Title: Ever After
Pairing(s): Yami + Seto, Noa + Mokuba, Yugi + Anzu, Jou + Mai, Malik + Ryou, Rafael + Valon + Amelda, Ishizu + Karim
Disclaimer: "All I Know" is performed and recorded by Art Garfunkel. 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: 5 / 5
Archived at: http://www.phenixsol.com/Miko/FF/
* * *
Ch 5: From This Moment
* * *
Yami turned at what sounded like a very loud, drawn out sigh before realizing it was all "in his head," and smiled. He normally didn’t have a problem juggling between his own thoughts and Seto and Yugi’s, but Yugi was currently hogging all the attention, his anxiety at an all-time high. It was to be expected though… he was about to get married. He couldn’t stop fidgeting and fretting. And there wasn’t much else to do to distract him while they stood around, waiting, smiling uneasily at guests as they trickled in. Even the photographer had finished with them and left to see to the bride and her attendants.
The little duelist checked his watch. "Sixteen minutes…" He sighed again, audibly this time.
"Yeah, we know, you checked your watch a minute ago," Jounouchi said, his joke tempered by a fond smile. The blonde was sympathetic, though he couldn’t fully understand what his friend was going through… he and Mai had gotten married so fast that he hadn’t had time to stress out or anything. But that didn’t mean he was any more comfortable than Yugi at the moment. Jou tugged at the peach-pink bow tie around his neck. He’d never gotten used to wearing a suit; a tuxedo definitely wasn’t better. And Anzu just had to pick pink, didn’t she? It was so… not his style. And what was the point of a cummerbund anyway? Or cuff links? But thankfully it was just for one day. He glanced at the other men standing with them…
Sugoroku looked as out of place in a tux as Yugi did, but unlike Yugi he couldn’t stop beaming at everyone as he repeatedly darted off to greet guests. He really was thrilled to see his grandson – once a bullied, awkward teen – grown up, and ready to step up as a husband and business owner. And Sugoroku had his own adventure to look forward to as well: retirement, at the Kaiba mansion no less! Not too shabby for an old man who’d seen only moderate success in his small shop.
Speaking of the Kaibas, although they weren’t groomsmen, they’d been asked to usher, and so they’d shown up in impeccably tailored suits, as if they were heading for a full day at the office. Mokuba and Noa were stationed at the patio that led to the rose garden, seeing to the wedding guests as they arrived; Seto was glued to Yami’s side, as always. But Jou wasn’t going to complain about the taller duelist’s presence – he’d heard Mokuba and Noa tell their brother earlier that they had things up front under control, so he could join them a little later if he wanted to.
Like his brothers, Seto was dressed in his business best: a pristine navy blue suit, accented with a tone-on-tone, dark red, rose print tie. That one piece didn’t match his usual style – actually the tie had been borrowed from Yami – but it was certainly suitable for a romantic wedding in a rose garden.
And although Yami was wearing the same style tuxedo as Jou and Yugi, he was carrying himself with just as much pride and confidence as his boyfriend. It made his poorly fitted rental tux look much more expensive and stylish than it really was. It was a little weird seeing him without his ever present collar though – he normally wore it even with a suit – but since this was Anzu and Yugi’s day he’d been very agreeable about going without it, even if it made Seto more possessive than usual. His hand hadn’t left the nape of Yami’s neck for more than a few seconds since they’d arrived.
Jou glanced back at Yugi. Like his other half, he was without his usual accessory: the Sennen Puzzle. It was in his grandfather’s care at the moment. It was strange seeing Yugi without the giant chunk of gold that seemed as much a part of him as his colorful, spiky hair and violet eyes. But Jou approved. It was appropriately symbolic for Yugi to de-emphasize his link to Yami while he forged a new one with Anzu, even though everyone knew the Puzzle would be back around his neck once they got back from the honeymoon.
"Well, I told Mokuba I’d join them up front about 15 minutes before the start," Seto said as Sugoroku wandered away again, this time to say hello to some of his fellow duelists from the KC Grand Prix. It wasn’t exactly the truth… after all, Mokuba had told him that he was free to join them whenever he wanted. But even though he normally got along just fine with Yugi, the little duelist’s anxiety was starting to get on Seto’s nerves, humming at the edge of his mind like a fly buzzing in his ear. It’d be good to put a little distance between them; it couldn’t hurt, though frankly he would’ve liked to remain by Yami’s side. But he had agreed to be an usher, so he needed to show his face at some point. He wasn’t one to shirk his duties, even if things were under control without him.
"Fifteen…" Yugi moaned, checking his watch reflexively to see if Seto was correct. He was. "Oh God…"
Jounouchi made a face at Seto as the now smirking brunette let his hand drift all the way down to the base of Yami’s spine, then turned and left with a wave goodbye. Yami shook his head at his lover’s departing back, then went over to give Yugi an encouraging pat on the arm.
Yugi sighed again, which earned him quite an eyeroll from Jou. It wasn’t that Yugi wasn’t ready; he’d been looking forward to this day as much as Anzu! But it was funny how much easier it was to face ancient, evil deities or huge, international Duel Monster tournaments, than one’s own wedding.
"Ya know, you could’ve just eloped," Jou pointed out, after the three of them stood there in silence a moment longer than he liked.
"I don’t think that would’ve gone over so well," Yami replied. Anzu wanted a traditional wedding, and that was precisely what she was going to get.
"Guess not." Then the blonde’s eyes lit up. "But hey, look at it this way. Tonight’s the night - you’re finally gonna get laid!" he whispered. "Bet you’re lookin’ forward to that, right?"
Yugi turned beet red. While that was true, that wasn’t why he was getting married! They’d just been holding off because… well, it didn’t seem right before. Or at least, it hadn’t been right for the two of them…
"Jounouchi…" Yami began growling. He didn’t know if he ought to be angry or exasperated, but it was hard to stay mad at Jou as he grinned back in a comical manner. Yami folded his arms and shook his head. He knew his friend was only trying to lighten the mood, but still…
"Hey, have some sympathy, man. I don’t want to hear it from someone who couldn’t hold out more than… what, a week?"
"For your information… it was six days," Yami admitted. He smiled fondly, remembering how they’d christened his new car…
"Okay, I was joking about ‘a week.’ But really… six days?"
Yami snorted. "It wasn’t like we didn’t know each other."
"Although… I can’t say I really blame ya, I mean… ya know? Like, I get it. But still… SIX DAYS!!"
Yugi suddenly burst out laughing, startling his groomsmen. He hadn’t been thinking about sex at all; he’d been so preoccupied with the wedding ceremony and not the "aftermath" – but hearing the ridiculous debate his friends were having…
Well, if nothing else, a good dose of laughter made him feel a whole lot better.
