Title: Summer of ‘69
Pairing(s): Yami + Seto, Noa + Mokuba, Jou + Mai, Yugi + Anzu, Malik + Ryou, Rafael + Valon + Amelda
Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh! is the creation of Kazuki Takahashi. Full Blast is a film by Curt Mastalka. "You Gotta Be" is performed and recorded by Des'ree. This is a not-for-profit fanwork and I do not own any of these characters.
Summary: "You can't stop it, if you try to, This time it's danger staring you in the face"
Status: 7 / ?
Archived at: http://www.phenixsol.com/Miko/FF/
* * *
Summer of '69
Ch. 5: Full Blast
* * *
Don't ask no questions, it goes on without you
Leaving you behind if you can't stand the pace
The world keeps on spinning
You can't stop it, if you try to
This time it's danger staring you in the face
- "You Gotta Be", Des'ree
* * *
Yugi-tachi, the younger Kaiba brothers, and the various tournament participants reconvened in a waiting room behind the scenes at the Kaiba Dome California while Isono addressed the crowd, announcing the drawing of the semifinal match-ups. The two semifinal duels would be the last of the day; the finals would be held late the next morning, and the special world championship match against Yugi would come after that.
Twelve duelists were out… only four remained. Jou has defeated Balfry Ginger to advance, and Rebecca had beaten Abe the monkey man for her spot. The other two remaining duelists were Sieg Lloyd, who had defeated Paul McGregor earlier, and Leon Wilson, who had defeated Ethan Shark. But although the majority of the duelists had already been eliminated, they were being allowed to stay for the duration of the tournament. It was a usual perk of participating.
But that made things a bit hectic for Noa, Mokuba and the Kaiba Corp. security team. They were trying to keep an eye on everything going on, and it just wasn’t happening. Not even the multiple cameras could capture every movement of every person in the large room they were in, and of course, in a matter of minutes the duelists would all disperse in different directions. And Mokuba knew that. They would needed to tap all their available resources to ensure that the tournament would continue to run smoothly. So he pulled Noa aside and led him to a small meeting room just down the hall. He had an idea, and wanted to run it by his boyfriend.
"What’s up?" Noa asked tiredly. He really wanted the day to be over with. Between Rebecca, and the tournament, and the programming… he really could use a nap.
Mokuba motioned for the green-haired teen to shut the door, then went ahead and disabled the security camera for the room. He wasn’t crazy about being watched all the time, and it was just the two of them in there anyway. The room had a narrow window as well, but since no one was about in the hallway, it didn’t really matter that the blinds hadn’t yet been installed.
After signing out of the virtual security center on his laptop, Mokuba hoisted himself up so that he was sitting on the table in the center of the room. "I think we should ask Yugi and the others to help us keep an eye on Sieg Lloyd and the other duelists. I mean, I know they already volunteered to help, but… like, I want them to keep an extra close watch on everyone. And that means they’ll have to split up for the next round."
Noa mulled it over a minute. It made sense. Yugi-tachi were a large group, and yet they could still mingle with the duelists in a way that the security force could not. And they already knew there was a hacker, and had already promised to help if they could. But Seto wouldn’t like it. He’d say they were his guests. He’d say it was a private matter, a business matter. But Seto wasn’t there, and Mokuba’s idea was a good one… "I think it’s a great idea, but… I’m not sure what Nii-sama would say."
The black-haired teen grimaced. "But we’re tournament officials, so isn’t this sorta something for us to decide? Besides, he’s so busy… I’d really hate to bother him if we don’t have to," Mokuba admitted. "Plus, they’re our friends. And friends do favors for each other."
Noa smiled thinly. Mokuba was really persuasive. But he sincerely hoped that Mokuba would remember all his reasons if Seto questioned them on their decision later on. "I’ll support whatever you decide," he said, glad of the privacy that allowed him to reach out and interlace his fingers with Mokuba’s. He’d been wanting to do that all day.
Mokuba looked down at their joined hands, then with a soft sigh, changed the subject. "You know I’m not interested in her. Rebecca, I mean. So why is it bothering you so much?"
