Disclaimer: I do not own YuGiOh!. That pleasure belongs to Kazuki Takahashi. This is solely written for fun and not for profit.
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"Ah, Yug', it's such a shame that he hates me." Jou's voice came from outside the toilet cubicle where Kaiba was currently residing. To be honest he'd finished in there, but as he'd heard Jonouchi and Yugi come in to the bathroom he'd decided to stay put and eavesdrop in case he heard anything that may be of interest to him. He was certainly curious over who the Mutt was talking about.
"What do you mean, Jonouchi?" the diminutive duelist was heard to reply. Kaiba held his breath as he waited for the that information to be uttered.
"You know how I feel about him," Jou sounded sad and the thought that Jou had unrequited feelings for someone - especially a male someone - did not sit well with Kaiba. "If he would only give me a chance," Jou continued, "if he hadn't made it clear that I'm not fit to breathe the same air that he does, I know that we could be really good together."
"He might think that you were only using him for his money," Yugi suggested, "after all, it's not really any secret that you don't have all that much..."
"You know that doesn't mean much to me Yug'," Jou said, the sincerity in his voice obvious, "what you haven't had you don't miss and stuff like that, but I guess you are right that he might think that way," He sighed, "but I'd like to think he'd know me better than that."
"Are you ever going to try doing anything about it?" Yugi wanted to know.
"Nope," Jou replied. "You know that I can't just come out and tell him. I'm not even completely sure that he likes guys and he'd only laugh in my face anyway. I am going to send him a valentine's card, but I know I won't be able to bring myself to sign it." Jou shrugged, "It will probably end up in the bin with all the others that he gets, but other than that I don't think there's anything I can do that won't end up with him killing me."
"I'm sorry Jou," Yugi said, obviously trying to comfort his friend.
"Nah, it's OK Yug'," Jou said with what was obviously false cheer. "I'll just have to wait until I can get over it," he sighed again, "although that could take a while."
"Well, for what it's worth, I agree with you," Yugi said as they moved to leave the bathroom, "You and Kaiba would be good together. Maybe he'll come around one day."
Inside the stall, Kaiba gave a start at the mention of his name. He had already been mentally reeling at the revelation that the Mutt was attracted to another male and had been beginning to suspect that Jonouchi might have been talking about himself, but to hear Yugi actually confirm it within his hearing? Well, that was something he truly had not been expecting.
Jou gave a final sigh, "Nah, never gonna happen..." The door closed behind them and Kaiba was once again alone in the bathroom. He exited the stall, a contemplative look on his face. It would seem that he had sorely misjudged Jonouchi, having been utterly convinced up until this moment that the blond hated him. Of course, thinking back after these new revelations he could see that the signs were all there but he'd completely missed them, having been so sure that Jonouchi wanted nothing to do with him. The only thing left to decide now was what he should do about it.
He left the bathroom with new determination. He had a lot to planning to do.
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As school let out the next Monday afternoon, Katsuya Jonouchi wasted no time in heading to his locker, relieved that school was finally out. The fact that it was Valentine's day and he hadn't received a card had not diminished his spirits too much, even though he had been disappointed that Kaiba hadn't even looked at the card that he had taken such care over. He was thankful that the CEO had only thrown it away with the rest of the cards he'd received and not singled it out for ridicule, which was something he tended to do with the more outlandish ones. Jonouchi thought that if he had signed it then he wouldn't have been surprised if Kaiba had burned it in front of the class. But then maybe he was wrong about that. He'd noticed that Kaiba had been pretty much ignoring him for the last few days, apart from a few odd looks. That was quite out of the ordinary and Jou really wasn't sure what to make of it.
He opened his locker, intent on getting sorted out as quickly as possible, only to stop short at the sight of a plain white envelope sat neatly on top of his haphazardly piled books. He was carefully looking over the envelope to see if there were any identifying marks, when he almost jumped out of his skin.
"Hey Jou, what do you have there?" Yugi asked innocently.
"Dammit Yug', don't do that!" Jou said after he realised that it was only his friend.
"Sorry Jou," Yugi said apologetically. "But what is it that you have there?"
"Its just an envelope," Jou said with a little trepidation, "but I have no idea what's in it yet."
"Are you going to open it then?" Yugi asked brightly. "It might be a Valentine's card!"
"I guess I should," Jou said with a touch of trepidation as he finally unsealed the envelope. He couldn't help but blush a little as he pulled out an elegant looking valentine's card, but as he opened it and read the message inside, his face went slack and he almost went into shock.
"Jou?" Yugi was a little worried by his friend's reaction. "What is it Jonouchi?"