"Thanks guys, I needed that."
Jou beamed. "You’re welcome! And hey…" he added, glancing at Yugi’s watch, "we’re under thirteen minutes to go!"
Yugi began tensing up again. Yami noticed immediately and turned back to the blonde. "JOU…"
* * *
Seto wandered through the ever growing pool of wedding guests, and over to the host stand and gift table set out on the patio outside the rose garden. Mokuba waved at him; there weren’t any guests signing in at the moment, though Anzu’s father was at the table, speaking to the younger Kaibas. Mr. Mazaki smiled and nodded at Seto as the young billionaire approached, then said his goodbyes to Mokuba and Noa as he went to rejoin his wife and see to some relatives who’d just arrived.
"What did he want?" Seto couldn’t help asking once the man was out of earshot.
"He just wanted to see how we were doing, and thanked us for helping, that’s all. He seems like a nice man. He was even cool with us having the guests seat themselves, since they all seem to want to do that," Mokuba replied. He didn’t bother adding that Mr. Mazaki had called them his new "son-in-law’s brother-in-laws." There was no way Seto would accept that quietly.
Seto grunted as he took a seat beside his brothers, then folded his arms across his chest.
Even though the brunette had agreed to usher, Mokuba and Noa continued taking care of everything without missing a beat, so Seto just sat back and watched as guests continued to sign in. There sure were a heck of a lot of duelists on the guest list. The last time he’d seen so many high ranked duelists at one event, it was the KC Grand Prix, and that was… wow, four years ago?!
Guess I should think about hosting another big tournament, he mused, then straightened up a little as he noticed Pegasus and his group approaching the table. Maybe Pegasus would be interested in partnering up? But planning a tournament would have a wait until later; Seto had enough tact to not go chasing after wedding guests with a sign up sheet.
The silver-haired man smiled as he signed the guestbook in neat script and accepted a pair of programs. He’d brought a date, the same pretty girl that had shown up at the rehearsal. Seto couldn’t help but wonder if there was really something there, or had he "rented" her for the duration of his stay?
"I really can’t believe you brought a stripper along as your date," Seto muttered under his breath once Pegasus stepped aside for Valon and crew to sign the guestbook too.
"Now now, it’s not like that… Arisu here is a fine young lady who’s been working hard so she can pay for school. She wants to become a nurse!" Pegasus replied brightly.
The lady’s face turned a fetching shade of pink; Pegasus’ grin got even bigger. Seto rolled his eyes. He didn’t need the image of Pegasus sleazily putting the moves on some unfortunate girl, dancing around in his head. That was why he avoided asking acquaintances about their private lives – it really wasn’t his business. Why did he care if the man just wanted to hire some companionship? That was his right, if he wanted to go that route. Or maybe he just didn’t want to attend a wedding alone and the girl was simply pretty arm candy. Or perhaps, since Pegasus was one crazy motherfucker after all, he thought it was just too funny to show up with the most… questionable date possible.
"I think someone’s letting their imagination run wild," Valon said with a laugh before Amelda began tugging him away. Seto squinted at the Aussie and wondered what he knew about the situation, before he shook his head and chided himself for being too curious once again…
Speaking of curious situations, Seto noticed the Ishtars and Bakura now walking up to the host table as well, with a man Seto presumed was Ishizu’s fiancé. But though the young CEO was certain they’d never met before, there was something about the fellow that seemed strangely familiar. It was the same sort of vibe he’d gotten from Ishizu when they’d first met, the same sort of vibe that usually got Yami started on babbling about fate and destiny. Seto had never liked that feeling, but he’d experienced it enough to at least understand that it didn’t mean the man was a threat. It just plucked at his attention and made him a little harder to shrug off, that was all.
Malik and Bakura exchanged greetings with the Kaibas and signed in, then accepted Mokuba’s seating instructions before going over to chat with Pegasus’ group. Seto gave Ishizu and Rishid a nod as well, then quirked an eyebrow slightly at the other man.
"My fiancé, Karim," Ishizu said, confirming what the Kaibas had assumed.
Mokuba handled introductions on their end as Karim shook their hands. He was soft spoken and polite… and utterly boring, in Seto’s opinion, but he figured that made him a good match for Ishizu. Mokuba made small talk about the flight and the weather before Rishid pointed out they ought to move on – they were holding up the line, and the wedding was scheduled to begin in just a couple of minutes.
Seto watched as both groups left together and other guests resumed checking in. Weddings seemed to bring out the romance in people. Ishizu seemed quite content, Malik and Bakura looked like they were getting along well once again, Pegasus was enjoying the company of his companion, and even Valon, Amelda and Rafael somehow seemed a little closer than they’d been before. Seto sighed. He wondered if there was something wrong with him that he didn’t seem to work that way. Of course he loved Yami. He couldn’t imagine being with anyone else. But Yugi getting married didn’t make him suddenly feel more in love than before.
Maybe part of it was that he and Yami were the "old couple" – they’d been together longer than anyone else in their circle of friends. In about a month they’d be celebrating their seven-year anniversary. Or was it a 3,007-year anniversary, give or take a few years? Seto snorted. Yami would probably say it was the latter, which means they had beaten out everyone else on the planet in terms of longevity as a couple. But that didn’t mean their relationship was boring or stale. Why, just last night they were…
"Did you hear me, Nii-sama?" Mokuba’s voice suddenly inquired.
Seto twitched and looked up, realizing that both Mokuba and Noa were standing, staring at him. "Hn?"
Noa rolled his eyes. It was bad enough Seto was daydreaming instead of ushering, but the look on his face pretty much guaranteed the subject of his distraction was Yami. "We’re trying to wrap up here. We don’t want to miss the main event."
Mokuba took a quick look around, then asked, "Should we get the gifts to the cars now or later?"
Noa double-checked the time. "Might as well do it now. We still have a minute or two." He made a gesture with his hand and Mahad and Fubeta appeared almost out of nowhere, ready to assist, even though they were attending the wedding as guests. But since Seto had offered use of his cars they'd pitched in as limo drivers… it was their special favor to the couple. Isono too was a guest and driver, but he was also keeping an eye on Kaiba Corp. matters and had stepped aside to take a phone call.
Mokuba nodded at the security officers. "Let’s get this done real fast and then get to our seats."
Seto stood up. "All right."
"You should go on ahead, Seto. We’ll join you as soon as we’re done," Mokuba said as he picked up a large package.
"Yeah. Besides, isn’t Yami waiting for you?" Mokuba answered.
Seto shrugged. Yami’s focus was completely on Yugi at the moment, but that was no surprise.
"Even if all he can do is worry about supporting Yugi, I’m sure he’d feel better if you were there too. So you can worry about him instead," the black-haired teen explained, adding a second box to the top of the first.
