Exposed Shadows

BY : Yami-Neferbre
Category: Yu-Gi-Oh > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 1161
Disclaimer: I do not own Yugioh! Also, no money/profit is made from this story.

EXPOSED SHADOWS

A/N: Hello all....if there are any of you left....

I know it’s been a ridiculously long time since I last did any sort of update or post. Please forgive me for that, as life has very heavily -and for the most part not in good ways - got in the way of mentally being able to focus on anything else other than waking up everyday and forcing myself to be human. I am giving this whole writing thing a shot again, especially considering I have two novels that I need to dive back into and this has always been a great way to get the juices flowing/reinforce the habit.

Disclaimer: I do not own Yugioh, or any of its characters.
Warning: This story contains graphic violent and sexual content, along with profanities. If you don’t like, don’t read; and if you read cannot handle it, don’t complain to me, you’ve been warned.

CHAPTER ONE

TORONTO, CANADA
1925hrs – Downtown District

“Kuzma, for fucks sakes, move your feet!” Bakura snarled, snatching a full handful of the racing man in front of him, stopping him from careening down a dead end alleyway. The damn idiot was not cooperating with him, taking every turn that he did not want him to take, zigzagging away from his desired location. Kuzma must have caught on by now that he was being 'relinquished' from his duty and was rebelling against it. Or he really was that stupid and panicked, neither sat well in the undercover cop's stomach. “Stop being a fucktard and head towards the den, everyone else is there by now and they won't wait for our asses much longer.”

Face littered in scars, just as vibrantly as his semi-exposed skin was riddle with tattoos, Kuzma snarled at him through the light of a distant street lamp. “Huesos,” cursing thickly in Russian before spitting down at Bakura's feet, vehemently slapping his hand away. “You do as I say, I don't give shit bout den, I know what you playing at brat. We go where I say,” pulling out the gun from his waistband he pressed it against Bakura's cheek. “Ponimayu.”

Scowling deeply, he nodded, “Yeah, I understand.” Hearing yelling increase behind them and the sudden flash of red and blue lights he shoved Kuzma forward. “Move, unless you want to be dog meat!”

Their feet pounded loudly down the pavement as they weaved through back streets, the cold night air and the increasing blizzard making it hard to keep their footing. Internally cursing as they ran further and further from the now police infiltrated den. Bakura began to panic; the bastard was going to get them killed, or worse. He could see his 'comrades' grin in the street lights as they kept running, and it chilled him more than the swirling snow. He needed to get back in contact with the officers that were waiting for them at the den, or let the Pakhan of the Bratva know that this mission had gone to hell. Kuzma had messed up, and he knew it, and apparently also knew that because of it the gang had decided to surrender him to the mercy of the police, or at least their guns.

Slipping in the snow as they dove down a particularly slick alleyway his chest tightened, russet eyes watching Kuzma grin back at him with his destroyed teeth and rotting gums before wrenching open a door into the building looming beside them. Lifting his gaze into the pelting snow he nearly vomited, this was the Le Jourdain – one of the most highly-ranked French Restaurants in Toronto, and it was never empty. “Oh fuck,” muttered, stumbling forward, biting his lip hard he followed Kuzma into the heat of the back door, stepping into the bustling kitchen. He cursed again; Kuzma was already waving his pistol around, screaming at the kitchen staff to exit into the main dinning section. Pulling out his own gun he bit his lip harder, the pain and copper taste steadying him, his other hand snatching his cellphone from his pocket. Quickly typing a message to the Sergeant he hastily shoved it back into hiding when Kuzma swiveled and snarled back at him. “So what’s the plan,” he demanded, keeping Kuzma’s attention on his face.

“You, my little huesos, will get me out of here. Fuck Bratva, fuck code,” waving Bakura towards him and into the dining room. “Do as I say, or brains bathe floor. Give phone,” taking the offending device from him, Kuzma dropped in on the floor and stomped on it, smashing it into a thousand pieces with a victorious grin. “Come, bitch, time to be bodyguard.”

Teeth clenched Bakura fingered him then pointed to the door, “Lead the way.”

1944hrs – Downtown District

He had needed a change – something drastic needed to happen; he had become bored, sedentary and unsatisfied. The same job in and out every day, failed relationships, fading friendships and his love for technology was starting to dwindle, at least in terms of the gaming industry. So, when a random – a complete shot out of left field to be precise - offer came up, he took it. Leaving the company in his capable brother’s hands he up and moved, took a brand new job in a new country. Now that he was here, he was questioning his logic.

Exiting the cab he shivered violently and pulled his thick coat tighter, thankful he had bought gloves and earmuffs at the airport – especially after seeing the vast volume of unwelcome snow. Checking his phone he hissed at the temperature, -15 degrees Celsius just was not computing in his mind and he hurried to the entrance of the restaurant, eyes ghosting over the title as he ducked in– Le Jourdain. Denial was sounding good to him as he dove into the heat, sighing dramatically in relief, much to the amusement of the host and a familiar face in front of him. Glaring at the mocking violet eyes, he stomped the snow off his shoes, shoved his gloves and earmuffs in the pockets before handing his jacket to the host. Not noticing the police officer stepping in behind him, head covered in a dark toque and pulling off his gloves, a near pitch black dog at his side. He caught the hostess off guard, dropping Seto's coat, glad the former CEO was gone and did not see her blunder.

“Thanks for warning me,” Seto grumbled.

Yugi chuckled at him, “I did,” a quick hug and he lead Seto into the bustling high-end restaurant. Weaving through tables and grinning at his friend’s reaction.

“Just a little bit of snow - This is a damn blizzard!”

Shrugging he directed him to a table in the far corner, “Welcome to Canada.” Hearing the vehement grumbling behind him, Yugi stifled a chuckle. “It's warmer now than it was a week ago, if that's any comfort.” Catching Seto's incredulous expression, and near stumble he chortled. “I told you winters here are brutal.”

“That’s putting it mildly,” further grumbling he averted to the table in front of him, straightening his dress shirt and vest before correcting his posture and expression, again trying hard not to hit Yugi’s clear mirth. Though they had become very close friends over the years, the short bugger still pressed every single one of his nerves, he had learned way too much from Joey and Tristan in the years after High School.

Two striking individuals occupied the back two chairs of the sleek white linen covered table. One – a fairly tall gentleman, probably rivalling Seto in height, salt and pepper hair well combed and sharp intelligence was bright in steady hazel eyes, suit perfectly kept. Beside him, a striking young woman with matching golden eyes, thick and curled dark hair flawlessly pulled away from her face, blonde bangs braided and looped back. Seto had to remind himself that they were Yugi’s recently found family as the woman bore a striking resemblance to him. But she had a mischievous glint and narrowness in her eyes, and a strong smile that was identical to someone else he once knew.

She stood quickly, petite form hugged tightly by a gold and soft pink dress, pumps adding to her lack of height. Stretching out her hand she greeted him, “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you in person Seto, this has been far too long in the making.”

If he swung that way, Seto mentally admitted that he would have swooned. She was not only alluring, but the subtle Dutch accent she had was mesmerizing - the phone had done nothing for it. Shaking her hand he smiled, “It’s a pleasure to meet you as well Lysbet, far too long in the making I agree, excited that everything is finally in full motion.”

“Quite,” shuffling back and sitting down gracefully she placed a hand on the man beside her. “I know that you know his voice and face already, but this is my Father, Karel Raske.”

