Final disclaimer: Yu-gi-oh is the property of Takahashi Kazuki.

Painted Sky ~ One night of drunken love-making leads to unexpected results for both of the people involved, despite their efforts to keep an actual romance from ever happening. Seto*Otogi, dedicated to Nephthys-san.

        Wah… here we go again, mina-san! Welcome to my newest fic, a more serious yet still pretty fluff Seto*Ryuuji story. It's been a while since I really got to write this coupling (in something other than a break-up fic, at least… *eyes "Redemption"*), and I hope I can do it justice. And maybe on the side brainwash some of you into liking this coupling too…. XD

        The couplings for this fic are Seto*Ryuuji, YnBakura*YnYuugi, Yuugi*Anzu, Jyounouchi*Mai, Honda*Shizuka, and some past Malik*Ryuuji. The story takes place in the future, after college. Like "Fairydust" and LTOW, it takes place in an alternative universe where Yami no Yuugi never figured out the details of his past (basically ending the YGO universe directly after Battle City rather than proceeding to the Egypt arc). This particular chapter takes place on Sunday morning.

        Many thanks to rayemars-san for helping me with the beta reading of this story… your advice, corrections, and humor are always welcome. *hugs* This story also would not have existed if not for Nephthys-san… and thus it is dedicated to her. Thanks for proofreading the story outline, expressing interest in this story, and writing one of the best Seto*Ryuuji stories out there. =(^.^)= I hope you like this fic.

Rated PG-13 for language, shounen-ai

~ Omoigakenai Nyuusu – Surprising Information ~

        People often make mistakes… it's a part of life, really, although some people make more mistakes than they should reasonably be allowed to. Other people make all of their mistakes at potentially disastrous points of time, which shows their inability to deal with pressure as well as a horrible sense of timing.

        The ramifications of such mistakes are often not fully understood until everything that can possibly happen has taken place, and it is often fair to wonder how so much trouble could be spawned from a single action.

        Kaiba Seto, as CEO of Kaiba Corporation, knew of this concept better than he wanted to. Not to imply that he was the one making these mistakes… only one who had large pockets and the time to deal with a lawsuit would happily point that out to the brunette's face. Still, Seto often found himself cleaning up the aftermath of the mistakes of his subordinates… and sometimes himself, although that was more rare of an occasion.

        This newest mistake, however, was different from most other mistakes. It did not involve a lawsuit, dissatisfied employee, or anything remotely related to business. It also did not involve an angry otouto [1], who could easily be pacified by a promise of more time spent with or simply a bribe of a huge amount of money.

        Instead, it involved a most unwelcome houseguest who was currently lying on his bed next to him.

~ * ~

        That Sunday began in a more or less normal fashion, starting with the young billionaire awaking at his usual ungodly time. Why Seto awoke at such an early time even when he had no work planned for that day (Sundays had been put aside in order to allow him time to spoil Mokuba rotten), nobody knew, but that was beyond the point. Seto was awake, and he was not alone. The fact that he was not alone woke up faster than a bucket of icy cold water that still had the ice cubes floating on its surface.

        Seto's mind raced as he stared at the figure (still happily oblivious to what was happening around him) sleeping peacefully beside him. He prayed, desperately, that the black hair belonged to Mokuba and that his younger brother had randomly decided to search for comfort from him due to a particularly nasty nightmare. Never mind that Mokuba was already sixteen and thus well beyond the need for such comfort (or, rather, was too proud to go in search of it)… the possibility was there and much preferable to the concept that Seto had just awoken next to a complete stranger.

        For a moment, he could only lie there, staring at his companion's back. Then, slowly, as not to awaken the other person, Seto sat up, removing his arm from the person's back at the same time.

        This can't be happening, he thought slowly as he stared at the black-haired figure. He had long ago determined that it couldn't be Mokuba, as the hair was somewhat smoother than Mokuba's. Despite being old enough to take care of his personal hygiene, Mokuba still had problems with brushing his hair, which resulted in it looking like it had been caught up in some type of hurricane disaster. And, as he continued to inspect the part of the face he could see, his heart started to sink into the pit of his stomach as he recognized the bangs and overly lavish use of eyeliner. Why did it have to be one of them?!

