Title: Sashay

Genre: primarily romance. :3;; All that jazz that comes with romance... And fluff. Too much fluff. Kindly brush your teeth after reading.

Summary: Atemu's royalty. Yuugi's used to people groping him while scribbling down their order. Sparks sounded off when they met five years ago, and now... well. This is their story. AU, puzzleshipping

Warnings: Ohnoes! D: Picture this: a boy. Another boy strolling right up to him, snagging him by the waste, and snoggin' him senseless. Makes you cringe? Kindly use the lovely thing commonly known as the back button. :3

Author's Note: Alrighty; this is my comeback from... oh, cripes, about a five month absence? Nine? The number's getting too big. I apologize, and hope this small story will make up for it.

I was inspired on a fine evening, where there was much gingerale to be had and the thickest, spiciest, juiciest cake it has ever been my pleasure to devour, to write a story such as this. Particularly when my dad did a strange step, as he was on his fifth glass of some strong stuff, and a friend said, "That was no stumble; that was a sashay!"

So. Hence the title.

It's an AU, and another romance (just what we all needed! xD). Yuugi and crew are all in their twenties, except for the small children like Mokuba. Eh... who knows how old they are.

Anyway. Enjoy!




Yuugi rolled up his shirt sleeve, clutching the fabric tightly as he bit his lip. It was his finest dress shirt-- which wasn't saying much-- but he was quite fond of it. He stepped politely out of others' ways as they stomped past his smaller figure, equipped in their lacy armor and silk helmets. Those who didn't have their prim, pinched faces held up in the air as if their nose was bleeding graced him with haughty looks but, for the most part, Yuugi was ignored.

Earlier that very week, he had woken up on a particularly bleary day to find a very red envelope peeking out of his metallic mailbox. The young man had already been late to one of many annoyances of a job, and felt there was no harm in being any later. So he snatched the message, hailed a nearby taxi, and, once settled in the fading red cushions, proceeded to examine the letter.

It had to have been made of some truly expensive material-- non recyclable, he recalled with a grimace. His name was embellished with a flourish on the front of the envelope, several of the wispy attachments flowing over the entire thing in a gaudy display of wealth.

Yuugi rolled his eyes, grinning, remembering how shocked he had been when he saw Jounouchi's name in the slot labeled from. Yuugi hadn't seen Jou since.. his sister's operation, and that was back in high school. Running a hand through his hair, Yuugi glanced around, searching for something to take his mind away from where it was going.

Jou had expressed his desire to meet with his old best friend once again. He hadn't left a number to call-- just an address. Show up, if you like. I've got a surprise for you.

Well, the latter had peaked his interest. So Yuugi had shown. And... there was no sign nor trace of Jou to be found.

He made a face, stopping the slow walk his legs had begun on their own to lean against the cold wall to take in his old friend's new place. It was certainly nice-- the clean walls soared above everyone's heads to an arched ceiling, which gave Yuugi a petty satisfaction that others experienced a fraction of the pains of being short, and the windows accompanying them were crisp and clear, making the softly falling snow outside seem ethereal.

A soft smile graced Yuugi's lips at the sight, his eyelids drooping, posture relaxed. Several worries nagged his mind-- he needed to call his boss for one of his jobs and tell him of the news, uniform had to be stitched in a nagging spot before it was fit to turn in, paperwork was due, and he wanted to give the train station a ring to see that everything was on schedule -- but he shoved them aside, opting to wait and see what Jounouchi had to say. Perhaps his friend might gnaw away some of the loneliness that was eating him inside. But, if he had to linger much longer, Yuugi doubted he would have the time to say farewell to his friend.

It didn't really matter. Just as long as he made it to his train on time, he could wander as much as he desired.

Expression drooping, he lifted a glistening crystal glass from a passing waiter's silver tray and slid the other hand into the pocket of his black slacks, sipping the drink cooly. He waited.


