Spectator's sport

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Warnings/notes: Kaiba/Bakura/Ryou, major silly, ooc.

Disclaimer: I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh. I'm sure the style I used for this ficlet owes all its good parts to Robert Rankin, author of such famous books as 'Nostradamus Ate My Hamster' and 'The Dance of the Voodoo Handbag'.

written at 16th march 2005, by Misura, in reply to a meme-challenge made in my livejournal by Purkledragon which offered the pairing Kaiba/Bakura (either one) and the line: "You're just going to leave me like this?"

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Seto Kaiba did not, as a rule, enjoy making a public spectacle of himself, in spite of a certain blonde's words on the subject, which are best not repeated here, since they're really not suitable for an underage audience (or, probably, even an adult audience, and anyway, I'm sure you can imagine Joey's statement in regards to Kaiba and his fondness of attention just fine on your own).

Considering his present situation, this was somewhat unfortunate.

"Unhand me this very instant, impudent mortal!"

Or rather: it was more than 'somewhat unfortunate'. A term like 'incredibly, greatly, very, very, veeery unfortunate (and then some)' came to mind.

Now, to be fair, if there was anyone to blame for this, it would be Kaiba himself. He'd never admit it to anyone, naturally, because honesty simply has never ranked very high in the top-five of desirable personality traits in CEOs (or in the top-ten, or the top-fifty, or the - oh, you get the point, right?).

Still, it must be said that Kaiba could have spared himself a lot of being-goggled-at had he chosen to go for a walk by his lone self. You could say that nobody -not even overly-competitive CEOs- like to take a walk by their lone self, but that's not the point here at all. The point is that Kaiba -could- have elected to leave the source of his current trouble at home. He hadn't though.

"Didn't you hear me?"

At this point, it may be convenient to take a moment to introduce the person (or rather, as shall soon be revealed, -persons-) whose voice we have heard raised in anger before, but whom has not yet been called by a name. From his use of the term 'mortal', you may have guessed that he does not consider himself to belong to the same class as the rest of humankind. Of course, quite a lot of people think that way about themselves, and most of them don't have any tricoloured hair to back up their claim, but, once again, this isn't relevant. Because there is but one person (or rather, as shall soon be revealed, two persons) whom Kaiba's companion can possibly be.

"How dare you suggest I'd consider stealing any of this worthless junk you're selling!" roared Bakura (who else could it be?) "I wouldn't give this to my worst enemy, let alone want it for myself!"

Kaiba waged a brief battle with his conscience. (It didn't succeed in putting up much of a fight, still battered and bruised from its defeat earlier that morning, when Kaiba had been forced to choose between spending a few pleasant hours in bed, with a happy Bakura, or leaving to attend a meeting, with an unhappy Bakura waiting for him when he'd get home that evening.)

He had, in fact, seen Bakura slip several small objects in some of the invisible pockets of the exotic garb Bakura insisted on wearing. (Bakura claimed he was used to such clothing from when he used to be a thief in Ancient Egypt, yet since Kaiba didn't believe in that past, he also didn't put much stock in that claim.) Thus, the hapless shopkeeper's accusation might well be true.

On the other hand, Kaiba soothed his sulking conscience, perhaps Bakura had simply been practicing a bit, and had put the items in question back at a moment when Kaiba hadn't been looking. Besides, any shopkeeper who didn't keep a close enough eye on his wares to be able to point out where the thief had hidden his loot, deserved to be robbed, in Kaiba's (biased, to be sure) opinion.

A small crowd had gathered to watch the contest of wills. Kaiba couldn't detect any specific opinion on who should walk away victorious in the expressions on the gathered people's faces, or any sign of intelligence, which merely confirmed what he'd always known to be true about 'the public'.

Returning his attention to more important persons, Kaiba noticed that Bakura appeared to have tired of yelling insults, and was in the process of leaving. The shopkeeper made some last protests, before admitting defeat and beating a retreat to the counter, where he sagged on his stool as a man who's just discovered the harsh truth about life, i.e. that it's unfair and not unlike a female dog that bites.

