by Lethe Seraph

Chapter One: Observed (I looked at you and saw)


Author's Notes that Can be Skipped without Great Consequence

Yes, I know.  Another Jou/Kaiba?  What's wrong with you, Seraph?  Can't you at least finish your other fics before bringing out a new one?  You haven't been updating for the past, like, month! 

I'm sorry.  Very sorry.  I am deeply and truly apologetic.  To the bottom of my wretched heart, I am sorry beyond compare.


Currently, I have no access to the computer that houses unfinished chapters of unfinished fics.  That's back at home.  Right now, it being summer, I am visiting various family members.  My sister brought along her laptop, though, and I'm making do with the Mouse and Popup Ads from Hell, as well as Distractions and much-needed Family Bonding Time.  (Note: 'Bonding', not 'Bondage'.)  Yes indeedy.

This idea has been lingering at the back of my mind for a while.

I hope that it'll get more interesting later, as I always do with my fics, and that there will be yummy JouKainess.  Because life just wouldn't be as awesome without shounen ai. 

What do you think?  Good, bad, mediocre?  I would love to hear from you.  The 'Submit Review' button is there for a reason, after all.  Exercise your rights.  Click the button.

Please enjoy, and in the meanwhile, don't attack me with rabid henchman hamsters yelling "UPDATE!". 

I know.



            He would confront him today.

            That was what Yugi had decided upon waking.  This couldn't go on any longer.  Jonouchi was too stubborn to admit it himself, and only Yugi was a close enough friend to actually notice.  Not that Honda or Anzu weren't close friends; they just didn't watch things the way Yugi did.  He had probably picked up the skill from playing Duel Monsters so often.  You had to recognize things.

            But how to bring the subject up?  He had to create a situation that would put him and Jou together, alone.  He knew that having anyone else nearby would aggravate Jonouchi's overweening pride, and not allow for a thoughtful conversation.

            The small boy swung his legs over the bed, kicking back and forth childishly for a moment before jumping down.  "Good morning, Yami," he whispered, reaching out to the nightstand and patting the Millennium Puzzle on his way to the shower.  He felt a small responding murmur, and the sensation of one rolling over and going back to sleep.  Yugi smiled.  For a millennia-year-old spirit, Yami certainly did enjoy the few moments of respite he got.

            Yugi didn't particularly enjoy washing his hair; it was long, and tangled, and all the gel he used became very icky to clean off after a while.  However, it was a fact of life that he had long, tangled, and overgelled hair, and needed to wash it quite regularly.  He figured that there were worse things.  For a moment, in the shower, Yugi wondered exactly how Yami had managed all those years ago, before deciding that wondering about such a thing so early in the morning could cause him a headache.  And headaches were even worse than having to wash your hair.  At least you could get the latter done and over with.

            While he didn't enjoy washing his hair as much as some people, he did like the feeling of water running over him.  It made him feel free, in a way.  Watched by nobody, pressed to do nothing, time seemed to go just a little bit more slowly.

            But only a bit.

            A loud rap at the door.  "Yugi!  Hurry up!  I made your breakfast, and Anzu will be coming by in twenty minutes!"

            Yugi started, the unexpected noise startling out of his reverie.  "All right!  Thanks, Grandpa!"

            "No problem, m'boy…" The voice trailed off; Yugi's grandfather had most likely wandered back downstairs.

            Okay.  One last go with the shampoo and then you're out of here, Yugi, he told himself, sighing.  I wonder why Grandpa got the strawberry-scented stuff this time…? 

            Nobody will notice anyway.  He nodded, reassured, closing his eyes as shampoo began to make its way down his face. 

            …Wait a sec.

            You're awake?

            Sorry.  Couldn't resist… you were thinking rather loudly.  I could hear you from my room.

            Oh.  Yugi grinned.  Sorry about that.

            Don't worry about it.  Are you almost done in there, then?

            Yeah.  I guess I am.

            Yami 'smiled', nudging Yugi to turn the water off, before his presence faded back to its resting state.  Yugi complied and stepped out of the shower.  He toweled himself off quickly, reminding himself that he was running out of time, and-

            "Your food is getting cold!" called Grandpa from downstairs.

            "Sorry!  I know!  I'll be down in a moment!"

