Word Count: 10,521
Pairings: (established) Kaiba/Bakura/Atem, Ryou/Anzu, Maureen/Joanne, (one-sided) Jyonouchi/Yuugi, (eventual) Jyonouchi/Malik, Mark/Roger/Mimi, Otogi/Shizuka
Fandom: Yuugiou/RENT crossover (yes, live action musical and anime series; seriously, I must be out of my fucking mind....)
Summary: After the events of Pharaoh’s Memories/Millennium World, Jyonouchi Katsuya reveals a long-held secret. Unfortunately, he should have held onto that secret a little longer. The result? He makes his way to New York City to live with his cousin, one Mark Cohen. And did I mention that someone else has a secret of his own that may soon come to light?
“You don't have to leave tonight.”
“I know. But I have to get out of this town, away from... everything.”
“Do you have enough money to even get you to New York?”
“Yeah, I have enough.”
“How will you get back?”
“I’m not coming back.”
“What about Shizuka? You could go visit her in Tokyo for a few days, gather your thoughts—”
“No. Tokyo is still Japan. I need to be away from it all.”
A long moment of silence.
“You didn't have to come with me to the airport. You could have just had your driver—”
“No. You're... you're a friend. It wouldn't be right to send you off without even saying goodbye. Especially if you're leaving for good.”
“I am. I can’t.... I love him, and it hurts. It hurts that he could be my best friend one minute and the next completely hate me.”
“Mutou doesn't hate you.”
“Yes, he does. He didn't have to say it. Everything else he screamed at me said it loud and clear.”
“You can’t control the world, Kaiba.” Pause. “Well, I guess this is it.”
“If you're leaving, you may as well go first-class. Call me when you get there, and when you open a bank account. Until you get a job, I’ll give you an allowance, of sorts.”
“Thank you. For everything today.”
“I told you, you're a friend.” Pause. “Mokuba will miss you.”
“And you won't?”
“Did I say that?”
“Heh. Why couldn’t I fall for you instead?”
“Because I’m, and I quote, a stubborn pain in the ass.”
“Only until people get to know you.” Pause. “I’ll call.”
“Don't forget. Take care of yourself, Jyonouchi.”
“Mark?” Roger looked up from tuning his guitar to stare at the answering machine. Whomever was on the other end of the line had a rather strange accent; his roommate’s name sounded almost as if an ‘o’ or a ‘u’ had been added to the end. “Katsuya da yo.”
“What language is—” the musician began, only to yelp in surprise as Mark, who had been on the other side of the room talking to Benny, suddenly lunged across the table and grabbed the phone up. The end result of this was Mark being half in Roger’s lap, but the other blond didn’t even seem to notice.
Roger was now staring at his roommate. “And now you're speaking it,” he grumbled.
“I think it’s Japanese,” Benny frowned from the doorway.
“You... think it’s Japanese?”
“If it is, it’s rather informal. I learned the more polite form.”
“Doko ni wa?”
Benny glanced over at Mark and shook his head slightly. “Cyber Arts is in negotiations with a company in Japan. The CEO knows English but I thought it would be more polite to speak to him in his own language for at least half our teleconferences. Alison thought it was a good idea, learned a few phrases herself.”
“That’s the first thing I’ve understood in the past five minutes,” Roger informed Mark almost cheerfully.
Mark half-turned and smacked Roger’s arm. “Hello? Family crisis here,” he said before saying into the phone, “Why the hell are you in New York?” He nodded and “mm-hmm”ed a couple of times before speaking again. “Okay, Katsu, stay there. No, do not take a cab... no. I’ll be there shor—what do you mean, some guy just hit on you?! You’ve been in town for, what, five minutes?! Sure, hit him. But switch back to Japanese if airport security is called. And don’t hit him with the”—a sigh—”phone while I’m still on it.”
Roger snickered. “I like the kid already.”
“You would,” Benny grumbled.
Mark spoke for another few seconds, quickly and in Japanese once more, before hanging up and looking at Benny expectantly.
“I need to borrow your car.”
“You’ve been in New York for half an hour and you’ve already almost gotten arrested,” Mark Cohen scolded his younger cousin, who was doing a damned good impression of a non-English speaker. “And quit playing dumb, I’m the one who helped you with the language a few years back!”
The blond teenager grinned. “Wasn’t my fault, Mark,” he said, his accent not terribly pronounced but still somewhat present. “He was hitting on me and my ‘non-native speaker, please move along’ impersonation wasn’t working. Besides,” here the grin took on a playful quality, “I particularly enjoyed the part about you calling your lawyer if the airport pressed charges against me. I thought you gave up on dating lawyers, itoko.” Benny pretended not to be glancing at the kid in the rear view mirror.
“I did, chibi-ichi, but I do have a friend who’s a lawyer. I told you ‘bout Joanne in that Christmas email, remember?”
“Oh, yeah, the woman dating Maureen now. They’re still together?” At Mark’s nod, Katsuya Jyonouchi snickered. “I’ll be damned, she can make a commitment.”
“Katsu....” The tone held a note of warning. The younger blond snickered and leaned forward to rest his arms on the back of his cousin’s seat.
‘I’ll behave, promise,’ he said, slipping back into his native tongue. ‘And could you ask your friend to quit staring at me in the mirror? I swear, it’s worse than Seto and his dog comments.’
‘You could ask that yourself,’ Benny interrupted before Mark could reply. ‘I know a little of the language myself.’
Katsuya blinked at the man for a moment, and then grinned brightly. ‘You sound like a sorta friend of mine.’ Benny glanced in the mirror again, quirking one eyebrow and sending Katsuya into a fit of giggles. “Yeah, Seto does that, too.”
Mark shook his head slightly. “I thought you said Seto” he emphasized the name slightly “was a jerk and an asshole last time we talked.”
The half-Japanese blond fell silent for a moment. When he finally replied, his voice was very quiet: “Turns out I was wrong about who my real friends are.”
Mark frowned. “Want to talk about it?”
‘Not right now, please.’ At his cousin’s look, Katsuya added, ‘Later. I promise. Just... not right now. It’s still too fresh a hurt.’ Seeing that this answer satisfied Mark, the teen settled into the back seat and closed his eyes, letting the exhaustion of the past few days—the hurt he was feeling, Seto’s sudden decision to help him any way possible, his abrupt flight from the only home he’d ever known to the city his cousin loved—catch up with him and drag him into dreamless slumber.
