Summary: It was the perfect Valentine's Day date. Long-stemmed roses, romantic candlelit dinner, a scrumptious chocolate cake, and a walk on the water under the moon. Now, if only it was with the right person. PreSlash Chaseshipping. Oneshot.

Warnings: Preslash Chaseshipping, established Puppyshipping, someday-in-the-future Siblingshipping.

Disclaimer: I still don't own Yu-Gi-Oh. Never have. Never will.

So, I've always wanted to try and write a Chaseshipping fic. The only problem was, Shizuka was in the way. I actually had written up a draft of this fic where Shizuka conspired to get Otogi and Honda out on a date with each other, but such shameless manipulations was a little too OOC for her character. So I changed it like this. Of course, I think Siblingshipping is adorable, and Mokuba will grow up to be a hunk (just look at his brother!) so there was no doubt in my mind that she would dump Otogi and Honda for Mokuba.

And they went to each other because of it. So sweet.

And that's how this fic was born. Enjoy!

OOOO

One Step Away From Perfect

Ryuuji Otogi sighed, slumping on his couch with a bowl of popcorn nestled in his lap. It was Valentine's Day, and here he was, huddling on his couch, prepared to watch a bunch of cheesy made-for-TV romance movies and cry his eyes out. What a way to spend the most romantic evening of the year.

Not that he really had the urge to go out tonight. Sure, theoretically, he could call up one of a dozen girls and have a great night out.

Instead, here he was, nursing a broken heart with a bowl of popcorn. No chocolate. Not tonight.

He supposed he should have seen it coming. Shizuka was nice, but she never really chose between him and Honda. Since Battle City, she'd been a great friend, but Otogi had been with enough girls to realize when it was just friendship. He'd just stuck around, hoping…

And he'd lost. So had Honda. To Mokuba Kaiba, of all people.

That had been an interesting conversation.

Honda and Otogi both stood in front of the girl with shocked, dumbfounded looks on their faces. Mokuba? Mokuba Kaiba? Ryuuji was the first to find his voice.

"…you realize he's, like, eleven, right?"

Shizuka giggled, and with that sound Ryuuji could hear all the girlish emotions caught up for the smaller Kaiba. He also knew in an instant that he'd been utterly and totally defeated.

"I know," Shizuka was saying, when Ryuuji pulled himself out of his thoughts. "But in a few years, he'll hit puberty, so it's going to be alright. Besides, you can already see he's going to be handsome like his brother. So it's okay."

"Is Kaiba alright with this?" If there was anyone who had a larger sibling-complex than Jounouchi, it was Kaiba. And somehow, Ryuuji couldn't see Kaiba just letting his brother date anyone else, even if it was the sister of his current lover.

Shizuka giggled again. "We're planning on giving Niisan a few years to work on Kaiba-san. Hopefully, he'll mellow out a little bit by the time we go for permission to date."

Honda was still dumbstruck, staring at the girl in silence, so Ryuuji said the only thing he could.

"I hope you're happy."

Then he pulled Honda away so the brunette might have a chance to snap out of his haze.

On the couch, Ryuuji glowered, taking a handful of popcorn, scarfing it all down in one bite. He was alone and single for the first Valentine's Day in god-knew how long, so he didn't have to worry about manners. And Dad was off doing something or other, so Ryuuji was well and truly alone.

Even Jounouchi had someone to be with. Stupid jerk.

At that thought, Ryuuji allowed himself a small smile. Who'd have ever thought, Kaiba and Jounouchi? They actually made a good couple, once you got past all the bickering. Yuugi surmised that the bickering was actually a form of foreplay between the two, but…well, that was a slightly disturbing thought, so Ryuuji quickly pushed that aside.

They did make a very good couple, though. Kaiba could be sweet, in his own rarely-shown way. He'd even made a public announcement once the relationship actually solidified, announcing his intentions and everything, public opinion be damned. For a while there, KaibaCorp stocks had dropped, but now it was back on top again, and still going strong.

Ryuuji had no problems with their relationship. At least they weren't so publically affectionate like some couples. Not only would that have been weird and awkward, but Honda wouldn't like it at all.

Honda had been against the relationship from the start, still not trusting of the business tycoon. Made sense, considering all that Kaiba had done and said to them, but afer the public announcement, Honda had thawed out about it a little.

