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. "As Long As You’re Happy" is from the musical Nick & Nora, by Charles Strouse and Richard Maltby, Jr. This is a not-for-profit fanwork and I do not own any of these characters.
Summary: Seto and Noa make another attempt at conversation, this time with supervision.
Status: 10 / ?
Archived at: http://www.phenixsol.com/Miko/FF/
* * *
Ch. 9: As Long As You’re Happy
* * *
Noa rather reluctantly followed Yami to Seto’s office, where the two brothers were seated at the project table, waiting for him. Seto motioned for Noa to sit in the seat across from the two of them, and the green-haired teen couldn’t help but think it was almost like they were conducting a business meeting, only this was his personal life that they were going to be discussing. He wondered if it would be a one-on-one session, but Mokuba wasn’t getting up from his seat - which was fine. It was probably even safer that way, considering the look on Seto's face wasn’t quite warm or welcoming.
As Noa slid into the proffered seat, he heard Yami’s feet shifting on the carpet behind him, and realized that the former Pharaoh wasn’t going to stay. That was fine too. It didn’t really involve him, despite what he might have thought.
Seto’s gaze shifted away from Noa and went up over his head. "Wait, Yami," he called out.
The young CEO suddenly rose to his feet and reached out to snag Yami’s arm, then tugged his lover close enough to get a hand behind his head and guide him into a kiss. Mokuba grinned slightly at the sight, relief evident on his face, while Noa’s brow furrowed in confusion.
What the hell? the green-haired teen wondered. Perhaps Yami had done a better job patching things up with Seto than he’d expected. But he still had his doubts. It seemed too easy, and Seto was hardly the easiest person in the world to deal with. Still… that’s one helluva kiss...
"There’s something I need to show you," Seto murmured, his lips still brushing lightly against Yami’s as if he couldn’t bear to be apart from him for even a moment.
Mokuba slid over the guardianship draft he’d been holding on to, watching intently as Yami glanced down, his eyes immediately lighting up in understanding.
"… Baby…" Yami breathed, hope and joy mingling with disbelief on his face. "You… want…"
"I told you, I trust you."
Yami seemed totally lost for a moment; he didn’t even know what to do with the documents or where to put his hands.
A small smile touched Seto’s lips. It wasn’t often that he could throw Yami off guard like that, though… now that he thought about it, he wasn’t sure if he was reading him correctly either. Yami seemed pleased by the news, but there was a faint hint of… uncertainty? Or was it just surprise? He didn’t want his boyfriend to feel obligated to go along with it if that wasn’t something he wanted, so he touched Yami’s wrist lightly. "That's just a draft. You don’t have to accept you know; it won’t change a thing, but…"
"… you know I will," Yami finished for him, finally finding his voice again. The brunette essentially was handing him his soul on a platter; how could he refuse? It was unexpected though… for all of Seto’s ranting about how marriage was just a legal matter and had nothing to do with emotions or commitment, Yami figured he’d feel the same about something like this, but then again, this was as much about protecting the interests of the younger pair as it was about acknowledging the role that Yami played.
"Accept what?" Noa asked, confused. He had no clue what was on the papers, but whatever it was, Mokuba seemed mighty pleased about it, and Seto and Yami looked like they were on the verge of making out over it. So it had to be something big.
Yami smiled sheepishly and finally handed the documents over to the curious teen who glanced over it quickly, his jaw dropping a little when he realized what it was. It shouldn’t have surprised him, really… after all, Yami already had been doing everything a guardian would do. This would just make it legal. And yet, he had never really expected Seto to acknowledge that on paper. The young billionaire was a businessman and dealt with contracts everyday. He didn’t like bringing that sort of thing into his personal life. Certainly he must already have provisions in his will to ensure that everyone would be taken care of, just in case. It was a practical thing to do. It should have been enough. So then, why bother with this?
Noa thought back to what Yami had said only minutes prior. He had been so certain of Seto’s love for him despite the fact that he wasn’t even the most important person in Seto’s life. Noa had questioned his sanity. But, judging from the way that Yami and Seto were playing tongue tag once again, maybe he was wrong.
"Ahem." The green-haired teen cleared his throat, drawing the attention of everyone in the room. The two lovers reluctantly separated, their eyes slightly glazed over. Fine, so Seto and Yami had made up. Good for them. They didn’t need to rub it in his face though. Heck, if he hadn’t distracted them, they’d probably have burst into spontaneous sex right then and there.
Mokuba frowned slightly at Noa, but didn’t say anything and instead turned to look at Seto expectantly while Yami finally sat himself at the table.
Noa sighed internally. So they were all going to be part of this discussion, not that he had a clue about what was left to discuss. Seto had won; he had gotten his way. What more was there to talk about? Well, whatever it was, he wanted to get it over with.
