Star: -peeks out from behind wall- Is it safe to come out? I know a lot of you guys are probably annoyed with me for taking so long to post something. And I know that I've made a lot of promises to post sooner, but things just kept piling up.
But now that I have summer vacation, I can update more. But please be patient, since I've gotten out of writing stories, and need to regain my inspiration.
By the way, this chapter is a bit wordy, so bear with it.
Good news - I GOT A KITTEN! His name is Noah (no, not off ygo) and he's the most evil bastard in the world. But I love him to death!
Disclaimer: I DO NOT OWN YU-GI-OH or the characters.
--Curious about a Puppy--
Seto walked through the halls of the English mansion he was staying in. It was nice, but nothing like the palace back in Japan. For one, he found it far too crowded. There were servants everywhere! But at least it was quiet here, and he could get work done without having to worry about being tackled by two idiots who had nothing better to do. Also, he didn't have to listen to stupid babble over humans, one in particular. He was still extremely angry at Yami, not just for falling in love with a human, but for defending him to the point of almost killing Seto. The King needed to grow up and learn that it was never going to work out. The quicker he learned that lesson, the better it would be for everyone.
A maid shyly approached him, her head bent as she called his name to get his attention. "My Lord would like to see you in the library, Lord Seto." He nodded and headed down the hall towards the library on the other side of the mansion. He wondered what Jonathan wanted with him now. Jonathan Sutherland was a British diplomat of the King's, just like his ancestors for the past fifteen generations. He was a hard working, loyal man, but at times he had very little common sense. It amazed Seto that someone could be so smart, and yet so foolish at the same time.
He knocked on the door and was quickly invited in. Jonathan was sitting in a large armchair surrounded by stacks and stacks of books. Another man that Seto didn't recognize was sitting on the couch facing the door, flipping through a book lazily. There was a golden retriever lying in a patch of sunlight near the window that lifted it's head up when it heard the door open. Jonathan and the other man quickly stood up and bowed at Seto, who nodded back at them. "My Lord, glad you could come so quickly. Ah, this is Patrick Walsh," Jonathan said, pointing at the man on the couch. "He works for me at the embassy."
Patrick bowed again and said, "It's a pleasure to meet you, Lord Seto."
"Yes, nice to meet you too. Jonathan, what is it that you wanted to see me for?" Seto would rather not be trapped in a meeting at the moment. He felt agitated for some reason, and he needed to get out of this mansion. It was eight in the morning on a Saturday, and he needed to get out. He glanced over at the dog and watched it's tail flick back and forth slowly.
Jonathan nodded and picked up a folder and opened it. "My Lord, you had asked me to look up scrolls on human involvement with Shadows two days ago. Well, Patrick has been going through the vault in the embassy looking for scrolls or documents. Sadly, all we've found was records of casualties after battles. Also, a few records of nobles keeping humans as slaves. But these are from thousands of years ago. And nothing of the royal family keeping human slaves." He handed the folder to Seto, who looked through it. It was nothing but copies of the records.
"This is all you could find?" Seto had hoped that there would be more information of human involvement with Shadows here in England. Yami's ancestors had previously lived here in England, before his great grandfather decided to move to Japan. Actually, the royal family had lived on every continent in the world, but Seto wasn't about to travel around everywhere trying to find out if the royal family had gotten involved with humans before. Seto was absolutely sure that none of them had fallen in love with a human before. His father would have told him that. Unless it had been erased from the records, since it was more than against the laws to be with a human. Maybe falling in love with humans ran in Yami's family. Or it could be that this King was just an idiot.
"Yes. I'm sorry, Lord Seto, that I couldn't find anymore," Patrick said as he bowed his head in shame. Seto sighed and nodded, closing the folder as he did so. He hadn't really expected much, but he had hoped that he would get more than just casualty records. He looked back over at the dog when he heard it get up and stretch. The dog trotted over to him and sat by his feet, looking up at him expectantly.
Seto handed the folder back to Jonathan, and headed towards the door. "Well, thank you for trying." He looked down at the dog that had followed him and tried to shoo it away, but the dog just barked happily and wagged it's tail. With a sigh he gave up and walked out, ignoring the dog that kept following him. He walked down the stairs and headed out to the back garden, sitting down on one of the benches that faced a small fountain. The dog sat on the ground next to him, looking up at him and barking again. He tried to ignore it, but it butted his hand with it's nose, trying to get it's attention. He didn't react to it and it barked again. "What do you want?" he asked finally, looking down at it.
The dog barked happily and wagged it's tail quickly. It began to trot around, obviously in the mood to play. But Seto didn't want to play with the dog. He just wanted to sit here quietly and not think. But the dog's constant barking was getting on his nerves quickly. "Stupid mutt, shut up!" The dog's tail stopped wagging and it looked at him sadly, cocking his head to the side. Suddenly, Seto was reminded of that human boy that he had met a while back. The Shadow sighed and covered his eyes with a hand. Great, this was NOT what he needed to be thinking of at a time like this. And why that human of all people in the world? It was probably because this dog reminded Seto of that human. 'They're both mutts,' he thought bitterly.
The dog nudged his hand again and Seto looked back down at it. "What do you want?" he asked it. "I'm not going to play with you." But all the dog understood was the word 'play', and it began to jump around again. Seto sighed as he watched the dog. "If I play with you now, will you leave me alone for the rest of the day?" The dog barked once, and the teen took that as a yes. Standing up, he began to walk through the gardens with the dog following him. He really didn't know what to do with the dog, so he just created a stick with his magic and threw it. The dog quickly chased after it, bringing it back with a wag of it's tail. They repeated these actions for a bit as they continued to walk through the gardens.