Ryuuji smirked a little to himself. First his best friend, then his crush got stolen away by a Kaiba. Poor Honda.

The smirk faded as thoughts about Honda and the Kaibas brought forth thoughts about Shizuka. Pushing the popcorn bowl onto the coffee table, the raven-haired teen stood, pacing the living room. He wanted to get outside, take a few breaths of fresh air. Clear his head. Yeah.

His father, in honor of Valentine's Day, had bought a half dozen long-stemmed roses, red as blood. He'd stuck them in a crystal vase on the front hall. Said something about Ryuuji giving them to his date when he went out. Ryuuji simply hadn't had the heart to tell his dad that he wasn't going out tonight.

After a moment of staring at the roses, he grabbed two. Just for something to hold on to. He usually played with dice, rolling them between his fingers, but his dice were all in his room, he really didn't want to go get them because then he'd just plop back down on the couch, and the roses were handy.

So, roses in hand, he grabbed his shoes and a jacket and left.

He wasn't really planning on going anywhere. He was just wandering around. But somehow, in a short manner of time, he found himself outside of a vaguely familiar house.

Ryuuji had been to Honda's house just once before, the day that Shizuka rejected them. They'd both gone up to Honda's room and wallowed, bonding through shared heartbreak. Ryuuji hadn't been there since. But here he was, and he knew that Honda would be inside too. Probably wallowing in front of the TV like Ryuuji had intended to do.

Without conscious thought at all, Ryuuji found himself rising up the front walk and ringing the doorbell. There was a long moment of silence, and Ryuuji almost thought about leaving, but then footsteps sounded, and the door swung open.

Honda, looking none the worse for wear, leaned against the doorframe, raking his eyes over his unexpected visitor. His eyes wandered over the roses clutched in Ryuuji's hand and he raised an eyebrow. "Otogi? What are you doing here?"

The Dice Master shrugged, emerald gaze dropping to his feet. What was he doing here? "I…um…I was just…wondering…if you'd maybe like to…do something tonight?"

He could feel Honda's gaze on him, steady and questioning and still so full of pain over Shizuka's rejection. "It's Valentine's Day."

"I know."

"…we're not a couple."

Ryuuji waved a hand dismissively, looking up to give Honda a slightly bitter smile. "Eh, Valentine's Day is overrated. Who needs to be a couple? We could…celebrate for all the single people out there. Including ourselves, of course."

There was another long, quiet moment where Honda simply stared at him, and Ryuuji found himelf feeling nervous once more. God, this was stupid. He should have just stayed home and cried over sappy movies and romances he didn't have. Why did he even bother---?

"Let me get my coat."

Ryuuji blinked as Honda disappeared, reappearing a minute later with his shoes on and a leather jacket slung over his shoulder. He tugged the jacket on as he simultaneously closed and locked the front door. Then he looked over at Ryuuji. "Where to?"

The raven-haired teen smiled. "I know this great place on Fourth. Let's go."

XXXX

Benoit was a high-class French restaurant towards the higher-up end of town. It was huge and had stunning glass windows and three floors and the smells wafting out of the place made his mouth water. It was the sort of place that most people would have to make reservations for weeks in advance, where the staff probably all spoke French and would be way too surperior to someone like him.

Hiroto Honda was instantly intimidated.

Otogi was acting like eating here was no different than eating at the school cafeteria, but he owned his own game and had gotten rich off of that. Hiroto wasn't nearly as fiscally successful as Otogi was. Hell, he worked in a motorcycle shop as a part time job! Why wouldn't he feel intimidated?

Otogi rolled his eyes at Hiroto's reluctance, gently gripping the brunette by the elbow. "Come on. I fully intend to somehow get Kaiba to reimburse us for this, so we might as well eat. You look fine."

Hiroto reaaaaally didn't want to go inside, but his feet ignored his mind in light of Otogi's argument (i.e. that Kaiba would be paying for everything) and he let Otogi lead him inside.

The maitre d' saw the two young men come in, touching in a suggestively intimate manner, the pretty one with the emerald eyes holding two beautiful roses, and he instantly understood. Beaming, he held open his arms. "Bonjour, bonjour. Welcome to Benoit. Do you have a reservation?"

