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. “Some Enchanted Evening” is from the musical South Pacific, by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. 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: 4 / 5?
Archived at: http://www.phenixsol.com/Miko/FF/

* * *

Ever After

Ch 4: Some Enchanted Evening

* * *

It didn’t surprise anyone that the Jounouchis were the last to arrive to the wedding rehearsal. Not that they were habitually late or anything – or at least, Mai had cured her husband of that soon after they’d begun dating – but they had to juggle a child, pregnancy and work. So some leeway had to be given, even though there was only a short window of time for the rehearsal.

The sound of heels clacking on the stone walkway was enough to get everyone’s attention, but when they all turned around, it was Vivian sauntering up to the group, not Mai. “Well hello! Long time no see,” Vivian called out.

“What’s she doing here?” Rebecca muttered, just loud enough for Vivian to hear. The years hadn’t changed Rebecca’s opinion of the black-haired beauty – she didn’t think very highly of women who expected to get by purely on sex appeal. And judging by what she was wearing – a yellow top with a keyhole cutout right over her chest and a tight white skirt – that described Vivian to a T.

Vivian sneered at her. She wasn’t going to take any lip from a young woman she’d last remembered as a stuck-up brat, petulantly whining to get Yugi’s attention. “Oh, if it isn’t the little girl…”

Rebecca hmphed and put her hands on her hips.

“Sorry we’re late,” Mai said, breezing into the clearing with her husband and daughter in tow just in time to stall any further bickering. Everyone couldn’t help but stare at her; like Vivian, she’d always shown off her feminine attributes, but she was also doing it at nearly 7 months pregnant. The only allowance she’d made for her pregnancy seemed to be a light cardigan draped over her spaghetti strapped maxi dress, and wedge sandals instead of stilettos. “Yugi, Anzu, I hope you don’t mind, but we brought Viv along.”

Yugi simply smiled and gestured at the other people in the garden. Rebecca and her grandfather of course, Pegasus – who’d even brought a date, the Doom guys, and surprisingly enough, the von Schroiders… Vivian certainly wasn’t the only extra guest at the event. It seemed no one could justify leaving their out of town visitors behind while attending the rehearsal.

Jou had noticed all the extras as well, but his eyes were drawn to one in particular: the young blonde lady standing by Pegasus’ side. He was sure he’d seen her somewhere before, but… there was no way that she was who he thought she was. So he sidled over to Yugi and whispered, “Uh… Pegasus’ friend there… she kinda looks like the beer girl from the strip club, isn’t that funny?”

Yugi smirked, bemused. “Yeah, actually… she is.”

“Really?? Is that okay?” The movie “Pretty Woman” suddenly popped into his head.

Yugi shrugged. He didn’t really mind as long as she didn’t act inappropriately, and so far, she’d been pleasant enough…

“Excuse me, is this everyone then?” a woman’s voice asked as she hustled up to join the new arrivals. She had a kind, almost grandmotherly face, and had on a little name badge on the lapel of her suit, denoting her as the wedding coordinator at the Domino Grand Seaside Hotel.

“Yup, this is all of us,” Yugi confirmed.

“Good, good! Now then…” and she checked the clipboard she’d been holding, “this is the second Best Man and Maid of Honor, correct?”

“I’m the flower girl!” Hitomi chirped, detaching herself from her father to run smack into Seto’s leg, hugging it, as he gave her a pat on the head. Jounouchi shook his head a little – it was ironic that his daughter’s favorite “uncle” had once been his most hated adversary. But things much were different now; it made a huge difference seeing how fond Seto was of his “niece” as well.

The woman looked down and gave the little girl a warm smile. “That’s wonderful, sweetie! You have an important job to do, so I need you to listen carefully, okay?”

Hitomi nodded vigorously, then stepped away from Seto to join Anzu, taking her hand as if to tell her that she was ready to do her part.

“Could I have the rest of the bridal party step forward please, so that we can get started? First, I’d like to do a rundown on the start of the ceremony.”

The wedding coordinator checked her clipboard again as people began gathering around her, then laid out the order for the processional. Anzu had wanted to keep things as simple as possible. Sugoroku would be escorting her mother in. Then the Jounouchis would walk in, followed by Yami and Shizuka, to join Yugi and the officiant waiting at the altar. Then Hitomi would carry out her duties, before Anzu and her father made their way down the aisle.

