Rowan and Sakura, once again, do not own Yu-Gi-Oh! or any other anime for that matter. We are ownership-less. Hey! Come back here with our ship! Yes you, that creep in the back with the shady glasses and shifty demeanor! We know you have it and we want it back!
Ahem. Yes. Well…you get the idea.
Warnings: Uh…some smut…well, more lime-ish smut, but still…maybe some cursing…seeing how this was written before the fic itself…anyways…on with the story, right? One last thing- somewhere along the storyline it is to be inferred that Jou has the hots for Seto. Since it's not ever really mentioned flat out, just a heads up.
Pairing: SetoJou…heh !
Picking Up Rose Petals
Life was dull and boring before the jaded eyes of Katsuya Jounouchi. Nothing exciting was happening in his life- unless living in the hellhole he called home with the drunk of a father who could barely keep two quarters in his pocket for more than one minute could be called exhilarating. That's why Jou sat at a bus stop bench now, cheap liquor in one hand, his usually clear honey brown eyes glazed with a lassitude borne from intoxication. Glancing down at the bottle in his hand, Jou smirked and took yet another swig.
"Like father like son," he chuckled to himself. "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."
Jou wrinkled his nose as the smell of the cheap booze reached his nose and tickled his senses in an unpleasant way. Why was he drinking such bad crap anyway? Oh, that's right. Because he couldn't afford the good stuff.
Shrugging, Jou finished the bottle off with a grimace, then lazily tossed it into the street just as a sleek black sports car came speeding up. The bottle nearly hit the windshield, and the next thing Jou knew, the car was purring in front of him, the left passenger side window opening and revealing the face of a very angry Seto Kaiba.
"What the hell was that mutt? You nearly broke my windshield!"
Jou glared at the brunette as he replied with a snarling, "What do I care about your stupid windshield, eh?" Oh great, he thought to himself. Just what I need to brighten up my day, Kaiba. I swear the guy follows me around just to spite me!
"Look, mutt, I really don't care whether you care or not," Kaiba peered at the blonde outside. "Are you drunk?"
Jou glowered at the CEO. "I am NEVER drunk!" he declared.
Kaiba rolled his eyes. "You are too." Sighing, he rubbed the bridge of his nose as if to soothe a growing migraine. "Get in the car Jounouchi," the brunette enjoined.
"Why should I?" Jou demanded.
Kaiba exited the vehicle and grabbed Jou's school uniform collar, pulling Jou's face within two inches of his face, only averting his head once he caught the scent of Jou's breath. "You are drunk and to save the rest of society having to deal with you, I'm going to get you off the streets and to your home, understand?"
Jou may have been drunk, but he understood what Seto said and his eyes widened in fright. "You can't take me home!" he exclaimed in earnest. "My dad'll kill me if he sees me like this! Just leave me here Kaiba! I won't be doin' anyone harm here, I promise! Just don't take me home!"
Seto was surprised by Jou's sudden outburst, but he merely nodded. "Alright, I'll take you to my place then. Just, get in the car?"
Jou blinked, unsure. Kaiba hadn't ordered him to get in like a mindless servant, but asked like a person with actual thoughts. That was different, and not unpleasantly so. But Kaiba was impatient, and did not appreciate Jounouchi's hesitation. "C'mon already mutt! Do you have mud in your ears? Get in the car so we can get going!" Seto snapped petulantly.
With a glare of disobedience, Jou slid into the passenger seat and buckled the belt. Seto restarted the car and pulled back into traffic as a light rain started outside. The patter of the water dripping onto the roof of the car brought an uncomfortable silence among the two teens. Jou gazed out the window at the falling rain, his drunken eyes seeing the rain but not understanding it.
"Why were you drinking?"
Jou was startled out of his reverie by the sudden spoken words. "Nani?"
"Why were you drinking Jou?" Seto repeated his question with patience.
Jou frowned as he pondered the question. "Because of you."
"Me? Naze?" Seto then smirked, comprehension coming clear to him. "Because of Shizuka and I-" (naze?- why?)
"Un." Jou frowned and gazed back out at the heavy precipitation surrounding the little black car as it sped along. (un- yes)
Seto sighed peevishly. "Look Jounouchi, I know you're not happy with the fact that I'm dating your sister, but your querulous behavior these past few weeks isn't helping her feel better. If you care about her, couldn't you try to be accepting?"
Jou snorted contemptuously. "Do you want to be friends?" he asked in a nasal, mocking voice.
