Title: Jounouchi's New Year Resolution
Author: Sorceress Fantasia
Pairings: K/J, mentioned YY/Y
Warnings: AU, some sap, fluff, humour, OOC-ness
Archive: Finally Fantasia (my homepage)
Disclaimer: If I owned YGO, Yami would confess his everlasting love for Yugi in the first episode and kiss him at least once every episode. However, for those of you who have watched the manga and anime, you'd know that doesn't happen and so in conclusion, I do not own YGO or any of the characters.
Summary: For the longest time, Jounouchi has been trying to get Kaiba away from him. But it seems that that won't be happening anytime soon, especially when his mother decides that Kaiba would be the perfect tutor for his failing grades. And Kaiba just had to happily offer his services, didn't he?
Note: This is my first time writing a Jou and Kaiba fic, so I decided to try a new style of writing this time. Hope it works/crosses fingers/ Please tell me if I'm doing it right! Thanx! R&R very much appreciated!
It couldn't be. It just couldn't be! No way in hell was it happening!
Why was the answer he got still wrong! It was already the third try, and he was still wrong!
Barely suppressing the urge to go Godzilla and stomp around the room (and maybe spit flames too), Jou slammed his fists on his table. Stupid math homework! Stupid math teacher who assigned math homework over the New Year break! Stupid math teacher who assigned unsolvable, unfathomable, impossible-to-do math homework over the New Year break!
His fury piling up, Jou had to force himself to calm down or risk having to come up with an excuse for the teacher as to why his math textbook was in shreds. Calm down, calm down... Releasing a deep sigh, he tore out the messy sheet of paper in his writing pad and started to redo the sum again.
A few minutes later, he tore the piece of paper into confetti.
"Stupid, balding, jackass, idiotic sensei!"
Before he could go on to scream a string of curses and vulgar language, the door to his room was flung open, and Jou felt an oppressive, evil and manipulative aura overwhelming him from his back. He shivered from the bad vibes. Suddenly, he had an idea who had just opened his door and he laughed nervously. Turning around in his chair, he did a sheepish little wave.
The middle-aged woman at the door shared her son's blonde hair and brown eyes, but the angry gleam in her eye was something her son did not have. And probably something he could not imitate too, since it was the patented 'pissed-off mother' look only mothers knew how to use. Pointing an angry finger at Jou, she hissed, "Don't 'hi mom' me, young man! Not when you were about to scream obscenities!"
Jou almost sweatdropped. Did his mom have a vulgar-language-radar or something? She knew him too well; there was no point denying. So instead, he grinned sheepishly, "Sorry mom, but this..."- he gestured towards the books laid haphazardly across his desk- "is killing my brain cells. Your only son will be dead by tonight from a lack of brain cells if this goes on! So mom... can I stop doing my math homework? Please?" His mom had the patented 'pissed-off mother' look, but he had his trademarked 'poor, kicked-in-the-gut puppy' look.
Round one: 'Pissed-off mother' look versus 'poor, kicked-in-the-gut puppy' look.
Her 'pissed-off mother' look remained intact even after a few minutes, and she continued to stare her son down. Jou tried to keep up, but suddenly, his left eyelid twitched, and his entire 'poor, kicked-in-the-gut puppy' lookwas ruined.
"If you want to have no allowance, a curfew, no clubbing and no lunch for the next 6 months, then yes."
He laughed nervously. "I'll get right back to it." And he quickly spun his chair around and grabbed his pen again.
His mother sighed. "Katsuya, I know it's difficult, but you have to do it. It's for your future."
His eyebrow twitched. For his future? He was going to scream and tear his hair off while trying and failing to complete mathematical sums in the future? He was going to earn his living (and go bald in the process) doing math? Suddenly, Jou wanted to commit suicide and save himself the misery. And the headlines for tomorrow's papers would go: Teen commits suicide over math homework. Then, parents all over Japan would finally understand the stress of being a math student and exert pressure on the ministry of education. Psychologists would step in, agreeing that yes, abstract math was too stressful on the average student. The society would then examine whether students, unless they wanted to become mathematicians, really needed abstract math in their future. In the end, the ministry of education would decide that there was no need for abstract math in school and abolish it! Jou could just see himself worshipped by all the math students in Japan...
