Author's Note: You people fail. At voting, anyway. :p Since the voting is still pretty close (yes, I deem two thirds to one as close), I've made an executive decision. This is the end. However, there will be a sequel, which will include m-preg—and you will see what that little black snake-thingy is, and the results of the black snake thing.

But, for those of you that did vote, thank you very much! Just remember that all of my stories have happy endings—period.

Also, since this chapter is the grand finale, it's going to be the longest chapter ever. About two thousand words longer than a usual chapter. D: But mostly because I can't find a good spot to cut it off and make another chapter for you… I would make it two separate chapters if I could find a good spot.

Mythaven

Recap:

"Oh! One last thing before you go!" Kankana exclaimed, frowning. "You two need to talk about your pups while you're gone! Like who's going to carry them and stuff, alright?"

The blond blinked at her, then frowned and looked up at Seto in confusion when the taller boy flinched and looked away, blushing a little. "…Seto? What is she talkin' 'bout?"

"Ah… Let's go. Mokuba and your friends are probably going out of their minds with worry," the brunet stated, rubbing the back of his head as he quickly strode toward the portal that would take them home.

Joey narrowed his eyes and stomped after him. "Seto! What does she mean!?"

"What? I'm sorry, I can't hear you—"

"KAIBAAAAAA!"

Kankana frowned and tilted her head, frowning, as the portal closed behind them. She could have sworn she'd seen something black leap in after them. But it was probably just her imagination; she was just worried about them and her mind was playing tricks on her.

Chapter 28

Joey yelped as he fell forward, closing his eyes tightly in preparation for impact. He was surprised, however, when he fell against a hard chest and found strong, warm arms wrapped around him. Then he felt a hand brushing through his hair, and he realized vaguely that his puppy ears were gone so his tail must be too. Then he remembered why he'd stormed into the portal.

Looking up at the brunet sharply, he growled. "What did Kankana mean about puppies?!"

This would only end in pain. Seto was sure of it. Sighing, the CEO turned toward his little brother. "Mokuba, call the limo. We're all going to need to talk."

"No! Talk right now!" the blond demanded, stepping back angrily.

The older teen sighed again in frustration and returned his attention to him to press his finger to the blond's unconsciously pouting lips. "This is family stuff, puppy—private talk. Does this look very private to you?"

It was then that Joey realized all of his friends were watching them in interest, especially Bakura and Duke—sadistic bastards. Blushing a little, he looked down at his feet as he rubbed the back of his head. "No…"

Seto smiled affectionately and leaned in to press a kiss to his cheek, then turned to his brother again—who was regarding him with large eyes. "So how long have we been gone?"

"…You think you can be gone for two weeks without giving me an explanation?!" the younger boy shouted, glaring at him and flailing his arms about. "I can't just go to the board and say, 'Oh, sorry, my brother and all my friends got sucked into this weird magical book! I don't know when he'll be back!'"

"So what did you tell them?"

Joey turned as he felt a tug on his sleeve and couldn't help a small smile. "Hey, Yug'."

Yugi smiled back at him sweetly, then grabbed his hand and began leading him to the stairs that led to his room. "I know you've probably got a very good reason—that you're most likely going to tell me later—but your shirt is covered in blood and your pants are ripped off at the knees."

"Oh, I-!" Blushing even more, the blond looked down at his clothes in embarrassment. "I didn't think I looked this bad! Things just kept happenin'!"

"I'm sure they did. Let's get you into a shower and then I'll dig out some of the clothes you left here." The smaller boy frowned a little in thought. "…You'll be okay in just jeans and a t-shirt, right? 'cause I don't think Yami and I have any leather pants that'll fit you…"

His face was going to combust. "No, jeans are fine!"

Yugi couldn't help a small chuckle at his friend's expense. "Just kidding, Joey. Take a shower; you'll feel better, believe me."

"…Hey, Yug'? How long has it been since we were first sucked into the book?" Joey asked softly, stopping just outside the bathroom.

The smaller boy frowned a little. "Um, what Mokuba said. Two weeks today." His frown faded into a wry smile. "Bakura and Yami wanted to go back in and get you, you know."

The blond tilted his head in confusion. "Huh? Why?"

"Yami was sure that Kaiba was going to hurt you and Bakura was sure that Kaiba was going to molest you."

The taller teen sputtered, trying to find words somewhere, then blushed even more and fled into the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind him. "Yamis are so fuckin' weird!"

Yugi laughed despite the sort-of-insult to his other half. "Yeah, but not as weird as Kaiba is sometimes!"

Joey covered his warm cheeks with his hands and sighed, then turned and leaned his head against the cool tile of the wall. "…Dad's gonna be really mad then…" he stated softly. "I've been gone, but never for two weeks. He's gonna knock my head off when he sees me."

