Well, that's just great. Great! Fantastic, even! Do I even actually have any secrets anymore?
Apparently, though, that isn't the question foremost in my mind, because what comes out is, "You willingly confronted Treeboy?" He shrugs. "And lived?"
"Maybe Kaiba-kun has a soft spot for guys named 'Bakura'?" Holy shit, and they call me the evil twin! "That's because they don't know us, niisan."
"Can you let me finish thinking something before you start answering it?"
"I'd do that if you'd stop thinking out loud." Shit. "Is there anything else you'd like to tell me about?" Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fucking fuck.
"No, definitely not." God, this is all giving me a fucking migraine as it is. "Look, just give me a little time to sort all this shit out in my head. Are Kitty and the Ishtars down at the boathouse?"
He pauses, obviously thinking about it. "Yeah, I think so. Do you want me to call down and be sure?"
When, precisely, did we get so used to living here that phrases like 'calling down' just started rolling off our tongues? I mean, Ryou and I, we were just supposed to be here until the danger with Oyaji passed. Somehow, when it ended two years ago, we never left. I'm just not sure if that's a good or a bad thing yet.
"Nah, I'll just walk down there and check. Get out of the house for a little bit."
I barely get the words out of my mouth before he's on his feet. "All right," he declares almost cheerfully, "just let me grab my coat and--"
"Sorting shit out in my head kind of implies having peace and quiet to do it," I remind him.
"I can be quiet!"
I have to literally bite down on laughter. It would not do to laugh in his face. "This is you being quiet then, right?"
"You can't go alone!" That was damn near a shriek, and I have to raise an eyebrow in a silent question. It's a moral imperative. I mean, we've always been a bit codependent on each other -- it comes with having the sort of family we did -- but this is clingy even for us. "I mean, just two weeks ago, you were in a coma, and we all thought we were going to lose you any minute. You're still obviously very sick. Forgive me for being a bit paranoid leaving you alone."
I wish I could argue with that. I really do. He's using the same argument I would in this situation, though, albeit with a lot less profanity than I would generally go with. I suck at arguing with my own logic. There is one thing, though. "It's not like I'm alone. Mai's around. It's not like I can give my ghostly bodyguard the slip." For long, anyway. "Do I really need more than her for on the grounds?"
And now I'm saying that crap. When the hell did we get to the point of saying that crap so easily?
It's entirely too obvious he wants to argue that point. In fact-- "Niisan..."
"That was a rhetorical question, Ryou."
"And I see being marked by Kaiba-kun has done good things for your vocabulary."
Flipping someone off totally counts as an answer, right?
You know, I don't even try to expect what I'm going to find when I walk into the boathouse anymore. I used to try, but a pard of half-baked leopards and the Ishtars broke me of that fast. One of these nights or days, I'm going to walk in here to find they've adopted every creature in Domino with a hint of feline DNA, from housecats to the lions at the zoo, and I won't be surprised. In fact, I'll probably be the one screaming 'I told you so' at top volume. Domesticity, given this group, is the only thing that's still really shocking, on the other hand.
Thankfully, some deity up there likes me enough to not pull something like that on me, not after Ryou's weird clinginess. Instead, I manage to get a mostly dressed Kitty and a semi-sane -- if unusually pensive-looking -- Malik. Color me shocked.
"Did you take the long way down here or something, Boss?" Malik snaps. He does leave the door open just wide enough for me to squeeze between him and Kitty to come inside, though. "I've been listening to Curly, Larry, and Moe bitch about smelling your sexually frustrated hormones for the last ten minutes."
"Don't worry. I'm not hard up enough yet to jump your bones again. Your boyfriend bites, after all," I comment in amusement, before stopping as another thought occurs to me. "Hell, for that matter, you bite."
Unsurprisingly, Malik laughs at that. "So what brings you down here?"
There's not a lot of point in trying to find something without car fur to sit on; everything in here is covered in it. Generally, it's an improvement: nothing in here was designed to match or even look nice. It's all sinfully comfortable, though. So I at least know to expect two things when I flop down on a sofa that Mai described as 'pistachio with mustard and tapioca polka dots': it will be comfortable and there will be a cloud of cat hair that goes up. I am not disappointed in either aspect.
And holy shit, maybe the brat's right and being bound to Kaiba is changing the way I talk. Wow.
"I had to get out of the house for a bit. It was getting a bit claustrophobic."
"How?" And there's Kitty, as blunt as ever.
"I don't think I've taken more than two steps in the last two weeks without Treeboy or the brat up my ass, and frankly, it's starting to piss me off. I get that things sucked and all and that they still suck, but I am not dropping dead in the next ten minutes."
"You smell off." I will not freak out at Kitty's words. Really, I won't. Something must show, though, because he continues. "I don't know what it is, but it's... off."
Deep breath, and no freaking the fuck out. "Besides the marks, you mean?"
"Yeah," he answers with a shrug. "Those just smell like bits of Seto stuck to you."
"Okay. One: that's just gross, Kitty." Good to see my discomfort is amusing around here. "And two: that's probably because I'm going to have to rename my brother 'Cockblock'."
Not that I really need to tell Kitty I haven't been getting any. He can smell it, after all. I do at least get a sympathetic wince off of them. It's better than nothing.
I don't think I've ever heard Malik sound so hesitant like this before. Can't blame a guy for being nervous after that. "What?"
"I have a favor to ask."
Without a word, Kitty gets up to close the door to the rest of the house, presumably where the rest of the pard are. It's not much. It won't do a lot to block or dampen sensitive feline hearing. Maybe, though, it's the thought that counts -- or maybe Kitty has them in line enough to know better than to eavesdrop.
