Title: Ever After
Author: bnomiko
Rating: PG-13
Pairing(s): Yami + Seto, Noa + Mokuba, Yugi + Anzu, Jou + Mai, Malik + Ryou, Rafael + Valon + Amelda
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: Final arc of the Life with Kai-baby and Yami-kins ficverse. A fairytale wedding for one happy couple brings friends together from around the world for a grand celebration. This is how Yu-Gi-Oh! should have ended!
Status: 2 / ?
Archived at: http://www.phenixsol.com/Miko/FF/

* * *

Ever After

Ch 1: With This Ring

* * *

"Not a word, Yami," Seto said again as he and Yami stood waiting in front of Uptown Fine Jewelers, known widely by their ads as "Domino’s number one engagement ring store." They were there to meet up with Yugi, who’d finally decided to pull the trigger and propose to Anzu, and was looking for the perfect ring to do so with.

The crimson-eyed man smiled broadly. He wondered if there was a correlation between what was happening today, and what had happened last night. He knew Seto would rather he forget about being awakened in the very early hours of the morning by screams of "I’ll never be your bride!" but it really was too funny. Seto had to know he wasn’t going to share that with anyone. But that didn’t mean Yami couldn’t rib him about it a little bit.

"I know, you would’ve preferred it if I'd been the bride," Yami said with a heavy sigh.

"I would NOT," Seto growled, though he couldn’t stop his brain from popping up the image of Yami in a long white gown, with a veil and everything. He had no idea why it was doing that. He hadn’t even dreamed himself into a dress. It was just so, so wrong…

"That’s good to know. And you know… I’m just kidding with you. Of course I won’t tell a soul about it," Yami reminded him just as he spotted the familiar golden yellow Lamborghini SUV pulling into the parking lot. He waved at it. The vehicle went by, around the corner, to the very rear of the parking lot, where there were plenty of open spaces. As always, Yugi seemed paranoid about damaging his grandfather’s very expensive ride. Or perhaps, he was a little embarrassed by it as well…

Seto grunted affirmatively. He didn’t know why the dream was sticking in his mind so much anyhow. And if Yami was going to share the story with anyone, it’d be with Yugi, but one look at the short duelist now approaching them pretty much proved what he already knew; there was nothing in Yugi’s demeanor that indicated that he’d heard anything about it. He looked a little nervous, which was expected given what was on his mind, but was otherwise his usual pleasant self.

"Hey, Kaiba. I wasn’t expecting you to join us! Thanks for coming with," Yugi said in greeting. He paused to give Yami a quick, friendly hug, and Seto glowered a little at him. "So we’re just waiting on Mai and Shizuka I guess?"

"They’re already here, inside. They wanted to take a look around," Seto informed Yugi as he wrapped both arms around Yami and pulled him tight against his body, as if his boyfriend were a cat that’d been trying to escape or something.

Yugi held his tongue. Yami seemed to enjoy being fussed over like a prized possession, so he wasn’t going to point out how unreasonable or over the top Seto’s jealousy was. "Guess we should head in as well then?" he said instead, heading for the doors.

As soon as they stepped into the store, salespeople descended on them like vultures. Not surprisingly all their attention was on Seto, who even without his notoriety certainly looked the part of a successful businessman with plenty of cash to blow. He was in a suit, with a tailored wool Burberry coat over it, whereas Yugi was in an old tournament T-shirt, with a flannel shirt and denim jacket pulled over it, and worn jeans.

"Welcome! What can I help you with?" the quickest saleswoman asked, much to the chagrin of her slower coworkers. She’d seen the silver Ferrari pull up in the parking lot and a Lamborghini go by as well, and had made sure to position herself as close to the door as possible.

Seto frowned slightly at the woman, who reminded him of a hyena. "Don’t look at me. He’s the one shopping," he said, pointing at Yugi, as Mai and Shizuka came over to join them as well.

"Oh!" the woman exclaimed, looking down at the spiky-haired "kid" behind him. Wasn’t the friend a little young to be shopping for engagement rings? Well, some people did marry right out of high school she supposed… "Yes, of course. What can I help you with, young man?"

"I’m just here to look at engagement rings," Yugi replied pleasantly. He could practically hear Yami’s teeth grinding from the way the saleswoman was treating him, but Yugi didn’t think it was a big deal. He was used to people underestimating him. At times, it even became an advantage – in this case, he figured he was guaranteed that the saleswoman wouldn’t try to push bigger and more expensive rings on him. Besides, he thought it a far bigger hassle to be someone like Seto, who had to constantly worry about his image.

