the_goldenpath: (Yu-Gi-Oh! All Cast fics)
[personal profile] the_goldenpath
Title: The Feathered Dragon’s Wish
Fandom: Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters
Pairings: forthcoming Atemu x Yuugi x Jounouchi
Rating: M for shounen ai
Warnings: angst, melodrama and sap
Summary: (end of series ‘fix-it’) Yuugi’s leading the life of his dreams: he’s going to college, he has an amazing boyfriend and wonderful friends. Things are about to change when he realizes his feelings for his best friend have turned into love; what does that say about his own relationship and how is he going to deal with it?
Author's Notes: Feedback is a great thing.




It was difficult to pick the ‘right’ moment. Yuugi thought he had an opportunity this Sunday, as a huge shipment to restock the Game Shop had arrived earlier and he helped out Atemu to put everything on the shelves and in the right display case. He waited for the right moment to open up, but he kept hesitating. He watched Atemu work and felt a little bit sorry for him. The former Pharaoh enjoyed his promotional Duel Monsters work for Kaiba, but he felt guilty about cutting back his hours at the Game Shop and desperately tried to make up for it. He was tired and Yuugi could see it, as Atemu worked non-stop, not holding the tiniest break, not resting for a moment. Yuugi decided to get the work done first and then, after lunch, to tell him.

He helped him out as best as he could and took care of all the merchandise until he heard Jounouchi holler. He was in charge of preparing lunch today and the yakisoba was ready. He helped out in the household as much as he could, true to his word, and though he wasn’t fond of cooking, a noodle dish with plenty of vegetables like yakisoba was something even he could prepare well. When Yuugi and Atemu entered the kitchen, Jounouchi glanced at Yuugi who shook his head. Not yet. Atemu’s entire posture showed off his fatigue. Yuugi knew he had all kinds of chores planned for the afternoon as well, leaving him no time to relax. Was this a good moment to tell him? Suddenly, Atemu swayed from left to right as he tried to grab himself a seat.

“Watch it!” Jounouchi had quick reflexes and reached Atemu faster than Yuugi could. He wrapped his arms around him to keep him from losing his balance.

“I almost fell,” Atemu said, sounding amazed, and slightly confused at the same time.

“You’re a little distraught,” Jounouchi said. “Where are your thoughts?”

“I have much to do,” Atemu answered; he wasn’t complaining, but stating a fact. It was obvious that he felt guilty about leaving the Game Shop to Sugoroku so often, while the intention had been that the elderly man would retire and Atemu would take over the store. Now that he enjoyed working for Kaiba more than being a store clerk, he felt torn between his responsibilities and duties. That was another issue that had to be addressed soon.

“Did you injure yourself?” Jounouchi asked. He was still holding Atemu who didn’t protest.

“Ah, my ankle…”

“Did you sprain it?” Yuugi looked a little worried. He had heard a strange noise when Atemu had reached for the chair.

“No, I do not think so. I bumped into the chair…that is all.”

“Mou hitori no boku, you almost fell. You can barely stand on your feet!”

“I just need to eat something,” he murmured. He shifted a little, and it was only then that Jounouchi let him go, reluctantly. Atemu sat down.

“I don’t know what you have planned this afternoon, but you’re going to park your ass in the living room and stay there,” Yuugi said sternly.

“Nonsense, aibou, I…”

“I don’t want to hear about it!” Yuugi blushed, realizing that he had raised his voice, much to his own surprise. Even Jounouchi stared at him. “I mean, you should sit down and take some rest. Read the newspaper or something.”

“Perhaps,” Atemu said, but he sounded tempted. He looked at the massive bowl with yakisoba in front of him and picked up his chopsticks. Jounouchi wasn’t skimping on portion size, happily eating the hearty meal. Yuugi’s restlessness grew stronger as they were eating. He kept stealing glances at Jounouchi, who stole glances at both him and Atemu, and Yuugi kept an eye on Atemu as well, with the former Pharaoh totally unaware of what was going on. He couldn’t delay any longer. This was the ‘right’ moment, if you could call it that way… with their plates finished, Atemu thanked for the meal and was about to get up from his seat. Yuugi took him by the elbow.