Jounouchi grinned an awfully large grin.

"Okay... you ready for 'dis?" He was speaking towards a well-dressed, shadowed figure in the corner of the small room. The man in question had his arms crossed, a confident, lofty smile on his lips.

"Yes," he said smoothly. "Why wouldn't I be?"

"A'right, a'right. I was jus' askin'." The blond raised his arms, shrugging. "It's jus'... I haven' seen him since youz saw him, an' 'dat was..."

The other sighed. "Yes, Jou; I know." There was a sad pause. "He probably won't even remember me."

Jounouchi gave his friend a disbelieving look. "You kiddin', right? I'd be surprised if Yuug' remembers me." He flailed his hands. "But you... you two was close, man. It don't get any closer."

A slight quirk of the lips was all Jou got as a response, before it faded. There was an uncomfortable silence in which Jounouchi shifted, poked his tongue out to wet suddenly dry lips, and clacked his shiny new shoes together in hesitation.

"... You sure you're ready?"

"Jou. If you ask me that question one more time, you best be sleeping with one eye open," the man glared at the, now sheepish, blond.

".. 'Kay, he's ready," he nodded to himself, turning to open the large wooden door situated behind him. Music flooded through the room, bouncing off the walls and filtering into the occupants' ears.

Atemu sighed as the light hit his face, squinting his cherry eyes slightly to ward it away. Jou had already paraded through into the party, off to start phase one of their slapdash plan.

Inhaling deeply, Atemu smoothed out the kinks in his ebony dress shirt, and made a sleek move to a small, plain table that held a black eye mask and a single red rose.

He donned the inky covering and reached out long fingers to lightly snag the flower, lifting it to his nose briefly before tucking it into his boutonniere, casually meandering into the light.


The air was filled with softly playing music, the shuffling of feet, the slight tink a goblet sounded off when a toast was announced. Yuugi held his drink close, splaying his fingers around its glossy surface as he raised it to his lips.

This was ridiculous, Yuugi decided, lavender eyes watching one of the various women strut past him. They winced at the abominable pink dress that adorned her, accompanied by the equally pink mask. The woman glanced (down) at him, giving him a strange look. Jounouchi had obviously moved up a slight notch in social status-- every person there was in a very fancy outfit, and everyone in a group huddle, of sorts, speaking aristocratically to one another about whatever topic had woken.

Except him, of course.

This fact left Yuugi feeling like a kicked puppy. As he always used to feel when he had been younger; even more so when his parents left. Yuugi's eyes grew dull, the fingers that had been tapping the glass stilling in his memory.

Yuugi quietly opened the heavyset door, careful to shut it fully behind him, seeing as the shop was closed. Dropping his backpack to the floor rather unceremoniously and stretching his abused muscles from the weight of it, he couldn't help but notice how... dark it was in the house; there weren't any lights on. Which was strange, considering the fact that it was dusk.

Yuugi furrowed his brow when his eyes noted that both his father and mother's coats were missing. They never left the house without them -- along with their respective car keys... those were gone, too. He meandered up to their room. And their wallets? Clothes? ... Toothbrushes?

In a panic, Yuugi failed to notice the small note, resting on a table that dwarfed it, covered in illegible, to anyone outside the family, scribbles -- stating that his parents were leaving.

And they weren't coming back.

Yuugi's goblet shook, and he awakened from his daydream, shaking his head and sucking in a shallow breath. It-- it was over. Done. He had gotten through it thanks to... to... him.

Getting increasingly annoyed with himself, the young man turned away from the hallway he faced. He thought that, maybe, a slight walk would clear his mind. Perhaps it hadn't been such a good idea to come after all.

Nice surprise, Jou.

His mood soured, Yuugi carefully placed the remains of his drink on another passing waitress's tray, giving a slight smile at her tired look. She raised her eyebrows, grateful, before getting swallowed by the slow moving crowd.

