Title: 'Tis the Season
Pairing(s): Seto + Yami (main), Anzu + Yugi, Mai + Jou, Malik + Bakura, Rafael + Valon + Amelda
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: Yami unveils a Christmas surprise or two for Seto.
Status: 1 / ?
Archived at: http://www.phenixsol.com/Miko/FF/
This is a SHONEN-AI fic (male + male romantic relationship). If you are offended by homosexual relationships, please do not read this. Flames will be disregarded.
Setup for this fic:
* * *
'Tis the Season
Ch. 1: A Christmas to Remember
* * *
How Seto and Yami managed to make breakfast without setting themselves on fire no one really knew, but despite the fact that the young CEO had his crimson-eyed lover pinned against the stove while French toast, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, and fried potatoes sizzled away in close proximity, neither he nor Yami nor the food got burnt. Not that the other three people in the room were paying much attention to the little lovefest going on on the other side of the kitchen…
"What Easter icon did the Australian government try to replace with a 'chocolate bilby?'" Noa asked, flipping the Trivial Pursuit card over to read the answer on the back. He didn't see what the question had to do with "People & Places," but whatever.
Mokuba scrunched up his nose. "What the heck is a 'bilby?'"
"I'm not sure, but I would have to guess the answer is the chocolate Easter bunny," Sugoroku said slowly after a moment's thought. He couldn't imagine what else it would be.
Noa gave a slight nod and flicked a blue plastic wedge Sugoroku's way. "That was a stupidly easy question. I could have guessed that just from context."
The old man just smiled and inserted the wedge into an open slot on his playing piece. He never thought that he'd be spending Christmas morning at the Kaiba mansion, playing board games with the two younger Kaibas while secretly listening to the sound of Yami's muffled laughter coming from the direction of the stove. Not that the house wasn't Christmas-y… Yami had gone to great lengths to tastefully spruce up the place for the holidays. Stately white candles were nestled amongst boughs of pine and curls of gold ribbon on the fireplace mantles. Wreaths with red, blue and gold glass balls hung on the doors, set off by a smattering of tiny white lights. Bowls of cinnamon-scented potpourri had been set out underneath the ubiquitous sprigs of mistletoe, which were strategically hung in the places most often frequented by either Seto or Yami. And of course, the magnificent centerpiece of the mansion's seasonal decorations… a nine and a half foot tall Christmas tree, heavily encrusted with ornaments in shining gold, ruby red, and royal blue, all centered around an unusual tree topper in the shape of a king's crown. So indeed, the mansion was aglow with the beauty of the holiday season, but those decorations were merely window dressing to Sugoroku.
He had been opposed to Yami's choice of boyfriend in the beginning, but not for the reasons most people would have guessed. He had already known by that point that the Seto Kaiba who had tried to kill him over a Duel Monsters card was not the same Seto Kaiba as the one who showed up a week after that first date to pick up all of Yami's things. Still, he had been worried about Yami. He didn't know if Seto was the type who would ever be ready for a relationship. But he was glad he had been wrong. Recent events should have worsened his opinion of the brash young billionaire, but instead… well, they finally laid to rest any worries he had about the veracity of Seto's love for Yami. Plus there apparently were unexpected side bonuses to the relationship as well. When Yami had gone in for a check-up on his leg six weeks after it was broken, the doctors had discovered that it was completely healed, and even the surgical scars were barely visible. There was no medical explanation for it and Yami's guess was that his connection to the Shadow Realm had something to do with it, but Sugoroku wondered at another possibility. From his understanding, Yami didn't start showing rapid signs of improvement until Seto opened himself up to their mind link again, so was Yami somehow able to subconsciously draw upon his lover to speed up his physical healing?
