Alternate

by Lethe Seraph

Chapter Two: Teacher Curse Study

            "Hello.  I am your homeroom teacher.  My name is on the board.  Kindly prove to me that you can read.  You are now in high school.  Being high-schoolers now, you are expected to…"

            Did she ever shut up?  Just droning on, and on, and on.  Forever and a day, she would drone.  Jonouchi sighed.

            "You there.  What's your name?"

            Just going on and on about how much more responsible they were supposed to be now that they were older.  Jeez.  Did she think they didn't-

            "Pay attention!  I asked you a question!  What is your name?!"

            Jou snapped back to attention.  "Huh?  What?"

            The class stifled snickers.  Kaiba was grinning.

            "Oh, um!  I'm Jonouchi.  Jonouchi Katsuya.  …And you are?" he said politely.

            She raised an eyebrow.  "I just said that my name was on the board.  Shall I assume that you are unable to read?"

            God, what was she?  Another Kaiba?  It had been bad enough having only one, thought Jou, smiling inwardly at the thought of his best friend, who was now laughing at him.  "I can read.  I just wasn't listening is all."

            Oops.

            Definitely not the right thing to say. 

            "It looks like we have our first detention of the year!"

            Definitely not.

            -

            "Now say it."

            "You're the best friend in the world and I'm madly in love with you."

            "Say it again."

            "You're the best friend in the world and I'm madly in love with you."

            "Okay, one more time."

            "Damn it, Kaiba, I get the idea.  You rock.  I suck.  I love you, you're my best friend in the whole entire world, and if I had anything worth owning I would put it down in the will as yours.  Happy?"

            "Quite," said Kaiba, seemingly satisfied.  "It's not every person that will be rude to the teacher just to give his friend company in detention."

            "Come on, you have to admit, that teacher was a complete ass."

            "Watch your mouth, Jou," said Kaiba in a tone that said they had had this conversation many times before.  "There are many other, better, ways to express oneself."

            "I was going for conciseness."

            "Try 'moron'."

            "Not nearly as descriptive.  She was a donkey, a jerk, and a mindless idiot.  Calling her a moron is just insulting her intellectual capacity.  Or I could call her a-"  Jou let off a string of words that made Kaiba wince and hit Jou upside the head.

            "Hey!  Watch the hair!" laughed Jou, dodging Kaiba's next attack and trying to get in a few of his own.

            "Why?  I couldn't possibly mess it up any further!" 

            "What are you two doing in there?" called Jonouchi's father from the next room, and the two dissolved into giggles. 

            "Nothing!"

            "Honestly," they heard him mutter.  "You would think I was raising a pair of giddy girls…"

            "Even if I spend a lot of time at your house, I'm not your son, you know!"

            "You have very big ears, Seto!"

            "I'm not going to insult you right now!  I want to stay for dinner!"

            Seto and Jou grinned at each other.

            -

            Jonouchi had always been an energetic kid.  Kaiba could hardly keep up with him sometimes.  For about two months when he was ten, Jou had been in a Western cowboy phase, and had always persuaded Kaiba to play various villains.

            He had gotten pretty good at it.

            Of course, then there was the evil crossdressing kingpin Lexor "Duke" Franz.  He wasn't sure exactly how Jou had come up with that one, or even how Jou had gotten him to go along with it. 

            -

            "Come on, please?  Please?  I can't play alone!"

            "Why can't I ever be the cowboy?" Seto had groaned, tossing his precalculus book to the floor.  "And why cowboys, anyway?  Why don't you ever want to play astronauts, or soldiers, or anything other than cowboys for that matter?"

            "Because cowboys are cool!" said Jou brightly.

            "What, and astronauts aren't?" said Seto with a raised eyebrow.

            "…Well, they're cool too, I guess," conceded Jou.  "But I wanna play cowboys.  And I thought of a great bad guy for you, too."

            "That's another thing.  Why am I always the evil one?"

            "Because you fit the part!  I mean, you're all freaky and stuff.  See!  You're raising your eyebrow again.  That's a pretty evil look."

            "Hey…"

            "Come on.  For me.  After this we can play whatever you want to play."

            "How about 'Shut Up and Let Kaiba Study'?" suggested Seto.

            "If that's what you want to play!" said Jou, cheerfully ignoring the sarcasm.  "All right!  Here we go!  I snuck Mom's makeup out this morning, and I think I put it over here…"

            "Wait!  You didn't say anything about makeup!"

            "You didn't ask!"

            "Jouuuu!"

            -

            That was the first and only time Seto had ever worn a dress.  Or stockings.  Or makeup.  Or tied his hair back… he was going to stop that train of thought right there.  It was too painful.

