Crooked Way
Chapter Three: "Sensibility"
by Apollymi
Disclaimers: Yu-Gi-Oh! is owned by Takahashi Kazuki and all associated copyright holders. Therefore, unfortunately, I own nothing here, except the storyline.
Word Count: 1,160
Sequel to: Where Angels
Archive: DarkMagick(dot)net, FanFiction(dot)net, and Apollymi's Grimoire. Anyone else, ask first.

It was a little surprising. Somehow he had expected that Bakura's idea of 'extra precautions' would be elaborate and... well... maybe even a bit of Rube Goldberg. After all, Bakura had been known for that sort of thing once upon a time, back in high school. But instead the plan was simple, at least for now: Kaiba wasn't to go anywhere alone. Actually, none of them were to go anywhere alone, but Bakura had been looking right at him when he said it, so he figured that was especially directed at him.

Mokuba had put in calls to Yuugi and his merry band of misfits, at least the ones that he had numbers for, and let hem know what was going on, and Yuugi was going to pass the information along to whoever Mokuba couldn't reach. That meant they were in the loop and, theoretically, couldn't be used as hostages. It all really depended on how much backup the bastard Collector had.

When he had captured Kaiba two years ago, the Collector had made it very clear that he had had no need for Kaiba's money; he didn't need ransom money. He still figured that meant the Collector had money of his own and probably quite a bit of it. It wouldn't be impossible for someone with enough money to pull a repeat of last time off again. After all, once he had fully recuperated last time, he put his considerable talent to trying to track the bastard down, only to find out that the house he had been held at was abandoned and the most recent former owners had been dead for six months by then. None of them could be the Collector then, which meant he had somehow piggybacked his electricity from somewhere and probably had a handy escape route already planned.

So not only did the Collector have money, he was also smart, to go along with his insanity. He figured it had to be insanity: why else would anyone want to raise someone like the Pharaoh from the grave?

Admittedly, he might be a bit biased, since the two of them had never really gotten along during all the time he had known the so-called Spirit of the Puzzle, but also to him, it made no goddamn sense to try to raise someone you didn't personally know from the dead. After all, if something happened to Mokuba or Bakura, yeah, he might be willing to try and do something rather rash to get them back, but he couldn't say he would do something like that for, perhaps, Yuugi.

Trying to figure out the psychology of a madman was definitely not his strong suit. He didn't really even understand why he was trying, except to be a bit more prepared for what was coming. He didn't want to be taken by surprise again.

Once the plan was laid out, it had been time for dinner, even if it seemed none of them really felt like eating. Even Bakura, who usually ate like someone was going to take it away from him and never feed him again, had barely done more than pick at his food.

This bit of news had thrown them all for a loop, and frankly, he wasn't finding any of this too surprising. Disappointing, yes; he had been just about to start to think that maybe, maybe, the Collector had either been killed or given up on his obsession with the other Yuugi; but definitely not surprising. Mokuba bid them both a half-hearted 'good night' just after ten and wandered upstairs to his bedroom.

It should have been alarming to see Mokuba so downtrodden, but honestly, he was feeling much the same way. He just was still doing his best not to let it show. He was going to do his best to keep it secret, if he could help it.

"Ready?" Bakura asked, pushing himself slowly to his feet. For the life of him, he looked like this was a huge effort, one that he had had to really exert himself to manage. "There really isn't anything else we can do tonight. We should try to look at this again tomorrow, when we're a bit clearer."

It made sense. It made a lot of sense actually. They needed to be clear-minded to stay ahead of the Collector.

He nodded and stood as well. "I'm ready," he answered.

Nominally, Bakura had a room of his own, located on a different wing of the house from his and Mokuba's. He couldn't remember Bakura sleeping there more than a few days. After that, he had moved himself into Kaiba's room and had just never left. For the most part, he was actually all right with that. But there were those nights that he really wished Bakura would go back to the room they had given him when he first moved in. Usually, those were the nights when he had one of the nightmares.

With anyone else, the reason for wanting privacy on those nights would be a lack of trust: it would be giving the world a handle on him, on what he was afraid of. No, not afraid, just... disturbed by. He wasn't even going to admit to Mokuba that the mere thought of the Collector was... disturbing to him, much less the rest of the world at large. There was just no way. With Bakura, though, it had more to do with not wanting the white-haired man to see him at his worst. It was a bit silly, perhaps, and definitely a sign of weakness, but he couldn't shake the feeling and he could never quite give in to the urge to tell the other man to leave.

While he might well be a little better about letting his guard down around some people, namely the two he shared a house with, he still wasn't all the way to fully trusting another with his weaknesses. With Mokuba and to some extent Bakura, he knew they weren't going to take advantage of him. It was still hard to shake, though. No matter what, he still was a very private person, and the mere idea of sharing something that intimate with someone was well beyond him.

Besides, as he always told himself, Bakura had already seen him at his worst: in that dank basement where the Collector had housed him, when he had been shaking with pain, doing his best not to either cry or throw up, and dreaming of a life he still wasn't entirely sure used to be his.

Dreaming of Seth, that was something that he never wanted to have repeated. Thankfully to date, it hadn't come back up. He had never gotten another glimpse of his supposed past life. Those had only come when he was being held-tortured-by the Collector.

And that was why he never told Bakura to leave or not to even come to the bed with him.

30 December 2013

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[ Prologue | Schedules | Safety | Sensibility | Tenacity | Conscious | Security | Command | Insight | Balancing | Determination | Communicating ]