Riddles of the Heart written by Atlantis © 2002

Alright, this here is my first attempt at Yu-Gi-Oh! fanfiction, so please try not to be *too* harsh. I tend to adore the kind of common idea that Seto and Tea would be a totally cute couple and therefore, they are who this story revolves around. I have taken quite a few creative licenses, so by no means whatsoever think that I am following the plotline of the show. There are also some things that are different that you'll notice right off the bat. But don't let that stop you. Just sit back, relax, and please enjoy!

I have no claim whatsoever on the aforementioned show, please don't sue. I have no money and would plan something diabolical if I had to sell my CD's to pay off unnecessary debts.

Rating: PG-13 (that's what all of my stories are for the most part. I enjoy my romance scenes, which probably won't be showing up until a little later in this fic - which is a multi-parter.)

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If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn't love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn't love others, what good would I be?

And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody.

1 Corinthians 13:1&2

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PART 1

She was rich. Incredibly so. More than qualified to be

considered in his league. Unlike many others who lived the life

of kings though, money was never a priority. Her friends and

family filled that space instead. She loved them with every

breath she took, keeping nothing of hers from them. Except her

wealth. Her affluence was the only secret that she kept from her

friends.

They would never understand the enormous weight and

responsibility resting on her shoulders because of the power she

controlled. She and her parents understood that money was not

everything. Her two younger sisters however, seemed to take it

for granted. They always got what they wanted no questions asked.

In Tea's opinion, they were spoiled rotten.

But *he* didn't seem to be like that. Tea knew him, though

she had never really spoken to him before. She didn't need to

talk to him to know why he acted the way he did. He had all the

money in the world and didn't seem happy, didn't feel complete.

It didn't matter what he bought, how much his corporation was

booming, or how hard he concentrated on Duel Monsters. That void

would always be there, pitted deep inside him, empty and yearning

to be filled.

At least that's what she thought as she looked up from her

computer screen, her fingers stilling on the keyboard as she

tossed a glance over her right shoulder at Seto Kaiba. AP

Computer Dynamics and Engineering was the only course she shared

with the older, intriguing young man unfortunately. Her mind had

tried numerous times to label him as an older boy, since he was

only about two years older, but she refused to agree because it

was entirely obvious that Seto Kaiba was no boy.

With unsettling, cold blue eyes and short, dark brown hair,

which, as Tea always noticed, was impeccably styled and roguishly

sexy, Kaiba always seemed to radiate a magnetic aura. Every pair

of eyes that found him in their line of vision unconsciously

remained fixed on him until either that person or Kaiba himself

left the area. He was power and control incarnate.

Tea's eyes quickly regarded the rest of him, using both

memory and her current sight of him to build a picture in her

mind's eye. He stood at a good six-one or two easily and was

built with a lean, muscular frame. His defined calves, thighs,

stomach, and torso tended to escape the untrained eye, but she

had been studying him a long time. It was apparent that he worked

out. A lot.

How she longed, in her fantasies, to be held by those strong

arms, wrapping her own around his broad shoulders and tangling

her fingers in the hair at the nape of his neck while being held

impossibly close to his warm body. Tea quickly blinked and began

to berate herself, shifting her attention from the object of her

affection back to her computer screen.

Yeah right, like that'd *ever* happen. In your dreams T

Tea thought to herself. Only in your dreams.

She nearly jumped when she felt a tap on her shoulder,

jolting her from her private thoughts.

"Hey Tea, you okay?" a classmate asked. Tea nodded, placed

her fingers over the keyboard and began typing rapidly. "You

know, we don't know each other all that much, but I'd like to be

your friend. If you wanna talk, I'll be here, okay?" Again Tea

nodded.

"Thanks Nako. I appreciate that." Nako grinned and grabbed

her book-bag as the bell rang, exiting all of her programs and

returning her computer to the start-up screen. Tea followed suit,

though a little slower, and was walking out of the classroom as

she heard the musical tone of her cell phone. Reaching into her

bag, she pulled the phone out and held it up to her ear.

