by Tenshi

For about five minutes in the Kaiba Corp helicopter everyone's thoughts were of victory, of triumph, and of survival, all of the heady intoxication of saving the world. At five and a half minutes, however, they all suddenly started to revolve around food and sleep and basic hygiene. Seto grudgingly conceded, ordering Roland to direct the chopper to the nearest suitable hotel. Suitable for Seto Kaiba, of course, did not only require a helipad, but mints on the pillows and room service entrees that cost more than Joey's weekly rent.

Joey would have been happy with a Motel 8, crammed four to a room with an order of takeout; but Seto bought out half a floor, and in a fit of generosity said the bill was on him, provided everybody left him alone for a minimum of 12 hours.

"Kaiba must be in a good mood," Yugi said, peeling out of his socks and wrinkling his nose at their state. They hadn't been too fresh even before he got sucked into the black muck of Great Leviathan's body, not to mention being dumped in the ocean shortly after. "We got a room to ourselves. Did any of our luggage make it?"

"It's all still in the RV with Duke and Rebecca," Joey said, eyeballing the menu. "But Téa has stuff for us in her bag. She said she'd bring it over. The girl's a genius."

"She's used to hanging out with us, I think you mean." Yugi tossed his tank top after his socks. "I seriously don't want to wear this again tomorrow."

"So rinse it out in the tub and hang it up. It'll last you until we meet up with Duke." Joey picked out a hamburger and fries with an alarming set of digits on the price tag, and scooted the menu over to Yugi.

"Make it two," Yugi said, barely sparing it a glance as he kicked off his pants. "If I don't get in the shower this second the Pharaoh's never going to speak to me again. He can't stand being dirty."

"Ain't all he can't stand," Joey said, with a skeptical look at Yugi's knees. "When'd you start shaving your legs?"

"We have a long-running argument about body hair," Yugi said, going pink. "My modern notions obviously don't mesh with those of ancient Egypt, and I only agreed to the legs because I refused to do any other bits."

"I thought it was because he wanted you to wear fishnets or something."

"Better hit the shower now!" Yugi yelped, and did, still crimson.

"Sometimes I don't even wanna know," Joey said to himself, though he knew for a matter of fact that he did want to know, and badly. Dinner arrived while Yugi was still in the shower, and Joey did not stand on ceremony, clearing off his own plate and then considering Yugi's when he was done. When Yugi finally emerged he was drippy and happily exhausted, with slightly pink water droplets sliding off the ends of his hair and staining his white hotel towel.

"Kind of scrimp on the fries here, don't they?" he said, tying his towel around his hips and flopping on the bed.

"Eh, you know what these ritzy places are like!" Joey made a dismissive wave, failing to mention that Yugi's plate had been more endowed with fries just a few minutes ago. "My turn for the shower. Téa dropped off our stuff, and be glad you weren't around to hear her commentary on your boxers."

"What's wrong with my boxers?" Yugi asked, trying to manage his massive burger without dribbling bits of blue cheese all over his freshly-scrubbed self.

Joey held up the underwear in question. "They got little stars all over 'em, for a start."

Yugi had just taken the first bite of his dinner, and he made a tiny moan of delight. "She can make fun of them all she wants. I don't care, because I think I want to marry this burger."

"No kiddin'. I'd better leave you alone with it then. Though I guess it's you two again, right?"

Yugi shot Joey such a look of complete and utter happiness that it made Joey's heart contract. Sure, everybody was glad to have Yugi back, but not near as glad as he and the Pharaoh were to be together again.

"Yeah," Yugi said, and it was not just the mouthful of food that made him sound choked up. "Yeah, we're doing okay."

"Jesus, you sound like you're pregnant," Joey said, and Yugi's expression was so alarmed that Joey was still laughing when he turned on the shower.

Yugi was lying awake in one of the beds when Joey came back out, but the lights were off, and his eyes were a thousand miles away. There was a heavy quality to the air, and Joey knew that there was a silent conversation going on between Yugi and his phantom lover, one intensely personal and of great importance. There were apologies to be made, and forgiveness to be granted, and Joey scooped up his jeans and one of the key cards and made himself scarce.

