Pairing: Seto/Joey, hints of Yami/Yugi
Disclaimer: I don't own YuGiOh, or these pretty boys. Too bad.
Authors Note/Warnings: First YuGiOh fic ever! OwO
I got this idea when I was staying at Hotel Del Coronado, lounging about lazily under an umbrella in a chair and a robe next to the pool. It just sort of came to me all of a sudden, and I couldn't pass it up x3 Hooray for plot bunnies.
I did my best to make this as IC as possible; very difficult with this particular couple, but what's the fun of doing something easy? ;P On with the story!
Sprawled out comfortably beneath the shade of a large umbrella, Joey Wheeler, second place winner of the Duelist Kingdom tournament and proud recipient of the three million dollars cash prize, stretched languidly and turned onto his side, allowing the wayward breeze to ruffle his messy blond strands. Reaching out, he snatched his cool cup of lemonade from the poolside table, slurping happily at his beverage through the curly straw and grinning like a madman. If someone had told him a few months back that he would be here, poolside, in one of the fanciest beach resorts in the world, he would have had quite a bit of fun laughing in their face.
His life just seemed to have taken a huge turn for the better.
With his winning of the tournament prize money had come the realization of his dream; his sister's eyesight had been restored and she could finally see again. He had also been able to quit his lousy janitor job at Domino High, where he had worked nights for the past year and a half for minimum wage, and was now spending his summer vacation by the coast.
A sudden clink of glass brought Joey from his peaceful reverie. The blond watched as his half-empty glass was refilled with lemonade by a petite waitress, who gave him a dazzling smile before heading off to cater to others in the opposite direction. Grinning, the teen cocked his head to the side and eagerly watched her leave, making no effort to conceal his stare towards the attractive brunette.
"Oh, great. So now they allow dogs by the pool."
Joey gasped in shock at the sound of the all-too-familiar voice. Brown eyes wide, he turned and stared up at the last person he had expected to see (and was rather making an effort to get away from) during his vacation.
An obviously perturbed, blue-eyed CEO stood before him, clad in only black swim trunks and an annoyed expression.
"Kaiba?!" Shaking his head a few times just to assure he wasn't having hallucinations, Joey pressed back against his chair in shock, taking a moment to get his breath back. "You…what the heck are ya doin' here? Don't cha have a big fancy company to run or somethin'?" He blinked rapidly in an attempt to assure his eyes weren't playing tricks on him.
Seto scoffed. "Despite common belief, I happen to take breaks from work once in awhile." Pale arms crossed across their owner's bare chest in one of those superior gestures that made Joey want to punch the billionaire in the face. "Although I didn't expect I'd being seeing you here. Tell me, puppy. Are you freeloading off one of your pathetic friends to stay here or did you sneak in through the back door?"
"Watch it!" Glaring daggers at the taller man, Joey sat up and clenched his fists warningly out in front of him. "I won the money from Duelis' Kingdom fair and square, hotshot! Why don't cha jus' go off to your own private beach resort or whatever and leave me alone?!" He groaned. "I'm jus' tryin' to enjoy myself, here!"
A particularly irked look was shot in Joey's direction. "And I don't suppose you realize you're enjoying it courtesy of my money?"
Confused, Joey cocked a blond brow, watching suspiciously as Kaiba extended a long, slender finger and pointed at an area somewhere above the blonde's head. Eyes wide, the shorter of the two tilted his chin up, gulping as he read the silver letters emblazoned upon the sign above.
'Seat Reserved for Mr. Seto Kaiba'
"Ohh…eheheh." Joey blushed and gave a goofy grin of apology, squirming into the chair on his right and managing to knock his cup of lemonade over in the process. "Sorry 'bout that, Kaiba. I was wonderin' how I managed to get the best seat in the house."
Seto gave his rival a flat look, obviously not seeing any humor in the situation. "Hn, whatever. Just keep your mangy paws away from me," he said coolly, seating himself upon the newly-empty chair and snapping his head to the right at the sound of a familiar giggle. He glared, shooting Joey a deadly look at the sight of his red-faced acquaintance. "What's so funny?!"
"N-nothin'." Despite what Joey's mouth said, his face was evidence of otherwise. Blond eyebrows were raised and he snickered behind his hands, brown eyes wide with humor that only intensified with the realization that the all-powerful Seto Kaiba didn't understand why he was laughing.
"Spit it out!"
