Ashes doesn't own Yu-Gi-Oh!. Kazuki Takahashi does.

Part X

Seto had been the first one to address the issue, to tell Yuugi and Mokuba that the "four" of them had to talk. And there he was, sitting in the living room, trying to find the words to say as two curious faces stared at him. The best way had to be the bluntest. Seto wanted to glare at Yuugi, to blame him for the whole situation… but logic overtook emotion; could he actually blame Yuugi simply for existing, for being with his brother? And if Yuugi hadn't become involved for Mokuba, Seto never would have acknowledged Yami's existence, let alone developed feelings for him. He sighed softly; it seemed that fate was against him at every corner.

When he finally spoke his voice was calm. "I can't continue to see Yami." Immediately Mokuba sprang to protest, but Yuugi was studiously quiet, his head inclined as though in defeat. Seto hushed his younger brother. "I wouldn't have included either of you if it weren't for the fact that I knew you would try to change my mind. I need you two to let the issue of Yami and me drop. Is that clear?"

"But why, Seto?" Mokuba demanded. "You're happy with Yami, I know you are. Why would you throw that away?"

Seto answered calmly, "For you. For both of you." He looked at Yuugi, and saw wide purple eyes looking at him in surprise. That was about as close to fondness for Yuugi as he was ever going to show; they both knew it. "The circumstances are unusual; if one relationship is going to thrive, the other will suffer; I'm making the decision before time does it for us."

"That's insane," Mokuba said. "Yuugi, tell him he's being ridiculous."

Yuugi sighed. "Their minds are made up. We should give them some time alone." Yuugi was silent for a moment before Seto had to turn away from the light that signified the change from Yuugi to Yami. Seto didn't look back until he heard Mokuba.

"Not you too!" Seto looked up. Yami's head was bowed much as Yuugi's had been, and Seto was unable to see his face; there was an uncharacteristic sag in his shoulders.

"Mokuba, can Seto and I talk?" Seto's chest tightened; that was one of the few times Yami had addressed him by his first name when they weren't in bed. It would have been so much easier if he had said "Kaiba" as usual…

Mokuba stood hesitantly; he looked on the verge of tears as he left the room. Seto had never realized how much his brother cared for his happiness… The room was silent for a minute - or maybe it was two - before Seto sat beside Yami on the couch.

"I came to the same conclusion this morning. I understand." Yami looked at Seto, and he looked unbearably grim. "I couldn't forgive myself if Yuugi or Mokuba suffered because of my actions."

Seto nodded. "So this is it." A part of him desperately wanted to take Yami, just once before they parted… but he was trembling slightly, and he just wanted to be near his lover for the time being, while they could still be considered lovers... He let his elbows rest on his knees and propped his forehead against his hands. "I never would have started anything if I had known-"

"It won't be that bad," Yami interrupted, a slight waver in his voice. Seto wanted to tell Yami how full of shit he was. "Besides, I was just your replacement lover, the substitute for the one you couldn't have." Seto looked up at Yami in shock, his eyes wide. Yami must have figured it out… or perhaps he had known from the beginning. Despite Yami's smile, a single tear rolled slowly down his cheek. "So you shouldn't miss me that much."

Seto swore inwardly and decided that for just this moment - their last moment - he could throw away his impervious exterior. He lunged forward, wrapping his arms around the smaller male, burying his face against his neck... and he cried.

"Not anymore," he murmured. "It's not like that anymore." Yami held him as he wept, his forehead resting against the crown of Seto's head.

Seto wasn't lying; he couldn't remember the last time he had yearned for Mokuba, all because Yami had kept him busy… no, more than that… Seto sagged against Yami as he realized the truth. He no longer wanted Mokuba because he had discovered love... He wasn't just accustomed to Yami; he was in love with him.

It would have been easy for him to open his mouth, to speak those words aloud… but Yami had to leave, and any expressions of love would be futile, only serving to make separation that much worse. Seto heaved a sigh, his tears ebbing; he couldn't lean on Yami forever. Slowly he withdrew, wiping his remaining tears from his face; he wasn't supposed to be crying. He regained his composure bit by bit, fitting back into his comfortable role as Seto Kaiba, CEO with a heart of ice.

