Always Yours by dragonwrangler
Summary- Seto is forced to face himself when he realizes what he now has within his reach.
Rating- T (shonen- ai)
Timeline and A/N- Takes place a few hours after the ceremonial duel at the end of the series and falls into my Seto/Atemu ficverse. Feedback welcomed.
Thank you to Crimson Eyed Dragon, Nenya58, and Mishiko Shinsei for beta reading and feedback- it helped a lot!
Disclaimer- Yugioh is the intellectual property of Kazuki Takahashi. I am making no money off this story and have written it for my own entertainment. I hope you enjoy it as well.
Three thousand years is a long time to wait but I suppose I can wait a little longer.
After all that happened today I'm hardly surprised when I find you asleep, your body sideways on the couch, your head resting on a stray pillow while your bare feet are still flat against the floor. It appears to be an incredibly uncomfortable position though I've seen Mokuba sleep like that with no ill effects in the morning.
However, you are hardly Mokuba's age even if you do look younger than him when you're asleep. I shouldn't have kept you up so long; the ceremonial duel with Yugi drained you and you need time to adopt to being amongst the living once more.
Placing the tea server on the coffee table in front of the couch, I reach down, easily gathering you up in my arms. You seem to weigh nothing at all and I wonder if this body is simply another one you've shaped with shadow magic, but I quickly dismiss the thought. Unlike that body, this one bears the marks only a flesh and blood one can carry. I've already spotted the line of lighter, smoother skin on your upper arm- a scar from when you were careless during sword practice one day. And I'm sure I'll find that odd little shaped one on your shoulder, the one my past self accidentally gave you that night on the Nile when we failed to pay attention to what we were laying on. A body created with shadow magic would not be able to carry such memories.
Setting you in the center of the soft bed, deciding to leave you dressed since removing your clothes would probably wake you, I carefully cover you up with the comforter before leaning against the bedpost to watch you sleep. The realization that I haven't done such a simple thing since you sealed your soul into the Puzzle saddens me for a moment. I remember doing this in the past, watching the peace you never experienced during your waking hours pass over your face. I often thought that was because of me, that you felt safe enough while you slept to let your barriers down simply because I was there.
Staring at you I marvel at what you've done but a growing, terrifyingly familiar emotion is beginning to darken my mood. You appear so vulnerable, the breath slowing moving in and out of your body so precious- and so easy to stop now that you exist in the real world. Before, even though your survival rested on Yugi's own, I knew you could survive his loss within the Puzzle until you found a new host. That fact is no longer valid and it is causing me to begin to lose the walls I've built around my heart to protect me from such an overwhelming fear.
Panic is slowly constricting my chest, making it difficult to breath, as my mind begins to imagine losing you again. I didn't experience anything like this on the trip down the Nile after our goodbyes for I could not deny you the right to pass on to the next world. Seth's memories had prepared me for that.
But seeing you step from the tomb, alive and real…
I'm not sure I am prepared for this, even though it is everything I desire.
Happiness is something I've never learned how to handle properly in this life, and as a result, I tend to warp it into something I can.
Like I am now. And in this, Seth's memories are more a burden than a blessing.
Every memory Seth has of you is softened with love, even ones where he is angry at you. And with that overwhelming love was the ability he had to let you fight your own battles, no matter what the cost was to him. You were his Pharaoh and had the power of the divine to call upon and if you ordered him to let you fight alone he had no choice but to do just that. However, that is not how it will work this time. I will not allow you to stand alone. I know this world. Even though you have experienced it over the past few years with Yugi, you cannot begin to comprehend the dangers that exist in everyday life but I can. And I have so that I could protect Mokuba.
And you will fight this decision I've made. I'm sure you will not allow me to suffer this pain that love brings in silence. You will see it as a challenge to your abilities and even now in your sleep, that calls to you. A moan slips past parted lips as your sleep becomes troubled because of my emotions.
I'm not sure if I should be angry that we are so connected or overwhelmed with wonder. I try locking everything up- and I have had more than enough practice in this- but I'm too late. Your eyes begin to open, prompting a sigh to slip out of me, much to my annoyance.
