Disclaimer: All Yu-Gi-Oh! characters and references belong to their respective owners. The songs, listed below, belong to their respective performers and the companies that recorded them and were used in this story with the best of intentions. Story elements © Hideki LaShae. No money was gained in the writing of this story.

Music of the Heart

By Hideki LaShae

Fingers rough from years of fighting glide over the keys, and the words appear on the computer screen above. Brown eyes stare at the keys, even though the fingers know where to go on their own.

A hand reaches out from the sidelines and grabs one of the other's hands.

"Huh?" The brown eyes turn to look at the black haired preteen standing beside him. He pulls his headphones from his head. "Hi, Mokuba."

"Hi, Jou." Mokuba Kaiba smiles, and his blue-gray eyes twinkle mischievously. His long black hair falls over the shoulder of his blue and white striped sweater. He looks at the computer in front of the blond teenager. "What are you doing here?"

"We can't all have computers at home," says Katsuya Jounouchi, Jou to his friends, smiling at the young Kaiba, "I had a report to do, and of course, it needs to be typed. I've written it all out by hand, and it's been edited once, but I don't think it's good enough. I just need to type it up though, so that's why I'm here."

"Do you need help editing? I'm great with grammar!" exclaims Mokuba pulling up the seat beside Jou.

Jou's smile turns into a grin. "You are awesome, Mokuba! I would love some help!"

"Okay," says Mokuba with a nod. He scoots closer and types in the command to jump back up to the top of the document on Jou's screen. He starts to read it. His ears pick up the quiet sound of music. "Where is that music coming from?"

"Probably this," says Jou holding up the MP3 player around his neck, "My sister sent it to me for my birthday. It's next week. I have it on radio right now."

"Cool! I know that model. It's very good. What songs do you have on it?" asks Mokuba glancing at the gift before turning back to his editing.

Jou blushes. "I don't have any MP3 files to upload. Plus without a computer, uploading is difficult."

"Oh… right. I thought she might have put some music on for you," says Mokuba, "but she probably would have figured you had different music tastes."

"We like a lot of the same music, but we also have different taste," says Jou. He blinks a few times when Mokuba finishes reading and editing his report. "Hey, wait a minute! What are you doing in the public library, Mokuba?"

"Hiding from my new bodyguard," says Mokuba, "He's a jerk, and I hate him. He'd never look for me here."

"Mokuba, he's supposed to be protecting you," says Jou as Mokuba pulls the keyboard closer to himself and starts to type continuing on from where Jou had left off.

"Like he's any good anyway!" exclaims Mokuba, "If I can slip away from him this easily, he couldn't protect me from an anthill!"

"Well, I guess that's true," says Jou with a sigh, "but I guess this means that I'll have to escort you home to make sure you don't get kidnapped."

"Yeah, it'll be payback for me finishing your typing," says Mokuba, "I can type faster than you, you know."

Jou smiles. "Deal!"

Mokuba smiles as he types, keeping his eyes firmly on the paper that Jou wrote his report on.

"Hey, Jou! Wait up!"

Jou turns around as he walks down the street away from the Kame Game Shop. He smiles when he sees Mokuba jumping from the back of the limo and running towards him. "Hey, kid! How's it going?"

"I brought you a birthday present," says Mokuba extending his hand and opening it to reveal a very small wrapped package.

"You didn't have to get me anything," says Jou blushing.

"I wanted to," says Mokuba, "It's something I actually kind of made up myself."

Jou lifts his eyebrow as the bulky man steps up behind Mokuba.

"Ignore him. This is Stupid, my new bodyguard." Mokuba rolls his eyes. "Open it!"

Jou takes the small gift and quickly pulls the paper off. He looks at the small card in confusion. "I don't get it. What is this?"

"Do you have your MP3 player?" asks Mokuba with a sigh.

"Yeah," says Jou pulling it out of his bag.

"This MP3 player has expandable memory, Jou." Mokuba snatches the electronic device and pulls the back off it. He takes the card and affixes it into its proper location within the MP3 player. He puts the back on again. "I put some songs on that memory card specially for you."

"Thanks, Mokuba!" exclaims Jou ruffling the boy's hair, "I'll listen to it on my way home."

"Hey, Mokuba! Can we go now?" calls a pretty blonde haired girl sticking her head out the window of the limo.

