AN: This story, surprisingly, was inspired by the same story that inspired "Misprint"- Misura's wonderfully sad "Dear Diary". This actually came about during a road trip- Rowan had contemplated the other side of that story- what would happen if Seto didn't return Jou's feelings. By the way- immediately after reading (and reviewing) this story, go read all of Misura's works! She's a major puppyshipping writer and one of my favorites, so…yeah.
Song lyrics are in italics- they also signify change in setting- always past to present or present to past. The story starts in the present.Ignore the Rain- a not-so Seto/Jou story
It was raining again, Seto noted when he stepped out of his limousine and into the heavy downpour of precipitation darkening the pavement. As Seto opened his umbrella, he glanced up the stairs to the school and met eyes with a sodden, shivering young man huddled beside one of the yellowing plaster pillars near the school's main entrance. Jou met his eyes squarely for a moment, then abashedly turned his head away from Seto's sharp gaze.
Seto narrowed his eyes and the corners of his mouth turned down in a slight frown, his lips pursed in annoyance. It had been raining that night too, though the rain had been decidedly more grey, more dismal, and harder to ignore than now. Seto had forgotten his umbrella in the car that night. The rain felt so real then.
Still watching Jounouchi, whose melancholy brown eyes were turned towards his water-soaked sneakers, Seto began to carefully climb the stairs- the concrete had been poorly laid down, with many dips and cracks up the hill, and they became very slippery after so much wet weather. In a moment, though, Seto was standing beside the usually passionate boy who was unwontedly quiet and collected, especially when it came to his most despised rival approaching him.
Seto paused and Jounouchi stiffened. "Good morning…Jou," Seto said softly, breaking gently the silent aura the rain held over the morning. He reached out a hesitant hand, then laid it on Jou's shoulder. Jou looked up, startled, into Seto's solemn face, which slowly broke into a light smile. Jounouchi frowned in consternation, and Seto nodded at him and then let his hand fall. Turning, he walked sedately into the building, leaving Jounouchi alone again.
Jou slumped against the pillar and sighed. It had been raining that night, he remembered, and the rain had been as hard to ignore as the beating of his heart. But that was the past and the beating of his heart was nothing special anyway. Sighing, Jounouchi followed Seto into the building.
One day we'll know how love moves mountains
Jounouchi was kicked out of the house by the drunken mess of a man he occasionally recognized as his father. That was nothing new- whenever the old man was intoxicated he was in some kind of mood, never favorable for Jounouchi no matter if it was depression, anger, rage, or tipsiness. Jou usually found himself outside when that happened.
But that night, it was raining, as if the angels themselves were weeping. Jou smiled up at the grey clouds. Yuugi would say something like that; that the angels were crying for Jounouchi. He doubted it very much, but it was a nice thought nonetheless. Most likely, it was his ancestors- those who made it up there- crying over where their thousands of years of reproduction had ended up. After all, Jounouchi was never going to produce offspring of his own. It was a nice dream though.
The rain hadn't actually started until Jou had wandered towards town. The lights and life of the city appealed to Jounouchi more than the quiet, rundown neighborhood he was sad to call home. As Jou walked past the river, the storm broke. Jounouchi didn't mind the rain in all its dreary glory; he welcomed it wholeheartedly. Now no one had to see his tears.
One day we'll see why the sky is blue
Jou didn't really feel like talking. He never felt like talking anymore. Yuugi and the others worried, but there was little they could do to change the drastic transformation of their once vibrant friend. None of them knew exactly what happened, but Yuugi had the best guess of all of them- especially when he found Jou standing on his front porch, saturated with rain. His eyes were red-rimmed and desolate. Kaiba was with him, standing in the rain as wet as Jou, and as close to begging Yuugi to take care of his friend as Kaiba would ever get to begging.
As Jou slid into his desk moments before the bell rang, Yuugi smiled hopefully over at his friend, hoping for any sign of recognition. "Hello Jou," the boy said after a moment of awkward waiting. "How are you this morning?"