"O-on your head, th-there's….AHAHAHA!" Completely losing control of his hilarity, Joey tossed his head back and let out a loud, jubilant string of whoops and giggles, holding his bare stomach with two hands. Blue eyes widened slightly in surprise, Seto gave a slow, sweeping look up at his forehead, lips parting at the sight.
A small, white bird had perched itself upon his usual immaculate locks, nestled down into the brown strands as if right at home in its nest.
Once his faculties had returned, Seto grit his teeth and swatted the small creature from his hair, eyes narrowed dangerously at the sight of an incredibly amused blonde rolling back and forth in the seat beside him. "Quit your rolling around, mutt," he sneered, crossing his legs and leaning back against the seat. "Run along and get those fleas taken care of. They're obviously bothering you."
Still giggling wildly, Joey stood up from his seat and snatched his towel up into his arms, letting the insult fly over his head for once. It wasn't worth it, he decided; he had come here to have a good time, right?
"I guess I'll let ya be, Moneybags," he chuckled, glancing over with the sudden urge to examine Kaiba's naked torso more closely. Startled, he shook his head, composure fleeing for a moment before he managed to regain it. "Try not to get your feathers ruffled too bad."
Feeling as if he had bested Seto Kaiba for the first time in his life, Joey grinned and turned around to begin the journey to his room, mildly aware of a confusing, nagging mental impulse that ushered him to look back.
"The nerve of that idiot, filthy overgrown mutt!"
Growling, the usually collected CEO swung his fist into the downy pillow on the bed beside him, taking a long, calming breath to regain his composure. He had changed from his bathing suit into normal clothes again (mostly just out of the need to keep his hands busy with something), and was sat against the headboard with his face in his hands, silently thankful for the fact that his little brother had his own room. He didn't need to be walked in on at a time like this.
A lovesick Seto Kaiba wasn't exactly something that begged to be disturbed.
Blue eyes fluttering open, the tall brunette sat up slowly and walked over to the other side of the room, leaning against the wall in thought. It wasn't as if Joey Wheeler was the most pedigree of people; Seto had known from a young age that his own affluence practically guaranteed him the most well-bred, high-ranking individuals money could buy. However, he really couldn't have been less interested. The last thing he needed in his life was to come home to some snobbish, egotistical executive under the impression that their presence was the sole reason for the turning of the world.
In other words, his ideal lover wasn't somebody resembling that which he saw in the mirror.
He wasn't exactly sure what it was about Joey that attracted him. Perhaps it was the thought of a challenge, he mused, that kept him going after the lanky blond even after all good reason to fight had ended. As a duelist, he considered him amateur, but that wasn't what Seto was concerned with. It was the look in his eyes when he won a game, or when he found a comment particularly enraging and practically mangled his surroundings in an attempt to beat the living daylights out of whoever had said it.
At showing what he thought, Joey was definitely a master.
Perhaps that was why Seto had taken such an interest in him. Though he would never admit it, of course, some of the brunette's favorite days had been spent taunting and teasing Joey to the point that it was almost cruel. He loved to watch the fire build up in those brown eyes and spill out at him, enjoyed seeing just how much the blonde reacted to a few words.
Seto had learned many years prior that emotions just got in the way, but Joey never hesitated to let them out. Loudly. In public places, no less.
Groaning, the billionaire stood up straight and snatched the telephone from its place on the bedside table, pressing the button for room service. Although he knew perfectly well that what he was about to do went against everything he had said and done for the past couple of years, Seto Kaiba went by his own rules. He did what he wanted, and at the moment, he decided he should make the choice before his cool façade rose up and prevented him from reaching out as it had so many times before.
Joey Wheeler was about to see a very different side of his arch rival.
Order successfully placed, the teenage CEO lay back onto the bed and closed his eyes.
Let the games begin.
"Mmmmmmn." The next morning, Joey woke slowly and sat up in bed, stretching his arms into the air with a happy yawn. Looking sleepily around the room, he grunted and hoisted himself to his feet, padding drowsily to the bathroom to wash his face. As much as he was enjoying his vacation, he had to admit he was a little lonely. Serenity was still recuperating from her surgery and staying with their mother, so she couldn't have come along. And it wasn't as if he was about to invite his deadbeat, alcoholic of a father to a free beachside resort on the money he'd earned himself.
Joey had also offered to invite his friends along, but Tristan was out of town and Yugi had denied, having been planning a trip with Yami for their one year anniversary. The blonde was happy for them, of course, but he couldn't help but feel a little left out of it all. If his best friend had managed to find somebody, when was it going to be his turn?
