I can only assume that I fell asleep sometime after we cleaned up the dinner dishes. I remember goofing off with Ryou while we finished up and opening my history book to study, but I don't recall lying down on the couch. One minute I was staring at my book and the lights were on; the next I was curled up on my side with my head in someone's lap, and that someone was petting me.
Before I could even open my eyes, I heard Ryou's voice: "Niisan? When'd you get back?" It came from the other side of the room, which meant that Bakura was the twin on the couch with me.
"About an hour ago." He kept his voice at a level just above a whisper; I assumed he thought I was still asleep. I also picked up a faint tone of anger, but it wasn't directed towards anyone present. Deciding that discretion was probably a good idea, I continued to feign sleep.
"Why are you still up?" Ryou asked, his voice coming closer. "It's after midnight."
"Thinking," Dorobou replied.
A heavy sigh accompanied by fingers lightly scratching the back of my head. "About how unfair life is sometimes. I did some 'research' tonight on Kitty."
"I thought we had it rough." Dorobou fell silent for a moment, still petting my hair lightly. I could hear Ryou settle on the floor close by, yet still kept my eyes shut.
"How long?" he asked after a minute or so.
"Ten months. Part of a pard for six, tops. Broken home, stuck with a father who could almost give Oyaji a run for his money for eight months." I nearly flinched at how coldly that was recited. I knew my life sucked, but it sounded so much worse to hear the 'highlights' spoken in that toneless manner.
Either I did flinch somewhat or Ryou picked up on my discomfort as he chose that moment to rest one hand on my arm. "At his home..." he began hesitantly, "it isn't physical?"
I guess Dorobou must have shaken his head before speaking: "Verbal. Although when I was there it looked like Jyonouchi-kitty spends a lot of time ducking flying objects."
"So the bags by the door are Jyonouchi-kun's things."
"Yeah. Also found out a few things about his pard." I nearly gave myself away; Hirutani may have been a first-class bastard but a few of my pard-mates were okay Weres.
"You didn't hurt anyone, did you?" Ryou asked, unconsciously stroking my arm. It was kinda nice--the contact, I mean. The Bakuras weren't family but they weren't hesitant to be near me.
"Nope," Dorobou replied, "didn't have to. A 'lady' named Mitsaki was more than willing to answer my questions."
Mitsaki-san was one of my okay pard-mates. I used to think she'd make a good Nimir-Raja, but she wasn't strong enough to take down Hirutani. I still miss her. What? Oh, I'll tell you what happened to her in a little while.
"Is it bad?"
"Remember the Weres in Tokyo?" I can only assume Ryou nodded, because Bakura continued almost immediately: "This pard is worse. And the Master of Domino isn't happy with this Hirutani but won't do anything because Kitty is being 'held down.' Unless I'm way off, I'd say they're afraid."
Ryou sounded about as confused by that as I felt. "Afraid? Of what?"
The twins fell silent for a long time, both unconsciously petting me as they gathered their thoughts. After what felt like forever, Dorobou finally spoke: "You need to go to bed, brat. It's almost one and you've got classes in the morning."
"I know." A pause, then, "I'll get Jyonouchi-kun's homework, too."
Dorobou made a sound of agreement, then Ryou patted my arm before I heard him rise and cross the room. After a moment I heard a door close and lock, then silence again. Dorobou heaved a sigh before speaking:
"Why the hell do you stay and put up with all their shit?" He didn't speak too loudly, but the tone indicated that he knew damn well I hadn't been asleep for a while. I suppose he'd be a pretty bad thief if he wasn't observant, but damn...!
"Legally, I'm stuck," I replied quietly, opening my eyes just enough to see that the only light in the room was from the streetlights outside. "Otherwise I'd be in Osaka with Kaasan and Shizuka. Is it, well, wrong to hate your father?"
"Not if he deserves your hatred," came the instantaneous reply. I think it was right about then that I realized Dorobou and I had at least one thing in common--and if you wanna know, Yami, you'll have to take it up with him. I don't tell his secrets, and he doesn't tell mine.
I didn't reply, and he wasn't waiting for an answer. "Ryou won't let you go back there," Dorobou said. "And if you have any sense in that blond head of yours, you won't go back to them, either."
"Ain't that easy."
"For you, Kitty, it just might be."
I wondered what that meant, and I would have asked about it had he not settled back more heavily on the couch at that moment. "Mrr?"
"Go back to sleep," Dorobou replied, once more petting my hair lightly. "We'll talk in the morning."
Normally I'd have argued that I wasn't tired, but I had fallen asleep fairly early in the evening and the couch was comfortable. The fact that I felt safer in the Bakura's apartment than I had anywhere else for a long time was a factor, too, I'll readily admit that. So, rather than speak up, I opted to purr softly in reply and let my eyes fall shut once more.
Did anyone figure out before the reveal that Jyonouchi's been talking to Yami this whole time? If so, cyber cookies for you! If not, don't worry about it; I was purposely being vague.
That's a wrap for chapter three. stay tuned for chapter four ^_^