|One More Reminder
Author: Regann PM
COMPLETE. Sometimes Jounouchi and Kaiba need to be reminded why they do the things they do. Gift-fic for Aria Marier. Joukai.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Words: 3,993 - Reviews: 30 - Favs: 63 - Follows: 9 - Published: 10-10-04 - Status: Complete - id: 2090345
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
While Jounouchi logically knew that police were a necessary part of a well-ordered society, he also knew that he hated them. He was also certain that for all the good, dedicated cops in the world, none of them worked in Domino City.
Because if they did, they would do their jobs -- catching criminals, protecting citizens and all that. They would not, however, waste their time harassing (almost) law-abiding teenagers who took perfectly innocent walks through the swankiest part of town for perfectly innocent reasons.
It wasn't his fault, Jounouchi decided rebelliously, that he looked suspicious. So what if he was wearing faded, hole-ridden jeans and dirty sneakers, and he had his jacket's collar pulled up snugly around his face? That didn't make him a criminal. And the fact that his hands were buried in his pockets and his head was bowed didn't mean he was up to no good. It just meant that he found the spring air to be a bit chilly and he was nursing one hell of a bad mood.
So why did the cops have to break the monotony of their midnight beat by harassing him!?
"Okay, punk -- exactly why are you sneaking around this part of town in the middle of the night?" The heavyset, pug-nose cop asked him, his huge arms crossed over his chest as he glared down at Jounouchi. "It's not like this is your neighborhood."
Jounouchi didn't think it was any of the guy's damned business about why he was walking around in Domino's high-class mansion-strewn neighborhood and he made no attempt to answer the question. "Don't you have somethin' better to do than harass law-abidin' citizens?" Jounouchi asked, his own stance predatory. "It's gonna look damn bad if someone's robbed while you're detainin' me for no reason."
"If someone's been robbed in this area tonight, you look like a mighty good suspect, kid," drawled the cop. "It's obvious you're one of them goddamn gang punks from the other side of town. In fact, I think I recognize you from when I worked that beat. You were the one always gettin' your ass kicked, right?"
The cop laughed at his own joke, revealing crooked, yellowed teeth. Jounouchi snarled, his fists balled at his sides. "I think you got that wrong," he ground out through gritted teeth. "There's only one of us here that's that kind of candyass and I'm lookin' at 'im."
Any pretense of nicety on the policeman's face faded and he curled his lip as he reddened in anger. "Why you little bastard...you just wait 'til I get my hands on you..."
Jounouchi, of course, had no intention of letting that happen and even less of being hauled off anywhere by the bad-tempered cop; he jumped back away from the cop's heavy-handed grab of him, using the natural athletic grace he'd gained in many a street brawl. He cracked his knuckles and grinned at the fuming cop. "C'mon, Pops. Try that one again, will ya?"
The cop, purpled in rage, looked as if he were seriously considering brawling with the wise-assed punk, his meaty hands again reaching out. He might have actually laid hands on Jounouchi during this attempt had not the bright lights of an approaching vehicle froze him mid-action.
Jounouchi squinted against the white beams and tried to make out the one of the shadowy figures which were emerging from the long, sleek automobile.
"Is there a problem, Officer?" A cool, commanding voice inquired, only mildly curious. The officer paled and Jounouchi rolled his eyes as Kaiba Seto came into view from one side of the limousine, flanked by two mean-looking guards. He looked as formidable as ever, frosty blue eyes watching the pair with his usual austere arrogance, his long trench-coat dramatically swirling at his booted feet. His face was unreadable, a cold expressionless mask.
"Kaiba-sama," the policeman bowed, suddenly contrite. "I was simply trying to detain this troublemaker. He's a gang member, I'm sure of it, and I have all ideas that he was planning to rob ---"
"You bastard! I wasn't doin' nuttin!" Jounouchi growled, waving his fist at the cop. "I was walking about the street and ---"
Kaiba sighed and raised a hand in a motion for silence. "I think there's been some mistake, Officer," he began calmly, once Jounouchi had snapped his mouth shut and glared at him. "While I know that this stray looks somewhat out of his depth, I assure you that he has no criminal plans for this evening. He is here at my request."
"I didn't realize that he was a friend of yours, Kaiba-sama," the cop apologized hastily, fear evident in his face and words. If Jounouchi had not been so busy muttering hateful things about Kaiba under his breath, he would have enjoyed the blubbering spectacle. "If I had known..."
"Don't worry about it. It was, I assume, simply a misunderstanding?" At Kaiba's raised eyebrow, the policeman quickly agreed with him. "Well, then, we'll be on our way." He turned sharply and marched back to the door of the limousine which one of the guards now held open. Just before he ducked inside, he paused and shot a glance over his shoulder at the still-simmering Jounouchi. "Come on."
