-Chapter 23-

Partners in Crime


Seto woke to the feeling of fingers in his hair, in his haze like state of semi-consciousness, he indulged in the thought that it was Jounouchi. That is until those fingers turned violent and his head was yanked upward so hard that his neck was straining against the pressure.

"That's enough rest for you." Seto recognized him as the man who had knocked him unconscious. "But don't worry, you'll get all the sleep you could ever want when we are done with you."

"You better make sure you kill me because if you don't I will not rest until each and every one of you is six feet under." Seto said, his voice a little rough from the position his head was in.

The man let go of Seto's hair and stepped back a bit. "Don't you worry about that. We have all sorts of fun toys to play with, all of which are guaranteed to get the job done."

"I'm not sure I believe that since I was able to rescue my brother." Seto said, "Don't think I will let you off the hook for that, either."

"That wasn't my department, the men you want revenge on for that have already been punished." He said. "You of all people know how hard it is to find good people."

"What is that supposed to mean?" Seto spat.

"I'm talking about Noah." He smirked.

"Noah?"

"That's right. I bet you are wondering how I know about him?" he said and then pulled up a chair and sat in front of Seto. The gang member reached over and pulled something off of a metal tray to Seto's right. "I'll tell you a story." He said, bringing a scalpel up to his face to examine it, it flashed with what little sunlight spilled into the room.

"You see, once there was a man, he was a cold and ruthless man with only one thing on his mind. Justice." The gang member stabbed Seto in his upper left thigh and laughed as Seto fought to hold back his scream. "So he became an officer of the law, for most people it was a long arduous journey, but for the man it was easy." He gave the scalpel a twist, feeling the muscles in Seto's leg fight for a moment before giving way.

Seto's breathing was quickening but he wasn't about the give the gang member the satisfaction of hearing him scream.

"When the man graduated from the academy he was sent to Domino, a small city in Florida, there he was assigned a partner."

Seto didn't want to hear any more of this story because he knew that hearing it would bring about ten times more pain than the scalpel in his leg.

"The man didn't like the idea of having a partner, no, he thought he could do it all on his own. That didn't matter to the chief so the man and his new partner set out to protect the people of Domino." The gang member continued.

"Enough already." Seto said, earning him another twist of the scalpel.

"Story time isn't over." he said, "now be a good boy and listen to the rest. The man and his partner were on equal terms in ability and performance so they became rivals, they pushed each other to be the best they could be. One day the man and his partner got into an argument over who would become the new chief of police and they made a bet."

"Stop." The man pulled the scalpel out of Seto's leg and held it up where Seto could see his own blood. "Bastard!"

"Whoever solved the next case first would be the winner, the other had to back out of the promotion. Little did they know that their next case would be against the most powerful gang in Domino." The man held up a small vile and let Seto's blood drip inside before closing it. "The man's partner was so eager to solve the case that it cost him his life."

"Do you know how I know all of this?" the man asked, Seto didn't want to know but he had a feeling that he didn't have a choice. "Because your partner told me right before I slit his pig throat."

"Bastard!" Seto glared and struggled against his binds, the blood on his leg gushing out faster as he moved. "You killed Noah!"

"No!" the man backhanded Seto across the face, "You pushed him too far, his blood is on your hands, not mine." The gang member got up from his seat and, clutching the vile of blood closely, whispered in Seto's ear. "Noah wanted you to know that all he ever really wanted was to make you proud." The gang member pulled away.

"Noah…" Seto could feel the well of emotions that he'd closed up so long ago spill over, they were threatening to suffocate him and there wasn't anything he could do.

"I'll give you time to think about all the bad things you've done and when I come back I will punish you accordingly." The gang member said as he left the room, leaving Seto to wallow in his sadness.

"God dammit. I thought he would never leave." Seto jerked his head up and caught sight of a familiar mop of gold hair.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Seto asked.

"I'm saving you, moron, you should be grateful."

"I mean, how did you escape?"

"You honestly think I don't know how to get out of handcuffs? Hello, former gang member here." He said and Seto wondered just how much Jounouchi had heard of his past.

"You shouldn't be here." Seto said. "Get out of here before he comes back."

"I'm not leaving you behind, it was hard enough to find you." Jounouchi said and with one final cut, Seto's arms were free. "That looks bad." Jounouchi said, bringing Seto's attention to his leg. "You think you can walk?"

"Don't worry about me." Seto said.

"I'm sorry about your partner." Jounouchi said. "I know Noah was like a brother to you."

"I pushed him too far." Seto said. "I always pushed him too far."

"Knowing you, you were trying to help in your own way." Jounouchi said.

"Thank you." Seto said.

"Don't thank me yet, we need to get out of here, that guy, Mairk, is bad news." Jounouchi said, "no one in either the Red or Blue letter gang is as sadistic as he is."

"He gave that impression." Seto said as Jounouchi helped him to the standing position where he then slung Seto's arm around his neck.

Once they were a safe distance away, Jounouchi pulled out is phone and called Anzu for a ride. He helped Seto sit down on a bench and joined him after the call.

"I'm still pissed at you." Jounouchi said.

"Fair enough." He said, "How did you know where to find me?"

"After I escaped I went to Anzu's to find you so I could punch you in the face." Jounouchi held a fist in the air. "She told me that you were all taking a break to gather your thoughts. But since I know you I figured you went back to the station to work some more. So I went to the station and there were signs that Marik had been there, he likes to leave rare Duel Monster cards at the sign of a crime." Jounouchi said, "I'm just glad that this hide out is still the same."

"Look, Jounouchi… I am sorry that I left you that way." He said.

