A/N: Thank you to everyone who reviewed, read, and supported this story. This scene, as most of mine do, got away from me a bit, and though it feels a bit rough around the edges I want to get it out so I can be done with this story. I hope you enjoy the chapter, and that the ending isn't too unsatisfactory for anyone. I'd love to hear what you think!
Take care, and I'll see you next time!
Chapter Four – Devil's Coin
Atemu folded the top half of his newspaper so he could peer over it, inclining his head in greeting. "There's coffee if you want it."
"Beautiful," Yuugi crooned as he maneuvered around the table and reached for the cupboard, procuring himself a mug. He was quiet as he prepared his drink, sleep tempting him back to his bed until he took that first sip of caffeine and smiled at his victory of wakefulness. With a chug of his sweetened coffee Yuugi made his way to the table, taking the seat directly to Atemu's side. He beamed with tired eyes at the half-smile he was given as he sat.
"So, any big plans for the day?" Yuugi asked, folding his hand and propping his head lazily upon it.
Atemu shook out his paper and casually folded it, letting it flop on the table so he could address his partner. "Well, I don't know about you, but I have a glorious day of nothing laid out before me, and I plan on-"
"Doing the laundry?" Yuugi interrupted with a toothy grin.
Atemu groaned. "I was going to say 'wasting it thoroughly.'"
"Sounds like doing laundry, to me." Yuugi shared a laugh at the old joke, relaxing easily into what was becoming one of their better morning routines. "Hey."
"Mm?" Atemu responded, standing and making his way over to the refrigerator to grab a couple slices of… to take the entire loaf of bread at Yuugi's interested expression and prepared to make toast.
Yuugi turned in his seat so he wouldn't have to strain his neck to look at Atemu. "Have we ever been to that botanical garden our neighbor is always talking about?"
"Mm… I don't think so," Atemu said, his eyes glazing over as he rooted through his memory, his hands absently counting out four slices of bread and placing two in the toaster. He shook his head lightly when he was satisfied with his answer. "Why do you ask? You have a sudden interest in botany?"
Yuugi smirked, more at the smile that accompanied the jest than the tease itself. "Naw. I just thought it'd be a nice place for us to go sometime. It's the time of year for it," he said, his eyes falling towards the window to examine the lovely spring morning. "I thought it'd be… nice, going somewhere. Just the two of us."
It was quiet before Atemu answered with a soft, "Indeed." He answered the call of the toaster, removing the two toasted slices and replacing them with fresh bread before gathering the butter and jam. Grabbing a clean knife from the drawer he set the plate with the toast, the utensil, and the condiments on the table in front of an eager Yuugi, returning to the counter for his vigil over his own pieces. "So, when were you thinking of this wonderful outing of ours?" Atemu asked, leaning his hip against the countertop.
Yuugi didn't answer right away, thoroughly involved in buttering his toast, applying the orange marmalade, and taking the largest bite his mouth could hold, chewing in delight while his eyes closed. "I was thinking we could go today," he said after swallowing.
"Today?" Atemu's voice revealed his surprise and he turned to look at Yuugi with a question on his features. "But don't you work today?"
"Mm-hmm," Yuugi grunted around another mouthful of toast. "But I don't care. I'll play hooky, I've done it before."
It wasn't until he spoke that Yuugi realized what he said, and a flash of guilt washed over him at the memory the words invoked and the shadow that cast itself over Atemu's eyes. Sighing in frustration at himself Yuugi rubbed a hand through his hair, pushing his plate out into the middle of the table. "Sorry," he said quickly, not wanting the atmosphere to have the chance to develop.
Atemu nodded automatically to the apology, only afterwards hearing it and relaxing, his wide eyes returning to their normal size, knowing that Yuugi hadn't meant anything insidious. He flinched when the toaster popped up his toast, the sound prompting him to get a plate for himself before gathering the slices and resuming his seat at the table. He reached in front of Yuugi and stole his knife, finally able to prepare and enjoy his own breakfast.
"Can you afford the time?" Atemu asked, halting his bite of toast for the question.
"Doesn't really matter," Yuugi muttered, his careful eyes watching his partner eat. He snorted lightly when Atemu gave him a reprimanding glance. "Yes, alright? Don't worry. I won't get in trouble for it."
