Disclaimer: I do not own any of
the characters presented here and am not making any profit off of
Title: Make Me Laugh
Word Count: 7,297
Romance: Atemu x Yuugi
Notes: This takes place a few years after the Ceremonial Duel, in a slightly alternate world where Atemu now has his own body. It was written as a birthday gift to my dear friend Artist Josie. Comments and criticism gratefully accepted.
Summary: Yuugi wants to hear Atemu laugh, and a special weekend together presents an opportunity.
Atemu didn't laugh. Yuugi wasn't certain of when he'd realized that, but it was true. He didn't laugh at all. You really couldn't count some of the times he'd issued a mocking laugh towards some of the people he'd defeated in one game or another. Yuugi simply couldn't remember Atemu having truly laughed.
I wonder what it would sound like if he did. The question didn't precisely haunt Yuugi, but it was one of those things that liked to crop up in his mind when he wasn't thinking about anything else in particular. He liked to think about Atemu, anyway, so it wasn't all that bothersome.
There was no way he could just ask the other to laugh so he could hear it, either. It wouldn't be the same as a natural laugh. I couldn't make a joke and make him laugh, either. Yuugi was great at games and making friends. Making people laugh was really a lot more Jounouchi's department than his, anyway.
He considered asking his blond friend about it. Jounouchi could probably come up with something that would work, he was almost certain of it. He wouldn't even ask questions about why Yuugi wanted to hear Atemu laugh. Maybe he'd even want to hear it himself. Jounouchi and the former spirit had formed a bond almost the equal of the one that linked Yuugi and Atemu, or Yuugi and Jounouchi in the last few months since the events of the Memory RPG.
He shifted around a little, casting only the smallest of looks towards the books piled on his desk. The school year would be ending soon, and he knew he had to study. But the thought of Atemu's laugh was still on his mind. It didn't always cling to him like this, and he wondered why he couldn't stop thinking about it now. Probably because I know I have to study, and I don't want to.
That was another reason that Jounouchi would help out: it would mean he didn't have to study either. He wanted to make something more of himself, but that didn't mean he had to like hitting the books. Yuugi understood completely. There were so many other things that were just more interesting than turning pages. How could anyone want to sit and do that all day long? There was always so much else to do that actually made sense and was interesting!
Unfortunately, the teachers hadn't yet figured that out, which meant no matter what, sooner or later he was going to have to get down to business and start studying. Even with the much more tantalizing prospect of somehow finally making Atemu truly laugh hovering over him. The two possibilities that stretched out before him didn't really seem to be all that different, the more he thought about it.
In choice one, he tried to make Atemu laugh before he started to study. If he didn't make it, then nothing much would change, not that he could see. If he did, then it was entirely possible that whatever it sounded like would distract him so much that he couldn't study at all.
As for choice two, if he tried to wait until after he'd studied to do it, and succeeded, then he'd be so distracted that anything he had learned would fly right out of his brain, never to be seen again.
It was obvious: Atemu was very bad for his grades, no matter what. Very good for him in other situations, but for his grades...
That quite probably also had something to do with the fact that Atemu saw very little use for all the rigmarole that came with modern studying in the first place. He understood it in a general sense; that it was to prepare students for their adult lives, or at least that was that they were always told. Yuugi had his own doubts about that, but that was another story altogether. But he just didn't take any interest in it. He hadn't even when he'd shared Yuugi's body.
Because of that distaste, Atemu had more than once interrupted Yuugi's study sessions, even when they were held with other people. He didn't do anything that Yuugi was embarassed about, not at all. Yuugi would never be embarassed over anything to do with him. But studying was hard enough on its own. To try to do something with Atemu's presence just made it worse. In fact, he never had to do anything at all. He just was there. That was all that was necessary.
Yuugi shifted a little more, certain he was blushing just over what was going through his mind. He hoped Atemu wouldn't wind up coming in here and seeing that. He couldn't think of any explanation for why he'd be as red as he was certain he was. Atemu might not ask for one, but that didn't mean Yuugi didn't want one, just in case. After all, it could just as easily be his grandfather or his mother coming in there and wanting to know what was going on.
