Renewal of Chances
Rating: PG-13ish-mild R
Author: Moonchild DJ
Disclaimer: Yugioh and their respective characters do not belong to me, but to the many people that own the anime and manga, including Takahashi-sama. Much as I would love to own Seto and Jou, I don't. X3 But I do own this story and its plotline, simply for entertainment purposes. I return Seto and Jou back in semi-one piece after I'm done. XD
Author's Note: Hello there, minna! Moonchild DJ with a brand-new chapter to RoC. My goodness, I'm on a roll, aren't I? =p I hope you enjoy the new stuff in my effort to update everything, and do tell me what you think, ne? That's what that pretty little purple button down at the bottom is for! I love hearing your comments, so with that said, enjoy!
As Jou pulled up to the Kaiba mansion, the blond gazed up at the large establishment, wishing he could see Seto in the doorway, arms crossed and scowling, maybe a 'mutt' or two thrown in. Hell, he'd let him call him every dog name under the sun if he wanted, if he could just see him again. It was going to be weird…living in Seto's home and not seeing him there. He sighed softly and wiped his eyes, careful to not press too hard against his bruised eye from his father's large hand.
A small hand reached out and took Jou's, squeezing softly, and Jou glanced at Mokuba, smiling softly as he squeezed back. "C'mon, let's get settled in, ne? I need to make the proper phone calls and records to get t'be your guardian, too."
"I'm never going to be able to thank you enough for this, Jou." the dark-haired boy murmured softly. "This means a lot to me."
"Aw, don't worry 'bout it." Jou smiled. "You're like the little brother I never had, oughta make it official, don't you think?"
"Guess so." Mokuba replied with a watery grin, before he fairly glomped the older boy. "I don't know what I'd do without you. KaibaCorp, my home, all our belongings…I don't know what would happen to it. Niisama never made a will…"
Because he wasn't expecting to need it. Not for the first time, Jou found himself cursing the person that had taken Seto's life. They'd done so much damage…he stroked Mokuba's long, raven hair soothingly. "I'll do all I can, kiddo. Luckily, I've just turned sixteen a few months ago, so I shouldn't have too much trouble getting custody. I won't touch your money, though, or KaibaCorp. That belongs rightfully to you. I've got quite a lot of money saved up, so I think we'll be okay. Will you have to take over KaibaCorp?"
"Only in name. I'm not allowed to run business matters until I'm fifteen, so I'll have a helper. Luckily, none of niisama's board members, he wouldn't trust 'em as far as he could throw 'em." The younger boy then shuddered and sobbed softly. "I w-won't have to call KaibaCorp to…to tell Niisama to get back home, to not work so late…I won't…ever make a trip and see him at his desk, typing away…I won't h-hear him come home, the door open, hear his voice call, 'Little brother, I'm home'…" he choked out, before his voice was lost in tears.
"Mokuba…" Still sitting in the back of the car, Seto grieved silently for causing his little brother such pain, blue eyes filling with tears as he watched Jou hug Mokuba tightly, rocking him gently. "Oh…otouto…I wish this didn't happen to you." Why couldn't there be a time machine? How he would love to go back and make things right.
Stroking Mokuba's hair softly, Jou sighed, resting his chin on the top of the boy's head. Absently, his eyes flicked to the rearview mirror. As he did so, not really paying attention, he caught out of the corner of his eye blue eyes in a very familiar face, tears streaking over pale skin. He started, his eyes widening, before he whipped his head around to glance in the backseat--to nothing.
"Jou? What is it?" Mokuba frowned, wiping his eyes as he glanced at the blond.
"I…I could've sworn…" he whispered, before he shook his head. It had been a long, stressful day…his nerves were just getting to him. "It's nothing." he murmured softly as he glanced at Mokuba with a gentle smile, not wanting to upset the boy further. "C'mon. We've got a lot of stuff to do."
As Mokuba nodded and climbed out with Jou, helping him with his meager belongings, Seto shifted through the door, gazing at the blond curiously. Had he seen him, if just for a moment? How was that possible?