"Who's that?" asks Jou raising an eyebrow.

Mokuba blushes. "She's my girlfriend. We have a study session."

"Don't let me hear that you two were studying anatomy," says Jou, "I'd have to tell your brother and you'd be grounded for life."

"Go home, Jou!" exclaims Mokuba blushing even more and turning to run back to the limo. He calls out behind him, "Listen to the music! If you seriously don't like it once you've listened to it all, I can help you find something else!"

"Thanks, Mokuba!" calls Jou as Mokuba climbs into the back of the limo. He puts his headset on and turns on the MP3 player, getting it set to play the memory card, and puts it in his pocket as he starts to walk home.

I won't forget our dreams, so… even though I'm far away from you, I don't want to give up. Even though we've always been rivals. I don't need to hear any news, beloved friend. I don't tell anyone else my foremost thoughts. We'll meet once more, right, beloved friend. I won't forget you, beloved friend.

"Cool song selection," whispers Jou to himself as he hurries home listening to 'friendship music'. He steps into his house quietly so as not to wake his father lying upon the couch. He enters his room and locks the door before sitting down at his desk to do his homework.

It was you who showed me I got a friend in you. I always knew that you'd be right here for me. And it was you who stuck with me when the skies were blue. And it was you who stayed by my side. It was you! Since the day you came into my life, I knew then that you'd be someone right by my side. Then you proved you're a friend to me. In my heart, forever you will always be.

"What's going on here?" whispers Jou pulling his MP3 player from his pocket and looking at it curiously, "I must be imagining things. Mokuba has a girlfriend. He could not be hitting on me." He turns off the music and sets it aside as he continues his homework.

"Hey, Jou. What's that you've got there?" asks Hiroto Honda, one of Jou's best friends.

"It's an MP3 player," says Jou holding up the devise for his entire group of friends to see, "Shizuka sent it to me for my birthday. Mokuba's seen it already, and he gave me my present early. I got a memory card full of music!"

"Wow! Impressive," says Anzu Mazaki looking at the MP3 player closely, "This is a good one. Your sister has good taste."

Jou smiles wistfully. "She does."

"Can we listen to something, Jou?" asks the smallest of their quartet, Yugi Motou, with a big smile and pleading eyes.

"Sure, Yugi," says Jou pulling everyone in close so they can listen to the music coming through the headphones resting around his neck. He cranks the volume up to maximum and starts a song. "Please note that Mokuba selected the music and I haven't even had a chance to listen to it yet."

"Noted!" exclaims Yugi.

He drives me crazy all of the time. He drives me crazy. He drives me out of my mind. So why do I worry about him? Why do I care? I don't know why I let it faze me, but he drives me crazy.

"You said Mokuba gave you this?" asks Honda.

"Yeah, why?"

"Does he have a crush on you?" asks Anzu blushing slightly.

"I hope not. He's got a girlfriend," says Jou turning his player off after lowering the volume, "a cute blond."

"I can't believe he would have that song," says Yugi rubbing the Millennium Puzzle that hangs around his neck, "He's never really shown an interest in Pokémon before, or that singer for that matter. Maybe that was on there by accident."

"But he said he picked out the music all specially for me," says Jou, "and so far it's all been pretty similar stuff."

Someone roughly bumps into Jou, knocking him forward and into Anzu who falls from the added weight and lands on the ground with Jou's face in her bust.

"Watch what you're doing, mutt!" snaps a cold voice behind them.

Jou pushes himself to his feet just barely a moment after Anzu pushes him off her. He spins around and glares at the brunet with the cold blue eyes glaring at him. "Fuck off, Kaiba! You're the one who ran into me, not the other way around! You should be apologizing to me!"

"In your dreams, mutt!" exclaims Seto Kaiba narrowing his eyes.

"In my dreams you'd be doing a lot more than apologizing!" shouts Jou.

Seto blushes slightly and spins on his heels to walk towards his waiting limo. "Have another dream about me, puppy, and I might have to neuter you!"

Jou blushes a deep crimson and shouts after the other boy, "Not those kind of dreams!"

"Keep telling yourself that!" calls Seto as he slides into the back of the black vehicle.

"I have not been dreaming about him!" exclaims Jou turning back to his friends quickly, "Honestly!"

