Crooked Way
Chapter Ten: "Determination"
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: 1,831
Sequel to: Where Angels
Archive: DarkMagick(dot)net, FanFiction(dot)net, and Apollymi's Grimoire. Anyone else, ask first.

Waking up... was harder than it should have been. He couldn't remember waking up ever being so difficult. No, wait, he could remember one time: when he had been knocked out while robbing a tomb back in Ancient Egypt, his first life. He didn't feel that same tell-tale kind of throbbing that he had had that time now, though. Oh, there was no mistake that his head was killing him, but it was a different kind of pain altogether.

If he had to wager a guess, he would say it was the pain of some kind of drug wearing off... and that was concerning. That was really fucking concerning, to put it mildly.

He couldn't immediately guess where he was or how long he had been unconscious. The Ring was still around his neck, though that was the only definite positive he was seeing here. No, there was another: he seemed to be alone. Whatever had happened to him to land him wherever he was, whenever it had happened, the half-pint and Seto hadn't been picked up too.

It was black as pitch in the room he was being held in, and he couldn't see a thing in front of his face. A quick physical inventory said that other than the headache, he seemed to be mostly all right physically. His left hand and wrist were quietly throbbing. Someone had taped gauze over his right eye and cheek, and behind the gauze felt completely numb. That didn't seem like a good thing in the least. There were wide cuffs around both of his wrists, even the sore one, that tugged at something at the back of his memory. They were something that he should remember, but he couldn't quite place them for some reason, likely the pounding headache.

Trying to cast his mind back to what he had been doing before the blackness was also difficult. His mind didn't want to call up anything besides a memory of him leaving Kaiba Corp in the morning to run down some leads. They hadn't even been good leads, more the kind of things he could come up with at three in the morning when Seto's nightmares woke him up. He thought maybe the current idea had been to shake down some of the rougher element that still abounded in Domino to see if any of them had seen anyone trying to create a set-up like the bastard had held Seto in two years ago.

Instead, he had this terrifying feeling that he had been caught in the bastard's net.

He wasn't even going to dignify the bastard by calling him the Collector. No, to Bakura, he was simply the bastard. This was the man who had held him prisoner, tried to kill his yadonushi and Seto, tried to bring back the Unnamed Pharaoh from the dead... For those crimes and surely several others, he was the bastard.

No, he was counting this as bad, but it was not as bad as it could have been. He had been picked up somehow, and now he was the bastard's very unwilling 'guest'. Seto and the half-pint were safe somewhere else, though, and that was a good thing. He could concentrate on getting himself out of here without having to think about getting them out as well. One rescue at a time, and all that rot.

So he just had to figure out how to bust himself out of here. He still had the Ring, but it looked like someone had been thorough enough to remove his lock-pick set. They had even taken the paperclip that had been hiding in his wallet. Of course, his entire wallet was gone, but that was a different issue altogether. The bastard was thorough. He wasn't making it easy for Bakura to get out of here.

And he needed to get out of here. Not just to get back home to Seto and the half-pint either. In life, he had been a tomb robber, the almighty Thief King. He was fine with enclosed dark spaces, but he was not all right with being confined or restrained.

The more his body and mind woke up, the worse the situation looked. The wide cuffs that were secure around his wrists were connected to thick cables. The cables were set up just tight enough that he could sit up and lay down in the spot he was in, but he couldn't reach further than an arm's length in either direction. They seemed to be connected to something in front of him, since reaching backwards was almost impossible.

Maybe with enough time, his eyes would adjust and he would be able to see something in the dark, but for now, it was impenetrable and fathomless. He imagined that it was very similar to the setup the bastard had had the last time, when he had taken first yadonushi and then Seto. That had worked fairly well last time, so why deviate from it now? He would note that the bastard was taking fewer chances with him than he had with Seto: the chains were thicker and shorter than the ones that had been used on either Seto or Ryou.

Damn, and he had just started to be getting spoiled by people mistaking him for Ryou. That usually led to them underestimating him in some way. Clearly the bastard wasn't intending to make that kind of amateur mistake. After all, he had been desperate enough four years ago to kidnap one of the wealthiest men in this part of Japan to reach his goals--and still managed to get away with it.

