Title: Summer of ‘69
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. The Hot Generation is a film by Paul Witzig. "Jealousy" is performed and recorded by Queen. This is a not-for-profit fanwork and I do not own any of these characters.
Summary: "Gotta hold of my possessive mind, Turned me into a jealous kind"
Archived at: http://www.phenixsol.com/Miko/FF/
* * *
Summer of '69
Ch. 4: The Hot Generation
* * *
Oh jealousy, you tripped me up
Jealousy you brought me down
You bring me sorrow, you cause me pain
Jealousy when will you let go?
Gotta hold of my possessive mind
Turned me into a jealous kind
- "Jealousy", Queen
* * *
"Man, you really had me fooled," Jou was saying as he and Sugoroku left the dueling platform. He was, admittedly… a little embarrassed. He should’ve known it was Sugoroku he had been dueling. It wasn’t like his disguise was that great. But… it really, truly hadn’t occurred to him! And now, he felt bad for not figuring it out. Everyone else obviously knew.
The elderly game shop owner chuckled. "Yes, maybe I should go incognito more often!" For someone who had just lost an internationally televised duel, he seemed awfully cheerful.
But Jou thought maybe he ought to feel bad for beating him, too. Sugoroku was in many ways, not only a teacher, but like a grandfather to him as well. How many times during his teen years had he hung out at the shop just to avoid going home and having to deal with his dad? And Sugoroku had not only tolerated him – he had fed him, invited him to stay over when he needed to, and even helped him improve his dueling techniques.
"What’s wrong, Jou?" Yugi asked kindly, seeing the uncertain look on his friend’s face.
"Nah, it’s nuthin’… well, it's just that I feel bad for trash talkin’ during the duel. And fer maybe sorta using what I learned from your grandfather against him."
Yugi hung back with Jou as their friends moved off in clumps, chatting excitedly. That was what he liked about Jou… he was a good guy. He really was bothered by the fact that he had beaten his mentor. But he was taking it the wrong way.
"Listen, Jou… you saw Jii-chan’s face during the duel, right? And you see how he is now? He had a great time. Sure, he would’ve liked to win, but for him… this really was about having fun. And he got to play a card that he’d never played before. I’ll bet he’s more happy about that than anything else."
After a minute's consideration, Jou admitted, "Yeah… I guess you’re right." Then he threw his head back and laughed. "Man, I feel a lot better about it…"
"Good! Because I know he wouldn't want to see you moping after winning a spot to advance in the tournament!"
Then Rebecca suddenly interrupted the conversation, dropping back from walking beside her grandfather in favor of talking to Yugi. "Hey, Yugi, you’re going to come cheer me on at my duel, right?"
"Your duel?" Jou asked.
She pouted slightly. "Duh. Mokuba just announced that I’ll be dueling Miss Vi~iiiv in a matter of minutes," she said, drawing out the other duelist’s name in a mocking voice. "Weren’t you guys paying any attention?"
"Sure, we’ll be there," Anzu answered for the pair as she wandered over to join her boyfriend, making a point to grab onto Yugi’s hand, reminding the younger girl that the spiky-haired duelist was taken.
Rebecca’s eyes narrowed slightly at the sight, but she pasted a smile back on her face after a moment. "Oh, great!" she gushed, her voice devoid of any real enthusiasm. Then as if someone had flipped a switch, she suddenly giggled and ran off to join Mokuba.
"What’s with her?" Jou inquired. Even he couldn’t help noticing the way she was now playfully teasing a rather baffled looking Mokuba.
Anzu didn’t say anything, but she was certain she knew what Rebecca was trying to do. That was why when had Noa approached her, she had agreed to have a "girl talk" with Rebecca. But contrary to Noa’s concerns, the bespectacled blonde wasn’t interested in Mokuba at all, not that Noa could see that past his jealousy. She was just flirting with the youngest Kaiba in a misguided attempt to make Yugi jealous, not realizing that she was drawing attention, and the wrong sort of attention at that, from the wrong parties.
Love’s such a complicated thing, the brunette thought to herself. Sure, Rebecca was getting on her nerves at the moment, but Anzu could sympathize with the younger girl; after all, she used to have a crush on Yami, and look at how that had turned out! She almost wished someone had sat her down back then and informed her that she had no chance, that Yami just wasn't interested in girls, rather than have had the rug pulled out from under her as she watched Seto and Yami drive off into the night.
