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Beneath the Cards

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Sean reads his recent text message over and over, leaned over a bottle of beer and a plate of cold fries. It almost drowns out the music blasting in the bar, chatter from other people completely silent in that little world of his.

[msg received 07:58p.m, Seto] You absolute idiot, MacGuire. I told you I had an appointment tonight and more important matters to attend to and I don’t need you throwing a fit because of this.

Admittedly, Sean might have overreacted. Sure, calling Seto an asshole has been wrong, and utterly so, especially since Mokuba was close enough to hear every single word. Seto never promised Sean anything, couldn’t say yes or no clearly to plans Sean has and at some point, he would just leave the man be and go about his important matters. Doesn’t even spare him a glance, sure as hell did not care when Sean left the apartment after one last insult and a heartfelt ‘go fuck yourself, Kaiba.’ Then to think Sean always called him Seto after meeting him, this must’ve hurt a bit. Seto, on the other hand, teased him with his last name all the time. Sean guessed it was out of habit. Found it charming, to be honest, and hearing Seto slip up when things got intimate was more than worth it.

Eyes are glued to the first sentence Seto texted him. You absolute idiot, MacGuire. Yeah. He sure was.

He takes a sip of his beer, locks the phone to put it away as if that was enough to end this dilemma, as if it solves anything. He still didn’t reply and doesn’t think about doing so for now, Sean too has more important matters to attend to. Even if those matters only involve cheap beer and stale fries.

Now that Sean has nothing in particular to focus on he begins to tap his fingers in the rhythm of the music, allows eyes to wander around the place, that dark shabby bar he preferred going to because it was one place that’s actually quiet, not bustling with people like the rest of Domino City at this hour.

Having lived in this stupid city for several years plus countless hours spent at this place, Sean dares to think he knew the moment he spots tourists or any kind of new people coming in. The man coming through the door right now, though, he thinks he has seen before. Battle City..? Sean cannot remember his name for the sake of it, but certainly recognizes the face. Casuel clothes. That damned winged eyeliner, ridiculously beautiful blond hair. More like… that ashen kinda blond. Hard to tell, actually, and don’t get him started on his dark lilac eyes. Maybe its contact lenses?

„Shite…” There goes his composure. Yeah, Sean definitely saw this man before and definitely during Battle City and he definitely had the same stupid fucked up thoughts that sneak back up on him right now. Another sip of his beer, perhaps to gather some fake courage or something, Seto Kaiba’s flat arse and pretty blue eyes shoved far away from him and Sean is up on his feet in order to talk to this undoubtedly handsome duelist.

„Hey,” Sean stops right next to him, both leaned against the bar, „I think I’ve seen you before.”
„…are you sure?” He looks at Sean and thinks for a few seconds, blinks quickly when he realizes. „Yeah, sure! Battle City! You… you weren’t in the finals, though.”
„Nah, ain’t made it that far. Did you?” Sean heard that Yugi Muto won, of course, and Seto made a big deal out of it— no, that name’s off limits tonight.
The duelist looks down to his hands, clenched his fingers slightly. „I did. But it seems I was hardly good enough to win against the– uh, Yugi.”
Sean laughs, shrugs his shoulders. „Well, who is tho?”

A moment of silence follows, Sean notices the other is a little taller than himself, he has to look up a bit, scans the change in his expression from closed up to more open; jaw unclenched and his eyes softened.

„I’m Marik,” he says then, „Nice to meet you again.”

„Sean,” comes the reply promptly, beyond excited in light of his success to loose him up, „And same, yeah. You wanna drink anything? It’s on me.”

Marik hesitates, though, moves his lips without speaking to repeat Sean’s name maybe in order to memorize it better. Sean thinks Marik’s name has something… endearing. Unique sure, much unlike Sean which is just the irish version of John and every third man in the world is called either.

„To be honest I’ve never had any alcohol before,” Marik admits, gaze averted, „Would sure like to try, though.”

„Ah well, its about time then! Startin’ with a beer don’t harm you!” Sean couldn’t really tell how old Marik was, but assumed he’s old enough to drink and smoke. Realistically… he looks like he’s in his early twenties, but what did Sean know. He catches a glimpse of Marik smiling, even chuckling a bit, good, that means his enthusiasm is appreciated. Sean orders two new bottles of beer then, but tells the bar keeper to go for that berry-mix flavor, its awfully sweet but a better start for someone who never had a wee drop of beer in his life.

„C'mon, let’s get us a place to sit down. You wanna stick around?”

„Yeah, of course,” again there’s a hint of hesitancy in Marik’s eyes and posture too, „Its not like I have any other plans…” He sure sounds a bit beaten down, kinda sad Sean thinks, and he wonders why. Could he open  up with a bit of alcohol in his system? As long as Sean doesn’t mess shit up again, tonight may just go well for both men.

Bottles in hand and fries all but forgotten, they sit down a bit ahead at a table placed in the corner where it’s somewhat quieter, 90s music turned down from behind the bar barely to be heard anymore.

„What’re you up to now that the tournament’s over?” Sean is genuinely curious and really, from his position sitting opposite of Marik he can’t help but to stare at him, at every little movement and when Marik takes the first sip that makes his nose crinkle like candy wrapper he’s absolutely lost. That man sure was something.

„I wish I knew… My plans looked a little bit different than what is actually happening right now,” he pauses, drinks again with the same result, „I’ll probably have to go home sooner or later.”

„Then you ain’t from here?” 'course, Sean, you idiot, look at him and then at yourself pale as fucking mayonnaise. Marik’s dark skin should be enough an indicator for that.

“I’m from Egypt. And came for the tournament. It’s been a rough few weeks for me.” He says that with a little smile, one that has Sean grip the bottle tighter in his fist. Damn… Egypt, huh… That isn’t right around the corner, honestly, such a long journey for a dumb tournament…

Sean isn’t one to talk, though. Knows well that this children’s card game is nowadays mainly played by grown ups holding huge ass tournaments revolving around them, usually with a lot of money as the prize. Or just your opponent’s rarest card. So he doesn’t judge anyone who chose duel monsters as their way of escape and comfort.

„Wanna… talk 'bout it? I mean I ain’t the best lad to give som’ advice, but I’m a good listener.” Sean flashes a bright smile, shifts on his seat to wiggle closer to the table and with that closer to Marik; their legs touch on accident, neither of them withdraw.

„I don’t doubt it…” Marik visibly struggles faced with the option to speak his mind, the worries plaguing him whatever they may be—Sean doesn’t understand why, of course, what could be so bad that you cannot talk about it without your breath hitching and eyes closing? He remains quiet through it all, doesn’t dare interrupt the man’s possible train of thought. Perhaps he will just get up and leave…

„I’ve done some bad things. A… a lot of bad things. Some I can’t take back or can’t even ask forgiveness for. I’m not even sure if I… deserve any kind of redemption for what I’ve caused.”

When Marik leans back Sean bends forward some more, lips slightly parted and dry by now, he simply doesn’t know what to say or if he is in any position to ask further questions. It certainly made him curious what happened, if it had to do with Battle City and Seto’s change of heart by that matter, or it’s all a coincidence. Marik averted his gaze, holds the bottle with two hands fumbling and picking at the label. He will give Marik more time, some more minutes…

„They’ve forgiven me, you know..? Said they did. But for myself, I’m not sure… where to go from here. I suppose I have work to do at home, but I don’t want… to go back. Part of me doesn’t.”

„You… wanna be free,” Sean takes a super wild guess, knows nothing about this man but he sounds like him some years ago, „Like, do what you wanna do is all. I been the same sure, still ain’t found me place in the world…”

„…that’s all I ever wanted.”

The beer is almost empty, a sweet berry taste on his tongue and lips. Sean feels he could go for another round easily, but wasn’t as sure about Marik still messing with the paper glued to the bottle — until he peeled it clean off.

„So? Geddit.”

„What?” At first Sean thought Marik didn’t understand him, „Saying it is easy, but… I can’t. I tried to.”

„Can’t you try again? Seems to me you’re still young 'n all…”

It worked! Marik’s smiling again, falls into a quiet laugh you can clearly see from his shaking shoulders and an attempt of him to hide his face with his free hand. “Maybe.”

Sean cannot shake the feeling that there was more to Marik and his story than he was able to tell a literal stranger over a bottle of beer; it doesn’t bother him at all, though, he would gladly learn a lot more about this young man and everything there was about him. Talking to Marik was already so much easier than… well.

„I guess I can try,” Marik says and puts his beer down on the table, „Not that I actually know where to start…” His elbows rest on the wooden surface, fingers intertwined showing off golden rings and bracelets. Fucking expensive… And so obvious.

„I could show you.” Sean lowered his voice, sets his beer aside too and folds his hands a bit away from Marik’s. Close enough though. Marik… doesn’t seem to know what to make of it yet.

„…” Marik leans in. “What’s the secret?”

„Distraction’s the first step I s'ppose,” god how badly did he want to run his hands through this man’s hair, „See where its gonna go from there as long as you ain’t thinking too much sure,” and fist a hand at the back of his head, pulling hard, „Lose yourself a wee bit.” Suck on his

„Your way of flirting is shameful, Sean.”

Point taken. Sean at least knows he ain’t oblivious. And his heart picks up a cruel harsh pace the very moment Marik uncurls his fingers– but he hesitates, ends up only staring at Sean’s hands on the table. Not that he ain’t used to taking the initiative in such cases; Sean continues the act, runs two fingers along those heavy golden rings on Marik’s left hand, between fingers drawing invisible lines, the back of his hand in little circles.

„I ain’t heard no complaints so far, Marik.” And what a special name it was, rolling off his tongue like a holy prayer. Sure its gonna sound dirty and no more heavenly once the nasty noises of a good fucking come along with it.

„Your…” Marik takes a deep breath, corner of his lip curled up for a crooked smile, „Your way of talking is peculiar, too.”

„Hah! I get that a lot now,” Sean keeps caressing him, slowly moves up to his wrist up to the edges of the thick bracelets, „Its because I’m irish?”

„I wouldn’t know how that sounds like, I rather thought of a cowboy, but… without the knowledge of how to build a proper sentence.”

„…wow,” point two for Marik, no doubt he got less shame than Sean in this regard, and Sean sure digs it, “Fine, keep callin’ me out and I swear-”

Foyne…” Marik grins, takes both of Sean’s hands in his own.

„…fine? It’s what I’m sayin’!”

Foyne is what you say!” Why is he laughing, oh god, did Sean miss a joke?

Something clicks. „…Oh, we’re gonna have lots a fun, Marik.”

„I don’t doubt it.”

Chapter Text

—Bittersweet Symphony from The Verve plays from the music box behind the bar and Sean still holds on to Marik’s hands as if his life depended on it. For a little while he truly thought it does, at least until the man starts to talk again and sounds as depressed as before. If not more.

„I’ve no idea what to do from now on,” Marik says looking down to their hands, „It feels as though I lost something.”

Oh, fuck, same, Sean thinks, but I’m kinda glad I did.

„Are you thinkin’ about getting it back? Can you?” From all the things Sean expected to happen, reassuring another man in a filthy bar between dozens of drunken people and bittersweet music wasn’t one of them. Sure Marik has the same mindset.

„I… no,” he stretches his legs underneath the table and leans back a little, pulls Sean’s hands with him, “There is no getting it back, it’s gone for good. I wish the bad things I’ve done would’ve disappeared as easily.” Marik says that as if losing whatever he means wasn’t easy at all and came with quite the struggle and by God, Sean isn’t the person most suited to talk deep shit with, not to get started on something that sounds like it borderlines on depression and hard loss. And despite this he talks with Marik as of he was an old friend.

„What you needin’ are new things to hold on to, literally anything, you get me..? Think I know how you’re feelin’ like, I mean I understand losing what you never thought you’d have to go without, don’t wanna let go of sure. But there is gonna be… more. All new now.”

Between flirting and pep-talk Sean finds himself thinking back to that stupid stuck up asshole sitting in his expensive chair typing whatever on the computer. Looking for literally any excuse not to spend time with him. He should be glad that man is gone, and yet…

„I would love to have something to hold on to that doesn’t hurt me,” Marik finally speaks, „Start over.”

„Just. Do it! You’re here now, rite? Gotta make the best of it-” Sean’s phone rings in his pocket; he pulls his hands back instantly but with a slight tremble, bitterly and utterly disappointed he had to let go of the other man’s warmth and comfort just to find its Seto calling him.

Whatever it was that makes Sean consider to take the call, it soon has the upper hand. “Sorry, I… be back in a minute.” Marik’s hands fall down into his lap and he stares at them without giving a proper response, only a slight nod.

„You better have a fucken good reason to call now,” Sean spits as soon as he’s out of the bar and in the cold of night, shaking to the core, uncomfortable and feeling like a lost puppy. From the other end of the line he can hear Seto sighing, then taking a deep breath.

„And you better have a good reason for leaving like you did, Sean.” That voice. Sends shivers down his spine, makes him weak and small.

„You ain’t serious… Tossed me out you did, smooth as ever, sayin’ you ain’t got the time for me! Take a guess now who ain’t got the time talkin’ with you no more.”

„And still you answered my call. I do have time right now,” Seto, casual as ever, ain’t much emotion in that voice but Sean can pretty well imagine how he looked like right now saying that, „Since you are still awake apparently, you can come over.” There ain’t even the question if Sean wants to.

He hesitates.

Fumbles with one hand for the box of cigarettes in his jeans, then the zippo somewhere in another. „Y'know what, Seto,” flame sparks, the smell of gasoline stings in his eyes and nose, „You always been sayin’ you’re pretty damn smart.”

Silence follows, but certainly not because the big mighty Seto CEO Kaiba was speechless, no, he’s fuming for sure and Sean internally braces himself for a storm that’s coming from miles away while taking the first long drag of his cigarette.

„What are you talking about. Are you smoking again?”

„Ain’t none of your business, mind ye'r own,” anger and perhaps a good portion of hurt has Sean slip into a thicker accent than usual, damn well aware Seto barely understood him and absolutely despised it, „I left your damned ass and I ain’t coming back to it.”

„…maybe we can talk once you calmed down, Sean. I can call you again tomorrow.”

He really is that stupid, huh..? Or plays a fucked up game with him, not wanting to hear Sean say it openly. But by everything holy, he will.

„I broke up with you.”

„…n-” Now there is silence. Again, but real this time, Sean couldn’t even hear him breathing. Smoke flies in waves through the chilly night air, burns in Sean’s eyes like ash on dirty ground.

„We should talk. Sean.”

„I don’t wanna talk with you no more.”

„…please.”

The things he threw at Seto in absolute blind rage come back to him, hammering against his skull meant to hurt. He has done nothing wrong, not a single word he said has been out of place but, of course, Seto as the target of each one doesn’t share Sean’s opinion on that topic. Same as with many other matters remaining unaddressed as of now. But he can’t say he hasn’t… enjoyed the time with him nonetheless, as little as Seto was able to make for him. Or willing to make.

„You got some serious issues, Kaiba,” the name alone leaves a sour taste in his mouth, „I said I ain’t gonna talk with you.”

„…we are talking right now. Where are you? Let me pick you up.”

Uncomfortable heat rises in his chest, spreads over his neck and cheeks. How can this man be so freaking stubborn… and why? It’s not like he made it look like Sean meant a whole lot to him, or perhaps… Sean just did not pay attention when he should have.

„Nah, me’s good. Got a friend with me,” Sean flicks ash off the cigarette, puts it between his lips to pull the jacket tighter around him, „I ain’t got no clue what the deal with you is and I guess I don’t wanna know ‘bout it, so just… just leave it.”

„You’re being childish-”

„Yeah, you always liked that about me sure.” Sean gives him no time to answer, ends the call with shaking fingers and shoves the phone back into the pocket not sparing it one last glance.

„Are you alright..?” Marik’s voice from behind him spooked Sean a little - god fuck, he doesn’t like being surprised like that - and doesn’t wanna know how long he’s been standing there. Marik must be freezing, out here in the cold without a jacket and only a shirt on.

„Is all good, honest. Only some… minor troubles,” he drops the cigarette to squish it under his boot, suddenly self-conscious about the disgusting stench, “We should head back inside before you’re gettin’ any colder.”

„I’m fine, really. Believe me, I witnessed much worse temperatures, this is quite alright. Sorry for– for sneaking up on you like that, you took longer and I got worried…”

Its almost as if that call never took place. Anger snuffed out with nothing but a couple words from him, concern obvious in his voice and the way he awkwardly shifts from one foot to the other. Sean presents him a small grin, steps closer to brush a finger over the back of Marik’s hand. “Ain’t no need for worrying, seriously. C'mon.” Sean attempts to go inside as Marik holds on to his sleeve, then grabs his arm - not violent, but insistent. Bewildered but more than that stunned Sean stares up at him, eyes wide.

„What?”

„Would you share one of those with me? The…ah…”

„You’ve ever had a smoke before?”

„…no. My brother did, though.” Well, that’s hardly the same, but at least he may be used to the smell. Sean doesn’t ask more questions although some came to mind; takes the box out once more, flips it open with one finger to take one out for himself, and the last cig…

„You get the lucky one,” Sean announces, smiling, „Ain’t often that I’m giving away me last cigarette.”

For a split second there’s hesitancy in Marik’s motions taking the cigarette from the package. He didn’t let go of Sean’s arm yet, not that Sean minds it much but lighting them up might be troublesome like this. His zippo is inside the other pocket, harder to reach, but he makes it somehow while Marik moves along with his actions, the cigarette loosely between his lips.

„Why is it a lucky one?” Marik asks, curious, and truthfully so. Sean lights his own cigarette first, inhales deeply, then holds the lit flame up to Marik who leans in and mimics Sean’s action— much to his demise. Poor man ends up coughing, eyes clenched shut but cigarette in his hand. Yeah, the first one is always the worst.

„Oh, God…” Between coughs Marik manages to… well, Sean can’t call it swearing, doubts this boy even had it in him to swear in the first place, but he talks and eventually has to laugh with little tears of hurt in his eyes. “It doesn’t feel very lucky to me.”

Marik lets go of Sean’s arm to carefully wipe his eyes without smudging the eyeliner. Which, by the way, looks so damn good on him that it ain’t legal, Sean figures it must take ages to get it done right… though he got zero experience in that department.

„All good?”

„I can’t say yet,” Marik replies, “Ask me again in a minute or so.” Despite the bad first experience with smoking Marik manages to smile and easy as that had Sean feel lighter, no longer holding tension in his shoulders. He remains stubborn as well, takes the next little drag from the cigarette, and although he still comes down with a cough it isn’t as violent as before.

„Now why is it lucky?”

„That’s, uh, some kinda habit… an American thing I believe it was? When you buy a new package you take a cig and turn it 'round, and that’s the last one you’ll smoke.”

„A superstition then..?”

Sean snorts. “I’d call it optimism.

Should he feel bad for getting Marik to smoke? It’s not that he pushed it in any way, though could have said no, or that he’s out of cigarettes now, literally anything. To him it seems Marik never had an ounce of fun in his life, whatever gave this feeling of Sean couldn’t tell… he could be absolutely wrong with that assumption. Yet watching him taking the cig between his lips every now and then, letting the ash tumble to the pavement, it… had something.

Yeah. The sweet corruption of youth with alcohol and cigarettes. Sean would know.

„I’ll get back to you if the luck worked on me,” Marik says after a while, dropping the cig’s bum to the ground, „I need some right now.”

„And when it ain’t workin’ you can tell me too. Optimism’s the key!” Wait, no, does that mean Marik is leaving..?

„Of course I will.” He speaks with a quiet voice fit for the night, the way you mumble words of promise and tenderness to a dear friend. Marik goes inside then, gently tucks at the fabric of Sean’s jacket once more mentioning him to follow– he gladly does, all but wiped away the worry of Marik leaving him here alone again.

Back inside, lucky for them their nice little spot in the corner was still empty, Sean doesn’t know if the feeling of warmth inside his stomach was because of Marik or still that lightly bubbling anger from the phone call. It sure was a weird thing for him, to notice every damn emotion or sensation as strongly.

„Are you sure you’re alright? Sean?”

„Huh, why, yeah of course me is! It’s gotten late, been a long fucking day. Guess I’ve gotten tired.” Is his beer empty already? Again? That’s such a shame… he is much too lazy to get up for a new one.

„I thought… you sounded kind of angry and sad,” Marik continues, hands around his bottle of beer, „Nobody deserves that.”

„Well– what did you hear of the call? Like…”

„Oh, no, I wasn’t…- I only heard what you said last,” he responds meekly, eyes glued to the table, „Nothing more, really.”

„I ain’t wanna offend you. Just curious sure… Eh, that ain’t what I felt like though. Angry now, that may be…” Funny how things go, ain’t it? Marik needs someone to talk to. Sean does too, and here they are, complete with poor flirting and Sean’s inappropriate thoughts every now and then.

„What happened?” Marik asks without hesitation.

„…I broke up with me partner.” To say boyfriend, to come out just like that, was the right thing to do he guesses, but had no way of telling how Marik might react. They were literally holding hands earlier, Marik immediately picked up on Sean’s poor flirting skills. Just say boyfriend, you idiot.

„I’m sorry to hear that,” he looks intently at Sean, eyebrows furrowed, „I don’t know how that’s like, but I imagine it isn’t nice.”

„It ain’t nice,” Sean responds, shrugs, „Could’ve been worse tho. He ain’t good for me, that I know,” he says that carefully, to see if anything in Marik’s expression changes, „Wait, hold up-”

„Hmh?”

„You’ve never been in a relationship?”

„No.” If that offended him, Marik doesn’t show it. If he doesn’t care about it, he doesn’t show that either. Sean’s monkey brain guesses he’s a virgin, too.

„I’ve been in too many,” he mumbles, „Ain’t proud of that.”

„You’re older than me, I assume that at least, so it’s not for me to judge. If the… circumstances had been different, I would’ve been in a relationship too.”

„I’m twenty-three! What, don’t go tell me you’re younger?” He looks like somewhere between his mid twenties…

„I’m nineteen.”

Bitch, what. That boy got some genes… Sean bobs his head, fingers tapping on the table for a second before he laughs a little.

„Hope I ain’t a bad influence on you then, makin’ you smoke and all.”

„If anything you’re a good bad influence.”

Nineteen, never been in a relationship, definitely no homophobe, possibly gay or bisexual for that matter, and an incredibly sweet flirter. Sean doesn’t want to be the one to stumble from one adventure to another; Marik not the type for one from the way he acts, talks about the things that worry him; but god damn it.

„I’m trying me best,” Sean finally speaks, „I can be used as a bad example for various shit.”

„What, can you? Seems to me you’re completely innocent, never did anything bad in your life.”

Sean laughs, reminded of all the bad things from his past, drugs, alcohol, guns, robberies.

“If you wanna believe that, okay sure, go ahead. Been a while since I caused the last mayhem, I admit, but you never get to discard your true nature.”

„Ah… I wish… one could… I’ve… assumed the worst of others for years and I want to try stop doing so. Give me a chance.” Sean feels utterly bad hearing Marik talk like this, eyes small from being tired, blinking too often… Its on him to reach out taking Marik’s hands, unashamed, no hesitation, both of his tight around Marik’s so he felt the rings press against his skin.

„Have a lil’ optimism, Marik. You’re starting new tonight. Fuck, we both do I guess.”

Marik smiles. Bright and truthful, head bowed a little to hide it… fuck, no, don’t do that. You’re so damn gorgeous when you smile.

And silence follows; no uncomfortable silence mind you, its that kind where you know you’ve found a person to be quiet with and enjoy saying nothing for a change. The minutes go by just like this, the most Marik did was lean forward and place his thumbs on the back of Sean’s hands caressing ever so lightly.

„Can I ask you a question, Sean?”

„Sure!”

„Would you take me home with you? I have no place to stay tonight.”

Chapter Text

It was astounding to see Marik slightly drunk from a single bottle of beer. He stumbles a bit trying to get up from his spot in the corner, holds onto the table for support and admittedly, Sean was a little worried he went too far offering the young man alcohol in the first place. On their way out of the bar and into the city’s nightly bustling Marik leans against Sean with one arm around his neck. Seriously, if the circumstances were any different… Sean would’ve enjoyed it a lot more.

„Where are we going?” Marik asks after a while, utterly lost in a big city he knows nothing about.

„I don’t have the keys to me own apartment,” he replies, „So I figure we go to my, uh, Dad’s place. Been livin’ there for some days now.” Safe to say if Sean was to tell him the people he talks about arent in any way related to him it would sound utterly ridiculous, though he guesses he’ll need to explain sooner or later.

„I don’t do well with fathers.” Marik clings tighter, the hand hanging over Sean’s shoulder clenched to a fist.

„Well, actually its… they’re not my parents y'know? Used to be coworkers until I quit for another job but we are like… like family sure. I had no one beside them. They’re chill, ‘course won’t even mind you stayin’ a night.”

Marik thinks for a moment before speaking up, curious but anxious at the same time. „What about your actual family?”

„…I got none no more,” its chill, he’s chill, absolutely fine, that didn’t struck a nerve at all, no, „Its only them. These two and their kids and another rebel without parents they stumbled over on vacation. Wild.”

„…you say they’re in charge of an orphanage!” A laugh follows from both Marik and Sean, the latter unable to believe this is something to laugh about, honestly its tragic if anything. That whole situation was.

„Sebastian and Arthur might just be, yeah. But they’re sleepin’ already so its best we’re quiet.”

No more questions are asked. Sean thought that simply spilling their names was enough to get the point across, had faced trouble talking about a gay couple taking him in countless times before this day and that's when he found out not every man buying him a drink had the best intentions with him in the first place. Seto was the first one that didn’t judge. And the next person Sebastian and Arthur accepted right away despite some difficulties at the beginning; once Mokuba got along with Lily and Isaac the matter was settled for Seto, too, and although he never once admitted it openly he found a home with the bunch as well. Now that… was the past, right?

The lights from the city lurk in the distance behind them on their way up a hill where the orphanage as Marik called it was built on, in fact a big fucking farm plus house with all kinds of animals; horses specifically, Arthur’s weakness. They look like huge ass monsters in the darkness, creepy creatures you wouldn’t trust if you ain’t ever seen them before in your life—

„…oh my god, I didn’t expect– what are those?”

„Horses?” Sean isn’t sure if Marik is serious about it or not, maybe the alcohol makes him act funny.

„How are they so… oh god, they’re huge!” Marik attempted to let go of Sean, stumbles to the fence that separated them from the couple horses lazing about. It’s a miracle they’re outside tonight, figures Arthur decided its still warm enough at night for there to be no need bringing the horses into the stalls. Much to Marik’s delight of course. Sean doesn’t dare to ask why Marik was in so much delight about a couple boring horses… thinks his reaction is adorable, though, and would never think about ruining that moment for him.

„Yeah, I ask meself daily how they’re so damn big. Riding is fun tho, I tell ya.” Marik turns to look at Sean, dark hyacinth eyes practically sparkling with joy. Fuck

„I want to ride one day,” he says peeking over the fence to Arthur’s quarter horse, that white one he can still recognize despite the dark caught all his attention, „Maybe just once, but I want to.”

„Ain’t there nothin’ to hold you back, rite? The day’s gonna come for sure.” Sean talks with certainty and care in his voice, overwhelmed by so much happiness radiating from the other man. Absolutely stunning, really… „I guess it’s best we call it a day tho.” There’ll be time for horses tomorrow. Hopefully…

„Oh… you’re right,” does he sound disappointed? „Lead the way then.” Marik follows shortly behind Sean, footsteps quiet and cautious. Sean has the feeling he forgot about something when he fumbles for the keys to the house, all the way up the driveway he couldn’t shake the thought and when the keys turn in the door he’s immediately reminded by a loud hiss and incessant meowing.

„Shhhh, Cat! No, fuck, shut up, shhh…” That little black feller walks in circles around them both, rubs herself on Marik’s legs, curls her tail around his ankles before she stops to sit on his shoes. Never bothered by the world, that little bitch.

Gladly the house was quiet and no more lights turned on, Sean can only hope no one heard him coming back… with a friend on top of it. There’ll be enough to deal with in the morning as soon as Sebastian and Arthur found out about it.

„Nice to meet you, little one,” Marik whispers to the feline, immediately bends down to pet her head, „A treasure, aren’t you…?~” Sean’s heart misses a couple beats hearing Marik talk like that to Cat, that dumb black furred bitch always clawing at him now completely calm and content thanks to Marik’s petting. Marik is a wizard confirmed. Worked some kinda magic on this purring machine–and on Sean too. Of course.

„So… cats, huh?” Sean chuckles, takes off his jacket and slips out of his shoes, “She’ll sure follow you upstairs, c'mon.”

„Mmhm… what’s her name?” He gently pushed the cat off of him to take his boots off before following Sean upstairs and of course that dumb feline followed like he had treats in his pockets.

„Cat. Literally just Cat. Sebastian ain’t the best at pickin’ names.”

„…a shame! I can think of ten great names for a cat…” The stairs are a bit narrow so steps slow down, both of them anxious to trip over either the cat or themselves; but until now Marik hasn’t searched for a chance to get closer to Sean and by now he was certain it’s all in his imagination anyway. That’s how desperate he was.

„I’d love to hear all of 'em, she already loves you more than anyone else livin’ here. Wonder why that is.” Cats are curious creatures. There’s gotta be something special about Marik. Yeah… definitely. Sean keeps thinking, more than he ever thought about literally anything in his life; why he’s so drawn in by Marik, what it is with him that has this kind of effect on him in the first place, and why he considers it strange to bring him here when he wasn’t the first man Sean shared beer and conversation with— the difference might only be in the little detail that Sean doesn’t want to ruin this with a quick fuck although it’s literally all he needed and wanted after those last few days and recent events.

Once in his room with Marik and the stubborn cat Sean closes the door behind him, turns on the ceiling light squinting at its brightness; it looks like Sebastian cleaned the room again, that mad man— the mess on his desk was no longer, videogames back in their respective boxes and places on the shelves. He even changed the bedsheets, picked up all that shit from the ground; clothes, cards, bottle caps. He… has to thank Sebastian in the morning.

„You can take me bed,” Sean says, finally, after a while and silence only interrupted by Cat’s loud purrs and meows, „And don’t worry 'bout anyone comin’ in.”

„Where are you going to sleep then?” That’s the moment in fanfiction where they share the bed and oh my god, they were roommates — Sean smiles and scratches the tip of his nose. Sure, he’d love this to be fiction if it meant he gets to sleep with Marik in his bed. Just hold him during the night. It doesn’t even have to get dirty.

„Downstairs, on the couch I s'ppose,” every damn fibre of his being yells for sharing the bed; its pathetic, „I can wake you up in the morning or just. Let ye sleep in.”

„I’ve… no,” Marik ignores Cat rubbing all over his feet, cautiously steps over her and closer to Sean, his hands hesitant to touch him but eventually— „I asked because I don’t want to be left alone.” Eventually Marik’s fingers ghost down along Sean’s arms to his hands intertwining them, refusing to weaken their grip.

Sean stares up at Marik as if he expects something, anything to happen, either him pulling back to go to sleep or… move closer, more intimacy, a bit of letting go, a piece of fun and comfort… didn’t he say he was searching to be free, looking to live on his own without strings attached, able to let go of what happened in the past that continues to haunt him?

His eyes are glued to Marik’s. Then to his lips parted slightly, his breathing tender and slow like he found calm in their shared quietness, this moment alone. And it’s not until Sean takes his hands from Marik’s grasp that either of the boys move; startled, disappointed, Marik almost tried turning away and let it slip but Sean pulls him close instead, into a light embrace where he loops his arms around Marik’s neck and buries his face in the crook of it.

„Shit…” Sean’s voice is barely above a whisper, muffled and thick, „You’re somethin’ else, Marik.” Sean felt him shift in the embrace to grasp him even tighter, Marik’s hands on his back laying idle.

„Is this a bad thing..?”

“No,” Sean replies without hesitation, „No, but I ain’t much used to it.” He doesn’t want to pull away from him, isn’t happy about the thought of ending their hug, but they’ll have to sleep preferably before the morning comes. Sean inches away the slightest, head raised to look into Marik’s eyes. Breath gets caught in his chest at the intensity behind those eyes, gleaming like they did when Marik saw horses for the first time in his life. Their faces are so close together– Sean feels his breath fanning warm over his face, over his lips and chin smelling like berry beer, tempting him…

He could put his lips upon Marik’s with ease, would not even have to move much, there ain’t no strain, there should be no hesitancy. Sean was daring, impatient and used to get what he wants and to get it fast and dirty, but this time he doesn’t dare take the step, is anxious to give in.

Marik bends down, closer to him until lips hover above each other, eyes half lidded and observing, watching, waiting… daring, perhaps, tempting even, a play on his obvious weakness too apparent for his own taste… to think Sean was the elder, more experienced, been in such a situation countless times but tonight he was unable to think clearly or put cravings into action is almost pathetic—

Sean takes a deep breath in, holds it in his chest when he turns his head to the side and finally, after minutes that felt like hours, places his lips on Marik’s like they’ve never known any other pair. Tender, unmoving, short. His lips are soft, full and warm, taste faintly of berries and cold smoke. The hands on Sean’s back finally move to pull him in, fingertips holding on to the fabric of his shirt almost desperate for more contact, Sean taking it as allowance to cup the other’s cheeks after breaking the sweet kiss.

„Again,” Marik whispers breathlessly, „Do it again.” Butterflies are sent to roam free in his stomach, fluttering at an insane pace that makes the fuzzy feeling spread through his chest and up his cheeks, lips tingling already and dying for more of those kisses. A smile tugs at Sean’s lips before they connect to Marik’s again, longer this time, deeper, less shyness on Marik’s part as if he woke from a heavy sleep and opened his eyes for the first time in forever.

He couldn’t ask him where he came from. And why. Or for what reason. They should kiss like real people do without asking questions, allowing embers to light emotions on fire in the dark of the night and hands on each other’s shivering body.

Sean can tell Marik doesn’t know what to do, how to move lips or turn his head into a proper kiss; it was on him to take the lead with both hands caressing his cheeks and careful force added to help Marik set a pace and rhythm while Sean’s lips don’t rest idle, dare to drag Marik’s lower lip between them which gifts Sean a surprised gasp but at the same time caused Marik to pull away to catch his breath. Or maybe it has been… too much.

„Did… did that hurt? I’m sorry-” Sean tries to make it better, wipes his thumbs carefully along the other’s cheeks. Marik doesn’t look like it hurt, though.

„It didn’t… I don’t… know.” After a pause, split seconds only, Marik says „Don’t stop– tell me what to do.”

Do it naturally Sean almost would have said, when I move, you move. But that wasn’t quite it… he stole Marik’s first kiss and it’s his turn to give something back, both their madly beating hearts proof enough this was worth more than that.

„Open up your mouth a little,” Sean says, „Lift your tongue.” I’ll do the rest, he adds in his mind. There was something vastly erotic about him opening his mouth, coming closer, tongue between his lips and soon its Sean’s tongue in Marik’s mouth going in circles around his, before they found a rhythm to go together instead of against each other. Marik’s hands roam down on Sean’s back resting on the smaller of it at the same time as Sean places his hands on Marik’s hips guiding him ahead, backwards until his legs found the bed like that.

One last time Sean’s tongue glides along Marik’s lips before he pulls away, their lips swollen and wet, breath heavy as ever. „How far do you wanna go?” Sometimes Sean speaks before thinking, blame it on him absolutely caught in the moment and desperate to ruin it apparently, asking someone who never kissed before if he wants to have sex.

Marik has no idea what to do with this question, visibly confused and his eyelids heavy from both passion and being tired. „I don’t… know,” he replies, “I don’t know what you mean.”

Sean, you fucking ruined it— „Have sex. Sleep with me.”

„I’ve never– I really don’t know. Or how…”

That wasn’t a yes, that’s uncertainty and anxiety, a sign for Sean to let go and get off by himself in the bathroom instead of pushing everything on Marik like this. „That’s fine, seriously. I, uh… I’m stupid, sometimes, well, often, and I’m really… desperate today. That ain’t your fault. Sorry.”

Marik doesn’t allow Sean to distance himself, holds on to him by his shirt to keep his body close despite it all, the look in his eyes one of tenderness and passion against the thoughts of Sean being certain he ruined it by being horny. „Let’s… just sleep. No need for you to be sorry, Sean.”

Sean told himself over and over that he doesn’t necessarily need sex to feel good and in all honesty the feeling Marik gave him with a couple drunken shy kisses was way above anything else. Close to Marik, the other’s arms around him like they never intend to let go, he soon faces another problem entirely, hates himself for it, hormones going insane causing blood to gather between his legs making him hard already. Sure, in any other case, with anybody else, he would be naked and spread wide by now already. Marik isn’t anybody. And Sean can’t shake the feeling he’s going to leave again, much too soon, and then he could have at least said in his mind how he got to fuck him once.

Africa wasn’t exactly around the corner.

„You’re not gonna remember me askin’ by tomorrow for sure,” Sean tries to save the situation in any way possible, goes to let the cat out and turns off the lights, „Uh… me too, I guess.” No, he’s too fucking ashamed oh himself for asking shit like this. Its gonna follow him around. He finds his way back to the bed through the dark of his room, decides if he already made a fool of himself it couldn’t get much worse; proceeds to take off clothes until only shirt and underwear are left; realizes the problem he has would be hard to hide but at least it’s dark. It’ll pass.

Marik says no word but follows Sean’s example, puts his clothes on the chair in hopes they won’t get mixed up tomorrow morning. Would be funny seeing Sean in lavender, though. Off comes all the jewelry while Sean already slipped under the covers, back practically against the wall pretty damn afraid Marik is going to find out he’s hard and aroused.

„Takes some time, huh? Gettin’ off all that stuff…” Small talk? Sean, really..?

„And it is not even all of what I actually own,” Marik says, tone of his voice light and happy, „Only the best picks.”

„Looks damn fine on you, all o’ it.” Sean lets his head fall back in one of the pillows - he always slept with many of them for extra comfort - pulls the blanket up higher too at least until Marik lifted them up to sneak underneath, right next to Sean despite the bed being big enough for two people to sleep in with enough space for both. Sean prays he isn’t gonna find out, doesn’t come closer, tries to calm his foolish beating heart like a wardrum in his chest.

„Thank you,” Marik whispers, his face turned to Sean, „For picking me up.” Sean isn’t given a chance to reply, feels Marik’s nose brush against his followed by a kiss to his lips making him melt almost instantly. What other choice did he have? Leave him behind in that bar..? No.

Sean is pulled into the kiss entirely and Marik might have no real clue how it works yet but he certainly does his best; tongue slips between Sean’s lips for slow licks along his tongue, back out going in circles. Sean lets him explore and try things, simply caresses Marik’s cheek and tucks golden locks behind his ear. Sean moans quietly again Marik’s mouth feeling his body push closer, touching the right spots sending hot electricity in waves through his abdomen— and it’s on him to pull away breaking the kiss.

„That ain’t a good idea.” Sean says, lips mere inches apart from Marik’s, underwear much too tight and uncomfortable on him makes it impossible to keep composure for long. Marik lays down and says nothing, swallows thickly. „Try 'n sleep, yeah? I’ll be back.” Sean throws the blanket off of him and makes his way out of the room on unsteady legs, tumbling a bit, head heavy and chest tight. There ain’t much to say about it, no way he is going to tell Marik how he got him hard only with kisses - Sean’s thoughts added to it of course, but he can’t tell him that either.

Once in the bathroom next door Sean locks it behind him, leaves the light off without wasting any more time for unnecessary actions; underwear is pulled down a bit only for his cock to hang freely, its tip wet and throbbing under his touch. He imagines Marik’s hand on him instead, the heavy golden rings on his fingers cold against hard flesh, Marik’s eyes glued to his own while he strokes him slowly, teases…

„Hah… fuck…” Sean isn’t in any way gentle to himself. Alternates between rough stroking and squeezing, tries his damned best to be quiet— eyes close and mouth falls open for silent moans, heavy breaths, Marik’s voice in his head telling him how good he looks like that…

Sean leans his head back against the bathroom door feeling these sweet familiar waves of an orgasm dragging him under, leaving him breathless, needy moans bubbling up his chest although he tried holding them in– release pitches his voice higher, the last weak attempt to avoid having anyone hear it lies in Sean biting his lower lip while he spills in his own hand wishing it was Marik’s, erection twitching and flesh now much too sensitive.

„Fuck… fuck, fuck, fuck.” Curses are for himself, satisfaction soon to be replaced by shame and a slight anxiety to go back to his room after cleaning himself off, washing his hands. As good as the rise felt, the fall coming soon after wasn’t as pleasant… at least he took care of it, had his thoughts for himself and the image of Marik’s hand covered in cum.

Chapter Text

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.

„…hm?”

„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.”

Chapter Text

Sean wakes to the soft pitter-patter of rain against the window. With Marik in his arms no longer considered a stranger, sleeping safe and sound without plaguing nightmares. He doesn't want to disturb that peace, barely dares to move around... his grip on Sean's shirt is persistent and has been throughout the whole night as if he was the last piece of wonder to hold tight and Marik was afraid to let it slip by.

Sean's mind begins to wander to places less pleasant, his left hand weaving through Marik's hair continuously; but he is reminded of the nights he woke in the embrace of someone else and how Sean will have to face the coming nights lonely and cold. Sean isn't good at being alone. He never was. The idea of it scares him and manages to send shivers down his spine, urges the man to pull Marik further in if that was even possible.

"Fuck... you ain't got a clue what you're doin' to me... askin' me not to leave," he whispers, "Knowin' damn well you're the one that's leavin' me behind." Fuck this. Fuck all of this, those stupid feelings that had no right to start a war in his chest making his heart miss beats whenever Marik said a damn word or looked at him, completely going off the rails as soon as they're kissing. Fuck it. This isn't the time for someone new... not someone who is going to leave like everybody else always did. "Fuck you... seriously..."

He ain't meant it. Knows Marik heard no word but kisses his hairline nonetheless to apologise to him for being rude and... stupid.

After a while the sprinkle of rain outside turned into a heavy downpour, sun shines through the window and right into Sean's face ticking him awake once again-- seems he drifted off at some point, and now finds that Marik was awake too, can feel his fingertips lazily stroking his back.

"Hey," Sean says quietly, "Good morning." Another kiss is reserved for the top of his head, Marik's reaction a tiny stretch before he curls in like a cat against Sean's chest. Not a morning person, huh..?

"Good morning." His voice is heavy from sleep, still thick and a bit hoarse. It takes Marik a hot minute to wake up entirely and when he does he inches a bit away to look at Sean; eyes wide as if he couldn't believe anything that happened, granted it was not much for Sean but a whole lot to swallow for Marik. "Its...? I thought I've been dreaming."

"'bout what..? Had nightmares you did."

"Ah..." Marik mouths a small yeah, that too, "I thought I would always wake up alone and was... I was certain you were just a dream. The best one I've had."

That's so soft and romantic Sean can feel his knees go weaker with each hushed word, heart skipping beats before it picks up a quick rhythm. Sure Marik can hear it. And Sean hardly knows what to say. Nervous chuckling ensues.

"Good to hear you remember last night, at one point I thought you were drunk."

Marik hums, dips up to kiss Sean's jawline before he sits up and rubs his eyes. One look in the mirror soon and Marik is certainly going to freak-- Sean wonders if he can find any liquid eyeliner among Chloe's stuff. "I don't know what being drunk feels like, but I doubt that was it...? I've felt a little light-headed and... really warm. I liked it."

"Hah, yeah, if there's a thing beer's good for it's to get ya warm," Sean runs a hand up the other's back, once more to feel the weird scars underneath fabric still wondering if he should ask about them, "Bein' drunk is much worse, but you're only gonna feel remorse in the morning." Sean thinks to feel Marik's muscles tensing at his touch, but neither comments on it. Part of him wants to see what's hidden on his skin, the thought of lifting up his shirt to take a look incredibly tempting but oh so wrong at the same time.

"Certainly it isn't remorse I feel... though I do feel a lot right now." He looks out of the window, his expression relaxes once he caught sight of the rain outside. Uh... does it rain in Egypt?

"Good or bad feelings?"

"Good ones," Marik answers promptly, "New ones. I don't quite know how to say what it's like-- what's going on outside?"

So... no rain in Egypt. "It rains?"

"Does that happen a lot?" Curious he sounds. Sean wouldn't dare call him stupid for asking questions like this. For not knowing what rain is. He is just... different. Lived a strange life.

"We're gettin' a lot of rain here, even during the summer. Let's hope it keeps up today so you can feel it later."

He's practically beaming while Sean is much too lazy to get up or god forbid move an inch except the little strokes for Marik watching the rain outside and drops tumbling down on glass in absolute awe.

"I'd love to," Marik continues, tears his gaze away from the weather to look down at Sean, "Although I don't... like the thought of leaving."

God. What a mood...

Sean exhales, finally sits up on the bed as well next to Marik and he follows with his eyes, every little movement... "Don't you wanna go home? You said-- you got a brother. That means you got someone waitin' for you." Did he remember that right..?

"And a sister, too! I don't know if you met them in the tournament... oh, they're probably worried..."

There is a question Sean never thought of asking himself: did you meet any Egyptians lately? He remembers a woman with long black hair wearing a white cotton dress-- what's her name... She talked to Seto one day before the whole shit about Battle City was a topic.

Hold up...

"Can't you call 'em?" Marik didn't even answer his question before, Sean guesses he knows what he would say anyway, "Let them know you're good and meet up later."

Marik seems to remember something; the worry in his expression softens, fades completely to be replaced with something else... more doubts..? Sean can hardly tell, but it wasn't pleasant. "I don't have a device. None of us do."

There breaks his heart. Not just two pieces but a dozen.

Fuck.

He is disappointed of course, wonders now more than ever just where the fuck this man grew up, how he's been living all his life, and maybe its incredibly offensive to think that way but... at least Sean tries to be sweet and funny about it, hopes Marik doesn't take it to heart.

"Device," Sean repeats and tries to smile, "That's like callin' a car a vehicle. Or sayin' Sir when you wanna say Fuck you."

He can make out the exact second Marik tries to figure out the meaning for Fuck, but his mind seems busy progressing what else Sean said; he catches on, laughs, shakes his head.

"I have to learn a lot, huh..?"

"Yeah. And you need a damn phone. I ain't gonna make it without talking to you."

"...Maybe I can figure something out. How hard can it be..? Probably not worse than driving a motorcycle."

What. Wait.

What.

"Seriously?" Sean can't even get into a car without feeling uneasy, and this man deadass got a fucking motorcycle. Knows as much as Jon Snow but damn at least he's born to be wild.

"Hmhm. You sound surprised."

"I am! That's what you meant sayin' you wanna be free and all... first step's taken I guess!" The thought was a little frightening to be honest, because if there's anything dangerous to do its riding a motorcycle. Marik looks so fucking proud of himself though that Sean quickly shoves those thoughts away.

And it wasn't until he heard Marik's stomach grumble that he got up with a laugh, off to pick a new batch of clothes. The ones from last night smell like cigarettes and rushed decisions; Sean feeling a sting of guilt in his head for coming here reeking of cold ash well aware how bad it has been for Arthur and Sebastian to stop smoking after Arthur's accident...

"You're hungry, rite? Let's get some breakfast and you probably need a new shirt too. That okay with you?" Sean didn't bring a lot of clothes that day he first came here and until now barely needed them... all he's got to offer are band shirts, probably would be a tight fit for Marik. He's got muscles Sean lacks, sadly...

"Oh, yes, it is. I don't mind, really..." The bed creaks a little when Marik hops down, on the way over to Sean he tries to fix the mess that was his hair. "Is it okay for me to be here..? I feel that I probably... ah..."

Sean picks two black shirts from the drawer, one of them from an irish speed folk band, the other AC/DC. That'll do. "Arthur and Chloe already know I've got someone with me, ran into 'em last night in the kitchen. It's all fine, honest." He reaches out the AC/DC shirt for Marik to take; it didn't occur to Sean he might catch a glimpse of his back now in case he undressed right here and now. Marik fumbles with the fabric in his hands, thumbs feeling the letters and tribal printed on it.

"Okay," so far Marik doesn't sound convinced, but gathers up courage with a deep breath, "Its time I meet new people I believe..? If I hadn't gone out last night..."

Sean has to smile, looks back up at Marik for a long long second before taking his shirt off right then and there, no shame, no second thoughts. "That's how it goes, I guess. Ain't even thinkin' I'd get to pick up a pretty feller like you." Marik's gaze lingers on him, his bare chest soon covered in goosebumps from the cold and Marik reaches out to him after a moment of hesitation; hands land above Sean's waist pulling him closer.

"Me neither."

Sean tucks at Marik's shirt hoping it would be enough a sign for him to undress too, time seems to go by slowly... when he does, the shirt now pulled off over his head, Sean can't help a sigh of delight. His thoughts don't stay pure although well aware nothing more but this is bound to happen between them anytime soon and for now it was quite alright only seeing him like that, watching the play of toned muscles each time Marik moved, his hands never still over Sean's body.

"Kiss me again..?" Sean asks and cups Marik's face, watches his expression change from fascination to curiosity, eyebrows slightly raised and lips parted. "Like last nite."

More of a dare than a question, or something between a request and a wish perhaps, the need to even voice it considered a bit of a shame for Sean because he never... really had to ask for a kiss when the moment was just perfect like this one, it would simply happen. Ain't there nothing usual about the whole situation... about Marik.

He bends down suddenly and feeling Marik's lips so demanding on his own caught him off guard, completely and utterly overwhelmed he stands there absolutely smitten and doesn't even get to kiss him back at first.

Sean pulls away for a split second to breathe in before his lips catch Marik's once again. The touch enough to send warm tingles through his skin, little sparks dance through his chest and seem to latch onto his heart, constriction tight... not in any way unpleasant.

Minutes go by. Between soft kissing noises and rushed breaths as soon as they're gaining intensity are hands that don't know where to touch first, uncertainty leading the way through interest laced with the desire to explore; Sean takes a step closer, his hands idle on Marik's cheeks a complete contrast to the other's fast movements. Nails dig into flesh alternating between soft and rough, the latter coaxing Sean to gasp and moan against his lips--- and he loses composure as a whole the moment Marik's thumbs brush over his nipples, faintly so but no less intense. He breaks the kiss, not without one last teasing peck and another moan.

"Listen--" Sean holds Marik's shoulders, tries telling him to stop teasing like that, fingers still smoothing over hard nipples, "Don't- Just... fuck..."

"I know how it feels," Marik says, makes Sean wonder how he's being such a god damn tease without knowing what he's doing--- "But it's slightly different when you do it yourself."

That's some next level dirty talk. When Sean closes his eyes he sees images of Marik touching himself, moaning and writhing...

Sean leans further into him, closer to his touch and for little pecks along Marik's jawline down to his neck where lips press lightly over the pulse point feeling the rush of blood underneath his skin; his fingers work the same magic now ghosting over Marik's nipples to make them hard, not stopping to rub and stroke them until Marik clings to him with a plead on his lips.

"See how different it feels?" Sean breathes against his neck, "A whole lot better sure."

"Ah-- oh, no, don't... why did you stop..? Sean-" Marik moves his hips against Sean's to let him know what he's caused--but really, Sean wasn't much different. Again. "I know-- how to do it myself, Sean, I do, but I really want you to... help." It wasn't even half hard, twitching each time he moves his hips against Sean who realized his words a little late.

"You're sure..?" It ain't sex, yeah, just harmless getting off, lending a hand. Literally. They've dropped the clothes long ago, honestly no care in the world and breakfast is forgotten too. Sean repeats his actions from the night before; guides Marik backwards to the bed eyes glued upon each other, and Marik still has to give an answer. The sparkle in his eyes was... a hint. Excitement mingled with nervousness.

"Yes," he sits down, pulls Sean with him and smiles doing so, "Please..?"

Fuck-

"Say that again," with spread legs Sean sits in his lap, palms Marik's erection through his underwear, "C'mon..."

Marik whispers breathlessly, drops pleas and begs with closed eyes, his forehead on Sean's chest to hide his face and visible embarrassment from him for as long as Sean strokes him through fabric, feels his cock harden and swell; Marik reaches his hands up to bury them in Sean's hair, ginger locks soft to the touch and now more of a mess than before. "Please---ah--" Marik moans through gritted teeth, tries grinding against him but Sean keeps him down.

Then finally both hands tug at Marik's underwear reaching underneath, fingers are curled loosely around his cock, flesh warm and twitching. Honestly Sean doesn't dare to look down on him, thinks its enough to feel him in his hand bigger than what he's used to--- thinks there's no way he could keep it quiet if he ever gets to ride him. The idea alone fills him with excitement, a slight twinge of frustration that... the possibility of actual sex was pretty fucking small.

"Sean," Marik raises his head to look at him, places open mouthed kisses on his lips, "Keep going, please..." The first couple strokes are weak, short and didn't coax a reaction from Marik--- after some more though, increased speed and a thumb gliding around the tip, Marik is all but lost in that feeling, gasps and moans against Sean's lips trying to keep his voice down or drown it out with messy kisses desperate and hungry.

Sean uses his left hand to free his own cock too and he can feel Marik's teeth digging into his lip when he rubs their erections together with one hand. He tastes blood, flinches from the sharp stinging pain but Marik's reaction was almost heartbreaking once he realized what he did.

"No, no, I'm so sorry-" between moans and heavy breathing, droplets of blood on his lips Marik wipes Sean's mouth clean and the touch burnt somewhat, though not at all unpleasant, "No, I didn't mean to..." Sean doesn't stop stroking them together, doesn't slow down and wouldn't even think of blaming Marik, but his wide eyes and knit eyebrows are a sign for Sean to pause for reassurance.

"Ain't there any need to be sorry," sure it hurt, sure was a surprise, but in the heat of the moment... shit happens, "Its you with me blood on your lips after all." Marik takes a breath to say something but Sean is faster than that, soft as ever kisses the blood off and cleans the rest of it with his tongue.

"You're not hurt?" Marik wipes his fingers through ginger locks, searches for another way to voice apologies, "I-"

"I had much worse," Sean announces quickly, "It surprised me is all," another kiss to soothe and calm him, strokes picking up again, "You're doing so good, Marik."

They're lost again, kissing and moaning, bodies flush against each other while Sean's speed gradually picks up along with the tightness of his grasp--- it didn't take long for Marik to cry out, his voice an octave higher and moans drawn out to last, his whole body shaking from a long intense orgasm where he spills all over Sean's hand trying to keep the mess at bay--- the force of Marik's orgasm carries over to him, pushing him over the edge mere seconds later. He closed his eyes, jaw clenched as tight as his fingers around their hard cocks aching by now, release needed and welcomed with open arms. This certain knot deep in his stomach that's been tight and panging for minutes finally bursts, makes his muscles tremble and control is all but lost--- god, he hopes no one heard them, they're all better downstairs out of range...