Otogi, suddenly realizing what the sparkle in the maitre d's eyes meant, dropped Hiroto's arm like it was a hot potato, but his ears turned red, and the maitre d's smile only got wider.

Luckily, name-dropping 'Otogi' managed to get them a seat, even without reservations, because Otogi was a well enough name to garner that. Same with 'Kaiba' and 'Mutou' and even 'Jounouchi'. Otogi hadn't made his fame by dueling, but he was still famous enough in his own right.

They were led to a cozy little table on the second floor, covered in a pretty red tablecloth with flickering candles set in delicate silver candlesticks. The two teens slipped into their separate chairs, and the maitre d' gave Hiroto a dirty look, as though questioning why he wasn't pulling the chair out for his date. Hiroto sighed. It would take too long to explain.

A moment after the maitre d' disappeared, a waitress appeared carrying two menus and a basket of bread. She introduced herself as Jeanne, smiled knowingly at the two, and flounced off after assuring them that their orders were safe in her hands.

Hiroto was getting a little tired of everyone thinking they were actually out on a date. Just because two guys were going to a fancy restaurant together did not mean they were on a date.

"Should have just stayed home," the brunette muttered under his breath.

Otogi, reaching for the bread basket, glanced up. "Hmm?"

Hiroto sighed, resting his chin on his hand. "I was gonna veg in front of the TV and watch stupid movies. Maybe order in a pizza. Would have been better than everyone thinking we're on a date."

Otogi let out a small smile at that. "I was gonna do the same. But hey, the food is better here. Might as well enjoy it."

"Yeah." Hiroto let out a breath, frowning when he realized that Otogi was reaching for another piece of bread. His brow furrowed slightly. Wasn't he just reaching for the bread…?

The brunette glanced at the basket inconspicuously. It had started out with six or so warm bread rolls, and was now down to four. Hiroto raised an eyebrow at the raven-haired teen.

"Are you a nervous eater, Otogi?"

The bread paused, halfway to the Dice Master's lips, and narrowed emerald eyes turned to him. "What?"

Hiroto shrugged, as though it was no big deal and he was making an observation about the weather. "Well, the way you're going at the bread, I wondered if you ate when you were nervous. My cousin does that. Did you know that if you eat too much bread, you'll get fat?"

The air seemed to get ten degrees cooler.

Otogi slowly lowered the bread to his plate, glaring darkly at Hiroto.

The rest of the wait was sat in stony silence until Jeanne came back, ready for their orders.

"What can I get you boys?" she chirped, appearing not to notice the icy winds radiating off of Otogi and coasting towards Hiroto.

"That," Otogi snapped, pointing at something on the menu. Jeanne hummed, looking at the item in question, and jotted a quick note on her notepad. Hiroto realized belatedly that he hadn't even glanced at the menu.

"I'll have the same," the brunette said when she looked questioningly at him. She gave them both bright smiles, tucking the menus under her arm. "And can I get you anything to drink?" she asked, glancing between the two, still affecting not to notice Otogi's cold silence. "Champagne, coke, water—"

"Champagne," Otogi snapped, just as Hiroto was about to ask for a coke. The Dice Master turned to the girl, smiling charmingly as though he hadn't just been glaring daggers at Hiroto. "Please."

Jeanne smiled brightly, nodding, and walked off.

Hiroto rolled his eyes. "Champagne? For what? It's not like we're celebrating anything."

But Otogi had just gone back to his icy stone-cold silence.

Hiroto saw that he was reaching for the bread basket again, but this time he wisely kept his mouth shut.

XXXX

Half a bottle of champagne did wonders to loosen the tongue, Ryuuji thought, taking another sip of the bubbly. He happily chattered on about the Dungeon Dice Monsters technology, blithely ignoring Honda's glazed, disinterested look as he picked his food. The brunette had zoned out as soon as Otogi started going beneath the surface board, and hadn't come back yet.

Ryuuji smiled to himself, accompanying a bite of duck with another sip of champagne.

The duck was very good. No wonder Benoit was a first-class restauraunt. Ryuuji had ordered the duck in some sort of orange citrus sauce, and it was delicious. Honda seemed to be enjoying his meal as well, though he had only eaten half of what Ryuuji had.