For a moment, Jounouchi thought about disobeying Kaiba's order; after all, the cold-hearted bastard had no right to order him around as if he owned him. On second thought, though, he knew that he'd rather deal with Kaiba's stupid ass than the cop's. Still muttering a string of obscenities, the blond ran a frustrated hand through his messy hair but stalked over to where Kaiba and his entourage waited for him. He threw himself into the plush cushions of the limo's back seat before its owner followed him inside and the door was shut.
As they limousine sped away from the curb, the cop was still standing in his place on the sidewalk, dazedly watching them after their departing taillights.
Kaiba, arms crossed over his chest, watched Jounouchi's angry motions as he settled against the seat, with little expression on his face. "Well?" he finally asked.
"Well, what?" Jounouchi groused, glaring at him.
"Don't you think you owe me a thanks?"
"Da hell? For what?" Jounouchi wanted to know.
"For saving your ass from a night in jail." Kaiba returned coolly.
"Why should I thank you? For one thing, that old bastard never woulda gotten his hands on me to take me to jail. And for another thing, it's your goddamn fault that I was out there to begin with."
"Hmm," was Kaiba's only verbal reply. There was an abbreviated movement in his shoulders, almost as if he flinched from the heat in Jounouchi's statement.
The remainder of the short trip to Kaiba's foreboding manor was accomplished in silence; in fact, not a word was spoken by either of them as they entered the house or while they both took the long journey up the mammoth staircase. At the top of the stairs, they parted -- Jounouchi headed one way while Kaiba paused to check in on a sleeping Mokuba.
A few minutes later, after having made certain that Mokuba was asleep and secure for the night, Kaiba followed the path that Jounouchi had taken, stepping into the large, elegantly-decorated bedroom where Jounouchi was angrily yanking off his sneakers, tossing them petulantly across the room where they joined his discarded jacket. When he heard the door open and close, he glanced up at Kaiba but made no comment and only continued to throw various pieces of clothes across the room from where he sat on the edge of the bed.
"Are you finished with your little tantrum yet?" Kaiba asked sneeringly, watching as a pair of socks sailed across the room.
Jounouchi blew at his bangs in frustration. "Not really, no," he sneered back, standing as he ripped his T-shirt over his head and flung it away, leaving him clad in nothing other than his faded jeans.
Kaiba sighed and moved farther into the room, carefully shrugging out of his purple trench coat. "You were the one that wanted to keep this completely secret," he pointed out.
"And you were the one that thought it was the best damned idea I'd ever had!" Jounouchi reminded him hotly. "You said that you wanted it kept under wraps, too."
"I know," Kaiba shot back, fire flashing in his eyes as he rounded on the other young man. "And can you really tell me that something has happened to change that?"
Suddenly, the fight fled from Jounouchi and he collapsed back onto the bed, shoulders hunched. "No," he admitted quietly. "But it doesn't mean that I like it -- sneaking around, getting accused of being a fuckin' criminal just for walking in your goddamn neighborhood. It's not like I need another reminder of why this is all insane."
The belt with the heavy KC belt buckle was discarded before he approached Jounouchi, so close that he could touch him if he chose. Instead, Kaiba kept his hands at his sides. "Perhaps you need a reminder of why you do it anyway?"
"Yeah, perhaps," Jounouchi echoed distractedly, eyes on his hands.
Like always, Kaiba moved with speed, precision and utter confidence. Before Jounouchi could fully form a grunt of protest, Kaiba had him flat on his back on the bed, trapped against the downy comforter as he plundered his mouth, hands roaming over bare, golden skin. It took Jounouchi a moment to react but when he did it was with his usual mix of enthusiasm and clumsy grace, returning the passionate kiss as his hands worked to remove the black skirt Kaiba still wore.
As he broke the kiss to pull the shirt over his head, Kaiba looked down into Jounouchi's flushed face with undisguised smugness. "Do you remember now why you do it anyway?"
"Oh, yessss," Jounouchi hissed in pleasure as he took in the sight of Kaiba, hair disheveled and eyes bright with desire. Using his powerful legs and arms, Jounouchi rolled them over so that he was the one pinning Kaiba to the bed, his hands planted on either side of the other's head. His grin was infectious as he playfully leered at the dark-haired young man beneath him, leaning so close to him that their noses brushed. "And I think you're remembering, too."
"I think," Kaiba managed to say without his voice wavering too much, "that I need more reminding."
Jounouchi's dark eyes lit up as he pulled back, his hands snaking down over the lean, bare chest until they played with the waistband of the slacks Kaiba wore. "And I think that these pants are way too nice for you to wear for pajamas."
