Pegasus leaned in to plant another series of kisses on Seto's neck. Seto pushed him away, lightly, with an exasperated expression.
"We're not going again."
"You're no fun."
"Some of us have to work tomorrow."
Grinning, Pegasus moved back in, this time aiming for Seto's ear. "Working on a Sunday is nothing to brag about."
"It's a fact. Stay on your side."
"Or," Pegasus said, scooting in even closer to wrap his arm around Seto's chest, "You could come to my side with me. I'll even promise to behave for at least half an hour."
"You're relentless," Seto said, almost amused. "But I have to work tomorrow."
"We'll make it fair. Tomorrow night, you can have your way with me come dawn."
Seto closed his eyes and pulled a spare pillow over his head. A weak defense, Pegasus thought. Someone's not being very convincing.
But Pegasus dropped down to his own pillow, staring at the ceiling. He'd asked and Seto said no. Eventually, Pegasus would find Seto's playful, ready-for-a-third-go side.
"At least don't sleep so far away. You're forever complaining about the morning chill."
Seto lifted the pillow and slid over a touch, just enough that his face pressed to Pegasus's shoulder. "No tricks," Seto said, his breath delightfully warm against Pegasus's skin.
"I wouldn't dream of—oh all right. I might dream of it."
Seto's lips raised almost in a smile before pressing softly to Pegasus's shoulder. "I don't know why I put up with you," he said, voice already distant with exhaustion.
"Because you love me," Pegasus said, then chuckled at Seto's half-hearted "hn."
Pegasus watched as Seto fell asleep, eyelashes fluttering at first as his body resisted drifting off – he still hadn't grown accustomed to sharing a bed, even after all these years – and then his body relaxed, the day's weight rolling off until the morning. His disheveled hair had matted up and away from his face. If not for the darkness, Pegasus would have had a clear view.
But Seto was mostly shadows, cheekbones, nose, and lips highlighted from the light of the city outside the condo's window.
Although he rarely slept, Pegasus lolled off to the middleland between sleep and reality, far enough gone that the first knock on the door was attributed to a fantasy. The second knock woke Seto.
"Are you expecting someone?" he asked.
"I'm not. Stay here and I'll see who."
Pegasus grabbed his robe from the nearby recliner and tied the belt in a messy knot off to one side. The clock flashed a bright 2:32, and Seto seemed nearly back asleep.
He headed into the adjacent living room, clicking on a lamp as he went. His condo was little better than a hotel, but close to KaibaCorp, which made it the perfect retreat for Seto's late nights. The mansion must have felt so empty with Mokuba away at school.
Ready to instruct the person at the door – who knocked a third time as he reached for the handle – to leave so Seto could get his standard five hours, Pegasus didn't check through the peephole first. He pulled the door open without much thought to who was on the other side.
His vision went black as his body numbed. His eyes must have been mixing the perception of dream and fact. Maybe getting out of bed had been a dream. She was a dream. She had been the only dream for so long.
And now it was Seto in his bed.
He blinked and then again, willing his mind to wake from this trance. But she remained, as perfect and whole as the day they married.
He stared too long, unconvinced of what he was seeing, and Cecelia reached forward to graze her fingers over his arm in the realist sensation he had ever felt. She was here; she was real. His hand found her cheek, pushing aside the curls to fully see her face.
"Don't have anything to say?" she asked, and that was her voice, her perfect, healthy voice. "Now that's not like you."
"You're...how?" Pegasus asked, his own voice as broken as hers had been in the end. He had watched her die and fought with everything he had, ignoring all the logic that defied him, and now she stood before him without reason.
"It's a long story. And I know it's late, but if you have the time—"
"Yes," he said, without another thought. "I have time."
It wasn't until he heard the footsteps that he remembered. He couldn't go anywhere with Cecelia. He couldn't be with Cecelia. He was in love with Seto, and had been, for years. Hadn't he moved on? Hadn't he put this behind him?