Benny spared a quick look into the rear view mirror before heaving a sigh and shifting his gaze sideways to his friend. In all the time he’d known Mark, all he really knew about the other man’s family was that he didn’t much care for his father and one of his aunts had moved to Japan for college and fell in love with the country. From the concerned expression on Mark’s face, Katsuya was one of the few people in the world he loved. And Benny knew from experience that when Mark Cohen loved someone, anyone who even so much as thought of hurting that person had better think again.
“What do you think happened?” he asked after nearly twenty minutes went by without a sound from the other man.
“I think that someone broke my chibi-ichi’s heart,” Mark practically snarled; the fury coming from the usually calm man made Benny jump. “And when I find out who did it and why, he or she had better pray that we never cross paths.”
Benny merely nodded and kept his gaze forward. After all, the one time he’d been on the receiving end of Mark's anger had been in college, and just the memory of it made him ever aware that it was safest to be on the blond’s good side.
Besides, Alison would probably jump onto the ‘kick the ass of the person who hurt the cute little Asian boy’ bandwagon the second she met Mark’s cousin. Benny sighed; he was never going to understand his wife, even if he lived a hundred years.
“So, what do you actually know about Marky's cousin?” Maureen asked as she flopped down on the apartment's recently-'acquired' sofa. Roger glared at her but apparently the woman wasn't paying him one bit of attention other than to gaze at him expectantly.
“Just what little I picked up from Mark's side of the conversation with him this morning,” Roger admitted with a vaguely annoyed sigh. “Do you mind? We just got the damn couch, take your shoes off!”
“You picked it up off the sidewalk,” Maureen countered. “It's not like you spent a couple hundred bucks on it.” Despite her protests she kicked off her trainers before settling Indian-style on the cushion once again. “So he's really Japanese?”
“If he's not then he does a damned good impression of one.”
“You said he was cute, Mark, but you forgot to mention that he's also rude.”
Maureen bit back a laugh at the put-out look on Roger's face; really, it was just too funny to hear someone be that blunt and sound so innocent about it at the same time. They both turned to get their first look at Mark's cousin, who spared them a smirk before glancing around the loft.
From a glance one could tell that the teenager and Mark were related, if nothing else the hair colour and most of their facial features were similar-to-identical. After that, though, the teen's Japanese heritage was apparent. He wasn't very tall, close to five-foot-nine, but still taller than most Japanese youth his age. He looked a little too thin, but that could be because of his mixed heritage as well. Roger found himself wondering how old the kid actually was; if he was under eighteen it was a good possibility that he'd have to enroll in one of the local high schools unless he'd already graduated. Looking at the kid, though, he doubted 'Katsu' as Mark had called him was much older then fifteen or sixteen.
“So I see the 'poor college student' decor is still working for you, itoko,” the teen commented as he dropped his backpack by the door. “Does Ruby know that you live like this?”
“No, my mother doesn't visit often enough to know, Katsu,” Mark replied, rolling his eyes slightly. “And you're not about to go telling her, either. Are you, chibi-ichi?”
“Oh, hell, no. It's much better than where I was at and you know it.”
There was a brief flash of anger in Mark's eyes, but it was gone before Roger could comment on it. “I know, I know, you only bitched about it a million times. I'm just glad you had somewhere you could go to get away from him for a while.”
“Yeah. Had. ”
Mark frowned and apparently asked his cousin something, which received a quiet nod. Maureen pouted herself at the shadow that seemed to suddenly fall over the younger blond. As it was in her nature to get involved in other people's problems, she nodded shortly to herself and stood up from her spot.
“Hi!” she chirped; the tone was just right to knock the teen out of his sullen thoughts, as he was now giving her a confused look. “I'm Maureen Johnson. And you are...?”
“Katsuya da yo,” was the immediate reply. He caught himself quickly and gave a slightly embarrassed grin. “Eh, gomenasai, I forgot for a second. I'm Katsuya Jyonouchi. I've, ah, heard a lot about you.”
“All of it bad, I hope.”
“Nah, just most of it.” Katsuya grinned again before turning an appraising eye to Roger. He nodded slightly then turned to Mark. 'Yeah, I can see why you want to jump him. He's hot. You tell him yet?'
Over by the door, Benny started to cough in order to cover up the laugh that wanted to escape. He'd suspected for a few months now that Mark might be interested in his best friend, but this was the first time he'd had confirmation. Luckily Roger didn't know a word of Japanese; then again, that's probably why Katsuya switched over to it in order to comment.
'Hell no, and you'd better not tell him either,' Mark replied, trying to ignore Benny for the moment. 'You said you'd behave, Katsu.'
'Nag nag nag,' the teen grumbled good-naturedly before switching back to English again. “I'm guessing you're Roger. Mark's mentioned you. A lot.” He paused before adding, “All of it good.”
“Thanks. I think,” Roger replied, wondering if Benny was going to die over by the door or not. “So, how was your trip?”
“Uneventful, till I got to the airport.”
“Yeah, heard you hit someone with the phone.” This got a slightly evil grin from Katsuya and a heavy sigh from Mark. “But what I don't get is why you got a sudden urge to visit the city that never sleeps. Trouble at home?”
“You could say that,” the teen said, glancing towards the window and frowning slightly. “Actually, everything kinda came crashing down at once and I just said 'fuck this' and left.”
“You feel like talking about it?” Roger asked. Something about the bitter way Katsuya had spoken struck a nerve. The kid was far too young to sound so bitter, but from what little he knew about Mark's experiences with his father it wasn't entirely unheard of. He was about to ask if he'd crossed a line when the teen nodded slightly.
“Yeah. I'd rather only go through it once, though.”
“Give me twenty minutes,” Maureen said, “and I guarantee that everyone who's missing will be here.”
“If for no other reason than to stop her whining.”
The sole woman in the room glared at Mark while the others smothered their laughter. “Love you too, Marky.”
Maureen was close in her estimate; forty minutes after her announcement the last member of the unconventional friend/family unit—one Mimi Marquez—walked through the door. Katsuya was fairly impressed, but he had been hoping for a little more time to gather his thoughts before being subjected to a group of this size.
Roger Davis was exactly where he'd been when Katsuya first arrived, seated in the middle of the dining room table. Tom Collins, whom Mark had mentioned often in his emails along with someone named Angel, had joined Roger and the pair had been chatting quietly while waiting for the last of the stragglers to arrive.
On the couch, Mark had forced Maureen out of her comfortable sprawl by literally dropping onto her legs. Now the two were peacefully occupying the couch together, if only because Joanne Jefferson had placed herself between the two of them as if she were a mother keeping her children from fighting. Benjamin Coffin III—or Benny as he'd already insisted Katsuya call him—was perched on the arm of the couch, rolling his eyes at Maureen and Mark's antics. His wife Alison-Grey Coffin, still a fairly new addition to the family, had volunteered to get drinks for everyone the minute she walked through the door and quickly made herself at home in the kitchen.
