Disclaimer: Plain and simple. I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh.

A/N: This story has been in my head for a little over a year, and was intentionally meant to be a chaptered piece. As I continued to develop it I realized that the only part of the plot I was interested in was the final scene, and if that's all I cared about then that's all that would be interesting to my readers. So with a bit of adaptation, here it is. I'll have to ask you to suspend a little belief in the logic of the story… I didn't take the time to do the research I probably should have. I'd love to hear what you think as this story is very dear to me.

The next chapter of Carry On shall soon follow.


- Ocean

No Loaded Gun
By Ocean

Officer Tamotsu frowned into the cold, hard door of his vehicle. The barbed pain in the balls of his feet insisted he was squatting in a drum full of nails rather than on the street in front of the post office. He'd been shielded behind his car for the past forty-three seconds, the explosive impact of gunfire having only recently subsided for reasons that remained as elusive as those that initially provoked the attack. Craning his neck to look at his fellow officers – those who were not completely obstructed from view by their own patrol cars – alleviated his worry that his comrades had been hit. The cruisers had seen better days, but the people were fine, and that was the important thing to remember.

"Shit," he cursed. His shift was, literally, ending with a bang.

A body slammed into the door beside him and slid to the ground, back to the metal and a gun raised in front of a slim, pale face that did not befit a member of law enforcement. Tamotsu looked at the man twelve years his younger and, with a roll of his eyes, placed a strong hand on his shoulder.

"Put the gun down Sato," he said with a weary sigh, settling to his knees. "You don't even know who you're shooting at."

Sato swallowed thickly around his tongue; mouth hanging open as the adrenaline flooded his system, heart and breaths racing each other to an obscure finish line. "What the hell is he shooting at us for?!" he shouted and whispered simultaneously, resulting in his voice sounding very much how one would imagine a fly too if speaking through a bullhorn. "All we did was ask what he wanted!"

Tamotsu closed his eyes in a manner of the resigned instructor. "This your first hostage situation?"

"Hostage?" Sato asked, dumbfounded. "There are hostages?"

"One," Tamotsu confirmed. "Though no one knows who he is." He looked behind himself again, watching as those in charge of the situation argued with each other and gesticulated in controlled wildness. "Shit," he said again, accentuating the word with a gruff cough of insolence. "How the hell are we to get out of this one if they don't even know what's going on?"

"How did this all start?" Sato asked. He tried to raise his head high enough to peer through the window of the cruiser at the post office but was roughly shoved down to the pavement with a heated comment about his apparent death wish.

Shrugging, Tamotsu removed his gun from its holster and began to inspect it, ensuring the clip was secure and that the safety was off. "How does anything start? Someone gets a stick up their ass and decides to take it out on others. Although," he said, his voice trailing off in thought, "… I don't know. This just seems odd to me."


"Because we've had no communication with the bastard since this whole thing started." Satisfied with the readiness of his gun Tamotsu repositioned himself on the balls of his feet, preparing to stand once he felt bullets were no longer in his immediate future. Looking around, noticing that the other senior officers were thinking along the same lines and planning to resume their cautious positions of observation, Tamotsu patted Sato's shoulder. "I think he's done throwing his little fit."

Sato wasn't as certain, but followed the experienced officer's lead, whipping his head from side to side as though vigilance would guarantee his safety. When no gunfire met his ears he allowed himself a small breath of relief.

"It's odd, I agree, that there haven't been any demands yet," Sato said.

Tamotsu grunted. "None made to us, anyway."

There was no further excitement for the next forty minutes, though there was plenty of planning, movement, interviews of witnesses and failed attempts to resolve the crisis. A perimeter was established against which a dozen spectators stood at rapt attention. The blinds of the post office were drawn, and with the afternoon sun trained on the building's front no shadows could be seen within. Witness testimony varied from this being a botched robbery to a deliberate target of the hostage; from there being one suspect to three, even going so far as to accuse the captive – most likely a male in his mid-twenties if you could believe five out of nine witnesses – to be part of the heist. The commanding officer on sight made several attempts to establish contact with those inside the post office. All efforts except one had failed.

The hail of gunfire that sent every officer and spectator diving for cover and resulting in Sato hiding next to Tamotsu against the patrol car indicated clearly that whoever was inside and in control was not yet ready to talk.

"I wish they would get those news helicopters out of here," Sato mumbled, his eyes turned towards the sky and a frown on his face.

"Damn vultures," Tamotsu agreed.

"It's not that," Sato said. He stuck a finger in his ear and shook it violently. "So much noise makes it hard to think straight."

Tamotsu didn't bother to hide his amusement, laughing outright at the statement, but his good humor died with the quickness of a heartbeat when his eyes spotted three people ducking beneath the perimeter tape and walking towards the commanding officer.

Sato was unprepared for the stream of curses that assaulted his ears.

"What's all that about?" he asked.

"God damn it," Tamotsu said, as though this were a common answer to all questions. "Motou, of all people."

"Motou? Who's that?" Sato leaned around Tamotsu and stretched his neck, trying to catch a glimpse of the man who was able to invoke such a vivid reaction.

"He's a hostage negotiator." Tamotsu spat on the ground near his feet. "Supposedly the best in the force. Nothing more than an arrogant spoiled brat if you ask me."

"Really? Wow, they're pulling in the big guns, then. Think they found something we don't know about?" Sato nearly bounced in his eagerness to potentially meet someone important, let alone be a member of the team that was possibly involved in a high profile case.

"Keh." Tamotsu turned his back to the approaching negotiator, intent on ignoring his presence. "Whatever they know it has nothing more to do with us. We've just become scenery now that he's here."

Sato's enthusiasm fell. He wasn't ready to be written out of the script.

Yuugi Motou exhaled through his nose, otherwise giving no sign of his irritation at the handling of the situation thus far.

"You should have called me sooner."

"I was following procedure," the commanding officer said, keeping his voice trim and trite. "We are perfectly capable of resolving this."

Yuugi's eyes glanced towards the post office in a bored fashion before turning to the sky. "Obviously not, or it'd be over by now." He turned with a huff. "At least tell me you've got a camera in there."

The commanding officer's face flushed at the insinuation that he wouldn't have attempted such a basic procedure. "We're working on it."

"You're working on it," Yuugi repeated, his face pulling into a scowl. "Great." He turned to the two men that had accompanied him on scene, chosen by him for their obedience, efficiency, and intelligence, in precisely that order. "While he's working on it would you get it done?"