She was standing in front of him.
"Pegasus?" Seto called. "What's going on?"
Nothing in Pegasus's soul could tell him what to do, having Seto step up behind him and Cecelia staring up at him, both of them encompassing his everything. And being frozen, he couldn't stop Seto or even give him the warning he deserved.
"Pegasus?" he asked, and when he came into Pegasus's sight, his gaze went to the hand on her face. "What are you doing here?" His tone accused her, but Pegasus was grateful for it. He wanted to know, even if it was a long story, because how could it have been any longer than what he had gone through to get her back? He had fought so hard for her, hurt so many people, hurt Seto—
When he realized what Seto was looking at, it was far too late. Seto cut off Cecelia before she could answer that pressing question, and disappeared back into the condo. Watching Seto turn his back brought Pegasus back to the crashing reality, and he dropped his hand. "Stay here?" he asked. "Please don't go."
"I wouldn't think of it."
He couldn't close the door in her face, but he did close it halfway while he ran back for Seto, catching him in the bedroom putting on his shoes.
"Where are you going?"
"You can really ask me that?"
"Do you want me to send her away, Seto? I don't know how she got here, and is it really so much for me to want to know, after all this time?"
"No," Seto said, and stood. "You clearly need this."
"Don't say it like that," Pegasus said, and moved to take his hand. "Seto, I love you. I need to talk to her, but please, please give me the time for it."
"I'm not stopping you. But it's late, and there's nowhere else for you to talk."
Seto took Pegasus's hand, and then let it go. "I won't be here when you make your choice."
"I'm not deciding anything tonight," Pegasus said, and following Seto toward the front door. "Seto, we can talk—"
When Seto stopped walking, Pegasus thought he would stay.
"The fact you admit there is a decision proves you've already made it," he said. "Be with her. It's been too long since you've gotten the chance."
Opening the door the rest of the way showed Cecelia, just as bright as she had been in that first glance, and Seto in front of her, carrying so much of Pegasus's world. And he was walking out, a short bow to Cecelia, and was gone.
"Can I come in?" Cecelia asked.
"I'll make coffee."
Cecelia slept as she always had, curls tied off at the top of her head, save a few pulled loose from her search for the cold side of her pillow. She had an arm draped above her head, blankets already kicked to her ankles, and her baggy shirt hiked up just enough to show a sliver of skin.
Two weeks of watching her sleep didn't make her feel real. And when the woman who had never really let go of his heart didn't feel real, nothing else did. He was trapped in the same dream from that night, when opening a door gave him his dream and took his reality.
He loved Cecelia, but his ache for Seto ran deep, wrapping around his lungs and heart, a reminder of the love he couldn't be with whenever he breathed. It was the longest they had gone since Mokuba started college without seeing each other. And to not even talk?
Pegasus couldn't take it any longer. He scribbled a quick note for Cecelia, kissed her cheek to see that little unconscious smile, and grabbed his coat to drop by unannounced. Seto would be awake.
It was cruel of Pegasus to hope Seto was waiting.
The only light on the in the Kaiba Mansion was to Seto's office. Pegasus imagined the dark silhouette in the window, imagined Seto staring out with his signature brandy in hand, waiting. But there wasn't so much as a flicker. It didn't dissuade Pegasus from parking, waving to Fuguta in the guard shack. He had been floating in a dream for too long now, and he knew Seto was the only person who could snap him out of it. Maybe if he could just see them both in the light of day, he would know what to do.
Could he handle having both sets of blue staring back at him?
Using his key felt invasive for the first time, forcing Pegasus to knock and do the waiting himself. He counted to ten, to a hundred, to two hundred and forty—
"Can I come in?"
"Asking isn't like you."
"And yet I've done it just the same."
Seto looked him up and down before moving to the side. The silent gesture was like Seto, and the familiarity brought Pegasus down from the clouds of her touch.
