Title: Club One
Author: Aria Marier
Pairing: Jou x Kaiba
Disclaimer: I don't own YGO, which is sad for me. Meteor is also a real cell phone company, but it's based in Ireland. Needless to say, I don't own that, either. That's okay, materialism is for the weak.
Summary: A night out on the town leads to some unexpected results.
Seto Kaiba was on his third drink, of something blue and sour and slightly fizzy, and with an alcohol content of approximately two drops to the gallon, but that was fine. He hadn't come here to get drunk.
The club's DJ was melting songs into each other, and he watched as the mass of people on the dance floor writhed into the new beat while colored lights played over sweat-shiny skin and flashing hair. Limbs slid in and out of sight as the lights flashed over, while smoke from the open doorway drifted in and mixed with the smell of cologne and sweat and alcohol. It was one in the morning, Friday night, and the club was in full swing.
He turned back to the bar and put his drink down, watching the circle of moisture form underneath the sweating glass. The bartender looked up from where he was rearranging the bottles, but Seto shook his head slightly. He hadn't come here to get drunk.
In fact, he wasn't entirely sure why he was here. He imagined it was because it had been weeks since he'd been able to go out—Kaiba Corporation had recently completed a merger with Meteor Mobile, and he'd been stuck in meetings every day. He hadn't even been able to go to school for the past three days while negotiations were still delicate, but the merger had gone through this morning, and he'd shaken hands with the President of Meteor, who had delivered some note-card speech about the future of communications together, and now he deserved to go out and enjoy himself. For once.
Of course, maybe he'd just wanted to go out to a nightclub like a normal teenager and not think about things like mergers or school or Kaiba Corp or anything. One didn't exactly spend the night thinking at this kind of club. Maybe he wanted to go release some pent-up frustrations like any other teenager, maybe he wanted a change from the workweek for once.
Or maybe Mokuba was right and he really had developed an unhealthy tendency to lurk by himself in dimly lit areas. Either way, he was here now.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the bartender look up, and he glanced to his left, and wished immediately that he hadn't. Blond hair certainly wasn't rare, but something about the cut—or lack thereof—and the particular way it fell over the person's face definitely looked familiar.
The bartender stepped up, and the figure leaned on its elbows across the polished wood. "Just a bottle of water, thanks."
Dammit. He'd know that voice anywhere. All he could hope now was that it wouldn't be directed at him—he was in no mood for their usual fights. Of course, he thought, tonight's edgy mood certainly fit the scenario.
So much for that hope. He took a breath, and turned as slowly as possible. He rather thought he had managed to convey all the usual contempt for the situation he felt, edgy mood or not, but Joey seemed—as per usual—totally oblivious. "Wheeler."
Dark brown eyes looked up at him momentarily, before flicking back towards the bartender. "Haven't seen you here before."
Oh, Christ. The mutt was actually trying to make small talk, and in a noisy, crowded club no less. Maybe it was just while he was waiting for his water, but it was one of those small annoyances Seto had wanted to escape by coming out tonight. He hadn't come for small talk.
The water came, and Joey dug a few crumpled bank notes out of his pockets and paid the bartender, who winked at him—Seto looked over at Joey, but noted nothing particularly different in his appearance—poured the water into the sweating glass placed before him, and proceeded to drink almost the entire thing in one go, and it was only then that Seto realized he must have been there for at least an hour already, and dancing the entire time, because his sleek deep red shirt was clinging to his body, and his slim black pants were already crumpled from movement and the humidity of the room.
As if feeling the direction of Seto's look, Joey glanced over, finished swallowing, and put the glass down drained. "Hot in here."
He said nothing, only raised one eyebrow and turned back to his own drink while Joey motioned to the bartender for another water, but he felt the other turn, leaning against the bar to look out at the entwined mass on the dance floor. "Gonna dance?"
Seto snorted into his glass. "With who? You?"
In the dark, he missed the flush that spread over Joey's face. "Just asking."