"We know," says Honda helping Anzu to her feet, "Who the hell would?"

"Actually, most of the female population here at school," says Anzu.

Everyone raises an eyebrow at Anzu.

Anzu sighs. "In my dream, he finally accepted our offer of friendship and quit calling Jou a dog, but I've overheard several other girls in the bathrooms and locker rooms. A lot of theirs have been on a more sexual side."

"Figures!" scoffs Honda.

"Should we head over to the game shop?" asks Yugi.

"I can't today," says Jou, "I still have some work to do on that English literature. The good news is… I think I finally understand it."

"Okay, Jou. We'll see you tomorrow before class," says Yugi.

"Bye, guys," says Jou walking away with a wave and pulling his headphones over his ears. He resumes listening to the music.

I think there is something that only I can do for you. Someday, without a doubt, the day is coming when I will protect you. The answer to these feelings that are born in the depths of my heart is that someday, without a doubt, the day is coming when I will protect you.

"Why would someone want to protect me?" whispers Jou, "I can certainly take care of myself." He lets himself into his house and plops down on his bed with the books for his literature class. He falls asleep listening to the next song.

Send in this beautiful loneliness that's tragical. So help me I can't win this war, oh no. Touch me now don't bother if every second it makes me weaker. You can save me from the man I've become. Looking back on the things I've done, I was trying to be someone. I played my part; kept you in the dark, now let me show you the shape of my heart.

Jou's Dream

"My brother hates you," says Mokuba.

"I know that," says Jou.

"But I don't hate you," says Mokuba.

"I know that," says Jou.

"I love you," says Mokuba forcing a kiss to Jou's lips.

"I don't love you, Mokuba. I'm sorry," says Jou.

"Baby you're the meaning in my life. You're the inspiration. You bring feeling to my life. You're the inspiration. Wanna have you near me. I wanna have you hear me say it. No one needs you more than I need you," sings Mokuba.

"You can't change my mind, Mokuba. I don't love you. I like someone else," says Jou.

"All he'd ever do is fuck you and leave you," says Mokuba angrily.

"That's the risk we all take when we choose to fall in love."

End Dream

Jou snaps awake and rips the headphones from his ears. He blinks rapidly trying to get his mind to work. "What the hell was that?" he asks himself before closing his eyes to have his dream replay itself, "I've got to call Mokuba!"

The books tumble to the floor as Jou scrambles to his feet and out of his room. He lifts the phone in the kitchen and dials the phone number Mokuba gave to everyone one day at the game shop.

Two rings later, a voice comes over the line. "Kaiba."

"Can I speak to Mokuba?" asks Jou.

"Mutt?" comes the voice on the other end of the line, "How the hell did you get this number and what the fuck are you doing calling my brother?"

"One. I'm not a fucking mutt, Kaiba! Two, Mokuba gave me this phone number. Three, I need to talk to the little twerp so put him on the phone!" exclaims Jou.

"He's not here right now, mutt. Not like you need to know that," says the other young man arrogantly, "Why do you need to speak to him?"

"It's about the birthday present he gave me."

Kaiba remains silent.

"Did you hear me?"

"I didn't know your birthday passed. When was it? What did my brother give you?" asks Kaiba after another moment.

"My birthday is next week. He gave me the gift early, but I think there was some sort of mistake. You see, he gave me a memory card for my MP3 player, but it's filled with the weirdest songs. I think he might have actually meant this card for someone else," explains Jou slowly.

"I'm sure he did. I will give him the message when he gets back from his girlfriend's house."

"So you know about his girlfriend?"

"Yes. I had a complete background check done on her and her family. They have been cleared for social contact with Mokuba," says Kaiba.

"Oh, good. I don't want Mokuba getting in trouble," says Jou with a slight smile, "By the way, I sort of mentioned to him that if I found out he was conducting himself in an un-Kaiba-ish manner with her that I would tell you about it, so I don't think you have to worry about him knocking her up."

"I didn't have to worry about him knocking her up to begin with," says Kaiba.

"Yeah. Mokuba's a good kid."

"He is," says Kaiba quietly.

"Well… I should go. I have homework, and I'm sure you have people to fire or something," says Jou, "Are you at the office or the mansion? I never did bother to ask Mokuba where the phone number was connected to."

