Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh! is the creation of Kazuki Takahashi. "Taboo" is from the musical Taboo, by Boy George. "Take a Chance on Me" is from the Mamma Mia, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus. This is a not-for-profit fanwork and I do not own any of these characters.
Ch. 10: Take a Chance on Me
Noa followed Mokuba to Seto and Yami's bedroom, where the younger teen began packing up the few things he had moved into the room during his stay there. Mokuba was obviously planning on moving back to their shared bedroom since things were "back to normal," but just because Seto said they could date didn't automatically set things right. For one thing, Seto hadn't mentioned anything about their sleeping arrangement though Noa presumed he knew they'd been sleeping in the same bed. So was it okay for Mokuba to move back in? The younger teen certainly seemed to think so. Whether or not Seto would throw a fit over it remained to be seen.
Still, Noa was starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. There was hope; relationships hadn't been irreparably damaged as he had feared. Or maybe the opening had always been there, but he'd been so blinded by his anger and jealousy that until now, he had seen nothing but a dead end.
Picking a fight with Seto hadn't been one of his brightest ideas, not that he had done it intentionally. Noa supposed they had some unresolved issues. Maybe he and Seto were finally ready to acknowledge that, and thus begin the process of working through them. Perhaps they were more alike than he'd realized. Honestly, he'd never given it all that much thought even though he'd been told on more than one occasion that he reminded people of Seto, or vice versa. He still wasn't sure whether to be flattered or insulted by the comparison. But he supposed that didn't matter because if nothing else, at least they agreed on what mattered most in life, and that was Mokuba's well being and happiness.
As if hearing the train of thought arriving at the station, Mokuba suddenly turned and quirked Noa a small smile. "I'm glad you're not fighting with Seto anymore," he said, relief in his voice.
"I guess I finally realized that he and I have our priorities in the same place. We both want you to be happy." Noa gave a little shrug. "I'm sorry that I've been so selfish as of late. I should have thought about how hard this would be for you."
Making sure that Noa remained beside him, Mokuba began walking out of the room and towards his old bedroom, a small pile of clothing in his arms. "Ugh, you're just as bad as Seto is! You know, this isn't all about me…"
"Yes, it is." Ignoring Mokuba's groans of protest, Noa added, "Look, Mokuba… the important thing is that you're in my life, whether it's as a friend, or a brother, or… something else…"
"Something… else." The smile dropped from Mokuba's face. Yes, the important thing was that they were still in one another's lives, that they still could be friends and brothers, but… he really did want more than that. He wanted what they had before he had ended it. But at the same time, was that what was best for them? He wasn't sure. True, Seto and Noa had apologized to one another, but he knew that they had ultimately done it for him. And he hated that everyone placed their wants and needs behind his, although… well, he couldn't imagine them being any other way. Because that was who they were, and he loved them both, quirks and all. But that didn't mean that he didn't have responsibilites as well. The least he could do was to ensure that he was the type of person worthy of such devotion… "Noa, I need to apologize to you."
"For what?" Noa asked warily.
"Lots of things, I guess. For starters, you were absolutely right that we should have told Seto in the beginning. I bet a lot of this stuff wouldn't have happened if we had been honest with him."
"Maybe. But…" Another small shrug. "I think Seto and I would have found something to fight about sooner or later. It should have happened a long time ago, and it didn't. There were things we just didn't want to talk about, and maybe we both figured, 'Well, if we don't mention them, they'll just go away.' But in reality, it doesn't work that way."
"You're probably right. I just hope in the future, you two don't let things build up until they get this bad."
Noa nodded. "Don't worry about it. I know Seto means as much to you as you mean to me. I won't start another fight with him like that, ever."
Mokuba paled slightly. "That's the other thing. Noa, you're not… second place in my heart, or however you worded it. Like I told you, it's not a competition."
"Yami said that too. But, to be honest… I can't help but see it that way. You said that no one could take Seto's place…"
Mokuba shook his head. "No one; not ever." Seeing the sad look on the green-haired teen's face, Mokuba dumped his clothes on the nearest bed, reached out for Noa's hand and gently guided it to his chest. "Seto will always be my nii-sama. But that shouldn't matter, 'cause that's not who you are to me."
Noa held his breath for a moment and concentrated on the heartbeat fluttering lightly under his fingertips. "So who am I to you?" he breathed.
"My best friend. Maybe… my boyfriend. And maybe someday, my lover…" Mokuba felt a very slight smile touch his lips as Noa's eyes suddenly widened. He couldn't resist leaning forward just a little to deliver a soft kiss. "Isn't that enough?"
"Huh?" He was almost certain Mokuba wasn't referring to the kiss, but it was all he could think about at the moment. "We're not 18 yet," he added stupidly as he wondered if Mokuba was planning to go back to their old sleeping arrangement, with both of them in the same bed.
