Cursed Gold
Chapter Five

by Katsuko

All disclaimers and warnings are posted in chapter one.

Dedications: My wonderful beta readers Eternal SailorM and Kleptomaniac Can Opener. Also the kitties Aya and Biscuit for keeping me company while I type.

Archive: if ESM wants it; The Asylum;; Katsuko's Obsession. All others please ask.

Note: This chapter brings CG to the current timeline in the Color of Life universe. Anything that looks familiar should, as it's already been mentioned in CoL; just now you get another perspective of certain events.

Okay, is it bad that I'm more than a little amused by Yami's non-reaction? For the past ten minutes he's been gawking at me, and I'm not quite sure if it's because of everything I just told him or because the entire time I was talking my head never left Dorobou's lap. Yeah, it doesn't help my argument that I view the guy as the big brother I never had, but we've done this kinda thing since day one.

"I think you broke Mutou-san," Ryou points out helpfully after a moment.

"Good. Maybe we can ditch him," Dorobou says; and here I was thinking he'd fallen asleep. I can't help but snicker when Yami shoots him a glare.

"I hate you," he growls. I roll my eyes; it's hard to be impressed by a patented Mutou Yami growl when I can do it a thousand times better.

"The feeling's mutual." Now Dorobou's snarls are impressive. I think we spend too much time together... well, when I'm actually home.

"Niisan, Mutou-san...."

That's my cue. Shifting only a few inches I give both of the idiots a glare. "Look. It's getting on towards midnight and sunrise is in six hours. I'd suggest that anyone heading to Kaiba's with me shut up and go to sleep. I sure as hell don't wanna go in there half asleep. Ryou," I turn a gentler gaze to the other twin, "you should probably get some sleep, too."

I know Yami's staring at me, but I don't care. Ryou gives me a grateful look and rises from the couch.

"Mutou-san, I'm afraid we don't have a guest room, but I'm sure Jyonouchi-kun won't mind if you stretch out on the couch."

"Thank you," Yami replies even as Dorobou gives him ones of those 'if looks could kill' glares. I shake my head and close my eyes, determined to get some sleep in the next few hours.

"You aren't coming with us."

"Wanna bet?"

"Shut the fuck up, both of you." Ah. That shut them both up for the moment. Must be the shock of me swearing in Yami's case. Now to get some rest. I'll need it around Seto; much as he aggravates me I can't help but love him. I just hope he's willing to help.



Getting into the Kaiba mansion is way too easy. You'd think the guy would hire someone to keep watch during the day but noooo. Half hour till dawn and there's not a soul around... every employee and guard here is a vamp. I swear, if I hadn't gone to the same school with him for a couple of years I'd think he was older than nineteen... damned elitist.

We circle around to the back door and I see Yami's mouth drop open as I punch in 0-1-2-5, causing the alarm system to go into standby until we're all inside. Hey, is Dorobou...? Yeah, his eyes are locked on Yami's ass. I shouldn't be amused, but my old friend is so obviously infatuated with my 'brother' that I'm surprised he doesn't have guards around our apartment. How Dorobou has failed to see that is beyond me....

As we head deeper into the Kaiba mansion I subtly shift, not enough for Yami to notice a difference but enough for my senses to be a bit sharper. I know Dorobou thinks I'm listening for Seto but in truth I track every inhabitant by their scent. As I suspected, Mr. I-Can-So-Beat-Sunrise is holed up in his home office. Mokuba's scent is coming from farther off--kid's down for the count, I suppose--and the sometimes-ish pair are absent. Good deal, since I almost got caught by the little one about a month ago... which is why I wait until right about now to slip in anymore.

I stop outside Seto's office and turn slightly, keeping my voice low as I speak. "He's usually in here working till he's just about to pass out." At which point I may or may not haul his ass to his room. For a supposed genius he can be a damned idiot at times.

"I hope you have some idea what you're going to say to him," Yami murmurs, looking as if he's rather be anywhere else. That, or he wishes he had a half dozen bodyguards right now. Really, he and Seto do not get along.

Dorobou simply pushes the doors open and strides in like he owns the room. The second he sets foot in the office Seto ceases typing and glares at the three of us. I'd feel more threatened if I couldn't smell exhaustion rolling off him.

"What the hell do you want?" he snarls, no sign of his fangs at all. Now that is pretty impressive. I can only assume he learned from his brothers... well, they're not really his brothers but I don't know what the term is for vampires turned by the same sire living in close proximity. 'Brother' just seems to fit.

