This is a younger Seto, about a year after he and Mokuba have been adopted. So he's, um, eleven? I really am not sure. He's anywhere from nine to fifteen, but eleven works well. And eleven-year olds do curse, so this has a language warning.

Face the Rain

I'm staring at the ground as I walk, and frowning. I don't want to be out here right now – it's cold and there's all this dirty snow everywhere, which I wish would melt. It's fine when it's falling and when there's only a little of it, but when it accumulates into these huge piles and sits around for weeks, and it's dark brown by the time it all melts away, I really can't stand the stuff. And when school is cancelled – I'm happy to get more time with Mokuba, but staying home with Gouzaburou? Snow sucks.

Anyway. I wish I wasn't out here walking, I'd rather be inside with Mokuba, and I can just be with my little brother and not have to worry since Gouzaburou's staying late at work today – but wishes are pretty useless, and when you want something you have to make it happen yourself.

I don't mind the walk, really. What I mind is the heavy backpack – do we really need this many textbooks? And when the backpack feels this heavy, I'd love to be riding in the limo, even if walking is good for you.

But he says that I shouldn't waste the chauffeur's time – which really means he's stingy and wants to make my life Hell – and that if I'm staying later after school for whatever extra-curricular activities, I can get myself home on my own, rather than make the chauffeur make two separate trips for me and Mokuba. And he knows I won't take the limo ride from Mokuba.

As quickly as a sneeze, it starts raining. I don't realize from it hitting me – my head is bowed down and staring at the ground, I'm wearing long sleeves, and my hands are shoved into my pockets. But I can see the little dark dots appear on the sidewalk and my shirt, so I walk a little faster. Then the pavement of the ground is so thoroughly spotted with water that the new drops just blend in, and I can't tell if it's raining anymore. It's not a hard shower, just quick, but the drops are tiny and I can't feel them, even in my hair. Maybe it stopped already – maybe it was just the clouds sneezing down on us.

I lift my face to look, my vision suddenly encompassing more than just the darkening sidewalk, and I can feel it. The tiny tiny droplets, not even half the size of a tear, hitting my lips and forehead and cheeks.

I still can't see the rain coming down. But I can feel it, the cool water on my face, and it's refreshing. Now that I've lifted my head I can see that the house is only a block away, I can see the cultivated trees and other houses and all the cars parked in the streets. I straighten my back out, difficult with this heavy backpack The rain feels so nice… I don't have to cry, the sky shares its tears and sprinkles them on my face.

I haven't noticed it until now… I've been walking with my head down for a little over a month. An unconscious sign of submission…

I glare at the house I'm approaching. I've been wondering for the past year if it would have been better to stay at the orphanage… but what's done is done. Gouzaburou's rich – we're well provided for. Mokuba doesn't get picked on here, either. This had to have been the better option, since Mokuba's happier here. That is all that matters, right?

Even if Gouzaburou's strict and harsh and mean and not at all how I remember Papa being…

I still won't call Gouzaburou 'dad.' He's not a father. He's not. He's just what I'm using to make sure Mokuba's safe.

My steps are a bit larger now. I'm not going to keep my head down anymore. Why should I? Why should I stare at my shoes when he speaks to me, when I already know just what they look like? What reason do I have to hide my face? My wet face that tilts up to stare at our house, which Gouzaburou isn't in. He's off at his business right now – he's left Mokuba home alone, the bastard. Yeah, and I wish he'd stay away and leave his money with us.

It's easier to keep your head down, I know. Walking home, seeing the cracks in the sidewalk, so you won't trip, and the dog crap from where some lazy person didn't pick it up, so you don't step in it – keeping your head down is the easy way. But I'm strong. I can do things the hard way. I'm not some submissive little wimp – I'm Seto and I know what the Hell I'm doing and I'll glare them all down.

I hear that stepping in dog shit is good luck in France.

You have to keep your head up. I wipe my wet cheeks and head inside. If you keep your head down, you won't know; you can't feel the rain.

la fin