AN: Important author notes at the end. I'd suggest you read the first two before this chapter but otherwise go nuts little ones!

Warnings: death, swearing like sailors and excessive smut.
Pairings: Yami/Yugi. Side Atem/Yugi later and sort of Yami/Heba (it's very complicated that one)
Updates: weekly (might switch to fortnightly)

'Gambit'- An opening in which a player makes a sacrifice, typically of a pawn, for the sake of some compensating advantage. OR A device, action, or opening remark, typically one entailing a degree of risk, that is calculated to gain an advantage.


The Minister for Defence had a policy which generally involved capping office politics with military precision. Rules of conduct in his wing of the Palace were fairly simple:

1. Bitch with your friends.
2. Sit on your ass at home.
3. No, I don't like any of you. They don't pay me enough for that.

It all worked swimmingly in theory and not so much in practice. Though perhaps that was lumping the military and administration components of his career too close together. Some things worked exceptionally well: the Empire was gaining territory in the war, as the youngest member of the Ministry he had just enough self-control to handle the perversion and procrastination of the Emperor and co, and generally speaking no one had really gone over the photocopying budget in the office. His secretary was actually re-arranging the spread sheet to redirect the money they didn't spend on memos to throat lozenges, strong coffee and the manliest of commodities expensive chocolate. Yes, it was a trite solution, and yes if Minister Sennen was still reporting for field work the docs would have something to say about his cholesterol but as he was not still on active military duty all that could amount to a big fat, summative, fuck it.

All things considered military hierarchy in the Empire was actually fairly stable too. Partly or entirely, depending on the source you inquired from, because Mister Yugi Motou was no longer part of military hierarchy. Yugi Motou was legendary for two things: fucking up the Minister's long standing oath to refuse therapy and not playing well with others. Actually that was Yami Sennen's personal list. In the wider community of the nation Yugi Motou was famous for almost single handily winning the war effort and being a massive dick.

The press loved him despite long standing orders, upon serious threats of execution from the Minister, that after that watershed incident Yugi Motou was not to ever ever speak directly with press or be within a hundred meters of a news copter again. It didn't matter. Yugi Motou was their national war hero, the Ace in the Hole, the mech specialist every little boy wanted to curb stomp and he was of a very unsuiting appearance for his image. By that Minister Yami Sennen meant of course that for a universally acknowledged little shit Yugi Motou stood five-six as the prettiest damn thing you ever did see. Fucking little...

The Minister was a strict man, fearsome, and in private all he really needed was a good back scratch, something strong and as little conversation regarding his childhood as possible. A man of simple needs and great reputation who rather wondered what sort of karma he'd racked up to deserve Yugi Motou during his life time. He couldn't recall any orphan drowning sprees in the last ten years. Sure Yami Sennen had accumulated an… unsightly, was the word the Emperor used, record at the Royal Military Academy for his failure to remain a member of any institutional club for longer than ten minutes. Even the Chess Team had endured a…falling out with eighteen year old Yami Sennen. That however, in his opinion, did not slate a man of his birth rank and position for a career ensuring some angel faced little bitch didn't nuke the wrong side of the border in a tantrum.

"Minister," the secretary chirped uncertainly across the intercom on an otherwise lovely Thursday morning, "Mister Motou is here to see you."

Cue a show of supreme restraint as the Minister decided the mature course of action would be to take the meeting after screaming quietly into his palms. There. Much better. Alright, inhaling sharply, he positioned himself back in his chair and ran through the appropriate mental protocol preceding a meeting with his favourite little stress tumour. Sadly they were out of scotch. Still what was the worst the Knight could've done? He'd been on recon in some outpost near the Republican capital. All Yugi Motou had to do was count how many mechs the enemy had in their sandy waste basket excuse of a city and come promptly home.

"Alright, send him in," Minister Sennen ordered stoutly.

Oh, and it had been such a lovely Thursday till now.

It was never a good sign when Yugi Motou strutted into your office by opening the door backwards. Yami Sennen mourned the loss of another perfectly respectable, decent, day when Yugi Motou unhooked the door of his office with both hands cuffed behind his back.

"What did you do now Mister Motou?" Yami seethed in his seat, unable to contain himself from waiting till the Knight saluted, half because his therapist said he really needed to vent more and half because Yugi Motou could not salute in handcuffs.

