Crooked Way
Chapter Four: "Tenacity"
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: 1,316
Sequel to: Where Angels
Archive: DarkMagick(dot)net, FanFiction(dot)net, and Apollymi's Grimoire. Anyone else, ask first.

He had always done his best to try to find out some kind of information on the Collector in his vast amounts of spare time. He was doing overtime on it now, even at this early hour of the morning-six a.m., when he had little doubt any of them slept much the night before-and he had the feeling that was what Mokuba was doing on his laptop in the corner of the room; his teenaged brother was wearing that intense face of concentration that usually only showed up when he was working some kind of prank or genius gaming idea.

And if Bakura knew anything about computers, he had no doubt that the other man would have had a laptop out, looking as hard as he could for the Collector as well. Personally, Kaiba had been surprised to learn that Bakura Ryou hadn't had much skill in the way of them either, so it wasn't like his Bakura could draw on that well of knowledge.

Instead, Bakura was sorting through the deck of cards that had once been his and Ryou's, pulling out cards that he didn't feel would be useful for what he apparently had in mind. Once Kaiba had gotten out of the hospital two years ago, a week later Bakura had broken into the apartment that had once been Ryou's and made off with a few personal items, mostly an insanely huge number of Monster World dolls and their deck of Duel Monsters. Mokuba had been kind enough to inform him of what Bakura could do with them.

In his own way, then, Bakura was building his arsenal. Seeing the cards he chose to keep and which cards he chose to discard for the time being, he almost was willing to pity anyone who made the white-haired man angry. Almost.

More than anything else, most especially pity, he just wanted to see the Collector and anyone willing to help him off the face of the earth forever. If Bakura was willing to feed them to the Man-Eater Bug, then that would most assuredly solve the problem-and in a rather spectacular fashion.

And there was always Diaboundo to consider. The ka monster still showed up from time to time, usually when Bakura brought him to stretch a bit or when something really bothered the white-haired man. The only reason he hadn't been able to see the monster last night, he thought, was because they were all worrying; none of them had been looking for ka monsters.

Either way, though, Diaboundo was a force to be reckoned with. He wasn't too sure he was ready to admit it to anyone, but he did remember Diaboundo grabbing him from his office building two years ago, when the ka monster had been under the Collector's control. Of course, he also remembered Diaboundo protecting him until Bakura returned after Kaiba had sent the white-haired man into Ryou's body, though honestly he was none too sure how he managed to do that.

All in all, it was starting to add up to an impressive array of weapons on their side: his and Mokuba's brains hard at work on trying to track down the Collector before he gained more of an upper hand and Bakura's magic that he fully expected to be capable to taking down most anything the Collector bastard could throw at them.

This time, they were going to be prepared.

Really, though, they probably should have been concentrating more on this in the last years than on anything else. The company, his own health, and his... odd relationship with Bakura should have been secondary to finding out more about the Collector, since after all, the more they knew about the bastard, the more likely they were going to be able to take him down.

At the same time, though, he couldn't say that he regretted much of the time he had spent in the last two years, at least in some aspects. Yeah, maybe the company could have held off a bit; he did have a Board of Directors, and they were fairly competent; so there was no reason why he had had to focus on it. The only excuse he could find was it had become an ingrained habit to make sure the company he had invested so much time, pain, and talent into stayed afloat.

As for his health... Well, honestly, there was no way that Bakura and Mokuba would have let him slack off on that. As it was, they had barely let him call out of an appointment, no matter what he was working on, no matter how dire it had seemed. Two days in captivity had done a number on his body and little good for his mental health. He had at least gotten them to slack off on the latter, but there was no way they were ignoring the former. Mokuba had dragged the sad, shaky, tear-filled eyes out from retirement and reminded him that they were going to be together for the rest of their lives and Kaiba wasn't going to be around if he didn't take care of himself; he had also added that Kaiba hadn't been in the best of shapes when he had been taken, already on sleep deprivation and positively lousy with poor eating habits. Bakura, on the other hand, had simply stared him down until he finally agreed, though he honestly got the idea that if he had managed to resist both the white-haired man and his own little brother, then Bakura might have tried for a kidnapping of his own, this time to bodily take him to a physician.

And then there was that final point. The rational part of his mind insisted that starting a-relationship, he supposed was the best word-right now was far from the wisest choice he had ever made. That was the thing, though: it was also one of the better choices he had ever made. He might not want to admit it, even to himself-or maybe especially to himself-but Bakura had been good for him. Mokuba had even commented only a few months ago that he seemed like he was coming out of his shell in the past couple of years.

He liked to think that he had been good for Bakura too: the thief was generally less tense, less ready to fly off the handle at the slightest provocation lately. Well, up until yesterday, that had been true, but it certainly wasn't any longer. Still, in general, he seemed better, and that was good.

Two years ago, he had thought to himself that Ryou might have been Bakura's version of Mokuba. He was still fairly certain that was correct, though he had never gotten around to asking. Besides, even he knew that that? That would be beyond bad taste.

Those were two things he never talked about with Bakura, two subjects he was never going to breech: Seth and Ryou. It was for totally different reasons, but it still involved that same need for privacy. Bakura hadn't pried too much into his life; he should be willing to extend the same courtesy in return.

If anyone asked, however, his entire attention was on the monitor before him. He wasn't watching Mokuba type in his corner or Bakura shuffling and reshuffling his cards or the doors, windows, and any other possible exits and entrances into the room. He wasn't thinking about things he should not be concerned with. No, he was focusing on tracking down the Collector, and that was it.

He just wasn't having much luck, and unfortunately, he was still tired enough that his mind was beginning to wander around a bit.

It didn't matter. He was going to find this information out, one way or another. He would figure this whole thing out, somehow or another. He would persevere.

30 December 2013

Again, if you're still reading, let me know, so I can keep writing.


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