I had to jump through way too many hoops to get where I am. I had to actually ask Pegasus and Cynthia for permission to enter their city. Apparently, normally it wouldn't be a problem, even with me representing Seto in the daylight hours, but the specific purpose for my coming here this time, meant I needed them to give me the 'okay' vote.
They did, of course -- and quite quickly too -- but still, fucking politics. I can't just kill someone in peace.
Sadly, of course, Hirutani knows how to play the politics game better than I do. I never would have figured that, but I guess he had to keep other immortals from ousting him and his ragtag pack somehow. Still, he pleaded to Pegasus for asylum.
Pegasus turned him down. I've never been happier to know the guy as I was right then.
It's weird. We were trying to get rid of Hirutani -- all of us, though mostly Jounouchi-kitty -- for so long that it seems almost anticlimactic now to have him bound to a chair with silver chains while I wait for him to wake up again.
He cost me my pseudo-brother in Jounouchi, my best and oldest friend in Malik, and a man I was very nearly friends with in Marik, to say nothing of the cats who came here with them. Of the Domino pard, all that's left now are Dartz, Sigfried, and Rebecca. That's Hirutani's fault, and he's going to pay for that, again and again and again, until I'm satisfied.
It will take a while. It's taken quite a while already.
"Can't you just kill me?"
Oh, so he's awake again at last. Good. And I've been waiting for this, on the point at which he breaks and asks for death.
"You took Jounouchi and the Ishtars from me. Not a chance. I'm not done with you yet."
I wonder if the cold place inside me where this is all coming from is from me or from Seto. We're both bastards this way, and we would both go to outrageous measures to protect or avenge our people. I'm not sure Seto would do something like this, though, so this might be all me.
Hirutani is shaking his head weakly, as much as he is still able. "I never laid a hand on him."
I snort rudely. "Now why don't I believe that? I mean, you are the guy who did everything in his power to keep Jounouchi down. I did have to second him out of your pard with a shotgun several years back, if I recall correctly."
He's still shaking his head. How persistent of him. "I never laid a hand on him here. I don't think he even saw me! This woman, Vivian, she did something to them, and they left with her."
And it comes back to Vivian Wong again. Amazing how that name keeps popping up.
"All of them? Willingly?" I don't even try to keep the suspicion out of my voice. "Now why would they do that?"
"Rumor had it that everyone in Domino was dead. We heard that Kaiba Seth had blown up the Master's place, and almost everyone in it was dead. We heard Seth hunted any survivors down and kill them, and that he was going after anyone who had anything at all to do with the Master of Domino."
Which would have definitely included Jounouchi and the Ishtars, as well as the other cats. They all lived on the property, and Jounouchi was -- is? -- Seto's ex.
"I heard Vivian offer them safe haven out of Japan, but that's all I know. Last I saw, they were all alive, I swear."
Now that I'm paying attention again, he sounds desperate. Desperate to live or desperate to die, I wonder.
"Good to know," I comment mildly, absently picking up a knife off my table of tricks. This is going to be fun.
"I told you everything you wanted to know!" It's a token protest at best. The look in his eyes is very close to defeated.
"You did indeed," I offer with a smile, though it might be safer to call it a smirk. "It does nothing to change the past, though. You still have to die for your past sins against my family."
He makes this canine-like whimper that is completely unmanly; funny, I thought he was supposed to be a cat? Why am I not surprised, though? The biggest bullies are also always the ones who crumple the fastest when their illusions of power are stripped away.
"Do you know what Jounouchi always said he was going to do to you when he found you?" I ask, even if the question is rhetorical. It doesn't matter if it is or is not meant to be answered, though, because I barely give him time to think about an answer, much less give one. "He always said he was going to gut you. Let's see if we can't make that dream a reality, shall we?"
It actually takes me nearly an hour to scrub up after I finish up. Who would have thought one measly, cowardly excuse for a cat could bleed so much I'm going to be getting guts out of my hair and out from under my fingernails for weeks.
Also, I have to wonder now just how much thought Jounouchi really gave to the idea of gutting someone, especially doing it while they're alive. Even with a silver blade to keep him from healing, it was still a long and messy process. Next time I kill someone, I'm going to have to go for something a little less disgusting.
Of course, next up are Akunadin and Vivian. Neither of them will be easy. Akunadin is a vampire who is easily five hundred years old, if not many times that, while Vivan is a witch and a human servant to a very old vampire. That isn't to say I'm not a... whatever I am, perhaps a necromancer, since my specialty is the dead... and a human servant too, but she's certainly older than I am. She'll have had a lot longer to become accustomed to her talents than I have.
Still, Hirutani said some very interesting things there just before the end. Could there be something to the idea that Vivian is collecting my people, for lack of a better term?
If Jounouchi is still alive, there's no way, no way in hell, he won't let his mother and sister know he's still around. They like me, though God only knows why; they like me well enough to let me call them 'mom' and 'pixie'; maybe they'll let me know if they have heard from him.
