AN: First things first: if you've only seen the dub of 5D's, please go watch the sub before you read this. This starts right after episode 24, so there's a lot of spoilers.

Yay, my first YGO 5D's fic! I've been wanting to write one for ages, but I didn't have a idea for one until ep 24 and the previews for 25. This isn't necessarily what I would like to see in ep 25, although it'd be great if it happened. This more of a "Jack was probably pissed, and hey, wouldn't Jack get pissed if he knew what's been happening to Yusei?" thing.

Disclaimer: I don't own Yugioh 5D's. I wouldn't want to. It's amazing as it is. Even 4Kids couldn't ruin it completely. The title is from Nightwish's track "The Escapist."

Rating: K+

Warnings: Spoilers for the whole series up to episode 25. Very mild, hinted at, practically-not-there YuseixJack slash.

P.S. Go read the other 5D's fic. It's by MistressMinako, and it's adorable.


Escapist

"I thought you were only going to use Stardust against me!"

Yusei almost groaned at the voice. He was not in the mood to deal with Jack. He wasn't in the mood to duel with Jack in a half hour. His duel with Izayoi had been more trying than he would have expected; his whole body ached, especially his head and arm, and he felt like he was about to pass out. He only wanted to knock back a couple aspirin and take a nap.

Of course, Jack wouldn't have that.

"Yusei! Don't ignore me!" Jack demanded, grabbing his shoulder. Yusei winced and twisted away as quickly as possible. Maybe he'd gotten more hurt during that duel than he'd thought.

Jack seemed to notice the wince, and he looked a little sorry about it. But not sorry enough.

"So I used Stardust against Izayoi," Yusei said. "And now you'll have the duel you wanted."

"I wanted you to use Stardust against me!"

"I can still use her against you," Yusei said impatiently. Why was this so important? Didn't Jack have better things to do than harass him? "We haven't had our duel yet. You'll see her again."

Yusei turned away, ready for an overdo nap. Maybe he could get them to push the duel back another half hour so he could get more sleep.

"I should be the only one to see Stardust!"

Yusei sighed. It seemed Jack didn't have anything better to do.

"I don't care if that witch is a Signer! I should be the only one!"

Yusei whipped around, staggering but managing not to fall. "You know?"

Jack frowned and crossed his arms. "Of course I know. You and I are Signers. Izayoi and that girl are Signers too. And I am the King of all of us. Therefore, I should be the only one to see Stardust."

Yusei snorted softly. It sounded as though Jack really believed that. "Did the Director tell you that?"

Jack's stunned silence spoke for him.

"Didn't you listen to Bomber?" Yusei asked. "The Director destroyed his village for all of this! He's the reason why Rally and the others are in danger!"

"Do you believe that? You believe he destroyed that village?"

"I believe Bomber," Yusei said. "Bomber is a good man; I can't believe that he would lie about something so important to him. And I believe in the picture of our friends, and the threat I received with it."

Jack looked away at the ground, clenching his fists.

"Have you asked about any of this?"

Jack's silence spoke for him again.

"I didn't think so." Yusei started walking away again. "If you'll excuse me, I need to take a nap before I deal with you anymore."

Jack called out his name, but Yusei didn't stop again. Even when his vision started swimming and his legs wobbled, he refused to stop. He could make it back to the waiting room.

"Yusei!"

He heard footsteps running up behind him. His arm throbbed in pain and his vision blacked out.


Yusei opened his eyes. The room around him looked unfamiliar, though he was sure he was still in the stadium complex. And since he was lying on a couch, he doubted he was in the infirmary, not that he thought the infirmary would treat someone with a Marker anyway.

"I got them to stall the duel for you."

Yusei turned his head. Jack sat in a chair next to the couch, arms and legs crossed.

"I told them you'd passed out because of your duel with Izayoi and that you needed time to recover."

Yusei frowned as he struggled to sit up. "How long was I out?"

"Three hours."

Yusei looked at him sharply. "And I wasn't automatically disqualified?"

"I refused to accept a win on those terms," Jack said.

Yusei gave him a sceptical look. "They wouldn't have accepted that."

"And I threatened to give up my title and head back to Satellite to find out what happened to Rally and the others."

Yusei stared at him, waiting for the joke, but Jack only stared seriously back.