Meandering through the collected bunches of people, apologizing when he bumped into an unfortunate one, Yuugi indulged in his favorite pastime; observing people. He had acquired it many years ago, sitting in the packed café. Seeing those with smiles on their faces gave him a bittersweet feeling. But it was the best feeling he could taste.

Yuugi blinked, mind suddenly occupied. Wait... he had seen a flash of-- something. Pupils enlarging, Yuugi scoped out the enormous room, only to see the same thing; a flash of nostalgia. It... it looked like a person... squinting, Yuugi prepared to look once more before he took note of one more detail.

There had been something strange... something that everyone else had been bedecked in besides himself. He puckered his brow, watching several couples dancing merrily around in a complicated circle. And suddenly it hit him.



Jounouchi Katsuya had thought he had seen mostly everything in his days. His eyes had feasted upon the most delicious pie in all of Japan, several shooting-type-of stars, heck-- he'd even seen Seto Kaiba caught running down the halls of his company trouserless, chasing after his brother who was laughing himself silly and waving around a banner obviously made from Kaiba's stolen breeches.

But, seeing Yuugi flabbergasted... Jou blinked, shaking the thought out of his mind, remembering his commitment to Atemu. Yuugi had been easy to spot, not only because of his hair. Jounouchi had purposely let out the note that it was a masquerade party; he wasn't sure what Yuugi looked like after all these years. The smaller man was the only one not wearing a ridiculous costume.

"Uh.. Yuug'?" he questioned, tilting his head to the side, blinking through the comical purple-feathered mask he wore; it clashed horribly with his suit. He couldn't very well communicate with one so lost from a thought train. Jou crinkled his eye, some feathers shifting, confused as to what his friend was so surprised about.

And suddenly Yuugi was glaring at him.

"Why, hello, Jounouchi. Nice of you to drop by-- love the surprise."

Jounouchi stopped his vocal chords from moving when he heard the tone in his former best-pal's voice, leaving his mouth wide open. He blinked at the silently simmering Yuugi, raising his eyebrows quizzically.

"Uhh... Yuugi, list'n--"

"I have to go, Jou," Yuugi interjected, letting out a very small sigh wearily. "I'm tired. Reports are due in the morning. I've been cleaning rooms and waiting on overweight people who try to grope me at every waking moment of every day for a good two years. I haven't gotten any real sleep in a very long time. And..." Yuugi trailed off, grasping his shirt sleeve again. Nervous habit. "... This isn't funny."

Jounouchi closed his mouth with a snap. "Yuug'! I... I'm sorry, a'right?" he looked uncomfortable. Jounouchi had been aware of Yuugi's loathing of being ostracized, in any way, since childhood. "I neva' wanted t'make yous look... but.. but it was fer your own good! And it wasn' my idea anyhow! And-- damn it --this is his cue! I swea', if tha' ass dunnit get ova' here right now, I'm--"

Yuugi stared, bewildered, at the now ranting blond figure. But, Jou's part in the plan was completed, and it was successful. He had effectively pinned the young man's attention to himself, keeping Yuugi's keen eyes from seeing another's approach.

Atemu smirked, pleased. As he stealthily wove through the dancing and dipping and moving mass of bodies, he mentally stocked away a meeting with a certain CEO, whom owed him a favor, for Jou.

Yuugi, however, was anything but pleased. His original confusion faded away, and a frustrated look wove its way onto his exhausted gentle features.

"Jounouchi," Yuugi started, effectively shutting off the other's mouth, "I'm going now."

But he was only able to make one step when something soft and warm encircled his wrist, pulling gently to coax his feet to a stop. Yuugi's eyes had grown to amazing proportions, recognition flooding through every pore in his skin cells. Because nothing could ever erase that memory of the feeling lodged in his mind; because only one person had ever held that much warmth in just their touch; because Yuugi knew who it was.

The young man slowly turned to be greeted with a dazzling smile and bright eyes.

