Pairings: Seto + Yami, Noa + Mokuba
Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh! is the creation of Kazuki Takahashi. This is a not-for-profit fanwork and I do not own any of these characters.


Aftershocks

Ch. 14: Just Another Birthday


It was fairly late in the morning by the time Mokuba really woke up. As he slowly drifted out of the fuzzy landscape of dreams and into awareness, he shifted lazily against the warm weight pressing into his back, smiling to himself as it grunted and pushed back against him.

"Bed hog," Noa muttered in mock irritation.

Ah yes, there was his regular morning greeting. "Am not!"

"Are too. I spend every night clinging on to the edge of the bed, and last night was no exception."

"At least I don't suck up all the blankets like a vacuum cleaner."

"I do not!" Noa paused to look at the arrangement of sheets on the bed. Okay, perhaps the covers were slightly skewed in his favor. "If I ever did do such a thing, it's only because I'm trying to keep from falling out of bed."

"Fibber."

"… Snorer!"

"Hmph!" Mokuba rolled over and slowly sat up to face his brother, who was partially sitting up against the headboard with a magazine lying face down on his chest. Evidently he had been awake some time, though he hadn't gotten out of bed. "See, I knew you couldn't deny the fact that you were lying." The black-haired teen grinned in triumph, but the smile slowly faded as he remembered all the craziness from the day before. Peering at Noa's now-empty bed, he asked, "Where's Seto and Yami?"

"Dunno. I only woke up about ten minutes ago and they were already gone. Probably off… 'making up.'"

"Well, it sure was nice of them to not just do it right here. I didn't know Seto had that much restraint."

Noa smirked in a very Seto-like fashion. "He doesn't. But Yami apparently does."


Within a few minutes, both younger teens were up and out of bed and wandering downstairs in search of breakfast. What they were expecting to find was an empty kitchen. What they actually found were Seto and Yami having a one-sided argument over a few slices of toast.

"Baby… stop," Yami complained, trying unsuccessfully to squirm away from the brunette who was draped all over him like a wet blanket, butter knife firmly in hand. "I have a broken leg, not permanent brain damage. I'm capable of putting jam on my own toast."

Seto just ignored his lover's protests and continued to spread strawberry preserves all over the bread, though he was making a bit of a mess since he only had one eye open. He looked like he was three seconds away from falling asleep where he stood. If he really did nod off, he was going to be in trouble since there was no way Yami would be able to keep him upright with just one good leg.

"Uh… good morning?" Mokuba said loudly as Seto began tilting to the right.

Somehow, the older teen managed to remain standing. "Hn..."

"Morning!" Yami replied, turning his head to grace the brothers with a wide grin. Mokuba and Noa both smiled back, more out of relief than anything else. Proudly displaying the collar that was back around his neck where it belonged, Yami was certainly in a good mood, his eyes bright with amusement. "… Seto! What are you… seriously, that's not even toast! You're spreading jam on the napkins again."

"Hn." Seto finally let go of the knife and picked up the plate with one hand while clumsily guiding Yami with the other. Yami ended up using one crutch while shoring Seto up as Mokuba and Noa waited for their brother's inevitable collapse, but Seto miraculously managed to make it to the dinette without dropping the plate or causing Yami to stumble. The younger teens let out twin sighs of relief as the young CEO finally sank like a rock into his seat of choice and pulled the former Pharaoh into his lap. Putting his chin on Yami's shoulder while the shorter duelist enthusiastically started on his breakfast, he mumbled, "So whaddya… want… do t'day…?"

One of Mokuba's eyebrows went up as he considered the question along Seto's obvious state of exhaustion. I want you to go get some sleep. "Mmm… nothing?" He received a weak, squinty glare for that response. "No, really! Uh… oh SHI…oot!"

"What's wrong, Otouto?"

Mokuba leaned over and snagged Noa's sleeve. "When was our English assignment for Nakamura due?" he whispered harshly in his brother's ear.

Noa scrunched up his face in thought, then frowned when he realized what day it was. "Tomorrow."

Well, it's official. I'm gonna fail. "Man, I hate homework," Mokuba grumbled. "So… I guess that's what I'll be doing today."

"Me too," said Noa.

Yami gave them both an understanding smile. "Well then, I suppose we could go out and have a nice dinner tonight after you're done with your homework; how's that sound? And maybe catch a movie afterwards?"

"Sure, sounds good!" Mokuba chirped.

"Mmmkay…" Seto droned, shutting his eyes.

"You really should go to bed if you're tired, Seto," Noa remarked.

"Hnnn…"

Mokuba shook his head at his big brother's obstinance, but he knew that Seto wasn't going to go anywhere until Yami was done eating, though the crimson-eyed teen was starting to chew at a faster pace, obviously realizing the same thing. But he still couldn't resist making the attempt anyways. "I agree… you need to get some sleep, Nii-sama. And now that things are back to normal…"

"And you're not being an ass…" Noa added.

Yami snickered. "Speaking of ass, you guys should see what Seto wrote on my cast!" He leaned back just a little to get his right leg out from under the table and triumphantly planted it on the polished surface with a bit of effort. "There you go!"

