Title: Summer Loving

Rating: PG

888

Summer heat has made him dreamy, blissful in his little pool of sunlight as lazy chocolate eyes rove around the area, half lidded, but just as watchful as ever. The warmth usually brings out the best in people and the student population of Domino seemed to have migrated to the park. Bakura Ryou shifted idly, re-arranging his neatly placed body in his spot underneath the sparsely leaved branches of a wide tree, having chosen a place liquid with golden light, but within easy reach of the shade should he overheat. With birds singing and children laughing, it was a ridiculously Kodak moment if the click of a button had been able to capture the essence of the season in one go….

His snowy-crested head resting comfortably on the cushion of an arm, his eye line was just enough so that he had a clear view of the rest of the open space and those who chose to inhabit it. The sudden sprint into summer from what had been a drearily damp spring had been enough to lure everyone outside and everyone even included Kaiba apparently.

The tall brunette looked disdainful and out of place in his pristine (and gravity-defying) white coat, but the reason for him even being out here at all seemed very much at home in the bright sunlight. Ryou's lips quirked slightly in a hidden, secret smile – to him, Kaiba was not a summer person. Perhaps winter, with icy snow and thunderstorms to paint a dramatic background for his personality, but not summer where there was pollen and laughter and heat to make him sweaty and mussed…Mokuba, on the other hand, seemed to soak up the warmth and revel in it. Right now, his jacket had come off and his shirt was hiked up to reveal a banner of creamy skin that winked and flashed as he darted around with all the lightning speed of a dragonfly. So Kaiba was a dragon, but Mokuba was a dragonfly – the description was apt considering how the elder brother stood stoically still, arms crossed while Mokuba was a free-flying tangle of rapidly adolescent limbs. Even from this distance, Ryou could hear the quicksilver waterfall of his vice rising and falling in gleeful chatter aimed at his brother-beloved and the occasional rumble of Kaiba's short, gruff answers.

Still, there was love there – for Kaiba to take a break from work and 'relax' (the word being used in the loosest possible terms) in the sun like this was nothing short of miracles. But where Mokuba was concerned, miracles always seemed to work – such was the genetic stubbornness of a Kaiba. Sibling love had carried them through trials and tribulations and it was somewhat of a relief to see that their souls were still welded close as a small, sweaty hand slipped into a larger, cooler one and the tight grip was mutual.

That particular brand of love stretched across class and social boundaries, ending its trail in another set of siblings who stood so comfortably close to each other. Ryou returned the wave that Jou, even blonder now thanks to the sun, sent him, settling his arm back under his head as he watched the adoring girl beside him say something and laugh, hugging his arm affectionately. Shizuka's visits were so rare now as school and parental intrusion weighed heavily upon her, but the dark whisper of pain never corrupted their weekends together, even if Jou did occasionally look at her with shadowed eyes as the days dragged onwards towards a close. But sisterly love kept him whole, as did the different, but no less deep love the honeyed blonde held for the proud woman who walked so independently at his side.

There was sibling love and then there was 'relationship' love, the type that entailed fleeting glances and shy brushes of skin (on Jou's part at least – Mai's advances were that much more confident and seemed, at least Ryou thought, to be designed to fluster Jou to the point of hysteria.) But their love, however unofficial it seemed, was deep and true, something that everyone seemed to expect eventually as soon as Jou stopped running and admitted that, yes, Mai did actually mean a lot to him…

Not that he wanted to admit that his sister was even capable of 'relationship' love, however irrational and unfair that seemed, proved by the glower that crossed his face as Shizuka suddenly slipped out from under his arm and trotted determinedly over towards the Kaiba brothers. Her approach received three very different reactions – defensive distrust from her brother who was only vaguely placated by Mai, very firmly, dragging him off in the opposite direction for her friend's sake, exuberance from Mokuba who bounced to meet her halfway with a cheerful smile and gleeful laugh, and vague distaste, or at least the semblance of it, from Kaiba himself. It was very clear that Shizuka, the girlish and ditzy relation of one Jounouchi Katsuya who Kaiba had made it very clear that he did not like, was very much in love with the reclusive dragon himself.

