Seto Kaiba paced in his office. There were piles of documents on his desk that needed to be looked through, and spindle full of phone calls to be returned, but he ignored them. It had been three days since Mokuba went missing and there just weren't any leads. He ran his hand through his hair, desperately trying to think of who his biggest enemy was at the moment. It was no good. He had made so many people angry over the years with his aggressive business practices that it was impossible to narrow it down.
Seto went over to his desk and picked up his cup of coffee. He brought it up to his lips, but set it back down before drinking anything. He started walking towards the door, but turned around halfway and went back to sit behind his desk. Seto picked up a document and stared at it without reading.
Mokuba had been kidnapped many times before, but this was the first time they hadn't heard from the captors within 24 hours. They weren't asking for a ransom. In fact, Seto was only assuming that he had been kidnapped based on past experiences. Seto clenched his fists, tearing the paper he was holding a little. There hadn't been a notable sign of a struggle anywhere, but Mokuba was gone. That meant that either he had run away or he was
Seto slammed his fists down on the desk and kicked his chair away. He pushed the stacks of papers off of his desk and chucked a cup full of pens across the room. He continued to cause destruction in his office, pulling down pictures and scattering the couch cushions.
Derisive laughter halted his tantrum. Seto whirled. Someone was feeding video into his office television. The only thing truly visible on the screen was a man with shadowed eyes.
"It is so good to see the composed Seto Kaiba finally getting bothered and losing his temper. Delicious."
"Who the hell are you?" Seto growled, but stayed still.
The shadowed man clicked his tongue. "No, that would make this too easy. Although, you could call me 'Master' if you'd like."
The man laughed again. "Hm, well let's get to the main course. Your brother is here and he is alive, and you'll have to do something for me to ensure his safe return. You know the routine."
"Show him to me. Prove that he's with you."
The man stepped aside. Mokuba was tied upon a footstool, looking defiant.
"Mokuba? Mokuba, say something." Seto clenched his fist.
"Well, Mokuba," said the man, putting a hand on his shoulder, "do you have something you want to tell your brother?"
"Get these bastards, Seto. They call this guy Hac-" The man silenced Mokuba with a hand.
He chuckled. "Don't be so sour, Mokuba. Now, Seto, in order to make sure that you're going to be compliant, why don't I show you what will happen if you try anything distasteful?" He raised a hand.
Seto let out a feral snarl as he stepped toward the television. Any thought of action halted in his mind as a forearm entered the shot and stopped the man's descending hand. He stayed still as the shadowed man's attention turned to dragging an unknown woman onscreen.
He ignored the man's rant about how this "Maita" had sabotaged him and tuned out the sounds of the beating she was receiving. Seto's whole attention was fixed on the words Mokuba was silently mouthing.
Soon, however, Maita was reduced to a shivering heap on the floor. The shadowed man noticed what Mokuba was doing and backhanded him angrily. Seto bristled, but he was too busy processing what he read off of Mokuba's lips to react properly.
The shadowed man grabbed the camera roughly and brought it close, making his huge mouth and crooked teeth and gold fillings highly visible. His breath was ragged with anger. "We'll make our demands known at a later date." The video feed ended.
Seto waited for a moment before striding over to the television and removing the small camera they had somehow managed to place over the manufacturer's logo. He almost broke it between his fingers before deciding that it could contain some clues. His brain was so busy churning through the information that Mokuba had given him and the things he'd managed to deduce from the feed that he barely registered righting his chair and logging into his computer.
Those bastards severely underestimated him.
You knocked lightly on Mokuba's door. He didn't answer, as you expected.
"Mokuba?" The door was slightly open so you pushed it open to peek inside. Mokuba sat on his bed with his head turned toward the wall. You approached the younger boy, straining your neck in order to see his face, but he just turned it away even further. "Look at me, Mokuba." You reached your hand around to the side of his face and pulled it towards you. Just as you had suspected there was a cut and bruise forming where the boss had hit him.
Mokuba had kept his eyes averted, but they snapped to your face with a gasp when you lightly touched the mark with the cold pack you were carrying. "Hey, what do you think you're doing?" He swatted your hand away.
