Title:Title: Sixteen (Going on Seventeen) Series
Pairing(s): Yami + Seto, Noa + Mokuba, Jou + Mai, Yugi + Anzu, Malik + Ryou, Rafael + Valon + Amelda
Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh! is the creation of Kazuki Takahashi. This is a not-for-profit fanwork and I do not own any of these characters.
Summary: Noa’s a vice president of Kaiba Corp., but now he has his sights set on a presidency of a different sort.
Archived at: http://www.phenixsol.com/Miko/FF/
Setup for this particular fic:
* * *
The Popular Vote
Sixteen (Going on Seventeen) Series
* * *
"Mokuba, you always smell so good. Not like the other boys," the girl chirped as she brushed by the tall teen, her cheeks flushed.
"What the hell? Who was that?" Noa hissed in a low voice as the girl disappeared back into the crowd of students in the hallway. He furtively leaned over and took a quick sniff. I don’t smell anything different... "And what are you wearing?"
Mokuba rolled his eyes. "It’s called deodorant. And I don’t remember her name. Haruka, Haruna… something like that? Isn’t she’s in our Calculus class?"
Noa shrugged. She looked familiar, but he couldn’t say he’d ever noticed her before… certainly not enough to put a name with the face.
They’d always joked about there being a Mokuba Fan Club at their school, but it turned out that truth was stranger than fiction. How else could they explain the existence of "Mokuba and Noa Kaiba Fan Club" groups on various social networking sites, with many of their classmates listed as members? Noa had rolled his eyes when they’d first seen it, but maybe teenage girls really were that crazy.
He couldn’t say he was surprised that Mokuba was popular, especially with the ladies – the black-haired teen was good looking, tall, rich, smart, funny… good looking. Noa couldn’t really blame them for their attraction. But he hadn’t expected to see so many girls posting about how much they liked him, too. He supposed he ought to be flattered, but he just found the whole thing weird. He almost felt… guilty, as if he’d done something wrong, to have attracted such attention.
… And now he was deliberately trying to curry the favor of those fans.
Noa sighed to himself. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. He wasn’t actively persuading the Junior class girls to vote for him in the student body elections taking place the next day. And he found the whole idea of popularity contests to be a bit distasteful. He thought it’d be better if his fellow students voted for their class president on merit, platform, character… not on "cute factor." That wasn’t how he wanted to win. But he wasn’t stupid either. Having a fan club… well, at least those were free votes. And having Mokuba as his campaign manager meant he’d locked in those girls’ votes as well.
He wished Mokuba had reconsidered his decision to not run for a position in student body. The younger teen would’ve made an excellent vice president. But Mokuba had claimed that he’d be too overwhelmed trying to take on those duties along with his schoolwork and work work. He had stated it so convincingly that it almost sounded like a valid explanation… except Noa knew better. Of course Mokuba could handle the workload! But for some reason, he didn’t want to do it…
Noa had talked things over with Seto as well, in case his big brother had a problem with him taking on this new role, but the brunette was supportive and encouraging. He even tried giving some advice, albeit awkwardly… he really had no experience with high school politics. But it was the thought that counted, even if Noa didn’t quite agree with Seto’s opinion that there was nothing wrong with playing up one’s popularity to gain more votes. But it wasn’t like he was going to make himself unpopular just to prove a point either.
Losing wasn’t an option. Of course he’d win. Not to prove himself to Seto, or to the memory of his father… not even because of his own pride as a Kaiba… but because he wanted to be someone worthy of Mokuba. Maybe some would say he had his priorities in the wrong place, that he ought to be doing it for himself first and foremost, but Noa had learned a long time ago that pride meant nothing if he was alone.
He found himself shaking his head at the random wanderings of his mind as he and Mokuba arrived at their lockers, then he immediately shook his head again, this time more vigorously. Mokuba caught his reaction and laughed; someone had left cupcakes on the ledge above the lockers, with large nametags dangling from ribbons.
