I am so sorry about the lack of updates. I just had major writers block. Sorry. On the plus side, this chapter has the start of the lurve-triangle. Yay!

...vV...Vv...

Tèa smiled, proud of herself. She had managed to get to school on time, with her lunch and had not seen the evil bus driver as she had come to know him. The morning had been pretty much normal, in fact better than normal.

Life was good. Now she just had to find her friends. She wove her way carefully between people in the hallways on the way to her locker.

"Hey Tèa." Ryou had fallen into step beside her.

"Hey yourself" she replied with a smile, stopping in front of her locker's door and quickly spinning the handle in the correct sequence. The door sprang open just as the bell for first period went.

The students still in the hall began to head for class, Ryou leant against the wall and waited for Tèa to collect her things.

"Do you think you could hurry Tèa? We have English now, with the test."

Tèa looked up at him in shock. "Ahhh! The test! What are you waiting for? Come on." She seized his arm and began to drag him down the hall. Ryou managed to knock her locker door shut on the way past, used to his exuberant friend's antics. They tore down the corridor, nearly taking Joey out as they passed him on the stairs.

"Hi Joey, Bye Joey." called Ryou as he was hauled by.

Joey stared after them, his eyes zeroing in on their joined hands. He glared at the back of the albino's head before shaking his own. 'Oh man Joey, get a grip. This is no time to start acting jealous.'

...vV...Vv...

Tèa dragged her feet as she entered the math classroom and sat down with a depressed sigh that made both of the boys sitting near her look up. One immediately went back to his book, the other addressed her.

"What's up?"

"More like what's down. Like my grades, in English. Oh god, I just had a test. I'm sure I failed it."

"Hey cheer up Tèa" Joey slung an arm around her shoulders. "I fail things all the time."

Tèa rolled her eyes. "And that makes me feel so much better. "She sighed, then seemed to make a determined effort to be more cheerful.

"Excuse me, Kaiba?" she turned to the boy, he shifted his gaze from the novel he was reading and raised one eyebrow in inquiry. "About tonight, will you be there when I arrive?"

"My meeting begins at six, so yes."

"Oh good, then I can talk to you about bedtimes and such." She smiled happily at him.

He grunted, Tèa gave him the benefit of the doubt and assumed that meant yes. She shared an eye roll with Joey and took her books from her bag when the teacher entered.

"Hold on tight Joey, here comes the most exciting lesson of the day, calculus."

...vV...Vv...

Tèa unlocked her door and stepped inside. She had just got home and now had about an hour until her ride to the Kaibas' arrived. Just enough time to have a shower and get changed before grabbing a bite to eat. She clattered up the stairs.

It turned out that Tèa's estimate was very close. She had just finished getting dressed in jeans and a red knit sweater and was in the kitchen getting a snack when the doorbell rang.

She hurried to the door and opened it to a friendly looking man in a chauffeurs uniform.

"Good evening, you would be Miss Gardener?"

"Yes, Can I just get my bag?" said Tèa, taking an immediate liking to the man.

"Certainly"

Tèa darted back into the kitchen to grab her bag sitting on the table. She snatched an apple from the fruit bowl on her way back out.

The chauffeur was still standing on her porch when she went back out the door. He escorted her to the car, a nondescript black sedan, and held the door for her.

When they were both in and belted up he pulled away from the curb. Tèa looked at the driver in the mirror and realized he was smiling faintly.

"Why are you so happy?" she asked curiously. "Oh and sorry but what's your name?"

He smiled more broadly, "Paul, Miss. And I'm this happy because my wife just had our first baby yesterday."

"Really" gasped Tèa, sitting up straighter.

"Yes" he replied proudly. "A healthy baby girl, I'm going to see them as soon as I drop you off."

"Wow, that's wonderful. Congratulations."

"Thank you Miss."

