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 The thick manila folder slid with a slight thud into the black leather bag as the young black haired man slipped it alongside his high powered laptop. Mokuba Kaiba was vice president of Kaiba Corp., the largest gaming company in Japan and more recently, the world.

 Mokuba loved his job. He loved everything that Kaiba Corp. came to be after his brother rebuilt it. Seto Kaiba was far more well known, people respected and feared him and he was known to be married to his work. Mokuba was by far the more approachable of the siblings, a lot more laid back and far more well suited to dealing with people who did not need the fear of God put into them. It was for this reason that Mokuba decided that he should be the one to go to Europe. He needed to visit the newest Kaibaland amusement park which was opened in London over a year ago and scout new locations for another park along with a hotel. Relationships needed to be made and he knew how to be charming.

 Mokuba pressed the intercom on his desk.

 “Ayame, please come in for a moment.” He instructed.

 “Yes, Mr Kaiba.” She replied.

 The door to his office immediately opened and a young woman in an immaculate skirt suit entered.

 “How can I help, Mr Kaiba?” She asked.

 “Ayame, how many times have I asked you to call me Mokuba. My brother is Mr Kaiba.”

 “Just once more, as always Mr Kaiba.” She smiled.

 Mokuba shook his head. “I need you to confirm the travel arrangements.” He said.

 “Yes, sir. I have spoken to the travel agent. They have sent me several options for the Russian leg; I have emailed them to you for your perusal. The jet will be on standby for you, I've spoken to the pilot already, you will be flying in the KC BG 8000. I thought the Global 8000 was the better plane to go with since you're travelling alone. I've also confirmed that the presidential suite will be ready for you at the Kaiba Hotel in London.” Ayame informed Mokuba.

 “Brilliant.” He smiled.

 “One more thing, Mr Kaiba wants to have a word with you.”

 “Seto probably wants to talk about this trip. Thank you Ayame.” Mokuba said, she bowed and left his office.

 Mokuba closed his bag with two soft clicks as the magnetic press studs lined up, then placed it next to his chair, out of sight. He locked his office door and walked over to Kaiba's office, not bothering to knock before he barged in. It was a habit he picked up as a child that he never bothered changing. He knew he was the only person who could get away with it.

 “Hey Seto. You wanted to see me?” Mokuba took his seat opposite his brother.

 “Yes Mokuba. I want to talk about your European trip.” Kaiba growled.

 “Bro, not this again.”

 “Take Roland with you.” Kaiba instructed.

 “No.”

 “Mokuba.” Kaiba growled.

 “Bro, I'm trying to get on peoples' good side. I don't need a bodyguard when I'm going to a place where we have our own security.” Mokuba replied with a hint of irritation.

 “Correction, one place where we have security. There will be nothing in Russia.” Kaiba countered.

 “Seto, it's a scouting expedition. I will have people with me. Besides I have travelled without you before.”

 “But not without my protection.” Kaiba said, his tone was a little too even.

 “I get that you worry about me, but nothing is going to happen. This tracker still works pretty well and I will have a phone with me all the time which you can again, keep tabs on.”

 “Mokuba, stop being difficult. Us Kaibas have enemies in Europe.” He pinched the bridge of his nose trying not to lose his temper on his brother.

 “Us Kaibas have enemies everywhere. It came with the name. The only one close enough would be Zigfried, but even he has been quiet for years.” Mokuba reasoned.

 “I don't like it.” Kaiba said through gritted teeth.

 “Then don't like it. I know how to take care of myself, you made sure of that. So either you are worried because you know something or you don't trust me to remember what you taught me. Which is it?” Mokuba fired at his brother.

 “Neither.” Kaiba replied stiffly. “I just won't have my brother put himself at unnecessary risk.”

 Mokuba heaved a long sigh. “Seto, I'm going alone. I'm twenty five, not thirteen. I promise I will be careful and I promise to come home in one piece. I've never broken a promise to you, big brother.”

 Kaiba stared down his younger brother. Neither of them would give any quarter.

 “Fine.” Kaiba finally said. “But if anything happens, anything at all, you will be lucky if I ever let you leave the house without a guard.” He threatened.

 “Fine.” Mokuba replied rolling his eyes, annoyance clear in his tone. The two sat in silence for a few moments more. Mokuba knew that Kaiba was just worried about him. After all, they were all the family they had.

 “I want to see the travel plans.” Kaiba eventually broke the silence.

 “Sure. As soon as everything is confirmed. For now though, I can tell you I'm taking the 8000 to London. We leave at eleven thirty tomorrow morning. I'll be staying in the pres. suite at the Kaiba Hotel. I'll call you when I land, I mean it will be midnight right? So you should still be awake.”

 Kaiba nodded.

 “I still have a few more things to handle. I'll see you later bro.” Mokuba said as he left Kaiba's office.

 Mokuba sat in his plush office chair, his finger curled under his chin as he read through Ayame's email. He looked through his options for accommodation, selecting the ones he liked best. He sent his responses off to his PA. Mokuba then busied himself with the remainder of his work and received an email from Ayame with his confirmations an hour later. He would be in Russia at the end of the week and the travel agent had confirmed that there would be someone from Domino to take him to the different locations. They assured him that he would be in very capable hands and that they would meet him at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow with a sign that read his name.

 Mokuba forwarded the email through to Kaiba, he promised his big brother that he would be kept up to date of any and all changes and of all his travel plans.

 The next morning, Kaiba bid his brother farewell. Both knew that he would not rest easy until Mokuba returned.

 Mokuba ascended the stairs to enter the luxurious cabin of the smaller Kaiba Corp. jet. He seated himself in the cream leather chair and settled in for the long flight to London. He split the time between work, movies on the big screen and a few short naps before they began their descent. The plane touched down smoothly and soon, he was walking through the airport, his luggage in tow. A driver from the amusement park was sent to fetch him in a dark blue Jaguar XJ. He opened the back door for Mokuba who gracefully climbed in, placed the younger Kaiba's luggage in the boot and then drove off towards the hotel.

 Mokuba took the opportunity to call Kaiba. It barely rang once before it was answered.

 “Mokuba.” Kaiba answered.

 “Hey bro. I just called to let you know I got in okay.”

 “Good. Where are you now?”

 “On my way to the hotel. Traffic is crazy though so I'm not sure how long it will take to get there. I'll send you a text.”

 “Fine. Be careful Mokuba.” Kaiba growled.

 “Will do. Bye bro.” Mokuba hung up shaking his head. Kaiba really needed to stop worrying so much.

 Mokuba spent much of the week following up on everything going on at the hotel and the amusement parks. He wanted samples from the financials to compliments and complaints in customer care and everything in between. Everyone was on their toes with the vice president dropping in. He was pretty happy with everything as they kept to the standard that people had come to expect from the name “Kaiba”, but he would not let them know this until he had spoken to his brother.

 Thursday had found Mokuba rather quickly. Once again, Mokuba was swaddled in luxury as the jet took to the air with Kaiba Corp. emblazoned on the side. He was thankful that the flight from London to Moscow was so short. He was really looking forward to this part of the trip. He had never been to Russia before and the prospect of breaking ground on yet another Kaibaland was exciting.

 Mokuba looked out the window at the huge airport. He was not sure what he was expecting, but he certainly did not expect the large three point glass and steel building he was now looking at as his plane touched down. They taxiied smoothly towards an area that held several rather large private aircrafts. He had heard many stories about the Russian oligarchs and their penchant for expensive things; yachts, planes, homes.

 Mokuba walked through the airport with his laptop bag slung over his shoulder and his suitcase rolling in tow. He went through all the procedures before passing through the automatic sliding doors at the international arrival terminal. He walked out immediately spotting his name in a bold black font on a white cardboard sign. His breath caught, the sign was being held by the most attractive woman Mokuba had ever laid eyes on.

Chapter Text

 Mokuba walked towards the woman, drinking in her appearance. She had jet black hair that hung just below her shoulders. Her skin was fair and the contrast between her dark hair and light skin made her bright green eyes all the more striking. She was rather tall compared to the women milling about the airport, but Mokuba did notice the high heel on the white pumps she wore with her dark blue jeans that hugged her slim waist. Her white V-neck shirt tastefully hinted at her ample bosom, while the navy and gold blazer she wore over made her look rather professional. She reminded Mokuba of someone but he just could not put his finger on who it was.

 She smiled at Mokuba as he approached, revealing a set of perfect white teeth. There seemed to be nothing out of place about her. The travel agency did promise him that he would be in great hands, and so far, he liked what he saw.

 “Hello Mr Kaiba, I’m Alex. I’ll be taking you around.” She said in a voice like honey. She extended her hand which he shook.

 “Nice to meet you Alex and it’s Mokuba, please.” He replied.

 “Very well Mokuba. Can I take your luggage?” She asked.

 “No no, I can manage.”

 Mokuba followed her to the parking lot where a black Mercedes E-Class waited. She popped the boot lid open but Mokuba would not let her load his luggage, opting to do it himself. She then moved to open the back door for him but he refused this too. It was far too formal for him; besides, he wanted to chat to Alex about their trip.

 He climbed into the passenger seat as Alex got into the driver’s; she stepped on the brake and pressed the start button bringing the car to life. She then eased out of the parking and headed towards the road that would take them to the hotel.

 Traffic was heavy as Alex navigated the roads. Mokuba took the opportunity to send Kaiba a message, letting him know that he had arrived safely and was on his way to the hotel. Once he sent the message, he stowed his phone away in the inner pocket of his black coat. He played absent-mindedly with a spot on his blue jeans as he struck up a conversation with Alex.

 “Is the hotel far from here?” Mokuba asked.

 “It’s a little distance but not really that far. This traffic just makes it feel that way. Usually it takes about forty-five minutes.” She replied.

 “That seems pretty far to me.” Mokuba smiled.

 “I suppose compared to Domino it is.” She laughed.

 “I take it we’ll be starting our visits here in Moscow?” Mokuba asked.

 “That’s the plan. I do have your full itinerary with me.”

 “That’s fine, we can go through it later.”

 Mokuba and Alex arrived at the hotel about an hour later. She pulled into the portico where their doors were held open for them to gracefully exit the car. Mokuba flattened out his grey shirt and straightened his black tie, looking every part the international businessman he had grown to be. She handed her keys to the valet as the doorman had already removed their luggage from the boot and placed it on a trolley to take to their rooms.

 Alex handled their check in while Mokuba waited in the grand marble foyer. The hotel had an old school opulence about it. Alex returned to Mokuba while he was admiring his surroundings and handed one room key to him.

 “You are in the executive suite on the eleventh floor. Suite eleven oh five.” She informed him. The three of them got into a gold elevator that ascended to the eleventh floor. The porter held open the door while Alex and Mokuba walked out. He slipped the key card in the card reader which unlocked the door. Alex followed Mokuba in ensuring everything was perfect for her guest.

 The entrance opened into a short passage that led to a highly polished, dark wood accented lounge area that had a work space with two chairs, it also had a couch, two plush tub chairs around a coffee table and a fully stocked bar to the right. The doorway adjacent to the bar led to the large bedroom and marble en-suite bathroom.

 The porter left Mokuba’s luggage in the lounge and exited the suite.

 “Well, everything looks good here. It’s five thirty now, so shall we meet for dinner at seven?” She asked Mokuba.

 “Sounds good to me.” He replied.

 “Great, I’ll meet you at the entrance to the rooftop restaurant. We’ll go over the itinerary then. Here is a list of numbers. Mine is at the top, the rest are for our company and any hotel amenities you may need.”

 “This is great. Thank you, Alex.”

 “My pleasure.” She smiled.

 Alex followed the porter down to her own room. It was a standard room with a large king size bed. It also had wooden accents but it was much lighter than it had been in Mokuba’s room. She placed her laptop case on the wooden table by the window. The porter left her suitcase next to the bed and turned to leave. She held the door open for him as he pulled his trolley out.

 “Spasibo.” She said as she handed him an envelope that held a thank you note and a tip of one hundred and eighty Rubbles. He thanked her and disappeared down the passage. Alex tossed off her shoes, padding around the room barefoot, her feet sinking into the soft blue carpet.

 She set up her laptop, quickly typing out an email to her manager stating that she had received Mokuba at the airport and they were now at the hotel. She used the time to make sure all the plans were in order so nothing would go wrong. She needed to impress Mokuba. Having the Kaibas as her client would be a feather in her cap that would help her career immensely. She knew all about the Kaibas and the power they wielded. She’d seen plenty of them in the media but she was not quite prepared for how good looking Mokuba was with his black, neck length, flicked out hair. Of course, she would only be professional around him, but she could still appreciate what she saw.

 At ten to seven, she made her way to the restaurant. To her surprise, Mokuba was already there, waiting for her.

 “Mokuba! Sorry for making you wait.” She apologized.

 “No need to apologize. I was taking a walk around the hotel.” He smiled.

 “Shall we get a table?”

 “After you.” Mokuba said.

 The maître d' showed them to a table next to the window, affording a breath-taking view of Moscow. It was a quieter section of the restaurant which suited them perfectly. The maître d' handed them their menus and informed them that a waiter would be through shortly. It was an impressive menu.

 “What’s good here Alex?” Mokuba asked as he read through his options.

 “Absolutely everything. I would warn you though, when they say ‘chilli’ or ‘spicy’, they mean it.” She laughed.

 “Well, considering my favourite food is pizza, I shall tread carefully.” He joked.

 “Really? Pizza?”

 “Yeah. What’s wrong with pizza?”

 “Nothing. I just would have expected something different.” Alex laughed.

 “Fancier?” Mokuba mocked. “That’s more my brother.”

 “Have you ever had a traditional Neapolitan pizza?” She asked.

 “Once. Seto and I went to Italy on Kaiba Corp. business and we were told we had to try it.”

 “It’s divine, don’t you think?” She said excitedly.

 “Best I’ve had. You’ve been to Italy?” Mokuba asked.

 “Yeah. It’s why I love my job so much. I get to see so many places.”

 Just then the waiter arrived at their table. He introduced himself and asked to take their order.

 “You ready to order Mokuba?”

 “Yup but you go first.”

 “Thank you. I’ll start with the Kamchatka crab fritters and have the seabass for mains. Sauvignon Blanc to drink please.”

 “Yes ma’am. Sir?”

 “Salmon tartar to start, and the rib eye for mains. A Shiraz to drink please.”

 “Yes sir. Thank you.” The waiter took the menus from them and left the table.

 “I suppose we should get down to business.” Alex said as she handed Mokuba a folder. “As you can see, we’ll start here in Moscow, then we’ll head to St. Petersburg, then Rostov and finally, Sochi. The arrangements for your jet have already been made. You’ll also find the confirmation for the various hotels. I’ve separated the information according to the different cities and it’s placed in order of our visits. You’ll find the holiday peak times, numbers for tourist traffic and weather info by month.”

 “You’ve really done your homework Alex.” Mokuba said, impressed.

 “Thanks, but it’s only half done. You need to know what each place has to offer and if it fits in with Kaiba Corp’s image.”

 “Absolutely, and that will come with each visit.” Mokuba replied. He fell silent as he paged through the folder.

 The waiter arrived back at the table with their starters. Mokuba moved the folder off to the side of the table allowing the waiter to place their plates before them along with their wine. The food looked amazing and the two of them tucked into their meal.

 Mokuba and Alex found the other rather agreeable and easy to talk to. The meal flowed in comfortable conversation. Soon enough, both their starters and main courses were cleared away and a refreshing sorbet was placed before Alex while Mokuba received his honey cake.

 “So, did you have to travel all the way from Domino just because of me?” Mokuba asked with a smirk.

 “No.” Alex laughed. “I was actually already here. I was meant to head back today but I got a call from the office telling me to stay on so I could be your guide.”

 “I see. Well, I’m sorry to delay your trip home.” He apologized.

 “Don’t be. I absolutely love the travel and Russia is so beautiful.”

 “I haven’t seen much of it but so far it’s impressive.” Mokuba said as he stared out the window.

 “It really is.” Alex agreed.

 “So, tell me something. I’ve used M & E Travel plenty of times, how come I’ve never met you before?” He asked curiously.

 “Oh, well I have only just recently moved to Domino. I operated from the Tokyo branch before.”

 “Ah, so you’re new to Domino.” Mokuba stated.

 “Yes and no. I used to visit my brother a few times a year, so I did get taken around the city.”

 “Only a few times a year? Tokyo isn’t that far.”

 “Yeah but I could only see him during school or semester breaks.”

 “Ah, I see.” Mokuba replied.

 “I don’t mean to change the subject but with regard to tomorrow, we should get an early start. Shall we meet at the breakfast bar at eight am?” Alex asked.

 “Yeah, the earlier the better.” Mokuba smiled.

 “Great.” She responded as she discreetly motioned for the waiter to approach. He was almost instantly beside the table. “Please can we get the check?” She requested.

 “Yes ma’am. Would you like to settle it now or have it charged to the room?” The waiter asked.

 “Charged to the room please.”

 “Yes ma’am.” The waiter disappeared momentarily, only to return with a slip in a leather binder. Alex opened it to reveal their bill. Mokuba watched as she wrote down her room number, her name and signed the bottom before handing it back to the waiter along with his tip. He thanked her and left the table.

 “Devlin?” Mokuba asked. “As in Duke Devlin?”

 “He’s my brother.” Alex stated. It instantly became clear, the person Alex reminded Mokuba of was her brother, Duke Devlin. There was obviously a very strong resemblance.

 “He never once told me he had a sister!” Mokuba said, clearly affronted.

 “He doesn’t tell most people. He can be a bit protective.” She chuckled.

 “I think it’s a big brother thing.” Mokuba joked.

 “Probably.” She agreed smiling. “Shall we head back?”

 “Yeah, we should.” Mokuba replied.

 They walked back towards their rooms together, sharing a lift that first stopped on the fifth floor where Alex got off. She turned to Mokuba bidding him goodnight and the two parted ways until the morning.

Chapter Text

 The next morning, after a scrumptious breakfast, both Alex and Mokuba headed off to visit the various sites in Moscow that could potentially be home to a new Kaibaland. The first site she took Mokuba to, sat on the banks of the Moskva River and was very close to other tourist attractions in the city. It was a scenic spot and Alex could see that Mokuba appreciated that.

 She brought the car to a halt on the bumpy ground. They both got out to have a better look around.

 “So what do you think?” Alex asked.

 “It definitely has potential.” Mokuba replied.

 “It does. There are plenty of amenities close by, a mall, a hospital etc.”

 “That’s good.”

 Alex could see the cogs of Mokuba’s mind working. There were many things he had to consider. He had a few concerns such as the size of the site, he liked how the buildings nearby had distinctive Russian architecture and he could see how the amusement park could tie in with that.

 “So, let me give you a general overview of the city. Your peak season is June to August; it’s the summer months and quite pleasant. Your second peak is December to January, it’s winter and literally transforms the city. Climate wise, you’re looking at a temperature range from around minus eleven degrees Celsius to around twenty seven.”

 “And during the holiday seasons?” Mokuba asked, turning his attention to her.

 “June to August is pretty warm, fourteen degrees to about twenty five normally but this last season is when we hit twenty seven. In the December to January months it’s frigid. You’re looking at minus eleven to minus six.”

 “That’s a concern.” Mokuba said.

 “Yeah it is. Especially with all the hydraulic equipment you guys would have. Also, it might affect the types of rides you can run in winter.”

 “Exactly. It would be a bit of a challenge. What’s tourism like?”

 “Moscow had seventeen million tourists last year. That includes domestic and foreign tourists.”

 “I like those numbers.” Mokuba said.

 Alex and Mokuba spent the remainder of the day visiting different sites. She showed him around the city so he could see the different attractions, the good and bad areas near the potential sites, all so he could form a more well rounded opinion.

 It was almost five pm when both their tummies began its loud protest.

 “Shall we grab a coffee? I know a great place nearby.” Alex offered.

 “Sounds great!”

 She drove them to a modern but cosy café. It was decorated in light wood with cream accents and was bathed in warm golden light. They asked to be seated in a booth where they would not be disturbed and found themselves being settled at the very back of the coffee-house.

 They were handed their menus and the waiter left them to their choices.

 “What would you like?”

 “Hmmm, not sure.” Mokuba replied. “I want to try something different.”

 “Shall I surprise you?” Alex smiled. Mokuba was growing to like that crooked smile.

 “Yes.” He smiled back. Alex called the waiter back to the table and placed their order.

 “Two vatrushka and two rafs, please.”

 The waiter nodded and left them alone once more. Alex caught the fleeting look of confusion on Mokuba’s face.

 “It’s good, I promise.” She said.

 They had spent the day together and much to Alex’s surprise, she found Mokuba very easy to be around. Their interactions were comfortable, almost as if they were already friends. Alex knew the danger of this line of thought and also knew that she could not jeopardise a future working relationship with an important client. Mokuba’s thoughts mirrored hers.

 The waiter returned shortly after. She placed the cups of coffee and vatrushka in front of each of them. Alex thanked her and she left them to their conversation.

 “So, the coffee is called a raf. It is a bit sweet, and this is a sweet dough that’s filled with cream cheese.” Alex informed.

 “It looks pretty good.”

 “Well, try it.” She egged. Mokuba took a tentative bite of the vatrushka. “And? What do you think?”

 “It’s amazing!” He exclaimed.

 “That it is.” She smiled. “So Mokuba, how long do you estimate the construction to take?”

 “Around eighteen months judging from past projects.” He said.

 “Okay, well, this isn’t Japan so I would advise that you factor time in for delays.”

 “Alex, you haven’t met my brother.” Mokuba chuckled.

 “Even so, there is no way that he can be here 24/7 for a year and a half. Just think it over. Maybe chat to a few other people who have had large scale construction here.”

 “That’s not a bad idea. I’ll do that.” Mokuba replied.

 The two of them finished their coffee and eats quickly as good conversation flowed. They soon paid their bill and headed back to the hotel, fighting their way through the afternoon traffic. It took ages before Alex could smoothly ascend the ramp into the hotel undercover parking. She was rather tired after a long day but still had plenty to do. She agreed to meet Mokuba at the restaurant for dinner much later, right now, she had to report in to her manager. It was essential that the office in Domino knew exactly how this trip was going especially since she was hosting a Kaiba. Once that was done, she had to review the plans for the next day as they would leave rather early to fly to St Petersburg.


 It was nine am when the Kaiba Corp. jet touched down at Pulkovo Airport in St. Petersburg. Mokuba looked every part the businessman in his three piece suit, while Alex looked the epitome of professionalism in her formal pants, blazer and pumps. Part of the reason was that they wanted to make a good impression should they find land they wanted to purchase, but the other part was that Alex had informed Mokuba that even though it was summer, they were in for some chilly weather, by Domino standards at least.

 Mokuba followed Alex to the rental car office where she signed for another Mercedes Benz E Class. They climbed into the black car and she drove them to the various potential sites.

 Mokuba loved the city. It was beautiful and picturesque, but it did not strike him as a good fit for Kaibaland. The information that Alex had given him as she drove just cemented the thought.

 “It gets very cold here, often in the negatives, very similar to Moscow actually. Your peak seasons are the same as Moscow as well but the numbers of tourists are much lower. We’re looking at seven million for last season.” She informed him as they drove off from the last site visit.

 “Yeah this is a beautiful place but I just don’t see it making Kaiba Corp. a lot of money.” Mokuba said candidly.

 “I agree.” Alex replied.

 Mokuba still wanted to see more of the city. He had never seen anything quite like it. The way the swirling colourful domes rose to the sky atop the towers, the opulence of the historic buildings, it was all spectacular to him. Alex took him to her favourite locations. They went to the Church of the Savior, the Hermitage Museum, the Palace Square, the Faberge Museum as well as a few others. She was adamant on showing Mokuba a good time and not just because it was her job and she was great at it, but because she had grown quite fond of him in the couple of days that they had spent together. He was charming, friendly and warm.

 They arrived back at their hotel after a long, full day out.

 “Thank you for a lovely day Alex. Coming to this city was definitely not a wasted trip thanks to you.”

 “It’s my pleasure Mokuba.” She smiled. “I’m glad you got to be a proper tourist here.”

 “Me too.” He chuckled. He kissed the knuckles of her hand as he bid her goodnight and they went their separate ways until the morning.


 The trip to Rostov went much the same way as it had in St. Petersburg. Mokuba and Alex were now properly comfortable in each other’s presence, interacting like old friends.

 Since the visits to both St Petersburg and Rostov on Don were shorter than anticipated, Alex had adjusted all their travel arrangements and they were now in Sochi, a few days ahead of schedule. As he stepped out of the plane, Mokuba was instantly taken by the city and Alex could tell.

 “I love this place.” She said, walking up behind him. “And the weather is so pleasant.”

 “Yeah, I know you said it would be warm, but I didn’t expect it to be quite so hot today.” Mokuba replied.

 “Sochi has a subtropical climate. There’s a massive tourism drive here because of the lovely climate, there are great beaches and you still have the snowy season.”

 “Okay, well, let’s take a look around.”

 Alex drove Mokuba around, informing him of all that there was to do and see in the city. The trip was peppered with questions from Mokuba on everything he could think of. He was rather impressed by all the homework she had done for his trip.

 After a long day and delicious dinner, Mokuba and Alex retired to the cocktail lounge sipping on vodka served with pickles as they watched the sunset over the Black Sea.

 “What a beautiful place.” Mokuba mused.

 “That it is.” She replied.

 “What do you think?” He asked.

 “About?”

 “Kaibaland. Which city would you choose?”

 “Sochi. I’m not just saying that because I love it here but the tourism is constantly growing, it has so much to offer and it has an attractive climate to international tourists. There are so many resorts here and you often find that they are fully booked a whole season in advance. There’s a lot of potential.” She answered.

 “I agree. I want to meet with a few resort and hotel managers tomorrow. I’d like to see what the interest levels would be like. Don’t worry about making any calls, I’ll get my PA to arrange it.”

 Alex and Mokuba spent a fair portion of the night at the cocktail lounge. Both a little sad to see the end of what was a surprisingly lovely trip.

 The next morning Alex checked them both out of their hotel and drove Mokuba to the private hangar at the Sochi airport after his meetings with the resort managers. He found their input very valuable as they had to survive in a competitive tourist hot spot, but he also wanted to gauge what their reaction would be to have holiday specials with Kaibaland. As Alex had become accustomed to, Mokuba refused any help with his bags. He handed the luggage to his staff to load on the plane before turning back around to chat to Alex.

 “This was a very memorable week. Thank you for all your hard work Alex.”

 “It really is my pleasure.” She replied.

 “You know, we’re heading back to the same city, you’re welcome to fly back with me. The company would be good.” He smirked.

 “I don’t doubt that.” She chuckled. “It’s a lovely offer but unfortunately, I still have a few things to do before I can catch my flight this afternoon.”

 “That’s a pity.” Mokuba said, disappointment evident in his tone. “I’m sure we’ll run into each other in Domino. In fact, you should let me take you around some time.”

 “I might just take you up on that.” She said brightly.

 “Great! I’ll give you a call.” With that, Mokuba turned around and walked to the plane.

 “Have a safe flight home!” She called after him and he waved back. She watched as the doors were shut and the plane began to taxi.

Chapter Text

 

 It was nine am in Domino when Alex finally landed. She tiredly went through the various lines at the airport before she was able to fetch her luggage. She pulled the red clamshell suitcase along behind her as she made her way through to the arrivals waiting area where she immediately spotted her brother. Duke was conspicuous as always in his black pants and red waistcoat.

  A broad smile graced her features the moment she laid eyes on him. She quickly traversed the distance between them, wrapping her arms around his neck, giving him the biggest hug.

 “Aww you missed me.” He smiled cockily.

 “Maybe, but now I’m wondering why.” She teased.

 “Come on, let’s get you home.” He took her bag from her and led her to his red GTR. He stowed the bag in the boot as she climbed into the passenger seat and buckled herself in. Duke closed his door and started the car with a roar, easing out of his parking spot and heading home to his apartment.

 “You must be exhausted.” He said.

 “Hmm.”

 “Do you want to stop for breakfast?” He asked.

 “Hmm.”

 “Is that all you’re going to say?” He laughed.

 “Hmm.”

 “Fine then. Sleep first, food later.” He smiled.

  The roads were busy making the trip back longer than usual. When he looked over to Alex, he saw that she had already dozed off. He snatched his coat off the back seat and draped it as carefully as he could over his sister. He turned down the radio, driving the rest of the way home in relative silence.

  Half an hour later, Duke pulled into his undercover parking space and gently woke Alex.

 “We’re here.” He said softly. She yawned widely and stretched as Duke got her luggage out. “You’re beat, aren’t you?”

 “Yeah.”

 She followed Duke into the lift that took them up to the nineteenth floor. The silver doors slid open silently allowing them to exit the metal box and head towards the apartment door which Duke unlocked. He stood aside to let his sister enter first before locking it once more.

  He followed Alex to her room, depositing her bag by the large walk in closet. She immediately flopped on the bed, glad to be home after almost a month of travelling.

 “Hey Bean, don’t you want to take a shower before passing out?” Duke suggested.

 “That sounds like a good idea but bed is comfy.” She whined.

 “Get your ass in the shower. You’ll sleep much better. I’m older, you have to listen to me.” He said with mock authority.

 “Fine.” She huffed. “But it’s not because you told me to.”

 “Of course not.” He rolled his eyes as he left the room, pulling the door closed behind him.

  Alex padded into the en-suite bathroom. She stripped off her clothes, deposited them in the hamper then turned on the jets of water. Duke was right, the hot water felt amazing. The scent of marjoram wafted around her as the luxurious suds of her favourite shower gel kissed her body; the fragrance relaxing her in its wake. She shut off the faucet, grabbing a fluffy towel off the rack which she wrapped around her body, getting another to dry her hair. She walked out of the bathroom and spotted the cup of green tea on her bedside table.

 “Thanks Dukie.” She whispered to herself taking a long sip. Alex dried herself off and slipped on a pair of white patterned pyjama shorts and a black tank top. She unwrapped the towel from her hair and hung it on the bathroom rail. Alex then turned to the vanity examining her appearance. Her face had clear evidence of her lack of sleep. She was not able to get any sleep on flight back and she was now exhausted. She quickly brushed out her wet black hair before switching off the light to the bathroom.

  Alex drained the rest of her tea then clambered under the covers to get some well earned sleep.

  It was almost four in the afternoon when she finally woke, ravenous. Feeling far too hot, she threw the covers off her and went in search of her brother.

 “Good morning sleepyhead.” Came his bright response. “How are you feeling?”

 “A lot more human and-”

 “-And hungry.” He finished.

 “Yeah.” She chuckled.

 “We have burgers.” He said proudly as he pulled out a plate of beef patties from the warmer drawer. Duke began assembling their meal, making two identical burgers complete with lettuce, tomato, onions and a slice of cheese. “Just as you like it.”

 “Thanks bro. Oh! Before I forget, I got you a present.” She rushed off to her room and returned soon after carrying a round item wrapped in bubblewrap. She handed it to him, beaming.

 “Ooh, I wonder what it is?” He said feeling it for clues.

 “Just open it!”

 “Fine.” He chortled. He ripped through the wrapping to reveal a little red, black and gold Fabergé egg. “Bean! This is awesome.”

 “I thought you would like it.”

 “I do. Hold on, I need to put this on the shelf.” Duke swiftly exited the kitchen and headed for his study where he placed the ornate egg on a shelf that held all the other little souvenirs Alex had got him over the years. He rejoined her in the kitchen, climbing onto the bar stool at the kitchen counter.

  Alex bit into the hot, juicy burger. She loved travelling with her whole heart but she missed this, a tasty dinner with her brother and closest friend.

 “So what have I missed while I was away?” She asked.

 “Oh not a whole bunch. I may have gone out with Serenity.” He said sheepishly. Alex stopped mid bite.

 “You did what now?” She asked, clearly unimpressed.

 “She’s not that bad.” Duke replied defensively.

 “Duke. Firstly, isn’t she dating Tristan? And secondly, she is so ridiculously sweet. There is no substance there. I know you, you need a challenge. Someone feisty. You’re going to get bored. Additionally, I have to chat to these girls you take out, do you have any idea how tedious some of them are?”

 “Okay well, she and Tristan are on a break and what’s wrong with being sweet? Maybe I want someone different from the usual.”

 “Um no. You just want to get up Joey’s nose to see what he’ll do.” Alex replied.

 “Initially yes, but now, I don’t know.”

 “I tell you what, let’s go out and we’ll find someone more appropriate for you.”

“The guys are going out tonight. You want to tag along?”

 “Yeah sure. Why not?”

 “Great.”

 “I just need to freshen up and send a couple emails to the office. What time are we meeting them?”

 “Seven, so you have plenty of time.”

  Alex made good use of the time she had available. She sent through the various pieces of work to the office. Soon enough she was done and had to get ready to go out. She blew out her hair so that it fell in straight locks around her shoulders. She then pulled on a pair of black ripped jeans, a sleeveless grey sequinned blouse and slipped on her grey strappy, heeled sandals. After a light application of makeup, she was ready to go.

  “You ready?” Duke asked as Alex joined him in the lounge.

 “Yup.”

 They climbed into Duke’s car and roared off to the sushi restaurant. He parked his car in a roadside bay. They exited the car and walked into the restaurant together. Duke wrapped an arm around Alex’s shoulders. She simply rolled her eyes at her brother.

  They spotted the large table with everyone already seated before the hostess could greet them. Duke waved her off and the two of them joined their friends.

  “Hey guys.” He greeted as he pulled the chair out for his sister.

 “Hi Alex.” Everyone greeted. “It’s been a while since we saw your face.” Tristan said.

 “Duke’s been hiding me.” She joked. Alex noticed that Yugi and Tea were seated next to each other, looking rather cosy. They were followed by Joey and Mai. At the head of the table sat Tristan with Serenity on is left, both looking slightly uncomfortable but clearly together. They were obviously working out whatever issue it was that made them go on a break. And there, next to Serenity was Mokuba.

 “Hi Mokuba.” She smiled as she sat down.

 “I told you I’d see you again.” He smirked.

 “So you did.” She chuckled.

 “Have you guys ordered yet?” Duke asked.

 “Nah, we were waiting for ya.” Joey responded. Tristan then waved over a waitress who bowed and asked for everyone’s drink order. She wrote it all down on a small notepad and disappeared through the swinging doors into the kitchen.

 “So what are you doing here?” Alex asked Mokuba. “Not that I’m not glad to see you.” She quickly tacked on to the end.

 “Yugi invited me. I haven’t seen the guys in a couple of weeks.” He replied.

 “Yeah, you should tell that brother of yours to stop working you so hard.” Tristan jokingly said.

 “Yeah, I’ll do that when I no longer want to be Vice President of Kaiba Corp.” Mokuba laughed. Alex was fascinated by the banter between Mokuba and the guys. He seemed so at ease in their presence. She listened and laughed along to the good natured teasing going on between Mokuba, Tristan and Joey.

 “Where did you go this time Alex?” Tea asked, interrupting the guys.

 “I first went to Finland then spent the last month or so in Russia.” She replied.

 “That sounds so exciting.” Serenity said enthusiastically.

 “They are beautiful places.” Alex gushed.

 “Definitely!” Mokuba agreed.

 “So how do you two know each other?” Mai asked with a smirk.

 “Mai.” Duke said with an unfamiliar stern edge to his voice.

 “Hun, look at these two; they’re cute together.” She said in her usual way.

 “Nothing like that Mai.” Alex said rolling her eyes. “I showed Mokuba around Russia this past week.”

 “Yeah, I had some business to attend to there and called the travel agency and when I landed in Moscow, I met Alex.” Mokuba added.

 “What were you doing in Russia?” Yugi asked.

 “I can’t talk about it yet, it’s still pretty hush hush. Keep an eye out next week, there’s bound to be some news then.” He said cryptically. The waitress then came over to their table placing their drinks in front of each of them. Alex took a little sip of the bright yellowish green cocktail which was served in a tall square martini glass.

 “What did you order?” Yugi asked her.

 “A Yokohama. Would you like to try it?” She offered.

 “No thanks, I’m good with my sake.” He had a small carafe of sake in front of him with a large glass of water.

  Three waiters then appeared with the various platters that everyone had ordered. Once everyone was served, they bowed and left, heading back to the kitchen. The table was filled with the quiet click clack of chopsticks on ceramic as everyone began savouring their meal. The conversation had died down a little except for Mokuba and Alex who seemed to forget that there were others at the table. They seemed completely comfortable with each other. Mai watched them with a smile on her face.

 “Your hokkigai looks amazing.” Mokuba commented.

 “Help yourself.” Alex offered.

 “I’m not putting my chopsticks in your plate.”

 “Well, fine then.” She said smoothly. “Open up.” She held the piece of nigiri to his lips. He opened his mouth, accepting the morsel that he chewed with a smirk.

 “Tasty.” He said.

  Everyone finished their meals and were sipping on their various drinks when conversation moved to where they would be going to after they were done at the restaurant.

 “I vote karaoke.” Serenity piped up.

 “I pick dancing.” Tea added.

 “Why not both?” Duke suggested.

 “I know a great place.” Tristan added.

 “So that settles it.” Joey said. “Just wait till ya see my crazy moves Mai.”

 “Joey, I’m sure crazy is the right word for it.” She said haughtily making everyone burst into laughter.

  Duke called for the bill and once it was settled, they all climbed into their cars and headed to the karaoke club that Tristan suggested. Alex buckled herself into Duke’s car that he started with a roar and headed out onto the road before anyone else.

 “Alex.” Duke started. She knew this tone. He only ever called her Alex when she was in trouble. “I know you can have anyone, but will you stop flirting with Mokuba.”

 “What?! Firstly Dukie, you know that tone doesn’t work on me. Secondly, I’m not flirting. I like Mokuba but it’s not like I’m taking him home. Also, will you stop trying to protect me around your friends so much. No one is going to do anything.”

 “How do you know that?” He challenged.

 “Because I’m not Serenity, and that is the only reason you’re paranoid.”

 “That’s beside the point.”

 “No, it isn’t. Just relax. Be my fun brother, not the one full of lectures.”

 Duke heaved a huge sigh. “Fine. You know I’m just trying to look out for you.”

 “I know.”

 “But seriously, if anyone, especially Tristan says or does anything, you tell me.”

 “Why just Tristan?”

 “Because he and Serenity are on a break and Joey is with Mai. He’s not going to do anything I mean have you seen her?!”

 “You’re an idiot.” She laughed. “And they’re clearly back together.”

  They pulled up to a large face-brick building lit up with neon lights. Duke switched off the car, turned off the lights and waited for everyone else to arrive. Mokuba immediately parked alongside them having followed right behind them since they left the restaurant. Joey and Mai were next to arrive and eventually Tristan’s SUV was spotted with Serenity, Yugi and Tea inside.

  They all converged on the sidewalk and were soon seated inside. Two tables had to be put together for their large group. The guys went up to the bar to get the drinks for everyone. It took a few minutes but they all soon had a drink in front of them.

  The karaoke club was dimly lit inside. There was a narrow stage with a spotlight focussed on it. All the walls had blue and pink neon lights and in front of the stage was a dance floor.

 “So who’s getting this started?” Mokuba asked. “Yugi?”

 “Definitely not.” Yugi blushed.

 “I’ll go first!” Serenity exclaimed, jumping to her feet. She ran up onto the stage. Her song was selected and the music travelled through the speakers. Her melodious, high pitched voice filled the room.

 “So are you any good?” Mokuba asked Alex.

 “I’m okay.” Alex said.

 “Um, ‘okay’?” Duke interrupted. “Dude, she’s better than okay. You’ll see.”

 “Shut up Dukie!” She playfully admonished.

 “Just telling it like it is Bean.”

  Serenity had the time of her life. After she was done with her performance, everyone politely clapped and Tristan whistled. Tea was up next, who was as good as Serenity. She was followed by Joey, Tristan then Mai. Yugi, Duke and Mokuba refused to sing. They stated that they were just there for the show.

 “Your turn Bean.” Duke said loudly.

 “You know, you’re my brother and I love you, but one day I’m going to kill you.” She said. “I could have flown under the radar, no one would have asked me to sing.”

 “I wouldn’t bet on that.” Mokuba smiled, clearly siding with Duke.

 “Two against one.” Duke laughed. Tea and Serenity then pulled her off her seat and gave her a nudge towards the stage.

 She narrowed her eyes at her brother. “I’ll get you for this.”

 “Oh I don’t doubt it!” He laughed. She climbed the three stairs and told the tech which song to play. She took a deep breath, grabbed the mic and began.

 At first, I was afraid, I was petrified

Kept thinking, I could never live without you by my side

But then I spent so many nights thinking, how you did me wrong

And I grew strong and I learned how to get along

  She saw looks of shock at her table, paying close attention to Mokuba’s open mouth. The beat played through the speakers and Alex grew more comfortable on stage.

 And so you're back from outer space

I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face

I should have changed that stupid lock

I should have made you leave your key

If I'd known for just one second you'd be back to bother me

 Go on now, go, walk out the door, just turn around now

'Cause you're not welcome anymore

Weren't you the one, who tried to hurt me with goodbye?

Did you think I'd crumble? Did you think I'd lay down and die?

  People were clearly enjoying what they heard. There were groups clapping along to the beat, a couple decided to open up the dance floor. Alex started to really enjoy herself. She danced along as she sang, infecting everyone in the club with her high spirits.

 Oh, no, not I, I will survive

Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I'll stay alive

I've got all my life to live, I've got all my love to give

And I'll survive, I will survive

  The last lines rang out and she was met with applause, whoops and whistles. She made her way back to the table and took her seat between Duke and Mokuba.

 “That was fun.” She chuckled.

 “You were amazing!” Mokuba said dumbstruck.

 “Thank you.” Alex smiled.

 “Where did you learn to sing like that?” Tea asked.

 “I’m not sure. I suppose Duke and I used to put on shows for my mother.”

 “Hey! You can’t give out our secrets like that!” Duke scolded.

“Aww Duke, you were sweet once.” Tea teased.

 “Whatever Gardner.” He said, flicking his hair.

  Several other people, in various stages of drunk,  went up on stage to sing their favourite songs. Some were great, others were not, but all had a great time. It was growing quite late and the karaoke club was being transformed as a DJ began playing their set. The dance-floor quickly filled with gyrating bodies. Tea was the first to grab Yugi’s arm and pull him to his feet. She was a great dancer. She moved with an easy grace. Yugi on the other hand was terribly shy and Alex could see the slight redness that crept up his neck and coloured his cheeks.

  Mai and Joey soon joined Tea and Yugi and were quickly followed by Serenity and Tristan.

  “Are you going to show them how it’s done?” Alex asked Duke.

 “Nah, I’m going to wait for more talent to appear.” He replied.

 “Okay.” She laughed and took a sip of her drink.

 “Alex, would you like to dance?” Mokuba asked her with his hand extended.

 “I’d love to.” She replied, taking his offered hand and allowing him to lead her onto the dance-floor.

  She was surprised that Mokuba moved so well. She knew a fair amount about the Kaibas from Duke, and since Mokuba was raised by Seto Kaiba, she would never have thought that he would be this much fun to be around. Their bodies moved to the thumping beat set by the DJ. The rest of the guys seemed to move closer to them and they were all eventually dancing with each other. The music was so loud, they could barely hear one another. She could see Mokuba’s mouth move but could not hear what he was saying.

 “What? I can’t hear you.” She said loudly.

 “I said, are you thirsty?” Mokuba repeated loudly into her ear.

 “Oh! Yeah, I am.” She replied. He held up a finger to indicate she should wait there for him and after a while he reappeared with two bottles of water.

 “Thank you.” She smiled and drank a third of the bottle in one sip.

 “Let’s go sit for moment.” Mokuba said. Alex nodded and followed him back to the table. Duke was no longer seated there and after looking around for a little while she saw his black ponytail. He was dancing with a very beautiful, scantily clad brunette.

 “Casanova.” She shook her head.

 “So Alex, I didn’t really get to see this side of you in Russia.” Mokuba smirked.

 “Of course not. I was working.” She replied. “I had to be on my best behaviour.”

 “I suppose they told you “Mr Kaiba” was arriving.”

 “Yeah pretty much. And when the client is that prominent, you never want to be the one to jeopardise the account.” She said.

