He had kept his mouth shut most of the day, but when Bakura still hadn't put in an appearance by the time Mokuba was knocking on his door to leave for the day, just after eight in the evening, he was officially worried. No matter what anyone might say about Bakura, this wasn't like him. He didn't tend to make Kaiba worry if it was avoidable.
Yeah, people made some assumptions about the relationship he had with Bakura. Inevitably, they were various shades of ridiculous. Easily half of them featured S&M... as if either of them would be comfortable with that given their respective pasts. Bakura might occasionally still make the odd crack about something--handcuffs seemed to be of particular amusement to him--but actually implementing any of them? Not a chance. There had even been a few rumors in the tabloids that he had had to turn the might of his legal team loose on.
But Bakura still wasn't here. That was concerning. That was beyond concerning. Part of him wanted to call it terrifying; if he was anyone else on the planet, he might have actually done that.
As quietly as he could, he had had various members of security step up their patrols: more of them were watching Mokuba when he was in his own office, more of them were keeping an eye on things in the building, and now some of them had gone back to the house to see if, by some weird happenstance, Bakura had turned up there. It had been a vain search, though: there remained no sign of the white-haired man. It was almost like he had simply vanished, like...
He shook his head in a bid to push that thought out of his head. He wasn't going to let himself think that. He didn't like the sound of it at all, thinking that, if it weren't for the note, it would be like Bakura had never been here at all.
No, Bakura had most assuredly been here. His imagination was not developed enough--nor demented enough, a voice very much like Bakura's drawled in his mind--to come up with someone like the thief wholesale. And the Bakura he knew and... knew... was sufficiently different from the Bakura he had known four years ago, back in high school, that he didn't think he could have used that Bakura to make up this Bakura. There was also the not insignificant fact that the Bakura he had known in high school had been possessed and so was often literally not himself back then.
No, there was no way he had made up Bakura. He was panicking, and it wasn't going to do anyone any good, least of all Bakura. He needed to get himself--and his suddenly wild imagination--back under control, so that perhaps he could be of some good.
Mokuba's knock repeated itself, but this time his little brother pushed the door opened without waiting for an invitation. He called out as he came in, "Niisama! Bakura-kun! You ready to..." He trailed off, looking entirely too startled to see Kaiba sitting at his desk alone. "Niisama? Where's Bakura-kun?" Unspoken was how odd it was to see a lack of the man in Kaiba's office at the end of the day, especially while there was the potential for something to be going on.
He shook his head slowly. "I... haven't seen him since this morning. He left a note saying he had some leads to check out, but he thought he would be back before lunch."
Mokuba did that same desperate glance at the clock on the wall that he had caught himself doing more than once, as if it could somehow tell him where the other man was, what might be keeping him. When he looked back to meet Kaiba's eyes, the boy looked as worried and as panicked as he felt at the moment. His voice was steady, more so than Kaiba feared his own was, when he spoke though, "Where do you think he could be?"
Sadly, he didn't have a good answer for that. What he was thinking probably showed on his face, though, given the way Mokuba's face seemed to crumble, by degrees, before it slowly firmed up again into one of resolve, as he turned on his heel. That was enough to break through everything and make him sit up slightly to ask, "Mokuba?"
"I'm going to go through the security camera footage of the building and see if I can't find when Bakura-kun left." He paused for a second, hand hovering near the door, before he finally turned desperate eyes on Kaiba. "Do you think the others would help if I asked?"
Personally, he was still surprised at times that Yuugi's band of moronic misfits had helped when the bastard took him two years ago. There was no love lost between any of them and Bakura, least of all Malik Ishtar, who was supposedly still living with Yuugi. But Yuugi was a soft touch, and he had a blind spot a mile wide where Mokuba was concerned. Surely Yuugi could persuade Malik to his point of view on this, if Mokuba could sell him on it... and Kaiba was fairly certain Mokuba could sell it.
The rest of the group was hit and miss: Jounouchi and Mazaki were usually traveling for her dance, Honda had tended be more absent than present in the group since high school ended, and Kujaku was touring what passed for a professional circuit of Duel Monsters in America. Of the original high school group, that didn't exactly leave too many people, not unless Yuugi had people he could call on.
He didn't think that Bakura would want to indebted to Yuugi and Ishtar for much of anything. At this particular moment, he didn't really care.
"I'll comb through the footage. You call Yuugi," he finally stated. He paused, tossing an idea back and forth. "Send everyone but security home with pay until Bakura's found."
And maybe while he was at it, he would give hacking into the CCTV around the city another try. It had been some time since he had last made an attempt, and while the last one had proven unsuccessful, he had a bit more motivation this time. There weren't that many closed circuit cameras in the cities: more than some places, less than others. They tended to be grouped in areas with high rates of theft, and therefore, the area around Kaiba Corp was not one of the areas that was well covered. But maybe, just maybe, one of the cameras could have picked something up, depending on where these leads of Bakura's were located. If they were in a less savory part of town... maybe...
Mokuba was nodding. "That way security can lock down the building. I'll get on it." He pulled the door open and started to step through it.
"Mokuba?" His little brother paused, glancing back over his shoulder at him. "Keep security with you, and come back here as soon as you're through sending everyone home and calling Yuugi."
Another nod. "Of course." He paused, clearly debating over what he wanted to say, before finally deciding to continue. "We're going to do everything we can to get Bakura-kun back, niisama." He bit down hard on his lip, trying in vain to keep what sounded like the beginning of a hiccuping sob at bay. "I don't want anything to happen to him. I don't want to lose him, and I know you don't either."
He winced his eyes shut tightly and nodded. After a moment, he heard the door close once more behind Mokuba.
It took a few deep breaths before he stopped shaking on the inhale and a few more before he felt steady enough to type.
He had worried if he had been getting too close to Bakura, if he had just been giving the Collector bastard another weapon to use against him. Maybe that was true, but right now, he felt too pissed off to think of it as a detracting factor. Right now, he could only think that whoever had taken Bakura didn't know who he was messing with. Kaiba fully intended to make him pay. Now that he had the panic under control, he was going to use it and the anger to find the bastard and make him regret ever being born.
05 April 2014
So, umm, that happened.
I have to admit that this was one of the things I had planned from the beginning for Crooked Way... and I feel like I should apologize for it. Yes, I put my boys through hell, but it's usually Kaiba I put through the most hell. This time I decided to distribute the hell a bit. Along that same note, Kaiba internalizes like a mofo. I feel like someone needs to, I don't know, give the man a hug or something... except something that won't get you arrested or punched.
And yes, I made a small dig on one of the Antagoshipping tropes that I hate here with the S&M thing. Don't get me wrong: I think BDSM done right in stories is a great thing. I just don't think it would work well with these two characters. Katsuko and I are pondering an entire 'verse based solely on the idea that about half the characters in the series could possibly end up with varying levels of PTSD from the shit that happens in series... and that doesn't count backstories. Kaiba's backstory, to say the least, is why I don't see S&M being something he's comfortable with.
But that's a little personal rant and soapbox I love climbing on. I have a lot of tropes in fanfic that I hate, and that's one of them. It makes finding stories to save for rereading difficult, when one is trying to avoid tropes you dislike. I have over 100 fanfics on my iPad for rereading, and none of them are Yu-Gi-Oh, if that says anything.
And I'm done ranting now. Back to my writing.