Anyway, thanks to V for doing this with me~ ♥ Since she hasn't quite been perverted to my ways
Uh... so... without further ado, I hope y'all enjoy~!
Pairing: Kaiba Seto/Kaiba Mokuba
Disclaimer: Takahashi's, not ours.
Warnings: BL, incest, shota, m/m sex, solo, mentions of the other sort of shota-ish, probably some language...
Now that Battle City was done, now that everything was, for all intents and purposes, back to normal, life for Mokuba slid back, too, into everything it had been before. Just as his older broher did, he went back to school, dilligently took notes, did the assignments even though it took so little effort it was almost like sleep-working. Just as he was required to do, he handed in homework, answered questions, demonstrated math and read English and recited poems. Just as was expected, he talked to the few friends he had, ate lunch on the roof, played sports in gym. Just has he always had, he returned home directly after classes and amused himself with his computer and books and games and saw little of his brother, and just as was his habit, he took Seto his dinner on a tray and left it on one of the tables in his office where he knew but pretended not to know it would sit and get cold and eventually thrown out. Just as he had for as long as he could remember, he turned his own lights out and tucked himself into bed and hoped for a dreamless sleep.
But since the end of Battle City, and even before the end, really, Mokuba had been having dreams-- vivid, painful dreams-- and had been waking up almost consistently in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, with tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat and a sharp, urgent pain in his heart. Sometimes, the dreams involved Seto, their past, their life in the orphanage, their stepfather, but almost always, the dreams contained Noa. Sometimes, he only saw Noa, reaching for something he could never obtain, and sometimes, they were together, he was reliving his last moments in Noa's arms, but it was always, always heartbreaking and terrible. It was seeing Noa, being with Noa, being torn from Noa that killed him every night and left him feeling a little emptier when he tried to forget about the whole thing in the morning.
Trying to keep busy, to be normal, to push the thoughts from his mind worked well enough, but at first, even in the few moments he did spare in the daytime, as well as his emotionally crushing time awake in the night, Mokuba couldn't figure out why it hurt so badly. True, Noa was his brother, and they had grown closer together in the time they knew one another... but it took Mokuba a long time to figure out it was love, not just brotherly love, real love, romantic love, in love. And once he did, it was only more depressing; after all, his friends Yumi and Noriko at school had told him many times before that there was a "one person who was right for you" with whom you would be happy forever... only, Mokuba was sure he was going to be miserable forever, because he knew, once he figured out, he knew that Noa was the one for him and now Noa was dead. He was doomed to be alone for eternity.
After all, what sort of company did he have? He had his friends, true, his two schooltime companions, Yumi and Noriko, who confided their secret crushes in him and whom he helped with math and grammar, and he had acquaintances in Yuugi and his friends, but he had no constant companion, no one who he went to when he was upset, no one with whom could share his victories, no one to whom he could just talk for no reason at all. If only Noa had lived... but he hadn't, he hadn't made it, and so Mokuba was alone in the world...
Except, of course, for his brother, his Nii-sama, whom he loved and cherished more than anything else. After all, Seto was everything to him, all he ever had and all he ever would have. Seto looked out for him, had always looked out for him, and was the pillar of everything in his life... still, though, he couldn't really count Seto as company when it came down to the time they were together in person; Seto always had more work to do, more things to get done, and Mokuba never wanted to interfere. And even when they were side by side, it was always for a reason, there was aways some objective, and though he loved to help his brother, Mokuba could hardly say they were fun occassions, when Seto took him out on business ventures like Battle City. No, though Seto was everything, his god, his life, Mokuba couldn't really consider Seto as company, either.
And, as time went on, because Mokuba had so much time alone, he had a lot of time to think, and when he ran out of distractions, his thoughts always came back to Noa, to the dreams and the memories and the heartwrenching knowledge that he would never be with his one true love. He would lay on his back and remember the time they had been together, so brief, so not enough, would try to hear in his mind the words Noa said to him, reciting them back to himself like a twisted, painful mantra. But as time went on and Mokuba had more and more time to think, his mind once again wandered over the points Noa had made to him, when they first met in person, the points about how Seto didn't love him, used him, didn't care what became of him. Mokuba knew his brother cared for him... after all, why wouldn't he have saved himself, allowed himself to be adopted alone, left Mokuba behind back when they were children? But then again, Noa did have a point. Anymore, what was Seto to Mokuba? He had become an idol in the distance to be seen but not interacted with, he never had time for Mokuba, never had kind words or encouragements, like when they were children. So what was Mokuba to Seto anymore? The more time Mokuba had to mull on it, the more upset and worried he became... perhaps he was more alone in the world that even he thought.
