Author's Note: Still "As Is" but now with development and all its consequences.

Girl/Friend

All these feelings cloud up my reasoning. - Matchbox 20

The fact is she's not your type.

Hell, you don't even have a type but if you did she certainly wouldn't be it. The mere idea of it is too ludicrous to exist.

It's not like you've ever given much thought to the subject, to types and girls and, come on, spit it out, relationships. There are all too many others things, important things, vying for your attention and you only have twenty-four hours each day to meet the demands. Conference calls, product testing, market reviews, contract negotiations, Mokuba's soccer matches, and calculus homework. Your life is filled to the seams with obligations and responsibilities; there's just no time left to spare on pointless thoughts of "what I want in a girlfriend..." There is just no room left in your mind.

Which sort of makes you wonder, sometimes, about how she managed to get in there. Because there she is, in your thoughts and on your mind, a friendly figure colored by good intentions and faith. Your unasked for, unplanned for, unprepared for, unbelievable friend. The cheerful exception to an unconscious rule, she's done what she swore to do that one impossible day, a year and a lifetime ago.

(It was the seriousness in her eyes that stopped you, the gravity of her gaze. The bell had rung, the hall was empty and she was staring through you like a mirror. Vaguely you remember thinking that both of you were going to be uncharacteristically late, and wondering what excuse would she give the teacher and would it be the same one she'd give her friends, and why the hell were your palms sweating. When she spoke, voice soft and clear, it was with a quiet, diamond conviction that pierced. I'm not going to give up just because you're paranoid. Glower and growl all you want but we're friends now. You'd better start believing it because I'm staying. And so she did.

And so you do.)

Once upon a time you thought she was crazy. Actually, you still do. What other possible explanation could there be for her strange inclination to be with you? As for you with her… It's all insane, no matter what angle you analyze it from.

But if you did have a type, if you were to shut your laptop and put pen to paper and make a damn list…well, the results wouldn't be anything like her. Instead it would be something…different. Very, very different. It just had to be.

First off, your type would be smarter. Brilliant. Because like deserves like, right? You're a genius, a whiz kid, a freaking protégé since the age of eight, and doesn't that mean only someone else of the same exact elite classification deserves to be with you? Except when has there ever been anyone like you, when has there ever been anything like you? When all the other little boys were pushing toy cars and chewing glue you were asking how airplanes work and figuring out the weight of the moon. When they were reading Doraemon, you were reading Reinfeld. So lucky, they said, whispered and praised, such a smart little boy, such a special little boy. And then they'd give you more heavy books and you read them because you could.

And then came Gozaburo.

(She asked you once why you picked, of all places, Domino High, a public school. You could have, after all, attended any place you wanted, could've entered the most elite private academy or just ordered the best tutors to your door. Why didn't you? You remember where she asked, the library, the way the afternoon light picked out dust motes in the air and the feel of paper between your fingertips, and the way she drummed her pen against the textbook. A mild question, harmless, but still you sat there helpless and mute. I didn't have any specific reason not to, you finally said. But her expression had changed, deepened with understanding, and you knew she'd heard the hesitation. I like it too, she said, turning back to algebra. It's kind of nice to remember that life can be ordinary. Normal, you know? And she looked up and smiled.

This you remember.)

Second, this impossible non-existent type would be a better Duelist. Not necessarily better than you but at least good enough to present a solid challenge. If someone chooses to stay by your side they must be able to fight, to prove their strength; you have no time to waste on unsteady weaklings or spiritless jellyfish. Cowards, you despise above all else.

(You remembered marveling at the sheer disregard for self-preservation she showed at the dock, bound and booby-trapped, a pawn pulled between her friends. And yet the only things she yelled were warnings to a blind girl. When she pleaded, loud and angry, it was for the sake of her friends, and it was towards them that she turned her pleas. For her captors she had only insults, and even these were brief and few as if she couldn't be bothered to spare the words. Even if he had not been in her debt for helping Mokuba or responsible for her physical safety as holder of the tournament, even if she had been a first-time full fledged stranger he would've been impressed.