And, then there was nothing but a particular kind of madness between them, a clash of lips and tongues and hands and bodies that allowed them to communicate in a language they both understand better than standard speech.
And, by the time they both slept, both Jounouchi and Kaiba had been thoroughly reminded of why they met in that room in the dark stillness of the night and why they risked intangible unmentionable things for those strange, stolen hours.
Even after the best nights, Kaiba could not lounge around idly in bed much past the time that the sun had risen; it was, he decided, a consequence of his efficient nature and the orientation of his bedroom windows which allowed early morning light to pour through them. Even with a large, warm body draped over his, Kaia could not fight against habits so long ingrained in him.
But this morning, after the strange roller coaster of Jounouchi's moods from the night before, even Kaiba could try to make an exception to his own rule. Instead of pulling himself from the warmth of the large bed filled almost to capacity by Jounouchi's sprawling sleeping habits, Kaiba simply stretched over the side of the bed and collected his pants from where they'd landed the night before and pulled from one of the pockets a small KaibaCorp gadget on which he'd come to depend. It was an electronic wonder, a cell phone and computer and PDA all in one small package. He opened the phone panel to reveal the compact keyboard over which his fingers flew in rapid succession, the tiny LCD screen filling quickly with a string of small, black-on-white characters.
When he was satisfied, Kaiba hit the SEND pad and clicked the panel shut before laying it carefully on the nearest nightstand. Then, as if the small task had taxed him greatly, he found that he had little trouble ignoring his need to rise but instead he burrowed back into the mound of bedclothes, drawing close to the warm body who shared his bed. So close, in fact, that he was able to tangle his legs with Jounouchi's, his dark head resting next to the blond one on one of the ridiculously expensive pillows piled on the bed.
Giving in to a need which he usually kept buried deep within himself, Kaiba touched the tips of his fingers to Jounouchi's face, trailing them lightly over the sleeping boy's cheek and down until they skimmed his lips, sliding his fingers back up the same trail until they brushed against the wild strands of golden hair which hung long over his forehead. That unaccustomed desire for tenderness fulfilled for the moment, Kaiba slung a lazy arm over Jounouchi's bare waist and closed his eyes, surprised by how easy the calmness of the moment pulled him back into sleep.
Unlike his strange bedfellow, however, it took something akin to an act of god to awaken Jounouchi from a good sleep, and so was the case that same morning as it had been every morning when he'd spent his night in the unstudied luxury of Kaiba's bed. His face was buried against a fluffy pillow around which he'd curled his arms, one bare shoulder peaking out from the coverlet pulled over his nude body. Next to him, he was vaguely aware of Kaiba's absence and he could dimly discern the sound of muffled movement in the room where told him that Kaiba was awake and active.
Of course, even though it was several hours after Kaiba had first awakened, Jounouchi thought it much too early to contemplate waking up and so he fiercely snuggled deeper into the bed and steadfastly ignored the sounds filling the suite: Kaiba's light movements, the slide and pull of drawers opened and closed, the shower running in the adjacent bathroom. By the time that Kaiba emerged from the bathroom dressed casually immaculately in another pair of dark pants and a dark button-down shirt -- which was a close to casual dress as Kaiba was able -- Jounouchi had happily surrendered himself back into the oblivious arms of sleep.
Kaiba rolled his eyes at the sight of Jounouchi's long, lean form somehow managing to stretch over the length and width of the bed as he swatted at the damp fringes of his hair which tickled the collar of his shirt. He was about to find some rude way to awaken the lazy idiot when a soft knock sounded at his door. Sparing one more glance at the appealing tableau of golden hair and golden-brown skin against the blue of the bedding and bathed in the late morning light, Kaiba answered the door, opening it just enough so that his stern face was visible.
Luckily for the blurry-eyed personal assistant who stood on the other side of the door, Kaiba was not displeased to see her since she carried in a small bag a certain item that he'd requested. She bowed and spoke to him in hushed tones before he dismissed her with little more than a perfunctory nod, taking the bag and shutting the door softly as he again withdrew into the suite.
Now, he decided, it was time to rouse the idiot.
He sat on the edge of the bed -- his side -- and casually laid the small box he'd fished from the bag on the nightstand next to his little computer/cell-phone combination.
"Hey, you," he announced in his usual harsh, crisp manner. "It's time to get your lazy ass out of my bed." His words were accompanied by a sharp jab in the shoulder blade.
Jounouchi, ever elegant, grunted his disapproval and shrugged away the hand at his shoulder. But Kaiba was insistent. "Hey, mutt. Up. Now," he told him, words punctuated by hard shake.
Finally, the words penetrated Jounouchi's sleep-heavy brain and he rolled toward Kaiba, onto his back as he squinted up at the young CEO. "Bastard," he muttered under his breath. "Wakes me up too damn early and the first thing I hear is mutt."