There are few places more lonely than an expensive hotel in the middle of the night, but Joey tried not to focus on that. He wandered down the plush carpet on his bare feet and wound up in the vending machine alcove, surprised to find such plebian devices there in the Hotel of the Gods. He dug in his pocket for change, did a doubletake on the highway robbery the machine wanted in order to dispense a coke, and punched the button in futile frustration.

"Man! Why does everything gotta be so damn expensive?" He blew up at his bangs in aggravation. And why am I not back there in bed with Yugi? Because three's a crowd?

"I don't know, Wheeler," said one of the last voices Joey wanted to hear at that moment. "Maybe it's not that it's expensive so much as that you're just cheap." Seto Kaiba was leaning in the doorway to the vending room with an empty ice bucket dangling from his fingertips like a favorite card, slim and vaguely threatening in his black turtleneck and jeans. Joey had the sneaking suspicion that right now Mokuba was still curled up asleep in his brother's white coat, as he had been when Seto carried him into the hotel.

"Look, Kaiba," Joey said, continuing to punch the vending machine button, "I know they say that misery loves company, but you weren't the misery I had in mind."

"And you're not the company I had in mind," Seto retorted, whipping his room key card through the ice machine reader. "So it's just as well I'm not planning to stick around. Besides, I'm hardly miserable."

"Coulda fooled me," Joey said, pointedly moving into Seto's personal space. "You sure act like it all the time."

Seto was as put-upon as a man can only be when dealing with both Joey Wheeler and an uncooperative ice machine, and he demonstrated it in large part by looking up at the ceiling and muttering a prayer to Isaac Newton. God was naturally out of the question for such pleas from Seto.

"Hey," Joey said, not about to be ignored for the ghost of some dead guy in a dumb wig who had invented gravity or whatever. "Hey, I'm talking to you."

"No, Wheeler," Seto said, ramming the side of his fist against the ice button and convincing it to spit out a reluctant chunk, which missed the bucket and landed on the floor, "you're just talking. Honestly, I'd be shocked to learn that you ever stop."

"You know what your problem is, Kaiba?"

Seto eyed him. "You mean besides being stuck in here with you?"

"Your problem is," Joey continued, gritting his teeth against the urge to punch the guy, "you're so caught up in your company and your computers and your cards, you don't even know how to interact with people. You're a total misanthrope."

Seto's eyes widened. "I'm startled you know that word, at least."

"I know more than that. Admit it. You're lonely and you worry all the time about what people think of you, and being around other people makes you uncomfortable. Like right now I'm making you uncomfortable."

"Yes, you are," Seto agreed. "But mostly because you're so damn annoying."

"Oooh-ooh!" Joey waved his fingers. "Watch out, he's bringin' out the big swear words now. Seriously, man. I bet you don't even know how to have a normal conversation without throwing in something about duels or rivalry or calling us nerds which you know is like, the biggest pot-to-kettle crap I've ever heard--"

"Wheeler," Seto began, in distinct warning. "I'm giving you just five seconds before I shove this ice bucket so far up your ass Yugi could wear you for a hat."

"Now there's an image." Joey leaned on the ice machine, edging even further into Seto's space, liking far too much how anger brought color up into Seto's face, how the tendons of his neck were taut against the soft black collar of his turtleneck. "Maybe you just want to shove something up my ass."

Seto flinched unexpectedly, and Joey felt a warm swell of triumph. It was unintentional, but it was still a bull's-eye. "Don't be disgust--" Seto started, but got no further with his protest as the ice machine decided all at once to function, dumping a small avalanche of ice directly onto the floor. Seto recoiled, Joey advanced, and the ice bucket clanged to the floor unnoticed as Joey caught Seto's wrist in one hand, pinned him to the coke machine, and kissed him.

Joey left his eyes open halfway, wanting to see Seto's go wide in a perfectly delicious expression of shock, and also wanting to be able to dodge the punch that came shortly after. Joey escaped a black eye by chance and by reflex, skidding back on the ice and hanging by both hands from the doorway, laughing breathlessly. "Oh, man! Hit me all you want, it won't take away that kiss." Joey's eyes narrowed. "And if I didn't know better, I'd think you didn't want it to."

