Title: Ever After
Pairing(s): Yami + Seto, Noa + Mokuba, Yugi + Anzu, Jou + Mai, Malik + Ryou, Rafael + Valon + Amelda
Disclaimer: "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free " is performed and recorded by Sting. "Single Ladies" is performed and recorded by Beyoncé. 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: 3 / ?
Archived at: http://www.phenixsol.com/Miko/FF/
* * *
Ch 2: On Bended Knee
* * *
Seto hadn’t been expecting any guests when he came home from work a couple of weeks before Christmas, though he knew if he’d said that out loud, Yami would quickly chide him that Yugi wasn’t a “guest.”
“So what’s going on?” the brunette asked as he loosened his tie, tossing it onto the bed. He couldn’t remember the last time anyone outside of the family – besides his trusted housekeeper – had been in his bedroom. It was a little strange, even if it was just Yugi.
“I’m trying to help Yugi finalize his outfit for his big dinner date,” Yami replied as he wandered by. He disappeared into the closet for a moment, then came out with two overcoats as well as a few ties. He dropped the ties onto the bed and held up the coats. “Aibou, do you like either of these?”
Seto raised an eyebrow as Yugi examined the coats and picked a likely candidate. “So you’re trying to make him look like you? And you don’t think that’s weird?”
“How so? I offered to lend him a dress coat and maybe a tie.” Yami paused to help Yugi into the chosen coat, then fussed with it a little to make it hang better. They were nearly the same size but Yugi was slightly shorter and a tiny bit heavier. “There's no point in him buying those when he probably won’t get much use out of them.”
Seto assessed the little duelist more critically. Yugi was wearing what was probably his only suit, a plain black number, and an equally nondescript white dress shirt. He already had on a tie, a rather tacky looking thing with colorful hieroglyphics on it, which Seto vaguely remembered having seen before. God, we really should tell him to burn that tie…
Yami’s eyes crinkled in amusement. Why do you think I’m trying to offer him some of mine?
Seto snorted and turned his attention back to Yugi. He could sense the other man’s nervousness the way a shark could detect blood in the water. He figured the real reason Yugi had stopped over was because he wanted reassurance: he was finally going to propose to his girlfriend of five years, Anzu Mazaki. It was making the normally calm, collected man jittery as hell. But Yugi had to know that proposing was a mere formality; of course she’d agree to marry him. So Seto tried to be encouraging by pointing that out. “Don’t know why you’re so nervous, it’s not like she’d say no…”
Yugi’s eyes got even bigger than normal. Yami’s head whipped around and he smacked Seto on the arm. “Don’t say that!”
“What?? It’s true. She won’t say no! Why would she?”
Yes, I KNOW that but… look, you need to think before you talk sometimes, Yami said, exasperated. Seto was so dense sometimes! Did he really think he was making Yugi feel better by saying – and repeating - the exact word that he was most afraid of hearing? The former Pharaoh sighed loudly. Just… don’t say things like that. It doesn’t help.
Seto glared at Yami a moment before exploding. Fine, whatever! It’s not like I care about it anyhow! he snapped back before stomping out of the room, ignoring the fact that it was his bedroom to begin with.
Yami winced and immediately began thinking up an apology, even though he was still standing there with Yugi, with a coat draped over his arm. Seto had been trying to help, in his own awkward way; Yami was the one who’d overreacted, immediately going into defensive mode, just because it was Yugi on the receiving end of Seto’s comments.
“You aren’t going to go after him?”
Yami turned back and saw his other half staring back at him. Although Yugi hadn’t heard what Seto had said, he’d obviously figured out that there’d been an argument of some sort. Yami grimaced. The last thing Yugi needed was to worry about something like that when he already had so much on his mind. So the ex-spirit quickly explained, “I’ll catch up to him later and apologize. He’s mad, but he’s not that mad, you know? Plus, he tends to be a little testy anyhow with when he’s fresh out of the office.”
Yugi didn’t really know, but he automatically nodded along anyway before quietly admitting, “He’s probably right. I know I’m being paranoid. But… I want this to be absolutely perfect. This is the most important thing I’ve ever planned and I only get one shot at pulling it off. It’s not like a duel between friends where I can just reshuffle the cards and try again.”
Yami relaxed a little, smiling slightly at the dueling analogy. “I know, Aibou. And if Seto were in your shoes he’d be a complete wreck. He’s just not thinking about it that way.”
Yugi nodded again, then looked down at his hands and began fidgeting a bit. “Say, Yami… I know this is a weird time to ask, but um… is that something you’d want? I’ve been kinda wondering, you know. Since my mind’s been on the subject I mean…”
“You mean, would I want to get married?”
Yami shrugged. Truthfully he was pretty neutral on the matter. If he thought that that was what Seto wanted, if Seto were to ask him, of course he’d say yes, but at the same time, he was also fine with things staying the way they were.
