Chapter 12

-With Thoughts of Failure Sinking In-

Yugi worked his fingers raw as he picked up piece after piece of the golden puzzle he was charged with putting together. The golden item glowed pink from the small drops of blood that dripped from Yugi's fingers. Dartz wanted the job done as soon as possible and Yugi wasn't going to stop until it was finished.

Yugi chewed on the corner of his lip while his mind worked to figure out how each piece fit. Once a piece was in its right place there was no time to celebrate as the stress of finding the next piece took over.

Keith watched Yugi work from a computer monitor in the next room, he turned to Ushio on his left. "He's making fast progress on that thing."

"Yeah, how many puzzle masters did we go through before we found him." Ushio sighed at the thought of the twenty plus people they had disposed of when they couldn't complete the job. "He's the one we've been looking for."

"That's right." Keith said. "Soon Master Dartz will have the puzzle and the other artifacts."

"Do you ever wonder what he wants them for?" Ushio asked.

"The creation of a better world. You should know that." Keith said.

"I know that, but what does that mean?" he said.

"We have to trust in Master Dartz."


They turned back to the screen and continued to watch Yugi. There was something soothing about watching someone with that much concentration.

After several hours of sliding piece after piece into place Yugi finally got to the end and reached into the golden box for the final piece. Much to his horror the piece was not there. Master Darts would not be pleased. Not at all. Yugi looked at the near-complete puzzle as if the mere act of staring would bring the missing piece into being.

"What's going on in there?" Keith's booming voice came over the speaker near the camera. "Did you finish the puzzle?"

"A piece is missing." Yugi said and held up the puzzle for them to see the hole in the center.

"Dammit!" Keith said "Call Master Dartz!" Keith ordered, the headache he'd been nursing in the back of his mind moving itself to the front. He ignored the throbbing and made his way out of the observation room to the adjacent room. He found Yugi in the same position he had left him.

"Impossible!" Keith charged into the room and picked Yugi up by his collar, his big strong hands tighter than he wanted them to be because Yugi chocked out his words.

"I-I don't… know..." Yugi struggled as his eyes watered from the fabric of his shirt biting into his Adams apple. Keith lessened his hold but did not let Yugi go.

"You did something. You hid that piece somewhere." Keith said and his eyes drifted over Yugi's small frame and suddenly Keith's hands released him only to drift down the front of his shirt where he felt the familiar turquoise stone and then a cord of some sort. He reached around Yugi's neck and pulled the cord free only to reveal a jump ring missing its pendant. "What exactly was hanging here?"

Yugi looked at the empty cord and recalled Alistair's secret treasure. Now that Yugi thought of it, the treasure did match the size and width of the missing piece. "It was just a worthless charm." Yugi lied. Satisfied, Keith let the cord slip from his fingers where it fell right against Yugi's chest. He searched the rest of Yugi with hands that were none too gentle.

When Keith found nothing he removed himself from Yugi's presence to examine the incomplete puzzle. The gaping hole in the center of the puzzle mocked him and he had to resist the urge to toss the puzzle across the room.

"What is going on here?" Dartz said as he entered the room. His eyes fell on the puzzle in Keith's hands. "Ushio told me that we are one piece short." Dart's eyes fell on Yugi. "How is this possible?"

"Th-the puzzle is pretty old maybe the piece was lost somewhere." Offered Ushio from behind Dartz.

"That's impossible." Dartz said. "He must be hiding is someplace."

"I've searched him, he does not have it." Keith said, sensing Dartz's wrath about to surface.

In the presents of Dartz, Yugi could do nothing but fall to his knees before his master. Yugi grabbed hold of the robe-like fabric that Dartz wore around his waist. "Please, I only wish to please you." Yugi said and brought his cheek against Dartz's thigh, all the while looking up at Dartz with his big expressive eyes. He didn't know why he felt this way, this loyalty, this love, to a man he couldn't remember. Yugi's heart and mind were both following a blind path but that path was the only thing he knew or could even remember.

"You have done well thus far, Yugi. We need to find that piece or all is lost." Dartz said slowly and carefully. Though Yugi was under his spell, it worked better if Yugi wasn't fighting it. Dartz slowly ran a hand through Yugi's soft and slightly damp hair.

Keith found himself looking away from the intimate scene before him. Deep in the pit of his stomach he felt sorry for the boy on his knees. He swallowed thickly against the bad feeling and ignored it as best he could. Since he had set eyes on Yugi he began to question his loyalty to Dartz. Yugi was so kind and trusting. Keith was shaken from his thoughts when Dartz pulled Yugi up.

