My first instinct upon stepping back inside the house is to step right back out again. I mean, hell, I don’t need to glance in the ‘informal’ den to know that’s where Dorobou and Malik are talking. Could be Marik, though, seeing as how Yami’s in there giving off a ton of nervous vibes. Yeah, I know that Dorobou says Marik is an ahmet or the Egyptian version of a soul eater, but like I’ve said I don’t think I’ve met Marik yet. Either way, I’m not ready to deal with either of Ishtar’s persona... yet.
I silently lead Ryuzaki to the kitchen, noting that he sticks pretty close to me. I can’t blame him. The Kaiba place is huge; we actually lost Mokuba in here that time he was hopped up on a blood and espresso blend. Took us three hours to find him again, kid kept slipping by the wolves and the only reason we finally caught him was because the elder Kaiba vamps and I cornered him in the third floor sauna (and no, I have no damned clue why vampires would even need a sauna, unless they like to sweat or something). Noa’s still slightly traumatized and, ahem, arranged an accident for the espresso machine. I never knew those things could break into so many tiny little pieces....
And apparently he’s now taking revenge on the cappuccino maker for whatever reason.
“Noa, the hell’re you doing?” Can I just mention here that it’s funny as hell to see an eighty-some year old vampire who looks twelve jump a foot in the air and squeak when you sneak up on him? I wouldn’t suggest that a human try it, but it is hilarious. So is the glare he’s giving me, a cuter version of the Kaiba glare. I swear that expression is genetic; it has to be if all four of them can manage it.
“Don’t do that!” Noa scowls, the glare reverting to a pout when I snort in amusement. “And since you asked so nicely” Noa’s good at the dripping sarcasm thing “I’m cutting off Mokuba’s caffeine supply.”
Oh, fuck me, is that why he was practically buzzing when I stopped him--literally--to ask if he knew about the attempted hits on Dorobou?! “Cappuccino and blood?” I ask, dreading the answer.
“I may need your help pinning him down later.”
“That’s what Seth-niisama is going to say when I tell him,” is the reply before Noa goes back to dissecting the cappuccino maker. Ryuzaki is just staring, and it’s not difficult to guess why. After all, how often does one see a preteen vampire with turquoise hair taking apart a kitchen appliance with a steak knife? The only reason he isn’t a brunet like the rest of his family is through the modern miracle of hair dye. I’ll never forget Dorobou’s reaction to seeing Noa’s hair bleached out pure white. It went to the current shade shortly thereafter, and he maintains it well.
After a few seconds his head snaps back up. “Who’s the stray?”
I was wondering if he’d noticed. “This is Ryuzaki. Kit, meet Kaiba Noa, resident pain in the ass.”
“Love you, too, fur ball. Hand me a hammer?”
I hand over the requested tool. “And just what are you converting it to?” Noa shrugs, so I add, “You could just drop it off the roof like last time.”
He snickers this time. “No, that was you, Katsuya-nii, and you threw it at Mazaki when she tried to slip past the wolves.”
...oh yeah, I’d forgotten that part. Bitch never learns, it’s sad, really.
Back to the subject at hand. “I need a favour, Noa.” When his eyes are locked on mine I continue: “Get some food into the kit--meat would be best--then see if there’s an open room somewhere between mine and Seto’s for him.”
“Noa’s pard,” I say, feeling a surge of satisfaction as he relaxes from his on-guard stance. “You’re safe here.”
“Where’re you gonna be?” Noa asks curiously even as he opens the fridge in search of any steaks Dorobou has yet to find.
“Having a chat” I spit the word out “with a blond idiot in Dorobou’s employ.”
“Have fun and don’t let Malik bite you. He might give you something.”
I roll my eyes before tugging the knit cap off Ryuzaki’s head and ruffling his hair, eliciting a startled purr at the action. “Stick by Noa for now; I’ll come talk with you later.” I slip from the kitchen, biting back a laugh when the vampire mentions that the kit looks a bit like Mokuba. I have the feeling that won’t last long; Noa’ll probably put blond streaks in the kit’s hair or something.
I make my way to the den just in time to hear Malik say... something about celebrating. I can only assume this means that Dorobou finally told him that he doesn’t have to work at Kaiba Corp anymore. Now seems the perfect time to speak up.
“Celebrate after you explain a few things to me, Ishtar.” My tone sounds cold even to me. I seem to have picked up a bad habit or two from Seto over the past couple of months.
Malik is completely unaffected. “Hi, Katsuya,” he says cheerfully, and I see Yami wince at the use of my given name. There are only a few people who have that privilege, and Malik is not one of them. That doesn’t stop him from using it, though. “Did you find my present than?”
What the--?! Even Dorobou looks confused on that one, and he’s known Malik since way before Domino. “Present?” I prompt, a hint of confusion in my voice.
