Welcome to the final chapter of Fair Play. I would like to extend my thanks to everyone that stuck with the story over the last three years (I honestly can't believe it's been that long). I'm glad I could brighten so many people's days with this. There will be a sequel to Fair Play, but I'll also be putting some more effort into my other unfinished stories. I hope this chapter finds you well and doesn't disappoint.
-Little Miss Reaper
Author's Note from several months later: I have rewritten this thing to fuck and back and am still not satisfied. This will be my last attempt, after which I'll just post it and make up for it in the sequel.
Chapter 22: The End of the Beginning
Seto had the distinct impression that Joey knew exactly what he was thinking. This was confirmed when Joey suddenly looked away and stood. He shoved his hands in his jacket pockets to hide the shaking and his eyes were shining with unshed tears, but he tried hard to force a smile for Seto.
"It's ok. I understand." The stiff smile and wobbling lower lip made talking difficult, but he managed to continue. "I know its cliché, but I'd really like to be friends, I just need some time…"
Seto just stared at his feet, mind racing. He was weighing pros and cons, calculating probabilities. When Joey made to leave, Seto's hand shot out and grabbed his wrist. Seto stared at it, surprised, as he hadn't consciously reached a decision yet. Planning to let go and apologize, when he opened his mouth something entirely different came out.
He released Joey's wrist and stood. "I-" He stumbled over his words and rubbed anxiously at the bridge of his nose. "Just don't go. Give me a moment to think."
The pause extended and when, after several moments, Seto began to pace, Joey sat down with the intent of staying out of his way.
Over the course of the next ten minutes Seto would often come to an abrupt stop, look meaningfully at Joey and begin a sentence, only to cut himself off and begin walking again. Finally he stopped in front of the sofa, heaved a sigh and throwing his hands up in exasperation, let himself fall back into the seat next to Joey. "I don't know."
Joey just waited for him to continue.
"You're the only person that's ever done this to me." He sighed again. "Decisions have always been easy, but you come along and for the first time 'should' and 'want' don't mean the same thing. You look at me and the choice seems simple, but then I stop and think and the complete opposite seems right. So what am I supposed to do?" He mused.
"Flip a coin." Came the serious reply.
Seto's eyebrows threatened to become lost in his hairline. "You're joking."
Joey shook his head. "It's what I do. I flip a coin, commit myself to the decision it makes and if it feels wrong I go with the other choice."
Seto seemed to weigh this method in his mind for a moment. It was counterintuitive, slightly insane, but functional, making it completely in line with Joey's style. So when Joey offered, Seto took the coin he offered him.
He took Joey's hand for a moment as well, turned it over and held it awkwardly in his. For a moment he seemed to abandon all thoughts in favor of idly tracing patterns on Joey's palm. "This decides it then?" Joey swallowed hard and nodded.
Seto flicked the coin up and the air was filled with the tiny thrum of metal vibrations. He caught it and pressed it into the back of his hand, but didn't look. He glanced at Joey. "Call it."
"Heads we give it a go, tails we part ways."
Seto lifted his hand and revealed the coin. No presidential profile met him.
Joey swallowed hard against the lump in his throat and when he spoke his voice came out a hoarse whisper. "How do you feel?"
For a moment Joey could have sworn he saw tears welling up in those famous blue eyes, but he was quickly enfolded in strong arms. He relaxed against Seto's chest with a sound that was half sigh, half sob. He had been waiting for Seto for so long. Every step had been so hard earned. Each one was like another mountain he'd made it over, but on the other side there were always more, seemingly as far as the eye could see. Now he'd made it to the plains. There were still obstacles in the distance, but he could just rest here for a while, and when he was ready, he knew this time he wouldn't be climbing alone.
As for Seto, all he could manage to feel was relief. Wave after wave washed over him, replacing the dread of a moment before. When he'd seen the coin had landed tails his stomach had lurched and he knew. He knew he could not let go of Joey without trying.
As the emotional tempest inside him died down, Seto was left with a strange feeling, like suddenly there was sunlight in his soul. He felt as if on the edge of laugher and beamed into the soft mass of Joey's hair.
He chuckled, realizing how untrue what he'd said just minutes before was. This was the first time that 'want' and 'should' meant the same thing. This was the first choice that didn't feel like a compromise, that didn't leave him focusing on a cost.
Joey pulled back and met his gaze. "You're sure?"
Seto smiled sarcastically and brushed their lips together in a way at made his had reel, Joey parted his lips immediately, with a needy sound. He was sure.
Thank you all for reading. I realize this chapter was short and covered a huge amount of ground, but I ended it when it felt right. I plan on updating one or more of my other stories before starting of the sequel, but it should be easier to keep up with that because it won't have any overall plot aside from developing their relationship.
Thank you again. I hope I made this trip worth the while.
Little Miss Reaper