The Road Home

DISCLAIMER: All things must end, and even if you don't feel like you've reached the finish line, you always know when you're finally on the road home.

It was in a quiet stillness that Yuugi finally pried his eyes open.

He blinked slowly, noticing things one at a time, so that he realised the room was bathed in red light first, and then slowly came to notice that he was being pinned by a heavy weight over his left side. He took the time to appreciate that his legs were tangled with a pair of much more muscular ones, then reached up with his free arm, feeling for his clock to check the time.

Six-thirty. He gazed at the clock dimly for a moment, confused. His bedroom window faced south-west, according to Yami. And regardless of the direction, he didn't remember ever seeing a red sunrise in the city.

Sunset, then?

He put the clock back down and rolled his head to look at Yami, curled against his side like the cat he hated to be likened to, his eyelids barely moving as he reluctantly woke.

"Hey," whispered Yuugi. "Good morning."

He sighed in response, nuzzling Yuugi's shoulder. "It doesn't feel like morning," he mumbled. "Internal clock says it's later."

"That thing's always ten minutes late," joked Yuugi, grunting as Yami sleepily threw an arm into his stomach.

"You aren't funny, aibou. Don't try to be."

He smiled, closing his eyes again, and Yami snuggled even closer. They lay still for a moment, breathing deeply, and Yuugi hummed in the back of his throat. "M'tired."

"Yeah… me too. What time is it?"

"Six thirty." He felt Yami's eyelids flutter rapidly, and opened his own eyes to watch Yami lift his head, looking around.

"The sun's setting," said Yami, raising his eyebrows. "We slept more than twelve hours."

Memories of the previous few days had started filtering back to Yuugi, and he blinked wearily again, then smiled, leaning back into the pillow. "With the amount of energy we used yesterday, I don't know if I'm surprised. You looked exhausted when we finally sealed that guy," he said, and Yami looked down at him worriedly.

"Maybe… but all my energy comes from you. Are you alright?" he asked, but frowned when Yuugi nodded. "Really, aibou. You were hurt, and you collapsed last – this morning."

"I'm okay. You know me," he said, his smile broadening. "Give me a puzzle and I could recover from cancer."

"That's not funny."

"Wasn't really supposed to be," he replied calmly, and then yawned, stretching his arm toward the ceiling and flexing his fingers. He let it drop back to the bed, and watched in vague interest as Yami shifted up the bed to lean over him a little more.

"You were amazing," he said softly, reaching up to brush the hair back from Yuugi's face. "I really am proud of you, my aibou."

"I didn't do anything," he murmured, blushing. "You, Jounouch-kun and Bakura-kun were the ones that fought Jester. You sealed him back in the puzzle."

"Maybe. But you managed to protect our companions and solve that jigsaw," he said, smiling warmly. He ran his hand through Yuugi's hair one more time, then soothed his finger down the side of Yuugi's face. "Considering you don't have much spiritual power anymore, aibou, that really is amazing."

His blush deepened, and he looked off to the side with a sheepish smile. Yami's lips pressed against his forehead, and he closed his eyes as the kiss moved to his eye ridge. He sighed, turning his head slightly to catch a kiss on the side of his mouth. "Comfortable…"

Yami blinked, frowning as he pulled back. "What?"

"I'm comfortable," he repeated softly. Yami continued to frown, confused, but when it became clear Yuugi wasn't going to elaborate, he smiled vaguely, leaning back down to the side of Yuugi's mouth.

"I'm comfortable, too," he murmured, and Yuugi smiled, shaking his head slightly before he leaned up into a proper kiss to his mouth.

Yuugi's hand rose up to rest on Yami's waist, sliding up and around his back as the kiss slowly deepened. His breathing hitched when skin touched his own, Yami pushing Yuugi's shirt up so his hand could rest against Yuugi's bare chest, but neither paused, and soon Yuugi found himself being pushed even further into the mattress. He hummed in the back of his throat, not really noticing what he was doing as his hands shifted into different, unfamiliar positions. Something niggled in the back of his mind, wondering whether this was really okay, but he shoved it away as he finally tugged Yami's shirt free and found warm skin.