Most of the sticky liquid Sean was able to get on his hand but its already dripping down thick and warm. Sean leans his head against Marik's, their breaths shallow and quick mingling shortly before they kissed sweetly-- he thinks he can feel Marik's lips curl into a smile and it makes Sean smile into the kiss as well.

"Satisfied?" Sean asks with a grin, makes Marik chuckle quietly but whether its him grinning like he's proud of himself or the question itself he could hardly tell.

"Absolutely, yes. Are you?"

"Honestly, that was the least I expected to happen but... yeah. Sure I am."

"Yes, it... it seems rushed decisions are our speciality," Marik places his hands on Sean's thighs, "I don't mind that."

"...no," there might still be cum in his hand and their dicks out, but Sean dips down for a kiss long and hard, with tongue and teeth and the faint taste of blood, "Me neither."

Chapter Text

This whole… thing was absolutely unreal. Not only because of what they just did to each other, but also the words that are left unspoken between them, obvious naive attraction and teenage crushes developing from kisses and touching dick alone. Their conversations too, of course, Sean doesn’t sleep on that - and not on the fact he found Marik crying and hurt after a nightmare - all in all it feels like a rollercoaster ride with a free fall and cold water splashing in one’s face. Somehow everything good comes together when that man smiles and Sean forgets for a second how desperate and lost someone must feel to ask a stranger in a bar to take him home.

They’ve gotten dressed, finally, Sean didn’t stare at Marik’s back even though he was tempted to do so, for whatever there was it could be linked to whatever issues he has and the last thing Sean wants is to add to his pile of worries by asking or staring without shame. He already felt bad for touching him so blatantly, for following the scars with his fingers like that, thinks of the way Marik tensed when he did. He doesn’t say a word regarding that. Sean wishes he did, wished Marik had told him to stop or move his hands anywhere else instead of suffering through in silence.

Sean couldn’t get rid of the feeling that he hurt Marik and if he did Marik isn’t telling him. Maybe he can ask… maybe on the phone some day, write it as a text message should Marik ever get around to get himself a device as he called it.

He showed Marik the way to the bathroom so he could take care of all the mess they’ve made, dried semen on his abdomen and stains from the makeup under his eyes after crying. Chloe doesn’t have any eyeliner he could use, and that’s when Marik told Sean he mixes the ink by himself. Traditional or so he called it, leaves Sean in complete awe saying so.

Sebastian and Arthur are downstairs already, the sound of the coffee maker carrying upstairs along with Lily’s and Chloe’s voice talking about the thief of her chocolate fairies. Chloe, you’re a bitch– He hears Arthur laughing but Lily seems to be very upset. Okay, he’ll have to buy her a whole bunch of chocolate later, fairies and everything she’d like, but Sebastian better hides the stash.

The bathroom door opens, Marik comes back into Sean’s room all neat and tidy again. Sean tries to hide his stupid grin, does a bad job doing so and the butterflies in his stomach are on a fucking rampage again. Makes him feel warm and fuzzy, skin tingles and flushes slightly.

„The shirt fits I’d say,” Marik starts to put the jewelry back on, but hesitates doing so, „Its comfortable.” You can keep it, Sean wants to say, in exchange for yours– questions why Marik stopped after putting the rings on standing at the desk with his head bowed and fingers shaking.

„Do you… need help?” Truthfully he doesn’t get the hold up, doubts there’s anything he can do to help, but offering it doesn’t hurt…

„No,” he says, „I think I’ll leave it for now.”

Alright. Sean decides against probing for answers or an explanation, feels himself not in the position to ask for either. Strange to see how much he cares about Marik already, would rather see him happy than full of doubts and waking from nightmares. What caused it all…?

„Let’s go downstairs,” Sean suggests, „When do you gotta leave?” What a way to bring those thoughts back.

„I’ll need to be at the airport around twelve,” he turns around to look at Sean like he wants to say more, say something else, some words sweeter than departure, „We have some time left.”

Some time, that hurt and by god it shouldn’t hurt like this, should not hurt at all because he barely knows something about Marik that was of any significance to even miss him, to think of him like this, he’s just being stupid and lonely… an absolute dumbarse.

„Alright then.” The mood shifted. Sean feels uncomfortable, averts his gaze but gestures Marik to follow, and maybe after some coffee the world is not as gloomy anymore.

Cat scarejumps Sean on top of the stairs, bolting towards him and right between his legs to attack Marik’s with more cuddles and headbumps, almost as if she’s never been pet before in her catty little life. Marik takes the bait, of course he does, picks her up right away to spoil her even more, scratches underneath her chin and gets some fur on his clothes. It doesn’t seem to bother him; he talks softly to Cat, his voice barely audible and  words honeyed. Marik carries her all the way down and into the kitchen, can be heard drawing in a sharp breath to brace himself.

The first to spot Marik was Lily sitting on the counter with her legs dangling, chocolate wrappers in her hands ready to accuse Sean like she did to Chloe, but she’s speechless for now. Her little hand paps Sebastian’s arm, the man next to her preparing the girl’s lunchbox for today looks up with a hum, one lifted eyebrow and his gaze finds Sean first, Marik’s soon after.

„Oh no… I’m not dressed for guests,” he laughs and wipes hands clean on his sweatpants walking over to greet Marik, “Arthur told me you’re here. I’m Sebastian.” Ay least he doesn’t sound mad at Sean for bringing someone over. Marik on the other hand looks like he can hardly deal with so many people at once with one of them coming straight to introduce himself with a handshake on top of it; he’s puzzled how this man called Sebastian could smile so bright at him, talk to him like he was genuinely interested getting to know him. Arthur sits at the table watching, sipping coffee with a small grin and a wink for Sean.

„…Marik,” he says and takes Sebastian’s hand, Cat now squirming, “Its nice to meet you.”

„Good mornin’!” Arthur calls out and now Chloe looks up too, „We ain’t bitin’, sit down and eat with us!”

„Isaac bites.” Chloe reminds him.

„Shhh, don’t tell him that.” Sebastian goes back to his business and right when he turns around to show those flashy pink letters on his bum Marik loses it, starts laughing and immediately apologizes for it.

‘Seb-Ass’.

This is madness.

Cat jumps down and darts out of the room at top speed, knocks over some of Isaac’s toys in the progress. Sean still stares at those dumb pants unsure whether to laugh or cry, Arthur and Sebastian both laughing while Lily tries to figure out what happened and Chloe seems eager to explain— please don’t.

„I told him he ain’t gonna wear it and he thought it was a dare,” Arthur explains after Sean and Marik sat down at the table, „We should’ve placed bets last night, Sean.”

„Next time sure,” Sean says reaching for the cup of coffee Sebastian poured, „Nothing’s ever gonna embarrass you, that I know.”

„Do you drink coffee, too?” Sebastian asks Marik who was awfully quiet, trying not to burst out laughing again. Somehow Sebastian talking to him made it worse, he can’t keep a straight face.

„I’m sorry- but yes, I’d like some.”

Chloe keeps stealing glances at Marik, is not very subtle about it too. He notices, then seems very intrigued by her blue hair. “Hah, yeah, I get that a lot,” she jokes and smiles, “I’m Chloe. And that mountain of a man is Arthur, rude as hell because he didn’t introduce himself yet.”

Arthur’s mouth forms an almost perfect O, his mind boggling for a response. „Now I ain’t gonna sit here an’ take that-”

„So? Get up then.”

More giggles follow. Feels like a sitcom being here again between sassy cats, Chloe trying to catch Arthur off guard at any chance she gets, Sebastian wearing those stupid pants and Arthur being… Dad. Trying to keep it all together somehow. Lily watches Sebastian back at his work with the lunch and Sean wishes he’d turns his butt away from their sight. Marik couldn’t even drink his coffee because he keeps chuckling.

„See what you did, Seb? He’s all giggly and didn’t say a word because of it.” Chloe just wants to hear him compliment her hair, huh?

„Well what do you want me to do?” Sebastian tries pulling his shirt over his bum, to no avail.

„Pff, I don’t know, maybe take th-”

„Chloe, no!”

„…take the buns put of the oven I meant to say of course.”

Lily hops down and walks over to Marik who hasn’t noticed her yet, finally he got to take a sip from his cup though. She pokes him before extending a tiny hand, cheeks rosy and lips smiling wide. „I’m Lily! I really like what you did with your hair!”

„Oh, it… thank you.” Her hand disappears in Marik’s and she’s giggling, quick to return to her usual spot until it was time to go to school; down on the floor next to baby Isaac’s bed to watch over him and hold his hand. Chloe makes sure Lily can hear her following words.

„She never said that about my hair. Like, not once, and its literally magical.”

Lily storms back into the kitchen just to stick her tongue out. „You’re a fairy and you know it!”

Chloe acts offended and waits with her laugh until Lily is gone again.

„“If it’s any help,” Marik says to her, „I think it looks pretty.”

„Why, thank you! See, guys, that’s how compliments work. Lily, take notes! You too, Sean.”

„..what?” Honestly, he hasn’t been paying much attention, just let it all wash over and play out, both hands around his cup of coffee pleasantly warm, him taking the occasional sip.

„There ain’t no use talkin’ to Sean before he’s had his coffee,” Arthur says without looking up from his phone, „Boy ain’t human yet.”

„He’s been awake for a while now, though.” Marik says before Sean could even think of a response to Arthur and earns a surprised look from Sean for that. „What..? I’m right.” Oh, he knows exactly what’s up.

„Shite- yeah, true, but that don’t mean I ain’t tired. Feelin’ kinda drained y'know.”

„Alright, okay, that’s, Sean, it was nice seeing you again and a real pleasure meeting you, Marik, but I’m gonna head to work. Guess I see you sometime again?” She stands up to pour the rest of her coffee in a travel mug, Sebastian reaching her one of the boxes he prepared.

„I don’t know,” Marik says truthfully, „But I hope so. It was nice meeting you, Chloe.”

„Ah, damn… I’d sneak you my phone number if I wasn’t in a rush.” Chloe stuffs her things in a bag, doesn’t listen to Sebastian telling her she better doesn’t forget her car keys again. „Take care of yourself, yeah?”

„You too.”

She’s off and gone, rings her keys before slamming the door shut behind her to show Sebastian she ain’t all that messy.

„You damn well know I put them in her pocket this morning because I found the keys in the bathroom again,” Sebastian tells them, „But let’s give her that for once.”

„Buck. Did you get the buns out?” - „…shit.”

Arthur locks his phone to pay more attention to his coffee instead - and to Marik of course. „I hear you was fascinated by our horses? You wanna ride some day?”

„…yes! I…” After some seconds where Marik hesitated, probably judging Sean for telling Arthur about his epiphany with the horses last night, or perhaps it’s because he leaves in a few hours, Marik continues to talk. „…Is it hard to learn?”

Sebastian answers quicker than Arthur much to his surprise while being careful not to burn himself getting the buns. „Hah, you’d be surprised how easy it actually is,” the warm buns are plopped in a little basket, „I had to learn it in a single day. I was really sore afterwards but…”

Arthur coughs. Pretends there’s something stuck in his throat.

„Long story short, with the right teacher it’s easier to learn. Arthur taught me, but… Sean can ride, too.”

„My Da taught me,” Sean nods, „But I ain’t been up on a horse for years. Bet I forgot all 'bout it.”

„Nah, it’s like riding a bicycle, you don’t forget how it works.” He sets the basket down on the table, continues to grab some stuff from the fridge.

Sean better doesn’t say that he can’t ride a bicycle and never even had one as a child. Driving makes him nervous for a reason he cannot put a finger on, but he’s always felt safe on horseback. Like a rebel, a cowboy.

„Figures ye'r gonna have to visit us sometime, Marik. To get some lessons, ain’t there no need to pay for those ridin’ schools.”

„…thank you, Arthur.”

There wasn’t much time left after breakfast; it dragged on until Sebastian had to drop Lily off at school – but not without kissing Arthur, whispering a quick I love you - and left Arthur and Sean to clean the kitchen. Marik offered to help but Arthur insisted he shouldn’t - so Cat received his undivided attention for a while. She’s gonna miss all those pats and caresses for sure.

„What’re you gonna do now, Sean,” Arthur asks him quietly, voice lowered so Marik couldn’t hear him, “After all that? You doin’ alright?”

„Dunno what you mean. I’m fine.”

„You ain’t.” Arthur takes the cleaned plates to dry them up with a cloth, puts them in back in the cupboard afterwards. „I know you.”

„Cut it out, will ya?” He says nothing more, cleans the dishes more aggressively, drops the silverware on the counter next to Arthur. The man tries his best for Sean, could tell when something was off, but once Sean decides to shut him out he’s stubborn about it.

„Okay then,” Arthur sighs, „Let’s talk about it later.”

Sean doesn’t want to talk. At all. Not with Arthur about the things he guesses must be wrong with Sean right now while Sean himself was convinced it’s nothing to be worried about. Nothing is wrong with him. Absolutely not.

„I should get going,” Marik speaks up, “I just need to know how to reach the airport from here.” Sean curses under his breath, hates the feeling deep inside his gut burning fiercely as it spread up to his chest like wildfire. Arthur dries his hands with pursed lips, in thought…

„I can drive you there no problem. We gotta take Isaac along with us though, but the lil’ one loves car rides.”

„You would..? Thank you.”

„Lemme jus’… change and get ready.” He leaves the kitchen going upstairs and as soon as they’re alone again Marik comes to embrace Sean from behind, holding on tight. Almost as if he had no intention of letting go.

„You’re quiet,” Marik remarks, „And I don’t need to ask you why. I know.” Sean takes his hands out of the water, dries them up. No clue what to say to such an obvious statement he stays silent, yet turns around in his grasp to loop arms around Marik’s neck pulling him down.

„Give me your phone number. I’ll get to call you one day then.” Sean cannot see it but Marik smiles, his head right next to Sean’s until Marik turns slightly to place a kiss on his temple, one that lingers for long long seconds. The gesture makes Sean melt against him, makes him cling harder. Makes him sadder, too, and that was the worst feeling.

„Don’t you forget about it.”

Arthur stands at the door frame clearing his throat vocally and Marik slowly let go of Sean only to take his hand like he did the night before, his rings cold on Sean’s skin. He’ll miss that feeling. Maybe it’s time to wear jewelry too.

„Ready to go y'all?” Arthur has little Isaac tucked into one of those fancy infant carriers for cars, only his head poking out from the blankets he’s wrapped up in. „It ain’t rainin’ as bad right now, let’s not push our luck.”

Excitement is back. Marik’s eyes widen ever so slightly at the mention of rain and god, it’s the most beautiful thing in the world–

Still, that poor man came without a jacket and Sean cannot offer one to him that would fit; Marik isn’t bothered by that, says it’s not as important as Sean might think and secretly he wants to feel the rain directly on his skin. At least that’s what Sean understood from it… he puts on a dark brown coat though, one that’s been patched a lot of times already giving it that good ol’ vintage look. Arthur rushes out to the car and secures the baby carrier in the backseat and starts the engine already, has to turn down the music.

Marik’s first step out into the rain was yet another epiphany for him, a feeling of tranquility he hadn’t known before. A moment where the world stops around him standing in the gentle rain, hands lightly raised to catch the drops, watching them gather and tumble down his arms in awe. Sean could hardly grasp the concept of someone being unfamiliar with rain to a point where they stood frozen in place, like a kid experiencing the sweetness of cotton candy for the first time. It’s almost magical seeing him like this.

No… not almost. It freaking was magical.

„C'mon, you’ll get cold,” Sean tells him, takes his hand again, „…have you ever been in a car?”

„No. Why..?”

Figures. „Nah, no reason. Arthur’s a decent driver, much unlike Sebastian,” they go through the rain over to the garage where Arthur waited in the car, “Jus’ gotta make sure you put the seatbelt on.”

Sean gets into the backseat next to baby Isaac and pokes his cheek after fastening the seatbelt; the little bundle squirms and clings to his finger, determined to hold on for eternity. Well played, Sean. Arthur took the part of helping Marik with the seatbelt, pulls it over and clasps it shut. “There’s a first time for everything I guess,” Arthur says light hearted, “I take it there ain’t many rainy days in Egypt?”

„Cairo scarcely gets any rain… sometimes during the winter months but I never… well.” Marik sighs, sounds as if he said too much. Whether or not Arthur caught on, for sure the man keeps on talking, pretends not to notice and pulls put of the garage and onto the driveway down to the street.

„Ahah, I would sure love a couple days where it ain’t rainin’, but the town we lived in before was a hell lot worse than that. I’d much rather get some heat and sunshine than, uh, whatever this is. Storms 'n tornadoes at the coast…”

„Wild,” Sean murmurs, „Krimson City was horrible. All grey and boring. Nothin’ ever happened there, rite?”

Arthur snorts. Grips the stirring wheel tighter and tenses his shoulders. „Its good we left.”

„…what happened in Krimson City?” Marik wants to know, searches for Sean’s gaze in the visor. He leans forward already, his finger still caught in Isaac’s iron grip.

„Lots o’ bad things I tell you,” Sean shoots Arthur a quick look, realizes he’s still tensed with a tight jaw and pursed lips, „We got outta it, Englishman. Don’t want me talkin’ about it?”

„Its, uh… it’s fine,” Arthur replies, stops at a red light pinching the bridge of his nose, „Be proud of yerself for what you done for us. Tell him.”

Chapter Text

"I've been workin' at the police force with Sebastian and Arthur, that's when I met them the first time too! Some murder case it was, turned out to be a big thing and a lot worse than we thought..."

"You were a police man?" Marik tries to look at him despite the seatbelt pulling him back.

"He ain't," Arthur laughs, "He was the feller takin' care of computer stuff I ain't got a clue of."

"Yeah, yeah, but, no Arthur, stop laughing-- okay, listen, it was a big messy thing. Lots o' shite happened that time and ultimately it ended with us takin' down a huge organisation tryin' to screw the world over with mind manipulation or something like that."

"Sean might've saved my life out there. Sebastian's too, and Lily's. All that because he's an obnoxious online celebrity."

"...that's a lot for me to take in now, give me a second-- what did you do, Sean? How did this whole thing work?"

"The organisation had the goal to connect humans to some kinda machine. A simulation. Happiness for everyone or so they called it, but of course it ain't workin' like that," Arthur tried to explain, "The thing went off the rails, me 'n Buck was caught in the middle of it all. Tryin' to save his daughter. So we been stuck in that machine while Sean raised hell to expose 'em."

"I had no damn idea what I was doing, thought  they had gone missin' so I went loud about it online. All them years playin' video games while other's are watching ya really payed off I guess. In the end it wasn't me who got them out tho, but that's one hell of a long story. All I did was expose Mobius to the public."

"—that was a wild ride," Marik eventually speaks, "A lot of information..."

"Sorry 'bout that!" Arthur looks at him for a second. "You got some time progressin' it all I reckon. We're almost there."

There ain't much excitement left that came with sharing the story now, realization of Marik being gone soon punched him straight in the face. Multiple times. Rain drums on the roof of the car, against windows, creating a soft white noise putting Isaac right back to sleep. The calm didn't carry over to Sean although he wished it could, his mind a mess of spinning thoughts and a vortex of emotions he couldn't label yet.

"I have... so many questions," he hears Marik say, "But no time at all. I'm sorry about that. Sean." Arthur stays quiet, taps a finger on the steering wheel waiting for the next light to turn green again. "I made quite the mess, didn't I?"

Yes, Sean wanted to say, yes you did. He doesn't blame Marik for it. It's his own fault.

"You didn't. Don't worry." His sentences are awfully short and so is his train of thought; he almost forgot giving Marik his number and now feels a sting of doubt he'll ever hear his voice again. Sean takes out a card from his wallet, name and number and all printed on it, plus his current occupation at KaibaCorp in shiny blue letters. 'Software development.'

"Fancy, huh? I hate it, too," Sean gives him the piece of paper, the back of it with the familiar pattern of duel monsters cards, "CEO likes to show off."

Marik eyes the card for a while too long, stares at the symbol of a dragon in the corner. "You're working for KaibaCorp now."

It wasn't a question. A statement.

"Yeah, I do-"

"Have you met the CEO?"

Arthur coughs, startles Sean who doesn't know how to say he's been in a relationship with said CEO, that arsehole-- and if Marik needs to know at all.

"A bunch of times. Last I've seen him was during Battle City," he lies, doesn't even feel a tingle of shame about it, "That's all there is."

"I don't like him much," Marik lets him know, "Actually, I don't like him at all."

"I can't blame you for this."

Arthur agrees with a strong nod although his words last night were different, same as literally everything he said to Seto in the time Sean and him were dating. The matter is dropped pretty quickly with Marik pocketing the card Sean gave him and Arthur announcing they've arrived.

Sean needs to take a deep breath in. The rain stopped and sunshine peeked through fluffy grey clouds making the leftover drops on the windows sparkle. As of it could help make him stomach the situation easier Sean exits the car first, yet he doubts he should follow Marik inside, not exactly eager to meet his siblings and hug Marik in front of them...

"Thank you, Arthur," Marik fumbles with the clasp for a second, fingers shaking, "For..."

"Nah, don't mention it," if there is one thing Arthur is bad at its accepting humble thanks and appreciation, "Take care of yerself, Marik." He waves it off but genuinely smiles watching Marik get out of his car.

The place is bustling with people outside the building, no one would take notice of them if they hugged or...

"I... I think a thank you isn't enough for you, Sean."

No, don't you give me that look-- Albeit smiling genuinely there's sadness glistening in Marik's eyes, his brows knit together.

"I done nothin' much," Sean mumbles, "Really-"

Marik pulls him into a strong embrace, eager and affectionate all the same, his arms tight around Sean's body and for a moment he thinks Marik would kiss him, too.

"You did," he says quietly, "Trust me, you did."

Sean hesitates to hug him as well. Scared of being unable to let go again, not wanting to watch him leave and once more Sean hates himself for the mess he made without thinking twice about it. He's pathetic...

When he finally returns the action it's almost desperate and surely embarrassing to watch them like this; Sean puts his arms around Marik's neck, pulls him down a bit, drags him closer and hides his face in Marik's hair.

He'll miss that feeling, the warmth of his touch, how gentle his fingertips were on his skin drawing invisible lines while he drifted off to sleep, full lips pressing curious kisses anywhere in reach. The taste of him, his scent and deep voice, how nice it sounded when he laughed this morning.

"Call me. Or text me. When you got it figured out... will ya?"

"Of course I will." Marik pulls away suddenly. It's the time in movies where they kissed and music starts to play in the background. Super cheesy and romantic and all, but it came with undeniable heartbreak and Sean doesn't want that. Not in the slightest. He stares at Marik who looks back at him like he did earlier when it was raining; delighted, but the taste was bittersweet.

The kiss doesn't come. Sean doesn't have it in him to take the initiative and Marik must think this wasn't reserved for the public eye... he's right with that.

"I'll see you again," Marik promises, "I want to."

Sean is left cold when Marik takes his hands off of him, every fibre in his body aching for more, another hug, a god damn kiss, he doesn't care what he gets but let it be something--- "Take care of yourself." Its all Sean can say, the same fucking words Arthur and Sebastian and Chloe used, it ain't anything special, Marik deserved more than that but there is a big part of Sean's mind telling him this man won't come back, because what reason does he have?

Marik turns around after a visible struggle to do so, a moment where it looked he wanted to take a step closer to Sean but in the end decided against it. He can't watch him go, tells himself he doesn't care, that it's over and done and how he should get back in the car going about his life.

Sean opens the door to the passenger's seat with numb fingers and a terrible ache in his chest.

"Ye'r liking that feller." Arthur states. Like it's a fact and pretty damn obvious.

"...Shut up, old man."

"Want to stay with us a while?" Arthur doesn't laugh but a giggle bubbles in his chest, by god this man knows Sean and he plays on that fact, at the same time tries to help him in whatever way possible.

Sean doesn't need help. Or rather he doesn't want it. "No, only gotta take some stuff with me. Seto got me keys, tho I hope he left 'em under the doormat."

"Don't go crawling back to him now-"

"What the fuck are ya even sayin'? I need me fucken keys is all!" Perhaps he didn't mean to raise his voice like that--- no need to get defensive--- but there's feelings burning through his chest he can't place, can't seem to get rid off no matter how badly he wants them to go. It's stupid, all of this is...

Arthur huffs but stops talking to him, rather turns the music up again. No more words are exchanged during the ride back to the farmhouse, leaving Sean enough time to feel sorry for himself.

At least he doesn't cry.

Back at Arthur's house and after the car is parked back in the garage, Sean leaves for his room without a word of acknowledgement, no thank you, nothing at all. He didn't even look at Arthur. Its upstairs and once the door is closed behind him that Sean fully realizes what happened last night, this morning, half an hour ago.

He brought a guy here, kissed him and asked him if he wanted to fuck. Took care of him after he had nightmares, slept in one bed with him and the morning after had his hands full of cum. Not to forget how he had to get off himself before because apparently one stupid kiss was enough to get Sean hard.

"Fuck all of this," Sean mumbles to himself, "He ain't comin' back. Ain't callin' either..." He goes up to the desk to charge the phone if he wanted to reach out to Seto asking for his keys.

"Oh, shite..." Golden bracelets and earrings catch his attention, a single golden ring broad and in the shape of wings to make it look like they're holding on to your finger. "You forgot your damn jewelry, Marik... what the fuck am I supposed to do now?"

He tries on the ring, not thinking too much what he'll do if it fit-- it felt a bit weird since he wasn't used to wearing something like that... he shouldn't wear it in case he loses the ring, but it was a bit of comfort to feel the cold material just like before when Marik was there to hold his hand. The ring doesn't slip off, seems like a tight fit.

Just right.

The shirt Marik wore is crumbled up on his bed. It's a bright shade of purple, sleeveless, so there was no damn chance Sean is going to wear that, but... it would be comforting at night for sure. Sean doesn't want to stay here for long, plans to pack some things and leave for his own apartment as soon as his phone had enough battery for him to go and despite the disgusting feeling in his stomach he wants to call Seto. Had to, if he wanted to get his damn keys...

With the charger plugged in and phone booting up again Sean leaves the room paying it no more glances for the time being, if he was honest all he truly wanted to see are messages from someone who doesn't even know a damn thing about SMS. Ain't that just perfect...

Downstairs he goes, hands shoved deep into his pockets. Sean expects Arthur to be gone already, though he can hear his and Sebastian's voices from the living room talking over the show on TV.

"Ain't hard to tell," Arthur said, "Think its just some kinda crush he's gonna forget about with some time. The kid tho. Marik, there's... he got something. Sean been telling me he got issues with fathers and I doubt anyone's gonna let their kid fly all the way from Egypt to god damn America to play card games."

Sebastian is quiet for a couple heartbeats. Then... "He doesn't talk a lot. Though, if I was surrounded by the bunch of us without knowing what we're like and up to, I would be the same. Don't we all have issues with Dads? I don't really care what goes on between them, could be anything I suppose, but long-distance doesn't work out. It never does."

"You sayin'? Imagine t'was us that age. We ain't much different, two idiots in love." A laugh follows from both of them.

"He's been through a lot already," Sebastian lowers his voice, "The deal with Mobius, and what happened last year-"

"We ain't gonna talk 'bout that no more."

Sean swallows thickly and steps from one foot to the other debating whether to go in or no... what should he even say? He hates being looked at like he was a lost and beaten up puppy in need of attention and comfort. He ain't that... really, he ain't.

He leaves them be, ceases the eavesdropping and goes into the kitchen closing the door  behind him... craves a cigarette or two, perhaps something stronger than that, there's a strange void in his stomach wanting to be patched up again, needed to be filled with whatever available. There ain't any damn cigarettes in this house and it's much too early for whiskey.

Chocolate it is then. He shuffles through the fridge like a wild animal through dirt searching for something edible, anything that's unhealthy and sweet... Chloe must've eaten the last choco fairy and all Sean can find is pudding. That'll have to do...

As soon as he tears off the paper he heard scratching on the door. God damn Cat has the finest nose for pudding and yogurt thought today Sean doesn't feel like sharing. He ignores the noise and eats in peace.

At least until Sebastian comes into the kitchen. Wearing grey flannel and those stupid sweatpants, black hair a bit ruffled at the sides. Kinda aches to see there's people surrounding Sean that get messed up in all the good ways.

"You doing okay, Sean?"

"Peachy." He scrapes for the rest of pudding, Cat clawing at his legs. She'll get the silence treatment.

"Good to hear," Seb caught on to the sarcasm, or more so a blatant lie, "Come back if you need anything. Call me, or Arthur."

"What makes you think I'm leavin'?" The empty plastic lands in the trash bin, a pair of big green eyes and set of paws following it's way down.

Sebastian simply shrugs before he goes to the counter picking up a plastic bag filled with whatever, sets it down on the table in front of Sean. "I got you cigarettes. Something to eat, too, chocolate and raspberries and all that. Some leftovers. You're the worst cook I've ever met, and if even Arthur couldn't teach you something then I guess it's our job to make sure you're not going to starve to death."

Tears steal in the corners of his eyes and he puts his hands down at on the table, lifts them again a few inches as if he wanted to say something but all Sean does is breathe out heavily. It takes him a minute. It... takes him a minute to gather thoughts, another minute to put them into words, but whatever he wanted to say it got lost along the way and all that comes from him is a joke laden with tears.

"Arthur puts a single fucken mint on every shitty thing he cooks and calls it a meal."

Sebastian has to laugh at that, shortly after leans down speaking in a hushed tone. "Shh, don't tell him, but I season it until it's good when he isn't looking."

Now if that ain't love... Sean wipes these stupid hot tears, sniffles between chuckles standing up to jump straight into a tight embrace for Sebastian, a thank you and a silent apology at once. Sebastian paps his shoulder swaying a bit in the hug, low chuckles rumble in his chest Sean could feel.

"Just take care of yourself, Sean," he reminds once more, "You've got all of us with you, even if you're not here."

"Will you shut up now? Got tears in me eyes... shite..." The things he felt since yesterday and  before Marik mainly were of cold anger and burning frustration, betrayal and hurt. It shifted in the very moment Marik touched him and they shared cigarettes, exchanged looks that told more than a thousand words. Now..? He is just hurt. Alone again despite the words from Sebastian, safe to say they're Arthur's too, but that man may be busy cleaning himself up right now.

"Let us know how you're doing and text me when you're home, alright?" Sebastian lets go of Sean, looks at him for a brief moment where Sean thought he would cry even more-- absolutely not the type to cry in front of people this was so very humiliating for him, he feels so ashamed right now... but Sebastian doesn't say no more words, squeezes Sean's shoulders one last time before Sean takes the heavy plastic bag and leaves the kitchen each Sebastian behind him.

"Arthur! I'm leavin' again! Where you at?"

"Uh, he can't really talk right now," Sebastian says with a cocky grin, "I'll let him know."

"...I ain't askin'."

"Better you don't."

There's, uh, images in his head he wished weren't there, and with those the big question just how the fuck they've been this fast to fuck in less than twenty minutes since Arthur and Sean were back...

Sean leaves the bag at the doorstep to run for phone and charger, gathers the jewelry in his pockets and throws some clothes in another bag. Marik's shirt folded on top of his clothes, maybe they'll somehow take its scent.

With a bag over his shoulder and Sebastian's provisions in one hand, the first thing Sean does once he's outside is to take a cigarette and light it, the first drag so long it made him feel a bit light headed. For a brief moment he found a little peace, calm and numbed emotions. Things looked different now, no more sensitive or vulnerable. It ends abruptly when Sean unlocks his phone and sees those missed calls, the messages, all from Seto. He... doesn't read them yet. If he didn't give him the keys for his apartment Sean wouldn't be in this dilemma where he needed to call Seto although it was the last thing he wanted.

Maybe he's afraid to get weak for his voice over the phone.

"Fuck it."

Thumb hovered long enough over Seto's contact before he finally tapped it--- Seto picked up at the first beep much too Sean's surprise. He never did that before.

"Are you okay?" The first words Seto said to him sounded sincere, genuinely worried. Cigarette between his lips and hands full, naturally Sean hesitates.

"Ain't no rest for the wicked," Sean mumbles into the phone, "You still got me keys."

"...No. I don't. You haven't read your messages." Back to the usual typical Kaiba-tone huh? Back to business in two seconds, once again a reminder this ain't worth it. Sean isn't stupid, but right now he truly wishes he read the texts first if it meant he wouldn't have had to call Seto.

"Lemme hang up so I can read 'em then-"

"No. No, we have to talk."

"Ain't there nothing left to say on me part." Sean tries, really and honestly tries, to sound cold and uncaring enough for Seto to understand, but Seto knows him better than that. They're stubborn as hell. A bad combination...

"But on mine," Seto sighs, breathes through, "Go home, will you? I hid the key under the doormat. As always. I'll talk to you later."

"Oh no you-" Seto ended the call without letting him finish his sentence, pretentious and full of himself, stuck up, choking on his huge as fuck ego while sitting on his high and mighty horse.

In his chest roams anxiety and excitement at the same time; something tells him this was far from over, one part of him glad and the other is sitting drunk on an old park bench projectile vomiting at strangers.

Chapter Text

The way back to his apartment Sean was caught up in his thoughts; most of them about last night, a few about yesterday morning when things were... going relatively okay for him. He wouldn't have dared complain about how he felt treated badly, neglected and insignificant in Seto's presence, the recent weeks before the begin of Battle City were the worst filled with angry sex and harsh insults between gentle kisses in the morning and hushed words at night.

Around him the city was bustling, people running around busy off their asses, stressed with fancy brand coffee in their hands that tastes like shit and costs you ten dollars. Life is weird in this city-- well, it was weird in all of America, current politics and crap aside-- so more than often Sean finds himself thinking about the reason for why he left Ireland. Once memories come flooding back, though, Sean wished he could forget it again.

Seto really left the keys under the doormat, but not without a little add on. The tiny shamrock pendant definitely ain't his, sure as hell he didn't ever think about engraving his own damn name in a fucking keychain, but apparently Seto did. There was no denying he's flattered, but its... a bit too late.

He unlocks the door and goes inside with a pit in his stomach, no idea how he could feel so out of place in his own apartment. Nothing changed here, the mess still the same as the day he left it behind with clothes scattered on the couch, his guitar leaned against the coffee table in the living room. Sean sneaks into the awfully tidy kitchen- he can't cook for shit so he barely even goes here, the only thing he actually needs an oven and microwave. The fridge was empty, well, up until now thanks to Sebastian. Leftovers and raspberries are put inside the fridge, chocolate bars follow Sean back into the living room right between his lips taking tiny bites while he opens the windows.

He should be glad he didn't have to take Marik here considering he couldn't even give him as much as a breakfast in the morning with nothing but whiskey and diet coke in his fridge, an old half empty bottle of water and microwave hamburgers. Or maybe Marik wouldn't have cared. And perhaps that's what Seto meant when he told Sean he was unable to live by himself. Forgets that no one ever bothered to teach Sean the proper ways before he met Sebastian and Arthur.

And adulting was... uh, hard, to say the least.

There is... nothing to do for him. It has been a week or so since his last video, but gaming, trying to act happy and loud so others can laugh isn't exactly the best to do with his current mindset. All he wants is to sleep it off. Drink it away when he feels fancy later, go back to that bar, wait for someone like Marik to show up like its fucking Groundhog Day. Better yet... Marik should just come back. Sean shouldn't have let him go.

Bad thoughts.

Sleeping doesn't sound like such a horrible idea though, so that's what he's going to do; picks out Marik's shirt from the bag and holds it tight to his chest.

On his bed lies a small package which, in itself, should make him furious and terrified because someone dared to get inside his apartment while Sean himself wasn't around-- but he remembers how he told Seto he's welcome and the way he left yesterday, Seto in his living room looking as though he didn't understand the consequences of his actions.

Curiosity gets the better of him, mind toys with the thought of it being goodbye, no more and no less, so without any hold up Sean opens the little box and almost immediately the urge to throw it across the room rose ugly and warm inside of him.

Inside is the card he lost to his opponent during Battle City; the card he was forced to give away; the card that was stolen from him after a battle he would've won fair and square if the other hadn't cheated his way through the duel and in the end took Sean's Shining Angel card with force. He picks the card up, its image reflected by the coating, flips it around to check the backside of it and... it really is his card. Not a new one. He can tell by the scratch marks on the back of it, how the coating is rubbed of a little at the edges. Sean felt like crying, like laughing and cursing, wanted to call this asshole to tell him he's too late with it if this is mean as an apology, but not that his effort is appreciated. Although it surely was...

There is a letter in the box, too. One Sean is too anxious to read. A piece of paper neatly folded, Seto's handwriting visible in dark blue ink. He puts the trading card right next to him with sweaty fingers and trembling hands upon taking out the letter for reading, but at first his mind cannot progress what's written on the page at all. The words jumble around before his eyes, he's about to simply cross read it, get to the end so he knows what it's all about.

It took him a minute to focus. Two minutes to start reading without skipping lines and words.

"Sean,

I got you back the card you've lost during my tournament hoping you get to keep it from now on. There are things I can't bring myself to tell you. Not face to face and eye to eye. Writing it down should have crossed my mind earlier. Maybe it did and last minute I decided I couldn't bring myself to do it like that, either. You know me, the best and worst of me, you were here with me for a long time and I did all I could to show you it meant something to me. All you did was to let me know it wasn't enough. I don't know how to do it differently and better, though I would try for you. I was hoping we had more time, that you could give me a chance. I'd try for you if you let me.

You will always be important to me. Something about you made me feel a little more alive and a lot less lost-"

He started crying halfway through reading the letter. Could barely make out the words, smudged a lot of them with his tears and between sobs and a madly aching heart there's the sound of crumbling paper in his hands, no care for what else he had to say, those lies and stories to get Sean back for whatever reason, or maybe he means it for once, but that's what Sean can't bring himself to believe--- its eating him up. The doubts. The words Seto said to him when he was angry. Or annoyed or busy or straight up mad at Sean for trying to get attention from Seto.

Somewhere beneath the heartache and hurt there lied anger, true and burning fiercely, bright and powerful, threatening flames lapping at his insides and heart especially. His chest grows tighter with each taken breath. Box and crumbled letter are thrown to the ground, Sean stands up from the bed barely able to see where he's going, good thing he can find his way through the flat blind and by night whether he was drunk or not. Sean found himself in the bathroom, figures he must have spaced out at some point - he didn't plan to take a shower now, but it's what he does now standing naked, shaking in every limb furious and aching and crying like an idiot child you've stolen candy from.

Sean's mind was all over the place. The water is already running and the curtain is drawn shut when Sean gets out of the tub again, dripping on the tiles and the carpet in the living room upon going back there to turn on the stereo and turn the volume all the way up. With irish speedfolk blasting at full force gets back to the main quest of taking a shower he certainly needed but perhaps not wanted, the water at first hot as fuck and then much too cold, Sean unable to find a middle ground. He settles for scorching hot, then, thick steam soon filling the bathroom, and he feels dizzy after a little while just letting the water run down his body, irritating skin until its reddened.

Seto had so many chances. Wasted all of them. Seto has a fucking phone to text Sean - yeah, he did, sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes during a stream, many times when Sean himself had no time but never when Sean actually wanted to get a message from Seto that meant something. It was silly talk, sometimes memes or shit, yet Sean does remember the few times Seto indeed said something romantic. Or... close to that.

That's hardly enough.

Sean leans against the cold bathroom tiles, the water running hot down his back until he barely felt the sensation anymore; for all this is worth he should have met Marik a lot sooner and the shit with Seto never would have happened, it wouldn't have left him crying in the shower, Marik was nothing like him... Not a bit like Seto. This young man that knows nothing about mobile phones and cars, has never seen rain in his life, never kissed a man before Sean came along, the one that woke up crying from nightmares and wasn't ashamed about showing emotions. There was nothing wrong with Marik Sean wouldn't want to deal with and help him with, not a single thing wrong about him, no... there couldn't be. No way Sean was this lucky to fall for fucked up men over and over.

Or maybe he should have stayed on the streets dealing with drugs until he would've died of a bad shot one night between shit and garbage cans in some dark alley. He always wanted to do something big and meaningful. As a child he wanted to be a doctor or lawyer or the sort, in the end Sean's afraid he ain't much but some kinda messed up post addicted cowboy.

Sean turns the stream of water off, opens the plastic curtain to step outside grabbing a big towel to wrap himself up in it. The music was so loud it made the floor vibrate under his feet - his poor neighbors - hit by a wave of guilt Sean lowers the volume again. His hair was dripping, Sean couldn't be bothered to dry it right now; he searches for his phone not really knowing why, looks through the recent messages unsure what he is looking for. There are some new ones. Yeah. Seto mentioned them.

[msg received 10:12p.m; Seto] You don't want to talk. I get it. You could at least give me a single response to my texts.
[msg received 10:43p.m; Seto] Or not. Would you pick up the phone if I called you?
[msg received 1:18a.m; Seto] I put your keys back, same spot as always. I know you're probably getting drunk now, but I kind of hope you're not.
[msg received 3:39a.m; Seto] Are you proud of yourself..? I can't sleep without you by my side.
[msg received 9:23a.m; Seto] Tell me you're okay? I'm worried.

He wasn't okay. This was the last message he sent before the phone call, so there was no need to reply. After all this... the tears from yesterday and those of today, the letter and the card, was it even worth trying..? Trying to reach out again to someone Sean is familiar with, a person he already knows so much about while there was somebody else waiting for him on another continent hours away... a man he might never get to see again..?

If Sean wasn't so terrified of being alone, he might not have had dried his hair now, might not have gotten dressed and would have went straight to bed. But here he sat on the couch in the living room, fresh clothes on and ginger tresses all soft and combed again, thumb hovering over Seto's name on his phone. He could hardly describe the feeling that pangs inside his stomach, a certain pressure, uneasiness and fear perhaps, mingled nicely to create a whole new sensation unbearable and overwhelming.

Thumb presses down on the green symbol in a split second. It doesn't take Seto long to pick up.

"Yes?" The sound of his voice alone sends shivers down his spine.

"Come over," Sean asks of him, "I..." He hesitates, ashamed to say it, so scared to let him know, but... "I need you."

"I'm on my way." Seto ends the call no further questions asked. There is no way of telling how Seto's voice sounded, either interested or not, cold or warm. Sean doesn't know, he hardly cares. For now he waits with light music in the background and the box of cigarettes Sebastian bought him on the coffee table looking so tempting... He tears the foil, crumbles it into his pocket and takes the first cig out to flip it around in the box as the lucky one.

Sean did that ever since he started smoking, but now it reminds him of Marik. The thought of him makes it worse, so much worse, so much more terrifying to know he isn't going to see him again even though Marik promised. How big is the chance he is going to come all the way over from Egypt just to see someone he shared one single night with? Sebastian was right with what he said first, there ain't no use in such a thing as a long distance relationship, if there ever was one in the future to begin with.

With a cigarette between his lips already lit Sean goes over to open the door to the balcony and steps outside, no shoes on, socks now slightly wet from today's rain. At least it stopped raining again, sun's out and shining. Looking down onto the streets filled with people going about their lives probably more bustling and vivid as his own made him feel small. Insignificant. Without as much of a real purpose standing here damaging his airways, smoke twirling in delicate circles into the fresh air.

Sean doesn't notice but he fidgets with Marik's ring on his finger, spins it with his thumb rubbing over the cold metal. Whether or not Marik left pieces of his jewelry on purpose, he should get them back---Sean shouldn't be wearing it in the first place---All he could do was wait for Marik to call him some day. If that day ever comes...

The doorbell rings in the same second of Sean closing the door again, smelling of cold ash and smoke, probably a bad thing for Seto to come here to given he never liked that habit Sean had. He's going to have to deal with it. After pressing the button on the intercom system opening up downstairs, Sean uses those last few minutes until Seto came to apply spray deodorant hoping he wont reek all too bad. It takes his focus off the fact that he called the man he didn't want to see again or talk to again to come over, desperate and starving and needy as he was. All that composure so delicately gathered goes out the window at a knock on the door and God he's never been so quick to rush back and open up for him.

Seto looked so tired, deprived of sleep and stressed out, not calm or collected as usual although he might try his damned best to conceal it behind that violet coat and black button up shirt.

"Hey..." Sean could've thought of more to say to greet him, guesses though that words aren't needed right now. Before Seto has the chance to come inside Sean threw his arms around Seto's middle, pulls him as close as humanly possible, head turned to the side laying on his chest. He can hear his heartbeat loudly, hard and fast.

"Hey."

It takes Seto some seconds to reciprocate the gesture. Half a minute to wrap his arms around Sean yet as soon as he does his embrace is tight and grasp strong like he didn't want to let go again. One of his hands rests on the back of Sean's head, fingers combing through his hair ever so slowly, the ultimate comfort to Sean for sure, it makes him practically melt against Seto's frame hardly used to this much gentleness from him, previous attempts at it almost forgotten... Seto isn't the sort of man having a lot of patience though, so its him who pushes Sean backwards only a bit, letting him know it's better to take it inside the apartment where its quieter, more private-- Sean weakens his grasp in return until he lets go of him completely and takes uncertain steps back. The door closes, Seto takes a short look around. He always did that, Sean just doesn't really know why.

"You said you needed me," Seto finally speaks, "What for?"

A certain something within Sean breaks into million tiny little pieces. Has he really no idea, is he playing because he enjoys the power game? Sean stares at him completely lost for a second before he can gather himself and the fragments Seto liked to toss around up again, word by word tries to stick them back together.

"Are you serious? Fuckin' serious? You-- you been givin' me that stupid letter and now you askin' what for?"

"I thought you would appreciate getting your card back. You've read the letter I assume, so that is all you need to know about my situation."

"No. It ain't workin' like that. You ain't giving me this... all of this and then go 'round actin' like it ain't happened! Stand up to what you said!" Sean didn't mean to, but his voice has gotten louder halfway through, footsteps carrying him closer to Seto just like yesterday before he left... All of that seems so far away. Felt like weeks, not mere hours.

"I don't know how you think it's supposed to work. I'm not acting, but I sincerely expected some gratitude." His demeanor doesn't change in the slightest. Its irritating, confusing, maddening. All Sean wanted was... honesty.

"Gratitude for what now? Showing emotions for once?" That letter was a joke, Sean thinks, a huge fucken joke. Meant to make me call him so he gets another chance to spit in me face.

"For me getting you back your card although you've lost it as it was the rule of the tournament."

Fury? Yeah. Scorching hot and violent. Sean takes a step back from him, groans into his hands before throwing them up in a harsh gesture, voice raised still. "Ye still think I was lyin' about it!? Told ye'r I been attacked I did, them fucken rare hunters cheatin' throughout the whole duel, told ye me was tryin'! And winning! Until them fuckers attacked me they did, took me card and... shite..." In rage his accent got heavier and it was difficult to understand him unless one's used to it. Seto on the other hand... he heard this story before and still thinks it's nothing more than that. Sean could tell as much. His following words proved it.

"Its rather hard for me to believe you when I know you don't exactly have a whole lot of skill in the first place. Quitting the tournament because of this was absolutely unnecessary unless you knew you messed up."

"I had three of 'em locator cards! Three! Wouldn't have made it into Battle City but you-!You fucken-! You added me to the fucken database! Damn you know I got skill. It ain't me who messed up, it's you failin' to make sure people ain't robbed by them fuckers."

"...I knew they stole cards from other duelists."

Does Seto even care anymore? Or did he ever? For a long time Sean felt as though he did and was just relatively bad at showing it to him, but he managed to deal with that and the moments in which Seto was soft made up for everything. There is a point where he simply couldn't take it any longer, and Sean reached this point twice by now.

"And you ain't done a thing to stop it?" Sean stares in disbelief, hand wipes his hair back before he decides to flop down on the couch, both arms over the backrest and head leaning back. "You messed up. You did."

"We tried to stop them, but the rare hunters stealing wasn't exactly my main focus during it all. I knew where I wanted to take my tournament and things got in my way until the very end. Theft was not my main concern."

Sean had his eyes closed, trying hard not to freak out again. He couldn't take it; the excitement before Seto came over, the uncertainty, all those hard to pinpoint emotions after reading his letter and messages. Now he says things like this. What is he supposed to believe now, supposed to think? Where does he even want to go with all of this? "'course it ain't been. Ain't been me either, rite? You could've taken me along, y'know? Would've loved to be there during the finale, with you 'nd all," Sean looks up at Seto standing there, he lowers his voice, "Could've fucked them worries outta you at night."

Seto shifts from one leg to the other, walks over to sit on the couch as well feeling the switch of moods from anger to frustration. Still dark though there's leaks of light now.

"You left, as you always do when things get difficult for me... us. There were a lot of things going on in the background I was hardly able to deal with, about Marik and the God cards, some magic crap I shouldn't have to care about-"

"Marik?" What does he have to do with it? Panic floods his veins, Seto shouldn't know that Sean met him... but God was Sean curious and a bit terrified to learn more about the whole deal... "Who... Who's that?"

"The guy that almost ruined my tournament with his crap. Used to hold one of the God cards, but now? No more. Doesn't matter..." Seto was ready to drop the issue. Sean isn't.

"What happened? What did he do."

"As far as I understood he went off the rails and hurt Yugi's buddies, don't you ask for details because I'm not buying any of that."

"...huh." That can't be the same Marik they're talking about. It's someone else. It's not the man Sean met last night. Couldn't be. The things Marik asked of him echo in his head again, if people can change, if Sean would leave him. That man so fascinated by rain. Calling a mobile phone 'device'. Biting Sean's lip while holding his dick.

That's a joke, right?

"I didn't come over to discuss those things. Sean."

Sean hardly payed him any mind, half a percent of attention left to Seto while his mind tried to work out who Marik was, if this was the same person Seto claimed hurt others when all Sean knows about him was gentle and nice. It's a joke. It's a bad fucking joke and Sean isn't buying that... messes with the ring on his finger again without noticing he does so, chews on his lower lip all the while Seto waits for a response that doesn't come.

"Sean."

"...mhm?"

"Talk to me." Seto says, his voice lowered and body leaned closer to him.

"I... I, yeah... well, why.. why get back me card then? If you ain't believin' what I told you?"

"Because you're important to me." For a terribly long second Sean wanted to kiss him right then and there.

He doesn't. It'll hurt.

"You keep mockin' me."

"...I know," he sighs as if he's the one most affected by it, "I think I have to show affection in a different way."

"I ain't knowing if you're serious with this or..."

"I am." Seto pulls him up and closer, urges Sean to sit in his lap, legs straddled--- "I am."

"You hurt me. Big time," although his voice and actions stand in contrast to one another it felt right to cup Seto's face, to inch closer, "One nice action ain't making shit okay."

"I know," Seto shoved his hands underneath Sean's shirt, warm hands roaming down on his back, "I said I'll try if you let me."

Sean's eyes flutter shut, lips slightly parted and he finds the delicate touch was more than enough to make him shiver, tingles dancing along his skin wherever Seto's hands laid. They don't stay idle for long, begin to ghost only lightly above the spine to tickle a reaction from Sean, those that he surely loved to see and most importantly heard. It's a low rumble in his chest following Seto's fingers sliding towards the back of his neck, one Sean quietens with a kiss he waited so long for. Eager and hungry, Seto's mouth opened first and his tongue slipped between Sean's lips for a mere second only to push back breaking the kiss presenting Sean with a sly smile. It ain't appreciated.

"Fuckin'... tease," Sean mumbles against his lips, wet and cold, "I hate it."

Seto's smile grows into a grin, blue eyes observing Sean's softening expression, falling on the little wound on his lower lip he hasn't noticed before. "What did you do?" Seto feels the sore spot with a thumb, one eyebrow raised in question.

Marik happened, Sean thought, guess I shouldn't tell you that. For various reasons. "I tripped last nite on them stairs on me way to bed," he explains, "Been bleeding quite a lot."

"You're a mess." This time it ain't mocking. Not an insult, certainly spoken with anything but malice in his voice, yeah, Sean knows he is.

"Proud to be." Again Seto drags him down for a kiss, proper and hard with teeth and tongue and grazing on lips with extra attention to the sore spot to make Sean feel it. He pulls on Seto's collar, strips the coat from him while their bodies remained flush against each other feeling heartbeats and rushed breaths.

Seto stops. Again. Sean reacts with a frown, a drawn out groan and hands forming to fists on the fabric of Seto's shirt. "Fuck," Sean hisses, "Stop playin' around, Seto."

"But you love it."

He can't deny that. It's on him to take the lead. Holding his head as lips connect once more for kisses starting out tender just to deepen quickly, Sean pushes his tongue into Seto's mouth without consideration, not stopping to check if he could keep up. Seto's reaction is to try and take Sean's shirt off. The man does his best to take that sweet control back but needs to admit that this position isn't exactly the greatest for it...

Sean helps him out a little, arms raise and the kissing stops for a single heartbeat for Seto to take the shirt off and his hands are immediately there stroking Sean's nipples drawing hushed moans from him, a little hiss against Seto's lips too. The fight to take the upper hand doesn't stop here; Seto attempts to push Sean down, hips raised for added strength but Sean isn't having any of this. His hands fist in Seto's hair to yank back his head, lip gets caught between Sean's teeth for short.

"You ain't winnin' this time," Sean whispers, "Don't you try to." Seto answers with a grin, a peck on Sean's chin, fingers deliberately sliding down his frame stopping above his hip bones.

"Do you really think you can handle me?" Seto talks sweet, asks as if he's curious to see what Sean will do and just as eager to find out. It bothered Sean to see he was still fully dressed, only the coat a crumble of fabric on the backrest behind Seto---that ain't good, man has a plan, he knows exactly what he does---

Before Sean can answer there's a sneaky hand fumbling with the front of his pants tugging at the waistband of Sean's underwear too not wasting any time on foreplay. He gasps, head drops against Seto's shoulder feeling him grab his cock with zero hesitance, for quick hard strokes and rough squeezes.

"Fuck--- ah-" Breath's ragged, chest raising and falling to the rhythm of Seto's strokes sending hot electricity through every damn muscle, blood and adrenaline running thick to all the right spots.

It doesn't last. Seto pulls away. Rests his hands on Sean's backside and waits for him to look up again, green eyes sparkling with both excitement and a hint of frustration. "You..."

"Mhm," Seto hums and softly presses his lips to Sean's, "You were saying?"

"Keep going," Sean demands, "Don't jus' stop there."

