Ashes doesn't own Yu-Gi-Oh! or anything else mentioned herein that would involve ownership… Yu-Gi-Oh! and all its characters belong to Kazuki Takahashi.

given's new policy on AN's as a seperate chapter, the pre-story author's notes were deleted. however, I still think they're important, so if you would like to read them, they can be found here:
http : // www. geocities. com / enjoythehiatus / stories / tgl / an.html
only remove the spaces. of course. ^^;;

Part I
(First Kisses)

"Hello Mr. Motou!" Mokuba said brightly as he passed Yuugi's grandfather. Yuugi's grandfather smiled in greeting, but had no time to respond before Yuugi dragged Mokuba up the stairs. Mokuba grinned as he ran to keep up with the rambunctious tri-haired teen gripping his wrist. Finally, Mokuba stumbled into Yuugi's bedroom, and Yuugi closed the door behind them, leaning against it with a devilish grin.

"This is the strangest game of hide-and-seek I've ever played," Mokuba admitted, falling down into a chair by the desk with a smile. Yuugi laughed.

"Well, it's harder to find people within 5 blocks than in one building… we're just lucky that my house was within the boundaries."

"Won't everyone think we're hiding here?" Mokuba asked. "It seems sort of obvious."

"No; it's too obvious."

Mokuba grinned; he hadn't played hide-and-seek in a while, and had been surprised when Yuugi invited him. Not that he had been complaining; it was an excuse to go out and play, but he hadn't expected that people who went to school with his brother would play a kid's game, even if it was modified to make it more interesting… "So," Yuugi said, interrupting Mokuba's train of thought, "what should we do while we're waiting?"

Mokuba's brow furrowed as he thought. "I guess we could just… talk." He thought it was the lamest idea he'd ever had, but Yuugi plopped onto his bed, smiling at Mokuba.

"Sure. What do you want to talk about?"

"Oh!" Mokuba blushed. Sure, he could think of a few things he'd like to say to Yuugi… but he was too shy. Besides, Mokuba thought that sharing his secret feelings for Yuugi didn't seem to be a good topic, especially considering that Yuugi was in such a good mood. "I don't know… Why don't you tell me a story?" Mokuba wanted to smack himself; he sounded like a toddler. He rushed to add, "I mean, you've done enough, I'm sure you have stories to tell…"

Yuugi's cheeks turned a light shade of pink but he was smiling; Mokuba wondered if his cheeks hurt from all that smiling. "Not really. At least none I'm sure you don't know."

"Bullshit," Mokuba said, and then covered his mouth; he wasn't supposed to swear. Yuugi was laughing.

"That's the first time I've ever heard you swear," he was saying disjointedly between chuckles. Mokuba relaxed slightly, letting his hand fall from his mouth.

"Yea, well, I'm not supposed to. Seto doesn't like it; thinks it makes me sound uneducated." Mokuba scrunched his nose. "He swears a lot though, when he thinks I'm not listening."

"Does that make you mad, that he tells you to not to do something but does it himself?"

Mokuba shook his head. "No. I admire him for all he does; he works, he goes to school, he raises me… I figure I can cut him a little slack." Mokuba bit his lip in the silence; Yuugi was gazing off into space, and Mokuba wondered what he was thinking. He looked cute there, legs crossed Indian-style, hands folded in his lap, and small smile on his lips. Mokuba didn't realize he was staring until Yuugi looked back at him.

"What's on your mind?" Yuugi asked, his voice unusually soft.

Mokuba blurted, "I admire you, too. You always manage to be so happy and fun even though all these scary things have happened to you. I like that." He blushed. Yuugi's smile widened into a grin.

"Thanks; that means a lot to me." They sat in silence for a few more minutes; it was Yuugi who finally spoke. "Okay, I have a story for you."

Mokuba perked up. "What kind of story?"

