(Haori's POV)

You stood outside in a side alley waiting for one of the guys to swing by and pick you up. After that fight you had with Kaiba, there was no way you were going to be able to stick around even if you wanted to.

"You took quite the beating there boy." A foreign voice announced as you sensed someone stand next to you.

"No. I just let him have his minute of glory. That's all." You muttered rubbing the back of your head where his last hit made contact.

"Here," The stranger held out a bag of ice, "this should help the swelling that'll follow."

"That wasn't my first brawl old man." You stated taking the pack and placing it on the side of our face. You took a quick look at the guy. He looked American, but his accent was more European. He was tall, built, and had dark hair. It was hard to see his eyes in the dim lighting, but the guy looked like he could hold his own in a fight.

"So do you brawl over girls very often boy?" He asked lighting up a smoke.

"Not usually. But I was already looking for a fight I guess." You shrugged.

"Yeah looked like you and the little lady were getting into it yourselves. Having problems?"

"I think that's more my business old man. Besides, don't you know those sticks are bad for your health?" you scoffed trying to change the subject.

"Indeed these things are," He muttered pulling the cigarette out of his mouth briefly, "But let's say I traded one deadly vice for this less deadly one."

"So what made you come out here old man?" you asked.

"Ah," He sighed looking back at you, "Let's say I came out here to offer some manly advice."

"Manly advice? What kind of advice are you talking?" You lightly laughed at the thought.

"Maybe a bit of advice when dealing with girls that have a little bit of a temper. If you are still going for that one gal that you were fighting that other boy over."

"That stupid bitch is a lost cause man. Don't even bother. I got what I would want from her anyway."

"She didn't look too stupid if you ask me." He scoffed, "I mean the girl looked like she was smart enough to run and hide from a couple of shady characters before you showed up and picked a fight with her."

"Nikki could hold her own in a fight. I'll give her that, but she went looking for the wrong one tonight. That's why she's stupid." You explained.

"So you're going to give up on her then? Let that other boy have her?" He asked with an eyebrow raised.

"Nope." You stated simply.

"I thought she wasn't worth it?"

"She's not, but I'm not going to let that rich punk have her. Until I say so, she's my girl." You shrugged.

"You telling me that girl is just some trophy on your little shelf kid?" The stranger inquired as if appalled.

"If you want to put it that way." You shrugged.

"That's more of a reason to not bother with it kid. That girl is no trophy wife material. She's too hardheaded by the looks of it. You'd be like the Nazi's in the world wars, fighting a battle from two sides. It'll be hopeless. Just wave that white flag and let her go."

"No! That bitch is going to feel a little more pain before she can walk out on me. I will make sure of that." You muttered starting to get annoyed with this man. Without warning, you felt yourself slam into the ground and a ringing in your left ear.

"That's enough out of you boy." The stranger snapped above you.

"Who the hell do you think you are old man?" You flared getting back to your feet.

"You really don't want to know kid. Trust me." The man growled cracking his knuckles.

"You looking for a fight too old man? Seriously?" You retorted as a small sense of satisfaction ran through you. After that brawl inside, you were wanting to hit something. This guy was going to be the perfect punching bag.

"Enter a fight with me boy," He stated tossing his smoke to the ground snuffing it out with his shoe, "you might end up hurt. I just suggest you go home and leave that girl and her friends be."

"There's nothing you can do to stop me old man." you quipped throwing a quick right at him.

"I warned you kid.." You heard the man mutter just before you felt your wrist caught and your body flung up against the brick building. The bastard didn't stop there. Next thing you felt was your arm being bent all the way back as if he were about to break it. "Now I'm going to tell you one more time. Leave the girl alone and I won't break your scrawny arm."

"Like there's anything you can do about it." You spat trying to fight his grip.

"There's plenty I can do kid. Like you, I have friends in high places. The difference," Suddenly you felt a sharp pop in your shoulder as the bastard must have thrown it out of socket, "I think my friends are higher on the food chain."

"I doubt it old man." you snapped slipping out from the guy's grasp finally.

"I would give up kid. That arm is no good until you get someone to set it properly." The guy shrugged.

"Just because you got my right arm doesn't make my left one useless you idiot." you muttered as you went at him with your good arm.

Just like before he grabbed you at the wrist but this time hit your elbow going upwards sending another 'pop' through your arm as he snapped it out of place. He didn't stop there. Next thing you knew he made a solid hit right to your left temple sending you to the ground.

"You're not going to stop unless I make sure you stay down. I understand that now. So I'll make sure of it kid." The guy stated just before you felt a hard kick to your stomach. He continued with this beating until you felt as if you couldn't move. He had attacked all areas of your body making each one too sore to move. Who knew and old man like him could fight like the guys you hung around with? Who was this bastard anyway? Why was he so animate on finishing the fight Kaiba started? Was he one of his men? That had to be it.

