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Jounouchi + Kaiba

This is undoubtedly one of the most popular couple in the Japanese fandom. It does have quite a large fanbase here in North America as well. (Yours truly being one. ^________^) For one thing, they make a very attractive-looking couple. Another is that they would be the epitome of a shonen-ai couple, the “stoic and seemingly cold-hearted” type with the “loud-mouthed happy-go-lucky” type.

They’d be the type of couple to fight, fall in love, still fight, and still love each other. Hence I’ve dubbed this relationship as one of “conflict”. They fight like cats and dogs, but sometimes it seems like there’s something more. They’re a lot similar to each other than they would like to think. They’re both very protective older brothers and would do anything for their siblings.

The majority is usually Kaiba as seme and Jounouchi as uke. One being that Kaiba is usually a more aggressive person in general. Of course, there’s also that dream. Kaiba is kind of a control freak…that can be quite the understatement depending on how you see him. This usually results in the bondage/domination type relationship. This can also result in the scary-stalker!Kaiba. Necessary vocabulary? Master and dog.

Then there’s the reverse side, Jounouchi as seme and Kaiba as uke. It’s not as OOC as you would think. The reasoning behind this type is that Kaiba is inept when it comes to dealing with his emotion, especially towards other human beings. Even if he did have feelings, he would never be the one to make the first move. Jounouchi is more open emotionally and doesn’t hesitate to show affection. I personally find this kind of cute. For one thing, Kaiba goes all brain-lock and can’t do anything.

Evidence/Rationale

Episode 17 – Fear! Cry of the Living Dead: I shall quote every Kaijou fan out there when it comes to proving this. The Dream! Yea, that dream from Duelist Kingdom where Kaiba calls Jounouchi a “make inu” (pathetic dog). Then there’s the infamous dub line: “Bow before your master!” This obviously goes to proving the Kaijou factor. What about Joukai?

Episode 27 – Kaiba’s Fall! The Invincible Toon World: Kaiba discards his entire hand and plays directly from his deck. Everyone is momentarily confused by this move but Jounouchi is the first to grasp the reason and motivation behind it.

Episode 89 – Ra’s Wrath. Stand! Jounouchi: Even when it comes to Joukai, I must refer to another dream. This has already been shown in the dub in Canada and we should see it here soon in America. When Jounouchi was dueling against Rishid on the Battle Ship, he was hit by the backlash of the fake Ra card. While he was unconscious he had a dream. The importance of the dream is that it contained some of the most important people in his life and that enabled him to stand up and win the duel. Kaiba makes an appearance in this dream, though he only has one line: “bonkotsu na duelist” (mediocre duelist). This at least proves that Kaiba is an influential part of Jounouchi’s life.

All of Duel World! Okay, maybe my fangirl mind is just over-analyzing. Jounouchi does show concern for Kaiba’s well-being throughout most of the arc. Kaiba’s still an ass to him and Jounouchi’s a bit miffed but he does show some concern.

Manga Volume 23, Chapter 199 – Kaiba rescued Jounouchi when he was dragged down into the ocean in the duel against Yugi! Ok, not “save” per say. He did at least have the decency to drop Jounouchi’s key into the ocean so he might escape. He kind of has that tiny little smirk, bordering on fondness, while he does that. Well, at least it’s better than the Shizuka-plot-device in the anime.

For one thing, if Kaiba thought Jounouchi was so worthless, why does he spend so much time fighting with him? Look at how Kaiba treats the Ghouls, he barely gives them a second glance because they’re “beneath” him. Given his nature, why does he waste so much time on Jounouchi? He should have just ignored Jounouchi and moved on with his life. But he doesn’t.

Possibility

I would like to think this has a big possibility. They do have a lot of chance to interact with each other. Granted that all the evidence above doesn’t necessarily add up to a coupling, but you have to admit it gets you thinking.

The Fandom

Almost all of the fanfiction out there is Kaijou and rarely Joukai. It can be anything from hard yaoi, almost PWP, (where borderline-psycho!Kaiba kidnaps Jounouchi for “training”) to these ultra fluffy OOC pieces where both have always been madly in love with each other and are trying to find a way to reveal that fact to each other. They’ve been done in canon fics and AU (especially vampire ones but those have become quite cliché).

A particularly over-used plot device for this coupling is Jounouchi’s “abusive” father. There is no evidence of this from the manga or the anime but he is known to be a drunk. Apparently drunk fathers = abusive fathers. (I admit to using this plot device in Red as Fire though, but it wasn’t as particularly rampant then.) Kaiba somehow finds out and he goes to play the “knight-in-shining-armor” to Jounouchi’s “damsel-in-distress”. Kaiba takes in Jounouchi, while his dad is taken away and placed in jail. Kaiba, by this time, has either been in love with Jounouchi for a while or is falling in love with him. They then fall madly in love and it ends with some either WAFFy or lemon scene.

My Ideal

Since I cannot speak for everyone, here is how I would imagine their relationship. The first step is that they’d have to realize that there’s more to each other than they originally thought. Jounouchi’s more than just a street punk and Kaiba’s not a cold bastard without good reason. If they could just put aside their differences, they’d see how alike they actually are. This new knowledge could grow into trust and understanding. That doesn’t mean they’d stop fighting with each other though. They’re both as stubborn as mules and wouldn’t be caught dead even looking at each other because of their pride. There’d be a lot of quiet glances snuck at each other, not dreamily but maybe more wistful and definitely curious. Only at this point could they even begin to fall in love. They’d go through hell and back for each other but would deny it with venom. It’d be a turbulent climb uphill but when they make it, a solid relationship would be forged and each of them will have been changed by these experiences.

Must Reads

Being Dead Ain’t Easy by D. Draggy – Superb first person narration and characterization of Joey. The plot is definitely original. If you’re looking for a lot of action between between the two, you might be disappointed. This is a fic of the more subtle nature. It focuses more on the beginning developments of a relationship. (Complete)

Chronicles by Artemis Zephyr – This is a collection of songfics that follow the development of Jounouchi’s and Kaiba’s relationship. It’s written in either Jounouchi’s or Kaiba’s POV for the chapter. There is implied yaoi/sex and can get steamy (but that’s how we like it *winks*). (On-going)

Obeah by ShannonL – (On-going)