"It's nothing big, but it's sort of funny…"

Mokuba watched as Yuugi talked, his whole face animated as he told some story about his friends; his words were wasted on Mokuba, because the raven-haired boy would have nodded and smiled even if Yuugi have been discussing etymology. He felt silly for being enamored with another male… one that his brother didn't particularly like on top of that! Not to mention he was young, a good 3 years younger than Yuugi… Mokuba supposed he could have coined a cliché like "age is just a number," but he wasn't stupid; regardless of how he felt about it, the real world didn't accept such idealism. Mokuba forced himself to focus on what Yuugi was saying. The teen was still talking, trying his best to stop from bursting into laughter as he told his story.

"…and I felt so bad for poor Jou, making an ass of himself like that." Yuugi finally burst out laughing, holding his sides, and Mokuba took it as a sign that the story had ended and giggled to make it seem as though he had been listening. But Jounouchi… he had thought about that too; Jounouchi and Yuugi were close… what if they were a couple and Mokuba didn't know? He couldn't say anything if Yuugi had someone else! Not that he was going to say anything… He thought there were too many risks for such a small chance that Yuugi might actually return any of those feelings. But still, it wouldn't hurt to ask about Jounouchi…

"Yuugi," he said timidly, feeling heat rise to his cheeks, "you're awfully close to Jounouchi, huh?"

Yuugi nodded, still giggling softly. "Jou's always been there for me."

Mokuba looked at the floor. "And are you guys…" Mokuba's cheeks burned hotter, "…you know… really close?" There was silence, and Mokuba swallowed the lump in his throat and mustered up the courage to look up. He was surprised to find Yuugi had moved and was standing surprisingly close; how had he missed that when he was staring at the floor? Purple eyes met his own grey ones, and it was the most uncomfortable staring contest Mokuba had ever engaged in.

"What makes you ask?" Yuugi asked softly. Did that mean he and Jounouchi were together? Was he concerned that Mokuba had suspected? Mokuba felt so stupid! He shouldn't have asked… Mokuba shook his head. He was no coward; why was he suddenly scared of Yuugi?

Despite his mental pep talks, Mokuba couldn't master the waver in his voice. "I-I just wondered… I mean… it seems natural that you two would be together…"

"We're not. Even if I wanted to, Jou has a girl his sights are set on. But why would you even be thinking about such things; aren't you only 12?"

Mokuba said indignantly, "I'll be 13 next week! And just because I'm younger than you doesn't mean I don't notice things like that." Mokuba took a second to mull over Yuugi's last statement: "even if I wanted to…" He looked at Yuugi. "So you're not… you don't like boys?" When he got home, Mokuba was going to kick something. Hard. He suddenly found himself wishing that someone would find them and come busting in, bringing an end to the awkward moment they were suspended in…

Yuugi looked genuinely confused. "Why would something like that concern you?"

Mokuba found himself staring at Yuugi in shock; was Yuugi that naïve, or was Mokuba not coming off as obvious as he thought? Mokuba was torn; if he was ever going to say anything, he wouldn't find a better opportunity… but there was still doubt nagging at his mind. In one breath he admitted, "Because I have feelings for you and it would be embarrassing if it turned out that you had no interest in boys at all!"

Yuugi blinked once. Then he blinked two more times. He blinked one more time before he dazedly went and sat down on the corner of the bed, his eyes seeming impossibly wider as he stared at Mokuba. "Okay, come sit down here and say that slower for me." Mokuba went over to the bed warily, sitting a few inches away from Yuugi.

"I… have feelings… for you," Mokuba said much slower, partially in nervousness and partially to be cute; no matter what, he knew he had cuteness on his side. "And it would be horribly embarrassing for me if you weren't like that."

Yuugi was blinking again. "I did hear right the first time…" He was staring at Mokuba, and he seemed absent. "I mean… I… well, I've considered the possibility that I might… but I don't know…" Yuugi was rambling, and his voice had a slight shake to it. Mokuba wondered if he had broached a sensitive topic for Yuugi. "I mean, I'm 16 years old and I'm confused; isn't 12-"

"13." Mokuba was going to drive the point that he was nearly a teenager home, even if it took him all night.