When everyone nodded in understanding, the woman took a look around at the various other guests milling about the venue. “And do you have ushers or any other attendants?”

Anzu glanced at Yugi, who merely shrugged. They hadn’t really thought it was necessary since they weren’t going for an overly formal wedding. “We were thinking of having guests seat themselves,” Anzu replied.

“It’s your choice of course, though given the number of guests I would suggest giving it some consideration,” the woman said. She looked around, her eyes landing on Seto, who was standing just behind Yami, then turned back to Anzu. “I know it’s last minute, but maybe your brother and another friend could fill in, for example?”

Anzu followed her gaze, then turned red. “Brother?” she squeaked out. She’d never thought of Seto Kaiba like that, and given the look on Seto’s face, that had never crossed his mind either. But after a moment’s consideration, she realized… once she and Yugi were married, wouldn’t he almost be like her brother-in-law or something? Not that she’d ever say that to him though, unless she thought he was agreeable to it… Seto was a little weird about family relationships. He liked assigning roles himself.

“He’s not your brother?” the woman asked, her face reddening as well. The brown hair, blue eyes, long limbs, even their poise, were similar… “Oh, I’m sorry! I just assumed… you look related,” she blurted out as Seto smirked slightly and shook his head at her.

“He’s not, but he’s a good friend,” Anzu ended up saying. She bit her lip a little. It wouldn’t hurt to have ushers, she supposed, and she thought it would be nice to include Seto in the wedding too, but it was hard to imagine him seating people… It seemed a bit beneath him. And it’d be weird if she asked and he refused, wouldn’t it?

Yugi watched his fiancée wrestling with her indecision, and decided to act in her stead. Kaiba, would you be willing to do it? he asked, unsure if the young CEO could catch his thought. But it didn’t hurt to try.

Seto fixed his gaze on Yugi a moment, then Yami turned to look at him, as if they were having a group consultation. Anzu saw what they were doing so refrained from commenting, until Seto finally turned to her with a nod and said, “If you want, I can do it.” It really didn’t matter to him if he were included in the wedding or not, but he’d been offering his help all along and was still willing to pitch in with whatever was needed, even if it was something as simple as handing out programs to guests or whatever.

“Really? Thank you, Kaiba!” Anzu gushed, relieved that he’d volunteered so readily. She immediately began thinking about what they could do to show their appreciation, since it was such a last minute favor he was doing for them. Maybe they could host an extra Friday night gathering or something, since they were at the Kaiba mansion more often than not.

Meanwhile Mrs. Mazaki started dialing the florists, hoping there was enough time to add an extra boutonnière. It wouldn’t do to have Seto ushering without giving him some token to thank him for his help, and to help distinguish him from the guests.

“Noa, Mokuba, how about the two of you as well?” Yugi added. They probably could use more than one usher, and there wasn’t a reason the younger duo couldn’t pitch in as well. Weddings were a family affair, after all.

“Sure, that’s fine,” Mokuba answered for the pair. And Mrs. Mazaki quickly changed the order to a total of three extra boutonnières, letting out an audible sigh of relief when the shop confirmed that they could do it.

The wedding coordinator made a note of the change as well, then gave the three Kaibas a quick rundown of what their duties would be: greeting guests, having them sign the guest book, and seating them. It seemed simple enough, rather boring actually, but if it made the day go smoother, then that was what mattered.

With that matter resolved, the coordinator had the officiant take his spot, then asked the rest of the wedding party to do a quick trial run of both the processional and recessional. After a few tips and pointers and the usual advice of “make sure to get a good night’s rest,” the rest of the bridal party was excused while the coordinator accompanied Yugi and Anzu to speak to the officiant about how they wanted to handle the actual ceremony, from unity candles and blessings to vows and rings. Once all the details were ironed out, the woman went to have a few final words with the parents, then joined the families in thanking everyone for coming before seeing them off.

