Disclaimer - No, I don't own them. If I did, GX would never have been created and there would be a whole lot more going on then just dueling and Ancient Magic.

Author's Notes - No excuses this time. Here it is, and I'm sorry if anyone is offended by sex and violence.

Chapter 24 - Back on My Feet

Yami stood beneath the spray of the shower, letting the warm water wash away the remains of his time with Ryou, although it could not wash the light from his heart and mind at the young man's gift to him. Ryou had given him back a piece of himself that Malik had forced into hiding . . . the part that loved, that needed and felt with a passion born of years seeking acceptance and peace within himself.

He smiled to himself, chuckling mentally at the irony of it all. Of all the people that he had come to know and love, his adopted family that had grown person by person throughout his life, it had been Ryou to teach him what it was to feel again. Such a small, unassuming teenager . . . his cousin's lover, a nearly identical younger version of his own lover . . . and yet, he had approached Yami without any thought to consequences, wanting only to love and be loved in return, to teach and be taught the ultimate passion between two men. He owed Ryou more than he could ever repay the youth . . . but he suspected Ryou already knew that.

What was curious to him was the lack of a struggle with his abilities. After that one horrendous outbreak, they had remained at base line, barely manifesting unless he called for them. He sighed . . . why he was worrying about it was beyond him when he should have been relieved by the lack of trouble. Perhaps Malik had done him a favor after all . . . he had forced Yami to learn iron control over his powers in order to uphold his end of the bargain. He shivered as the thought of the blonde brought memories back to him, but he pushed them roughly aside in his mind. His slavery to the demented blonde was in the past, and Malik was dead.

Shaking his head to rid himself of those dark thoughts, he turned off the water slowly, stepping from the shower and briskly rubbing himself dry with a towel before slipping into black leather pants and a white cotton shirt. Bakura had sworn that Yami was allowed to wear nothing but breathable material over the marks on his chest for at least another week . . . something about allowing them oxygen to heal, if Yami remembered correctly. He shrugged, buttoning the shirt slowly as a soft smile crossed his lips. Bakura had been rather adamant . . . while trying to hide the fact that he still had tears in his eyes. Marik hadn't bothered trying to hide his own tears . . . they were both simply too relieved to see him start to act like himself again.

If he were being honest with himself, he would admit that he was relieved as well. It had hurt to keep them at a distance . . . but his conditioning under Malik had just about broken the very core of who he was, and he had been unable to let them closer without feeling lost in a darkness he didn't know how to get out of. That darkness was gone now, banished to the far corners of his mind by Ryou and Yugi . . . and he relished being able to feel their love without being frightened by it anymore.

Opening the door of the bathroom, he made his way slowly to the stairs, pausing for a moment before descending them silently, a mischievous grin crossing his features as he peeked around the corner, seeing everyone gathered in the living room. Bakura and Marik were wrapped in each others arms on the couch, Joey and Mai on the floor nearby. Serenity and Tristan were in the arm chair, Duke was on the bean bag . . . the only people missing were Yugi and Ryou, and he knew for a fact that those two were still sleeping in his bed. The television was off . . . but he was fixing to change that. His mood lightening by the moment, he was itching to pull some prank to show everyone that he was okay . . . and the TV would do just the trick.

Reaching out with his telekinetics, he lifted the remote from underneath the couch, floating it silently over to hover underneath the coffee table, out of everyone's direct line of sight, but with a perfect aim to the television. Suppressing the urge to chuckle, he pressed down on the 'on' switch . . . and watched as everyone jumped.

"Okay . . . who turned on the damn TV?" Tristan grumbled, reaching over to flick it off.

"Someone must have sat on the remote . . ." Serenity said, standing up to rifle under the cushion of the arm chair. "It's not here." They all jumped as the set came on again . . . and started flipping through channels.

"What the hell?" Bakura growled, rising off the couch and pulling Marik up to begin his own search for the remote. Yami ducked back behind the wall as Marik turned to glance at the stairway, a speculative gleam in his lavender eyes. "Well, it's not here either, so it wasn't us," he said finally, flopping back onto the couch. "Duke, shut that damn thing off."

"I did!" Duke said, standing beside the TV and shutting it off again. It came back on immediately. "Okay, somebody stop fucking around!"

"None of us has it!" Joey said . . . and then spied the remote hovering under the coffee table. "YAMI!" Yami laughed, sinking onto the stairs as a stitch started in his side from holding back his laughter for too long at everyone's antics. Marik came around the corner, planting his hands on his hips and attempting to look suitably severe . . . an attempt that was failing miserably due to the smile that kept trying to crease his lips.