At the same time, she could sympathize with Noa too. Although Noa most likely wasn’t aware of it, Yugi had confided in her and quietly informed her of the rather… unique situation in the Kaiba household. He’d been a little bothered by it and needed someone to talk to since Yami didn’t seem to think there was anything wrong with it. Anzu herself still wasn’t sure what exactly to think of Noa and Mokuba’s relationship, but she definitely could understand how… *irritating* it was to see someone making passes at your boyfriend. Even she understood what it meant to be jealous. And it had to be even harder for someone as quick-tempered as Noa to bite his tongue on the matter, because no matter how he felt, he couldn’t risk anyone finding out what his true motivation was. So for those reasons, she agreed to step in.
She really hoped Rebecca would understand what she had to say to her. And even if she didn’t… Anzu couldn’t really hate her anyway. At least she had good taste in men.
* * *
Leon grinned lopsidedly as he deactivated his Duel Disk, his face flushed with victory. Behind him, his opponent dramatically bemoaned his loss while being attended to by his… nurses? Were those really nurses? Hell, was the man really a doctor? Duel Monsters certainly had a knack for attracting some really odd characters…
"Congratulations," Noa said curtly, approaching Leon as he headed for the exit of the Dragon’s Lair Flume ride.
A sheepish smile appeared on Noa’s face as he realized how short he’d sounded. "Sorry, kinda trying to do multiple things at once here," he explained, closing his laptop for the moment to shake Leon’s hand.
Leon accepted, and smiled. "Yeah, I can imagine… you must be super busy."
"You don’t know the half of it." Noa flipped open his computer again, then after a few quick keystrokes, said aloud, "Damn, I need to start heading over for the next match – Detective Paul McGregor versus Shane Jordan. Meh."
"Mm." Leon hesitated a moment, then asked, "Can I come along? I’d like to watch too, if that’s okay."
"I don’t see why not. You can do pretty much whatever you want between duels, just keep your hands and feet inside the car at all times, stay seated while the ride is moving, don’t feed the fake sharks, don’t make fun of Seto to his face, don’t hack, main or torture the card database, blah blah blah," the green-haired teen mumbled as he tried to balance walking with working on his computer.
Leon laughed. The dueling location that they were now leaving had been rather close to some speakers set up for the flume ride, and throughout his duel, they could hear the repetitive safety announcements for passengers boarding the ride. At least he wasn’t the only one to have noticed. But Noa had inadvertently revealed something… intriguing. "Hacking? Was that why that dueling computer went nuts yesterday?" Leon asked innocently.
Noa grimaced slightly. He shouldn’t have said anything about that, but since that was what his attention had been focused on… "I forgot, you were there too… But, we have it under control now. No one gets past my firewalls," Noa bragged.
"Oh, that’s good."
They fell into silence as they continued on towards the Racing Rockets ride, which would be hosting the next duel. Leon found himself scrounging for some excuse to make conversation. Noa was apparently happy to have his face buried in his computer, so he wouldn’t be initiating anything anytime soon…
It’s not like I can come out and say, "So, tell me more about your firewalls. Hey, while you’re at it, give me all your passwords too." Leon groaned to himself. He had known what he was getting himself into, but that didn’t mean he had to like it. But still, he knew why it had to be done, and he had agreed to it, and here he was with Noa Kaiba, and he knew he ought to be taking advantage of it… Gosh, just think of something! he yelled at himself. "Um, so… you like Duel Monsters?" he finally managed to ask.
"Huh?" Noa looked up for a moment. "Me?"
"Yeah. I mean, you are officiating these matches. Can’t imagine why you’d do it if you didn’t like the game."
Noa shrugged, then looked around to see if he could spot either of the scheduled duelists. But since they weren’t there yet, he figured it would be okay to sit down for a moment.
Carefully balancing the laptop on one thigh, he gestured at the spot next to him on the metal bench, then told Leon, "It’s okay. I like it well enough, and I duel with my friends sometimes. I’m pretty good at it actually; I bet I could beat the pants off most the competitors here… not to say that you suck or anything," he added lamely upon seeing the amused look on the redhead’s face.
"So why aren’t you dueling then? Or are you not allowed, since you work for Kaiba Corp.?"
Noa gave a short snort. "I don’t work for Kaiba Corp.," he said curtly.
"Oh." He must’ve hit a nerve there. "Would you want to?"
Noa didn’t answer for a moment, apparently not liking the direction the conversation was headed in. When he finally spoke again, he backtracked and answered the other question. "I’m not dueling because it’s not really my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I did consider it, but… there was so much speculation that this tournament was being held for the benefit of Mokuba and myself, as a launching pad for our dueling careers… and that drove me crazy! We got tired of being compared to Yami and Seto, so that was that."
