|The One Friend of Seto Kaiba
Author: Z.Quill PM
When a too-good-to-be-true new girl arrives in Domino, Kaiba decides that being alone is no longer for him. But, Yami can't get the thought that something's wrong with this perfect girl out of his head and that she poses a threat to them all.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Romance - Seto K. & Kisara - Chapters: 17 - Words: 91,871 - Reviews: 132 - Favs: 61 - Follows: 68 - Updated: 12-21-12 - Published: 05-08-10 - id: 5955111
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Yugi Moto was looking over his latest French II assignment, double-checking for errors, when Joey leaped on him.
"Hey, guess what, Yug!" he asked him as he put the kid in a headlock.
"What, Joey?" Yugi barely managed to rasp out. Joey released him before moving around to the front of his desk and slamming his hands down on Yugi's homework.
"We're getting a new kid!" Joey exclaimed exuberantly.
Yugi stared at him for a moment, pausing in his attempt to free his captive homework. "What? How do you know?"
"'Cause we saw her, that's how," Tristan interjected as he came in and sat to the right of Yugi. "She was real cute, too. Big blue eyes… long legs… kind of tall for a girl." Tristan sighed as he stared off into space, a small goofy grin on his face. He came back to earth with a shake of his head. "A bit pale, though."
"Really pale, ya mean," Joey corrected. "And, what was wit' dat monstrous hat on her head? It's like she was wearing a dead animal!"
"Wait, who was wearing a dead animal?" Tea had just arrived. She sat down to Yugi's left, giving him a smile before replacing it with a somewhat disgusted look from what she'd heard of the conversation.
"The new girl, apparently," Bakura said from where he'd been listening in from behind Tristan. Lord only knew when he'd gotten there.
"Yeah, ya couldn't see any of her hair under the great furry thing… Maybe she's bald," Joey wondered aloud, tapping his chin contemplatively.
"She's not bald!" shouted an enraged Tristan, drawing most of the class's attention to him.
"Maybe not. All I'm sayin' is that she could be bald, and we would never know it 'cause of da hat!" Joey shot back. "Jeez, Tristan. How long did it take ya to form a crush on her anyway? Two seconds? You just need ta chill a bit." He added in a whisper, "Especially when she might be bald."
"Uh, maybe you guys should save this argument for later, huh? Class is about to start soon anyway," Yugi put in.
"Meh," Joey said, taking his seat behind Yugi. "Well, you'll see her soon enough. The principal said he was gonna put her in our homeroom, so she should be here any second now. And, then you can see what I mean 'bout da hat," he whispered the last part conspiratorially to Yugi.
"Was it really that bad, Joey?" Yugi whispered back. From what Joey had said, it sounded as if the new girl was wearing a deceased badger on her head.
"Well, not really, I guess," Joey confessed. "Eh, maybe I exaggerated a bit." He leaned back in his desk, putting his arms behind his head, and ending the whispered conversation.
Joey tends to exaggerate a lot, Yami commented.
Yeah, I know. But, he means well, Yugi defended his friend. Usually, he added with a wince.
So, what's the big deal about there being a new girl? Never minding the hat.
Yugi smiled at the mild joke as he answered through the mind link. In a bigger school it might not be a big deal, but there are so few of us here that we all know each other already. When some kid comes along, whom we know nothing about, that person is all—
— Shiny and new and ready to be played with? the Pharaoh guessed.
Yeah. It's probably harder to be shiny and new in a small school than in a big one. We've already started obsessing on her and we haven't even seen her yet.
I get your point. But, what's so difficult about it all? You're all just here to learn.
Not exactly. Yugi was biting his lower lip now. All the socializing we do here can have a huge effect on what we're like when interacting with others as adults. And, even if it doesn't affect us then, whatever we do now is going to affect us now. One social faux pas when you're a freshman can practically turn you into an exile for the next four years of your life. It's kind of scary when you don't have friends who you know will back you up.
I'm starting to feel sorry for the new girl, Yami admitted.
Me, too. Just sitting in the wrong place during class or in the cafeteria could ruin you in a second.
So, everyone in this class sits near the front for the most part. If she chose to sit in the back…?
Something like that, only… Yugi hazarded a glance towards the back of the room. It's still a bit more complicated.
It was true that the back rows were primarily empty, but there was a pretty damn good reason for that.