        Them referring to Yuugi and his group of rather over enthusiastic teenybopper cheerleaders, more commonly referred to as friends but cheerleaders nevertheless.

        And thus, the bane of Seto's very existence.

        He couldn't believe this was happening. He didn't want to believe this was happening. Perhaps if he closed his eyes and went back to sleep, he would reawaken to discover that this was all some terrible, twisted nightmare. Yes, a nightmare. There was no way in heaven or hell that the Kaiba Corporation CEO would be stupid enough to somehow manage to be in the same bed as Otogi Ryuuji.

        Otogi Ryuuji, the effeminate, flamboyantly gay, dice-loving inventor of DDD [2] who he wanted absolutely nothing to do with. Of all the people in the universe, why did it have to be that he would end up being the one sleeping next to Seto?!

        With no clothes on. As in naked. As in some extremely bad implications that made Seto's head ache… although that just might have been the slight hangover he already had from the previous night's activities.

        Yes, hangover. It was a well-known fact… and joke… that Seto had a very low tolerance for alcohol, which often led to practical jokes involving spiked drinks. It was no wonder that Seto hated going to business parties these days, and was more apt to find an excuse rather than attend them.

        Unfortunately, in this particular case, he had not been able to ignore it. It had not been only a party, but a supposed opportunity for him to meet the other guests of the seminar that was going on. The seminar that he had spent a great deal of money on, as it so happened to be.

        But what did that matter now? Money… money was quite insignificant, especially when one considered the thing that was still asleep next to him! Right now, he would be more than willing to give up all the money he had spent for the seminar in order to wake up by himself.

        Breathe in, breathe out. There was no way any of this could be happening… no way at all. He was going to very calmly breathe in and breathe out, and he was going to count to three and as soon as he was done, none of this would be here anymore. Ryuuji would be gone, he would be alone, and there was no way in hell that he could have been stupid enough to sleep in the same bed (and do god knows what else) with someone he barely knew due to the fact that he had been drunk.


        Ryuuji stirred slightly, although Seto was too engrossed in his counting to feel it.


        The game inventor's eyes blinked open groggily, sleep still laying a heavy hand on his senses. Unfortunately, his senses were not dulled enough to realize that there was something very wrong going on and that he was in all possibility in a great deal of trouble that he did not want.


        "Kaiba?!?!" Immediately, as if he had been waiting for this exact moment (Seto was not quite sure that he hadn't been), Ryuuji shrieked as he pulled the blankets closer to him… noticing in the process, much to his dismay, that the sheets seemed rather sticky. "What the hell?!"

        "How the hell should I know?!" Seto immediately snapped back, the older man's [3] high-pitched screech not only making his headache worse but the question itself also leading to a sudden flurry of emotions, most of which revolved around anger. "Do you honestly believe that this is my fault?!"

        "What the hell do you think you're implying by that?!"

        "Well, knowing you, Otogi-san," the word was spit out with a great deal of rancor and sarcasm, although his words were decidedly calmer than they had been before, "I would expect that you are the cause of this situation."

        Ryuuji was already a deep shade of crimson, but the statement was pushing him over the edge. For although Seto had not said it out loud, the implications behind the sentence were quite apparent, and the insult rang loud and clear. Not that Ryuuji had not heard it before… slander seemed to be a major part of being competitive these days, after all. However, for the oddest reason, he was less readily inclined to allow Seto, of all people, call him a slut.

        Especially since it was Kaiba Seto. It was odd, but even though the two had known each other since the second year of high school, they had never become close. Of course, that might have been because of Yuugi. Ryuuji had become friends with him while Seto remained the aloof rival, although tensions had cooled somewhat after the Battle City competition. But there seemed to be something else underlying the mutual distaste for one another that had nothing to do with their choice of friends. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that Ryuuji had rejected all offers from Seto to sell his game. The black-haired man had been rather adamant about promoting and improving his game on his own… a perfectly reasonable idea but one that had not gone quite well with the brunette, who did not seem to understand that the refusal was not a direct attack on his character. Which, unfortunately, had eventually led to the before-mentioned dislike that was now threatening to mutate into something that seemed very much like extreme hate.