"They went through the effort of making them, so we might as well eat them," Mokuba said as he handed one off to Noa with a half smile and a shrug. He looked around, trying to see if whoever had left them was hanging around and watching them, but with all the students streaming through the walkway, it was impossible to tell.
Noa looked at the pink frosted cupcake sitting on his palm, then stuck it in his locker in favor of the books he needed for their next class. Even though he was the one with the sweet tooth, he wasn’t keen on eating some random gift from some random girl. That just seemed like too intimate a thing to do… or maybe he’d been hanging around Seto too much. Seto, who didn’t seem to want to eat anything unless it came from Yami’s kitchen...
"So are you ready for the assembly?" Mokuba asked. It’d be the last chance for the candidates to state their positions and beg for votes. Though… the way most of the kids saw it, it was just a way to get excused from one period of class.
"Yeah, I think so."
"You actually have a preplanned speech, or are you winging it?"
"I made notes on everything I wanted to cover, but I don’t have an actual speech composed. I don’t want to sound stuffy. And if it’s good enough for Kaiba Corp. meetings, it’s good enough for a high school." He figured by now most of the students knew whom they were voting for since the election would take place the next morning.
"Yeah. And it’s not like things will change at this point," Mokuba commented, confirming Noa’s thoughts. Then seeing Noa gesture at his watch, he quickly grabbed his books as well, as they only had a minute or two before the next period began.
Just as they were turning away from their lockers, they nearly bumped into a girl who happened to be standing directly behind them.
"Sorry. Didn’t see you there," Noa immediately mumbled.
"Oh, no… excuse me," she gasped in embarrassment while busily studying a spot on the concrete floor, between her shoes. "And uh, I just wanted to say, good luck, Noa. I’m voting for you for sure!" She thrust a note at the green-haired teen before abruptly fleeing into the thinning herd of migrating students.
Noa couldn’t help but sigh. His latest admirer had sealed her note with a fuzzy teddy bear sticker… and a phone number.
Mokuba glanced over at his boyfriend, then laughed. "Another phone number, huh?"
"Yeah…" He didn’t have time to put it in his locker, so instead he folded it up and stuck it in his pocket as they began walking down the hallway. It’d be nice to be able to get from class to class without having to run a gauntlet of ninja-like fangirls hiding behind lockers waiting to launch an attack, wielding cupcakes and love confessions as if they were weapons.
Mokuba continued grinning even as they picked up their pace. They only had a minute to get to class. But he still found the time to gently rib Noa by revisiting an earlier comment, whispering, "So… who was that?"
* * *
Noa automatically nodded in the direction of the voice. He’d been hearing it over and over again since just before lunch, when they’d announced the members of the student council for the school year. Not that he was complaining of course. It felt good to have his peers’ validation. But he’d known all along that he would win.
He’d heard through the grapevine that it’d been a landslide; he’d gotten over three-quarters of the vote, but he tried not to let it go to his head too much. School was over for the day. He needed to start thinking about work.
As he and Mokuba approached the younger teen’s much coveted, Very Orange Tesla Roadster, they noticed there were two girls leaning against the car. Noa recognized the new Senior class treasurer; the other girl appeared to be a cheerleader. Noa wondered if he was about to be the recipient of a congratulatory custom cheer; Mokuba, on the other hand, wondered if they were scratching up the paint job by leaning against it.
"My friend here wanted to congratulate you," treasurer girl told Noa as she nudged her friend forward. She coupled that move with a wink.
Cheerleader girl giggled a little as she introduced herself. "Hi! I’m Yui."
Noa gave her a moment to say something more useful, then said, "Hi."
"I know we just met, but I was wondering if… maybe you’re free this Friday?" Yui asked as she tucked a strand of brown hair behind her ear.
What was with these girls just randomly wanting to date them? "Hm, probably not…" the green-haired teen responded with practiced ease.
"I see. Um, how about Saturday?"
