One Long Week

Prologue-Losing the Bet

"Oh, hell no."

"Oh, come on Joey," Yugi's innocent voice pleaded. "It's only for a week." Joey was sure that the shorter teen was implementing his infamous, adorable, irresistible pout, and knew better than to look at those large amethyst eyes. Instead he focused on the surroundings of the park they were currently walking through.

Don't look him in the eye. Focus on the trees. Look! There goes a squirrel! And look, there's a cat playing tag with it! That's so cu— The blonde's eyes widened. After seeing the squirrel get caught by the cat that was decidedly not playing tag – or had very violent methods of choosing who was it - he shook his head, focusing back on the conversation at hand.

"I don't care. I'm not doing it." Folding his arms over his chest, Joey 'hmph'ed and turned his nose up at his so-called friends.

"But you lost the bet! You have to!" the shorter boy pointed out. He conveniently left out the fact that since they never shook hands on it, it wasn't legally binding. Small technicalities, you know. Besides, he kind of wanted to see what would happen if the blonde actually did go through with it. And everybody thought he was the nice and innocent one.

"Nope. The bet was rigged, I tell you!" Joey finally looked down at Yugi, and was slightly relieved to see an annoyed expression instead of his pleading face that he couldn't seem to say no to. He wasn't going to go down without a fight, dammit.

Yugi sighed wearily. This argument seemed to have gone on for hours, and knowing Joey's stubborn nature, it probably wasn't far off. "Joey, just admit it. You lost fair and square. Nobody forced you to agree to it. Now you have to pay the price."

Tristan grinned, clapping Joey hard on the back. "Yeah, besides, it's not that bad of a punishment. You only have to spend a week in Kaiba's house." He paused a moment, thinking to himself. "Of course, that's assuming you don't kill each other first."

Yugi promptly kicked him in the shin. "You're not helping matters any," he pouted, trying but failing miserably to look intimidating. It's hard to look scary when you're four-foot nothing and have cheeks that everybody's grandmother wants to pinch.

Yugi turned back to the blonde, trying to give Joey a reason to want to do it. "Just look at it as an opportunity to set aside your differences and try to become friends with Kaiba."

Joey raised an eyebrow. He stuck a finger in his ear to see if maybe a large ball of earwax was obstructing his ear canals, and maybe causing him to have auditory hallucinations. "I'm sorry, Yug'. I must not have heard you right, because I thought you just used 'friends' and 'Kaiba' in the same sentence." He probably would have mentioned that it was an oxymoron in itself, if he knew the meaning of the word.

When Yugi looked at him expectantly, the blonde sighed irritably.

"First of all, the jerk is not capable of becoming friends. He's a robot!" Joey used this moment to wave his arms wildly about, as if to emphasize the craziness of any thought otherwise. "He has no heart at all! He'd shoot me the second I arrived on his doorstep. Second of all, what am I supposed to do? Just show up and say, 'Hey, I lost a bet with my friends, and now I have to live here for a week'? Yeah, I'm sure that will go over well. Knowing him, he'd be kind enough to shoot me again." Insert long, winded breath from ranting.

Yugi looked thoughtful. Looking back, Joey really should have started running far away, as fast as possible, when he saw that look upon his face. Of course, all hindsight is 20/20, but this should have been just a bit more obvious. "Well, I guess we'll never know until you try, right?"

If Joey had been just the slightest bit observant, he would have noticed that child-like grin morph into something that was definitely more evil than cute. And Joey really should have known better than to trust that fake innocent voice.

Joey shook his head, dooming himself with his next words. Oh, how he would rue the day when he challenged a gaming midget and pointy-haired monkey of a best friend. "Nope. No way in hell. No force on heaven or earth could get me to move from this spot here." He stomped his foot down for extra emphasis, sealing his sad fate.

The other two boys looked at each other with sinister smirks on their faces. Lightning flashed in the cloudless sky. Huh, weird.

And if Joey had any bit of common sense, he would have been in a different continent by then.

Poor Joey.

"Put me down! This is not cool, guys! What if somebody sees me like this! I'm the Totally-Awesome-Cool-And-Wonderful Joey! You can NOT do this to me!" Said Totally-Awesome-Cool-And-Wonderful Joey thrashed about from the confines of his imprisonment in a very un-totally-awesome-cool-and-wonderful manner. And he most definitely did not wail like a little girl, thank you very much.

"I think you forgot to mention 'modest,' Joey." Yugi chuckled to himself. This earned him one glare of death via a pissed off blonde.

"You guys are not taking this seriously enough! This is a matter of life and death! What if somebody from school sees you guys carrying me on Tristan's shoulder on the way to Kaiba's? My reputation will be ruined!" Joey dramatically put his arm over his eyes, pretending he was about to faint from the horror.

Yugi tried to console him, assuring him that nobody would see him. Unfortunately, the mere mentioning of Kaiba's name caused legions of paparazzi spies to appear in the bushes nearby. Sadly for Joey, this moment would be caught on film by nearly two dozens cameras and at least three news stations. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Joey remained completely unaware of their presence.