"Tea?" came an older voice, questioning.

"Yes, this is she. Who's calling?" Tea stopped and stood by

a pillar as Seto Kaiba walked by, looking at her with an

analyzing gaze before striding down the hall with strong,

confident steps.

"How's my princess?" the voice replied, chuckling.

"Daddy!" Tea screamed, a smile breaking over her face. "It's

so good to hear your voice. Are you and mom still in England?"

"We're just about to get on the plane. I just thought I'd

call and let you know. How are you and your sisters doing?"

"Same as always dad," Tea said, sighing as she leaned back

against the pillar. "Arashi and Kiri are still as spoiled as

ever, but at least they're cute every once-in-a-while. I turned

in that huge report today and began my AP Computer Dynamics and

Engineering final, but I couldn't exactly focus in class so I'm

gonna go in at lunch and work on it then. Has mom taken her

pills?"

"Yeah, I made sure she took them right when she got up this

morning. You know how she gets on planes. You'd think she'd get

used to flying after having to go on an airplane at least once a

month, but no, she has to be difficult," Tea's father chuckled.

"Our flight is boarding now, princess. I'll talk to you later

alright?"

"Alright dad. Tell mom we send our love," Tea told him

lightly. She heard him mumble an 'okay' before hearing a click

and the dial tone ringing in her ear. Sighing, she put the phone

back into her bag and began walking down the hallway to her next

class.

Good thing dad called at break, otherwise I would've been

late to class. Mr. Fugimata's class is on the other side of

campus! Tea thought, picking up the pace and moving past the

students standing idly in the halls, chatting at their lockers

and blocking the walkway. "What does a person have to do to get

through this place?" she mumbled under her breath.

"I agree," a voice beside her said in a struggled tone. Tea

turned her head to find her dream guy struggling through the

masses of students right along with her. "I feel like a salmon

swimming upstream!" he vented, scowling and holding tighter to

the two books in his arms. Biting her lip, Tea saw a small path

open up and grabbed a hold of Kaiba's forearm, pulling him behind

her through the tiny opening. When they reached an open pocket

space, she nearly stumbled and fell, Kaiba's quick grab at her

wrist saving her from a face-plant.

Breathing out heavily, Tea blew her bangs up out of her eyes

and straightened her skirt before making sure everything in her

bag was still in place. She rolled her shoulders and closed her

eyes for a moment, rolling her head to remove the stiffness.

"Thanks for getting me out of there. I think I may have

stayed there if you hadn't helped. You were in my last class

weren't you?" Kaiba's voice questioned her from the side. Tea

stilled. She hadn't realized he was still there. Looking up at

him, she smiled and nodded. "I don't usually like to thank

people for little things like that, but you really, literally

pulled me out back there. What's your name?" the upperclassman

asked, shifting his posture and looking directly at her. Tea felt

her heart jump into her heart.

"Tea."

"No last name?" he questioned, a hint of mockery in his

voice. "Just call me Tea," she replied cheerily. "You know Yugi

Moto, right?"

"Good lord, who doesn't? The guy is brilliant in Duel

Monsters. I've played him a couple of times. He's quite a worthy

opponent," Kaiba said, moving forward a bit and motioning with

his head that they start walking.

"I usually hang out with him and my friends Joey and

Tristan. They're pretty great guys," Tea said conversationally.

"I play against them occasionally, but I'm more interested in

other things."

"Such as?" Kaiba prodded. He watched as Tea gave him a look

asking why he cared and nearly stopped dead in his tracks. Lord,

she was beautiful! A perfect, entirely feminine body with soft,

full curves; creamy skin; bright blue eyes that seemed to sparkle

as though the stars resided in her gaze; red, pouty lips that

were screaming to be kissed; and thick light brown hair that fell

just below her shoulders. He didn't even want to get started on

how good she looked in her uniform. Kaiba felt his face heat and

turned away, shrugging.

