A/N: Warning! Shounen ai and (gasp!) heterosexual couplings! O_O Oh, the horror! Yuugi/Anzu, Jounouchi/Kaiba, and one-sided Jounouchi/Yuugi and Kaiba/Yuugi. Now there's a mix that I haven't seen before.

. . . you know, I've noticed that I do a fair deal of introspective pieces for someone who doesn't make a habit of too much analytical thinking.

Yuugi's POV.









"Define 'Love'"









I know Jounouchi likes me.

Really likes me.

When he smiles at me, it's a little softer than it is when he smiles at other people. And he always seems to be right there when I need him. Whenever something goes wrong, even if it's hardly anything at all, he always seems to be there. I fell off the edge of the stairs once when I was certain I was alone, and he appeared out of nowhere and caught me as easily as anything.

He smiled down at me so kindly then, his eyes warm and deep in a funny kind of way. A way I'd never seen before that day, to be honest. Maybe once, I think. When my grandpa was looking at an old picture of my grandmother- but still, not exactly that. There was something kinda mysterious and witchy in it too, like he knew a secret that I didn't.

I think I know that secret now. It was that he likes me the best, and that's kinda flattering, in a weird way.

And also . . .

I know that Kaiba likes me too.

Really likes me, I mean.

That was harder to figure out, since he's almost always so cold, but in the end it wound up being even more obvious because of that. He tries so hard to hate people all the time that when he really likes someone it shows in everything he does. And maybe he hasn't always been so nice to me, but he's trying really hard to make up for it without being obvious about it.

The really weird part is that I know that they kinda like each other too, though they'd die before admitting to that. Not in the way that they like me, though- this is different. Their eyes don't get softer and they don't go out of their way for each other or anything like that. They don't have to change at all, 'cause everything already clicks just the way it is, though it's a funny kind of clicking.

And last of all, I know that Anzu likes me.

Yeah, really likes me.

And I'm glad, because I really like her too. So if her knees don't go weak when she sees me and I don't become Casanova, it's still okay. I think I'm starting to understand this "love" thing a little better. It doesn't always go all "insta-fairy tale- just add water" when you meet someone you could love. It's not that simple for everyone. Yes, for some people it is, but not everyone. It changes constantly, depending on who and what you are.

For Anzu and I, it came from friendship. So even if we decide we don't feel "that way" about each other, we won't ever lose each other. And we'll still love each other, just not in the same way.

But for Jounouchi and Kaiba, their relationship- if you could even call it that at this point- came from rivalry and passion. Maybe it was a violent passion, but it was still passion. So I think, for them to really "get it", they're going to have to fuck each other. Then maybe they can work down to the ideas of having sex, sleeping together, and making love (not to mention the differences between all of those) from there. If they ever break up, though, there will be nothing to keep them as friends. So it seems that there's a strange kind of fragility in their relationship that Anzu and I don't have to worry about.

I think love can't really be defined the way most people try to. I mean, there are no real specifics to it, and the few generally agreed-upon things can still be absent in even the purest and holiest of affections. You can love someone without liking them, just as you can like someone without loving them. You can even love someone you hate with all your body and soul.

I feel sort of bad for Jounouchi and Kaiba when I think like that, because while I don't think that they really hate each other as much as they say they do, they don't really like each other very much either. They argue a lot, and I think that- especially lately- a lot of that has been because of the way they feel for me. Not that it wasn't usually the reason before either- though back then, it was because Kaiba and I were rivals and Jounouchi and I were best friends. Now it's because they like me "in that way."

Again, that's flattering in a weird way, and I'll freely admit that I love to be thought of as desirable and to be considered a person worth fighting over. Who wouldn't want something like that, after all? And I know quite a few people who'd absolutely love to have the affections of just one of these three who want to be with me. A lot of people lust after them- the cold but beautiful billionaire, the sexy girl with a never-say-die attitude, and the reformed street punk with a distinctly exotic gaijin's look. Not my terms, mind you, just a few of the less- explicit ones I've overheard.

Kaiba knows what he looks like, but he doesn't actually "know." I think it's the same for the other two, though they might be able to understand it a little more readily than he can. Honestly, the three of them are all undeniably confident in their own abilities, Jounouchi and Kaiba even going so far as to be considered arrogant or egotistical at times.

Okay, most of the time.

Still, it amazes me how oblivious they are to the people who desire them, and how they spend their affections on me instead. With Anzu at least, I can return it, and with Jounouchi I know what to say to keep him both from being hurt and from reading too much into my words.

But Kaiba was harder to deal with. I tried to be as polite as I could and never stayed alone with him for too long, but there wouldn't have been much I could've done if he'd ever decided to confess and asked to have a private conversation. Fortunately, he was always perceptive enough that he could tell that Anzu was the one I like pretty easily.

He can tell I'm not interested, but I wonder if it works the other way around too. Does he know that Jounouchi likes him back? I want him to figure it out. I want them to be happy, and I really think they could be, if they could just get over their own stubbornness.

Maybe not, though. Maybe I'm just thinking that because I'm afraid to hurt them. Because I want Jounouchi and Kaiba to somehow be happy, even though I can't make them that way myself.

Well, that was what I thought until today.

Because today I caught Kaiba crying and flat-out told me how he felt. Then he kissed me, and it felt kind of funny. It was a first kiss, but definitely a goodbye kiss at the same time. It was good too, but there was really no emotion in it. From him, yeah- but I had nothing to give but my apologies.

When he pulled away, he told me that he liked me; that he knew I didn't like him back, and then he told me what he really thought of Jounouchi. He said that he loved him. For real, he loved him. And he told me that he was afraid.

I've never seen Kaiba like that. Not once. There was something vaguely like it with Mokuba, but still, it's an entirely different kind of pain. Something that hurts in a different way, because it means: "This person has snared my affections and does not return them. And if they do not change their mind, I will die."

But now that I've seen how lonely Kaiba is, I really am going to have to do something about this.

I really do want them to be okay. They're my friends, and their happiness is very important to me- after all, I did ask the puzzle for friends who could count on me as much as I could on them. And dammit, if they screw this up, I'm dragging them both to the Shadow Realm until they kiss and make up! Or out.

Yeah, well . . . whichever comes first sound good?









* ende *









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