Warnings/notes : Seto/Joey (in a way), glimmers of Otogi/Honda and Yugi/Anzu, slightly weird, drabble-ish shortie, broken flow of words.

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

written at 14th october 2004, by Misura. This drabble was inspired by the First Line Meme of Kiki Jones, which means the first line of one of her fics served as inspiration for this drabble's first line, in this case:

"I hate disappointing Seto."


He hates disappointing Kaiba.

Not because he's Kaiba's 'pet', or because Kaiba's got lots of money, and definitely also not for some sappy and stupid reason, like because he's in 'luuuv' with Kaiba, like Otogi sing-songs when he wants to be an annoying freak, which is nearly all the time, really.

It's a mad world, if people can't even want to show themselves from their best sides, without being accused of being insane, of loving a guy they expressively state to hate and despise at least five times a day.

Then again, he has seen Kaiba's soul getting trapped into a card. He has shaken hands and dueled side by side with a Spirit of over five-thousand years old, who's been living in some ancient puzzle. He has felt how his body was possessed by a truly evil person.

Thus, perhaps, this world is pretty much insane after all.

Or he is. That might be worse.

He dreams about it sometimes, about arriving at school, walking up to Yugi, asking about Yami, and receiving a blank look. About frantically explaining, telling about the Puzzle, and the Pharaoh, and Duel Monsters being more than a game of cards, and Yugi's eyes growing more worried all the time, until he runs out of breath at which point Yugi suggests he goes lie down for a bit.

Sanity, in his opinion, cannot be over-rated, and he clings to it the way Yugi clings to Anzu nowadays, only refraining from offering to carry her bag of books since Anzu and Mai have become close friends somehow, and Mai has declared chivalry is hopelessly old-fashioned.

He's imagined, just for laughs of course, how Kaiba would react if he'd offer to carry his briefcase. Most likely, Kaiba'd suspect him of wanting to steal it or something. Kaiba's paranoid that way.

Kaiba's paranoid in lots of ways, which makes him so much more fun to hang around than, say, sharks, lions, Pegasus, Malik and Otogi. Kaiba's nicely predictable, almost normal, in a weird way, if there'd been such a thing as 'normal' seventeen-year-old billionaires, who have to run a major corporation and raise their little brother as well.

Unlike Otogi, Kaiba would never jump to any conclusions about his reasons for acting the way he does. The concept of 'romantic love' is probably as alien to Kaiba as the concept of 'fun'; in a distant part of his mind, Kaiba is aware of its existence, but he'll never relate it to himself.

Long ago, Kaiba has stamped the label of 'loser-dog' on him, and nothing he ever does is going to change that, whether he's shooting wads of paper at Kaiba during biology, or picking a fight during lunch-break.

If it wasn't so insulting, he might find the situation comfortable.

He never needs to prove himself to Kaiba. On bad days, he can say foolish things, and Kaiba's response won't differ by a single comma. And on good days, well ... he doesn't seem to have had many good days recently. Trying to get your father to stop drinking himself to death can do that to you, especially when you also need to convince your best friend that his crush -does- have the hots for him too, and your second best friends that annoying freaks do not make good boyfriends.

Nowadays, his life's kind of hectic, no longer the way it used to be. He misses it a little, misses the foodfights and Yugi teaching him how to duel. He even misses Honda fishing for a date with his innocent baby-sister sometimes.

If that's no sign of insanity ...

One thing hasn't changed at all though.

As soon as he walks down the hall to class every morning, Kaiba will stand there, leaning against the wall, informing him that he's a loser.

(Does that mean, maybe, that Kaiba hates disappointing him too?)

To which he'll snap and snarl, denying the accusation loudly and repeatedly.

Because, as said before, he hates disappointing Kaiba. Even if a part of him thinks that Kaiba's insults has grown rather old.

After that, Kaiba will sneer some more, and he will growl and bark some more.

Eventually, when all is said and done, they'll enter the class-room together.