I make my eyes quit following my former housecat around -- because his nervous stalking is making me even more nervous -- and look back over at Malik, who is shifting uncomfortably in an overstuffed chair that's roughly the same color as a school bus. Oh, this won't be good at all.
"What is it?"
"You told me once that you could separate Marik and me. If the offer's still open-- we want to take it."
I have to shake my head to clear it a bit. This is just so far beyond anything I've ever really given any thought to that it's not even still in the same city. "Why?" I risk a glance at Kitty. He may look calm, but I would like to think that I've known him long enough to know that, if he had his tail out right now, it'd be thrashing. "And what do you think of this?"
"I'm behind it," Kitty offers almost diplomatically.
"'Why'... is a little bit harder. We nearly got ripped apart in that thrice-damned dream world," Malik grits his teeth as he explains. "We need to be separate now to take care of each other." He takes a deep breath. "After that, yeah, we just... We have to be separate. Would you still be willing to help us out with that?"
I did that. I did that to my oldest friend. Zork couldn't touch souls except through me. If that creature pulled them, pulled them hard enough to try to separate them, then that had to be me. Or my power. Or whatever. It was me. I did it. Hell, maybe I even did it. That part is still a huge blur, but I do know that I call spirits in situations like that finally fight sounded like it was. No, I did this.
Still, I have to answer slowly. "I'm still willing, yes. I'm... not a hundred percent yet. Yami might be better able to do it."
Malik shifts nervously again, shaking his head before I've even finished speaking. "No. I mean, no offense or anything. I know he's your boyfriend and all, but no. I don't know him well enough to trust him with this."
It makes sense, I suppose. I wouldn't like trusting someone I barely know with half of my soul either. I damn sure wouldn't trust them with Ryou's. "All right, I do it. When?"
They exchange an indecipherable look that seems to speak volumes, before Kitty finally answers, settling down to sit on the arm of Malik's chair. "Sooner would be better than later." The 'before someone chickens out' is completely unspoken but very obviously there.
Crap. I should have known they were going to say that. Of course. "All right." This is going to suck.
It's been a while since I've had to reach down inside myself for my power; lately, it's been hopping up to meet me well before I'm ready for it. It's still there, though, right where it's supposed to be. It even still feels like it's supposed to: like a cold spring, stationary and waiting. Below that, however, beneath the surface, there's something else, something new. I don't know what to compare it to -- I've always sucked at metaphors -- but it's the marks. I guess, if my powers are like a cold spring, then the marks are like tributaries leading to and from it. I can lend power out from it, and unless I'm gravely mistaken, I can borrow power from it.
What the hell... It's worth a shot anyway -- and hey! Seto can only kill me once, right?
I reach for Seto's power and immediately fight the urge to shiver. It's hard to tell if the power is warm or cold. I mean, I know it's vampire cold, but this is comparing it to dead cold. Which cold is colder?
Seto's awake. Well, he's waking up. Calling him awake right now would be like calling me awake before coffee. Ugh, on that note, I hope no one ever figures out shit like this, because the last thing I ever want is to walk into a store and see someone advertising a blood energy drink. I mean, the human ones are gross enough.
So, yeah, it definitely looks like I can pull from Seto. Good. That might get me through this. Better to beg forgiveness than ask permission and all that, not that I'll be doing either one. At least, I'm not planning on it. We'll see when this is done if maybe I should.
I refocus my attention back on the Ishtars, and there it is, plain as day: the separation between the two of them. I've always sort of thought of it as a dotted line between them because, really, that's the most apt description. Marik made telling the difference between them, at least on this level, easy when he took all the ahmet and left Malik with all the human. It makes this... easy.
It's easy to imagine fashioning the water of the still pool inside of me into a knife; I'm good with knives, after all. It's easy to imagine using that knife with the precision of a scalpel and the force of a machete. It's easy to imagine splitting the two pieces asunder. It's easy to leave the human half in the original body and boosting the ahmet's power as its hot, hot power crafts a body all its own -- all its own except for that cold spark that will always be me. It's all so very, very easy.
It's easy, yes, but it's also exhausting. I'm glad I didn't try to do this standing up or anything; I think my knees might have decided to go on vacation without the rest of me. As it is, I can feel myself folding up like wet noodles (Ugh, food. Not a pleasant thought right now) and sinking down further into that ugly couch. That's okay, though, because I can watch Kitty guiding Ishtars into separate chairs. I think Malik is the one in the school bus yellow chair and Marik is the one in the used kitty litter grey one... Yeah, that's right. That's Malik, all right. I can hear his heart beating.
I probably shouldn't be able to do that, should I? That's not my kind of power, is it? I should put it back where I got it in that case, shouldn't I?
It's still pretty easy to reach down inside that well inside me where my abilities live and let go of the bits I borrowed from Seto. It's startlingly easy to pick up shit from him when I do that too.
Damn, he's pissed.
01 June 2010
Okay, I'm coming along pretty good on this after all. I was starting to worry that I wouldn't. I've revised my goal for this one, down from 25000 to 15000, which means I'm 14 percent of the way there! Go, Team Me! Considering I'm handwriting this with a borked hand, I'd say that's doing pretty good. (Borked hand = carpal tunnel x.x)
I'm still hoping to have this done by the end of the month, so wish me well!
Only a few more chapters to go, then Season One will be over. There will definitely be a Season Two. There might also be a Season 1.5, but we'll have to see on that one. It's very much in the planning phase.
Yami fans, he's back next chapter. Shit is about to start going down again, and this time it will be worse than ever!
See you next chapter!