Soon Seto's arm was getting tired from throwing the stick. It seemed that no matter how far he threw it, or where he threw it, the dog would always find it and bring it back. And if he took too long in throwing it, the dog would begin to bark impatiently. Seto couldn't help but smile at it's antics. It wasn't as annoying as he had once thought. In fact, it was rather fun to play with the dog. He sat down on the grass under a tree and watched as the dog barreled through a few bushes to look for the stick. The Shadow titled his neck back till he was looking up at the branches of the tree. The leaves were big on this particular tree, and the brightest shade of green he had ever seen. The wind rustled the leaves a bit so that patches of sunlight peeked through them, making spots of light on the grass below.
He heard the dog come back, and looked down at it. It was panting heavily, but it's tail was still wagging. It slowly walked over to him and flopped down beside him. Stretching itself out, it yawned and shook it's head lazily. Seto reached over and began to gently pat it on the head, marveling at how soft it's fur was. He leaned against the tree trunk as he continued to pet the dog. What was still annoying him was the fact that this dog continued to remind him so much that human that he had met at the school that one day. The soft, blonde hair, the happy aura, the eagerness to please - it was all very similar to that boy. Which was confusing because Seto still had yet to figure out why that boy had been on his mind so often. He had barely talked to the teen for five minutes, and yet he couldn't forget about the kid.
He just couldn't figure it out! Why the hell would a human be on his mind? He was, in no way, like that stupid King who obsessed over a human. He absolutely hated all humans, and that teen was no different. Whether he thought about him often or not did not change the fact that all humans were vile, lowly creatures. There was no changing that fact, and one teen was not going to change how he felt about them. And he wasn't about to change his opinion of the teen either. 'Stupid human,' he thought. 'Why can't you just get out of my head?' Just as he finished that thought, he was suddenly tackled to the ground by one heavy dog. "Get off!" he yelled as the dog began to lick his face.
Well, this was just what he wanted. Note sarcasm. "I said get off, you stupid dog!" The dog barked at him happily but didn't get off. After a few minutes of trying to push the dog off, and failing, Seto sighed in exasperation and just lay on the grass. The dog really was heavy, and Seto felt like he was being crushed by the weight. "What's with you, you dumb mutt? Why don't you leave me alone?" he asked quietly. Though he was talking to the dog, in his mind all he saw was that human. He had to do something before he went insane from thinking about this human all the time. But what could he possibly do? He wasn't about to go stalk after him like Yami was doing with his own human. Though avoiding the problem only seemed to make it worse. So what could he do to stop himself from thinking about the teen every second of the day?
Maybe…maybe if he went back to see the teen one more time, he could forget about him. Just once, for…closure. Yea, that was right. For closure. Though Seto really didn't understand why he needed closure for thinking about a human. It wasn't as if the human meant anything to him. He definitely had no feelings for the human like that stupid King. He would shoot himself in the face before he developed 'feelings' for a human. So his excuse for going back to see the teen was just that he needed closure to forget about him. Then he could move on as if nothing had ever happened.
So, with great effort, he managed to push the dog off of him and stood up, brushing the dirt off of his clothes. The dog looked up at him expectantly, but Seto just walked away from it. He might as well go now, since it was already after five in the afternoon back in Japan. If he waited any longer, he would risk the chance of the teen going to bed. And Seto wanted to get this over as quickly as possible. He closed his eyes and chanted a spell under his breath. Two orange circles and a star appeared beneath him, and he suddenly disappeared in a flash of orange light.
In a second he reappeared on top of a tall building in the middle of Domino. He walked to the edge and looked down at all the people walking on the streets. They were so small, so insignificant compared to him. He could control them all so easily without batting an eyelash. But he was here for another purpose, so his wings burst from his back and he took off into the air quickly, chanting another spell to make him invisible to both humans and Shadows. He couldn't take the risk that Yami had come back to visit the human. If the King saw him here, it would look incredibly suspicious.
The brunette flew around the city for a bit, trying to find the human's scent. It was hard though, since there were so many other humans, and Seto wasn't quite sure on the human's scent in the first place. The only human whose scent he knew well was Yugi's. And, if fate decided it liked him, he would be able to find that other human with Yugi. Because he really wanted this to end quickly, and didn't feel like spending the rest of his life trying to find one elusive human. Seto was tempted to think that the human didn't exist; that he had just made him up in his head. But he knew that wasn't true because why the hell would he make up something like that? That was more like a nightmare than anything.
So he changed tactics and began to search for Yugi's scent. He quickly picked it up and followed outside the city to a small neighborhood. His hearing picked up the sound of laughter coming from behind one of the houses, and he quickly landed on the roof, his wings folding on his back as he crouched over the edge. He felt so stupid now, spying on a bunch of humans just to find the one that wouldn't get out of his head. Forget closure, at this rate Seto felt like punching the teen to get rid of his annoyance.
He was more than surprised to see Yugi being tackled by someone who look very much like Marik. The two fell into a pool with a big splash, and a female began to reprimand them for splashing her. Another tall brunette began to complain that his towel was now completely soaked, and a look-a-like of Bakura reached in to the pool to help Yugi out. Yugi glared at the Marik clone and muttered something which made the other teen begin to apologize hastily.
"Hey, Ryou!" the male brunette called out, and the one who looked like Bakura turned towards him. "Your ipod will get wet if you leave it there." The teen gasped and quickly ran to a pile of clothes, grabbing them and heading inside the house.
'So his name is Ryou,' Seto thought. He'd have to remember that, just incase that idiot of a King dragged them even more into his little ordeal with the human. And if Yugi had a friend that looked like Bakura, then said Shadow would definitely become interested. If he didn't already know about the human that is. He blinked and looked over at Yugi, then suddenly felt his heart stop. Yugi was looking right at him! He backed away from the edge of the roof quickly, muttering another chant to make his invisibility spell stronger. There was no way that Yugi could have seen him! But then why was he looking at him?
"Hey, Yugi," the female called. "Something wrong?" she asked, looking up at the roof as well.