The hand that gripped Seto’s was strong, as was the man’s demeanour, thick Dutch accent flowing out as he spoke. “Welcome to Toronto, Mr Kaiba; I hope the flight was comfortable, though dreadfully long I imagine. All the way from Japan, that is basically an entire day of flying is it not?”

“It was nearly seventeen hours with the layovers. I have had longer, so this was quite bearable. And please, just Seto.”

With a grin and a nod Karel retracted his hand, lifting his wine glass and swivelling the dark liquid before sipping it. “Very well then, just Seto, please make yourself comfortable. Oh, by the way Yugi, Rei called. Apparently you forgot to turn the oven down, whatever concoction you had in the oven is burnt so she ordered pizza – vegetarian to suit your fancy.” Yugi frowned, clearly peeved at his twelve-year-old daughters antics, Seto snorted and turned his head away resisting a burst of laughter. Karel grinned, “She is sprightful, I love that. Now, both of you, stop standing there like awkward teenagers, sit sit!”

Scrambling into the two empty chairs, Yugi with absolutely no grace, the two grinned at each other before settling in. Seto waved Lysbet to stop as she generously filled his glass with the bottle of red wine on the table, Yugi rolled his eyes at him and allowed her to empty the bottle into his own. “Lightweight,” the former dualist quipped, grin wide as he gulped back a large swig of the wine; Seto was shaking and clearly resisting hitting him.

Sighing, head shaking in amusement, Lysbet glanced down at her phone having felt it buzz while she was greeting Seto. Her sigh deepened, and small frown crossed her features and she responded to the bizarre question, when she lifted her attention back up she caught her father's gaze, “He's nearby, just finished checking up on Rei.”

Karel shook his head, ignoring the confused expression permeating from Seto, “Is he on duty?”

She glared at him, “You should know his shifts by now, Papa,” dropping the phone into her purse she picked up her glass of water, clearly that was all the answer she was giving. “He cancelled the pizza order for you Yugi, gave her his lunch for the evening instead.”

Yugi's shoulder's slouched, clearly relieved but perturbed at the same time, “Good, he eats like a rabbit...wait, what he is going to have now?”

Fingers drumming on the table Seto cut in, “Who is 'he’?”

“My brother, he's working right now,” she responded absently, waving over a server and quickly rattling off an order for the entire group along with requesting another bottle of wine and a tea for herself. Averting back to them she relaxed back in her chair and sipped her remaining water, “That's why he could not make it tonight, too short notice to get the night off.”

Karel grunted in disapproval, clearly disagreeing but not fully vocalizing it. Seto caught that, remembering one of Yugi's many other warnings about the situation he was thrusting himself into. Karel and his son did not get along, not one bit apparently since something had happened to the young man in his teens, and it worsened after said son had also firmly told Karel off on doing as told and instead joined the military. Swallowing hard he leaned back, cerulean eyes locking with Karel's when the man felt his scrutiny. Putting the glass down and running his hand absently over the silk tie around his neck, Karel murmured to him with a forced smile, “He's always busy, you will meet him eventually, just do not count on it being anytime soon or for very long.”

Lysbet glared hard at her father, “Way to shuffle around the bush,” she said waspishly, pleased with herself when Karel glowered back at her warningly, she gave him a sharp wry smile before allowing her expression to warm ghosting her attention back to Seto and Yugi. “He starts his set of four days off tomorrow, so it won't be that long; and I have my ways of convincing him to break his little routines.” 

Seto and Yugi struggled to contain their discomfort at the idea, both holding forced smiled, answering in unison, “Sounds good.”

“So,” Seto started, recovering first. “You said he was a police officer?”

“Yes, in the K9 div….” Lysbet began to answer, but screaming from the back if the restaurant cut her off, the shrill sound intensifying as the cooks ran out into the dining room, servers following with them and scrambled towards the exit. The four glanced between each other, Lysbet muttering their thoughts aloud, her eyes narrowing when she spotted a familiar face in the crowd. “What the hell...”

1940hrs – Downtown District – A Few Blocks Away

Flicking on the defrost in his cruiser, zipping his thick police parka and huddling down in his seat, crimson eyes stared forward at the harsh falling snow. Shivering slightly he shoved his hands in his pocket, willing the vehicle to warm up faster. Hearing whimpering behind him he averted over his shoulder into the steel plated back seat, converted into a near bulletproof case, his partner's happy place.

“Should I get us some tea, Hannibal?” The pitch black German shepherd growled low, almost pissed, shuffling in his cold crate showing his unhappy behind to his partner before pawing at his blanket in the corner, huffing in annoyance. Yami scowled back at him, “At least you have fur to stay warm you ungrateful brat.” Adjusting his thick toque then rubbing his black gloved hands together he waited another minute to let the defrost clear his wind shield before pulling out into traffic.  Ahead he could see the bright green and white sign for Le Jourdain, the restaurant his sister was at. As much as he had wanted to see her, as it had been a few weeks, he had happily turned down the invitation to take the night off and meet the family and his father's newest obsession. He wasn't quite ready to meet his cousin yet, not in person, talking over the phone was still enough for him. It was the gradual introduction he needed, allow his social inabilities to calm and give him a sense of stability before thrusting himself into the mix, especially since he knew that any gathering where he would meet Yugi and his father's new protégé would mean having to sit in the same room as dear old daddy for an extended period of time. Something he avoided with every ounce of effort he could.

He was pulled from his thoughts when the radio buzzed from the console, static clear along with his Sergeants voice, “3568 to 6619.”

Sighing at the loss of peace Yami reached forward and grabbed the mike; ignoring Hannibal's obvious protest from the back he keyed the radio, “Go ahead for 6619.”

There's been a disturbance at Le Jourdain, I know you are there, start checking it out while I get dispatch organized.”

Eyes narrowing he glowered at the radio, ‘the hell is Freeborn up to’, pulling up the dispatch system he frowned deeply, there was no call up yet. He stomach knotted, knowing full well that his lovely Sergeant was playing with him again, as always, reminding him who was truly in charge of the show. Pulling over and turning off the vehicle lights he quietly clambered out into the snow. Opening the back door to the SUV he cocked his head at Hannibal, who was snarling at him, warning him as always. “We don't have a choice Hanny, let’s go,” he stated, holding up the leash. His partner relinquished with a huff and sauntered over to him, allowing him to hook in the extensive leash before hoping out into the snow. Ignoring the dog's big show at the cold paw dance he let Hannibal lead him into the warmth of the restaurant. Imputing a quick message to Lysbet via text, being subtle but still seeing if he could draw any information from her he put it away then looked directly at the little blonde haired hostess – familiar crimson peaked locks caught his attention just past her and he flinched then relaxed. It was Yugi, he knew by pictures, the voice, and the trademark family hair; Seto Kaiba was with him, the business tycoon that he had heard about over the years through lazy reading. Thankfully, neither noticed him, both were too engrossed in each other, and had their backs to him, that they missed his presence completely. He heard Hannibal huff beside him, as if offended, but he ignored his partners antics. Removing his toque and gloves, hastily shoving them in his pockets he smiled at the hostess, not missing her hastily gather up the coat she dropped, “Evening Ma’am.”

“Good evening officer,” she blushed, smiling at him then stepping away from Hannibal in obvious discomfort, confusion evident in her tone. “Are you here for dinner service?”

He shook his head, looking at her incredulously, “Odd as this may sound, there has been some sort of disturbance reported here, do you know of anything?” Seeing her furiously shake her head he resisted a frown. “Do you mind if I take a look around?”

