GACK! I know, it took me an eternity to reply! Sorry about the unannounced hiatus; Skyrim is very addicting. And moving has been chaos. But, not to worry, I'm updating at last! The first thanks I'm giving out are to WinterKit18 and a guest reviewer; thanks for the support!

And next up are 123, pkmnsurvivor19, and grapejuice101 for adding the story to their Favorite Stories list; and thanks again to 123 for adding Through Another's Eyes to his (or her) Story Alert, and adding me as an Author Alert and Favorite.

And now, on to the chapter! As a disclaimer, I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh in any way, shape, or form. The series is owned by its creator Kazuki Takahashi and NAS/TV Tokyo. I just play in this world for my own amusement.


Chapter 40

The Story Behind…

It's amazing what a Saturday afternoon goofing off in an arcade can set off. Jonouchi, Yugi and I had just gotten off school, finished up with cleaning duty, and had a bit of extra money to blow off. None of us had intended to get forced into a "sleepover" at Kaiba's mansion. Nor had any of us planned to get taken on a tour of Kaiba Land, only for it to turn into a day of horrors. Now, at the end of it all, I'm hungry, tired, grouchy, and, above all, worried about my friends' fate. Yugi's won his duel against Kaiba, and is therefore safe. I beat X in my duel as well, and managed to prevent his own perverse plan from backfiring and killing him.

Unfortunately, in the process of all this, we had to leave Honda behind in the third level of Death-T, and none of us know if he's dead or alive. There's also the issue of Kaiba's goons, who clearly have a problem with being trigger-happy. Since I had no idea we'd be getting into a shitload of trouble yesterday, I didn't try and hide one of my Glocks on me and bring it to school…or at the very least, pick one up as we dropped by the Game Shop on our way to arcade. I'm starting to wish 'seeing the future' was in my repertoire of psychic abilities right now.

But somehow, I doubt even with the ability to see the future, I'd have been able to guess why Kaiba was the bastard he was…

000

Yugi had won.

Selena jumped up and down, yelling her congratulations in English, Japanese, and German all at once. She highly doubted anything in any of the languages would've been intelligible, but she didn't care. It wasn't until she regained her composure that she realized that they weren't out of the woods just yet.

The goons still had Jonouchi, Anzu, Melhana, and perverted little Johji. "Scheiß…" she swore, knowing what was going to happen next. Even though she knew she wouldn't make it in time, she ran for the others.

Even as she started for the other side of the arena, Selena was blasted with the output from a powerful aura. As she watched, a deep red mist erupted around Melhana, blowing her guard back.

Dear gods…what is she?!

000

Melhana wasted no time once the duel was over. She could tell within seconds that her guard was about to pull the trigger of his gun. Not caring who saw, she let her aura blaze about her, making the blood red mist around her body visible. She sent out a shockwave, sending her guard sprawling across the platform.

Even on the ground, Melhana could tell he was about to pull the trigger. Before he got a chance, Melhana grabbed his weapon arm and twisted it above his head, causing him to drop the gun. She then promptly kicked it off, sending the weapon skittering and off the walkway. Placing her booted foot on his chest, the guard was effectively immobilized.

Well…it helped that she used a thin but strong stream of power to anchor his arms and legs to the floor. "I got this goon!" She called. Jonouchi had fixed her with a wide-eyed, wide-mouthed stare of disbelief.

Melhana was about to shoot him a grin when she saw someone coming up behind Jonouchi…

000

"Jonouchi!" Selena and Melhana shouted the warning at the same time.

The warning wasn't needed, as the guard on Anzu was knocked out with a solid fist. Somehow, Honda had made it out of Death-T Three alive, and had tracked the rest of them down.

"Yo." Was his simple greeting.

"'Yo' yourself." Selena said, repressing a groan.

Jonouchi's disbelief changed quickly to joy. "I thought you'd been killed!" He said, nailing his goon with a foot to the back of the head.

"What, you think a bunch of blocks would kill me?" Honda said, getting the guard with a thwack in the face as he tried to recover.