His grandfather knew everything there was to know about Atemu and Yuugi and what had happened between them since the moment Yuugi had solved the Millennium Puzzle. Not only had he suspected beforehand, but shortly before their return from Egypt, he'd had both of them sit down and tell him everything, in complete and accurate detail. He'd even taken notes.
But his mother only knew that Yuugi and his friends had went on a special school trip to Egypt and had met an Egyptian who looked quite a bit like Yuugi himself, and somehow or other he'd wound up moving in with them. Yuugi had seen her watching him and Atemu at meals sometimes with the most curious expression on her face. She wanted to know more, and he was going to have to explain it all to her one day.
Thankfully, that wasn't today, and he had a lot of other things to think about. If any of them asked, he'd just say he was looking at porn or something. They'd all believe it.
Except maybe Atemu. But he'd come up with a different reason for him, if the situation wound up calling for it.
I'll wait until after I study, he decided at last. It would be kind of a reward for having behaved himself. He'd even hold off on talking to Jounouchi about it until after that. It could be a reward for both of them! It could even be better than hamburgers!
He glanced at his books again, more carefully this time, and started to sort through them. He put history at the very bottom; it was one of his more favored subjects these days, due to his association with Atemu. That was why he wanted to save it for the last. It would get him into the proper mood before trying to figure out a way to get him to laugh.
First order of business was mathematics. He stared at it for a few moments before he opened the book; one good advantage of being out of school one day would be that he'd never have to study this again! He was sure the numbers would continue to haunt him, but still...no studying was no studying!
He really should've arranged a study session with one of the others. Otogi and Anzu were both pretty good with this kind of thing. A lot better than he was, without a doubt. That was really who he needed to call, not just trying to find a way to hear some giggles. No, they're going to be studying too, and I don't need to bother them. They'd both asked if he had needed any help while they were still at school, and he'd turned them down. Looking back, that had been incredibly stupid of him.
Yuugi sighed a little and turned the pages until he got to what they'd been going over recently. Some of it made sense, but there was still a good chunk that was completely baffling. He jabbed at it with his pen, knowing that wasn't going to help him understand it any. I should be able to do this. Telling himself that didn't make the understanding come any quicker, though.
Atemu would be able to. That wasn't much of a help, either. In fact, it just distracted him even more, as his mind slipped to images of being held in Atemu's warm arms and hearing Atemu's voice whispering in his ears. He knew he was blushing this time; the heat was burning in his cheeks far too much for it to be anything else but that.
He had never really asked Atemu if he could do the kinds of things that the school required him to do. He knew that the other wasn't interested at all in it, but that didn't mean he couldn't do them. It would possibly be a way to spend a little more time around him, if he could arrange for some kind of tutoring. Atemu might have to go over the books himself a few times to get the hang of it, but once he did...
Studying looked quite a bit more attractive with the prospect of Atemu being the one teaching him. And for rewards...
He really had to stop thinking of things like that. The sooner the better.
"Yuugi..." At the sound of his name, Yuugi almost fell out of his seat as he tried to jump and whirl around to see who was calling him at the same time. Atemu stood in the doorway, one eyebrow slightly raised at his reaction. "Are you all right?"
"Y..yes..." Yuugi straightened himself up as quickly as he could. "What are you doing up here? I thought you were going to be running the shop for Grandpa for the rest of today." That was what Atemu had said he was doing when Yuugi came home from school just a little while ago, after all.
Atemu nodded a little. "I'm on my afternoon break. Your Grandfather is taking care of the story for half an hour." He smiled briefly. "He almost insisted I take an hour off. The afterschool rush is going to be starting soon."
"That's his favorite time of the day," Yuugi admitted. His grandfather adored it when all the kids came by after they were done with classes and afterschool activities, wanting to either have duels or buy cards or games or just hang out. "You might have some trouble getting the cash register back from him."
"I wouldn't be surprised if I did," Atemu replied as he came farther into the room. "I came to see how you've been doing with your homework. Done yet?"
Yuugi almost laughed. "I'm not going to be done for a while. Finals are soon, and I've got to be ready for them." Was Atemu pouting? He was almost certain he was! It didn't look all that wonderful on him in some ways...but in others, it was absolutely adorable. Not telling him that, though. Pharaohs had their dignity, after all.
Atemu looked over towards the books, lip curling slightly. "The sooner you're done with all of this, the better."