They were at a wedding. There weren’t any threats, unless one counted Siegfried freely wandering the premises or Valon prowling around, hunting for unattended boyfriends… "Why would I worry about him?" Seto asked. It came out more like a snarl.
Mokuba simply smiled. "Because… that’s what you do."
* * *
Mokuba had been partially correct; Yami was waiting, by the entrance to the garden. But he was there in preparation for the start of the ceremony, not waiting for his boyfriend to reappear. Still, Seto couldn’t resist pausing for a quick hug before heading in to find his seat.
The ceremony site was a lot more populated than when Seto had last seen it several minutes prior. Most of the guests were now seated and conversing in hushed tones. It was quiet enough that he could clearly hear the soft strains of music being piped in for the prelude; he recognized the selection as "La Primavera" from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.
He knew he was expected to sit in the front row, which was reserved for family. It was supposed to be an honor but the brunette felt a little awkward about it. It wasn’t that he disliked Yugi or anything, but it was a slight stretch to think of him as family even though they were linked together not only by Yami, but by Sugoroku as well. Seto knew he was being unreasonable: Yugi was a good guy with a good heart, a trustworthy friend, Yami’s partner… they were even residually mind linked together… but they just hadn’t ever forged that last link that took them beyond close friendship to being family.
… Still, this was Anzu and Yugi’s big day. Seto wasn’t going to make a fuss about whether or not he was Yugi’s "brother," not on this of all days.
Mokuba and Noa walked up just as the music selection changed to an instrumental recording of Bach’s "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" from Cantata No. 147. The pair quickly sat down beside their brother with relieved smiles on their faces… they’d made it just in the nick of time, barely beating out Sugoroku as he began escorting Mrs. Mazaki to her seat. Both parents’ faces were lit up with happiness and even a little relief; the long awaited moment had finally arrived.
Once Anzu’s mother had been seated and Sugoroku had joined the Kaibas in the front row, Jounouchi strutted in with his wife on his arm. No one could blame him for being proud… pregnant or not, Mai always turned heads. She still cut quite a sexy figure in a strapless chiffon gown, rendered in the same peach-pink color as the men’s ties. The ruching on the bodice and beading at the empire waist only served to amplify her voluptuous curves, and her hips swayed with each step, causing her skirt to flutter flirtatiously against her appreciative husband’s leg.
Yami and Shizuka were the next to follow. As alluring as Mai had been in her bridesmaid's dress, Shizuka managed to look almost demure in comparison. It helped that she had a more boyish build, so she didn’t have her chest threatening to spill out of the top, plus she took careful, measured steps to keep the swaying to a minimum. It helped too that Yami was helping to steady her… he’d offered her his arm and she’d accepted it, placing her hand on the crook of his elbow as they made their way down the aisle. But much to Seto’s relief, they maintained a respectable distance between them the entire way down. It wasn’t that Seto thought his boyfriend and his secretary would ever be anything more than friends, but it was no secret that the young CEO didn’t like the idea of anyone touching Yami. Noa, Mokuba, and Sugoroku had some leeway, but even Yugi wasn’t granted immunity from being glared at when his hugs got too enthusiastic or went on for too long.
Yami must’ve sensed the direction of Seto’s thoughts, because he threw his lover a quick wink once he took his spot by Yugi’s side.
Hitomi was next; everyone craned their heads to see the little girl as she began her walk down the aisle. She was dressed to match the bride and her chosen wedding colors - the sleeveless white satin dress with puffy tulle skirt emulated details from Anzu’s gown, the peach-pink floral sash coordinated with the attendants’ garb and accessories. She carried a basket with dried rose petals in coordinating colors – pink, peach, blush and white – and every few steps she’d pause to throw a handful onto the aisle, her lips pursing as she concentrated on making sure the petals all landed in a good spot. Everyone in attendance couldn’t help but smile at how seriously the cute child took her job.
It all went smoothly until Hitomi got to the end of the aisle and froze; she couldn’t remember where she needed to go once she reached the end of the walkway. The nice older lady from the hotel had told her, but she’d been so distracted by everything going on that she hadn’t been paying attention. Now, with her mother standing on one side and her father on the other, she was confused. Both were making little gestures at her. And her Aunt Shizuka and Uncles Yugi and Yami were there as well, which made it even more confusing. She plucked at her skirt, crunching a handful of fabric in her hand, as she tried to make up her mind.
"Here, Puppy," a voice called from behind her, low but audible even against the backdrop of chuckles from amused guests.
Hitomi turned around to see her Uncle Seto sitting there, crooking a finger at her. She brightened up. He’d know what to do – her father always said that he was a smart… something – so she ran to him and hugged his leg.
Seto lightly rested his hand on her head a moment. "You can sit with Jii-chan and me," he assured her, as Sugoroku smothered a laugh behind his hand. But before she could climb onto his lap the opening notes of Wagner’s "Bridal Chorus" swelled and everyone around them began standing and turning their attention to the rear of the garden. Seto gave Hitomi a final pat and stood up as well, then picked up the little girl so she’d have the perfect vantage point to watch as the bride and her father began making their way down the aisle.
Cliché as it sounded, Yugi swore his heart skipped a beat the moment Anzu stepped into view from behind the archway of climbing roses. From the murmurs of approval that rippled through the gathered throng of friends and family, he knew he wasn’t the only one taken with the bride’s grace and elegant beauty. Like a prima ballerina in the role of a lovestruck princess, she was radiant in a strapless, chapel-length ball gown with a sweetheart neckline, lace bodice, and basque waist that burst into a very full tulle skirt. She wore her hair in a simple bun, topped off with a comb decorated with tiny peach roses, from which a double-tiered, elbow-length veil cascaded, fluttering in the light breeze. Her hands cradled a lush bouquet of pink, peach and white roses.
Anzu gave a reassuring smile to her husband-to-be. She could see how nervous Yugi was; it was written all over his face and even in his body language. She had expected to be nervous as well, and she was a little bit of course, but there was also a weird sense of calm that had fallen over her now that the moment had finally arrived. It helped that her father was at her side, patting her arm encouragingly as they took measured steps down the walkway. But more than that… She’d been waiting so many years for this; there was no doubt in her mind, this was exactly what she wanted.
As she released her father’s arm and took Yugi’s, as they stepped up to the altar together, she looked to the left at her Maids of Honor, then to the right at the two Best Men. Many years ago, she’d dreamed about standing at the altar with Yami by her side. But she was glad things had worked out as they did. As nice of a guy as Yami was, he’d been a fantasy, a crush… in reality he was too possessive, too driven, too intense, for a "girl next door." But she was grateful she’d gone through that phase nonetheless, because without it, she would’ve never realized just how special Yugi was. It took Yami getting his own body and his own lover for her to see that the traits she had liked most in him, were reflections of Yugi.