"Did K-Kaiba hire you to do this old man?" You spat when he finally seemed to stop

"No kid." The old man shrugged lighting another smoke, "No one hired me. I acted on my own."

"Then who are you? Why bother with this at all?" You stated looking up at him. You knew you had lost, but you had to know who the hell this guy was. Would he be around if you went anywhere near Nicole again?

"You really want to know kid?" He asked with an eyebrow raised.

"Well yeah. It'd be nice to know the name of the guy I have to make sure gets a beating of his own later." You scoffed.

"Simple enough kid." the stranger smirked walking back towards the exit of the alley, "The name is Mark. Mark Silvers. And before you ask, I am that 'stupid bitch's' father." he scoffed putting the emphasis on what you had called Nicole earlier.

You were shocked to hear it to say the least. You didn't know that Nicole's biological father was even in the picture. She never spoke of him much. She only mentioned that step dad you met. Would have been good to know that her dad was a damn ox in a fight and not one to be screwed with.

"Now that that little secret is out," He shrugged walking back and kneeling in front of you, "I'd suggest you stay away from my daughter kid. If you want a fight, go ahead and pick it with me. Oh, and don't let her know we had this talk. I've been trying to get on her good side again, and this" He gestured to the area around the two of you, "would really hurt that for me I'm sure."

With that, the guy walked off leaving you curled up in your own pain. Maybe going after her wouldn't be worth it after all. Not with that many people willing to beat you to a pulp over her.

(Seto's POV)

"I think it's a bad time to say this," you heard Nicole groan, "but I don't feel too good you two."

"How much did you have to drink?" Heather asked as she felt Nic's head for temperature you could only assume.

"Stop that!" Nic sighed pushing Heather's hand away, "It's not the flu gosh! I just had a couple drinks over my limit."

"How many is a 'couple'?" You inquired sternly. You still weren't completely calmed down after this whole thing. She had answers to give about this just as much as Usika did.

"Um two or three maybe? I kind of... you now... lost track." She muttered taking several deep breaths.

"Do we need to pull the car over?" Heather asked gently.

"Depends, how close are we to stopping?" Nic slurred leaning back in her chair.

"Your apartment is maybe three minutes away. Think you could hold on that long?" You asked slowing down just a bit in case you had to stop to let her out.

"No crazy turns and I should be fine for that long, but I strongly suggest you get me upstairs quick." Nic nodded closing her eyes.

When you pulled up to the apartment building, you sent Heather on ahead to get the elevator. You then reached into the back seat to help Nic out of the car.

"You think you can walk on your own, or should I carry you?" You asked reaching for her hand.

"Are my legs broken?" She snapped matter-of-factly hitting your hand away.

You rolled your eyes letting her have her way. If she was going to be difficult, you weren't going to instigate it any further. You tried your best not to laugh though as she staggered out of the car trying her best to keep her balance.

"Woah!" She exasperated as she seemed to lose her footing, but you were right behind to catch her as she fell back.

"So I'll ask again." You whispered in her ear, "Are you sure you can do this on your own?" Though a part of you was still angry, the other was taking a small comfort in having her in your hold again.

"I give up" she sighed, "I guess I'll have to thank you twice now."

"Why thank me twice?" You asked as you set her down just long enough to slip an arm under her knees and pick her up so she rested her head on your shoulder.

"Well you did help me get out of that hell hole for one and I guess walking me to my apartment for two." she muttered in a sleepy tone.

"Then thank me twice when you're sober." You explained making your way to the front where Heather waited at the elevator. At first, Heather seemed confused but smiled when she saw the two of you.

"I always loved that aftershave.." Nicole muttered as you followed Heather onto the elevator.

"What?" You asked looking down at Nic puzzled.

"Your aftershave." She smiled through half open eyes taking a deep breath, "I always liked this one. Smells sooo nice."

You glanced over at Heather who looked like she was trying not to laugh.

"I guess thanks..." You muttered trying not to go a little red yourself. You were slightly relieved when the elevator opened up to Nic's floor. Heather had grabbed Nicole's keys out of her purse and went on to get the door.

"Think you could put me down and let me walk?" Nic asked slowly.

You nodded as you let her legs down holding onto her long enough for her to get her balance. She reached over to the wall using it as support as she walked.

"Remind me that seven drinks it too much next time I go out will you?" You heard her mutter as she walked into her door.

"If I had my way, you wouldn't be drinking period!" Heather stated under her breath where only you could hear her.

"Ok, if you two will excuse me I'm going to puke my guts out for a minute.." Nicole slurred staggering her way to the guest bathroom.

You looked over at Heather unsure of what to do at this point. You had managed to get Nicole back home in one piece. Wasn't that your original goal?

"Well are you going to go in there with her or shall I?" She asked crossing her arms over her chest.

"Well.. I-" You really weren't sure what to do, but Heather sighed shaking her head.