 “Well you had nothing to worry about.” Mokuba said reassuringly.

 “Thanks.” Alex smiled. She watched the others dance and watched her brother try is signature moves on the brunette. Mokuba watched her instead.

 “Alex, would you like to grab some dinner with me?” He asked, doing well to hide his hammering heart. It was weird, he had been on many dates, had asked many girls out, but none of them made him nervous before.

 “I would love to, but I can’t date a client.” She replied.

 “How about this, two friends who arrive in separate cars and have dinner at a nice restaurant in what definitely will not be a date?”

 “I suppose that would work.”

 “Great! Then tomorrow it is. I’ll text you the details.” He winked.

 “Sounds good to me.”

  They all decided to call it a night pretty soon and were heading off to their various homes except for Duke who was having way too much fun. Mokuba offered to drop her off at the apartment which she gratefully accepted. He stopped at the building’s front entrance. She gave him a peck on the cheek and thanked him for a lovely night before stepping out of the car and entering the building. He watched her disappear through the door before driving off.

  Alex entered the empty apartment which always felt too big when Duke was not around. She quickly showered, changed into pyjamas and climbed into bed falling asleep almost instantly.

Chapter Text

 Alex woke fairly late the next morning. She brushed her teeth and fixed her hair up in a messy bun. She padded barefoot to the kitchen, still in her pyjama shorts and tank top. She topped up the water in the coffee machine and added more coffee beans, she knew Duke would not be human without his morning cup and it was clear that he was still asleep. She filled the kettle and let it boil while she placed a rooibos tea bag in her white cup. She drummed her fingers on the countertop waiting for the kettle to click off. Finally, the bubbles reached its peak before subsiding, allowing her to pour the steaming hot water into her cup with a little spoon of honey.

 She looked around the kitchen deciding on what to make for breakfast. She checked the cupboards and settled on pancakes. Alex got out all her ingredients, quickly making her batter. The only sounds in the house were from her whisk and the slurp slurp of the coffee machine. She placed a non-stick pan on the gas and began cooking the pancakes. A noise behind her alerted her to the presence of someone else.

 “Good morning.” A ladies voice greeted. Alex turned around to find the brunette from the night before wearing one of Duke’s T-shirts. She was clearly embarrassed to be caught dressed so scantily. “Um. I didn’t know anyone else was here.”

 “Did my brother not tell you that we lived together?”

 “Honestly, it didn’t come up.” She said sheepishly.

 “Figures. Help yourself to some coffee. Cups are in the cupboard over there.” Alex pointed with her spatula. “Do you eat pancakes?” Alex asked

 “Yeah, I love them.”

 “Good. There’ll be plenty.” She smiled. “I’m Alex by the way.”

 “Airi.”

 Alex finished up making the rest of the pancakes and placed them in the warmer drawer. She heard a door open and knew that Duke was awake. Not missing an opportunity to tease her brother, she leaned against the wall opposite the open plan kitchen area which afforded her a view of Duke before Airi could see him.

 He walked towards Alex who took a sip of her tea and smugly looked at Duke who understood immediately.

 “Don’t look at me in that tone of voice.” He said defensively.

 “Uh-huh.” She deadpanned.

 “Oh shut up!”

 He walked past Alex to the kitchen where the brunette sat on a bar stool, sipping her coffee.

 “Hey.” He greeted. “How’re you doing?”

 Alex knew that look on Duke’s face and rolled her eyes.

 “I told Airi here to have breakfast with us. I made pancakes.” Alex said emphasizing her name.

 “Right. I see you’ve met my sister, Airi.”

 She caught her brother’s eye and shook her head.

 “Duke, would you like to help me set up for breakfast.” Alex said as she made her way across the kitchen.

 “Sure.”

 He joined Alex at the stove.

 “I can’t believe you forgot her name already.” Alex scolded in a whisper.

 “I wasn’t interested in her name.”

 “I’m sure.” She whispered back. “Will you get the berries and cream out the fridge?” She asked Duke loudly.

 Alex and Duke sat down to a slightly awkward breakfast with his conquest from the previous night. Being his usual charming self, Duke managed to diffuse the situation which Alex found really funny. Everyone seemed to be enjoying their morning meal.

 “It’s good to have you home Bean.” Duke said after eating a mouthful of pancake and syrup.

 “Is that because you’ve been deprived of pancakes for a month?” Alex chuckled.

 “Yes.” Duke responded.

 “They really are very good.” Airi said.

 “Thank you.”

 Everyone was done eating soon after and Airi excused herself to get dressed. Alex and Duke cleared up the kitchen and stacked the dishwasher.

 “How is she getting home?” Alex asked.

 “Taxi?” Duke replied.

 “Dressed in what she wore last night?!” Alex asked in disbelief. “I can’t believe that you’re making that poor girl do the walk of shame. Hold on.” Alex disappeared into her room for a few moments, returning with a long grey cardigan in hand.

 “Give this to her Duke.”

 “But you’ll never get it back.” He said.

 “It’s old and I don’t wear it. I can afford to part with it.”

 She reappeared in the living room, dressed in her shiny short skirt and daring top with her bag slung over her shoulder. Duke draped the cardigan over her which she was very grateful for and bid her goodbye at the door, placing a chaste kiss on her cheek before closing the door and locking it.

 Alex poured two mugs of coffee and handed one to Duke. They sat next to each other on the couch. She crossed her legs under her and placed her head on her brother’s shoulder.

 “It’s been a while since we had a Sunday to relax.” Alex said.

 “Yeah it has.” Duke replied.

 “How’s my car doing?” She asked.

 “I drove her around for a bit. You’ve got a full tank.”

 “You’re the best.”

 “I know.” Duke said conceitedly. “Where are you going?”

 “I’m having dinner with Mokuba.” Alex informed.

 “Bean, is this a good idea?” He asked as he lifted her off his shoulder. They turned to face each other holding their mugs of coffee.

 “It’s not a date Duke. I told him that I can’t date a client and he accepted that.”

 “From what I saw last night, it’s a matter of time before it is a date.” He replied.

 “I doubt that. I mean we are going out as friends.”

 “You know he isn’t his brother. Kaiba is a bit of a cold bastard but Mokuba is the opposite. He’s quite the ladies man.”

 “I’m not some innocent flower either you know.”

 “I know but you are my kid sister. I don’t want to see you hurt.”

 “Duke, have I ever been that girl?”

 “No, but that is because you are doing the heart breaking.”

 “Don’t worry so much. I can take care of myself.”

 “It’s my job to worry and I can take care of you too. Especially since…” Duke trailed off.

 “Is that what this is about? Duke, even when mom was alive, I took care of myself. She’s been gone for months.”

 “I know that. I just want to do right by them… and you.”

 “And you do. I mean Black Clown is doing better than ever and sales for DDM is steady. You know I brag about you quite a bit. How many people can say their brother is Duke Devlin?” She grinned.

 “True. I am quite the gift, aren’t I?” He said full of conceit making Alex erupt into laughter. “How was the trip though?”

 “It was good. Especially the Russian leg. I had some good meetings and scouting expeditions. I think we’ll have a few great additions to add to our travel packages. And then they emailed me about Mokuba’s trip. I actually didn’t know if Mokuba or Seto Kaiba was arriving because they kept referring to ‘Mr Kaiba’.”

 “Be glad it was Mokuba.” Duke replied.

 “Honestly, you guys talk about him like he’s some sort of dragon.”

 “If you met him, you’d know why.”

  Alex and Duke spent the rest of the day making up for the month they had spent apart. He treated her to a lovely lunch out, the rest of the afternoon was spent playing games, which Duke took great pleasure in winning, and watching movies.

 The sun began to set, and Alex decided she should get ready for her dinner with Mokuba. She wore a burgundy skater dress with black gladiator heels. She brushed her raven hair over her left shoulder and hung a simple black earring off her ear that hung midway down the length of her neck. Her makeup was light but flawless. Her dark hair made her eyes look all the more striking.

 She grabbed her purse and headed out of her room.

 “Looking good Bean. I thought this wasn’t a date.” Duke smirked.

 “It isn’t, but I can’t go to a nice restaurant looking like a slob, now can I?”

 “Whatever you say.” Duke replied making Alex roll her eyes.

 “See you later.” She said as she took her car keys off the hook and headed out the door.

 Alex went down to the garage, pressed the unlock button and the black beauty that looked back at her flashed its lights as it unlocked. She climbed into the driver’s seat with a smile plastered to her face. She eased the car onto the road taking a leisurely drive to the restaurant that Mokuba had picked out.

 Mokuba had already arrived and was seated at a table that gave him a great view out the window. He watched a black Audi TTS pull up and park next to his own car. Alex gracefully got out and made her way to the entrance where the hostess greeted then ushered her to Mokuba’s table. She was handed a menu as soon as she took her seat. They were then informed that the waiter would be along shortly to take their orders and the hostess left.

 “Nice car.” Mokuba said by way of greeting.

 “Isn’t it just.” She smiled. “Duke bought it for me.”

 “That was nice of him.”

 “Yeah, he’s pretty amazing like that.”

 “You two seem close.” Mokuba stated.

 “We are. You must know what it’s like when there are only two siblings. He’s my partner in crime.” She said fondly. “Shall we order our drinks?”

 “Yeah. Do you know what you’re having?”

 “Chardonnay for me.” She replied. They placed their drinks menu on the table and a waiter immediately appeared.

 “What can I get you sir, ma’am?” The waiter asked.

 “A chardonnay please.” Alex answered.

 “Yes ma’am. And for you sir?”

 “The same. Make it a bottle off your reserve list.” Mokuba instructed.

 “Yes sir. Any starters?”

 “Alex?”

 “Oysters?” She responded

 “Sounds good. A platter to share.” Mokuba responded.

 “Yes sir.” The waiter bowed and left their table.

 “Well aren’t you the oenophile.” Alex teased.

 “I don’t have it often but when I do, it should be good.” He replied.

 “Well, I can’t disagree with that.” She nodded.

 “So since we’re friends now, we should know more about each other.” Mokuba said with a smirk.

 “What do you want to know?” Alex laughed.

 “Let’s start with something easy. What hobbies do you have?”

 “Um, lets see… I like dancing. I trained formally, and Duke was my partner.”

 “Really?!” Mokuba said in surprise.

 “He’s really good. I did ballet, ballroom and Latin American.” She informed.

 “That sounds like fun, also sounds like you were very busy.”

 “It was fun. My mother believed that we had to remain busy. Idle hands do the devil’s work and all that. I stopped when I was seventeen.” She said while nibbling on a breadstick.

 “Why?” Mokuba inquired.

 “I wanted to focus on my academics.”

 “That's understandable.”

 “Yup. I enjoyed my activities, it was harder for Duke. He had to work hard to shoulder the weight of the family’s legacy. Still, he was always up for a good time. Otherwise I like playing games.”

 “What sort of games?”

 “Board games, console, card games. I mean my family did make their money in selling them.” She chuckled.

 “So you should be pretty good.” Mokuba stated.

 “Well, Duke still whips my ass at most of them.” She said bitterly.

 “Do you play duel monsters?” He asked genuinely curious.

 “Yeah I do.”

 “That's awesome! We really should play sometime.”

 “You're on!”

 The waiter then brought through their oysters and wine, setting the platter between them. A white plate was placed before each of them along with an oyster fork. Both Mokuba and Alex used the fork to loosen the oyster, squeezed a bit of lemon over then sprinkled a bit of salt and pepper on to it.

 “Cheers.” Alex said before before placing the shell at her lips and dipping her head back. They enjoyed the decadent platter, devouring the shelled delicacies. In no time at all, the dozen had disappeared. A waiter they had not noticed immediately stepped up to the table to clear the empty plates away.

 “That was good.” She said.

 “Yeah they were. It’s been a while since I had oysters.” Mokuba said.

 “Oh and why is that?” Alex asked.

 “I didn’t have the right company I suppose.” He replied.

 “I’m flattered.” She smiled flirtily.

 Mokuba and Alex chatted for a long while more. Their mains were served and they conversed throughout the course, taking longer to finish the meal than they would have usually.

 “You know, I’ve known Duke for years and he never once mentioned he had a sister.”

 “Yeah, he’s protective. I think it’s mostly because he’s a massive flirt and asked Serenity out and just didn’t want that to happen to his sister.” Alex explained.

 “Well he is pretty popular with the ladies.” Mokuba said.

 “I hear you’re not doing too bad yourself.” She smirked.

 “I suppose that’s true.” He agreed. “What made you move to Domino?” Mokuba asked in an attempt to change the subject.

 “A job opening. We’re from Tokyo but when our dad got ill, Duke took over the stores and moved here. I finished university and got a great job at M & E. My mom fell ill last year and past away. Duke asked me to move after that. I said I would only if it helped my career so when an opportunity presented itself, I jumped at it.”

 “I’m sorry to hear about your parents, but I’m glad you came to Domino.”

 “Me too.” Alex admitted. “I’ve missed my brother a lot and I’ve made some great friends here.”

 “Great looking friends who work at Kaiba Corp.” Mokuba said cockily.

 “So humble.” She said rolling her eyes. “But yes.”

 Mokuba and Alex spent the rest of the night talking about everything from sport to cars to music and gaming. The more they chatted, the more enchanted they became with each other. They found they had a lot in common and Mokuba enjoyed her fun, flirty nature. Her laughter was infectious.

 They both thoroughly enjoyed their dinner and were rather saddened that the night had passed so quickly. Mokuba walked Alex to her car, he even opened her door for her displaying his chivalrous manners.

 “Thanks for dinner Mokuba. I had a great time.” She said as she got into her car. He closed the door and she started it up then pressed the little button on her door to roll down the window.

 “I did too.” He said. “We should do this again.”

 “Yeah we should.” She smiled. “I’d give you a hug but I have a feeling it would appear in a newspaper somewhere.” She said with a sarcastic edge.

 “Without a doubt.” Mokuba sighed dramatically.

 “Good night Mokuba.”

 “Bye Alex. Drive safely.”

 “I always do.”

 Her drive home was relaxed with soft music playing in the background and a smile plastered to her face.


 

 Mokuba entered the study to find his brother busy as usual.

 “Hey Seto. What are you working on?” He asked as he took a seat on the couch opposite Kaiba like he did so many times as a child.

 “Finance reports.” Kaiba replied in his gruff voice.

 “Fun.” Mokuba replied distractedly.

 “What’s on your mind?” Kaiba asked. He knew his brother well enough to know if something was bothering him.

 “You’re busy bro, it can wait.” He replied.

 “Spit it out Mokuba.” Kaiba instructed. He put down papers and knitted his fingers under his chin, giving his brother his undivided attention.

 “Well, there is this girl that I really like but she can’t date clients. Now I don’t want to interfere or endanger her career but I really want to see her again.” Mokuba explained.

 “So this is about a girl.” Kaiba said with disdain.

 “Not just any girl.” Mokuba replied.

 “You see plenty of girls Mokuba. If this one is serious about her career, you can’t jeopardize that.”

 “But she’s amazing bro. She isn’t like any of the others. She’s... special.”

 Kaiba heaved a deep sigh. “If you feel something real and not like the fleeting affairs you usually have, then go after what you want. You’re a Kaiba, you have more power than anyone in Domino, use it.”

 “Thanks bro. That actually helped.” Mokuba grinned.

Chapter Text

 The morning sunlight danced off the glass as Alex pushed open the office door. She put her bag down on her desk, sat down and took her laptop out of her bag. She quickly set it up and began her morning ritual of fetching her coffee while her emails loaded. She quickly scanned through them, prioritizing which needed to be answered immediately and by the time she had drained her cup, all her emails were sent.

 Next, she set about working on all the information she had collected during her trip. She was so absorbed in her work, that she did not hear her manager approach her desk. He cleared his throat.

 “Good morning Mr M.” She greeted with a smile.

 “Morning Alex. Would you like to step into my office for a chat?”

 “Sure.” She replied and followed him into his warmly furnished office.

 “So how are you doing?” He asked her.

 “Pretty good thanks.” She replied.

 “Have a seat.” He gestured to the chair opposite him. “How was the trip?”

 “It was great! Finland went really well and I should have everything for the Russian leg together and sent to you by the afternoon. Overall, we should be able to put together some great exclusive and non-exclusive packages.”

 “That’s what I like to hear. You’d be happy to know that you are still my only rep who still has to do bookings. There have been few queries while you were away, but they will only deal with you.”

 “Rep, scout, agent… what would you do without me?” She joked.

 “Indeed.”

 “I’ll get right on it.” She said.

 “Speaking of people who will only deal with you, I had a call from Mr Kaiba this morning.”

 “Mr Mokuba or Seto Kaiba?”

 “Mokuba. I don’t know what you did in Russia but keep doing it.”

 “Why? What did he say?”

 “Kaiba Corp. will be dealing with us exclusively for their travel requirements, but only on the condition that they deal with you and only you.”

 “Well, that’s quite a coup.” She laughed.

 “It is. Apparently, you were very helpful, and he liked your warm demeanour. You helped them make a very important decision I am told. Well done.”

 “Thanks. Just doing my job.” Alex smiled. “Is that all, I should get going on those calls.”

 “Just minute. I wanted to talk to you about one more thing. I am told you went on a date with Mokuba this weekend. You know our policy about dating clients.”

 “I do, and I definitely did not go on a date. He is a friend of my brother’s so we all went out.”

 “And last night?”

 “We went out to dinner, Duke did not want to go.”

 “You see here is my situation, I had a long chat with Mr Kaiba and if I enforce our policy then either you will leave or Mr Kaiba leaves. Now faced with the decision of losing my best employee or our biggest account, I am forced to lean towards a third option.”

 “Which is?” Alex asked.

 “Me ignoring the company policy this one time.”

 “Doesn’t that put you in a difficult position?”

 “Not with your numbers or his name.”

 “I appreciate that but really Mr M, he is just a friend.”

 “I wouldn’t be so sure.” He chuckled. “Off you go.”

 “Thanks.” She replied. Alex left the office wondering exactly what was said in that call and she had every intention of finding out. For now though, she had to put it at the back of her mind and continue with all the demands of her day.

 Returning the calls to her faithful clients took up the bulk of her day but by the afternoon she had completed all the tasks she had set out for herself for that day. She was famished, having not stopped for lunch, her stomach began its protests. At five o’clock she switched off, clocked out and headed home. She called Mokuba from the hands free in her car. It rang just twice before he answered.

 “Hey Alex.” He greeted.

 “Hi Mokuba. How are you?”

 “Good and you?”

 “Doing pretty good.”

 “So what’s up?”

 “Well, I had an interesting chat with my boss today.”

 “Oh.” Mokuba laughed.

 “Yeah. So now I’m wondering exactly what you said to him.”

 “Just that you’re a great employee.”

 “And?”

 “And that you were very helpful.”

 “Uh-huh, and?”

 “And we want to deal M&E exclusively.”

 “And that’s it? Because he talked to me about our company dating policy.”

 “Ah, well I may have insinuated that we will only deal with you and if you left for whatever reason, we would follow you as a client.”

 “Well that’s very nice of you. He just seemed to think we went on a date.”

 “Yeah, he hinted at it, so I knew that if he thought losing us as a client was a possibility if you were forced to leave, he’d have to reconsider.” Mokuba said smugly.

 “So you were just playing my boss were you?”

 “I don’t know if I would put it like that, but I know how to work my name.” He said. Alex could almost hear the smirk on his face.

 “You’re always so modest Mokuba.” She laughed. “Take care, we’ll chat sometime.”

 “That we will. Bye.” He hung up. She drove the rest of the way home with a  silly smile playing on her lips. She parked her car in the designated bay and took the lift up to her apartment. The place was empty since Duke would only arrive home in an hour. She changed out of her work clothes and into a pair of comfy shorts and a t-shirt. She walked barefoot to the fridge to see what she could make for dinner. Duke had obviously done the grocery shopping while she was away since the fridge was fully stocked. She decided to treat him a little and make chow mein since he loved Chinese food. She pulled out all the fresh vegetables and began to methodically chop them up, next she sliced the chicken and sanitized all her work surfaces. She then prepped her noodles and her sauce. Dinner would not take long to cook, so she lay on the couch and flicked through the channels  to find something to watch. She finally settled on a documentary about the Andes which which held her with rapt attention. It was only after it ended that she realized she had only ten minutes before Duke arrived. She quickly heated up a pan and multi-tasked between setting the table and cooking their dinner.

 Like clockwork, Duke arrived just as she finished up in the kitchen and took the pan to the table.

 “Hey Duke.” She greeted. “Hope you’re hungry.”

 “I am. Something smells really good.” He replied, making his way to the dining table.  Alex joined him with a chilled bottle of Pinot Grigio. She place the bottle along with the corkscrew next to Duke for him to open while she served them both.  It was not difficult to see why Duke always said Alex was easy to live with. They chatted about their day while they ate. She told him all about her conversation with her boss.

 “I told you. You and Mokuba.” Duke teased.

 “I don’t know Duke.” Alex replied.

 “I’ve never known you to live in denial. Besides you practically have permission to pursue that.”

 “Maybe. But we’ve gone to dinner once. It’s not exactly the basis for a major decision that will definitely affect my work. I mean I may not have to worry about management, but I do work with other people. Females.”

 “I know what you’re getting at, but you’ve handled it before.”

 “I have, but that was different. None of the other guys I have ever dated was a Kaiba. They have fans. Crazy, rabid fans.”

 “Well, that’s true.” Duke agreed.

 “You’re not being helpful.” She said in an unimpressed tone.

 “No I’m not.” He smiled tauntingly. “Come on, Alex.” He laughed at her expression. “You’ll figure this out.”

 “You know what, there is nothing to figure out right now. I have a friend and I’m just going to go with the flow.” She said.

 “That’s more like it. Shall we clear up?”

 Alex nodded and the two of them made quick work of loading the dishwasher, neatening the kitchen and dining table. They had just retired to the lounge to while away the evening watching TV, when there was a knock on the door.

 “I’ll get it.” Alex said. She walked over to the door and opened it to find Mokuba staring back at her. “Mokuba! This is a surprise. Come in.” She greeted and stepped out of the way to let him in.

 “I hope I’m not intruding.” He said apologetically.

 “No, not at all. Come have a seat.” She gestured towards the couches.

 “Mokuba! How’s it going man?” Duke greeted.

 “Good good.” Mokuba replied, taking a seat.

 “Can I get you anything? Coffee? Something stronger?” Alex offered.

 “Coffee please. I have to drive home after this.” He smiled.

 “Coming up.” She replied. Mokuba and Duke chatted while Alex made three cups of coffee. She placed the mugs on a tray and took them through to the lounge where Mokuba and Duke were deep in conversation. She handed the two of them a mug each and took her seat on the black leather single seater. She listened to them chat until there was a lull in the conversation.

 “Alex.” Mokuba started. “I actually came over to chat to you.”

 “Well, that is my cue to leave.” Duke smirked.

 “No. It’s fine. We’ll go out onto the balcony.” Alex said quickly. Mokuba followed her through the glass sliding door which she pulled shut behind her. They took their seats on the grey rattan sectional couch that had large comfortable cushions. They sat facing each other and Mokuba placed is mug on the matching rattan cube table that had a clear glass top.

 “You have quite a nice view from up here.” Mokuba stated.

 “Yeah we do. It’s quite peaceful. I like sitting here after a hectic day. Duke likes it up here as well but for other reasons.” She laughed.

 “I don’t doubt it.” Mokuba chuckled.

 “So, what did you want to talk about?” Alex asked.

 “Us.” Mokuba replied.

 “Us?” Alex asked. “There isn’t really an us.”

 “But maybe I’d like there to be.” Mokuba said.

 “Mokuba...” Alex said shaking her head.

 “Wait, just listen to me. I know you have some reservations. I mean you don’t want this to reflect badly on you professionally but this is what I propose. Let’s go out. It can be totally casual if you want, just date for a while and see how it goes. We can keep it totally quiet.”

 “Mokuba, you’re a Kaiba. How on earth would we keep this quiet?” She asked.

 “You just said it, I’m a Kaiba. There’s lots I can do.” He smirked.

 “Why would you go through all that trouble for me?” She asked.

 “Why not?” He retorted. “Look, I know you’re a free spirit. Someone like you isn’t usually tied down but I think we could have fun together and I think you’re really interesting. Your joy is contagious and you’re really smart; so why wouldn’t I want that?”

 Alex heaved a deep sigh. Mokuba could clearly see the deep thought reflected in her eyes. She had a lot to think about. They could try to keep their would be relationship quiet but inevitably it would get out. She also did not know if she wanted to jeopardise the respect she had at work. At the same time, she really liked Mokuba.

 “I’m doing this against my better judgement, Mokuba, but okay. We can give this a go.”

 Mokuba grinned a glorious toothy smile at her and she could feel herself mirroring it. “Let’s go inside.” He said.

 “What?” Of all the things she expected to hear as a response, that was not it.

 “I want to show you what it means to me but not out here, also I want to tell Duke so he doesn’t kill me if he sees me kissing you.”

 Alex let out a hoot of laughter and led him back inside and into her room. As soon as she closed the door Mokuba’s hands were cradling her face and crushing his lips to hers. She kissed him back with all the playfulness and passion he expected from her. Their moment, their first kiss. They were not sure if lasted seconds, minutes or hours, but they knew they had just discovered something special.

 “Let’s go tell your brother.” Mokuba said as they broke apart.

 “Let’s.” She smiled.

Chapter Text

 In the weeks that followed, Duke was surprisingly supportive of the relationship between Alex and Mokuba, despite his initial concerns over his friend taking a liking to his sister. Mokuba seemed as taken with Alex as she was with him. He went over to Duke and Alex’s apartment most nights after work, spending a few hours with them initially but more recently he would spend a night or two every week. Their weekends were spent with the whole gang which allowed Alex and Mokuba some time out, without any questions being raised.

  In the month and a half that Mokuba and Alex had been seeing each other, they were both in perpetually good moods. They seemed well suited to each other as they both had fun, flirty personalities. This actually helped them maintain their secret romance as everyone wrote off their interactions as just part of their personalities. All in all they did well to keep their relationship a secret from the media and their group of friends, Duke and Kaiba being the only exceptions.

  It was the last Friday of August and Mokuba and Alex sat cuddled on the love-seat watching a comedy.

 “Alex.”

 “Hmm.”

 “What would you say to dinner at my place?” Mokuba asked.

 “It depends. Are you asking me to have dinner with you at the mansion?”

 “Well, it would be you me and Seto.” Mokuba said sheepishly.

 Alex turned around to face Mokuba. “You want me to meet your brother?”

 “Yeah, I do.”

 “Well then you need to ask me.” She teased.

 “Alex, would you care to join my brother and I for dinner tomorrow night?” Mokuba asked with mock formality.

 “I’d love to.” She replied. “Will I be leaving alive?” She asked sarcastically.

 “Seto isn’t that bad, I swear.” He promised. “Anyway, I best be heading home.” He said as he got off the couch and walked to the door. Alex opened it allowing Mokuba to walk out. “Shall I come fetch you around six?” he asked.

 “Mokuba don’t be silly, I’ll drive to you.”

 “Are you sure?”

 “Yeah, of course.”

 “Okay, well then I’ll see you around six thirty.” He said. He placed a kiss on her forehead and left. Duke appeared behind her as she closed the door, slipping on his black waistcoat.

 “You look good.” Alex observed.

 “Got a date.” He replied.

 “Have I met her?” She asked.

 “No you have not.” He smirked.

 Duke wore a pair of charcoal black jeans, a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up, a red tie and a black waistcoat with his trademark dice hanging off his ear.

 “Well have fun.” Alex smiled.

 “Oh I will but before I go, did I hear right? You’re having dinner at the Kaiba mansion?”

 “I am.” She replied.

 “I want to talk about this when I get home.” He said taking on a tone he rarely used.

 “Talk to me now.”

 “Alex.”

 “Duke.” She said stubbornly.

 “Are you going to be difficult?”

 “Possibly. What do you want to say?” She asked.

 “Fine. Listen, a dinner like this will be awkward. You’re not just having a comfortable meal with Mokuba. Kaiba is difficult, antagonistic. He is just unpleasant to be around.”

 “And yet, you have spent a great deal of time around both brothers. Look, I understand and appreciate that you are looking out for me, but I’m dating Mokuba. I can’t avoid Seto Kaiba forever.”

 “Unfortunately.” Duke replied.

 “I’m going in there with no expectations. From what everyone says, I imagine he will not like me. I’m not going to let that interfere with something great that I have going.”

 “Just be careful Alex. He knows how to get under people’s skin. I’ve seen him taunt and insult Joey for years and you know, it hasn’t changed all that much.”

 “I hear you Duke. I’ll be fine. Besides, I’m adorable.” She said playfully. “Now go! Before you get late.”

 “Aren’t you going out tonight?” Duke asked.

 “Nope. I’ve got a book with my name on it.”

 “Really, you’re staying in on a Friday night?” Duke said with disbelief.

 “Oh shut up.”

  Duke left soon after and Alex decided to use the quiet time to relax. She drew herself a bath with some luxury rose scented bath oil. She poured herself a glass of wine and fetched her book. She then stripped off her clothes and sunk into the warm, relaxing water. Taking a sip of the chilled, crisp wine, she opened her book. It was absorbing from page one. It was only when her eyes began to droop did she realize how long she had been in the bath, reading. She downed what little of her wine was left and stepped out of the water, quickly drying off before pulling the plug and allowing the water to drain away with a loud slurp. She brushed her teeth then slipped on a satin nightie before crawling under the covers. She tried to read some more but fell asleep before she reached the bottom of the page.

  She slept soundly that night. Alex did not even hear when Duke returned from his date in the early hours of the morning. He saw her bedroom door was ajar and peeked in to check if she was okay. One look told him that she had fallen asleep with the book on her chest. He pried it away from her gently and set it on the nightstand face down so she would not lose her place, pulled her covers over her a little more and closed the door behind him.

  The next day passed by relatively quickly. She would not admit it, but she felt just a little nervous. She blamed Duke for that. Alex, never one to be intimidated, took a deep breath and decided she would not let the idea of a person rattle her. She dressed in a black knee length fitted dress with sleeves to her elbows, her shiny black stiletto pumps with a small red drop earring on her ears and she did her makeup lightly with a striking red lip. She then pulled her hair back into a ponytail and was ready to go.

  She knocked on Duke’s bedroom door and opened it when she heard him invite her in.

 "Hey, I’m about to head off.” She said walking in.

 “Okay.” He said then he turned to face her. “Bean, you look good.”

 “Thanks.” She smiled.

 “Have fun and don’t let Kaiba unnerve you.”

 “Honestly Dukie, I’ll be fine. See you later. Say hi to the guys for me.”

 “Will do.”

  She left the apartment, locking the door behind her and took the lift down to the parking levels where she got into her black beast and drove across town to the Kaiba residence. The radio played softly in the background as she drove leisurely through the streets of Domino. It was testament to how much she liked Mokuba, that she was nervous at all.

 Her GPS informed her that she had arrived at the house. A behemoth of a home with large stone columns that stood on grounds covered in lush green lawn. She pulled up to the wrought iron gates and informed the security that she was there as a guest to Mokuba. They radioed up to the house and almost instantly the gates swung open.

 She parked her car at the top of the driveway. Gracefully, she got out and locked it with a sharp beep before walking to the front door. She rapped at the door with the large ring of the door knocker. A maid dressed in a black uniform opened the door and stood aside to let Alex in, bowing as she did so. Mokuba came bounding down the stairs, instantly coming into view.

 “Alex! You look... wow!”

 “Too much?”

 “No! You just look really great.” He grabbed her hand and pulled her into the lounge. “Have a seat. We’re just waiting for Seto to get home, which should be any minute really. Can I get you something to drink?”

 “No thanks, I’m good for now.” She replied. He took a seat next to her and crossed his legs ankle over knee. He looked great in his blue jeans and white shirt. It made her feel a little overdressed.

 “Are you nervous?” Mokuba asked.

 “Should I be?”

 “No. Seto isn’t as scary as people say.” Mokuba said unconvincingly.

 “You’re a terrible liar.” She laughed. They then heard the roar of an engine pull up.

 “That’s him now.” Mokuba said. They waited for Kaiba to put down his his things before leaving the lounge to make the necessary introduction.

 “Mokuba.” They heard him call as he walked down the stairs.

 “Coming Seto.” Mokuba called back. “Ready?” He asked. Alex nodded back. They walked out to the foyer where Kaiba waited. “Hey Seto. How was your day?” Mokuba asked.

 “The usual.” He then looked over at Alex who stepped out from behind Mokuba.

 “Hi, I’m Alex.” She introduced her herself, bowing as she did so.

 “Kaiba.” He replied in his gruff voice, inclining his head.

 “Dinner’s ready so shall we go eat?” Mokuba suggested. Kaiba wordlessly turned and walked through to the dining room. Mokuba gave Alex an encouraging smile but she thought that Kaiba definitely was an intimidating character. The black pants, boots and turtleneck did not help to change that impression either.

  She followed Mokuba into the warmly decorated dining room. He pulled out a chair for Alex then sat next to her. Kaiba took his usual spot at the head of the table. Before them lay spread of succulent rare roast beef, gravy, various vegetables and salads. A maid offered her some wine which she gratefully accepted. The rich almost burgundy liquid flowed out of the carafe, filling her glass. The maid proceeded to pour some for Kaiba and Mokuba as well before bowing and leaving the room.

  The food flowed freely, everything tasted better than the last item. Alex noticed a look pass between the brothers but she did not comment on it.

 “Compliments to the chef.” Alex commented.

 “Thank you. I’ll pass that on.” Mokuba smiled.

 “Your staff really are amazing.”

 “They’re adequate.” Kaiba said. “So Alex, Mokuba says you were quite helpful in Russia.”

 “I’m glad I could be of assistance. Russia is just a such a beautiful place but it helps if you know where to go.”

 “I imagine someone that diligent, efficient and hard working would apply those ethics to all aspects of their life.”

 “Absolutely. But a life without an opportunity to enjoy what all that brings isn’t worth living. There’s a time for work and a time for play.” Alex retorted. Mokuba caught a fleeting smirk on his brother’s face.

 “So what exactly do you do?” Kaiba asked her, fixing her with his blue gaze.

 “I basically scout locations to add to our travel packages, sell our services to tourism and travel agencies and still work as a standard travel agent to certain clients.”

 “I still think that’s quite a bit.” Mokuba interjected.

 “Why wouldn’t you leave the lesser position behind you?” Kaiba asked. Alex was starting to feel like she was at an interview rather than a dinner.

 “Well, I’ve had high powered clients that refused to deal with anyone else at the agency and I refuse to lose those accounts, so I try to balance their needs with my other responsibilities.”

 “And you’re amazing at it.” Mokuba said proudly, earning a sincere smile from Alex. Kaiba closely watched the interaction between the two of them. He wanted to get a feel for who Alex really was, but he liked what he saw, especially how she affected Mokuba.

 They finished their meal with mostly Mokuba and Kaiba chatting. The longer Alex watched them, the more they reminded her of her own relationship with Duke. Their relationship seemed easy, when they spoke to each other they appeared to be in their own bubble, one where it was just them against the world. It brought a smile to her face.

  Dessert was soon served and Kaiba decided to take a more direct approach with Alex.

 “Alex, so Devlin is your brother. Why would I let you be around my brother?”

 “Seto!” Mokuba interjected.

 “It’s fine Mokuba. Kaiba, I’m not my brother. I know that there has been some history between you guys but it isn’t my history. My involvement with Kaiba Corp., Mokuba or you is only two months old. You know, there is more to Duke than people realize. He’s my best friend. At the same time, I really like Mokuba and there isn’t really anything that would make me stop being around him.”

 “I like being around you too.” Mokuba smiled. Alex gave Mokuba’s hand a squeeze, a gesture showing her appreciation which Kaiba caught in the corner of his eye.

  He thought that she seemed a lot more comfortable in his presence than any of Mokuba’s previous dates and she definitely seemed much smarter. Mokuba and Alex enjoyed the chocolate tart in front of them while chatting merrily, but Alex could feel Kaiba’s gaze on her. She was really curious to know what he thought of her.

  “Mokuba.” Kaiba said. “I have some work to do tonight. Are you going out?” He asked.

 “Possibly. I might see what the guys are up to.”

 “Must you go out with the nerd herd?” He asked with condescension clear in his tone, his smirk the only thing betraying his little joke. Alex snorted into her wine.

 “Enjoy that, did you?” Kaiba said.

 “It’s not exactly untrue.  I mean we’re a group of game creators, champions, book nerds like me...”

 “I wouldn’t call you a nerd.” Mokuba said kindly.

 “Then clearly you have not chatted to Duke enough.” She laughed.

 “I meant to ask you, why does he call you Bean?” Mokuba asked.

 “Oh, well, it’s from when we were kids and he said I was ridiculously energetic and we always had fun together. I guess it kinda stuck.”

 “Not much has changed then.” He teased.

  Kaiba excused himself from the table and went up to his study where he could continue working in peace. It meant a lot to Mokuba that he did take a break for the dinner especially since he knew his brother would rather spend the quiet hours holed up in his office.

  Mokuba and Alex continued talking while finishing off their dessert; he then decided to give her the tour. He took her for a night time stroll through the gardens, he showed her the various lounges, the library, which she loved. He then took her through to the home theatre and games room which included a pool table. She challenged Mokuba to a game but he declined knowing full well how good she was. Duke had already warned him which Alex thought was unfair.

  They went upstairs and Mokuba pointed where the staff wing was. They were walking down a passage and Mokuba pointed out Kaiba’s room which made his mind wander.

 “So what did you think of Seto?” Mokuba asked somewhat apprehensively.

 “It really means a lot to you that your brother and I get along, doesn’t it?” She observed as they came to a stop at the balcony railing that overlooked the downstairs area.

 “Yeah, it does. Wouldn’t you prefer it if the person you really liked also liked your brother and vice versa?”

 “Absolutely. It makes life easier and Duke has been the most important person in my life for a long time, but it would never stop me pursuing what or whom I wanted.” She responded.

 “Likewise, but I’m still curious to know.” He replied.

 “I like him.” She said plainly.

 “You do?”

 “Yeah.” She chuckled. “He is very intimidating but considering who he is, it makes sense. Also, I liked watching you two interact. You’re both quite funny and sarcastic, I might add. It’s actually quite sweet.” Alex said. Mokuba replied with a sincere smile and Alex moved closer to him, placing her hand over his on the balcony railing.

 “I was worried that the guys would have affected your impression of him.” Mokuba admitted.

 “Mokuba, you should know me better than that by now. I’m actually reminded of a quote I read, ‘I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.’”

 “Nietzsche.” Kaiba said, standing in the doorway of his study with his arms crossed. He’d been observing the two of them the entire time.

 “Seto!” Mokuba said in surprise.

 “That’s not a book many people read.” Kaiba said dropping his arms and moving to join them.

 “It’s not, but he had some interesting thoughts.” Alex replied.

 “Do you subscribe to his ideologies?” Kaiba asked.

 “Not really. I’ve read the works of many philosophers and sociologists but it doesn’t mean that I follow any of them in particular. As with all things, there are things I agree with and things I disagree with, but all of it is interesting.”

 “Hmm.” Was all the response Alex got. Kaiba turned to head back into the study. “This one’s interesting Mokuba.” He said before disappearing through the doorway. Mokuba stood open mouthed before whispering in Alex’s ear.

 “I think he likes you.” He held Alex’s hand and led her further down the passage to his room. He held open the door for her and followed her in. Mokuba’s room was warm, much like him she thought. The floor was covered in ivory coloured, large high gloss tiles with a large black rug that sat under the black wooden frame of the floating bed that was covered with a shimmery beige comforter and a brown throw. Pillows of various sizes coloured in brown and beige leaned against the cream padded headboard surrounded by a thin black wooden frame. This was surrounded by an oak panel which was surrounded by dark wood slats. Beside the bed were two black wooden bedside tables and above each, suspended from the ceiling, were two large round lamp shades. In the corner, between the bed and the expansive window that covered the far wall, sat an orange chair with a matching orange ottoman. It was by far the loudest thing in the room. The window had a clear view of the grounds. A light gauzy curtain hung from the hidden window rail. A dark wood desk and office chair was placed in front of the window which made Alex wonder why Mokuba did not just work in the study.

  Alex walked over to the bright orange chair and sat down.

 “What do you think?” Mokuba asked.

 “It’s a really bright chair.” She laughed.

 “It makes sure that I don’t grow up too much.” He joked.

 “This is a really lovely room Mokuba. And surprisingly neat.” Alex teased. He rolled his eyes at her and walked over to the window, looking out at dimly lit grounds.

 “A few years ago we renovated and redecorated the whole place. The entire house was covered in the most repulsive green carpet. Honestly, our stepfather had no taste at all.”

 “Well, the house looks great now.”

 “Yeah it does.” He smiled. Alex joined him at the window. Even in his pensive moments, Mokuba always seemed consumed with a buoyant happiness that affected her as well. What she did not realize, was that Mokuba felt the same about her.

  He held her hand and gently pulled her down to the bed where they sat facing each other. He tangled his fingertips in her hair, caressing her cheeks with his thumbs. He pulled her closer towards him, closing the distance between them. Their lips danced together, tongues intertwining.

 “Stay the night?” He asked as they pulled apart.

 “I can’t Mokuba. Not tonight.”

 “I know, thought I’d try anyway.” He smirked. “I want to ask you something. Do you feel ready to make this public yet?”

 “Why?” She asked.

 “We’ve been dating a little over a month now and neither you nor I want to go running for the hills. I mean I really like you. Like really like you. How do you feel?”

 “I feel the same but my wanting to keep this under wraps was not because of how either of us may feel but rather the fact that you and your brother have some rabid fans out there.” Alex said, voicing her concerns.

 “I get that, but we can work on the risks.”

 “Can we though? I travel a lot.”

 “Yes we can.”

 “Can I ask what brought this on?” She inquired.

 “There is an autumn game launch and I really want you to go with me. It’s only fitting that I have my girlfriend there.”

 “Girlfriend?” Alex asked with a smirk.

 “Yes, girlfriend.” He replied.

 Alex was quiet for a while. She really did not want to have to look over her shoulder all the time but the more time she spent with Mokuba, the more she knew that there was very little she would not do for him.

 “Okay, let’s do it. But if any crazy people come after me, I’m coming after you!” She teased pushing Mokuba down onto the bed. She kissed him quick and hard then climbed off him, straightening her dress. “I should head off. We’ll chat tomorrow?”

 “Definitely.”

  He walked her to her car and opened the door for her. Alex pulled him towards her by the collar of his shirt and kissed him goodnight. Being the well-mannered gentleman he was, he closed her car door as she climbed in.

 “Drive safe.” He bid.

 “Always do.”

 Alex started up her black Audi and drove down the driveway and out onto the road.

 

  Mokuba went back upstairs and knocked on the study door.

 “Do you have a moment bro?” He asked.

 “What is it Mokuba?” Kaiba answered gruffly. Mokuba entered the room and sat cross legged on the couch in front of Kaiba’s table.

 “What do you think of her?” Mokuba asked. Kaiba put the lid down of his laptop.

 “She’s much smarter than your usual choices.” Kaiba said bluntly.

 “I take it you like her then.” Mokuba smiled.

 “She’s intelligent and tolerable.” He replied.

 “So you definitely like her then.” Mokuba grinned. Kaiba sighed.

 “Yes Mokuba, I approve of your girlfriend.” He said exasperatedly.

 “That’s good because I asked her to the launch.”

 “Is that wise, Mokuba?”

 “I don’t know. I asked her if she was ready to go public and she is but she did have some concerns.”

 “I imagine she would. You realize this brings more responsibility to your relationship. You are bringing the risk into her life, so you have to make sure she is safe.”

 “I do big brother.” Mokuba replied.

 “Good.”

 “Can I ask you something?”

 “You already have.”

 “Seto come on. I’m being serious. You give pretty good advice, why have you never pursued a relationship.”

 “You know why Mokuba.”

 “Yes, but the company is running smoothly. You take on way more than you need to. I’m sure there is someone out there who can gain your attention.”

 “I don’t have the time to look for her Mokuba. I’m perfectly fine on my own.”

 “What about an heir?”