Yugi turned still in his slick response suit, a combat model with strapped on secondary pads for rolling round in a mech cockpit like a psycho (note to self: revoke the 'like'), and grinned round the key prized between his teeth. One leg shot back to kick the door shut while he strutted, there was no less offensive word, and at a foot or three back from the Minister's desk he spat the key with a saloon aim onto the Minister's paper work. That done he leant all his weight into one cocked hip, arms straight and began simply by saying:

"The good news is you're going to have to invent another medal to give me," which was directly followed by, "the bad news is those fuckers in HQ court martialled me again."

"So am I to assume you're resisting military arrest or is this how they decided to send you to me after due course?" He sighed bitterly leaning his temple into one hand.

"If you've seen the brig once Minister you've seen it at least another four times," Motou shrugged casually, Yami Sennen would've challenged him were he not so well aware that Yugi Motou saw the brig more frequently during the course of a year than Yami saw his solicitor.

"Honestly I don't know why they bother anymore." He groaned.

"You revoked the Carte Blanche from March Minister." The Knight blamed before ordering lazily. "Un-cuff me?"

"I don't see why I should bother," Yami grunted, he didn't think he could shake his head anymore without getting a cramp.

"Oh it's one little court martial," Yugi scoffed, "and Bohemia is putting Mechsat the top of their Christmas list this year. What more do you want from me?"

"Well you've thoroughly explored an exhaustive list of what I don't want. Now, hopefully, sometime in the next twenty years you can start guessing the alternatives." He chided snidely.

"I'm sorry Minister," the Knight cooed sweetly, "I never did finish that course on ass-kissing at the Academy."

Yugi Motou had apparently quite given up on the Minister's willingness to un-cuff him any time in the immediate future and slumping into his antique chaise backed up against the far wall hiked one leg over the other. Sighing Yami slumped back in his own seat, eyed the paint cracks in the ceiling and started to consider the options for early retirement or dishonourable discharge from the service of the Emperor.

"Alright, that's it," Yami decided smacking his palm stoutly against the surface of his abused hard wood desk. "I have had it up to here with you."

"I know Minister," Motou sighed smugly in his slouch, "I really have to kick this habit of winning your war. It looks shit on my record."

"New rules," Sennen snapped loudly, and all at once that traitorous index finger of his was waggling sharply at Motou like the laser sight of a ballistic. "You're working with a damn team next time!"

"Ha!" Yugi cawed snidely. "Minister, I thought you and I worked through this when the chain of command put a restraining order on me."

It was a beautiful strategy really. Three hundred officers up to and including three of the generals had filed simultaneous restraining orders en masse upon Mister Motou on what had been a reasonably lovely Tuesday till the memo hit his desk. Minister Sennen had been forced to re-establish a fucking archaic Order of Knights to keep Motou in the armed forces after Special Ops had refused to have him anywhere near their barracks. He didn't blame them. He'd heard all about that Christmas party in particular.

Currently concerning Motou there was only one chain in the command. Motou answered directly to the Minister for Defence, Yami sadly till he developed a multiple personality to handle the shit, and Motou then promptly pottered off to do whatever he felt like. If those urges didn't so frequently win them landslide victories Yami would've reinstated the guillotine as a form of military execution.

"There's no point having a knighthood if you're the only member," Yami snapped, it was depressing really. "Elite special ops officers will be placed under your command, despite my better judgement, and you will be damn happy to have them."

It wasn't a good strategy really but then at least someone else could endure Motou on a frequent basis. Maybe with a group tethered to slow him down the prodigy would finally discover some submerged leadership qualities and play mother hen. He could have a little psycho family to traumatise the enemy with and maybe, just once, Sennen would have a bargaining chip over him.

"And second," he boomed. "You are not laying one devious finger on a Mech rig until you set up and attend regular appointments with a military therapist."

"Ha!" The little shit emphasized lurching in his seat, cackling forward wildly, like some deranged strumpet sprawled across the Minister's chaise

"If I have to see one so do you," maturity was fast sinking this ship that was certain but on the inhale the Minister still couldn't recover it. That infectious, vein throbbing, temper Yami had acquiesced from his father and perfected under the care of his guardian was out in full bloom this fine Thursday.

Yugi Motou cackled, harlot he was, into the arm of the chaise as if he was at some goddamn slumber party and Yami was quite sure that unflattering lower lip twitch of his was beginning to reform.

"Smashing idea!" Yugi laughed. "I've never had a profession ban me! Shall I aim for that by Christmas or would you like the mass resignation of all your staff before October?"

