A/N: last chapter… sorry for the delay :)
Yours To Hold
The voice of conscience was always one that made his life hell…
He had done so many wrong things in his life. He had treated his tutors with disrespect when they gave him extra work that he saw wasn't necessary. He had forced a good man to give up all his fortune to save fellow coworkers. He had hit Mokuba and sold him out in return for the Big 5's trust. He had cheated his way into winning the duel against Yami in Duelist Kingdom…
Every time, that small voice at the back of his mind, made him feel like shit.
But this time, he couldn't possibly describe how crappy he was feeling. He was feeling so bad, that he couldn't even stomach the idea that he was trying to find excuses for what he did. He had rolled off Kisara's soft, beautiful body and sat up on the edge of the bed, not wanting their naked, sweat-slickened bodies to make contact anymore. Not wanting to catch a whiff of her delicate smell which was unlike Yami's familiar one. He had placed his elbows on his knees and buried his face into his hands, mind racing very painfully over what he will tell Yami…
There was nothing he could come up with. He had rushed to the bathroom to make a small offering to the porcelain gods when the idea of telling him that he had been confused and in need of contact, crossed his mind.
By the time he started dry-heaving, after vomiting only bile, he decided that he was most probably the most wretched person tonight.
Things became impossibly worse when he felt Kisara giving him a wet washcloth, followed by a glass of water. She was smiling in understanding, and tying the sash of a silk, golden robe, to cover up herself. He couldn't stand the idea of even looking.
"You okay?" she asked in her soft voice.
He shook his head, "No…"
To his amazement, she didn't slap him, like he expected her to do. She shrugged, turning away to walk out of the bathroom, saying, "Admit it, Seto… it was better than you expected." He stared after her in shocked silence, so she added, "You can't keep yourself tied up to Yami, Seto…just let him go. It's better for him."
Anger and guilt made him seethe. "What gives you the idea you can say that?" he hissed, going out into the room.
"The fact that I am saying it before I get enough time to even take a shower after you made love to me," she said with a smile, brushing her hair from her face.
"I didn't make love to you," Seto yelled; he only made love to Yami! No one else deserved. He didn't love anyone but Yami.
"Okay, fine…after we had sex," she amended sarcastically. He glared at her, so she resumed, "Listen to me and be reasonable. You saw for yourself; he doesn't want to spend time with you anymore. He can feel that you just…can't handle it!"
The words felt as though she grabbed a dagger and drove it through his heart, tearing it apart with one of her charming, amazing smiles plastered on her face. The world was darkening around him with the realization of how…true, her words were. He was doing a nasty job dealing with Yami. First, when he allowed Yami to go home alone that night. Then, the way he treated him like a child, like Yami wasn't the same person with the same needs and feelings like before. Then, forcing him to mingle with all those people at the Annual General Meeting, and making him come in contact with the media…then abandoning him for so long…then now…
"I can handle it!" he tried to yell once again in protest, but his voice only just came out weak and doubtful. Without the conviction he wanted to put behind the words. Was Kisara really right? She must be…otherwise, why did Yami say he didn't want to go home with him, without so much as a blink of an eye?
She got up, walking towards him with the same, understanding look in her eyes that made him so angry, yet so at peace…that perhaps, just perhaps, he wasn't such a bad person for what he just did. She stopped before him and said in a reasoning, gentle voice, "Just let him go…he will be happier if you didn't stick around to remind him of what he had been before now. Just go to him tomorrow or something, and explain to him that you will leave him…"
"What…? No, I wo…"
"Listen to me…it's the right thing to do," she interrupted him, holding his hands and squeezing firmly.
He lifted his head, previously fixed on the ground in uncertainty, so that his blue eyes met a pair of gentle lilac ones. He was vaguely aware that his vision was swimming behind tears that, when he blinked, slid down his face. He was crying…crying was a weakness, wasn't it? When had he lost grip like that? When had his ability to take responsibility of taking care of someone he loved with all his being, diminished?
"Yami will forget after a while…" he shook his head at her words. Yami loved him, he wouldn't forget about him. But her words made sense and she never stopped speaking, "Yes, he will…just like he learnt to adjust on his own and went to his brother's house without telling you. He will forget all about you eventually. You just have to let him go, let him live his life so you can also live yours…"
Yami will forget, sure. But…
"What about…" he stopped. What was he doing? Admitting weakness to an outside party meant he was giving them room to strike at him. No, wrong move. That was what he was taught. He couldn't continue his question, what about me? He knew he would never forget. But Kisara should not know!
