Title: Aftershocks
Author: bnomiko
Rating: PG-13
Pairing(s): 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: Yami struggles to recover from his injuries at the hospital.
Status: 4 / ?
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. 4: The Road to Recovery

* * *

(Three days later…)

Bored, drugged and alone, Yami had resigned himself to taking yet another nap when he thought he heard the sound of multiple footsteps at the threshold of his room. Forcing his eyes open, he turned his head in the faint hope that Seto had finally stopped by for a visit. But least it wasn't a nurse this time.

He managed a weak grin as he spotted the two familiar figures hovering in the doorway. "Mokuba, Noa."

Mokuba ran straight to the bed and threw his arm across Yami's chest in a semblance of a hug. "Hey Yami! Sorry it took us so long to come and visit."

Yami slowly put a hand on the younger teen's head, then let it drift down past the bruise on Mokuba's cheek. "It's okay… I'm glad to see you. I was worried." Mokuba flushed a little.

"We were worried about you too," Noa added. "We would have come down sooner, but…"

Another set of footsteps approached the room, and Yami's head snapped up. "Baby?!"

"Um… sorry, Yami." Jou walked in, sheepishly scratching the back of his head.

"Oh…" The spiky-haired teen couldn't help but be a bit disappointed.

"The boys needed someone to drive 'em, so that someone was me. How you doin'?"

Yami frowned a little. Why did they need Jou to drive? Where's Isono? Where's Seto? Why hasn't Seto been picking up his phone? "Um, well… better than yesterday," he said haltingly, his mind still on his missing boyfriend.

Noa stared at Yami. "Why, what happened yesterday?"

"Surgery. They put a something… in my leg, 'cause I broke both the… ummm…" He couldn't quite recall what they had done, and the medication certainly wasn't helping, but Noa completed the thought for him.

"They screwed a rod to your tibia or something?" Noa asked, grimacing. He remembered watching some surgery program on television where they had done exactly that for a similar break. Yami thought about it, then tilted his head in a confirmation.

"God, Yami… I'm so, so sorry," Mokuba said, clutching at his friend's hand.

The former Pharaoh smiled reassuringly at the black-haired teen. "Mokuba, don't. It wasn't your fault. And… if I had to do it again, I would…" He paused for a moment, then asked in a low voice, "Where's Seto? Is… he okay?"

Noa and Mokuba both looked at each other uncertainly. Jou ended up responding. "Can't you just mind link him or whatnot?"

"No. Can't really concentrate and… he closed it off. The link I mean. And I tried to call… but…" He looked over at the two brothers, who were continuing to give each other weird looks. "Mokuba? Where's Seto?" Yami's voice scaled up in alarm.

Crud. Why me? "He's fine! He's fine… uh, look, Yami, I'm not sure what's going on, but Nii-sama… he doesn't know we're here. That's why Jou drove."

"We ditched school today," Noa explained. "It was the only way we could get out of the house without Seto knowing where we were going. And as long as my forged notes hold up, we can keep ditching to come here."

Yami's brow furrowed. "Ditching? You shouldn't… why would Seto… I don't understand."

The brothers exchanged worried glances. Finally, Mokuba said, "I'm still not sure why, but… Nii-sama told us we couldn't come to see you."

"What?!" Jou yelped. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

Mokuba sighed and gave his brother a nod. Noa turned towards the blonde and said, "Jounouchi, let's go wait outside. Mokuba needs to talk to Yami in private."

Jou began to protest, but seeing the expression on Yami's face, he gave in and let Noa drag him out of the room.

After the other two had left, Mokuba pulled up a chair and tried to think of the best way to explain what was going on. Yami just stared at him expectantly, so he reluctantly spilled what he knew. "Um… something's really wrong with Nii-sama, and I don't know what it is. The first night… after the earthquake, I mean… he was so upset that we couldn't tear him away from you. He even snapped at Yugi and was so worried that he threw up in the middle of the night." Mokuba stopped and gave Yami a chance to process everything.

"Okay…"

"The next morning, he seemed… well, he was still upset, but it was like more of an annoyed upset. I could tell something was bothering him, but he wouldn't talk to me about it. He just kept saying he'd take care of it himself. And then after I got discharged and the hospital called to say you had woken up, I thought things would be better, but then… he just became completely withdrawn. And not only has he refused to let us come down to see you, he's put a block on our cellphones and home phone so we can't make or receive calls from Yugi-tachi or from the hospital either, plus he's filtering our email and restricting our internet access on top of that. So since Shizuka's attending Domino High, we've been using her to relay messages, and that's how we got Jou to drive us today."

Yami frowned deeply. He was really confused. "I still don't understand…" he said, frustrated.

"Me neither. But I'll get to the bottom of it, I swear… He must have gotten a big scare out of you and me getting hurt and all. And I know he doesn't like hospitals." In a quieter voice, Mokuba added, "You know how Seto gets when he's upset… he explodes. But if things really get to him, he turns it inward instead. I think he blames himself for this, somehow, and that's why… he hasn't come to see you. Not that that explains why we weren't allowed to come here or talk to Yugi and the others, but... well... I'm trying to figure it out for you."