Satisfied, Atemu offered no further complaints and ate his breakfast, Yuugi quickly following suit as his toast beckoned him from the center of the table. When they were done, and Yuugi had collected their plates and placed them in the sink before sitting back down, Atemu leaned forward and poked a single finger into Yuugi's temple.
"What was that for?" Yuugi asked, scrunching up his face.
"I felt like it," was all Atemu said as he reached for his newspaper and continued reading.
"Uh-huh," Yuugi said, not believing for a minute that the act had been purely impulsive. Not really annoyed by it, however, Yuugi decided it was time to broach the topic that had kept him up half the night before. "You know what today is, right?" he asked softly, his head tilting carefully to the side.
Atemu didn't look at him, too engulfed in his paper to actually hear the question. "Do tell?"
"It's four days."
This did catch Atemu's attention, and Yuugi felt a pang of remorse as he saw his partner's handsome features sadden. "Is it, now…" Atemu let trail off, his eyes not seeing the paper in front of him.
"Four days after the three weeks you gave me," Yuugi concluded. He felt it necessary to say the words out loud, to let Atemu know that he knew exactly how much time had passed since that night. "I'm sorry I'm late."
"Late?" Atemu asked, turning his head to look at Yuugi with a soft expression of understanding. "Aibou, you aren't late. It isn't as though I've been keeping time to the exact minute." He hesitated from speaking further when he noticed the look Yuugi was giving him, one that was a little guarded, but certainly set in an expression of determination. "I didn't mean for you to come to me and announce your decision just like that," he was able to say with a bit of effort.
Yuugi didn't respond right away, his silence continuing to unnerve Atemu as the seconds approached minutes of unresponsiveness. That look he was being given was dumbfounding and Atemu didn't know how he was supposed to react to it. Impatience was beginning to nip at his nerves but he squelched it, and it was harder to do than he cared to admit. He also found himself doing something he hadn't done since high school.
Atemu was fidgeting: shifting in his seat, eyebrows drawing taught, lips engaged in a frown, his hands toying with his newspaper, teeth chewing lightly on the side of his tongue.
"What are you thinking about?" Yuugi inquired when he noticed that Atemu wasn't going to stop squirming any time soon. He reached forward and placed his fingertips on top of the nearest wrist, rubbing them gently over skin that was slightly warmer than it should have been.
Atemu's eyes flitted over to the fingers touching him, distant with the distraction of his punctuated thoughts. "Nothing, really," he said.
Yuugi extended his fingers and took a proper hold of Atemu's wrist. "Now don't start that," he accused softly. "Don't go bottling everything up inside and not talking to me."
"Oh, it's really of no importance," Atemu said, though not dismissively, scrubbing at his face after releasing the newspaper. "I was just thinking back to my younger days."
"What about them?" Yuugi pulled himself straight in his chair and scooted the seat closer to Atemu, so now his knee bumped against his partner's thigh. He patted the wrist still in his hand encouragingly, offering a smile when Atemu glanced at him.
"I was a wreck," Atemu chuckled nervously, relaxing into his story by settling both forearms on the table and staring at his and Yuugi's entangled hands. "A lanky, anxious little thing I was. I couldn't even look at someone I thought was attractive without blushing and stuttering." He snorted in good humor. "It was embarrassing."
Yuugi smirked maliciously after humming in interest. "You, all shy and vulnerable? I'd like to have seen that."
"Please," Atemu teased, rolling his eyes. The comment was able to bring some unexpected heat to his cheeks, but thankfully, he was too much of a man to allow it to show. He turned his head to the side anyway, just in case he wasn't as adept at hiding his blush as he believed. "I don't think it was as exciting as you seem to think it was."
Yuugi was intrigued by Atemu's response to his deliberate flirtation, interest highlighting his eyes with the new information. "What happened?" he prompted, grinning lightly while his mind entertained a fantasy involving a bashful Atemu.
"Grew up, I suppose," Atemu mused. He glanced at Yuugi, judging whether or not he wanted to voice his next profession, wondering how it would sound or be received. His eyelids lowered in affection when Yuugi raised his hand and gave a chaste kiss to his palm, continuing to hold the appendage against his chest after giving it his attention.
