He shot me.
I can't believe it. He fucking shot me.
You know, I kind of expected that dying by gunshot would hurt a whole lot more than this. As it is, there was the initial moment of pain, but then everything started going numb.
I don't remember closing my eyes, but I must have at some point. It's either that, or my body picked one hell of a time for one of my blackouts. Nope, my eyes are just closed, so I force them to open. Everything is kind of muddled, but I'm pretty damn sure that what I'm seeing is Seth.
Where's Yami? For fuck's sake, I don't want the last thing I see in this life to be the face of the fucker who shot me!
"You just don't die, do you?"
Seth, you haven't seen anything yet, you asshole. I would love to be saying that, but I don't think I can. I can't seem to get any air in my lungs to do much of anything... apparently except to gasp like a landed fish.
I feel more like I'm drowning than bleeding to death. I guess he must have nicked a lung or actually hit it or something. How the hell can I feel so calm about this?
Where's Yami? Why hasn't he shot Seth in the face yet? Maybe he got hurt when Seth shot me?
In that case, fine, I'll finish this myself. If I'm going to... die, then I'm taking the fucker who... killed me along for the ride.
Weirdly, it's so much easier to call up my power this time. It doesn't even hurt any longer. If it did, I'm not too sure it would matter. But then, nothing's really hurting right now. Everything is getting a bit grey and a whole lot more hazy.
Which means I need to do this now, while I'm still conscious and breathing to do it.
I've held my tongue for two whole years about the number of ghosts at the Kaiba estate. It's not as bad as Pegasus' place -- at least they're not as hostile and they're somewhat lower in number -- but it's still up there. There are even more than a few ghosts who have shown up since Kaiba took over. (I wonder if that has anything to do with Seth.)
It works to my advantage now. I have a veritable army at my beck and call, and they're all so eager to be called up.
I don't have enough strength or stamina left really to do much with them. I don't have much of anything left to give.
I hope Ryou isn't feeling any of this. This would be the downside of being twins then: when one of us inevitably dies. I'm pretty damn sure it's inevitable at this point, barring some kind of miracle, and I don't believe in those.
I only have enough left for a single command: Seth's name. I have to hope that they can read the intent behind it -- to do their absolute worst to him -- because I'm fading out.
I knew I probably wasn't going to make it past thirty, thanks to Varon's dire predictions when I woke up from the dream world, but I thought I would at least make it longer than two weeks after he made said prediction. Even for me, that's pretty damn shitty luck.
It sounds like there's a fight going on above me. Good. Hopefully, Seth's getting the ass kicking he so richly deserves. Someone just got in one hell of a punch, from the sound of things. That's weird. My ghosts don't usually do the punching and shit. Do I know anyone who does?
Kaiba. He knows how to fight. Hell, I've seen him kick some ass before. This is even better. Seth can doubly get his ass kicked: my ghosts and Kaiba. I like the sound of that.
The sounds end amazingly quickly. I would have thought it would have taken longer for Kaiba to thrash Seth thoroughly. There was no need to half-ass it on my account there, Kaiba.
There's talking going on over me, and there might even be hands that are vampire cold touching me, holding me up. I think I even hear my name, but I can't be sure. No more than a few moments have passed since I got shot, but I feel like I'm almost gone. How would I know, though? I've never died before. (Although apparently I am doomed to be a smartass until the very end. Also, it seems dying brings out my inner sailor, not that I need a lot of help in the swearing department.)
There's blood in my mouth, and it tastes different from the blood that was there before. Before, it was thin and almost foamy, thanks to the fact there was too much air in it, on account of the sucking chest wound. This blood is thick and... cold.
Words float to me, though they make no sense. I'm pretty sure I'm not getting nearly anything that's being said, that Kaiba is saying. "Blood of my blood... two minds... as one..."
And that's the point when I finally fade out.
I feel like crap.
I'm not surprised that that's the first thing I think when I wake up; I've woken up with more than a few hangovers for not being a drinking man; I'm just surprised to be coherent enough to manage even that much when I first wake up.