"I'm at the mansion."

"Otherwise your secretary probably would have answered," says Jou, "Well… bye, Kaiba."

"By the way… Happy birthday, mutt." Kaiba ends the call on his side by hanging up the phone.

"Thanks, Kaiba," whispers Jou into the dead air. He sets the phone down and returns to his room. He lifts his books back onto the bed and puts the headphones back on as he sits down to do his homework.

I have told you just half the words I've wanted to give you. Fear of rejection keeps my heart at bay. Feelings I'd rather not say. I'd rather have you close than never at all, but every now and then when my world is closing in, I feel you breezing through my mind. I can attempt to close my eyes. I can avoid the wrong or right, but something deep inside says my heart wants what it wants.

Jou smiles. "I just had a decent conversation with Seto I-need-to-be-fucked-senseless-by-someone-soon Kaiba!"

The music coming through the headset suddenly changes.

Jou sighs. "What I wouldn't give to be the one to fuck him!"

One country song ends, and another begins as Jou listens to the music.

There's girls at the office the guys always notice when they walk by, but you're not the type. They don't know what I know. Oh something's just don't show through tailored tweeds, and that's fine with me. Let them all think what they want to. As for me when I look at you, I see you in a different light, your hair falling down with love in your eyes. In my mind, you're a beautiful sight. I see you in a different light, just the way I saw you last night.

A vision stirs behind a pair of golden eyes. A song dances upon the wind. A name whispers from a pair of lips, "Seto…"

Jou pushes himself to his feet and dances to the music of the next song, a part of him soaring like a dragon chasing after its one true dragon love.

Everyone's got a theory about the bitter one. They're saying, "Mamma never loved her much" and "Daddy never keeps in touch. That's why she shies away from human affection."

Several more songs play as Jou dances in his room, his heart feeling light as he dreams of rich blue eyes and chestnut hair. It no longer bothers him that Mokuba, the younger brother of his fantasy, gave him the gift that brings him so much joy. The fact never really seems to come to light. He just dances to the music, songs of love and friendship as he realizes they all must be, and he dreams of having that love, eternal and true, like in those lyrics and rhythmic notes. He doesn't even notice as he falls completely exhausted onto his bed and falls rapidly into a deep slumber still listening to the music.

Jou's Dream

"I hate you, mutt!" screams Seto.

"Yeah, well the feeling's mutual, moneybags!" exclaims Jou. He throws a punch towards Seto's jaw.

"You'll have to move quicker than that, fucking mutt!" exclaims Seto dodging the attack and making a strike of his own to the blond's stomach.

"That is such a cheap shot," moans Jou clutching his stomach.

"There's no such thing as a cheap shot," says Seto, "Besides, you'll never win."

Jou glares at Seto before turning abruptly and stalking off. "You're not worth the fight!"

"When you walk away, you don't hear me say, 'please, oh baby, don't go.' Simple and clean is the way that you're making me feel tonight. It's hard to let it go," sings Seto quietly as Jou walks away.

End Dream

Jou wakes up with tears sliding down his cheeks. He sits up quickly and wipes his eyes. His own voice joins the soulful tones of the woman in the music singing, "Have you ever found that one you've dreamed of all your life? You'd do just about anything to look into their eyes. Have you finally found the one you've given your heart to only to find that one won't give their heart to you? Have you ever closed your eyes and dreamed that they were there and all you can do is wait for the day when they will care?"

The ringing phone scares Jou and makes him pull off his headphones and run to grab the device. "Hello?"

"Hey, Jou? It's Mokuba," comes the young voice on the other side.

"Mokuba! Great! I'm glad you called! I have to ask you about that music you gave me! Did you realize that it's all love songs?" asks Jou.

"Yeah… There's good reason for it too, but that's not why I called," says Mokuba, "Seto insists that I bring my girlfriend over for dinner on Saturday night and I was wondering if you would join us to."

"Why me?"

"You'd be a sort of referee I hope," says Mokuba.

"Well, I guess I can… so long as someone comes to pick me up. I'm not walking there!" exclaims Jou.

"Great! You're the best, Jou! Bye!"

"Mokuba?" Jou listens to the beeping on the phone for a second before putting it down. He returns to his room and listens to one final song, a pleasant tune from The Little Mermaid, before he turns his MP3 player off and lies down to rest.

