|Kicking the Habit
Author: Regann PM
COMPLETE. It seems Jounouchi has a bad habit which Kaiba dislikes. Turns out, it works both ways. JounouchixKaiba.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance - K. Jounouchi & Seto K. - Words: 4,650 - Reviews: 42 - Favs: 122 - Follows: 18 - Published: 10-17-03 - Status: Complete - id: 1563689
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Although the simple act was unremarkable in itself, Kaiba Seto could not help but be strangely fascinated by its performance, blue eyes watching the young blond-haired man execute the repetitive motions with a mechanical infallibility which spoke of its marked frequency. Although he had more important items on his daily agenda, the young executive quickly decided that a few moments could be spared as to not let a perfect opportunity be wasted.
With his back pushed lazily against outer wall of the gym building while he looked out over the athletic fields, Jounouchi Katsuya had little idea that he was being observed and even less that someone was slowly stalking toward him, a sinisterly smug expression on his face. Instead, Jounouchi's attention was preoccupied with his own thoughts and the slim filtered cigarette he rolled idly between his index and middle fingers. It was lit, ashes slowly accumulating on its tip as he raised it to his lips, taking a slow drag from it before pulling it away, the hand which held it lowering to rest against his bent knee.
The sight of Jounouchi smoking was what Kaiba had found unusually interesting, a mundane act in which most young people indulged. He'd recently read that 60% of Japanese men in their twenties smoked and the number of women smokers was increasingly daily, the rise blamed on Western tobacco giants who targeted the weaker sex with aggressive ad campaigns filled with sophisticated European women.
It was a common thing, smoking. But as Kaiba watched the blond lift the cigarette to his lips for another long drag, he found it more intriguing than he'd found anything outside of dueling.
And the smoker himself, of course.
Jounouchi exhaled, the thin wisps of smoke visible on his breath curling and dissipating on the light pull of the cool breeze. The nicotine in his system was finally starting to have an effect, calming his jangled nerves while also giving him a slight buzz. At least, he figured it was from the cigarette. With a silent chuckle, he admitted that the buzz could have been from the alarming number of caffeinated sodas he'd swallowed that morning in a vain attempt to stay awake through his classes. While it had failed miserably in its intended task, Jounouchi was now wired to the point that sleep was the last thing on his mind.
He was itching for some action.
Another long draw on his cigarette, another contemplation of how he planned to spend his day once he was far far away from the damned school with its annoying, bothersome, meddlesome teachers…
"That's a filthy habit," a cool voice noted from behind him, and Jounouchi jumped, startled by the sudden invasion into his quiet time. He jerked his head to glance over his shoulder and saw the owner of the cool, scornful voice standing too close, towering over him and smirking down at him with only an inch separating them.
Damn school. Damn teachers. Damn Kaiba.
Jounouchi straightened from his relaxed position, glowering as he turned to face the unexpected guest. Challengingly, he made a show of flicking the collecting ashes from his cigarette onto Kaiba's polished dark shoes. "What the hell do you want, moneybags?"
Kaiba looked down at the ash trailing across the toe of his shoe, then up at Jounouchi, raising his eyebrows in response to the fresh-looking bruise he saw blooming along the slant of the blond's cheekbone. "Like I said. Filthy." He shrugged, pausing for effect before he added, "But what else can one expect from a dog? We're lucky that you've moved passed urinating on fire hydrants."
Unappreciative of the derogatory remark, Jounouchi growled. "Go fuck with someone else, ok? I ain't in the mood for your shit." As if to emphasize his point, he puffed on his cigarette once more.
Kaiba made no move to leave; he pursed his lips and continued to smirk down at his companion. He wrinkled his nose as the pungent scent of the tobacco finally wafted into his nostrils. The scent hung to clothes and hair tenaciously, so much so that a non-smoker could easily detect a smoker simply by smell.
"Or maybe you haven't."
Jounouchi glared daggers at Kaiba but chose not to answer because he was too busy cursing the executive in his mind. His current smoke was the last cigarette he had and it had to last him until he received his paycheck the next afternoon. He'd hoped for nothing more than a few minutes of peace during which he could enjoy his last nicotine fix of the day.
With neither willing to speak or yield ground, they became locked in a silent battle. Jounouchi continued to puff on his last cigarette while Kaiba continued to watch him, still silently fascinated by the sight, observing how carefully his jaw worked as he inhaled, the artless manner in which he held the slim stick between his roughened fingers, the tell-tale yellow stains on his nails almost hidden by the curl of the digits.