The teen smiled at her and shook his head. "No, I just thought…it's nothing." He then turned away and looked towards the back door. "How long does it take Jou to order a pizza?"
"He's probably secretly ordering twenty for himself," the Marik clone said as he swam lazily back and forth.
"Shut up!" Seto heard a voice yell from inside the house. He perked up when he recognized the voice, and crawled back to the edge of the roof. What did he care if Yugi saw him? The teen had probably only sensed something was off thanks to that stupid bracelet on his left wrist. "It's not my fault that the person taking my order was a deaf idiot!" the voice continued to yell, coming closer to the door. Right before Seto's eyes, the blonde teen that he had been thinking about non stop walked out of the house. The Shadow suddenly found that he couldn't take his eyes off the teen. He was wearing nothing but a dark purple bathing suit, and a towel draped around his shoulders. His body was shimmering in the afternoon sun with droplets of water, the water trickling down his chest and over his lightly defined muscles in little rivulets. His shaggy blonde hair was dripping wet and clung to his face, framing his features gently. His honey eyes shone with mirth, and a small smile played on his rosy lips. "I don't see why they let stupid people like that answer the phone," he said, his voice light and almost melodious.
"That's not nice, Jou," the female said.
"It's the truth!" the blonde answered. "Ask Ryou," he said, pointing to the silver haired teen behind him. "He tried talking to the dumb ass too!"
"I'll admit that person was not the most qualified to take phone orders," Ryou answered as he went to go sit by Yugi. "But the pizzas should be here in twenty minutes."
"They never arrive in twenty minutes," the blonde in the pool said as he swam up and placed his head on Yugi's legs. "I find that they always take longer."
"Well, considering that they have to get all the way up to your apartment, I don't doubt that it takes them longer, Malik," the female said while sitting down next to the other two.
"Well, they still should get there faster," the one called Malik said with a pout.
"Well don't live on such a high floor," Jou teased.
"You shut up," Malik said as he aimed a splash at Jou. "I'd rather live with Yugi than in that apartment," he continued, wrapping his arms around the smaller teen and dragging him back into the pool.
"I don't think my sanity would last very long if you did that," Yugi said as he struggled to climb back out, only to be held tightly by the tan blonde.
"Or your virginity," the tall male brunette said with a laugh. The others chuckled and agreed with him.
Yugi blushed hotly, and aimed a big splash at the male. "Honda, you shut up! You are all perverts," he complained as he tried once again to get out of the pool.
"But, Yugi," Malik said with a laugh as he held on tighter to the struggling teen. "You can't be so embarrassed. After all, we're going to elope soon."
Seto smirked when Yugi began to splash the blonde teen, yelling curses and insults at him and all the others. 'Elope, huh?' Yea, that definitely sounded like something Marik would do and say. Especially with the one who looks like Yami. These humans were way too similar to how the others acted, that it was almost scary. Except that Ryou seemed like a calm, logical person. Definitely not like Bakura, which was a very good thing.
"Malik, you are going to drown him if you don't let go," Jou said, and Seto turned to watch him. The blonde walked over towards the pool and grabbed Yugi's arm to pull him out. Seto saw the twin devious smirks on both Yugi and Malik's faces, and soon Jou was floating at the bottom of the pool. He couldn't help but chuckle lightly when the blonde began to chase after them. He grabbed Yugi and began to tickle the smaller human.
"Jounouchi! Stop!" Yugi said between laughs, almost choking on the water that he kept splashing about.
'So his full name is Jounouchi,' Seto thought, making sure to remember that name. Though he didn't know why he had to. It wasn't as if he was going to see the human again after this. No, this was closure, and closure mean the end. It meant the end of always thinking of the human. It meant the end of having the boy's image at the front of his mind. It meant that he would finally be able to forget about this whole ordeal. Well…until Yami screws up again and drags them all back in to his little fling with the human. Which he would.
It really wasn't that he had anything against Yugi, other than the fact that he was a human. The teen seemed like a very nice person, and seemed to truly care for Yami. Seto still remembered what Yugi had asked him before he left that night that they found Yami. He had asked them to take care of Yami. He wouldn't say that if he didn't care for the King. 'But how much does he care about Yami?' Seto thought to himself. Yami had fallen in love with the human, but what were the extent of Yugi's feelings? Was it possible that Yugi cared for Yami just as much? This was a new idea that Seto would have to look into. Later, though, as now he was currently focusing on the fact that Jou was climbing out of the pool, the water flowing gently down his body.
"I'm not gonna help you next time he clings to you like that," Jou said, sticking his tongue out at Yugi.
Yugi pouted and gave the teen a sad look, which made Jou quickly look away. "Aww, don't you care about me anymore?"
"Not if you pull me in the pool while I try to help you," Jou answered, covering his face with a towel. "You and your crazy stalker can drown for all I care."
"So he says, but you know he's still going to try to save you," Honda quickly said.
"Thanks for the back up, jerk!"
Seto just couldn't take his eyes off the human teen for some reason. He also found that he couldn't leave. It was more than strange that he was obsessing so much over a human. Wait, no! Not obsessing! He was not about to turn into Yami, and that was final. He was not obsessing over the human. Curious was a better word, but even that sounded wrong. He was not curious about the human. He was definitely not obsessing over the human. He was here for closure on all his strange thoughts that constantly revolved around the human. But closure wasn't coming to him as fast as he would have liked, and he was beginning to wonder if he was going to find closure today. Or if he was going to find closure at all. 'No, I will find closure!' he told himself, eyes narrowing in a light glare at a roof tile. 'I will stop all these crazy thoughts about him once and for all!'
