Author's Note: The first chapter is written in a script format as an interview transcript, but all chapters hereafter will be written in a typical story format. Also, note that this story has been rated T for strong language, graphic violence and "adult content." Thirdly - as explained here in the first chapter - this story does contain character death.

Disclaimer: Takahashi = Yu-Gi-Oh! God. 'Nuff said.

-The Recording-

From the Domino Police Department:

The following is a transcript based on the taped conversation and any such recorded confessions of one Seto Kaiba in regards to Kaiba v. the Municipality of Domino, Tokyo, Japan. Note that a dash (—) will represent a beat of silence. The following documents are not to be shared with any individual other than those under the employment of the Domino Police Department unless granted permission to do so by the presiding official in question.

Winters: The date is November 17th, 2002; the time is 12:07 p.m. My name is Jonathan winters, hereafter referred to as "Jonathan Winters" and "Winters" in transcript. I am an official with the Domino Police Department. This interview is occurring in regards to the matter of Kaiba versus the Municipality of Domino, Tokyo, Japan. Seto Kaiba, hereafter referred to as "Seto Kaiba" and "Kaiba" in transcript, is being charged with the second degree murder of Gozaburo Kaiba. Due to the fact that the only member of the victimized party is now deceased, the municipality has taken it upon itself to represent him on his behalf. Seto Kaiba, on the charge of the second degree murder of Gozaburo Kaiba, how do you plead?

Kaiba: Not guilty.

Winters: Note that Seto Kaiba pleads not guilty. We will now begin the questioning. Mr. Kaiba, you are aware of the fact that you have the right to wait for the presence of your attorney, are you not?

Kaiba: Yes. But I don't know why I would need an attorney because I haven't done anything. That's what I've been trying to tell you people.

Winters: There is always the possibility that you might make an incriminating statement, and seeing as how this conversation is being recorded-

Kaiba: An incriminating statement over a crime I didn't commit, mind you.

Winters: That would be enough proof to condemn you. You realize that you are looking at a sentence of 20 years in prison to life in prison, with the death penalty still on the table?

Kaiba: I've done nothing wrong. You have no right to hold me here.

Winters: Actually, we have a right by the laws of the jurisdiction of the municipality of Domino, Tokyo, Japan to hold you in custody until we see fit to release you. If nothing less, you were a witness to the suicide committed by Gozaburo Kaiba. At the most, you were his murderer.

Kaiba: I didn't murder him.

Winters: You are next in line to run Kaiba Corporation, the billion dollar company that Gozaburo Kaiba founded. You don't think some people - possibly a judge or jury - would see that as motive?

Kaiba: I wouldn't kill him for the company.

Winters: You expect me - or anyone for that matter - to believe that?

Kaiba: Doesn't matter. I've. Done. Nothing.

Winters: And you feel the fact that you have recently been under a heavy amount of legal speculation won't draw a judge's attention?

Kaiba: A lot of rumors have been going around about my business as of late. But anything shady that was going on at Kaiba Corporation was all controlled by Gozaburo. I had nothing to do with any of it.

Winters: Just like you had nothing to do with your father's death?

Kaiba: Step-father.

Kaiba: Let's get our stories straight, shall we? Gozaburo killed himself.

Winters: Let's talk a bit more about the company.

Kaiba: All of the legal speculation that you referred to was never even brought to court. Those counts are useless. So what more is there to talk about?

Winters: Mr. Kaiba, you're sixteen years old. You aren't even of age yet. In fact, many people would still call you a child.

Kaiba: I am not a child. I've had more life experience in my sixteen years than two-thirds of your "boys in blue."

Winters: You smile as though you're proud of that.

Kaiba: I'm alive, aren't I? Some aren't so lucky...

Winters: Nevertheless, you're still quite young. Why would you kill Gozaburo in order to take over his company, now of all times?

Kaiba: I told you: I didn't kill him.

Winters: Then who did?

Kaiba: He did. He committed suicide.

Kaiba: My stepfather was having a nervous breakdown... He knew that I was close to taking the company right out from under him, and he lost it.

Winters: That's the best you can come up with?

Kaiba: It's the truth. I had gone to see him about finalizing some paper work. We talked for a minute, exchanged a few angry words, and he jumped.

Winters: He didn't just jump out the window, Mr. Kaiba. He threw himself right through the glass.