"Will you be coming over for dinner this weekend, Jou?" asks Honda as the entire group sits down with their lunches.

"Sounds tempting, but I kind of promised Mokuba that I would referee his dinner date with his girlfriend and Kaiba," says Jou pulling out his sandwich, "He seems to think Kaiba's going to grill the pour girl and scare her away, so I'm supposed to be there to give him another target."

"And you would do that, why?" asks Honda.

"Honda!" exclaims Anzu.

"I don't know why I'm going," says Jou, "but I want to. So I'm going to be there! I'll have fun, even if I have to put up with Kaiba!"

"Yeah, you get to eat as much as you want," says Yugi smiling.

Jou nods.

"So… did you ask Mokuba about the music on your MP3 player yet?" asks Yugi dipping one of his apple slices into a container of caramel dip before eating it.

"All he said was there was a reason behind why it was all love songs, but he wouldn't say the reason," says Jou stuffing half his sandwich into his mouth.

"Do you think maybe he's in love with you and his girl?" asks Honda.

"Honda! You jerk! Mokuba would not be trying to seduce someone while he already had a lover!" exclaims Anzu, "He knows better than that! Kaiba would so not approve of him trying for two at once! Think of what the scandal would do to their lives and Kaiba Corp."

"I was thinking about all that!" exclaims Honda, "It's just that…"

"Do you have your music with you, Jou?" asks Yugi, "They might be arguing for awhile, and we could listen to some of it if you wanted."

Jou quickly digs his MP3 player out of his bag and slides off to the side with Yugi so they could eat their lunches and listen to the music in peace.

I can't fight this feeling any longer. Yet, I'm still afraid to let it flow. What started out as friendship has grown stronger. I only wish I had the strength to let it show. I tell myself that I can't hold out forever. I say there is no reason for my fear. 'Cause I feel so secure when we're together. You give my life direction; you make everything so clear. Even as I wander, I'm keeping you in sight. You're a candle in the window on a cold dark winter's night. And I'm getting closer than I ever thought I might.

"All the songs are like that," says Jou, "some worse than others, and some that just aren't so bad."

"Where do you think Mokuba got all these songs?" asks Yugi, "It's quite the impressive collection. It must have taken some time to compile it all, don't you think?"

"Mokuba probably has a million CDs. All he'd have to do is rip his collection and there you go!"

"But Jou, think about it. These are all love songs, and I don't think they were all on the same CD. They all have different artists, and genres, so it would have taken time to put them all together by content… even if he did have all the CDs that they came from," says Yugi, "but he did all this in about a week. I think he had these songs already and that he was just waiting for a reason to give them to you."

"So you think he has a crush on me too?" asks Jou.

"No… but that doesn't mean his brother might not," whispers Yugi.

Jou blushes. "Kaiba?"

"Mokuba could have taken the music from Kaiba. That could explain how he got it so quickly, and it all contained the same theme."

"That's just wishful thinking," whispers Jou, "Seto Kaiba couldn't possibly have a crush on me. Guys like Kaiba don't get crushes on guys like me."

Yugi raises an eyebrow.

"No… it's always guys like me who get crushes on guys like him," whispers Jou casting a furtive glance to the spot where Seto Kaiba always sits and eats his minimal vegetarian lunch while reviewing documents or working on his laptop computer.

Seto looks up and catches Jou's gaze, and for a moment, their eyes meet.

Each time I look in your eyes, my heart beats faster. I'm beginning to feel the invitation of love. In my dreams, you always tell me you love me, but…

Jou's heart rate increases, and his face flushes.

Seto looks away from Jou after another moment.

Jou turns his attention back to Yugi. "Do you think…?"

"I think he likes you."

Jou smiles slightly.

"I think you like him too."

"I agree." Jou turns his MP3 player off as the bell rings to signal the end of lunch. He tucks it back into his bag and rises with Yugi to head back into the boredom of class. He bumps into Seto along the way.

"Out of the way, damn dog!" exclaims Seto shoving Jou into a wall.

"Bastard!" yells Jou.

Seto glares at Jou. "Don't count me in the same classification as yourself, mutt!"

Jou glares as Seto turns and quickly walks away. He digs his MP3 player out again and puts the headphones on as he heads into the bathroom. He turns the music on and enters a stall.