I fish my cell phone out of my pocket, scrub the blood off the screen (how the hell did that happen with it in my jeans pocket), and call their house. It rings and rings, long enough that I almost hang up, before Shizuka's voice answers. "Hello, Kawai residence."
I have to breathe a quick sigh of relief. "Heya, pixie."
"Bakura-kun!" she all but yells in my ear. "You're alive?"
"And kicking," I respond automatically. She sounds way too surprised about this. "Is there some reason why I shouldn't be?"
"Otogi-san just delivered a letter from niichan. He said Malik-kun gave it to him to give to us. Niichan's letter said that you and Kaiba-kun and everyone else were dead."
"Not for lack of trying." And we didn't all make it. "He didn't happen to say where he was or where he was going, did he?" I doubt it and there's no point of getting my hopes up, but it's worth a shot asking.
It's just as well, though, because I can almost see her shaking her head through the phone, the brief silence is so weighted. "I'm sorry, but no, Bakura-kun. He didn't tell Otogi-san either. His letter even said it would be safer for us the less we know."
"Damn." I usually try not to swear around the pixie, even on the phone, but I think this calls for an exception to the rule.
"If I hear from him again, I'll try to let him know that you're alive and looking for him, Bakura-kun."
I seriously doubt he'll contact her again. If Vivian's managed to impress on him -- on all of them -- that we're all dead and it would mean death for anyone associated with us, then he wouldn't dare give anyone the chance to connect Shizuka or his mom back to him. He'll try to protect them by staying as far away from them as possible.
So there's something here I should do, something Jounouchi would want me to do. "Thanks, pixie. If there's anything, anything at all, you or Mom need, you call me, okay? I'll take care of you."
"Of course, Bakura-kun. Good luck finding niichan. I need to go now."
"All right, pixie. I'll talk to you later."
I wait for the click of her disconnecting before I lower my phone. Seto bought me a new phone a couple of weeks ago, one with a much better calendaring and alert system, so I make a note to call them again in a week and see how they are. They don't have Jounouchi anymore, so I'll have to do.
Once my little reminder is inputted, I dial one of the first speed dial numbers programmed in the phone: the one that goes to Seto's personal phone. It's the one that bypasses all his security to go to him directly.
The only people who have the number can be counted on one hand: Ryou, Yuugi, Mokuba, Noa, and me. Mokuba and Noa won't use it; they packed up and left after the fight. They said that they could understand why Seth had to die, but he was their brother too; they needed time to mourn him. Ryou and Yuugi moved into the Mutou estate after Yami's funeral, so I doubt they will be using it either.
So honestly, of course Seto knows it's going to be me calling, which is probably why he answers with "Is it done?"
He can't see it and it's possible he can't feel it, but I still nod anyway. "It's finished. I found out something interesting, though. I even confirmed it through an independent source."
"What is it?" He sounds distracted. There's apparently a lot of paperwork involved in running a city, not to mention repairing and rebuilding the house. After Seth's deception and betrayal, more than ever, he doesn't trust anyone else to handle the behind the scenes stuff.
"Jounouchi, Malik, and Marik at least are still alive."
I can hear him set something down just faintly over the phone; I can feel the care he uses in doing it. I definitely have his full attention now. "Really?"
"All three of them. Vivian Wong seems to have convinced them we're all dead, so that she could take them out of the country 'for their own safety'. I confirmed it with Jounouchi's sister. He sent her a letter saying pretty much the same thing."
"We are going to get them back, Bakura."
You know, when he says things like that in that particular tone of voice, there's really no choice but to believe him. "All right," I agree. "I'll be on the first train home."
"I'll send Akito to pick you up in Tokyo."
No arguing with that either, so I just hang up. Seto knows better than to take offense. It's not like this is the first time I've done it or anything. It's kind of my thing.
My name is Bakura. That is the only name I have ever possessed. I have been called many things over the years, though, mostly variants of 'thief' and 'bastard.'
I am the human servant to the Master of Domino, and I can speak with the dead. You could even call me a necromancer.
And this story, my story, is just beginning.
24 June 2011
And with this section, the first season of Endless Loop is finished. This section finishes the sixth book in Season One, something I was honestly starting to think would not happen in my own lifetime. But Season One is now done. I can't decide if I feel relieved, pleased, or saddened by this. I have been working on Season One longer than any other story I have ever finished: nearly seven years. (In comparison, the next longest is Gods and Other Creatures, which took almost five years.)
All totalled, my sections of Endless Loop to date stand at around 118,355 words. With Katsuko's (Katsuko1978 on FFnet) and Desolate03's stories and side-stories, the entire first season comes up to a total of 162,961 words. That's just Season One. Who knows what will happen in Season Two?
I'm hoping to get get my July Novel Writing Month (JulNoWriMo) story out of the way, and then I'm going to throw myself at finishing Betrueger. After it's done, I'll either finish Belladonna or start on Season Two.
However you cut it, you'll be seeing more of me soon.
Later, folks, and lots of love!