It just hit Seto how much he sounded like an ex lover. What with all his talk of closure and the fact that he admitted that he was always thinking about the boy. It made him sound like some love sick fool who had just recently been dumped. A chill went down his spine with that particular train of thought, and his glare at the poor roof tile intensified. He was NOT NOW nor will he EVER BE the jilted lover of a HUMAN. It was Yami's job to obsess and fawn over a human, not his. And Seto would be damned before he let his whole existence revolve around a human. This was closure, damnit! So enough with all the thoughts over that human!
The Shadow turned his glare towards Jou, but his glare quickly shifted from him to the female who was clinging to his arm. With all his mental ranting and denial of obsession, he had completely missed their conversation. Though that didn't give permission to that girl to hang off Jou like that. That cheap harlot! "Come on! You promised," the female said as she batted her eyelashes at him.
"Anzu, do I have to?" Jou asked, looking more than uncomfortable. The other four teens snickered and he glared at them all.
"A promise is a promise, Jou," Ryou said, trying so hard to keep his smile in check.
"But I don't even remember making that promise!" the blonde said in his defense.
"I do!" Malik chimed in happily, earning a glare. "It was after lunch on Thursday, when Anzu met us in the gym before class. You and Honda were arguing about something and Anzu asked you, and you agreed."
"Well I obviously wasn't paying attention!" Jou yelled. "So that doesn't count!"
"But we all heard you make the promise, Jou," said Yugi with a laugh.
"Oh, come on, Yugi! Why don't you go with her? It wouldn't look so weird if you went." Jou was desperate now, and Seto wondered what exactly he missed.
"And why not? I'm a guy too. Besides, she asked you and you agreed to go. So you are going."
"But…I don't want to shop for a bridesmaid's dress!" Jou whined pathetically. He looked on the verge of tears and the others did nothing but smirk evilly. Seto couldn't help but smirk himself at the teen's predicament. That sounded like such a fun thing to do. "I'll be dead before the day is through."
'Stupid mutt,' Seto thought, still sporting the smirk. 'You shouldn't agree to things without finding out what they are first.' This human wasn't the brightest of the bunch, that was for sure. So what exactly was he still doing here then? Seto should have flown away a long time ago. It was a stupid idea to come here in the first place. Because he wasn't getting any closer to 'closure' at all. Actually he was finding it was getting harder to leave. He had been telling himself to leave for the past ten minutes and yet not once did he get up. In fact, he had actually crawled closer to the edge of the roof. Any more and he would have fallen off the edge.
The teen heard a car approach the house, and soon after the doorbell rang. The whole group raced into the house to grab their pizza. As soon as they had all gone out of sight, Seto let out a sigh and lay down on the roof. The door was still open so he caught bits of their conversation, but he wasn't really paying attention to them anymore. He was too busy trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with him. He was supposed to be the logical one. The one who didn't let stupid things like this affect him at all. He had always been that way, and he had expected that he would continue being that way. Someone had to be the sane one in the palace, otherwise nothing would ever get done.
But now he was falling into this situation head first, and he didn't know how to handle it. He continued to tell himself that the only reason he was here in the first place was because of closure, but he didn't know if he could fool himself with that. It was obvious that this attempt at closure wasn't working at all. Even a blind man could see that. But then what was going to happen if he couldn't resolve this problem here and now? He wasn't about to go around pining for someone who he knew he'd never get. He really, really, REALLY was not about to follow Yami's path. He would keep telling himself that for however long it took. But he knew better than to get involved with humans. He had been taught since he was a little boy that Shadows and humans were never to have contact, no matter what. It was the biggest rule of the Shadow race, and it was not to be broken under penalty of death. Technically, Seto hadn't broken the rule since he hadn't come in contact with Jou. Other than that one time, but that was only because he was looking for Yami. And rescuing the King took precedent that time, so he had done nothing wrong.
This time though, he was sort of breaking the second biggest rule. Sort of. The rule which said that Shadows must not go looking for human contact. Seto wasn't looking for contact. He was trying to end things, not start things. So once again, he wasn't technically breaking the rule. He didn't want to talk to the boy, he didn't want to be involved with him at all. He just wanted to have closure, but apparently he wasn't supposed to find closure. Not today anyway, since all he could think of now was how the teen had looked dripping wet. 'Fuck, get that thought out of my head now!' the teen Shadow thought as he smacked himself on the forehead. That particular thought would have lead somewhere that Seto was not at all comfortable going.
A cry caught his attention, and he stopped mentally shooting himself long enough to pay attention to what was being said. He vaguely picked up something about work and long hours. "I can't believe they want me to come in now!" he heard Jou say angrily. Seto heard the sound of things being moved about and a plate was thrown into a sink. "They know this is my day off!"
"Can't you call someone to take your place?" Anzu asked.
"No one is going to come at this time. Except for the ones who were supposed to be working today!"
"Are they going to give you another day off," Ryou asked.
"I don't know. Probably not, since they are jackasses anyway," Jou said before the sound of a door slamming shut was heard. The rest of the group chatted quietly for a few minutes before a door was opened. "I'd better be going then."
"What time do you get off?" Honda asked as more sounds came from the house. "I'll give you a ride home."
"I get off at eleven," Jou answered bitterly. "I'll walk home, don't worry."
"Be careful," Yugi told him. "Call me when you can."
"Sure," Jou said before another door was opened. Seto stood up and walked towards the front of the house, peering over the roof. Jou was standing in the doorway, now wearing jeans and a gray sweatshirt. He was holding a duffle bag that was quickly becoming wet at the bottom and shook the bag lightly so that the few drops of water that had formed flew off. "I'll see you guys tomorrow then," he said with a wave as he closed the door and headed off.