Seto stuck his nose pretentiously in the air. "I'm not looking for friends, just a kinder attitude from you." Seto's tone softened as he added, "Shizuka really loves you Jou. Your disapproval of who she dates is really upsetting her. She would like to have your approval in our relationship."
Jou couldn't believe Kaiba was playing the 'mean big brother' card against him! "Just wait until Mokuba starts dating, then you'll understand what it's like," he threw back.
Seto laughed. "I'll only understand if he decides to date you, mutt!"
Jou glared at Kaiba as he continued chuckling. "Y'know, it'd be easier to be nice to you if you would stop calling me 'mutt' and 'third rate duelist'. Jounouchi works fine for me." Jou's eyes sought out Kaiba's in order to inculcate his point into the brunette. "Or better yet," Jou added ponderously, "don't speak to me at all!"
A silence fell upon the two like clouds descending upon the earth; wet, clammy, and uncomfortable. Seto made himself busy with driving, and a good thing too as the rain was coming down in torrents, making driving a daunting task for the brown haired teen.
"Goddamn this rain!" Kaiba snarled under his breath.
Jou snorted. "Yo, Kaiba," he said, smirking, "if the rain's distracting your driving, maybe we should stop and wait for it to pass?"
CRRRAK! A flash of light shot up from the ground fifty feet away from the speeding vehicle, lighting up Jou's flushed face, soppy golden locks, and Seto's pale complexion and tensed knuckles clutching the wheel, a trace of terror lighting up his cerulean eyes as he stared at Jou.
KABOOM! A crash of thunder sounded, near deafening the two, Jou's hands flying up to cover his ears as Kaiba winced.
"I don't like to admit this, but that's a good idea you have Jounouchi."
Jou, staring out his window at the pernicious thunderstorm surrounding them, did not answer, until, a few moments later, he cried out in relief. "Over there! A motel!"
Seto glanced over to a yellow neon sign. The sign was old, the lights flickering feebly, barely visible in the dark evening. But it was definitely marking a motor hotel and Seto was not about to be picky in this weather and company. As quickly as he dared, Seto pulled and parked his car into the gravel driveway.
"You stay here, I'll go check in," Seto commanded, leaving Jou as he ran into the motel office. A moment later he came jogging back, his trench coat soaked and his brown bangs plastered to his face. Sliding back into the vehicle, he drove down a little ways, stopping at the end of the line of rooms. "We'll just stay here for the night."
"But we have school tomorrow!" Jou expostulated.
Kaiba blinked at the blonde. "So?"
"What'll we do in the morning?"
Kaiba just shook his head in exasperation. "We'll figure that out then. Now c'mon, let's get inside." Seto opened his door abruptly, darted out into the rain, and slammed it shut. Jou watched Kaiba's coattails flapping like wings as Seto dashed through the downpour to the door. When Jou saw Kaiba open the motel door, he hastened out of the car and out into the rain, following in his companion's footsteps to the room.
"I've got this bed!" Jou said exuberantly, jumping on the bed farthest from the window.
Kaiba just shrugged and sat on his bed. "Whatever, mu- Jounouchi." He then proceed to pull his now soaked trench coat off, flinging it on an armchair, which was soon followed by his (probably very expensive) slacks and chemise. Only when he was standing in his undershirt and boxers did Seto sense a pair of eyes staring intently at his person.
Turning, Seto glanced at Jou warily. "Can I help you with something?" he asked coldly.
Jou blushed and become conscious of the fact that he had been staring fixedly at the brunette as he had stripped. "Anou…uun. Daijoobu." (anou- um; uun- no; daijoobu- I'm fine)
Seto arched his eyebrow inquisitively, but said nothing. "I'm going to take a shower," he announced, stalking into the bathroom and shutting the door behind him.
"Hmm, that creates quite a nice mental image,"Jou said quietly to himself, lying spread-eagle across his bed.
Sighing, Jou sat up, hunching his shoulders miserably. Then, with much ennui in his movements, he picked up the remote to the television and turned the box on. Staring with glazed eyes at the anime blazing across the screen, Jou came to the realization that he was no longer drunk (which of course means that he was still very much intoxicated). "Well, I only had two bottles of beer; I must have very low tolerance. Heh, go figure, right?"
"Talking to yourself mutt?" a cold, amused voice said over Jou's shoulder. Whirling around, Jou glared up at Kaiba, who, much to the blonde's surprise (and, he surmised to add with chagrin, quite a bit of delight as well), was dripping wet with only a towel wrapped about his waist. Yet despite Seto's very edible state, Jou was not about to let his comment pass unnoticed.