"Oh-kay, bad timing!" cried a familiar voice, and they both froze, their eyes snapping open to stare at each other.

"You idiot, I was enjoying that!" said another, and Yuugi clenched his eyes shut again in horror. "Carry on, Yuugi, uh… what was his name again?"

"Yami," muttered the first voice.

"Yami! Seriously. We'll just close the door and walk away. Promise."

Yami pulled back just enough to sigh heavily and lean against Yuugi's forehead instead. "Why do I find that highly unlikely?"

Mai laughed, and Yami rolled over, leaning back on his elbows to glare at her half-heartedly. Yuugi, now free of Yami's weight completely, sunk under the bed sheets and out of sight, sobbing out a mortified groan.

Jounouchi took a deep breath, his eyes on a corner of the ceiling. "So we came up here to see if you guys were awake yet. I think your Mum's having nervous breakdown over what Mai and Anzu did to her kitchen—"

"She's having a nervous breakdown because of what you and Honda did to her living room," corrected Mai, levelling him with a look to make most men fear.

Jounouchi, however, just scoffed and folded his arms. He had spent the last two years getting beaten up by Anzu – Mai's looks were nothing. "You melted her chopping board."

"You created a warzone. That room looks like a bomb hit it!"

"Hey, you slept there too!"

"Forgive me if I'm wrong, but you could all just go home," suggested Yami.

They blinked at him, then snorted and turned back to their argument. He stared at them for a moment, then lifted the sheets to look down at Yuugi, who was blushing red and hiding his face in Yami's side.

Yami smiled sympathetically. "I think our friends might need a little supervision, don't you, aibou?"

"Uh huh," he said weakly.

He smirked, raising an eyebrow when Yuugi didn't so much as shift. "How about I go down and delegate blame while you stay here?"

"I like that idea," he whispered, still embarrassed.

Yami grinned, then put down the sheet again and slid out of bed, casually collecting Jounouchi and Mai's biceps to bring them along as he strode out of the room.

If he were the type to complain, Yuugi had to admit he felt like some of the worse bullies of Domino Freshman year had taken to him with a vengeance. Every single muscle in his body ached, and he could swear his bones had knitted together like the school skeleton after Jounouchi had taken it upon himself to 'fix' it.

He yawned, stretching his arm up over his head, the other hand rising to take hold of his elbow and pull. The more intellectual part of his mind was telling him to go crawling to Yami and beg a massage, but he knew Yami would immediately latch on to the fact that if not for the darkness, there would be no pain, and he would then blame himself. Again. And he would then probably start moping. Again. And with the gin tournament and Yami's first real chance to break into the gaming circuit coming up, Yuugi didn't want him to be concerned with anything but cards.

So that left Yuugi to crack his joints one by one and consider a trip to the public baths. The steam would do his muscles good, after all.

With a painful crack, Yuugi's shoulder slipped back into its socket, and he hissed out the pain as his arm dropped back to his side. Thank the gods school was starting again soon – trouble never seemed to bother him so much when he had exams to worry about.

He stopped at that, coming to a sharp halt outside the laundry room as that thought hit him. If he was thanking higher beings for school work, then he really had a lot more than Yami feeling guilty to worry about.

"Yuugi? What are you doing up?"

He blinked, shaking himself out of his thoughts to smile at Anzu as she stepped out of the kitchen. While most of the others had left after Yami had woken up and begun glaring for the mess they had made of his home, Anzu had stuck around to help make dinner and mother Yuugi to an infuriating degree.

"I thought I told you to stay in bed," she said sternly, holding up a wooden spoon to point at him. "You know supporting Yami's magic messes with your body, and after the last few days, you don't have the energy to properly support an immune system. You could catch cold and die right now! Get upstairs and stay in bed!"