And then memory floods back in.
Scratch that. Now I'm just surprised to be waking up at all. What the hell?
I keep my eyes closed and pretend to still be out as I go over the hazy memory fragments. When the memory of the blood comes back, I carefully run the tip of my tongue over my teeth. No fangs. Thank goodness for that, at least. He didn't turn me, then. That's good.
That leaves me with one option, and I'm not sure I believe it. Kaiba wouldn't give me the fourth and final mark, would he? But it's the only thing that makes sense for why I could be waking up and feeling way too close to okay, when it wasn't that long ago that I got shot in the fucking chest.
No putting it off any longer. It's time to open my eyes and see what's happened.
My first thought is that it's really fucking bright. I'm pretty sure it was still night when I blacked out -- it would have had to have been, since the vampires weren't bursting out into flames -- but it's definitely morning now, if not later.
It's not surprise, not really, that the first person I lay eyes on is Ryou. Dartz would have had his hands full trying to keep Ryou and Yuugi, trying to keep them away from here when they probably didn't want to be away. I don't envy him that task, not in the least.
My brother seems oddly subdued, even for him. I'm already not liking the look of this.
That we're in the den is even more concerning. I would have expected to wake up in Varon's makeshift clinic again. Maybe he has bigger things to deal with than me; I do seem to vaguely remember Kisara saying something about a triage station. There was apparently a miniature war going on here, after all.
I'm laying on the couch, the same one I was set up on the last time I got shot, so I push myself up to my elbows. When I feel fairly steady like that, I lever myself to sitting. It's weird, but I feel like I'm recuperating a lot quicker than I should. Then again, I remember seeing a bullet wound close in minutes on Cynthia, Pegasus' human servant. Getting over this fairly easily seems to be within the limits of my healing abilities now.
Ryou is so busy staring -- either into space or at a floral arrangement that may or may not be his mortal enemy, I'm not sure -- that he doesn't seem to have noticed I've moved. Whatever's happened, it must have been bad. So, I guess the best way to deal with this is to dive right in. "Hey, you," I finally greet him.
He's on his feet and then is bodily attached to me before I can blink. For the second time both in our entire lives and in two weeks, he's crying.
Oh God, what happened here? What did I miss?
He pulls back with a sniffle and eyes me seriously. "Are you awake this time, niisan?"
Wait, what? "What?"
"You woke up once before, but you were really out of it. Are you awake this time?" he asks again.
I guess getting the fourth mark did nothing for my blackouts then. I certainly don't remember waking up before now. "Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm awake this time."
"Pretty sure?" When did my little brother learn to sound so disbelieving?
"Pretty damn sure. Now tell me what's wrong."
He sighs. "I knew you weren't going to remember anything I told you last time." It may sound like he's talking to me, but he's really more muttering to himself. "It's been a busy few hours, so do you want the full explanation or a summary?"
I want to shrug and say something nonchalant. I'm not sure I have nonchalant in me right now, though. "Whatever you think is best, I guess."
He nods then fixes me with a dark look. "First off, you scared the hell out of me. It felt like you were dying on me. If it wasn't for Kaiba-kun, you would have."
"So he did give me the last mark." I was already pretty sure about it, but confirmation is good.
"He did," Ryou agrees. "That's the only reason you're breathing, seeing as how you got shot through the lung. You very nearly bled to death." He sighs deeply before he continues. "There was this huge fight..."
"Seth tried to kill Kaiba and take over. That much I already knew. He's the one who shot me."
"He is?" I nod a yes to his question. "Then I'm glad he's dead."
Now that I wasn't really expecting. "He's dead?"
"Yeah, very much so. From what I heard, your ghosts held him down, Kaiba-kun beat the shit out of him, and then he handed Seth over to Magnum-san to stake out in the sun."
"Not really." Okay, my innocent little brother doesn't sound so innocent right now.
