Disclaimer: Had Fragile Dreams belonged to me, the ending narrative would have not been that depressing. Oh… and there would be a mini-quest of finding batteries. –laughs-
Warning: AU, hints of CrowxSeto (you guys can interpret it as either friendship or more), probable OOC-ness
Author's Notes: I just finished Fragile Dreams a week ago and this plot just wanted to be written. In this AU, Seto has a sickness and Crow is the little brother of Sai (they both have black hair anyway) while Shin is Seto's father (I seriously have no idea why). Both boys are eleven (Crow is a few months older).
Fragile Dreams: Small World
For the past ten years, his entire world was composed of one room and a window overlooking the dam. His entire years of existing was in this room, confined to the bed while wires were all over his arms which sends the data concerning his health to the machines on the left side of his bed. A small table was on the right side of his bed which was filled with books he had already read yet still continues to read. In front of the table was a chair that faces his bed.
For the past ten years, the people of his world were composed of three people: his father, his nurse and himself. His father was a brilliant scientist but, even with his great mind, he could not find the cure to his son's sickness. The nurse who took care of him was prone to getting injured and would always be covered by bandages but she was kind to him and took care of both him and his father. While it was not part of her job, she took it upon herself to make sure his father eat properly and was in good health. He, on the other hand, was confined to this room for as long as he could remember. He could only see his father if his father visited and, when his father does visit, it was always concerning him. Any information about his father, he got from his nurse. The outside world seemed so foreign to him since his only contact with it had been the books he read and the stories his nurse would tell him. His father never told him anything, too preoccupied with finding a cure to his son's sickness. Sometimes, he would find himself wondering what would happen if his father did find a cure. Would his father start paying more attention to him like the devoted fathers in the books he read? Or would he start obsessing about other things like the mad scientists in the books he read?
But, no matter how much he thought of it, he would always think that it wouldn't matter. If his father who, according to his nurse, was considered to be one of the most brilliant scientist in the world could not find a cure in the last ten years then the chance of there being a cure was slim or... there was no cure in the first place.
That's why he was fine in his small little world with an almost non-existent father and a kind nurse. This was his small little world... his fragile world.
Then, on his eleventh year in this small world, another person came to his life.
"Seto." He heard his nurse call his name as he stared at the window overlooking the dam. He turned his head to look at the door leading out of his world and saw his nurse smiling at him. Seto noticed that she was holding a hand of a boy and Seto turned his eyes to look at the unfamiliar face.
A pair of green eyes that reminded Seto of a cat stared back at him. The boy may have been a year older than Seto. He had unkempt black hair and wore a violet shirt with a picture of a crow flapping its wings in front. He also wore a pair of black shorts that ended by his knees and a pair of violet sneakers with yellow lines by the soles. The boy stared at Seto with narrowed eyes, as if he already decided he didn't like Seto. It confused and scared Seto. His nurse always looked at him kindly although there had been times she would scold him for not eating everything in his plate or for reading without the lights on but she never looked at Seto with such unfriendly eyes like the boy next to her.
As if she did not notice the tension between the two boys, his nurse simply smiled and introduced the boy, "This is my little brother, Kurou."
"My name is Crow!" The boy shouted as he pulled his hand away from his nurse's grasp.
His nurse frowned at the boy named... Kurou? Or is it Crow?
"Come on. Stop being stubborn. Sure, our parents didn't really have much creativity in making your name but you don't have to be choosy on how we pronounce your name." His nurse said as she stared at the boy with her hands on her hips.
"My name is Crow!" The boy repeated, returning his nurse's stare.
"Fine." His nurse finally sighed and looked back to Seto. With a roll of her eyes, she corrected, "Sorry about that. This is my younger brother, Crow."
His nurse smiled as she placed her hand on Crow's shoulder as she explained, "He'll be staying with us for now on. I hope you two become friends."
"Friends?" The word seemed foreign in Seto's lips. He had read about friends and the power of friendship but he had never experience it. His father was family, albeit a very distant family. His nurse he had always considered as a mixture of an older sister and a mother he never had.
Seto turned his eyes to look at Crow and flinched as he noticed that the older boy was still glaring at him.
