Broken Puzzle
By: Liz
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me. I am using them for fun, not profit. If you'll sue me, all you'll get are my college loans, which will be increasing by $15,000 very soon.
Rating: PG-13
Author's Notes: I've seen several Yugi/Yami/Seto fics out there, and while I enjoy reading them, I always have to wonder if thing would really turn out so perfectly. This just my exploration of an imperfect threesome, nothing more. No harm is intended towards any of the characters.
Archiving: Anywhere, just keep my name and disclaimers attached.
Feedback is always appreciated. Flames will be laughed at, forwarded to my friend so she can laugh at them, and then forever ignored.

/.../--Yugi's communication
//...//--Yami's communication

**********

Yugi couldn't sleep, no matter how hard he tried. His mind was being extremely uncooperative, refusing to stop thinking.

And the subjects of his thoughts were lying right next to him on the bed. His Yami...and Seto Kaiba.

The three of them were lovers, theoretically equal in the love they had for each other. Yugi, however, was beginning to doubt how accurate that was.

He loved, with all his heart. Yami was literally his other half, and Yugi knew that a life without Yami would seem incomplete...empty. He had fallen hard for Seto as well, though he couldn't pinpoint exactly when it had begun. Maybe even as early as their first duel...he didn't know for sure. All he did know was that he loved Seto with an intensity that was, while different from that of the love he held for Yami, just as powerful and pure.

No, Yugi didn't have doubts about his own feelings. He had doubts about *theirs* for *him*.

The realization had built slowly, as puzzle pieces that fell into his lap. Sometimes, Yugi wished that this had been one puzzle that he had left untouched, but that wasn't in Yugi's nature. So he began forming what he thought were random thoughts into a coherent picture.

Piece one: Seto had approached Yugi after Yami's presence was known but before they had figured out how to give Yami his own body, so to speak. And he seemed to delight in making love to the Yugi/Yami mix as much-if not more-than to just Yugi.

Piece two: Even during their most intimate moments, it just felt like Yugi was on the fringe of the 'action,' watching his Yami and Seto entwine around each other.

Piece three: Yugi grimaced. Well, he was staring at an example of that, right now. Even in sleep, Seto and Yami gravitated toward each other. On nights when Yugi ended up between the two, often their arms would brush past his body to hold and touch the one on his other side. On nights like tonight, when Yugi wasn't in the middle, the other two wrapped fully around each other, leaving him alone.

Piece four: Seto had told Yami that he loved him many times-both in and out of the heat of passion. He had never said the words to Yugi. Yami had, but there were so many types of love, that by the time Yugi had realized this, he wasn't sure if Yami meant the words the way that Yugi did.

And there were other things; so many others, both large and small. So many things that Yugi had tried to overlook, but now, in the dark of the night, was finding it impossible.

With a sigh, Yugi got out of bed and walked over to the sliding glass doors leading to the balcony. As a treat for his lovers, Seto had reserved the penthouse suite in the nicest hotel around. It had everything-king-size bed, luxury bath...and a balcony.

Yugi walked straight to the edge, leaning on the railing, watching the ground below him. 'We're thirty flights up...I wonder if it's all worth it.'

//Aibou?//

Yugi cursed under his breath. He had forgotten that he still wore the millenium puzzle, and that the tone of his thoughts, though not the thoughts themselves, were transmitted to his Yami through their bond. /Yes, Yami?/

//Where did you get off to?//

/I'm out on the balcony./

A pause, and then Yugi heard the door slide open and bare feet padding towards him. Yugi turned and fixed his eyes on the sky, while Yami studied him.

After a few minutes, Yami finally broke the silence. "It's a nice night."

"Yes. Yes, it is."

"Aibou. I know something's bothering you-otherwise you wouldn't be out here in the middle of the night."

"It's nothing, Yami. I just...had a bad dream." In a way, Yugi reflected, it was true-after all, believing that your lovers do not really love you *is* the sort of things nightmares are made of...at least for Yugi.

"A dream." Yami looked at him, considering. "Want to tell me about it?"

Yugi paused, fingering the puzzle. His mind flew back to his thoughts on dying. Maybe.... "I dreamed that I died-I'm not sure how-but that it killed you as well. Would it?" He at Yami. "I mean, we have this connection, and I don't want to do something like that to you." He looked back up to the sky again.

Yugi felt arms wrap around him. "I...do you really want to know? If it will upset you...."

"No, Yami, I need to know." He tried to resist, but gave in and snuggled in his Yami's embrace. "Knowledge always defeats my nightmares-you know that."

"True." Yami thought for a minute. "No, I would not die with your death, as long as the puzzle remains whole. Both you and it sustain me, and I can live without one, but not both."

"That's a relief."