"Isn't 13 a young age to be that sure of yourself?"

Mokuba shook his head. "Why would I doubt myself?" He smiled at Yuugi. "So does that mean that you do think something of other boys?"

Yuugi's cheeks were quickly turning red. "I… Sometimes."

"But there aren't any significant ones in your life?"

Yuugi shook his head.

Mokuba said matter-of-factly, "Then I have a chance."

Yuugi almost toppled off his bed at Mokuba's words. "But, you're… and I'm… Age," he finally said simply.

"What's your point?" Mokuba said stubbornly, trying to act as though it didn't matter when he knew Yuugi was right; a 16 year old and a 13 year old in any sort of relationship was decidedly odd and somewhat not right. "You certainly don't look much older than me. Besides, who's going to care?"

"But… I'd feel like a pedophile."

Mokuba burst out laughing; he wouldn't have been that drastic about it. "It's just 3 years; that's hardly a large enough gap to start labeling yourself a 'pedophile'." Somehow, seeing how his confession put Yuugi on edge helped put him at ease, and he reached forward and touched Yuugi's hand, just to see what Yuugi did. Yuugi stared down at Mokuba's hand, and then back at Mokuba.

"Your brother… would kick my ass."

"Well he's not here, is he? Maybe just right now…"

"Just right now what?"

Mokuba tried to look confident, but his stomach was twisting and turning as he said, "I'm going to kiss you."

Yuugi's eyes somehow managed to widen even more and he let out a small noise that mostly resembled "eep!" "You… why would you… I mean, what if…"

"I don't see any 'what if's here. If I kiss you, you can't feel bad about it, because it would be my fault... And if you like it, and I like it… who knows?" Mokuba moved closer to Yuugi. "Okay?"

Yuugi nodded wordlessly, and Mokuba felt his heart fluttering beneath his chest as he leaned forward; he had never kissed anyone before. Somehow, he had never expected to be initiating his first kiss, and he definitely didn't imagine it would be with another boy, let alone Yuugi Motou. Their lips met awkwardly, and Mokuba paused; what the hell was he supposed to do now? Sure, it was a nice feeling, but… He moved back. What was so special about that? And here he had believed all the hype about first kisses… He found Yuugi was staring at him. He reached out and touched Mokuba's cheeky gently. Mokuba was confused.

"You leave a lot to be desired," Yuugi said with a small smile of amusement, his thumb gently caressing Mokuba's cheek.

Mokuba was about to ask what that was supposed to be when Yuugi kissed him… And that bit about first kisses made a little more sense… either that or he was just trying to make it make sense. Either way, it was more pleasant. Mokuba nearly jumped out of his skin when he felt Yuugi's tongue flick gently along his lower lip. He backed away a bit, preparing to say something to Yuugi; he hadn't expected that…

And Grandpa's voice floated up to them. "Yuugi! Jounouchi's here for you!"

Despite the surprise he had felt just seconds before, Mokuba was disappointed; he looked at Yuugi and said "Crap." Yuugi laughed.

"We'll be down in a second!" he yelled back, and he turned back to Mokuba. "We'll discuss this later, ne?"

Mokuba nodded and followed as Yuugi dashed out the door and down the stairs, shouting to Jounouchi about not coming up to find them himself. But Mokuba kept replaying the way Yuugi had been looking at him before that second kiss. It made him feel sort of warm and fuzzy.

He must have had a better chance than he originally thought. The idea made him grin.


- author thoughts -
*scratches head* as corny as it was, that hide-and-seek excuse was the easiest way for me to get them alone. It never is seen ever again.

So, given this is the first part of the story and not much has happened yet, I don't have much to say. Other than hopefully you liked it. ^^ - ashes -