Seto Kaiba sat in the back row, right in the bloody center of it. If you sat back there, within two desks of any direction of the guy, it wasn't so much you're social standing that would be in jeopardy, but more like your entire frickin' existence.
Seto Kaiba had made it obvious to the school that he wasn't a people person. That was why he reigned in the back row in most of his classes, why he had no lab or gym partners, and why he had a whole lunch table all to himself. No one wanted to tangle with him.
Yugi watched Kaiba as he read a small paperback at his lonesome island of a desk. He had a feeling that school wasn't so much the taxing event for Kaiba that it was for everyone else, but more of a place where Kaiba actually got to relax from the stresses of being the eighteen-year-old president of his own company. At least, that is, when he wasn't skipping class to literally take care of business, or doing Kaiba Corp. work right there in class on his laptop.
Kaiba just glided through all of his courses from Senior Gym to all the Honors and AP classes he took and could have practically taught himself. Yugi knew that Kaiba already had a GED, and there were rumors that he was in the process of getting two degrees online and already had one in Business. So, it puzzled him, as well as the rest of the gang, as to why someone with Kaiba's intelligence, genius really, and with all his supposed accomplishments, would go to an average high school.
I guess it's one of the great mysteries of life why Kaiba doesn't just say to hell with all of this, the Pharaoh teased.
Yami, please don't cuss in my head. Yugi heard the Pharaoh's distant, ghostly laughter as he retreated from Yugi's mind and back into the Millennium Puzzle.
When Yugi refocused on his surroundings, he focused his attention on where the new girl would probably sit. The front row was already filled, with Tristan, Tea, and himself filling up the middle three seats, and two others in the seats on either side of them. The desks were set up in a five by five square, the first and third row completely filled, a couple spaces left in the second row, to the left of Joey and the right of Bakura, only two people on the outsides of the fourth row, and only Kaiba in the back. Behind Tea was his best guess for where the new girl would sit; it was an obvious choice, easy to get to, in the center of the room, and he'd make sure that the gang all acted friendly so that the new girl wouldn't feel completely like an outsider.
Now that he'd settled that, he felt he could get back to rechecking his French assignment, after he smoothed out all the wrinkles Joey had got in it. He loved Joey like a brother, but sometimes his unintentional penchant for havoc was just too much. But, he'd still put up with it, as well as with Joey putting his feet through the back of Yugi's seat, like he was doing now, since they were best friends.
The bell rang then, putting a stop to Yugi's obsessive answer checking. Yugi sighed. They were all probably right anyway. At least, that's what he hoped. Even though it was his second year of it, he just didn't get French. That was why he devoted so much more studying to it than any of his other subjects. He in all likelihood could have kept going over it since their teacher, Ms. Liddy, was just now walking into the room, barely balancing on her high heels and holding a giant stack of unorganized files and papers in both arms, with a cup of coffee balancing on top. Yugi just about keeled over at the thought of there being any of his papers in that stack that could quite easily become doused in steaming hot coffee.
"Would you like any help, Ms. Liddy?" asked Tristan in an excited, almost sickly sweet way. He stood up in preparation. Yes! Help her, please! Yugi thought. He didn't care that Tristan was only offering because he had a crush on the teacher, he just wanted the tottering youngish woman to unhand his precious, clean papers.
"No, thank you, Tristan. I can manage, I think," she replied with a tinkling laugh. Yugi just about burst out crying. As can be seen, Yugi was somewhat of a perfectionist with his schoolwork, and he didn't want his perfection ruined by a cup of freaking coffee! He was so focused that he didn't even notice Tristan's crestfallen expression as he sat back down into a caved-in slouch.
With bated breath, Yugi watched as Ms. Liddy finally set the papers down and removed the coffee from the stack. He let out a huge sigh of relief, not seeing the weirded-out look Joey gave to the back of his head.
Kid needs ta learn ta relax a bit, Joey thought.
And, Yugi really was a kid. He was the youngest in this class, only a sophomore, lead by Bakura and a few others who were juniors, and then the rest of the class was filled with seniors. The school ran its classes in a really weird way that made this possible, since neither Yugi nor Bakura were truly smart enough to get into a class with seniors. Not that they were stupid.