After introductions were made and Mimi helped carry the drinks in the room, the Latina frowned. “Okay, now that we're all here, why are we here? You weren't exactly clear about that on the phone, Maureen.”
“That's kind of my fault,” Katsuya admitted, taking a deep breath before facing the group as a whole. “I know you're all going to want to know what drove me to come to New York, but it's hard enough to think about. I don't want to have to tell the same story half a dozen times so that everyone's on the same page.”
“You won't have to, chibi-ichi,” Mark reassured his cousin. “You haven't been yourself since you got here. Someone really hurt you, didn't they?”
The teen's small laugh was bitter. “Yeah, he did. And I don't think he cares that he's the one who threw a year and a half friendship away.”
“Benny, I need a plane ticket to Domino, Japan.”
Benny blinked, somewhat surprised at Mark's abrupt request. “Why?”
“Because I'm going to kill the little bastard.”
“Iie, Mark, ” Katsuya interrupted, moving to the couch and dropping to the floor in front of his cousin. 'He's not worth the trouble.'
'He stole your smile away,' the older blond insisted. 'I can't let him get away with that.'
'Please switch back to English,' Alison broke in, her tone gentle despite the fact that she was starting to get a hint of the pain that drove Katsuya so far from his home. 'Roger and Maureen look lost and I think Tom's only catching every other word.'
“Gomenasai, Alison-san,” the teen apologized. “Sorry, everyone. Hmmm... oi, Roger?” The man looked up at his name, giving Katsuya a questioning look. “Do you think you could watch my itoko and make sure he doesn't try to swim to Japan while I'm talking? He's already angry and what I'm going to tell you all will just make it that much worse.”
“Considering that I heard a very clear death threat, I'm almost afraid to say no,” Roger replied, forcing a faint smile. “You gonna be okay to tell us?”
“Now or never, I suppose,” Katsuya said with a slight shrug before returning to the table and grabbing the one chair that Mimi had dragged up from her old apartment a little over a month and a half before, turning it around so that he was straddling it with his arms resting on the back of it. “I'm not even sure how to start, but here goes.
“I don't know if any of you have heard of Pegasus J. Crawford or not, or the game he created—”
“You mean Duel Monsters?” Alison asked, drawing odd looks from Joanne and Maureen. “What? Girl's gotta have a hobby, and besides, Japan's turned out some of the best—oh my God! ” she interrupted herself, staring wide-eyed at Katsuya. “I just now realized you're the Katsuya Jyonouchi, second-ranked duelist in Japan and number four in the world!”
“Ali, you need to stop watching ESPN when I'm not at home,” Benny scolded, trying to squash his embarrassment at his wife's outburst.
“She's right, though,” the blond teen said with an easy shrug. “I'm sure she also knows who's number one all around, not only in Japan but in the world.”
“Of course. That's Yuugi Mutou.”
“Little bastard,” Mark grumbled under his breath.
“Up until... very recently, he was my best friend, too.” Katsuya frowned slightly, eyes going unfocused for a moment at he attempted to gather his thoughts a bit. “Can I just preface this part with the assurance that I'm in no way, shape or form homophobic but spent a long time trying to figure out what was wrong with me when I didn't try to hit on this hot older woman I met back when I started competing?”
“Kat,” Collins said, leaning forward so that his elbows rested on his knees, “I think that's normal for some of us. Took me a few years to get my act together but I won't say that I never questioned myself.”
Katsuya quirked a brow at the nickname but just nodded slightly. “Thanks. I know I told Mark about Mai-san in my emails, especially when I was trying to sort through my thoughts and emotions, but let's just sum it up by saying I finally realized I see her as the older sister I never had.
“That happened sometime around the Battle City duels. I'm sure Alison-san knows just what I'm talking about.”
“That's the competition where Seto Kaiba shut down the entire city and set it up as one huge arena, right?” At Katsuya's nod, she frowned slightly. “I recall there being a good deal of injuries occurring amongst the top eight during the semi-finals. Were you one of the people who got hurt?”
“Yes,” Mark and Katsuya said in unison. Katsuya continued with, “It was nothing serious.”
Mark stared hard at his cousin. “Your heart stopped, chibi-ichi, I don't see how that's 'not serious.'”
“We can argue over that later, itoko,” Katsuya sighed. “Anyway, it was during Battle City that I realized I think of Mai-san like an older sister and... I started to realize that I had fallen pretty hard for a guy.”
“And I take it he didn't react well to the news that you like him,” Joanne guessed.
Katsuya was quiet for a moment, his eyes distant and sad. Mimi clicked her tongue lightly and cursed softly in Spanish before crossing to the teen. She didn't say anything, just brushed his hair away from his face and dropped a soft kiss to his forehead. Roger recognized the gesture and smiled softly; Katsuya might not realize it just yet but he'd just picked up a fiery Latina protector, and Mimi Marquez was hell on wheels when someone messed with her familia.
“'Didn't react well' is an understatement,” Katsuya said after a moment, offering Mimi a faint grateful smile. “More like blinked for a minute before asking me to clarify, then proceeded to break every preconceived notion I ever had about our friendship.
“I wouldn't have said anything if I'd've known that was the reaction I'd get from him. I mean, that's why Honda still doesn't know that I like guys a hell of a lot more than I like girls. But...” here he heaved a tired sigh and closed his eyes “I really thought he felt the same. He's the one who said 'I love you' first, and that was months ago.”
“Kat,” Benny asked, drawing a confused look from not only the boy he was addressing but from Mark and Alison as well, “what variation of 'I love you' did he use?”
Katsuya blinked slowly before replying, “Daisuki.”
“Make that two tickets to Japan, Baby,” Alison snarled out. Her normally calm gray eyes were flashing dangerously and Roger found himself almost pitying the recipient of her ire.
“It'll be three, Ali,” Benny replied, sounding just as angry.
“Whoa, what am I missing?” Roger asked, knowing that the answer to Benny's question was what caused the two calmest, most uptight people he knew to act like a pair of vengeance-driven vigilantes.
Mark looked like he really was considering swimming to his destination. “Daisuki is on par with 'you are the most important person in my life and I would die without you, you are more than my best friend and I want to spend forever with you.' More or less.”
“Better make that four tickets.”
“Can we get a group rate?” Collins asked, sounding no happier than anyone else at the moment; Mimi was currently swearing up a storm in Spanish far too quickly for Roger to process exactly what she was saying.