Wiping a dry cloth over his cheeks, Joey looked up at his reflection in the mirror, studying it intently. It wasn't like he was ugly or anything; at least, he didn't think so. His last "relationship" with Mai hadn't gotten too far, and he dismissed it as a flirtation over anything else. She was beautiful, but he didn't really feel that much of a connection other than friendship with her. Once that period of steamy infatuation was over, he had pretty much resolved that he just wanted to stay friends.
Besides, he had to admit that brunettes were more his style.
Snorting, Joey giggled goofily at himself and strolled back out of the bathroom, startling at the sound of a sharp knock on his door.
Head cocked, the blond made his way to the door and turned the knob, only to be shoved aside as a short, round women bustled in, pushing a cart into the room.
"I-er, I don't think I ordered nothin'," he said in confusion, brown eyes going large at the sight of all the covered plates and cups. Seemingly not listening, the woman set the cart up by his bed and shoved a piece of ornate, folded paper into his hands, pointing to it. "Delivery courtesy of a Mr. Kaiba," she quipped, leaving the room as quickly as she had come. Taking a moment to get that statement through his head, Joey plopped down on the edge of the bed and flipped the note open, eyes following the small, elegant script that was printed over the paper.
'7:00 PM. La Mar. Don't be late. -Seto'
"…Seto?" Puzzled to say the least, Joey propped himself up on a pillow and reread the note, trying to make sure he wasn't missing something. What was this about? The infamous Seto Kaiba had ordered him breakfast?! What kind of crazy parallel world had he fallen into?
Reminded of the food, the blond snapped his attention back to the heaping cart, reaching out to remove the covers from each plate. His stomach made a happy sound at the sight; sizzling scrambled eggs with cheese, thinly sliced bacon, fried hash browns, five pieces of buttered toast, and fresh fruit were among the delicacies he uncovered. No longer caring at the moment why the spoiled billionaire had done him this favor, Joey tossed the note to the side and eagerly picked up his fork, digging in.
About half an hour and five emptied plates later, Joey stretched out contentedly and fell back onto the mattress. Tempted to let himself drift back to sleep, he once again spotted the note and brought it back up towards his face, the meaning of the words slowly sinking in as his eyes widened to an almost comical size. La Mar…that was the name of the expensive hotel restaurant down by the lobby on the first floor. The kind of place you where had to get dressed up and make reservations to even have a shot at them letting you in.
"Seven o' clock…don't be late?" Joey gasped in shock and sat up with a jerk, ignoring his full stomach's protest at the sudden movement as the note's implications all but slapped him across the face. Was this an invitation for…a date? A dinner date with Seto Kaiba?!
To say he was shocked would have been an understatement. Surely that wasn't what Kaiba meant by this gesture…he probably just wanted a chance to humiliate him in public or something of the like. He'd done it plenty of times before, but...the blue-eyed CEO didn't seem to make any effort to keep his schemes under wraps. When he wanted something, he went out and took it, never seeming to care who or what tried to get in his way.
Despite how much Joey disliked the man, he couldn't help but admit Seto Kaiba never failed to impress him.
Feeling his stomach churn for a reason unrelated to the large amount of food he had just consumed, the blond stood up and moved over to the other side of the room, casting an unsure glance at the closet door. He was very…curious about what Kaiba had planned for him. He had the creeping feeling he wasn't going to be humiliated, but then again, he couldn't come up with a better explanation for the invitation, either. Whichever way the night proved to progress, at least it sounded like he was getting a free meal out of it all.
Heart fluttering almost audibly in his chest, Joey delved into the closet and rustled through his clothing options, wondering what exactly he was getting himself into.
"Heeeeeeeey sexy," Joey giggled and winked at his reflection, turning around to observe his polyester-clad backside in the looking glass. After a good amount of time wasted digging through bad Hawaiian shirts and beachwear, he had finally managed to unearth the only semi-formal articles he had brought along, namely a deep green silk shirt and some black slacks that hugged his long legs.
Looking himself over again, the blond flushed slightly and looked forcibly away from his reflection, tugging softly at the bottom of his shirt. He knew he shouldn't be getting so jazzed up when the night was probably going to end with him being humiliated anyways, but he couldn't deny he was a little bit…excited.
Okay, so Kaiba was attractive. He was a total jerk, though.
A really, really attractive jerk.
