Disclaimer: If I owned Yu-gi-oh, this would be my job, not a hobby.
Last chapter, sans lemon, which will be posted on mediaminerdotorg and adultfanfictiondotnet (where I'm also Laryna6)… when I do it. I'm back to school, and getting everything set up is using up a lot of my thinking ability. I was hoping to have this posted last weekend, but, well, 5 thousand words of fic done in a week is pretty good.
Here goes nothing.
Seto hugged him, smiling. It was still so strange, to hug anyone but Mokuba, but he finally had people who cared about him other than Mokuba. He could feel it, and it felt wonderful. Like his soul was being hugged by them as well as his body, warmth and safety when his world had always been cold and uncaring. Mokuba… Mokuba was trying to support him, trying to help him, but that had made him angry, he realized now.
There were no protectors, except for himself. All those who said they were, or should have been lied. Their parents died, their relatives turned them over to the orphanage, the orphanage hadn't stopped the bullying, and Gozaburo… had not been what Seto had hoped.
Everyone who tried to help him was either lying or doomed. And that was why he had tried to get Mokuba to stop, because it made him feel Mokuba was in danger or that the affection Mokuba had for him wasn't real. Angrier and angrier, until Yami had helped him. And Yugi as well.
The fit together, and he couldn't be jealous, because he had them, and separating him would be like separating him and Mokuba, no, more than that. He'd understood that Yami had hurt, but it must have been like being cut in two. And Yugi… he shuddered at the thought of going through your whole life missing like he had, and never knowing. Worse than what he'd done to himself, killing off the part like Yugi, the part that cared.
He'd been trying to be like Yami. The dark protector, defeating foes with ease, uncaring. And he'd been worse than Yami, even when Yami first awoke, because at least Yami had had Yugi then. And now he had Yugi, too. He laughed just a little, softly, happily, and played with Yugi's hair.
And he laughed more as Yugi stared at him for doing such an un-Kaibaish thing, then laughed brightly as well, Yami joining in chuckling.
And he could feel them, happy for him, in his soul.
People lied, people betrayed, people failed, people hated him… he never really understood what people were thinking, so he had to treat everyone as an enemy, because a lot of them were, and he couldn't fail Mokuba, couldn't lose Kaiba Corp, couldn't lose control.
But he knew that what they showed was real. He could feel their thoughts, they let him see, so he could know, know for certain, for the first time in his life, that he would not be betrayed, that the love they showed was real. He could let his guard down. He could relax. He was among friends.
They'd given him this.
"Well, if we didn't you would probably die of a heart attack before you were fourty." Yugi pointed out, smiling. "And you're our friend, Seto. …I can call you Seto?"
"Or become paranoid and be locked up." Yami added, patting Yugi, causing Yugi to stick his tongue out at him. "And of course you can, right Seto?"
Seto nodded, smirking. "They've tried to have me committed, but I have lawyers other than the one on the board… the one who was on the board, I should say. I need a new board." He grinned. "New executives, without the connections, who I can terrify and keep from getting any real power, and not have to worry about them."
A considering glance.
Yami chuckled. "Yes, I will help you pick them out. You should have more loyal helpers, though you already have some, I think."
"…well, maybe Roland." Seto admitted.
"Come on, Seto." Yugi grinned. "More people have to like you. I liked you, before Death-T, and even after."
Seto snorted. "That's because you're an optimistic idiot who actually trusts people. I work very hard to be a cold, scary bastard, you know." He smiled slightly.
"We know," they both said at once, then grinned at each other. "We should do this more often," they said in stereo again.
They joined him, snuggling closer. They were lying on him in a heap on the couch in Yugi's living room, and Seto didn't want to be anywhere else. Although, he probably had places he should be, things to do. That was how his days went, one things after another after another, most of them things he didn't want to do, except for working on his games and playing in Duel Monsters tournaments, and those he had to do less and less because he was a CEO, and CEOs didn't do any actual work, they just sat in meetings. And did paperwork.
It would be nice to have subordinates who he could trust. He'd heard about this thing called 'delegation,' where other people did things like paperwork for you that you didn't want to do or have the time without using them to stab you in the back, which might be good to try sometime.
In fact… "Yami? You know what they used as an excuse to plot against me?"
Yami bowed his head in apology. "That you weren't the World Champion any more, after being defeated, and that hurt sales."
"Oh… I'm sorry!" Yugi said.
"It's okay, I lost 'fair and square.'" A fair duel. Dueling had used to be the only place that things were fair in his life… strangely, he thought he hated Gozaburo for making him into a person who was willing to corrupt that sacred purity more than for just about anything. Turning his game, something meant for fair, harmonious competition into a weapon of war, to give one side an unfair edge to kill people with… Yami understood.
Seto realized yet again that he was understood. He smiled. Still hadn't really sunk in. He kept being startled, over and over again, by proof that this could actually be real. Too good to be true. He smiled wryly. But it is.