Seto's rich, rumbling chuckles temporarily drew Sugoroku out of his reverie, and he glanced up furtively, wondering what the joke was. Or perhaps it was just one of those private jokes that he wasn't meant to hear. Seto and Yami switched so effortlessly between mental and verbal communication that they barely seemed to be aware of it at times. The pair were now standing side by side and Seto had a hand on the small of Yami's back, moving it down to tug playfully at the belt loop of his boyfriend's jeans. It was a striking reminder that although Seto Kaiba the public figure was cold and distant, the private incarnation of that same young man was by nature equally intense with his affection. Not that anyone would be foolish enough to point that out to him. But it did make sense… Seto gave his all when it came to the people and things he was passionate about, and he was definitely passionate about Yami. Perhaps some people would only see that as a sign of youth and overactive hormones, but there really was more to it than that. Yami had been alone for 3,000 years and Seto, from what Sugoroku understood, had been nearly as deprived during his young life.
Speaking of being "alone," this was the first Christmas Sugoroku could remember in years where "the gang" had all gone separate ways for their own private holiday celebrations. They had gotten their group Christmas celebration out of the way the previous Friday simply because everyone had made radically different plans for once. Mai had wanted to go to Las Vegas on a lark and Jou, completely smitten, instantly agreed to the idea. Then somehow his sister got wind of it, decided she wanted to go along, and so of course Otogi and Honda were quick to follow suit. Malik and Bakura had also decided to leave town for the holidays and had flown out to Egypt to visit their respective family members. And Yugi… for the first time since Sugoroku had taken him in as a toddler, Yugi wasn't around for Christmas morning. Oh, he had wanted to be, even going as far as declining the Mazaki family's initial invitation for a ski trip, but Sugoroku had urged him to reconsider. Then Yami had stepped in and extended an invitation to Sugoroku for Christmas brunch at the Kaiba mansion, which alleviated the worst of Yugi's worry about his grandfather spending Christmas alone, so now the little duelist was hitting the slopes with his girlfriend instead of playing a second round of Trivial Pursuit against a pair of 14-year-olds who were sharper than most adults.
"Mr. Mutou? 'History' please."
The elderly game shop owner looked up at the sound of Mokuba's voice calling his name. "Oh? Ah, yes, sorry… let's see here." He drew a card and frowned at it. 'What Spanish explorer was beheaded and fed to vultures for treason?'" Ouch. What a pleasant question to consider before breakfast.
"Ewww. Uh… hmm. I already know this is the wrong answer, but… Francisco Pizzaro?"
"Answer is Vasco Núñez de Balboa."
"Rats!" Mokuba grumbled, pushing the die at Noa.
"That would be a nice way to terminate employees. Now where would I find vultures?" Seto asked loudly, inserting himself into the conversation. Yami smacked him soundly across the rear for that comment. "Ow. Okay, how about sharks with laser beams attached to their heads?" Smack. "Carnivorous reindeer? We can stable them with the horses."
A mock sigh. "I don't think so, Baby. They would eat the horses." And the ex-spirit didn't want his horses to get munched on, not even by imaginary creatures. When Seto had asked Yami what he wanted for Christmas, Yami had half-jokingly said, "A pony," but the brunette had taken that to heart and decided to have a small stable and covered riding arena built in the expansive yard, though it wouldn't be finished until spring.
Seto couldn't resist smirking, his eyes darting towards the window to gaze at the snow-dusted arena roof in the distance. But his amusement faded when the doorbell sounded... With all of Yugi-tachi off doing their own things, who would be at the door on Christmas morning?
Yami glanced over at Mokuba, who instantly popped out of his chair and yelled, "I'll get it!"
Seto crossed his arms and gave Yami a suspicious look as Noa got up and took off after Mokuba. "Okay, what's going on?"
Yami widened his eyes and put on his best innocent look. "Nothing's going on."
"I told you not to get me anything… you promised!"
"And I didn't get you anything. Really." Yami slid up against Seto and tugged him back towards the stove. "By the way, the French toast is going to burn."