Mokuba grinned shyly. "Sorry, I couldn't help myself. But you think you could live with just being my number one friend and boyfriend for starters?"
"I better be the ONLY boyfriend!" Noa said with mock sternness.
"Of course!" The black-haired teen chuckled at that, then sat down on the edge of his bed and patted the space beside him, inviting Noa to sit. If they were really going to give their relationship another go – and Noa certainly seemed willing – he was going to do it properly, and take it from the top. "So, Noa…"
"Hypothetically… if I were to ask you out, what would you say?"
Noa smothered a grin. That was exactly what Mokuba had said the first time he had asked him out. But Noa liked that; it was reassuring to know that Mokuba was not only considering a future with him, but remembering their past as well. So of course, he couldn't resist replying with the exact same answer as he had the first time. "Hypothetically?"
"I'd say yes."
"So…" Mokuba lay back on the bed, lacing his fingers over his stomach. "You wanna go out?"
Noa almost didn't want to say it, but he had to play along. "… No."
"What? Why not?"
"Because… we have a big brother who wouldn't approve of it," Noa recited, knowing that the conversation would have to deviate from the original now that Seto had given his approval. And truth be told, he was curious to hear what Mokuba would say in light of all that had happened.
Mokuba didn't hesitate this time, delivering a simple, honest answer with confidence. "What if I told you that Seto already knows, and that he's okay with it and leaving the decision to us? Then what would you say?"
"Well, in that case…" and a smile broke over Noa's face, "I'd say yes."
After several minutes of lying on the bed with Noa and doing nothing more than basking in the companionable silence, Mokuba figured he ought to finish moving the rest of his things over. He wase just beginning to prop himself up on the bed when the door opened and Seto and Yami walked in with matching smugly satisfied looks on their faces, their clothing very slightly rumpled. No big secret what had them in such a good mood. Mokuba would have rolled his eyes at them, but he was more relieved than anything else at their antics, so he just gave the pair a small smile in greeting.
The brunette acknowledged his brother with a nod, then took stock of the scene before him: Mokuba and Noa on the bed, along with a small pile of clothing. Well, he hadn't told them that they couldn't room together again… "Moving back in here?"
"Where else would I sleep?" Mokuba asked. He had assumed it was okay to move back into his old room since obviously Seto and Yami were back together and three was definitely a crowd. But now that he thought about it, he should have gotten the official okay before moving his stuff back.
The young CEO grunted, then folded his arms and gave Noa a critical look before turning back to Mokuba. "Sleep of course being the key word. I trust you'll both remember that?"
"Absolutely," Noa eagerly answered.
Mokuba nodded, then added, "And sorry I didn't ask you about it earlier… I shouldn't have made assumptions." He took a breath and went on. "Oh, and Nii-sama… I asked Noa out again, and he agreed. I just wanted you to know."
Seto was a little surprised that Mokuba and Noa had patched things up so quickly, but at the same time he was encouraged by the knowledge that Mokuba had found someone so dedicated. So he found himself nodding slowly at the news, and with a small, reassuring smile, he told the black-haired teen, "Thanks."
"So then… are you boys hungry? I didn't have anything planned for dinner though, so maybe we can all go out for a bite to eat?" Yami suggested. It'd give them all a chance to relax a little and talk… to remember what it meant to be a family.
"Kinda like… a double date then?" Mokuba asked. He liked the idea. Sure, they regularly ate out together, and technically all those "dates" with Kouya and Yamato were double dates too, but to go out as a couple with Yami and Seto made him feel almost… grown up.
"Something like that," said Yami, grinning broadly.
Noa hopped off the bed. "Sounds good! I'm starving."
"Yeah, sounds great!" Mokuba enthused. "Oh, but… if possible, can we stop by Yamato's house sometime tonight?"
"I suppose. Any particular reason?" Seto asked.
"She… helped me out this afternoon. Some of the things she said… guess they're making sense to me now. I just wanted to thank her."
"She sounds like a good friend to have," Yami commented. "You ought to do something in return for her."
"Yeah… hey, maybe we could stop by the florist's so I could get her a little something?" Mokuba asked. Noa smiled and nodded in agreement at the suggestion, and Mokuba felt a slight flush hitting his cheeks at the pride and affection evident in the green-haired teen's eyes. "Does that sound okay?"
"Sounds fine. We need to get going though; you can move the rest of your stuff later tonight," Seto told his little brother, then he began to walk out of the room before pausing near the doorway. "Uh, I need to grab something real quick… meet you guys downstairs in a minute, all right?"
Yami's eyebrow twitched. His boyfriend was up to something. Kai-baby?