They drove in silence for a few more blocks, Tèa gnawing on her apple then putting the core in the rubbish bin as directed by Paul, before the car turned into a driveway. Two huge wrought iron gates blocked the rest of the lengthy driveway. Tèa could just make out a building in the distance behind a grove of trees. The driver stopped the car at the gates and leant out the window to key in the pin number on the automatic lock. The gates began to ponderously swing open and Tèa thought of something.

"Hey, why don't you let me off here? I'll walk the rest of the way. Then you can go see your baby sooner."

The man's face lit up, "Really, you don't mind?"

"No, say hello to your baby for me" Tèa was already climbing out of the car. She waved to him, as he pulled away then ran through the gates before they could slam shut on her.

She began the long trek toward the house. The happy thoughts of newborn babies sustained her for a while but she was only halfway to her destination when she began to regret her hasty decision. Grumbling under breath she had no choice but to keep going. She passed the three quarter mark with visions of Kaiba, being made to run the length of the driveway until he collapsed, dancing in her head. Finally, seven agonizing minutes later she had made it to about fifty metres from the front door. It was then that a voice hailed her from the darkness.

"Stop! Identify yourself."

Tèa looked around but couldn't see anyone in the growing darkness. "I'm Tèa Gardener, I'm here to stay with Mokuba. Paul dropped me off at the gate."

"Sure you are." Tèa could now identify a figure coming out of the darkness, he looked vaguely familiar and Tèa thought that he might have been one of Kaiba Corp's security personal at Battle City. Her attention was more focused on the huge German shepherd he had on a lead, it was sniffing and pulling in her direction.

"Look" she reasoned, backing up. "Can we just go and sort this out up at the house?"

"Don't be ridiculous. I'm under strict orders. Now stay where you are."

Tèa continued to back away. "But I'm expected."

Evidently the guard had taken this as resistance. He sneered and let the dog's lead go. It lunged and Tèa screamed swinging her bag in an instinctual motion. The blow caught the dog in the chest and knocked it off it's intended course.

The German Shepherd landed heavily and took a few seconds to recover. Tèa used these few seconds well and, forgetting all warnings she'd had on how to deal with an attacking dog, she turned, sprinting for the house.

Those extra seconds were what she need as, fueled by terror, she hurled herself over the gravel path and up the steps to the door. She tugged frantically at the door handle but it was locked. Around her whistles blew, signaling the approach of more guards and, knowing her luck, more dogs.

She sprinted down the steps keeping close to the wall of the mansion to avoid the people approaching from the front. Ignoring the cries to stop she accelerated instead finding same reserve of energy she didn't know she had. Rounding the corner of the house her heart nearly stopped. Ahead was a hedge extending from the side of the wall into the gathering darkness. She was trapped.

Desperate, she kept going and when she reached the hedge she swerved to run alongside it just as the first of her pursuers come into view. Two steps ahead she saw something to reaffirm her belief in God. In the fading light she had missed a hole in the hedge, big enough to fit through. Not having many options left, she dived through.

...vV...Vv...

Seto Kaiba was sitting on an outside deck typing a financial report and enjoying a cup of coffee. He liked the peaceful seclusion this area afforded him. It was confined by a hedge running around the edge, with carefully cultivated gardens lining the path that led from the side of the house to a pond, complete with goldfish, in the far corner. A gate near the pond gave access that wasn't via the house. The deck where the C.E.O. sat was plainly built with elegant outdoor furniture set on it.

The youth's peace was shattered a moment later when the younger Kaiba came barreling out of the house to hurl himself into a chair across from Seto.

"Tèa's coming, Tèa's coming" he yelled, bouncing in place.

His brother looked at him over the top of his lap top and raised an eyebrow. "You were never this excited when Mrs. Fentworth came."

Mokuba wrinkled his nose. "She smelt like cabbage. Don't try to deny it."

Seto didn't answer but a slight quirking of his lips showed he knew the truth of the statement. Both boys looked up when a whistle sounded in the distance. It was only when the whistles came closer that the two stood up, Seto moving to stand in front of his brother and gentle begin pushing him in the direction of the house.