"Way ahead of you boss," the raggedy blond said, already rummaging in the briefcase he'd brought with him. "I just love spyin' on perps," he added with a cheeky grin to the other man, a red head that towered over every officer on site by a good four inches.

"Nah, you just love poking your nose where it don't belong," Red corrected, removing the denim coat he wore and replacing it with a black, police issued jacket so he would blend in with the other officers. "I'm surprised it hasn't gotten you fired."

Blond beamed with superfluous pride. "'Cause I'm good at what I do. And boss likes me, ain't that right, boss?"

"Shut up and get to it," Yuugi cut over his shoulder. His threat went ignored as Blond and Red prepared to sneak a camera into the post office. He was used to the babbling antics of these two and didn't care if they pissed about as long as they did what he told them to and quickly. They hadn't failed him yet, which the reason neither had been fired for insubordination.

With little more to do than wait for his team to set up the visuals he needed to assess and amend the situation, Yuugi decided to walk away from the fuming commanding officer and over to the building situated directly across from the post office, leaning his back against the façade and staring at his target. He disregarded the men ignoring him, especially the one young punk who kept watching him with an eager expectation that grated on his nerves, and set his mind to work.

Every cell, every nerve in his body told him that this was no ordinary hostage situation. This wasn't a spontaneous, desperate act of a criminal who had been caught in the middle of a crime. It was likely this wasn't the carefully planned and executed attempt of a political agent to garner attention for his cause. The lack of any communication was enough to prove this theory to Yuugi. The simple minded perpetrators who were dumb enough to get caught always wanted to ensure some gain from their blunder and, more often than not, did most of his work for him as they demanded the world before settling for a candy bar in the same breath.

This hostage taker had not been caught. He'd been seen because he had wanted to be seen. Which begged the question of what it was he wanted to say?

Yuugi blinked his mulberry eyes slowly, the deliberate action focusing his sharp mind into a quick review of the facts.

At 9:34am, the alarm at the main branch of the Tokyo Post Office sounded. Responding on scene was one patrol car carrying a pair of officers. Upon their arrival civilians were released from the building, fear and the hint of hysteria in their eyes and voices as many ran to the uniformed men for protection. As one of the officers approached the front door one warning shot was fired at his feet. In an effort to protect the civilians both officers had retreated from the building and immediately radioed in for back-up with the urgent warning of 'Shots fired!'

Interviews with the witnesses revealed that the perpetrator – the one man behind all this, for Yuugi simply did not believe such a grand gesture as kidnapping would go unnoticed if done by a large group of individuals - brandished a gun. If the witnesses were to be believed, they had not been violently threatened, merely informed that if they cooperated by remaining still and quiet they would be released as soon as the police arrived.

An important and revealing note: the suspect had kept his word.

The most reliable of the witnesses had also revealed that the suspect had targeted one man, using the threat of killing one of the civilians to subdue him into cooperation before striking him with the butt of his gun in the head, rendering him unconscious (assumedly, there was contradicting testimony to support this). He had then proceeded to stand over the victim in what appeared to be a relaxed posture (another assumption, this one unimportant) and proceeded to polish his gun. Approximately thirteen minutes later, the police had arrived, the hostages save one released, and all contact with the suspect was suspended.

Yuugi purposefully didn't include the unprovoked barrage of bullets forty-nine minutes before his arrival in his assessment as communication. Even if the commanding officer was determined to believe that it was a sign the suspect was getting nervous, Yuugi understood it to be nothing more than a distraction. The man wanted something. He had given the officers something to play with so they wouldn't bother him while he waited to get it.

So what was he waiting for?

Damn. If only he knew who the hostage was he could begin to figure out this mess.

"Hey Boss? I think you'll want to hear this."

Yuugi snapped his eyes to Red, narrowing them in warning that the interruption better be worthwhile. "You've got the feed?"

"Not yet- but!" Red said quickly in defense of the anger that flared over Yuugi's face. "I went ahead and re-interviewed some of the witnesses because 'I was getting in the way,'" he raised his hands in ridiculous air quotes for emphasis that was unappreciated by his audience. "We weren't told something important."

Yuugi raised his eyebrow in curiosity, though the anger on his face did not disappear.

"The hostage isn't Japanese. Neither is the suspect."

"God damn it," Yuugi said softly, scrubbing his face with both hands. "Can't he do anything right?" He glared in the direction of the commanding officer before looking back to his subordinate. "What do we know?"

"Middle Eastern. That's as specific as I was able to get."

"Known how?"

"The color of their skin," Red said. He didn't bother referring to his notebook. "Apparently the hostage is wearing robes that are indicative of that region of the world." He idly shifted his weight, comfortable now that Yuugi didn't appear as hostile. "And, wouldn't you know, they both spoke another language?"

"Hm," Yuugi acknowledged. He braced his elbow in his hand, propping his arm and playing his fingers over his lips. They had a suspect that spoke both Japanese, having addressed the hostages, and an undetermined Middle East dialect. That revealed something Yuugi was determined to figure out. "Did they understand each other?"

"Yes, as far as I can gather."

Yuugi kicked off from the wall and pushed Red aside, striding to the commanding officer. "What's around here?" he demanded at the commander's back. The portly man turned, startled by the address, but was unable to answer before Yuugi continued his questioning. "Anything important? Anything that could be seen as important?"

"What are you talking about?"

Yuugi resisted impatiently slamming his hand on the hood of the commander's car. "The two men in there," he indicated the post office with a jerk of his head, "are of Middle Eastern descent." Yuugi was not impressed by the commander's puzzled and incredulous disposition. "Don't waste my time and answer the question. Why would two people of Middle Eastern descent be here at the Tokyo post office?"

The commander relented to Yuugi's questions, having fought with the brash, egotistical child before and not having the energy to do so now, too long into a hostage situation. He took a deep breath and turned away from Yuugi so he could focus on his surroundings and not his dislike of the negotiator. Wracking his brain for anything that might be of assistance, words began to tumble from his mouth like a stream of pebbles.

"Wait. Embassy?" Yuugi interrupted.

"The Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt," the commander clarified, his curiosity piquing with Yuugi's interest. "It's here in Tokyo."

Yuugi's lips pressed into a thin line, his eyes narrowed and expression otherwise blank. It was a blatant change of emotion that unnerved both the commander and Red. He didn't look at either man as he turned to face the post office, watching, glaring as though he could see through walls and have all the answers revealed to him through shear willpower. If he had been anyone else the act would have been ludicrous, but because it was Yuugi, the commander found himself hoping that the negotiator would, in the most coarse of terms, see the writing on the wall and end this debacle.