"I see – congratulations! As you may know, we’re Domino’s number one engagement ring store," the woman babbled as she began leading Yugi towards some of the displays. Seto rolled his eyes but followed along with the others as the saleslady gave them a quick walkthrough of the store, pointing out rings in various display cases while machine gunning questions and terminology at Yugi, until his head swam at the thought of karats versus carats.

After the tour wrapped up, the girls and Yugi chose a starting point and began browsing in earnest. Seto drifted to the back of the group and continued nodding along as if he were listening to the discussion. He really had no interest, not caring for this sort of excess. Cars or computers he could understand, but jewelry was pretty pointless. Wasn’t there a better way of proving to a woman that you cared for her than shoving a scrap of metal and stone onto her finger?

You’ve never complained when I've looked at jewelry… Yami pointed out. You’ve even bought me some yourself.

Seto shrugged, eyeing the ever-present collar adorning his boyfriend’s throat. So he had. But he liked to think of that as a "hands off" sign.

Aren’t wedding rings the same sort of thing? "She’s mine, back off?" Yami asked, softly chuckling aloud.

The taller man merely snorted.

You sure are cranky when you’re hungry, Baby, Yami added.

I’m not, Seto vaguely responded.

Don’t worry, this shouldn’t take too long. Everyone’s on lunch break and Yugi’s aware of that. I doubt he’d choose something this quickly anyhow.

"I didn’t know you cared about stuff like this, Kaiba," Mai said, inadvertently interrupting their conversation with her own thoughts as she casually perused the displays. Though she was there to help Yugi, she didn’t plan on suggesting any rings to him. She wanted him to make his picks before she piped in with any advice, not that she really had much to give. Now that she was married, and a mother, life’s shinier things had lost their luster a bit. But Yugi and Anzu had a much more traditional relationship, and she knew he wanted to do things "properly," which was fine. And like the typical guy, he had no clue what he was even looking for. All he’d said was that he didn’t think he wanted something big or flashy, because Anzu wasn’t that type of girl. He sure was right about that… Mai remembered window shopping with her before and laughing when Anzu had rolled her eyes at expensive rings littered with large stones, saying that they were gaudy.

Seto cocked an eyebrow at the blonde woman. "I don’t care. I’m here because Yami’s here."

Yami immediately punched him in the arm. "Seto…" he sighed. "Really, he just wants lunch."

"Because it’s Friday," Seto retorted, making it clear what he thought of the inconvenience caused to him by Yugi’s choice of days. "And the old man gets on my case if I don’t eat," he added, as an extra little jab. Not that he cared as much about lunch as he did spending the hour with Yami. It was one of the things he looked forward to at the end of every work week. But it sounded a better if he pointed out it was lunchtime instead of saying that he simply wanted to be with Yami, considering he saw plenty of Yami after work everyday. He didn’t want it to seem like he was needy or anything.

Yugi looked over and gave a wry grin. If anyone else had said it, it would’ve been a bit offensive, but with Seto, it was just him being his usual straightforward self. "Sorry. I just figured this was the best time to get both Mai and Shizuka to come with."

Seto shrugged, then glanced back over at his boyfriend. Yami had already wandered back to the men’s section to browse the bands on display. Seto wondered what he was thinking about. Was Yugi’s pending engagement making Yami wish for more out of their relationship, or was he simply window shopping?

Do you want something? the brunette carefully asked, trying to make it sound casual. It was entirely possible that he was overthinking it – after all Yami did like things like jewelry and clothing, because that was how he celebrated his uniqueness, his individuality, even though it had been years since he’d gained his freedom from the Puzzle. Sometimes he overdid it a little – he’d gotten his ears pierced twice in the past year and would’ve probably gotten more, until Seto pointed out that he didn’t care for nibbling on a mouthful of metal – but for the most part Seto liked the way Yami expressed himself.

The ex-spirit smiled slightly at the question. These are all wedding bands. What would I do with one?

How should I know?

Seto never got the chance to restate his previous question though, because they were suddenly interrupted by Shizuka’s breathy sigh and her exclamation of, "Yugi, that’s so pretty!" from a few displays away. Both Seto and Yami looked over at the sound.

"Oh, that’s an excellent choice. The diamond makes it traditional, but the side stones set it apart and make it stand out. And see how they’re set with a lower profile? That plus the rounded shank will make it more comfortable and practical for everyday wear," the saleswoman babbled even though no one asked for her feedback.

Yugi gave her a slight smile, then turned back to his friends. "You guys think she’d like it?" He held the ring up to get a closer look. It was a white gold band with a brilliant cut diamond held by a heart shaped prong setting, flanked by five petite sapphires on either side. It was simple, delicate and sweet, but a little unconventional too.