"Simple. They are the two people that are the closest to you." came that unseen voice to the brunette, reading his thoughts and chuckling in amusement when Seto started. "They are the people who had the most contact with you, and as such, would be the most sensitive to your presence."
"So, they are able to hear me, see me, and such, because Mokuba is my brother and the mutt is…well, the mutt?" Seto asked as he followed the two towards the door of the mansion.
The voice snorted. "If you were honest to yourself, you would know he is more than just the mutt. But yes, that is the reason."
Choosing to ignore the extra words, he murmured, "So they know I'm around?"
"In a fashion. They are not able to sense you for long because of what you are, but their close affinity to you provides them the knowledge of your presence for a brief time, even if they think they are imagining it."
"Hn." Seto grunted as he floated into his home, gazing around with longing eyes. "If you're so smart, then tell me why the mutt's as choked up as my brother."
"Come now, Seto." the voice drawled lightly. "What fun would it be to just tell you? Besides, you already know for yourself. You just refuse to acknowledge it."
The brunette rolled his eyes and followed the two silently, watching the blond gape at the fine decorations. "Careful there, mutt. No drooling on the carpet." he drawled dryly, blinking when Jou snorted.
"Jou?" Mokuba questioned, gazing at him as the blond smiled a little.
"Y'know…I can hear him now, if he saw me in his home…no drooling on the carpet."
It was Seto's turn to gape in astonishment as his brother laughed softly. "Unbelievable. Did he just…?"
"We have plenty of room, Jou." Mokuba replied. "Pick whichever room you'd like upstairs, it'll be okay. Except for…"
"I know, kiddo." Jou murmured softly, setting his hand on the smaller boy's shoulder. "I wouldn't dare take your brother's room. That's special, ne?"
As Mokuba nodded, Seto pursed his lips and crossed his arms over his chest. "Damn right you're not getting my room. My sanctuary doesn't harbor mutts and dog hair." Feh, so he couldn't hear his insults. Old habits die hard.
Trying to be strong for Mokuba, the blond's face fell when they went upstairs and past a room with an open door. He'd never been in Seto's room, but he knew this was the one, if just going by the laptop sitting on the desk, alone. He stopped in his tracks, gazing at the piece of technological equipment. How many times had he seen Seto at that thing in school? Wearing his reading glasses, those blue eyes trained to the screen as his fingers flew over the keyboard? He shivered, wrapping his arms around himself. To never see that familiar, comfortable image again made tears come to his eyes.
Distracted by Jou's stopping at following Mokuba, Seto blinked at the blond, surprised once again when such a longing expression fell over his features. He glanced into his room, spotting his laptop, then glanced back at Jou. "You would get emotional over that?" he muttered with a snort. The tears, however, undid him. It was almost as bad as seeing his brother cry as it was the blond. "No…c'mon, mutt…don't cry." he murmured helplessly. "Tears don't look right on your face." He reached out, despite his reservations, wanting to comfort.
His hand reached the quivering shoulder--and instead of going through, stayed there, a warm, gentle weight on the blond's shoulder. Seto's eyes widened in shock, but was distracted from the revelation at a soft sob from Jou, his head bowed as he leaned instinctively into the comforting touch. The CEO's shuttered expression melted. "You're trying to be strong for Mokuba's sake, aren't you?" he whispered. "But who's going to be strong for you?"
Tears were a weakness, as were feelings. He'd been taught that by Gozaburo. But his little brother's tears never failed to hit their mark, and apparently, neither did Jou's. If he was weak, so sue him. He sighed softly, unknowing that the soft brush of air stirred the blond's hair, and carefully folded his arms around Jou, pouring in soothing, comforting warmth to the trembling pup.
What was this warmth? It was like being bathed in sunlight. Through his tears, Jou noticed this, and confused, he opened his eyes. He was alone…but he felt wrapped up in warmth, could smell a curious, unexplainable scent of cologne. Seto's cologne. He was right before Seto's room…but it was so much closer, stronger, warmer, as if Seto was…right there with him.