Noa snorted. He had told Mokuba of his concerns earlier in the day, during a similar break… "I dunno. Maybe ‘cause she’s still hitting on you?" Noa responded snidely. "Anzu said she’d talk to her, but either she hasn’t done it yet, or Rebecca’s stupid. I’d wager it’s the former."
"But why does it matter? Don’t you trust me?"
"Of course I do!" Noa answered. And he meant it.
"It just… it just does. I don’t know why." His face flushed a little.
Mokuba gave Noa a hesitant smile, then leaned forward to give him a very quick, light kiss. "You’re so jealous, but… I kinda like it." He squeezed his boyfriend’s hands a little, in lieu of a hug.
"Don’t worry about it," Mokuba teased, but then he checked his watch and grew somber. They both had duties to perform; there was no time to screw around. "We better get back then, before everyone notices we’re gone. The next round of duels will be starting soon."
Noa reluctantly nodded in agreement as Mokuba went to reactivate the room’s security camera. Neither one of them noticed the pair of wide jade green eyes peering into the window of the conference room…
Leon quickly scrambled for the entrance of the men’s restroom as the door opened and the pair returned to the waiting area. His heart was pounding. He did NOT expect to see anything like that! He had just gone to use the bathroom and saw the lights on, and his curiosity had gotten the better of him, and…
Was that the break they needed to get Kaiba Corp. out of the way? He didn’t recall ever seeing anything in the news or tabloids about the two younger brothers, at least, nothing like that. A little information leak, and Seto Kaiba would have a lot more to worry about than a computer virus or a hacker. It had the potential of being a million times more devastating to the Kaiba’s. His big brother would want to know, and yet…
Should I tell him? Leon wondered. He was faced with a real dilemma. He was loyal to his family, especially his brother… and he wanted to see him succeed. The many years of studying and hard work should have paid off for his brother, but in the blink of an eye, Seto had swept in and stolen away the spotlight from their family’s company. But at the same time, it didn’t feel… right. He sorta liked Mokuba and Noa. He’d gotten to know them a little during the course of the tournament. They were nice guys, the type he could imagine befriending... It would be exceedingly unfair to exploit their relationship for what, a business opportunity?
Well, he didn’t need to make a decision right away. So he tucked the memory of what he saw into a corner of his mind, and headed back towards the waiting room. No reason to garner suspicion, at least, not yet. Not while he was undecided.
* * *
Mokuba waited to talk to his friends until everyone began filing out of the room for the next round of duels. Rebecca would be facing Leon. Jou would be taking on Sieg. At least that would make it easy to keep an eye on the pink-haired man.
"Hey, Yugi, guys… can I talk to you all for a quick sec? Privately?" Mokuba asked as everyone emptied into the hallway.
Leon shrugged and went to leave with Sieg and the other duelists, but Mokuba suddenly stopped him and gave him a reassuring smile.
"It’s okay, maybe you can help too," Noa said out loud, echoing Mokuba’s sentiment. "When you’re not dueling, of course."
"Oh… I guess so; sure!" Leon answered. Truthfully, he was surprised at how easily they had accepted him into their little group, and his mind wandered back to what he had witnessed earlier…
"We’ll all be glad to help, however we can," Amelda spoke up. Several heads bobbed behind him.
Once he made sure the coast was clear, Mokuba asked the group, "Remember how you guys said you’d help keep an eye out for anything suspicious with the other duelists? Would you mind taking that one step further?"
"What do you mean?" Sugoroku asked.
"There’s only two duels this round. But, there’s already been twelve duelists eliminated. So I was thinking, maybe you could all split up and follow the other competitors around…" Mokuba’s voice trailed off. It sounded weird. And he realized, since both Jou and Rebecca were still in the tournament, everyone probably wanted to go support them instead.
Otogi rubbed his chin. "It’s not a bad idea, actually. Though, I guess Jou and Rebecca… and Leon are already covered."