"Hello," Atemu purred, pulling up his captive hand to place a kiss atop it. Yuugi flushed hotly.

Jounouchi let out a triumphant guffaw at his friend's bewildered look, and sauntered over to Atemu, planting a large slap to the back. "'Gratz!" he said, grinning. "Just give a holler if y'need sum'tin." Exit stage right. Oh yeah. Jou was going to make sure he got his reward for this. Snickering behind a hand, the spry young man ducked behind a nearby potted palm fan to catch a few moments of what was sure to be a day to go down in the history books.

Atemu's smirk of a smile softened into an honest one, lips curling softly as he lowered Yuugi's wrist, gently massaging the other's fingers with his own. Yuugi's astonishment had faded, and he gave a searching look to the smiling man. He noted bitterly that he was wearing a mask as well.

"... Why are you here?" he finally asked, more surprised than anything.

Atemu's teeth flashed again. "To see you, of course," he replied smoothly.

Yuugi stared. He continued to stare as Atemu's free hand dove into the little crease in his shirt, designed specifically for the placement of a flower, and pulled out the most exquisite rose Yuugi had ever seen. It was presented to him, the petals softly curving out to make the form of the rose, and Yuugi's hand shakily rose to accept it.

Holding it just underneath his nose, Yuugi sniffed tentatively-- it was the most beautiful thing he'd smelled in years. Words would not come to his mouth, and so Yuugi stayed silent, begging the tears that threatened to fall to postpone the inevitable.

"Five years," Atemu stated somewhat sadly in the lingering silence.

Yuugi looked disbelievingly at the Egyptian, amazed the other had remembered.

"... I missed you."

Yuugi noted, after his body had sagged from Atemu's low voice and heartfelt words, that Atemu looked so inviting and comforting and helpful and understanding and lovely and just edible...

"Look," Yuugi abruptly halted his thoughts before they led to something that had occurred before, "Atemu. It-- it happened years ago. I... you -- we..."

Atemu raised a brow, waiting.

"We... we were over it, I thought... and -- and..."

Yuugi sighed, realizing the grip on his wrist was not diminishing. "... I--I need t'go!" He aimed a solid kick at the older man's knee, yanking his hand free of the floored and preoccupied Atemu, who had lost his balance as he fought the reflexive buckling. Turning away from the offered, welcomed warmth, Yuugi pocketed the rose and scurried through the crowd.

Shock faded away. The cherry-eyed man wasn't about to give up. He narrowed his eyes, the act amplified by the inky-black mask that followed the curves of his chiseled face. "Yuugi!" he roared in the voice he had inherited from his proud line; Yuugi didn't stop. He did, in fact, speed up.

Atemu gave chase.

Yuugi ducked underneath a swooping couple's arms, looking wildly around for the exit. He was scared. He couldn't do what Atemu was asking... couldn't... It would destroy them both. Panic clouded his mind, taking control; Yuugi followed the only thing he knew: he had to get away.

The young man threw out his arms, shoving through two chatting females and scattering their drinks, eliciting shouts of distress and anger. He slipped on one of their draping dresses and fell to the floor, slapping his palms on the hard marble to catch himself. He swerved around, risking a glance behind him.

Atemu narrowed coral eyes at Yuugi's anxious glance, evading the dancing people, gradually gaining ground. He kept his gaze locked with the other, never waning; purposely keeping his pace slow.

Yuugi sighed shakily, raising himself up to a seated position, waiting for the cherry eyes to come to the inevitable arrival. They were outside the dancing throng; in the towering entrance hallway. Some singers crooned in the ballroom, voices muffled, with a distinct accent. He didn't recognize the song.

Atemu clacked his shiny black boots on the polished floor, passing the wet and furious women in their absurd lacy dresses. He stopped in front of the meek figure, shifting his weight to the side, waiting. Yuugi fingered the shirt sleeve again, heaving another quiet sigh. He refused to acknowledge the expectant and waiting red gaze.


