A House Divided.

Seto saw it coming.

Mokuba, twelve years old, staring at a screen on the Battle Ship security cameras. Telling Seto in that childish voice of his that tries so hard to sound grown-up enough to be able to handle the responsibilities Seto had given him as Battle City commissioner, "We need to prepare guest rooms next time. See those two in the mutt's room? They're sharing a bed!"

Seto glances at the screen carelessly, notes the way that black hair tickles at the face of the other boy, but more than that, notes the fascination with which Mokuba is staring at the way the two boys are flopped over each other, notes the way that his little brother prattles about extra quarters without taking his eyes off one of them.

It was obvious even then.

At thirteen, Mokuba casually informs Seto over breakfast, "Did you know that Dragons' Dice just outsold Duel Monsters over Christmas?"

As a matter of fact, Seto had known. He keeps track of which companies are successful and Shadow Dice, the new company that Otogi Ryuuji started up with his profit from the original Dungeons Dice Dragons game, has been on a winning streak lately, producing one hit after another. Of course, the clever marketing campaign that ensures that Otogi's Black Crown stores get the games first and have exclusive control over them for the first week certainly don't hurt either Black Crown or Shadow Dice.

It's a risky way of doing business, but Seto doesn't tell Mokuba that. Instead, he nods and asks, "How did you know?"

A shrug, and Mokuba dodges the question by pointing out, "I'm late for school, got to run!"

Seto watches him run out the door with a faint frown, and sips his coffee in a disquietened manner.

It only grew more obvious.

Fourteen-year-old Mokuba is starting to take a more active role in Kaiba Corp, attending board meetings and listening intently to proposals. He has yet to take on a project of his own though, since Seto insists that school comes first. He still visits Seto often in the office though, just to talk things over with him, which is why Seto isn't surprised to see Mokuba barrel in one day, cheeks flushed with excitement over what Seto incorrectly assumes to be the completion of the new VR world technology.

Instead, Mokuba slaps a folder down on Seto's desk and grins at him, "Look nii-sama! I found Kaiba Corp the perfect game to produce for the summer market!"

The folder is plain black, with white binding and when Seto opens it arfter arching an eyebrow at Mokuba, he finds thorough designs for a new video game, preliminary sketches of the characters and landscapes, information about marketing schemes and potential audiences… even a few pages of code, already written. A professional layout, in other words, and Seto knows this isn't Mokuba's work.

And even before he flips to the front again to see the name of the designer, he knows that it belongs to Otogi.

Rifling through the papers again, buying time, he asks Mokuba with one of his most penetrating looks, "Where did you get this from?"

"I was at the park the other day and I saw Otogi sketching something, so asked him what it was. And when he showed me what he was doing and told me that he was having problems getting good enough AI technology to make it work, I told him that I'd show it to you because we have the best of everything and that's the best game I've seen in ages." The expression on Mokuba's face is one of perfect innocence but mischief (not unmingled with hope, Seto notes with a sinking feeling) dances in his storm blue eyes.

The problem is, the game really is good. Very good. It takes advantage of the new technologies that are only just developing and rides the wave of the more personalized games that are starting to show themselves as successful. Kaiba Corp would only benefit if it lent its technology to such an endeavour. Flipping through the papers again, searching for a reason to reject it, Seto plays for more time by asking Mokuba, "And I suppose you would want to work with him on this?"

Mokuba nods enthusiastically, "Of course! I was the one to discover it after all and if we don't work with him, he'll just outsource it elsewhere. Like to Siegfried."

Seto agrees in the end, but the concession leaves a bitter taste in his mouth.

Some would say that was when it started, not knowing that as a Kaiba, Mokuba had been plotting to find a reason to spend time with Ryuuji for ages.

Now fifteen, with several successful projects under his belt and a stellar school record, Mokuba announces, "I think I should go to the States to study. They have a lot of good universities there and it would be a great chance for me to practice my English more, if I lived in America I mean."

America, where Otogi spends a good half of the year on business and varying kinds of pleasure – Mokuba doesn't mention that, but it's clear in Seto's eyes that he's thinking about it. There's a silence as Seto types for a little, then looks not at Mokuba but at Mokuba's reflection in the screen, "You're too young to think about university for the moment. Focus on your schoolwork and we'll discuss it when you're older."

Mokuba doesn't point out that Seto has always valued the importance of foresight.

Mokuba is a Kaiba after all; he knows better than to fight a losing battle if it can be delayed to a more favorable time.

Seto hadn't thought that was the end of it, but he had been grateful for the respite, hoping that Mokuba would grow out of it.

When he's sixteen though, Mokuba gives no sign of having grown out of it Instead, he hosts a large rollerblading party for all his classmates – and Yugi-tachi. Seto does his best to avoid the crowd, sitting by the bar and watching the yelling, screaming mass of people whirl around each other clumsily.

Otogi stands out for more than just the fact that he's easily the most graceful there; he stands out because Mokuba is near him, asking him for tips even though Seto had seen him practicing for weeks before the party. After all, falling in front of Otogi would be rather counterproductive except as a pity play and it's not pity that Mokuba is after.

Mokuba makes the request in a clear, playful tone though, "Hey Otogi, you're so good at this. Show me how you did that spin!" And it's too childish and innocent for Otogi to refuse the request, so the gamer whirls around, making Mokuba laugh with delight before imitating it so perfectly that it's Otogi's turn to laugh – but with surprise.

It was only then that Seto realized it had gone beyond a crush and he'd need to take action as well.