Dorobou opts not to answer just yet, flopping into a chair and slouching comfortably before deigning to reply. "I need to know how to find the Master of the City." Simple as that. And he says I blurt shit out...! On a side note, Yami shouldn't smack himself in the face every time Dorobou cuts straight to the point or he'll have a permanent hand print across his forehead.

Seto takes a moment to just stare at Dorobou like he belongs on the short bus or something. "The Master of the City died three months ago. He took a dive out a skyscraper window at dawn if you'll recall."

Yep, that's how Goza-bastard died, all right. I'm of the opinion that he had a little help, especially as no Were or vamp in the city remembers seeing him for the twenty-four hours before he took that morning dive.

Dorobou forges ahead quickly: "That's the previous Master. I'm looking for the current one. You know: the one who's MIA? I need to know how to find him."

Seto's eyes narrow in suspicion. It's not surprising, since as long as I've know Kaiba Seto he's been suspicious by nature. "Why are you looking for him?"

I almost--almost--say, "To smack the shit out of him for slacking off," but I restrain myself. Even if it's what I wanna do to the guy right now, I doubt it would go over well with Seto. Thankfully Dorobou's already speaking before I can open my mouth.

"Everyone's going completely apeshit without the Master keeping order," he says. "They're going to war in the streets."

Seto rolls his eyes, and I resist the urge to lean over the desk and smack him. "Everyone knows that." Damn, he sounds almost condescending. I hope Dorobou missed that. "There's been some injuries, but it's not like a bystander's been killed."

"Tonight one was." ...fuck, I guess that explains the static feel in the air outside the apartment when I got home. I can't really see or recognize the presence of spirits when I'm in human form but I can smell something like electricity after they've gone. I'll have to ask later who died. Dorobou continues, "It'll just get worse from here on out."

That seems to have gotten through to him a little bit. I decide to take a chance and lean down on his desk. "We're all older brothers here," I say, noticing Dorobou's mildly shocked expression at that. I ignore it and continue with, "Don't you want to make the city safe for Mokuba?"

"It wasn't particularly safe for him under the previous Master," he replies; his scent takes on an edge of anger and a touch of nervousness. He's hiding something, and he's hiding it well. "What makes you think a new Master will make any difference?"

I shrug and say, "Make him make a difference." All three of them are giving me a look that says it's not that simple, but somehow, I think it is. I know Kaasan told me something about vampire rites of passage several years ago, but it's a little fuzzy because I learned it right before the Incident. Just about everything from around that time is fuzzy, but maybe it'll come to me.

Seto lets out a soft sigh before steepling his fingers, resting his forehead against them. "I'll ask around tomorrow - tonight and see if anyone knows anything."

"There has to be some kind of rite of succession," Yami says. It's the first thing he's said since we walked in the office and I was starting to think he was trying to become One with the wall or something. "There must be some sort of standardized way of choosing. Otherwise, someone would have seized control by now."

I glance over at Seto to gauge his reaction (Dorobou has this 'what the fuck' expression on his face that would make me laugh if this wasn't a serious matter) and note that he looks mildly stunned. Heh, the Kaiba Seto version of the WTF expression... He recovers quickly and opens up a new document on the laptop and types for a moment. "So we're probably looking for someone the previous Master tapped to be his successor," he says in a tone that I'd call speculative.

Yami nods as he drops down in the chair next to Dorobou. "It might even be someone he turned himself especially for that purpose."

I find myself frowning a bit at that and open my mouth to ask Seto if the new Master might be one of his brothers when Dorobou suddenly stiffens and starts shivering, as if the temperature dropped about a thousand degrees. I subtly scent the air and notice that we've been joined by something. The snap of ozone and a subtle familiarity tell me that whoever it is isn't a threat... but it must've gone right through Dorobou the way he's shaking.

When Dorobou starts to curl inward, Yami takes hold of him and gently pushes him back into a normal seated position. His scent is one of worry and concern, and I'm about to ask if Dorobou's okay when Seto decides he's had enough of being polite for one day.

"What the hell's his problem?"

I don't even bother to bite back my growl. "Dorobou can feel spirits," I half-snarl, "ghosts as you'll have it. That's probably what it is." And I think it's hanging somewhere around Seto because that's where the ozone-and-fresh-snow smell is lingering.

"I thought cats were supposed to be able to sense stuff like that."

