Rowan: OMG! So sorry about the loong delay! I can't believe I left the story off at that part! Sorry! My creative juices just weren't flowing towards this story for awhile. It's just too light and fluffy and I've been feeling dank and angsty…so yeah. But here it is! And I won't say another word except thanks for all the reviews I've received for this story! This is by far my most popular story! You've all made my dream come true! 113 reviews! Wow! You guys are too nice!
sigh I am determined to finish this chapter today! Today is the first "birthday" of LLT- I started this story a year ago. And it's not even half finished! Isn't that horrid? Well, I will finish this chapter today and post it ASAP. Oh, I'm so bad!
Disclaimer: I don't even own a plot for this. But the story's mine, I treasure it and only wish the characters were mine as well.
Life's Little Treasures
"Y-Yami, what are you doing in here?" Jou stuttered.
Yami crawled catlike over to Jou and pulled him onto the bed. "What do you think?" Yami whispered in a sultry tone.
"I-I don't know," Jou managed to say before being pulled into a deep kiss by Yami. Jou was at first in shock, then tried to fight his friend off, but it was no use. And Jou felt himself relaxing, despite himself. Just as he began to lean into the kiss, the door behind him opened, revealing to Yami, who was on the bottom and could see the doorway, Seto's silhouette, frozen in shock. Seto stood in the doorway for a brief moment, before turning and running away as fast as he could.
The moment Yami saw Seto run away from the room; the former Pharaoh unwound his hands from around Jou's neck and placed his palms firmly on the blonde's shoulders. He pushed Jounouchi forcibly off him, breaking the kiss. Jou blinked at his friend in confusion as Yami spoke. "Look, Jou…I'm sure, if things were different, I would willingly succumb to your charms. But as things are, I've got a girlfriend back in Domino who I love very much and with whom I will probably spent the rest of my life. I don't want this to ruin that for me. And I don't want our friendship to become awkward because of your…advances towards me. So, what do you say we forget about all this?"
Jou frowned in confusion. Was Yami saying that he had come on to the Egyptian? But Yami was the one who had kissed him! Right? Jou was on the top, but Yami had pulled him on top of him. So why was he acting like it was the other way around?
Numbly, Jou nodded. "Sure. Let's just forget about all of this."
Yami smiled. "Okay. See you." Yami got up from the bed and walked towards the door.
"Yami?" Jou called. Yami turned around and looked at Jou. "Still friends?" the blonde asked.
Anzu and Ryou watched as the brunette ran past their doorway and into his study. The two friends glanced at each other, then back to the door that led to Kaiba. Neither spoke, until Anzu stood, Kismet still sleeping in her arms. "I'm going to speak with Kaiba-kun," she announced.
Ryou nodded in understanding. "That's wise," he said. "I remember when Yami no Bakura first realized he loved Yami no Malik…after seeing him kiss Malik. He was quite withdrawn and confused…took hours talking…and listening…to him before he felt better. Kaiba-kun must be equally confused…more so, considering who it is. Seeing Kismet might be soothing for him as well," Ryou continued, nodding his head at the baby still slumbering in Anzu's arms.
Anzu nodded. "That's true," she remarked, then turned and strolled down the hall to the office. Reaching the oak doors, she hesitated before rapping softly on the wood. "Kaiba-kun? May I come in?" Anzu inquired softly. There was no answer. Discouraged, she turned and began to leave the shadow the immense portals cast, when a large wailing grew up from the little bundle cuddled to her chest.
The door immediately opened, Seto alarmed by little Kismet's crying. Scooping her up and out of Anzu's care, he swept swiftly back into the study, nearly shutting the door on Anzu's nose. Nearly, but the brunette was agile and quick on her feet, and managed to step into the room just as the posterns were closing.
Seto glared at the girl, but did not order her out. Instead, with Kismet cradled in the crook of his arm, the brunette took a seat behind his desk, Anzu following suit. They sat in silence for a moment, Anzu listening to the rhythm of the ticking clock as she waited for the CEO to speak. Finally, with a lick to wet his lips, Seto spoke. "I just walked in on Jou and Yami making out," he stated.
Anzu nodded in acknowledgement of the statement. "Yes?"
"I think I was jealous…"
Seto's eyes wide, he whispered, "Jounouchi."
Anzu blinked. "What do you mean?"
Seto shuddered as he said, "I think I like Yami."
Anzu's jaw dropped. Of all the things that could have happened, this was not what she had expected. "Are you sure?" she questioned.