Seto swiveled in his chair to look out across the sprawling business district of Domino City, folding his hands, brooding. His grand tournament, Battle City, was over now; he was on to a new project, his next distraction. Kaiba Land was to officially open in just a few days, and everything had to be in perfect working order. There was so much work to do, and yet, distracted, Seto couldn’t seem to stay focused. He came so close to defeating Yuugi, but everything he did just wasn’t enough…nothing, it seems, would ever be enough. Denied his perfect victory, Seto couldn't help but feel restless. His passion for success had always been all-consuming, but he couldn't win any more. It was over, and only in looking back did Seto feel his life wass missing some crucial component. Turning back to his desk, Seto exhaled and returned his eyes to the computer screen. Just three-hundred more tests to run—just another eight hours to go.
Mokuba, meanwhile, lay on his bed, staring at the ceiling, pondering, for the hundreth time now, what his relationship with his brother had become. In the barren understanding that he had had true love and lost it forever, Mokuba was desperate for something to cling onto, but in his brother, he was realizing, there wasn't much of anything to hold. When was the last time they had had a real conversation? When was the last time they had done something together for fun? What was their relationship, then, besides blood? Mokuba had always loved Seto with all of his heart, worshipped him and known he would have done anything, given up anything for Seto, but, in the end, what had it gained him? What did Seto feel for him?
It was a burning question which had been smoldering inside of him for some time now, and, all of a sudden, it burst into flames and he just had to know. He had barely spoken to his brother since the end of Battle City, he had been feeling lonely and empty since before then, and he had had enough. He had to talk to Seto. Now.
Almost running to the elevator, Mokuba punched the buttons with the impatience of a guilty child, partly because he was. He was anxious to get to Seto, to say what he needed to say, because he knew he couldn't hold this courage for long. After all, Seto had provided for him all his life now-- what right did he have to question anything? It was terrible, but Mokuba knew he needed it, and when the doors opened on the correct floor, Mokuba practically sprinted out of the elevator and down the hall, towards that frightening door he knew all too well. Taking a deep breath, he didn't allow himself time for doubt and pressed the button on the buzzer. Sounding, he realized embarrassedly, breathless and worried, he spoke into the little speaker. "Nii-sama... may I come in?"
Seto didn’t pause in his work as he called, “Yeah, come in.” He didn’t look up from his computer as Mokuba entered, either. “It’s late.” He said simply, adjusting a folder of files on simulated duels he’d run to test Kaiba Land’s new stadium. “You should be in bed.” Seto glanced up at Mokuba momentarily, narrowing his eyes sternly as he wondered why Mokuba had come to see him. His glance flicked quickly back to the screen when the test finished, and his attention returned to the computer, the strokes of the keys he hit echoing loudly as he ran the next test.
Mokuba almost turned and left--almost-- when his brother told him to go to bed, but bit his lip and looked down for a moment, building his courage back up again. "Sorry... Nii-sama... can I ask you a question...?" He looked up again, wishing Seto would look back at him, would meet his eyes. It made him feel smaller, somehow, when his brother talked to him without looking at him, and though it happened so often that he was used to it, right now, it was just another item on the long list of insecurities that simply needed to be addressed. Swallowing, he shifted uncomfortably before continuing. "Just one question... then I'll... I'll go to bed. Please...?"
Seto didn’t answer as he finished setting up the test, but once it was running, he pushed his chair out a little and leaned back so he could look at Mokuba around the screen. “Fine. What is it?” He asked sharply, wondering how much this question would delay the completion of his project. Seto himself was exhausted, and so he knew Mokuba must be as well. It irritated him that Mokuba wasn’t taking advantage of the time he had to sleep—time that Seto never allowed himself.
His brother's sharp tone startled Mokuba, and he cringed slightly, thought he tried not to let it show. "It's just that... well..." he started, suddenly flustered, not knowing how to phrase his question, not wanting to make his brother mad at him. He should have thought about this before, darn it, but he didn't, and now he was wasting his brother's time... darn it!! He sounded stupid now, he knew he did, but he had to stall for time to think... "Nii-sama... I've... I mean, I've been thinking... about Noa..." Darn, he shouldn't have mentioned Noa, either, now Seto was sure to be upset... "It's just that... well... I understand everything from before... and I know you're so busy... but..." He hesitated, hoping against hope that he wasn't making a huge mistake. "But I never really see you... anymore... Nii-sama... and... I just..." Great, now he was feeling like he was going to cry, and that certainly didn't help any, but he swallowed and held the tears back, balling his fists and looking up into his brother's eyes. "I just want to know... Nii-sama... do you love me anymore?"
Seto stood abruptly, walking around his desk and taking Mokuba by the hand roughly and dragging him towards the door. “Go to bed, Mokuba.” He commanded harshly. “This preoccupation with Noa is becoming ridiculous.” He opened the door and took Mokuba out into the hall, pulling him towards the elevator. “I don’t know why you believed anything he said in the first place. It makes me worry about your judgment…” Seto hesitated for a moment as he waited for the elevator door to open, unsure of how, or if he even needed to continue. It was harsh, but Seto knew he couldn’t coddle his little brother anymore. “Love” was irrelevant, and Mokuba would have to learn it if he was going to survive alone one day—it was inevitable. “Good night.” Seto concluded coldly, pushing Mokuba into the elevator and hitting the button to close the door.