“Go to the living room, mou hitori no boku,” he said.

“I really should…” Atemu started.

“Please,” Yuugi insisted. “Go to the living room. There’s something I need to tell you.”

Atemu looked at him, surprised by the serious tone in his voice. “If you want me to, aibou,” he said, sounding a little insecure.

“I want you to,” Yuugi said and watched as Atemu left. Jounouchi had busied himself with the dirty dishes in the sink and looked over his shoulder.

“Now?” he asked softly.

“Now,” Yuugi said, just as softly. He was already regretting his choice; it felt like his entire lunch wanted to come back up again.


----------------------------------



Atemu had chosen a seat on the sofa and looked up with a curious expression when Yuugi walked into the living room. Yuugi sat down next to him.

“What is it that you need to tell me, aibou?”

“I…” There was no other way he could tell him. He had to bite the bullet. “I love you very much, mou hitori no boku,” he said. “You know that, don’t you?”

“Of course I do,” Atemu said. “I can see and feel it every day.” He tilted his head a little, alarmed. “What is going on?”

“I… have discovered that I feel much love for Jounouchi-kun as well,” Yuugi said. “In fact, I think I’m in love with him. I don’t know how to say it, mou hitori no boku. You love Jounouchi-kun too, right?”

“Of course I do,” Atemu answered, without hesitation. “But... aibou… what are you exactly talking about?”

“I feel more for Jounouchi-kun than just a friend,” Yuugi tried to explain. “Love as in love-love. Love as in a life partner.” He carefully watched Atemu’s face, searching for a change in his expression, either positive or negative. At the moment, he was staring at Yuugi fairly blankly, as if his words failed to reach him and nothing was processed or registered. “I told this to Jounouchi-kun, when he confessed his love for me.”

“He confessed his love for you? You have fallen in love with each other?” Atemu asked, after a minute of painful silence.

“We have always loved each other, like friends,” Yuugi said. “As of late, we noticed that that love had deepened itself. From friends to more than just friends. To potential life partners.”

I am your life partner, aibou,” Atemu protested. Yuugi reached for his hand and clamped it between his hands, stroking his fingers.

“Yes, you are. The other half of my soul, so strong, so filled with love and dedication. I love you so much. Jounouchi-kun loves you too. He loves the two of us, and we love him.”

“I…” Atemu looked confused.

“Do you understand, mou hitori no boku?” Yuugi examined his reactions very carefully. “That Jounouchi-kun loves the both of us?”

“I understand,” Atemu said. “Why is he not telling me this, but you are?”

“We thought it was for the best that I told you. Jounouchi-kun wants to be a part of our relationship, but he respects our boundaries, our wishes and choices.”

“I see.” Atemu frowned a little and Yuugi allowed him the time to mull over his words. He could read him well, but now there was nothing but confusion and bewilderment on his face.

“Do you think you’d be able to accept Jounouchi-kun into our relationship?” Yuugi asked, and as Atemu’s eyes immediately darkened, he knew he had gone too fast.

“No, I do not,” he said, confirming Yuugi’s thoughts. “I am in love with you, aibou, not with him. Jounouchi-kun is a valued and wonderful friend, but my love for him is not the same as it is for you.”

“I apologize, I didn’t mean to put any pressure on you.” Yuugi caressed Atemu’s hand between his. “But there’s something you must know, mou hitori no boku. We have confessed these feelings to each other, Jounouchi-kun and I. When you… when you were traveling through the United States, we both felt lonely without you, and when we were watching a movie… we kissed.”

“You… what?”

“We kissed,” Yuugi repeated. Abhorred, he watched Atemu’s expression go from annoyed to angry to dark, his eyes taking on such a menacing depth that it scared him.