"I'm fine, Anzu!" he said, waving her off. "I'm just a little tired, that's all!"

"You're lethargic? Do you know how many diseases that could be?" she demanded, and even though he had to grin in response, she walked over to check his temperature. "But seriously, Yuugi, we start our final year in a few days. You can't get sick right now."

He laughed, stepping back out of reach. "You know, between you and the other me, I feel like I should be wrapped in cotton wool, just so you guys can stop worrying. I promise I'm not gonna break just because a few toys start acting up!" He chuckled, but Anzu's returning smile was cut off as Yuugi suddenly grunted, freezing up to accommodate a new spike in his back. She immediately glared at him, and he grinned, holding up his hands defensively. "Ah, now hold on! It was just a twinge! Honest!"

"The hell it is, I bet you hurt all over and you're just playing tough," she snapped, and then glared into the laundry, taking note of the open sliding door with a disaproving huff. "You're trying to kill yourself! Standing in front of an open doorway where the cold can get at you and make things worse! I should tell Yami about this, he would wrap you up in cotton and tie you into bed!"

"Honestly, Anzu, you're over- The door's open?" he asked suddenly, blinking. He hadn't noticed, too busy weighing the possible outcomes of his pain.

Anzu growled warningly, but Yuugi just stepped past her, concerned. His mother was the only one to use the side door; the only one that really used the minscule backyard that it led onto. Usually it was kept locked, and Yuugi's city-born security bells were suddenly ringing over it being left ajar. Catching the hint, Anzu straightened up and gripped her spoon tighter, glancing left and right before following him into the laundry to check.

But it was only his parents, sitting in a pair of rusting folding chairs beneath the washing line. Yuugi smiled, waving at them thoughtlessly as Anzu peeked over his head. "Forgive the intrusion. Saw the door open and thought I should check," he said, and Omocha nodded.

"Mm. No, it's just us," she said, then frowned at him. "Should you be out of bed? I thought everyone agreed you should just rest for the next few days."

He scowled as Anzu crowed in triumph, and waved both women off before moving back inside. Anzu started shuffling him back into the house proper, but he shook his head at her and silently crouched down, leaning close to the door.

"What are you doing?" she hissed, lowering herself to one knee and glaring at him. "Let's go. I have a dinner to cook and you have blankets to be under!"

"Shh!" He motioned her down beside him, speaking quietly enough that she had to lean in to hear him properly. "My parents don't talk, Anzu."

"What? What do you think they're doing, then?" she shot back, but he just frowned at her and gestured toward the door.

Anzu could only steam for the next few seconds, until Makito said something too quietly for the two listening teenagers to hear, and they automatically shuffled closer to the door.

"No, it's nothing to do with that," Omocha was saying. "It's just because of the things he does lately – it's best for everyone that after times like these he just lets himself recover for a day or two."

"What happens if he doesn't?" asked Makito, and Yuugi frowned at how weak his voice sounded.

"We're not sure. They don't tell us things like that. But I would assume it would just extend how long he needs to recover, which, all things considered, is probably unwise," Omocha sighed, and there was a shifting of cloth as she moved. "But then, who am I to say? It's not like I really know what's going on here."

Makito didn't so much as grunt in reply, and Yuugi's frown deepened. His father was many things, but he was never quiet, especially when it came to his family. Not that he really knew him well enough to make assumptions, but Yuugi had always thought it was some kind of assurance mechanism. When Makito didn't know what was going on, he announced his understandings of things, and to Yuugi's knowledge, no one had ever corrected him. For him to be quiet when Omocha said she had no idea what was going on was more than a little disturbing.

"It does get easier."


There was a quiet clunk, and Yuugi could just imagine Omocha putting her feet up against the fence. "You get used to not knowing anything; to watching him run off and not knowing what's happened. It gets easier."

"What on earth are you talking about?" asked Makito, but there was no force behind it. He sounded hopeless in a way Yuugi couldn't remember hearing before. "It isn't like this happens often."

