Title: Naked Truth 5/5
Pairing (s): Seto x Jounouchi
Spoilers: End of series
Disclaimer: I do not own or profit from Yu-gi-oh!
Summary: After being left behind by the rest of his friends as they go off to college all over the world, Jounouchi Katsuya finds that forging a friendship with Kaiba Seto isn't such an impossible task. But as their friendship deepens and both teens realize an attraction for each other, will they be pulled apart by someone who wants the blond teen all for himself?
"What do you mean, he's missing?"
"What part of missing don't you understand?" The brunet snapped. His expression softened slightly when he saw Jounouchi's jaw set. "He disappeared."
"Yesterday morning." Kaiba said, his gaze shifting to the games under the counter glass.
"Didja call the cops?"
"Why not? What if he's been kidnapped?"
"Jounouchi, he hasn't been kidnapped-"
"How can you be so sure?"
"If he'd been kidnapped, there would have been a ransom note of some kind. Besides, only an idiot would kidnap one of the richest teenagers in the world. He slipped his security detail." The brunet added before Jounouchi could ask.
Jounouchi shook his head in disbelief. "Ya gotta be kidding me. Has he used any credit cards? Hit any ATMs?" The brunet shook his head twice.
"How much cash do you think he had?"
"I don't know. I give him a substantial allowance." Kaiba shrugged. "If he's been squirreling any of it away, he could be gone for awhile."
Jounouchi frowned. Being underage, even with cash, Mokuba would have a hard time finding a room at a decent hotel. He didn't want to think about some of the seedier rooming houses he knew of, where locked rooms could be opened with the right amount of money or favors. Mokuba was far too innocent to be out on his own, the blond concluded. "Seto, ya gotta call the police. What if he's in trouble?"
"Call the police? How long to you think it would be before the tabloids got a hold of it and it became fodder for the rumor mill for the next few weeks?"
"So you're more concerned about your image than that your brother's missing?"
"No, Jounouchi! Who do you think would be more hurt by this story, me, the worried guardian, or him? Or how about the fact that the fight we had was over you?"
Jounouchi sighed. He could only imagine what it was like to live under the watchful lens of gossip columns. He thought about how embarrassing it would be to have his personal life talked about over breakfast tables and at water coolers all over Japan. Suddenly, Kaiba's way of going about finding his brother made a lot more sense to the blond. "Okay, I see your point now." He said sheepishly.
"I was hoping that you might have heard from him, or might have some idea where he'd go." Kaiba's eyes met the blond's. "Have you?"
Shaking his head, the blond said, "No, but he did call me the day after, I told him to get lost."
"Well, in not so many words." Jounouchi quickly corrected himself. "After everything that went down, he was still operating under the assumption that his feelings were ... reciprocated."
"I see." Kaiba crossed his arms over his chest. "What exactly did you tell my brother?"
Jounouchi didn't like the way Kaiba emphasized the last two words and he thought for a moment before answering.
"Dammit, Kaiba! You're still making me out as the bad guy here. I didn't lead him on."
"I know that Jounouchi, but none of that matters right now. I have to find him."
"Did you guys fight?"
"Not really. He hasn't spoken to me in days. Just glares past me."
"You know, I know you ain't asking for advice, but if ya did, I'd tell ya that that boy needs a firm hand."
"You're right, I'm not." Kaiba replied sourly. "He hasn't always been this ... difficult you know."
Jounouchi shrugged. "Whatever."
"What do you mean, 'whatever?'"
"Look, Seto. I don't want to get into it again with you. But I hafta tell you, it really hurt that you took his side in this."
"Took his side? You think this has been easy for me? I've missed you, Katsuya, but he's-"
"Yeah, yeah, he's your SPOILED brother."
Kaiba ignored the dig; he knew his actions had hurt the blond, but now he needed Jounouchi's help. "Will you help me look for him?"
"Of course I will, on one condition though, you reconsider your decision."
"I can't believe you're blackmailing me." But there was no malice in the brunet's voice.
"Can we just go looking for him?"
"I'll take that as a yes," Jounouchi grinned humorlessly. "Just let me tell Gramps that I'm leavin'."
Kaiba watched Jounouchi disappear up the stairs that led to the Mutou apartment, and waited impatiently for his return. He was worried about Mokuba, but he was still furious with him too. He thought about the way Mokuba had been acting and realized that maybe the blond had been right, maybe he did need to be stricter with his brother.
Jounouchi came back, his black leather motorcycle jacket already on. "'Kay, where have you looked?" He asked as he passed the brunet and headed for the shop's front door. He turned the sign on the door so that 'CLOSED' faced outward, then turned to Kaiba, who had yet to follow. "So, are you coming or not?"
