A/N: I've been wanting to write Chaseshipping for a while, so this surfaced. I've never written these characters before, so I hope it turned out alright. Also, I used the English names (Joey, Tristan, Duke, etc.) rather than the Japanese ones (Jounouchi, Honda, Otogi, etc.) because I watched the English dub version of the show and I'm more comfortable with them.
Disclaimer: I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh!
Warning: Beware of swearing.
Please enjoy and tell me what you think!
What Are the Odds?
"Come on, man, pull over."
But Duke only clutched the steering wheel more tensely and didn't pay the slightest attention to Tristan's demand. He stared fixedly at the road before them, slicing the arid horizon with his rigid gaze.
"No. We'll be there soon. I'm sure of it." With that, he slammed his foot on the gas. The California, roadway countryside whizzed by them, flashing them with ginger hillsides and auburn boulders. The air was thick with heat. It choked them in the open-air convertible.
"Duke, this is ridiculous. We've been driving for an hour and we're nowhere near civilization."
When Duke didn't reply, Tristan propped his arm on the door, leaned his head into his open palm, and glanced at the rushing countryside. Yugi, Téa, and Joey were already at the tournament he and Duke were headed to. Of course, being the King of Games, Yugi had accepted an invitation from America to duel in a prestigious tournament, and the three had gone early for registration. Duke and Tristan had opted to stay behind and arrive later for the actual event. But it was apparent that, at this point, they would be late. They were well and truly lost, by the looks of the unchanging scenery Tristan had observed in the past hour.
"Should've just gone early with the rest of them," Tristan muttered after five minutes of silence. The heat had soaked his skin. He continually grabbed at his own collar to relieve the uncomfortable, moist feeling of perspiration under his clothes.
Duke pursed his lips, keeping his eyes on the road. "Would you have some faith in me, Tristan? I live in San Francisco. I know something about this area. Just trust me, alright?"
Tristan only snorted at this. Have some faith in him? He scoffed. That was really a stretch. Tristan was livid with Duke at the moment. He'd been seething without word for several days now. Only, Duke didn't know, because Tristan hadn't wanted to approach the subject. After all, it wasn't something he'd been meant to hear.
"Are you sure you're reading the map right?" Tristan gibed. "Maybe you have it flipped upside down."
Duke's jaw tightened. "I'm certain."
And suddenly, Duke's right hand shot out and he thrust the worn map at Tristan, who caught it just before the paper could fly out the high-speeding car. Duke didn't look to see if Tristan had caught it; he kept his narrowed eyes on the dusty road before him. Tristan noted that Duke was thoroughly bristled, yet this realization only led to a deeper scowl on Tristan's part. After all, it was his requests to stop and reconsider their route that were being denied. The scorching sun must be getting to the both of them. As he watched, a few beads of sweat ran down the length of Duke's face.
After several silent minutes, Tristan groaned. "Alright, Duke, come on. We're getting nowhere. Just pull over so we can look at the map again."
When Duke didn't respond, Tristan suddenly placed his hand on Duke's, which clutched the wheel tensely. At the contact, Duke nearly jumped out of the seat, not expecting the touch. The car almost swiveled off the road before Duke righted it and finally made eye contact with Tristan, glaring. The vivid green eyes caught Tristan off-guard.
"Jesus Christ, Tristan! Are you trying to get us killed?"
Tristan returned the scowl. "I'm just trying to get to the tournament in time. And I think you made a wrong turn somewhere, so we'd better backtrack before—"
"Alright, already!" Having heard enough, Duke abruptly stopped the car, causing Tristan to slam forward into the dashboard. Then, Duke grabbed the map from Tristan before the other had even sat up and stepped out of the car, slamming the door.
Tristan sat upright, nursing a bump that would surely develop on his forehead, and clambered out of the car as well. Duke was leaning against the side of his convertible, scanning the map, as the breeze of the open countryside soared through his ponytail and spun the die earring on his left ear.
"Well?" Tristan neared Duke, rubbing his forehead irritably. "Any sign of where exactly we are?"
Duke pointed to a spot on the map and said, "I'm pretty sure we're right here. It's just open road for a while, that's why there's no civilization around."