"I love what you've done with the place," Pegasus said, taking off his coat and shoes out of habit.
Pegasus met Seto's eyes only a moment. "I don't know. This mood lighting is a nice touch."
"It's one in the morning."
Seto closed the door.
They fell into matching stride up the stairs, Pegasus to the left and Seto the right. Pegasus let his fingers slide over the banister, the same one he had always imagined sliding down, but never took the time to act on. Maybe it would lighten the mood if he tried now.
But more realistically, Seto would kick him out.
"How's work?" Pegasus asked.
"The same as always."
Pegasus stopped Seto when they reached the top of the flight. "It's late. If you'd rather I left, I would understand."
And Seto turned to stare at him, expression clouded and unreadable. If anything, it seemed like Seto would take him up on the offer, but the next moment, Pegasus thought Seto might kiss him. It had been so long since they had kissed.
Seto continued on to his office. If he had wanted Pegasus to go, Seto would have told him to. He would have done it in a clipped word, a "Go" that pierced Pegasus through in thought alone.
In the past, Pegasus would have sprawled out on the couch and treated the office like his own. In the past, he would have teased Seto for working so late. In the past, he might have walked around behind Seto's high-backed chair to massage his over-tense shoulders. In the past, he would have kissed the soft trace of skin at the tip of Seto's ear and jaw, just to appreciate that closed-eyed expression of peace.
In the present, Pegasus took one of the chairs across from Seto's.
"I really am sorry for dropping in so late."
"You always have your reasons."
Seto went back to work.
"You look thin."
"I take it Mokuba hasn't been around."
The typing stopped only long enough for Pegasus to make note of it, and then it picked back up at full speed. "You know how he is with his studies."
"But you're keeping busy?"
"My calendar's there."
Pegasus didn't reach for it. Part of him considered it for something to keep his hands busy, but he didn't want Seto thinking he was there to monitor his health. How heartless would that have seemed, to leave him and drop in to ensure he wasn't grieving too much?
"How have you been?" Pegasus asked.
"I've been fine, Pegasus."
The clipped use of his name was the first obvious sign of Seto's mounting irritation, or was it anger? He had a right to whatever emotion he wanted, but even so, having it directed at him hurt as a deep, embering throb in his chest.
"I miss you," Pegasus said, against his better judgment.
Seto kept typing. "Clearly."
"You left before we got the chance to talk about any of this," Pegasus said. "You just walked out."
"You needed space."
"Have I ever asked you for space?" Pegasus asked. "That was your home as much as mine."
Pegasus caught his mistake just after Seto did, glancing from his computer only long enough to draw attention to it. It was Seto's home. Pegasus had already written him out of it.
"I didn't mean that."
Pegasus got up and walked around the desk, casting the shadow on the window he had wanted to see from the other side. The typing continued until Pegasus stepped into arm's reach and only then, did he give up the illusion of working. He looked up at Pegasus in expectation, gaze lowering as Pegasus knelt beside him, ending with Seto looking down at him.
"Things got so screwed up," Pegasus said. "Can you forgive me?"
His hands found Seto's holding them desperately while awaiting an answer. There was a small inkling of hope when he asked, but it faded the longer Seto took to answer. It changed into the pressing questions. How could he ask for forgiveness when Seto had been so wronged? How could he have let this happen to Seto, his Seto?
He expected to be pushed away, not the lips that met his.
They stumbled back together, Seto leading Pegasus to the couch on the far wall. Their hands twisted and bumped in a desperate moment, only breaking when Pegasus's legs hit the couch, leading him down to his back. Seto came with him, knees on either side of Pegasus's hips, pressing in and holding him in place.
Pegasus placed gentle hands on either side of Seto's face, brushing back his hair like he had done so many times before, and getting a sightful of Seto. He wanted him, more than he could ever say, but even in the darkness, the blue reminded him of Cecelia.