Mokuba took one look at the bold, black letters and accompanying illustration, and began sniggering. "When did he write that? Last night?"

"Guess so."

Noa's laughter joined Mokuba's. Seto had written "I'm sorry, I'm an ass" in block letters down the left side of the cast, winding the message between existing signatures, and next to the word "ass" was a stick figure of a rather portly donkey. "Oh God… well, if he's an ass, why'd he draw a donkey instead of a butt, huh?"

"That's a donkey? I thought it was a rabbit!" Yami joked, pointing out the extremely large ears on the caricature.

"Nnh?" The young billionaire stirred, but didn't bother opening his eyes. "… Sorry. Was an ass… to both you… too…" He couldn't quite elaborate on it in his current state, but he really did want his brothers to know that he appreciated what they had done for Yami. "'N… love you, Mokubaaa… n' Noaa… too…" he blurted out after a moment's pause.

Noa just gasped and turned to look at Mokuba.

The black-haired teen froze for a moment in disbelief, then the corners of his mouth turned up in a soft smile. It didn't even matter if Seto was fully aware of what he had just said because if he said it he meant it, and if it took complete exhaustion for him to allow his guard down enough to express his inner feelings, then Mokuba was grateful for that in a way. Oh… I think I'm going to cry. I can't believe… "I love you too, Nii-sama."

"…'Kay."

Yami just gave a soft mental chuckle as he shoved the remaining portion of toast in his mouth, chewing vigorously. It was cute that Seto had just said that, and it was something that definitely needed to be said… but since he wasn't sure how coherent the brunette was, he'd have to remember Mokuba's reaction for him, and share it with him later on. Okay, sleepyhead, I'm done eating… Let's go back to bed. You really need it.

Yeah, but… too tired… fer sex, Yaaami…

Sex? Huh? I meant bed as in sleep, okay?

Surrre…


After leisurely finishing their breakfast of cereal, the two younger teens headed back upstairs to get the drudgery of their homework out of the way so that they could enjoy the remainder of their day off. But the English assignment wasn't the only thing that had to be taken care of…

"Well, I guess everything is back to normal. Or whatever passes for normal around here. Which means that in addition to our homework from hell, we need to figure out what to do about Seto's birthday. Oh! And I guess it'd be a good idea to contact everyone on our list as well. Did we have anyone scheduled for today?" Mokuba asked.

Noa quickly checked the calendar on his PDA. "Jou and Honda at 5:30 PM at Kaiba Corp. We should call them and tell them it's off."

"Aw, Jou's going to be disappointed." Mokuba flipped out his phone and began dialing. "I still can't believe Yugi actually kicked Nii-sama in the nuts though. I bet that Jou would've liked to do the… Oh, hey, Jou! It's Mokuba. No no… actually… Yami and my brother made up. Yeah, I figured you'd hear it from Yugi first, but isn't that great?! No, you can't kick his ass just for the hell of it. Well, he took the day off anyways, so if you show up… yeah. Okay, I'll tell him that. But anyways… thanks again for volunteering! Okay, bye!" The black-haired teen rolled his eyes and ended the call.

"Let me guess… he wanted to tell Seto that if he ever tried to break up with Yami again, he was going to break his face." Mokuba nodded and Noa sighed, putting down the PDA. "So let's see… my word is fortuitous. This is the dumbest assignment... Ah hell… should we do homework first or call up the rest of the people on the list?"

"Magnanimous!" Mokuba blurted out. He was really hating Nakamura at the moment… how the hell was he supposed to illustrate that concept anyways? "Crap! Uh… I guess we really ought to call up the people who were going to fly in and then cancel their flight reservations. Who all did we have coming in anyways?"

"Valon, Amelda and Rafael were supposed to fly in on Saturday. Rishid and Ishizu on the Tuesday after that. And…" Noa checked the schedule again, "Pegasus was on standby for that Friday."

"That's a lot of ass kicking. I guess we overcompensated."

"Nah. Only Rishid and Rafael were planning to kick his ass I think."

"Didn't Valon want to join in? I bet he was planning to have his personal walking wall of muscle hold Seto down for that."

"Personal walking wall of muscle?" the green-haired teen echoed. "Rafael?"

"Oh yeah, you've never seen him in person, have you? Yeah, the pictures don't do him justice. He's muscles on top of muscles. Yami is about as big as his arm."

"How… fortuitous for Seto to have made up with Yami before that happened then." Noa smirked and began writing up an email to contact the volunteers in the "Talk Some Sense into Seto and Failing That, Kick His Ass" program and spread the good news.

Mokuba rolled his eyes at his brother's back. "That was so cheesy. It's magnanimous of me to not throw something at you for that."

"That truly is fortuitous. Ow." A balled-up piece of paper bounced off the back of his head.

"I'm feeling magnanimous, or else there would have been a rock wrapped up in that piece of paper. Hmm… actually, I think I have an idea for my assignment. Wouldn't you say that Yami…"

"Dibs on Yami!" Noa cried out.