"Ready?" Yugi mouthed as he gave her hand a light squeeze. His palm felt a little damp.
Anzu felt her cheeks flush with warmth. Even though Yugi was a nervous wreck, he was still looking out for her. "Yes."
The officiant smiled at
the two of them, then waited until the guests sat back down before he
began. "Dear friends, family, we are gathered here today…"
* * *
The middle of a wedding was an odd time to have a debate with oneself about nebulous concepts like love and eternity, but that was what Seto was doing during the exchange of vows.
He stared at the back of Yami’s head as the crimson-eyed man stood attentively by Yugi’s side. He could hear Anzu’s mother sniffling softly into a handkerchief – tears of joy, he assumed - as the officiant began on the vows, but Seto found the whole thing more sobering than anything else. He’d asked Yami before if he’d want to get married. Yami had said that he didn’t need it. But Seto couldn’t help but wonder if Yami was reconsidering it now that he was here at Yugi’s wedding, now that he was seeing Yugi and Anzu pledging to love, honor and cherish one another for the rest of their lives…
Seto still didn’t really believe in "forever" even after three millennia, but he wanted to. Maybe he’d been spoiled by Yami and by his own memories of the past; maybe that’s why he thought it was possible. But was he asking too much? He glanced around briefly. Many couples, many families, didn’t hold together for more than a few years, whether or not it came by choice. His parents had died. Sugoroku’s wife and son had as well. And Jou and Mai were both products of broken homes, broken families; statistically that put them at a higher risk for divorce. And the odds weren’t any better for a male-male couple. From what he knew, even though Bakura and Malik were attending the wedding together, their relationship was so off and on that they didn’t even know what their own relationship status was half the time! He couldn’t even guarantee that Mokuba and Noa would stay together. Maybe they’d drift apart once they got older; maybe something else would happen. He hoped that wouldn’t be the case, but they had the right to make their own decisions. But no matter what happened, he’d do his very best to support them both.
Seto shook his head. He didn’t know how he’d gotten sidetracked into analyzing everyone else’s relationships when it had been his own that he’d been thinking about. Though he wasn’t sure why he’d been worrying about it in the first place. His bond with Yami wasn’t like any other, so the usual odds didn’t apply. No one else had a connection that stretched over so many years, like a sturdy rubber band, snapping together this life and a previous one, no matter how hard he’d stupidly strained against it. And no one else had a mind link with their lover; no one else understood the level of trust that took, to lay bare one’s every thought and emotion, knowing the other could use any stray notion against them and yet also knowing that they wouldn’t. No one else had a rivalry like they’d had as well… if they could forgive each other for all the insanity early on, when they’d nearly killed one another, they could forgive each other for anything.
Anzu and Yugi were facing each other now as they clasped hands. They were a nice, sensible couple – Seto was fairly certain if any marriage would work, this one would. Yugi and Anzu would probably end up living an idyllic life, complete with a minivan and a white picket fence and a cat and a dog; they’d grow old together while looking back fondly at a lifetime of shared smiles, while their grandkids played behind the house. But while that didn’t sound like a bad life, it wasn’t what Seto wanted. It lacked the excitement that came with living in the fast lane, with a bold, spirited former Pharaoh who’d push him – and accompany him - every step of the way.
Anzu had tears welling up in her eyes as she clutched the wedding band she was about to place on Yugi’s finger, a physical representation of their newly forged union; her band was already glowing from its place around her ring finger. Yami’s head was turned, and he was smiling at them from behind Yugi’s shoulder.
Seto glanced down at his own hand. While he and Yami didn’t have rings, they did have something similar. Yami wasn’t wearing his collar for once – it didn’t play well with a bow tie – but Seto was wearing the matching belt, and even one of Yami’s ties. Didn’t those have some of the same symbolism as wedding bands? Tangible proof of a bond, an almost literal shackling of one individual to another… except Seto was pretty sure that he was the one most tightly fettered, even though Yami was the one in the collar. But, contrary to his nature, this was a binding he didn’t want to break free from.
The young CEO made up his mind. He’d talk to his lover again, once they had a quiet moment… He’d make sure that Yami understood his offer had no expiration date on it. Even if they were 50… no, even 100… if Yami suddenly decided that it would been nice to be married after all, Seto would physically carry him to the nearest courthouse, if need be.
Decision made, Seto sat back to enjoy the rest of the wedding. His timing was spot on. The officiant had just pronounced them husband and wife and Yugi and Anzu were now about to share their first kiss as a married couple. They joined hands, both looking a little shy as everyone clapped and cheered encouragingly, then Yugi brushed back the veil from the side of Anzu’s face and leaned in for a brief but tender kiss, earning quite a number of "Awwws" from the guests.
"Dear friends, family… I present to you, Mr. And Mrs. Yugi Mutou!" the officiant announced, and the couple turned to smile brightly at the gathered throng. Anzu’s mother went from dabbing at her eyes to choking back fresh tears as the newlyweds began making their way back up the aisle to Mendelssohn’s "Wedding March", beaming as everyone showered them with congratulations. The attendants followed suit in reverse order, save Hitomi, who remained with the Kaibas and Sugoroku.
Once the officiant had also made his way up the aisle, the guests were free to get up and head off to the hotel’s grand ballroom for the reception. Seto began making his way out with his little charge in tow, looking for her parents, picking her up to ensure he wouldn’t lose her in the crowd. The wedding party was waiting just outside the rose garden with the photographer; they needed to get couple and group photos done before the reception. Since the Kaibas were "family," Seto and his brothers were asked to hang around as well. They watched as dozens of photos were snapped and stepped in to pose in several of them at the photographer’s request.
When the photographer finally gave everyone the thumbs up – he’d gotten the pictures he’d wanted – the bride, her mother, and her attendants hurried off to get Anzu ready for the reception while ushers Mokuba and Noa rushed to the ballroom to handle the seating assignments. Yugi and his Best Men, plus Seto, ended up hanging around outside the reception hall to wait for the ladies.
The brunette found it unnerving that the hallway outside the ballroom was eerily similar to the one from the dream he’d had months earlier, where he’d been… Yami’s bride. There were candles and roses decorated with white banners with gold script. There was even a large mirror at the end of the hallway. But when he glanced at it he was relieved to see he was in a suit and not an all-white tux. And the banners read "Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Mutou;" his name was nowhere to be seen. He breathed a small, thankful sigh… he couldn’t think of anything worse than showing up to one’s own wedding without a clue that it was, in fact, one’s own wedding.