"Katsuya! Are you listening to me?"
He jumped. "Yes mom!"
She frowned, but let it slide. "So in order to save your brain cells, as you've said so yourself, I've decided to get a tutor for you."
"Tutor? But mom, it's expensive!"
"Well, this tutor was highly recommended by your sister, and he's willing to help for free..." She shrugged.
Jou blinked, cocking his head to the side. For free? And Shizuka recommended him?
"Actually, he's already here. He just went to the washroom for a moment..." she trailed off, looking to the side. Then, she seemed to have found him, for she broke into a gleeful smile and said, "Ah, there you are! Come, come! Katsuya's here! Oh, I've no idea what to do to him! He's just so bad at math! Please do help him out!"
Jou remained in his seat, still wondering who was so nice as to help him out for free. Could it be Yugi? No, no, it was unlikely. His mom knew Yugi, so there was no need to go through Shizuka. Besides, Yugi was still wallowing happily in his pre-marital bliss, skipping and floating on cloud nine everyday. And Yami was just as bad; it was as though after the engagement, Yami began living on Yugi instead of on air. So it couldn't be either of them. Who else was there?
"Don't worry, Mrs. Jounouchi. I will do my best." It was a deep, male voice, and it soundly vaguely familiar...
His mother was acting like a love-struck teenage girl, giggling insanely and sending love vibes everywhere. She always had a soft spot for young gentlemen. Jou shivered as she ushered the tutor into the room. And once she did, Jou started to yell, flailing his arms like a young girl trying to ward off a flying bug.
"Kaiba? What are you doing in my house? In my room?"
Kaiba Seto only gave him a warm (if not a little conniving and scheming) smile, and stepped inside gracefully. He almost looked innocent, if it wasn't for the sly gleam in his eyes. "Why, I'm just the tutor your sister recommended."
"Language, young man, language," his mother warned.
"But mom, you can't be serious, asking Kaiba to be my tutor! He'll... He'll molest me! He'll make me gay! And you wouldn't want that, would you? I mean, you do want to have a grandson right? To carry on our family line? Shizuka can't do that; she'll take on her husband's family name when she gets married! So yeah, it's not a good idea to have Kaiba be my tutor. And-"
She raised an eyebrow. "But Katsuya, you are gay, aren't you? So you aren't going to give me a grandson anyway."
He choked, but he quickly turned to glare angrily at Kaiba who was trying very hard to stifle his laughter.
"And I believe Kaiba-kun will be the perfect gentleman. After all, your sister recommended him, and I trust Shizuka," she stated flatly, leaving no rooms for argument. But it wasn't as if there was going to be one. Kaiba was more than happy at the turn of events, and Jou was still trying to find his voice. So no one objected (or was able to, at any rate) when she added, "Now, I'll leave you boys to do your math homework. Be nice, Katsuya, or no allowance! And Kaiba-kun?"
"Yes, Mrs. Jounouchi?"
"Please take good care of my son. I'm leaving him in your care now," she said, and Jou could swear he saw a conniving gleam in her eyes, matching the one Kaiba was sporting.
Round two: 'Scheming mother' look versus 'on-the-verge-of-tears puppy' look.
...Game over again.
"Of course, Mrs. Jounouchi," Kaiba said respectfully, even giving a little bow.
Impressed, she gave them one last wink, and closed the door behind her.
Finally, after a long moment of silence, Jou glowered at the person responsible for all his misery again. He was almost giving off a blazing, murderous aura, but Kaiba was completely unfazed. He was a shrewd businessman, after all, and was used to seeing all sorts of things, including angry puppies. Cutely angry puppies.
"What," Jou hissed, "did you bribe Shizuka with?"
Kaiba was still smiling that warm and conniving smile. "VIP tickets for her favorite singer's national concert next month. And a backstage pass. You know how much she wants to go, don't you? Mokuba told me that she cried buckets when she didn't manage to get the tickets in time and they were all sold out. She was so ecstatic when I passed her the tickets. She's very, very, very happy."