I bet it’s something like how our sleeping arrangements need to be reworked, or, "Oh, by the way, in case you didn’t know… you’re all staying here while I take care of business in America." Stupid. Despite Yami’s assurances from earlier, he pretty much doubted things would go back to the way they’d been.
As soon as Yami was settled in his seat, Seto plunged right to the issue at hand. "Noa. I want to know how you feel about Mokuba."
"How I…" Noa’s jaws slammed shut. "Why does it matter?"
"Don’t be an ass, just…"
"Nii-sama…" Mokuba quickly interjected, though he also looked over at Noa as if silently asking him to cooperate as well.
Seto made a disgruntled sound. "Just answer the question. Please."
Noa paused for a moment as he searched for the right words to say, then, as if he suddenly realized that only the truth mattered, he looked up to meet Seto’s gaze. "He’s more important to me than anyone, or anything, in the world. I’d do anything for him. I still will, even if… even *though*… things are over between us."
"Hn. What if… I were open to the possibility of letting the two of you date? I’m not guaranteeing anything, but…"
"Really…?" Noa began saying, blue eyes wide, but then he hesitated again. Suddenly his eyes narrowed. Did Seto really think he could tell them who they could or couldn’t date? How was that fair? Ultimately it wasn’t his life no matter what he thought, so why should he get the final say in it? "Well… quite frankly Seto, I don’t see why that should matter."
"Noa!?" exclaimed Mokuba. What the hell was wrong with him? Didn’t he want to try and give it another shot?
"It’s true! This isn’t his relationship, so why the fuck should he get to decide something like that? It should be up to you, Mokuba, not him." He then turned to shoot Seto a dirty look.
"Language," Yami and Seto both said simultaneously, though Seto smiled faintly and added, "Is that really what you think, Noa?"
The brunette nodded to himself. "At least you have your priorities straight, though you may want to rethink that attitude of yours."
Noa looked over at Mokuba, who was frowning in disapproval. He flushed as he realized that snapping at Seto wasn’t going to earn him any brownie points with Mokuba. And Mokuba’s opinion was what mattered. "I… I didn’t mean…"
"Yes, you did," said Seto. "But… I don’t really care about that, not right now."
"Well, I care," Mokuba interrupted. "Noa, if you mean what you say, that you’d do anything for me… then stop trying to pick fights with Seto. He’s open to the possibility of us having a relationship, so why are you turning this into an argument? You know full well that if he doesn’t approve, it really is over, because I’m not willing to sneak around behind his back anymore. So why are you acting like this?"
Noa scowled. "You think I want to be angry? I don’t want to argue with Seto. I just want to be with you, Mokuba, but… I don’t want to be ‘the other person’ in your life. It’s not fair that I lost you because I can’t compete with him."
"You ‘lost’ me because you *are* trying to compete with him!" Mokuba responded sharply. "Why does it have to be you or him? Why can’t you accept that I love both of you?"
"I…" The green-haired teen faltered upon seeing the distress in those gray eyes, at the way Mokuba turned slightly towards Seto for comfort. He didn’t mean to upset him, but apparently he just plain sucked at that.
"Noa, this is only a competition in your own mind," Yami interjected, his voice steady. "A heart is not limited to a finite number of people it can care for. And it is not at all diminished in its capacity by the addition of more. By your logic, Seto cares less for Mokuba now because I’m here. But I can promise you that that is not the case."
A strange look flitted across Noa’s face as he mulled that over. It made sense. All of it did. And he knew that. So why was he having such a hard time accepting it, if it were the truth?
"I know you understand," Yami continued, watching the younger teen carefully. "But what you want is Mokuba to be yours and yours alone, and that’s selfish. You’re asking him to be someone he’s not. It’s unrealistic, and it’s hurting him. Besides… you ought to admire Mokuba’s dedication to Seto. Isn’t that something you value yourself?"
"Of course," Noa said, frustrated. "And it’s not that I don’t understand what you’re saying. It does make sense. But I…" Something was really bothering him, but he couldn’t quite figure out what it was. He looked over at Seto, and it just made him angry. And Seto wasn’t even saying or doing anything at the moment. "Why is it always about Seto, and not me?" he blurted out, giving voice to his thoughts.
"What do you mean?" Seto asked. "We’re talking about you and Mokuba. Considering how you both feel, I’m trying to understand it, and accept it. But I need to know that such a relationship would be in Mokuba’s best interests, and that you won’t end up hurting him."
"You don’t think you’re upsetting him right now?" Seto argued back.
Noa fought the urge to yell more and instead looked at Mokuba, who had his hand on his big brother’s arm, clutching at it for support. The black-haired teen met Noa’s gaze and softly said, "Seto and I… we’re a package deal. It’s always been that way. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love you too. It’s just a different kind of love, not…" He gesticulated, trying to find the appropriate word.
