Chapter 3

Bakura woke around five the next morning, a little earlier than usual and unfortunately necessary. Without his bike, he would have to walk to Ryou's apartment to steal Marik's, and that would take a good deal of time. Mokuba had offered the previous night to drive him to and from work until his bike was fixed, but he felt a little...uncomfortable about that.

Bakura frowned at nothing in particular. If he really thought about it, he felt uncomfortable around Mokuba period. Maybe it was residual guilt of almost killing the boy, though he doubted that, or maybe it was the way Mokuba had been looking him over the night before. He was an interesting enough person, but if there was one thing Bakura hated, it was being gawked at.

Which he had told the teen the night before, which had pissed him off quite a bit, yet he had still offered to drive him around. Bakura shook his head. He just did not understand mortals sometimes.

Almost automatically, he made the bed and folded the clothes Mokuba had lent him for the night, cleaning up the room so that it looked like he had never been there. He nearly stopped when he realized what he was doing, but figured it couldn't hurt his image at this stage. Then he opened the door to begin his attempt of finding his way out of the mansion—

—Only to run into the maid that had been standing there, hand raised to knock on the door.

"Oh!" the maid exclaimed, looking very startled indeed. "Um, sir, breakfast is on the table and Master Kaiba is requesting that you join him..."

Bakura's eyebrows rose in surprise. He had definitely not expected to eat this morning, nor to be invited to breakfast by either of the Kaibas. "Fine, lead the way. Which Kaiba?"

The maid blinked rapidly, nervously walking only about an inch in front of him. "Um, Master Mokuba always sleeps through breakfast, sir."

"He could have changed his mind," Bakura said with a shrug.

She shook her head a little too enthusiastically. "H-he only gets up this early when he's going to work with Master Kaiba, Sir. I've never seen him up early otherwise and I've worked here for three years..."

"I see..."

Bakura frowned slightly. Why had Mokuba been so insistent on giving him a ride, then? He would have been completely going out of his way to do it.


Bakura glanced over. The maid stared at him anxiously; clearly, she thought she might have said something that could get her fired.

He waved it off, saying with a slight smirk, "Mokuba's a rather confusing, annoying person, I've found."

She blinked then giggled a little, "Really? He's really nice to all of the staff. Much more so than Master Kaiba. He even let one of the other maids stay in one of his guest rooms for a few weeks while she was between apartments...and gave her a ride to her second job at night before he went to school..."

"I think we'd all have a heart attack if Kaiba was any nicer to people other than his brother," Bakura answered with a smirk. "It would probably give him one too."

She nodded but flushed when she realized how she was talking about her employers. Looking abashed, she apologized with a slight bow and opened one of the double doors into the dining room. Kaiba was already sitting at the head of the long table, eating while flipping though a thick binder of papers.

Bakura looked once over the scene before walking over to sit at the table, where a plate had been set out for him. He made sure to watch Kaiba out of the corner of his eye as he started eating, as he was sure the brunet was doing the same to him.

After about a minute of silence, Kaiba closed the binder and turned narrowed eyes on Bakura, his fingertips tented over his plate. "I want to know about the club you work at."

Bakura shrugged. "What do you need to know about it? It's a nightclub."

Kaiba's eyes narrowed a little more, "I want to know what kind of people go there, the rules, and anything else that may relate to my brother's safety."

Bakura shrugged again, set his fork down, and looked at Kaiba proper, completely unfazed by the look he was being given. "Most of the people who come are gay or bi, but not all of them. Every Friday we have a strip show on the front stage, and a couple bands play live after that. The age limit is seventeen, like I said yesterday, but we don't give alcohol to anyone under twenty-one. There's a no sex policy on the dance floor, and usually we prefer people to get a room rather than use the lounge area or the second floor balcony."

He smirked slightly as he added, "I usually work at the bar with Marik, but we've been asked to perform a routine on the stage this Friday."

Kaiba's eyes became slits as Bakura went on and once the thief was finished, he said in a low voice, "I want you to stay away from my little brother."

Bakura just stopped himself from rolling his eyes. "No offence, but you don't like anyone hanging out with your brother. I can't see why I would be any different. Besides, it's Mokuba who been trying to be friendly with me, not the other way around."

"Most of the time, I don't care who hangs out with him, but I want you to stay away from him, regardless of who is being friendly to who," Kaiba answered, looking annoyed at being told about what he did.

