What Better Use For Your Millennium Item?
Joey's eyes slowly opened. The whole room was fuzzy, but he could make out enough of the ceiling to know that it wasn't his. Where the heck was he? The last thing he remembered was asking Téa for the Algebra homework. Then nothing else, except for the distinct impression that he'd made a complete and utter fool of himself.
He groaned slightly, rolled to the side, and froze. He was face-to-face with the most beautiful sight in the world.
No, not a bacon-cheese deluxe hamburger, although that did sound awfully good right now.
Seto Kaiba was lying next to him, on his back. His delicate eyes were closed and his features were soft and at peace. Joey's eyes trailed down the CEO's features, from the soft brown hair brushing his forehead to the pale white skin to the high collarbone…
Joey sighed wistfully. This was the most realistic dream yet. He leaned over and snuggled into his dream-lover, content to simply soak up his body-warmth and bask in his presence.
The fact that there was heat in what he supposed to be a dream didn't clue him in right away. Neither, when he gave into temptation and lightly stroked the boy's collarbone, feeling the pulse of his Adam's apple beneath, did he notice something odd about this 'dream'. It was only when Seto's eyes snapped open, he shot up, and grabbed Joey's wrist and pinned it behind him that Joey started to feel that something was off.
Seto stared at Joey cowering under him, half in his lap, wondering who was more startled. "You were strangling me," he said, but immediately regretted the idiotic words.
"Well, what were you doing, then?" Seto demanded, correctly interpreting the articulate 'uh' as a new form of denial.
Seto stared him down. "Touching my neck?"
To Joey's surprise, Seto released his wrist. The blonde quickly rubbed it, noticing the strange look on Seto's face. It couldn't be guilt, though, right?
"Do you remember anything that happened?" Seto asked, ignoring Joey's incredulous look. It wasn't that strange that he was asking anything… or perhaps it was.
"No…" Joey thought a little. "Yes. Just a little. I remember being with Yugi and Téa and some others, but not what we were doing." His brow furrowed further. "Wait… we were listening to something…" Abruptly, he swung to face Seto. "You said you loved me!" he declared triumphantly, realized what he'd just said, and flushed.
Seto sat stock-still, the memory rushing back. "Oh… I… did…" he said softly, not really aware of the words passing through his lips. Another memory hit him, and he smirked despite himself. "Then you broke out into song."
Joey's mouth fell partway open, and Seto supposed he was just remembering this too. The blonde's face was entirely red, as well, although the CEO was more focused on what he could see of Joey's tongue at the moment. He shook his head quickly to bring himself back to reality.
Class, he'd decided long ago, was far above Joey Wheeler. He was only proven right as Joey heaved a dramatic sigh, then flopped over backwards, sprawled casually on the rug. His rug.
"So, what now?" Joey asked, apparently directed to the ceiling. Seto shook his head and stood up. The idiot.
"Where are you going?" Joey asked, sounding alarmed for some reason. Seto took two steps and glanced down. The dog was right underneath him now. His lips twisted into an ironic smile; right where he belonged.
"I don't care. I'm leaving. This never happened, you understand?"
"But-" Joey sat up quickly, realizing far too late what a mistake that was. Seto froze in horror and embarrassment, but Joey was ever-determined and plowed on with what he'd intended to say. "You said you loved me! I heard you! And I don't know what else happened, but that's for sure and you can't take it back! Leaving now isn't going to stop that!"
Seto quickly kneeled to bring Joey's face to a more appropriate level. The honey-eyes glared up at him, stubborn as always.
"And you love me too. You never said it, but you acted like it," Seto countered.
Joey flushed. "Well- well, yeah, I do! So why are you leaving?"
"When you put it that way," Seto smirked, satisfied that he was in control of this situation. He bore down on Joey, enjoying the boy's look of anticipation, until their lips met and their eyes closed.
"Bakura?" Ryou ventured. His yami hadn't moved in about two hours and, much as Ryou enjoyed having him on his stomach, he was starting to feel afraid/embarrassed/uncomfortable.