To his surprise, though, Kisara smiled at him once more, her hands falling away from his, one of them rising to his cheek to brush it gently, as he she said, "You have me now…"
He didn't think there was a time in his life when he had been as undecided as he was right now. Was he going to do the right thing to let Yami go? Or would he be sealing their fate to complete misery for the remainder of their lives? Was Kisara saying all these things out of good will? Did she observe him and Yami and hence came to realize what he couldn't do? Did she see that he was holding onto Yami, hopelessly waiting for him to return back to how he had been before that damned day? Did she realize what his irrationality did not make him realize? That Yami was safely cocooned behind the mask of childishness, hiding from his assaulters and hiding from the fact that his lover couldn't protect him?
He was still undecided in the morning. He had stayed the night. The questions running through his mind, preventing sleep from claiming him in its blissful unawareness, did not erase the fact that he cheated on Yami and that he spent the night in another person's bed. It didn't help in the least, when his cell phone rang at seven in the morning and Mokuba was yelling at him from the other end.
"Where have you been! Spending the entire night out like that! At least tell me."
Seto didn't answer him. Just mumbled, "Sorry," under his breath.
"How's Yami? Are you with him right now?"
The question stabbed through him worse than any physical pain. "No, Mokuba…Yami's not with me," he answered.
Mokuba went silent on the other end.
And before he could speak once again, Seto resumed, his voice an emotionless monotone as, in his mind, he came to a decision he couldn't come to last night. "I'm coming home to change and go see Yami…"
"Seto where have you be…"
"I am hanging up, Mokuba. Bye…"
And there was a small peep, the call summary, followed by silence. He vaguely noticed as he got up from the couch where he had been sitting for the entire night, after he had refused Kisara's request to come back to her bed, that he had hung up twice on Mokuba in less than one day, using the very same words before doing so. He should feel bad about it but somehow, he was already so damn miserable, that this new source of nuisance didn't make much of a difference to all the wretchedness he was feeling.
While he was getting his suit's blazer buttoned, so he could come back to what resembled professionalism, just in case any stray reporter was hiding in the dark to capture him at a moment of weakness, he heard a soft sound behind him. He knew Kisara was awake, but he didn't move to acknowledge her as he ran his fingers hastily through his hair, trying to comb it into some semblance of neatness.
But she wasn't going to let him go just like that, "You're leaving?" she asked as she went around the breakfast counter of the kitchen to grab a glass of water.
He nodded in a clipped, abrupt way, searching for his keys in his pockets.
"Okay. Are you going to call me?" she asked, before popping some unknown pill into her mouth and downing it with the water.
He paused, halfway to the door. What should he answer her with? What was the correct reply, regardless what he was going to say to Yami was? He slept with her last night. What was he supposed to say now?
"We'll see," he mumbled, opening the door and walking out, not wanting to spend another moment in her presence.
He went back to the Mansion. He headed straight for his bathroom, not answering any of Mokuba's questions. He took a very, very long and thorough shower where he scrubbed his skin raw with hot water and a rough washcloth, trying to get the gentle smell of wild roses off his skin. Once satisfied, he got out and changed, then called his secretary and told her that he wasn't coming in today. He made coffee and sat at the breakfast counter munching automatically, tastelessly at the slice of toast Mokuba pushed towards him.
He was so glad Mokuba did not pressure him any more about things. He didn't even know what to say in reply to all the questions Mokuba could possibly ask him. He didn't know what he was going to say to Yami. How he was going to justify what he did and what he was going to do.
He drained the last sip of his coffee and grabbed his keys once more, telling Mokuba not to worry, while getting inside his car to start driving towards the Game Shop.
Once he got there, he found Yugi speaking to Joey in quiet tones while drinking tea. When he entered, they both stopped talking and looked up and to his worry, he found the clear and undoubted traces of insomnia and its effects, on Yugi's features.
There was a period of prolonged silence, before Yugi asked, rather bitterly, "Did you have a good night's sleep, Kaiba?"
He was sure there was more to it than just a harsh reprimand.
"Where's Yami?" he asked, pointedly ignoring the remark.