No shit, Sherlock. And I do, I just don't want to tell you that I think your little brother decided to visit you even though it's five minutes till dawn and he's been dead for a good ten minutes by now. Instead of saying that I respond with, "Well, I'm not a cat right now, am I?"

I notice out of the corner of my eye that not only is Dorobou sitting up normally again but both he and Yami are avidly watching this exchange. As glad as I am that my brother is okay, I resent the fact that I'm the entertainment portion of the meeting.

Seto shrugs. "Tomcats will be tomcats, no matter what form they're in."

...just for the record, I hate when he calls me that. I'd much rather he call me anything else, even idiot or (god forbid) mutt, but tomcat just makes my fur bristle and primes me for a fight. I'm seconds away from launching myself over the desk at him when I remember--

I grin at him, fish my cell phone out of my jacket pocket and flop down on top of the desk. I shake my phone in his face for a moment and purr out, "I've got Ryou on speed-dial."

I ignore the fact that Dorobou and Yami smacked themselves in the face in unison, more interested in the fact that Seto actually paled for a moment when I told him that. Yes, I love the guy, but if I do somehow manage to get involved with him he's going to have to deal with my family... and Ryou hates the term 'tomcat' even more than I do. The one time Seto called me that at school Ryou got up in his face and ripped him up one side and down the other. It was pretty damned funny, watching my brother go all rabid-bunny on the guy I like. Ryou apologized for it afterward... well, to me anyway; he still thinks Seto deserved it.

Speaking of Seto, he pushes himself to his feet, holding tight to the desk for support. "As fun as it's been," he says in a 'get the hell out' tone of voice, "it's time for me to retire now. I trust you can show yourselves out?"

Dorobou stands up as well, Yami rising in unison and still hanging on like he thinks Dorobou is going to collapse any second. "Consider us gone. We'll be back tonight and see if you've found out anything."

"You'd better be planning on looking some yourselves," Seto sneers. I'm of half a mind to let him lay where he falls for that one.

"We'll see what can be found out from people who are alive during the day," Yami replies in just as rude a manner. Really, I'm tempted to lock the two of them in a room together and see which one can out-snark the other one of these days.

Dorobou and Yami start out of the office, but I've already decided this is going to be one of my mansion days. I hear Dorobou's footsteps falter and I glance up to see him looking my way. "Staying, Kitty?"

"A little while," I reply. I'll probably go home after I check security over and make sure no one's hiding in the bushes. Really, vampires are too damned vulnerable during the daylight hours. Hate like hell for Seto to be staked before I can work up the nerve to tell him I think I'm in love with him.

Dorobou nods. "Be careful coming home then."

"Okay." I absently wave as Dorobou and Yami leave, my attention focused on Seto. He's close to collapsing now; hell, he should have been dead a good ten minutes ago. It's amazing he's even on his feet right now... and it's taking every ounce of willpower I have to remain where I am.

It's hard, though. I've been sneaking into this place for three months now, and this is the fifth time I've seen Seto just before his body surrenders to the dawn. He's shaking, eyes unfocused, panting for breath that he doesn't even need, and completely unaware of the world around him. I'm sure he didn't even really notice Dorobou and Yami leave, he was already a few seconds into this state when they pulled the door closed behind them.

I wait until Seto's entire body goes limp before I move, catching him just before he hits the floor. For a moment I simply hold him against me, scenting him before scowling to myself. The ozone snap has faded from the room, which means that Mokuba's and apparently Seto's spirits have left. That's not what's annoying me, though, it's the fact that along with the lingering exhaustion I'm picking up a thread of hunger. Damned idiot skipped a feeding last night, apparently. I swear, one of these days I'm going to be here when he wakes up and demand that he get a keeper or a pomme de sang or something.

I heave a sigh and pick up Seto easily. I'll put him to bed and do a walk-through of the mansion before I leave. It's the least I can do for the guy I love, after all.

Ah, yes, Jyonouchi is crushing on Kaiba. Big shocker there, no? *snicker* Chapter Six coming soon.

[ Cursed Gold 01 | Cursed Gold 02 | Cursed Gold 03 | Cursed Gold 04 | Cursed Gold 05 | Cursed Gold 06 | Cursed Gold 07 | Cursed Gold 08 | Cursed Gold 09 | Cursed Gold Epilogue ]
[ Avarice 01 | Avarice 02 | Avarice 03 | Avarice 04 | Avarice 05 | Avarice 06 | Avarice 07 | Avarice Epilogue ]
[ Endear ]
[ Unbreakable ]