Dislcaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh! is a work owned and created by Kazuki Takahashi.
Time: After Battle City Finals (Kaiba and Mokuba are back home in Japan) and before the Egyptian Arc (I'm pretending the Dartz and Kaiba Corp Grand Prix Arcs did not happen, as in the manga)
Warning: Spoiler Alert! If you don't know much about the Egyptian Arc and don't want to, there will be some descriptions of events and people later in this story.
Ding-dong. The resounding doorbell hardly penetrated the upper levels of the mansion, barely registering in the minds of those people so involved in what they were doing, so a suited man went to answer it. There was complete silence after the opening of the door, and despite the fact that he was working on a term paper, Kaiba could not concentrate with the silence.
Who would come to my house? he wondered, that thought pervading all other flow of words to the page. I don't think Yugi and his little friends would even dare come here unless dire need drove them.
Finally, unable to wait for his servants to come find him, Kaiba pushed back his chair and went out of his room. Small feet on the stairs indicated Mokuba's curiosity had already been piqued enough that he had gone to see who was there. Taking his time, the master of the mansion began running through other possible people.
If it is even anyone remotely related to a salesperson, I am getting them sued. I have a court order allowing me complete privacy. And I thought I had completely cowed any nearby neighbors, so no one should be coming to sell me something that way or ask me to sponsor them. It is still so quiet. Who is it?
Mokuba's figure was before him at the door, standing rigid without a tremble. Next to him was the butler who had answered the door, a man normally having nothing to do like this during the day.
Kaiba came up behind them his height guaranteeing his eyes a view of whomever was out there. However, even his superior height did not help to immediately identify that anyone was even there. Gradually, his eyes traveled down until they reached the basket and bundle on the ground.
Eyes widening, he backed away pulling Mokuba and the butler with him. "No, this is insane," he said with a strange expression. "It only happens in movies and books. There is no way that is a baby on my doorstep!"
Mokuba glanced up at his brother, worried by his tone. But the boy still dared to reply.
"Isn't she cute?"
"Cute? Cute is not allowed in this house! And a 'she' is even worse!"
The butler scurried away to a safer standing spot. Near the decorative vase he deemed himself safe. It was unlikely Kaiba would attack him so near something so pricy.
The door still stood ajar, and through it, the bundle moving slightly in her blankets. Kaiba's eyes were glued to it as if it were a detonator about to activate.
"But, Seto, I always thought I was, um, well…maybe I'm not. But, well, I had always hoped…That is, uh…" Mokuba sheepishly looked up at his brother, the words he could not say evident in the utter adorable features of his kind face that his brother did not see. He sighed. Joking did not always work with Seto. "At least read the card, Seto."
Mechanically, knowing it would make no difference, Kaiba reached forward for the paper, hand staying far enough away from the baby in order not to accidentally brush her. If he did, there was no telling what would happen, just like with a transferable disease.
The card slipped open, words racing before his eyes: "Please take care of this baby. Your cousin, Rakyo Wek, died giving birth to her but begged her child's godfather to take her. That is you, Seto Kaiba. Rakyo knew her child would have a good life with you and so died a little easier."
With every word, Kaiba's eyes narrowed a little farther and his hand clenched the paper a bit more tightly.
They, his old family, wanted him to take care of this brat? When all they had done for him was use up his and Mokuba's inheritance before delivering them to the orphanage? Never would he, Seto Kaiba, who worked so hard to create this life for himself, give any of it back to those who only hurt him.
He tossed the crumpled paper back into the basket and closed the door before heading back upstairs.
Mokuba's horrified gaze followed his brother for only a few seconds before his feet did. "Seto! You can't just leave her out there! She'll die!"
Closing his eyes with a small smile, pausing in his stride, Kaiba replied, "I'm sure one of the deliverers in out there just waiting to see if we take her in. When they see we don't, they'll drop her off where she belongs—in an orphanage." He resumed walking.
Mokuba did not. "But how can you do that to her? It is exactly what they did to us!"
Kaiba froze before his foot was on the first stair.
Continuing his argument, face close to tears, Mokuba said, "We can't send her off knowing no one in her family cares about her! We can't risk forcing her to experience what we went through!" In a quiet voice, Mokuba added, "And she doesn't have an older sibling to look after her."
There was no reply. But Kaiba did not move up the stairs. Finally, with an exasperated sigh, he went back over to the door, yanked it open, glared out, and pulled in the basket.