"Do you know that he didn't sleep last night? Do you have any idea how much he cried? Do you know what he tried doing today morning in the shower? What gives you the right to come in like that asking where he is!" Yugi snapped, a venomous look in his eyes.
He really didn't need this, he came to that conclusion, a moment before feeling his heart sinking in fear. What did Yami try to do in the shower today morning?
"What…did Yami do?" he voiced his doubts, worried.
"I have half a mind not to tell you," Yugi hissed at him in ager.
At that moment, Joey interfered. "Yuge…" Yugi turned to him, angry, so he added, "Don' do this…just tell him then send him up so they could talk…"
Seto wasn't shy to admit that he was eternally grateful for Joey's intervention. Last thing he needed at the moment was his equivalent-to-brother-in-law to hang him from his ear for what he did.
"Fine!" Yugi snapped, crossing his arms. "Yami didn't sleep for a minute last night. He spent the whole time crying on the couch. He didn't eat for such a long time, I am sure he will fall ill if we didn't get something inside him very soon. And then, when I finally managed to convince him to get something to eat and go to bed, he insisted on taking a shower. Well and good, I thought and took him upstairs so he could clean up. An hour later, and he still wasn't out. I went to check on him, and you know what I found? I found him on the ground of the shower cubicle, scrubbing away at the scars he had on his body until some of them bled…"
It was all Seto could do not to hurl right where he stood. What? What! Yami never, ever hinted that he was shy or uncomfortable about the marks left on his body after he was assaulted. Seto did remember that he shied away a little when they were making love for the very first time after the incident, about…four or five months after it happened. But when he sensed that Seto wasn't repulsed or bothered by them, he had stopped reacting that way. So why now did he…?
At that point, Yugi resumed, shaking his head in desperation, "And do you know what he said? He said that he was getting rid of the scars, because he thought you didn't want him anymore because of them… do you have any idea how much I hated you at that moment?"
Seto had no idea how much he hated himself at hearing Yugi's words. He didn't think he ever felt this deep sense of self-loathing before this very moment. Had he…was he the reason behind this? Obviously, yes, because otherwise why would Yami say such a thing? He must have hinted it somehow…and moreover…to add to all of this, what he was doing last night…
God this was messed up…
"Where…Where is he?" he stuttered, feeling lightheaded. He needed to speak to Yami. What he had originally been planning to say…it all flew out of the window now that Yugi made him realize how dependent Yami was on him. He had been planning to listen to Kisara…he had been planning to 'let Yami go', as Kisara advised him to. But now, as he listened to Yugi saying all that stuff, he realized that Yami doesn't want him to go away, he realized that Yami needed him, he realized that Yami wouldn't just…'forget' him in a little while.
"He's upstairs…wait, I have to ask him first if he wants to see you. I don't want him upset anymore than this," Yugi told him, pouting in anger.
Seto understood, really… after what he did last night. After what he drove Yami into doing when he's in this state. He deserved to stand so miserably downstairs waiting for permission to see his gentle, amazing lover, whom he had betrayed so terribly.
Piika and Chuu had jumped onto the bed once again the moment Mai and Yugi left the room. Yami welcomed them with open arms, feeling that he was really missing both kitties. His talk with Mai made him feel better. Maybe Seto didn't really mean that he wanted him to stay the night here with Yugi. Maybe Seto really wanted him to stay with him? Maybe Seto didn't think he was ugly, crazy and a burden…? Seto coming to see him surely meant that, didn't it?
He was nervous, though. He knew the feeling. The one he had gotten before his bimonthly visit to the doctor in the hospital, where the old man asked him to take off his top so he can poke at him with this device or that. The feeling that his heart was rising to his throat and the hollowness of his stomach and the sudden urge to go to the bathroom as soon as possible. But why was he so nervous? It was Seto…shouldn't he be feeling at ease, talking to him and all?
He took a deep breath and burrowed a bit more under the covers with his two kitties. He winced when a sharp, burning pain sprang on different areas of his body. But it was worth it, right? He had removed those marks. He couldn't see them anymore. Now all he had to do was sit tight and purse his lips and distract himself from the pain. He had done this before. He had been worse pain than this slight burn. He could handle it, just like he had handled it back when he didn't want Seto to feel worse about seeing him in pain.
Just when he got himself under control, there was a knock on the door. He stared at the door in apprehension, suddenly wanting to put his head on the pillow and sleep Seto's visit off. He didn't answer and stayed silent, not answering the knock.