Of all the big questions I had when I set out to start with this, I really only have one left. "So where's Yami? I haven't heard anything from him." If he's off somewhere pouting about Kaiba saving the day -- err, night -- I'm going to kill him myself.
Ryou abruptly looks utterly discomfited, like I've put him in a very awkward and painful place, and he pulls back away from me a bit. "You don't know?"
I've got this sinking, sick feeling in my gut right now. I've got to be wrong. Please let me be wrong. "Know what?"
"Yami-kun... He... He got shot at the same time you did."
"So he's in the hospital then."
But Ryou's shaking his head. "No. I'm sorry, niisan. He's... dead. V- Varon-san said the bullet went through you and hit him. He was dead before either of you hit the ground, Varon-san said." He wraps both arms around me and squeezes tightly, like he can hug all the hurt away. "I'm sorry, niisan. I'm so sorry."
I let Ryou hold me for a while, since it seems like it's helping him a bit, before I make some kind of an excuse and break away. My body on autopilot, I walk out of the room, into the darkened hallway, and to Kaiba's study. I'm moving completely without thought, but apparently some part of me knows where Kaiba is. That will take some getting used to.
It's day outside, but it's nearly pitch black in here. There is only one lamp turned on, and it's sitting on the floor. Very little furniture seems to have survived, and Kaiba's desk doesn't seem to be among that number; nothing in here seems to be. I would guess he's here downstairs in the daytime because the fire damaged the upper levels or at least the stairs, I muse to myself as I push the door closed again behind me.
He doesn't even look up, but who else would come in here in the daytime but me? "Bakura," he comments, and it's less a greeting and more an acknowledgement that he knows it's me in here. He's sitting on the floor himself, his back up against the wall and one knee pulled up to his chest.
"Ryou told me about Yami." Even I'm shocked at how withdrawn I sound. I'll do my mourning later, in private. Although... I guess I'm not so alone anymore, am I? There's always going to be an extra someone in my head now.
"I'm sorry," he comments. Something inside me, something that can feel what he feels, tells me he actually means that. I guess, in return, he can sense the skepticism I feel, because he continues. "I may not have liked Mutou, but you did. I'm sorry you had to use him like that."
And I guess I'm not the only one who has lost someone today, I reflect as I sit down on the floor in front of him. I don't think he loved Seth, but he cared for him at least. It's hard for me, since I've never been comfortable in the least talking about stuff like this, but I still make myself say, "I'm sorry... that Seth did this."
He nods, accepting it and thankfully not challenging what I said. Right now, I hate Seth. I think I'm going to hate him for a very long time. I am sorry that Kaiba had to kill someone he cared about, though.
"Was there," I ask cautiously, not sure I want to know the answer, "anyone else we lost?"
He nods slowly, still not even looking up from his knee. "Almost all the vampire guards are dead; only Isono and two others are still alive." Three? Out of nearly a hundred? "Five of the wolves dead, and another eleven out of commission in varying degrees of permanency. And..."
And there's that sinking feeling back again. "What?"
"I heard from Pegasus. All the cats who went to Tokyo, including Jounouchi, are dead. The Ishtars twins are as well. I don't know the details yet," he states before I can ask. "Pegasus is still investigating."
"I want revenge. I want blood." I feel vaguely chilled at how cold I sound, but I feel like I'm completely numb.
That, at least, finally gets Kaiba to look up and meet my eyes in surprise. "Seth is dead, though."
"Akunadin isn't. Vivian Wong isn't. Hirutani isn't. Those three and everyone else who worked with them on this... I want all of them dead."
24 June 2011
Oh. My. Gods. I finished it! I feel like I could dance for joy (if I felt up to it). I finished Chapter Nine and the epilogue, and I didn't break down and cry.
I did, however, make my beta reader cry reading this chapter, which was a relief, because I was worried that I didn't get the emotional punch to the gut in. She assures me that it's here in spades, though.
The epilogue to this story follows this chapter, so I will chat more then.
See you there!