Bakura's eyes glinted dangerously at this, but it was fleeting and soon he just looked annoyed as well instead of angry. "It's rather hard to stay away from someone who's trying be your friend. Would you rather I told him to fuck off and hurt his feelings, so he'll come running back to you, telling you false tales about how mean I am?"

"If you must." Kaiba's voice was cold as he turned back to his breakfast.

Bakura raised an eyebrow in disbelief, staring at him for a moment before going back to his own food. "How callous."

Kaiba's eyes slanted towards Bakura. "It may be, but protecting my brother"s well being is more important than petty feelings."

It was harder for Bakura to quell the annoyance he felt at the unspoken insinuation in that statement, but he managed to keep it down enough that he only glared at Kaiba once. "I'm not about to harm your brother, Kaiba," he bit out. "There are far worse threats than me in the world, ones that would be perfectly willing to hurt him."

Kaiba set his fork down and turned towards Bakura. "Oh? And just what would those be? The ones that are worse than a conniving spirit of a thief that almost stole my brother's body and tortured countless others in both lifetimes?"

"That," Bakura hissed, bristling at the mention of what he'd done, only because it reminded him of just why he'd done it, "was five years ago. I was perfectly justified in doing what I did; even Yami said so when I explained it to him. And I made one attempt on your brother—just one—and not one since. I know what it's like to lose a loved one."

Kaiba's gaze hardened further. "Once is enough to piss me off. Stay. Away. From. Mokuba."

"Fine," Bakura answered with a soft growl, "I understood you the first time. But it won't work if he doesn't want me to stay away."

"What is that supposed to mean?" Kaiba growled.

"It means that if your brother does want to be my friend, he's not going to be deterred much if I tell him to fuck off. Or if you tell him to stay away from me." Bakura gave Kaiba a pointed look. "Meaning that he'll just keep coming back, trying to be my friend, whether I'm trying to stay away from him or not. Rather like what Yugi does."

Kaiba frowned darkly, thinking. After a moment, he turned back to his breakfast, speaking in a more normal tone, "Fine, but I will find a way to make you regret it if anything happens to him."

Bakura nodded but didn't say anything as he started eating again; anything he felt like saying would have pissed Kaiba off even more and he did not feel like fighting with anyone at the moment.

Kaiba's eyes slanted towards Bakura again. "I also want to see that club for myself before Mokuba steps foot near it."

Bakura shut his eyes once, trying to calm down. "Fine, when do you want to go?"

"Tomorrow," Kaiba said as he finished his breakfast and began gathering up the papers he had spread out on the table. "I have a break between meetings around noon."

"I only have an hour long lunch-break," Bakura answered, finishing his own breakfast.

"Fine." Kaiba stood and started out. "Come to Kaiba Corp. on your break, we'll go from there."

Bakura followed him after moment, though only because he needed to go the same way to get out of the mansion. That didn't stop him from glaring daggers in Kaiba's back as they went.

Kaiba paused once outside and turned back to Bakura. "Do you need to be dropped off anywhere?"

Bakura stared at him, surprised and a little wary. What could Kaiba be up to, that he would be willing to spend more time alone with a person he seemed to hate so much? But after a moment, he shook his head, answering politeness with politeness.

"You don't have to. It would be out of your way."

"I'm not going to Kaiba Corp," Kaiba said, annoyance clear in his voice. "I have a meeting elsewhere today."

Bakura eyed him for another couple seconds before he nodded and slipped into the car.

"Give the driver the address," Kaiba said as he slid inside and shut the door behind him.

Bakura waited for the driver to get in, gave him the address of Ryou's apartment in the phone he had used the previous night, then leaned over against the door, head against the window, eyes closed, more than ready to ignore the rest of the world.

Seto looked to be turned out and staring out the window at the passing scenery, but he was really watching Bakura's reflection in the window. The thief seemed to have fallen asleep, though Seto knew better than that. However, he made a good impression of it, and even seemed to have relaxed more than Seto would have expected. Bakura almost looked...vulnerable.

As though he knew what Seto was thinking, Bakura shifted so his hair covered his face, blocking it from view. Feeling a little embarrassed in spite of himself, Seto refocused his eyes so he was looking out the window rather than at it.

Bakura's eyes opened after a few minutes to watch the street fly by beneath them. He caught a slight movement out of the corner of his eye and glanced at Kaiba. The brunet looked rather uncomfortable all of a sudden.

