The fit Yami pitched once Kitty was out of sight was... Well... It was lacking, at least compared to the tantrum I thought he was going to have. I feel so disappointed. I was hoping for something I could hold over his head for the next few months at least, provided I could hang on to the memory that long.
And whoops, that came out a bit morbid, didn't it? Fatalistic, at the very least.
Yep, being three-fourths of the way bound to Kaiba has definitely done a bit to improve my vocabulary.
Too bad it hasn't done anything for my self-preservation. All of my usual heavy muscle -- Jounouchi, Malik, and Marik -- is in Tokyo, getting ready to quite likely kill Hirutani, and what am I doing? Following leads from a less than reputable source that have me on the west side of Domino with only Yami for back-up. Now don't get me wrong: I love Yami (even if he does piss me off some days) and against humans, there aren't many other people I would want by my side in a fight. I have this sneaking suspicion, though, that we're not up against humans, and we don't have any of the heavy hitters in screaming distance.
As I catch a glimpse of blonde out of the corner of my eye, I have to amend that thought. We have one of the heavy hitters in screaming distance, but I'm not sure how much difference Mai is going to make in a fight now. Still, it's reassuring that my ghostly bodyguard is around. Someone will know what happens to us, at least.
And there's that morbid streak again. It might have something to do with the fact that Yami is pulling the silent treatment on me because I didn't tell him that I separate Malik and Marik earlier tonight. Take our fights beyond a primary school level? Us? Never. Perish the thought.
"You look like you're thinking some dark thoughts there."
Speaking of blonde, leggy, formerly-able-to-bench-press-a truck, and now ghostly... I guess I should have expected that Mai would have her own thoughts to throw in the pot. It should have been a given. When she was alive, despite the supermodel looks, she was quite the expert at blending in. Now that she's dead and only a very few people can see and hear her, she's certainly taken to making her thoughts on various matters known.
So all I do is shake my head and comment softly, "Just thinking about Kitty and the Ishtars heading to Tokyo."
She shoots me this grin, and honestly, the only word for it is electrifying. "They'll be fine. The Ishtars might have a few dozen screws loose, but Jounouchi has a fairly decent head on his shoulders. They should be fine." She stretches her arms over her head and smiles again. "Besides, Tokyo is Pegasus' city. If anything happens to any of them there, he'll catch hell off Kaiba-san."
Now that was true. Why hadn't I thought of that before? Better still, has Treeboy thought of it yet? I'll have to try to make a mental note to tell him.
Maybe I should start carrying a little notebook around with me for stuff like this. Not yet, though. Once I do that, it's as good as admitting that, one, I have a problem, and two, it's here to stay.
I come to an immediate halt. It's the only way to avoid running into Yami's back, since he seems to have slammed on the brakes right in the middle of the sidewalk in front of me. Good job I was paying attention, or else I really would have run into him.
"What's with the sudden stop?" I grouse loudly enough to be heard.
Before Yami can say a word, I feel an ice cold -- no, dead cold -- hand grip my arm. "You need to get out of here right now," Mai bites out, her voice little more than a hiss in my ear.
"What?" Okay, now I'm paranoid. Like I wasn't paranoid before. So maybe it's now I'm feeling even more paranoid?
"That's him, isn't it?" If I thought Mai was talking softly, it was positively shouting compared to the near silent whisper Yami manages to produce. "That's Akunadin, isn't it?"
Not that we've figured out a better name for him yet, and--
No. Back on topic, Bakura. Slack off on your own time. You're on the job right now.
I glance past Yami-- And holy shit, he's right. That's definitely Akunadin. He doesn't look the same as he did before, in the dream world, I mean. He's a lot paler, for starters, that odd shade of a tan long faded. I've seen that shade of skin before and recently too, but I'll be damned if I can remember when or on whom. His hair's a lot shorter too; it's styled in something I've heard Treeboy call a 'business cut' before. But still, without a doubt, that is him.
This was... easy. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it's too easy. Seth sends us out looking for him, and we find him the same night. For that matter, it also happens to be the same night that Jounouchi, Malik, and Marik leave town.
I might be wrong about this. I certainly hope I'm wrong. It's been a long time -- lifetimes, in fact -- since my Tokyo street punk/gang leader days. I'm bound to have forgotten some stuff. Still, this feels an awful lot like 'divide and conquer' to me.
This can't be good. Worse, I'm pretty damn sure this won't end well.
Just like that, then, the crowd swallows him up again. It's like he was never even there to begin with. Can I mention how incredibly freaky that is? I hate it when bad guys do that in the movies -- and the bootleg horror movies Ryou imports from America just love that cliche -- and I like it even less when they do it in real life.
The second he's out of sight, this wave of cold washes over me. It's so painfully frigid that it almost burns. I've felt something like it before, a couple of times even. The first time was also the first time I laid eyes on Kaiba Gouzaburou, while the second was... was...
And just like that, damn it, it's fucking gone. It just slid away like it wasn't something important, like I didn't need it.
Okay, Bakura, focus. Focus on that first time, and maybe the second will slide back into place.