"Yami…can I come in?" Seto's voice was tight and worried.
Yami chewed on his lip uncertainly for a moment or two, before mumbling, "Erm…O…Okay…"
The door opened. And Seto walked in. He lingered in the doorway for a little bit, before finally stepping in, taking a long time to close the door, leaning against it for a few moments, before finally deciding to turn around to face him.
Yami found his hand rising up and he started chewing on his thumb nervously at the tired, blank look on Seto's face as the brunet watched him with silence. He looked down, as Piika mewed and nuzzled his chest, making the burning pain on his skin increase to a dull, painful throb. He bit his lip and focused on appearing as normal as possible.
He heard footsteps, soft ones, before the bed dipped slightly. He raised his head, eyes fixed onto Seto's clear, tired blue ones. "H…Hi," he muttered in a soft voice, feeling the need to start some conversation or the other.
"Hey Yami," Seto said, staring at him.
Yami fidgeted for a little while, unsure of what he should say now.
"Can Seto take Yami home now…?" he asked. He was puzzled to see Seto closing his eyes and turning away for a few moments. "If Seto is busy now, then it's okay…Yami will wait here…but when will Seto take Yami home?" he hastily added. Of course, Seto is busy. How could he ask him such a thing? Stupid.
"Yami, I…" Seto started, before trailing off.
Did Seto forget what he was going to say? Must be that, Yami thought when Seto's silence extended for a long while. "Yami wants to tell Seto something…" he said instead, remembering that Mai told him that it would be best if he spoke to Seto about that…that Kisara.
Seto's eyes focused on him again, this time a bit brighter than before, "O…Oh…? What is it?"
Yami shifted, so that he wasn't lying against the headboard anymore and he crawled closer to Seto, curling up by his side. He leaned his head against Seto's shoulder and mumbled, "Yami missed Seto…" he then paused for a bit, a while of silence washing over them for a few moments, before he hastily added, "But that is not what Yami wanted to tell Seto…"
"Why don't you first start telling me how you got this…?" Seto interrupted, taking his arm and pulling it out, pointing at the mark on the otherwise soft skin. Yami winced slightly when he felt the painful tug on the hurt flesh.
He went silent for a while, feeling that annoying prickle at the corners of his eyes, return once again. He did not want to cry. His eyes hurt from doing so and besides, Seto got so upset whenever he cried. He blinked once, clearing his vision from the watery film above them, then said, "Who is that…Kisara…?"
He felt Seto's hands tightening on him ever-so-slightly, so he looked up at him, needing to know the answer.
"She is…my media advisor. And now she is some sort of an…assistant," Seto explained.
Yami did not understand him. "What does she do?"
"She…well, she told me what to say and do a month ago so that the media doesn't…bother us anymore. And now she is helping out with some work at KaibaCorp…"
Yami nodded and kept his head down on Seto's shoulder, quietly mumbling, "Kisara spoke to Yami yesterday."
"She…She did?" Seto seemed surprised. "What did she tell you?"
"She said… she said that she understood…what Seto meant when he said that Yami was good-looking, before he went and got himself into a lot of…" he then paused, feeling his cheeks redden and whispered, "shit," then he hastily carried on in his normal tone of voice, "and became crazy…" he kept his eyes down, and closed them too, not wanting to see how Seto was going to react to this and whether he really said that or not. "Did…Did Seto really say those things…?" he asked timidly.
A few seconds passed in silence, in which Yami felt his heart thudding so quickly in his chest, almost as quickly as Piika's or Chuu's heart went when they played. Then, Seto answered him.
"No, Yami. I never said those things and will never say them," Yami felt himself calming down a lot at hearing that and at feeling Seto's hold tightening on him slightly, reassuring him. "Can you tell me what else she told you?"
Yami looked up at Seto, sat back a little, then proceeded to tell him everything else Kisara told him, starting from her suggestion of placing him in an 'asylum' up to the part where she told him he was scarred and mentally-retarded…
By the time he was done, Seto's eyes were closed, anger evident on his features, as well as another expression that made Yami's insides churn and twist in worry.