No movement.

"... Yuugi."

Yuugi lifted his head, staring blankly past Atemu's shoulder. Not meeting his eyes.

Atemu crouched down, grasping Yuugi's chin with warm dusky fingers and tilting his head up. Once glorious eyes were dulled, and they slid in their sockets over to see him.

Yuugi wanted Atemu to just... leave. Memory was serving its purpose, slithering words into his ear that spoke of pain and betrayal and overwhelming hurt from this man. Besides, they had agreed to separate... it was for both their own goods...

The masked eyes blinked, face moving closer. "Yuugi." Tears clouded the younger man's vision, neck arching back into the blazing hand that melded around his head, supporting him like no one else could.

And then he remembered his resolve, which was wavering too quickly for his liking. "I need to leave!" he said desperately, trying to free himself from the comforting warmth. His body refused to listen.

"... Why are you running?"

"I'm not running!"

"Then what are you doing?" silky smooth voice. Yuugi wanted to punch Atemu's pretty face for making his legs melt into wet wax; the voice was just as lethal as his eyes -- they were preoccupied with his wobbly knees; one of the reasons he couldn't stand.

"I'm..." he faltered, struggling for an excuse that wouldn't hurt as much. "I.. I need to go. I have a train to catch tonight, and--"

Warm fingers silenced his lips. Atemu fixed solemn eyes on the other. His hand was still holding the younger man's, which was fixated on the floor, clenched. Atemu's fingers sought to relieve the accumulated tension, and began to rub the muscles soothingly.

"... A train." His tone was flat.

Yuugi winced at the words. They sounded so... so degrading to him; so betrayed. Atemu removed the digits fixated on his lips.

"I ask again: what are you doing?"

Yuugi squirmed silently, trying to ignore the warm hand caressing his own and avoiding the eyes that would make him spill everything he had kept locked up for years. Yuugi didn't want to burden anyone anymore. He bit his lip. "... I'm doing us a favor."

"A favor." Doubt circled those simple words.

"Atemu," Yuugi started, straightening his back and looking the other man clearly in the eyes. "Let's review to clarify, okay? We met when we were fresh out of high school, five years ago. You helped me out of the biggest and shittiest time of my life, you were the first one to really care, and I loved you so goddamn much it hurt."

Atemu blinked cerise eyes.

Yuugi continued, "That would've been fine and dandy, absolutely swell -- but you failed to mention that you are a descendent of Royalty." There was a pause. "I'm the spawn of a dishwasher, now a convict, Atemu," Yuugi sighed, hanging his head. "... it just doesn't work. You know that."

There was a pause. "And... and I don't want it to work."

The Egyptian drew back as if burnt. Yuugi's emotional eyes followed him, tears threatening to spill and break through the dam that kept them at bay.

Atemu stood slowly, Yuugi following suit, leaning against the wall behind him heavily. The younger man looked sadly on to his past-lover's defeated stance, feeling that he should say something.. but word's refused to come. His mind, well-trained as it was, reported that the two women in their lousy dresses had vacated the premises; they were alone. Yuugi tried again for words, those sweeping lashes on closed eyes tearing him apart inside.

"I... I'm sor--"

"For what, Yuugi?" Atemu interjected painfully, narrowing angry eyes. "Why are you apologizing?" He took a step closer, cornering Yuugi. "Is it because you're sorry you loved me? Or--"


Yuugi's explanation, or excuse, as some might call it, died on his lips when Atemu looked at him. "... I... I-I... I'm just so, so--"

"Don't say it," he interjected harshly. "Just tell me..." Atemu swallowed to calm his voice, "... tell me why."

Yuugi floundered for words. Violin chords echoed solemnly through the deserted hall, amplifying the young man's anguish. He... he didn't want it to end. He never had. But he knew, some day, the throne would be empty, and he would be called back to it, and... and Yuugi knew he couldn't be beside him. Knew they would never be accepted in society. Knew he wasn't strong enough.