"You're doing it right up to this part, but see, you have to sub in the formula here to get the value for x. And with the value of x, you sub it back here," –he pointed at the writing pad- "and you will be able to get the value for y. Try it."
Grudgingly, Jou canceled the second half of his answer and redid it with Kaiba's method. It was irritating, but Jou could not deny that the brunette was a very efficient and patient tutor. Most of his friends gave up by the time he messed up the tenth sum; even though Yugi would still be willing to help him after that, their other friends would drag Yugi off, claiming that it was unhealthy to stay and try to help Jou with math. But now, after the fifteenth sum and numerous mistakes later, Kaiba was still there. And not one hint of anger. Frustration maybe, but definitely no anger.
"Ah, a mistake here. You multiplied the numbers instead of dividing it," Kaiba said softly.
Jou quickly made the necessary changes.
Kaiba was a really strange person. Although the brunette was always trying to ask him out, he never sounded serious. If anything, all those endearments he used like 'puppy' and 'honey' made him sound like a flirt more than anything else. So why was he spending so much time and effort (and brain cells) to help Jou on his math homework? For free? And from what Yami had told him before, Kaiba never dated seriously. Period. End of story.
"Wait. When you move the minus sign to the other side of the equation, it becomes an addition sign."
Strike out. Redo. More mistakes. Strike out again. Redo for the third time.
As the CEO of the highly successful Kaiba Corporation, Kaiba probably had more money than he could ever spend in his entire lifetime. Maybe that explained why the man had a private jet, several helicopters, 7 limos and 2 sports cars. Not to mention the multitude of servants, butlers, chauffeurs, chefs and who knew what else in his gigantic mansion. And on top of that, he was also one of the most respected people in Domino City for his power, wealth and shrewd business acumen.
Jou always got depressed whenever he compared himself to Kaiba. What did he have? An apartment that was probably smaller than Kaiba's living room, one bicycle (losing one wheel and sporting a malfunctioning brake), one hell of a debt (they were still scraping to pay the rest of Shizuka's hospital bills) one scheming mother and an easily bribed sister. He wanted to cry.
But the bottom line, if there was one, was that there was no way Kaiba was really interested in him when they were so far apart in family background. And not to mention Kaiba could have almost anyone (dead people were an exception) he wanted. Jou still remembered reading an article in the local papers (one perk of his part-time job distributing papers was that he got to peek at the headlines first) that Kaiba had just dumped a supermodel recently, even though Kaiba had denied it profusely.
So there was no need to take Kaiba's request for dates seriously. There was no way he was sincere about them anyway.
Ah, he finally completed the sum with the correct answer. And he managed it on the fifth try. New record. Moving on now...
Just when Jou was trying to figure out if the question was asking him to find out the value or x or yz or even the entire alphabet, Kaiba spoke.
"You know, I heard about it from Shizuka."
"About what?" Was there something wrong with the question? What did the alphabet have to do with the length of a bridge?
"About her hospital bills. She said that your family's still working to pay it off."
"So I have an offer for you."
"Thanks, but no thanks. I don't take charity, Kaiba." He tightened his grip on his pen.
Kaiba shook his head. "No, not charity. It's not my forte, and I know you better than that. What I have for you, Jou, is a job offer."
His pen stilled, and he looked up with narrowed eyes. "What job?"
"A job with great perks, lots of benefits and high pay. You can take the day off whenever you want, and you get to decide what perks and benefits you want." Kaiba was smirking in a very peculiar way, and it wasn't a good thing. The last time he had sported such a smirk, he made Mokuba, who had been visiting them in school to deliver something to Kaiba, to call him 'brother-in-law' in front of his entire class. Nobody ever forgot that one, and even today, 2 years later, Jou could still hear barely veiled whispers of 'Kaiba-senpai's fiancé' (1) in the school corridors. Even the teachers, whom Jou thought would never join in the ridiculous teasing, started to call him Kaiba-kun's little boyfriend. Jou finally understood how bad the situation was when he passed by the principal in the school corridor, and the principal said, "Ah, so you're our star pupil's boyfriend?"
