Author Notes: Well, it's been over a year since I last updated… that is ridiculous and unreasonable. The only thing I have to say in my defense is that I was super busy and had a bit of trouble with parts in the chapter, and didn't want to post till I was happy. Even as I write this there are a million other things I'm supposed to be doing, but I NEEDED a break, and thank god all of you are out there to provide one for me.
Disclaimer: I don't own ANYTHING of Yugioh. Not even a trading card, to be honest. Also, I'm dirt poor, so you won't get anything if you sue. Besides, all my money and immortal soul have already been signed off to the Gods of Academia…
Warning: This story is YAOI! That means BOYxBOY! If you have an issue with that do NOT read! However, if that's your poison, hop right in!
EDIT: So I messed up and the opening scene had been cut out when I first put this up. SORRY! But you didn't really miss all that much... so I suppose it's alright. In any case it is up now.
It was a cool Monday morning when Jounouchi Katsuya initiated his plan. He had been considering it carefully all weekend and decided that it would be best to take his cues from the people who had turned having a crush on Kaiba Seto into an Olympic class sport.
"Jou, are you sure you want to do this?" Yuugi asked him for the third time that morning on their way to school.
"Yeah, I'm positive." He replied quickly, his steps light from excitement. His wasn't sure why, but the idea of pretending to seduce Kaiba was making his heart flutter in anticipation.
"It's just that we're almost at the school and once you start this, that's it." Yuugi paused, most likely for dramatic effect, but it was lost on Katsuya who had slipped into a day dream of Kaiba being so shocked by Katsuya's behavior that he jumps back, trips over a cafeteria chair, and falls into a conveniently placed tray of cherry pastries. Katsuya chuckled, wondering if he could get in good with the school cook and convince her to make some of the desert.
"…even pretending to listen!"
Yuugi took a breath. "Jou, listen. You're making a mistake. This can't end well. Kaiba isn't going to be embarrassed, you are!"
Jou laughed heartily as they crossed into school grounds. "Nope! You just wait and see! Kaiba's going to be humiliated!"
It was a cool Monday morning when Jounouchi Katsuya ignored all logical advice and initiated his plan.
Seto was calmly sitting at his school desk, leafing through the minutes of the last Kaiba Corporation meeting. It had finished early on account of a medical emergency. The nervous employee giving the financial report had begun hyperventilating and required oxygen from the EMTs. Impressively, the man still valiantly tried to appease Kaiba, even when the paramedics yelled at him to stop sitting up on the gurney. Seto decided to give him an all expense paid trip to Acapulco next month.
"Hiya, Kaiba!" A cheerful voice suddenly called to him and he nearly jumped from surprise, recovering his poise just in time. Girls were always doing that to him. Running up and greeting him eagerly before class. Hoping beyond hope that he'd look up at them and suddenly confess his own secret love that they just knew he was hiding! It was annoying, stupid, and predictable. This particular overly happy greeting stood out for the fact that while it was annoying and stupid it was most certainly not predictable.
Said mutt tilted his head to the side and pouted in an exaggerated fashion. "So mean!" He giggled. Kaiba leaned away from him and looked over at the mutt's friends, hoping to glean some information as to why the blonde had suddenly lost his mind. He didn't get any. Yuugi looked between him and the mutt forlornly, Anzu shook her head and gave a loud 'tsk' of disapproval while patting Honda's shoulder, who was looking quite green. However, more worrying than all this, was Bakura, who seemed torn between concern and hysterical laughter and, unable to decide, had his face contorted in an odd grin with his eyes watching them anxiously.
Seto redirected a wary eye on Katsuya. "How are you?" Katsuya asked shrilly, ignoring Seto's discomfort and curling his short blonde hair around his finger before allowing it to fall. It made his hair look more of an out of bed disaster than ever.
"So," Seto began cautiously, "it finally happened?"
Katsuya blinked. "What finally happened?"
"I confess, I am surprised you made it to seventeen. Most dogs fall prey to dementia far earlier." Seto shrugged. "Though I suppose mutts do have better protection against such ailments than purebreds."
Katsuya slammed his hands down on Kaiba's desk, face screwed up in anger, "I'M NOT A DOG, YOU BAS—er, you… silly… thing?"
There was a long pause.
Katsuya stared at Kaiba and Seto racked his brain trying to remember if anyone had ever called him a 'silly thing' before. Katsuya finally leaned back, looking vaguely disgusted, and walked stiffly to his chair. Seto watched him in silence and attempted to catch his eyes, but Katsuya steadfastly refused to look up and just continued to mumble angrily under his breath.
It was a slightly warmer Tuesday morning when Jounouchi Katsuya decided that while his attempt the previous day had merit, it was flawed. He couldn't allow his temper to get the better of him. Perhaps, he considered, talking was a bit too difficult for him. He had never really said much to Kaiba that was not sarcastic or insulting and trying to change his routine from that to one of smiling sweetly and twittering like an idiot at the other boy was proving difficult.
But as luck would have it, today would offer the perfect opportunity to get physical with Kaiba!