Mokuba frowned. "Maybe it was a bad idea. I know you guys want to watch them duel… I know it’s the semifinals…."
"We’d have been split up anyway, since both duels take place in matching time slots," Bakura pointed out. "So I guess Malik and I can tail a few of the participants, if… you don’t mind us missing your duel, Jou?"
The brown-eyed blonde considered it, then waved his hand. "Nah, it’s okay. You guys have been great so far. Just… cheer me on from wherever you’re at!"
Bakura nodded in agreement. "Of course."
"Thanks, Bakura," Noa said, tilting his head in acknowledgement.
"Then Rishid and I will do the same," Ishizu offered.
"I’ll go with Valon, and Amelda and Rafael can team up as well," Pegasus added. Mokuba gave him a grateful look, surprised at how amenable he was to the idea.
"Well… man, I’d like to attend Jou’s duel. But I guess Otogi and I can pair up too, seeing how this is important to you and all," Honda said. He glanced at Shizuka and Otogi, as if confirming his decision with them, then turned to Jou and Rebecca and barked, "Hey Rebecca, good luck against… well…" He chuckled, suddenly realizing that Leon was still there. He needed to revise his statement then… "Good luck, both of you. And Jou, you better kick Sieg’s ass!"
"You know I will, totally!" Jou asserted. Truthfully, he was going to miss having all his friends there to cheer him on. But… it was just for a single duel. He was confident that he’d advance and then they could cheer for him the next morning. And at least they’d all be watching him on the telecast this afternoon.
Yugi stood with the unassigned remainder of the group as the various "teams" began leaving to trail the other duelists. He felt a little guilty for not volunteering to help, but… he really did want to be there for Jou. It was bad enough that he wasn’t going to make it to Rebecca’s duel; he didn’t think he could handle missing his best friend’s as well.
Now that he thought about it, it really sucked… This wasn't how he thought the tournament would turn out! They were there to have fun, to participate in some friendly dueling; it was supposed to be a vacation! Why did everything always have to go wrong?
"Yugi?" Sugoroku called out, a little concerned over the sudden sadness in his grandson’s expression.
"Wha…? Oh, sorry, I was just thinking…"
"About what?" Rebecca asked innocently, turning her attention from Mokuba to Yugi and back with a fluttering of lashes.
"It’s just… unfair," Yugi blurted out. "Why can’t we be in a normal tournament for once, where we can just have fun?"
"Believe me, this isn’t what we wanted ei…" Mokuba pointed out, but Noa suddenly cut him off with a surprising burst of anger.
"Unfair? You want to talk about unfair… Seto’s working his ass off to try to keep the situation from worsening. You think this is fun for him? For Yami? For us?"
Yugi gawked at Noa, stunned by his vehemance. He hadn’t meant it like that. He hadn’t even mentioned Seto, or Yami. But Noa was right, even if he could’ve worded it a little nicer. Yugi thought about his other half, how subdued he’d been since they arrived, how he had apologetically slunk away to be with his lover. And they’d all seen Seto. Despite his professionalism in his presentation, it was clear that he needed a lot of rest and a dozen hearty meals. Trying to deal with the tournament, and the theme park opening, and the hacker… it had to be a lot, even for someone as organized as Seto to handle. "Sorry… I didn’t…"
Anzu suddenly put her hand on Yugi’s arm, then surprisingly, stepped forward, pulling Noa aside to talk to him. Yugi marveled at his girlfriend’s boldness as she spoke briefly to the green-haired teen, then returned to his side with a hesitant smile. He wondered what she had said to him. At least Noa looked a little calmer now.
"I shouldn’t have snapped at you like that," Noa said haltingly, folding his arms just as Seto would. It wasn’t much of an apology. He certainly wasn’t upset about what he had said. But Mokuba was staring at him rather expectantly, so Yugi figured it was best to just accept the apology and move on.
"All right, so then, who’s gonna come with me, and who’s goin’ with Rebecca and Leon?" Jou asked into the uncomfortable silence that had settled over the group. "Mai, Shizuka…?"