Not that he was a nervous eater. Because he wasn't. He wasn't nervous, either. Nothing to be nervous about. He was just on a celebrating-out-broken-hearts-together date with the rival for the girl he'd liked since Battle City. Nothing to be nervous about at all. And even if he was nervous, he wasn't a nervous eater, so there.

Denial much?

Giggling softly at nothing, he drained his glass, the bubbles tickling his nose and throat. Honda gave him a questioning look, but by now he seemed resigned to dealing with a tipsy Ryuuji, and settled for just sighing and going back to his food.

Ryuuji sighed as well, cutting off his chatter for the moment and looking down at his plate. He wanted dessert. Something with chocolate. He bet they had a monster Valentine's treat here. He wanted it.

It wasn't that he was nervous. Really. He was just…unsure of how to act. He and Honda had been rivals and almost enemies, and they'd never really been friends anyway. Besides, since they weren't on a date, it wasn't like they had to act like they were. Not that Otogi would have been too opposed to dating Honda. Ryuuji had gone out with boys before ---not often--- but those had been mostly one night stands or casual flings. Honda seemed like the more serious type, but Ryuuji wasn't so sure he wanted to go back to his normal, casual flings. There was something to be said for the prospect of having someone waiting for him when he got home. He'd been pretty willing to settle down into something committed for Shizuka. Why not Honda?

Sure, Honda wasn't at all like the people he usually dated. Honda was plain and he didn't stand out in a crowd ---rather, he faded into the background all too easily--- and, to be honest, he could be a little bit boring sometimes. But he was loyal, and compassionate, and he was bigger than Otogi so being held by him probably wouldn't be all that bad. No, Otogi wouldn't mind dating Honda.

Unfortunately, they'd both just been rejected, so even braching the subject was taboo.

The raven-haired teen sighed, looking at the mostly-empty bread basket. Then he poured himself a little more champage.

Besides. It wouldn't have worked out anyway. Honda called him fat.

XXXX

Nearly half an hour later, the two teens left Benoit with a pretty gold-embossed paper box holding a monstrous four-layer chocolate cake that Otogi had insisted they get. (He'd also insisted that they eat it at the restauraunt, but with the way he was downing the champagne, Hiroto had feared there would soon be a chocolate-champagne colored stain on the nice carpet, so he'd gotten them a box.) He also had a bill that Hiroto was personally prepared to deliver to Kaiba. Which meant he was going to give it to Jou, who would give it to Kaiba, claiming it was for their heartbreak. Jou would see it on their side. Besides, it was safer that way. There was no way he was ever going to give Kaiba anything that he was even remotely blaming Mokuba for. That was a quick way to hell, that was.

On his shoulder, Otogi let out a breath, lolling his head, and grinned happily up at Hiroto. Reluctantly, Hiroto smiled back. Otogi seemed satisfied with that, and let his head drop back on Hiroto's shoulder.

Reluctant to send Otogi home in his current condition (and a little unsure of where Otogi actually lived right now) he sighed, shifting Otogi's weight on his shoulder. Making up his mind, Hiroto turned, steering them down the sidewalk.

"Where're we going?" Otogi mumbled, once he realized that they were moving.

"The docks are just a few streets over," Hiroto explained. "Some fresh air will help sobre you up. Why'd you drink all that champagne, anyway?"

"Hmm." Hiroto felt Otogi attempt a shrug, then give up halfway through the motion. " 'm not a nervous eater."

"Yes, yes, alright." Yes, Otogi definitely needed a walk to help clear his head. Geez. This was turning out to be some Valentine's Day. He was completely rejected by the girl he liked, stuck celebrating his singleness with his rival-in-love, and now he had to deal with a tipsy Otogi.

He was still convinced it was all the Kaibas' fault. Obviously this was all part of their evil plot to take over the world.

But even Hiroto knew that that was just wishful thinking. He just wanted to blame someone else for his heartbreak, and not sweet, Shizuka.

Luckily, the pier wasn't far away at all, and in no time flat they were there, standing on the docks. Hiroto shifted again, moving Otogi so he wasn't slumped over Hiroto's shoulder, but standing mostly upright all on his own.

