The wind on the roof was fierce, he decided to himself. He didn't allow himself to shiver or pull his coat closer around himself, though. There were people here in this very city who currently had it so much worse, despite all his efforts, so he was not going to let himself complain.
It had to be close to midnight by now, though. Didn't it? It was enough of a risk being up here like this when none of the people below -- not even Mokuba -- knew where he was. He wasn't going to compound the danger by trying to find a way to check the time in the nearly complete darkness.
No, as best he could figure, if it wasn't midnight already, it would be soon. So where was the other half of Wraith?
Strangely, this brought back memories of another rooftop meeting. It seemed like centuries ago now that he had met a version of Bakura Ryou on this very roof in a duel for Mokuba. Now, though, there was only him standing here in this foolishly vulnerable position, waiting for a person that he didn't know, that might not even exist.
If this was Bakura Ryou's idea of a joke or a prank, it was in terrible taste, and if it was... Well, he'd just have to track the other man down again and give him a piece of his mind.
He huffed almost silently to himself -- and was immediately startled by a low chuckle from only a few meters behind him. He whirled, sharp eyes searching the darkness. There, in the deepest part of the shadows, stood a figure that he could almost make out. Broad shoulders and chest, hair about as long as Mokuba's, nearly as tall as he was... That was about all he could make out.
"Who's there?" He was a bit pleased with the fact his voice was so steady. He hadn't sounded like he'd just been given the scare of his life. Instead, he had sounded more like he was in a boring conference or meeting.
"Now that hurts." It sounded like... But it couldn't be... "And here I was thinking our little duel up here might have made an impression. My mistake." But apparently, it was.
"How?" he managed to force out, cutting off whatever else the other man was going to say.
He caught a distinct impression of a shrug. "Zork didn't exactly need me once it was in this world. Apparently, torturing the Pharaoh and ruling the world were a bit more important. Besides, does it really matter? Yadonushi said you wanted to see me."
He took a quick deep breath and released it slowly. Hopefully... "How can Zork be destroyed?"
Annoyingly enough, the other man shrugged nonchalantly again. "I'd imagine that's more the Pharaoh's gig." He laughed darkly. "If he's still sane at this point. Zork's been having a lot of fun with him this last year."
The odd aside made him frown. "How do you know?" No one had been into Zork's stronghold, not and come out alive. A few had returned in pieces, their heads probably still on display in the windows of what had once been the Domino museum. He hadn't been close enough to check in months.
"I've been in there."
He suddenly found himself struggling not to choke on nothing more than air. "What?" Over a year's habit was the only thing that held his voice at a level below yelling.
"Once when yadonushi and I left. I've been back twice since, getting other people out."
For a long moment, he was stunned absolutely speechless. That had to top the list of suicidal things he had ever heard of people doing. "Are you out of your mind?!"
Perhaps he'd ruffled the other almost as much as he himself had been. The silence stretched on -- then darkly amused laughter cut through it like a knife. "That's the popular theory," he finally stated, amusement heavily coating the words.
He refused to let himself take offense -- or at least not too much. "Glad to have been so amusing." Slightly annoyed and somewhat put out,on the other hand, were quite acceptable.
The other man finally stepped into the almost nonexistent light, still chuckling under his breath. "Damn, I can't remember the last time I laughed like that." He took a deep breath and sobered. "Why did you need me? Yadonushi could have told you any of this." He paused and frowned. "He did tell you some of this."
It was no wonder people thought Wraith was only one person. He and Bakura Ryou looked almost exactly alike, with a few small differences. His hair was a bit shorter than Ryou's, and he looked as though he'd been bulking up over the last year, compared to Ryou's much more slim body. He was certainly taller, and his eyes... Well, he wasn't too sure if he would call that color light blue or silver; it was only in this light that he could almost make out the shade, so he doubted anyone on the streets below would see them. Other than that, though, they could have been identical.
But this was just putting off responding, wasn't it?
"If finding Yuugi or... the other Yuugi--" and he was not going to say a word about the smirk on the other man's face at that "-- is the only way to get rid of Zork, then it has to be done."
"And I suppose you have some grand plan for how to do this?" Oddly, the white-haired man didn't sound as derisive as his words would have indicated, but instead he seemed merely curious. "Because I'm open to suggestions."
Damn... "Not a plan as such, but... If you can get in there--"
"I'm not risking my neck for the fucking Pharaoh." That was a little bit more vehement than he strictly would have liked to have heard. In fact, that sounded like the kind of 'no' that there was no budging from. But then the other frowned thoughtfully, crossing his arms over his chest. "Not unless there's something in it for me."
"Aside from a world without that thing?" he demanded incredulously.
Unbelievably, the other smirked and nodded. "Yeah, besides that. That's not enough to have to put up with the Pharaoh again."
What the hell? He seriously did not like where this was heading at all. "I can pay you."
"And money isn't worth the money it's printed on right now." If it was possible, the smug expression grew as light-colored eyes slowly swept down his body and back up to lock onto his own blue eyes. "I'm sure we can work something out, though."
"Not happening." He matched that smirk with the coldest, hardest glare in his considerable arsenal.
"We'll see," the other, darker Bakura intoned quietly, almost to himself. "We'll see."
03 February 2009
Now this was much better: just under a month. This section is also substantially larger than the others -- and I actually had to force it to end there! It wanted to go a bit more.
On the writing front, I've posted a teaser for Route 666, the fifth book in the Endless Loop universe. That rounds the fan fictions I'm working on now to three (this, Route 666, and Belladonna, for some writing that isn't Yu-Gi-Oh), along with the ones I'm doing a little here and there on. Amaranth: The Preterhumans Book 1 is currently on the front page of my publisher's, Cacoethes Publishing, website, so that's some nice hype.
Much love to all,