The brunet swept past him wordlessly and then led Jounouchi to his car, a sleek obsidian M45, and slid into the driver's seat. Jounouchi got into the passenger side, breathing deeply the scent wafting off the supple leather seats.
The engine purred to life and Kaiba eased the car into traffic. "I've contacted all of his classmates, no one has seen him."
Jounouchi nodded. "Well, it's cold, so he'd probably want to be somewhere warm. Let's check out some of the local arcades. Also, he's gotta eat, and he loves pizza, so we should swing by Arturo's." Jounouchi could feel the tension rolling off the brunet's body. "Seto, if he's not using any plastic, then he's gotta come home soon." He put his hand over Kaiba's hand that was resting on the gearshift and squeezed reassuringly. "Either way, we'll get him back, safe and sound."
"Thanks Katsuya," the brunet mumbled appreciatively.
The teens spent hours scouring the local malls and arcades, then expanded their search to include Internet cafes and libraries. As they drove through the streets of Domino, Jounouchi kept watch for the familiar black mop of hair strolling among the crowds of pedestrians.
After hours of futile searching, Kaiba was becoming seriously unhinged. Somewhere around five o'clock he'd stopped speaking to the blond, and instead drove around white-knuckled, with his eyes glued to the road, while Jounouchi suggested places to look. He really felt bad for the brunet, and as he empathized with Kaiba, he became angrier and angrier toward Mokuba. He couldn't believe the young teen would be so selfish and hurtful toward his brother, who'd sacrificed so much for his well-being. Jounouchi sighed and bit back on his comment to that effect; he didn't want to incur Kaiba's wrath, yet at the same time, he hoped that the brunet would finally understand that his brother was taking advantage of him. Jounouchi's stomach growled, protesting the fact that he'd eaten nothing since breakfast. He glanced at the digital clock on the car's radio; it was well past ten.
"Hey Kaiba, I think we should eat and then regroup."
"I'm not hungry." The brunet grumbled.
"At least let's stop for some coffee, I could use a little pick-me-up." Jounouchi suggested. Kaiba drove on silently for a few minutes, and then pulled the car over, double-parking in front of a coffee shop. "Um, I was kind of hoping we could get out of the car, you could use a break from driving."
"I'm not tired," the brunet snapped, despite the darkening rings under his eyes as evidence otherwise.
Jounouchi ran his hands through his hair. He was beginning to regret agreeing to going on this wild goose chase. "Seto, he could be anywhere. What if he bought a plane ticket?"
"He didn't. I have his passport. Security checked with all the airlines, and unless he was disguised and had a forged one, he hasn't gotten on any planes."
"Maybe he took the train somewhere?" Something clicked inside the blond's head then. "Wait, I think I know where he is! Why didn't I think of this earlier!"
"Think of what?" Kaiba managed through gritted teeth.
"Go to the Haneda rail station?"
"At the airport? I told you, he's not going to get on a plane."
"I know that, but I told him once that I used to sleep at the Haneda station when things were a little dicey at home."
Kaiba rubbed his forehead. "Why would you sleep there?"
"It was clean, safe and had enough people there waiting for trains for flights so that security wouldn't bother me. Plus, the bathrooms are really nice." The blond scratched his head nervously hoping that Kaiba wouldn't pry any further. He was relieved when the brunet nosed the car back out into traffic.
"If he's not there," Kaiba said finally, "I'll call the police."
As they traversed the immaculate train station searching for Mokuba, Kaiba became more and more agitated. "This place is fucking huge." He complained.
"I know, but there's only a few good places to get some shuteye." Jounouchi led on, finally stopping in his tracks when he spied a huddled form with a familiar mane of black hair curled on a bench. He stopped Kaiba in the brunet's tracks, and pointed in the direction of the inert shape. "Bingo," he said softly. "I'm going to go get myself a cup of coffee, kay? Don't leave without me."
Kaiba turned to him, his relief evident on his face, the worry lines and exhaustion, washing away under the blond's gaze. "We won't." He said, walking slowly to his brother. Jounouchi watched as the brunet leaned over the form, laid a hand on his shoulder, and gently shook the young teen awake. The blond turned away then, heading toward a 24-hour counter that he knew was located in the nearby terminal.
He sat at the counter for about twenty minutes, wondering sadly if it would be possible for him and Kaiba to ever be anything other than friends. While he still resented Mokuba, he felt sorry for the teen as well. As he headed back to the train station, he remembered his first crush, Honda, fondly and smiled. That worked out fine, but then again, he'd NEVER let on that he'd been attracted to his friend. He thought seriously about how he felt, knowing that Mokuba was attracted to him. While it was flattering, it did make him uncomfortable, but enough to walk away from the Kaiba brothers?