 “I already have one and he’s currently bothering me with ridiculous questions.” Kaiba retorted.

 Mokuba grinned at his brother. He was utterly relieved and happy that Kaiba had accepted Alex into their world.

Chapter Text

 Alex was almost home when her phone rang. She pressed the little button on her steering wheel to answer the call. Dukes voice flowed through the car speakers.
 “Hey Bean.”
 “Hi Dukie. I'm almost home.”
 “I'm not there. Come get a drink with me. I'm at the bar.”
 “Okay, I'll see you in ten minutes.”
 “Great. Drive safe.”
 “Always do.” She hung up and drove towards their favourite little hangout in Domino. It was a place they usually went for a drink together after work.

 The bar was bathed in golden light and was busy as usual for a Saturday night. She was lucky enough to find a bay next to Duke's car, where she parked and walked straight upstairs. Alex knew Duke would have a booth there.

 She took a seat opposite her brother and noticed that there was already a glass of water and a drink for her on the table.
 “You know me too well.” She said as she sat down.
 “That I do.” He replied. “So tell me how your dinner went.”
 “Well, firstly, you are an idiot.”
 “Why?! What did I do?” He asked defensively.
 “Seto Kaiba was a perfectly pleasant individual.” She replied. “Yes he's intimidating but he's nothing like you guys make him out to be. I quite like him.”
 “What?! Kaiba pleasant?! You sure you went to the right place?” Duke asked sarcastically.
 “Yes. It just feels like he looks out for Mokuba a lot. And I can understand his personality. So you guys are just being judgey.”
 “You know that he's a real ass.”
 “I have no doubt that he can be, but there is something about him. I can see why Mokuba admires Kaiba so much. And it was nice watching them interact. They both seem like different people.”
 “Yeah those brothers are pretty close. Kaiba gets a bit crazy whenever something happens to Mokuba.”
 “I can imagine. Dinner was nice though. We just sort of chatted and then Kaiba went back to work after dessert, so Mokuba gave me the tour. We've decided that we're going to go public with our relationship. They are having a launch and I'm going with Mokuba.”
 “That's a big step. You ready for that Bean?”
 “I think I am. I am a little worried about the crazy fans they both have, but I really like Mokuba.”
 “Well, I'm glad for you guys. Just be careful.”
 “I always am.” She smiled taking a sip of her cocktail.
 “So you're pretty serious about Mokuba then.” Duke said.
 “For the first time, I am. It doesn't feel like anything I've experienced before so I'm not being as blasé about this like I was in the past.”
 “I'm glad. Look at you, all grown up.” Duke said melodramatically.
 “Yeah, I can't say the same for you.” She teased sticking her tongue out at him.

 They spent the better portion of an hour chatting, that was until Duke informed her that his date was about to arrive. Alex downed her water and bid him goodnight. She drove home, her mind a million miles away. She was happy with the way things had gone that night. She felt like a weight had been lifted off her and Mokuba, but she was sure that there would be challenges to face, and that's what worried her.

 Monday found Alex in an extraordinary mood. She started her day with her usual routine and was just about done with her emails and first cup of coffee when Mr Mikano asked for a meeting with her. She entered his office and closed the door behind her.
 “You wanted to see me Mr M?” She said as she sat in the plush chair opposite him. She crossed her legs and placed her hands on the table, fingers interlocked.
 “I did. I wanted to talk you about your future here. Your hard work has not gone unnoticed and we want to make you an offer. As you know a position has recently opened here, so we would like you to fill the role of general manager.” Mikano informed her.
 “Thank you sir. What exactly is the package you are offering?” She asked. He informed her of all the tasks she would be required to do while he wrote a note on a square of paper that he handed over to her.
 “This would be your salary. Of course there are perks.” He said.
 “Sir, I'm entirely confident I would be able to take on this role, however, this is lower than what I currently earn. Granted, most of my salary is made up of commission, but I would be able to grow that. In light of that, it wouldn't really make sense for me to give up my current position.”
 “That is completely understandable. I do believe that you are the right person for this post so I'm going to do something I never do and ask you what would make you consider it.”
 “I would consider this if I was able to buy into the company. The package as is, is less than what I earn, so what I propose is to use the balance as a buy in amount for a set period of time so I would own a stipulated percentage of M&E.”
 “Is that where you see yourself? It means that it would tie you to this company.”
 “I enjoy working here. This is a great company, we have good people working here, a great reputation, so yes, I would definitely want to grow with it. I see us as an international brand.”
 “I see.”
 “I have thought of an alternative. You and I both know you would prefer being in Tokyo. The company could use you being there with Mr Emmerson. So my proposition is this, give me this franchise to run with your proposed package, when you see an  improvement in numbers, I can be gifted the shares as I would have earned them. Obviously the caveat is that there has to be improvement. I am confident I can make that happen.”
 “I'm confident you could as well. Those shares would earn you any difference in pay come year end. You're quite shrewd Alex.” Mikano said.
 “I'll take that as a compliment sir.” She smiled.
 “Okay, let me talk to Emmerson about all we've discussed here and I'll get back to you by the end of the day.”
 “Okay. Thank you sir.”

 Alex went back to work, but she was unable to get the meeting with Mikano out of her head. She figured that they would talk to her about moving up at some point, but she never thought it would be so soon after moving to Domino. She knew it would also cause some waves in the office but it was an offer she had earned. If she took them up on whatever offer they came back with, she would have to address the feelings of the office staff.

 It was closing in on three o'clock when Mikano finally called her back into the office.
 “Have a seat Alex.” Mikano said. “So I have had a very lengthy discussion with Emmerson. You were correct in that it would be beneficial for the company for me to be Tokyo and it has been in discussion for a while, but we feel that it is still not the right time for this to happen. That doesn't mean that a move up for you is in jeopardy. I am absolutely convinced that you are an asset to this company. You have done well since starting with us in Tokyo, so I am to accept your initial proposal of a buy in using the difference in your earnings. Naturally, as a company we weed to be prudent about this so the initial percentage will be low but, it will be enough to make up the balance in earnings. So our offer is a buy in of four percent which means that it would be paid off in time for your next annual increase and we can negotiate then of where you see yourself and where we see you. If you accept, everything will be finalised in time for you take up your new position from next month. How does this sound to you?”
 “It sounds great. Of course I understand the need to start small and I am happy to do so.” Alex replied.
 “Great, here is the official offer, read it through and sign it.” He said as he handed the document over to her.
 “Thank you sir. I'll have it back to you by the end of the day.”

 She went back to her desk where she read and reread the offer. She was pretty happy with it. Alex initialled the pages and signed at the end then took it back to her boss.
 “I'm really glad you accepted Alex.” He said.
 “Me too.” She smiled. He got his secretary to make a copy of the document which he handed to Alex. “Welcome to management.”

 Alex left the office and went back to her desk. The first person she thought to call in her excitement was Mokuba. She told him all about the offer and he was genuinely thrilled for her. He promised to see her after work so that they could celebrate. After work she drove straight to the Black Clown game shop. She she parked her black TTS in the roadside bay and entered the eighteenth century style building. Alex took the lift up to the fourth floor where Duke's office was located. She barged in without knocking. Duke instantly looked up.
 “Bean, what are you doing here?” He asked in surprise.
 “I have great news!” She exclaimed. “I'm the new manager of M & E Travel for the Domino branch.”
 “That's amazing! Congrats!” As he got off his chair and strode across to Alex, enfolding her in a hug. “How did this happen?”
 “Well, you know that our manager left, so Mikano approached me to fill the position but it doesn’t pay as much as I currently earn so I negotiated.” She sat down on the chair opposite Duke’s at his table. He followed suit.
 “Oh?” He asked.
 “I said I would take the job if they use the difference in salaries as a buy in. So in a year the four percent I own, will officially be paid off. This way I still make more.” She grinned.
 “Not bad Bean.”
 “Thanks.”
 “So are we celebrating tonight?” Duke asked.
 “Yes, but Mokuba will be joining us.” Alex replied.
 “Sounds good. You head home, I’ll finish up here early and meet you at the flat.”
 “Okay. Drive safe Dukie.”

 It was not long after Alex arrived home that the intercom buzzed. Mokuba had arrived a lot earlier than she had expected. She let him into the building and waited for the knock before she opened the door. Mokuba stood on her doorstep wearing a grey suit, white shirt and dark purple tie. He held a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of Krug.
 “There she is!” He exclaimed with a broad grin on his face.
 “Hey Mokuba, come in.” She said, placing a chaste kiss on his lips as he entered.
 “These are for you.” He said handing over the flowers.
 “Thank you Mokuba, they’re beautiful.” The strong perfume wafting from the bright flowers encapsulated her. They smelled as beautiful as they looked. “I’m just going to put these in some water.” She informed him.
 “While you’re in there, get two champagne glasses.” Mokuba called after her.
 “Make that three.” Came a voice behind Mokuba. As promised, Duke arrived early.
 “Hey man.” Mokuba greeted. They greeted each other with clapped hands and a back pat. Alex returned with three glasses and placed them on the coffee table. Mokuba peeled back the smooth gold foil that covered the neck of the bottle and popped the cork with a flourish without spilling a drop of champagne. He poured the gold liquid into the three long stemmed flute glasses and handed a glass each to Alex and Duke before picking up his own. He raised his glass. Duke and Alex followed suit.
 “To Alex. Congratulations on a well deserved promotion! Be proud of yourself, we all are.” He toasted.
 “Hear, hear.” Duke said with pride.
 “Thanks guys.” She blushed. They took a sip of the dry, expensive champagne.
 “So where do you guys want to go?” Duke asked.
 “I’ve made reservations for us. I hope you don’t mind.” Mokuba said.
 “Lead the way.”

 They climbed into Mokuba’s car as his was the most practical for three people. He drove them to a French restaurant that he frequented with his brother. He stopped the car in front of the valet and handed over his keys.

 The three of them walked up to the hostess who ushered them to their seats. They made themselves comfortable in the plush dark wood chairs. The entire space was bathed in warm golden light which made it feel cosy and inviting. The tables were covered in white table cloths. Each place setting had a starched white napkin on a gold charger plate. There were several forks knives and spoons arranged around it, with three glasses lined up on the right.

 “I hope you guys like this place. I come here with Seto quite often.” Mokuba informed.
 “It’s really beautiful.” Alex replied.
 A waitress then arrived at the table, introducing herself and requesting the drinks orders. They ordered a bottle of wine and read through the menu. Everything sounded amazing and after much discussion, their orders were placed.

 “So Mokuba, Alex tells me you guys are going to the launch this week.”
 “Yeah, as you know, we’re releasing three games. I couldn’t think of anyone else I would rather go with than Alex.”
 “That’s great, but I have a question.”
 “Duke.” Alex said sternly.
 “Oh calm yourself Alex. I’m your brother, I get to ask these questions.” He replied and turned back to Mokuba. “Have you thought this through? I mean you are going to be exposing Alex to your world. I’ve seen that world you know.”
 “I know Duke. I promise I won’t let anything happen to her. I have thought this through and I have Seto’s help.”
 “Kaiba?!”
 “Yeah, my brother really likes Alex.” He grinned.
 “Okay, you just make sure you keep your word.” Duke warned.
 “Absolutely.”
 “Are you done now, Duke?” Alex asked somewhat testily.
 “Yes.”
 The food arrived shortly after and the chatter around the table became a lot more jovial.
 “So Alex, you must be one of the youngest members of management in the company.” Duke thought aloud.
 “The youngest.” She replied.
 “That’s not going to sit well with some people.”
 “I know but I plan on addressing that before it becomes an issue.”
 “Good. I’m so proud of you Bean. Mom would be too.”
 “Thanks Dukie.”
 The clinking of knives and forks replaced the sound of chatter as everyone finished off their meals. The food was exquisite and Alex knew she would definitely be returning. All three of them placed their knife and fork next to each other, horizontally across the plate. The waiter smiled and bowed his head as he removed the dishes from the table.
 “I will pass on the compliments to the chef.” He said as he left.
 “I hope you guys still have space for dessert.” Mokuba joked as motioned for the waiter to come over. He took their orders and disappeared into the kitchen.
 “Those desserts sound terribly naughty.” Alex said.
 “Oh they are.” Mokuba chuckled. “But what’s life without a little pleasure.”
 “I couldn’t agree more, Mokuba.” Duke chimed in. He noticed that Alex and Mokuba were holding hands as they had done for most of the night. It was a comfortable, familiar action, like neither of them noticed that they were doing it any more. He was glad for his sister. It took a while before their desserts arrived but when it did, they could clearly see why. It looked heavenly.

 A Sablé Breton was placed in front of Alex, Mokuba received his crème brulee, and Duke got his mille feuille. The waiter left them to enjoy their sweets and boy did they ever. Mokuba tapped on the golden glass-like layer, shattering the burnt sugar like a stained glass window, revealing the creamy custard beneath. Both Alex and Duke had their forks slicing through, delivering a forkful of heaven with each bite. The last course was eaten in relative silence. Each one of them clearly enjoying what was placed before them.

 Mokuba insisted on paying the bill despite protests from both Duke and Alex. They thanked him and left the restaurant with smiles on their faces. He drove them back to their apartment and insisted on walking up with them.
 “Thanks for tonight Mokuba.” Alex said.
 “Yeah man. Thanks for everything, and showing us that place. We need to go there more often.”
 “No sweat guys.” Mokuba grinned sheepishly.
 “You kids be good.” Duke said leaving the two of them in the foyer.
 “Yes sir.” Mokuba saluted. Once Duke was out of sight, he turned his attention to Alex. “I can’t stay long.”
 “It’s cool.” She responded with a smile. Mokuba bent down, claiming her lips in a hungry and passionate kiss. He broke their connection far too quickly for Alex’s liking. He noticed. “Behave.” He grinned. Alex simply shrugged, smirking.
 “I’m really happy for you, and proud.” He said said softly. “You deserve this.”
 “Thank you Mokuba. l... I’ll see you on Friday?” She couldn’t bring herself to say what she thought in that moment.
 “Yeah. I’ll be here to fetch you at six.”
 “Perfect.”
 And with one more kiss, he left.

Chapter Text

 The week flew by for Alex and soon enough it was Friday. She was both excited and apprehensive about the night. Either way, she knew her life was about to get a little more interesting.

 She finished work an hour earlier than usual so that she would have enough time to get ready before Mokuba arrived. She rushed home, dumped all her belongings on her bed and jumped into the shower. She washed her hair twice before getting out and drying herself off with a fluffy white towel. She lotioned her body then dried and straightened her hair. Alex checked the time and was still on track. She sat in front of her mirror and carefully applied her makeup. There would be a lot of pictures taken and being Mokuba's date, she had to look flawless. She brushed shades of gold and bronze onto her eyelids then lined them in black. She brushed on two coats of black mascara onto her long lashes. She then applied blush and finished the look of with a light pink lipgloss.

 Alex walked to her walk-in closet to retrieve the outfit she had selected to wear for that evening. She stepped into it and pulled up, slipping her arms into the arm-holes. She then slipped on her royal blue suede stiletto pumps and was almost ready. Alex then put on her blue and gold tasselled earrings and blue swarovski wrap around bracelet. She inspected her look in the full length mirror, pleased with what she saw. Her black wide leg jumpsuit fit perfectly, accentuating her narrow waist. The hints of blue were perfect for the occasion. Mokuba had told her that it was not an overly formal event.

 Alex picked up her black envelope clutch off the dresser and made sure she had everything she needed in it. With one last look in the mirror, she left her room closing the door behind her. It was five minutes before six, she was glad she was ready on time and Mokuba would be arriving at any minute. She could hear the shower going and knew Duke was getting ready to go to the Kaiba Corp Autumn game launch as well. It was only natural that he would be there considering that Kaiba Corp. products sold really well at his store. He would be making his own way there of course.

 The intercom soon buzzed to life indicating Mokuba's arrival. She let him in then knocked on Duke's bedroom door.

 “Hey Dukie. I'm heading off.” She called through the door.

 “Okay, I'll see you there.” He replied.

 Alex opened the door and waited for Mokuba to come up. She heard the elevator ding as it came to a stop on their floor. Mokuba stepped out of the metal box looking like an absolute vision. He wore a three piece navy blue suit with a white dress shirt and no tie. Alex could not hide her appreciation.

 “You like?” Mokuba smirked.

 “I do!” She replied.

 “You look stunning Alex.” Mokuba said as he reached for her hand. “If I kiss you, will that stuff rub off on me?”

 “Probably.” Alex chuckled.

 Mokuba pulled her close and kissed her chastely on her cheek. “Well then, maybe we'll save those kisses for later.” He winked. She placed her hand in the crook of his arm and he led her down to the waiting limousine.

 When they reached the car, Roland was already holding the door open.

 “Alex meet Roland, right hand to us Kaibas. Roland, this is Alex. She'll be around quite a lot.” He smiled.

 “It's nice to finally meet you ma'am.” He bowed.

 “Likewise.” Alex smiled.

 Mokuba helped her enter the car first and once she was settled, followed her in. He pulled her close to his body.

 “Why haven't I met Roland before tonight?” Alex asked.

 “Seto likes to keep him close whenever we're planning something big.” He replied.

 “I see.”

 “You really do look amazing.” Mokuba said smiling. “I like these.” Mokuba brushed her hair back and gently held the tassel earring in his fingers. She laced her fingers around his hand and brought them to her lips, placing a light kiss on them. They spent the rest of the drive to the launch chatting. He told her about some of the issues he had to deal with in putting this event together.

 The car pulled up to the portico of the Kaiba Hotel. A doorman quickly walked up to the car and held the door open for the two of them. Mokuba exited first then offered his hand to Alex who accepted and gracefully got out of the limo.

 The entrance was bathed in golden light. Mokuba and Alex ascended the three marble stairs and entered the foyer of the most prestigious hotel in Domino. No expense was spared in the decorating and finishes in the hotel. The décor spoke of a timeless elegance. From the marble floors, crystal chandeliers and opulent furnishings, it was clear why this hotel was renowned for being grand.

 Alex only noticed that they had stopped walking when she heard Mokuba speak.

 “Where's Seto?” Mokuba asked a well dressed man in front of him.

 “He's in the room adjacent to the conference hall we're using.”

 “Is everything okay?” Mokuba could sense that something was off.

 “No sir. There is a glitch in the KC system.”

 “What? What sort of glitch?”

 “I'm not certain. Mr Kaiba is dealing with it.”

 Mokuba made his way to the room Kaiba was supposedly in, with Alex still attached to his arm. He opened the door to find a furious Kaiba issuing orders.

 “Hey bro, what's going on.” Mokuba asked.

 “The game files for the launch have been corrupted.” Kaiba informed curtly.

 “What?! How?”

 “I don't know yet Mokuba, but I will find out.” He threatened smoothly.

 “I will get them to restore from the back ups.” Mokuba said.

 “Already done.”

 “But?” Mokuba pressed.

 “We'll talk about it later.”

 Mokuba knew that there was something more he was not being told, but they had a job to do tonight and that was his focus.

 “Hi Kaiba.” Alex greeted once it was safe.

 “Alex.” Kaiba nodded his head. “Congratulations on your promotion. Mokuba tells me you have negotiated yourself a fairly lucrative deal.”

 “Thank you Kaiba.” She smiled.

 “Alex will you give me a moment? I just want to chat to my brother about a few things.” Mokuba said.

 “Of course. Shall I go take my seat?”

 “No, wait for me.” He instructed. Mokuba pulled away from Alex and both he and Kaiba chatted while looking at a couple of computer screens that were set up. She watched the two brothers, smiling at how entirely different, yet completely similar they were. They had moved off to a corner to talk privately. She got out her cellphone and discreetly snapped a shot of them, Mokuba in his navy blue suit, Kaiba in his white one. They stood side by side with a smirk on Kaiba's face and a mega-watt smile on Mokuba's. She stowed her phone back into her clutch as Mokuba reached her.

 “Come on, let's go mingle.” He said. They walked out arm in arm. Mokuba introduced her to several people that he spoke to. They had their pictures taken in front of a printed background that had the Kaiba Corp. logo emblazoned all over it.

 It was clear that people were talking about the fact that Mokuba had a date. He was used to it as he rarely attended these events alone. One group was a little more blunt about their observations.

 “This is my girlfriend, Alex.” He introduced.

 “Nice to meet you all.” Alex said without missing a beat.

 “Well Mokuba, you are never short of female company it would seem.” The man chuckled.

 “It's easy to see why.” Alex interjected. “It's not often you find a twenty five year who is already VP of a multi billion dollar corporation. With his smarts and that face, who could resist him.” She gushed.

 “Apparently, I'm a catch.” Mokuba smirked. The men laughed and once they left he whispered “asses” under his breath.

 “Oh come now Mokuba. I can't fault you for being a ladykiller, not especially with my history.” She laughed.

 Mokuba checked the time then escorted Alex to her seat. He told her that he would see her in a bit then disappeared to join Kaiba and the others.

 Once everyone was seated and the needle hit seven o'clock, the lights in the conference hall dimmed. In the darkness, a large LED display came to life. It looked like two shadows were walking towards them, growing larger with an object between them. It kept growing until there was blinding flash. When everyone looked again, Mokuba and Kaiba stood on the stage with the KC logo displayed in bright blue and white, between them. Everyone clapped and whooped. It was no secret that Kaibas knew how to make an entrance.

 The brothers had a well rehearsed presentation, ping ponging the presentation between each other. They had three games that they were releasing. Two were RPG games and one was a first person shooter. Their presentation was punctuated with gameplay enough to tease the world. They ended the launch with a look at their next holographic gaming system. It would not be available for months, but it would create plenty of hype.

 Mokuba and Kaiba joined the table she was seated at while the stage was being prepped for the entertainment that would follow. Mokuba informed Alex that as soon as their presentation ended, videos and advertising was being posted on all the social media platforms. He said that they had already begun conventional advertising campaigns but social media allowed a more personal way of advertising to their target market. Of course she knew he was right and within the hour, the material would be shared thousands of times.

 Alex was happy to find that both Duke and Yugi had made it to the launch. She did not get to chat to them very long as she had to be close to Mokuba throughout the night. She noticed on a few occasions that there were women at the hotel with very sour expressions on their faces. Alex sighed. She knew this would happen with her dating Mokuba. Nevertheless, she continued through the night with a smile on her face. Nothing could shake her bright, bubbly personality. Once all the guests had left and the technicians began packing away their belongings, Mokuba suggested they call it a night.

 “How tired are you?” He asked Alex.

 “Fairly.” She replied.

 “Would you be opposed to us getting a room here tonight?” He asked.

 “I suppose not.” She acquiesced.

 “Mokuba, I'm leaving.” Kaiba announced as he joined the two of them. “I'll see you at home.”

 “Actually, I'm spending tonight out. I'll see you tomorrow.” Mokuba informed his brother.

 “Fine. Be careful.” Kaiba ordered. “Both of you.” With that Kaiba turned around and left.

 Mokuba led Alex up to the executive room.

 “I'm sorry it's not a suite, but they were all booked out.” He apologized as he slipped the key card into the slot in the door.

 “It's fine Mokuba. I really don't mind. Just as long it has a bed.” She smiled.

 He opened the door and allowed her to enter the room first before placing the “Do not disturb” sign on the outside door handle. He then closed and locked the door behind him.

 “It's a good thing tomorrow's Saturday.” Alex said but before she could say anymore, Mokuba pulled her against him, crushing his lips to hers in a fiery kiss. She wrapped her arms around his neck as his hands slid down her back.

 “God, I've wanted to do that all night.” He said as they broke the connection of their lips.

 “What happened to ‘Will that stuff rub off on me’?” She laughed.

 “I did say we would save the kisses for later. It is later.” He grinned. Mokuba gently caressed her face as he buried his fingers in her hair. Alex fisted the lapels of his jackets in her hands as they drew closer to each other. Anticipation building in their core. Their lips met, gently at first but with each passing moment it grew more urgent. They both knew where this would lead and both of them wanted to go there.

 Alex pushed his suit jacket off his broad shoulders, dropping it to the floor. She then undid his waistcoat, their lips never breaking contact the entire time. They felt the spark of sweet electricity deep within them. The waistcoat met the same fate as his jacket and she was already undoing his dress shirt with haste. She needed him now. Alex broke away from their kiss to run her hands up Mokuba's rippled abs and over his toned chest, pushing the shirt off his shoulders and tossing it to the floor. She smirked at him. He could clearly see the mischief and hunger in her bright green eyes. He tossed off his shoes and socks while Alex undid his belt and ran her finger lightly over his crotch making him groan. She smiled naughtily, clearly happy with herself for teasing him. He undid his pants and stepped out of them, ending her little game. He tossed her onto the bed, raising her leg up in his hands as he stood. He slowly slipped her shoe off and trailed kisses up the inside of her left leg. She felt an urgency within her but Mokuba was taking great pleasure in slowing it all down, teasing her, frustrating her just enough. The fabric of her jumpsuit prevented her from feeling his lips on her skin.  He did the same with her right leg. Alex had had enough of the lack of contact with his skin. She pulled herself upright and got onto her knees. She held Mokuba's hand, tugging him towards her.

 “How do I get this thing off you?” He asked as he felt the sides of the jumpsuit. Alex chuckled as she got off the bed and removed her clothing, allowing it to pool at her feet. She stepped out of the fabric and moved closer to Mokuba who eyed her lingerie. He deftly unclasped her grey satin bra and tossed it to the floor. With his hands on her waist, he sat on the bed and pulled her towards him. Nestling her between his legs. He took her right nipple in his mouth, sucking and teasing it with his tongue while his hands slid into her panties, pushing them off her hips and sliding them down the smooth skin of her legs before they landed on the floor. Alex threw her head back enjoying his expert touches. He pulled away from her, moving himself further up the bed until he rested on the pillows, beckoning her to join him. She placed her right knee on the bed, leaning down so she could hook her fingers into his trunks and pull them down, allowing him to spring free. She climbed over him kissing his lips but breaking away before he could deepen it any further. She kissed his chest then abs, then below his belly button before she hovered over his member, giving him a wicked smile. His eyes were dark with lust. He was positively buzzing with anticipation. His heart stuttered as she slipped her mouth over the smooth skin all the way then pulled back up. She swirled her tongue around drawing out a groan from Mokuba.

 “Fuck Alex. That feels so good.” He whispered breathlessly.

 She repeated the action until Mokuba could take it no more and pulled her on top of himself, kissing her passionately. Alex straddled Mokuba, breaking the kiss so she could lower herself onto him. She heard the breath whistle through his teeth as he slowly filled her. She rocked her hips back and forth tantalisingly slow at first, then slowly faster. Mokuba ran his hands over her full breasts and down her body. She relished the warmth he spread along her skin. The sensations were driving them both wild. Mokuba's thrusts matched her pace and she leaned down kissing him hard and quick, her hair brushing his shoulder as she did so. He wrapped his arm around her and rolled her over eliciting a giggle. Now he was in control.

 She ran her fingers through his mane of soft hair. He closed his eyes, this woman would be his undoing. Mokuba delicately placed a kiss on her forehead feeling immensely lucky that she was his. He laced his fingers in hers and pinned them to the pillow beside her head. His thrusts were hard and fast. Their bodies were covered in a sheen of sweat. Her lust filled green eyes were hooded, clearly and wordlessly describing her pleasure. The sounds of their moans and pants filled the room. Mokuba picked up his pace. He could feel the stirring of his release building within him. Alex was not far behind. Her body was building, climbing toward the crescendo of pleasure. She could feel the warmth deep inside her radiating out, travelling through her body, to her very extremities. He slammed into her one more time releasing a tidal wave pleasure throughout her body that arched her back and curled her toes. She called out his name and Mokuba pulled her tightly to him, burying his head in her neck as he too found his release. She could still hear the pounding of her heart in her ears, her skin felt electrified. They stayed like that until their bodies calmed down and their breathing evened out.

 Mokuba raised himself on his elbows and gently brushed his lips against hers. She bathed him in a glorious smile that stopped his heart. She rubbed the tip of her nose against his. Mokuba peppered kisses along her cheek and down her neck before rolling onto his back, holding Alex close with her head on his chest. He heaved a deep contented sigh. Alex draped her arm over him, relishing the feeling of his skin, his warmth, the tattoo of his heart. Mokuba was so easy to be with, she felt entirely comfortable with him. The lay together for ages. He lightly traced his fingers back and forth along the curve of her waist. He made her feel treasured.

 Alex caught herself dozing off in the comfort of his embrace. “I should probably freshen up.” She said.

 “Okay.” He replied. Mokuba kissed the top of her head and released her. He watched her disappear through the doorway.

 When Alex returned, Mokuba had already climbed under the covers. He lay in bed with his arms under his head. She switched off the lights then joined him in the queen sized bed. The room was illuminated solely by the lamp beside Mokuba. He held her close as his eyes began to droop.

 Alex kissed him. “Good night Mokuba.” She said.

 “Good night Alex.” He replied. Mokuba reached over and switched off the bedside lamp, plunging them into darkness. Almost instantly, slumber engulfed them.

Chapter Text

 The next morning, Alex stirred from her sleep first. It took a few moments before she realized where she was. Mokuba was still fast asleep. He had moved into the oddest position. He lay on his stomach with his leg draped over Alex's legs and his arm was over her chest. His other leg hung off the bed slightly and his right arm was under his pillow. She chuckled quietly at the light snores escaping from him. She could not move so she decided to lie in bed until he was ready to wake up. She reached for her phone that was placed on the pedestal beside the bed. She had two messages from Duke.

 “Hey Bean, it's getting late. U coming home?”

 This was followed by:

 “Ok, guess you're staying with Mokuba. Be safe ;)”

 He shook her head at her brother. She quickly typed up a response and hit send.

 “Hi Dukie, stayed at the hotel. Sorry for not messaging. Will see u later, not sure what time.”

 She took a look at the digital clock that appeared in the corner of the screen, it was already nine thirty. She placed her phone back on the pedestal and picked up the TV remote. She switched it on and immediately turned the volume all the way down. She flicked through the channels settling on a news channel for a little while; that was until the stories started to repeat. She then put it on the travel channel as it was on an island she had never been to before.

 She was so engrossed in the show that she did not notice Mokuba wake up. He watched her for a while. He loved the wonder in her eyes.
 “Good morning beautiful.” He smiled.
 “Morning Mokes.” She beamed. Alex turned around to face him with her head propped up on her elbow.
 “How did you sleep?” He winked.
 “Like the dead.” She laughed. “Would you like some coffee?” She asked.
 “In a bit. Right now, I think we should just lie here and enjoy whatever it is you were watching.” He replied.
 “I like the sound of that.” She lay back down with her back to Mokuba, spooning. Once again she was engrossed but he was trying his best to distract her. He ran his hands down her body and up the inside of her thigh.
 “Mokuba, that's not watching.”
 “No it isn't.” He said naughtily. He kept up his teasing until she gave up on the show entirely and the morning was lost to carnal pleasure.

 They took a long shower together and dressed in their clothes from the previous day.
 “Would've been nice to have a clean set of clothes to change into.” Alex commented as she slipped on her shoes.
 “We can always pick something up after we go for coffee.” Mokuba replied.
 “We're going for coffee?” She asked.
 “Yeah. And maybe after that we can see what else we can get upto.” He said.
 “Sounds good. I have a question. Are we going to go around town all day in the limo? It might attract a bit too much attention.”
 “No, I asked Roland to drop my car off last night.”
 “Oh good. I was going to suggest stopping at my flat to get my car.” She laughed.
 “Which would also attract attention.” Mokuba pointed out.
 “Not like the limo.” She countered.
 “You know, when I was younger, Seto insisted on going everywhere in the limo.”
 “You're kidding.”
 “Nope. Even school. He says it allows him to work while travelling.”
 “I suppose I could understand that.”
 “Yeah. You ready?”
 “Yup.”

 They left the room and headed down to reception where Mokuba fetched his key. He then went to the employee parking where Roland left his car. They both climbed in and Mokuba reversed the car smoothly out of the bay and calmly drove to his favourite cafe.

 He parked the car as close as possible to the entrance so that they would not have to walk very far. They entered the trendy cafe and were seated at a booth towards the back. A waitress handed them their menus, taking a bit longer with Mokuba than with Alex. She informed them that she would be back to take their order, flirting shamelessly with Mokuba as she did.
 “Well, she likes you.” Alex said, sarcasm laced in her tone.
 “Jealous?” Mokuba smirked.
 “What? Of her? No.” She snorted. “I don't get jealous Mokuba.”
 “Really?” He mocked.
 “Really.” She smirked.
 “I suppose we should decide on what we're having.” Mokuba said opening up his menu.
 Alex looked at the huge range of various cold and warm beverages, breakfasts, baskets, light meals and baked goodies.
 “See anything you like?” Mokuba asked.
 “Yeah. Have you decided?”
 “Yup.” He motioned for the waitress to come over who ignored Alex entirely, speaking only to Mokuba. Alex exaggeratedly rolled her eyes at the waitress's obvious behaviour.
 “I think you should take my girlfriend's order first.” Mokuba said smoothly. With a sour expression, she asked Alex what she would be having.
 “A grande cappuccino and an eggs benedict please. Eggs poached soft.” Alex said sweetly. If the waitress insisted on being rude, Alex would make sure that she would not rise to the bait.
 “Great.” The waitress said, staring Alex down. She turned to Mokuba with a toothy smile. “And what can I get you Mr Kaiba?”
 “The same.” He replied. Mokuba handed the menus to the waitress without looking at her. She looked put out as she headed to the kitchen.
 “Have you checked out any of the articles covering last night's launch?” Alex asked.
 “I was just about to do that.” He replied. “Do you mind?”
 “No, of course not.”
 Mokuba slipped his phone out of his pocket and went to the web browser. He searched for the launch and a page of news results popped up. For the most part, all the stories were positive. There was a certain quality attached and expected of the name Kaiba Corporation and those views were reflected in the articles.
 “How's it looking?” Alex asked.
 “Pretty good so far. The real ones to worry about are the reviews that will follow in a few days.” Mokuba said.
 The waitress returned while Mokuba and Alex were chatting. There were two plates and a single mug. She placed the cappuccino and eggs in front of Mokuba and the remaining plate in front of Alex.
 “Sorry, it was two cappuccinos.” She said.
 “It's on the way.” She said in an unfriendly manner. “Can I get you anything else?” She asked Mokuba, smiling.
 “No, we're fine.” He said, dismissing her. “Would you like me to speak to the manager?” He asked Alex after the waitress had left.
 “No. It's just a petty reaction. We expected it.”
 “Are you sure?”
 “Yes. Let's tuck in. I'm ravenous.”
 “I bet you are.” Mokuba winked.
 Apart from the waitress's attitude, the cafe was rather pleasant. The food was good and the atmosphere was warm and welcoming. Alex was thoroughly enjoying her breakfast. Everything was done to perfection. It took a long time before her coffee arrived. Eventually they spotted their waitress walking towards the table.
 “That took a while.” Alex commented as the waitress lifted the cup. A look passed over her face. The mug she lifted snagged on the black tray she held, sending scalding hot coffee all over Alex seeping through the black fabric of her jumpsuit. She shrieked in surprise, throwing her chair back as she stood up.
 “Did you just do that deliberately?!” Alex asked angrily.
 “Are you okay Alex?” Mokuba leaped forward. “Get her some serviettes.” He ordered harshly. The Kaiba temper clearly evident. The waitress returned quickly with a wad of white serviettes. The manager arrived as well, apologizing profusely.
 “We don't need you apologies, it's not sufficient.” Mokuba said. “Since we arrived my girlfriend here has received poor service.”
 “How can we rectify this situation?” The manager asked.
 “You can start by apologizing to her.” Mokuba said with a stern edge to his voice.
 “Of course. Please accept our sincerest apologies ma'am. Your breakfast is on the house and please allow us to pay for the dry cleaning.”


 After a short but uncomfortable interaction, Mokuba and Alex were went to her flat so that she could change. He brought his white Mercedes to halt in one of the visitor bays. Leaning over, he pulled a bag from behind Alex's seat.
 “What's that?” She asked.
 “Just a change of clothes. I always carry a bag in my car. You never know what could happen.”

 He followed her up to the flat. She unlocked the door and found Duke drinking a cup of coffee on the couch.
 “Geez! What happened to you?” He asked, shocked to see the state Alex was in.
 “The waitress did not like that I was there with Mokuba.” Alex said simply. “I'm going to shower, again. Mokuba you can change in my room.” Alex showered quickly and changed into a pair of jeans, a white t-shirt and high top sneakers. When she joined  Mokuba and Duke in the lounge, she found Mokuba had changed into faded blue jeans and a black t-shirt. He really did look great in anything.
 “So Duke and I were thinking we could hang out with the guys today? What do you think?” Mokuba asked Alex.
 “I think that'll be nice.” Alex replied.
 “Great, because we're heading to the go kart track first.” Mokuba grinned.
 “I'm keen for that. It's been ages since I went karting.” Alex said. “Shall we meet you there Duke?”
 “Yeah, I have a couple calls to make before I leave.” He replied.
 “Okay, see you later Dukie.”

 Mokuba drove to the track. He found an empty row and parked in the first left bay. They were the first to arrive and decided to wait at the car for the others. Mokuba bought two cans of green tea from the vending machine. He handed one to Alex and the two of them leaned against the bonnet of his car, drinking the cold refreshing beverage while waiting for the others.

 It must have been at least twenty minutes before Duke arrived. He parked his flashy red GTR next to Mokuba's less flashy white C63 AMG.
 “Hasn't anyone else arrived yet?” Duke asked as he closed his door.
 “Nope.” Alex replied.
 “Looks like Tea and Yugi are here.” Mokuba informed.

 Tea parked her sky blue beetle next to Duke's car.
 “Hi guys.” Yugi and Tea greeted. There was a round of handshakes and hugs before they all started chatting. Soon enough, Tristan's Jeep appeared, closely followed by Mai's purple Peugeot open top. They all parked next to each other and the gang was complete.
 “So are we doin' this or what?” Joey exclaimed.
 “Let's go.” Tea laughed.

 The guys went to get the tickets while the girls picked out their helmets. They returned, tickets in hand while Serenity was still trying to figure out the clasp on her helmet.
 “Okay so they have six karts which means we can't all go at once. What they've suggested, since they aren't terribly busy today, is that you girls race first, then us guys and the first and second placed drivers from both races will battle it out.”
 “If there are six karts, why don't we do first second and third?” Mai suggested.
 “We could do that as well.” Duke agreed.
 “Great, let's go!” Alex said with great excitement.
 Mokuba, Alex and Duke walked together, just slightly ahead of everyone else. Alex put on her helmet and fastened the strap tightly.
 “Okay so Alex, remember you want to brake -” Mokuba started.
 “Mokes, I got this.” Alex cut him off.
 “She really does dude.” Duke smiled.
 “Cool, then go get 'em!” Mokuba encouraged. Alex winked at Mokuba and walked to the kart that the gentleman had pointed out to her. She waited for the others to get in and for the track assistant to tell them the rules.
 “Please avoid touching the motor, it's very hot. Pushing a fellow racer into the tyre barriers will result in immediate disqualification and you will line up there, the starting grid. Wait for the green light then you will be off. Your race will be thirty laps. Once the checkered flag is waved, please bring the karts back to this point. You can get your results inside after the race. Everyone clear?”
 All four of them nodded. Due to the placement of the karts, Serenity and Tea were on the front row and Alex and Mai on the second row. They waited what felt like an age for the light to change to green. Alex reacted the very moment it did, passing Mai and drawing up close behind Tea. The first lap passed with Serenity staying out front with Tea behind her, Alex was third and Mai was close behind Alex. Once Alex got a feel for the track it suddenly became a lot easier. She knew exactly where she should place her kart to get the best exits out of the corners and make the most of her speed. She lined up Tea on the short start finish straight braking late on the outside which put her slightly ahead and in perfect form to take the next turn. She was now in second and quickly closing up to Serenity who was having the time of her life, but she was not very good at karting. Alex easily drove up behind her then peeled to the right, getting her nose ahead enough to turn into the right handed turn. She was now out front and was able to make the most of the open air in front of her.

 It was difficult to keep track of the number of laps they had done but Alex thought it might have been after fifteen laps or so that she came round to lap someone. Once she had done so, she realised it was Serenity. Tea was able to keep pace with Mai but unable to close the gap to overtake her. There was now at least a third of the track separating Alex from the two of them. The positions stayed in this order as Alex saw the chequered flag and slowly drove her kart into the bay that was pointed out.

 She got out of the car beaming. She removed her helmet and placed it on the rack before going inside to fetch her race result. She was entirely happy. First place with the fastest lap. The other girls joined her, all four of them had enjoyed themselves immensely.
 “You're full of surprises.” Mai said in her usual way.
 “Yeah, we had no idea you were that good.” Tea said.
 “I love karting and racing. Duke and I used to go often until he moved away and then he bought the TT for me and the condition was that I had to go for an advanced driving course because he wasn't going to let me get myself into trouble.”
 “Duke's the best.” Serenity said.
 “I can't argue with that.” Alex replied.

 They made their way over to the guys who were waiting for them at the metal pavilions.
 “Well done Alex.” Mokuba grinned, slipping his arm around her waist.
 “Thanks.” She smiled.
 “I guess you were right Duke.” Mokuba said as Duke high fived his sister. Mokuba kissed the top of her head, oblivious to the fact that everyone was watching them.
 “Wait just a minute. Are yous going out?” Joey asked bluntly.
 “Um, yeah.” Alex answered.
 “And you said nothing?!” Tea squealed. “I'm so happy for you guys.”
 “Thanks Tea.” Mokuba said.
 “I guess you guys are up now.” Alex said. “Good luck Mokes.”
 “And what about me?” Duke said with mock outrage.
 “And to you.” Alex laughed.

 The guys made their way to the karts and lined up on the grid just as the girls had done. Alex got out her phone and took a few pictures of their race.
 “Any predictions?” Tea asked.
 “I'd say either Mokuba or Duke would win. I know how good Duke is and with the selection of cars Mokuba and Kaiba have, I'd say he has to know his way around a track.”
 “That's fair. What about third?” Tea asked.
 “I'd say Tristan.”
 “I have to agree with you.” Mai said.
 “Mai!” Serenity interjected.
 “What?! Look I love that knucklehead, but Joey isn't going to win that race.”
 “Don't underestimate him.” Serenity said.

 The guy's race was exciting with Mokuba and Duke racing hard. Joey was close to Tristan but never close enough to do anything about it. Yugi lagged behind for most of it. Alex knew this was not his scene but he was game enough to do it with everyone else. Their race ended with an extremely close result. None of the girls could tell who had actually won. It was only when the guys started heading towards them that they realized Mokuba had won. His exultant expression said it all.
 “You got lucky.” They heard Duke say as they joined the group.
 “Doesn't matter. I still won.” Mokuba teased.
 “You wouldn't have if I had just one more lap.”
 “Well you have another race to prove that.” Alex interjected.
 “So how are we lining up for this next race?” Mai asked.
 “By the fastest lap in our previous race, I am told.” Tristan informed.
 “Great! Let's do this!” Tea said with great enthusiasm.
 “Has she been karting before?” Alex asked.
 “Once but not with karts like these.” Tristan replied.
 “So we've created a monster.” Alex laughed.
 “Seems like it.” Duke said.

 Things were a little different this time round. Once they had all put on their helmets and got in their karts, they were reminded of the rules and informed of the positions that they would be starting in. Mokuba would be starting on pole, followed by Alex second, Duke third, Mai fourth, Tea fifth and Tristan was sixth. He complained about being heavier than the others and that it weighed it him down but no one really listened. Everyone was entirely focussed on the light. Both Alex and Duke were extremely competitive. It was a trait that was valued in their family; and right now, Alex just wanted to win.

 The light changed to green and the three out front all had great starts. They followed each other as they had started for the first few laps. The first change was Tristan overtaking Tea but she refused to go down quietly. She made him work hard for the place but he eventually made it stick. Mai was on her own. She could see Duke but she was not able to close the gap. Whenever she felt like she had, he would extend out again. At the front, Duke was all over the back of Alex who was extremely close to Mokuba. Duke tried to pull to right to overtake Alex but she was planning a similar move on Mokuba. No one made it past. They were nearing a set of bends and Duke spotted his opportunity overtaking Alex on the straight leading to them but she kept on his left side making it easier for her to take the left turn and she took the place back. They had now lost count of the laps. Alex wanted to win. She knew where she was strongest on the track and managed to line Mokuba up, surprising him down the inside and taking the lead. She hazarded a look over her shoulder and saw that Mokuba and Duke were still right with her. She could not make any mistakes. Duke began his attack on Mokuba too. They were practically side by side for some of the turns. Eventually, the flag was waved and race came to an end. She knew she had won but had no idea how Duke and Mokuba had done.