"Don’t forget Yugi and me," Anzu added.
Rebecca frowned slightly, but turned to her grandfather and said, "You’ll be in my corner at least, right Grandpa?"
"Of course," Professor Hopkins responded. "And Sugoroku, would you like to accompany us as well?"
Considering how much support Jou had in his corner, Sugoroku agreed. He was sure that the younger man would do fine anyway, since Jou had already proven himself earlier.
"I’ll be going with you as well Rebecca, to oversee your duel," Noa stated crisply, which meant that Mokuba would be officiating Jou’s duel. He gave Leon a small nod of acknowledgement, realizing that he didn't have anyone there to cheer him on, then continued on to say, "And Yugi, Anzu… all you guys, make sure to keep a close eye on Sieg Lloyd… he’s the one Seto’s most suspicious of."
"Really?" Jou asked. It sounded almost… dangerous, but he knew he could handle the guy if it came down to it. That pretty boy probably never even threw a punch before in his life! "Hahah, don’t worry, I’m gonna trounce that guy so bad, he’s gonna wish he never left Germany!" the blonde bragged, a confident grin on his face.
"I bet. You’ll do great!" Yugi cheered, but deep down, he was worried. So Sieg was the suspected hacker? If that was the case, why was he being allowed to wander the park without a security team following him? Or maybe there was one assigned to him, a super secretive team, and they just hadn’t noticed… But even if Seto was wrong and Sieg wasn’t the hacker, he was still someone to be reckoned with. They had all seen his previous duels, and how he had one-shot Fortune Salim and then did in Paul McGregor in just two turns with his Ride of the Valkyries card. How much of a chance did Jou stand against Sieg if he kept drawing opening hands like that?
"Hey Yug, stop moping an’ let’s go!" Jou yelled.
Yugi nodded, and ran to catch up. He couldn’t help but smile at Jou’s enthusiasm, at his confidence in himself and his deck. That's what made Jou a great duelist. If Sieg thought he’d just steamroll over the competition, he was wrong. He was about to meet his match.
* * *
As the final duels of the day got underway, Seto wondered if he ought to be relieved that nothing bad had happened so far, or if he should be worried about it instead. No computer viruses, no attempted break-ins of the database… really, everything was going about as well as he’d hoped. Almost too well. So… why hadn’t Sieg made his move? Had he been so easily thwarted by the new firewalls and updated antiviral software? Or was it because he’d been unnerved by the constant scrutiny he was under, thanks to the security team? Or maybe… he just hadn’t put his next plan into effect yet? Well, no matter… Seto wasn’t going to let his guard down for a second, though truthfully, he’d feel a bit relieved if his company could make it through the rest of the day unscathed.
Putting aside his work for just a moment, the brunette trained his eyes on the widescreen on the wall. He had both duels onscreen, though Jou’s duel against Sieg took precedence due to the parties involved. The match had just begun, and each man had one card face down on the field. Pretty standard stuff so far, but he was confident that it’d improve shortly.
Seto would never admit to it, but he found himself rooting for Jounouichi. He told himself he only cared because he wanted Sieg to lose. But… he knew that wasn’t the whole truth. Yes, he wanted to see Sieg on his knees, humiliated. But it’d be nice if Jou and Rebecca made it to the finals. He bet that’d make Yami happy, and Mokuba and Noa too. And, he supposed, there were worse people who could be in the finals, like… well… someone else…
Now what’s that bastard up to? Seto found himself wondering as a smirking Sieg unexpectedly looked up at the camera at the beginning of Jou’s turn. Then suddenly, his blonde opponent jumped back with a yelp as jets of flame erupted from the ground, missing him by inches. Seto started as Sieg’s smirk grew noticeably. Even though the flames were part of the attraction and about as safe as could be, they were still real, and Mokuba was in there! What the… what’s going on? That’s not supposed to happen!
