A/n: Well, here's another update posted. Writer's block is such a…blockhead. I thank you for all your reviews and your patience!
Disclaimer: All Day Doesn't Own Yu Gi Oh…end disclaimer.
What is Love? ...Baby, Don't Hurt Me
The nurse, wearing a white nurse's uniform, carried the tiny squalling infant down towards the nursery. She carefully put in the newborn in it's crib, then hurried away amid all the babies. Her white loafers made not a sound as she entered a secret staff room, but her white pantyhose did as they rubbed together.
"You called, Doctor?" she said with a worried expression.
Dr. Erik, Tea's physician,looked gravely down at his pretty, young assistant. He was the most handsome, most admired youngest doctor on staff. "We've…got a situation here, Tina," he said, motioning towards the X-rays. On them, were 'negatives' of a human's abdomen. "Remember Mr. Seto Kaiba, who was admitted here a few weeks ago, with back and spinal cord injuries? His brother…with severe head trauma?"
"Ooh, yes," Tina cooed happily. "How could I forget?" They rest of the staff, a team of the finest nurses and doctors, exchanged glances.
"Yes, well, since you're in charge of the children's, (that includes the nursery) ward, I would suspect that you do know," Dr. Erik rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Anyway… er, this is hard for to say but… at five fifteen, these people say that you dropped Mr. Warner's bedpan, in the hallway."
Tina turned beet-red, "Yes…but it was an accident!" She fidgeted nervously, with the hem of her apron. "You see, I heard…" She stopped, "I mean! I wasn't eavesdropping, but…"
"Yes?" Dr. Erik seemed a lot more interested than in what she'd heard than the fact that she was eavesdropping. "What did you hear?"
The whole staff held their breaths.
Obviously, she was confused. "Just…something about…um, er, 'being naked'. Nudity," she clarified.
There was a silence, then the whole group looked at each other while drawing in a whole collected breath as one. Their faces were worried just as Tina's had been when she'd entered.
"I-I didn't mean to eavesdrop or nothing… say, why did you ask me that? What's going on?"
Another silence, then some of the staff started to murmur with each other. Tina couldn't understand why Dr. Erik, a sane individual, would ask her a question like that. His face was grave, with his jaw set, determined. "That… confirms it," he said with a heavy sigh.
"That they, Mr. Kaiba and Ms. Gardener, a volunteer, had had a little…fling going on," he said carefully, peeking over his shoulder.
"Oh! So? Tee hee, everyone knows that, silly, via the nurses' grapevine."
"No, you don't understand." With a heaved sigh, Dr. Erik turned towards some charts on the X-ray table. "See?…There. That's, the problem," he said softly, staring at a chart marked "Tea Gardener" on it.
Tina blinked, then after a while, shrank back with a loud gasp. "Oh no!" She exclaimed with her eyes bugging.
Mokuba Kaiba, being a little eavesdropped himself, had just so happened to hear her and the doctor man's last remarks. His wide dark grey eyes took in everything -- the people's stricken looks, the mention of his brother's name, and then the mention of Tea's name. Frowning, inquisitive, he strained his ears to hear expertly.
Squinting, he could just make out the name on what they all were looking at. "Tea…Grander"? No, Tea…Gardener! What was wrong with her? He almost said this aloud, then remembering he wasn't supposed to be there. Hiding behind the door, he watching owlishly as the all single filed out, mumbling and muttering. Here and there, he caught a "scandal" and a "problem" being said aloud. What, a disease?
What was wrong with her? Mokuba ran out.
Tea sat all alone in her hospital room, her leg still in its cast, eating, her food in her lap. She was watching a TV show up on the set, where it was tacked to the ceiling.
She was, more accurately, supposed to be watching, but really was studying every chip on the green painted door. Outside of it, she could hear voices of everyday people doing their everyday jobs, volunteering as a receptionist, rushing patients towards the infirmary. I wish I could be out there with them instead of stuck here all day, she thought restlessly. But… of course, that wasn't the only reason she was watching the door.
Kaiba hadn't visited in a week. She'd hardly noticed, since her friends were there for her everyday, bringing her homework, mountains of it, and chatting. In fact, they had just left, with a wave and a bounce. And she, Tea, had smiled along with their joking and laughter, whenever it called for it, but really she hadn't felt like laughing at all, in the first place.
Her parents had told her she couldn't apply for her favorite dance institution. Had told her? She'd been dreaming about it for years! Decades! All because…of her leg.
They had said she should focus on her studies and apply for a nearby college instead. Forget that! I'm finally free, to be independent and then they throw this on me! It's not fair! Her mother had been more lenient than her old fashioned father, but that the way things had always been. Mother good, Dad bad.
