"...You?" Treeboy sounds as stunned as I feel. Kind of like
that damned Funny Bunny just dropped a ton of bricks on our heads. "You're
the Master of Tokyo?"
"I've beaten you at Duel Monsters how many times?" And that witticism comes from Yami. I hope he got hit with that ton of Funny Bunny bricks too and that this is not normal. This time I smack him on the back of the head for being a game-obsessed moron. He scowls at me. "Already injured here, Kura."
"Obviously not enough."
Kitty lets out a confused meow, and Treeboy look to me. "What'd he say?"
Hmm, opportunity to harass Treeboy, can't pass it up. "I could give you the direct translation, but it boils down to 'the fuck?'. Really, you need to be learning these things."
Why do I get the feeling Seto is mentally flipping me off? Oh yeah, because he's glaring at me hard enough to burn a hole through my skull. Glacier, laser, glacier, laser - I wish he'd make up his mind one of these days... err, nights.
And that's enough ignoring the freaky, freaky man staring at us expectantly. I guess it's up to me to ask the questions I'm sure we're all thinking, starting with: "Since when are you Master of Tokyo, Pegasus?"
The fr- Pegasus blinks and stares at us a second before doing that weird smirk-smile he's so fond of. He's about to say something that's going to make me want to beat him with a baseball bat, I can see it in his eyes. "But, Bakura-boy, I've been Master of Tokyo longer than you've been alive." The fuck? I mean, it was pretty obvious he's a vampire, especially when you've known him as long as I have and studied him as extensively as I have for jobs. Hell, I even knew he's a master vampire, complete with an animal to call, hence all the tigers in the room. That he might be the Master of the City never occurred to me though. I thought sanity figured into the job description too. Silly me. "Besides when you and Ryou-boy vanished," hell, I let out a growl at that; as much as I dislike the names he's chosen to call us, the brat detests it twice as much, "it seemed like a good time to start cracking down."
Now I'm a little worried. "...He's not still working for you... is he?"
"I said I'd been cracking down, didn't I?" In Pegasus-speak, that means 'no, he's not,' and I breathe a sigh of relief. One good point for tonight at least.
"Kura?" Yami's voice sounds curious, with a hint of confusion tossed in and maybe a little pain. His leg must really be starting to hurt. Why are the two humans the ones catching most of the crap? I mean, between my hand and head and his leg, we're starting to look like a walking ad for better medical insurance or something. Jounouchi looks like he got jumped, but he's healing quickly; that's got to be useful.
Kitty makes a confused noise like something out of one of the brat's video games (something between a meow, a purr, and a chirp), and even I find myself feeling a little confused at what I means. Headband Boy seems to get it, though, as he turns to Pegasus and prompts, "Master?"
The freak frowns moment. "Where are my manners tonight?" Don't make me answer that. Really, don't. You won't like the answer. "Please sit." He gestures at the two chairs before his desk, and I waste no time claiming one by maneuvering Yami's ass down in it.
Hmm, and he's about to match part of his hair again. Does he always blush this easily or is it just me? "Kura, what-"
"You're injured," I cut in, circling around behind the chair and putting my right hand on his shoulder so he quits trying to get back up. "Sit and rest, Pharaoh." Then I have to stop and blink at myself. 'Pharaoh'? The hell? Well, it kind of fits. As long as he doesn't start thinking he's some kind of god-king...
Yami just looks stumped. "'Pharaoh'?"
"Pharaoh," I say decisively. His new nickname is decided then. And like I said, it fits him, maybe a little too well. I wonder if Jounouchi-kitty's figured that out also since he's snickering. Of course, that turns into a sort of squawk when Treeboy plops him in the other chair and briefly straightens his jacket around Kitty then circles to lean against his chair, much as I'm doing to Yami's. "Now, question two: why the fuck did you kidnap us?"
And Pegasus sounds offended as he responds, "I'm going to let you go, so it's not really kidnapping." Under my hand, Yami's shoulder tenses. Almost unconsciously, I squeeze it lightly. "I think it'd be rather gauche after Yami-boy's last experience with it." The faint relaxation I got out of him is gone again. Yami got kidnapped? When? How? And how the hell did they get past the Old Man and Mini-Me?
"Master of Tokyo or not, you're an ass." Why am I not surprised that the first thing Kitty says after getting his voice back is something like that? Pegasus just looks amused, and I'm counting that in the good category, more or less. Freaky, freaky man... Jounouchi-kitty looks a little surprised by the sound of his own voice but recovers quickly enough to whip around towards Headband Boy and yell, "Four on one!" Oh, so that's how... He's never forgiving Headband Boy for that one.
"I'm sorry!" Catfight building, must resist urge to make things worse.