Yami turned him so that they were facing each other. "Aibou." //Feel better now?//

/Yes...I believe I do./ He tilted up his face to smile at Yami, but found his eyes were...elsewhere. Looking right past Yami and locked on Seto's still-sleeping form. The pain that Yugi had tried to push away came back anew.

Yami held him a little tighter, glancing down at his light. "Yugi?"

"I'm fine. Maybe...still a little upset. It was a disturbing dream." He tried to flash a smile. "I think I'll stay out here for a little longer, maybe write some. You know that writing helps me."

"If you're sure...."

"I am." /Go, Yami. I know that you want to be with him./

Yami blinked. //That doesn't mean I don't want to be there for you, as well, Aibou.//

Yugi smiled again, having to blink back tears. Yami might want to be there for Yugi, but he wanted desperately to *be* with Seto. /There's nothing you can do, really. Go back to bed./ Yugi darted back into the room just long enough to grab a pen and some paper. /See? I'm just going to write a little, and I'll be sleeping soon./

//All right.// Yami pressed a light kiss to Yugi's forehead.

Almost in desperation, Yugi pulled Yami's mouth down to his own. In surprise at Yugi's unusual force, Yami returned the kiss with equal fervor. //Well...I might just have to wake Seto up, now.//

/What? I'm not good enough?/ Yugi waited, fearing the answer.

//Oh, Aibou.// Yami ruffled Yugi's hair. //I think I can live without sex, you know.//

"I know." Yugi's voice sounded oddly defeated to Yami. "Go back to bed, Yami."

Yami debated prolonging the conversation, but, sensing that it would take a fight to get whatever was bothering Yugi out of him, he decided to leave it until morning. //Good night, my Aibou.//

/Goodbye, my Yami./

Yugi took a seat at the small table on the balcony as Yami went back in. He watched as Yami made a beeline for the bed, wrapping around Seto like it had been painful to be without him.

Yugi sighed. 'No matter what...they'll never love me like that...not like they love each other...not like *I* love *them*.'

He considered the paper in front of him. He couldn't live without their love, and it was becoming increasingly clear to him that he couldn't live with the love they were willing-or even able, maybe, for all he knew-to give him.

'It's a losing situation,' he thought, looking back up to the stars, 'but at least I know I won't separate them. And for my Yami...I at least owe him an explanation.'

His pen flew over the paper. When he was done, he looked back into the room, watching the two sleeping figures. 'Even if Yami wakes when I remove the puzzle, it won't matter. I'm too close to the edge.' He laughed at the irony of the thought-he *was* close to the edge, both literally and figuratively.

Slowly, he drew the puzzle form around his neck and placed it on the paper. "I love you," he murmured to the air. He took a couple steps backwards, pressing himself against the railing. "Even if you do not...I love you...."

**********

Yami jerked awake, feeling a sudden emptiness inside him. //Aibou?// No response.

His movements awoke Seto beside him. "What is it, Yami?" he asked, concerned.

"It's...he took off the puzzle...why?" Yami looked out to where he had left his Light, and immediately grasped why. His Aibou, his Yugi, was pressed against the railing, eyes closed...and leaning back even as he sat watching.

Yami felt frozen, fear gripping his heart. "Aibou??"

He could almost feel Yugi's flinch. "You weren't supposed to awaken."

"But I have." Yami tried to get out of bed, but was restrained by Seto, who had no idea what was going on.

"Yami? Where are you going?"

"Let me go!" Yami pulled violently away from Seto. "Use your eyes-I have to stop him!"

"No, Yami, please don't."

Yami walked towards him slowly, as if approaching an injured animal. He was afraid that any sudden moves on his part.... He couldn't even bring himself to picture the possible results. "Please...why are you doing this?" He sensed Seto moving behind him, and Yami gestured for the other to stay still.

"I explained it all-I took of the puzzle...I made sure you weren't going to be hurt."

"And you think that losing you *won't* hurt me?" Yami was at the door. He could see Yugi's hands clenching around the railing. He was wavering...one wrong word might send him over, but the right words might save him.

"You said...if the puzzle didn't break...."

"Aibou...if the puzzle breaks, it will be painful. But, losing you...my light...that would destroy me in so many more ways then mere death."

"Really, Yami?"

The sheer fact that Yugi felt the need to question it shocked Yami to the core of his being. "My Light...you are half of me...my heart and soul. Without you...I'd be an empty shell...I'd be true Darkness."

"But I'm only in your way...." Yugi's eyes overflowed with tears. His knees collapsed out from under him, sending him to the balcony floor. Seeing that Yugi was out of immediate danger, he quickly rushed to Yugi's side, gathering the smaller figure in his arms.

"Oh, Aibou, my love...how could you ever think that?"

