I felt him before he opened his damn mouth.
“Kaiba,” he said just loud enough to get my attention. I paused, took a fortifying breath, and then turned to face him.
I wanted to claw his eyes out. The possessive fury that was raging inside of me did not show on my face -- I have better control than that -- but I knew if I couldn't get it under control, Mutou would be dead at my feet. I settled for the next best thing and acknowledged him, my voice as cold as ice.
“Mutou.” A familiar face flashed before me and bruised face, and I clenched my teeth subtly as if I were afraid the incisors of a vampire would elongated, something I knew could never happen here. His eyes narrowed at my coolness, but I could care less about what he desired.
“I want to know what’s going on here.”
He wants to know what’s... Who the fuck did Mutou think he is? And where had the little nitwit been the last seven cycles?! I rolled my eyes. “We're stuck in a dream world. I thought that much was obvious, even to someone like you. And some of us have parts to play, so --“
“I want to know what you and Pegasus were talking about, back at Duelist Kingdom,” Mutou cut in.
The sheer impertinence! He thought that he didn’t need to be cordial. He held nothing back with me. I could see the fire in his gaze he wanted to hit me so badly and yet... I knew that he would not.
He wouldn’t dare. He’d hurt what was mine and for that he would pay. Look at the little worm in all the times we’d done this stupid dance. In every cycle, he’d made the same mistake. What I wouldn’t have given to have my true vampire strength in me now. I don’t know what I would have done first: broken each limb and then drain that sack of shit dry, or maybe... maybe flay him alive instead. No, that would have be too quick, much too easy. He deserved to suffer, he deserved...
“Bakura will die if this thing repeats itself again.” I spoke coolly as if my -- as if Bakura didn’t matter. But he mattered -- oh did he ever. Just thinking about his death... did not sit well with me. Bakura was mine, and the only way he would die was if I handed him his heart on a silver platter. He would not die because of this fool’s incompetence! I took a deep breath and continued, “Pegasus and Cynthia believe that this Zork creature is draining him dry to break into the real world and leave us trapped here forever.”
I could tell some of what I said finally got through. He looked struck dumb. Oh wait, that was his normal state of mind. Needless to say, I was glad to prove a point.
“We have to stop it,” he said as calmly -- or at least, he tried to -- and I couldn’t hold back any longer. The edge of my subconscious became blurry, and then suddenly I was in front of Mutou. It would seem there is a delicate balance between the real world and this mockery of one. For that brief second, I felt all powerful -- like a vampire Master should feel.
“No, you need to stop it,” I snapped back. He stumbled backwards, his eyes widening slightly.
“What the hell are you babbling on about now, Kaiba?” Why am I not surprised? It was not time for my ‘you are an idiot’ lecture, but perhaps I could get my opinion across.
“You need to finish this game. For some ungodly reason, this creature has decided to make you the center of this game. Every time we get to the end, it comes down to you to end it, and every time, we go right back to the same spot.” I stalked him, and as I suspected, he backed up right into the door like a pup cowering from a Doberman. “And besides all that, it's your fault we're in here to begin with anyway.”
“And what the hell is that supposed to mean?”
I just stared at him. “You’re an idiot.”
And the bastard tried to hit me. Time seemed to slow around me, and again the edges of reality and fantasy seemed to bend -- and I caught his fist. He was surprised and fearful. He should have been. Again my Bakura’s bruised face flashed in my memory, and I contained the growl in fury that I wanted to unleash. Mutou had no right -- no right -- to treat Bakura thus, and it was high time he knew it.
“This is what I was talking about,” I told him, my attention turning to the fist in my hand. Did he realize how easy I could break all those pretty little bones just now? I doubted it. “I saw the bruises you gave him. Do you really think this creature would have gotten through; if you hadn't paved the way for it?” He disgusted me. I pushed his hand away roughly. “Therefore, it's your responsibility to see to it that this ends this time around.”
“What do you care anyway? You only took Kura and Ryou in to keep your reputation as Master of the City safe. If their father had managed to kill him, you would never have been able to keep the city. It would have made you look weak.”
I could feel my eyes narrowing, I could also feel my incisors elongating. I could already see his broken bloody body in mind. I could see me tearing into his throat. I could hear his screams, taste his blood, and I could feel his death. I’d make sure there was nothing for anyone to come clean up -- especially Bakura.
If only... If only --
“Let me make this clear enough that even an idiot like you can understand,” My speech was tight and sharp; Mutou was extremely lucky I knew how to control my urges. “Bakura is one of my people. You, on the other hand, are not. For some obscure reason I cannot understand, however, Bakura cares for you. If you feel anything for him at all, you will end this game this time, or he will die. You decide which you would rather live with, Mutou. However, if anything happens to one of my people because of you,” I turned to go, because if I didn’t, I might have killed him just to spare everyone the migraine he’was more than likely going to cause, “believe me: my vengeance will be unlike anything you have ever seen.”
I knew, though, as I walked away from him, that I couldn’t kill him, at least not yet. I -- no, my Bakura -- needed him to finish this because otherwise we’d be doing this an eighth time, and Bakura would no longer be with me at all.
Wait -- that -- fuck those stupid marks...!
“Kaiba.” Mutou again?!
“What?!” I snapped at him. Mutou looked like he’d rather run the other direction than to approach me by the door, but approach me he did, holding out a card: Osiris.
“I want you to hold onto Osiris during the duel. I don't even want it in my deck when I duel Kura.” He was nervous -- he had a right to be -- but he swallowed and continued. “I can't risk using it and hurting him again.”
I looked down at the card in his hand, and then I stared at Mutou. I don’t know what he saw in my face, but I’m sure he’d go for what was most optimistic. Time to dash his hopes. “Can you win without Osiris?” I asked him. Hopefully,he was smart enough to get my other meaning: we couldn’t afford to give the damn demon bastard within Bakura a single win.
His laugh was short and bitter. “I've played this exact same duel at least five times that I remember. I've had time to analyze it step-by-step. I can win without Osiris.”
I took the card. Perhaps I nodded also, and then I left him.
I kept seeing Bakura’s bruised face.
If Mutou didn’t win -- if we weren’t back in the real world -- if my Bakura died --
Hell hath no fury...
...hell hath no fury...