Jumping up, Jou glared two inches up at aoi eyes, a flash of fire alight in his own amber ones. "What did I tell you about calling me mutt!" (aoi- blue)
Kaiba smirked at the blonde and said in a quiet, taunting, voice, "Oh, the little puppy doesn't like his master calling him names?"
Jou growled deep in his throat, but not from what Seto thought.
Kaiba continued his teasing. "You even sound like a dog!" he laughed, his lips pulled back in a mirth-filled expression, showing pearl-like teeth and the red cavern of his mouth.
Jou glared in anger. "It's not funny!" he yelled. "I thought you wanted me to be nicer to you; more accepting of you! But how can I do that when you make fun of me all the time?" Jou turned away with fury, lifting the sheets on his bed and burrowing himself beneath them.
Seto, surprised by the look of hurt in Jou's eyes, went quietly about his business, dressing in silence. Any other time Jou would have taken this as an opportunity to ogle Seto, but so enraged was he that he refused to glance the brunette's way.
Seto slipped into his bed moments later, turning the lights off and leaving Jou and himself in the pitch dark. Pulling the sheets up to his chin, he attempted to fall asleep, yet his attention was irritatingly fixated on the body in the other bed. Sighing inwardly, Seto spoke into the apprehensive tension of the dark. "Does it really hurt you that much Jounouchi?"
A silence followed the brunette's question, and assuming that the blonde had already fallen asleep, he settled down to do that as well.
"Excuse me? What did you say?"
Seto was surprised into awareness at the sound of Jou's sleepy, confusedly-drunken voice. "Does it really hurt you that much?" he repeated, not unkindly.
"Being called a mutt?"
"Of course it does."
Seto heard Jou move beneath his sheets and suddenly found the light on in between his face and that of Jou's. "What do you mean why, Kaiba? It's an insulting term!"
"I'm sorry you interpreted it that way. I never meant it as an insult."
Disbelief covered Jou's face like a blanket, smothering any drowsy inclinations. "You didn't? Then how was I supposed to take it?"
Seto smiled to himself as he explained. "I've always thought dogs were loyal and, seeing you around your friends, your fierce loyalty to them reminded me of that quality. And, well, the way your hair falls into your eyes like that just, anou, reminded me of a mutt, because mutts always have the cutest eyes."
Jou stared, stunned, at Kaiba as Seto's face grew bright pink at the possible misinterpretation of his last statement. "You called me mutt because you admire me?"
Seto nodded, blushing floridly. "Hai."
"Wow, Kaiba…just wait until I tell Honda!"
Seto frowned suddenly, and Jou glanced worriedly at him. "Did I say something wrong Kaiba?"
Seto shook his head. "No, it's just if you want me to call you Jounouchi, then I'd prefer you call me Seto. I'm not just a Kaiba, y'know."
Jou's eyes widened. "You'd let me do that?"
"So, why did you sound amazed that I could possibly admire you? Is it that impossible?"
Jou blinked at Seto, eyes wide and Seto began to suspect that he had suddenly sprouted two extra heads. "Well, you do act very sanctimonious around everyone; it's as if everyone's beneath you."
"Really? Am I that cold?"
Jou nodded his head. "That's why we were so surprised when you showed an interest in Shizuka."
"Were you surprised Jounouchi?"
"Of course I was!" But the look on Jou's face told Seto that he had felt more than just mere surprise at the unexpected pairing of his sister and the CEO.
"Just surprised? Because there's something you're not telling me Jounouchi; something I feel I have the right to know."
Jou glared over at the brunette. "There you go again; ordering people around like your employees! And for your information, you're right! I was downright jealous of Shizuka to be the one to evoke human emotions into you first! That was my job; I wanted to be that person!" Jou fervently whispered into his bed sheets.
Seto stared at Jou in shock. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Jou blushed, but stuck his chin out defiantly and answered with pride, with a hidden undertone of regret in his voice as well, concealed beneath his bold confessions. "The reason I fought you so often these past months is because…I love the flash of anger in your eyes, the way they light up with passion. I wanted to see those eyes everyday; but you'll look at Shizuka with that same passion now, and it won't be born from anger. And I wanted to be the first person who ever got those eyes, those glances of passion and lust. I'm jealous of my own sister for dating you. Isn't that terrible?"
Seto, stunned, turned over in his bed, his back towards Jounouchi. Rejected, Jou rolled over as well, inwardly cursing his big mouth and hot temper.