He tried to remember that Seto had told him that he could stay at the mansion, but for some reason he had the sinking feeling that he wasn't going to be there when he got out of the shower. He didn't want to appear distrustful, but… he knew that Seto sometimes forgot some of his promises, even the important ones. Like the one time he'd found Mokuba standing in the rain, waiting for his brother to pick him up after a soccer game, and had walked him home. Seto had slammed the door open when they arrived and had asked Mokuba where the hell he'd been and if he knew how worried he'd made him. Mokuba had deadpanned that he was supposed to pick him up after soccer.

Seto had looked so confused and horrified that Joey had almost felt sorry for him, but he'd hurriedly excused himself saying he had to be to work. He knew that if the brunet had seen even a hint of pity, he'd have decked him. Hell, just knowing he'd forgotten to pick up his little brother might have been perilous for his health, had he not kept his mouth shut. Which he had. Because he didn't have a death wish.

Sighing, Joey stepped into the shower and just let the water beat against his skin, not bothering to stop the pleased moan that escaped his lips as the hot, soothing beat forced some of his tense and aching muscles to relax. "Oh, yes…" He reached up to scrub at his human ears, unconsciously missing the golden puppy ones he'd had; he'd liked having those rubbed, especially by Seto's long, strong fingers. "Mmn…"

He blushed and gasped softly, then grabbed some shampoo and began viciously scrubbing his hair. No, he had not just been thinking about Seto's touch! Or how nice it had been! Or how he'd miss it! Because he wouldn't! Especially because Seto always touched him at inappropriate times!

He blushed even more as he thought back to their intimate… mating. Just the memory of it gave him pleasant goose bumps, and he decided that really, it wouldn't be so bad if it happened again. As long as that perverted dragon-maniac kept his stupid tongue to himself instead of putting it-!

He was sure that his cheeks were causing the water to turn into steam.

-x-x-x-

"—And now Joey's staying with us," Seto concluded, crossing his arms.

Mokuba eyed him skeptically, then shrugged; he couldn't find a downside to his brother dating Joey or to the blond moving in with them. In fact, life could only get better, in his opinion, because he'd have someone else to help him drag his brother out of the office. "Fine. But you better go talk to your board and your stockholders, because I told the board that you'd come down with pneumonia and I didn't know when you'd be better. …People think you're going to die."

"…Well, I suppose that's better than thinking that my brother and I are crazy because you said I disappeared into a magical book and I just dropped off the face of the earth and popped back up two weeks later." The brunet sighed and rubbed his temple; he could feel a migraine coming on. "Now I'll just have to—"

"Oh, yes…"

His eyes snapped open again as he looked up at the ceiling. He was certain that that was his mate. Hearing another moan of pleasure, he let out his own possessive growl, though considering the confused looks he was currently receiving, he was the only one who could hear him. His growl soon turned into a pleased purr when he heard another moan. Oh yes. His mate was just asking for him to come up and ravish him.

Mokuba raised an eyebrow as his brother's eyes began to glow. So, he understood the Dragon Master thing, and the wings and tail—he'd thought he'd seen something pulling back into his brother's skin when he'd come out of the book—and he understood that his brother hadn't exactly been celibate until the book incident. This did not warrant him suddenly leering through the ceiling at his mate that no one else could see. And it certainly didn't warrant him purring with that stupid smug expression. Joey deserved a shower free of molestation.

Seto yelped as he felt a sharp pain in his shin and looked down angrily. "What?!"

"Did you not just hear a word I said?!" the younger Kaiba exclaimed, glaring at him. "Let me simplify it for you! You. Board members. Meeting." He pointed at the door. "Scheduled as soon as possible!"

The brunet grumbled to himself but began toward the door. "Fine, fine. Let's go talk to the fucking board." He turned back to the others, scowling. "Do not let him leave. I'm coming back for him. I'll be damned if I let anyone hurt my mate."

Tristan raised an eyebrow as he watched him leave, then sighed. "He doesn't seem any different from before…"

"Are you kidding!?" Duke exclaimed, looking just a tad jealous of the other CEO. "It's like the stick up his ass just disappeared! I knew it. The guy just needed to get laid. He must have a furry fetish or something."

The pointy-haired brunet scowled and crossed his arms. "Says the guy that dressed my best friend in a dog suit!"

"I said I was sorry!"

"Sorry about what?"

The dice-master jumped a little, then turned, and he realized that he'd been stupid to have let Kaiba take the adorable blond, because there he was toweling his hair dry and in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Ah, but that was a mistake he could learn from, so he'd continued to court Tristan. …Even if the rhino-head didn't know he was being courted. Really, he could slap him with a fish that said "I like you moron" and he still wouldn't get it.

