Pairing(s): Seto x Yami, Noa + Mokuba, Jou + Mai, Yugi + Anzu, Malik + Ryou, Rafael + Valon + Amelda
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: "What Domino needed wasn't another stuffy, overwrought French restaurant or a modern gastronomic laboratory, but instead a refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life. Or at least... the illusion of one."
Archived at: http://www.phenixsol.com/Miko/FF/
This is a YAOI fic (male x male sexual situations) and is not appropriate for minors. If you are underage or offended by homosexual relationships, please do not read this. Flames will be disregarded.
Setup for this arc:
Setup for this particular fic:
* * *
Skyview on the 69th
* * *
"So you think you'll be back in time for dinner?" Mokuba asked as he and Noa watched Yami pull on a lightweight denim jacket and a pair of boots. The ex-spirit was going to meet up with Seto at Skyview on the 69th, their aptly named restaurant perched on the top two floors of Kaiba Corp. headquarters.
"Not sure. We'll try. But if we're not back by 7:00ish, make sure you go and get something to eat, okay?"
"Sure thing. Have fun."
"But not too much fun," Noa snarked. Yami glanced over, his brows knitting together, then rolled his eyes when he realized what Noa was getting at. "Hey, think of the diners!"
Diners? It'd only be the two of them there; the restaurant wasn't scheduled to open for another two weeks. "Don't worry, we'll make sure to mop up before we leave," Yami sweetly replied. He was only able to keep a straight face for a few seconds before he began chuckling.
Mokuba facepalmed. "Yami! That's... oh, never mind! Why do I bother?"
"Better that they get it out of their system now rather than later," Noa said as he shooed his still laughing guardian out the door. But despite his words, actually, truthfully... Noa wasn't bothered by it anymore. And he knew Mokuba felt the same. Hell, if Seto and Yami wanted to provide their patrons with two shows an evening or whatever, well... wasn't that up to them? Of course they wouldn't do that, but still... "I do hope he likes it though. Seto's been putting in a lot of hours on this project."
The black-haired teen nodded. "I'm sure he'll love it. Because Seto's not doing this just to turn a profit..." Mokuba paused, then said a little more thoughtfully, "I haven't even seen it yet, not in its entirety. This is the first big project I can think of where Seto hasn't wanted to show me first or ask for my opinion."
"Does it feel weird?" Noa asked, genuinely curious.
"A little," Mokuba admitted. "But... I don't think it's a bad thing. He's doing it for Yami. And besides, what do I know about cooking or restaurants?"
"Insert food into mouth and chew. What else is there to know?" Noa scoffed. Yeah, he didn't know anything about the food service industry either. None of them really did. This was a completely new venture.
Mokuba just grinned and began thinking about what sounded good for dinner, since he knew Seto and Yami wouldn't be back anytime soon.
* * *
While Yami was making his way through traffic, a nervously excited young CEO was doing a final run through of his summer night program while awaiting his boyfriend's arrival. Everything seemed fine... seemed almost perfect. Knowing his luck, that'd be when something would go wrong. He caught himself scowling, then quickly scolded himself. It'll be fine. And even if something goes wrong, it's not like there'd be any customers to notice. Just me and Yami... I'd just be fucking up in front of Yami. Shit...
Seto checked his watch for the umpteenth time that afternoon, wondering if there was time to do one last run through from the elevator on, then, realizing that there probably wasn't, took a series of deep breaths, trying to steady himself.
This was the first time he and Yami had truly worked together as equals in a business capacity. It was fitting then that the restaurant represented both of them, merging ancient influences and modern technology, high luxury and clean comfort. Yami had been the one to consult with architects on the overall layout, had been the one to find a master chef and managers capable of delivering the quality of service they were expecting. But Seto had been the one to turn an ordinary office floor into an homage to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, floating 69 stories up in the air above Domino City.
The idea had come to Seto one day while he'd sat in traffic. Considering Yami's suggestion and deciding to put in the restaurant... that had been the easy part. Deciding on the type of restaurant they wanted - the theme - that hadn't been so simple. He and Yami had been stuck for weeks bouncing around ideas that hadn't panned out for one reason or another. They'd wanted the restaurant to be something different, something unique, an unforgettable experience as well as a delicious meal... something that would incorporate Kaiba Corp.'s signature holographic technology without becoming a theme park attraction. And in the midst of all that traffic, it had dawned on the older duelist that what Domino needed wasn't another stuffy, overwrought French restaurant or a modern gastronomic laboratory, but instead a refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life. Or at least... the illusion of one.
