You know, I've had some major hangovers in my short life for not being a drinking man, but... Has my life really been that short? Right now, I have two sets of memories running through my head. One's telling me I'm three thousand years old and shouldn't be feeling pain because I don't have a body of my own. The other says I'm not too far from my twenty-first birthday -- and am probably pretty damn lucky to have made it this long, with how danger-prone I've become as of late. The first set says I need to be looking for the Sennen Items (What are those?); the second wants to know if my family is all right. Are my people okay?
Maybe if I can force my eyelids to open...
At least it's not a hospital this time, is all I can think at first, though honestly I might prefer a hospital to the mini-clinic Varon set up about a year ago in one of those many rooms upstairs that had been standing empty. I think the impersonal attention of hospital staff would be a vast improvement to the yelling I'm going to get from Varon when he realizes I'm awake. Speaking of that, am I awake? I'm not used to the non-reaction. Maybe it is a hospital then, I think to myself as I sit up. It doesn't smell like a hospital, and I'm not seeing too much besides white anyway; there is a vague impression of furniture and a window, but I can't even tell if it's day or night.
A click echoes loud in the silence of that large, still room, and my head turns towards the noise. I can vaguely make a figure with long dark hair -- and shouldn't he be a lot younger, like twelve or something? No, wait, not here, that's only in the game. It's definitely night, then, if Mokuba is out and about. "Bakura-kun? You're awake?"
"I'm sitting up, aren't I, halfpint?" I snap back, unable to help myself. He's a tiny bit taller than me. Where did the 'halfpint' come from? Oh yeah, never mind.
The next thing I know, he's bodily attached himself to me. "You're awake! I'm so happy! Oh! I need to go tell Yami-kun and Ryou-kun and Jounouchi-kun and niisama! I'll be right back!" And he's back out the door.
"My, people come and go so quickly here," I have to quip, turning to dangle my feet over the edge of the bed.
There's the loud, quick pounding of feet running. Who do I know who isn't all kinds of damn stealthy? "Niisan!" Oh yeah, yado- No, my brother. My twin brother, Ryou, half my reason for pushing so hard to stay alive. Again, I'm having the life choked out of me as Ryou hugs me tightly. Something in me wants to shove him off and tell him to act tougher, but it's a small part and it's shrinking quickly -- and that's just as well by me. This is my little brother, I tell myself as I blink in surprise when I find my arms lifting to wrap around him as well. Whatever clothes I'm wearing are getting soaked to my chest; he's crying, in relief I hope. "Oh, niisan, I'm so glad you're finally awake. I was starting to get so worried. I thought you were gone."
"We were all starting to worry." That's Seto's -- no, Seth's -- voice from the doorway.
"Seth." Him, I can faintly make out; for being a vampire, he's always been very dark-skinned. No wonder he ended up being Egyptian in the dreamworld. No fair, though, that he was only in it before a few brief moments every time, while the rest of us had to do it again and again, even if I didn't realize it till nearly the end. "How is everyone?" Better still, where are they? Ryou's tears are still coming, and I ease one hand up from his back to pet his hair.
"You were the last to wake up. Varon's been working on it. He thinks that... thing was eating your... life-force, as you would have it."
I feel a chill that has nothing to do with the temperature of the room. "My soul, you mean?" It makes a kind of twisted sense. Zork couldn't access my powers without my soul; Mahaado said that's what they're tied to, after all. And it was trying to break free of its imprisonment; gathering energy off me and Seto mostly -- but likely also everyone else too - probably greatly furthered that cause. It also explains why I couldn't break free for so long. I'm glad Yami killed the hell out of it. "Is everyone else okay, though?"
"Yes, they're all fine. If Mutou had stayed in here another minute though, Varon might have made sure he wasn't. He was sent to your room to try to sleep." So that explains why Yami's not here. "Jounouchi and the Ishtars are probably on their way up here. Last I saw of that lot, they'd practically claimed the boathouse as their own private sanctuary. As for Seto..."