"…Duke? Sorry about what?"

"The dog suit," Tristan answered for him, and the blond's face twisted into a scowl.

"No matter how many times you say it—" Joey cut himself off as he noticed the look of regret on the other boy's face, and the way he glanced at Tristan like a heartbroken puppy. "…Oh. My. God." He pointed at the raven-haired boy in horror. "You—with Tri—and he—with the—in the book—awaaaaaa!"

Both Yami and Bakura raised eyebrows at him, and they vaguely wondered whether the blond had finally realized that he was mated with Kaiba, and therefore doomed to live with 'mutt' for the rest of his life. …Their lighter halves had a very different approach.

"Oh, that's so cute!" Ryou squealed, clasping his hands together.

Yugi grabbed both Tristan and Joey by the wrist and dragged them toward the kitchen. "Come on, come on!"

When Tristan showed some signs of hesitation—dude, he had no idea what was going on—Ryou followed behind them and gave him a shove. "Oh no, you're not getting out of this!"

"Out of what?" the brunet asked in confusion, before disappearing into the kitchen with his friends.

The two ancient spirits blinked in confusion before automatically going after them, only to have Joey suddenly duck out of kitchen and glare at them. "If ya come within ten steps of this door I'll kick ya from here t' New-fuckin'-York," he hissed, looking suddenly very menacing. He didn't even wait for them to answer before he ducked back inside.

"…What's the probability he's telling the truth?" Bakura asked thoughtfully.

"One hundred fucking percent!"

"…I think it's safe to say one hundred percent," Yami replied, before sighing loudly and flopping onto the couch.

Duke paled as he heard the exclamation of, "He's been doing WHAT?!" Obviously, that was Tristan, and the others had savvied him up about his only-subtle-to-Tristan flirting. When this was followed by a loud and confused "What the hell," he bolted for the door.

-x-x-x-

Joey frowned. "Seriously? Ya didn't notice? I mean… I thought I was slow."

"What the hell are you talking about?! He hasn't been flirting with me!" the brunet exclaimed, flailing about wildly in disbelief and outrage. "Why would he flirt with me?!"

"Well, you're nice, your heart is in the right place, you're loyal, you're logical sometimes, you're sometimes aggressive, and you know you're not exactly bad to look at, right?" Ryou listed off, counting on his fingers. When the others merely stared at him, he huffed and placed his hands on his hips. "What?"

"…Why did you have those off the top of your head?" Yugi asked, frowning in confusion.

The albino blushed a little and crossed his arms. "Sometimes, when I just want to cuddle, Bakura needs… a little encouragement." When this information only received raised eyebrows, he blushed even more. "I have to make him jealous sometimes, okay! I mention Kaiba or Yami when I want sex and he's not in the mood and I mention Tristan, Yugi, or Joey when I just want to cuddle!"

"…There are times when Bakura's not in the mood?" Tristan asked in disbelief.

Ryou rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. "Usually because he wants to go out and do something illegal."

"…I guess that makes sense," Joey mused, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. Catching sight of the clock, he grimaced. "Ah, man, I better get home. Dad's gonna be pissed for sure," he added, moving for the back door. "I'll call you guys, okay? Tell Yami and Bakura 'bye' for me."

Yugi grabbed his arm quickly. "Kaiba said not to let you leave!" When the blond looked back at him in surprise, he added, "He said he was coming back to get you!"

He was tempted to wait—he really was—but he remembered that he wasn't supposed to be depending on people as much as he had been, so he decided that maybe Seto was taking this 'sire taking care of his dame' thing a bit too far. Besides, his dad wouldn't hurt him too badly; without him, who would pay the bills and get booze? He'd smack him around a little, but he wouldn't leave him unable to work.

"Nah, I'll be fine," he assured, patting his friend's hand comfortingly. "Dad's not gonna be too mad. Besides, without me, he won't have anybody t' support him. He needs me." He offered his friends a small smile; he was well aware that they could tell it was fake, but the least they could do was humor him.

"…Okay…"

He hesitated at the door, then turned to give Yugi a pleading look. "I'm gonna leave the book here with ya, okay? So my dad can't pawn it." When he received a nod of understanding, he flashed them a real smile, then stepped outside. It was time to go home, even if he didn't want to.

-x-x-x-

Seto yanked at the tie that had been forced on him as soon as he'd walked into his office and sighed, ruffling his hair in frustration. Mokuba had informed him that, after two weeks of being missing, making a good impression would do him some good (actually, he'd said that no matter how much the ladies would appreciate seeing him shirtless, their were more men on the board who definitely wouldn't). Thus, he'd quickly changed into a suit before going to meet the majority of shareholders and the board.