Not a minute passed before Yuugi's mood again changed from pensive restraint to intense emotion.

"Where the hell is that video feed?!"

It was the last thing he said before turning and stomping through the maze of patrol cars to his personal vehicle, parked just outside the perimeter. Red, at first hesitantly but with increasing gall, trailed after his boss. The commanding officer was simply relieved not to have the man next to him any longer and resumed his efforts to disarm the situation, hopefully with the hostage alive.

The embassy.

How could he have forgotten that?

It was inexcusable. He wouldn't have tolerated such a lapse in either of his subordinates, and yet he was solely responsible for not knowing his own surroundings. Fucking stupid.

Not only that, he thought as he jammed a key into the lock on the trunk of his car and pushed the lid open with far more force than necessary, hiding his form from all prying eyes. Not only that, but that meant that he was wrong about this not being political, and that pissed him off even more than forgetting about the embassy. Shit, this changed everything.

The common criminal was stupid and easy to predict. The intelligent criminal was easy to predict. The terrorist was a man willing and sometimes eager to die for his cause. But the political criminal…

… it was a whole new game.

"Sir?" Red asked, feeling the moment prudent enough to show respect to a clearly agitated superior. He could only see his chief's hair above the open trunk, but by its constant movement he could tell that Yuugi was busily rummaging for something. When he didn't get a response he tried again. "What did I miss, boss?"

The apology – for that's what it was – penetrated Yuugi's potent internal tirade and he paused, forcing himself to settle his spastic nerves and calm enough to proceed from the new revelation. Pulling on his acquired police jacket and checking to make certain his shirt was tucked back into his pants, Yuugi finally closed the trunk and leaned with both palms placed upon it.

"I should have known," Yuugi muttered, eyes fixed stubbornly in front of him.

Red ran his tongue along his teeth, unsure. "I don't see how you could've. In all the confusion-"

"No excuse." Yuugi sighed wearily, for the first time since arriving on the scene relaxing his guard. "No excuse," he repeated.

"Are you familiar with the embassy boss?" Red ventured.

Yuugi's eyes shifted towards the other man, revealing nothing more than acknowledgement of his presence. "Yeah, I know it. Been there a couple of times." His eyes glazed over for a moment in thought. "But I didn't think anyone was there." He bit his lower lip in an uncommon moment of doubt. "At least, last I heard…" Yuugi shook his head in frustration.

"Anyway," he said, straightening and motioning for Red to follow him back towards the post office. "This changes everything. We need to get in contact with the Embassy, see if anyone's gone missing or hasn't reported in when they should have, who's here, who's scheduled to be here, who's left, everything they can tell us."

"And that which they can't?"

"That too."

Red fell into stride beside Yuugi, familiar and comfortable with this role of support. "No doubts this has anything to do with them?"

Yuugi shook his head. "How many people from the Middle East do you see on a regular basis in Japan? No, I guarantee that once we contact them the possible identity of our hostage is going to be significantly narrowed."

"That'll answer a lot of questions to be sure," Red agreed.

Catching sight of his blond cohort standing behind a table that supported a laptop Red guided his boss in his direction. Yuugi's face set in determination when he recognized the signs of a successful infiltration.

"You got it?"

Blond looked up from the computer, his characteristic smirk splayed across his face. "But of course. Though I wasn't able to get any sound. Whoever that is in there is one sensitive prick, I can tell you that." His fingers danced over the keys as though guided by a sixth sense, his eyes focused on his superior. "He's suspicious already, and he almost caught me drilling the hole for the camera."

"You? Getting caught?" Red asked in mocked disbelief.

Yuugi interceded on Blond's behalf, in no mood for his two subordinates to play. He was anxious to see the computer screen for reasons he didn't want to admit. The hair on the back of his neck had been tickling him ever since the commanding officer had mentioned the embassy, and his stomach had churned wickedly like it did every time he ate too much sugar. His gut was telling him something was wrong, and his gut never lied to him.

"The controls are over here," Blond said, sensing the urgency in Yuugi's rigid body posture. He gestured to the side of the computer before stepping aside. "I haven't been able to get a good look at either of them yet, that's what I was working on when you came over."

Yuugi nodded, an almost imperceptible movement as his hand sought out the controls. "What did you find?"

"It's actually a very poor building to hold a hostage in," Blond began. "There are several windows and doors, and considering it's only the one guy and his victim, I don't know how long he thinks he can hold out in there." He paused, not wanting to deliver the next bit of news. "I think… it's getting bad in there boss."

"The blood," Yuugi said, the curved image coming from the camera revealing the lower torso of the hostage, who was most likely propped against a wall or counter considering the angle of his body. Though the image was in grey scale, blood had a distinctive tint that was unmistakable to Yuugi's trained eye. There was a lot of it visible on the robes the hostage wore and it made his skin crawl. It was all he could see, along with a pair of feet not belonging to the hostage. Considering the probable location of the wound, the time he had to end this with a live hostage had drastically been shortened.

"I heard the gunshot right before I got to the wall," Blond said, grimacing with his own growing rage at the violence the hostage had endured.

"We didn't hear anything," Red said.

"It was muffled," Blond explained.

Of course it was, Yuugi thought. No sense in inviting the army into your house by opening the front door.

"I should have put another camera in there," Blond grumbled, noticing that Yuugi was having a difficult time getting a good look at the hostage and the suspect due to the angle.

"It wasn't worth the risk. He might have been killed," Red said, supporting his partner.

"But this doesn't help us at all! What good's a camera if you can't see anything?!"

Yuugi jumped suddenly, but not because of Blond's outburst. The pair of feet he'd associated with the suspect had disappeared from view to be followed by a sudden twisting of the camera. The laptop scraped across the table, the cable connecting it to the camera viscously yanked. All three men reached forward to rescue the computer, and once they were able to stabilize it settled around the screen to see what was happening. They were met by an unexpected face.

"No way!"


Yuugi growled, a predator having suddenly and unexpectedly identified his prey.

"But I thought he was dead!" Blond said quickly, turning to look at Red behind Yuugi's shoulders. "Wasn't he killed in a car bombing in Egypt two years ago?!"

"That's what I thought." Red ran a hand through his hair, pulling out a few strands in his agitation. "Damnit! How could he have kept himself hidden for so long? Especially when INTERPOL was after him?"


Yuugi wasn't paying them any mind, pure hatred streaming through his veins like data through a computer. Essam Qasim. Of all people, why did it have to be him? Yuugi had studied his profile, knew he was not a man you could manipulate or intimidate. He was insane, the dangerous type of insane that was so beautifully and tragically intelligent that you couldn't help but admire the complexity of his thoughts and the philosophical execution of his movements. He was a man completely dedicated to his secret cause. You could not dissuade him from it. Hostages never survived. Neither did negotiators.