"Really?" The word slipped out of Yuugi, and he could feel the same burning rising up his cheeks as had been there before he'd heard Atemu's voice.
"Yes, really. That takes up too much of your time. There's a lot of other things you should be doing. You do remember that tournament next month, don't you?"
Yuugi nodded a little, looking towards his dueling deck. He was going to have to refine it some more. Being one of the top players didn't mean he didn't have to keep his hand in. He couldn't remember offhand who was holding this tournament, other than the fact it wasn't Kaiba and it wasn't Industrial Illusions. He was fairly sure it wouldn't matter, though. No one was trying to destroy the world or claim the Items or the God Cards. It was just a tournament for skill and amusement.
"You are going to be ready for it." It wasn't a question or even a suggestion. Atemu hadn't dueled all that much since he had been granted his own body, preferring to spend his life exploring all the things he'd missed in the three thousand years he had spent trapped in the Millennium Puzzle. He still had a deck, and he would duel on occasion for fun, but it wasn't the driving force of his life any longer.
"I'm going to go over my deck in a few days. But I really need to get this studying done." Yuugi couldn't decide if now was the right time to tell Atemu he had been wondering if he could be a tutor. Atemu just didn't look very interested in books. "This is one of the things that can help me get into a good college."
"More studying." Atemu's lip curled even farther. "You can do more than just read these books once you're in college, can't you?"
"I don't know," Yuugi admitted. "I've heard different things. Some people say you have more time, some people say there's less."
Atemu shook his head. "Why even go? You don't need to be in college to be a great duelist. You already are one."
"I know." Yuugi nodded a little, grateful that he wasn't blushing this time. He knew he was good, though he wasn't certain if he would go as far as great. A lot of it had come from living with Atemu in his mind so long. They'd learned a lot from one another. He would never be anything but grateful that Atemu had chosen to stay here in this place and time with him and everyone else. "But there's things I can learn in college I can't learn anywhere else, and I want to go." Besides, he wanted to learn all the ins and outs of running his own business and making a success of it. When the Game Shop was his, he wanted to do at least as well as Grandpa had.
"If that's what you want." Atemu shrugged as he came closer to Yuugi. "Then I suppose you had better study, then. I did have some ideas for what we could do this weekend, though."
"Like what?" Yuugi tended to like Atemu's ideas. They were creative, unique, and generally involved a lot of kissing and snuggling. Someday, he was certain, they would involve a lot more. Someday.
Atemu only smiled. "If you study enough, then I'll show you."
The books had never looked quite as appetizing as they did just then. Yuugi looked from them to Atemu quickly. "How much is enough?"
"You'll know this weekend," Atemu told him. Another smile touched his lips as he did. "And I won't bother you anymore tonight." He turned, then looked back at Yuugi. "I do mean that. I'll be sleeping in my room until this weekend."
Yuugi gulped. Atemu was serious about this, then. Though the spare room had been made up as his, in order to keep certain truths about their relationship from his mother, Atemu spent at least five out or seven nights a week curled up in Yuugi's bed with him. Both of them were at least partially clothed the whole time; they simply slept better when they were together. Grandpa had theorized it was because their minds had been so closely linked that they weren't fully comfortable unless they were together somehow. Yuugi just knew he slept better and more deeply when Atemu was there with him.
He didn't have a chance to say anything else before Atemu had stepped out of the room and closed the door behind himself. He stared at the closed door for a few moments, hardly believing what was happening, then shook his head. He's going to get it. I don't know how or when, but I'm going to give it to him. He also didn't know what 'it' was, but he was certain he'd figure it out in time.
For now, he had books to study, and some very interesting incentive to keep studying until the weekend got there. Of course, since this was Tuesday, he fully intending to make that eventual payback intense.
In fact, if he could figure out a way to make Atemu laugh between now and then, that would be the perfect way to do it.
Yuugi grinned a little, then settled himself down at his books again, after pulling out an extra notebook and setting it nearby. If he got any good ideas for how to pull any of this off, he wasn't going to forget them for lack of a place to put them.
Atemu finished closing up the store for the night and turned off all but the lesser lights that were supposed to keep thieves at bay. He highly doubted that was as effective as people thought it would be, but he didn't question it at the moment. There were other things to be questioned, such as Yuugi's recent intenseness on his studies. Ever since he'd promised interesting things for Yuugi if he studied hard, one might think the whole world depended on his partner getting the highest marks possible.