"Not an inferior one?" Yami supplied.
"Yeah." Mokuba gratefully glanced at Yami before going on. "See, that’s why I’m not jealous of Yami being a part of Seto’s life. I know that whatever Seto feels for Yami doesn’t affect the way Seto feels about me."
"But that’s not always true! People’s feelings change. Like… my father’s." Noa threw an almost apologetic look in Seto’s direction. "He and my mom didn’t get along, but I guess it was okay, because at least I knew how he felt about me. Or… I thought I did. When… after my accident and stuff… I remembered he told me about Seto. I didn’t think anything of it though." Suddenly, it got harder for him to talk. His throat was going dry. With effort, Noa managed to say, "He never told me goodbye or anything. He just stopped coming to see me. I guess… he forgot about me, or just… Then, well, know you the rest…"
Yami slowly slid an arm around Noa’s shoulder, hugging him a little. It was nice that Yami cared, and Noa thought he ought to be grateful for that, but at the same time he was irritated by the way everyone looked at him with pity, although Seto’s expression was heavily colored with anger as well. Noa wasn’t sure what to make of that.
"That bastard!" Seto thundered as his rage boiled over. Noa flinched. But Seto wasn’t trying to direct his anger at the teen. It was as if suddenly, he remembered who the true enemy was. "If you think that he cared about you Noa, you’re wrong. Hell, if he cared, he would have given up everything to be with you. Instead, he locked you away in a virtual prison and left you to rot." Understanding suddenly dawned in the young CEO’s eyes, and his voice became a little calmer. "You blame me for it. But if you think I wanted his attention like that, you’re wrong about that too. I had no interest in stealing him away from you. How could I when I didn’t even know about you?"
"He used you both," Yami agreed.
Noa paled. It hurt to hear it. He wanted to scream that it wasn’t true, that his father had cared. But… it was a partial truth. Certainly Gozaburo had doted on him when he was younger, had made him feel important, cherished… He’d been devastated by Noa’s untimely death. That’s why he had tried to save him, right? That’s why he had created that virtual world. But then... then he moved on. Noa was no longer a viable heir. Seto became his new interest, even an obsession…
Maybe Seto had a point. He did blame him for it. It was easy to. If Seto hadn’t come along, maybe his father wouldn’t have forgotten about him. Did it matter if it had been deliberate or not? The result was the same.
The room became strangely silent until Mokuba took a shaky breath, and whispered, "Is that what… you think I’d do, Noa? That I’d… forget you?"
Noa began to shake his head, but then miserably said, "I don’t think you’d do it on purpose. You’re not that kind of person. But since your attention is always focused on Seto, would you even remember that I was standing there after a while?"
"You know better than that!" Mokuba cried out. "Noa, even when I thought you were dead and that I’d never see you again… I kept that hard drive with me. Because I thought about you all the time." He bit down on his lip, forcing back the tears. "I was so happy when you came back. And even happier when I realized you felt the same way about me as I felt about you."
The green-haired teen felt his breath hitch. That’s right, Mokuba’s always been there for me. He remembered his first day "back." It had been unnerving. It felt strange being alive once again, and he knew he had no money and most likely, no place to go. His father was dead. For several disorienting, anxious moments he wondered if he would’ve been better off remaining in that strange virtual limbo he’d been trapped in, then he had passed out. When he woke up, he was in a hospital bed with Mokuba sitting beside him, clasping his hand. The younger boy had immediately hugged him with tears spilling down his face, and told him he was so glad to see him, and that they could room together, "just like brothers." Noa didn’t think Seto, who stood in the back of the room with a cold look on his face, would approve of such a thing, but sure enough, it all worked out just as Mokuba had promised.
"But I know I’ve messed up," Mokuba continued on to say, and Noa wondered what exactly he was referring to. "I don’t blame you for doubting me. I shouldn’t have kept our relationship a secret. I should have told Seto right at the start, just like you said. But I didn’t know how to tell him, and I was afraid if he didn’t approve that I’d lose you, and I didn’t want that to happen." He took a big breath. "I didn’t want to break up with you. In fact, I still want to be with you. But like I said, I can’t be with someone who can’t accept my brother for who he is, or worse yet, who’d try to hurt him."
"I didn’t mean… ah, this is hard. I don’t want to be jealous of Seto. But I see how close you are to him, how you’d do anything for him… and I can’t help but wish I were in his position."
"I’d do anything for you too…"
"As long as it didn’t hurt Seto. I know." But despite his words, he still didn’t understand it completely. Maybe he never would. And maybe being second best was what he was destined for. He didn’t agree with that. But the more he struggled to prove himself the best, to be worthy of Mokuba's love, the more he felt himself slipping in Mokuba’s estimation.
