The mutt and the butterfly

Warnings/notes : Joey/Mai, hints at Otogi + Shizuka and Honda + Shizuka, slight fluff

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

written at 30th october 2003, by Misura

Thanks to SillyJilly (promises are sacred! ^^; and it was fun to do, for just *one* time. Glad you like it!), Kaira-chan (^^; Yes, erh, I just like writing Seto! I wrote a Pegasus/Cecelia one before, but no others. ^^;), Joey Crazed Fangirl (uhm, glad you like it. If you ask Mai politely, maybe she'll let you borrow Joey for a week or so? ^^;), DarkShadowFlame (yes, what *is* this world coming to, ne? ^^; thank you very much, especially for the Kaiba-comment!) and Amy (sorry, but no. I'll never ever write a YuGiOh-character getting together with an oc. I'd be too jealous to do a good job at it. ^^;).

For SillyJilly, who requested some Joey/Mai. I hope it's not too disappointing. ^^;

**********

[the butterfly]

She felt nervous. It was not a sensation she particularly cared for and she was grateful for the mask that hid her face. She had a reputation to keep after all.

"Wow! Great dress!" Whirling around, she came face to, well, hair with the person who had convinced her to come here tonight, rather than staying at home for a well-earned rest.

"Thanks, Mokuba." She noted the wry tone in her voice. Pride would have sounded better. It was justified too, for the elaborate creation she had managed to get her hands on for the ball. Best of all was that the thing was pleasant to wear too, not too warm or uncomfortable.

"I've had Seto kick Joey in a few seconds ago." Mokuba remarked with a slight grin.

If Kaiba hadn't been such a jerk, she might have pitied the guy for having a little brother like Mokuba. Now, she merely shrugged. "Then I guess I ought to go looking for him."

Mokuba nodded. "He wears a dark-green suit. You can't miss him. Even Seto thought he looked pretty handsome in it." There was a plaintive note in that last line.

She sighed, wondering why she felt the urge to huggle this little pest sometimes, like she was his big sister. "Kaiba will turn around one day, Mokuba, I'm sure of it."

"You really think so?" Perhaps it was in those eyes, the way they could silently plead.

She nodded. "Absolutely. I promise. He's one of those guys that fall hard when they do and don't seem to give a damn before that."

Mokuba grinned slyly. "How many guys like that have fallen thanks to *you*?"

"A lady never kisses and tells." She winked. "Besides, does it really matter? Just believe me when I say your brother's going to find himself head over heels in love with some pretty girl who'll turn him into a reasonably decent social being."

"An unlikely prospect." a voice remarked coolly. "And don't you have a pup to domesticate?"

She smiled, sweet enough to make Kaiba flinch. Yes, it would definitely be fun to see this guy handle being in love. Though she pitied the girl in question already ...

"Thank you for reminding me, Kaiba. Guess I'll be seeing you around then, Mokuba. Enjoy the party!" She waggled her fingers, if only to see Kaiba's face grow even redder. With suppressed rage or embarrassment, she didn't know.

"I like her." Mokuba declared.

"I don't." his brother replied.

"Good." Mokuba giggled. "It wouldn't do to fall for someone who's already got her sights set on Joey after all, ne?"

Seto grumbled and took his sweet revenge by introducing Mokuba to a bunch of giggling girls and suggesting his little brother would be delighted to dance with them.

*****

She found him at the buffet, snacking on some of the culinary creations on display there. Until she touched his shoulder, he didn't even notice her, too focused on his food.

It was something short of a miracle he wasn't fat, she considered wryly. Though he did look cute, nibbling on what appeared to be a piece of carrot.

"Hey, Mai." he said, by a way of greeting, as if they'd just met the other day, rather than six months ago. "Nice dress." Mokuba had called it 'great'. Ah well. That was Joey for you.

"Hello, Joey. Nice suit." She put a slight emphasis on the last word, amused at the slight flush that appeared on his cheeks.

"Shizuka's idea." he informed her sourly. She should have guessed he hadn't come up with it himself.

"So, would you like to dance?" She curtsied, her twinkling eyes daring him to agree. Or reject. Either would be some sort of victory for her, some sort of defeat for him.

"Isn't the guy supposed to ask the girl?" he inquired.

She laughed. "You didn't look like you were going to."

"Hm." he grumbled, accepting her hand nonetheless and even leading her to the floor as the music started anew after a short break. He even was a pretty decent dancer.

Perhaps she had Shizuka to thank for that as well. He wouldn't be the first big brother enlisted to aid his sister with her dancing lessons.

"I kind of like you when you're like this." he murmured, barely audible as the music changed again, slightly more up-tempo this time.

"Quiet, you mean?" she grinned. Unless someone had spiked the punch it had to have been the dance with Joey that made her feel so giddy.

He shook his head. "No, it's not that." Probably he couldn't find the right words. Typical. And somewhat reassuring, since she couldn't quite put her feelings at this moment to words either.

"Shall we go on the balcony for some fresh air?" she proposed. He nodded silently, throwing a last look at Shizuka before leading the way.

She noticed there were quite some more boys surrounding his sister now than just Honda and Otogi. Understandable, considering her looks and character. As Shizuka noticed the other girl looking at her she waved, calling something that got lost in the noise of the music.

*****

The balcony was, somewhat to her amazement, entirely empty except for the two of them. There was a near-full moon, allowing her to clearly see the blond who was leaning against the railing.

"Lovely night, isn't it?" He whispered, as if afraid to disrupt the silence, the serenity of the night.

"Is that a subtle way to say the *company* isn't as lovely?" she teased.

He blushed again. "I didn't say that. You ... your dress is very pretty." A slight improvement to his first statement, she noted, from 'nice' to 'very pretty'.

"But I'm not?" It was cruel, pushing him like this. Still, no one had ever accused her of being nice. And who knew how long it might be till she ... *they* got another chance like this one? Better get it over with now.

"You ... "

*****

"Aren't they the cutest?" Mokuba sighed happily. "They fit eachother so well too."

"It's not polite to spy on people like that." Kaiba grumbled, making a half-hearted attempt to cover his little brother's eyes.

"Oh, please, Seto!" Mokuba easily swatted Kaiba's hands away. "They're just *kissing*."

"Right. And *you* ought to be in bed by now."

"Awww. You're no fun, big brother!"

~OWARI~