It could just be that he wants to know what I have planned for us this weekend. That was the most likely turn of events. Over the last few weeks, their frequent hugs, holdings, and kissings had evolved an extra layer that went far beyond the normal range of emotions they'd had for one another. He had known he loved Yuugi for quite some time, but had never spoken of it until after he had miraculously been restored to his own body after the Ceremonial Duel. It had been his great good luck, or the hand of the Gods, that had granted him Yuugi's love in return. If he'd ever had occasion to doubt their existence, which he had not, the fact Yuugi loved him in defiance of all the norms and customs would've proven it successfully to him.
In the three days since then, Atemu had kept to his word, and slept in his room, no matter how often he woke up in the night wanting to be in Yuugi's instead. That happened at least four times in every night, and he began to ache for the weekend himself, to put an end to this self-imposed isolation. Or at least to tempt the fact that Yuugi might study a little less well if Atemu were there with him at night.
But he wouldn't do that. This college thing was what Yuugi wanted, and he always did his supreme best to be certain Yuugi got what he wanted, no matter what. It made no sense to him, but that didn't matter. Perhaps he'd even attempt to go to college himself. It would serve to catch him up on quite a few of the things he wanted to know, he supposed, and even open him to things he didn't know he wanted to know.
His weekend plans with, and for, Yuugi were currently much more fascinating and far more immediate in his mind, however. With everything taken care of in the store, he went up to his room to look them over one more time. It had been more than a little difficult to work things out with Mrs. Mutou and Grandpa, but he'd managed to do it. What was even more interesting had been convincing them that Yuugi didn't need to know about until Saturday morning actually dawned.
Yuugi was already in his own room, the door closed, more than likely hard at his books once again. Atemu considered peeking in on him, and went so far as to lay a hand on the door, listening.
Were those voices? He frowned a little more; Yuugi hadn't come home with anyone. It was entirely possibly someone had come over later, though. He wouldn't have seen them if they'd come to the main house door and not through the Game Shop. Though most of their friends tended to go through there to see if he was there anyway, if only just to say hi. The only one he could think of who wouldn't would be the thief, and there was no reason he would be there.
He closed his eyes and leaned in a little more, listening as hard as he could. Only snatches of voices came through to him, though, and nothing of what he heard made any kind of sense. Disconnected words, not even enough to get a bad impression off of. He frowned; the least Yuugi and whoever it was could do was give him something interesting to think about!
It was easy for him to recognize Yuugui's voice, even if what was being said made no real sense. The other voice sounded just as familiar, however. Atemu furrowed his brow; where had he heard it before? He was certain he had, but he couldn't figure out who it was just yet.
"Yuugi! Atemu!" Mrs. Mutou's voice called up from the lower floor. "Dinner's going to be ready in ten minutes!" There was a moment of a pause, then, "Yuugi, let me know if Jounouchi is staying or not, please!"
So that's who it is. Atemu moved quickly over to his own door and tried his best to look as if he were just walking in normally as Yuugi's own door opened, and the other stepped out. Atemu casually looked over, or hoped it looked casual at least, and could see their blond friend behind Yuugi, a very amused grin on both of their faces. What's so funny?
"Yes, he's staying for dinner," Yuugi called down, tendering a quick smile to Atemu as he did so. "We're not done studying yet."
That explained why Jounouchi hadn't stopped over at the Game Shop before coming in. He could imagine few things more boring than a study session, really.
"See you at dinner, Atemu," Yuugi smiled softly at him, and Atemu nodded back, smiling briefly himself. "And I've been doing a lot of studying."
"I'm sure you'll be rewarded handsomely for that," Atemu replied as he went on into his room and closed his own door. He listened the best he could, and was certain he caught the sound of them talking to one another before Yuugi's door closed. He couldn't quite understand what they were saying, but it was something.
A simple study session. It was an explanation, a simple and easy one, but something in the way they'd exchanged a look or two, the tilt to each of those smiles, said something different. He was quite used to reading his opponent's moves by their body language alone, and he knew Yuugi's body language better than anyone in the entire world. Yuugi was hiding something. He had no idea of what it was, but he knew there was something going on between them that wasn't just studying.