Katsuya wrinkled up his nose. That thought didn't sound right…
"Jou, hurry up, man!" Honda snapped, distracting Katsuya from internally defending his heterosexuality. "We'll be late for gym!"
Normally, Katsuya and Honda wouldn't care about arriving late to gym and would simply stroll in whenever the time suited them. Of course, that had been last year when the gym teacher was 80 year old Mr. Tanaka. His replacement had been Mr. Kuchigawa, a nice, friendly man in his late thirties, whom on his first day thoroughly convinced each student he was bat shit crazy.
He hadn't wanted to be a gym teacher, but rather a guidance councilor of the perky variety. He insisted on everything being "partnered" in order to foster trust and good feelings between the students. And then he exercised them to death, all the while smiling an obnoxiously large smile and startling students with his bellowing laughs of 'sweating being your body's tears of happiness' and that 'the aching muscles sure to follow was just a persistent, loving hug.'
Honda and Jou burst into the locker room just as the bell was sounding. Jou panted as he changed and rushed out the door to the gym. Honda had been right behind him, but at the last second tripped over his poorly tied shoes and, waving his arms in a spectacular attempt to fly, fell to the ground, bringing Katsuya along with him.
"NOW, NOW BOYS!" Bellowed Kuchigawa joyfully, "WE'RE NOT PLAYING RUGBY TODAY! BUT GOOD SHOW! I LIKE YOUR ENTHUSIASM!!" The massive teacher then reached down and deftly lifted both boys to their feet as though they were rag dolls. "TENNIS, M' BOYS! THE SPORT OF THE GENTEEL, IT IS! NOT THAT IT'S A GENTLE SPORT, MIND YOU!" He turned to address the rest of the class, though there really wasn't any need with the way his voice echoed around the room. "NO, NO, YOU'LL ALL BE FEELING THE HUG TOMORROW! HA HA! HUG."
Honda and Jounouchi slinked off into the line-up, hoping their teacher would not be moved to deliver one of his motivational speeches to one of them which typically resulted in a lot of hugging and loss of air supply.
Just then, Kaiba Seto sauntered into the gym and Katsuya held back a snarl at the other boy's clothing. It wasn't school issued like Katsuya's uniform. It consisted of a white shirt that fit snuggly across the other boy's annoyingly broader chest and only slightly less snug dark blue gym shorts. Katsuya tugged self-consciously at his own shirt. Kaiba's gym clothes probably cost more than Katsuya's wardrobe.
"KAIBA, M'BOY!" Kawaguchi chortled. Seto stopped dead, and a brief look of terror flittered into his eyes, though his face was as emotionless as ever. Katsuya smirked and looked around at his classmates, but frowned as he realized he was the only one been able to notice Kaiba's subtle change in demeanor. "YOU ARE A BIT LATE, SON! BE CAREFUL, OR YOU'LL MISS OUT ON ALL THE FUN!"
Seto grunted and gave a quick nod, clearly unsure how to respond to the peculiar man.
"YOU'RE SO STOIC!" Kawaguchi announced, "JUST LIKE ME AT YOUR AGE!" Seto narrowed his eyes with supreme indignation and was about to retort angrily when Kawaguchi laughed again and clapped his hands together three times, signaling the beginning of class. "WELL, PARTNER UP EVERYONE! THAT'S IT! AH, NO NO—" He said to Katsuya. "YOU ALWAYS PAIR UP WITH THE SAME CIRCLE, NO, TODAY EVERYONE PAIR UP WITH SOMEONE NEW!" No one in the class made a move, which simply entertained Kawaguchi more. "NO ONE? WELL, I'LL START YOU OUT! JOUNOUCHI AND KAIBA! HA HA! FORCING YOU TO GET ALONG."
Katsuya's initial reaction was to refuse and tell the teacher he was crazy when he remembered that partnering with Kaiba would allow him to interact and get his plan in motion. He smiled at the unwittingly accommodating teacher and took his place next to a stricken Kaiba.
"Mutt, I'm fairly certain you don't have to hold my hand for this."
"Of course I do!" Katsuya replied happily. "That is how you do this stretch!"
Kaiba chose not to respond. True, they were doing the stretch correctly, but most boys grabbed each other by the wrists. Holding on by the hand was awkward and his skin was feeling much too hot. Clearly, Kaiba thought with disdain, the school has not seen it fit to improve the fans in the gymnasium.
"So Kaiba," Jou said with a soft giggle, "Do you work out?"
"Yes?" Seto frowned.
"Er, right." Jou bit his lip in thought as Seto pulled on his hands for the stretch. Seto watched with confusion and barely veiled annoyance as Katsuya's face shifted from thoughtful to obliviously happy. "You're… you're so tall!" Katsuya gushed mindlessly.
Katsuya's eyes darted around nervously, "Ah, yeah, tall… and your eyes are so blue! Like, the ocean and stars!" The blonde highlighted this nonsensical comment by tilting his head and forcing a smile.
"What the hell is wro—"
"OKAY, EVERYONE! ENOUGH WITH THE STRETCHING! GRAB A RACKET AND HEAD OUT THE COURTS PRONTO! HA HA! PRONTO."