Mokuba felt his gut clench, like he had just been hit in the stomach, and ran back out of the elevator before the doors could close, trying to catch up with his brother. The tears he had been so adamantly holding back broke loose and came streaming down his cheeks as he cried out, anything to make his brother turn around. "Nii-sama, please," he choked out, stumbling over his own feet, his tears blurring his vision. He shouldn't have said anything, this was all a mistake... it was better not to know. He should have known, it was better not to know that his big brother, his idol, his god, didn't care at all about him. He shouldn't have said anything... but he had, and now he had ruined everything. Still... he couldn't let it be... he had to try to make things right... even just a little bit, somehow.
Catching up to Seto just as he reached his office, Mokuba caught his arm, looking up at him beseechingly. "Nii-sama... it's not--" All of a sudden, he felt the need to defend himself, to explain... maybe it would regain some of Seto's respect, if nothing else. "You don't understand, Nii-sama-- I'm in love with Noa! That's why-- that's all," he concluded, hoping against hope that that would help, somehow.
Seto stopped, but not because Mokuba was strong enough to keep him from going back inside his office, but because what he heard sent a slight twinge of fear down his spine. “That’s ridiculous.” He breathed smoothly, somehow covering his shock with disgust, masking his concern, his alarm, with scorn. He narrowed his eyes and set his jaw, turning to face Mokuba and glaring down at him. “Noa was never even alive, Mokuba,” Seto hissed. “The emotions you feel are fake.” He continued starkly, “Noa used you for the sole purpose of getting at me.” There was nothing Seto hated more than losing, and the fact that Mokuba retained any feelings whatsoever for someone like Noa felt to Seto like a major defeat. He didn’t let it show on his face. “You should realize, as I’m sure Noa did, that people like us have no time to waste on fairytale emotions like love. You and I will bow to no one and nothing—least of all petty emotions. Good night, Mokuba.”
"You don't know! You weren't there!" Mokuba cried, his tears coming harder again at his brother's harsh tone. "Maybe Noa was wrong, and maybe he did want to get at you, but-- but he loved me! I know he did!" His knees suddenly felt weak and and let go of his brother, putting a hand on the wall to balance himself. His stomach churned and he felt as if he might be ill, but he didn't move, looking up into his brother's eyes and crying. "It wasn't only about you, Nii-sama. I know mostly--maybe-- mostly... but... but Noa... Noa loved me!" Breaking down in a sob for a moment, he swallowed, trying to get some sort of control over himself. "And-- I don't care-- I love you, Nii-sama, and I don't care if it's petty!" Pathetically, he hoped desperately, somehow, for forgiveness, for something... that his brother didn't hate him now, for his... for his, he supposed, stupidity.
“Mokuba…” Seto managed, with a surprising amount of difficulty. He turned away, folding his arms, but not moving away from his brother. He didn’t know what he could do now…Mokuba had never been this difficult before… “He made you think that about him, you know. Perhaps it seemed real to you at the time, but that’s exactly what he wanted you to feel.” Seto ground his teeth and closed his eyes, still feeling at a loss. “Whatever he did to you…” he began tightly, “whatever lies he fed you to turn you against me like this…” He looked back down at Mokuba and narrowed his eyes. “In doubting me and how I feel about you, you’ve shown your weakness.”
Looking up at Seto, at his hateful expression, Mokuba felt his throat tighten and his heart wrench, and he shook his head. "You-- you just don't understand!" he cried, shaking his head, squeezing his eyes shut as the tears rolled harder down his cheeks. "I love you, but I love Noa, and-- and--" But he didn't know what, and so, without anything else to do, he turned and ran back to the sanctuary of the elevator. As the steel doors closed in from of him, protecting him from what he knew was the door to his brother's office slamming, he collapsed to the floor, sobbing into his hands. He felt empty now, and completely alone in the world-- his one true love was dead and gone, and his brother, his one pillar in life, didn't understand, didn't love him, hated him now, and there was nothing he could do. He had ruined everything, everything... there was nothing left to live for now.
When the elevator bell rang, Mokuba forced himself out and down the hall, into his bedroom. Locking the door behind him, he threw himself into his bed, breaking down all over again. His brother had told him to go to bed... now, at least he was doing as told.
“Mokuba!” Seto shouted, just a few seconds too late. The thick elevator doors had already shut, and when Seto reached them, his expression had already hardened, and his resolve had already vanished. In silent anger at his inability to convey the truth to his brother, Seto slammed his fist against the wall and exhaled tightly, resting his forehead against the frame of the elevator door. He stood there for a moment, before decided he’d wasted enough of his time already. Mokuba would go to bed, he would go back to work, and either Mokuba would be over it in the morning, or Seto would have to try again to explain things to him correctly. Either way, he’d make things explicitly clear now so that he’d never have to again.