He smiled briefly to himself. It wouldn't be that hard to find out what it was that weekend. He was quite certain that Yuugi would babble it all out to him in the first ten minutes, if he did the right things. It was almost amusing, the way Yuugi thought he could keep secrets from him. Atemu didn't mind that misperception. He knew the truth, after all.
The list of what he'd planned for their weekend had been well hidden, not that he expected anyone to try and come in here. The only people who knew about it's existence, other than himself, weren't inclined to sneaking around in other's rooms anyway. Grandpa had approved it all, with a grin that said he approved in more ways than one. Mrs. Mutou had been a little more dubious, and Atemu wondered yet again if she were going to ask more about how he and her son had really gotten to know each other. The flimsy story that they'd put together wouldn't hold much longer, and he was more than a little surprised that it had held this long. Either she wasn't anywhere nearly as curious as her son was, or she trusted him far too much. No matter which way it was, it was on the verge of ending. He made a note to talk to Yuugi about telling her the truth, doing so at their convenience, not hers. It would put them both on much higher mental ground for the conversation. He might not duel as much as he once had, but starting from a position of strength was a good idea no matter what you were doing.
Everything on the list was easy, simple, and could be done with a minimum of effort. That was the best part of it all, the simplicity. Complicated plans could be unraveled far too easily, as he'd noted more than once. But if one took one's time and did things at one's own pace, it more than likely resulted in exactly what one wanted: victory. This time wasn't quite like all the other victories he'd had, though. He intended it to be just as thoroughly satisfying for the both of them.
He stretched out on the bed, intent on getting a little rest before the call to actual dinner came. He couldn't hear whatever Jounouchi and Yuugi were talking about at the moment, but he was certain they were amusing themselves. They might even be studying. Atemu trusted Yuugi to actually do that. He might do other things if he had a free second, but with his promised rewards, Yuugi would study his brains out.
Perhaps Yuugi was planning something to do on their weekend as well, with Jounouchi's help? Atemu didn't know if the blond was seeing anyone at the moment, but who knew what secrets could be hidden away in his mind. He had provided Yuugi some of the naughtier things that the teenager had looked through more than once.
I think I like not knowing what they're doing, Atemu decided. It provided a certain little spice that hadn't been there for him in quite some time: the flavor of uncertainty. Small doses of that did keep things fresh, after all. They'd probably enjoy their plotting as much as he was enjoying knowing it existed at the moment. Everyone got something that way, and that was just the way he liked it.
The door closed behind them and now it was just Yuugi and Atemu there. Yuugi peered out the window and waved farewell to his grandpa and mother as best he could until the taxi was out of sight. That's so sweet of him, taking her off to the spas for the weekend. He couldn't even remember the last time that his mother had had some down time of her own. She absolutely deserved it, too.
This did leave him and Atemu alone together for the weekend, too. He shivered a little, flicking a quick glance over his shoulder to the stairs. Atemu was up there in his room, doing something or other. He'd said good-bye before they'd left, and there'd been some kind of odd glances between the three of them. I wonder if I'm being set up? It wouldn't matter if he was. This was Atemu doing it.
Especially as he had some of his own setting up to do. He had to do this right. Jounouchi's advice was pretty good, or at least he hoped it was. He'd find out fairly soon. The sooner the better, in fact.
No time like the present. He dashed up the stairs, taking his courage in both hands, and knocked quickly on Atemu's door. "Atemu? Can I talk to you?"
"Come on in, Yuugi. I've been expecting you," Atemu's reply came almost at once, and a shiver quickly wandered down Yuugi's back at the tone of his voice. He opened the door quickly and looked inside before coming in.
Atemu sat in his chair by the bed, a small box in his lap. Yuugi caught his breath at the way Atemu was dressed: in the most realistic version of his Pharaoh's gear that Yuugi had ever seen. It had to have cost a small fortune, at least. The gold glimmered against his bronzed skin, and he tilted his head back, an amused tilt to his lips at the way Yuugi simply stared.
"What do you think?" he asked, that same rich quality to his voice that sent Yuugi's insides jumping. Yuugi tried to think of something to say that made any vague kind of sense, and could only nod his head a little. That seemed to satisfy Atemu, as he sat the box to the side and stood up. "I seem to remember telling you that I had some plans for us for this weekend."