        "You have a pretty high opinion of yourself then," Ryuuji hissed, "if you think that I would ever want to sleep with the world's most arrogant prick."

        "I wouldn't be surprised," was the cold reply. "After all, everyone else knows of your reputation of flirting with every available person in a room… and then some."

        It was true… but both knew more than a little that it was only true to a certain extent. Ryuuji did have a rather unfortunate habit of flaunting his charming good looks (hey, if it was there, why bother to hide it?), but it never went beyond that. And it certainly never went to the point that Seto was obviously suggesting.

        Still, the single sentence had its intended effect of insulting its victim… a gift that came naturally to Seto, in fact. Like Ryuuji, Seto just seemed to have a knack for offending other people. Unfortunately for Seto, his 'gift' came with some rather unforeseen side effects that would prove to be painful for his face.

        "You bastard!"

        The oh so eloquent statement was accompanied by a slap that was hard enough to make him dizzy for a moment. Something he couldn't but find somewhat… strange, as Ryuuji was not exactly the kind of person who looked very strong. Sure, he didn't look like a complete pushover… unlike Bakura Ryou, for example… but he also didn't look like the type of person who would engage in physical violence [4]. No, in Seto's mind, he simply looked like someone who would stand around and shoot off his mouth (or dice, since Ryuuji did seem to have a rather strange weapon of choice).

        A long silence followed the slap as the two opponents glared at each other, one person's cheeks a deep crimson while the other person's was reddening rapidly. Finally, Seto just folded his arms as he looked down on the other man and broke the silence in a less than polite way.

        "Do you end all your one-night affairs like that?"

        This time, he was prepared when Ryuuji tried to slap him again, catching his wrist before he could cause anymore harm. Such a development, of course, did not make the other man happy.

        "Well?" Seto persisted, his voice completely devoid of emotion. Not that he was actually expecting an answer of any type… no, he just wanted to see if Ryuuji would answer.

        At the single word, Ryuuji immediately jerked his arm away; luckily for him, Seto wasn't very adverse to the idea of letting go, sparing him of anymore additional pain from the not so gentle handling. "Damare, bakayarou! [5]"

        With that, Ryuuji flung the blankets into Seto's face as he got off the bed, hands reaching quickly for the clothes that were on the floor. His eyes narrowed when he discovered that it was not his clothes, causing him to turn back towards Seto with a dirty look. "Where are my clothes?"

        "I thought you didn't want me to say anything," Seto replied smoothly as he also got up, calmly walking into the bathroom even with the game inventor's eyes glaring holes into his back. His calmness, however, did not follow through when he suddenly slammed the door shut, causing the whole mansion to shake from its intensity.

        For a moment, Ryuuji just stood there, trying to calm himself down. It wasn't until the shower started to run that he walked over to Seto's side of the bed to grab his clothes, cursing angrily under his breath.

        It didn't take him long to make himself somewhat decent before he stomped out of the room, even though he was still in the process of putting the dice earring back on and pulling his hair back into a ponytail. He barely even noticed as he passed by several maids who were staring at him with quite a bit of adoration in their eyes, too engrossed in searching for the exit to "this disgusting hell hole ruled by that self-centered asshole".

        Apparently, he had not been concentrating enough, for it wasn't until many wrong turns and dead ends later that he finally found himself blinking into the bright sunlight. And as he tried to figure out exactly how to get back home, he firmly decided never to think about this hellish mistake ever again.

~ * ~

        One argument with the sentries guarding the gates of the Kaiba Mansion and two blocks later, Ryuuji realized that walking all the way home in his current state was probably not the best idea he had ever had. Of course, by that point, it was a bit too late to rectify his mistake, and he spent the next block mentally hitting his head against the wall. If only he had somehow managed to keep his temper down long enough to at least use the phone to call Honda to pick him up… or remembered to bring his wallet and cell phone to the dinner party last night. Maybe he could use a pay phone to call collect, but Honda rarely accepted them and that left him in the same position as before.