Noa wasn’t at all interested, but he wasn’t going to be mean about iteither. Unfortunatey, he’d never found a good way to turn a girl down. "Sorry, I have plans already," he told her instead of just flat out rejecting her.
"Oh…" She turned and looked at her friend a moment, then back at Noa. "Someone told me you might have a girlfriend… Is that true?"
Noa wondered if Yamato would find it funny that after all these years, people still thought they were together. But at least it wasn’t a lie either when he muttered, "I might be seeing someone, yes."
Yui’s face reddened. "I see… Well, congrats. And um… have a good weekend, ‘kay?"
The two girls turned and walked off together while Mokuba furtively checked over his car. Much to his relief, there wasn’t any damage. But he did manage to catch treasurer girl murmuring to her friend, "See, I told you he’s into college girls," as they walked away.
Chuckling to himself, the younger Kaiba motioned for his boyfriend to get in the car. Once they were out of the parking lot and on their way to Kaiba Corp., he had to ask with a laugh, "Do girls like that really drive you nuts?"
"I guess it wouldn’t bother me if there weren’t so many of them. And the fact that they do it right in front of you…"
"Well, that can’t be helped," Mokuba pointed out.
"I know. But it’s irritating. Would they be talking to me at all if I wasn’t a Kaiba?"
"Of course they would!" Mokuba confidently replied. Noa was highly intelligent, charming and handsome, so of course girls would be attracted, regardless of his family name.
"So you want them to hit on me then??"
Mokuba laughed. "No! But I can’t exactly blame them for it either. You’re just that cute."
Noa just shook his head. He didn’t quite agree. But at least his boyfriend found some amusement in it.
They drove on in relative silence the rest of the way to Kaiba Corp., mentally switching from school mode to work mode as they approached the gleaming building towering over the rest of the business district. On school days they could only put in two, maybe three, hours in at work, so it was important that they were as organized as possible going in. Since Mokuba was driving, Noa even took the opportunity to start checking his emails, mostly to clear out clutter so that he’d be able to jump right in as soon as he sat down at his desk.
The younger Kaiba pulled into the parking structure and immediately noticed Yami’s car parked alongside Seto’s. He couldn’t remember if Yami had said he planned on working at Kaiba Corp. that day, so he made a quick mental note to knock before barging into Seto’s office, just in case.
The pair made their way through the lobby and headed up to the top floor, stopping to check in with Ms. Shiroi, now working as both Noa and Mokuba’s executive assistant. She efficiently doled out whatever required their attention: faxes, mail, messages, then quietly asked, "So… good news?"
Noa’s smile was all she needed as an answer.
She smiled back. "Congratulations, sir."
"So uh… did Seto say he wasn’t to be disturbed?" Mokuba interjected, tripping slightly over the words. It wasn’t the most subtle way to ask, but at least it didn’t sound too obvious either. He looked over at the heavy doors to his big brother’s office, as if he could somehow find an answer in the wood’s grain.
Ms. Shiroi looked at her phone, letting her chin drop down just enough so that her long bangs drifted down to hide her face. "No, he didn’t. You can go right in."
Mokuba nodded his thanks, then followed Noa into Seto’s office. Sure enough both Seto and Yami were in there and thankfully working, though they both stopped to look up and acknowledge the teens as they entered.
Yami had his laptop set up at the smaller project table, and around him were various printouts stacked in haphazard piles. He was dressed a little more formally than usual, wearing a dark purple blazer, black ribbed tee and dark wash jeans – which meant he was there for business, not pleasure. But Noa couldn’t resist opening his mouth anyhow to cheerfully comment, "I’m amazed - you’re both dressed for once!"
Seto frowned at him. "What?"
"I didn’t think you two could be in the same room together for an extended period of time without having se…"
"So, hey, Noa has some good news!" Mokuba quickly interrupted as his big brother began glaring at the green-haired teen for his not-so-innocent observation.