Seto stared at the blank wall in front of him and realized he could see. Sighing, he told himself to turn off the light, but he was unwilling to face Jou after his huge confession. 'Is he crazy? Why would he ever …lust after me like that? Is it lust? Or would Jou think of it as love? We've been enemies forever…what could make him crave the…what did he call it? "glances of passion and lust"? Jealous of his own sister? Naze?' Finally, Seto could not stand to have the light on, so he turned once more to face Jou's back, and he reached out for the light. But, pausing, he asked himself, 'Should I talk to him? What would be the polite…human thing to do? Does he want to talk to me?'
"I told you to call me Seto." The brunette's response was immediate, and the CEO cringed after he snapped so quickly at the blonde. He hadn't meant to sound so harsh.
Jou sighed. "Seto…"
This time Seto's answer was more deliberated and came out as a gentle whisper. "Hai?"
"I'm sorry." Jou buried his face into his pillow.
Seto slipped out from under his covers and walked over to the other side of Jou's bed, kneeling down so he could look the blonde in the eye. "Sorry for what?" he inquired, tilting his head to the side, catching Jou in a straight forward stare.
Jou tried to look away from Seto's gaze, but the brunette's arm shot out and grabbed his chin, gently but firmly keeping it faced towards him. "Sorry for admitting that. I shouldn't have."
"Is it your fault you feel that way?" Seto asked softly.
Jou looked confused as he pondered the brunette's question. "It must be someone's fault…right?" he finally said, puzzled.
Seto shook his head, his eyes still locked on Jou's. "It's not your fault that you just happen to feel the way you do. It's just the way things are. So never feel sorry for the way you feel, okay? Cherish your feelings; they're the only ones you've got." Seto chuckled softly at his own words. "That from a guy who should know, right?" Seto added with a wink. Then, releasing Jou's chin, he made a move to stand up.
"Not so fast," Jou commanded, grabbing Kaiba's wrist firmly and pulling him back to his eye level.
Seto's eyes were wide with surprise. "What is it?"
Jou looked down at the bed sheet, his face flushing an apple red. "I was wondering if you would do me a favor…" he muttered.
Seto sat down on the bed beside Jou, tired of standing. "What kind of favor?" he inquired, curious.
"Would you…" Jou paused, unsure.
"Would I what?"
"Would you…let me kiss you?" Jou looked up into Seto's eyes imploringly. "Just once? Just to see what it's like?"
Seto was taken aback by Jounouchi's request. What would Shizuka think if she knew what her brother was asking of him? But…well, Shizuka would never need to know, right? "Jounouchi…"
Jou looked away, embarrassed. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked that of you."
Seto's hand reached under Jou's quivering chin and guided his face back in Kaiba's direction. "You sure you want a kiss from me? I'm not that great of a kisser."
Jou blinked. "Did Shizuka tell you that?'
Seto blushed and nodded. Jou laughed, if half heartedly. "Shizuka's not a good judge. She said Otogi was a wildly amazing kisser. I found out later that-" Jou paused, unsure whether he ought to continue his story or not.
"Found what out?"
Jou laughed nervously. "Well, Otogi and I wanted to experiment, you know, to see whether we had homosexual inclinations or not and…well, obviously we had to kiss, right? Well…let's just say that Shizuka was… off about Otogi's kissing abilities."
Seto pondered this information, his eyes turned to the floor. Jou became nervous, wondering if he had said something wrong. Finally, Seto lifted his head and looked at Jou once more. "So, what were the results?"
"What did you find out from your experiment?" Seto asked.
Jou blushed again. "Well, you see, our experiment was unsuccessful- we both figured we were straight as arrows. But, well, at the end of our experiment, we invited Honda to join us, just so we could tease him- y'know, scare him. Well, turns out Honda's one helluva kisser, and Otogi liked it so much, they're now dating. Heh, funny, isn't it?"
Seto was silent a moment before he spoke. "Jou, why do you want me to kiss you?"
"Well…I guess…I'm just, curious. Y'know?" Jou's hands were clasped tightly together, and he was sitting quite straight in the bed now.
"Is it just curiosity though?"
Jou cocked his head to the side, reminding Seto of an attentive puppy. "What else could it possibly be?"
Seto laughed. "You surprise me Jounouchi!"
Seto smiled. "You're so naive! You say that you just want to kiss me out of curiosity and I believe you. But if it were anyone else in our situation, I would suspect them of trying to seduce me."