        Glaring off another potential stalker and cursing Seto silently again, Ryuuji continued to trudge home. He had never before known exactly how many odd people were on the streets at such an early time of the day… and a Sunday at that. He knew that many people tended to stay away from home, but still [6]… it seemed that every possible molester was standing outside staring right at him. Which, of course, made him think that there was some type of conspiracy going on right before his eyes… a conspiracy that he had no doubt was caused by Kaiba Seto himself.

        And it didn't help that he was currently very sore from the previous night's activities… and that definitely wasn't referring only to his feelings.

        Why am I always the one on the bottom? his mind shrieked angrily.

        In a way, that should have been the last thing on Ryuuji's mind. However, given the current situation, it was one of the few things that he could think of at the moment. He didn't know why… didn't really care why… but it probably had something to do with the fact that he was still far from convincing himself that what had happened less than an hour ago really had happened. The human mind is very good at avoiding reality, it seemed, and he was going to take advantage of that concept until he was ready to face what had happened.

        Or maybe it was simply because he did not like the concept of being dominated by someone like Kaiba Seto.

        That selfish, arrogant, pain in the….

        The knife was in front of his face before he could finish that pleasant thought, and he wondered for the hundredth time that day if he was being severely punished for some crime he committed in a past life.

        "Your money or your life!" the man… well, to be truthful, he looked more like he was nineteen… threatened, and Ryuuji had to concentrate not to suddenly fall over twitching from the absurdity of the threat. True, the situation was extremely… well, dangerous… but still….

        "Wha… what?" he managed to get out without letting a small laugh slip out. It was easier than he expected despite the apparent idiocy of his self-proclaimed mugger. After all, while the dialogue seemed to come from a B movie, the knife looked very much like the real thing.

        "Your money, old man! [7]" the knife was waved threateningly. "Don't make me repeat myself again! Or are you just hard of hearing?!"

        Ryuuji's temper, which was already rather short due to the pleasant bout of hell he had been put through at the Kaiba Mansion, seemed to flare at the insults and threats. The day had been a general pain so far, and the last thing he needed was for a foolhardy teen who barely looked like he was out of high school to get in his face and demand for money which he didn't even have in the first place.

        Unfortunately, he had a feeling that even if he tried to explain the general lack of currency, the idiot would probably not believe him and the whole matter could become rather messy.

        Still, he had no choice but to try.

        "Look," he started, trying to be as patient as he possibly could under the circumstances. "Let's be reasonable here, all right? I don't have any money right now. If I had money, do you think I would be walking home? That's why taxis were invented, you know, and…."

        "I don't want any of your excuses!" The blade was at a disturbingly close proximity to his skin, something he did not really appreciate. "Hand it over now or…."

        Perhaps if it had been a different time, the situation would have ended a bit… well, cleaner. Taken longer, perhaps, for Ryuuji to either sweet talk his way out of the mess or figure out some way to force the knowledge through the teen's thick skull, but certainly cleaner than flicking a die directly at the man's eye.

        He missed, but not by much. Either way, the result was still the same and enough. The teen immediately dropped his knife, and Ryuuji didn't waste any precious time in carrying out the most important part of his escape plan… which was, essentially, the escape part.

        Unfortunately for him, all his efforts went to naught. Ryuuji had barely managed to turn away before he found himself face to face with… the friend. After all, every wannabe mugger has to have a friend to take with him on his little escapades (supposedly, the company was always welcome when it came to prison), and thus the newcomer was a rather problematic obstacle for him to cross over in his getaway.

        Maybe there really was a point to the old saying of how violence doesn't solve anything, he couldn't help but muse. It certainly had not solved anything in this case, at least.

        Before he could even manage to back away or at least throw anything else, the friend grabbed him by the wrists, pinning them behind his back as he called out to the first thug, "Did you lose something? Looks like you need my help to save your ass again, huh?"

        "Very funny," was the snarled reply as he walked towards them, rubbing his forehead where the small die had hit. "I swear I'm going to kick his ass into the next century."