"You've been the "King" since before you let Satellite," Yusei said, still unsure whether to believe it.

"This duel is more important," Jack answered. "I need to know if you really are better than me. You would have won our last duel, and I can't be King if I lose a duel."

"That duel didn't count on your record."

"But I know I lost it! That's what matters!" Jack clenched his fist in one of his overdramatic gestures so appropriate for the King. "I don't care if it takes days or weeks for you to get better; I won't duel against anyone else now that you're the finalist."

"What if I hadn't been the finalist?"

Jack stared at him as though he thought he was stupid. "If that had happened, I would have issued a personal challenge after defeating the wrongful finalist."

"And Godwin would allow that?" Yusei asked, surprised that Jack would be willing to risk his reputation like that.

"The Director doesn't have that much control over what I do," Jack said.

Yusei had to admit, maybe Jack had a point. The King had gotten them to push back the duel, after all.

Unless...Yusei frowned thoughtfully. Unless it was because Godwin wanted to see the crimson dragon no matter what the cost, and he would have allowed Jack to issue his challenge anyway. What did it matter if the duel was a couple hours too late, or that the King tarnished his reputation, if he got what he wanted out of it?

Just how much control did Godwin actually have over everything? In Satellite, he was more of a figurehead and didn't do much directly involving the city. Here, he seemed to control everything personally.

Did Jack realize how much control Godwin had?

"Yusei."

Yusei looked up at him again. Jack had pulled a pocket-screen out of somewhere and was frowning down at it. Yusei could see from where he was sitting that his own image was on the screen. No doubt Jack had scanned his Marker while he'd been asleep.

"This says you've been electrocuted over twenty times." Jack glanced up at him, looked worried for the first time. "Why? And why aren't you dead?"

"Twenty?" He supposed it had counted each time he'd been hit, such as each taser that had touched him, instead of the groups of times.

"You don't have to tell me," Jack said, noting his hesitation. "I realize I'm no longer in a position of confidence with you anymore."

Yusei studied him for a moment. Did he trust Jack enough to tell him? Or rather, would telling him make any difference or would Jack just shrug it off like he had with everything else that had been said against the Director?

Yusei honestly couldn't see Jack tolerating this, though. Maybe he would finally get off his butt and do something about Godwin.

"You're a duelist, and you did give back Stardust, even if it was for selfish reasons. I trust you enough." Yusei ignored the King's shock to add firmly, "But are you going to believe me, or will you believe me like how you believed Bomber?"

Jack shook his head. "I have no reason not to believe you."

"The first few were while I was at the detention center. They were trying to bring out the birthmark, and that was what they tried. It didn't work, of course; the birthmark has only appeared around other Signers."

"They electrocuted you to make your birthmark appear?"

Yusei nodded. "I'm not sure for how long, but it was at least five minutes."

"Under Godwin's orders?"

Yusei nodded again. Jack's fists clenched in his lap, threatening to break the pocket-screen.

"The second time was during a duel with the warden. He rigged our duel disks to deliver an electric shock every time we lost lifepoints equivalent to how many points were lost. And I lost lifepoints almost every turn."

"He got fired for that," Jack sad.

"Yes."

Jack frowned down at his lap. "I heard he was fired for losing to you."

"He was fired for being unable to accept his loss. I'm sure the Director condoned the conditions of the duel though. He watched the whole thing. He could have stopped it before the end."

Jack jerked, as though to get up. He didn't, though he was poised to if Yusei said anything more upsetting. Yusei liked that; it had been a while since he'd seen Jack so upset.

"What about the rest?" Jack asked.

"I had to drive though about thirty policemen when I got back my D-Wheel. They all had tasers." Yusei shook his head, added, "I don't really remember getting out of that one, just waking up in Tops."

Jack shot out of his seat and stalked out of the room. It was so sudden a move, Yusei had to stare at his empty chair for a moment before he had the sense to get up and follow.

"Jack, where are you going?"

Jack paused and glanced back at him. "You shouldn't be up."

Yusei shook his head. "I feel fine. I'm not even sore."

Jack nodded and started walking again. "I'm going to go give the Director a piece of my mind."

Yusei had wondered if that was it. He caught up and walked alongside Jack, feeling more content than he had in a while. It almost felt like he had his best friend back again. Almost.