"So yesterday, when Seto asked Yami if Yami wanted to stay or go home…Yami…thought Seto did not want him around…so Yami stayed here," he concluded, sentences breaking in several places as he hesitated. Did he upset Seto? Yes, he must have. When Seto's silence stayed for too long, Yami reached for his hand, trying to see if he was allowed to touch or not, but then Seto sat back, turning away from him slightly. Yami's heart sank and he mumbled, almost in tears, "Is Seto mad at Yami…? If Seto really doesn't want Yami around, then Yami will st…"
He stopped talking abruptly when Seto turned to him again and raised a hand to place it on his mouth. Yami stared down at it for a little bit, before lifting his eyes to meet Seto's pained, bright blue ones, questioning him what the matter was.
"I need…to tell you something, too…" Seto told him, looking nervous.
"Okay…Seto can tell Yami anything," Yami assured, nodding. That was an agreement they came to a while ago. Seto could tell Yami anything and Yami will listen. If he couldn't offer a solution, then Yami will be there to listen…
"Yesterday, after I left…I…err…I went to Kisara's house," Seto started, looking more and more uncomfortable with every word he said.
Yami stared at him blankly, not letting the confusion and hurt seep onto his face. Yes, it hurt. To know that Seto left him all alone last night, without even so much as a goodnight or a kiss, only to go to Kisara's house…yes, it definitely hurt even more than the redness on his skin that was burning furiously right now. But he said he would listen. He must listen.
"She offered a glass of water and…Yami I…" Yami did not know why Seto's sentences were breaking even more than his own usually did. He was wondering about that during the long pause in Seto's speech, where the brunet was looking at their hands, now clutching one another. However, every single insignificant thought he had on his mind stopped and he stared with a blank expression at Seto when he added, "Yami, I slept with her…"
There was utter silence for a few moments…
"Was Seto so tired…that he slept at Kisara's house…?" Yami asked, confused.
"No Yami!" Seto snapped and Yami found himself flinching at the harsh tone of voice. He didn't understand; what did that mean? He was about to ask, before Seto started explaining, "I mean… that we slept together…"
"How?" he asked, blank, since Seto's explanation didn't really 'explain' anything. He kept staring at Seto's guilty expressions for a while, his mind unable to wrap itself around the concept behind reason why Seto would sleep with Kisara. Even if he was absolutely crushed to know that someone else other than himself cuddled close to Seto and wormed their way up his pajamas like he did, he didn't think that that was such a terrible crime that made Seto look so guilty.
However, his mind started taking him down a different path of thinking. He started thinking that perhaps…there was another meaning behind the expression Seto used. Seto used to sleep in another room, in another bed, before they…
His eyes widened in recognition and shock and he stiffened in Seto's hold and started drawing away from him, speechless with the distressed feeling rushing through him at his realization.
"Seto…" he started, voice too low that even he had trouble hearing it. However, a huge, uncomfortable lump formed at the back of his throat, too tight to be ignorable, making him cut his words in half and stare at the brunet in shock. When he found his voice once more, he couldn't help but seek more clarification, "Seto…held her and Seto kissed her and Seto touched her, the way Seto held Yami…and kissed Yami and…and touched Yami?"
He knew Seto was going to say no. Seto must say no. There was no way this could be true… it had to be a horrible lie.
However, to his horror, he found Seto nodding slowly, eyes fixed on the floor, not meeting his.
His hand rose on its own accord to his mouth, so he could cover it in order to prevent the sob that felt like escaping him. He felt so horrible. Why? Why would Seto do that? Did Seto really think that Yami wasn't…worthy of sleeping with him? Like Kisara said?
Maybe it was true. Maybe Seto really thought he wasn't enough, or good enough, anymore.
Okay. So if that was the case, as hurtful as it is actually, Yami had to think the way Seto did about this. If he allowed his selfishness to get involved, then problems would arise. No, he had to be considerate.
Seto needed someone beautiful. Yami was not beautiful anymore, so Seto needed to find someone else. But does that mean that Seto no longer loved Yami? Perhaps he still did. Yes, actually. Seto still loved Yami, but needed Kisara so he could sleep with her. That is why Seto came here today to tell him what happened. Okay, Yami can still handle that, even if it hurt his chest and made it feel so funny and made him cry even more. But no, Seto needed this. He was not going to be selfish and make a big scene out of it.
All he had to do now, was to tell Seto that.
"It's…Its okay…Yami understands…" he mumbled, eyes closed, arm raised to blindly wipe the wetness on his face. He forced himself to smile and scooted closer to Seto, holding onto his arm. "I really, really understand…"
"You understand what, exactly?" Seto asked, sounding upset and terse. "I don't expect you to understand…hell, Yami, I don't want you to understand!"