His inspection widened to include the precise way Jounouchi's rumpled school uniform stretched over his frame, as well as the striking juxtaposition between black-and-blue colors of the tender bruise on his face and the wispy strands of blond hair which stubbornly refused to stay out of his eyes, the golden locks highlighted by the afternoon sun while the tilted angle of his face added a faint shadow over the wounded curve of his face.
Kaiba almost acknowledged the symbolism of that observation.
Instead he decided to break the silence, not in surrender but as a preemptive strike. "That is truly disgusting." The that to which he referred was the cigarette which was still releasing curls of tobacco-scented smoke into the air.
Jounouchi paused in mid-drawl, allowing the cigarette to hang precariously between his lips as he crossed his arms. "Thanks for sharing. Glad to know you think so."
He frowned. "I don't understand why anyone -- even you -- would want to smoke."
The smoker rolled his eyes and scowled at the other young man, cigarette still in his mouth. "What the hell is this about? It's just a cigarette. It's not like I'm snorting coke. "
"They'll kill you, you know," Kaiba pointed out. "It's one of the leading causes of lung cancer."
"Don't you have somewhere else to be so that I can die in peace, then?" Jounouchi asked, looking at his classmate as if he'd sprouted a second head. "I dunno what's up with the public service announcement shit, but please -- save it for Mokuba, okay? I don't need a fuckin' lecture, especially not from you."
"Hmph," snorted Kaiba in response, his face still froze in its usual dark expression.
"Like I said, I dunno why you've decided to be a pillar of public moral virtue all of a sudden, but just leave me the hell alone. I've got my bad habits and you've got yours. Let's just leave it at that."
"Bad habits?" Kaiba shook his head. "I don't have any bad habits."
"Ha!" Jounouchi howled with laughter, doubling over as he grabbed his cigarette to keep it from falling out of his mouth. "I can't believe you said that!" He shook his head as he straightened, his shoulders still trembling slightly from suppressed laughter and his face plastered with a devilish grin. "If you believe it, then you're more fucked-up than I originally thought."
Trying to appear as foreboding as possible, Kaiba drew himself to his full, impressive height and glared. "Unlike you, I am not afflicted with the desperate material vices which seem to plague more feeble minds. Just because you choose to smoke and drink and God only knows what else, doesn't mean I do." It made perfect sense in Kaiba's mind: bad habits, unhealthy addictions -- they were simply weaknesses and he knew that he was without weakness. To admit otherwise was to admit that he'd failed at something, and he never admitted defeat unless he was forced to do so.
"I do not drink," Jounouchi ground out emphatically, all signs of joviality which he had displayed earlier absent from his hardened features. Even his brown eyes, undeniably expressive, had gone flat and clouded, as if shuttering the emotions away from view. "Ya know I ain't touching that nasty shit. The last thing I want to be is a goddamn lush."
Kaiba noticed the reaction and catalogued it accordingly. "Now who's espousing like a 'pillar of public moral virtue,' hmm?" he sneered. "Although you do lack a certain eloquence in address."
Jounouchi moodily flicked his eyes at Kaiba even as he unconsciously raised his free hand to gingerly touch the purpling bruise on his face. He held the cigarette under Kaiba's nose. "This is my addiction. Not a good one, but it ain't hurting nobody," he pointed out.
"You're forgetting all the people you're subjecting to increased risk of cancer from second-hand smoke."
"Uh huh," he snorted before looking down at the half-smoked cigarette in his hand. "My smoking doesn't make me act any different than I act anyway. Smoking's bad and all, but it don't change me. But drinking….let's face it, there's three kinds of drunks in the world and ain't none of them pleasant. "
Jounouchi nodded as he moved the cigarette back to his lips. "There's the sad drunk, the happy drunk and the mean drunk. None of them are pretty to see and a mean drunk…anyway, I can handle all three emotions just fine on my own. I don't need no alcohol to make me act any crazier than normal."
"I'll agree to that," Kaiba admitted dryly.
He scowled, but the deadened look seemed to melt away as abruptly as it had appeared when Jounouchi glanced back over at Kaiba, the grin returning. "Now, back to your dirty little vices…"
"Back to? I don't remember talking about any such thing."
Jounouchi's grin widened. "You've forgotten, already? Gotta get that checked, moneybags."
"You mentioned something about my bad habits. Since I don't have any, this discussion is closed."
"Yeah, you said that five minutes ago and I don't believe it any more now than I did then," Jounouchi said, faint humor in his voice. He tapped the ashes gathering on the tip of his cigarette into the cupped palm of his free hand, then wiped his hand -- ashes, included -- on his thigh, leaving a long whitish streak on the blue of his uniform. "I mean, you've got to be the most fucked-in-the-head person I know, and I know some crazies."