Sigh… I feel so down in the dumps. Why this now? Where is Kaiba? Tea picked absently at a side of beef, or what Joey had called filet of a gorilla's heart-- and glanced at her cast. I really need to talk to him. Even he isn't here right when I need him. It's just not fair. "Humph!" She tried to focus on the TV program, but her eyes kept blurring. The reason why was…
I do remember falling in love with him…and why. That "why" felt like a real breakthrough. But… oh, that "but." I fell in love because I discovered that he had a soul… and a heart… set in the right place. When the time calls for it. But can I TRUST him enough to have it for me when I need it? It seemed unlikely, since he wasn't even here to wish her well. Ever since he'd left with that last, cutting, snide remark, she couldn't stop thinking about him. Or them. Or her future. Or their future. If they had one.
Which we won't, if he doesn't show up! Angrily, she threw away her fork; it clattered underneath her bed with a ringing sound. Maybe he doesn't care after all, sang a little voice in her head full of malice. Please. He wouldn't have told me "I love you" if he didn't, she battled the little voice in her head. That had been the proof of his love. She knew, given his persona, wouldn't say it if he didn't mean it.
Unless… he had another plan--
Tea glanced up in surprise, not that she had thought it was Kaiba (he doesn't say "hi!"), but because Mokuba looked completely out of breath. Still recovering, it wasn't a good idea for him to be running amuck. Even though he did anyway.
"Hey Mokuba." Tea smiled faintly, a weak version of her usual one. "Brought me some… more magazines, I see. Thanks."
"Oh yes, Big brother says to send it to you," Mokuba improvised. "He says you'd like it."
"Gr-reat," Tea felt like her face was nothing more than a great big smiling mask, "So… where is he, by the way?"
It was the first time in a week she had asked for him. Her pride was too strong to show that she needed to speak with him. "Oh, he's coming," Mokuba said, waving his little hand. "He's showing Roland how to park a new-designed limo. Anyways," he went on, "I…I gotta tell ya something."
He said it so serious, so unlike him that immediately she was concerned. Was it his head case again? Experiencing blackouts? "…Oh?"
"Uh… it's kind hard to say. Maybe-maybe I shouldn't say anything. But then, you did help us through our tough times," he argued with himself, charmingly. "So, here it goes. I heard--"
Just then, the door opened with a "And make sure you get it right this time, Roland!" came the voice of none other than Seto Kaiba. He entered, and Mokuba stopped talking immediately, the little boy looking unsure. "Have I--interrupted?" he inquired.
Just like that. Like he's been here every day for the past few weeks. Sure it was only a week, but it felt like more. Tea was silent and didn't look at him directly, upset.
"No, I was just--telling--Tea-- about something--I heard earlier," Mokuba was saying. He looked from one to the other like at a tennis match. "What's wrong, bro?"
"…" Kaiba closed the door quietly behind him. "…Nothing's wrong, Mokuba." Having given that answer so many times, it automatically rolled off the tongue. " Mind you, will you give us some time alone?"
Blinking, Mokuba had never been spoken to like that by his big brother. "Yes, I do mind…eep! Never mind," he yelped as he hurried out as his brother gave him a meaningful, pointed-like look.
"All the way, Mokuba!" Kaiba yelled over his shoulder, and then the raven-haired little kid disappeared down the hall in a flurry of feet. "So…" he hesitated as he came over to sit by her bedside, "…how are you doing today?"
Well, it was a start. "…Fine," she replied after a while, but in a little, tight voice that betrayed her thought and emotions.
"Look…we need to talk," he said as she picked at the edge of her blue bed sheet and didn't look at him. "First of all, I'm sorry I didn't come here earlier… things were hectic at the place of my work, and your father…" He bit off his words, running his fingers through the front part of his hair. " Well, you already know that he doesn't like me."
Tea's father worked as a computer specialist at KaibaCorp. Tea began rub her forehead as if it hurt, and glanced up at him.
"Anyway, don't you have anything to say?" He said it softly, studying her. There were big blue bags underneath her eyes from lack of sleep, and she looked…tired. Perpetually tired. As he did. He had rushed over and had to leave someone in charge, and looked disheveled.
"I…accept your apology." There was a hidden message in her words. She seemed to be waiting for something. But when she didn't get it, she looked disappointed.
Well, now that was a start. There was another big silence, but what am I supposed to do? Apologize for every single thing that I did wrong to her? That'd take forever! Tea held her breath and finally looked at him slowly and for a long time without talking. Then she said, finally:
"I remembered something else…" Before she could add "today," he said:
"Oh, so that's the problem. So what other thing did I do wrong in your memory?"
She seemed to swell up in anger and inhale sharp, and the bags disappeared. Truthfully, she did look cute whenever she got mad. "If you don't interrupt me, I will tell you." He made an okay, okay sign in answer to this and she was silent, thinking. "It was when, I confronted you in the parking lot, and tried to stop you from taking all those pills."
"…" Now it was his turn to hold his breath. It was obvious this was nothing good.
"Do you remember?"