And now he was here in Japan.

He was Yuugi's adversary.

But that wasn't the worst of it for Yuugi. No. It wasn't even close.

For Essam Qasim had smiled and, pausing for what could only be dramatic consequence, repositioned the camera so that the profile of the unconscious hostage could be clearly seen.

Yuugi's blood turned cold.

Both Red and Blond were startled out of their babbling attempts to understand why Essam Qasim was in Japan when Yuugi slammed the laptop shut and shoved it off the table, effectively destroying the machine.


"Don't interfere!" Yuugi shouted over his shoulder as he marched towards the alleyway that ran along the edge of the post office, pushing his jacket aside and reaching into the back of his pants.


"And keep them out of this!"

Blond had never heard such a tone from his boss. It was so full of hatred and strength and command that he felt the pressure of the words on his chest keeping him from drawing in a breath and his feet rooted to the asphalt of the street. Still, his body tried to move forward, but he was mercifully stopped by Red's hand on his shoulder.

"I've never seen him like this," Blond said to his partner.

"Neither have I." Red's eyes caught sight of something on the ground and he bent to pick up the object that had reflected the sunlight into his face. He frowned, balancing the badge in the palm of his hand, keeping it turned just enough so Blond couldn't make out what it was.

"Shit," Blond said. "So now what? This goes against everything - hey! What're you doing?!" he shouted at the men who had made to go after Yuugi. "You heard the man! Stay back!"

Red set his jaw and hid the badge in his pocket before setting out to help his partner restrain the irate commanding officer and his subordinates. It was the last thing he was going to be able to do for his boss.

He knew that he was going to die, and that was fine by him.

He supposed such a reaction to being physically assaulted, held hostage, and shot in the stomach was unusual, at best, but he had never claimed to be normal. He'd been told quite frequently throughout his life that he was anything but, and therefore a great disappointment. This end would have a serendipitous ring to it and should satisfy everyone.

He hadn't realized his head had lowered so dramatically, with his chin touching his chest and a painful strain radiating from the base of his neck down his spine, until he opened his eyes to look at his captor only to see blood-soaked robes instead. He frowned thoughtfully, the action not having quite the effect on his features as it should have because of the life that was leaking from him. With great effort and a large intake of breath he raised his head and scanned the room for its only other occupant.

"Still with me over there little Atemu?"

Essam Qasim was not a large man, but what he lacked in physical bulk he certainly made up for in abundance with presence. To have him in the room was to have the space cut in half; to have the air sucked not only from the vicinity but also from your lungs, leaving your thoughts to scramble in a desperate attempt to resist the suffocation he induced. His eyes were cool and unassuming and his greatest weapon. They could just as easily welcome you into an embrace as they could ground you to the floor while the man shoved a knife into your throat. They were always, always laughing, though if it was at you or at some private joke you could never tell.

Atemu didn't answer the prompt. He didn't have the energy to, but mainly he didn't respond because he had nothing to say. He did offer a glare at the 'little Atemu' comment, but that was the only rebellion he was willing to offer. It appeared to amuse Essam at any rate, causing him to chuckle and turn his attention away from him, which certainly made Atemu's day. He hated being stared at, especially when he was in no condition to do anything about it.

A jagged pain stabbed at his abdomen and he ground his teeth loud enough to hear, trying not to hiss against the burning sensation. The gunshot wound had stopped consistently hurting a little while ago in favor of interrupting bouts of blissful numbness with excruciating, surreal moments of pure agony. It was a bad sign. The less pain Atemu felt, the less life he had left in him. Atemu didn't overly care if he lived or died, but he wasn't actively searching for his death. Especially not by one of the most painful means possible.

Especially not as a result of a fucking political tantrum against his father.

The son of the Egyptian Ambassador to Japan, Atemu had never had an easy time in his life. The demands and expectations placed upon him by his father were too monumental for any human to achieve. Reared in a culture where he had no choice but to adhere to his father's wishes to the best of his ability and beyond his limits Atemu had found no solace in his family, his mother's hands tied by tradition and duty and the real threat on her life should she disobey her husband. Atemu loved his homeland, born and raised in the desert sands in a culture pregnant with tradition and pride and life full of color and beauty. However, as any good citizen ought to do, especially one born into a life of privilege and forced instruction of law, world economics and diplomacy, he was not lax to say that there was much Egypt had to improve on. The same was true with Japan, where he and his father were currently assigned. The same with America, with China, with India and with every other country he was destined – had been destined, to visit in his lifetime.

Atemu was groomed to be a diplomat from the moment of his birth. He had no other option. He had no choice. As soon as his father died, which would not be for quite some time, he would inherit the position and continued in his wake. It was a bleak future that awaited him, a choice-less future, a lonely one for the family of the diplomat never traveled with the man himself. It did not leave Atemu with an optimistic view of the future.

"Ho, what's this, then?" Essam asked the air, half a smile tugging vainly on the corner of his mouth as he unfolded himself from the wall, pocketing his gun and walking towards the other side of the room. "Did they finally get a brain?"

Atemu's eyebrows knitted together in confusion. The blood loss was beginning to make it extremely difficult to concentrate on his surroundings. It was taking most of his focus to keep himself breathing regularly and not in the pain-induced hysteria of hyperventilation that his lungs were simply begging him to indulge. He didn't know what had caught Essam's attention and he didn't care. The man was not one to be understood.

Of course he knew of Essam Qasim. Everyone at the Embassy did. He was one of the premiere political terrorists to rise out of Egypt over the past twenty years, leaving in his path a legacy of blood, lost lives and confusion. He was as elusive as a cobra, as capable of camouflage as a chameleon, as insane as a hyena, and no doubt as intelligent as Einstein.

And Atemu didn't care. In an opinion that had been heatedly objected to with a finalizing backhand across his face, Atemu had pointed out that personalities such as Essam Qasim's thrived on the attention of the pursuit, on the furious results of his complex acts of violence, the focus that was placed on the individuals that stood in front of order and peace and logic and laughed until they passed out. They needed to stop playing with the man, stop trying to be clever with his capture, and simply put an end to him.

Atemu'd been told that he was too young and ignorant to understand world politics. He'd told his father that he was too old and trapped in the ways of their ancestors to actually see what was going on instead of assuming and dealing with the situation in a precise and expedient manner that would save lives and everyone a headache.