“No, no, and no,” Katsuya said firmly, ceasing all conversation (including Mimi's tirade). “No one is going to yell at, murder, maim or financially ruin Yuugi. I already had this argument once and I'd rather not have it again.”
“Katsu,” Mark asked suspiciously, “who, exactly, did you discuss this with before you flew out of Domino?”
“Seto and Bakura.”
Seto heaved a tired sigh and rubbed his eyes. He hadn't gotten much sleep the previous night, worried over whether or not Katsuya would arrive at his destination all right. He had thus far resisted the urge to call the blond even though he hadn't been able to resist tracking down a phone number for this 'cousin Mark' the other teen had mentioned... or phone numbers for any of the other people who had at any point shared lodgings with the man; one of the numbers struck him as familiar but he couldn't quite place it at the moment. In all honesty, the only real reason he hadn't called was because he wasn't sure if it was afternoon or evening in New York; it was technically the same day for Katsuya since his flight had crossed the International Date Line.
“Kaiba-sama, there's a... erm... gentleman here to see you.”
Seto frowned at the speaker. He didn't have any meetings scheduled for the day and, from the way his secretary had said 'gentleman,' it wasn't likely to be a business partner anyway.
“I'm not available,” he replied after a moment, adding, “And cancel all my appointments for the day. I'll be leaving around noon.”
There was momentary silence on the other end before his secretary replied, “Yes, sir.” She sounded rather surprised that her boss was taking the afternoon off, but he was tired, damn it!
Seto leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes, hoping for a few moments of peace and quiet before his boyfriends came back. Luckily he hadn't had to speak to Mutou since before Katsuya had attempted to throw himself in front of his limo, and he wasn't sure how civil he would be when the time came. Atem had left while the blond was still upset and Bakura had gone searching for the once-Pharaoh after Katsuya had decided to leave Japan; the plan had been for the pair to meet them at the airport but apparently the thief had had a more difficult time dragging their somewhat opinionated third away from the argument he was sure had ensued. Thankfully it was Monday, and he had an agreement with the school that Monday and Thursday were the two days he was permitted off each week in order to run Kaiba Corp more efficiently. He had a gut feeling that Atem would be showing up in a rage any minute now, and Bakura was likely to be with him to keep bloodshed to a minimum. Seto didn't even want to think about how the school day had run if Atem wasn't on speaking terms with any of Mutou's little group.
Before even a minute had passed, he clearly heard his secretary shriek, “You can't go in there!” just before the door was slammed open. Seto sat up and schooled his expression to an unamused scowl, which quickly faded to confusion when he realized just who his visitor was.
“Look, lady, I don't care how much you get paid for being a bitch but I'm only in town for a few days and I need to talk to Seto now! So go take a coffee break and maybe take some niceness pills, you certainly need them!” With that, Malik Ishtar cheerfully slammed the door in the woman's face before turning and flashing Seto an apologetic smile. “Sorry 'bout that, but I really am just passing through and wanted to get in touch with everyone before I flew out again.”
“Uh....” There were very few moments in life where Seto found himself speechless, but this was definitely one of them. He for one wouldn't count himself at the top of Malik's list of people to see—he wasn't even sure if he was on the list. After a moment he managed to find his voice again. “I'm surprised that you actually stopped by my office. After the last time we met I was sure you'd sooner slash my throat than talk to me.”
Malik shrugged. “I don't particularly like the way you treat some people, but that's just how you are and I'm going to have to live with it if we're to be friends,” the Egyptian said smoothly. “And, well, I was sort of hoping you could help me out.”
The CEO in Seto sat up and took notice; he was used to acquaintances asking for favours. “What can I do for you?”
For a moment it seemed like the younger teenager hadn't heard the question, his attention seemed to be more focused on the sky outside the building. “Do you know where I can find Katsuya?”
It wasn't the informal usage of his friend's name that threw Seto, but the fact that Malik was looking for him specifically. The brunet blinked twice before asking, “Why?”
“Because even though I want to see everyone for a while before Isis and I go to America—she got a new job running an Egyptian history and culture exhibit at one of the museums there—I realized that out of everyone I met in Domino that I miss Katsuya the most.” Malik half-turned from the window, but Seto caught the slightly flushed look on the blond's face. “I wanted to tell him that and ask him something else. And I'm not telling you what I need to ask!” he quickly added.
The CEO mentally groaned. He really, really didn't want to be the one to tell Malik what happened, especially if he was reading the younger boy's mood right. Before he could begin to wonder just how to phrase things delicately the door was slammed open again to admit a fuming Atem and a more sedate yet still pissed off Bakura.
And, unfortunately, neither had noticed Malik.
“—still think I should be allowed to mind crush the little bastard!” Atem snarled, giving his elder boyfriend a hard glare. The not-quite-reformed thief simply rolled his eyes at the comment.
“After the cold shoulder treatment and practically molesting me in the courtyard before we took off for the day, I think he might just have a clue that you're more than a little unhappy with him,” Bakura said calmly. “That, and the fact that you threatened to mummify him alive and 'entomb' him in the stockroom at the game shop probably didn't hurt.”
“I'm probably not hearing this correctly,” Malik interrupted quietly, “but it sounds like you aren't happy with Yuugi right now?”
Seto nearly laughed at the twin stunned expressions on his boyfriends' faces. As it was he simply stated, “Bakura, Atem, Malik stopped by to visit.”
“No shit, Priest,” Bakura grumbled, shooting a sidelong glance to notice that Atem seemed to be plotting... again.
“Malik will help me kill him, won't you, Malik?” he asked a bit too eagerly. The younger Egyptian stared hard at the former Pharaoh before his expression shifted to one more fitting of his darker personality.
“Will one of you,” he hissed, “tell me what the hell is going on around here and where my Katsuya is?!”
Your Katsuya? Bakura thought, finding himself wondering just what Malik would do once he found out what had happened—Horus and Ra, had it really only been yesterday? He couldn't, however, find it anywhere in himself to pity Mutou as he would get whatever he deserved... sort of like Honda had this morning courtesy of Dice Boy.
Seeing that both his boyfriends were struggling to find words Bakura took it upon himself to get the ball rolling. “Katsuya flew out of the country yesterday. I think he's staying with family in New York City.”
“New York?” For a moment Malik's eyes lit up but it was gone too fast for Atem to be sure. “Oh, when's he due back? I'd hate to miss him.”
“Jyonouchi-kun's not coming back,” Atem groused, “thanks to Mutou's attitude.”
“There you go not telling me what the hell is going on again.”
Seto picked up the story from here. “You remember the shi no duel, I'm sure.” At Malik's nod he continued, “And you remember what Mutou said to Ka-Jyonouchi during the duel.”