Now, however, he was going to pick up his puppy so they could go get his things and make him comfortable in his new home. Soumya had warned him that the first few times he was forced to stay away from his dame for any lengthy period, he'd experience anxiety. Well, he hadn't thought much of it, but now he decided he didn't like it. Anxiety wasn't fun, especially when you were trying to explain to twenty or so people that you were not going to die anytime soon and no, he had not gotten his tan from skipping out of town for two weeks, because no, he was not that irresponsible.

Old people were annoying.

Sighing again, Seto whipped his tie off and unbuttoned the top two buttons of his shirt, taking a few deep breaths of freedom; his jacket he'd left in the car. Then, once he'd reached the door, he knocked. He decided giving his mate and his friends heart attacks by kicking open the door would be very rude. However, he was alarmed when the door wasn't answered. Just as he reached to knock again, luckily, the door swang open.

Yami blinked up at him for a moment, looking annoyed to see him, but they'd never seen eye to eye with each other. "…Your mate is not here. He went to his father's place of residence. Aibou tried to convince him otherwise, but he was adamant." His eyes suddenly narrowed. "…I sense a disturbance. I don't like it."

"Where does he live, Yami? He didn't tell me where he lives," the brunet stated, eyes beginning to glow angrily. "He wasn't supposed to leave until I got back."

"Joey was the one that wanted to leave, Kaiba." The shorter man sighed, still looking a bit unsettled. He didn't think that the disturbance had to do directly with his friend, but it was possible. Turning, he called over his shoulder, "Aibou, where does Joey live?"

-x-x-x-

Joey yelped as he was thrown into the ground, then groaned, reaching up to touch the bloody cut on his head. "Ah… Dad, what the—"

"Ya think ya c'n jus' sho' wup aft' bein' gone three weeks?!" the man roared, throwing a bottle at him.

The teen flinched and covered his head, whimpering as the bottle shattered against the wall and showered down on him. "Fuck-! Dad! It's only been two weeks and I came home as soon as I could!"

"Ya lyin' sonuvabitch!"

Joey whimpered as his father grabbed his arm and yanked him upward, biting his bottom lip to try and choke them back. "I ain't lyin'! Dad, I swear! I didn't have a—" He yelped again as the older man slapped him and was thrown by the force in the same direction, twisting his arm out of his socket since he hadn't let go. He fell to the ground in a heap, placing a shaky hand on his shoulder as he tried to choke back any cries, to keep his father form wanting to hurt him more. He grunted as the man kicked him in the ribs, then curled up as small as he could. "Fuckin' basta'd-! I go' back soon as I could!" He cringed as he sensed another kick coming and closed his eyes tightly.

Then the door slammed open, and he felt a shiver of fear at the cold, deadly aura he sensed. It frightened him more when he realized that he knew that aura. It was Seto's, and Seto was pissed.

Looking up as he heard a loud, rumbling growl, he was horrified to find his mate holding his father up against the wall, eyes glowing in fury as he bared his fangs at him. "S-Seto!"

Seto only spared him a glance before he turned his attention back to the dirty, horrible human in front of him and growled. "My mate! Mine!" When the man tried to respond, he snarled and gripped his throat tightly, locking the air in his lungs so he struggled to breathe.

Joey gasped softly, then struggled to sit up. "Seto-! No! Don't kill him! Please! Don't kill him!" He bit his bottom lip as the brunet only growled louder, then leaned his head against the wall and closed his eyes tightly. "Seto, if you… If ya kill my dad, I'll never have sex with ya again!"

The brunet snapped his attention toward him, face contorted in shock and disbelief. "…Ne…?"

The blond sobbed quietly, then looked back up at him, biting his bottom lip. "I… I won't forgive ya if ya kill my dad. …Seto let him go!"

Seto scowled, then released the man to drop to the ground, coughing and choking. "Fine."

Joey winced a little when he realized the brunet hadn't taken his eyes off of him and bit his bottom lip. "…S-Seto, I—Nn!" He bit back a squeak of indignance and closed his eyes tightly as the brunet scooped him up. "I-I'm sorry, Seto, I—" He yelped as he was flung into his room onto the bed and looked up quickly, trembling, only to find that the older boy wasn't even looking at him. He was glaring at the wall. "…Set-?"

"Pack and be done with this."

He'd calmed down incredibly quickly. The blond didn't know whether or not that was a good thing, considering that normally, he'd be humped into the wall right now in a show of dominance and possession. So was Seto getting better… or was he getting worse?

