Desperate measures

Warnings/notes : Seto/Joey, Mokuba, slight weirdness

Disclaimer : I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh.

written at 20th june 2003, by Misura

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As soon as Joey saw Seto's white face he knew Mokuba was really ill and not simply suffering from a cold or something. It scared him ; he had never seen cool, cold Seto Kaiba so close to losing it before.

Fighting down an urge to try comforting the other boy by a hug and a 'Hush, everything's gonna be all right', he asked : "What did you want to see me about?"

Seto bit his lip. "Actually Mokuba requested your presence."

Joey didn't know which feeling was stronger ; disappointment or bewilderment. What did Mokuba wanted to see him for? "Where is he then?"

"In his bed-room. But you can't go there."

"Why not?" Joey demanded, annoyed. He couldn't quite explain why conversations with Seto, no matter how they started always ended in verbal fights, yet it was what seemed to happen every time. This time would be no exception.

That thought galled him even more.

"He's very ill. He needs to rest." Seto explained.

"Oh." It sounded perfectly reasonable. "When will I be able to go and see him then?"

"I don't know." Seto admitted. He looked weary, tired of fighting against something stronger than himself. Joey knew the feeling all too well ; he and Serenity might not have been as close as Seto and his little brother, but when she had gotten ill he had been devastated.

Mokuba was everything Seto had in this world. Well, except for enough money to buy half the world, Kaiba Corp and a near unbeatable deck of cards of course. Those things wouldn't be enough for him though.

Joey sternly told himself once again now was not the time to try to get Seto to return his feelings ; the older boy obviously had more than enough worries on his mind already. It was only an ilusion to think he might be able to take some of the hurt away.

It was only an illusion Seto's eyes seemed to be begging him to hold their owner.

"I'm sure he's going to be all right." Joey lied. "He was always such a strong and healthy kid."

"Don't talk about him in past tense!" Seto snarled.

"Don't be so damn quick to take offense! Geez, do we have to argue like little kids every single time we meet?" Joey replied heatedly.

"*You* started it!" Seto accused.

Joey suddenly grew tired of this. "Fine. I'm sorry." Sorry that he had done it again. Sorry that he couldn't find an opportunity to really talk to Seto. Sorry for everything.

"What?" Seto blinked.

"I said 'I'm sorry'." Joey repeated. "I know how much Mokuba means to you and I shouldn't have started an argument with you."

"It ... it was my fault too." Seto admitted grudgingly.

"Nonsense ; you're just tense." Joey smiled.

"That's no excuse." Seto protested.

"Ah well, let's just forget about it, okay? Do you have any idea why Mokuba wants to see me?" Joey changed the subject, hoping to prevent another argument.

"It's ... about us." Seto turned away, gazing out of the window.

Joey swallowed. "About us? You mean : you and me?" He felt the fluttering feeling in his stomach return.

"Yes." The admission came out as a sigh.

"Uhm, in what way exactly?" Joey asked, trying to keep his voice steady, while possibilities raced through his head. Might Mokuba actually have noticed something Seto had been oblivious to?

Seto remained silent.

"As in 'lovers'?" Joey dared, crossing his fingers the other boy wouldn't turn on him for the suggestion, praying for some sort of positive reaction in spite of what his mind told him.

"You knew." Seto hissed. "You knew about me! Did you and your friends laugh about it, puppy? Did you think it was funny?"

Joey slowly processed these words before coming to a rather astonishing conclusion. Contrary to all evidence, Seto was in love with him. Like Joey was in love with him. Only Seto didn't know that and thought Joey was making fun of his feelings.

Words tumbled around in his mind to declare his love, the way he had felt for the other all this time. He decided to ignore them for the moment ; words weren't his strong suit. He preferred action. It was less easily misinterpreted.

Stepping forward he reached up and put his arms around the other boy, like Seto had done in his dream this afternoon. Blue eyes stared into his own, a mixture of uncertainty and hurt.

Joey raised his lips to Seto's in a soft, questioning kiss. After a few seconds that seemed like ages, he felt Seto returning the kiss, and the feeling behind it.

As they heard a soft squeal, they broke apart, turning around to look at the source of the sound.

Mokuba was standing in the doorway, grinning like a maniac and looking as healthy as ever.

"Don't mind me! I think you look totally cute together!" Mokuba smiled sweetly.

Seto narrowed his eyes. "Weren't you ill and in bed?"

Mokuba shrugged. "I'm cured. Aren't you glad, big brother?"

Seto mumbled something Joey was sure he didn't mean and pointed to the door. "Out! Be glad I don't send you to bed without dinner for scaring me like that."

Mokuba pouted. "You should be glad I'm well again. Instead, you're just complaining! That's so unfair! You ought to thank me!"

As the door closed behind Mokuba, Seto quickly locked it, sighing and shaking his head.

"You know, maybe we *should* thank him." Joey remarked.

"Maybe later." Seto growled, still looking peeked. "Right now I had other plans for things to do."

"Oh?" Joey grinned innocently.

It was the last word heard in that room, if one could call that 'oh' a word, for quite some time. And Joey was more than happy to find out that dreams were, in the end, a poor substitute for the real thing. Mokuba listened to them from his room, giggling once in a while.

When it was time for dinner, he made a pizza for himself, since neither Seto nor Joey seemed to be inclined to come out to eat. Humming softly, he congratulated himself once again on his success. Perhaps he should consider becoming an actor after all.

~OWARI~