        Definitely not a good situation. Definitely not his morning. Ryuuji had the inexplicable urge to scream out and demand if there was just some type of hidden agenda against him today to humiliate him to the point of wanting to crawl into a hole and never emerge from it again.

        Ryuuji had the rather nasty suspicion that he was in trouble, and the worst thing about it was that he had no idea how to get out of it.

        This was the kind of thing that he hated worse… even worse than the fact that he had been trapped by two people who even when combined didn't seem to have an IQ above that of a piece of mold. He didn't care who made him helpless… all that he cared about was how he could have allowed it to happen. It had happened too many times when he was still living with his father; this state of not being able to do anything for yourself and being at the mercy of another. He wanted… needed to be in control of the situation, and he never wanted to be at somebody else's beck and call. It was a simple thing to ask for, and at times it seemed like everyone desired the same thing.

        But then why did people so often allow themselves to be subjugated to the whims of other people? Why did they allow themselves to be led around instead of doing things on their own?

        The fear of being trapped in his past… the past that he had tried so hard to escape all those years ago… was becoming overwhelming, no matter how much he tried to control it. Another thing he hated… and another thing that he couldn't control no matter how hard he tried… this sudden burst of emotions that refused to be calmed.

        Those two concepts had been, for the longest time, the reason why he had been so grateful to escape the domination his father had over him… to be able to live on his own for a change. To be, at the very least, allowed to think and act for himself rather then being told what to do.

        Or being forced.

        He started to struggle again, a reasonable action for one found in his state. However, just because it was reasonable, intelligent, and not at all pragmatic but very much idealistic if he thought it was going to help, did not mean that his wonderful "playmates" were going to think so kindly of his actions.

        Later, he could not really recount what happened… especially after a particularly nasty blow to the head (he could only be thankful that the idiots were kind enough not to use any weapons on him). But what he did remember… and very clearly… was what had most unexpectedly happened right when he was about to be beaten completely bloody for the money that did not and would not spontaneously exist.

        "Otogi Ryuuji?" the voice asking the sudden question was bold, emotionless, and carried a great deal of authority. Which was fortunate, as it caused the two men to let him go. Three heads then immediately turned to look at the speaker, and Ryuuji's eyes couldn't help but widen as he quickly recognized the man's clothing to be that of belonging to the poor souls who actually had enough stamina to work for Kaiba Seto.

        Upon realizing that, Ryuuji couldn't help but become more confused. For why would Seto send one of his underlings to help him, especially after the argument they had after waking up?

        "What?" spat out the first of his two new 'friends', the question immediately distracting him from the possible motives of the CEO.

        It always amazed Ryuuji how people who obviously weren't being spoken to liked to reply to questions that had nothing to do with them. And how they usually tended to try and make sure that the person who the questions were being directed to couldn't answer by being as rude and obnoxious as they possibly could.

        The newcomer… it looked like the chauffeur, but he wasn't sure how he knew that… obviously was having the same thought process because he looked down at the person who had addressed him. He was quite tall, which made looking down at people much easier [8]. However, despite the withering look he had on his face, he chose not to say anything, instead continuing to address Ryuuji as if nobody else was there. A typical Kaiba move, really, and the uncanny similarity annoyed the raven-haired man to no end.

        "Kaiba-sama sent me here to take you home."

        Another long silence followed the proclamation, which was given more like an order rather than an explanation. The two men behind him looked at each other worriedly, but he ignored it as he glared at Kaiba's chauffeur. Obviously, the man was not Seto himself, but with the same arrogant look and poise of the blue-eyed brunette, Ryuuji found it quite easy to direct his anger towards him.

        "Why?" the question seemed to be a bit vague, so he decided to make it a little more specific. It didn't even matter that there were other people there, and that if he knew what was best for himself he would just go with the man without asking any questions. However, it just was not in his personality to obey commands without making it as difficult as possible for all parties involved, so he continued to venture ahead with his suspicions as if it was perfectly normal… which it was, for him. "Why should I listen to you or him? Does he really think I need his help?"