If Seto was honest with himself, he could admit that knowing Mokuba had any doubt in how he felt about him was a chilling realization, made all the worse because Mokuba was apparently convinced of his feelings for Noa… Seto knew he’d come very close to losing everything he’d worked for to Noa, close enough that he’d been forced to choose between his brother and his empire. The choice had been clear; Mokuba was always his priority. However, apparently, his sacrifice had not been enough. Noa still had a hold on Mokuba’s heart. Seto sunk, devastated, back into his chair, and stared blankly at the computer screen. It was clear now, that he’d lost more than he could have even imagined. Seto’d lost his tournament, lost his title, been forced to concede his duel to a fucking machine, and he hadn’t even been able to hold on to the one person that made all of those defeats the slightest bit bearable. Noa may have failed in the end, but that meant nothing now that Seto knew he’d lost Mokuba to him.
Mokuba awoke the next morning feeling sullen and tired; he had half a mind not to go to school at all, but eventually decided the distraction would be better. Still, even as he began to get dressed, get really, he felt lethargic and apathetic, as is his heart were missing entirely. With the realization that his brother didn't love him and the knowledge that he now had no one, he felt entirely lost and alone, awash in a sea of misery with no help in sight. He didn't bother to eat breakfast, and spent the school day not paying attention to anything, unable to concentrate when his entire life had crumbled to pieces only the night prior. Mokuba felt as if his entire life had been pulled apart at the seams and now he was left, alone, unprotected, frightened. He knew it was his fault, he knew he had ruined everything... but what could he even do about it now?
At lunchtime, still without an appetite, Mokuba locked himself in the bathroom, trying to lose himself in thoughts of Noa. Compared to this new devastation, their last moments together... those were happy. At least Mokuba knew that, before he died, Noa had loved him... but no matter how hard he tried, it didn't work, it couldn't help. His brief, tragic romance with his stepbrother could not make up for the one he had loved, cherished, looked up to, idolized, worshipped his entire life, the brother who had sacrificed for him, saved him, protected him, loved him... or so he thought. But apparently, he was wrong; Seto had no feelings anymore, it seemed, only a drive to work and pride, neither of which left room in his hardened heart for a lost, lonely little brother anymore. And so all of these years, Mokuba realized, he had been following, striving so hard to please a mind that could never be pleased by his weak but loving attempts.
Yet, Mokuba reasoned, did it really matter? If not trying to please Seto, what would Mokuba have done with himself? He wasn't an ordinary child, he didn't want toys or to play sports or even clothes or secret crushes. He didn't need birthday parties or large groups of friends to tell him he was special; he knew, that just by having the same parents, the same blood flowing through his veins as Seto Kaiba, that made him matter, and therefore what mattered was Seto. All he had ever wanted for as long as he could remember was to help Seto, to please Seto, to try an earn the love of the brother who he knew was so, so far superior to him. But even if he couldn't earn the love... what did it matter? Seto had done everything for him, worked and planned and sacrificed... and even if nothing he could do could make up for it, could win him Seto's affections, it didn't change anything. Mokuba was devoted, with all of his soul, to Seto, loved him with all of his heart, and even the harsh, cruel reality that Seto couldn't possibly feel the same way didn't change anything. Seto was everything to him, and he would be loyal, he would serve and stay by Seto's side for as long as he lived.
Having come to that decision, Mokuba realized how badly he had messed up last night. In the heat of the moment, in the passion of being turned down and the desire to defend Noa, he had lashed out where he never should have, and he had to fix things. The rest of the school day couldn't go fast enough for Mokuba, and as soon as the day was through, he sped home as fast as possible, eager to apologize, to make things okay again. Still, as he pounded the "up" elevator button as soon as he got into the building, he realized that he needed to think this through. Last time had been a screw up because he didn't think things through beforehand, and this time he wouldn't make the same mistake. He had to choose his words carefully, he had to let his brother know for certain that, no matter what, Mokuba would remain by his side.
Upon reaching the floor of Seto's office, Mokuba walked evenly, slowly, but surely from the elevator and down the hall that, only yesterday, had housed such a painful discussion... but now, Mokuba knew, he would make everything right. Swallowing and holding his breath, Mokuba pressed the buzzer. "Nii-sama... May I come in?" He made sure to sound apologetic, demure, hoping to set the right mood for his apology, as well as keep from offending any further.
“Yes…” Seto said uneasily, looking up from the clock he’d used as a distraction from his work as he counted down the minutes until Mokuba arrived. He’d been right on the mark. “You may come in.” He kept his tone level and folded his hands, closing his laptop and looking to the door expectantly. Whatever Mokuba was going to say…he’d let him speak first, then try to remedy the mistake he’d made last night without mincing any words. He would make sure Mokuba understood him fully this time no matter what. He couldn’t let Mokuba’s foolish false memories of Noa tear them apart any further.