The Mazakis had arranged for the wedding party and guests to join them for dinner at a buffet restaurant on the edge of the downtown districts. They’d reserved a bank of tables, which they pushed closer together to form something resembling a long single table, in a relatively private back corner. Vivian half expected the Kaibas and von Schroiders to turn up their noses at eating at such a place, but when no one fussed about it, she decided to follow their lead and just enjoy the evening for what it was: a get together with folks she hadn’t seen in years, and a kickoff to the celebration taking place the next day. And if the dinner conversation got boring for any reason, well, her eye kept going to Rebecca and Leon, who kept ending up standing or sitting next to each other. She thought they’d be a cute couple, if they could get past whatever was holding them back. Maybe she could give them a push to take things to the next level… wouldn’t that be fun?

The one and only rule in place seemed to be no talking about business matters. The bride and groom hadn’t requested it, but everyone stuck to it by unspoken consensus. So everyone ate and chatted about everything from the weather - Mrs. Mazaki worried that the forecast called for light rain – to Mai’s pregnancy. The doctor said it’d be a boy, but Mai was adamant that he was wrong. She wouldn’t even let Jou discuss possible boy's names, that’s how sure she was.

Sugoroku smiled as Jounouchi tried to explain to his wife that having a son wouldn’t be such a bad thing. He could show him how to toss around a baseball and teach him to play Duel Monsters and video games. Mai rolled her eyes as she reminded her spouse that she was a duelist and a gamer too, so what was that supposed to mean??

The old man understood what the blonde man was trying to get at though. Family mattered, whatever form it took. And he was sure no matter if Jounouchi and Mai ended up with a son or another daughter, they’d love them all the same.

Sugoroku looked around the table. At the lowest point in his life, he’d found himself alone, with nothing but an infant grandson. But now… he was on the verge of gaining a lovely, spirited young lady as a granddaughter-in-law. And Yugi had brought more into his life than just a future wife and her family – all of Yugi’s friends felt like an extension of family as well, especially Yami, Seto and Jounouchi. It was funny… he was looking forward to being a great-grandfather someday soon, but wasn’t he already one to little Hitomi?

His thoughts turned to the wedding gift sitting in his pocket. The item itself wasn’t much to look at, a few worn keys dangling off a keyring with an enameled turtle charm, but what it signified was so much more. He’d talked it over with Arthur Hopkins several times and even the Mazakis before he decided that yes, even with everything going on, the time was right; he was sure the Kame Game Shop would do well in his grandson’s capable hands. But that meant he would have a lot of free time for the first time in many, many years… and he wasn’t so old as to want to just lie around and do nothing all day. Arthur had suggested he go out and see the world again, just as he’d done when he was younger – and had even offered for him to come and stay at his home for a while. Sugoroku had taken his good friend up on the offer, though he had to admit, he was going to miss everyone in Domino, from Yugi and Anzu to the regular customers at the shop. But he’d been planning on retiring for years now… that was something they would all understand.

Sugoroku took a deep breath, waiting for the right moment to make his announcement. It looked like things were starting to wind down. The bride and groom were understandably too nervous to eat much, and everyone wanted to make sure they got a good night’s sleep as well. Then, with a nod of encouragement from Anzu, Yugi stood up and cleared his throat to get everyone’s attention.

“Well, first of all, thank you everyone for coming to the rehearsal. Let’s all hope everything goes this smoothly tomorrow, right?” The little duelist laughed a bit nervously, then gathered himself and went on. “Anzu and I want to go ahead and hand out our attendants’ gifts now, hopefully you’ll like them and find them useful.”

Anzu doled out little gift bags with pink-peach tissue paper to match her wedding color. Inside each one was a jewelry set consisting of a double strand of small pearls with a decorative porcelain rose clasp, and drop earrings with pearls hanging off a matching rose. For Hitomi, there was a similar single strand necklace, as well as a bracelet. The little girl immediately went to her mother, begging to wear them right away.

Yugi handed Yami and Jou small boxes; they opened them to find simple round cuff links engraved with their initials.

Jou stared at his gift a moment. At least he knew what they were… well, mostly. He’d never had reason to use them before. All his nice shirts were “normal,” with buttons. And he hadn't noticed that the tuxedo shirts were in fact, French cuffed. So he leaned over and whispered to Yami, “You’ll have to show me how to use ‘em tomorrow.”

Yami grinned at his friend and gave a slight nod.

“Well then… Um, anything else, Anzu?” Yugi asked.