"Well, I love talking to people and being active. Sometimes

I think I'm a little too active and then there's all of my class-

work piled on top, but I deal. I love volleyball, swimming, and

being by myself as well. Every so often, I'll go walking or

hiking to some secluded area, usually where there's water, and

then I just sit, taking in everything around me and enjoying the

silence." She glanced at Kaiba and then blushed. "Oops. Too much

information, I think." Tea was surprised when he chuckled and

nearly melted. His laughed sounded so sexy, a rumble deep within

his chest, almost sounding like a growl.

"That's alright, I don't mind. I don't have the luxury to

have as much fun as you do, though sometimes I wish I did. I've

got this huge house to manage, a little brother to look after, a

company to run, not to mention all of the Duel Monsters

tournaments that people are always trying to rope me into..." he

trailed off. Stopping, he looked at Tea and smiled

apologetically. "This would be my class, so this is where we say

goodbye."

"Oh, alright. I'll see you tomorrow," Tea said cheerily

before giving him a small wave and walking down the rest of the

hallway to her own class. As she reached the door, she looked

back, hoping to catch a glance of him one last time. But he was

already gone.



As soon as Tea got home, the first thing she did was scream.

She couldn't believe it! Seto Kaiba had actually noticed her,

spoken to her... hell, he'd started up a conversation between the

two of them.

"No, wait Tea, calm down. I mean, seriously, let's look at

the reality of this situation for just a sec." Tea held up her

hand, sticking her pointer finger out: one. "He was just being

friendly." Second finger rose. "I'm overly obsessed." Third

finger joined the others. "What are the chances I'd ever get

with him, anyway?" She shook her head and sighed. "I've got a

headache."

The door burst open behind her and in ran her two sisters,

chasing each other and screaming to high heaven. They shouted a

quick hello to their older sister before rushing down the long

hallway, up two flights of stairs, and into their rooms, each

yelling out their claims on the Barbies they were going to play

with.

"I'll never get anything done here. Not with those two

around," Tea said to herself. Picking up her book-bag from the

floor where it had been laying forgotten, she trudged to her room

and pulled off her uniform, changing into different clothes.

After tossing her uniform into the hamper, she grabbed her car

keys and bag. "Girls! I'm going out! Lock the door after me!" Tea

shouted to her sisters. They shouted an 'okay' in response, one

of them flying down the stairs and holding the door while Tea

walked out. When she heard the click of the lock, she grabbed the

garage door opener from her bag and gently pushed the button,

watching the door roll up as she walked in and opened her truck.

As soon as Tea got into her black, crew-cab pickup, she

tossed her bag to the passenger side and pulled her seatbelt on.

After clicking it into place, she shoved the key into the

ignition, listening to the purr of the engine and feeling the

truck rumble beneath her before putting it into DRIVE and

pulling onto the street. Getting off of the residential street

that she lived on, she pulled onto the main freeway.

"Where to go, where to go," Tea chanted as she tapped her

fingers against the steering wheel to the beat of the blaring

radio. As she turned a corner, she caught a glimpse of a limo in

her rear-view mirror, going in the opposite direction. She

sighed, immediately thinking of Kaiba and took a left, heading

for Yugi's grandfather's shop. When she reached it, she pulled

into one of the spaces in the five-space parking lot and turned

off her truck after putting it into PARK.

Walking into the shop, Tea heard the familiar jingle of the

door bells as her eyes landed on Yugi's grandfather. He noticed

her and a smile spread across his face.

"Good afternoon Tea," he greeted her. "What brings you to my

humble shop today?"

"Actually I was wondering if the guys were here," she

replied happily. He nodded and tossed a hand over his shoulder,

thumb pointing back sharply.

"In the back room like always. I think they might as well

take up permanent residence in there with all the time they

spend in that room." Tea laughed.

