A/N: Wow, the last chapter. There are more notes at the bottom, but right now I'll just say thank you and enjoy.
Sugoroku was waiting for them when the car pulled up outside of the Game Shop. It had taken a few days before Yuugi felt ready to go visit his grandfather. He and Yami had spent the entire time safely enclosed in the mansion, spending time with each other and their friends. That was time Yuugi had desperately needed, because he had almost forgotten what it was like to have a day when he didn't have to worry about the safety of the world. It should not have been as hard as it was to relax; he'd noticed that all of them were having a difficult time relaxing. Fortunately, in that respect they were all fast learners - with the possible exception of Seto, as their next stop after Sugoroku was Kaiba Corp so that Yami could force Seto to go home for a while.
Yuugi took a deep breath and let it out slowly as the car stopped. He was pleased to see that Sugoroku looked good, whole and healthy, apparently no worse for the wear after his expedition into the past, and as soon as the door opened he jumped out and threw himself into his grandfather's arms. Sugoroku hugged him so tightly that Yuugi squeaked, but it felt so good that he didn't ask his grandfather to lighten up a little. He had the feeling that Sugoroku needed the hug just as much as Yuugi did. They stood there for a good two or three minutes before Sugoroku finally pulled back, though he kept his hands on Yuugi's shoulders.
"I've been wondering when you'd get here," Sugoroku said hoarsely, blinking tears back. He squeezed Yuugi's shoulders tightly, like he wanted to make sure that Yuugi was really there. "I was so worried about you, Yuugi, and I'm so sorry. I never intended for you to get caught up in Hafiz Ishtar. If I'd known what he was planning to do, I wouldn't have encouraged you to put the puzzle together."
"I'm not," Yuugi said gently. "Sorry about the puzzle, I mean. Jii-chan, if you hadn't given me the puzzle I wouldn't have met Yami."
"That's true." Sugoroku glanced over Yuugi's head at the car and the door that was now closed. It didn't take a genius to know that Yami was still inside. "I just wish that there was a way that all the rest of this could have been avoided."
"You're not the only one." Yuugi stepped back and turned towards the car, opening the door again. Or at least, he tried. He was amused to realize that he was encountering some resistance, due to the fact that Yami was holding onto it on the other side. There was a moment during which the two of them struggled, and then Yuugi pouted and let his eyes go all big as he stared directly into the glass. A second later, the door gave under his hand and he pulled it open. Yami glared at him.
"Cheater," he said quietly but firmly.
"Not my fault I know your weakness," Yuugi said with a teasing smile, and took his hand to pull him out of the car. He knew exactly why Yami was nervous about this meeting. The only reason he'd agreed to come was because he didn't want to be away from Yuugi for that long. Yami was under the impression that this was a conversation Yuugi and his grandfather should be having without any outside influences: namely, Yami seemed to think that Sugoroku would be too nervous about the presence of the reincarnated pharaoh to say no. Yuugi didn't have the heart to tell him exactly how wrong that was.
Yami made a face at him and finally stood up, glancing over at Sugoroku. He'd only meet the man once or twice, and his nervousness was adorable. "Hello, Mutou-san," he offered hesitantly.
Sugoroku smiled and reached out, pulling Yami into an easy embrace. "It's nice to see you again," he said into Yami's hair, squeezing him lightly. It was hard to tell whether that was Siamun speaking to the pharaoh, or Sugoroku speaking to Yami. Yuugi decided that he didn't really want to know. Judging by how tightly Yami held on in return, he suspected that it didn't matter.
It was good to see them together, Yuugi thought. The sight warmed his heart in a way he couldn't really give voice to. He waited patiently until they had separated, and then the three of them walked into the shop together. Sugoroku had already closed, and he took them into the kitchen where he'd made a simple pasta salad and hamburgers. Yuugi squeaked in delight at the sight of one of his favourite meals and sat down, beaming as he bit into one of the tastiest burgers he'd ever had. Sugoroku definitely had a way with spices.
