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 plus art plus ink, round two. And Valon faces off against a vicious foe.
Status: 4 / 5
Archived at: http://www.phenixsol.com/Miko/FF/
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'Tis the Season
Ch. 4: Monster’s Holiday
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"Come on, let’s have one more go at it!" Valon begged as he followed Seto up the stairs, Monopoly box in hand. After that sad, sad loss in the Adult Game of Real Life and a subsequent loss first thing that morning in Monopoly, a game which Seto had won readily, he was determined to make it a "best of five" scenario, but Seto wasn’t interested in gaming with someone that he considered to be beneath him. But instead of yelling "NO!" for the umpteenth time, the young CEO silently stomped into the master suite, slamming the door shut right in Valon’s face. Not that that really deterred Valon… he simply decided to sit and wait in the hallway. Seto had to eat or use the bathroom sometime during the day…
Yami and Pegasus both stared owlishly at the door upon Seto’s loud entry into the room, then they began scrambling to hide any evidence of whatever it was that they had been doing. What the hell? Seto swore that he had seen Yami standing there with his shirt half pulled up with Pegasus sitting on one of the chairs in the seating area while… drawing something? There was no other explanation for the pad of Bristol paper Pegasus was clutching to his chest, nor the neatly arranged art supplies within easy reach on the side table… but what was he working on, and why was he in HIS bedroom for the love of God?! And why was he hiding the drawing now that Seto was trying to see what it was?
The former Pharaoh simply said soothingly, "It’s a surprise, okay?"
"Good surprise or bad surprise?" Was Pegasus doing a sketch of Yami? But even so… why did Yami have his shirt pulled up?
Pegasus tsked. "Oh come now, Kaiba, would I… er, would Yami give you a bad surprise?"
Seto quirked an eyebrow, but didn’t verbally respond. Actually… he didn’t know what to say. His last surprise from Yami was standing there staring at him, so really… what would be the appropriate response?
Yami sighed inwardly but kept the smile on his face. "Don’t worry, this is a good surprise. But… you won’t find out what it is until tonight, okay?"
"… Okay." What the hell, did Pegasus not know that this was supposed to be a private conversation? Why was he just standing there? Speaking of surprises… I wasn’t going to tell you till later, but… we have an appointment to look at some horses today.
Yami’s eyes widened a little and his lips pursed. Oh. I… I really wish I could go Seto, but… I’ve made plans already. An appointment, actually.
The brunette snorted. Cancel it.
It’s part of the surprise.
Surprise me later.
Please… it’s a really good surprise. Can’t we look at horses some other time? Or maybe you can pick a few that you like and I can go see them some later on. Nothing says you have to make a decision to buy immediately and in fact, since the stable isn’t even complete yet, it’s better if you don’t just buy on impulse, you know?
Well, he supposed Yami did have a point there. But still... And your surprise has to happen today?
Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. So we’ll be too busy tomorrow with people flying in and probably an impromtu party and such.
Great, a party too? The young billionaire stared hard at his lover, who crossed his arms and stood firmly in place. It had to be one hell of a surprise if Yami had already spilled the beans about a New Year's Eve bash AND was passing up the opportunity to start selecting horses for their little stable. But you know I don’t know anything about horses, so isn’t it kind of pointless for me to go alone?
Then take someone with you. Like… Valon.
Seto rolled his eyes. "Hey Pegasus, you know a lot about horses..."
Before the silver-haired man even had a chance to nod, Yami argued back, "Pegasus is busy. Why don’t you take Valon? He rides, and he’s obviously bored…"
"I don’t want to take Valon," the brunette responded with a slight sneer. "I’d rather have Pegasus."
"Oh, Kaiba-boy…" Pegasus blurted out, grabbing both Yami and Seto’s attentions, "While I am oh-so-flattered that you’d rather have moi, I’m afraid Yami’s quite right. I already have something planned for today. Part of your little surprise, don’t you know."
