Kaiba didn't actually remember coming back to the house. There had to have been a drive of at least half an hour, but he didn't recall even a split second of it. What he did remember, however, was waking up, so to say, with his fifteen-year-old younger brother trying to crawl into his lap and Bakura pacing heavily only a half step away. Clearly, neither was any too willing to let him too far out their sight. The thought galled at half of him, but the other half was more than willing to let them fuss.
Of course, really, it was Mokuba who was doing the fretting and fussing. Bakura was... Fuming seemed like a good word for what it was Bakura was doing. The white-haired man was performing tightly paced loops of the room, never going more than a step or so away from arms' length of the couch.
The whole thing should have galled all of him. He should have been protesting that he was capable of taking care of himself and had no need for either of them worrying over him. He wanted to be saying that... but the words weren't coming.
Damn it all! The dreams-nightmares-had only really just stopped in the last few weeks. Now they were all but guaranteed to make a return visit... and wouldn't that just be lovely? He still hadn't gotten to the point where he could sleep with all the lights off anymore, even with Bakura in the room and the bed with him, and he was starting to think he was never going to get past that particular little phobia.
Finally, Bakura seemed to come to some kind of consensus, reaching a conclusion to the argument he had clearly been having with himself. He slowed down and finally stood still right in front of the Kaiba brothers, raking a hand roughly through already messy white hair.
"Mokuba?" He felt more than saw his little brother turn at least part of his attention to the thief. "We need to let any one else involved with the Sennen Items know that the bastard might be back. Can you call them?" He sighed, and there was a bit of a growl tucked into the end of it. "I would really rather not deal with the Ishtars any time soon."
Mokuba nodded. "Of course, Bakura-kun. I'll get on the phone with them right away." And despite Skype being Mokuba's new favorite thing to do, Kaiba would note that he wasn't volunteering that with anyone else involved in this whole crazy thing. Aside from how difficult it could be figure out the time difference, if Malik Ishtar was in Egypt at the moment, when it was after six o'clock here…
Once Mokuba was out of the room, closing the door quietly behind him, Bakura took a seat next to Kaiba on the sofa. For a long moment, he felt grey eyes watching him before Bakura simply stretched out, pulling Kaiba down to lay on top of him.
That, more than anything else, pulled him out of his fugue. "Bakura?" And he could be proud of how steady his voice was. He sounded as if he wasn't bothered by all this in the least, at least to his own ears.
"We'll get the bastard, babe." The words were said softly, barely more than a whisper and almost not enough to move his hair when the other was speaking right up against it. It reminded him of when Bakura had been intangible and brushed a hand over Kaiba's hair: at the time, his mind had described it as 'the afterthought of a touch'. This was actually a lot the same.
"I know." He wasn't going to be caught off guard this time. He knew what was coming, and he knew how bad it could be. He wasn't about to let that bastard take him again, and he damn sure wasn't going to be a battery for the other Yuugi to break into this world. No way in hell was that going to happen. "We'll stop him."
Bakura nodded, tugging him just a little close, closer than he would have thought possible without them being the same person... and that shouldn't have sounded so appealing.
Wordlessly, the white-haired man lifted one of Kaiba's hands, placing delicate kisses to the scars that still encircled his wrists and part of his forearms. They were leftovers from his stay with the Coll- with the bastard, and this simple act always went such a long way to relaxing him after the nightmares. To a lesser extent, it was also doing the same thing now.
The same scars were on both of Bakura's arms as well, but they were scars that Bakura Ryou had worn. The bastard had completely cut out Ryou's soul, killing what made him him and leaving a body that didn't know that it was time to die. His Bakura had been able to assume that body, and while somehow the body's eyes had changed to be the same color as his Bakura's had been back in Egypt, apparently he hadn't been able to get rid of the scars on the body.
And he might still not believe in magic, but he believed in what he could see and touch. That was what was real. He could see Bakura. He could touch Bakura. Bakura was real.
Bakura had once explained magic to him as a kind of science. On that basis, he could accept it. He had even managed to use it once, while he had been being held, to put Bakura into Bakura Ryou's body. He hadn't tried anything with it since then. It was too inexact, too much room for error. He didn't want to deal too much with something so... temperamental as this magic. If it needed to be done, Bakura could do it. If Bakura couldn't do it, then it probably didn't need to be done at all. It was a gross oversimplification, but that was his story and he was sticking to it.
"With any luck," Bakura was saying, "he'll find out that the Sennen Items are too far out of his reach to try anything like what he did last time."
Kaiba sighed, holding himself stiffly, not letting himself relax into the hold that Bakura had on him. He could not relax, not yet. He didn't think he was going to be able to relax at all, not until the Collector-the bastard-was well and truly gone for good. And frankly, he didn't care how someone went about making him that way. He had no moral issues with taking the bastard out and putting a bullet in his head.
It wasn't an elegant solution, but he was rather certain that it would prove to be a fairly permanent one. That was what mattered.
"That may not be a good thing, though," he finally commented in a low voice. "If he were going after the Sennen Items, we would be able to predict where he was heading. He's got to be trying something different this time, since he doesn't have them." He frowned hard. "I have no idea how he would go about doing something like what he was trying before. I don't understand how he was able to use the Sennen Items to get as far as he did the first time."
"How long were you with the idiot brigade in Ancient Egypt?"
It sounded like an insane segue, but if nothing else, in two years, he had learned that Bakura usually had a point he was going for with these segues. "Not so much. I... I guess I was mostly trying to get the hell back out of there and kept ending up watching Seth."
And that was a bit of a tender subject. The other Yuugi had been convinced that he was the reincarnation of Seth, even though he was pretty damn sure that was completely impossible. However, he had been able to see some of Seth's memories, things that didn't happen in the Ancient Egypt world, things from years before that. And Seth had been Bakura's lover. That reason alone was worth never bringing the man up; that he was still... uncomfortable with the idea of reincarnation was just icing on the cake.
"The Sennen Items were created by killing ninety-nine people and entrapping their souls into the gold as it was being smelt." Bakura took in a deep breath and released it shakily. "Those people were from my village. They were my friends, my family... and I just hid and watch them die." He sighed again, but when he spoke next, his voice was steady once more. "So there's a lot of death and life trapped in those items. Bringing people to life should be child's play to them, but it probably wouldn't work right."
"So... someone couldn't be brought back to life with them?" See, this was what he meant about an inexact science!
"Oh, they could probably be brought back to life. I mean, look how close the Pharaoh's midget said he came with the Pharaoh. But there's no way anyone brought back by them would be... the same as they were before. It probably would turn them a lot like I used to be." He raked a hand through his hair, giving it a light tug as he clearly struggled with words. "And that's probably why he was using human souls, like yadonushi's and yours: he was trying to find a viable replacement for the Items, to bring the Pharaoh back in a way that wouldn't leave him insane."
He finally forced himself to relax, wrapping his arms around Bakura as best he could while lying on top of the other man. "Someone's bound to know a way to deal with this."
Bakura nodded. "Definitely. We'll find them, and we'll find out what we need to do. In the meanwhile, we'll just need to take some extra precautions."
And that didn't sound good at all.
30 December 2013
Yeah, same thing again here: if you're reading, please let me know.