Seto flapped his wings and took off behind Jou, flying a bit behind the teen. He didn't want it to seem as if he really were following Jou. Though he knew that no one would even know about him, he was trying to convince himself that if he got sick of the whole deal, he could just fly away. Though deep down he knew there was no way he was going to be able to just fly away. He hadn't been able to fly away from the house, so there was probably no way that he was going to be able to fly away from him now. Besides, Seto was a bit curious to see where the human was going. He had nothing better to do, since he had planned his whole day around this. So he might as well just go along. It wasn't as if he could just waltz back into the palace like nothing happened. He probably wouldn't be able to get past the gate. Yami was notorious for holding grudges, and Seto was pretty sure he wasn't going to let this one go so easily.
Jou stopped at a crosswalk and leaned against a pole, running a hand through his still wet hair. The teen sighed and looked up at the sky with a melancholy expression, obviously wanting to go back to his friends. Seto floated right above him, watching every move that the other made. Jou was very expressive, and he always seemed to wear his expression on his sleeve. Not always a good quality, but on Jou it seemed to fit his personality perfectly. Seto stared down into those bright honey eyes and found that he just couldn't look away. It was as if time had stopped all around them, and they were the only two beings that mattered. He felt as if he could look into Jou's soul, as cliché as that sounded. But it felt like the right thing to say; the only thing that could accurately describe it. Before he knew what he was doing, he had reached a hand out and had lightly touched Jou's cheek.
Suddenly the spell was broken and time resumed as people began to walk everywhere. Jou walked along with the crowd, but Seto stayed where he was and stared at the hand that had touched Jou. 'What the hell did I just do!' he yelled at himself. 'Did I really do something as stupid and girly as that? How pathetic can I be?' He had, in a moment of sheer stupidity, touched Jou's cheek. He actually TOUCHED a human. A wave of nausea passed over him and he suddenly felt dirty. 'How could I do something like touch him? I didn't even know what I was doing!' The urge to shoot himself suddenly became stronger. 'I really am turning out just like Yami.'
Now was the time where he should just fly away quickly and forget everything that had happened today. After all, why would he ever want to remember this moment? Luckily for him no one could see him, so no one had seen the horrible act that had just taken place. He wanted to cut off his own hand now for being so stupid as to touch Jou. No matter how soft the human's skin felt, or how warm. But those were not the types of thoughts he should be thinking of at this moment in time, or any other moment for that matter. It seemed as if he were just repeating the same things over and over to himself; don't now nor ever fall for a human, especially one like Jou. But if he didn't tell himself over and over, then he might forget and do something irrational that he would definitely regret.
By this time, Jou had moved on far past the lamppost and was disappearing into the crowd. Though Seto was definitely having second thoughts on following him now. What if he got in over his head by doing something like this? What if he dug himself into a hole so deep that he couldn't pull himself out of? After all, it wasn't like him to go around following someone as if he cared for that person. Not to mention that it was a human that he was following around; the sworn enemy of the Shadow race since the beginning of time. And yet here he was, basically stalking the guy just because he couldn't get the boy out of his mind. Was there something wrong with him? Or had Yami's craziness finally rubbed off on him?
But as he pondered over his situation, he noticed that Jou had almost disappeared completely from his view. He could barely see the shaggy mane of blonde hair bobbing through the crowd. Before he could give it another thought, Seto had taken off and flew quickly to catch up with the human. The boy was walking so fast though that the Shadow had to race to keep up with him. Jou continued to look at his watch with an annoyed glare, sighing and groaning occasionally at the slow moving crowd. He was pushing past people, slipping through large groups whenever he had the chance, almost brushing people aside. Seto had the passing thought of helping Jou out, but then what would he do? No, more importantly, WHY would he help Jou? Besides the fact that he was starting to look anxious at this point, checking his watch more and more frequently.
But Seto could see the reason why there was such a back up in traffic. Far ahead was a car accident, and the police were detouring the pedestrians into another side street to avoid getting in the way of the emergency vehicles. Which, of course, meant that Jou would be held back from getting to work even longer. The Shadow looked down when Jou muttered a string of curses, watching as he pulled out his phone and dialed a number. He vaguely listened in to the conversation Jou was having with his boss while watching the crowd to see if anything would change for the better.
He continued to look around the area with mild interest, when something suddenly caught his attention. There was something off about his surroundings; something that just didn't seem right. It felt like there was something here that shouldn't be, but Seto had absolutely no idea what that could be. But it felt so familiar that the Shadow was racking his mind to try and figure out where he knew it from. Of all the times not to know something like this! But it seemed too important to just forget something like this so easily. Maybe it was because he had been obsessing over Jou for the past who knows how long.
Then it suddenly hit him like a ton of bricks; there was another Shadow in the area. Seto suddenly became very alert and tense, scanning the area very carefully. What the hell was going on here? Why would there be another Shadow in this area? This was a human city, and Shadows, no matter who they were, were not allowed anywhere near the humans. The fact that one was walking around with the humans, not even bothering to hide himself, worried Seto greatly. What if there were more Shadows wandering the human cities around the world? What if Yami wasn't the only Shadow to have contact with humans, and to fall in love with one?
That particular Shadow felt powerful too, not like any regular Shadow that one would find. This one seemed as if he was a fighter, or someone who would constantly try to raise his power level. He wasn't as strong as Seto or anyone else on the high council, but he could possibly be as powerful as some of the members on the lower council. Which meant big, big trouble for Yami and the others. If Shadows as powerful as the lower council were wandering around in human cities, then could they possibly be trying to start some type of revolution. That is, of course, if this wasn't already some plan by the group that had attacked the palace a month ago.
The crowd below him started moving again, and Jou went along with them. Seto was now definitely in a bind; should he continue to follow Jou or should he head back to the palace and see if he could talk to Yami. Because this information was very important for the safety of Shadows, and also for the humans. If that rebel group wasn't stopped quickly, then that could mean the end of both races. But he didn't even know if Yami would meet with him after what had happened. But he could at least talk to Marik or Bakura and they could tell Yami.