Yami must’ve caught wind of his lover’s thoughts because he suddenly winked at him. Seto scowled slightly. Yami grabbed his hand, then, since there wasn’t anything else that needed his attention at the moment, gave his boyfriend a quick kiss, which smoothed the scowl off Seto’s face. He wanted to go in for a deeper kiss, but the doors leading into the hallway swung open as the ladies bustled in to rejoin them.
At least they hadn’t been kept waiting long. Anzu had only made minor changes: she’d switched to more comfortable shoes for dancing, and removed the veil and let her hair down. She’d grown her hair out for just this occasion and now wore it pulled back at the crown, keeping the rest of it loose past her shoulders.
Yugi asked Seto to take a peek into the reception hall before the bridal party made their entrance, to make sure the timing was right. Everyone inside seemed to be having a good time, chatting and drinking and sampling appetizers. Seto approached the DJ as the current song was winding down, told him the guests of honor were ready, then stepped aside as the DJ seamlessly switched songs and announced the entrance of the bridal party with great gusto.
Almost every aspect of the wedding ceremony had been traditional. But Anzu had wanted to have a little more fun with the reception; it was a celebration after all! So after her parents and Sugoroku had been introduced, instead of simply walking in hand-in-hand with her spouse, she and Yugi boogied on in to "You’re the One That I Want" from Grease, a nod to the movie they'd watched on their first date. Anzu was all smiles, a lot more relaxed now that the wedding ceremony was behind them. She stepped confidently into the reception hall, her dress swishing elegantly around her long legs. Yugi wasn’t much of a dancer or even a "boogie-er," but he was having just as much fun as his spouse and enjoying the moment, glad they’d opted for a much more casual reception.
Once the bride and groom had danced their way to the head table, the rest of the wedding party entered in similar fashion. Even though Mai wasn’t exactly in peak condition for dancing she still got into the groove; Jou barely managed to keep pace with her as a giggling Hitomi swung between them. Shizuka and Yami made their entrance together as well though that didn’t last long; Seto couldn’t resist snatching Yami away after a few seconds. Shizuka wasn’t surprised to suddenly find herself sans companion but she wasn’t left alone for long… Hitomi broke away from her parents to join her aunt, a move that had a lot of guests laughing along and Honda and Otogi jostling for second place. Yami grinned at both the little girl and his lover’s antics, before reminding Seto that he’d be sitting at the head table with the rest of bridal party. Yugi and Anzu had been understanding enough – and smart enough - to seat Seto by Yami’s side. They knew if they hadn’t done so, the young billionaire would’ve probably wandered over instead of sitting down and eating, and the seat had been available anyhow.
Dinner was served buffet style. The bridal table went first, then after they’d gotten their plates, other tables were excused one at a time for their turns. It took a while to get everyone fed, but once it looked like all the guests had gotten something to eat and everyone was comfortably seated once again, Yami and Jounouchi stood up with champagne glasses held aloft, and asked for everyone’s attention. Since they were sharing duties the four attendants had decided to give their toasts together, as if they were in a giant tag team duel.
Seto pushed aside his plate and turned his attention to the group. Although he was sitting at the head table, he’d been spared the task of making a toast. He had no problem speaking in front of groups of course; it would’ve been easy enough to come up with something suitable to say. But it wouldn’t have come across as heartfelt. He just wasn’t accustomed to marrying emotion with speeches.
Yami, on the other hand, always spoke with passion. Seto and his brothers sometimes joked that the ex-spirit simply liked hearing himself talk, but they all knew that that wasn’t true. Yami wasn’t really that chatty, at least in comparison to someone like Jou or Valon or Pegasus – but everything he said had such impact that he gave off the impression of speaking more than he had.
The ladies went first. Seto found their toasts to be fairly standard, full of predictable descriptors like "wonderful people" and "great friends." He wished that Mai would’ve brought up the whole handcuffing incident from their first group date – that at least would’ve been worth a chuckle – but everyone was too focused on giving nice, proper speeches to include a scandalous tidbit like that.
His expectations were even lower for Jounouchi. The blonde man wasn’t exactly known for his speaking ability – and worse yet, he now found himself in the unenviable position of preceding a man who was known for exactly that. So even though he’d clearly rehearsed his toast beforehand, he ended up fumbling his way through the story of how Yugi had befriended him, how that had changed him from being a delinquent and a bully to being a duelist and a dad. And now they were friends forever and almost like family, blah blah blah. But… Seto had to grudgingly admit, Jou’s overall speech really wasn’t as awful as he’d thought it’d be. He’d just rushed through it a little too fast and talked on a little too long.
At least Jou’s speech had given Yami an obvious platform on which to build upon. After taking a brief moment to compose his thoughts, Yami started off saying that he too was grateful for Yugi’s generous spirit and thoughtful kindness, because he’d seen firsthand how Yugi had changed the lives of those around him. Yugi was the kind of person he wanted to be, a man with quiet strength and conviction, one who would stand beside his friends no matter how difficult the road got, and do it all with a smile. And Anzu was a wonderful match for him; she too was brave, compassionate, sensible, trustworthy… like the sister Yami had never had.
Yami glanced at Seto as he continued on, briefly recalling how Yugi and Anzu had first met in elementary school, a tale he’d heard by proxy from Yugi. It was a little funny that it had been a game which had brought them together; even though Anzu wasn't a much of a gamer that was the common thread amongst all their friends. But although Yami was telling the newlywed’s story, he couldn’t help but think about the past that had led them all to this point. He’d once been a vengeful spirit, nothing more. It was Yugi who’d given him back his humanity, who’d shown him that there was more to his existence than just satisfying his pride and punishing anyone who got in his way. And it was Yugi - and all his friends - that had taught him that there was no shame in relying on others, that he didn’t stand alone.
Those thoughts trickled into Seto’s mind. And even though Seto hated looking back behind him, he understood why Yami was doing so now. Like Yami, the brunette had once thought that one’s own power and pride were the only things that mattered. Those were the flames that drove their rivalry, that made them so ready and willing to kill one another. It wasn’t until much later that Seto had come to recognize and appreciate Yugi’s influence on Yami. It was Yugi’s friendship that had given Yami the strength to continue on in dark moments, when all hope seemed lost. And it was Yugi’s mercy that had stopped Yami from pushing him off the precipice at Duelists Kingdom, that had very likely kept Yami from mind crushing him into complete oblivion at Death-T. At the time Seto hadn’t appreciated it, thinking of friendship and mercy as forms of weakness, but now… he knew Yami couldn’t be anything but grateful for the lessons he’d learned from his partner.