"But the tournament is way over here," Tristan pointed to a spot much further north from their location. "I say we head back, find the nearest gas station, and ask someone for directions."
"Well I say we keep going and don't waste any time backtracking. We're on the right track. Just trust me."
Tristan scowled. There was that word again. Trust. He snatched the map from Duke, nearly tearing it in half. "No way, Devlin. We're going back."
Duke's eyes narrowed. He said nothing for a moment, before slipping a hand into his pant pocket and pulling out a die. At the sight of the little cube, Tristan's eyebrow perched up in question.
Duke smirked. "We'll settle this the easy way—with a bit of luck." He casually threw the die into the air, catching it effortlessly as it dropped into his open palm. "I'll toss the die. Evens, we do what I say, and keep going. Odds, and we follow your advice, and head back. Got it?"
Tristan folded his arms. "Nuh-uh. I'm not putting my faith in luck. I'm convinced we should go back."
"And I'm convinced we need to keep going. So this is the perfect solution. We have the same odds of making the choice we want." Duke gave him an expectant look. "Deal?"
Tristan glanced into the open road. Now that they were no longer driving, the heat was stifling, unbearable. He just wanted to be on the road again. With that, he sighed. "Fine. Toss the die."
Duke tossed the white little cube upward and both watched as it fell in an arc and dropped on the asphalt, rolling several times before it became still. Both stared at it for a moment. Then, Duke looked up at Tristan, the corner of his lip curling upward.
It was a six.
"Dammit," Tristan muttered and strode around the car to seize and open the passenger door roughly. He dropped into the seat, slammed the door, and huffed, unable to believe his rotten luck.
Duke slid into the driver's seat, self-satisfaction rolling off of him, as strong as the blurred heat waves that surrounded the desert countryside. They drove off without another word, silence suffocating them with the strength of summer heat.
Tristan didn't want to look at Duke. He was angry with him for various reasons, most of which had transpired earlier that week, but he was drawn. Duke had one hand on the steering wheel, the other fiddled with the radio, and his face was now relaxed into the smug and self-assured expression that Tristan found both detestable and attractive. His black hair blew backward in the rushing speed and his eyes, so green, the color of fresh leaves, pierced the horizon with a calm gaze.
Grudgingly, Tristan recalled the day his trust for Duke had diminished. It hadn't been earth-shattering, or even surprising. At least, it shouldn't have been. He had visited Joey several days ago, when the entire gang was still in Japan. And passing by the kitchen, he'd heard voices, causing him to stop and listen. Duke and Serenity, speaking soft words.
"I wanted to thank you, Duke," Serenity had said delicately, tiptoeing around the subject in her girlish bashfulness. "I liked being with you the other night. I would like to do that again sometime."
The words had engulfed Tristan, whose heart had raced and who didn't linger any longer to hear Duke's reply. Tristan was shattered, but not for any sensible reason. Not because Serenity had chosen Duke over him. But because Duke had lied. Brutally, heedlessly, and foolishly Duke had never thought it important to tell Tristan that their roads were already closed, that their fates were drying in the cement Duke had chosen to lay upon them. And those actions only reeked of distrust.
They had driven for another half-hour before Tristan became fidgety again. He scanned the map over and over, convinced that they were going the wrong way. The digital clock above the car radio read 2:23. The tournament would start at 3:00.
Tristan's foot tapped the floor impatiently. He drummed his fingers on the edge of the passenger door. He stole occasional glances at Duke, convinced that they would be late, silently willing the other to stop and reconsider their direction.
Finally, when he glanced at Duke again, the latter turned his head abruptly and snapped:
"What? Why do you keep staring at me? And looking so edgy?"
Tristan was caught off-guard by the retort, but immediately narrowed his eyes. "You need to stop the car. We're getting nowhere."
Duke rolled his eyes. "Not this again. I already told you—"
"Just do it, would you? We've got half an hour to get to the event and we're still nowhere near a city."
Duke huffed, but placed his foot on the brake and slowed down by the side of the road. He cut the engine and glanced at Tristan expectantly. "Well, now what do you intend to do? We're an hour and a half away from the nearest gas station. We can't waste time going back now."