"I can understand that," Leon said sincerely. Noa wasn’t really anything like he expected. He thought he’d be nothing more than a cocky brat, at least that’s what his brother had surmised. But… in a way, he and Noa were a lot alike. It made it easier to talk to him. Cautiously, he added, "I have a big brother who’s the toast of my family. He’s super smart… a genius actually, and well… then there’s me."
"Don’t sell yourself short. You got a spot in the tournament, so you must’ve been doing pretty well. I heard that you’re undefeated, actually…"
Leon blushed a little. "Yeah. I wish people would stop fixating on that though. Everyone loses eventually."
Noa just shrugged. Even if it was the truth, it wasn’t very reassuring to tell someone, "Don’t worry, you’ll lose soon enough and then you won’t have to worry about it anymore!" But he wasn’t sure what else he could say. Luckily, he was saved from having to answer by the arrival of the one of the duelists, Shane Jordan.
Leon watched silently as Noa closed his laptop and stood up to greet the cowboy duelist. He recognized that the conversation was over for now, and it almost made him sad as he had been enjoying it, but… there was no time to think about that. He had a lot to tell his brother. He just hoped that some of the information would prove useful.
* * *
As much as Seto enjoyed having Yami close to him, he finally had to concede that it was very difficult – okay, nearly impossible - to type with a body pinning him down to his chair, no matter how sexy that body was. So reluctantly, he picked up his lover and moved him over to the leather sofa that sat against the wall, taking care to tuck a blanket around him. It bothered him that Yami didn’t stir at all throughout the process, but a quick physical and mental check didn’t turn up anything unusual. Yami’s breathing was even, his pulse strong, his dreaming mind placid and serene. He was just very deeply asleep, apparently.
Well, so far, it’s working better than I’d hoped, Seto thought to himself. His headache was nearly gone and his muscles no longer felt weak and watery. The keyboard no longer appealed to him as a makeshift pillow. He felt like he could do ten things at once with all the energy he had. Okay, maybe that was overly optimistic, but it certainly didn’t stop him from trying. In between continued adjustments to his anti-viral programs and running a second complete data backup, he was going through each duelist’s application with a careful eye, ordering background checks and getting verification on even the most minute detail. On the widescreen on the far wall, he was even able to keep an eye on the security center as they screened images from the cameras dotting the park, as well as watch the duels taking place on park grounds. The second round of preliminaries were just getting started now.
It did surprise him a little that Jou had beaten Sugoroku to advance to the semifinals. Not that he thought the blonde was completely incompetent as a duelist – though of course he’d never admit to that – but the old man should’ve been better. Seto was a little disappointed… what was the point of entering a tournament if you weren’t going to give it your all? It just seemed to him that maybe Sugoroku went easy on Jou because he felt sorry for him or something, or maybe he’d been too obsessed with summoning his Ancient Dragon to duel effectively.
Seto shook his head. Since neither he nor Yami were participating, he supposed it didn’t really matter who dueled whom or who beat whom as long as the viewing public were happy with what they were seeing. But then again, he didn’t have much faith in the public’s perception of "quality" entertainment. People were so fickle, so ready to discard their old heroes to embrace the next rising star of the dueling world… did they really prefer seeing duelists that were all flash and pizzazz over substance? He didn’t mean to be so bitter about it – after all, the tournament was looking like a huge success – but he hated that in the end, the best result that he could hope for was that Yugi would retain his title, because certainly there weren’t many other high caliber participants in the tournament.
Maybe he should have entered, as Yami had suggested months ago. But he knew even back then that he wouldn’t have the time for it. Considering how things were going now with the hacker situation and all, it seemed like a wise decision, and he was glad he went that route.
And yet… something had told him that he ought to bring his deck with him to America, and so he had. It had been sitting for months now in one of his desk drawers, half forgotten. So why was he now unlocking and opening the drawer, fingering the familiar stack of cards as if they were trying to tell him something?
Abruptly, he withdrew his hand and angrily slammed the drawer shut. He didn’t have time to think about games… he had a ton of work to do and the perfect opportunity to get most of it done. Whatever it was that was niggling at him would have to wait until later.