Swallowing thickly, the younger man grasped his answer. "Because I love you."

"Don't play with me, Yuugi," Atemu said toilsomely, voice breaking. "Please... please don't."

"... I'm not."

Yuugi's quiet gaze, with those soulful eyes, told all that couldn't be spoken. Moving quickly, Yuugi removed the distance between them, kissing Atemu softly on the cheek. He took a small step to the side and, Atemu, too floored to stop him, hastened to the large doors as fast as he could; grabbing his overcoat and throwing himself out the arching entrance doors.

Atemu's broken gaze was fixed on the marble that Yuugi had leaned against for quite some time afterwards.


Yuugi choked in another sob as he sat on the public transport bench, wrapping the plush scarf his grandfather had given him so long ago tighter around his neck, trying to stop the annoying sounds that came with breathing.

Stupid, stupid Yuugi, he berated himself, sniffing and wiping away another tear. What on Earth possessed you to go and visit that damn Jounouchi anyway? With his stupid party, and those even stupider guests, and that stupid, idiotic, pompous, dominating, sexy... twit.

He was being irrational, and he knew it. But, in times of crisis, humanity has always had the annoying, yet faithful, habit of pointing the finger.

The wind breathed frigid air down onto Yuugi tense form, causing him to shiver and stretch the thin coat's fibers to their limits. Licking his red lips, Yuugi decided it was best to get out of the cold... best to be on his way.

Swallowing thickly, Yuugi stood and fixed his rebellious scarf again as it fell from his shoulders, raising his trembling fingers to hail an oncoming taxi, which pulled over to collect him. The shaking of his digits startled Yuugi; he hadn't realized he was that cold. He examined them once he had climbed in before stuffing his hands into his pockets. Yuugi drew back sharply when a sharp needling pain twisted its way up his finger.

The rose.

The driver turned in his seat and raised an eyebrow at his latest passenger's appearance, watching him stare at a crumpled rose as if it held all of life's secrets. He'd seen much worse, however, and didn't mention anything, reverting his sharp face into a neutral expression.

Yuugi's eyes had a familiar sting to them as the flower, once perfection, was now wrinkled and dulled, just a broken memory of its former self. A tear slid down his cold cheek as the memory of Atemu's warm body wormed its way past his mental defenses and into his mind's eye. Atemu had given him a rose on that first night...

"Where to?" the cabby asked after the lack of directions became a bit too prolonged.

"What?" Yuugi's head snapped up. "Oh, oh-- I'm sorry," he quickly wiped away the faint traces of salt water left on his face. "The t-train station, please."

The taxicab driver raised the eyebrow again, taking in Yuugi's extremely frazzled-looking self, before shrugging, turning back around in his seat. "Yessir." He gunned the car and maneuvered it in a full-turn, heading straight into the twinkling city and its empty streets.

Yuugi didn't bother to fix his scarf again, letting it fall wherever it pleased as he tried to dry his puffy eyes with slowly thawing hands, still holding the rose and caressing it. He wanted to slap himself when he wished his fingers were incased in Atemu's constantly warm ones.

Taking a deep breath, puffing out his cheeks lightly, Yuugi failed to notice the tall figure running madly through the snow, chasing the car as he was carried away in its belly.


"Atemu!" Jounouchi bellowed, staggering over to his friend who was still staring at the wall. He draped an arm over the defeated man's shoulders, swaying to the side to take another swig of his booze.

The Egyptian blinked with long lashes, making no move to greet Jou.

Though even in a drunken stupor, Jounouchi had a talent of noticing things. One glance at the floor, where the mask had been roughly discarded, told him the beginning. Add to the fact that Yuugi was gone and he had most of the story. His friend's eyes, raw emotion raging a war inside those pools of crimson, told him the rest. The lanky blond frowned heavily, removing the arm and falling against the wall to support himself.