They couldn't be friends! Crow was scary! Friends aren't supposed to scare one another!
"Anyway, I have to make sure Shin ate his lunch. You know him. He forgets everything when he's working." His nurse mumbled as she pushed Crow towards Seto's bed. With a smile, she said, "Well, I'll leave the two of you alone, 'kay? Have fun."
Seto and Crow stared as the older woman walked out of the room and closed the door behind her, leaving Seto alone with Crow in his small world. Seto gripped the fabric of his blanket that covered his legs and looked at Crow with apprehension as he called out timidly, "Um... Crow?"
Crow turned his head and stared at Seto. Seto flinched at the stare, unaccustomed to seeing such mistrusting eyes. Crow placed his hands on his hips and said arrogantly, "It's rude to call someone's name when they don't know your name."
"Oh." That seemed right.
Seto shyly looked at Crow as he introduced himself, "My name is Seto..."
"Seto." Crow walked towards the bed and leaned forwards, staring at Seto with a scrutinizing gaze, "That's a dumb name."
"No, it's not! My grandfather gave it to me!" Seto shouted, trying to glare at Crow. He never met his grandfather but his father told him stories about how much his grandfather had loved and cared for Seto when Seto was just a baby. It was the only time his father had indulged Seto with the history of his family. That was during the time his father still visited Seto long enough to talk to him pass the whole 'how are you feeling?' interrogation he always did.
His father never did that anymore.
But the fact that this boy had insulted the name his grandfather had given him made Seto felt a feeling he never felt before but he knew what it was: anger.
"It's not like your name is any better. Kurou!" Seto shouted as he glared at the older boy.
"My name is Crow, dummy!" Crow shouted back.
"And my name is not dumb!" Seto shouted back as well. They stared at one another without blinking. It was as if they were having a staring contest.
It took about a minute or two before Seto finally blinked. Crow grinned and said triumphantly, "I win!"
Crow pointed at Seto as he said, "Loser has to answer all of the winner's questions!"
Seto pouted as he said, "Why? We weren't play-"
"Listen up. I'm the one asking the question around here. You just answer. Is that clear?" Crow repeated in a bullying manner, cutting off Seto's reasoning. Crow crossed his arms and asked in a conceding manner, "So how old are you? Why are you still in bed? Why are you so pale?"
Crow continued to bombard Seto with questions and Seto backed away as he said, "Hey, you're asking too fast."
"Man, you're slow. Slow-poke Seto." Crow's eyes moved from Seto's eyes towards his neck and a mischievous smile appeared on the black haired boy's face.
Seto felt a slight pain from the back of his neck and he heard something fall on the floor. He turned his head towards the floor and saw a small blue rectangular crystal on the floor next to his bed. He recognized the crystal immediately. It had been a present from his grandfather. His father had given it to him together with a letter from his grandfather on his sixth birthday. He always kept the crystal and the letter in his locket, together with the screw of his first and last Personal Frame which he called PF. Seto instinctively placed his hand where his locket was but did not feel any locket.
Seto's eyes widened and he looked back at Crow. Crow was grinning as he held the locket by the string. He chided as he waved the locket in front of Seto, "Man, you're really slow. Slow-poke Seto! Dumb Seto!"
"Give it back!" Seto reached his hand to grab the locket but Crow simply backed away from Seto's reach with a grin.
"Let's see..." Crow opened the locket and frowned as he said, "Hey. There's only a letter and a screw in here. What gives?"
"Give it back!" Seto shouted once more as he tried to reach Crow without leaving his bed.
Crow backed away towards the door as he said, "If you want your stupid locket back then get out of bed and catch me if you can!"
Crow stuck his tongue out and opened the door. Seto's eyes widened and he shouted, reaching his hand towards Crow, "Wait-"
Crow got out of the room but left the door opened. Seto felt tears forming in his eyes and he tried to move but his legs would not move.
He had to get the locket back.
That was where grandfather's letter was. That was where PF's screw was.
"Wai-!" Seto's eyes widened and he began to cough, his entire body shaking at the intensity of his cough while his hands covered his mouth instinctively. He could hear the monitors on his left making loud noises and the hurried footsteps coming outside that he recognized immediately as his nurse's frantic footsteps. Seto's vision began to blur but he still saw how his palms were red. He tasted the familiar coppery taste in his mouth and Seto's eyes began to close.