Jou had to stop himself from maiming the old man, who then gave him a fatherly pat on the back and added, "It's good to settle down early, you know? And Kaiba-kun is a very good choice for a husband."
So it was only normal for the blonde to be wary of Kaiba's job offer, especially when it sounded so good. "So what job is it?"
His wariness rocketed to a completely new level when the brunette smirked wider.
"Don't like it? Fiancé then. Or do you want husband?"
He choked harder, but Kaiba didn't seem to notice.
"Let me explain the terms and conditions of the contract. You see, once we start dating –or engaged or married; your choice- I'll shower you with presents and gifts, so that's where the perks come from. As for the benefits, you'll see it once we date. Chauffeured rides in limos everyday and everywhere, chefs preparing your bentos (2) and meals, and I can even send some of my servants here to clean up your house. I'll throw in expensive holidays too."
Kaiba was still smirking seriously, and he could have gone on if not for the pillow in his face, courtesy of Jou.
"Terms and conditions? Contract? Do you think this is some sort of business deal?"
Kaiba blinked for a moment. "I must have gotten too used to reading contracts... It's all I've been reading and writing lately..." he muttered. "But Jou, I'm serious about this. I do want to be your boyfriend. Or fiancé. Or husband."
Jou thought he couldn't be any more livid. A flame was blazing inside his stomach, and how he wanted to spit it out and burn something! Preferably, Kaiba and his so-called serious matter. If there really was a document on this, by the gods, he was going to tear it, shred it, burn it and make Kaiba eat it.
"You call this serious? This? Go to hell!"
The brunette was still unfazed. "Hell? I've been there before, but it's not any fun without you there, so I came back."
Jou was about to pull out his hair. He forced himself to stop it because he did not want be bald before he even turned 20, and went back to glaring at Kaiba in the eyes. "Look, Kaiba. We both know you're not serious. You're rich; I'm poor. You're clever; I'm not. You'll go on to build up your business empire, settle down with a rich lady, get a horde of kids, and then when you have grandchildren, you can tell them about the stupid blonde guy you used to tease back in your high school days as you bounce them on your knees. And me? Scrip and scrape by all my life, get married to an equally poor woman and get just as downtrodden kids. Or maybe I won't even be able to afford to get married!
"So that's that. You and I have our different paths in life, and they don't cross. So stop trying to flirt with me! You know it can't be serious!"
Kaiba was so silent for a moment Jou thought he had finally gotten his point across. Blessed silence, yes... and Kaiba was probably never going to bother him again. Even though Jou was probably going to miss having the exceptionally handsome and intelligent man hovering over him, it was for the better.
Then, Kaiba spoke.
"Jou, please don't confuse cost and value. They're different. Completely different. Like the wedding ring Yami got Yugi; it may not cost very much, but its value is much more than just the numbers on the price tag. What costs little may mean a lot to some. It's the same with people. Jou, you may not be rich, but you mean a lot to your friends... ...and to me. Your value... it cannot be estimated. You are priceless to me."
This time, Jou could not help the warm blush blossoming on his face. "But... But society doesn't always think that way! You're the CEO of Kaiba Corporations, and I'm just a normal kid saving up for college and can't even pay his sister's hospital bills!"
"Jou..." –he smiled gently- "I don't think I've ever told anybody, but I'm not the real heir to Kaiba Corporations. I'm just an adopted son. My adoptive father had no children then, and he was worried that he wouldn't have an heir. So he adopted me from an orphanage. But his wife had Mokuba later."
"Mokuba's the true heir. Right now, I'm just taking care of the company until he comes of age, and I can pass it to him. So in a way, I guess, I'm just the same as you. Just a teenager eking out a living on his own..." Kaiba smiled resignedly. "So Jou, don't say that you're poor and I'm rich. It's just a temporary situation. Once Mokuba takes his rightful place, I'll be back at square one.
"So don't reject me on the basis of our family backgrounds. Don't reject me unless you really don't like me."