He turned his attention to the smaller inset image in the corner; Rebecca and Leon were hopping around as the tiny cars in Miniatureland seemingly converged on them, ramming into their ankles. Noa was ducking out of the way of a model plane. Spectators in the background were yelling and running around. So it wasn’t just a glitch…
Angry at himself for taking his eyes off his work, even for a moment, Seto flipped open his laptop again and was greeted by flashing warnings from his antivirus programs.
"Damn it!" He instantly began trying to isolate the virus to take it down, glancing up every now and then to see if things were improving. Mokuba, Noa, and the gang all seemed to be okay for the moment, and the duelists gamely soldiered forth amidst all the confusion. But despite that, this was a disaster in the making, even with Isono’s calm reassurances to the crowd overlaying the play-by-play of the duels. The matches were being aired live, and worse yet, all around the park, pandemonium had broken loose. The Ferris wheel wouldn’t stop rotating, the lights inside the House of Horrors had gone out while the ones outside flashed madly, the BEWD Roller Coaster cars had come to a stop in the middle of the tracks. All the chaos was making the theme park look like a half-assed, unfinished, glitchy liability, when Seto *knew* all the systems had been functioning properly before the park had opened! But who would believe him? No one in their right mind would want to visit a park that had attractions that were out of control and dangerous!
On the sofa, Yami tossed restlessly in his sleep as Seto frantically sought to regain control over the computer systems. Because Yami’s mind had to stay anchored to Seto’s to enable the energy transfer, he was mentally being tossed about like a boat on a stormy sea. The young CEO was aware of what was happening, but as much as he hated it, there wasn’t much he could do about Yami’s discomfort at the moment. He couldn’t afford to shut off the energy feed. He needed it to be able to concentrate on his task.
Time felt like it was moving by impossibly fast as Seto struggled to deal with the virus, but a quick glance at the clock showed him that literally only a few minutes had passed by. Still, he knew that every moment counted. He didn’t know what sort of damage the virus had done to his systems, or what exactly it was doing to his theme park. God, people might have been hurt by some of the uncontrollable rides…
Suddenly, Seto realized something. He quickly accessed a security camera for the House of Horrors attraction, and stared at the screen. The flashing of lights… it seemed familiar somehow… and then he remembered something he’d seen years before. It was at a party Gozaburo had thrown for some European contacts. One of the men, a German weapons manufacturer named von Schroider, had brought his son along. The kid had been a computer whiz. He had somehow hacked into the old KC mainframe and set the lights in the ballroom flickering, not that he ever fully confessed to it. It had been an innocent enough diversion at the time, one that Seto hadn’t minded since it sent Gozaburo into a tizzy fit for an evening, but now…
Looks like the kid’s grown up. And his pranks aren’t so innocent anymore, Seto bitterly thought to himself. At least now he knew who Sieg Lloyd really was, and at least he now had a clue on what to look for as far as the virus.
Sure enough, just a few minutes later, Seto managed to isolate the programs the virus had infiltrated, and by using a backup set of data to circumvent the problem areas, he regained control over the park’s functions. With relief, he watched as the flames in the Volcanic Pit subsided and the other afflicted rides became operational once again. But it wasn’t over yet. Now he needed to get reports from all areas of the park to make sure there were no injuries or damage from what Sieg had done, and quite clearly… clearly, he was looking at another sleepless night. Obviously, his firewalls and antiviral programs weren’t enough. But just how had Sieg infiltrated his system?
A sudden loud thump made Seto look up, and then almost immediately, he was up on his feet and running for the other side of the room. Yami had literally pitched himself off the sofa from all of his thrashing, and was now trying sitting up, seemingly disoriented.
"Are you okay?" the brunette asked breathlessly as he reached his boyfriend. He immediately reached down and helped Yami up, getting him back onto the sofa.
Yami groaned softly, then put his hand over his mouth. "Kinda nauseous…" he managed to mumble. He felt like he’d been shaken violently, and was seeing afterimages of all sorts of crazy things.