Seventeen years old, and Mokuba's now started using the same hair products as Otogi, much to Seto's annoyance. He dislikes the sharp, crisp scent and misses the little-boy aroma of grass that used to linger around Mokuba.

Magazines are left conspicuously lying around, open to pages detailing the many female celebrity beauties that Otogi has been seen escorting to various functions, and Mokuba retaliates by cutting out the pictures, then pasting them on his wall – but only after cutting out the females as well.

On the whole, declarations of war have been more subtle.

Seto had considered discussing it with Otogi but upon reflection, decided that since Mokuba had yet to make an overt move on the green-eyed gamer, it would be better not to draw Otogi's attention to his unwitting conquest.

Eighteen.

Magical, wonderful eighteen.

This time, the party is just Mokuba, Seto and Otogi. Supposedly, the rest of Yugi-tachi were held up in traffic, but Seto thinks that Mokuba simply didn't invite them. Otogi seems unsuspecting enough though, even agreeing that they ought to cut the cake without waiting for the others and giving Mokuba a beautifully-wrapped gift to open after the cake is cut. Seto watches as Mokuba screws his eyes tightly shut, so obviously wishing for something with all his might that his knuckles are going white due to how tightly he's clutching the ribbon-bedecked knife that he's supposed to use to cut the cake.

Mokuba extinguishes all the candles with a single breath, and only opens his eyes after doing so. His gaze flickers over the candles, distracted, searching for something in particular, and when he sees Otogi, he lets out the breath that he had been holding ever since he saw his wish was guaranteed to come true. Otogi looks to have hardly aged, the four or so years that he has over Mokuba seeming not to matter when contrasted with the arrogant beauty that he possesses, the fine line of aristocratic cheekbones and exotically slanted green eyes.

For a moment, Mokuba looks as if he is too nervous to do anything, then he holds his head high (like a Kaiba, as befits a Kaiba), and asks Otogi clearly, with no room for error, "Will you dance with me?"

There's a second of surprise but Otogi laughs easily enough, treating it as if it's just another request made by a child. "Of course – you are the birthday boy after all."

Mokuba's eyes darken for a moment and Seto thinks that Mokuba will correct Otogi right then and there for his casual assumption but Mokuba's too smart to do that. Instead, he laughs as well, and asks in a tone that tries just a little too hard to be playful (and Seto remembers with a pang when Mokuba used to try too hard to sound adult), "Do I get a birthday kiss as well?"

The surprise lasts longer this time, and Otogi glances at Seto before replying, unease evident in his eyes. Still, his laugh is light and casual as he leans forward to drop a kiss on Mokuba's cheek, commenting as he does, "Seems fair enou-"

Mokuba stops him from speaking with a kiss, sealing his own lips over Otogi's with more eagerness than skill. The rest of Otogi's statement is stolen from Mokuba (by Mokuba), lost in the sweet graveyard of his mouth and Seto finally, finally stops watching Mokuba and watches Otogi instead.

And when Otogi pushes Mokuba away (gently, firmly in a gesture of unmistakable rejection), it's Seto that he looks to, almost helplessly, mutely pleading for help dealing with the younger Kaiba. Mokuba doesn't take the hint though, but instead clings to Otogi, arms wrapping around the other's waist and resting his head with a contented sigh on Otogi's shoulder.

In that moment, Seto saw the future and it went like this:

Otogi tries to tell Mokuba gently to let go, and move on. Mokuba's a Kaiba; Kaiba's never give up on what they want. Otogi eventually gives in, dates Mokuba, fucks him, and Mokuba moves in with him. Seto's left alone in a mansion that's suddenly too big and empty, that smells of metal and plastic and nothing else.

Then Mokuba moves out again, because Otogi's compassion only runs so far and really, the gamer isn't interested in Mokuba. And Mokuba's heartbroken, but still resolute, and Otogi can't be bothered to keep resisting. Back and forth, to and fro, a continual vicious cycle of Mokuba winning and Otogi not caring, then Mokuba realizing that and giving up before starting again.

Getting what you want isn't any good unless you can make it last.

Seto could not allow that. Not for his brother. He needed to protect Mokuba at all costs. He would only ever do what's best for Mokuba, regardless of whether it was what Mokuba wanted or not.

So, Seto cuts in. He taps Mokuba on the shoulder as his brother waltzes sweetly around the room with Otogi, and asks politely of the green-eyed gamer (devil green, poison green and the fact that Otogi's left-handed would send chills down the spine of a suspicious Westerner but Seto's too logical to worry about those matters), "Can I have this dance?"

Mokuba's eyes widen, stormy grey-blue gaze now holding a surprised look, but Seto's attention is on Otogi and Seto pretends not to see it. For a moment, Otogi looks too surprised to reply (Seto Kaiba just cut in on his own brother's birthday dance!), but then a slow smile curves Otogi's lips and he nods, once, mutely.

Mokuba doesn't let go of Otogi's hands until Seto steps in front of him, and even then, it's Otogi that lets go of Mokuba. But it's Seto that places a hand on Otogi's waist, and forces Mokuba to step back or be stepped on as the dance starts again with a different set of partners.

Off at the sidelines, Mokuba smirked to himself, munching a slice of birthday cake.

It had taken a while, but his brother was finally, finally with Otogi.

After all, Mokuba was a Kaiba (just like his brother), and Kaibas always got what they wanted.

Even if it meant they had to pretend to want something else to begin with.

Fin

Author's Note: Hope you guys liked it, I was trying out a different style this time around.