So close. Victory was so close he could taste it. This Duel had been one of the best he and Atem had ever fought. They were still working off the absolute rush from the other Duel, but now only had each other to fight. It had gone on for quite a while. Both Kaiba and Atem never backed down for a minute, they played on the top of their games, but this one was different somehow. They were both feeling better than great, they were on top. The two best Duelists in the world with nothing to lose but time. Kaiba could barely take his eyes off his rival. This moment was amazing.

So sad that it had to come to a close, though. Kaiba had just summoned his last Blue Eyes in the last turn. Three were facing down a simple Black Magician girl. Kaiba was so, so ready for this. Even if there were no witnesses except the two men themselves, this was perfect.

"Blue Eyes White Dragon, ATTACK!" Kaiba called loudly, pointing the way for his dragon to follow. "BURST STEAM OF DESTRUCTION!"

The dragon reared its head back, mouth filling with that signature killing attack. The Magician girl raised her staff, smiling sweetly, already quite aware of her master's will. "Not so fast, Kaiba!"

Oh no. Those words were never good.

"Reverse card open! Magical Cylinder!" The Cylinder appeared in the Magician's arms. The attack traveled through the tube, being redirected back towards one of Kaiba's other Blue Eyes. Recognizing an attack was upon it, the Blue Eyes reared back and shot its own Burst Stream in defense. Both attacks collided with each other, creating a hot, bright light on the field; wind blew passed them, both Duelists raising an arm to shield their vision for just a moment.

When the attack died down, two Blue Eyes had just been destroyed. Kaiba glared. "Cheap tricks, Atem." He still had on Blue Eyes left, and a Duel to win. "Blue Eyes-"

"Activate Spell Card!" Atem called yet again, having been ready for this the entire time. "Dimension Magic! By tributing the Black Magician Girl I can summon my Black Magician! And destroy your Blue Eyes with its magic!" The sarcophagus held in chains appeared on the field as the Magician Girl disappeared in a bright pink light. The tomb opened, revealing his faithful Magician ready to go. The monster moved from its shackles, pulling forward to the field.

He raised his staff, casting an unusual spell wrapped in dark black magic. It moved around the dragon, destroying it.

This had been the last stretch; Atem had fallen behind in Life Points. Kaiba had been so ready. As he stared down Atem's turn, feeling the Black Magician's attack as if it were real, hearing his life point counter blipping at 0000 yet again, he breathed a quiet exhale. Lost. Again.

But the Duel had been great, at least.

When everything was said and done, the sun was already rising, early morning hitting the Kaiba Mansion in hues of pinks and violets. The two men had retreated upstairs, perhaps with the intent of a light doze, but it had ended up somewhere far different. Atem's eyes were closed, his midsection bare to Seto's eyes for the first time in a long time. The taller man couldn't help but notice the trepidation in the lines of his lover's face. It was sheer curiosity that had led his fingers to trace that scar. Atem shivered, curling up slightly, one request on his lips.

"Don't."

Don't touch it, don't look at it, don't think about it. Don't think about how weak I was, don't think about how they'd cornered me, don't think about the pain, don't think about lying there alone. Perhaps Kaiba hadn't realized how affected Atem still remained. He'd pegged the man prideful, of course, and maybe he'd thought with revenge exacted Atem had just moved on. But he knew that scars were heavy to carry. Ones on the flesh were nothing compared to ones on the psyche.

Against the pale of Atem's skin, the scar laid diagonal, marring the top line of his right hip and running up across his stomach, just over his navel.

"I should go." Even now Atem was trying to control his voice from shaking, Kaiba could hear it. He could hear the control being exerted there, the tight grip Atem was placing on himself.

The man sat up, reaching for his shirt. He wanted to cover himself up, he didn't want to have to think about it, he didn't want Seto to look at it. All Kaiba knew was that he didn't want Atem to leave. He certainly didn't want Atem to carry this burden. What could he do for his lover? He wasn't good at comforting anyone. The last thing he wanted to do was upset Atem, which was the most likely outcome. The shorter duelist had gotten up already, however, keen on leaving, on going 'home' as he'd put it.

Seto reached up, slender fingers wrapping around the top of Atem's arm. The man's initial reaction was to jerk out of the grip.

His body might have healed, but it seemed that Atem was still carrying this heavily. Worse yet, Kaiba still knew that it was his fault. He'd unwittingly damaged his rival. "You don't have to leave." He offered quietly, watching the Game King carefully.

Atem stood, back turned to Seto, body absolutely rigid, hands clenched at his sides. His head was tilted down, even if he wasn't facing Seto, even if he wouldn't have to look at the man's blue eyes- knowing Kaiba was calling him out for his weakness just with gaze alone. But he wasn't ready, and he hadn't known it until just then. Sharing a house with Seto had been nice when nothing had been expected of him. After the duel they'd come upstairs, started kissing- and he'd lost himself, in a terrible way.

At first he'd tried to ignore the feeling in the pit of his stomach, to just push it away and pretend it wasn't there. But as Kaiba's fingers wandered, he knew he wouldn't get out of it. He hadn't asked Seto to accompany him to the doctor's office. This was the first time Seto had seen the scarring. Atem had fooled himself into thinking prior that Kaiba would never have to see it. But their love was carnal more often than not. Now he wasn't so sure why he thought he could get away with Kaiba never seeing his top half ever again.