Jou blinked. "Is that what you thought I wanted from you? Sex?"
Seto nodded. "At first, yes, that's exactly what I thought you were trying to get. I see now I was wrong."
"So…" Jou looked down at his hands entwined in the bed sheets. "Now that you know all I want is a kiss, are you willing to…to let me kiss you? Now that you know that that's all I want, and nothing more?"
Seto shrugged. 'I guess it couldn't hurt, right? It's just a kiss, after all. And Jou won't try anything…weird.' "Sure, I'm game," he said out loud. In his head, though, the little voice inside it had to get its last word in.
'Can you trust yourself not to try anything though?'
Jou smiled lopsidedly, happy that Seto didn't mind, but nervous that he would royally screw up his only chance. Cautiously, he leaned up into Seto, his face inching towards Kaiba's, lips parted and eyes closed. Sighing softly, Seto crossed the distance between their mouths fluidly. Jou smiled against Seto's lips and, a few quick seconds later, the kiss was over.
Seto moved away from Jou, feeling suddenly awkward around the blonde. "Uh…so…"
Jou's eyes opened to look at the brunette. "Hai?"
Seto laughed uncertainly. "Well…how was it?"
Jou blushed. "It was…nice," he said simply.
Jou cringed. "I mean, well…it was very gentle, but…it was kind of quick, wasn't it? I really don't know what I felt…"
"So what now?" Seto asked.
Jou shrugged. "I guess…I don't know."
Seto inched over to Jou and put his hand on Jou's nervously fidgeting ones. "Maybe…a longer one would help?" And before Jou could respond, Seto's lips were once more on his, kissing him deeply.
Jou shivered as he felt Seto's hands wrap around to the small of his back, his fingers playing with the edge of his t-shirt. Eyelids fluttering, Jou pressed his body to Seto's, his hands finding the brunette's shoulders and gripping them tightly as they kissed.
Seto moved forward in an attempt to get closer to Jou's warmth, his mouth bruising on the blonde's. The brunette's tongue darted out, caressing the lips gently moving against his; demanding entry. Jou willingly allowed the probing edifice into his mouth, relishing in Seto's slow and ravenous exploration. Moaning softly, Jou's hands found their way into Seto's hair, his fingers grabbing his scalp and pulling the taller teen closer still.
It was at that sudden movement that Seto came to his senses and abruptly released the blonde, moving swiftly to the end of the bed. Breathing heavily, Seto stared into space, his mind numb with shock. 'I…just kissed Jounouchi …twice! What was I thinking?' Seto paused. 'Was I thinking? What does this mean?' Glancing at Jounouchi at the head of the bed, Seto sighed. 'That first kiss…it was nothing! But why did I kiss him again?'
Jou blushed when he looked up into Seto's intent blue eyes. "Um, Seto…what was that?"
"A kiss…" Seto said warily.
Jou laughed softly. "I know, but…why did you kiss me again? I only asked for one."
"You didn't like that surprise?"
Jou shook his head. "Oh, no, it's not that…only, well, why did you do that?"
Seto shrugged. "I'm not sure."
"You said you didn't know how you felt when I kissed you the first time. Wasn't that the point of me kissing you in the first place? So you could find out whether you would feel anything?"
Jou nodded. "Yeah…"
"I guess that's why I kissed you again. So you could find out." Seto stood up from his seat at the end of the bed and walked over to his bed, sliding under the covers and lying down on his side facing Jou, who had been watching him the whole time. "So, what did you feel this time?"
Jou looked down at his hands laying limply in his lap. Smiling, Jou answered. "I liked it. It was…something I'll be able to keep forever." Jou looked up and smiled sadly at Seto. "I'll be less jealous of Shizuka now, if I can always remember that kiss. Domo arigatou gozaimasu."
"Hmm, whatever you say Jou," Seto mumbled incoherently as he slipped into slumber.
"Goodnight Seto," Jou whispered back, equally tired. "I love you," he added silently.
A stab of moonlight pierced the crack between the cheap maroon curtains, streaming over the peaceful faces of the sleeping teenagers.
The rain had finally stopped.
Yup, nope, that is not the ending! In fact, the story's just begun! I've got at least twenty more pages to go, and growing! I'm going to have to edit some scenes for…rating purposes, but most of the story…well, it's half written already! Anyway, I wanted to get this up for one purpose only- today, April 19th, is Honda Hiroto's birthday! Yup! So…
Happy Birthday Honda!
Now that that's out of my system…please review!