First period was a bit of a free for all, with kids basically doing whatever they wanted as long as they weren't out wandering the halls or smoking in the bathrooms or leaving campus or whatever. The students, no matter what their grade or skill level, who needed help with or enjoyed certain areas, would sign up for a specific teacher, depending on the subject they taught, at the beginning of the year, which they could change after each quarter if they wanted in order to get the help they needed. Ms. Liddy's first period class was for the kids who didn't really have a subject they especially exceeded or failed in. This was considered their homeroom, which was basically a study hall for them.
After having most of the class eavesdropping on Joey's new kid speech, they were all wondering when said new kid was going to arrive. Except Kaiba, who had been listening in, but didn't feel the need to give it more thought than that. It was just a new kid. And, Kaiba had been doubling his efforts to ignore the geek squad and keep their ever-issuing, if tentative, proposals of friendship from being extended. They should know by know that that sort of thing just wasn't for him, and it was getting tedious having to shut them down all the time. He had better things to do.
"Dang it, where is she?" Joey muttered. "I know I heard the principal talkin' about puttin' her in this class."
"Maybe she's lost or had some paperwork to fill out," Tea suggested.
"Maybe," Joey grumbled, pulling his feet out of Yugi's desk and slouching forward with his head balanced on his fist, a glum expression on his face.
"Okey dokey, class," Ms. Liddy started up. This was different; she rarely made announcements. Basically, as long as they kept it to a dull roar, they could do whatever the heck they wanted during this time. "For those of you who don't know yet, everyone in the school is going to be expected to—" she was interrupted by groans, "—I know I know. But, you're all going to be expected to read at least one of the essays you've written in an English class this or last year out loud sometime this week. You get to do it in here, so don't worry about it being a big production. Just choose an essay that you're proud, or, at least, not too ashamed of, read it, and sit back down. It doesn't really matter if it's good or not, all I have to mark down is that you did read. There, is that better?" she questioned cheerfully. There were a few mumbles of consent. "Good. Now, —"
She was interrupted by a light knocking at the door. Immediately it was obvious that this had been the girl that Joey and Tristan were talking about. Yugi barely even noticed the floppy, black, faux fur hat she had on. What attracted his attention the most was the vibe of vulnerability she was putting off.
"H-Hello, I'm the… the new kid," the girl admitted.
She was the epitome of the word 'demure'. Her eyes were downcast, head slightly bowed, her voice was soft, and her hands were clasped in front of her. No one was able to notice the eyes, the voice, or the hands, or really anything about her, except for the vibe. High school really was a place where anarchy and hegemony ruled, and this girl was just begging to be jumped on… or, protected. But, protection, and the nobility it required, really wasn't really something that could be found easily among teenagers. Everyone in the room, whether with pity or malicious glee, was analyzing how easy it would be to dominate over the girl.
Except for one person.
They were all broken out of their trance by the sudden sound of the paperback Kaiba had been reading forcefully slapping against the surface of his desk, effectively bringing them back to their senses. No one looked back at the source of the sound or questioned why it had been made. Even the new girl didn't lift her eyes to see what the cause of it was. It was as if she already knew the unspoken rule to take no notice of what Kaiba did, for her own good.
Ms. Liddy took action. "Come on in! What's your name? Where are you from?" The teacher's exuberance seemed to put the new girl off, like she was afraid of being attacked by the exceptionally friendly teacher. Kaiba glared at the teacher, keeping watch on her, before pretending to go back to his book, really keeping an ear tuned to what was going on around him, annoyed that he had to.
"I'm Kisara Belikova. I'm from Russia."
"Russia," Bakura muttered. He felt as if he knew the girl.
"Oh, how marvelous that you've come all that way! I'm Ms. Liddy." She might have run across the room to greet the girl if it weren't for her wobbly high heels. She and Kisara met halfway across the room and shook hands. Yugi noticed she had lovely, slim hands, and a very graceful walk. Then, he turned his attention to the really pretty cool hat since he knew Joey would probably question him if he had noticed it later.
"It's very nice to meet you, Ki- Ki-… Kee-sarah?"
"Kisara," the new girl, Kisara, repeated. The way she said it the 'r' was rolled, almost into a purr, and the 'ki' was fast with little emphasis on the 'i', the 'sar' was drawn out a slight bit, and the final 'a' was just a gentle 'uh' at the end of her name.
"Oh, uh, well…" Ms. Liddy went on. "Like I said, it's very nice to meet you… But, I'm afraid this school has a no hat policy that's pretty strictly kept."