"You . . . are incorrigible!" he said, platinum blonde hair swaying as he shook his head, lavender eyes laughing. "Couldn't resist making an entrance, could you?" Yami stood, making his way down the stairs before taking Marik in his arms and hugging him, laying a brief kiss on smiling lips as he looked up at him.

"Of course not," he replied before turning to look at everyone. "Did you miss me?" He was suddenly surrounded in warm bodies, feeling Bakura on his opposite side as he was welcomed back by his friends . . . his family. They would never really know everything that he had gone through . . . only Bakura, Marik, Yugi, and Ryou would ever know the whole story of how close he had come to being gone forever . . . but in the end, it meant all that much more to him that they had all moved up here to be near him and help him if they could.

He sighed, returning the hugs and the light touches happily, glad to finally be back amongst friends.


Yugi yelped as he found himself pushed off the pier where he had been speaking with his cousin. Spluttering back to the surface, he glared at Ryou, who merely smirked at him before cannon balling off the pier into the water nearby, drowning him in another wave of water.

Yami watched from his seat nearby, his feet dangling absently in the water as he watched his friends and lover's play in the cool waters of the once silent lake. It had been three days since Ryou and Yugi had brought his soul back to life . . . three days of friendship, warmth, and love that he would treasure close to his heart for the rest of his life. The time was rapidly approaching when they would have to return to the city. Kaiba would not keep Gravitation closed for much longer, and he wanted all of them back and ready to work on opening night.

One thing remained to worry him, however, and he had no idea how to go about fixing it. Bakura and Marik . . . neither of them had made a move for him in anything more than an affectionate nature. He struggled within himself to find the problem in order to fix it . . . but he wasn't sure what the problem even was. Were they just afraid of rushing him? He had to admit that it worried him too . . . but after three days with nothing more than light touches and brief kisses, he was getting ready to go mad. He had always been a sexual creature in nature . . . not knowing how to pick up where he had left off with his lovers was slowly driving him bonkers.

He puzzled it over silently in his mind, debating how to approach them without them thinking he was doing it out of necessity. He honestly wanted the two of them again . . . wanted them with a gut wrenching need that shadowed anything he'd felt before. Maybe it was a need to reaffirm that they were there . . . maybe it was to show them that he loved them . . . he didn't know. But it was going to drive him nuts if this didn't end soon. They acted like they were walking on eggshells when they were around him, for Ra's sake!

Fingers drummed silently against the wood of the pier as he thought. Finally, the proverbial light bulb blinked on . . . as he remembered the secluded clearing in the forest that he had discovered on one of his brief visits up here before Yugi had come into his life. There was a stream and a small pool running through it . . . it would be perfect. He just had to get them there . . . and get everything there ahead of them without them suspecting anything.

A smile crossed his lips as he thought everything out, crimson eyes glowing warmly as he plotted getting his two lovers back into his life fully.


The moon shone full and bright the following night, the stars clear in the sky above as Yami slipped out of the house towards the clearing, carrying everything he considered 'necessary' for his little endeavor. Arriving at the clearing, he quickly spread the blanket out on the crisp grass, loving the feel of it between his toes. Thick, heavy candles were placed at the four corners of the blanket, safely away from the material (and any stray limbs), and three were placed by the pool. A bottle of wine and three glasses were set to chill in the stream before he stripped, slipping into the cool water with a sigh.

Opening his shields, he reached for the sleeping minds of Bakura and Marik, touching them gently, nudging them to consciousness. He felt their momentary panic when they discovered him gone, and whispered directions to find him into their minds. He grinned as Bakura sent back an image of the white haired man strangling him when they found him.

Trust me love . . . I don't think you'll want to strangle me when you get here . . . he murmured silently in reply.

He waited patiently, listening with mind and ears as they followed the forest path cautiously. He felt their surprise when they entered the clearing, and smirked to himself.

"Yami?" Marik called out softly, stepping towards the candle-lit blanket hesitantly. In response, he rose out of the water, a feline grin of satisfaction crossing his face as Bakura's eyes widened and he poked Marik to draw the blonde's attention to Yami. The tri-haired man moved seductively towards the two men, instinctively catching whatever light was in the area on his glistening wet skin before he reached them.