More kisses. Short, teasing. Between all that Sean tries to complain, attempts to push himself further against Seto for friction, any kind of contact that's sweet on him... none of his tries worked quite like he wanted them to all the while Seto was smiling into the kisses knowing damn well he already won. He got him.

As always.

"Why don't you beg for it, Sean?" He runs a hand through Sean's hair, squeezes his ass.

He ain't got no shame to ask, would cry out as loud as he could letting Seto and his neighbors hear he gets fucked raw and hard and enjoyed every damn second of it. Seto didn't want an easy play, though. Didn't want Sean to straight up ask nor say please, he wants begging and a desperate look in Sean's eyes aroused to no end, ready to spread himself if he had to.

"Hm," Sean isn't going easy on him either, "You ain't in no position to ask for that."

"Oh." Things happened quickly, made him dizzy, overwhelmed him now, rough grabbing and pushing with just enough strength to hurt but not to inflict unpleasant pain; Seto pins him down on the couch with one knee pushed up between Sean's legs holding his wrists in one hand alone. Seto's free hand got rid of Sean's clothes, those sweatpants and underwear.

"Now," Seto lowers his voice, presses small kisses next to his ear, "That's better."

Chapter Text

Seto's demeanor changed, no longer distant or cold, not the usual attitude he presented to him but truth be told Sean knew it was only for the short duration of time during sex. He will go back to his real self soon after. As always. Sean should be used to it, honestly, could back off right then and there if he values his own mental health above a good fuck---

It seems he doesn't. Not much anyway. There's a glimpse of hesitancy in his eyes for short when Seto took his erection again, caught his lips in a sensual kiss similar to the strokes deliberate and gentle. Hips thrust into the touch, moans rumbling within his chest that he couldn't get out having the other's tongue deep in his mouth, Sean still couldn't move his hands but god did he try to - struggles in Seto's grasp for more contact, wanted to have that man naked as well because right now it adds to the game he's playing, levelling power imbalance, skilled on dominance...

He turns his head to the side, away from the kiss, breathes heavily and closes his eyes for short. "Shit-- undress already, will you?" His glance shoot him daggers, piercing and angry.

"Not yet," Seto replies, "Why do I have to?"

Sean huffs, wraps his legs around Seto's waist and pulls him in. "I'll cum all over your fuckin' clothes."

His eyes widen for a split second-- damn well aware Sean would if given the chance. Seto doesn't give in yet, can't quite move away from him, erection and his hand caught between their bodies. "You wouldn't."

"Try me, Kaiba." Emphasis lays on his name like a finger on the trigger, safety taken off. Seto clenches his jaw. Struggles once more unable to have Sean weaken his hold on him. It's in that moment he lets go of Sean, his wrists and sex, so he finally gets rid of his shirt; finds a wet spot on it already. The discovery is met with a groan from Seto and laughter from Sean.

"This ain't my fault," Sean tells him with a grin, "Its fuckin' karma."

Seto doesn't say a word to that, yet the look in his eyes speaks volumes. There's arousal and anger, the promise of revenge. A sweet sort of it if Sean was lucky, but if not he won't be able to walk in the morning. Or sit down for that matter.

"Get up." Seto's tone was commanding, he sure likes to give orders. Doesn't do anything to warrant it though, and Sean isn't going to tell him he loved it---how the demanding gets him hot, pretty much tired of having to take control all the time, being in charge of literally anything. It's better if Seto did it. So Sean listens of course, does as he was told not without one long kiss and fingers pulling Seto down by his hair, using him as support to sit up.

"You gonna come crawlin' back to me," Sean mumbles against his lips and unbuckled Seto's belt, "Whenever I'm leavin'. Admit you love me."

Seto stares with wide eyes unable to reply, unsure what to say and it's for the first time since Sean knows him that this man was fucking speechless. He should feel bad about it, asking for a confession and not receiving one right away as its usual for normal couples, but if they're anything it sure as hell ain't normal. His mind tells him someone else wouldn't have hesitated with an answer in such a situation. For as long as Sean holds at least a bit of power he's afraid to let it slip by mistake, one word or action could make Seto throw him over again.

"How long did it take you? Three hours I guess it was," his lips hover slightly above Seto's, he won't shut up now, "You can't go more than three hours without me, Kaiba." Sean takes his hands before they can grab him; intertwined their fingers, moves his hips to make him hard through his pants.

"Stop leaving me." Its all Seto says. The most he manages to, three words Sean would've loved to hear if they were any different, but this was another command, an order, not a sincere plea. "Stop it." Seto wants to move away from him but he couldn't, caught between Sean's spread legs on his, precum staining his pants. He's gonna be mad once he finds out about it.

"Beg me not to leave." Sean let go of his hands, immediately feels them on his back, nails digging into flesh; he wriggled down Seto's jeans, teases him through the fabric of his underwear, watches him gasp and bite his lip.

"Don't leave." Sean almost couldn't hear Seto, his voice barely above a whisper. Not satisfying enough. At all. Hand sneaks underneath the waistband, fingers tracing his erection already throbbing and hard.

"Not sure I heard you..."  He gets a short kiss for encouragement. A reminder, along with one hard squeeze on his length followed by feather-light touches, eyes fixated on each other. Challenging. But there's softness in Seto's eyes.

"Don't leave again," Seto says, "Please."

Sean stops to breathe for a long long second, stops to think, stops to move, doesn't say a single word for a while. It hasn't been long that he heard Marik ask the same of him a few hours before he was the one to leave, made Sean promise to stay, gave Sean the promise to return soon.

"I..." Saying nothing would've been better than hesitating.

The force of Seto's grasp on him snaps Sean back to reality, pushing him down on the couch before he drags him along into the bedroom. No more softness. And admittedly, Sean doesn't deserve any for the things he's done last night.

He did remember where Sean put lube and condoms at least, while Sean himself wasn't even sure when they've been here the last time to fuck. The sweet control he had over Seto didn't last longer than a couple minutes. All he achieved was to make Seto ambitious to make Sean see who's in charge and able to actually keep at it.

"You're not going to leave," Seto states, holding a little bottle of lubricant in his hand, "I'm not going through this again."

Sean inches away from him, further onto the  bed with his legs slightly spread. A clear invitation while his mind spins and goes a million miles per hour, thinking of Marik turning around to leave, of his hands on him exploring, warm and soft. It gets him harder, makes him throb and ache and leak, no more care for the loss of power over Seto and the man standing there in front of him one hand on his cock and the other popping open the bottle of lube.

"Did you hear me, Sean?"

He gives a simple nod. Props himself up on his elbows while Seto kneels between his legs forcing them apart for even better access and he watches intensely, each and every little movement of him... the way muscles tense and relax, how Seto's chest rose and fell with his breaths. Neither of them is calm, both of them can feel it. Seto spreads the cold liquid on a single finger, doesn't have to probe very long to find his hole---

Fuck, it's been so long---

---Sean gasps, shivers and squirms with every inch his finger pushes inside and pulls back leisurely, Seto watches his reactions with a smile. His hands clench in the sheets at the stinging pain and he tries to relax as best he could, lays down on his back with closed eyes, mouth open to moan, to whisper his name.

"You're not leaving me again," Seto bends down and breathes against his neck, "I won't let you." Between kisses and deliberate thrusts there is the sensation of teeth grazing along skin right above the pulse point; not more than a second before Seto digs his teeth into flesh he crooked the finger inside Sean, hits a sweet spot much to his own delight because Sean cries out clenching his legs to keep his hand there, right there, that's the spot---

Ache dissolves into pleasure, tingles gather at a certain point deep within his stomach where it grows into a tight sensation, pressure slowly building up... But Seto pulls away, finger out and gone, truly deserving of the curses falling from Sean's lips and the nails digging into his arm.

"Why the fuck-" Seto quietens him with a kiss. Takes both his breath and cruel words away, tongues touch and lap at each other. Seto pours more lube during the kiss; Sean flinched when his finger thrust back inside, colder now, slick, just perfect.

"You know you need me," Seto speaks picking up the pace to make Sean cry out again, "You do."

In so many ways he's right... "Fuck-- I..." Whatever he meant to say it turns into long moans, loud and without shame, as soon as Seto added a second finger. Maybe he doesn't even want a reply from Sean, simply wanted to see him come undone.

Tiny kisses encourage Sean to be louder, become impatient, beg for more...

It works. With the second finger inside him adding to the ache and pleasure of spreading him wide, brushing along that bundle of nerves again and again and again, Sean is lost in a haze caught between cries and moans all the while Seto watches him, his free hand on Sean's back digging nails into muscles.

Minutes go by, agonisingly slow how Seto's fingers spread him, warm and loosen the tightness with such precise pressure which makes Sean hold on to him hard, soon to be lost in the feeling of having Seto's complete attention. After a while Seto parts from him once more, reaches for a condom on the nightstand and tears its paper with Sean's hands on him, on his waist sitting up somewhat uncomfortable; he's spread wide enough now but god damn it's a strange feeling no matter how many times he witnessed it already. Under some struggle mainly because of Sean holding him like this Seto pulls the condom down on his erection with trembling hands and a pleasant sigh before he lays Sean back down.

His expression softens upon positioning himself between Sean's legs, both go around his waist loosely ready to pull him in once the time called for it. Anticipation builds up, heartbeat goes wild, adrenaline rushes through his veins meeting Seto's gaze, coolness all gone and replaced by affection for him instead. Sean could barely handle it, definitely not used to see him like that even during sex. It's almost strange...

And when he bends down to him, lips touching and long fingers stroking through his hair it's the first time in weeks that Sean feels loved and not alone anymore, no more lost, thinks this is what Seto meant with that letter, the things he's so bad at showing now apparent in the way he acts.

Seto guides himself inside, slow, careful. Almost didn't move at all, pushes ahead mere inches to back off soon after, driving Sean insane-- he knows he could take it, they've done worse, did it without much prepping before, never caring a lot if it hurt--- this time was different.

Immense pressure to his hole brings tears into his eyes, Sean swallows before his mouth falls open for a loud moan and its him pushing Seto inside fully, surprising him the most.

For now he didn't try to move. Supports himself on his left arm and cups Sean's cheek with the other. Seto whispers something Sean didn't understand before he began to move, thrusts inside and pulls back a little, picks up a slow pace an absolute contrast to the previous times... He wipes the little tears away with his thumb, adds kisses to the corner of Sean's eyes.

"Don't leave," he whispers again, "Please don't leave." Seto had his eyes closed, doesn't wait for an answer or maybe he's afraid of one he wouldn't like to hear, increases force and speed of his thrusts in the matter of seconds. Sesn clings to his neck crying out with each movement, moans right into his ear and receives even harder thrusts for it.

"Please," Seto moans, "Sean-"

Sean shuts him up with messy kisses and hands in his hair. Doesn't know what to say, in all honesty never expected Seto to act like this, say such things, beg for him to stay. A part of him wants to, of course, the part that focuses on getting fucked and moaned like a bitch into Seto's mouth between kisses, the other wanted to leave being unable to deal with the heartache that sure will come once his dick is out again and Seto is the one to go back to work.

"I ain't leavin'," Sean replies, finally, accentuated each word with a kiss, "But you will."

Seto breaks from his grasp, back straightened and hands on Sean's thighs, fucks him harder, faster. Angry and well aware Sean was right, this wouldn't last for long even if Sean begged like Seto did.

Sean can't stop, moans turn into full on shouts of both pleasure and strain, Seto's name a cry between curses and delight. Seto doesn't show much consideration pulling put, isn't listening to Sean complaining loudly about it but turns him around instead, dragging his body close enough to dive back in having Sean on his knees for him.

"Sean..." Its his turn to lose himself. Control once gained thrown out of the window, hands shaking and unsteady grasping for Sean's erection and the back of his neck; strokes and a harsh grasp. "Fuck, I..."

"No, no, no, don't stop-- agh, fuck, no--" Sean lays his head down on the pillow, breathing heavily and gasping between moans, found just the perfect position for Seto to reach his prostate adding to the whole sensation by getting him off with his hand delivering rough strokes and long squeezes.

He's got no thoughts to spent on ruining the bedsheets, didn't care about it in this moment of absolute bliss shaking and moaning under Seto's touch and his violent thrusts, rhythm a paradise picking up the pace gradually until ragged breathing and the noise of skin slamming against skin are the only sounds in the room. Sean cries out, whines and squirms, shouting muffled using the pillows beneath him; a few more thrusts and he's a mess panting and begging for more although he'd hardly be able to take it; Seto delivers anyway, sends him over the edge with ease and a hand on his sensitive cock. Motions stop suddenly, each goddamn muscle in his body tenses painfully until strain released as swift as it build up, the orgasm comes in waves and thick spurts of cum.

Sean can't think and doesn't want to try. Limbs fall weak, he drops flat on his stomach into his own wetness and catches his breath, focused on his heartbeat and whatever Seto was doing behind him it's pretty damn distracting. Hands roam down his back shortly before Seto pulls out and away from him, leaving Sean to lay there one part satisfied and two parts ashamed.

"I hate you," Sean mutters into the pillows, "God, fuck, I hate you."

"No, you don't." Seto sits down next to him caressing through ginger tresses a bit damp from sweat, places a few kisses along his arm and shoulder. "You love me."

He wants to laugh and cry, maybe vomit a little. Nothing comes from him, no reaction for a while expect goosebumps that spread over his whole body at the kisses and touches, fingers cold and teasing.

"Admit you love me." Sean says after some time, body calmed down contrary to his mind. Some hours ago he wouldn't have thought to see Seto again, didn't even want to, hasn't felt as lonely.

He was exceptionally bad at being alone.

Seto remains silent, stopped touching him, stopped the kissing.

It's always the same.

Some power game, dominance and all, using honeyed words and his voice to make Sean weak, taking the control Sean wasn't good at handling well aware how to use it on him instead, a quick fuck and that's that. It wasn't like this in the beginning; but with more power comes more bullshit, and KaibaCorp only gained more over the course of the past months, allowing less and less time for its CEO.

Still no answer and Sean regrets saying anything. Didn't even want to sit up now or look at Seto, much too embarrassed and afraid.

Seto's phone ringing from the living room might've been what saved Sean from more humiliation. He doesn't sit idle, goes back into the other room and immediately picks up. Sean listens, gets back on his knees, then slips down from the bed all weak and hurting, sheets ruined and nasty.

"I've never heard of that organization," Seto said from the living room, "Repeat it- Mobius?"

In the process of pulling off the old sheets, throwing them on the ground no more glances spent, Sean froze hearing this name again. It's been a year. A god damn year. Its... a coincidence, surely?

"But the payments stopped for a while, why did it continue now? Why can't I cancel it? Why do I have to spend five thousand dollars a month on something I never even heard of?" Granted Seto doesn't sound amused at all. Not a bit. He's fucking angry, tries to get dressed while still on the phone. Sean wipes himself clean, throws on new clothes at the speed of lightning-- Seto groaning can only mean he wasn't much pleased about the stains on his shirt Sean left there earlier, so it's on Sean to pick him out a new one. He owes him.

"Listen," Seto fumes, hisses into the phone, "This ain't-- isn't a joke. Five. Thousand. A month! KaibaCorp is no charity! I want you to find out what you can dig up on Mobius and cancel this god damn standing order!"

Sean chews on his lower lip. Reaches Seto the new shirt, a simple black; the man mouths a silent thank you, listening to the other person on the phone frantically trying to soothe the situation.

"Get on with it or so help me." He ends the call, expression hard, eyebrows knit together, mouth a thin line. "This is ridiculous, fucking ridiculous..."

"Seto-" Sean holds on to him by his wrist, kept him from leaving without a word. Yeah, he gets it, its messed up- but he hoped those aren't the same guys from Mobius he encountered. "Listen, I know what this is about-- if this is the same organisation that is sure-- but you've got a huge problem there." His voice is all shaky. Words tumbling.

"What? How would you know? I have no time for this."

"Fucken-- shit, no, you ain't leavin' now! I took 'em down a year ago with Sebastian and Arthur. This is serious-"

"I know it is, they're stealing my money and I'm no longer watching them do so." Sean wasn't sure if Seto is even listening anymore, he tries to leave, to tear himself from his grasp but god fucking damn it, let Sean be stubborn now.

"You should talk to 'em about it if you ain't gonna believe me! If this is the same Mobius we know-- we're in huge fucken trouble! They're dangerous."

"...I'm not sure I believe you actually know anything about this," Seto says eventually, but at least stopped the struggle, "Alright. I have nothing to lose."

Sean actually sighs in relief, but there was a certain heat in his stomach that hurts badly, panic and fear mixed together. "Y'know. Trustin' me won't hurt you." He grabs the keys, pulls the phone from his pocket to call Sebastian.

"But it did." Sean didn't hear him say that, doesn't ask Seto to repeat it either now that Sebastian picked up the phone and they left the apartment.

"Seb, we got a serious problem. Call Kidman, get her over--"

"Hold up a sec, what the fuck happened?" Sebastian demands answers, an explanation of course, but Sean was all over the place...

"I think Mobius is back, Seb."

Chapter Text

"What do you know about Mobius?" Seto's gaze remains on the street, one hand on the steering wheel and the other holds Sean's left hand as tight as possible, concerned the last bit of confidence will slip if he lets go.

"You should let 'em explain it to you," Sean promptly replies, "I ain't good at it--"

"I'm not going there unprepared. It's strange enough to go back like this, okay?"

Sean takes a deep breath, looks over at him for a split second. Seto doesn't know what to be afraid of, but it seems he was anyway. Maybe it's not knowing what the deal with them was.

"They was a worldwide organisation, had their spies everywhere, uh, hidden in plain sight. Build some kinda weird machine to connect the minds of people and before we... took 'em down they been aimin' to link people all over the world to that weird virtual reality kinda thing... I think that's how you can call it."

"...are you sure this isn't the plot of a science fiction novel? Something out of a video game? I don't believe it." Sean squeezes his hand tighter. A sign for Seto to cut the bullshit, yet if anyone was to come to Sean with a story like that... He'd be the same.

"That ain't my problem, honestly, they're gonna tell you if you believe it or not," Sean speaks firmly, more confident, "This shit is serious, hurt lots of people."

Seto shifts in the seat, knuckles turned white on the steering wheel and around Sean's hand, his jaw clenched. "I hope you're lying. Exaggerating. I'm not buying any of this..."

"I ain't-" Sean falls silent. Now takes Seto's hand in both of his for caresses, support. The pit in his stomach spread up to his chest, feels empty and tight at the same time, cold and warm. "It was all over the news for a while until government shut 'em up. The video's still on me channel though, but I guess you ain't ever been on it."

"...I was," scenery passes by, grey and boring, kinda depressing after the rain, "I am, every day. You're annoying and too loud sometimes, but I watched you play. You got Mokuba into Minecraft and Overwatch by the way."

That's the time for Sean to say he doesn't believe any of it. Time to tell Seto this isn't the time to joke around with whatever goal he had in mind, if it's to fool him or make him feel better. Sean leans back, turns his head to look at Seto so focused on the street he wouldn't catch him staring like this.

"Figured you had no time to watch me things. Honestly tho, thought it ain't interesting for you enough, I mean Mokuba I can understand. Minecraft is great. Don't let him into the voice chat for Overwatch tho, shit ain't pretty."

"Its background noise for when I'm working," it's his turn to breathe through pulling up left into the next street leading up to the farmhouse, "I'll... keep that in mind. Never played a single video game in my life, but maybe its time. As long as it's not horror."

"Hah. You're a softie."

Both have to smile at this, but it fades as quickly as it appeared seeing Sebastian waiting outside the house, expression hard to define... its trepidation, ice cold fear. Seto pulls his hand back parking the car in front of the garage. He was reluctant to get out of the car though, sits idle until Sean slammed the door shut behind him, already on his way to Sebastian.

"You didn't tell me he was coming, Sean. What does he have to do with it?" Safe to say Sebastian was disappointed and unable to comprehend what the hell was happening in the first place.

"Let him tell you that," Sean says, "What about Kidman? Arthur?"

Sebastian shakes his head, his shoulders slumped and hands curled to fists. "Kidman is on her way, but it might take a while. Arthur... he's inside, tucked Isaac in. Why isn't he coming?" He gestures to Seto still in the car staring at nothing in particular. Sean can't tell why - could only imagine he was pretty shaken about the whole deal and doesn't even know the entire truth yet.

"I'm... gonna get him, jus' you wait inside for us."

Sebastian leaves the door open for them, wiped a hand through his hair watching Sean walk over.

"Hey," door opens and Sean bends down, "C'mon, they're waiting."

"I've..." More words don't come. So Sean clicks the seatbelt open, pulls it back and cups Seto's cheeks to kiss him, lots of small kisses for his lips until Seto drags him in for a long one.

"Let's go?"

They're inside the house. Didn't hold hands although its Sean who wanted to as a sign of support. It probably wasn't a good idea; Seto followed Sean into the living room, stared down by both Arthur on the couch and Sebastian restless standing at the window, fumbling with one of Isaac's plushies in his hand.

"Nice seein' you again," Arthur greets Seto, "Guess it ain't the best circumstances though..."

"No," Seto replies, "They're not."

"Tell us what this is all about," Sebastian demands before they even got to sit down, "Before I'm losing it."

"My corporation was paying money regularly through a standing order," Seto begins, "For years, until a year ago. We never figured out where the money was going to, nothing we did until then got to the core of it. Last week the order was renewed and my team found out the monthly five thousand dollars go to an organisation called Mobius."

Sebastian stands still for a while, Arthur says nothing. They stare at Seto like he's told them a dear friend of them passed away; shock, horror, disbelief. It wasn't only the fact that Mobius was back. KaibaCorp payed for the atrocities this organisation stands for, yet the fact that Seto had no idea was hard to believe.

Sean sits next to Arthur, can feel him shaking like a leaf in the wind, grabs his knee and delivers one tight squeeze, tries getting him back to reality. As disgusting as reality was.

"You tell me," Sebastian begins, the plushie all but smashed in his hand, "That you had no fucking clue where your money was going to? For years? Never even put in some fucking effort to solve this!?"

"Buck-" Arthur tried to speak up, to calm the man down, but Sebastian raises his voice above Arthur's in return.

"You've been a part of this bullshit and decided its FINE!? Five Thousand don't hurt you, huh? IT HURT US!"

"Sebastian, he doesn't know anything 'bout this!" Sean sees how Sebastian steps closer to Seto, chest heaving and eyes wide. Reliving the horror STEM brought them once more.

"Maybe if he didn't care as much for a dumb children's card game he could have gotten his corporation set straight!"

Through all this Seto hasn't said a word, let Sebastian rage at him, not once tearing his gaze away from Sebastian's. "Buck, we should explain-"

"Explain? What?" Sebastian drops the toy, hands on his face in defeat, "How we almost died? All of us? Me, three fucking times!? My daughter-!"

Arthur stands up to calm Sebastian, takes those couple steps hands on his shoulders now, holding him tight, making him stand his look. He mumbles something to him Sean couldn't hear but Seb nods, eyes laden with tears. "They're back, Arthur-- they're back--"

In the corner of his eyes Sean can see Seto leaning forward, face in his hands and elbows resting on his thighs; absolutely lost and utterly helpless, no damn clue how to deal with all of this. Sean comes to kneel next to him and takes his wrists. Or, at least, tries to, though he holds so much tension in his arms it's a struggle to loosen Seto up again.

"You didn't know," Sean whispers to him, "How the fuck should you know? Nobody's angry at you, we're scared is all..."

"I should have insisted." Seto didn't say more than that. Still did not look at Sean nor gave up his position. Sean lets him: but sits on the armrest and puts an arm around him.

"Call Chloe. Call Kidman again. Get Kieran over, and John too. They know, they can help. Someone has to pick Lily up-- oh god, Lily, what if--" Sebastian talks fast, between tears and slight sobs it's hard to tell if he was able to think straight, but Arthur nods along, fumbles for his phone already and calls someone right then and there.

"Chloe, you free? You gotta get home and bring Lily with'chu. No, we... I ain't got the time to explain, you come home now with the lil' Miss." On to the next call, but now Arthur leaves the room, talking in a hushed voice.

Everything happens much too fast, and it makes Sean feel dizzy. Thoughts are spinning but his body remains unfazed by it all, a strange calm feeling an absolute weird contrast to his insides. Its insane. And Seto? That man is more than just overwhelmed with it all. Sean can't even say what he's feeling like or what he's thinking. Never could.

"Seb," Sean begins, calmly so, "Tell him what they are. What happened 'n all."

"Can he take it?" Sounds like an insult, voice full of doubt and anger still, but on his face is a weirdly relaxed expression.

Seto takes a deep breath before leaning back, a bit in Sean's direction too, seeking the comfort however much it was of actual use. "Yeah. I will have to."

Seb picks up the plush bunny. Takes a look at his burned hand for short, does everything so he wouldn't have to make direct eye contact with Seto for now, gathering thoughts and foul memories. "Five years ago me and my squad received a call on duty about an emergency at a mental hospital. Kidman, you're gonna meet her, she's been part of the team same as-- Joseph. Back then I had no clue what would happen, had no fucking idea what was happening while it did. But I was... trapped in a psychopath's mind, thrown through space and time over and over from one place to another only to face more cruel and fucked up shit each time. Kidman killed Joseph, it was an accident. But I still lost my partner that day.  Shortly before I got behind it all and escaped from there," he needs to breathe through, needs a short pause, wipes tears from his eyes, "Kidman... Kidman disappeared. Been part of Mobius. I had no idea she was, trusted her, thought she's a friend. Weeks passed and I found out what's been behind it, the horror at the hospital connected back to Mobius who spent years on research on linking people's minds together using a single core, and Ruvik's mind seemed to them like a wise choice. Turned out that the brain of a killer wasn't a good pick. And that was the first time I was stuck in this machine-"

"Hold up, just a second. How can someone die in there? If its virtual reality?" Seto inquires and it sounded like he tried his best to follow.

"I saw him die," Sebastian continues, "And his body disappeared. I've... never found him, never saw him again. He just stopped existing."

Arthur comes back into the room. Exhausted, wet stains under his eyes. Not as strong as he acts to be. "Called 'em all up. Kieran's on his way but John ain't there, seems to be on vacation. Kidman's on the highway... you explained som' things?"

"Beacon," Sebastian answers, "I think I need..."

Arthur sighs and reassures Sebastian with a hand on his shoulder and an intense look; take a break it means, there Sean is sure. At the same time Seto shifts closer stealing a glance at Sean but it goes unnoticed by him.

"You see... when I met Seb he was... a hurt 'n broken man. Ye'r not gettin' out of STEM the same as you went in. The time I joined the KCPD and met Sebastian I had no damn clue what happened to him, but I found out what's wrong when it hit the both of us. Got a call that sucked us back into STEM, same shit different day, an' this time I contributed with my, uh, secrets, things I ain't told Buck 'cause they ain't mattered."

"...through a phone call?" Seto hardly believes it and admittedly its... wild. Insane. Arthur lifts his shirt as an answer, shows the huge scar he received the first time he got put into the madness; a big long gauge along his side where he was attacked, and above it a tattoo in Sebastian's handwriting that reads 'Survived.' Seto averted his gaze. No more confirmation needed.

"That a thing Mobius experimented on to see how far they can go we assume, 'cause for Beacon you got attached to the machine directly. Now there ain't no need for that no more. So... so we killed that bastard 'n we got out, wounded severely. I've..." Arthur and Sebastian look at each other, Sebastian reaches to touch his own right shoulder. Sean knows, but neither of the two could say it.

"The core controlled Arthur," Sean says, "The shit affects you when you ain't mentally stable, y'know? Mobius wanted to get rid of Seb for knowin' too much, Arthur jus' happened to be there, so the core made him shoot Sebastian."

"How much worse can it get..." Seto mumbles to himself and Arthur lets out a nervous laugh.

"A hell lot. We got out 'n all, that's when we met Sean actually! Boy been there on a murder case with us and things went well for a while. We got each other, thought Mobius finally ain't an issue no more, but... damn... they got me after a couple o' months. I planned my proposal to Buck when they did, I ain't got any idea how, it's all foggy... What they did was connect me to that machine to lure Buck in. Told me his daughter was the Core."

"...Lily?" Seto shivers, and Sean holds him tighter in response. "How?"

"I thought for years she was dead," Sebastian says quietly, "Blamed myself because she died, because my wife left me. While they were both alive, Lily used by Mobius and her mother working for them to be with her. I thought Arthur left, too, because that's what seemed to happen to me, you know..? A few days later I got drunk in a bar and met Kidman again. After three years. She told me Lily was alive and in danger, that's how she got me to go into STEM a third time." The memories come bubbling back up to the surface, tormenting. Cruel and hurtful. Sebastian pinches the bridge of his nose, wipes the sneaky tears away once, twice. It was painful to watch them like this, and Sean felt so sorry for bringing all of this back up...

"When they both disappeared," Sean talks now, head turned to Seto, "I got pretty loud online. Been tellin' the public everything I knew from 'em, about Mobius and all. Me videos were all over the news, everywhere on social media at least until Mobius came to threaten me to shut the fuck up. Offered me money if I did, said if I keep it up they'd kill me. That's when Kidman stepped in... else I guess I'd be dead." He ends it with a laugh, not joyous but instead concerned.

"You all took Mobius down," Seto assumes, "Then how are they back now?"

Silence. Nobody knows how... or why.

"Kidman did. Kidman and Myra, from within. Sent a signal that made their system crash and killed most of their staff including the big boss. So we... we don't know..." Sebastian stands up to open the window letting in some fresh chilly air when suddenly the bell rings; Arthur was quicker rushing to the door to let Chloe and Lily inside, Lily screeching with joy.

"I saw his car!" She exclaimed, "Is Mokuba here too?" She isn't waiting for an answer, runs at lightning speed into the living room to jump at Seto who had trouble catching her safely; she's wrapping both arms around him from behind, instantly chattering. He smiles and brightly so, chuckles at her joy and stormy nature.

"Hey, where's your little brother? I miss him, I do! Missed you too! Why are you here again, did something happen? Is it because Marik left?"

Oh, no.

"Marik?"

Sean's heart drops. Their smiles fade and Seto's expression turns hard, stern, his eyes glisten. "Yaya, he was-"

"Lil' Miss, I guess you should eat something," Arthur interrupts her and comes up behind them to peel Lily off of Seto, "C'mon, let's see what's left in the fridge."

There's no damn time for an explanation, Seto stares at Sean like he's punched him in the gut. Or stabbed him. Multiple times. With a rusty dagger.

"Rich kid," Chloe flops down on the couch, "How's it going?"

Seto doesn't spare her a single look. And Sean doesn't know what to say or do, Sebastian watches them both unsure of what to do either while Chloe was bring her usual self.

"What the fuck...?" Sebastian shushes her.

"What do you have to do with Marik?" Seto wants to know, Sean hears Chloe gasp and jump up to leave trying to contain her giggles. Sebastian sighs almost inaudible and leaves them there alone as well.

"I'm not going to repeat myself. Sean."

"What's it to you? We've got other issues now sure, forget about that." Fingers mess around with the ring from Marik again, circling it around over his finger. Seto didn't notice that, his eyes spitting poison. The doorbell rings once more; either Kidman or Kieran. Sean couldn't pay it no mind currently, the topic of Mobius shoved to the side completely. How big Seto thinks is the chance that Marik was the same he met during Battle City?

"Its an issue for me. I doubt Marik is a popular name around these parts and the Marik I know isn't someone you should have close to you."

Oh, was it worry? "Yeah, he attended your tournament," Sean says quickly, "Ain't there a  need to worry tho, he's left this morning." Sean could punch himself for saying that, didn't think much of it, actually doesn't think enough before he speaks.

Seto tenses visibly, his eyebrows draw together and eyes squint. "You brought him here," Seto states, "Why did you? Did he force you?"

"What-- no, he didn't! Asked me he did, 'course I said yes! No clue what you know of him but he ain't done a thing to force me, god damn it. Needed some company is all." Sean gets back to his feet, hides his right hand carrying the ring. Seto follows his example, much taller than Sean looks down on him not even trying to be less intimidating.

"Company," Seto huffs, "And you believed him? You do not even know what he has done during my tournament and if you did we would not have this conversation right now! But you had to leave like that, right? I told you what he did earlier, remember? When you asked who he was."

Not this again. He didn't believe it before, isn't believing it now either.

Sean takes a step closer. Chest tensed and swollen from holding in his breath, Marik wasn't even here to defend himself and Sean isn't gonna take any bullshitted lies about him.

"Y'know, if you're gonna act jealous don't shit on someone who ain't even here to talk for himself! He's gone, okay? Fucken gone. Doesn't matter anymore." Seto pulls him against his chest so Sean feels his wildly thumping heart, shallow breath and warmth radiating from him sure of hurt and fury. Both makes a bad cocktail. Leads to rushed decisions and words to cause damage.

"Don't take that for jealousy," Seto tells him, "Its me trying to protect you."

"I ain't needin' no-" Seto interrupts him speaking a bit louder.

"You're a poor idiot with a big heart and no brain. Of course you need someone to look after you."

Marik wasn't a bad person. And Sean isn't going to ask Seto about the things he claims Marik has done; maybe someone else can answer him that, someone who isn't biased and jealous. For now Sean stays quiet about it all, closes his eyes and wraps around Seto but thinks of Marik's words and the way he begged Sean not to leave. The talk about manipulation was all lies. All bullshit.

Chapter Text

The living room was full of people. Kieran and Kidman arrived shortly after Chloe came back with Lily, both the girls were told go get back upstairs so Lily doesn't have to experience this whole mess. Kieran was probably the most confused and riled up; the Detective that Sean got to know better at Sebastian and Arthur's wedding was about Arthur's age, around 39 if Sean remembers correctly, but doesn't look much like it. He didn't change at all in the past year, shaggy brown hair reached to his shoulders by now and he shaved his beard, but his build was still short and lanky. He greeted Seto with a warm smile and handshake, might've been a bit intimidated by the other's cold glance. Honestly, Seto looks the most like he doesn't want to be here even though he had to; and he knows.

Kidman on the other hand, Sean almost didn't recognize her. She cut her hair short, dyed it a light brown with highlights. It's been a year since Sean saw her, but she looks younger than back there when they said goodbye at one of Mobius' facilities. Her look was as hard as Seto's, perhaps they're gonna get along just fine.

Arthur was upstairs to check up on Isaac when Seto explained what happened for the second time today, tells Kidman and Kieran what Sebastian said to him about the whole deal with the previous STEM-system and Mobius' doings.

Kidman was quiet for some time, sitting on the couch with her legs crossed and two fingers massaging her temple, deep in thought and trying to process it all.

"I know its... it's not what we thought would happen after Myra took them out," Sebastian says, "And we don't even know if they are the same organisation, it could be anything at this point, but... but if it is them, I don't know what I'll do this time. I'm not putting my family in danger again."

"Give me a minute. Sebastian." Kidman replies without hesitation, raises a hand so he knows to be quiet. Kieran leans back in defeat, lets out a groan. He must have remembered all the paper work that was included in the situation after the shut down of Mobius, and the endless nights he spent trying to hack into what was left of the database.

"So," Kidman speaks up, "Your corporation isn't the only one paying for their expenses, that much I can tell you, but nobody else stuck around as long as KaibaCorp. The standing order didn't come from us, either. No one pressured whoever created it in the beginning, though if you can't get out now that is indeed Mobius' fault."

"...you're telling me someone willingly decided to spend all this money on something like this without letting me know." Seto never sounded as offended before, never looked as insulted. Kidman clicks and has to smile; she continues in a lighter tone, less accusing.

"You're too young to have been around the time this all began, seriously. Surely you're not the one who founded KaibaCorp."

"No. I took it over from my father. It was originally a military arms dealer until I reformed it. He must've..."

"Most likely," Kidman interrupts him, "Have you tried cancelling the order yet?"

Seto took that to heart, responds with a slightly raised voice. "Of course I did! It couldn't have just stopped even if Mobius allegedly died down, someone must've restored it again, tied in to Mobius' reappearance. Someone in my company has to be a spy."

"Ain't you done background checks on your staff?" Arthur's voice came from behind them, the man sneaking back into the living room with a different shirt on than before. Sean doesn't even want to know what happened up there with baby Isaac.

Kieran replies before Seto can try defend himself. "Its not as easy, actually... Mobius knows how to cover their tracks. I've spent nights trying to trace them back but... nothing worked. You remember that the old Captain at KCPD was with Mobius, too? And... and the things they did to your criminal record?"

"Hah, I can sing a whole song about this." Kidman throws in and makes Arthur laugh with that. Yeah, Mobius did so many fucked up things that it was unlikely they could reveal any spies pretending to work for KaibaCorp.

"It can't be that hard to find something now that I'm aware what to look for. It might take a while, but I figure this is our best bet."

Sean returns to his previous position; has been sitting next to Seto on the armrest, but only now puts a hand on his shoulder to let him know he isn't going to make him deal with all of this alone; even though Sean doesn't know what to say right now, considering what Seto said about Marik too, he still won't leave and does his best to help in whatever way he can.

"What do we do if its Mobius? How the hell are we going to deal with this again? I won't go back in there." Sebastian searches for Arthur's comfort, reaches out for the man standing next to him. "I can't do all of this again."

"We'll find a way, Buck. I promise."

"Let's be smart about this," Kidman speaks, "Find the spy, squeeze him for answers. Like in the good ol' days." Sebastian looks at her and sighs before turning to Arthur once more, looking at him as if he was afraid the world might end tomorrow.

"I'll get to it," Seto announces, "I'm going to expose that rat."

"I-If you need help, I can tag along, you know..? I can get through the system and-" Kieran is cut off with a sharp 'No' from Seto followed by outright mockery disguised as polite declining.

"No offence, but I don't want any strangers messing with my company and I don't care about your resume."

"My family is in danger!" Sebastian hisses, "You have to work with us now, Seto."

"...Hm." Seto stands up and turns around to leave, holds one hand over Sean's back, "I have a family, too, Sebastian."

"Sean," its Arthur speaking now, voice laced with worry, "Take care of yerself."

"You know me." Its the first thing Sean said in quite some time, and he thinks his voice sounds like it doesn't belong to him, thicker and deeper than usual. His words don't reassure Arthur especially because he knows Sean.

Its Seto who leads him outside with one hand still on Sean's back, both pressuring and comforting. The weather didn't change since the rain this morning; sun shines and its warm, absolutely unfitting for the gloomy mood of this day. Seto gets into the car first to start its engine and with a turn of his head he can see Sebastian coming out through the door with baby Isaac on his arm, calling out for Sean.

"Just a sec," Sean assures Seto, slams the door back shut, "Hey, I know the situation is fucking screwed up, but you gotta-"

"Its not about Mobius, it's about you. What are you thinking going back to him? You'll come back to us in a few days with another stranger,  and right now isn't the time for that." Sebastian may have always tried his best to be a good support to Sean, but currently nothing he said was helping. The Dad in him is coming through- or maybe its always there and only now Sean really notices- it ain't no help either way.

"You got other things to worry about," Sean replies with a kick to the dirt, defeated and moody through and through, "This ain't none of your business."

"...okay. Alright," Isaac squirms a bit in Sebastian's arms, grabs at his shirt to drool on it, "Don't come back to us crying about how unfair your life is."

"Whatever you say."

Turning back to get into the car Sean feels... empty and cold. Guilty and ashamed. Fucking anxious with shaking hands and tears burning in his eyes while he buckles the seatbelt and Seto pulls onto the driveway down the hill.

"What did he say to you?" Seto wants to know. Doesn't even look at Sean, rather focuses on the street again.

"Nothin'. Ain't important." His voice breaks at the end, he spins Marik's ring on his finger again for some comfort Seto couldn't possibly give right now, one arm propped up at the open window. "Don't bother."

"Fine," he scoffs, hits the gas, "I heard him, anyway. The windows were down, and he didn't care to talk quietly. So..." He was tense. Sean could tell. Its Mobius, all those people back in the house, Sebastian blaming them and Arthur overwhelmed with it all, its Marik and the damned letter Seto wrote. Chances are he's forgotten about it already.

"So..?" Sean looks at him, not sure if he'll like what comes next, well aware he brought this on himself and if it weren't for Lily, Seto would've never even heard about Marik.

"So you have been seeing someone else while I tried to figure out how to save our relationship."

This man using those words in one sentence was absolutely fucking unreal. Sean stares with a lightly opened mouth, wide eyes, hair a mess thanks to the breeze, strands caught in his eyelashes.

"I... I... brought him in, yeah. 'cause he asked is why, we been talkin' all night. Is all." He lies, unashamedly, thinking Seto wouldn't see right through him. Sean is a terrible liar: and Seto a businessman.

At the next green light Seto begins tapping his fingers on the steering wheel; nervously maybe so, it's not often he did that... but when he talks again Sean knows he ain't nervous at all.

"Did you sleep with him? You lied to me last night when I asked if you were drunk. And we both know what you do when you had too much alcohol. I want to know what happened." He's hurt. Not nervous. And Sean figures telling him in the car might result in him getting thrown out while Seto still drives.

"No... no, I didn't," not quite at least, it's not a lie but... "We kissed tho."

No response. And Sean was too afraid to look at Seto. He can feel his heartbeat right underneath his throat, hears it too loud inside his ears over the noises coming in from outside, the purring engine. Seto pulls left into the street without giving a signal, earned some angry drivers from behind him shouting and sounding their horns. The car stops outside of the apartment complex Sean lived in; okay, end of line.

Alright.

Sean deserved it. He didn't think Seto would actually throw him out here, hoped he could look past it and rather care for the issue with Mobius, but Sean is a dumb man with one single brain cell.

"Get some clothes and come back down."

"...what?" Oh, Sean caught what he said, yet he ain't believing a word of it. For all he knows Seto could be gone when he returns. "You serious?"

"What are you waiting for now? Hurry." No single glance is exchanged, and the conversation couldn't even be called such. Sean exits the car with stiff legs and a certain sting between his legs, his ass sure sore from earlier and only in moments of calm he actually noticed it hurt badly when he has to walk quite some distance.

Up the stairs he goes, unlocks the door and closes it from inside by leaning against it to breathe through, to close his eyes, to fucking think for once about the shit he did. For now he couldn't even tell where he messed up, if it was the break up or picking up Marik or going back to Seto like this not a day later, not even two hours after Marik bailed again. And Sebastian...? He certainly made clear what he thinks of everything. The whole Mobius situation?

This week was insane and it barely even began.

First thing he gathers are the cigarettes and a lighter, stuffed in his pockets alongside keys and his phone that remained silent; he waits for a stupid call or message that ain't ever coming. Upon walking into the messy bedroom, seeing the dirty sheets on the ground, it once more reminds him of the things that seemed the only important ones, some sex and the fake promise of not being alone.

Whether it was fake or not Sean can't even tell anymore.

He ends up throwing random clothes inside a bag he picked up, didn't even care to check what he took along with him but its underwear and socks for sure. Next it's off to the bathroom gathering the bare minimum of what he'll need, remaining uncertain if this wasn't just a really bad joke from Seto to disappear on him. Karma, huh..?

Sean takes the raspberries along, too. Better have them now before they end up rotting in the fridge.

Stuff is neatly tucked into the bag, zipper closed while Sean pulls the door shut behind him on his way down. Partly anxious he isn't gonna see the car and pretty damn terrified what he's gonna say if Seto actually waited.

Ain't it bad to think that way..?

Seto did wait, though. Unlocks the trunk with a press of a button for Sean to put the bag there and he waits patiently until Sean was back next to him.

If there is anything Sean really hates its uncomfortable silence, sadly Seto is a perfectionist when it comes to that kinda thing. Honestly, that man can go hours without saying a fucking word, Sean certain that he stares at the memes and vines he sent in silence without as much as a smile; when Sean was around, though, he actually laughs sometimes. Show Seto a good vine and he's out of order for an hour, could barely catch himself... so maybe Sean was too riled up currently to analyse Seto Kaiba.

Its the first time Sean doesn't try to start a conversation with him until he can see the KaibaCorp tower in the distance looming over the city, easily the tallest and most pretentious building around. He always wondered how long it takes to clean those damn windows and one day he swears he's gonna have the balls to ask.

Seto gives him the silence treatment all the way up to the top of the facility, over a hundred levels and roughly five minutes in a wide elevator where Sean stood against the wall behind Seto, arms crossed and head bowed quietly suffering through the ride. He has not the slightest idea how Seto wanted to go about it, what he had in mind to find out the person or, worst case scenario, more people working for Mobius under the disguise of KaibaCorp-staff... Asking the police department wouldn't do any good; if by any chance it was for real Mobius as Sean remembers it, they have spies in the police department as well - the thought alone makes him want to throw up knowing that Sebastian and Arthur both worked there for about a year...

"How... how do you think to solve this?" Sean asks, finally, struggled so much to say one fucking word fearing the rejection from Seto. He carried the bag over his shoulder, follows Seto through the bright hallways up to his office; the first time he went here alone to visit Seto he got lost big time, ended up on the wrong level and in someone else's office who didn't take lightly upon Sean disturbing him without knocking first. He should have figured Seto has his name on the door. Huge silver letters, underneath the dragon-logo and a big ass 'CEO' in a fancy font.

Pretentious as hell. Charming.

"I don't think about solving it yet, the first step is to find the scum until it's too late and they've caught on," he types in the code to his office and lets Sean go in first, "I can't believe those bastards are operating from within my corporation. I'll make them pay for this."

Sean opens the curtains letting some daylight into the room, fires up the computer while he's at it and drops his bag on the couch at the opposite side of the room; a sigh follows, it's been so long since he's been here and nothing changed. It still smells like new books and leather. Somehow scents that always reminded him of Seto since the first time he came here and Seto pushed him up against the wall---

"You got a plan, boss?" If Seto isn't going to talk, now Sean will and by god he's gonna try his best. Seto got down on his chair at the desk giving him a short warning look. The typical Kaiba-squint.

How charming...

"Searching for the staff members that started working here around the time Mobius shut down and those that applied shortly before the order was renewed are my best bets for now. They'll be questioned."

"Mhm..." Bold as ever and with fake courage gathered Sean plops to sit on the desk next to the second screen and looks out of the window before his gaze wanders to Seto instead; focused and all. "...want me to call Mokuba over?"

Seto stops to look up, clearly in thought. "I don't know if I want him to know about this. He shouldn't need to worry," back to work he goes, distracted though, "Mokuba has been through enough already."

"Okay. Jus' a thought. I can still... like, go pick him up from school if you wanna. Guess you don't need me here."

"...I do though. Besides," he checks his watch, "Class isn't over yet. We... do that later."

Don't forget about it, Sean wanted to say, but doubts Seto would forget about his own brother no matter how caught up he was. Sean doesn't ignore the little hints he drops, and how could he? They're making his heart flutter somewhat.

"Are there any names you remember? Some I need to look out for?"

"Ugh... kinda doubt the old squad is still alive, y'know? Kidman made sure the guys with those fancy implanted chips died with some signal transmitted through it," Sean peeks at the screen and none of the names seem any familiar to him, "Even the dude who cleaned their fucking toilets."

"And that's a detail you didn't want to tell me sooner? Really now... anything else? Where are those chips?"

"Ahah... Kidman got a mark on her palm. You seen it..? Looks like a pretty rough scar but I dunno how to describe the shape-- you gonna notice it sure, it ain't much concealed. The chips were implanted right under their skin at the back of the neck."

"For a huge company trying to take over the world they are not really high up on disguising themselves, huh..."

"Hidin' in plain sight. Could be some lad workin' for Subway's or KFC."

Was that a smile? Oh boy. Call the newspaper!

Another peek at the screen while Seto compiled the names and their respective files and...

"No, hold up-- scroll back up!" His eyes must be playing tricks on him because that sure ain't possible. Sean never met the man but he damn well knows his name, there was a time Sebastian wouldn't be quiet about him on a certain day, and it strikes him that its gotta be the day he died in STEM.

"There," Sean points, "Joseph Oda."

"...who's that?"

"Sebastian's partner at the KCPD. The guy Kidman killed four years ago."

Chapter Text

"He's currently at work, I can send the security and take him in for now."

"I... I should call Sebastian and let him know, if he-"

"Do that," Seto interrupts him, already on the phone, "I'm not wasting any more time."

Sean hops off the desk with wobbly legs frantically grabbing for the phone in his pocket. Almost dropped it in the process... perhaps he shouldn't tell Sebastian about their discovery, saying he needs to come and bring Kidman along with him was enough to let him know this was serious. Arthur should be here, too. Sean tried calling him, yet could hardly form a coherent sentence in his head so how was he supposed to talk to Sebastian? He writes a text instead.

[msg sent 04:43p.m Sebastian] come over w kidman & arthur to kaibacorp. we found smth.

Not waiting for a response Sean places his phone on the desk, Seto back to working through Joseph's file trying to find anything that was... off. Security was alerted, now all they can do was wait for them to come... The phone vibrates, Sebastian's message pops up.

[msg received 04:45p.m Sebastian] On the way.

"It... it could be a trap," Sean murmurs, more to himself, "Or jus'... dumb coincidence..."

"I don't believe in coincidences," comes Seto's sharp reply, "And I can handle traps if the need arises."

Sean buries his face in his hands. Turns around and anxiously paces through the office trying to gather thoughts that aren't all negative and doubtful. It's hard coming up with something positive in this situation; it's so much bigger than them and Sean doesn't know if he can handle all of this a second time... And Sebastian for the fourth time. Fuck...

He jumps when the door flies open, puts a hand on his chest as if to attempt and calm his heart; two muscular men dressed in black suits flanked a third man, arms on his back, he wears glasses and looks... shocked, to say the least. Joseph doesn't even struggle when they bring him inside and force him to sit down on the couch.

"Mister Oda, Sir. As requested," one of the big men said, "Do you want us to stay around?"

"Is he restrained?"

"Handcuffed, Sir."

"Wait outside then."

Both nod, both leave the office and Joseph remains strangely calm. Same as Seto, eyeing the man suspiciously while he walked over to him with confidence. "Did you tell Sebastian who it is that we found?"

"Huh..? No... figured he should... like see for himself..."

Seto turns his attention back to Joseph. "Did you think I wasn't going to find you? That I would let you use my company for your crimes? You messed with the wrong person."

"I don't know what you're talking about, Mister."

What if it was a trap... this doesn't feel right... he is meant to be dead, or...?

Someone knocks at the door rather persistently and after a quick glance at Seto gesturing him okay, Sean opens up and in comes Sebastian followed by Arthur, Kidman. All three armed, holster on their belts and revolvers tucked inside. Mobius and gunpower go hand in hand, Sebastian once said.

"What happened? What did you find out?" Sebastian is the first to inquire; Kidman looks at the man sitting on the couch, frozen in place. Arthur stands behind Sebastian ready to fuck shit up.

"Joseph- uh.." Sean takes a step back, motions at him sitting there restrained, "We found Joseph Oda."

"...what?" Sebastian stares at Sean instead of Joseph, at least until the words reached him and appeared to make sense; the Detective turns to face Joseph who looks up at him with a light smile on his face. Triumphant...?

"What the hell are you talking about? That's-- that's not Joseph!"

"Sebastian-" Kidman tried to speak up, her head bowed, Seto talked louder though.

"We found him in the database, registered as Joseph Oda. The file is still open if you want to take a look."

"Its not Joseph!" Sebastian paces around the man and Arthur tried to keep him still- to no avail. "Joseph is dead..." He mutters, tries to make sense of it all...

It's a fucking trap...

"Sebastian," Kidman calls out, "Sebastian, you have to know that... Seb, listen." Sebastian stops in his tracks, reminds Sean of a lost puppy utterly confused by the world around it. Arthur sneaks between him and the man on the couch, one hand at his weapon.

"What? Do you know how this is possible? What the fuck is happening here?"

"Joseph is still alive."

"No..." His voice breaks and so does Sebastian, mind torn all over again, forgotten the composure so well collected, dignity and pride gone out of the window; none of them reacted fast enough to stop him as he pulls his gun at her, safety still on, yelling at Kidman with a voice like cracking ice.

"You fucking killed him! YOU DID! I SAW HIM DIE!"

Arthur grabs his shoulder, wants to pull him back with quite some effort-- Kidman, on the other hand, doesn't move a muscle nor does she try defend herself with words.

"What happened to Joseph!?"

"The bullet didn't kill him, Sebastian," Kidman  begins eventually, "He is with Mobius. Since that day. I wasn't allowed to tell you, they would have--"

"What!? Killed you? You used the same excuse with my daughter! Fucking selfish is what you are!"

Arthur, who didn't get to say a word since they arrived here, finally succeeds in pulling Sebastian away and take the gun from him, talks to him in a hushed voice and standing a bit away it seems as though as Sebastian came down from a strange high, ends up wiping tears of anger and betrayal.

"...who is this, then?" Seto asks, Kidman the only person probably able to answer.

Sean is way beyond his profession here, scared shitless and shaking like leaf in the wind. He needs... just a second... or a minute.

"A trap I'd say," she bents down, a bold hand on the stranger's shoulder pushing him down too, inspecting his neck and taking a look at his cuffed hands, "But definitely Mobius. We have a big problem now."

"Why? Wasn't it the point to get him?"

"Now they'll know that we know. That Sebastian knows. What are we gonna do with you..."

Sure, when this guy suddenly disappears, Mobius will know it was the name that exposed him- and he was given this name on purpose.

God... fuck.

"I would take me to the police if I was you, just in case you don't want the law on your ass for abducting me." The stranger talks with a warm voice, pleasant and soothing in fact, but its the most creepy shit ever to see someone with such a rough face talk soft like that.

He had a point, though. Sebastian and Arthur knew, too.

"I reckon we gotta take him in," Arthur says, "Bend the rulebook a lil'. That's the only way I know that ain't raising suspicions."

Sebastian isn't having any more of this: he leaves the office and Sean was sure he will end up crying alone on the floor while Arthur did his duty. It should be Arthur with him now, should be his family in this moment, and perhaps Arthur decided it's better to give him space and let him come back on his own... but that's when Sean decides to follow Sebastian outside to find the man sitting on the ground next to the door, those two security guards down the hallway keeping an eye out.

"No, leave me alone."

Sean slides down the wall next to him anyway. But he says nothing.

"Fuck you, Sean. Fuck you."

"What? I ain't done a damn thing."

"Why did you have to bring us here like this? Without telling me?! I wouldn't have..."

"Figured it ain't so great if you get involved in some car accident, rite..? Ain't my fault. Ain't no one's."

"Its hers," Sebastian says, head raised to look at Sean, "She betrayed me again! Joseph is alive? I can't..."

"She had a reason not to tell you," Sean guesses, "Wasn't left a choice now tho. If they killed her, the plan from a year ago would've went to shit." Kidman plotted against Mobius from the start, kicked it all in action when Sebastian's ex wife joined for Lily. She wouldn't be here without Kidman...