You give me a sleepy, but curious look as you slowly sit up and I resist the impulse to brush golden bangs away from your face for purely selfish reasons. I know you will shake them out of the way and for some reason I could sit and watch you do that for hours; and I feel a smirk cross my face when you do just that.
You know why I'm smirking and the result of that realization causes a good natured scowl to appear. "How long was I out?" you ask drowsily.
"Hn. Not long enough." I answer, crossing my arms. You raise an eyebrow at that and I silently curse myself for not being able to control my reactions around you.
Not that it would have made a difference.
"What's wrong, Seto?"
I recognize I've made a mistake watching you and decide now to do what I should have done in the first place. "You need to get some sleep." I say as I stand up, determined to give you some time alone to recover from everything that has happened over the last few hours, but a familiar look crosses your face and I stop automatically.
The lazy smirk you manage to pull off half awake doesn't surprise me at all; neither does the shadow of concern surrounding it. "I did not come back just so you could deny me sex, Seto." you state firmly in an obvious attempt to distract me.
And a good distraction it is, I must admit. "One of us needs to have some self control." I answer, finding it a surprisingly difficult statement to make. This is something we've both yearn for, the chance to touch one another without you trapped within another's body or without magic being involved and I can feel my body beginning to react to the possibilities before me.
And I seem to be terrified of what those possibilities will bring me.
I see the smirk slip away as you once again sense the troubled emotions behind the walls I quickly try to push between us. "Seto, what's wrong?" you repeat, a note of concern slipping into your voice.
"I can't do this."
The words are out before I recognize what I've said and I find myself as surprised as you.
And all you can say is, "What?"
I can't answer that and simply throw out another question to give myself time to recover. But the question I ask only confuses me more.
"Why did you come back?"
Why am I even asking you that?
For a moment you watch me closely and I can't figure out what thoughts are hidden in your eyes. "I could not leave you." you finally say as you slip off the bed and move towards me. "How could I be happy if you were not by my side?" You approach carefully; your every move deliberate and measured; and you speak to my heart as you attempt to calm me with your words. "When I approached the First Arit and began reciting his name, I knew I could not go on. How could I enter into paradise knowing you would not be there to greet me?" Reaching up, you cradle my face with your warm hands as you say gently. "How could it be paradise if you were not there, Seto?"
I twist what you say in my head to give me the strength to argue with you, though I find myself unable to pull away from your touch. "You're referring to Seth, Atemu; not me." I snarl in self defense; anger and fear beginning to mix within me.
Your eyes narrow at my tone and my emotions but your voice remains even and calm as you point out, "No. Seth is only a part of what makes you Seto Kaiba."
'Yeah, the part that keeps you coming back for more, Pharaoh."
Shit, you asshole, I think furiously at myself when I see anger flash through your eyes, but some perverse part of me is pleased with your reaction. I am so fucked up no one should have to deal with me. that part thinks with satisfaction. Especially anyone foolish enough to love me.
And what makes you think you deserve him anyway?
Before I can answer that question you drop your hands and retreat back to the side of the bed, leaving me reeling and alone. And when I look at your face I realize I may have just lost you. You are no longer Atemu, you are Pharaoh and for only the second time since I've met you in this life I find myself afraid of you.
"Would you rather not have those memories, Seto Kaiba?" The tone of your voice would have brought Seth to his knees in homage but I remain standing and force myself to face you; and myself, for I have no doubt, hearing your voice, that you could banish Seth's memories from my mind with just a word.
But are those memories what I am truly afraid of?
It can't be that- the fear that you may only see Seth when you are with me. We've already dealt with that and I was the one who pointed out that I would not have let those memories take hold of me so strongly if I had not wanted them to. And I spoke the truth when I told you that.
And it can't be the fear I might lose you to death again; I know deep down I can manage that fear the same way I do the ones I have for Mokuba; and it's not as if death really has any control over you, Seth's memories certainly prove that.