Don't worry about it.
If anything, the quick response just made him more curious. What are you up to?
Seto chuckled. Just a little payback… Yami continued to look at him strangely, so he gave in and sent his lover a mental image of what he had planned.
The crimson-eyed teen nearly choked with laughter at what he saw, but managed to stifle it enough so it only came out as a snort. Seto was thinking they should go to Orange Hill, the same restaurant that he and Yami had their first date at, and then once they arrived there… You're going to handcuff them together?!
Why not? Like I said, payback.
Yami just shook his head as he thought back to the rather unorthodox means by which the younger Kaibas had forced them to stay together for the duration of that blind date. But he wasn't mad about it and knew that Seto felt the same. If anything, the memory made him smile. At least it was an experience that they'd never forget, and it did lead to such a beautiful relationship, which they were both grateful for. Yami supposed that in a way, Seto's desire for "revenge" was a good thing, because by getting them back he was also acknowledging the younger pair's budding relationship. And certainly he wouldn't be expressing his sense of humor if he were still in a foul mood. I'm a little surprised you didn't spring this on them when they were dating Yamato and Kouya, Yami mused, though secretly he was grateful for that, considering that this was a joke best kept in the family.
Well, I didn't want to scare the girls off, Seto said. Now come on, let's get going… Mokuba's starting to look at us funny.
Sure enough, Mokuba was staring intently at Seto and Yami. "Okay, what are you two talking about? I don't trust that look on your face, Nii-sama."
"It's nothing," the lovers answered in unison. Then they both smiled innocently.
Mokuba and Noa gawked at them, then exchanged quick looks. They didn't need a mind link to know what the other was thinking.
Bored and home alone, Yamato was flipping through various TV programs and eating coffee ice cream straight from the carton when she heard the doorbell ring. Huh, that's odd. She wasn't expecting anyone, and her parents weren't going to be back from their impromptu vacation until tomorrow, so it wasn't like they forgot their house keys… again.
For a brief moment, she fantasized that it was Kouya at the door, a Kouya that had snuck out and stopped by just because she knew her girlfriend would appreciate the company, but Yamato quickly dismissed that thought. Kouya was sooo grounded thanks to Mr. Karita and his love of detentions, and the blonde could just image what Kouya's parents would have to say to their daughter.
"Oh, that Yamato girl, she's such a bad influence on you," Yamato said aloud, mimicking Mrs. Sakagami's voice. She thought it was a pretty good impersonation, and giggled at herself. Then the doorbell chimed again.
"Coming! Geez, probably some door to door salesman," she mumbled to herself as she reluctantly stood up and walked to the front door. But a quick peek through the peephole revealed a familiar, shaggy-haired figure walking away from the house and to a parked sedan.
Was that… Mokuba? Puzzled, she cracked the door open. She was about to take a step out when she spotted a bouquet of cheery orange zinnias on the front stoop, prominent and bright in even in the dim porch light. Picking them up carefully, she saw there was a yellow envelope nestled in the arrangement, and the note inside read:
You told me this afternoon that I'd thank you later, so… I guess this is later. Thank you. You were right; I didn't have to choose after all : )
(Oh, and BTW… any advice on how I should approach the subject of detention? : / )
"Well, damn." She couldn't resist smiling as she cradled the bouquet, looking up in time to catch the car's taillights disappearing around the corner. While she appreciated Mokuba's thoughtfulness, that wasn't the only thing that cheered her up. Yamato liked knowing that she did good. It was nice not being a screw up all of the time. And Mokuba had been a good friend to both her and Kouya; she was happy that things had worked out for him. "You're welcome, kiddo."
But the freshman was on his own as far as detention…
~ OWARI ~
- Kisses and hugs to Nenya for all the advice and brainstorming and encouragement throughout this fic! You're the only person that makes me really think even when I don't want to!
- There was originally supposed to be an epilogue scene/chapter, but after I thought about it, the story didn't really need it. But I still want to write it. So it'll end up being a short standalone fic.
- Re: handcuffs. Just a refresher (or background info if you haven't read some of my older fics), Mokuba handcuffed Seto and Yami together on their first date ("Shades of You and Me"). Noa and Yugi also participated in setting them up for that blind date. So in a later fic, "Games that People Play," Seto gets his revenge on Yugi by handcuffing him to Anzu, and Yami asks him, "Are you going to handcuff Noa and Mokuba every time they go out on a first date with someone?" Seto says, "Sure." And while he didn't cuff the boys to Yamato and Kouya (not that I forgot about it, but I think even he'd understand that that might've been a little inappropriate considering he didn't know them), he's finally getting his revenge on them.
- Re: zinnias. In the language of flowers, zinnias (in general) symbolize friendship.