Carefully, Mokuba let himself in and shut the door behind him, clasping his hands together in front of him and looking down at his feet, gathering himself. "Nii-sama..." he started, praying that his voice would stay even as he looked up to meet his brother's eyes. "I came to say... I'm sorry. I was wrong to be upset with you... you're right. It doesn't matter how you feel about me, or anything like that, and I was stupid to be upset about it... You're everything to me and you've done everything for me... without you, I probably wouldn't be alive right now. I owe everything to you, and... no matter what you say about emotions being petty... I love you. It's true that you bow to no one... but no matter what, I will always answer to you, and do everything in my power to help you. No matter what, I'll do whatever you say, follow whatever you command, carry through any order you give me." Swallowing, he hoped he wasn't messing up, that he was getting across what he meant, because he was tearing up again and he knew he wasn't going to be able to emotionally hold out much longer. Wringing his hands, however, he forced himself to continue, even as his voice cracked and he fought back the tears. "I understand that you don't have the room in your heart to love me, and it's okay. I understand. No matter what happens, Nii-sama, you're my brother, and I love you, and I'll always be loyal to you before anyone else... forever. So, please... I'm sorry I messed up... please forgive me. Even before he finished, the first tears began to roll down his cheeks, and, silently, he started to cry, hoping that he could make everything okay again.
“There’s nothing to forgive.” Seto replied smoothly. Mokuba had gone in a different direction than he’d expected…everything really was very confused. “Apparently, you misunderstood.” He narrowed his eyes, standing and leaning over his desk to look at Mokuba. “I was angry last night, but only because you mentioned that…imposter.” It took him a moment to find an appropriate word, and though he said it with enough distain to convey his point, it still wasn’t exactly the term he’d wanted. He walked around his desk slowly and, pausing a moment next to Mokuba, he knelt so he could look at him directly. “Your lack of trust in my feelings for you is offensive.” Seto put a hand on his head and mussed his hair slightly, smirking for a split second. “Have some faith.” His expression serious, Seto stood and leaned against his desk. “I know how you feel. I hope that in the future this kind of misunderstanding can be avoided. You should never doubt that I feel the same about you.”
Upon hearing those words leave Seto's lips, Mokuba's tears came harder, but a smiled forced itself onto his face, and he felt weak again. Still, he couldn't believe it, he couldn't believe that it was all a misunderstanding, that everything was all right now... It was stupid of him, he realized, to mention Noa to Seto; he simply wouldn't talk about him anymore, and besides, he told himself, he needed to get over those feelings, anyway, if he was ever to be happy. He couldn't always be moping about his lost true love. Why did he need anything like that when he had Seto, anyway? Seto was his everything, his world and his universe, and now that he knew Seto loved him, too, he couldn't be happier. Nothing could be more perfect.
"I'm sorry, Nii-sama... I love you!" Mokuba replied, and, unable to keep his emotions in check any longer, he threw himself at Seto, wrapping his arms around his waist and pressing his face against Seto's body. It felt better than anything, knowing he would never again question his brother's feelings for him, and he finally fought back his tears, swallowing and sniffing ad he smiled into Seto's shirt. "I'll never lose faith in you ever, ever again!" he promised, finally looking up into his brother's eyes. "I won't ever doubt it again. And you know that everything I said is true-- I'll always stand by you and be loyal to you, no matter what, forever!" Fingering the locket he always wore around his neck, his smile softened. "So don't ever lose faith in me, either, okay?"
“You’ve never given me a reason to doubt you.” Seto said quietly, placing his hands gently on Mokuba’s shoulder. As long as Mokuba wasn’t being manipulated, Seto reminded himself. Hopefully that Noa would never come up in conversation again… Hopefully, everything was cleared up enough now that Mokuba wouldn’t need to invent some false romance between Noa and himself to make up for not feeling confident in Seto’s feelings for him…because…no matter what Seto claimed, he really truly loved Mokuba with all of his heart. Still, Seto knew he couldn’t afford to spoil Mokuba—couldn’t stand to treat him in a way that didn’t truly reflect the cruelty of the world. Narrowing his eyes and hardening his expression, Seto pushed Mokuba back gently. “I have a lot of work to do, Mokuba.”
Mokuba blinked, then nodded solemnly. "Oh, oh, yes, of course!" Stepping back, he looked around his brother's office before making his way and dropping down onto the sofa, smiling up at his brother. "I'll keep you company, okay? I promise, I'll stay quiet, and I won't bother you at all!" Crossing his legs and leaning forward, he added, "Just let me know if you need anything, and I'll get it, okay? I'll do my best to help!" Now that he knew everything was okay, Mokuba felt as if there were no problems in the world. Just staying with his brother... that was enough.
Seto sat stiffly, propped up on several pillows, his arms crossed, and sweltering under a heavy comforter. He was bored out of his mind, and his anger and discomfort was made all the more extreme by the fact that he had so much work to do. However, he wasn’t allowed to do any of it, not until he got the go-ahead from the Kaiba family doctor. “Ignorant quack,” Seto grumbled under his breath, sighing and turning to look out the window. It was stupid, really, that he was stuck, bedridden, for something so minor—he’d only fainted. Honestly, he’d been through much worse.