Yugi couldn't respond, but Seto did. Seeing Yugi out of danger, he had rushed outside, but his attention had been captured by a fluttering sheet of paper. He read it in the dim light, paling at the words. "It's all right here...it's...I...."

Yami regarded both of his lovers. Gently he gathered Yugi up in his arms. "Why don't we all go inside and talk about this." Making a quick detour to gather the puzzle, he ushered everyone to the couch inside. He sat, still cradling Yugi in his arms. Seto sat in a chair across from them. "Now, my Light, please...tell me what led you to this.

Sobbing-whether from relief of disappointment, Yugi couldn't tell-he spilled out the whole story. When he was done, All Yami could do was clasp his Yugi closer and kiss his hair gently. "I do love you, my Aibou, with all my heart and soul, and in every possible. As friend, family, protector...and lover."

Yugi didn't dare look up, for fear of discovering it was all a cruel joke, or a dream. "Really?"

"I swear it." Yami looked over to Seto. "We must've done something terribly wrong, Seto, to lead Yugi into these thoughts."

Seto cleared his throat and looked abashed. "Well, actually...Yugi was kind of right."

Both figures on the couch stiffened. "Explain," Yami demanded in a stiff voice.

"I...." Seto sighed. "It was you I desired, Yami," he confessed. "I thought I could love Yugi as well, but I couldn't. But I couldn't break up with him, either, because I know that no matter how much you may love me, your bond to Yugi would always come first. And I *do* care about Yugi, so I thought it would work. But...I was obviously not pretending hard enough. I love you, Yami. Yugi...I never wanted to use him-as I suppose it looks to you now."

"It *looks*?" Yami couldn't remember ever being as angry as he was in that moment. "I think that's what you *did*, Kaiba. You were dishonest to my Aibou to keep me. And of course I loved you, so you got what you wanted...and Yugi got the message that he wasn't wanted." He shook his head. "How could you?"

"Why didn't you just *tell* me!" Yugi pulled away from Yami and stood, determined to face Seto on his own. "It would've hurt, knowing that you didn't love me, but I wouldn't have felt so...trapped. If I were a stronger person, I might've just left, but...." Yugi sighed, seeming to collapse in on himself. "But then Yami might've been forced to choose...and I was certain that he'd choose you over me...and I couldn't have borne being completely alone."

Yami stood and wrapped his arms around Yugi. "But I never would've done that. I learned to love Seto, yes...but because you did. I loved *you* first and foremost, and if I had to share you...then so be it."

"Yami." Seto regarded the two in front of him. "Do you love me still?"

Sighing, Yami shook his head. "I really don't know. Yugi loved you, and so did I...but don't you see? I feel my Aibou's pain. And knowing that you deliberately manipulated this situation...I just don't know. I do know that I can't be with you anymore."

"Yami...if you're happy with him, don't leave. Not on my behalf. I will leave...not as permanently as I had planned, but I will leave."

Yami closed his eyes briefly, trying to formulate a response. When he opened them, he happened to see Seto's face. He was looking at Yami, hopeful. "Please, Yami," he whispered. "We'd all win, you see? Yugi would still live, and we could be together. Please...."

Yami tensed. "Seto...that was the *worst* thing you could say. All other things aside...there is still the fact that I love Yugi...in a very different way than I ever loved you. For you have never touched my soul...Yugi *is* my soul." He turned away. "I think...we should leave. For all our sakes."

Yami dressed himself and Yugi quickly and silently. Within fifteen minutes, they were ready to go. As he reached for the doorknob, he was halted by Seto's broken voice. "Please, Yami...I love you...please don't go...."

Yugi stiffened, as if expecting rejection. That only firmed Yami's resolve. "You may love me...but how can I love you now?"

The door quietly clicked closed behind him.

As they walked down the night-silent streets, Yugi fingered the puzzle, now back around his neck. /Yami? Do you think you did the right thing? If you have regrets, you can go back-I'm sure Seto would accept you with open arms./

Yami stopped short and pulled Yugi into a passionate kiss. While they were catching their breath, he replied, //*This* is where I belong, my Aibou. In your arms. I love you.// He repeated it aloud. "I love you, Yugi."

For the first time in awhile, Yugi allowed himself to bask in Yami's love with no doubts. "And I love you, Yami."

Hand-in-hand, the two headed home.

**********

Ending notes: I have intended no character-bashing in this (I actually like Seto overall). This is, sadly, how life works, and the main reason I think permanent triads would be close to impossible to maintain. Emotions-especially love-are tricky things, and people cannot 'balance' how they feel so easily, or so I believe. Seto may have come off as callous or self-centered, but love can do that to the best of us. Worse things have been done all in the name of love for someone.