Tristan considered their options. "We passed by a little convenience store not ten minutes ago. I think we should backtrack there."
"No," Duke replied flatly. "We need to keep going, unless you want to arrive late."
Tristan became increasingly irritated. Now that they were still again, the heat was closing in, and he felt beads of sweat form on his forehead. Then, an idea came to him. He'd beat Duke at his own game.
Tristan smirked. "Fine. Then let's re-do that die roll and let luck decide which way we should go."
For a split-second, a look of worry flashed across Duke's face. But as soon as that unusual expression appeared, it was replaced by a look of smugness. He pulled the white die out of his pocket and said, "Alright. Same thing then. Evens, we keep going. And odds, we head back to that convenience store and ask for directions—"
But Duke was interrupted when Tristan suddenly grabbed the little die from Duke's outstretched hand.
"Why do you get evens again? I say we flip it around and you get odds," he stated, convinced that this time the luck would be his.
But as Tristan eyed the die, something caught him by surprise. The side with the one printed on it was raised slightly, so that the plastic curved outward a bit. It was so slight, he wouldn't have caught the minor distortion if he hadn't been holding it in his palm. But the intent was obvious. And it caused Tristan's irritation to boil into fury.
He threw Duke an incredulous look.
That same look of worry flashed across Duke's face again, and he bit his bottom lip. He didn't pretend to be anything other than apprehensive, an unusual situation for Duke. This reaction only infuriated Tristan, who was undeniably fed up with Duke's duplicitous attitude.
Duke didn't look into Tristan's reproachful eyes. "Yes. It's loaded to land on six. That's why I needed to get evens—"
But at this point, Tristan had dropped the die and had grabbed Duke's collar, bringing them face to face. He'd been irritable all day. And this was only the beginning of the lava that burst forth:
"What the fuck do you mean by this? You've been stringing me along this whole time! What was that about letting luck decide where we'd go, huh?"
Duke had nothing to say to that. He simply glanced sideways to avoid Tristan's disillusioned, unforgiving expression.
"We have the same odds of getting what we want, isn't that what you said?" Tristan's grasp tightened on Duke's collar. "The hell we do! Why the fuck would you do something like this?"
But at this, Duke finally looked back into Tristan's gaze. "Look, I only did that because I know where I'm going. I know these roads. It takes forever to get from one city to the next and stopping would just prolong the ride. I had to get you to shut up, so I used the loaded die."
The retort only enraged Tristan. "So that's your solution, is it? Cheat because you're so sure of yourself? Lie because no one else could possibly be right? My opinion just doesn't count—is that right, Duke?" Then, letting his anger run its course close to home, his voice became strained. "It never does, does it?"
Duke's eyes widened. "What? What do you mean by that?"
In the sweltering, infuriating heat, Tristan was furious that Duke didn't get it. "You don't even notice it, do you? You brush my opinion aside when it really matters. You break my trust with no regard to any consequences—"
"Look, I don't know what the hell you're talking about," Duke interrupted irritably. "When else have I broken your trust?"
Tristan's veins were aflame with anger. The roadside heat was stifling him, boiling him, the dust was parching his throat, and he couldn't stand Duke's pretense that he didn't know.
"You didn't tell me about Serenity!" Tristan finally burst out. "You've been hiding this whole relationship you have with her and you've never told me. What kind of friend does that, Duke? What kind of friend are you, to lie to me about something so big?"
For a frighteningly long moment, Duke only looked shell-shocked. His eyes had widened considerably. He'd tensed so much that, as Tristan still grasped Duke's collar, he could feel his shoulders go stiff.
"What?" Duke whispered, only after neither had spoken for a minute. "How did you know?"
Tristan's anger subsided momentarily, knowing that Duke was so apprehensive. It was replaced by bitterness.
"I found out the hard way. I heard the two of you talking the other day," Tristan said slowly, biting the words as they emerged. "Something about Serenity thanking you for the other night."
At this, Duke glanced away, unable to look into Tristan's disappointed face. "Look, I didn't mean for you to find out—"
"Oh, so you wanted to keep me in the dark as long as possible, is that it?" Tristan burst out. "How long were you going to wait, huh? How long did you think you could hide it?"
