Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh! belongs to Kazuki Takahashi.

Other disclaimer: the rating R means not to be viewed by age 17 or under. Bye kids. Shoo.

Final chapter. Everyone who reviewed, much thanks. More than a few times, reviews helped form what happened in the chapters.

Neco-chan! Don't assault me, either!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He woke up like usual: a little hungry, a little sleepy, a little horny.  He also woke up with Devlin next to him, which made for a nice adrenaline attack that cleared away two of those three.

The start he gave woke up Devlin as well, who promptly expressed his displeasure by pulling the pillow over his head and muttering, "It's not morning."

Tristan shoved his bangs out of his face.  "Every day ya say that, an' I have yet to see the sun stop."  He patted Devlin's arm.  "Keep working on those omnipotent powers, Dev.  You'll get there eventually."

Devlin made a half-hearted effort to smack his hand away.  "Too early for big words.  Shut up."

Tristan shoved the sheet down and started to sit.  "Make me."

He just managed to get his legs slung over the bed when Devlin wrapped a hand around his arm and yanked him backwards.

"Ow!  Dammit, you violent bastard..." Tristan cussed as he rubbed his arm, more annoyed at being caught off-guard than in actual pain.  He started to sit up again, only to have Devlin prop himself up on his hands and grin down at him.

"What? That was clearly a challenge," Devlin said cheerfully, before leaning down and kissing him.

He had a brief thought that morning breath wasn't exactly sexy, but...well...there was the small matter that a Devlin was on top of him.  Toothpaste just wasn't enough incentive to move.

Devlin shifted to the right slightly, bracing his weight on one arm, and causing the earring to knock against his chin.  He pushed it out of the way, only to have it come straight back, this time with one of the corners hitting his jaw just hard enough to irk.  He made an irritated noise under his breath, but conceded to the law of gravity and slid a hand along Devlin's cheek, pushing the strands of hair that were tickling his face out of the way.

Geez, the guy had a lot of hair....

Devlin's free hand was tracing circles on his side, and he was briefly glad that he wasn't ticklish, because giggling at this moment would just...not be cool.

Devlin started to move his hand lower, but hesitated and let it rest on his stomach.  The other teen broke the kiss and pulled back slightly, resting his cheek against his own.

For his part, he lay there listening to their panting, blew a few strands of Devlin's hair away from his mouth, and wondered what was about to happen.

"Is this okay?" Devlin asked quietly.

He stopped, and thought about it.

"Yeah," Tristan said.

He could hear Devlin smirk, which was disconcerting.  "Heh.  Everyone caves to my charms eventually."

"Jerk," Tristan muttered, but then Devlin slid his hand underneath his boxers and the conversation took a rapid change.

Later he decided that if, when the both of them had been quite happily basking in the aftershocks and he hadn't even minded the fact that Devlin was still half sprawled on top of him, he hadn't looked over at the clock and proceeded to shove the other teen out of the bed and into the bathroom in a vain hope to make the checkout time, it might have been more romantic.

But then, it wouldn't have been them.

He wasn't totally sure what to call the things they were doing the next few nights.  It didn't seem to be exactly sex, but it sure as hell was more than the making out before had been.  Finally he decided that he didn't really need a name, and let it go.

He almost found it funny, though, that after all the time he had spent drawing this out, not totally sure where any of it was going, he suddenly wanted to go all the way.  He figured most of the urge came from the fact that they were rapidly getting closer to Domino, and he had no idea how everything was going to change once they were back home.

He could have spent more time on the road--the budget could afford it, if they ate cheap--since at the pace they were traveling they would arrive at in the city with over half a week still left in July.  But, Devlin insisted on getting home as quickly as possible after he'd decided to make a call and check up on his company.

Considering just how much of Devlin's side of the conversation he heard clearly--with the guy talking on his cell phone outside--he wasn't all that surprised at the news.