            "Seto?"

            "Hm?"

            "How do you do this problem, anyway?"  They were studying in Jonouchi's room now.  It was amazing that they had found room to lie on the floor, what with Jou's incredible lack of cleaning skills.  T-shirts and various papers were strewn about, and Jou's standard green jacket was tossed carelessly over a bedpost.  There were posters covering almost every inch of the room, half of them punk rock bands, which made the room seem even untidier than it really was.  There were quite a few brightly colored ones, though, all from cartoons and video games.  It was truly a mess.

            When was the last time he had cleaned his room?  Probably when he had managed to persuade Seto to help, and that had been well over four months ago now. 

            "Which one?"

            "This one, right here.  Number twenty-three." 

            Kaiba scooted closer to Jou and looked over his shoulder at the textbook.  "Jou, that's easy!"

            "Yeah, well, my mind isn't working right.  How could it be?  It's only the first day back from vacation and they expect us to do homework?"

            "I've already finished the first three months' worth, Jou."

            "So?  You aren't human!  You can't expect me to compare myself to you."

            He smirked.  "I suppose it would be a rather large blow to your ego."

            "Yeah, right.  My ego is made of steel."

            "Sure.  Just like your stomach, right?"

            "No, my stomach is made of stretchy, acid-resistant rubber."

            "How could I forget?"

            "Really!  I didn't think you could forget anything, Sir Perfect.  I guess your image is ruined forever."

            "I console myself with the fact that you shall never surpass me."

            "Hey, big words!  You aren't talking to your computer, you know."

            "You're getting worse.  I didn't even go past two syllables that time."  Kaiba grinned and flicked Jonouchi's forehead.  "What, has your stomach had to take over your brain space?"

            Jonouchi growled and pounced on Kaiba, jabbing him in the ribs.

            "Hey!  Quit it!  Bad Jou!" cried Seto, struggling to escape from underneath Jou and not succeeding.  "No fair!"
            "All is fair in-"

            "If you say it, I'll have to hurt you!"

            "-love and war!"

            "So what is this, then!?"

            "Revenge?" grinned Jou as he tickled Seto further, eliciting a giggle from the brown-haired teen.

            "Get off of me, you… you lump!  You're heavy!"

            "Nuh-uh!  You have to say it now!"

            "Say what?!"

            "'You're the best friend in the world and I'm madly in love with you,'" quoted Jonouchi with a big, evil smile.

            "You... suck," said Kaiba.

            "Say it…"  Jou poked Kaiba.

            "No!  Never!"

            "Say it…"

            "Nev- ah!  Not the neck!  Not the neck!"

            In the next room, Jou's father sighed to himself.  "Those kids…"

            -

            Half an hour later, the two were still at it.  Kaiba stubbornly refused to give in, and Jou just as stubbornly wouldn't get off until Kaiba did. 

            "We're going to be here all night, aren't we?" sighed Kaiba.

            "Only if you don't say it!  It's been a while since you slept over anyway.  It'll be fun.  I'm sure your dad won't mind."

            "Damn it…" mumbled Kaiba.

            "Watch your mouth!"  Jonouchi was just growing more cheerful by the moment, wasn't he?  "Or I'll have to tickle you again."

            "Like you've been doing anything else," Kaiba muttered.  "You shouldn't take advantage of my weaknesses like that."

            "Well, it's what you taught me to do," Jonouchi pointed out with a laugh.  "It just means I pay attention to you after all."

            "Jou?"

            "Yeah?"

            "You do realize that if your father walked in, he would take this as 'wrong'?"

            "Huh?" said Jou innocently.

            "Jouuu!  You're sitting on top of me!  I'm lying on the floor!  You're a worse pervert than that, I know what you read online-"

            Jonouchi blushed brightly and immediately scrambled off of Kaiba.  "S-sorry."

            Kaiba was silent.

            "Uh, Seto…?"

            Kaiba suddenly smirked and tackled Jou.  "You're too weak!"

            "Hey!  Cheater!"

            -

            "Hello, may I speak to… oh, it's you.  Yes, is it all right if your son stays the night?  …I'm perfectly fine with it, and your son and mine are enjoying themselves… great, thank you.  Sure.  Katsuya will be at your house tomorrow then?  That would be fine.  Thank you again.  Have a good night."

            Click.

            The noises from Jou's bedroom didn't cease until midnight.

            ---

            To look forward to next chapter: Getting to know the other students!  We meet Yugi and various others, and Kaiba acts oddly.  I hope you liked this chapter.  Please review! ^_^

            ---