         "Considering your current state of affairs, I would say that you are indeed in need of his help," the chauffeur replied as he raised an eyebrow. Ryuuji couldn't help but notice how everything in this man's life seemed to revolve around Seto, as if he had only been created to do Seto's bidding and nothing else. "Also, despite the fact that you have apparently made other plans, Kaiba-sama did give me strict orders to take you back. If anything, you should be grateful that he had the foresight to lend you a hand despite your less than grateful personality."

        "It wasn't my fault." Even to his own ears, he felt like he sounded more like a sulky child than anything else… something that he did not quite appreciate.

        "Whether or not it is your fault is not of my concern."

        Ryuuji scowled as he finally gave in to the realization that this probably was not the best time to be stubborn. Even if Seto was an annoying prick who was in dire need of a reality check, it didn't mean that he should be stupid and throw away his chance for escape from dangerous circumstances.

        So with that, he allowed himself to be escorted into the vehicle, forcing himself to stare ahead and at nothing in particular the entire way.

        He seemed to have been doing a lot of that today anyway.

~ * ~

        After giving Seto's chauffeur (he had a name but it was rarely used, so by this point it was relatively forgotten to anybody but close family and friends) explicit directions not to tell Seto anything about the situation he had been found in, Ryuuji finally found himself standing before his building. It did not take him long from that point to reach the relative safety of his apartment, and he couldn't help but let out a sigh of relief as he closed the door behind him.

        Safety, at least, until he walked in to find Honda sitting at the table eating breakfast. And before he could run away or at the very least, throw himself out of the window, Honda had spotted him.

        "Oy," Honda cut off any further escape attempts with the single word spoken through a stuffed mouth; Ryuuji couldn't help but wince as flecks of food flew about his usually pristine kitchen. Not to imply that Ryuuji was a neat freak… he just didn't like the idea of having pieces of chewed food anywhere in the vicinity of a place that should be somewhat hygiene-friendly. "Where were you last night?"

        "What does it matter? I'm back now," Ryuuji shot back as he made a beeline for the fridge, his stomach growling already. Besides, fulfilling his hunger rather than someone else's curiosity seemed a more sensible decision. "Did you drink all the milk again?"

        "You were supposed to be back last night. This is morning. That leaves you unaccounted for several hours, so would you mind filling me in?" Honda continued, ignoring the question.

        Two can play this game, Ryuuji thought to himself as he scowled, even though his face was hidden in the fridge and Honda had no way of seeing him. "Well, yes. I would mind, in fact. And for god's sake, Honda, isn't there anything edible left in this apartment?"

        "It was your turn for grocery shopping. And stop avoiding the question… we've been living together for nearly two years. It doesn't work on me anymore, remember?"

        "That doesn't give you an excuse to play babysitter, Honda."

        "You still didn't answer my question."

        The door suddenly slammed, causing him to wince, and Ryuuji finally turned to look at him, emerald-green eyes looking rather… scary. Immediately, he wished that he hadn't pressed his friend so hard. Especially since he was starting to have a feeling that he really didn't want to know what had happened to Ryuuji last night… or really, he wanted to know but he didn't want to know from Ryuuji.

        "Do you really want to know what happened last night? Are you really that interested?" The words were spoken quietly. Dangerously. Honda really was really starting to get worried… and not only for his own safety, but more so for Ryuuji's apparently rapidly declining sanity.

        "Uh…." Honda's eyes darted about as he looked for an escape route for himself. Ryuuji was swiftly advancing on him, and despite being shorter, the raven-haired man looked extremely dangerous at the moment. "Otogi… maybe you should sit down before…."

        He was completely unprepared for the bomb that he had most accidentally activated.

        "I slept with him! All right?! I slept with that idiotic, smug, arrogant pain-in-the-ass and it was all his fault, but he still had the nerve to blame the mess on me! As if it was my fault! He thinks that I'm the one who caused all of this, when it was more than obvious that the only person who could be blamed for it was him! Does he honestly think that I am desperate enough to want to sleep with him?!" Ryuuji suddenly started to shriek, completely forgetting about the promise he had made upon leaving the Kaiba Mansion.