"Seto! Can you hear me, Seto?" He heard his nurse's frantic questions and felt her hands on his shoulders, gently putting him back to bed. Even if he wanted to answer her, his mouth would not move. The last thing Seto saw was a blurry vision of his nurse. He turned his head to the side and saw a blurry door. He reached out his blood stained hand towards the door.
He had to get the locket back.
He had to...
Then he saw something black peek from behind the opened door.
That had been the last thing Seto saw before he lost his consciousness.
When he woke up, he saw a man standing by the monitors. The mop of white hair and the red eyes were all he needed to see to know that it was his father. He looked like he lost weight once more. The white lab coat he was wearing looked even bigger than how Seto remembered them. How long had he last seen his father? A week? A month? It felt so long. Seto's throat felt dry and he felt a slight pain from his throat when he called out weakly, "Father..."
His father looked at him with a blank expression. His father caressed Seto's auburn locks tenderly as he said, "Don't speak. The coughing had put too much strain on your throat. Do you understand, Seto?"
Unable to speak, Seto could only nod. A smile appeared on his lips as he leaned unto his father's touch. When was the last time he felt his father caress his hair like this?
The feeling lasted for a few seconds before his father returned to checking the monitors. The feeling of being caressed by his father made Seto feel at peace…
It almost made Seto feel happy that he had another attack. Then he remembered why he had the attack in the first place. Seto's eyes widened and he moved his hand. He felt the familiar form of his locket inside his clenched hand and his brows furrowed in confusion.
When did the locket...?
He gingerly held the locket towards his face and opened it. Inside was the letter of his grandfather and PF's screw but the blue crystal was not inside. It was probably still on the floor. Seto tried to get up but pain shook his body, forcing him to drop to the bed. His father noticed his movements and explained sternly, "You must not move yet. The last attack's after effect is still there."
Seto showed his locket to his father, hoping that the older man could understand what it was he wanted. His father stared at the locket for a moment before putting his hand inside the pocket of his lab coat. His father looked at him blankly and he asked as he took out a blue rectangular crystal from inside his pocket, "Is this what you were looking for?"
Seto's eyes brightened and he reached out to grab the crystal from his father's hand. The outstretched hand clenched into a fist and pulled away from Seto's reach. Seto looked at his father with a confused and sad face while his father stared at him blankly as he said, "I found it lying on the floor. It must have dropped from your locket and you tried to get it which made you have an attack."
"Tha-" Seto winced at the pain in his throat, unable to defend himself.
"Seto, next time that happens, just call for Sai and ask her to get it for you." His father glanced by the door but Seto failed to see it as the boy was busy staring at his father's clenched fist. His father returned his stare towards Seto and added, "Or you may ask Sai's younger brother to get it for you when he visits."
Seto wanted to tell his father that it had been Crow's fault that he had an attack but the pain in his throat when he tried to speak stopped him from telling the truth. His father continued to stare at him as he asked sternly, "Do you understand, Seto?"
Seto knew that his father would not give back the crystal if Seto did not give his confirmation but if he did give a confirmation then it would be the same as saying he did have an attack because he had been clumsy and had let the crystal fall from his locket. That meant Crow would get away without any punishment. Seto felt frustrated over that fact but all he could do was bite his bottom lip as he nodded. His father seemed to have been satisfied by that and he placed the crystal on Seto's open palm. Seto gripped the crystal tightly to his chest and looked away from his father. When he looked to his right, he saw the one who had caused so many grievances to his small mind. The one person he didn't want in his small world.
Crow stared at him from the gap of the opened door. Only half of the boy's small frame could be seen and Crow's visible hand was gripping the end of the door. Seto stared at Crow but the older boy wouldn't meet his gaze. The older boy finally began to raise his head and his mouth started to open as if to speak but Seto turned his head away and stared at the white ceiling. He gripped the crystal in his hand tightly, wishing the older boy would just leave his small world.