"You're delusional," Seto spat, dragging the back of his hand across his mouth. "I'd sooner kiss a collie."

"Then either you've got a puppy fetish, or the rest of your body didn't get the message from your brain." Joey jerked his head in the general direction of Seto's belt-buckle. "Or is rubbing your boner against my hip some sort of intimidation technique on your planet?"

"If you must know, I carry a pistol on me at all times." Seto tossed his hair in a show of impatience, and bent over to pick up the ice bucket. "Happy now?"

"Boy, are you a rotten liar." Joey made no effort to hide his inspection of Seto's ass, a rare sight without some sort of faggy trenchcoat over it, and not at all a bad view. "I was in a street gang for like five years, and if you think I don't know the difference between a cock and a glock, then you're sadly mistaken. Wassa matter? Can't have a quiet jerk in the bathroom? Afraid of waking up Mokie?"

"You leave my brother out of this," Seto growled, standing up to his full height and lording the scant few inches he had over Joey. "Don't push me, Wheeler. I'm a black belt in four different disciplines, so don't think I can't kill you with nothing but this ice bucket, because I can. As a matter of fact, I don't even need the ice bucket. It's just for show. So back. Off."

"You wanna rumble?" Joey cracked his knuckles, his blood jumping. "C'mon, then. We'll see who's still got his black belt on by the end of it." He lunged forward, and Seto's body went taut, and then somehow they were against the wall again, hips grinding and tongues thrusting and hands hopelessly lost in each other's hair. The ice bucket clanged to the floor, its opportunity to be a murder weapon missed.

Joey's hands roamed unimpeded over Seto's body, untucking the neat little turtleneck and squeezing the yielding heat of his ass through his pants. "I've changed my mind," Joey said, liking the way Seto hissed at the firm grip on his backside. "You don't need to be social, you just need a good screw. I'm up for it."

"I noticed," Seto admitted, dryly.

"C'mon, let's go back to your room."

"What?" Seto tried to pull away from the wet, ticklish things Joey's mouth was doing to his ear. "No way! Mokuba's asleep in there!"

Joey's fingers were momentarily confounded by the complicated latch of Seto's belt-buckle. "Well, Yugi's probably asleep in ours, so unless you wanna jerk off in here--"

"Yugi's at least closer to age of consent," Seto interrupted. "He's well over it, according to that Egyptian psychosis of his. But let's hope he's asleep, because as bad as he is, there's no way I'm letting my little brother see me fucking Joey Wheeler."

"Suits me," Joey said, unable to stifle his grin, and knowing that if anyone was getting fucked, it wasn't going to be him.

Yugi was asleep and dreaming, contented in the transparent arms of his other half. He did not hear the door to the hotel room open and close, or the stealthy slither of removed clothing, or even the barely-stifled moans and contracting bedsprings. He sensed Yami's curiosity, and then his amusement, but they were only fleeting sensations until he spoke.

You might want to be awake for this, Yugi.

Yugi's dreams had been full of tactile sweetness: the honey-colored softness of the Pharaoh's skin against his own, the sound of water in alabaster fountains, the rich crinkle of silk, the firm heat of gold and jewels on bodies that wore little else. It remained, lush and sensual, heavy between his legs even as the dream faded and his lashes fluttered. At first he thought he was still dreaming, because what he saw, even indistinct in the thin light of the half-open bathroom door, could not be real. Not Seto Kaiba sprawled naked on the other bed on his belly, his spine arched like a cat's and his hips raised as Joey pushed into him from behind for obviously the first time.

For a long time nobody moved, as Yugi didn't dare breathe, and Joey and Seto had not noticed him. Seto's eyes were closed, moan stuttering in his throat as Joey shifted his weight. Yugi had the wild thought that he should close his eyes again, that he should feign sleep, but the Pharaoh thought he should watch.

Why else would they be in here? Maybe they want to be caught by you.

Yugi was still trying to frame up his argument for that when it happened. Seto opened his eyes, and in a moment the glaze of pleasure was replaced with alarm as his gaze met his rival's.