With a groan, he continued to follow Jou, realizing that he had to finish what he had started. So far there was nothing suspicious or dangerous feeling about that mysterious Shadow, so Seto wasn't too worried that something was going to happen. So he tried to push that new development to the back of his mind as he focused on Jou again. The boy had started running now, dashing across streets and between crowds to get to his goal even faster. He finally reached a jazz bar, stopping and taking a deep breath before opening the door and walking in.
'This is where he works?' the Shadow thought as he landed and looked inside the dark windows. There were people sitting all around in booths, at tables, and at the bar. Soft, multicolored lights were flashing all around the room, shining on the patrons for a few seconds before panning to another area. Soft jazz music flowed out into the street thanks to the live band that was playing on a stage in the far corner of the room. An attractive woman stood before the band and was singing softly to add to the mood the music was setting.
But Jou had disappeared completely from view. Seto looked around the whole place for him, but couldn't spot the boy at all. He wasn't even part of the waiters that occasionally walked around the floor serving the people. Where could he have disappeared to? Finally Jou walked out from a back room wearing a white dress shirt and black slacks. He walked behind the bar and began to talk to the other bartender for a few minutes before starting to serve the customers. 'So he's a bartender? Isn't he young?' Seto thought as he watched Jou work for a few minutes. But he had to admit that Jou was pretty good, watching the human expertly pour drinks for the customers.
The lampposts suddenly flickered on, and Seto realized how late it had become. It was almost eight in the evening now. Seto had spent almost three hours watching and stalking Jou around the city. 'Well if that wasn't the biggest waste of my time,' he thought to himself bitterly. But at the same time, he felt much better for having come here. He had finally forced himself to face the problem that he had been having since the day he met Jou; why the boy was always in his thoughts. Though he hadn't actually figured out an answer to his problem, he was one step closer to the answer. He realized that, despite all his arguments against humans in general, Jou wasn't that bad of a person. In fact, he found himself amused by Jou many times throughout the day.
Seto made sure that there was no one around before he landed on the ground. The large, leathery, black wings folded on his back and disappeared quickly. A quick wardrobe change later, and Seto looked just like any other teenager. A black, leather jacket over a navy blue shirt with black pants was now covering him, and his hair was slicked back. Seto looked older in this outfit, but he also hoped that it gave an aura that said 'don't come near me'. His invisibility spell wore off and the Shadow was now visible to everyone. The deepest, longest sigh in history passed his lips before he walked inside the bar.
As soon as he walked through the door, he felt many eyes turn to him. Almost immediately he sensed desire radiating from those humans, and he had to suppress a disgusted shiver from running down his spine. He could hear people whispering about him, but he ignored them completely. Focusing on the soft music, he headed to the bar and took a seat at the very end. Jou had just gone into the back to fetch something, but luckily the other bartender was too busy with other customers. Turning around, Seto looked around the bar and noticed that people would look away whenever his head turned in their direction. Stupid fools; as if he'd ever be interested in them.
"Can I help you, Sir?" someone asked from behind, and he turned around. His heart momentarily stopped when he saw Jou, but luckily his expression remained calm. Though he could see recognition and surprise in Jou's eyes.
Seto peered over his sunglasses, and stared straight into Jou's eyes. "Just a Scotch on the rocks," he answered casually. He heard Jou's heartbeat pick up and watched as the human nodded and quickly walked off to get him his drink. He mentally let out a relieved sigh, happy that that part had gone well. Though he was a bit surprised that Jou recognized him. It had been about a month since that short meeting in front of the school. He took off his sunglasses and placed them in his coat pocket just as Jou came back. "Here you are, Sir," the human said. Seto nodded in thanks and took the glass, taking a sip as he looked away from Jou. He didn't want to be caught staring at the teen, because that would raise suspicion.
"Um…Sir?" Jou called, and Seto turned back around to face him. "I don't mean to pry, but…have we met before?"
Seto was silent for a minute before replying. "I've never been here before."
Jou shook his head and averted his gaze slightly so that he wasn't looking straight into Seto's dark, sapphire eyes. "No, I meant outside. Like…were you at Domino High a few weeks ago?"
"Why do you ask?" Seto asked back.
"I'm sorry, I'm being rude," Jou said quickly. "Forget I asked. Excuse me." Jou was about to walk away when suddenly Seto reached out and grabbed his wrist. Jou stopped and stared at him in shock, and even Seto's mind was reeling from what he had just done.
"I was at Domino High. You were the one who came up to me," Seto answered, slowly letting go of Jou's wrist.
"Oh. You were looking for someone, weren't you?" Jou asked as he placed his arms behind his back to prevent Seto from grabbing him again. "Did you ever find them?"
"Oh. That's good." Jou stood there in silence for a few more seconds before he made a move to walk off.
"Why did you come up to me?" Seto asked, clearly trying to stall Jou's departure.
"What?" the blonde teen asked, cocking his head to the side.
Seto blinked and quickly looked away, remembering that it was that exact same sight that caused him to think of Jou constantly. "You came up to me and asked if I needed help. Why did you do it?" He pretended to be focusing on the jazz band and their music, but he was waiting anxiously for Jou's answer.
"I…don't really know. I saw you…and…I don't know…" Jou said as he ran a hand through his hair. "It just…looked like you needed help. And since no one else was going up, I decided to do it." Jou was clearly uncomfortable in explaining why he had gone up to talk to him, but it had been bothering Seto since that day. He would have preferred it if Jou had left him alone; that way he wouldn't be having such strange thoughts over the human. But another part of him, the annoying part, was glad that Jou had gone up and talked to him.
"Do you normally help random strangers?" Seto would feel a lot better if he knew that it was a common thing for Jou to help people out. At least he would know that it hadn't been for any strange reason, like if Jou found him attractive or something. But after everything that had happened already, and all the thoughts that had passed through the Shadow's mind that day, the thought that Jou might find him attractive didn't bother him as much as it normally would have. Not that he wanted to think that way at all, but he didn't seem to have control over his thoughts today.
