Title: Never Drive Faster Than Your Guardian Angels Can Fly
Rating: PG-13 / R
Pairing(s): Yami x Seto (and reverse), Noa + Mokuba
Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh! is the creation of Kazuki Takahashi. This is a not-for-profit fanwork and I do not own any of these characters.
Summary: What if the dearly departed could visit the living once every five years? Unable to do anything, they can only watch and see… Are things better than they could’ve hoped for, or worse than they first appear?
Archived at: http://www.phenixsol.com/Miko/FF/
This is a mild YAOI fic (male x male sexual situations) and is not appropriate for minors. If you are underage or offended by homosexual relationships, please do not read this. Flames will be disregarded.
Setup for this fic:
* * *
Never Drive Faster Than Your Guardian Angels Can Fly
Ch 1: Arrival
* * *
It came only once every five years.
In a place where time had no meaning, five years could fly by in the blink of an eye… or it could crawl by, excruciatingly slow.
For a father and a mother who had left behind two young sons, "slow" could not begin to describe just how agonizing the wait was.
But soon the moment they’d been waiting for would arrive. At the stroke of midnight, on the last day of the year, they’d finally get a chance to visit the living world for a single day. To see for themselves how their sons were faring. To hopefully marvel at how grown up they’d become, how tall and how handsome… or to wail at the crumbling ruins left by adversity and a lifetime of misfortune.
* * *
The pair touched down in the middle of a long hallway, with what seemed like an endless line of doors lining both sides. If they were still alive, perhaps they would’ve found the number of rooms mindboggling. But they’d been there before, five years earlier, ten years earlier… and they knew better than to be impressed by the extravagance of the mansion they were in. The cost paid for it had been too high…
The woman turned slightly in the direction of Seto’s old bedroom, then felt her anxiety melt away a little at the realization that he was no longer in there. The last time she’d seen her older son, he’d been in a coma, fighting for his life while his younger brother bravely tried to hold himself and their company together. She’d never figured out exactly what had happened… the doctors’ reports were vague, and Mokuba’s own whispered words were even more cryptic. He’d mumbled things like "darkness" and "shattered heart" as if what had taken Seto down was something supernatural, like a curse.
… Not that the previous visit had been any more promising. It had been heartbreaking, seeing Seto being forced to study to the point of exhaustion by the man who had adopted him, a man who apparently knew nothing of kindness or mercy, who thought nothing of putting a dog collar on a child and then beating him with a riding crop. And for what? Because Seto had gotten a math question wrong… one single incorrect answer out of a hundred…
It was understandable then, that she’d be nervous about the state she’d find Seto in this time.
Following the sort of instinct that only parents have, the couple quickly made their way to a pair of double doors at the end of the hallway, the entrance to the mansion’s grand master suite, and phased through. What greeted them were sounds… unexpected ones. And an even more unexpected sight...
Seto certainly wasn’t in a coma anymore. He was on the large bed, on his knees, gripping the headboard with both hands, his face hidden between his arms. He was moaning loudly. The lithe, wild haired man behind him was moaning even louder, grasping at Seto’s hips even more tightly. They were both, quite obviously, naked and sweaty.
If the woman were capable of blushing, she would have. No mother expects to walk in on her son having sex… and certainly not with another man!
Perhaps we should find Mokuba, her husband quickly suggested, more embarrassed for his wife’s sake than anything.
Ye… Yes. She let him guide her away from the unexpected sight.
They went back down the hallway, through another wall into another bedroom, and then… the second shock of the evening – Mokuba wasn’t in bed alone, either. There was another boy beside him.
Is this… a sleepover? she wondered aloud as she approached the bed for a closer look at the sleeping pair. But even she didn’t really believe her own words, considering what she’d just witnessed with Seto. And too, there were two beds in the room, so it made no sense that Mokuba would choose to have his friend sleepover in the same bed with him...
Did Seto know about this? Was he allowing it? Did he think it was okay? Or did he not understand that Mokuba was too young to make such a decision, being only… only… 15? Was he 15 already?! A teenager?