A nod again, a shaky hand directing him into the restaurant, “Of course, come find me if you need anything else, I will notify my manager that you are here.”

He bowed, “Thanks,” catching her name tag, “Chloe, I am Constable Raske, I will tell you as soon as I am leaving.” Hannibal didn't even let him straighten, the shepherd hunkered forward, probably pissy about being around the teasing smell of food. Then again, his hackles were up and his head was low. Brow furrowing Yami instinctively tightened his hold on the leash, “Hiel,” he commanded in Dutch, switching to work mode. “What is it Hanny?” a low growl and he scowled, giving out another command. “Plaatsen.” Hannibal hunched and lurked forward into the dining room, nose on high alert and ears perked and listening, locking on a scent that did not sit well with the highly trained K9. He followed his command without question, locating the scent, leading Yami in a straight pattern through the neatly organized tables, hackles raising further the close he got to the kitchen. Yami waved the panicked manager that came to stop him, putting a hand to his lips and a stern expression, “Stay calm, stay back,” he ordered. The manager, unhappy about being ordered, seemed to protest but thought better of it, huffing and crossing his arms. Avoiding the questioning eyes of the patrons Yami placed his hand on his glock, unconsciously flicking the safety off, eyes casting around cautiously while Hannibal continued to head to the kitchen, till all four paws planted just outside the door and the dog gave his signal, sitting and snarling at the door.

“Monsieur, please explain what this is about,” the manager growled behind Yami impatiently, foot tapping and hands firmly on his waist. “You are disturbing my guests.”

Yami merely waved at him dismissively, he had already told the idiot to back off; if he knew what the hell was going on he would have told him. Digits slithered to take hold of his glock holstered at his hip, pulling it out and taking comfort in the cold metal he shuffled up beside Hannibal and glanced into the kitchen, the swinging doors had glass at the top, giving him a full view of the bustling room. He caught the familiar flash of gun metal and two familiar faces careen around the far back corner. One face he never wanted to see again, the other was one he never wanted to see while in uniform. Cursing he grabbed the manager, wrenching him to him by his starched white dress shirt, “Get everyone out of here, now!” His voice low and dangerous, pushing the blubbering man away from him, said hand rapidly releasing the leash from Hannibal before taking a full hard hold of the dogs vest. Spotting the nearby patrons that had heard him scrambling up Yami caught sight of the quaking manager, “Dammit man, move!” Yami's last statement was emphasized by screaming within the kitchen, snapping the manager into full panic mode especially as he relayed the situation into his radio. Screaming himself, the manager scrambled to the nearby wall and pulled the fire alarm, the shrill siren filling the room, echoed by the frantic screaming of the cooks and servers pouring out of the kitchen and barrelling for the exit.

In that split second, Yami took that moment to memorize the room through the scrambling crowd, throat tightening when he locked on to scared and angry golden eyes, Lysbet watching him from the far corner of the restaurant. Distracted he watched the four get to their feet, Karel grabbing hold of Lysbet's arm and yanking her behind him, while Yugi and Seto stared his way. His throat continued to tighten and his mouth went dry, he had to get them out of here before shit fully hit the fan.

From across the dining room, Seto felt every muscle in his body freeze as his gaze locked on a ghostly familiar face. His skin a soft bronze and unfamiliar, but those sharp crimson eyes were just as intense as the ones he remembered. Yugi had warned him about this, but warning had not been enough for his currently frazzled nerves. Those eyes were steel, but as readable as he remembered, and he could see the familiar panic in them for the safety of others. Through the careening bodies, the shrill cry of the fire alarm, and harsh screams he swivelled to pull Yugi roughly away from the wall, “Get Lysbet and Karel out of here,” he snapped at his friend harshly, narrowed violet locking on him. “Don't give me that, get out of here, I'll help mister hero.”

“You don't have a clue what is going on,” Yugi growled, not taking well to Seto shoving him backwards against Karel. “You don't even have a weapon either!” Seeing Seto pick up a steak knife from the table he spluttered angrily. “Dammit Seto, don't be stupid!”

“He's right,” Karel yellowed over the racket, one arm gripping Yugi's shoulder and shoving the young man under the table, forcing Lysbet to follow. His eyes were darting around, absorbing what was transpiring around them through the chaos. He could see his son lift his gun, backing away from the swinging doors while shoving the few stragglers towards the main exit, also catching sight of two men with weapons coming into the dining area. “We have run out of time, get underneath something and be quiet!”

Glock held steady Yami pulled Hannibal back with him, watching warily as the two men dove out into the dining area, guns raised and firing at the ceiling. He cursed, there was still approximately five people in here, at least that he was aware of, and he had no idea if his sister and her comrades had managed to escape. Kneeling beside his partner he forced Hannibal to look straight at him, without saying a thing he balled his fist then covered it with the other in an obvious command, then pointed to the tables and followed finally with an flat palm like a stop sign. Hannibal whined, but obeyed, ducking under the nearby tables and disappearing.

Counting his lucky stars that Kuzma had yet to notice him he kept his gun locked on the man’s face. A maniacal grin on the bastards face as he fired a few rounds into the air, kicking over several tables as he did so, chuckling when he found the frightened faces of those that had been unable to leave.  Bakura, however, was staring right at him, alarm clear in those auburn eyes while the rest of his body was forcing itself to shield Kuzma. Remembering where his sister had been sitting, Yami quickly divested himself of his Kevlar vest and thick jacket. Bakura’s expression turned to panic, shaking terribly, mouthing clearly, ‘what are you doing’. Holding up his vest Yami tapped his chest just over his heart, a symbol his friend understood. Pointedly tilting his head towards the kitchen he willed Bakura to run, to dive behind him, or something; something other than jeopardizing his own safety never mind his cover. His heart leapt in his throat in relief when Bakura gave him a subtle nod, backing away while Kuzma proceeded to kick another table, ducking back into the kitchen and bolting to safety. In that instant, Yami chucked his Kevlar vest in the direction he had last seen his sister, hoping that if she was still in here she would take the offered protection.

From under the table Seto and Yugi both shook their heads in shock. Two blasts from the past in one night was enough for both of them, both having seen Bakura – though with significantly shorter hair – emerge from the kitchen before running back in and away from the other maniac in the room. They turned to each other, thoughts mirror as they both mouthed the name, along with Yugi audibly stammering out, “What the fuck is going on...” The curse was out of place for the former dualist, and showed his clear strain and anxiety, head swivelling around to try and discern what was going on, and particularly where Yami had disappeared to.

“We need to get out of here,” Lysbet whispered, Karel nodding beside her, oddly un-phased by the current predicament, expression and body calm. “This is...” She yelped, covering her mouth from the loud sound as a Kevlar vest dropped and slid within inches of her feet. Seeing Raske imprinted on the chest she shook her head, looking up to see that Yami was down to just his long sleeve police shirt. “You son of a bitch…”

Seto shook his head, watching Lysbet carefully pull the vest on, thankful that at least one part hadn’t changed between the Yami he had known and the one in front of him. However, now the damn idiot had no physical protection. Peeking under the table cloth and towards the chaos, Seto calculated the distance between both them and Yami and the door. Both were long, and both would put them straight out in the line of fire. “We move, we will draw that freaks attention and jeopardize whatever leg up Yami might have. Stay quiet, stay hidden, and wait.” Yugi nodded in agreement with him, trusting him completely, but his attention never left Kuzma's face.

