"I'm sure you'll like this, Mister Kaiba," Hagasaki said as he opened the door for Seto to enter ahead of him.
"After five years abroad, I'm sure you could use some entertainment."
Seto paused as he took in the place. Called the Fire Room, it was not what he had expected, far less a respectable place to do business than a dive. The walls were white with flames painted everywhere, the floor carpeted in hot orange, the chairs and tables black. A long T-stage with a stainless steel pole dominated most of the room, a bar taking up another wall. More than half of the tables and booths were occupied by businessmen in a myriad of suit styes, being attended to by scantily-clad, beautiful males.
It was a gay stripclub.
Seto turned slowly to look at Hagasaki, who looked back up at him with a lewd smirk that slowly melted off his face at the expression on Seto's. He twisted the handle of his briefcase and finally dropped his gaze.
"What makes you think I would enjoy something like this, Hagasaki?" Seto demanded in a dangerously soft voice.
Hagasaki coughed nervously before attempting to be cajoling. "One of us can always tell another, eh? Ah..." His attempt at a conspiratorial wink fell flat and he nervously shifted from one foot to the other and licked his lips. "Ah, M-Mister Kaiba, the Fire Room is known for its descretion. As well as its entertainment, like I said."
Seto watched Hagasaki gaze at a slender, pretty blond in an 'innocent' white outfit with stitching up the pants' seams that showed his legs to the hips. The blond winked at Hagasaki, who looked up at Seto, chuckling. His smile fell off his face more rapidly this time and he started looking more frightened the longer Seto glowered at him, but also more determined.
"I already have an invitation, and we do have business to discuss."
"Yes, I can see how much business is on your mind."
Hagasaki stared at him and Seto growled, glancing at his watch. It was already half past five, and he'd much rather get this over with and head home. He stalked over to the bar and demanded a scotch on the rocks. The tender handed it over without a pause and Seto reluctantly sat down at an available table, watching as Hagasaki intercepted the blond he'd seen earlier. The blond grinned at him, murmuring something in Hagasaki's ear that was clearly a come-on. Seto saw what looked like a hotel room-key change hands before the heat of his glare seemed to awaken the older man to his mounting impatience. Hagasaki came over and they finally got down to business.
It was only because Hagasaki was merging his two smaller distribution companies together under Seto's and extending Kaiba Corp's market in Vietnam, Thailand, and North Korea did he allow himself to be kept here in this dump.
Finally the business was done and Seto was quite ready to leave. As he put away the contracts he'd had Hagasaki sign, an unseen announcer came over the PA.
"Attention customers. Please welcome the Fire Room's sizzling signature act, the White-Hot Duo, WildFire and Shadow Flare!"
'Stupid names,' Seto thought as he snapped shut his briefcase.
"Ah, Mister Kaiba, please stay. You will surely enjoy this."
"You keep saying that, Hagasaki, and yet you've been wrong the entire time."
Flame-decaled black curtains parted, revealing a pair of handsome, twenty-something young men standing on the stage. Seto glanced up automatically and froze in the middle of gathering his coat.
The young man on the left was the taller of the pair, his golden hair and light-tanned skin gleaming beneath the stage lights. His dark brown eyes stared at the floor, his face expressionless. He was wearing an outfit of tight pants and vest in white leather with flames running along them, heavier on the left side than the right. Judging by the coloring, he was Wildfire.
The other was smaller and sleeker than the blond, almost more pretty rather than handsome, his angular face striking. His outfit was black leather, with the flames heavier on the right side than on the left, spiky hair and fierce red eyes completing the picture of what could only be Shadow Flare.
Seto stared without moving, at a loss. Joey Wheeler and Yami were the White-Hot Duo.
As Seto sat there, trying to get his mind around what he was seeing, a pulsing beat began and the two started dancing, equal and opposite of each other. They walked along the stage, swaying their hips and rolling their bodies flexibly. Yami suddenly stepped forward and grabbed the pole, swinging around in a circle, lowering himself slowly at the same time so that by the time he'd completed the circuit he was on his knees. Seto could now see he was right, Shadow Flare was stenciled in red on the back of his vest.
Yami turned around so that his back rested against the pole, raising his arms. Joey reached down and grabbed his hands, pulling him to his feet. Yami translated it into a jump, wrapping his legs around his waist and resting his hands on his shoulders as Joey grabbed the pole and pulled off the same maneuver Yami had with the smaller still clinging to him.