Seto grumbled under his breath but walked back to the range anyways, realizing for the first time that there was WAY too much food for just the five of them. So it wasn't a deliveryman at the door, but guests instead? But who? He glanced down at Yami, expecting an explanation, but the shorter duelist only winked at him and began humming a random Christmas carol under his breath as he turned back to the pans on the stove.
* * *
Mokuba and Noa both made sure Seto remained in the kitchen before they opened the front door to find Yami's surprise to Seto standing on the stoop.
"Shhh!" Mokuba held a forefinger to his lips while taking another quick look over his shoulder, fully expecting Seto to come storming into the room and ruin the surprise. "Okay, good… Yami's distracting him. Hi, come in!"
Pegasus grinned as he crossed the threshold with luggage in tow. "Merry Christmas!"
"Ah damn, it's cold!" Valon complained, nearly bumping into Pegasus in his hurry to get into the heated interior of the house. "Rafael, can I pleeease borrow your jacket?"
"Let me think… mmm, NO," the burly blonde responded as he began stacking his bags and Valon's just beyond the foyer.
"Oooh, mistletoe!" Pegasus pointed out, looking at the greenery above Valon's head. Valon made a show of being absolutely horrified, and quickly scurried out of the way with a short laugh.
"Shoes and coats off please," Mokuba said, playing man of the house for the moment, figuring that he was better suited for the role since this was Noa's first face-to-face meeting the former Doom members.
For his part, Noa just silently assessed the odd quartet. Oh, he knew Pegasus of course, but Valon, Rafael and Amelda had just been photos in an album, images on a monitor, until this moment. Valon immediately reminded him of Jou… a little too loud, a little too enthusiastic, and very energetic. Rafael, the oldest of the three, was just as Mokuba described - a walking wall of muscle - but despite his Rambo-esque exterior, he had an air of calm tolerance that made him look marginally less threatening. And Amelda… well, he looked even more feminine in real life than he did in pictures. The pink sweater he wore certainly didn't help matters any either.
"Well, you certainly have grown, Mokuba," Amelda said, giving the black-haired teen a slightly crooked smile. "And it's nice to finally meet you, Noa."
Noa just nodded and held his hand out to the redhead, then to the other men as well, including Pegasus. "Thanks. Nice to meet everyone."
"So why the hush hush?" Valon asked Mokuba, still rubbing his arms as though he were freezing.
"Oh, well… Seto doesn't know you guys are here."
"He'll know if Valon raises his voice a little more," Amelda pointed out.
A huge grin broke out across Valon's face. "Well then… can I do the honors?"
Mokuba thought about it, then smiled and nodded. Why not? "Okay, come with me."
So after peeling off his scarf and gloves, Valon picked up both his suitcases, followed Mokuba into the kitchen, and dropped his bags noisily onto the tiled floor while everyone behind him snickered. "So, which way to my room?" he announced loudly, delighting in the shocked expression on Seto's face.
"Hi guys!" Yami greeted warmly, leaning away from Seto momentarily to wave enthusiastically at his friends.
"You're fucking kidding me," Seto grumbled, glaring at Yami. What the hell? They better not be…
"Surprise, Kai-baby! Won't this be fun?"
* * *
One week. Pegasus and his little buddies would be staying over at HIS mansion for one whole week. What, they can't afford a hotel room or four? Cheap bastards, Seto fumed to himself. The Kaiba mansion wasn't some bed & breakfast, and he wasn't interested in playing slumber party like a squealing teenage girl. But… there wasn't much he could do about it. Pegasus and his buddies were Yami's guests and apparently his "gift" as well, so he supposed he could survive another week with the losers… that was, if Valon would get the hint that he was never EVER going to kiss Yami, tradition or otherwise.