Some would class that as hopeless love, but Ryou chuckled softly as she watched her place an innocent hand on Kaiba's buckled and black elbow, eyes shining with simple contentment at being near him while he struggled to look aloof and ignore the unwanted contact. She always did make herself known in little ways like this, soft, butterfly touches and the occasional soft burst of laughter, but apart from that she was untrobusive and unforceful with her affection. Narrowing his eyes at the smirking raven-haired Kaiba brother, Ryou's suspicions ran along the lines that Mokuba had in fact encouraged his red-haired friend to make these harmless advances, just to shock his niisama out of his usual closed persona.

Judging by the pained look the brunette was sending Shizuka, her efforts were at least successful in making Kaiba react to something, but to Ryou, the boy who saw everything, there was an acceptance in the CEO's aura that suggested there was a small possibility he didn't hate her presence as much as he acted – only a small one of course, but so far he had actually tolerated it all, an admirable achievement in itself.

So there was love-that-wasn't-quite-love and love-that-wasn't-love-but-certainly-wasn't-hate…those two fell into an odd category, but Ryou had his hopes – a sunny eyed and sunny natured girl like Shizuka would be good for everyone's favourite stick in the mud. Even if he didn't stoop down to letting anyone apart from Mokuba into his heart, at least she was on her way to making him consider, dare Ryou say it, a friend?

Platonic love was always abundant and summer just made it all the more obvious. The laughing glances Shizuka sent towards Mokuba as he skipped around her and his brother was one such example, another the two heads inclined towards each other a small distance off. Anzu, face tipped towards the sun, was narrating some rambling anecdote, a story that was making her companion chuckle appreciatively. Where Yuugi was concerned, everyone was a friend and Anzu was one of the best of these. The two were comfortably sprawled out on the grass, both in varying states of dress thanks to the heat radiating off the dry grass. Anzu's shoes lay in a careless heap along with her sweater and Yuugi's jacket, their clothes as companionable as they themselves were.

These two…they'd been friends from the beginning. Before Atemu, before Duel Monsters…Yuugi and Anzu had been close because they were friends. Normal friendship that included long nights watching terrible movies or laughing so hard that soda flew in fountains from their mouths, that had nothing to do with the end of the world or his alter ego. This love was true, if airy and likely to be eternal…

The round orb of incandescent brightness had been steadily descending from its peak at noon, shadows gradually growing longer as the heat let up slightly and everyone became that much more animated, able to move more without the inevitable beads of sweat tracing spines and brows. In secret, most people were avid sunaholics and it did bring out the best in people – the sun brought out the love. Be it genetic love, shown in the exasperated glances Jou and Kaiba sent their respective siblings, not knowing they were actually sharing the same thoughts for once, or that funny 'relationship' love that made Jou blush whenever Mai 'accidentally' brushed that bit too close. Or there was love-that-wasn't-quite-love as Shizuka smiled softly up at the brooding Kaiba, standing close enough to touch, but not quite to let him have his space or the love-that-wasn't-love-but-certainly-wasn't-hate as said youth let her stand that close without snapping at her. Or just the quietly fierce love between true friends that was just as obvious all the time, whatever the weather.

And all it took was spring's crescendo into summer…

Ryou closed his eyes, feeling the slight coolness across his middle that indicated a branch shadow had moved just enough to block his sun, but he was merely too lazy to actually make the effort to move back into the light.

"Did you even put any sun block on?" a crotchety voice commented in his mind. "You're going to wake up as red as a lobster…"

Ryou just shrugged lazily, chuckling slightly at the huff he felt from the presence within him that was him, but not quite. "I'll deal with that then…"

"You're a fool," was the blunt statement and Ryou sensed a wave of dark exasperation. "And what's with all this 'love' shit? You're making me sick in here…"

"It's cute – they're all so happy…" Ryou smiled slightly, resettling his head on his arm once more, stifling a yawn that stemmed from pure relaxation than any real fatigue. "Summer's nice like that…"

"Summer breeds idiocy and burns brain cells," that invisible voice said, the sense of exasperation growing when Ryou just laughed softly again.

"I love you, 'Kura…"

Another snort, not gentle, but by no means unfriendly. "The sun's got to your head – I think you need to go inside…"

"Maybe later…"

888

Heh; what can I say? I like summer! This has to be one of my favourite one-shots out of those that I've written. It's fluffy and vapid, but I certainly enjoyed it. I've even got little urges to carry this particular arc on, but it's unlikely I'll have time. Story of my life, huh?