Another nod. “Daisuki, I know.” He apparently didn't notice the twinge of jealousy in his own voice, but the other three picked up on it immediately; Atem mentally started plotting against his former aibou once more, this time involving a lot of participation on the blond Egyptian's part.
Seto shot his smaller lover a look that said behave before continuing: “After Atem and Bakura returned, I noticed that Jyonouchi—”
“Oh for Ra's sake, Seto, just call the boy Katsuya!” Bakura interrupted. “You know you want to so just do it already!”
The brunet ignored him. “I noticed that he seemed to be trying to come to a decision over something, but he wouldn't talk to anyone about it. The most he did was ask if I thought Atem would still be friends with him if he did something that might confuse or upset Mutou.” Seto shrugged slightly. “I told him there wasn't anything he could do that would make the Pharaoh hate him; he just nodded and thanked me. I thought that was the end of it.”
“Until Blondie threw himself in front of the limo yesterday afternoon,” Bakura stated far more casually than how he really felt.
“I don't think I've ever seen someone dive for the brakes before, but Kura did it,” Atem said, a note of pride in his voice.
“And got my fingers stepped on by Isono for my effort,” the thief grumbled. “I'm fine, if anyone cares.”
“It took almost an hour to get Jyonouchi-kun calmed down enough to find out what had happened,” Atem continued after picking up Bakura's hand and kissing his knuckles. “The reason he asked Seto-kun if I'd hate him for upsetting Mutou was because Jyonouchi-kun finally decided that he was going to take a huge step and admit that he was in love with his best friend.” By the time he got to the last part his eyes were narrowed into slits again, and Malik was positive that the rage he saw there was not directed towards Katsuya at all.
“So what did Yuugi say?”
“From what little I could make out through the self-loathing and tears apparently the midget has an extensive vocabulary of derogatory terms for homosexuality, all of which he hurled at Katsuya before shoving him out of the game shop and making the statement that he was going to tell all of their mutual friends about Katsuya's 'perversion,'“ Bakura snarled.
“We are talking about Mutou Yuugi, close personal friends with the friendship-spewing Mazaki Anzu, right?”
“Anzu is actually taking things pretty well,” Atem admitted. “I went to her place last night after nearly screaming my throat raw at him. Oh, Seto, she wanted to know if you could come up with an address for her to contact Jyonouchi-kun. She got a letter in the mail Saturday that she wanted to show him or something.”
“I'll call and give her his number this afternoon,” the CEO promised.
“And the landshark got his ass kicked today,” Bakura chirped. It was actually rather frightening to hear Bakura Eruna (as he'd taken to calling himself) chirp, and both his boyfriends shifted away from him slightly.
Seto frowned. “Honda gets into fights every other day. How was this morning any different?”
“Because it was one Otogi Ryuuji who did the ass-kicking.”
Atem grinned ferally. “It was great,” he enthused. “Honda and Mutou were both going on and on and on about Jyonouchi-kun being a freak of nature and how they should never have been friends with a fag like him. Guess who overheard her potential boyfriend talking like that about her niichan?”
Malik's eyes narrowed. “That's low, saying those things in the first place but even more so because even if I don't know Shizuka that well I do know that she adores Katsuya.”
“Shizuka slapped Honda, called him cruel and heartless then took off down the street. She'd only come into town hoping to talk Jyonouchi-kun into going to Tokyo for a while,” Atem said. “I caught up to her before we came here and let her know that he was in New York with their cousin Mark.”
“Anyway,” Bakura picked up the story, “Landshark decided to go after the pixie and try to 'make her see reason,' as he put it. He gets maybe three steps when out of nowhere Dice Boy tackles him to the ground, grabs a handful of his hair and proceeds to pound his face into the dirt. The whole time he was calling the dumbass every name in the book and saying that no one as cold as he is should be allowed to come near someone as sweet as Shizuka, ever.”
“The best part of it was that Takehiro-sensei heard the whole thing and refused to step in until Otogi-kun started repeating himself,” Atem concluded. He looked very pleased with the entire situation.
Seto couldn't keep from smirking. “I think perhaps a late business dinner with Otogi and a date of his choice may be in the cards for this evening.”
Bakura turned to find Malik staring off into space, arms crossed and his entire body tensed for a fight. It was obvious to the thief that his friend was enraged but that his thoughts were currently with the one who wasn't there. He shook his head slightly and turned to meet Atem's eyes; the other young man nodded slightly, indicating that he saw the same thing.
“Malik-kun and Isis-san can join us, right?” Atem asked a bit too innocently. Malik shook himself out of his thoughts and blinked at the older man before turning his gaze to Seto.
“I see no problem with that. Besides,” here the brunet smirked again, “Malik's not going to be in town long anyway. When exactly are you and Isis flying to New York?”
“Our flight is at ten-forty tomorrow morning,” the blond answered absently. His expression when he realized his slip was hilarious in Bakura's opinion. “Uh, I mean—”
“Nope, too late,” Bakura teased. “We know where you're going now. And I have the feeling I know who you'll be looking up once you get there.”
Malik's expression immediately went from shocked to neutral. “I don't know what you're talking about,” he said in a tone that would have sounded truthful to someone who didn't know him well.
“Oh, so you aren't jealous that Jyonouchi-kun might still love Mutou despite the things that were said?” Atem asked in an innocent tone. He couldn't help but the triumphant grin at Malik's snarl. “That's what I thought.”
“You two behave yourselves,” Seto scolded, secretly pleased that his lovers were more, well, pushy than he was when it came to their friends' happiness. “Malik, you and Isis are invited to join us as well. I'll make reservations at The Plaza for seven o'clock.”
“Dice Boy will probably bring the pixie as his date,” Bakura noted. “We can do some 'research' on Cousin Mark then. Maybe even get an address to go with that phone number you found, Seto.”
“I should probably go let Isis know we have plans tonight,” Malik conceded after a moment. “She won't be happy when I tell her what happened with Katsuya and Yuugi.”
“Think maybe she'll help me kill the little bastard?”
Mutou Yuugi was not happy.
It was as if that one confession (and he never would have guessed that his former best friend was a fucking queer) had put into action events beyond his control, and no one seemed to care that his life had been thrown out of whack. The only person who understood what was wrong was Honda, and he was out of school for the next few days thanks to that bastard Otogi.
That wasn't even the worse of it. Anzu wasn't talking to him. She hadn't even said a single word to him since Atem had chewed him out on Sunday afternoon. In fact, during the beating—er, fight on Monday during lunch she had stood rather quietly off to one side before going to see if she could track down Shizuka, and she had then avoided him for the rest of the day.