"Hey, can you walk?" he questioned, not letting go just yet. The last thing he wanted was Otogi to fall flat on his face because Hiroto let go too soon. Hey, the guy might have (once) been his rival-in-love, but he was still a friend. Sort of.

There was a moment where Otogi stared at his feet, as though he was comtemplating their ability to carry him. Finally, he shrugged out of Hiroto's loose embrace and took a few steps ---slightly wobbly, but steady enough--- on his own.

Then he looked back at Hiroto with an impatient expression, as though Hiroto was the one who was holding them up. Hiroto just rolled his eyes and stepped up beside Otogi.

It was the perfect night for a walk. The moon was full and shining, lighting everything with a near-etheral silver glow. The waves lapped softly against the docks, giving a soothing sound effect to the atmosphere. No one was about, giving them a peaceful solitude. Had it been his ideal date, Hiroto would have sidled up beside Shizuka right about now, gently slipping his hand into hers. She would look up and smile, and he would smile back, and---

But he was with Otogi.

Beside him, Otogi let out a soft, almost wistful sigh, staring up at the star-scattered sky. Hiroto wondered what Otogi was thinking about, what could put such a melacholy look on the raven-haired teen's face, and he wondered if it was the same thing he was thinking of, but he didn't think it was his place to ask. Despite appearances, this wasn't a date, and they simply weren't that close.

The walk continued in silence, and Hiroto chanced a glance at Otogi out of the corner of his eye.

Alright…he was on the rebound right now, and he really wanted someone else to focus his attentions on. And considering what day it was, and who he was with, and the fact that he was a heartbroken, hormonal teenasge boy, was it any wonder what he ended up thinking about?

Lookwise, Otogi wouldn't be so bad to date. Otogi was so…so feminine. He was skinny in all the right places and he had that pretty-boy look about him that made him seem softer than most boys. Plus, he was obsessive about his hair and nails, though he claimed that being a business owner and a near-celebrity meant he had to keep his appearances up. Plus, he did have amazing eyes…

Hiroto shook his head, trying to push the thoughts away. In sixteen years, he hadn't fallen for a boy yet, and this was no time to start. Even if he was rebounding and hormornal.

In no time at all, the two of them reached the end of the pier and stopped, looking out at the water.

Hiroto smiled softly, watching the moonlight glisten off the water. "Nice night, huh?"

Otogi turned, looking at him, before shrugging and looking back at the water. "It's alright, I guess." His tone was sharp and offended, and Hiroto wondered why Otogi was mad. Then he remembered the comment he'd made in the restaurant, about the bread and being fat, and he sighed.

If there was one thing Anzu had taught him, it was that men were always in the wrong. Always. No matter what. If a girl was mad at a guy, the guy should just suck it up and apologize, even if it really was the girl's fault. Because that would smooth everything over and make it all better.

And Otogi may not be a girl, but he was close enough to count, and technically Hiroto did insult him, so…

"I'm sorry," he said, turning to look at Otogi. The Dice Master pretended not to pay attention, but Hiroto saw those emerald eyes glance his way. "I really am sorry. I didn't mean to call you fat. You're not fat at all. You look perfect." Technically, Hiroto hadn't even called Otogi that, but he was a guy, so it was all his fault. And Anzu had also taught him that flattery made everything all the more better.

There was nearly a minute of silence, before Otogi seemed to accept the apology. He turned, smiling at Hiroto, and nodded, and there was a spark of his usual, cocky attitude. "I know. I do look good, don't I?" Otogi smirked at him, and for some reason, Honda found a small grin of his own coming up.

The Dice Master let out a soft breath, fingering the roses in his hands and turning to gaze at the water again. Honda watched him, curious and interested, studying the silver light on the pale teen's face. Honda hadn't ever really looked at Otogi, not as anything more than a rival.

Otogi was rather pretty, in his own right.

There was a flash, as Otogi threw his hand up, and with a soft 'plip' the two roses landed in the water, their stems crossed. The boys watched the roses until the water pulled them apart and sent them spinning on their own way.

"They'll be happy together," Otogi murmured, hands shoved in his pocket. Hiroto's head snapped around, angry words on his tongue ("How can you let go so easy? Didn't you like her too?")

The look on Otogi's face stopped the words dead. Hiroto realized that it wasn't easy, evern for Otogi. And he sighed, standing silent beside the darker-haired teen.