"I'm right here." I blink slowly, once, twice. I was almost looking for the damn white trenchcoat, I realize and want to smack myself. "You're awake, I see."
"As observant as always, Treeboy," I fire back. God, that feels wonderful, just to be able to say whatever I want to, no matter how smartass it might be. After however long it's been, I had been about to forget how it felt.
"Don't be mean to Kaiba-kun, niisan," Ryou whispers in my hair. I tilt my head slightly to show my confusion, partially at why he's bothering to whisper; they can hear him perfectly well. "I-- He-- He saved your life."
For a second, I pause and run my tongue along the ridges of my teeth. No fangs. I don't feel the unnatural urge to kiss his ass, so he didn't give me enough blood to make me into a Renfield, so what does that leave? "Seto?"
"Bakura," and it's Seth that's speaking; this won't be good, "you were unconscious nearly two weeks after everyone else woke up. We were all starting to fear that thing had somehow managed to destroy your soul and kill you; Mutou was too much of a wreck to look within you for it, and Ishtar kept insisting it was just a spark, like the tip of a lighter. We took a chance on the only thing we had left to try that wasn't turning you into a vampire or a Were."
In my mind's eye, I saw a flash of long blonde hair: Cynthia Crawford. "You made me a human servant." It's not even a question.
I sense, rather than see, Seto shaking his head. "No." His voice is soft, almost hesitant, maybe even worried -- and I'm not saying a word about how much that bothers me. "I gave you two marks." Two? In addition to the one I already had to make three or one more to make two? "If you hadn't woken up by next week, we were going to try for the last." And if I know Treeboy, that was a roundabout guarded way of saying I'm sitting at three marks, hopefully without letting anyone else know that I'm sitting at three now. Well... fuck...
"As it is, we still don't know what kind of side-effects that possession is going to have on you in the long and short terms." That was Varon's voice, coming from somewhere behind Seto. "No one has ever been possessed by a creature of that magnitude for such a long period of time."
"I can barely see anything. Does that count?"
I should have known better. Those simple words put Varon straight into doctor mode, and there's a bright penlight shining in my eyes as he continues to speak. "Chances are, unless you consent to letting Kaiba turn you or make you his human servant, you probably won't make it another ten years."
Dead by thirty, every teenager's nightmare. Ryou's hold on me tightens and his sobs grow louder, and I glare in the direction of the penlight. "Are you quite done scaring my brother, or do I need to introduce you to your own entrails, Varon?"
I'm probably whining, but damn it, where are Yami and Kitty?! I need to know for myself that they're okay, that they got out okay, that I didn't do anything to hurt them because I couldn't break Zork's hold on me. Goddamn evil spirit... Maybe Yami could have killed it a bit more.
Seth stumbles like someone just shoved him and the bed creaks suddenly, and those are my only clues someone's coming till I feel another set of arms around my waist and hear a loud jagged purring. I let one of my hands drop on Kitty's head, as I glance around for Malik. Ah, of course he's right next to Kitty, seeming a little reluctant to leave his side even for a second. I think when I find Yami, I'm going to do the same.
"I don't see anything wrong with your eyes that I can turn up with what I have here," Varon's saying, finally putting that damn pen light away. "If they haven't improved by the end of the night, I want to take you to look at them with some better equipment."
"Fine," I grumble. "Where's Yami?"
I blink in the direction of the door. Is he hiding behind Seth or what? There's a blank spot where his voice is coming from. Not that I'm telling anyone that while Varon's in the room. I have no wish to see his impressive collection of needles and other stabby things, and I especially have no wish to see them coming anywhere near me. So how the hell am I going to work this?
"Hey, brat, Kitty, I need to talk to Yami a moment." I give them a second to get moving before I add, "Alone."
Ryou's climbing his feet, moving oddly slow, like he's dragging, as Kitty sits back. "Can't you wait to jump him, Dorobou? Let us get out of the room first."
I send a half-hearted glare in the direction I think Kitty is. I can hear a faint snickering from where I know Malik is, so I think I'm a little off. "Out, cat. Now, everyone."