Anzu looked a little stumped. She was pretty sure they’d gotten everything on their checklist done, but her mind was starting to go blank, and she couldn’t seem to get it back in gear. But she was saved from having to answer by Sugoroku suddenly speaking up.

“Excuse me for interrupting, but actually, there is one last thing…” the old man began saying. His hand went to his pocket, then paused. The last time he’d done something similar, he’d tried giving the fourth Blue Eyes White Dragon to Seto, and had barely succeeded in doing so.

Yugi cocked his head. “Jii-chan?”

This is it, Sugoroku told himself, as he fished out the familiar set of keys. They jingled brightly as he held them up so everyone could see. “Yugi… I know it’s a day early, but I didn’t want to do this tomorrow, considering how much you already have on your plate.” He slowly placed the keys on the table, just in front of his grandson, eliciting several hushed gasps from the group. “These are now yours. The shop, the house… I think you’re ready for it.”

Yugi’s large eyes widened until they resembled dinner plates. “Jii-chan?! You… you’re…” he stammered. He wasn’t even sure what he was trying to say, his mind racing to make sense of it all. The Kame Game Shop had been the centerpiece of his grandfather’s life for so many years. Could it even exist without him? “But, I can’t!”

“You can. I know you can,” Sugoroku assured him. “You’ve already been running it for a while now, even if you haven’t thought of it that way. It isn’t all that different from getting married – it’s a big change, but you’re taking that step without hesitation, right?”

“Yeah, but that’s only because I have Anzu by my side, and my friends…” And Yugi took a hold of his fiancee’s hand, squeezing it, as if to emphasize that.

“And they will be there for you in this as well – you won’t be doing it alone. I couldn’t have kept things going on my own either. If it wasn’t for you and Jounouchi, and Yami and Seto… if it wasn’t for all your ideas and hard work, I would’ve probably been forced to close the doors a long time ago. I guess things like video games just don’t make much sense to an old man like me! But the shop’s doing pretty well now; it just needs someone who can keep it going, who wants to take it to the next level, and that's you.”

“I mean, I want to, but…” Yugi began again.

“Yugi… Jii-chan is right. You can do this, and you know we’ll all help,” Anzu said encouragingly. Although she too was surprised by the announcement, truth was, she’d also had the feeling that something like this would happen. Sugoroku was well past retiring age. He would’ve probably thrown in the towel long ago if he hadn’t had a grandson to provide for, to leave a legacy for. “This has always been your dream, hasn’t it?”

“Dang, so this means you’re my boss now, Yugi!” Jou said. “Hey, can I have a raise? Haha, just kidding. Congrats man!” And he clapped Yugi on the back, and then several other voices joined in in congratulating him as well.

Yugi just stared wordlessly at his friends and family. Although it was true that Sugoroku had been teaching him all the ins and outs of running the store, Yugi had never tried doing those things without his grandfather shadowing him. And what if he did take over and screwed it all up? He didn’t want to let his grandfather down. He didn’t want to let his friends down. But before he could start protesting again, Yami’s voice drifted into his head.

Aibou… You should have more faith in yourself and your abilities. You’re smart and determined and you truly love what you’re doing. It’ll be fine… you just have to believe.

Yugi sighed internally. I wish I had your confidence.

You’ll have my support, will that do? Yami sent him a smile. Like Jii-chan said, you know that I, and Anzu, and all our friends, will be there for you every step of the way. We’re not going to watch you get married and then leave you and Anzu to fend for yourselves.

Yugi just nodded, unsure of what else he could say other than “thank you,” which he did out loud to both Yami and Sugoroku.

The old man beamed. “Besides…” and he paused, chuckling, “maybe there’ll be a great-grandchild sooner if I’m not around to ruin the mood, oh ho!”

Anzu flushed and ducked her head a little. Sure she wanted kids, but to have Sugoroku say it like that… “Geez, we’re not even married yet, give us a little time,” she muttered.

Sugoroku laughed again.

Yugi blinked. He’d been so worried about the shop that it was only beginning to sink in that he was getting the attached house as well. Yes, he and Anzu had planned on living there after getting married, but only until they’d found an apartment or something. “But then, what about you? Where’ll you live? What will you do?”

“Oh, you don’t have to worry about me. I’m thinking I’ll travel for a while; I told Arthur I’d go to California for a visit.”