What in the world is he planning? But since Yami obviously wasn’t going to change his plans just to suit Seto’s, and the entire hush-hush about his surprise had Seto’s curiosity piqued, the brunette sighed and finally grumbled, "Fine, I’ll take the loser with me."
Yami couldn’t help but smile despite the fact Seto was now scowling. Though their timing was off, he was sure that things would work out fine, and it was heartening to know that Seto was putting so much effort into his Christmas gift. Yami really was looking forward to being able to ride. Wanting to reassure and thank his lover for his thoughtfulness, the crimson-eyed teen took a step towards Seto and wrapped his arms loosely around his waist, his fingers seeking contact with the warm skin on Seto’s back beneath his sweater. It’ll be worth it… you’ll see.
* * *
Less than an hour later, Yami and Pegasus stepped into a familiar little shop in a nondescript strip mall in downtown Domino.
The mohawked man at the front counter looked up and waved. "Hey man, I remember you," he said, gestruing briefly at Yami's crazy 'do before running a hand through his own hair, which was now dyed green and purple. "So you enjoying your tat? Came for another?"
Yami grinned. "I’m Boo-Boo’s two o’ clock. I know I’m a bit early, but the design isn’t quite finalized yet."
"Ah, ‘kay. Lemme go grab him for ya."
A minute later, the bear-like Boo-Boo came out from the back and leaned against the counter, tossing his head at Yami in greeting. "Hey Mutou. So what are we doing fer ya today?"
"This is Pegasus Crawford. He did the illustration for the tattoo I got last time. So since he was in town… I figured I’d add another dragon to my collection." Yami nodded at Pegasus, who pulled out his sketchpad and flipped it open to the drawing he had been working on earlier in the day, showing the tattoo artist several unfinished sketches of the Blue Eyes White Dragon in various positions. "I want one of these on my lower back, but we're not sure what pose would work the best on that area of my body."
"Hmm. Come to the back and let me take a better look at ya." So Boo-Boo led the other two to his workstation in the back of the shop and had Yami shed his shirt to give him an unobstructed view of what he had to work with. The new BEWD designs were all in perfect scale to the one already on the ex-spirit’s shoulder, but instead of being in profile, these were depicted head-on and from a frontal three-quarters view, with their necks arched so that they would be looking up at their brethren.
"I think this one looks the best if I put the tail down," Pegasus mentioned, pointing at one drawing in particular ,"but I didn’t want to ask him to drop his pants while I was drawing."
Boo-Boo shrugged. As if he hadn’t seen it all already. Holding up the sketchpad, he said, "The wingspan looks like a good fit, and the tail should probably trail down this way…" And he poked at the spot where he thought it should end. "Sound good with that little change?"
Yami craned his neck to see over his shoulder, imagining what the finished tattoo would look like. "Sounds good."
"So let’s do this, okay?"
* * *
At a horse farm far outside the city limits of Domino, Seto was asking himself, Why me? for the millionth time. True, Valon did seem to know a thing or two about horses, but did he ever shut up?
"Hey, so... when did Yami decide to start playing polo anyways?" Valon asked after a groom lead off the last of the prospective mounts. The stable manager that was showing them around had disappeared to take a phone call, so Valon figured this was a good a time as any to chat it up, since he had been relatively quiet for some time.
"Yeah, whatever," the young CEO mumbled. He hadn’t realized that horses were so… smelly. And big. Wasn’t that something he should have remembered after visiting Pegasus’ ranch? He sure hoped that the stable he was building was in a spot downwind from the house.
"Yami. Polo. Didn’t know he played."
Seto leaned back against a white fence rail. "He doesn’t."
"Oh. But he wants to?"