“You kissed!”

“Yes, we did. I don’t want to keep any secrets from you,” Yuugi hurried to say. “It wasn’t something we intended to do, to hurt you.”

“You kissed someone else and you think it would not hurt me?”

“Not ‘someone else’, it was Jounouchi-kun,” Yuugi said. “Please, try to understand that we love each other!”

“So what if I do understand,” Atemu gave back, “what do you want me to do? What am I supposed to do with this knowledge?”

“I want you to take your time and think about it,” Yuugi said. Atemu hadn’t withdrawn his hand, but if it were possible, his extremities felt cold, as if his body temperature had significantly dropped.

I have to think about it? What about you?”

“I admit immediately that all these feelings are overwhelming, confusing and conflicting,” Yuugi said. “But I want us to be happy and preferably, happy together.”

“You did not even bother to ask my opinion about it at all,” Atemu said and his voice dropped to a cold low, just like his body temperature. Much to Yuugi’s dismay, he withdrew his hand, clenching his fingers even into a fist. “You went behind my back to kiss someone else and even though you confessed it to me, you talk about these feelings and emotions of which I had never any knowledge about! Why do you dump this on me and burden me with it?”

“Kissing each other was a mistake,” Yuugi admitted again. “We shouldn’t have given into temptation, mou hitori no boku. I…”

“I would never look at someone else, let alone kiss! Why did you not come to me earlier, to share these feelings? Why did you not tell me?”

“It was so difficult!” Yuugi wanted to touch the other and comfort him, but Atemu’s body language was stiff and rejecting. “I know it sounds like a lame excuse but it’s not, it’s really not, mou hitori no boku! I needed time to process it all, how it was even possible to feel love for someone else…”

“The message is clear to me,” Atemu said. “You do not love me enough.”

“No!” Yuugi cried out loud, his voice shrill. “No! Never doubt that! I love you!”

“Then why is there room for someone else?”

“Not just ‘someone else’, please,” Yuugi said. “He’s our best friend and he loves us both. Jounouchi-kun means a lot to us.”

“He does,” Atemu said, “as a friend, but not as a lover! I will not accept this, and I will not accept from you that you are kissing other people.”

“I understand,” Yuugi said. “It was a mistake for which I can’t apologize enough.”

“At least it was Jounouchi-kun,” Atemu said and brusquely stood up from the sofa, “and not someone else. I would have killed him!”

“Mou hitori no boku,” Yuugi stood up as well. He wanted to stop him from leaving, as this was getting out of hand. Atemu was focusing on the kiss only, not on Yuugi’s message that Jounouchi loved the both of them and his wish to share a relationship with them. “Please, I understand that you’re upset, but think about it. I mean, give yourself some time to-”

“I will think about it when I want to, not when you tell me to,” Atemu spat angrily and stormed out of the living room. He thundered down the stairs and for a brief moment Yuugi feared he was going to go to Jounouchi and demand answers out of him, or even worse…but he heard a door slam shut and he realized that Atemu had fled to the Game Shop. Yuugi heaved a sigh. How could he have done this more wrong? He had totally failed to bring this situation to a good end. He shouldn’t have thought so lightly about the kiss. Even though he had shared the kiss with Jounouchi, their best friend, it didn’t mean it was something to overlook or to sweep under the rug. Perhaps because Jounouchi was their best friend, it was twice as difficult to take it.

How could he have misjudged it so wrong? Yuugi’s mind came up with an answer, something he should’ve known all along. Atemu had been right; instead of sharing his feelings, instead of asking his opinion, Yuugi had simply assumed that he would go along in the relationship. Simply because he wanted it so much himself, as he reciprocated Jounouchi’s feelings, he had totally surpassed Atemu and the guilt and shame took a massive toll on him. He shouldn’t have done this. He shouldn’t have confessed to Atemu, no matter how much he disliked keeping secrets from him. When he and Jounouchi had confessed their feelings for each other, they should’ve agreed to not act upon it, instead of trying to involve Atemu. He sat down on the couch again, overwhelmed. The soft footsteps he heard weren’t his lover’s, that was for sure.