As amusing as it is, though, Yami's still so tense he's practically vibrating; hell, he's jumping just slightly every time they yell back and forth. I lean down on the chair, sliding down near his ear and my right arm moving to hold him back close to me, and whisper, "What's wrong, Yami?"
He jumps slightly when I speak, but I'm not going to let that bother me. I refuse to let that bother me, especially since he's been jumping at shadows. "I - I just don't like to think about it." I've heard that tone a thousand times in my own voice. This is one of those subjects best left untouched. Why do I get the feeling I'm going to have to sooner or later? "It's why Aibou and I don't like being separated," he surprises me by continuing to volunteer almost too quietly for me to hear.
I glance up briefly to check the progress of Were World War III going on around us, long enough to note Treeboy and Jounouchi are doing fine without us, before leaning down to return, "We'll have to talk about this later, Pharaoh, but I think we do need to discuss it."
He nods slowly, and we both turn back to the mini-war that's slowing down, him holding my arm in place around the front of his shoulders. Odd, but I'm not commenting. I think if Jounouchi were in cat form, all his fur would be standing on end, but he seems to be relaxing under Treeboy's touch. Dare I hope the icecube returns Kitty's feelings? Nope, no way. I'm playing matchmaker, yeah, but on my own time - and that time will be at some point when the Master of Tokyo isn't right here in front of us.
"You didn't answer my question, Pegasus," I prompt. "Why did you grab us? And did it have to involve jumping Kitty, shooting Pharaoh here, and clubbing me over the head?!" Yeah, maybe I'm gaining volume, but I'm pissed! What do you expect? Hugs and bunnies?
He frowns hard. "Believe me, Bakura-boy," I will not groan, I will not growl, I will not try to remove his vocal chords with my bare hands, "all I said was 'I need to see them'. It was not my intention that anyone be hurt.
"So all this happened because your people are a bit... overzealous?" If I haven't mentioned it before, let me say now that I'm damned glad Treeboy's on our side because, frankly, when he goes glacier, it's fucking scary.
Not that it seems to faze Pegasus in the least. "I'm afraid not, Kaiba-boy." Then suddenly he's doing that over-dramatic pout that always used to make me want to pound his face in. "The least you could have done was call first, instead of just barging in like you own the place. This isn't Domino City, after all. Then we could have avoided all this entirely."
Jounouchi's hand shoots up in the air. I guess feline gracefulness and vampire reflexes are all that keeps him from smacking Treeboy in the face. "Question: the hell?"
Yami picks up after him, sounding a bit better already. "I thought only master vampires had to announce themselves." I guess he did learn something out of those books I... liberated from the library after all. "No way Kaiba's a master; he was only turned two years ago."
"Nevertheless, he is a master," returns Pegasus. "Now why don't you ask him what happened to the previous Master of the City?"
Hell, even I open my mouth to ask before Kitty steps in. "What're you driving at?"
He's building up for the big reveal, I can see it in his face, even if I'm carefully not meeting his eyes, and Treeboy's being awfully quiet, like he thinks if he's silent, no one will see him or something. Finally Pegasus lets the ball drop. "Whoever kills the previous Master becomes the new Master."
If it's all possible, Treeboy goes ghost white for a brief moment, then he states in this quiet monotone, "He turned my little brother. I don't care what happens to me, but no one touches Mokuba."
...I could hit myself. Still, what did I say to myself just a few minutes ago: if anyone can get away with murder, it would be Kaiba Seto? And apparently he has been these last three months since Goza-baka kicked it. But, damn, we had the Master of Domino with us the entire time. I feel like such a fuckwit.
"Doesn't he have to have an animal to call?" I may have revise my opinion of Pharaoh-boy's intelligence, since he apparently memorized those crappy library books.
"What is sitting before him?" I'm going to hit Pegasus one of these nights. Wait a minute. Did he just say-
"How can he call leopards?" I find myself asking. I guess I came up with something else to say after all. "There's only one pard in all of Japan."
"And yet there are Wereleopards in Japan." And somehow I missed Cynthia standing just off to the side. I hate it when she does that. Don't get me wrong; I have nothing against most witches (okay, all but one witch I don't have any major problems with), but I do dislike those Jedi mind tricks, 'you don't see me', and all that. "Welcome back to Tokyo, Bakura."
"I intend to make it a short visit." I can feel Yami staring up at me and I can feel the questions he's not asking, yet, but not now. Maybe when we get out of Tokyo and when we're alone, but not now. "So if Treeboy here is the new Master of Domino, why did you grab the rest of us?"
