Pairing(s): Main: Noa + Mokuba, Seto + Yami. Minor: Yamato + Kouya, Anzu + Yugi, Mai + Jou, Malik + Bakura
Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh! is the creation of Kazuki Takahashi. "Taboo" is from the musical Taboo, by Boy George. "Noah Down the Stairs" is from the musical Caroline, or Change, by Jeanine Tesori and Tony Kushner. This is a not-for-profit fanwork and I do not own any of these characters.
Summary: The sleeping arrangements at the mansion gets changed around.
Status: 3 / ?
Archived at: http://www.phenixsol.com/Miko/FF/
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Ch. 2: Noah Down the Stairs
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The silence was unnerving. Yami tried to concentrate on the hum of the engine and the clamminess of his hands on the leather steering wheel, anything to distract him from Seto’s simmering anger, but it was damn hard to ignore when it was slamming into him like storm tousled waves. He couldn’t say he was *that* surprised to find Noa and Mokuba in each other’s arms, but… that wasn’t how they should’ve found out.
It was tough. Yami really had no problem with the two younger teens hooking up as it were, for as unconventional a relationship as it was and as unacceptable as it would be in the general public's perception, he wasn’t shocked to learn that Mokuba had gravitated towards someone who was rather like Seto. Whether or not Mokuba or Seto or Noa understood that… that was another thing.
But one thing at a time. Yami could feel Seto trying to think of what to do now that he knew, though his thoughts kept wandering over what could’ve happened already and why Mokuba of all people had deceived him. Seto was hurting, but he had never done well in dealing with that sort of emotion. Cold detachment was his preferred mask, and that failing, then anger. After all, the last time the young CEO had really gotten hurt and upset… things had been very, very bad. Of course it all worked out in the end, but for three agonizingly hellish weeks, Seto had tried to cut Yami out of his life completely, and had been ruthless about it, not only hurting Yami emotionally in the process, but himself as well. And Yami didn’t want the same thing to happen again.
The former Pharaoh sighed a little, the sound seemingly amplified in the dead silence of the car. No one commented. Yami thought he heard Noa shift uncomfortably in his seat, but that was it. And that’s how quiet it remained throughout the rest of the drive back to the mansion.
* * *
The quartet shuffled into the house and up the stairs without a single word being uttered. But when they finally reached the top of the stairs, Seto took a deep breath and turned to his brothers, his eyes dark and unreadable. So many unanswered questions and half-thoughts bombarded the brunette's mind, he barely knew where to begin. What were the two younger teens thinking? What was really going on? Had they just been messing around, like on a dare or something, or… no, that wasn’t it. So the girls were just a ruse then, a way for them to sneak out of the house and away from watchful eyes. How long had this… "relationship" been going on, and why had they hidden the truth from him? Why had Mokuba hidden the truth from him…?
He should have known earlier, he supposed. It was his own fault for not picking up on the clues that were there. Like Noa and Mokuba sleeping in the same bed, which was something he had seen on more than one occasion… why had he thought that was normal? He should have realized something was wrong and should have stepped in earlier, but everything had seemed… perfect. And that in and of itself should have clued him in. Life would never be so perfect. But somewhere between his steady workload and his relationship with Yami, he had been lulled into thinking that everything was fine and wonderful and now he realized what a lie it all was. He should have known better.
So was Noa trying to manipulate Mokuba for some reason? Was he doing it to get back at Seto, or to gain some sort of foothold in Kaiba Corp., or perhaps even because of some genuine, though misguided, interest? Seto couldn’t say. But if this was all some sort of game, the young CEO wasn’t interested in playing.
Part of him was tempted to just kick Noa to the curb; it would be the easy thing to do, and Noa had brought it upon himself, but… that didn’t sit well with Seto. If Mokuba had been harmed in any way that would have been his instant and justifiable reaction, but other than an uncertain wariness and no small amount of shame at being caught in a rather scandalous position, Mokuba did seem all right. No… he couldn’t just kick Noa out because that would upset Mokuba, and… despite what had happened, Seto had accepted the role as caretaker for the green-haired teen, and he wasn’t the type of man who took his responsibilities lightly, especially since he was uncertain of where the blame lay. And really, Seto knew he had to take responsibility himself for being blind to what had been going on behind his back, for ultimately, it was his duty as a big brother to look out for both Noa and Mokuba’s welfare. He knew he was busy at work, and what free time he had at home was mostly been spent with Yami, so perhaps he hadn’t been focusing enough on Mokuba. Perhaps he should have kept a closer eye on Noa. Perhaps he needed to reevaluate how he and Yami conducted themselves in the presence of his impressionable younger brothers. They did get a bit crazy sometimes, and Yami could be rather loud…
God, he could feel a monster migraine flaring up. Seto needed more time to think up a long-term solution, but for now… he had to find a quick fix for the problems their current sleeping arrangement might cause, as it was getting rather late. Mokuba and Noa had been sharing a bedroom ever since Noa moved in, and now Seto could no longer allow that to happen. The problem of course wasn’t that there was a shortage of bedrooms in the mansion, but rather that putting them in separate rooms might still not be enough. He wanted to say that he’d believe Mokuba if he swore not to sneak out of his room late at night, but as far as Noa… well, he really didn’t know what to think at the moment. And he wasn’t willing to chance it.
