Title: Aftershocks
Author: bnomiko
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Seto + Yami
Spoilers: none
Warnings: swearing
Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh! is the creation of Kazuki Takahashi. This is a not-for-profit fanwork and I do not own any of these characters.
Summary: Seto takes some time to do some thinking.
Status: 13 / ?
Archived at: http://www.phenixsol.com/Miko/FF/

This is a SHONEN-AI fic (male + male romantic relationship). If you are offended by homosexual relationships, please do not read this. Flames will be disregarded.

Setup for this fic:

* * *

Aftershocks

Ch. 13: Introspection

* * *

Considering how little Seto had been sleeping, it was rather odd that now that things were slowly settling back into some semblance of normalcy, he still couldn't manage to fall asleep. But then again, he really wasn't complaining. If he were asleep, he wouldn't be able to enjoy the way Yami's body rested against his, gently pressing into him with each breath. And he needed time to think anyways, without Yami's influence, without Mokuba's interference.

Yami had said that he loved him. And he had returned the sentiment. He had surprised himself by saying it; not that he didn't mean it, but… it wasn't something he had ever imagined himself saying, especially to anyone other than Mokuba. Had he ever even said it to Mokuba? And speaking of Mokuba… Seto was beginning to feel a little guilty about how he had been behaving around his brothers... running into their room in the middle of the night, yelling like some deranged lovesick fool, then kicking them out so that he could lie with Yami in Noa's bed. That was just weird.

So as reluctant as he was to leave Yami's side, for his own peace of mind, he had to check in on his brothers. After planting a half dozen light kisses on the top of Yami's head, he whispered, "I'll be right back," slid himself out from under his lover's body, quietly exited the room, and headed downstairs.

The two younger teens weren't in the first room he checked, but apparently that was where Yami had been planning to spend the night since the sheets had been pulled back on the bed and his poor, abused collar was left sitting on the nightstand next to a carafe of water. He picked up the collar and ran his fingers over the titanium nameplate. At least it wasn't damaged, though… he was really ashamed of the way he had behaved. Yami deserved so much better, and yet he still wanted him. Said that he missed him, loved him, forgave him…

Damn. All he could do now was try and be the best boyfriend he could possibly be. What that would entail exactly he wasn't sure, but as long as Yami was happy, that was what mattered.

After slipping the collar into the pocket of his robe, Seto checked the room across the hall from the first one and found Noa and Mokuba curled up in the large bed in the center of the room. In the thin sliver of light coming from the hallway, he could see that they were both obviously asleep with Mokuba on the right side of the bed and Noa flush against his back, one arm loosely draped over the blanket around the black-haired teen's waist. Seto silently slipped out of the room after a moment's consideration and came back with an extra blanket; he figured they must be cold since all of the heat was directed to the second floor at night. As an afterthought, he also switched off the alarm clock next to the bed. With all the time he had spent away from the household as of late, he figured the least he could do was spend a day with the younger teens and hope that they would accept his apologies for his erratic behavior.

Now that he was sure that everything was all right downstairs, he could hardly wait to get back to Yami. Logically he knew the ex-spirit would be slumbering peacefully where he left him and running up the stairs to save himself an extra 15 seconds was only liable to get his neck broken, but he wanted to spend every possible second with Yami, so he made a compromise with himself, taking the steps two at a time and swiftly striding to the room.

Sure enough, Yami was still asleep, though he had somehow snatched up the other pillow on the bed and wrapped himself around it, treating it as a substitute for Seto's body. But the sight made Seto smile; there was something about seeing Yami with his guard completely down that riled up his protective instincts. Leaving the lights on, he walked over towards the bed and pulled Yami's collar out of his pocket, placing it on the nightstand where the shorter teen would be sure to see it the next morning. After quickly shedding his robe, he climbed under the covers and removed the squashed pillow from Yami's tight grip. The former Pharaoh mumbled something nonsensical and rolled over as the amused brunette tried to divest him of his red robe, finally revealing a body that was still alluring despite its current injured state.