"No… Once every few months…"

Makito swore, and Yuugi instinctively grabbed the doorframe for balance, shocked.

"What the hell is this?" muttered Makito. "Some kind of comic book?"

"It would certainly suit the stereotype."

"It's not funny, Omocha."

"No, but laughing definitely makes it much easier to accept," she said softly, before a sudden creak told of Makito lurching to his feet.

"It isn't funny!" he hissed angrily. "We shouldn't have to accept it! None of this should be happening, dammit!"

"There isn't much we can do to stop it, anata."

"Of course there is! We're the parents, Omocha! Parents are supposed to guide their children and show them how things are done! They're supposed to stop their children when things get out of their depth!" he whipsered quickly. "And we don't know what the hell is going on here! We don't know what Yuugi's doing or why! We don't even know vague details!"

"We know he's hurt and we know he's safe now. That's all we need to know."

"But we don't know! We don't know the danger's passed! You said it yourself: he's not at his fighting best and that could be a problem! We don't know why, but we know it is and we know there are possibilities! He could be at death's door and we wouldn't know!"

There was a pause, and Yuugi glanced over his shoulder at Anzu. She just frowned back at him, concerned, but didn't make any moves to pull him back into the house. The conversation had caught her interest now, too.

"What would you suggest we do, Makito?" asked Omocha, her voice carefully even. "It's not like we can walk in there and demand they stop what they're doing. Perhaps you didn't notice, but if not for those kids, the whole country would be flattened by a rampaging teddy bear by now."

"So what do you think we should do? Just sit around and wait for children to tell us everything's alright? Watch news bulletins we know are lying while we cook food in the false hope our little boy might tell us some little titbit of fact? Wrap bandages and play nurse to wounds that weren't there two days ago and were caused by things science can't explain?" he demanded, just barely keeping his voice low. "Is that what you think we should do, Omocha? Just accept that we don't know what's going on and can't do anything about it?"

"Yes!" she whispered back, her chair creaking as she moved. "Yes, Makito, that is what we should do! It's what we always do! It's what I've been doing for eighteen years, Makito!"

Yuugi clenched his eyes shut, rocking back onto his haunches until he was leaning against the washing machine. Anzu touched his shoulder, but still neither of them moved, listening hard for any kind of response.

"Seventeen months ago, my son disappeared overnight, and I didn't even know," Omocha continued. "My father was very nearly murdered by a fifteen year old trying to get Yuugi back, and I had no idea! I didn't know until six months later, when my father had his very soul sucked out of his body and my son just up and disappeared for three days! Twelve months ago, my son was kidnapped again, and this time nearly burnt to a crisp, and you know what explanation I got, Makito? 'Otogi-san was a little confused'. That was all the information I heard on why my son was abducted and then stayed in a burning building to rebuild an old puzzle!"

Yuugi cringed, glancing at Anzu from the corner of his eye, and she raised her eyebrows. At the time, there didn't seem to have been much else they could have said.

"We don't get information. We aren't important enough to get information. We make do with what we get and we accept it," she said firmly. "This time, everyone is whole and relatively healthy, and they're actually home where I can see them. So yes, Makito, I am going to play nurse and listen to lying news reports and just sit and wait and pray that one day Yuugi tells me something because that is what parents do, Makito! They wait for their children to trust them! Parents trust their kids!"

"What parents?" he shot back. "What parents are we, Omocha?"

"What?" muttered Yuugi, just as Omocha asked the same.

"Parents, Omocha! Parents know their children! I don't know what's going on in his head! I don't even know what he's literally doing for most of the day! The last four years, I thought he was being a proper student and making friends and girlfriends and playing guitar and I didn't need to know what else! Now I find out he's been hiding acid in his cupboard and learning how to kill monsters! And I don't know if he actually has or that's just what he's telling me because I sure as fuck don't know when he's lying to me!"