"I don't dance much." Why qualify the statement? Just saying he didn't dance at all would have been enough. In fact, he hadn't even needed to respond—silence, unless goading his hot-headed companion into a fight, was the best option. Too bad it almost never worked.
Joey rolled his eyes, and took the new bottle of water, avoiding the bartender's hand and pouring it over the remaining ice in his glass. "You're missing out."
Seto looked at him with contempt. "Don't you have other trees to bark up, mutt?"
"Shut up, bastard," Joey said good-naturedly. "I'm here with Yugi and Mai, but they're off doin' their own thing."
Seto snorted. "I'm sure they are." He'd seen Mai, in fact, a few minutes after he'd come in, amidst a throng of admirers, mainly of the large and muscular persuasion. He had, actually, expected to see Joey around after that—after all, they were always being linked by the Domino rumor mill—but the blonde had remained out of sight until now. "Shouldn't you be off picking fights with that horde around Mai?"
Joey grinned behind his glass. "Yeah, yeah, every one thinks I'm dating Mai, don't they."
Seto shrugged. "That's the obvious conclusion."
"Yeah, well, she's not my type," He pushed his empty glass back towards the bartender, who flicked a smile at him and dropped a piece of paper near his hand as he took the glass and bottle away. Joey picked it up and unfolded it, smiling slightly before crushing it into a ball and pocketing it. "Besides, haven't you ever wondered what those boots of hers are for? They're for kicking the unlucky asses of the guys who don't follow the 'look, but don't touch' rule."
Busy wondering what the paper was that the bartender had dropped, Seto almost missed the connection. He finished his drink and pushed it away, watching the bartender closely, wondering how many times Joey had been here before, feeling the heavy bass beat pick up as the throng of figures on the dance floor writhed ecstatically.
He didn't see Joey watching him.
Days of awkward silence later, Joey said something.
He shouldn't have said that, should have let it go, should have ignored him because now Joey was coming much too close, close enough for Seto to smell the cologne he was wearing, close enough to see the golden hair darkened by sweat clinging in strands to his forehead.
"I said, I'm off. See you later, Kaiba."
He threaded his way through the swarm of bodies and was gone.
Fuck, Kaiba thought, as his tried to slow his racing pulse. I thought I was over that.
At the other side of the club, Joey fought his way to a small circular table and collapsed into one of the chairs gratefully, while next to him long legs uncrossed and long blonde hair slid over the wire back of the chair. A few feet away, the boy at the coat check swallowed. Hard. Joey looked over at him, then raised an eyebrow at Mai. She giggled.
"Have fun over at the bar?" One big violet eye winked at him, and he grinned. He was feeling much better after getting something to drink.
"You have no idea."
Mai leaned back and straightened one of her long white gloves. "That bartender is pretty cute."
Joey snorted and dug in his pocket, tossing a small crumpled ball of paper onto the table. "You want his number?"
She picked it up and delicately unrolled it, smiling. "I think he meant it for you, Joey."
He shrugged and leaned back, watching the people dance. "Not interested."
A light eyebrow arched. "No?"
"He's not my type."
"Oh, well," she said, and left the paper on the table. "Shame, since he's been flirting with you ever since we started coming here."
"Yeah," he said. Real shame. "Hey, where's Yugi?"
"Dancing," she said, and pointed. "So who were you talking to at the bar, if not, um..." she checked the paper, "Brian?"
Joey grinned cheekily at her and tilted his chair back on two legs. "You'll never guess."
She frowned prettily, pretending to think hard. "Hmmm...it probably wasn't Tristan or Duke, since they didn't want to come out tonight, so I'd assume it's just another boy pining for that pretty smile of yours."
Joey considered this, and laughed. "I'd be pretty surprised if that were true," he said. "It was Kaiba."
Violet eyes flicked towards him, a blonde eyebrow arched. "Kaiba?"
"The one and only." Well, he thought, not technically the one and only, but he might as well be. When you thought 'Kaiba', there was really only one Kaiba that came to mind, right? "He's over there, in the blue shirt." He pointed.