"Yugi?" Joey repeated, incredulous. "Look, buddy, in case you forgot whose dick is in your ass, it happens to be my--Oh!" Joey blinked back at Yugi's wide-open eyes. "Um. Hey, Yug! Did uh, did we wake you?"

"Oh, god," Seto groaned, atheism forgotten, or possibly in the hopes that imploring an Almighty long-denied would get him struck by merciful lightning. "This isn't what it looks like."

"No," Joey said, with a nervous little laugh, "actually I'd say it's pretty much exactly what it looks like. Sorry, Yugi, we didn't want to bug you, but Mr. Upright Moral Citizen here doesn't neck in front of his brother."

"This is well beyond necking, Wheeler," Seto retorted.

"I didn't even know you two liked each other," Yugi said, in a small voice.

Seto made a noise of utter humiliation and buried his face in the rumpled coverlet. "We don't. We can't stand each other and clearly I've gone insane. Forget it. Get off me."

"Oh no you don't," Joey said, with a smart little smack on Seto's bare ass. "I've just had a brilliant idea!"

"That's the most terrifying thing I've ever heard," Seto said, into the comforter.

"Shut it," Joey told him, and then waved at Yugi as though they were standing across the mall from each other, and not with a debauched Seto Kaiba between them. "Get over here, Yugi."

"Me?" Yugi said. "But--"

Joey rolled his eyes. "You see anyone else here? C'mon. Right here. Cop a squat." He patted the comforter in front of Seto's face. "Give this prettyboy something to do with that mouth of his."

"I---um." Yugi looked at Seto's furious eyes, wondering if it was safe to risk it. His body had already betrayed him, though, pulling him over to kneel on the other bed. He could see, quite clearly, the thin ring of mint-colored latex where Joey's cock ended and Seto's body began, and the throbbing between his legs ratcheted things up a few more notches.

"This has gone far enough--" Seto began, and was silenced as Joey ruffled his hair.

"C'mon Kaiba," Joey said. "Be a pal."

Yugi reached one cautious hand out to Seto's face, stroking the back of his knuckles over his cheek, and wiping away a thin line of sweat. "...Please? If you wanted to, I mean."

Seto's eyes flicked up to Yugi's, and there was something there beyond the facade of exasperation: a white-hot burn like dragon-fire. Yugi suddenly found it very hard to catch his breath.

"Only if it spares me another speech about friendship and teamwork." Seto tilted his head at the visible arch of Yugi's cock, clearly outlined by the thin, straining fabric of his boxers. "Get it out already, Yugi," he said. "Even you should have noticed I'm a little tied up at the moment."

Yugi had not noticed, thinking Seto was only leaning on his elbows. On closer inspection, he realized why Seto's hands were held awkwardly together. His wrist buckles had been trussed to each other in a hasty infinity loop, making for surprisingly serviceable bondage.

Yugi had not thought it possible to be any more turned on than he was at that moment, but the sight of Seto's bound wrists proved him wrong. His hands shook as he struggled to free his aching cock from the elastic waistband of his boxers, and Seto arched one thin eyebrow at it once it was free.

"I always knew you weren't a natural magenta," he muttered.

"You ain't foolin' nobody, Kaiba," Joey said, but his laugh was rough, his patience strained. "Admit it. You thought Yugi had a forty-card deck because he's short."

"Well he hasn't shown any other signs of puberty," Seto snarled. "I was just wondering how he kept all that in those microscopic pants of his. It's a wonder he can walk."

"Less talking, more blowing," Joey said, with an insistent shift of his hips. "I ain't gonna stand here all night while there's fucking to do, I got my limits."

"Here," Yugi said gently, tilting his cock down to Seto's lips, his free hand lifting the other duelist's face. For a moment Yugi thought Seto would rebel, his mouth a flat line of refusal, his head shying back in Yugi's hand. Yugi said, "Seto," and something in Seto's eyes softened, some required resistance put forth for appearances and then discarded. Somewhere inside him, Yugi felt the amused ripple of the Pharaoh's memory. Then Seto Kaiba's tongue flicked out in a slow stroke over the burning tip of Yugi's cock, and past lives and future ones shattered under the unbearable sweetness of the present.