The house had been turned into a mistletoe minefield by Yami. Sprigs of the plant hung above Seto and Yami's seats at the kitchen table, above the stove, in the front doorway and over the stairs, in the entrance to Seto's office and their bedroom, above Seto's favorite recliner and office chair, and even in the shower. The brunette billionaire really didn't have any complaints about it initially since they garnered him plenty of nice kisses, which often led to other activities. But he hadn't been expecting to have someone like Valon over, because after brunch was consumed in the dining room and everyone moved into the family room to "hang out," Valon immediately sat himself in Seto's recliner in the corner and asked Yami for a kiss. So Seto physically hauled the Aussie out of HIS chair with a snarl, pulled HIS boyfriend onto HIS lap, and scowled at Valon like a dog protecting a favorite chew toy.
Then everyone began talking about what they wanted to do in the days to come. Even Sugoroku got in on the conversation. They considered going to KaibaLand, the museum, the zoo, shopping, dancing, catching a sporting event or concert… and the rising din of chatter gave Seto a headache. All he had wanted was to spend some downtime with Yami and his brothers since he didn't have the option of going in to work for a whole week…
It's… nothing, Seto lied half-heartedly, though at least his headache was beginning to melt away just as quickly as it had begun.
… It's obviously not nothing. You're not happy that I invited them here, are you?
Yami. They're your guests. I won't say a thing.
Yami pouted a little, twisting on Seto's lap so that he ended up lying sprawled on top of his lover, his chin resting on Seto's shoulder. They're OUR guests and more importantly, our friends.
Yeah, whatever. Fine… our guests, your friends.
"Awww, you two really are so cute!" Valon gushed. "I'm jealous." Seto rolled his eyes and gave Yami an "I told you so" look.
Anyways, Yami continued, they won't be here at the house most of the time. Sounds like they'll be spending their week sightseeing and stuff. Nothing says we have to go along on all the trips, right? Let them take the boys out… it'll give us a bit of time alone.
I am NOT letting those loonies take my brothers ANYWHERE! It's bad enough that they're staying here, and Seto eyed Valon in particular, those untrustworthy, brainless little….
… I trust them.
Seto snorted. Obviously.
Seto, they're our friends, and they've done a lot for us. I mean, you had no problem handing them the keys and everything for the vacation house, and I talk to Valon almost every day and you're always doing business with Pegasus… So there's no reason for you to be suspicious of them at all. But… I don't want to argue with you on this. If you say no, I won't contest your decision.
The young billionaire didn't quite know what to say to that. But he finally said in compromise, We'll talk about this later, all right? Valon operated on the same wavelength as Pegasus, which meant they were both insane, but he did sort of trust Amelda he supposed, and Rafael too… and well, maybe Yami had a point…
Pegasus, who had been waiting for an opportunity to interrupt the silent conversation, cleared his throat again, finally catching Seto and Yami's attention. "Well, it's too bad Kaiba Corp. is closed for the week. I thought maybe we could put aside an afternoon to go over contracts Kaiba, but… oh well, this is supposed to be a vacation, right?" he asked, figuring it wouldn't hurt to make the suggestion.
"I'm sure Seto can find the time while you're here," Yami answered evenly, surprising both his boyfriend and Pegasus. Was he serious? "Right, Baby?"
"Uh… yeah." Seto loved Yami, but damn… he'd never understand him. But perhaps… having the week off wouldn't be so bad after all. And perhaps hell had frozen over and he was starting going nuts in his old age.
* * *
Eventually the group came up with a schedule that involved a mix of activities, most of which didn't require Seto or Yami's participation, though they'd be welcome to join in if they so chose. But despite Seto's private hopes, Noa and Mokuba wanted to go along for several of the excursions and he found himself being forced to accede to their wishes when Mokuba began asking him for a reason why they couldn't go. Even so, if it weren't for Yami's constant reassurance, he probably would've kicked Pegasus' entire bunch out of his home as a response rather than give his brothers permission to "go and have a good time."
"Yay! Thanks, Nii-sama!" Mokuba cheered, clapping Noa on the shoulder before giving Seto a huge, bright grin.
The brunette CEO simply nodded, relaxing marginally at the happiness radiating off of Mokuba. But just as quickly he began tensing up again, because Valon suddenly announced that it was time for "part two" of Yami's Christmas surprise.