"What the hell are you doing back here, then? Go flirt."
Joey nearly fell off his chair. As it was, it took him a good thirty seconds to keep his precarious balance while the chair wobbled dangerously beneath him. "What?" he spluttered. "Flirt? With Kaiba?"
Mai looked amused. "Why not? Don't you think he's cute?"
This time, he did fall off.
Rubbing his hip from where he'd banged it, he got back up, glaring at Mai as he righted his chair. "I can think of a lotta words I could use to describe him, but 'cute' ain't one of them."
She merely smiled knowingly and flipped one spiral lock. At the coat check, the boy nearly lost his hold on the jackets he was handing back to their owners. "So, sexy then."
Joey blinked, and tried to think of something to say that wouldn't, firstly, sound like denial and would, secondly, make Mai leave it the hell alone. Twenty long seconds later, he still hadn't come up with anything.
"Just drop it, huh?" he muttered rebelliously, and she laughed delightedly.
"But you make such a gorgeous couple! Oh, Joey, at least go dance with him so I can go home happy tonight."
He made a face at her. "Hey, I'm not acting out any of your twisted little fantasies, especially not with Kaiba. Besides, he doesn't dance."
Mistake. Oh, big mistake.
"He doesn't dance? Or he doesn't want to dance? Did you already ask him and get shot down, poor baby?"
He was beet-red and flustered, but all he could do was glare until she'd gotten it out of her system. "No, I didn't ask him, and no, I didn't get shot down, Mai."
She arched an eyebrow and smiled knowingly.
That was it. He shoved his chair back and stretched, feigning indifference. "I'm going back to the dance floor. Have fun."
"Oh, I will," she told him, crossing one slim leg over the other and winking at him. This time the coat check boy dropped the tickets he was holding. "See you later."
He rolled his eyes and disappeared into the crush of people.
Seto had left the bar and was leaning up against a pillar near the dance floor, and if he wasn't fuming, exactly, people were definitely still avoiding his general area. Which was more or less his intention. He hadn't come here for human interaction, and he was damned if he was going to join in on the increasingly vulgar displays the people on the dance floor were performing, and he didn't particularly want to go back to the bar, either.
Especially since he felt the sudden desire to get the bartender fired.
He smirked, and two girls who had started to sit down at the table next to him suddenly changed their minds. Aside from the brief contact at the bar, he'd managed to remain completely aloof so far, which suited him just fine.
But it was a little distracting that Joey was no more than five feet away, dancing with a group of girls in short denim skirts and boys in low jeans and fitted shirts.
Even more distracting was the ever more insistent voice in his head that told him he wanted to slip in behind the blonde and take a ride.
For his part, Joey was having a fantastic time. The music was great, the group he'd found was fun and good looking, and he'd forgotten all about Mai's insinuations about Seto Kaiba. He wasn't a great dancer, but he loved the energy he got from the music and the people and the movement, and, hey, he'd never really cared too much about making a fool out of himself anyway.
The music had slowed slightly to a blood-thumping bass-and-percussion number when a newcomer entered the circle, moving sinuously to the beat. Immediately the girls looked at each other and giggled, wriggling to new positions inside the circle, each trying to be the one to dance with him, sleek in black pants and shirt, dark hair falling over his forehead, but he merely moved a moment with each as he worked his way around the edge.
Joey saw him coming, felt him come up behind him and slide into rhythm as the beat pounded through the dance floor and shivered through his body, felt strong hands slip to his hips and move with them. He smiled while the others in his group looked on with amusement and slight envy, and slipped slightly out of reach, feeling the heat of those hands drop away and the bulk of the other moving up closer behind him, moving in time with him, almost touching, almost together, almost. Not quite.
Teasing was half the fun.
He wondered if Kaiba was seeing this.
The hands gripped at the sides of his pants, and pulled him around none too gently, and Joey caught a glimpse of dark eyes, pulled up against him by those hands, now firmly settled at his hips. The head bent slightly, and he smelled cologne and alcohol and felt breath against his cheek.