Seto shrugged. How would he know? This was exactly why he needed Yami to come along with him on this little trip. Stupid Valon and his stupid questions. Of course, it occurred to him to just ask Yami what he wanted in a horse, but the former Pharaoh seemed to have clamped down on their mind link a bit more than usual. Hn. Probably trying to hide that surprise of his…
Valon shut up for a moment, then turned back to look at the neat row of stables. "Ahhh… tell me again why we’re looking at polo ponies? I mean, if Yami isn’t interested in polo, it really makes no sense to invest in a polo pony. If he just wants to ride, any old nag will do."
Seto narrowed his eyes at the Aussie. "Yami isn’t going to ride some ‘old nag.’"
"All right then. Does he ride English or Western? Is he interested in jumping, dressage…"
"I don’t know! Why do you keep asking me…" Isn’t a horse a horse? What’s the diff?
Valon gave a lazy roll of his shoulders. "Makes no sense to me, mate, that’s all."
"Look," you aggravating little twit, "I just want to get Yami a nice breed of pony to ride however he chooses, okay?"
"Errr…." Valon scratched his head, wondering just how much of that sentence he ought to correct. "Well, not all horses come trained in both English and Western style, so you'll have to figure out which he prefers, unless you want to invest time and money in a trainer. Also… polo ponies aren’t a breed, and isn’t Yami a little… adult for a pony?"
"He’s short. Ponies are short. At least they’re supposed to be. Those did seem to be a bit… tall."
Valon began sniggering. "Holy dooley! You do realize that they put little nippers on full-sized horses, don’t you? And polo ponies are usually just slightly smaller thoroughbred or thoroughbred crosses; they’re not ponies at all."
"Well why the fuck do they call them ponies then?!"
Valon just smiled as the stable manager came back into view, then asked loudly, "So, is that it then?"
"Yes sir, those are all the available ponies we have for sale at this time."
Valon and Seto exchanged a quick look, then the Aussie said, "Guess you’ll need to bring Yami with you next time, huh?"
After handshakes and the courtesy exchange of pleasantries, the pair went to leave while the manager trailing them in escort. But as they passed a small enclosure on the way out, Valon spotted a pair of ponies - real honest-to-God ponies - nibbling on some grass. The smartass in him couldn’t resist grabbing Seto by the sleeve and saying, "Now see, those are ponies."
"No, those are large dogs." One was barely Yami's height if it picked up its head all the way, but the other probably didn't even reach his waist. He had no interest in buying something so small that it wasn’t rideable by anyone over 20 pounds. What was the point in feeding a critter that didn’t serve any practical purpose?
"Heh. You have to admit, the little one is cute though… kinda looks like your kid brother."
Seto looked the smaller of the two ponies over more carefully as Valon wandered over, crouching in front of the wooden fence surrounding the enclosure. He supposed the tiny bay Shetland’s mane was vaguely reminiscent of Mokuba’s overgrown hairdo; the pony had such a thick shock of long black hair that it probably couldn’t even see what it was eating. "Looks more like Yami’s damn Kuriboh to me."
"Ha! You should buy it and name it that! Hey, jackaroo," and Valon turned to find the stable manager, who was huffing as he ran towards him, "is this little guy for sale?"
"Careful - he bites! I'd feel a lot better if you’d move away from his paddock," the man said nervously. "But yes, he is for sale, though no one wants him since we can't seem to break him of his biting habit."
Valon wiggled his fingers at the pony, then slowly stood up to lean against the rail. "Nah, I’m all right. I have a way with horses, you know."
The young CEO folded his arms. "So he’s unfriendly and useless. Sounds like such a great investment."
"Maybe you can turn him into a guard dog or something. Besides, he’s such a little cutie."
"And what could he possibly…"
All of a sudden Valon jumped back from the fence and let out a cry that sounded like a cross between a scream and a yip. "Shit! The little fuck just bit me on my knee!"
"Oh, I’m so sorry!" the stable manager yelled, kneeling to check on Valon’s leg as Seto burst into raucous peals of laughter. The fabric of the teen’s jeans was intact, so the pony hadn’t bitten very hard, but still… it wasn’t something Valon had expected. "I was afraid this would happen..."