Sugoroku chuckled as he put some pasta salad onto each of their plates. "I guess this means that there will still be a reason for you to come visit me," he said, taking a seat.
Choking on a bite of hamburger was an extremely unpleasant experience. Alarm flooded through their bond as Yami reached over and gave him a well-placed thump right between his shoulder blades. Yuugi coughed several times before he was able to spit the bite out into a napkin that Yami thrust into his hands. He breathed deeply for a moment before looking up through watery eyes. "Jii-chan?"
As calmly as though his grandson hadn't just been choking, Sugoroku lifted a forkful of pasta salad to his mouth and chewed. He swallowed and said, "That's why you're here, isn't it? You wanted to ask me if you could go live with Yami at the Kaiba mansion. I have to admit, I've been expecting you to ask for quite a while now. I thought you might right after you came home from Illusion Island, but you're more patient than I gave you credit for. It surprised me, especially since I didn't think you would wait this long after we all came home. But then, I suppose you needed the time." He gave them both a little smile.
It took a couple of sips of water before Yuugi felt capable of speaking, and even then his words carried a slight tinge of hysteria. He felt completely caught off guard. "Jii-chan, I didn't - I'm sorry." And he was. Things had changed so quickly: Yami had gone from someone that Yuugi wanted to get away from to someone that he couldn't live without in the span of a few months, and that was bewildering enough for Yuugi let alone someone who couldn't experience the intensity of a bond.
"Don't apologize, Yuugi. It's not your fault," Sugoroku told him gently. "I'm the one who gave you the Puzzle. I encouraged you on a regular basis to solve it." He glanced at Yami. "I've always known that the pharaoh was waiting for you. I was given the privilege of watching you grow up, of guarding you until it was time. I knew that this was going to happen. The two of you belong together, and if you would rather make your home at the mansion with the rest of your friends instead of here I can't argue against that."
Overwhelmed. That was the only word he could think of to describe how he was feeling at that moment. Yuugi looked over at Yami a little helplessly, and Yami took his hand under the table and said, "Are you certain? If you would rather that we lived here..." He trailed off.
"I understand your need to be around Kaiba," Sugoroku replied. "He's your cousin, your priest, and I would not want to take that away from you when you two have always been close." He sounded wistful, and Yuugi wondered, suddenly, just how much Sugoroku had always remembered about the past. "Besides, the mansion is not that far away. And like I said, I've been preparing Yuugi to come talk to me about this for a while."
For the first time, those words actually got through to Yuugi and he understood what they meant. He looked up at his grandfather in disbelief. "Hang on, are you trying to tell me that - that if I had talked to you about this before, you would've let me go?" he demanded, remembering those nights he'd spent aching because there was just too much distance between him and Yami. He'd suffered through those nights because he'd thought that there was no way Sugoroku would ever agree to more than the occasional night at the mansion. Hearing that it had all been unnecessary was, well. Not pleasing, to say the least.
Sugoroku actually grinned. "I would've at least discussed it with you," he replied. "I wasn't lying to you before, Yuugi. I do miss having you around the shop. It feels like you're never here - and that's because when you were here, I knew you wanted to be somewhere else. I'd much prefer you visiting every two or three days because you want to over you being here just because you have to."
Yuugi was speechless. He actually couldn't think of a single word to say. Knowing that a good portion of his stress over the past few months could have been avoided if he'd just talked to his grandfather seemed like a cruel irony. He finally settled for shaking his head. "Every two or three days?"
"At least," Sugoroku said firmly, and his eyes looked suspiciously damp.
"Deal." Pushing his chair back, Yuugi rounded the table and threw his arms around his grandfather. "I'll even drag the others along to help out in the shop."
He laughed. "I'll hold you to that," he promised, smoothing his hand over Yuugi's head. "You know, I'm very proud of you, Yuugi. Of both of you," he added, his glance including Yami. "You've accomplished things that no one else in the world could do, and it was only made possible because of the strength of your bond." He ruffled Yuugi's hair playfully, ignoring the squeak of protest he got. "I'm only comfortable with this because I know that whatever else you're going to face, you can handle it together."