 She climbed out of the stationary kart and undid the clip on her helmet, pulling it off with a huge smile.
 “How much fun was that?!” She said with excitement.
 “Dude, I definitely beat you there.” Duke said to Mokuba.
 “I'm not so sure Duke.” He replied.

 They went inside to fetch the race results which clearly pointed to Alex winning but Mokuba and Duke had finished at exactly the same time.
 “It's a tie.” Alex informed them.
 “What? That can't be right.” Duke said and Mokuba agreed.
 “Look for yourself. It says +0.000. You guys tied for second.” She laughed. “How often does this happen?” She asked the assistant at the computer.
 “Not often at all. That was quite an exciting race. Do you guys mind if we use it for promotional videos?”
 “Not at all.” She said. “Thank you.” She called over her shoulder as they made their way to Serenity, Joey and Yugi.
 “How did it go?” Yugi asked.
 “I won!” Alex said proudly.
 “You're very competitive, aren't you?” Tristan observed.
 “You have no idea.” Duke said dryly.
 “Hey hey hey! You are too.” Alex said defensively.

 Mai took the page from Duke and had a look at it with Tea.
 “You three are really good.” Tea said, still looking at the page. “We didn't even come close with our fastest laps. Still it was a lot of fun. We should do this again sometime.”
 “We really should.” Alex agreed.
 “So ya can kick our butts again.” Joey joked and Alex smiled sheepishly.
 Mokuba pulled Alex close against him. “I had no idea you were that good.”
 “A girl needs her secrets.” She winked.
 “Where to now?” Yugi asked.
 “I vote we get some ice cream.” Serenity said.
 “I second that!” Tristan said.
 “Sounds good. Where are we going?” Mokuba asked.
 “How about the parlour by the beach?” Tea suggested.
 “Good idea. Meet you guys there.” Tristan said.

 They all got into their vehicles and headed to the beachfront. It was a beautiful sunny day. There was a light breeze blowing. They followed each other into the parking lot, finding bays close together. They all entered the little shop that was painted with pink and mint green walls. A few tables were dragged together for their large group. All the chairs where white metal with whimsical details. It was a lovely little place.

 They placed their orders at the counter and took their seats. The ice cream was served rather quickly despite the large order. They had all taken sundaes of various flavours and sizes and all looked divine. Alex sunk her long spoon into vanilla ice cream, covered in chocolate sauce and chopped nuts. It was topped with a cherry and a wafer wedge. It tasted like heaven. Creamy and decadent. She plucked the cherry off the top, savouring the juicy sweetness.
 “Can you tie the stalk into a knot?” Tristan asked.
 “I can try.” Alex put the cherry stalk in her mouth, concentrating hard on her task. When she pulled it out, right there, in the middle was a perfect little knot. Mokuba cocked his brow at her but she smiled innocently.

 “It's such a beautiful afternoon.” Serenity commented.
 “Yeah, it's a pity we can't go for a swim.” Tea said looking at at the bright sparkling water.
 “Why not?” Joey said.
 “Uh Joey, we aren't exactly dressed for the occasion.” Tea replied.
 “There is a store just around the corner. We could get something there.” Serenity suggested.
 “Mai, Alex, what do you think? Tea asked.
 “Sounds fine to me.” Mai replied.
 “I'm keen if the boys are.” Alex said, and they were.

 All nine of them went straight to the beach shop as soon as they were done with their sundaes. The boys picked out their board shorts while the girls found swimsuits that they liked. They all changed into them and snapped off the tags so the shop assistant could scan it along with their new beach towels. Alex picked out a beach bag and sunblock as well, adding it to her purchases. She then spotted behind the assistant, on the wall, a beach paddle ball set with four paddles.
 “Can I get one of those as well?”
 The shop assistant obliged and rang up everything for her. She swiped her credit card and waited for Mokuba.
 “What did you get?” He asked her.
 “Paddle ball.” She smiled
 “Good idea. Can I get one too, please?”
 She put her high tops in the beach bag that she had newly acquired and they all walked down onto the warm soft sand. They found a lovely spot near the water's edge, where they laid their towels out. Alex, who had put her t-shirt and jeans back on after putting on her bikini, took off her white shirt and her blue jeans, folding them neatly and placing it in the bag. When she stood up, she felt strong, warm hands encircle her waist.
 “You look amazing.” Mokuba whispered in her ear. She wore a bright yellow halter neck bikini.
 “Thank you.” She smiled as she turned around. She raked her eyes over his muscular body. His blue and black shorts hung enticingly off his hips.
 “Sunblock?” She asked.
 “Yes please.” He replied. Alex rubbed the high SPF lotion onto his back. She then squeezed some onto her own hands and rubbed it on her legs, arms, chest and stomach.
 “Do you want me to get your back?” Mokuba offered.
 “Please.”
 He massaged the lotion in, his fingers were magic. She really needed to get him to give her a proper massage sometime, she thought. Alex tossed the bottle into her bag, laced her fingers in his and walked into the water. Everyone else was already bobbing up and down in the waves. Mokuba suddenly scooped Alex up, carrying her over his shoulder as he made his way further into the water.
 “Mokuba, don't you dare.” She warned. He grinned evilly tossing her into the water creating an almighty splash. She came back up coughing and spluttering. “Oh, I'm so going to get you back.” She threatened.
 The group of friends thoroughly enjoyed their time at the beach. Once everyone was a bit tired of swimming they dried off and played paddle ball on the shore. Serenity and Tea decided that they would rather work on their tan. The rest of them grabbed a paddle and split into two teams. Joey, Mai, Tristan and Yugi were on one team and Alex, Mokuba and Duke on the other. They had an enormously good time playing. Sometimes someone would miss the ball entirely and it would be swept back by a wave making them run towards the water so they did not lose the little white ball. They lost count of the score but enjoyed making the opposing team work hard to get to the ball that was often soaring through the air or hit short so that they would have to dive into the sand to save the shot. The sun started going down and they decided it was time to head home.
 “I'll get a ride back with Duke.” Alex told Mokuba as they walked towards his car.
 “Are you sure?” He asked.
 “Absolutely. You still have stuff to discuss with Kaiba. It doesn't make sense for you to go all the way back to my place.”
 “Okay. I'll see you tomorrow.” Mokuba promised.
 “I'll hold you to that.” She replied. The sun was setting, casting red, orange and golden rays over the water, painting their skin shades of sunset. He looked into her eyes, illuminated in gold and kissed her, a gentle chaste kiss. “I love you.” He said.
 “I love you too Mokuba.” She replied. His face split into a huge contagious, grin.
 “Bean, you coming?” Duke interrupted from the other side of his car.
 “Just a sec.” She called. “Bye Mokuba.”
 “Bye Alex.” He watched as she got into Duke's car and closed the door. They waved goodbye as the red GTR reversed out of the bay and headed towards home.

 Alex hunkered down in her seat hoping to get a few minutes of shut eye while Duke drove.
 “Hey sleepyhead, I want to talk to you.” He said
 “What is it?”
 “You and Mokuba, it looks like it's getting a bit serious between you two.”
 “It is. He told me he loves me.” She confessed to her brother.
 “Say what now?!” Duke said shocked. “What did you say?”
 “I returned it.”
 “You did?!”
 “I did because I do. It actually doesn't feel weird to say I love him.”
 “Geez Bean. I'm happy for you but-”
 “Please don't give me warnings.” She grumbled.
 “I wasn't going to warn you.”
 “No, you were going to say something entirely big brother-like. You don't get to say it.” She laughed.
 “But it's my job, and I will kill him.” Duke said simply.
 “No you won't and he's your friend too.”
 “Yes, and you're my sister.”
 “Pointing out the obvious bro.” Alex teased.
 “Alexandra, are you not capable of being serious?” Duke asked sternly. They looked at each other and burst out laughing. “Fine, I'll drop it.”
 “Today turned out to be a really awesome day.” Alex said thoughtfully.
 “Especially since you came into the apartment covered in coffee.” Duke chuckled.
 “Duke! That chick was nuts. From the moment we got there she was so hostile. It was like I stole Mokuba from her or something.”
 “You are going to have to get used to that.” Duke advised.
 “I know. I'm not going to let crazy people get to me. I have a feeling she would have been fired. Mokuba got pretty angry.” Alex said.
 “Maybe he has a bit of Kaiba's temper after all.”
 “I would not be surprised. And you?”
 “And me what?” Duke asked.
 “Well, you left the launch early enough. Did you go out? Do anything? Meet any Duke Devlin crazies?”
 “No. I actually just had a drink with Yugi after. We got talking about business and then I went home.”
 “Ah okay. Those games are going to attract a lot of attention.”
 “Definitely. I'll have my work cut out for me. Plus I have updates to do for Dungeon Dice Monsters. I'll have to have a meeting with Kaiba sometime next month.”

 Alex never did get her nap. She chatted with her brother, who was more her best friend than anything else, all the way home. It was a great end to an otherwise perfect day.

Chapter Text

 As the weeks past, Mokuba and Alex got much closer. They would spend much of their free time during the week either at her flat or at the mansion. She had also grown quite fond of Kaiba. Their initial interactions of Alex saying “Hi Kaiba.” and Kaiba replying with, “Alex.” While nodding his head, steadily grew to short conversations whenever he could spare the time. He enjoyed the fact that she was well read and smart. Alex was starting to truly feel like a part of their family.

 She was still getting used to all the extra attention she now garnered and tried to not let it affect her work at all. Occasionally a client would ask her what it was like to date a Kaiba but she would politely steer the conversation back to business. She did feature more and more in the society pages and much to her chagrin, the back pages of newspapers. She never fed rumours, Alex tried to keep her head held high and carry herself like a true Kaiba. Still, she was a Devlin and knew how to have fun. What really bothered her was that people she had never before met, were now horrible to her. From stores to cafes to gas stations to work, there was an endless source of vitriol targeted at her. Everyone was always supportive but it was Kaiba who helped her deal with it.
 “These people are beneath you. When people fail at building themselves up, they will try to tear you down. You have the power to let them do it or make sure they fail yet again. Grow a thick skin and remember you have the power of the Kaibas behind you.” He had said.
 Those words gave her comfort, more than anything anyone else could have said or done. Somehow power always seemed more convincing coming from Kaiba. He seemed to emanate it.

 Work was still a welcome distraction. She flourished in her new role as manager. After dealing with a few initial issues of her co-workers being unhappy that she had been promoted before them, things began to run smoothly. Mr Mikano had given her a great deal of freedom. She always ran her ideas by him beforehand anyway. Alex did not want nor did she need any complications with the shareholders of the company. They held her fate in their hands and she knew that if she always spoke to Mikano first, he could be credited for her ideas as well which would keep him on her side.

 It was closing in on October and Alex wanted to get a new advertising campaign going that would generate interest going into the festive season. After a long day at work, she left the office, headed for her favourite fast food restaurant. She bought burgers for her and Duke and picked up a six pack of cold beer before going home.

 Duke had beaten her to the flat yet again. She was starting to work longer hours but she knew it would not always be the case. She just had a lot to do at the moment.
 “I got us burgers.” She announced.
 “Beef?” Duke asked.
 “Is there anything else?” She joked. She placed one of the large burger boxes in front of him and took the other for herself. Duke fetched the bottle opener from the kitchen while she divied up the serviettes, salt and sauces. She then handed him two bottles of beer which he opened for them both and they sat down on the couch to nice hot meal.
 “How was your day?” He asked her.
 “Okay. I made some headway with this advertising campaign.”
 “I can't believe Mikano okayed your idea.” Duke said. “I mean it's really good but I didn't think they would be keen to spend the money right now. Also, you're not on the marketing team at HQ.”
 “They saw the value in it. He's giving me a lot of space to work. I think the flexibility is a test to see if I'm worth those shares. Anyway, tomorrow I get to meet with Vivian Wong to discuss everything. I have a feeling that as long as she gets a paycheck, she doesn't care too much.”
 “Vivian Wong is pretty hot.”
 “And a great choice. The whole model turned actress thing works everywhere and the fact that she's a duelist would appeal to much of the Domino natives.”
 “She's a little crazy.” Duke laughed.
 “So I've heard. Kaiba actually growled when I said her name.” Alex laughed.
 “Yeah, she tried to throw herself at him and when that failed, she went after Yugi.”
 “Anything for more attention.” Alex said plainly.
 “Pretty much. She's still crazy hot.”
 “Duke.” Alex rolled her eyes.
 “Just saying it like it is.”
 They finished their meals and Alex wiped her fingers on the serviette before taking a swig of beer.
 “Duke, I wanted to talk to you about something.”
 “Sounds serious.” He replied.
 “It is. I was thinking that since I'm pretty settled in Domino now, that maybe I should get my own place.”
 “What? Move out?” He exclaimed.
 “Yeah. I mean, it was supposed to be a temporary arrangement and now I have a stable job that won't take me out of the country as often plus you won't have to deal with the awkwardness of Mokuba being here all the time.”
 “Am I cramping your style?” He smirked.
 “No. Don't be silly! I'm trying to be considerate.” Alex deadpanned.
 “You don't have to worry Bean. I actually enjoy having you around. I feel like we can make up for lost time. If you really want to move of course I'd help you find a place, but I want you to stay.”
 “Really?”
 “Why would you doubt that?”
 “Well, for one thing you're Casanova. I mean you had your arm around two girls the other night at the club. I would have thought me being here would be a hindrance.”
 “Nah, if anything, you scare them away. It's perfect for me.”
 “You're such an ass.” She laughed. “Okay, I won't look for anything. If you change your mind though, I want to know.”
 “Sure.”
 “I mean it Duke.”
 “I know, I know. Now, what shall we do for fun tonight? Oh I know, care for some DDM.”
 “Sure, why not.”

 The next morning Alex dressed in maroon wide leg, high waisted suit bottoms with a sleeveless black chiffon blouse and a perfectly tailored black suit jacket. She put on her her black stiletto pumps and loosely curled her silky black hair. She thought she looked pretty good.

 She was just about finished with her coffee when Duke walked into the kitchen.
 “Looking good Bean.”
 “I thought I had to make an effort for Vivian.”
 “Yeah, good plan.” Duke agreed.
 Alex rinsed out her mug and placed it on the draining rack before giving Duke a little peck on the cheek.
 “Have a great day Dukie. I'll see you later. Oh and you're on dinner duty.” She called as she left. Duke smiled and continued making his breakfast.

 Alex parked her black Audi in the visitor's bay of the undercover parking. She had arrived at the offices of the talent management agency that took care of Vivian Wong's career. Alex rushed into the building. She signed in at reception and received a visitor's tag on a lanyard that she had to wear. An assistant then escorted her to the office belonging to Vivian's agent.

 A tall, fashionable women in a stylish skirt suit greeted her. Alex introduced herself and was told to to take a seat on the black leather couch. The office was beautifully put together and extremely comfortable. Everything about it screamed high end but it lost none of its warmth. She waited thirty minutes before Vivian arrived. In that time she had gone over the details of the campaign and the offer they were making, with the agent.

 Alex found Vivian Wong to be a typical diva, but she was ever the professional and her mask did not falter.
 “So you see Ms Wong, in addition to the fee we would pay you for this entire campaign, we would also take care of all your travel for the next twelve months.” Alex said.
 “Are you sure you could cater to my needs?” Vivian said haughtily.
 “Definitely. We're connected to a network of luxury hotels and resorts around the world, not to mention all the airlines we work with. Naturally, you would be accommodated in first class.”
 “You know what? I like you. You're tenacious.” Vivian said thoughtfully.
 “Um, thank you Ms Wong.” Alex replied.
 “What do you think?” Vivian asked her agent.
 “It's not a bad offer, they are a well recognised company and you would be getting great publicity from this, so will they.”
 “I want to do it.” Vivian said. Alex was secretly rejoicing.
 “Okay, Ms Devlin, I take it you have all the paperwork.” The agent asked.
 “Yes, I do.”
 Vivian made incessant conversation while they worked to finalise everything.
 “So you are dating Mokuba.” Vivian said.
 “Yes, I am.” Alex replied with edge of apprehension.
 “So you would know Seto Kaiba. How is Kaiba-kins?” Vivian asked. Alex had to summon all her will power not to burst out laughing. She wondered if he knew about the term of endearment.
 “He is well. Busy as always.” Alex smiled.

 The meeting finished soon after with a date set for the photoshoot and filming for the various adverts they would run. Alex walked down to her car. Her anger spiked the moment she caught sight of her faithful black TT. She walked around the car taking in the damage. All four tyres had been slashed. There was a note on her windscreen.

 “You're not worthy. Stay away from Mokuba.”

 Alex immediately called her insurance. To her great relief the person on the other side was immensely helpful and a tow truck was to be dispatched soon. Her next call was to Duke.
 “Hey Bean.” Came his pleasant voice.
 “You won't believe what those crazy fucks did?!” She raged. “All my tyres are slashed.”
 “What?! Are you okay?”
 “I am. The tow truck is on it's way. They left a note.” Alex continued angrily.
 “What does it say?” Duke asked.
 “It's a warning. It says is ‘You're not worthy. Stay away from Mokuba.’ That's all.”
 “Shit Bean. Where are you? I'll come fetch you.”
 “Don't worry about it, Duke. I'll sort this out then catch a cab.”
 “I don't want you to be anywhere alone.”
 “I'll be fine. I'll call you later.” She said and hung up.
 Alex waited what seemed like an eternity for the tow truck to arrive. In reality, it was less than twenty minutes. A flat bed truck entered the parking and after some paperwork that needed signing, her precious car was loaded onto the truck and secured.  She was given all the details of where the car would be taken and was asked if she needed a lift. She refused and called a cab instead. She dialled Mikano from the taxi, informing him of he situation and the meeting that she had had. He was very understanding and said she should sort out what she needed to. He would see her later.

 The cab pulled up to the Kaiba Corp. building as she had instructed. She told the cabbie to wait for her then got out and headed up to the top floor. No one stopped her. Everyone already knew who she was. She got into the lift that, mercifully, was empty. It went all the way up to the top of the building, stopping on Kaiba and Mokuba's floor. She walked to Mokuba's office with long, angry, powerful strides and barged in.
 “Alex!” Mokuba exclaimed in surprise.
 “What happened to ‘nothing will happen to you Alex, I'll make sure of it’?!” She said angrily.
 “What are you talking about?” Mokuba asked. She slammed the note on Mokuba's table.
 “All four of my tyres have been slashed. My car has been towed.”
 “Are you alright?” He asked.
 “No, I'm not alright. Your wonderful fangirls got to my car. Yours! What if I was in it? What would those crazy ass people have done? Sort this out Mokuba.”
 “Can I at least drive you home, or wherever you need to go?”
 “No. I've got a cab waiting. We'll talk later.” With that, Alex turned on her heel and headed to the door. In her ire, she did not notice Kaiba was in the office until she was almost out the door. “Kaiba.” She greeted stiffly.
 “Alex.”
 She went back to her cab and headed off.

 Kaiba took a seat opposite Mokuba, crossing his legs ankle over knee. He picked the note off the table, reading it.
 “She's really angry.” Mokuba said.
 “She has every right to be. You're responsible for her safety, you brought the danger into her life.”
 “What do I do bro?” Mokuba asked.
 “Find out who did it. That's where you start. After that, you make sure people know what happens when they mess with our family.” Kaiba got off the chair and dropped the note back onto the polished wooden surface of the desk. “You have to now do for her what I did for you all those years ago.” Kaiba went back to his own office. He sat in his large cushioned chair and laced his fingers under his chin. After a little thought, he knew what he had to do. He pulled out his phone and did the one thing he had never done before, he called Duke Devlin.

Chapter Text

 Kaiba's name flashed across the screen of Duke's smartphone. He had never received a call from Kaiba before. Duke answered quickly.
 “Kaiba?”
 “Devlin.”
 “How are you man?”
 “Spare me the pleasantries Devlin. We need to have a meeting. Come by my office this afternoon.”
 “Can we schedule for another day, it's not a good time.” Duke said.
 “No.” Kaiba replied. “I will see you later.” He hung up.
 “You're still an ass Kaiba.” Duke said to the phone in his hand. He sighed and continued working, doing as much as he could before getting into his car and driving across town to Kaiba Corp.

 He parked his gleaming red sports car in the visitor's bay then entered the building.
 “Hey there.” He smiled at the receptionist.
 “Um, hello Mr Devlin.” She blushed.
 “I'm here to see Kaiba.” He said smoothly.
 “Sure, let me call his secretary.” She said as she dialled the extension. After a few quick exchanges, she put the phone down. “She's on her way down. Please have a seat while you wait.”
 “Thanks.” He winked at her and took the offered seat. The receptionist blushed to the roots of her hair. He did not wait long before Kaiba's PA arrived to escort him up to the top floor. She bristled efficiency. They stepped into the lift and the metal doors slid closed. The elevator began its smooth ascent. The ride was silent.
 “How's the grump?” Duke joked.
 “Mr Kaiba is well.” She said stiffly. Duke thought it was hilarious that she recognised Kaiba as “the grump”. It made him wonder what the staff called him in his absence. The elevator came to a stop and the PA held the button to keep the doors open. Duke stepped out first and the PA followed. She then opened the wooden door to let Duke in to Kaiba's office. Once he stepped in, she closed the door behind him.

 “Hi Kaiba.” Duke greeted.
 “Devlin.” Kaiba greeted back. He gestured to the chair in front of his desk and Duke sat down.
 “So what's this about?” Duke asked.
 “I wanted to talk to you about the safety of our siblings.” Kaiba said in his usual brusque way.
 “I take it you heard about Alex's car then.” Duke stated.
 “Yes. Do you have plan to look out for your sister?” Kaiba asked.
 “Not really. Besides Alex wouldn't want me interfering. If she wants help, she'll ask for it.”
 “I can respect that approach but it is naive. It is our responsibility to protect them Devlin. You also don't realise what you are dealing with here. These aren't harmless fans and for them to see Mokuba with someone will result in a bad reaction.”
 “Like today.” Duke said. “So what's your plan?” He asked.
 “These people need to see a pattern, something that makes them more accepting.” He laced his fingers under his chin and continued speaking. “My plan is to announce a project between our companies. That way the official story we can release is that the two of them had seen a lot of each through our affiliation and it makes it an easier pill to swallow.”
 “What sort of project. Surely we can't bullshit this. People will expect something in the future.”
 “Do you not have updates to Dungeon Dice Monsters?” Kaiba questioned.
 “You have a point. We would have met next month to discuss that.” Duke replied.
 “Additionally, I have a proposal. DDM has shown itself to be quite popular. I'm willing to work with you to create a game around it using our virtual reality technology.”
 “So that the player is in the game.” Duke said thoughtfully.
 “Yes.”
 “Why?” Duke asked.
 “It's good business. We would both stand to profit from this handsomely.” Kaiba said simply.
 “That sounds like a great proposal.” Duke said in surprise. “Why do you care?” Duke asked after a moment of awkward silence.
 “That's none of your business, Devlin.” Kaiba said curtly.
 “Kaiba.” Duke pressed.
 “I will do anything to protect my brother. It would appear that your sister being in danger affects Mokuba negatively. I won't let anything hurt him.” Kaiba stated.
 “I think you've grown to care for Alex.” Duke smiled. “Fine, let's do this.”
 “I will have a media statement sent out. Devlin, just remember that this involves Kaiba Corp. technology. Do not let anything leak.” Kaiba warned.
 “Of course, Kaiba. What do you take me for? Nevermind, don't answer that.” Duke rolled his eyes. Kaiba then instructed his PA to get Mokuba who was told about the project with Duke. He was rather excited for it. For the next hour, the three of them chatted about strategy, development and everything in between.

 Alex arrived back at the office. She was extremely angry at the whole situation and more than just a little irritable. She told Mikano what had happened. He was entirely sympathetic. Still, it was not a completely horrific day. She informed him about the meeting she had had earlier. He was happy to hear that Vivian Wong was on board for the campaign and that most of the paperwork had already been taken care off.

 So far he was very happy with Alex. He knew the gamble would pay off. Alex was well on her way to making the Domino branch the most successful in the company and her marketing ideas would benefit M&E Travel as a whole.

 After chatting to Mikano for at least forty-five minutes, she went to her office to catch up on the work she still had to do, plus she still had insurance to deal with.

 It was quite late in the afternoon when she finally got the call from her insurer telling her that all damage would be repaired and that she could fetch the car the next day. She thanked the helpful lady on the other side of the phone, she really was quite efficient. As soon as that call ended, her phone rang once more, it was Duke offering to fetch her after work. She gratefully accepted. It was only after this that she really calmed down. She thought about the events of the day and felt awful about lashing out at Mokuba.

 Duke picked her up from her office as soon as she was done for the day. They went straight home where they had a quick dinner with Duke telling her all about the project he would be doing with Kaiba Corp. She listened with rapt attention, she was genuinely happy for her brother but all the while they chatted and ate, she could not get Mokuba off her mind.

 She borrowed Duke's car, stopped at a bakery then drove to the Kaiba mansion. Alex was rather upset at herself and spent most of the drive berating herself for not having handled the situation better. She drove up to the now familiar wrought iron gates but was stopped by the guards. She was not in her car and Kaiba's security would be under strict orders to make sure no unfamiliar people made it to the house. She pressed the button for the window which slowly slid down.
 “Hi guys.” She greeted.
 “Miss Devlin.” The one guard greeted back. “New car?”
 “My brother's. Mine's in the shop. Is Mokuba home? I thought I'd surprise him with dessert.” She smiled.
 “He’s in. You can go through.”

 The gates swung open and with a throaty grumble, she slowly drove the car up the driveway, parking in her usual spot. She switched off the engine then gently lifted the square bakery box, getting out of the car carefully so that she did not drop the delicious contents. Alex walked up to the front door and rang the bell. A maid opened the door and bowed as she stepped inside.
 “Where's Mokuba?” She asked.
 “Master Kaiba is in his room.” The maid replied.
 “Thanks.”

 Alex climbed the stairs and made her way to Mokuba's room which was at the end of the passage. She knocked twice on the door before letting herself in. She did not wait for an answer.
 “Alex.” Mokuba greeted in surprise. He switched off his tv and scrambled out of bed.
 “Hey Mokuba.” Alex said. She closed the door behind her and stepped forward towards the bed.
 “What are you doing here? I mean I didn't know you were coming over.”
 “I brought a peace offering.” She said placing the box on the comforter.
 “Peace offering?” Mokuba repeated, confusion evident on his face.
 “Yeah. Look, I'm really sorry about earlier. I was really angry but I should never have taken it out on you. It wasn't fair of me.”
 “Alex.” Mokuba said kindly. “You had every right to be angry. I'm not upset at you, I understand.”
 “I still feel awful. It's just that car means so much to me, you know. It's Duke making a success of himself, enough to get me something as amazing as a TT. It's the trust he has in me. It's him knowing me so well that he knew how much I lusted after it even though I didn't tell him. It's more than just a car and then there was the “what ifs” that played on my mind. None of it justifies what I said though. Forgive me?”
 “There's nothing to forgive but yes I do if it makes you feel better.”
 “It really does.” She smiled.
 “So what did you bring me?” Mokuba asked.
 “Take a look.” Alex replied, sliding the box over to him. He opened it to find a dessert pizza with a golden biscuit-like base smeared with chocolate spread. There were bits of dark, milk and white chocolate sprinkled over with small pyramids of chopped hazelnuts dotting every available chocolatey space. It smelled as good as it looked.
 “This looks divine!” Mokuba exclaimed. “Just like the o-”
 “-One we got on our second date. Yes. I got it from the same bakery.” She smiled.
 “Well then, I think we need coffee. Wait here.” Mokuba rushed off to the kitchen. Alex sat on the bed and picked up the remote. She flicked through the channels until she found a movie that she had watched a hundred times and would probably watch it a hundred times more if she could. It was a fantasy quest type movie filled with all sorts of magical creatures. She was so absorbed in the screen that she had not heard Mokuba come back in. She had only noticed his presence when the bed dipped next to her and he kissed her on the temple.
 “Here's your coffee.” He handed a steaming mug and she took a small tentative sip. “Shall we tuck in?” He smiled.
 They climbed up on his bed sitting cross legged with the square bakery box between them. Each bite of their treat was heavenly. The snap of the base followed by the creamy chocolate spread and the explosion of flavour from the chocolate chips and the crunch of the hazelnuts.

 They watched the rest of the movie that way; nibbling on dessert and commenting on their favourite parts of the movie. Mokuba teased her about her favourite characters and what was a really bad day turned out to be a quite a nice one. It was only after they heard a door close that they realized how late it was.
 “Geez, is that the time?! I should head home.” Alex said. Just then there was a knock at Mokuba's door.
 “Come in, bro.” Mokuba called. Kaiba stepped into the room at the invitation.
 “Hi Kaiba.” Alex greeted politely.
 “Alex. Are you okay?” He asked her with the authoritative big brother tone he usually used with Mokuba.
 “I'm fine, thanks for asking. I was just upset earlier.”
 “Understandable.” Kaiba replied.
 “Anyway, it's getting late, I should head home. I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow.” Alex said jumping off the bed. She slipped her shoes on and grabbed her purse off the floor.
 “I'll walk you out.” Mokuba said. They walked past Kaiba into the hallway.
 “Alex.” He called her name. “We'll find who did this.” He said tersely. Alex smiled and gently pulled her hand away from Mokuba's. She strode over to Kaiba and hugged him, taking him by surprise. She stood on tiptoes to give him a small peck on the cheek and returned to Mokuba.
 “Good night Kaiba.” She smiled.

 Mokuba accompanied her to the car. The night air was cool.
 “Thank you for tonight Mokuba.”
 He said nothing in return, instead he pulled her against his body and kissed her lovingly. She rubbed her nose against his.
 “I love you.” He smiled his charming smile.
 “I love you too.” She replied.

 Alex opened the car door and climbed in. Once she was safely inside, Mokuba carefully shut the door.
 “Drive safely.” He said.
 “I always do.” She smiled. He watched as she drove down the driveway and turned onto the road heading home.

 The next day seemed longer than usual but it was possible that she only felt that way because she was waiting for the call that told her she could fetch her car. Duke had been amazing. He took her to work and even fetched her for lunch. She was grateful but she wanted her baby back. Alex watched the clock. The minute hand had just ticked over the six. “Two thirty” she thought. She picked up her phone having made up her mind to call when the phone rang. She answered it and the man on the other end informed her that she should fetch the car. Her next call was to Duke and before she knew it, she was back behind the wheel of her gleaming black beauty.

 It was a stressful two days and she was glad they were over. Little did she know that there was a lot more to come.

Chapter Text

 Friday night she decided to take Duke out to dinner. She drove him to the Red Dragon, an upscale Chinese restaurant with dark wood furniture, bathed in hues of gold, orange and red. It was sheer opulence. They were seated at a table for two next to an exquisite mural of a red and gold dragon.
 “This is quite a fancy spot. What's the reason for all of this?”
 “Does a sister need a reason to spoil her big brother?” She smiled.
 “I guess not. Though you do get quite crabby when things go wrong and you feel bad afterwards.” He smirked.
 “Maybe it's a little of that too.”

 They were served a three course meal that was cooked to utter perfection. The atmosphere was pleasant and the waiters were always unobtrusive. It gave Alex and Duke plenty of time to chat and enjoy each other's company.

 At the end of the meal, Alex paid the bill and they headed out the double doors but neither of them were ready to head home just yet. Duke suggested they go somewhere for drinks instead. Alex agreed and drove them to a cocktail bar that was not too far away from the restaurant.

 She parked her car around the side of the building and the two of them walked arm in arm into the vibey bar. The place was dimly lit, cast in a blue glow from the neon lights. There was an expansive bar against the wall with glossy white brick shaped tiles and shelves of alcohol in every colour the mind could conceive. Duke walked up to the bar first but Alex stopped him.
 “What do you think you're doing?” She scolded.
 “Uh, getting a drink?” He replied.
 “No. Tonight is my treat. Go sit down. I'll get it for you. The usual?” She asked.
 “Yeah.”
 “Okay.”
 She watched Duke walk towards a table for two near the far wall. She waited patiently in line until it was her turn to order. The bartender was extremely good looking wearing a fitted white t-shirt.
 “Hi, can I have a gin buck with lemon and a virgin sex on the beach please?”
 “Coming up.” The bartender worked quickly. It was fascinating to watch him mix the drinks. He was obviously well practised at it. He placed the two drinks on the counter. Alex picked them up and took her seat with Duke. She placed the clear drink with bright yellow lemons in front of her brother and took a sip of the tropically coloured drink in her hand. Cold and refreshing, just the way she liked it.
 “Thanks Bean.”
 “My pleasure.” She said as she placed the cocktail glass on the table. “So when do you start working with Kaiba?
 “I already have. We made some good progress today. I got introduced to the team that will be working on it. Kaiba wants to see their progress after each step. Honestly, it must be terrifying to work for him.”
 “Yeah, I can imagine.Though if they do what they are expected to, it should be fine.”
 “Also true.”
 “There are a couple of girls by the bar that have not stopped looking at you.” Alex said.
 “You think I haven't noticed.” Duke smirked.
 “Shall I be your wingwoman?”
 “Feel free.” He laughed.
 “They keep scowling at me. Clearly they have no idea who we are.”
 “What's your plan wingwoman?” Duke asked.
 “Finish your drink then you'll see.” Alex taunted.
 Duke downed the rest of his drink and placed his glass on the table. Alex picked it off the polished surface as she stood up.
 “Watch a master at work.” She smiled cockily.
 “I'm watching.” He replied, mirroring her expression. She walked up to the bar and leaned on the counter.
 “You're back.” The cute bartender said.
 “Yup. Refill on the gin buck and a bottle of still water please.” She said politely, smiling all the while. She noticed the girls next to her looking her up and down. She knew the look well.
 “Can I help you ladies?”
 All she got was “hmpf” in return. She flicked her hair back as she turned away, ignoring them.
 “Just a still water? You sure you don't want anything stronger?” The bartender said flirtatiously.
 “Nah, I'm driving my brother around tonight.” She replied. She could sense that the two girls were listening keenly to her conversation.
 “Duke Devlin is your brother?” The bartender said in surprise.
 “You know Duke?” She asked.
 “Just in name. I've been to the store a few times.”
 “That's cool. Thanks for the drinks.” Alex turned to leave with a drink in each hand, when the more attractive of the two girls stopped her.
 “Sorry, I couldn't help overhear that that's your brother.”
 “Yeah, so?”
 “This is really embarrassing but is he single?” The girl asked, blushing.
 Alex turned her body so that she was entirely facing the girl. “I'm sorry, I have no idea who you are and my brother is a great guy. He really is the best. So, why would I tell you that? I don't know you.” She smirked.
 “You're right. Maybe I could speak to him? This is my number, he can call me anytime.” She wrote down her number on a serviette and handed it to Alex. “I really hope he calls. My name is Mei.”
 “I'll tell you what, I'll give this to him and if he's interested, I'll call you over.”
 “Thank you.”
 “Sure.” Alex replied. She walked back to the table and placed the drinks down then handed Duke the serviette. “That was far too easy. I mean really. Her name is Mei. You want me to call you a cab?” Alex teased.
 “Nicely done, Bean. And no, I'm fully capable of doing so myself.”
 “Good to know.” She looked over at the two girls who were waiting expectantly for the sign. Alex called them over and they grabbed two chairs, joining the table.
 “Hello ladies.” Duke said smoothly.
 “And that's my cue. See you later.” Alex said standing up.
 “Sure. Drive safe.”
 “Always do.”

 Alex drove straight home. She showered changed into pyjamas and sent two texts. The first she sent to Duke.
 “Behave :P Home safe. Will leave lounge light on for you.”

 The second one was sent to Mokuba.
 “Had a night out with Duke. Will call tomorrow to make plans. Love you.”

 She placed her phone on the bedside table, switched off the light and fell asleep almost instantly.

 The next morning, Alex was woken by a soft knock on her door.
 “Come in.” She said groggily. Duke pushed open the door and sat on her bed with a mug of coffee in hand. “You're up early.” She said, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
 “Not really, you've just slept in sleepyhead.”
 “What time is it?” She asked.
 “Almost ten.” Duke replied.
 “At least it's Saturday.” She rolled over.
 “Yeah and you have been surprised with a girls day out.” Duke informed her.
 “What are you talking about?” She replied irritably.
 “Serenity and Tea are here. They want you to go out with them.” Duke said and Alex groaned.
 “Fine, I'll get up.” She hopped out of bed and padded over to the bathroom where she quickly brushed her teeth.
 “Looks like you've missed a call from lover boy.” Duke teased.
 “Mokuba called?!” Alex exclaimed with a mouth full of toothpaste.
 “Yup.”
 She quickly finished up in the bathroom and walked back into her room.
 “Okay you need go so I can change.” She said bossily. She called Mokuba as she chose her clothes for the day.
 “Hey Alex.” He greeted in his usual chipper tone.
 “Hey Mokes. Sorry I missed your call. I just woke up.”
 “That's okay. Just wanted to know what you're getting up to today.”
 “Well, I'm being kidnapped by Tea and Serenity as we speak but after that I have no plans.” She replied.
 “Want to come over?” Mokuba asked.
 “Sure. Actually, maybe we can cook dinner together.” Alex suggested.
 “Sounds great if you do all the cooking.” Mokuba laughed.
 “You'll be my assistant.” Alex joked.
 “I'll let the staff know. We have a pretty well stocked pantry so you can go crazy.”
 “Thanks Mokes. See you later. Love you.”
 “Love you too. Bye.” He hung up.

 Alex dressed quickly in a black skater skirt with a grey T-shirt tucked in and black ankle high, lace up combat boots. She slung her handbag onto her shoulder and headed out to meet the girls.
 “Hi.” She greeted. “Sorry to keep you waiting.”
 “It's no problem.” Tea smiled.
 “Yeah, I guess we should have called first but I thought you could do with some girl time.” Serenity added.
 “Sounds good to me. Let me just get my keys.”
 “Don't worry about it. I'm taking us around town.” Tea said.
 “Let's go.” Serenity said excitedly.
 “Bye Duke, I'll see you later.” Alex called as she left.

 Tea opened the car door and held the seat forward in order to let Serenity climb into the back. Once she was seated, Tea climbed in and started up the car. Alex buckled herself in and off they went. Their first stop was to a coffee shop where they spent ages catching up. The dance company Tea was in were about to get a winter long run of their show. Serenity did not have any major news but she had plenty to tell about her and Tristan. Alex told them all about her car and the treatment she had been receiving by strangers and about the advice Kaiba had given her.
 “Sounds like the brothers have really taken to you. I'm so happy for you and Mokuba.”
 “Thanks Tea. They have been wonderful to me. And I'm so grateful to Duke. He really helped me out.”
 “Yeah, Duke is the best.” Serenity said.
 “He definitely is.” Alex agreed. “Where to next?” Alex asked.
 “Shopping!” Serenity exclaimed.
 “And then the arcade.” Tea said.
 “Lead the way ladies.” Alex smiled.

 The three of them made their way to the mall. Serenity spotted the first store that they would enter. The stock was very preppy and not really Alex’s style but Serenity insisted she try something on. She grudgingly agreed.
 “You know if you don’t pick something out, Serenity will do it for you.” Tea whispered in her ear. No sooner had Tea uttered the words, then Serenity pushed a dress into her hands.
 “Alex you have try that on. You’ll look amazing!”
 Tea gave her a knowing smirk. Alex was ushered to the fitting room by a surprisingly bossy Serenity.
 “You have to show us how it looks!”
 Alex looked at the bright yellow dress in her hands and groaned. She took off her top and skirt, then slipped on the sleeveless dress. She straightened it out and looked at her reflection. It hung to her knees where it had a scalloped pattern with little cut outs. With a deep breath she walked out to face the other two girls.
 “Aww you look lovely!” Serenity squealed. Tea on the other hand, doubled over laughing.
 “Oh man, I have to get a picture of this.” She pulled out her phone and took a photograph which she promptly sent to Duke. “I’m sorry Alex, but not even I could deny him this.” She laughed.
 “I totally understand and probably would have done the same.” Alex chuckled.
 “Don’t you like it?” Serenity asked, a little put out.
 “Um, it’s not really my style. Let’s look somewhere else.” Alex replied. The three of them walked out of the store and while Tea was busy looking at something that had caught her eye, Alex thought to ask Serenity a question that had been gnawing at her for a while.
 “So Serenity, when I got back Duke told me that you two had gone out.” Alex said. The question clearly implied.
 “Um yeah we did.” Serenity replied. “Tristan and I had a disagreement and Duke was a good shoulder to cry on.”
 “I see. I thought you and Tristan were on a break.” Alex said lightly.
 “Something like that. Duke is a great guy. He is such a good friend.” Serenity said awkwardly.
 Alex replayed the conversation she had had with her brother in her head. “Okay well, she and Tristan are on a break and what’s wrong with being sweet? Maybe I want someone different from the usual.”
“Um no. You just want to get up Joey’s nose to see what he’ll do.” Alex replied.
“Initially yes, but now, I don’t know.” That uncertainty was not her brother. Despite his playboy nature he did feel things deeply and Alex did not like the idea of anyone toying with his affections.
 “Yeah, he is a great guy and deserves a great girl who won’t lead him on.” Alex said as she held up a tank top. She did not have to look at Serenity to know that the message was received. Tea joined them at that moment.
 “What you guys talking about?” Tea asked.
 “I was just asking Serenity’s opinion on this top.” Alex replied plainly. She hung the garment back on the rail and the three girls left the store. A protective sibling was something Serenity understood well.

 They made their way through a few stores before stopping to get bubble teas. They window shopped as they sipped on their chilled beverages.
 “Alex, there was an article about you in a magazine I was reading.” Serenity informed.
 “Another one?” Alex was immediately apprehensive.
 “Yeah. Take a look.” She pulled out the glossy magazine from her handbag and handed it to Alex. Tea took a look over her shoulder.
 “Is it true?” Serenity asked. Alex read the short article. It stated how Mokuba and Alex were destined to be together since the Kaibas and Duke were working closely on a secret project and Alex would have seen a lot of Mokuba. It also stated that the family had been long time associates and the younger Kaiba was a close family friend.
 “Yeah I guess most of it is true.” Alex said after reading the piece.
 “So Duke is working on something with Seto Kaiba?” Serenity asked in awe.
 “Well, I think it’s with Kaiba Corp. It’s not like Kaiba’s personal project or anything but yeah, they are working on something for release in the new year.”
 “That’s so exciting.” Serenity said excitedly.
 “It must get tiring huh? All this attention.” Tea mused.
 “It really does.”
 “So why play to it?” Tea pushed.
 “Because it is Mokuba’s world and he’s worth all this and more.”
 “Girl, you got it bad.” Tea said, nudging Alex in the ribs.
 “Tell me about it.” She smiled. “So, I thought we were headed for the arcade?”

 The three of them made their way to the Domino arcade. Growing up, Tea had spent many hours there. Serenity had also become accustomed to the surroundings, especially since she became another member of the gang. The place was dimly lit but there were bright neon lights everywhere. Loud music pumped overhead and the area was filled with the sounds of racing cars, firing guns and a whole slew of other game related noises.

 Alex went to the token counter and purchased a card in order for them to play all the various games. Tea had already decided what she wanted to do first.
 “Alex, since you’re the only other dancer in the group, I’m challenging you to a Dance Revolution dance off.” Tea was alight with anticipation.
 “I accept because you challenged me; but since when am I the only other dancer?”
 “Don’t forget, I know about your dance training. From what I hear you were pretty good.”
 “Okay.” Alex laughed. “Let’s go. I hope you enjoy losing.” Alex taunted.
 “Ditto.” Tea smiled.
 “Have fun guys.” Serenity said sweetly.