He could believe in unfair horrible things happening to him, but not unfair wonderful things. Seto snorted. He should know by now he never got what he deserved. He squeezed them as he said. "Let's duel again. Two out of three?"
"Free publicity? Sure." Yugi smiled, glad he could do something to make it up to him. "Whatever you want."
"You won't win." Yami chided him.
"But I'll come close, and impress the hell out of people. And I could release tapes of our first duel so they know how close I came then. I would have won, if your Grandfather's cards weren't pissed off at me." And he didn't hold any grudges. He's been horrified to find that Exodia had been destroyed. And just a little while before that he'd been willing to destroy a Blue Eyes… they hugged him tight, and he smiled.
"You two are unbelievable, you know that."
Yami smiled. "An ancient Egyptian spirit possessing his reincarnation is unbelievable? I would never have guessed."
"Oh, come on Yami." Yugi grinned. "You take advantage of it to make me look different, because people don't believe their eyes. You think I'm short?" Wobbly eyes.
Seto and Yami laughed, and after a bit Yugi couldn't hide the smile any longer, and joined in.
"If Kaiba Corp was backed by the two, or three, but we won't tell them that," Seto got back on topic, "that would boost sales. Do you want me to sponsor you?"
"You mean pay for us to travel to tournaments and give us free stuff in exchange for us using it?" Yugi asked. "Where do we sign up?"
"I'll have the forms made up as soon as I call and tell them to do it. I could maybe sponsor other duelists…" Seto started to plot.
"Maybe…" Yugi suggested, "Joey wouldn't mind if you let people know you paid for Serenity's operation? That was really nice of you."
"Don't as… all right, I'll sponsor him too. And maybe a few others… Mai Valentine would be good to get signed with us, she's a role model for a lot of female duelists, but she's famous for turning down offers… maybe the American kid…"
Seto plotted, muttering to himself while Yami and Yugi smiled at each other, resting against each other and him. They'd missed this.
Yugi sighed. –I'm sorry. If I'd just forgiven you… I should have known you were a good person, after everything you've done for me.-
Yami squeezed him gently. –You were scared by what I did. I should have explained what I was doing to you when I did it… I'd gotten so used to taking you over, when I should have been treating you as a partner… it's my fault you didn't know. I was acting like Ryou's spirit. I'm so, so sorry.—
-No!- Yugi shook his head. –You're not like him! You're sorry and he'd never be. You were trying to help me, not stabbing my hand when I tried to stop you. You let me have my body back. I should have know I could trust you then. But after seeing Ryou's spirit… I didn't know anymore. He seemed to think you were worse than him. And I trust people when I shouldn't a lot.-
Yami nodded. –I didn't tell you what you needed to know, so you made the best decision you could with what you did know. Even if it meant placing yourself in danger if I was evil, and suffering the pain of our broken bond, you were willing to do it to protect not friends, but opponents! Do you realize how proud I am of you?—He stroked Yugi's hair, smiling.
-It was horrible. And, I didn't understand that it was this- Yugi called forth his light, -and not you.-
Yami was horrified. –You thought I was inflicting the pain you felt upon you? And yet you were willing to work with me in the game? I am even more amazed.— Yami pulled Yugi closer and tucked his head under his chin. –Yugi…--
Yugi could feel amazement, guilt, gratitude, and love. –You can call me Partner now, if you want.- He offered shyly, hoping to make him feel better. –We are partners now.-
--I will never go against your wishes again,-- Yami vowed.
Yugi shook his head. –I don't want that either. But… what you do in my body is my business. I want veto power over that, definitely. But you're a person too, Yami. And I'm glad to have met you.- He sighed happily, Yami's shadows curling around him and easing his light. –And not just because of this. I love you, Yami.-
--I know, and you know I love you too. It feels wonderful.—Yami smiled at the warmth of Yugi's light.
---It does.--- Seto agreed. ---You two… we must have met before, the Witty Phantom was right.---
--When we were one.—Yami agreed.
-Huh?- Yugi asked.
--Feel it?—Yami shifted his powers.
-…we match. Equal and opposite…- Yugi's eyes were wide. –That explains this, why I was the one to get you, why I felt so lonely before I solved the puzzle and it was so horrible when we were apart, when I knew what I was missing… I dreamed of you being there…- he blushed.
Yami chuckled. –You are a teenage boy, Partner. And we are beautiful. Seto as well.—
---Damn right I am. Do you know how many people hit on me? Young, hot and rich. Damn annoying.---
---Oh, I don't mind you two.--- He smiled. Yugi was cute and shy, but brave when he had to be. Opposite and equal… Yami had been willing to hurt him if he had to, but Yugi never would want to. He didn't have to be afraid of them. They were safe. He felt their thoughts again, confirming the impossible yet another time.
He… was here, in the arms of someone other than Mokuba. They had forgiven him when others sought revenge, fought for him when others abandoned him, loved him when others hated him. It was unbelievable.
But he had to believe it.
Seto kissed their hair, and smiled.