Yugi's voice cut through Kaiba's internal monologue. It was barely four in the morning. For all intents and purposes, Yugi should've been asleep. He set his briefcase by his desk and worked the straps from his sleeves.
"Seto. Why are you late?"
The tone rung with disappointment, and Kaiba was thankful for the blackout curtains he invested in. He wasn't sure he could look at Yugi right now. He'd promised no late nights which bled into tired mornings once the tournament was in motion. It should've been an easy promise to keep, and it would be were it not for someone spilling coffee on one of the hologram servers. Now Kaiba was forced to fix the problems that had been put off by a freshly fired tech support group for the backup servers. It was a miracle no one noticed the flickering of the duel monsters, but Kaiba noticed.
"There was a problem at work." After setting each of the arm buckles on the desk, he went over to the door to hang his jacket on a hanger from the hook rack. The maids would take it for dry cleaning in a couple hours.
"You're going to tell me it couldn't wait."
"Then you're going to say you're the only one who could fix it."
Kaiba walked towards the bed and paused. Yugi sat up at the headboard, his violet eyes shining from the sliver of moonlight pouring out a gap in the curtains. Unable to stand it, Kaiba changed his course for the window and tied the curtains in place, fully eclipsing the room as a result.
"We could do the same song and dance we always do when you break a promise. I say I waited up for you. That you missed dinner. That I know what I was signing up for, but you said you would get better and just when you start to you fall off into an even worse pattern. But…" Yugi's voice carried across the room.
Many people would look at him and mistake him for being the soft spoken type. Kaiba had made the mistake himself, but it wasn't Yugi's tenor or volume that bore weight. It was always his word choice, and it always carried no matter how far Kaiba stood from him.
"I'm tired, Kaiba."
Not Kaiba-kun. Not Seto. Kaiba had to remind himself despite Yugi's voice having grown a little deeper with age, that he was not being scolded by someone long gone. Another fear settled in his heart when he listened to what Yugi said next.
"I'm not sure how much longer I can keep doing this."
Exhaustion fueled his anger as his hackles went up. "Are you breaking up with me?"
"It doesn't depend on anything. Do you want to be here or not."
A rustle of sheets and the pat of bare feet along the floor met the silence. A body stood next to him and yanked the curtains open flooding the room with light.
"Look at me." Yugi's head just reached Kaiba's chest, but even in a baggy shirt and too tight boxer briefs, he still managed to make Kaiba feel small. "You don't get to hide in the dark for this conversation."
Kaiba straightened his back bearing his full height and they both knew the gesture for what it was. A move to the defensive.
"I can't make you do anything. I can't help you if you don't want it. I can't change your bad habits or your mindset because even if I had the tools to help, you'd have to want it for yourself."
"You want me to change."
"I want you to grow." Yugi reached up to rub the bridge of his nose. "I want to be with you for it, but I don't know if you want me here in the first place."
"I want you here."
"Yes." Kaiba reached a hand to pull the curtains back, but Yugi grabbed his wrist to stop him.
"Then do you know what you need to do to show it?"
"Prioritize spending time with you."
"Nice rehearsal answer. Try again."
Kaiba knew where this conversation was leading. The first time it'd come up, they had a shouting match. Well, not a shouting match. Kaiba did all of the yelling while Yugi stared through him letting the occasional cutting comment be said until he was done. Then Yugi left the room with a firm "fine" which dug deeper than some of his more embarrassing failures. It was one thing to be yelled at, but another to be dismissed. Kaiba never took rejection well.
"I need to get help...from an outside party." Kaiba let Yugi move his hand from the curtains. He cradled his palm in his smaller, but no less agile, hands.
"I'm not going to threaten you." Yugi lifted Kaiba's hand up and pressed the palm along his cheek. "I'm not going to say it's my way or nothing. I know you can be better. I've seen it, but if Mokuba can't help you get there and I can't then what else is there to do?"
"Keep pretending everything is fine."
Yugi glared at him.
"Seto, I love you." Yugi let Kaiba's shaking hand drop from his cheek. "Look at me."
"Seto Kaiba, I love you. I want to be with you. This isn't going to work if you can't start meeting me in the middle sometimes. This," Yugi gestured between them, "has to be nurtured by both of us. Do you understand?"
Kaiba placed his shaking hands on Yugi's hips. He still hadn't verbally returned the sentiment despite it being five years now. It scared him. How thick the words would sit in his throat knowing he couldn't take them back. It scared him knowing they were exactly how they felt, but to utter them would be carving a place in his already scarred heart. It scared him that said scarred heart already bled for Yugi in a thousand ways and counting, leaving him no choice but to convey his feelings in his actions and hoping they were understood. The desire. The fear. Then again, if it hadn't been known Yugi probably wouldn't be here right now giving Kaiba another of the dozens of chances he swore to himself he'd not mess up.
Yet, here he was messing up again.
"Don't leave." Kaiba pulled Yugi closer, but before he could curl around him, Yugi placed his hands on Kaiba's face to hold him still.
"Kaiba-kun, do you understand?"
Looking closer, Kaiba could see the dark circles under Yugi's eyes. An odd reflection of his own. There might not be any more chances after this. No. There wouldn't be. Yugi's ever flowing river of patience had run dry, and here he was giving Kaiba the last few drops he could squeeze out.
"I understand. I'll email Mokuba and CC you on it. I'll find someone...to help me."
Yugi said nothing, but he did move his hands to wrap around Kaiba's shoulders allowing him to press his face into Yugi's collarless neck.
Yugi hummed in question.
"How close were you to leaving me?"
Yugi said nothing for a long while, running his fingers along the nape of Kaiba's neck. "I don't know."
Kaiba hugged him tight.
"Let's go to sleep." Yugi wiggled out of Kaiba's grasp for now, but kept their hands interlaced. "Keep the curtain open?"
"You'll complain when the sun rises."
"I won't. Not today."