Go Ms. Liddy! Joey thought, an expectant grin on his face. Yugi felt warm breath on the back of his neck from Joey leaning so far forward in anticipation.
A slight wince passed over the new girl's face. She hesitantly put a hand to her hat and paused it there, the action begging Ms. Liddy not to make her take it off.
"Sorry, dear," Ms. Liddy said, feeling sympathy for the poor, fragile new girl. "But, it's a rule, and if I don't make you follow it, someone else will."
The girl nodded, squeezed her eyes shut, and then pulled the hat off in a quick drag of her wrist.
The hair that came tumbling out was pure white, hung almost to her knees, and was completely and smoothly straight, despite being confined in the hat. It flashed as it tumbled down in the light, making it seem almost metallic, while the obvious softness encouraged the idea of silk. Everyone was breathless. Even Kaiba had slightly widened eyes at the display the new girl presented, but, for some reason, he didn't feel surprised… just a sense of recognition that went deeper than it should have.
"Now I know you!" Bakura practically shouted. "You're Kitty! Kitty Belle!"
The girl inclined her head, causing the waves of hair to shift and shimmer. She didn't seem happy about being "discovered."
"Oh, wow. It's great to meet you," Bakura continued, an enraptured smile on his cherubic face. "You're just… yeah, you're so cool."
"Thanks," the girl mumbled. She was trying to tuck the hat into her jacket pocket, but the material was slick and it just kept slipping out. She turned her slightly blushing face back to Ms. Liddy in a half-hearted attempt to forestall the onslaught she knew was coming. "I heard you talking about that school-wide project, or something. I don't have any essays here, so, uh…" Her voice was as gentle as a feather brushing against your skin, but it trembled.
"Yes, right… Let's work something out," Ms. Liddy haltingly proposed. She was completely fascinated by the dazzling hair of her new student. She cleared her throat. "Olivia, could you please close the shades for me?" she asked the student on the other side of the empty desk by Joey, who obliged. "Thank you."
With the shades covering the windows, Kisara's hair wasn't as blindingly reflective, but it was still one of the coolest things that the class had ever seen. She and Ms. Liddy went over to the teacher's desk to discuss
"I wish my hair was like that," Yugi heard Tea breathe to herself.
"So, spill, Bakura. Who is she?" Joey asked, leaning across the aisle.
Bakura tore his eyes from the new girl to give Joey a disbelieving look. "You were one of the finalists in Duelist Kingdom, Battle City, and the KC Grand Prix, and you don't know who Kitty Belle is?"
"Uh, no?" Joey responded, a completely confounded look on his face. "Why? Should I know her?"
"It's no wonder no one takes you seriously as a duelist, Joey! Yugi, tell me you know," Bakura pleaded, turning to Yugi and ignoring the murderous look that Joey had put on for him.
"Well, uh, um… Look, she introduced herself as 'Kisara', not as Kitty. That's most likely thrown me off, probably Joey, too," Yugi tried to defend himself and his friend, avoiding Bakura's eyes and tripping over the new girl's name.
"Yeah, sure," Bakura said, a supremely disgusted look on his face.
"Just tell us, dude," Tristan said somewhat dreamily. Drool was practically dripping down his chin as he watched the new girl. "What's so great about Ki- Ki- Kitty, you know, besides the obvious?" Joey felt it was time to release some pent-up anger at Bakura as well as bring Tristan back to earth. He leaned over and whapped Tristan upside the head, killing two birds with one stone.
"Ouch, man! What the hell?!"
"Tristan, enough of that sort of language in my class," Ms. Liddy admonished.
"Sorry, Ms. Liddy." The miserable look on Tristan's face from being chewed out by his crush/teacher was hugely comical.
"Bakura, please just tell us," Tea cajoled to get him to tell them what he knew.
Yes, please, the Pharaoh put in. Even he was interested now that the conversation had turned to something he knew: dueling.
"Well, ignoring all the other accomplishments she has under her belt, she holds the world record for the amount of life points she beat an opponent by, and she's Pegasus's goddaughter."
"His goddaughter!" Joey said, his face bearing an almost appalled look on it.
"Yeah. Her mother was somehow related to his wife, and Kitty was his wife's favorite cousin or something, so she's his favorite, now."