"No missions without a crew," Yami repeated sternly. "No crew until you see a therapist. That's it. I don't care if I have to bench you for the rest of the year."

"You will." He teased smugly.

"No, the Nation will," the Minister corrected shortly, "and I'm not a charitable sod."

"Clearly," the strumpet snorted amusedly, "anything else Minister?"

"No Motou." He snapped. "Take your ass out of here."

"I'd salute Sir but I'm going to have to bow." Yugi purred as he hooked himself up onto his feet and sauntered across the carpet back towards the door. He gave a flourish of a dip as his hands grasped the handle behind the small of his back and tilting his head back up grinned wildly. "Have a great day Minister."

The pen, mightier than the sword, was probably not as convenient as tool to stab his own eyes out with Sennen rued.

What Yami Sennen did not like to admit was that in all actuality he was likely to lose this debate. Not for lack of vigour mind, the Minister for Defence was as stubborn as anyone raised with the Crown Prince had to be to get half a word in edgewise. The royal family, known for their drinking, gambling and…well, Yami didn't need to fill in that gap but needless to say as cousin to future king, orphaned and politically powerful Yami Sennen had not been raised to be a wisp. Whatever pack of wolves had weened and reared Yugi Motou (before the Knight ate them assumedly) had likewise filled his veins with spite thick enough to congeal the boy's blood if ever a breath of self-loathing struck him strongly enough.

It was what Mahado, his closest inferior and nearest smoking companion, rather eloquently called "the timeless struggle between an immovable object and an unstoppable force" though he rather conveniently shied away from specifying who was who. Mana didn't say very much on the whole debacle outside of swearing lowly at the photocopier when Sennen order for the increasingly frequent caffeine refills.

The army, in theory, loved the concept of being without Yugi Motou. Yami Sennen loved the concept of a world, a glorious Utopia really, where he could go on with his duty and just fire the nasty little spitfire to exile never to be seen again by man or beast or politician (Yami had long since been taught that Politicians were somewhere in the chain of being entirely separate to decent men). Sadly however in practice, like so many things, it didn't really work.

Three weeks in and while Yugi Motou strut himself down the Capital high street in full view of a hungry media Yami was saving soppy kneed generals on the front from their own incompetence. The faddy-dodders he commanded were senile old bats really. They, all of them Sennen included, rather depended on Motou's wild, insensitive, virility to carry them through the harder patches when it came to the languishing war. The generals, the Ministry in general, got to play strategy games on their maps, report numbers and then send Yugi Motou in. Motou had a flouncing disrespect for authority sure but his desires (which consistent mainly of: 'why what on Earth can I blow up today? Golly gee whose life haven't I ruined yet?' Yami imagined) so often made his job easier.

The real crux of it was that, quite frankly, ordering large numbers of troops, feeding them, clothing them, dealing with their simpers about Christmas with families… was hard, expensive, work. Lobbing a box of TNT, a kind of tactical nuke, they called Yugi Motou at the enemy was quick, cheap, easy and devastatingly successful. Without him the Minister had his work cut out for him and needless to say both his stress and cholesterol levels were rising.

"The bloody hell is going on down here?" The Emperor grumbled finally when he pottered into Sennen's office (after the obligatory passing pat to Mana's unsuspecting ass).

The Emperor was a simple man. He liked war. He was convinced the Republic existed entirely on stolen Imperial lands he wanted back and he wanted them back as quickly as possible preferably in a grandiose fashion.

"Pardon Majesty?"

"What's Motou doing flashing his ass round town?" Gozaburo prodded more plainly. "Jenkins tells me we're bleeding funds and we've lost three clicks on the south line!"

"We're having something of an office dispute." Yami sighed primly.

"Well settle it!" He huffed. "Want this damn thing moving on. Got to take some of the coast by Christmas you know."

"Yes Majesty, well," Sennen exhaled again, "Motou's being…difficult. I can't, in good faith, let him out onto the front till he takes his psychological evaluation. He's well overdue."

"Of course he is, he's a raging lunatic," the Emperor snorted. "Send him out anyway. Boy's no good sane darn it all Sennen. "

"I need him to respect the chain of command." Yami empathized. The liquor he had stashed in that special bottom desk drawer of his was increasingly tempting especially as, utterly unapologetic, good old uncle Gozaburo took his mid-morning swig from the flask permanently perched on his hip. "It's a matter of principle Majesty."