Jack led him to an elevator and punched one of the buttons. The elevator jerked to life. Jack wanted to pace around the elevator, if his constant twitches and inability to stand still were anything to go by. Yusei was tempted to tell him to just do it, but they weren't on good enough terms for that yet. When the elevator stopped, Jack practically blasted out of the doors into the room beyond.

Yusei followed calmly, looking around interest. Jack had taken them to the top room of the tower that overlooked the stadium. One of the windows was still shattered from Bomber's kamikaze stunt.

Godwin and Jaeger stood before another section of windows. They both turned when Jack stalked inside.

"Atlus-sama, what is the meaning of this?" Godwin demanded. "You should be preparing for your duel."

"There isn't going to be a duel unless I get a few answers!" Jack roared. He flung and arm back to point at Yusei. "What the hell have you been doing to him?"

Godwin's eyes shifted over to Yusei and narrowed. Yusei only stared stoically back.

"We were only testing what you told us, Atlus-sama," Godwin said, turning his attention back to Jack.

Yusei tensed. The Director was testing them, to see just how close they had gotten. It was too bad Godwin didn't know that once upon a time, Yusei and Jack had been best friends. Bonds like that never went away completely.

Then Godwin's words completely caught up to him. "You told them about the birthmark?" Yusei asked, surprised that Jack would have mentioned it.

Jack nodded, glaring at Godwin. "But I didn't tell them to electrocute you."

"He told you we electrocuted him?" Godwin asked, trying to seem amused. "And you believed him? That's absurd."

"He didn't have to tell me. His Marker told me everything. I want to know everything you've been putting him through for the sake of this Signer business!"

Godwin studied both of them for a long moment. Finally, he said, "Jaeger, if you would please make sure no one interrupts us."

Yusei tensed as Jaeger walked over and saw Jack straighten a little as well. Jaeger only laughed as he passed them.

Godwin clasped his hands behind his back and waited for Jaeger to shut down the elevator before saying, "It is true that I ordered testing on this man to see if he truly had a birthmark like you said. And that I told Takasu to use whatever means necessary to bring it out. That included the duel."

Jack tensed as though to ready to attack. Yusei placed a hand on his arm and shook his head.

"That did not achieve the results we hoped for," Godwin continued. "So we had to come up with another solution."

Jack snarled. "By threatening him to enter the Fortune Cup."

Godwin inclined his head. "Of course. He would never have done it otherwise; we all know that. Gathering all of the Signers into one place was necessary, just as it was necessary to have a Signer progress to the final match. The conditions are now set to call out the crimson dragon once more."

Jack snarled again and tugged against Yusei's hand. "I refuse to be treated like a tool! I'll call out the crimson dragon on my own terms!"

"I'm afraid you do not have a choice in the matter." Godwin's gaze shifted to Yusei again. "Neither of you." Godwin reached into his coat and pulled out a familiar picture. Yusei's friends grinned at them from the paper.

"If you do not participate in this duel, these four will be arrested and executed. I may extend this to the three who have been hanging around Fudo during his stay in Neo Domino City."

Godwin pulled out another picture. This one clearly depicted Himuro, Yanagi, and Saiga.

That was too much. "We'll duel," Yusei said before Jack could say anything. "But there's no guarantee the crimson dragon will appear."

"Yusei!" Jack protested, but Yusei shook his head.

"They've all placed their trust in me. I can't let them get hurt, not if I can prevent it."

"A wise choice." Godwin looked to Jack. "And you, King?"

Jack was silent for a long time. Finally, he clenched his fists and bit out, "I'll duel. But if I win, Yusei has to be allowed to wander freely in Neo Domino, and he'll stay with me."

"Jack..." Yusei stared at him. Was he serious?

"And if Yusei wins, he has to stay with me and his friends have to be allowed into Neo Domino."

The Director studied both of them for a long minute. Then he smiled and bowed his head. "If that is what the King desires. The duel will begin in ten minutes."

Jack turned and stalked back to the elevator, Yusei following him closely. Jaeger bowed to both of them as they entered. Jack pushed one of the buttons; the doors shut and the elevator started moving.

"Thank you," Yusei said. "You didn't have to do that."

"I won't allow them to torture you anymore," Jack said. He held his hand out the Yusei. "I promise, as a duelist."

Yusei smiled and shook his hand. "Let's show them what it means to be a duelist."