That feeling residing in his stomach when Sean opened the door to his room was bitter embarrassment for what he did back there, now bathing in the aftermath of a shameful orgasm added to his uneasiness. On top of it all was a tingle of anxiety should Marik ask him any questions about what took him so long, or if he did something wrong to upset Sean in the first place.
He finds Marik laying there with his face turned to the wall, bundled up between pillows and under soft blankets, his frame softly rising and falling from tender breaths. Sean comes closer, rests a hand on the man’s shoulder applying gentle pressure; in case he was asleep he will just let him be and sleep downstairs, no point in waking him up… it’s not what Marik wanted Sean to do, but Sean still clings to that naive hope he’ll forget about it in the morning. As if he was drunk beyond imagination.
Marik doesn’t react and doesn’t move in response to the touch, either.
Decision is made in that split second of Sean realizing he shouldn’t have brought someone here to begin with, at least not… someone like him. He asked Marik if he wanted to fuck. It’s how things go, Sean guesses, for him and for years since he figured out he’s attracted to men in such a way and that there’s surprisingly plenty of bars around where you pick a guy up like Sean did today. Marik has never even seen a freaking horse in his life. Never kissed, never had sex. Not exactly the best catch for Sean, really, but…
Maybe it’s some kinda fate. Destiny or this magical crap. And destiny fucks Sean over by not letting him get laid, instead presenting him an actual good human being that suffers from things Sean can’t even know or imagine yet, a person that deserves more than dick.
It’s stupid, Sean tells himself, and that shit’s all Kaiba’s fault.
He puts his pants back on, leaves the room and Marik behind. Let him sleep.
Without tripping over the cat or waking up Copper sleeping in the corner of the hallway, right next to the door to Sebastian’s and Arthur’s bedroom, Sean sneaks down the stairs all the way into the kitchen to turn on the lights there, dimmed them so he doesn’t wake the whole house up. He ain’t up for more trouble or another scolding.
Sean opens up the fridge, doesn’t really know what he’s looking for, isn’t hungry or anything, but maybe there are sweets to munch on, Lily’s chocolate shaped like little fairies seems like a good idea—
„The fuck you doing here in the middle of the damn night?”
Sean jumps, curses loudly and almost hit his head at the cupboard above him, in his hands a couple of fairy shaped chocolate bars.
„I don’t like gettin’ surprised! —shit…” He stares at the blue haired girl with wide eyes, heart pounding like mad in his chest. „Why the fuck are you awake?”
Chloe shrugs, pulls up a chair to sit at the dining table behind Sean, arms crossed before her chest. „Gimme one of those little bitches too,” she says, „I’ll have to buy Lily a new box later.”
Sean throws a fairy over to Chloe and it ends up hitting her head and tumbling down on the table. „You toss like a girl…” She tears the paper open and takes a bite, watches Sean lean against the counter trying to calm down from being spooked like that. „So? Why are you here again? Stealing that poor girl’s chocolate?”
„Y'know I still got ‘em keys, right? Arthur said I’m always welcome,” Sean finally opens the wrapper, hands shaking a little, „Its still me home, I guess.”
„That’s, yeah, all very romantic and shit, but I think its stupid to pay rent for a huge ass apartment when you’re here.”
„I been… I been out tonite,” the man hesitates, thinking she ain’t got no clue he’s single as of now, „Picked a feller up.”
Chloe almost chokes on the last bite, coughs while she tries not to wake up everyone else. „What happened to rich boy?”
He nibbles on the snack instead of replying right away, searches for words that carry over how sick he was of Seto’s shit, avoiding how hurt he actually is. „He lost a damn tournament is what’s with him, treatin’ me like shite for something I ain’t got no hand in. Fuck… I broke up with him.”
„That’s… that’s rough. Yeah, I heard he lost, was all over the news the whole day and night, he gave some interviews and Arthur asked why you weren’t at least there with him,” she pauses, changes from funny and sarcastic to a serious tone, „Are you alright though?”