Seto spun back to him and snarled. "Pack and be done, damn it!"

Joey flinched, then hurriedly stood, stumbling over to the small bedside table beside his mattress. Pawing through all of his belongings (which were few to begin with), he finally found his duffle bag and began to stuff things into it as well as he could with one hand. "I… I need to go downstairs and get my school uniforms. I left 'em in the…" he trailed off, looking up at the brunet only to find his back facing him. "…Never mind, I'll buy more later…" he whispered, looking back down at his duffle bag as he began situating his belongings inside of it.

After a few more minutes, he deemed himself finished; he didn't have to bring his bedding or his furniture, if you could even call a sheet, a mattress, a pillow, and a small bedside table furniture and bedding. He bit his bottom lip and reached up to gently touch his shoulder, wincing a little. He didn't know how to heal this if it wasn't a gaping wound.

He let out a yelp of pain as the older boy suddenly shoved his arm back into its socket, then closed his eyes tightly and bit back a groan. 'Ow, ow, ow!'

Seto pressed against his arm for a few more seconds, then grabbed the blond's other hand to place it beneath his. "Heal it now."

Joey looked up at him in confusion, but the brunet wasn't looking at him; he was looking at his arm. Feeling the worst hurt he'd felt in a long time, he looked back at his arm as well and watched as small sparks began to travel around his shoulder. Once it was finished healing, he found himself back in the older boy's arms, but never once did the Dragon Master ever look at him.

He felt like crap.

Once inside the limo, he reached up to touch the cut on his forehead. He was surprised, however, when Seto caught his hand and instead pulled a first-aid kit from under the seat. "…Seto…?"

"I told you to wait for me," the brunet snapped, pulling out a disinfectant swipe and ripping it open. "But you didn't. How am I supposed to take care of you if you won't listen to me? You just left. I didn't even know where you lived."

"Ow!" Joey flinched away as the older boy pressed the wipe to his cut and winced back. "Seto, that hurts!"

"How do you think I felt when I couldn't find you?!" Seto snapped, glaring at him, but pulled his arm back. "…I thought you'd wait for me. Why was I so wrong?"

The blond looked up at him in confusion, then winced as he felt daggers of pain and confusion lancing through him that most certainly were lancing through his mate. "I… Seto, you… I know I should have waited—"

"I'm… not a complete bastard for the fun of it, Joey," the brunet added softly. "I wanted to be there to protect you in case your father did something. Why didn't you care?"

Joey winced backward, then turned away from him and looked down at his lap, tears forming in his eyes in shame. He felt like the scum of the earth. He hadn't thought he'd hurt the other boy with his actions, but now he saw that, once again, his failure to think before acting had hurt him. His fear of being hurt had hurt him again.

"…Maybe I just shouldn't be with ya then. I keep hurtin' ya just t' keep ya from hurtin' me and it just ain't—" he began, only to yelp as the brunet smashed the disinfectant wipe against his cut. "Ow!"

"You don't have a choice anymore, puppy," Seto stated sharply, glaring at him. "You are mine. I'm not letting you go. You just need to learn how to trust me."

Joey rubbed at the cut, pouting a little, then whined as the brunet slapped his hand away. "Ow! Why do ya keep—"

"Idiot, you've opened it again." The CEO carefully cleaned the small wound, shooting the smaller boy a glare when he made a noise of protest, then pulled out a couple of butterfly bandages. Using them to close the cut, he sighed. "…This is about you depending on me, isn't it? I thought I told you that I don't mind."

"But I don't wanna depend on ya all the time, Seto!" The Golden One pulled away, frowning petulantly. "I wanna depend on me sometimes!"

Seto sighed and rested his chin on his fist, taking a few minutes to just watch him and think about what he'd heard. Once he believed he'd come up with a suitable answer, he replied, "I can understand that. You'd taken care of yourself up until Akuju sucked us into the book. You even tried to take care of yourself even when you were obviously in over your head, until you started to depend on me. I understand your want to be independent sometimes, and I'm sure I can respect that want; however, I believe it's time to speak about puppies."

Joey frowned. "What was Kankana talkin' about anyways? She said to pick which one of us is gonna carry 'em. What did she mean?"

The brunet realized there was nowhere to run, and there was nothing to put between himself and the very strong Golden One in front of him. …A change would have to be made in his strategy. Right now. "Perhaps we can wait a few minutes. Maybe Mokuba should hear about this and be able to have a say."

"…A say about who's carrying the puppies?" He had a vague inkling of what they were going to be talking about. …He didn't like it. "Where are we carryin' 'em to, Seto?"

Seto cast around desperately for a distraction, then threw himself toward the window. "Look! Yugi in a tutu!"