"Okayletsgo!" Katsuya announced in a rush, running to the rackets and out the door, nearly knocking his other classmates over in his haste.
"ATTA BOY, JOUNOUCHI! ENTHUSIASM! I LIKE IT!"
Kaiba slowly made his way outside, spinning the racket in his hands. The blonde had run away. Run away from him, after the oddest conversation Seto had ever had. He didn't like this sudden change in the other boy. When he finally reached the courts he found Jou there waiting, he was smiling, again, but it seemed more strained. Seto chuckled. His puppy was annoyed.
"You took so long!" Jou exclaimed, smiling so wide it was a bit threatening.
"I'm glad you waited," Seto watched Katsuya carefully, "it shows respect for your master."
Katsuya's eye began to twitch. "Well, lets just get started, kay kay?" His words were clipped, but still attempting to exude perkiness. "We're working on our serving. But I'm sure yours is perfect!"
Seto nodded solemnly in agreement, pleased to see this brought about another eye spasm. He restrained the laughter building up in his chest. Was the mutt trying to check his own temper? It was probable, since the blonde was frequently put in detention as a direct result of his outbursts over Kaiba. And so long as Seto was there when the mutt inevitably failed and exploded in his oh-so-entertaining rage, he would be happy.
"Just remember, puppy, you serve the balls, you don't chew them."
Katsuya bit his lip again and his hands contorted into tight fists. He tried to grin and spun around quickly, muttering so quietly under his breath that Kaiba just barely caught, "…chew your…right off …son of a…"
A smirk began to tug at Seto's mouth. "What was that, puppy?"
Jou whirled around, his face shining, "Oh nothing!" And he practically bounced to the other side of the court. Seto growled lightly. It wasn't as much fun if the pup wasn't going to play his part as well.
"ALRIGHT EVERYONE! YOU HAVE YOUR RACKETS AND YOUR BALLS," the teacher wisely ignored the various snickers, "BEGIN SERVING TO YOUR PARTNER!
Seto watched as Jou waved to him and served. Then he watched as Jou's ball soared over the court fence and bounced off a car in the parking lot. He couldn't hear him, but he imagined the other boy was grumbling as he made his second serve… which struck just before the net on Jounouchi's side. Seto let out a snide laugh and looked up in time to see Jou's dark expression turn giddy.
Jou threw the ball in the air and was bringing his racket down to hit it when the teacher's booming voice commending Ryou on managing to play so well, despite his hair getting in his eyes, distracted the young CEO. He turned his head back just in time to watch as a green blur collided with his face. He fell back and a sudden, sharp pain shot through his skull.
The first thing Seto noticed when he woke up was that he was staring at a strange ceiling.
The second was that his head was throbbing terribly.
The third was that Katsuya's voice was making it worse.
"…I mean who does that!" Jounouchi griped loudly. "Isn't he some sort of martial arts person or something? Shouldn't 'duck and dodge' be second nature! See ball, zig zag! Not that hard! But nooooo! Instead he has to—"
"Mr. Jounouchi!" The nurse finally snapped. Seto, who hadn't opened his eyes all the way yet nor taken them off the ceiling, could easily imagine her nettled expression. "You do have classes and I believe I can take care of Mr. Kaiba myself."
"I'm not going!" Jounouchi replied obstinately.
The nurse huffed and began mumbling that she saw no reason why he should stay, but if he wanted to be on the receiving end of Kaiba's anger that was fine by her.
"Why should he be angry at me? It was all HIS fault!"
"And just how," Seto drawled, extracting a startled yelp from Katsuya, "is this my fault?"
He opened his eyes fully and stared at Jounouchi. The blonde looked thoroughly miserable. "Well, you…" The boy began floundering and wringing his hands. He had been acting like his normal self a few moments ago, but with Seto conscious he seemed uncertain of what to say.
"I suppose he blames you for falling when his tennis ball hit you." The nurse supplied with a critical look at Katsuya. "You hit your head pretty hard on the concrete when you fell." She continued in a softer tone. "No permanent damage, to be sure, but you'll have to wear that bandage for a couple of days and make sure you change it."
"Bandage…?" Seto lifted his hand and felt a strip of gauze wrapped around his head. Katsuya slouched a little more in his chair, putting his face in the sunbeam streaming through the infirmary window.
"No serious damage?" Kaiba asked, his eyes darting between Katsuya's fidgeting form and the nurse.
"None that we could see and you appear perfectly lucid. You can go to a hospital, if you like, but I think a few pain pills and you'll be as good as new."
Seto said nothing, but looked again at the puppy who was stubbornly refusing to leave, but equally stubborn in refusing to meet his eye. Katsuya looked disgruntled, embarrassed and not just a little guilty.
And his hair looked really soft.
Kaiba began to wonder if he was concussed.
The moment Seto entered school grounds the following morning he was swarmed by a sea of well-wishing, blushing girls. If he had not worn the bandage wrapped around his head, which he felt rather unnecessary at that point, he was certain not so many people would have bothered him. He had attempted to leave without it, but Mokuba, knowing his brother's mind, stopped him and demanded that he wear it. His little brother then smirked and told him he looked strange enough with the bandage encircling his head and the pout made it all the worse.