With a growl, Valon brushed the man's hands away and spun around to face his attacker. "Stupid little shit!" he cursed as the pony started stonily back at him.
Seto kept laughing. "You know what… I’ll take the little bastard."
"You will?" asked the stable manager.
"You will?" Valon echoed.
"Why not? An attack pony that hates you! I like him a lot more already."
* * *
Seto arrived back at the mansion in a much better mood, comforted by visions of his new purchase, which he was already calling Kuriboh, mauling Valon on some future visit to the mansion. If there were any future visits. Because there wouldn’t be. Well, not if it were solely left to his discretion.
Yami didn’t come home until a while later, and when he did, something seemed off about him. He walked in with a grin on his face, but he seemed to be stepping gingerly as if he had pulled something in his back or thigh. Seto gave his lover a questioning look and was rewarded with a slight cant of Yami’s head before the shorter duelist lead him up to their bedroom.
"I have a surprise for you, Yami."
The crimson-eyed teen wandered into the closet and began rummaging for clothes. "Really? So do I."
"Obviously. You first."
Yami just chuckled and picked up his pajama top and robe, which was an odd choice of clothing since it was still relatively early in the evening. "Oh, all right." He turned around and began stripping off all his clothing, revealing huge patches of plastic and gauze taped to his back and down one buttock. "Go ahead, take a peek." I hope you like it.
You got another tattoo? Instantly the prized attack pony was forgotten as Seto's mind raced to conjure up all sorts of possibilities; everything from "Seto Kaiba’s – Hands Off!" to a whole line of bouncing Kuribohs to a reclining Dark Magician courtesy of Pegasus. His throat constricting for some unknown reason, he stepped forward to cautiously peel back the protective layers to reveal a magnificent dragon that practically erupted from the angry, reddened skin it had been captured on. Pegasus had reworked the design a lot more than he had originally expected after hearing Boo-Boo’s input, but the result spoke for itself - the dragon appeared to be in mid-flight, pumping its wings to speed it along its way to joining the other two on their loftier perches. Unable to find the words to describe the elation he felt at seeing another dragon on Yami's back, Seto could only think to say, "Good thing Pegasus designed this before the end of the year, or else he'd have to pay me royalties for it."
"Haha... I saw that Pegasus made sure to include a clause that allows him to use the BEWD and all related derivatives royalty-free. Besides, even if he didn't, it was really nice of him to draw this up on such short notice. I thought you might appreciate adding a third dragon to the two we already have. And... it’s something hot to look at during sex."
"Hn. I never had any complaints about the view, you know." Seto let his left hand drop down to caress the smooth skin at Yami’s hip.
A warm smile. "Why, thank you, Kai-baby. So… what’s this surprise of yours? Did you have an okay time with Valon? I know you two don’t always see eye to eye…"
"I bought you a pony."
"Uh… you did? Shouldn’t we have talked it over first?"
"He’s too small to ride, so I guess he’s sort of like a dog instead. And he’s the smartest damn pony-dog on the planet," the brunette bragged.
"Wow." He really must be something to make an impression like that on you, since uh… in your own words, horses are just "big, dumb beasts of burden."
Seto’s mental laughter rang through Yami’s head. Yeah, he made an impression all right… his teeth, Valon’s knee.
Yami gaped at Seto. He BIT him?
Just hard enough to shut him up. You should have seen it!
So we’re the proud owners of an attack pony?
Yami cocked an eyebrow, but ended up just shaking his head and smiling. Only Seto would be crazy enough to buy a pony that bit people. But he supposed it was all right as long as it didn’t actively chase people down and attack them, or else they'd probably never see the mailman again. Or the housekeeper. Or half the security staff. So... does this vicious attack pony have a name?
Kuriboh?! Yami began laughing. Yep, crazy indeed. But at least he was never boring.
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February 7, 2006