Warnings/notes : Yami/Yugi, Seto, mentionings of Mahado (Dark Magician)'s death, somewhat sappy (all right, so it's actually -very- sappy. Sorry).
Disclaimer : I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh. This ficlet is part of 'Feast of the king's shadow', meaning its title is taken from this novel by Chaz Brenchley.
written at 13th october 2003, by Misura
The sunset that day seemed to paint the heavens with the color of blood. Yugi wondered if that was an omen, some warning of the gods not to go through with what he had resolved himself to finally do this evening. He hoped not. He felt like he had postponed it too long already, out of a pathetic, cowardly fear he couldn't quite fight down.
Perhaps it was because he was nervous to ask help from a person who had made it abundantly clear on many an occasion that he didn't approve of a young slave having such an intimate relationship with the Pharaoh. Yami had assured Yugi he wasn't the only one scrutinized by the blue-eyed priest, but that didn't make Yugi feel any more comfortable in his company.
Still, Seto was the only one Yami talked to on a regular base nowadays. After Mahado's death ... Yugi shivered, remembering the haunted expression on Yami's face as he had related the tale of how Mahado had sacrificed his own life to ensure Yami's safety. The Pharaoh had allowed Yugi to hold him then, sobbing like his heart would break, soaking Yugi's tunic with his tears.
Yugi hadn't minded that Yami had nearly crushed him or that Yami's grip on his smaller body had been almost painful. It was a small discomfort, more than compensated by the knowledge that Yami trusted him enough to witness this, to come to Yugi for comfort. He loved Yami with all his heart and it had pained him to see the normally so controlled Pharaoh breaking down.
Afterwards, when Yami had told him he wished to be alone, Yugi had merely nodded in understanding, leaving quietly. He too would miss the solemn young priest, who could be cheerful as well on occasion and who had supported him and Yami from their first meeting. Mahado had always defended Yugi's position in the court, when Yami was too busy to do so.
Mahado had been dead for two months now though. And during all that time, Yami had ignored Yugi, not once sending for him to keep him company or even merely to have dinner together, as they once used to do every day that Yami's presence wasn't required elsewhere. The situation was eating away at Yugi, causing him to begin to doubt every word and promise Yami had ever spoken during their time together. Telling himself he really had no other choice, Yugi took a deep breath and knocked on the door to Seto's quarters, praying the priest would at least be there.
" ... and you're my last hope." Yugi finished his story, hoping the speed with which the words had come tumbling out of his mouth hadn't kept Seto from following his arguments as to why it was the best thing for everyone if he helped Yugi get together with Yami again.
Seto sighed, rubbing his temples. Only now did Yugi notice how exhausted and worn out Seto looked, as if he hadn't had a good night's rest for quite a while. Like, say, two months or so. Yugi had always thought Mahado and Seto hadn't gotten along very well, but perhaps he had been mistaken.
"Please," he added quietly, when Seto gave no immediate reply. Besides, it might soften Seto a little if he made it clear he wasn't -demanding- any aid. Regardless of everything that had happened between him and Yami, his official position was still that of a slave after all. Technically, that meant Seto could have him banished from the palace without any sort of explanation.
Normally, he would have trusted on Yami's influence to prevent such a thing from happening, yet since the Pharaoh had been acting as if he didn't even remember Yugi's existence ... Yugi swallowed uneasily, suddenly wondering whether it had been such a smart move on his side to admit to Seto just how bad his relationship with Yami had become.
Had he just handed the perfect opportunity to get rid of an unwanted presence in the royal palace to one of his worst enemies? In truth, he had no idea how deep Seto's animosity towards him ran. Had Yami's dismissive remarks about Seto disliking nearly everyone been realistic?
"I agree that Yami's current behavior isn't a good thing. But what makes you so sure -you- can change that?" Seto inquired. "Why would you be able to succeed where everyone else has failed thus far?"
"Because I love him!" Yugi blurted out, blushing as his words registered in his mind. He doubted if that kind of reason would appeal to Seto who only seemed to harbor a certain fondness for his Blue Eyes.
"And he loves you as well? So that he'll regain his senses at the mere sight of you?" There was a sneer to Seto's voice. "You really expect me to risk my position for such romantic nonsense?"
"It's no nonsense!" Yugi protested sharply, while a more rational part of his mind remarked this conversation was not going in any favorable direction.
"We'll see about that," Seto said grimly, rising from his seat and grabbing Yugi's wrist to pull him along.
"Where are you taking me? What's going on?" Yugi asked, vainly struggling to break free.
"This slave is to be sold as soon as possible. His services are no longer required in the palace," Seto had informed the head-scribe who had blinked, before obediently writing out the necessary orders. Yugi had stared at the proceedings with wide eyes, trying to convince himself this was all some sort of bad dream.
That had been yesterday. Today found him in a narrow cell, faced with the prospect of being removed from the palace and the harsh reality of Yami apparently not caring at all. Unless, of course, the Pharaoh wasn't even aware of Yugi's situation. He didn't know what'd be worse.
"Love doesn't seem to be as strong as you thought it to be now, does it?" Seto strolled in, a scowling expression on his face. There was a hint of some other emotion in it as well, but it faded away before Yugi could name it. "As you know, all sales of palace-slaves have to be approved by the Pharaoh personally." Seto held up a tablet. "This here means the end of your stay here."
Yugi closed his eyes, determined not to show his despair at those words, not to give Seto the satisfaction of seeing him break down. Thus, he almost missed the entrance of a second person.
"I don't think so, Seto." Yugi's eyes fluttered open, to find Yami standing there. The Pharaoh looked murderous, yet the priest seemed completely unconcerned as he walked over to Yugi and opened the chains that had kept him bound to the wall.
"Yami." Seto's hands roughly shoved Yugi into his lover's direction. "It'd be about time you got out of that depression of yours."
"You had no right to use Yugi like this." Yami snarled, his arms protective embracing the smaller boy, who blinked, wondering what exactly Yami was referring to.
"It worked, didn't it? And he's none the worse for a night in discomfort." Seto shrugged, a glimmer of amusement in his eyes as he noticed the confused expression on Yugi's face. "Selling slaves doesn't require the Pharaoh's permission."
"I admit I have been a bit unreasonable these past weeks but - " Yami started.
"A bit unreasonable?!?" Seto repeated incredulously. "You wouldn't listen to a single thing any of us had to say to you! All you did was sit there and mope."
"I did not - " Yami began, before he was interrupted again. By Yugi this time, who had figured out that Seto had been on his side after all, more or less.
"Yes, you did!" Yugi stared up at Yami allowing some of the hurt and longing he had felt these past two months to shine through. "You completely ignored me."
"You should have used a different method." Yami glowered at Seto. "One that didn't endanger Yugi."
"It worked, didn't it?" Seto brushed past the Pharaoh and his lover, not sparing them another glance. Yami opened his mouth to call something after him, before Yugi shook his head with a slight grin.
"He's not as tough as he'd like people to think. Leave him in peace, Yami. Besides, he's kind of right in this case. Even if it wasn't exactly fun to spend the night in a cold cell."
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