“I’m not against it. But it’s not something I’m actively looking for either. Does that make sense?” Yami asked.
“I… guess. It’s just hard for me to think that way. I mean, I love Anzu. And I know you love Kaiba. But as happy as I am to have Anzu as my girlfriend, I can’t wait to make her my wife.”
“You are my best friend, my partner… but Seto is and will always be, my one and only lover. Our feelings for each other have endured for over 3,000 years. I have bared both body and soul to him, thrown open the doors to my heart and my mind… and he has responded in kind, showing me a level of trust that he didn’t even know he was capable of.” Yami smirked in satisfaction. Even though he still needed to sort things out with Seto, just thinking about the connection he shared with his lover made him feel that much more secure in their relationship. “Considering all of that, I don’t think a change in title will make much difference.“
“Well, when you put it that way…” Yugi smiled. He wished he could make speeches like that about Anzu, but all he could think to say was that he loved her deeply and couldn’t imagine being with anyone else. It was that simple for him.
Yugi brushed his hands over his pockets, feeling the outline of the ring under his fingers. True, he was going to be nervous until the moment she said “yes” but he knew, that was what he wanted, and it was about time. And speaking of time…
He rolled his shoulders a few times – the coat seemed to fit well enough - then nodded. “I better get going. And thanks for the coat; I think it’ll work.”
“Here, take a tie too,” Yami said, holding up several for Yugi’s consideration. When the little duelist gave him a funny look, Yami shrugged. “It’s just a suggestion.”
“Is this really that bad?” Yugi asked, looking down at his tie. It was barely visible under the Puzzle. He supposed it looked a little corny compared to something a Kaiba Corp. executive would wear, but then again, he wasn’t a businessman, and he wasn’t Kaiba… “Well, I like it… and besides, it’s the one I wore on our first date. So it’s sorta like a good luck charm.”
Yami grinned. “I suppose, though I don’t think you need it. You’re the best person I know, Aibou. You won her heart just by being yourself.”
Yugi flushed slightly. “Wow, thanks, Yami,” he mumbled, shyly accepting the compliment. It made him feel better about his plans for the evening. Still, he couldn’t resist adding, “Though a little luck never hurts, right?”
Yami let loose a short laugh. “I suppose not!” Then his tone became a little more serious as he asked, “Would it make you feel better if I were to wish you luck as well, then?”
“Well then, good luck! You can do it!” Yami encouraged.
Yugi giggled. “Thanks, that’s what I needed! Oh, but promise me you’ll make up with Kaiba as soon as I leave…”
“I will, I will.” Not waiting for Yugi to start fretting all over again, Yami immediately began pushing him out the door. “Now get going – she’s waited long enough for this day!”
Yugi left with a wave and a slightly nervous smile gracing his face.
* * *
Finding Seto was the easy part, even without a mind link. He was “working” in the formal office on the first floor, the one he rarely used and only kept around for appearance’s sake. It was a little funny that that was his refuge, but even though work was Seto’s main stressor, it was also his sanctuary. Yami padded in on quiet feet, stealing up behind his boyfriend and gently wrapping an arm around stiff shoulders.
“He left?” Seto asked, his eyes never leaving his computer screen, though Yami could see him using it like a mirror to stare back at him.
“Yes. I’m sorry, Seto.”
Yami lightly kissed the back of his lover’s head. “I shouldn’t have scolded you. I know you weren’t trying to give Yugi a hard time, but I reacted like you were.” The ex-spirit sighed. “He doesn’t need me to protect him anymore, not like that.”
Seto finally turned away from his computer to gauge Yami’s expression. Yami met Seto’s gaze head on, sincerity shining in his crimson eyes. That was something the brunette always liked: Yami never shied away from anything. If he made a mistake, he’d own up to it.
“I know you’ll always be Yugi’s protector. But I won’t ever do anything to hurt him again. You should know that,” Seto finally said.
“I do. But I’m not reasonable when it comes to Yugi. Or to you.”
Seto grunted. He wasn’t really that mad… he’d cooled off a bit since he’d stormed off. And though Yami’s rebuke had stung, more than anyone, Seto understood why Yami had reacted as he did. He was the same way with Mokuba, even though his youngest brother was now an adult and pretty darn self-sufficient to boot. Besides, Yami’s apology had been heartfelt. There was no need to drag things out when in the end, it really hadn’t been that big of a deal to begin with.
“So am I forgiven then?” Yami asked quietly.
Seto reached up and lightly rested his hand on Yami’s arm. He drew in a breath, holding it momentarily. Years ago, he would’ve held on to his resentment. He would’ve questioned if being in a relationship was such a good idea.
… Years ago, he'd been a fool.