"Can we win the war without him?" The Emperor bristled round his whiskers.

"I really wish we could?" Sennen offered.

"Get him in a cockpit," the man gaffed. "I'm tired of seeing his ass over the papers. He's making a mockery of the military. Making you look like a right tosspot after that defeat in Belgrade not to mention."

"I know," Yami groaned, pinching the bridge of his nose fiercely. "I'll get right on that Majesty."

"That's my boy!" He decided. "Smashing then!"

Yes the Emperor always was more dashingly social when one gave into his every whim. Sennen had learnt that young. None of the royal line really seemed to have any patience for anything. The amount of time the Crown Prince spent in that damn laboratory Sennen was convinced he would end up ruling the nation via proxy when Gozaburo carked it (from liver or lung cancer whichever one edged the other out in the race).

Yugi Motou was making a mockery of several other things when the Minister finally tracked him down. Had no schedule, impossible to find, and while security assured him Motou was still in the Military block of the Palace they weren't quite sure where and no one really wanted to get him. When calling the emergency phone in the gymnasium had failed, after a quick camera check, Sennen had decided to totter down there himself to fetch the buzzard.

Yugi Motou's mother should've been ashamed of herself, whatever Medusa she was, for allowing such a sprite to inhabit such a perfectly appealing body. That was Sennen's ruing anyway when he found the Knight pounding the track of the treadmill sweating through a pair of delicious little shorts which did nothing to hide his ass and everything for his legs.

"Motou!" Sennen roused his voice. He rather wanted the pilot to jump, startled, at least once but with this he was disappointingly ignored. "Motou!"

"Yeah what?" Yugi called lazily, breathless, from the tread arms swinging.

"We need to talk." He used his best 'I am the big scary commander voice' (which the press had successfully used to turn his image into some kind of spiked codpiece wearing tyrant) but to no avail.

"Knock yourself out." Motou panted and huffing tight through his nostrils Sennen was reduced to strutting in closer. Temptation emerged, briefly, to turn off the treadmill at the wall with dramatic flair but Yami rather considered Motou might actually hit him.

"You need to go back on the field."

"I know." Motou grinned eyes ahead.

"Have you scheduled to see a psychiatrist yet?"

"Nope." Those eyes, nor that grin, ever wavered. "How about you?"

"You've been all over the paper." The Minister hissed.

"Thinking about going into modelling," Motou joked.

"Well you'll certainly need to consider alternative means of employment if you don't meet your medical requirements for active duty." He huffed properly.

"Awesome." Yugi answered still breathless, hair bouncing off his face. "Send me a memo when you win the war."

"Motou!" He grunted, fingers flaring between either strangling the brazen harlot or himself till eventually resolving to clench in fists.

"You need a vacation Minister."

"We need to come to a resolution," Yami snapped, "it's pressing to national security."

"What did you have in mind?" The Knight inquired blandly the corners of those full lips perking up. Little harlot knew he'd won.

Sighing Sennen leant himself into the frame of the treadmill unable to really bother asserting his authority stance much longer.

"You take a team with you next time. I want to turn the Knighthood into an elite unit." Not just one sociopath with a very big laser however much that intimidated the enemy.

"I don't play well with others."

"Do you really want to stay here any longer?"

"Nope, getting fat," Yugi concurred bluntly. "What's plan B?"

"That is Plan B."

"What's Plan C?" Motou grinned cheekily as the vein in Yami's forehead reached critical mass.

"Now you listen here," Yami grumbled thrusting out his index finger, "I am getting thoroughly fed up with your nonsense. You take a crew. You let a few competent pilots tag along with you on your next mission and I can get back to running the damn army."

"If they die it's not my fault." He retorted simply. "I'm not covering anyone's ass. If they can't keep up I'm not going back for them."

Sweet mother of Christ, the Minister was fairly sure the Gates of Hell had ripped asunder so Beelzebub himself could gape at Yami Sennen's fortune. The impossible had occurred Yugi Motou had consented to a compromise. Praise the Lord!

"You'll be working with elite special ops." He clarified with as much prim composure as he could manage. "All you have to do is give orders. I'm sure you'll relish the chance to boss someone around."

"Natural leadership qualities."

"Dashing, well," Yami was at a loss as to how to end a conversation with Yugi Motou that did not involve shouting or threatened masculinity. "Best get prepped. You'll be briefed with a team shortly."

"Don't send anyone you like."