Just love! God, I hate him! I'm mean to you, only 'cause I have a crush on you. Just love! 'Cause I'm very attracted to you. I always say impossible things to you. I guess, I'm sorry… Just love…

Jou sighs and runs his hands through his unruly blond hair as he tries to calm his racing heart.

I can't sleep at night when you are on my mind. Bobby Womack's on the radio saying to me, "If you think you're lonely now." Wait a minute. This is too deep, too deep. I gotta change the station, so I turn the dial trying to catch a break, and then I hear Babyface, "I only think of you." And it's breaking my heart. I'm trying to keep it together, but I'm falling apart.

Jou spends the entire period in the bathroom trying to calm his heart and his emotions. He listens to the music and feels it affecting him in ways he didn't realize a love song could. He unknowingly falls deeper in love with the man behind the blue eyes in his dreams, the man of whom the music reminds him. He returns to his classes only to have all his friends stare worriedly at him. He shoots them a smile and a thumbs-up to let them all know he's doing okay. Then he sits down at his desk and ignores everyone. He doesn't need to listen to the teacher. He would never pass the class anyway.

Seto glares at Jou, but he then turns his attention towards the shorter duelist and glares at Yugi instead.

Yugi notices Seto's glare and turns inquisitive eyes onto him.

Seto glances towards Jou before catching Yugi's eyes.

Yugi shrugs.

Seto glares harder.

Yugi shrugs again.

Seto scribbles something onto a piece of paper and pulls it from his notebook. He crumples it and tosses it onto Yugi's desk.

Yugi reads the message 'What's wrong with the mutt?' and writes back his response, 'You can ask me that question all day, but I still won't know the answer at the end of it all.' He folds the paper neatly and tosses it back onto Seto's desk.

'You know what's bothering him. You have to know. You're his best friend!' writes Seto before tossing the paper back again, once again crumpled into a ball.

Yugi sighs. 'Although I do want you to be our friend, and I am touched by your concern, I do have a question for you. Why do you care what's bothering him? You're his self-proclaimed worst enemy!'

Seto unfolds the paper and reads the response. He glares at it before crumpling the paper without writing a response.

Yugi smiles before pulling a sheet of paper from his own notebook and writing a short note. He folds it neatly and tosses it back at Seto.

Seto glares at Yugi as he opens the note. He reads the words, 'You're in love, aren't you?' He blushes.

"Seto Kaiba! Yugi Motou! Quit passing those notes before I make you read them to the class!" exclaims the teacher.

A few students snicker.

Jou glances back at the two teens, and he blushes when Seto catches his eye. He turns back around in his seat and continues pretending to take notes.

"Katsuya Jounouchi! I know you're just drawing stick figures in your notebook! Cut it out and start taking notes!" exclaims the teacher.

"Hey! These are not stick figures!" exclaims Jou, "These are duel monsters!" He holds up his notebook to show the class the detailed drawings, not quite up to the actual card's standards, but coming a close second.

The teacher rolls her eyes. "Pay attention!"

Jou sighs and puts his drawings away.

Seto scribbles another note and tosses it to Yugi. Then he takes a clean sheet of paper and writes a note to Jou that he throws at the back of the blond's head.

Yugi reads his note, 'In love with whom?' He smirks and writes back, 'Your puppy of course!' He folds the note and tosses it back.

Jou's face reddens as he reads the note that bounced over his shoulder after hitting him in the head. He reads the words again, 'Nice Red-Eyes… How well can you do the Blue-Eyes?'

'I think you've finally gone insane, Motou,' writes Seto. He tosses the note.

Jou smoothes out the creases in the paper and starts doodling.

'I'm not insane. You just aren't ready to admit your feelings,' writes Yugi before sending the note back.

Seto clenches the note in his fist and shoves it into his jacket pocket. He watches the teacher with an irritated scowl until a paper lands on his desk. Thinking it's from Yugi again, he frowns as he opens it, but then he blushes as he sees the drawing of a Blue-Eyes White Dragon facing off against a Red-Eyes Black Dragon. It takes him a moment to realize that their tails curl together into an upside down heart. He smiles and slides the paper in between the pages of his book.

Jou sends a glance at Seto in time to see the smile, and he grins.