"Naw…just a little flattened." Jonouchi said, taking a place beside his friend.

Honda snorted. "We can't die yet. There are still too many guys we haven't shown whose boss!" And both nailed the goon on either side of his face with a solid, no doubt painful punch.

As the goon stumbled towards Selena, she gave him her own present; a solid clonk over the head. He went down, out cold.

"Nice." Honda said appreciatively.

"I try," Selena said, then something caught her eye. Well, less caught her eye but more caught her empathy. "Jonouchi! Goon on your—"

The words were only partway out of her mouth as the goon held a gun to Jonouchi's head. "I'm gonna kill you, you little—"

"Stop! Let him go!" Selena turned to see a kid with black, long hair—Kaiba's little brother, Mokuba, she presumed—having given the order. "The game's over. Let them go. Now."

"Uh…" The goon still had the stupid look on his face when Jonouchi, ever the gentle one, shoved a foot in the goon's face to push him off.

"You heard him, jackass." Selena said. "I'm assuming that kid's Kaiba's brother?"

"You're kidding, right?" Honda asked. "Seriously?"

"Yeah. That's Kaiba's brat of a little brother." Jonouchi said. "He friggin' worships him."

"Well, this 'brat' saved my life." Honda said.

Selena thought she was going to swallow her tongue. "What?!" She and Jonouchi yelped in unison.

Honda nodded. "I was stuck in there for a while, until he came and opened the exit for me." He said. "I honestly thought I'd end up as a meat pancake."

Mokuba scoffed. "I was just paying a debt to Yugi." He said. Selena raised an eyebrow to Anzu.

"Tell you later," she said quietly. She nodded off to the side, where Yugi had stepped down from the dueling platform.

"Yugi! You did it!" Jonouchi shouted.

Selena gave him a fist-bump (once Jonouchi let him out of the bone-crushing hug, that is) and her own congratulations. "Damn right you did it." She said. "Talk about a lucky draw, pulling Exodia out like that."

Yugi looked back to the platform, where Kaiba was staring, unseeing, into space. "Luck of the draw had nothing to do with it. You all came to my rescue back there." He replied. "Selena, I'm assuming by the fact that you're here, that X…"

"He's fine. Just out cold and waiting for an ambulance. Provided one's coming for him." Selena said, glancing to Mokuba.

"I'm not totally heartless." The kid in question grumbled. "Let's go…"

"Mokuba, wait." Anzu said. Mokuba paused and glanced back. "What made Kaiba…your brother go so far for revenge?"

Mokuba Kaiba was silent for several long minutes. Finally, he began his explanation.

"It all began that day when he played chess…."

000

"See? If you come here, then you can put your opponent in check…"

Mokuba watched as his older brother, Seto, explained the game to him. "Wait, so…check is when you've got the other guy's king, right?"

Seto shook his head. "No, that's checkmate. When your opponent's in check, it means that his king is threatened. He hasn't lost…yet. It just means that he's got to get his king out of the line of fire ASAP." He replied.

Mokuba nodded. "I get it now." He said. "And that thing you did with the rook, that's castling?"

"Yep. It's one way you can get your king out of trouble." Seto replied. "You can only do it once a game, though. Here, I'll show you how…"

He was explaining as a man entered the room with a cigar. They weren't allowed, but apparently being the CEO of a corporation that built military weapons meant you could bend the rules. Albeit, this wasn't how Mokuba recognized him.

Like his older brother—and mostly because there wasn't much else to do, anyway—he followed chess. The man who'd come to the orphanage to adopt a boy as his heir was Gozaburo Kaiba, the world chess champion and president of Kaiba Corporation.

He zeroed in on Seto. "So, you're the young man I've been hearing about." He said coolly. "Seto…Ikusa, is that right?"

Seto nodded slowly. "What do you want?" he asked, his voice flinty.

"I need an heir. You see, my son has recently died, as has my wife. I've heard good things about you, young man." Gozaburo replied. Mokuba's skin crawled—he did not like this man.