For once, it had seemed appropriate to look to the past for ideas. Seto had considered drawing inspiration from ancient Egypt - after all, the restaurant was a gift to Yami - but nothing he'd seen in his research had caught his imagination until he'd happened to look at a list of ancient wonders. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon... a garden paradise in the middle of a desert... and a gift from a king to his homesick bride. Seto had kind of liked that. No, he wasn't a king, and Yami definitely wasn't some blushing bride, but the romance was there. If he was gifting his lover with the restaurant he desired, why not find inspiration in an ancient ruler's declaration of love?
Seto hadn't explained his reasoning when he'd presented Yami with the idea. He'd only promised that he'd make it work and, once done, that the former spirit would understand. Thankfully, Yami had agreed without hesitation...
Now Seto could hardly wait to show his boyfriend the final product. Even he was impressed by what he'd accomplished. The illusion was so complete that even he couldn't be sure if certain elements were real or not. It was more than just eye candy... what he'd managed to do was engage all the senses through a mix of holographic technology and special effects, tricking them with a seamless blending of the two. The dining areas were set up like terraces on two floors, with the illusion of more rising above. The fountains in the center of the rooms were real; the water that wet the stones and trickled into shallow irrigation canals was not. Banks of vegetation that seemed to spill out over the sides of the building were filled with both holographic and actual plants. The bright sunshine, the butterflies and small birds that darted about... those were all illusions too, and yet it felt pleasantly warm, and the birds sang, and light and shadow played together on sundrenched tiles. And at night the sky above seemed to explode with all the stars that were normally obscured by city lights, and a faint fragrance of nocturnal desert blossoms wafted along on a gentle breeze. Best of all the programming could take into account seasons, weather, time of day... even the mood they wanted to convey.
As with everything else, Seto didn't believe in limiting access to his technological developments to only the privileged elite. He'd known full well that Skyview would be too upscale for many diners, especially Kaiba Corp.'s target market of teens, young adults and familes. That was why he had decided to incorporate similar programming in the far more casual - and accessible - café and cafeteria in the lobby, jointly named Urban / Oasis. They had served him well as testing grounds and had proven popular with both KC visitors and the employees within the building. And in turn, Skyview had shown him just how far he could stretch his programming capabilities, allowing him to dream of all the possibilities for improvement in his many other projects. There was a vast market beyond Duel Monsters, beyond gaming and theme parks, for this technology.
But... of course he knew a restaurant needed much more than a pretty view. Food was key; so was service. And then there were all the "little" things like furniture and tableware too. Yami had taken care of those himself. Most interior designers would've probably selected very ornate, souk inspired furniture with a deep, earthy palette, but Yami had taken a much different approach to decorating the space. He had wanted the furnishings to feel as natural and organic as plants in a garden so that they wouldn't compete against Seto's holographic magic. But he had wanted something modern too, to bring the past to the present. So he'd chosen unobtrusive Danish modern tables and chairs with sparse, fluid lines, and set them with fine china replete with asymmetrical ripples inspired by wood and water, crystal stemware reminiscent of a trickle of water, frozen in time, and flatware with faceted handles evocative of tumbled stone. Nothing really matched, but taken as a whole, it just seemed to make sense.
Seeing the tables and settings against the holographic backdrop, the brunette nodded in approval. Not that he was that picky about furniture, but he liked that Yami had chosen stylish pieces that echoed the scenery - even without having seen the completed product.
Speaking of which, it was about time. Yami had just pulled into the parking structure. Seto took one last look around, then, satisfied, let his lover know he'd meet him in the lobby. He took care to tamp down any stray thoughts or emotions as he headed down in the elevator. He didn't want his feelings coloring Yami's; he wanted to see an honest reaction. Hopefully he'd surpassed all of the younger duelist's expectations.
Yami grinned as they met up in the lobby. He was wearing a loosely knotted tie and lightweight slacks in a nod to the restaurant's dress code - the running joke being that he wouldn't be able to get into his own restaurant if anything more formal was required - but had topped it off with a jacket that was more biker than boardroom. "So I take it that it's just going to be you and me?"
Seto returned the smile. "I wanted you to be the first to see it."