"What's your name?"
Joey frowned, his good mood suddenly gone. He hated when people took a dance and tried to make it into something else. The ones who asked your name were the ones that were hardest to get rid of when the song ended.
But his hands were strong, pulling him close, so Joey just smiled up at him. "Joey."
The hands moved up his back a little, inching their way. "Joey...cute." He smiled, white teeth glinting in the sporadic club lighting, and Joey decided he didn't like him much. "Cute...like you." His face was much closer now, Joey could feel warm breath ghosting across the skin of his neck, and he pulled back a bit, still moving to the music. The boy moved with him, moved towards him, and bent his head to brush his mouth against the sensitive skin of Joey's neck.
Yeah, okay. That was enough.
Joey pushed him away and stepped back, shaking his head with a smile, but the other just grinned drunkenly and stepped forward to move with him again, sliding his hand up the silky material of Joey's shirt. Annoyed, Joey moved away, not smiling now, shaking his head at the other boy. "No, thanks."
He shrugged and grinned and disappeared into the mass of people while Joey rolled his eyes and turned to grin at the kids in the circle only to find that they had disappeared, dissolved into the throng of movement all around him.
Shrugging, he wove through the crowd to find Mai, a little tired now and wanting to laugh at the drunk kid with someone who was sure to get the joke.
The table was empty. He sighed and ran a hand distractedly through his hair, shaking out the sweat of dancing.
Yugi was watching Joey dance.
He was confused.
Next to him, Mai dropped easily into a chair, twirling a long spiral of thick blonde hair around one perfectly manicured finger. He glanced at her, and she grinned, batting her eyelashes outrageously.
Yugi sighed. Mai was just too much for him to handle.
"I can't believe it took you twenty minutes to get your jacket from the coat check," he told her, smiling slightly, and she winked.
"It was a long line. Get tired of dancing?"
He nodded. "After a while the music all starts to sound the same. Uh...Mai?"
She was inspecting her nails. "Hmm?"
"Who is Joey dancing with?"
She looked over, and grinned, raising one slim blonde eyebrow. "As far as I can tell, a really hot guy. I have to hand it to him, the boy certainly has taste."
"But I thought—"He broke off, frowning slightly. It looked like they'd changed positions, and now they were dancing much closer—he blushed and looked back at Mai. "He's just letting him do that?"
"Come on, Yugi," she told him chidingly. "You know Joey better than that."
Sure enough, Joey had pushed the guy away and had disappeared into the crowd. Yugi shook his head and sagged back into his chair. "Do I even want to know what's going on?"
Mai finished with her nails and pulled one long white glove up from where it had slipped down her arm. "Probably not."
Yugi sighed. "That's what I thought."
The hand on his shoulder hadn't surprised Joey.
He'd known he was being followed.
"Hey," a voice slurred behind him, fingers tightening on his shoulder. "We didn't finish our dance."
Joey turned and looked at him, unimpressed. "You noticed, huh? That's more than I figured. How much have you had to drink, anyway?"
"Enough." Dark eyes blinked drunkenly, white teeth gleamed in a smile. "Wanna come outside for—a smoke, Je—"he squinted, trying to remember, "uh, Jeremy?"
Joey snorted. "Oh, yeah, I definitely want to be groped by some drunk kid for the rest of the night. No thanks." He turned back around and flipped a hand over his shoulder as he sauntered away. "And it's 'Joey,' not 'Jeremy,' genius."
This time, the hand was a little more forceful, the following voice a little louder. "Lissen', You're missing out. C'mon outside...and we'll have some fun."
Joey snorted and folded his arms. "Gee, I'm tempted...or not. Besides, I'm here with someone."
The other laughed, leering drunkenly. "Yeah, I bet...c'mon, they're not gonna miss you for a few minutes. It'll be fun."
Joey's lip curled. "If you kiss as well as you dance," he said, "then hell no. I don't wanna ruin my night out."
"You little—"Joey turned, and he swung.
