//Short Story: Aftershocks

Yu-Gi-Oh!
Jonouchi Katsuya
Rating: Semi-SFW (Blood, Vomiting)

They helped him walk every step until he was able to walk on his own, and even then, he felt woozy enough to need Honda to brace his shoulder every so often. Anzu always watched him, eyes soft and concerned. Yugi couldn’t look away for more than a few minutes, and always kept a gentle, but firm grip on his hand. He was still shaking, unsure if they were left over twitched from the tasers, or if it was the cold. He didn’t really care, at that point. He was too tired to care.

When they came up to the apartment building he lived at, they helped him up the first two flights of stairs. Honda spoke up, though his voice carried a more quiet and careful tone than normal, “We’ll help you inside.”

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//Epilogue : The Heart Puzzle

Yu-Gi-Oh!

Seto Kaiba/Yugi Motou
Rating: SFW

“Ow, ow!” Jonouchi whined loudly as Anzu dabbed his cheek with a cold, wet paper towel.

She furrowed her brow, “Oh, what were you doing fighting with Kaiba in the first place?!”

“He hit first!”

They both stopped, attention pulled to the door as it opened. Yugi guided Kaiba in, holding his hand. Jonouchi was the first to react to the happy look on Yugi’s face, smiling faintly at him. Anzu then noticed, and she ended up beaming.

Yugi then saw the bruises on Jonouchi’s face, his expression changing to a concerned one, “You, too?!”

“I told you, ‘you should see the other guy’,” Kaiba commented dryly.

Jonouchi pouted, growling out, “Kaiba, you bastard! Look at this!” He pointed angrily to his eye.

Yugi sighed through his nose and rolled his eyes, heading into the kitchen and grabbing two packs of ice from the freezer. Anzu, meanwhile, gestured for Kaiba to sit in another chair, winking to him. Yugi handed one ice pack to Anzu, then returned to Kaiba’s side, “Let’s try not to punch each other, okay?” he instructed politely. Kaiba looked to the side, a hint of awkwardness, mixed with bitterness. Yugi just smiled, leaning in and kissing Kaiba’s injured cheek gently. A red blush raced over Kaiba’s face, and his expression quickly swapped for a more sheepish one. That was, until Yugi plopped the icepack against his cheek, making him wince.

Jonouchi began to laugh at the sight, but was caught off by Anzu much more roughly pressing the icepack against his eye, “Owww!” he complained.

-end…-



//Chapter 9 : The Heart Puzzle

Yu-Gi-Oh!

Seto Kaiba/Yugi Motou
Rating: SFW

He sat, thoughts heavy in his mind, on his bed. His fingered were poised at his lips, and his worried eyes looked toward the sky window in his room. He only looked away when the Spirit appeared before him, tilting his head, “You’ve been like this ever since you left the recovery center, Partner. I have a feeling I know why.”

Yugi flopped onto his side, burying his face in his pillow, “I was an idiot! Asking something like that… Kaiba… he probably isn’t anywhere near ready to think about things like that! You saw his face! I… I made him guilty! There’s no way he can stay my friend, now…”

The Spirit sat down on the bed beside him, leaning forward to get a better look at his face, “If you believe that is the case, then you are wrong. You and I both know that friendship is a powerful thing. It will certainly survive this.”

Yugi sighed audibly, knitting his brow, “… Am I selfish for wanting more?”

The Spirit was quiet, unable to really think of an answer until a few moments had passed, “I do not think so. Your feelings are valid, otherwise you would not have them. I know that you are selfless enough to move past this with no issue, though. Give it time,” having said that, the Spirit faded back into the puzzle, leaving Yugi to his thoughts.

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//Chapter 8 : The Heart Puzzle

Yu-Gi-Oh!

Seto Kaiba/Yugi Motou
Rating: SFW

It had been about a week into Yugi’s mother’s stay at the recovery facility, and already she was showing promise. She had been able to clench her toes half-way, which, according to the doctors and therapists, meant there was the possibility of her being able to possibly stand, maybe even walk, for short amounts of time, with the help of a walker. He visited her every day after helping Sugoroku out around the store. He hadn’t seen Kaiba in a week, now, but it wasn’t out of avoidance, he trusted. Kaiba had been very busy reestablishing his public image and moving forward with plans to renovate the city.

