for sure. Even once we've used a lot of energy, there is usually something left."

"I see." The tomb robber was quiet for just a moment. "So, I suppose the reason Kuwabara resorts to his fists so much is because they're the only thing he's got. Since his head is so empty," he said loudly.

Kuwabara froze and shot the white-haired spirit a dark look. Before he could do anything more, though, he was interrupted as Kurama stepped in front of him. "Kuwabara, please calm down. These are our friends. They're only trying to get a reaction out of you," he said, shooting Hiei and Kurama a warning look that caused both to scoff and look away.

"Alright, guys," Yugi got everyone's attention. "We're going to split up into groups so that these four can drop their stuff off where they're staying. After that, we'll probably go get something to eat and head over to Kaiba's game arcade/arena thing."

"You still don't know what it's called?" Kaiba asked, looking both annoyed and disbelieving.

"No one does, moneybags," Joey informed him with a grin.

"Just because you're incapable of remembering a simple name-"

"Guys!" Yugi shouted, interrupting them. "Focus! Let's just get into groups and go. If you really feel the need to argue, wait until tonight and do it online." After several more short fights, disagreements, and a lot of complaining, the groups were decided and sent off. Yugi, Yami, Yusuke, Kuwabara, and Joey would go to the game shop, Bakura, Ryou, and Hiei would go to Ryou's house, and Kaiba, Mokuba, and Kurama would go to Kaiba's mansion. After that, they agreed to meet up and eat before going to Kaiba's game arcade.

((-))

"Can you believe that jerk?!" Kuwabara shouted.

"At least you don't have to live in the same city as him!" Joey shouted back. "Moneybags is like that all the time!"

"He's almost worse than Hiei with that attitude!"

"Please! No one's worse that Kaiba!"

"You don't know Hiei like we do! He's so smug and he's such a shrimp!"

"Oh my god! Will you two shut up!" Yusuke finally exclaimed, from where he was walking with Yugi and Yami, both of whom had their ears covered and near-identical looks of pain on their face.

At this, Joey and Kuwabara's ranting devolved into muttered whispering about their hated enemies/rivals/annoyances.

"Remind me never to let him near someone who agrees with him again," Yusuke groaned.

Yugi laughed and nodded. "I always pegged you for being the quick-tempered one. Kaiba doesn't bother you?"

"I'm not saying I like the guys attitude or anything, but no. After all this time dealing with Hiei, it's basically the same. I mean, yeah, there are times I want nothing more than to pound Hiei's face into the dirt, but it's usually only if I'm in a really bad mood to begin with. I get more pissed at the guys who attack me or my friends…or my city…or other innocent people…or manipulate people selfishly…" as he continued, Yusuke's voice changed into an angered growl and it took some effort for him to brush of the anger that rose up at certain memories. "Sorry, I don't know if you guys know what I mean…"

"Trust me, we do," Yami informed him. "Our fights might not be as…destructive as yours, but we seem to have to deal with the same things. Tell me, which do you hate more, destruction for a selfish purpose or as a result of insanity?" he asked jokingly, hoping to lighten the conversation a bit.

"Definitely for selfish purposes, though it seems like there's always at least a little insanity mixed in there," Yusuke answered. "So, what's the deal with Bakura, huh? You sound like you actually have a reason to dislike him, though the only reason you've ever given us is that he's crazy. Now that your secrets out, I want to know. And there has got to be something up with Marik and Malik."

Yami and Yugi shot each other looks before nodding. "Well, you know Bakura's an ancient Egyptian spirit like Yami, right?" Yusuke nodded. "They knew each other back then. See, Bakura was a Tomb Robber…" By the time Yugi and Yami finished telling Yusuke Bakura's story, they'd arrived at the game shop. "And Marik and Malik are a story in and of themselves. Maybe later on tonight we'll have time for that."

Yusuke nodded, eyes glued to the game shop in front of them. It seemed like such a small thing to see their house, but he was kind of interested. They entered the game shop, heading upstairs to where Yugi and Yami lived. "It's a nice place," Yusuke remarked. In all honesty, it felt like home in a way his own never had.

"Thanks." Yugi led Yusuke and Kuwabara to the room they would share to drop off their stuff, while Yami and Joey waited in the living room.

"So, where's this PS2 I've heard so much about? Do you still have it?" Yusuke asked when they returned. At his comment, Yami looked away innocently, though he looked both annoyed and embarrassed.

"Over here," Yugi said, pointing to a blob of plastic that looked like it had been melted then hardened.

"Whoa!" Kuwabara exclaimed in shock. "Wait! I thought you said it blew up!"

"After Yami blew it up, the remaining chunk of the thing continued to burn for a couple hours," Joey answered. He had actually stopped by that day for the sole purpose of seeing the burning PS2.

"Let's just go!" Yami snapped, storming out of the room while the others followed, snickering, behind him.