"This should help with the pain," you said. You frowned, trying to reapply the cold compress, but he kept pushing it away.
"Use it on yourself. You look awful," he said.
He was right. It wasn't your first time being hit, but it was the first time you'd ever taken a beating. You sat next to him on the bed, "You said you needed a distraction, and this was what it took. I'll worry about it after I've taken care of you."
"It's barely a scratch. My brother could take this without flinching."
Mokuba talked about his brother constantly. The confidence that Mokuba had that he would be rescued was absolute. It was heart-warming to hear how much the two brothers loved each other.
"I'm sure he could. That's why I'll need to take care of you first. If I don't, he could come after me. Who knows what would happen to me, then?" Despite your words, you didn't put up too much of a fight when Mokuba took the compress and started applying it gently to your wounds. His ministrations relaxed you and you leaned a little into the hand that was caressing your cheek.
You'd been with this gang of thugs for almost a month, and knew that there wasn't a chance for someone to come rescue you. Before meeting Mokuba, you hadn't noticed that you minded being their slave. Beyond the occasional slaps when you didn't cater to their ever-changing whims no one treated you badly. They even let you be in charge of taking care of Mokuba while they waited for the right time to ask for the ransom.
Mokuba mumbled something, and you startled awake. You'd been dozing.
"What was that," you asked, sitting forward.
He leaned back away from you and averted his gaze. "I'm a man, you know? Don't think that I'm happy being protected by a girl. You wouldn't have to worry about Seto, I'd handle it."
"Yes, you're already quite a man, despite your age." You leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek.
He blushed and sputtered as you rose from the bed and walked toward the door. "I'm thirteen, that's old enough to be a man!"
"Thank you for your help; I feel a lot better. I have to get to the kitchens for now, though. Don't worry, our plan worked and your brother will be here in no time at all."
"Yeah, Seto will get us out of here, no problem," Mokuba grinned, happy to have made you feel better.
You didn't respond, but just waved and closed the door to his room. He seemed certain that his brother would want to rescue you, too, but you didn't have the heart to believe that. The way Mokuba spoke about his brother, it seemed like he wouldn't even give a second glance to a nobody like you. Well, you would worry about that when he arrived.
The next day came with a rush. The boss, Hacato, decided that he was going to tell Seto Kaiba the ransom for Mokuba today. This time, though, you weren't allowed to attend the broadcast. Normally you would be happy to be confined to your room, since it gave you a break. However, you desperately wanted to know what was going on, even though you were fairly certain that Hacato wouldn't try to injure Mokuba again. He was smart enough to know that he could only push Seto Kaiba so far before he ruined all chance of getting out of this with the money and his life. The rough-looking bruise on Mokuba's cheek would be all the impetus needed.
Since you wouldn't be needed this morning, you decided to put a long jacket on over your somewhat revealing outfit. The men weren't allowed to touch you, but that didn't mean that they didn't like to slide their eyes over your skin as much as possible. In your whole wardrobe only this jacket covered your arms and midriff.
You went over to your small window and opened it. The autumn air was crisp, and you shivered into the jacket a little. The view from your room more than made up for your small quarters and there was little you liked more during your time off than to stare outside. Eventually you were gazing outside without seeing anything in particular. Your mind was blissfully blank since you were just soaking up the warm sunlight.
A furtive shadow flickered on the edge of your vision. After a moment for the movement to sink in, your head snapped in that direction. It definitely was not the gentle swaying of leaves in the breeze. After a moment, you barely made out a crouching figure in the tree. This was definitely not one of the guys in Hacato's gang. Maybe Kaiba had sent someone as a spy, or to fetch Mokuba. It hadn't been long since he had received Mokuba's clues, but from what he'd told you, Seto was smart enough to figure out your location in no time at all.
Well, it wouldn't hurt to help out a little. Spying one of the lieutenants several yards away, you figured you could leak some information as well as provide a distraction.
"Hey, Niyama," you called down to him, "Which room is the thing in?"
The lieutenant turned and looked for you. "What are you talking about?"