"Hmmm?" Bakura muttered lazily, keeping his eyes closed.
"Um… would you mind moving?" Ryou asked timidly.
Slowly, Bakura's eyes cracked open. He regarded Ryou for a long moment, then slowly his mouth curved into an evil grin. "Why, certainly, Ryou," he said wickedly. Before Ryou could retract his request, or demand his yami to do something sane (for once), or just break down and cry, Bakura moved his head from Ryou's stomach and inched his whole body practically atop his hikari's. He shifted his leg, throwing it over the boy, and moved his head so he was staring directly down at Ryou. "Better?"
"Not exactly what I had in mind," Ryou managed to choke out. But better, he added silently.
The answer didn't seem to fully satisfy Bakura, and his eyes narrowed. Ryou's eyes grew larger in response, worried.
"Ryou, you're such a sissy," he growled.
"Okay," Ryou squeaked, slightly afraid. "If you say so."
Bakura made a guttural noise in the back of his throat, obviously more annoyed. "You're doing it again."
"No!" Bakura squinted menacingly (something that only Bakura could pull off, really…). "You're so damned meek and pathetic! If I call you a sissy, defend yourself! If I yell at you, don't back down! If someone really sexy is sitting on top of you, just go for it!" He paused a minute. "Well, the first two things? For anyone but me. You should rightly be terrified of me."
"You know, you're contradicting yourself," Ryou ventured.
"Don't change the subject! What about the sexy person sitting on you?"
Ryou stared at Bakura. Bakura stared back.
"I can't," Ryou squeaked.
Bakura threw up his hands- or one of them, seeing as his hands were the only things supporting him from falling on Ryou. "I have to do everything," he growled, then used the free hand to yank Ryou up by the shirt collar. He kissed his light for a few bruising seconds before Ryou pulled back. Bakura raised his eyebrows, breathless and secretly worried.
"Thanks," Ryou said, before winding his arms around Bakura's neck and pulling him back down.
The next morning…
Mokuba yawned, rubbed his eyes. He hadn't seen Seto last night, but had known better than to go looking for him.
He padded in his pajamas down the hall, heading for the room he'd left his big brother in the afternoon before. He hoped that the two boys were alive, had worst come to worst. But, considering how much Seto loved Joey, things were looking a little cheerier than that.
He stopped outside the door; he didn't hear anything. Wondering if they were still in the room, Mokuba pressed his ear to the door.
"How are you going to clean the rug?" Joey's voice asked.
"I figured I'd have one of the maids do it…" Seto's voice trailed off. Mokuba heard Joey snickering.
"Can I watch you try and explain?"
"Okay, new plan. You do it."
Confused as to what they were talking about- perhaps Seto had knocked over his breakfast- but satisfied that they were getting along, Mokuba headed towards the kitchen. Speaking of breakfast, he was hungry, and he doubted that Seto would be coming out to feed him anytime soon.
Marik knocked on the door. It took a few minutes to open, but he was used to that, with Bakura around. Finally, Ryou swung it open.
"Oh. Hi," he said, blushing. "Come on in. How are you?"
"Alive," Marik grumbled, stepping in. "Not sure I can say the same for Shadi. He and Ishizu materialized in the kitchen about an hour ago. Shadi looked like a drowned mouse, and Ishizu looked like the cat that dragged the mouse in."
Ryou raised his eyebrows, not sure of what to say. Marik continued, "Odion thought it was hilarious. I did too, until Ishizu said that, because I laughed at her, I couldn't have brownie batter for breakfast!" He looked appropriately indignant, and headed straight for Ryou's refrigerator. "So I'll just dig up something good over here."
"Okay," Ryou said, trailing him.
An exasperated voice and a white head appeared over the back of the couch. "Didn't I tell you to be forceful last night?" Bakura growled.
"You told me to be forceful," Ryou retorted. "But actions speak louder than words, and after that, you sure didn't show me I was supposed to be forceful. In fact, you seemed to enjoy the opposite."