"No, I understand why you did it, knowing what I do about your past you wanted to keep me out of danger."

"Yes, because you're so reckless, it drives me insane." Seto admitted.

"I'm reckless? This coming from the man with a stab wound. Why did you have to egg him on like that?"

"I wanted to die with dignity."

"You're so stupid." Jounouchi said, his demeanor taking on a seriousness, "Do you think Mokuba or I would want you to die? You need to think about the people who care about you."

"Jounouchi…"

"Just forget it, I see Anzu's van heading down the street."


"How long are you going to stand there?" Bakura barked, causing Ryou to jump. "If you want to ask me something then hurry up already."

Ryou slipped under the tent flaps and blushed at the sight before him. Bakura was lying in bed tossing a dagger up in the air and catching it again. He was shirtless and his muscles flexed ever so slightly with each catch and toss. "I wanted to say thank you for helping me earlier, I would have hated for something to happen to Yugi."

"I was doing my job. What did you really come here for?" Bakura asked, catching the dagger and pointing it, tip first, in Ryou's direction.

Ryou flinched, this man was so dangerous and yet Ryou couldn't stop thinking about him. "I wanted to know if I was happy with you, in the story you said that I asked you to take me away, but was I happy with you?"

"Are you serious? How should I know?" Bakura sat up. "If you were you never told me about it, you never ran away so I figured you were fine."

"And why aren't you running away?" he asked, it wasn't lost on him that after that night in the desert, it didn't seem like Bakura was a prisoner anymore. He was free to roam around the camp and even allowed to wear one of the items.

"You think I would leave you here? You are mine." Bakura said, standing up to come face to face with Ryou.

"Y-Yours?" Ryou backed up a bit but Bakura met him step for step until Ryou was up against the wall of the tent.

"That's right." Bakura said and placed the edge of his dagger's blade against Ryou's throat, Ryou had grown so much since the last time Bakura had him like this.

"Stop." Ryou said, bringing his hands up and placing them on Bakura's well defined chest in an attempt to push him away. Bakura ignored him and leaned down to kiss Ryou's soft lips, no matter how many times they kissed it always felt amazing.

Bakura yanked the blade back toward himself and Ryou's necklace fell to the ground between them, then Bakura flung the blade down into the pendant and it shattered.

Ryou shoved Bakura away and glared at him, what did he think he was doing? Standing so close to him, and half naked too. "Put a shirt on, you heathen."

"I knew it." He said with a smile, knowing that he'd gotten his partner back.

"Knew what?" Ryou asked.

"Seems Pegasus was controlling you with that pendant." He said.

"I see, no wonder I couldn't remember you, oh my." Ryou said. "I didn't want to help him, you know."

"I understand that but you will still have to make it up to me later." Bakura teased.

"You can be such a jerk some times." Ryou gave a pout. "Whatever, I'm just happy that we can go home now."

"We aren't going home." Bakura said, taking a serious tone. "We're going to get Pegasus back for all he's done to us. I'm not about to let him off the hook for stealing from me."

"So what is your plan?"

"We are going to help him collect the rest of the Millennium items and then we are going to take them all away from him. So I need you to go on pretending to be under his spell."

"I can do that." Ryou said. "But are you sure you'll be okay? I mean we could just leave, now is our chance."

"I'll be fine and besides I think this little game could be fun."

"If you say so." Ryou said. "I should go back to my tent then before they figure out that I am missing." Ryou turned to leave but Bakura stopped him with a tug at the wrist.

"Take this with you." Bakura said, slipping a dagger that was similar to his own into his small hands.

"You had this on you the whole time?" Ryou asked.

"Don't get all sentimental." Bakura said and Ryou smiled, how could he not, those daggers we are symbol of their connection. Bakura had gotten it for him before their first job together.

"Thank you." Ryou said.

"One more thing." Bakura tugged Ryou into his arms and let the scent of his hair calm his nerves. "Are you happy with me?"

"I am." Ryou said.


Yami spent the better half of the afternoon helping Honda clean the boarding house. The damage wasn't too extensive, just a few blood stains here and there, it didn't take long to clean.

"I'm sorry, Honda. You really could have died this time." Yami said as he stood back to examine the carpet for signs he'd missed a spot. He found none.

"It wasn't your fault, we are all invested in this case. I was just lucky that Kaiba came around. That sounds bad because the only came around because the bastards got Mokuba. So it's like I'm saying I'm glad Mokuba got captured."

"Honda? Are you okay? You seem to be rambling a lot." Yami asked.

"Being here just upsets me, how could I let them take Shizuka, I should have been able to protect her." Honda said.

"I don't think she sees it that way." Yami said, "You did rescue her, after all."

"I guess." Honda said. "Hey, thanks for your help today. I know farm work isn't really your thing."

"You couldn't do it all alone with your injury and I needed to get my mind off of the case for a while, this new clue is making me rethink everything." Yami said. "We might be dealing with more than we can handle, as much as it pains me to say it."

"No, this thing is bigger than all of us, we need to handle it because I feel like a lot of people could get hurt if we don't catch this guy." Honda said. "He owes all of us a very hefty sum."

"I know. It's just that I can't figure out what Yugi has to do with all of this."

"Is that what's got you stuck? Look, I really don't think Yugi had anything to do with your parents' murder, at least he's not as ruthless as the people behind all of this. You can lose your memories, you can't lose who you truly are."

"And who is Yugi?" Yami asked. "And why do I feel so betrayed, I've only known him a short amount of time. Why do I feel like this?"

"I don't know, man, but I am sure we can figure it all out." Honda said.

"I'm not so sure I even want to know, at this point." Yami admitted sadly.