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 has to decide... stay or go?
Status: 7 / ?
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:

* * *


Ch. 7: Yami's Decision

* * *

Yugi was out of Kaiba Corp. and nearly to his car in the parking structure before he began to process what he had just done. He had just kneed Seto Kaiba in the family jewels. That was technically assault. If Seto wanted to, he could call the cops on him. Or send one of his goons over for a little payback, though neither option were really his style. He would be much more likely to take his revenge out on Yugi himself. But Yugi didn't care about that... he knew that if he had to do it all over again, he would.

Tears threatened to well up in his eyes once more as he thought about how callous Seto was when he broke it off with Yami. Couldn't he have been a bit nicer? Didn't Yami deserve at least that much? And to do it over the phone? Yugi never imagined that Seto was such a coward. And he never imagined that Seto and Yami would ever break up either; who would throw away a bond like that for no reason? And speaking of reasons, Seto had never explained himself, had he?

Upon reaching the station wagon, the little duelist realized that he was still a bit too shaken to drive, so he just sat down in the driver's seat and shut his eyes. If he thought he was upset, how awful must Yami feel? Throwing himself wholly into their bond without even announcing himself, Yugi was horrified to realize that Yami was… crying. The strongest, bravest person he knew... in tears. And that nagging guilt that Yugi felt for what he had inadvertently done surged up like a tidal wave, overwhelming them both.

Please don't… Yami… Yugi whispered into their link as he gave in to his own urge to cry. Even if he hadn't been emotionally worn out, he didn't think he would've been able to withstand the huge influx of Yami's misery feeding back into his mind.

The violet-eyed teen sat weeping on the second floor of the subterranean parking garage for a good five minutes before he was able to gather himself enough to stop the tears that were trickling down his cheeks. Yami… I'm so, so sorry…

For a moment there was nothing but a numb sensation pulsing off his other half, but Yami finally replied in a quiet voice, For what?

What does he mean "for what?" Yugi thought to himself. For the way Kaiba's been treating you and for the way he broke it off. I can't believe he turned out to be such a... a bastard!

… How did you know he broke up with me?

Yugi suddenly paled. He had forgotten that he hadn't told Yami he was going to talk to Seto at Kaiba Corp. and now was left wondering if the former Pharaoh would be angry that he had just heard the entire phone conversation first hand. Um… 'cause I just came from his office?

You were at… Why?

I wanted to talk to him. About you.

Yami sighed. Then… you heard everything he said?

Yes, unfortunately. It was horrible the way he was speaking to you, as if the entire last year hadn't meant a thing at all to him! It made me so angry, I… I…

Aibou? What happened? Yami's interest was stirred up a little.

I, uh, kicked him in the balls. Well, not really kicked… it was more of a kneeing. There was dead silence for nearly a minute. Yami?

You… shouldn't have done that.

I know. I still can't believe it happened. Yugi exhaled harshly. I really wish I hadn't gone to talk to him at all, because I think I just made everything worse. But it worked the last time you two had problems, and I guess… I thought I could fix everything this time too.

I don't see how you could have made it worse, Yugi. I know you were trying to help.

Yugi bit his lip; Yami was going to be furious when he found out that his other half had practically forced the young CEO into breaking things off. But he had to come clean… Yami deserved the truth. I have a confession to make. Yami, I sorta pushed Kaiba into breaking up with you. There was a choked sound of protest from the other side of the link, so Yugi hastily added, But hear me out! He was just going to keep stringing you along and treating you like crap, so I told him he had a decision to make, and I guess he decided to take the coward's way out. You deserve someone so much better than Kaiba! Geez, now I totally regret ever sending you on that blind date. … Yami? You still there?

The ex-spirit remained quiet for a long interval, then finally came back on with a heavy hearted sigh. I have to go. The boys are home and… and I have things to do.

Do you... need me to come help you pack?

I think… forgive me, Aibou, but you've done enough already today, Yami said slowly before minimizing their link.

* * *

The first thing Noa and Mokuba did as soon as they got home was look for Yami; for once, they had some good news to deliver. They found him in the kitchen by the stove, propped up on a single crutch, stirring something in a large pot which filled the air with a spicy aroma.

As soon as Mokuba spotted the crimson-eyed duelist, he instantly yelled, "Hey Yami, Noa and I successfully hacked into our phone and internet accounts and we're back up with full access on both; isn't that awesome?!" He bounced up onto his toes, waiting for Yami to turn around and say something, but the older teen didn't react at all. "Yami?"

Noa frowned. "Yami, you okay? Did something happen?"

Yami's shoulders trembled slightly, then dropped. "I… could you repeat that? Sorry…" he whispered, his voice hoarse.

The brothers exchanged worried glances, then Mokuba took a few tentative steps forward and placed his hand lightly on Yami's left shoulder before looking up at his face. He gasped in surprise as he realized Yami was on the verge of crying. Actually, from the pink nose and puffy, red-rimmed eyes, it was obvious that he had already been crying and was about to go for another round. "Yami, what happened?!"