Devlin stormed back into the room with a violence that he would normally have expected to bring the owner down on them, if it weren't for the fact that he was sure Devlin's screaming fit had convinced everyone in the building to stay far away from the insane teenagers in room 127. He hoped no one was considering calling the cops.  His bag was sitting packed by the headboard, just in case.

"Thank God for Seto Kaiba," Devlin growled as he threw himself on the bed, conveniently landing on the section that he himself was occupying.  He shifted enough that Devlin's elbow was no longer digging into his spine and raised an eyebrow.

"That's one I haven't heard before."

"Yeah, well, if it weren't for the obsessive reign he's had over KaibaCorp since he was what, fifteen, those idiots would have fucked up my company even more.  How dare they think I'm too young to handle the presidency?!  I leave for one month, and they start thinking they can run the place better than me.  I should fire them, the smug bastards!  I never gave them permission to switch parts companies--my relationship with Industrial Illusions is going to be trashed!  What they did with the DICE!!  What the hell were they thinking, contracting Crystal Caste?  The cost is going to be absurd!  We'd have to raise the price of the game, and people aren't going to pay--"

He stopped trying to keep track of what Devlin was talking about and opted for the safe route of nodding whenever the guy stopped to breathe.

"Are you listening?"

"Nope," Tristan replied cheerfully, "'cause I got no idea what the hell you're goin' on about.  But if you give me the names of these guys, Joey and I can go beat them up."

Devlin stared at him for a moment, then snorted.  "Thanks, but I'll try to solve this legally."

"There's nothing illegal about my suggestion."

"You've never heard of assault and battery?"

"That only applies if you don't beat them so senseless that they forget your face."

Devlin raised both eyebrows at that, and he belatedly decided it was time to shut up.

They were one state away from home when he very calmly and abruptly came to the realization that time was running out.  Most people got revelations on mountain tops or in valleys or in hospital waiting rooms--his came in a Walgreens' at eight thirty-two in the evening.

He was with Devlin, in another state, with no parents or friends or anybody that would see them for more than a day, staying in motels as a matter of course.  The situation couldn't be more perfect if someone set it up.

And he wanted to sleep with Devlin.  And Devlin had made it clear beyond any interpretation that he wanted to sleep with him.  And he had come to terms with liking guys over half a year ago, dealt with the obvious religious conflict, and decided that he had enough unrepented sins that he was pushing the forgiveness line anyway, so what was one more?  All he had to do was stop hesitating.

But that just left out one small detail: he hadn't done this before.  And Devlin, going off irrelevant comments, small actions--geez, the way the guy kissed--had.

He hated being in any situation where he was out of his league, no matter what it was, no matter who it was with.  He'd even gotten as good at fighting as he was because he didn't like the fact that Joey outclassed him.  Joey was still better, but that was because he never stopped, unless the other guy was down or he was bleeding enough that it hampered his movements.  So he was not happy about this.  But he didn't want to waste what was left of the trip. 

All that really meant was that he was standing in the aisle at Walgreens and trying to decide if he wanted a Pepsi or a vanilla Coke, when he realized that he had two options: he could either be embarrassed at some point in the week, or he could be regretful once they hit home.

He didn't like regrets.  Thought they were pretty damn stupid, actually.  So that settled the issue easily enough.

Of course, it helped that for some reason this Walgreens had their condom display set up right by the refrigerated food section.  He was amused at that, though he wondered how some mothers must have reacted when their kids asked what all the bright boxes were for.

...not that he was totally sure what all the bright boxes were for.  Or at least, what the difference between them all was.  Shame that health class never covered that.

"I recommend the pouched kind, if they've got it."

He dropped the soda.

"Shit, are you tryin' to kill me?  Don't sneak up like that, ya jerk!"  Tristan turned around and glared at him.  Devlin just snickered, so he leaned down and picked up the Pepsi bottle.

"I was just trying to help--you looked like you were having a hard time picking one," Devlin commented.

