Research & development
or: The importance of being Seto Kaiba (in love), part I


Warnings/notes: Kaiba/Joey, drabble-ish snippets, slightly silly, borderlining ooc.

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

written at 6th october 2005, by Misura



It's a good thing, Kaiba thinks, that he's made it a habit never to apologize for being late - mostly by being punctual or else by delaying the meeting, because he hardly ever has meetings with people whom he can't fire or bankrupt just for refusing to adapt their schedules for him, even if he honestly tries not to do things like that, what with the value of PR and all.

For some reason -or rather: for several reasons, and most of them based on facts that have been asserted beyond doubt, albeit with a .026 percent chance of error, he does not believe for a single moment that he would willingly divulge to any of the people gathered in one of Kaiba Corp.'s more luxurious conference-rooms (tastefully decorated with masterpieces of modern art that look like the products of a five-year-old with no sense of taste or colour) that he's spent the past eleven point five minutes plotting the seduction of someone who doesn't even own a laptop. (1)

Aware of the fact that his clothes are in perfect order, as is his hair-do, Kaiba strides to the head of the table, acting as if he is not late at all. People are quick to take the hint; much like in one of those western Westerns, in the world of big business, there are only the quick and the dead, and the people who, like Kaiba himself, are above such juvenile things as being classified according to some old-fashioned movie-term.

Kaiba allows a smile to play around his lips for a few seconds. It's a smile he's perfected over the years, and practices daily in front of the bathroom-mirror every morning, before brushing his teeth, and that he bestows on people who are beneath his notice i.e. on anyone who crosses his path and has yet merited his attention in order to settle some small matter that doesn't involve anything over a billion yen.

Whenever he uses this smile on Joey, the object of his desire, if not his affection, Joey tends to take offense and start yelling at him, a response that Kaiba would find somewhat alarming and offending from anyone else (not to mention sufficient reason to make sure the person in question won't be in any position important enough to ever meet with such a lofty person as Kaiba knows himself to be again) yet finds inexplicably endearing from Joey. Perhaps, he has theorized in a lost moment between a memo and a board-meeting, it is simply that he likes Joey showing a hint of being predictable, even if it's in such a hostile way.

Forcefully, as well as, it must be said, somewhat regretfully dragging his attention away from a certain blonde who cannot be found on the agenda displayed on the screen of the computer-screen in front of him, Kaiba dismisses his smile the way he might dismiss an unreliable manager or a lowly employee who's been caught playing games during working hours (2) and gets down to business.

All in all, Kaiba considers the meeting to end in a success, in the sense that he has once again managed to keep his temper in check and not denounce any of the idiotic ideas he's been involuntarily exposed to during the past three point four hours for what they are. Considering that these people are supposed to be his competitors, although they barely make half the money in a year that Kaiba does in a month, this should, presumably, leave him feeling better, yet it doesn't.

Sending a memo to the person responsible for putting the meeting in his agenda to inform her that she's fired does lift his spirits somewhat. Even if it's the fifth such message in as many days, and even if Kaiba knows the woman in question will not settle for anything less than a dismissal by him in person, or at the very least a hand-written letter on rice-paper, it is good to know that there are still people working for him who are in possession of a spine.

Actually, the woman reminds him of Joey a bit, in the same way a cheap, worn-out pocket-book describing events of a romantic and rather unlikely nature may remind one of the works of the masters of Literature. (3)

From a quick checking of his day-planner, Kaiba learns that he is supposed to attend three more meetings today, all of them with important, or at least easily-slighted, people who will doubtlessly require being soothed and fawned over if Kaiba would let them wait for him. He wouldn't go so far as to say he needs them - for Kaiba has made sure a long time ago that the only person he needs is someone who will always be there for him, which makes this whole affair (or lack of one) with Joey all the more frustrating and simply unacceptable - but given the choice between spending two hours on them now, or five hours on them later, his wisest course of action is crystal-clear.

Kaiba tells his secretaries to cancel the rest of his meetings, and goes home early to observe Joey making his homework and cooking dinner. (4)


(1) Kaiba has also spent considerable amounts of time plotting how to remedy this, but so far without any success, since Joey's really very peculiar about accepting anonymous gifts, and sees right through the old you're-our-lucky-randomly-picked-winner-today-scam that Kaiba had some of his security people execute last week.

Also (1) This is a serious indication of Joey's lack of business-sense, although it also lessens Kaiba's suspicions that this whole love-thing is a ploy used by one of his competitors to get to him, since they'd be smart enough to realize the many uses for a laptop in the hands of Kaiba's would-be lover.

(2) As long as it's a game produced by Kaiba Corp., Kaiba feels inclined to be lenient and only fire the person in question, without any glares or shredding of self-esteem or even a sarcastic comment regarding said person's dedication to his work. However, there are rumors about someone caught playing a game by Industrial Illusions ...

(3) Not, of course, that Kaiba ever would use his time for something so wasteful and foolish as reading a cheap romance-novel (or even an acclaimed masterwork), but he has people to do this for him, and from their reports he gets the general idea. That is, if they don't want to get fired for performing their job inadequately.

(4) It would be illegal to put a hidden camera in someone else's apartment, of course, so Kaiba has simply bought the entire building that Joey lives in, and has had a very discreet and impossible to detect set of cameras installed while Joey wasn't there. Since there's only three rooms in the apartment, and since Kaiba considered that bathroom off-limits, it only took seven cameras to cover Joey's whole living-space.