Seto Kaiba sat in his office on the hundredth and tenth floor. He was a tall man, with dark brown hair and eyes as blue as the sky and with rings underneath them such as no one could imagine. It was odd, but for someone about to celebrate his twentieth birthday that afternoon, he looked absolutely murderous. He was, indeed, a man with murder on his mind.
"Remind me," he said, pinching the rim of his nose, "why exactly did they let you into this office, again?"
"Uuumm…" Joey offered as a response as he sprawled across Kaiba's couch and flipped through the channels on the TV.
"Fascinating," Kaiba muttered, looking back down to his paperwork. He had a rather nasty feeling that letting Wheeler into the building and past all the various lairs of security, all the way up to the top floor, was his staff's way of playing a joke on him. It had taken them little to no time to notice the newly formed companionship between the two boys, and had been exploiting it to the full over the last many months.
A year ago Kaiba would have had them all fired. …yes.
"Owen wants to visit Domino. He wants to show his parents a good time around the City," Joey said, partially tearing his attention away from the screen. "He called me today to talk about it– You know you don't have any of the good channels on this thing, right?"
"Don't worry Kaiba. I'm sure you'll be the sweetest, most caring guide – slash host – that they could ever want," Joey drawled, finally giving up on the TV, turning it off, and slid still further into the couch.
"You know that I hate you, yes?"
Kaiba chanced half a glance up at him. "So, who's your date tonight? Mai Valentine?"
Joey, who had been lounging on the couch with his limbs splayed everywhere, sat bolt upright.
"You took a shower. Classic tell," Seto shook his head disparagingly.
Joey was scarlet. He sat there with his mouth agape for a moment, and then swallowed. "Well, excuse me for actually having a dating life."
"She's what, ten years older than you?" Kaiba said mildly, reaching across his desk.
"NO. EIGHT. …It's just dinner! Anyway, didn't I see you the other day peering at that new transfer student, huh?" Joey had gotten up from the couch and was now leaning in against Kaiba's desk.
Kaiba leaned back. "Right. Because that would be entirely in character," he said dryly.
"I don't know," Joey drawled, a smirk spreading across his face. "Blue eyes…white hair… Oh, what was her name again. Um…Kisara. …Ringing any bells?"
Kaiba blinked up at him. Then, he reached across the desk to his phone, and pressed a button. "I want Security up here now. There seems to be a homeless man who's found his way into my office. I rather not press charges, but I would like to have him kicked out of the building on his ass."
"What the!? You can't just–!" Joey spun around to face the two tall men in black suits that entered the office. The staff might be able to prank Kaiba, but they would never refused a direct order from him. Joey spun back to face Kaiba, "Using them is such a cheap copout! Hey, let go of me! Kaiba!"
Kaiba leaned back in his chair, enjoying the scene before him as the two guards began to wrestle Joey to the door. "Yes, it is. But let's be honest: if you had body guards, you won't exactly miss the opportunity to sic them on me, would you?"
By the look of incredulity on his face Kaiba could tell that Joey knew the point was impossible to argue. "Alright, alright! Just give me a second!" Joey flailed.
Kaiba gave a nod, and the two guards released Joey, but did not leave his sides. Joey, meanwhile, looked from one to the other with indignation, before making a show of smoothing out his school uniform. He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a small, wrapped rectangle.
Kaiba's eyes narrowed. "Oh hell no."
"Yup." Joey sent the box sailing across the room, which Kaiba caught deftly. "Don't worry. It's not some lame card that you'd have to throw out. Happy birthday, money-bags."
Kaiba slowly looked from the box, to Joey, who smirked, gave a nod, and then left the office of his own accord – with the two guards still in close pursuit.
Kaiba sat alone in his office for a moment, holding his present. He looked down at it. …It was the first present that he'd gotten which wasn't from Mokuba since… Kaiba ripped the wrapping off.
In his hands he was holding a Kit Kat. He smirked.
As the day wore on Seto Kaiba's long, spider-like hands bulleted across the keyboard of his computer. As evening turned to night the CEO of the company began to nod. He was entirely unused to this need for sleep, but the range of emotions that had been thrust upon him in the last many months were quite frankly exhausting. His brother was largely to blame. All of this was his fault. He nagged and pestered the man day and night until there was nothing left in Seto to call 'man.'
It was shortly before midnight when one of the great, oak doors of the Kaiba Mansion opened just a crack, and Seto Kaiba entered. Morris was slumped on a chair parked right inside the door. The old man had dozed off. Seto gently took him by the shoulder and gave it a little shake. "Morris," he whispered.