His face felt hot.  Dammit, if he looked like he was blushing, something in this building was going to die.  Preferably the teenager behind him.  Devlin's hair was more than long enough to strangle with.  No court would blame him.

Homicidal thoughts aside....

He brushed off the bottle and glared at it for good measure.  "Man, and I was thirsty...."

Devlin shrugged and straightened from where he'd been leaning against the shelves.  "Trade it.  Seriously, though, the pouched are the best kind to get."

He shook his head slightly.  "I thought that was the ribbed or something."

Devlin furrowed his brows.  "I dunno...I think that's more for women.  I've never seen the difference."

He realized he was twisting the bottle in a nervous gesture and made himself stop.  Instead, he rolled his shoulder and rubbed at the knot that had developed after Devlin used his arm for a pillow yesterday.  "Okay, then.  Which...uh, which one d'you suggest?"

Devlin knelt in front of the stand and threw his ponytail back when it fell over his shoulder.  "...this one, I guess.  It looks like the right size.  Which lube do you want?"

Tristan wondered if buying condoms was supposed to be this embarrassing, or if it was just him.  Devlin was too perverse to count as a judge of action.  "Hell, I don't know.  That one?"  He pointed a box near Devlin's hand.

Devlin gave him an 'are you kidding?' look.  "That's oil-based.  Using oil-based lube on latex condoms is like...pouring acid on them."

Tristan scrunched his nose.  "Thanks for the mental image.  Fine, what are you supposed to use?"

"Water-based, duh.  Didn't you ever listen in sex ed class?"

Tristan raised an eyebrow.  "I don't know what kind of school you went to before y'transferred ta Domino, but here sex ed is the bathroom walls."

Devlin snorted, then picked up a box that didn't look any different from the one he'd pointed at, aside from the lettering and color.  He stood.  "I can go ahead and pay for these, if you wanna get a drink that's not going to blow up in your hand," he said with a grin.

"Yeah, okay," he said as the other teen disappeared around the corner.  Tristan watched him in the mirrors set alongside the ceiling until the stacks got in the way.  Then he leaned back and banged his head into the shelf once.  "Arg."

He stared at the wall above the refrigeration unit for a few minutes, deliberately refusing to think.  Then he straightened and rolled his shoulder again before heading for the checkout counter.

The guy looked at him funny when he paid for the Pepsi.  He wasn't paranoid.  Arg.

Devlin was just outside, leaning against the wall in a posture that was somewhere between a slump and a crouch.  His first thought, as it usually was when Devlin did things like that, was that the guy was really flexible.

He proceeded to focus on the bottle and twist the cap open.  The soda proceeded to fizz all over his hand.  Devlin proceeded to laugh at him.

"Arg!"  Tristan shoved the drink forward, trying to keep it from spilling onto his shoes.

When the carbonation was done asserting its love for the open air, he threw the cap into the trashcan by the door.  "I give the hell up," he muttered, holding the bottle gingerly and wiping his hand on his shorts.

Devlin managed to smother himself to a snicker.  "I told you to trade it."

"Bite me," Tristan said off-hand, trying to find the least slippery place to hold the bottle.

For once Devlin didn't reply to that, which actually said more, and he started chugging the soda as an excuse to not look at anything.

Once they got back to motel, he cussed himself out because his hand was shaking slightly as he keyed open the door.  However, when they got inside, Devlin just threw the sack on the counter and grabbed the remote before flopping down on the bed.  When the other teen turned on the TV, 'relief' was probably the best term for what he felt.   Relief and disappointment, actually, which was a really annoying combination.

Of course, Devlin's actions were probably being prompted by the fact that he was acting as transparent as friggin' glass.  He resisted the urge to bash his head against something.

A moment later he sat down on the floor in front of Devlin's bed and leaned against the mattress, absently rubbing his shoulder while Army of Darkness played on the TV.  AMC was really beginning to stretch their definitions of "classic."

"Still got that knot?" Devlin asked a little while later.