"I hope this is all a dream..."

A nightmare.

But yeah. Sean gets the idea. He puts an arm around Sebastian, sways a little; hopes it was at least a tiny bit of comfort, but Sean couldn't even imagine the way he must feel like right now... lost and hurt. Betrayed. Fucked. Screwed up all over again. Everything bad happened so fucking quick, Mobius and Joseph, the fake Joseph and Kidman's lies up until today.

Eventually the sobs subsided. In the end Sebastian gets up first from the ground, pulls Sean along with him with gentle force and catches him in a tight embrace starting to shake again, his chest rising and falling rapidly, heartbeat wild.

"I can't deal with this," he confesses, "Not again."

"You... you ain't alone in this, Seb." What else is there for Sean to say? How in the world can he comfort him in a time like this when Sean felt too many things at once unable to catch his breath for a mere second...?

"I..." Kidman and Arthur come out of Seto's office, that man between them putting up quite a fight. Sebastian releases Sean from his grip taking a deep breath. Time to get professional again, Seb. Sean knows he could... with some effort.

"Whatever your name is," Sebastian says after clearing his throat, "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning."

He's heard Sebastian reciting Miranda's rights a lot when he still worked at the KCPD, tagged along often enough to remember them and have them haunting his dreams sometimes. That Valentini-case was still so fresh despite the year that passed.

The man didn't say a word, pulls at Arthur's arm for the last time before both him and Kidman lead him down the hallway to the elevator. Sean looks after them, unable to progress it properly... and its Seto's voice snapping him back to reality.

"What do you need me to do, Detective?"

Sebastian wipes his eyes, his nose. Thinks for a few seconds. "See if you can dig up more people. This will be a long night for all of us, now that you're aware what to look out for. Any more names you recognize, Sean, you call me. I can... send a list of those Mobius members I remember with a connection to me."

Sebastian talks with a calm voice, collected and professional like the Detective that he is, Sean not doubting for one hot second that this was what can make him strong again in times of need. He could allow himself some moments of weakness, though... might need to, actually. It's going to be rough.

"Fine," Seto said, "If that bears no fruits I'll have each and every single one checked for those chips."

"Yeah," Sebastian puts a hand on Sean's shoulder and tries a crooked smile, "You holding up?"

"Mhm." Not that Sebastian seems satisfied with this answer. If it could be called such. He gets the drift and after a nod at Seto he follows Kidman and Arthur outside.

"Do you still want to go pick up Mokuba?" Seto touches his arm to get Sean's attention who had his eyes glued to the closed elevator door after Seb went inside. That man used to be scared beyond imagination of those things.

He wonders... how one can overcome his fears.

Maybe it was Arthur.

"I... yeah. Kinda do. You stayin' behind?" Sean knows the answer already, did not like the idea of being alone currently, at all, yet some time for himself might not be the worst thing of today.

"Sebastian almost shot someone in my fucking office. I could do with a bit of time on my own right now."

"Never heard you swear before," he tries to be light about it, immediately regrets it by the way Seto glares at him, "I fucken- God damn it, I fucken know. You gettin' mad at me's the last thing I need." Sean shoves his arm off and takes the first two steps-- Seto pulls him back and at first Sean wants to protest, his complaints muffled by the other's chest he's nestled against, strong arms holding him in place.

"You have no idea," he speaks quietly with a tremble in his voice, "How scared I am."

But Sean felt it. In the way Seto shakes subtly, the fast pace of his heartbeat, shallow breath and a quivering voice. His arms too loop around Seto, yet not for long. He pulls back, looks up at him.

"Its pretty hard to tell how you feelin' sometimes, y'know."

"Most of the time I can't figure it out, either." Seto's arms drop to his sides and if Sean didn't know it any better he dared say it's a gesture of defeat.

"I still-- I like ya," Sean talks quick, nervous and flustered, "Really do. The screwed up parts too I guess-"

"I know."

Okay.

Time to leave. He's tearing up again.

Sean hears the door click behind him while he walks on wobbly legs to the elevator, pushes the button a bit too forceful. Too many things spin in his head, thoughts mostly cruel and painful, stirring fear inside of him. What would have happened if he hadn't called Seto over today? No one would have heard of Mobius until too late, they wouldn't have found the guy calling himself Joseph Oda; Kidman would have probably never told Sebastian that he was still alive. This was probably the hardest punch, the biggest pill to swallow.

Absolutely unreal: all of it.

After five minutes of an elevator ride with some strange ass classical music from the speakers there is finally some fresh air to breathe, sun to tickle his skin. And a cigarette just waiting to be lit. He could take the way to school by foot, give himself some time to settle and calm down, recall what Seto said... yes, he was scared too, but openly shows it without the need to say so. Seto, on the other hand... never showed any fear if he felt any. Doesn't talk about feelings at all unless they're clearly positive or he was outright disappointed and angry. Sean at least hoped that, after months of being with Seto, that he'd open up some more to him. The fact that he had to leave first for Seto to open his eyes doesn't sit well with him... he didn't even get a chance to move on before being dragged right back to Seto.

It takes two to play.

Down the street he goes, makes his way past chattering students and a few freaky looking guys with duel discs on their arms. He's got flashbacks of Battle City when the whole town was full of those. And he was one of them. Feels like months ago...

The phone buzzed in his pocket, Sean dropping the cigarette's bum to check, thinks it could only be Sebastian with the list of Mobius' names.

[msg received 05:22p.m Seto] You can be a real pain in the ass sometimes

[msg received 05:22p.m Seto] But I still love you.

Sean stops in his tracks, stares at the screen. Mouth open and eyes wide, some people walked against him and called out something he couldn't hear.

Its... a joke, right? A real bad one. Don't you play him him that...

He takes a couple steps, ponders if he should respond. And what to respond in the first place. Sean ends up rewriting the message over and over, it didn't seem right, didn't feel like it's good enough. Is this honestly the only way Seto could tell him that?

[msg sent 05:26p.m Seto] youre a stuck up asshole with a weird sense of fashion

[msg sent 05:27p.m Seto] but I love you anyway.

Seto's answer was almost immediate as if he waited all this time staring at the screen for Sean's response.

[msg received 05:27p.m Seto] Admit you're just jealous of my trench coat.

Not...what he expected, but it'll do. He walks looking down on his phone, trying his best to avoid running into people.

[msg sent 05:28p.m Seto] guess im lookin pretty good without it

[msg sent 05:29p.m Seto] you too btw

[msg received 05:30p.m Seto] You smooth idiot. We have work to do, you should hurry up. Maybe it's time you did your driver's license already.

Sean squeaks. Hell no!

[msg sent 05:32p.m Seto] listen, im a cowboy and no one will ever get me to fucken drive a car. is2g if horses were allowed on the street i wouldnt hesitate

[msg received 05:33p.m Seto] That's hardly an excuse: Arthur drives, too.

Yeah, and Seto didn't even know about the struggle this poor man went through during that timd learning how to drive a damn car. Sebastian did his best to help, though...

[msg sent 05:35p.m Seto] no cars!!!!!!!!!!!1

[msg received 05:35p.m Seto] Motorbikes?

Ah. Fuck. Sean almost ran into a telephone pole, looks up to find the school building closing in on the other side of the street.

[msg sent 05:37p.m Seto] horse or death

[msg received 05:37p.m Seto] Then perish. [IMAGE ATTACHMENT]

Oh, jesus fucking Christ. He evolved. Learned to use memes. Sean tucks the phone away before he gets any funny ideas and it ends in a battle of memes Seto was sure to lose. For now he tries his hardest not to burst out laughing, the image of Obama's eyes burnt into his mind like a bad omen.

"SEAN! OVER HERE!" Mokuba calls out to him, sitting on an old stone wall in front of the school building, young boy full of energy and pretty surprised to see Sean here. "What are you doing here!"

"Came to pick you up, what else?" Oh, he probably doesn't know him and Seto are... kind of back together again.

Not just kind of, he guesses.

The ring on his hand feels ten times heavier, Sean painfully reminded he still wears it.

"Hold up! What? Oh! Oh jeez, I'm so glad. You know, he was being real moody-- eh, I mean, pretty down- you know what I wanna say, right? I was a bit mad at you for leaving but honestly I thought you're gonna come back anyway!" He hops down the wall, long black hair flowing behind him, "Seto said you wouldn't, though. Is... everything okay again?"

He's got such a bright look in his eyes, joyful and relieved, smiling so big Sean was sure it's gonna strain his cheeks. "It is I guess... Been a rough day, tho, so we should head back to Seto."

"Oh no..! What happened?"

Sean checks his phone and finds another message from Seto; an image of a sad cat with the caption 'Can I haz cheezburger?'

He's gonna fucking scream.

"Ahah... Seto is gonna tell ya! Say, you wanna get some takeout?"

"Hell yes."

Back inside KaibaCorp, two small paper bags of burgers and more of the unhealthy fast food Arthur would frown upon seeing Sean buy it. On that note it's pretty rare Seto was to request fast food, Mokuba being the one who munches on a burger on his way back home from school as he told Sean in secret once.

"Hey, big brother! We've got dinner!"

Seto looks up from the computer screen with a warm smile for the both of them. Sean's heart skipped some beats seeing that, remembering Seto's messages. Chills sneak up his spine, made his skin tingle pleasantly and he thinks those shivers come from those stupid wild butterflies in his stomach.

"I'm starving," he says, "Are you okay, Mokuba?"

"Why, sure I am! Got some homework to do though so whatever you're working on I can't help you with now..."

Sean shakes his head a little when Seto shoots him a questioning glance; no, I didn't tell him anything, and I fucken hope he forgot I mentioned it.

"Its nothing important at all. Don't worry."

Seto Kaiba eating burgers might've been a huge thing to print on a newspaper, worthy to be mentioned somewhere on social media, him not being the kinda guy who favors greasy food so much and he sure don't look like the type willingly getting himself dirty while eating. There's a first time for everything it seems.

Its Mokuba who takes care of the trash and him to rush over into the next room for homework. He didn't ask Seto of anything yet and here's hope he actually didn't pay it any mind earlier for Seto appears to have decided he doesn't have to know about Mobius perhaps until it gets... worse. Sean is back on his place on Seto's desk a cup of soda in his hand, so far Sebastian didn't text him the names he needed to know...

"You ain't eaten all day," Sean wonders after a while of silence and him messing with the straw in the cup, "Well, until now sure."

"Hmh, I was kind of busy doing other things. And wasn't feeling hungry until now, but that wouldn't be the first time. Takes one to know one, huh?"

"...slay. I'm just sayin' take better care of yourself 'n all."

"Fine. You start."

Oh, he's gaining points. Slaying left and right.

"I'm gonna get better at it and I'm gonna take you up with me, Kaiba."

His fingers tense over the keyboard, Seto hesitates and then drops his hands on the desk. "Don't call me that."

"I mean-"

"No. Just... Don't do it."

If he could stop messing things up, yeah, that would be absolutely fantastic. Sean slips off the desk with a sigh, goes over to the bag he left here earlier and takes out the little box of raspberries. He likes them, yeah, but they ain't his favorite and sharing doesn't sound so bad. The box is placed on the desk next to Seto without a word and now Sean proceeds to text Sebastian, patience growing thin.

[msg sent 06:54p.m Sebastian] hey do u got the names? things aint rly progressing here

"Thanks." Sure, Seto's response was awfully late, but better late than never. He's already munching on them berries.

[msg received 06:58p.m Sebastian] Yukiko Hoffman, Esmeralda Torres, Liam O'Neal, Julian Sykes, William Baker. That's all I got, but if they're as daring as I think they are, maybe check for Theodore Wallace, Stefano Valentini too. Tatiana Gutierrez.

[msg sent 06:59p.m Sebastian] myra?

[msg received 07:02p.m Sebastian] Hanson or Castellanos. But that's... no. Too bold? We're out for the night, okay? Take care.

"Seb sent some names. Uh, a few... actually..."

"Let me write them somewhere so I won't need to hog your phone. Figures I got all night." Could be it was the typical tone of his, but this sounded like a reproach. Sean hands the device over no question asked, but visibly struggling to keep his mouth shut while Seto copies the names on a piece of paper--

"I can help y'know. Ain't there no need to work non-stop, you gotta sleep at some point. Said that... you've been strugglin' last nite."

"But that was your fault," he casually speaks and shoves the phone back over, "You're here now."

Chapter Text

Sean laid on the rather uncomfortable couch in Seto's office, slipped a bit down to let his legs dangle over the armrest at one side. He scrolls through tumblr for some distraction, listens to the tapping on the keyboard, occasional mouse clicks. Mokuba was done with his homework already and asked Sean to look over it; honestly a bad choice for history class, but he did good he thinks; Seto wasn't much interested in that topic so he would've been an even worse choice checking for possible mistakes. Not that there were any! Mokuba rocks any class without doubt. Now there is music playing from his room, a nice change in that always so quiet office.

"Found anythin' yet?" Sean keeps scrolling without much interest, nothing important or cool on the dashboard at this time of day.

"Hoffman Yukiko," he replies promptly, "Security is on their way."

"And why the hell you ain't told me sooner? Could've texted Kidman to take care o' it!"

"Its ten PM. I'm sure they can hold those people up until morning. Besides, I doubt Kidman appreciates being called over again and again with everyone I find."

Sean hates to admit he was right. If there's one rule to this company it was that the CEO was always right and occasionally liked to rub it in your face, but anyway... he sighs audibly, back to scrolling.

Despacito started to play from Mokuba's room and for a few long moments Seto stops typing to stare at the closed door, seems to ponder if he should tell him to turn down the volume...

"Des...pa...Seto..." At first Sean hummed along simply to annoy Seto, it turns into singing very quick and thanks to Sebastian he actually knew the lyrics. He liked to improvise, though.

"....you stop that."

"Mhmmm. Nah." Sean shoots a glance, catches Seto smiling and leaning back. A facepalm follows.

"I'm serious-"

"Des! Pa! Seto!"

"No-!"

Mokuba storms out and repeats Sean, bolder and much louder. "DespaSETO!?"

Sean cracks into laughter, drops the phone on the couch and has to sit up over the armrest holding his stomach. Mokuba looks like he's won a competitive play, laughs as well but doesn't push his luck any further than necessary, a quick apology followed by more laughs and happy tears follows put.

"Y'all are fired," Seto says and wipes his forehead, "Honestly..."

Y'all?!

Hey, he's laughing, quietly so, but there definitely is something different than a cool demeanor.

"I'm not even deployed by you!" Mokuba calls back after he turned the music down. He had to wipe his tears.

"Yeet...!" Sean said it quietly, thought there was no chance Seto heard him but he bursts into laughter and poor Mokuba had no damn clue what went wrong-

"I think you meant employed." Seto could barely contain himself, head back against the chair laughing and it takes him a long time to come down again especially when Mokuba and Sean joined in.

Wait.

Is he fired now?

"Shite, I gotta have to work at Subway's again..." Sean drops back onto the leather couch with a thud, pulls the phone out from under his bum.

"You worked for Subway? When was that?" If there is anyone who's a pro at multitasking it sure was Seto Kaiba. That man's still chuckling.

"Uh, after school, for like a month until I got kicked out. Been givin' cookies to the kids, no charge of course! The boss ain't liked me behavior."

"Screw the company's rules, hm...?"

"Yeah! All those cookies we been throwin' away... it's a rotten shame! That's when I figured out this ain't for me. Plus all them freaks requestin' mustard and cucumber, like, that's all they had on their sub. I fucken..."

"...ugh," Seto crinkled his nose, "Disgusting."

Mokuba comes back with a game boy, flops on the couch a bit above Sean's head and caught some of his hair while sitting down; so far Sean hasn't noticed. "Are we sleeping on the fact Seto said y'all? I mean, he fired you, but he's gonna be a cowboy, babey!" Reciting vines now, are we...

Vines are Seto's kryptonite. He snorts and Sean freaking knows the vine plays on a loop in his head now.

"Wait for the first time he's sayin' yeehaw." Sean couldn't wait. His thoughts ain't really chaste and pure now which makes this whole thing so much more hilarious.

"Hmh, I'm waiting for the right moment to say that."

Ah. Oh, fuck...

Time goes by. If Seto found more names then he doesn't tell Sean, and he stopped asking for it. Sean inched more in the middle of the couch and curls up, one arm draped over his face shutting out the bright ceiling light, by now Mokuba sat on the floor with his legs crossed still playing pokemon, had the sound turned on and Sean listened with his mind far away. He could drift off right to sleep...

"Sean..?"

"Eh? There any news?"

"No... who is Myra Castellanos?" Ah, yes, the topic of her was never brought up, Sebastian doesn't like to talk about her when Lily was near.

"Sebastian's ex wife," Sean begins to explain, "She... uh." He had to be mindful of Mokuba probably listening in. "She's dead. Found someone with her name?"

"No. I was just curious." Seto knew a lot of things about Sebastian and Arthur, stuck around for almost half a year, and he was there too when they fought to adopt Isaac. Experiencing first hand how two men find an abandoned baby on duty and then start trying to adopt it despite the odds... it leaves no one cold. They succeeded in the end. For Sean there never was a doubt that they would.

Sean closes his eyes. Listens to the pokemon-music sounding from Mokuba down there next to the couch, his occasional gasp when things looked bad for him and a cheer as he flipped the fight around.

 

He can't tell how many hours he slept, but damn well feels every damn muscle in his body in pain from the weird position he slept in, plus a strange weight on his chest that he soon finds to be Mokuba, his head on Sean's chest along with the rest of his body, little arms tucked underneath Sean's. Both their bodies were tucked in by Seto's coat functioning as the most expensive blanket he's ever seen. He must've turned the lamps off at some point, the only source of light now Seto's computer screens.

Its quiet but Sean heard his own voice from the desk, laughing and cursing at enemies in what seems to be Overwatch. Seto hadn't noticed he was awake again and so far Sean doesn't make a move to ruin the moment. Mokuba breathes calmly, even snores a bit.

"Ain't there no fucken need for that! Guess we lost our Support but I ain't switchin'-- ok, know what, that does it, I ain't gonna be the seventh guy too dumb to play support, y'all can suck my fucken dick--" Seto snorts at the video and Sean felt a big grin on his features, the man barely able to keep himself together.

"Y'know in case me boyfriend's ever watchin' this: I ain't meant it! Nobody's gettin' the chance to s-- awh fuck, Hanzo got me."

"Serves you right." Seto mumbles.

"...I heard that." Sean says, hoping it won't wake Mokuba. The little one doesn't seem bothered by him talking.

He pauses the video and peeks over the screen to Sean, his big secret revealed. "...that was so creepy, you have no idea how scared I was for a second there."

"Yah, it's hard to tell..." Sean giggles, "I'm breakin' the fourth wall here, hah... how's it goin'?"

"I've... found some more, yet at this time... we can only hope they have not caught on yet and take those people in by tomorrow."

"I ain't so sure what's gonna happen after that, we'll need to find their facility I guess."

"For now we wait what the interrogation brings up," Seto gets up from his chair and walks over to them snuggled up on the couch, "Its late. We should head to bed." He picks the coat up and Mokuba along with it, holds that lil' bundle in his arms. His younger brother couldn't be bothered, groans a bit but didn't wake up. Getting up was a lot harder than Sean thought; he struggles to sit, muscles on his neck and arms stiff, a weird tickle in them feeling like thousand ants crawling over his skin.

Sean opens the door after grabbing his bag and let Seto out first with Mokuba curled up in his arms, they're making their way another level up to the brother's apartment.

He doesn't know the code to unlock the door, though... and last he checked Seto didn't wear his necklace.

"Its... 11-06-18." Seto tells him, Sean types in the numbers. He thinks about it and...

"You're a hopeless romantic."

"Shut up or I'll change it again." Both talk in hushed voices so not to wake his brother, yet  now Sean couldn't help but chuckle. Seto carries Mokuba to his room and Sean sneaks into the bath while he was busy; drops the bag there and sinks to the cold tiled floor, head buried in his hands.

He cries and doesn't know exactly why.

The tears won't stop rolling down his cheeks, burning hot in his eyes making the sensation even worse. He sobs as quietly as he could, muffled any sounds with a hand clutched over his mouth, Marik's ring cold on warm skin like it didn't belong there.

What was this all good for?

Is that some kind of sick belated punishment for the things he's done? When he seemingly had no other choice? Saw no different way?

In this moment where violent sobs shake his body, where tears leave visible stains on his shirt, he longs for answers and someone who understands him, who doesn't judge him, who doesn't try to shape him.

All the things that happened today, those from last night, finally Sean progressed them.

Breaking up with Seto was an action he didn't regret until he read the letter.

Taking Marik home with him, asking if he wanted to fuck, kissing him, that's what he didn't regret because it felt god damn right and so good, like standing in the pouring rain for the first time after years in the darkness without fresh air.

Sean wanted Seto to say he loves him so desperately, crushed so hard on that man and held on to every so little act of affection that he hit a point where he wonders if it's been worth it, six months of being torn between wanting to be loved and being scared shitless of it.

And the looming threat in the shadows that was Mobius? A knife to his wounds, scorching hot with a sharp edge easily cutting muscles and tendons, piercing through arteries and veins, causing instant death if he's lucky not to feel so much agony in the process.

He... wants things to be okay. Wants to be safe, to stop worrying, stop second guessing himself and whatever he does or will do in the future. He reminisces the sparkle in Marik's eyes when the man talked about being free. Sean wanted that optimism. Craved the freedom, too.

Seto knocks at the door, it's a quiet and soft sound but rips Sean straight out of his thoughts with a gasp. "Are you okay, Sean? Come on. I want to sleep."

"So? Go then," his voice was hoarse, heavy from crying, "Gimme a second."

Half a heartbeat later he hears steps, the man left without asking another question. Sean angrily wipes his tears and nose, has to blink a couple times to get rid of those still clinging to eyelashes. At least his chest felt lighter after crying, like a weight lifted; like before when Seto picked up Mokuba from his spot on Sean's body.

He searches through the bag for a shirt to sleep in, stuffs the stained one in the smaller pocket while he's at it, jeans are taken off; he splashes ice cold water on his face, brushes his teeth. Almost as if he's just buying time and he realized too late it may piss Seto off.

"A fucken mess is what you are, MacGuire," he stares at himself in the mirror, water dripping from his hair, "A huge fuck up..."

Anxiously Sean leaves the bathroom, hit by the bright ceiling light-- why the fuck did he always have to turn that on? Seto was outside on the balcony, Sean only able to tell because of the opened door. He ponders if he should follow... does so anyway even if he might freeze his balls off. It's a shame he forgot where his cigarettes are...

"The bath's free now," Sean tells Seto who's leaned on the ceiling, "Ain't meant to take so long." He receives a simple hum in response, annoyed but currently too beaten down to care for this. Let Seto do what he fucking wants.

And what he wants is to hand over the box of cigarettes including Sean's zippo without sparing a glance.

Any other day he'd be furious.

Tonight he barely had strength to say thank you and make it sound sincere, so silence it was as he took the box, their fingers brushing lightly and Seto goes inside again, off to the bathroom.

Some tears sneak into the corners of his eyes again. Trembling fingers fumble to get the box open, taking out a cigarette careful it wasn't the lucky one, and lighting up a flame proved to be a struggle in itself but the first long drag was more than worth it.

Warm stinging smoke fills his lungs, is held there for some seconds before Sean breathes out through his nose, body leaned further against the cold ceiling; he's shaking from the cold, from whatever feelings those are that bugged him and twisted his stomach. Uneasiness is giving him the creeps, tension and worry hold his heart in a tight icy grip.

It calls for another drag to lower his blood pressure and pulse.

Seto hates when he's reeking of cold smoke and tasted like it; if he cared so much about that he shouldn't have given them back to him. Before Sean was finished with the cigarette, a hand is put between his shoulder blades for a split second, Seto appearing next to him again dressed in a wide shirt, pants taken off like Sean did.

Silence.

Sean lights the second cigarette.

Now Seto seemed to wake up.

"You shouldn't smoke so much."

"Two ain't much tho," Sean means, "I don't need you patronisin' me."

"Somebody has to."

Whenever Sean thinks he somehow, magically, however you wanna call it, changed his demeanor from stoic and harsh to somewhat understanding and affectionate, Seto says shit like that. "Such a kind 'n caring person, ain't ye? A real angel sure."

Funny. A few hours ago they've been laughing.

"Don't give me that shit now," he looks down to him, a bit away so not to get caught in the smoke, "I'm trying. I told you I'm trying."

"I..." There. Guilt slaps him right in the face. It slaps the cigarette off the balcony, too. Made him tear up again, but Sean tries to keep them tears at bay. "I know..."

"Can't you just for one day not act like I'm the worst person on earth?"

Looking into those piercing blue eyes stirred something inside him he thought he'd forgotten, it's the worst kind of remorse he feels seeing his expression, the distress. Seto was good at countless things, and one of them was calling Sean out on his bullshit.

"Fuck, I... I'm sorry. I meant-"

"I know what you meant. You mean what you say and sometimes it's not a bad thing. When it comes to me it most probably is the worst. I thought it was alright, settled between us whatever it was that happened to make you leave."

"You damn well know why I left, Seto, you goin' around sayin' you got no clue? If you get to be honest with me, I got the same fucken right! Could've been jus' fine without you sure, if you ain't wrote that letter..."

"What do you want me to do? Why do you have to say such things at any given chance?"

He had no answer to that. By now he doubts its payback for all the times Seto had no time for him and refused to make some, the times Seto shoved him off and didn't even text back. The nights Sean spent by himself even though Seto promised to meet him. All that built up frustration...

"Don't... treat me like I'm... like I'm a nuisance. Like you gotta strain yourself to be with me. I need..." You.

He didn't get to say it, is pulled into a strong embrace and from then on everything bad is wiped out of his head.

Seto's hand brushes through his hair, continuously so, as gentle as ever, untangling a few unruly strands along the way down to his neck. It stung a bit, yet Sean didn't comment on that, caught up in the warmth Seto radiates, the strength of his hug almost felt like he refuses to let go of him again. And Seto told him before that he was, how he doesn't want Sean to leave, asked him to stay with such honesty in his voice and fear in those deep blue eyes that Sean never felt more terrified to speak what was on his mind; if by any chance Seto begins to treat him like a convenience and looks at him as if he was useless then it's over. It's done, Sean ain't going through another heartbreak for him--

Sean hears and feels Seto taking a breath in, exhaling with a shudder to his body and his voice was merely a mumble. Talking louder might've made it embarrassing for Seto.

"This is not what I expected to happen when I wrote to you, or when you called me over. It looked like I've lost. Failed again. When you picked up my call while you were at that bar, I... I know what happens when you get drunk. And I don't like the thought of you with somebody else but especially not... a person like him." The last word's almost sounding like a curse, the worst insult ever spoken. Sean tenses, fingertips dig into Seto's back.

"He fooled you, Sean. The same way he wanted to ruin my tournament and hurt Yugi's friends," he continues to talk, Sean listens with eyes clenched shut to hold the tears back, "If that's his revenge now? Him trying to harm me using you so I let my guard down?"

"What are you talkin' about?" Sean breaks free, hands curled around the fabric of Seto's shirt, "I told you, he ain't like that! Take your stupid jealousy elsewhere, it's been nothin' but a damn kiss--" Sean bites his lower lip, it's barely the truth.

"When has it ever been just a kiss with you? He knows what you're feeling, knows what you want, I've seen him control people--"

"You've never believed in fucken magic, guess its convenient for you now sure! Fuck this, I ain't... it ain't like that..." No, it's not Marik...

"I know what I've seen."

"The fuck you knowin' 'bout him. Leave it." Sean lets go of him, fingers cramped and stiff from the strength of holding him. Apparently Seto becomes a liar when he's feeling jealous or when he thinks Sean is going to leave.

"...did you even think about me that night? For one second? Are you aware of what you've done, putting all the blame for it on me?"

"It WAS your fucken fault!" Somethings rings sharply in his ears, his voice raised involuntarily, it echoed through the night. "Ye ever did an effort ta keep me? Forgot the times ye been treatin' me like shit 'cause I ain't such a great duelist as ye'rself? Sure its gotta be me fault wantin' ta hear ye say I'm loving ya! Nah, of course I know that ain't ye'r thing, fucken money and sum' card games all ye care about!"

Just like before its Seto who remains silent, couldn't even look at Sean while he was fuming, breath coming hard and heavy but he feels laughter bubbling up within it and tears in his eyes again.

"Ye wanna know what? I did ask Marik if he wanted to fuck, 'course he ain't said yes. Tho next morning I had his cum all over me hands."

"Don't-" Seto takes a step closer until he was able to grab Sean, pulls him in by the shirt and stares him down; eyebrows drawn together and eyes wet, lips a little parted. "He's gone. You said it was nothing, now don't lie just to hurt me because it's working. I don't want to hear it."

"You wanted some god damn honesty."

"I did not want you to leave me, too, and see how that worked out."

The high he felt yelling at him, telling him what happened with Marik, it soon disappeared to make place for sadness about it all, and above that deep shame and regret. He didn't want to tell Seto about it. Really, he didn't, but hearing him antagonising Marik like that stirred some bad thoughts and emotions threatening to burst until they finally did. What a weird dynamic it was with Seto...

"Why ain't you leavin'?" The question hung heavy in the air between them. Seto doesn't have to think long about it.

"I'd come back anyway. I'm not throwing away one of the best things that ever happened to me over something like this and I don't think I can hate you for it, either."

He supposes this was how a relationship worked. Not that he knew much about it in the first place, but admitting mistakes and forgiving them, maybe that's the way it is. Seto doesn't look like forgiveness guided him, though, more like desperation and hurt.

God damn, he wished he could leave again. Go far away, somewhere nobody can find him, but how lonely would that be..? Sean clings to Seto instead of going away no matter how much his mind told him to stop trying and failing in the process, but for what reason?

Oh... right.

Sean stands on his tiptoes and kisses Seto catching him off guard, surprised at the action but more than willing to give it back.

"I love you," Sean says and feels tears dripping down his cheeks, "I do."

Once more they kiss, Seto the one to initiate it. And then he whispers a response.

"I love you, too."

Chapter Text

"Keep your hands to yourself." Seto's voice was thick, heavy, Sean unable to see his eyes in the darkness of the bedroom. Promptly his hands drop from Seto's waist onto the bed; but no one said he wasn't allowed to grind his hips against him straddling his lap. The action is met with a low groan followed by an angry kiss and Seto holding his body down, a clear sign he means business. Teeth graze along lips and tongue, gentle for now but Sean was sure it wouldn't stay that way.

His lips hover above Sean's jawline and the lil stubble there, placing a kiss occasionally all the way down to his neck to leave bites, skin sucked in between teeth and lips.

"Sh-it--" Sean wanted to touch him so badly, run his hands through Seto's hair and down his back but he holds his hands pinned above Sean's head allowing no struggle. Sean couldn't help the writhing against Seto, though, back arching with every bite and sweet kisses for contrast, each time he did his erection pressed hard against Seto's ass and made him moan through clenched teeth.

"Be good," Seto moans into his ear, "And take your shirt off."

Sean bites back the question why he didn't do it himself-- Seto just liked giving orders-- and does as he's been told, pulls the shirt up and off over his head only to hear Seto doing the same and while he's at it pulls down their underwear, too, cold air had Sean suck in a sharp breath. He's back sitting lightly on Sean's thighs, curls his fingers around Sean's erection and holds his own cock in the other hand; Sean could swear he heard him chuckle and shortly after he's rubbing them against each other deliberately.

Sean throws his head back, sinks further into the pillows, covers his mouth with one hand to stiffle a moan.

"Is that how you got him off? What you did to him?" Seto lowers again, hands don't stop moving and neither did his hips, "Tell me." If his words weren't a threat his voice sure was. The sound of it was arousing, strangely so, heated up his skin and cock started throbbing in Seto's grasp already so sensitive.

"I-I... I'm-" He stammered. Couldn't even think straight.

"What else? Did you suck his cock? Fingered him?" Seto stops. Moves up on his chest and puts Sean's arms up again brushing his erection against Sean's cheek. "You will do that only for me," Seto puts Sean's hands behind him, down to his ass, "And nobody else."

Sean wasn't given time to swallow nor open up his mouth wide enough for Seto to fit inside when he pushed forward and between Sean's lips, pressing down his tongue with the tip. Inch by inch he's going deeper, fingers clenching at the back of Sean's head, fists in his hair to apply pressure and force him to take it all until the moment he had to gag and Seto pulls back a mere inch.

"Get on with it, Sean."

Back inside he goes and this time Sean tightens his lips around Seto's cock, pushed his tongue at the underside of the shaft for strong licks, moaning to let him feel the vibrations of the sounds on his flesh. Sean eventually squeezed his ass before parting cheeks searching for the hole, spending more time on it purposely; Seto slowed down, pulls out, tip of his wet cock circling Sean's lips.

"I told you to play nice, Sean."

Sean grins pressing a single finger over the tight ring of muscles, moves the finger in circles around it. Going in dry is going to hurt, will make the man lose control if only for a little while, and Sean is going to savour that. Seto dives back inside his mouth, thrusts leisurely and not too deep. At least until Sean pushed past the entrance with his thumb and Seto trembles instantly, his motions less precise and losing rhythm to them. It's not long that Sean digs deeper, careful about it sure but no less determined to gain a bit of the control Seto holds on so tightly.

"Fuck," Seto curses under his breath, "Keep going-" Speech turns into a slur, dissolves into a long moan when Sean pulled out and used his middle finger instead, pushing into him to the second knuckle that dick still in his mouth throbbing hard, dripping on his tongue and he swallows with appreciation for the salty taste.

He's so god damn tight, clenched muscles on Sean's finger preventing him from moving it. He put up a bit more effort, makes it hurt a little: Seto gasps and whines, thrusts deeper and harder without much thoughts spent if Sean was able to take his full length from this angle. Admittedly, Sean did struggle a bit, bent his head to adjust but his lips remained tight on his cock, tongue continues to move as best it could.

He'd love to reach for his own erection now, though, can feel it throb and leak onto his stomach, fluid by now cold and sticky. In answer to his frustration Sean quickens the pace of his finger in Seto's ass, patience lost for the both of them because Seto fucked his mouth faster than before, holds Sean with one hand and the other is clasped tight over his mouth drowning out the loud moans. Sean is bold enough to reach up and roam a hand up Seto's heaving chest, feeling it wet and hot from sweat, nipples hard and so much fun to tease.

"Fuck..! Sean," he repeats his name with tears in his eyes, stops to fuck him and spills on Sean's tongue, "Ah... ah, fuck--"

Even though Seto doesn't move anymore, Sean certainly does with pleasure; keeps fingering him, swallows his load and sucks on his half hard dick with slow dragged on motions. Seto caresses Sean's hair, encourages him more and more with low whispers and moans, his whole body shaking strongly from the aftermath of his orgasm and the overstimulation.

By now Sean added a second finger to spread him, not quite sure where Seto wanted to go with this, if there was any plan behind it; as of now Sean's never got to fuck him, not a single time. It was always Seto inside him, making him scream and beg and cry for more.

It's when Seto pulls away, takes Sean's hands from him and slides lower until he sits slightly above his crotch that Sean knows what he fucking wants to do.

But dry?

"Seto, that ain't-" Not that Seto actually listens. Grabs Sean and guides him between his cheeks. As soon as the tip alone pushed past the slightly widened ring it's done for Seto, the stinging pain brought him to clench even tighter and it ends with him sitting down halfway on Sean's cock, a reflex no less, face buried in the crook of Sean's neck where he could quieten his cries at least a little, Sean could feel his tears running down on his skin.

"Shhh," Sean holds him by his waist, tried to pull him up, "Y'know how bad decisions feel like now. Get back up, slow..."

"I want this-" God, he's stubborn and stupid.

"No, you don't. Lemme do it properly." Sean wiggles away a little, makes Seto flinch and curse and sob in the process, though now, once Seto lays on his back breathing heavily and hiding his eyes, Sean gets a chance to get the lube from the nightstand. He's above Seto in no time, pushing his legs apart to sneak up between them, reassuring kisses trailing up his chest all the way to his lips.

"What'chu thought is gonna happen? That's seriously dangerous, y'know? Always got me nice 'n wet too, rite?"

"I never did that before." Sean almost didn't understand him--

"You what?"

"Never... Was the one taking it."

"Big surprise." More kisses. Tiny ones that are broken by Sean chuckling.

"...don't make fun of me," Seto replies and spreads his legs some more, "Fuck me instead."

There's something strangely powerful about the way Seto talks to him with spread legs and a half hard cock, fingers shakingly grabbing at Sean's hand holding the bottle of lube. He pops the cap open, spreads some of the cold liquid on two fingers; they plunge inside once again, slow and sensual working their way through muscles tight and strained. Seto pulls his legs up ever so slightly, back arches and he guides Sean's upper body down to his, caught up in heated open-mouthed kisses.

It's hard to tell how excited Sean was to get the chance of taking him like this, worked up and in pain mixed with pleasure, a drop of defiance between it all.

Seto moans his name and pulls at his hair, begs for more in a sweet voice as soon as Sean began thrusting his fingers, each time sliding deeper inside until he was certain there's got to be that spot to make Seto lose it. He probes around a bit, fingers first scissored and then crooked with their tips pressing roughly against the walls---

A surprised groan followed put after Seto cried out softly and turned his head to the side into his hand but the sounds continue to tumble from his lips, moans bubbling up from within his chest unable to hold them anymore...

"Where did all your coolness go, Mister Kaiba?" Sean asks amused, Seto's skin peppered with kisses and small licks, "All that dignity gone and I ain't even started."

"F-fuck-- don't..." He clenches his eyes shut, breath fast and frayed, composure wore thin or it's already in shreds.

"Ah, come on," each word is a more violent dig inside, "Lemme enjoy seein' you like that. 'cause I'm the only one who gets to."

Seto cups his cheeks, tucks him down to share a kiss, his tongue gliding over his lower lip then its between Seto's teeth getting bitten, sucked on, savoured. He hates to break contact but would dislike it even more if the night was over before they got to sleep; or fuck.

Fingers pull out; Seto didn't appreciate that. More and more lube is spread on his hand so he can coat himself with it, hard flesh now nicely slick and in theory he'd start, but...

"Tell me if it's too much, yeah?" The remaining lube from his hand gets smeared over the widened hole, "Ain't no need to play tough."

Seto only nods and replies with a short hum; holds his breath feeling the tip between his legs pushing forward and inside, deeper, deeper---

Sean swallows Seto's loud moans with hungry kisses and a quick tongue. He did not move until he was fully inside, spreading him better than fingers could. Seto might've just realized how hard the first time was even if he's prepared and wet: Sean has to wipe his tears, caresses his cheeks with Seto's arms around his neck and legs on his waist, completely lost, clinging to him.

"Don't stop," Seto whispers, "God, don't you dare stop..." He moves, or well, he tries to, raised his hips and pushes Sean down but it's another bad decision he regrets, pays for with pain and a rumbling moan through clenched teeth.

"Mhm... ain't you eager..." Sean straightens his back, tears himself out of the other's grip and held his legs apart sliding out of him and swiftly moves back inside, inch by inch, back and forth watching Seto grab at the pillows and sheets. Eventually he found a nice rhythm, a great pace to draw more and more moans from Seto each sweeter than the previous one...

The fun doesn't last long; Seto throws him over, makes sure his cock was still inside him when he sat down on Sean holding his arms above his head riding him, unaware he could move his hips like this as well-- Sean decides to give him that little victory, caught up in pleasure himself, the heat and tightness of him, muscles squeezing his cock with every fucking move.

Seto stops for a few seconds and attempts to catch his breath, head bowed and legs weak, and Sean takes the chance to buck his hips up as rough as it gets, slamming inside him fast which forced Seto to adjust his position higher up, pleading and crying out his name in between moans and curses.

"God," Sean gasps, fingers intertwined with Seto's, "You're a fuckin' treasure, Seto..."

Praise. That's the key.

His voice hitched but not a single coherent word came from Seto riding him, getting fucked fast and hard, "How tight you are-"

"S-Sean--fuck, I-- please, don't talk like that, I can't--"

"Someone's flustered," Sean hums, lowered his pace and opts for depth, "Don't like me talkin' dirty?"

"...ah-" Instead of an answer Sean hears a long drawn out moan, feels Seto lift his body so his erection slipped out, then he climbs down from him and kneels at his side stroking himself slowly, "The accent makes it so much worse-"

Sean laughs sitting up, reaches for Seto and his shaking body. "I ain't gonna shut up, especially if its makin' you go insane."

"...please," he bends down, supported himself on his elbows, "Don't you stop."

"Its so damn hard to tell what you want, seriously..." Sean holds him by the waist positioned behind him and glides back inside his heat, "Least I know you're wantin' me."

He isn't wasting more time taking it slow, picks up a hard pace to turn Seto into that moaning whining mess he's meant to be, Seto even couldn't hold himself up anymore, head lays on his arms on the bed pulling and tugging at the bedsheets, not an ounce of shame left in him.

Sean didn't consider it's the first time Seto took him when he switches from fast to deep and rough thrusts, each accentuated by their shared moans and the slamming of skin on skin-- Sean reaches one arm around Seto and begins to stroke his cock in rhythm to his moves and from then on it didn't take Seto long to break.

"Please, please-- Sean, fuck-- faster, Sean-!"

How could he say no to them lovely pleas? Fast fucking it was, Seto's cock held tight at the base so he didn't cum yet, at least not until Sean did---

His hips snap against Seto a few more times when that tight knot within his stomach finally tore apart, sending waves of heat and tingles throughout his whole body, clouding his mind and vision and the ability to stay quiet was completely lost. He spills inside, all he's got, curses under his breath and moans loud as long as the sensation lasts. Seto isn't given any time to react, especially not to complain because Sean pushes him down and asks him to turn around, in one swift motion he swallows Seto's cock whole, all the way down to the base, head bobbing quick with another pair of fingers shoved up his ass leaking semen.

Seto finishes with his hands in Sean's hair tugging and pulling in ecstasy, pushing him down on his length no second thoughts, and this time Sean didn't even get to taste him because he spills in the back of his throat. He really liked making Sean choke on his dick, huh...

Finally he lets him go. Hands drop to the side, breathing worn out, his voice husky and thick. Seto lays there used and dirty and absolutely fucking satisfied about it.

"Come here," Seto demands, "Don't get up yet."

He flops down next to him and Seto sighs pulling him up on his body, Sean's legs spread on his sides, he honestly had to grin about it. "Are you happy?" Sean asks, one hand in Seto's.

"Yes," he replies without hesitation, "Absolutely."

Chapter Text

Sean was awake, but refuses to open his eyes yet. He laid with his head on Seto's bare chest, felt both his arms around him, one hand picked up a little pace of caresses not long ago, indicating that Seto is awake as well. Neither of them made any effort to move much at first, at least until he could hear Seto sigh quietly before he gently pushes Sean down from him. Not without kissing his hairline, though, and Sean smiles internally at the affectionate action.

"Are ye sneakin' out on me?" Finally his eyes open, blink quite a couple times adjusting to the bright daylight filtering through the curtains. One arm reaches for Seto and all he caught is his little finger on the mattress.

"We've got work to do, Sean," he responds, "And a lot of it."

During the night he managed to repress all of this. Mobius, Marik. Everything gone, wiped away like raindrops rinsing dirt off a window. It comes flooding back, succeeds in turning his mood to less optimistic and a lot more sour, nasty. Escaping reality is always a thing he loved to do, now he's directly involved in... a lot of things. Some he could barely comprehend.

"I know... you goin' right back to work? What's your next project, anyway? Got somethin'?" Sean simply wanted to shove the whole deal with Mobius awah for a while, was that wrong?

"Before Mobius came up... yes. Played around with the idea for a mobile game after the success with those for consoles. I doubt I can work on it anytime soon," Seto stands up, takes a couple of steps to pick out fresh clothes and flinches, groans audibly, "I'm getting us breakfast."

Sean had to laugh, rolls around on his back, legs pulled in. That man won't be able to walk properly for a while. "You sure about that? Can you walk?"

"...Watch me." More steps, reluctant for sure, a bit wobbly. Sean covers his mouth and tries to stop laughing though it was hard not to. "I'm glad its amusing to you."

"Mhm," he flops on his stomach, watches and adores the sight, "Its gonna get better in a while, promise. A few more times and you'll barely feel it."

"Figures you'd say that," he picks new clothes from the closet and gets dressed slowly, "I didn't think it'll have lasting effects."

"Uh-uh, you regrettin' it?"

"...no. Of course not." The tie was bound and fixed; perfect for Sean to pull him down on it; and the white trench coat finished him up. "Its bearable."

"Why, sure! Tho if somebody was to look closely at you they'll figure out what happened. Ain't that funny?" Seto steps up to the bed and bent down a little until Sean truly dis grab his tie. "I like the blue one better, y'know..."

Seto answers with a kiss first. "It doesn't fit the coat, though. You barely have enough sense of fashion to tell me what to wear."

He's pouting. Truly, like an insulted kid giving a stronger pull to his tie until Seto's lips were on his once more. "At least I got an ass in any kinda pants I'm wearing."

"...wow." Seto tries to pull away, acts insulted and doesn't do a good job at it. "Keep it up and last night was the last time you've seen it."

"Oh, fuck, I got you figured out," Sean says, "Them coats are that long 'cause you're tryin' to hide it!"

"Ain't there much to hide, eh?" Seto imitates Sean, voice and accent and all, bites his lips with the following kiss and finally breaks free from Sean's grasp. "Latte Macchiato?"

"Lots. Of. Sugar. Please!"

For Seto who drinks coffee black only, not even a fucking dribble of sugar for this beverage straight out of hell, the amount of sugar Sean wanted was an absolute disaster to him. Various times he tried slipping Sean his coffee without it; and Sean didn't take that lightly, got his revenge dumping half the package of sugar into his mug late at night when he wasn't looking.

Revenge is a dish best served... sweet?

And then he's off, door closed behind him leaving Sean there on the bed bundled up in the sheets and nestled between pillows, refusing to let go of the warmth he's enveloped in. True, he should shower. Get ready and all, by now Mokuba certainly left for school already if he hasn't over slept... The little one's used to that messy schedule of his brother, although the next few days might turn out to be even worse.

On Sean's mind, though, there's something different from Mobius; it's the things Seto said about Marik trying to convince Sean what a horrible human being he was, a bad influence, urging Sean to stay away from him. Sean had... to know if he told the truth or was merely jealous, if Seto lied because he doesn't want Sean to leave him for someone who isn't even around anymore. As if...

So he searches for his phone, guessed that, since Marik took part in Battle City, Yugi should know about him, or Joey, or literally anyone of the squad that was there during the tournament Seto said was almost ruined by Marik. Until he hears from somebody else but Seto about the things he did or didn't do, he calls everything Seto told him a big fat lie.

Sean sits up on the bed, legs crossed looking through the contacts on his phone until he found Yugi's number. Its 9am, chances are he's at school or maybe still sleeps or whatever someone his age does at this time of day--- he calls nonetheless, anxiously waits for him to pick up.

"Yes? Sean?" He feels bad because he scarcely calls Yugi, and the occasion was... uh, odd, to say the least.

"Heeey... you busy? I got, uh, a question about Battle City..."

Yugi makes a surprised noise and Sean hears shuffling. "That's a bad time now, really, because... listen, something got stolen from me and it's kind of an emergency. I did try to call Arthur already, you see? I don't really... trust the police with it and I know he's a great Detective..."

"Things are, eh, pretty tough here right now, too," Sean says, one part of him truly glad he called, "Arthur ain't on duty though, least not rite now and I guess he ain't got the time to take care o' it-- what happened, anyway?"

Yugi hesitates. "You... know the puzzle I'm wearing? And about Yami? This isn't the only item there is, and one of them I had was stolen..."

"That's. That's no good. I, uhm, I can tell Arthur, no need to panic, we gonna figure somethin' out alrite? Don't panic."

"But I am panicking--"

"Yeah, I can tell. Jus' try be calm 'bout it. What's the worst that can happen? Like-"

"Yami needs it, Sean. Seriously, he needs it."

To say he's just a tad bit confused about this whole situation was kind of an understatement. He says nothing for a while, just fumbles with the bedsheets...

"You'll tell him, yes? I hope he can get back to me about this because we... we really need it. And I'm worried..."

"'course you are. That's fine, we're gonna figure it out and find the, uh, thing. Might be good to know what it is in the first place?"

"A-a golden rod. Got an eye on it like my puzzle... received it just recently and I have no idea who would've stolen it! I just..."

"Yugi, c'mon, its gonna be a'rite. We'll find the thing."

Yugi sighs, deeply worried and Sean noticed how tired his voice sounds. "You had a question? Do you think I can help?"

"Guess that ain't the right time for it, don't stress." He could just hang up, drop the whole issue and focus on that rod that got stolen from Yugi instead. But he... really wanted to know. "Tho I... so, what can you tell me about Marik?"

"Huh," Yugi thinks for a second, "Marik Ishtar? How do you know him?" It occured to him he didn't even know his last name until now. Bad.

"I guess? Met him one night and, well, y'know? Told me he's been at the tournament 'n all, Seto told me som' shitty things. I kinda wanna know what the deal is with him."

"Oh...Kaiba was right, that much I can tell you right away, he wasn't a very... good person when we met him first. But that wasn't his fault! At all, you see, he... was the original owner of the rod that got stolen, the ghost of his Yami trapped inside of it now. Before, it was more a part of him than Yami Yugi is of me, and the piece of his soul that controlled him. And us, I suppose... for some time during the tournament he wasn't himself, his soul trapped in the item instead so his Yami took over. You still with me? Insane, right? Anyway, we succeeded in sealing the ghost away and Marik gave me the rod because I'll need it along with all the other items. He isn't... a bad person at heart, I believe, but he did horrible things way before Battle City, too. I don't know if his Yami is the only one to blame for it all."

Sean doesn't respond. Can't say a damn word. Stares blankly into nothing, his head spinning with thoughts.

"He introduced to us using a fake name so we wouldn't catch on, because we already knew Marik was the leader of the rare hunters-"

Sean made a strange sound at that, remembers dueling one of those and losing his card to him because the guy cheated. It was his fault he left the tournament-

"-and well, his brother got injured and that's when Marik went... off the rails? The ghost took over. See, he and his siblings, they're from a family of tombkeepers in Egypt to protect Yami's grave until his return. Marik didn't want that. His sister told us all about him, the rituals and stuff, what he went through... they must be back home by now! I wonder what they're up to, now that they are free in a sense..."

"I- I... I'm... yeah, I'm sorry for askin', I really needed to know. Seto's been rite 'bout him then, tho left out the part where he ain't responsible for all that he's done."

"Oh, I think... I truly think he can redeem himself. It only makes me wonder where the rod is now, because the ghost inside is still dangerous. We have to find it, Sean."

"I'm gonna tell Arthur, promise. Don't worry so much," Sean breathes through, inhales deeply, "Thanks, Yugi." It was quiet for a moment, a concerned sigh from Yugi all he heard before Yugi asked just as worried.

"What is it with you and Marik? Why do you need to know..?"

"I jus' met him. In some bar. Took him home with me that nite 'cause he asked me to and honestly I ain't gonna pass up a chance like that," he nervously laughs, "Few things happened, an' he promised he's gonna come back."

"I didn't think he was... uh, well, I mean, you know? Then how are things between you and Kaiba? Why weren't you at the tournament with us?"

"Things're okay I guess. Rare hunters stole a card from me so I kinda... gave up all together. Makes me wish I hadn't, with all the stuff you said. We got so much shit to worry about, Yugi, it really ain't no more fun bein' in this fucken city." Stuck with all of this crap he thought they left behind in Krimson.

"I can understand. But let's not give up now, okay? I'll keep on fighting for Yami and you can-"

"Hey, I'm gonna fite for him too, okay? Not just to piss Seto off with it."

Yugi laughs, light hearted and true. "Thank you. Let's talk later, okay?"

"A'rite!" Time went by much too fast, and as soon as Yugi ended the call Sean tries to reach Arthur with no success. He figures they're on the way back by now, so Sean needed to have some patience until then. They have enough on their minds without the stolen item, but this was... about Marik, or so he feels.

After a shower, with dried hair and fresh clothes on, Sean flings himself on the couch still waiting for Seto. He's got no idea where he went to get breakfast, wonders why he didn't simply get stuff from the fridge but figures nobody had the time to stock back up on groceries. Sean could do that later--

A text message pops up on his phone while Sean scrolled through Twitter. His heart sinks a bit.

[msg received 09:48a.m Kangal] I need some more. BI. asap

"Fucking hell, bitch..."

[msg sent 9:49a.m Kangal] you'll pay double at this time of day. usual spot. gimme half an hour

[msg received 09:49a.m Kangal] k.

How in the hell is he going to explain that to Seto..? He really isn't in the right spot to deal right now, had so many different thoughts tumbling around in his head and not an single one of them was any easy to process properly.

His fingers shake when he writes to Seto, heart thumping madly and stomach twists relentlessly.

[msg sent 09:55a.m Seto] breakfast has to wait, smth happened and i need to see arthur

[msg sent 09:57a.m Seto] im sorry

God, yesterday they talked about honesty and no more lies. Seto thinks Sean has no more connections to the drug dealing scene; Arthur and Sebastian think so, as well, and right now he's about to disappoint them all over again. But if there's someone to be pretty damn afraid of turning down a request to its freaking Bakura.

Sean gets up, pockets his phone and takes his keys out of the bag in the bedroom, hoped he wouldn't run into Seto on his way down and out of the tower... He leaves the apartment and takes the elevator down, the only people he comes across from the security staff and once he's past the sliding doors at the exit the coast is clear. Wherever Seto went, he took the car.

Back at his apartment, Seto still hadn't replied to his text and ever so slowly Sean gets more and more anxious with each passing minute; ten minutes left to meet Bakura, all he needed  were a few bags of the requested drug, no fucking clue how much Bakura wanted today. At least... he makes some decent money. And if it's not Marik coming to him, he'll book a damn flight to Egypt with money earned by selling drugs.

He actually arrived a couple minutes earlier at the park, sits down on one of the benches at a but ahead of a playground empty at this time in the morning and he could see the parking lot from there, the little bags tucked in a wallet bought for the mere purpose of dealing safely. Bakura's car shows up not five minutes later, pulling up into the parking lot and Sean gets up, walks over feeling incredibly nauseous. It's not the thrill of the deal, it's the fear that somehow, in ny way, Seto might find out about this. That he lied to him again, betrayed him again, kept the drugs in his apartment even though his adoptive fathers are detectives.

