Written as a birthday gift for Yue Katsura. Happy birthday! Hope this is what you had in mind for a Valentine's fic. :)
A "1001 Domino Nights" future-fic by Lucidscreamer
When Yugi got home, he was greeted by a kiss on the doorstep. Unfortunately, it wasn't attached to a handsome man. But the little, silver-foil-wrapped candy had a certain air of Atem-ness about it that made him smile. Bending carefully, he retrieved the Hershey's Kiss and tucked it in the pocket of his jacket before unlocking the door and heading inside.
Another Kiss lay just inside the entryway.
Looking around, he noticed the trail of Kisses extended over to the stairs and continued up them. Curious, he followed. About halfway up the stairs, a small glass vase held a single, perfect rose. He picked it up and brushed the velvety petals against his nose, inhaling the fragrance. The flower wasn't one of those over-hybridized, long-stemmed things - pretty, but scentless - the public had been trained to think of as "roses". This was an old-fashioned rose, imperfect but beautiful, the petals a creamy white blushed with pink.
He remembered telling Atem about it, about how it was his favorite since it reminded him of his mother. She had always loved roses. Everywhere they lived, she immediately planted roses (even locales completely unsuited to them), and she loved the heirloom blooms the best. In Yugi's memories, their garden was always filled with the fragrance of roses, and his mother - in khaki shorts and a faded t-shirt that read 'I dig archaeology' - smiling at him.
Hugging the vase to his chest, he followed the trail of Kisses upstairs, picking up the candies and dropping them into his pocket as he went. Only now did he notice that the Kisses were not all silver. Some were wrapped in pink, red, or purple. Obviously, Atem had discovered the Valentine's Day assortment in the candy aisle. His little snort of laughter stilled when he noticed the card dangling from the bathroom door.
One eyebrow rising, he set his rose down and untied the ribbon holding the card to the doorknob. The card was handmade, nothing but a piece of thick, artisan paper folded over, with his name inscribed in Atem's unmistakable hand on the front. Carefully, he opened it.
Inside the card, Atem had written a poem. This was not the first such offering Yugi had received from his princely lover, so he had become accustomed to the conventions of ancient Egyptian poesy. A faint smile tugged at his mouth as he read the verse his lover had composed in his honor.
My beloved is without rival,
no one is more beautiful to my eyes,
he is like Sopdet rising,
shining with the hope of a good New Year.
His eyes seduce me with his glances,
speaking my name, his lips are honeyed,
the perfection of his body begs for my touch,
and he steals my heart with his every embrace.
In its place, the voice of my heart
speaks louder for him. Each beat cries,
"I belong to him!" My heart reveals itself
in this and every moment, wanting only his love.
In the House of the Lady of Heaven,
I give adoration to Her, Hathor,
I sing Her praises and rejoice! For, when I was lost
and in despair, She heard my prayers and sent him to me.
As usual, Atem did nothing by halves. The language might be flowery, but the earnest words tugged at Yugi's heart as he recalled the torments Atem had faced as a genie. Knowing Atem had not intended to bring up the painful past, but merely to express his love and gratitude, Yugi shook away the memory. Taking a deep breath, he entered the room and carefully set his gifts on the counter. He took extra care with the poem, setting it well out of any possible splash zone. Not even a single stray drop of water could be allowed to ruin his card! Satisfied it was safe, he emptied his jacket pockets of Kisses and then turned to survey the room.
The spa tub hummed and splashed, jets on and filling the water with bubbles that released the scent of sandalwood and myrrh into the humid air. On the bench against the wall, thick towels, a washcloth, and a wine goblet filled with what looked like pomegranate juice awaited him. Another, far more pleasant, memory arose - this one of Atem caring for him, washing his back in this very tub (created by Atem's magic) as Yugi sipped pomegranate juice and melted into the gentle caress of his genie's hands.
Yugi wasted no time in divesting himself of his clothing and climbing into the tub. The water was warm and soothing, easing knotted muscles and the chill that had seeped into his bones from the dreary February weather. He shivered a bit, thinking of all the snow piled up outside. Lately, he regretted not agreeing to move somewhere tropical for the winter. Tahiti was sounding pretty good after the third snow storm in as many weeks.
Pushing his irritation with the weather away, Yugi luxuriated in the bath until he felt warm and relaxed. Finally, he forced himself to let the water out of the tub. He dried off with the thick Turkish towel Atem had set out for him, then dressed in the clothes that hung from the hook on the back of the door. Atem, it seemed, had thought of everything. That brought another smile to Yugi's lips. Even though Atem was no longer bound to serve Yugi (a state of affairs they both had cause to celebrate), the former genie was, if anything, more solicitous than ever. His love for Yugi was a constant source of wonder and joy for Yugi, who sometimes still couldn't believe he had gotten so lucky as to have Atem in his life as a friend, much less as a lover and life-partner. That the feeling was entirely mutual only made it that much sweeter.
Fully dressed, Yugi stepped out into the hallway. To his surprise, a fresh trail of Kisses awaited him, pointing back the way he'd originally come. This time, he left the Kisses where they lay as he descended the stairs. The candy led him directly to the dining room. It seemed he was getting the full treatment: chocolate, roses, love poems, and... a fancy dinner? Only one way to find out.
He pushed open the door into the dining room - and paused, stunned at the sight that met his eyes. The entire room had been transformed in the time he'd been gone since this morning.