"Yugi Motou?" The scraggly blonde cried. "Really?"

The Minister glanced, despairing eyes in a stern face, to Mahado who stood beside him with the clip board. This was their best sharp shooter? He was officially the monkey king of an army of savages. Not that the blonde's immediate peers seemed proud of his outburst upon the announcement. As a matter of fact the green eyed male to the right seemed rathe sickly in his parlour.

"Something wrong Mister Katsuya?" Sennen inquired, one fine brow raised.

"Ah!" The blonde caught his protocol suddenly. "No Sir! That just sounds amazing Sir!"

"I take it you've never met Mister Motou then." Yami snorted and the brunette on the end of the line quirked into a grin while the green eyed centre male continued to languish miserably.

"Uh…no Sir?"

"You'll learn."

He did.

"Sir!" Katsuya piked before the Minister could so much as part his lips. "I would like to formally request my removal from Commander Motou's unit!"

"Quiet down Katsuya," he snapped, "we're about to begin the debriefing."

The blonde turned crimson, struggled to salute with his broken arm on reflex and under the Minister's glower smacked up his second hand a fumbling second later against his forehead almost knocking Ryuji over beside him.

Motou ignored his trio of denizens and sauntering across pulled himself up to sit upon the edge of Sennen's desk leaning dully into his arms. Yami would've shouted at him as well but he wasn't prepared to lose a debate with Yugi Motou in front of the other troops. His reputation as the fearsome warlord would be irrevocably shot so, for the moment, he figured that he could do himself more favours by appearing to be in corroboration with the troublemaker.

"General Mahado tells me you decimated most of the Belgrade unit and forced the remaining Republican pilots into a strategic retreat. Yet I have a room full of miserable looking victors."

And one scraggly sharp shooting blonde with a broken arm. Yugi snorted on his desk, one leg hooking over the opposing knee and silent, mercifully, seemed deliciously sour. Yami could get used to packing the Knight up to go play with other children if it persisted in making him so unhappy.

"Sir," Hiroto voiced, "I think there was a serious failure in communication within the chain of command."

"I agree," Ryuji the green-eyed intellect added a little more confidently. "Motou totally abandoned us out there."

"Motou?" Yami inquired leaning back in his desk. This might be fun. It couldn't hurt either way actually this meeting was a great excuse to put off calling the Minister for Finance.

"Ya think? Cause see, what I saw out there was a bunch of morons who can't take out some nobody in a Z6." Yugi snorted twisting over his shoulder to the Minister. "I gave the Looney Toons here one job: take out the left unit. By the time I'd utterly destroyed the remaining threethese clowns were playing tag with some Republican Lieutenant while his unit withdrew."

"We asked you for assistance!" Katsuya grunted. "That guy was crazy-good!"

"Oh please," Motou sneered, "he was in a Dragon Mech. They're tripods. All you have to do is shoot at the base and he legs come out right from under them. They're top heavy! Didn't the academy teach you anything?

"Alright enough," Yami waved them down, "point is: you won. We've reclaimed Belgrade. As for this" he gestured, "sort it out. Motou's in charge. Hiroto, Ryuji, Katsuya you received your orders, you complied, next time I expect a better performance."

"Yes Sir."

There nothing quite like the chorusing of unhappy drones. Yami Sennen saw this as an almost personal victory. Yugi Motou miserable, forced into compromises, bringing back a team of elites alive… Oh it wasn't going to last. He wasn't that naïve. Motou would find a way to squirm out of it (or rip his way out of it given his aggression) but till then Yami was going to savour this.

As they filed out, Motou languishing stubbornly on the desk, Yami had parliamentary meetings to consider. He was going to have to bring paper work. The Minister for Agriculture was dubiously sober most mornings, which should prove amusing, but Gangsley tended to rave endlessly so a few cultured, adult, distractions were in order.

"Something wrong Motou?" Yami sighed drawing out the top compartment of his desk.

"Want to take bets on how long the toys will last?" He supposed coyly.

"You break them you have to give your condolences to the families in person." The Minister threatened. He hated signing letters to war widows. Ate up so much of his coffee break he had Mana forge his signature these days. It was a ridiculous notion that the Minister for Defence should pretend to be personally moved by the tragic early death of a grunt too stupid to move up the ranks or a find job where bullet proof vests weren't part of the uniform. Now the day Motou died he would show his compassion for the human race. He'd have a little party and everything.

"Will I get new ones?" Yugi pondered aloud.