Those words were so sincere, so earnest, that Jou could not help but blush. And when he noticed Kaiba's heated gaze, his blush went from a speckled dust of flush to a bright scarlet that engulfed his entire face. His heard was pounding.
The blonde bit his bottom lips and looked away, averting the intense gaze. He didn't dislike Kaiba. How could he, really? Not when Kaiba was such an attractive and charismatic man. The brunette had caught his eyes the first day he stepped into the school with Yugi, giving orders to the student body as the head of the freshmen welcome community, a position he took after losing a bet to Yami. But that day, Jou could not see the loser of a bet. All he saw was the most charismatic and charming man welcoming him to their high school.
But that wasn't the first time he had seen Kaiba. No, he had first seen Kaiba in a popular student magazine (3), coming in for the second place for 'the most popular student' (high school section). Yami had taken the first place, but Jou did not notice him. His eyes stopped at Kaiba's picture, and from there on, could not leave him. And when it was time for Jou to choose a high school, he had persuaded Yugi to change their choices together, and go to the one Kaiba went to instead.
Jou never thought anything more about it though. He never thought about dating Kaiba or even becoming his friend. All he wanted, was to see Kaiba. That was all he wanted.
Kaiba noticing him (mostly because Yami had a crush on Yugi, his best friend), hitting on him... all those were things he had never expected.
I like you.
"I... I don't... I don't not like you."
Jou's answer wasn't a lot, but he knew it was enough for now when Kaiba took his hand and gave it a tight squeeze.
Two weeks later, Jou and Kaiba had struck up what Yugi and Yami said was a 'tentative dating relationship'. The two had gone on a total of 4 dates together (even though Jou claimed that they were just 'chilling together' and not 'dating'), and Kaiba had eaten dinner over at Jou's house for quiet a few times. Mrs. Jounouchi welcomed him immensely, saying that he was just what her son just needed. Shizuka also called him 'brother-in-law' whenever Jou wasn't around to scream bloody murder. On the other hand, Jou had also visited Kaiba's house several times, even though he got embarrassed when some of the female servants would swoon and request the couple to pose together. They were such shounen-ai fans...
And it was one of those days when Jou was over at Kaiba's mansion, hiding in Mokuba's room from the fan girls, when they would have their first couple argument.
The young boy looked up from his book, blinking his wide, black eyes. When his movement caused a lock of his thick black hair to obstruct his view, he gave it a careless swipe, but he was still looking at Jou through his jagged, almost shaggy, bangs. He really didn't anything like Seto.
"You know... Mokie... when you grow older... you should take care of your elder brother, yeah?"
Mokuba cocked his head sideways. "Of course I will. What gave you the idea that I wouldn't?"
"Ah! No! Nothing!" Jou denied profusely, flailing his arms. "Just well... erm... You know, even if Seto's not your real brother, you should still be nice to him. There's no reason you shouldn't, really..."
This time, Mokuba looked at him intently. "Jou... what are you talking about? Nii-sama's not my real brother?"
Jou thought he really shouldn't have said anything. When would he ever learn to keep his big mouth shut?
"Jou, I have no idea what gave you that idea, but rest assured that nii-sama and I are brothers related by blood. We were born from the same parents. We were even adopted together by the same guy from an orphanage. So if by any chance you got the wrong information and thought that nii-sama was adopted and I wasn't..."
Jou felt a vein burst in his head. The fire was blazing in his stomach again.
And all the birds that had been taking a rest on the roof of the Kaiba mansion jumped and quickly flew away.
Back in his study room, Kaiba was still fingering the wooden tablet he had filched off Yugi who had been too distracted by Yami to pay him much attention. A few words were written on the tablet in an untidy scrawl, but Kaiba liked it.
It read: I resolve to be nicer to Kaiba. – Jounouchi Katsuya
A/N: BTW, if anyone's wondering, Kaiba's New Year resolution was: Do whatever it takes to date Jou.
(1) Senpai: It means 'senior' in Japanese.
(2) Bento: Japanese lunch boxes.
(3) Student magazines: I read about this in a manga, where there was a magazine that circulated among students about the area's schools. Of course, they had a poll inside about the most popular students too.