Crow never entered Seto's room again after that. His small world returned to the way it had been before the intrusion of the older boy. There had been times when Seto could hear his nurse shout the boy's name in frustration but Seto did not pay any attention to it. As long as the boy did not enter his small world, Seto was fine with that.
But sometimes he felt as if someone was on the other side of the door, just standing. Sometimes he would catch a shadow under the gap of the door or he would hear footsteps that stop by the door and begin once more after a minute. The time those footsteps would stop by his door lengthen over time but his door never opened.
Seto had always thought it was strange but, before long, the footsteps became something Seto looked forward to. Sometimes, he would guess how long the footsteps would stop. Other times, he would just stare at the door, wondering if today was the day the person on the other side would open the door.
It wasn't his father. That much Seto knew. The footsteps were lighter. It wasn't his nurse. The footsteps didn't have the same rhythm as his nurse's footsteps. It couldn't be Crow because... well...
There was no reason for Crow to do such a thing.
After a week or so, the footsteps didn't appear on the usual time. Instead, something else caught Seto's attention.
That day, Seto was staring at the dam when he caught a glimpse of something black and purple. It took a second for Seto to realize that the black and purple something was Crow. He was going down the dam using the service pathway. Seto knew that it was dangerous. The pathway had not been used for years, according to his nurse. From his room, he could see some of the railings were already rusted. Sometimes, the water coming from the dam obscured Crow from Seto's vision but the black haired boy didn't seem to have any difficulty descending the treacherous road.
Seto gasped when the older boy momentarily lost his footing. Crow grabbed the railings and got back on his feet, jumping as if he was trying not to step on something. Crow continued to descend the pathway, his movements a bit clumsy and unsure. Seto lost sight of Crow on the fourth level. On the fourth level was a big hole that led inside the dam and that was where Crow entered, leaving Seto's field of vision. When the dam was filled beyond the safety limit, that hole would be used to help lower the water level inside the dam. Otherwise, he heard from his nurse that it was used to connect the service pathway to the facility inside the dam.
The dam was a private property of his family, according to his nurse, and was maintained remotely from his father's office inside their house. Maybe his father would see Crow inside and tell his nurse. Or maybe his father would order the robots supposedly maintaining and guarding the dam to capture Crow and to take the black haired boy back to their house.
Seto didn't understand why but he was worried for Crow. He had heard from his nurse that the dam wasn't in the best condition. The only rooms that were in good condition were the control room and the robot maintenance room. Everywhere else was dangerous, she said. What if Crow get injured? What if he got lost? What if... What if...
Seto bit his bottom lip and gripped the fabric of his blanket tightly. He shouldn't be worried about Crow. Crow was a mean unkind boy. He made fun of Seto and took his locket.
But his locket came back to him...
And he never knew who placed it inside his hand.
Seto stared at the hole leading inside the dam. No matter how confused he was, he could not help but stare at the hole. As absurd as it sounded, he thought that maybe if he kept staring then...
Crow would certainly come back.
And the older boy did come out after an hour. Seto knew how long Crow was inside because he checked his clock periodically. Every 5 minutes the boy did not come out only made Seto more worried. But Crow did come out. Seto couldn't see Crow's face but the boy's movements were more energetic than when he was descending the pathway. Crow ascended the pathway as hurriedly as he could. He lost his footing more than once but that didn't faze the black haired boy. He continued to ascend without losing his momentum. It wasn't long before Seto lost him again but that was expected since the way Crow had been going was the way back home. Seto turned away from the window and leaned back, sighing in relief.
Crow was outside the dam. He didn't get into trouble. That thought alone sent relief all over Seto. He closed his eyes and wondered if he should sleep. As he was drifting off, he heard a door open before he heard hurried footsteps.
Was it Crow?
Was he back already?
The footsteps stopped just outside his door and Seto opened his eyes. He stared at the closed door, wondering if this person was the same one who had been standing on his door everyday without entering.
It couldn't be Crow. Seto just won't believe it was Crow behind that closed door.
Seto heard the door knob move slightly...
...but the person behind the door did not open it today as well.
It became a new routine for Seto. Every day, around the afternoon, Seto would stare at his window just as Crow descended the pathway towards the big hole. Seto would watch the older boy descend till he finally entered the hole. Then Seto would read one of his books but he would always glance at the big hole every now and then, waiting for the older boy to return.
