Lost and Found – Chapter Three

Mokuba stumbled into the breakfast room of the Kaiba mansion and threw himself into a chair. He propped his head up with one hand, and with the other, he dug into his eggs. Kaiba folded his newspaper and set it down.

"Sober this morning?" Kaiba asked.

Mokuba grunted affirmation and lamely bobbed his head.

"Good. Because you're getting on a plane in an hour."

Mokuba's fork clattered to his plate. "Where are we going?"

Kaiba smiled. "You, as I said last night, are long overdue for a vacation."

"You're serious," Mokuba said, clearly unconvinced.

"You think that during my five year absence I've been blind to what you've been doing with my company? You're wrong. I know precisely what you've been up to," Kaiba said, steepling his fingers.

Mokuba held his breath. Kaiba continued, "And I'm proud of you."

Mokuba's face almost fell into his breakfast. "You're proud of me?"

"Of course," he said. "I know how hard you've been working. And I know I shouldn't have interrupted you yesterday with my barging in and barking orders like that."

Mokuba started to interrupt, but Kaiba held up a hand. "Let me finish. Since Kisara died, I've shut myself off from everything and everyone. Including you. You were absolutely right about that. But, no longer. I intend on going back to work right away."

"You're resuming control over Kaiba Corp's operations?" Mokuba asked.

"No exactly," Kaiba answered. "You will still retain majority control. I intend on reopening the gaming divisions."

"You what?!" Mokuba cried although he half expected as much after yesterday's incident.

Kaiba arched an eyebrow. "It is still MY company, Mokuba. I think I should be able to do with it what I want, don't you think?"

Mokuba nodded. "But, Seto, why? You've shown no interest in dueling for years. I thought you had retired."

Kaiba shrugged. "I had. But I retired before I was on top."

"But after Yugi stopped dueling, you were universally acknowledged as the world's greatest duelist. I thought that was enough for you," Mokuba questioned.

Kaiba stood up and went to a window. It was a beautiful morning. "No, never 'enough.' A temporary holding point. True, with Yugi's ersatz retirement after that dreadful mess in Egypt, I was made the world champion by default. But, it wasn't a true victory - or a true defeat. And when Kisara became ill, nothing in the world mattered more than restoring her health. But, that ended five years ago. And so I withdrew from the world, leaving you to run the company."

Mokuba waited patiently for his brother to continue. "Mokuba, you've done a supreme job. The company's stocks are at an all-time high. We can't fulfill all of the orders we have in house. Our brand name is globally acknowledged as the finest and most superior. I couldn't have done it better.

Mokuba puffed up with pride. "So, why are you sending me away?"

"Because you work too hard. Kisara was always on me about that. She said you were going to turn out too much like me," he smiled and looked away. "She was always saying things like that. And I let her down. But, I'm going to make up for it. Last night, I made some phone calls. As of right now, all operative power has been transferred to the senior executive presidents of each division until I say otherwise. No one is to call you, email you, contact you, or bother you in any way while you're gone. Unless, of course, it's me."

"So, uh, where are you sending me?" Mokuba cocked his head to one side.

"You'll see," Kaiba smirked. "You're all packed, but you better get going."

"Wait! One more thing. What are you going to do with the gaming division?" Mokuba asked as the limo driver paused in the doorway.

"I'm going to issue a new version of the Duel Monsters dueling game. I'm going to regain my true place at the top. And not by some crappy default," Kaiba stated.

"How are you going to do that?"

"I'm going after the God cards. All of them," he answered as he escorted his little brother out the door.

Mokuba froze as he was climbing into the backseat. "But, Seto! They're destroyed! Back in Egypt!"

Kaiba placed a hand on Mokuba's shoulder and gave him a gentle shove into the car. "Have fun, little bro. Don't call or write."

"But, Seto!"

"So what are you going to order, Mai?" Serenity asked her best friend.

"I don't know. What about you, Tea?" Mai asked in return.

"Hmm, what?" Tea asked, startled.

"Yoo-hoo! Anybody home?" Mai asked, amused.

"I'm sorry, guys. I'm still kinda shell-shocked." Tea shrugged and read over her menu for the hundredth time. "I guess I'll have the garden salad with low-fat dressing."

"Like you need it, honey," Mai replied. "I mean, have you looked at yourself recently? Good Lord, I wouldn't have known it was you."

"Yeah, Tea, you look completely different. But I'm definitely loving the hair," Serenity added.

"You look different, too, Serenity. Your hair is so short! It looks a lot like how I used to wear mine," Tea said, playing with a braid.

Serenity ran a self-conscious hand through her shorn locks. "Yeah, I needed a change. Mai convinced me it was the right thing to do. But, I admit I cried for days afterwards. I think Joey cried, too."

"That ninny would," Mai snorted.

"What did Tristan think of it?" Tea not-so-innocently asked.

Serenity blushed. "I don't know. He didn't say anything about it."