The sounds of running reached their ears before something burst through the hedge to land gasping on the grass not two metres from were the males stood.

"Light!" bellowed the elder and the voice activated floodlights suddenly bathed the area in a harsh glow. Tèa Gardener lay sprawled on the ground breathing heavily. 'What the Hell? What's Gardener gone and done to herself now?' thought Seto, approaching cautiously. When a bark came from the other side of the hedge she surged to her feet, nearly crashing into Seto. She blinked then recognition seemed to permeate her frantic mind.

"Oh thank God!" she cried and dodged behind him as the gate opened and two guards charged in.

They saw Seto and stopped "Err? Hello Sir."

"What is the meaning of this?"

"Well you see...um...we spotted an intruder and she," he pointed to Tèa, or the bit of Tèa that was peeking out from behind their boss. "Ran. So we chased."

Seto turned to Tèa.

"Why didn't you say you were meant to be here?"

"I did." said Tèa indignantly.

"And?"

"He set the dog on me."

Seto sighed and massaged the bridge of his nose. "You two" he said, pointing at the guards. "I'll deal with this in the morning, go back to your duties."

The guards left quickly. Tèa dusted herself off with as much dignity as possible.

"You know what Kaiba?" she started, not looking at either boy. "I'm unimpressed, you're supposed to have all this high tech security and they couldn't even stop me. Me! I'm the most inept criminal ever."

Mokuba giggled, "She has a point Seto" He turned to Tèa. "I'm glad you're here. Big brother said we could order pizza for dinner. What do you want to do now?" All of this was said very quickly and Tèa had to struggle to make sense of it.

"Anything with sitting would be good."

There was a snort of what could of been laughter from the direction of where Seto was packing up his lap top and downing the last of his coffee.

"But first" said Tèa, "I have to speak with your charming older brother."

"You think Big Brother is charming?" Mokuba looked hopeful, Tèa thought that this was probably because most people only had bad things to say about his brother.

"Um...yes." said Tèa slowly, not really wanting to hurt the boy's feelings.

"Okay! I'll be in the living room." He ran off.

Tèa stared after him. "What do you feed him? Pure sugar?"

"He's just excited you're here. There's no accounting for taste." He now had everything he needed and headed back into the house. Tèa trailed after him stewing. She ran a few steps as he veered left along a hallway to bring herself level with him. To keep level though she had to take two steps for every one of his. It was only just dawning on her how much bigger then her he was. She had never really thought about it before, but she just barely came up to his shoulder.

Suddenly he spoke, "Just so I know, Why weren't you delivered to the front door?"

Tèa glared, "You make me seem like a package. And it was because Paul wanted to go see his baby. I offered to walk up the driveway so he could get away quicker."

She didn't get a reply but then, having spent time with Kaiba before, she didn't really expect one. The two kept walking until they reached what appeared to be the entrance hall. A man was standing near the door, holding a briefcase and a swath of material, 'Probably a trench coat. Kaiba's never seen without one. Except for school and I bet if they let him he would wear one even there.'

The man held out the cloth which was indeed a trench coat then, once Seto settled the garment about his shoulders, handed him the briefcase. Seto abruptly turned to Tèa.

"Mokuba goes to bed at nine. He's not allowed anymore candy tonight, regardless of what he tells you." His expression became slightly sterner, "And Gardener, if you upset him you are going to answer to me, I don't care what the rest of the geek squad says."

"Don't talk about my friends that way!"

"What? Can't handle the truth? I always new you lived in a fantasy world, I just didn't think it was this bad."

"God, you are such a pain!"

"I thought I was supposed to be charming?" He left, Tèa blinked after him. 'I could of sworn that he just teased me, in a non malicious, almost playful way. Note to self: Don't eat or drink anything, what ever is contaminating this house has to be strong to effect Kaiba.' She shrugged off the disturbed feeling and turned to the butler.

"Mokuba said he was in the living room, where would that be?"

"Down the hall you just came from, second door on the right."