Yami smiled and paused his speech a moment to bow his head slightly, though it was hard to tell if it was meant to be a nod of acknowledgement to Seto or a show of gratitude to Yugi and Anzu, or perhaps a little of both. Yugi nodded back at him. And then Yami found his voice again, wishing the couple all the happiness in the world, vowing that he’d always be by their side, supporting them. He’d always be Yugi’s partner, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t room for a newer and different sort of partnership as well. He left it unsaid, but it was clear to those who knew them best: that promise was meant for Seto too. Seto felt his face heat up slightly at that; he was glad that no one was watching for his reaction, other than Yami.
Sugoroku wasn’t scheduled to give a toast, but when he cleared his throat and looked meaningfully at Yami, the crimson-eyed man tipped his glass at him and gave him the floor. The old man kept it short and sweet: he said he’d always thought of Anzu like a granddaughter and now she’d become a real member of his family, and he couldn’t be happier. After a brief pause, he couldn’t resist reminding them that, as happy as he was now, he’d be even more thrilled if he got some great-grandkids to play with, maybe in the next year or two…
Mrs. Mazaki was quick to raise her glass and echo Sugoroku’s sentiments, especially the part about babies.
Both Yugi and Anzu were pretty red faced by the time her mother sat back down. They’d been married less than two hours – everyone was already thinking about them becoming parents, but they hadn’t even gotten the chance to be spouses yet!
With good-natured chuckles, everyone clinked glasses one more time and had a final sip of toasting champagne.
Once it looked like dinner was winding down, with guests rocking back in their chairs with satisfied expressions, the DJ announced that it was time for the cake cutting ceremony. Traditionally that was something that would occur a little later in the reception, but the wedding coordinator had suggested doing it earlier, while guests were still seated and still felt like eating, and Anzu had agreed.
The cake was a lovely three tiered concoction, enrobed in smooth white fondant that was studded with edible pearls and finished with ribbons and clusters of pastel sugar roses. The bride and groom carefully cut out the first slice and fed a bite to one another, as the photographer busily snapped photos of the entire process, then the hotel staff took over portioning and serving cake to the eager guests while the bride and groom went around to briefly meet with each table.
Once everyone had gotten a slice to enjoy, the DJ declared that the newlyweds would be taking to the floor for their first dance as husband and wife. Yugi took Anzu's hand and led her onto the dance floor in the center of the room. They could both feel the expectant stares descending upon them… Everyone knew Anzu was a dancer and she’d invited several coworkers as guests; they were probably a little curious as to how Yugi would fare since Anzu stood slightly taller than him, even in her low heels.
The little duelist put one hand on his wife’s back, just above her hip, and held her right hand with the other… then took a deep breath as he waited for the music to begin.
They’d been rehearsing for several weeks, with Anzu as the choreographer and instructor, but Yugi had worried he’d forget something or suddenly grow two left feet, and screw it all up. But the way they’d practiced, even though Yugi was "leading" as a gentleman ought to, Anzu would be the one nudging him this way and that, with slight shifts of her hands and hips. And so much to Yugi’s relief he found guidance in her confident directions as the softly strummed opening notes of Shania Twain’s "From This Moment On" began playing.
It was still hard to believe they were finally married. Yugi almost wanted to pinch himself… the thought occurred to him that maybe he was at home, dreaming, and the wedding was still yet to come. But Anzu’s warm body was in his arms as she urged him through the dance steps, and the soft fragrance of her perfume swirled around him, and Yugi sighed as he held her a little closer, reassured by her presence.
It was the first moment they’d had all day that truly felt like theirs and theirs alone, even with so many eyes upon them… just the two of them spinning on the dance floor, enjoying themselves, celebrating. And Yugi came to the realization that the precision of his steps and his timing and rhythm didn’t matter much when it was his show of effort that put a bright smile on Anzu’s face.
Just as Yugi was getting a feel for the steps, their dance came to an end. They reluctantly parted, Yugi bowing out to give Anzu’s father his special moment with his daughter on the dance floor. The father-daughter dance was far simpler, with no fancy moves, but just as heartfelt. Watching as the two slowly drifted across the floor, Yugi wondered if he’d have a moment like that in the far future. If he had a daughter, maybe someday he would…
Of course they’d talked about that, before the engagement. Even if they weren’t as eager as their parents and grandparents about having kids right away, they did want them… eventually. Once they were settled down and stable enough to provide them with all the care and attention they’d need. Anzu thought it would be really wonderful if they had a boy and a girl, but if that didn’t happen, she knew she’d still be happy with whatever they were blessed with. And Yugi didn’t have an opinion either way, until now, seeing Anzu sharing a few private, muffled laughs with her father as their dance wound to a close.
Mr. Mazaki graciously led his daughter back to her husband and handed her off, then the DJ announced that the rest of the bridal party would be joining the bride and groom on the dance floor. He had another Grease inspired selection, "We Go Together," queued up and ready to go. Seto wasn’t into group dancing of any sort, but he let Yami drag him into the fray without resistance. After the first 30 seconds or so, with a nod from the bride, the DJ opened up the dance floor to anyone else who wanted to join the group of friends as they hopped and bopped along with the song.
It felt a lot like the ending of the movie, when Sandy and Danny and all their friends from Rydell High celebrated their graduation, young love, and the magic of friendship. The dance floor filled up with revelers both young and old, lip-synching along with the lyrics, and Anzu giggled at the sight of so many duelists trying to get down on the dance floor. Some of them looked a little like fish out of water with their arrhythmic flailing - Ryouta Kajiki actually did some sort of wriggling goldfish impersonation while "Dinosaur" Ryuzaki swung his arms side to side like a raptor... or a zombie. With male guests outnumbering female guests, Anzu’s coworkers got asked to dance a lot, though Mokuba proved to be a popular target as well despite the imbalance. A few ladies, including one of Anzu’s distant cousins, approached him, but he politely turned them all away.
As the DJ spun song after song, mixing classic favorites with newer hits, the number of dancers ebbed and flowed. The music made the time fly by. A few apologetic guests began to leave, pausing to give a few final, congratulatory words to the newly married duo. And after it became obvious that the magical evening was, regretfully, slowly winding to a close, the DJ asked the couple if they were ready to say goodbye to their friends and family, and they agreed.
Before they could go, there was still the matter of rehoming the bouquet and garter. The single ladies were all extremely excited when the DJ announced it was time for the bride to toss her bouquet, and packed the center of the dance floor like sardines.
Anzu took her place in the front of the room, turned around, and before all the jostling of eager brides-to-be, gave her flowers a good send off. The bouquet tumbled through the air; many hands reached up for it. For a moment it seemed to roll around like foam on a wave, and then a single hand managed to close around it…
"Oh my God, I got it!" Shizuka cried out, waving the flowers about over her head. Other ladies nearby congratulated her, some of them looked a bit disappointed that they hadn’t been the lucky one, but all were being good sports about it. In reality the redheaded young lady wasn’t quite ready to settle down just yet, but maybe the flowers were a sign? But when she looked up for Honda and Otogi, all she saw was her brother’s face – he looked slightly mortified at the thought of his precious little sister being married off, as if he’d only now realized that she was no longer a kid. Shizuka tried to give him a reassuring smile and fought the urge to giggle… She wondered just how bad Jou would be once Hitomi was old enough to start dating.