There are a lot of things you don't know about a stranger you meet on the dance floor. Where they're from, who they are, what they do—and what they've done.
Cite example A.
There are many things that the drunk boy from the club didn't know about Joey. One of them was Joey's past. Another, different, but still related to the first, was that swinging a fist at Joey, who had spent years in a gang street-fighting, was probably the best way to get a fist in the gut short of actually being in a boxing match.
He oofed and stepped back heavily, as a fist thudded into his stomach, hard, and stars exploded in the dark of the club as he retched, reeling backwards with his arms folded hard over his stomach. He was still stumbling as Joey straightened, shaking out his fist. "I told you, asshole, no thanks." He grinned. "Unless you wanna get your ass kicked, in which case I'd be more than happy to take this outside."
"Fuck you!" the boy ground out, glaring up at him from where he was crouched over protectively. "I'ma get you back for that, you punk."
"Hmm?" Joey's eyes flicked back down to him. "I'd watch what you're saying, buddy, or you might get more than you bargained for."
Alcohol-bleary eyes narrowed, and Joey watched as the other boy painfully straightened himself, glowering at him resentfully. "What?" he challenged, cracking his knuckles casually. "I thought you wanted some fun."
Joey watched with interest as the fist came up, clenched. "You don't wanna do that," he told the other boy, who snorted derisively.
"Yeah, I think I do." He swung.
In the sporadic flickering of the club's strobe light, the jerky movements of an inebriated teenager look almost like thematic slow-motion video streams, so to Joey, standing there with his arms crossed, waiting, the descending fist wasn't traveling worrisomely fast, and it didn't seem to be aimed for anything vital, and the hand that came out of the space behind the other boy and grabbed him by the flailing wrist was just making doubly sure that this particular punch was going absolutely nowhere.
The boy looked at his wrist in bewilderment, twisting it against the hand that held in an iron grip, and then up at Joey, who shrugged.
"I told you," he said. "I'm already here with someone."
He twisted, losing his balance slightly as his wrist was released, and looked—up.
How were eyes still blue in the dimly lit club?
Thin lips curled into a slight smile, and he looked over his shoulder at Joey, who was shaking with laughter, and winked at him. "C'mon," he said, "still want me to come outside with you?"
He did the only sensible thing.
Joey was still laughing as he watched the kid run away, feeling the rush of adrenaline from confrontation swell with the bass beat running through his body.
"The look on his face," he gasped out. "Priceless."
He was still laughing when another body pushed him backwards into one of the pillars surrounding the dance floor, shaking against his back with the beat of the music, while slim fingers encircled his own wrist and ran teasingly down his side, slipping over the silky material of his shirt.
"You like starting fights too much."
"And you like watching me get hit on," he countered, biting his lip against the laughter still bubbling up and the new sensation of warm breath on his neck. "Freak."
"Hmm." Amusement. "You're a flirt."
Joey disentangled his hand from where it was caught between them and looped a finger through a belt loop, pulling them closer together, running his other hand up the lean stomach and chest to trace the hollow of Seto's throat. "Yeah, with you." He tilted his head just enough to run his lips over smooth skin.
"And a tease."
A grin, and a gasp as he was pressed back into the pillar, heated mouth sliding over his cheek. "That's half the fun. Besides, I know how you like a challenge."
Blue eyes glinted in the flashing lights. "I like watching you dance."
"That's what clubs are for, you know. Dancing." His pulse was rising. It was time to go. He looked up and grinned cheekily. "Or at least that's what I come for. God only knows what you come for, Seto."
What he'd come here for.
Joey shivered, feeling silky hair slide across his cheek as Kaiba bent his head down to whisper in his ear, audible even over the pounding of the music.
"You, of course."
Yes. It had been a good night.
A/N: Okay, surprise! It turned out to be established!Joukai after all. Bwaha.
My adoration and grateful thanks to Regann for being my beta. Check out the gift-fic she wrote for me: "One More Reminder".
In honor of National Coming Out Day.