“It didn’t go that well, did it..?” Jounouchi sounded almost child-like, his voice tense and curious. Yuugi could hear the faint hope and he shivered, not liking to crush it. Hope was sometimes everything you had.

“I’m sorry, Jounouchi-kun, he reacted very badly to the kiss,” Yuugi said. Jounouchi’s face fell. “I think he tried to understand our mutual feelings, and maybe he did get the message; but when I started about the kiss, he flipped.”

“We can’t blame him,” Jounouchi said.

“We don’t, and we won’t.” Yuugi heaved another sigh. He felt drained. He was glad that he was the one who had talked to Atemu, not Jounouchi. His friend sat down on the couch, at a respectable distance. He folded his hands into his lap.

“I could hear most of the… conversation from the kitchen. I don’t think he really understands it,” Jounouchi said. “Yuugi, I don’t want to be a disturbing factor. I’ll start looking for an apartment first thing in the morning.”

“Jounouchi-kun, please don’t leave!”

“I never, ever want to come between you guys,” Jounouchi said. “I want to be with you, the both of you, I want to be a part of your life, but never to come between you and tear things apart. I don’t want to exert any stress or pressure. When we spoke about this, we said to each other that we would respect boundaries. We obviously crossed Atemu’s boundaries and now I’m afraid I’ve ruined our friendship. I want to salvage what I can, and not lose two friends.”

“You’ll never lose me,” Yuugi said.

Jounouchi shook his head. “What if he forbids you from seeing me?”

“He can’t, and he won’t. He’s not like that, Jounouchi-kun. It would be impossible anyway: I see you at class every day.”

“It’s a question he can ask of you, or rather, demand of you,” Jounouchi said. “What would you do if the other half of your soul demands to stop seeing me? Would you go against him, defy him?”

“No. Never.” It wasn’t really a surprise that he didn’t hesitate with his answer, and he started to cry. He couldn’t stop. It was the harsh truth, but he would always choose Atemu over Jounouchi, no matter what. Jounouchi nodded, having known the answer already. Yuugi wrung his hands. Atemu would never force him to make a choice like that, would he? But if he did… if he would ask…

“I think it’s better if I stayed away tonight,” Jounouchi said. “I’ll hang out at Honda’s and make myself scarce for a while. I don’t want to confront Atemu with my presence now that everything’s out in the open and still so raw.”

“You can’t stay with Honda-kun for long,” Yuugi objected. Honda got recently engaged and his girlfriend had moved in his small apartment. The happy couple wouldn’t exactly be happy about a third party crashing in their living room. Honda would never show his friend the door and welcome him, but still… it would be a strain. “You can stay here. Nobody said that you had to leave.”

“But Yuugi, we run into each other all the time, don’t you think..? I mean… well, he didn’t say that I should leave… it could be very painful.”

“You can stay away during the day, but come home every night. This is your home. You have a roof over your head here, Jounouchi-kun. Always.”

“But I destroyed it with my own hands,” he said softly. “I should’ve shut up and suffered in silence, instead of opening my big yap and ruining it all.”

“Don’t talk like that.” Yuugi rubbed harshly at his eyes. “We need time.”

“Time,” Jounouchi repeated. He didn’t sound very convinced.


---------------------------------------



Atemu didn’t show himself for the entire afternoon and Yuugi decided it was for the better to leave him alone. He had his own work to do. He was done with his midterms, but the senseis had given their students more than enough work and projects for the remainder of the academic year. He also had some household chores to finish; Jounouchi helped out, but disappeared around dinnertime. Yuugi didn’t stop him. He trusted his friend’s judgment and it was perhaps for the best to not confront each other right now. Dinner was his responsibility for today and Yuugi finished cooking, turning off the heat. He went downstairs to the store and opened the door. Atemu was in the midst of a couple of boxes and Yuugi couldn’t see what he’d been doing. He softly said: “Mou hitori no boku, come upstairs, please. Dinner’s ready.”

