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Warnings/notes: Kaiba/Joey, drabble-ish shortie.

Disclaimer: I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh.

written at 6th july 2005, by Misura


Theirs is the kind of relationship that'd make for great front-page lines, with big pictures of Joey stomping down the too long lane that leads up to the small palace Kaiba calls a mansion and with plenty of dramatic quotes from both of them about love, hate, life and the value of mathematical skills in a high-tech society.

If a month goes by without a fight, it's a rarity, and if half a year goes by without either of them swearing to never see or talk to the other ever again, it's bound to be a dream. No doubt, great articles could be written in speculation about the why of this, and whether or not things will finally go to hell for good this time.

Joey thinks that, probably, people'd get bored and lose interest after the dozenth split-up or so, and no longer rush to the stores to read all about the dramatic fight and the romantic make-up, but the only time he's actually voiced this opinion in a conversation, Kaiba told him he was wrong.

Kaiba may be a total jerk with no social skills whatsoever, but at the same time, somehow, he seems to know a lot about human nature. It doesn't make much sense, yet few things about Kaiba do, so it's just another mystery to add to the list, and Joey's grown to accept stuff like that.

According to Kaiba, people will always want to find out about famous people's love-lives, especially when it's as action-filled as theirs. Joey'd protest that, okay, maybe the world has a right to know that Kaiba's dating the world's second-best duelist, but doesn't it go a bit far to let everyone in on what's going on in their bedroom, and how often?

That particular question earned Joey a comment about dogs being stupid -which means that Joey taking offense can only mean that he feels like a dog, which simply goes to prove Kaiba's been right about him all along- and some quite enjoyable action that Kaiba used to distract him from the topic.

Kaiba's great at distracting Joey, really, although Joey is sure that if he'd want to, he could do the same to Kaiba, except that he prefers not to be a distraction. Joey'd much rather have Kaiba's full attention, and not have to compete for it with some inanimate object that wouldn't know a good deck from a bad one, let alone have the brains to think up a valid strategy.

Joey believes in big stuff, like eternal love, and in numbers he can count using his cards. He believes that when you've made a promise to be home in time for dinner, you shouldn't call three hours too late to cancel. He believes that if he just keeps trying, he can beat Kaiba in a duel.

All those things might not be true, or at least be things that Kaiba's not going to live up to, but at the heart of the matter is that these are all things that Joey thinks are worth believing in, and that's what counts. He's not going to roll over and pretend it's okay when Kaiba tells him making another billion yen is more important than getting home at six.

Plus, there's very little Kaiba believes in, so Joey almost feels obliged to make up for that.

Kaiba doesn't believe it's possible to love someone forever -unless that person is family, like Mokuba, who should be someone Kaiba believes in, but probably isn't, because Kaiba's just grown too used to having someone to protect and take care of, and Mokuba can't quite show him that he's past that now.

Kaiba believes that any number he can determine the root of without needing to use a calculator isn't worth bothering with, even if he adamantly refuses to let Joey borrow any money, no matter what it's for, or what Joey offers him in exchange.

Least of all, Kaiba believes that Joey could ever defeat him, either in a duel, or a wrestling-match for the most comfortable pillow, or in the cold war that keeps Joey from slamming doors and lets Mokuba sleep at night.

In a way, of course, that makes Kaiba as much of a believer as Joey, because it's not as if Kaiba lacks passion or emotion; he just doesn't go about showing them in the same way Joey does. When Joey shouts at the top of his lungs, Kaiba merely whispers, and when Joey throws things, Kaiba picks up some old report as if it's the most interesting thing he's ever read.

This is what annoys Joey most, this lack of an intelligible response, this failure to react in kind, to answer a screamed declaration of hate with another one.

This, also, is what keeps them together, because Joey believes in finishing his wars, not leaving in the middle of the negotiations, before the first shot has even been fired, and Kaiba not yelling at him means everything's not over yet between them.

Joey never comes back after he's promised not to, and Kaiba never begs him to return, after he's declared he wouldn't care if Joey were to drop dead. It doesn't work that way. It can't work that way, because Joey believes in keeping promises, and Kaiba believes in not believing that there's anybody in this world he needs - except Mokuba, but that's different, because Mokuba needs him back.

When they argue, it's loud and dramatic, and impossible to miss.

When they make up, it's whispered and hidden, and invisible to anyone who doesn't know that Joey loves strawberry-chocolate dessert, or that Kaiba has a thing for leather trousers without too many buckles on them.

Theirs is the kind of relationship that'd make for great front-page lines, if only the most important half of it hadn't been so completely hidden from the public eye, while every fight is photographed, taped and broadcasted.

Joey likes it that way, because he likes to get attention for being someone who dares to stand up to the high and mighty Seto Kaiba, and spit in the eyes of who just might be the richest person of Japan, and for being a great duelist with guts.

Kaiba, being Kaiba, claims he doesn't care. Joey knows that probably means that Kaiba despises the idea of anyone sticking their nose into his private life, but he also knows that if he were to say this, Kaiba might feel the need to prove him wrong by telling the media he's gay and taken at his next press-conference, so Joey keeps his mouth shut and reads every article about Yugi and Anzu's romantic honeymoon he can get his hands on, ignoring the few that claim theirs is a romance that can't last.

Joey knows what eternal love looks like, even if no newspaper would ever be able to shoot a picture of it.