A little curious and still searching for more reasons to stay up, Seto propped himself up and began cataloging every inch of Yami's body, using all his senses. He ran his fingers through soft spikes of scarlet-tipped black hair, breathing in the slightly bittersweet scent of cinnamon, honey and chocolate mingled with the warm, spicy tones of Yami's signature Farenheit. The fragrance from the cologne was a bit stronger as he drew his attention to the supple skin on the back of Yami's neck, then faded away as his fingertips and lips traced their way slowly down the curve of Yami's spine. He couldn't help but frown at the faint bruising still visible on the lightly tanned expanse of his lover's back, a testament to what Yami had done for Mokuba. But that wasn't the worst of it… Seto winced as he took in the newer bruises on Yami's upper arm, four long marks with a fifth on the underside, the exact shape and size of his fingers. He hadn't thought he had grabbed Yami that hard, but the evidence was right there on his lover's body, just as loud and angry as the scratches on Yami's throat. He had done those terrible things, and Yami had still forgiven him for them? Carefully, he ran the pads of his fingers over the bruises, wishing he had the power to heal instead of hurt. But no matter what he hoped, there wasn't much he could do about it now, so he just silently promised the other teen that he would never lay a hand on him in that manner ever again.

Shaking off his dour thoughts, he shifted his attention to the glorious Blue Eyes White Dragon tattoo which sat prominently on Yami's left shoulder, splaying his fingers over the design as if he could somehow feel the dragon rising up off the smooth skin. The Blue Eyes was his signature card, but… sometimes he thought it suited Yami just as well. The power, the pride, the brilliant radiance as it burst onto the dueling field… that was how he saw Yami. Perhaps those very characteristics had first sparked his attraction to the shorter duelist. But Yami called the Dark Magician his soul card, and while that monster was just as noble and confident as its wielder, it was a creature of darkness, and Yami, despite his name and what he may have been in the past, was no one's shadow, not even Yugi's. Still, he identified with it and called it his, so Seto couldn't resist having that part of him permanently inked onto his skin as well. He supposed that even if Yami and Mokuba hadn't gotten through to him, at least he'd have a permanent reminder of…

No, he didn't want to be thinking about such things. He wasn't alone; Yami swore he would never leave his side again. Mokuba also said he wouldn't leave, if that's what he wanted. And he did believe them, as farfetched and impossible as those promises seemed to be.

With a sigh, he realized that he'd absentmindedly slipped his hand around Yami's waist and was now thumb-stroking his boyfriend's navel, the tips of his fingers brushing lightly against the fly of the black knit silk boxer briefs. Yami was making a sound that could best be described as purring, a faint smile gracing his lips, and as tempting as it was to rouse him for a much-desired tumble, Seto figured the younger teen needed his rest just a bit more. So he reluctantly withdrew his hand, though the naughty thing had a mind of its own and ended up cupping a well-shaped buttcheek instead. Suppressing a smirk at his own behavior, he shifted further down the bed and slid his hand down a nicely muscled thigh before pausing to consider the cast that surrounded Yami's lower right leg. All of Yami's little friends had signed their names and well wishes on it, as if their scribbled smiley faces and hearts could somehow erase the damage done. Seto supposed he should write something as well, though he wasn't sure what he ought to… ah, well, there was always that. Getting out of bed once again, he searched Mokuba's desk until he found a black permanent marker, then slipped back into bed to leave his own indelible message on Yami's cast.

By this point, the young CEO was really starting to feel the effects of his sleep deprivation from the last several days. He hadn't planned on sleeping this particular night either, but under the influence of Yami's dreaming mind, he finally gave in and lay back down, pulling Yami securely into his arms before allowing his eyes to slowly shut…

* * *

"I can't believe I forgot to set the alarm," Mokuba grumbled as he sleepily stumbled towards his bedroom with Noa close behind.

"I'm telling you, you did set it! I saw you."

"Well, I didn't turn it off. Did you?" Noa responded with a shake of his head. "Oh well, whatever. So we're going to be late..."

"Meh. So… do you think they're still in there, asleep?" Noa asked in a hushed voice as the pair reached the door. "Light's still on."