Joey couldn't help but look, but when he realized it was an obvious distraction, he sighed and slouched down in his seat. If his mate was going to go to such lengths just to keep from speaking about it until they reached someplace he'd be relatively safe, then he'd humor him. Especially if he was getting desperate enough to use Yugi and the word 'tutu' in a sentence (the same sentence, no less) just to keep him from asking.

-x-x-x-

Mokuba raised an eyebrow as he glanced back and forth between his brother and Joey, then crossed his arms and sank back in his seat. "So what are we talking about, anyway? I mean, you're supposed to be talking about something, right? That's why I'm here as a buffer?"

Joey narrowed his eyes at the brunet. "Yes, Seto. What are we talkin' about?"

Seto sighed, then crossed his arms and leaned back. "…It was brought to my attention that only direct descendents of the Golden One can inherit Mythaven. You can't leave it to a niece or nephew, or even your sister; it has to be your child or grandchild."

"…But you're both male," Mokuba pointed out, frowning.

"Yes. However, Joey has the power to give… beings… female reproductive systems," the brunet replied.

The Golden One wasn't pleased with what was being implied. "…Seto, just who do you think will be getting the female reproductive system?"

Seto thanked God that his little brother answered.

The raven-haired teen frowned. "Well, Seto obviously can't get it. He's the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company. People would notice if he suddenly gained weight, when he's given interviews to magazines saying that he works out everyday. Besides, with the way you eat, people wouldn't think twice if you got fat."

Joey looked at him in disbelief, then huffed and stood. "I resent that! How fuckin' rude! I do not eat that much. And who cares what Seto's said-? I'm goin' t' my room," he stated angrily, then turned and stomped toward the stairs.

When he hesitated at the bottom, the brunet sighed. "It's the forth room on the left."

"I woulda figured that out!" he snapped, turning to glare at him. "You jerk!"

"Mokuba's the one who said it, not me!" the older teen exclaimed, trying to look both angry and hurt.

It didn't take a moron to realize just how much he was failing when the blond replied, "But ya were thinkin' the same thing! Besides, the great Seto Kaiba doesn't need the publicity of rapid weight gain and loss and lookin' pregnant, right?!" The blond's eyes began to fill with angry and frustrated tears. "So of course gettin' the mutt pregnant wouldn't be a problem! Who cares what anyone thinks about him! H-he's not the one with the important job or the—the l-loyal troupe of rabid f-fan girls! Wh-who cares about what happens to him?"

Seto winced as the blond stormed upstairs, and seconds later he heard the door to his room open and slam back shut. "…I think I want to die," he commented, rubbing the back of his head and sighing in aggravation. "I didn't expect him to just burst into tears like that."

"I didn't mean to hurt his feelings," Mokuba stated softly, playing nervously with his hair. "I was just making a point. I mean, the only reason he isn't fat right now is because he's always running everywhere and he doesn't get to eat much."

The brunet sighed again and rested his head in his hands. "…I believe we've just put ourselves in a doghouse. Mokuba, bring me the phone please. I need to call someone."

The younger Kaiba sighed as well, then stood and went to go do as told. He really hadn't meant to hurt Joey's feelings; he'd just been making a few points that he thought the blond wouldn't realize. That, and the instinct to protect his older brother's dignity had flared and he'd listed things off, mindless of how they might have seemed callous and rude to the other boy.

Seto took the offered phone and pinched the bridge of his nose, promising that this was one of the only times he'd swallow his pride. As he turned the phone on, however, he was surprised to already hear a conversation in progress.

"—nd it would be nice if I got it as soon as possible."

"Yeah, right. It's kind of busy down here though, so I'll have Yami bring it by, okay? Grandpa says that Yami's not allowed to man the shop alone ever since that one time…"

"He nearly banished the cash register t' the shadow realm? Yeah, I remember that. That was funny."

"Ha, ha, ha. Anyways, Yami will bring it by. You'll tell me what Kaiba's done to hurt you later, right?"

"I'll tell ya a lot of things later, Yug'."

"Just making sure. Bye, Joey!"

"Bye."

And then there was the sound of both lines hanging up.

Seto blinked, then sighed and turned the phone off, then turned it back on again to call down to the gatehouse. Joey wouldn't know to call ahead to inform them of their coming guest, and he really wasn't in the mood to have a lawsuit against him simply because the contract he had with his guards didn't include anything about shadow realms or mind crushing. Because he didn't doubt that Yami would go to any length to achieve any request his 'aibou' gave him.

He would have thought it to be disgusting if he didn't know that he'd do the same for his mate. Ugh… Life sucked when your mate was angry.