Atemu had been confined to his room under strict security for sixteen days. Every one of them had been worth it to finally tell his father what an idiot he was.

"Would you look at this?" Essam directed at Atemu, waving a hand in front of the blank face with the clouded eyes. "Hey, over here little Atemu. That a boy," he said when Atemu started out of his dizzying daze and blinked over at him. "You see this?" He waited patiently during the elongated time it took for Atemu to be able to focus through the black spots in his vision and onto the object Essam had pinched between his fingers. "They finally got someone who's brave enough to see what's going on in here."

Atemu's mouth opened to say something, but the thought was lost somewhere between his brain and his lips with the sudden realization of how cold his fingers, hands, feet and… yes, his lower legs were. It was strange, because he felt uncomfortably warm, almost hot everywhere else. In a sharp moment of clarity Atemu realized that he wasn't going to be alive much longer. It was sobering enough to allow him to hear what Essam was telling him.


"Now tell me, little Atemu," Essam said with a smile that made Atemu sick with dread as the terrorist yanked on the cable he had discovered poking out of the wall, "do you know anyone associated with the Japanese police force with the balls to spy on me?"

As obscure a question as it was Atemu's mind jumped to the conclusion Essam wanted him to draw. How or why or for what possible reason never occurred to him. It was too much. The situation, his wounds, the loss of blood, his impending death, the loss of feeling in his limbs and his chest and his mind…

"Oh no," he whispered. "Leave him… alo…" Atemu lost consciousness before his threat could be completed.

Essam Qasim was a proud man who paid strict attention to detail in his work. For his current endeavor, he had anticipated every action of the Japanese police force in Tokyo perfectly, and had speculated most of the possible scenarios that may be used to apprehend him. He knew who was on duty, who was on-call and who was likely to be called to assist in the situation and, most importantly, who, if anyone, had any association with his hostage.

For all his planning Essam did not, however, predict that three minutes after revealing the identity of the unconscious hostage to the police that a man much his younger would kick down the side door to the post office, march in alone, and level a gun at his face.

"Ah," Essam said, raising his hands cordially. He put on a smile as easily as though he were welcoming a long awaited guest. "I was hoping to meet you today, though I can't say I was expecting to in such a rude manner."

Yuugi spared the man an irritated glance before turning his eyes towards the floor to his right, keeping his arm raised and the gun, held parallel to the ground, aimed directly between Essam's eyes. It took every ounce of training he'd ever received not to pull the trigger and exact his vengeance on the man who had put Atemu into such a dire state.

His stomach turned at the sight of the man on the floor, not only the visual but now the metallic smell of blood assaulting his perception of the situation. For a moment the anger and hatred lifted from Yuugi's face to reveal the tender, worried expression of a man confirming that a dear friend was in trouble. The healthy, darkly smooth skin that should have encased Atemu was deathly pale, waxen, and loose on his face. A quick scan revealed this to be true on the rest of his body as well, hands and legs unnaturally still with no sign of the vitality Yuugi knew they held. He gritted his teeth at the labored and lethargic rise and fall of Atemu's chest and the oozing wound visible on his temple.

Yuugi didn't bother to look at the gunshot wound. He didn't need too to know that Atemu was on the brink of death.

"Not looking his best, is he?"

Yuugi's head snapped to Essam. "The hell?"

Essam took an easy breath and lowered his hands, leaning back casually against the wall. He didn't say anything while he rummaged in his pants for a cigar and lit it, tilting his head back to release the smoke from his mouth before giving Yuugi the courtesy of his attention.

"Little Atemu there-" Essam paused when Yuugi narrowed his eyes, observing that the negotiator appeared to take a personal insult at the pet-name the same as Atemu had. Interesting. "He's a handsome man," he eventually continued with enjoyment, "when he's not in the presence of his father. Really, the Ambassador casts quite the long shadow."

Yuugi's face twisted into a confused and frustrated scowl. "What on earth are you talking about?" he growled.

Essam took another drag from his cigar and made to step from the wall, acquiescing when Yuugi tilted his head in a manner that clearly said 'You've got to be fucking kidding me' and resuming his stationary position. "What all this is about, of course. Motou, isn't it? Yeah, Motou. You know him right? You guys met several years ago?"

If he was trying to get a rise out of Yuugi he failed. Though he was staring straight at him, Essam was slightly unnerved by the fact he couldn't read a single thought or emotion in those violet eyes. Nothing outside pure loathing, but he'd expected that and knew that there was much more to the man his hostage had wanted to protect.

"He told me to leave you alone," Essam said. "Well, at least he tried to. Passed out before he could finish the threat. It was strange now that I think about it." He brought the hand holding his cigar to his chin, pretending to fall into deep thought. "He hadn't shown any spirit until I hinted you might be out there," and here he nodded towards the street.

Yuugi's heart clenched in his chest. What had happened in the seven months since they'd seen each other that Atemu's spirit was so defeated? That the fire in his heart sparked only at the mention of his presence? That wasn't the man Atemu had been when they'd last parted.

Yuugi discreetly bit the side of his tongue. He'd known Atemu was declining, but so quickly… It scared him. It scared him more than the gunshot wound, more than the fact that he was in a dangerously precarious situation with the notorious Essam Qasim as his opponent. It scared him that he hadn't noticed, or been there to help.

Essam noticed the distant look in Yuugi's eyes as the negotiator delved further into his fears. "I wonder what's going on in there?" he muttered to himself. He shrugged, dismissing the lack of attention for uncertainty and inexperience. "Well, seeing as how all the players are here now, I suppose we should get on with this."


Essam paused in his reach for his cell phone. "No?"

"No," Yuugi repeated. "No, I'm done. I'm done playing around like this and letting him- … letting this break him down while I do nothing about it."

Cautiously amused, Essam decided to entertain his companion. "There now, it wasn't your fault. You just got caught up in his sphere-"

"I chose to be here!" Yuugi hissed unexpectedly. "Damn it. This is all because of his father, that stupid egotistical son of a bitch."

Essam frowned. He may not have been viewed highly by his countrymen, but he was loyal to Egypt and took great insult when anyone spoke against his homeland. "That's the Ambassador you're talking about there," he said, a low warning note in his voice. "I advise you take more care with your words."

"Oh shut up," Yuugi said carelessly, shaking his head and waving his arms and subsequently his gun in the air. He'd always wondered what his breaking point would be, what would finally make him snap and forgo all the hard-fought control and restraint and adherence to rules and logic that he'd struggled to develop since being forced to enter the academy. "Just shut up. You don't know what you're talking about."