Wordlessly, Jou handed the card and envelope over to Yugi, who wasted no time in reading it.
I had no idea that you felt that way about me.
I would like to take you out tonight. Come to the KC Ritz at 6pm. Don't worry about dressing up too much. If you show the head waiter the enclosed pass card, you won't have any trouble.
Hope to see you there.
P.S. Happy Valentine's day.
Yugi reached into the envelope and pulled out a deep blue pass card with gold lettering that essentially gave Jou permission to access anywhere to do with Kaiba Corporation without question.
The sight of the card with it's shiny lettering brought Jonouchi out of his daze. "Shit Yug'," he was starting to panic now, "how did he find out?"
Yugi thought for a moment. "He must have overheard us talking in the bathroom last week," he finally concluded. "We haven't talked about it at any other time recently. He must have been in one of the cubicles already when we went in. I'm sorry Jou, I should have checked that we were alone."
Jou shook his head. "It's not your fault, I should have checked too, but... what am I gonna do?" he asked with a note of panic in his voice.
"Well, you are going to go, right?" Yugi asked.
"I don't know..." Jou's face showed his indecision. "If he overheard us then he might just be doing this to humiliate me."
"I don't think he'd go to all this trouble just for that," Yugi observed, waving the special card as evidence. "If all he wanted to do was humiliate you then he could do that much more easily in school and the effects would be much longer lasting."
"I guess you are right about that," Jou said. "but..."
"Jou," Yugi put his hand on his best friend's arm in a calming gesture, "you should go. Everyone knows how much you've been pining after him."
"I have NOT been pining," Jou protested.
"Whatever," Yugi brushed that off, "You really should go. You'll always wonder about it if you don't."
Jou sighed. "This is just all so..."
"Yeah, and then some," Jou said with a small smile.
"So, you are going to go, right?" Yugi repeated, a little more forcefully this time.
"I... yeah I guess I will," Jou looked up at the ceiling in embarrassment. "If I don't go then, you're right, I'll always wonder, but," he looked at Yugi with entreaty, "I have no idea what to wear."
"The letter did say not to dress up too much," Yugi pointed out.
"Yeah, but I can't just turn up in a tatty t-shirt and jeans," Jou shook his head, "No, I have to make at least some effort, even though I'll never looks as good as he does."
"I'll help you," Yugi offered. "And I'm sure that everyone else will too. Between us I'm sure that we can come up with something."
"Thanks Yug'," Jou said, grabbing his friend up into a hug, "you are a real pal."
"Too right," The diminutive teen said with a smile as he extricated himself from Jou's grip. "Now come on, we've got to let the others know about this. We have a lot to do." With that, he took Jonouchi by the arm and dragged him from the school.
Once he was sure that they had gone, Seto Kaiba stepped out from behind the lockers where Jou and Yugi had been talking. So, his puppy was going to attend after all. He hadn't been sure that Jonouchi would accept his invitation, and in truth he owed Yugi a debt of gratitude for convincing the blond to meet with him.
He walked to the entrance to watch the pair leave, then once they were out of sight he called his limousine. He had some work to get out of the way before he was to meet Jonouchi and the sooner he got it out of the way, the better.
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Later that evening found Jonouchi standing outside the Kaiba Corp. Ritz and gathering his courage to go inside. His friends had helped him by dressing him in a pair of smart black trousers and a white shirt that they had found in the back of his wardrobe. They had headed to Ryou's to grab a jacket that matched fairly well, then they had returned to the Kame Game Shop so that Jou could get ready. Honda had been giving Jou weird looks ever since he'd first heard about Kaiba's invitation, but every time Jou had tried to ask him about it he'd walked away. In the end Jou had shrugged and given up, deciding to concentrate on getting ready to meet Kaiba instead, concentrating his efforts on trying to dissuade Otogi from putting eyeliner on him.
Despite offers to the contrary, Jou had absolutely insisted on walking to the Ritz on his own. He'd been trying not to get his hopes up too much and he didn't want an audience in the event that things went sour. Fortunately Yugi had understood and, along with Ryou, had stopped the others from following him despite his wishes.
He stood outside the restaurant for a couple of minutes, apprehensive about going in but still almost thrumming with anticipation. He took a few deep breaths in order to gather his courage, then he stepped into the lobby. That was where everything started to go wrong.
"Can I do something for you?" the snooty voice of the head waiter gave away exactly what he thought of Jonouchi.
"Ah, I'm Jonouchi, I'm meeting someone here," Jou said as he reached into his pocket.