Fear settled heavily into Yami's stomach as he stared at the all too familiar face of one of the men that had caused him so much harm, who had torn him from his home and wreaked havoc on his once young and innocent mind. Kuzma turned to him, after the flying vest caught his attention. His buzz cut head covered was in sweat and melted snow, shirt ripped and revealing all the traditional prison tattoos that covered him from head to toe. Body remaining steady, while his heart raced in his chest Yami yelled out to him, “Drop the gun, Kuzma!”

“Why you here, shlyukha?” he grinned when the insult hit home, clearly evoking old memories. Swivelling the gun he leveled it at the officer’s face. The situation clicked in his head, especially when he noticed that Bakura was no longer at his side. “You should not be here, why you here…you dirty little shlyukha, you betrayed!”

“I didn’t know you were here!” Yami yelled back, keeping his gun level while the rest of him shook, old memories of that single word and the voice that used it pulsing through him. It wasn’t Kuzma who had used it, but the bastard was there and was using it against him. “I would never break that promise!”

Spitting vehemently Kuzma peered back to where he had seen Yami chuck the vest, smirking when he spotted familiar faces, his grin darkening at the clear tightening of Yami’s muscles at his discovery. “Drop weapon, or they die, prove you no traitor.” Taking careful steps Kuzma made sure he was between Yami and his family, his gun turning and pointing at the four under the table. “Come here little Lysbet.”

“Don’t you dare!” Yami growled, grip still hard on his weapon, garnet orbs never leaving Lysbet as she –through slapping away Karel’s hands – crawled out from under the table and cautiously shuffled around the tables towards them. “Leave her…”

A sharp blast and Lysbet’s scream silenced the officer’s protest, Kuzma clearly counting on that. The bullet had hit the floor close to Lysbet’s feet, a warning shot, and she was now close enough that he could snatch her hand and wrench her to him. She was the perfect shield and he laughed at the fear that flashed through the officer’s face before he numbly dropped the gun, casually wrapping an arm around her shoulders Kuzma pressed his own weapon to her temple. “That’s a good little shlyukha, now strip, all weapons gone, gets on knees, hands behind head.”

“Let the others in here go first,” Yami countered, though obeying and slowly unbuckling his heavy tactical belt, letting it fall to the floor with a hard clatter. “You know this building will be surrounded soon, may as well reduce the amount of hostages you have to monitor.” He could see the wheels turning in Kuzma’s head, kneeling down and unclipping the knife he had around his calf. Withholding a grateful sigh he clasped his hands behind his head while Kuzma bellowed out, gun waving around in earnest, “All but family in back leave now or face will eat bullet! You three, come, take seat here.” 

“My isn’t this a familiar feeling,” Yugi murmured between clenched teeth, body shaking and thankfully he wasn’t the only one quaking, following Seto’s strong form around the tables, Karel behind him. Stiffly, the three sat in the designated chairs by one of the upturned tables. Yugi’s hands gripped in his lap, taking a brief moment to catch Seto staring at him in assurance, then both locked on apologetic ruby eyes as their owner removed his police shirt. Left in just his black t-shirt and navy tact pants, Yami sunk to his knees as commanded. Yugi could see the fear rolling off his cousin in waves, but he could also see an odd calmness that was baffling him. Then it clicked, the dog he had seen Yami with was missing. Gaze snapping around he spotted a hunched black menace under one of the nearby tables. The dog was poised, eyes locked on its master, head low and hackles up, ready to attack, but he remained where he was. Though the dog was terrifying, it calmed Yugi’s thundering heart; at least they did not seem completely screwed.

Satisfied, Kuzma shoved Lysbet forward, laughing as she collapsed to her knees, arms outstretching to stop her face from hitting the floor, every muscle in Yami’s body clearly tightening to resist going to her. “Crawl to your Papa’s feet, stay there,” she obeyed, but not before staring straight into her brother’s eyes, seeing the panic and seeing that he was just as lost as she was. His eyes were a window for her to read him, only she seemed to be able to do it. Assured, she crawled over to Karel, shaking hands gripping her father’s leg like a frightened little girl, Kuzma grinned at her devilishly causing her to shiver. “Now, for the little bitch,” he relished the gasps that emitted from the others as he took three quick steps and pistol whipped Yami across the face. Even though Yami had managed to stay upright, a trickle of blood seeped from his mouth where he had bit down on his lip. Chuckling he hunched over and tightly gripped the long lean throat, lifting Yami just enough to affect his breathing, watching to see that those hands remained behind the man’s spiky mane. “Now, prove that you no betray, prove it!”

Gasping through the hold on his throat, spots forming in front of eyes, Yami wheezed out, “I swear I had no idea you were here. Freeborn dispatched me, I have no clue why he would lead me here…” The hand tightened. “Dammit Kuzma, I would never risk their lives!”

Kuzma glowered directly back at Karel and Lysbet, ignoring Yugi and Seto. “On pain of death of family, stay away from Bratva and remain silent. Those were orders. You disobeyed!”

“If anyone betrayed you it was Freeborn!” His voice was shrill, but he didn’t care. Noticing the sudden tremble in the hand around his neck his brow furrowed. “What have you…?” The gun connecting with the other side of his face silenced him, the velocity enough to force him to snap out his hands to stop his head connecting with the floor and his jaw to snap out of place. Swivelling back he snarled at Kuzma, jaw popping from the brutality of his injuries, locking back into place. Ignoring the shaking pistol pointed at him, he focused on the panic rolling off the man in thick waves. “You fucked up, the Pakhan put you on the death list…you were being lead to your execution!”

Da,” Kuzma answered, coming back forward, grimy hands taking hold of Yami’s neck again, this time lifting him till his knees began to lift from the floor. Seeing the hands rising up to grab his wrists he snarled. “Hands behind head shlyukha!! Yes, I ordered dead, but I am here instead of where Pakhan want.” Though his English was broken, Kuzma was a smart man, and all the pieces fell into place in his mind. “Freeborn want you do job for him. Find way to make you kill or arrest. Fuck that, fuck that!!”

Spit coated Yami’s face, forcing him to close his eyes while gasping for breath. He flinched when he felt the barrel of the gun press into his temple increasing the already intense throbbing in his head, “You’ll never…get…away…from them.” Re-opening his eyes he tried to calm himself, especially when faced with Kuzma’s clear growing infuriation and terror, halos from the intensity of his headache preventing him from looking around. He needed to regain his composure, or this situation was going to rapidly escalate. Though his breathing was restricted he tried to slow it, shifting one of his legs so his foot was planted, relieving some of the pressure. Feeling his mask fall into place, stoic and darkly calm, he stared hard at Kuzma, voice deep and ghostly. “He’ll never let you go. You know he will find you, and instead of the quick death you would have been rewarded, they will slowly drain every ounce of blood from you and torture you until there is nothing left. You’ve seen what they can do, do you really want that. It’s a pretty shitty way to go. I was just a toy to them, a means to an end, and you saw what they did to me; in fact, you joined in the fun. Do you really think that they would give a traitor any better treatment? No, no, no, you know it will be far worse.” Kuzma’s shaking increased at every steady word that came out of Yami’s mouth, his fear increasing, the sweat pouring off of him just as thickly as his panic. “Now, if that’s the fate you want, let me and my family go and walk out that door. Or, you could consider the other options. Your choice.”