„…I ain’t got a clue what I am. It sure as hell ain’t happy, feels I messed me up big time.” There isn’t much blame to put on Seto; Sean could’ve waited, could have taken the time to talk to him after the storm was over. But he was… tired of waiting, had no more energy to be the second choice.
„Nah… it’s gonna be alright..? I’ve been through breakups too, not a lot but… that doesn’t mean it won’t get better for you again. Hey, you already got some dude up there, so I think-”
„No, it ain’t like that, Chloe. He ain’t like that.”
From outside the kitchen he heard footsteps, heavy ones and before the door opens Sean stuffs the rest of the chocolate in his mouth, wrapping still in his hand though. The door opens a bit and Arthur peeks in, sighs, mumbles to himself before stepping inside.
„Y'all,” he says wiping a hand through his long hair, defeated and tired, „What the hell happened?” That big mountain of a man closes the door silently behind him and walks over to the fridge to get a bottle of water out, then stops next to Sean giving him the look of the century: Worry laced with curiosity. And a bit of disappointment.
„Howdy,” Sean greets him, a dumb lopsided grin on his lips, „Been a while, huh?”
„A week I reckon. Somethin’ the matter? Ye'r boyfriend came over this evening, asked where ye'r at.”
Sean’s heart stings, scorching needles pierce right through muscles and tendons. Fuck this… „We ain’t a couple no more, Arthur. What… what did he say?”
Arthur messes with the bottle cap, twists it open just to screw it shut again. Chloe quietly watches, back against the chair and legs stretched underneath the table. „Said he’s lookin’ for you but ain’t said a word 'bout a breakup…”
„Because,” the paper crinkled in his fist, “He’s dumb enough to think I ain’t got the balls to leave his ass.”
“You sure did! Never liked that scumbag, honestly,” Chloe chimes in, „Just your regular rich kid spoiled rotten, thinks he owns the whole world.”
Arthur frowns after taking a sip from the bottle, shakes his head in response to her words. „He ain’t much different from you,” he speaks, „And from what I know he ain’t the guy you’re seein’ on TV.”
„…Yeah,” Sean talks again, leans his head against Arthur’s shoulder, „Yeah, but that ain’t enough.”
The room is quiet for a little while. Sean stands leaning against Arthur’s frame looking for comfort if even just a tiny bit, thinks about that young man currently sleeping in his bed. He should be up there next to him instead of dwelling on things he can’t change no more. Arthur should probably learn about him, though, or else the morning might get awkward.
„Arthur,” Sean takes a deep breath, „I brought someone along tonite. He’s sleepin’ in me bed.”
„Shit… Sean, I told you not to- I ain’t heard a thing, so I give you that.”
„They didn’t fuck,” Chloe giggles, „Sean smells like missed opportunities.” Arthur snorts, forgotten the time he once told Sean not to have sex in their house because of the kids. In all honesty Sean hasn’t forgotten about the deal, which makes it even worse that he asked Marik if he wants to have sex. Chloe’s words, though, they struck a sore nerve.
„So ye'r tellin’ me… picked up some feller right after you left Seto? That it? Sean…” How Arthur says his name sounds like a bad accusation, the man going full dad mode. As always.
„I know! I know. He’s different,” now that sounds incredibly cheesy, „I saw him during the tournament but payed no mind. Went to a bar that evening and he was just… he was there, so we talked 'n all.”
„Did you drink again?” Arthur wants to know, the question causes Sean to pull away looking up at him, emerald eyes laden with concern. Sean shakes his head - a few beers can’t be called drinking - and realizes how badly he wanted to talk about Marik and how lost Sean thinks the man is. Arthur and Sebastian would like him for sure.
„Good to hear. Is there nobody worth sinkin’ into the bottle for. You can stay here if you want to, Sean, ain’t there anyone judgin’, but you gotta let me know if you plan on bringin’ someone over. Just so I know if I gotta put on pants in the morn’.”
The conversation ends with quiet laughter and Arthur patting Sean’s back for a moment. At some point Chloe ends up wheezing, tries to say something through laughter behind hands clasped over her mouth.
„Seb got those stupid pants with writings on the ass,” she laughs, „Huge pink letters! Saying shit like 'Don’t know, don’t care’….”