Snorting, Joey looked back into the mirror, trying in vain to force his unruly blond strands to behave. He wasn't gay; he had always liked girls and only girls…that was, until Kaiba came into his life. Most of the time, the billionaire's behemoth of an ego managed to successfully cover any sight of his redeeming qualities, but ever since Duelist Kingdom, he had been aware there was another side to the man who took joy in ruining his life. Seeing Seto interact with his little brother once his soul had returned to its rightful body had tugged at Joey's heartstrings in a way few things ever had. He wasn't sure why, but something about seeing someone so cold push their pride to the side and open up that way…Joey could remember wiping the tears from his face.
That day, Joey had become convinced that there was more to Seto Kaiba than met the eye, even if he didn't show it most of the time.
Finding himself staring up at the ceiling in thought, he shook himself from his trance and checked his reflection again, grinning a little in embarrassment. He was glad nobody could see. He had never made so much of an effort on his appearance before.
Once he had decided enough was enough, he pried himself from the full length mirror and checked his watch, realizing he was expected at the restaurant in about fifteen minutes. He knew he could get there in five easily enough, so he ducked under the chest of drawers and withdrew the small ice chest from inside the mini-fridge, deciding he might as well stock up before he went out.
Snatching his key from the bedside table, he opened the door and stepped out into the hallway, glad that the ice machine was conveniently across the hall from his room. Stepping up to it, he reached out to press the button, brown eyes going wide when his hand clashed with a smaller one.
Turning his head, Joey gasped as he stared at an equally startled preteen, who had also been reaching for the knob with a small ice chest in hand.
"Mokuba!" he exclaimed when he had his wits back, grinning. "Hey there, kid. Kaiba didn' tell me ya came along with him!"
"You saw Seto?" Seemingly surprised, Mokuba watched the blonde's nod with wide, grey-blue eyes. "Oh, yeah. He let me have my own room," he shared, giving a proud little smile and puffing his chest out whilst he held up his key as evidence. "Seto's room is next to mine, though."
Joey smiled as he listened, leaning in to fill his ice chest and clicking the top down. "You're growin' up, kiddo. Before ya know it, you'll probably be taller than me."
"Anyways, I'm gonna go see your brother in a few minutes," Joey revealed, lowering his voice a little. "Down at that restaurant place. Ya know anythin' about that?" If anyone knew Seto Kaiba, it was Mokuba Kaiba, and he had a feeling the younger sibling just might know a thing or two about what his older brother had planned.
To his silent relief, Mokuba's eyes widened with what looked like realization.
"Ohh, Seto said he was renting it out for something important," the young Kaiba blurted, a slight tinge of uneasiness passing over his youthful features as a hand came up to his mouth before Joey could question him further. Confused, the older teen watched as Mokuba took a step back, looking slightly embarrassed.
"Umm, I-I dunno if I was supposed to say…" The child trailed off, looking back nervously over his shoulder. "I-I'll see you later, Joey," he muttered and turned around, black hair bouncing as he headed off in the opposite direction. Joey could only watch as he darted down a hallway and disappeared from view altogether, uneasiness building in the blonde's gut.
Somehow, that hadn't made him feel any better about this whole ordeal.
Returning the newly-filled ice chest to his room, Joey stepped back out into the hall and headed for the elevator, blushing at his own attempts to check his appearance in the reflective panels of the automatic doors.
"Where is he?!"
Standing beside the doors of La Mar, a tall brunette stood muttering mutinously under his breath, ignoring the way his words seemed to frighten most of the hotel guests that came within a few feet of the place. His upper body was encased in a blue silk top, complimented by dark navy pants and a matching jacket with shined shoes upon his impatiently tapping feet. "I told him seven o'clock! I did not rent this place out to be shown up! I swear to god, if he doesn't come I'm going to-"
"Hey, Richboy. Hope I didn' keep ya waitin'."
Blinking, Seto Kaiba let his eyes travel up, trying to look less surprised than he actually was. There stood the mutt, looking…pretty good, for his usual standards anyways. While the permanently mussed blond locks had scarcely altered in appearance, Joey's body was clothed in a surprisingly becoming combination of black and green, and as much as he didn't want to admit it, the urge to jump the shorter boy was…overwhelming.
Clearing his throat, Seto gave his rival a tolerating look, trying not to look too impressed.
"I suppose it will have to do."
Secretly relishing in the look of annoyance that was shot his way, the CEO extended a finger and beckoned, silently asking Joey to come closer. "I'm glad to see you got my note. You're coming with me; this place cost more money for a night than you're probably ever seen in your life and I don't plan to waste it."