He was surprised when, not ten minutes later, he heard the doorbell ring. But, he needed to speak with Yami, so he got up off the couch and went to go answer the door.

"I'll get it!"

Seto couldn't help a startled squeak as something golden-yellow rushed past him, then scowled when he realized it was Joey. "Are you trying to give me a heart attack?!"

"Humph!" The blond stopped long enough to cross his arms and glare at him. "Maybe I am! That way I wouldn't hafta be pregnant!"

"You can live through a heart attack, idiot!"

"Well, I can hope, can't I?" Joey glared at him for a few more seconds before huffing and turning to open the door. He smiled brightly. "Yami! Thank you so much!"

Yami raised an eyebrow as the book was snatched out of his hand. "…You're welcome."

"Well! I hafta go do some readin', so I'll call Yugi later, okay?" the blond continued, still smiling, as he turned to leave and slam the door shut on the way. He squeaked as he ran into his mate's chest as his hand kept the door from closing. "Meep!"

"…I need to speak with you," Seto stated, stepping aside for the blond to stomp past him. …But not without a parting spank.

Yami raised his other brow when the blond squawked in surprise only to merely shoot the older boy a glare before storming off, then looked back up at the CEO. "…You've done something to upset him and you want to know how to get back into his good graces."

"…Yeah, basically." The brunet groaned softly and ran a hand through his hair. "But it's not just me. Mokuba said something too, so he's mad at both of us. I know he won't stay mad at Mokuba long—he really didn't mean anything—but I get the feeling that he's going to stay mad at me until I make it up to him."

"Okay, fine." The ancient spirit crossed his arms and sighed. "Since you've never had a relationship before, I'll tell you, but the rest you just have to muddle through. That's part of what being a relationship is."

Seto offered him a small, grateful smile. "Great. That's all I need."

"Alright. Now listen very carefully, because the words that I'm about to teach you are very, very important." Yami narrowed his eyes. "They could mean the difference between life and death."

"…Life and death? Really?" The brunet raised an eyebrow skeptically.

The smaller man paused, then shrugged. "Well, more like the difference between bed and couch. So, are you ready to memorize the words?"

"…Yes."

Yami nodded in approval before leaning forward in a slightly conspiratory manner. "The words are, 'I'm sorry.'"

Seto blinked at him for a moment before scowling. "That's it?"

"You'd be surprised just how forgiving someone can be." The smaller man narrowed his eyes. "It's not the words they want to hear, Kaiba. It's the feelings behind them that they want to see. So they know that the probability of you doing the same thing to hurt them again is less likely to happen." He paused for a moment to allow the statement to sink in, then turned to leave. "I'll be going now."

"…You do that." The brunet sighed, then leaned back and shut the door. 'Alright. So I just need to say 'I'm sorry.' …But what if he doesn't want to see me yet? I'll give him a little more time.' He blinked for a moment when he remembered something he thought very important, then turned to go up to his room and grab his cell phone. He needed to make a business call.

-x-x-x-

"So, you're sayin' I really have no choice then?" Joey asked, jotting something down on the notepad in front of him. "One of us has t' get pregnant. Not even adoption?"

"I'm sorry, Joey. Perhaps you could run that one past Kankana. I was led to believe it had to be a descendent of direct blood relation. She may know differently."

The blond sighed and ran a hand through his hair in frustration. "Yeah, yeah. I get it. …But I just turned seventeen. Kaiba just graduated high school [1]. He's still gotta run his company. When would we have time for kids?"

"Joey, that's something for you to discuss with your… mate. Personally, your grandfather and I had children early, and so did your parents. But if you'd like to start your family later, you're free to do so. Discuss it with your family and see what you decide together. That, ultimately, is always the best way to plan something."

"Yeah, I guess you're right," he sighed, frowning as he began kicking his feet. "Thanks, Grandma."

"You're welcome, sweetie. I'll see you in a few years."

The blond sputtered for a few seconds before exclaiming, "Wha-! But—Grandma! I opened the book sooner than ya thought I would! Shouldn't ya come help me figure things out?!"

"You can flail around like I did for a while. I don't see any harm in that."

"But-! But-! But-!"

"Butts belong in ashtrays, Joey. I'll see you in a few years."

"But—Grandma, what the—"

click

Joey pulled the phone away from his ear and stared at it in disbelief, then scowled and turned it off, flinging it onto the bed in front of him. "Fine, see if I ever ask ya for help again!" Huffing indignantly, he glared at the notes he'd taken, then sighed and began doodling on the edges of the paper. "Maybe I will ask Kankana about adoption. That may be somethin' t' explore…" He blinked as he heard a knock on the door, then sighed and looked toward it in annoyance. "What?"