Shit, they’re done for… Arthur joins in soon after, wipes tears from the corners of his eyes. „I’ll make sure he ain’t gonna wear 'em tomorrow.”
„Awh, shame! Let Sean’s boy have some fun with the bunch of us, I bet he’s gonna show up more often now?”
„No, I… no. Marik ain’t from here and he’s gonna leave again now that the tournament’s over 'n done.” Saying those words out loud makes it harder to accept the fact; they didn’t talk about that tonight and Sean figures it was for the better if they didn’t do so tomorrow as well. Getting so attached to someone after a single night of talking and some kisses, now ain’t that pathetic?
„Oh no…” Chloe sighs, gets up to bump her fist against Sean’s shoulder; her way of showing concern was a bit different. „There’ll be another! C'mon Irishman, chin up.”
„Pff… o'course. You know me.”
„Go back to bed, Chloe,” Arthur tells her, „Tomorrow’s Monday, you know what that means.”
„Work! Can I get a sad yeehaw?” She leaves the kitchen waving her hand at the men, left the chocolate wrapper behind on the table.
„So where’s he from? Let’s talk some more if you want to.” Arthur urges Sean to sit down next to him. A glance at the clock hanging on the wall tells Sean its 2 in the morning… just the perfect time for more sad conversations, huh..?
„From Egypt. Can you fucken believe that… lucky me.” Pure sarcasm. Ain’t there nothing lucky about it, Sean doesn’t even know how long a flight there would take… twelve hours? More?
„I take it you ain’t the type for something long distance, huh..? Guess it’s best leaving it at a one night stand, figure out where ye'r wanna go from there on ye'r own.”
„I barely know him, Arthur, why we talkin’ relationships,” in all honesty it wouldn’t sound as bad if it wasn’t for the huge ass distance, „He needed a place to stay is all.”
„I don’t believe a word you just said. When has it ever been nothin’ with the fellers you met?”
„Point taken…” Both his hands tap lightly on the table like hours ago in that bar, a sign of uncertainty and nervousness. „We. Kinda kissed.”
„Kinda,” Arthur says with a laugh, „How’d you kinda kiss?”
„I doubt he knows much about all that stuff, has been totally smitten seein’ your horses out there. Never drank, never smoked a damn cigarette, no kissin’, up until tonite. No clue what he’s been up to all his life, seriously.”
„Maybe jus’… grew up sheltered is all? I can’t wait to meet him though. You okay with that, Sean?” That might be an explanation… although it sounds more like Marik has been living underground the whole time. Huh…
„I sure am. Dunno about him tho,” its 2:30am and Sean beyond tired, absolutely wiped out and exhausted, „Lemme… ask him when he’s up 'n awake. For all I know he could be gone before I wake.”
„There’ll be another, like Chloe said. I’ve lived a lifetime without Buck, y'know..? There’s things we ain’t got no control over, all we gotta do is wait 'em out. We’re all here for you, Sean.”
„Someday,” and Sean stands up to straighten his back, a yawn follows, „I’m gonna find me a Sebastian for myself too. Real husband material, but I hope I ain’t gotta have to wait until I’m as old as you.”
„Go to bed, you moron.” Arthur has to chuckle about Sean’s words and falls victim to a contagious yawn. „Goodnight, Sean.”
„You too!” Sean leaves Arthur in the kitchen with two smudged and crinkled wrappers and an empty bottle of water at 2:37am to go up into his room again and this time he doesn’t feel anxious but afraid to let go so soon, scared to see Marik leave without knowing if he’s gonna come back.
Sean didn’t expect Marik to be awake, sitting with his back against the wall wrapped up in fluffy blankets, shaking and breathing heavily.
„Hey,” Sean rushes over to him, climbs on the bed next to Marik and grab him, his shoulders, pulling him in, „What happened?” Marik doesn’t calm down nor does he respond, stares blankly at nothing in particular and cannot seem to calm his breathing. It comes in huffs, long and painful–
Sean has no idea what to do.