If he really felt sorry for anyone in this, though, it was the girl. She couldn't help it if her brother was bent; it was just a shame that she couldn't see just how wrong that sort of lifestyle was.
That... was a voice he hadn't heard in a while. He didn't even have to force the smile he wore as he turned to face his gaijin friend. “Hello, Malik-kun. I didn't know you were in Domino. When'd you get into town?”
The Egyptian shrugged, a tiny smile on his own lips. “Yesterday morning. Isis and I are on a short vacation until she starts her new job. She got hired on as head curator of the Egyptian exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.”
Yuugi blinked. “You're moving to America?”
“Yeah. I'm probably going to stay in touch with a few people from here, see about contacting a friend who I know is living in New York now, maybe even make some new friends.” Malik paused and tilted his head thoughtfully. “Did you know Seto might be leaving for America too if his latest joint venture pans out?”
The short teen shook his head, frowning slightly. “No, I didn't. I haven't really talked to Kaiba-kun since Saturday.”
The blond blinked lazily. “Atem didn't tell you?”
This drew a slight growl from the supposed king of games as he turned to face the school. “I'm not talking to that traitor right now. And if Anzu knows she isn't talking to me.”
“And I couldn't be happier.”
Yuugi blinked and slowly turned to look at the Egyptian again. The small smile was still there, but his eyes were flashing with a look he'd only ever associated with Malik's dark side. For a moment he worried that maybe it was the darker side he was speaking with right now. “Wh-what?”
“I couldn't be happier,” Malik repeated, tone still casual and bright even as that dangerous look in his eyes grew more prevalent. “I gave up on trying to take everything away from you but you've done a damn good job of losing it all on your own. Seriously, though, I have to thank you. Now I might have a chance.”
“Chance?” Yuugi was starting to wonder if he running would be a good option right about now; that smile and the look in Malik Ishtar's eyes was downright feral, predatory. The Egyptian didn't even give him time to make a decision, the question barely out of his mouth before the other was in motion. He wasn't even aware that Malik had punched him until the air rushed from his lungs and he was half-doubled over, only the taller boy holding him up.
“You're lucky that my dark side is gone,” the blond murmured dangerously, so low that only Yuugi could hear him, “or you'd be dead right now. You could have had the eternal love and devotion of one of the most dedicated, beautiful people in this world and you threw it away. It is going to take time for him to heal from that. And I plan on being by his side in New York, first as a friend and eventually as a lover, and I will never, never give him back to you.”
With that said, Malik roughly shoved the shorter boy away from him, smirking as he hit the ground. “Thanks again, Yuugi-kun,” he purred sweetly before turning to walk away. “Oh, and I will be telling my Katsuya about this little chat of ours... someday.” Then he was headed for the gates, not even sparing Yuugi a backward glance. Just past the blond Yuugi could see Kaiba, Atem, Bakura and Isis waiting; Atem was fairly bouncing, an amused smirk on his face. Hell, all four of them were smirking, and Isis even gave her younger brother a tight hug when he reached her.
What the hell... wait, what was that about him...?
“You deserved that.”
Yuugi shook his head slightly as he looked up, somewhat surprised that Anzu was finally breaking her self-imposed silence towards him. The expression on her face, however, made it clear that she was far from pleased with him. “Excuse me?” he asked incredulously. “I didn't even do anything!”
“The hell you didn't,” Anzu hissed, blue eyes flashing almost as dangerously as Malik's had. “I had a rather enlightening discussion with Atemu-kun on Sunday night. He had quite a few things to say about you and how you treat people who used to be your friends.”
“Jyonouchi has nothing to do with this.”
“Oh, so sorry, darling, but Jyonouchi-kun” she emphasized the honorific “has everything to do with this. Now, if you'll excuse me, my real friends are waiting for me. Oh, and don't bother trying to call me at home. I'm leaving today and don't know when—or if—I'll be back.”
It was on the tip of Yuugi's tongue to snap back at her, but her last words caught him off guard. “Leaving? Anzu, where—”
“Goodbye, Yuugi.” Without another word Anzu turned on her heel and walked out the gates as well, climbing into the limousine wordlessly. The second the door was shut it drove off; it wouldn't be until much later that Mutou Yuugi would realize he had burned too many bridges, and this was the last time he'd see his childhood friend Mazaki Anzu.
There was a long pause that wasn't exactly silent as someone in the background on the other end was laughing hysterically; then finally, 'That has to be the strangest message I have ever heard, loser.'
“Why do people insist on not speaking English anymore?” Roger sighed as Katsuya leaned across the table to pick up the phone.
“To drive you out of your mind, Roger-kun,” came the reply. 'I'm not the one who placed third in his own tournament, rich boy. And please tell Kura it isn't that funny.'
'I don't think he's listening,' Seto replied, glancing over his shoulder and rolling his eyes at his taller lover. Atem, in an attempt to shut him up, casually reached over and whacked Bakura on the back of the head. This set off an argument between the pair... in Ancient Egyptian. 'But Atem took care of it.'
'So I hear,' Katsuya snickered. It was easy to ignore Roger's complaining, especially since the complaints were now being directed at Mark. 'My cousin's roommate doesn't speak Japanese and is bitching that no one speaks English around here anymore.'
'It's not the truth, though. The only people I speak in Japanese with are Cousin, Benny and Alison. I think Tom can only tell when I'm swearing. Oh!' he interrupted himself. 'Guess what building is right next door to me?'
'The Natural History Museum?'
'Just what part of the city do you think I live in? No, Cyber Arts! Benny and Alison own it.'
'Whoa, hold on,' Seto said, staring at the speaker phone; Atem and Bakura had ceased their bickering behind him and were also staring. 'Did you say you know the owners of Cyber Arts?'
'Well, yeah,' Katsuya confirmed. 'Benny is like the older brother I never had and Alison's turned into my older sister.'
'Really?' Seto filed this information away for later reference; if Katsuya regarded Benjamin Coffin III and his wife as family then his few doubts about buying into the company were unfounded. 'Anyway, I called to see if you were up to showing a few tourists the sites.'
“I don't know,” Katsuya said quietly, switching abruptly to English. “Maybe you can hire someone to give you a real tour—”
Mark snatched the phone away from him. “Hello? If this is Seto, please get Katsu out of the apartment for a while. He hasn't gone anywhere since he flew into LaGuardia last week!”
Seto shook his head. “I thought as much. Jyo—Katsuya doesn't really bounce back from things as well as he'd like us all to believe, ne?”
