The Thin Line Between Love And Hate

It all started so innocently. Well, not innocently, but at least normally.

Kaiba and Yami were fighting, again. There was something about the Pharaoh that really got on Kaiba's nerves. And now that he and Yugi were in separate bodies, it had gotten even worse. Kaiba didn't have to worry about scaring Yugi with some of the things he said, and Yami didn't have to worry that Kaiba would hurt Yugi – because Yugi didn't have to be there when Yami was, anymore.

They weren't even sure what it was they were fighting about this time. It seemed like any small problem got completely blown out of proportion; they would use any excuse to fight.

Probably because they liked it.

After all, no one of this time except Mokuba would really fight with Kaiba. No holds barred fighting. And Mokuba never really had any problems with his brother, so their fights were few and far between.

Kaiba wasn't sure what Yami got out of it, but it was most likely much the same thing. After all, most of Yugi's friends saw Yami as Yugi's protector – he could do no wrong.

Kaiba was the only one who didn't think he was the greatest thing since Duel Monsters had been invented.

And to top it all off, it was raining. At least they were in the park, with no one to witness this conflagration.

"What the hell do you mean, I wouldn't know emotion if it slapped me in the face?" Kaiba growled, sounding much like the puppy he'd accused Joey of being. "I have plenty of emotion."

"Sure," Yami said mockingly. "Hate, anger, arrogance, competitiveness…but what about friendship, kindness…love?"

Something broke inside Kaiba then. He knew he and Yami were rivals, but at the core of their fighting he thought was a mutual respect based on the fact that they were both so alike. To have someone like Yami say that he didn't think Kaiba could love…

The rain running down his face, masking any tears he might be shedding, Kaiba said, "You've gone too far this time, Yami. But I guess I should have expected that." He laughed hollowly. "No one except Mokuba has ever really seen me. But I thought you were different." Glaring at him, Kaiba said, "Guess I was wrong. But I'm not about to let you win again, Yami. Even if I have to bare my soul to do it."

And that's when it happened.

He'd kept his feelings bottled up inside for so long, trying to tell himself that all he felt for the ancient spirit was a not-so-friendly rivalry.

He never was very good at fooling himself.

Yami thought he couldn't feel any of the softer emotions, did he? Well, he was wrong. Dead wrong. And he'd prove it to him.

Reaching out with one long arm, he grabbed hold of Yami's jacket and yanked him close, crushing his lips to shorter boy's.

Warm, wet, sweet…like cinnamon and the desert after it rained. That was how Yami's lips tasted. And after a few moments of stunned stillness, Yami started kissing him back.

That wasn't in the plan. But never let it be said that Seto Kaiba couldn't go with the flow and adapt accordingly.

As Yami's lips caressed his own, Kaiba couldn't help but wonder if this was one of the Game King's strategies – throw him off by acceding to his kiss, and then attack.

But for all that he'd never kissed anyone in his life, nothing had ever felt more honest, more real than this brush of lips against lips.

Finally, the need to breathe broke through the pleasantly lustful haze that their impromptu makeout session had inspired in him. They stood there, panting, in the rain, while droplets of water cascaded down their faces, cooling off the fires that burned in their veins.

Yami was the first to speak. "What did you mean by that?" he asked quietly.

Not 'Why did you do that?' or 'Lust is different than love; that didn't prove anything but that you have a normal teenage libido.'

Not that he would have expected anything that ordinary from a 5,000 year-old ancient Egyptian Pharaoh.

"That you don't know everything," Kaiba said softly. "I do feel – I feel everyday. Just because I don't say anything, doesn't mean I don't feel it. And in case you're wondering: yes, I do know the difference between lust and love." Stalking closer to his rival, he purred, "Of course, there's nothing saying that you can't feel both for the same person. Along with a healthy dose of competiveness."

Yami looked almost panicky. "W-what? You mean you…you…"

"I love you, yes," Kaiba said softly. He'd only ever told his late parents, and his brother that. But he did love Yami, and if telling him drove the Pharaoh away, at least he would have been honest.

Yami just stood there for a moment, not even bothering to wipe the rain from his face. His expression changed quickly, from nervousness, to disbelief, to acceptance, to…happiness?

"I…care about you too, Seto," he said softly. "I don't really know what love feels like, but I think that's what this is." Gesturing between the two of them, he asked, "But the question is, what do we do about this? Neither of us are all that good at interpersonal relationships."

Grinning at the fact that he was the one who was giving romance advice to Yami of all people, Kaiba reached out one arm, grabbed the Pharaoh's hand, and pulled him closer, until they were standing not even an inch apart. Staring down into his love's eyes, he said, "We cross the line between hate and love…and hope for the best."

Yami just looked at him for a moment before nodding slowly. "I can do that," he said softly, before leaning up and capturing the CEO's lips.

And neither of them cared about the fact that they were making out in the park, in the rain.

After all, love makes you do foolish things, sometimes.