"... So?" he prompted. Atemu gave no response.

Jounouchi decided to narrow it down a bit. "How'd it go wi'Yuugi?"

Atemu's eyes slanted downwards into a glare sharply, and Jounouchi found himself under his friend's fiercest sneer. He blinked, oblivious, and gulped down more alcohol.

"Not so hot, I take it? Ah... I thought so. Stop glarin' at me, man, s'all your fault," he poked him in the chest with a finger.

"It... it wasn't--"

"Don' start," Jounouchi interrupted, raising his arms high and backing away, bottle in hand. "It don't really matta' whose fault it was, who it might jus' concern anyway-- wha' mattas is 'dat you two loves eachotha'. An'," he shook a finger warningly, hicupping, "An' you're a damn fool if you're jus' lettin' 'im go."

The other man stared disbelievingly at Jounouchi, who had begun to hiccup so violently he was forced to brace himself against a passing waiter, who looked quite used to the behavior and took the extra weight in stride.

"Atemu!" he shouted, two other waiters coming at the first one's call. "Go get 'im! 'E's just as big an' idiot as youz! I swea', I'm your gawd damn mother sometimes..."

But Atemu didn't hear the rest of it. He didn't bother with a coat in the freezing weather; wrenching open the large doors, throwing himself outside, and looking wildly around in the thick snowfall for a sign of Yuugi. He would refuse the throne if he had to. All Atemu wanted was Yuugi.

But... but there was no Yuugi.

Atemu watched, powerless, as he saw-- maybe a block away, perhaps two -- Yuugi, his Yuugi, his beloved Yuugi climb into the taxi cab just like he had those many years ago.

And even as Atemu's legs pumped furiously and burnt his lungs as the icy air was sucked down to fuel them, the engine roared to life and chugged its wheels methodically, carrying Yuugi oh, Yuugi away from him.

Atemu's knees smacked the snowy sidewalk, defeated. So... that was it. Yuugi was gone; never coming back, he'd made that clear. Atemu's eyes watered, something they hadn't ever done since the last time Yuugi had left him, getting so far as America before--

Wait. Wait! That was it! Atemu's legs groaned with the effort of raising him from the cold hard ground. The train! Yuugi had said something about a train, right?

There was still time. Atemu had already about-faced and was moving speedily up the street back into Jounouchi's enormous mansion. Time to use that favor.


Yuugi blew softly over the mug his hands were wrapped tightly around, watching the steam dissipate in the air and wishing he could do the same.

The tears had stopped. He didn't know how long he could hold them off, however; the urge to go running into someone's chest and sob for days was overwhelming. But he had no one to run to. He had thrown away his last chance.

It was for the best, he reminded himself firmly, gulping down the hot liquid to clear his throat. Who was he kidding. Ruling a country? The very idea made him tense and sweat and tremble in a horribly nervous way-- definitely not monarch material.

Yuugi drummed hs fingers against the cup slowly, gazing out at the throng of people bustling about the station, each in their own little world. He dreaded his train ride... he loathed the thought of getting up the next morning. He wiped his eyes again, taking in a shuddering breath. More than anything, Yuugi wished he still had a friend, a confidant. But he had moved to this town to get away, to rebel, to ease some weight off others' shoulders and onto his own.

Yuugi felt like he was carrying the world right now. Which was why he had to migrate again.

He wound his fingers around the container in hand, relishing the warmth radiating from the object. He had no desire to drink it; just... to hold it. And Yuugi allowed himself, for a moment, to imagine the oddly shaped styrofoam liquid holder as sand-blasted hands, molding over his own.

Another tear sank in the direction of the floor. His lower lip trembled when he took in a breath, desire for comfort strong.

... He was a fool. And he knew it.

Yuugi forced himself up from the comfortable seat, dug out some spare bills from his pocket, and left. He didn't bother to take the steaming cup with him.