As he continued to ponder his options, the brunette was startled to realize that his lover’s mental voice was floating through his mind, trying to get his attention. For a moment, Seto felt himself being lulled by the familiar presence, but then he suddenly realized the effect Yami was having on him and he nearly reacted with a mental shove, only catching himself at the last moment. He really didn’t want Yami trying to comfort him or to influence the decisions he had to make; the ex-spirit would probably insist that he was overanalyzing things and would want him to sleep on any decision he might make.
Baby, please… say something. I know you can hear me, Yami whispered, his tone gentle and coaxing. That just made Seto mad.
Didn’t you always say that you’d respect my privacy? the taller duelist snapped defensively, sounding a bit more harsh than intended.
I… Yami frowned. I wasn’t trying to intrude; you know I wouldn’t do that.
Hn. Seto wasn’t sure why he had reacted like that. Of course he knew Yami wasn’t trying to pry. He was just trying to make things better. He did that type of crap all the time. Seto tried to think of a suitable apology when Yami spoke up again.
I’m sure it's hard to make heads or tails out of all this right now. And we’re all tired. I know it probably is a bit much to expect you to sleep on any decisions you might want to make, but… well, I just don’t want you to do anything rash…
If this was Yugi… and somebody, I wouldn’t tell you to "not do anything rash!" Hell, I’d expect you to act first, and consequences be damned! So don’t fucking tell me…
Yami’s frown deepened. Seto… But the boys…
Seto held his hand up, marking an end to that conversation, then fixed his gaze on the silent pair who stood before him, neither one willing to look him in the eye. Right, first and foremost, a temporary solution for the evening. Though it wasn’t a school night, it was still important that his brothers get their rest, and in order to do so, he had to come to some decision about where to put them. Mokuba could move into his room for the evening, but it’d be a bit awkward with Yami there as well, so what to do with Yami? Or he could move into Mokuba’s room and then… no. Noa in a guest room and Mokuba remaining in his bedroom? That ought to work as long as they each stayed where he assigned them. Which meant…
Finally settling on what he wanted to say, Seto stated in as calm of a voice as he could manage, "Noa, go grab whatever you need for the night. You’re moving downstairs for tonight and you are to stay there. Mokuba, you’re to stay in your room." He made sure to leave no room for argument or discussion, though from the look on Noa’s face, he was itching to make a retort anyway. But the stricken look that flickered across Mokuba’s face stopped him.
It wasn’t that Mokuba agreed with Seto, but rather that he knew that even if they simply wanted to clear things up, now was not the time to do it. It was bad enough that they had already been busted, caught in the act... that they had been deceiving Seto through omission. He wasn’t going to make things worse by adding fuel to the wildfire that was Seto’s hot temper. While it was better to talk to Seto before he started justifying his overblown assumptions to himself, jumping into an argument while he was just begging for a fight was never a good idea.
After some quick consideration, Noa figured out the general gist of what Mokuba was trying to do. He wanted to get things resolved as well of course, but it would have to wait. So without a word of protest, he headed off to grab his pajamas and toothbrush and a change of clothes, taking only a minute before he came back out and headed down the stairs. Worried and yet somewhat relieved, Mokuba watched him go with huge eyes, and then with a final sheepish glance at Seto, he turned and walked into to his bedroom alone, shutting the door softly behind himself.
Yami sighed and looked over at his lover, but before he could say a word Seto shook his head and said, "I don’t want to hear it, Yami."
The former Pharaoh started. "I wasn’t going to…"
Seto just turned and walked off. Concerned, Yami trailed him until they were back in their room, then watched in silent bewilderment as Seto went into the bathroom to take a shower, locking the door behind himself. With nothing better to do, Yami sat down in a chair and waited for his boyfriend to reemerge. He told himself to not take Seto’s brush off too hard, but he couldn’t help but feel a bit hurt by it.
After the very fast shower, Seto emerged in his robe and pajama pants and headed into the closet to fetch a sleeping bag from the back corner. The thing hadn’t been used the entire time Yami had been living at the mansion, though from what Mokuba had told him, Seto had been known to crash in his office at Kaiba Corp. when he was younger and overloaded with projects.
"I’m sleeping in the hallway tonight to make sure there’s no room hopping," Seto stated decisively upon seeing the confusion in Yami’s eyes.
"Oh. All right, I suppose we can do that." Though come to think of it, they’d be awfully squished with just one sleeping bag…
"Not we. Me." The brunette began heading back out into the hallway with the bedroll tucked in his arms.
Yami quickly caught up to him once again, just outside of Mokuba’s bedroom door. "Seto, I don’t mind sharing the sleeping bag with you. So it’s a bit small; we’ll make do."
