Seto Kaiba was a genius. Everyone knew it, including Mokuba. In a way, the boy took a certain pride in his brother—much like parents would have if they were still alive. Therefore, the intelligence did not make the boy fearful or nervous around his brother. It just made Seto even more special.
For special Seto was. Today especially. Mokuba had been begging his brother to go to the countryside and walk in the trees and meadows. He did not know why the obsession had suddenly struck him, but the fact was that it had hit him hard like any child deciding they needed something and needed it instantly. Today, Kaiba had finally agreed to take him.
They left from the Kaiba Corporation building in the limo. Inside, Kaiba had stopped trying to get any work done because his brother was so antsy and downright hyper that Kaiba thought it best to get the cycle out of him. After this, he was certain Mokuba would be back to normal.
The tall buildings leaking gases and noxious excrement faded into a dark smudge of smog on the horizon, and then, as the hills grew greater, it was gone completely. Instead, sturdy trees littered the side of the road and grasses blew in the wind rather than waste paper. The only scent lingering on the gentle breeze was that of wildflowers bobbing their heads under the caressing sunlight. Now, instead of cell phones with repetitive voices streaming through, one could listen to crickets and gnats.
Mokuba jumped out of the limousine as soon as it stopped, dragging his brother after him by the hand. Soon, the black vehicle, the last stagnant reminder of the city, was lost behind them as they waded through a meadow in the direction of a forest at the base of a mountain.
Mokuba froze in place, one small finger trembling as it pointed straight at a fluttering blue butterfly. And just a butterfly.
"I've never seen such a bright blue-purple-lavender-violet color!"
His brother's exuberance made Kaiba stop and look at the delicate creature finally landing for just a brief moment on a flower. Then, just as quickly, it was up again and flying a jagged path further into the shadowed trees.
With no indication at all, his little brother started laughing for the pure joy of breathing the nourishing air. Here, there was no need to scrunch up your nose as you passed by a row of smokers.
"Hey, Seto, your hair's a different color under real sunlight!" With that, still laughing, the young adolescent dashed off under the trees.
So is yours, Kaiba thought. It looks even shinier.
It was as if Mokuba had never seen nature before. Which, with a pang, Kaiba realized he had not. Mokuba had never been so far from Domino. If he had, it was only to go to another big city. The closest his brother had come to wilderness was Duelist Kingdom. And there, his brother had been locked in a grungy dungeon more than out in the clear air.
A few meters in the forest, Mokuba had ceased running. Now, he was just standing and breathing. Hearing his brother's steps, the young adolescent turned with a grin.
"Listen," he whispered.
The clear sound of the Japanese wagtail and blue rock thrush beat through the quiet air to sink softly into their ears. There were no engines steadily thrumming and no voices splitting through their brains. It was still and silent but for the fresh wind and calling birds.
Almost, the air was the taste of cottony ice cream, thick and luxuriant on the tongue. The various flower scents were like the seasonings on this new dish, exotic and addicting. It was amazing all of what Kaiba could notice now that there was no tapping keys or windows closed tightly against the smog.
By now, Mokuba was lying on his back in the grass without a care for stains. Just resting there quietly, he paid attention to every nuance in the wind, to every note of the birds, to every feeling of creeping insects on his skin.
"Sometimes it's fun just to relax, Seto."
Kaiba did not go as far as his brother. He crouched near him on the ground, but the familiarity coming from the earth was not for him.
"Don't you think?"
Mokuba had gotten to his knees and moved closer to him, big velvet gray eyes peering into his own. There was something elusive fluttering about in his brother's eyes, but Kaiba could not place it.
"Just resting and appreciating the moment. We only have so long to live, so I think we should enjoy it while it lasts. Instead of rushing by everything, we need to slow down once in awhile and—" here he paused, face brightening in embarrassment to be saying such personal things, but Mokuba had to finish—"be thankful for what we have."
If someone else had said it, Kaiba would have thought it was an attack on him. Because it was Mokuba, he took it as a mere observation.
There was a small silence. "What?"
"Do you see the world differently than I do because you're so smart?"
A stream of light rested on his brother, causing his black hair to reflect blue in a crown around his head. Almost the same blue as the butterfly. Almost the same blue as what was lingering in his eyes.
What an odd question.
"You're intelligent, Mokuba. Don't ever underestimate yourself." After all, that was what Gozaburo had tried to do to him every day, and Seto had not succumbed and would not let his brother fail, either.
The younger Kaiba made a face. "You know I'm not as smart as you are, big brother. But, I guess if you did see things differently you wouldn't even know about it because you don't know how I see the world."Mokuba frowned. This was getting a little complicated.
Did Kaiba see the world differently than Mokuba? Yes, he did. He saw it as needlessly cruel and something to attempt to manipulate. There was no simple beauty or faint traces of hope to be seen in a flittering insect. Such sights were for fools or simpletons or innocents. They were not for those who knew the existence of evil and could never go back.
This was the first time Kaiba regretted not having such a foolish head.
Lying back on the grass, Mokuba was staring up at the sky and the delicate wisps of milkweed that were the passing clouds. There was no internal time clock ticking away to the explosion of a bomb of too much work. There was only contentment.
With a small tremor of revelation, Kaiba could see what was resting in his brother's eyes right then, though it was more of a feeling than an actual image.
Lying down next to his brother, Seto forgot about his work that was waiting for him and the limo driver back over the grassland. There was no reckoning of what a waste this little excursion was.
A small cold wind came from the high mountains all the way into the short woods at their slope. At the same time, the sun was glowing fiercely and wrapping its arms around everything to block out any chill. The faint buzzing of bees trickled over everything along with the croaking of a lone frog. Traceries of different scents tickled within the nose as time slipped by unnoticed by the two Kaibas lying in the soft grass.
Mokuba's brother was musing. Time does not slow down and nothing you do will give you more. Appreciate what you have when it is there. That was wisdom.
Real intelligence was having wisdom. In fact, wisdom was even better than intelligence.
Everyone knew Seto Kaiba was a genius.
And Seto? Seto knew Mokuba was more genius than he.