"You're staying with her," Seto said, the words coming out in an exhale of broken realization.
When Seto closed his eyes, it wasn't in peace, but pain. It was twice now Pegasus had done this to him, and to have phrased it around forgiveness this time, Pegasus would never forgive himself.
Seto moved away more gracefully than Pegasus might have in reversed circumstances.
"You should go," Seto said. "It's late."
"I don't want to end things here. I love you too much—"
"You don't get to love me anymore," Seto said. "I understand your choice, but I'm not going to be waiting for you to change your mind. Go."
"You can't just order me not to love you. That isn't how emotions work."
"She's your choice," Seto said, voice raising. "If you came here looking for absolution, you have it. Take it and go."
Pegasus took a step forward and Seto matched it back. He couldn't walk away while Seto was this angry and hurt, but staying felt like it would only dig them both in deeper. He couldn't keep them both, but giving up Seto couldn't be right.
When Seto backed away another step, Pegasus had no choice but to let him. Pegasus had come into his house and rejected him for a second time; staying would practically be a third. And while it hurt, Pegasus moved toward the door instead of Seto.
He looked back, but Seto didn't.
Pegasus jogged to catch Seto before he reached his car. A different one than Pegasus knew was parked in the reserved space, a different one than Pegasus and Seto had spent all that time in. It had been over a year, of course, and Seto had bought his previous car before they had started talking. Seto wasn't the type to drive around in outdated technology, at least, that was what Pegasus told himself.
It wasn't even blue.
Seto turned at his name and masked his confusion almost well enough. "Is there a reason you're sprinting through my parking garage?"
"I'd hardly call it a spr—you're retiring."
The confusion became a more open understanding. "Ah," Seto started, and opened his car door to put his things inside. "KaibaCorp will still carry on as it has. The arenas and holograms will receive their scheduled upgrades, and KaibaLand—"
"You love dueling."
"You don't mean that."
Seto rubbed the back of his neck and Pegasus let himself miss the gesture only a moment. Seto went through a progression of expressions while trying to come up with the proper reply, from irritated to amused and ended on exhausted.
"Not all of us want to stay in our childhoods forever."
"I never thought you considering dueling childish."
"It was a necessity when I was building KaibaCorp's new image," Seto said. "But now I'm almost thirty and I won't be taken as seriously."
"So what? My position is a joke?"
"You don't duel either."
"But I'm not publicly retiring."
"That is your problem then?" Seto said. "That I made it definite?"
Pegasus hadn't expected Seto to linger to talk, not after the time that had passed, and not on this topic, but he wasn't backing away or storming off like Pegasus expected him to. They weren't standing close, but they were talking.
"What are you doing for fun?"
"Of course you would rush across the city to ask if I'm still having fun," Seto said. "Your priorities never change."
Seto's tone had been amused, but the words cut Pegasus through. He didn't react, and it seemed Seto didn't notice what he had implied. How deep had it been embedded into his mind that it came out so naturally?
"You still haven't given me an answer."
"I'm doing all right, if that's what you're asking."
"I just hate to see you giving up something."
Seto's lighthearted amusement softened and quieted. Pegasus could see each breath as they left his lips, and found himself counting them until he realized he was staring at Seto's mouth.
"Like I said, I'm doing fine. If that is all you're here to see, I don't have anything else I can say to you."
"No, that's not it. You surprised me, is all. Giving up dueling?"
"I put over a decade into it. You and I both know I've put in all I can."
"You could beat Yugi-boy."
Seto laughed. "I haven't extended a challenge in years, and you know he only duels for show now."
"Oh please, not even in secret?" Pegasus teased. "The last time we talked about this, you were considering another rematch."
"The last time we talked about it was over a year ago," Seto reminded him, and with the reminder, they both stopped talking for a moment, letting the words settle. It had been a year since they really talked, a year since they were together.
"How is Cecelia?" Seto asked.