"Do you still love me…?" Yami asked him quietly.
At that, Seto looked up to stare him in the eyes and said, "Yes."
"But…you want to sleep with Kisara…and not with…me anymore," he stated, retelling what he understood from this whole situation.
"No!" Seto quickly said. Yami stared at him in confusion, so he added, "I do not want to sleep with her. I don't even like her!"
"Then why did you do it?" Yami asked, completely mixed up now. Seto didn't answer him, and only let his gaze fall to the floor again. Yami kept staring at him, waiting for an answer, before a thought occurred to him. He sat back, staring at a random area of the covers in shock for a while, before looking up at Seto and blurting out, "Okay, I understand now. You still love me. But you don't think you can stay with me anymore because I'm…" he paused, head hanging low when he realized what he just and was just about to say and whispered, "crazy…"
He blinked, then clenched his eyes shut very tightly when he felt the hot, scalding liquid streaming down his face. No! Don't cry, he reprimanded himself. But in doing so, he started crying harder, sobs shaking his form as he sat there, everything that he considered beautiful in his world crashing down to worthless ash at his feet. What else, other than crying, could he do in a situation like this? What had he done wrong? What was his fault in all this? He needed to know. Perhaps he could fix it? Perhaps he could stop being crazy and childish and immature and…stupid! Perhaps Seto would start seeing him as an equal…a soul-mate, once more?
Not too long after those thoughts, he felt Seto placing his arms around him. He stiffened for a while and refused to look up at Seto, before the warmth…that familiar, amazing warmth he lived to feel, lulled him into unwinding slightly, so he could turn and bury his face in Seto's chest, letting himself cry openly, his sobs loud and uncontrollable.
He had no idea how long he stayed there like that, crying. He was aware at one point or the other that Yugi or Joey or Mai had knocked on the door once or twice and asked if everything was okay, and Seto sent them away for the moment. But otherwise, he just sat there, crying so hard and for so long, that Seto's jacket beneath his face had a huge wet spot on it, and he felt his head swimming and his sides and his chest aching with the sobs that didn't stop.
More than once, Seto tried speaking to him, but he was not ready to listen just yet. He kept crying and crying, until he suddenly realized that even though he was sobbing so hard, his chest heaving with the effort, no tears were leaving his eyes anymore.
He panicked, blinking furiously. Crying didn't make him feel better, but if he stopped crying then that would signal to Seto that he should confirm the theory Yami came to. He didn't want to stop crying. So why! Why couldn't he feel any wetness sliding down his cheeks anymore? Why was his face drying up and why was the wet spot on Seto's clothes drying up?
He wasn't ready to hear Seto say…
"Yami…please listen to me…"
He shook his head, "No…no, no, no…" his chest tightened with yet another sob, but he didn't shed a single tear.
"Yami, look at me!" Seto sternly said, tightening his hold around him slightly.
Yami forced himself to open his stinging, hurting eyes. He hesitantly tilted his head, so that he could meet the pained blue eyes before him. He blinked once, feeling like screaming in despair and sadness suddenly, when he found that Seto too had been crying. So it was true. Seto was here to tell him that he didn't need him anymore and that they're better off without one another.
"Don't…say it, Seto…please…" he sobbed out, before biting his lip so hard, it bled. Seto raised a hand to wipe away the trail of blood on his lip, but he caught it and held on to it, sobbing hysterically, "I'm so sorry…I…please don't leave, Seto… I'll…I'll get better…I promise. I'll get better…but please don't…please don't leave me. If I don't have you, then I don't have anything…"
The dry sobs and the heaving of his chest made him double over and he placed his forehead on the bed, trying to either cry or stop crying. If Seto wasn't there…then there was nothing…
"Yami, stop it! Please stop it…" Seto snapped, his tone stern once again.
This was it. Seto was going to leave now. He couldn't stop and so Seto will leave…
"You break my heart when I see you like this…"
"I'm sorry…" Yami whispered, not knowing if his voice reached Seto or not. Yes, he was sorry because he was such a baby and couldn't make this easier for Seto. He was sorry he screwed this beautiful thing between them up. He was sorry he was weak and he was sorry that this all happened because of him…this was entirely his fault.
