Warnings/notes: Seto/Joey, language, shortie.

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

written at 5th march 2004, by Misura

italics indicate flashbacks


There was, Kaiba mused, something very enticing about the way Joey said 'no'.

"What do you think I am? Your pet-dog, to be called to come whenever you feel like it?"

He couldn't quite find the words to describe what it was that was so alluring about being denied by this one person. Normally, when someone refused to accomodate his wishes, he found a way to make sure they would never even -think- of doing so again.

It didn't matter though. He didn't really need any words. He'd never use them anyway.

Actions spoke louder than words after all, even if some actions attracted a lot less attention than some words. Though there were moments when words were necessary.

Moments when words were part of the game.

"Does that mean you don't accept my invitation?"

"Damn right it does!"

Leaning back in his chair, idly reading through some e-mails, Kaiba allowed himself a small smile.

It wasn't the fact that Joey's 'no' actually meant 'yes' that made him so sure of his eventual victory. If that had been the case, it would have made Joey just a bit of a tease.

Kaiba didn't like being teased. Teasing was a waste of time, breath and effort. Inefficient.

Joey -meant- it when he said 'no', like the way Joey also meant it when he called Kaiba a 'bastard' and a 'moneybags' and other, even less flattering names.

Not that anything Joey ever said bothered Kaiba in the slightest.

He might admit to a certain ... amusement with his puppy's constant yapping and whining, to Mokuba perhaps, were his little brother ever to inquire to the matter, but Joey's words would never mean more than that.

"So ... what are your plans for the evening then?"

He wasn't quite sure how much of what was going on between him and Joey went unnoticed by Mokuba. The boy would be in bed by the time Joey'd get here.

There had been a few times when Joey'd stuck around for breakfast recently, due to bad weather or Kaiba feeling too tired to kick him out, but if Mokuba had drawn any conclusions from that, he hadn't shared them with Kaiba.

And Kaiba definitely wasn't going to ask him.

"None of your business, moneybags."

"Mind your tongue, mutt."

"Or else ... what? Am I supposed to be scared of you?"

Once, not even that long ago, now that he thought about it, the distance between his room and Mokuba's had bothered him.

At present, it was a convenience.

Not that he was ashamed of anything he did with (or was that 'to'?) Joey, but Mokuba was young. Innocent. Untainted.

Over-protected perhaps, though Kaiba would like to think he knew what was best for his little brother.

"If you don't curb your language, I'll give you something better to do with your tongue than wag it to annoy your superiors."

Joey chuckled.

Kaiba often wondered what the blonde's answer would be if he were to repeat his earlier question in this stage of the game.

"Really? And what would that be, huh?"

"Come over and I'll show you."

"Are you trying to bribe me?"

Kaiba snorted.

"If I were, I'd be offering you food."

"That's low."

Kaiba smirked. Though Joey wouldn't be able to see it, he'd hear it in the tone of Kaiba's voice and respond accordingly.

In a vague way, he felt it should bother him that someone could tell his facial expression simply by listening to him.

"I'm merely making an effort to keep this conversation at a comprehensible level for you."

When he closed his eyes, he could see Joey, his face turning red, slowly counting to ten, the knuckles of the hand that gripped the phone white.

Perhaps the ease with which that image came to him should also bother him.

"You - "

"-I- am going to tuck inMokuba, since his favorite TV-show just ended. I suggest -you- get a move on and be here in another fifteen minutes or so."

A soft click indicated Joey had just hung up on him.

Twelve minutes later, the doorbell rang.

There was, Kaiba decided, also something very enticing about the way Joey said 'yes'. Or the way Joey yelled his name, whether they were fighting or not.

"But that doesn't mean I'm in love with you, you know," he softly told the sleeping boy beside him. "You're still only a mediocre duelist. And an annoying loudmouth most of the time. Although maybe ... I like you just a little bit."

It shouldn't have surprised him that there was something enticing about the way Joey smiled in his sleep. Yet it did.