Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh! is the creation of Kazuki Takahashi. This is a not-for-profit fanwork and I do not own any of these characters.
"Epilogue:" Livin' la Vida Kaiba
It was Seto Kaiba's house.
It wasn't that Sugoroku didn't remember that, but even though it was Seto's house, there were some things that were and weren't okay...
The old man sighed, shook his head, and poured himself a second cup of coffee.
It had been a week since Yugi and Anzu had returned from their honeymoon, and Sugoroku had moved out to live with the Kaibas. The move itself had gone very smoothly: with the furniture staying behind for Yugi's use, Sugoroku really only had clothing and a few personal items to bring along. A few trips in his SUV – along with several pairs of helping hands – had been enough to make the move.
Adjusting to a new routine had been a little more difficult. Sugoroku was used to waking up early, sitting down with some coffee and toast and reading the paper, before getting the store ready to open up. Lunch would have been takeout or leftovers from the fridge. And after the shop closed in the evening, he'd have dinner with Yugi and maybe watch a bit of TV with him, or play a game. Now he really had nothing to wake up early for and there weren't any shop shelves to clean or stock, unless he wanted to drive over and impose on Yugi. And Yami took care of the meals and a housekeeper magically appeared to tidy up around the house, including his nicely furnished room, which left the old man with lots of time on his hands but not many ways to contribute. Which, he supposed, was what had led to the incident in question...
He'd gone downstairs to see if Yami wanted a hand with dinner, though the former Pharaoh usually declined with a smile and a slight shake of his head. He'd walked past Noa on the way in to the kitchen; the green-haired man was snacking on a bag of pretzel pieces and smirked at him as he passed by, only realizing after several seconds that he needed to spin around and yell out, "No, waiiit!"
By then, it had been too late. Sugoroku had strolled into the kitchen and practically stumbled over Seto, who was lying atop Yami just past the entrance. Both men were naked and sweaty, blinking in his direction with mild irritation in their eyes before it dawned on Yami that he ought to try and push his lover off himself while scrambling for a towel or an apron or something to serve as cover.
Sugoroku hadn't stuck around to see if Yami had been successful in his efforts. He'd gasped, mumbled an apology, then backpedaled out of the room until he'd accidentally bumped into Noa, before turning and rushing back upstairs. He'd stayed there until Mokuba shyly knocked on his door an hour later to tell him dinner was ready, if he still wanted it…
Predictably, dinner had been an uncomfortable affair. Mokuba and Noa had done most of the talking, feeling the need to fill up the silence with chatter. Seto had spent his time staring at his plate or the tabletop or the wall – pretty much anywhere that a family member's face wasn't. And Yami had alternated between chewing slowly and smiling awkwardly at everyone, while commenting on nothing.
Sugoroku had gone back to his room after dinner, leaving Seto and Yami downstairs "watching TV." He doubted they'd do anything so soon after eating, but then again, he'd noticed before that they rarely paid attention to the programs being aired. Sometimes one man ended up falling asleep on the other, as if they chronically weren't getting enough sleep at night.
Sleep was something that hadn't come easily to the old man afterwards as well. Not that he'd been angry about what he'd seen – shocked, yes, definitely – but it wasn't like the lovers had deliberately tried to offend him. He was starting to wonder if Seto had really thought things through, when he'd offered to let him live with them. He wondered if he was in the way. Because even though it was Seto's house, there had to be some limits to the sort of behavior that went on while others were present. But he wasn't sure how to approach the subject – Seto had never been easy to talk to, even now. He wasn't really looking forward to trying.
Fretting had kept him up half the night. Hence the appeal of all that coffee…
The sound of footsteps briskly making their way towards the kitchen pulled Sugoroku's attention back to the present. It didn't surprise him that Seto was the first one down – he always was. Even though he'd learned to delegate many tasks to his vice-presidents, Kaiba Corp. was still his company, and it was a duty he took very seriously. The brunette didn't look terribly surprised to see him, but he also didn't seem to be in a mood to chat. He paused at the threshold a moment before stepping into the room, accepted Sugoroku's offering of a cup of coffee in a travel mug with tight lips and a mumbled "Good morning," then disappeared out the door.