            -his food was getting cold.  It was this way every morning.  At least he had Yami and Grandpa to rush him along.  What would happen if he were left to his own devices?

            Yugi stumbled downstairs, struggling with an obstinate sock.  The Millennium Puzzle swung erratically as he moved.  As he passed into the kitchen, he heard the jangle of the bell above the front door, and a bubbly soprano voice.  Anzu had come early!  He forced the sock on with a final tug and grabbed his toast off of the counter, taking a quick gulp of juice as he did so.

            "Morning, Anzu!  Give me a sec!"

            "No rush, Yugi," laughed Anzu. 

            "Rush!  Rush!" said Sugoroku.  "You don't have all day."

            "Well, we have at least a minute," said Anzu.  "I wouldn't want Yugi to choke on his breakfast."

            Yugi poked his head out of the kitchen, toast in mouth, and blinked at Anzu.  "How'd you know I was eating breakfast?" he garbled through the toast.

            She laughed.  "You always are at this time.  Don't talk with your mouth full."

            Yes, Yugi.  Reincarnations of pharaohs are obliged not to talk with their mouths full.

            And how would you know?     

            …It's rude.  Don't do it.


            Finally, he had finished the toast and jammed his shoes on.  He gave Sugoroku a quick wave.  "See you, Grandpa!"

            "Have a good day at school.  You too, Anzu."

            And so, they ventured forth.


            "Honda!  Jou!  Morning!" said Yugi cheerfully, walking into the classroom behind Anzu.  "How were your weekends?"

            "All right," said Honda, at the same time Jou grumbled, "Sucked."
            Yugi pulled up a chair beside them.  "Huh?  What happened, Jou?"

            Jonouchi shrugged.  "I need to find a new newspaper to deliver.  They decided that some guy in a truck would do a better job than I did."

            "That's too bad," said Honda, patting Jou's shoulder.  "Don't worry about it."

            "I'm not."

            "Well, that's good, then."  Anzu smiled.  "There's another job out there waiting for you, Jou.  You'll find it soon."

            Jou nodded glumly, and at that moment Yugi remembered: he had a mission.

            Now, when could he get Jou alone?  Between classes?   Before lunch?  After school, even?  There was no way of knowing, really.  He would have to take the opportunity as it arose.


            Later that day, the opportunity arose.  The bell had just announced lunch.  Anzu had gone to talk to a girlfriend of hers about an upcoming school event, and Honda was walking a ways ahead.  Yugi stalled, taking his lunch bag from his backpack slowly.

            "Uh, Yugi?  You all right, bud?"

            "Yeah.  But … um …"

            Yugi felt Jou's warm hand on his back.  "What is it?" said Jonouchi, concerned. 

            "I'd like to, uh, talk to you about something.  Alone," he clarified.

            "Sure.  Okay," said Jonouchi.  "Roof?"

            Yugi nodded.  The two made their way out of the classroom.

            A pair of sharp blue eyes, unnoticed, peered over a sleek laptop curiously.


            You can do this, Yugi.  Just a few words.  It's all right.  You've got his best interests in mind, right? 

            They sat, side-by-side, leaning against the brick wall as in old times.  Jonouchi's head was turned to face Yugi, gazing down at him apprehensively.  After a silence, he spoke.  "What's bothering you, pal?"

            "I've been watching you lately," began Yugi awkwardly, trying in his way to get straight to the point.

            Not the best opening line, partner, volunteered Yami.

            Thanks for the help.

            "Uh … in what way?"

            "Not – not like that – just – you know, as a friend."

            "Oh.  All right." Jou's ears reddened.  "So, what's the problem?"

            "Well … I, um … noticed something.  Something about the way you've been looking at ... the world."

            Jonouchi slumped down, at Yugi's level now.  He sighed.

            You might want to hurry it a bit, said Yami.  Honda and Anzu will be worried by now.

            You're right.  I don't want to rush this, though. 

            Do what you feel is best, partner.

            "Has anyone else figured out ... whatever you're talking about?" said Jonouchi quietly.

            Yugi tilted his head to one side.  So Jonouchi had realized it himself?  That was good, though he hadn't expected it.  "I don't think so.  That's why I wanted to talk to you alone."

            "Thanks, man."

            Another silence.

            "So … are you going to get glasses soon?"