"Whoa," Joey stated. He turned to Tristan, a smirk on his face. "Ya still interested in her now that she's related to Pegasus?"
Tristan gave Kisara a look that was forlorn and torn. He sighed, "I suppose not. But, it was nice while it lasted."
"While what lasted?" Tea scoffed.
"Just drop it, will ya?!"
How many life points did she win by? the Pharaoh asked.
"Bakura? Yami wants to know how much she won by."
Bakura looked him right in the eyes, almost like he was trying to see the ancient spirit inside of him, before answering steadily, "Fourteen thousand."
Everyone's jaw dropped.
'You're shitting us!" Tristan accused quietly, not wanting to be reprimanded for cussing again.
"I'm not. They play way differently in Russia than we do here. They allow the loser's life points to go into the negatives, find out the difference between the players' points, then add to that how many points the loser went below zero, and finally subtract 100 points for each turn each player took. All of that adds up to the final life point total of the winner."
"Sounds really complicated," Tea commented dazedly.
"It is, but that's how they and several countries in that area decide who their national champions are."
"So… what? Whoever, whether they're a rookie what, is crowned the champ at the end of the year by how much they won by?" Joey questioned somewhat skeptically.
"Well, yes, but first your duel does have to have an official attending to have it qualify for the running. But, really, that's the only thing you need to have it count as an attempt at the title. And, it's not a yearly thing, Joey. Once a champion's been crowned it's their score that needs to be beat, and they get to remain champion until it's beaten, no matter how many years it may take."
"Don't know why you're dissing rookies, Joey," Tristan muttered.
"So, since she'd the current holder of the record in the whole world, let alone Russia…" Yugi put in.
Bakura nodded. "She's still considered to be Russia's national champ. And, she won that title when she was fourteen, over three years ago."
"Dang," Joey said. "… Ever notice how all the duelist champs seem to like Domino?"
Tea and Yugi laughed, Bakura merely smiled. Tristan was still too depressed over Kisara being related to Pegasus to really find it funny. In the back row, Kaiba's lips and nose twisted into a sneer.
"If you guys want more information about this sort of stuff, whether it's related to Kitty or not, you could probably go to Kaiba. He'd know all about it," Bakura suggested.
That sobered everyone up.
Joey snorted. "Yeah, right. And, Moneybags would just tell us that kind of stuff out of the goodness of his stone cold heart. Is that what you're thinking?"
"Good point," Bakura conceded. Kaiba was amazed that Wheeler actually had something right for once.
"Maybe if we see Mokuba any time soon, he'd tell us," Yugi proposed. "He usually knows about this kind of stuff, too."
"Good idea, Yug," Joey said, glaring back to where Kaiba was reading his paperback. Or, at least, that's what it looked like Kaiba was doing. "He probably has to know that sort of stuff or else Kaiba might fire him."
Kaiba's lips turned white and disappeared into a thin, spiteful line. His eyes would have burnt holes in his book from the heat of his anger if they could.
"Come on, Joey," Tea began. "He doesn't treat everyone like he treats you."
"Oh, yeah?" Joey started.
I wonder what Kaiba does know about Kisara… Yami pronounced her name correctly within Yugi's head.
Probably a lot. He seems to like knowing things, if just for the sake of knowing them.
Indeed. It would be interesting to know why so many high-caliber duelists do wind up in Domino.
Yugi grinned. Kaiba probably knows that too, he joked. Yami snorted.
… I don't think I like her. Kisara, I mean, Yami commented.
What? Why not? We don't even really know her yet.
I don't know. I'm just getting a feeling that… if she could, she'd… I don't know. The Pharaoh sighed in exasperation. I just don't know… something's not right is all.
"So, now that that's sorted out!" Ms. Liddy declared, commanding the class's attention. "Alright, how many of you have an essay with you that you wouldn't mind reading right now?" she asked, moving to the center of the front of the class, leaving Kisara to stand huddled by the desk.
Yugi, Tea, and a few others raised their hands.
"Okay, that's good. Remember, we can't do everyone on Friday." She looked at Joey for an extended second. He blushed and scratched his head, not meeting her gaze.
"Instead of reading, Ki- Ms. Belikova is going to spend the next several minutes telling us about herself and answering questions. A flinch flashed across Ms. Belikova's face. Tristan found it cute, and was once again hit by remorse over her familial connections.