He picked up his backpack, slinging it over his shoulder and waving, “Okay, Grandpa! I’m heading over to see Mom!”

“Oh, Yugi! Wait just a moment!” Sugoroku called from behind the desk, “I need help bringing in these boxes of magazines for the racks!” Little did Yugi know, there was a large smirk on Sugoroku’s face as he eyed the cover of one of the magazines, which he’d pulled from a box.

Yugi anxiously tensed his lips, but put his backpack down once more and headed back over, “I’m coming.” He didn’t want his grandfather injuring himself from heavy lifting. He stepped behind the counter, reaching down to pick up the box Sugoroku was standing by. He stopped once he spotted the covers of the magazines. It was a gaming magazine, and the cover was a well lit and very complimenting picture of Kaiba, standing proud, with his fingers running through his hair.

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//Chapter 7 : The Heart Puzzle

Yu-Gi-Oh!

Seto Kaiba/Yugi Motou
Rating: SFW

The faint sounds of cooking in the kitchen was what he woke up to, but his first sight was of the Spirit of the Puzzle, leaning against his desk. He slowly sat up, rubbing his eyes, “W-… Was it a dream?” The Spirit’s expression told him that, sadly, it wasn’t. He felt the tears coming back from that even small split second of hope having been crushed. He wiped his eyes quickly, taking a sharp breath in. He noticed that he was still in the clothes he wore yesterday, but his shoes were pulled off and set by the door to his room. He must have been carried in. He always took his shoes off before even setting foot inside. He stood up out of bed, running his fingers through his messy and now unstyled hair, “Other Me, who is..?”

“Perhaps you should go down and see for yourself?” the Spirit offered, then vanishing into the puzzle, which had been set on the table. Yugi picked the puzzle up, along with a hair tie. As he walked down the stairs, he placed the puzzle around his neck, and tied his hair up in the hair tie. Hesitantly, he peeked around the corner and into the kitchen, seeing a rather unusual seat. He had never seen someone as tall as Seto Kaiba standing at stove, poaching eggs as the toaster prepared two slices of bread. He looked to the couch in the living room on his other side, spotting Mokuba, asleep on the cushions, with Kaiba’s jacket folded up as a pillow, and a blanket from the linen cabinet draped over him.

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//Chapter 6 : The Heart Puzzle

Yu-Gi-Oh!

Seto Kaiba/Yugi Motou
Rating: SFW

As of yet, Yugi hadn’t been made aware of Kaiba’s plans. He was far too focused on staying by the hospital bed of his mother, who was still asleep after her emergency surgeries. She wore a back brace, and her leg was in a sling-supported cast. The doctors had been as gentle as possible with the news, but they had still been blunt. Her spinal cord had been damaged in the lumbar region, and she had suffered a dangerous head injury. With all they were able to do, there was still little to no possibility of her moving her legs again, let alone walking.

It wasn’t sufficient, to Kaiba. He remained outside the private room, which he had insisted on, given the relation to the relatively popular, even famous, Yugi Motou. Only the friends he had personally listed were even allowed near the room, and eventually they all arrived to offer support. Jonouchi, Honda, Otogi, Anzu, and Ryou all came, one after the other, and entered the room. They were shoulders to cry on, hugs to take comfort in, kind and soft voices to listen to, and level-headed ears to listen in return. Kaiba felt paled in comparison, even with all that he had set into motion. He watched silently from the doorway as Jonouchi held Yugi close, while Anzu stroked his hair, while Ryou spoke softly to him, while Otogi wiped his tears away with tissues, and while Honda patted his shoulder. It was such a strong safety net, they gave him. How could Kaiba even compare? Even Mokuba was doing more than he could, simply being in the room and watching the others.

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//Chapter 5 : The Heart Puzzle

Yu-Gi-Oh!