"It’s all right… I’m sorry," Seto said softly, pulling Yami’s body against his. He tried to calm himself down, telling himself that Yami wasn’t going to feel better until he did, but at the same time, he felt so guilty…
"Mm… Seto, what happened?" The former Pharaoh remembered dreaming about jets of fire shooting up from the ground, and row upon row of indecipherable data, and a faint recollection of a boy who seemed so familiar… Is that… Sieg Lloyd?
Seto didn’t answer at first, then, as if figuring Yami had a right to know, told him, Yes, I think so. But that kid… his name was von Schroider. Siegfried von Schroider.
Yami focused on that memory of Sieg, pulling it from the realm of dream into memory. How did you meet him?
Seto snorted. His father’s company manufactured weapons. Sound familiar? It was inevitable that the von Schroiders would cross paths with Gozaburo.
So this is some sort of revenge then? Against Gozaburo?
Maybe. Funny, isn’t it? People seem to get us confused… Seto responded mirthlessly.
Yami frowned, and leaned tiredly against his lover. Any mention of Gozaburo put Seto into a bad mood, but he wasn’t going to let his boyfriend wallow in his bitterness. "It doesn’t matter; whatever his problem is, it doesn’t give him the right to do this. And he’s involving other people. Seto, is everyone all right?"
Blue eyes flickered to the screen on the wall. Isono had stopped making safety announcements, so Seto was hopeful that things were going all right in the park. And the duels were still continuing on, as if nothing had happened. "Far as I know. Though the Mutt is struggling… he just lost his Panther Warrior and Knight of Dark Dragon."
"Jou will be all right, as long as he doesn’t let Sieg get to him." Yami yawned.
"And you?" Seto couldn’t help the concern that seeped into his voice. Yami seemed exhausted, as if he’d been the one who had stayed up all night. His head was lolling against Seto’s shoulder now, and his eyes were closed. Seto began considering shutting down the channel of their connection that was allowing him to leech energy from Yami… it wasn’t worth it, if it was going to drain Yami that badly.
Don’t, Yami protested weakly before Seto even had a chance to begin to focus on that aspect of their bond. Just a little tired. Just need… sleep.
Yami, this isn’t worth it…
I know what I’m doing, Yami told him, a touch of irritation in his mental voice. It’ll be okay. Trust me?
Seto nodded slowly. Of course. But that didn’t mean he wasn’t worried. He stayed by Yami’s side until he felt him sink back into a sound sleep, then tucked him back under the blanket again before getting up to return to his desk.
But before Seto made it back, he took one last look at the telecast of the matches, and shook his head at what he saw. Jou had staged an admirable comeback from the looks of it; Sieg was down to only 100 life points, but from the expression on his face, he was more than confident in his ability to win, as he had managed to boost his Valkyrie Brunhilde’s attack power to a whopping 5000 by playing a magic card, Rainbow Bridge Bifrost. Jou was practically defenseless as his only monster on the field had 3100 attack points, not enough to save him from losing the duel if Sieg attacked. But as Sieg sent his Valkyrie in for the kill, the blonde played a face down trap card, Compensation Mediation.
God, is that fool really relying on nothing but luck? Seto angrily asked himself. Granted, there wasn’t much else he could do at that point, but all that card could do was grant him refuge for a single turn if he managed to select it from the three Sieg now held in his hand. After a tense moment, Jou selected the middle one…
As soon as Seto saw Sieg turn over his Swan Maiden spell card, he sat down at his desk and switched the widescreen back to monitoring the security center. No point in watching Jou whining about his loss, or Sieg gloating over his victory, if it could be called that. Really, it wasn’t much of a win when one’s opponent was a mediocre duelist like Jou. What Sieg needed was a real opponent…
Seto reached for the deck in his jacket pocket, feeling compelled to touch it. It almost felt warm – alive even. Surely, his dragons agreed with him. It wasn’t going to be enough to simply stop Sieg from breaking into the KC computer system. The man needed to learn that Seto Kaiba was not someone to be messed with. He needed to be put in his place, on international TV. And Seto would be more than happy to deliver that fatal blow himself.
* * *
February 17, 2007