"Mm." Yami wasn't convinced that the problem would be easily remedied, but his mind was too fuzzy for him to consider what the real problem might be. The only thing he knew for sure was that Seto, even a very upset Seto who would irrationally place the blame on himself for something that was out of his control, wasn't one to run away from his problems or his fears. So what happened that was so bad that Seto felt the need to flee from it?

* * *

The next several days passed slowly for Yami. His back was quite sore thanks to bruising he had sustained in the quake, his head still felt muzzy, his leg was throbbing more often than not, and the doctors kept him on a steady dose of painkillers and anti-inflammatories which kept putting him to sleep whether he wanted to or not. Although Noa and Mokuba had ditched school two more times to visit, and there had been a constant stream of Yugi-tachi marching through the room and even a few phone calls from friends in America and Egypt, the one person he hoped to see never showed up and never called.

The only news he got regarding Seto came from Mokuba and Noa, and oddly enough, from Sugoroku, who informed him that Seto had called the game shop once to assure him that all of Yami's medical bills would be taken care of. As if money was the only thing Yami wanted from him. As if by saving Mokuba's life, he had assessed a dollar value on it and was just paying back a loan.

But there was only so much Yami could do while lying in a hospital bed. Which was why when he was given the okay to start some light physical therapy to get him back up and moving, he was all for it. He wanted to go home and he wanted to see Seto, because without being able to talk to his lover face-to-face, nothing would ever get resolved.

* * *

Perched on yet another uncomfortable hospital chair, Yugi watched as Yami slowly hobbled by for the third time, a nurse following close behind. The doctors had decided that Yami could be released the following afternoon provided that he got the hang of moving around on the crutches, so of course Yami threw himself into the task.

Yugi couldn't help but wonder if Seto would make Yami hobble around that huge mansion of his for the next six weeks until the cast could be removed. Not that he expected the CEO to carry him around or anything like that, but it would be nice if they could relocate to one of the many guest rooms on the first floor. The thought of Yami having to go up and down that grand staircase on crutches sounded inconvenient at best, and potentially dangerous at worst. Of course, stairs were only one problem. The bigger issue was Seto acting like a complete jerk… what kind of guy abandoned his injured boyfriend during an ordeal like this? True, he had been very attentive that first day, but once Yami had regained consciousness, he didn’t call, didn't visit, didn't send a card or well wishes or anything for that matter. He just said he'd pay the bills, which didn't really mean anything as far as Yugi was concerned; what was a few bucks to someone as wealthy as Seto Kaiba?

It really made no sense. Yugi thought that nothing would be able to keep Seto away from Yami's side. The two of them had a special bond, as special as the one he and Yami shared, and he couldn't imagine abandoning his other half like that EVER. Mokuba and Noa weren't able to explain it either, and even Yami couldn't come up with an answer. Still, when Yugi suggested that Yami move back into the game shop, at least for the next few weeks, the former Pharaoh had insisted that his place was at the mansion.

Yami made his way back over towards Yugi, then came to a stop. The violet-eyed teen looked up at his other half as he wobbled before him. I really wish you'd reconsider coming back to the game shop with Jii-chan and me for the time being. It's not like you really would be moving back in… it'd just be temporary. I mean, if Kaiba's having issues, maybe he needs some time and space to think things through, and if you go running to confront him, it might actually push him further away, you know?

Yami quirked an eyebrow. You make it sound like I'm the problem, Aibou.

No, of course not! And I know you want to be with Kaiba. But until you figure out what's wrong, maybe it's best to take a step back for now and let him work out his problems. This isn't anything like the problem you guys were having during your anniversary; at least that time, you understood what was wrong. And you were healthy...

I'm not giving up on my boyfriend, Yami responded stubbornly, turning to head back to his room. If you can't drive me back to the mansion tomorrow, I'll understand.

Yugi got up and followed. It's not like that, Yami. If you've truly made up your mind, I'll still drive you. I just wish you weren't so stubborn about it and that maybe, just once, you'd consider all your options.

I've had days to think about it. And if something's bothering Seto, I want to be there for him. Yugi frowned and caught himself before he verbalized his thoughts, but Yami guessed it anyways. I know he hasn't been here for me, but I'm sure there's an explanation for it. Seto wouldn't act like this without a reason.

I know. I'm just worrying about you because you're injured and… well, I can't help it. Sometimes Kaiba's reasoning is… a little off. Are you sure you don't want "Mr. Kazama" to try talking to him first?

Yami gave his lookalike a rueful smile as he reached his bed, turning around so he could sit on the lip and hoist himself up the rest of the way. I hope you don't mind my saying this, but I hope "Mr. Kazama" won't ever have to make a reappearance again. But… thank you, Yugi. I couldn't have gotten through this without your support.

The violet-eyed teen blushed. Oh geez… you're welcome. Anyways, make sure you get plenty of rest, and I'll see you tomorrow afternoon.

* * *

TBC

Author’s Notes:

October 14, 2005