"Thank you," she said gratefully, moving past the display

cases and behind the check-out counter through the door in the

back of the store. Tea walked down a short hallway before

stepping into the room furnished with two couches, a small coffee

table in the middle, a television on the far wall and

refrigerator to the far right as well as an old recliner. Joey

and Tristan were sprawled out all over the couches, limbs

dangling over the sides while Yugi sat , content on the floor.

Tea felt more than saw their gazes on her as she entered and a

slight tremor passed through her body.

That had been happening a lot lately. Ever since she had

come back after spending three summer months in Australia with

her cousin. And she hadn't just been getting the feeling from

Tristan and Joey- she felt like that almost every time a guy

stopped to look at her. It was strange and Tea couldn't, for the

life of her, figure out why it was happening. Was she funny

looking? Intimidating? She had always been aware of her above

average height of five-nine, but this was ridiculous!

"Hey guys!" she called out cheerily. They blinked as if

coming out of a trance before returning her smile.

"T, long time no see," Joey said as he and Tristan pulled

themselves to sitting positions.

"Yeah, Tea, where've ya been?" Yugi asked, clicking the

t.v. off behind him. Tea walked around the couch and plopped down

in the corner of Joey's couch, pulling a pillow into her arms and

lifting her feet up.

"I've been watching my little sisters this week. My parents

had another meeting in England and they've been there for almost

two weeks. Dad called today and told me they were heading home

today and I'm guessing they'll be home by tomorrow. I thought I

told you guys," Tea replied. Joey put a hand behind his head and

laughed.

"Well, supposing you did," he glanced at Tristan and Yugi

warily, "we may have forgotten."

"That's alright you guys. I mean, you've got other things

to do besides keeping track of what's going on in my life." Tea

smiled at her friends and faltered. They were staring at her

again. "Uh, guys?"

"What's that Tea?" Yugi asking, shaking his head slightly

and blushing.

"Why do you guys keep doing that?" she demanded, clawing at

the pillow in her grip.

"Doing what?" Joey asked, jumping back.

"Staring at me like you do! Ever since I got back from 'The

Land Down Under' you guys have been looking at me like I've gone

under... six feet under! You act like I've come back from the

dead or grown a third ear in the middle of my forehead. Now what

the heck is going on?" Tea shouted.

"Now T, I'm sure you're overreacting," Tristan said quietly,

trying to calm her. Tea stood up, her eyes blaring and noticed

how their eyes moved over her again.

"I am not overreacting! You're doing it right now!"

"Aw geez guys, maybe we should tell her..." Joey started as

Tea wheeled on him and grabbed the collar of his shirt with both

hands, hauling him to his feet.

"Alright Joey, I know those two would rather go to the grave

than tell me what's going on, but you're weak and you will tell

me or I'll beat you up, I swear!" she threatened. Joey shivered,

took in a deep breath and seemed to slowly melt before pushing

her hands away and standing by himself.

"Okay, okay, I give. But before I tell ya, I just gotta say

that you smell so damn good." Joey tucked his hands into his

pockets as he watched Tea's bright blue eyes slowly widen.

"Joey, this may not be such a good idea..." Yugi said, but

Joey held up a hand and stopped him.

"No Yug, she wants to know, so I'm gonna let her know." He

looked over at Tea. "You'd better not take this the wrong way,"

he warned her.

"Spill Joey!" she shouted getting frustrated.

"Okay, well, we mean this in the friendliest way, and I'm

speaking for all three of us so... what I'm trying to say is...

Tea you're just gonna have to face the truth. You are freakin'

hot." Joey blew out a breath of relief and looked to Tea, stunned

when he found her unmoving and un-speaking.

"No really, what's wrong with me?" she asked quietly.

Tristan stood and went over to her, draping an arm over her

shoulders.

"Tea, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. In fact,

sometimes you seem too perfect. Joey's being honest with you,

amazing at it is," Tristan explained gently. "Ever since you came

back from Australia, everything about you seems to have changed.

You've gotten a little tanned, your legs seem to be a whole

bunch longer, your clothes fit better, I don't know. There just

seems to be this more mature, sexier Tea in the place of the old

one and it's taking a little getting used to it."