"I've missed the two of you," he whispered, running a playful, teasing hand across Bakura's groin before pulling Marik into a kiss. "The both of you have been treating me like fine porcelain, and I grow tired of it. I want what we had before."

"Yami . . ." Marik whispered, then groaned as one lightly tanned hand caressed his growing erection through his thin pants as the lithe figure moved away. "We didn't want to rush you . . ."

"And what if I want to be rushed?" Yami murmured, rubbing up against Bakura as he stepped behind the white haired man, pressing his aching need into the tight ass wantonly. "I need the two of you . . . I'm not going to break." Bakura growled deep in his throat as Yami reached around his hip, his hand dipping below the waist band of his pants to stroke his raging hardness teasingly. He stopped just as suddenly as he had begun, backing away to settle on the blanket like a reclining god. "Of course . . . if you no longer desire me, just say so," he whispered. In reply, Bakura and Marik shared a single glance before stripping off their clothing and joining him on the blanket.

The cool night air was forgotten in the contact of heated skin upon heated skin. Yami moaned as Bakura took him into his mouth, teasing him to aching hardness with soft licks and nips of teeth as the pale hands ran loving trails over stomach and thighs. Marik lay beside him, worrying one nipple to pebbly hardness with his teeth and tongue as nimble fingers rolled the other between thumb and forefinger, pinching slightly. His back arched, trying to press further into Bakura's wet heat as the white head bobbed slightly, mimicking fucking him with his mouth.

"Oh Ra . . . 'Kura, please," he whimpered. In response, chocolate eyes met crimson teasingly, his tongue darting out to lick at the pre cum glistening at the head as he held Yami in thrall with a look. Marik moaned as he felt Yami caress his erection, pumping it slightly. He pulled away slowly, sharing a look with Bakura. Yami growled as their body heat was lost . . . only to gasp as he was turned on his side, one leg draped carelessly over a dark arm as Marik entered him slowly, hissing as the warmth engulfed him.

"Yami . . . oh gods, you're so tight . . ." Marik growled. Yami was about to reply when suddenly Bakura's mouth engulfed his length again, deep throating him. He moaned, feeling Marik fill him as Bakura sucked him off, unsure of what he should be doing, his mind cloudy with passion and need. A lightly tanned arm snaked out, wrapping around Bakura's waist and pulling him closer, feeling the white haired man groan around his length as he took Bakura's manhood into his mouth, swirling his tongue around the sensitive head before deep throating it. He felt Marik begin to move inside him as he sucked at Bakura, his body rampant with aching need and longing as he reached out with his mind, reforging the connection between them. He felt both his lovers tense as the feelings of each flowed through them all, and smiled as he felt the love radiating between them.

Release was quick in coming to each of them after that, light touches and brief mumbled words lost in the moment as they reaffirmed their love and faith in each other through physical ecstasy. They lay in a tangled jumble of limbs for a long while afterwards, before Bakura broke the silence, his voice soft in the moonlit night.

"Yami . . .trust me when I say Marik and I have wanted to do this since we got you back . . . but we were afraid of pushing you too soon. We didn't want to hurt you by forcing you to do something you weren't ready for. We didn't mean to make you feel like we no longer wanted you . . . that's so far from the truth it's unimaginable. We haven't even fucked each other to relieve the stress . . . we were so worried about you, and scared. Forgive us." Yami reached out, pulling him close and weaving his fingers into the snowy locks thoughtfully.

"There is nothing to forgive, love," he murmured, staring up into the night sky. "I understand . . . but gods, don't do that to me again! I'd die without the two of you . . ." Marik shifted against him, levering himself up on one elbow to run a gentle finger along Yami's jaw line, lavender eyes serious.

"We would die without you too, Yami," he whispered. "Those months without you were hell. We won't be parted from you . . . not for all the hounds of hell. We love you too damn much." Yami pulled him into a soft kiss, his tongue flicking out to run teasingly over petal soft lips before dipping into his cavernous warmth to taste him.

"I love the both of you as well," Yami replied. "I don't ever intend to let either of you go . . . not without one hell of a fight."

As they lay there, sweat soaked bodies entwined in the silent, candle-lit clearing, Yami felt that truth in his soul . . . and knew that, at last, he had come home to the only place he ever wanted to belong. Yes, there were still issues to be dealt with, still problems to be solved . . . but in the end, it all paled in comparison next to the happiness and contentment he had found in the most unlikely place of all.

He smirked, reminding himself to send Kaiba a thank you card. After all, what else could you do . . . when it had all come about due to Gravitation.