Following the bouquet toss was the garter toss. The single men were far calmer than the ladies – some even seemed reluctant to get on the dance floor, as if catching the garter would be a curse, robbing them of their bachelorhood. Mokuba and Noa got pushed into the pile, much to the approval of some of the women; they could’ve protested but went along with it, figuring it was easier to just go with the flow.
Someone pulled out a chair for Anzu, so she could sit on the edge of the dance floor. She had positioned her garter close to her knee so that Yugi wouldn’t be groping around for it under her voluminous skirt, but once he knelt down he realized he didn’t know what leg it was on, so he still spent a few mortifying moments looking for it before he was able to snag it and slide it off her leg.
"Now toss it!" someone yelled as Yugi stared at the garter, trying to figure out the best way to throw it. Unlike a bouquet, there was no weight to it. He didn’t want it to just plummet limply to the floor like a rag.
"Hmm." Well, there was elastic in it. Maybe it would work like a rubber band, sort of? He’d only have one shot at it though, but it seemed a better option than trying to throw it.
The band of lace and satin went sailing through the air; a few hands grabbed for it, but it disappeared into the sea of suits and dress shirts. And then it reappeared, in the most unexpected of hands.
"Wow, Isono, really?" Mokuba said. He couldn’t think of a more unlikely recipient.
The rest of the men parted like the Red Sea, to reveal an embarrassed Chief of Kaiba Corp. Security standing there dumbfounded with the lacy article in his grasp. Exposed, he looked over desperately at his coworkers Mahad and Fubeta, as if they could somehow save him from his predicament, but there was nothing they could do for him.
"Who’s the lucky lady?" Noa couldn’t help asking. It was a little mean, but he couldn’t resist teasing him, knowing how flustered poor Isono got around girls.
His face growing redder by the second, Isono simply sighed, then, realizing it was too late to pretend he hadn’t caught it, gave Yugi a slight nod of his head. He really didn’t know what to do with the garter, but he had to be polite and hold onto it. Yugi nodded at him in return, a little sorry he’d put the quiet man in an awkward spot.
With all their duties done, the DJ told the crowd that the bride and groom would be departing soon. The next song would be their last of the evening; they had reserved a wonderful suite in the hotel and were… ready to retire for the night. They had to catch an early flight to Hawaii the next morning for their honeymoon. And before the guests could get too obnoxious with suggestive whistles, he spun up the "Dirty Dancing" favorite, "Time of My Life". The party would keep going for a little while longer, but for one couple, it would be their last spin on the dance floor for the evening.
No one expected Yugi and Anzu to recreate the dance from the movie, especially the lift. And they hadn’t planned to do anything like that. But when the music reached its crescendo and the opportunity arose, Yugi took the initiative and decided to scoop up his bride in his arms and began carrying her out of the ballroom, with everyone cheering him on. It wasn’t exactly the same as carrying her over the threshold – and he needed someone to run over and get the doors for him – but it was extremely romantic. Anzu giggled as she quickly waved goodbye to her family and friends, and then, just like that, they were gone.
"Now that’s an exit!" Mai exclaimed. Frankly she was impressed that Yugi had the strength to pick up Anzu in the first place. Not that she was heavy, but he was such a small guy, and he’d clearly been struggling to make it look natural and easy, which only made it all the more obvious that it wasn’t.
"Yeah, I didn’t know he was gonna do that. So… now what?" Jou asked, looking around.
The music was still playing. Everyone had stopped dancing to watch the bride and groom’s departure, but now that they were gone, some of the guests had started dancing again while others figured it was about time for them to leave as well.
"Now… well…" and Yami looked around slowly, "I guess we decide if we’re staying or going." He wasn’t sure what else to say. He really hadn’t expected Yugi and Anzu to leave just like that. He had thought he’d get the chance to wish them well one more time, and say goodbye, but they were already gone.
Jou glanced at his wife, and shrugged. "Yeah. Guess we’ll start to pack it up, ‘cuz I know Mai’s getting a little tired. Hitomi too." The little girl had been chasing after the teens from the Kame Game Shop for the latter half of the evening, but she was clearly starting to sag against their legs.
"I like a good party, but my feet aren’t so agreeable tonight," Mai confirmed, as she and her husband headed off to go grab their daughter.
Yami bade his friends a good night, then headed back to the head table to grab the rental jacket he’d ditched earlier in the evening. He slung it over his shoulders, just as he used to do with Yugi’s jacket back when they’d shared a body, then caught up with Seto, who stood waiting for him on the dance floor, his head slightly tilted, as if he was mulling over something.
"Ready to go?" the former Pharaoh asked.
Seto began nodding, but suddenly blurted out, "Are you sure you don’t regret it? Not having something like this… a wedding, I mean."
"I don’t regret a thing," Yami replied confidently.
"You know Yami… if it’s what you want… for you, I’d do it. Whatever you want, I’ll give it to you."
Yami smiled. Seto seemed to be really hung up on marriage all of a sudden. He had to wonder how much of it was concern for what Yami wanted, and how much of it was Seto’s repressed desire for stability, a family, leaking through. Truth be told he wouldn’t mind marrying Seto, but he didn’t want it like this. If, in the future, Seto decided that that was what he wanted, for himself, for the both of them… well, then Yami knew what his answer would be. In the meantime, he was beyond content with what they had... "I don’t need a ring to know that you love me."
"And I don’t need a ring, a minister, or a certificate to tell me how I feel about you. I love you, Yami. And I will love no one but you, for all of my life, and the next."
Seto didn’t believe in marriage, but he was making a vow all the same. "And the next after that?" Yami asked.
"I’m holding you to that," Yami said, smirking. Seto responded with a twitch of his lips until his expression matched his boyfriend’s.
They stood there, enjoying the moment amidst all the hubbub, then Yami’s gaze went a little distant as he looked back towards the doors that Yugi and Anzu had disappeared through minutes earlier.
What’s wrong? Seto inquired when he noticed the expression on Yami’s face. It was the same one he'd had earlier, when Yugi and Anzu had made their grand exit.
The ex-spirit struggled to explain himself. It just feels like… something’s come to an end. Not that things had ended between him and Yugi, but their relationship had changed, even if only a little. He thought back to his toast earlier. Yes, Yugi would always be his "aibou" but Anzu was now Yugi’s partner as well, and would be for the rest of his life. For richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part… wasn’t that how the vows went?