"Ms. Belikova?" Ms. Liddy stepped back, trembling on her unsteady shoes. Kisara carefully stepped to where the teacher had been standing, her head tucked down, not meeting anyone's eyes.
She was a few feet in front of Yugi, so he was able to hear the quiet, shaky sigh she made before she lifted her head and began.
Now, everyone was hit by how the blue of her eyes contrasted with her skin and hair. They were caught by the darkness of them when the rest of her was so fair. In the back of the class, Seto lifted his head and was struck by the thought, She reminds me of a chessboard. The blue being like the black marble squares and figures of his current chessboard, and her skin and hair the white parts.
"As I said, I'm Kisara Belikova, but I'd rather you just called me Kitty."
She doesn't think we can get her name right, the Pharaoh accused.
Well, we can't. She's just trying to help us out. Anyway, it's kind of a cute nickname.
But, can't you tell? She doesn't want to be called 'Kitty'. It annoys her.
I guess...? But, I don't see why it matters so much to you.
It just seems like she's treating us like idiots, is all.
Well, she doesn't know about you, so she can't be treating you like an idiot. Cool it, Yami, and be quiet. I can barely hear her as it is, and she's right there.
"I'm seventeen. I've moved here from Moscow, Russia, where my dad is the CEO of a company the builds laptops."
She and Kaiba have probably met before through that connection, then, Yami muttered.
Hnn, Yugi responded.
"I've had a few jobs here and there, and the reason I'm here is because of a job opportunity I was offered, and," she shrugged, "I guess I just wanted a change of scenery, too… Are there any questions?" She asked with a look of trepidation on her actually really beautiful, downturned face.
A girl in the third row began, ignoring the fact that others were raising their hands, and started spitting out rapid-fire questions.
"You said you were Ki- whatever Belikova and you said you were Kitty Belle. Are you also Kat Belvsky, the model and singer? Are those shoes Prada? Is there going to be a fashion shoot here in Domino?! Or, do you have a new recording contract? Will you be using a different stage name than you have in the past? Will it be different music? Do you think I could be a model?"
The class was silent, staring at the somewhat crazed girl, a junior, who was known to be a fashionista outside of school, before turning to Kisara for the answers.
"Yes, I am also Kat Belvsky. Uh," she paused to look down at her shoes, high heels that were like the teacher's, only a bit higher with not so thin heels, and a color blue close to the school uniform's skirt. "No, these were designed by a, uh, colleague of mine in the, um, fashion world." She was obviously uncomfortable about talking about herself like this. "If there are any fashion shoots here, then I don't know about them. I do, actually, have a recording contract in the area." The girl gasped and squealed in delight. "I'm not allowed to say anything other than that it will be under a different stage name." She paused, chewing her lip, hoping that the girl wouldn't wait for her to answer her last question. It was hard enough being in front of all these people, answering questions, without also having to squash people's dreams for them. The girl waited.
"Since I don't know anything about you," she started hesitantly, "I wouldn't know if you could be a model or not. I'd suggest staying away from that world either way… Anyone else?" She really looked to be in pain for having so much attention on her like this.
Someone raised their hand and Kisara nodded to them, but, just as the person was opening their mouth to ask his question, he was interrupted.
"What do you mean to stay away?!" The fashionista looked like she was about to break down in tears. A few were actually dribbling out of the corners of her eyes, ruining her purple mascara.
The next sigh Kisara made was more angry and exasperated, surprising Yugi, Yami, and everyone else that heard it; they hadn't expected such a sound from someone who had acted so compliant so far.
"If you want to never eat anything again and don't mind being surrounded by people who hate your guts and will think you're fat even when you're a skeleton, go right on ahead and become a model. If not, then just forget it." The volume of her speech was low, but the tone was fairly harsh. She stared the girl in the eye, a slight frown between her dark eyes, until the girl dropped her shocked gaze. Suddenly, Kisara was contrite and subservient again. She looked down at the floor and muttered, "Sorry, I'm so sorry…"
After a pause, a few people raised their hands again. She twitched her hand in the direction of the kid behind Olivia, in the fourth row, who'd been cut short before.
"I- I remember you from an art exhibition called Monochromatic in New York, I think. Was that you there, or, uh, not?" The kid was just being polite, or insecure, or both when asking her if it had been her. She wasn't the type of person you easily forgot seeing.