Honeyed eyes widened. He couldn't see a thing, but oh, his scent, this warmth…he whispered Seto's name, closing his eyes, wanting to revel in that feeling. Imagined or not, it felt so good.
At the whisper of his name, Seto glanced down at him. Did Jou sense him? If so, he thought wryly to himself, the mutt was smarter than he thought. Hearing Mokuba's voice calling the blond's name, however, he let go of Jou quickly, guiltily, like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He sent the blond nearly stumbling and winced, giving a silent apology.
"Jou, you okay?" Mokuba replied, blinking at the blond, who looked a bit shellshocked and disappointed, but nodded.
"Yeah…fine." Jou replied, discreetly wiping his eyes. The warmth was gone, now. Seto was still around…he had to be, stuff as unexplainable as this didn't happen every day! So he was a little scared of this kind of stuff…they weren't totally alone, Seto wasn't truly gone. He smiled softly at the thought, tousling Mokuba's hair lightly. "C'mon, kiddo. Show me to my room, I've got a lot of stuff to do."
It had taken roughly three hours to get it all sorted out, three hours of demands, tons of explanations and yelling, but it was all straightened out. Jou breathed a sigh of relief and flopped back onto his bed, resting his arm under his head as he closed his eyes. He was now Mokuba's guardian, the only thing protecting the boy from being sent back to the orphanage…it hadn't mattered if he was a Kaiba or not. Because he was underage, and there hadn't been a will, Mokuba had had no say.
"Hmph. Crappy legal system." he muttered. "Thank gods that's over. Mokuba's safe."
Standing at the foot of his bed, Seto eyed him curiously. "I still don't understand." And he likely never would. The mutt had gone out of his way to help someone that wasn't even family. "You're a strange little puppy." But he was grateful to him. Concentrating the best he could, he managed to pick up a pillow that the blond had thrown against the wall during a fit of fury, smirking when he was able to nail Jou right in the face with it. He was getting better at this ghost thing…was that a good thing or a bad thing?
Yelping in surprise when a pillow whopped him in the face out of nowhere, Jou sat up quickly, shivering faintly when he saw no one. He smiled lightly. "Yeah, yeah. You're welcome." he replied softly to the supposedly-empty room.
A hint of a smile crept over the CEO's face as he crossed his arms over his chest. "That's the closest you're ever going to get for a thank you, mutt." he drawled. If he heard the blond's whispered 'I miss you', he pretended not to, simply watching the puppy lean back and fall asleep.
Peeping into the room that he'd given Jou, Mokuba smiled softly at the slumbering blond, then gasped silently from the doorway, his eyes widening as he watched the blankets bunch slowly at the foot of the bed, then seem to pull themselves over Jou's form. He swallowed hard as his heart galloped in his chest. He knew Jou had told him that Seto wouldn't leave him behind, but to see that…his knees wobbled as he held onto the doorframe. "Niisama…" he whispered.
Seto turned his head at that soft whisper, startled at the wide-eyed countenance of his brother. The blankets…he'd seen them move. He bit his lip, then willed all his might into appearing, even if just for a moment.
If the blankets weren't bad enough, seeing your big brother appear out of nowhere would certainly startle someone! Mokuba nearly toppled over in shock, his eyes bulging.
Knowing it had worked by Mokuba's expression, Seto smiled softly at his brother and winked, placing a finger over his lips in a shushing motion, before he whispered 'I love you' to the boy, knowing it had been worth it when a wide, wide smile had spread over Mokuba's lips as he faded back out, exhausted.
"Niisama…! Gods…I love you, too."
Seto smiled contentedly at his little brother's words, closing his eyes. Good deed done for the day. Now he needed to rest. The surroundings of Jou's room faded away as he went to…well, wherever ghosts go to sleep when they weren't haunting.
"And here I didn't used to believe in ghosts…" he muttered as his coherent thought faded to gray.