Watching the older boy every day, Seto saw the gradual changes in the black haired boy's movements. He began to be more comfortable, nimble and... more of a show-off. He began jumping from one platform to another, rather than just taking the ladder. When he avoided something, he did some acrobatic movements like a cartwheel or something else. Sometimes, the older boy would land on one foot and just stay in that position for a while before continuing. Seto didn't understand the point of it all but he couldn't help but admire the older boy's movements. He found himself excited to see if the black haired boy had any new acrobatic movements he would use for the descent each day.
When he did come back from inside the dam, Seto noticed that Crow had two possible movements when ascending the pathway. Some days, Crow would be more energetic. That's when his acrobatic movements would be more daring and there was never a day when Seto didn't feel awe at least once whenever Crow ascended the pathway energetically. Other days, he looked dejected, almost as if he was sad. Those were the days when Crow simply ascended. There were no acrobatic movements as all. Those were the days that Seto also felt sad.
Seto never knew what Crow did inside. Maybe the older boy was going inside for adventures. Maybe the older boy was trying to find something.
Whatever the reason the older boy had for going inside, Seto didn't have any real chance to think about it for too long. After a few minutes since Crow left his line of vision after ascending the pathway, the footsteps would begin once more. The person never entered his room.
One day, Seto realized that Crow hadn't come back after two hours. The longest the boy had been inside had been an hour and a half. Seto shouldn't have been worried. Only 30 minutes have passed. Maybe the older boy had set a new record in staying inside. But for some reason, Seto just couldn't help but be worried.
What if Crow had gotten lost?
What if he had gotten hurt?
Seto covered his ears and shook his head furiously. He didn't want to think about it but his mind continued to conjure up many dire situations. Seto's entire body trembled at the thought. Maybe he should tell someone. Maybe he should-
Seto covered his mouth immediately as he began to cough. Tears began to fill his eyes as he felt pain course through his body.
The machines began to beep loudly and Seto rolled to his side, coughing violently. His entire body began to ache. The door opened and his nurse came rushing in. His nurse placed her hands on Seto's shoulders and called out in a worried voice, "Seto? Seto! Can you hear me?"
Seto continued to cough and his vision became blurry. Seto reached out to grab his nurse's hand. His nurse gripped his hand tightly as she said gently, "I'm here, Seto. You have to calm down. Close your eyes and rest, Seto. Staying awake would only lengthen the attack."
Seto forced his lips to form one word. Against the pain and the building desire to sleep, he whispered, "Crow..."
When he came to, he found his nurse sitting on the chair next to his bed. His nurse was gripping his hand gently and she smiled when she saw Seto open his eyes. With a tired yet gentle smile, she greeted, "Morning, sleepy-head. Are you hungry?"
Seto meekly nodded, unsure if he should try to speak. His nurse nodded and said, "I'll heat the soup. Shin said you shouldn't eat anything solid yet. Your throat may still be sore so don't try to speak too much, 'kay?"
Seto nodded and his nurse patted his head gently. She stood and whispered, "I'll be right back."
His nurse turned around and walked towards the closed door. She opened it and Seto saw Crow standing on the other side of the door. His nurse seemed to be surprised to find Crow and asked, "How long have you been out here?"
Crow backed away from his nurse and Seto noticed he was hiding something behind him. Crow looked at Seto for a moment before turning his head back to Seto's nurse. He shoved the thing he had been hiding behind him towards her, making her stagger backwards. Crow didn't waste any time and ran away and his nurse could only shout, "Hey!"
His nurse stared at the direction Crow went off to for a moment before sighing. She looked at what Crow had shoved and turned back. She walked towards Seto's bed and offered the item to Seto. Seto stared at it with a questioning look.
"It's a picture book." She explained, a bit confused if that was what Seto wanted to ask. She placed the book on Seto's lap and said, "I assume Crow wanted to give it to you."
Seto stared at the picture book before he pointed at himself and stared at his nurse with a mixture of confusion and curiosity. His nurse tilted her head and asked, "Are you asking me why he gave you that?"
Seto nodded with a look of both confusion and apprehension.