"…Puppy, may I come in please?"

He thought about saying no. He really did. But, the boy had said please, which he so rarely did. Sighing, he replied, "If ya absolutely must."

The door opened slightly, and the other boy peeked in. When Seto realized that the blond was not, in fact, planning on throwing something at him, he opened the door further and stepped inside, pulling something in behind him and leaning it against the wall. "I… I know you're probably still mad at me. I just came up to say…" He hesitated, trying to keep looking his mate in the eyes, but he found he just couldn't. It was with a great sense of shame that he let his eyes drift to just below the blond's face as he finished, "I'm sorry."

Joey blinked at him in surprise, then hurriedly looked away, blushing. "W-well that's just fine! Ya think that's gonna cut it? Ya really hurt my feelin's!"

The brunet sighed and looked down at his feet. "…I hadn't thought it would cut it at all."

"Yeah, that's—huh?" The younger boy looked back up at him in confusion. "…Ya didn't?"

"I won't lie; I was thinking the things that Mokuba voiced," the brunet explained, walking over to sit on the edge of the bed. "But that wasn't the only thing I was thinking about when I thought that you should be the one carrying them."

Joey frowned and tilted his head. "…What else would ya be thinkin' about?"

Seto looked up at him and smiled a little. "I was thinking about how beautiful you would look with our children forming in your stomach. It would make you so much more stunning than you already are."

"Ah-!" Blushing, the blond looked away, only to have the older boy grab his chin and turn him back. "…I…"

"To see you carrying our children. That's what I'd love to see. Pieces of both of us, made into one."

Joey blushed even more, biting his bottom lip, then reached up and grabbed his hand, pulling it away from his face. "Seto, I… Well, maybe. Okay? Maybe. I wanna talk t' Kankana about adoption first."

Seto smiled sweetly. "That works too. So we'll wait for you to talk to Kankana before we decide anything for sure."

"Right." The blond smiled back at him, still embarrassed, but suddenly not so appalled with the prospect of possible being pregnant. But on to other things. "And… now that that's settled…" He crawled a little closer and laid his arm across the brunet's lap to point at the package leaning against the wall. "Whazzat?"

"Well, never say you're not a curious little puppy, hmm?" The older boy stood and walked over to it, then dragged it over toward the bed. "I seem to remember a certain Golden One saying that he liked to paint but couldn't ever do it at home because his father always pawned his things. I figured—"

"Eeeek!" Standing up quickly, the blond threw the top of the box off and began pawing through everything. "OhmiGod! Look 't all this stuff! Oh, I've always wanted this paint-! And, and—" He gasped in disbelief as he pulled out a package of paintbrushes. "Sable paintbrushes? These are so expensive-! I could never—Oh, and look, there's charcoal pencils an' a sketchbook an'—"

Seto raised an eyebrow in confusion as the blond cut himself off and turned to look up at him sharply. "…Puppy? Is there something—" He blinked as the younger boy threw his arms around his neck and yanked him down into a hug. "Mmn! Mm? …Mmmm…" Growling, he slid his arms around the blond's waist and jerked his hips forward, crushing him against the bed. When he didn't struggle, he growled again and shoved him down onto the bed.

Joey squeaked as his back met the bed and reached out to grab his shoulders, frightened, and was confused when his hands began unbuttoning the other boy's shirt as if by their own accord. But then he felt the brunet's hands sliding over his body and he decided it was his fault, because he shouldn't be allowed to have so much muscle and skin that begged to be touch. Then—then—Oh, God, his fingers shouldn't be allowed to do that…

-x-x-x-

Beady red eyes narrowed at the wriggling pair on the bed, and a hiss escaped from between sharp teeth when suddenly the smaller body let out a high-pitched keen. Then the serpentine body was moving, dodging a shirt as it was ripped off and flung away. It slithered over to a darkened corner and coiled up, then sank into the ground, prepared to sit, and wait, and strike when the time was right.

.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

[1] So, in the American dub of the anime, Kaiba's actually eighteen, because apparently being sixteen and the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company is just wrong. *rolls eyes* Since Kaiba's two years older, that would just make him more qualified to graduate early. So, technically, Kaiba graduating at the end of his junior year is plausible. …And actually more likely. Because really, what the hell's an eighteen-year-old doing in classes with a bunch of sixteen-year-olds? There's something wrong there. I swear, 4kids just ruins everything. FAIL!

But seriously, I hope you guys enjoyed this last chapter. D: And look, look, no definite m-preg! Joey's eggo was never preggo. Keep an eye out for the sequel, The Secret Serpent. …Yeah, there's gonna be some m-preg in that. Sorry if you don't like m-preg. :(