He had been staring at his cell phone for over ten minutes now. It hadn't moved an inch, it was still sat in the exact some position on the bed. And it was still being stared at by the same gentle brown eyes. Although the owner had shifted his position several times - never being one for sitting completely still, from lying down flat on his back, his hands clasped over his chest, to his current position, sitting crossed legged with his head held in his hands. Just waiting.

After a while he sighed, and turned his gaze to the small, broken window that showed the ever darkening night sky outside. White flakes of snow fluttered down, the huge flakes that would settle into a proper sheet of snow for the next morning, for a brief moment making the view seem like one from a Christmas card.

But if one had stood up and looked down rather than out, they would see the over turned trash cans, the litter strewn across the pavement, the graffiti staining every available patch of wall. Usually there would be hordes of teenagers, like Jounouchi himself, roaming around the streets, despite the weather, trying to light cigarettes with cheap, corner store lighters or keeping themselves warm by drinking cheap larger and sometimes whisky stolen from their parents alcohol cabinet.

But, as it was Christmas Eve, for once the streets were empty. As much as it pained Jounouchi to admit it, most of the people that he could go and hang out with were at home, with their families, celebrating Christmas. Most of them would open presents the next day, and whether they consisted of DVD's, computer games, or just socks and chocolate, they would still be spending the time with their families.

No matter if they came from single parent families, large families, small families, if they only lived with friends, or siblings, with no adults... they were still better off that he was. All he had was his old man who either a) Didn't recognise him and just ignored him, b) Tried to kick the shit out of him for apparently being the single cause of all his problems, or c) Not recognising him but still kicking the shit out of him for, well, just kicks.

Luckily for him, said person was out at that moment. The local bar had 'special festive offers' for it's regular customers and of course that included Jounouchi Sr so he'd taken full advantage of that offer and had gone down as soon as it was opening time to claim his usual seat. Not before saying 'goodbye' to his son of course.

"Where are you...?" Jounouchi suddenly whispered out loud, throwing himself back on the mattress, staring up at the cracked and yellowing ceiling with a barely audible sigh. He grasped the cell phone in his hand, clenching it. All he wanted was to hear the familiar bleeping tones of his ring tone, to feel the vibrations shudder through his hand as he went to flip it open. But instead he received silence.

He rubbed at his reddened cheekbone, wincing slightly, but otherwise acting as if it were just another every day ache and pain. Which it was, but that was beside the point. All he wanted was to hear his voice, to know that he wasn't as far away as he actually was (try the other side of the world away).

"...damnit!" he sighed after a while, sitting back up, tilting his head to look out at the snow. The way in which each flake stood out against the darkened sky screamed perfection to him, and perfection always screamed a certain name back to him. It had been snowing when he had left after all... which was just seven days ago.

He got up, and padded across the floorboards to his window, resting his elbows on the cold sill as he stared out into the night, the cool air seeping in through the cracks of the glass. The thin glass soon steamed up from Jounouchi's gentle breathing, and he raised a fisted hand to wipe it clean.

A sudden vibration started up in his clenched fist and he jumped slightly (as he always did), and shaking his head, it suddenly dawned on him that the music playing was coming from his cell phone, and he quickly flipped it open, his heart racing a mile a minute.

"H-Hello?" he half yawned into the phone, before sitting back down on the mattress. A snicker came over the line, and his heart skipped a beat.

"I thought you'd be up, waiting for Santa"

Jounouchi snorted lightly, and raised his other hand up behind his head, turning slightly to glance out at the sky.

"I was up waitin' for you, actually"

Another snicker on the over end, followed by a soft sigh.

"I'm sorry about that... I had a last minute meeting and it just threw my schedule off... obviously I had to call Mokuba first to catch him before his bedtime but... I called you straight after"

Jounouchi nodded, even though he knew that Seto couldn't see him. He sighed softly as he turned on his side, curling up so that he was in the foetal position. It had gotten cold since, and he could even see his breath.

"It's okay... not a problem" Jou replied near automatically, before shivering slightly, "How is he anyway? Excited 'bout Santa coming?"

"He's ecstatic. He says that he's going to stay up and wait for him... as if he ever manages to do that"

There was a brief pause, before Seto sighed again.

"He... he's not around, is he?" he added, his voice lowering at the mere mention of him. Jou pulled a face and subconsciously rubbed at his cheek again.

'No," he replied softly, "He's not"

"Good," came the stern reply. That was followed by more silence, in which Jou sat up again, his free had coming up to play with his hair. It was a nervous habit that he had, whenever things looked like they were getting uncomfortable, his had would creep up to his hair and he would start pulling at his bangs gently.

"You're quiet tonight..."

"I'm sorry..."

"Don't be" came the quick response, then;" Is there something wrong?"

"I'm fine"

"Don't lie"

"... alright, so I'm feeling a little...lonely I guess" Jou admitted slowly, unfolding his legs and standing up, stretching briefly, "Its kinda dumb really... it's no different from any other time"

"Of course it is. It's Christmas" came Kaiba's simple reply, "I know that it does not make any difference to me, but I know it does to you," Jou continued listening to Seto's gentle voice as he walked back over to stare out at the snow again, "You don't deserve to be alone..."

"I dunno," Jou offered quietly, "...I'd rather be alone than..." he trailed off, but the small noise from the other end of the phone told him that he had no need to continue. He sighed, and was about to carry on when a loud knocking from his front door startled him.

"What was that?" Kaiba asked sharply. Jou pulled himself away from the window, and started padding slowly to the door.

"The door," he offered quietly, not able to hide the slight quiver in his tone, "Guess he must be back early... I should go.."

"...very well," Kaiba sighed, "Be careful. Call me when he- when you can. Okay?"

Jounouchi nodded a little numbly, resting his hand on the latch, ready to open the front door. He took a deep breath, before closing his eyes momentarily.

"I love you," he offered gently into his cell, before snapping it closed and ending the call, knowing that he'd break down if he heard Kaiba's response to him. Slipping said cell into his pocket, he braced himself, before slowly opening the door.

Jou's eyes widened at the figure present before him, entire body frozen in momentary surprise. The figure before him reached out silently, a leather gloved hand brushing over the faint markings of a bruise on Jou's cheekbone.

"I love you too." Kaiba replied quietly.