"Yeah," he nodded.

"Want me to massage it?"

Tristan snorted.  "Riiight.  You just want an excuse to get my shirt off."

He could hear Devlin raise an eyebrow and smirk.  It was the tone.  He'd started to recognize it.  "I wasn't planning on that, but hey, if you wanna be shirtless...."

He made a noise somewhere between a grunt and a huff.  Devlin snickered, then slithered further up the mattress until he could comfortably reach down and rub his shoulders.

"Ow," he said as the other teenager pressed down right on the sore spot.

"Bah," Devlin replied, but he lightened his grip slightly. 

After a few more minutes and one or two accusations of trying to make his arm fall off, the other teen sat up.  "Okay, this is killing my wrists.  Sit on the bed or something."

He rolled his eyes, but reached back and pushed himself up onto the mattress.  Devlin continued his shoulders, but after another minute, he stopped.  "The shirt's bunching up too much.  It's driving me nuts....Would you mind taking it off?"

Tristan smirked.  "I knew it."

"Yes, yes, my grand seduction scheme has been seen through," Devlin deadpanned.  "Now I shall have to come up with some other plot to have my wicked way with you."

"Nice rhyme," he muttered under his breath as he pulled the shirt over his head and threw it at the other bed.  Devlin didn't reply, and went back to rubbing his shoulder.

The massage wasn't actually helping his arm any, but Devlin had nice hands, so he didn't see a reason to mention it.

He could feel the other teen slowing down as time passed, though.  Eventually, Devlin just rubbed his thumb absently over his shoulder blade before stopping and letting his hands drop.  "Look, you know that...I....I'm not trying to push you into anything.  Just tell me what you're okay with, and that's where we'll stop."

He tried to think of a good reply for that, but everything was either rambling or incoherent.  Finally he decided that words sucked, then turned around and kissed Devlin.

Devlin waited about two seconds before slinging his arms around his neck and pulling him closer.  He thought the guy said something along the lines of "This is not telling," but it was pretty hard to figure out what he was saying when Devlin's lips were smushed against his own.

Gravity and Devlin pulling resulted in the two of them landing heavily on the mattress, still kissing.  He managed to untangle one arm enough to slide it underneath Devlin's shirt, running his palm along the other teenager's side.  Devlin shifted and arched his back at that, so he could push the shirt further up.  Of course, that arching also caused him to rub against the other teen in a rather nice spot....Okay, that next one was deliberate.  He could hear Devlin smothering a snicker.

He pulled his head up and was about to say something on how annoying the other guy was, but there was that breathing thing to take care of first.  Panting did not really equal breathing.

Devlin shifted, then pushed him up enough that he had room to start tugging at his tank top.  He half-fell to one side to support his weight and helped, trying not to catch Devlin's earring in the process.

Devlin scrunched the shirt up into a ball and tossed it at the other bed as well, before leaning over and kissing him again.  After that went the shorts, which involved a lot more squirming than he was sure was necessary, and then the underwear--and he still found it intensely frightening that Devlin wore thongs--and then Devlin pulled back, panting in an attempt to get enough breath.  He didn't totally mind.  He was still expending a good amount of energy on the breathing thing too.

He rocked his hips against the other teen's for a moment, making Devlin shift and arch again, before he blinked and pushed himself up slightly.  "I'm not...too heavy, or anything?"

Devlin just wrapped an arm over the small of his back and leaned up to kiss him again.  "'S okay," he mumbled against his mouth, "I like it."

He didn't think that he'd flinched, but he must have done something, because Devlin pulled back.  "Are you sure about this?" he asked, watching his eyes.

"Yeah," Tristan said.  "I...yeah."

"Okay...let me..." Devlin squirmed off the bed and headed for the counter where the Walgreens bag still sat, turning off the TV while he was there.  He brought the bag over and dumped the contents on the bed, before pulling the band holding his ponytail out and retying his hair into a half-bun-like thing.