        Honda was starting to look extremely panicked, "Otogi…?"

        By this point, it was obvious that the game inventor was no longer listening… and had no intention of listening. Instead, he just continued to rant about Seto, although even Honda had to admit that it was relatively amusing to listen to Ryuuji sounding like a rabid maniac.

        "And when we woke up, he continued to be his usual priggish self. I have no idea how he can even think that anybody can stand him, that…."

        It didn't take long for Honda to realize that all he really needed to do was nod every once in a while and try his best not to smirk, as that would probably show Ryuuji that he wasn't listening. Or more of that he was listening, but not really taking in anything that was being said… except the amusement.

        And once he realized that, it was relatively easy to relax and continue with his breakfast. Ryuuji seemed content to rant about the 'son of a bitch billionaire who thinks he can rule the entire world and blame all his mistakes on me' and Honda was more then willing to let him serve as a form of entertainment.

        Just when Honda was thinking about getting a video camera and recording the entire scene to sell on E-bay, Ryuuji abruptly ran out of steam. At which point, he paused to glare at Honda for some form of sympathy; instead, all he got was a bemused look. Apparently, Honda was still nodding dazedly as he thought about the great quantities of money he would be making in only a short period.

        In fact, he was so self-absorbed that he didn't notice Ryuuji glowering at him angrily, an eyebrow twitching peevishly as the silence continued to stretch.

        That is, until a die was suddenly flicked at his forehead, making a rather nasty impact that immediately woke him up completely from his daydreams.

        He yelped, "What was that for?"

        "What do you think?!"

        Unfortunately, Honda was still not intelligent enough to keep his mouth shut despite the obvious health risks involved, "You gotta admit that it's seriously amusing… I don't think both Jyounouchi and I have ever pissed you off as much as Kaiba has in just one day… or in one morning, which is even better. But I'm sure you had plenty of fun before that, or you would've been back rather than spending the entire night there."

        Immediately, almost before he had even completed saying the last word, Ryuuji had thrown two more dice at his head. "Teme-! [9] Why do you keep doing that? I'm trying to help you!"

        "How are you helping me by making fun of me?!" Ryuuji snapped, his eyes focused on Honda even as his fingers played with another small die. Honda made very sure to keep a close eye on it, especially since Ryuuji seemed to be in a throwing mood at the moment.

        Although Honda sometimes found living with Ryuuji a more tedious affair than he could reasonably deal with, he had somehow managed to live with the self-proclaimed dice master for the past two years without causing any damage to both. The relationship had never been romantic, but merely pragmatic as this way, they could share expenses. However, despite the benefits of such a partnership, living together was a more difficult task than it seemed for Honda… on one hand, Ryuuji could be quite entertaining and it helped that he had a lot of money. Not nearly as much as Seto, certainly, but enough so that Honda could mooch off of him when he was in between jobs. But on the other hand, Ryuuji could be quite exasperating. He was flamboyant, mood swingy (resulting in Honda often wondering if he was PMSing or something like that), short-tempered, arrogant, self-absorbed, insufferable, and prone to fits of rabid violence (usually in the form of throwing small cube-ish items that hurt at impact… unfortunately for the victim, Ryuuji had obnoxiously good aim). In fact, with the exception of the flamboyant part, Ryuuji seemed to be disturbingly similar to a certain Kaiba Seto. Not that Honda would ever tell Ryuuji that, especially now. Despite what some people thought, he really did enjoy living, thank you very much.

        "It couldn't have been that bad… at least it was somebody you knew." At the contemptuous look Ryuuji gave him, Honda wished he had kept his mouth shut and allowed Ryuuji suffer in peace.

        "That was exactly the problem. If it had been anything but Kaiba, then it wouldn't have been that bad!"

        Well, that wasn't exactly true… but if it wasn't Seto, at least Ryuuji would have been able to figure out some way afterwards to not be completely humiliated. Unlike what had happened with the CEO, for example. For some reason, Ryuuji found it difficult to stay a step ahead of Seto when it came to verbal jousting… the brunette always seemed to be capable of either not being affected or finding some way to turn things against him. It was quite attractive, really, if it wasn't for the fact that Ryuuji didn't like losing. And with Seto, he always seemed to lose more often than he won.