Mokuba pressed his ear against the door. "I don't hear any screaming, so at least they aren't busy making up on the floor or on your bed." Noa made a face at that. "Hey, I'm not letting them near my bed again, you know that."

"Gee, thanks. Thanks a lot. I'll have to burn my sheets now."

"If we burned everything that… dang. The entire house would have to be rebuilt from the ground up."

The green-haired teen sniggered silently, then got a bit more serious. "But it would be worth it, right?"

"Yeah." Mokuba met his brother's gaze as he began turning the knob on the door. "It'd be totally worth it."

Once the door was open, the two younger teens tiptoed silently into the room, peering cautiously around the corner at the beds. Sure enough, Seto was lying on Noa's bed with his back to the door and in his arms, he cradled a blanket-wrapped lump with black and scarlet spikes. Both Mokuba and Noa grinned broadly at the sight.

"Aww, they're so cute," Noa mouthed.

Mokuba choked as he tried to suppress a laugh, but that muffled sound was enough to wake Seto out of his light doze. The brunette released his lover and rolled over just enough to give his brothers an irritated glare.

"Sorry, Seto," Mokuba whispered unrepentantly. "We just need to grab our stuff for school, 'kay?"

Seto sat up with some effort. "No, you're both taking the day off. I'll call the school later."

Two sets of jaws suddenly dropped. "Woah! Who are you and what have you done with Seto Kaiba?" Noa blurted out.

"Shhh!" Seto held his forefinger up to his lips. "Wake Yami and the deal's off, got that?" Of course, they all knew Yami slept like a log, so there was no danger of Seto changing his mind.

"So what's the deal, Nii-sama?" Mokuba asked, sitting down on his own bed. Not that the thought of skipping yet another day of school didn't thrill him, but it was totally unlike Seto to suggest such a thing.

"I don't know what you're…" Mokuba crossed his arms and frowned in disapproval. "Hn. Fine. I just… I shouldn't have woken you up earlier, and I'm… sorry. I thought… maybe we could all spend the day together, okay?"

Noa bounced up on his toes in his excitement. "Really? Cool!"

"You're taking the day off? Awesome! So we can go back to sleep then?" Mokuba asked, though he was already crawling under the blankets on his bed.

"Guess so," Seto answered casually, though he was pleased to see the positive response to his suggestion. "I'll just take Yami and…"

Noa waved his hand at the brunette. "Nah, don't. You might wake him if you do that. I'll just go back downstairs and sleep there."

"Why bother? It's cold down there and Mokuba's bed is just as big as the ones in the guestrooms, though I suppose he does snore on occasion… But you should be used to that by now, right?"

Again, the younger Kaibas just gawked at Seto, who stared back in confusion. Why were they looking at him like he had grown a second head? Did Mokuba not snore anymore?

"You uh… don't… mm, okay," Mokuba finally mumbled cryptically. Then he glanced up at Noa, who still looked like a deer caught in headlights, big glazed eyes and all. "So, left or right?"

"… What?" Noa gasped.

Mokuba just gave him another odd look. "Left side or right side? Oh never mind, I'll just take the right side then." The black-haired teen scooted all the way over and lifted the covers in invitation.

Seto watched as Noa climbed into Mokuba's bed without further protest, then, satisfied that things were more or less as they should be, slid back down, pulled Yami tightly against his chest, and allowed himself to doze off once more.

* * *

TBC

Author’s Notes:

I could stay awake just to hear you breathing
Watch you smile while you are sleeping
While you're far away and dreaming
I could spend my life in this sweet surrender
I could stay lost in this moment forever
Every moment spent with you is a moment I treasure

I don't wanna close my eyes
I don't wanna fall asleep
Cause I'd miss you, baby
And I don't wanna miss a thing
Cause even when I dream of you
The sweetest dream will never do
I'd still miss you, baby
And I don't wanna miss a thing

I don't wanna miss one smile
I don't wanna miss one kiss
Well, I just wanna be with you
Right here with you, just like this
I just wanna hold you close
Feel your heart so close to mine
And stay here in this moment
For all the rest of time

December 1, 2005