"What? No way!" the black-haired teen protested.

"Yes way! I called dibs on him three weeks ago, remember? I was going to have him draw cards in class?"

Mokuba blew Noa a raspberry, then reached for his digital camera. He didn't know why this particular idea hadn't struck him earlier considering that with all the craziness around the house, the answer had been there all along. "I hope Mr. Nakamura gives you an F, because when I get finished with my project, I'm gonna blow you out of the water."

"Oh yeah? Whatcha planning to take a picture of?"

"Hehehe, it's a secret," Mokuba gloated. "Be back in a sec." Now all he had to do was sneak into Seto and Yami's room, hope they were asleep, and snap a few quick shots. Of course, if Seto ever found out about what he was doing, he'd ground him for it, but then again, Mokuba was already grounded forever and ever anyways, so that was just an empty threat as far as he was concerned. Besides, Seto did want him to graduate high school, right? And a picture of Yami would be a perfect centerpiece for his display - if anyone was big hearted, generous and forgiving, it had to be the former Pharaoh with the way he dealt with Seto. Who else would have put up with all that crap while nursing a broken leg?

Several minutes later, Mokuba was stealthily sneaking out of Seto's bedroom with a half dozen pictures in hand. Luckily both older teens had been asleep just as he had hoped, which allowed him to take his time angling for the best shots. But as Mokuba walked back to his shared bedroom, flipping through previews of the pictures, he couldn't help but be touched by what he saw. Yami was flopped on top of Seto, a peaceful smile gracing his face, looking completely and utterly blissed out. And Seto had one arm wrapped around Yami's shoulders as if he had fallen asleep mid-caress, plus the dumbest grin on his face. Seto usually only grinned like that after a bout of marathon sex, or if he were just really, really happy about something, like… sex. At least there weren't toys littered all over the place this time since they had apparently fallen asleep without doing anything weird. It was really embarrassing that one time when he had tripped over a… well, whatever it was…

Mokuba made a face at the direction his thoughts had wandered, shaking his head in silent amusement. He wondered how many other kids had to put up with an overly sexually active older sibling who had no qualms about doing it on the stairs, in, on and around every car they owned, in his bed…

Ewww. Okay, I can handle the rest, but they're banned from screwing in my bed ever again, he decided as he opened the door to his room.

Noa leaned back in his chair to eye his brother, curious as to what exactly Mokuba was planning. "Well? You get the shots you were hoping for?"

"Yeah, I think so." The younger teen handed the camera to his brother. "Actually, now I'm not sure if I want to use those at all. I mean, I like them a lot, but they're almost too good for the assignment, don't you think?"

"Hmm. Wow, these are good. But they're… well, too personal. Do you really want the rest of the class to see these?"

Mokuba scrunched up his nose in dismay as he took the camera back. "No… that's sorta what I was thinking. It's selfish, isn't it? I mean, almost no one gets to see Nii-sama and Yami for who they really are, but at the same time, I don't really want anyone else to get to know them that way. Well, Yugi-tachi know, but… I'm not making any sense, am I?"

"I understand. And I kinda feel the same way. I think you should save those pics for your album instead."

A sigh. "Yeah. But that means I'm back to square one."

"Guess so… but it doesn't mean that your idea doesn't have merit. Just find a different way to do your presentation. It's worth it, isn't it?"

Getting a decent grade in English? I don't care about that. Mokuba glanced back down at the preview screen on his camera, at a pair of genuine smiles captured through the magic of technology. But getting Seto and Yami back together and finally seeing that smile on Nii-sama's face again? "Yeah… yeah, it is."


OWARI

Author's Notes:
- Just wanna say thanks to everyone who followed this fic. None of my other stories have gotten near the reception this one got, so it's really encouraging for me to find out that I can do angst and not completely suck at it. Huge thank you and love ya's to: Dragon (for previewing this all the way through and filling my head with tons of ideas) and Nenya (for listening to my endless, droning rambles) and to everyone who left reviews.
- Guess I couldn't wait on the Stepshipping. But don't worry, for those of you who are wondering, "Oh my God, are they actually together together?" let me just say, "Yes, however they're only 14 and they aren't doing ANYTHING with each other like that! Perverts!" :p
- Yes, as always, there will be a follow-up fic which will be called "Aftermath." It won't be posted on ffnet (due to rating) so keep an eye on PP or my site for it.
- It's funny that the span of this story took me to the day before Seto's official birthday (Oct. 25th) since it wasn't planned out that way. I knew the fic would cover a three week period and realized after it started that I was going to miss Seto's b-day by exactly one day, but I'm happy it ended up working out regardless since I really didn't want to turn this into a birthday fic anyways. So Seto will hit the big 2-0 in my ficverse with Yami at his side. But I'm not going to write a separate fic about Seto's b-day (the sequel will take place the following day), so use your imaginations as to what might occur (and if you think that sex would be involved, you're probably right!) So... I guess the title is misleading, but... whatevah. I was trying to take the story full circle and wrapping it back around to the topics covered in the first chapter.