Yugi tried not to get jealous
Jealousy wasn't a good look on him, he knew that
But... he couldn't help it
He couldn't help feeling frustrated in his loneliness and his singularity, especially when he was surrounded by people who all had eachother
His best freind was engaged to his boss, his highschool crush was in a rather public relationship with her super model girlfreind, his freind and co-worker was dating an ex-con and his two remaining freinds had decided to hook up together
Leaving Yugi as always the bridesmaid but never the bride, chronically single, forever alone
He was starting to take it kind of personally
"Well Joey, I always said you should marry rich," Tristan teased, elbowing his freind in the ribs as he set a few plates down on the counter
"I just wish you had found a different rich guy for it, I mean, Kaiba? Really? You know you would have found a smaller ego marrying a Kardashian, right?"
"Hey, we do not speak that name in this house," Joey huffed back, rolling his eyes and grabbing some forks out of the drawer behind him
"Tristan has a point though, you could've stood to go down a few hundred million yen and married someone who wasn't of another species," Duke pointed out playfully as he started looping napkins through the little fancy napkin rings that Yugi owned for ... some ... reason...
He wondered if they were his mother's...
"A'right, a'right, I get it, we all hated Kaiba in highschool, hell I still kinda hate 'im, but can we give it a break? You're not gonna have any rotten comments left for the weddin',"
"You know I can still take the ring back, right?"
Screaming, Joey spun around on his heel, staring at the displeased look on his fiance's face and wincing
"O-Oh uh, hey Suga' Booga', what's happenin'?"
"Just came to get more cider and caught my fiance' bad-talking me, nothing much, and if you call me 'sugar booger' one more time you're going to become a rotting corpse under the stairs,"
Joey just rolled his eyes, grumbling something under his breath as he leaned against the counter and reached out with one hand to wrap it around Kaiba's waist and pull him forward
"Ooh come off it, ya' like it an' ya' know it,"
"Bullshit," Kaiba huffed back, leaning closer and nipping Joey's ear before grabbing a bottle of sparkling cider that was chilling in the ice chest on the counter behind his fiance'
Joey rolled his eyes again, but it was clear that he had taken the interaction fondly
"... You sure you want to commit to an eternity of 'wedded bliss' with that?" Tristan asked with raised eyebrows
"Yeah Joey, I know you're a masochist but I mean.... go to a professional if you need it that badly," Duke snorted as well
"Actually Kaiba's the masochist, wich reminds me Yug, 'fore we head home can ya' show me the best kinda heels to use for steppin' kink? An' how to apply the pressure just right? I wanna, ya' know, celebrate when we get home,"
"Ew..." Tristan grumbled under his breath
"Sure Joey," Yugi nodded a bit absently as he cut another peice of cake to set on the plate in front of him
He was starting to regret not just putting the cake in the center of the table in the dining room the more he worked at this, as the cake got smaller, the peices became harder to slice and actually keep somewhat put together...
"An' can I borrow your red flogger? I ordered one just like it but it ain't here yet,"
"You know Joey, you're starting to get more use out of my tools than I am,"
"I'm sorry... ya' want me to stop askin' for stuff? I aint' tryin'a'-"
"No no it isn't you," Yugi promised quickly, his expression loving and gentle
"I just ... wish I had someone too,"
Joey frowned sympathetically, stepping over to his freind and giving him a big, tight hug
"I know bud... but you're gonna find somebody, ok? I just know it, anybody'd be lucky as fuck to have ya'!!"
"Thanks Jo," Yugi smiled back
But he wasn't quite sure that he believed him
"Did you bake this yourself Yugi? It's so divine!"