After going without sleep for three days in a row, and skipping several meals during that period, Kaiba Land was finally open. However, the effort had taken a toll on Seto, and so perhaps, the bed rest would be a welcome reprieve…not that he’d admit to needing it. No, he would sit, awake, belligerently, until sleep forced itself upon him. Seto set his jaw and turned to the door expectantly. Any moment now, Mokuba was due to come through the door, hopefully with his laptop—contraband—so at least Seto could wrap up a few of his projects before indulging in his proscription of mandatory rest.
His brother's laptop tucked neatly under his arm, Mokuba pressed the elevator "close door" button urgently, hoping that he wouldn't be caught. After all, he was bringing Seto his laptop, strictly against doctor's orders... Still, he was abnormally happy, giggly and giddy, almost-- because now, with this errand, he was helping his brother, he was actually actively helping. Sure, he trusted the doctor, and he did want his brother to get better, but he followed his brother's orders first, as so clutched the laptop to his chest as he rose in the elevator, up to the top floor.
When the elevator doors opened, he darted out, running to the end of the hall, to the master bedroom, his brother's bedroom. Hurrying inside and shutting the door behind him, he grinned to Seto, who was lying in bed, and held out the computer. "I've got it, Nii-sama!" Reaching the bed, he sat down, handing it to him, a proud look of triumph on his face. "There you go!" He wasn't expecting a thank you, or even any response, really, but he hoped, nonetheless, he always hoped. Any response would be good... from his brother, Mokuba would be happy with anything.
“Did anyone see you?” Seto asked sharply, accepting the computer and opening it with a flourish as he sat up a little straighter, only to lean over the keyboard. He entered his password hurriedly, then looked back at Mokuba, lifting his brows expectantly.
"No, no, I was careful!" Mokuba replied quickly, putting his hands up in defense. "I promise! I made sure!" Watching his brother work for a minute, he added, "But after you work for a little while... I think you should stop. After all, you want to get better, right?" Moving to sit beside Seto, to watch him work, Mokuba added, "I was really worried about you, you know, Nii-sama. I want you to get better."
“I’m fine,” Seto said sternly, unconsciously angling his computer so that Mokuba wouldn’t be able to really see the screen. Not that he was working on anything secretive—on the contrary, Mokuba himself had access to these files—he just didn’t like people looking at his work until it was finished, perfect. “I don’t know why I’m stuck in here…” Seto added offhandedly, wondering what gave his doctor, his employee, the right to order him to rest. He was, after all, perfectly capable of monitoring himself; he would know when he was pushing too hard.
After a moment, Seto shifted, lifting his hands to his face and pressing his palms over his eyes, squeezing them shut tightly. His eyelids felt so heavy…and he was just becoming aware of a ringing in his ears and a pounding headache. He probably should stop…but Seto considered it a weakness to succumb to sleep before his work was finished. As long as he completed this one set of files…he could sleep as soon as it was handled, he assured himself as he forced open his eyes once again and began typing. After just a few seconds, however, Seto felt himself begin to tip forward and snapped his eyes open once more, lifting his head so quickly it made him dizzy. Looking back at the screen, he realized he hadn’t accomplished anything, and cursed his exhaustion silently, falling back into his pillows, fuming at his inability to continue.
"Nii-sama," Mokuba addressed, as sternly as he could. "You really should get some sleep. Once you're better, you'll be able to get a lot more work done." He didn't often try to convince his brother to do anything, but right now, when his health was concerned, Mokuba considered it his duty to step in. He knew Seto was far too stubborn to ever give up working before he was finished whatever he was doing, but Mokuba truly was worried for him, and could tell when he was slipping. Though he hated to go against his brother's wishes, Mokuba knew now was the time for desperate measures.
Leaning over, gently, Mokuba closed Seto's computer and took it from him, setting it on the nightstand. "You need to go to sleep, Nii-sama. Your computer will be here for you when you wake up." Of course, Mokuba was planning on watching over, taking care of Seto this whole time, and he would make sure he didn't work too hard, especially when he wasn't supposed to be working at all. "I'll be here, too, when you wake up. I promise, I won't leave your side while you're sick. Okay?" With a sweet smile, he cocked his head to one side, hoping his brother would agree. "Get some rest, now."
“This is ridiculous.” Seto said lowly, watching as Mokuba moved his laptop, but not protesting. “I’m not sick.” He corrected tightly, rolling his eyes at his brother’s concern. Not because Mokuba told him to, but because he realized he really ought to, Seto sat up just enough to remove some of the pillows he was leaning against so that he could lie flat and get some sleep. Shifting around under the covers for a moment, he managed to turn to face the wall, away from Mokuba, and grumbled, “You don’t have to stay.”
"But I want to," Mokuba replied softly with a smile, watching how quickly his brother fell asleep. He really did work too hard, Mokuba thought to himself, but he was glad finally, after everything, that Seto was getting to rest. Mokuba knew he worked so hard to support the two of them, and he really was grateful, but sometimes, he worried that Seto really would work himself to death one day. So it was good that he was being forced to take a break, and, no matter how moody it made him, Mokuba would make sure he did rest.