Seto pushed through the throng of people, turning a deaf ear to their chatter, and made his way to the classroom. 'I do not pout,' he thought heatedly. 'I frown in an intimidating way.' And he continued to frown in an intimidating way until a few of the girls started cooing about him being 'adorable'.
He had hoped they would back off when he was in the classroom, but instead they decided that would be the perfect time to engage him in communication.
"Oh, Kaiba, I was so worried! I didn't know what do! Are you feeling alright?"
"You're so brave! I would have been terrified!"
He raised a curious eyebrow at the girl. Honestly, being knocked into unconsciousness by hitting ones head on concrete after being smacked in the face with an idiot's serve was more mortifying than terrifying.
"Oh, I hope you're alright!"
"I was so scared!"
"So, er, how's your head?"
The girls crowded around his desk all turned in unison towards the voice.
"What do you want?" One girl demanded, hands on her hips.
"I just want to know if he's okay!" Katsuya replied, throwing his hands up in a sign of disarmament.
"He would have been fine if it wasn't for you!" The girl continued and several of the others agreed with sharp nods.
"Oh for the love of… Kaiba? Is your head alright?"
Before Kaiba could respond one girl cut in, "Don't you dare talk to Kaiba Seto! We know what you're doing! You're mocking us! You're mocking our grief at his near death experience!"
Seto considered moving to correct the girls, but they were yelling at Katsuya and the boy was actually regaining a bit of his normal, unpolished personality, so Seto decided to leave him to his own devices and enjoy the show.
"It wasn't a near death experience!" Katsuya shot back, though he did pale a bit in guilt. "And I'm not mocking you!"
"Why would you even care if Kaiba is okay?"
"Hey, I was worried about him, too!" Katsuya snapped furiously. His back suddenly stiffened and he was quiet for a moment. Seto blinked back his surprise
"Liar!" The girl carried on. "You're the one who did it!"
Katsuya mumbled something about zigging and zagging, but it was difficult to hear over the sound of the blood rushing to his face. Seto intently watched him, but realized he should stop once the teacher came in and began the class. So he settled for covert glances throughout the lesson.
"All I wanted to know was if the bastard was okay!" Katsuya complained to his friends during lunch. Seto was not in the cafeteria, clearly tired of the constant stream of well-wishing he had been receiving. "I mean, it was kind of my fault he got hurt."
"Kind of your fault?" Honda questioned. "Wasn't it all your fault?"
Katsuya snorted. "Wasn't either."
"Jou, I know you didn't do it on purpose," Yuugi patted his arm, "but it was you who served the ball…"
"Yeah, the ball which he didn't duck!" Katsuya bopped his head along with his words, displaying what Kaiba should have done. "Zig zag!"
Jou pushed angrily at his unappetizing carrots with his fork. "He probably wasn't even unconscious! You should have seen him in the infirmary! I'm there explaining my side and then he just starts talking! No waking up groans or trying to rise from the bed, or anything! He was probably just messing with me the whole time, the bitch! Of course I can't say anything because then my brilliant plan would be ruined! The jerk did it on purpose! And it's so like him to make everyone think it was my fa-"
"Oh for the love of God, Jou!" Anzu finally snapped. "Would you quit talking to us and just go find him already?"
Jou tensed. "Why would I want to find him?"
"Because you were worried about him?" Ryou offered.
"I wasn't worried about him!" Katsuya lied, fighting down an inexplicable blush. He hunched his shoulders, as though that would make his discomfort less noticeable. "I wasn't!"
"Of course you weren't," Yuugi replied, not believing a word of it.
"He should have ducked." Katsuya weakly answered. "In- In fact, I'm gonna go tell that bitch that right now!" He stood up quickly and speed walked out of the cafeteria.
However, he wasn't going fast enough to miss Honda's small, "So he's fine with trying to seduce Kaiba, but freaks out about being worried for hurting him?"
Kaiba Seto was quite pleased with himself.
He had managed to elude his persistent fans by ducking in and out of empty classrooms whenever he heard them approaching. Just as he turned a corner, however, he saw a shock of blonde hair already occupying the hallway.
"Kaiba!" Jounouchi called once he noticed him.
"Keep your voice down, moron!" Kaiba hissed angrily.
Katsuya ignored his annoyance. "So, is your head okay?"
"Why?" The question was out of Seto's mouth before he even knew he thought it.
Jou's face twisted bitterly. "Because!" He threw his hands up in the air in frustration. As they came back down, Seto's mind was momentarily caught on the warmth of Katsuya's fingertips as they brushed against his hand.
'Perhaps I truly do have a concussion…'
"So?" Katsuya tilted his head.
Seto replied gruffly, "I'm fine, mutt."
Katsuya visibly relaxed and Seto desperately tried to ignore as his pulse sped up. Had the mutt actually been worried about him? He had stayed with him in the infirmary. Katsuya was staring at him again and Seto started to become agitated from the attention and wished he would stop.