"He asked me what you like around the time of your last attack. Not this one though. The one before this..." She clarified and Seto remembered that the attack she was talking about was the one he had when Crow had stolen his locket. She began to walk out of the room as she continued, "Anyway, I said you like books and crystals. I'm guessing he's giving you his favorite picture book."
Seto turned his attention towards his nurse and forced himself to talk, a slight pain pricking his throat, "Why would he do that?"
She stopped by the door and mused, "Maybe as a token of friendship?"
Seto stared at her as she walked out of the room. He heard her say, "Don't talk yet and wait for me. I'll heat your soup then bring it to you."
Seto turned his head to look at the picture book on his lap. A token of friendship? But they weren't friends...
Seto opened the book slowly. The book was for kids, not like the ones Seto was use to reading. Even though he was just eleven years old, he was more used to reading novels and science books. These were the books they had in their house. That's why the picture book on his hand was something new.
"Pirate Isle." Seto read the title out loud, his throat still hurt but he could take it. For some reason, he wanted to read the book out loud. He turned the next page and began to read out loud, "Then the young pirate looked down at me and shouted out, 'Come on! Didn't your mom teach you any manners? Gimme your name first.'"
Seto flipped to the next page and continued, "I tried to answer but the boy cut me off. 'Don't act like you know me. Listen up. I'm the one asking the question around here. You just answer. Is that clear?' The boy said in a bullying manner."
Seto stopped as he realized something weird. The boy pirate in the picture book sounded an awful lot like Crow. Seto continued to read, finishing the book almost immediately and the slight pain in his throat was entirely forgotten. As he read the last page, his chest tightened, "The whistle blew, signaling that it was time to say goodbye. I asked the boy pirate if we'd ever see each other again. At that, he answered, 'Yeah, of course we will. Friends always see each other again. And we're friends now.' And gave a smile."
Seto closed the picture book and stared at the cover. The boy pirate in the book reminded Seto of Crow. Had Crow been mimicking the boy pirate in the picture book? Was the whole stealing his locket his way of trying to be friends? If it was then Crow was even more awkward than him and he was the one enclosed in this small room ever since he could remember.
That thought made Seto grin. He placed the picture book on top of his lap and looked at the open door. Had Seto been able to run after Crow, maybe their picture book could have had a next page. But, because of the sickness that plagued Seto, their picture book remained in the first page.
Maybe Crow had been the one making the footsteps. Maybe he never opened the door because he still felt guilty over what happened. Seto traced the pirate on the cover as he smiled softly. He decided. The next time the footsteps stopped in front of his door, Seto would find out if it was really Crow.
Then... he'll invite Crow inside his small world.
Just as he expected, the next day began Seto's normal routine. When Crow finally left his line of sight after ascending the pathway, Seto turned his head to look at the door. After a few minutes, he heard the footsteps coming closer to his room. The footsteps finally stopped and Seto stared at the door for a few moments before calling out, "Crow?"
There was no reply but Seto knew that the person on the other side still hasn't move since he heard no new footsteps. Seto moved slightly so that he was sitting comfortably as he said, "You can come in, Crow."
"I want to..." Seto tightened his embrace on the picture book as he said, "I want to talk to you."
The door knob moved slowly and the door creaked as it opened just as slowly. Seto smiled as he saw Crow on the other side. His violet shirt had a few dirty spots here and there and one of the boy's cheeks had a smudge of black dirt. Crow walked inside slowly, almost as if he was unsure if he could really enter. Seto noticed that the black haired boy was hiding something behind him again. Seto continued to smile as he showed the picture book to Crow, "I read the book."
Crow looked at him and asked, "Did you like it?"
Seto nodded and said sadly, "I felt a bit sad since they didn't stay together though. He should have become a pirate too."
Crow frowned as he sat on the chair. Seto still couldn't see what Crow was hiding and could not even ask since Crow asked him, "Why?"
"Because they're friends and shouldn't friends stay together?" Seto asked as he stared at Crow.
"Well, sometimes friends have to go away. But!" Crow smiled as he added, "It's because they're friends that, when they meet once more, they can talk about all the adventures they had when they had been apart. Friends always see each other again!"