They got into the elevator that was reserved for restaurant use and headed on up. Immediately Yami noticed that Seto's illusions carried through to even the elevator ride. As they ascended, everything in the elevator seemed to melt away, almost as if they were traveling through time. The walls and floor became rougher looking, like stone. The polished metal doors seemed to disappear behind a sheet of water that fell endlessly down to the floor.
"This is amazing!" Yami exclaimed. He couldn't resist trying to touch the "water" even though he knew his hand would pass right through the hologram, but then he suddenly withdrew it, eyes wide. "It's wet!?" He touched his fingertips together to check, but they were barely damp. "What is this?"
Seto's smile broadened. He was glad to see that the tactile feedback system was working as intended. "That's nothing. Wait 'til we get to the actual restaurant."
Arriving on the 69th floor, the doors / waterfall parted to grant them access to the short stone bridge that led to the restaurant's lobby. Yami was really impressed. Even in that small space, he could see just how meticulous Seto's eye for detail was. They were standing in a covered courtyard flanked by stone columns, with all the necessary restaurant components present: low stone benches for seating, a host's desk concealed behind a decorative tiled wall, and various arched doorways that led to a coat room, restrooms, and other things.
"Come this way," Seto said, that smile still playing about his lips.
Yami followed him through a large archway and was staggered by what he saw. He almost couldn't believe they were in a restaurant... in an office building. If he didn't know just how good Seto was with programming, he would've sworn they really were outside... 2600 years in the past. The former Pharaoh tilted his head back, feeling almost dizzy. The illusionary sky above seemed endless...
They'd gone out for a late afternoon stroll, but even with the sun low in the sky, it had been unbearably hot. He had dared his lover to take off his robes and jump into the garden pools. Perhaps it hadn't been the most mature, responsible thing to do, but they'd already known they'd be scolded by the elder priests just for sneaking out, and besides... he never could resist teasing his oft too somber High Priest. He wasn't sure who had finally ended up jumping in first - or if they'd gone in together - but in the end, all that mattered was that they were cool, naked and deliciously wet. Feeling refreshed, Yami pushed a few strands of damp hair out of his eyes, looked over at his High Priest, and smiled. The sun backlit his lover, bathing the margins of his body with a coppery glow and deepening the shadows defining each muscle...
The shorter man blinked, then looked over at his concerned companion, who was gripping him by the shoulders. The late summer sun filtering through the windows set off the cinnamon and caramel tones in Seto's cappuccino colored hair and warmed his pale skin to a more golden hue. For a moment dream and reality merged, then Yami blinked again and suddenly remembered where he was and what he was doing there. "Why... did that happen?"
Seto released the breath he'd been holding in, as well as the shoulders he'd been shaking. "Hell if I know. Are you okay?"
The young CEO had seen it too. "Yeah, I guess it was." He looked around furtively, wondering what exactly had triggered it. "But you're okay now?"
Yami nodded. He felt fine. "It wasn't unpleasant. Just... unexpected." Following his boyfriend's lead, he took another look around the room. Although the space was modeled after ancient Babylonian architecture, perhaps there was some ancient Egyptian influence in it as well. Who was to say what was right or wrong when no one knew exactly what the Hanging Gardens might have looked like?
Crimson eyes landed on a pair of butterflies resting on the lip of the fountain. "Is that fountain real? I can't even tell."
Seto snorted. "If you're thinking of jumping in to skinny dip, don't bother. The fountain's there, but the water's just an illusion."
Yami couldn't resist trying to touch it anyhow, though this time he smiled when he felt a familiar little puff of moist air on his hand. So THAT was the secret to Seto's elevator waterfall... "Every time I think I couldn't be more amazed by you, you manage to pull off another miracle."
"I wouldn't call it a miracle," Seto answered as he went and sat down on the fountain next to Yami, though there was obvious pride in his voice. "Programming isn't that hard once you get the hang of it. For example, making 'water' ripple... that's just a series of algorithms looping endlessly. It's not like I actually recreated one of the wonders of the ancient world. No one's sure if the Hanging Gardens actually existed anyhow."
Yami turned and pushed himself up a little on one arm to meet his boyfriend's gaze... to touch his lips with his own. Their mouths were still lingering together when he whispered, "They do now."
Before Yami knew it, Seto had peeled off his jacket and dropped it on the floor, then lowered him down onto it. Thankfully the floor wasn't nearly as rough as it appeared - it helped that the denim jacket provided some degree of protection - but still, the hard surface was surprisingly chilly, especially in contrast to the hands that were now sneaking under his shirt.