Seto stiffened, sharing a quick glance with Yugi, both were thinking along the same lines. That was a bold comment, and may work, dependant on how desperate their assailant was. But something didn’t sit well in Seto’s gut, and his fists clenched till the knuckles grew white. If only the bastard would let Yami go, then attacking him from behind wouldn’t be so dangerous. Catching movement beside him he saw Yugi shaking his head at him, a sharp warning. Cursing under his breath he averted back to Yami and Kuzma.

Emitting a low growl Kuzma shifted the gun, firing off a round directly into Yami’s thigh. All it gained was a flicker in the man’s eyes and a thick trickle of blood seeping to the floor in a dark rivulet and cries from the four sitting nearby. With how badly he was shaking the bullet missed its mark, grazing the man’s leg but still deep enough to bleed profusely. However, it was the reaction that was annoying him more than his own lack of composure. He remembered that defiance, remembered what it took for the Pakhan to finally get that wretched little sixteen-year-old boy to scream and writhe. He didn’t have the time to take out his anger to that point on the officer, nor was it to his tastes, but he had other plans that would suffice just fine. Turning the gun again he pointed it at Lysbet, whom was still curled up on the floor, her face fearful but defiant. “You or she will be way out. Maybe, maybe I kill you and others, drag big sister to the Pakhan. Yes, the Pakhan would like that, maybe then he will finally get what he wants, ne? Or,” with a grunt he heaved up, forcing Yami to his feet, gun shifting down then pressed to the point of bruising into the young man’s ribs. “Or, maybe take you to the Pakhan; he may forgive sins if I bring his dirty little shlyukha back.” Seeing the dangerous darkening of garnet to the point of near blackness he grinned, knowing he had struck a chord, but not how he had wanted.

Aanval,” came the almost primal growl from the police officer. Quirking his head and frowning Kuzma stared at the man in confusion, not recognizing the word, but the sudden scraping of nails on tile floor and a ripping pain in the arm holding the gun snapped him into the predicament. He screamed, both from the pain and at the black ball of fury that tore his arm forward, squeezing the trigger once before dropping the weapon with a metallic clang. The pain released his grip on Yami’s neck, and with a small swivel a bloodied knee connected hard with his solar plexus, knocking all the air out of his chest. Forcing Yami to keep his arms up had been a mistake; a vicious pelt to the back of his head with a pointed elbow increased his velocity to the floor created his regret. Nose breaking from impact, smearing blood across the floor Kuzma continued to scream, Hannibal fervently shaking his head and continuing to tear flesh. The sound was sickening, Seto feeling his stomach lurching he sat forward, hand stabilizing his gut while staring at the freshly bleeding wound on Yami’s side, another lucky graze, but the officer did not seem to notice it. Yami was in a trance, his focus on the filth he had knocked to the tile floor. Kuzma’s placement was perfect, and with fluid steps – the pain in his leg and side unnoticed – he knelt down, grabbing the fallen gun and pressing it hard into the back Kuzma’s head. “You have two choices, I take you to Freeborn, or bite the table.”

Lysbet gasped, hands covering her face, her voice pleading, “Yami don’t…”

Dark crimson eyes connected with her, void of anything, causing Yugi and Seto to both startle up from their chairs and shuffle away. They had seen that darkness before, and it terrified them. The deepness of the voice that answered increased their unease. “His choice Lysbet, don’t pity those that don’t deserve it.” A sob left her, shaking her head she dropped her gaze away, tears streaming down her face. Karel was fuming, all his anger directed not at Kuzma, but at his son, and Yami’s expression almost seemed to mock him. With an angered grunt he wrapped his arms protectively around his daughter, not noticing the pained twinge that flickered through his son’s dark eyes.

Turning back to Kuzma, Yami growled darkly, “Make your choice.” Seeing the tears and fear in the man’s eyes, he got his answer, stating the release word, “Vrijlating,” while stepping back. Hannibal snarled but did as told; watching the man’s every move as Kuzma shuffled up to his knees then slumped forward and clamped his teeth down on the edge of a nearby table in the Bratva’s traditional execution position. Lifting and aiming, Yami murmured out, “Burn in hell.”

The gunshot rang loudly, deafening as it was released from its confines and buried itself into the back of Kuzma’s head, tunnelling through his cranium before exploding out through his mouth. The force and air impact disintegrated his face, leaving it a bloodied flopping mess as his carcass plummeted to the floor. In that instant Seto watched dark eyes drain of their emptiness and be replaced with distraught crimson, but the body remained calm and calculating, motions clearly forced and pain unnoticed. Quietly, Yami pulled his uniform back on, except for his vest that was still on Lysbet, wincing when his fingers smeared through blood and the rough edges of a wound on the side of his ribs. Shrugging into his jacket he sunk down to his knees barely an inch away from Kuzma’s body as the adrenaline drained from his system. Smearing the pool of blood as he slid ungracefully to the once pristine white tile floor. His gaze locked on the corpse beside him, shaking violently. Intense pain began to fill him, his head was throbbing and spinning intensely, his jaw already incredibly swollen, while his left leg was beginning to seize from the damage, as was his side. Exhaling a shaky breath he reached out with one hand - the other staunching the bleeding on his side- closing the still open and undamaged eyes before rolling the body face down.

Stunned, Seto slowly crept forward, whatever had taken over Yami for that few minutes was gone, the darkness had clearly dissipated and left extreme remorse running rampant through the young man. Extending out a hand he went to help Yami up, but Hannibal snapped at his outstretched hand before he could even get Yami’s attention. Hunched and ready to launch Hannibal stood between the stranger and his handler, protection mode on high. Though, as if a switch had been flicked, his whole demeanour dropped when Yami’s hand ghosted up and gripped his harness. Quickly sitting Hannibal cuddled up to Yami, his handler wrapping his arms around him almost like a lost child, whispering praises to him while softly stroking his head. The clicking of heels turned Seto around; as did the hand that gently pushed him out of the way, Lysbet rushing past him and kneeling down beside her little brother. She was whispering to Yami in a language that he did not understand, Dutch he assumed considering it was their first language. Though she was crying she was clearly unafraid through her distraught for him, one hand gently caressing his face while the other pressed perfectly manicured fingers to staunch the bleeding on his leg. Hazy eyes locked with Lysbet’s, concussion clear as the pupils were slow to follow, “Are you alright…fuck, Lysbet...”

Head shaking she enveloped him tightly, grateful that they were nearly the same height as she forced his head to rest on her shoulder, soft fingers running through damp bangs. “You had no idea this was going to happen. Don’t apologize.”

“You could have been hurt…they could have been…”

“I said enough, Yami, don’t make your injuries worse.” Feeling an insistent cold nose nudging her elbow she glanced down at Hannibal, smiling warmly at him, reaching out and affectionately petting the fretting K9. “He’ll be ok boy, settle down.”

Feeling a familiar hand grip his arm Seto was startled out of staring at the siblings and glanced at Yugi, clearly confused, his friend sighed at him, whispering in Japanese, “I will explain it to you later.”

“No you won’t,” came Yami’s haggard voice, making the two look at him in shock, though his consciousness was waning he glared hard at them from Lysbet’s protective shoulder. “You really should not divert to other languages if you do not know if those around you cannot speak them, especially if you are trying to be secretive. Thank you, Yugi, but I will decide who knows this information about me and who does not. I have not divested whatever knowledge you have, so if Mr Kaiba here is going to know anything he will know the truth, not the bullshit my lovely father likes to tell everyone.” Karel snarled at that and crossed his arms, turning his back on the group, something only Seto seemed to have seen.