"Thanks Tea`, it's a really simply recipe though," Yugi shrugged back, earning a playfull swat on the back of the head via Mai
"Don't diminish your abilities just because you found it easy! It doesn't make what you did any less impressive, and you know that there are plenty of people who can't even boil water, myself included," she scolded playfully
"A-Ah, right, sorry," Yugi chuckled back, taking a sip of his cider
"I swear, if you weren't such an excellent veterinarian, I'd suggest you bake professionally," Ryou commented
"O-Oh I wouldn't go that far,"
"I would! Ya' don't happen to have any more layin' 'round, do ya'?" Joey asked with excitement
"Afraid not, I was kind of on short notice, remember?" Yugi teased playfully as he stood up
"I do have ice cream though if anyone wants that,"
"You bet we do!!"
With several other excitable words of agreement following, Yugi decided the decision was unanimous- well, mostly anyway- and chuckled as he started for the kitchen
"I'll be right back then,"
If he remembered correctly, he had chocolate and peanut butter, blackjack cherry, and banana split- he liked variety, ok?- that should be something for everyone...
He knew Joey would want chocolate, Kaiba would want cherry, Mai-
Suddenly he was interrupted from his thinking, his heart racing suddenly as he peered out the glass sliding doors leading to the backyard
He could have sworn he heard something....
Shaking his head, he started back towards the freezer, but paused again when he heard the sound again
It sounded like some sort of wounded animal....
Worried, he opened the drawer in the counter by the doors, grabbing his flashlight and deciding to step outside to investigate
The grass crunched quietly beneath his feet as he walked through the yard, shining the light around here and there, searching for a potential source of the noise
He didn't see anything at first though, and just as he was getting ready to give up, assuming he may have just imagined it, and go back inside, his flashlight passed over what seemed to be a set of glowing red eyes
Inhaling sharply, bit his lip, watching as the bushes rustled around where the eyes had been and swallowing as he slowly walked towards... whatever it was
Heart racing, he continued walking forward, making his way past the bushes and into the woods, his flashlight shimmering in the darkness of night
For the first few feet, he didn't see anything, it wasn't until he turned behind some trees that his light caught on those bright red eyes again
The creature suddenly curled into it's self, trying to huddle away as Yugi gasped and froze, but he didn't run away, instead he forced himself to walk forward, peering around the tree and feeling his blood run cold when he finally caught a full glimpse of the creature
It was humanoid, for the most part, with massive, feathery black wings wrapped around it, blood clearly gushing out of one of them, feathers falling off of it, it seemed to be broken...
The creature's feet were bird like, bigger than a normal human's, with long, sharp talons, similar to the thick black claws that jutted out of it's fingers- well, Yugi really shouldn't say "it", from what he could tell, the creature was a he
He had a mouth full of razor sharp teeth, and his eyes were pupilless and red, but... there was still a beauty to him
With delightfully soft looking bronze skin, a heart-shaped face with pretty long lashes over his eyes and full, plump lips, wild black and red and blonde hair, fanned out around him like a lion's mane, with nothing to cover him but his wings a black rag like cloth around his waist...
It was then that Yugi noticed that it wasn't just one of the creature's wings that was damaged, there was a massive gash across one leg too, with blood pouring out of it, he could notice several other scrapes and scratches along the creature's body too, now that he really looked, he appeared to have been involved in some sort of accident...
Frowning with sympathy, Yugi continued walking forward, feeling an odd sort of hurt in his chest when the creature suddenly flinched away from him, curling in on himself tighter as Yugi came closer
The creature looked kind of like a monster, but... he was the most human thing Yugi had ever met.....
"It's ok," he said softly, not even sure if whatever this was could speak Japanese- or speak at all, for that matter
"It's ok, I'm not going to hurt you," Yugi promised anyway, carefully crouching down in front of the shaking creature and setting his flashlight aside
Slowly, the creature looked up from where he had been hiding his face in his arms, a look of utter astonishment on his face as he stared at Yugi's gentle, warm expression
"Why...?" the creature asked quietly, his voice deep and smooth, sending a pleasant shiver through Yugi's body
"Um... why what..?"
"Why are you... not going to hurt me? Don't you see what I am?"
"You're.... a person, who needs help, you're injured, right? So let me-"
"I'm a MONSTER," the creature corrected, his eyes narrowed with fear and greif
"I'm a Tengu, a bird demon, aren't you afraid I'm going to spirit you away to the mountains and make a meal of you? .. Or a bride?"