"Yes, we can," Yami said. \Your grandfather is a wise man, Aibou.\
Yuugi froze for several seconds before he turned to face Yami. They hadn't been able to speak that clearly through their bond in - well, ever. He could have cried at hearing Yami's voice in his mind again, but he managed to hold back the tears through sheer determination. /Yes, he is,/ he replied before looking at Sugoroku. "Jii-chan, everyone is meeting at the mansion this afternoon. Isis-nee-san, Otogi and Honda are coming back from Egypt. Did you want to join us?"
"I think I will," Sugoroku said after a moment's pause. "I assume Rebecca-chan is coming. Did you want me to invite Arthur as well?"
"Why not?" Yuugi said with a shrug. "The more the merrier, I guess." He looked over at Yami again and grinned. "We just have one little stop to make first..."
Seto put up an excellent fight. He really did. It was an admirable job, considering that he had to have known from the first word that there was no way he was going to win. The whole time Seto was talking Yami stood there and listened patiently while his cousin listed off every last reason that he had to stay at Kaiba Corp, arms folded and a very calm expression on his face. Yuugi stood off to the side with Jou, who was frankly relieved that Yami had finally shown up because he was getting tired of having a relationship with the back of Seto's head. And then, when Seto finally ran out of excuses, Yami just looked at him.
"You're coming home," he said in a tone that allowed for no arguments.
"Man, I need to learn how to do that," Jou said with an admiring whistle. He could practically see the second when it clicked in that Seto was going to be leaving whether he wanted to or not. He wouldn't go so far to say that the man was pouting, but it was damned close.
"I think it's a pharaoh thing. Atemu used to be able to do the same thing," Yuugi replied in an undertone. He glanced over at Jou as Seto started shutting his systems down. Jou had spent just as much time at Kaiba Corp as Seto during the past couple of days, and he could tell that his friend was quickly reaching his limit. Jou looked exhausted - but also, weirdly, very happy. "Has he said anything? About, you know, Noah?"
"Not really. Mostly he's spent the last three days completely wrapped up in Kaiba Corp. I don't know how he does it, Yuugi." There was a lot of pride and admiration in Jou's voice. "Even with Noah, this place was - it just wasn't working anymore, and then Seto comes in and he just makes things happen."
"Well, I guess that's just the sort of person that Seto is," Yuugi said thoughtfully. He straightened up as Yami and Seto came over. Now that Seto was away from the desk, he looked like he was in serious need of a long break. The skin under his eyes was so dark and puffy that it was starting to look permanent. But he was also wearing a satisfied smirk, and judging by the way that most of the employees they walked past flinched and scurried away he'd been busy.
"Did you really have to terrorize them?" Yami said, sounding like he was trying not to laugh.
"Most of them are fortunate they still have a job," said Seto as they left. There was an almost audible sigh of relief from behind them when the door shut, and Yuugi had to bite back a grin.
It didn't take very long to get back to the mansion. Everyone else, with the exception of Malik, Mariku, Isis, Honda and Otogi, was already there waiting. Yuugi learned that the hard way when he took two steps outside of the car and was promptly tackled by a blonde octopus that grabbed him around the waist and clung to him. He stumbled back against the car with a startled squeak, feeling his face flame as Rebecca took full advantage of just where her hands had landed.
"Oh I was so worried about you!" Rebecca said into his chest, and to her credit she actually did sound a little concerned, but that was mitigated by the fact that she was groping him at the same time.
"Worry from a distance." Yami peeled her off easily and wrapped a possessive arm around Yuugi's shoulders. Rebecca pouted, but she was smiling. Yuugi smiled back at her, because he could tell that this time she was just pretending to be annoyed for show. Or at least, he hoped that's how it was.