"It seems we have a new mission to complete." Dartz said. "Find that piece."

"How will we do that?" Ushio asked his accent thick. "It's a small piece."

"It's simple you moron." He said. "Alistair was the last man in possession of the puzzle. When he betrayed us, he must have taken a piece. He has it hidden somewhere."

"Everything in that house was combed over and nothing of a golden artifact showed up in the report." Ushio said. "I made sure I checked with our man on the inside."

"Then it wasn't in the house." Dartz said, his voice seething with annoyance. "Check every inch of Domino." He said, "And as for you, Yugi." Yugi looked at him and Dartz ran a finger down his cheek, feeling Yugi's soft porcelain skin. "You are just as beautiful as I remember." He said in a whisper so soft that Yugi wasn't sure he had heard it.

Dartz's hand came up to cup Yugi's cheek, where he brushed his thumb over Yugi's plump lips, his nail scraping over the sensitive skin. Yugi brought out his tongue to wet his tingling lips. Dartz pulled away. "When we find that piece we will have you finish the puzzle." He said. "Go back to your room." Yugi nodded and proceeded out of the room, down the hall and out of sight

Dartz looked back at his subordinates, "Didn't I give you a job to do?" he said and with that Ushio and Keith set out to find the missing piece.

Mokuba kicked at the dirt beneath his feet and sighed, his brother had gotten even more stressed ever since he had brought the map to the Millennium Crew. He never would have helped them if he had known what harm it would do to his older brother.

Sitting in a swing Mokuba wrapped his hands around the chain and slowly rocked back and forth. Seto had been slumped over his desk searching through page after page of Egyptian history. He even went so far as to contact professors and scientists. Mokuba sighed and glanced up at the sky as clouds started gathering. He knew it wouldn't rain though; Florida was finicky that way.

Mokuba kicked at the dirt again in frustration, he understood the importance of Seto's case; the case that was supposed to make him Captain of the police force. The one thing his brother wanted most in life was that title. To know he was strong enough to take care of everyone he cared about. When they were young Mokuba had looked to his brother for protection but one day a crazed man had taken Mokuba captive.

It was a night neither brother wanted to talk about, let alone think about. Mokuba blinked back the tears that threatened to break past his eyes. He could still feel the fear of knowing he might never see his brother again. He could still taste the chloroform in the back of his throat. He could still smell the dirty rag that was used to cover his mouth.

It took a while before Seto let his brother out of his sight. He was upset that his brother had been taken right from under him and had vowed to never let anything like that happen again. He was determined to make sure no one had to feel what he had felt that day.

Everything was fine until Jounouchi's case had come along. Mokuba wanted Jounouchi to have the justice he deserved but not at the cost of his brother's sanity. Mokuba let out a frustrated sigh and kicked at the ground hard. Something flickered in the pink light of the Floridian sky. He bent down to uncover a golden eye; it looked like a puzzle piece but bigger and made of gold. He'd seen the eye on the front before but he couldn't place it.

Yami and the rest of the Millennium Crew gathered in the back of a commercial airliner and sat in silence as their flight progressed through the sky. It was a long flight to Japan with a layover in Washington so there was going to be plenty of time to think about things.

If there was one thing Yami Atemu hated, it was having time to think. When he wasn't busy his mind would pull up everything and force Yami to face it. Yami was strong but he wasn't strong enough to face the assault of thoughts stemming from everything that had happened since meeting Yugi.

Yami punched the seat in front of him earning him and scowl from his friend who was occupying the seat. He offered no apology though one wasn't needed. Jounouchi understood his friend's frustration. Everyone on the team had something to deal with and he supposed it was what made them all work so perfectly together. Each striving for one cause and that was to keep people safe.

Jounouchi turned back in his seat and glared at the Sky Mall magazine in the pocked of the seat in front of him. As much as he wanted to find the answer to the mystery of Yugi and the maps he was afraid he'd be of no use. His thoughts were on Seto Kaiba and the way the man had been acting toward him. Jounouchi didn't like feeling like a yo-yo.

Jounouchi leaned his head back against his headrest and closed his eyes and he tried to remember being with Seto, in his house, coming in out of the rain. He had never felt so safe and it wasn't because Seto had covered for him. It was something else. Something he couldn't put his finger on. Being with Seto and hearing him play the piano had made Jou want to learn more about the grumpy cop.

Jounouchi's mind began to wonder toward what Seto looked like. Angular face, slightly pointed nose. Soft lips. Jounouchi opened his eyes quickly and looked around to make sure no one was looking, as if they could see his thoughts. Damn. This flight was going to be the worst one he had ever been on in his life.