“I am not hungry,” he said.

“It’s just the two of us,” Yuugi said. It hurt. “Please.”

Atemu took a minute to think about it, but apparently his empty stomach prevailed. He got up, turning towards Yuugi. Without another word, they went upstairs to the kitchen. Yuugi made sure everything was served on the table and handed him a large bowl.

“Did you work all afternoon in the store?” he asked, though the answer was obvious. He just wanted to hear his voice.

“Yes,” Atemu said. “I sorted through the rest of the shipment.”

“Jii-chan will be happy with such a neat inventory,” Yuugi said. Atemu remained silent and the atmosphere dropped to an icy low. After three bites of udon, Atemu dropped his chopsticks.

“I am going to bed early,” he said.

“Mou hitori no boku…” Yuugi knew he couldn’t stop him, no matter how much he wanted to. He put his head into his hands. He didn’t know what to do. It might be for the best to leave Atemu alone so he could deal with it, but this was so important to talk about. How could he find the balance in talking to him without exercising any pressure and comforting him, after receiving this news? He had no idea. Not having much appetite himself, Yuugi took care of the dirty dishes and put the leftovers in the fridge. He tried to spend the evening studying, but he couldn’t focus. Nothing on TV could interest him and he found himself climbing the stairs to the attic.

It was dark and he sneaked into the bedroom. Atemu was indeed in bed, lying with his back to him, facing the wall. Yuugi could see more than enough due to the moonlight shining in through the skylight. He sat down on the bed gently, the mattress shifting with the added weight. He leaned into Atemu and put his hand on his shoulder, just to touch him, not wanting to wake him. Yuugi wished he had gone about it all differently. He knew Atemu was hurt; and any pain the other half of his soul went through, was painful for him too.


--------------------------------------



If Yuugi’s mother and grandfather noticed the sudden strange tension in the house, they didn’t comment on it. Yuugi’s mother could be quite oblivious, but Sugoroku shot Yuugi a questioning look every now and then. The elderly man was too polite to pry, but Yuugi knew that he expected him to talk to him. He didn’t want to involve his grandfather in such personal matters and when Sugoroku did manage to corner him, Yuugi muttered something about ‘work and study stress’ and hurried away while apologizing.

In the following weeks, the atmosphere returned to its previous amiable state with every passing day, but Atemu wasn’t his old self yet. He didn’t initiate any physical contact and Yuugi longed for his touch so much that it almost drove him crazy, but he respected his lover and didn’t want to ruin the currently fragile connection between them. However, he wasn’t used to Atemu not talking to him but polite platitudes as “Can you hand me the sugar” or a curt “Yes, please” when asked if he wanted tea.

“We have to give him time,” Jounouchi reminded Yuugi. True to his word, he made himself scarce during the day. It wasn’t that difficult, as he had much work to do for class and he spent a lot of time at the university library or café.

“I’m so afraid that he won’t talk to me, ever again,” Yuugi said. “I can’t believe how I ruined everything.”

“No, you didn’t. I did, remember?” Jounouchi refused to let Yuugi take all the blame. “I should’ve shut up, and waited for my feelings to go away.”

“But they wouldn’t go away, Jounouchi-kun. And if you hadn’t started it, I would. I was wrestling with the same feelings…”

“Atemu was right, we shouldn’t have acted upon it. I initiated the kiss, so it’s my fault,” Jounouchi reasoned. “It’s only fair that I should talk to him, Yuugi. I want to make him clear that it wasn’t you who started it, but me. It’ll be hard to live without his friendship, but I don’t want to see your relationship ruined.”

Yuugi slumped into his seat. “Very well,” he said. “It’s at least worth a try.”