Morris started awake and looked up at the young master, dazed and confused.
Kaiba smirked down at him, helping the old man up. "Fell asleep again, did you?"
"Yes sir," Morris spluttered. "I mean, no sir. I mean, this way sir." The old butler gestured for the young man to follow him. Kaiba raised an eyebrow, but did as he was bidden. He only prayed to god that this wasn't a surprise party. He'd come a long way to tolerating other people's existence, but that might just be a little too much.
Morris led him into the darkened kitchen where Mokuba, who had been looking out the window for his arrival, was sitting, alone, at the kitchen table. In front of him, on the table, was a small round chocolate cake with a single candle in it. The light pooled just far enough to show his little brother's eager face.
Mokuba grinned up at his brother, and opened his mouth. "Happy birthday to you…" Morris stepped up behind Seto to remove his coat. "Happy birthday to you…" he joined in. The song reverberated eerily off the marble counters and floor, sung by only the two of them. And so, his brother and his butler sang, through "Dear Seto," all the way to the end. Finally, when they'd both gone quiet again, Seto stood for a moment, smiled, and then stepped forward, and blew out the candle. For a moment the room was in darkness, and then Morris flipped on the light.
The smoke from the candle plumed up into the air. Morris clapped, and Mokuba grinned up at him. His nose was still, if one looked very closely, slightly eschew from when one of Tim's goons had broken it. Mokuba didn't mind though. He liked to tell people that he'd gotten it in a bar fight.
At fourteen years old. Right.
"…Thank you very much for this Mokuba, Morris," Seto said, resting his hand on Mokuba's mane of hair. "It's very kind of you."
"Thank you, sir," Morris made a small bow. "And, with your permission, I'll just hang up your coat, and be off to bed myself."
"You don't want any cake, Morris?" Mokuba asked.
"No, Master Mokuba, thank you. This evening has already brought me more pleasure thank I could say." He smiled, and his face seemed to wrinkle now almost beyond recognition. "Good night Master Mokuba," he nodded to one of the Kaiba brothers. "Good night, sir," he nodded to the other.
"Night Morris! Sleep well!" Mokuba was already brandishing a fork eagerly.
"Good night Morris," Seto nodded back to him. With a final bow, the old butler left the two boys alone in the kitchen.
Seto pulled a stool out from under the table – it scrapped against the floor in the silence – and sat down next to his brother. "You dig in first, Mokie," he said quietly. Now, when they were alone, as when they were always alone, Seto called Mokuba by his nickname. It brought a grin to his little brother's face which quite literally almost stretched from ear to ear. Seto gave a small smile in return, before sighing, and trying to rub the sleep out of his eyes. The exhaustion from the day was hitting him twofold, now that he was home and relaxed. Mokuba, meanwhile, needed no more persuasion. He happily tuckered into Seto's birthday cake.
"The trip back from Tochi was really nice today. The cherry trees around Mom and Dad's graves are beautiful." Mokuba said after a few bites. "Oh! Also, I saw Owen." The boy's face was transforming from that of a human to that of what appeared to be a mud man. But Seto couldn't bring himself to care. "He said-"
"-That he and his family would be coming up to Domino. Yes, I know. I've offered to put them up for the week. He called me today to wish me a happy birthday." Kaiba propped his head on his hand and lazily watched Mokuba eat.
"That's awesome! Oh my god, it's gonna be just like when we were kids."
Seto closed his eyes, smiling a little. Then, after a moment, he peered one eye open, plucked the fork out of Mokuba's hand, and took a bite of cake.
The two stayed up into the early hours of the morning. It was better than any party and exactly what Seto had needed. Finally, when even Mokuba, full of cake and on a sugar rush as he was – when even he was nodding his head into the plate of crumbs, Seto half hauled, half pushed him up the stairs, up to his room, and into bed, where Mokuba promptly passed out before Seto had even put the blankets on him.
Kaiba smirked, leaned down to his little brother, and gave him a soft kiss on the forehead. He then straightened up again, brushing a few stay, black hairs from the little boy's face back behind his ear. Seto Kaiba stood there for a moment longer, looking down at the first friend… the first person… that had seen in him the potential for affection… even love.
Then he left the room. He continued down the hall to the last room, and entered his own bed chamber. He dressed into his white pajamas and fell into a deep sleep the second his head touched the soft pillow. The next morning he would rise with the sun and go back to his office on the hundredth and tenth floor, but not before looking in on his sleeping brother one more time. This was the daily routine of a man whom all envied and many admired. This was the life of Seto Kaiba.