Ah-ha! Tea thought. So she does have feelings for him!

Mai leaned over and conspiratorially said, "So, Tea, you've heard Tristan's a big time artist these days? Have you checked out his gallery?"

Tea smiled. "Why no, Mai, I haven't."

Mai leaned closer to her son's aunt. "Serenity, maybe you should take Tea over there later. What do you think?

Serenity sat upright. "Oh! Today? I've got to meet Jason later. Butâ€."

Tea took her hand. "Oh please, Serenity! I'm dying to go."

Mai winked at her, then looked over at Serenity and arched an eyebrow, waiting to see how the girl would respond. Serenity debated it for a moment. "Okay! Sure! I mean Jason will understand. How often do I get a chance to hang out with you, Tea?"

"About as often as the rest of us, girl. Which brings up an interesting subject? Where the hell have you been hiding, Tea? Under a rock?" Mai asked.

Tea laughed. "Close. How about in a jungle?"

"Oh do tell!" The girls chimed simultaneously.

Tea and Serenity walked side by side down the walk in the direction of Tristan's gallery.

"So, Serenity, you and Mai remained close, huh?" Tea began.

Serenity smiled broadly. "She's my best friend, as dear to me as any real sister could be."

"But what about her and Joey? What happened there?" Tea asked, full of love and concern for her star-crossed friends.

Serenity sighed. "I don't know, Tea. Those two seem to make everything so complicated. You can tell they really love each other, but they're both so stubborn sometimes! Except, of course, where my nephew is concerned. He's the only thing they ever agree on."

Tea nodded. "Do you think they'll ever find their way back to one another?"

Before Serenity could answer, a long limo pulled up to the curb next to them. The girls stopped, curious to see who it was.

"Holy crap! Is that you, Tea?!" Mokuba's head poked out of the window as he rolled it down. "Oh, hey, Serenity."

Serenity giggled and waved. Tea's eyes were as wide with shock as were Mokuba's. "Hey, you're not a little kid anymore!"

Mokuba looked her up and down and laughed. "Neither are you! When did you come back to Tokyo?"

Tea blushed. "Yesterday."

"And how long are you staying?" Mokuba grinned.

Tea reached for a braid. "I don't know. Not long."

At her answer, Mokuba's face fell. "No way! You've got to stick around until I get back from vacation. I want to hear all about your life. I hate to admit it, but we lost track of you about two years ago. You showing up here is kinda like a miracle!"

Tea cocked her head to one side. "We?"

Mokuba shrugged. "Yeah, me and Seto. Not to mention Yugi and the gang."

Tea was about to ask a question when the limo driver interrupted Mokuba with a warning that he would be late. Mokuba sighed. "Hey, I gotta go. Seto's sending me on vacation, and I have no idea when I'll get back. Promise me we'll have lunch when I do."

Tea frowned, but nodded. As Mokuba drove off, she turned to Serenity. "Kaiba was keeping tabs on me? Why?"

Serenity shook her head. "I don't know. We all wanted to know you were okay. Maybe Kaiba was doing it as a favor to Yugi."

Tea remembered Joey's comments that Yugi had known where she was from his dreams. She was about to ask Serenity about it when her friend said, "Poor Mokuba. I'm glad he's getting out of here."

Tea asked, "Why's that?"

Serenity resumed her walk towards Tristan's. "Kaiba works him too hard. Most of the time, he's the same sweet smiling kid he was all those years ago. But, he doesn't have it in him really to be the cold master of Kaiba Corp. Joey tells me the kid has taken up drinking when the pressure gets too much. It's usually worst around the anniversary of Kaiba's wife's death. Yugi's tried talking to him before about itâ€."

Tea stopped dead in her tracks. Serenity paused and wondered at her friend's shocked expression. "Kaiba was married?!"

Serenity nodded. "Yeah, to Kisara."

Tea tried to think back. "Wait! Wasn't she that girl with the white hair? The one who was the incarnation of the Blue Eyes White Dragon?"

"Yeah," Serenity replied. "She died about five years ago. Cancer. Kaiba gave up running the company after that. He just sort of disappeared. We found out through Mokuba he holed himself up at his mansion, but he refused to see anyone. Even Yugi. Except for when he was dedicating a new hospital wing or cancer center."

"Poor guy," Tea said, a sympathetic pain rising in her chest.

"The sad thing is, he tried everything he could to save her. He cancelled all his gaming divisions, including Duel Monsters, if you can believe it, and funneled all the money into cancer research. They now lead the world in finding a cure," Serenity informed her friend.

Tea started walking again, trying to absorb all of this new information. "So, Kaiba's a good guy now?"

"Do you think he was ever really bad? Anyway, if Mokuba's going on vacation on his brother's orders, maybe there's a change brewing at Kaiba Corp," Serenity postulated. "Hey! There's Tristan's gallery! Come on!"