Jou didn't speak, but as he turned in his seat to glance at his friend, Yuugi realized he was smiling. It was a small grin, close-lipped, and sad in a way, but Yuugi saw hope lingering at the upturned corners of Jou's mouth, and Yuugi grinned widely back. He didn't know what made Jou smile, but it was a start.
Outside, the rain continued and Yuugi couldn't help but think that it had been raining on that night too.
One day we'll know why I'm not meant for you
Seto was driving swiftly through the city, rushing through the rain that night. As he drove over the bridge, he saw a blurred figure with corn yellow hair balancing on the edge. Remembering the letters, Seto stopped impulsively. Jumping out of the car, he forgot his umbrella in his haste.
"Jou? Jounouchi!" Seto called, rushing up to the figure distorted by the heavy fall of raindrops. He stopped when he neared Jou standing precariously on the edge. "Don't do it Jou."
Jounouchi turned towards Seto, a forlorn grimace on his face. "I won't."
Seto walked closer, reaching a tentative hand towards Jou. He stared, open-mouthed at the offer, before cautiously accepting it. He let Seto pull him towards safety. "I'm glad."
When Jou was away from the bridge side, he pulled his hand away. "You don't love me," he whispered. The rain was weighing his clothes down; Jou didn't even notice. He was wearing a white shirt that clung to his skin; Jou didn't care. His jeans were ruined, but none of that mattered. Seto thought the rain made Jou look weak; he knew he wasn't, but sometimes rain does that to people.
is so fleeting, Jou. You'll find love one day," Seto replied.
He had forgotten his umbrella in the car, but was too worried to
care. He barely even noticed the rain falling on him anyway. Seto
always found it easy to ignore the rain. Sometimes people can do
that; ignore the weather. Sometimes there are more important things
Jou shook his head. "I'm not looking for love anymore," he said. "I'm tired of doing all the work." He bent his head down as if falling asleep. The rain had plastered his hair to his head. Seto never knew how much hair Jounouchi had. "I'm going to let love find me this time."
One day I'll go singing on the moon
Seto rarely used his locker in school. He never had a use for it- all his schoolwork he carried in his briefcase, on the laptop he kept everything he needed. But that morning they had said it was going to rain and Seto had had to drive himself to school. He was late and ended up parking in the back of the school's car lot. He didn't have time to grab his umbrella then- the rain was light but irritating at first, and Seto had had a hard time ignoring the tiny drops of moisture falling on his face.
The rain had begun to pick up as Seto neared the school and when he finally entered, class had already started. His trench coat was heavy with moisture and his locker was empty. However, when he had got there, Seto found his locker wasn't as empty as he had thought.
Seto still kept Jounouchi's letter with him, in a secret pocket on the inside of his coat. Now, bored, he pulled the letter out again, baffled as the first time he had read it.
"Kaiba- If there was ever something that had to be done, this is it. I'm not an idiotic mutt. I'm no third-rate duelist either, even though I can never beat you in a duel. I'm not Yuugi's stupid monkey who follows him around and does everything he does. I'm not anything you think I am.
"But, I'd like to be yours. No, I'd love to be yours, exclusively yours. Gods, this is stupid. If you didn't hate me before, you will now. Well, unless you love me too. Yeah, you read right- I love you, Seto Kaiba, despite the fact that you're a stubborn, stuck-up, arrogant moneybags.
"But maybe I was wrong about you? I hope so. Well, whatever. This was stupid. If you don't love me back- and why should you- do me a favor and burn this. No, do me a favor and burn this anyway. Oh right, puppy shouldn't order his master around. Sorry. – Katsuya Jounouchi"
Seto looked up from the letter and glanced across the classroom to Jou. It was a strange concept for him to accept, that someone loved him of his own free will. Jou was right- he wasn't anything Seto thought he was.