Looking over his brother's now sleeping form, Mokuba couldn't help but smile to himself. Seto looked altogether not like himself, at least his current self, when he slept; unlike his waking, guarded self, in sleep, he looked gentle, soft, human. Carefully, tenderly, Mokuba reached forward, brushing some of Seto's bangs out of his eyes and looking nostalgicly at his almost childlike face. It reminded Mokuba of being children at the orphanage together, back before Gozaburo took away Seto's smile. Sometimes, Mokuba missed those days... he knew he shouldn't, and he felt guilty when he did, but sometimes...
He didn't know how long he sat, just looking at his brother, but watching him sleep for so long began to make Mokuba sleepy, and, after a moment, he leaned his head back against the headboard, letting his eyes fall shut...
Seto was vaguely aware of the smell of something delicious, but he wasn’t quite awake enough to know exactly what it was. He was warm and comfortable in his state of semi-consciousness, and didn’t particularly want to force himself to wake up, but the longer he lay, thinking about what the smell could be, the more he thought about all the work he had to get done… He realized he’d probably already been asleep for a long time, and before drifting off he had accomplished absolutely nothing. The whole day was likely to be nearly wasted, and if he didn’t wake up right away, he might end up with nothing to show for the effort he’d tried to put in. Whatever the smell was, it would probably disappear once he was fully awake, Seto reasoned, and so inhaling a final time to savor it, he forced his eyes open and rolled over. “Mokuba.” He said simply when his gaze met his little brother’s. He wondered uninterestedly if he’d stayed the whole time, and hoped Mokuba hadn’t just been sitting around, wasting his time waiting for him to wake up. Seto forced himself into a sitting position and rubbed the sleep from his eyes; he could still smell whatever it was that had woken him, and he glanced around the room until his eyes fell across a tray with a plate that was covered to keep the heat in. “What time is it?” Seto asked drily, wondering if he’d really slept through the entire afternoon.
Mokuba smiled. "'Morning, Nii-sama~" he greeted, hopping to his feet, he moved to grab the tray he had sent for about an hour ago. "Though, it's not really morning. It's eight thirty," he clarified, just in case his brother was wondering, bringing the tray over to him. Handing it to Seto, he removed the metal cover with a flourish, grinning, proud of himself. Beneath was Seto's favourite dish, filet mignon with foie gras, which Mokuba had specifically requested. "I had them make dinner for you, so it'd be ready when you woke up. You should eat, too, so you can get healthy again!"
Besides get dinner, Mokuba had taken a short nap and finished his homework for the next few days while Seto slept, as well as brought a few things to perhaps entertain himself and his brother when Seto wasn't working. Of course, he had been forced to leave Seto's bedside a couple of times in the eight hours, but, for the most part, he had stayed, and he planned to stay until Seto was up and back to work. Smiling brightly now, he collected his onw tray before sitting beside Seto, placing the tray on his lap. He didn't really like foie gras to speak of, but since it was his brother's favourite, he forced himself to eat it... or, at least, push it around his plate. "I waited to eat with you, Nii-sama!" he reported with a smile, waiting for his brother to begin.
“Hmm,” Seto grunted, looking over his plate of food thoughtfully. Mokuba shouldn’t have gone to such great lengths… While it was his favorite, it seemed odd to be eating it in bed, and for no particular reason other than his supposed illness. “You didn’t have to wait.” He concluded, picking up his silverware and starting on his favorite dish more ravenously than he would have liked. The sight and smell of the food reminded him of just how hungry he’d gotten in the past couple of days during which eating had not been a priority.
After he’d eaten about half of his portion, Seto felt satiated enough to look up from his food at his brother, and noted that he still had quite a lot left. Though he’d cut the meat into tiny portions and spread them as far apart as he could on the plate, it was apparent that he hadn’t really touched his meal. “You should have asked for something else.” Seto commented blandly, returning to finish his own dinner.
Mokuba smiled as he watched his brother eat, happy to see him enjoy it. He was glad that, after all his hard work, Seto was getting a bit of a break, whether Seto liked it of not. When his brother addressed him, however, Mokuba started, then blushed deeply, having been caught, and looked back down at his food, putting one of the small pieces into his mouth and doing his best not to make a face. "No, it's no big deal," he replied, looking back up at Seto. "I didn't want to trouble the cook, and I definitely wanted to get your favourite for you." Nodding affirmatively, he looked back to his plate, doing his best to pick the goose apart from the beef, so that he could at least eat some of it.
“Well, you don’t have to fake it.” Seto said as he carefully mopped up the remaining sauce for his last bite. “Or finish it.” Seto added, relocating the tray so that he could sit up a little more. “We pay the cook so we can eat what we like, you know.” Looking away from Mokuba and the dish he’d basically wasted, Seto caught sight of a small pile of Mokuba’s things stacked up by the door. “What is all of that?” Seto asked, gesturing to the pile, only half-interested. “Your entertainment?” He questioned, reaching for his laptop and opening it, signing on as he waited for Mokuba to answer.