Once his shirt had come off, all he could feel were those blue, accusing eyes on the scar. Looking at it. Staring at it. Nothing about him was perfect anymore, not that it ever had been.

His arm came up to cradle over his stomach, still feeling ghost pains and burns, the sound of the blade switching out from its resting place ringing in his ears.

"You have work to get back to. I haven't been to my apartment in some time. We have things to attend to."

Those words were a death sentence and Kaiba realized it from the moment they hit the thick air in the room. If he let Atem go now, the man would drift further and further away from him. If he didn't find a way to fix this right now, Atem would slip from his fingers and there wouldn't be anything he could do about it. The realization of such a thing had him feeling a little cold inside; if Atem was one of the only things that kept him warm, that kept him slightly human anymore, what would letting him go turn him into? He didn't want to know.

He reached over again, hand wrapping around Atem's arm once more. Again he got the same violent reaction, but this time he didn't let go. Atem still struggled. "Let go!"

"Calm down." It was an order but not a forceful one.

The only thing he could think to do right then was to force himself calm. His body shook with the tense of control he exerted over it, his muscles tightening up. "Why are you-"

"Atem, you need to calm down." Seto repeated, feeling the twitch and tightness underneath his fingertips. He waited just another moment before pulling Atem back, hopefully getting him to sit.

Being pulled on was the last thing he wanted, and he immediately tried to get away. But he kept screaming in his mind to let this go, not to show this side of his struggle to Kaiba. Eventually he did sit. "You-"

Once more Kaiba cut him off, his hand leaving Atem's arm and moving to his jaw. His fingers tilted that crimson gaze to his own. "I've shared the scars I carry." Less figurative ones Atem pried out of him over the years, but the scars he carried on his back from a harsh childhood Atem had seen more times than Kaiba cared to count. "What is your reaction to them?"

His expression was confused. "Think of them? I... they make you, you. I don't like that you have them. But it's not like it changes my opinion of you." He'd walked right into it. Probably purposefully, as if he needed to hear these things.

"I should have known better than to touch it. But it doesn't bother me. It doesn't make you any less of a person." Kaiba was choosing each word carefully, as if flipping through a dictionary in his mind and forming sentences on paper before offering them to the morning air. He couldn't let himself fuck this one up. He knew that if he did, it would probably be the last time he ever saw his rival as his lover at the same time. His fingers brushed some stray blonde bangs away from Atem's face. "You can't force healing, but they've been dealt with. Don't let them be the winners in the end. I know that you're better than that." He was slightly anxious saying this, but in the end he felt it was what needed to be said.

Atem wasn't sure about any of this. What he did know, however, was how hard it was for Seto to do this. And the brunet was doing it for him. He paused, just breathing calmly, muscles relaxed now as he soaked up Kaiba's sentiment and the reasoning behind it. The burn of the scar was still there. Seto was right. He couldn't force himself better, he couldn't force himself to forget about it. But slowly, with careful steps, he would heal.

He smiled, moving on the bed to slip into Seto's lap, wrapping his arms around the CEO's neck. "Thank you." The words were whispered before he leaned, his lips pressing against Seto's own. The brunet's hands went to his hips, resting happily there as they indulged in one rare moment of sweetness. The kiss moved from chaste almost seamlessly as Atem tilted his head, lips parting, tongue brushing against Kaiba's. A soft moan escaped him as he hugged tighter. The same blanket of comfort, love, and safety that had been proposed the moment Seto had started taking care of him wrapped around him yet again.

Kaiba was quite happy to indulge in the moment. He broke from the kiss, arm coming up to circle around Atem's midback. The shorter duelist leaned into it almost instinctively, and harsher so when Kaiba's lips found his neck. His breath halted as Seto worked the skin atop his pulse with his teeth, marking him. The bruise was a standing testament to what was his- Kaiba owned Atem. Atem was his. This body was his. He wouldn't let it be marked by others ever again. It was his to mark and to do with as he pleased. He'd make sure Atem never forgot that again.

The shorter man's shirt was discarded, once again baring his skin to see. Kaiba didn't let him have a spare moment to feel anxious about it. With one arm around Atem's shoulders, his hand went to cover his lover's abdomen, completely covering the scar. His kisses and nips dropped to Atem's shoulder, then his collarbone. Seto was doing a good job of keeping Atem's mind off the situation, the only thing he could manage to do was to writhe underneath Seto's lips, tongue and teeth, groans and half finished breaths filling the air around them. His face was already flushed, body glowing in quite a similar way.

Seto continued on this way, only stopping once when Atem's hips moved up into his, creating sparks and a low growl from him. "Want it that bad?" His voice was dark with lust.

"Yes." Atem's own reply was breathless and not shy of the truth. Yes. Yes he did want Seto bad. He needed him.

Kaiba smirked, very amused with that answer. It stroked his own ego. "Of course you do."