"Hey Yuugi," Anzu called, waving. At some point, someone - he guessed Miho - had set up several patio tables and chairs on the lawn. Anzu was sitting in one of the chairs, holding a pink drink with a little umbrella. Her feet were propped up in Mai's lap. Miho and, surprisingly, Noah were also sitting at the table. All three of them had similar drinks, though Noah's was missing the umbrella. Jou took one look at Noah and stopped cold, glancing over at Seto with an astonished expression.
"I thought about it," Seto said stiffly. "He can have a trial run. I'll be watching very closely to make sure that he doesn't -" Whatever else he was about to say was rudely cut off when Jou grabbed his shoulders and pulled him in for a deep kiss.
"Did you know he was going to do that?" Yuugi whispered, waving to Arthur. The man nodded back as he walked over to Sugoroku.
"No, but that's what I suspected he would do. Whether Seto likes to admit it or not, he has a much larger heart than he gives himself credit for." Yami's hands were warm as they walked over to the tables. "If Mokuba gets along well with Noah, then in a couple of months you'll probably see him and maybe Miho move in."
"It's a good thing Seto has a big house," Yuugi muttered, taking a seat beside Anzu. Yami sat down next to him, and Yuugi glanced at Anzu. "I thought that the plane landed at noon? Where are the others? I thought they'd be here by now."
"I got a text from Isis," said Mai. She was rubbing her thumb idly over the bottom of Anzu's foot. "She said that the plane was a little late. They should be here soon."
"No problems?" Yami asked.
"Not as far as Isis said."
The door to the mansion swung open then, and Shizuka and Mokuba came out with more trays of drinks. Shizuka set hers down on one of the tables and then ran to Jou, giving him an exuberant hug. "Thank you!" she shouted. "I'm so glad that you were willing to talk to Mom for me, Nii-san. I really didn't want to have to go back with her."
Jou laughed and hugged her back. "I'm glad you can stay too."
"Have you met Mokuba yet?" Yuugi asked, looking at Noah as Mokuba went to greet his brother.
He nodded. "Seto called me down to Kaiba Corp yesterday and introduced the two of us." He sounded a little bewildered by that, and Miho reached over and put her hand on his knee. He shot her a grateful smile and added, "He reacted much more positively than I expected."
Yuugi wasn't surprised by that. He'd seen the way that Mokuba reacted around Seto and Yami. It was like he coveted the members of his tiny family because they were so rare. The chances of Mokuba having a problem with another family member was pretty unlikely. "I'm glad. I think that once Seto gets used to having you around, it will be good for him to have some help with Kaiba Corp. He works way too hard sometimes."
Noah's smile was shy. "I hope so."
"There they are," Anzu said suddenly, swinging her legs off of Mai's lap. Sure enough, one of Seto's cars was pulling into the driveway. As soon as it stopped, the back door opened before the driver could get out and Malik bounded out. Mariku followed, shaking his head and grinning, and then came Isis, Otogi and Honda - each of them looking a little more tanned, but overall no more worse for the wear. Anzu and Mai stood up and went to go greet them.
\We're finally all back together again,\ Yami observed. He looked and felt happy, completely stress free in a way that Yuugi had never felt from him before.
/And the best part is, this time we don't have to worry about anyone ruining it,/ Yuugi replied. He couldn't get close enough because of the way the chairs were designed, and finally he just got up and moved over to sit in Yami's lap. It was a much more comfortable spot, anyway. He curled in close, resting his head against Yami's shoulder and watching their friends
A/N: Some part of me can't believe this story is finally over. Way back when I first started the prequel, Give Myself Away, I never imagined it would grow so much! That was my first Yu-Gi-Oh story, and I'm pleased that this series ended up paving my way into the fandom. I want to thank everyone who stuck with me while I was writing both of them, and for everyone who reviewed - I might not have always been able to respond to comments, but I appreciated every word more than you can imagine.
I've gotten a few questions about what's next, and do I have any stories planned to replace this one? The truth is, I haven't got anything concrete - yet. But there will definitely be another story, because I am far from finished with these boys. Feel free to author alert me if you're concerned you might miss out on what's next. Thank you!