 Alex and Tea climbed up on the stage and swiped the card to load the credits. They hit the two player start button and with perfect synchronisation began their dance battle. They moved easily through the levels. Their antics drew a crowd. Level by level they were practically tied. Eventually, Alex missed a couple steps allowing Tea to narrowly beat her.

 They climbed down from the game, rejoining Serenity.
 “You guys were so good! I didn’t realize you were so competitive Alex.” Serenity said.
 “Have you met my brother?! Competitive is in our blood.” She grinned.
 “You were there at the karting track Serenity.” Tea reminded her.

 They enjoyed the rest of the morning together. It was well after midday when Alex arrived back at the flat. She quickly packed herself an overnight bag, just in case she needed one, picked car keys off the rack and went back down to the car park, where her car stood waiting.
 She raced along the quieter roads, routes she knew she could open her car up on without the risk of a fine. Music wafted through the speakers as the scenery flashed by in a blur. She arrived at the Kaiba mansion a lot sooner than it took her most other days.

 Alex roared up the driveway in her black TT, parking in her spot. Mokuba was already waiting for her when she arrived. He opened the door for her and stood aside, waiting for her to climb out.
 “Hey Mokes.” She greeted.
 “Hi babe.” He greeted back with a kiss on her cheek. “Did you bring an overnight bag?”
 “Yeah, it’s in the boot.” She replied. Mokuba retrieved it and they headed into the house.
 “So, just as you instructed, the cooking staff have the night off.” Mokuba said.
 “Good stuff. It’s about time you learned how to cook.” She teased as they climbed up the stairs.
 “Mokuba cook?” A deep voice scoffed behind her. “I’d pay to see that.”
 “Hi Kaiba.” Alex smiled. “I’ll take you on.”
 “Hmmm.” Kaiba eyed her. “He can’t just cook. It has to be edible.”
 “You’re on.” Alex wagered. “What’s on the line?”
 “Nothing as common as money. No, I’ll think of something.” Kaiba smirked.
 “Oh no no. I’m not silly enough to make an open ended deal with you. If we win, you have to do a family dinner.”
 “Fine, you’ll find out my terms when I win.” Kaiba replied.
 “Kaiba, I just said… You know what, I’m so confident we’re going to win that I will accept.”
 “Uh-huh.” Kaiba taunted. “I’ll see you two at dinner.” He disappeared into his study leaving Alex and Mokuba alone at the top of the staircase. He held her hand, leading her to his bedroom.
 “I have something for you.” Mokuba said.
 “Oh?”
 “Yeah, hand me your watch.” Mokuba instructed.
 “Okay.” She said uncertainly. Alex unclipped the silver Tag Heuer off her wrist and handed it to Mokuba who turned it over and removed the round silver panel on the back. She watched as he fixed a little microchip in place and replaced the panel. He then gently slid it back onto her wrist and fastened it in place.
 “What are you up to Mokes?” Alex asked curiously.
 “Come see.” he patted the bed next to him so she could see his laptop screen as well. He had a program opened that he was busy typing into. “I put a tracker in your watch, just like the ones Seto and I wear in our lockets. It’s great for security.” He informed. “That and peace of mind.” He added.
 “Oh Mokuba. You worry too much.”
 “Maybe, but it’s best to err on the side of caution. There we go. It’s all set up. Look there, that little dot, that’s you.”
 “That’s pretty cool. A little stalker-ish but it comes from a good place so thank you.”
 “I don’t mind being accused of being a stalker if I know you’re safe.” He replied.
 “I love you.” She smiled.
 “I know.” He said in a cocky tone.

 Mokuba closed the lid of his laptop and placed it on the table in his room. He pulled Alex tightly against his body as he lay down.
 “Mokuba, are you okay?”
 “Why do you ask?”
 “Well, I’m enjoying the cuddle but this isn’t exactly like you. Also, you could have brought up the tracker many times before, why now? Has something happened?”
 “You’re very perceptive, you know that?” He replied.
 “I know, it’s a curse.” She said facetiously. Mokuba heaved a sigh. She turned her body towards him and gently cupped his face with her hand. “Mokuba you can tell me anything.”
 “Really, you don’t have to worry.”
 “But you’re worried, so talk to me.”
 “It’s Kaiba Corp. There have been these small glitches that we keep coming up against but it seems like something more. Seto and I have been looking into it and it looks like cyber attacks. There is a pattern and sometimes it seems like... I don’t know.”
 “But given the size and reputation of KC, you would expect it.”
 “Usually I would agree with you, but something seems different. Like the one attack seemed like something Seto would have created.”
 “How is that even possible?”
 “I have no idea Alex. Someone either wants our attention or something we have.”
 “Geez Mokuba, this is intense.”
 “Yeah and then there’s…”
 “There’s what?”
 “I have the footage of your tyres being slashed, but I can’t run recognition on the person because they were wearing a mask that distorts features.”
 “I see. If it makes you feel better, I promise not to go anywhere without my watch.”
 “It does.” He said holding her tightly.
 “Come on, let’s go watch a movie or play a game or something.” Alex said brightly.
 “That sounds like a plan. I need to get my mind off things.”
 “My thoughts exactly.”

 The two of them went down to the games room where they spent most of the afternoon playing on the newest Kaiba Corp. console. It was a great distraction for Mokuba. For once they seemed like two regular young adults just having a little fun. The evening drew closer in a much less tense atmosphere.

 “We should start on dinner.” Alex informed Mokuba. She quit their game walked towards the kitchen. Mokuba followed her in and sat on the bar stool at the kitchen island.
 “So, you’re going to make the minestrone while I make the salad.”
 “You can’t be serious!”
 “Mokuba, it isn’t rocket science. Besides, I’ll be issuing instructions all the time. I’ll start with the meatloaf and focaccia, you can be my assistant. I need you to get these ingredients for me.” She handed her phone over to Mokuba so he could read the shopping list that she had made earlier. He fetched everything she needed. Alex started on the focaccia, soon she placed her bread dough aside to prove. She worked quickly, and in no time her meatloaf was in the oven. She then checked on her handy assistant. He had prepared everything she needed for the fennel salad. She was rather impressed with his knife skills.
 Alex made sure the bread was in the oven and all was going smoothly before she gave Mokuba step by step instructions for the soup which he followed diligently.
 “That looks great. You just need to add the kidney beans and orzo.”
 “And then?”
 “Once the pasta is done, you’re ready. Have you tasted it?”
 “Was I supposed to?” Mokuba asked.
 “It’s always a good idea. You need to know if it’s missing anything while you can fix it.”
 Mokuba grabbed a teaspoon and dipped it into the pot. He blew on the steaming spoon of soup before he sipped it with one of his eyes shut.
 “And?”
 “It’s really good.” Mokuba said with surprise.
 “I knew you had it in you.”
 “It’s not that, it’s just you made me put celery in it.” He said sheepishly.
 “You are such a child.” She laughed.
 “What do we have left to do?” Mokuba asked.
 “Pick out the wine.”
 “What would you like?”
 “I prefer a Merlot with my meatloaf.”
 “Merlot it is.” Mokuba disappeared into the wine cellar and returned with the wine in hand. She pulled out a corkscrew from one of the kitchen drawers and with a pop, the cork was freed. He poured the wine out into a decanter and set it on the counter. “The maids will set the table. I’ll get Seto.”

 Alex made her way to the dining table where she took her seat, waiting for the brothers to join her. She did not wait long. Mokuba sat next to her as usual, between her and Kaiba. All the food was laid out on the table. Everything turned out perfectly.
 “Kaiba, you have to have the soup by itself first.” She instructed.
 “Fine.” He agreed. He brought a spoonful of minestrone up to his lips, she could see his jaw tense.
 “Oh come on! Just eat it already.” She exclaimed. He cocked his eyebrow at her but instead of saying anything, he simply consumed the contents on the spoon. He narrowed his eyes.
 “What do you think?” She asked.
 “It’s good. Did you help him?” Kaiba asked accusingly.
 “No. I gave him instructions and he ran with it. That’s all Mokuba, which means you lose.” She grinned smugly. Kaiba smirked at her.
 “I guess so.”
 Alex high fived Mokuba. They were rather proud of themselves. Dinner went off without a hitch and even Kaiba seemed to be in a good mood. What Alex did not realize was that Kaiba had been incredibly stressed which meant that he had many of his employees currently trembling in their boots. He had only two reasons to be in good spirits at the moment, and both those reasons sat with him at the dinner table.

 The maids cleared their dishes off the table after the three of them had finished the meal, all of them enjoying the various dishes immensely.
 “You’re quite capable in the kitchen, Alex.” Kaiba stated.
 “Is that a compliment?” She said with faux shock.
 “Perhaps.” He replied.
 “She’s amazing at so many things.” Mokuba said with pride.
 “What are we having next?” Kaiba asked.
 “Nothing. We didn’t do dessert.” Mokuba answered.
 “What is the point of all this effort if you aren’t going all out.” Kaiba teased.
 “Bro, you almost never have dessert.”
 “We can always whip something up.” Alex offered.
 “Relax. I have to work anyway. I’ll see you both in the morning.” Kaiba bid them goodnight and returned upstairs.
 “He’s been working much longer hours.” Alex observed.
 “Yeah he has, it’s because of these attacks. He wants to secure our systems and he wants to find the person or people responsible.”
 “I can understand that. I feel for him. I wish he wouldn’t overwork himself.”
 “Join the club. Anyway, shall we head up as well?”
 “Lead the way, Mr Kaiba.” She smiled.

 Mokuba and Alex went straight up to his room where he ran a bath for them. Warm water gushed out of the taps, filling the egg shaped tub. He poured a luxury bath oil that he bought just for Alex, into the water which formed thick, cloud like suds. The beautiful fragrance hung in the air, surrounding them. They undressed and he helped her into the tub before climbing behind her, pulling her to rest against his muscular chest.

 They lay in the water for ages. It was comfortable in the warmth that enveloped them. Alex loved being around Mokuba like this. He wanted to know all about her day. She told him about dinner with Duke then the “girls day” out. It reminded her about the magazine article which she told him about. Mokuba had known about it and explained that it was Kaiba’s way of controlling the situation. She was touched that he cared enough to help. She loved this little family she had created with the Kaibas, but she knew it would mean so much more to her if she could get Duke included in this. He was already working with Kaiba and of course, he would have been in on the story that was published; she did not think that it would be too hard to get them to get along. Especially if they knew how much it would mean to their younger siblings.

 Alex’s musings were cut short by Mokuba who suggested that it was time to get out of the tub. They were both rather wrinkled and the water was turning cold. She dried herself off with one of the fluffy towels that Mokuba handed to her. She walked out of the en-suite and into the room. She was about to get her bag when Mokuba wrapped his arms around her. He kissed her neck as he pulled her towel away. She turned around, wrapping her arms around his neck and kissed him with all the passion she held within her. He guided her down onto his bed and soon everything else was forgotten as the night slipped by in ecstasy.

Chapter Text

 Alex opened her eyes to find Mokuba resting on his arm, watching her sleep.
 “Morning beautiful.” He said with a grin.
 “Morning.” She replied blearily, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. “What time is it?” She asked.
 “Almost nine.” He informed her.
 “I suppose it’s time to get up.” She said throwing the covers off her and making her way to the bathroom. Both Alex and Mokuba showered and dressed, with Alex pulling on a pair of blue jeans and a red plaid shirt. They made their way down to the dining room where Kaiba was drinking a cup of coffee as he scrolled through his tablet.
 “Morning Kaiba.” Alex greeted first.
 “Alex.” He said without looking up.
 “Hey bro. What you got there?” Mokuba asked.
 “The stocks.”
 “I’ll leave you to it.” Mokuba said. He knew his brother well enough to know when he did not want to be disturbed.

 The table was laid with fresh fruit, pancakes, berries, honey, yoghurt, fresh juice and coffee. She poured herself a cup of steaming coffee then helped herself to the pancakes, adding yoghurt then the berries. Mokuba on the other hand drenched his pancakes in syrup.
 “Very healthy babe.” She teased.
 “Hey, look at me. I’m doing perfectly well for all this sugar.”
 “That’s what you think.” Kaiba smirked.
 “Bro! You’re not supposed to pile on. What happened to having my back?!”
 “I’m pretty sure he takes it easy on you.” Alex laughed. “I have a big brother too remember.”
 “Yeah, yeah. So what do you want to do today?” Mokuba asked Alex.
 “If it’s okay with you, not a whole lot. I have a pretty hectic week ahead of me. I might be out of town for a day or two as well.” She replied.
 “Where are you going?” Mokuba asked.
 “Tokyo. All part of this campaign with Vivian Wong.”
 “Okay, so a quiet day in, then.” He smiled.
 “Thanks Mokes.”
 Kaiba excused himself while the two of them finished off their meals.
 “Bro, can I use the tablet for a moment?” Mokuba asked. Kaiba handed it over to his brother and left the room. “If you are going to be away from Domino this week, I want to make sure that the tracker is working properly.” He said. Mokuba opened an application on the tablet and logged in with his credentials. He tapped on the tracker that would be in the watch that Alex was wearing but when it opened all he got was a beep with a message that popped up on the screen:

 ERROR:
 TERMINAL FAILURE

 “This can’t be right.” He muttered to himself. He opened the next tracker which was his own and got the same message.
 “What’s wrong Mokuba?” Alex asked but she got no reply. He tried the third one which was in Kaiba’s locket and yet again, he got the same error message.
 “The trackers aren’t working.” He said in a serious and urgent manner.
 “Is it possible they malfunctioned?” She asked.
 “I doubt it. Seto designed these himself. He needs to see this.” Mokuba bolted out the dining room and raced up the stairs to Kaiba’s study with Alex in tow. He barged into the room.
 “Mokuba, what’s happened?” Kaiba asked. He knew the look on his brother’s face.
 “Take a look for yourself.” Mokuba said as he handed the tablet over.
 “This isn’t possible.” Kaiba said in an irate tone. “I created these.” He muttered to himself.
 “Something weird is going on here bro.”
 “Tell me something I don’t know.”
 “Why are you guys freaking out? Can we not just try a new unit?”
 “There’s no point trying a new unit, Alex. The three of us are the only ones with this. We didn’t make this to be a sellable product. Seto created this for our security.”
 “Which means that they aren’t just after Kaiba Corp. We are also targets.” Kaiba added.
 “Which means Alex will be too.” Mokuba said, unable to keep the worry from his voice.
 “Don’t worry Mokuba, I will find whomever is responsible. They’ve gone too far.”
 “What do we do in the meantime?” Mokuba asked.
 “I want to lay down some new ground rules. Since you have been pulled into this, Alex, I think it’s best Devlin be included in the discussion.” Kaiba said authoritatively.
 “Sure. I’ll call him right now.”

 Alex left the study and made her way to the grand staircase. She sat on the first step, pulled out her phone and dialled her brother.
 “Hey Bean, what’s up?” Duke greeted.
 “Hi Dukie. Are you busy?”
 “Not terribly.”
 “Can you come to the mansion? Kaiba needs to talk to you about something.”
 “Sounds serious. Are you okay?” He asked.
 “Yeah, I am. There’s some hectic stuff going on with Kaiba and Mokuba though. You’ll get the whole story when you’re here. I only know a little. I think it’s best that Kaiba relay it.”
 “Okay. I’m leaving home now. I’ll be there shortly. Are you sure you’re okay?”
 “I’m sure I’m okay.” She laughed. “Drive safe.”
 “I will. See you soon.” He said then the line went dead. She stayed where she was, toying with the phone in her hand. If Kaiba was right and someone was after them, it meant she could get caught up in the crossfire. At the same time, she really loved both brothers and there was little she wouldn’t do for them.

 She decided to take a walk around the gardens while she waited for Duke to arrive. Alex thought it was best to give the brothers a little bit of space to talk right now. She strolled through the hedge maze, soaking up the warmth of the sun. Alex kept running through everything Mokuba and Kaiba had said. Her mind was swimming. She checked her watch, she had been outside for over twenty minutes. “Duke will be here soon” She thought. Alex was so lost in thought that she did not hear the approaching footsteps behind her. She jumped when a hand was placed on her shoulder.
 “I didn’t mean to startle you.” Mokuba apologized.
 “It’s fine.” She laughed nervously.
 “What are you doing out here anyway?” He asked.
 “Just catching some sun. It’s quite beautiful out here. Also, I thought you and Kaiba could use some alone time.”
 “Alex, you don’t have to leave the room. Besides, you’re part of the family.”
 “You’re sweet.” She smiled.
 “I know.”
 “With that trademarked Kaiba modesty.” She joked. “Let’s go inside. Duke should be arriving soon.”

 Her timing was impeccable as Duke rang the doorbell just as they re-entered the house. She rushed to the door as the maid let him in.
 “Hey.” She hugged him.
 “Hi.” He hugged her back.
 “Hey, what’s up man!” Mokuba greeted as they clapped hands together and patted each other on the back.
 “So why have I been summoned?” Duke enquired.
 “I think I should get my brother so we can all chat. Do you want to take a seat in the lounge. I’ll be right back.” Mokuba said and dashed up the stairs to the study. In the meantime, Alex and Duke sat next to each other on the leather couch. He crossed his legs, ankle over knee and took in the surroundings.
 “This place is pretty nice.” He said.
 “You’ve never been here?” Alex asked.
 “Of course not. Kaiba lives here.” He whispered.
 “You’re such an ass.” She scolded, laughing.

 They heard voices approaching. Kaiba entered the room followed by Mokuba.
 “Devlin.” He greeted stiffly.
 “Kaiba.” He returned.
 Kaiba sat on the single seater and Mokuba took the identical couch next to him. The atmosphere was pregnant with tension.
 “Devlin, I asked you here because my family have once again been targeted. Your sister is now, unfortunately, at risk too so it is only fitting that you be here and understand the changes that will be implemented.”
 “What do you mean when you say targeted? I want the whole story. Like you said, my sister is now involved.”
 “There have been a series of virtual attacks on Kaiba Corp. At first these appeared to be minor glitches but has since become a much bigger problem. This made me think it was someone purely interested in the company but recent events have made me question that.”
 “What happened?” Duke asked.
 “Mokuba and I wear specialized trackers of my own design for our personal security. As of last night, Alex has one too. These trackers have somehow been hacked and are no longer operational.” Kaiba informed.
 “See, since Seto made them, and only three exist, no one should know how they operate. It also means they are after us.” Mokuba added.
 “Or me.” Kaiba said simply. “The rest of you could just be caught in the crossfire.”
 “Which is still a problem.” Alex said.
 “So what’s your plan Kaiba?” Duke asked.
 “Firstly, everyone gets security. I don’t think you are in any danger Devlin, but your sister might be. No one goes anywhere alone. Secondly, driving personal cars stops immediately.”
 “Kaiba!” Alex exclaimed.
 “I don’t want to hear it Alex. Same goes for Mokuba. I will make one of our secure vehicles available to you.”
 “I’m going to Tokyo this week.” She informed.
 “Then the security team will go with you.”
 “I’m with Seto on this. Believe me Alex, this is the best thing for us.”
 “Fine.” She agreed begrudgingly.
 “Your guards will be stationed at your flat as well.” Kaiba said.
 “Fine by me.” Duke agreed. “It’s for your own good.” He replied to the look Alex gave him.
 “When we know anything, you guys will too.” Mokuba promised.
 “Thanks Mokuba; and thank you Kaiba, for protecting my sister.” Duke said sincerely.
 “Kaibas look out for family.” Kaiba said simply.

 That simple statement meant the world to both Alex and Duke, even though he would never admit to that. Duke was apprehensive of Alex dating Mokuba at first, but having seen her with both brothers now, he knew she had made a great decision.
 “Do I at least get to drive my car back home?” Alex asked.
 “I suppose one of the guys could be in the car with you.” Mokuba replied.
 “Fine.” She huffed.
 Kaiba pulled out his cell phone and hit the speed dial for Roland.
 “Roland, where are you?” He asked curtly.
“In the guardhouse, sir.” He replied.
 “In my study, now.” Kaiba ordered. He left the room with determined strides but Duke followed him out.
 “Kaiba.” He called.
 “What is it Devlin?” He growled.
 “Look, I realise that we've had our differences in the past but I want you to know I really appreciate everything you're doing for Alex. Also, I think it's time we put our differences aside. Those two seem pretty serious about each other, we have to play our part too.” Duke said once they were out of earshot.
 “For once, I agree with you. Don't think that this means that I will now be a part of the friendship brigade.”
 “I wouldn't dream of it.” Duke smirked. He turned around and rejoined Alex in the lounge. Mokuba excused himself and followed Kaiba up to the study.

 Duke heaved a sigh as he sat down heavily. He always played things off so easily but Alex could see the worry in his bright green eyes,
 “So someone is after the Kaibas again. Honestly, they should consider changing their identities.” He joked.
 “Nice try but I don't buy it.” Alex said.
 “Buy what?”
 “This cool guy act. What's worrying you?” She asked.
 “You could get hurt because of some crazy. Surely this worries you too.”
 “It does, but I refuse to let it rule my life.” She said with determination.
 “I think you'd change your tune if you went through some of the stuff we all did back then. These people that come after Kaiba and Yugi are not normal.”
 “So I've heard.” Alex replied.
 “Just take my word for it. I'm grateful for the protection.” Duke stated.

 Meanwhile in the study; Mokuba, Kaiba and Roland were deep in conversation.
 “If we need to bring in extra security, bring them in! I want four guards for Alex round the clock, same for Mokuba and me. You need to co-ordinate Roland.” Kaiba instructed.
 “Yes, sir. I'll be your fourth.”
 “Fine. The house and KC will have a full team stationed full time.”
 “Understood sir. I will make sure the armoured vehicles are ready to go. Ms Devlin will be assigned the black GLE. Mokuba, sir, you will have the black G-class.”
 “Sounds good to me.” Mokuba said.
 “Mr Kaiba, shall I prepare the limo for you?” Roland asked.
 “No, it's too easily spotted. I'll be using the Evoque.” Kaiba replied.
 “I'll get right on it sir.” Roland bowed and hurried out of the room. Mokuba watched him leave.
 “Why can we never have peace?” Mokuba said to himself.
 “We will Mokuba. I promise you.” Kaiba said in a slightly softer tone than he had been using all day.
 “Who on earth could it be this time?” Mokuba wondered.
 “I have no idea yet Mokuba, but I intend on finding out.”
 “It just makes no sense Seto. Things have just been moving along for years. It seems so sudden.”
 “Just because it seems sudden, doesn't mean it is, Mokuba. This could have been planned over years.”
 “But who would do that? Pegasus? I doubt that. I mean he hasn't tried anything since I was a kid. Zigfried has been quiet as well. Dartz had money and power. He wasn't your biggest fan either.”
 “That mutated hood ornament is gone. We made sure of that.” Kaiba said. “Look, I don't have the answers yet and speculating isn't going to help us. I need you to trust me.”
 “With my life, big brother.” Mokuba said earnestly. “I should get back to Alex.” He left his brother and headed back down to the lounge where the Devlin siblings were deep in conversation.
 “Am I interrupting?” Mokuba asked as he took a seat on the couch.
 “Not at all.” Alex replied.
 “So no partying for you two.” Duke joked.
 “Kaiba did not say that, Duke. He said we have to take security wherever we go.” Alex retorted.
 “Uh-huh. Anyway, I better head off.” Duke said getting up.
 “You don’t have to go Duke.” Mokuba said.
 “I actually do. How about drinks with the guys? I’ll text you later.”
 “Sure.” Mokuba replied. He walked Duke to the door who got into his red sports car and raced down the driveway. Mokuba returned back to the lounge and slid next to Alex as he pulled her against his chest.
 “You are both really worried, it’s making me nervous.” Alex confessed.
 “Don’t be, Seto and I will figure this out. We always do.”
 “I have total faith in that, but what happens when you do figure it all out? These people are likely to be dangerous.”
 “Of course they will be, but we’ll be smarter. We have more to protect.” Mokuba smiled.
 “I’ll help you guys in any way that I can.” She said softly.
 “So, what shall we get up to?” Mokuba asked.
 “Suggest something.” Was her response.
 “We still have a game that needs completing.”
 “How about a game that you can’t cheat in.”
 “Hey I don’t cheat!” Mokuba defended. “They are Kaiba Corp. games and I just so happen to know a thing or two about them.”
 “Yeah, cheating.” She said defiantly.
 “Using the tools at my disposal.”
 “Then we should go to my place and play Dungeon Dice Monsters.” She challenged.
 “Okay, I see your point.” He relented. “How about an old fashioned duel?”
 “Do you have a spare deck lying around here?”
 “Of course. You want to use the duel disks?”
 “No, we’ll do this old school at the table. No special toys.”
 “Ugh, fine.”
 Mokuba disappeared into the bowels of the house while Alex made herself comfortable at the table in the dining room. She waited for Mokuba who returned with two briefcases of cards. Alex was in awe of the number of rare cards all in one place, but then again, this was the house of Seto Kaiba. She quickly assembled her deck and the two began their duel. It was clear from the start that both were great duelists. They had had plenty of practice growing up with competitive siblings who had mastered games early on in their lives.

 Mokuba and Alex were so focussed on their game that they had no idea that they were being watched. For every life point that Alex took from Mokuba, he would do the same to her. The game wore on and Alex was starting to show her mettle. Soon Mokuba was on the back foot.
 “I’ll use the special ability of my Saffira, Queen of Dragons to draw two cards. I’ll send my Red Eyes Black Chick to the graveyard and use my Mystical Space Typhoon on your only face down card. Now it’s safe for me to attack! I attack with my Lustre Dragon #2 and Saffira and that means you lose!” Alex declared enthusiastically. She threw her hands up in celebration and a clap came from the doorway.
 “Well done.” Kaiba smirked. “I’m impressed Alex.”
 “Thanks Kaiba.” She grinned.
 “You’re really good at this.” Mokuba said.
 “I played a lot with Duke but could never get around the special abilities of his ninja deck.”
 “Perhaps you should challenge Devlin using that deck.” Kaiba said.
 “That’d be awesome bro.” Mokuba smiled.
 “Thanks Kaiba. I will treat these cards like gold.” She smiled. He returned her smile and left the room. Mokuba chuckled to himself.
 “What’s so funny?”
 “You and my brother.” Mokuba said simply. “I love that you two get along so well.”
 “I can’t help it, everyone loves me.” She laughed, batting her eyelashes.

 Alex and Mokuba spent the rest of the afternoon in each other’s company, relaxing by the pool, watching a movie and finally having dinner together before she had to leave. Mokuba walked her to her car where a guard in a sharp black suit stood imposingly by the rear of the car.
 “This is going to take some getting used to.” She said.
 “I know but it’s important that they are around.” Mokuba replied as he brushed a stray lock of her hair behind her ear.
 “I know. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
 “You’ll call me tonight. I want to know you’re home safe.”
 “Fine. You shouldn’t worry so much, you’ll get wrinkles.” She teased. “I love you.”
 “I love you too. Drive safe.”
 “Always.”
 He closed her door as she got in. The bodyguard was already buckling his seatbelt. She drove her car down the driveway and out onto the road with the black Mercedes GLE following close behind.

 They arrived at Alex and Duke’s apartment building and parked in the three bays that were allocated to them. Duke always had two bays in the building but some quick action and a few well placed phone calls secured him a third one, indefinitely.

 The guards exited the vehicles first and insisted on having two guards walk ahead and two walk behind Alex. They entered the lift that thankfully, did not stop on any other floor as they were cramped enough as it was. Alex unlocked and opened the apartment door then stood aside while two guards entered, scoping out her home. Once they were satisfied, they allowed the others to enter.

 Alex found Duke on the couch, lying on his back with one leg propped up and his laptop resting on his abs.
 “Hi Duke.” Alex greeted tiredly.
 “Hey Bean.”
 “Are you working?” She asked.
 “Yeah, I have to make space in my schedule for this project with Kaiba.”
 “Okay. I’m going to set these guys up in the office. You okay with that?” She asked.
 “Yeah sure.”
 “Thanks.” She replied. She approached the guard who stood next to the door. “Takeshi, right?” She asked uncertainly.
 “Yes ma’am.” He replied.
 “Okay, it’s Alex, not ma’am. It makes me feel old.” She rolled her eyes. “Anyway, the home office is through that door next to Duke’s bedroom. We have a blow up mattress so two guys could sleep there and the couch is pretty comfy. I’m not sure what to do for a fourth bed.”
 “It’s fine Alex, one of us has to be awake at all times. We’ll take turns keeping watch.”
 “Perfect. I’ll get you guys some clean sheets.” She gathered the clean linen from the closet and added a few spare pillows and blankets. She handed them all to Takeshi then went to her room to make her call to Mokuba. He was relieved to hear that she had reached home safely and apologized for the measures that had been put in place even though he knew they were necessary. As much as Alex enjoyed her space, she understood the need.

 She had a quick shower and changed into a white t shirt with a pair of bright green pyjama bottoms that were dotted with white stars. Alex sat on the couch that Duke lay on. She lifted his leg and placed it on her lap, then stole the remote away from him.
 “I do not want to watch another travel documentary.” Duke said mock sternness.
 “I wasn’t going to change the channel.” She said sheepishly.
 “Uh-huh.” Duke retorted.
 “Well, let’s see what we can watch together. Oh guys, you know where the kitchen is, help yourselves.” She called over her shoulder.
 “Are you really okay with all of this?” Duke asked softly.
 “I kinda have to be. If only we knew who was behind this.”
 “The last time it was like this, Kaiba’s brother was to blame.”
 “I take it you mean Noah.”
 “How much do you know about him?” Duke enquired.
 “Not much. Mokuba didn’t seem to want to talk about it so I changed the subject. Do you think it’s him again?”
 “I’ll let him tell you the whole story but that guy is dead.”
 “I feel like things just keep getting more complicated.”
 “Yeah, but around Yugi and Kaiba, you get used to it.” Duke shrugged. Alex heaved a sigh. She pointed the remote to the tv, changing the channel to a silly movie that they both would enjoy. They sat together in companionable silence until the movie ended. She bid her brother goodnight and went to bed. She had no way to know how right she was about things being complicated, and they were about to become even more so.

Chapter Text

 Over the next few days a new routine had developed. Alex would wake, shower and have a rushed breakfast, then go down to the Mercedes SUV accompanied by three guards. One would drive, one sat in the passenger seat and one sat at the back with her. The last guard, which usually was the last on night watch, would remain at the flat. They would park the car at the rear of the building and two guards would enter the office with her. The third would take a seat at the cafe across the road to have a wider view of things.

 She would try to get in earlier than anyone else just so that she would not have subject anyone to the circus of her entrance. At lunch she would send one of the guards - usually Takeshi, whom she had grown quite close to - to fetch her a sandwich. She was not used to the lack of freedom, and she did feel stifled but it was better than being the target for some unnamed, unidentified phantom that wished to hurt her and the Kaibas.

 Going home in the evening was a lot simpler. Alex often worked a little later than everyone else and it definitely helped now. Once she got home, Alex and Duke still ate dinner together with Takeshi and his team preferring to eat while they worked in the study. They had to report to Roland every morning and evening.

 Alex was all set to leave for Tokyo on Thursday, so Duke invited everyone for drinks on Wednesday night. They opted for a quieter bar than their usual haunt which pleased the guards. Takeshi was quite clear in his apprehension when they mentioned going out in the first place. Duke and Alex travelled together in the SUV and were ushered to a booth at the very back of the bar, near the kitchens. The three guards sat in the adjoining booth, ready to spring into action at any moment. Mokuba had arrived at almost the same time as the Devlins with the rest of the gang joining in only a few minutes later. Mokuba’s guard took the table next to their booth, so they were covered on all sides.

 They watched as the six friends entered together. Yugi and Tristan immediately spotted the bodyguards who stuck out in their black suits.
 “Hey guys.” Everyone greeted then sat down on the soft cushioned benches.
 “What’s with the protection detail?” Tristan asked. Mokuba then explained as quickly as he could, what had transpired.
 “Oh my gosh Mokuba?! How scary!” Serenity shuddered.
 “It currently sounds worse than it is.” Alex said. “Besides, if anything major happened, you guys would definitely know.”
 “Yeah, I guess. Things can never just be quiet around here.” Tea sighed.
 “On a less depressing subject, doesn’t Alex’s trip sound great?” Mokuba said with great enthusiasm.
 “That was a very smooth change of subject there Mokuba.” Duke laughed. Mokuba shrugged in response.
 “It does sound exciting.” Mai said in her haughty manner. “Though that Vivian Wong seems like a handful.”
 “Yeah, remember that time she tried to get Yugi to duel her at Kaibaland?” Tea said with a sour expression.
 “She did what?” Alex asked incredulously.
 “Yeah, she kidnapped Yugi’s grandad.” Tea said.
 “Eh, he was a willing participant.” Joey interjected.
 “That’s true.” Yugi agreed.
 “Anyway, he had thrown out his back and she fixed it, but the price for her doing so was to get Yugi to duel her at Kaiba’s tournament so that even though she had already lost her match, she could unofficially take his title.”
 “That is the most ridiculous thing I have heard in a while.” Alex laughed.
 “Doll, you don’t know the half of it.” Mai replied.
 “So did you win, Yugi?”
 “Yeah.” He smiled shyly.
 “She was so upset that she injured Grandpa’s back before she left.” Tea said.
 “That’s awful.” Alex replied.
 “She is a bit strange.” Mokuba said. “Seto is really proud of you and how you got her to agree to your advertising campaign, but he says he will not be accepting any invites if she will be in attendance.”
 Everyone at the table laughed. The night continued in good spirits. Even the danger hanging over them seemed to be forgotten for a while. Their drinks were renewed and conversation flowed freely.
 “When do you get back from Tokyo, Alex?” Serenity asked.
 “In a week. Mikano wants me there because it was my idea, but the company wants to use the studios and photographers and things in Tokyo.” Alex informed them. Mokuba put his arm around her.
 “A week is along time.” He whispered in her ear.
 “Mokuba.” She rolled her eyes. “I’ve been gone longer before. I’ll be back before you know it. Besides, I’ll video call everyday.”
 “I know he sighed. You want to come stay at the house for a few days when you get back?” He asked softly.
 “Or you could come to my place.”
 “Either way.” Mokuba agreed. The others continued talking while Alex and Mokuba had their quiet conversation. “Also, it’s Seto’s birthday this month and I want us to do something for him. I may have to enlist your help.”
 “I’m in.”
 “He doesn’t like to celebrate it but I’m going to force the issue.” Mokuba grinned.
 “Well, of course you will. We’re not letting him deny us an opportunity to celebrate. No grumps this year.” She said.
 “My thoughts exactly.”

 As always when the company is good, time disappears and soon everyone had to bid each other good night and head home. Mokuba and Alex hung back while everyone else left the bar.
 “Be careful.” He said.
 “I always am.” She replied.
 “And if anything-”
 “-Happens I will tell you and the guards and Roland and Kaiba.” She teased.
 “Have I been going on about this a bit too much?” Mokuba asked smiling.
 “Maybe just a little.” She laughed. “I’ll speak to you tomorrow.”
 “Yeah. Have a great time while you’re there. Well, maybe not too great.” Mokuba said.
 “Should I tell you how utterly miserable I am without you there with me? Tokyo is absolutely colourless without your presence.” She said in dramatic fashion.
 “Sounds good to me.” He grinned. She leaned in and kissed Mokuba tenderly. He returned the kiss trying to show her how much he loved her. She knew.
 “Drive safe Mokes.”

 They left the bar and were escorted to their different vehicles. She sat between Duke and Daichi, the youngest of the guards. Alex was tired after the long day and two drinks. She placed her head on her brother’s shoulder and dozed off before they had even reached the highway. The drive was smooth and uneventful. She felt like she had only just closed her eyes when Duke was waking her up.
 “Hey Bean. We’re home.” He said as he lifted her off his shoulder.
 “That was quick.” She mumbled. They all exited the vehicle. Takeshi led at the front with Daichi and Hiro behind. The five of them entered the lift which ascended to their floor. A quick instruction from Takeshi informed the guard at the flat that they were almost at the door which opened the moment they had approached.

 Duke immediately headed for his bedroom but Alex needed to speak to the guards about their plans for the next morning.
 “Thanks for tonight guys. About tomorrow, Tokyo isn’t too far but we need to leave early. I’d say five am. I have to be there before Vivian Wong gets there.”
 “Don’t worry Alex, we’ll be on time.”
 “Thank you Takeshi. Have a good night guys.” She bid as she head to her room.

 Alex closed the door behind her. She pulled out her suitcase from her closet and quickly packed the essentials for her week-long trip. Once she had her mostly formal attire neatly folded and placed in the hard shell suitcase, she closed the bag and secured the lock. She then took a quick shower and pulled on her shorts and tank top. She climbed into bed and heaved a great sigh. She had a lot riding on this trip to Tokyo. She tried to relax knowing that she could only do her best and had so far proved herself to everyone at M&E. Alex fluffed her pillow, turned over and fell asleep.

 The beep of Alex’s alarm pulled her from her slumber much too quickly for her liking. She groggily got out of bed and prepared for the day. After brushing her teeth and a quick shower, she dressed in black suit pants, a white collared blouse with a black and grey blazer. She styled her hair as fast as she could and did her makeup. Alex fished a pair of black heels out of her closet, slipped them on then headed to the kitchen to grab some breakfast.
 “Morning Alex.” Takeshi greeted.
 “Hey Takeshi. Are you guys ready to go already?” She asked.
 “Almost. There’s just some last minute prep but as soon as you’re ready, we can leave.” He informed her.
 “Great. I’m just going to grab some coffee. Would you like some?” She offered.
 “No thanks, I’ve already had.” Takeshi replied. “I’m just going to check on the men.”
 “Sure.” She poured herself a mug of fresh black coffee and fetched a bowl from the cupboard so she could eat a quick breakfast of cereal. She inhaled the corn flakes in her bowl and gulped down the coffee before washing her dishes and placing them in the rack to dry. She then went back into her room to fetch her red clam shell suitcase which she wheeled to the front door.

 Alex was ready to head off, so she went to Duke’s bedroom, knocking before she opened the door and entered the room.
 “Hey Duke.” She said softly as she gently shook him awake.
 “Bean? What time is it?”
 “Almost five. I’m heading off now.” She said.
 “Have a good trip. Stay safe.”
 “I will, and I will text you once I get there.” She promised. Alex placed a little kiss on her brother’s cheek then left his room, closing the door behind her.

 The guards walked her down to the car where they helped her in before closing the door for her. The four men climbed in and shut their doors in perfect synchronicity. The large SUV was started up and they headed out onto the still dark roads.

 Alex dozed lightly in the comfortable vehicle that glided smoothly over the tarmac. The gentle hum of voices and the radio playing softly in the background lulled her into a state of relaxation. The sun was still rising when she opened her eyes. The rays of light kissed her skin through the tinted windows. She slid her aviator sunglasses onto the bridge of her nose and turned to face Gin and Daichi who were next to her since she refused to sit in the middle.
 “How far are we?” She asked.
 “About an hour away, ma’am.” Daichi replied.
 “Pull over at the next convenience stop. I could kill for coffee right now.” She said.
 “Sure thing, ma’am.” Hiro said from the front seat.
 “Guys, we talked about this. It’s Alex.” She said shaking her head.
 “Yes, ma’am. Our apologies.” Daichi replied. Alex rolled her eyes at them and caught the smile on Takeshi’s face. She pulled out her phone and saw that there was a text from Mokuba.

 “Hey. How’s the drive going?”

 She quickly typed her response and hit send.

 “All good. Y are you awake so early?”

 There was a ping on her phone telling her that Mokuba had replied. She couldn’t help but smile whenever she saw his name on her screen.

 “My gf ditched me for work. Gave me nightmares :P”

 She almost laughed out after reading his message.

 “Maybe she ditched you coz you’re so dramatic XD”

 She sent her message and almost instantly, he replied.

 “Maybe. I should ask her. Heading to work early. Had issues with one of the server farms last night.”

 His message made her instantly suspicious. She felt like all three of them were missing a piece of the puzzle that was right under their noses.

 “Be careful. Love you”

 “Love you too. Enjoy Tokyo.” He replied.

 Alex put her phone back into her purse and waited for them to drive into the parking lot of the convenience store that they were approaching. She handed some money to Daichi and instructed him to get her a cappuccino and something for everyone else as well. Hiro accompanied Daichi and Alex took the opportunity to talk to Takeshi.
 “Takeshi, have you spoken to Roland this morning?”
 “Yes, I have.”
 “So you know what’s happened.”
 “I do.”
 “Takeshi, from now on whatever you know, I know too.” Alex instructed.
 “Alex, Roland has to-”
 “No. This whole situation is now affecting my life as well. I don’t want to be kept in the dark, so, whenever you know something, I know too.” She said assertively.
 “Okay, but this isn’t information for you to place yourself in even more danger.” Takeshi replied.
 “Of course. Thank you Takeshi.” She said squeezing his shoulder. She looked out the window to see Hiro and Daichi return with five takeaway cups in hand. Hiro opened their doors and they both climbed in, quickly shutting the doors. They handed out the cups to everyone. Alex was grateful for the aromatic coffee that was surprisingly good.

 Hiro placed his cup in the cupholder next to his seat. He started up the vehicle and rejoined the road. Alex watched the scenery flash by in a blur. She sipped her coffee with her mind firmly focussed on all she had to accomplish, but she would not forget about the conversation she still needed to have with Takeshi.

 The sun had fully risen, bathing everything in bright, golden sunshine as they reached Tokyo. Hiro navigated the busy streets. Traffic was always crazy here and now they were virtually at standstill, inching forward at a frustratingly slow pace. Eventually, Alex spotted the building where the M&E head office was located. They turned off the road and into the parking where they were stopped at a boom gate. Alex handed her employee card to Hiro which he swiped in the card reader. The boom immediately raised up, allowing them through. They chose a bay as close to the entrance as possible, parking the car where Takeshi felt most comfortable. He wanted as little exposure to risk as possible.

 Takeshi, Hiro and Daichi exited the car first, creating a human barrier for Alex. She felt this was all too excessive but she let them do their job. She slid out of the vehicle with Gin following close behind. With a beep the vehicle was locked and all five of them entered the building. They rode the elevator up to the offices of M&E Travel. When they got there, they found Mikano had already arrived.
 “Good morning Mr Mikano.” She greeted.
 “Morning Alex. How was your drive?”
 “It was good, just had a bit of traffic here.”
 “Tell me about it. Though I don’t think you and I can say very much, Domino is as bad.”
 “That’s true.” She smiled. “Are we ready for the meeting? I’d prefer it if we were done before Vivian arrives.”
 "Yes, I agree. Let’s go to the boardroom. Emmerson will join us shortly.” Mikano said. She took her seat beside him at the table. They did not wait very long before a tall, gentleman in a sharp suit joined them at the head of the table. A few other members of the company followed soon after and then Takeshi ordered his men to take up their posts. Gin and Hiro stood on either side of the door on the outside with Daichi and Takeshi placed the same way on the inside of the boardroom.

 Before any of the formalities were seen to, Alex addressed everyone, paying attention to Mikano and Emmerson.
 “Before we start, I’d like to apologize for the inconvenience of me having my guards present. I can assure you nothing discussed in this room will ever leave it.”
 “Not to worry Alex. We all fully understand.” Emmerson said in a crisp English accent. He called everyone to order and thus began Alex’s first meeting as a shareholder.

 The meeting ran longer than expected with various issues being discussed. The last item was the advertising campaign that would take the week to do. Everyone was fairly positive about it. Some were rather keen to be meeting Vivian but all Alex could think of was Kaiba’s reaction to her and she had to stifle a smile.

 Once the meeting was adjourned Alex and the guards headed down to the reception area to greet Vivian when she arrived. As expected, she was late, but Alex still greeted her warmly. She was offered a beverage of her choice and then showed to one of the meeting rooms where they were all briefed on what the campaign entailed.

 Soon after, Vivian headed to the five star hotel that they had booked for her. She insisted on a later starting time since she needed her beauty sleep. Her demands were all met, Alex needed to make sure she was happy so that even when her endorsement agreement came to an end, she would still relate favourably to the company.

 Alex spent most of the day working from the boardroom since there was no spare office for her. It did not bother her, she had everything she needed. It was just before five that she went to the hotel that they had booked her into. The suite was comfortable with plenty of space for all five of them. The furnishings were modern but the only thing she really cared about, was the large comfortable bed.