Seto knew that Crow had repeated the boy pirate's line but he couldn't help but ask as he stared at Crow, "Really?"
Crow nodded and replied, "Really."
Seto liked Crow's answer and he smiled as he added, "And maybe next time, the pirate's friend could be a pirate too!"
Crow laughed and asked with a grin, "You really want them to be together, huh?"
Seto looked at the picture book and explained with a sad smile, "I think... friends should stay together. Being alone..."
Seto's grip on the picture book tightened as he continued softly, "... is painful."
Crow stared at Seto silently. He rubbed the back of his head and looked away, unsure on what to say. Crow remembered the item he was hiding behind him and grabbed it. He outstretched his hand so that the item was right in front of Seto. Seto raised his head to look at the item in front of him and Seto's mouth opened slightly as he realized what the item Crow was.
It was a transparent jar. Inside the jar were gems of different sizes and colors but the gems only filled half of the jar. Even though the jar was only half-full, Seto couldn't help but be mesmerized by the myriads of colors. Some glittered against the artificial light of his room while others had a solid color. Seto even recognized some of the gems from the books he had read. The ones with the whitish color that slightly glittered were fluorite. Seto began to turn the jar, trying to see all the gems inside. Crow grinned and puffed his chest out as he proclaimed, "I got all of them by myself."
"From the dam?" Seto asked. He wouldn't be surprised if the gems did come from the dam. The water that filled the dam was connected to a river. The gems could have been washed by the water and traveled towards the dam.
Crow's eyes widened in surprise and he asked, "How did you know?"
Seto continued to stare at the gems as his cheeks reddened. He was embarrassed to say that he had been watching the older boy every time he descended the pathway. Seto saw Crow staring at him, waiting for his answer, from within his peripheral vision and said meekly, "My window has a clear view of the service pathway."
Seto moved his eyes towards the left as he continued in a shy voice, "I... always watch you when you go in..."
"Oh." Crow grinned as he asked eagerly, "Did you see my awesome moves?"
Seto turned to face Crow and nodded happily, "They were awesome. But..."
Seto looked at Crow with concern in his eyes as he asked, "Isn't it dangerous?"
Crow laughed and said with a toothy grin, "Of course not! That place is like my very own playground!"
"Your very own playground..." Seto repeated. It sounded so fun that... Seto couldn't help but feel jealous about it.
"What's wrong?" Crow asked, staring at Seto with a frown. Crow leaned forward and asked, "Do you feel sick again?"
Seto smiled softly and shook his head. He stared at the jar he was holding and said, "I was just thinking how fun it must be to have your very own playground."
Crow's frown grew and he became silent and Seto feared that his words had angered the older boy so he shyly called out, "Crow?"
"I got it!" Crow stared at Seto with determination as he said, "It'll be our secret place instead."
"Our secret place?" Seto asked, unsure what Crow meant.
"But it's so big that it's not just any place. I know!" Crow grinned as he outstretched his hands. His eyes shone brightly as he announced, "It will be our secret isle! The entire dam is our secret isle!"
Seto smiled sadly as he corrected, "It's your secret isle, Crow."
Crow shook his head furiously and glared at Seto as he repeated, "Our secret isle."
"I'll describe every place I went to you. I'll mark each place with our flag!"
"Flag?" Seto's rebuttal was forgotten when he heard the word.
Crow nodded and grinned happily as he said, "Pirates should have a flag, right?"
Seto tilted his head as he asked, "We're pirates?"
"Of course!" Crow grinned and covered Seto's hands with his. He raised the jar Seto was holding and said, "See? These are just some of the treasures I was able to find! I'll find more and fill this jar! That's why..."
Crow pushed the jar towards Seto's chest and said, "You better keep them safe, 'kay?"
"I'll keep them?" Seto asked, confused at what the older boy wanted from him.
Crow nodded and grinned as he said, "You're my friend and my fellow pirate. All the treasures I have, you'll keep safe. That's your job until you get better. Then..."
Seto's eyes widened at Crow's next words. Crow gave him a smile full of child-like innocence as he continued, "... we'll visit our secret isle together."
Seto stared at Crow and asked sadly, "You think... I can get better?"