No… no more. Even though he had lost Mokuba as a boyfriend, he wasn’t going to lose him as a brother as well. And if that meant he had to just suck it in and deal with it, then fine. So Noa squared his shoulders and looked over at the tall duelist seated across from him. If he had to ask for forgiveness, he was going to do it with dignity and pride. "I want to apologize, Seto."
Noa gathered his thoughts, then let them loose in a rush. "For saying the things I said. Doesn’t matter that it was a fight… it was stupid of me. Besides, Mokuba would never leave you; I’m sure of that. Guess I was jealous of you, even though it wasn’t your fault that my father… left. But more than anything," and he glanced at Mokuba before meeting Seto’s gaze once again, "I’m sorry for upsetting Mokuba because I’m supposed to be his brother too, so I know I should have put him first and taken care of him, and I failed to do that."
Their eyes stayed locked on each other for a long moment, then Seto gave a curt nod and said, "Apology accepted."
"Thanks," Noa responded softly.
"And… I want you to know… I don’t hate you," Seto awkwardly added. "You wouldn’t be living here if I did. But I hate some of the things you’ve done in the past, just as I hate myself for things that I’ve done, but… I guess those are the types of things we just have to learn to accept. Right, Mokuba?"
"Yeah," the black-haired teen breathed, sounding a little relieved. "We can only move forward from here."
Seto suddenly smiled at his little brother. "I suppose you could have done a lot worse. There will be restrictions though, so don’t get too excited or anything, but…"
Mokuba blinked. "Nii-sama? You’re… are you saying what I think you’re saying?"
"I told you I’d think about it. Of course, what happens from this point on is up to you. If the two of you really want to give this a shot…" and Seto tilted his head, "I guess I’m okay with it."
Mokuba eyes lit up at the news, but Noa didn’t seem to be quite convinced by Seto’s decision. "What type of restrictions are we talking about?" he asked.
Once again, Seto nodded in approval, and Noa found himself wondering if this was all part of a big test or something. He definitely didn’t want to get his hopes up without knowing what the catch was first.
The brunette began ticking off his list. "First off, no sex. You’re not adults, no matter how mature you may think you are. Once you’re both 18, well…" He waved his hand dismissively, not wanting to say anything more lest he give them ideas. "Secondly, I expect you two to not let this affect your performance at school."
The younger pair nodded in agreement. Nothing unreasonable thus far.
"And third…" And Seto turned to Noa, fixing him with a stern look. "Mokuba means everything to me. You said the same thing. I expect you to remember that. So you better never hurt him, betray him, or break his heart, otherwise I swear I will make your life a living hell. You’ll wish you never came out of that hard drive. Am I making myself clear?"
"Yes, Seto," Noa answered immediately, and he meant it.
"You once told me you thought of all of us as a family. And that’s something very important to me. I imagine it matters to you, too." Seto sighed. "You’re still my little brother, my responsibility. And I forgot that when I lost my temper. I had no right to lay a hand on you. For that, I am sorry." He slowly reached a hand out and put it on Noa’s shoulder, giving it a squeeze.
No, things weren’t perfect. But Noa didn’t expect that. At least now he had a chance to try and make things right with Mokuba. They still had a lot to discuss, but… he was cautiously optimistic. If they were going to give it another shot, at least they’d start things off on the right foot, ‘cause he’d made his peace with Seto. And Seto was cool with it now. "It’s okay. I know I was out of line. And I won’t do that to you again Nii-sama, I swear it."
The young billionaire merely grunted, pretty much having said all he wanted to say, but there was one last thing…
A smile spread across Seto’s face as he looked over at Yami, who had been sitting there in near silence the whole while. His crimson eyes shone with approval and a hint of mischief as well, and Seto’s other head suddenly chose to remind him that it had been deprived of pleasure since Friday night. Had it been that long since they last had sex? He hadn’t thought about it much in the last few days, but with things finally beginning to settle, his relief and libido mingled together in a heady rush. He needed release… and Yami was now grinning wickedly at him and sending him all sorts of vivid thoughts. "Well, I’m glad things are settled. I’m sure you two have a lot of things to talk about. Now then… get out of my office!"
"Out!" Seto barked, already up on his feet and reaching over to pull Yami out of his seat as well. They immediately attached themselves at the lips and began pawing each other as if they couldn’t get naked fast enough. Apparently abstinence didn’t agree with them.
Mokuba and Noa exchanged quick looks, then as they hurried out of the room, Mokuba shrugged apologetically and said, "Well, look at it this way… at least he’s giving us warning this time…"
Noa rolled his eyes and pulled the door shut behind them.
* * *
September 15, 2006