 She gave the guards a choice of either going out to dinner or to order room service and much to her relief, they decided on room service. They had much to discuss with Roland.

 Once they had had their dinner, Alex called her brother, worked a little longer, then bid the guys goodnight. She showered and changed into a pair of comfortable pyjamas then video called Mokuba. He was happy to see her. They chatted for ages about their day.
 “Speaking of your day.” Alex started. “Yours started very early. What happened at the server farm?”
 “Oh, it’s nothing major. Don’t worry about it.” Mokuba replied.
 “Mokes, either you tell me, or I will get it out of Takeshi.” She said with a cocked eyebrow.
 “You will get it out of Takeshi?” He laughed.
 “Yes.”
 “Fine, I’ll tell you.” He relented. “But like I said, it was nothing major. The alarm was tripped. We went to check it out and there was an intruder but no signs of forced entry and most of the cameras were taken out.”
 “Do you have any idea of who it could be?” Alex asked.
 “Not at the moment. Whoever it was has tech knowledge. I mean those server farms are well protected. You can’t just walk in there. We have a triple verification system. There is a biometric scanner, code and tag scanner.”
 “That sounds major to me Mokes. You’ve gone from glitches and minor attacks of KC to your trackers not working and now someone is trying to get into the servers.” She noticed a look on Mokuba’s face that told her he was not telling her the entire story. “What aren’t you telling me?”
 “Nothing.”
 “You’re lying.”
 Mokuba sighed. “They uploaded a virus.”
 “What?!”
 “People always leave their fingerprints on things like this. We will find out who it is.” Mokuba said with determination. “Don’t worry about it, we took care of it.”
 “I still feel like there is something obvious here that we’re overlooking.” Alex said pinching the bridge of her nose.
 “Maybe, but don’t focus on this. You have enough going on there.”
 "I can multitask." She smirked.
 "I don’t doubt that.” He laughed. “So tell me about Vivian.”
 “What about her?”
 “Has she calmed down at all.”
 “And pigs might fly.” Alex chuckled. “She’s being a diva, with all her diva demands, but it’s all under control. Everyone on this project will be working at least an hour later everyday because she wanted us to start later.”
 “I can’t say I’m surprised.” Mokuba replied.
 “Yeah, I spoke to the photographer who said that we’ll have to start with the outdoor shots to get the light he wants and then we’ll move to the studio for the rest of the shoot. The camera guys weren’t too happy because they have to record over a few days now.”
 “That’s pretty typical of her.”
 “Yup. I’m confident she’s the right person to appeal to everyone though. So for now, I’ll deal with the drama.”
 “I’m sure everything will turn out perfectly though. You’ve got this.” Mokuba said.
 “Thanks Mokes.” She smiled. Alex’s smile always brightened Mokuba’s day. “I suppose I should let you head off. Say high to Kaiba for me.”
 “I’ll do that. Sweet dreams.” Mokuba bid. “Love you.”
 “Love you too.” She ended the call and climbed under the covers, quickly falling asleep.

 The next day did not start as early. Alex made her way to the location for the photoshoot. Her trusty guards were never far. All the planning had gone well and once Vivian arrived, everything ran smoothly. Alex had to hand it to her, she really was very good in front of the camera. They soon headed to the studio for the indoor shoot, overall the day went well and upon examining the shots later that evening, Alex found that most of them were extremely good.

 Over the next few days, Vivian Wong continued to impress. The filming for the ads went really well and once she was done, she left back to Domino. Alex spent the rest of the week working closely with the team developing all the material and by the end of the week she was beyond happy with what they had.

 The week had gone by quickly. Every evening no matter how late, was spent video calling Mokuba. He, of course, was ecstatic that Alex’s trip had gone by in a blur. She left Tokyo with her four guards on Friday afternoon with the hope that she would reach home in the early evening. Takeshi’s driving spurred that hope on. It felt like they were making great time but at the same time not moving fast enough. Alex was just keen to see Mokuba. She was unaware of the surprise that awaited her.

Chapter Text

 The sun was setting when Alex and the guards reached Domino. Thankfully, most of the traffic had already died down. They made their way to the apartment building, turning into the undercover parking. They parked the black SUV in the recently allocated bay and Takeshi opened the boot to get all the luggage out. They each carried their bags into the building but Hiro insisted on taking Alex’s bag as well. She thanked him for his chivalry. All five of them stepped into the lift, like usual Takeshi and Hiro were in front with Daichi and Gin behind Alex. They stepped up to the door and Alex handed her key over to Takeshi who unlocked the door and stepped aside.

 Alex thought she was in the wrong apartment for a moment. The furniture in the lounge had been moved. The couches were further apart and the coffee table was missing altogether. In its place was a large square picnic blanket with a picnic basket, a clear glass vase of red roses and and two silver candlesticks with long white candles burning. She pulled her suitcase to the wall and went to investigate the setup. Mokuba then walked out of her room wearing faded blue jeans and a purple collared shirt.
 “Hey Mokuba!” She beamed.
 “Hi beautiful.” He greeted back with a smile. She walked over to him and wrapped her arms around him, kissing him passionately.
 “You missed me.” He teased.
 “Not even a little bit.” She said teased. Takeshi cleared his throat and excused himself saying that they would be in the study if they were needed. Alex thanked him and he exited the lounge leaving the two of them alone even if it was only for a few moments as Duke then walked in.
 “I thought I heard your voice.” He said cheerily. He gave her a quick hug.
 “How you doing Dukie?” She asked.
 “Okay. The food was terrible this past week, just so you know.”
 “I guess I have to make up for it.” She chuckled.
 “You know it. You have a good time in Tokyo?” He asked.
 “Yeah it was alright. We got plenty done. I’m so excited for these ads to run.”
 “That’s good. Well, I’m going to leave you kids to it. See you both later.” He waved as he grabbed his coat and left, closing the door with a snap behind him.
 “Finally, I have you all to myself.” Mokuba stepped up behind her, wrapping his arms around her body and whispering in her ear. It made the hairs on her arms rise. “Come sit down.”
 She did as she was told. There were various scatter cushions on the floor, she crossed her legs and pulled one of the cushions onto her lap. She watched as Mokuba pulled out two flute glasses out of the basket. He placed them on the blanket then took the champagne out of the basket. He peeled away the gold foil and expertly popped the cork without spilling a single drop.
 “Champagne. Are we celebrating something?” She asked.
 “We don’t need a celebration to enjoy champagne.” He said in a patronizing tone. He poured the golden liquid into the two glasses and passed one to Alex. She took a small sip of the chilled liquid.
 “This is good.” She commented.
 “Of course.” He grinned. “Let’s see what we have.” He pulled out a bunch of grapes, fresh cherries, devilled eggs, spring rolls, sweet and sour winglets, frikkadels and lastly chocolate covered strawberries.
 “Wow Mokuba. This is quite a spread. I take it you had some help.”
 “We have excellent kitchen staff.” He smiled goofily. “I had them make things you’ve enjoyed from countries you’ve been to.”
 “That’s so thoughtful. Thank you Mokes, this is amazing.” She gushed. Alex leaned over and kissed him tenderly on his lips. He picked a cherry out of the ceramic bowl and fed it to Alex holding it by the stalk and lowering it tantalizingly towards her lips. She plucked it off the stalk with her teeth and bit into it, sweet juices exploding in her mouth. She in turn fed a chocolate covered strawberry to him and licked the slightly melted chocolate off her fingers.
 “But this is dessert.” He protested.
 “Who said we can’t start with dessert?” She smirked.
 “I like the way you think.” He replied.

 Alex thoroughly enjoyed her wonderful surprise. They picked at the food, feeding each other and themselves. It was a lovely dinner and they were both utterly stuffed at the end of the meal. Mokuba leaned over and pulled Alex onto his lap. He wrapped his arms around her and nibbled at her neck eliciting giggles as he tickled her.
 “Come on, the surprises don’t end here.” He said pushing her up to her feet. He got off the floor as well, held her hand and led her through her bedroom door. The bed had red rose petals sprinkled all over it. There were candles lit around the room bathing everything in a flickering dim golden glow.
 “Wait here.” Mokuba instructed. He disappeared into the en-suite bathroom. Alex sat on the edge of the bed, she could hear water gushing out of the tap. She was curious to see what he was up to but she did not move. She did not want to spoil the surprise that he worked so hard at. She was playing with a petal when she heard some cursing come from the bathroom.
 “Mokes? Are you okay?” She asked apprehensively.
 “Fine. Fine.” Came his dismissive response. She finally heard the water turn off and Mokuba reentered the room. He crouched down and took off her shoes one at a time. Next he removed her blouse and bra, then he made her stand up and took off her jeans and underwear. He scooped her up in his muscular arms, taking her into the bathroom which was also lit by candlelight. The bath tub was filled with steaming water and it too had rose petals in it. Mokuba set her on her feet, helping her climb into the waiting water. The temperature was perfect. He quickly stripped down and joined Alex in the tub. A sigh escaped his lips as he relaxed, leaning his head against the back of the tub. Alex laced her fingers in his and a smile graced Mokuba’s features.
 “It’s nice to be home.” Alex said softly. “Tonight was wonderful. Thank you.”
 “Was? Who says it’s over?”
 “There’s more?” She asked incredulously.
 “There’s always more.” He replied.
 “Why do I feel like you’re talking about something else.”
 Mokuba simply smiled. Alex returned his smile and turned back around, leaning against him once more. Alex felt utterly peaceful lying in the tub with Mokuba in the dimly lit bathroom. He really made her feel special. He always did.
 "What did you get up to this week? Other than work." She asked.
 "Not as much as I would have liked. There was a fair amount to sort out but I did meet the guys for a drink."
 "The whole gang?" Alex asked.
 "No, no. Just the guys."
 "Boys night out." Alex said.
 "Something like that."
 "Well, I hope you guys didn't get in too much trouble." She joked.
 "With Yugi around? I doubt it." He laughed. “The water is getting a bit cool.” Mokuba commented.
 “Yeah it is.”
 “Let’s head to bed.” He suggested. Alex stepped out of the tepid water first, feeling the bite of the cool air against her wet skin. She dried off with a fluffy towel, wrapping it around herself as she left the bathroom. Mokuba followed suit but took a few moments to blow out all the candles before he joined her under the covers.

 He gently pulled the silky petal that she played with out from between her fingers. He examined the blood red petal with a smile on his face then tossed it behind him before scooping Alex into his arms, kissing her deeply. She wrapped her arms around his neck returning his affection with equal measure. He ran his hand down the length of her body. Her skin was warm and smooth. Mokuba broke their kiss.
 “Hold on for a moment. I’ll be right back.” He smirked. He got out from under the covers, pulled on his jeans and quietly left the room. Alex was curious but so far all the surprises from the night had been wonderful. She did not have to wait long before the door reopened and Mokuba stepped in with an ice bucket and the champagne they had not finished earlier, plus two flute glasses. He placed them on the bedside table before disappearing into her closet only to return with a red silk scarf. He placed his knee on the bed beside her, leaning over to tie the scarf around her eyes.
 “No peeking.” He said playfully.
 “What are you up to?” She laughed with a nervous edge.
 “Just trust me.”
 She could almost hear the smile in his voice. Next she felt the sudden rush of cool air on her skin making her erupt in goosebumps as Mokuba ripped the covers off. She felt the bed dip on either side of her followed by his unusually cool lips. He nibbled her jaw all the way to her ear. She could feel his warm breath that sent shivers down her spine. He reached over to the ice bucket, picking up a cube.
 “Open your mouth.” He whispered. She parted her lips and he ran the ice cube along them. She sucked the water that she could feel was about to drip. Mokuba trailed the ice cube from her lips down her chin, down to her chest. She could feel the bumps rise in its cold wake. He trailed the cube that got a little smaller with every drop it melted, across her breasts. Her breath hitched as the cold met her right nipple first then the left. He took her rosy nipple in his mouth sucking the cool liquid off. Her body squirmed with want and delight at the change of sensation from utter cold to his hot tongue. Mokuba’s fingers were frigid now but he enjoyed toying with Alex. He left a wet path down her stomach and around her belly button. He dropped the cube back into the ice bucket and took a sip of champagne from his glass.
 “Keep still.” He ordered. He poured a little line of the cool golden liquid from his glass down her stomach and into her belly button but the shock of the temperature made it hard to keep still and Mokuba quickly sucked up the french sparkling wine before it dripped onto the bed. She could hear the clink of the glass being placed back onto the bedside table.
 “You didn’t keep still.” He chastised her with a playful smirk.
 “Oops.” She said breathlessly. She felt him pull away only to suddenly feel his tongue invade her folds. Alex squealed in surprise but that quickly turned to incoherent mumbling at his expert ministrations. He was far too good at this and could feel that Alex would find release far too soon for his liking. He pulled away from her and she could only moan in response. It was a sound that ignited a fire within him. He crushed his lips against hers in a fiery embrace. He pulled her on top of him as he rolled over onto his back, Mokuba undid the blindfold allowing Alex her vision back. She blinked a few times as her eyes readjusted to the dim light of the bedroom. She looked down at Mokuba, bathing him in a glorious smile. She felt the smooth hardness of Mokuba underneath her and with a roguish smile, she slowly lowered herself on top of him. A moan escaped him at the euphoric sensation. It was a heady feeling having this control over him. She rocked her body back and forth and up and down. She could feel herself grow closer to her release. Mokuba ran his hands along her thighs lightly scraping his nails along her skin. She was perfect. Everything about her in this moment was exquisite. Mokuba could bear it no longer. He gripped her hips, taking control of the pace. His thrusts became harder the faster he moved. Alex was lost to the pleasure. Mokuba felt the stirrings within him just as Alex was bearing down. The sensation threw him over the edge and they both lost themselves to the rapturous moment of their release. Alex opened her bright green eyes, watching Mokuba keenly as he came down from his high. He opened his eyes to find her staring at him with a kittenish smile on her face. She leaned down planting a chaste kiss on his forehead. His heart still hammered. Their bodies glistened with sweat but neither of them cared. Mokuba pulled Alex down, laying her head in the crook of his neck. They lay like this for a while before she moved to lay beside him. She traced abstract patterns on his chest with a delicate smile on her lips.
 “What are you thinking?” He asked.
 “That I should go away more often.” She joked.
 “That sounds like a terrible idea.” He countered.
 “But these welcomes are so wonderful.” She smiled.
 “How about this? Less going away but more spoiling.”
 “That sounds like a plan. It also makes me wonder.”
 “About?”
 “Your negotiation skills.” She laughed.
 “It’s only you that gets away with murder. You use your power for evil.” He laughed.
 “Only if it gets me my way.” She grinned.
 “So you mean all the time.” He teased.
 “Maybe.” Alex smiled mischievously.

 The two of them lay in utter contentment. Neither had to say anything. They knew what they felt for each other and the quiet moments were never awkward; it was instead, their safe, happy bubble.

 Warm and happy, Alex soon fell asleep. Mokuba spent ages listening to her sleep. The rise and fall of her chest was comforting and lulled him into a state of peaceful relaxation. He was not sure when he fixed off, but just that it was the best sleep he had had in ages.

 The sunshine fought to light up the room through dark curtains as Mokuba stirred from his sleep the next morning. He turned over, tossing an arm over with the expectation of finding a warm body but the bed was bare. He opened his eyes to find that he was alone in the room. Groggily, he tossed the covers off himself and dressed in the clothes he wore the night before. After a quick trip to bathroom, he ran his hands through his mop of unruly black hair and headed out of the bedroom.

 There was no one in sight but the place was perfectly straightened up. The furniture was back in place, the blanket and cushions had all been picked up and there was the faint scent of pine in the air. He heard voices coming from the kitchen and upon entering it found Duke and Alex talking as they sat together at the breakfast nook.
 “Morning.” He greeted.
 “Hey Mokuba.” Duke greeted back.
 “Can I get you some coffee babe?” Alex offered.
 “Please.” Came his grateful response. She poured the strong black coffee into a mug, added a bit of sugar and handed it to him.
 “Alex and I were just deciding what we should do today. I was thinking breakfast at the mall.” Duke informed Mokuba.
 “And your idea?” He asked Alex.
 “I was thinking of having a quiet morning and maybe having the guys round for a games night.”
 “A games night that involves Duke, Yugi and Joey?” Mokuba asked on the verge of laughter.
 “Yes. I know they can be competitive but so are we.” She replied.
 “I think we should do that. If for no other reason than the sheer entertainment of it.” Mokuba snickered.

 The three of them spent most of the morning together. Duke left for a short while to purchase the snacks and beer for their guests who all promised to be there. Mokuba helped Alex to set up and the guards had made themselves fairly scarce all morning. Mokuba informed them of the plans for the evening and they promised to try to be as unobtrusive as possible but they would definitely be watching, especially since there would be so many people in the flat all at once. Alex and Mokuba understood and while she was still chatting to Takeshi, Mokuba placed a call to his brother informing him of their plans. Mokuba knew what Kaiba was like when he was stressed so he would do all that he could to take a little weight of his shoulders.

 When Mokuba was done with his call, he walked into the kitchen to find that Duke had returned with enough drinks, snacks and pizza to feed an army. With Joey and Tristan around, they probably would be.

 The day was rather relaxing and by sunset, the first guests were expected to arrive. Alex was in the kitchen emptying a couple bags of chips into large bowls when strong arms snaked around her waist. Mokuba placed his head on her shoulder. She fed him a crisp with a smile which he loudly crunched into.
 “Here, place these on the coffee table.” She instructed.
 “Yes, ma’am.” He replied. Alex grabbed the bottle opener from the drawer and followed Mokuba out. Duke was opening the door as she entered the room. Alex placed the bottle opener on the table and went to greet her guests as she pulled her hair up into a ponytail.

 To her great surprise, everyone had arrived all at once. She stood aside as everyone filed in. There were hugs, kisses and high fives as the crowd all entered with Duke closing the door with a snap after them.
 “How are you guys doing?” Tea asked.
 “All good.” Alex replied.
 “How was your week, Alex?” Serenity asked.
 “Really productive. Tough at times but we’re so happy with how everything is going.”
 “I’m glad you had a good time.” Serenity replied.
 “Me too.” Alex smiled. “Well, let’s not stand around, make yourselves comfortable.”
 “Ya don’t have ta tell us twice.” Joey exclaimed.

 The drink flowed and games were played as everyone found something with which to entertain themselves. It was not long before Joey suggested that everyone get out their dueling decks. Mokuba nudged Alex in the ribs but she shook her head.
 “I’m not dueling with them Mokuba.” Alex said as if it was obvious.
 “And why not?” Duke interrupted.
 “Because I’m the host.”
 “That’s bull.” He replied. “Alex is game!” Duke announced.
 “Duke?! What did I just say?” She scolded.
 “I can’t remember.” He grinned.

 Yugi and Joey started their small, friendly tournament. Alex left the boys to it, replacing the salsa and dip as it ran out. Mokuba wrapped his arms around her shoulder when she joined him on the couch, watching the guys get louder and louder as they took life points from each other. Joey had become a formidable duelist, but he was still no match for Yugi.
 Next up was a match up between the two Devlin siblings. Both were competitive and knew each other’s decks well, or so Duke thought. Their match began as expected with Duke getting his strike ninja out as early as possible, but it had been a while since he had last played Alex. She was much better than he remembered. They traded life points but Duke was fairly certain he had the upper hand, however, something about Alex made him a little anxious. Normally when they played, she was a lot more vocal, but this time there was a quiet confidence about her. Now that he thought about it, all her moves were perfectly planned. He grew suspicious. Duke pushed those thoughts away when he sent a fairly strong dragon to the graveyard and it became much easier to ignore his previous suspicions. Still, the smirk on her face never left. Alex finally got her opportunity to play Saffira, Queen of Dragons.
 “What?! I’ve never seen you play that card before.” Duke exclaimed.
 “It’s new.” She said with a smile.
 She used her Saffira’s special ability to bring back a light dragon from the graveyard and with Duke freshly out of trap cards and no spell cards to use against Alex, he was facing a certain loss. Alex used her reincarnated dragon plus the other dragon type monster on the field to wipe out Duke’s life points and win the game.

 He was dumbstruck.

 “That’s my girl!” Mokuba said proudly.
 “Sorry Dukie.” She grinned.
 “I guess I should say well done.” Duke said. “When did you get new cards? And where have you been practising?”
 “Kaiba gave them to me. Mokuba and I play when I visit.”
 “Rich boy gave you cards?!” Joey said with utter disbelief.
 “Yeah. What’s the big deal?” She asked.
 “Well, it’s just that it’s Kaiba. It’s surprising, that’s all.” Tea said before anyone could say anything terribly embarrassing in front of Mokuba. Alex rolled her eyes.
 “You know, he’s a lot nicer than you guys make him out to be.” Alex defended.
 “Mokuba has been saying that for years.” Tristan piped up.
 “Because it’s true. My big bro is awesome.”
 “I agree with Mokuba.” Alex said standing up and making way for the next two players. “I do believe we have another game to be played.”

 The matches continued with Tristan dueling Mai followed by Mokuba and Tea. They played until the final was reached. Yugi versus Alex. Yugi beat Mai in a fairly challenging match up, with Alex narrowly winning against Mokuba since they were fairly evenly matched. Unfortunately for Alex, even though she put up a great fight, Yugi was far too good an opponent and he easily won. She was not even slightly upset. All she cared about was the fact that she finally beat her big brother.

 “I propose we play a new game.” Duke said.
 “What about never have I ever?” Serenity suggested.
 “Serenity!?” Joey exclaimed. “You’re supposed to be the innocent one.” Serenity stuck her tongue out at her big brother.
 “I think that’s a great idea Serenity. That could be fun.” Mai said, siding with Serenity.
 “I’ll get the drinks.” Alex said and walked to the kitchen.

 The guys moved the coffee table out of the way just as Alex returned with a tray on which nine shot glasses were placed and a bottle of Midori, Sake and peppermint schnapps. She placed the tray on the carpet in the centre of the circle that had forme and sat between Mokuba and Duke. Most of the shot glasses were filled with the pretty bright green melon liqueur with Tea and Serenity opting for the schnapps and Yugi and Tristan had the clear sake.
 “So who starts?” Duke asked.
 “Serenity. It was her idea.” Joey said grinning at his sister.
 Serenity giggled before coming up with her question. “What should I ask? Oh I know. Never have I ever laughed so hard that I snorted.” The question was followed by everyone raising their glasses, “Kanpai!” they all said in unison before knocking back their drinks. Duke and Alex simultaneously swallowed hard and slammed the glass down on the carpet.
 “You guys are so much alike, you’re like twins. You even have the same hairstyle.” Tea said, a clear blush on her cheeks.
 “Tea, I think you’re drunk and we haven’t even started yet.” Duke said, amused. He winked at Alex who told the next person to ask their question which was Mai.
 “Serenity, you’re going to have to come up with better questions than that for this lot.” Mai said as they all topped up their shot glasses. “Never have I ever flashed for a free drink.”
 Alex knocked back her drink to laughter and shocked gasps.
 “Alex!” Tea said surprised.
 “Oh you have no idea how wild this one really is.” Duke said laughing.
 Alex just smirked. “Really Mai?”
 “Doll, I'm really quite well behaved.” Everyone laughed at the obvious lie.
 “My turn. Never have I ever eaten a burger in just three bites.” Joey said to which Tristan had to down a drink. “Come on guys. Mokuba?”
 “I grew up in the Kaiba household.” He shrugged.
 “Tristan you’re up.” Yugi said.
 “Never have I ever been in handcuffs.” Tristan said.
 Yugi, Joey, Alex and Duke had to knock back drinks.
 Tea shook her head. “Those were for entirely different reasons.”
 “What do you mean?” Alex asked.
 “Yugi and Joey had their ankles cuffed to an anchor that threatened to drop them in the ocean if they didn’t do exactly what the rare hunters wanted them to.”
 “What?! That’s insane.” Alex exclaimed.
 “Welcome to Domino.” Duke said wryly.
 “Yeah, Seto saved Tea, Joey undid Yugi’s cuffs and Serenity saved Joey. That was a long time ago.”
 “Absolute madness! You’re right, that is an entirely different reason than mine and Duke’s.”
 “Okay, don’t kill the mood people.” Joey instructed. “It’s you Mokuba.”
 “Never have I ever forgotten the name of the person I was making out with.” Mokuba said stifling a chuckle. Alex, Duke and Mai all emptied their glasses.
 “Mai?” Joey said astonished.
 “Oh come on hun, I was young and carefree.”
 “And your excuse?” Joey asked Alex.
 “Um, it was one time?” Alex tried to look sheepish.
 “Doesn’t matter.” Duke said haughtily.
 “Why doesn’t Duke get put on the spot?” Alex enquired.
 “Because we expect it of him.” Tea laughed. Alex rolled her eyes. She refilled her glass and passed the bottle around as she prepared to ask her question.
 “Never have I ever had a one night stand.” She knew she wouldn’t have to drink in this round. Mokuba and Duke both tipped the bright green liquid back.
 “Cheat.” Duke said.
 “Technically it wasn't a one night stand, so I didn't cheat.” Alex said.
 “I’ll get you this round.” He promised.
 “Alex, you really are a Devlin.” Tristan chuckled.
 “How could you get away with so much?” Tea asked.
 “Well, Duke was the one being groomed to take over the family business, all I had to do was keep my nose clean and keep bringing in amazing grades. No one cared if I partied a little which suited me perfectly.”
 “And she had everyone wrapped around her little finger.” Duke added.
 “Did not and it’s your turn.” She replied.
 “Okay, never have I ever licked food off someone.” Duke said.
 Apart from Serenity’s question, Duke got the biggest response with everyone except Yugi, Tea and Serenity having to tip their glasses.
 “I think Serenity is winning this.” Alex said looking at the half empty bottle of Midori.
 “Looks like I’m up.” Yugi said. “Never have I ever sent spam mail.” To his great misfortune no one downed their drinks. “How is that possible? You both have businesses.”
 “Seto created an algorithm that would only send out info to a person based on their preferences from surveys, social media etc. Additionally, we don’t get many returns from bulk mailing.” Mokuba informed.
 “Yeah and Black Clown sticks to the information from the questionnaire filled out for our loyalty program and it’s often updated.” Duke said.
 “Tough luck, Yug.” Joey said. “Tea, your turn.”
 “Umm… Never have I ever… done an aerobics class.”
 Serenity, Mai, Alex and to everyone’s surprise Duke, all drank the shots in front of them.
 “Duke?!” Tea burst out laughing.
 “It was her fault.” He nodded in Alex’s direction.
 “I didn’t want to go alone.” She explained.
 “Aww you’re such a great brother Duke.” Serenity gushed.
 “He really is.” Alex said hugging him tightly.
 “I think Serenity and Tea win this.” Mokuba stated.
 “Yeah the Devlins lose hands down. How are you guys not completely shitfaced yet?!” Tristan exclaimed.
 “Superpowers.” Alex smirked, though her buzz was quite apparent.

 Fun was had late into the night and it eventually became too late for the others to drive home, especially considering all that they had to drink. Alex handed out spare pillows, cushions and blankets before calling it a night with Mokuba. She cuddled up to him in bed.
 “I love you Mokuba.” She whispered sleepily.
 “I love you too Alex.”
 Lying in his warm arms, she fell asleep almost instantly. Surrounded by her family and friends, life seemed really good. Even the dangers that loomed were forgotten for a little while.

Chapter Text

 The weeks were starting to blur together. Alex felt like October was passing by in huge leaps. She was immensely busy. Throughout all of this her guards stayed close. They started feeling less like an imposing force and more like close friends. Takeshi was especially dear to her. She really enjoyed their chats. It became a routine that they would have a cup of coffee together in the morning after the guys were briefed for the day.

 With all that the month brought, the biggest event was Kaiba’s birthday. Alex and Mokuba had been planning a small celebration with just the three of them. They knew Kaiba would not agree to a dinner out at any restaurant while things were so uncertain.

 The days leading up to the event rushed up at them. Mokuba and Alex planned to meet at the mansion. They both left work a little early so that could have everything ready before Kaiba arrived home.

 Alex arrived at the Kaiba household with three guards. Daichi was ordered to stay at the apartment to make sure everything remained clear there. Takeshi parked the large black SUV in the bay that was normally home. Alex entered the house with the men carrying in the bags she had brought along.

 She greeted the kitchen staff who had already been informed about the night’s proceedings. She got out all her ingredients that she had brought with and started on their surprise for Kaiba with the help of the kitchen staff.

 Mokuba arrived home a little while later. He peeked into the kitchen to see how things were progressing. He walked up behind Alex watching over her shoulder as she worked.
 “That looks amazing babe.”
 “Thank you. Let’s hope your brother thinks so too.”
 “He definitely will.”
 Mokuba made sure the staff knew to have the dining room prepared before the master of the house got in.

 Kaiba knew Mokuba would want to do something, even if it was a small non-event. He could never disappoint his brother no matter how old he got. At seven he arrived home to an unusually quiet house. He went up to the study to drop off his metal attach, then headed to his bedroom to hang up his coat and take off his tie. Once he was comfortable he descended the stairs in search of Mokuba. He walked into the dining room to find Mokuba and Alex sitting at the table with silly grins on their faces. There were blue and gold balloons floating around with a blue and white flower centerpiece that had a big gold “30” in the middle. For what was most likely the first time in his life, Kaiba was speechless.
 “Happy birthday bro!” Mokuba shouted with glee.
 “Thank you Mokuba.” Kaiba found it hard to suppress his smile. He took a seat at the head of the table, looking around at the absurdity of celebrating his birthday with balloons. Alex wished him as well and on cue the staff wheeled in their starters of french onion tartlets. They were placed on the gold charger plate in front of each of them together with a glass of red wine. All three of them tucked in. Alex had to hand it to Kaiba’s staff, they really were incredible cooks.

 It was not long before the plates were scraped clean. The butler was there in a flash to clear it all away in preparation for the main course. Three plates arrived at the table, and in keeping with the french theme of the starters, it contained a filet mignon with vegetables and a red wine jus just like Kaiba always ordered from his favourite french restaurant. He looked at Mokuba and Alex with a feint smirk playing on his lips.
 “You two have been planning.” He accused.
 “That we have.” Alex replied. “Just wait until dessert.”
 “I don’t care much for surprises.” Kaiba said plainly.
 “Oh, we know. You’re getting spoilt anyway.” She said.
 “You’ll love it bro.” Mokuba reassured him. Kaiba shook his head at the two of them and sliced into the rare, juicy steak before him. The banter was replaced by the sound of clinking cutlery against the plates. Mokuba was done first since he wolfed his food down like always. He leaned over and whispered in Alex’s ear.
 “We’ll do gifts as soon as he’s done.”
 Alex nodded in response. Mokuba excused himself from the table, making his way into the kitchen. He fetched the two gifts that he and Alex had hidden there and instructed the staff to bring through dessert after Kaiba had received his gifts. He walked back into the dining room and found that Kaiba and Alex were in deep discussion.
 “Hope I’m not interrupting.” Mokuba said as he sat down.
 “No, we were just talking shop.” She replied. Under the table, she felt Mokuba pass the wrapped gift to her. She took it from him and placed it on her lap waiting for Mokuba to go first.
 “So bro, I know you don’t like celebrating but we thought you should.”
 “Mokuba, a birthday is not exactly an achievement.” Kaiba drawled in his typical way.
 “Yeah, we don’t care what you say. So here you go.” He said in his usual chipper tone handing a package wrapped in grey silky paper with a white bow.
 “Mokuba this is unnecessary.”
 “Just open it.” Mokuba ordered. Kaiba slid his finger under the various bits of tape making quick work of unwrapping the box without ripping the paper to reveal a ridiculously powerful, expensive graphics card. Kaiba seemed really chuffed with it, closely examining the box and turning it over to read the specs printed on the back.
 “Thank you Mokuba.” Kaiba said to his brother. He placed the box to his right on the table when Alex called his attention.
 “There’s more where that came from.” She grinned. Alex walked over to Kaiba to hand him a small rectangular gift wrapped in dark blue paper with shiny silver ribbon.
 “Happy birthday Kaiba.” She wished him and gave him a peck on the cheek which clearly surprised him. She took her seat once more and placed her head on Mokuba’s shoulder, watching Kaiba unwrap the gift with keen interest. His face showed surprise but the expression quickly changed to a smile when the gift revealed itself to be a leatherbound book.
 “Timaeus and Critias.” Kaiba said. “Thank you Alex. This is quite extraordinary.”
 “I’m glad you like it.” She smiled.

 Perfectly timed, the butler then wheeled in a gold trolley, atop the glass sat the chocolate cake that Alex had made earlier. It was a triple layer cake, smothered in glossy dark chocolate ganache with tempered chocolate shards placed on the top. The butler sliced the cake and placed it on three dessert plates, serving it to the two brothers and Alex. This was followed by three cups of rich aromatic coffee. They sliced into the moist cake with their pastry forks. It was scrumptiously decadent.
 “Alex you need to bake more often. This is divine!” Mokuba said through mouthfuls.
 “It seems like you quite multi-talented.” Kaiba commented.
 “Thank you guys.” Alex blushed.

 Kaiba was a man of few words but the effort that Alex and Mokuba had put in had meant the world to him.
 “I hope you enjoyed your birthday Kaiba. I know it wasn’t a terribly grand affair.” She said.
 “It was perfectly fine, and appreciated.” He smiled a rare, genuine smile.

 The atmosphere in the room was warm and happy as they finished their dessert and coffee. Their chatter turned to books spurred by the gift Alex had given Kaiba that he was skimming through. It made her think of the cards that he had given her and she thanked him again. Mokuba filled Kaiba in on the events of the game night held a few weeks back. Kaiba was pleased to learn that she had made good use of them. They became engrossed in talk of games and did not hear Roland walk in until he nervously cleared his throat.
 “Sorry to disturb Mr Kaiba.”
 “What is it Roland?” He growled.
 “We have a problem sir.” Roland replied. “There has been a threat made sir. The note was left on the windscreen of your car.”
 “Give it to me.” Kaiba ordered.
 “Yes sir.” Roland turned around and stuck his hand out silently asking one of them men behind him to give him the page. A guard that Alex recognized handed it over and Roland walked over to Kaiba placing the white A4 page in front of him. Kaiba’s eyes narrowed as he read through the letter.
 “When did you find this?” Kaiba growled. He had a dangerous edge about him now that scared Alex a little.
 “A few moments ago sir.” Roland responded.
 “I want the heads of the teams in my study now and get me the footage from the cameras on the east wing.” Kaiba instructed.
 “Yes sir.” Roland bowed. He gestured for the guards that walked in with him, to follow him out.
 “What is it Seto?” Mokuba asked with a hint of worry in his voice.
 “I think I know who is behind everything. I just don’t see how it’s possible.” Kaiba replied to his brother. His mind was racing trying to piece things together. Kaiba knitted his fingers under his chin.
 “Can I see that?” Mokuba asked with his hand outstretched. His brother handed him the note. Alex read it with him looking over his shoulder.

“Seto,

I know I’ve been gone for a while. I hope you haven’t forgotten about me, I did say I would take back everything you stole from me. Enjoy it while it lasts because this time we are taking it all back.

P.S. I’d use this time to say goodbye to Mokuba if I were you.”

 Alex covered her mouth in shock and distress. The was a very clear threat on Kaiba’s life. He read the note, he clearly understood it but right now he seemed consumed in fury rather showing any sign of fear for his life. Mokuba swallowed hard, the only action betraying his otherwise stoic countenance.

 “Seto, this sounds like-”
 “-I know Mokuba.” Kaiba replied to Mokuba’s unfinished statement. Just then Roland walked back into the dining room. Alex could see the difference in Roland. While he always seemed a bit under pressure in the presence of Kaiba, right now, he seemed down right nervous.
 “Sir, the men are in the study.”
 “Good.” Kaiba pushed out his chair and exited the dining room with long, powerful strides. Mokuba held Alex’s hand and followed his brother, keeping Alex close. They ascended the staircase and filed into the study where Kaiba had taken his seat behind his desk. Alex and Mokuba stood at the door and watched.
 “I want to know,” Kaiba started, “how is it that I have four teams on duty yet someone still managed to get onto the property.” His voice was low and silky. It emanated danger. No one dared answer which only irked Kaiba more. “I believe I asked a question. Takeshi?”
 “I don’t know sir. I had my men placed at the rear of the property. There was no movement there at all.” He answered. Kaiba’s gaze moved onto the man to the right of Takeshi.
 “Sir we don’t know.”
 “I suggest you find out, because they have just threatened my brother.” Mokuba spoke up making everyone turn around. He was still holding Alex’s hand. She made him feel grounded especially since it felt like ghosts were trying to attack them. He walked with Alex to stand beside his brother. Roland made his way to the wooden desk to address Kaiba directly.
 “Sir we have footage of the intruder.” He announced. He walked around the desk to load up the footage that was directly saved to their home server. He accessed the file from the cameras that captured the path of the intruder at the exact point when they entered their property and pulled it up on the screen.
 “Excellent.” Kaiba replied. He watched with keen interest as the individual jumped the front wall at a far point near a large tree. Kaiba knew the spot well as he himself had done the same when Mokuba was younger and had been kidnapped. The intruder crept amongst the shadows, sticking close to the walls of the house. It was as if he was entirely familiar with the property. Kaiba could feel his blood boil with every moment he watched the video. The person on the screen walked to the only car that was parked outside. Kaiba’s Evoque. They placed the envelope under the windscreen wiper and finally turned around, allowing the camera to fully capture his face. A green haired man with an arrogant, familiar face sneered at the camera. It was a face Kaiba would know anywhere. One he wished he would never have to see again.
 “This can’t be.” Mokuba whispered.

Chapter Text

 “Who is that?” Alex asked.
 “Noah. Noah Kaiba.” Mokuba replied.
 “What?! I thought he was dead.” She said.
 “So did we. Apparently, the rat survived.” Kaiba said in an acrimonious tone. He stared at the sneering face of his now, much older step brother. “Roland, I want you to find out as much as you can about him. Crosscheck this picture against the database for Domino. There are thousands of cameras out there, he had to have been caught somewhere. Don’t come back to me until you have something.” Kaiba instructed.
 “Yes sir.” Roland replied. He motioned for the men to follow him out.
 “One more thing.” Kaiba said coldly. “Don’t fail me again. I pay you to protect this family and my company, you let him slip through once, don’t let it happen again or you will be out of a job.”
 “Understood.” Takeshi replied. He turned back around and the group of men followed Roland out the study and down the staircase. Once they left the room Kaiba heaved a sigh and ran his hand down his face. His mind was running overtime trying to figure out how Noah could have survived all these years. He reminded himself that right now, the “how” was not that important, the “what” was. What was Noah going to do?

 Mokuba led Alex to the couch in front of Kaiba’s desk. They sat down together, Mokuba still did not let go of her hand.
 “What are we going to do bro?” Mokuba asked.
 “At this point, we need more information before I can do anything. Roland will get us what we need, in the meantime I will figure a way around them blocking their IP. We need to know who is working with him. There is no way that runt could do this by himself.”
 “I agree. The last time he had help from-”
 “-Gozaburo. I know.” Kaiba said finishing Mokuba’s sentence.
 “I don’t see how it could be him. We saw the place blow up. But then again he does seem able to continuously come back. At least this time we know who he is and what he wants.”
 “That note.” Alex said, interrupting the brothers’ conversation. “It only threatened you Kaiba, not Mokuba.”
 “Yes. He developed a bit of a soft spot for Mokuba.” Kaiba replied.
 “Yeah, after brainwashing me.” Mokuba said bitterly.
 “Yes, but you broke through. You’re strong Mokuba, no one can control you.” Kaiba said.
 ”But they can control you Kaiba." Alex said.
 "How do you figure that?" Kaiba said tersely.
 "They can use Mokuba." She said ignoring his tone. "They already know the lengths you will go to for him. Look, I don't know the whole story, just what Duke told me at the time and he left quite a lot out, but I think you shouldn't discount your step father's involvement. The last time they used your VR pods which we know can link between other pods regardless of where you are. So they didn’t have to be on the submarine when it blew. You all could have experienced what they wanted you to, granted it didn’t go as planned but wouldn’t that mean they underestimated you guys and could possibly do it again."
 “I have thought about that Alex; and you make a valid point.” Kaiba agreed, these are thoughts he had had himself.
 “But then that would mean that both Gozaburo and Noah are alive and well but Noah’s body was wrecked in an accident.” Mokuba said.
 “People have healed from worse Mokuba. Besides, once we ousted our stepfather, he would have done all he could to get his rightful heir back on his feet.”
 “So let’s assume that Noah and Gozaburo are working together, how do we trap them?” Mokuba asked.
 “It should be easy enough to find Gozaburo.” Kaiba said as he began pummelling away at the keys on his laptop.
 “I think they are going to come looking for you.” Alex said to Kaiba who halted his fingers above the plastic buttons.
 “I think you’re right.” Kaiba smirked.
 “Don’t get cocky bro, we need to be prepared.” Mokuba warned.
 “I’ll be ready for them Mokuba.”
 “That’s what worries me. Gozaburo would have had no problem killing you before.”
 “He would probably like to now. Here’s the thing, he hasn’t succeeded in the past and it will be a cold day in hell before I let him come near this family or our company.” Kaiba threatened.
 “What are you going to do?” Alex asked.
 “Whatever I need to.” He replied smoothly.

 Kaiba began working at his laptop once more. He pulled up a picture of Gozaburo which he began cross referencing against the footage captured by the CCTV cameras around Domino. The programme analyzed his step father’s face creating white dots which were connected with white lines, it then began comparing the picture to every person that had been viewed by the network of cameras. The images were running by in a blur. It would have been utterly impossible to spot any one face with the naked eye.
 “How long will this take?” Alex asked.
 “Well, given the number of people that live in Domino plus all the out of towners and the fact that people are often captured on more than one camera, it would take a really long time, but the speed at which our programme is able to analyze the data means we’re looking at a few hours, maybe overnight.” Mokuba replied.
 “That’s quite insane.” Alex replied, impressed. “I wonder how it’s going with Roland.”
 “For their sake, it better be going well.” Kaiba said without taking his eyes off the screen. There was a cold determination about Kaiba now and while Mokuba seemed worried, Alex could tell that he had an anger that was simmering below the surface. He did well to try to hide it.
 “What can I do bro?” He asked.
 “For now, not much. I’m working on circumventing his IP block.” Kaiba said plainly.
 “Okay. I’m going to check on the guys and make adjustments to the security at KC.” Mokuba informed his brother.

 He left the room with Alex in tow. He went down the staircase and out the back of the house to the guard house where the security office was set up. He walked in without knocking and headed straight for the surveillance room. There was a flurry of activity as everyone was assigned a task and were busy trying to accomplish it. Mokuba stood behind one of the guards that was permanently stationed at the mansion, he was currently making sure that there was a good view of all areas of the property and were displayed in four by three blocks on each of the large monitors. Mokuba then approached Roland.
 “Mokuba, sir, what can I do for you?”
 “Give me an update Roland.”
 “Yes sir. We’re still running facial recognition on Noah, it’s going to take a while. We’re also making sure that security around here is pretty tight and we’re looking into Noah from the past experience. If we can find out where the facility was that Gozaburo had taken him to we can see if we can find any clues that would help us now.”
 “That sounds good. I also want you to increase security around KC and the server farms. We don’t want them getting near the building or any of our files. Noah is smart.” Mokuba instructed.
 “Yes sir, I’ll get right on it.”
 “Good.” Mokuba led Alex back into the house and into the kitchen where he began making three very rich, strong cups of coffee. He handed the first cup to Alex and continued with the other two.
 “Are you okay Mokuba?” Alex asked.
 “I’m fine.”
 “Are you sure?”
 “Not really, but I trust Seto.”
 “Except he’s the one you’re worried about.” She stated.
 “Noah and Gozaburo have tried to destroy him before. Noah attacked me. He turned me against Seto. It’s nothing I want to relive.” Mokuba admitted.
 “And you won’t.” She promised.
 “Come on, let’s go see how Seto’s doing.” Mokuba said, taking hold of the two coffee cups and heading out of the kitchen. They went back up to the study where they found Kaiba entirely engrossed in his laptop. Mokuba placed the coffee cup next to the computer.
 “How’s it going bro?”
 “Fine.” Kaiba responded.
 “I spoke to Roland. They aren’t having much luck but I like how they are attempting to get info. Also, I instructed Roland to beef up security at KC. No one is to get near the building or servers.”
 “Good. We’ll soon have this rat by its tail.” Kaiba took a sip of the hot coffee and continued as if he was never interrupted.