“Sorry,” Yugi stammered, bowing his head. “I meant no offense.”

“I know, but again, I will do the talking about this matter, not anyone else.”

“Yami…” Lysbet tried to protest, but her brother’s tired hands gripped her, warning clear in the hold, she relented, but not completely. “Fine, have it your way, but one of these days you need to take the hands that want to help you, instead of biting them.” Pulling off the Kevlar vest she laid it beside him, all the while shaking her head and wiping away tears. “Thank you, by the way. Though you were the one that needed it.”

“That’s a risk I was willing to take. I’ve been shot before, you haven’t, and I’d like to keep it that way,” Yami said calmly, shuffling out of his jacket and carefully putting the vest back on. With determined look and a deep breath Yami used the table to heft himself up; Lysbet was up with him, her soft hands on his back and arm steadying the slight sway in his normally stiff stance. Taking another deep breath, stabilizing himself, Yami gave a weak smile to Seto and Yugi, clearly forced and awkward. “I’m sorry that this is how we had to end up meeting. And, I’m sorry that you had to be involved and witness this…” with a dramatic wave to the entire room he gave his silent explanation.

The former CEO held up a hand, surprised when Yami went quiet and stared at him cautiously, “It’s not like this was on purpose. Besides, I think it may have inhibited you from beating around the bush, per say.”

The shattering of glass, the loud bang of doors being blasted off their hinges, and commanding yells forced all of them to turn their attention to the front doors. Police officers flooded in, quickly clearing the scene and surrounding them. Protesting Seto and Yugi were pulled aside, Karel joining them, while Lysbet was taken aside separately. One officer, who clearly knew her well, draped his jacket around her shoulders and pulled her aside, seeming to check her wellness and give comfort. Yami, however, was promptly surrounded by several officers, all checking on him and drilling him, clearly concerned. But, the young man did not get more than a few words in before a familiar face ducked into the circle. Falling silent, and stiff, Yami watched the other officers – his security blanket – dissipate around him and leave him with the cause of all the commotion. Arms crossing he stared up into bright blue eyes, dark blonde hair in a perfect crew cut, a hard handsome face belonging to a man not much taller than him, though he had the added benefit of fifty more pounds of muscle. Swallowing hard, trying to ignore the twinge in his leg, along with Hannibal snuggling up against his leg, a low growl emitting from him. From where they stood, Seto and Yugi both caught the discomfort in Yami’s form, try and hide it all he wanted it was still clear.

“Sergeant.”

Scowling then glancing down at the mess beside Yami with little than a grunt as a reaction to the carnage, Freeborn’s face relaxed into mock concern, “The caller just said that there were a few people lurking outside the building, I did not think it would escalate this badly.”

“Of course not.”

Hearing the sardonic tone, he grinned darkly at Yami, “Are you or anyone here hurt? Ah, I see you are bleeding, come, let’s get that checked,” feeling the muscles beneath his arm flinch as he wrapped it around the young man’s shoulders he forcefully led Yami away from his safety net and towards the outside. There was no gentleness in how he handled Yami, forcing the injured man to walk at a pace that he could barely keep up with, and the grip around the smaller man’s shoulder was intense enough to bruise. He did not want Yami squirming away from him like he had before. Conversation switching to Russian, he whispered deeply, “Good to see you are still useful. See to it that you behave yourself; I am putting you on stress leave. I will be in contact with you throughout your leave.”

Yami swallowed hard, “I understand,” he answered quietly, limping heavily, the pain in his leg becoming unbearable. Even with Freeborn holding him tightly and Hannibal pressed against his side as a crutch he was having issues keeping up with the man’s long strides, as each step caused the cut to continue to tear.  

“Good, because we are far from done with you,” tone and body language changing the instant they were in eyesight of the paramedics, he continued on. “I will require a full report from you, at least verbal, before you leave. Written you can do tomorrow before remaining on stress leave. That shot looks rather nasty, probably going to need several stitches, so take it easy as well.”

“Yes sir,” Yami murmured, grateful when the hands of the Paramedics pulled him out of both his stupor and from the Sergeant’s grasp, trying not to exhale audibly in relief.

“Is it possible to completely treat him here?” Freeborn questioned, still following while the two paramedics assisted Yami into the back of the ambulance.

They both stared at him in astonishment, but shrugged and nodded, “We can suture him up here, it looks deep but it seems like it missed the femoral. That may change after we do a ...”

Freeborn nodded and waved him off dismissively, “That’s fine, I just may have to get the statement from him later if that changes. Take care of him please. Oh, and do not mind his K9, Hannibal will stay with you but he will stay out of your way.”

“Sounds good,” the other paramedic said, before stepping into the back of the rig, Hannibal following and hiding behind the airway chair.

2110hrs – Downtown District

After nearly thirty minutes of interrogation by the officers and being sequestered to a table like a bunch of scolded toddlers; Yugi, Lysbet, Karel and Seto quietly stared at the table, waiting to be released. Lysbet was getting antsy, her legs and arms shaking as she conversed harshly with the officer that had pulled her aside earlier. They refused to give them any word on Yami’s condition, never mind where he was or if he had been taken to the hospital. Freeborn seemed to be keeping everyone in the dark, at least everyone but himself. Just the sight of the pompous prick made Seto’s blood boil, especially after he came back in from manhandling Yami away from them and basically ignored them, telling them off when they asked him for any information.

The officer that was with them, Graham, a medium height and fairly handsome man of African ethnicity, built like a compacted line-backer. Aside from being obvious eye candy, he was also very affectionate to Lysbet, something Karel did not seem to be clueing into, though Yugi at least seemed to be completely fine with the situation. Jadedness obvious in his thick build, Graham was watching Freeborn cautiously as he spoke, one hand rubbing Lysbet’s shoulder, “He’ll be fine, the bugger is tougher than me,” voice holding a thick Dorset British accent. “There was an ambulance out front; I bet they are treating him in there.”

Biting her lips nervously, eyes blank and trained straight forward, Lysbet murmured out, “I need to make sure he’s ok.”

“He was shot twice, even if the bullets just grazed him he was bleeding enough for at least a few stitches,” Yugi stated quietly, arms crossed and slouched in his seat. “He seemed pretty concussed too. All those factors tell me he should have been transported to the hospital.”

“Aye,” Graham agreed. “But, you have no idea the kind of power Freeborn has on some people.”

“Speak of the devil,” Seto warned under his breath.

Sauntering up to them, having just come from outside as he was dusting off the remaining remnants of snow, Freeborn gave Graham a silencing stare then smiled at the group. “All of you are clear to go, I have already arranged for taxi’s to take all of you home. Also, Seto Kaiba was it?” Getting a stiff nod in answer from the former CEO, Freeborn cut his body angle enough that Karel and Lysbet were blocked off. “I need you to go home with Yami. The medics say he has a concussion and they have loaded him with a fair bit of morphine. They are almost done suturing him up, but their condition on releasing him and not taking him to the hospital overnight is that someone goes home with him. Can I trust you with his safety for the evening; you seem to be the most level headed one of the bunch.”

“No, I will go with him,” Lysbet began to protest, Freeborn snapped to her and gently eased her back down into her chair, expression far from comforting as he seemed to try and portray.