I'll warm you up, Seto promised as he covered Yami's mouth with his own, as his body covered the younger duelist's slighter frame.
"Uhnnn..." Yami moaned. Wanting closer contact even though they were still mostly dressed, he spread his legs further apart as Seto began pressing into him.
But instead of continuing to press his advantage as he normally did, Seto pulled back slightly, as if reconsidering what his body was doing, or at least the speed at which things were happening. It was bad enough that they hadn't even finished their tour of the restaurant yet. It'd be an even greater shame to rush through a moment they ought to be savoring, akin to hurriedly wolfing down an expensive gourmet meal that one had been looking forward to enjoying.
So the taller man took a calming breath, pushed himself up a little, and smiled down at his slightly baffled boyfriend. I'm glad you approve, he said, without clarifying if he was talking about Yami's reaction to his advances or the restaurant, or perhaps both.
Yami stared up at his lover. Seto's expression was gentle, tender... and yet there was also a playful spark in those blue eyes. So he wasn't backing off; he was just slowing things down a bit. Yami nodded slowly. That was fine. There was no rush.
The ex-spirit sighed as Seto lowered himself back down and began lightly nipping at his throat. His eyes lazily focused on the sky above them, now a dusky pink and burnished gold in the rapidly fading light. Those twilight tones made him think of cheekbones kissed by a blossoming flush, of bare skin, warmed by a lover's touch...
He still found it hard to believe that their surroundings weren't real, neither the sky nor the lush foliage nor the serene water flowing around them. And yet, it wasn't simply an illusion either - even in this modern day mirage, there was still a sort of truth he could trust in. He could feel it dancing across his skin, like the wisps of air stirring about them; he could hear it in the thrumming of their hearts.
Once again his memory flickered like a flame licked by the wind, though this time it was so brief it wasn't an intrusion. If anything, it just made him appreciate what Seto was doing even more. Yami sighed again. His pants were becoming uncomfortably tight...
The brunette lifted his head and eyed the bulge in Yami's crotch. His own cock was stirring insistently in his pants. He smiled ruefully. While I'm sure neither one of us would complain at finishing the tour right here, there is one more thing I need to show you.
Yami blinked. What else could there be? Hadn't Seto already met - no, surpassed - all of his expectations?
Seto slowly rose to his feet and offered his hand to his boyfriend. "Trust me, it'll be worth it."
Yami quirked an eyebrow, then subtly adjusted his pants in response, earning him a snort of laughter.
The two of them ended up leaning on each other as Seto guided Yami to a path in the far corner of the dining room, hidden behind a tiled wall and obscured by heavy foliage. It was like discovering a forgotten trail in some ancient ruins. But Yami had to wonder... just how practical was a secret passageway in a public setting?
Oh, believe me, it's quite practical, Seto assured him as they passed through yet another archway. Beyond the opening, Yami could just make out the shimmery spray of another waterfall...
"Almost there," Seto said aloud as he led Yami right through the stream of water. This one, unlike the others, had no misting device.
What lay on the other side was a private grotto with a single large dining table in the center of a stone platform completely surrounded by water.
"Is this the chef's table?" Yami asked in awe as he made his way over the rectangular stepping stones that led to the platform. The room was obviously located in a corner of the building; there was a great view out the windows, which had the same antireflective treatment as the other ones on the floor, rendering them almost invisible. But unlike the main dining rooms this one felt truly ethereal... and very, very secluded. Waterfalls sheeted down to form fluid, silvery curtains, then pooled onto the floor of the room before spilling off the edge in an infinity pool effect. It was as if they were surrounded by nothing more than the elements - earth, air and water. Such a beautiful dining room would be extremely popular with their target clientele... and that was before taking into account both food and service!
"Chef's table? I suppose it could be, if you wanted to use it that way. But... I was thinking more along the lines of this being our private dining room."
"Ours?" It seemed a little weird to have a room solely for their use, but at the same time, Yami couldn't deny that that appealed to him, especially considering what they'd just been doing....
Seto smirked as he caught wind of that thought. "Don't know about you, but I don't like sitting in the middle of a crowded restaurant."
Yami couldn't resist. "Kai-baby, you don't even like eating."
"What are you, a comedian now? Besides..." and he leaned against the nearly invisible doorframe before drawling, "nothing says we have to eat in here."
"What else does one do in a dining room?" the shorter man asked sweetly.