"You're both hopeless. Why don't you get me some wet rags and a bowl from the kitchen please."

You nodded making your way towards the kitchen.

"Don't forget tweezers. I think some of those cuts still have a bit of glass." Heather called going toward the bathroom.

You just followed the order grabbing several things from the kitchen area. You could faintly hear the two in the bathroom, and you could only sigh. You didn't think Nic would ever be one of those girls. The party and wild scene didn't suit her, but here she was at home sick because of too much to drink. You could only hope this evening would be her wake up call, and she'd realize what was happening to her. That's if she could remember all of this come morning. When you walked into the bathroom, you saw Heather holding Nic's hair back as she rubbed her hand along Nic's back.

"Oh good! Those will be perfect." Heather smiled reaching over for the linens you had brought in. "Now just fill that bowl up with some warm water and I can get started on her arm."

"You do realize I'm still conscious Heather." Nicole murmured laying her cheek against the toilet seat, " I can take care of myself. You two can go ahead and leave."

"And seeing as you are drunk off your ass and your room mate is out with Biff at the moment I'm going to decline that offer missy." Heather replied patting her sister's head.

"Hea!" Nic slurred waving Heather's hand away, "I'm drunk not twelve. The pats of re.. reassure-whatever aren't needed."

"You just hold still and let me take care of your arm." Heather sighed rolling her eyes.

"You don't have to be here you know?" Nic stated looking up at you briefly as she tried to blow a small section of her bangs our of her face.

"Seeing as he was my ride here," Heather interrupted smartly using her wet fingers to pull the small section of hair out of Nic's face, "I'm going to need him to stay here so I'm not stuck walking home."

"O-kay..." Nicole sighed in defeat.

"If you could hold her hair for me, I can take care of her arm." Heather instructed motioning you into her direction.

"Uh sure.." You nodded kneeling down taking Nicole's hair in your hand.

The three of you sat in silence for a good while. Nicole would flinch every so often as Heather cleaned up the cuts to her arm, but she wouldn't complain. You kept your focus on what Heather was doing looking down at Nic every so often. Truthfully, it felt awkward sitting next to her like this. Other than the other day at school, you hadn't interacted much with Nicole since you two separated. Now you were sitting next to her in a small bathroom watching Heather clean and wrap up her injured arm.

"You know what I miss... miss most of all." Nic muttered looking at you as if she were about to fall asleep.

"What is it?" You asked meeting her glance.

"Your eyes." She slurred as she started giggling slightly, "They're such a beautiful color you know, but I'm sure alllll the girls tell you that."

"I'll take that as a complement none the less." You stated looking over at Heather who was laughing to herself. "What?" you whispered slightly peeved. Why were you the only one Nicole was going on about? Why didn't she say anything to Heather like this?

"I'm sorry." she whispered back covering her mouth with her hand, "but this is too much to pass up."

"Don't you agree Heather?" Nicole stated picking her head up and looking over as if she had read your thoughts.

"Well... um..." Heather stammered looking embarrassed.

"She asked a question Heather." You smirked feeling the joys of payback.

"Yeah I only asked a little question." Nic teased leaning her head back down.

"Well I-I-I.. I've never really bothered to look..."

"What do you mean you've never bothered? You're like... trying to date him aren't you?" Nic questioned confused.

Now you both were caught off guard. Did she not believe you this morning? Was this not resolved after all? What was it going to take?

"I think you're still a bit drunk there Nikki." Heather blushed trying to focus on wrapping up Nic's arm, "In case you've forgotten, I'm quite happy and in love with Ryou."

"Awe! That's sooo sweet!" Nic goofily smiled.

"Yes. S-Sweet indeed." Heather muttered recovering from her apparent embarrassment "There. I think your arm should be fine as long as you keep it clean."

"Thank you." Nic muttered closing her eyes as if to fall asleep.

"You ready for bed there Nikki?" Heather asked with a small laugh emptying the bowl water into the tub next to her.

"Bed does sound nice now that you mention it." She smiled.

"Are you feeling alright though?" You questioned concerned. Last thing you wanted was her laying down and getting sick in her sleep.

"Yep! Got the extra booze out of my system. Something tells me I'm going to hate myself come morning though.. It'll make one horrendous hang over."

You looked up at Heather really unsure how to handle the situation. Could you trust Nic's assurances? Would she be fine by herself the rest of the night?

"Serves you right drinking like you were." Heather spoke up helping Nic up on her feet.

"Can we save the lecture for when I'm sober?" Nic cringed with a sigh.

"Oh you think I wasn't going to give you one then too?" She replied as the two walked past you, "You're going to get one in the morning too. I'll make sure of it."

You just stood quietly and watched the two walk back into Nic's room. You were sure your part in all this was finally over. You had succeeded in getting Nicole home safely. Now, you had to try to keep it that way.