"No. I refuse!" Seto growled sometime after his nap. Whether that had been a few hours, a few days or a few months, he couldn't be sure, because he was still in Limbo, or as he'd termed it, Hell For Those With Time To Kill. "I refuse to move on! Mokuba is my brother, and I love him. I will not leave him!"
"You know that Mokuba is safe, now." came that infuriatingly-patient voice that never changed much, in emotion or in voice pattern. "He is under the care of Jonouchi, and he is in no danger of being sent away. You agreed to move on when your little brother was seen to."
"I refuse to go." Seto replied between gritted teeth. "If you want me to leave, you will have to remove me by force. And I have the feeling that you can't remove me if I don't want to go."
The voice drew a sigh. "No, we cannot make you leave if you don't want to. That is why some ghosts stay at a place or with a person that is precious to them, because they have no desire to leave."
"Well, I have no desire. I may not be able to do anything, but Mokuba needs me. And I need him. I will not go." Seto stamped his foot to make his point, but since there was no ground in Limbo, he merely spun himself about in midair, making the unseen voice chuckle in amusement at the surprised expression on his face.
"Alright, so you refuse to move on. What will you do, then?"
Seto situated himself, then replied, "Is there a way for ghosts to live again?"
"Sometimes. Mostly through reincarnation when one's soul isn't done living. You know this…former High Priest Seth."
Seto sighed. He would've disagreed, but existence as a ghost showed him how right the voice was. However, he didn't think he could take yet another life to live through. Not without Mokuba. "Any other alternatives? Mokuba needs me NOW, not in another lifetime."
"Sometimes through repentenance or good deeds a spirit can reclaim their life, before the accident or death happened. A sort of time machine, if you will."
Well, that sounded promising. Jou's face flashed before his mind's eye, and concern for another made him pause. "Can a spirit pick a time when they want to come back? Like before the accident to stop it, or something else?"
There was silence, and when the voice spoke again, it was flecked with surprise. "Yes. If the spirit has done something worthwhile, then they have earned the honor."
"Fine. When I come back, then, I want to make sure that it happens when the pup has Mokuba."
"What? But that was after you had died."
"Well, you're in charge of life and death, aren't you? I'm sure you can change a few things here and there."
"Now wait a minute, you're getting ahead of yourself. If you come back--"
"Not if. When." Seto replied firmly. "I will not sit idly by and watch the world go on around me. Now, send me back to my little brother and the pup." He then blinked after a moment. "By the way, who are you? I wouldn't think that you would be able to stick your neck out and offer information."
"No. The average soul wouldn't be able to." The tone lightened, softened, turned feminine with those few words, and before the brunette's startled eyes, a woman appeared with knowing blue eyes and long pale hair, that looked white tinged with blue, as was her flowing garments. "But your guardian angel would be able to." she smiled.
Seto gaped at her in surprise, before he frowned. "I know you from somewhere. I'm sure of it."
She giggled softly and waved her hand, letting the CEO go back where he wanted before he figured it out. "You know in your heart of hearts, dear High Priest. Your heart would recognize the girl that gave her soul to you to make your Blue Eyes stronger. But this existence is not for Kisara and Seth, but Seto and another young man who is just as deserving as your heart."
Seto found himself abruptly falling through a wall before he could blink, and he saved himself from falling flat on his face by sheer luck as he managed to keep his feet, glancing around.
He was back home again, and a glance out the window showed him that things looked different than before. A glance at the calendar afforded him the knowledge that a month had passed. It boggled the mind that time could be so easily lost in that plane of existence, and he shivered.
"Thank gods I wasn't kept longer, or I could've come back when Mokuba was an adult!" he muttered with a shake of his head, before he glanced around, finding himself in the living room. Daylight…Mokuba would still be in school…
"I TOLD you, Dad. I'm not taking any money offa the Kaibas, it's my own, and I earned it fair and square!" Jou's voice growled from the entryway to the door, and Seto frowned, before he headed towards the voice.
"Then you should share some of that with your old man!"