Seto Kaiba/Yugi Motou
Rating: SFW

It had been a week since that day. Kaiba never ceased to be surprised by Yugi’s persistence in visiting each day to say hello and spend a bit of time in the office, along with Mokuba. He was always happy and chipper, and it left a certain type of silence and emptiness when he left. Of course, any time they possibly spent out in town together was somehow publicized in the newspapers and tabloid rags. He couldn’t say he cared, when he had actually begun to miss Yugi whenever he was gone. He hadn’t seen the other Yugi for some time, but he was startled by how little he cared. As time had gone by, the urge to defeat Yugi had seemed to fade to an afterthought. It was still there, of course, but it would be almost shoved fully away from his mind whenever he saw Yugi’s smile and heard his voice. He knew Mokuba enjoyed the visits, too. He saw it as a treat to witness his older brother getting to relax in someone’s company other than his own.

However, the product boom had come to pass, and as Isono had said, the stocks began to slowly, but steadily decline. It was something Kaiba had to see every day, but his mind could not find a way to refuse Yugi’s company in order to serve the needs of his company. He felt foolish for it, but he liked having a friend, and didn’t want to give such thing up so easily.

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//Chapter 4 : The Heart Puzzle

Yu-Gi-Oh!

Seto Kaiba/Yugi Motou
Rating: SFW

His eyes were pulled away from his computer screen as a newspaper was placed in front of him. The front page picture was a splash of he and Yugi, sitting at the table at Burger World. The headline above read: “EX-CHAMPION AND CHAMPION CONSIDERING TRUCE?” He quirked a brow then looked away again.

“Sir, the publicity of this is a rocky road to go down,” he heard Isono, who had placed the newspaper down, say, “Your animosity with Yugi is possibly half of the fuel for our stocks.”

Kaiba closed his laptop turning his swivel chair to face Isono fully, “What exactly are you here to suggest?”

Isono reluctantly continued, trying to remain respectful, but informative, “Well, sir… I would suggest you either keep this friendship with Yugi more private, or cut it off.”

“No,” Kaiba said plainly, standing up from his seat and facing the full length windows behind him, “I will not.”

The other man looked down at the floor beneath his feet for a second, then back up, “Mr. Kaiba, you know that once the product boom of the Duel Disk ends, we’ll be on our own when it comes to the stocks. They were already lowering due to your health. If you don’t have this famous rivalry with Yugi continue, things may well begin to get tight.”

“… It has been brought to my attention. You may leave,” Kaiba said lowly and thoughtfully. Isono followed the suggestion, and left the room, thereby leaving Kaiba to his thoughts.

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//Chapter 3 : The Heart Puzzle

Yu-Gi-Oh!

Seto Kaiba/Yugi Motou
Rating: SFW

Yugi looked himself over in the mirror once again. A black, v-neck shirt, a red jacket, a pair of gray jeans, and a pair of lace up, black, leather boots. Around his neck he wore both the Puzzle, and a short chain necklace. You look fine. You’re more nervous about this than you were about that day out with Anzu. I’ve never spent this kind of time with Kaiba. I’m not sure what he even does when he’s not working or dueling. I suppose that’s half the reason for this day, then. I think it shall be the reverse of the day with Anzu. Only you will be out for this. I figured as much…

He still felt an uneasiness and nervousness about the day. He was excited to find out what Kaiba was like when he wasn’t working, but at the same time, he was worried about not being able to match the man’s expectations when it came to being ‘friends’. He knew there were still some tense relations between him and the Spirit, and he knew that would get in the way. Perhaps it was for the best that the Puzzle remained inactive, today. He glanced over to the clock, seeing that it was precisely nine in the morning. A sudden wave of anxiety hit him, especially when he heard a tapping at the game shop’s door.

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//Chapter 2 : The Heart Puzzle

Yu-Gi-Oh!

Seto Kaiba/Yugi Motou
Rating: SFW

“Here you go,” his mother said as she tugged a pair of one-thousand yen bills from her purse, handing them to him, “You call me if anything changes.”

Yugi smiled gratefully as he took the bills and tucked them into his pocket. “Thank you, Mom! I’ll call to check in at five, okay?”

“Good!” she replied with a grin, then waving to Jonouchi as he entered the game shop to pick Yugi up, “Hello, Jonouchi.”

“Mrs. Motou.” Jonouchi bowed his head to her briefly, “Ready for a day at the arcade, Yugi?”

He nodded, “Yeah! And then lunch.” The two turned for the door, hearing Yugi’s mother call from behind them just as they exited.

“Try to be back before eleven this time!”

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