“I can’t stay mad at you, not for long. Not anymore. You know that,” Seto admitted.
Yami smiled. “Really?”
Yami visibly relaxed at that, then after a moment’s thought crawled up onto Seto’s lap. His smile turned a bit wicked as he traced a finger down the side of his lover’s face. “Then, I’ll make it up to you with a special treat tonight.”
Seto smirked. “Why wait ‘til tonight?” he asked, mimicking the motion, ending with his thumb on Yami’s lower lip, catching on it slightly.
Yami momentarily sucked on the pad of the thumb, his eyes fixed on Seto’s face, even as he slid off his boyfriend’s lap and dropped to the floor to kneel down between his thighs…
Seto didn’t need Yami to “make it up to him.” But he certainly wasn’t going to turn down his offer either. It wasn’t because of the promise of sexual pleasure, though that was always a nice “bonus.” He relished the closeness, the reassurance of Yami’s touch, the knowledge that he was desired. That was something no amount of money could buy.
Seto leaned back in his chair and shut his eyes as confident, skilled fingers began playing over fly on his trousers. It was starting to look like it’d be a very good night.
* * *
Mokuba and Noa called home to say they’d decided to eat out, so dinner ended up being a quiet, intimate affair with just the two older members of the household at the table. They polished off what they could, then Yami packed away the leftovers and joined Seto in the game room to “play” a little Legends of Duel Monsters and unwind.
They weren’t really gaming. Seto always delighted in the opportunity to drop the ban hammer on misbehaving players in his MMORPG, especially since Mokuba wasn’t around to stop him. He was also keeping his eye on ranked raid progression as well as the preliminary rounds for an upcoming in-game card tournament. To most people it would seem like a lot to be keeping track of, but for Seto, it was his idea of a relaxed evening.
“You sure you don’t want a sip?” Yami asked, lifting his nearly empty wineglass in Seto’s direction. He’d developed something of a taste for sweet drinks – cocktails, spiked coffees… his latest interest was dessert wines. He liked having a glass every now and then towards the end of dinner, then nursed it the remainder of the evening.
“I’m fine. It’s your thing anyhow,” the young CEO replied. He rarely drank, not liking the way alcohol dulled his mind and senses when he wanted them to stay sharp at all times. But he wasn’t entirely opposed to imbibing via mind link, because he did have control over that. Not that he could bring himself to ever fully shut Yami out.
Yami shrugged and took another sip, then looked back over at Seto and smiled, his eyes unfocused. The alcohol was adding to the effect; it was no longer easy to tell when he was linking to Yugi, unless one knew what to look for.
“Shall I give you a play by play?” Yami asked.
“No.” But Seto swiveled his chair to the side and motioned at his lap until the shorter man sauntered over and plopped himself down on his new seat, wriggling around until he was comfortable. “I don’t care what he’s doing,” Seto added as he wrapped his arms around Yami’s waist and settled in for storytime. He knew he was going to get to hear all about it, regardless if he wanted to or not.
“It’s a little like watching TV,” Yami said, laughing softly. He relaxed against his lover and polished off the glass.
“Does he mind? He knows you’re watching, right?”
“Of course not. And of course.”
Seto snorted. Knowing Yugi, it probably made him feel a bit better knowing that Yami was literally watching over him from behind his shoulder.
“… He took her to that restaurant that we took them to, you ‘member?” Yami began.
“Well, we’ve fed them many times…”
Yami frowned. “The first one… The one they had their first date,” he clarified.
Seto vaguely remembered some place French, and pricey. Seemed appropriate enough for a proposal, or at least that’s what movies would have him believe. It wasn’t something he’d ever put much thought into before.
The former Pharaoh started to babble about what the other couple had enjoyed for appetizers and entrees and how Yugi wasn’t sure what to do with all the wine that came with the wine flight, especially since he didn’t want to be stumbling over his words when the moment came. And Anzu – lovely in a burgundy dress, her hair in a low chignon - didn’t seem interested in sampling any of it, so maybe he shouldn’t have ordered it? Though it had been part of his plan… The ring would be delivered with dessert, tied with a ribbon around the stem of a wineglass, because it would’ve been a bad idea to hide it in the dessert itself and risk her choking on it…
Seto nodded along, wondering if Yugi’s inebriation was affecting Yami too, but was otherwise not terribly concerned with the details. Yami seemed really into it though, growing more animated by the minute, and Seto began to wonder… was there something he was trying to tell him?
“Did you ever think about…” Seto began, before pausing to try and think of the best way to phrase things. The last time he’d tried, he hadn’t really gotten around to zeroing in on the target. He just had to be direct, and that was that. “I know we’ve kinda talked about it before, or not really, at least not recently, I suppose, but… well, are you really okay with never getting married?”