"Of course. I. Remember." He said it unconvincingly.
"You don't? Well, then let me refresh your memory." Her face was white. "It was just before a car ran me over. Does that help?"
He got up then. Walking toward the window, he looked out. It was snowing outside, a big blanket of white outside the lumpy landscape. There was yet another silence from him, and behind him she rubbed her head again. When he didn't turn, she got up, hobbling and with difficulty.
So that was it. She blamed him for her accident.
It did make sense. In her distress, she must have not been looking aware, and ran straight into an incoming vehicle.
How can she not know that I feel guilty for that everyday?
"I can't read your thoughts if you don't talk, Seto."
Turning, he told her flat out.
"So then, why didn't you come visit earlier?" she wanted to know, with her eyes on his in her usual directness.
There was a silence as he stepped forward a little bit, eyes pleading for her to understand. How could she tell him that all she'd wanted was for him to talk to her?
"Oh, I know," she said, moodily turning away.
"Oh. You do." he challenged.
"Yes. It's because you don't love me anymore."
She said it so matter-of-factly, she could've been talking for a girlfriend of hers. But her eyes brimmed, even as she stuck up her chin proudly. As if to try to be taller than him. Never succeeding, but trying.
"I can't believe you just said that." He said tightly, feeling restless and the urge to shake some sense into her raged on. "What do I have to do. What do I have to do?"
"To make you believe me, of course."
Was she blind? "That I love you!" he practically screamed.
The tears spilled. "Just talk."
"What are you crying for?" he said still screaming.
There was no sarcasm. Her head drooped forward on her chest, and she fairly mumbled the word. Tea could feel her lips trembling and was glad her hair hid her face.
"Look at me... please Tea."
"I don't know..." she mumbled, trying to pull herself together. She couldn't, wouldn't fall apart like this, especially in front of him.
"Now, who's the one not talking?" he taunted, then was resilient. "Why must you make things so difficult?" With one finger, he probed at the bag under her opal-jeweled eye and wondered if she'd missed him. She had yet to say it.
"Me! Me, make things difficult?" she ranted suddenly, grabbing his hand. There was some truth in it that she wouldn't dare admit, though...because I really don't think it would ever work out between us. We're too different; we want different things; we have too much difference in backgrounds...yet something prevented her from saying so to his face, and hurting him. I just don't want to get hurt again. I love him, too, but I don't want to be hurt.
Which made all those reasons just plainrationalizations in disguise. Therein lay the truth. As he came closer, staring into her eyes unblinkingly, his mouth drawn, she thought, Well, we do have something in common, then. Neither of us wants to get hurt, and we'll wind up doing so in the future. But...
...but, as he moved eerily slowly, she didn't move away. He didn't touch her, didn't grab her by the arms, but just pecked her briefly once on the lips spongeily. How could it be that all those 'reasons' just slipped away, just then?
Moving away, she dropped her head again and sighed quietly and softly, "I hate it . . . fighting . . . "
He watched the head of brown hair, like dark polished wood. "Ditto," he said just as quiet. A moment passed, as the tension between them was released, finally.
"I'm getting out soon. We'll talk again, after...I'm released from the hospital." Tea said, studying his imeculant collar.
"Deal."Kaiba suddenly turned away and walked out of the room. He nearly bumped into Mokuba, who was trying to get back in. "Mokuba." He said, his voice clipped because he didn't like Mokuba spying, "Let's go. Time to go home, little bro."
"Um, okay…" Confusedly, he looked back at his disappearing trenchcoat, as Tea tried to collect herself and put on a happy face. "Let me say something first to Tea, okay?"
Please, please, don't ask anything personal, Tea thought mentally. It was the last thing she needed now-- to be interrogated. "Okay," Kaiba nodded, met her eyes meaningfully for a second, and walked out, leaving them there.
"I was listening in, I mean, walking down the hall," the black-haired little boy whispered in a high undertone, "And I saw, I mean heard people talkin', important stuff, about you."
"About me? Oh--" Probably just gossip. "--really?" Sniffling, she hoped Mokuba would think she had a cold or something. "That's nice."
"They said there was something wrong with you--" and because it sounded too depressing and because her face looked all funny, he said, "Something the matter? Did you and Seto have a fight?"
"No," she answered, honestly. "That's nice," she said absently in response to his 'news.' Something was definitely the matter with me when I got involved with him--Kaiba…What was I thinking. That's it! I wasn't.
Mokuba yelled as a car beeped, "Oh, okay. See ya later!" He hurried off, figuring she already knew what was the matter with her…and wasn't up to talking about it. But that wasn't the case at all.
To Be Continued Next Chapter
A/n: What's wrong with Tea? Even I'm not sure if it shouldbea good thing, or should it bea bad thing? Anyway, I'm planning to have out another S/T fic out soon. Probably when I next update this story…. Please review, w/friendly-like smile :).