Nearly an adult, but not quite there yet. Perhaps Mokuba was old enough to consider dating casually, but he certainly was not old enough to be following in his brother’s footsteps. Not yet, not like that…
At least both of the bed’s occupants were asleep and clothed. Mokuba had an arm draped over the other teen; they were lying very close together. The woman bent down a little, studying them more carefully, and it struck her and her husband at the same time that Mokuba’s… friend bore a striking physical resemblance to Seto. They had similar faces and even similar hairstyles, though this boy’s hair was an unusual blue tinged green. If he were to open his eyes, would they be blue as well?
She looked at her husband, distressed. He stared back at her. Neither one said a thing for a moment, though their thoughts mirrored one another’s. What was going on? Both their sons… preferred men? And not just that, but Mokuba’s preference was someone who looked like Seto? It almost bordered on incest.
She’d been worried enough about her elder son. But now Mokuba was becoming just as much a concern.
Helpless, she could only drift aimlessly as her thoughts spun just as dizzily. Was she even in the right house? Had things changed so much in five years that her own children would seem to her like strangers? She shook her head sadly, feeling like a complete failure, even though there was nothing she could do… nothing she could have done, to change the situation. But she could only think… if she had lived, if her husband had lived… their sons wouldn’t have ended up like this. Strangers sleeping with strangers.
And where were this green-haired teen’s parents? Didn’t they care about what their son was doing? Or did they not know – or not want to know – either?
My dear… her husband whispered to her, finally stopping her in her tracks. She stared at him a moment, unaware that she’d been wandering the mansion like… a ghost. At least they seem to be finished… he added awkwardly as she took stock of where they'd ended up. Why, back in the master suite, of course.
The bed with its rumpled sheets was empty. The bathroom light was on. They could see the two young men washing up at the sink, still stark naked. Seto’s back was to them.
Although it was fairly dark, they, like all spirits, could see everything clearly. They almost wished they couldn’t once they noticed the thinness of Seto’s body, the still present scars on his back, and the large tattoo on one shoulder. Then Seto turned and walked out of the bathroom, unwittingly walking right through the spot where his parents were hovering. He shuddered slightly, an almost imperceptible shiver, at the colder patch of air, but didn’t pause to give it thought as he picked up his boxers and pajama pants off the floor, pulled them on, and quickly slid into bed. "Hurry up, Yami," he brusquely called out to his companion.
Yami… The woman turned as the shorter man walked into the bedroom and began fishing for his underwear as well. For a moment time seemed to stretch indefinitely as her mind asked itself, This man… is he… just a one-night stand? Seto, and a person like this…
He looked nothing like the type of man she’d imagine Seto dating, if she had to imagine a boyfriend for her son. Yami was short and slender, with eyes the color of blood. His hair seemed to stick out like a porcupine’s quills and was dyed so many different colors that it defied classification. He had even more tattoos than Seto, though they were all similar to the dragon borne on the brunette’s back, and a piercing – also of a dragon – through his navel. And there was a thick leather collar buckled around his neck… The woman shivered as she remembered how that man had tortured her son like an unwanted dog… no, like he was worse than that. But the collar Yami wore didn’t seem like some instrument of punishment or humiliation, for it had Seto’s name engraved across it in bold letters, as if he were proudly announcing their relationship for the whole world to see.
So Yami wasn’t a one-night stand then, or worse yet, a gigolo. But that didn’t make the woman feel much better. Yami was still some sort of weirdo. And he was probably only interested in money; that was how people were. Someone like him could only hurt Seto.
But Seto wasn’t of the same mindset as his mother. When Yami finally climbed into bed, Seto immediately grabbed onto him, pulling him over to hug him tightly. One of Yami’s arms managed to make its way up and began lightly scratching at Seto’s scalp, and the taller man grunted softly as he shut his eyes and touched his forehead to his lover’s.
The woman felt the sensation of her fingers twitching, as if she still had a body. She remembered petting her son’s hair and putting him to bed when he was a child. And now… someone else was doing it in her stead. She was jealous, in a way. She desperately wanted to hold her son, to be able to do the things that mothers did… and yet all she could do was watch.