"I miss it sometimes," Atemu eventually confessed. He readjusted his seat, bowing his head and making himself smaller without affecting the impact of his presence.
"What do you miss about it?" Yuugi was forced to ask when Atemu stopped talking. He placed an arm around his partner's shoulders, pressing his face into a strong neck to nuzzle and coax further words. Yuugi was disappointed when Atemu pulled away from him; not aggressively, but pointedly as the older man methodically rose from his chair and turned around to stand by the sink, his hands resting in the pockets of his pants while he studied the scenery beyond the window.
Yuugi sighed. Apparently he hadn't read Atemu's willingness for physical affection correctly. They had yet to cross that boundary since the fight.
"I miss the simplicity of it," Atemu said, keeping his gaze out the window. "It's who I was… I didn't think about anything else, really. I was just me, and though it was awkward at times, it was true." He paused. "It was also enough."
Yuugi listened to his partner's words, rolling his lips unconsciously. There was a hidden message in that last statement but he was having difficulty picking it out of the jumble of emotion. "Okay," Yuugi said, bringing a hand up to his face and placing his fingers on his lips. "I'm trying to hear you, and I do, but…" He raised his eyes to Atemu's profile, taking in the somber atmosphere. "I don't think I'm getting everything you're saying."
Atemu looked over his shoulder, his expression revealing his skepticism. "You're sure about that?"
The bitterness underlying the words made Yuugi bristle. He didn't like the allegation in the look directed at him and he made it known with his own hardened features. "What the hell Atemu?" he said, leaning forward in his chair and straightening his back. "You don't think I'm trying here?" His eyes creased in annoyance. "You still don't trust me," he said quietly and with a hint of darkness.
Atemu kept looking at Yuugi over his shoulder. He wasn't sure if he should respond. He could feel the emotions bubbling in the back of his throat, sour and foul, and he just knew that if he opened his mouth and said what he really wanted to say… well, it wouldn't be pretty. Yuugi would make certain of that.
Still, if he didn't reply, if he didn't follow through with the point he had risen, then why had he and Yuugi put themselves through the fights and antagonism? It would seem such a waste if they'd gone through all this for naught.
Atemu rolled his head to the side, looking out the window while he gathered his thoughts – and courage – before turning and looking at Yuugi, leaning his back against the sink. He kept his hands in his pockets, not trusting himself to allow them free reign should they reveal his apprehension.
"There's much I could say here, though most of it would be irrelevant. Satisfying, but irrelevant." He paused to allow Yuugi a moment to scowl at him, and though he tried not to, he couldn't help but return it, albeit with less intensity. "What I will say is this: I don't want to pretend to be someone I'm not anymore. Even if it costs me you, I won't do it anymore."
Yuugi's glower darkened, his knuckles whitening with the tightness of his grip on the table and chair, but suddenly his expression softened into reluctant surprise. "Wait, pretend?" He rolled this thought around in his head, trying to link it with Atemu's earlier pronouncement. What did this have to do with him, being himself, and that being enough?
"You…" Yuugi hesitated, biting his tongue. "You're pretending… around me, is that it?" His confidence increased when Atemu sharply moved his eyes to the side in confirmation. "But why? And what?"
"Because I have to," Atemu spat. He took a deep breath in an effort to release the tension in his chest and calm himself. It worked, marginally. "It's what you expect from me. And-!" He huffed. It had been too difficult to curb the rest of that spiteful sentence than it should have been. And far be it for me to deny you anything. Yes, that certainly would have been a productive addition to the conversation, Atemu thought derisively.
Yuugi sat back in his chair, propping his elbow on the table but leaving his hand to hang over the edge. He frowned at Atemu's cut-off sentence, feeling the anger behind the words that weren't spoken, however... He didn't fight the smile that came precisely because Atemu hadn't allowed his tongue to get the better of him. Yuugi recognized the effort for what it was and it made him feel hopeful, yet cautious. Atemu was teetering on an edge that he couldn't see, and it was apparent to Yuugi that his partner was having an internal battle that was worth respecting, especially considering what was at stake.