"Darn." He sighed. "On a scale of one to Katsuya how annoying are their replacements?"

"Well no one will ever outshine you if that's any concern." Yami snorted.

"What's that?" Mana perked over his shoulder intrusively later that afternoon, clustering in to infringe upon Yami personal space as he hunched at his desk while she flittered with the filing.

Little bumblebee Mana with her tight, bright, voice and a body that wouldn't quit had been his somewhat conspiratorial secretary now for ten years. Yami envied how a woman her age could still look so at home on a beach. Since leaving active duty on the field he'd felt a little poncy.

"New mech they're building," the Minister shrugged before realizing in remark, "top secret though Mana dear."

"Of course," she tapped her nose wading back to the filing cabinet and the stack of teetering manila on his pushed aside coffee table. "New super weapon?"

"The Emperor hopes so." Yami shrugged flipping through the files. "Hog tied me into funding and supervising them. Till they show me something aside from bills however I'll maintain its complete poppycock. The EX0D1A," he sneered, "most bizarre thing I've ever heard."

"Speaking of bizarre," Mana grinned in elaboration.

"Oh let's not," he groaned, "I have to talk about Yugi Motou enough as is."

"Alright then," she surrendered with uncharacteristic and peppy ease, "something else then?"

"Anything," Yami huffed.

"How's your love life?"

The file slumped against the desk as, slouching, Yami was forced to shot her the most mellowed look of disbelieving scorn he could muster. Really? They were going to open up that old chestnut again? It must've been a Monday…

"Non-existent," he clarified, "and what have I said about the discussion of private matters within the office?"

"Gossip with your friends," Mana recited the second cardinal rule, giggling. "Aren't I?"

"During working hours I don't have to consent to any discussions about theoretical dates." He shot back with a snort.

"You need one though Minister," she teased, "we aren't getting any younger. Your tits will be scrapping the sidewalk soon."

"Charming imagery, gold star," was his immediate diversion. He knew he was getting old. He didn't need reminding. Thirty-two was a disgusting number.

"Oh come on," Mana laughed. "You'd be a catch. You're the Emperor's nephew, sixth-or-something in line to the throne, if you can't get a toy boy what hope do I have?"

"I don't leave the office," Yami snorted, "I don't have a private life. Besides I have plenty of hopeful suitors they just all want something and most of them are noble girls looking for marriage prospects…"

"God's first leeches eh?" She added knowingly. "No reason you shouldn't work a little magic though."

"Eh," Yami grumbled, "the older I get the less effort I want to put into the maintenance of someone else's feelings. Especially when it comes to toy boys."

"Get someone without feelings then. Get laid." Mana supposed flippantly.

"Everyone has feelings," the Minister sighed, "it's a curse. Even I have a few clustered up in my shrivelled little heart."

"Everyone except Yugi Motou."

"Yes well I was referring to people not demons."

The royal linage in Cyprus was something of a disaster plainly put. A bit of drunken shambles all in all. Yami Sennen's father had died after his birth but before the death of his grandfather which, in some circles, left the matter of next-in-line to the throne rather debatable. His uncle, the current Emperor Gozaburo, thought so clearly given how he assumed supremacy when Yami was a toddler rather than endure as head of a regency. Yami wasn't quite sure how he felt about that. He rather pushed his potential supremacy as 'true heir' aside. The current Emperor had raised him as his ward, rather well actually the temper and negativity aside (though how he'd managed that between boozing and whoring was mysterious), and Yami had no great interest in assuming any more responsibility than he already held.

Then of course there was Gozaburo's actual line: Seto, Noah and Mokuba. Supposedly all three were Yami's full blooded, legitimate, cousins which was a pure fabrication of the highest calibre. Noah was, indeed, Yami's cousin or at least poor boy had been before the haemophilia soured that bright little spark. His passing had been tragic and in the wake of such everyone tended not to discuss how the Emperor had miraculously 'discovered' two more sons. The official story was that Gozaburo had always had three sons. The official story was the safest for anyone who didn't want to live under house arrest. Yami had been twelve at the time of the propaganda campaign obscuring little Seto and Mokuba's adoptions. Now adult men they had very little to do with each other but they had once been raised rather closely. These days however Seto, six years Yami's junior, stayed in his laboratory tinkering with preposterously named mechs and Yami remained the most practical level-headed member of the family.