"But I haven't changed. Right Yugi?" Tea asked, turning to

him. Yugi blushed and cast his eyes downward before returning

them to meet Tea's gaze.

"You have Tea. So much about you has changed, it's almost

like sometimes you're not the same person. You've become a

brilliant strategist in Duel Monsters... heck, every

once-in-a-while I get overwhelmed playing with you. You've

gotten so powerful and calculating when you play. You never used

to be like that. It's not a bad thing though. And then there's

the change in your physical appearance as Joey and Tristan

mentioned. I don't know, it's like some switch turned on inside

of you and transformed you into this incredibly gorgeous girl

that we thought we had grown up with. You're not mad, are you?"

Yugi asked timidly, studying Tea's face carefully.

"I'm not mad. Not in a million years, guys. I just never

expected you to tell me something like this. I thought you were

staring at me because there was something wrong with me, but then

I find out it's because you think I'm... You complimented me

instead of bashing me! It's kind of funny," Tea giggled,

grabbing Tristan and Joey and trapping them each in a head-lock.

She winked at Yugi who laughed and stood, walked over to the

group and pushed them onto the couch, a mass of twisted

appendages. Joey let out a surprised yelp when Tea yanked on his

arm to catch a glimpse of his watch. She sighed and started

pushing the guys away from her.

"What's the matter Tea?" Joey asked, sitting up and

laughing, rubbing his wrist where she had yanked absentmindedly.

"I've gotta get going. Unlike you slackers," she winked, "I

have homework to do. I'll see you later," Tea said standing and

straightening her clothes. Flashing a last smile at them and a

last 'thanks', and walked out of the room, through the shop and

back to her truck.

"I am so glad I got that homework done!" Tea said gratefully

to herself as she drove. "I didn't think I'd ever get it done."

Turning the dial on the radio, she hummed along as the newest

boy-band started singing and moved into the right lane, ready to

go home. When she caught sight of a little shadow moving, as if

afraid, along the side of a building, she pulled up to the curb

and stopped her truck, turning it off and shoving her keys into

her pocket. Tea got out of the truck slowly and walked over to

the little kid who was shrunk down, peering around the corner of

the building, not noticing her approach. When she tapped on his

shoulder lightly, he jumped, let out a frightened yelp, and

started crying.

"Please don't hurt me. I don't wanna be beat up again," the

small boy whimpered. Tea's eyes flashed momentarily before

softening. She knelt slowly and smiled tenderly at him, holding

out her hand.

"I'm not going to hurt you little one. I came to see if you

were alright. Who beat you up little guy?" she asked as he took a

cautious step towards her and started reaching for her hand. Tea

took a gentle hold of his little hand and brought him to her

slowly, kneeling to his level and smiling encouragingly. He

sniffled and wiped his eyes with a dirty sleeve as he launched

himself into her arms.

"It was the boys at school. They made fun of my brother and

I told them that they were wrong and they hit me. Then when I

was going home, they chased me and hit me and kicked me. I got

away and ran as fast as I could, but when I stopped running, I

didn't know where I was!" he cried, tears drenching the shoulder

of Tea's shirt. She shushed him gently and rubbed his back,

murmuring that it was going to be okay. When his crying had

slowed, she held him away from her a bit and looked at him.

"It's going to be alright, okay? I'm going to take you home

and give you my phone number and you can call me any time. How's

that sound?" Tea asked him, placing a hand on his shoulder. He

looked unsurely at her before gulping and biting his lip.

"But my brother told me to never take rides from strangers,"

he countered. "Fine then. I'm Tea," Tea said, holding out her hand for

him to shake. He looked at her hand and then smiled, reaching out

to shake it.

"My name's Mokuba."

"Great. Now if you come with me, I can give you that ride

home," she told him, standing and keeping a hold on his hand. He

grinned up at her and nodded, following her happily to her truck.

