Disclaimer: I don't own it. Premise based off of 'Can You Keep a Secret' which is a kick ass book by Sophie Kinsella.

Warning(s)- swearing, mild sexual theme reference.

I sit back in my chair as I wait for the computer to shut down. Maybe punching Seto's name into google wasn't such a good idea after all. It was incredibly daunting to realize just how smart and accomplished he was. I sigh and idly wonder if maybe Malik is right and I should just ask him about what happened. I give an even bigger sigh and jump to my feet as I acknowledge that I'd never have the nerve to ask so there's no point in speculation.

/if you keep sighing like that I'm going to start insisting that you get checked for asthma/ the little voice is back.

Leave me alone, I tell him. I'm going to go make dinner.

/hurray! Don't forget, we agreed on chicken!/ The little voice reminds me.

"Yeah, yeah…" I grumble heading into the kitchen. I've pulled a chicken breast out of the freezer, and onto a plate when there's a booming knocking on my front door.

Frowning, I set the plate on the counter, and walk over to the door.

/don't answer!/ the little voice commands imperiously.

Don't be rude, I admonish him.

/but I'm hungry/ he bemoans, little knife and fork in hand.

I reach the door, and peer out the peephole. It's Tristan. Shit!

Instinctively I duck down. Maybe if I'm really quiet he'll think I'm not home.

Again he pounds on the door. "I know that you're there Ryou! I heard you moving around."

Double shit!

/what is double shit?/ the little voice is amused.

I ignore him, and wonder if there's still some way out of this. I'm not ready to talk to Tristan! I don't know what to say!

Maybe I can pretend that he heard something else? Yes! That's it! But what?

Experimentally I give a meow.

The little voice is killing himself laughing. I hope he spontaneously combusts.

There's a hesitation outside the door. Then Tristan's voice incredulously asks, "Did you just meow?"

My face flushes. The little voice begins a fresh laughing fit.

/answer the door…..I can't….take any more……please…../ he gasps out, doubled over.

Reluctantly I get to my feet. I take a deep breath and open the door slowly.

"Tristan! What a surpri…." I get out before he pushes me aside and walks in.

He looks around briefly, before fixing me with an annoyed look. "I want my money Ryou! I've waited long enough!"

"Well, you see Tristan, here's the thing.." I say nervously, trying to smile. "I, uh, don't actually have your money for you, um, right at the moment."

I flinch at his expression. "But I'll get it! I swear!"

"That's what you said last time! And the time before! And the time before that! You might think that I'm slow, but I'm beginning to sense a pattern here. Now I really don't care if you and that slut friend of yours have to give hand jobs at the bus station, I want my money by Friday. Do you hear me Ryou? Friday! All of it, in my hand!"

"I can't get it by to you by Fri…" I manage to squeak out before he shoots me a truly nasty look, that silences me immediately.

He peers into the living room, and abruptly strides over toward the computer.

"What are you doing?" I ask alarmed, scuttling after him.

He looks around the room for a moment, before snatching a snow globe, with a picture of my sister and I inside it, off the shelf.

"What are you doing with that?" I demand, too upset to realize who I'm shouting at.

"It's collateral." He snaps at me, shoving me out of his way, and striding out the door. "Get me my money by Friday, if you ever want to see the snow globe again!"

"No! Wait!" I yell, hurrying after him. "You can't take that!"

He responds by giving me the finger. "Friday!" He shouts over him shoulder.

I slump in the doorway, I can't believe he'd take that. I'm devastated.

/….does that mean that you're not cooking dinner…./

I want a new life.

After a restless night worrying about Tristan, I'm trudging up Malik's walkway when a decapitated one armed doll sails past me narrowly missing my arm.

"Hey!" I yell, far too late.

Malik laughs, standing up from his hiding spot behind a rocking chair on the front porch. In his hands he's got the reason I'm in so much trouble with Tristan, a black slingshot that Malik had picked up at a garage sale. It was a pretty sophisticated contraption with a wrist brace, stabilizers, rotating prongs, sighting mechanisms, and god only knew what else. Malik was instantly infatuated, and just had to have it. I really don't know how Malik managed to get it, I strongly suspect a five finger discount, but I didn't ask. With Malik sometimes it's best not to know. The rest of the morning was spent gathering projectiles, and we'd spent a memorable afternoon launching things into space, getting more creative as the afternoon ran on. I was just lining up a can balanced on the back fence with a wooden croquet mallet (don't ask), when Malik decided to 'help me'. I maintain that it was unwanted sexual contact, and he swears that it was just friendly, but the end result was the heavy object being launched into the street and smashing into the side of Tristan's Dad's recently restored car, the first time he'd snuck it out of the garage. To say that he was unhappy was a serious understatement, and I still flinched at the memory. I had taken full responsibility, as I knew that Malik couldn't afford to give me any money toward it, and I didn't want him to think that he had to. He was unpredictable at the best of times, and I didn't care to imagine how he'd help raise the money. So I'd kind of down played the situation to him.

Pushing the whole situation from my mind, I smiled at him. "Ready for school?"

"I guess." He says, opening the front door and tossing the sling shot inside. He grabbed his backpack and slung it over one shoulder, sauntering down the walkway.

I joined him, admiring the beautiful weather. Sunshine, not a cloud in the sky, it was a day that you couldn't help being in a great mood. Dispite my issues, I felt a spring enter my step.

/if you start skipping, I'm leaving/ The little voice warns me.


/haha, it is to laugh/

"And then the aliens parked their ship in my bathtub, and demanded bananas and pickles for fuel. I said that I didn't have any and could they use canned beans instead and they decided that that was such a great idea that they presented me with the grand golden rod and made me ruler of their planet. Personally I think that the rod is a little too much like a phallic symbol but what could I say you know? So I…"

"What?!" I say, softly laughing.

