Well, here it is; the end of the story. Thanks so much to everyone who read and reviewed this; it's been so much more popular than I could have hoped. I hope you're all happy with the end of the fic, and that you read my new story, When Memory Speaks, which I'll be posting right after this. Once again, thank you all so much!
Disclaimer: I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh.
Chapter 12: Epilogue
"You know, maybe Yami living with Kaiba ain't such a bad thing," the mutt mumbled, shoving food into his mouth.
"Jou!" Anzu chided, waving a finger in his face. "Don't be so rude! You should be grateful that he's letting us come here and…"
I rolled my eyes as she went off on a long lecture, and glanced around for Yami. Just as I had feared, as soon as Yugi-tachi were on Christmas break they'd come directly to my house. Now it was 9:00 at night on Christmas Eve, and they still hadn't left.
"Don't any of them have families?" I grumbled to myself, and finally spotted Yami hidden in a corner of the living room, talking to Yugi. He looked incredible, as usual - he wore low-slung brown pants and a white long-sleeved shirt with a low collar, almost like the outfit he'd worn when he worked at that café. (Incidentally, he quit that job about a month before Christmas. Although it was a welcome change from the security guard job, Yami got bored with it quickly - and I liked supporting him anyway.)
I sidled up to my crimson-eyed lover, close enough for his shoulder to brush against my arm, and silently stood next to him as he talked to Yugi. Yami paused in his conversation and glanced up at me through his thick blond bangs. "Hi, Seto, I was wondering where you were," he greeted, smiling, and slipped his hand into mine.
I smirked proudly; at least until I noticed Yugi hiding a grin behind his hand.
Yami leaned cozily against my side and continued his conversation while I let my thoughts drift. Although I tolerated Yugi-tachi for Yami's sake, I would really be thankful when they left, since I wanted to give Yami his present when we were alone…
"Okay, then, you and Jiichan can just stay here tonight. There are plenty of extra bedrooms," Yami said cheerfully, cutting into my musings.
"What? NO!" I cried in frustration.
Yami whipped his hand away and glared at me. "Seto, don't be so rude!" he admonished. "Yugi and Jiichan are my family, and I want to be with them on Christmas!"
He crossed his arms and glared at me until I finally nodded; then he carried on his conversation with a self-satisfied smirk. I stomped away, cursing under my breath. Why did I put up with that? It was my house after all; I didn't have to do what Yami wanted, just because he was so determined...and so proud…and he tasted so sweet…
I groaned loudly, drawing the attention of the entire room.
"What's your problem, Kaiba?" the mutt called.
I ignored him and stomped up the stairs. When I reached the bedroom Yami and I shared, I stalked inside and slammed the door viciously behind me. Sure, I loved Yami, but when he manipulated me that way, it really embarrassed me, since I could never resist him. Mokuba did the same thing, though no one could maneuver me to their will like Yami did so easily.
Sighing, I sat at my desk and pulled open the drawer to examine the gift I'd gotten him. I wondered when to give it to him, since I wanted it to be private, just between us. It was so hard – almost impossible, actually – for me to express any emotion in front of people; and this gift was…well; I definitely couldn't do it with the mutt watching.
The bedroom door creaked open and I hastily shoved the bag back in the drawer. "Seto? Are you alright?" Yami called softly, stepping inside.
"Yes, I'm fine," I replied gruffly. He eyed me thoughtfully, and when I shifted awkwardly under his scrutinizing glance Yami quietly shut the door behind him.
"You're not. What's wrong?" he asked softly. I didn't answer, and Yami strode to where I was sitting and draped his arms around me tenderly. "Seto?" he murmured, and started lightly trailing kisses along my neck, up to the crook between my jaw and my ear. I shivered.
"Fine. I want us to be alone for Christmas."
"But Mokuba will be here anyway," Yami reminded me, still nuzzling my neck.
"I don't mind him… It's just - your present; I can't give it to you with all of them watching."
Yami let go of me and moved to rest his back against the corner of the desk. "That's okay. Just give it to me now."
"But…won't you want something tomorrow?"
He shook his head and gently raised his hand to cup my cheek. "I don't care about that. The day's not important; the thought is," Yami informed me wisely, and I fought not to roll my eyes at the cliché. Finally I just grinned instead - Yami was always spouting those sorts of platitudes.
Yami raised an eyebrow, clearly waiting for a response, and I observed him carefully to make sure he was serious before I eventually nodded and pulled out the bag once more. Yami took it eagerly, giving me a brilliant smile before he'd even opened it. "Thank you so much, Seto," he breathed, and I rolled my eyes.
"It might be more impressive if you actually look at it," I commented dryly, and an endearing flush spread across his cheeks.
"I was getting to that," he mumbled. Then he carefully pried open the bag and tossed the tissue paper onto the desk, and drew out the velvet necklace box I had placed at the very bottom of the bag. I watched apprehensively as Yami opened it and examined my gift.
Inside lay two matching lockets, shaped like Duel Monsters cards, similar to the ones my brother and I wore, except one held a picture of Yami, and one a picture of me. Yami opened them silently and stared at the two lockets for a long time before he finally glanced at me again. His eyes were very bright.
"I don't want anyone to ever be able to tell you again that I don't care about you," I explained softly. Reaching across him, I picked up the locket with my picture and slipped it over his head, then slid the locket with Yami's picture around my neck, right next to the one with Mokuba's picture. "If they do… Well, the proof is right here," I added, pointing to my neck.
I wished I was better at saying how I felt; aside from telling Yami I loved him, this was the best I could do. Ever since I'd found out what Bakura had said to Yami, I couldn't help fearing that something else could happen to make him doubt me. (Though I wasn't worried about Bakura himself. He'd had to leave town after a certain… anonymous tipster reported him to the police for tax fraud.)
So, these lockets were my way of showing Yami how important he was to me. I just hoped he understood what I was trying to say.
"Seto…" Yami murmured, gazing at me in wonder. Then suddenly he leapt at me and nearly knocked me out of the chair. He wrapped his arms around my neck and began kissing me passionately, then just as suddenly broke away before I had even begun to respond. Yami looked straight into my eyes, and my breath hitched at the expression on his face. "I know, Seto. I know," he murmured.
I tilted my face upward and kissed him again. Sometimes words just weren't necessary, after all.