She lifted him up into the cab and he scooted over to the

passenger side, pulling his seatbelt on awkwardly. Tea laughed as

she hopped into the driver's seat and put on hers as well.

"This is a little weird for me," Mokuba said quietly. "I've

never been in the cab of a car before and I've never had to wear

a seatbelt before either." Tea looked at him, stunned.

"Why's that?" she asked as she started up the vehicle.

"Oh, well, me and my brother always ride in a limo and there

aren't any seatbelts in them. He tells me that it's not alright

to sit with the driver and so I have to sit with him in the back

all the time. But this is fun. You get to see more when you're

up here," he replied, kicking his feet off the side of the seat.

Tea nodded in understanding and pulled away from the curb and

back into traffic. Mokuba gave her the address of him home and

she was there within ten minutes, stopping in front of a large

house, larger than her own, and letting the small boy out. Before

he left, she handed him a small card with her name and number to

him and watched him walk to the door happily, pulling a house-key

out of his pocket. When she had made sure he was in the house,

she left and headed home.

"Seto! I'm home!" the eight-year-old yelled from the front

door as he shut it behind him. Mokuba ran into the living room

and turned on the t.v., finding his favorite show on. Singing

the theme song, he didn't notice his brother come down the stairs

quietly.

"Mokuba, where were you?" came a voice to the side of the

child. The wild blue eyes turned to meet the calm, calculating,

and cold dark blues of his elder brother. He gulped.

"I was walking around," Mokuba said, not wanting to divulge

his secret or problems to his brother. "Sorry I'm so late," he

apologized. Seto Kaiba's face softened at his brother's

submittance and rubbed his hand over the black hair of the boy.

"It's alright. Just get home sooner from now on," Kaiba said

removing his hand. Mokuba nodded.

"Did you keep your promise today, big brother?" Mokuba

questioned Kaiba suddenly with suspicious eyes. Kaiba gave his

mouth a wry twist that could have passed for a sarcastic smirk

before sighing and answering with a roll of his eyes.

"Yes Mokuba, I kept my promise. I was nice today. I even

talked to a girl at school and walked with her for a while. This

is the last time I let you beat me in a game of Duel Monsters and

choose my penalty. You know I don't like those sniveling idiots

at school," Kaiba finished with his normal attitude returning

with every passing moment. *Though I have to admit,* he thought

to himself, *that girl wasn't half bad, and gorgeous besides.

Legs that went on forever...* Kaiba suddenly blinked, realizing

what direction those thoughts were going and halted his

thinking. Letting his mind wonder over the girl would lead to

feelings, and feelings would lead to hurt. He would never let

that happen again. No one would see his true heart except for

Mokuba. Only he could be trusted.

Kaiba jerked when he felt a cool hand touch his hand

lightly and tug on his coat timidly. He looked down on Mokuba and

watched the ten-year-olds eyes change from confused to content.

"Thank you for keeping your promise, Seto. Even if it was

for only one day," the child said gratefully before hugging his

brother from over the top of the couch and turning back to his

program.

As his brother plopped back into the cushiony softness of

the black leather couch, Kaiba sighed a sad sigh, went back up

the stairs to his personal study, and shut the door.

When Tea walked through the door, she was met with silence

and cautiously entered the house, not wanting to wake her two

younger sisters if they were sleeping. Passing through the

kitchen doorway, she was suddenly ambushed and slammed to the

floor, completely covered by little girls.

"Gotcha!" Kiri cried. "Now I get to choose dinner!" she

yelped triumphantly. "Nu-uh," Arashi protested, getting up off of her older

sister and standing arms akimbo. "I got her first so I get to

choose!" As Kiri climbed off to argue her point, Tea leaned back

on her elbows and watched in amusement as they fought, her

laughing bringing them from their heated debate. "It's not

funny! I won!" Arashi yelled. Tea smiled and got up slowly,

dusting herself off out of habit and laid a hand on each of their

shoulders. "How about I order pepperoni pizza with extra cheese

instead?" Tea asked as her younger sisters eyes lit up like

fireworks. Screaming happily in octaves that couldn't even be

reached by sirens, they pulled on Tea's neck and gave her a

choking hug before running down the hallway, giggling, their

argument resolved. The older girl pressed her lips together and

shook her head before picking up her book bag from the floor and

dropping it on top of the counter. She sat down in one of the

five breakfast bar bar-stools and reached for the white cordless

phone, punching in the number for the nearest pizza place out of

memory.