"That's what I'm talking about," Joey said, raggedly. His hips were moving again, and the hotel bed squeaked underneath them. "Good boy."

"Don't push your luck, Wheeler," Seto said, his breath tickly on the spit-slick skin of Yugi's cock. But Joey did push it, thrusting his hips forward and up in a way that startled a sharp cry out of Seto. There was no mistaking the way he lifted his ass up to meet Joey's motion, and without further prompting he pressed his face between Yugi's thighs, swallowing him to the base. The act was not so devastating to Yugi as was the expression of utter abandon on Seto's face, his pleasure for himself as much as for his friends, his surrender complete.

Yugi tried to thrust shallowly into the perfect cage of Seto's mouth, not wanting to choke him, but Seto would have none of it. He sucked Yugi viciously for his reluctance, goading him to lose control. Yugi could almost hear Seto's voice, as clearly as though they stood together on opposite sides of a duel arena.

I won't have you holding back on me, Yugi.

In the shadows of their shared mind, Yami suggested, Give him what he asks for. It could not be Yugi's imagination that the voice of the Pharaoh sounded a little winded, his soul swept along with his partner's shared pleasure. He wants it as much as we do.

It was the last prompting Yugi needed. He buried his hands in Seto's hair, fucking his mouth as hard as Joey did his ass. Seto writhed between them, trying to bring his own swollen cock closer to the teasing satin mercy of the quilted coverlet.

"I got ya covered, baby," Joey said, reaching underneath their joined bodies to give Seto a hand, squeezing him with a practiced motion.

Seto made a noise of stifled relief (or possibly irritation at being called 'baby,' by Joey Wheeler of all people) and the vibration of it started an achingly sweet chain reaction at the base of Yugi's spine.

"Kaiba--" he began, feeling he should give some warning, but before he got any further the release washed over and through him, rushing in a warm wave of ecstasy as Seto swallowed him greedily, unflinching and unhesitant. Seto pulled away only when Yugi was done, to let out a soft, vulnerable cry of his own, his thighs shivering and his tied hands digging into the twisted blankets as he came. Joey rocked him forward in a last frenetic thrust and then went still, his head back and spine arched, his hands gripping Seto's hips hard enough to make the flesh go white, unwilling to let go until it was over.

They toppled forward like dominoes, Joey with his cheek against Seto's shoulder, Seto's head against Yugi's belly, and the bed utterly hopeless. Shakily, Yugi reached down to unbuckle Seto's wrists. For a moment they said nothing, ribs heaving, blood thundering, and then Joey laughed softly into the nape of Seto's neck.

"I find nothing funny about this situation, Wheeler," Seto said, but Joey was still laughing.

"It's just... it's crazy." Joey trailed off on a long sigh.

"Not as much as you are," Seto said. He might have argued more, but Yugi was caressing the red marks Seto's buckles had made on his wrists, showering them with tiny soft kisses.

"What's crazy is that it's taken this long," Yugi said, rubbing his cheek into Seto's open palm, smiling softly at the card-callused roughness of his finger and thumb. "I mean, we were getting beaten in the head with destiny destiny destiny every day, you'd think--"

"Well," Joey conceded, "the world was kinda ending."

"Yeah," Yugi said. "It keeps on doing that."

Quite, the Pharaoh agreed, and he was so glad to be there, and for Yugi to be there, that Yugi thought he wanted to wrap his arms around the whole moment and never let it go. But Yami was still insubstantial, and so Seto and Joey would have to be hugged instead.

"Just so you know," Seto said, into Yugi's elbow, "I don't believe in cuddling."

"Man," Joey settled himself more comfortably behind Seto. "Is there anything you do believe in?"

Seto was silent for so long that Yugi just thought he wouldn't answer, his breathing had grown slow and steady, and Joey was drowsing on his shoulder.

"Friendship, I guess," Seto said at last, and for the sake of his dignity Yugi managed not to laugh as they slid downwards into sleep, their dueling hands intertwined and their dreams watched over by the unblinking eyes of the Pharaoh.


b i s h o n e n i n k