He switched positions, lying Atem back down against the bed. Those pesky belts were removed in nimble succession. The leather pants were next, as usual, having nothing but bare flesh underneath them. Lidded crimson eyes looked up when Seto paused. He realized then that Kaiba was staring at him again. That bubble of anxiety and hurt swelled inside him, and he almost felt like canceling this try yet again.

Seto leaned over him, his hands trailing up Atem's thighs, up his hips, over the his sides, up his arms and to his wrists. He stared down at his lover, no words passed between them except what they were saying in their stare. They grew quiet just for a moment, but Kaiba was aiming for surprise as his hand left Atem's wrist, fingers wrapping around his lover's cock. His pumps were slow and steady, just watching the man beneath him with great interest.

Atem's eyes had widened before they'd rolled back, hips shifting upwards into that hand. He was breathless and needy as he continued to give in to everything Seto was gifting him with. "Please..."

There it was. Kaiba grinned to himself. Always with that word. It never failed to show up in each one of these sessions. "Please what?" He whispered as he leaned closer into Atem, right into the Game King's ear.

It caused a shiver, his hips thrusting upward a little harder. "Make me yours again."

The request had not been without its painful undertone, Atem's eyes shutting tightly, feeling he well of tears behind them. Kaiba's own eyes had opened a little more, gazing down at his lover. Again? No, he didn't like that. The bedside table was opened, a bottle of lube grabbed, the cap twisted before Kaiba poured it over his fingers.

"Don't be a fool. You were always mine. That never changed it and nothing ever will." He growled this out, but meant it more than anything he'd ever said before.

One finger was pressed inside Atem slowly, the man's breath stolen from him as he spread his legs wider. His hips pushed downwards every time Seto pushed back in, drawing him deeper. He couldn't think anymore. All he was aware of was the man lying over him, inside of him, claiming him. It was all he cared to know at this point.

Kaiba was watching Atem carefully. He added another finger, steeling a shudder when Atem moaned loudly. Just watching his lover was almost too much for him to take without having any action performed on himself. His eyes were captivated and darkened by the sight underneath him. After a few more moments a third finger was added, Atem's hips shifting again. He almost couldn't hold out. It had been far too long since they'd done this, and now he had the weight of something to prove this time.

His fingers withdrew, Atem's husky groan of displeasure earning an eye roll from Seto. His own clothes were discarded carelessly to the floor as he moved atop Atem again. He was slightly surprised when Atem reached forward, fingers wrapping around his cock. A quiet breath left him, his teeth clenching together to keep himself from reacting too strongly. "Always yours?" The shorter man asked, drizzling the lube along Seto's length as his fingers smoothed it in.

Kaiba's hand grabbed Atem's wrist, though not overly hard. "Always." He growled, his fingers moving to Atem's hips.

With one swift thrust he hit home, Atem's cry loud, hips moving upwards against him. It wasn't one of pain, Seto was quite sure of that. He pulled out slowly then slammed back in, trying to make his mark as deep as he could. Atem seemed to be receiving it very well at that, head thrashing from side to side, his arms reaching up to wrap around Seto's neck and bring him close. Kaiba found a steady and harsh rhythm in and out of his lover's body. Each strike was powerful, but somehow carried a whisper of careful love behind it.

"You can't escape that." Seto murmured, trying to reign himself back, his breathing hard to manage at this point.

"I..." Atem couldn't think much about it. Further more, he couldn't deny it, either. He was sure he'd never felt as complete as he had in this moment.

The shorter man's body tensed a few minutes after that, not being able to handle it anymore. But he tried to still himself, not wanting it to end. Kaiba smirked down at him, recognizing all the signs of his lover's end approaching. He nipped Atem's ear on another thrust inward. "Don't hold back. There will be plenty of more times." Always was a long time. He'd make sure Atem understood that.

"Seto!" His voice raised in pitch due to his breathlessness. Kaiba had really just commanded him to come and he'd done it. There might have been a burning shame somewhere inside him, but all he could feel right now was the sweet release Seto had allowed him, pleasure jolting through his body.

Seto's own release was just as heavy, though he held himself back from crying or screaming, as usual. He bit down into his lover's shoulder, moving deep inside him one last time as he came; while Atem's name wasn't on his lips, it was the fog that surrounded his brain.

The two laid beside each other as the moment faded away, their breathing quieting down, bodies cooling. Seto's arm draped lightly over Atem's body, holding him, not allowing him to leave. It wasn't that the shorter of the two was exactly trying to escape, but it just felt necessary. Atem didn't mind, either, finding the half-embrace comforting while he was coming down from his high. Moving closer, he just rested in the brunet's embrace, calmly enjoying what was left of their sexual endeavor.

The pain of his scar had left him completely. In fact, he'd forgotten all about it just then. The only thing that was clear to him was that Seto was there; Seto's own marks on him he was quite lucidly able to recall right then. It made him smile. Nothing else mattered right then. The past, the present, the future. All he cared about was Seto, with him, lightly holding him, having marked him. It was the only important thing. It was a thought that eased his mind, made sleep come a little easier, a little quicker than usual.

Seto was quick behind, smug thoughts of having helped Atem aiding his own rest. Maybe he wasn't so bad at this after all.