At the same time, she was grateful too, knowing there was someone by Seto’s side, someone who cared enough to put him to bed...
Maybe… Was she was wrong about Yami then? Perhaps she’d been a bit too hasty in judging him based on his unusual exterior. And it wasn’t like Seto could’ve brought Yami "home" to formally introduce him to her…
She looked at the shorter man again. He was beginning to nod off as well, but continued to pet Seto’s hair intermittently. The harsh red eyes that had seemed so alarming at first were softer now, more of a wine or burgundy shade, and the lips that had been smirking were now pursed slightly, as if whispering endearments for only Seto to hear. Then Yami sleepily kissed Seto on the forehead, which earned him a smile from the already dozing brunette.
The corners of the woman’s mouth automatically turned upwards as well, and she suddenly felt… better. She had thought that she would’ve been happy enough to see Seto conscious. She’d been scared to hope for anything more than that. But now… she was beginning to see possibilities. She could hardly wait for morning to come, to see what would happen once her boys were awake.
* * *
Even though it was New Year’s Eve, Seto was never one to lounge about in bed. But as a concession to the holiday, he did sleep in a little, rising just before 7:00 AM. Leaving Yami sleeping soundly under a pile of blankets, Seto headed down to the kitchen – accompanied by his parents’ unseen spirits – to start up breakfast. It was a nice gesture, a treat for his lover as well as his brothers… and perhaps a bargaining chip as well. Although he didn’t *have* to go in to the office, there were a few tiny things he’d like to get done… provided Yami could be made agreeable to such a thing.
Or he supposed he could just sneak off after breakfast, since Yami wasn’t likely to be up anytime soon… Sneak off, and apologize for it later…
Mmrgh… no… Yami practically yawned into the young CEO’s head, his mental voice sounding just as muffled as his real one would’ve if he were standing right there.
Shush. Heard you.
A half grin twisted Seto’s lips. Well then, you better come down if you want to stop me. And go wake the boys while you’re at it.
At the same time, Seto’s parents were wondering what was going on. Seto had looked like he’d been setting up to cook something. But then he had stopped, standing in place as if he’d forgotten what he was doing. Then just as abruptly, that cocky little grin had made its appearance. The ghost of it still remained even as he went back to his prep work.
But the woman did understand at least some of what was going on. Oh, I see what he’s making… Dear, did you teach him?
Huh… I guess I did, her husband responded, nostalgia in his voice. He knew he hadn’t done a great job raising two young boys. And he definitely hadn’t been a good cook. French toast was the most complicated thing he’d ever managed. But now Seto was the one dipping slices of bread in an egg bath and laying them down on a hot skillet.
He really does remind me of you, she added. Though Seto bore more of a physical resemblance to her, his mannerisms while cooking were very similar to his father’s, from the stance he took in front of the range to the way he sucked his lower lip in slightly as he flipped the cooking toast.
Suddenly Seto stopped what he was doing and lifted his head. A moment later, several sets of footsteps tromped through the entrance of the kitchen, catching the attention of the two spirits. The pair had been looking forward to seeing the members of the household interacting with one another outside of their respective bedrooms. Sitting in the dark, awaiting dawn… spending that time looking at the walls or the things on the shelves or the papers stacked on desks… certainly that had given them some clue as to how things had changed – how Seto and Mokuba had changed – over the last five years. That had given them some idea of what sorts of people Noa and Yami were, too.
For example, Noa, the teen Mokuba had been in bed with… though the two spirits didn’t understand the reasoning behind it, Noa had been adopted into the family by Seto. Perhaps he was a friend from their time at the orphanage, or maybe they’d met later on and discovered they had a similar past? And in a similar vein, the exact nature of his relationship with Mokuba was also a complete mystery. But regardless of how it had happened or why, he was now a Kaiba and was even involved in the family business, as the newly appointed Vice President of Technology and Development.