"Really?" The head waiter said as he looked down his nose at the blond. "I'm afraid that you must be mistaken. We don't serve clientèle of... your nature."
Jou was getting a little miffed at the treatment he was receiving. It were as though he'd turned up wearing rags or something and he was sure that he didn't look all that that bad, especially not with both Anzu and Otogi having fussed over him. What he wasn't to know was that the man had recognised him from his past as having been part of a gang.
"Look, I have this card. I was promised that..." Jou was cut off as the head waiter snatched the card out of his hand and looked at it in disbelief.
"How did you get this?" the man practically shrieked. "Who did you steal it from you little ruffian!"
"Hey, I didn't steal nothin'!" Jou exclaimed. "I was given that card by Kaiba himself!"
"Ridiculous!" the man snorted as he beckoned to someone behind Jonouchi. "There is no way that Mr. Kaiba would associate with the likes of you," he sneered, then looked up at the security guard that loomed behind Jonouchi, dwarfing the blond duelist. "Kaji, take this... trash... out please."
"Sir," the burly man grunted as he grabbed Jonouchi's arm. "Come on now."
"But I ain't lyin'" Jou protested. "Kaiba'll vouch for me."
"More'n my job's worth," Kaji replied. "I just do as I'm told." He dragged Jou to the door and unceremoniously pushed him out. "I'm sorry kid, but stay out and there won't be any more trouble."
Jou, who was not expecting to be physically thrown out, stumbled badly, twisting his ankle and landing unceremoniously in a heap on the floor. After a moment he slowly got to his feet, warily watching the security man who was standing impassively in the doorway. "Alright, I get it now," he said bitterly. "Should have known that the asshole wasn't being genuine anyway," he muttered as he limped away, heart breaking with every painful step.
Kaji watched until he was sure that Jou was actually leaving before he went back inside. He felt for the kid, he really did, but orders were orders and Takeo would have his job in a heartbeat if he were to go against him. He just hoped that in the event that the kid had been telling the truth, that Kaiba would be half as understanding.
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Seto Kaiba sat at his table impatiently, wondering what had happened to Jonouchi. He knew for certain that he'd got the invitation and that Yugi had persuaded him to attend despite his reservations, so where in hell had he got to?
He thought back to the conversation he'd overheard between Jou and Yugi the previous week. He'd always thought that the blond had hated him and to find out that the opposite was true had shocked him to the core.
Once he'd accepted that Jou really did like him, he'd made reservations for them at the KC Ritz because he knew that the place was very discreet and they served the most amazing food, something that Jou was sure to appreciate. The fact that the restaurant was owned by Kaiba Corporation couldn't hurt either, especially with it being such a traditionally busy night.
He came out of his reverie with a sigh and looked at his watch. It was 6.20pm and there was still no sign of his blond haired puppy. Was he ever going to show? He knew that Jonouchi wasn't the most punctual person in the world, but surely he would have made an effort for something as important as this?
After a couple more minutes, Seto decided that enough was enough; he still had his pride after all. He stood, sweeping out of the dining room and into the lobby.
"Mr. Kaiba, sir," The head waiter approached Seto, wringing his hands. "Is there something not to your satisfaction tonight?"
"Everything is fine," Seto said shortly, "It would appear that the person I was meeting has had a change of plans, that is all."
"Of course Mr. Kaiba, sir. Have a good evening," The obsequious little man bowed as Kaiba made his exit.
Seto quickly got into his limo and instructed the driver to take him to Kaiba Corporation. After raising the privacy screens, he let his head drop into his hands and allowed himself a few moments of grief over what might have been. Stupid mutt.
After that Seto began to compose himself; it wouldn't do to arrive at Kaiba Corp showing weakness after all. As he raised his head and looked out of the window, he was surprised to see Jonouchi limping along with his head bowed. At the sight of the blond he felt a flare of anger and he quickly reached for the intercom. "Isono, stop the car," he commanded.
"Yes sir," the man said as he complied. Seto wasted no time in getting out of the car and heading towards the Mutt, determined to get to the bottom of why he'd dared to stand him up.
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A/N - This is the first chapter of my Valentine's story. I had actually intended to get it out for Valentine's day last year, but due to several reasons (like rewriting it from scratch) I failed terribly, so I decided to finish it in the meantime and save it for this year. There will be two more chapters and the story will be complete on Valentine's day.
And yes, the final chapter WILL be posted here. This story won't end up like 'No Vacation' because I made sure to edit the smut out of the final chapter before I even thought about posting this here. Of course, the alternate version will be available through a link in my profile when the time comes.