"Yeah, that was me…" And, that was all that he got from her. The kid nodded, somewhat bemused. He'd been kind of wishing for a more elaborate response than that, like why she'd been thee, but he realized that he was going to have to live with what he got, the new girl being too shy to go on.
Why is she so uncomfortable with this? The Pharaoh asked.
Maybe she'd just really modest. It's not as if she has to have an evil motive or anything. Not everyone is up to something. Yugi was getting really irritated with Yami's attempts to make the new girl into a bad guy.
The next kid put his hand up and started asking his question before Kisara even called on him.
"So, you're a model, a singer, and the daughter of a probably really rich CEO…"
She didn't attempt an answer; she was obviously only going to respond to what she had to. All she did was stand there tensely and, to an extent, feebly, waiting.
"What else do you do, then?" the guy asked with a shrug and a roll of the eyes, as if he could hardly believe that everything she'd said was true. In truth, Yugi was beginning to doubt that she was much of a champion at anything, much less a game like Duel Monsters that required stamina and domination of the game. Just looking at the Pharaoh, Kaiba, Joey, and even to himself to some extent, there was a slight to major vicious streak that was part of the people who triumphed in Duel Monsters.
"I play a few instruments… paint a little," she answered softly.
"Which instruments?" the kid on the other side of the fourth row asked.
"Stuff with strings, the flute," she answered ineffectually.
'Do you play the guitar?" the same kid asked.
She nodded, fidgeting.
'What kind of guitar?" the kid questioned, drawing it out as if for a stupid person. Yugi recognized him as being the bass player in the school jazz band.
"Acoustic," she answered, seeming especially disconcerted now. The kid lost his interest pretty rapidly after that.
"She plays some of her own music in her songs," the fashionista mentioned out of the blue from within her little bubble of burst dreams. A few people made noises of appreciation, the people that played instruments themselves. Except the bass player, who was now definitely disinterested.
"She's also a duelist," Bakura put in, not so quietly. The room hushed. You really didn't go to Domino High, or live in Domino at all, without having some sort of appreciation for the sport, or art, if you will, of dueling.
Kaiba had been waiting for it to come to this.
"Really?" the person to the right of Tristan asked, the girl murmuring the question.
"Yeah, a good one, too, or so I've heard," Joey put in, not giving any indication that he'd just learned that himself a little over five minutes ago.
Everyone in the class but Kaiba looked at the new girl with interest glimmering in their eyes. Even if you were at the bottom of the social food chain, as Kisara was appearing to be, being a good duelist in this town could get you pretty far.
Kaiba had an idea of what Kisara's response would be already, having kept track of her since she was a world record holding duelist, and a national champ. But, frankly, anything more he wanted to know about Kisara he could find out more easily and accurately with a laptop with Internet connection than with a class of curious fools.
"I'm retired," she said curtly after a moment, looking over everyone's head instead of at them. A few people gasped and a couple others, like Joey, actually said, "What?!"
Who ever really retired from dueling? Especially when they were as young as Kitty?
"But, your godfather's Pegasus!" Bakura said incredulously. "He was the one who created Duel Monsters! I mean you've probably had access to several cards that the rest of us have never even dreamed of! You're the national champion of Russia! And, you're retired?!" Bakura seemed about to have aneurysm. Yugi realized that Bakura must have really idolized this girl to be so upset with her lack of interest in dueling.
"Yes, I'm retired," she repeated, still looking above them rather than at them all. "I may have had access to one or two cards that the rest of you haven't, but, other than that, I'm not all that special… Are there any more questions?" Everyone was quiet now. "I'll just take my seat then," she muttered.
Shaking herself into action, Ms. Liddy said, "Thank you very much Kitty for sharing. Let's give her a hand, people." She began clapping, and most of the class followed her example in a half-hearted way. Bakura was in too much of a shock to clap, and Joey just flatly refused, feeling as if she had personally insulted him with her refusal to duel.
"What a snob," he muttered to Yugi, who was clapping.
"Maybe, or maybe not," he replied noncommittally.
"Puh," Joey said.
I agree with Joey this time, Yami put in.I wish I didn't… But, we probably don't have the full story. She could be really nice, just…
Just what? Yami questioned, annoyed.
I don't know, Yugi responded, exasperated.
… I still don't have a good feeling about her, and not just because of her being retired.
Yugi sighed, his eyes downcast. Yeah, yeah.