* * *
Over at the Blue Eyes White Dragon Train Station, site of Rebecca and Vivian’s duel, Anzu had her hands full of a problem of a different nature. She and the others were standing on the bridge overlooking the station, watching as the duel below unfolded. Vivian had her Dragon Lady on the field, facing off against Rebecca’s Fire Princess and Injection Fairy Lily. The duel had been pretty exciting thus far, but there was something unusual going on, something that wasn’t part of most duels. The two ladies were showing off… for Yugi.
Perhaps "showing off" was too mild a description for it. Vivian was bouncing around like a hyperactive kangaroo, winking at Yugi every now and then. She must’ve figured that she had zero chance with Seto and Yami, so she was now setting her sights solely on Yugi, ignoring the fact that he already had a girlfriend. Rebecca was only moderately better, furtively stealing glances up at the group, smiling when Yugi’s eyes fell on her…
Anzu was a bit miffed; she couldn’t help it. But Yugi was standing right alongside her, his arm resting comfortably around her waist, his cheek gently pressing against her shoulder every now and then. Even as he cheered encouragement to Rebecca and bantered with Jou, Honda, Otogi, Malik and Valon, he never left her side and never let go. It was nice, and more importantly, it was reassuring, especially after what had happened at the tournament registration party. Not that Anzu really thought that Yugi would’ve run off with Vivian or anything, but she hadn’t been happy about it, and so even though it hadn't been his fault, Yugi had apologized for what had happened anyway. That was just the kind of guy he was. No wonder he had other girls after him!
She wondered how Rebecca would react to what she needed to tell her. And she wondered when she should do it. After the duel perhaps, though that depended on the result… If Rebecca won and progressed to the quarterfinals, Anzu figured she should hold off on talking to her since it’d be mean to distract her while she was trying to mentally prep for her next duel. After all, she did consider Rebecca a friend, and she really did want to see her perform well in the tournament.
"So, any last words, Viv? ‘Cause this duel is about to end," Rebecca was saying with confidencey. Anzu could see her sneaking yet another glance at Yugi, and mentally groaned. "First, thanks to Marie the Fallen One, my life points increase by 200, so now I’m at 700. Next, Fire Princess’ special effect kicks in, reducing your life points by 500…"
"I may only have 400 life points left, but you still don’t have anything that can beat my Dragon Lady!" Vivian haughtily reminded her opponent.
"You didn’t let me finish! Next, I’ll sacrifice my Fire Princess and Injection Fairy Lily to summon Guardian Angel Joan."
Vivian’s eyes widened at Guardian Angel Joan’s 2800 attack points, but then she made a quick mental calculation and let out a short laugh. "Even if you destroy Dragon Lady, I’ll still have enough life points left to make a comeback!"
Rebecca smirked. "Not quite. Because now I play the magic card Silent Doom, which lets me bring back one monster from the graveyard in defense mode, and I choose Fire Princess! And did I forget to mention? Guardian Angel Joan’s special effect raises my life points by the attack of the monster she destroys!"
"Oh… oh no!" Vivian gasped as she realized the implication of that.
Inwardly, Rebecca was doing backflips. She knew Yugi was watching her, and she bet he was impressed by her strategic dueling techniques. She could hardly wait to ask him what he thought… "Now go, Guardian Angel Joan, attack her Dragon Lady!"
The holograms clashed in combat, and Rebecca’s monster defeated her opponent, bringing Vivian to the brink of losing with only 100 life points, which were immediately lost as Fire Princess’ special effect triggered yet again.
"Yes!!!" While Rebecca jumped up and down in joy, Vivian sank to her knees, stunned that she had just lost an important duel to a young teen. Worse yet, she had lost in front of the world champion, several renowned duelists, the game creator himself... and an international television audience! Oooh, she was so mad!
"This isn’t over!" Vivian yelled, stomping her foot in frustration. Okay, so maybe it was over. For the moment. But the next time they faced off, she’d show that blonde brat a thing or two!
"Whatever, Viii~iiv!" Rebecca shouted back, sticking her tongue out at the woman before running up the stairs to the bridge above to look for her darling Yugi. She was certain that he’d be impressed with her dueling prowess. Did you see what I just did, Yugi? Viv didn’t even stand a chance! Rebecca thought to herself, almost giggling out loud in her glee.
But when Rebecca finally rejoined her friends, her euphoric mood soured a little. Yes, Yugi was smiling at her and congratulating her, but he had Anzu by his side. And he was holding her hand. Rebecca didn’t get it, she really didn’t. Why Anzu? Sure, the other girl at least knew the difference between a magic card and a trap card, but she wasn’t really a duelist, and she certainly didn’t play at the level that Yugi did. And while the other girl wasn’t stupid, Rebecca was certain her IQ was much higher. So what was it about Anzu that Yugi liked so much? Was she more fun to be with, or did he just think she was prettier with that dancer’s body, or…?