And he did. He slipped into that persona that emerged earlier in the week and with an overly cheerful smile, Katsuya tugged on Seto's sleeve and proclaimed, "Oh good! I'm so happy you're okay!"
Seto felt his lips thin into a severe line. It was upsetting to hear words of concern from Jounouchi when the mutt was so clearly not himself.
"It would have been just awful if you were really hurt!" Jou continued idiotically. "I would have so sad if I—"
Jou was cut off mid sentence as Seto twirled him around and slammed him into the wall. Seto's breath of was uneven and his eyes flashing. He was furious. Seto couldn't remember the last time he had been so livid. He felt sick and hurt and confused because he couldn't understand why he should feel sick or hurt. But this…
"Stop," he ordered.
Katsuya just stared blankly at him, too surprised to be even properly angry. Seto pushed himself away from the blonde and when Jou began to move to follow him, he pointed a threatening finger at the shorter boy. "Stay."
Katsuya's eyes flickered in annoyance at being treated like a dog, and Seto's pulse began to quicken once more in anticipation for the long awaited return of his primary entertainment. But instead Katsuya remained silent, and Seto stormed away, rage still buzzing around him.
Mokuba was sitting at his bedroom desk, working diligently on an essay due the following week on the differences between Darwin's and LeMark's theories, when a loud crash and mangled cursing tore his attention away. He jumped out of his seat and raced to the living room, only to find his older brother scowling at a lamp that had the audacity to break when it crashed to the floor.
"Seto?" He ventured cautiously. "Is everything…okay? You look upset. Did you knock the lamp over?"
Seto mumbled in response.
"Huh? I don't underst—wait, you're drunk again!"
"No, I am not drunk again!" Seto snapped, neatly stepping over the pile of now rubble to sink into one of the couches. "Though I appreciate that you automatically thought of that. It speaks volumes of your perception of me!"
"Sorry," Mokuba flinched at his brother's short tone. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing is wrong!" Seto's eyes seemed wild. "Why should anything be wrong? It's not," Seto continued, before his brother could speak, "as if anything could be wrong! Because there's a system!"
"Yes, of course, the… system."
"YES!" Seto suddenly leaped from his seat, alarming his little brother with his bizarre antics. "Exactly! There's a system, Mokuba. A good system. And you don't fuck with the system because it's there for a reason!"
"Seto! What on earth is wrong with you?"
"I—nothing," Seto frowned, looking surprised and terribly embarrassed of his strange behavior and for unduly alarming his little brother.
Mokuba eyed him carefully. "Are you sure you didn't accept any drinks from 'friends'?"
"Yes, I am sure! I'm just… I'm just a little stressed, is all."
Mokuba patted his brother's arm. "You seem tired."
"I am tired," Seto groaned, and let himself fall back into the couch.
"I see," Mokuba nodded sagely, trying to hide his distress at his brother's uncharacteristically abrupt behavior. "Do you want to make the appointment with Dr. Proploski or should I? He's been looking forward to an actual session with you ever since I told him about you wearing that dress at Christmas."
"That was not a dress! That was an elf costume. You were eight and I wanted to do something special."
"So you put on a dress?"
"It had pants!"
Mokuba rolled his eyes. "It had stockings. Really thick, green stockings and weird, curly shoes with bells on the end."
"Don't you have homework to do?" Seto snarled.
Mokuba flopped down beside his brother. "Nope. Now tell me more about this system."
"I don't think I want to talk about this just now, Mokuba. Why don't you go play a video ga—"
Seto leaned forward and steepled his fingers. He sighed. "It's just the system. It's how things are. You don't change it."
"Who changed it?"
Mokuba watched in concern as his brother's face shifted from indignation, to confusion, to horror and then back to indignation in the course of three seconds. "Not me." He soundly answered.
"Okay," Mokuba began slowly. He could practically hear the gears grinding madly in his brother's head. "Then, just try to, um, reclaim this system thing. Keep doing your part."
Seto frowned. With a hundred dollars an hour sessions with Dr. Propleski twice a week, he had expected something a bit more insightful.
On Thursday Seto crafted a plan of his own. Taking Mokuba's advice, he set out to rectify the system through bothering Jounouchi until he caved and reassumed his appropriate role as Kaiba's main form of amusement. As he strolled into class, he found himself hoping that the mutt had returned to normal, only to be thoroughly disappointed when Katsuya waved brightly to him. He flitted around Seto's desk, tilting his head childishly and laughing obnoxiously at nothing in particular until the teacher mercifully ordered the blonde to return to his own seat.
In the middle of the teacher's lecture, a crumpled up note landed neatly on Kaiba's desk. He swirled around, and glared at Jounouchi was waggling his fingers in an imitation of a wave. Rolling his eyes, he read the note.
'Make sure to stay after class! I got something for you.'
--was written sloppily across the paper. Kaiba's furrowed his brows. 'He has something for me?' He thought, casting a dubious glance in the blonde's direction. 'I don't think he'd try to attack me during school hours, but then again…'
The blonde tilted his head to the point that it looked painful and smiled blindingly at Seto.
'Then again, he's lost his mind.'