Tristan raised an eyebrow, and Devlin shrugged.  "I have to get it out of the way, or I'm gonna wind up getting it pulled on later, and that sucks."

Tristan made a snickering noise, but stared down at the boxes as he tore them open.

Putting on condoms was a pain in the ass, he found out.  Why people still went bareback started to make a little more sense.  Wasn't any less stupid, but at least he could see the reasoning behind it.

It probably would have sucked more if Devlin hadn't been cracking jokes and commenting the whole time.  He knew the guy was a pervert, but he hadn't realized that he had a dirtier mouth than him, Joey, and Kaiba combined when he whipped out the extended vocabulary.  That had been disturbingly funny.

He also hadn't realized the condoms and stuff were for him, though.  It wasn't like he'd thought they were for Devlin, either, it was just....Thinking.  He'd been thinking about too much and nothing at all for the whole night and as far as paradoxes went, it sucked.  He hadn't thought sex was supposed to be this difficult.

He was probably starting to be obvious, too, because Devlin was watching him again.  Before the other teen could speak, though, he shook his head and stared down at him.  "Are you sure you wanna do it like this?  I mean, I don't really..."

Devlin reached up and pushed back a strand of hair that was sticking to his cheek.  "Yeah.  Usually the guy who's not...not as experienced is the pitcher, since, you know, it'd be kind of weird otherwise?"

Tristan frowned.  "Pitcher?"

Devlin snickered, and he figured it out a second later.  "Don't even make a bat and balls analogy, man," Tristan told him.

Devlin laughed outright at that.  He calmed down a moment later, though, and wrapped an arm over his back, prodding him down into another kiss.  "Yeah," he said when they broke apart a little later.  "I like the feeling.  It's okay, really."  He pressed his hips up again.

It must have been the expression on his face.  Dammit, he was supposed to have better control than this.

Devlin pushed on his shoulders slightly until he sat up.  The other teenager followed, then hesitated and let his arms fall loosely over his shoulders.  "Look..." he started, "I really meant it.  I don't want to push you.  If you're not enjoying this, then I don't want to do it."

Tristan let one of his hands fall into Devlin's lap.  "Really?"

"Mpft," was the reply.  A moment later he said, "Okay, move your hand so I can talk coherently."

"That was pretty coherent," Tristan grinned, doing so.

"I'm talented," Devlin threw off.  Then his face turned as serious as he could manage.  "Yeah, really.  I mean, okay, I'm going to have to take a shower, and I'll use up all the hot water to spite you, and I'll probably be bitchy for the next couple of hours, but...yes.  Really."

Tristan snorted.  "That's a real convincing argument you got there."  He hesitated.  "I want to.  I really want to.  It's just...."  He trailed off.

He knew Devlin; he'd gotten to know more about him in the past four weeks than he really had in the past two years.  The guy was a cocky, sarcastic, arrogant bastard at times--a lot of times--but he wasn't an asshole, and if he'd just been scoring, he'd have given up a long time ago.  So finally he just threw his cards on the table and let himself look weak.  "...I don't know what the hell I'm doing," Tristan finished.

Devlin ran a hand along the back of his neck for a minute, before pulling away and kissing him briefly.  "...will you trust me on something?" he asked.

"Yeah," Tristan replied.

Devlin shifted around at that, and they eventually wound up with him lying on the mattress and Devlin straddling his waist.  The other teen glared around the bed.  "Did you see where the lube went?"

"Uh," Tristan said.  "I think the box fell over there."  He pointed vaguely, but yanked his hand back when Devlin licked his finger.  "Freak...."

After another moment of searching Devlin pulled the small tube out of the folds of the sheets and twisted the cap off, before leaning down giving him a wide grin.  "Aw, you know you love me," he said cheerily.

He was spared from trying to answer that when Devlin leaned down and kissed him again.  A moment later the other teen smeared some more lube on his palm and reapplied it to the condom.  He closed his eyes at that, so it wasn't until Devlin ran a hand over his chest and said "Hey," quietly that he opened them again.