"Yami, I came here today so I could tell you what I did yesterday…so that I can apologize and wait for your judgment about this…instead…instead, you're the one crying and apologizing and I have no idea why…"
He lifted himself up slightly on his hands, so he could stare up at Seto as he resumed speaking, "I am not here so I can tell you that I am leaving you…"
Then what was going on? He didn't understand…
"I'm here so… you can tell me to… go to hell…after what I did last night."
The words came out broken in several places. Seto was crying. Just like he had been a while ago. If not with more fervor. He had a hand bunched into a fist in front of his mouth as he spoke, eyes cast down and shedding torrents of tears.
Yami found the gaps between his sobs and heaves and hiccups, widening. He stared in shock at the brunet, who continued, "I am so horrible…you're such a perfect person and me…I went and slept with…with my assistant just because…just because I thought… just because I couldn't handle that perhaps I was doing a nasty job…showing you how much I loved you…"
"Seto…I…" Yami started but Seto shook his head, cutting him off.
"And then… it turns out that she…she made you feel so bad yesterday…she made you hurt yourself because…" he stopped, unable to carry on with how much his voice broke. He stayed silent for a while longer, before resuming, clenching his eyes shut, a disgusted expression on his face, "because of someone as worthless as I am… and now…you still think it's your fault… when it's entirely mine…"
Yami started chewing on his lip. He was scared and worried and sad and confused all at the same time. He kept looking at Seto, unable to think of anything to be done right now. So now what…? He was hurt, and angry yes, to know that Seto did something like that with Kisara…but the wounded feeling and annoyance that Seto had belonged to someone else other than him last night…those two feelings were incomparable to the fear that Seto had come to tell him that he didn't want him anymore.
"I am sorry Yami…I know it's such a worthless thing to hear from me…and that it won't change the fact that I…I cheated on you… but it was only right that I told you. I love you…and respect you a lot to do otherwise…" Seto said, finally looking up to stare him in the eye.
Yami stared back at him in silence for a few moments. He didn't know what to say. He didn't want to tell Seto to 'go to hell'. First, that was bad language and he shouldn't use it against Seto. Second…he loved Seto so much. He didn't want to do it. So, he decided he needed to do something else.
"Do you really still love me…?" he asked, after scooting closer to the brunet and holding onto his hand once more.
Seto closed his eyes for a second or two, before reopening them once again while he said, "I never stopped loving you Yami…and I won't."
Yami raised a hand and gently caressed Seto's cheeks with the back of it, wiping away the traces of tears on it, and murmured, "I don't…want you to go away…" Seto blinked, and Yami's hand once more wiped at the fresh tears that slid down his face. "If you need to…If you need Kisara to…sleep with, instead of with me…then I understand, you know…I really do…"
"No, Yami…I don't like her, I don't need to sleep with her and yesterday she was so bad in bed that it felt so wrong thinking of you while doing it…" Seto mumbled, staring down at the floor.
"Then you will not…do it again…?" Yami asked.
"No, Yami, I will not…"
"Then I don't want to leave you…" Yami said. Seto looked up at him in shock. "If you leave…then I have nothing left…" he repeated.
"Yami, I can't even…I can't even think of why you'd want to look at me right now…just…just hit me, yell at me…anything…"
"I will…" Yami interrupted him. Seto looked at him in silence, so he resumed, "One time or the other, I will…" he then paused for a while, before placing his head on Seto's shoulder and murmuring, "But I won't let you go…"
The apologies and the tears that followed passed by in a blur for Yami. He was aware that the intensity of the pain he felt Seto giving off, meant that he was still sincere to him with every fiber of his being. He knew that what Seto did would forever torment the brunet and make him doubt whether they should be together or not. But for now, he was going to make sure that they were going to be okay…
The sun was already setting by the time something disturbed them from just sitting together in one another's hold, crying and comforting the other every now and again. Seto's phone rang and he took it out to look at the caller ID. Yami happened to look as well and he felt a cold feeling spreading through him, along with anger, when he read the name written on the screen.
Before Seto could cancel the call, like he had planning with how his finger was approaching the red button on the phone, Yami grabbed the device and he pressed the green button, raising the phone to his ear.
He forced a cheerful tone to come forth and he answered with a loud voice, "Yami to the rescue!"