The room is eerily quiet excepting shuffling steps for several seconds till I hear the door pull closed. "Bakura -"
"Are we alone?" I cut him off.
If I know him, he's looking side to side then at the door before turning one of his confused stares at me. "Yes..."
"I can barely see anything. Get your ass over here."
"You can't see anything?" I can actually track him across the room by his voice when he's shrieking like this. That's useful. "How the hell are you so calm about it?!"
"Because I know you're going to freak out enough for both of us." I pause then continue. "And after the past few years, I think this isn't that bad. I'll take this over Zork any day."
"Did... Did Varon tell you?" He's sitting down on the far end of the bed; I can feel it shifting beneath him. Well, that's interesting. Why put so much space between us?
"That he's not expecting me to make it to thirty? Yeah, he did." I turn to face where he is now. "Talk to me, Yami."
He's silent long enough that I think I'm going to have to prompt him again, but finally he speaks. "Aren't you mad at me, Bakura?"
Okay, rewind. Confused here. 'Bakura', not 'Kura'? Once might be a fluke, but twice? "Mad at you?" I take the other part of the matter first. I want to move over closer to him because maybe, just maybe, I can tell what the hell's going on if I touch him, but I'll probably fall off the bed if I try it. I know my damn luck. "Why the hell would I be mad at you?"
"I... In the dreamworld, I..." Oh, this is about that.
I pull myself to the center of the bed and reach out towards where the bed is dipping. It takes some stretching, but finally I touch his shoulder and use that to orient myself as I slide cautiously closer. "Yami."
"Yeah?" Beneath my hand, I can tell he just turned to face me, so I thump the back of his head. "Ow! What was that for?"
"You're a moron." I thump him again, harder this time. "What happened in the dreamworld only exists in the dreamworld."
"But Osiris -- and the end of the game--!" He's rubbing the place I thumped... and my hand as well. "And Duelist Kingdom!" I lift my other hand to touch his face. He's biting his bottom lip. Why am I not surprised? "The Osiris..." That part's really bothering him.
I will not smirk as I let my hand on his face cup his cheek to try to make him look at me; I can't tell if his eyes are focused on me or not, but I'll take what I can get right now. "You didn't use Osiris on me the last time though, and I hurt you too and didn't remember to pull anything back."
He's mumbling something now, and I pull him closer to hear the words. "I could have killed you though. I thought I had. You weren't waking up and weren't waking up, no matter what anyone tried. I thought I'd killed you when I destroyed Zork."
Oh, for God's sake... I slide the hand I'd had on his shoulder down to his waist and drag him up against me. Only I think I miscalculated a bit; I'm not as steady as I should be, and we fall back with him on top of me. This works just as well too.
"Get it through your head, you game-obsessed moron. You're stuck with me for quite a while yet. I've survived worse than that Zork nitwit, and I'm not biting it anytime soon, especially not at your hand. Don't go getting a big head because Zork decided to take your nickname as your actual position in the game." I pull him down for a kiss. Hey, what do you know? I think my eyes are clearing up; I can almost make out his face. "I'm not going anywhere."
"What Varon said though..." His voice is way too soft, even for him, and I kiss him again.
"We'll deal with tomorrow when it gets here. I'm not dead yet, and I'm sure Seto's not letting any of us give up the ghost that easily." I brush my hand through his hair, and it springs back up. I guess my eyes are getting better then. "I'm not leaving you, Pharaoh." I take a deep breath and say those words I have yet to be able to till now. "I love you." Okay, that wasn't as much of a strain as I thought it was going to be. "You're mine after all."
And I never give back what's mine.
01 May 2010
And that's it: the end of Route 666. It's a bit wonderful to be back in my old style of writing for this story.
If you drop by the site, there will have been so updates. The final part of Silver Blue is going to go up shortly, as is a Kaiba POV section from R666, both written by Desolate03.
Coming soon: Cyber Fake, the last part of Endless Loop. Bakura's been awake less than two weeks. Things are finally starting to get back to normal... so of course the shit is going to hit the fan. Better hang on: it's going to be a hell of a ride.