Pegasus should have planned on the question, and maybe there was a more graceful way to approach the topic of her or of their news. Seto was going to find out eventually, and Pegasus should have planned to be the one to tell him. With the lack of planning, the words spilled out.
The news took Seto exactly two seconds to register, and when he did, it was with a smile. "How far along?"
"She's healthy then."
"I'm glad to hear it. You'll be a great father."
Pegasus had wanted children for so long, and for a majority of the last several years, he thought that would be with Seto. Seto would have made a great father too. But after all this, Pegasus wondered, was Seto ever going to get the chance? Would he settle for Mokuba's eventual children being close to it?
"I should go," Seto said. "I have some fun to get to."
"It was good to see you, Seto."
"Take care of yourself, Crawford."
Pegasus chuckled softly when Seto inclined his head, and stepped back while he drove away. At some point, he told himself, he would be used to watching him go.
Pegasus and Mokuba kept in touch, exchanging emails and the occasional text. When Mokuba visited over fall break and Seto had to work, Mokuba sent Pegasus a message, a very simple, "Want to go on a hike?"
It wasn't Pegasus's idea of an entertaining afternoon, but it had been years since he had any time with Mokuba, only slightly less since he had seen Seto. Despite their businesses working together regularly, Seto never attended the meetings.
Pegasus met Mokuba at the head of the trail, hugging him briefly. "Is it bad I'm glad you haven't gotten taller?" Pegasus asked.
"Don't like having to look up at me?"
"Any more and I'll strain my neck."
Mokuba stepped back and looked Pegasus up and down. "You don't go hiking much, do you?"
"Are you implying my outfit isn't perfect for hiking?"
"You left a tag on."
Pegasus laughed when he took it off, stuffing it into a pocket to pretend it never happened. He might have been trying a bit too hard for his ex's little brother. But Mokuba wasn't just anyone.
"So how have you been?" Mokuba asked as they started down the trail. Spring was in full bloom and the heat hadn't quite set in, but their water bottles were already dripping. "How's Clara?"
"She's perfect. You would think at her age, it would just be tears and diapers, but she's already so playful and easygoing. And her little smile?" Pegasus took out his phone to show Mokuba a picture, but limited himself to just one.
"She's beautiful," Mokuba said. "I'm glad you're happy."
Pegasus didn't ask about Seto.
"How's school?" he asked instead. "Getting ready for finals?"
"Yeah. It's so hard to make myself care about them though, and I know that is like, the least Kaiba thing I've ever said, but I'm graduating in three weeks. Not even failing them would stop that."
"I know you haven't mentioned that to Seto."
"Are you kidding? He'd probably start talking about me going back for my master's. And I'm going to study and do my best. It would just be a lot easier not to."
Pegasus pocketed his phone and took a sip of his water. Just mentioning Seto casually sent those familiar pangs through his chest, after all this time. But the pang didn't hit him as hard as it used to.
"You aren't interested in getting a higher degree?"
Mokuba shrugged and stepped over a fallen branch. "Sometimes I think I might. But not this year. I'm sort of sick of school."
"Will you work for KaibaCorp?"
"We've talked about it. I'm majoring in social work, you know, so, that doesn't really fit in with the business. Niisama says he can make a position, but, I don't know, that sounds pretty awful. Not working for him, but having to rely on him to get me a job, and not even a real job, but a made up one."
"No one would view it that way."
"Everyone expects it of me. It's so...easy. And I got into social work to help the most people I could. I don't feel like I can do that at KaibaCorp."
Pegasus considered it and agreed with Mokuba. "What have you been imagining as a career?"
"Is it bad that I kind of want a job at our old orphanage?"
"Why would that be bad?"
"I guess just because it seems obvious? We had a bad time there, so I want to make it better for the other kids stuck in that situation? I mean, it isn't bad, but maybe a bit cheesy? Like, Niisama is running a massive company and does so much for kids through his charities, and I'll be working on such a smaller scale."