"Is this okay?" Devlin asked.

"Yeah," Tristan replied.

Devlin nodded and shifted again, before pushing himself down.  He bit off a noise at that and bucked his hips up reflexively.

Devlin hissed.  "Give me a second," he managed, leaning part of his weight on one of his arms.

Tristan's eyes widened.  "Shit, sorry!"

Devlin gave him a half-grin.  "It's cool....I know I'm just that irresistible."

Tristan laughed slightly, but then Devlin rocked his hips, and after that...yeah.  His mind got a little fuzzy.  He did remember that the earring Devlin wore dangled down, and that he was tempted to flick it.  It was a strange detail, but for some reason he recalled it with crystal clarity.

Afterwards, when Devlin was sprawled across his chest and that same earring was digging into his ribs, he couldn't recall the last time he'd been so sticky and sweaty and happy about it.  It's not like the bathroom was that far away, but the whole sitting up...and walking...and moving in general...he didn't have the energy for it.

"Aaaugh, my legs are gonna hurt tomorrow," Devlin muttered under his breath as he languidly pulled his hair out of the elastic band.  Then the other teen flopped over onto his back, head still lying on his own arm.

"Man, I am not a pillow," Tristan grouched half-heartedly.

"Are now."

"If I get another knot, you're driving...."

Devlin grinned.  "Sure, as long as I get to give you another massage."

Tristan laughed at that until Devlin jabbed him in the side and told him to be still.

He woke up later that night, for no reason that he could immediately tell.  He blinked at the ceiling several times, then frowned when he realized that he shouldn't be able to see it so well.  He shook his head, then tilted his neck up enough to see the bulk of the room.

Devlin was sitting near the edge of the bed, watching cartoons on mute with the sheet half-draped over his legs.  He turned around slightly when he heard the movements, but Tristan couldn't make out his face in the flicker of the screen.

A moment later, Devlin glanced back and turned off the TV, tossing the remote at the other bed before sliding back up and laying his head on the pillow.  Tristan draped his forearm half across the cushion, and Devlin leaned against it slightly.

"...You know, you're the first person my age that I've slept with," Devlin said quietly, so quietly it was almost under his breath.

Tristan rolled on to his side slightly and looked over at the point where he could make out Devlin's head in the darkness.  "Do you wanna talk about it?"

"...no," Devlin replied after a long pause.  "Not now."

"Okay," Tristan replied, letting his voice trail off so that if Devlin changed his mind, he knew the option was still open.  But the other teen just pressed his forehead against his arm and lay still.  So eventually he drifted back to sleep.

They were still clearing more road time than usual, and two days later they reached Waynesville.  That meant they were just a few hours down the 82 and the 17 until they reached Saint Simons Island and home.  Devlin was happy--his phone conversations with the poor bastard that had been left in charge of the shop while he was gone had been getting more and more virulent as the days passed.  And he was happy, since he'd be eating real, homemade food once he got home and sleeping in a bed with a decent mattress.

Of course, his bed at home wasn't going to have Devlin in it, so he couldn't say he was entirely glad to be going home.  Add that to the minor detail that he'd failed at his actual point of this trip--figuring out who he was on his own--and his mild dislike of the town in general, and only the fact that his mom made the best meatloaf in the state was keeping him pleased to be back.

They were eating lunch at Fazoli's when Devlin said suddenly, "Do you know you do that?"

Tristan blinked at him.  "Wanna explain that one a little further?"

Devlin tore a breadstick in half.  "Whenever we drive past a semi, you always stare at the space between the cab and the trunk."

"Oh.  That," he said.  "...Yeah, it's an old habit.  Joey and I, we used to watch those trucks and talk about how we were going to climb on one and just ride out of town.  I still check them out, see which ones have handles and uncluttered platforms that I could hang on to, stuff like that."