Jou was pretty on target about Seto though. Not for the first time in Seto's life, he wondered if things could have turned out differently if he had turned out differently. Maybe the letter back would have been different as well. But what did Seto know.
One day you'll know why I'm the one for you
Kaiba stood still, stock-still in the rain. "I'm sorry I never knew you," he muttered absently. "Will you let me be your friend?"
Jou looked up. "What about you?" he whispered, barely listening to Kaiba's words. He was still trapped in his own. "Has love found you yet?"
Kaiba looked away from him. "I didn't know I was supposed to be waiting."
Jou nodded absently. "Oh. Are you going to try to wait this time?"
Kaiba paused, then slowly nodded. "I think I might." He lifted his head and stared straight at Jou. "I found your letter." Kaiba brought his hand up to the breast pocket of his trench coat vaguely, then let it drop back to his side. "You're right, Jounouchi. You aren't what I thought you were."
A short silence hung above them, falling like the raindrops onto their uncovered faces. "Maybe I was wrong to assume," Jou replied suddenly. "I thought you would return my feelings."
Kaiba reached back up to his pocket and pulled out an envelope. "I-I didn't know if I would get the chance to speak with you Jou, so I wrote you a letter." He reached it across the space between himself and Jou, hesitating to hand it over to the other boy as the weak paper quickly collected water. The ink began to stream as Jou cautiously took the envelope from Kaiba.
"Thank you," he whispered, shoving it into his pants pocket. "Forgive my stupidity, Kaiba," he said, bowing, and then walked quickly past him towards the street. "Next time I shall not assume so quickly."
took a ride to the end of the rainbow
Watched all the stars crash in the sea
Jou always kept the letter in the one thing he actually kept with him at all times, in the middle of his dueling deck. And that's where it stayed, safe and secure. Jou rarely dueled anymore- he no longer had the drive to do so, therefore the letter remained in the back of his mind, along with his dragons, wizards, spellcasters, and warriors.
But on occasion, when school became too boring to keep Jou's attention, he would pull the letter out again and read it, just to see if perhaps this time he would get a concrete answer. Now, sitting in class with an eager, hopeful Yuugi to one side and somewhere on the other side of the classroom, Kaiba staring furtively over at him, Jou pulled the letter out again. Yuugi had never seen the letter, so Jou had to be careful not to wave it in his friend's face.
Jou was surprised to see Kaiba's own scribbled handwriting on the water stained paper. Some of the words were smudged, but the message overall was clear, and it brought Jou near tears every time. But he was a grown man and grown men don't cry.
"I don't . . . love you, but . . . you're the only one. I . . . love . .y . ne. I've forgotten how to . . . fight the feeling. To love is to be weak, and I . . . never . . . be weak. If I could love, I would . . . because . . . I insult you and put you down . . . and your friends. Jounouchi . . . you feel so strongly about me- and maybe . . . why. But right now, I . . . find my heart. . . . I pretended to love you . . . hurt . . . in the end, and I don't want . . . that. You're nothing . . . not in the least, and . . . you . . . a cold, heartless bastard . . . scares me. But . . . wak . . . up to the real world. . . . reminding me that . . . I . . . feel once in a while. Maybe I will, one day. - . . . Kaiba"
The words were like scratchings in the sand when the tide is high and the sentences were choppy and hard to understand, however Jou easily replaced the missing phrases. Kaiba was in love, but not with him and he would just have to accept that.
Still, Jou couldn't help but glance longingly over at him, wondering who was lucky enough to steal Kaiba's heart away.
I could ask just one question,
Why aren't you here with me?
Jou hadn't walked three feet towards the street when he fainted, luckily, right into Seto, who quickly caught him in his arms. Seto looked around frantically for someone to help, but not surprisingly, the rain had driven everyone but him and Jou off the streets. For a crazy moment, Seto contemplated leaving Jou where he was, in the rain, and hope someone a little nicer and more able to love him would come along, but of course, friends don't do that, and he had asked to be Jou's friend. Jou hadn't accepted him as such, but perhaps this would be enough to prove he cared. Thinking that, Seto slowly dragged Jou to his car. The rain beat down mercilessly then and the rain was so hard to ignore. It was just Seto and the rain at that moment, so frozen in time and Seto's memory.