Mokuba would make Shizuka happy. Hiroto would watch out and make sure of it. And somehow, he thought Otogi might do the same.

Long after the roses vanished from sight, Otogi stretched his arms above his head, glancing over at the brunette with questioning emerald eyes. "Shall we go back?"

"Sure."

Otogi, smiling softly, moved back down the docks, a bounce in his step that certainly hadn't been there before.

Hiroto sighed, shaking his head. He would never understand the minds of some people.

XXXX

Indeed, Ryuuji was pleased. It was always nice to have one's good looks appreciated, even if it was obvious flattery to make up for a silly comment. Sure. People told him he was good-looking. He knew he was good-looking. But it was Valentine's Day, so having the person he was with acknowledge his good looks made him feel very good about himself. Even if the person he was with was just Honda.

And Honda called him 'perfect'.

Plus, he'd just totally and completely given up on Shizuka. He was ready to let her be with whoever she wanted, be it Mokuba Kaiba or an alien frm space, just so long as that person treated her right. And Mokuba was softer than Kaiba was, so there was no doubt in his mind that Mokuba would show Shizuka the utmost care and attention and love.

She was in safe hands. He could rest easy now.

There had been something symbolic about throwing the roses into the water. Something about letting his love go. And now he was fully intent on working on a new one. It still hurt, of course. One didn't just get over heartbreak that easy. But it wasn't hurting as much, and since she wasn't coming back, he should just move on.

The Dice Master glanced over his shoulder, smiling to himself at the brunette, following behind him.

Well, he knew who he was going to try and ensnare. It would take time, because Honda was still going over the same heartbreak. He hadn't had that release Ryuuji did with the roses. But Ryuuji was willing to wait. Nothing was ever accomplished to satisfaction if it was too easy.

Ryuuji's apartment was closer to the docks than Honda's place was, so Honda graciously walked him home. Ryuuji couldn't help smiling slightly at the irony. Honda saw and raised his eyebrow.

"What is it?"

Ryuuji shrugged, taking the cake box away from the brunette. "I was just thinking. This was, like, the perfect date. A fancy dinner, a walk on the water under the moon, the perfect little cake for two people…and we're the ones who had it. Not a couple, but just two single guy friends." He shrugged again. "It's just ironic, is all."

"Yeah. It is."

And somehow, with that statement, something between them shifted, ever so slightly. Maybe it was just the realization that this actually was the perfect date. Maybe it was the fact that said date happened on Valentine's Day. Maybe it was just that the two of them were sharing the same heartbreak, and bonding over that more than anything else. Whatever the reason, the air suddenly seemed to crackle with energy, and Ryuuji blinked. Maybe ensanring Honda wouldn't be as hard as he thought.

At his doorstep, the two paused, both thinking that this was where the guy would lean down and kiss the girl goodnight. Except this wasn't a date. Not yet. Swallowing, Ryuuji reached out, intending to just grab the box with his cake in it and go inside. But his fingers brushed against Honda's. Ryuuji started at the touch, looking down at Honda's hands.

He didn't remove them.

Honda let them linger.

Ryuuji swallowed again, looking up, and behind the pain there was something swimming in Honda's eyes that Ryuuji couldn't quite recognize. A little unsure, he looked down at the cake box again, at their linked hands.

"D-do you…do you wanna come in and eat the cake with me?"

Honda's eyes widened as though he was surprised, but after a moment he smiled and nodded. "Sure. That sounds good."

Ryuuji grinned, pulling the box to him and sliding his hands free. Then he turned and lead the way into the apartment.

It wasn't dating. Hell, Ryuuji hadn't even started trying to catch Honda.

But it was a start.

OOOO

If anyone watches NCIS, then you know that Jeanne Benoit is a character from that show, and I otally twisted her around to get my restaurant and the waitress. As an FYI, I don't own NCIS either.

So, how'd you like it? Otogi and Honda were always a little harder for me to write than Kaiba and Jou were, so I hope I managed to keep them IC. Last thing I want is for the whole YGO world to collapse around me because I wrote someone too OOC. Anyway, I think it's cute. Never written preslash before either, so I wanted to try it and get it out there. Tell me how I did?

~See you next time!