"Your… I… I'm making enough curry and rice that it… should last you a few days. Lasagne too," Yami said with noticeable effort, dropping his head a bit as Noa walked up on the other side.

The green-haired teen grabbed Yami's right arm to stop him from stirring the curry. "What? Did something happen between you and Nii-sama?"

"Yami, please… talk to us," Mokuba begged, his eyes already tearing up in sympathy.

"Seto… Seto said… he…" Yami lifted a shaking hand towards his face and hopped back a bit, barely managing to keep himself upright even as Noa tried to steady him.

"Otouto, can you grab a barstool or something? Yami, you need to sit down, take a deep breath, and tell us exactly what happened," Noa said, wrapping his arms around Yami's waist as Mokuba ran to comply. He had a bad feeling he already knew what Yami was going to say, but it wouldn't help matters any even if they were all weeping on the floor over it.

As soon as Mokuba brought a chair over, Noa urged Yami up onto the seat and went to fetch a box of tissues. And then the home phone rang.

God, if it's Seto, I'm going to kill him, Noa thought as he went to take the call. Surprisingly, the phone identified the incoming number as Nozaka's cellphone. "Hello? Hi… I'm fine, thanks… Wait, what do you mean? He what? And he fired you too?" Mokuba looked over at him, eyes wide. "For what? Seriously? Geez, at this rate there won't be any employees left at Kaiba Corp. Ms. Nozaka, you did the right thing… I'm just sorry Seto's a total prick. If you need… yes, well, if you need a letter of recommendation, we can write you one at least. You don't have to ask Seto for it. Well, Mokuba is technically VP. … mmhmm. Okay. And… I'm really, really sorry. Good luck. We'll let you know if anything changes, but... Let us know if you need anything at all, all right? Yeah, you too. Bye."

"Noa…" Mokuba gasped, clinging tightly onto Yami's hand in concern.

The green-haired teen hung up and worried his lower lip between his teeth. "Seto just fired Ms. Nozaka and a bunch of guys from the building's security staff," he announced as he brought the box of tissues over. "I guess Yugi paid him a visit and he didn't appreciate it."

"Ra…" Yami moaned. As if he needed more bad news to deal with.

Mokuba shook his head, trying in vain to stop from crying. "So what happened, Yami? Please don't tell me that you… and Seto…"

Yami took a deep breath and spat out a response before he lost his nerve. "It's over. He wants me out by the end of the weekend." He slid off the barstool and began hobbling back over to the stove. "I'll make as much freezable food as I can before then."

The black-haired teen gulped as big tears began rolling down his cheeks. "That's it? You're just going to leave?"

"Mokuba, don't make this any harder for him than it already is," Noa whispered, grabbing his brother from behind and holding onto him tightly as the younger teen approached Yami with hands tightly clenched.

"No, I won't let him leave us! Yami, you promised you wouldn't give up on him! Yami!!"

Sad crimson eyes peered over a slumped shoulder. "I… didn't. But it was his decision. And… this is his house. I can't stay."

"It's my house too and I'm telling you not to leave!" Mokuba yelled back, sniffling hard.

"Mokuba!" Noa admonished, then he forcibly dragged his brother over to the other side of the kitchen before saying in a hushed voice, "If Seto's seriously kicking him out, there's not much we can do about it."

"But… I don't want him to go! What are we going to do? What about our family?!"

Noa winced and quelled his own urge to cry as he remembered bits and pieces of the bitter fights his parents used to have before their divorce. He had been really little then, but he could still remember the hateful words and long silences. That was what family had been to him, that and the memory of a once-loving father gone insane. He felt just as lost as his little brother at the moment, but since neither one of them knew what was going on in Seto's head, he could only make suggestions and hope that they'd be useful. "Remember what we talked about at school? I guess we can get that plan going. And… I dunno. We really need to get Seto to talk. Yami said he has till the end of the weekend to leave, so let's try and make good use of the time we have available, ne? I'm not going to stop trying, even if Yami does end up leaving, and neither should you." He went to grab a couple of tissues and handed them to Mokuba. "But yelling at Yami isn't going to help. He's really upset right now and even so, he's trying to take care of all of us. So we've got to be as supportive as we can, and give him all the backup he needs."

The black-haired teen rubbed at his eyes and glanced at the silent figure standing by the range, then slowly began approaching Yami after turning to give his brother a hug. "Thanks, Noa. You're right. The person I should be yelling at is Seto. It's his fault. Yami, I'm sorry… I didn't mean to get mad at you." He latched onto the older teen from behind and gave him a hug too, resting his chin on Yami's shoulder.

"You shouldn't yell at Seto. He's your brother; I'm just…" Yami began saying, swallowing hard.