With a small shake of her head to clear her mind of unprofitable thoughts, Rebecca went and turned her attention to Mokuba instead, flashing a big smile at him and reaching out for his hand while subtly keeping an eye on Yugi. Yup, there it was again… her violet-eyed dream man was staring at her once more. She bet it was just driving Yugi nuts to know that here she was, the perfect girlfriend, paying so much attention to Mokuba and practically ignoring him. If she could just keep it going a little longer, Yugi would come around. He’d see that he was really missing out on a great opportunity and ask her out, and then everything would be just wonderful.
* * *
As busy as Seto was with work, he managed to keep one eye on the screen mounted to the wall. Try as he might, he couldn’t resist watching the duels taking place, analyzing them, turning them over in his head... Boy, he had seen some really amateurish mistakes – what was Dr. Goat thinking, playing his Blue Medicine magic card at such a crucial point in his match? No wonder he lost… he practically handed victory to Leon on a silver platter. Anyone who wasn’t going to play to the utmost of their abilities deserved to lose.
He had watched Rebecca beat Vivian, and Paul McGregor triumph over Shane Jordan. Now Sieg Lloyd was up, facing off against Fortune Salim while Noa observed from the sidelines, cautious alertness etched onto his face. Seto’s eyes focused sharply on the screen. This was a match he had to watch, and luckily, it had just begun…
"What the hell?!" Seto yelled, leaping to his feet so suddenly that his chair rocked back from his desk. There was no way that just happened…
Sieg had just won. In a single turn. In disbelief, the young billionaire rubbed at his eyes, certain that he was hallucinating, but when he looked again, sure enough, the smug German was smirking at the camera, blowing kisses at it, rubbing his win in Seto's face as a stunned Noa stuttered his way through announcing the official result. The winner was… Sieg Lloyd.
Pissed off didn’t even begin to describe Seto’s mood. Here he was, stressed out and struggling to keep everything going smoothly so that all the park's guests and television viewers would have a good time, and not only was this jerk out to ruin him, unraveling all his hard work, but now he was showboating too?!
"FUCK!" he screamed, all thoughts of programming and data management temporarily forgotten. All he wanted to do was rush down there and knock the smile off that bastard’s face with his fists. It didn’t matter what kind of duelist he was, or how talented a hacker he was… Seto bet he could turn the guy into mincemeat in under a minute. Fists clenched, he sidled by his desk and began stomping towards the door, but before he had made it more than a few feet, a soft noise caught his attention.
Yami? The crimson-eyed man was still asleep despite the ruckus, but he had rolled over with a groan and was frowning now in his sleep, as if he disapproved of what Seto had been planning to do.
Suddenly feeling guilty, the brunette closed his eyes and took a deep breath and tried to will himself to calm down. It’s not worth it… it’s not worth it to kill someone on live television… Yami wouldn’t like that, he told himself. He wasn’t sure if it was working though. He only felt marginally better.
"Need to think of something… to take my mind off this shit," Seto mumbled to himself. At least his feet were carrying him back to his desk, which was a good thing. He sat down, intending to get some more work done, but he literally couldn’t concentrate. All he could think of was that bastard grinning at the camera, revelling in his victory as if the tournament was all about him. Well, it wasn't! This was the KAIBA Corp. Grand Prix, not... Sieg Lloyd's Grand Prix! Seto needed to do something to distract himself, anything… and then he thought of something that just might prove to be useful after all…
Slowly, Seto reach for the drawer that he had just slammed shut a short time prior, and pulled out his cards. This was why I brought them with me, isn’t it? he found himself wondering as he pulled all three Blue Eyes White Dragons from the stack without even having to look. He had always wondered how he managed to do that, but at the same time, he accepted it as confirmation of what he was beginning to suspect. If Sieg liked playing games so much, Seto would have to get involved sooner or later. It should have made him mad, but… it excited him too.
He wasn’t the King of Games, but if Yami and Yugi were right about what they’d been saying for years, there was something to be said about stopping and listening to what the cards were trying to say. And he had always believed in his dragons. So against his better judgement, he spread out the remaining cards face down on his desk, took a deep breath, and let his Blue Eyes guide him in gathering 37 more cards to complete the deck.
* * *
February 2, 2007