Noa and Mokuba weren't that much better… their faces colored slightly when they saw Sugoroku sitting in the kitchen, and although they politely made small talk before they too headed out the door, it was pretty obvious that they'd rather pretend like nothing had happened. Though… they didn't seem so much flustered about their brother being caught in a compromising position, rather, they seemed like they didn't want to be the ones explaining things. Sugoroku didn't push the issue; it wasn't like it was their faults anyhow. But he had to wonder how much they'd seen of Yami and Seto's antics before, given that it hadn't occurred to Noa to warn him until it had been too late, as if it were perfectly normal to step over two men rolling about on the floor while grabbing a snack.
Yami didn't get up until well after the Kaibas had left and had begun their workday.
"Good morning," Sugoroku said in greeting, for the third time that day. He didn't have any coffee to offer his grandson; it had grown cold and bitter while he'd waited for Yami. He went to start up a fresh pot, assuming Yami would want some. "Coffee?"
"Yes, thank you." Yami sat down at the table across from where Sugoroku had been camping out. The sheepish smile on the ex-spirit's face said he knew exactly what he was in for.
"You're up late this morning…" Sugoroku began, once he'd gotten the coffee maker going.
Yami sighed, seeing no reason to delay the inevitable, especially since it was obvious Sugoroku wanted to talk to him about it. "I'm sorry. We didn't mean… It shouldn't have happened…" he began, fumbling uncharacteristically for the right words.
Sugoroku thought back to all the times Yugi and his friends had joked about Seto and Yami being so hot for one another that they couldn't control themselves, that they'd make out in the limo, in Seto's office, in the entryway of the mansion. Supposedly they even had a special room in the mansion just for "playing" in, one that not even Mokuba or Noa could go into. He'd thought those were all exaggerations, but apparently he'd been the only one who hadn't been slapped in the face with the truth.
"I always thought everyone was kidding, about how… amorous you two are," Sugoroku admitted, opting for a direct approach since it was clear Yami wasn't going to run off. "Is that really how you normally act?"
"Ah, well…" Yami scratched the back of his head, unsure of how to best respond. The truth was a resounding "yes" – and Yami suddenly found himself wondering if he'd remembered to clear out the emergency stashes of lube he'd hidden in the suite Sugoroku now occupied… "I guess we've developed some, um, habits over time. It wasn't really an issue until now."
"I know you're both young and in love – which is a good thing! – and your home is your castle, but Mokuba and Noa live here too. And now I do as well. So is there any way you could be more…" and he paused, trying to think of the best word to use, "private, with your actions? Most couples would prefer the comfort and intimacy of their bedroom, I think."
Yami frowned. Of course the bed was more comfortable, but sometimes it felt like it was just too far away. And the sofa or the floor or the cars were all convenient and acceptable enough substitutes. It wasn't like they planned their lovemaking ahead of time. It just… sorta happened. Not that those were good excuses really. They'd just gotten too used to doing as they pleased.
But you're just too damn sexy, Seto suddenly complained in Yami's head. Although he'd avoid having the conversation with Sugoroku in the kitchen early that morning, he'd been eavesdropping on Yami's. He hadn't seen a need to interject until now, but Yami was starting to mull over what Sugoroku was saying. He wasn't sure if he liked where his boyfriend's thoughts were going.
Seto, that's not funny. Jii-chan's got a good point – we've never been good about controlling ourselves. We just got away with it before because… well, I guess Mokuba and Noa never got that mad about it. Yami sighed. They hadn't handled it well with the younger Kaibas at all. Since at the time the boys had been minors and couldn't – or wouldn't - just up and leave, and since frankly they'd been pretty happy that their big brother had been dating someone at all, Seto and Yami had just ignored Noa and Mokuba's protests until they'd given up complaining. They couldn't really expect Sugoroku to turn a blind eye to it like that. He has a right to let us know he isn't comfortable with it.
But it's my house, Seto said stubbornly, and Yami rolled his eyes. Why can't I do what I want in my own house?
You asked Jii-chan to move in - and no, we can't kick him out! – so he lives here now and we have to be considerate of his needs too. We have to think of some sort of compromise, though I don't think compromise is really what he's hoping for.