I can feel the shock crossing my face when I realize what my fear is- that I will lose you because of who I was; and what an utterly stupid fear that is. I am no longer the person I was before you shattered my heart. I am no longer the Seto that existed before I accepted Seth's memories.
I am no longer the Seto Kaiba that created Death T and almost killed his own brother.
I am more than that now.
And I'm sure as hell not a Seto Kaiba that would give you up without a fight, even if the person I need to fight is my past self. I have no use for such a useless emotion as self-pity and have no trouble eradicating it, and that idiotic little voice of my own past, from my mind.
I can feel myself straighten and let a smirk cross my face as I settle back into the person I am now. I then sense the shift in you and watch Pharaoh disappear and Atemu return with a deep feeling of relief washing through me.
At least I don't need to fight with you about this.
Crossing your arms and shifting your weight to one side, you ask as a smirk of your own appears on your face, "So, are you finally back to being Seto Kaiba, arrogant bastard?"
"Your Seto Kaiba, arrogant bastard, yes." I answer truthfully.
The corners of your eyes crinkle slightly as you gaze at me in complete understanding. "Are you all right?" you ask anyway.
"No," I admit as I step close to you, "but this is the best you're going to get, you know."
You settle back on the bed, pulling me down with you for a kiss as you comment, "I've always known that. And I think we have waited long enough, don't you?"
I have to agree and the kiss is enough for me to give up on my earlier thought that you should take it easy, though I vow to be gentle with you tonight. It may be your body but it will take time for you to get used to it again.
However, taking that thought a step further causes an unexpected bout of laughter to slip out of me.
I can tell you're slightly annoyed as I pull away from the kiss. "What are you finding so amusing, Priest?"
I have to stare down at you a moment before I control my laughter enough to answer. As you start to glare at me I manage to get out, "You realize you're technically a virgin now, don't you my Pharaoh?"
It takes a moment for that to sink in, then you start laughing as well. "Well, I hope you plan on fixing that."
"Oh, I will. You don't have to worry about that." And I intend to be quite thorough, though I'm not about to say that out loud. Realizing we're going to need a few things I rise to my feet and walk toward the door and am surprised when you snap irritably, "Seto, what are you doing now?"
Raising an eyebrow I look back, amused by the mix of lust, annoyance, and frustration I see in your eyes. "I wasn't expecting you to come back." Leaning a moment against the door frame I ask reasonably, "Do you want me to get the lube or not? It's your ass we're talking about here."
A roll of your eyes and an imperial sweep of your arm is my answer and I leave you, a satisfied smirk back on my face, as I head for the front room where my luggage still sits where I dropped it when we arrived. It only takes a few minutes to dig through the suitcase I know the bottle is in and I'm thankful I didn't automatically throw it out like I planned after the trip down the Nile.
I'm more than ready by the time I return to the bedroom but I find you've fallen asleep again. You've strip off your clothes, leaving them in a pile on the floor beside the bed, and I can see I was right; the scar from that night on the Nile is clearly visible on your shoulder and I resist the impulse to trace it with my fingers. Taking a deep breath to control my urges- something I got a lot of practice doing while you were still in Yugi- I set the lube on the nightstand and strip as well before joining you in the bed. I carefully lift the edge of the comforter to slip between the sheets and gently gather you up in my arms. The movement doesn't seem to wake you, though part of me wishes it would, but you do roll against me and snuggle close, your body easily fitting into the angles of my own, your breath warm against the hollow of my throat as you give a soft, quiet sigh.
I close my eyes and allow myself to enjoy the feel of you in my arms, the gentle rise and fall of your chest as your breath moves in and out. I treasure the touch of your fingers brushing against my back from the arm you've wrapped around my waist and the lingering smell of incense in your hair as I curl protectively around you.
Turning inward for a moment I deal with the last fear this new form of yours brings me. I shift it to it's proper place beside those fears that I hold only for Mokuba. There will be much I'll need to do to keep it under control, but there is no need to worry about it right now.
Right now I'll allow myself the right to enjoy this quiet moment with you.
Three thousand years is a long time to wait but I suppose I can wait a little longer.
Though I hope you won't make me wait too much longer.