 Mokuba and Alex went down to the lounge were they watched the news without really paying much attention. All he wanted, was to hear that either Roland and the team or Kaiba had made a breakthrough.

 At some point in their waiting, Alex had fallen asleep. Mokuba tried to move her so that her head was no longer resting on his shoulder. He was attempting to make her more comfortable on the couch but the rustling caused her to awaken. She groggily lifted her head off his shoulder. She looked around at the unfamiliar environment, it took a moment before her senses returned to her.
 “What time is it?” She asked, her speech slurred by sleep.
 “Just after midnight.” Mokuba informed her as she sat upright. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.”
 “No, it’s fine.” She said, rubbing her eyes. “Have you heard anything?”
 “I was just about to go check on Seto.” Mokuba replied. He got off the couch first and headed for the door, Alex followed him out, yawning widely as she did so.

 Mokuba and Alex joined Kaiba in the study who was entirely focussed on his task. He knew it was best not to interrupt him when he was concentrating this hard. Mokuba and Alex sat on the couch quietly, watching Kaiba work. Alex was starting to feel drowsy, she pulled her knees up, hugging them. She was just starting to drift off when she heard Kaiba.
 “Got you!”
 “You find him?!” Mokuba asked, jumping to his feet.
 “Yes. Both Noah and Gozaburo have been caught on Domino’s camera network a few times and always around the same location. I’ve just traced him to the docks.”
 “Brilliant bro! Now we just need to see what else Roland comes up with.” Mokuba said.
 “I’m going there to end this once and for all.” Kaiba said getting up.
 “Kaiba, maybe we should be patient and not do anything drastic yet. I mean-” Alex was interrupted by a loud ping from Kaiba’s phone. He picked it up to read the message that had come through, his brow furrowed as he did so.
 “What is it?” Mokuba asked.
 “A threat from that green haired freak.” He spat. Mokuba moved to stand beside Kaiba so that he could clearly see the screen. It was picture taken of a sniper who had his gun trained on the guards stationed at the KC building. The message read:

“One way or another, it will be ours even if we have to burn it to the ground first. You know what you have to do.”

 “He’s a bit dramatic, isn’t he.” Alex said.
 “You have no idea.” Mokuba replied.
 “He wants you to go to him. It’s obviously a trap.” Alex stated.
 “Obviously.” Kaiba responded. “That’s why I will be going. I know what that rat is trying to do, he won’t win.”
 “Kaiba, it’s dangerous.”
 “Tell me something I don’t know Alex, but I won’t hide like that coward. You and Mokuba are staying here.” Kaiba ordered.
 “Bro, I can help you.”
 “You can help me more from this room.”
 “Seto!”
 “No arguments Mokuba.”
 “Seto, I’m not a kid anymore. I can help you. It would be safer to have the two of us together.”
 “Mokuba, if I need someone to have my back, I will take guards. I need someone I trust here. You have more know how than any of the men.”
 “Fine.”
 “Alex, inform your boss that you will not be going in today.”
 “Okay.” She acquiesced.
 “Now, I need to do a few more things. Mokuba go check on the team. I want anything they have.” Kaiba said. He was all business now.
 “Sure. I’ll be right back.” Mokuba said. Alex followed him out the study but instead of heading out the back entrance, she went down to the kitchen and made a pot and three cups of strong coffee. It was going to be a long night, they needed all the fuel they could get. She placed mugs, the pot of coffee and Mokuba’s cup on a tray and headed to the guard house. They were ever so grateful to her. She handed Mokuba his cup, then went back in and took a cup up to the study.
 “Here you go Kaiba.” She said handing him the hot cup. “What can I do to help?”
 “Keep Mokuba here. I need you to make sure he stays safe.”
 “I understand.” She replied.

 Alex left Kaiba to continue what he was doing before she had interrupted him. She descended the staircase, sitting on the last step with the warm coffee cup in her hands. This would be one of the longest nights of her life. Mokuba was gone for ages. She did not want to disrupt the team but she really wanted to know what was going on. She sipped at the warm caffeinated beverage, her mind was elsewhere. She was not sure how long she was on that stair before Mokuba made a return.
 “Babe? Why are you sitting here?” He asked.
 “No reason.”
 “You should get some rest.” Mokuba advised.
 “No, I’m fine. I take it you have something for Kaiba?”
 “Yeah. I’ll just be a moment.” He said.
 “Don’t rush. You have stuff to take care of.” She smiled. He kissed the top of her head and ran up the stairs to his brother.

 Alex needed something to do. Her mind was far too busy for her to get any rest and besides, she wanted to be awake just in case Kaiba decided to run off in the direction of danger. She made her way to the kitchen where she washed her cup and placed it in the drying rack. She poured herself a glass of cold water and took a seat on the barstool at the kitchen counter. She ran her fingers along the beads of condensation that collected on the glass, watching as the droplets fell. She wondered how Noah and Gozaburo survived all these years. It was obvious they had had help but where did that help come from. These thoughts kept circling in her mind. She folded her arms on the counter and rested her head on them. She must have fallen asleep at some point because the next thing she knew, Mokuba was shaking her awake. She felt stiff. Lifting her head off her arms, she caught a glimpse of the faint pink streaks across the lightening sky, hinting at the impending sunrise.
 “Hey there.” Mokuba managed a smile.
 “Hi, I must’ve fallen asleep.” She stretched out her back and turned to face Mokuba. “What did you find?”
 “Their location, the facility that Gozaburo took Noah to which was also where their VR pods were placed the last time we came across them.” Mokuba informed her.
 “So it’s safe to assume that whomever was working on Noah’s case, has been helping your step father.” She surmised.
 “Pretty much.”
 “But why now?” She asked.
 “Right now, your guess is as good as mine.” Mokuba replied.
 “So what’s our plan?”
 “Well, Seto is still set on going, so I will track him. I can make sure we have eyes on him constantly. He’s taking the chopper, we can control it remotely if the need arises.”
 “But Mokes, the trackers aren’t working, what are you going to track?”
 “Seto’s phone. I’m almost certain that they have attacked our tech because they don’t want to use a signal scrambler and risk their own stuff.” Mokuba said.
 “I see. That does make sense.”
 "Let's hope nothing goes wrong." Mokuba said softly.
 "Hey, we'll make sure everyone gets out of this okay." She held Mokuba's hand, giving it a gentle squeeze.

 The kitchen was now bathed in the weak golden light of the morning. The quiet moment between Mokuba and Alex was interrupted by a sudden deafening roar. The unmistakable sound of helicopter rotors sliced through the tranquility of the upmarket suburb. Alex watched as the white helicopter with a blue “KC” on the side, landed on the property.

 Alex and Mokuba left the kitchen to find Kaiba rushing down the stairs. He was not in the suits he usually wore, but rather a black turtleneck with black pants, boots and a long white coat thrown over. Kaiba stood before his brother in the sunlit foyer, taking a moment before addressing him.
 “You know what to do.” Kaiba said.
 “I do.” Mokuba replied.
 “Good.”
 “Be careful big brother.”
 “I always am, Mokuba.” He turned to leave but Alex called out to him.
 “Kaiba!”
 He stopped and turned around to face her. She walked right up to him.
 “I now have two big brothers and I couldn’t bear it if anything happened to either one them.”
 “Alex…” Kaiba started but she silenced him with a hug, standing on tiptoes to wrap her arms around his neck. To her great surprise, he hugged her back.
 “Don’t forget what I said.”
 “I won’t.” Alex promised. With that, Kaiba boldly walked out of the house and climbed into the chopper.

Chapter Text

 Kaiba strapped himself into the seat. He pulled on his headphones and did the usual pre flight checks. He was ready to confront the ghosts of a past that refused to stay buried. He placed his hands on the joystick and took off. The ground fell away beneath him as the chopper rose higher and higher into the sky. With a sharp bank, he turned the mechanical beast in the direction of his prey. Domino was only just waking up and even the roads far below showed little sign of life. He flew high above the buildings and looking through the fishbowl beneath his feet, could see the type of real estate change the further he travelled towards the docks.

 He finally reached the old industrial section he was looking for. The landing skids kicked up sideways as he banked so that he could fly along the buildings. He looked out the glass on his door, his gaze cast downwards looking for a particular building which he eventually spotted. It was a nondescript cement coloured rectangular building. It still looked solid even though the salty air had aged it.

 Kaiba lowered the helicopter, gently touching down on the roof. The rotors were left spinning just in case he needed to make a quick getaway or the team needed to control it remotely. He crept towards the door located at the far end of the rooftop. The door was locked. He could almost guarantee it would be alarmed but most high tech buildings had a way to enter doors from both sides, even emergency exits. He examined the frame and door but all he found was a card slot. That was easy enough for him to bypass.

 In no time Kaiba was inside. He silently traversed the long staircase that took him into the bowels of the building. For a building that looked abandoned, there was quite a bit of activity inside. The passage he was in was well lit, he could see it was cleaned frequently and there was the hum of the ducted air conditioner working to keep everything cool. Quietly but quickly, he made his way further down the passage, keeping an eye out for cameras that would give him away. He looked above him, the ceilings were at a fairly standard height but it was made lower by a network of thick metal rods that were all bolted to the cement. The sprinklers ran along each dowel.

 He reached the end of the passage and looked around the corner. There were two people in lab coats heading his way. There was nowhere to go but up. With a graceful leap, he grabbed hold of the cool metal and pulled himself up. He watched the two men pass by under him. They each held an unlit cigarette. It was obvious they were going up to the roof but the chopper was there, he could not order the team to move it because he would be heard. He had one choice. Kaiba balanced on his arms and swung down, his legs made hard contact with the first man’s head instantly knocking him out. He landed on his feet and in one motion grabbed the other man in a chokehold. He squeezed until the man passed out. Looking around, he saw a door at the end of the passage marked “janitor”. He checked the door and to his great relief, it was unlocked. He pulled the men in and locked the door from the outside then carefully continued along his path.


 Meanwhile at the mansion, Roland had brought Mokuba some interesting information. Alex read the printout over Mokuba’s shoulder. She could not believe what she read.
 “Roland, when did the big five start siphoning funds?” Mokuba asked.
 “Around the time of Noah’s accident sir. It was actually about a month after.” Roland replied.
 “So after they realised that they couldn’t do much for him.” Mokuba said.
 “It would have been done on Gozaburo’s orders.” Alex chipped in.
 “Definitely. Do we know if they are dead for certain?”
 “Yes sir. All five of them.”
 “I doubt that all seven of them would still be around.” Alex said. “The big five knew too much. Gozaburo would never have let them live, even if they did survive.”
 “I agree with Miss Devlin sir. The five of them were definitely in that submarine when it blew up.”
 “Do we know how the money was used?” Mokuba asked.
 “Sir, we believe that due to the amount that was being transferred to offshore accounts, it could not have been just for Noah’s treatment. It seems that he had to have funded the facility.” Roland replied.
 “Well from this it would have been enough to start a new life. You know when we took over Kaiba Corp and Seto was destroying the old facilities, there was a lot of tech and machinery that went missing.” Mokuba informed them.
 “The big five must have had them sent to this place.” Alex said.
 “It’s what I’m thinking.” Mokuba responded.
 “What I don’t get is why not just change everything. Name, town etc. If you have gone through the effort to appear dead for all these years, why not just start again elsewhere.” Alex wondered.
 “Because our stepfather is proud. All of this would just have been calculated moves. He hasn’t been hiding out of fear, he’s been biding his time to attack Seto when the time suited him. He’s going to want to destroy what KC is now, what Seto is. He blamed Seto for his downfall.”
 “It’s ridiculous.” Alex replied. “Here’s the thing they seemed to have overlooked, if they back Kaiba into a corner, he’ll be forced to retaliate. Two dead people can have anything happen to them and no one would know a damn thing.”
 “Roland, do we have any idea who has been providing info and who the intermediary is?”
 “Not yet sir.”
 “We need to get on that. I know Gozaburo, there wouldn’t be many people who would know his plans and he would have someone on the inside so he’d know when to strike. That person has to report to someone.”
 “I agree sir. I do have the men looking into it.” Roland assured Mokuba.
 “I want you to take care of it personally.” Mokuba instructed. “We don’t know who to trust at the moment. You can pull in one of the guys for the IT stuff you can’t handle. One person, Roland. Someone you trust, they are your responsibility.”
 “Yes sir.” Roland bowed to Mokuba and made his way back to the guard house. Mokuba knew he could trust Roland, he was one of the few that he did in times like these.
 “Mokuba, Kaiba could be in more trouble than he realizes.” Alex said, worry clear in the tone of her voice.
 “I know Alex. We have to do something.”
 “But what? Clearly you don’t trust all the men. We could send Roland but then we still need him to dig some more.”
 “Tristan.” Mokuba replied.
 “What about him?”
 “Tristan works at DCPD, I trust him.”
 “If something goes terribly wrong, having the police helps. And you are anticipating something awful, aren’t you?”
 “Maybe. Seto needs all the help he can get. Also, I have a feeling that we’re going to hear from Noah or Gozaburo pretty soon.”
 “I get that feeling too.” Alex agreed.

 Mokuba got out his cell and dialled Tristan who answered the call almost immediately. It was not the norm for Mokuba to call him this early, especially during a weekday. Alex listened to the conversation. She was torn. She did not want to break her promise to Kaiba and she knew Mokuba would never let his big brother be in any sort of trouble without jumping in to help. At the same time, she would do whatever it took to make sure Kaiba came home in one piece. She had an ominous feeling. Everyone knew Kaiba was dangerous, but was it enough now when he faced Gozaburo, his biggest ghost.

 Alex was glad that Mokuba sought Tristan’s help even though Kaiba would hate it. He understood what the Kaiba brothers had been through in the past, having experienced some of it with them. She listened as Mokuba ended his conversation, thanking Tristan. He would be arriving at the mansion soon to help. Mokuba ended the call and heaved a sigh. There was far too much waiting around for his liking. Alex walked around his chair and wrapped him in her arms. She did not say anything. There was nothing she could to make any of it better.


 Kaiba found himself in a lab of sorts. It was clear this place was some sort of medical facility. There was massive tube filled with some sort of liquid. Kaiba recognized it from the memory Noah had shown him years earlier. If that memory was true. Kaiba found it strange that there was no activity here. No lab techs, computers were shut down. It did not make much sense. The area was still clean. The keyboards showed signs of constant use. Kaiba knew when he decided to come here that it was a trap; it was obvious that Gozaburo expected Kaiba to look around and when he found nothing he would go searching further.

 Kaiba realised that sneaking through was pointless. It would just make his step father think he had the upper hand, that Kaiba was predictable.
“I’ll show you predictable old man.” Kaiba said to himself.

 He left the dimly lit room, boldly walking down the passageways that he could only assume led to where he wanted to go.

 He knew the floor he was on was where he would find Noah. He was a lot like Gozaburo who ruled from his ivory tower. He was not one to get his hands dirty, but that’s why he had Noah now. Gozaburo never shied away from using his children for his own gain. Afterall, they were investments to him. Well, Kaiba was not an investment that paid off for Gozaburo and he was determined to show him just how dangerous letting a smart twelve year old in your life could be.


 The heavy wooden door swung open as the butler held the door handle, letting Tristan in.
 “I’m here to see Mokuba.” Tristan said to the butler who bowed and led the way to the study where Mokuba was in deep discussion with Roland. He knocked on the door, peeking his head in.
 “Tristan! Thanks for coming man.”
 “Yeah, no problem. So where are we at? Have we heard from Kaiba or that creep, Noah?” Tristan asked.
 “Neither.” Alex said. “Roland was just telling us about something he found out.”
 “What’s that?”
 “Recognise this?” Mokuba turned the laptop to face Tristan. On the screen was a logo.
 “Yeah, I do. These guys are in medical research. We were investigating them a while back. They have this crazy doctor heading up the organization.” Tristan said.
 “Except he’s just a figurehead. There is someone else who hides behind him. Gozaburo Kaiba.” Mokuba informed him.
 “So he’s just rebuilt his wealth through unethical means once again. Dude, your stepdad is severely messed up.”
 “Tell us something we don’t know.”
 “I think you know what I’m going to tell you Mokuba.” Tristan said. “There is enough going on here for a full police investigation.”
 “Except Seto is already there.” Mokuba replied.
 “And Noah and Gozaburo probably already have people in DCPD.” Alex added.
 “You are both right, but I can’t be a maverick here. You know I will help you in any way I can, we just need to make sure we’re on the right side of the law.”
 “Which means no disappearing step brother.” Mokuba said.
 “Exactly, because then I’d have to take you all in and no one wants that.” Tristan said.
 "Tristan, all we care about right now is making sure Kaiba is okay. That cellphone tells us where he is, but not how he is.” Alex responded. It was right at that moment that Mokuba’s phone buzzed. It was a message.

“Seto always thinks he’s so smart. So arrogant. Too bad he didn’t figure out this trap. You want to save your brother? You know where to go.”

 “He’s in trouble. I have to go.” Mokuba stood up, grabbing his phone off the desk. He was just about to stomp out of the room, but Takeshi ran in.
 “Sir, we have a problem.” He said.


 Kaiba looked at the closed door in front of him. It was more than obvious who this office belonged to. His anger bubbled below the surface, his blood boiled with rage. After all these years, he was again in this ridiculous situation.

 He kicked the door wide open. It was just like deja vu, this time instead of finding Gozaburo, Noah sat in the throne-like chair.
 “Welcome Seto.” Noah greeted him in his nasal voice. He was older and taller but not much else had changed. “You have not changed much since I last saw you.” Noah was far too pleasant. It nauseated Kaiba.
 “I see you still dress like a dork.”
 “Now Seto, is that any way to speak to your brother.” The deep voice of Gozaburo came from the shadows. He stepped forward to stand next to Noah with a familiar face beside him.
 “Daichi.” Kaiba growled.

Chapter Text

 “What’s happened Takeshi?” Mokuba asked. Alex had come to know Takeshi pretty well over the weeks they had spent together, he always seemed so in control, but right now he seemed extremely distressed.
 “Daichi is missing, sir.” He said.
 “What do you mean ‘missing’?” Mokuba asked with a very Kaiba-like edge to his voice.
 “Sir, we had uncovered some information-”
 “-What information?” Mokuba interrupted.
 “It appears that Daichi is the son of Kenzo Yamamoto. The same doctor heading up this medical organisation.”
 “You have got to be kidding me!” Tristan exclaimed.
 “When we went looking for him to confront him with this, we found that he had left.” Takeshi said. Alex could not believe what she was hearing. Daichi always seemed so nice. Friendly and warm. He always had a smile on his face. It was hard for her to now reconcile the person who was in her home for weeks with the one trying to get rid of the Kaibas.
 “This makes so much sense.” Mokuba thought aloud. “The security team is one of our greatest strengths and most obvious weak point. The only people who often know almost as much as Seto and I do are in this team. Roland is informed of everything and he instructs you all as he needs to. It was the perfect place for a mole.”
 “But Mokuba, how was he hired? There must have been something in his background check.” Alex said.
 “Miss Devlin, his relation to his father was pretty well covered up because we only found information relating to his mother. He had great references. Everything turned up clean.” Roland defended.
 “I get that, otherwise Kaiba would never have given the okay to hire him, but obviously, the reason he was so squeaky clean was because Noah would have helped set it up.” Alex pressed.
 “Alex is right.” Mokuba said. “Seto was happy with what you guys brought him. I did say that Noah is smart. We shouldn’t underestimate him.”

 The room was filled with tension. Alex knew exactly what they would decide and she left the men in the study to discuss it. There was one person she wanted to speak to right now. She got out her phone and dialled Duke. She went to Mokuba’s room and closed the door while she waited for him to answer.
 “Hey Bean.”
 “Hi.”
 “What’s wrong?” He asked immediately. Alex heaved a sigh and launched into the tale of everything that had happened since dinner.
 “Geez, that’s… I can’t believe.... Gozaburo’s alive?! Can that man ever just stay dead? I’m coming over.”
 “We’re about to leave for the warehouse.”
 “Then I’ll get there fast.”
 “Okay. Thanks Duke.” She hung up on him and went back to the study. She found them all still discussing their plan of action. Much to Mokuba’s dismay, Tristan wanted him to wait until he could get a unit of officers to the mansion.

 Mokuba was always the easier brother to deal with. He was carefree and friendly, he always had time for people but he was also determined and had a temper. Right now Alex could see with every suggestion being made to him, his patience was slipping just a little bit more.

 “Guys.” She called their attention as she stepped to the front of the room. “Can you give us a moment?”
 “But Miss Devlin, we have to-”
 “-I know what you have to do Roland. This won’t take long. Go get some coffee or something in the meantime.” Her tone was even, she was not impolite, but they all felt that it would be best to just listen to her instruction. The group left the room with Takeshi closing the door behind him. Alex held Mokuba’s hand and pulled him onto the couch.
 “Mokes, you have to get a grip.” She said gently. “I can see that you are losing your temper and it isn’t going to help your brother. I know that waiting is the last thing you want to do, but it isn’t a bad plan.”
 “I know that Alex, but every moment we stay here, Seto is with those people that much longer.”
 “I know that. I know how much you want him to be okay, but he isn’t going to want you rushing in there, putting yourself at risk. Having Tristan around is not a bad thing otherwise you wouldn’t have called him. It’s just a few more minutes that we both have to wait.”
 “You’re right. Of course you are but-”
 “But nothing. You need to sort out what you need to then the guys and Tristan can head out.”
 “And me.”
 “No. You need to stay here. Kaiba wants you to. More than that he needs you to.”
 “Alex, I know what my brother wants but there’s no way in hell I’m letting them go without me.” Mokuba said firmly. Alex opened her mouth to speak but Mokuba cut her off. “No way.” He said with finality.
 “Then I will go with you.”
 “What do you mean you’re going with me? It’s too dangerous.” Mokuba said.
 “I’m going whether you like it or not, I love Kaiba too. We’re in this together.” She said with determination. Alex hugged Mokuba tightly. “Now deep breaths. Get some clarity and let’s get our brother back.” She said as she pulled away.


 Kaiba stared down Daichi but he was unmoved. It was Gozaburo who spoke first.“Have a seat Seto.”
 “I’ll stand.” He growled.
 “Have it your way. I suppose you’re wondering how it is that we are alive.”
 “Not really.” He responded curtly.
 “You’re always so difficult Seto.”
 “It’s my life’s mission. I just want to know what it is you want this time.”
 “I want my life back. I want everything you stole from me.” Gozaburo said angrily.
 “Aren’t you two tired of singing the same old song?” Kaiba mocked. “If you both put half the effort into making something of your life as you do in these ridiculous schemes, maybe we’d never have to see each other again.”
 “Easy for you to say Seto.” Noah spat. “You stole my place at Kaiba Corp. You stole that company from my father and you’ve turned it into a joke!”
 “The only joke here, is the two of you.” Kaiba said smoothly. “I will admit, I am curious about you Daichi. What is your role in all this?”
 “Daichi has been a most loyal servant. You see after you got rid of the big five, the source of our wealth had dried up so I had to take measures. I had already invested a lot of time and effort into this facility and was now able to take over. It was here that both Noah and I were able to use the pods of your own creation against you.”
 “Except as I remember it, you had failed again. And your precious son was the one who rigged the submarine to blow. I removed the big five from Kaiba Corp., but it was you two who murdered them.”
 “They became an inconvenience. It was your fault that we had to go into hiding. Afterall, dead men don’t just walk around town.”
 “What does any of this have to do with Daichi?” Kaiba asked impatiently.
 “I was the one who put Yamamoto in charge of this place. His whole family owes me, including his son.”
 “More people for you to use and then get rid of.”
 “You know Seto, you always think you’re better than everyone else.” Noah said in a singsong tone.
 “Because I am.”
 “Not this time. I really hope you said your goodbyes to Mokuba, because this time we are going to make sure we win. Permanently.”
 “And just what do you think is going to happen? You automatically take Kaiba Corp. back? Buy it back? You can’t afford it. And if anything happens to me, Mokuba becomes the head of that organisation.”
 “Seto, have you learnt nothing?” Gozaburo said tyrannically. “When you play chess, you must always be three moves ahead.”
 “Except you couldn’t beat me even when I was just a kid.”
 “Your irreverence is growing old. I will win this time Seto, because I have Mokuba where I want him.”
 “You know from experience that Mokuba is easy to control.” Noah added.
 “Exactly. This is what we received from him.” Gozaburo had Daichi show Kaiba a message.

 “Fine. I will give you whatever you want. I’ll sign over KC to you. Please don’t hurt them.”

 Kaiba smirked as he read the message. He knew his brother and he had grown to know Alex quite well too.
 “I guess what they say about age is true, the mind is the first thing to go.”
 “What?!”
 “You’re forgetting one thing Pops. I raised Mokuba. Your tricks won’t work on me.” Kaiba said smoothly.
 “I wouldn’t be so sure Seto.” Noah taunted.
 “Whatever Brat.” Kaiba dismissed.
 “Don’t you realize Seto, we’ll do whatever we need to to get Mokuba to hand over the company.” Gozaburo threatened. “We have you so we have Mokuba and that pesky girlfriend of his. We really thought she would scare off after the car incident.”
 “What's Alex to you?” Kaiba growled.
 “We didn't need another complication, but no matter, she'll be another means to control you and Mokuba. I'm sure we could convince her to do anything we want her to.”
 “You're delusional.” While the exchange with his step family was going on, Kaiba noticed Daichi disappear from sight. He did not like that. He wanted to know where everyone was at all times. His instincts were always right, now was no different. Out of nowhere, Daichi appeared behind Kaiba, he whirled round but it was too late as electricity arced straight into Kaiba’s body, neutralising him.


 The wrought iron gates swung open allowing Duke to drive up the driveway. He noticed the two police vehicles parked around the side. He parked behind what he knew to be Tristan’s Jeep and walked to the front door. He knocked twice and it was immediately opened by the butler. He informed Duke that Alex was in the study. He ran up the stairs two at a time, calling Alex’s name as he barged into the room. Alex sprang off the couch at the sight of her brother flinging her arms around him.
 “Thank you for coming Dukie.”
 “Of course.” He replied. “Here are your keys.”
 “Thanks.”
 “I see Tristan has some officers here.” Duke commented.
 “They’re here already?!”
 “He must have called them even before he spoke to you about it.” Alex said.
 “Then we’re leaving now.” Mokuba said with determination. The three of them raced downstairs where everyone had congregated. Mokuba walked to the front of the group but Alex and Duke hung back. He put his arm around his sister, it was a small but immensely comforting gesture. Mokuba issued quick concise commands to everyone after Tristan suggested two of his men remain at the house.
 “Roland, Takeshi, you two are in charge of the two teams. I want Roland's entering from the roof and Takeshi's from the front. Gin and Hiro, you stay here. If anything happens, take care of it. Duke, please stay near Seto’s laptop. I’m tracking his phone but it doesn’t tell me how he’s doing. I’ll be in contact.”
 “No problem.” Duke replied.
 “I’ll go in with Roland’s team. It’s most likely Seto entered there. Also, Gozaburo likes ruling from the top. There will be some way to restrict access. You know how to handle it Takeshi.”
 “Yes sir.”
 “Good. Let’s go!” Mokuba was about to head for the garage but he caught Alex’s eye, she was holding up the keys to her car. He knew that it would be best for her to drive, it would save them time.

 The traffic in Domino would be at its worst at this time of the morning, but Alex was adamant she would be able to cut a path through. They climbed into her car and placed their tiny bluetooth earbuds in their ears so they could keep in touch with Duke, buckled up and with a throaty roar, headed out onto the road. Alex quickly lost everyone else, driving faster than any of the Domino roads ever allowed. She swerved left and right to overtake cars going much slower than her, but she could see the stand still traffic awaiting them in the distance. She spotted an off-ramp close to the congestion. Flooring the gas, she slid the car across all four lanes to take the off-ramp which led to an intersection. The lights were red but she did not care right now, she plowed into the intersection, fishtailing as they swerved to avoid other vehicles. She continued along the quieter, narrower roads until she knew it would be safe to get back on the main roads. Mokuba did not say a word as they raced towards the docks.

 Their arrival to the industrial side of the harbour was met with the stench of fish assaulting their senses. Alex closed the air vents in the car as she drove closer to the water’s edge. They studied each building they passed until they, at last, found what they were looking for. Alex drove round to the side of the building where they spotted the fire escape. She parked the car car close to the silver staircase. Mokuba got out first and pulled down the metal ladder while Alex locked the vehicle and walked around to join him. Mokuba climbed up first and waited on the metal landing for her. They climbed up the rest of the flight of stairs, past the many storeys, until they reached the roof.
 “Should we wait for Roland?” Alex asked.
 “He’s taking too long.” Mokuba responded. He examined the doorway and found the card scanner broken with the wires reconnected. He pushed the door latch down and it immediately gave way. Alex and Mokuba took a moment to set up the three-way conference call with Duke. They tested the call quality using the bluetooth earbuds to make sure all three of them were satisfied that they could hear each other.
 “Let’s go. Roland will figure it out.” Mokuba said. Alex nodded, following him in. They travelled down the path that Kaiba had earlier and came across the same switched off lab. Alex remained close beside Mokuba.
 “Duke, how far away are the others?” She whispered.
 “They’ve just arrived at the building.” Duke replied.
 They did not spend as much time inspecting their surroundings as Kaiba had. They were anxious to make sure he was okay. Neither one of them said it, but they both thought that the message was just part of a ruse. With Daichi not being there for the last few hours, Mokuba was fairly confident that they would have the jump on Gozaburo even if it was a trap. After walking what felt like the entire floor, they came up to a door. Mokuba was certain that it was the door that would lead them to Kaiba.

Chapter Text

 Kaiba slowly regained the use of his body. The high powered taser that was used on him sat benignly on the desk. He took in his surroundings trying to regain some clarity. The large rectangular office was sparsely furnished, the massive desk stood to his right along a large window. On his left, next to the door he had entered through stood a floor to ceiling wooden bookshelf which is where Daichi stood. Noah sat in the chair at the table while Gozaburo stood across the room from Kaiba. He was bound to a chair and no measure of force would break the handcuffs that bound him to it.
 “Do you honestly think that these things can hold me?” Kaiba said in an impassive manner.
 “They don’t have to hold you for long my boy,” Gozaburo said. The obvious threat was clearly implied.
 “If you both want me dead so bad, why don’t you just go ahead and do it?” He taunted. He wanted to keep them talking so that they would pay no attention to him. He discreetly pulled out a straightened bobby pin from his vambrace that he had taken from Alex when he hugged her earlier in the day. His stony countenance remained in place, not betraying him. He slid the metal pin in the keyhole, methodically picking the lock. He had to be extremely careful so that he would not drop it or give himself away.
 “Oh how fortunate! Mokuba and his little girlfriend have arrived. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a family reunion?” Noah said. His irritating voice grated on Kaiba’s nerves. “I can’t wait to restore Kaiba Corp. to its former glory. You know, all those years that I spent recovering, with all those experimental procedures, it was the one thought that kept me going. I would finally rule with my father.”
 “The same father who used you?” Kaiba sneered.
 “He didn’t use me Seto. We showed you what we wanted you to see.”
 “You’re still a naive gullible brat.” Kaiba spat.
 “It’s all words Seto.” Noah laughed.

 At that moment the door flew open. Mokuba walked in ahead of Alex. Both glanced around quickly, taking in the situation.
 “Mokuba!” Kaiba said in surprise. “Alex.” He growled. She rolled her eyes at Kaiba. Honestly, did he think it would be easy to keep Mokuba away? A herd of wild elephants couldn’t do that.
 “Seto!” Mokuba exclaimed, relief flooding his face. “Are you okay?”
 “Fine.” Came Kaiba’s curt response but Mokuba noticed the two angry red marks on Kaiba’s neck. Mokuba looked around and saw the taser on the desk with its two metal prongs. Rage flooded his veins like lava, burning from the inside.
 “How nice of you two to join us.” Noah said in his irritating manner.
 “Noah.” Mokuba said threateningly. It was an alien tone coming from him. He was usually so calm and easy going that the raw fury emanating from him now seemed misplaced.
 “That’s not very nice Mokuba, I thought you’d be happier to see me.”
 “I would be happy to see you, but alive and breathing is not how I would like you to be.”
 “You’ve certainly changed.” Noah said. “That’s fine, I’ll deal with you.”
 “I don’t think so. I don’t deal with lackeys.” Mokuba said dismissively. Kaiba smirked. “I’m after you Gozaburo.”
 Gozaburo barked a laugh. “The wimp grew up. You might even have become a bit of a Kaiba yourself but you still have lots to learn.”


 Duke sat in front of the PC in Kaiba’s study listening attentively to what was going on. He had heard Mokuba and Alex traverse the floor they were in and the almighty crash of what he assumed was Mokuba kicking the door open. Duke and Kaiba had had their fair share of differences in the past but when he heard Mokuba call out “Seto” and the curt response, he was never more relieved. He decided to radio in to Roland so that Mokuba could hear what was going on since it would be difficult to ask for information while the situation remained so tense.
 “Roland man, where are you guys?” Duke asked.
 “On the rooftop Mr Devlin.”
 “You better get a move on.”

 Duke ran his hands down his face. He was glad they had got to Kaiba because his sister could now get out. He knew how well she could handle herself but he knew what these people were like; especially Gozaburo. He prayed that Alex would not become collateral damage. It took more strength than he knew he possessed to stay seated in that house.

 Meanwhile, Tristan, Takeshi and their men had moved into the building, storming the entrance. Anyone who tried to stand against them were swiftly disposed of by Takeshi’s team. They were obligated to use non lethal force due to Tristan’s presence. Takeshi’s main objectives were to seal the building which he had men on, find Kenzo Yamamoto and get to Kaiba.

 In the office, Kaiba was still working on his cuffs. He was almost there, he just needed to keep Gozaburo and Noah talking.
 “I don’t need to learn anything from you Gozaburo.” Mokuba said defiantly. “You couldn’t beat my brother when he was a kid, you failed at running your company, you failed trying to kill us before and you’ll fail again. Unless you want to teach me how to lose so much, you’ve got nothing going for you.”
 “You ingrate! You’d still be in that orphanage if it wasn’t for me.” Gozaburo spat.
 “If it wasn’t for Seto.” Mokuba corrected.
 “You will all pay!”
 “And who will make us? You, old man?” Kaiba scoffed.
 “You dare disrespect our father?!” Noah screeched getting to his feet.
 “Calm down my boy.” Gozaburo said.
 “Isn’t that touching.” Kaiba said dryly.
 Alex had never seen this side of Mokuba before. His hands were curled into fists. Right now all she was interested in was keeping an eye on Daichi and Noah. It was hard to believe that someone as puny as Noah could have done any harm at all.

 Daichi who had been leaning against the bookcase quietly, uncrossed his arms and stood in front of Mokuba. It was suddenly obvious why. His pistol was firmly gripped in his right hand. Gozaburo pulled out a gun of his own and Noah sat back down laughing maniacally.
 “Alexandra come here.” Gozaburo ordered.
 “I’m fine where I am thanks.” She said in a strong voice. She hated the way her name sounded coming from his lips.
 “I insist.” He raised his gun to point it at her.
 “Gozaburo.” Kaiba growled low and threateningly.
 “Seems like you’re quite fond of her Seto. Clearly you don’t remember what I taught you. Fine, what if I point it at you or Mokuba?” He said moving his gun bearing arm from side to side, pulling the hammer back.
 “Fine!” Alex shouted. “No one has to get hurt.” She walked forward but Mokuba grabbed her hand.
 “Alex… you don’t have to do this.” He said.
 “I beg to differ.” Gozaburo challenged. She smiled at Mokuba, closed her eyes and when she reopened them they were ablaze. She crossed the room to stand face to face with the devil himself. He pushed the hammer back in place, took his finger off the trigger and lowered his arm.
 “I’m quite amazed at you. We were sure you’d be scared off after that attack on your car, most women would.” Noah said.
 “I'm not most women.” She retorted.
 “When that didn’t happen…” He continued as if Alex had not said anything, “we thought the other incidents would work, definitely thought the trackers malfunctioning would do the trick, but here you are.” Noah said in a sing song voice.
 “I suppose the calibre of gold diggers is improving.” Gozaburo taunted. Alex instantly reacted, raising her right hand and slapping him hard across the face. The sound cracked through the office like a whip.
 “You little bitch!” Gozaburo seethed. He spun her around and pointed the gun at her head. Daichi took this as his cue to train his gun on Mokuba. Since Kaiba was bound, all they needed to do was watch him.
 “You see Seto, we don’t need you, once you’re out of the picture everything goes to Mokuba and since we all know how Mokuba feels about handing his share over to me, we need insurance.” Gozaburo said.
 Noah pulled out a bound document from the desk drawer and tossed it onto the table.
 “How the mighty have fallen.” Kaiba laughed. “I never thought I’d see the day that you did your own dirty work old man.”
 “You dare to taunt me?! This is all your fault Seto!”
 “I’m sure.” Kaiba deadpanned.
 “Ignore him father. Mokuba is all we need.” Noah said sweetly. “Sign it all back to us Mokie, or father puts a bullet in pretty Alex’s head.”
 Alex tried to look at Mokuba but she was held far too firmly, all she could see was the seething rage in Kaiba’s eyes.

 Mokuba was far beyond anything he had ever felt. He had to get Alex away from Gozaburo but there was also no way in hell he would do anything that was asked of him. When he spoke, his voice was as smooth as velvet but it fully carried the weight of his ire.
 “If anything happens to Alex, you’ll see how much like my brother I really am. You will never get that company back.”


 Back at the mansion, Duke was struggling to contain his fear and anger. He could still clearly hear all that was going on. He refused to let despair consume him. He had been through this sort of thing enough times with Yugi and the guys to know that Kaiba and Yugi always came through. It was just a completely different situation when his sister was involved. He nervously tapped his foot on the warm wooden floor.
 “Come on Roland, where are you?” Duke asked through gritted teeth. “Alex, stay calm. Don’t antagonize them. I want you to think of a way you can get away from him. If I know Kaiba, he’s planning something.” His message was met with silence as he had expected but he could bear it no more and tore away from the chair, keys in hand when Roland’s voice came through.
 “We’re approaching the door.”
 Duke halted.


 Alex was trying to control her hammering heart. The thumping could be felt in her ribs, pounding in her ears. She concentrated on her breathing, she could handle this. It was then that she heard Duke’s voice in her ear, telling her to remain calm. “Easier said than done” she thought, but she had never not listened to him, her brother had never once let her down and neither were about to start now.

 She had to find a way to get out of this choke hold that Gozaburo had her in. He was a bulky man and much stronger than she was, she knew she could not try brute force against him. His left arm wrapped around her chest, just below her clavicle with his hand gripping her upper arm firmly. His right hand had the gun pointed at her head but there was enough space to allow her a sudden movement before he squeezed the trigger.

 Kaiba noticed her taking in her situation. She was smart he knew that so he knew what she was thinking. He held her gaze and nodded imperceptibly. The little gesture cemented her trust in what Duke had just conveyed to her. A plan formed in Alex’s mind. She was slight enough that she knew it would work.

 “You want us to believe you could be as cold as Seto?!” Gozaburo guffawed.
 “Please Mokuba. You forget that we know exactly what you’re like and a softie like you isn’t going to jeopardize someone’s life.” Noah stated confidently. “So why don’t you just come over here and do what we ask. At least you and Alex will get to walk out of here.”

 Mokuba was not listening. A movement from his brother caught his eye and he knew Seto was free of the cuffs. A look passed between them and they both lept into action. Mokuba attacked Daichi who stood before him, wielding his gun. He stepped to the right dodging the barrel of the gun and quick as lightning he swiped at Daichi’s wrist with his left hand while grabbing the barrel of the gun with his right. The hard, shock movement instantly disarmed the bodyguard. Mokuba bent low curling his left hand into a fist as he pulled his arm back and sent a punch into Daichi’s abdomen. He instantly fell, collapsing in a heap, clutching his ribs. At the same time Kaiba launched at Gozaburo. Alex suddenly pulled her shoulders tight to her body and dropped to the floor, getting out of the way in one smooth movement just as Kaiba reached his stepfather. He grabbed onto Gozaburo’s right gun bearing arm, attempting to overpower the heavyset man. Stepfather and son struggled as every eye watched them. Gozaburo’s arm was trapped between their bodies when all of a sudden the gun went off, echoing through the office. Kaiba’s eyes widened.
 “Seto!” Mokuba shouted.

Chapter Text

 In a moment, the sudden noise of numerous footfalls filled the office space not that Mokuba could hear them. Roland and his men entered the office with a loud “Mr Kaiba!”
 Roland and his men stood transfixed as they observed the scene that had unfolded.

 Mokuba watched in slow motion as Gozaburo’s hold on Kaiba slackened. His legs giving way under him. His body slowly falling. He fell to the floor with a muted thud. A crimson pool bloomed on his snow white shirt. The gun was still clasped in his hand. Kaiba looked down at the man on the floor with disbelief. In a moment he knew both he and Mokuba were free of this man’s evil hold. Mokuba. Kaiba looked over to his brother who stood stockstill. With large powerful strides he was instantly embracing his brother.
 “Father!” Noah’s loud cry pierced the room but no one looked to him. It was a moment, but to all in that room it may as well have been eternity. Time seemed broken as each second seemed to have stretched on, etched in their memory.

 Noah knelt beside his father who was now breathing raggedly. Each laboured breath rendering him weaker. Noah parted Gozaburo’s suit jacket and saw that the bullet had entered the middle of his chest. Noah could not bring himself to touch the wound. He could not bear to stem the flow. He could not have blood on his hands, let alone his father’s.

 While Noah knelt beside his dying father, Alex rushed over to the Kaiba brothers who broke apart only to have Mokuba enfold her in a hug.
 “Are you okay?” He whispered.
 “I’m fine.” She replied. She left the safety of Mokuba’s arms to turn to Kaiba. She had also noticed the burn mark on his neck. She lifted her arm and gently held his chin making him tilt his head away so she could take a better look at it.
 “Don’t worry about it.” Kaiba growled. She was about to protest when Kaiba quickly looked behind him. No one had paid any attention to Noah. Kaiba turned around pulling Alex behind him, shielding her. He watched as Noah retrieved the gun from his father’s weakened grip. Noah turned around, he had a crazed look in his eyes. Mokuba stepped forward to stand beside his brother.

 “What did you do Seto?” Noah said slowly. “WHAT DID YOU DO?!” He bellowed. “You killed our father.”
 Kaiba did not see the point of responding.
 “Give it up Noah.” Mokuba said. “You’ve lost.”
 Noah laughed maniacally. “Oh no Mokuba. I haven’t lost yet. I will still complete what I set out to do.”
 “Noah, listen to me…” Mokuba tried to reason.
 “The time for diplomacy is over Mokuba. It’s a pity, I could use someone like you.” Noah said.
 “He’s insane.” Alex said more to herself than anyone in particular.
 “Yes.” Kaiba replied.
 “I’ll never go against Seto, Noah. I would have thought you’d figure that out by now.” Mokuba said.
 “Then there’s just one thing for it.” Noah said as he raised the gun to point at Kaiba. Mokuba still held onto Daichi’s gun. He in turn trained the pistol in his hand on Noah.
 “I don’t think so.” Mokuba said through gritted teeth. Alex noticed Daichi was sitting on the floor with his back against the door, a gun at his head. She then realised how many guns were present in this one office. It made her extremely tense.
 “What are you going to do Noah? You try anything and you will be dropped where you stand.” Kaiba said silkily.
 “I can still take you with me.” He smiled.
 “All this just because you want some company.” Alex said as she moved into the light. “It’s ridiculous. The world believed you were dead, why not start over?”
 “I shouldn’t have to! Seto here stole my life. It’s only fair that he gives back what he stole.”
 “No one stole anything. You are familiar with business, Kaiba would not have been able to just take over Kaiba Corp. Your father would have made provision for him to have the company eventually. If anything, you should be angry at that man.” She said pointing at the body on the floor. “He’s dead, it changes things. You can still have some life if you stop this now.”
 “Nothing has changed! I’m still the only real Kaiba here! Seto stole my father’s affection, my company and Mokuba should have been my brother!”
 “Affection?!” Kaiba scoffed. “They may have put your body back together but they missed some parts of your brain.”
 “Seto your insults don’t work on me. Now Mokuba, please just do as you are asked and sign that document.”
 “You don’t learn Noah, I never do as you ask.”
 “Listen here Mokuba, one way or another Seto isn’t leaving this room.”
 “And neither will you.” Kaiba growled. He knew his men were well trained. All it took was one word from him and Noah would be dead. The only issue he had was that could lead to him being shot as well and he did not relish the thought. Both he and Mokuba knew that Noah was desperate now. There was no way he could win. The fact that Roland was already here meant that Gozaburo’s men had been disposed off in some way.