Wasn't she scared? Worried? Aware of the two-ton crate over her head?

Well, sure, she said months later across the restaurant table, smell of ramen thick in the air. Who wouldn't be? You saw how bad things were, two of my best friends going like that against each other, like enemies. And that that timer and the chains…god. They could've been killed, Seto. Of course, I was scared; geez, I was totally terrified. She says it like it's the most obvious thing, utterly sincere, and you can see she's misunderstood the point completely. Again. Sometimes it feels like you are both speaking different languages, foreign to each other. The difference between absolute courage and alarming ignorance is not so wide, and the fact that she would rate her safety below that of her friends' is not so surprising. Now that that you know her, you understand that her vows of friendship eclipse all else, overriding saner instincts. It is both an asset, because it turns her bold and formidable, and weakness, because such loyalty leaves little room for pragmatism, but mostly it's just her nature. Perhaps you should deem her a fool for it.

Now that you know her, you do not.)

Thirdly…thirdly, well, there's always the popular issue of physical attributes. If you're going to be checking out someone in that way then they'd better be worth looking at. Blonde or brunette, it doesn't matter but whatever you're planning to keep should most definitely be beautiful. You learned early on the importance of appearances, of how eagerly others judge. It is an incurable flaw of human nature, but that does not mean it is without its uses. All the world's a stage? Fine, but if you're going to be a player you're going to damn well win with the audience stunned at your feet. To hell with pretenses of modesty or fitting in with the sheep; let them stare with awe and envy and fear, let them try to ignore you. Whoever stands beside you can't be the type that wilts in the spotlight, can't let themselves get pushed out.

(A dancer, she answers without hesitation. Pixie chin raised, oasis eyes steady, she says it like a challenge, daring you to rebuke. A curious reaction, dramatic, but you're getting used to these surges of resolve; they're indicators of an important subject being defended. Nonetheless, you are surprised by the strength of the response and the firmness of her tone; it's the first time you've seen her act so defensively about a topic other than her motley crew of buddies. The sheer earnestness of it strikes you as juvenile, vulnerable, and you're on the verge of firing hard questions hoping to dent her convictions. Presuming such a thing is still possible. A hundred cynical, sensible little things crowd your mouth but looking into her face, its familiar pretty lines sharp with determination, you can't bring yourself to say any of them. Well, that's not completely true; you could say them if you had to, if forced to, but you don't…want to? You think of your own childhood promises, made at the age of seven and built at seventeen, and think that perhaps hers is not such a silly goal. A dream is only as strong as its follower.

And she does, you admit, move beautifully.)

Fourthly…hell, it's obvious by now that anything can go here. Status, breeding, height, organization skills, computer aptitude, interests, turn offs, etc etc freaking etc. Each is a logical factor in what your type, your match, must have and be. Each is a reason as to why it can't be, won't be, her. Not this strange not-stranger, this girl who barely reaches your chin and yet always looks you in the eye. Not she, with her honest eyes and colorful voice, small hands gesturing in echo to her bright moods, and the clean sound of her laughter. Not this person, real and present, who makes mix tapes with Tchaikovsky on one side and 'NSYNC on the other, who cheers at Mokuba's soccer games and sends Chinese food your office, who smiles at you and means it, who saw what you tried to do at the top of Pegasus' castle and shouted, who …likes you. She knows you, forgave you, and likes you.

She's not your type. She has a smile you're learning to die for and a touch so careful, so sweet, it deserves worship but that doesn't mean you're going to think about it. Again. She's kind and imperfect and two months older and you're friends.

Friends. This alone is enough to guarantee her sainthood, laughable and undeniable, and so you, the genius, are not going to do something stupid (like telling her) and ruin it.

No, she is not your type.

Because you are not, and never could be, hers.

::all you wanted::