"You know," Yuugi began softly, drumming his fingers along the table's edge. He looked at Atemu, satisfied to know the other man was looking at him, even if it was from the corner of his eyes. After a moment he relaxed his posture and crossed one leg over his knee and folded his hands in his lap. "I actually made my decision two weeks ago. Over two weeks ago," he corrected himself.
Atemu grunted in question, raising an eyebrow in the process.
"Yeah," Yuugi nodded. "I figured there was no point in telling you then because you were pretty dead sent on the three weeks timeline. But when that time came… I don't know, I guess I just sensed you weren't ready to hear what I had to say either way." He shrugged, trying to indicate that he wasn't bothered by this. Atemu looked wary, but he was listening, so that was good. "The decision was easy Atemu. Really, it was." Yuugi leaned forward, balancing his arms on his knees and tilting his head at Atemu, offering a small smile of conciliation. "So whatever it is you need to do, do it. Stop pretending, stop being something you're not, stop whatever it is that's hurting you. Because I've stayed with you this long. You aren't going to lose me. There isn't any way you can, not now."
"Follow your instincts," Yuugi whispered when he saw Atemu struggle with himself, saw those eyes clench in effort to restrain whatever he was feeling and his shoulders tense with the effort. "I trust them," he added, eyes lowering at the power behind those three words, at the truthfulness of them, at the love behind them. It was an overwhelming admission. And it felt pretty damn good.
Hearing that Yuugi trusted him – well, at least a part of him if nothing else, apparently was all that Atemu needed. Slamming the wall on his internal battle in absolute refusal to engage in it further he removed his hands from his pockets, turned, and went to the floor at Yuugi's feet, folding his legs beneath him and pressing his cheek into Yuugi's lap, one arm resting above his head on Yuugi's thighs while his other hand held on to his partner's calf muscle. Atemu released a shuddering sigh once he was in position, allowing all pretenses to escape him in that single breath as he waited for what reaction would come.
Yuugi had to scramble to get his upper body out of the way as the taller man collapsed onto him. He made an odd squawk of surprise that was more air than anything because of the suddenness of his movement, and once Atemu had settled in his lap Yuugi's arms remained raised in the air because he didn't know what to do with them. Yuugi was stunned, to put it simply, trying to understand how this display was Atemu not pretending. He felt a shudder run through Atemu's body, straining every muscle before releasing him, and it was this uncharacteristically vulnerable reflex that made Yuugi lower his arms onto his partner to rest uneasily on his back.
"Atemu, what…?" Yuugi tried, but the words faded when he couldn't come up with anything to say.
"I'm not as secure as people think I am," Atemu whispered harshly, his voice so low as to force Yuugi to lean over him in his efforts to hear his words. "I'm not, I'm not." His eyes clenched tightly, unable to take the strain of sight as he bared his soul. "Even before you cheated, before I had a reason to be, I've been insecure."
Atemu didn't notice the painful grip on his shirt from Yuugi's fist when he bluntly mentioned the affair.
"I'm not confident, I don't trust everything will be okay, I don't believe everything will always be alright just because someone says it will be! I get scared. I'm afraid, and hesitant, and it kills me every time I have to act like some overcompensating pretentious bastard but I do it and it works and it's accepted and life goes on and everyone believes the lie and I hate them for it, hate them, it's a lie a lie and everyone thinks it's the truth and I can't do it anymore-!"
"Atemu!" Yuugi quickly said, fear projecting his voice in his desperation to get his partner to stop his tirade and breathe, for his breaths were interrupted and shallow and his shaking was only getting worse the longer he spoke. He shushed him as an adult would a frightened child, running now confident fingers through Atemu's hair and down his neck, trying to elicit tingling shivers that would compel the rigid body in his lap to relax.
Atemu, for his part, gulped a mouthful of air and nodded in recognition of the command. But he wasn't done speaking.
"Even you believe it," he said quietly, though the slight anger mixed with resignation showed that he was anything but calm. "And you know why? Hm? Because it's all I've ever showed you." Atemu snorted his feelings towards this matter.