He gives me a slow lazy smile. "I knew you'd tune back in eventually."

I shake my head. "So I take it you're feeling better today?"

He shrugs, "I'm alive. Alive in that non-committal sort of way, as in I reserve the right to die again at any moment."


He laughs, and flashes me another smile. "So have you figured out what you're going to say yet?"

"To who?" I inquire wryly.

"That lowlife stoner."

"Tristan? Oh um, actually, um, I talked to him last night." I say, walking a little bit faster.

"Really? I'm surprised, I thought that you'd drag you heels." He matches my pace easily, sounding confused.

We continue to walk for a block in silence. He's got an intent look on his face, and keeps shooting me puzzled looks, which I pretend I don't see.

"Yeah, he showed up at my house last night." I say at last. The silence is unnerving me.

"What? Really?!" Great, now he looks pissed. "And what did he say?"

"Um," I hesitate, wondering if it wouldn't be best to have kept my big mouth shut. "He said that I better have his money by Friday if I want my snow globe back."

"What snow globe?"

"That one that's usually in the living room. He kind of took it last night."

"WHAT?" He shouts, looking murderous. "That asshole!"

Abruptly he picks up the pace looking positively livid.

"Wait! Malik!" I call, hurrying after him. "It's fine! He won't do anything to it, it was just collateral." I finish lamely, but he's not listening anymore. Great.

/Alright! A fight!/ the little voice gleefully says. /and I thought that today was going to be boring/

Shut up.

The little voice starts whistling the theme from Rocky.

I roll my eyes, and break into an all out run as I realize that Malik had managed to locate Tristan.

"Hey asshole! Who the hell do you think you are? Give Ryou back his picture right now before I kick your ass." Malik growls as soon as he's close.

Everyone in the immediate vicinity goes silent. Crap.

/Double crap/

Shut up!

/just trying to help…./the voice says sulkily.

Tristan turns to face him, and gives him a slow once over before a dismissive roll of his eyes. Contempt drips from every word, "Look, I told you two that I wanted my money by Friday. As long as I have it, he'll get his little picture back."

"You're such a loser, Tristan." Malik snaps.

"I'm a loser? This coming from a white trash slut like you. Your house is so nasty that last time I walked by it I tripped over a rat and a cockroach stole my wallet."

There were a few snickers from the rapidly gathering audience, and Malik bristled.

"You know Tristan, you're proof that evolution can go in reverse. I'm surprised that you haven't gotten a Darwin Award yet for being brain dead."

"I'm sorry but all I heard was blah blah blah I'm a stupid whore."

Malik scoffs, "Good come back. Keep talking and maybe someday you'll say something intelligent all on your own."

"Whatever you cum dumpster. You're a skanky slut who's only problem is that I won't do you. Deal with it and move on. I like girls. It's not gonna happen." He said loudly for the benefit of the crowd.

Malik flushed red, and screamed, "Do you ever wonder what life would be like if you'd had enough oxygen at birth? May I never be so desperate as to even consider screwing you."

"You know, as much fun as this is, I really don't have time for it. Ryou'll get it back when I get my money, and not a second before."

"You're the biggest bitch I've ever met, Tristan!"

"Bigger than your sister? I'm honored!"

"What did you just say about my sister?" Malik asked quietly, face losing all expression.

I start frantically gesturing for Tristan to stop, but Tristan seems to entirely miss the danger this new voice holds, and continues.

"I said that your sister is a poor white trash slutty bitch, just like you."

Malik launched himself at Tristan's throat, and Tristan went over backward. Malik landed on top, reeling back to punch him hard in the face, and Tristan retaliated. The fight that had been building for just over a year was on.

/Risin' up, back on the street

Did my time, took my chances

Went the distance, now I'm back on my feet

Just a man, and his will to survive/ The little voice sang to what looked like a choreographed routine.

Just shut up, I thought wearily.

By lunch time I'm sitting back under my tree morosely eating a cheese sandwich. Tristan and Malik had both gotten two weeks suspension. Isis was going to kill Malik when she found out. I'd tried to talk to Yugi but Tea had been there, and was less than sympathetic.

"After all, Malik's the one who started the fight in the first place, and he's the one who threw the first punch. It's not really fair that Tristan was suspended too. Malik's a psychotic menace and should be locked up. Everyone knows that."

"He is not!" I'd tried to defend him.

Tea'd just rolled her eyes, and told Yugi that she needed him to watch her cheerleading routine during lunch to spot any problems. He'd agreed, avoiding any eye contact with me, and they'd both left.

"So I heard your friend made quite an entrance this morning", an amused voice stated.

I turned around and looked up to see none other than Seto Kaiba leaning casually against my tree. He's wearing a grey tshirt and black pants. Come to think of it, the last time I saw him he was dressed fairly similarly. He'd look even more amazing dressed in something with some color.

/As if your not gay enough, now you're going to give out fashion advice./ The little voice says with a sigh.

I'm not gay! I protest.

/ok. Fine, you're not gay…… Quick, who is the world's most successful female recording artist of all time?/

Madonna, I answer without thinking.

/ah ha! You honor, the prosecution rests!/

Whatever! I think indignantly. If you know it, of course I know it. You're a figment of my imagination!

/well if your going to get all huffy about it…../

I roll my eyes, and suddenly realize that I'm zoning out and ignoring Seto. I give my head a quick shake and that's when I realize that he's gone. I feel a wave of disappointment. Today sucks.


/double crap/

Oh shut up.