Seto stalked towards him like a cat on the prowl, a less-than-innocent glimmer in his eyes. You looked good earlier, lying on the floor beneath me.
We could still be on the floor, but you wanted to take me in here...
The double entendre made Seto grin. He reached out and pulled Yami close, hugging him. As much as he wanted to get laid, he wanted to revel in his accomplishment as well. And, as he reminded his annoying hormones, he wanted to do it slowly.
Together they sank onto the floor. Clothing was peeled off and discarded, one piece at a time. Mouths met; fingers intertwined. Once again Seto found himself on top, using his size and weight to pin Yami down so that he could caress and fondle every part of his lover's nude body at his leisure, until Yami was eager for him to slip inside. And once again Yami spread his legs wider to allow Seto better access, until he was gasping at how well their bodies fit together, until they were arcing into each other in unison.
Seto liked the way Yami's hair looked, splayed across the stone and illusionary water. There was something novel about the whole experience of making love in a spot that at once felt so public and yet, so private. The illusion of an open sky above and all around made them feel even more naked than just their state of undress; the sheeting water seemed too transparent to serve as a wall. And yet they were alone and completely shielded from view, their cries muffled by the churning water. Even if a helicopter were to pass by, Seto knew the occupants wouldn't be able to see through the backlit mirrored windows - he'd confirmed that fact himself on earlier fly bys.
The rough-finished floor was hard on their knees and backs, though at least it provided some grip so that Seto could push in harder, penetrate deeper. He had hooked his arms under Yami's knees and was concentrating on making every thrust count, pulling back until he was on the verge of slipping out, only to push in until he'd sunk in to his balls. The younger duelist's slow writhing was just adding to the fantastic sensation.
Seto resumed stroking Yami's erection, liking the way it continued to bloom and harden against his palm. Yami's hand slipped down on its own accord to join in the mix, encouraging the taller man to grip a little more strongly, to move faster. But Seto kept his pace nice and steady, savoring the gradual build up of pressure, marveling at just how satisfying it was when he finally spilled over. Yami followed suit moments later.
They both ended up lying side by side on the floor, breathing heavily, but for once they weren't too mussed up. Seto rolled over onto his back and looked up at the illusionary sky that Yami had been admiring. A smug smirk settled on his face. He had to admit, if he didn't know better, even he'd be fooled... the details were that precise.
Damn, I'm good, he told Yami without even thinking about it.
Yami gave a tired laugh and reached out a bit blindly to pat his lover's bare chest. Yes, I'd say so...
Uh... that's not what I meant...
I know. But you're a man of many talents, Baby.
Seto turned his head just enough to nuzzle Yami's hair. It was nice, just lying together, admiring the ceiling as the hologram continued changing colors, like a chameleon. The stars were beginning to peek out now, one by one, like tiny diamonds set against cobalt satin.
It suddenly occurred to him that he'd never really stargazed before, not really. He'd risked looking up at the night sky every now and then when he was much younger, but it had mostly been a waste of time, considering the effect of light pollution from the city lights. But it didn't feel new or unnatural to be lying there, stargazing with Yami. Maybe he had done it before, a very long time ago, back when stars were countless in the unspoiled Egyptian sky....
Yami smiled broadly. "Isn't there a rhyme about wishing on a star? Starlight, star bright... Well, I'm not sure how it goes..."
Seto pursed his lips. He vaguely had a clue what Yami was referring to, like a long forgotten memory, but it wasn't really congealing, probably because the practical side of his mind was now pointing out that making wishes on distant balls of hot gas made no sense. And those weren't even real balls of gas... just pixels representing them. But comments like that would just ruin the mood, so instead he asked, "Didn't you already get everything you wished for?"
"Everything and then some." Yami finally pushed himself up into a seated position, then twisted around, leaned over, and kissed his boyfriend. "Thank you, Seto."
Seto grunted, but it was an affectionate sound. "You don't need to thank me. I did this for both of us."
That made Yami very happy. Because Seto wasn't just thinking about Yami's happiness... he was taking himself into consideration as well. He was learning to care about himself. It really showed in the results...
"Mokuba and Noa aren't expecting us home soon, are they?" Seto asked. Well, he wouldn't be Seto Kaiba if he didn't worry about his brothers first and foremost.
"Good. Then just lie here with me."
"Okay," Yami said, and he lay back down, curling up in Seto's arms as the stars continued to multiply in a dazzling light show, for their eyes only, just for this night.
* * *
April 27, 2010