Yami wondered if it had been a little hard for Yugi to let go when Yami had started up his relationship with Seto, but Yugi had given him a smile and his blessing, all without hesitation. His encouragement had made Yami feel better about the whole thing; it had given him the boost he needed to move on and live his own life, instead of clinging on to Yugi’s. So Yami had tried to return the favor. He only hoped Yugi had understood. He wanted Yugi to be happy, more than anything…
Hmph. I suppose, if you want to look at it that way…
Yami stared at his boyfriend. What do you mean?
Happily ever after isn’t really the end, it’s just a beginning.
It seemed so out of place for Seto to be referencing fairy tales, especially when he wore such a serious look on his face... Yami couldn’t help but laugh at the contradiction. I didn’t realize you were a fan of fairy tales.
I’m not. They’re stupid; only an idiot would believe in them. But after you came along, well… And a small smile touched Seto’s lips, maybe happily ever after isn’t such a bad concept after all.
A huge grin bloomed on Yami’s face. Even though it was Yugi and Anzu’s wedding reception, the guests of honor had already departed. So he saw no reason to hold back. He grabbed Seto’s tie, using it like a reel to draw his head down, then after resting his forehead against Seto’s for a brief moment, he kissed him deeply, right in the center of the dance floor, not caring one bit that everyone had turned to watch them.
When they finally broke apart, Seto refused to let Yami pull away. While holding his lover close, he turned his head to bark, "Isono, get the car, we’re going." After a pause, he added in a softer tone, "Mokuba, Noa, are you staying or coming with?"
Mokuba only needed a moment to make up his mind. Truthfully, he had no real reason to hang around, but one look at his brother’s face told him - it was better to let him have the car to himself. "We’ll hang around a bit. See you at home."
Seto nodded, and finally disengaged himself from Yami. For a brief second he entertained the notion of sweeping the former Pharaoh off his feet like Yugi did with Anzu. It’d probably piss him off a little, being manhandled in front of a crowd of their peers, but at the same time, it was so irresistibly tempting… And Yami had started it hadn’t he, kissing him like that…
Eh, why not, Seto decided, scooping up his surprised boyfriend from behind with ease. He’d never been good at restraining himself, especially when it came to his rival-turned-lover.
"Seto!" Yami yelped.
"What?" I thought you liked happy endings, Seto added slyly.
Yami paused to digest that, then smiled and asked, Are you trying to start something with me?
Seto couldn’t possibly look more smug. Ah. Now you’re getting it.
Not yet. We’re not in the car yet, Baby.
Seto snorted. He couldn’t possibly leave fast enough. He swept out the door with his prize in his arms as Isono chased after him, fumbling for the car keys, hoping he’d grabbed the right ones from Mahad because if he hadn’t, he was going to catch hell for it.
Once the three of them had vanished out the exit, Noa sighed. "You’d think that they were the newlyweds…" he muttered, though he was far too used to their antics to be surprised by their sudden departure.
Mokuba chuckled. "At least they waited until after Yugi and Anzu left."
"Yeah, but still..." And they were stuck at the hotel too, until they could figure out who they could hitch a ride from, since they’d arrived with Seto earlier. At least they had plenty of friends around, and Mahad and Fubeta as well. But the limos weren’t supposed to leave until the bride and groom’s families, and the rest of the bridal party, were ready to depart, though it did seem the Jounouchis were just about to head out… Noa gestured at Mahad and got a nod acknowledging that his message was received and understood; the security officer would let them know once there was a car set to leave.
Mokuba sighed heavily. "Poor Isono."
"Shouldn’t he be used to it by now?" Noa scoffed.
"Well… no. Yes. NO," the green-haired man flip flopped. He didn’t know what the right answer was. Was there even a right answer?
Then something occurred to Noa. Sugoroku would be moving in in a matter of days. Seto and Yami still had no clue that locked doors and private bedrooms existed for good reason. Noa sucked in a breath and looked over at Mokuba, and Mokuba looked back at him, as if the same thing had dawned on him as well.
"Someone needs to warn the old man before he moves in," they both said in unison.
* * *
As far as future projects, my next Yu-Gi-Oh! story (no title yet) will be something of a spinoff of this one. This version of Seto and Yami will be part of the main cast, but they'll be in an alternate version of their world. If that sounds interesting, hope you'll check it out once I start posting it!
1) The Yu-Gi-Oh! writers that influenced me most:
Nenya – I don’t think any of my stories would exist if Nenya hadn’t written hers first. I never realized the depth that the characters had until she opened up my eyes. And here I was thinking they were just duelists... silly me!
Kagimihari – "A Winding Road" inspired me to do slice of life vignettes, because as exciting as it is to see the characters saving the world or fighting for their lives, I’ve always liked reading about them doing things that normal people do. It makes them feel more "real."
Shakster – The queen of YGO smut. Her fics basically confirmed for me that Seto and Yami would never be satisfied with a boring, average, vanilla sex life. Plus she did a great job of combining smut with the absolute best in humor – humor that would make you fall out of your seat!
2) My betas:
Crimson Eyed Dragon – Beta-ed from some of the earlier stories to the middle of "Aftershocks" and was directly responsible for me writing "Aftershocks."
Nenya – Beta-ed from the middle of "Aftershocks" all the way through to the end. When I found myself beta-less while writing break up angst (which has the highest potential for lameness and cheesiness), and I wanted it absolutely perfect, I realized I needed to go to the one person who could channel Seto better than anyone. Admittedly, I thought Nenya was kinda crazy at first because she said she could hear Seto talking to her (although I shouldn’t talk… my Seto and Yami talk to me too, but only to complain). But (to sorta quote her Kaiba) one does not have to be sane to be good in beta : p and so she took over the role of beta from that point on. And I know I haven’t thanked her enough for all she’s done, so THANK YOU!! I'd probably have thrown in the towel long ago if I'd had to do this all alone.
3) And to my readers:
Frankly I’m amazed anyone’s stuck with these stories for so long. I started writing around the time the DOOM/Orichalcos arc was first being aired in the US, and I’ve seen fans come and go in record numbers. So for those that have stuck with the fandom or have come back to it, I tip my hat to you. And for those of you who have taken the time to leave reviews, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you. Writing fanfics gets very discouraging at times and on some chapters, quite literally the only thing that kept me going was someone leaving a review somewhere out of the blue.
* * *
When the singer's gone
Let the song go on
It's a fine line between the darkness
And the dawn
They say in the darkest night
There's a light beyond
But the ending always comes at last
Endings always come too fast
They come too fast
But they pass too slow
I love you and that's all I know
- "All I Know," Art GarfunkelTHANK YOU FOR READING!
September 7, 2014