Seto shrugged, and he lifted his cerulean eyes up to meet Anzu's. "What else could it be?"
Anzu chuckled quietly to herself. "Well, if you're jealous of Jou, it gets better. Yami is dating Isis. Now how do you feel?"
Seto frowned. "No less jealous…"
"So you're not jealous of Isis? Maybe it means that you don't like Yami, hm?" Anzu suggested.
"Then what could I be envious of?" Seto asked, confused.
Anzu could not believe the denseness of the man sitting across from her. Could he really not realize? Sighing, Anzu replied, "Maybe you are envious of Yami for kissing Jou, not the other way around? Maybe, just maybe, you like Jounouchi?"
Seto laughed. "Right, me, like the mutt?" he shook his head. "That is absurd."
Anzu stood up and placed her hands on the desk, leaning in towards the brunette. Her face was contorted with frustration and rage. "Well ya know, you're just too smart for me! You're right; it is absolute nonsense that you could have an inkling of love for Jou! Why do I bother trying to help you when you brush aside my every suggestion?! Well, if you're soo smart, you can figure this out on your own!" Anzu then turned on her heel and stormed out of the room.
Seto blinked. "What was that all about?" he asked Kismet quietly. The little girl gurgled happily up at father in reply.
When Seto entered his bedroom that evening, Jou was already curled up under the covers, fast asleep. With Anzu's suggestion of Seto crushing on the blonde ringing in his head, the CEO attempted to slip into his bed while avoiding touching Jou. He had successfully managed to get his legs under the sheets safely and was about to pull them all the way up, when Jou shifted in his sleep and threw his arm right over Seto's waist. The brunette froze, wondering what to do, and trying to decide whether he ought to move Jou's arm or if he should stay and not disturb Jou's sleep. Glancing at the blonde, Seto couldn't help but think on how cute Jounouchi looked when in slumber. Smiling, Seto moved slowly down, until Jou's arm was resting across his chest instead. Then, carefully, he draped his own limb around Jou's neck, pulling the other man closer. He fell asleep a few moments later, a smile gracing his lips.
Kismet was still in her crib, forgotten by both fathers. She did not wake up once during the night.
Yami, on the other hand, had barely slipped under his covers when his cell phone rang. He absolutely abhorred the thing, and usually kept it as far away from his person as possible. He certainly did not keep it by the side of his bed, not expecting any calls at three in the morning. This time, the phone was in the bottom of his suitcase, in the pocket of his only pair of sweat pants. Ten minutes of the phone ringing insistently and Yami finally found it and answered it with a huff and a sigh. "Hello? Who is it?" he asked into the contraption.
"Yami? It's me, Mai. How are things going at the mission base?"
Yami rolled his eyes. "It's three in the morning, stop talking in code," he ordered.
"Well, how are things developing between Kaiba and Jou?" she asked.
"We had to revert to Project Green Eyes. Isis is going to kill me if she ever finds out about it," Yami said, wrinkling his nose at the memory.
Yami could feel Mai shrug her shoulders dispassionately. "Whatever. What I need to know now is whether you want to stay or to leave. It's your choice."
"I would like to return to Isis, thank you very much."
"Okay, I'll arrange to get you out of there. And how are Ryou and Anzu?"
"They're doing fine, I think. They're asleep right now, something I'd like to do as well, if you know what I mean."
"Oh, yes, of course. Sweet dreams Yami!"
"Yeah, yeah. Same to you too, Mai."
The next morning as she got some cereal, Anzu came across the letter. By noon, Ryou, Seto and Jou had read it as well. Shaking his head, Ryou couldn't help but laugh when Anzu showed it to him. "Yami actually expects us to fall for that?"
Anzu frowned. "What do you mean?"
Ryou relieved the brunette of the letter and read it aloud to her.
"Dear Jou and, uh, everyone else,
Sorry I have to leave on such short notice, but last night I got a call from Isis. Malik's coming home from the institute and I don't want Isis to have to go through his homecoming by herself. So, yeah, I'll be spending Christmas with them. You know, I have to make sure Malik doesn't cause Isis (or anyone else, for that matter) any trouble. Sorry for leaving so shortly. Merry Christmas! I left my presents under the tree. See you in the spring."
Anzu shrugged. "So?"
"Malik is in Egypt with his yami and mine. There's no institution. Yami's just anxious to leave before Isis gets wind of Project Green Eyes."