Devlin gave him a strange look.  "You really hate Domino, don't you?" he said at last.

Tristan shrugged.  "No, not...really....I've got good friends here.  I'm just not gonna miss it when I leave."

Devlin nodded and jabbed the breadstick in the cup of marinara sauce.

There was a half-uncomfortable silence, until he suddenly said, "Hey, do you mind if we stay here tonight?"

Domino was only a couple of hours away, and the guy had a business to take care of, but Devlin said "Sure," without bothering to think about it.

"Cool," he replied.

There was another silence, while he speared a piece of lasagna with his fork and Devlin polished off the rest of his drink.  Finally, though, Devlin set the cup down on the table.  "So, what happens when we get back to Domino?"

Tristan swallowed, then set his fork down.  He shrugged.  "I dunno, Dev.  I mean, the two of us disappeared at the same time--I'm sure Joey and everyone have some kind of clue."  He looked up.  "Does it really matter if they know, though?  I mean, they're our friends.  After everything else we've been through, can you really see any of them ditching us or toilet papering the house if we mentioned it?"

"No, not Tea or Yugi..." Devlin said thoughtfully, "...but are you sure about Joey?"

"Joey's got no right to talk.  He's living with a pedophile."

Devlin choked.  Tristan made a 'what?' gesture.  "C'mon, Mai's how many years older than him?  And he only turned legal a little while ago...."

Devlin whacked his chest a couple times until the coughing subsided.  "I don't think you can call her a pedophile unless he's a kid, though."

"Pfft.  He's got the mind of a child.  It's close enough."

"Heh."  Devlin grinned for a moment longer, before it faded and he started playing with his straw.  "So what about school?"

"Fuck school," Tristan replied.  "It's just one more year, and then that's it."  He frowned, and then glared out the window for a moment.  "Coach McKenzie's a homophobe, though.  If he found out, he'd find some way of throwing me off the basketball team."

Devlin raised an eyebrow.  "The administration couldn't let him get away with that."

Tristan snorted, but shrugged.  "It's happened before....In the end, it's just a game."  He looked at Devlin again.  "Do you want to be a public couple?"

Devlin folded his hands and rested his chin on them.  "Really?  No.  I don't care if people know, but I'm not gonna go around announcing it.  Not a lot of people are going to go to the police and say they were beat up with dice, but still...."

Tristan snickered.  "So that's why you picked those as a weapon."

Devlin made a hand motion to reveal a die between his first and second fingers.  "Untraceable and easy to travel with."  Another motion, and the die disappeared.  Tristan just shook his head and took another bite of lasagna.

Devlin finished off the breadstick and sat back in the booth.  "So...we get back and just, what?  Wing it?"

He thought about it for a moment, and nodded.  "Yeah," he said.  "Whatever works, great; and whatever doesn't...."  Tristan shrugged again.  "We'll just find a way to make it work.  Somehow.  An' it's not like Domino's a little town or anything."

Devlin nodded.  "Okay."

While they were scouring the town for somewhere to sleep that night, he thought about how the conversation hadn't even begun to deal with everything...what they'd do if the news did get around school, how his parents were going to deal with it, what was going to happen after they graduated and there was college to think of...they hadn't even gotten near to touching on the future.

But it had been a start.  And there was always time to deal with stuff, before and as it showed up.  It really just came down to whether or not he wanted to turn this into a real relationship and keep it like that, and he did.  There were layers to Devlin, ones that he hadn't even suspected until recently, and he wanted to see what they were.

Besides, if he'd failed to figure out his parameters on this trip, that just meant that there was definitely room to fit a sarcastic game-inventing genius into them.  Somewhere.  Probably next to the motorcycles and away from the pancakes.

Devlin attempted to smother him with the pillow the next morning, when he woke him up.  "It's still dark out!  What's wrong with you?!"

"I know it's still dark out.  I'm actually up and looking at the window."  Tristan snorted.  "I told you ya oughta go to bed earlier last night, so it's not my fault you don't listen."