Seto didn't know any place to drive Jounouchi to except the game shop, so that's where he took Jou, at least, at first. But Jou stirred once the car started moving, and glared over at the driver.
"Where are you taking me?" he asked in an accusing voice.
Seto sighed. "I'm taking you to Yuugi's. You've probably caught a fever and you need someone to take care of you. If you'd rather go home, I'd be glad to take you there; I only know where Yuugi lives, and that's why I was going to take you there."
Jou nodded. "Yeah, Yuugi's is fine." He turned on his side and looked outside to the rain.
Seto sighed within, but he kept his cool composure and, a few silent moments later, they were at the Kame shop. Seto stepped outside the car, once again neglecting his umbrella; the rain was almost welcome now. Opening the passenger side door, he saw Jou's flushed face and immediately helped him out of the car, letting Jou lean against him completely. As Seto threw Jou's arm around his shoulders, he saw the letter in his hand and, not wanting the feverish boy to lose it, gently pried the soaked envelope from his fingers and tucked it in Jou's jeans pocket. Then, with a grunt, he dragged Jou to the front porch of Yuugi's home, not caring that his car doors were wide open, inviting the rain in.
Jou was nearly unconscious again as Seto rang the doorbell. A moment later Yuugi opened the door and gasped to see his best friend in his condition. "Yuugi, your frie- Jounouchi, he has a fever. Let's get him inside."
Yuugi nodded, understanding that no questions were to pass his lips about any of the circumstances that found Seto and Jou in the rain that night. And, nodding again as he opened the door wider and grabbed Jounouchi's waist to help pull him inside reassured Seto that no questions were to be asked of Jou either.
Inside, Seto couldn't help but feel comforted by this, not for his sake, but for Jou's.
One day we'll know love moves mountains
As Jounouchi tucked Kaiba's letter back into his deck, he felt those piercing blue eyes that started his affection turn away from him. Why Kaiba had been watching him, Jou only wish he knew. Perhaps he was only trying to show concern for his friend; perhaps he had been serious when he had asked for that role.
The bell rang then and Yuugi laid a soft hand on Jou's arm, accompanied by a warm smile. "Do you want to talk about it?" was the question in his eyes now; Jounouchi often found that inquiry lingering there in Yuugi's innocent face. He understood how much it hurt Yuugi to see him like this; to see him so quiet. Jou shook his head. He still was not ready.
Yuugi lowered his head sadly in defeat, but his head nodded slowly, understanding, as his fingers squeezed the promise of infinite patience to Jou. He sighed, and then stood to leave.
Yuugi stood up with him, watching Jou's face for another moment before turning. Kaiba was standing a few rows away and Yuugi was watching him curiously. Jou turned his head as well, then nearly cried out to see the same look he found on Yuugi's face in Kaiba's. So he did care, but not enough to satisfy him. And, Jou knew, he never would.
Kaiba seemed to wait for Yuugi and Jou to catch up, but, when the pair stood immobile in the classroom, he finally shrugged his shoulders in defeat and left without them. Jou's hand immediately fell to the pocket that held his deck, and that letter, but then he sighed.
He could not ignore the inevitable facts, just as he could never let himself ignore the rain, for that was impossible.
One day we'll know why I'm not meant for you
Hours later, Jou found himself waking up to two concerned violet eyes. He was in Yuugi's living room, on the couch and still in his wet clothes. As he sat up, the strange crinkle of paper alerted him to the letter he did not remember stuffing in his pocket. Taking it out, Jou found it to be Kaiba's letter. Jou didn't read it until later, when he was alone for a vague few moments. Yuugi insisted he stay at the game shop until he was better. Kaiba was nowhere to be found.