"If you'd woken up the first time, you would have heard "hey, you," instead," Kaiba smirked down at him. "Now, get up. I have things to do today so unless you want to walk home, you better be ready to leave when I am."
Grumbling, Jounouchi pulled himself up into a sitting position, running a hand through his wild hair as Kaiba turned away, his attention diverted by the chirping sound of his hand-held device. He stood, grabbing it up and opening the panel to check the messages scrolling across its screen. Meanwhile, Jounouchi shook his head, trying to fully wake up. He glanced down at the area around the bed which was littered with tossed-off clothing, most of it Kaiba's, until he noticed his crumpled jeans and boxers lying in a tangle near the bed's foot. The rest of his clothing was on the other side of the room where he'd chucked them in anger.
Kaiba, finished replying to the missives on his hand-held, cut his eyes back at the young man still lounging in the bed. "Hmm. I just remembered. Here." With studied detachment, he picked up the small brown box from the nightstand and tossed it at the unsuspecting Jounouchi. Luckily, the blond's reflexes were quick and he caught the box in one, reaching hand.
"What's this?" he wanted to know, turning it over in his hands.
Kaiba sat on the edge of the bed and watched Jounouchi examine the box. "Just open it, mutt."
Jounouchi threw him a quizzical glance, very suspicious. In the time that he and Kaiba had been sneaking around together, the millionaire hadn't even bought him a pack of cigarettes which made Jounouchi wonder what had sparked the occasion. He shrugged and tore into the brown wrapping, opening the box's lid to reveal something silvery coiled against the thin cardboard. With a mystified expression on his face, he pulled the item out by its long, silver chain and watched the light play against the shiny metal of the dog tag suspended from it.
He rolled his eyes and looked darkly at Kaiba. "And just what in the hell is this, Kaiba?"
The young CEO snorted. "What does it look like?"
Jounouchi narrowed his eyes. "It looks like a dog tag."
"Good," Kaiba stated approvingly. "You're not as stupid as I always thought you were."
His companion was far from impressed. "And what the hell am I supposed to do with it?"
"Wear it," Kaiba told him flatly, grabbing the swinging tab between his fingers. He tilted it so that Jounouchi could plainly see that his name was engraved on the front of it in precise, bold lines. "There is a law about registering dogs in this country. I'd hate to see you picked up again for being a stray."
"Kaiba..." Jounouchi growled warningly.
Kaiba released the tag and half-turned away, scorn on his still features. "Perhaps it will be able forestall a repeat of last night's events." It bore the KC insignia, etched in tiny precision on the duller side -- a quiet message to anyone who might mistake Jounouchi for any other street punk.
The blond snorted, still looking at the present with distaste. "Yeah, like I'm gonna show it to anybody. I'm not a goddamn dog."
"If you don't want it, get rid of it," Kaiba told him scathingly. He moved as if to rise from the bed but he paused, looking over at Jounouchi, blue eyes deep and unreadable. "If it offends your delicate nature so much as it is...just consider it a reminder."
This time when Kaiba shifted as if to rise from the bed, Jounouchi's strong grip on his arm stopped him. The CEO looked at him with pointed inquiry, his imperious expression asking why Jounouchi dared to grab him. The blond kept his rich, dark eyes trained on Kaiba's blue ones as he released the iron grip on his arm. Then, eyes still locked, Jounouchi bowed his head and slipped the chain over it, allowing the silver chain and dog tag to settled against his bare, sleep-heated skin. "A reminder, then."
Kaiba, for a moment, seemed unsure of how to react. Then he smirked, all arrogant superiority. "Good dog," he declared, reaching over to pat Jounouchi on his mop of unruly hair.
Jounouchi growled again, albeit playfully. "Bastard," he groused affectionately, reaching up with both hands to grab fistful of Kaiba's shirt and pull him down onto the bed and into his arms.
Kaiba let himself be drawn down into the waiting arms, let himself be distracted from the important matters waiting for him at KaibaCorp. As Jounouchi's hands roamed over him, branding him as his as surely as Kaiba had tried to do with the dogtag, Kaiba knew that -- for both of them -- these stolen moments were enough of a reminder to keep them coming back for more, consequences be damned.
But he was also knew that Jounouchi would wear the gift as surely as it were something so very important because Kaiba knew enough of him to know that the blond was sentimental, in that quaint sort of way.
And, besides, he was a good dog, after all.
Author's notes: A long time since I wrote Joukai! Aria's request was a fic in which Kaiba gives Jounouchi the dog tag he wears in the Battle City Arc. Whoo-hoo! Here it is. Hopefully, it's not too riddled with mistakes.
As always, constructive criticism and/or blatant ego-stroking praise are greatly appreciated.