"Wait! Wait Kaiba!" Jounouchi panted as he gripped onto Seto's sleeve. He glared at the taller boy. "Thought you were going to stay behind after class?"
"I never said that." Seto replied stiffly. Truth was, after receiving the note he had decided to dash out of the room as soon as the bell rang, forgetting his "bother the puppy plan" all together.
"Well," Katsuya chirped brightly, "I suppose it doesn't matter!" He began riffling in his bag, and Seto placed himself in the most advantageous fighting position. It had crossed his mind that Katsuya's odd behavior had all been a part of a larger conspiracy to throw him off balance in order to… to do whatever it was the mutt was planning to do. However, Seto had difficulty believing even his own idea. The mutt wasn't exactly the planning type.
"Ah! Here it is!" Katsuya triumphantly pulled a box wrapped in a handkerchief out of his bag. Seto warily took the box, and held it as far away from him as possible while eying it suspiciously.
"What is it?"
"It's a boxed lunch!" Katsuya huffed. "It isn't going to bite you or anything! Quit treating it like a wild animal!"
"Actually, I was thinking of it more along the lines of an explosive."
Katsuya's eyes narrowed. "It's not a bomb, either. I made it myself this morning. Myself. For you." Katsuya found it necessary to add the emphasis.
"What am I supposed to do with it?"
"Eat it for lunch." Katsuya had to bite his lip to keep from snapping at the other boy.
Seto's lips quirked up at the sight. "I see. So this is practice for your future. Well done, mutt."
"Ah, what do you mean, 'practice for my future'?"
"Well," Seto drawled with a cruel smile, "you're seventeen now, yes? What family is going to want to adopt a seventeen year old mutt? No one. But a seventeen year old dog that can make a boxed lunch? Now that is novelty. Why, they may be so impressed they give you your very own doggy bed!"
Katsuya's eye began to spasm wildly yet he managed to choke out a few strained and bitter laughs. "Oh aha ha ha! Kaiba you… you kidder, you!" But his eyes insisted he was internally calling Seto a much less politically correct name. "Always with the jokes! Aren't you!"
"Now, mutt, don't sell yourself short. You may have little else to recommend you, but that is no reason why you shouldn't be able to find a nice family with a mountain of bones, particularly with this lunch trick of yours."
"Ka-Kaiba I--!" Katsuya took a deep breath and then smiled, his teeth clenched painfully tight together. "I really hope you like the meal! I put all my feelings for you in it!" Then, turning sharply on his heel, Katsuya stalked off.
Kaiba looked back down at the box. 'All his feelings?' Seto paled. 'Oh, God, I can't eat this. Is this his plan? What a terrible plan.' He looked around the hallway before seeing a familiar face. He grabbed the other boy by the shoulder.
"What the hell do you want?" Honda demanded, startled and confused that Kaiba suddenly stopped him. "I didn't do anything to you."
"I realize that. Here." He shoved the boxed lunch into Honda's chest.
"…What is it?" He asked curiously.
"Free food. Just take it. I don't want it."
Honda looked up at him with shock, his eyes gleaming. "Really? Awesome!" He happily trotted down the hallway, the boxed lunch tucked neatly beneath his arm.
Seto felt a slight twinge of guilt knowing he had probably poisoned the unsuspecting idiot.
Due to a Kaiba Corp meeting, Seto excused himself from school right after third period. He valiantly ignored the voice inside him saying he only left early to avoiding seeing Katsuya. The mutt had been acting oddly all morning, prancing up to Kaiba and giggling, twisting his hair into an unmanageable knot. Of course, all the things the blonde had seen fit to prattle on about had not made a bit of sense to the young CEO and he had found himself growing more and more agitated with the boy's bizarre personality change.
Seto sighed heavily. He felt like a fool. It would have been one thing if the blonde's sudden change had just annoyed him. He could have handled that just fine. But this?
"What am I?" He asked his empty office. "A child? I'm actually upset over this? I actually miss his old behavior? That is ridiculous!" But it wasn't ridiculous to him, not really. Seto needlessly shuffled a few papers on his desk before placing them exactly as they were before. Despite the other boy's odd new obsession of constantly talking to Seto while imitating some prepubescent girl, Seto felt like he was being ignored. It was uncomfortable. He had gotten used to the other boy's outbursts. In fact, there were days when he only went to school in order to pick a fight with the blonde and watch as his temper boiled over.
Seto swallowed thickly and tried desperately to ignore the heavy feeling on his chest. It was stupid. It was pathetic. There was no reason to even give it a second thought but, for some reason, Seto, who avoided classmates and much of the Domino City population like the plague, felt strangely lonely.
"THAT BITCH!" Katsuya screeched, wrenching the empty lunch box from Honda's hands. "He just gave it to you?!"
Honda nodded blissfully. "Yeah, he stopped me in the hall right after first period."
Katsuya scowled darkly at the box. "That… that…! He couldn't wait five minutes after I gave it to him!"
"At least he didn't throw it out." Honda remarked, only succeeding in infuriating his friend further.
"I slaved over that and what does he do? Gives it away! I even cut the squash into stars!"