Yuugi gaped, leaning back in shock. "Dad…"

"I've spent at least ten years of my son's life overseas. But whenever I come back, he's always been the same, with just little differences to show he's grown up! I make assumptions and I'm always right because I know my boy but this time I came back and it's all different and wrong and I don't know what's going on and maybe I never did!" he cried, all pretense of quiet gone in his sudden panic. "And you're exactly the same, you just told me! You don't know what's going on! You don't know, I don't know, grandfather might know what's going on but he spent at least twenty years of his life running around gaming and that made him a lunatic anyway so what the hell, Omocha!"


"We're thirty-eight, we're adults, we are supposed to know what is going on in our lives, but here we are and people half our age know better than us! My son's punk friends can give orders like generals and kings and have absolutely no problem saving the day before turning around to order dozens of people to safety! I could only stand there like a child as my own son saved my life and didn't even notice!" he cried. "Parents are supposed to help their children; they're supposed to know everything they've been through and know how to help them, but you said it yourself – we can't help! We aren't qualified! We aren't qualified to know what they're doing and we aren't qualified to be parents!"

There was a long pause, only broken by Makito's ragged panting, and Yuugi suddenly realised Anzu was gripping his arm tight enough to leave marks. He glanced at her, and she leaned in closer, pressing into his side and waiting.

"I'm not even qualified to be your husband," Makito continued weakly. "I don't know you. I thought I did, but – Here we are and I look at you and you're just… not who I thought you were."

Yuugi swallowed hard, licking his lips as another pause extended past his counting.

"Who did you think I was, Makito?" Omocha asked quietly, and Yuugi barely noticed Anzu's chipped nails digging into his arm.

"I – I don't even know…" Makito murmured breathlessly. "I just – I remember and… you were so much fun. You used to hit me with anything that was handy and laugh at me and tell me I was wrong… We used to walk by the canals and talk about our families and friends and work and life and – and now I think and… It's just not you. I always thought it was, but it's not! I don't remember the last time you hit me. I don't remember the last time you told me I was wrong! I'm just – I've been in love with this damn image and I'm wrong and I don't know what –"

Metal creaked, and cloth rustled as Makito cut off again, his ragged breathing the only sound. Yuugi hesitated a moment, then chanced a peek around the corner before finching and shoving himself back into Anzu. Omocha was standing now, leaning into Makito's front as she carefully gathered him up in her arms. It was the kind of comfort he and Yami exchanged, and he suddenly realised he hadn't been prepared to see it from anyone else. He had only seen it for a split second, but it was warm and comfortable and far too intimate for anyone to be watching.

He licked his lips again before looking up at Anzu, who just stared back at him helplessly. Neither of them had ever really considered the people they occasionally saved. Most of the time, the world was just a minor consequence to the outcome of their personal issues and duels, so they honestly had no idea how to deal with things like this.

For a moment, they just sat and stared at each other, listening to the soft sounds of Makito and Omocha comforting each other. It was an incredibly unsettling realisation: even with all they had done, neither Yuugi or Anzu knew anything about this kind of problem.

But then, Yuugi slowly realised, he probably wasn't supposed to.

In eighteen years of life, Yuugi had never been honest with his father. That was a bad thing, and he knew it, but at the came time, he had always thought it was necessary. Keeping the peace was something his mother had always fought to do, and he wanted to do the same.

But peace wasn't really a part of his life. He was the other half of the Dark King of Games – a balance to the very essence of chaos and destruction. He was probably never going to be normal again.

But his parents were normal. They had real life problems like money and family and things that while Yuugi did have to worry about them, they weren't really important. He would always have Yami and his friends, but his parents had to work to keep their relationships. Problems like that just weren't an issue to Yuugi. He had no place in worrying about them.

His parents had no place in fighting the Dark Games – that was a given. Maybe that meant he had no place fighting their battles, either.

Maybe that was why the last two weeks had failed so spectacularly.