Kaiba straightened his already ramrod spine as he folded his arms across his chest. "I do not smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, or indulge in any sort of illegal recreational drugs. I don't even bite my nails. As for being the most fucked-up person you know…I doubt that very much."
"Well, I don't," Jounouchi pronounced, pushing himself away from the wall against which he had leaned, moving closer to Kaiba with the casual action. He snuck a glance over at the school's entrance, wondering when Honda's detention was going to end. "Anyway, you're thinkin' way too small. Them ain't the only kind of bad habits a person can have. And people can be addicted to all sorts of things."
"Hmph," came Kaiba's elegant reply, coupled with a searing look shot through his dark bangs. "I don't think I'll live to see the day where I can be accused of smaller thinking than you."
The comment elicited another growl from the blond, and he leaned forward in a manner which could only be considered aggressive. Kaiba neither flinched nor blinked, even when he found himself almost nose-to-nose with the angry youth, Jounouchi's lit cigarette so close to Kaiba's cheek that he swore he found feel warmth from it. Its owner was wagging the hand which held the cigarette menacingly as he talked. "I get so tired of this shit! Why do you go outta your way to do this when you know all it does is piss me off to the point when I wanna bash your head into the sidewalk?"
One word. One infuriatingly smug word. "Entertainment."
Their noses brushed as Jounouchi reared back and Kaiba once again thought he perceived something warm against his cheek; but since it had also been moist, he wondered idly if it might have been lips instead of the cigarette. He had little time to deliberate on his thought because he was far too involved in watching Jounouchi tear at his hair with his free hand, a habit which was obviously born of frustration, while he used the other to jam the almost-gone cigarette into his mouth. His eyes were downcast, searching the ground under his feet as if it might hold the answers which he sought.
He was pacing a few steps to each side of his original spot, moving with a unstudied grace which belied his usual awkward movements. Kaiba far preferred the grace to the clumsiness, marveling silently at the ripple of muscle which resulted from the tightly restrained motion of Jounouchi's lean form, the near-animal sharpness to the limbs' jerky movements.
He was like a puppy still caught in the throes of growing pains, its size outstripping its ability to control its too-large limbs, hiding the raw power and fluidity of the adult in its adolescent clumsiness. Kaiba approved of the dog metaphor which had strung to mind.
Quickly, as if Kaiba's interested gaze was an annoying pin-prick on his back, Jounouchi glanced up into his amused face. He saw something when he did so, something which made him slow his pacing until he was standing still and tilt his head to one side quizzically.
Kaiba quickly noted the expression and met it fearlessly, even as he watched something akin comprehension lit Jounouchi's dark eyes.
The cigarette was now little more than filter, ashes and the faint glow of its cherry, but Jounouchi still held it between his stained fingers, refusing to relinquish his last cigarette until nothing but cotton-white filter remained. As he looked at Kaiba in his own brash and fearless way, he thought about vices, both his and Kaiba's, about addictions and unhealthy habits.
In that moment, Jounouchi realized how right he'd been about how anything could be construed as an addiction; he and Kaiba had unwittingly proven his theory correct every time they'd felt the need to engage in their verbal skirmishes. It had become habit -- almost instinct -- to them after so long, ingrained to the point where it denying the impulse had become impossible.
It was, in simple terms, an addiction.
That need was what Jounouchi had seen in Kaiba's eyes when he'd glanced up at him and it had stopped him in his tracks. As he watched Kaiba's fearless gaze began to darken with something dangerous but delightful, a shiver crawled up his spine in a strange mix of fear and anticipation.
"OW!" Jounouchi's attention was rudely yanked away from Kaiba as he felt his fingers burning. He yelped and dropped his cigarette butt, watching as it rolled harmlessly across the concrete before Kaiba stopped its path by crushing it under an ash-covered shoe. Jounouchi brought his fingers to his mouth and lightly sucked on the burned digits for a moment before examining them. "Damn, that hurts."
"You really are an idiot," Kaiba declared, his voice rumbling with humor.
Jounouchi spared him a quick glare but remained focused on his injured fingers. "Shit," he muttered, still looking at the tender spots of skin, cradling the burnt hand with his good one. "Ow."
"Let me see."
Jounouchi's injured was suddenly being coddled by two others, the new pair fine-boned and pale in comparison to his own sun-browned, serviceable hands. He allowed his good hand to fall away and abandoned the hurt one to the surprisingly gentle ministrations of those white hands.