"Is that right? It had better be good news, because I am working," Seto growled. "Like I’ve been all day."
Yami had to bite his tongue on that one. It wasn’t exactly true. But he wasn’t as successful at hiding his smirk.
Luckily, Noa had the good sense to not press his luck any further on that front. So instead he told Seto, "It’s not really a big deal, but I’m the new Junior class president…"
Seto grunted. "Of course you are. I figured that out the moment you sauntered in here like a cat with a canary."
"Don’t say it like that, Seto," Yami chided. He turned to grin at Noa. "Good job, Noa."
"Hn." Seto leaned back slightly and studied the two teens before him. Noa wasn’t a patient person by any means, but he was improving on that front; Seto could only see the barest hint of anxiety in his eyes. Truth be told, he’d only been teasing the green-haired teen in retaliation for his earlier comments, but it was clear to him now, Noa was waiting for his acknowledgement.
The brunette finally relaxed a little more in his chair and said, "The results speak for themselves – you did very well and I’m proud of you. I know you’ve worked hard to make this happen. You both did."
"Thanks, Nii-sama," Mokuba whispered. He’d done what he could to support Noa because he had wanted to, but it still felt good to receive recognition for it.
"Thanks," Noa echoed. But he still didn’t seem completely satisfied for some reason. Seto was about to tell him that he’d only been kidding earlier when Noa sullenly added, "But I might have to cut back on work hours a little." He’d thought about it of course, weighed the pros and cons, talked it over with his family… but now that the election was over, he was having second thoughts. Maybe it hadn’t been such a good idea. They were all busy enough as it was. He could see how much work was on Seto’s desk as well as Yami’s makeshift workstation.
"We’ve already talked about this. You know it’s not a problem. I appreciate your contributions here, but school’s your number one priority, period," Seto replied. "And of course I’m not just talking about grades."
"No buts. I mean it. Don’t second guess yourself, not on something like this."
Seto was so confident in his assurance that Noa couldn’t help but believe him. The younger Kaiba shook his head at his own misgivings before looking back up.
"Well, I’m just glad that it’s over. Not the election, I mean - I knew I had it in the bag," Noa said, sounding much more sure of himself once again. "But I’m just glad I don’t have to waste time and energy campaigning anymore. So now I can just concentrate on doing my job… my jobs, the best I can." He paused, then under his breath mumbled, "And maybe the fangirls will back off a little now…"
"I doubt it. I still get them from time to time," Seto muttered in such a low voice that Noa thought he was hearing things for a moment.
"Me too," Yami confided with a short laugh.
It was funny how Seto could go from calmly admitting that he had female fans to getting all crazy jealous over the idea of Yami having some too. "Wait, what? Who?"
The shorter man shrugged. "I don’t know ‘who.’ It just happens once in a while. It’s more like, ‘Oh, I thought you looked good in this magazine ad…’ not ‘Let’s make babies.’"
Seto’s throat began issuing a low, rumbling, snarling sound.
"Baby, it’s no big deal…"
"Don’t ‘Baby’ me…"
"So… we better get to work," Mokuba interrupted, recognizing the obvious cue to leave. "We just wanted to tell you the news, that’s all."
"And… we’re going now. To our offices," Noa added as he and Mokuba quickly shuffled out the door before shutting it behind them. It was kind of funny seeing Seto get mad at such a silly thing – he knew full well Yami was completely faithful to him – but on the other hand, Noa wondered if Yami secretly liked making Seto jealous.
He glanced over at Mokuba. The black-haired teen had always said he liked Noa for who he was, and that meant jealousy, fangirls and all. But Noa thought maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea for him to work on his jealous streak, just a little. Just so he didn’t come across all crazy like Seto.
And it wasn’t like the fans were going anywhere, if what Seto said was true. Not that Noa hadn’t already found a way to use that to his advantage. He was already thinking of running for Senior class president next year…
* * *
September 23, 2010