        "Whatever," Honda was smirking, almost as if Kaiba Seto himself had taken over his body. The eerie likeness certainly did not improve Ryuuji's mood whatsoever, but at least he was kind enough not to throw anything else at Honda's head. "Why are you so pissed off anyway? I would imagine that this wasn't the first time…."

        Ryuuji's eyebrow twitched, "What is it about all of you that makes you think that I'm sleeping around with every single guy out there?!"

        "I didn't mean it that way."

        "Well how did you mean it then?!"

        Honda wasn't really sure himself, and even if he did know he probably wouldn't have tried to explain it anyway. He had a feeling that Ryuuji was not in the most amicable of moods right then, and that he wouldn't be interested in listening to any explanations even if he asked for one.

        "I just don't know why you're so angry. You should have expected it as soon as you knew it was Kaiba," Honda explained, again never taking his eyes away from the die that Ryuuji had finally stopped playing with. "I've never seen you this pissed off before… you usually tend to get over things pretty quick. Why are you obsessing so much this time? I know you don't like him, but still…."

        His voice trailed off as he searched for the right word to complete the sentence. Failing, he finally just shook his head and looked at Ryuuji expectantly, as if expecting some sort of agreement.

        There was no reply; instead, Ryuuji just stared at him levelly as if he was talking about nothing more everyday than the weather forecast.

        Then, suddenly, he pushed the chair back and left the room without a word.

        Honda didn't say anything to bring him back. He merely sat there, watching after him in a manner remarkably similar to the way that he had been watching Ryuuji before.

        Finally, he decided that there was nothing he could do for his friend at the moment, and thus chose to go back to his breakfast rather than risk more dice to the head as a reward for his attempts to help.


[1] Younger brother. Usually though, older siblings will call their younger siblings by first name, rather than saying otouto or imouto.

[2] DDD, short for Dragon Dice and Dungeons, the manga name for Dungeon Dice Monsters.

[3] Compared with Yuugi-tachi, Seto is the youngest of them all. His birthday is in October, in comparison to Yuugi (June), Jyounouchi (January), Anzu (August), Honda (April), Bakura (September), and Ryuuji (February).

[4] That is, at least, the impression I get from the manga. In the anime he tends to be a little more physical, but in the manga he just… stands around… throwing dice (does that in the anime too… XD)… looking too sexy to be true. *hisses*

[5] Shut up, bastard!

[6] In cities like Tokyo, the apartments are usually very small, resulting in many people staying out on the nights and not returning home until very early in the morning. I don't know if Domino City is like this… it seems to be a mix of close-together apartments and far-apart homes, so I decided to place Ryuuji in the more city area. I know that his game shop is quite close to Yuugi's place, but as a reminder, it burned down in the manga.

[7] *has a ball imagining anybody calling Ryuuji an old man. Has a ball just imagining Ryuuji being an old man. Dice Roll~!*

[8] Yes. PM is quite bitter about being short.

[9] Bastard!

        Again, many thanks to rayemars-san for helping me with this chapter… I don't know what this story would be like without your assistance. The scene about poor Ryuuji getting mugged (or at least an attempt at it) is new; the old scene was, as rayemars-san pointed out, rather cliché. ^.^ So I rewrote it while watching the Law & Order marathon and I like the result.

        Anyhow, concerning the updating schedule for this story, I don't have as much time to be writing this year. So instead of updating every week like for "Fairydust" and LTOW, I will be updating once every two weeks on Sunday. However, until the end of the application process, I may be missing update dates pretty often, so let that be a warning. I'm afraid I just won't be having as much time to spare into writing, but I will do my best to stay as regular as possible. You can check my livejournal for chapter progress (link is towards the end of my profile), although I'll tell you now that I tend to do a lot of my writing on Friday and Saturday. I'm going to try and keep from doing that this time, but who knows? :p

        ^-^ Hope you all enjoyed this chapter, and see you in the next one~!