It was when I first saw Gouzaburou and was actually able to get a sense of his age and power. Just picking it up from across a room nearly overwhelmed me. This guy, Akunadin or whatever, puts him to shame.
I know Gouzaburou was well over four hundred at the time of his unfortunate-but-spectacular demise. I've never found out his exact age, but I do know he was well over a hundred when he turned Seth, who is in turn over three hundred. Akunadin has to be twice that, if not older, if he's not pushing a thousand or more.
What is something like that doing here? Why hasn't he announced himself to Kaiba? I have picked up enough about vampire etiquette to know that what Akunadin is doing happens to be tantamount to declaring war on Kaiba. Is that why Seth had us...
Seth... That's where I've seen that shade of skin before, like a heavily tanned person suddenly deprived of all sunlight.
No. I shouldn't jump to conclusions just yet. There might be a perfectly innocent explanation for all of this.
And I might be the Emperor. I'm not stupid, and it's really starting look like my initial thought was right. This is a divide and conquer scenario. And Kaiba doesn't know about this, any of this. And for that matter, what's waiting for Kitty and the Ishtars in Tokyo? Is Hirutani even actually there?
Okay, definitely not the time for all of this. If we live through this, there will be plenty enough time for second-guessing every step along the way so far.
He is well and truly lost in the crowd now. I can still feel him, if only just a little bit, but I can't get a clear lock on where he is any longer, just that he's still close. That's troublesome, to say the least.
So Seth has had me tailing another vampire this entire time. A vampire? Perhaps two? I still don't know what the women is, except annoyingly familiar; I know I never saw her in the dream world, so it had to have been in the real world, but I'll be damned if I can place her.
For that matter, I'll be damned if I can place her now. I haven't caught a glimpse of her tonight, at least not so far. That might be just as concerning, if not more so. This really is starting to look way too much like divide and conquer.
And I shouldn't be having this sudden urge to contact my people -- to call Jounouchi, and the Ishtars, and Ryou, and Amane, and hell even Kaiba -- and make sure everyone's okay.
Of course, I don't really need a phone to check on my little brother (we are twins, after all) or my vampire -- damn it, I mean Kaiba. Hell, screw it -- 'my vampire' works just as well as anything else; I'm in no rush to claim any others. I start to reach out for them...
...and a warm hand on mine grounds me back down to where I am: a seedy alleyway in the west side of Domino only a few streets over from where Kaiba and I were attacked last Halloween. Of course that hand belongs to Yami, and also of course, he looks worried. He wouldn't be my Yami otherwise.
"Kura?" Actually, he sounds extra concerned, and for a moment, I'm concerned I missed something, like coming in at the end of a conversation; that's what this feels like. Then it dawns on me: I blinked out for a moment there. There was no warning this time. I didn't even notice anything different until just now... and that's fucking terrifying.
"What?" And okay, yeah, that came out insanely defensive. If Yami hasn't guessed something was off before now, I definitely just gave him a huge clue.
"You with us again now?" He tries to say it lightly, but his voice sounds off. I risk a glance off to my other side, and yeah, Mai looks worried too. Damn, I really must have spaced out good.
"Yeah, I guess so." If it sounds a bit tentative, it's because I'm feeling incredibly so.
"We should get out of here," Yami says. Now he sounds like he's talking around me, like I'm some kind of scared kid or something -- but a frightening one.
"All of us," Mai chimes in.
Yami nods to her and reaches for his phone. My guess is he's going to call Akito for a ride back to the Kaiba mansion. Relatively speaking, we're safer there. Relatively speaking, at least.
Unsurprisingly, it doesn't take the wheels man long to get here to us. I've said it before and I'll probably say it again: Akito seems to have made it his goal to be able to get anywhere in the city in five minutes or less. Sometimes it even feels like he's capable of cutting of jets. Therefore it's not long before Yami and I are settled in the back of the car, with Mai in the front seat but turned to face the two of us.
Yami's hand is still on mine. He has yet to move it, even when he was on the phone summoning Akito. It's kind of nice. It's grounding, you know, keeping me in the here and now, at least as much as is possible.
"What did you see, Kura?" he finally asks almost gently. It reminds of how everyone treated right after Mai died: with kid gloves. I didn't like it then, and I don't like it now. It might not be a terrible idea for right now, though. I hate to admit it, but I feel a little... fragile, for lack of a better word. So I'm going to let it slide.
"See? Probably nothing different from anyone else," I find myself answering slowly and carefully. I feel like I'm managing only a tenth of my usual levels of attitude. "Felt, though?" I have to shudder. "He's old. That bastard's ancient. He's easily the oldest vampire I've ever met," I pause, considering what I'm about to say then push on anyway, "including Pegasus and Gouzaburou. He's ancient, and he's powerful."
"And this guy's here?" Mai cuts across my words to demand, and I nod in response. "Great. This is just great."
09 June 2011
Okay, not as quick as I was hoping, but still another update, and in fairly decent time too (for me as of late). There are maybe one or two chapters and an epilogue left to this story, so I have hopes of getting it finished before JulNoWriMo starts.
It feels like the minute I get to feeling well enough to be back to writing, my health takes another kick. I'm giving it my all, though, folks, so bear with me.
See you next chapter!