Yuugi nodded again, almost forgetting his own idea in the face of Atemu's surprise. The light smile on the other's face brought it back to him, though. "I...Atemu...there was something I was hoping we could do first, though. Just one thing, for me."
Atemu reached out to touch the side of Yuugi's face lightly and looked into his eyes. "Yuugi, all of this is for you. It always will be."
Yuugi had a feeling that what Atemu meant wasn't quite exactly what was going through his mind, but that didn't matter. His thoughts scattered briefly at the touch and the words, and it took him a few moments to gather them up again and keep going. "I...It's just there was something I wanted to try...if you don't mind..."
"Oh?" Atemu asked curiously. "What is it?"
"It's kind of in two parts. The first one is, whoever says a certain word first has to do something the other one wants. No questions asked, and you can't turn it down, no matter what." He glanced quickly over at Atemu, who looked more interested with every word. "And the second...well, that'll come after that."
Atemu tapped a finger thoughtfully. "All right. What is this word? And is there a time limit?"
That was a good idea; Jounouchi hadn't mentioned that, and he hadn't thought about it. They could be there all night if it wasn't in place. "Five minutes," Yuugi decided quickly. "And you can't just go ahead and say it right away. You have to try not to say it. So it has to be an easy word to say. You also can't try to make the other person say it."
"An excellent game," Atemu approved with a smile. "Was this what you and Jounouchi were talking about the other day?"
"Kind of," Yuugi replied, knowing that yet again his cheeks were burning. "I don't want to spoil it all, though."
"Nor do I want it spoiled. So, what is this word?"
Yuugi racked his brain. The one they'd used when he and Jounouchi were practicing had been 'blue' but he didn't think that would work very well this time. Then he grinned quickly. He knew just what word to use. "Puzzle. That's the word we don't want to say for five minutes. Puzzle."
"I see." Atemu nodded, then motioned to the clock on the nightstand as it switched to the next minute. "In five minutes, if one of us hasn't said the word, we shall move on to my plans? Or at least more involved ones, sine we can take this time to do something else."
"Right," Yuugi agreed, a little tension slipping out of him. "What was it you had in mind, anyway?"
Atemu reached behind him to pick up the box and offered it out to him. Yuugi took it, looking over at him curiously, and the Pharaoh indicated for him to open it up. Yuugi did so slowly, and stared to see a silver hinged cuff within it. "Atemu..."
"I had that made for you," Atemu told him quietly. "Look on the inside."
Yuugi lifted it carefully and tilted it so he could see inside. He couldn't read all of the hieroglyphics, but he didn't need to: the inscription was repeated in Japanese kanji. He read the words out carefully. "Always mine, for eternity."
If he thought he had blushed before, then he blushed a thousand more times deeply now. He picked the cuff out of the box and looked at it more closely now. It wasn't quite something he would've thought to get himself, but he wasn't surprised that Atemu had gotten it for him. Had it made for me... It looked just right for him. He carefully slid it onto his wrist, clicking it into place. He wasn't surprised to find it fit perfectly, either. He doubted it was possible for either of them to get the other's size wrong.
"Thank you." He caught Atemu's eyes and smiled warmly, then leaned over to brush his lips across the other's. "Thank you so much." He meant the words with everything in him, but they just didn't seem to be enough.
Atemu brushed his fingers across the tips of Yuugi's hair briefly before caressing his cheek again. "Think nothing of it. That's only the beginning of tonight, Yuugi. I have so much more planned for us. I've been looking forward to it all week." He paused for a moment. "Would you like to know what it's all going to be, or would you prefer to be surprised?"
Yuugi didn't even have to think about that. "Surprise me."
"I intend to." Yuugi nearly went to his knees as Atemu's voice sent a wave of pure pleasure through him. If Atemu spoke like that on a regular basis, he didn't think he'd ever get anything done. He doubted anyone who heard him would ever be able to do anything at all.
A quick glance to the clock showed perhaps a minute had passed by. Four more to go. Yuugi wanted to win, but he couldn't make Atemu say the word. It had to come out naturally.