If he had to hazard a guess, he didn't think that the bastard would be getting away with it this time. Oh no, this time, Seto was going to bring the entire might of Kaiba Corp down on the bastard... if Bakura left anything of him for Seto to destroy. He would just have to hold out until then. At least he knew what the bastard was capable of; he at least had learned from last time.

He could only hope that his hold on yadonushi's body was sufficient. It had never been tested, not like it was surely going to be soon. It hadn't been anything he had ever wanted to try. He hadn't wanted to see if he was in Ryou's body enough to stay, if the magic that Seto had used was...


He had been thinking so long and hard on how to physically escape his prison that he hadn't tried any other means. He still had the Ring after all. He also still had Diaboundo. He had options, and he was willing to give them a try. His ka monster seemed like the best place to start.

Summoning it was easily done. Diaboundo had been part of his soul for centuries, after all. Summoning the monster was the same as breathing for him. It was just a matter of reaching deep within himself and pulling out a part that he didn't usually let see the light of day. Well, figuratively speaking, of course: it wasn't as if there was any daylight to be had at the moment, no matter what the time was.

He reached for the ka monster... and pain exploded. Immediately, he yanked himself back, cutting the contact. That did nothing for the pain, though.

Honestly, now he understood exactly why Seto had talked about the world seeming to expand around him when these damned things kicked on. It seemed like an apt comparison. He wasn't exactly seeing everything in the otherwise dark room like Seto had.

No, instead, for a long second, the Ring's ability to remote view kicked in: he could see Seto in his office. He was doing something on his computer. It didn't seem to be the usual company stuff. If that were the case, Mokuba wouldn't be so close to him, his gangly teenaged body surprisingly still and reassuring as he hovered. And it wasn't a literal hovering, though that would have been sort of awesome: he was remaining in the chair that Bakura had added to the desk area, his own laptop set up in the clear spot on Seto's desk where Bakura usually put his feet.

What was surprising, though, was that the Pharaoh's midget and his worse half, otherwise known as Malik Ishtar, were in the room, sitting in the two less comfortable chairs in front of Seto's desk. He shouldn't be nearly so shocked that the half-pint would go to Yuugi for help, since that had worked last time. Malik was the surprise, though, and that could only be blamed on Yuugi and Mokuba.

Still, maybe this was good. The Pharaoh's midget still had the Puzzle. He was wearing it around his neck right now, in fact. And the lesser pain in his ass probably knew the second most about the Sennen Items of any human being currently alive, after himself. He didn't know if Malik still had a Sennen Item; they had very deliberately not shared too much information of the Items. He knew that Seto had the Rod locked away his home office. He wore the Ring openly; he had never been too big on hiding it, and he liked the idea of flaunting that no one was going to take it away from him ever again. Yuugi still openly wore the Puzzle, but he doubted it was for the same reasons he did the Ring.

Malik shifted slightly, almost like he was uncomfortable. The sound seemed to be off in this vision, but even he could tell that the Egyptian had trailed off in the middle of a conversation, given how Yuugi and Mokuba were turning curious eyes on him. Malik, though, was turning to lock eyes on him. And okay, yeah, Malik did know a bit about magic too. Mokuba had said Malik had been able to tell what had happened to yadonushi just from looking at his body. He had some sense regarding spirits, one that had rarely been seen since Bakura's first life.

Even he recognized his own name on someone's lips, even if it was Malik's. And that got Seto's attention, if the way he completely froze at the keyboard was any indication.

He couldn't keep up with the rest of the conversation, not with how it kept jumping between people, not with how silent it was. He was getting his name every so often.

Anubis take the bastard Collector, why wasn't the pain stopping? If his magic had triggered it, why wasn't it stopping now that he wasn't actively using it?

He wasn't sure how long he could take this going on. He was well used to pain, even ongoing and torturous pain, but this went well beyond that.

No, he could make. He just had to put up with it long enough for them to get him out of here.


24 April 2014

Err, yeah, I've had this chapter held hostage for a while now. I haven't released it into the wild because... reasons. Yeah, reasons. We'll go with that. I'm about halfway to 2/3 of the way through the next chapter, but I have no idea when that will be coming out.

And I leave you now with this cliffhanger to remember me by, until I'm back with the next chapter, whenever I'm ready to release it into the wild.


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