"Should I leave and send Mokuba in? I think he and Yuugi are going to want to talk," Seto said, his voice neutral as always. Playing a role he always played somehow helped numb his pain. That's what being Seto was all about: being numb when people were watching, only regaining feeling when the doors were closed and locked tight. Yami shook his head.

"Mokuba will want to speak with you first. Just tell him that Yuugi will be waiting in his room when he's ready." Yami stood, and Seto didn't watch him leave. Seto Kaiba didn't act like an obsessed woman; Seto Kaiba was calm and flippant. But when the door closed, Seto bowed his head, letting his posture slacken; with doors closed, it was private, and in private Seto felt pain. He didn't even notice Mokuba had walked in until he sat on the couch and wrapped his arms around Seto, resting his head on Seto's shoulder.

"You shouldn't have done that," he said remorsefully. "How can you just let him go?"

Seto put his best smile on, gently prodding Mokuba to look up at him. "It'll be okay," he assured the younger boy. In a movement that would have seemed purely childish to anyone watching, Mokuba crawled into his brother's lap, still hugging the older boy tightly.

Seto wasn't afraid to hold him.


- author thoughts… -
now, we say that's the end… and we're only sort of lying. Haha. Yea, I shamed my family…

…there's a sequel. 10 parts; basically parallel to this story.

Final Thoughts on "Third Grade Logic" as a whole

I feel a bit like Jerry Springer, with this "Final Thoughts" thing...

Yea, that ending was a total angst-fest.
In the original planning of the story, I intended for everyone to end on a happy note. Yea, but I thought about it logically; could they all REALLY have happy, healthy relationships when Yami and Yuugi had the same body? Like it said in Part IX, "timeshare." Not gonna work. So, came this ending. Well, not really. There was another version of the ending in which Seto and Yami sort of went at it on the couch, sort a farewell thing in which Seto was "on top," but I cut that because it didn't seem to fit. I was trying to show that it wasn't about sex anymore. I think I succeeded. If I didn't, well, now you know. ^^ Not to mention I sort of wanted to revisit the original inspiration of the story, and that was Seto thinking he was in love Mokuba, and it was that love that drove him to nearly fear his brother (Part III, remember? No more hugging. ^^). So if it's any consolation, Yami probably saved Seto and Mokuba's home life.

I had a bit of fun portraying Seto as a somewhat fickle creature; he may "have it all," but he doesn't really know what he wants. I mean, look at him. He wants Mokuba, he falls in love with Yami, and THEN... wait, that goes more into the sequel.

Yea, like I mentioned at the end of Part X, I couldn't leave it; I had to write a sequel. Fear not, it shouldn't take forever and a year to write; it's already rough!rough!rough drafted. The first part or two should be out... tentatively 2 weeks from now; the beta is on siesta until next Saturday.

...and as far as that sequel goes, I'm just about pissing my pants in fear. Do you know that? Especially you SetoxYami people: you people scare me (in a good way that makes me all fuzzy inside and weak at the knees. ^^ naughty). ...Because, sadly, the sequel isn't SetoxYami having a reunion. It goes back into my thoughts that Seto is a fickle creature... so, I'm sorry? It was actually kind of sad; I would have liked to see Seto and Yami pull a happily-ever-after, but I love the tragic romance about as much as I love happy endings...

Give me a chance, I just might shock you (or at least pleasantly surprise you?). I'm actually proud of how the characters turned out (even if they did most of it on their own without asking me first... eep. that sounded freakish), and how the story went. *hides* I just want you to know how utterly frightened I am. XD Haha. But you guys are the greatest, even if you end up scorning my name. And, just to entice you a little bit, we see more YuugixMokuba action... *dangles carrot*

So if you have any interest in that, keep an eye out for it. "In Saecula Saeculorum"

Anyway, to plagiarize my daimyou, I'm off like a prom dress. ^^ Thanks for making it a great one, guys! Now I'm off to go relax and celebrate before I keep working.

-- all done --