"Are you all right?" he asked, knowing he must be mad for even thinking it.

"Fine," Kaiba growled through clenched teeth, though he was beginning to look a little ill.

Bakura frowned and sat up, watching him impassively until realization dawned. "Are you getting carsick?"

"No," Kaiba bit out, turning his face away but jerking it back just as quickly.

Bakura frowned at him for another minute or so before he dug into one of his pockets and pulled out a ginger candy. "Here," he said, holding it out to Kaiba. "It'll help."

"Help what?" Kaiba growled stubbornly.

Bakura rolled his eyes, just as stubbornly keeping his hand outstretched with the candy in it for Kaiba to take. "Your stomach. Ryou gets motion sick as well, so I know the signs. This'll help get rid of the nausea."

Kaiba glared at Bakura's hand for a moment before snatching the candy away, unwrapping it, and putting it in his mouth with a distrustful look. Bakura nodded curtly in approval and looked back out the window, drawing his hand back to rest on his lap again with the other.

Kaiba's narrowed eyes followed Bakura's movement, and after a moment, while looking a little better, he gave an emotionless, "Thank you."

"Your welcome," Bakura answered automatically, glancing once at Kaiba with another faint nod before his eyes closed again like earlier.

Looking faintly annoyed, mostly with himself, Kaiba turned his eyes back to his lap.

Bakura's eyes opened again when he felt the Ring getting much closer and turned his gaze out the window so Kaiba wouldn't see the almost homesick look in his eyes that would never show on his face.

Kaiba glanced over at the movement and caught the look in Bakura's eyes in the reflection on the window. "What's wrong with you?"

Bakura's eyes were blank in an instant as he glared over at Kaiba, more annoyed at himself for allowing the brunet for seeing his one moment of weakness than at Kaiba for asking about it. "Nothing."

"You're lying." Kaiba snorted and looked away as the limo pulled to a stop. "Not that I should have expected any better from you."

Bakura visibly prickled but said nothing, stepping out of the limo on his own instead without bothering to wait for the driver to get out and open his door, but as soon as he was standing he briefly turned back around, just able to see Kaiba's face.

"Thanks," he muttered. Then he closed the door and headed off without waiting for an answer.

Kaiba's eyebrows shot up in surprise before he snorted softly in annoyance and looked away at his lap as the limo pulled away from the curb.

Since he was so close to the Ring, Bakura could finally tap into it (Ryou had blocked him from using it at a distance when he'd taken it away), and he took out some of his annoyance at Kaiba by blowing up a branch of a nearby tree in such a way that it completely disintegrated at it exploded, resulting in a fine dust covering everything nearby. He really hated that people keep using his past against him, especially when it was grossly exaggerated. He never had lied outright until a couple year before; usually he just never told the whole truth.

And he'd never actually tried to piss off Kaiba the way he had Atemu and his friends. In fact, he'd only gone after Mokuba that one time because he'd been conveniently soulless and it looked unlikely that he'd get his soul back anytime soon; he never would have touched the kid otherwise. And the time he'd used Mokuba for bite to get his brother to duel him; just another convenience, but never something he'd planned out in full.

Kaiba didn't know anything about him; he had no right to bring up his past like that. He was—almost—completely different now.

Eager to get some of his frustration out, since blowing up the tree branch hadn't really helped, Bakura headed up to Ryou's apartment and let himself in with his spare key, careful to be quite about it since it was early enough that Ryou and Marik would still be asleep. He rolled his eyes when he passed his hikari's room, since it looked like they'd fallen asleep with Marik still inside his lover, but paused long enough to pull the forgotten covers over both of them, and then went on to his room to strip so he could take a shower.

About fifteen minutes later, Bakura left the apartment, clean and dressed in nice but comfortable clothes and with his hair brushed and pulled back in a black hair tie, to see if he could pull off stealing Marik's bike. The motorcycle in question was waiting out behind the bushes in front of the building, but wasn't completely unprotected; Bakura had to disable several traps before he could roll it out into the street. As soon as he started it, though, a hand pulled open a window high above and the owner head poked itself out to see where the noise was coming from.

"What the hell...Bakura! Get the fuck off my bike!"

Bakura briefly glanced at him with a laugh and started driving away, calling back mockingly, "Thanks for the bike, Marik! I'll give it back in a week!"

"Fuck you, Bakura!"