Why wasn't Mokuba talking to Seto about this? Mokuba sounded so unsure of himself, and that didn't sound much like him. Seto was always so understanding of what Mokuba needed and wanted, so was it just fear of disappointing Seto?
"I think it sounds wonderful. Sending money is great, but hands on work is overlooked so often, and is just as important, if not more important."
"What does it say that a Kaiba would work in a service industry? I'm supposed to cure cancer or build rockets, not cook dinner for a group of rowdy kids."
Pegasus stopped walking to get Mokuba to do the same. "Your brother took on the name so you could do what you wanted with your life. If that's running an orphanage, he'll be right behind you. If that's digging graves, he'll buy your shovel."
"That sounds like what he's said."
"I know. You forget that you're one of his favorite subjects."
Chuckling, Mokuba rolled his eyes. "That's no pressure or anything."
"It isn't any pressure," Pegasus said. "You can't be surprised he's a proud brother."
They began to walk again, starting up a short hill. It felt so comfortable talking to Mokuba, like they had never fallen out of the habit. Things with Mokuba had never felt strained after he received forgiveness for kidnapping him years before. Mokuba claimed he understood, but after Cecelia coming back, Pegasus wasn't sure if that understanding would have held.
How many times would he get forgiveness for choosing her at their expense?
"Do you guys still talk?" Mokuba asked.
"I take it he doesn't talk about me," Pegasus said, and tried to keep his tone light.
"Can you blame him?"
"No, no to both."
"I've got an extra ticket to my graduation," Mokuba said. "You should come."
"Really?" Pegasus asked. "I wouldn't want to be stepping where I shouldn't."
"It's my graduation. And you don't have to sit with Niisama. There isn't assigned seating, just a certain number of tickets for everyone."
Pegasus needed to pause to catch his breath at the top of the hill. "I'd love to come. As long as you have an extra ticket."
"We get five and I only need three," Mokuba said. "You should be there. I mean, you're the whole reason I picked that school."
Three tickets? Seto, Roland, and who else?
"I wouldn't miss it."
Pegasus handed his ticket over when he arrived at the arena for the graduation and was told to head to any seat. It was shaped in a semi-circle facing the stage, and there were several rows of empty seats up at the front for the graduates. Knowing Seto, he would have arrived as early as he could have to sit near the front, and sure enough, Pegasus spotted him sitting two rows from the empty ones, Roland at his side, and an empty seat beside him.
He didn't want to distract from Seto's day, which he knew probably meant more to Seto than to Mokuba. His baby was graduating from college, officially joining the adult world, and even from dozens of yards away, Pegasus felt Seto's pride.
He laughed with Roland and took practice shots with a camera. Almost everyone else seemed to have a phone, and Seto had thought to bring a camera. The crowd was filling in around them, and that brought out another familiar face.
Ryou worked down the row to get to the empty seat beside Seto, apologizing to the people he bumped into and displaced on the way. He had a camera of his own and when he sat down, showed the pictures to Seto. When he did, he leaned over, their arms pressed together, heads close.
Pegasus's breath caught, catching the incline of Seto's head and the playful edge to what must have been a whisper. How long had it been now, and Pegasus could still remember every amused smirk, each playful scoff that kept him from smiling, and all the meanings behind how he held his head? He remembered Seto more vividly than he had ever remembered her, and in the moment, he could only think, it's too late to go back.
His gaze was locked on the two of them until the ceremony started, and only that distraction allowed him to break away, although with Seto still consuming his thoughts. This wasn't fair. He never should have been forced to make a decision he didn't believe in, and now all his chances were gone. Seto looked happier than Pegasus could remember having seen him, and it was without being at his side.
How long had Ryou been the one to make him smile? How many mornings had Ryou gotten to wake up to Seto's sleeping expression, always tight and guarded even in his dreams? How long had it taken Ryou to learn Seto's coffee order, or that he could brighten Seto's day by bringing in his afternoon cup? How long had he gotten to sit beside Seto while they did nothing other than be together?