"What's Project Green Eyes?" a voice behind the college students asked.
Turning around, Anzu and Bakura came face to face with Mokuba, who was staring up at them with curiosity.
Ryou laughed nervously while Anzu blushed. "Uh, it's nothing, Mokuba! Nothing for you to worry about," Anzu said quickly.
Mokuba shot them both a skeptical look. "Could this have anything to do with Seto walking in on Jou and Yami yesterday?"
Ryou blinked in surprise. "How'd you know?"
Mokuba shrugged with a cheeky smile plastered to his face. "I didn't, but thanks for confirming my suspicions!"
Glaring quickly at Ryou's slip, Anzu grabbed Mokuba by the shoulders as she spoke earnestly. "You won't mention any of this to your brother or to Jou, will you? All we're trying to do is get Kaiba and Jou together. We're not trying to mess with their minds or anything." (Mai says: Yeah right!)
Mokuba winked as he left the room. "Not to worry, your secret's safe with me."
It was Christmas Eve and before Seto knew what was happening, he was stuffed into Honda's van with Jou, Shizuka, Ryou, Anzu, Mokuba, Kismet, and Jou's mother, who sat up front with Honda.
"Uh, Jou, where are we going exactly?" he asked the blonde, who sat on his right.
Mokuba chuckled. "Ice skating," he said.
Seto swallowed. "Oh?"
Jou nodded enthusiastically. "Yup! Oh, it's going to be so much fun!"
Seto pulled his skates on hesitantly, watching as everyone else was skating across the ice with ease. Especially Jounouchi, who looked like a fish in water as he glided gracefully over the ice. Seto followed the blonde's lithe body as it floated across the skating rink and towards the brunette. "Ah, Jou, I don't think I'll be skating. I'll just stay here and watch Kismet."
Jou skated over to Seto and frowned. "Don't be ridiculous Seto. Okaasan is watching her, and she has a valid excuse. Now, unless you've a broken ankle or something, you're coming on the ice with me. Understand?"
Seto looked meekly up at Jou. "But, I don't know how-"
"Well, you'll never know unless you try. So hurry up already. If you are really that bad, you can hold my hand, okay?"
Seto nodded and made his way over to the edge. Taking a deep breath, the CEO stepped onto the ice. He didn't slip. Feeling more confident, he placed his other foot onto the ice, letting go of the wall in the process…and landing hard on his rear.
Laughing, Jou made his way over to the fallen teen and helped him awkwardly to his feet. Seto looked up at Jou as the blonde lifted him to his feet. 'My hero!' he thought.
"Okay, maybe you should hold onto the wall," Jou advised with a smile. Seto nodded as his right hand reached out and grabbed tightly onto the wall with both hands.
Jou shook his head. "Seto, give me your left hand. You'll never move around the rink like that."
Seto shook his head stubbornly, clinking to the edge tighter. "Jou, I can't! The moment I let go I'll fall; I know it!"
Jou sighed impatiently and skated up to the edge beside Seto's stiff form. Sliding his right hand on top of Seto's left, he gently coaxed it off the edge, until Seto's hand rested in Jou's. "There," Jou smiled. "That was easy, right? Now, I'm going to skate towards the middle, and you just hold onto my hand, alright?" Seto nodded reluctantly. "Okay. Now, when your other hand feels like it can't hold onto the rim anymore, just let go." Seto's eyes widened in fright and Jou chuckled softly. "Now don't worry; just remember, I've got you. I won't let go, okay?"
Jou then slowly stepped away from the rim of the rink, slowly pulling Seto with him until Seto's arms were stretched out between Jou and the edge. "Okay, now let go!" Jou commanded.
Shutting his eyes tightly, Seto quickly released his hold on the rim. When nothing happened, he cautiously opened his eyes and realized that he was still standing on the ice. Letting out the air he hadn't realized he was holding, Seto smiled shakily over at Jou, who was beaming. "I'm standing!" Seto exclaimed.
"Yeah, you are! Didn't I tell you I had you?" Before Seto could reply, Jou started to move forward a little, surprising the brunette into motion as well. "Now, we're just going to skate around the outside, alright? You're right next to the edge; just grab on whenever you feel like you're gonna fall, but try not to, okay? And I'm right here; I'm not going to let go. So if you go down, I'm going down with you Seto!"