And so the trio continued, Joey flung over Tristan's shoulder, with Yugi bringing up the rear while trying to engage the blonde in a conversation to lighten his mood. It wasn't really working.

"For the millionth time, I can walk you know! I'm not some two-year old who has to hold somebody's hand!" Joey continued with his tantrum.

Tristan snorted, shifting the weight on his shoulder. "We already tried that, remember? You tried to run away, but ended up falling into some poor kid's stroller and rolling down the street, knocking over an older-than-dirt granny, barely missing a moving van, and finally into an open door which just happened to lead into a toy store and oh-so-conveniently crashed into the display of marbles which made all the nearby customers fall and almost break their necks. Which, y'know, it not really a good thing. I don't think I want to go through that again." Tristan's voice had steadily risen in volume until the end, when he was nearly yelling at his idiotic best friend.

Unfazed, Joey got a far-off, dreamy look to his eyes, remembering the incident. "I gotta admit, that was one hell of a ride!" His grin grew wider. "One day, I'm gonna get me one of those." He sighed wistfully.

Yugi raised an eyebrow in disbelief. "A stroller?" he said, unsure if he understood correctly, and needed to hear Joey confirm that he had, in fact, lost his mind.

Joey donned his wide, lopsided grin. "Yeah! Those things can get some speed!" Yep, his mind was indeed lost.

"Your idiocy astounds me," Tristan muttered to himself, once again shifting the very large weight on his shoulder that was Joey. "And I think you need to cut back on the sweets a little," he grumbled in complaint.

"Hey! I heard that!" Joey growled, trying to twist around to glare at the taller teen, which was rather ineffective, considering his position of hanging over Tristan's shoulder, and could only glare at the back of his head. "I oughtta— oomph!"

Oomph is the sound one makes when one is tossed rather ungracefully to the concrete sidewalk, and lands just as elegantly on one's rear end.

"We're here!" Yugi chirped, cheerful as could be, completely unaware as Joey made several mental notes to exclude Yugi and Tristan from his will.

Joey's face paled as he slowly turned around to see the vast white Kaiba mansion. This was just a bad dream, and he would wake up any second, right? He pinched himself. It hurt.

Well. Shit.

"You know, guys, we can always say that this was just some kind of sick joke, and we can all go home happy, right? I mean, who cares about some stupid bet?" He chuckled nervously, praying for the best. His friends wouldn't honestly condemn him to death, right? It was just inhumane!

Please God, help me out here, and I will never copy off Yugi's homework again. Unless, y'know, I really need it. No, no! Never ever, just as long as you get me out of here. Deal? Okay?

Apparently, God didn't believe in helping cheaters, or just had something against Joey in general. Yugi and Tristan each grabbed one of Joey's arms and began to pull him to the front gate, which loomed ominously overhead. Joey, of course, was dragging his heels, biting his captors' arms, and howling pitifully. It was quite the spectacle.

And, of course, the paparazzi spies caught every second of it. And one day, Joey would find out that his supposedly sweet, kind, caring sister had tape-recorded the event when it aired on national television. That soon-to-be tape would one day become her most prized possession which she would show off at every family gathering. It would also one day become Joey's goal in life to find and burn said tape of horror.

When they finally reached the entrance to the Kaiba mansion, the two 'Evil Minions of the Underworld and Certainly Not My Best Friends,' as the blonde had come to call them, were panting, and Joey was still trying to escape like a mad dog, all Kaiba jokes aside. He'd die a thousand deaths before he'd voluntarily spend time with Kaiba, dammit! Suicide was actually looking like a fine option at this point.

Yugi rang the doorbell. Realizing that there was no way to escape, and also drained of all energy, Joey finally sat on the charming doormat that clearly said 'Get Lost' on the front doorstep, and waited for lightning to strike him dead. At this point, it would be an act of mercy. He could almost hear the creepy horror-movie music in the background as he waited with baited breath.

After about three and a half seconds, Joey stood back up. "Well, the jerk's obviously not home so let's just go. Worth the shot, yeah? Too bad, because, y'know, I was totally willing to do it. Being the respectable person I am. But since he's not here, it's not gonna work out. Time to go!" The blonde spun around, fully prepared to make the getaway of his life.

As if on cue, the front door slowly began to open, creaking ominously. Joey would forever deny jumping up in fright. Because that would be something a sissy little girl would do. Which he wasn't. Really. The door swung fully open to reveal icy blue eyes. A tall, slender figure leaned against the doorframe, crossing his arms across the chest.

"Well, if it isn't the circus freaks coming for a visit," Kaiba sneered, adding some venom to his glare when directed at the blonde, who suddenly seemed to be sweating profusely and looking back towards the street to see if there were any merciful cars driving by he could throw himself in front of. "What do you want?" he drawled, as if the problems of mere mortals were beneath him.

Joey panicked. He couldn't go through with this. Quick, Joey. Get yourself out of this mess with your smooth, quick thinking! "Uh, we just thought we'd wish you a happy birthday, Kaiba!" Joey laughed nervously. "You know, seeing as we were conveniently in the neighborhood, and all." You sly devil, you, Joey mentally patted himself on the back.