“You have been through a lot tonight, Miss Raske, it would be far better for you to go home and rest, perhaps spend the night with your father if you need to. However, Yami is in no condition to be left with someone that cannot fully assist him, he can barely walk. No offense, Mrs. Raske, but I do not think you would be able to hold him up for the amount of time he needs.” Lysbet was fuming, but Graham’s hands returned to her shoulder’s and restrained her, nodding angrily in acquiescence she waved him away rudely. “Good, now, Mr. Kaiba, are you willing?”

Resisting a sharp retort, Seto bobbed his head stiffly, “I am. Now take me to him.”

Freeborn stiffened at the tone, sensing the hostility, but bowed in answer and lead Seto outside into the cold. It was still snowing, nowhere near as heavily now though; it was a soft dance of white flakes and a subtle bitter breeze. Shrugging in his jacket against the slight cold Seto trudged behind Freeborn, wishing that he could burn a hole straight through the back of the man’s head with his stare. Jaw locked he ignored the others around him, officers and bystanders staring in question. He could see the ambulance parked out of view, the light flooding out when Freeborn opened the back doors, not even bothering to knock. Two rather pissed off paramedics glared at him, but didn’t say anything, one returned back to his work while the other stared at Seto. Hannibal was still hiding in the back, but his hackles were back up and his snarl was evident. “This is Seto, a friend of his; he will be going home with him.”

“Good, thank you Sergeant,” mumbled the medic that was leaning over Yami. “You can leave us now.”

With a grunt Freeborn pushed past Seto and headed back towards the restaurant. Scowling Seto glanced in and took in the view. Yami was laying on his right side, an icepack cradling his face while a pillow rested beneath his hip. Bruising was starting to show along his entire jaw bone, along with the mark on his cheeks where the gun had connected with it and left an imprint. Crimson eyes were watching him warily, hands tightening in discomfort. The medic had already stitched up the side wound, but the leg was still being finished. To do so, they had cut away his entire one pant leg, leaving his leg bare except for the top of his boxers showing. His shirt was also pulled up, torso and stomach riddled with angry scars – some old, some clearly newer by the slight purple tinge they still held. Seto’s brow furrowed at this, also seeing a ragged scar crossing Yami’s exposed knee, it looked like some of the wounds he had seen from shrapnel damage on some of the documentaries he had watched. He could also see multiple tattoos peeking through the scars, covering some of them. All of them were military based, coordinates on what could be seen of his back, along with dog tag images or paw prints. An EKG symbol was imprinted on his right forearm just below another ragged scar, fighter imprinted below it. Yami was growing agitated with his scrutiny, and for obvious reasons, aside from taking in the damage and scars, Seto was also admiring him with no qualms. Yami was well toned, softly tanned skin tight over well-built muscle, yet still petite and alluring. He had always been attracted to Atemu, Yugi’s bizarre other self, but he had kept quiet, especially since it had taken until the young man had returned to the afterlife that he admitted that he existed as a separate entity. However, the Yami currently in front of him was significantly more attractive with his uniqueness, the scars and tattoos adding to his allure, along with his increased physique. Atemu was toned, but in the way a fit teenager would be, which is exactly what he had been; long, lean and petite. The man before him was far more filled out, shoulders a touch broader and muscles well developed and defined.  

“So,” Yami’s shaky voice cut him out of his unabashed relishing, the officer deeply uncomfortable and not looking at him. Jaw hindering him from speaking well, Yami murmured out the rest. “Freeborn’s sending you with me.”

“Yes,” he answered, blushing slightly and glancing away before drifting back, eyes narrowing at Yami’s intense reaction to him. It wasn’t one of disgust, but of fear if he had to guess, and that disturbed him. “Just for the night.”

“Good, I never have guests. You won’t be considered one. There is a spare room upstairs. You can do what you want. I’m going to bed.”

Huffing Seto crossed his arms, “Not one for pleasantries are you.”

“I am only allowing you to my home because Freeborn demanded it,” wincing sharply as the medic pulled the last stitch tight, but gently cleaned and then bandaged it. “I don’t like company.”

“Well, get used to it for a night,” Seto said, irritated and scowling. Sharp crimson eyes snapped to him, unwavering he quirked his head. “Unwelcomed or not, I’m staying there, someone has to save you from making yourself worse.”

At that Yami let out a dark wry chuckle, “Keep telling yourself that Mr. Kaiba, you’ll be about as useless as a toddler in that department.”

Cutting in, the one medic placed a bag of pills beside Yami, “Here is the T4’s, should be enough for a couple of days. Get some rest, alright, you are good to go. I’ll tape your pants closed so you don’t have to walk around like that, being soaked in blood is bad enough. Your cab should be here already.” Yami gave him a grateful nod and took the offered hand to help him sit up. “Now remember, if your head gets worse, go in. You may be used to your jaw dislocating, but you never know if it went back in wrong.” Another nod was all he got, sighing the medic quietly took out some IV tape and haphazardly taped the pants closed, hands guiding Yami carefully up and towards the door.

Seto reached up to help him clamber out of the ambulance, his hands were snapped at, Hannibal barrelling into him and shoving him out of the way. Giving the dog a snarl back, Seto shuffled forward and kept his hands out while Yami used the dogs strong back as a brace to stand and walk, the dog be damned he wasn’t going to let Yami fall and rip open the fresh stitches. Yami ignored his helpful hands, completely relying on Hannibal, hand tightly gripping the harness while limping to the nearby taxi, it was a good thing the dogs back was as high as Yami’s hips. Baffled again, and a little pissed, Seto clambered into the front seat of the taxi when Hannibal snarled at him again when trying to get into the backseat. The damn dog was evil. Yami prattled off the address then went quiet, sitting in the back with his eyes locked on his phone, messaging his sister back Seto presumed.

The next twenty minutes passed in near silence, aside from the cab driver asking a few clarification questions along with a few pleasantries. They weaved into one of the residential districts, fairly newer homes in a predominantly older neighbourhood with massive lots and filled with well grown trees. Pulling up in front of a modest bungalow Yami quickly paid the driver and shuffled out, again ignoring Seto’s insistent hands and letting Hannibal guide him. Closing the vehicle door Yami looked directly at Seto, his expression determined, “Get back in the car, go to your hotel, I’ll be fine.”

Incredulous, Seto resisted a chortle, shaking his head he placed his hands on his hips, “Oh hell no. You are not well enough to be left alone right now. I’m coming in.”

Stiffening Yami stepped back from him, his discomfort rising, “I have Hannibal, who is far more useful than you will be.”

“He’s a dog!”

“He is my partner!” was the sharp reply, a scary glint in ruby orbs, bright in the street light. “This ‘dog’ is more loyal than any person has ever been or ever will be, never mind ten times more intelligent. Hannibal is more than just a dog, he is my family and he is my lifeline. Do not disrespect him.” The intensity of Yami’s voice was amplified by Hannibal’s low grow. “For that alone, you can kindly fuck off. No wonder Karel picked you out, you and him will get along just swell.”

“Karel is your father, have some respect!” Seto yelled defensively, feeling backed into a corner, his mouth running away from him and bury him in a load of trouble.

Yami’s expression grew dark again, “The fucker doesn’t understand the meaning of that title. Get in the car, I so hope that I do not have the pleasure of sharing your company again.” With a sharp turn he headed towards the front door, shoulders straight and fists tight, Hannibal snarling one last time at Seto then strutted off to be his handler’s crutch. Hearing the car door open and close Yami exhaled deeply in relief, not bothering to look back as the car pulled away, pulling out his keys from his pocket he slid it in the lock and turned it before turning the door handle. His body froze when footsteps hurried up behind him on the stone pathway leading to the door. Swivelling around, barely keeping his footing, he ground out warningly at the blue eyed devil stalking towards him. “Leave me alone.”