He sighed, lowering his eyes to the floor as he let that thought echo through his mind. After a moment, he slowly shook his head and pushed himself to standing, holding out a hand to help Anzu to her feet.

"We shouldn't be here."

Yami raised an eyebrow, looking around at Jounouchi in surprise. It had only taken two days after the Toy Attack, but Makito had suddenly announced he was leaving. Considering how easily Domino had eased back into its usual routine, no one could really blame him for feeling disturbed. Those who hadn't lived in Battle City had never learned how to cope with excitement becoming mundane.

What surprised them was that Omocha was going with him. But she had told Anzu that it was really to try and get her relationship with Makito back on stable ground, and rediscover her personality. Yami had wished her luck and asked if she would bring him back Atlantian gold before ducking Yuugi's fist.

"Do you mean physically or spiritually?" asked Honda. "Because if you mean we literally shouldn't be at the gate, then yeah. This doesn't have anything to do with us. But since when've we ever let Yuugi go anywhere on his own?"

"Mai-san's right about us. We are ducklings," sighed Anzu.

"No, you idiot, I mean the airport's bad kharma!" said Jounouchi, waving at their surroundings. "Think about it! Every time we've been anywhere near an airport, we're always just coming back from a life or death situation or we're about to start one. This is seriously tempting fate."

Yami smirked, rolling his eyes back to where Yuugi was standing with his family. "I don't know… I think I've fought a few good fights recently."

"Oh yeah. Huge danger – a teddy bear might huggle me to death! Scary," drawled Jounouchi, but Anzu just smacked him across the back of the head and joined Yami in watching the family.

They stood in silence for a few minutes, not really listening to Jounouchi and Honda chattering behind them, before Anzu nudged Yami's arm, giving him a meaningful look. "Anything I should know happen in the last few days?"

He frowned, then shrugged one shoulder, feigning nonchalence. "If our positions were reversed, would you tell me?"


"Nothing's changed," he said, then lowered his gaze to the floor. "I'm beginning to think nothing ever will. I thought there was something there, but it all started because of an act and… I don't know. Maybe it always was."

"You could ask."

He stared at her incredulously, and she laughed, waving it off again. "It's an idea!" she said, then tilted her head at him meaningfully. "Yami, this is something you need to find out. It's something Yuugi needs to know. You can't keep pretending forever."

"I know," he said grudgingly, then sighed and looked away. "But it's nice while it lasts."

She frowned at him, but he refused to look at her again, and she was eventually forced to turn back to the family, smiling when Omocha leaned down to hug Yuugi tightly.

"You be good. I don't want to hear about you landing yourself in the hospital again," said Omocha, giving him an extra squeeze for good measure.

"You won't, Mum, I promise," replied Yuugi, rolling his eyes. "The only thing you'll hear from me is my grades."

"Which are going to be better this year, aren't they?" added Makito, and Yuugi grinned nervously.

"Uh… yeah."

They chuckled, and Omocha stepped back so that she and Makito could look him over one last time. He ducked his head, spreading his hands in silent question, and Makito rubbed his neck as he stepped forward to speak with him.

"You know, Yuugi… I know I'm not always… what I'm supposed to be, but… I really do have to tell you… I just… I… don't like Yami," he said finally, and Yuugi sighed, sliding his hands into his pockets.

"I know. And I really… don't care"

He nodded, then smiled and clapped his hand against Yuugi's shoulder. "Which is probably a good thing. Fathers are supposed to hate their son-in-laws, right?"

Yuugi twitched, the thought never having really occurred to him before, and Makito laughed, reaching up to ruffle his hair. "You're a good kid, Yuugi," he said, and then paused, looking him over again. "You really are going to be a great man some day."

They both stopped at that, Yuugi's eyes flicking up to meet his gaze, and Makito frowned, shifting his hands to Yuugi's shoulders. "I know I used to tell you that we'd change your name someday, but if this visit has taught me anything, it's—"

"—that I'm not a Yosoushi," finished Yuugi, and Makito nodded once.