He thought about how much fun they'd had over the past few months. Hanging out with Mokuba and Seto had been a lot different than being with the Yugi-tachi-less eventful for sure-but it hadn't been any less enjoyable. And then there was added benefit of his mutual attraction to Seto; memories of the kiss they shared on Christmas Eve flashed through his mind. He really wanted to see where that would lead.
By the time he arrived back at the bench he'd left Kaiba and Mokuba on, the two brothers were sitting next to each other, Kaiba's arm wrapped around Mokuba, and Mokuba's head on Kaiba's shoulder. Jounouchi offered the brunet the coffee he was holding, and Mokuba a bottle of orange juice that he produced from his pocket.
"I thought you guys might need some refreshments."
Kaiba took the drinks and handed Mokuba the juice. "Jounouchi, Mokuba has something to say to you." Kaiba said, gazing into his brother's eyes. He turned to the blond. "I'm going to take a walk."
"Okay," Jounouchi shrugged. He sat down on the bench and waited expectantly for the younger teen to say something.
"Jou," Mokuba said quietly. "I'm sorry for what I did to you. It was wrong." His voice crackled with emotion.
"Wait, I'm not done. I didn't run away because I was mad at Seto. I left because I was embarrassed by what I did. When I called you, you made it clear to me that I'd hurt you, but what was worse, when I thought about it, was how badly I'd hurt niisama." The young teen turned to Jounouchi, and the blond could see that he'd been crying. "I was so jealous of him when I saw you guys making out."
"Oh. You saw that."
Mokuba nodded. "And I hated him right at that moment. And I wanted him to know how seeing you and him that way made me feel. That's why I ... why I ... touched you ... and you probably hate me now!" Mokuba blurted and then hunched over on the bench. Jounouchi saw the younger teen's body shudder as he began to sob quietly. The blond stared out at all the passersby for a moment, before sliding over and putting his arm around the teen.
"I don't hate you." He said.
"How could you not?"
"Because I know what it's like."
"You do? Who?"
Jounouchi shook his head. "Who it was doesn't matter now. But I got over it. After a while it didn't even hurt when I saw him with someone else."
"Jou. I want you to see my brother."
"That's not my choice to make Mokie," Jounouchi replied sadly. "He hates the idea of hurting you."
"I'll talk to him." Mokuba said resolutely. "Jounouchi, we can still be friends, can't we?"
Jounouchi gave Mokuba a reassuring hug. "I'll always consider you a friend, kiddo. But again-"
"Seto said he won't press charges if I behave myself!"
"That I did." Jounouchi looked up to see that brunet smiling down at them both. "Are you ready to go home, Mokuba?" The younger Kaiba nodded.
"Shotgun!" Jounouchi called out as he stood up.
"Hey!" Mokuba whined, then glanced up at the blond. "You won fair and square." He said smiling weakly.
The ride back to the Kaiba estate was quiet and uneventful. Jounouchi played out conversations in his head, trying to work one out in which Kaiba agreed to give them a chance. He glanced over at the brunet, wondering what he was thinking. Kaiba, sensing the blond's eyes on him, turned his head and met Jounouchi's gaze.
"We're home," he said.
"I'm going to go straight to bed. You guys, will you talk?" Mokuba asked as he headed for the front door.
"Katsuya, will you stay for a while?"
"Um, sure." They both watched as Mokuba climbed the stairs that led to the second floor and the bedroom wing, then Jounouchi turned to Kaiba. "Do you think he's going to be okay?"
"He's going to be fine. He left because he was ashamed." The brunet said, leading the blond into the parlor.
"Yeah, that's what I got from our conversation. He really felt bad about everything, he wants us to be together."
Kaiba turned and looked at Jounouchi, surprised. "He said that to you?"
Jounouchi nodded. "His exact words were that I should see you. So, can we talk about us now?" When the brunet did not reply, he continued. "Seto, I know you think it's best if we don't go out, but I'm telling you, he'll get over it. He doesn't want you to do this for him-"
"I said 'shut up.'" Kaiba crossed the distance between them and before Jounouchi was able to react, he brushed their lips together in a chaste kiss.
Kaiba's lips descended on the blond's once again, this time with more insistence. His tongue pushed past the barrier of Jounouchi's lips, teeth and tongue, urgently exploring the moist heat within. Abruptly Kaiba pulled away. "I said 'shut up,' and I meant it."
"No-" Again he kissed Jounouchi to quiet him, this time pressing the blond up against the wall. Jounouchi allowed Seto to dominate the kiss before turning the tables and responding with equal ardor.
Total word count: 14,726