A/N: I wrote this a little while ago after having the song and idea bounce around in my head for ages, wrote it on a streak of inspiration in the middle of the night and put it up after quickly reading through it. It was so corny I was kinda embarassed to think about it too much afterwards, but that's neither here nor there...
Anyways, I came back to it recently. I still love the song and I still love the Kaiba brothers. I'm a little more mature now and may revisit this eventually.
Anyways, that's that. Listen to the song, it's the sweetest thing and I don't think I could ever do it justice. :)
As the last of the day's sunlight began to fade into an inky darkness, I closed my laptop, intending to take a short break from work. I'd been working since early morning, but there was still more to do. I didn't intend to stop until late in the evening, when I'd slink quietly down the hallway to wish a sleeping Mokuba goodnight, then curl up in bed, resting quietly until it was time to work again.
Tonight, though, I felt guilty. It was a Saturday; most teenagers were probably having fun, enjoying their lives. And, once upon a time, I thought that, at eighteen, I would be out there, too. Normal, with the ability to relax and to party. I couldn't remember the last time I'd truly done the former, and the idea of myself partaking in the latter was ridiculous.
When did I become this way? I wondered dully, swiveling my chair to stare at the darkening cobalt coastline. I hadn't always been the ego-maniacal, workaholic douchebag that most people saw me as—and quite frankly, they saw me right. As a kid—elementary school-age, to be fair—I was social. I had friends. I was the smartest kid in my class, and would wander around the classroom during free-choice time, helping struggling classmates finish their homework or read a book.
But then everything changed. There were things that I saw that I couldn't believe, experiences that hardened me to everything. Then work and Duel Monsters became my only escape; I became obsessed with them, to an unhealthy extent. Something inside of me snapped, and I became cold, ruthless, heartless. I didn't know what I'd become.
I am a figure that nobody likes—some fear me, perhaps, and others respect me. Still, I know what other people think I am—a power-starved, revenge-driven, twisted man doomed to an eternity of power and success without happiness. Everyone thinks that of me, and they may well, honestly, be right.
Everyone, I thought to myself, except him. My little brother. Mokuba. Perhaps he's smarter than everyone else, or at least knows me better—knows that there's still some good in me, something human and worth loving. Or perhaps he's just oblivious, pretending that I'm still the person he used to know way back when, when I promised that I'd take care of him, clinging to the me that he used to know, refusing to let go of the brother he idolized, the one from the past.
But maybe things aren't always what they seem, I condoled myself. I'm not always a cold-as-ice corporate sellout. In fact, I would crawl on hands and knees to the ends of the earth for Mokuba, and I think that he knows it.
Because I made a promise to him years ago, and although I may be different than who I was then, I still mean it. I told him I would never let him go, and I never have—even when my quest to exact revenge upon Yugi twisted my mind, further corrupting my morals, I took care of him, or at least his physical needs.
I always saved him when the time came—we were unlucky, so it seems. I had to rescue him multiple times. Of course it was never easy, but even my own blind ambition and seeming lack of morality wouldn't stop me from rescuing my beloved little brother. I vowed to him that I never let him fall. And, to be fair to myself, I think, rationalizing the moments where I screamed at him for interrupting me during a business meeting, called him to tell him to order dinner on his own, because I had to work, I kept that promise. I never did.
Mokuba softened my heart more, sometimes, than I ever thought imaginable. I almost felt like the child I had been before defeating my stepfather in the chess match that sealed our fate. Some afternoons, Mokuba would burst in through the heavy double-doors to my office, insisting that we should watch a movie together, or play a board game, and I would relent. He would curl up next to me, talking about his friends at school or favorite video games, and I would be amazed that, after all that I'd said to him and put him through, he was willing to pretend it was all right. And together, on those occasions, we'd stay in for the night, with him safe with me. I'd walk away feeling oddly pleased, like there was something redeemable in me; however, the next day, while working hard to compensate for the time I'd spent away from work, the fleeting sensation would be gone, leaving me feeling slightly emptier. I'd wonder why a simple game of Clue, or a terrible movie, would leave me feeling so fulfilled, when my job—one most would envy—could leave me feeling so hopelessly empty. I always found it paradoxical. What a world.
I stood up, pacing around the room, as my thoughts grew more intense. I didn't like to think about myself—aside from the work I'd done for my company, and my moments of compassion while alone with Mokuba, I knew that as a person, as a whole, I was cold and bleak. Cold, alone, more interested in the stock market than girls and rock concerts—a misfit of sorts, on the outside, looking in. What got me here? I think, in a rare moment of anguish. I wonder, but I already know the answer—the incredible pressure on my shoulder of my unusual position as a teenage billionaire, corporate success. Most stories with teenagers possessing inordinate amounts of money end in depression, suicide, drugs, rehabilitation, and I'm sure that many feel that mine will end the same way. I see it in the eyes of older businessmen, sizing me up—most people respect me, but nobody really believes in me. The look at me, and they wait for a train wreck. They wait to see me fall.
My pace quickened, and I tried to calm myself. There isn't, I admitted, many redeeming qualities left in me—the only one, I realize, is Mokuba.
He's the good in me. But he can help me. I can change.
Or maybe I can't, I reminded myself cynically. Still, however, was overcome by an urge to abandon work for the night, and find my best friend, my little brother. To spend time with him, and somehow, thank him for…for what? For being around. For never believing me to be the scumbag I know I'm capable of being.
"Big brother!" I looked up, startled, as something smacked into my chest, wrapped around my neck, pressed under my chin. As I'd opened the door to the hallway, Mokuba flew at me, wrapping me in a warm embrace.
Usually, I'd respond with a cool, "Hey, buddy," or just wait for him to let go of me, let him initiate the conversation. Today, however, I pressed him closer to me; thankfully, he didn't question my unusual gesture of warmth. I closed my eyes, overcome by the brief, simple moment.
I'm not as bad as they think I am, I think. Not always. Not now. And I have him to thank. "Thanks, little bro," I said finally, letting go of Mokuba. He looked up at me, confused. "For what?"
I smiled and wrapped my arm around his shoulder. "Let's go get something to eat. I'm hungry. You're hungry, right?"
The younger boy nodded, and thankfully didn't press for an answer to his question. Even then, feeling as warm and compassionate as I ever will, I would have felt uncomfortable voicing what I would usually look down on as an incredibly corny response.
Thanks, Mokuba, I respond to him silently, for having faith in me.