"Thanks a lot for your help, Seto," were the words with which Kaiba was greeted as he took a few long strides to catch up with Bakura.

Kaiba could have pointed out that Bakura had hardly looked like he'd required any help from anyone, let alone someone as influential, powerful and awe-inspiring as Kaiba knew himself to be. He didn't. Instead, he weighed the knowledge that he was talking to Bakura (as opposed to Bakura) and considered what this meant for the odds of the rest of the afternoon passing quietly and peacefully.

"Can I talk to Bakura?" Kaiba asked of Bakura. (If the phrasing of that sentence confuses you, just imagine how Kaiba feels. Yes. You're either an influential, powerful and awe-inspiring person, or you're not.)

Bakura gazed at him scornfully. "No."

Kaiba frowned. He didn't like using the p-word, although he was capable of it, when the situation absolutely demanded it, as a last resort. Currently, this seemed not to be the case just yet.

"I will buy you triple-chocolate ice-cream (with cherries!) if you just let me talk to him for a few minutes," Kaiba offered, as ever more willing to part with a small chunk of his massive fortune than to swallow a single ounce of his pride.

"No." It was a very definite 'no'. The kind of 'no' people use when they mean it, not when they're just fishing for compliments or trying to get you to raise your bid on their 'super-rare' Duel Monsters-card.

Kaiba was intimately familiar with this kind of 'no' and not merely because he used it regularly himself. This 'no' lay at the root of his (however slight) preference for the one Bakura over the other (or the other over the one), since even if Kaiba enjoyed a challenge as much as the next stiff-necked control-freak (that is to say: only when he knew for sure that he'd overcome it eventually, and that the prize'd be worth his while), he still didn't like people who stood up to him very much.

"Fine." Kaiba made sure he had Bakura's full attention, before he turned around and started walking in the opposite direction of where Bakura'd been headed.

"Hey! Wait!" Bakura could be very fast, if he wanted to. "You're just going to leave me like this?"

Another thing that was rather unfortunate for Kaiba was that Bakura (the one, not the other) had a certain taste for the melodramatic. Added to a very loud voice, this caused another small crowd to gather, eagerly awaiting Kaiba's reply to his lover's accusation. (Possibly, a few of the older people in the crowd tsk'd their disapproval of two boys being lovers, but their tsk-ings were drowned out by the squeals and squeaks and other unspeakable sounds made by the girls at seeing two handsome, cute guys enacting a drama as old as time ... or something like that.)

"You can find your way home, I'm sure," Kaiba said coldly.

The girls hissed at his display of coldness and heartlessness.

"What if I get lost?" Bakura demanded. "What if I get mugged? What if I pass through a dark alley and hear footsteps behind me? What if it starts raining, and I find myself without an umbrella?"

The girls went 'ooh' and 'aww' at this impressive list. Some of them had pulled handkerchiefs out of their pockets and were gently dabbing at the corners of their eyes, careful not to smudge their make-up.

"You can take care of yourself," Kaiba answered, entirely truthful.

"I don't -want- to take care of myself," Bakura declared, and if there was any innuendo intended by this statement, Kaiba did not dignify it with any reaction. "I want -you- to take care of me!"

'Aah', the girls went. Kaiba glared at them.

"Asking you to stay out of trouble would be useless, so I suppose I'll just request you to be home in time for dinner." Kaiba moved his hips in that special way that made his trenchcoat whirl around him like some sort of cloak as he turned his back on Bakura once more.

This time, Bakura made no effort to stop him, instead allowing his audience to gather around him, offering him murmured comfort at being deserted so brutally. Most of them didn't carry anything more valuable than a cellphone (of which Bakura already owned several dozens, before deciding they weren't worth bothering with), but he still managed to snag a bracelet, three bars of chocolate and a bunch of roses. All in all, Bakura was reasonably content as he began to make his way to the next shop he intended to pay a little visit.

OWARI