Yuugi's chest felt like one of those visual images where they show you four different colored lines, and then an invisible hand grabs their center and twists them into a rough, congested mess that blurs their form. He noticed the real effort it was taking him to make his ribs expand and pull in the amount of air his lungs were accustomed to receiving. "Why is that all you've showed me?" he questioned. He wasn't sure if he entirely believed Atemu's words, but he knew that it was best to play along and at least try to learn from this episode. He wasn't prepared for the answer.
"Because it's all you'll let me."
Yuugi's lips thinned. "I've never told you to be anything."
"No, that isn't how you work," Atemu replied. He moved the hand that was on Yuugi's lower leg up to grip his knee, shifting further into his partner's body, giving the impression that he wanted to get closer while the tone of his voice indicated he wanted to push away. "You aren't direct. Unless, of course," he continued, looking at Yuugi from beneath his bangs, "you intend to strike." Point made, he lowered his eyes to stare listlessly at the floor. "Whenever I tried to relax around you you put me back in my place rather quickly."
"Name a time," Yuugi snapped. He was not enjoying this attack, as though everything were his fault over the past seven years.
Atemu shook his head. He wasn't going to play that game of arguing the semantics of any one occasion.
Yuugi scowled. "Fine," he scoffed. "Then if I'm so horrible, so stifling to your wounded character, then why the hell are you with me?"
He wasn't anticipating a simple shrug to be his answer, and he found most of his anger melt into curiosity. After a silent moment he repeated the question, with far more grace and consideration.
"My friends liked you," Atemu mumbled. His fingers picked absently at the material covering Yuugi's knee. "My parents liked you. Everyone…" he paused, smoothing the material and moving his flattened palm along Yuugi's outer thigh, "… likes you."
"Hn," Yuugi acknowledge quietly. It wasn't the words he was listening to, as nice as they were to hear. There was a tenderness behind them, an affection that was permeating him as Atemu nuzzled further into his lap, his face coming ever closer to his stomach and his hands relaxing against his body as they took gentle hold of him. Yuugi found himself reacting to the embrace, easing the rough quality of his hold and providing a more comforting, welcoming and encouraging embrace. "And you?"
"Hm," Atemu said with a sad smile. "I liked you. I liked you a lot." He paused.
"That's why you felt you had to pretend," Yuugi said. Atemu nodded, their entanglement making Yuugi feel the movement against his legs, chest, stomach, arms, and neck, where hair tickled his skin. It was nice, having Atemu this close. For the past three weeks, while not avoiding each other, neither had actively reached for extra contact between them. Perhaps that was for the best, Yuugi thought as he closed the distance between them and placed a kiss against Atemu's shirt, between his shoulder blades.
"I wanted you to like me too."
"So why were we so blasé about it?" Yuugi pulled back a bit and placed a kiss to the back of Atemu's neck, smirking at the feeling of his lips touching both skin and the short hairs of his partner's hairline.
For his answer Atemu straightened his back and took aggressive hold of Yuugi's arms, pulling him off the chair to his knees in front of him. "I didn't want to scare you off," Atemu said, his eyes burning with intensity that Yuugi hadn't seen in years. He narrowed his eyes as he scrutinized his partner's reaction. "Does this scare you?"
Yuugi's eyes, wide from the surprise of his rapid change in position, blinked back to their normal size. He looked down Atemu's body, noting the coiled muscles, sensing the power they contained and the control that kept them in place. "No," he said, raising his eyes to meet Atemu's. "I don't see why you think it would."
"You haven't seen it yet," Atemu said.
Yuugi frowned. "Is this… what makes you insecure?" He bent his elbows slowly, so as not to interrupt the grip on him, and hesitated a moment before quickly twisting his arms to break the hold and assert one of his own. Atemu reacted to the movement however, and a brief struggle ensued before Atemu reclaimed his dominant grip, now pinning Yuugi against the leg of the kitchen table. Yuugi's eyes lowered to the hand on his right arm, his head rolling to the side as he took in the sight.
Atemu, determined not to hold himself back and pretend any longer, found himself uncertain about his next move. Yuugi was panting lightly, his lips parted as he calmly scrutinized the hold Atemu had on him. He wasn't sure what to make of the quiet response to his forceful actions.