Duke glanced back into Tristan's face, fuming. "It was none of your business, alright? Serenity was the one that—"
"None of my business?" Tristan pulled Duke forward, digging his fingers deeper into the fabric. "So what the fuck am I to you, Duke? I thought a friend at the least. But I guess that's not enough to know about your personal life! Or to even have a part in it!"
"Stop it! Stop twisting my words before I can even explain myself—"
Tristan's expression sliced the air. "What do you have to explain, Duke? What? All you've done today is prove that you're a lousy friend and a rotten liar. I don't think anything you could say now would change these things—"
"It wasn't that great, alright!" Duke suddenly exclaimed, his own turmoil and discontent finally spilling. "It was just one date, and I didn't even like it!"
Tristan was momentarily thrown. One date? His grasp on Duke's collar slackened, his eyes widening with disbelieving surprise. And he didn't like it? Before he could seize the full meaning of the words, Duke continued, lost in bitterness, not noticing the reaction he'd received.
"Serenity was the one that asked me. I was really happy at first. I didn't want to tell you because I thought you'd just ruin it by telling Joey, who'd just yap at me to get lost like the overprotective brother he is. I didn't want to tell you because even I wasn't sure where it was going just yet."
Tristan's fingers fell from Duke's shirt. His tense body unwound, and he only listened now. Duke's voice was forlorn as he spoke, unlike the gloating, smug voice Tristan had expected from someone who'd finally gotten a date with Serenity.
"I had fun on the date, I guess. We did the typical thing—went to dinner, saw a movie—and I expected it would be romantic. It's only what I've been waiting for, for so long." At this, Duke paused, and glanced into the countryside. "Only, it wasn't. It was normal. It was objective, and afterward, I realized that my perfect date would be reckless, and irrational, and unpredictable." Duke laughed quietly. "I don't even know if that's considered a date. But it's what I wanted."
Tristan stared at Duke with wide eyes, unable to believe these words. His heart quickened. Reckless and unpredictable. Such was, after all, the friendship between them.
Duke looked up at Tristan, his leaf-green eyes unyielding. "Every time I looked at Serenity, I looked into someone else's face. I saw somebody else the entire time. And when I walked her to her door, there was only one thing I wanted to do. And it wasn't with her."
There was nothing left to be said. The cards had been laid out. Duke stared at Tristan, waiting for a reaction, but the latter had only looked away. Tristan glanced out over the ginger horizon and felt the slight breeze flow over his heated face. And finally, he opened the passenger door and stood up from the convertible.
Duke watched carefully as Tristan walked around the car and stopped to stand over him. His expression was veiled and unreadable as he grabbed the handle of the driver's door and yanked it open. Duke stared up askance, unmoving.
Opening his right palm, Tristan revealed the little white cube in his hand. He stared down at Duke and finally, the corner of his lip curled up.
"In that case, we'll roll the die," Tristan stated, a calm, content expression now on his face. "And odds, you get to do it. Whatever it was you wanted to do on that date with Serenity."
Duke stared at the die for a moment, perturbed. Several emotions flittered over his face at the realization of what Tristan had just suggested. His expression finally settled on confusion.
"What—Tristan, but—it's loaded. It'll roll a six every time."
Tristan's smile only increased.
"And evens, I get to do it."
Before Duke could say anything else, before Tristan could bite back the courage he'd drawn in the last several minutes, before the die he'd just thrown over his shoulder even landed on the asphalt—Tristan leaned down and kissed Duke.
And as the countryside wind blew through Duke's ponytail and spun the die in his left ear, the loaded die landed after several bounds and landed precisely as expected. On a fateful six.
Tristan had lost count of the minutes he spent there, crouching by the driver's seat of Duke's car, slipping his hands through the black hair and pushing Duke into the seat—but he did realize that, when they finally arrived to the tournament, much after three o'clock, several things were true:
1) Duke had been correct about being on the right track the whole time.
2) Tristan was still mad about being deceived by a loaded die that always landed on a six.
3) Nevertheless, Tristan could hardly deny someone the right to take fate into his own hands. It was cruel and deceitful and rewarding—and, after all, what luck was truly about.
A/N: Thanks for reading!