"Where do you want to go today?" Bakura was a young man about as tall as Sean, long white hair and brown eyes. Wears a leather jacket over a white shirt today, rocking the wannabe rocker look. As soon as Sean gets into the car he asks. "How much?"

"Two 20g bags of Blue Ice. 350 bucks for all of 'em."

"You're a fucking asshole, you know that?" Bakura turns the key and goes backwards, back on the street. "Lucky you. I'm going to need them."

"Got plans for tonite, huh..." Sean pulls the wallet from his pocket, holds it in his hand until Bakura got him the money.

"Are you flirting?" He cackles, slams the money into his hand and with an overly dramatic sigh, waits for Sean to make sure it's legit. "Not much fun with the big CEO I assume."

"Least he ain't a stoner," Sean dryly says putting the pile of cash away and can reach out the wallet containing the drugs, "You ain't ever been any fun, tho."

"Awh... now, that hurt. And I who thought those who fly together stay together! Is it still the good stuff, though?"

"Straight outta Detroit. Tried it," Sean admits, eyes scanning the sidewalks, "Should be the same shit you're used to."

"Sweet," the wallet disappears in the inner pocket of Bakura's leather jacket, "So, where do you want me to take you today? Home to Daddy?"

"The next supermarket," after a short break he adds "Fuck you, Bakura. Don't fucken text me for shit in the mornin' again, gonna make you pay thrice as much next time if you're so damn desperate."

"You want to lose your most loyal customer?"

"I ain't dealt in weeks."

"Ahah. Hah. Trying for a redemption arc? Did I ruin it now?" Bakura never sounded more amused. If he could Sean would jump out of the fucking car while he's driving. He rolls his eyes instead.

"Well, I coulda simply ignored you-"

"Thought KaibaCorp pays well. Or he's paying you with blowjobs, figures you'll need money sooner or later."

"Whatever."

Sean spent no more words on him, doesn't pay Bakura no mind even though he's laughing at Sean's silence, thoroughly enjoyed the teasing and mocking despite him needing to maintain contact if he wanted to get his Blue Ice. Bakura damn well knew he doesn't get it anywhere else in these parts. And Sean knows there was no getting out of the scene as long as there are customers like him who are willing to pay double.

"Here we are," Bakura hums, "Go get your groceries, little one." Sean was never so quick to get out of a fucking car. Slams the door shut but Bakura rolls down the windows to call after him. "I love it when you're angry at me."

"Go fuck yourself." Far away, but with several people staring at him and the car that drives off Sean wipes the sweat and nervousness from his face, hands stay there for a few deep breaths to cover his eyes. Maybe it'll all go away like that. Maybe he's going to wake up next to Marik again and gets a chance to start over.

Shit-

Sean panics, totally forgot he needed to talk to Arthur about Yugi and the stolen rod, if Yugi didn't already do it himself. Seto finally texted him back, and judging from the messages he was furious.

[msg received 10:12a.m Seto] You have to be kidding me? Leaving like that, again, no explanation whatsoever?

[msg received 10:17a.m Seto] Are you planning to come back anytime soon?

[msg received 10:35a.m Seto] At least have the decency to answer me.

Three missed calls. Ah, shit, he's in so much trouble again... Sean doesn't know what to write and hopes the words will come if he just called him; Arthur and Yugi had to wait.

"Its been an hour, Sean. What are you doing?"

"Right now? Gettin' us some groceries 'cause your damn fridge was empty. Phone was silent, I'm sorry."

No reply.

"Yugi got robbed, y'know..? Called me earlier so I can let Arthur know, guess he ain't back home yet."

"Why do you care?"

"Its about one of 'em millennium items."

"...I see."

"Don't be mad at me," Sean begs him, "I'm gonna be back soon."

"Okay." Seto hangs up right when Sean wanted to say more, at least another apology if not a confession. The pit in his stomach only grows, even more so on his way back to KaibaCorp after buying groceries.

Seto doesn't spare him a glance when he came back, only said that his coffee is cold by now. Sean didn't mind cold coffee, but he won't say that now. The stuff he bought is in the kitchen up in Seto's flat, Seto isn't asking about it or says thank you.

"Found any more from the list..?" The silence weighed too heavy, added to his guilt and uneasiness.

"All of them. Every single one except Myra. Kidman already knows and I bet she told Arthur, but there is nothing we can do to help them with the rest for now."

Sean holds his breath standing with that cold coffee in his hand at the desk, resists the urge to hop on it for the moment. It didn't feel quite right. "We gotta find their facility an' hope they ain't started yet or found a core to use," Sean thinks out loud, "I reckon we wait it out."

And Sean still has to call Arthur.

He gets right to it, Seto pays him no mind anyway. He leaves the office no announcement given as to where he goes, connection already building up.

"Sean? All good with'chu?" Arthur sounded like he's gone nights without proper sleep, voice gravelly and deeper than usual.

"Yeah, I think so. You got a minute or two? Might've gotten a new case for you."

"We really ain't got the time for that, Sean, I doubt Buck will take any at this moment..."

"No, no, I got the feelin' its important. Yugi called this mornin', said he's gotten robbed off a real important, uh, item, worth a shit ton of money. Solid gold! I got a bad feelin' with this."

"Hah... no trust in the police? Alright, I'm gonna tell Buck, see what he's sayin' to this. I ain't knowin' much about that little feller, ain't quite sure if I believe the stuff you've told me. I'm kinda fed up with magic and stuff currently."

"Its insane," Sean admits, "I give you that. Trust in me feelin' for this, will you?"

"Sure... I'll get back to you about this. Keep ye'r head up, son."

Sean grins, a big fucken grin that hurts his cheeks. "See ya!"

Yugi doesn't pick up when Sean tried to call him, so he figured the boy was busy.

Seto looks up as Sean comes back, still grinning and giddy. Not even Seto could take that little feeling of happiness from him now, now matter how weak and faint it actually was.

"Let's start working on the new game. We might as well kill some time if there's nothing else to do about Mobius."

Now. Sean hops up on his desk. "Sure you want me help with it?"

"Always do."

Chapter Text

Several days went by since Yugi's call and Bakura's message, since the last Mobius member hiding at KaibaCorp was taken in by Kidman and Sebastian for interrogation. Arthur told Sean that Yugi didn't call him back yet, so he couldn't start the investigation even if he wanted to because Sebastian already approved of it.

The interrogations itself weren't a huge success, those people carrying their fake names determined not to give away any information of use for them, and questions about the whereabouts of Mobius' new facility were laughed off.

Lily and Isaac were still at John's place, together with his wife Abigail and Chloe as a backup they took care of the little ones. Sean visited them one day for a couple hours, found out that Lily caught up with what was going on; she cried at night, John told him. It wasn't easy to calm her down, so he would call Sebastian to sing her back to sleep.

Seto did not get much rest during the nights either, and it wasn't about the new mobile game they worked on in the meantime. Sean thought it's hard to tell what is going on inside Seto's head considering he didn't talk to him about what bothered him, yet at least he let Sean know he's done nothing wrong... if only he knew.

Another day breaks. This morning the first one in a week where Sean found Seto sleeping next to him finally able to get a bit of rest even though he looks tense in his sleep. Sean inches closer, silently so, adds sweet kisses to his forehead and ran fingertips over his bicep. Goosebumps appeared on his skin, Seto leaned a bit in and for a second Sean doubts he was actually asleep...

"I missed you, y'know," Sean whispers, voice almost inaudible, "Even if you been here all the time. You're so far away and it fucken hurts..." Sean wiggles even closer. Pulls Seto in, holds him close in his arms, hoped to keep him safe like this. Even though he doesn't feel safe himself, at all. Not a bit.

"No idea if that's what love is all about," he closed his eyes by now, "Its a'rite I guess. Better than to be alone." If Seto heard him then he doesn't say a thing and Sean falls asleep again in the early morning hours, clinging to Seto as if his life depended on it.

For how long he passed out Sean couldn't tell, but its gotten cold around him. The space next to him was empty, sheets messed up. He wipes the tears stealing into his eyes hot and nasty, angry at himself for crying over something as minor as waking up alone and empty... Haven't the last days been hard enough on them? Why doesn't Seto try a little harder?

Sean returns to the daily routine, boring as ever, working more like a machine than a human; automatic actions, even the way he talked to Seto when they talked at all felt unreal.

Another day like this and he's going to freak. One wrong word and he'll snap right at Seto's face, wouldn't even care if Mokuba was eavesdropping, no thought wasted on the consequences. No matter the situation, Seto fucking knew he could talk to him about anything. And Sean was tired of reminding him of that fact.

He was also tired of his boring ringtone, usually has the phone on silent while they're working, but ever since the investigations started and Sean waited for news at any given minute, it was the wiser decision to turn it louder.

Its neither Arthur nor Sebastian calling him, not Kidman either, its Joey. With both eyebrows raised Sean stares at the screen for a few seconds before picking up.

"What's up?"

"Hoi, listen up-- You seen Yugi anywhere? Like, maybe them last two days? He's not picking up tha phone! Isn't at home either, and the old man too! Ya got any idea? I'm just callin' anyone who knows him, basically."

"Uh... no? No, I ain't seen him... Last thing I know is he callin' me 'cause of the stolen rod. You idiot, don't call me, call the fucken police--"

"Fuck, ya right... no no, that why I'm calling ya, ok? Ya been some kinda Detective? And he-"

"Dude," he's going to freaking lose it, "A computer programmer is what I am! Call the police!"

"He met with Bakura before... ya know... Ain't he..? He was acting kinda freaky and ehh-"

Whatever Joey said next it doesn't reach Sean. He sits on the couch, head buried in his hands, the phone dropped while Joey was still on the line calling his name.

No, that's stupid. He got nothing to do with it. This was a coincidence, Bakura may be a bit... strange sometimes, but he thought thats the drug abuse. No way...

"Hey," Sean feels Seto's hands on his shoulders, pushing him back to look up, "Who were you talking to? What happened?"

"Yugi disappeared." His voice sounds like it comes from underwater to him, bizarre and distorted.

"...that's a joke, right?"

The phone rings again. Sean too tired, absolutely drained, too exhausted to pick up. Seto does it for him, a single hand still on his shoulder. It didn't give much comfort.

"Its Seto," he says, "Anything new on the case? ...oh, really now..."

Could this get any worse?

"Where is it? Well? Then I guess we have to fly. Give me an hour, you lot have to come over."

Seto proceeds to sit down next to Sean, makes him look into his eyes and talks already, Sean barely able to follow his words.

"Mobius uses their old facility in California, and we are going to get there. So pull yourself together now, will you? We don't have the time for this."

"Yugi was kidnapped," Sean repeats, what Seto said almost didn't matter, "I think its-"

"Kidman is going to tell us more about this," it felt like Seto wasn't listening either, "Mokuba needs to come along, I'm not letting him behind here, and I think he can help. I'll get the helicopter ready, you will-"

"Seto! He fucken-"

"I know!" He gets up in a fit of rage, hands raised for short, "You have to learn to listen to me, I'm not going to repeat myself over and over!" Seto pins him down with his gaze, furious or scared, Sean couldn't tell, "Laptop, Guns. Get it from the safe in the other room and stop wasting time."

God damn guns? No way this man can use a fucking gun.

Sean admits to his defeat, fumes silently, but internally he's yelling and cursing, worried beyond imagination and pretty much horrified what's going to happen next. Could hardly comprehend what was happening right now,  but he does as he was told. Since Seto hasn't said a word about a new safe code he assumed it's the old one; it actually worked. He never knew Seto kept freaking weapons in there, actual automatic handguns, four in total along with plenty ammunition. God bless America.

When was the last time Sean fired a gun? Holding one of them was enough to make him nervous, hands shaking with the thought of him having to use it. They're all stuffed inside a travel bag now along with their holsters, the ammunition, two laptops. Sean didn't notice Mokuba standing there at the doorframe, eyes wide as he watched Sean put away some guns.

"What the hell is happening!? Sean?" Startled, freaking terrified of the voice coming from behind he almost hit his head at the opened cupboard door when jolting up.

"Fuck, don't you- shite!-- we're gonna... go somewhere, y'hear..? Seto's gettin' the helicopter ready now, maybe you should ask him instead. Wants you to tag along."

"I have no clue what's happening! Why don't you just tell me!? I thought Seto doesn't have those guns anymore!" Mokuba shouts at him and with all the odds perhaps its really Sean to blame for being useless right now.

"Mokuba, you should ask him, I..."

"Fine! Fuck this shit, honestly! He lied to me again!? I can't believe it..." Before Sean can say something else in an attempt to at least calm Mokuba down a bit he storms off. Scarier than Seto when he was angry like that...

The bag is zipped shut and put on the couch with utmost care, yet Sean sits down in front of it with much less, pulls his knees up to his chest and buries his face in his arms. He doesn't want any of this no more, never before wished to be far away from this place as badly as he did in this very moment sitting on the ground, the absolutely fucking useless piece of shit that he was.

There aren't any more tears left to cry. He hasn't been drinking or eating much recently, had no source where he could draw energy from.

Sean sat there only for a couple minutes hearing a knock at the door that spooked him yet again, at least made him jump up with seemingly more strength. He let Kidman inside, followed by Kieran, Arthur and Sebastian, their guns concealed by clothes expect for Sebastian and Arthur allowed to carry them openly.

"You look terrible," Sebastian says to Sean, "Are you sure you want to come along?"

"Don't ye even try makin' me stay behind! I can do as much as ye'rself sure, spare me of the worried parent act."

"Calm down," Kidman said, "Both of you. Keep your cool or we aren't going to get through this. Now is the time to get into Mobius as long as they're not as heavily protected and armed like before, their system undoubtedly full of holes we can use. I know how Mobius rolls, I know how much they've lost already thanks to us years go," she stepped closer to Sean, and so did Arthur, "The kidnapping of your friend was their fault, too. One of the spies talked, and they talked a lot. Mobius aims to use those items as their new core."

"...don't kid me, Kidman--" a weird urge to laugh at this stupid pun rises warm in his chest but this really ain't the time, "How did they find out about all this stuff?!"

She shrugs. Arthur places a hand on his shoulder and squeezes tightly, it almost hurt. "It ain't as small no more now that they're involved. Let's wait with assumptions until we get there, alright?"

"We pulled through before," Sebastian speaks up, "We make this the last time."

"Years of planning went into the mission with Myra and Theodore, and in the end it w-was... messed up big time, wasn't it? How much time did we have? A... a week? You better be right about their situation, Juli..." Yeah, Sean felt exactly like Kieran sounded, small and meek. Wished to disappear.

"We hope the best and are prepared for the worst." Kidman ends with that, right on time for Mokuba to come back actually surprised to find so many people here, two of them he's never seen before.

"Seto said we are good to go," he announces with a long look at Sean, "Come on, let's go."

When Sean picked up the bag from the couch he noticed Kieran and Sebastian were carrying each their own as well, no doubt they've had a huge arsenal all together. Was that enough, though?

"I hope none of you gets sick easily," Seto calls out once the bunch of them arrived on the rooftops, "We're actually all out of puke bags." He gets into the black military helicopter first, the only thing that's left behind from the times KaibaCorp was used to produce war weapons and certainly Seto wasn't very fond of it; it's the only one fit for that many people, though.

"You sure look like you ain't ever been flyin'," Sean notices Kieran looking extremely uncomfortable and paler than usual, "Whatever you do, don't close your eyes."

"W-what? Why?" Its not more than a squeak as soon as they're all inside, headphones on. "H-hey, don't mess with me..."

"It's only gonna get worse if you do, that's why."

Kieran sinks further against the metallic wall, seems to shrink into himself. That poor dude-- Arthur doesn't look much better, though. Sebastian and Kidman on the other hand, they're as chill as Sean aspires to be.

"Y'all are ready back there?" Seto's voice came from their headphones, loud and clear, "We're off then."

"This is madness..." Despite the advice Sean gave him, Kieran closes his eyes at the take off, holds on to Sebastian sitting next to him who looked amused, to say the least.

"You know what you have to do later, Kieran," Sebastian tried to distract him, "Got it all?"

"Hack into their system without taking it down? You doubt me!?"

"What, no!" A laugh follows, "No, I don't! You've done it once before."

"Sorry, I g-guess this isn't a... good time to talk. Afraid I'm gonna... throw up."

"Hey," Seto's voice sounded again, "If you have to throw up, don't do it inside my helicopter. Tell me if you need me to open the doors."

"Oh my god," Arthur laughed, swings an arm around Kieran's shoulder, "The boy is gonna believe it! Don't you say anything like that, Seto." Mokuba joins in laughing over the headphones.

"Should've asked to be sedated." Kidman smiles at him, encouragingly, yet it failed big time. Kieran sinks even lower.

"D-don't make fun of me. I'm... I'm sensitive."

"I wonder if he will really open the doors," Sebastian says after a while, "If I asked?"

"No!!" That's Mokuba and Arthur and Kieran at the same time, "Don't try him!"

"The weather is so nice in California though," Seto says casually, "It wouldn't do any harm."

Sean leans back with a long sigh, wipes beads of sweats from his forehead and brows. The air inside was much too warm, felt wasted by the time a computer voice announced their location and arrival in California. Seto commented on it, surely replied fo that artificial intelligence with snark, but Sean was too far gone to care or listen.

Everything happens much too fast. His head spins. He feels nauseous, like throwing up any minute now. How did Yugi get involved in all of this..? If they only need his item, was he... still alive?

He made a strange sound, something between a gasp and a squeak, followed by a heavy and shaky exhale.

"Are you okay?" Sean couldn't tell who was asking, and he couldn't reply, can't open his mouth without vomiting for sure.

"Sean. I can't see you back there, but I hear you. Can somebody tell me that he's okay?"

Kidman sits next to him, so it's her hand on his back checking if he reacted to touch; he does, emits a little noise and shakes his head, a sign he isn't able to talk for now.

"...he is okay," Kidman lied, and no one else said a word to it, "Tired, that's all."

"Hm... alright. Thanks."

How long was it? Half an hour? Or 45 minutes. It felt like an eternity trapped with his own thoughts physically unable to speak and mentally out of order, but as soon as they land after Kidman confirmed the coordinates of a location not far off their facility it didn't take long for Seto to be by Sean's side trying to get him back to reality. Admittedly a reality he wants no part of.

"We have to go, Sean," Seto repeats, "Now. Look at me." Seto takes Sean's headphones off for him and pulls him up on his feet-- the bare minimum Sean did was to lean against him, drained from all energy, feeling lost and... useless. Absolutely fucking useless.

"Get it t--- fuck. Sean... I'm not going there without you, you have to work with me now." He puts his arms around Seto's middle, slowly so, musters up some strength to pull him closer.

"I'm afraid." More Sean didn't say, his head on Seto's shoulder turned a bit to the side and he finally opens his eyes.

"...yes. Me too. This isn't going to stop us."

Us. The way he said Us, not me, not you, but Us. Like he means it. Like it means something to him.

Sean wanted to believe that it does.

Sean brings Seto closer to him if that was even possible, digs fingers into his back without much consideration if it hurt him. In case it did Seto wasn't saying anything about it.

"This is over soon. I promise."

Chapter Text

"Lets be smart about this," Kidman begins, "We need Kieran to disable the security system first. Once that's over and done we might not have much time to go in there before they notice something's up."

"Hey, let me help with that!" Mokuba requested, "I've done more hacking than homework in my life."

"...sad. But true." Seto murmurs and Mokuba pretends he didn't hear it.

"There is no way they could've gone rid of all the holes me and Myra put in their firewall, that's your best bet. We are close to the facility and as soon as we are through, Sebastian and Arthur, you'll go in with me."

Sebastian searched through the bag for a shotgun and ammunition, listens with half an ear to what Kidman told them. "Yeah, got that. How are we going to... do we... go inside? Inside STEM?"

It's a question Sean was most afraid to hear the answer of. Although it should've been obvious that this was the only way to take the system down effectively; from within.

"...if we want to save the core. Yes."

"Buck, there really ain't a need for you to do this all over again, I'm gonna-"

"You're not doing this alone." Sebastian isn't having any of that; honestly, neither does Sean, but call it naivety and him almost blissfully unaware of whatever he will have to face in there.

Sean has no clue about hacking per say, so he won't meddle with the situation at hand. Sebastian and Arthur left for the facility just waiting for Kidman's sign to go in while Kieran worked the magic. Seto takes the bag from Sean and gets the guns out; an intimidating sight, this man with a gun in his hand.

"Have you ever used 'em?"

"Occasionally. You cannot solve everything with words, especially not when you have enemies trying to take over your company." Seto tells him, calm as ever, reloading two of the weapons before he gives them to Sean along with their belt and holster. He feels uneasy taking them.

"Last time I had one was the day my Da died," Sean says with his head hanging low while he fastens the belt, "Been a while..."

Ammunition follows, as many magazines as they could carry in their pockets. None of this feels right...

"I'm sorry there wasn't any time to take you to the shooting range before all that," Seto commented, "Maybe all the hours logged on to video games come in handy now."

Hard to tell if he was joking. Sean doesn't look at him and sure as hell keeps himself back from asking. Accuracy rates and actual accuracy in a real fight are two entirely different things. His father did take him out shooting several times, though, but that was years ago, Sean uncertain if he even properly remembers it all.

"Sebastian, it's on." Kidman speaks over the communicator, and its Arthur who answered, shortly followed by gunshots and screams.

"We're going in."

All they've heard were gunshots for a good couple of minutes... then silence. It's that tense, absolutely uncomfortable moment until finally Arthur's voice was heard over the communicator.

"Y'all out there waiting for somethin'? Come on in!" He sounds amused and Sean can only guess it's the adrenaline that makes him feel lighter in such a situation. Mokuba sticks to Seto, a bit behind him, Kieran and Kidman the first to go in through the heavy doors, along a hallway laden with corpses, white metallic walls covered in splatters of blood and gore. They leave behind bloody footprints, Sean slithers a few inches along the floor before he caught himself. At least he didn't fall over.

The hallway was long and wide with doors on each side kicked open, but the rooms in question were too dark to see properly at first glance.

Arthur appears at the end of the corridor standing with a shotgun in his hands looking disheveled as ever, bloody stains on his clothes and face. He pulls up a grin for Kidman and a strong pat on Kieran's back.

"You done great, boy," he says, "Now you tell me, Kid, how in the hell are we supposed to get the feller out?"

Sebastian sat on the floor inside the room that spreads out farther than he would've expected, glass walls and a shining iron floor made it appear even bigger; the ceiling was concealed by thick cables connecting to the machine in the middle surrounded by wide empty bathtubs and screens next to them. Looks like something straight out of a bad science fiction movie, silver and white, the container in the centre of the room the reason why they're here.

"Who is it? Yugi?" Mokuba walks into the room first, up to the container with Mobius' symbol on it, three red stars with an extra high note letter piercing one of them.

"Have you confirmed if there's a name on the container..? Seb?" Kidman checks up on him, tries to get the man to stand up. Arthur waves the effort off and says he tried, too, that they should just let him sit for a minute. Arthur joins him, pulls Sebastian in with whispers of reassurance and affirmation.

Mokuba takes a closer look around, both fascinated and weirded out by the bathtubs around the machine in the middle and--

"He's here! He--!?" Kidman and Seto caught up to him-- Sean stays behind with Sebastian and Arthur for a second longer before joining the others, except Kieran who takes a look at the computers instead.

"Let's get him out of here! Why isn't he waking up!?" Mokuba bends over the tub, had to jump up a bit to reach Yugi laying there, presumably sleeping...

"We can't get him out like this, not as long as we don't know where his mind went. This is just his body."

"That's-- That's insane! How are we going to figure this out!? This is.." Mokuba hops down, little hands curled into fists. Seto tugs him in and kneels down, starts to talk in a hushed voice. Kidman let them, gestures Arthur and Sebastian over to join them now and it was clear what they'll have to do. It's been obvious from the start. Arthur knew. Sebastian knew, anyway. And Sean was holding on to that tiny bit of hope that it would not come to this.

"He isn't the core, but they must've planned to switch them... I see what I can get from the files about their plans," she hesitates, takes a breath, "You know what you have to do."

Sebastian holds Arthur's hand and their eyes meet; gaze lingers, their expressions soften ever so slowly, gradually. "Okay." Both say in unison, both look back at Kidman.

"I'm ain't gonna let y'all inside there again alone," Sean's voice sounded as if it wasn't his own, he didn't think before speaking, wasn't sure if it's the right thing to do, "He's my friend--"

"You ain't got no clue what's gonna happen there in this thing, Sean, no!" Arthur steps closer, chest puffed out only to seem more intimidating. It doesn't work on Sean now.

"I'm sure Kidman will get the both of us to join you when you don't expect it," Seto says, "This is personal."

Arthur glares at both Sean and Seto while Moluba still tries somehow to get Yugi to wake up. Its Sebastian who steps in, puts a hand on Arthur's chest. "We aren't going to make it by ourselves, we barely survived the last time we were forced to."

"They're-- kids! They shouldn't have to do any of this! You sure we gonna protect them in there?" Arthur turns to Sean again, "Goddamnit Sean, we can't watch over you all the time."

"You won't have to, y'know...? I can handle things myself, sure I can, don't you dare pushin' me away now 'cause that's a wee bit too late." He ain't a kid!

"Just let us get this over with," Seto interrupts Arthur's next attempt to argue, "He's going to stick to me, anyway."

"Yeah, 'course I will, someone's gotta keep an eye on you, Seto."

Arthur scoffs but drops the argument, goes with Sebastian to the next bathtub and now is the time Sean looks away, allows them to have their moment together.

It's hard. And everything feels unreal.

"Mokuba, you'll stay here-" Seto talked to him and Sean left them, as well, hands in his hair trying to figure out how he should handle all of this. His steps carry him over to the other side of the machine where he throws a glance at the container in the centre, though through a curtain of tears it's hard to make out the writing on the label.

He could've been anywhere. Anywhere else. Sure, without a family, but... without all of the hurt and anxiety roaring inside his guts, too. All of this wouldn't be happening--- at least he wouldn't be bothered by it--- and for a long while he feels utterly selfish and wants to leave it all behind, fuck this, fuck all of this, he never wanted to---

Someone pulls at him from behind, traps him in an embrace too tight for his likes but in the end it sticks some of the torn pieces back together, the feeling of tears rolling down his cheeks all but gone. They soak Seto's shirt instead.

"You idiot," Seto whispers to him, "Don't leave like that. Let's do this together."

Sean clutched him tighter, made a noise to answer because talking like this was difficult. Soon Seto let go of him, wipes the tears before Sean had the chance to and bends down for a kiss. "Now."

He climbs into one of the tubs shaking like a leaf in the wind, realizing there was no more going back. Guilt gnaws on him for even thinking this way: it hurt more than the actual issue of going into the dream world of whoever, since as of now there was no way of telling who or what it was inside the container holding the core.

Kidman's voice rang through to him, calculated and calm. "STEM entry in 3...2...1..."

Sean closes his eyes when an invisible force pulls him backwards into the tub without bottom into nothingness, darkness surrounding him. No noise could be heard, not his own breathing or heartbeat, complete silence and despair what swallowed him, enveloped him.

After minutes of falling that felt like an eternity to him he sets his feet on the ground, not opening his eyes yet afraid of what he might see. The noises returned. Slowly but surely, coming from underwater and far, far away, calling out his name in voices Sean recognized.

"Open your eyes, Sean," the voice of Arthur says to him, "Come on, boy!" Someone grabs him, his first instinct is to reach out and shove the hand off, but the voice was persistent. "Hey!"

Eyes open to a blinding light. He adjusts to the brightness, certain colors dipping into vision soon to create a room Sean knows, spent countless hours in. How did they end up in Sebastian's old office..?

"I-I... I'm sorry, I ain't meant to-"

Arthur shushes him. "First time ain't easy, it's okay." Sean takes a look around, found Sebastian rummaging through the closet at the wall for something, and Seto peeked through the blinders at the window without actually seeing what is going on outside. Sean rushes over to him, a hand over his waist.

"All good?" Sean asked him, couldn't make out from his expression what he might be thinking. "I-"

"Yeah. I'm trying to make sense of this. Which isn't going very well." Typically him, huh..?

"Sean, get over here for a second." Sebastian found two more shotguns, a rifle as well as more ammunition. He gives Sean one of the shotguns and for a split second he wanted to scream. Now ain't that a bit much...

"That's a big gun for a little feller," Arthur joked, "Make sure you don't slip and blow your p-"

"Don't say it! I'm just gonna ignore you."

Sebastian fails to hold back a smile, Arthur looking too damn proud of his own terrible jokes while Seto took the other shotgun, for once actually intimidated. "Haven't used it before. How hard can it be?"

"Given your speciality is a card game, I think it's going to be difficult," Sebastian took over Arthur's joking tone for this, "I'll show you, but for now stick to your guns and keep this for an emergency."

"Why would we need them in the first place? I thought its virtual reality."

Arthur scratches his beard, leans on the desk in the middle of the office. "You can get hurt in here, remember my scar? We got no idea what will happen and who we're gonna meet."

"Better be prepared," Sebastian adds, "We can manage it."

Sean wasn't... fully convinced. But flings the gun on his back at its strap, rests reassured there's something heavier than a little handgun.

Sebastian slams the closet doors shut, taps his pockets and decided he was done. "Are we ready to go?"

"Yeah."

They leave the office for another room, a bit bigger with tables standing at the walls, shelves cramped with old books. From somewhere comes a gentle meowing followed by a thud, more cat shouts and loud purring. The little black feline looked a lot like Cat laying there on a table next to a slide projector Sean knows from preschool. For Sebastian and Arthur it was nothing new, but Sean was... fascinated. The place seems to be build of memories, yet Sebastian's was superior in this scenario, maybe because he was still part of the system.

"Are you all good in there?" Kidman's voice, all scratched up sounds from the communicator Sebastian carried. He was quick to answer while guiding them through the room and then to the left stopping at an old mirror.

"We're still in the save room, so yeah. Did you find something new?"

"Kieran did, actually. Listen up, the core's name is in the system labelled as Ishtar Items, but we-"

"Its the rod they stole from Yugi," Sean quickly says, panicking, "There's a... a ghost inside of it..."

That's... impossible. How did they find those items, and how are they using them... it's not possible, Sean thought they needed an actual human person...

"Great," Sebastian sighs, "Another of those psychopaths going havoc is what Mobius needed."

"I actually don't know about that, the documents mention an item, not once are they talking about a person except for... well, Yugi, after the experiment with the first one went wrong. Mobius was unable to retrieve it yet, so you'll have to try, before it gets any worse. But your main goal is to find the boy."

"That ghost should have disappeared," Seto says, "Because if it didn't, this whole thing got a lot more difficult."

"...thought you ain't believin' in ghosts and shit." Sean averts his gaze, panic coursing through his veins.

"I know what I saw. And what Marik did."

"Hn- no. This ain't him..."

Seto shrugs, but the conversation got Sebastian's and Arthur's attention. One looks as confused as the other.

"Marik? Ye'r joking, right?" - "I thought he went home?"

"It ain't--! Fuck... let's just. Go. We gotta find Yugi."

"Don't get too caught up in this," Seto tells Sean, "You said it didn't matter anymore."

But it did. He did. Marik mattered, ghost or not, whatever the hell this was about, it mattered to him.

Sebastian focuses on the mirror until cracks appeared in the glass and light flooded the room around them. Something pulls Sean up in the air, forward at his navel, uncomfortably tight and powerful, yet the sensation did not last long. It was over before Sean could focus too much on the pain it caused in his stomach, the way it twisted his insides and made him almost throw up. He hates this kind of travelling, why couldn't they use regular doors?

Once the light faded, died down to regular daylight not as blinding and maddening, they found themselves in the ruins of an unknown city, it's buildings in shambles, almost completely swallowed by dunes of sand and dust. A cracked mirror lays on the street behind them emitting a soft melody of a song Sean isn't familiar with, but it was a soothing tone.

"We search for the boy first and take care of the core later," Sebastian decides, "And let's hope this world doesn't fall apart while we do."

It was strangely quiet around them and for the longest time neither of the men talked, either. Sean too focused on his own thoughts that he spent not a single second to care about anything else besides them, and the main priority was Marik in whatever state... Meeting him must've had a reason, a meaning no less, but to see it was nothing else but being sent into a dream world hurt him, part of him believes he isn't going to see this man again unless its inside this hell. And that wasn't really encouraging.

At one point Arthur decided they should split up for the search, of course Sebastian stuck to Arthur along the way, so Sean went along with Seto through the abandoned city of dull colors and sand, not a single soul out on the street. It reminded him of Domino City, just... a couple hundred years in the future and in the aftermath of apocalypse.

"Do you regret what you've done with him?" By the time they found a way into one of the houses along the street, Seto found this was the right time to strike up a conversation. About a topic Sean didn't favor at all, but that's characteristic.

"What's it you wanna hear? That I screwed up or somethin'? You really gotta talk about this now?" The house was quiet, only the wooden tiles underneath their feet creak slightly. So far it looks deserted, empty.

"We did not really talk about it, after all. It has been a week or so, I thought you had it figured out by now." He stops by the fireplace, looks at the framed photos standing there.

The people in them had no faces.

Sean goes into the next room instead of giving Seto an answer, stumbled over children's toys laying on the ground and its met with a curse. Seto joins him shortly after and raises his voice a bit.

"I told you he was bad news, though too late. Now you are getting emotional over someone you don't even know, someone apparently tied to this organisation? You have no reason to feel like this, seriously."

He turns around abruptly, points at Seto and talks louder than him. "You got no fucken clue how I'm feelin'! This ain't helpin' at all!" It seems he forgot about all the things he said before, how they're in this together, that they could make it together. Those words felt like knives now.

"I'm saying that maybe, if you hadn't gotten involved with him, you would not be scared now. I know you are."

Sean inhales and raises his hand at him, not even trying to fight against the urge to slap him right across the face--- Seto stopped his hand halfway through the air, pushes him back against the wall; glass shatters when a photo fell off next to him.

"You better think twice," it's a growl, quiet but no less frightening, "Before raising a hand at me again." He comes closer nonetheless, still holding Sean by his wrist, the other arm caught behind him. He doesn't know what to say, what to do, flames of anger burn the oxygen right out of his lungs at each word Seto says, and they make blood boil at every action from him.

"Why can't you forget about him? What the fuck is so special about him," Seto caged Sean's body between his own and the wall, their faces so close he could count his eyelashes, "You should be thinking about me who is actually there for you." His voice became quieter, merely a whisper. "You should know not to raise your hand at me."

There wasn't any more anger in Seto's eyes but betrayal instead, hurt and dismay.

Sean knows. He knows what happened to him. What his father did to Seto.

He feels like trash, the worst person on earth standing so fucking close to him that he felt Seto's heart next to his own, racing like mad.

"I'm sorry, Seto."

"No. That doesn't make it better." Seto releases him, allows him to go. Doesn't even look at Sean anymore and decides to leave for the next room, Sean still standing at the wall next to a shattered framed photograph of faceless people.

Chapter Text

"Don't you go on without me," Sean called after him, more heartbroken than angry, "We got no idea what--"

He heard several gunshots from outside the house, adrenaline boosts through his veins and he runs out without waiting for Seto to catch up, gun drawn and safety taken off. More gunshots, paired with raging shouts from down the street, Arthur and Sebastian storming towards them while firing their guns at a monster straight out of a card game. The creature he recalled as the Dark Magician held up its rod with a beam of light, charging--- before it was able to conjure its attack the monster collapsed after a good portion of ammunition wasted on it, Sean's hands moved without him realizing that they did, and the force of the fired shots strained the muscles in his arms.

"What in the hell--"

"I'm too old for this," Sebastian wheezed, finally he stopped before Sean with a shaking hand on his shoulder to steady himself, "What the fuck is this place?"

Arthur breaks into a violent coughing fit but he ends up laughing with bubbling joy, his hands and face smeared with blood. "Buck, I reckon it's time for us to retire, we ain't fit to fight those kinda things. I miss the good ol' days."

"You mean... zombies? I take them over whatever the hell this was, honestly. Sean, are you okay? Where is-?"

"So, we are fighting duel monsters?" Seto stood in the doorframe, away from the others. "Are we sure this isn't a video game?"

"You can see all that blood on 'em, rite? That monster fuckin' bleeds on the damn street, now if that ain't real..."

"I think we should rather stick together." Sebastian placed a comforting hand on Arthur's back for gentle caresses until he stopped coughing, by now not as forceful as before.

"Seconded," one last cough, "It was a bad idea."

"We should avoid those things," Sebastian said, "They're taking up too much ammunition... unless we need to, we won't fight."

The situation was stressful to say the least, even as hours went by where they searched through houses and office buildings, on rare occasions ran into more monsters that didn't put up much of a fight and restrained from following the bunch around. They could be easily trapped in secluded rooms as long as their bodies fit inside. It took some time, but in the end the men saved ammo and aside from a bit of dust and dirt, Seto's coat was still clean white. No more bloodshed for the day.

The decision was made to rest for the night, and Arthur remembered an abandoned house in the middle of town, a safe place they could use to catch some sleep and recharge their batteries. So far Kidman didn't announce new information on the case, but checked in every hour to makes sure everyone was relatively well.

Sean didn't exchange a single word with Seto since their argument, it felt awful to walk next to him knowing what he did, or almost had done. Of course Sebastian and Arthur didn't know about the circumstances they were under and Sean was not too fond of telling either of them in private. He kept his mouth shut as Arthur told the two of them to take the room upstairs, announcing him and Sebastian will be on ground level on guard and taking turns. It ain't ideal, he said, but better than nothing.

It's safe.

But as Seto closed the door behind him and did not grant Sean a single glance, he knew he was in huge trouble if that man ever spoke to him again. Who is going to make the first move this time?

Sean gives in.

He sits on the bed next to the window dark and smeared with filth, his eyes staring at nothing in particular, but he talked. With not much confidence, yet touching it counts as a shot to get things right.

"I'm sorry," Sean repeated meekly, "I swear I am."

"Oh," if Sean didn't know better he could've sworn Seto sounded amused, "I don't doubt that you are. It doesn't change anything." Words are spoken firmly, with tenacity.

"What do you want me to do, then?!" He turned around on the bed, eyes throwing daggers, "Fucken tell me what you want to hear!"

"I don't know," he said truthfully, "And did not ever think this topic would be such a serious issue with you. An apology means nothing to me."

"So ye'r the one who's talkin' shit thinkin' I ain't gonna snap at ye? Like me's a dumb fucken child ye can push around, no consequences whatsoever?! No! No. I apologized! I meant it! I fucken did." He talked louder but wasn't yelling, not with Arthur and Sebastian downstairs and the status quo.

Seto walks around the bed, quick steps, stopping in front of Sean and he's got the feeling it was simply to look down on him like this. Putting himself in a physical position of power is all he knows. A businessman after all.

"I was honest with you, Sean. Don't make it my fault you're not able to handle the truth."

He gets on his feet and tosses the imbalance of power out the window-- despite him being a lot smaller than Seto it felt better this way, less humiliating. "Ye like hurtin' me is all. That it's this freaky ghost's fault we're here fits ye'r story 'bout Marik, rite? Ye ain't carin' for anythin' else but this, jus' so ye can rub it in me face how bad a person he is!"

Seto squints, expression unmoving and hard to pinpoint. "Did it ever cross your mind that I've told you about this because I don't want you to get hurt? You have the habit of getting into dangerous situations, that is just who you are and I could handle it. If you let me."

"Ain't there no need to-- y'know what. Fuck you. Fuck-" No, it's going completely off the rails now, no telling where they were headed to from this exact moment in time, where they've taking the wrong turn in the past. What the destination was.

"Fuck me yourself." Seto thinks he's super smart, huh?

"Can't even take me-" Seto kissed the last words off his lips, a hand on his collar and the other in Sean's hair dragging him in. Painful, sure, strands will end up getting pulled and Seto had no consideration left for that forcing Sean down to sit at the edge, breath heavy between messy kisses and slight moans of protest from Sean.

[[

Sean's pants he opens first, less gentle than previous actions, pulled down just a bit so he can help himself, Seto's follow put, exposing his erection throbbing and hot. Sean wasn't in the mood, thoughts all over the place, yet he doesn't complain and didn't make an effort to stop Seto from pushing him around on his chest, ass up in the air. They've got nothing to lubricate, no condoms either. This is going to be nasty and rough, the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Seto bends over him, covers Sean's mouth with one hand and eases himself inside no word of warning given, less and less compassionate with him if possible--- it stings horribly, muscles strained and burning uncomfortably, the pain brings tears to his eyes and makes him attempt to scream with his mouth closed and lips against Seto's hand. Having him only halfway inside was already unbearable, made Sean cry and clench his fists in the dusty sheets. For now Seto didn't move, still pushes forward slowly to make Sean feel every inch.

"I heard you, this morning," Seto breathes next to his ear, "When you said you miss me. Talked about love like it's such a big thing." His grip tightens, Sean can only breath through his nose along with the throbbing pain growing worse as deeper as he gets, heavy and shallow. Quiet moans bubble in his chest, up his throat until they're caged and kept behind sealed lips.

"When it hurts you to be with me," he takes a break, fully inside the heat and beginning to move back, "Why don't you leave?" Despite the hazard of Sean yelling his lungs out, Seto does allow him to speak now, lowers his hand to Sean's throat instead feeling the muscles move with his breath.

"I- fucken-- love you, I do," even if he's getting rawed like that, no lube whatsoever, "I do." He left him before and it was Seto who came back. On second thoughts Sean should have just... let him be. Could have moved on, go to bars and fuck strangers, don't get attached again to this rich asshole asserting dominance by taking him dry.

"I want to believe that someone does. Nobody ever did," Seto leans his forehead against Sean's temple, thrusts inside, pulls away a bit, repeats, "You want more than this, I know, I've had it before, I can tell--" He shudders with each thrust inside, causes Sean to groan, lips closed because there's Sebastian and Arthur downstairs and this really isn't the place to fuck...

"Believe me, I'm trying. But you need to try better too." Seto crosses his arms around Sean's chest, palms flat on his clothed body gradually picking up a cruel pace. Sean closes his eyes, wishes he could say something to defend himself-- he did nothing wrong, ever, its been Seto who fucked up, always him, leaving Sean behind like he's a toy and now it's the same as always. The tears roll down his cheeks and leave hot traces behind.

"You keep disappointin' me, Seto--"

"No. You do." His voice went from soothing to cold as cracking ice, sharp in his ear to make it sting, roll over him like tidal waves of freezing water.

Seto came inside a second later. Sean lets him, doubts the orgasm was any kind of satisfying to him. As for himself... he didn't even get hard enough to feel it properly, the only sensation is the prickle of his hole stretched wide without mercy.

]]

"Fuck you," Sean says, again, practically spits, "Don't gimme that sob story of you tryin' to do better-" Seto tugs him closer, lays next to him with Sean flush against his chest.

"Fucked you," he dryly says, "I won't let go of you now."

Seto doesn't get it. Either that or he simply doesn't care.

The night went by too fast; good for one because Sean could get away from Seto, bad in the regard of him lacking a proper amount of sleep, though it's been like that for some time now actually, Sean guesses at a certain point he'll get accustomed to it. Eventually he might. They're lucky Sebastian and Arthur heard nothing of their argument last night and neither of the aftermath, and for the slim chance that they caught on... they prefer not to drop any remarks about the fact.

Sean could barely walk, in pain and exhausted, he stumbles behind the others by a few steps while they're roaming the streets again searching for Yugi or any clue of his whereabouts. Even out of a safe building there were hardly any monsters they needed to evade, it almost felt as though as whoever in charge of this mind place made sure the bunch of them dwells in a false sense of safety before the person would make it rain on them.

Or maybe Sean just watched too many science fiction movies, and zombie apocalypse stuff overall.

"There was a mirror back in that house last night," Sebastian tells them after a while, "If anything goes wrong, or when we find Yugi, this is the place we meet up again to get out of here."

So it was... actually that easy?

Nobody says a word from then on, each of the men searching another building close by each other to prevent getting entirely lost. There was still not a single sign of the boy and after so many hours of zero success, the group lacked its spirit. Nothing happened, it's almost boring, disappointing and maddening.

And sometimes, at least in fiction, once this thought occurs and settles down like kittens in a basket ready for slumber, that is when the real shit goes down. First there was thunder in the distance followed by a roar from the sky above, a mighty sound that reached flesh and bones, rang through ears and manifested within one's mind.

There was no way of telling where it came from nor why it was here. The creature soared through darkened clouds with its massive wings, illuminated by a source of white light from inside it's own body. The dragon shines white and blue as it lands on the roof of a mall in front of them and the beast's next cry forced them to cover their ears.

Nobody had the time reaching for their guns, there wasn't any time to think, only the name of that creature was known, if one had heard of the game before or not, this was a monster you will be unable to ignore, impossible to forget.

The Blue-Eyes White Dragon opened its massive jaws exposing razor sharp teeth the size of swords, piercing azure eyes staring into the depths of one's soul as electricity filled the air and energy gathered in the dragon's mouth. Bundled, glistening and ice cold it build up a devastating attack, brightens the world with a beam of white lighting only to leave it in complete darkness.

Chapter Text

Sean opens his eyes to complete darkness, could feel every single bone in his body aching and muscles were sore as he laid face down on the wet ground, clothes strangely dry despite it. His breath comes hard and shallow, the darkness around him crushing, terrifyingly so, touching every fibre of his being, seeping into veins and arteries coursing through blood like a cocktail of toxins. He tried to call out, tried to say something, anything, yet could not hear his voice.

All noises were drowned out. He was stuck in silence, a dark pit tearing him apart, only pain and despair what he felt, loneliness and anxiety.

Up on his feet he stumbles forward, one hand in front of him to avoid possible obstacles in his way... there was nothing. Nothing existed, no past or future.

Is that... how death feels like? Is this hell..? Figures he wouldn't end up in heaven with all the shit he did in his relatively short life; now, experiencing this, he wished he'd done more.

Sean turns around a few times in all directions, hopes for a little bit of light, a flickering candle, a white star in the void he got thrown into.

He could not tell how much time passed, if it went by at all. This could be eternal, for all he knows it's a sick piece of damnation.

Then finally...

A light. Faint, so small, but shining bright through the inky murkiness keeping him captive, and what else was there to do for him but to walk towards it? Maybe this was his way out... back to Arthur, Sebastian. Seto. Mokuba. Home to Chloe and Lily and Isaac.

Marik...

His breath evened out eventually. Steps were slow and hesitant still, yet he picked up speed as closer he got to the source of light and it gradually took shape, warped into something bigger, brighter, faithful.

Oh...

Sean stops. Didn't move. Wasn't even breathing. He stares and thinks now he reached heaven.

"Marik." His voice sounds different in the blackness, as if it didn't belong to him. And Marik didn't quite look like himself, either, but there was no doubt its him, it had to be him, the only ray of sunshine there was and it's for him... why isn't he saying anything, though?

"We gotta get out," the voice that sounds a bit like Sean's says again, "We do..." Is this the place Marik was so afraid of? All the more reason to leave, now and together.

Marik doesn't seem to care.

He's... taller. Hair longer, a shade darker. His eyes aren't as bright as Sean remembered them, but it must be this place that dimmed their light.

"Please?" He comes closer, each step he takes make a wet sound on the ground. Sean could almost touch him, feels his own heartbeat again heavier than ever.

"I... you forgot your rings," Sean reminds him, pulls the one he has from his finger as proof, "I ain't really the type for jewelry, y'know..?" He dared to reach for Marik's hand now, holds it for a moment in both of his with the smile that may just be as bright as Marik himself, and he puts the ring back where it belonged to.

"Let's find a way out," Sean repeats, desperate now, "Marik?"

Please..?

A smile forms on Marik's lips now, but it wasn't pretty.

"There is no way out anymore, you fool." The darkness returned and this time it came from the man in front of him, swallowing the light and hope along with it. "I am not the one you are looking for."

This place must be messing with him. He passed out, is dreaming. There couldn't be another explanation. The words are stuck in his throat and suddenly the touch burnt him, invisible flames danced on his skin where it touched Marik's.

"Did he not tell you about me yet?" Marik asks, "Why, of course not. I know the reason." He speaks with a different voice. One that Sean cannot recognize as Marik's, its deeper, contorted. Wrong.

"Maybe..." He pulled Sean in, his grasp so rough it burnt through flesh and bones, "Maybe, if you help me out of here, I can tell you some things you might want to know about my vessel."

No. He swallows thickly, his mouth dry and throat scratching. "No."

"What a shame... I took care of your friends already, there is no more need to worry about them. We are the only ones left."

No... he's lying... Sean attempts to get away from him, from this nightmare, this ghost-- his grip remains strong and by now Sean felt his breath fan over his face, warm and moist.

"Help me out, take me back to my host. Everyone would be happy, no..? You do want to see him again, do you not..."

Not like this, Sean thinks, fuck--

"I wanted so many good things for him, you see? I never meant any harm to him and still he sealed me away. And for what? To be free, huh... He is nothing without me, so afraid of the dark."

"How the fuck do you know? He ain't weak-"

"I know," he leans in, whispers, "Everything. If it's in your head, I can see it."

Sean raises his free hand, fingers wrapped tight around that man's throat, there's a fire in their eyes and perhaps it's the same one he can see. Marik acts amused, didn't struggle or put up a fight, not bothered in the slightest.

"That is what you are into?" He talks so sweet, voice dripping honey.

"Fuck! You!"

Excruciating pain shoots from his abdomen up into his chest, clings to muscles and tendons threatening to tear them apart, he can smell blood and feels his knees becoming weak in a split second; the hold on Marik weakens and instead Sean feels for his stomach, the man's hand there holding the sharp end of a rod that pierces right through him---

"I wonder," Marik begins, "What will happen if they take me out of here? I finally have a chance to take what is supposed to be mine." He pulls back the rod. And thrusts it into his abdomen once more, a bit to the left and this time Sean cries out, holds on to anything in reach, to that man's clothes and to dear life on his way down to the ground holding the bleeding gauge.

"I was hoping you are useful."

Darkness consumes him again. It hurt this time. Suffocating, crushing. He's going to die in this place and it will be as though he never existed.

****

 

"God, no--- no, no, no, if you've ever been listening now is the fucking time! Not him--" Someone applies heavy pressure to the wounds, Sean by all means not strong enough to care and see who it was. For all he knows it could be another nightmare.

"Open your goddamn eyes, Sean!"

Hey, Sebastian?

"A syringe, Sebastian," a voice he never heard before said, "Do you have any!?"

"Fuck-" Besides the pain in his stomach it's a new sensation shooting through his arm, icy cold it runs through veins and Sean feels every inch of the liquid, to his chest and heart and lungs, his head, abdomen-

He gasps for air, eyes wide open and teary.

"Thank god," Sebastian murmurs, "Joseph, help me get him up. Come on, Sean, we can go home..."

Sean stares at him, terrified, scared shitless, his whole body in flames and mind's playing tricks on him. What the fuck did he mean, go home?

"Don't fucken mess with me! Let go of me!" Sebastian threw an arm over his shoulder, wrapped one around Sean's back and the man called Joseph did the same. "Stop..."

"Sean, what is- take it easy! Sean, it's me!" Sebastian shouts now, panicked as well, if not more than Sean unaware if this was a dream, if he was stuck, a nightmare within a nightmare, why wasn't Arthur with him, where the hell is Seto--

That Marik...

For all he knows, it could be another foul trick...

Sean keeps on fighting against them both, kicks and yells as much as he could over the aching, the loss of blood soon makes him feel light headed and the high from whatever it was Sebastian injected faded quickly.

"Get him the hell out of here, Kidman!"

A beam of light pulled Sean along and up, to where he couldn't tell and he was too scared to find out, on his own again, fingers nasty warm from sanguine fluid and gore.

He has no way of telling what happened then, if he still exists, if the world went to shit, apocalypse now.

Sean doesn't care much anymore, either. The pain stopped. That's all that matters.

Chapter Text

It smelled like disinfectant and clean bedsheets.

Sean feels a needle in his arm and bandages around his abdomen, he wasn't in pain but felt light in his head like he's taken funny drugs and suffers from a bad hangover now.

From somewhere beside him comes a monotone beeping that irks him, with each deeply taken breath before Sean finally opens his eyes it got slower for a while, only to pick up when he sees where he was and his mind tried to piece together what happened.

It's an illusion, Sean thinks to himself, there is no getting out.

The beeps turn faster to match his racing heartbeat when Sean pulls out the needle from his arm with force, blood spills on the bed and on the floor. At least it didn't hurt and he covers the spot with his right hand trying to keep the bleeding at bay, and then he flings his legs out of the bed with one swift motion; to find he was dressed in nothing but a hospital gown, no socks or shoes. The ground was cold though that didn't stop him from bursting out of the room, out of this cage with blood dripping from his arm and panic written on his face.

"Wht are you doing!?" A nurse shrieked at him, attempted to get a hold on him but he's gone feral. Nobody is going to trick him anymore, he just wants out, away from this place, forget all about this...

"Leave me the fuck alone! I want out, I want-"

"Sean!" Kieran called out to him from the nurse's station, approached him now like someone would an injured animal, Sean right now nothing but a deer in headlights.

When will this nightmare stop?

"Come on, you're fine," Kieran soothes, "Its... it's all good..." Sean couldn't tell at which point he started to cry, felt the tears run warm dow  his cheeks to mingle with the blood on the ground.

He can't do anything. Knees become weak again, his stomach hurts terribly, burns and stings where they put the bandages.

He's useless. Drops his hands and the blood keeps flowing.

He couldn't even help himself finding a way out of STEM. And everyone keeps lying to him.

 

No hurt, no headaches. Only a heavy feeling in his left arm that has him flinch. The beeping was back. Calm. Slow. Kinda soothing. Who knows what they gave him now, for sure there's a huge cocktail of drugs running through his system. Not that he minds it much.

"Hey, sleepy head." Chloe chirps, paps his hand before taking it in both of hers, she's smiling but looks exhausted. "You living?"

"Barely, I guess...?" He felt like throwing up, shuffles a bit around in the bed; they changed the bedsheets. Cleaned the floor. He remembers what happened, it's dark and bleak at the edges, but overall...

"Chloe," he starts to chew on his lower lip, fumbles with the sheets, "Is.. is this real?"

"What," the young woman snorts, "That isn't how the song goes, you know? I'm not really in the mood to sing, either..."

"Maybe I'm high..."

"You're definitely pretty fucking high. But it's okay, Sean. You've made it out!"

"What about the others!?"

She hesitates. "Kieran is talking with Kidman right now. I haven't heard anything new, either, but he told me what happened to you."