After ordering the pizzas, Tea sat back and took in a deep

breath, looking around the empty kitchen quietly. It was a good

thing she had her sisters. Without them, her life wouldn't

really be anything. With her parents constantly gone, her joy

always seemed to be found in her younger siblings. Their colorful

artwork and school pictures were plastered all over the front of

the refrigerator with colorful magnets. Bottles filled with red,

green, and blue pastas rested on the counters, and two small

white rose plants sat on the kitchen window's sill above the

sink, living healthily thanks to the careful management of Kiri

and Arashi. Across the kitchen was a larger window that let in

nearly all of the light, a bay window that could be sat on with a

long, pillow-like mat on the sill part for comfortability.

Somewhere down the hall and up the stairs, Tea could hear

her little sisters shrieking happily as they played some

childhood game. Tea had never gotten that. When she was little,

her parents hadn't really understood what it meant to be parents

and instead of loving her, had *taught* her how to be a lady, the

perfect manners, nearly ten different languages, how to dodge

political and economical questions that she felt distasteful, and

so on. She had been raised to be a diplomat, not a person.

However, when she had turned six, she had by that time, also

been taught how to stand up for what she thought and had told

her parents that she needed to attend public school and take some

time off from traveling.

Not long after that, she had gained a sister, and a year

after that, another. They could have been twins the way they were

so similar. Their pretty blonde hair and dark brown eyes tended

to capture any passerby. They, unlike Tea, looked exactly like

their parents. Tea's mother had explained that Tea had gotten her

looks from her father's mother: her grandmother, and bore an

identical resemblance to the great lady. It was said she had been

crown royalty before denouncing the crown and settling down to

live a half-normal life. That hadn't worked of course, but it

hadn't turned out to be as demanding a life as royalty would

have been, so there were no complaints.

Occasionally, Tea went on trips with her parents to impress

some neighboring country with her upbringing, wits, or demeanor,

but that did not happen often. While her parents had not exactly

loved her like normal parents did when she was younger, she had

at least had a chance to spend time with them. Kiri and Arashi

rarely saw them. Again the tables had turned, for though the

girls had to deal with their absence, they gained the

unconditional doting when they were around. Attention was even

paid to Tea, who at times felt left out by her mother. Her father

however, treated her as a princess and was the jewel of his eye.

He had always felt bad about the way Tea had been raised and had

been making it up ever since the birth of Arashi. Tea's mother

however never found Tea perfect. There was always some flaw,

something wrong that displeased her that she found correct in the

other two, and for that Tea was sad.

Blinking back a tear, Tea thought of the benefits of having

finally stood up to her parents. She had become normal at least

in the eyes of the public and had made wonderful friends. School

was a joy that she looked forward to nearly every day and she

loved looking after her sisters and being their favorite person.

No matter what happened, they always went running to her, and for

that, Tea felt completely loved.

There was something missing though. Having turned sixteen

nearly four months earlier, Tea had begun to painfully realize

that she was missing out on one important factor in her life...

The love of a boy. Or young man. Whatever. All she ever saw

around school was how happy people were when they held the hand

of a loved one or stole secret glances at one another. Tea had

never dated before. She'd never been asked, never been

interested until one had caught her eye.