"Ooh, I noticed that! Your tempura squash stars were really tasty!" Honda drooled at the memory and Katsuya glared, mumbling to himself about unappreciative rich jerks.
When Seto saw Honda Hirota being rejected by some pretty girl outside the library Friday morning, he was shocked.
"Well how about that, the idiot is still alive…"
"Is he not supposed to be?"
Seto turned back to see Mr. Takafumi, the school's vice principal, looking worryingly between Kaiba and Honda. He shook his head to remind himself of the task at hand. "Yes yes, Seto," said boy bristled, annoyed at the other man's cavalier use of his given name, "there are a few things I need to discuss with you. My office." Seto shrugged, but dutifully followed anyway.
The vice principal's office was decorated as always with school memorabilia, motivational posters, and a few fresh flowers. It was supposed to look personalized and lived in to put the students at ease, but to Kaiba the whole room looked too contrived, and he very much doubted the serious minded man sitting across from him actually chose the "Hang in there, Kitty!" poster.
"Do you know why I asked you in here today?" Mr. Takafumi asked over steepeled fingers.
"No, I do not." Kaiba tersely replied.
"Well, Seto," He began slowly, "as I'm sure you are aware, times have been tough. Economically speaking."
"Really?" Seto answered sarcastically, as though he hadn't fired half his advertising department in response to their dismal numbers.
"Oh yes," Takafumi continued, not registering the sarcasm. "And as you know, the school gets by on taxes, which won't be raised given the current crisis, and, er…" He trailed off awkwardly, his face deepening to a deep red.
"Donations?" Kaiba supplied. The older winced but nodded in confirmation. "You realize I am prohibited by law to donate." The law had come about to prevent affluent students from using their enormous wealth to influence teachers and school officials. Really, it was insulting, the implication that Kaiba Seto, boy genius CEO of a billion dollar company, would need to buy high school grades.
"I know," the vice principal wrung his hands in nervousness, "but, if there was anything you think you could do…? We may have to make cuts, and we don't want to contribute to the growing unemployment, so…"
Seto sighed heavily. It was always the same story. "I can throw a small Duel Monsters tournament for high school students. The winner's school will receive a sizeable donation. Naturally, I will be ineligible, but Mouto Yuugi won't be. Let's say a few months from now. February, perhaps. The added publicity will serve Kaiba Corp well and that is our slow month."
Mr. Takafumi smiled so brightly Kaiba thought he might burst. "That's wonderful! Thank you! Thank you very much!"
Kaiba waved off the adulation and became anxious to leave the room. As he exited, he noticed Katsuya leaving the principal's office, still be scolding by the balding man. "Just you watch your behavior, Jounouchi! We do not tolerate any fighting at this school, no mat--" he held his hand up to stop Jou's rebuttal "No matter who started it! Understood?"
Katsuya's shoulders slumped. "Yeah, I get it."
The principal rolled his eyes at Katsuya's disrespectful tone. "Just don't get into trouble before arriving at your first class, alright? There, Kaiba Seto can walk with you," He looked up at Seto. "It's the same class, yes? Kaiba, keep him out of trouble. At least one of you has some sense!"
Jounouchi glowered at the man, but followed Seto into the hall anyway.
"You got into a fight, mutt?" Kaiba eyed a bit of dried blood clinging to the corner of the blonde's mouth.
"Not my fault!" came the automatic response. "What was I supposed to do? The guy was like, twice his size, and kept pushing the kid around. All I did was tell him to stop!" Seto seemed to doubt that all Katsuya told the bully to do was stop. But it really was all Katsuya said! The fact that he had said it while kneeing the other boy in the stomach was negligible.
"I suppose lecturing you not to fight won't do any good. It is a street mutt's nature, after all."It was cruel, but Seto said it anyway. He covertly examined the blonde's face.
Katsuya's brown eyes flashed and his cheeks began burned with humiliation. He swallowed thickly. He wouldn't be so easily provoked, he determined. But he felt on edge anyway. In order to deflect it, he sent Kaiba a beaming smile. "Oh I know I shouldn't fight! But don't worry!" He imitated a high pitch giggle he had heard a girl use just yesterday and even mimicked her motion of shyly hiding her face. "But I'm kinda glad you worry, you know!"
Katsuya only had a low growl of warning before he was suddenly, for the second time that week, shoved against the hallway wall with a very angry Kaiba Seto staring down at him with his face contorted in barely contained fury. Seto moved his face closer, and Katsuya began to panic.
"Wha-what are you doing?!" Katsuya demanded, his face flushing hot as Seto laid his hand against his head.
Seto ignored the question and cocked his head to the side inquisitively. "You don't appear to have a fever. I cannot think what else could have caused the delirium except… wait!" He grabbed tightly onto each of Katsuya's shoulders and looked him carefully in the eye, still uncomfortably close. "Have you eaten any tampered dog food recently?"
Jou snarled and shoved his arm over both of Kaiba's while twisting his torso to break the taller boy's hold on him. "NO!" He yelled, eyes flashing. His chest was thundering madly, excited at having the old confrontations again. "I don't eat tampered dog food, you rich snob!"