Atemu wound an arm around Yuugi's waist and pulled him closer, nuzzling against his ear lightly. "Do you really think you'll win this game?" he murmured softly, amusement all in his tone.
"I don't see why not," Yuugi replied a little breathlessly. "I've won against you before." It hadn't happened often, but it had happened a few times, most notably the Ceremonial Duel itself. Atemu chuckled some.
"I know. In three thousand years, you've been the only one to truly beat me. Even before I was sealed into the Puzzle, no one could..." he broke off, a touch flustered, and Yuugi could hardly believe his ears. Atemu had barely lasted two minutes! Maybe a minute and a half!
He restrained himself from jumping up and crowing. Maybe he didn't want to win. Maybe he wanted to see what I'd do. The point was, he'd won, and now he got to do what he'd been planning half the week.
"Well, Yuugi?" Atemu leaned back and looked at him casually. Only Yuugi might've noticed the faint frown between his eyebrows that spoke of his curiosity and slight annoyance. Atemu could lose, but he had never learned to like it. Yuugi could relate. "What is it I will be doing?"
Yuugi closed his eyes for a moment and took in a deep breath. "Trusting me. Completely."
"I already do that."
"This is different." Yuugi turned towards the door. "Come on. I've got the stuff set up in my room already." He really hoped this worked, for so many different reasons.
Atemu followed Yuugi into his room and looked around. Everything seemed relatively normal. What could Yuugi have ready here? He was so absorbed in trying to figure out what was going on, he didn't quite hear what Yuugi said the first time. "Excuse me?"
"I said, take your clothes off. Well, most of them. You don't have to take off your shorts, or whatever you've got on under there. Lay down on the bed when you're done." Yuugi wasn't quite as flaming red as he had been before, but he did look fairly embarassed. He'd said all of that as quickly as he could without being incoherent, and couldn't meet Atemu's eyes for a single second. The Pharaoh looked at him, then began to obey. He'd lost honestly, after all. Once he was on the bed, Yuugi told him to close his eyes.
Once they were shut, Yuugi gently picked up a box he'd kept out of sight and removed something from it as carefully as he could. He didn't want a single jingle to give anything away. This was one of the things Jounouchi had given him to help out with this. He fastened one end to Atemu's wrist, and the other to the bedframe, then repeated it with the other three. In mere moments, Atemu was securely handcuffed to the bed.
"Yuugi..." Atemu didn't sound worried, only a little confused, and Yuugi quickly patted his arm.
"Don't worry. You'll find out what I'm doing in just a second." He was almost ready for Atemu to open his eyes, but he needed one more thing first. He snatched it up quickly and positioned himself. "All right, you can open your eyes now."
When Atemu did so, the first thing he saw was Yuugi standing there with a feather in one hand. He blinked a few times, not certain if he were seeing things or not. "Yuugi?"
"I've wanted to hear you laugh for the longest time," Yuugi told him, toying with the end of the feather some. "I mean, really laugh. Jokes don't seem to do it. I didn't know what else to do...so I'm going to tickle you."
"What?" Atemu had to hear that again.
"I'm going to tickle you." Yuugi replied nervously. He so hoped Atemu wouldn't be mad at him: and that this wouldn't put any crimps in the rest of the weekend. "It won't hurt, I promise. The handcuffs are so you don't hurt yourself when you start laughing."
Atemu blinked twice more, then slowly nodded. "I trust you, Yuugi."
The teenager stepped over closer to the bed, then gently ran the feather all the way down Atemu's body lightly. Atemu didn't react at all, but Yuugi didn't seem to care. He did it again, this time a few inches to the other side, and once again Atemu just lay there.
"Yuugi, are you sure this is working?" Atemu had never quite thought about whether he could laugh or not. This little experiment of Yuugi's was beginning to be as interesting to him as it was to Yuugi himself.
"Jounouchi said it could take a while to find where you're most ticklish at," Yuugi reassured him. He hoped that was right. What if Atemu really couldn't laugh for some reason? No, that was silly. Everyone could laugh. He just had to find the right spot.
He carefully moved the feather all over Atemu's chest, then down towards his ribs. Atemu jerked suddenly, an odd noise startled out of him, and Yuugi grinned. "I think I found it."
