Waiting for a pink elephant

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Warnings/notes : Seto/Joey, (Bandit) Keith, alcohol abuse, slightly weird, oocness.

Disclaimer : I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh. My Keith-muse thanks its existence solely to gothicstargirl, without whom I'd never have had one. The title is actually a reference to a play, though I'm not quite sure how play and fic are connected

written at 24th july 2004, by Misura

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Somebody had told him once that you got to see all kinds of fantastic things when you got drunk. Like pink elephants. And women were supposed to look less ugly too, and your worries simply vanished for a while, as your mind was covered in a pleasant haze.

People were such liars.

All -he- had ever gotten out of becoming drunk was a terrible headache and a death-wish the morning after.

It didn't stop him from starting the whole thing all over again the next evening though.

Maybe he was less cynical than he liked to believe. Than he liked other people to believe.

Bandit Keith, professional duelist and tough guy, getting himself plastered night after night because he still believed in faerietales and wanted to see a pink elephant.

What a joke.

He didn't even look up at the sound of footsteps approaching his table. Sober, his company already wasn't sought out by too many, but drunk, nobody voluntarily came close to him.

"I'll have another beer, please. Or no, make that two."

Nobody aside from the serving girls, of course, who had to do their job after all. One of them, some cute, petite brunette with big, blue eyes even seemed to like him, always smiling as she passed his table, whether or not he had ordered something.

"I know you."

Huh? Either they now had serving -boys- in this place too now, which didn't seem very likely, considering he'd especially picked it for the pretty waitresses and their skimpy uniforms. (A man needed something to look at while drinking. Look, but not touch. He hadn't sunken low enough yet to grope girls who simply tried to make a living by serving drinks.) Or the person behind him wasn't part of the personnel, and thus not able to get him a new drink.

He turned around, to face a blonde ... boy, who definitely wasn't old enough to be allowed in here yet. Not to mention way too young to already have decided that his life wasn't worth living and that drinking was as good a way to pass the time until the inevitable as any.

Stupid kid. Where were his parents? His friends? The owner of the bar, who didn't care about the law one whit, but definitely wouldn't like the cops fining him for selling liquor to a minor?

Where was anyone when you needed them? Gone and nowhere to be found, that was where.

Story of his life.

"Bandit Keith." The blonde stared at him unfriendly. Hostile, almost.

That'd teach him feeling any sympathy for ... Oh. Just great.

"Joey Wheeler." He had more or less tried to forget about the duel that had ruined his chance at getting even with Mister Toon-Loon, more commonly known as Pegasus.

Combined with the bad light, the smoke and the fact that he had downed a nice amount of drinks already, it was hardly a miracle he hadn't recognized the boy at first.

"What are -you- doing here?" Wheeler demanded. Like he had the right.

"What does it look like? Drinking myself to death." He laughed. The sound disturbed him a little. Wheeler seemed ill at ease too. Maybe he'd never seen someone drunk before, as the innocent baby that he was. "You're too young to be here."

Wheeler got that strange look in his eyes again, his gaze darting around the room. "I'm looking for my dad. This is one of his usual hang-outs."

A remark on how -he-'d start drinking too, with a son like Wheeler, rose to Keith's lips. He swallowed it, not because he was afraid that it'd hurt the boy, but because it'd sound petty.

"Does he look like an older version of you?" Keith inquired.

"Yeah. I guess so," Wheeler replied. Figured. Kids always refused to believe they looked anything like their parents at that age.

"Haven't seen him, sorry." Keith turned away, hoping Wheeler would take the hint.

"Who are you talking to? Is that your father?" A new voice, rather cold and, well, proud. Used to giving commands and being obeyed instantly. Before Keith had lifted his eyes to see the speaker's face, he already knew what he'd read on it.

"Nah." Wheeler shook his head, not elaborating.

"Who is he?"

Wheeler seemed to shrink a little. Or maybe it was just that the young manwho was speaking to him towered over him.

"I'm Keith Howard. And who are you, hotshot, his majesty the emperor?" Keith asked with a sneer.

"Close, but not quite." A smirk. Wheeler opened his mouth, snapped it shut again. "I'm Seto Kaiba."

Keith took another look at Wheeler. Noticed the way the blonde kept his body relaxed and his shoulders slumped. Noticed the flicker of emotion in Kaiba's eyes as his gaze darted over Wheeler.

Possessiveness.

"Really? And Wheeler's your boyfriend?" 'Playtoy' might be a better word, but he'd give Wheeler the benefit of doubt. Maybe they'd had a fight and Wheeler needed to make up for it. "Cute."

Kaiba's face darkened. Sober, Keith thought that perhaps he might have been scared by it. Luckily, he was drunk. Wheeler pulled on Kaiba's sleeve.

"I want to find my father, Seto." Such a touching plea. Even Kaiba seemed moved by it. That is: he swatted Wheeler's hand away and glowered at him, taking a step forwards.

"If that is so, then what were you doing, wasting time talking to this ... this ... " Kaiba gestured at Keith, who wistfully glanced at a passing waitress. She made sure to evade Kaiba, darting past him without making eye-contact. Kaiba ignored her. Smart girl.

"He might have seen my dad," Joey argued. "It was worth a try."

Kaiba took another step forwards, his nose almost touching Wheeler's now. Funny enough, he still seemed the taller of the two by miles.

"I have given up my valuable time to help you search for your worthless father, mutt. And to make sure nothing happened to you, since you're just a weak, helpless puppy. The least you could do in return is to make an attempt to be efficient," Kaiba stated.

They kissed.

It was unexpected, weird even, until Keith figured out that -Kaiba- was the one doing the kissing, his arms locked around Joey and one of his hands buried in the blonde's hair. From what he'd heard, he hadn't imagined Kaiba as the type to use sex to get what he wanted.

Which went to prove you never could tell.

The kiss was rather thorough, tongue and all. Keith felt a little sick, watching it. There were things people shouldn't do in public, and french-kissing was definitely one of them.

"Go get a room or something." His voice sounded hoarse.

Wheeler stumbled back as Kaiba abruptly released him. He was blushing a bright crimson.

Kaiba wasn't. "Drop dead."

From anyone else, that line would have sounded cheesy, Keith reflected.

"Seto ... " Wheeler began.

"Come. Time is money after all, and we've squandered more than enough of it already." Kaiba turned on his heels, stalking away. Wheeler stared after him.

"A real bastard, that one," Keith remarked.

"Yeah," Wheeler agreed.

"A good kisser? Great in bed?" Keith inquired.

"Yeah." Wheeler nodded, then shook his head. "Not that great."

The answer didn't exactly make sense. Keith decided he didn't mind enough to ask for a clearer one.

"Good luck in finding your dad," Keith offered.

"Thanks. I ... hope you'll find what you're looking for too. Whatever it is," Wheeler responded.

"I'm waiting to see a pink elephant," Keith entrusted to him.

Wheeler studied him for a moment, then smiled.

It was a small, unhappy smile.

"Aren't we all?"

OWARI