Of course he wasn't going to kick him out; they were family. But compromising wasn't something he was good at. Seto ground his teeth a little, the vibration echoing back to Yami. He hadn't thought that letting the old man stay there would've changed anything. But if he didn't agree, what would happen then?
So we need to stay in the bedroom? All the time? Seto finally asked. He frowned. It sounded so whiny, saying it like that. He wasn't even sure what he was complaining about. Sex with Yami was always fantastic. What did it matter if it was in their room or not?
Yami tried to stifle a chuckle, though a little of it slipped through. He couldn't help but think of Seto as some sort of wild beast needing to constantly mark his territory. Maybe he was like that too, since he felt the need to claim Seto just as much. And, he had to admit, it really was a little more exciting, straying from the expected and doing it in places they weren't supposed to. Well, maybe at least when he's awake and present? I think that's not too much to ask for.
Seto sighed. Maybe it was and maybe it wasn't, but they wouldn't know 'til they tried. But what would happen if they faltered? Or he could move into the old guesthouse? It was just renovated.
… Into security housing – so he'd be roommates with Isono and Mahad and various other personnel working back-to-back shifts. Really?
But maybe he'd like it more, I don't know! If it was something he wanted… Or I could have another guesthouse built. I could even model it after the shop if that would make it feel more like home, Seto blurted out in frustration, before he shook the idea out of his head. Sugoroku hadn't agreed to come just to move into a copy of his old house, or to live with the security staff. Seto exhaled and paused to gather his thoughts, then finally voiced the question that was nagging at the back of his mind. Do you think he's having second thoughts about moving here?
Yami went silent a moment. Was that the issue, more than just the fiasco in the kitchen? Maybe Sugoroku was wondering if he'd made the right decision, moving to a new home when he'd lived in the little house behind the shop for so long. Plus he was retired now too, after having worked hard at that same shop for decades. Yami thought about how Sugoroku got up early and had coffee waiting for them almost every day, and how he'd listlessly wander into the kitchen to see if Yami wanted some help. It had to be tough, going from being a small business owner and homeowner, to being a retired houseguest with all his bills and chores and everything else done for him.
Baby, he moved in because we're family. He wouldn't just turn around and leave. I think… well, it's to be expected that we'll all need to make adjustments to live together. But this has been a pretty big change for him. He lived with Yugi for so long, and worked at that shop for so long. He probably doesn't know what to do with himself right now. He needs something to keep himself busy, a hobby maybe, or some light work…
The brunette tried to think if there was anything available at Kaiba Corp. that he could have the old man do. Other than maybe some moderating or game testing in his MMORPG or the related online portals, nothing immediately came to mind.
Yami smiled at Seto's consideration. It made him realize that he too could do more to make Sugoroku feel useful and wanted. The next time his grandfather offered to help in the kitchen, he'd make sure to thank him and accept. And perhaps he could mobilize some support from outside the house as well. Maybe I'll talk to Yugi, he probably could use the help at the shop still; he just didn't want Jii-chan to feel obligated to come back, even if only would be for a few hours a day.
Seto nodded. He said he was thinking about traveling too, didn't he? Then he suddenly perked up. If he's off traveling, then it's a free for all again, right?
Oh, Seto… Yami sighed, with a slight shake of his head. But he had a point there… Not to say they ought to encourage Sugoroku to travel for the sake of having the house to themselves, but it'd probably do him a world of good to get out and do all the things he'd always dreamt of doing, without having to worry about finances and obligations.
Sugoroku stayed silent while Yami and Seto chatted; he recognized the signs of a mind linked conversation and was always fascinated watching the changes in expression as they mentally spoke. Although Seto hadn't wanted to talk to him about it, he apparently was open to talking it over with his lover. It was a little funny though, now that Sugoroku thought about it… Seto showed no hesitation or fear when faced with monsters or media scrutiny or a roomful of demanding investors. But when it came to family and friends, he struggled with what to say and how to say it. He was indeed fortunate to have a boyfriend who didn't mind being a shield or buffer as needed – not that Seto would ever admit to wanting such a thing.