Essam was no longer having fun. "The mistake is yours child," he said, straightening to his full height and stomping towards Yuugi, pushing the younger man roughly in the shoulder to emphasize his words. "Insolent whelps like you have no place saying anything against Egypt or her people."

Yuugi stumbled backwards at the unexpected push, tripping over Atemu before catching his balance on the counter's edge. "Egypt?" he said, a bitter laugh dancing on his tongue. He turned his head so he was looking at the terrorist from beneath his bangs, the insane glint in his eyes striking Essam with enough force to make him take a tentative step away from the negotiator. "What makes you think this has anything to do with Egypt? That I give a damn about your country or your cause?"

After a tense standoff that lasted two full minutes, Essam's eyes widened in true surprise and mounting unease. "This is personal," he said, his voice lacking all the confidence it had previously held. His eyes snapped to Atemu's motionless form, then quickly rose to Yuugi who was moving into a protective stance over the prone body. "This is personal?"

Yuugi's eyes darkened to harden stone, the shadows caused by his bangs casting ominous lines across his face. The grip on his gun tightened. "What else did you think it was?"

To his astonishment, this was actually becoming a dangerous situation for Essam. People acting on principle or according to regulation were easy to handle. People who acted on their emotions – because it was personal – were entirely unpredictable. Law and order and logic did not apply, and without them, Essam lost his advantage in being able to predict the thoughts and actions of his opponent. This wasn't good. The faith he had in successfully completing his mission was beginning to waver, and that wasn't something he was used to. This was supposed to be about him making other people feel uncomfortable, because when you were uncomfortable you made mistakes. As far as he could tell from the negotiator's body language, Essam Qasim was the only uncomfortable person in the room.

"Come on Atemu, wake up for me," Yuugi said quietly, using his feet to nudge the Egyptian's legs and shake him. After several failed attempts he bent his knees and lowered himself to the floor, never releasing eye-contact with Essam and keeping his gun hand free and clear of obstruction. Reaching behind himself blindly with his unoccupied hand, Yuugi eventually found a hold on Atemu's hip and shook him more forcefully. "You've gotta wake up Até."

He knew he risked opening the wound further, but if he didn't get Atemu conscious enough to realize that he needed to fight to stay alive Yuugi was certain the man was going to die. Essam appeared to be rooted in his own prison and it allotted Yuugi the time he needed to reach out to the love of his life. Panic was nipping at his fingertips as his attempts to waken Atemu went unanswered until finally he heard a groan loaded with pain and discomfort. He sighed in relief.

"There you are Atemu. Come back to me… I know, I know it hurts, but you have to wake up now…"

"… fuck…" Atemu wheezed against the stabbing pain and the fingers that tried to blind him back into unconsciousness. He heard the voice calling to him, but for the life of him couldn't focus enough to know who it belonged to or what the hell it was saying.

Essam watched the interaction with a mixture of alarm and curiosity. The way Yuugi cooed and encouraged Atemu to wake up and focus and stay conscious, fighting the smile that pulled at his mouth each time he received a less than courteous reply for his efforts, all the while keeping a strong and threatening gaze on the terrorist fascinated Essam. It also extremely upset him, because it revealed that the intelligence he had gathered on the relationship between Motou Yuugi and Atemu Mahdi was incorrect.

There was far more intimacy than mere acquaintance between the two. Far more.

In order for his mission to succeed he needed to kill them both now. He could arrange the details later, still accomplish his goal, even if not in the initial manner he had predicted. Holding his gaze with Yuugi, assessing the situation to be in his favor with the other man kneeling on the floor with his attention divided, he took a breath to relax his muscles and prepared to make a quick, clean reach for the gun in his pocket.

He barely registered Yuugi's movement before the bullet pierced his heart and he crumpled to the floor.

Yuugi knew he didn't have much time before his subordinates would succumb to the force of the commanding officer and he'd have every man and woman in uniform inside the post office and demanding to know what had happened. He had no delusions of being hailed a hero.

He'd murdered man.

Regardless of whom he was or what he'd done, despite the fact that he was wanted alive for interrogation, Yuugi had murdered a man.

And he'd do it again.

Laying the gun almost reverentially on the ground, Yuugi turned from the corpse and directed his full attention to Atemu, whose eyes were clenched and his lips pulled back, exposing his teeth. Instantly the hard façade melted from Yuugi's face and he allowed himself to feel the fear and panic and love he had for the other man. Gently he took hold of each of Atemu's cold hands in his own as he settled himself on the unresisting lap and pressed his face into his lover's, ignoring the thick, sticky sensation of the other's blood latching onto his clothes.

"Don't let it end here," he said hurriedly, punctuating his words with harsh and desperate kisses to a mouth that was almost unrecognizable in its minimal responses. The taste of blood didn't deter him in the slightest from running his lips and tongue over his lover's. "You can't die, you can't." He released Atemu's hands – which dropped like leaden weights – and thrust his palms into the Egyptian's hair, gripping and pulling and feeling as much as he could in the short amount of time he had, all the while pleading and kissing.

"Yuu-gi?" Atemu was finally able to push over his tongue and into Yuugi's mouth, elongating the word like a prayer. Summoning all the cognitive strength he had he forced his eyes open and his brain to take in the situation. He tried to raise his arms to embrace the man he'd been aching to see, but his strength failed him and he had to settle for putting all his emotion – loveapologyfearloveconfusiondespairlovehopejoyacceptancelove – into a single kiss that was heatedly returned.

"It's okay, everything's okay," Yuugi said, only now realizing that tears had fallen from his eyes. He heard the sound of irate voices just outside the door, heard the windows break with the shrill ring of defeat as his sanctuary where only he and Atemu and no one else in the world existed was shattered. Desperately he clung to the man he loved, threatening to pull out handfuls of his hair with the force of his grip. "Just live for me live live live live - god just stay alive-!"

In a way Yuugi was grateful for the rough hands that yanked him off Atemu, because he didn't have to experience the weight of his lover slump over in the throes of death; didn't have to feel the life leave him as one of the other officer's screamed for the paramedics because he couldn't find a heartbeat; didn't have to support himself as he collapsed against his captor while the medic fought desperately to restart Atemu's heart.

As Yuugi was dragged into the harsh light of day in preparation for questions he wasn't going to answer, bloody and disoriented, he heard a cautiously triumphant declaration that Atemu had a pulse.

He turned his head to the sun and smiled. Atemu was going to live. He had listened.

That was all Yuugi needed in his life.

Three years.