Seto breathed a sigh of relief. "Oh good, you have kept to the federally approved dog food."
Katsuya snapped his hands out and pushed Kaiba a step back. "Bastard! I'm not a god damned dog!" He wrinkled his nose. "And what are you staring at? Knock it off!"
"You seem to have regained yourself," Seto remarked with a derisive snort.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means this," Seto replied, waving his hand toward Katsuya. "You have been acting completely unlike yourself for the past week." Seto turned his head and regarded Katsuya outside of the corner of his eye. "Are you… alright?" He asked awkwardly, clearly not used to expressing concern for someone other than Mokuba.
Katsuya's brown eyes opened wide and stared in shock. "You… why would you care?"
"I don't!" Seto answered with alarming speed and turned his back to Jou. He lifted his hand dismissively. "Why should I care? I was just annoyed that my entertainment has been sub-par."
"Now look here, bastard!" He grabbed Seto's shoulders and forced him around. He stood up on his toes in order to be closer to Seto's height and appear more intimidating. It didn't work, but Seto didn't want to say anything lest he discourage the puppy from a repeat performance of the childish action. "I ain't your entertainment! So don't say I am, got it?"
Seto just smirked at him and patted him on his head. "Good puppy. I like you better this way."
Katsuya fumed in silence as Kaiba sauntered away to the class for which they were now both ridiculously late. A hot blush started just below his neck and quickly worked its way up into his face. Once Seto turned the corner it hit his hairline. His mouth finally found sound again.
"That… that bastard! I can't believe he…! He's so…!" Katsuya growled in frustration. "Good puppy!" He mimicked in a high pitch voiced. "I'm a bitch who is only happy when I'm making everyone else miserable, so I like you better this w…" Katsuya trailed off, his eyes slowly widening. He hunched his shoulders and rubbed his hands together, sniggering impishly.
Really, he was a genius!
"I've been an idiot over this whole Kaiba matter," Katsuya confessed suddenly while spending time with his friends at the game shop the following morning. "So I'm gonna stop fawning over him."
Yuugi looked up from the card game he was playing against Ryou. "That's great, Jou!"
"We were getting worried about you." Ryou continued, carefully surveying the cards that had been played so far.
"Yeah," Honda nodded. "We thought you'd gone crazy."
Anzu looked up and smiled from the magazine she had been leafing through. "It's good that you gave up on it finally," she agreed.
"Gave up? Who said anything about giving up!" Katsuya jumped out of his chair and jutted his thumbs towards himself. "I figured out what I was doing wrong."
"You mean aside from everything?" Ryou calmly questioned. "Magician of Faith in defense mode."
Jou narrowed his eyes at the pale boy. "I've been treating Kaiba like I'm one of his fan girls, but he doesn't like that so it won't work. What he does like is when I'm myself!"
Yuugi stared in surprise. "He really said that?"
Katsuya faltered. "Er, yeah, kind of." Seto hadn't exactly said that, just that he preferred the angry, short fuse Katsuya to the eyelash batting, flattering Katsuya. And he was forced to agree with Kaiba on that.
"Anyway," he continued with a flourish, "I figured out that I can't flirt with him like one of those groupies. I need to flirt like myself! It'll work better."
"That isn't possible, though."
"Eh? What do you mean, Ryou?"
"To say that you're going to act more like yourself in this implies that trying to seduce Kaiba is something you'd normally do." Ryou frowned suddenly and looked at Jou curiously. "It isn't, is it?"
"I would NOT normally seduce Kaiba and that isn't what I'm doing now!" Katsuya snapped at him with a grimace.
"It isn't?" Honda scratched his head. "I thought you were trying to seduce him, to see if he'd pick up on it."
"Yes! Er, no. Sort of. Okay, look," Katsuya sat back down and leaned in towards his friends. "I'm doing stuff that would normally seem like I'm trying to seduce him, but I'm not. I'm just trying to see if he'd notice when someone is acting like that." He smiled. "Get it now?"
"Oh, we get it alright," Anzu told him with a disapproving look. "We get that you've gone completely mental."
Jou scowled at her as another page in her magazine was turned with a snap.
So a few notes!
1. Kawaguchi is a hybrid of Gai Sensei from Naruto and Phil Ken Sebbon from Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law. It is an unnatural creation and I apologize for any night terrors that may occur. I had to force myself not make the guy pervy like Phil
2. Parking lot next to the school in Domino City (read: Tokyo)? Yeah, not gonna happen. But this is fiction so lets roll with it!
3. Is Seto "some kind of martial arts person"? I don't know. But I do know Jou used to be in a gang and Seto PWNed him in the US dub when he grabbed Seto's shirt.
3. For some reason, I'm REALLY amused by Katsuya calling Seto a bitch,. XD I think it's because of Honda's "hung over super bitch Kaiba" comment in chapter one… I keep picturing him griping at people while wearing a cape and swinging a bottle of gin around. -_-;;
As always, please leave a review for me! They make me really happy and I've been so super swamped and stressed out that I could really use the pick-me-up!
Have a lovely day everyone!