"Well…sometimes…if they really needed it." But in reality, that wasn't the reason why Jou had gone up to Seto. He really didn't have a logical explanation for why he had gone up to the man. It was as if something had told him to go up to Seto and talk to him. There was just something about the man that had pushed Jou into action. "And…you looked like you needed help."
Seto looked into Jou's honey eyes for a minute before looking towards the band, tapping his fingers against the glass. It was a reasonable answer, and yet Seto felt as if he had wanted to hear more. There was just something he had been wanting to hear from the other teen, and not hearing left him a little disappointed. He didn't know what else to say to the boy at the moment, and there were only so many ways to ask the question 'why did you help me'. And if he continued pressuring the boy, Jou would become either annoyed or concerned. And Seto didn't want Jou to think strangely of him, even though the Shadow couldn't understand why he wanted Jou to think of him in the first place. He just couldn't understand this boy, or why he gave him such strange thoughts and feelings. He made Seto act strangely, and made him stress out about things that shouldn't have even crossed his mind to begin with. Not only had he spent over three hours stalking the boy, he had touched him twice, and even went inside the boy's work just to keep track of him. Seto felt as if he were going crazy the longer he stayed around Jou, but at the same time he just couldn't find the will to walk away. He didn't want to walk away, but he didn't know why.
Jou was called over by the other bartender, so he excused himself and walked off. Seto could tell that the boy was relieved to leave Seto's presence, since it was obvious he had been uncomfortable the entire time. Seto didn't blame him; it wasn't as if he had made it any easier to talk to him, what with the constant questions. Seto watched Jou work out of the corner of his eye, trying to make it look like he was focusing on the band instead. He occasionally caught Jou glancing over at him, before quickly looking away. One time their eyes met, and Seto swore that he saw a blush form on Jou's cheek. But it was probably just his imagination, or a trick of the light.
After a while, Seto ordered another drink, just as an excuse to bring Jou back to him again. He didn't know what he would say, but it didn't bother him so much. He had decided that Jou wasn't such a bad person. He seemed like a kind person, and a good friend. Not to mention that he was kind of attractive, but Seto had to force himself to admit that. It was probably one of the few compliments he had given to ANY human in his whole life. Calling Yugi nice was one thing, but saying that Jou was attractive was on a whole different level. That was seriously toeing the line of starting to like Jou. As much as he hated to admit it, he kind of understood why Yami liked Yugi. The boy was kind, and helpful, and cute in his own way. Ok, he understood that. But this was Jou. Not Yugi. Yami had no feelings for Jou at all, if the King even knew he existed, so what Seto was thinking was all from his own brain. Which scared the hell out of the Shadow, since it meant that he was just as susceptible to falling for Jou, like Yami had for Yugi.
The singer took a break after a while, and now it was just the bad playing softly in the background. Now that it wasn't as loud as before, Seto could hear Jou talking to his co-workers. The Shadow heard the teen's laughter ring through the bar, and it was just as pleasing as before. Seto knew that he was becoming a complete sap, and in record time too! Just one day! He looked over at Jou and caught the teen's gaze. This time he didn't look away, and continued looking at Jou. He wanted to challenge Jou to see how long Jou would keep looking.
Jou kept looking back, though it was obvious that he wanted to look away. His gaze kept wavering, but he just couldn't take his eyes off those deep, sapphire orbs that were gazing at him so intently. He felt as if those eyes were peering straight into his soul, as cliché as that sounded. But they were so deep and mysterious, not to mention the color was amazing. Finally he had to look away, since it felt as if he was getting lost in a trance. Jou suddenly felt a blush darken over his cheeks; he just realized that he had been staring like an idiot. "So…um…what's your name?"
"Seto," was the short answer the Shadow gave. "Yours?"
"I'm Jou. Where are you from?"
"Far away," Seto answered vaguely. "What about you? I've never seen a blonde Asian before." He needed to change the subject quickly.
"Well, I've never seen a blue eyed Asian either…wait…forgot about Anzu," Jou said with a nervous chuckle, scratching the back of his head.
Seto couldn't help but smile at Jou. The teen was so strange, and yet it seemed almost cute. Of course, Seto would never use the word cute for any human. Nope, he'd never use it. "You are a strange one, aren't you?"
"I am not!" Jou said with a ticked off look. "I'm normal, no matter what you think."
"I'm sure you are. Aren't you too young to be working in a bar?" Seto couldn't help but ask these questions. He wanted to know more about the teen. Might as well get it over with now, so he wouldn't have to bother with constant wondering.
Jou handed a drink to another customer, and knelt down to look for a glass. "I know the guy who owns this place. I needed a job, he needed a worker. It worked out." Normally he didn't talk this much to random strangers, but Seto was an exception. He didn't know WHY, but he felt as if he could open up to Seto. "How long will you be in town?"
"I don't know. It's hard to say, since I have my…job to attend to." Seto didn't know if he still had a job. Technically no one could take his job since advisor to the king was a job passed down through his family. But that didn't mean that he couldn't be removed from that position if the King chose to do so. "I don't have much time to just go wandering around. I always have work to do."
"Wow. Sounds like you have a lot of responsibility. I don't think I could handle a work schedule like that." Jou wondered how old Seto was if he had so much work to do. Unless he was an intern, or some sort of genius that graduated early. Suddenly Jou felt like a moron compared to Seto; he was struggling to pass math, and here was this guy talking as if he was the boss of his own company or something.
"Well, you're only hum…shouldn't you be doing school work instead of serving people alcohol?" Seto was glad that he had caught that mistake before he said it. Saying the word 'human' would probably make Jou wonder what was wrong with him.