Oh God, this better not be one of those things where Valon convinced Yami that I want a strip show or something! Seto fumed silently as Valon went to fetch something from his luggage. But when he returned, the young billionaire saw it was only a laptop, though Valon apparently thought it was funny to seat himself on the arm of the recliner while booting up the computer.
"I swear… Valon…" Seto growled, but the Aussie obviously wasn't intimidated as he suddenly leaned over and shoved the laptop at Seto before backing off a tiny bit.
"Ah, don't get your undies in a twist. Here, Yami asked me to put this together for you. A hug would be nice, but I'll accept a 'thank you' instead," Valon teased, knowing full well that it was unlikely he'd get either one.
If I hug him, maybe I can "accidentally" strangle him somehow, Seto snidely informed Yami.
Yami poked his boyfriend in the ribs, rolling back over so that he could look at the little screen of the laptop as well. SETO.
With a snort of indignation, Seto looked down to see a video clip of some sort of home movie all set to start, so he went ahead and clicked play, not sure exactly what to expect.
It turned out to be a home movie all right, but in the literal sense. Valon, Amelda and Rafael had taped a walkthrough of the vacation house Seto had purchased, showing off all the renovations and the decor in the townhouse since neither he nor Yami had ever actually stepped foot inside the place. It was… surprisingly nice, not at all the type of dump he had envisioned being suckered into buying, the result of a lot of work and attention to detail and… well, dang. It really was a nice surprise.
The layout was a mirror image of the duplex next door that the ex-Doom members called home, but everything in this unit looked brand new, from the gleaming wood floors to the paint on the trim. The deck in the rear was the only thing that looked unfinished, but that hardly detracted from the amount of work that had been done already. There was a large bedroom on the first floor and two more on the third, with all the living space on the second, and every room looked like it had been professionally decorated. The furniture was a mix of art deco, machine age and mid-century modern, and it was all done in earthy neutrals and variances of gray - the result was clean and inviting, playful yet casually elegant. But the thing that really caught Seto's eye were the splashes of color that punctuated each room. Tucked in amongst everything else were complementary accessories in bold red and blue, always one of each color, and always arranged as a pairing. Like the pair of glass pendant light fixtures above the kitchen peninsula, or the two slender vases on the sideboard, or the graphic throw pillows that softened the straight lines of the black leather sofa… a very definite sign of Yami's hand in the design process.
When the video footage finally came to an end, Yami turned to Seto and said, "Well…? I hope you liked it."
Seto handed the laptop back to Valon, who immediately bounded off to show Mokuba and Noa the clip as well. It's… really nice, he admitted. You picked all that stuff out?
Yami chuckled, pleased with the compliment. I did, with a lot of help. I'd specify what I was looking for and Amelda would go shopping with Valon, who'd take pictures on his cellphone and send them to me. Rafael took care of arranging most of the renovations and probably even helped out a bit. I think I drove them all a little crazy with my "demands," but… this is my first time seeing the finished product, and I'm very happy with it, though I wish the entire house were done by this point.
Huh. Seto couldn't help but be impressed with the results thus far. I didn't know they taught interior design to Pharaohs, he said in way of thanks.
Only to the gay ones, Baby, the crimson-eyed teen joked.
Hn. You should quit your job as a comedian and redecorate the mansion instead. Most of this stuff belonged to that bastard Gozaburo, and I don't really care for it.
I can do that. Then Yami kissed his lover on the cheek. Merry Christmas, Seto. I know you didn't want me to get you anything, so I figured I'd take you literally at that, just like you took my "I want a pony" statement at face value.
Uh… wait, that was a joke?
The ex-spirit's eyebrows went up. I didn't actually expect you to put a stable in, but I have no complaints. I can hardly wait to ride again.
… You didn't actually want a pony? And to think, he already had someone out scouting for a polo pony.
Yami laughed aloud, but once again, no one else in the room was paying them much attention. "Oh, Seto…"
* * *
January 9, 2006