There was silence on the other end for a while…
"Yami… where is Seto?" Kisara's smooth, melodic voice, now cold and quite aggressive, flooded to him from the other end.
"Who is you!" he cheerfully asked her, feeling that, although he sensed that the way he was speaking was so wrong in structure and grammar, he needed to be so childish with her. He needed to be childish just this last time…with just this last person.
"Kisara! Yes, Yami remembers Kisara," he happily said. He then added with a slightly serious tone, "Kisara, Yami needs to tell you something." And he pressed the loudspeaker button after saying so.
"Oh yeah? What's that, retard?"
He smiled, "Yami told Seto, that Yami will not tell him that Kisara called Yami ugly and crazy. See? Yami kept the secret…"
There was complete silence on the other end, as though she was too shocked to say anything.
"And even though Seto slept with Kisara yesterday," he continued, feeling satisfied about what he was doing. "Yami doesn't care. Kisara is not important to Seto like Yami is… Seto loves Yami."
"You're wrong, Yami…" she said. "Seto doesn't love you."
"Seto told me to inform Kisara that she is fired," Yami added happily, in reply to that comment.
He listened with pleasure to the silence on the other end. Till now, he kept up his childishness. He kept up the façade he had pulled on, to show her that perhaps, a…'retard' defeated her.
However, his voice got lower and lost its happy tone and he said in a slow, venomous hiss, dripping coolness like the North Pole, "Seto is mine, Kisara. Our relationship runs much deeper than to be destroyed because he made a mistake and slept with…someone like you. Just because you offered him a body…it doesn't mean you made his feelings for me go away…"
Once again, there was nothing but utter silence on the other end, so he ended the call by adding, "Seto wanted me to tell you to pack your stuff and find yourself another job. He doesn't need your… services anymore."
And he hung up, stretching slightly so he could place the phone, which he switched off, on the nightstand. He turned to Seto, and found him with a hand on his hand, as though to prevent himself from making a sound while crying. He scooted back closer to him and wrapped his arms around him. Once again he wiped at the torrent of tears slipping out of the bloodshot blue eyes, before taking hold of Seto's hand to pull it down, away from his face. He held it close to his own mouth and kissed it gently, before craning his head up, to press his lips against Seto's.
It seemed that with that kiss…everything took an entirely different turn for Seto and Yami. Saying different…meant that compared to the past one year, everything was completely dissimilar.
Yami's heart-wrenching condition got better… the childishness, the way he spoke in third person, the way he couldn't add up two simple numbers…all of that diminished dramatically. Before, Yami's older personality was the rarity. Now, the childishness and immaturity brought about by the trauma of the terrible incident that happened to him, was the rarity.
It took him nearly six months… six months before he started talking almost completely normally again. He had been so upset after Seto's confession to him in Yugi's room in the Game Shop. He stayed upset for a few weeks to follow. At first, Seto thought that he was still upset with him, and that was why he spoke normally and without any broken sentences. But when an entire month passed, with Yami speaking like he used to before that horrible day, he figured that something had changed. Perhaps the only way had been, as Mai once casually told him, to place Yami in a worse ordeal than the one that night.
His panic attacks became more manageable, even if now, their effects were much more horrible. Slowly, he started recalling snippets of what happened to him in that alley. Before, it used to come to him at times of distress, but now, he found himself facing the horrible truth but this time, instead of forgetting all about it after he snapped out of one of those attacks, he remembered every single detail.
But with Seto's help…he was getting better. He preferred it this way. He preferred not having to speak in third person. He preferred not struggling to do simple mathematical sums. He preferred being able to pick up the remains of the chances he still had left, by continuing his education. He preferred the terrible truthfulness of the memories and visions to the illusionary lies of happiness of the childishness he created around himself as a protection after shutting out the ordeal.
He never really went back to being…the King of Games type. He wasn't that Yami anymore. He couldn't walk up to a stranger to ask for directions. He preferred to shy away from human contact he wasn't familiar with. He hyperventilated when he walked by himself in the streets, even if he was the one to insist and rave and rage to be allowed to be independent.
Instead…now he was someone else. The past two or two and a half years changed him.
Seto still loved him.
That in and of itself made him try harder. Made him struggle to build himself up again. Seto still loved him… and he still loved Seto so much. They lived for each other. It was a difficult ordeal that changed both of them beyond reversing anymore. They both changed so much… so many things changed…
But they still loved each other. That…did not change.