„Marik,” he peels the blanket off of him, his muscles holding incredible tension, „Look at me.” Sean moves in front of him, cups his cheeks and wipes the tears he hasn’t noticed before, those he couldn’t see in the darkness but feels the wetness on his fingertips.
„I… I can’t…” Marik’s voice was barely above a whisper, almost inaudible, „I can’t…” Sean lifts his head until he can look into Marik’s eyes and he never stops caressing his cheeks, smudges the eyeliner doing so.
„Keep breathin’. Just keep breathin’.” Sean repeats, over and over, its all he says for a while and minutes on end sitting in Marik’s lap and as close as he dares to be until, finally, he can feel the tension from Marik’s muscle fading and his breath softening. Tears continue to fall. Marik looks at Sean with his eyes half lidded and puffy, searches for forgiveness and comfort.
„I’m sorry,” he says, sounds hoarse, „I’m so sorry.”
„Wh- no, it’s fine… ain’t there nothin’ to be sorry for…” Sean pulls him into a tight embrace with one swift motion, doesn’t hear Marik complain but actually return the action with both his arms around Sean’s back, nails dig hard into flesh through the fabric of his shirt. „You’ve been dreamin’ is all,” Sean guesses, „Nothing’s gonna hurt you.”
„It hurts… he-” Marik doesn’t say more than that. Clings to Sean without more words, only sobs that shake his body occasionally, his tears seeping soaking Sean’s shirt but by god was that the least important thing he cared about, all Sean wants is to hold this young man as tight as he can to stick these broken pieces back together. He is beyond confused, afraid of another breakdown of the sort yet willing to push through it for his sake—all for him.
„You’re gonna be okay,” Sean says, soon sways to one side laying down with Marik’s face buried on his chest, „It’ll pass. It always does.”
God, Marik, who hurt you like this..?
Sean tries not to much as much pulling the covers back over their bodies to grant them the warmth and comfort, soon the promise of sleep without interruption or cruel dreams. Once settled in, Marik in his arms, one of Sean’s hands dives through Marik’s hair, continuously so, and fingers gently play around with thick locks.
Eventually the sobbing subsides, Sean able to feel the other’s heartbeat next to his own slowing down, rise and fall of his chest calm and steady. Breath comes in huffs for a moment, it had Sean worry for another outburst of tears… but it didn’t come. Marik turns his head a little to the side inhaling deeply before he speaks again, his voice sounds meek. Pleading.
„Don’t leave,” he mutters, „Please.”
„I…” Saying nothing would’ve been better than hesitating. Marik holds his breath, hoping, waiting for an answer that took a moment to be found and another to be spoken with certainty. „I won't.” Sean’s hands moves down to Marik’s back thinking steady stroking is going to put him back to sleep for sure, but he stops midway, feeling… something strange underneath the man’s shirt; almost like he would trace lines carved into stone. Only more delicate. Curious and to a certain degree terrified Sean applies some more pressure to his touch trying to find the lines, no, scars or markings for sure… some deeper than others and plenty of them covering Marik’s entire back.
„Sean?” Distracted by the strange lines Sean didn’t notice Marik had pulled away to face him properly, did not notice Marik’s hands on his neck with fingers tracing his jawline along coarse stubbles.
„Can I ask you something? Again?”
„You always can, sure.” His eyeliner was an absolute mess, smudged beyond saving, black ink staining his cheeks in lines where tears rolled down, eyes swollen from crying. None of it can make him any less attractive…
„Do you think people can change?”
Asking the deep questions…? But hasn’t he done that the whole evening?
„Yeah… guess if they wanna change they can. Seems to me it’s hard work and takes lots o’ time.”
„If a bad person tries to be good…?”
„I ain’t thinkin’ a bad person would even want that and if they do they ain’t bad in the first place… not that I have a tiny bit of experience with that tho…” Sure he does. But this isn’t the time to unload all of his past for Marik to see the things Sean did wrong, those he messed up, the few he ruined completely. „…you ain’t a bad person, Marik.”
„I’m trying,” he says immediately, „I’m trying not to be…”
„Yeah,” Sean kisses his forehead, wipes the dark stains off his face, „I believe that.”