by the book

by regann

Jounouchi carries his books to class but he never reads them; when he opens them, he does it to hide himself behind them.

It's hard enough to pay attention in class on the best of days, but lately Jounouchi doesn't even have any of those. They're all bad days -- not really -- but they're definitely not-good days. The days are long and laborious, tedious and taxing, too much about secrets and lies than friends and education. He misses the days when he didn't worry, when he didn't hide behind books. But he's too tied up in it all to give it up and he decides that the secrets is worth the sex and the lies are worth whatever "l" word they're admitting to this week.

Jounouchi doesn't read his books when he opens them; he does it to block his view of Kaiba.

Kaiba sits two seats up and one row over from where Jounouchi sits, giving him the perfect view of the back of his head, of his hands holding his book as he scans the lines. Unlike Jounouchi, Kaiba does read his book -- and more besides, always wanting to know and learn and be better than everyone else. But it doesn't matter to Jounouchi that Kaiba reads his books, it matters that Jounouchi has to watch him do it, watch him slide his fingers up and down the pages, watch his head tilt and turn as he thinks. It's distracting and attracting and utterly impossible to ignore when Jounouchi isn't paying attention to anything else.

He thinks of other things that he's seen Kaiba's fingers caress, including Duel Monster cards but not limited to them. He's seen those pale, slender fingers against the ruddy tan of his skin, wrapped around his wrist, flat against his chest, sliding down his stomach to slide over his dick. He knows that the palms are smooth because Kaiba's never done a bit of work in his life but that the fingers are different, made quick and sure by inordinate amounts of time flying across computer keyboards. Kaiba's hands mock him, taunt him, draw his attention as they flicker across the cover of their textbooks.

Jounouchi looks at his own hands -- large, calloused, rough-looking and rough-feeling -- and wonders how they feel to Kaiba when they're on him. He knows what it feels like to run his hands over Kaiba's languid frame, the surprising reality of a man as hard as Kaiba having soft skin. Is it like sandpaper for Kaiba, to feel his calloused hands run over him? Jounouchi guesses that if it is, Kaiba doesn't mind because he never asks him to stop. In fact, stop doesn't enter their conversations much in the heat of the moment unless it's preceded by don't, and the other words they use are like oh, god and yes, now and fuck and please.

Jounouchi used to stare into the pages of his book and daydream about what he's going to do that night; now he stares at Kaiba's straight, steeled spine and remembers what he did last night.

The memories are what make it hard; that, and the pretending that it didn't happen. Jounouchi was never much of a good liar and he was never much for hiding how he feels. It's never made sense, to be fake and illusory like that. But since he's taken up with Kaiba, he lives in a world of shadows and secrets, as well as one of secrets and sex. Kaiba doesn't want anyone to know what he does with his nights. He doesn't anyone to know that the child prodigy, that millionaire teenager, that the smartest kid in school spends his nights wrapped around the punk, the gang-member, the kid most likely to end up in prison and that their nights ain't exactly about Duel Monsters and computer games. Because, damn, if there was one thing that he and Kaiba have in common it's that they were far from the kids their age might have said they were. They'd both stop being kids a long time ago.

Maybe that's why they don't work through their issues and problems and aggression through things like fistfights or sports. Maybe that's why they have to work it out in other kinds of behavior like verbal pissing contests that somehow land them in bed, rolling, tumbling, clawing at each other.

Kaiba doesn't want the world to know that he sullies himself by fucking a kid from the wrong side of the tracks which is why he wants to keep it a secret. Jounouchi isn't sure what he wants so he agrees to the silence and then asks himself if he agrees because he doesn't care or if he agrees because, just like Kaiba doesn't want everyone to know who he fucks, he doesn't want anyone to know that he's getting fucked. He'd like to get an answer, but he never can answer himself.

Jounouchi figures that that's a bad sign.

It's hard for Jounouchi to sit in class and watch Kaiba and know how everything about him feels and tastes but act like they're nothing to each other even when they're something, even if that something is indefinable. It's hard because everything Kaiba does reminds him of something else, some other flicker of Kaiba that he's seen even when he can't or wasn't supposed to. He knows things about him that can't help but change the way he's experiences him, even in the classroom and that knowledge is taboo. And Jounouchi can't help but look at those hands and remember them on him or look at that mouth and remember kissing it. And it drives him crazy but there's nothing he can't do because he's nothing if not loyal and true -- even if he isn't truthful -- and he's got honor that says he plays by the rules of the games and the rules say silence is golden.

Kaiba certainly remains silent and Jounouchi can only follow his lead.

Jounouchi leans against his closed books and closes his eyes and prays that the day will be over soon so that the torture will end. But it never does quickly enough and he suffers on the memories, on remembering the pain and pleasure and the rest that fell in between.

Jounouchi buries his head against his books and blocks out everything around him until the teacher is calling the day over and people are moving about. Jounouchi finally straightens and gathers up his books and heads to the door, only to have Kaiba brush right past him as if he isn't there --

except Kaiba made a damn good try at brushing against him and not past him and so he knows he's there, even if no one else does.

And that's something that always surprises him, that no one sees them together and knows. He can't understand how all the kids at their school could watch them and not know, not see the sparks, the chains that bind them, not see their secrets written on their faces. Not even when Kaiba brushes against him as he leaves and Jounouchi watches Kaiba hands as they move. While Kaiba may be subtle enough for deception, Jounouchi knows he's not and so he doubts the sanity of everyone he knows.

Including himself.

Because he hasn't felt sane in a long time, probably as long as it's been since he's had an actual good day -- all of which date to the time he started playing the sex and secrets game with Kaiba.

Jounouchi doesn't have good days anymore but he has damn good nights, full of shadows and silence. He fills his hands with the smoothness of Kaiba's flesh and takes that flesh into his body and likes it, begs for it and then returns the favor. He touches and tastes and sees, everything emblazoned in his mind so clearly that he can't quite shake the nighttime imagery from his mind, even in the light of day.

So he has not-good days and hides behind his books and watches Kaiba read; he questions his sanity and everyone around him and wants to be free of the lies but doesn't want to spill the secret.

And Jounouchi, when he hides behind his books, wishes there was a book that could explain it all to him because he doesn't understand why he continues with it all.

He only know that he does.