"It isn't…" he began. He started again. "I don't want to hurt you."
"You think you will?" Yuugi asked, raising an eyebrow while giving him a side glance.
Atemu's eyes creased at the corners. That wasn't the response he'd expected to hear. And his heart was beating a little fast for comfort. "Yuugi," he warned.
"What?" Yuugi asked, turning his head to look at Atemu directly. "You think I won't fight back?" He narrowed his eyes, head lowering enough that he had to look up to see his partner. Ever so slowly, a smirk pulled on his lips, and his eyes lit with interest. "Think I wouldn't enjoy it?" he almost purred.
Atemu blinked and looked away, his predatory façade breaking like shattered ice. His hands dropped from Yuugi's arms to rest limply on to floor, and his expression took on one of utter frustration.
Yuugi's face blanked into disbelief. "Wait a minute, what?" he said out loud. "Even when I play along?"
Atemu grunted. "That's the point. I wasn't playing." He scrubbed at his face, pushing the heel of his palm into his eye ridge. "God, even when I tell you I'm not, you still fall for the preconceived lie."
"What lie?" Yuugi sighed in exasperation, his hands fisting at his sides.
"That this," Atemu said through gritted teeth, reaching forward and spinning Yuugi so his back was to Atemu's front, the taller man's arm securely against the smaller man's shoulders and a hand firmly on his hips. Yuugi couldn't have broken free if he'd tried. "That this aggression, this way that I'm holding you?" he seethed, breathing hot air into Yuugi's ear. "That this is just a game, and not who I really am. That whenever I'm assertive, or domineering, or just fucking pissed is just a phase. That I'm all nice and sensitive and a fucking humanitarian and shit all of the time!"
Atemu took a deep breath, forcing some control into his voice while maintaining his threatening hold on Yuugi, who had yet to do more than stare resolutely in front of him. "You have no idea what goes through my head," Atemu said in a low and promising murmur. "Not a blasted clue about anything to do with me. If you did, you'd know what I want to do to you… What I've wanted to do all these years… How I've wanted to fuck you…"
Yuugi finally turned his eyes to look at Atemu, seeing as how he couldn't move much else than his fingers. "You have a dirty mouth."
Atemu tightened his grip, not to cause pain, but to reprimand the lack of a response.
"So…" Yuugi mused, giving no indication that he was troubled by the position he was in. "When you shoved me against the wall during our last fight… That wasn't in the heat of the moment." He waited for Atemu to shake his head. "And when you nearly choked me?"
"You were being an ass."
Yuugi nodded. He had been, after all. "Is there any part of the man I've lived with for the last seven years that was genuine?"
"Much of him was," Atemu said. "I didn't say that I wasn't a nice guy. Just that there's more to me than that. And it isn't exactly something that is warm and cuddly."
"Well, maybe not cuddly," Yuugi agreed, letting his eyes lower, taking in what of Atemu's body he could see. Truth be told, the heat radiating from his partner in his anger and desperation to get his point across was pulsing against Yuugi and he liked it. He leaned back into Atemu enough to add another level of contact between them, an unconscious smile playing on his lips. "But warm? I'd have to differ with you on that."
"Focus, Yuugi," Atemu grumbled, rolling his eyes.
"Believe me, you have my full attention." Yuugi shifted his weight, feeling Atemu stiffen but ignoring it as he tried to make himself more comfortable. "Haven't you noticed that yet?"
Atemu looked at Yuugi steadily before lowering his eyes, taking note of the obvious excitement in his partner's body. He lingered on the image a moment before raising his eyes to meet Yuugi, both of them unblinking as the hand Atemu had on Yuugi's hip deliberately moved around the curve to take hold of the area where leg met thigh, made easier by Yuugi spreading his legs to allow room.
"The unexpected?" Atemu asked, his voice respectful of the situation, alluding to the reason behind the excitement. The fist clenched against Yuugi's shoulder began to relax itself and uncurl, but it didn't make it as far as to take an affectionate hold.
Yuugi sucked in a breath between his teeth, the heat from Atemu's hand extremely noticeable against his skin. "A little," he admitted. "More the confidence." He gave Atemu a look that would make most people shudder in inappropriate pleasure but that Atemu took in stride. "You told me you weren't, but I don't see it. I don't get the fear you talk about. That isn't what this feels like."