He fears. For Sebastian and Arthur, for Yugi taken there against his will, for Joseph and... Seto. No matter what happened between them, he's afraid and too far away to be of any use. Sean says no word, focuses on Chloe holding his hand and on the beeping machine next to him.

The door opens and Kieran comes storming in, phone in his hand, a big grin on his face. "You're-- oh you're awake, thank god, it's been days... I got good news-"

"Days? Are you kiddin' me?!" Sean sits up straight only to be pushed back into the pillow by Chloe.

"A week. Almost..." Chloe explains, Kieran sits on the bed opposite of Chloe. "Every time you woke it was, uh... well, let's just say the nurses and doctors don't like you much because you get smashy when you're angry."

"...Fucken hell."

Kieran sighs and tries to find his smile back. "They've made it out, all of them."

Oh, there he goes. Crying again like a baby; just not as loud, the sobs shake his shoulders,  hands cover his face. Blame it on the morphine and whatever else they used to keep him at bay, but Sean let it all out, terrified about their reaction to him like this, weak and injured, the other part, and its significantly smaller, is happy to know they're all safe and alive and fine. As fine as one can be after STEM...

And Sean still wasn't convinced he made it out.

Chloe climbs in the bed next to him, as close as she can get and gathers the crying mess in her arms to hold him there, she's murmuring to him how great he's been and that everything is gonna be fine. She's never seen him cry before. They've been such great friends ever since Arthur and Sebastian picked her up, gave her a new home; and not once did Chloe have to reassure and calm Sean like this. It's always been fun times. Great times.

That's over now. Chloe knows he isn't strong at all. Kieran knows, too.

Chloe and Kieran left after a couple more hours when Kidman confirmed things went well and everyone is on their way home now; no one came to visit Sean, though, and really he said to himself he understood. They have other things to worry about.

It's a few days later that the doctors announced he was allowed to leave as well. Sean didn't sleep well at night, almost did not sleep at all; afraid of the darkness and scared of nightmares. They removed the morphine injector two days before he could go home, plucked the sutures too. So far Sean hasn't taken a look at the healing wounds; too scared of making it seem real.

His phone's battery was dead, has been for a while now, in case anyone reached out to him he wouldn't be able to reply way before he gets home. Whenever that will be. At least the nurses let him call Arthur: the man is at home, but said he will be there to pick Sean up as soon as he could. Asked if Sean ate anything or got any money, but truth be told the only things Sean has on him was a box of cigarettes, a dead phone and a few bullets in his pockets. The clothes he's wearing are the same stained and nasty ones from STEM. He closed the jacket to hide the blood, couldn't do much about the rest though.

Then it was time to wait. Again. It felt like waiting was the only thing he has done those last few days, waiting and crying and thinking what he is supposed to do now. What to do first.

He feels left out, left behind. Forgotten and abandoned. Alone. All the bad synonyms for 'oh, wait, wasn't there someone called Sean that we knew?' and it hurts thinking this way but it was the only one he knew of right now. Sitting in front of the hospital in sunny and too hot California with a cigarette between his lips is the perfect setting to fall into those thoughts more and more.

Arthur cares, he thinks. Sebastian must be busy. But Seto? Blame it on me phone, but he could've showed up. Chloe felt bad about leaving, and maybe I shouldn't have insisted that she left to go to work this week.

The sun was setting already when Arthur pulled up into the parking lot, arms wide open and Sean stumbled right into his embrace strong and tight and it felt like home, warm and welcoming and real. For a moment Sean forgets about all the bad things, sinks further against Arthur's frame and allows himself to break a little.

"Hey boy," Arthur chuckles, carefully pats his back, "Need a ride home?"

"Mhm," all he can do was hum into his chest, wants to stay there a bit longer but its Arthur who pulls away first, "You gotta tell me what happened. Everything. You do."

They had a couple hours to kill on the road, and Arthur sure left no detail out. Yugi was safe in the end, but didn't remember exactly how he ended up there in the first place, has never been to California in his life before. Sebastian was the one stumbling upon Joseph pretty much like he did at Beacon, found the man attached to one of the machines within STEM after the dragon separated them. And... and Arthur saw his dead son Jacob. The little boy showed him the way out of the darkness. And it seemed the dark Marik couldn't control everything, didn't have the power to turn all things sour and bad.

Sean didn't like to ask, but he wants to know what happened to Seto. Arthur could only shrug at his question.

"Guess man's busy taking care of that standing order. Kieran and the lil Mister shut down their whole damn system! Kidman wanted to blow the place up- anyway, nah, I ain't got a clue what he's up to. Ain't said much. Ain't called us either, but lil Yugi did. He's worried about'chu."

Sean sighs and leans back into the seat, got a bit more comfy there. He shouldn't have asked. He shouldn't care. And...

"What about Marik?"

"I don't know much, but..." A break, a wistful glance over at Sean, "That ain't been him. Yugi told us a few things, you know? And that thing, man, or whatever it was, the core, ain't been Marik. Same as that Ruvik feller, and this crazy Italian asshole, STEM messed with 'em. Though sure, they've been nuts before but that ain't my point."

"I get you, Arthur." I think I do, he adds in his mind, never believed in magic and shit but I guess that's what happens when you hang out with Yugi.

Joseph went back to Krimson to take care of a few things, and Sebastian told Arthur he might not stick around for long. That man was trapped with Mobius and in a malfunctioning STEM for years, of course this didn't leave him  fine and dandy. Kieran left again, too, same as Kidman who, as Arthur put it, absolutely fell in love with lil baby Isaac and didn't actually want to leave again. Sean never even got the chance to say goodbye.

"Ye'r gonna take a shower because I ain't letting you sleep in a bed like that," Arthur announced driving up the hill to his house, "Stay some time, okay? Get Seto over if you want to."

"Ain't sure I do. But yeah. Yeah, I... thank you."

Its in the middle of the night when Sean takes a long overdue shower, rinses all the filth from his hair and skin. He took the bandages off; forgot if he was allowed to get the wounds wet and cleaned with usual body wash, though Sean figures it couldn't get so much worse. There's two new incisions on his stomach he figures must've been from surgery... man got no damn clue what they did, hadn't payed attention when the doctors talked to him and on second thoughts maybe he should have. He can slip into fresh comfortable clothes and for the first time in days he feels like a human again. Sean lets the injuries be, could ask Sebastian about it tomorrow...

Downstairs he goes, as quietly as possible, but finds he wasn't the only one who is still awake. Sebastian sat in the living room, on the ground next to Arthur's legs hanging from the couch, picking some toys back up to put them in a big box. Sean approaches meekly, unsure what to say, in the end simply plops down in the cushions side by side with Arthur.

"Now ye'r looking better," he jokes, "That beard could use a trimming, though."

Sean hasn't even payed attention to that, brushes a hand along his jawline and chin. Well, he's right. Maybe he can let it grow a bit. Its slightly more than a weak stubble for now.

Sebastian heaves himself up to greet Sean with a hug that wouldn't end: Sebastian apologizes countless times and Sean has a hard time figuring out why he did.

"You ain't done nothin' wrong. Saved me ass you did..."

"Ever since Beacon," Sebastian explains quietly, "Ever since then I feel everything that happens tied to Mobius is somehow my fault. Deep down I know it isn't, but... when something like this happens, its..." Sebastian sits down, legs crossed on the couch and close to Arthur, between them both.

Sean could finally understand why Sebastian changed after he found Lily. He assumed it couldn't be that big a deal, and yet... it's so much worse.

"These bastards are gone for good now, rite? Ain't there nothin' to worry about! It'll pass..."

"We're sorry we couldn't be there with you."

"Nah. You got family, after all. Chloe's been there and I been sleepin' most of the time anyway." That was a lie, sure. They don't have to know he can't sleep properly since then.

"Ye'r part of it, Sean. It's good to have you back."

"We should be going to sleep," Sebastian speaks, "You eat something first, Sean. Stuff's in the fridge."

Was he even hungry...

"A'rite. --thank you."

No doubt their cooking was the best he's ever had. If Arthur would only step up his game with the seasoning so Sebastian doesn't have to do it in secret-- maybe one day he'll learn! Sean looks forward to that scenario, the time Sebastian finally tells Arthur he had to improve on the seasoning because one single mint simply doesn't do the job. It just looks pretty nice.

Sean contemplates if he should charge his phone while he eats up, isn't quite sure of the messages he missed and if he was ready to read them in the first place. Seto couldn't really blame him for his absence, right? It ain't been Sean's fault...

To make it easier for Sebastian in the morning Sean takes care of the dishes in the kitchen, does it quietly so he doesn't wake up the whole house.

The last two steps on the stairs still creak slightly no matter how careful he was.

He entered his room the same way he left it weeks ago, with a heavy feeling in his stomach that wasn't caused by broccoli and mashed potatoes.

Despite the thoughts of pro and contra about charging his phone and checking the messages, weighing them up took too much time Sean could use to get some sleep. Hopefully. The phone is plugged in and Sean lays on the bed, waits for it to boot up.

5 missed calls. 9 messages. Whoever called him tried to do so for two days before giving up, their number not shown on the screen. Must've been some strange advertising calls again, he's had those before.

The messages weren't all from Seto. But mostly. His heart sinks a bit.

[msg received 07:58p.m Seto] We made it out. I'll be seeing you soon.

[msg received 09:51p.m Seto] Or maybe not, at least not for the next couple of days. Leaving KaibaCorp alone for a bit was a bad decision. I have to clear things up.

[msg received 04:58a.m Seto] You're not reading these, are you? Another company tried to get their hands on KaibaCorp. It's a set up, has nothing to do with Mobius. But very much alike Mobius they won't stand a chance.

[msg received 09:42a.m Seto] Someone called and asked for you, I told them you're currently not available. Probably wasn't important anyway.

[msg received 07:18a.m Seto] Its been a week. I know. I'm sorry.

Sean doesn't feel like responding. Seto seems busy and Sean wants no part in it.

[msg received 11:58p.m Kangal] u there?

[msg received 12:12p.m Kangal] new nightclub in town, perfect for the likes of us ;) should check that out asap and get a fill. BI!!!

[msg received 12:32p.m Kangal] hmu soon

[msg received 02:17p.m Yugi] Hey, Sean. I'm sorry for what happened and I feel bad that I can't remember anything... I tried, really. But I'm not injured and thanks to all of you I still have the Pharaoh. If you need anything ever, please don't hesitate so ask!! -Yugi

The phone lands on the nightstand next to him with a little thud. Except for Yugi's none of those messages were important to him and could wait until the light of day. Sean will try to get some sleep...

Chapter Text

Sleep didn't come easy to him. The day already breaks when Sean caught up on a bit of rest, kept tossing and turning on the bed. He feels not a bit refreshed a few hours later, woke up disoriented and wondering where he was before he remembered Arthur took him home last night.

Arthur and Sebastian were already gone when Sean got down into the kitchen. All he finds is a little note on the counter next to a mug and a plastic box of raspberries.

Top of the morning to you! We're off to work but there's some buns left for you. Get some coffee and rest a bit. See you in a few hours! -Seb

He supposes Chloe wasn't around, either. That house is too big for Sean to be alone in it. He ignores the promise of breakfast, puts the mug back in the cupboard and the raspberries in the fridge. Sebastian loves them more than he does, really. Knowing there wasn't anyone here for the next few hours, Sean doesn't feel like staying. Has everything he needs in his pockets for now, except for his god damn keys... They're in the bag he left at KaibaCorp.

He might as well... get them back. That's some weird as fuck deja vu.

A walk might not be so bad, could help to clear his head a little. The box of cigarettes is empty by the time Sean arrives at KaibaCorp, and the lucky one didn't have any effect today. Sean did remember the money from Bakura that's hidden in the bag, it'll last for a few days at least.

The elevator ride felt longer to him than usual, this stupid classical music from the speakers pisses him off and he's glad to be out; might as well listen to his own music on the way down again. He didn't want to stay with Seto. Didn't want to be with him. Better alone than... this. Maybe its childish, since Sean knows Seto has been busy with the company, and it's quite possibly selfish to think this way. Yet all he wants is someone to be there for him the way he thinks he deserves. Unconditionally.

Sean knocks at the door to Seto's office, waits to be allowed in. The voice from the other side of the door sends cold shivers down his spine and he actually doesn't know what to say when he enters and sees Seto there again, after a week of no contact, no word from Sean. With a heavy heart he steps into the office, leans against the door to close it and stares at Seto tired, thinner, stress written on his face. Sean heard his own voice coming from the computer speakers again until Seto paused the video and stood up, walked towards him and Sean holds his breath.

"You should've called," Seto says, "Should've messaged me you're coming," ever closer he gets, a finger's length away from him, "I would have made time for you."

Again with this.

Sean couldn't take step back with the door behind him, but he sneaks past Seto from the side, leaves him standing there.

Again with the 'you should have done this and that.'

"I'm jus' gonna pick up me bag and leave again. Ain't wanna be an inconvenience."

"...over in the other room," Sean is already on the way and Seto sounds desperate, "Its been a week. Stay for a bit, let's talk."

"I don't wanna talk." He flings the bag over his shoulder, sees that Seto still stands there watching him, his hands shaking slightly.

"But you have to. We need to have a talk."

"What kinda talk you thinkin' about? Same as back then when you said you gonna try do better? I ain't ever seen you try. Same as always."

Seto takes a step forward. Not threatening at all. He only tried to get closer to him.

"I am trying, but you don't want to see it. All you see are the mistakes I'm making, and I-"

"Yeah, 'cause that's all ye showin' me! Couldn't find the fucken time visitin' me, everything's more important than I am! I get it, I do, ye are that big businessman and ain't got no time-"

"You knew that. From the start, Sean, don't blame me for it now if that's the only complaint you have." Another step, and now Sean's afraid.

"Nah, it ain't. Ye'r actin' like there's a need to protect me, tellin' me what to do or not, fuckin' me in that messed up place jus' because ye could, that kinda shite! I hate the... I... hate all of this, it hurts. Called me a liar, you did."

Seto is quiet for half a minute, eyes remained focused on Sean's under furrowed brows. Sean was shaking now, as well, but it's not in his hands, it comes from inside like hot waves of anger or hurt, he couldn't safely say which it was, only that the feeling of it is disgusting. Its stuck deep in his lungs and heart.

"I tried-- I tried. I did. It's not my fault this happened, and not yours, either. If it hadn't been for Mobius and if you hadn't met this--- this freak---"

The inner shaking turns violent. "This 'freak' made me happier in a couple hours than ye did in half a fucken year." Hands curl into fists, Sean walks past him and Seto didn't try to stop him from leaving.

"You said you love me. You promised me you wouldn't leave again."

A hand lies on the doorknob already, Sean doesn't press it down yet. He cries with the next words, unsure why those stupid tears are bothering him now, he's angry and not sad at all... "I never promised anythin'," Sean says, voice thick, "And it really hurts me to love you."

 

This was different from the last time Sean left. He felt pressure on himself to go back instantly, to apologise and say he ain't meant all those insults and how his rage was uncalled for, but today he barely feels anything. He wipes the tears and no more follow, he goes forward determined to leave this place behind him once and for all, promises himself to ignore any possible calls and messages-- on second thoughts he could simply block Seto's number. He's going to give up this stupid job, too, might find something else in the future or could leave the city behind again like he did to Krimson with Sebastian and Arthur and Bakura. If it weren't for them Sean would sever any ties he had to this town, move somewhere else, literally anywhere was fine. He could go back to Ireland. Some more deals with junkies and it's going to be okay, earn some money and bail, get the fuck out...

In the end he knows he couldn't. Just because the city reminds him of Seto freaking Kaiba he can't go up and leave. Mobius followed them here, too, was there any way out at all..? Whenever he thinks about moving it hurt knowing not to have a place to go back to. His family was here and tragically Seto was a part of it no matter what happened between them; Arthur really loves him and even if Sebastian doesn't admit it, he felt the same about him and Mokuba.

And Sean wasn't good at goodbyes anyway.

Down on ground level, the elevator doors opening with a metallic rattle, Sean exits the building as quickly as he could, didn't look back and doesn't really know where to go now. True, he came to grab his things and keys, felt a bit more lost than before though, uncertain if going to his place was the best idea. He needed something to do, had to keep himself busy, distracted...

[msg sent 01:43p.m Yugi] hey, sorry for the late response. busy days. u okay? im glad ur back and safe, just promise me u gonna take care from now on!!! dont really got the energy to rescue u again

Hangin' around with Yugi's squad wasn't really... the best idea. He's gonna feel odd and kinda left out if he did, the only one Sean really had a connection to was Joey. The others better don't get to know what they've had together for a day or two.

Sean sits down on an old stone wall, listens to the people talk around him, maybe he will learn some things before he leaves again. There's a fighting couple with children passing by, teenagers laughing at their phones and an old lady walking her tiny dog. Nothing really reached him. Like he sits behind a wall of mirrors no one's paying attention to Sean while he can pause and watch. It beats hanging around in Seto's office, though.

Mindlessly he scrolls through unread messages on his phone, tagged posts and all that stuff without reading any of them, had no mind for the comments on his videos either even if some people asked where he's at and why he isn't posting anymore. Sure, it's been a hot month since the last one. Of course that calls for an apology, although Sean doesn't feel up to play any games currently... maybe some day. When he's happy. Or something.

Another text from Bakura shows up, for a second Sean thinks he's asking for drugs again.

[msg received 02:13p.m Kangal] tonight???

[msg sent 02:14p.m Kangal] context???

He knew the standard messages, that stupid idiot. Unless Bakura sells the drugs to other people there was no way he is in need of another batch after just a week. Or he really was that far gone. No way he forgot that Sean literally... left him behind, no calls or messages for half a year. Ever since he met Seto and got closer to him, Bakura was.. no priority anymore.

Sean should be ashamed.

[msg received 02:14p.m Kangal] (; night club?

If Sean didn't know any better he'd say Bakura just wants a free joint. Lucky him.

[msg sent 02:16p.m Kangal] get to my place then at ten or??? dont drink and drive tho

[msg received 02:16p.m Kangal] smoke weed and fly!!!!!!! 9pm sounds better imo

Bad decisions? Poorly timed? You bet. Anything to make him feel something else but anger and sadness, he'll take drugs and alcohol over whatever the fuck happened in these last few weeks. It might give him a chance to explain everything to Bakura, granted he even wanted to hear it.

How much more time does he have to kill until Marik finally gets around to call him, though? He wasn't even there but Sean didn't have much else to hold on to...

He guessed that... when more time goes by, perhaps Marik will forget. Or be too busy doing other things that getting something as trivial as a phone slips his mind and Sean won't be anything more than a blurry memory. Someone you wouldn't want to look back to. Sean can hardly tell how things are looking for Marik and from all the knows he was the one to help him move on with his encouragement to go and be free. Who knows... some people aren't meant to stay in your life.

Sean drops down from the stone wall and carries on, hands shoved deep down into his pockets crumbling the empty cigarette box. By now it was a habit to fumble with the ring, yet when his thumb wanted to spin it on his finger there ain't nothing. He remembers ice cold how he gave the ring away in STEM. His mood drops more, if even possible, and now he really hoped Marik just... forgot that he left the jewelry behind in the first place...

Home sweet home.

...he really should've bought new cigarettes and more alcohol.

Bakura could as well make himself useful if he's out for free drugs.

[msg sent 02:34p.m Kangal] can u bring some cigarettes?

[msg received 02:35p.m Kangal] well what do i get in return

[msg received 02:35p.m Kangal] BJ???

[msg sent 02:36p.m Kangal] that aint happening

[msg received 02:37p.m Kangal] >:(

Sean locks the door and gets to work, searches for papes and the grinder and his stash to save time tonight. There certainly was enough left for three or four, but two was more than enough. Been a while since he's rolled one. Some things you never forget, it's like riding a bicycle.

He decides to try and get some sleep, set the alarm on his phone to seven in the afternoon and unless anyone texts him he might actually be able to catch some Z's. The sun was shining and there is no need to be afraid of the darkness; here's to hoping the nightmares stay away. And if not, well... well, Sean hasn't tried sleeping drunk yet. Tonight, perhaps, to see if alcohol makes it any easier.

Chapter Text

Its half past eight when someone rang the door bell, Sean still tried to decide what shirt to wear: he opens up anyway, shirt- and shameless. Bakura looks like he didn't mind that in the slightest.

"Ohoh, maybe I do get some head tonight after all." Bakura grins and comes in, brown eyes scanned Sean up and down stopping for a while at the wounds. Bakura looked great today, had his hair tied back in a loose ponytail, some strands left out and tucked behind his ear showing the piercings he has, wears a black shirt and the signature leather jacket.

"Guess we gotta find you someone to fuck later," Sean teases, shrugs and turns around going back to dress up, "Are you tryin' to flirt?"

"Trying? I'm fucking desperate. You've been flirting the last time we met, takes one to know one. What's with your sugar daddy?"

Truth be told, for all the time he knew Bakura they've never had relationships that lasted longer than a week or two, and at some point Bakura gave up trying to find a long term partner, Sean regrets he's never really helped him out in that department and was only there for, uh, benefits. That sort of thing stopped when Sean met Seto, he came clean and didn't care much about Bakura anymore who continued to buy drugs from him, any other advances were crushed before they truly came up. He can only blame himself for it. Dropping a friend for a relationship was a shit move. And Sean has no clue if Bakura ever forgave him that.

"Ugh," he rolls his eyes, "Fuck him..."

"Nooo! I'm not that desperate. What's up?" Bakura leans at the door frame to Sean's bedroom and watches poor Sean trying to find something to wear.

"Nothing's up, over 'n done it is. Uh, there been a couple things happenin' and, yeah, guess it's better that way."

"Ah," Bakura thinks for a second, and then, "So, you need a new sugar daddy?"

"Pff-- you ain't got the money for me." He picks out a white open sided tank top, wears ripped jeans to it.

"You forgot who buys all those drugs from you? Let's say if you would expand on your services-"

"Shit, do I look like a hooker to you-"

"-for me alone of course, it's a win-win situation because I'm dying for-"

Sean interrupts Bakura by throwing a hoodie at him, hits right in the face. He's confused for a second and then begins to laugh. "You never let me finish, Sean."

"Yeah, same to you."

Cue offended Bakura-noises. He still looks at Sean like he's the whole God damn meal, tosses the hoodie on the bed and takes a step closer to Sean picking the fabric oh his top in place, hasn't even noticed Bakura yet until he was right in front of him.

"I'd say you looked better without it." He smells like warm chocolate and leather-- Sean ain't got a fucking clue how else to describe it-- and thinks he never noticed the way Bakura flirts like this before.

"Does that kinda thing usually work on anyone?" If someone liked that straight forward right to the fucking point attitude, then maybe- and if Sean wasn't in such a strange spot in his life he'd damn well enjoy it.

"Fuck, I thought it worked on you? Guess I'm a little rusty after all." He shrugs slightly, tucks the hair back behind his ear. "How big is the chance I get to see you naked tonight when you're drunk?"

"Nah, ain't there a chance," Sean slips past him with a grin, turns on the stereo in the living room, "Get yourself a feller from that club, huh?"

"Ugh, but that includes work. I'll have to buy them drinks and all that. Maybe even be nice to them, can you imagine the toll? You know the worst of me already and still love me for it."

"Y'know... the last feller I picked up was fine with jus' one beer and a single damn cig. Talk to 'em and take 'em home with you. It ain't that hard."

"Ohhh, you've gone thrashing some place without me? I'm disappointed..." Bakura plops down on the couch, arms over the backrest and his head leant back. "Let's see who's the first to pick a guy up. Or girl I suppose, its whatever."

"Jokes on you," Sean chimes on his way to the kitchen to get vodka and energy drinks from the fridge, "I can get anyone with me Irish charm." He hears Bakura laughing and his futile attempts to reply through laughter. Glasses and stuff are set on the table and even though the laughter slowly subsides Bakura still didn't calm down.

"You're right, I mean if it works on douchebags like Kaiba, yeah, that's some kind of magic you got working for you."

At first he wanted to tell Bakura to stop bringing Seto up, yet coming off as weak and hurt by everything that happened isn't what Sean wants to do at this time, or never to be exact, especially not around Bakura. He can't really tell how Bakura might react. It's too early to ruin this night.

"Maybe its Irish luck?" Bakura muses, opens the vodka and pours plenty into both glasses, Sean added the energy drink.

"Could be," he says, "Either way it works, sure."

After a few drinks, if five can be called a few however, things started to get interesting. By now it's almost eleven and the joints were untouched for now.

"Say... you got me cigarettes?" As long as Sean was sitting down the world wasn't spinning too much. Thoughts completely wiped from his head same as critical thinking but damn does he remember his request and Bakura's too, for that matter, could really go for a smoke right now. Bakura, on the other hand hasn't forgotten about it either.

"Yes, of course I do," he pats the left pocket of his jeans where you could see the hidden box, "Comes with a price, though."

"Funny bein' on the other side for a change." Sean leans in, eyes half-lidded and lips parted a little. Both hands get a hold on Bakura's waist, prepared him with a squeeze for the strong pull that follows short to have him on his back. Immediately Bakura reached for the back of Sean's neck tugging him further down, he licked his lips seeing Sean bent over him like that, sure notices his hands dragging lower on his body, lips hovering above each other for the longest time only for Sean to sneak the cigarettes from his pocket.

"Thanks for that," Sean's grinning and blows a kiss, "I'll let you have one."

"You little fucking--" Bakura drags him close once more, fingers in Sean's hair, the other hand rests on his backside. "--bastard." Damn the look in his eyes, furious and desperate, fingers practically clawing into his skin to keep Sean close, next he does is put a leg on Sean's ass to pin his body down.

Bakura lifts his head for one messy kiss where he instantly draws Sean's lower lip between his teeth, bites gently and soothes the spot with his tongue shortly after and to hear Sean moan into his mouth, feel him flinch from that bit of pain was quite enough for Bakura to thrust his hips up and writhe against Sean, motions frantic and sloppy and there's the alcohol to blame for that.

Sean breaks the kiss, though, grins at him and almost laughed at Bakura's expression of utter disappointment. "Are you fucking serious?" Another wiggle of his lower body, cock half hard tenting his pants, "Don't fucking stop like that!"

"Nah, lemme have some fun." Sean peels Bakura's leg off of him, sits on the couch between them and rather tears the foil from the box instead of giving Bakura what he asked for.

"Its no fun with you," Bakura acts offended, cups himself through his pants and throws his head back with a suppressed moan, "Do I have to do everything myself?"

[[

"...go ahead. Help ye'rself." He lights the first cigarette of today, takes a long and slow drag. He couldn't believe his eyes when Bakura honestly opened his pants laying on his back like that, wiggled them down along with his underwear all in one go exposing his erection half hard and swelling more with the following touches he gave himself, eyes never leaving Sean's.

Not for a split second Bakura dared to look away, moans shamelessly, bites his lips, begs for attention.

"Sean," it sounds so sweet, voice drips like honey, "Sean, why don't you help me out?" His breath comes hard and shallow, paired with the movements of his hand he got himself off with. "Sean~"

"I think you're doin' fine." Sean grins, enjoys watching for sure and honestly, the sight of Bakura masturbating right in front of him, hot and bothered and god damn desperate is enough to make Sean feel quite the same. He took his sweet time smoking, though, strokes Bakura's inner thigh with his free hand.

"Seaaan... be a good boy..."

Sean gets to his knees and gives Bakura his cigarette before he settles between the other's legs swallowing his cock whole: Bakura fists his hand in Sean's hair, the other holds that cigarette. He cries out curses and appreciation, fucking finally, god fuck yes, do it faster, fuck fuck fuck, yes...!

Lips tight around his cock he bobbed his head  to match Bakura's moans and the thrusts of his hips into Sean's mouth, looks straight into brown hazy eyes wet from tears, that pretty little flush on Bakura's cheeks yet another treat to appreciate. Moaning and swearing becomes one when Bakura spills in his mouth shivering and hot to the touch, eyes glued to Sean sucking him off, his tongue lapping at the tip after swallowing around him, open-mouthed kisses follow the tentative licks along the shaft still swollen and wet and throbbing softly.

"Fuck- Sean- oh, fuck--"

He takes the cigarette back, had to light it up again with a wicked grin on his lips and Bakura's taste in his mouth. The man still lays there breathing heavily, cock out and flaccid but hey, he's smiling too. Who wouldn't?

]]

"Do it again~" Its a purr, a sweet invitation even though Bakura gets dressed again and sits up trembling in the aftermath of his orgasm. "Tonight, I don't fucking care when and how, just do it again."

"Ahaha, how's that challenge goin' then? Get ye'rself someone else to suck your cock and fuck you good."

"Pfff... I'm not the one getting fucked, though. Do I give off submissive vibes?"

Sean blows the smoke from his mouth and ends up chuckling, the burning in his throat bad karma. "Begged me to suck you off you did. A fuckin' sub is what you are."

"...you should know better," Bakura kisses Sean's neck, wiped hair to the side for better access and an excuse to pull at it gently, "I'll show you again later."

Shivers run down his spine, his cock straining inside his pants, how unfair of Bakura to get off while Sean ain't gotten the chance to. He puts out the cigarette even though Bakurs kept him from moving too much, soon pressed the palm of his hand between Sean's legs for little rubs and squeezes through the fabric. Sean bites back a moan, grabs Bakura's wrist, suddenly uncertain of everything--

Bakura sighs and pulls away by himself to fill up the glasses again, one promptly reached out for Sean to take. "How much more does it take to get you drunk, anyway?"

"I can handle quite a bit. It's in me blood."

"Literally," he snorts, soon notices the joints still laying there so tempting, "You wanna get up and fly? Let's bail afterwards."

"Mhm. Bathroom it is, then." The last thing he wants is the stench of weed in the living room or bedroom, smoking is meant for the bathroom alone where it didn't bother him, and he could open the window once they're done anyway. The drink is emptied in little to no time, but getting up wasn't quite as fun as Sean deemed it to be--- Bakura holds his arm, joints and lighter in the other hand.

"Think we can make it to the club tonight?"

"We better do! I ain't gotten dressed up for you alone."

"Oh, you didn't..?"

Sean shuts the bathroom door and covers the gap underneath with a towel to keep the smoke inside, joins Bakura sitting on the floor with his back against the bath tub.

Sean wants to ask if Bakura thought of the lighter but he already reached the lit bowl over and sticks it between Sean's lips with a grin. Sean sinks a little lower down the tub, head leans on Bakura's shoulder and as soon as he breathes in the cannabis-vapor there's this sweet lovely wave of immediate relaxation. Anxiety? Don't know her, never heard of her.

"How big are my chances tonight?" Bakura asks after some time, the narrow bathroom filled with twirls of thick smoke. "As big as yours?"

"Bigger," Sean chuckles, makes himself comfortable, "Ye'r handsome as fuck. Get 'em all I say!" Alcohol and cannabis are a horrible combination, it makes the world spin violently but the sensation wasn't frightening anymore. Feels funny, and it's an excuse to hold tight onto Bakura sitting next to him with his legs spread.

"Maybe I find me a sweet little Irishman. Who can tell?" Now its his turn to laugh quietly, the tremble carried over to Sean who sinks lower in response, lands with a groan in the other's lap and looks up at Bakura.

"Ye don't even speak Irish... uh... waiiiit. Are ye talkin' 'bout me?"

Bakura laughs and pets Sean's hair, drags long fingers through ginger curls to make a mess out of them. That shit never felt so good. "Why would I need to speak Irish? You sound funny when you talk, it's your best feature."

"Pah! Bitch, I got all 'em great features besides me accent! Y'know how fucken flustered people get when I'm talkin' dirty like that? Eheh..."

"Ohh, I can imagine..."

"That's probably a weird question but, uh," Sean puts the joint between his lips, inhales, "Are you British?" He whispers, solemnly, curious and high as a kite.

"I'm not British. I'm just gay."

"Ah... why not?"

"...are... are you asking why I'm not British?" He doesn't know whether to laugh or cry, though the THC says it's better to giggle.

"Well, why ye wanna fuck the Irish?"

Bakura thinks for a second. Then flicks Sean's forehead, acts offended and couldn't stop laughing. "Jesus fucking Christ! You think this is funny?"

"I ain't seen ye cryin', so ya. Too much? Too soon? Least I know what I'm talkin' of, I do."

"Not to stray from politics and history, but there's just one Irish bastard I'd fuck."

"Hmm..." He closes his eyes, inhales deeply and falls quiet for a bit, his head still in Bakura's lap and the man's fingers continue to play around with Sean's hair. "There's only one guy I wanna fuck but like... make him happy 'n all, too."

"Are you talking about Kaiba again?" The stroking stops for a second.

"Nooooo! No... that's an ass I wanna kick, honestly." Well, does he? They've both made mistakes. But Sean was, deep inside, more hurt and broken than angry about Seto's behavior.

"Oho, the tension... can I guess who? Please, I'm good at guessing."

"Nah, you ain't, 'n don't even know him. Me lips are sealed."

"You're no fun... is it Joey?"

"Been there. Did that." He shoots Bakura a quick look to see him stare in disbelief. "You ain't heard?"

"Fuck... Who else is there... shit, I'm bad at this. Is it-"

"Don't ye fucken dare say Yugi." Sean looks right through him.

"Awh, okay... Can't you give me a hint? Just. One, please." Ain't as great at guessing like he thought, huh? By that time there's nothing left to smoke except standard cigarettes, and still they sit in the bathroom messing around, bundled up like this.

"He's Egyptian." Thinking of Marik was quite enough to send butterflies roaming through his stomach, fluttering and pleasantly so the way they made him feel, THC simply adds to the sensation and makes him close his eyes to daydream for a bit...

"How the fuck did you get your hands on a dude from Egypt... you've been on vacation or something?"

Sean shakes his head. "Guy's a duelist 'n been at the tournament." Bakura inhales sharply, puts his free hand on Sean's chest fingertips first.

"Marik fucking Ishtar," Bakura is caught between laughter and utter disbelief expressed through curses, "Shit, I'm not blaming you-"

"So, ye met him! He's hot as fuck. I wanna... ugh, shite..." Side effects of marijuana include extreme horniness and little sense for possible consequences. Also zero shame about literally anything. "I miss him." And melancholia. Some sadness sprinkled in between.

Good thing Bakura knows how to counter this.

"Lovesick fool," Bakura drags him up with him, both somewhat unsteady on their feet, "Let's go now and find someone else for you."

But I want Marik-- he isn't saying it, opened his mouth to speak but Bakura is faster than him, seals the words with his own lips and tongue dragging Sean in for a kiss that takes his breath away.

Chapter Text

Ready to go with condoms and a small bottle of lube in his pockets Sean waited at the door for Bakura to fix his hair in the bathroom; things might have gotten a little out of hand during their last kiss and Sean really enjoys to mess up Bakura's hairstyle. He'd do it again if it wouldn't make Bakura sad about fixing it time after time again.

"What else am I s'pposed to hold on to?" Sean calls over hearing Bakura curse at himself in the mirror. "Its temptin' me."

"My butt? Anywhere, seriously! Keep that for later." Oh, he ain't really mad, Sean can tell. As soon as Bakura comes out, hair tied back and pretty, they're good to go. Sean had checked his phone in the meantime for new messages, there are a few from Seto, Arthur, Sebastian and Yugi too--

Bakura snatches it right out of his hand and throws it over on the couch. "You don't need that tonight," he says, "If something happens I got mine."

"Wait! Hold the fuck up, why are you allowed? That ain't fair."

Bakura sighs theatrically, smooths a hand down Sean's back guiding him through the door. "Because I'm not waiting for news from my ex. You shouldn't text while drunk."

"Still ain't fair." He would pout. But Bakura wouldn't see it right now. Sean wraps an arm around his middle and they leave the building like that into the chilly night, the fresh air hitting him like a fucking tornado. He blinks a couple times, inhales deeply and once more leans further against Bakura who gets sidetracked.

"No fucking but cuddling is just fine with you? You're weird."

"If you call that cuddlin' there's somethin' wrong with you instead..." He wonders how far it was, if they'll make it to the club without being led astray like it tends to happen to a bunch of drunken high gays out on the street and should Bakura see a dog somewhere they're thoroughly fucked. One of the reasons why Sean keeps that man tugged close in his arm. And in the end Bakura stopped to complain about that completely, remembers the way despite his current state; at this time there was no queue in front of the club. The location is close to the main station in an old building that was a two level store once, but Sean doesn't quite remember what they sold here. Today it looks much more interesting though, 'Cascada' written on a flashing sign in big blue letters above the entrance and music coming from behind closed doors.

That security guy eyes the both of them suspiciously for a second and Bakura greets him with a cheeky grin and waves at him before they showed their IDs.

"...can I smoke in there?" Both walked through the front doors and stand in the short hallway to give the jackets over at the reception, the lady there looks like she came straight out of a video game, blue hair, arms covered in colourful tattos, too many piercings to count them.

"I think there's an area on the second floor, yeah. Let's check it out." Now wasn't the time to cuddle so Sean keeps his distance to Bakura, wouldn't want to ruin his chances here. He could barely hear his own thoughts over the loud blasting music even in the stairway where a couple drunken fools made out on the steps; getting past them was the real challenge.

"Pull them out, cowboy!" Bakura raises his voice and although he spoke right next to his ear Sean barely caught what he said. The stench of smoke on the second floor though, that's enough a sign for Sean to do as he said, takes out the cigarettes and lighter. Again Bakura takes the cig he got right from between Sean's lips and lit it for himself, grins at Sean's offended expression. "Bitch!"

Oh, Bakura sure heard him.

They search for a place at a bar table for starters, once found it's time to check the crowd from a spot on the sides. If it hadn't been for Bakura getting him bothered and frustrated, well maybe Sean still would search for someone to hook up with since he's pretty drunk-- and horny with a bit of sad sprinkled in between thanks to the drug.

"I think," Bakura shouts, "We should go our own ways for a while. Or they'll think we're together."

"Go! Be free! Don't lemme stop you."

Bakura disappears into the crowd with a wink and mouths him a 'good luck', Sean boosted with confidence and driven by that primal urge to just... let loose. Fuck it all away.

The cigarette was almost burnt down completely when Sean finally saw somebody interesting not too far away from him, standing with a bottle of beer at the bar not talking to anyone.

He looked like Marik, tanned skin and his hair blond, slightly curly but it reached further down and was darker than Marik's. Almost the same built if not more muscular. Sean's heart drops all the way down into his stomach, cigarette forgotten and flicked in the ashtray on the table. Feels like a fucking deja vu. The worst kind. Surreal. For a long long second Sean thought its him, fueled by hope and heartache when he goes over no second thoughts spent, stops to stand next to him flashing a smile, spoke to the man so he would look at Sean.

God, he's got dark eyes but the same love for eyeliner and jewelry like Marik has. It's not gold, ain't as much, and the eyeliner wasn't as pretty... good enough though.

"You waitin' for someone?" The loud music was a great excuse to come a bit closer to him, and the stranger didn't mind it. He's smiling when he replies.

"Someone who can buy me a drink maybe." Perhaps Sean was too far gone and it's his imagination, but to him this man sounds like Marik with a heavy cold. Voice a lot deeper but just as smooth. God damn honey.

"Today's your lucky day, then," Sean tells him, "Its on me."

"Well nice to meet you!" He laughs and puts the empty bottle on the counter, "I'm Mark."

Close enough.

Fuck.

"I'm Sean and you just saved me night." He gets Mark another beer and one for himself as well. It ain't berries this time, though.

This shit can't be real.

Mark comes closer, head bowed a little being taller than Sean for a good two inches to talk next to his ear. "Had a bad day?"

Sean tries his best not to laugh at it, remembering how hard shite hit the fans for like the last weeks. "Pretty much. I guess it's gotten slightly better now tho."

"What does it take to make it even better?" Rught as Sean wanted to drink from his beer that man says something like this, couldn't be any more obvious.

"Lemme hear your ideas," Sean tells him, "I ain't very much creative."

Mark runs his hand down on Sean's arm to take his hand and pull him closer. "A quick one, maybe."

That wasn't a maybe, it's 'now or never'. Instead of a response Mark gets a grin and Sean takes his hand, leaves the bottles behind on a free table and he drags the man along to the restroom stalls at the other end of the room; in the corner of his eyes he sees Bakura and shoves his middle finger up.

"Fuck you, Sean!"

[[

Getting through the crowd proved as a real task, people would bump into them but Mark held on as tight as possible to Sean's hand until they reached the bright spacious restroom and Sean shoved him into the first stall available, not a damn second wasted now, no doubts gnawing at him but instead it's the man's teeth on his lips quite eager, his breath hot on Sean's skin. He dragged him closer, his back against the locked door and through ragged breaths and hands roaming down in their bodies it's his mind that goes straight to dream about Marik kissing him like that, Marik's hands all over him, lips on his neck leaving bites and hickeys.

He's fine with that.

Mark goes to his knees and fumbles with button and zipper of Sean's pants, opens them up and pulls them down, mouth already flush against the bulge in his underwear leaving wet spots until he finally tucks them down as well and his erection sprung right against hungry lips and an eager tongue lapping at protruding veins and the glistening tip. Sean curses under his breath, imagination runs wild, all he sees behind closed eyelids was Marik on the ground before him sucking his cock for the first time, his fingers shaking a bit while touching him but full lips make up for the uncertainty and god, he's willing to please.

Sean buries his hands in the other's hair soft to the touch, fun to play with and curl it around his fingers while he gives encouraging strokes to the man's head trying to keep his voice down-- some moans slip past his lips when he swallows the tip and drags his tongue flat against it before taking him in halfway; lips so fucking tight around his cock Sean almost loses what's left of decency...

Voices from beyond the stall didn't bother him much, there's laughing and chattering, a few moans from the stall next to them and Sean guesses if they ain't the only ones he might as well go all out, fuck his throat and moan loudly while doing so.

Mark quickens his pace on Sean's cock, takes him whole and moans sweetly around it; one of his hands pressed flat on Sean's ass and a finger already circles the hole between round cheeks, probing with patience and curiosity. Electricity runs in hot waves through his body, centred on each damn spot this man touches and kisses and licks, pleasure builds up gradually with every damn inch his finger digged deeper, dry and raw, it hurt of course, but how should Marik know, he's never done it before--

Sean sighs, bites his tongue and lips then when Mark pulls away from him and makes him turn around, ruthlessly fingers his ass, spits on his hand to make it a bit more bearable. "I got lube," Sean wheezes, "In me pocket."

"Good to know, but I'm not done with you yet." Finger makes place for his tongue poking inside him and involuntarily Sean arches his back with a loud gasp, reaches around him to drag Mark's head flush against him. Wasn't this supposed to be a quick fuck? God, this could go on all night and Sean wouldn't care...

Fingers and tongue work him good, get him spread nicely and Sean needn't remind him of the lube; he gets a condom, too, ripped the package open still eating Sean out and he could hear some shuffling...

Head heavy and eyes still closed in his haze Sean gets turned around again, groans when Mark bends him over. Sean holds himself up one hand at the wall and the other on the toilet, silently crying out when Mark spreads his cheeks and enters him, deliberately and gently, digs deeper with each damn breath and god, they're both breathing heavily.

He gets fucked fast and hard, couldn't stop the moans from slipping anymore and no one was around to care, his voice echoes from the tiled walls and the music was loud enough anyway--- Sean whined and cried out with every hard thrust, begs him to go faster, almost called him Marik while doing so. He's so glad for this position, it goes perfect with his imagination, the dream of Marik taking him rough and ruthless like this, hands on his hips and cock inside his ass hitting that sweet spot over and over with ease. Tears sneak into the corners of his eyes feeling the tightness in his stomach grow, unbearable the heat and ache from behind... he begins to stroke himself towards orgasm and it came quick and loud while in his head he's screaming for Marik and calls him the sweetest endearments, tells him how good he's doing fucking him like that and for a moment Sean might have actually stopped pumping himself to tell Marik how much he missed him and how much he wants to be with him, but he remembers this wasn't his reality and might not ever be.

Tears spill just like the cum from his cock, down onto the ground leaving trails behind. The orgasm felt empty, worthless. A sob shakes his body when Mark pulls out after spilling inside him, pulls Sean up and gives him a little kiss on his neck from behind.

]]

"You'll feel that in the morning," the man says and chuckles, "And think of me when you do."

"Hah..." No, he won't, "Yeah, sure." He pulls his pants back up, shakes and trembles and feels like crying and shouting, only hears Mark thrashing the used condom and open the stall door again, yet Sean couldn't care less. Hit with a wave of deep shame and sadness, longing and yearning, he goes outside shortly after and hoped he won't see this guy who looked so much like Marik again. After all he's nothing but a cheap discount version of him.

"Hey princess, looks like you've won-- what the fuck happened?!" Bakura spooks him coming from behind putting a hand on his shoulder to yank Sean around looking just as shocked as Sean seeing him cry silently, eyes red and swollen. "I'm going to kill that fucker-"

"No, no, he ain't done a thing..."

"Fuck that, why the hell are you crying then? Did he hurt you?" Bakura drags him to the side and Sean leans in defeat at the wall, head bowed and crying still, mind races with stupid thoughts.

"No," not he did, "Gimme a minute, I be fine-"

"You- Okay. Whatever..." Bakura gave his drink to Sean along with a cigarette now lit and Sean's hands shake badly reaching for both. "You're a fucking mess, idiot. What did that guy do to you?" Bakura asks again, a stubborn and furious ball of fluff. A weird urge rises in his chest to laugh, let it all out in tears of joy instead sadness, but the bubbles won't come for Sean. He takes the biggest drag ever, held the smoke in his lungs just as long and when he finally talks it's all a jumble.

"I- I miss Seto and I... no, fuck, no, I don't-! He... The guy looks like Marik, he does! And I..! I miss him so much... I..." Last bit's a whine with more tears and trembling fingers holding that cigarette and Sean empties the glass swift not using the straw, not caring what the hell it was. Vodka-E apparently, it burns.

"No, you don't," Bakura replies harsh, fed up and annoyed, "You're drunk and he's gone, okay? That guy isn't coming back and Kaiba better stays where he fucking is! Move on, will you? Man, look, you can't keep going on like this. You're... not like that."

The music was too loud for his ears and Bakura's voice managed to shout above it, close enough to Sean to be met with him raging upon those words, weak tiny fists tried making an effort punching the shit out of Bakura but if anything its gentle petting on his chest. "You ain't been there for months. You know shit, Bakura."

The glass threatens to slip from his hand when Bakura grabbed his shirt and yanked, smoke from the cigarette stings in their eyes and Sean blinks, surprised, afraid to a certain extent.

"I've known your ungrateful ass for years! Left Krimson City behind with you and all I get is a fucking text once in a month and drugs when I ask for them! You bailed on me because you found better friends," he releases his grip, takes the empty glass and wants to leave, "Look who's here now, taking care of you dumb fuck."

Now that's what it looks like when shite hits the fans. At first Sean didn't stop Bakura from disappearing into the ground, petrified-- and fucking ashamed like he should be-- first it's the cigarette he drops in the ashtray and then its adrenaline kicking his ass to go after him, thinking he's lost enough, god fuck, they both did and Sean didn't have a second to spare for Bakura the past year, ignored his messages and thought he would take it well.

The first dude he grabbed at wasn't Bakura, gave Sean an angry stare and yelled at him to fuck off. He caught up to him just before the exit to the first floor, pulls Bakura back and almost fell over in the process, both now in between dancing people, drunken and high and kinda sad.

"Fuck you! Fuck you, fuck everything about you," Bakura shouts over Sean's shoulder, long nails push into his back, "You gave zero shits about me for MONTHS!"

"I ain't got no excuse." Sean refuses to let him go now, Bakura doesn't put up much of a fight anyway. "I don't wanna screw this up like I screwed up everythin' else in me life."

"Then stop chasing after people that don't fucking care about you. Don't you dare forget me."

Seto didn't care, Sean thinks, and how big was the chance that Marik will show up again? Maybe it's the cannabis, perhaps the alcohol, but he felt more certain that nobody in his life was ever meant to stay. Not his Dad, certainly not his mother. Chloe wanted to leave for Los Angeles or Seattle or New York once she's older, Sebastian and Arthur can't always be there for him. There's not a single romantic feeling that Bakura stirred in him, he doesn't get sex confused with love, doesn't stay in the morning, doesn't send heart emojis or calls him sweet names. Its raw and rough, has been for years, between drug abuse and some minor crimes there was nothing they wouldn't share with each other.

And he almost threw that away.

"I could never forget about you."

Chapter Text

To nobody's surprise Bakura was a great dancer and knew exactly how to get his way with Sean. It ain't really his music but was good enough for dancing, everything slaps when you're drunk. Not for a damn second did he take his eyes off Bakura and so did he with hands roaming his body and painted nails dragging over his bare arms leaving trails of red for a little while. Sean had no way of telling the time, drank more and more not caring too much about the amount of money he spent on alcohol this night, doesn't regret a single drop of liquor feeling increasingly light headed as the world spins around him, music louder and louder in his ears and Bakura's shouts barely carry any meaning to him. He's hungry as hell, horny as fuck and sweaty from dancing, skin slightly wet to the touch.

Bakura draws him in, both hands cupping Sean's neck and thumbs lay underneath his chin as he seems to try for a kiss; lips only hover, drag over skin tasting of sweat, breath fans moist and warm so incredibly inviting. Eyes locked upon each other, both pairs hazed with thirst the seconds turned to minutes and hours caught in their own little world where nobody else seems important anymore and what mattered were their hands on each other, lips so very close without ever meeting.

Sean wondered who would break the spell first. Who would dive right in with tongue and teeth and claws, drawing blood and swallowing moans from the other drinking it up like the sweetest wine.

"Fuck me," Sean mouths, no sound but movement, "Bakura, fuck-"

He earns a grin and the long awaited kiss, circling tongues and bumping noses, teeth in his lip and nails on his ass desperate and annoyed at the fabric in their way. Sean's hands slide under Bakura's shirt to feel the scars on his sides, stomach heaving with breaths and impatience.

"Right here, on the dancefloor?~" Bakura bit his earlobe, breathes out and Sean felt him grin once more-- he knows Bakura would.

"I'm gonna scream, ain't want them hear me."

"Awh," hair is brushed behind his ear for more licks, bites and pulls with teeth, "What keeps you from screaming here?"

Good, honestly, the thought was absolutely exciting.

"I've had enough public sex for tonite! Let's go before I change me mind."

"I'm disappointed," Bakura speaks into his ear but chuckles before looking at Sean, little beads of sweat between his brows, "I asked first, anyway."

"You said we're playin'! And you fucken lost." Which makes it the first time Bakura did. Safe to say Sean was pretty proud, even if the aftermath sucked hard.

"Ah, I'd beat your ass in a duel anytime. Instead of life points you'll be losing your clothes, though."

"Deal." Not this time though. He's a bad loser.

They somehow make it down the stairs without slipping and breaking their necks, full of giggles and curses sure, but safe in the end on the last step where Bakura sighed in relief. He would've almost forgotten about the jackets at the reception but the lady yelled after Bakura rushing to the exit first.

"....you could've told me, you asshole!" Bakura curses, actually embarrassed because Sean already had his jacket on and stood there shrugging.

"Thought you ain't want it. Its funny, watchin' you angry like that 'cause you ain't really intimidating. Jus'... fluffy."

"Oh. Oh, I'm going to make you cry," Bakura yanked his leather jacket from the counter and threw it over his shoulder, "Fucking wait for it." The lady behind the wooden counter laughs and wishes them goodnight with a lil wave, Sean making fingerguns at her.

"Fluffy!" Bakura shouts once outside, muscles tensed and arms up in the air, "You little fuck. Do you want your ass whipped?"

"...maybe." The image of whipped cream plopped up in his mind and for some reason he had to laugh, Bakura next to him more and more furious and confused.

"Ahah, you'd like that. No whipping! Stop laughing, oh my god...!"

"Listen-" he tries to speak between wheezes, barely able to hold himself up, "Listen, Bakura- I jus' thought- I dunno why but- whipped cream? I can't-"

"I'm not going to whip your cream, Sean." Maybe the sentence sounded as ridiculous when he thought it up, chances are Bakura didn't think at all before saying it but he ends up snorting and laughs. It gets worse. They could hardly walk and the way home would be a long one.

Sean looks at the ground and his feet, hums a little. "You want me Irish cream tho-" He bumps right into Bakura standing there on the sidewalk looking like he's fucking done with his shit, utterly amused but so tired of the endless puns and nasties. As if he ain't the master.

"Fuck. I sure do," he needed to catch Sean and keep him up, tries to drag him along, "Sean, that's kinda nasty."

"I know."

"I like it."

"I know." More laughter albeit a little quieter for now, so unless they wanted angry people screaming at them from the windows and end up with bruises from thrown shoes they'll have to keep it down a bit.

The way to Sean's apartment dragged on and on, felt more and more like the journey to Mount Doom and like they've been walking for hours. Bakura still wouldn't tell him how late it actually was. At some point Sean gave up asking him. If he sees the sun rising he'll know anyway, or that's what Bakura told him.

"Heeey... hey, Bakura. Hol'up..." Sean gets his keys and squints a bit trying to get the keychain off, that dumb little metallic shamrock he got from Seto and now he wanted to get rid of it. "Take that... thing and jus'... get rid of it for me." If he tried in the morning he might hesitate again. Might put it somewhere and keep it. Sean remembers the letter, too, hidden in the box along with his rare card.

All this shit can go to hell.

Bakura was a little puzzled but he got the spirit, takes the keychain and flops it in his pocket. "Why though? Is it cursed?"

"Its from Seto." Getting the key into the hole was even more complicated than getting the keychain off. Bakura really wasn't much help trying to guide his hands.

"Heh, I'm gonna think of something to get rid of it. Anything else you want to trash?" Actually, yeah of course, but he was bitter to have changed the mood now. The door slams shut, Bakura is behind him looping his arms around Sean's middle and urged him to lean back. "I'm going to blow his shit up." Lips ghost along his ear, tongue darts out for deliberate licks and more whispered words, nothing more but a sweet exhale.

"Why are you even thinking about this now? Tell me all about it later and I swear I'll break his neck afterwards."

"It hurts. Y'know-"

Bakura bites his earlobe, sharp teeth forced into him hard enough to make him squirm. "Then let's fuck away the pain."

Sean inhales, quivers with the following bites and soft fingers circling around his nipples through the fabric of his shirt, nails barely pressing them down and squeezing until they're hard and aching. His mind goes off the rails, wild the way he grabs Bakura's ass from his position dragging him flush against him and he wiggles a bit for more teasing, more hisses from Bakura letting Sean know he's doing it good like that.