“Exactly. Where do you want us to drag him to?” Fifteen minutes later found Katsuya, Mark, Roger (who Mark dragged along since the man hadn't left the apartment in about the same amount of time as his cousin) and Mimi (who had the day off from school) less than a block from the Museum of Natural History. The older of the blond men was pouting... although he was inclined to think of it as fuming. Mimi wasn't fooled.
“Oh, come on, Roger. A little culture will be good for all of us,” she said, patting her ex-boyfriend's shoulder comfortingly. Their relationship may have crumbled, but the two of them were still close. It had been Roger's idea to move her into the loft even after the breakup.
“Then we'll go to the Life,” the musician grumbled. “I mean, the fucking museum?! What's there to do in a museum, for God's sake?”
“Oh, a lot can happen in a museum, trust me.” Before anyone could ask Katsuya exactly what he meant by that the teenager's face lit up and he waved to a small group approaching the bench they were standing at. “Oi, Seto! Did you leave anyone in Japan?”
“No, I didn't think anyone deserved to be punished by Mutou's presence,” the tall brunet returned with a grin. Once he was close enough he held out a hand, pleased when the other grasped it. “Besides, I was ordered to bring everyone along by the one person who can give me orders.”
“How is Mokuba, by the way?”
“He's as happy as he can be, I suppose,” Seto began, only to be interrupted by Bakura.
“Yeah, he's holed up in the hotel room watching the porn stations.”
Katsuya laughed. “Yeah, sounds like the kid, alright. Good to see you, Kura.”
“Hey, Kat, not to be rude, but we don't know any of these people,” Roger cut in, getting an elbow in both sides courtesy of his roommates. Katsuya rolled his eyes while Bakura and Atem both snickered in amusement.
“I was getting to that, Roger-kun,” he said, tone exasperated. “Itoko to minna-san, these are my friends from Domino Seto Kaiba, Bakura Eruna, Atem Kkwy, Ryou Bakura and Anzu Mazaki,” he indicated each as he named them off, then did likewise in the reverse: “Gang, this is my itoko Mark Cohen, his best friend and roommate Roger Davis and my new big sister Mimi Marquez.”
“Nice to mee—wait, Kaiba?” Mimi asked, brow furrowed in slight confusion. “Like, as in, Kaiba Corp Kaiba?”
“I don't think I've ever heard that many Kaibas in one sentence before,” Bakura deadpanned, grunting slightly when Ryou elbowed him. Everyone else managed to ignore him.
“The same,” Seto replied to Mimi's question, looking vaguely amused. “I'm surprised that you've heard of the company.”
“Geez, you only run the number one gaming company in the world,” Katsuya said, rolling his eyes. “It's so surprising that someone in America would have heard of Kaiba Corp.”
“How do people put up with you?”
“Because I'm cute and Asian. Or at least that's what Ali claims.” Katsuya shrugged, ignored Bakura snickering at him and turned to the two he hadn't really expected to see for a while. “I half expected to see you, Ryou, but I have to admit I didn't think I'd be seeing you for a while, Anzu.”
The brunette smiled brightly and gave her friend a hug. “It was going to be a surprise anyway, but I was hoping you'd be the first to know. I got in!”
Mark, Roger and Mimi were completely lost when the younger blond suddenly picked up the girl and spun her around. “I am so damn proud of you. Do your parents—well, no shit, of course they know—what did your instructors back in Domino say when you told them? We need to celebrate.”
Anzu was laughing as she replied, “They're almost as proud of me as you are, Jyonouchi-kun. Put me down before you drop me, onegai.” Katsuya complied even though he kept an arm wrapped around her waist; it was obvious to Mark that the brunette was probably his best female friend even counting Alison and Mimi, both of whom regarded him as a younger sibling. “I got a scholarship, so I decided to start right away. I had to get the hell out of Domino for a while.”
At this Katsuya frowned for the first time since he'd met up with his friends. “Don't hate Yuugi for what he did,” the teen insisted. “You've been friends since way before I came into the picture; don't throw that away just because you don't see eye to eye when it comes to me.”
Anzu was shaking her head before Katsuya was finished speaking. “He's not the boy I grew up with anymore, Jyonouchi-kun. I don't know him anymore.”
“Same goes for me, Jyonouchi-kun,” Atem added. The other teenagers made similar sounds and motions of agreement, even Seto who'd known Yuugi for a shorter time than anyone else. Katsuya didn't answer any of them for a moment. When he finally did it was with a quiet sigh.
“How the hell did I wind up with you idiots for friends?” he asked, expression blank but his eyes smiling mischievously.
“Because you’re cute and half-gaijin,” Bakura replied sweetly. “Now then, weren’t we going to the museum or something?”
‘Seto, can I talk to you for a moment please?’
The brunet turned and blinked at the man who’d spoken. True, he’d half-expected Katsuya’s cousin to speak Japanese fairly well, but he wasn’t expecting Mark to wish to speak with him at all. After all, he had been rather cruel to the man’s cousin at one point in time even if those days were behind them.
Seto glanced over at Atem and Bakura. The former was in a rather animated conversation with Anzu, Ryou and Katsuya, apparently translating the hieroglyphics to the teenagers. Whatever it was must not have been very PG since Anzu and Ryou were both blushing and Katsuya was cracking up. Bakura was shaking his head, but caught Seto’s eye long enough to nod at his silent question.
‘Of course. After you.’
They were quiet as they walked back through the museum, not terribly far from the rest of the group yet far enough away that they could converse without anyone else overhearing them. It was another few minutes before Mark spoke again.
‘I’m worried about Katsu,’ the blond admitted quietly. ‘Usually he’ll be the first person to want to go out and see the city, learn new things and take advantage of life. Since he got here, though....’
Seto heaved a tired sigh. ‘He was subdued when he left Domino,’ he said softly. ‘I think Mutou might actually have broken his heart. I wanted to take action against the little bastard’s family, but I promised Katsuya I wouldn’t.’
‘We all wanted to take a flight to Domino and kick his ass,’ Mark admitted. ‘But Katsuya—’
‘Yeah.’ The pair fell silent again, walking back towards the group slowly. ‘There’s someone else who actually did take a shot at Mutou over this,’ Seto said when they were a few feet away, his words so soft that Mark barely heard them. Mark turned and blinked curiously.
‘I thought you said Katsu asked that you didn’t do anything to Mutou.’
‘Ah, but he never said anything to Malik about it. He arrived in Japan the day after Katsuya left the city. He wasn’t exactly pleased when he heard what happened.’
Mark frowned, apparently trying to place the name. Seto could tell when he did; the man’s blue eyes widened for a moment before narrowing slightly. ‘Why? Did he want to be the one to crush my chibi-ichi’s spirit?’