Kaiba gave Joey an odd sort of stare, as though he were wondering about the stability of Joey's mental health. Apparently decided that the blonde was not deranged, but just an idiot, the brunette's eyes narrowed. "My birthday was three months ago, mutt."

"Oh, really?" Joey continued innocently, opting to overlook the dog insult if it got him out of his predicament any quicker. "Well, guess we'll come back in nine months. Bye!" Joey tried to make a valiant last attempt escape, he really did, but Tristan had already grabbed him by the back of his shirt. This resulted in the collar of said shirt cutting off Joey's windpipe, causing him to choke. Kaiba sweatdropped.

"Look," Yugi piped up, reclaiming Kaiba's attention. "Joey lost a bet, and we said that if he lost, he'd have to spend a week living in your mansion. You've got tons of rooms just collecting dust, and we know there's nothing he'd hate more." Yugi tried to explain, adding that last part in hopes of bribing him with Kaiba's favorite pastime: Joey Taunting.

Kaiba just gazed at the short teen in front of him, face in a deadpan stare. Then he glanced over at Joey, who was still attempting to run away, despite the kung-fu ninja death grip that Tristan still had on the back of his shirt. The blonde so far had only succeeded in cutting off his air circulation, and his face was beginning to turn a slight shade of blue. He turned back to Yugi, who looked up at him hopefully. Kaiba seemed to ponder it for a moment.

"Get off my lawn." Kaiba spun around dramatically, ready to stalk back into the mansion.

Yugi paused a second in surprise, before trying to call out to him. "But Kaiba---"

"Yugi! What are you doing here?" A cheery voice cut him off from inside the house. A mop of long black hair appeared in the doorway. Grey eyes sparkled as a young boy waved enthusiastically to the trio standing in his lawn.

Yugi waved back happily. "Hey, Mokuba." His smile turned into an uncharacteristic smirk. "Joey lost a bet, and now he's gonna stay with you for a while," he offered as explanation for their presence. Never mind the fact that Kaiba already said no, and was almost twice as tall as Yugi, and could forcibly remove him from his property just by picking him up and tossing him over the fence.

Kaiba growled. "I already said no." He mentally debated how much damage his PR would take if he decided to forcibly remove the shorter teen simply by picking him up and tossing him over the fence.

Mokuba cheered, completely ignoring the protests of his older brother. "Really? That's great! For how long? Finally I'll have someone to play with! This is the best thing ever! Don't you think that's a great idea, Big Brother?" Mokuba said all in one breath, finally turning his big, adorable, puppy eyes onto the elder Kaiba.

Kaiba folded his arms. His word was law, and the younger boy would just have to deal with the fact that Kaiba would not deal with the blonde nuisance.

The puppy eyes grew.

Kaiba's left eye twitched. No, no. He would not lose an argument to his little brother. He was the authority figure around here, and no meant no. Not going to happen. Ever.

The eyes grew even wider and began to form tears in the corners.

Kaiba cringed and let out a sigh. So much for authority.

Mokuba cheered and squeezed Seto around the waist, crushing the wind out of him momentarily. "Thank-you-so-much-you-are-the-best-big-brother-ever-I'll-see-you-at-dinner-bye!" And with that he instantly disappeared, breaking the sound barrier in the process.

Kaiba blankly stared at the space where his brother had been not half a second ago. He felt slightly dazed. If it hadn't been completely against his character, he probably would have muttered something along the lines of, The hell was that just now? If he didn't know better, he would have thought that he had just been duped by his innocent, baby brother. But surely Mokuba would never do anything so devious. Because he was just the sweetest little angel, and would never ever manipulate Seto.

And readers everywhere will take a moment to laugh for the utter lie that is.

Shaking his head, Kaiba growled, "Fine, but hurry up and get inside." His eyes flashed dangerously in Joey's direction. "We wouldn't want Mokuba's new mutt to catch a cold out there." He smirked, putting an emphasis on the insulting nickname he had conjured up for the blonde long ago.

Joey jumped up, finally halting his continuous escape attempt. He pointed a finger in the brunette's direction, striking a dramatic pose. "Listen up, Moneybags. I ain't no dog! And believe me, I don't wanna be here. Let me just serve my time and go home so I don't have to look at your stupid smirk again!" The blonde's face felt flushed in his anger, but he couldn't help it. As far as he was concerned, Kaiba within a fifty foot radius of his person equated to irrational fury.

Kaiba's eyes narrowed, unsure why the blonde's attitude pissed him off so much, despite the fact he was the one to start it. He took three long strides to shorten the gap between them and grabbed the front of Joey's shirt, pulling him even closer.

The blonde's eyes widened slightly. Kaiba's voice was a threatening whisper, but Joey could still feel his breath ghosting over the tip of his nose. "The mutt needs to learn how to be nice to his master," Kaiba spoke softly, but just as dangerous as ever. "I would advise you to watch your step." And with that, Seto dragged Joey into the mansion, the blonde giving a surprised yelp, and slammed the door.

Yugi and Tristan just stood in silence for a few moments, staring at the closed doors with perplexed expressions on their faces. Nothing was said for a short while until Tristan broke the silence after a couple minutes.

"Well. That was weird."