What a lovely day, Kaiba thought absently, basking in the warm sunlight. A large smile was stretching across his face, very uncommon behavior for one such as him. His lips quickly drooped back into a frown as the smile began to hurt his sparcely used muscles. Settling for a contented yawn, Seto surveyed the area. Butterflies were delving in an intricate dance no human could ever hope to achieve on invisible air currents, a breeze trickled through the crisp leaves, the sky was bright and blue and shedding glorious warmth--

And then Mokuba plowed into him, knocking Seto off his chair and onto the polished floor. He was back in his office, and, from his smaller sibling's expression, he had fallen asleep once again; overworking himself. The smaller Kaiba had never approved of it.

"Mokuba; I told you not to come into my office without a welcoming," Seto said, irritated, absently rubbing his sore head. Mokuba's expression soured, and he resolutely held out the phone to his brother.

"It's Atemu. He wants some information on Yuugi."

Kaiba blinked, rising from the floor and taking the device from Mokuba's hand with a dismissive nod. The raven-haired boy raised a brow and looked ready to argue before slouching, spinning on his heel and marching out of the room. Kaiba noted that he was wearing his pajamas; must be late in the evening.


"Yes, yes." He yawned, climbing back into his chair. "What?"

"I need to get some information concerning Yuugi."

Kaiba blinked, yawn pausing, raising his own eyebrow. "Picking up the art of stalking now, are we?"

"Shut up. Just-- just get it for me."

"What's in it for me?" Seto smirked.

There was a short pause. "... I can get you a date with Jounou--"



Atemu glowered at the wall opposite him, as if the painful existence of Kaiba was all its fault. Getting a train ride out of this guy was like trying to remove a steak from a starving man.

"... Wait. He has three jobs?"

Kaiba frowned on the other line. "Looks that way. He cleans, he waits, mostly, and he... does some paperwork for a lazy businessman." His fingers danced across the keyboard for a few seconds. "And his credit card shows a train ticket purchased in the past twenty-four hours."

"What? Where's it going? What station?" Well, he certainly sounds urgent, Seto thought.

Kaiba reclined on his leather chair, bringing up his feet and resting them on the chestnut desk, voicing a question that had been nagging him ever since Atemu rang. "Calling me at an hour like this is bizarre, Atemu, and calling about someone you or I haven't seen in five years just adds to the oddity." A pause. "What happened?"

"Nothing." The answer came too soon, too quickly.

"... Really?"

There was a slight noise, Atemu's high society-drilled version of a sigh, before, "Please, Kaiba... just tell me where he's going."

Kaiba did; a click was issued and the line was dead. Kaiba slowly brought the phone away from his ear, staring at it for a moment before placing it back on its cradle.

So. Obviously something had happened. Worrying his lower lip, the elder Kaiba brother crossed his arms above his head, sinking lower in his chair.

Seto Kaiba had always wondered what had happened to Yuugi Mouto. After his grandfather's mysterious disappearance, his parents had fled from the city after being charged with murder, petrified people as they were, leaving their only son lost and alone and frightened.

Yuugi had been forced to give up his home and drop out of school to support himself at age eighteen. He had met Atemu in Café Ambrosia, the local coffee shop he was employed in. The two hit off pretty well until...

The small smile that had emerged at the memory of the youth faded as the more saddening scenes played in his head. Yuugi and Atemu's first date-- he had driven them. Yuugi finding out Atemu's lineage. Yuugi ridiculed by Atemu's parents. Yuugi leaving with nothing but a scribbled note saying one solitary word: "sorry."

Kaiba sighed, shrugging off his old friend's mysterious call. If he needed help, Atemu knew who to call.

The CEO shifted in the expensive leather chair, making himself more comfortable, before dozing off once again. He hoped his previous dream would return.


Okay, so... a two-shot. 83;; It's the hard truth, live with it.

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