"Where do you want it, little one?" Bakura leaves hickeys along his neck in spots where Sean wouldn't be able to hide them, bites and licks at his skin, erases the slight ache with kisses and blows. "Maybe you want to be the one begging, like I did this evening," Bakura peels the jacket from his shoulders, let it slip to the ground, "Do it for me."

Bakura always wants him begging and messed up, to see him flustered and desperate, found other ways to achieve it every time. Who was Sean to complain.

A moan drums in his chest, deep down and drawn out long, Sean turns to face him and starts undressing. Slowly so, eyes on Bakura who didn't care to take his clothes off, stood fully dressed and grinning, waiting. Sean opens the button of his pants, zipper goes down and so does the clothing, the man dressed in nothing but his boxers already stained wet and tenting. He didn't do more, though, not until Bakura opened his mouth to complain at which point Sean simply turns around, walks over to the couch and sits down, legs spread, stroking himself through his underwear.

"C'mon," he says impatiently, "Help me out." Bakura just shakes his head. At least he begins to take off his clothes without taking his eyes away from Sean who groaned in defeat and helped himself instead. Slides underwear down and strokes his cock slowly, watches Bakura undress, notices a new scar he didn't remember seeing before-- along his upper left arm a bright red streak like a knife got dragged through. Sean leans his head back and to the side and Bakura caught him staring at his arm.

"Oh," he kneels next to him and pets Sean's hair, "That story is quite funny. I'll tell you someday."

"Can't wait-" He pumps faster, eyes closed and breath shallow, lips parted, "Bakura, please..."

Just a hum of approval but no actual touches come from him, Sean does it harder, faster, moans his name and curses at him, doesn't beg like Bakura wants him to.

"You know what I want to hear and see." His hand moves lazily through Sean's hair, fingertips play with a few curls. "You have to do better."

Sean looks at him, defiant, frustrated. He grabs Bakura's neck with his free hand and wants to yank him down; Bakura reacts with a playful sigh and stands before him, holds Sean's face so he'd look up at him.

"Be good for me, Sean."

And Sean continues, moans and strings of curses fall from his lips and his motions become sloppier, hands and legs shake soon and he cries out for Bakura to fuck him, adds please and I beg you, whined when Bakura took another step back to watch him better-- he's so close, feels heated and wants to yell at Bakura and thinks about forcing him to his knees, cock shoved in his mouth--

"You can't finish yet," Bakura tells him, "Turn around, spread yourself for me."

"Fuck---fuck you- ah... please, let me--"

"No, you heard me. Be a good boy."

God, he couldn't deny how much this aroused him. He might tremble and his head might be spinning badly but Sean manages to get on his knees in the cushions, with spread legs he wets a finger in his mouth and reaches behind him to obey and finger himself, could at least control how much he can take this way.

He awaits praise that didn't come yet. Figures he has to do better, beg louder and moan Bakura's name more often if he wanted his cock inside of him, wanted to come, though all he hears from Bakura are little hums and shuffling soon--- then finally Bakura's hand on his ass taking Sean's away, god he wanted to cheer--

Something hard and cold gets shoved inside him, Bakura chuckles while Sean squirmed and tried to get away from the sensation, it's long and thick. Bakura twists the base of it and turned the toy on like that. Sean thinks he's going insane, covers his mouth and arches his back from the vibrations, the toy massaging the right spots in the most cruel way.

"Fuck-- Bakura, I-- can't- take it out, oh god, I beg you--" He only pushes it deeper inside, makes Sean cry out in protest and pleasure, sees his arms shake trying to hold himself up. "Bakura!"

"Mmhm?" He purrs. Admires his work.

"Take it out! Fuck-- fuck me, please, jus' do it!"

"I can wait a little longer," but Bakura reaches around him to take his aching cock, squeezed hard at the base of it so he wouldn't finish yet, "I waited almost a year, Sean."

"I---I'm sorry! I am! Please... I said I'm sorry..." Bakura kissed his closed eyes and the tears, then proceeds to pull Sean up on his feet, still whining for release and Bakura's dick instead of a toy.

"Oh, I know you said that," more kisses on the way to the bedroom, Bakura made sure Sean doesn't spill, "You still have to make it up to me."

"Bakura--" He gets pushed onto the bed, the constant changes of positions awfully sweet with the way the toy worked inside him.

"Now you can keep going." Bakura stood between Sean's legs while he sat on the edge of his bed stroking himself violently and he comes in no time, spills all over himself with a blush on his face and moans tumbling from his lips.

He caresses the back of Sean's head, pets him softly and whispers praise. Not without a twist, though. "You could have done so much better, Sean... it's all over you."

"How-- you ain't said--" Fuck, he's a mess, can't find words and Bakura digs it.

"Mhm, who's going to clean it up?" Well, Sean could do it himself, but--

"Its your fault," Sean said through gritted teeth, the vibrator still not forgotten, "Do it, Bakura..."

"My fault~" Bakura kisses his lips first, it's short and sweet and the kisses that trail down his chest are more of the hungry sort, moans and all, tongue licks the semen off his chest with wet noises and appreciating hums from Bakura until he swallowed the very last drop.

"Aren't you sweet..." Again they kiss, Sean tastes himself and dares to reach for the other's ponytail, takes the hairtie out, long white hair tickles his skin now, perfect for pulling-- Bakura registers it with a big grin and breaks the kiss in response, pushes Sean to lay down and sits lightly on his abdomen.

"Do you have bigger toys around?"

Awh, fuck-- Sean hesitates. Of course he had his own, but he-- can't take those damn toys anymore, wants the real deal--

"O'course, but-- ah, Bakura, I'm goin' crazy..."

"That's kinda the point." Bakura goes and searches on Sean's instruction, digs through the drawer and Sean guesses he might be looking for the worst he has to offer. In the end he decided for one that's slightly curved, long but not very thick, solid glass.

"Good?" Its not like Bakura accepts no for an answer, so Sean didn't say a word, lays on his back and spreads his legs wide for him, ready for more games and another possible orgasm if Bakura let him.

He replaces the vibrator with the glass toy, isn't very gentle about it and shoves it all the way inside only leaving him a bit of room to hold onto it; Sean gasps. Curses at Bakura but asks for more in the same heartbeat, claws at the bedsheets with all his might.

"Aren't you sweet like that?~"

The teasing continues, Bakura made sure Sean didn't get a second of rest, not a single motion wasted as the speed builds up gradually and Sean feels the next wave of orgasm washing over him; this time its Bakura's hand on his cock adding to the sensation and his thumb on the tip making the spilling painful. His noises are low, guttural, seed spills on Bakura's chest leaning over him muttering encouragement and praise. The toy doesn't get taken out when Bakura helps Sean sit up a bit, not a word needed for him to start kiss his load from Bakura's chest, sucking and lapping it off his warm skin keeping eye contact only to see that proud little grin on Bakura's features.

Sean wraps his arms around him, head on Bakura's chest to hear his thundering heart and the chuckle that follows makes Sean smile, tired and sensitive but utterly satisfied. Though...

"I think you can take some more." That soft moment lasted thirty seconds and Sean gets thrown over once again, on his knees, ass up, his body shaking like a leaf in the wind. "Maybe you'll learn to treat your friends better then," next's barely a whisper, "Since I'm being so very nice to you~"

"I really... oh, god, fuck, give me a break, a goddamn minute, I'm begging you!" He tries to catch a glimpse at Bakura behind him but that man already went off getting the next toy. God, he's gonna freak--- at least he can catch his breath, doesn't want to see which one he picks now, rather felt it if there was no way around his thirst to overstimulate and making a mess out of him.

Sean tries to be cocky about it. "Gimme all you got."

And boy, does he regret saying that.

Bakura laughs softly pressing the new toy against his spread hole, cold and wet already to make it bearable. It was a lot thicker but felt shorter than the previous one. At the press of a button it starts buzzing and that's the moment Sean loses himself all over again, holds still to allow Bakura to work his magic.

He regrets that, as well.

Now it starts to ache horribly, Bakura added the tip of the glass dildo only, more than enough to make Sean cry out at him. "You can take it," Bakura tells him, "You have to, because I'm not stopping now."

Sean couldn't speak anymore the further both toys slide inside him, then back out slowly, over and over and over, he's moaning and squirming and feels sorry for his neighbors.

"Your move, Sean." Bakura holds the toys still, the other hand on Sean's hip pulling him back and he gets the hint; starts with a slow rhythm back and forth on them, finding the right angle, the good spot and as soon as he got it there ain't no stopping him. He wants it hard and fast, fucks himself on the toys in Bakura's hand.

"I'll have to record that. You're doing so fucking good..."

"Ah! No, don't fucken dare, I'm gonna-" His pace gets sloppy and makes him whince in pain for a moment, as soon as it faded Bakura left him cold again; pulled out, sets the toys aside and gives his shoulder a short kiss.

"What are you going to do? Bet you can't even walk now. Let's get a bit creative here, huh..?" There ain't no stopping him. Sean can't tell where he went and what he's gone looking for but he flops to the side breathing heavily, aches all over thinking he couldn't possibly take any more and Bakura didn't even take him properly...

"Shit, I almost slipped back there.."

"...what the fuck are you doin' with me camera. Bakura, no!"

"Oh, yes. Should've asked someone to help us out here, but it'll do... Hm..." The camera is set on the nightstand, red light indicates the recording process. He placed it facing right at them, checked if its accurate before returning to his fun time. Sean gets back in position, a bit anxious but can't deny it was exciting and arousing as fuck---

No mercy for Sean told to work himself on both toys once again with Bakura caressing his back in rhythm with the thrusts. This time Sean didn't reach orgasm quickly, perhaps not ready yet or maybe three was the limit for one night. Not that Bakura gave up; returns to thrust them into Sean himself and it sends him right over the edge, a forceful orgasm rushes throughout his whole body, he calls out for Bakura in between strings of curses and begs.

Toys gone, left to lay next to them on the bed, Bakura finally positions himself behind Sean only to tease him a little more.

"You've earned it, Sean. You've been such a good boy..." Nails tickle down above his spine adding a sweet little quiver to Sean's words.

"Fuck me, God-- Bakura, fuck me already, I'm beggin' you--"

"Mhm... I'm afraid I couldn't hear you..."

Sean groans, head turns to glare at Bakura, infuriated and horny beyond imagination. "Fuck me! Just fuck--" His voice dissolves into the loudest moan yet feeling Bakura thrust into him like this, all the way into him and he immediately picks up a cruel pace, fast and wild to make Sean shout out with each and every violent thrust, lost completely, messed up just like Bakura wanted him.

"Fuckfuckfuuuck--harder! Aghh, please-- fuck--!"

Bakura picks him right up, hands on Sean's chest pulling his upper body up, dragging nails down his stomach grabbing his cock, stroking in rhythm to his thrusts; he slowed down a bit much to Sean's dislike...

"Its such a shitty thing he did, mmhm? The way he said goodbye," Bakura kisses his neck, bites hard enough to draw blood and cause Sean to curse, "You can take it out on me if you like."

He closes his eyes, leans fully against Bakura and enjoys the slower thrusts, lays his hands on Bakura's arms.

"You don't have to be ashamed if you want to scream my name," he returns to fast and rough thrusts, bends Sean over and holds on to his shoulder, "While I fuck away the pain."

He moans miserably, would've dropped on his chest if it wasn't for Bakura holding him up but he sees Sean's arms losing strength; a switch it is then. Bakura pulls out, waits for Sean's disappointed insult to laugh at him, kiss him and flip him around on his back, legs spread with force to dive in between them, his cock going all the way inside.

"Come on," Bakura moans, holds Sean's ass up a bit, "Take it out on me, use me, go right ahead."

Sean doesn't hesitate. There's still blood on his neck and chest, the bite burnt a little to be honest but he almost didn't feel it taking over Bakura, pushing him off and down on the bed, white long hair nicely spread out on the pillows. He earns a wide grin from Bakura and promptly climbs to sit above him, guided his cock inside and leans back, lowers himself on Bakura's cock and sighs in pleasure.

"Agh-- I fucken love it--" Sean curls his arms around Bakura's neck, brings him close and ever closer to his body while riding him, the chance taken to moan right into his ear how good his cock feels, how much he loved getting fucked like that, how pretty he looks moaning and flustered. Bakura grits his teeth, now it's his turn to call out for Sean and for more, harder, faster, he lovingly calls him cowboy and causes Sean to laugh with that and he had to stop for a few seconds.

"That just slipped, I'm so fucking sorry... you're my cowboy, though." Bakura sits up, holds Sean close, lips pressed on his for as long as neither of them moved, both out of breath and each time Bakura was close to his orgasm he was denied of it.

"I sure am." Sean replies, takes a breath and continues riding him like that, both men louder and louder with every bounce and thrust and when Sean can feel Bakura's nails digging with all his strength into his back he knows it's a matter of seconds---

Bakura's orgasm was harsh and unbelievably loud, the nails sure to leave beautiful marks in the morning, Bakura's lips right next to his own opened and swollen, moans bubbling up his chest and past them to mingle with Sean's.

They sit like this for a while, caressing each others skin and giving little kisses anywhere in reach- lips were the most fun to kiss, though, and Bakura was surprisingly quiet and mellow, practically melted in Sean's arms. He felt just as weak, absolutely drained, exhausted, wanted nothing more but to sleep.

Bakura refused to let go of him.

Chapter Text

Bakura was gone the next day when Sean wakes up dehydrated, aching and sore all over. Every little movement hurt, Sean opts for a simple flop to the side of the bed where he can grab the half full bottle of water from the ground, empties it in one go.

"Jesus, fucking, Christ..." The headache was killing him. His throat felt like it's on flames, voice sounds all raspy like throwing a glass full of wasps down the stairs. Those few things he actually was able to remember revolved around Bakura and his teasing tone, jokes, shits and giggles, and if he was to judge from the pressure on his bum he'd say they had sex. Nothing vanilla, real nasty and rough, fitting for Bakura.

Sean stays a little while longer in his bed all bundled up in blankets, pillow prepped on his head so he doesn't need to see the daylight as it's bad on his eyes. He got some sleep last night, figures it's been the cocktail of vodka and cannabis that put him right to rest; whether that's a good thing or not remains to be seen. When he finally starts the struggle to get out of bed it's almost noon and Sean remembers he still has a job. Well, kinda. Does he really want to work for Seto after... everything? Maybe he took it on himself to fire Sean. He wouldn't complain. At all.

Sean stumbles into the living room, groans at the piled up clothes from last night, empty bottles and glasses on the coffee table, the overflowing ashtray. It's time to clean.

First he checks his phone, though, hooray for mobile addiction! There's a hell lot of messages and missed calls, from Seto and Sebastian, a few from Yugi and those from that strange number popped up in the list again. Maybe it's a poor junkie awaiting his fill on drugs, someone that Bakura sent Sean's contacts to. Calling for a deal ain't the best way, but maybe it's worth to call back sometime.

Not now. He reads Seto's messages, first. Still hungover and slightly drunk, eyes small and hazy.

[msg received 01:04a.m Seto] You hurt and disappointed me after everything we went through in the last few weeks. You wouldn't even let me talk yesterday, rather left like you always do when things get rough or don't go the way you want it.

[msg received 01:09a.m Seto] I opened up to you. Can't say I regret it. But I regret how things turned out in the end. As much as I don't want that to be the end I'm not going to attempt and make you come back like I've done before, though I'll ask you if you want to stay my friend.

[msg received 01:23a.m Seto] I'm not good with goodbyes and sometimes I'm a sore loser or so I've been told.

[msg received 01:36a.m Seto] Fuck

[msg received 01:36a.m Seto] I miss what we've had

[msg received 01:36a.m Seto] I

[msg received 03:54a.m Seto] I love you.

Its 4 in the afternoon and there are no new messages from Seto aside those from the last night. He tried to call Sean around that time as well but gave up after two attempts. Sean can't progress what happens, his head too slow to make proper sense of it, he hasn't even realized its Saturday today.

Messages from Arthur were all worried, some straight up crying emojis or those funky ones with a cowboy hat asking if he wants to come over on Sunday for lunch. Why yes, of course, if he feels human by tomorrow he sure will. Until then he might resort to starving and smoking because walking was... not easy. Everyone will know what happened to him last night and Sean can't have that. What'll he do if he sees a neighbor? They know about him by now, some might not have seen him once since he lived here but there is no chance they haven't heard him.

What... what is he supposed to do with Seto? That man is a part of Arthur's and Sebastian's family, too, Sean doesn't regret introducing him to them and thinks it was for the better anyway; he said he hasn't found parents in them like Sean did, not quite, but it was... almost as if he did and wouldn't admit to it. They know what he and his brother have been through, he had been involved around the time when Sebastian and Arthur found that little baby Isaac abandoned and cold. They thought there's no way to pay for lawyers and help, and as often as Seto talked about not running a charity, those weeks he sure was gracious and hasn't asked for anything in return but that baby to be safe and sound.

He wasn't a complete asshole. Maybe Sean is and wants too much too soon.

Still naked and kinda freezing Sean lays on the couch face first, phone already calling Seto's number. He might not be clear in the head, sounds like a swarm of bees and might cry again for no apparent reason, but--

"Sean," Seto sounds so relieved, "Are you okay?"

"Uhhh... define 'okay'... I, uh, guess so, yeah. You ok?" He clears his throat to no avail.

"You sound awful... Define 'okay'. It doesn't feel like I am." At least he was being honest.

Sean fumbles with his hair. Digs for the right words. "I read your messages 'n I think we should... should give it a lil' more time? I, uhm... Listen, I've gotten pretty drunk last nite, me head ain't straight and stop me if I'm talkin' shit but losin' you is the last thing I want. Jus'..." Shit, there breaks the dam. He's crying. "Don't fucken say you love me 'cause I'm lovin' you jus' as much and I'm missin' you and I- I'm weak for you. I ain't diggin' any o' that."

He can only hear Seto breathing, quiet shuffling and a sigh after a minute or so of silence and Sean trying to cry silently: the sniffs gave him away though, same as the breaking of his voice.

"I'm sorry," Seto says, "I really am. Keep your distance if you need to, and don't worry about the game for now. I won't be working on it for a while. Don't... don't you do anything reckless."

"Ahah," he laughs, super nervous and through sobs, "I'm tryin' me best. Take care, Seto." Sean doesn't wait for his reply, ends the call and throws the phone to the side to cry into the cushions until the sobs came less violent and he felt numb with a strange twitch of relief in his heart, Seto's voice burnt into his mind like a god fucking curse he can't get rid of.

He's a part of this family. Of Sean's life no matter what happened and happens, he can't let this man go and sure as hell seems unable to leave him for good. If that's what love is all about he wasn't sure if he wanted it.

Somehow he made it into the bathroom, legs shaky and unsteady, sharp stings in his ass with every step make him flinch ever so slightly. The real horror comes when he looks into the mirror and sees all the bruises on his neck, faint traces of blood, bitemarks scattered on certain spots where it hurt the most.

"Fuckin'--!" Bakura. Sean ain't even mad, but how the hell was he supposed to cover this mess up until tomorrow? No chance he will leave the house today, might order pizza and stops to be a functioning adult for one day or two. After all Sean's body still hasn't recovered from all the liquor pouring last night, ate least he didn't throw up. No real blessings were bestowed on him except for a strong stomach that can handle inhuman amounts of alcohol.

So he cleans himself up, felt a bit fresher now with cold water splashed in his face, the scar on his stomach taken care of-- a grim reminder. The spot itself doesn't hurt anymore, but the memory of it sure does. Cruel...

Clothes are thrown on, pizza ordered, now it's cheers to waiting and hoping the dude comes on time unlike a month ago when Sean waited two hours for a god damn meal.

His phone buzzes and he flips it out of his pocket.

[msg received 06:12p.m Kangal] u good? feeling a bit sore ;)? up for round two tonight?? got a band rehearsal in like an hour and want to bring u along

[msg received 06:13p.m Kangal] btw i got ur camera with me. cum and get it back

[msg received 06:13p.m Kangal] *come ;) unless...

Oh, no, he ain't going anywhere anytime soon, can't walk more than five meters without needing a serious break on the floor and for the first time in days he finally felt something else but emptiness inside of him, no matter it was caused by a probably extreme fuck, cannabis and vodka. At this point he'd take anything to stick himself back together.

[msg sent 06:16p.m Kangal] i aint going anywhere tonite. you marked me!!!! so unless it's you dragging your ass over later youll have to get a lil fun alone

[msg sent 06:16p.m Kangal] ...what the fuck are you doin with me camera

Sean doesn't need to wait long for a response; Bakura might just be the fastest texter he met. Honestly though... Sean would like seeing him play again. It's been quite a while... A year or more. He hasn't been to any gigs either since he met Seto and took a step or two away from the whole scene.

[msg received 06:18p.m Kangal] i see how you roll.

[msg received 06:18p.m Kangal] do you even remember anything?

When he types the 'you' out... Sean knows its serious. He drops to lay on the side, legs dangling off the couch's backrest.

[msg sent 06:20p.m Kangal] it's not like i dont wanna go ok? i cant show me face in public like that and i cant even walk

[msg sent 06:20p.m Kangal] dont remember much tbh

[msg received 06:21p.m Kangal] you really know how to ruin someone's day, huh... let's talk later. gonna come over if you want me to after the rehearsal.

Sean doesn't respond because he has no idea how to without making it worse. Whatever he says and whoever he talks to, it always ended up like... like this. Sean screws up over and over and he has zero clue whenever it happens what exactly he had done wrong because no one will take the fucking time to explain it to him. It ends with fury and tears for himself, heart breaks a bit more whenever he messes up like this. He supposes they've had fun last night, and lots of it judging from the way he's feeling, all those marks on his body.

Now he feels like garbage again.

A never ending circle, huh...

[msg sent 06:43p.m Kangal] ive been p damn drunk and high and im surprised you remember more than me but i guess youre used to the bowl more than i ever was? dont get mad at me all the time, that aint fun. come over later and pick a movie to watch or smth

[msg received 06:44p.m Kangal] ohhhh I have the perfect movie for us ;)

[msg sent 06:45p.m Kangal] if it has chainsaws i aint gonna watch !!!! these things r scary . why the winky face

[msg received 06:45p.m Kangal] no reason ;)

[msg sent 06:46p.m Kangal] NO HENTAI EITHER

[msg received 06:46p.m Kangal] :( ok

Was he still mad and simply doesn't say it..? Is that what they're doing now, keeping it bottled up like Seto? Until Sean is made the scapegoat for everything wrong on the planet ever, global warming and shit. Sean remains oddly suspicious, will only be convinced if that man did show up sometime around the evening with a grin instead of a glare that's dripping pure poison... They haven't had much contact over the past months, hell, almost a year, Sean didn't keep in touch and even though Bakura sent a lot of messages at some point that stopped, as well. Sean didn't keep up with his band, no idea how they're doing today, though apparently it's still up and running. After dragging Bakura along with him because Krimson City fucked them up equally, Sean could've tried a little harder to be there for him. Something happened with Bakura at this time and the man never once talked about it, simply said he needed to leave, go anywhere else, and it was around the same time Sebastian and Arthur decided its time to leave Beacon behind them.

They have never been fond of Bakura; because of the drugs and the, well, minor crimes Sean and him committed together, stealing and dealing, and while many creatively bad ideas came from Sean, both Sebastian and Arthur were pretty damn convinced Bakura was the mastermind behind it all. Because for someone working with the police force at the time of course Sean couldn't have done anything bad in his life, ever. He did not quite understand why Arthur was so affected by what Sean told him, Arthur didn't elaborate either.

Everyone had their secrets.

He's happier once his takeout came and he could watch some silly stuff on YouTube, occasionally scrolls through his phone and switches between the same three apps for the next hour and a half; blame it on his upset stomach and the fact that he hasn't eaten anything in a while, but Sean couldn't even finish half of the pizza, three pieces was all he could get down.

Someone should tell him to take better care of himself.

He knows, but he's relatively bad at keeping it up. Needs a reminder every now and then.

The phone buzzes on the table, spooks Sean both amused and upset he's so skittish today.

[msg received 09:12p.m Seto] I need to tell you something when you have the time. Don't stress, though.

What would that be..? What happened... Curiosity gets the better of him, Sean asks if he could call right now--- not a minute later its incoming and he picks up.

"I thought you may be busy. Or sleeping," Seto greets him, "I didn't want to talk about it via messages. Might get it across wrong..."

"I'm curious as hell, y'know..? What's up?"

"I received a call while you were in the hospital, and I told you about it if you remember. I didn't want to tell you who called that time, though, but I guess... I think you should know. You must've given the business card to him, my official number is on it too, so when you didn't pick up, Marik called me to ask about you."

Seto talked so much and nothing at all, the only thing Sean caught was Marik's name and everything else isn't important in the slightest. Not his lie or the fact that Seto acted jealous and blamed Marik for everything that happened during Battle City, and for Sean it simply meant he's been lying and made things worse than they were so Sean would stop waiting for him. Well, that didn't work.

"Sean?"

"Yeah, I... got that." He didn't receive any calls from an unknown number... No one called him during that time, Yugi did, and Bakura, but... he felt like he forgot something. "What did you say to him? Why the fuck didn't you tell m- no, it's okay, I get it."

"I told him to stop calling and to stay where he is," Seto admits, "After everything he did, it's better if he doesn't try and reach out to you. I did say you're not available, but don't know if he understood in context."

So many days. Weeks.

A month since he met Marik, maybe one and a half. Time ain't real anyway, but it sure likes to kick his ass over and over with cruel reminders, realizing how long it's been that he waited for a sign, a text, a fucking call, not expecting it to be so soon and to have it taken from him like that.

Was he mad or depressed now..? Sean didn't feel well. That's a certainty.

"I... I can't fucken believe-- FUCK!!" A string of curses, heavy accent and for a moment Sean holds the phone away from him, thinks he should remember something else, thinks about going over to KaibaCorp and kick his stupid arse.

Wasn't his fault, though. Their time is over. Seto knows, Sean knows.

"What did he say to you!?" God he's fuming. Heart thumps wildly in his chest, makes it tighter and painful.

"...he apologized. That's all. I don't have the number saved he used to call, but you should-"

Sean hangs up, phone goes on silent and stays like that on the table.

He knows it wasn't Seto's fucking fault that day.

But how is he supposed to reach Marik now? How late was it in Egypt anyway... if he had the number, he could... he could just...

"Oh," Sean almost falls off the couch leaning over to reach his phone again, "My God-" That number, he thought its fucking advertisement, some stupid dumb junkie, anyone, literally anyone, Sean's fingers are shaking when he digs it up from the list and sees the five missed calls along with the number he found so damn strange.

It's got to be him.

"How fucken late is it in FUCKIN' AFRICA!" As if it'll help, as if someone's gonna tell him this way.

A quick research and the deed's done, six hours back, okay, that's good, it's like... almost five in the afternoon over there, ain't a bad time to call, Sean should just tap that fucking green button and-- he panics. He can't call like that. He shouldn't call like that. Bakura was on his way here, too. He sees more and more messages pop up from Seto but doesn't read them, stares on the bunch of digits instead.

It's got to be him.

Thumb hovers over the screen.

Don't be a fucking coward, Sean. Ignore the messages, ignore Bakura. You've done it for months. What's a couple more minutes to him.

Fuck.

Shit...

He tapped the green phone-logo and stopped breathing for a minute hearing it dial.

He panics more and more with every beep.

No one picks up.

Sean wants to give up in the exact same second he hears his voice from the other end of the line, talks in a language he doesn't understand and Sean is petrified, can't bring a word out.

Marik talks again. English this time. "...hello?"

"Oh, fuck, it's really you..." Sean didn't mean to say it out loud. He can hear two more voices in the background, male and female, didn't understand a single word. "Marik, I-- its--"

"Sean!"

He shakes internally, a tremble within his chest that spreads in waves throughout his whole body, arms and legs quiver ever so subtly and Sean can't wipe that stupid grin from his face. Panic is gone, made space for excitement and joy and god, he's overwhelmed and fuzzy.

"Yes, it's me," Sean says, knows he doesn't need to but he covers the blush on his face with his free hand, "I didn't know it's been you that called until now, I'm sorry, I..."

"No, I... thought you would not ever call back." He sounds sad and it's like a violent kick to his stomach. "Because of the things Kaiba said to me that one day when I could not reach you. I have been afraid to try again."

"I know what he's told you, now I do, and I ain't... I ain't okay with what he's done, sure as hell ain't said to him to do that. Marik, it's such a long story, so much happened since you left," he breathes in deeply, no need to gather courage because now Sean has all he needs, "I missed you, I did. I still do."

"I miss you, too," his answer was immediate, "The last month has been truly awful for me. We try to settle in, but it seems that life outside of our world doesn't want to treat us kindly. There are so many things to learn, I... I'm tired."

"...how are the nights for you?" Sean could hardly imagine what he had to go through after everything Yugi and Seto said about Marik, still doesn't know what exactly it was that brought him into this situation but he felt this question was more pressing.

"They're horrible. Sean, I can... can't sleep very well. I still get nightmares."

"I'm so sorry hearin' that. Was hopin' its gotten better-- Huh... Lemme help. You can call before goin' to bed and I'm gonna talk to you until you're asleep. Y'know, I ain't the best singer but I could play you a lullaby or somethin'."

Time zones are a bitch, though.

"You could?"

"Absolutely. Ain't done good alone at night either, don't matter when I'm goin' to bed unless I got work in the morning. Let's see if it works tho?"

"Its... it's going to be expensive, I think. I like the idea, but..."

Oh. Shit, yes, this call will probably break his neck when the next phone bill comes. Okay, give him a second...

"Uh... wait... yeah, lemme figure somethin' out. Neither of us gotta pay extra if we're usin' Discord or another app. Plus you won't need to pay for messages."

"...you might have to help me with that."

He did! Explaining it felt a bit awkward, honestly, because guiding Marik through his own phone without being able to see the screen himself was quite the adventure. He just assumed the internet would work pretty well and in the end, set up and ready to go, Sean knows Marik learns new stuff pretty quick and Marik said it's not as difficult as he thought it would be.

"I have a couple of things I still need to do today, but I can message you later! I want to tell you something then, too."

"Sure! Guess we gotta talk 'bout some stuff and... let's see how its goin' tonite," a short break follows, one or two heartbeats where he wasn't sure how to say it, "I ain't been that happy in a long while. Thank you, Marik." Breath is held, heavy and tight in his chest where the heart thunders like mad. The smile on his face won't go away.

"Me neither, Sean. I m-- I'll talk to you soon."

I can't wait, he wanted to say. There ain't no words coming, though, and Marik already hang up, Sean clutching the phone to his ear as if his life depended on it, breath cut short, a flutter in his stomach, head light as ever.

Fuck. He almost forgot what it's like to feel this happy without alcohol or drugs. He puts the phone as careful as possible back on the table and didn't even remember Bakura wanted to come over, so when someone knocks at the door Sean freaks out for a moment.

"Shite, it's almost midnight-- ain't thought you're still comin'," Sean let him inside anyway, Bakura shrugs and flomps on the couch with an exasperated groan, "Need a place to crash or what?"

"Oh, I thought we wanted to watch a movie? Are you asking me to stay the night?" He's got his hair in a messy bun, eyeliner smudged, clothes the same as last night; Sean worries.

"Actually, nah... you should get home 'n change. Take a shower or whatever, you're filthy."

Bakura isn't really amused. Leans forward when Sean sits a bit away from him on the couch, he looks even worse from this perspective. Absolutely tired and nasty.

"I didn't have the best day, alright? You wouldn't know because you've been sleeping all day. Don't fuck with me, Sean."

"I..." He thinks about Marik who wanted to call again later, the promise they've made and how bad Bakura's timing was--as if it ever had been right--torn between one and the other. Bad. "Take a fucken shower here," he gives in, "Got some pizza left. You hungry?"

"I feel like dying," Bakura says, "Take that shower with me?"

"No."

"...bitch. Is there pineapple on the pizza?"

Sean snorts. "Yeah, but I guess I can pick it off for you."

"Ugh, I can't believe I'm with someone who eats freaking pineapple on their pizza. You're lucky I-- whatever. I'll be back in like, two hours." No more words and he's off to the bathroom, doesn't lock the door and leaves it open a bit. Not the behavior of someone who doesn't have worries on his mind and wanted to shut Sean out. Sean goes to get Bakura something else to wear, not really caring if it fits or not; might he too short on him, the sweatpants however, the hoodie was much too wide for Sean as well so Bakura might completely disappear in it.

"Hey, so... Figured you might wanna wear fresh clothes..." He enters the bathroom, hasn't heard the water running yet. Bakura stood there, half naked and kind of... lost. "You do know how takin' a shower works, rite?"

"...just leave me alone, Sean."

Fuck you, too.

The clothes are dropped on the washing machine and when Sean leaves the room he slams the door shut behind him.

Chapter Text

The shower has been running for a while. Half an hour or so. Sean didn't mind, sticks to his phone and listens to random music popping up on YouTube after the playlist ran out. He finally got around to text Arthur who was worried sick about him, asked what took him so long to reply, if he's gotten drunk again, and of course Sean said no to that. Tomorrow, hopefully, not a trace of alcohol would be left that could give his little lie away. Arthur doesn't need more unnecessary stress and Sean didn't want to face his disappointment.

He also thanked Seto. For being honest, telling him about Marik and his call. Sean sent a simple 'thank you' and left it at that, so far Seto hasn't responded. A part of him hoped the man went to sleep at a reasonable time for once.

There is not much left to do for him right now, he has to wait for Bakura to turn the water off so he could heat the pizza up for him, pineapple pieces already picked off. Sean can't say he is angry at Bakura for acting like this, unaware of the reasons behind his behavior. He would be okay in no time, Sean figures, though if he means to stay over night one of them has to crash on the couch. He's giddy to let Bakura know about Marik, how the boy finally called him, that they're talking and texting, how freaking happy he was about the whole thing!

Marik didn't write him anything yet. It's almost pathetic how Sean restarts discord over and over, thinking the app may have messed up and doesn't send his texts... he knows Marik said he was busy, though, and in fact had nothing in particular he could send him. Cat pictures, possibly. A heart emoji. Ahah... probably not.

And when the water stopped, Sean hears the curtain being yanked open and rushes into the kitchen as quick as his sore muscles allowed him to. Some slices in the microwave and there it goes.

Bakura really took his time.

It's kind of annoying now.

Ten more minutes and his freaking pizza is almost cold again.

Sean has a hell lot of patience. Just not today. He knocks at the bathroom door, aware it ain't locked so he could step in if he wanted to, not like there's anything he hasn't seen already. Bakura doesn't respond at first. Half a minute Sean waits, worry continues to grow with each passing second.

"Get in already." Bakura snarls, pissed off and angry. Albeit hesitant Sean sneaks inside the bathroom filled with thick steam, the air hot and heavy, mirrors obscured. He stood naked and wet, hair dripping on the ground to his feet along with a good amount of blood seeping through the cracks between the tiles. It reeked of cold iron and fear.

"What the fuck are you doin'!?" He snatches towels from the cupboard, god speed, spins the man around to look at him, stands in the puddle of blood with Bakura trying not to freak out completely. The wound on his arm must have opened up again, that's where the blood came from, but Bakura as the one bleeding like mad wasn't bothered by it. Sees it as a minor inconvenience. The towels are applied, both at once to stop the bleeding while Sean glares daggers at him and felt like spitting curses.

He doesn't.

"It opened up again, that's all," Bakura says, "Happened before, got some bandages in my bag over there. Help me put them on and don't give me that fucking look."

"You're bleedin', asshole, drippin' all over me floor! Fuck you for freakin' me out like that..." Okay, maybe he cursed a little bit. But Bakura certainly deserved it.

"Awh, I didn't know you're squeamish. Soft princess."

Bakura deserved a slap across the face, too. But that's something Sean wouldn't do. Glaring will do, adding more pressure until Sean took the towels off, skin smudged red but the spot wasn't bleeding as bad. The original damage might've been deep, but this was superficial, nothing major... Still so much blood...

"Seen worse," Sean shrugs, "You ain't special." God, how bad he wanted to shout at him for scaring him like that, calling him an idiot while treating to his wound.

He's gonna do that. Watch me, Bakura.

Sean fetches the bandages and gauze swabs, glad to see that Bakura was at least well prepared for a situation like this. It must've happened before at some point.

Thanks to Sebastian and him insisting that Sean learned how one applies a proper dressing, the first aid courses for his driver's license and stuff too, he cleaned the wound and watched Bakura flinch with a triumphant smile, swabs and bandages wrapped tight around his upper arm. "You idiot," Sean mutters, "Hot showers ain't the best choice, y'know?"

"Yeah, but I was feeling pretty cold so I said to myself, fuck it. YOLO and all that crap."

Sean raised an eyebrow at him, puzzled and agitated at once. "How did that even happen? The fuck did you do?"

"Oh... you know. The usual... let's say it was some kinda accident this time so you can stop playing the worried wife."

Slap incoming in 3...2...

Alright, no, for everything he knows Bakura might request more and harder.

"Dry up and piss off. Gotta clean your shit somehow..."

Bakura wraps his hair up first, squeezes it in a fresh towel before he rubbed himself dry. There was no more blood on him, only the coppery smell of it clinging to his skin despite a thorough shower; Sean tells him to use lotion or deodorant, literally anything to get rid of the stench while he gets to clean the floor; Sean's stomach wasn't all too kind on him at this hour and no matter how much he's scrubbing he keeps spreading the liquid everywhere. Bakura threw on the clothes Sean laid out for him, almost completely disappeared into the hoodie too long and wide for him; Sean doesn't even recall who it belonged to once.

"Can I help you?"

"...heat up your damn pizza again and pick a movie."

Bakura huffs, steps indicated that he left the bathroom. Sean opens up the window after cleaning this whole mess, washes the blood from the towels and lets them sit for a bit in hot water. He got no clue if this was the right thing to do, though putting on the washing machine an hour after midnight was probably a bad idea.

Sean finds Bakura bundled in blankets on the couch looking as grouchy as ever, face paler than usual, the plate with pizza in his lap but there was no movie playing yet. He's munching in silence, looks up at Sean when he comes back into the living room.

"Will you tell me what the hell happened to your arm? You been gettin' into fights again?" He almost scolds, worried shitless. There's several gangs in this city, rivalries between them of course as usual for those circles, but Sean expected Bakura to be smarter about this issue.

"When you tell me how you got those fancy scars on your stomach. Maybe."

Sean plops into the cushions, drags a blanket over himself like a cape. Now it's his turn to be grouchy. "That ain't a thing I wanna talk about."

"Great. Keep your secrets and I'll keep mine." He bends down to put the empty plate away, one or two pieces of pineapple tumbling on it that Sean must've forgotten to pick off.

"I just cleaned your fucken blood off the floor! Christ..."

Bakura took the remote control to search for a movie instead of replying. Sean noticed he shudders under that mass of blankets, his thumb on the control was trembling slightly. "You're not going to believe it, anyway," Bakura starts, "So why the fuck should I bother."

"Uh, I dunno? Maybe 'cause I care." Back at it again with the accusations. Sean waits for Bakura to continue, felt a gnawing at his stomach caused by the obvious distrust from his side.

After everything they've done together.

"Happened during Battle City. A while after you left, you know? Marik popped up, that-- fucking asshole, I bet you got no clue what he's done. Wanted to get the squad's trust. Stabbed me first, then went around and acted like he's helped me. Bitch..."

"You're kiddin'." Sure... Sean heard from various sources what Marik has done, or the things everything thought he did, however way it played out in the end this wasn't the Marik he knows today, not the one he met in that bar more than a month ago. He wouldn't want to call Bakura a liar. Only... that he doesn't know the whole story. "That ain't been him, y'know? Same with Yugi and this, uh, spirit kinda deal, I guess."

"Nah, he was pretty much himself," his voice had a mocking tone, "After all the shit that happened in the tournament, with him and Yugi, those artifacts, he acted like nothing happened. Just because he is no longer a host doesn't mean he's completely innocent. You're just horny."

How many times did he want to slap Bakura today already? He regrets every single time he doesn't get on with it. "I ain't his groupie, okay? If he did things wrong, sure we gonna talk 'bout it! Ain't like I'm a saint. You neither." Bakura finally found a movie. Horror, of course, seems to have a shit ton of blood and gore. He turns the volume down a bit, leans against the backrest and stretches his legs, looks over at Sean with a gaze that lets him know he was sorry about something.

"You met him once, princess. You really think he's got what you want? I wouldn't want to go through all this stress to get a taste of that dick."

"Ain't there any stress for me," Sean says, words a bit sour in his mouth and he lays down, head in Bakura's lap again, "I'm sorry for what he's done to you. Honestly. The time I ran into his folk ain't been a bright one either, they stole me card they did even tho I won fair 'n square. Seto called me a fucken liar when I told him."

Bakura laughs quietly, soon begins to pet Sean's hair the same as last night around this time, long nails gently massaging his skin. "He never ceases to surprise me. And I never understood why you're all over his nonexistent ass. Looks to me like you've got a type. The Bad Boy type."

"Good thing you ain't one of 'em," he breathes through, deeply so, one arm draped behind Bakura between him and the couch, "Its been a month since Battle City, right? Longer, even! Why's the wound still as bad?"

"Because I'm horrible at taking care of myself!" He has to laugh, stops the caresses for a little while before the habit continues, softer this time, motions slower. The movie didn't matter so much to them right now. A pleseant background noise, some blood sprinkled between screams and slashing noises.

"Obviously... Try better, you idiot. Don't wanna see you dripping down on me floor again."

"Yes, sir."

Sean would've fallen asleep if that position hadn't gotten uncomfortable after a while, his neck stiff and arm tickling like there's a million ants crawling through it. Bakura didn't stop playing around with his hair for a mere second, the sensation alone quite enough to make Sean all sleepy and content too, but the loud screams from the movie managed well to keep him wide awake. He couldn't stop thinking about Marik; not that this was new; about the things everyone says he did and not a single one of them made sense to Sean, no matter what Marik said about being free, about a certain guilt he mentioned, if people can change, none of it seems to make sense to Sean. It only proved how little he knows about him. And that thought alone tears him down all over again.

"Say," Bakura hums after a while, "You didn't ask about your camera again. Do you remember?"

"Uh... no. Should I?"

"Pity... want it back? There's a little film you should see, maybe some of your memories from last night come back~"

It clicks in his head. "...Oh no, you didn't."

"Yes, I did. It turned out so good! We should do that again. I know someone who can hold the camera."

"No. Noo. No... no, thank you!" He sits up, squints at Bakura, "Where's me camera? C'mon, give it back."

"Are you gonna watch it with me?" Bakura leans closer, hand extends to his shoulder. "Then you can have it back."

"Bakura, I ain't in the mood for that. Jus' give it back." - "You're always in the mood. Liar."

One part of him, yeah, sure. Another is triggered being called a liar, and that's the part taking over to act. He pushes Bakura's hand off and him back, hand on his heaving chest. Its not what Bakura expected, his eyes wide and brows raised.

"Call me a god damn liar again and I'm gonna kick your ugly ass," he had his fair share, done with the accusations and the doubts, "Give it back or get the fuck away from me."

"You're really sweet when you try to be intimidating," Bakura coos, "But okay! It's in the bag, big pocket. Let me get it for you." Hesitant but feeling beyond humiliated and ashamed, Sean let go of Bakura to watch him pace over to his messenger bag laying on the ground next to the door, how he fumbles through it and eventually pulls out Sean's camera.

He turns it on with a devious lil grin, moans and pleas Sean can hear, feels his cheeks burn up with embarrassment. They really did that.

"A shame you don't remember how much fun we've had. Next time less alcohol and more toys, huh?"

"Whatever you say-" Bakura flips the camera showing the screen to Sean and by god it's like seeing a horrible car accident, he just can't tear his eyes away. The screams and moans stir desire and shame in him, the way Bakura moves and digs his hands into Sean's hips made him feel ungodly things. He heard every word Bakura said in the video, hears his own pitiful moans, skin slamming against skin.

"I think I'll go to sleep," Bakura says after a bit, turns the camera off before the clip was over and puts it carefully on the table, "Long day tomorrow. Do you want to join me?~" Sounds as if he doesn't have much of a choice, and there's nasty thoughts twirling around in his head he can't seem to quieten or force out; but he waits for Marik.

"Nah, I gotta take a call. You take the bed, no need to wait for me."

Bakura never looked more disappointed. He tries to brush it off, shrugs like it meant nothing to him; and turns around to Sean after already leaving for the bedroom to return and demand a kiss. "Goodnight then, princess."

"Pf-" Sean hesitated seeing Bakura coming closer, his hands on Sean's cheeks holding him in place. It's a little kiss. Short, not sweet but bitter, tastes like nothing but missed opportunities. "Goodnight."

As if it could erase the kiss Sean touches and smudged his lips as soon as Bakura disappeared into the bedroom, leaving the door open for a gap. The movie wasn't even over, truth be told Sean no longer in the mood for splatter, so he turns it off and switches back to music instead, volume lowered enough for him to hear.

It's around 8pm in Egypt when his phone buzzed, the discord icon popping up in the top bar.

God, he's giddy again. Feels all fuzzy.

Despite... what Bakura said.

They need to talk. Even if it means hurting Marik.

Marik - Today at 02:02am
It's super late! Are you still up?

Cowboy - Today at 02:02am
sure am. told you id be waiting. so i guess we need to talk about a couple things

Marik - Today at 02:03am
I'm afraid we have to. Kaiba told you everything, right? You know what happened during Battle City?

Cowboy - Today at 02:05am
some things? yeah but i didnt wanna believe any of it

Marik - Today at 02:08am
Could you call?

His heart sank more and more with each message and every minute that passed between his and Marik's last one. He tapped that button anyway, fears Marik will hear the quiver in his voice but that might be his least pressuring problem. He hopes Bakura was asleep.

"Its so difficult to figure out how this stuff works but I think I'm getting there..." The first thing Marik says sounds nervous as hell. Sean couldn't blame him.

"Yeah, its uh... it's a lot I guess. Marik," god, this man gets him more nervous than anybody else ever did, or perhaps it's the topic, the secrets and not Marik himself because all he felt until now was peace and calm in regards to him, "Jus'... I ain't got a clue what to believe 'cause I wanted to think what Seto said was lies. I..."

"...what did he tell you? Did you ask someone else, too?"

"Yugi. I was... I was curious. And impatient-" That shiver returns, the shaking of his chest and heart and lungs, he had no idea how to stop it.

"I should've known," he says and to Sean it sounds like another accusation, "And I should have told you from the start. But I..." No, Marik wasn't accusing him of anything.

"I know," Sean reassures, "You couldn't have known its gonna... be like that. I really wanna hear what happened, tho."

Marik sighs. Sounds like he laid down now. "Okay," a break follows, "Okay. I'm from a family of tomb keepers, you see..? For thousands of years we protected a pharaoh's tomb and his memories along with it. You know him, the spirit Yugi has? They call him Yami because he doesn't remember his real name. He is the pharaoh we waited for all this time, and when Yugi finished the puzzle he returned. In order to protect his memories and to make sure that some day he could get them back, the secret to reveal them is engraved on my back. Those scars you've felt that night-"

"Fuck..." the curse slipped from him, a mutter under his breath. He thinks to hear Marik take a breath, bracing himself again.

"It was part of the ritual when I was a child. I never... never wanted this. All I ever dreamed about was to see the world outside and to... to be free of this, this burden on my shoulders I did not ask for, waiting for the pharaoh to return some far away day while I was forced to spend my life in the darkness! I... It hurt. It hurt so much. My father did it and when... when he was done my sister had to make sure the wounds stay wide open. My brother didn't want to help her, and he didn't. She... she had to sit by my side for weeks and for months because if just one of the wounds closed or scarred the wrong way he would have to do it all over again. It hurt so, so much..." He remembers and the memories force tears into his eyes. Marik curses in a language Sean doesn't understand, keeps breathing, shallow and pained.

"Marik, you can take a break, it's fine, I'm tellin' you-" His skin felt like burning with bright flames and he feels like crying, too. Marik's voice echoes in his head, whispering how much it hurt--

"I might not start again," he explains, focused on breathing and going on, "I... Something happened during that time. I hated everything and everyone and especially my father but most of all I hated the pharaoh. It was his fault that I had to suffer so much and live in the darkness underground in a tomb with no promise if his spirit would ever be free! I didn't want to believe it anymore. At some point I... I think it was when the spirit as born from all the hatred inside of me. Or maybe he was there all the time and took advantage of me. But when it happened, the day I lost control, the spirit... he... killed my father. I couldn't do anything to stop it, and I think I didn't want to. Everything went downhill afterwards. I took one of the ancient artifacts for myself and promised myself to... become the new king, instead of the pharaoh my family was waiting for. The evil within me only grew stronger over the years. I didn't stop it. I was free, I thought...? Or I could be as soon as I had what I wanted. I left a trail of death behind me chasing that selfish dream I thought was my future. And then I came here to meet the pharaoh, I... used a fake name, gained their trust and my brother helped me because he had no other choice. I made sure of that, you know, I... I knew how loyal he is. And I used that knowledge, while Ishizu fought to make it all right. She's my elder sister. You met her when you and Kaiba went to get the god card from her she used to lure Kaiba out. Of course it worked..."

"She... yeah, I remember. The lady from the exhibition." So far Sean wasn't sure what to focus on first. The confession that Marik hurt and killed or the fact that Sean knows for sure he wasn't to blame--- Marik continues.

"That's Ishizu. She tried to stop me for a long time before, used Battle City to lure me and the rare hunters out. That worked, too. Ra, I did everything I could to get my hands on the cards and Yugi's puzzle, used the rod to manipulate and-- I did all those things without thinking twice, never hesitated. I never stopped to think if... if its evil. For me it never was, I suffered enough I thought, I deserve to be selfish and how can that be evil..? That side of me grew stronger the closer I got to my goal and in the end it hurt so many people... Odion too, my brother, who always tried to help me in whatever way, no matter what I wanted. I was... I... at some point I lost control. Over myself, over my body, and the spirit took over. When Odion wasn't there to protect me from it because he got injured, i snapped and everything went... black. During the duel against the pharaoh the spirit wanted to get rid of me. He failed eventually. While I was trapped like this, I... I realized. All the things I did. The people I hurt and killed. Everything. I thought my time was over, no way the pharaoh could win against my evil side, no chance... Yet he did. He did, and he freed me, and he forgave me. I think he is the only one who did and I cannot blame anybody else. I gave up the artifacts to him, the cards too and he knows the secret to reveal his memories now. My duty was done. I was... I was free. And I had nowhere to go."

"Can you jus' gimme a second? That's a lot to take in and it's been a fucken long day-"

"...do you still want to talk?" God, no, don't sound like this, don't cry. Its breaking my heart, Sean thinks, you tellin' me all those things even tho it hurts you, and now you're thinkin' I'd leave like that?

On second thoughts, he should've said it out loud.

"Always do," Sean confesses, searches for cigarettes and a lighter, "I'm not gonna leave like that."

Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck...

"Listen," Sean said immediately after lighting the cigarette, doesn't give himself the time to let it all sink in, "That thing you gave Yugi, it's been stolen from him som' weeks ago. Lil boy got kidnapped too, for that stupid puzzle he got. There's been an organization usin' those things to create some kinda fucked up simulation, big plan to dominate the world or... whatever. Listen, I been there. I been there, with Arthur and Sebastian and Seto, too, 'cause KaibaCorp was involved-" He talked so fast he doesn't stop to think of Marik could follow.

"Wait-- wait... what?"

"Those people took them artifacts. Usin' them spirits trapped inside as a host for their weird simulation. The original plan was to, like, link different people to a big main core so they could share everythin' with each other. Feelings, memories. All that stuff."

"...it worked?"

"It fucken did. I been there and I- fuck. I thought it's been you I saw there at first. He looked like you, jus' a lil different, y'know..? And-"

"I thought he is gone! He should be gone! Did!? Did he hurt y-" He's almost yelling, his voice changed slightly, there's a strange dark tone to it.

"He did. He did, tho I guess its been me fault for thinkin' it's you. I was, uh, reckless and thought we're gonna make it outta there together. From what I know he's been taken care of, dead and gone now for sure! Yugi's safe too, keepin' them items locked away."

"Sean, what did he do?" Dangerously concerned. Sean felt bad for thinking about his voice this way, but god damn its arousing.

"I ain't.... sure. Felt like bein' stabbed. When I woke up I was in the hospital and had stab wounds-"

"I... I didn't want to hurt you, believe me! I didn't want to... I wasn't... It wasn't me... I would never..."

"I know it ain't been you! Ain't ever been! That thing's gone now and won't hurt anyone again. Shite-- believe me, I never thought for one damn second that you could've done that, or would've, like I... didn't believe Seto. Believed nobody. 'cause I met you and I f- ...I know the real you. The Marik who's gotten so damn excited 'bout rain and horses." The night comes back to him, as real and vivid as ever, memories colourful and warm. He hides that big dumb grin behind his hand, doesn't have a reason to but it's a habit. "The one who has such a beautiful smile and didn't know how kissing really works. Now you do."

"Including a few other things, yes," no more tears, "Sean, I... thank you. I've been talking so much, my mouth is... really dry."

"Go and drink somethin' then," Sean says, "I'll wait."

There's a moment of clarity. Around the time Marik went to get himself a drink Sean sits on his couch watching the cigarette smoke itself, blue smoke circling through the air from its tip. Marik endured so much, unbelievably cruel and horrific things he was sure would've broken anybody else, and they seemed to have broken parts of Marik which he now tries to delicately place together again. If he let him or not, Sean wants to help. So after everything Marik told him that night and today, he doesn't have doubts this man intends to stick around. Everything Sean wants in this exact moment of time is for Marik to smile again like he did that night, with a light in his eyes Sean has never seen before.

"Sean," Marik's voice tears him right out of his thoughts, he jumps a bit and almost drops the cigarette, "I should tell you something else, too."

"Mhm? Yeah, I'm listenin'." Curious as ever. He squeezes the cigarette's bum in the ashtray and drops with his back in the soft cushions.

"Did you notice my sister's necklace when you met her at the museum?"

Oof... "She's had one, that I remember. Why's it important?"

"It was another artifact, you see...? By now it belongs to the pharaoh again, so she cannot use it anymore. It told her the future! Depending on people's choices, so... many things are bound to change in the course of time. But she... she's seen you. In the future. In mine, you know...? And told me there is someone waiting for me. I was... I was not in that bar to get drunk, Sean. Instead I hoped what she saw would come true."

The future is bright. He feels like a young teenager again, though, crushing for the first time, experiencing that flutter of butterflies. "So, my decision to get black out drunk got us to meet, huh..? Well, uh, wait, I ain't even decided-- I mean, hadn't thought I'd be doin' that, y'know..? Been there 'cause of...him."