For just a moment, he cast his gaze around while wondering how anyone could get close enough to his door to ring the bell. Anyone coming here had to make it through security first. Seto Kaiba would definitely be speaking with his security later.
After he had the basket in his hands inside the mansion, the CEO looked down. Already, his heart was sinking. This newborn girl was going to cause all sorts of problems: disruptions, annoyances, headaches, loss of respect, lack of seriousness in his workers… And what was already happening? His brother was making faces at the baby and laughing at her wide-eyed gaze.
Sighing, Kaiba handed the entire basket to Mokuba. Then, he scrawled a sort of list, handed it to the nearest goon, and went upstairs.
"Wait, Seto! What are you doing?"
"I have work to get done, Mokuba. Don't worry; Roland is picking up some infant formula. Then, you can experience the great joy of feeding her."
The boy's eyes went wide. He did not know anything about infants. Sure, once he had a bottle he could give it to her, but were there other tactics he had to know? And now that it came down to it, Mokuba was not certain having a newborn was going to be entirely fun. The child was screwing up her face and beginning to wail.
Kaiba saw the panic beginning in his brother's eyes and gave a tight smile. "You wanted her to live with her family, Mokuba. Have fun cleaning her diapers."
"What? Seto, I can't take care of a baby! And I certainly can't change her diapers. I mean, that's, well, she's a girl!" he burst out.
Kaiba could not keep the amused grin off his face. "And whom did you believe would? This was your idea, Mokuba. Don't you think you should be the one to cater to her every whim including the desire to eat at one in the morning? It should be worth it, don't you think? After all, you said she was cute like it meant other aspects could be ignored."
The baby continued to cry, her face bunched up in her intense struggle to make these people understand her. Mokuba was no longer making little faces at her but wincing from the sound.
"I don't think she's very cute anymore, Seto."
Within four feet from the doorway, Kaiba sensed his victory. He took the basket from his brother and jiggled it a little to try to make her stop crying, but his attempt was half-hearted. One reason was that there was no way he was going to actually lift her out of that basket. If he did, it would be like admitting he was actually going to take care of her.
"Then I will be back shortly."
Blinking in confusion as well as an attempt to clear his head aching from the noise, Mokuba trotted after his brother. "What do you mean, Seto? Where are you going?"
"The orphanage, of course."
His little brother stopped in his tracks, hands on the basket so that it jerked in Kaiba's grasp. The little girl wavered for only a moment before the balance was restored. One of the servants nearby had a very white face. With much courage, she came forward and determinedly eased the child from the basket to the safety of her arms. Quickly, so as to ignore any frowns on her employer's face, she began comforting the infant. Kaiba might have snapped at her, but the baby was growing quiet, so he decided not to warn his maid against taking too strong an initiative.
"You can't take care of her, so why should we keep her here? We don't have time for a baby."
Mokuba's face, for all that he was not crying like the infant, looked greatly more saddened.
"But, Seto, I told you. We can't send her off to scrape a life for herself somewhere else. If the rest of her family couldn't keep her or didn't want her, it is all the more reason for her to see that someone does. Don't you ever think what would have happened if we hadn't needed to go to the orphanage?"
His voice cold and body tense, Kaiba replied, "No, I don't contemplate ideas that can never come about." The harsh tone merely made his younger sibling appear even more melancholy. Even Kaiba, focusing on a spot somewhere on the wall behind his brother could not fail to notice that. Working to keep the tightness out of his voice, he continued, "Besides, we are not prepared to care for a child, Mokuba. And who is going to take care of it when we're at school or working?"
Mokuba's face did not change, except to become even more graver and hopeful. Tentatively, he tried, "There are always nannies, Seto. With all the room in this place, I bet you would hardly notice she was here. And I know we don't have to worry about how to provide for her. I'd give up whatever money is mine to care for her and work to see her every day. That way, she'd know that someone in her family cared about her."
There was silence.
Trying to press his advantage, Mokuba continued, "You always said I could get a pet when I'm old enough. How about we just adopt her instead? With the nanny to help take care of her, I could learn how to be more responsible."
How could Kaiba think of no comebacks? Instead of cool reason, an image had come to his mind, an image of the outside of the orphanage.