 It was then that the sound of rushing footsteps could be heard from down the passage. Takeshi and Tristan led the charge as they barged into the room guns at the ready.
 “Everybody, drop your weapons!” Tristan shouted. Mokuba immediately obeyed. Kaiba nodded and his men followed suit.
 “Noah, I’m serious.” Tristan said tightening his grip on the weapon. Noah noticed this and pulled the hammer back on his gun.
 “I won’t let Seto win!” He screeched.
 “This is your final warning.” Tristan said with authority. Noah would not hear it. All he wanted to do now that he had no way out, was to take Kaiba down too. Noah’s trigger finger tightened and Tristan fired his gun. The shot rang out and Noah instantly dropped to the floor. A single bullet hole in the middle of his forehead.

 Tristan holstered his gun and went over to Noah’s body confirming that he was dead. Tristan issued short sharp orders to his men and Kaiba walked over to him.
 “Tristan, we need to keep this quiet. The press would have a field day with this.”
 “I understand Kaiba.” Tristan replied. Alex could not believe how calm everyone around her was. She had never before been exposed to violence like this. Two men had just been killed in front of her and while she had no sympathy for them, it was horrific to have witnessed. She jumped, startled by Duke’s sudden voice in her ear.
 “Someone please tell me what’s going on.”
 “Noah has been killed.” Alex replied softly. She heard Duke’s sigh of relief on the other end.
 “Alex?” Mokuba said gently as he spun her to face him. “You okay?”
 “I’m fine.”
 “Okay, I need to speak to Seto. I’ll be right back.” Mokuba said. Alex nodded but she did not think she needed the reassurance, after all it was the Kaiba brothers that were in danger. Perhaps her face betrayed her feeling of unease.

 Alex watched the various interactions that were going on around her. Daichi was being pulled to his feet, still clutching his ribs. She thought that Mokuba must have a surprising amount of power behind his fists but considering who his brother was, it made sense.
 “You all good, Alex?” Takeshi asked as he walked over to her.
 “Yeah, I’m fine.” She replied looking over his shoulder. He turned around to see what she was looking at. An older gentleman with a scary resemblance to Daichi was being held by one of the police officers.
 “Kenzo Yamamoto” Takeshi said by way of explanation.
 “I figured. It’s scary that Daichi was able to fool everyone.”
 “It won’t happen again.” Takeshi said with steely determination in his voice.
 “I believe you.” Between the Kaibas, Roland and Takeshi, Alex knew that a lot would change and even more people would not be able to break through the barrier that they had created.

 Once they seemed to finish their discussion, Tristan, Kaiba and Mokuba rejoined Alex.
 “What happens now?” She asked.
 “Well, we have plenty to investigate here. Kenzo will probably face a death sentence, there is a lot that this place is guilty of. I doubt that there are many innocent people working here but anyone who is will have to find other work.” Tristan said.
 “And Daichi?” She asked.
 “He is facing jail time but his crimes are not as severe as his father’s.”
 “Okay.” Alex replied. She could think of nothing else to say.
 “Don’t worry Alex. Nothing is coming after us again.” Kaiba growled. He looked back at the body of his step father. Mokuba put an arm around her shoulders, hoping that it was a comforting gesture.
 “Tristan, if there isn’t anything else, I’d like to get out of here.” Mokuba said. The security team had accomplished all that they had set out to do. Both Kaibas were alive and well, the building was sealed and would continue to be until the rest of the officers showed up to take over from Takeshi’s team and Kenzo Yamamoto was in custody.
 “Yeah you guys can head off. We’ll be in touch Kaiba.” Tristan said before joining his men.

 Kaiba led them out of the office.
“I’ll see you at home bro.” Mokuba said and Kaiba nodded. He retraced the path he had followed in. When they got to the passage that held the janitor closet, Kaiba noticed that the door was open. A quick peer in let him know that the two techs had been released. Roland was nothing if not thorough. He stepped out onto the rooftop through the emergency exit that he had entered through so many hours before. He climbed into his helicopter and with deafening roar was homeward bound.

 Alex and Mokuba laced their fingers together, holding hands as they quietly entered the lift, descending to the ground floor. They crossed the empty foyer to the glass door that had several men ensuring no one left. The guard opened the door to let them out of the building and they walked out into the bright Domino sunlight. They walked over to her car which she unlocked with a beep, climbed in and slammed their doors shut. Over head they heard the KC chopper fly off. Alex gripped the steering wheel and let out a big sigh. It felt like she was holding her breath for hours. She pulled out the earpiece and tossed it into the centre console then started up the car and raced back towards the Kaiba mansion in silence. Mokuba watched her, a little worried about everything she had witnessed. No doubt she would have heard tales from Duke but it was a different story entirely to go through it herself. Still, Mokuba felt lighter than he had in ages. He knew what was behind the attacks on the company and he felt no grief for the loss of Gozaburo and Noah. He had once felt sorry for Noah but those feelings disappeared as he got older. For now, even though things were a mess, to him the future seemed brighter.

 Alex had a lot on her mind. There was a lot that had gone on in the past twelve hours. It seemed difficult to sort through everything. She had to talk it through with Duke. He always made her feel better.

 She pulled up to the wrought iron gates which swung open. She slowly drove up the driveway and parked her car.
 “What a night.” She huffed. It felt like Kaiba’s birthday was ages ago.
 “You can say that again.” Mokuba agreed. He led her inside and Duke was waiting for her at the staircase.
 “Bean!” He exclaimed in relief. He hugged her tightly. “Are you okay?”
 “Yeah I’m fine.” She smiled. “I’ve been asked that a lot.”
 “Well, it’s been a crazy day.” Duke replied. Alex slipped out from his embrace and stood beside him.
 “Mokuba! Glad you’re back in one piece man.” Duke said clapping Mokuba on the shoulder.
 “Yeah me too.” Mokuba replied. “I’ll see you guys in a bit. I need to see Seto.”
 “Yeah, of course.” Duke replied. Mokuba ran up the stairs two at a time and headed straight for the study. Predictably, Kaiba was there.
 “Hey bro.” Mokuba said as he entered. He sat on the couch like he always did knowing that they had a lot to talk about.

Chapter Text

 “You okay?” Mokuba asked.
 “Fine.” Kaiba growled still staring at his computer screen.
 “Are you sure?” Mokuba pressed.
 Kaiba looked at Mokuba over his laptop screen. He sighed and placed the laptop aside. “What do you want me to say?” Kaiba asked.
 “I just want you to be honest with me. It was hard enough for me to know Noah was around but confirming Gozaburo was involved was difficult. I can only imagine what it must be like for you.” Mokuba said. Kaiba shook his head.
 “It was a shock but I never once thought to look into the old man. The submarine exploded and that was the end of his reign of terror.” Kaiba replied.
 “But it wasn’t. He spent all this time devising a way to get his wealth back, to get revenge and this is all he came up with? It just feels like a weak move.” Mokuba said.
 “I agree Mokuba but at the same time, had you not arrived, it is very possible that I would be dead. Regardless, he would never have won. He tries to play everyone but he always underestimates his enemies.”
 “That’s true. Everyone is a pawn in his game.” Mokuba said looking down at his hands.
 “Except you are not.” Kaiba said in a commanding tone. “The fact that he thinks so little of others is exactly why his brainless schemes always fall flat.”
 “Yeah. I mean the last time he tried to duel you. It’s just ridiculous.” Mokuba laughed without humour.
 “Still, now we know he’s dead.”
 “I’m glad Noah is gone as well.”
 “As am I Mokuba.”
 “I hate it so much that he came back. When you rushed out I didn’t know what would happen. I was scared it would make you angry again.” Mokuba admitted.
 “I got past all that Mokuba.” Kaiba said lightly.
 “Yeah but if I hadn’t called Tristan, what would you have done?” Mokuba asked.
 “I would have killed them. Everyone already thought they were dead.”
 “And you would have had a lot of anger to draw from. It could have changed all this progress we made.”
 Kaiba chuckled. “You worry too much Mokuba.”
 “Maybe, but I have a lot to lose.” Mokuba said honestly.
 “I would never let that happen.” Kaiba said firmly.
 “I know. I felt so relieved to see Gozaburo dead. Like I have been freed.”
 “I know what you mean.” Kaiba admitted.
 “It’s like putting ghosts to rest. I guess there’s something to say for closure.” Mokuba said softly.
 “Hmm.” Was all the reply he got from Kaiba. He knitted his fingers together leaning his chin against them as he propped his elbows on the table.
 “So what are you currently doing?” Mokuba asked changing the subject. He could always tell when his brother was done discussing something and Mokuba had already received his answer about Gozaburo and Noah. He knew it was the right decision to involve Tristan. This way his brother remained unchanged.
 “I’m running a script to collect data from the files at YMR.” Kaiba informed Mokuba.
 “I’m amazed that Gozaburo was fine with it being called “Yamamoto Medical Research”. He usually likes to brand his destruction after himself.” Mokuba mused. “So how did you gain access?”
 Kaiba smiled with a mischievous glint in his eye. “I sent an email to a tech last night, with an attachment.”
 Mokuba laughed. “You always have things planned. What have you found out?” He asked.
 “Well, Yamamoto had full knowledge of everything Gozaburo planned. Seems like he was willing to help since Gozaburo would allow him to make progress with his research. However, his research involved human experimentation which led to a few deaths.” Kaiba explained.
 “That explains Tristan’s comment about him facing death.”
 “Yes.” Kaiba replied.
 “So then I’m assuming that Gozaburo tells him that he needs a spy and wants to use Daichi.”
 “Yes. He wanted payment for all that he gave Yamamoto.”
 “That doesn’t surprise me. Gozaburo does nothing out of charity. Everything has to be worth it to him.”
 “Yes and while this place was started using the funds the Big 5 siphoned to help Noah, it quickly became a profitable venture.”
 “Well, you got rid of Crump and his cronies. He didn’t have much of a choice, money had to come from somewhere. This has to run so deep. Medical examiners, police, government officials, pharmaceutical companies...”
 “But not all of them would be aware of Gozaburo’s plans for us. Still a lot of that list had to know Gozaburo was alive.”
 “Definitely.”
 “They forget who runs this town. I will have to give them a reminder.” Kaiba said smoothly.

 Meanwhile, Alex and Duke sat on the bottom stair of the grand staircase. She had a lot to get off her chest and the only person she wanted to speak to about it all, was Duke. He was always willing to lend an ear when she needed it. Alex sighed as she linked her arm with Duke’s and rested her head on his shoulder.

 Her mind was frantically jumping through thoughts of everything that had happened. She was struggling to make any sense of them at all. She felt an anger she had never quite experienced in her life and did not know what to do with it. The logical side of her knew that the ordeal had only just occurred and she would need some time to figure things out but that only led to her feeling more confused because this whole experience was so alien to her.

 Alex never thought she could feel so much rage towards people she did not know, but this incident with Gozaburo and Noah made her feel like she was being burnt alive. She could not understand how Kaiba or Mokuba functioned at all with everything they had lived though. All the stories she heard about Kaiba made sense to her now, the issue was that she could not reconcile that person with the person who had been so supportive. Then there was Mokuba who always seemed cheerful, like nothing could get him down, even his temper always seemed to ebb away quickly enough, but that same Mokuba was comfortable enough with a gun earlier. It made her more angry to think that innocent children were turned into this by Gozaburo. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, trying to clear the confusion she felt about two very important people in her life.

 She wanted to speak to Duke but right now she would not know where to begin. Duke knew his sister well enough to know that she would come to him when she was ready. She would need time to think. She was not part of this world for very long and nothing in her life previously could have prepared her for the events of the past day. Duke thought a more accurate thought would be nothing prepared her for life in Domino. He knew how crazy this town got.

 He removed his arm from Alex’s, instead he wrapped it around her shoulder, holding her close.
 “I think you should come home tonight.” Duke said, breaking the silence.
 “Yeah, me too.” She replied.
 “After everything that’s happened, I’d like you to be close.” He added.
 “I still need to chat to Kaiba.” She said softly. Duke could tell her tone was off.
 “You want me to wait around or head off?” He asked.
 “I think you should go home. You look as beat as I feel.” Alex smiled.
 “Okay.” Duke got off the stair and placed a kiss on Alex’s head. “I’m going home to crash. See you later?”
 “Yeah.”

 She walked her brother to the door and waved to him as he got into the waiting call-a-cab and drove off. She shut the door and tiredly climbed up the staircase to the study. The brothers were still chatting. Her heart swelled at the sight of them.

 She snapped back to reality when Kaiba scratched his neck and winced in pain. He had hoped that it went unnoticed but he had used up his quota of luck.
 “Kaiba are you okay?” Alex asked, quickly entering the room.
 “I’m fine.” Kaiba said dismissively.
 “No, he’s not.” Mokuba frowned at his brother. He got off the couch and went round to Kaiba’s desk pulling open the bottom drawer from which retrieved a green and white plastic box.
 “Mokuba, forget it.” Kaiba said sternly but he was silenced by the glare the younger Kaiba had given him. Alex had to suppress the chuckle that threatened to escape. Mokuba opened the box and got out a box of alcohol pads. He ripped open a small paper sachet and removed the pad which he then used to carefully clean the wound on Kaiba’s neck. He then pulled out a rectangular clear waterproof dressing that had a white rectangle in the centre. Mokuba placed it over the wound and gently rubbed the sticky edges ensuring that it was properly in place. It was sweet to see Mokuba care for Kaiba in this way and the patience Kaiba had while Mokuba did all that he needed to. Mokuba tossed the packaging into the dustbin and stowed the first aid box away once more.

 “Looks like you’ve had practise doing that Mokes.” Alex commented.
 “I have.” Mokuba responded. “Between our past with Gozaburo and my brother’s need to get caught up in every fight, there’s been a lot of wound care.”
 “Only because you insist.” Kaiba said dryly.
 “Bro, the Kaiba dome collapsed around you and Yugi.” Mokuba said.
 Alex could not help but laugh at the two of them. This mood seemed so out of place given what had just transpired.
 “Anyway, I’m going to take a shower and sleep.” Mokuba informed them. “Alex you coming?”
 “Go on, I’ll come through in a moment.” She replied. Mokuba nodded his head and left the room. “Kaiba, I was wondering if I could talk to you.”
 “About what?” He asked, brows knitting together.
 “Today.” She answered as she sat in front of him. “Look I’m really sorry that Mokuba was there. I honestly tried to keep him here but he would not hear of it. You said to make sure he’s safe and the only other way I could do that was to be there with him.”
 “Alex, it’s fine. I had hoped that he would listen to you but I’m not surprised that he didn’t. Even as a kid no one could stand in his way once he decided to do something.”
 “I just… I feel like I let you down.” She confessed.
 “Don’t be ridiculous.” Kaiba said sharply. “Alex, it would be very hard for you to ever let me down. Mokuba has always been a good kid, he knows how to enjoy himself but I have never seen him happier than I have in the past few months.”
 “Thank you Kaiba.” She got off the couch and walked around the table. She stood on her tiptoes to give him a hug which he returned. She walked towards the door but turned around to ask one more question.
 “The bobby pin you used to pick the lock, where did you get that?” She was curious. Kaiba chuckled.
 “From you.” He smirked.
 Her hand flew to her hair and true to his word, she was missing a pin. “You really did think of everything.” Alex laughed.

 Alex made her way to Mokuba’s room. She stripped off her clothes and stepped under the shower behind Mokuba. She wrapped her arms around him, hands caressing his muscular torso. Mokuba turned around and pinned her in place by the look in his eye. He leaned in slowly closing the distance between their lips but his gaze was locked on hers. She reached up, wrapping her arms around his neck and closed the remaining distance. Their lips were locked, moving together, tongues dancing as the water continued to cascade down their bodies. She broke the kiss, moving to hug Mokuba tightly. She felt safe in his arms but visions from earlier still plagued her thoughts.

 They showered quickly, Mokuba stepped out of the glass cubicle first and wrapped a towel around his waist, handing another to Alex. He looked at her in the mirror, her eyes betraying her busy mind. Once they had dried off, he tossed both towels in the hamper and they headed towards his bed.
 “Come on, let’s get some shut eye. Everything will seem a bit better afterwards, I promise.” Mokuba said. They clambered under the covers and he pulled Alex close to his body, holding her tightly as he slept. Alex lay in the warm bed, looking at the ceiling. It was a long time before exhaustion finally took hold and Alex fell asleep.

Chapter Text

 Alex stirred. She turned over feeling no presence next to her in the bed. She woke to find that she was alone in Mokuba’s warm room. The curtains were still drawn but she could see how high the sun was through a slit in the fabric. She picked up her phone off the bedside table and saw that it was a little before midday. She threw the covers off, scanning the room. She noticed her jeans neatly folded on the orange chair with a thick hoodie on it. She smiled at the nice gesture. She quickly put on the jeans, sheathing her legs in the thick denim and pulled on Mokuba’s soft grey hoodie. Alex freshened up and left the room, making her way down to the kitchen where she found Mokuba with two steaming cups in his hand.
 “Hey.” He smiled. “I was just bringing you some tea.”
 “Thanks.” She smiled as she took the cup from him. She blew the surface of the rich red liquid before taking a tentative sip. It was still hot but it felt good to drink something. It was then that she realized just how hungry she was. Kaiba’s birthday dinner seemed like forever ago and her stomach growled audibly.
 “We should get something to eat.” Mokuba smiled.
 “Yeah, we should.” She agreed. “I’ll sort it out and bring it up to Kaiba’s office.”
 “Thanks.” He gave her a quick kiss on her forehead and climbed the stairs. Alex went back into the kitchen and pulled open the fridge. A maid then appeared, offering her help and startling Alex. She clutched her chest trying to calm her frantic heartbeat.
 “Sorry ma’am, I didn’t mean to startle you.” The maid apologised.
 “It’s fine.” Alex smiled.
 “Would you like me to prepare something for you to eat?”
 “It’s not a problem, I got it. It will give me something to do.” Alex replied. The maid bowed and left Alex to cook. She eyed the beef in the fridge and decided on a sesame beef stir fry. It was close enough to lunch anyway.

 Alex robotically prepared the meal as she had done so many times in the past. She hoped that it would allow her to think everything through but she was no closer to clearing her mind than she was before Duke had left.

 She scooped the food into three porcelain bowls, placed them on a tray and made her way up to Kaiba’s office. His door was open and his gaze snapped up the moment she stepped through the doorway. Alex handed a bowl each to Kaiba and Mokuba before joining him on the couch.
 “Thanks Alex. It smells great.”
 “You’re welcome.” She smiled. The study was in silence save for the sound of chopsticks click clacking against porcelain. Mokuba, predictably had finished his first.
 “That was really good.” He complimented. “You should cook more around here.”
 Alex noticed Kaiba shake his head at the comment and only then noticed that his hair was still quite wet and he wore different clothes. She hoped he had tried to get a bit of rest as well. No one could function fueled purely on caffeine and revenge.
 “I’ll see what I can do.” She replied to Mokuba. “Anyway, I’m going to head home.”
 “Oh. I thought you’d stay here.” Mokuba said uncertainly.
 “I think Duke and I need some sibling time.”
 “Right. Of course. I mean, he was worried sick.” Mokuba responded.
 “I’ll see you tomorrow maybe?” Alex asked.
 “Definitely. Let me walk you to your car.” Mokuba said getting up.
 “Bye Kaiba.” She greeted. Mokuba and Alex walked out of the house together. She unlocked her car and Mokuba opened the door for her, like he always did. She definitely seemed off to him and maybe a bit of separation from everything that happened with him and his brother would be a good thing. He closed the door and she started up her car. She pressed a button and the window slid down.
 “Drive safe.” Mokuba ordered.
 “I always do.” She replied. They stared at each other, the silence stretching between them. “I love you.” She said softly.
 “I love you too, Alex. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
 Alex nodded her head in reply and slowly drove away. She took her time driving home. With the contemplative mood she was in, she did not feel like rushing anywhere. It was a while before she pulled up to the parking garage of her apartment building. She smoothly glided the TTS into her parking bay and got into the waiting lift.

 Duke heard the jingle of keys as one slid into the lock before the door opened to reveal Alex.
 “Hey Bean.” He greeted. “Nice hoodie. Todai not good enough anymore?” He teased. She looked down at the words “Domino University” in large print on the front and shrugged.
 “It’s Mokuba’s.” She replied as she flopped onto one of the single seater couches.
 “How are the brothers?” Duke asked.
 “Honestly, difficult to tell. They seem fine.” She said with her eyes fixed to the television screen.
 “Knowing those two, I wouldn’t expect anything different.” He replied. “Are you okay?” He asked after a moment.
 “I’m fine. I could do with a lot more sleep.” She yawned.
 Alex and Duke spent the remainder of the afternoon together. He called for takeout since neither of them were in the mood to go out nor prepare any type of meal. She joined Duke on the couch, legs curled on the cushions, where they ate together, watching whatever programme followed the last on tv. Neither of them really cared. Duke was more concerned about Alex and she was still trying to get a grip from the morning. After a while of neither of them speaking, Duke looked over to see that Alex had fallen asleep in an awkward position. Gently as he could, he brought her close, allowing her to use his lap as a pillow. He looked down at the sleeping form of his little sister, a small smile played on his lips. He would forever be grateful to the Kaiba brothers.

 Alex slowly opened her eyes, blinking away the sleep. She felt as if she had slept for years but it was still not enough. She sat up in bed and ran her fingers through her black hair, attempting to control the mess. She rubbed her eyes and sighed. She picked her cellphone off her bedside table and saw that it was a little after nine am. She had no memory of falling asleep or making it to bed. She threw off the covers, noting that she was still in her jeans and hoodie, clearly Duke had helped her to bed. She made her way to the bathroom where she quickly brushed her teeth and combed her hair. She fixed it into a ponytail as she walked to the kitchen.
 “Good morning sleepyhead.” Duke smiled.
 “Morning, Duke.” She smiled warmly. He handed her a cup of coffee which she sipped gratefully. “I can’t believe how tired I was.”
 “The word narcoleptic comes to mind.” He teased.
 “Shut up.” She playfully punched his shoulder.
 “Cereal?” She offered Duke once she was done shaking the granola into a white porcelain bowl.
 “Sure.” He said taking the box from her. They sat together at the kitchen nook eating their breakfast together. Once they were done, they both decided to pour another cup of coffee which they enjoyed on the couch. Alex and Duke sat facing each other with one leg curled under.
 “You going to see Mokuba today?” He asked. A look passed over her features as Duke mentioned his name.
 “Yeah, he said he’d see me sometime today.”
 “Bean, you want to tell me what’s bothering you?” Duke asked. He was met with silence. He figured she would be trying to arrange her thoughts before she spoke them. “You went through quite a lot yesterday.”
 “You can say that again.” She replied.
 “I was terrified something would happen to you.” He confessed.
 “I was scared.” Alex admitted softly.
 “I’d think you were crazy if you weren’t.” Duke said.
 “Not just for me though…”
 “Alex you have become quite close to those two, of course that situation would be stressful. Maybe you should tell me what happened first. I heard some of it.”
 Alex launched into the story of the events from the day before. She told Duke everything in great detail including how she felt and the thoughts that ran through her mind. It was difficult to relive the events but it also felt cathartic. He listened paying close attention, only interjecting when he really had to. Once Alex was done relaying her story to him he placed his coffee mug on the table and scooted closer to his sister and put an arm around her, pulling her close.
 “I’m sorry you went through all of that Bean.”
 “It was just really scary to think that either one of them could have been killed.”
 “You’ve really grown to love them.” Duke said with a knowing smile.
 “I have and that’s the thing that I’m struggling with. I love Mokuba and Kaiba, they are amazing people. Kind and generous even though Kaiba can be a grump but they are also dangerous if they could have such unhinged enemies. Seeing all those guns in one place, it was a bit of an eye opener.” She said as she looked up at Duke who smiled kindly at her.
 “I understand. Look, there is no way I can tell you that Kaiba isn’t dangerous. I know full well how ruthless he can be and it makes sense that Mokuba would have some of that in him too because they grew up in such an unhealthy environment; but I’ve known Mokuba a long time and the easy going guy you like is still him. I’ve seen that kid do crazy things for his brother.”
 “What am I inviting into my life though?” She questioned.
 “Honestly, just another two overprotective males.” He laughed. “I think if I was that worried about you being in danger, I would have tried harder to convince you not to see Mokuba. I would have made you seek other friends. Also I know Kaiba, he is a pain in the ass but he’s a loyal pain in the ass.”
 “You don’t think I have anything to worry about?”
 “I really don’t. Do you think that they are good people?” Duke asked.
 “Of course!” Alex replied immediately.
 “And do you think you can see yourself without them in your life?”
 “Not really.”
 “Then you have your answer.” Duke said simply.
 “What about now? Surely Kaiba won’t let all this go. What do you think he’ll do?” Alex asked.
 “I have no idea, I mean he isn’t going to kill anyone I don't think, but I sure as hell don’t want to be the person on the receiving end.”
 “I’m with you on that.” Alex replied. She took a long sip of the coffee that was almost gone.
 “You know Kaiba has mellowed a lot. When I first met him, he was horrendous. He kept calling Joey “the mutt”.” Duke chuckled.
 “And you made him wear a dog suit. You’re just as bad.” She deadpanned trying to hide the smile that threatened to reveal itself.
 “Feeling any better?” He asked.
 “Yeah. Thanks Dukie.”
 The two of them sat in silence for a while. Each one lost in thought. A smile tugged at his lips and he chuckled.
 “What?” Alex asked.
 “It’s just funny, it took someone exactly like you to tame you.” Duke said. Alex rolled her eyes at her brother.
 “I haven’t been tamed.” She said, shaking her head. “I’m still a Devlin.” She smirked.
 “That you are.” He grinned. “And don’t you forget it.” Duke said sternly. She drained her cup and placed it next to Duke’s before turning towards him once more. She took his hands in hers and looked him in the eye.
 “Thank you.” She said earnestly.
 “For what?”
 “Everything. Yesterday. My whole life. I feel so lucky to have you. I know we don’t mention dad at all, it wasn’t always easy for you growing up. I mean he was horrendous to you but even with all that you’ve always been there for me.”
 “You deserved better than an absentee psychopath for a father.”
 “So did you. At least he was absent to me, you had to deal with all that vengeance shit he kept spewing.
 “Bean…”
 “I just want you to know that I love you.”
 “I know. He smiled. She hugged him tightly. “Have you told Mokuba our whole story?” He asked as they pulled away.
 “Nope. Just the usual one. Dad got ill, you took over. I think I will though. After everything, I feel like I owe it to him.
 “You should.” He pulled Alex closer. “That’s enough of the heavy, what would you like to do?”
 “Shower.” She replied.
 “Yes, after that, smart ass.” Duke rolled his eyes.
 “I don't know. I'm not really up for a whole lot of people.” Alex replied. “Let’s just take it easy until Mokuba comes round. I’m sure he’ll want to see Yugi to let him know what’s happened before they find out through other means.”
 “Yeah that’s true. Well in that case, you go get cleaned up and I’ll pick out a movie.” Duke suggested.

 Alex trudged to the bathroom. She peeled off her layers of clothing making a mental note to tell Mokuba that he would not be getting his hoodie back. She smiled to herself as she stepped under the hot water. She took a much longer shower than usual. She felt a lot lighter since having a chat with Duke. He was right, she had nothing to worry about. The brothers could be dangerous, of that there was no doubt, but having experienced the past twenty four hours, she now felt quite confident that she could fit into their world. She was very grateful to have a sibling like Duke. He had always managed to calm her down and sort through her thoughts growing up. It was good to know that no matter how old they got, things would never really change.

 She dried herself off and changed into a pair of blue skinny jeans with a warm slouchy shirt and joined her brother on the couch. He had a large bowl of popcorn ready and waiting. She cuddled into his side where they spent the majority of the day. It was fairly late when Mokuba eventually arrived.

 Alex answered the door to reveal a Mokuba that had looked infinitely more rested than when she had seen him last. She stepped aside as he walked through the doorway, greeting her with a chaste kiss.
 “Hey Mokuba.” Duke called from the couch.
 “What’s up, Duke.” Mokuba replied.
 “Eh, alright.”
 “How’s Kaiba?” Alex asked.
 “You know my brother, he’s fine. On the warpath.”
 “As expected.” She smiled, shaking her head. “Can I get you anything to drink?”
 “Not right now. I was hoping we could talk.” Mokuba said in a serious tone.
 “Yeah, sure. Let’s go out onto the balcony.” She laced her fingers through his and stepped out into the chilly October air. Alex slid the glass door shut, closing them out of the warm apartment. She sat cross legged on the rattan couch, pulling Mokuba next to her.
 “What did you want to talk about?” She asked in her honey like voice.
 “I just wanted to make sure you’re okay after everything. I know we didn’t chat about it much.” Mokuba answered.
 “Honestly, I’m okay. I was a bit shaken by the experience but I had a little chat with Duke and he helped a lot.” Alex said looking down at their knotted fingers. She looked back up at Mokuba and saw a pained expression fleetingly pass over his features. “What is it Mokuba?”
 Mokuba sighed. “Look I’m really happy you have Duke to help you through, but I want you to feel like I can be the first person you call on.” He said softly while holding her gaze.
 “You are Mokuba. It’s just I was so overwhelmed. I needed a moment to process; I mean there were so many confusing thoughts in my head and growing up I always had Duke to rely on. It’s habit I guess and it makes sense that he would be there for me now, especially since he has had experience with all this craziness.”
 “I understand that totally. I’m the same with Seto, but I don’t want you to feel like you can’t say something to me because I might not like it. When you left yesterday I was worried that you were saying goodbye. I’ve never seen you with the shutters so firmly down before.” He finished softly.
 “I’m sorry, Mokes. I probably didn’t handle everything as well as I should have, but I didn’t have anything to draw from. I mean I think I’m a lot more prepared now should something else happen. Like Duke says, there’s always crazy shit happening in Domino.” She smiled.
 “That’s true.” He agreed. Mokuba pulled Alex towards him, enfolding her in a hug with one hand on her back and the other cradling her head. She held him tightly until he was ready to let go. “Will you tell me what you were thinking?” he asked. She felt the reverberation of his voice in his chest. Alex pulled away enough to look into his eyes. She heaved a sigh.
 “I was scared Mokuba, for you and Kaiba. I’ve never met anyone that deranged before and I have never experienced betrayal like Daichi’s either. I was afraid something might happen to you, and Kaiba seems so invincible all the time; to see him injured, even a small injury, just brings home how human we all are. I didn’t want to lose either of you. Then there was the realisation of the capabilities of your enemies and the fact that you and Kaiba are dangerous. I know you would never do anything to ever hurt me but all this is new. It brought out a torrent of emotions and confusion but like I said, talking to Duke helped me see clearly.”
 Mokuba’s jaw tensed. “What did he help you see?” his voice was even, guarded.
 “How much I truly love you and Kaiba, that I could never see a life without the two of you in it. I know I’m strong, this was just a shock but I will walk with you wherever you go.” She said sincerely.
 Mokuba buried his fingers in her hair and kissed her deeply. It took her breath away and lit a fire deep within her.
 “I’ll never let anything happen to you.” He said leaning his forehead against hers.
 “I know.” She replied in a breathy whisper. She changed position so that her back rested against Mokuba’s chest. His kissed the top of her head as she played with his hands.
 “I have a question.” She said.
 “What’s that?”
 “If you were so worried that I was leaving, why didn’t I see or hear from you before now?”
 “I wanted to, but Seto told me to give you some space.”
 Alex chuckled. “We have awesome brothers, but we shouldn’t tell them that. I don’t think their egos could handle it.” She joked.

 They sat in companionable silence for a while with Mokuba nuzzling her neck. She enjoyed the warmth and affection he offered, feeling content despite the madness that had surrounded them.
 “Are we okay?” Mokuba asked after delicately kissing Alex’s neck.
 “Why, because your psychopathic step father and brother returned from the dead and you and Kaiba went ballistic and they ended up dead anyway?” Alex asked in a playfully sarcastic tone.
 “Yeah, that.” He deadpanned.
 “We’re fine Mokes.” Alex reassured him. “Actually there’s something I want to talk to you about. After all this craziness I think you should know everything about Duke and I.” Mokuba did not interrupt her, she took a deep breath and continued. “So the story about my dad getting ill isn’t exactly true. It’s basically what Duke and I tell people to avoid the uncomfortable result of the truth. Our dad used to be an apprentice to Yugi’s grandfather and like everyone else in this world, he was greedy and wanted the Millenium Puzzle for himself. Mr Muto refused, there was a sort of accident that left our father disfigured and he swore his revenge. He and my mother had Duke. Our father’s sole purpose for my brother was to continue his vengeful goal. I was an accident. They never intended on having a second child which is why I got away with so much when I was younger. He was never around for me. He brought Duke to Domino to open the Black Clown game shop and he’d be closer to Yugi and Mr Muto. That devastated me. We were always really close. Anyway, when he came here, Duke led everyone to believe that the only reason he was battling Yugi was because of Pegasus but it wasn’t the case. Duke lost and my father practically disowned him for being a failure as a son.” At this point Alex balled her hands into fists, her anger was tangible. “He wanted to get back at Yugi but Duke pleaded with him not to. Duke would have stopped him if he tried anything. He came back home and died shortly after that. We had a pretty amazing mother. I’m not sure how she ended up with my dad to begin with, but there you have it. This is what we don’t tell anyone.”
 Mokuba held Alex tighter. “And you don’t have to tell anyone again if you don’t want to, but I’m glad you told me.”
 “You’re not upset that I kept it from you?” She asked with surprise.
 “Of course not. I understand why you did it and none of this reflects on who you both are.” Mokuba felt the tension leave her body. She relaxed against him once more. They sat together quietly, enjoying the presence of the other in this new level of boundaryless intimacy. Mokuba could feel her shiver every now and again as a chill breeze blew. He wrapped his arms around her, holding her dainty hands in his large warm ones in an attempt to keep her warm. She turned around and kissed him lightly on the lips before getting off the couch.
 “It’s getting chilly out here, we should go back in.”
 Mokuba nodded and followed her back into the apartment where Duke was still watching movies, sprawled over the couch.

 “I was thinking of getting drinks with Yugi and the guys, you guys keen?” Mokuba asked as he sat on one of the single seater couches.
 “We thought you might say that.” Alex replied, as she sat on the armrest.
 “Where were you thinking?” Duke asked.
 “Somewhere quiet.” Mokuba replied.
 “Joey’s bar?” Duke suggested.
 “Not a bad idea. I’ll call Yugi.” Mokuba said, getting out his phone.

 Soon Mokuba, Alex and Duke were safely ensconced in a booth at Joey’s bar. The downstairs area was a riot of noise which became a dull hum in the upstairs area that had booth seating along with cozy tub chairs and small coffee tables. Joey usually let this area out for private functions and it was the perfect meeting spot for the friends to chat without being seen or heard.

 They did not wait long before Joey joined them, and Yugi, Tea, Serenity and Tristan followed soon after. The large booth comfortably held all eight of them which was convenient seeing as how Mokuba did not want to speak too loudly lest others would hear. He was well aware that they were alone but past experience told him to always err on the side of caution. He launched into the tale of his stepfather's latest scheme, trying his best to ignore the horrified expressions from Tea and Serenity. They had all, to a certain degree, felt Gozaburo’s wrath but none of them ever really knew the full extent of his tyranny when it came to the Kaiba brothers. At the end, every one of them at the table was glad that both Noah and Gozaburo would never return.
 “Thank you for telling us Mokuba. I’m really glad you guys are okay.” Yugi said.
 “And we won’t say a thing to anyone.” Tea added.
 “Thanks guys.” Mokuba was always appreciative of having this group in his life. They had stayed at the bar until it was time for Joey to close up. It was an unexpectedly late night but none of them really minded at all.

 Duke bid Alex and Mokuba goodnight as soon as they walked through the door. She knew she would not see him until at least midday the next day. Mokuba followed Alex into her room and closed the door with a quiet click. He sat on her bed and watched her as she pulled off her top, readying herself for bed but he grabbed her hand and pulled down so that she was astride his lap. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him hard. It was a kiss full of need, a loving promise. Mokuba pulled her down onto the bed and a good portion of the night was lost between them.

 The moonlight streamed in through a gap in the curtain, casting a silvery glow upon their bare bodies with Alex lying in Mokuba’s arms.
 “What are you thinking about?” She asked.
 “Just everything that’s going to happen now.” He shifted so that he was facing her. “Alex, I can’t tell you everything that will happen and it’s not because of trust or anything like that it’s-”
 “I know Mokes.” She cut him off. “It’s safer with me not knowing whatever Kaiba is going to do.”
 “Exactly. He probably won’t tell me his whole plan until afterwards anyway.” Mokuba said.
 “I trust you and if in a few months or years down the line you want to talk to me about it, then we will, but for right now, no one can ask me anything if I honestly don’t know.”
 “I love you, you know that?” Mokuba smiled as ran the back of his fingers along her cheek.
 “I love you too.” She kissed him sweetly then cuddled close until they both fell asleep.

Chapter Text

 In the weeks that passed, Alex saw very little of Kaiba. He was hardly ever home and when he was, he was holed up in his study. Mokuba more often than not went to Alex’s place to spend as much time as he could with her while taking on a lot more at Kaiba Corp.

 It was clear that Kaiba was busy. Mokuba did not have to tell her much for her to know exactly what was going on. There were plenty of seemingly unrelated stories of major pharmaceutical companies suddenly filing for bankruptcy, medical examiners who were suddenly and quickly found guilty of various crimes, government officials who lost their jobs and even a really disturbing story of one person commiting suicide. That one bothered Alex the most, but Mokuba made it clear that the person chose to do it of their own accord rather than face the massive consequences of their illegal actions with Gozaburo. There were even members of DCPD that were left jobless and disgraced. YMR was completely destroyed. Only a handful of employees were left standing once Kaiba was done. He even went as far as having the building demolished.

 Tristan let Alex and Duke know that Daichi would never see the outside of a prison cell again and he knew that kaiba was responsible for that, no one was particularly bothered by that news. There wasn’t anyone that Kaiba could not touch and at the end of the day, the message he sent was clear; Domino was his city. No one would ever go against him again.

 During this time, Duke was exceptionally busy. Alex could not remember a time when her brother was this swamped. They had just entered December and Christmas was drawing closer, which meant the Black Clown chain was busier than ever, but at the same time he was making great progress with the team at Kaiba Corp. in developing their VR version of Dungeon Dice Monsters. His regular updates were still being made to the existing game as well. Their target was a February game release and he was sure they would meet that target. He was positively buoyant one night when he returned home having tested it out for himself. The gamer had the option to play as their “Monster Lord” or as a battling monster in the quickplay option. Alex was elated to see Duke so happy. They both discussed the rejuvenated interest this brought to his original game and things looked better than before.

 It was just after this that Alex went to the mansion where a surprise awaited. Mokuba had asked her to spend the night that Friday evening to which she gladly accepted. He opened the door when she arrived looking very dapper in a gray suit.
 “Wow Mokes.” She exclaimed as she entered. “Have I missed something?”
 He kissed her by way of greeting. “Nope. Come on, you’ve got to get dressed too.”
 She followed him into the house and up to his room.
 “Now I really feel like I’m missing something.” She said eyeing the the beautiful deep red velvet floor length dress on the bed.
 “I’ll let you get ready, Seto said we’re leaving at six thirty.” Mokuba informed her before disappearing out the door.
 Alex shook her head, clearly something was going on. She shrugged it off and quickly changed. The long sleeved dress was warm and comfortable. It was her favourite colour too. Leave it to Mokuba to pick out something she would have chosen for herself. She pulled out her lipstick from her handbag, colouring her lips a velvety crimson. It was all she had with her so it would have to do.

 She picked up her very casual hand bag and set out to find Mokuba. He waited for her at the bottom of the staircase. His breath caught when he saw her descend and bathed her in his megawatt smile.
 “You look incredible.” He said, offering his arm.
 “Thank you.”
 “But the bag doesn’t work.” He laughed.
 “I know but I don’t have anything else.” She shrugged.
 “Well what do you really need from there?” Mokuba enquired.
 “Not much. Credit card, ID and phone I guess.” Alex replied.
 “Give them to me.” Mokuba said pulling out his wallet. He tucked away the two cards and slipped her phone into his pocket. Then he took her bag from her, placing it on a nearby table. “There! Much better.” He smiled.
 Just then Kaiba appeared, jogging down the staircase as he clasped his watch in place. He was equally a vision in a navy blue suit.
 “Ready?” He asked Mokuba in his typical way.
 “Yup.”
 “You look good Alex.” Kaiba said in the serious tone that he used most often.
 “Thank you Kaiba.” She smiled.

 Kaiba led them to his limo. Once they were all in, Roland shut the door and got into the driver’s seat. He started up the vehicle and made his way out the driveway and drove across town. They pulled up to a restaurant and confusion was now painted quite clearly on Alex’s face. Nonetheless, she followed as they were led to their table at the back of the restaurant where they would not be bothered. The maître d' handed them their menus, informed them that a waiter would be with them shortly then bowed and left.
 “So what’s the occasion?” Alex asked.
 “I had a wager that needed repaying.” Kaiba smirked. Alex frowned for a moment, trying to figure out what he meant before the penny dropped and she chuckled.
 “You were supposed to make dinner, Kaiba.” She laughed freely.
 “I don’t believe that you set any conditions.” He retorted.
 “I suppose I didn’t.” She said still smiling. “The limo attracted a bit of attention though.”
 “Kaibas should never worry about being seen in Domino.” He said simply. There was a lot behind those words. While it was still a family dinner, it was also a show that he had nothing to fear, he could be as bold as he wanted in his town. “So Alex, how’s your french?” He asked.
 “Très bien.” She responded. Mokuba watched the two of them over the top of his menu, eyes twinkling with amusement. He was very glad that there was a least one other person in the world that saw Kaiba as he did.

 Their dinner was lovely. All three of them were in a much lighter mood than during any of their previous family meals. Alex supposed that this was as close to a completely relaxed Kaiba as it got. No one was coming at them again, her family and friends were safe. After their meal and decadent dessert the waiter appeared with three balloon glasses on a tray. Each glass held a rich amber coloured liquid. The digestifs were placed before them with the rich aroma wafting through as they swirled their glass. Alex took a little sip of the cognac, the smooth warm liquid slipped down easily. Their indulgent evening soon drew to a close and they were once again comfortably seated in the limo.

 Alex linked her arm with Mokuba’s. She leaned her head on his shoulder and watched the Domino cityscape flash by, letting out a content sigh.
 “Thank you for tonight Kaiba.” Alex said gratefully.
 “It’s Seto, you might as well use it by now…” Kaiba said evenly. Mokuba’s head snapped in the direction of his brother. “and you’re welcome.” He replied.
 Mokuba was elated. Kaiba had entirely accepted Alex and after everything they had been through, it felt great to have a family that wasn’t just the two of them. Mokuba wrapped his arm around Alex’s shoulders, holding her close. He closed his eyes as he kissed the top of her head. Kaiba closely watched his brother with a small but genuine smile. It was clear to all three of them that the path ahead of them was bright, alight with happiness that stirred even Kaiba’s cold soul. Alex and Mokuba had found their soulmate in each other and looked forward to their blissful forever.
*end*