Face to face with Yami, their warm breaths colliding, the steps giving Yami the needed height to be head level with him, Seto shoved his hands in his pocket, sighing deeply. “I want to say sorry…I was out of line.”

“Yes, you were,” the officer answered, holding Hannibal back, albeit barely. “Now, please leave!”

“I’m sorry alright,” Seto said exasperatedly, trying to fix the situation. “Please, I’m worried as hell about leaving you alone right now.”

“I’m not alone,” came the whispered response, breathing haggard. “For fuck sakes, please leave, I’ll call you a cab. We can, try this whole normal people conversation and apology thing another day, but right now I need to go to sleep.”

“Yami, who’s with you?” came a familiar voice from with the house, the door opening and revealing an even more familiar face. Bakura stood stiffly, eyes narrowing dangerously, protectively. Stepping out on the porch he stepped between Yami and Seto, “You must be Karel’s new replacement.”

Jaw dropping Seto stared at the face he had seen at the restaurant, not seeing Yami’s exhaustion increase along with a restraining hand on Bakura’s arm. Fists balling he snarled darkly, “What the hell are you doing here?!”

Bakura quirked a brow, “This is my house numbnuts, I’m his roommate.”

“You were with that asshole that humiliated him,” with a quick step Seto took a full handful of Bakura’s shirt. “If you are his roommate, his friend, why did you run away when he needed you!”

“Mr. Kaiba, back off,” Yami voice cut through, though quickly ignored as Bakura retorted back.

“None of your damn business prissy boy, now kindly let me go and fuck off,” with that he reached up and tried to break Seto’s hold, surprised and annoyed when he met strong resistance, the former CEO apparently knowing some self-defence. Shrugging Bakura snapped his one hand forward into Seto’s exposed stomach, expecting Seto’s body arching to cradle it  he cracked his other hand up and into the former CEO’s side, winding him and dropping him to the stairs of the porch. “Do not make me ask again…”

“Will you two just stop it!” Both turned to see Yami panting and leaning heavily in the doorway, Hannibal helping him keep his balance. “Just…dammit get inside before you wake the neighbours up.” Drained beyond coherence Yami stumbled into the house, the only thing keeping him upright was Hannibal.

Glaring at each other the two men declared a silent truce then trudged in, Bakura taking quick steps forward and wrapping a steadying arm around Yami’s staggering form. Expression losing all malice and turning to intense concern, he used his other hand to first stop Yami from moving any more then tilted his face up into the light. “Why didn’t you let me stay…he did a number on you.”

“He’s dead,” came the quiet murmur, the voice unsteady.

Reading into it, eyes briefly watching Seto come up behind them, “You did it. Fuck, why didn’t you let me stay!”

“I couldn’t blow your cover!”

Head tilting back and exhaling a deep restrained breath Bakura glared at Yami, “You are lucky he didn’t kill you, or worse!”

Shrugging and staggering away from him, Yami whispered under his breath, not realising that both men heard it as he stumbled towards the kitchen, “Death would have been welcoming.”

Jaw dropping yet again Seto stared at Yami in disbelief, his gut wrenching at the pure sorrow in that tone, and the seriousness. Bakura noticed his reaction, his own body tight but clearly not as surprised by the remark. With a wave towards the plush sectional Bakura told the CEO to go there, seeing the man do so he averted back to his friend. Entering the open kitchen at the back of the house, catching Yami filling up a glass of water at the sink, he reached out and tightly gripped shaking shoulders. “Not today, not ever, do you understand me.”

Garnet gaze lifted to him, dark circles obvious under them, haunted. “Sure, Kura’, we’ll go with that.”

Knowingly, and with a shake of his head, Bakura reached into one of the nearby cabinets. Yami was watching him, and he knew it, pulling out a bottle of sleep aids he crushed a few up in his hands. Turning and with a pointed glare, he upended the dust into Yami’s water. Determined expression causing Yami to stiffen but increase his defiance, “Not tonight. Drink, get some sleep, we’ll talk this through in the morning.”

“And if I don’t want to take these accursed things,” came the quiet threat, the glass now hanging over the sink. Bakura’s hand encompassed his own and Yami flinched, he could feel the panic rising in his system, the all too familiar sensation of the darkness closing in around him, memories flooding through him unrestrained, he no longer had the energy to fight them off. They had been badgering him since the moment he had seen Kuzma, lurching his mind into the horrors that he had endured under that man’s hands, but they were nothing compared to what the Pakhan had done to him. He was trembling, vision flipping between memories and what was going on in front of him. “Bakura, back off…”

“No,” came the heated reply, the glass leaving his hand before his body was rotated around, jaw forced open, head tilted back and the vile concoction poured down his throat. Sighing deeply, expression forlorn, Bakura held Yami up as the man gagged and spluttered, his hand both quickly gripping Yami’s, taking away his friend’s ability to squirm away and force himself to upchuck the water and pills. “You know these pills will make you sleep way better than you will if you try on your own. I’m sorry, but you need sleep. Now relax.”

From the couch Seto quietly stared on, surprised that Hannibal had stayed away through all this, sitting at the edge of the kitchen. His heart was racing, as was his mind, absorbing everything but still reeling. Bakura gave him a comforting smile while guiding Yami out of the kitchen and down the nearby hallway, shielding Yami’s face from view, Hannibal at their heels. He sat in silence, listening as Yami slowly got undressed and into bed, he didn’t hear another word from the officer, only Bakura’s comforting voice through it all. Footsteps coming back into the living room snapped him back, hands fiddling in his lap he tracked Bakura, whom had diverted into the kitchen, the fridge door opening and closing. Quietly Bakura headed towards him, a beer in each hand, one pressed into the former CEO’s hand as a peace offering. Taking it gratefully Seto took a swig of the strong liquid and slouched forward, elbows resting on his knees. “Is he alright?”

“As much as he will be,” a quick swing and a sigh before sitting down nonchalantly, Bakura stared off almost vacantly towards the hallway. “We will see what the morning brings though.”

“I’m so lost,” he admitted, taking another long swing of the cold beer. “No one has told me anything.”

Quirking a brow Bakura seemed to ponder something, then sat forward, “Do you want to stay, or do you want me to call a cab.”

Sensing a secondary offer Seto tapped the bottle against his knee, “It’s late, I’d like to stay if you don’t mind.”

“So long as you have no plan on sleeping. I’ll give you a quick rundown, and this will be the truthful version you will hear. Karel likes to skirt around a lot of pertinent details, and he and Yami both hid a significant amount of it from Lysbet, so she only knows fragments. Whereas I know the entire story, straight from Yami himself, along with everything else I have figured out while working with the gang.”

“Won’t he get mad.”

“Do I look like I care,” with a chuckled Bakura sat back again. “Yami needs a lot more friends and comfort than he allows. Right now, all he has are myself and Hannibal that see everything he endures, know everything about him, are able to keep him sane. I think it’s time to expand that knowledge and support base, and for some odd reason I trust you, which is a compliment because I do not like people.”

Seto snorted, “Tell me something I don’t know.”

Bakura gave him a wry smile, “That’s the plan Sherlock.”

 

A/N: So….thoughts? lol



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