"So you want to adopt me." Seto said. "You can forget it. You're not the first one who's wanted to bring me into their family, and I'll tell you what I've told them: either you adopt me and my younger brother, or you can forget it."

Hah! Tell him, big brother! Mokuba thought.

Gozaburo looked like he was about to laugh. "Come, now. You can be reasonable, right? After all, little brothers can be problematic."

Mokuba bristled. He saw the flash in his big brother's eyes. "All right then, how's about a deal." Seto said. "We play a round of chess. If I win, you adopt my brother and me. If not, you can shove off."

Now Gozaburo really did burst out laughing. "You've got to be kidding!" he laughed. "I'd like you to repeat that, just to make sure I didn't mistake you. You said that if you won, I'm adopting both of you?"

"That's right." Seto said coldly. Mokuba wasn't sure he liked this, and it wasn't necessarily the idea of having Gozaburo Kaiba for a father.

It was the icy look in his brother's eyes….

000

The next six years weren't as happy as Mokuba had anticipated. While he was allowed a fair amount of freedom, he could see what was happening to his brother. True, since the day of the rigged chess game he'd seen the beginnings of it, but Mokuba had no idea exactly how cruel Seto was becoming.

Gozaburo Kaiba wasn't a father…he was a slave driver. Day after day, he drove Seto to the brink, and sometimes further. His brother didn't tell him, but Mokuba didn't need to. The stress was getting to him…badly.

And each day, it seemed as if his older brother was losing more and more of his heart.

Over those years, Mokuba had sensed his brother slipping away. Between the unforgiving study regimens and influence of their stepfather, any kindness Seto had was disappearing, and quickly. While he hadn't been to the meeting, Mokuba had watched through the keyhole on the door to the conference room.

It had started out normally. It was supposed to be a vote to who would succeed Gozaburo Kaiba in running Kaiba Corporation. What he hadn't seen coming was how the meeting would end.

When the time to vote came, all of the board of directors—vice president included—moved almost instantaneously to Seto's side of the room. "Well…it looks like Kaiba Corporation is mine, old man." He said coldly. "And you're the one who taught me how to take it, no less."

There was no room for mercy in his brother's voice. A vein twitched in Gozaburo's temple. "You've won this game, Seto." He said, his voice rising to a dangerous pitch. As he spoke, he inched towards the window. No…. "And you know the fate of the loser!"

CRASH. Mokuba watched as their stepfather threw himself through the window, plunging nearly a hundred stories to his death. His blood chilled in his veins.

Gozaburo Kaiba, upon realizing that he'd lost his company, had committed suicide.

And he'd just watched it happen!

The thought left a bitter taste in his mouth. Ice ran down his spine as he realized his greatest fear.

Nii-san…you're gone for good, aren't you?

000

Selena and the others had listened to the story in silence. Tears were falling down Mokuba's face, silently. He watched his brother become a monster. She thought, comparing the Kaiba she'd seen that day to the older brother Mokuba had once had. What's worse is there was nothing he could've done about it. Gozaburo Kaiba mutated ten-year-old Seto into the…I don't have a word for it. Bile rose in her throat. No…it had started while they were in the orphanage, with the rigged chess game, but if it weren't for the man who adopted them, he could've stopped it then.

Why is the world full of bitches like that?!

"Selena, is something the matter?"

Selena looked up as Honda voiced the question. It was then that she realized her hands were balled into fists so tight, she was starting to draw blood. She unclenched them and flexed her fingers to get blood flowing back into them. Not enough damage done to worry about, from the looks of it…. "Yeah…okay, no." She said, rubbing her knuckles. "It's just…I guess I can sort of relate to Mokuba and Seto." She shrugged lamely. "Not so much in the fact that I was adopted, but more like…I know what it's like to be stuck in a world of bitches and fucktards. Er, sorry about the language…."