"Sorry, Nii-sama," Mokuba replied downheartedly, carrying away the dish he hadn't really eaten and setting it aside. Following Seto's line of vision, he grinned sheepishly, nodding. "Sort of. I brought some things, in case, when you were done with the work you have to get done... " He blushed again, trailing off. It was really a ludicrous situation, him asking his brother to play a childish game with him, but it might be his only chance, possibly for the rest of his life... After all, Seto wasn't supposed to be working, so it should be okay... right? Swallowing, he looked back up at Seto, who seemed to be working hard already. "In case you wanted to play chess with me again. Like when we were kids. Or something." He felt even more stupid saying it, and looked away again, perching on the opposite side of the bed. "But I don't want to bother you."
Seto looked up from his computer sharply at Mokuba’s suggestion, particularly displeased by the mention of their childhood. As far as he was concerned, Seto had worked his entire life to put those memories behind them, and it was disturbing, almost, to hear Mokuba mention those dark times so nonchalantly. “Perhaps when I’ve finished,” Seto began tightly, “I’ll play a game with you.” His eyes flicked back to his computer as he added, “But I can assure you, it will be quite different from ‘when we were kids;’ things have changed.” He said the last part of the sentence mostly to himself, then began typing furiously to make up for the time he’d wasted sleeping. “I probably won’t have time, though.” Seto said after a moment, as it became clear how behind he really was.
Mokuba looked at Seto, confused, and, though he wasn't really sure why, hurt. What was so different now from when they were children? True, now they were wealthy, now they could take care of themselves, but, really, that had nothing to do with a game of chess, did it? What did Seto mean, then? It couldn't be... the way he felt about Mokuba? No... he was being stupid, he told himself, but he still couldn't help but feel hurt...
Rising, he made his way over to the stack of games in the corner of the room. "I understand, Nii-sama," he replied quietly, "I know you're busy." He shouldn't be so upset about this... but, though he couldn't out his finger on why, he was, and so, hugging his knees to his chest, he sat on the floor leaning against the wall. Perhaps staying with Seto had been a bad idea... perhaps he was forcing his presence where he wasn't needed. Looking at his pile longingly, he sighed, hugging his knees to his chest tighter and trying not to think about it.
From time to time, Seto glanced over the top of his monitor to check that Mokuba was, indeed, still lying on the floor in the corner. It was…pathetic, really, and it almost made Seto feel guilty for not playing chess with his brother. However, not everything could be done on Mokuba’s time—Seto had a lot of work to do, and that always took priority. After all, the work he did was for the benefit of them both, and though Mokuba was young, it was never too early to start looking at the world realistically; it was harsh and survival would always require sacrifices. The earlier Mokuba could learn that, the better off he’d be. It was Seto’s duty as an older brother to teach him all that he’d learned about life thus far—show him that just getting by was difficult, and life itself was dismal, at best.
When Seto finished his current file, he lifted his hands from the keyboard and popped his knuckles, glancing at the onscreen clock for the first time since he’d begun. It was well past one, and he rolled his shoulders stiffly—a desk would have been much more comfortable. Still, at least he had his computer; Seto couldn’t even imagine what a nightmare he would have had to face after three days of doing nothing, had Mokuba not brought him his computer. Snapping his laptop shut, Seto looked up to where he’d last seen Mokuba, expecting to see that he’d gotten up and moved to his own bed. He was, however, in exactly the same position; curled up in the corner, unmoving, and sound asleep.
Seto threw back his blankets and clambered out of bed, padding carefully across the room and kneeling beside Mokuba’s sleeping form. “Mokuba,” He said sternly, placing a hand on Mokuba’s shoulder and shaking him lightly to rouse him. “I’m going to bed now.” Seto informed his brother when he showed signs of being awake enough to understand. “You shouldn’t sleep on the floor. Go somewhere comfortable.” And without waiting for Mokuba to reply, Seto stood and returned to his own bed, hoping sleep would come quickly.
"Uhh...?" Mokuba mumbled, half asleep, opening his eyes just in time to see his brother turnining and going to bed. "Nii-sama?" Sitting up stiffly, he realized that he had fallen asleep in the floor of Seto's bedroom. It was late now, and dark, and Mokuba's body didn't want to wake up. He vaguely registered Seto having said something about sleeping someplace more comfortable, and stood, placing a hand on the wall to support himself as he wobbled sleepily. Someplace more comfortable? Well, he had sworn not to leave his brother's bedside until he was healthy, so the only place more comfortable was in Seto's bed. Stumbling over in the dark, he climbed into the bed and under the covers, comforted by the sound of Seto's already-even breathing. He liked being with Seto when he was sleeping, Mokuba decided drowsily, because he could get close without getting in trouble. Snuggling in close to Seto, almost touching, he let his eyes fall shut again, and, with a comfortable sigh, fell back to sleep.