For three years Yuugi quietly accepted his punishment for the actions he took during the Mahdi Hostage Incident. He offered no explanations for his actions. He didn't excuse himself or concoct a story in an effort to convince his superiors that killing Essam Qasim had been his only option. Once he had heard report that the nine-hour operation to save Atemu's life had succeeded and that the man was on the road to recovery Yuugi had lost all interest in the affair and politely requested that the disciplinary committee proceed post haste.

Yuugi had known his punishment would be harsh, which was one of the reasons he'd left his badge on the table before making his way into the post office. The weight of the object would have pulled on his mind to remind him of obligation, duty and protocol, and these were not distractions he'd been willing to entertain when his precious Atemu had been in mortal peril. Freeing himself from the restraint had allowed him to act in the irrational manner of a distraught lover, and it was for this reason alone he was able to defeat Essam Qasim.

It also made the task of punishing him easier for the department, but that was a minor side effect that Yuugi hadn't considered or felt any relief from. It was just a fact.

Smiling lightly at the guard that sat behind the desk enclosed in a metal mesh cage, Yuugi took hold of the offered pen and began to fill out the necessary paperwork. Being in jail for thirty-four months – it had taken two before the law was able to place him behind bars because of the unexpected involvement of the Egyptian Ambassador and his son – had been difficult, but not unbearable. In the beginning he had been a target because of being the new kid in town and an ex-cop, but his smooth ability to play with and manipulate words, as well as the rumor that had speculated that he was in prison for killing a man for taking too long to answer a question, had made his existence one of avoidance when possible, cordiality when necessary. There had been a few rough incidents where Yuugi had been forced to assert himself physically, and though he didn't always win the fight, he did gain the reputation of being no pushover. All in all, life was just easier if you left Motou Yuugi alone.

Slapping the pen down on the counter triumphantly Yuugi collected his wallet and the dirty-green sweater the penitentiary had had the incomprehensible desire to hold ransom from him. He licked his lips and pursed them to whistle a nonsensical tune as he turned and made his way towards the door that would lead to the outer courtyard.

Once he was out of the main building Yuugi took a moment to stand in the sun and reflect on the past years. Atemu had not visited him personally, but every now and again Yuugi would receive a visitor who would inquire as to his wellbeing while engaging in pleasant joviality and sharing information about the outside world. Rarely would the same person come more than twice, but each man and woman who did visit him acted like long-lost relatives, and Yuugi believed their sentiments and words to be genuine. Honestly, Yuugi preferred this second-hand attention from his beloved. Seeing him and not being able to touch him or truly talk to him would have been far too difficult. Almost torturous.

No, his lover had always known what was best for them. Yuugi happily accepted what he was given.

Satisfied, Yuugi resumed whistling and proceeded to the gates imbedded in the outer wall and the guards that stood on either side. He nodded to each man and waited patiently for them to release the locks and open the pathway to freedom. He did not hesitate to walk into the outside world as he had seen others do because he knew what to expect. He knew what was waiting for him.

He didn't see him at first, noticing only a small, beat up, brownish-looking car parked a couple dozen feet up the road. Giving the vehicle a side-glance he started to make his way towards it, lips halting their whistling in favor of twisting into a disbelieving grin. He was about ready to voice his greeting to the emerging occupant of the disheveled car when he caught movement out of the corner of his eye. Recognition pulled his features into a scolding – but delighted – frown.

A rich voice chuckled as Yuugi approached its owner. "I was wondering how long it'd take you to notice me. Has it really been so long that you don't recognize me anymore?"

Yuugi smirked. "Well, sorry, but you haven't exactly caught me at my sharpest," he said out of the corner of his mouth. He stopped a few feet in front of his quarry, settled his weight onto one foot, and unabashedly took in the magnificent sight.

Atemu slouched in all his living glory against the low brick wall that extended from the prison's wall. He was sitting on the edge, both hands loosely holding onto the brick next to his hips. His head was tilted just so to the side, allowing his light and floating hair to be captured by the wind and tousled as though fingers were ghosting through the strands. Scarlet hues flickered in his eyes as the sun reflected off of them, and the lazy, contented smile pulled full lips over smooth teeth, revealing a slight glimmer of pearls.

Yuugi barely noticed what he was wearing, only that it was something mutely colored, like sand or wheat or caramel candy. He was drawn to him like gravity to a star, and couldn't help the grin the split his face as, for the first time in years, he was able to take in the handsome beauty of his Atemu. Instead of leaving him his breath doubled its pace while excitement and anticipation grew.

Without pause Yuugi broke himself from his reverie and walked until he was standing directly between Atemu's thighs. He dropped his arms so his fingertips could play along the sides and top of the large leg muscle; and play they did, idly, teasingly, comfortingly in their caresses. He leaned back from his waist to provide enough distance between him and Atemu so he could see the other man fully.

"Hey," he said, his smile morphing into a smirk when the legs that encased him squeezed together lightly in greeting, holding him in place.

"Hey," Atemu replied quietly.

"Been waiting long?"


Yuugi laughed at the cheeky grin that accompanied Atemu's playful answer, leaning downward to rub his nose affectionately against his lover's. Though shorter than the Egyptian, with Atemu's slouching posture it allowed Yuugi to be the taller of the two, much to the former negotiator's delight. Atemu's smile softened at the gesture and became one of pure happiness, but he didn't otherwise move, far too content with his current position and Yuugi between his legs.

This scene alone, as any psychologist would tell you, was far more telling of the intimacy between the two men than any other sexual gesture they could have made.

While Atemu watched him with lidded eyes, Yuugi allowed his to close as he took the rare opportunity to bask in the presence of the other man. To be able to touch him again… to be able to feel the skin on his nose with his own while they rubbed together slowly, tenderly, tilting heads from side to side in playful jest… He could smell the spicy scent of aftershave, tangy and musky and sweet as the wind swirled it around the two figures. Yuugi himself had not applied any this morning, for he had not been able to acquire one with the woodsy fragrance Atemu adored, and so was able to fully immerse himself in the diplomat's aroma. It was heavenly, and heady, and Yuugi happily floated on the breeze until the fingers that had been roaming Atemu's legs ventured upwards, over abdominal muscles that twitched with their passing and pausing just above the navel.

Yuugi's eyes clenched tightly when he felt the long, irregular protrusion beneath Atemu's shirt and fingers grip suddenly around his wrist. His teeth ground together as the painful memory surfaced vividly.

Releasing a mournful sound Yuugi finally opened his eyes, only to notice that Atemu had closed his when Yuugi had traced over his scar. "Are you okay?" the smaller man asked, needing to hear the words from his lover despite the fact that he was alive in front of him.