Seto snarled softly. He knew exactly what Yami was trying to imply, and he certainly wasn’t in the mood for it. "Don’t you get it? We can’t keep doing this… this… We’re setting a crappy example for Noa and Mokuba!"
Yami’s brow wrinkled. "Huh?" Was Seto trying to imply that Yami only wanted to sleep with him to, well… sleep with him? Sex hadn’t come into consideration at all; Yami just figured that Seto could use a hug, a sympathetic ear, and a good night’s sleep. "I wasn’t trying to say that we should have sex tonight. I just want to make sure you get some rest, that’s all."
Seto didn’t think he would be able to sleep a wink regardless if Yami helped him out or not, but he wasn’t going to mention that since it would just get Yami on his case some more. And he really didn’t want to waste his energy on trying to deal with both his lover and brothers at the same time. As much as Seto cared for Yami and as much as he enjoyed spending "quality" time with him, he knew where his priorities should have been, and how badly he had messed up.
So the first thing Seto needed to do was to convince Yami to stay in their bedroom for the evening. But he wasn’t able to think of anything good. All he could come up with was, "I’d feel better if you stayed in the bedroom, Yami. I don’t want you sleeping on the floor."
Yami’s eyes narrowed at the lame excuse. "And I’d feel better if you weren’t sleeping on the floor either. Not that you plan on sleeping."
A shrug was the only response Seto gave. What could he do? He couldn’t deny Yami’s accusations since his boyfriend was right, but at the same time, he didn’t want to escalate it into an argument. But he hated upsetting Yami; his head throbbed even more in protest at the disappointment in Yami’s voice.
The former Pharaoh must have felt the effect the brewing argument was having on Seto, for his irritation dissipated just as quickly as it had appeared, his eyes softening in concern instead. "All right Seto, I won’t make an issue out of this. If you insist, I’ll go back to the bedroom."
Seto rubbed at his forehead, then nodded. Yes, it would be for the best. He couldn’t deal with all this at once. He felt awful for how he was treating Yami, but he had to remember, Mokuba first. Always. But still… "Wait, Yami," he called out just as his lover turned to walk away, his shoulders slightly stooped in dejection.
Crimson eyes flickered up to gaze into blue ones. "Hm?"
Seto took the opportunity to plant a quick kiss on Yami’s forehead, and to brush his fingertips down Yami’s cheek. "Good night," he whispered, afraid to say anything more, suddenly depressed at the realization that that might be all he’d get out of Yami for the foreseeable future.
Yami fought off a sigh, choosing instead to rest his head against Seto’s chest for just a moment in a quick hug, letting his body have the final say before he padded away to try and sleep alone in a bed that suddenly seemed too big and empty for him.
* * *
The two older members of the household weren’t the only ones finding it difficult to get restful sleep that night. Mokuba wasn’t even trying. He was worried about both Noa and Seto, and he really missed having Noa in the room with him. It wasn’t just a physical thing either; they usually talked a lot at night until they both fell asleep, and in the rare instances where he’d been the last one up, he found comfort in the sound of Noa’s breathing as well as in the warmth of his body. Now it was colder than it had been in a long time, or so it seemed… and far too quiet. That’s why when Mokuba thought he had heard something right outside his door, he crept over to find out what it was.
Part of him really hoped it was Noa. But the rational side of him knew that it couldn’t be. The green-haired teen was no fool, and he wasn’t going to try doing something dumb like sneaking back upstairs when Seto had specifically ordered him not to, especially considering the heap of trouble they were already in.
No, from the sounds of it… from the words being exchanged, Seto was planning to sleep in the hallway, and Yami wasn’t happy about it. But Seto must’ve won the fight, because Mokuba could hear a single pair of footsteps walking away, and then the soft rustling of a sleeping bag being unrolled right outside his door.
Mokuba felt awful. Not only were he and Noa both in trouble… but now Seto was turning himself into a physical barricade at his door? And telling Yami that he didn’t want to have sex or something? That was a huge deal. Didn’t they have sex all the time all over the place? Seto had said something about setting a crappy example for him and Noa…
Please don’t tell me that he thinks that… oh no!
Things had been unbearably bad when Seto had gotten it in his head that he had to break up with Yami in order to save his life. He had thought that his heart was worth sacrificing to protect Yami… that Yami’s life mattered more than their relationship, more than the deep bond that joined their souls together. And it had taken quite a lot of yelling and talking and a great deal of patience and love to make Seto understand that he wasn’t cursed, that he didn’t need to go on alone, that there was more to living than mere existence.
Mokube sincerely hoped that Seto would never do anything that drastic again, but he knew that his big brother had sworn to do whatever it took to "protect" him, regardless if he needed or wanted that protection. But how far would he really go in order to make sure that Mokuba was "safe?" Surely he wouldn’t let his concern for Mokuba affect his relationship with Yami - the one thing that he had ever wanted for himself, the one thing that truly made him happy - would he?
The black-haired teen dreaded finding out what the answer to that question would be, but deep down… he already knew.
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April 4, 2006