"This is all your fault," Jounouchi told him, wincing as Kaiba touched a tender spot. "And, damnit -- that hurts!"
"Nonsense," Kaiba refuted, still studying the hand he held. "It isn't my fault that you can't even smoke one of those foul things without burning yourself. And, you're barely burnt. Stop whining."
"Hey, don't try to trivialize my pain, here. Pain you caused."
"It probably won't even blister."
"It still hurts."
Kaiba opened his mouth as if he'd planned to deliver another scathing comment; instead, he froze, every muscle in his body going rigid as he suddenly realized what he'd been doing. Before he could form the words to ask Kaiba what was wrong with him, the same kind of realization swept over Jounouchi, leaving him similarly impaired.
Kaiba was being…nice.
Even as the blond floundered for an appropriate response, Kaiba's eyes quickly scanned to see if anyone had seen his uncharacteristic behavior. Satisfied that no one had played witness, he released Jounouchi's hand only to grab hold of him by the fabric of the T-shirt he wore under his uniform and use the leverage to yank him around the corner of the building, pushing him against the hard brick of the gym wall.
Jounouchi was about to complain -- loudly -- about the rough treatment, when he was kissed hungrily, Kaiba's hands following the lead of his lips by following the hard lines of Jounouchi's form, roving excitedly over the clothed flesh. Under such circumstances, Jounouchi promptly forgot what he'd planned to say and instead delved into the contact, matching each caress with equal fervor, his own hands busily plucking at Kaiba's jacket which was much too buttoned for his taste. His supposedly-pained fingers gave him little worry as he used to them work at releasing the bottommost button in the narrow row of obstructions.
Jounouchi had made progress to the second bottommost button when Kaiba broke the kiss; air had become a problem, but he promptly moved his line of attack to the blond's neck, seemingly interested in ensuring that his lips and tongue slid over every inch of the tanned skin between his chin and his collarbone. Between moans of approval and groans of frustration, Jounouchi managed to gasp out. "You really are a head case, ya know."
Far from discouraged by the accusation, Kaiba kissed him again ravenously, then left Jounouchi breathless when he redoubled his efforts on the smooth column of his neck.
"I don't why….ahhhh…why we keep fightin' like this. I swear you get off on it," Jounouchi struggled valiantly to stay focused on what he was saying, although his hands remained busy. While he'd been defeated by the buttons, he'd recovered gamely by reaching up beneath the jacket's hem, tugging away fabric until his hands met skin. "You say it's to keep up appearances…but we do…it even when nobody's...yesssss…around."
Much to Jounouchi's disappointment, Kaiba ceased the ministrations on his throat, looking up into his now-flushed face. "A little less talk, Katsuya," he commanded, then took his own advice by dipping his head to nip at the collarbone beneath the thin cotton T-shirt.
Although Jounouchi would never admit to following orders meekly, he was more than eager to expound on Kaiba's suggestion. Pulling his hands out from under the hem of the buttoned-up jacket, he buried his hands in thick, dark hair, reveling in its luxuriant feel even as he used it to pull Kaiba's lips back to his in a hot, demanding kiss. He reluctantly released his vice grip on the hair -- but damn did it feel sensual sifting through his fingers -- and planted his hands low on Kaiba's waist, applying surprising pressure until he'd spun them so that he was no longer the one with the scratchy stone wall digging into his back.
Kaiba pulled away from the kiss, even as Jounouchi's lips followed, clinging to his. "Want to know why I wanted you to quit smoking?"
He nipped at Kaiba's earlobe. "I thought you wanted less talk."
"It leaves an aftertaste," he explained, "It's like…kissing a dirty ashtray. It's repugnant."
"I'll buy some mints," Jounouchi sniped, rolling his eyes. "And since you're in such a chatty mood all of a sudden, what the hell was the with the throw-me-against-the-wall-and-ravage-me bit?"
"Ravage?" Kaiba found the melodramatic word choice amusing.
Jounouchi tightened his grip on Kaiba's hips. "You know what I meant," he told him. "I thought that this…that this was supposed to be a secret. So why are we making out where anyone could see us?"
"That's why I pulled you behind the building," he explained, tightening his own grip on Jounouchi's T-shirt. "Can we continue now?"
"No," Jounouchi answered resolutely although remorsefully. "Honda'll be out of detention any minute." Kaiba glowered at him as Jounouchi pried the pale hands from his person. "This'll have to wait 'til later."
"I'd rather it didn't," he replied, his loosened hand latching onto Jounouchi's elbow like steel. "Honda be damned."