They went home and helped Yuugi’s mother out with the dinner preparations. Dinner was uneventful and afterwards, Atemu retreated to the bedroom in the attic. Kaiba had given him a state of the art laptop and as Yuugi had feared, Atemu buried himself in work, both for Kaiba and the Game Shop. Everyone else was scattered through the house and Jounouchi nodded firmly at Yuugi before climbing the stairs. He knocked politely on the door before entering.

“Atemu,” he softly called out his name. “I’d like to talk to you.”

Atemu looked up from his laptop, twisting in his chair. “Yes?”

Jounouchi was relieved that he didn’t tell him to leave. He choose to sit down on the bed and instead of carefully forming his words, he blurted out in whatever came up first in him, as usual.

“It’s my fault,” he said. “I started the kiss, not Yuugi. I understand that you’re mad and disappointed with us…heck, I’d feel the same if it had happened to me. All that I want to tell you is that I love the both of you. We both handled it the wrong way. I should’ve come to you and confess to you first, instead of dumping it on Yuugi, and he on you, taking you by surprise.” He paused to take a breath and as Atemu didn’t tell him to stop, he resumed talking.

“At the end of the Ceremonial Duel, I realized how important you were to me. Well, you’ve always been important to me, but… well, you know. You were about to… leave for your family and your home, and I even told Anzu that you’d always be in our heart, no matter where you’d go. It was so hypocritical, because in my mind I was begging you to stay. I knew at that moment, that what I was feeling for you, was more than just friendship. I hid it from myself, as I saw how you hugged Yuugi and how you both trembled and shook as you held each other. It was so much love, so pure, I didn’t want to come in-between that."

"I’m just Jounouchi from the streets, and Yuugi is the King of Games and you’re a goddamn Pharaoh. I told myself just to ignore it, to push it away and focus on other things: college, an apartment, trying to survive every weekend, find a job. But Yuugi was so close to me every day, and you were also there… I couldn’t hold back much longer, I couldn’t resist… so I confessed to him. I started it all. I’m grateful that you didn’t throw me out of the house after everything that has happened, but I think it’s for the better if I were to leave.”

After his waterfall of words, he took another deep breath and looked at Atemu, his face open and honest.

“I would never tell you to leave,” Atemu finally said. “You have no other living accommodation yet, so you are welcome to stay here. You are my friend, Jounouchi-kun.”

“Thank you,” he said, genuinely touched.

“I admit that what Yuugi told me, really shook my world,” Atemu continued. “I did not know that he was harboring these feelings. Maybe it was my fault, that I did not pay enough attention to him, as busy as I was with my upcoming trip to the United States and my work at the Game Shop.”

“There’s absolutely no reason for you to feel guilty,” Jounouchi said, “No way!” He was burning with desire to get up and to put his arms around Atemu. “I wish there was a way I could show you that I love you. I know it’s hard to believe that one person could be in love with two people… but believe me, it’s true. I understand if you don’t feel the same,” he added, “it’s extremely personal, of course. I don’t want to put any pressure you, and neither does Yuugi. I’m not going to ask of you to think about it or give me a chance. I’m not here to guilt-trip you. Whatever you’re feeling, it has to come from the heart. That’s all I have to say about it. I love you so much, Atemu, but I respect you even more.”

Jounouchi tried to read his face, but he couldn’t make much out of his expression. It took a while before Atemu answered.

“I love and respect you too,” he finally said. “But you are not the other half of my soul, and I will not love you as a life partner.”

“I understand. Thank you.” Jounouchi got up from the bed. The pain was overwhelming, but that was the risk of falling in love. He had taken a big chance as to confess his feelings for Yuugi; his best friend could’ve rejected him too. The risk of falling in love, the price of falling in love. Feeling nauseous, he left the bedroom. Yuugi was waiting downstairs and by the look on his face, he had overheard Atemu’s last words. He offered his hand to Jounouchi, who took it. Silently, they retreated into the kitchen and just sat there, both lost in their own thoughts.


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Part 1 | 2 | 3 |

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