Finally there was, secretly, little Yugi Motou. Yami was hazy of the exact specifics. He did know for certain at least that the Emperor had taken eight year old Yugi Motou into custody from God knew where and immediately set the little prodigy to his academic and military greenhouse for cultivating. Six years Seto's junior and twelve Yami's however Yugi had been raised in something of blissful, spoilt, isolation specifically, Yami theorized, to create the very decimating and calamitous force of nature 'spirit of war' creature he now was.

The point of it was that Gozaburo had assembled a shambled little collective of wards, three of them prodigies of respective fields, which sounded blissful but in reality was quite imposing during 'family' dinners. Not that Gozaburo was a family dinner kind of man but every now and then he got the urge to assemble his little menagerie and gloat somewhat over them.

Yami didn't like dinners because they very frequently involved three of his greatest pet peeves: time that could've been better spent, children and socialization. The most vivid of such dinners Yami remembered from his youth was a long and colourful list which had more than once involved hard liquor. Seto and Yami tended to tumble into technical debates about the running of the army. Yugi rather intimidated Mokuba. Yugi intimidated everyone though. When Yami was twenty-four and little Yugi had been twelve placing them across the table had ended in the passing of several unsavoury glances.

A discordant group surely, not the standout occasions of the Minister's social calendar however sparse it was and matters were only made worse when in the elevator to the more private wings of the palace he found Yugi Motou coming up from the basement hangar where the Knight's mech was serviced.

"Do you own anything other than uniforms and piloting gear?" Yami proposed instantly as he took stride beside him.

"Do you own anything other than suits?" Yugi returned arms crossed slackly as he leant into one leg.


"Got a cigarette?"

"I didn't think you smoked." Sennen was never very successful at being informal and slipping his hand in his breast found himself handing over a pair.

"I don't." Yugi snorted. "You can guarantee he'll ask me for one though."

"Why do you think I have them?" He retorted a fraction lighter and smirking beside him Motou made quite an elaborate sweeping gesture to permit Yami first exit from the elevator.


1 I'm going to include, in brackets, tracks for scenes (aka the songs I listened to when I was writing that scene) and then an 'end track' note to tell you where to stop listening to a certain song. They're just suggestions which might help you guys get in the mood. Check back next time for more details.

For this chapter there are no set songs but I listened to on low:
(Mainly) Buffy the Vampire Slayer- Going Through the Motions Instrumental/Karaoke Version

Fountains of Wayne- Stacy's Mom Has Got it Going On
Lords of Acid- I Must Increase My Bust
Ataris- In This Diary
Wheatus- Teenage Dirtbag

2 I'll also be including 'hint songs' from time to time. These might be what I consider a characters' theme song or a couples' theme song and these will give you hints as well. They'll be posted at the end of the chapter.

For this chapter:
Yugi- Miranda Lambert- Fastest Girl in Town
Yami- Avenue Q- There is Life outside Your Apartment

3 This fic is sort of what I imagine would happen if Black Adder, Code Geass, Zoids and YuGiOh beat each other up in a bar. You'll probably catch references to all three. Which is probably why I've been loving writing this.

4 No, Yami and Yugi aren't nice people. They're wonderfully pre-damaged. I wouldn't call them anti-heroes in that I'd be more inclined to call them villains. That said I'm of the firm belief that the longer you keep a bad guy on screen the less intimidating they're revealed to be. Inside every evil empire there's a lot fairly normal shit happening. Even Voldemort takes bathroom breaks.

5 Carte Blanche/ Blank Cheque – basically when you get military permission to do whatever is necessary with full backing from your national authority which became a thing in 1914 during WWI.

6 Response Suit/Combat Suit- a kind of suit worn to help up your effectiveness when piloting a mech (or giant robot), looks something vaguely like those in Evangelion or Code Geass. Mechs themselves are closer in size to Code Geass robots and similar shape.

7 Where are they? Well you can think of it as somewhere between far future Earth or distant planet with same name. The people of Cyprus are mostly Catholics for one thing, celebrate Christmas and both countries share some catch phrases we're familiar with.

8 Empire = Cyprus (a city close to Egypt in Shakespeare's Othello where brave, diligent, Othello is tricked into killing his interracial wife and then murders himself in grief)
Republic = Bohemia (a country in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. A sort of pastoral wonderland where lost princesses find true love and old wounds are healed.)

9 Yugi's subordinates- Otogi Ryuji, Honda Hiroto and Jonouchi Katsuya

Hope you all got a giggle~