"I'm terrified," Atemu admitted after a quiet moment. He continued when Yuugi widened his eyes marginally in question. "Are you putting up with this because you have to, or out of some sick sense of owing me?" His voice lowered an octave and hit more than Yuugi's ears when he next spoke. "Or, is there a part of you that likes this?"
Yuugi turned his head away from Atemu in contemplation, his features revealing nothing of the thoughts running through his mind. The hand between his legs squeezed meaningfully, and he licked his lips in response to the jolt that shot through him. His eyes closed when he felt Atemu lean forward and press his lips against the angle in his jaw below his ear, not pushing in a kiss but suggesting that one wasn't far behind.
"No," he said softly, shaking his head, which resulted in him leaning against the face so closely nuzzled in his neck. He let out a single syllable of stressed laughter. "I don't owe you like that. And I've put up with a lot-" he interrupted himself by arching back and tossing his head into Atemu's shoulder, who turned his head to reach the bared throat now exposed to him "-so this is nothing."
"But do you like it?" Atemu asked, his words barely comprehensible as he kept his mouth pushed against Yuugi's neck while he spoke.
Yuugi tilted his head down, his breath leaving him as he felt Atemu's lips move up his neck, along his jaw, and onto his ear, where they parted and encompassed the shell with heated air and the promise of moisture. There was no need for him to say anything. The seductive, gleeful smile he gave Atemu was more than enough to answer the question.
Atemu didn't return the smile. "This isn't a passing fad, Yuugi," he said, eyes swirling with emotion. "I told you, I'm not going to hold myself back anymore."
Yuugi leaned forward until their noses touched, his smile falling into a serious part of his lips to match Atemu's own mouth. "I'm not asking you to. I never asked you to," he whispered. His eyes fell to Atemu's lips, hunger welling inside him, pulling him closer to that mouth and the memories it contained. He halted when he could just feel the plump, hot, moist skin, wanting to revel in the moment as long as possible.
Atemu's eyes were lidded as well, his hand moving down along Yuugi's inner thigh before returning to place, holding that sensitive juncture, feeling every twitch of muscle. "Hm." He held Yuugi a moment longer, silently watching how his flushed partner appeared quite content with this turn of events. He wasn't entirely convinced of the acceptance. It was far too quick, and he knew Yuugi to be a man swift to jump to agreement if it meant him getting what he wanted, only to retract his compliance once he was sated. But still…
Unexpectedly Atemu released Yuugi, slowly and not unkindly, stood, and began to walk out of the kitchen. He paused by the refrigerator when he heard Yuugi squawk in protest and scramble to his knees, leaning over the edge of the table to stare disbelievingly at him. He didn't allow Yuugi to voice his protest, cutting him off before his mouth could open far enough to speak.
"You haven't earned that yet." Atemu turned away, giving a warning glare over his shoulder. "Not even close." He exited the room.
Yuugi scowled, frustrated and agitated in ways he hadn't felt in months. He folded his arms on the table and placed his chin on his hands, mouth twisting into a thoughtful pout. Begrudgingly he admitted that Atemu had a point, but damn that man for teasing him like that, only to pull away and claim superiority. And he meant that affectionately, a little to his surprise, and not in the scathing tones the phrase could be used. He smirked. A little change in them both may not be such a bad thing after all.
He perked up when Atemu walked passed the entrance to the kitchen, straightening the jacket he had acquired from the closet. "Where you going?" Yuugi asked curiously.
"You're taking me to the garden, remember?" Atemu said, raising his voice so it could be heard as he continued towards the front door. His tone made it clear that this was more than an attempt to jar Yuugi's memory.
Yuugi didn't respond immediately, rolling his options in his head. "Ah," he said eventually, nodding and standing in one motion. So be it, then. He'd play along. Besides, if Atemu was going to tell him step by step how to woo him back, it wasn't going to take very long to do, and the rewards… the rewards would be…
"Don't bet on it!" Atemu shouted from the front door.
Oh yes, Yuugi grinned. This was going to be fun.
New beginnings ofter were.