"The thing with Mokuba, which room is it in?"
"Does it matter?" Niyama walked a little closer to your window in order to stop shouting so loudly. He passed the tree with the crouched figure, leaving the way to Hacato's complex open.
"Yeah, I cleaned the south room on the second floor yesterday, and I want to know if they've gone in and messed it up again."
"No, they're in the other ballroom," Niyama looked around cautiously, but didn't bother looking in the trees.
"Wait, is that the room on the ground floor? On the north side?"
"What? No, that's a billiards room. The ballroom. The south-east corner on the first floor."
You caught a movement out of the corner of your eye and knew that the figure had headed south. "Ah, I was going to clean that room next week. I suppose I'll do it tomorrow. Thanks, Niyama."
He waved slightly before returning to his post. You felt a tad guilty. Niyama wasn't a bad guy, and if it somehow got out that you had used him to give information to the other side, he would probably be punished. Still, it had to be done for Mokuba. Since you didn't have anywhere else to go you could resign yourself to this kind of life, but Mokuba had a brother and a home. Keeping him with Hacato's gang would just be too harsh.
Turning back to your room, you approached your door and leaned against it, listening for anyone outside. There weren't any voices or shuffling of feet, so you figured that most everyone would be in the south-east ballroom. You shoved a bent hairpin into the door jam and jiggled the handle just right. Something clicked and the door swung open easily. You suspected that it hadn't been installed correctly, but that suited you just fine.
The hallway was empty, and you decided to head north to the servant's staircase. Almost no one used it, and you figured you could get down to the kitchens without being seen. From there, you could easily listen through the pantry wall into the ballroom. You had been contented to wait, but now that there was someone in the complex you couldn't stay away from the action.
You were just outside of the kitchen when you heard someone approaching. You didn't have time or anyplace to hide, so you faced whoever was coming and hoped they didn't know that you were supposed to be confined. You were surprised to see that it was Mokuba, accompanied by a tall, unfamiliar man in a long coat. He was the figure from outside, you supposed.
Mokuba picked up his pace when he saw you. "Hey, you were supposed to be in your room. What are you doing here?"
"Investigating. You were supposed to be in the ballroom, Mokuba. What are you doing here?"
The tall man caught up with Mokuba when he stopped to talk to you, and put a hand on his shoulder protectively. He glared at you and said, "Mokuba, we don't have time for chitchat. Let's go."
Mokuba looked up at his escort, but then back to you with furrowed brows. "You're coming with us, right?" This time the man glared at the younger boy. He was in a bad mood, and he scared you a little.
"I don't know, Mokuba. I don't think that would be a very good idea," you said. You really did want to go, but it didn't look like the commanding man who had come for him was going to put up with a tag-along.
"How would staying here be a better idea? No, I'm not leaving you behind."
The tall man's glare intensified. "Mokuba, is this what you meant when you said you had something to do first? We do not have time for this!"
"Come on, Seto. She was the one who gave me all the information to pass on to you in the video yesterday. We can't just leave her here." Mokuba grabbed onto his brother's arm, forcing him to look into his pleading eyes.
This was Seto Kaiba? You no longer had to wonder what happened to Hacato and all of the men he had surrounding Mokuba. He was even more intimidating than you had imagined, and you were already a little scared of his reputation. He turned to regard you thoughtfully, but the frown on his face made you recoil a little.
You figured a little extra persuading wouldn't hurt. "I, uh, I also have a window on the first floor?"
Comprehension crossed his face, and he looked down at Mokuba who stepped across and grabbed your hand. He stared at Seto defiantly.
"Fine. She can come as long as she doesn't slow us down," he acceded. He promptly turned to head out of Hacato's complex, not waiting for you and Mokuba.
Mokuba smiled triumphantly. "This is great. Do you need to grab anything before we go?"
In response, you smiled cynically and followed Seto, still hanging on to the younger brother's hand. As you left the only place you'd really known, your smile gradually turned into one of pure joy. Maybe you could finally have someplace you truly belonged. The thought felt ticklish and you beamed at Mokuba. Once Seto's helicopter was in view, you both broke into a run, finally free.