He rested on his knees on the floor and Yami let go of his shoulders and arched his back, unwinding his legs from Joey's waist and pushing off from the stage, doing a back handspring and landing on the stage with a solid thump of his boots. Cheers and whistles erupted through the drunken businessmen.
Joey climbed to his feet, reaching out to grab Yami's hips, letting his hands run up his sides as Yami sank to his knees, raising his hands over his head, eyes drifting closed. Joey turned his back to Yami who got to his feet, rubbing his body against his. He turned and slapped Joey on the ass, to more raucous cheers.
They started dancing separately again, before reaching up and taking off their vests in a quick, ripping motion, twirling them over their heads before throwing them back towards the room behind the stage. As Yami danced towards the edge of the stage, his hands stealing down to the belt around his waist, a businessman, most likely emboldened by the four Highball glasses on his table, reached up and grabbed his leg. Without the slightest change in his expression, Yami jerked his foot back and went back to dancing.
Undaunted, the businessman suddenly clambered onto the stage, reaching out and grabbing Yami's arm, leaning down to whisper something in his ear. Joey stopped dancing abruptly, watching with narrowed eyes. Yami's nose wrinkled, no doubt in response to the breath of his propositioner, and he shook his head dismissively, pulling his arm out of his grip.
"Then to hell with you, whore!" the businessman said, striking Yami with a closed-fisted punch that knocked the smaller to the stage.
Instantly Joey was on him. He tackled him, knocking them both right off of the stage, the man landing on his back on his table, smashing the glasses and flattening it. He cried out in pain, even as Joey reared up on his knees and began punching every inch of him he could reach.
A pair of bouncers rushed forward and grabbed Joey, pulling him off of the businessman, who was dragged to his feet by another. Yami had gotten up, blood running down his lips and chin though he did nothing to stop it, watching the others. Joey had stopped fighting as soon as he'd been pulled up, glaring at the businessman, who was a mess. His own nose looked broken, his face already swelling, shards of glass sticking out of his back.
The bouncer holding his arm hustled him off, the ones holding Joey saying something to him and letting him go. Joey vaulted back onto the stage, gently taking Yami's arm and steering him into the room behind the curtains, which fell into place. The unseen PA announcer came back.
"Due to the actions of our idiot friend, we're closing the Fire Room early and the authorities will be called. Please gather your things and leave."
Amid much grumbling and curses, the businessmen got their belongings and headed out of the room. Hagasaki groaned, pulling on his coat. "Fucking bastard."
Seto got to his feet and slowly pulled on his coat, looking towards the stage. Hagasaki chuckled with a knowing manner.
"Ah, so you did see something you liked."
Seto turned his head to look at him. Hagasaki went the color of curdled milk and all but ran away. Seto glanced once more at the stage. He picked up his briefcase and walked to the edge of the stage, peering past the small gap in the curtains, able to see Joey from the back as he leaned over Yami, holding a wet cloth and gently dabbing the blood from Yami's nose, ignoring his attempts to do it himself. His voice carried enough for Seto to hear.
"I'm sorry I didn't get there faster."
"You don't have to apologize, Joey. I can take care of myself."
Joey laughed, pushing his hand away as he reached for the cloth. "I know that, I just like taking care of ya. I know how you can take care of yourself, I know how tough you are. If you'd had your Puzzle, that dick would be groveling on his knees for you to forgive him."
Seto turned away and left the room, unseen by either of his former fellow duelists. They hadn't noticed he was there the whole time, which was good. He got into his limo and had his driver head for home. He'd just spent five years in America and England with Mokuba, opening three more KaibaLand amusement parks and hadn't returned to Domino until last week.
Apparently a lot had changed. Yami and Joey were now strippers at a hotspot club and Yugi seemed to be no where in sight.
What had happened?
That night Seto lay in bed, glaring up at the ceiling above his head. It was well past midnight, but he couldn't sleep. Try as he might, he couldn't get the images of Yami and Joey stripteasing in that stupid club out of his mind.
He growled to himself as he realized his line of thinking had just revealed something: he was curious. Well, there was no harm in finding out. It would be a lot of fun to torture the Mutt with the knowledge he stripped for cash. He'd also like to know what had driven them to it. Just to satisfy his curiosity and then be done with it.
A/N: It's back, by extremely popular demand. :-O