All the furniture was gone, presumably carried out of the room and stored somewhere else, maybe the garage. Presumably, Atem had gotten someone to help him, although Yugi wouldn't put it past him to haul everything out himself. One thing he'd learned about the former genie - the man was determined. In place of the table, chairs, and china cabinet, the room held a veritable garden of potted plants. Small palms, flowering plants, and assorted greenery obscured the walls, making Yugi wonder if Atem had bought out a nursery somewhere. A large terracotta platter, deep enough to hold water, masqueraded as a lily pool with lotus-shaped floating candles standing in for the flowers. More candles, scattered around the room, lent a warm amber light to the space. In the center, the linen rug from the bedroom held a low table surrounded by piles of cushions for seating. On the table, a bowl held a messy cluster of Yugi's favorite roses. Soft music came from a hidden CD player.
A faint noise behind him alerted him to another's presence. He turned to find Atem standing in the doorway, hip-shot, one shoulder leaning against the frame as he watched Yugi.
Yugi grinned at him. "You did all this by yourself?"
"Mai and Téa helped." Atem pushed off the door frame and glided over to him. (He was still ridiculously graceful, a part of Yugi's brain noted. The rest of his brain was taking in the tight black shirt that stretched across Atem's chest, outlining his sleek muscles, and the snug fit of his dark jeans.) "Do you like it?"
It took Yugi a second to find enough unpreoccupied brain cells to process the question and figure out that Atem was asking about the room, not his outfit. "It's great. Just like our first picnic. Right?"
"You remembered!" A smile lit up Atem's face. Warmth suffused Yugi at the knowledge that he'd put that expression there. "I hoped you would."
"Of course I remember." As if he could ever forget anything about those early days of their relationship, days both wonderful and filled with uncertainty. Neither of them had believed a relationship was possible at the time, both of them thinking the other couldn't possibly return their feelings and thinking Atem would never break free of the curse which had made him a genie. Yugi had never been more glad to be wrong about anything.
He reached out and slid his arms around Atem's waist, urging him closer. "This is wonderful, Atem. Thank you."
Bending, Atem nuzzled Yugi's neck.
"Mm. You smell good enough to eat." As if to illustrate his point, Atem nibbled gently from collarbone to the sensitive spot just beneath Yugi's ear. "But, that will have to wait until a bit later. For now, I have prepared a meal that I hope you'll enjoy."
A few months ago, that might have been in question. One of the things they had quickly learned was that, without his magic, Atem did not know how to cook. So, he'd taken classes at the college, saying that he wanted to learn so he could continue to prepare Yugi's favorite foods for him. They had both been a bit surprised when he showed a real talent for it. As a genie, the flavors, textures, and aromas of food had been one of his few pleasures and he'd indulged in them whenever he could. He still enjoyed them, and liked trying out new dishes and techniques. With Yugi's encouragement, he was now considering training to become a chef.
"So, what have you fixed for us, tonight?" Yugi asked, allowing Atem to escort him over the table and settle him on the cushions.
"You'll see." Atem grinned and hurried through the connecting door into the kitchen.
He returned a few minutes later with a rolling cart bearing covered serving dishes, a basket of fresh baked bread rolls, a large salad bowl, and a bottle of wine. The aromas drifting over from the food were mouthwatering. Atem had outdone himself this time.
"Smells terrific," Yugi said, accepting the glass of wine Atem poured for him. "I can't wait to try it."
"I've been experimenting again." An eyebrow wiggle accompanied the words, causing Yugi to almost choke on his aperitif. Atem's 'experiments' were becoming legendary. (And not just the ones that took place in the kitchen.) "I think you'll find it to your taste."
"I'm sure I will." Yugi gave an eyebrow wiggle of his own, his gaze tracking (of its own volition) down Atem's lean torso to focus on-
Atem growled, interrupting Yugi's soon-to-be lascivious train of thought and startling his gaze up to meet Atem's. "If you don't stop that, we're not going to make it through dinner."
"Can I help it if seeing you is enough to make me want to skip straight to dessert?" Unable to stop himself, Yugi licked his lips and dropped his gaze back to its earlier target.
With the groan of a man pushed beyond his limits, Atem dropped to his knees, shoved Yugi back into the cushions, and followed him down, already claiming his mouth before they were completely horizontal. With a needy sound of his own, Yugi wrapped his arms and legs around Atem and did his best to encourage more - more kisses, more caresses, more of the press of Atem's weight against the length of his body. It was a long time before either of them pulled away enough to speak.
"I love you." Atem's voice was even deeper than usual, husky with passion.
"And I love you." Gazing into Atem's eyes, Yugi smiled. Twining his fingers into Atem's hair, he coaxed his lover back down into another kiss, murmuring against his lips, "I will always want you with me."
"I will always want to stay," Atem promised in return, and then set about making sure Yugi knew exactly how much he meant those words.
It was a long time before either of them thought about food.
Dinner, when they finally got around to reheating it for breakfast, was, indeed, delicious. But neither of them regretted having enjoyed their "dessert" first.
Notes: Atem's poem for Yugi was composed by Lucidscreamer and was loosely inspired by the English translation of an actual ancient Egyptian love poem written during the 18th Dynasty.
1001 Domino Nights is set at the start of the summer. This story takes place on the first Valentine's Day after the end of the novel.