Seto shook his head, a faint smile crossing his lips. ‘No. It seems that Malik Ishtar has developed a... strong affection for your cousin,’ he said.
‘After everything that happened between them during Battle City?’ Mark sounded somewhat incredulous and confused. Before Seto could confirm the facts the blond was shaking his head. ‘Leave it to Katsu to fall for someone who can only break his heart while at the same time unknowingly breaking another’s.’
‘Malik’s in the city now.’
Mark actually smiled. ‘Then maybe there’s a chance for my chibi-ichi to heal after all.’
“I think you broke yadonushi and his girlfriend, Pharaoh,” Bakura insisted, still shaking his head at his lover’s antics when Mark and Seto returned. For his part Atem was attempting to look innocent... and failing rather miserably.
“All I did was translate the glyphs, Kura,” the former spirit claimed. “What’s wrong with that?”
“What’s wrong with that is the fact you translated an homage to Ra as a receipt for sexual services rendered to all the pharaohs who came before your father, including your own grandfather.”
“You made that up?!” Anzu cried, flushing a bright red when all the people around them turned to stare at her. This only made Katsuya laugh harder than he already was.
“Why didn’t you say anything before, yami?” Ryou asked, his own face still slightly red from before.
“No one asked me to correct him.”
“Hm, maybe we should have just left you in the Valley of the Kings, once-nameless pharaoh.”
The group turned as a whole (Roger still trying to understand what was going on, especially after Mark had turned to Bakura and asked—for some odd reason—”ring or puzzle?”) to the person who had spoken. If he hadn’t heard the voice Roger would almost think it was a fairly young girl standing behind them. And was it possible for someone of obvious non-Caucasian origins to have hair that shade of blond? The woman next to him was simply shaking her head, although whether it was in admonishment or amusement he couldn’t tell.
“Maybe you should have stayed in your hole in the ground, tomb keeper,” Atem returned, his tone indicating amusement more than the annoyance the New Yorkers may have expected. “Besides, Kura already got us kicked out of the afterlife once, I don’t think they’d have appreciated us staying where we weren’t welcome.”
“Who got us kicked out, Mister ‘But Seto Needs Someone To Keep Him From Imploding Due To His Boring Existence Without Us’?” Bakura muttered under his breath, receiving an elbow in the ribs from both his lovers.
Malik, however, wasn’t really paying attention to the other Egyptians or Seto at this point. Mentally he was cursing Mutou Yuugi for the pain the other had caused his Katsuya. Even now, one full week later, the blond was subdued to the point that the Egyptian almost didn’t recognize him. If it was possible for one’s mental state to affect his physical appearance, Katsuya would have been muted grays and beiges... nowhere near the vibrant spirit he’d been when they had first met back in Battle City. For that reason alone Malik wished the wrath of all the old gods upon the supposed king of games.
Isis nudged his shoulder gently, dragging him out of his thoughts. Shoving aside his anger at Yuugi for a moment, Malik shrugged and smirked. “Yeah, Ra would have gotten sick of your whiney ass and eaten you,” he conceded amicably before turning to face Katsuya. The smirk shifted into a real smile as he said, “Hey, Katsuya. It’s been a while.”
For a brief moment, Mark began to think that, just maybe, it wasn’t that great an idea for his favourite cousin to be around this stranger—and yes, to him Malik Ishtar was nothing more than a name in Katsuya’s emails. Then Katsuya’s expression shifted from surprise into an easy grin, and Mark realized that things just might turn out alright after all.
“Hey yourself. How long have you been here?”
“Maybe a week,” Malik replied, ignoring Seto’s head-shaking from where Katsuya couldn’t see him. He wasn’t ready to tell the other blond everything, at least not yet. Maybe in a few months’ time, after his Katsuya had had a little more time to heal, then he would tell him about what happened in Domino for the day and a half he was actually there. For now, though, it was just enough to be near him. “I haven’t really had time to see anything yet. You think that maybe—”
“Of course,” Katsuya interrupted before Malik could finish; he never noticed his cousin exchange looks with his friends. “I mean, real friends are hard to come by, right?”
“Not always,” Malik replied, having noticed the interaction occurring behind the other blond. “Sometimes your real friends are where you least expect to find them.”
Had someone told him a year ago that he’d find the love of his life at the cost of his ‘best’ friend, Katsuya probably would have beaten the living shit out of them. Now though, he was fairly sure that person would have been half-right.
Six months had done wonders for him, the city itself acting as a balm for his wounded heart and the presence of those he now realized were his true friends helping to heal from Yuugi’s callousness with his heart. He had a home where he was safe and happy (and exposed to no end of drama courtesy of Maureen and Joanne’s frequent lovers’ spats as well as the developing romance between his cousin, his cousin’s best friend and the woman they apparently were both incredibly fond of), a Kaiba Corp history scholarship to NYU, and a boyfriend who thought the world of him.
Malik had finally told him almost a month ago about what had happened after he left Domino. At first Katsuya wanted to smack Seto for even letting the Egyptian touch Yuugi, but he realized that they had all reacted in his favour, something he honestly hadn’t been expecting. That was right about the time Malik kissed him for the first time... and apologized almost immediately after; apparently Seto and Atem had warned him about rushing Katsuya, and Malik feared he’d crossed that line. He really hadn’t needed to worry, though, as Katsuya realized about a week prior to that that maybe, possibly, he was falling for the other blond as well.
He still wondered which of them was more surprised when he pulled Malik back and kissed him—Malik or himself.
“Katsuya, you’re lost in your head again.”
The half-Japanese blond lifted his head from the book he hadn’t really been reading and flashed Roger a grin. “I’m surprised you stepped away from itoko and Mimi-neechan long enough to notice, Roger-kun.” He nearly laughed at the sudden flush of red that lit the older man’s face.
“Yeah, well, it’s hard to miss you sitting over here sighing over—what is that, advanced calculus or something?” Roger asked, trying to take attention off himself.
Katsuya let it drop... for the moment. “I can’t help it. Life is good. And speaking of....” Roger blinked and took half a step back at the glint in the teenager’s eyes. “I just want to let you know that if you ever hurt itoko the way Yuugi hurt me, I know people who can make sure they never find the body.”
Roger actually laughed. “After seeing what your friends are capable of, believe me when I say I know exactly what I’m getting into. It won’t happen. Promise.”
“Well, I’m glad we cleared that up, Roger-kun.”
Yes, Katsuya mused to himself as Malik settled onto the couch behind him and wrapped both arms around his waist, life was good and it was only getting better.