"I... yes. I know. I remember. Maybe that means it was bound to happen in any way."

"Your sister's a great matchmaker. That's like... absolutely romantic." - "Oh, I'll tell her that!" - "No! I ain't said a thing! Fuck, she's only known me as that guy hangin' around Seto Kaiba..."

Then silence. Rather uncomfortable; why did he have to mention Seto. Again. It feels weird. Feels like he hurt Marik, too. By now he should've found out what they've had.

"What is it, with you and Kaiba? He called you that night, didn't he?"

"Told you I broke up with me boyfriend. That's him- was him. We had a couple o' issues."

"From the little time I had to spend with him at the tournament, I'd say he is full of unresolved issues." Oh, slay... Marik knows what's up.

"He ain't like that. Not all the time, anyway, and I guess he's been pretty riled up during that whole Battle City thing. That's the time I broke up with Seto 'cause I was fed up with the bullshit." He should... maybe tell the truth. Maybe...

"I'm hardly in any position to judge... And I'm not judging you, ever, anyway! But... Seto Kaiba? And you?"

"Guess I'm bringin' out the best in people. Or worst, depends how you're lookin' at things," it felt like twilight zone or some shit to talk about this with Marik, "But its over, it's done, for good now. We're friends I guess, 'cause... he's still part of the family. Arthur and Sebastian really love 'em two brothers."

"...I see," he sighs, had to chuckle then, "I apologise for bringing it up again, you certainly don't sound so amused-"

"He told me to call you," Sean interrupts him, "'cause when he first told you I ain't available I've been in the hospital and he was stupid jealous. Now he's told me it's been you and I would've waited for fucken months if it hadn't been for him tellin' me you tried callin'."

"Oh, I... how did he know about us in the first place..?"

"Ahah... funny story... uh, when that shit with Mobius happened he was involved and tagged along--" No, maybe Sean wouldn't tell him they tried getting back together, "And Lily asked for you. Sebastian's daughter, the lil one..? Seto ain't been amused."

Marik seriously had to laugh. In retrospect it was... funny. Kicked so much into action Sean would've just dragged on endlessly and needlessly. "I love her! How are they all doing?"

Sean yawns. Terrifyingly in awe of his laugh, excited and happy voice. All of him. Every little thing. "Mhm, they're... holdin' up." He closes his eyes and focuses on the sound of Marik's voice.

"Tell me everything. I'm getting sleepy and maybe... let's see if what you mentioned before works." He may be tired as hell but there's a huge smile spreading on his face now. Sean gets comfortable, sinks further into the cushions and warmth of the blankets.

"Okay."

Chapter Text

Sean stayed in the living room, spread out on the couch and bundled up nicely, the phone at his ear talking about everything that came to mind. Lily was the first topic, and while he's at it he starts to tell Marik about Sebastian and Arthur and Mobius. How they met, how they got together. How they found baby Isaac abandoned and barely alive. Marik was devastated to hear about him and all the things that could have happened... and at some point he fell asleep like this, Sean could only hear him breathing quietly. He didn't want to end the call, this was the closest he got sleeping side by side with Marik again, and when he just closed his eyes maybe it'll feel like he was right there next to him. Sean forgot about Bakura again drifting off to sleep.

It's around six in the morning when Marik's voice wakes him up. Calling for him, desperate, in pain, crying. Sean was barely awake, in that sleep induced state he thought to feel Marik by his side shaking and hiding his face again, shielding himself from the darkness and nightmares.

"I'm here," Sean says, "You're awake, it's fine, it ain't gonna harm you..." He got no clue what to say to him, how to calm him down from this fucking distance, doubts some words and his voice was enough. He had no way of telling if Marik was awake in the first place or cried and called out in his sleep, but Sean keeps on talking to him, continues to try and get him to snap out of it. All he can hear was his panicked breathing and sobbing, between a string of curses in another language and his name sprinkled in, everything he said and every cry breaks Sean's heart more and more.

"Marik," he repeats his name over and over and over, gets warmer and more nervous every time he did, sits up and tucks his legs close, "I'm here, okay? I'm here. You're safe. Nothing's gonna happen, I promise."

"I'm scared-" Marik speaks barely coherent. By God, what he would give to be there in person...

"Turn them lights on," Sean tells him, "It can't hurt you." They shouldn't have talked about all those things shortly before sleep. Plenty of time to talk about what happened to Marik in his last and from all the days they had they picked tonight's when Marik was so happy to hear what Sean had to say about his family.

"I'm sorry-- I'm so so so sorry-"

"I know, Marik. I know," Sean whispers to him, hopes he might mirror his tone, "You're doin' good, I'm tellin' you. Just breathe." Marik listens. Calms down, wipes the tears, suppressed those violent sobs. More and more heartbreak, helplessness, feeling useless. Sean felt like freaking out, like tearing something to pieces, whatever it was that keeps them apart, it sucks, it hurts, its not fair. None of this is.

"I'll be there," Sean promises him then, eyes closed and jaw tight, "God fucken damnit, I ain't gonna let you do this by yourself. I'm gonna be there with you-"

"No, no, you don't... I'm not... I'm not worth it, I truly am not, you shouldn't have to sit and listen to all of this, I'm so so sorry--"

He's cursing internally. Hand's a fist, phone gripped tight. "You're worth everythin'. Fuck-- You're-- all I want."

"Sean..." A few more sniffles and he's quiet again. Breath calmer but voice thick from crying. "I might not let you go again."

"...yeah. I should've done that, y'know?" So much shit could've been prevented. "I'll find a way, a'rite? Until then we're gonna talk every day and... and night if you need to."

"I wanted to come back, though, you see..? Money is tight at the moment but.. but I'm sure it's going to settle once we did, and then...?"

"...I'll be quicker gettin' money. Gonna give it to you if you wanna come instead, both's damn fine with me. How expensive can that be anyway... ain't like you're needin' much 'cause there ain't no need for a hotel or... yeah."

"Ah... I forgot you're working for KaibaCorp. Maybe you're right." He still sounds like bursting into tears all over again, tired beyond imagination as well, "Let me talk to Ishizu in the morning, I should... I don't want to, but I should try and get back to sleep. Its early morning for you, isn't it? I'm sorry, Sean."

If only there was quick money to be made in his job at KaibaCorp; he does pay well, but it wasn't fast enough, and payday ain't until three weeks. No chance Sean's gonna wait that long, no way he's gonna leave Marik alone during the nights just because he had to get up in the morning to write code for Seto--- he said it's fine, right? For Sean to take vacation. So what? He's got about 400 dollars left and a whole drug store in his apartment. Ain't there need to worry; Marik just shouldn't learn about the drugs.

"I'm fine, honestly, don't worry about me. Try and get som' rest and I'll talk to you as soon as possible. And you can call when anything's not rite, yeah..? Wait, I'm gonna.. send you somethin', 'cause I really got stuff to do now. Is that fine?"

"Mhm... yes, it is," a short break, both take a breath in, "Thank you. I... Sean, I..."

"I know," he's warm, fired up, "I'll send it, you tap on that link and turn your volume up a lil'. Promise its gonna help you fall asleep."

"Okay."

Sean ends the call and digs up a video from youtube where he ain't all that loud, a game that's no horror, something calm and nice with good music... And he sends the link to the whole playlist in the chat, hopes and prays that it's going to work out fine for Marik.

Cowboy - Today at 06:23am
i ain't told you i guess? did you know playing silly games online can make you famous? least it worked for me. just put them on now and tell me later if it worked. good night, marik.

Marik - Today at 06:24am
That sounds interesting! We have to play together soon. I'll try it out, thank you! 💚

Oh, dear God, he found the emojis. That dumb stupid little green heart made his own skip quite some beats. He's gonna...

Cowboy - Today at 06:25am
💚

Sean flips the phone over to the table with a thud, face buried in his hands. That man gets him weak and flustered like some love struck teenager.

One glance at the clock, why the hell is it so early in the morning..? This was no time to be awake, not for Sean, but there is no way he could be going back to sleep like this. He would go over to Sebastian and Arthur in a couple hours anyway... He sneaks over into the bedroom to wake Bakura up. He's sleeping on his stomach hugging both pillows, wrapped in the sheets, completely tangled and looking like he couldn't even hurt a fly. Sean knows that ain't quite the truth, but seriously, he hates to disturb his sleep.

"Hey," he pokes the floof that's Bakura's hair, "C'mon, wake up. I got shit to do."

"Dghn--" Oh, its alive and moving! Bakura glares at him with one eye open, flops around on his back arms outstretched. "Do I look like I care?"

"Yeah. Pretty much. Get your ass up or I'll-"

Bakura pulled him into the bed, holds Sean captive in both arms and rolls over to the side again with a squeak. What a bitch...

"Five more minutes~"

"Noooo..." Speech's muffled on Bakura's chest. He tried turning his head to the side a few times until Sean accepted his fate. It felt... weird this time. Pangs in the back of his head, as if he's... cheating.

"Who were you talking to last night?" Bakura acts like he got no clue, yet Sean was positive he was eavesdropping.

"Marik." Breath's hold for a while, same as Bakura's. He released his grip slightly, begins to pet Sean's hair as always.

"Idiot. Absolute fucking idiot. Are you gonna drop me again?"

"I ain't plannin' to," Sean earnestly tells him, "Why you callin' me an idiot again..."

"Because you are. Even after what I've told you last night you were on the phone with him for the rest of it like some stupid as fuck schoolgirl drooling over the quarterback. He's bad news and you're just horny."

"You're actin' like you know him," he's bitter, agitated, "But you don't. Not a fucken thing. He's told me, y'know? What he did 'n all that stuff, what happened at the tournament and... fuck, I missed him, okay? You can't ruin that for me, now."

"...you bailed on me for months and now you're all over some bitch you've met once? I see how you roll," Bakura let go of him, kicks the sheets off and starts to dress up, "I'm so sick of this."

For a few moments all Sean could do was watch him with wide eyes, unable to move at first. Then he's up on his feet, stumbles over the mattress to get a hold on Bakura, rather eagerly forced him to turn around getting caught in something like a weird hug. Its certainly stronger. Kinda desperate.

"Fucking asshole," Bakura curses at him, voice trembling, "Didn't give a shit about me for months, so don't fucking start now! You never missed me once, or you would've called." It was always just about drugs for him in that time, barely an exchanged word, only money. No sex, no nothing for months and yeah, that was... a shit move.

"I'm sorry, okay? Don't even got a good excuse, but I'm fucken sorry. You know why I ain't talked to you, you fucken know what they're all been sayin' about you back in Krimson, how Seb and Arthur think 'bout you. I been tryin' for a fresh start and you said you wanted the same. You ain't ever tried."

"No! I wanted things to be the same as always! You said it's best to start over, never me! I can't, I don't want to, all I want is... not in my reach right now. But you were until you started following Kaiba around like a d-- whatever, I... --fucking shit, don't treat me like that! I'm not a fucking toy!" He drags Sean closer into his arms, buries fingers deep into flesh until it hurt and Sean could hardly take it for much longer.

Sean achieved nothing much, certainly not a fresh start considering he got a whole stash of drugs in here worth a fortune but no customers anymore after he cut the ties; he only knows of one he could ask, but that might be... risky. Bakura could've helped him if he wasn't being such a bi--

No. He's hurt. And he got a right to be.

"I'm not treatin' you like that. Jesus. I missed you, y'know? Big time, but I been messin' around a lot to forget the shit that happened in Krimson and thought you'd do the same as I!" He breaks the hug, hands over Bakura's shoulders, "You honestly thought I'd forget about you?"

"You did!" His eyes are burning, flaming angry but more hurt than furious, "I've been there for YEARS, I... fucking..." Sean pulls away completely, a hand wipes through his hair in a weak attempt to calm himself down somehow, getting a bit of distraction until he could say something.

"We been through a lot, I know-- shite, I know! You saved me ass back there! I been scared shitless with all the crap that's been goin' on in Krimson, tho we raised a lot more ourselves! I ain't like that anymore... am tryin' to do better."

Bakura's body was shaking badly by the time he continued to get dressed, had to sit down on the bed to get his pants back on while Sean paced around the room like a wild animal searching for prey.

"You dropped me like a bag of shit," Bakura mutters, "Expected me to get over it, to get over you as if nothing happened. There's no place for me here, figures, there's never been one. I don't belong here. Your friends made that clear, your great family too," no more anger in his features, expression softened to sadness, "They're so god fucking accepting, just not to me. They take every dumb rich boy or stranger in, but me who's been in your fucking life for YEARS, of course I matter shit--- I should be used to it, really."

"Why the FUCK would they? You ain't ever apologized for the guns you stole from 'em! Can't expect 'em to trust you after that-"

"Who do you think I stole them for!? What do you think happened to those guys who wanted to fucking kill you!? YOU NEVER ASKED!" Bakura takes some steps closer, eyes sparkling dangerously, "I killed for you and you NEVER asked how or why! That fucker Wheeler just wanted your cock! Rich kid Kaiba did NOTHING for you, trampled you like a DOG and that fucking EGYPTIAN is a psycho! I'm right here, Sean. I've been here for years."

Mind's wiped clean. No thoughts, nothing. A blank canvas. Splattering red slowly, ever so slowly, crimson ink dripping down on the white ground. There's something strange and twisted about Bakura. A sparkle Sean never saw, never noticed, not once in five years, thought it out to be friendship or maybe a closer bond but never what he feared now that it was. Devotion perhaps.

"I didn't... know that's been you who killed those folks. No... why would you-"

"YOU STUPID IDIOT! It's because I fucking LOVE YOU!"

Five years. And he never noticed a damn thing. They just fucked. Kissed. Shared a bed sometimes. But that was never an issue, benefits if anything, good to know you have someone who's there to fuck the stress right out of you without wanting to be taken out for dinner or shit in return. Relationships were complicated for him during that time, and why would he need one if Bakura was there acting like its nothing special in the first place, that playful banter all the damn time, teasing and insults between cannabis and vodka.

Sean didn't say a word. Nothing he could think of fits. And Bakura stands there waiting for an answer, chest heaving and muscles tensed, eyes wet. Sean still said not a single word. He doesn't know what to say. Bakura... ruined everything. And Sean can't tell him that he did.

"Don't do that."

"... you think I didn't TRY not to love you? I fucking TRIED to get over your stupid ass! I did! See where that got me!?"

"You... no... Bakura, what the fuck do you want me to do!?" One of them had to be the first to cry and it looked like Bakura was winning.

"Stay with me," he proposes, "Don't... don't fucking drop me."

"...I won't. No matter what."

Bakura averted his gaze. Hesitates for a second. "Don't lie to me. Sean. Please don't." His gaze falls on the hickeys, the scratch marks, the bites he left on Sean's neck and arms and a cold shiver runs down Sean's spine at the reminder of them.

"I ain't lyin'," he says, "Never to you." Bakura opens his mouth to say something in response, yet decided to stay silent. The tension was almost tangible, Sean's mind so poorly handling it all, so damn slow trying to work out what happened and what's happening. And what should happen from now on with that knowledge.

You ruined it, he wants to say, you ruined everything we had. Sean has no right to feel wronged or to tell Bakura what he thinks. Seems hard enough as it is.

The silence kills him.

"What do you wanna do now? Go home? Need a lil' space?" What would Sean want in this situation?

"No... fuck, no, you want to get rid of me? I want to stay here with you and I don't fucking care what you're up to. You've left me alone for a long time already."

Bakura did a spending job guilttripping him and by God, it worked. It worked perfectly and Sean doesn't question that fact much, they're both used to get what they want. Sean wanted to reply, but Bakura continued. "We're running on borrowed time."

"Huh? Nah, we ain't..." He steps closer, only a bit, "Then... then stay, if that's what you want, fine. I gotta head over to Seb and Arthur later, tho, and I guess I need to get back into the scene, do some work..."

"Make quick money to meet your new-- yeah. Of fucking course... how much you need?" When at first Bakura looked like he wanted to turn around and leave now he sat down on the messy bed, hand running over his forehead. The man still isn't fully dressed; Sean sits next to him.

"No clue... I know its gotta be fast tho, 'cause I ain't lettin' him do all that stuff by himself--" It occured to him that, maybe, only maybe, Bakura was not the right person to talk about Marik with, and five minutes ago that wouldn't have been such a big issue, "Payday is too far away and I ain't in no shape to go workin'. So if you know of anyone wantin' to get rid of some money for funny pills..."

"Wheeler got into oxy," Bakura says, no hesitation, "Dealt with Van der Linde or so I've heard, that bastard runs the whole scene by now with that shit... though, I think you're still the only one with Blue Ice from Detroit, so take that bet with the old geezer."

"Y'know I'm kinda... in the red with him? Can't just go there and say oh... hey, Dutch, remember me? Bad..." Sean is in debt with him and can't even remember how much it was anymore. If he was to chat Dutch up then he should be a bit smarter about this. He can't lose the money he barely has.

Bakura purses his lips. "He might offer you a deal? Either that or you try get all sweet with Wheeler and get a hand in the oxy-business."

"Thanks, I take the grandpa," Joey was the last person he wanted to see, he's just another friend Sean left behind when Seto showed up, "Lets see what he got for me. You... you wanna eat somethin'?"

"Ohoh, you invite me to lunch with your Detective dads? Sure, they'll love seeing me again!"

"Asshole. I meant breakfast! Let's get some coffee somewhere until I gotta go-"

"That sounds like you still didn't get around to stock up your fridge with actual food that's actually healthy. I'm disappointed."

Strange. It felt like nothing changed--- well, no, it did. Everything changed. But somehow it's all the same as before. Sean hopes it won't be an issue between them and... magically disappears. Because feelings absolutely do that, right?

He nervously laughs, thumb's scratching over his bearded jaw to delay an embarrassing answer. "Yeaha... kinda. Tho, gotta say, in my defense that I've been spendin' so much fucken time in the hospital recently and been away from here in general that there never was a fucken need to."

"You better take care of yourself," Bakura huffs and stands up to get dressed, "Or I'll do it."

Chapter Text

Seán was surprised Dutch’s number was still in his phone even though he hasn’t had any contact with him for months. He texted the man immediately, asked if they could talk about possible deals in the near future - and with that he meant the nearest he’s available. So far he didn’t respond, an hour passed, anchor became two, Seán at his second cup of coffee while Bakura struggled with the first.

Marik hasn’t called or texted Seán so far and he wishes Marik finally found some sleep and that his videos were any useful to him. He should ask about that later, too, same as news from Ishizu - if they’d even allow Seán there or would let Marik take the flight instead. Considering she said she saw Seán in the future… Seán shouldn’t doubt so much.

“How can you drink that junk? It’s all sugar and zero coffee!” Bakura twirls the cup a bit in his hand, watches the coffee spin around in disgust.

“Its your own fault askin’ for a black one. Don’t ever tell me to pour you sugar, gonna regret it.”

“…I didn’t think you’d pour the whole thing!” They were seated outside a cafe, watched people go by looking busy and stressed as hell, travel cups and phones in their hands. Almost unreal to see the streets bustling at such a time on a sunday morning, simply following them with his eyes got him slightly panicky that he ain’t doing enough in his life. He sure doesn’t, but it’s not that it mattered much to Seán…

“Seán,” Bakura swoops a donut over to him, Seán still didn’t react, “Hey. Princess.”

“Eh?” He turns to look at him, leans a little closer. Did he miss something? “You thinkin’ you’re the prince then?”

“Rude of you to assume I wouldn’t be king.” One of his fingers slips into the donut’s hole. Seán watches. Bakura knows he’s watching.

“…King of what?” He takes over the pink glazed donut and takes a bite.

“Ohhh, I don’t know? King of thieves, maybe.” Lookin’ sly as ever with that grin.

He thinks for a second, breaks a piece from the donut to reach it over. “‘cause Thief King Bakura got a ring to it, sure.”

Bakura takes the larger piece in Seán’s other hand instead of the small one he actually wanted to give him. “Ahah… it surely does! I’m glad you agree.”

He doesn’t agree to Bakura stealing his breakfast, though. Irony! Seán tries to get the piece back before Bakura can stuff it whole in his mouth– well, shit…

“An asshole is what you are! I really love me the pink ones, y'know?”

“King of assholes,” Bakura muses after swallowing, “That one’s even better.”

“…gay-” His phone rings! Bakura had to laugh but was quiet quickly when Seán answered the call.

“Yea-?”

“Its me, Dutch. Been a while, right? So, you have the audacity to ask me if I want to work with you, yet you cannot even pay off your debt to me? That doesn’t strike me as smart.”

Shit, shit, shit, no- “I can pay,” Seán says quickly, “Lemme know how much I owe you.”

Bakura drinks that much too sweet coffee, watches intently and frowns when Seán said he’d pay up, shakes his head.

Dutch chuckles at the other end of the line. “Actually… I might have something you could do for me. How bad do you need it?”

It..? Awh, fuck. Seán doesn’t answer immediately, picks at the empty cup digging around for a response….

“I’ll take that as a 'very very badly.’ If you want to work with me, you’ll have to work for me, first. There is someone who owes me much more money than you do. A friend of yours, or so I’ve heard… Joey Wheeler? His payment is long overdue, and if you get me the money from him I will forget your debt and we can be friends again.”

“…how’d you know he got it? How am I s'pposed to-”

“Oh, I know he has it. Will you do that for me?” He’s calm, collected, damn well knows how to get his way with anybody. Seán almost forgot how Dutch was when he knows how to achieve his goals, only needed to get others to do the dirty work when they’re poor and desperate.

And Seán doesn’t think. Doesn’t act smart. “Fine. I do it. Gimme… gimme until tonite.”

“Call me again when you have it. One grand, no less. You know where to find him, I assume?”

“…I do.” Dutch hangs up and Seán slowly lays the phone aside.

“So? What’s the deal?”

“There ain’t none yet. Gotta run an errand for him.” A thousand dollars— that's… no… Bad thoughts.

Guilt sneaks up on him instantly and he’s not done anything yet. Bakura looks disappointed but… intrigued. “Do you want me to help?”

“No, I really gotta do that alone. Ain’t no need to make it your business too.” Seán pockets the phone and planned to get up, head empty and full at the same time; Bakura holds his hand and makes sure he stays for a while longer.

“Your business has always been mine, too.”

Bakura offered Seán a ride over to Sebastian and Arthur’s place, sure thriving on the fact that they definitely would recognize his car; Seán did ask him not to pull up any closer and necessary to their house, but he certainly loved the tickle of danger. The motor was running when Seán attempted to get out quickly, maybe there’s a chance they haven’t seen him yet–

He pulls Seán back into the seat, hand curled around the loose scarf Seán was wearing to hide those hickeys Bakura left the other night. He stares at him, eyes wide and mouth opened a bit, sees Bakura smile slightly before he comes even closer for a kiss. Short. Gentle. At first. He tugged more at the looped fabric to deepen the kiss, tongue’s circling Seán’s lips deliberately and his knees go weak in an instant.

“Fuck– don’t do that,” Seán breaks the kiss, feels his breath cold on his lips, “You’re makin’ this so fucken hard for me.” Seán receives a grin in return while Bakura fixes his clothes again, smooths a hand through his hair stopping at the back of his neck and the next kiss follows no less eager than the previous one. Seán pulls the keys from his pocket, sneaks them into Bakura’s hand and pulls away quickly. “I be back, yeah?”

“No, ugh- I said I’m going to help get the shit for Dutch, right? Give me a heads up before you leave.” That wasn’t a question. Not even a request. Straight up a command. At least… Seán wouldn’t have to do it all by himself.

“Fine, fine, okay, but you still gotta get to my place while I’m here 'cause you made a mess of me bed and you’re gonna fix it.” He exits the car, door slammed shut; Bakura rolls the window down already turning around.

“You sure like giving orders, princess. That’s kinda hot.”

“Fuck–” And he’s off with music blasting on maximum volume, “–you.” So, if they haven’t seen the car, now they heard it. No fucking doubt about that… he rings the bell, stupid enough to give Bakura the whole set of keys; Chloe opens up with a loud squeak, cheers and pulls him into the tightest embrace he ever had to suffer through, putting a painful pressure on his stomach that brings tears into his eyes.

“H-heh, Chloe, c'mon, you’re gonna break me–”

“That’s the point! Well, kinda, I guess! Hey, man you’re back, it’s been so long! Come on in!” She drags Seán along, doesn’t give him the time to take his shoes off and he almost stumbled over Cat lazing about in the middle of the hallway. That lil bitch knew he was coming and did that on purpose, huh…

“Seb! Se~b! Its he! Him, I mean– Jesus, you see how your weird talking rubs off on me?”

“I ain’t ever talked like that, tho.” He grins widely, finds himself going from Chloe’s hold over to Sebastian’s who was a lot more gentle with him, and different from Chloe he didn’t yell at the top of her lungs when he came in.

“Its good to see you, Seán,” Sebastian says quietly, “Are you okay? Does it still hurt? I hope you’re going to the doctor’s appointments on schedule and that you’re taking care of the wound-”

“Dude, let him breathe,” Chloe chimes in from her spot on the ground stacking Isaac’s play cubes, “The first time I see that Irish Bastard in weeks and you’re chewing his ear off already? I wanted to do that.”

“Now, don’t you talk about the lil’ feller like that!” Arthur’s voice bellows from the other side of the room, he stands in the doorframe leading into the kitchen. “Good to see you again, Seán.”

Jesus. Fuck. He’s overwhelmed. A big big mess with two strong arms still around him, Lily chattering now as well and she clings to his leg, seems to want a piece of his shirt as hard as she’s pulling to get his attention. Instead, and for that he’s sorry, instead of giving Lily a glance or word he cries into Sebastian’s shoulder, completely lets go of everything that happened in those last few days and hours and minutes, each word ever said no more a burden on him.

He never forgot he has a family, but he almost forgot how at home he feels like this, surrounded by some of those few people he trusts unconditionally, would tell everything to if it weren’t for the fact that he feels absolutely lost and useless trying to steal money from a friend and these two men he accepted as fathers were Detectives trying their best to get him far far away from this whole scene… And Seán willingly got back into the mess.

It’s for him. How can that be wrong…? He knows what he’s doing and why he’s doing it. How can that be wrong.

“Feels good,” Seán begins, stifling a sob, “To be here again. Thanks.”

Arthur brushes it off with a flick of his hand going back into the kitchen and Sebastian releases Seán from his grasp to look at him properly. “You good?”

“Yeah, course I am!” He wipes them stupid tears with quick hands. Sebastian squeezes his shoulders, gives him a reassuring smile. “Why wouldn’t I be!”

“We’ve got quite some things to talk about I’d say. Want some coffee? Let’s go sit in the kitchen.”

They did, Chloe following close behind with Lily on her tail, both of the admiring the pretty neckwear Seán has today. He got the feeling that Chloe knows exactly why he’s had it on.

Sebastian pours them some coffee, Arthur gave Lily a mug of warm cocoa so she wouldn’t try again take a sip from his cup of coffee when he wasn’t looking. There’s steaks sizzling in the hot pan, the smell of garlic twirls all around the air here. Its going to cling to his clothes and Bakura will be all over him again.

“We ain’t talked since STEM! How’s things, Seán?” Arthur checks the meat, decided it could sit for a while longer.

“Uh… improvin’ now. Had a pretty rough time in that hospital in California, some, eheh, trouble with Seto again. We talked things out 'n all, but we ain’t a couple no more.” Sebastian shoots him a worried look, Chloe throws herself back in the chair, fists raised to cheer in the air and Arthur just… sighs.

“Yeah, I kind of expected that after he been here some time ago, you know, just to chat a lil’. Asked about'chu so I figured something like this happened. He ain’t seemed like the last time you broke up.” Not as desperate, huh? Seán doesn’t ask about it.

“And..? You talked things out, I hope. He’ll stay part of the family, no matter what happens between you two. For all the things he did to help us with Isaac, then Mobius just recently… they deserve a family.”

“Yeah, no, I know that! He knows, too, 'course I told him that ain’t the end. We’re friends 'n all, its jus’ gotten a bit quiet between us. Nothin’ there to worry about. I’m serious.”

“Now you tell us what happened before I got you out of STEM. Do you remember..? I know that some of my memories from Beacon and Union are… vague and whatever I’m trying, it’s like I’m watching through a thick fog.” Sebastian holds Isaac in his lap, swaying gentle from side to side while the little one chews on a tiny blanket. Seán watches him for a bit, both his hands around the warm cup of coffee.

“Its all… dark. I remember that beam of light and then? Nothin’. All wiped out 'n gone.” He remembers every little detail. How he gave the other Marik his ring, held his hand and begged him to leave together. The way the other Marik laughed at him, mocked him, hurt him. Its crystal clear and as painful as the day it happened; but no one else needs to know about it.

“…we’ve seen Marik. Or, at least, whatever it was of him that they put in there, and we took care of him ourselves. Seto, he was there too with Yugi, and they said they’ve seen him before and hoped it was enough to banish him the first time-”

“Buck, I told him already. It ain’t been him, so said the lil’ feller and I guess it makes sense the way he told us. A bit.”

Yeah. All that magic stuff, ancient egyptian pharaohs and ghosts and demons, that’s… that absolutely makes sense. Damn, with the shit he’s seen he would believe anything Yugi told him, honestly.

Sebastian finished his coffee, offered Seán the next round as well but he barely got his half empty. “How have you been? All of you?” Seán wants to know. Both Arthur and Sebastian hesitated at first, then Sebastian begins to explain.

“It wasn’t as bad as the other times, not a big deal I dare to say. Maybe because this STEM didn’t have much time to stabilise and develop when we got there, and the core wasn’t the perfect candidate like they believed it to be,” Lily climbs onto his lap, too, her head snuggling into the crook of her Dad’s neck, “I bet they didn’t expect us to catch on so soon. The last times we were stuck for a week or longer, but now..? Three days I think until it was over, thankfully. Almost felt like a silly dream instead of a nightmare, and to think we were so… afraid. Its surreal.”

“You sure scared the blue out of my jeans,” Chloe butts in, not allowed to swear when Lily was around, “Y'all gotten out without any injuries. Well, except the Irish, not that this isn’t a surprise.” Seán throws her a silent 'fuck you’ and Chloe winks at him. Sebastian laughed and, even though it was a nervous laugh, Seán had to join in.

“Oh, by the way? I was on the phone with Marik last nite.”

By the time they finished eating and Sebastian went upstairs to tuck the little ones into bed for nap time, the surprise and excitement settled down a little. Arthur badly wanted to have Marik’s number too, and Chloe said she’ll need it for various reasons that sure don’t include shameless flirting. Seán wasn’t sure if Marik wanted his contacts passed around like a joint in the bathroom, so he said he gotta ask him first–and that Chloe won’t ever get his number, no matter how much of a pain in the ass she was about it.

[msg sent 01:23pm Kangal] come pick me up if you wanna help, but please dont drive up the hill. i dont want any trouble

[msg received 01:25pm Kangal] hmmm :3c

“Say, you wanna come over again tomorrow? Or Tuesday, anytime really! Feels like weeks that we’ve seen you. Let’s get some coffee. When is the last time we streamed?” Sebastian gets ridiculously excited for his age about videogames, though Seán wouldn’t say that he minds it much. Arthur was equally as bad as his husband when it comes to the wide range of games they could play on the channel together, but damn is it entertaining for the masses. They improved a lot, though.

“Let’s decide on a day for that later, yeah? I gotta get back to work soon and for no clue 'bout me schedule yet. But we definitely have to play!”

“Hah, Buck, get the dust off your laptop and start practicing again. That’s going to be fun!” Arthur laughs but for a moment Sebastian wasn’t as happy.

“You’re leaving already?”

“I got places to go– and people to do– y'know how it is. Ain’t no rest for the wicked.” He jokes around, pulls and picks at the loop around his neck to make sure nothing slipped into sight when Seán gets up. “Thanks so much for bringin’ me over.” Chloe tackles him from the side, makes a mess out of his hair and says he might need to get it cut soon.

Arthur doesn’t agree, and neither did Seán.

Its Sebastian who accompanies him outside after he said goodbye to Chloe and Arthur. He was smiling at Seán until he saw Bakura’s pick-up pull into the driveway.

“You can’t be fucking serious, Seán.”

Oh, he feels his heart drop all the way down into his stomach. Couldn’t even look at Sebastian now, damn well aware there’s things he wants explained and promises to be kept.

“It ain’t– fuck, I swear it ain’t nothin’ serious. He changed, y'know..?”

“Somehow,” and Sebastian spares Bakura no more glances turning to Seán to embrace him, “I doubt that. Don’t do anything stupid.”

“…I-” His hold tightens slightly before Seán let go again, “Sure.”

Sebastian smiles somehow sad, waves a lil at him before closing the door behind him. Seán rushes to get into the car, urges Bakura to turn down the music so he can raise his voice.

“Fucken told you not to get up here! Jesus fucken–fuck! That ain’t helpin’ me.”

Bakura hums along to the music that plays quietly driving back onto the street and down the hill, past horses and goats. “Mhm, you had some fun there? The next time you get into my damn car smelling like garlic I expect you to bring me some leftovers. I dig.”

Seán doesn’t want to, but he laughs. Alright, okay, he knew it. “Will do.”

“You better,” he seems super happy about his achievement, “Now, what’s the plan der Linde?”

“Did you make a fucken pun with this dude’s name? I-”

More laughter, from the both of them. “Such a stupid fucking name, I swear to god. Sounds like money and a damn golf yard behind a big as fuck mansion, not like dealing drugs.”

Seán shrugs. “We gonna get to the academy at Evanston’s Road, and you wait in the parkin’ lot while I search Joey’s dorm room. Let’s hope he ain’t there.”

“Aye sure no one will be suspicious of an unidentified vehicle in the parking lot! Bad idea. I wait at the side of the road and you call when something comes up. Good?”

“I’m so glad you’re my partner in crime, Bakura.”

Chapter Text

The huge building with red brick stone walls loomed in the distance, and from the spot Bakura parked his truck in they’ve had a good view on the academy grounds before it; there aren’t many students around at this time of the week. Both good and bad, because Seán will have to ask around a bit if anyone has seen Joey lately…

“Remember to call if anything happens,” Bakura reminds him, “Go, make me proud.” Strange to think Bakura would be all over this only because it was illegal, bringing Seán one step closer to Marik. Seán rolls with it, takes a breath, exits the car and flashes him a smile.

“I’m countin’ on ye!” And he was off, hands shoved deep into his pockets wandering over the street and onto campus, then followed the path leading to the boy’s dormitories. He hasn’t been here in forever, glad it ain’t as hard to find the way with all those signs around guiding him.

A bit ahead, the dormitories in sight, some students lazed around on the benches in front, reading or messing around on their phones. Really, Seán doesn’t know any of them by their faces alone… Good chance no one will know him, either.

He goes up to ask the first guy, his black hair had a funny blue shine in the sunlight. “Hey, you got a minute to spare? I’m searchin’ for a friend.”

The student looks up, one eyebrow raised. “Who are you looking for? Dude, its Sunday, most are out in the city.”

Good. “Uh, Joey Wheeler.” The other two had to chuckle. The one with the black hair shrugs and continues reading.

“I haven’t seen him in a while.”

That’s better. Seán doesn’t say thanks but ventures on to the entrance, hoping no one is paying him any mind. Should he stumble into anyone from security this mission will be over before it even began; now he was glad the petition to have security cameras installed here was dropped.

Once inside he acts on memory alone; walks through the hallway and took a turn to the left, past green painted doors with little whiteboards next to them. Even if he hadn’t remembered where Joey’s room was, the doodles of duel monsters on the slate were more than enough to give it away. Seán knocks at the door, anxiously awaits an answer that doesn’t come…

And the door wasn’t locked anyway.

He goes inside with a pit in his stomach, closes the door behind him and sends a quick prayer to whatever god could help him out here a little that no one and especially not Joey himself would find him here sniffing around. The room was rather small and cluttered to no end, documents flying around on the ground and the desk next to the window ahead, the bed cramped with clothes and a duel disc lurking out from underneath the pile. And next to the bed is a big black box secured with a heavy padlock.

He wonders what’s inside.

“Okay, let’s hope you’re really as obvious as this…” Seán inspects the padlock, will need a four digit code to unlock it… How in the fuck is he supposed to do that… his heart beats faster than ever, he takes another thorough look around the mess, digs through the documents hoping to find anything useful…

There are some letters from the academy concerning his scholarship; good news. Makes his heart lift a bit. Then a printed email about his sister Serenity, an application for her to join the academy here as well and the piece contains her birthday… it’s his best guess… if that doesn’t work he might go through the red circled days on the calendar hanging on the wall.

Rushed hands pull the padlock up, his fingers shake when he rolls the numbers into place— and it clicks!

“Hm.. I’m gettin’ good at this.” Irish luck, baby.

Inside Seán finds a thick envelope, opened to reveal a stash of dollar bills. Hesitantly he grabs the envelope and counts them quickly; has to count a second time because he messed up the first attempt.

“God, fuck…”

No second thoughts. Not now. Joey owes that money, doesn’t own it. Seán was just… getting it back to whom it belonged to. Not once did he question Dutch’s request and if its legit.

Seán closes the box, pockets the envelope and now its off to the door in a haste but right before he can reach the doorknob the door opens– he freaks for a second. Realizes there ain’t no place to hide for him, digs through his brain for a fucking brilliant excuse.

It’s not Joey there, though. It’s his sister, spooked to see Seán standing in the room with that guilty look on his face. She runs a hand through her light brown hair, head cocked to the side. “Seán? What are you doing here?” Awh, fuck, she remembers him…

“Ahhah… I was s'pposed to meet your brother, y'know, tho I guess–”

Joey comes running, smashes the door shut breathing heavily. Now is the time for panic. “What the fuck are ya doin’ here?! Hol'up- Serenity, we gotta leave! Get ya stuff, there ain’t no time ta waste-”

They heard a voice from the hallway. Echoing footsteps. A whistle. “Don’t make this harder for the both of us, boy. I just want to talk with you is all!” Seán never heard that voice before…

Serenity covers her mouth with her hands, a sorrowful and scared look shot at her brother; Joey steps ahead to the door, curses under his breath, but before he leaves he turns to look at Seán and hushes. “Whateva ya do, don’t ya come outside. Stay with her.” He leaves, made sure to slip through the lightly opened door so whoever was outside didn’t know there’s still someone in there. Serenity closes her eyes.

“What is goin’ on?” Seán wants to know, but she doesn’t seem to be able to answer him. He listens to their voices outside the door, truly wishing his luck won’t run the fuck out on him.

“Where is my money, Joey? Hmh?” Wait– that ain’t Dutch. Ain’t no voice he knows from dealers in the city and he sure as hell doesn’t sound like a young man. “You owe me one. Thousand. Dollars. Took all that oxy from me and my partner, expecting us to be easygoing about the whole deal you messed up?”

“I-its bad times ya know, ain’t no one around now dat tha season’s over– gimme a month, will ya? I-” The man punches him, knocks him to the ground with a groan. His sister wants to rush out, started to cry silently but Seán holds her back.

“No– no, he said to stay here!” He murmurs, looks into her wide panicked eyes, that silent plead on her lips– more hits, more curses from that man and pained noises from Joey on the ground.

“Where is my fucking money!? You playing games with me?! Huh!?” Another punch, or a kick, whatever it was it sounds awful, all Seán could do was hold that girl and keep his promise–

What if he went out there? “I want the god damn MONEY, you sack of shit!” Go out there and give him the envelope and stop this, make sure Joey is going to be okay, no matter of that guy was someone from Dutch’s people or not– “I don’t have it, I don’t have it…”

One last cry of pain, louder, violent, going through his skin in waves of terror when he hears the breaking of bones. “Good luck running on that knee, fag. Now, get me my money until I see you again or I will have a word with your sweet sister.”

The man leaves, all they heard was Joey gasping and cursing with pain, muffled groans between it all. Serenity runs to open the door before Seán was able to hold her back, kneels next to Joey sitting on the ground bloodied and bruised, holding his left knee.

“What the FUCK was this about!?” Seán stands in the doorframe, thinks he’s in the middle of some fucking video game, no chance this was happening for real, “Joey, I-”

“Nah, thanks for keepin’ your promise ta me. I can handle dat freak-” Serenity wipes the blood from his face with the sleeve of her hoodie, blinks her tears away.

“We have to get you to the hospital! Joey, please, I’m scared…!”

Jesus fucken Christ… “Ain’t got a clue if I can get up like dat though.” Joey wipes his eyes from the blood, spits some on the ground next to him. Serenity calls the ambulance for him. And Seán..? He stands there, a thousand dollars in his pockets. No clue what to do.

“Ya know, ma father lost his job so…I’m payin’ for Serenity and her medical bills, it’s more important than this asswipe- I can handle him.”

This day can’t get any worse.

“I… I think you need it more than me.” He doesn’t think about it, about consequences, about the hell he will have to pay now. Seán pulls the envelope from his pocket and holds it out to Joey, staring up at him confused and shocked. “Dutch sent me, y'know? I had no fucken clue what you’re needin’ it for when I took it- Fuck, I’m sorry.”

“Ya honestly been d– shit. What’s goin’ on with'cha? Since when are ya workin’ for Dutch?” He takes the envelope, looks at it relieved but still… disappointed.

“That’s a super long story. I didn’t know, okay? He told me to get it, so I did.”

“Nah… You… took care of Serenity. I geddit, tough times. We all been there, huh? I ain’t one ta talk, his fucked up oxy business is gonna be da death of me…”

“Ambulance is on the way, Joey,” Serenity is back beside him, holds him up and leans her head against his, “You’re gonna be okay…”

“I… I should go. You tell me if you need anythin’, rite? Gotta make up for all this shite.” He got no place here, not anywhere, feels awkward in his skin still standing there after confessing he stole from his friend and stood idle while Joey took a violent beating, speaks through tears and pained gasps because that fuckhead crushed his knee.

“Will do. Thanks again, Seán.”

He expected Joey to yell at him. To insult him and tear him to the ground like that other man did with Joey, but the rage and wrath he thought would happen did not come. Instead Seán was free to go, pockets empty and heart heavy, guilty and embarrassed. Disappointed in himself, but most of all he was angry. Angry because something like this had to get in the way, how Dutch could send him and another one of his men at the same time ruining his chance to get away from here… to see Marik.

Outside the dormitories Seán needs a serious break. Those guys from before aren’t here anymore, and the man that beat Joey is gone too. He sinks down on the empty bench to smoke and feel sorry for himself, hated what this man made him do, what he brought upon him now and wonders what’s going to happen to Joey if he doesn’t get out of his business.

Its pathetic.

Joey does these things for his sister, his family, people he loves and wants to protect. Seán was willing to steal and commit crimes to see someone he met once, a person that is so fucking far away, out of reach. A man he… a man he loves, really loves, wants to see happy and without nightmares.

How is this any different? How can this be wrong.

The phone keeps buzzing in his pocket. A cigarette’s length later Seán takes a look at the messages he missed, some from Bakura and others from Marik. His heart leaps excitedly, makes a mess out of him once again.

Marik - Today at 02:31pm
Good morning! The videos you sent over helped a lot, thank you so much! It’s not easy to fall asleep quickly when I hear you being so excited, but your voice is very soothing to me.

Marik - Today at 02:55pm
I talked to Ishizu. Money is a big issue for us at the moment, but she doesn’t mind us seeing each other again in any way. I would really like to come to you. If you want?

Marik - Today at 02:59pm

He can’t tell if those messages are breaking him word for word or if they stick broken pieces back together; it hurt a bit either way, how excited Marik is, that little green heart again. The certain promise of reunion.

Cowboy - Today at 03:11pm
im working on getting the money that we need to get you here, its not gonna take very long now so you better start planning what you wanna wear. i havent done any research tho??? how expensive the flight is and stuff…. im gonna take care of everything, dont worry. ♥ im glad they helped you, we can talk again tonite

A bit of digging around on travel website and after the struggle of figuring out how that stuff works in the first place, it’s safe to say he needs a lot more money than he thought. Five hundred is what he expected, but that’s barely the flight from Cairo to Domino City. Twice as much and they’re good to go. He slides a bit deeper down on the bench, fingers tapping the phone aimlessly until it buzzes again.

Awh, shite. Bakura.

[msg received 03:21p.m Kangal]
theres a fucking ambulance here, what the FUCK are you doing . im going to kill a man today is2g

[msg sent 03:22p.m Kangal]
chill. im omw

More angry buzzing but Seán pays it no mind, goes back to the main building and walks past chattering students wanting to catch a glimpse at the ambulance car driving up to the dormitories. Jesus, when’s the last time Seán felt as bad?

Bakura greets him with a relieved sigh but an angry expression, eyebrows drawn together, lips a thin line. Fuck, he’s pissed. “So? Are you happy?”

“No,” Seán fastens the seatbelt, “I ain’t. Some dude showed up and was beatin’ Joey to a pulp over the money I got. He ain’t seen me and when he left I jus’… gave the money back to Joey.”

Bakura groans and leans his forehead on the steering wheel, hands on his head. “Now it’s going to be a pain in the ass to get Dutch off your tail, you realise that? You still owe him, and… who was that dude anyway? You recognised him?”

“Nah… Never heard that voice before. Sounded like… I dunno, real gruff, old. Homophobe.”

“Micah.”

“Eh?”

Bakura kicks the engine on, looks over his shoulder to pull out of the parking space. “Micah Bell. You don’t want him to be after you. Trust me, you don’t. You have to get away from Dutch, pay up and go about your own ways… I had no clue Micah was back in town.”

“C'mon, he…” Seán doesn’t continue. This man beat up a teenager no care for possible repercussions. Seán inhales deeply. “Then I’m gonna meet up with Dutch ‘n give him the bucks I owe. Fuck, I… ain’t got much left.”

“Do you even know how much money you’re gonna need to get there?” Despite the fact that this wasn’t a topic Bakura was happy talking about he sounds curious. “300? 400? 420?”

“Nine. Hundred. For one of those super fancy agencies I mean, but whether its 700 or more really doesn’t get me hard.”

“…mood. See if you can deal the Blue Ice by yourself but… I’d still try selling it to Dutch.”

Dutch sent him a text containing a single question mark. Seán swallows.

[msg sent 03:45p.m Doberman]
i dont got the money from joey but i got some questions. gonna pay my debt too

[msg received 03:45p.m Doberman]
Junkyard. In 1 hour. We talk then.

“Dutch wanna meet up at the junkyard in an hour,” Seán says dryly, “Texted we gonna talk. Maybe there’s a chance? Ugh, Bakura, I’m…”

He takes Seán’s right hand into his, frowns slightly before Bakura talks. “I’m coming with you. Let’s go get the money.”

Half an hour later they’re back on the road on the way to the junkyard, money in his pockets and a roaring ball of anxiety in his stomach. Seán texted Seto he’s gonna come back to work tomorrow morning, said he can’t wait to continue with the mobile game Seto planned out already. It wasn’t that much a lie.

The ride is spent mostly in tense silence, Seán on his phone and Bakura listening to the music turned down to the lowest volume. Neither knows what to talk about right now, both more than a little bit afraid of what Dutch will have to say to the failed errand.

At least Marik answered.

Marik - Today at 04:18pm
I spent almost 900 dollars for a ticket the last time. It sure is a lot of money and I could pay about 200 myself. I’m going to give the money you spend back to you as soon as I can! Oh, would you want your shirt back? I’ve been wearing it a lot lately, mostly at night though.

Cowboy - Today at 04:20pm
yeah, been looking it up too….. dont worry about anything honestly, said im gonna take care of that and im on it. keep that money for urself for the time youll be here then!! keep the shirt, too. what about yours? ….and the jewelry

Marik - Today at 04:23pm
Oh! You can probably sell it! It’s worth a lot and I don’t think I want to wear it anymore. It didn’t mean much to me, and I left it behind because I thought you could just keep it locked away somewhere, but if you sell it thats just fine by me. Did you wear that shirt? How is purple on you?

If only he could wipe that dumb grin, yeah, that’d be awesome…. but god, he’s giddy, never thought of the jewelry this way and wouldnt have ever gotten to the idea of selling it… though if its actual gold, then…

Cowboy - Today at 04:25pm
are u sure about that?? ive been wearing one of the rings for a long time until i lost it in STEM…. im sorry about that, seriously….. and no, i didnt wear it, kept it close tho always next to me u know? purple isnt good on me, works best on you i say.

Shit, look at the time…

Bakura searched for a spot after driving slowed down onto the junkyard, demolished cars all around with several paths between the trash. “Tell your Prince Charming you’re calling back later, we got some business to do.”

“….shuddup.”

Cowboy - Today at 04:29pm
i be busy for a while but i promise im gonna be back soon. think again if you really want me to sell it for the ticket, yeah? take care over there ♥

Marik - Today at 04:30pm
You too, please. I need you. ♥

Something stings sharp in his chest, needles in his heart more pleasant than aching, they tighten his lungs and make him feel a lot lighter. It’s as if he confessed already. One last text he sends before putting the phone away, waiting for Dutch.

Cowboy - Today at 04:32pm
youre a treasure, you know that? ♥

It buzzes again and as much as Seán wants to take a peek, Bakura stops him when he sees Dutch approaching; black slicked back hair glistening in the sun, the man’s moustache trimmed nicely. He looks the least like a dealer with those fancy ass clothes, waistcoat and white button up shirt underneath, leather boots, his stance threatening and chill at the same time; silent threats.

“I see you brought a friend along,” Dutch says, “Are you still afraid after Krimson?”

“Nah, ain’t that in the past?” Bakura stands next to him, close enough, one hand in the pocket of his denim. Seán was pretty sure Bakura has a knife on him.

“The past, yes, where you thought you could leave your debts until today? That isn’t the way I deal, Seán. If you want something, you have to work for it. What happend at the job you so badly wanted to do for me?”

Fuck him, fuck him– “There ain’t been any money at his dorm. I doubt he even got it, he never had much…”

“My, I think there was a misunderstanding,” Dutch begins, “No money to get, you say…”

The voice from before bursts with laughter and next its Micah coming from around the corner, arms outstretched for a fake warm greeting. “Oh look, its the Wonder Twins! Bakura, ain’t ever thought I’m going to see you again!” Micah stops next to Dutch and crosses his arms; Bakura tenses next to Seán, the hand on his pants twitching but Seán bumps against him gently, takes a step forward.

“Listen, Dutch, I just wanna pay me debt and hoped to get somethin’ up with you. I got-”

“Now,” Micah clasps his hands together, ready for business, “You two are hilarious! Coming here after I’ve seen that ugly truck in front of the school an hour ago? You come here hoping to deal with us? Maybe it was this man’s sunny demeanor,” and he points at Dutch with a grin, “That tricked you into thinking we are some kinda charity? You know, I ain’t been to a super prestigious academy but THAT don’t strike me as smart!”

“We’re just here to talk,” Bakura hisses, “Nothing else. Keep that to yourself.”

“Oh, but we are talking! We are talking, Dutch, ain’t that right? You always had some serious balls, Kura. Don’t think that’s of much use to you now anymore, is it.”

Dutch was awkwardly silent. Seán felt a cold shiver run down his spine.

“Forget it,” Seán says quickly, “Jus’ take the fucken money and forget I ever asked of anythin’. I can get rid of me drugs without your help.”

“We wanted the grand from that fag Wheeler. Maybe I go visit him in the hospital, heard his sister was in town too-”

“You fucken asshole leave 'em alone! Ain’t it your damn fault dealin’ with kids that got no clue 'bout the whole shit?”

“Seán-” Bakura’s voice gets drowned out by Micah’s, the man stepping even closer to Seán until he towers in front of him, a threatening hand raised at Seán.

“What did you say? What did you call me? I think we haven’t met each other yet, boy, and you don’t know how to treat people like me with some respect.”

Dutch shouts at him from behind, agitated. “Those are kids, Micah!”

“Kids!? You know who that bastard here is, Dutch!” Micah stares back down at Seán, this ugly greasy face framed by blond locks of even greasier hair, the guy’s beard like a horseshoe around his mouth. “That’s the brat Morgan took in!”

How-

Micah grabs his collar and pulls. “And I missed that little cowp-” Bakura holds Micah’s wrist before Seán could even realize what happens, twists it until it hurt and until Micah let go of him, laughs even when Bakura kicks him back against a wrecked car.

“Don’t fucking touch him.”

Micah is the first to pull out his knife, dashes up and forward at Bakura this time, surprisingly much faster than Bakura despite the age gap; one of Micah’s hand is around his throat, the other holds the knife to his face. “Why do you bitches always think it’s fine to act like that but when I do it it’s all wrong? 'cause I ain’t sucking dicks?”

“Fuck you-”

The weapon Bakura had wasn’t the knife Seán knew. It’s a revolver, locked and loaded and when Seán pulled it from Bakura’s belt he had not the slightest idea what he could cause pointing a gun at a human being like he didn’t have to do in more years than he could count. Gun points at Micah’s head and for once the man was quiet, staring in disbelief while Bakura struggled in his grip.

“Step back or I’ll kill you.”

“Nahhhh, you don’t got the balls! You wanna get Daddy in trouble?”

He takes the safety off. Micah slowly released his grip, but another gun clicked behind him; Dutch aiming a pistol at Seán with pleading eyes.

“Go. Keep your money and leave. Micah, let the boy go, now!”

“Dutch,” Micah points his knife at Bakura’s eye, tip first and now he doesn’t struggle as much anymore, stopped to claw at the man’s hand around his throat, “You’re not giving orders right now, this is personal. Didn’t you miss Arth-”

Seán pulls the trigger, aimed for Micah’s shoulder and hit, makes him scream and wail, going to the ground while Bakura fought to get up and take the knife from him.

Dutch shoots, next. His target were the both of them but the least he managed to get was Bakura’s arm first, Seán’s right leg next. He falls to the ground, support gone and lost, aims at nothing with the gun he holds so desperately, fires shots at what he thinks is Dutch above him picking him up, Micah wheezing and coughing on the ground struggling to get back to his feet with curses, insults and spits.

“Should’ve killed you dumb fucking twink when I had the chance,” Seán doesn’t know what happens when Dutch gets him into the car and Micah yells at Bakura on the ground, “You always seem to stand back up, huh?! Not today-”

“MICAH,” Dutch screams, “Everyone heard the gunshots! Get in the CAR. We take Arthur’s son with us.”

Seán slowly slips away. It doesn’t hurt as bad anymore, the backseat was pretty comfortable and he feels bad for bleeding all over the red leather. “Bitch can’t even shoot properly,” he hears Micah say, “The bullet gently grazed my shoulder! Try aiming next time.”

The only blood in the car comes from Seán, not Micah.

He… he just… played with them…

“Fuck– fuck… Bakura–”