Trying to hide his inner apprehension, Seto shot an arm out in a silent order for Joey to take it, blue eyes warning that the punishment for disobedience would be very unpleasant indeed.
Joey's brown eyes widened in complete shock as he realized what was being asked of him, and his feet were rooted to the carpet for a few moments, instilling the momentary fear into the elder Kaiba that he wasn't going to accept. However, his fears were mollified when the obviously confused blonde reached out, hesitantly taking his arm as if holding a very expensive (or very dangerous) piece of weaponry.
"I…what exactly is this about, Kaiba?" He heard Joey ask as they walked to a secluded table in the corner of the place, voice softened in what Seto believed to be awe. Not a soul inhabited the other tables around (the brunette had insisted specifically that the place be reserved for him and his date only), and the place practically radiated money, a thing Seto knew Joey hadn't had much of until his second-place victory in the Duelist Kingdom Finals.
The CEO couldn't hold back a smirk, releasing the arm and taking a seat at the predetermined booth. He sometimes forgot that other people didn't have luxuries like this, and it was nice to see the fiery blonde caught off guard.
"It's called a date, Wheeler," he finally got out, trying to look as insistent yet unintimidating as possible in an attempt to keep Joey from going anywhere. "You accepted it, so you're going to be spending the evening with me. And even you should know it's rude to call your date by their last name."
Joey blinked, brown eyes large before blonde brows drew down over them. Even in the low light, Seto could see the flicker of uncertainty over his face. "Whaddaya mean? I ain't callin' ya Mister or nothin'. That's creepy."
Seto couldn't help but laugh, a short, low chuckle that he made sure to accompany with a sardonic glance afterwards. "You're going to call me Seto, puppy. You really are an idiot."
As soon as the words left his lips, the usually emotionless CEO could feel a ball of regret building up in his stomach.
Startled, Joey groaned inside, feeling as though his heart had just been squeezed a little too tight within his chest. He should have known this was too good to be true. The moment he had grabbed a hold of Kaiba's arm, his hopes had skyrocketed through the roof, sending a menagerie of thoughts travelling through his brain. What if Kaiba really did like him? What if this wasn't a scheme to humiliate him?
The butterflies in his stomach had become especially aggressive the moment his fingertips had clashed with that blue silk.
Feeling emotion creeping up through his chest at the insult, Joey winced and refused to let the tears out. When had he become so emotional over this whole thing? Had he really been keeping his attraction to Kaiba pent up for so long?
Had his hopes that this might be something more really escalated so precariously high that a simple insult could tear them down?
"Fuck you!" Joey couldn't have held back if he had tried. Seething, he stood up and reached out, grabbing at Seto's collar and glaring daggers at him. "I bust my ass to look nice for ya, I come down here expectin' that maybe ya might be decent to me for one time in your god damned life, and here ya are, lookin' at me like I'm a piece of gum on the bottom of your shoe and tellin' me I'm not worth one god damned night at a god damned restaurant!"
Voice momentarily gone, Joey gasped for breath and shoved Seto back against the other side of the booth with the last of his anger, sinking back into the plush seating and ignoring the drink server, who darted quickly away from the scene in an obvious attempt not to interrupt.
The blonde averted his gaze, no longer making much of an attempt to hide how hurt he was. He wanted to spit in Kaiba's face, to storm off back to his room to punch at a pillow and shed a tear or two, but he couldn't force his legs to move. He had known the CEO for years now, been in school with him since seventh grade and had had these sorts of fights a thousand times over. But now it felt different.
Now that he had had a glimmer of hope that Seto just might view him as something more than an amateur and an annoyance, his emotional wounds were opened afresh and he could practically feel his heart straining to exit his chest.
Joey hadn't wanted to look up, but he did. Blinking twice, he glanced up and gasped, not having expected to find Seto's face (or body) scooted so close. For the first time since he could remember, those blue eyes didn't look particularly unkind…
Oh, who was he kidding? Seto Kaiba would never change.
"Listen to me."
"I don't wanna hear it," Joey said miserably, having a harder and harder time keeping his tears back as the seconds passed by. Regaining control of his feet, he stood up from the table and turned his back, vaguely aware that his tears were dripping upon the expensive carpet. "Save it for somebody who doesn't know ya like I do."
Careful for the first time to hide his face, the blond hung his head and trudged slowly out of the restaurant, ducking outside through the front door and heading for the crashing waves of the beach.
End of Part One! Oh no, the angst D:
No worries, I don't like sad endings and this is a threeshot. That's right, three chapters. ;P Keep an eye out for Chapter Two!