"Why the hell do you think I'm gonna get up now?" came the muffled reply from where Devlin was hiding under the blankets.

"Because I want to show you something," he replied.  "So hurry or we're gonna miss it."

Devlin finally sat up and gave him a death glare.  "You want to show me something.  At four in the morning."

"It's not four, it's three--"

"What!?"

"--and it's at Domino, so we have to get there at the right moment."

Devlin stared at him as though he'd become a pod person. 

Tristan smiled.  "So move it.  I added enough time for you to do all that makeup junk you do, but we're on a schedule."

Devlin rested his forehead on his knees and covered his head with his arms.  "You're crazy.  And I must be crazy."  He shoved the covers back and swung his feet off the bed.  "Whatever you want to show me better be the freaking Second Coming," he muttered.

His reply was perverted enough that Devlin was still laughing when he left to turn in their keys to the checkout desk.

For a while he thought they weren't going to make it, but the early-early morning traffic was lighter than he could remember it being in years, so by the time they crossed the bridge and were on the island, they were right on track.

Once they got on the highway that circled around the cliffs before heading into the heart of Domino's downtown, he breathed deeply.  Yeah, that solved it.  Wherever he went to college, it was going to have to be by the ocean.  He was addicted to salt air.

They were two minutes away from seeing downtown when the sun began rising.  He grinned.

He'd timed it perfectly once more.  By the time they were over the last hill, the sunlight was just hitting the glass buildings, reflecting back from the highest ones like KaibaCorp and the FedEx headquarters and steadily reaching down to the smaller ones.  It made the city look like it was built from gold.

"See?" he yelled back over the roar of the wind.  Devlin didn't say anything for a minute.

His stomach clenched slightly.  Damn, he probably sounded like a sap, and Devlin was going to skin him dead for getting him up so early for something as boring as this.  It was just...Domino actually looked worth living in right at sunrise.  He'd driven out really early in the morning several times in the last couple of years, just to see it like this.

He'd never mentioned it to anyone else, though.  Except Bakura, that time when they'd been coming back from Battle City; and once he'd pointed it out the other teen had just laughed and leaned on the rail before grinning and saying, "Shh.  If you say it so loud, he'll want to steal it."

Bakura had scared the hell out of him at times.  He was glad to be normal, give or take a stint as a robotic monkey.

He was about to shrug and yell back an apology for the time, when the arms around his waist tightened briefly.  "It's great!" Devlin called.

He grinned.

He dropped Devlin off at his shop/home about half an hour later, and turned down the offer for a second, non-granola-bar breakfast in order to actually get home before sunset.  Devlin was not very good at subtle double entendres.

He pulled into his driveway at twenty past seven, picked up the paper, walked inside, and learned from his mother's prompt hug and verbal attack that he'd left the phone off for the past week.  Crap.  He knew he'd forgotten something.  Better call and see how Joey was doing later....

He patted his mother's shoulder and said, "Great to see you too, Mom.  What's for breakfast?"

"Is that all you can say?"  She finally pulled back and he took the opportunity to breathe.

"Sorry, sorry," he added, rummaging through his bag and pulling out the cell phone.  "But at least I didn't run down the battery!"

He got a glare for his trouble.  Geez, and he'd even brought in the paper.

"Hmph," she said, taking the phone back.

About that time, his father walked down the hallway that led back to the bedrooms.  "Vicky?  What's all the--Tristan!"  And now he was being hugged again.  You'd think he'd been gone a year.  "Good to see you back in one piece," the man said.

"What?" Tristan asked cheerfully.  "Y'didn't think I could take care of myself?"

"I'm just glad you didn't wind up doing anything illegal or immoral while you were off 'being a man' or whatever that trip was for," his mom interjected, starting to walk back to the kitchen.  "Or at least didn't get caught," she added with a pointed look.

He decided to give her some time to recover before bringing Devlin over for dinner.