Kaiba: Whatever works.

Winters: You're very smug about Gozaburo's death, Mr. Kaiba.

Kaiba: The fact that he threw himself through the glass is only more evidence that he'd gone completely insane. He just ran right through the window.

Winters: And you expect me to believe that?

Kaiba: Not really. The man was insane; you aren't supposed to find what he does rational or reasonable. It isn't supposed to make sense.

Winters: Mr. Kaiba, would I be correct in assuming that you had a fairly unstable relationship with your stepfather?

Kaiba: That's one way of putting it.

Winters: And would I be correct in assuming that Gozaburo's death - suicide or not - is in some way related to the other various illegal activities your name has been tied to?

Kaiba: I feel as though you're trying to make a point - as though you're targeting a specific rumor.

Winters: Perhaps you say that Gozaburo's death was a suicide because he knew more about your private life that you were comfortable with.

Kaiba: Mr. Winters-

Winters: Perhaps your adopted father knew more than he should.

Kaiba: I warn you-

Winters: And perhaps you decided to kill him because of it.

Kaiba: Enough! Do you want to know why my stepfather died? Do you really want to know? Because he was sick. He was a sick man. He was troubled, he wasn't well, and because he was just plain fucked up. He was angry and insane and he took that out on me. And when it all became too much-when I threatened the last thing that he had left-do you know what he did? He killed himself!

Kaiba: And I'm sure this is exactly like something you would want me to say in order to incriminate myself, but what the hell right? I'm glad that he's dead. I only wish it all could have ended sooner. Because if it had ended just a little bit earlier all of those ethical charges you're so ready to call into question might never have happened.

Kaiba: I know the city is all up-in-arms about his death, and they figure they've lost a treasure, and isn't it just so sad? But I promise you this: the world will be a better place without Gozaburo Kaiba. At least I know my world will be.

Winters: Are you finished?

Kaiba: So long as you're finished discussing mute matters and prepared to focus on the incident at hand.

Winters: I'll do my best. You know, Mr. Kaiba, I don't really believe that Gozaburo killed himself. I don't see why he would, and your explanation of taking over his company just doesn't do it for me. A man famed for his hostile company take overs and ruthless business strategies doesn't crack under pressure. Not over something like a sixteen-year-old threatening to take over his company.

Kaiba: Go on, if you must.

Winters: I also think that you had something to do with his death. Maybe you pushed him out that window. You insist he was crazy; maybe you said something to him, pushed the right buttons, and made him jump. Either way it doesn't matter. I'm pretty sure that there's a lot that went on between yourself and your stepfather that you don't intend to divulge to anyone, including your lawyer. All you're prepared to discuss is what will get you out of trouble. Right?

Winters: I believe that you killed Gozaburo Kaiba. But I don't think you did just because you wanted to take over his company... So I'm willing to make a deal with you.

Kaiba: Excuse me?

Winters: Let's say that I'm willing to listen to your testimony - your entire story - and I'll record it. The whole thing. That's more than any court or judge will give you. And if I believe what you say is true... consider all of this over.

Kaiba: What kind of authority do you have that would declare me innocent?

Winters: Let's just say that I know a guy.

Kaiba: You just want to record the conversation and sell it to the press.

Winters: Nope. As soon as I get done with this tape it goes into storage. It'll never see the light of day again. If it were to surface, it would be considered illegal and I would be the person who would have to suffer for it. And I don't want that.

Kaiba: And you say that if I convince you, you'll see that I'm proven innocent?

Winters: It will be as though this never happened. You won't see a day of jail, hardly any court time. It'll save you both time and money, Mr. Kaiba. And a CEO can't afford to waste either, can he?

Winters: I'm your only hope. No judge will listen to your entire story. And because of your age, if you are found guilty - and let's face it, you probably will be - then you will be tried as an adult. That's the last thing you want. Now, are you willing to record a testimony or not?

Winters: Mr. Kaiba?

Kaiba: I... it... I'm not confessing to anything. I'm giving you my testimony, and telling you why I wouldn't kill Gozaburo. Is that understood?

Winters: Completely understood.

Kaiba: It... It had all started a little over... a year ago. Gozaburo had finally given consent so that I could attend a public school. Before that I had always been home schooled, but I had put in the effort to convince him to allow me to attend a normal school. That was all I wanted anymore... a bit of normalcy in my life...