And as for Yami, they learned that he had been a champion Duel Monsters player. That must have been how he’d met Seto, through one of the tournaments Kaiba Corp. hosted. And the two had been dating a little over two years. Yami must’ve really made an impression on everyone in the household, because not only was he living in the mansion as Seto’s lover, but he was also listed as Noa and Mokuba’s legal guardian, alongside Seto.
But out of all the things they’d looked through, the most interesting and informative items hadn’t been the documents integrating Yami and Noa into the family, but rather a couple of photo albums on Mokuba’s desk. Even at first glance, the two spirits had noticed something odd about them: the albums only contained photos from approximately one and a half years ago and onwards, as if it had never occurred to anyone to take photos before that. Any photos older than that had been placed in a thin folded envelope that lay beneath the front cover of one album.
Intrigued, the couple had carefully sifted through the contents of both the envelope as well as the albums themselves. Amongst the very oldest photos were a picture or two of Seto and Mokuba during their time at the orphanage, and a few more where they were a little older and dressed up for Kaiba Corp. events or gaming tournaments. Seto looked pretty stiff in most of those pictures… even when he was smiling, his eyes were shadowed and his expression strained. Mokuba on the other hand seemed almost too cheerful, as if he were trying to make up for his brother’s sour mood.
But as soon as they’d turned to the photos neatly organized inside the actual albums, they’d immediately noticed a seemingly magical change in Seto’s demeanor. Even in the first handful of shots, which predated the rest of the album by a month or three, Seto had already lost some of his stiffness, trading it for a sort of endearing awkwardness instead. It seemed like he’d forgotten how to control his hands. In every shot with Yami, he looked as if he couldn’t decide whether to push his boyfriend away or pull him closer instead. And the expressions that flitted across his face were equally priceless… a lop sided smile, the faintest hint of a flush on pale cheeks, happiness mingling with disbelief in those crystalline eyes.
After that came a veritable explosion of photos along with an even more noticeable change in Seto’s deportment. He became so much more relaxed, smiling openly, even mugging for a shot or two from time to time. And he finally became comfortable with his relationship with Yami, gladly holding his lover’s hand or draping himself across the shorter man’s shoulders in almost every picture, no matter the setting. Noa and Mokuba looked a lot happier and more relaxed as well, as if the burden of lifting Seto’s spirits had been taken off their shoulders.
… But as grateful as the pair of spirits were to learn a bit more about who and what and how, those still images and documents full of cold facts didn’t give them a real feel for individual personalities. It wasn’t the same as getting to see the members of the household awake and interacting firsthand...
"Cool, Seto’s making French toast!" Noa announced as he, Mokuba and a sluggish Yami entered the room and got a good look at breakfast.
"Mmmmm…" Mokuba added. He headed to the coffee maker and began filling up mugs of coffee for everyone.
"Too early," Yami complained as he shuffled over to the stove. He rested his cheek against Seto’s arm as they stood shoulder to shoulder.
Seto snorted. "Oh come on, it’s past 7:00," he told Yami, though he was careful to keep his movements slow to avoid jostling the younger man as he plated two servings of French toast, then motioned for his siblings to come and get them.
"Less than seven hours sleep…" Yami muttered, rubbing at his eyes, but he straightened up a bit more.
"… Which is more than adequate," Seto countered with a voice dripping with saccharin levels of sweetness. He kissed Yami on top of the head, then started making another two servings of breakfast.
Seto’s mother couldn’t help but take her husband’s arm as they admired the scene before them, so wonderfully homey that it could’ve come right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Well, mostly. Although Seto’s comments towards his boyfriend were laced with a biting sort of humor, there was no mistaking the tender expression on his face or the way he nuzzled the shorter man’s hair at every opportunity. And besides being the perfect boyfriend, he was the very image of the ideal big brother as well, expertly fixing a delicious breakfast which the two teens began devouring with the kind of glee that only growing boys could muster. It was all so perfect… or was it just too good to be true?
"So, uh… are you going in to the office today, Nii-sama?" Noa asked the back of Seto’s head as he prepared to shovel down a bite of toast laced with so much powdered sugar and maple syrup that it was streaming off the sides in a sheet.