"Shouldn't you be working instead of wasting your money on the alcohol that I'm serving you?" Jou snapped back. He was starting to think that Seto was a bit annoying.
"Touché," Seto said with a smirk. "That means you made a good response."
"I know what touché means!" Jou lied, turning away from Seto. "Are you going to order anything else, or are you just going to take up space at my bar?"
Seto continued smirking at Jou's annoyed look. It was fun to piss him off, even though Seto knew it wasn't nice. But it wasn't often that he could piss people off like this and get enjoyment out of it. If he tried it with the others, they'd end up annoying him back. But what could one expect from a human? "Until I decide, I'm going to sit here and continue bothering you."
"Jee, thanks for being such a considerate bastard."
"Is that any way that you should talk to your customers? What if I were to complain about you to the manager?" Seto asked, taking another sip.
Jou scoffed and turned back to Seto. "I'd tell him that you were being a rude jackass, and have you kicked out." Seto was really getting on his nerves now, and he just wanted to tell the guy to get the hell out. He had thought that Seto was a nice guy, but now he was realizing that he was an ass. "Don't you have anything better to do than to bother me?"
The Shadow snickered and pushed the empty glass of scotch towards Jou, who took it and refilled it. "Nope. My night is completely free, so you are stuck with me until I feel like I've gotten bored enough with you."
Jou rolled his eyes and walked off to take care of other customers. The singer came back and the band started their music again. Seto watched Jou again as he chatted with other people, laughing and trading news. It was amazing to see the change he suddenly made when he talked to other people. Of course, it was to be expected that he was nice to the people that were nice to him. But Seto liked being an ass to him.
A few hours later, Seto was still sitting at the bar. By this time, Jou had learned to ignore any rude comments that Seto made to him. He figured out that Seto liked being an ass, and was trying to not fall into that trap again. Of course, it wasn't going as easy as he hoped. He still got riled up by any comment that Seto made to him. Especially the new nickname that Seto had picked out for him: Puppy. Finally it was time for the bar to close up, and Jou turned to Seto. "Are you going or not? We're closing up already."
Seto looked at his watch and noticed just how late it really was. He needed to get back to England. Or the castle if he was allowed back in. Seto stood up and placed his money down on the table. He nodded and walked out, the bell on the door ringing as it opened and closed. Jou sighed in relief when Seto was finally gone, glad that he didn't have to deal with that man for the rest of the night. He dropped the rag he was holding to pick up the money. Counting it absentmindedly, he turned and began to walk to the register when he suddenly stopped. He blinked and recounted the money again. "What the hell?" he muttered as he counted the money a third time. This had to be some sort of mistake. He leapt over the bar and ran outside. Jou stood outside the bar and looked around for Seto. He spotted the other man two blocks away and sprinted after him. "HEY! Hold up! Wait already!" he yelled as he ran after Seto.
Seto stopped and turned around, giving Jou a confused look as he watched the teen run after him. "What is it? Did I forget something?"
"What's the deal?" Jou asked suddenly, shoving the money in Seto's face. "You gave me too much!"
Seto blinked and looked down at the wad of cash. "No, I gave you the right amount."
Jou stuttered and shook the cash under Seto's nose. "You gave me a hundred dollars too much! I couldn't let you walk away a hundred dollars short." Jou wondered exactly why Seto was carrying around so much cash, and where he might have gotten it. But, at the same time, he didn't want to know. No way did he want to get involved in any shady deals.
"I told you," Seto said, pushing the money back towards Jou. "I gave you the right amount. Take it and stop complaining." Jeez, why couldn't Jou just accept the money? It was a good tip, and anyone would be glad to have it. After all, it was a hundred dollars!
Jou stuttered again and looked from the money back to Seto. "I…I…I'm not going to accept it. You are crazy! For just a few glasses-"
"I'm not taking the money back, so deal with it. Do something useful with it, like getting a haircut," Seto said with a smirk as he turned and walked away again. Jou was left there staring after Seto as the brunette walked away again.
"I'm…I'm not using this money!" Jou yelled out, but Seto didn't turn around. Instead he just continued walking away into the crowd. Jou finally went inside after a few minutes. His coworkers wanted to know what all the commotion was about, and Jou revealed the one hundred dollar tip. His coworkers were in just as much awe as Jou was, and some wondered what the hell Jou had done to possibly deserve that much in tip. Someone even accused Jou of having a sugar daddy, but was silenced by a strong bash to the head. Jou offered to turn the money in to the boss, but was immediately yelled at for even thinking of something so stupid. In the end, Jou was forced to shove the bill into his pocket and keep it.
Seto found himself in a small park a few miles away from the bar. Thoughts were swirling around in his head like a tornado, and Seto couldn't keep a grasp on one for too long. Why was he so nice to Jou, a human? He had never been this way before. Blaming Yami was convenient, but completely useless since Yami wasn't making him feel this way. Nor could he blame Yugi for starting everything, since it wasn't the human's fault. No, the one to blame was Jou. But how could he blame Jou for something the teen didn't even know he did? Seto wasn't even sure what crime Jou had committed!
"I'm sick of this whole damn town, and all these humans," Seto muttered to himself as he withdrew his wings and flew into the air. He was going to go back to England and sleep this day off. There was absolutely no way that he was going to get any answers today. "Fuck this." An orange circle appeared under Seto, and he prepared himself to leave for England. However, just before he vanished he sensed that other Shadow nearby, watching him. His eyes scanned the surroundings, but he couldn't see anyone. "Who are you!" he yelled, taking a step forward as if to charge at the other Shadow. It was too late though, since Seto disappeared in a bright, orange flash.
Star: Yea, there is another Shadow wandering around the town. And now they know Seto is wandering around as well. What could this mean for Yami and the others?
You have to stay tuned to the next chapter to find out. And I SWEAR on my kitten's life that I will put the next chapter out soon.