Uncertain as to how much longer their conversation would go on, Sugoroku went ahead and fetched a half refill of coffee for himself and a mug for Yami as well, along with plenty of sugar and cream, before sitting back down to nurse his portion.
The movement brought Yami's attention back to his grandfather. He stared at the coffee, then back up at Sugoroku. It seemed they'd come to some sort of decision. Yami took a deep breath. "I wish I could say, 'You're right, and it won't happen again,' but I can't promise that. I can promise that we'll try our best, and I hope that's good enough, but if it's not, well…" Yami trailed off, then paused for a few seconds before adding, "We want you here with us. But we don't want you to feel forced to stay either."
Sugoroku nodded. It was an honest response. "If you're willing to try, then I am willing to do the same."
Yami gave him a slight smile. That was about the best response he could've hoped for, given the situation. "We're glad to hear that. I do have to ask though… do you like it here so far, other than the obvious?"
"Oh, certainly! Of course I'm fond of all of you, and it's an amazing house. I never thought I'd live like this. I don't have to lift a finger; everything's taken care of."
Yami smirked. He'd been bored out of his mind when he'd first moved in with Seto, precisely because everything was taken care of, and everyone else was off at work or school. "It can get a bit boring, I agree. That's how I ended up doing the laundry."
Sugoroku stared at his grandson a moment, then began laughing. "Oh ho, I see!"
Yami grinned. He was relieved that they were on the same page. "Of course it's not like that now. I mean, I still do the laundry, but… It did take a while to adjust to living here. And I had to figure out what I wanted to do, not just in the house, but with my life. Sitting on the sofa watching daytime TV was definitely out." The ex-spirit paused, then added, "Even though you're retired, it doesn't mean you can't work at all, if that's something you enjoy. I don't think Yugi would mind if you stopped by and helped out every so often. I bet your regular customers would love seeing you too."
Sugoroku stroked his bearded chin thoughtfully as he mulled over Yami's words. "You're right. I just didn't want him to think that I didn't trust him to manage the shop, I guess," he admitted. He sighed softly. "I don't know how I convinced myself of that. Or maybe I didn't want to get in the way, especially since he'd just gotten married - I'd really like to have great-grandkids someday! So when Seto asked if I wanted to move in, I thought, hmm, maybe that would be a good idea…"
"Yes. And I think it was. But that doesn't mean you're stuck here. You had said you wanted to travel too, right? Now you can do that, and without having to worry about the house while you're gone."
"Hmm, yes." And then Sugoroku's mouth curled up in a small smirk. "And when I'm out of the house, I suppose you two will take the opportunity blow off some steam as well?"
The old man was right on target. Yami turned red. "Um, you could say that, I guess…"
"I suppose that's fair – if I'm not at home, why shouldn't you do as you please?" Then Sugoroku let loose a loud guffaw. "It really is good to be young and in love!"
Yami simply smiled, slightly embarrassed but happy to see his grandfather relaxed and in good spirits. He felt much better about it too. He and Seto had gone to bed worried, wondering if they'd screwed everything up, only days after Sugoroku had moved in…
"Thank you – both of you - for hearing me out," Sugoroku said, sitting back to enjoy the remainder of his coffee. He had no doubt Seto was still listening in.
Yami nodded slowly. Sugoroku noticed he still hadn't touched his coffee though, as if he were still thinking about something. Finally, Yami nodded once more to himself, chuckled, then began spooning sugar into his mug before saying, "I know it's early, but if you have the time to help me with dinner later on, I could use the assistance."
"Certainly. I would love to."
Reassured that all the loose ends were tied up – even Seto had turned his attention back to work - Yami relaxed in his seat with his coffee, a hint of a smile still playing on his lips. Because even though they'd promised to be more mindful around the house, there were always other options. He planned on visiting his boyfriend at his office later on to remind him of that; Seto deserved a reward for having been so agreeable and Yami knew exactly what would make his day.
- I'm calling this an epilogue because it follows right after the events of Ever After, even though it really is more like a separate bonus scene. I consider the previous chapter, "From This Moment," the actual ending of my ficverse.