"I think it would suit her perfectly," Shizuka said firmly.

"I agree. I could see her wearing it," Mai concurred. It was just a tad too girly-girl for her own tastes – and that was saying something – but Anzu, despite her tendency towards tomboyish behavior at times, was a true romantic at heart. And Yugi was probably thinking the sapphires reminded him of her eyes. Blue eyed brunettes… that seemed to be a preference that he and Yami shared.

"What do you think, Yami?" Yugi asked as the former Pharaoh rejoined them with Seto in tow.

"It’s pretty. And not too fussy. The sapphires are my favorite part."

"I think… this might be the one," Yugi sighed thoughtfully as he rolled the band between his fingers one last time. Truth be told he didn’t think he’d find the perfect ring so easily, but the moment he saw this one, he began dreaming about the proposal. He imagined himself getting down on one knee after a candlelit dinner at a romantic restaurant, thought of how it would sparkle as he slid it onto her finger, moments before she threw her arms around his neck, crying out his name. "It really is perfect, isn’t it? Oh, but now the scary part…" He flipped up the price tag. One thousand, four hundred and ninety-five… Well, at least it wasn’t the most expensive ring in the store; he knew it could’ve been much worse. But it was still a bit more than he’d bargained for – the $1000 or so that he’d saved up the past couple of months wasn’t going to cut it. He wondered if paying it off on a credit card would be the best option, or if financing through the store was better. While he wasn’t destitute, he wasn’t so well off that he could just drop a thousand dollars easily. He did have money in an emergency fund, and more put aside for the eventual honeymoon and even a bit for a scooter or a small car of his own, but he didn’t want to dip into those funds unless he absolutely needed to. And if he paid off the credit card quickly enough then the interest wouldn't be an issue at least...

Seto’s eyes narrowed as Yugi took his time sorting through his thoughts. The brunette wondered what the hold up was. Did Yugi want to get married or not? If he liked the ring, he needed to just bite the bullet and buy it. Or was he planning on waiting another six years? Seto was about to tell him to hurry up when he noticed Yugi taking another peek at the little price tag. Seto’s eyes narrowed; he recognized that look… Yugi was crunching numbers in his head. So that’s the problem? "Do you need a loan or something?" Seto asked, and everyone turned to stare at him. "What?"

Yugi blinked at the taller man. "Huh?"

Seto raised an eyebrow and nodded a little at the ring. "I said, I can loan you money if you need it."

"Oh, um… no, it’s ok. I’ll manage," Yugi said quickly once he’d gotten over his initial surprise. He appreciated what the young billionaire was attempting to do, but this was something he had take care of on his own. If he wasn’t man enough to handle buying a ring, then he wasn’t man enough to be proposing either. It was why he’d taken so long in making his move; he known from the start that he wanted Anzu as his wife. But he didn’t want to take that step until he was in a position to be a good husband to her. He’d seen how much of a struggle it had been for Jounouchi and Mai after they’d gotten married on impulse.

"Suit yourself. Just do me a favor and hurry up and buy it then," Seto snapped, checking his watch. At this rate he was tempted to just skip lunch and go straight to "dessert." Yami was wearing far too many clothes for his liking, even if it was cold outside.

"Seto…" Yami snarled, both at the comment and at the mental image his lover was projecting. The brunette smirked.

Yugi just shook his head and smiled. He turned to the saleswoman, who at least had the presence of mind to stand there quietly while he’d thought about it. "All right, I’ve decided. I’m going to get it. And you two," and he nodded at Seto and Yami, "are welcome to get out of here and go have lunch. Or if you’re willing to wait a few minutes, we can all go together."

"Aibou, that would be wonderful," Yami replied, ignoring Seto tugging at his elbow. You can live with it… it’d be nice to have lunch with everyone today. I’m sure Yugi wants to talk about his ideas for the proposal and such.

Seto shrugged. Whatever.

This is a big deal for him. And I’m going to do whatever I can to help, so be nice! Or at least grin and bear it.

Seto did just that, grinning with no other sign of interest on his face. It was actually pretty funny, and Yami had to fight to keep himself from laughing out loud at it. He managed to tone it down to an amused sigh, then turned back to Yugi, who was giving him a look that said he could guess the contents of the conversation that just transpired. "Lunch together would be great," Yami said, grinning broadly himself. Only he actually meant it.

"Yeah, great," Seto echoed with a roll of his eyes.

Yugi laughed. "That’s awesome. Because, you know, I was just thinking about the proposal…"

* * *

Author’s Notes:

December 12, 2012