Seto tried to keep the wolfish grin from appearing on his face, but of course Yami caught it out of the corner of his eye. "Well… I might…" Seto muttered, deliberately refusing to meet Yami’s glare. "Why, you need anything from there?"
The green-haired teen shrugged. "Nah. Just I figured I’d go with, if you were going. We’re ahead of the deadline, but I wouldn’t mind doing some timed tests while directly patched in to the server, to establish a processing baseline."
"And with no one there, this would be the perfect time to do that…" Seto said, pointing out the obvious. But he had stopped short of saying, "Okay, let’s go."
Noa wrinkled his nose slightly, unconsciously copying the gesture from Mokuba. Clearly, he was asking the wrong adult. "Well, Yami?"
The former Pharaoh sighed. He knew he was being double-teamed, and softened up further by the hypnotically delicious scent of maple and French toast. And Seto had been more or less behaving the past week, only going down to the Kaiba Corp. building twice. "You get until noon, and not a minute more."
"Yes, Mommy," Seto responded snidely.
Yami punched him lightly in the shoulder. "I mean it. I’m tired ‘n grumpy right now."
Noa chuckled. "Don’t worry, Yami. We’ll stop at noon."
Seto grumbled something else under his breath, and was rewarded with a second punch. He rolled his eyes, then turned his attention to Noa. After regarding the teen a moment, he asked, "So, feel like driving?"
Instantly Noa’s eyes lit up. "Really?"
"If you think you’re up to it, why not? No time like the present."
"I wanna come too!" Mokuba yelled. "Let me drive on the way back, please?!"
"Kai-baby, they don’t even have their learner’s permits yet," Yami interjected even as Seto began nodding at his younger brother, an indulgent smile on his face.
"So? You had even less of a clue and I taught you to drive without getting us killed, right?" Seto taunted his lover. "Besides, there’s likely to be lighter traffic today…" He shrugged, then looked at the two teens’ glowing faces. "’Course, we won’t be taking a sports car, so don’t get too excited."
"Doesn’t matter! I can’t wait!" Mokuba enthused. "You’re awesome, Nii-sama!"
Seto practically preened.
Yami simply sighed, accepting the fact that there were some fights that he just wasn’t going to win. "Noon," he reminded the trio. "Lunch will be ready by the time you get back. And remember, Yugi-tachi will be over tonight…"
"Freeloaders," Seto said dismissively, but he was still smiling. He didn’t really mean it; he just couldn’t help himself. But just in case Yami was thinking of protesting anyway, the young billionaire quickly loaded up another plate with a double portion of French toast and handed it to his boyfriend. "Here. Don’t talk – go eat." He began guiding Yami towards the available barstools at the island.
Or we can do both… the former Pharaoh pointed out as he sat down and began pouring syrup all over his side of the plate.
Huh. Thought I heard someone talking at me, but that’s not possible since I told someone to SHUT UP and eat.
Oh? Then, I guess you can’t hear this. Yami dipped a finger in the sticky golden syrup and licked it off slowly while making an exaggerated slurping sound, then began groaning as he smacked his lips together. Seto just stared at him. Mokuba and Noa stared at both men in turn.
"I didn’t know breakfast came with free entertainment. Not that I want to watch," Mokuba muttered as Yami dipped his forefinger into the syrup again only to let Seto take over on clean up duty. With his tongue, of course.
"I’m so tempted to dump a glass of cold water on you both," Noa grumbled. "Except I want to live," he hastily added as Seto began glaring at him over Yami’s shoulder.
"Keep your pants on. We’ll leave in a little bit," Seto growled, though it came out muffled since Yami’s fingertip was still resting on his lips.
"MY pants aren’t the problem here," Noa shot back.
Despite the laughter that sprung up amongst the quartet at the comment, Seto’s mother had to turn away from the scene. She couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed in Yami. What was he thinking, shamelessly making such lewd gestures in front of Mokuba and Noa? She couldn’t imagine acting like that with her husband in the presence of others, especially minors! And Seto wasn’t exactly innocent either. He should have immediately stopped as soon as the boys made it clear that they were uncomfortable with the whole situation. And yet, neither Yami nor Seto seemed to care about that. Didn’t they realize how irresponsible they were being?