"What? You mean I have one? Funny, I don't remember. Oh, yeah. He disowned me." Jou replied flatly as he glared at his father from the doorway. "You didn't want me in your life if I left, so there you go. I have nothing more to say to you. Or to give you. I'm not giving handouts."
Seto watched the older man puff up in anger, and worried for the younger blond's well-being. He didn't want his little brother to be greeted to the mutt with a black and blue face, and so he gathered up all the energy he could, and grabbed the door, managing to yank it out of the blond's hand, before slamming it shut in the man's face, smirking at the howl of pain from the other side.
Jou gasped, his eyes widening as the door was yanked out of his hand, gazing around with a shudder. He was alone…and there was no harsh breeze to blow the door closed…
"Se…Seto?" he breathed softly, his breath catching in his throat when a picture frame on the small table near the door to his right toppled over on its own. He gulped quietly and turned to his right, gasping sharply when that signature scent that he remembered belonging to the CEO washed over him like a wave. He whimpered softly and closed his eyes, allowing that warmth to wash over him as a tear skimmed down his cheek.
Seto gazed down at the blond, able to feel his trembling even as he was. "Why in the world are you like this, pup? Why are you so affected by my presence?" he murmured softly in wonder.
And he did mean affected…his viewpoint behind the blond afforded him a most surprising not-so-little bulge pressing against the front of the pup's jeans. His brows lifted in surprise as Jou groaned and wrenched himself away from that warmth.
"Crap…crap, crap, crap." Jou breathed around a moan. He blushed faintly, wondering if Seto could see his arousal as he pushed his hand through his hair and glanced at his watch. Mokuba wasn't due home for another hour…hw headed out of the room and upstairs, making tracks for the bathroom. He missed Seto so much now, it didn't take much to arouse him. Hell, all he'd done was smell Seto's scent, and look at him! "And no relief for it but my trusty right hand." he sighed.
Off came the clothes, on came a cold shower…and in came a curious ghost through the door, before Seto's eyes widened, completely floored at the delicious sight of a very naked, very aroused blond in the shower. If he'd still been mortal, he would've fallen back against the door. As it was, he fell back THROUGH the door with a squawk that he was relieved the blond couldn't hear and landed on the floor, cheeks flushed.
"Oh. My. Gods." he breathed, glancing back at the door, shock and curiosity both to be seen on his face, before curiosity won out and he got to his feet, taking a breath and melting through the door once again.
Watching the blond's head fall back in abandon, his tanned, well-muscled body glinting with beads of water, Seto was mesmerized, and he was fairly certain he would've been drooling if he had the means to. All that lovely skin that he wanted to lick like an ice cream cone…he blinked, then groaned, slapping a hand to his face.
"Wonderful. Now the pup's turned me into a voyeur."
Well…what was the use of watching, when touching was better? Especially when said object you were watching moaned your name with such a rich, low, needy voice…? Seto licked his lips and smirked lightly. If he could manage this, then he would die a happy man for sure. Blue eyes glinted as he headed for the shower, unafraid of getting wet, and slid in.
Gods, he was resolved to friendly little sessions with his hand…how he wished Seto was here! Granted, Seto would probably freak at the mutt being so desperate, but…well, he was deprived, after all. Jou missed his voice, those eyes, that delectably-lean body…he even missed the insults, as strange as it was to say.
Which was why he nearly fell backwards with a yelp of shock when he felt a very-definite hand join his on his little pleasure trip. He shuddered--and not from the cold water--as invisible fingers that definitely didn't belong to his own hand wrapped around slick, heated flesh and made him nearly go out of his mind.
"Seto…!" he whimpered piteously, leaning his head against the cool blue-and-white tiled wall, his heart pounding in his chest at the surreal experience.
Seto watched the trembling blond in silent awe, blue eyes burning in triumphant pleasure when the pup let loose with his name roaring on his lips. So the puppy desired him. That was very, very interesting.
"Beautiful little puppy." he purred against Jou's ear as the other collapsed against the wall. "I think I'm going to enjoy haunting you…"
End Chapter 3