"Not really," Yugi replied casually as he settled down comfortably on the ground in front of the creature
"I mean you can't spirit anyone away with your wing like this, and even if you could, I'm not particularly afraid of being eaten, I can fight you off, and as for being your bride... I'd consider myself lucky,"
"Lucky?" the tengu scoffed, staring at Yugi with disbeleif
"How would you be lucky?"
"I've been wanting a partner for a long time, if we fell in love-"
"Love? Do you not.... see me? Who could love something like me?"
"Well, I would," Yugi smiled back softly, reaching out to gently cup the stranger's face, wiping a bit of blood from the edge of his cheek
"You're not hideous like you seem to think you are, you're... beautifull, atleast I think you are,"
"And the wings and talons are not off putting to you? You don't find them strange and unusual?"
"Sure I do, but I myself am strange and unusual, so you're in good company,"
That actually made the tengu smile a little bit, his expression turning shy as he slowly allowed his wings to unfurl, allowing Yugi to see the full expanse of their beauty- and make no mistake, Yugi found them extraordinarily beautifull
The wings fluttered a little as Yugi reached out to touch one, stroking his fingers slowly along the ridge of one of the massive, beautifull appendages
The creature shivered, apparently finding that quite pleasurable, and leaned a little bit closer, offering Yugi a smile
"I am Atem,"
"Yugi Muto, it's nice to meet you,"
"Are ya' sure we can't help ya' Yug?" Joey asked worriedly as he stepped towards his freind
"I'm sure, I just need to get him to the clinic, I can patch him up there with no problem, I promise," Yugi promised with a light smile
Joey seemed entirely unconvinced, but it was ultimately Ryou who ended up speaking again
"Are you sure you don't want any help? I know how vicious dogs can get when they're hurt, and you said this was a pretty big one, right?"
"I'm sure Ryou really, he's such a little sweetheart, I can't imagine him biting me or anything,"
The rest of Yugi's freinds exchanged worried looks as the smaller man walked towards the driver's side of the car
"Ok, well.... just call us in an hour ok? To make sure you're alright?" Tea` asked worriedly
"I will, I promise, and I'll be home soon Joey, I can show you that shoe thing then,"
"'Kay..." Joey mumbled back, much to the slight confusion of his partner
"I promise guys, I'll be back soon, just keep partying without me," he encouraged with a smile, opening the door to the driver's side and sliding in, reaching for the car door, only to gasp in surprise when he looked up to see Kaiba staring back at him
"Tell Atem I said hi," the other man smirked, winking playfully at Yugi, his eyes flashing bright red for the breifest moment before he stepped back and shut the door for the small human
Yugi's mouth was open, his expression focused forward as he watched the other ... creature... walk away and put his arm around Joey's shoulders, leading him back into the house
"Was that Kaiba?" Atem mumbled from the back seat, lifting his head up tiredly as Yugi started the car and began driving off
"How did you know...?"
"Who do you think I was trying to find when I crashed here?" the tengu chuckled back softly, settling down once again
"I didn't know you were trying to find anyone,"
Atem only hummed in affirmation, eyes closing for a moment
"He ran off about a year ago, evidently fell for a human and decided to stay here instead, our home is in danger from hunters, I wished to retreive his assistance but on my way here, I was shot through the wing and crashed in the woods,"
So that was what happened to him...
"I-I see.... can you all shapeshift like that?"
"Ofcourse, I just can't do it with an injury like this,"
"Mm..." Yugi mumbled back, glancing at him through the rearveiw mirror
"So after you take care of this hunter thing... will you... go back home?"
"I don't think so," Atem mused, his voice suddenly beginning to dance with delight
"I think I'd rather stay here instead, you see lately I've been wanting to find myself a bride... any idea where I might be able to find one of those?"
Yugi smiled, his body relaxing as he drove
"I think I have an idea of it,"
Maybe he wouldn't be forever alone after all