Could anyone really appreciate Seto for all that he was?
They began to hand out diplomas, and Seto sat up straighter, camera ready and posed to capture Mokuba crossing the stage. His name being called was met with applause, but Ryou got to his feet while he clapped, cheering and calling out enough Mokuba grinned and waved when he should have been accepting the diploma.
All of them, even Roland, who Pegasus had never seen so much as smirk, looked happy. And for Mokuba's sake, Pegasus clapped with the rest of them, only until the next name had been called.
Did Mokuba invite him here to prove Seto was doing fine without him? It didn't sound like Mokuba, but it felt that way. Just sitting together and talking, Seto and Ryou were a perfect pair, and most strikingly, they were completely comfortable with each other. Getting close to Seto took time and effort most weren't willing to give, and those who were still needed time for it. Ryou bumped shoulders with Seto, leaned toward him, and turned to whisper every few seconds.
They had been together long enough.
Groups formed after the ceremony, blocking Seto from his sight except for the brief flashes of him through the bustle. Mokuba would have gone straight for his family, and it would have been rude not to go wish Mokuba the best when he had been invited, and after all the years Pegasus had been considered his family. He pressed through one happy family to another, until he could hear the conversation ahead, Mokuba talking about having to borrow hair pins from some of the girls because his hair was too big to stay under the cap.
He stopped talking and waved when he saw Pegasus, and walked through Seto and Ryou to get to him. "I'm glad you could make it. Sorry these things are such a drag."
"I was honored to be invited to this rite of passage."
Mokuba hugged him, accidentally knocking the cap askew when he pulled away. "I don't know why I put this thing back on after tossing it," he said, then leaned in. "Don't tell Niisama, but I actually think it looks cool."
"Your secret is mine."
Seto came around Mokuba's side and offered a hand. "Pegasus."
They shook hands like business partners, and in Pegasus's mind, it lingered a second too long, a brief flash back to when a kiss would have been a more appropriate greeting. But then Ryou came around Mokuba's other side, and Pegasus was obliged to shake his hand as well.
That hand got to hold Seto's every night.
"I do have to run," Pegasus said, framing it as apologetic. "It's my night to get Clara to eat her peas."
Mokuba hugged him once more. "Thanks for being here."
"Thanks for having me."
Seto didn't offer to shake his hand again, and Pegasus didn't press it. He hadn't closed the door on her so many years ago, and his home no longer included Seto. Walking away, he forced himself to believe that was true.
Did it feel like he was going home now? Had it felt like home without him?
Had this all been a horrible mistake there was no going back from?
It must have been Seto, all this time, and Pegasus was too blinded by having her back to see it. He had loved Seto with everything he had, filled in the pieces of himself Cecelia had taken with Seto. But Cecelia never brought back those missing pieces, and Seto had taken the patches.
He was heavy going home, turning off the car, walking inside, and hanging up his keys. "I'm home," he called out, and told himself he believed it.
And then he heard the little patter of footsteps, and saw Clara running to him, this time only tripping once while she shouted, "Daddy, daddy!"
She had her Mama's curls and her Nana's eyes, and swooping her up, Pegasus couldn't help but give her a smile so he would get her toothy grin in return. Raising a toddler was hard, but holding her, seeing her, watching her grow and learn, all of who Clara was becoming made it not seem that way. She was real and she was perfect.
Cecelia came in after, apron on and hair pinned back away from her face. "How'd it go?" she asked. Her eyes were tired like his probably were, but she still glowed happy and beautiful.
How could Pegasus have doubted that this was right? Because Seto seemed easier than his responsibilities? Because Seto had become his fantasy and Cecelia and Clara his reality? Imagining what might have been meant giving up what he had.
They were everything to him, tired eyes and all.