“And then?” a third voice asked, inserting itself into the conversation.

Sugoroku turned. The question had come from Seto, interestingly enough.

“And then… well, I don’t have a real plan after that, I suppose,” the old man admitted. “But I think I’ve saved up enough to travel around for a while at least, maybe a year if I’m careful with my money. If not, well... I’ll take it as it comes.”

“So you’re just going to roll the dice? This isn’t a game of chance you know,” Seto admonished, his voice slightly strained.

Yami reached out and lightly touched his lover’s arm. That was usually enough to make Seto pause, but the brunette wasn’t fazed at all. He needed an answer. He wasn’t going to let Sugoroku walk away just like that. “Well?” Seto demanded.

Sugoroku smiled slightly, warmed by the very fact that Seto was that concerned about him. Wasn’t life all about taking chances? Sometimes things worked out great or even better than expected; other times, not so much. But he was pretty sure he knew what he was doing. “I’ve done it before. I have no doubt I can do it again.”

“You’re 81 now. It’s not the same as ‘before,’” the young CEO argued back, ignoring the fact that everyone was staring at him now.

Yugi looked down at the keys on the table before him. Seto was right; there was no way he could take over the shop and house without knowing what his grandfather was planning. It’d be like he was kicking him out otherwise. “Jii-chan, you know, Anzu and I would be fine living with you in the house. I mean, we’d pretty much counted on it. And the shop…”

“It really wouldn’t be the same without you…” Anzu began at the same time.

“Yugi, Anzu, you’re both good kids. I really am so proud of you! But I’ve given this a lot of thought. I just don’t want to be in your way while you…”

“Or you could come live with us,” Seto suddenly countered, immediately putting a stop to all conversation for the second time in under a minute.

Several jaws fell open in shock. Sugoroku’s was one of them. “Wha… Seto?”

Seto, are you sure? Is that really okay? Yami asked at the same time. He was as surprised as everyone else, but he’d had a little more exposure to Seto’s habit of making spur of the moment, life altering decisions.

Why wouldn’t it be? It’s not like we don’t have the space.

Well, yes. It’s just… we’ve never talked about it before. Yami glanced over at a slightly stunned Mokuba and Noa. I mean, I think it would be great, but… are you really sure?

I don’t say anything I don’t mean, Seto pointed out.

I know, but… Yami sighed, realizing he’d just have to ask Mokuba and Noa himself. “Would you two be okay with that?”

The younger pair looked at each other. They couldn’t mind link of course but it was almost as if they could come to a consensus by just staring at one another.

“We have great amenities,” Seto went on, not waiting for his brothers’ responses. “A pool, stables, round-the-clock security, housekeeping…”

Mokuba sighed as Noa rolled his eyes and said, “Nii-sama, we’re not a hotel.” Seto made their home sound about as attractive and sterile as a nursing home. Who’d want to agree to move into that?

“And yeah, we’re okay with it. Just weren’t expecting it, that’s all,” Mokuba added, finally answering Yami’s question.

Seto nodded, pleased. He had figured his brothers would be on board with his idea once they'd had a chance to think about it. “So there you go. How 'bout it?”

Sugoroku mulled it over as Seto held his breath. Clearly the billionaire wanted him to accept, and certainly there were many worse places to retire to than a massive mansion in his hometown, with people he’d come to love like his own grandchildren. But as tempting as it was to give it a try, it had sounded like Yugi didn’t want him to leave his home either. “Yugi… if I accept Seto’s offer, would you be okay with that?”

Yugi hesitated a moment as he tried to think of how to explain himself in light of his earlier protests. In many ways Seto had offered the perfect solution. “Yeah, I would be. Because I just want to know that you’re happy and safe.” His eyes locked with Seto’s. “And I trust that he’ll look out for you.”

“I will,” Seto replied without hesitation.

Yugi bowed his head slightly, sealing the deal, then turned back to Sugoroku. “But I meant what I said earlier – the door will always be open to you, no matter what. Just in case, for any reason, you want to come back. Because I’ll always think of it as your store, your house.”

Anzu nodded. “We just want what’s best for you, whatever that might be.”

“Hmm, I see. Well then…” And Sugoroku turned to Seto and grinned. “So when would be a good time to move in?”

* * *

Author’s Notes:

April 3, 2014