Bakura snorted something unintelligible. "Huh?" Marik asked, emerging from inside the refrigerator, bowl of chocolate pudding in hand. He started over toward Bakura, but Ryou stopped him.
"He's a bit slower than I am," Ryou said, blushing. "He might not be dressed yet."
Marik's eyebrows raised, nearly clearing his hairline. Then he looked down at the pudding, and silently handed it over to Ryou.
"What am I supposed to do with this?" Ryou asked blankly, before Marik left again. He came up to him a second time and replaced the pudding with a bottle of chocolate syrup.
"What do you think? Just wait 'till I'm gone, please."
"Yugi?" Grandpa called, gently tapping on the bedroom door.
Yugi bolted straight upward. He was unused to sharing the bed, found that Yami was crowding him, and fell off.
He struggled to untangle himself from the sheets as his sleepy yami pulled the pillow over his head and groaned, and as his concerned grandfather rapped on the door again. "Are you okay in there?"
"Fine," Yugi called desperately. "What is it?"
Silence. Then: "I just wanted to say hello. You were asleep when I came home last night."
"Is Yami in there with you?"
"Are you feeling okay?"
"That's good. I'll see you when you decide to come downstairs. If you want, I'll make pancakes." Then he heard footsteps going down the stairs.
Yugi crawled off the floor, clad in a small T-shirt and a pair of boxers. "Yami! Wake up! I want my pancakes!"
An indistinguishable moan. Yugi giggled and climbed on the bed, sitting squarely on Yami's back. "Get u-up," he teased. "Come on, sleepy-head…"
"Go 'way," Yami muttered, just like Yugi used to when he'd been five. Yugi resorted to what his grandfather had done: leaned over and ticked his Yami's stomach, exposed when his tight shirt pulled up.
"Hey!" Yami said, scrambling up and knocking Yugi to the side. Yugi giggled again and bounced off the bed. "Come on, Yami! Pancakes!"
"All right, troops, move out!"
"Yami and Yugi, front 'n' center! Seto, take Joey and flank left! Ryou and Bakura, cover the right wing! Téa, you and Serenity surround Yugi and Yami! Tristan, off to the right!"
"Ishizu, I think you're taking this too seriously…"
"A group photo is serious work, Shadi."
Shadi gave up and headed to where the rest of the group was posing. He stood off to the left, as isolated as he could manage. Mokuba bounded up, standing in front of Seto and Joey but grinning at Shadi. Marik crept up, making Odion join the picture, behind Ryou and Bakura and gave Ryou a pinch on the arm. He hadn't really expected Bakura to spin around and grab his throat threateningly and vow to dismember him for touching his hikari, but maybe he should have. Luckily, he had Odion to look tall and intimidating. So this was how Mokuba felt about Seto, and how Serenity felt about Joey. Big brothers really were the best.
Ishizu was lecturing the cameraman, who happened to be Seto's poor gardener. He was the first person she'd found when she decided on the group picture. Right now, he looked terrified; Shadi could only imagine what she was threatening him with. She skipped up, looking happy; it must have been bad.
"Okay," the old man said, hands shaking slightly. Seto muttered something about him being overpaid. "On the count of three, I'll snap the picture. One… two… three!"
Ishizu beamed. She was the only one.
When the picture was developed a few hours later, Marik was giving Ryou bunny-ears. Bakura was in a half-turn, ready to rip Marik apart. Odion was already moving to intervene, and Ryou was just laughing. Serenity had turned around half-way to see what was going on. Tristan had jumped back, to avoid Bakura's lunge at Marik, and collided with Yami. Yami had pitched forward; Yugi had tried to catch him but wasn't strong enough, and the three of them had fallen onto Téa. She was bent over, laughing, and Mokuba was grinning behind her. Seto had been caught rolling his eyes, and Joey had a finger in his side, in mid-poke. Shadi, of course, had maintained a carefully blank face.
Ishizu took one look at the photo and declared it perfect.
Notes: Yes, this story is officially over; I'm going to miss working on this fic. But thanks a lot to everyone who reviewed; I love reading your comments. You guys are great!