Pegasus perks back up. Oh great, something amused him. Just what we need. "Well, your Wereleopard wasn't going anywhere without Kaiba-boy." And here Jounouchi-kitty lets out a threatening growl. I mean, even I haven't heard one that good in a while - but Pegasus doesn't even blink. No fair. Why does he have to have a lot of cats around? Apparently they've made him immune. It's pretty easy to tell he's just humoring us when he continues, "And Kaiba wasn't going anywhere without your cat." One of these nights...
"And Pharaoh-boy and me?"
Cynthia takes a half-step forward so that she's mirroring Treeboy and me behind Pegasus' chair. "That was my doing, I'm afraid. I felt you two enter the city. Your power has grown in your absence, Bakura."
The hell? 'You two'? Pharaoh-boy's stone-cold normal, isn't he? Well, except for seeing that ghost in the restaurant... I wonder if he saw the kid in the library too. "Two?" Jounouchi-kitty beats me to asking. "I don't understand, Lady." Until I hear him saying something like that, even I sometimes forget he's from a family of witches. Mom and Shizuka-pixie would beat me if they knew I forget that from time to time.
Cynthia looks like all that is just dawning on her. I have to give her this: she's definitely the brains of their operation. For all Pegasus' cunning, I bet he'd be lost without her. "I suppose it's not really my place to say if you don't already know." Now that's a cop-out, and we all know it. "I can say his powers," she nods at Yami," compliment your own."
My eyes narrow, and I lean down close to his ear again and hiss, "We have a lot to talk about later, Mutou," as I pull my arm away from him. Yeah, I'm pissed. I don't like being out of the loop. Hell, it's a bit of a phobia. You try living through what the brat and I did here in Tokyo and see if you aren't paranoid about knowing everything about everything going on around you. I half-glance to the side to see Kaiba and Jounouchi having a little powwow of their own, and for some reason, something inside me tightens and that only serves to piss me off more. I stand back up straight and affix the worst glare I can on Pegasus. "If you're done playing show-and-tell, Crawford, can we go now? I'm sure Kaiba has a lot to do with what's left of the night." And apparently I'm intimidating Jounouchi and Mutou more than Crawford. Damn.
Pegasus just grins the glare off. Yes, one of these nights... "Oh, of course, Bakura! Do you have a preference on how to return?" His whole face lights up. "Oh! The helicopter's gassed up. Will that be all right?"
"Whatever. I don't care. Just get me the fuck out of Tokyo."
"So long as it's fast," Jounouchi qualifies. Out of the corner of my eye, I see him stand and cross over to me. It's a testament to the last two years that I don't jerk away when he lays his head on my shoulder. Usually only Ryou can get this close when I'm upset; I guess he's definitely family now.
"And I want my knives back," I demand. The first person to show his ass on the way home is getting one shoved up it. I'm not putting up with shit this time.
Cynthia is the one to answer. "Of course. I wish you all a safe journey home. Goddess go with you."
"May She smile upon you as well." How very formal for Kitty. Mom raised him well.
"Thank you, Cynthia." And the brat is trying to raise me well also.
"Ignorance is no excuse for impoliteness." Mister Iceboy has a smooth setting? What? Is this some kind of hidden function? "I apologize for any... inconvenience our presence has caused." Like now-dead or now-defective Weres. Only Treeboy could pull off saying our people killing their people is an inconvenience. "You are always welcome in Domino."
Again, Pegasus does that freaky smirk-smile. "Even so, I'll call ahead of time." Cynthia sighs in relief, I guess because it wasn't as bad as it could have been; who knows what's going to come out of that man's mouth next? "Your ride is waiting, and like you said, Bakura, Kaiba has much to do."
"I know the way," I snarl. I need to be out of this city. I need to be back home. I need to be away from here, five minutes ago. I grab Yami, pulling him to his feet and towards the door. Yeah, I'm still a bit pissed at him, but no way in hell am I leaving him behind; he's mine, whether I'm mad at him or not.
I sense more than see Treeboy and Kitty fall in step behind us. So help me, if anyone gets in our way, I'll do something to make the monsters wet themselves. I don't know what yet, but it'll be bad and it'll hurt a lot. That I can guarantee.
Yami does a half stumble, covering it well enough that if I weren't holding on to him, I'd probably miss it. As it is, though, I am, and I adjust how I've got him so that I can try to hold little more of his weight off his leg, slowing down just a bit.
As Pegasus promised, the helicopter is waiting. I help Pharaoh-boy in then climb in to sit next to him. I don't want a repeat of the train ride; no way are he and Treeboy riding next to each other. I don't want to have to kill either of them tonight and not in the helicopter - that might get a bit too messy for even me.