She suddenly realized it had grown quiet… almost too quiet. Reluctantly she peeked back, then gave a sigh of relief. They’d all gone back to eating, with Seto and Yami apparently content with dining off the same plate.
It seems like it was so long ago when we were teenagers, the man beside her sighed, as if he’d been equally unrestrained when he was a young man.
She frowned. It’s not funny. He’s… She shook her head, remembering that Seto was already 21. He’s not a teenager anymore. He has to be responsible. The way they were behaving… he should know better than to act like that. Who knows what ideas Mokuba might have gotten from it? He has to think about that.
Yes, I know… But I’m just glad to see him laughing, that’s all, the man responded. Then, a little more soberly, he added, Seto was always very mature, very serious, even when he was little. But I don’t remember… seeing him happy, after you passed away. So I guess I’m more relieved than anything else.
Even though he is behaving like this with another man? She made a slight gesture at the island, at Seto licking a spot of powdered sugar right off Yami’s mouth.
My dear… is that what’s been bothering you?
Doesn’t it bother you?
I too would prefer he be with a woman, but…
More than that… I just want what’s best for him. Even if he is only interested in men… I’m still unsure about this Yami fellow. Seto’s so smart and handsome and successful; I think he could do much better…
The man looked back over at the quartet. If he hadn’t died in that car accident, would that have changed anything? Or would his sons have been queer anyway? Would he have exchanged angry words with his older son over his orientation? Would he even have had the right? He had been home so little when Seto was growing up…
I know what I think… what I want, doesn’t matter. We can’t change anything, the woman admitted. But it is a parent’s duty to worry… She glanced over at Mokuba and Noa, who were both now dancing around the island urging Seto and Yami to eat faster so they could go for their driving lesson, and sighed.
Unfortunately, I think we will be performing our parental duty a lot today, the man added as he caught sight of the same scene his wife had. His sigh joined hers.
* * *
In a way, even a workaholic like Seto was grateful for holiday breaks. The building was so quiet… there were no phones ringing, no copiers shuttling, no scurrying of footsteps or mumbled pleas for his attention. It meant he could get some real work done, without train of thought-wrecking interruptions.
Of course he wasn’t completely alone. There was always a very minimal skeleton crew in the building, mostly maintenance and security. And Mokuba and Noa were in the semi-renovated office space next to his. But they were busy too, with their own projects. And they knew how to work with a minimum of fuss or noise.
Unbeknownst to the young CEO, there were an additional pair of guests tagging along, but since they didn’t make any discernable noise, it was like they weren’t there at all.
Time sped by and before Seto knew it, his brothers were lightly knocking on his door and reminding him of his promise to Yami. So they packed up their things while chatting about how productive their morning had been, and headed down to the black Mercedes sedan waiting in the parking garage.
"Okay, Mokuba. Ready for this?" Seto asked, dangling the shining light of freedom for all teenagers, otherwise known as the car keys.
The black-haired teen was practically drooling. "YES!"
Seto smiled and tossed the keys over the roof of the car. "Let's go."
Just like everything else had been that morning, the drive home was surprisingly smooth. Like Noa, Mokuba took instruction very well – which wasn’t a surprise at all to Seto since he had full confidence in them both. He even felt comfortable enough to start up a discussion about what sorts of cars they were thinking of getting. Mokuba wanted something fast of course, but Noa seemed a little more uncertain. Not that he was being practical either... he wanted something unusual and eyecatching, rather than fast. Or safe.
They reached the second to last stoplight before the house and Mokuba slowly braked as the light turned from yellow to red. He probably would've made it through if he had floored it, but since it was his first time behind the wheel of an actual car, he figured it was better to play it safe. Plus, Seto would disapprove of him driving like… well, Seto.
Everything should have been fine. Mokuba had made the right decision. But suddenly there was the crunching of metal, and the car lurched…
* * *
January 11, 2009