“The leopard kitten.”
I heave an annoyed sigh. “And just why did you make the kit wait outside?” I half-snarl. Really, I can’t follow the man’s logic at all.
“I knew you’d want to find him yourself,” Malik says with a little shrug. Dorobou speaks up before I can ask anything else.
“Whoa, time out. By ‘kitten’ you don’t mean a Werekitty younger than Kitty here, do you?”
“The kit’s not more than sixteen,” I reply; Dorobou doesn’t look any happier than I am that Hirutani turned another kid (and yes, I’m counting myself in there. Sixteen was young to be turned but fourteen is a hell of a lot worse). I address Malik again. “Just where did you find him?”
Malik gives another absent shrug. “West side.”
“Please tell me that means ‘west side of the mansion’ or ‘west side of the street’,” Dorobou groans; I have a bad feeling about this. If the answer is what I’m thinking, if Hirutani has gone from just being a bastard and pedophile to whoring out the Cats, he is more than just dead. I’ll make him beg me to kill him.
Malik shakes his head and I feel my stomach drop. “West side of town, on a corner. Working.” He shrugs yet again, the movement so slight that you’d miss it if you weren’t looking directly at him. “I didn’t think Katsuya would approve so I, ahem, took care of his handler and brought him to you,” the last part is addressed directly to me.
This... is not like the Malik Ishtar I’m used to. That Malik is somewhat crazy and would just as soon annoy the hell out of me as do me a favour. Basically kidnapping one of Hirutani’s and bringing the kit to me--in a roundabout way--are outside the realm of normal, which leads to a very confused me.
“Hirutani’ll try to take him away,” I point out; it needn’t be said that there will be a fight when he tries to take my kit from me.
“You won’t let that happen.” Okay, when did Malik gain a serious side? Shaking my head slightly, I turn to face my brother and friend. Dorobou seems annoyed and Yami looks like he wants to say something.
“You two stay out of this,” I growl. “You’ve got enough on your hands, Dorobou. I’ll take care of this on my own."
“At least tell Treeboy what’s going on,” Dorobou replies; he’s obviously not pleased with being sidelined but I’m not risking my humans’ lives for a Cat issue. My only reply is a sharp nod before I start towards the door. I’ll fill Seto in then see what Ryuzaki and Noa are up to--
Or at least that was the plan. I get three steps before I feel fingers close tight on my arm. I turn to see what the hell Ishtar thinks he’s doing; before I can even think the words his other hand clasps the back of my neck and pulls me forward and the next thing I’m aware of is that he’s kissing me.
And I think I might be kissing him back.
My only defense is that when someone is that good a kisser, you have to respond. It’s either that or admit that for whatever reason my brain shut down for a few critical seconds when he initiated this kiss. The worse part is, it doesn’t kick into gear again until Malik (Marik?) bites my tongue.
Shocked at my own behaviour, I manage to get one hand between us and shove. Whoa, how’d that hand get on my ass and why didn’t I notice it five seconds ago?! I use both hands to push him away this time, keeping him quite literally at arms’ length. And he looks way too pleased with himself, one hand locked on my wrist as if he intends to do it again.
“What the fuck?!” I growl, wiping my mouth with the back of my free hand--more like scrubbing, actually. “Are you completely insane?!”
“You know you liked it,” he replies, smirk in place. His tone and demeanor are completely changed; I’m facing off with a predator here, and I have the feeling that I’m the prey. So why doesn’t the prospect frighten me?
Before I can dwell on that question Dorobou speaks up: “Marik, quit messing with my cat.” Damn it, he sounds half-amused. I’m so glad he’s enjoying my lapse of sanity, at least one of us is.
Wait a--Marik, he said Marik, right? Holy shit, this is the, as Dorobou puts it, more psychotic half?! He isn’t striking me as psychotic. Potentially masochistic if he doesn’t let go of my arm in about a minute, but not exactly psychotic.
“Messing with Katsuya?” he fairly purrs, still not letting go of me. “Boss, I haven’t even warmed up yet.”
“Don’t make me kill you tonight.”
Marik just smirks at that but finally drops my wrist... well, after licking the back of my hand he does.
“Better,” Dorobou says, apparently opting to ignore the last little bit. I take a few steps backward towards the door, wanting to put as much space as I can between me and Ishtar at the moment.
“I need to see to the kit and let Seto know what’s going on so I’ll just see you sometime that’s not now,” I manage to blurt out as an explanation before skittering out the door. I can hear Ishtar’s amused chuckle following me as I rush down the hall.
I did a tiny bit of research and found out that there is a name for Marik/Malik/Jounouchi: Fakeshipping. So, yeah, I’m writing Fakeshipping for Avarice.
Chapter Three coming soon.