Treeboy reaches down in the coat Jounouchi-kitty's wearing as Kitty is stepping up into the seating area, and for a second, even I freeze; Kitty might as well be a statue. Of course, he comes out with a cell phone, and I let out a breath I hadn't been aware of holding. No way Treeboy would be that forward. That's more a Kitty thing. One of the Were hands me my knives and closes the door behind us, signaling the pilot to take off.
Almost immediately once we're in the air, Jounouchi-kitty has slid to the floor and dropped his head in my lap. I can't help glancing up at Treeboy. He doesn't stop talking on the cell phone, only gives me a faint nod. It sounds to me like he's arranging a press conference the likes of which Domino has never seen before. I don't think I'm going to be conscious for it. It's been a rough few days, but at least I have fulfilled Makiko's request. The pressure and the sense of urgency that accompanied me every minute since accepting the job are gone at last. It's like I can breathe a bit better now. Not normal though; there's still something missing. Letting my right hand start to pet Kitty, I go over the promise to myself: find the new Master of Domino and make him starting doing his job. Part one is accomplished, and it looks like we're well on our way to part two being a glowing success as well. So what's the problem?
No, I'll deal with that when I've gotten some actual sleep. I'll get some rest, I'll deal with whatever this problem is, then I'll see what I can do about keeping my promise to Mini-Me. A promise is a promise, after all, even if I'm still ticked at Pharaoh-boy.
And speaking of Pharaoh-boy, my injured hand is squished between his leg and mine. I pull it out with a hiss. It's not bleeding, which I'll count of the good. Sparing a glance over, I can see that I can't say the same for his leg; it's starting to bleed through the make-shift bandage I made. Seto must have a will of steel, really.
Without prompting, Jounouchi-kitty grabs the first-aide kit from under the seat beneath Treeboy and passes it up to me. Looks like I'm going to have plenty to do to keep me entertained till we get home. I already heard Treeboy calling two cars to meet us when we land. I'll take Pharaoh here home, then I'm getting my answers. All my answers.
I've lost count how many times I've shaken Yami awake since we got back in Domino. I know I had to wake him up to get in the car Seto called us and give directions, wake him up again to get out of the car, and at least twice since we've been inside letting the poor doctor he woke up look us both over. He rewrapped my hand and pronounced me concussion-free then did a much more professional wrapping on Yami's leg. Hell, I even got commended on the previous job I did on it. I'll probably be excited at a brighter point in the day, once I've gotten some sleep.
It's not helping that the bed I'm sitting on is so damn comfortable. This has to be the Pharaoh's room. It doesn't take a brain surgeon: Duel Monsters memorabilia and championship trophies everywhere, a chess set in one corner, Capsule Monsters scattered over a desk, puzzles galore, the works. He's such a game-obsessed moron.
I don't remember drifting over or my head hitting the pillow. I know I'm drifting in and out when the doctor leaves and I vaguely feel a warm body settling down next to mine, but that's all I recall before blackness for a while.
I don't even dream, probably a good thing in this case. After the last few days I've had, who knows what I'd dream if I had the chance. Still, it doesn't feel like it's been all that long when my bladder drags my eyes open, even if the sun is now shining down on the carpet. I struggle at the weight surrounding me, and obligingly Yami rolls over, not even bother to wake up. Damn it, can't he inconvenience himself enough to wake up and tell me where the toilet is? Never mind, I'll find it myself.
I drag myself to my feet, absentmindedly tossing the sheet someone put over me back onto Yami (and I think I'll call a few points that it completely covers all that spiky hair) and examine the rest of the room. Three doors to choose from, not counting the open (and stuffed) closet; one is the door we came in, so one of the other two must be the bathroom. I pick one at random, pushing it open and flicking on the light switch just inside the room.
This... isn't the bathroom, is all I can think as the smell of incense tickles my nose and makes me sneeze.
What the fuck is going on here?
02 May 2005
Yay, another chapter finished - and in record time! It's only been about two weeks, right? I wanted to make up for the delay in the last chapter.
And for the record, I'm glad no one but Katsuko can see my notebook. ^.^;; I draw way too much when I'm writing - and mind you, I can't draw. I have two little Yoda blobs and a Happy Vampy picture on this chapter, along with Within Temptation lyrics, notes on how long stuff has taken to happen (note: this is only day #3 since the story started), nicknames for my cat, and where I was practicing putting Katsuko's IRL name into katakana. Yes, I am a huge dork. I know this. I accept this.
Anyway, the final chapter and the epilogue are all that's left. I can't give a TOA on them yet, but know that I am working on them as quickly as I can with all the side projects I have going (side-story to Gods and Other Creatures, Apotheosis, Blind Eyes - written with Katsuko under the pseudonym Dragons of the Moon - and various plot kitties we've adopted from Cheysuli-Night), not to mention updating my website: DarkMagick(dot)net.