"With the man who adopted us, I've heard worse." Mokuba said, his voice cracking. "I just wish…if that chess game hadn't been fixed, then maybe my brother wouldn't have turned into…into…"

As he fought to get the words out through his tears, Yugi placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. "Mokuba…right now, Kaiba is somewhere in there trying to piece together his shattered heart." He said. "One day, with luck, he'll be able to put them back together. On his own this time, the right way, piece by piece."

Mokuba let the news sink in. "Then that means…he'll come back, won't he, Yugi?"

Yugi gave a slow, silent nod. "Someday…you brother will return, maybe not exactly the way he used to be, but maybe with some of his old kindness intact."

Mokuba dried his eyes. "Then I'll wait for you, Nii-san." He said, looking to his brother.

000

Jonouchi waved his phone in the air. "Good news! Hanasaki just called from the hospital!" he called. Not that he had to…Selena, Yugi, Anzu, Melhana and Honda (pervy little Johji in tow) weren't even a few meters from him. "The old man's operation was a success! He's going to be fine!"

"Yaay!" Yugi said, jumping into the air. Selena could sense—and see—that he was back to his 'normal' self. Although, just below the surface, she could sense the roiling aura of his other self…

Selena shook her head. She looked up to the sky. Thank whatever powers there are that we're out of that hellhole. She thought in relief. She'd closed herself back off from the world, and reset her emotions back to neutral. They were at last out of the theme park of death…with their sanity intact, amazingly.

Selena hung back from the group as they headed towards the hospital. I've only known these guys for a few months, yet I feel as if I've been around them for my whole life. She thought. She smiled as she caught Honda yelling at Johji to shut up…again. So this is what friendship is like….

Melhana fell back to where Selena was. "Something on your mind?" The Egyptian girl asked.

Selena didn't answer right away. After a moment to gather her thoughts, she replied. "I guess…I never thought I'd know what friends were like." She said slowly, choosing her words. "I tried killing myself more than just once…I didn't tell you guys that in London Bridge."

"I'm not going to ask about how often you've wanted to kill yourself," Melhana said quietly. "But…I have heard of your Demon Eye."

Selena's eyes snapped open. "What?!" She blurted. "What do you know about it?"

Melhana shook her head. "Not much." She said. "Only that it comes once in a generation. Everyone who's born with it lives a living hell, only to face a young and violent death." She paused before continuing. "Selena…I know you're not familiar with the idea of friendship, but…do you think that if would have seen any of this coming, would you have believed it?"

Selena looked from Melhana to her friends, who were laughing and messing around just ahead of the two girls. "Honestly, with what I've known back home…no. I would've just called it a sick joke." She replied finally. "But I'm glad it happened." She hardened her voice. "And I'm going to break that death curse on my Eye. And damn it to hell if anyone's going to stop me."

Melhana was about to reply when Jonouchi called back to them. "Hey! What're you guys talking about? Comparing periods or something?"

Anzu hit him over the head. "Jonouchi! Shut up!" She snapped. "You don't ask a girl about her period!"

Selena flipped off her blonde, doofus friend. "She's right, moron!" She laughed. Running up to the group, she gave Jonouchi a thwack of her own. "The only time you ask something like that is if you're trying to commit suicide."

And for once, she was joking about it.

This band of misfits are my friends…and I'll never abandon them.

000

Despite everything Kaiba threw at us to try and break our bonds, it didn't work. I even had the guts to tell everyone about my Demon Eye…and they didn't care. I know I've said this before, but this is the first time in my life I've had friends. Real friends. Yeah, we're a band of misfits and oddballs, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

I guess the irony of all this is the fact that, just a year and a half ago, I would've left everyone in the dust to die. Now, however…well, as it says above, I'll never abandon them.


Yes, I have finally updated! With any luck, now that I have better Internet access since I'm out of my grandparents' place, I'll be able to update on a bi-weekly basis rather than a monthly. This means that I'll be stepping up my writing at home, so that means less of a wait period between stories!

Keep reading, everyone!

~HikariHellion