"Thanks" Tèa wandered off in the direction indicated. When she did arrive at the second door on the right she opened it to find Mokuba seated in front of a large TV playing some sort of video game involving racing cars. He was muttering under his breath as he played and didn't notice Tèa enter. She took this opportunity to look around the room. It was tastefully decorated in shades of burgundy and cream. Two large sofas sat before the television but Mokuba was seated on a beanbag to play. The walls featured an odd but pleasant mismatch of professional paintings and drawings obviously done by Mokuba.

Tèa went to sit on the couch behind the boy but it was only when she kicked the back of the beanbag that he looked up.

"What are you playing?"

"Doesn't matter." He said shutting the console down. "What do you want to do?"

Tèa thought for a second, "How about a Duel Monsters game?"

Mokuba smiled, "Okay but I'm not very good."

"No worries, neither am I."

Tèa grabbed her bag to retrieve her deck while Mokuba got out his own deck and two duel disks. Within a few moves it became evident that someone had been getting tips from his older brother. Ten minutes later the verdict was out...

"I win, I win!" cried Mokuba.

"Fine, best two out of three."

The two continued to play stopping (Mokuba ahead 4:7) only to order the pizza (pepperoni). As they sat on the couch munching on their dinner Mokuba smiled across at Tèa.

"I'm glad you could come."

Tèa smiled back. "Me too. Although I have to admit I didn't think your brother would let me."

"If Seto let anyone come I think it would be you. He said you were the least pathetic of all Yugi's friends."

Tèa pondered this for a while, finishing up her slice of pizza. "Be that as it may, you are still beating me by three. Prepare to duel!"

Over the next hour Tèa managed to pull back so she was only one game behind. She was about to play her last card combination that would bring victory in this game and a tie at ten games each when she looked at her watch.

"Oh no, it's five past nine. You're supposed to be in bed by now."

Mokuba groaned, "Please can we just finish this game?"

Tèa did her best to look stern. "No, but I'll tell you what, I have in my hand two cards that would end this duel. If you go to bed now and don't tell your big brother that it was later then you were supposed to I'll forfeit so you win 10 : 9. Deal?"

Mokuba brightened considerably, "So I win."

"Yes"

"Okay" he put down his duel disk and ran out of the room.

"Hey" yelled Tèa. She ran after him, by the time she got to the hallway he had disappeared. The only person around was the butler who pointed wordlessly down the hall. Tèa nodded her thanks and jogged away in search of her charge.

It was minutes later before she found him and even then it was only because he emerged from a bathroom announcing that his teeth were brushed. She followed him upstairs to his bedroom, a large room with walls covered in Duel Monster posters.

Smiling at this she tucked him into bed and kissed his forehead good night.

"Good night, sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite."

"G'Night Tèa, don't worry I won't tell."

Tèa walked back down to the living room. She settled in on the couch fully intending to read her English assigned novel. Obviously she underestimated how tired she was, three pages in and her eyes grew heavy. She made it to mid way down the fourth page before surcombing to sleep.

...vV...Vv...

"Gardener, Gardener. Wake up" a harsh voice was grating in her ears and a hand was shaking her awake. The girl sat up blearily to see Seto Kaiba scowling down at her.

"Oh, you're back."

"Yes, I trust that nothing went wrong?"

"Yeah." She rubbed at her eyes. "Mokuba was fine, I can go home now?"

The boy nodded and led her out to the entrance hall. Tèa stayed close behind him. At night when no one else was around the house seemed a lot creepier.

Seto showed her out the front door to where a car was sitting, engine running. A driver, not Paul, opened the door as she approached.

At the door she stopped and turned to Kaiba. "Thanks, I had fun. Good night."

"Thank you" said Kaiba stiffly, once the car door shut after her he turned, not even waiting to see the car start moving, and walked back into the house.

It was as the car turned out from the driveway onto the road that Tèa realized something. Regardless of how rough his voice was when he woke her up Seto had been very gentle when he actually touched her.