"No. You're a Mutou. Yuugi Mutou," he said seriously, before his eyes narrowed into a smile. "You aren't the son I was supposed to have, Yuugi. But you're the only one I'll ever want."

Yuugi flinched, staring at him in surprise, and then swallowed hard, blinking back sudden tears. "Dad?"

"I don't know if I'll come back to Domino any time soon, but next time a tournament brings you close by, come visit me, okay?" he asked, and then quickly pulled him into a hug. Yuugi could only stand stiff, too shocked to react, before Makito suddenly pulled away and stood up. "Well, we've probably missed last call by now. Say good bye to your friends for me, Yuugi."

He blinked, uncomprehending as Omocha hugged him again.

"Until next time, Yuugi," she whispered, kissing his cheek before straightening to follow her husband through the boarding area.

Yuugi continued to stare as they disappeared into the boarding gate, but his shoulders finally slumped as Yami and the others stepped up around him to watch as the stewards finally closed the doors. He blinked at Yami's hand on his arm, feeling some semblance of thought return.

"You alright?" murmured Yami, and he blinked again, then slowly nodded once.

"Maybe," he said jerkily. "It's just… People keep… doing this to me. They suddenly show up, wreack havoc in my life and then leave."

"I'm sure we'll get used to it eventually," said Yami, letting go of Yuugi's arm in favour of his own hip.

They stood in companionable silence, watching the huge windows as the planes outside lifted off and touched down in soundproofed silence. It took Yuugi several minutes to realise Jounouchi was frowning.

"What's wrong, Jounouch-kun?"

"We're missing something," he said firmly, and they all stared at him. He folded his arms, scowling at the window. "This isn't right. Yuugi's dad came home, we finally realise he has a family out there, and then both his parents leave without so much as challenging Yami to a duel! It's all… unfinished."

They continued staring at him blankly, and he raised an eyebrow, looking down at Yuugi seriously.

"Think about it. Every time someone new comes into our lives, we either have to have a fight with them or learn something from them. Usually both," he added, then turned to face them. "This time, the only fight we had was nothing to do with Uncle Makito, and I really don't see anything different that we've learned."

"You obviously weren't threatened to be arrested," said Yami, glaring at the plane that was taxiing away from the window outside. "I've had more than enough fighting for one holiday."

"Yeah, but if you're going to count that, then you might as well say you're always getting into fights," said Honda. "Every time we go to the arcade is another fight."

"Exactly. We didn't learn anything!" cried Jounouchi. "This is completely unfinished and totally unacceptable, man!"

Anzu and Yami exchanged glances, silently agreeing the headache was worth the secret, but after hesitating for an extra moment it was Yuugi that finally answered.

"I think it's more that you weren't there for most of the developments, Jounouch-kun," he said quietly.

"Developments? What developments?" he demanded. "Everything you and Yami went through for that guy was for nothing! There was no great battle! No moral! What development?"

He stopped, then fixed Yami with a wary eye, suspicious. "Wait. You guys aren't going to tell me that me and Mai actually did walk in on something yesterday…"

"Nah. The last week's just been for Mum's story," said Yuugi, before Yami could so much as shift blank expressions. Both Yami and Anzu looked at him, but Yuugi just shrugged, reaching back so casually that anyone else would have looked absent as he slid his hand into Yami's.

Anzu blinked, and Yami stiffened for a moment before carefully lacing their fingers together, only barely containing his reaction when Yuugi squeezed back.

"The biggest developments take time, Jounouch-kun. I'm talking about little ones," continued Yuugi, as they all turned toward the exit. "Dad's not the type to come in and change everything really drastically. He works with little things."

"Oh yeah? Like plot points before the moral, right?" asked Jounouchi.

"Mm. Little things that lead to the road home," he said, and Yami closed his eyes with a small smile, tightening his grip on Yuugi's hand.

With a homecoming like this, he could handle the road there.