Seto made a face as soon as the words tumbled out. Boy, had that come out badly! But Yami had turned and was staring at him and giving it some consideration. He looked a little more serious than usual, probably due to the fact that he really had to concentrate to formulate a proper response.
“”Course I am. And I know you don’t buy into it; you never have.”
“I don’t. Marriage has nothing to do with love; traditionally it was a way to form political or familial alliances, to maintain or improve one’s social and economic status, to ensure parentage and upbringing of heirs. Even today it remains a matter of legal contracts…”
“Not here and now. Not for two men,” Yami mumbled.
Seto stopped his dissertation on the history of marriage and immediately switched gears to more modern matters. “I don’t want our relationship to become some political rallying point, but if that is what it’d take to ensure your happiness, then I would do it. I would push and push until the damn laws were changed, even if I had to lobby and petition and bribe every official in this city, in this country. For you, I would change the world.”
The shorter duelist was almost stunned into sobriety by the conviction in Seto’s words. His boyfriend had made it clear many times that he had no interest in marriage. He only saw it as a contract, like the ones he dealt with all day, every day – a legal document, like the ones that had bound him to his aunt and uncle and then to Gozaburo - yet, if Yami said the word, Seto would marry him, without reservation. All because he wanted to make him happy.
“Kai-baby… I don’t need it. If I thought it was what you wanted, I would be honored to accept… or I would’ve even proposed to you already. But I think love, family – those aren’t things that can be built on a piece of paper. It’s only the feelings that count, not some document.”
Seto snorted. “Given how hard people cling onto the notion, you’d think the ‘piece of paper’ was all that mattered.”
“Well… I don’t care what those other people think.”
“Me neither. I love you, Yami,” Seto responded fiercely, as if they were dueling.
Those three little words were a vow that no one else was meant to hear. Yami smiled. He didn’t need the blessings of a judge or a religious leader, nor a certificate or a ceremony, to confirm what he already knew. Even before Seto had legally bound them into a family by giving Yami co-guardianship status over his brothers, they’d been fully committed to one another, their hearts as intertwined as their minds and emotions. Boyfriend, lover, husband… the label didn’t matter; there were no words sufficient to describe just how much Seto meant to him. How does the song go? If you love someone, set them free…
If you liked it, then you shoulda put a ring on it, Seto shot back.
Yami laughed, delighted that Seto knew enough pop culture to make a comeback like that. “After six years, I would think you’d know me well enough: I’m not interested in tying you down. Just tying you up. And the only ring I want to use on you…” Abruptly he trailed off, to Seto’s disappointment.
“And the only ring…” the billionaire prompted, seeing crimson eyes haze over.
“The ring… Oh gods, Yugi’s finally done it! I’m so happy for him!” Yami blurted out. “Gods, I can still feel him shaking. He said it went so perfect he couldn’t believe it; it was like a scene from a movie. He dropped down on one knee, took her hand, and asked her to marry him just as the waiters delivered the desserts and the ring. Anzu started crying and saying yes over and over, and people at nearby tables were clapping for them…”
“Okay, really? One second you’re telling me how you’re going to tie me up and now you’ve forgotten all about it?” Seto scolded, though he made an effort to keep his tone light so that it was clear – he was just kidding. He was glad that Yugi had finally proposed. There wasn’t anyone more suited to living an idyllic married life with the stereotypical “girl next door” than Yugi.
“… I can still tie you up, you know,” Yami bit back, his brow arching.
Seto smirked. He could feel his pulse already starting to quicken a little. He was glad Yami didn’t share Yugi’s pedestrian tastes at all. You promise?
Always and forever, Baby.
* * *
Wanted to make a note on the housekeeper since I hadn’t before, though she’s been mentioned a couple of times through the various arcs. Seto released most of his mansion staff shortly before the start of the first story of my series, but given the size of the estate it’d make sense that he’d have to keep a few under employment, even if not on a round-the-clock basis. The housekeeper throughout my stories is the unnamed maid in the manga, who we see in about five panels right before and after Seto wakes from his coma during Duelist Kingdom. She had helped care for him during that time and chased after him when he was leaving to save Mokuba. On his way to DK Seto also noted that Mokuba left important information with her because she was the only one in the entire house that he trusted.
For a minor, nameless character, that really stuck with me. I even considered giving her a side chapter of some sort, but I didn’t have enough to say to make a real chapter out of it.
Seto’s dislike of marriage in no way reflects my own beliefs. I just think that, for someone who has had so much of his early personal and business life dictated by legal documents and contracts, he’d want to avoid those sorts of things as much as possible in his private affairs. Granted, he did end up giving Yami guardianship rights over his then minor brothers, which might seem contradictory, but I could see Seto justifying that in a win-win sort of way. It not only protected his brothers’ interests but also solidified Yami’s position as a trusted family member.
July 14, 2013