When Jou read the letter for the first time, he could not believe the surviving words on the paper; refused to believe them. But, reading it over and over, he finally understood, finally accepted what the words said.
The next evening, the night after the rainstorm, Jou cried himself to sleep on the couch, his tears feeling the way the raindrops had before, harsh yet soothing and so very there. Kaiba did not care for him, as he had feared.
The only thing that stopped the tears was the note Kaiba left in lieu of his absence when Jou woke up.
I'm sorry I could not stay, but duty and Mokuba calls. I know you
are in good hands with Yuugi. I hope you get better and I hope to
speak with you again. Please believe everything in my letter came
straight from me and I intend to keep those words as a promise to
you. Get well soon. –Seto Kaiba" One day you'll know
why I'm the one for you
Beside the letter from Jou residing protectively inside his coat pocket was the letter he wrote in response. Seto wanted to keep it close, as a promise to his own heart. As he walked through the hallways to his next class, he pulled the letter out from his pocket, careful to hold it tightly in his hands as he walked.
One day you'll know
why I'm the one for you
"I don't understand why I can't love you, but it's not like you're the only one. I don't love anyone. I've forgotten how to. I used to know, but now I fight the feeling everyday. To love is to be weak, and I've been taught never to be weak. If I could love, I would choose you, because despite how I insult you and put you down, I'm jealous of you and your friends. Jounouchi, I'm flattered that you feel so strongly about me- and maybe someday I'll understand why. But right now, I have to find my heart. If I pretended to love you, I'd only hurt you in the end, and I don't want to do that. You're nothing I expected, not in the least, and the fact that you can love a cold, heartless bastard like me scares me. But thank you for waking me up to the real world. Thank you for reminding me that even I have to feel once in a while. Maybe I will, one day. – Seto Kaiba"
Yes, Seto thought, nodding slowly. Perhaps, once he found his heart he would find love for Jounouchi there. Seeing the desolate figure painted in the rain that night, Seto almost wished he could will himself to love.
The warning bell rang and Seto picked up his pace in the hall. Suddenly, he didn't want to go to class; he needed to feel the rain again. He had spent too much time ignoring the rain. Seto folded his letter back up and tucked it into his pocket, then made his way to the main entrance doors.
He didn't see the note drop from his pocket to the floor.
Jounouchi, who, once he saw Seto leave the classroom, bolted out into the hall with no explanation to Yuugi, witnessed the piece of paper fall to the ground. Before it got trampled on and lost in the crowd, Jou rescued it from the tiles, intending only to return it to Seto.
That's when he saw his name inside the paper. Curious, Jou opened it up and, finally, read the whole thing.
Outside, Seto stood tentatively by the pillar, watching the rain fall in torrents before his eyes. He had always found it easy, to overlook the rain, as though he were a god and rain could not touch him. But that night he was human and the rain had cut deep. Seto smiled and raised his hand, letting it reach from outside the protective covering of the roof. The rain fell light on his skin. Maybe…it was time to stop ignoring the rain. Maybe then, Seto decided, he might find his heart at last.
The doors of the school opened behind Seto, but he didn't bother to turn around. He had a feeling he knew who stood behind him.
"I'm not going to ignore the rain anymore, Katsuya," he whispered, just loud enough for him to hear. "Sometimes, there are more important things in life."
Jou just continued to smile.
Hmm…hey! That sounds like the beginning of an actual Seto/Jou there! pouts Oh well, I think I accomplished what I set out to do…I think I used the word "ignore" too much. That and "rain". Oh well… I'm glad I wrote that anyhow. I love the last few lines, and a couple of the first scenes. By the way, I apologize if the switching back and forth got confusing. Please let me know if it made the story incomprehensible for you… in a review! And of course, if you have anything else to say (like, how you enjoyed the story…hint, hint) feel free to drop a review! BTW- I love long reviews! Anyway, thanks for reading!