Mokuba shook his head vigorously, shutting Yami up. "You're just the best thing that's ever happened to Nii-sama, that's what. We're not siding against him of course… this is for his own good."

"And besides, you're just as important to us. You don't always have to defend him, you know," Noa pointed out, also grabbing onto Yami for a hug but a little more mindful of the fading bruises on his back. "He may be our brother, but when he's acting like an ass, he's an ass. And he needs to be yelled at sometimes. End of discussion."

The three of them stood together quietly for a moment, then Mokuba piped up. "Gee Yami, were you always this short?"

"I'm not short," Yami protested, his brow furrowing. But the corners of his mouth twitched as if he were fighting off the urge to smile at Mokuba's timely observation.

"Mokuba, you make it sound like he's shrinking or something."

"Duh, no… I mean, I don't remember being this tall. At this rate, Yami will end up being the shortest guy in the house."

"I hope so," the ex-spirit replied in a soft tone.

Mokuba's eyes widened. "Does this mean…?"

"I'll… stay. For now. For you guys. And even if Seto forces me to leave, I'll keep trying. I don't want to give up on Seto; I can't give him up! I just hope… one of us can get through to him."

"Me too Yami, me too," Mokuba sighed, tightening his arms around the older teen.

* * *

Despite the way everything seemed to be spiraling out of control, Yami really couldn't stay mad at Yugi too long. After all, he knew his other half had only been trying to help. If instead of Seto, it had been someone else who was the recipient of Yugi's anger, Yami thought that he almost might have been amused at Yugi's unusual reaction. And he felt bad that after all the good things Yugi had done for him, he had cut him off and ended their conversation on such a bad note.

However, this was one problem that Yugi really couldn't help him solve, and before things got even worse, his aibou needed to understand that. Yami was a bit skeptical about how much even Noa and Mokuba would be able to assist him, but they were actually involved in the whole messy affair so he knew that he wouldn't be to dissuade them from interfering. Besides, Mokuba probably did have the best shot at getting Seto to at least talk to Yami, if only he could nail him down.

With his mind made up, Yami contacted Yugi while the two brothers rushed off to implement one of their plans. The fact that they wouldn't tell Yami what exactly they had planned was a little worrisome, but as farfetched as some of their ideas were, they somehow always seemed to work out in the end.

Aibou? Yami called out, hoping that Yugi wouldn't be too upset about what had transpired only an hour prior.

Oh, Yami! Yugi's relief flooded their link. I… I'm really, truly sorry. I really messed up this time.

It's okay; I know you were only trying to do what was best for me. I was just… it's been a shitty day. Still, I shouldn't have cut you off like that. It wasn't your fault.

Wasn't my… of course it was my fault! I made Kaiba break up with you!

May I point out the obvious? It's nearly impossible to "make" Seto do anything that he doesn't want to do, Yami mentioned wryly.

You're… not mad? Yugi gasped in disbelief.

I'm… upset. But not with you. My life has gone to hell, so I can’t help but be upset. But… I'm not any angrier with you than I am with Seto. How could I be?

How could you not?

Because your heart was in the right place, Yugi. And you've always looked out for me even when I made bad decisions, and I've made so many. Speaking of which… I've decided that I'm going to try and stick it out. If Seto wants me gone, he can shove me out the door himself with his own two hands. Maybe this is just another mistake that I'm making, but I have a feeling that maybe Seto's doing the same thing you're doing. Maybe his heart is in the right place, but… what's the saying? He can't see the forest for the trees? Aibou, even though his logic is faulty, I believe that for whatever reason he thinks he doing the right thing, and that's what's important. I can’t hate him for that, even if I can't figure out why he's behaving this way.

Yugi gave a heavy sigh. I hope you're right and that he's not doing this just 'cause he's a jerk. But he's a fool to not realize how badly this is affecting you. It hurts me so much to know that you're in so much pain, Yami. I can't stand it.

Well, if this were you and me and I was acting strangely and pushing you away, would you give up on me? Or would you stay by my side?

Yugi was speechless for a moment. I hope one day Kaiba realizes how lucky he is to have gotten you as a boyfriend, he finally said in all sincerity. And you know I'll always be on your side no matter what. Look… if this is really what you want to do Yami, I'll be behind you every step of the way and I promise I won't interfere again unless you want me to, okay?

Thank you… that means the world to me, Aibou. I couldn't go on if I lost your support as well. You're my optimism and my strength.

Well, I'm trying to remain optimistic, but… aw hell, but nothing. I know you can do it, Yami! And if you need me to kick Kaiba in the nuts again, I'll be glad to volunteer!

Yami couldn't help but chuckle at Yugi's enthusiasm. That's the spirit. But no more kicking… I need those parts in working order once Seto and I make up.

Gee, thanks for sharing that. Nice to know your mind is in the right place.

* * *


Author’s Notes:

October 30, 2005