Crow seemed surprised as the question but he grinned at Seto as he replied, "Of course! Your father is so smart!"
"But..." Seto embraced the jar as he looked down, fear gripping his heart and water filled his eyes as he said, "Father has been looking for a cure since I could remember. He still couldn't-"
Tears began to fall from Seto's eyes and he sniffed, unable to finish his words. Crow began to panic and he sat on Seto's bed. He placed his hands on Seto's tear-filled cheeks and said frantically, "Don't cry! Sis said you'll have one of those weird coughs if you cry!"
Seto knew what Crow was talking about. His attacks always came during a full moon. Any other attacks he experienced had been due to stress or the times he forced his body to do something it wasn't capable of doing... like moving his legs.
Seto felt Crow wipe his tears with his hands and the younger boy tried to stop crying. He did not want to burden the older boy. But no matter how much Seto tried to stop, the tears still continued to fall.
"Ahh!" Crow shouted and Seto's eyes widened when he felt Crow wrapped his arms around Seto's shoulders. Crow rested his chin on Seto's shoulder and announced, "If your father can't make you get better then I'll help your father make you get better."
Seto turned his eyes to look at the back of Crow's head. Seto let go of the jar and wrapped his arms around Crow's waist. Seto gripped the fabric of Crow's shirt as he asked, "You'll help father try to find a cure?"
Crow nodded and explained, "But you'll have to wait. I have to be smarter than your father so I can help him."
Seto chuckled softly as he said, "But father is one of the brightest scientists."
"Then I'll be brighter than him!" Crow announced before he pulled away from Seto. He placed his hands on the younger boy's shoulders and said, "I'll study and study and study till I become smarter than your father. Then, I'll help your father find the cure."
"Crow..." Seto stared at Crow's green cat-like eyes and smiled as he asked, "Why? Why would you do such a thing?"
"Because you're my friend." Crow grinned as he added, "And my fellow pirate!"
Crow continued to give Seto a toothy grin as he said, "We'll find a cure and, when you get better, we'll visit our secret isle together!"
"Wait for it, Seto." Crow said seriously, staring at Seto with eyes filled with the hope of a child yet the determination of an adult, "We'll find a cure. It may take years but we'll find a cure."
"Promise?" Seto asked. Crow showed him his hand. His fingers were clenched shut except for the pinky and the thumb. Seto smiled and he gripped Crow's pinky with his pinky. Seto closed his other fingers except his thumb and the pinky currently entwined with Crow's pinky. They moved their hands up and down as they recited, "With this pinky promise, we take an oath. If I lie, I'll eat a thousand needles."
Seto smiled at Crow while Crow grinned at Seto. They move the hands they used to make the pinky promise so that they were now holding hands. Seto stared at their hands and smiled as he said, "Thank yo-"
Seto's eyes widened when Crow's lips suddenly descended on his lips. Crow's lips were soft and tasted like the syrup his nurse would always drizzle on his pancakes. Crow pulled back and Seto backed away as he stuttered, "Wha-wha-what was that for?"
Crow stared at him with a grin as he said, "Friends kiss each other. I read that in a book."
"Tha-that's not-" Did friends kiss each other? Seto remembered reading a custom of some countries where they kiss one another as a sort of greeting. Maybe there was a country where friends do kiss one another?
"Seto?" Crow called out, frowning once more.
"That was..." Seto looked down as he said meekly, "That was my first kiss."
Crow grinned as he announced, "Then that means I'm your number one friend. Your best friend!"
"My best friend..." Seto repeated and stared at Crow. The older boy's grin made Seto smile. He nodded and said, "Yeah. You're my best friend, Crow."
"And you're my best friend, Seto." Crow leaned in and Seto closed his eyes. He felt Crow's lips on his once more. Crow leaned back and grinned at Seto again. Seto returned his grin with a smile of his own.
His small fragile world seemed to grow. Although it may just be a dream, Seto couldn't help but feel comfortable with the idea that, one day, he could walk and visit their secret isle, holding hands with his best friend.
Author's End Notes: That's the end of it but if you guys want a sequel, maybe I'll write it. The sequel would be definitely be CrowxSeto, not just hints. –grins-