Notes: The characters are not mine and the story is! This was written using the prompt Invisible at YGODrabble on Livejournal and it is a birthday gift for Rose of Pollux.
Seto was hard at work in his home office when the door opened and Mokuba trudged in. Letting his backpack slip from his shoulders, he caught it in one hand and dragged it across the floor.
Seeing that out of the corner of his eye, Seto looked up with a frown. "What's wrong?"
Mokuba sighed, tossing his backpack on the couch. "Nothing," he mumbled.
Seto retorted, "That wasn't a 'nothing' entrance."
Mokuba had to concede to that truth. "I'm just sick of school!" he blurted.
Seto pushed his laptop aside. "Are the teachers not efficient enough? What about the material?"
"That's all fine." Mokuba started to tug the backpack down again, feeling guilty for bursting out with his complaint. He knew Seto had wanted Mokuba to attend public school instead of being privately tutored, so that he could feel more like he had a normal life. It made Mokuba feel ungrateful to be unhappy.
"It's the other students, then."
Mokuba froze, caught.
"Are they bullying you?" Seto demanded.
"No," Mokuba immediately exclaimed. Sighing, and admitting defeat, he added, "Actually, it's more like the exact opposite. They act like I'm not even there!"
"Have you tried to talk to them instead of waiting for them to come to you?" Seto asked. He was sure Mokuba would; he had always been friendly and open at the orphanage, greeting all the kids. Sometimes they had been nice in kind, but other times they had reacted with suspicion, wondering if Mokuba had an ulterior motive for approaching them. That had always made Seto angry.
"Yeah," Mokuba said, as Seto had been sure he would. "Usually they just look through me like I'm invisible." He flopped on the couch. "I'm tired of even trying."
Something flashed in Seto's eyes. Mokuba wasn't sure if it was anger or pain. Maybe both. He knew that Seto's instinct was to try to fix this, as he always tried to fix the problems that had come up in their lives. Their entire current life was what it was because of Seto's desire to give Mokuba the best life he could.
But Seto couldn't fix this. And no matter how much he wanted to, he really knew that.
"What do you want to do, then?" he asked instead.
Mokuba sighed. "I don't know. I just want to fit in with the other kids."
As much as Seto hated to suggest what had come into his mind, he said, "Maybe it's just that they don't know how to treat you. They need to know that you're not some stuck-up rich kid. Maybe if you invited them over, like to a party . . ."
Mokuba looked up with a start. "I could do that?!"
"If you want to," Seto said, even as horror over the thought began to spread over him. So many strange, possibly rambunctious kids all over the house. . . . And he would need to be present at least some of the time. If they saw Mokuba's brother was welcoming, that would probably also help Mokuba's problem.
Seto swallowed his alarm. If it would really help, it would be worth it.
"That would be great!" Mokuba exclaimed, leaping up. But then the burst of exuberance faded and his shoulders slumped. "But maybe no one will want to come."
Seto frowned. "Promise there'll be refreshments and they'll come," he insisted.
Mokuba brightened again. "I'll try that! When can we have it?"
"Maybe this weekend sometime?" Seto proposed. "Friday afternoon or Saturday morning, maybe?"
"Friday would be fine," Mokuba said. He beamed. "Thanks, Seto!"
Seto smiled as well. "Sure."
Over the next several days, Seto noticed a definite, positive change in Mokuba's mood. He was genuinely happy and excited, not just putting on a façade. The other kids were interested in coming over, just as Seto had predicted.
The party itself wasn't as wild as Seto had feared. The big house fascinated the kids, but they accepted Mokuba's official tour and didn't try to go wandering off by themselves. They snacked and played games and even danced to a little music. Seto only found the noise level nerve-wracking at that point, but he made himself stay where he was instead of escaping to the soundproof basement. This was important to Mokuba and Seto wanted to share in the experience with him.
The Monday after the party, Mokuba came in from school again, this time in a far cheerier and happier state. "Hi, Seto!" he chirped.
Seto watched him enter, pleased and happy as well to see the change in him. "Today was better?" he greeted.
Mokuba nodded. "Oh yeah! The kids were all talking about the party and how fun it was, and I've already got three invitations to go over to some of their houses this week!"
Seto leaned back with a fond smile. "Good."
"And it's all thanks to you, big brother!" Mokuba proclaimed. Coming around the desk, he hopped into Seto's arms and hugged him.
Somewhat surprised but touched, Seto returned it. This was a wonderful sight to see, and although he didn't feel he could take all the credit, he was proud to have been a part of it.
"Maybe we can do something fun soon, too?" Mokuba asked hopefully. "Just the two of us?"
Seto nodded. "I think we could work with that. What would you like to do?"
"Oh, I don't know." Mokuba gestured widely. "Anything's fun with you, big brother!"
Seto was touched and looked thoughtful. "Then I'll come up with something and it will be a surprise. How's that?"
"Great!" Mokuba proclaimed. "I love your surprises."
Seto was already pondering on their upcoming day together as Mokuba bounced upstairs to take care of his homework. There were several things he could think of that Mokuba especially liked and had been wanting to do again. Maybe they could fit in a little of most or even all of them. Whatever they ended up doing, Seto knew that Mokuba would enjoy it. The most important thing was simply to spend time together, no matter what they actually did.
That was probably in large part why Mokuba enjoyed helping Seto out at the company whenever he could. But although Mokuba was officially the vice-president, Seto tried to ensure that Mokuba's life would not be taken over by the company at this point in his life. Later, if Mokuba wanted, Seto would be more than happy for Mokuba to share company duties in larger part than he did right now. For the time being, Seto just wanted Mokuba to enjoy being a kid. That was something Seto had very rarely had in his life, but he could give it to Mokuba.
Seeing Mokuba come in all happy and excited, as he had done today, made all of Seto's sacrifices more than worth it. He truly had hope that Mokuba could enjoy his life and his childhood as Seto never had.
He smiled to himself as he went back to work on his laptop.