Atemu stared up at him as Yuugi drifted the feather across his ribs again, and he started to squirm. He didn't want to, but his body reacted all by itself at that annoyingly light touch. What was it doing to him? Yuugi fluttered it briefly between his arms and Atemu squirmed even more, another noise he couldn't identity blurting between his lips. It didn't sound like any laugh he'd ever heard before.
Yuugi didn't seem to care, though. There was an almost fiendish smile on his lips as he adminstered the feather to the opposite side of Atemu's body, and found that it was just as sensitive there as it was on the first side. Atemu jerked his knees up the little that he could, but that only gave Yuugi access to the underside of said knees.
And that was the ultimate spot. The moment the feather began to caress across there, a pure and true laugh bubbled out of Atemu. He writhed around and around, held back only by the handcuffs, and anywhere that skin was exposed, that feather found and tormented.
Yuugi shot a quick look at Atemu's face, and couldn't hold back a giggle of his own. The Pharaoh had his nose scrunched up, was sweat-streaked, and with each stroke of the feather, he laughed more and more. Yuugi kept on, hunting each and every place that he could that would get any kind of a snicker, snort, giggle, or laugh. He drank them all, savoring the sound completely. He had no idea if he'd ever hear any of them again, and if he had thought about it, he would've taped this, just so he could replay it whenever he wanted.
Over and over he tickled, until Atemu gasped for breath. Yuugi dropped the feather at once. The last thing he wanted to do was actually cause Atemu any kind of harm. He got the handcuff keys out and unlocked the other, keeping a worried eye on him. "Are you all right? I stopped in time, didn't I?" He cursed himself for even thinking of something like this. He could've done something different. He didn't know what, but just something. Anything.
Atemu gulped down long breaths of air, and murmured quietly, "A glass of water? Please?"
Yuugi was in the bathroom and back out again with the requested glass in the space of three heartbeats. Atemu took it from him gratefully and sipped quietly. He said nothing at all, simply sat on the side of the bed, catching his breath and drinking. Yuugi watched him briefly, then began to gather up the cuffs and feather, putting them back in the box.
"You wanted to hear me laugh, hm?" Atemu said at last. Yuugi didn't look at him, but nodded. "Well? Was it worth it?"
Yuugi moistened his lips a touch. "Only if you're not mad about it. If it made you mad, nothing would be worth it at all."
Atemu reached out to wrap an arm around Yuugi and pulled him close, nuzzling against the top of his head. "If it made you happy, then it was worth it." He laughed briefly. "I don't think I'd want to go through it again, but it was...different." He dropped his head a little to whisper right in Yuugi's ear. "Perhaps next time we should see how long it takes for you to laugh?"
"I...if you really want to..." Yuugi had never thought about the tables being turned quite like that, but it wasn't that bad of an idea."
"We'll see." Atemu promised, and his voice spelled out without even having to say it that it would be done. Yuugi shivered a little more as Atemu ran his fingers through his hair. "We still do have all the weekend ahead of us, Yuugi. I left room in my plans for anything you might want to do. Or that I might decide I wanted to do...with you."
Yuugi's blood rushed all the way to one point with that remark. For once, it wasn't his cheeks, though.
"I think I need a cup of water now," he whispered softly, managing to get himself disentangled from Atemu's arms so he could hurry into the bathroom. He washed his face quickly and drank two cups of water before he felt anywhere close to being able to face Atemu again. He knew that was why Atemu talked like that to him, but he reacted the same way almost every time. Maybe one day, once he was really used to all of this, he wouldn't.
Atemu had redressed himself by the time Yuugi was back in there, and turned to looked at Yuugi. "So that was the beginning of our weekend," he said softly, his eyes dropping briefly to the cuff around Yuugi's wrist. "What is it that you want to do next, Yuugi?"
"Anything you want to do," Yuugi replied at once. He'd gotten what he wanted most in the world. In fact, he had the two things he wanted most: he'd finally heard Atemu laugh, and Atemu wasn't angry at him for making it happen in the first place.
Then something unusual happened. Something that Yuugi hadn't expected, and would never expect. Atemu laughed softly, without hesitation, and leaned closer to whisper in his ear. "But Yuugi, what I want to do is..."
What he said might've sent Yuugi back to the bathroom, if Atemu hadn't kept him close within his arms, and a weekend like none other truly began.