The pair made their way around the rink, around Mokuba, Anzu, and Ryou, who were holding hands as they made figure eights, and around Honda and Shizuka, who were playing a sort of tag on the ice, Honda trying to catch up to Shizuka, who always stayed just out of Honda's reach. By the time Jou and Seto had made it around the rink once, they had fallen three times, but always together, and laughing each time.
An hour later Jou and Seto finally left the rink. The others had all left before, but Seto was determined to get the courage to actually skate on his own, which he was finally able to do. As they were taking their skates off, Seto turned to Jou with a shy smile on his face. "Thanks for teaching me how to skate Jou. I've never tried to learn before."
Jou just waved Seto's thanks aside. "It was nothing. You're a natural Seto, you just didn't know it."
At dinner that evening, the nine were seated around a round table in a very expensive restaurant. Kismet sat in a high chair between her two fathers, munching away at some Cheerios. On Seto's left sat Jou's mother, who was busy praising Kismet's good behavior and intelligence. Jou was holding a conversation with Honda, who sat beside Shizuka. The two girls were discussing colleges, while Mokuba, on Anzu's right talked with Ryou.
"So, Honda, where are you spending Christmas?" Jou inquired.
"I'm going home this evening to spend it with my parents. Shizuka and I already exchanged gifts yesterday." Honda blushed at his next words. "Which reminds me…"
Jou quirked an eyebrow at his friend. "Oh? What?"
Honda cleared his throat. "Ah, buddy, I thought to ask you, considering your father's dead…"
"Honda, just get to the point." Jou was becoming increasingly suspicious about what Honda was trying to get at, and to tell the truth, he didn't particularly like it.
"I ask your permission to ask for Shizuka's hand in marriage," Honda whispered quickly to Jou.
Jou's eyes bugged out, something Seto noticed as he glanced over towards the blonde.
"Jou, is something the matter?" Seto leaned over and asked.
Jou shook his head slightly. "Will you come with me to the bathroom to talk?" Jou replied, equally quiet.
Seto abruptly stood up and walked towards the restroom, Jou following in his wake. When they arrived in the solitude of the empty bathroom, Seto turned questioning eyes on Jou. "What's the matter Jou?" he asked.
"Honda just asked for my permission to marry Shizuka!" Jou exclaimed. "How do I answer?"
"Well, do you know if Honda loves Shizuka?"
"I know he does, but Shizuka's barely out of high school! She can't get married yet?"
"She's too young! She hasn't experienced life yet! What if marrying Honda turns out to be a mistake? Then it'll be on my head y'know! Oh, what to do, what to do…"
"Jou, you can't control your sister's life you know. Even if you give Honda permission to marry Shizuka, does it automatically mean she'll say yes? You have to let Shizuka male her own mistakes instead of trying to prevent them. Eventually you will end up running her life; you'll end up making all her decisions before she gets the chance to make them herself."
Jou turned incredulously towards Seto. "You mean I should tell Honda that he has my permission?"
"That would be my advice, yes."
"Okay…" Jou walked slowly back to the table, leaving Seto in the bathroom by himself.
Walking over to the sink, Seto began talking to his reflection in the mirror. "Why is Jou so hesitant to let his sister get married? Is it because he's worried about his own future? Why do I even care?" Seto shook his head. "Speaking of future though, what'll happen if sometime down the road, Jou or I get married? What'll happen then? To Kismet and to us?"
Seto started laughing quietly to himself. "'Us?' What us? Jou and me? A pair? It's a nice thought though…"
Back at the table, Jou leaned into Honda's ear and whispered, if a little hesitantly, "Go for it. Can I see the ring sometime?"
Later that evening, as Honda drove to his parents' home in Domino, the brunette was glowing with happiness.
"Okaasan, look! I'm engaged!" Shizuka exclaimed, holding her left hand out for her mother to see the shimmering diamond gracing her ring finger.
"Honda proposed? Congratulations darling! Oh, my little baby's going to be married!"
Hey, I finished this chapter! At long last I finished it! And it's extra long, so enjoy it doubly much!
For those who have actually stuck with this story so far, thank you uber-ly much! And we're half way through! Exciting, ne? Well, thank you for sticking with this story and thank you for your review in advance! You people are the best!
Next chapter: Christmas Day! Fun in the Su- I mean snow! Yes, snowy fluffy cuteness next chapter! And it'll be up much sooner than this chapter, I promise! (worst that could happen is I safe this chapter for Christmas Day…hey, only four months or so away…oh, but that was the last time I updated…okay, it'll be up by September…) Please please review!