Jounouchi grinned, easily shaking off the grip. "Hey, watch it. Someone might think you care," he teased. "Hate for anyone to get the wrong impression."
His answer was another dark look and a quiet growl to express his displeasure, but nothing so lowly as begging or pleading. Kaiba Seto did not beg, no matter how badly he might have wanted something.
"I knew you got off on this," Jounouchi shook his head, still grinning. "The fighting, the bitching. It turns you on bad."
"And it doesn't you?"
"Maybe a little," the blond admitted. "But you're still fucked-up in the head. And you're certainly not perfect. I happen to know a million little bad habits you got, no matter what you say."
"For one, those goddamn dog comments. It's enough to make me want to use you for a punching bag and forget how much I like using you for other things."
Kaiba chose to say nothing but his smirk spoke volumes.
"And you bite. That more than cancels out the fact that you don't like my smoker's breath."
"Smoker's mouth. I can taste it on you."
Jounouchi leaned into him as he were going to kiss him, then pulled away just before their lips met. "Then it shouldn't matter that this'll have to wait."
Obviously, playing the tease had not been the smartest move that Jounouchi could have made because he quickly found himself against the wall once more, and he was being kissed within an inch of his life.
Not necessarily a bad place to be, he mused fuzzily, but his earlier reservations still remained. They had to break this off soon, or else their secret would be far from secret.
And with the languid way Kaiba's hands were moving lower down Jounouchi's body, the situation was likely to become increasingly difficult to halt if he waited much longer.
With a muffled "oof!" of sound, Jounouchi pushed Kaiba away with superhuman strength -- or so it seemed to his deliciously elevated senses -- leaving them both dazed and panting. "I said later."
Eyes still glittering dangerously, he nodded ever so slightly as he ran a hand through his hair to smooth it, the first distracted action he'd performed all day. "Later when?"
"Usual time, usual place," Jounouchi answered, straightening his rumpled T-shirt and disarrayed uniform jacket.
"Fine," he agreed tightly, eyes downcast as he re-fastened the buttons which Jounouchi had worked so diligently to undo. When he was satisfied that his appearance would raise little notice, he turned away from the blond, heading toward the front of the school where his limousine waited to drive him to the Kaiba Corporation building. He gave Jounouchi one last lingering look, raising his hand as if he wanted to touch him, then lowered it as if he thought better of the action. "Until then," he called over his shoulder as he disappeared around the corner of the building.
Jounouchi leaned against the wall voluntarily, allowing his head to loll back as he closed his eyes and fought to slow his accelerated breathing. He knew Honda would be looking for him shortly and he didn't want to look as if he'd spent his time in a frenzied tryst with his supposed worst enemy.
Sometimes, he wondered why he dealt with the secrecy, half-truths and general strangeness which came hand-in-hand with his relationship -- was that even the right word? -- with Kaiba. Sometimes, he felt like he was working too hard at something that other people found easily, wasting too much energy hiding something that most people announced to the world.
But then he remembered how he felt when Seto kissed him or touched him; or even how surprisingly nice it could be to have a real conversation with him when his barbs were only meant to tease and not ridicule. And, sometimes he'd remember that perplexed and frustrated look Kaiba could adopt at times such as this last one, when he was so close to actually asking for something he wanted, instead of demanding it because he wanted it that bad. Usually, that something he wanted was Jounouchi.
Those pleasant memories thrummed through Jounouchi's system along with the faint aftershocks from the physical pleasure, the nicotine from his last cigarette and whatever caffeine still remained from his last soda, bringing a contented grin to his face.
After all, wasn't he going to get his wish? He was definitely gonna see some action.
It was almost worth the price of not having any cigarettes.
Recalling once again the mind-numbing effects of Kaiba's hands on his skin, Jounouchi decided that if there was anything for which he'd quit smoking, it was Kaiba.
It would just be trading one addiction for another.
In Jounouchi's mind, that wasn't necessarily a bad trade.
Author's notes: I do not advocate the use of tobacco products by underaged persons. I don't even smoke myself, but I have kissed a smoker or two in my time. I've tried to walk the fine line between fluff and positive in this fanfiction. Personally, I think the number of fics which portray postively characterized romantic relationship between Jounouchi and Kaiba without falling into the over-sugarly fluff catergory are lacking -- at least, in terms of the KaiJou/Joukai I've read.
As always, constructive criticism and/or blatant ego-stroking praise are greatly appreciated. In fact, consider it a pity review: I've been laid up with a twisted ankle since Thursday morning.