Seto Kaiba was the only guy who had ever captured Tea's

attention utterly and completely. He was everything a girl could

wish for with only one flaw: he was moody and like a solitary

wolf. The way he stared at the world was almost predatory and he

hardly ever spoke except when he was proving others wrong. For

most of the time, Tea could be doing the same thing, but chose

not to cut people down so harshly and kept her mouth shut. If

Kaiba ever made someone cry, Tea was always there to reassure and

calm afterwards, as it had happened on several occasions. But she

couldn't hate him for it, because she saw in him a resemblance to

herself. He was shut off from the world, by choice, because he

was afraid. Afraid of feeling, afraid of getting hurt. Tea knew

those feelings all too well. It had taken nearly two years just

for Yugi, Tristan, and Joey to be let into her trust and into her

heart. They were like brothers to her, but it had been extremely

hard for her, her mind screaming to her every night that they

would leave and ignore her as her parents had when she was young

and still did occasionally.

"Kaiba," Tea murmured quietly, shutting her eyes. "I know

you." The kitchen was silent, her voice hardly echoing against

the cabinets and tile flooring. Her eyes snapped open when she

heard the sound of the doorbell and looked up at the clock on the

microwave hastily. "Thirty minutes? Already? Girls! Pizza's

here!" she shouted as she grabbed her wallet out of her purse and

walked to the door. The screaming of little girls was heard as

they apparently scrambled down the stairs to reach the food

first. Tea opened the door, paid for the pizza, took the pizzas

from the delivery boy (who seemed to be suffering from a severe

breakout) and sent him on his way before he was toppled over by

the hungry children. As Tea shut the door and turned, she

watched as the two girls skidded to a halt in front of her,

practically drooling over the aroma of the pizza.

Walking to the kitchen tantalizingly slow, Tea lured the

girls to the counter where they seemed to be in a trance, just

waiting for her to set down the precious boxes. A malicious

thought entered Tea's mind and she put the boxes into one hand,

placing one on top of the other and tapping her chin with the

free hand.

"These pizzas say that only sixteen-year-olds can eat them.

Sorry you two, you don't get any," Tea teased. The two girls

blinked slowly before realizing what she said. An uproar ensued.

"It does NOOOOOOOOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!" Kiri shouted, stomping

her feet and crossing her arms. "Let me see that!"

"I'm HUNGRY!" Arashi chimed in, trying to jump for the

pizzas in Tea's raised arm.

"I don't know. I think that's what I saw," Tea said,

aggravating them more. "Should I check again?" she questioned

the nine and ten-year-old beneath her. "What'd ya think I should

do?" Tea asked, turning to the old teddy bear sitting between two

of the cabinets in a little knick-knack space. "What's that? You

think I should let them have the pizza? Oh, alright," Tea faked,

turning and placing the boxes on the island in the middle of the

kitchen in a fluid motion. She quickly turned and pulled three

plates from a cabinet as well as three cups and a hand-full of

napkins. Working as a waiter for some time back at the local high

school hot spot, she had learned to be an excellent waitress and

grab a multitude of things at a time. She no longer worked there,

but the talent still remained.

Her sisters snatched the plates up from her hand and hastily

placed the steaming pizza onto their plates with occasional

exclamations of pain from the heat of the food. After plates had

been filled, the three sisters trudged to the living room where

they all sat down in front of the television, settled in the

recliner and the couch. There was a content silence as they ate

together before Tea switched on the big-screen to the cartoon

channel and the girls' delighted shrieks filled the room. Tea

pushed her plate onto the coffee table to the right of her and

sank back into the large, brown leather recliner, reveling in the

sounds of her sisters... of her family... of her life.

*** End of Part 1. What did ya'll think? (My dad's from Mississippi, I can't help it! *^_^*) I love email and critiques, but they're not necessary. I have the superb ability to recieve flames and not get over-dramatic over them, as long as they're not just bashing me.

Here's the question of the week: Why are YAOI fics (boy/boy or girl/girl) so popular with the Yu-Gi-Oh! fanfic community? I really don't find them appealing, they're actually quite disgusting in my opinion, but why are there so many? You have to search a lot harder if you want a decent boy/girl pairing. What does everybody else think?

Atlantis *^_^*

godscartungrrl@netscape.net