Yugi turned around to face Joey. Joey was busy glaring at Kisara as she gathered her blue book bag from where she'd set it down next to the teacher's desk. She was trying to stuff her once-infamous black hat into it; she'd been messy with it the whole time she'd been talking, trying to get it to stay in her pocket and giving her something else to focus on besides the questions. Joey wasn't too busy, though, not to notice when Yugi turned his attention his way. He shifted his eyes to him and raised an eyebrow.
"If she decides to sit next to you, will you please be nice to her?" Yugi almost begged.
Joey sent a panicked and angry look at the empty desk beside him. Tea turned around and glowered at him, backing Yugi up in his attempt to make the new girl feel welcome.
"Oh, come on," Joey whined, looking back and forth between the two of them.
"Be nice, Joey Wheeler," Tea repeated Yugi. "I'd like to have another girl hanging out with us for once. So, don't you even think about messing this up for me," she threatened him.
Joey groaned, lifting his eyes to the ceiling before letting his head flop back down on his desk. "Fine," he mumbled into the desk. He lifted his head up again. "I'll be nice ta her, if she sits next ta me." He gave them a mischievous grin and lifted his head a little higher. "Who knows? Maybe she'll sit next ta her number one fan over there," he said, nodding at Bakura.
"Oh, shut up," Bakura told him, not even bothering to look at him, his petulant British accent unintentionally making him sound adorable.
"Hey, it ain't my fault that your hero is a—"
"Shh!" Tea shushed him. Kisara was heading their way. Joey sighed, and then put on a big smile that stretched his face and emphasized his chin horribly.
"I said to be nice to her, not to drive her away with your creepiness," Tea hissed at him before turning around to paste her own more genuine, more pleasant smile to her lips. Yugi saw the quick flash of envy that went through her eyes at the sight of the new girl's hair swinging back and force with the rhythmic movement of her walk.
Joey turned down the creepy factor of his smile, actually seeming like he might enjoy getting to know a new person. Joey was still a pretty friendly person, despite being a jerk every now and again. But, it turned out that, whether Joey was prepared to bust a gut to make her feel welcome, or if he'd decided to simply tell her to buzz off, it didn't matter. She walked between Yugi and Tea, completely bypassed Joey and the empty desk, and continued on to the back of the room.
Yugi, Joey, Tea, Tristan, and even Bakura, who'd been glaring at her huffily, all had identical expressions of jaw-dropped, wide-eyed surprise and horror.
"Someone needs to stop her," Bakura said.
"God, Kaiba's gonna rip inta her the moment she gets within reach. Poor new girl," Joey mourned. Suddenly faced with the idea of his worst antagonist demolishing the weakling new girl's self-esteem and feelings, Joey was able to get more of a sense of the girl's shyness and delicateness, and realized, that despite her no longer being an advocator of dueling, she still didn't deserve the fate that awaited her at Kaiba's ruthless hand. He stood up to go and retrieve the wayward girl and bring her back to more friendly territories when the impossible happened.
She was several paces into Kaiba's realm, and was actually right before his desk. She stood there for a moment, Kaiba's outstretched legs in the way of her moving over to the desk she was headed to. He looked up from the pages of his book in favor of a momentary glance at her face and expression, both of which were invisible to Yugi and his friends due to the direction she was facing and the curtain of her hair that blocked them. They don't know what he saw, but, whatever it was, it made Kaiba slowly pull his legs in, just enough for the new girl to move between them and the desk in front of him, to go take the seat to his right.
I guess she just completely broke the unwritten rules of high school regarding where to sit. Right, Yugi? … Yugi?
Yugi didn't even hear the Pharaoh. It was as if his brain had just shut down. He and the rest of his friends were possibly even more shocked by Kaiba's act of courtesy, no matter how miniscule it was, than they'd been shocked by her willingly going to the back of the class when it was so obviously sparsely populated.
"Maybe they know each other from before with dueling or with her father's company?" Tea ventured first.
"Yeah…" Yugi said. "Maybe they're friends…"
"Kaiba doesn't have friends," Tristan said.
"Never has Moneybags had a friend," Joey concurred, shaking his head in disbelief.
No, the Pharaoh sighed. Kaiba really doesn't have any friends, he finished somberly.
Perhaps not, Yugi agreed. … But, maybe Kitty doesn't have any friends, either.