Atemu didn't answer, eventually loosening his hold on Yuugi's hand and guiding the appendage beneath the hem of his shirt, using his finger's to position the ones beneath his own on the scar to trace the outline. Once Yuugi began to explore the wound Atemu removed his hand and placed it back onto the brick wall.

"I survived," he said quietly. A dark bark of laughter, lacking all mirth, escaped his lips. "I'm sure that wasn't intended."

"Fucking bastard," Yuugi whispered without regret, his attention completely on the scar that would act as a permanent reminder that he had almost lost Atemu to the insane terrorist. While he tickled the skin that was no longer sensitive he moved his free hand up Atemu's leg so he could palm his hip and pull him closer. "What side effects are there?" he asked, leaning forward and pressing his lips against the temple now within his reach.

Atemu bent his legs to allow Yuugi to move closer as the younger man pulled their bodies together. He hummed appreciatively for the kiss he was given. "Have to watch what I eat," he said, pressing his head into Yuugi's lips. "Nothing too spicy or difficult to digest. It wasn't easy, what the surgeons had to do to-" He paused when Yuugi covered his mouth with his own in a sealed-lip, short kiss.

Yuugi didn't want to hear Atemu say that he'd almost died. That he had died, and been revived on scene just to die again on the operating table to the supreme panic of the surgeons and nurses. It was only because one doctor hadn't been willing to call the time of death and continued shocking his abused heart that Atemu was here for Yuugi to embrace.

Pulling back from the kiss, moving the hand on Atemu's hip up to his face so he could pull the backs of his fingers across the high cheekbone, finally coaxing the other man to open his eyes, Yuugi released a sigh that explained everything to Atemu.

"Sorry," Atemu murmured.

Yuugi shook his head, turning his hand so he could rub the pad of his thumb over the dark cheek. "How's your father?"

Atemu sighed at length. "Same as he always is, I'm afraid. Though I will say since I - … since that day he hasn't been quite as stern with me." He rolled his head along his shoulders and moved it back into the reach of Yuugi's waiting hand. "Yells a bit more, but I think that's out of fear more than anything."

Yuugi nodded his understanding. "You scared us all."

Atemu smiled, taking hold of the hand on his cheek and turning it so he could kiss the palm, the pulse point in the wrist, and then the outer ridge of each knuckle. Yuugi watched intently, the fingers on Atemu's scar drifting down to the top of his pants due to lack of attention as he leaned closer towards the mouth pleasing his hand. His tongue emerged and licked the inner edge of his lips reflexively as heat slowly boiled within his blood.

"Want to hear some good news?" Atemu asked suddenly, eyes sparkling in mischievous pleasure.

"Nn!" Yuugi groaned in annoyance. He'd been so close to getting that delicious tongue inside his jealous mouth.

Atemu, though amused, didn't respond to Yuugi's indignation and continued. "After father and I assured your lesser sentence I had a frank talk with him. If you are so inclined, and after recent events I feel you may be, we would like to offer you a position in our entourage."

"A position?" Momentarily distracted Yuugi considered Atemu's words. He'd been forced to relinquish all ties with the police force the moment he'd decided to abandon his badge and kill Essam Qasim. He'd known all along that if he was ever freed from prison he would have to find another job. Though he hadn't put much thought into it, all roads, in his mind, lead to psychology or psychiatry with his negotiator's training. It wouldn't be a far stretch, and would be something he could accomplish relatively quickly.

"Yes," Atemu said. "As my personal companion and body guard."

"Body guard?" Yuugi hesitated. How would he even qualify for something like that? He hadn't had any of the specialized training-

"You walked into a blind situation by yourself and killed a dangerous man for me," Atemu explained, reading his lover's thoughts. "Believe me, it didn't take much for me to convince my father you were the perfect man for the job."

"I dunno," Yuugi said, skeptical. He studied Atemu's relaxed expression as he waited for an answer. "I don't know. It just seems… weird." He brought his hands to rest fully on the inside of Atemu's thighs, averting his eyes. "If I'm finally going to be able to be with you on a regular basis, I don't want to spend most of my time looking at other people to see if they're dangerous or not."

The resulting squeeze of legs around him and the arms that brought him into a full frontal contact hug surprised Yuugi, to say the least. He was going to protest when he felt the grin against his neck, at which point tingles of excitement skittered over his skin.

"Good man," Atemu said, his words coated with the silky arousing tone he used whenever he was in the mood to seduce Yuugi – which just happened to be whenever the two were alone.

Yuugi shivered delightfully. He'd never been one to complain.

Pushing forward into the embrace, aligning himself to cause the maximum amount of satisfaction, Yuugi wrapped his arms around Atemu's shoulders and plotted his next attempt to get a taste of that mouth. Alas, he was thwarted again when Atemu insisted on speaking. He didn't bother to suppress his exasperation.

Eyes widening in surprise and then narrowing in mirth, Atemu chuckled, though he didn't take pity on his playmate. "I was hoping you'd say that."

"Oh just spit it out already," Yuugi said impatiently. He took hold of Atemu's hair and yanked him back from his shoulder, staring that smug face heatedly in the eye. "Trust me, you don't want to make me wait any longer."

"Mm," Atemu agreed, eyes lowering to Yuugi's lips and lingering. "Indeed." He returned his gaze where it belonged. "Father and I had an agreement. If you refused the position, I was to give up my dangerous position to my cousin. I'm to be banished to the safe life of a civilian."

It took a moment, but the realization quickly took root and Yuugi grinned evilly. "Well now," he said, rocking into Atemu, "isn't that a shame?"

"Oh, it is. It is."

"Yes." Yuugi pulled Atemu's head forward and licked his smiling lips. "You poor thing, whatever shall you do?"

"I'm certain I'll find ways to amuse myself. I'm not completely without means."

All good humor and playfulness suddenly left them as Yuugi and Atemu stared at each other, less than a hair width's apart. Together they detangled themselves and moved quickly from the brick wall, hands interlaced as Atemu practically dragged Yuugi down the street, though the younger man was in an equal hurry.

"There's one four blocks down," Yuugi said quickly.

"Four blocks," Atemu acknowledged, picking up the pace.

Figuring out what they were going to do with the rest of their lives together could wait. Right now, they needed to get to that motel.

They had years of catching up to do.

- End

Essam – safeguard
Qasim - Divider, distributor
Mahdi - guided to the right path

A/N: Thank you to everyone who sat and read this story through to the end. I really do appreciate it. If you have the time or feel inclined, please let me know what you thought of it.