It was perfectly conceivable that the infant would know nothing about the Kaibas if she was adopted by a family. Her new parents would most likely tell her the truth eventually, but she probably would not even know the Kaibas had had the chance to adopt her. In fact, now that he thought of it, Kaiba could not come up with a good explanation of how anyone in his past family knew who he was. They could guess, by the age, by the looks, by the circumstances, for all that it was supposed to be known by very few. But then, if his old family was truly looking for him and searching thoroughly, they would find him. It was not as if he had covered his trail at all. What a shock it must have been for them all to discover where he was now after they had gotten rid of Mokuba and him.
His brother's face was still silently begging and hoping. What would it all matter, anyway? The girl would no doubt be an annoying brat when she reached her teenage years, but there was no way he could explain that to Mokuba. Well, what really pushed him over was the fact that he had not given his brother anything he truly wanted in a long time. Sure, there were plenty of toys and games that money could buy, but he knew that Mokuba wanted more than that. All Mokuba desired was to have some quality time with his brother. Maybe, by giving him this child, she could take the place of his role. Or maybe, it would be a start in trying to spend some time as a family.
Mokuba was going to open his mouth to begin arguing again, but there was no need. Suddenly solemn and calm, Kaiba answered, "All right. She'll stay. But remember, I'm not potty-training her. And please, Mokuba, do not treat her like a pet."
His younger brother gave a whoop and raced over to the maid and baby, the latter silent now. The former, however, cast a worried glance at the two Kaibas, not certain if this was a good thing or not.
So, like that, Seto Kaiba found himself adopting his first cousin once-removed.
The first night, he summoned the guards at the gate to his room, demanding they explain themselves.
"Well, sir, we thought we ought to let the person put the child on the steps. We checked over the basket thoroughly; there were no weapons. And, since if we stopped her we were just going to have to take the child up there ourselves, we thought it all right to let the process proceed as it normally does." The man shifted uncomfortably. "We couldn't let the woman just leave the baby outside the gate, sir."
Kaiba chose not to respond, though he did let the two men leave. So, he had had a chance to force the child back into the carrier's hands. That, however, would be the same ordeal as sending the infant to the orphanage, so it appeared the choices were identical.
Down the hall, the child was crying again. Roland had returned with infant formula, diapers, and other needed supplies, but the headache that was forming was going to be one that remained for days—Kaiba was sure of it.
The next step of the process, the adoption papers, went through with much havoc.
First, all the baby's relatives, namely her grandparents and father, had to swear they did not want the child but knew Rakyo wished the Kaibas would take her. That was done simply. Apparently, Rakyo had never told anyone who the father was. Most likely he was someone who would not take responsibility for the child. The grandparents, for that reason, wanted nothing to do with the child. They had termed it something like this: "Maybe with Americans single parenthood is rising and the Japanese are being influenced by them but it does not mean older citizens have forgotten the obligation to the family name."
Hearing that made Kaiba pause a moment, realizing how his older family was all the same. They had not wanted their nephews, and they did not even want their own grandchild, honorable name excuse or not. Knowing this, Mokuba became more determined to take control and keep the infant, despite all the work that would entail for him.
Once it was established that the Kaibas had a right to the child, there were the actual papers to fill out.
"Seto, what's her first name?"
"How should I know?" he had snapped irritably, trying to type something up at the same time Mokuba was filling out the forms.
"You have to name her. Her mom didn't give her a name."
"Why don't you name her?"
Mokuba smiled at his brother. "I think you'd come up with the perfect name, Seto! Come on, just try to think of one."
Despite all of his attempts to remain outside of it all, Mokuba kept trying to drag him in. Right then, his brother was holding the sleeping baby and trying to show him her face.
"Come on, look at her. I'm sure there's some name that fits her."
Kaiba ceased typing to look seriously at his brother, not a glimmer of amusement in his eyes. Mokuba was undeterred, however, having grown up around such looks. He brought the baby closer yet.
"If you would just name her, I'd stop pestering you. I've decided on her middle name, so you have to pick her first name."
Giving up all attempts to work, Kaiba put his head in one hand. "What's her middle name?" he asked.
Mokuba beamed. "Natsui."
Without a falter, Kaiba said, "Metsukiao."
"Perfect! See, I knew you'd have a…" Mokuba suddenly frowned as he looked down at the paper he had filled in one-handed. "Seto, you can't name her that! That's completely unoriginal! Doesn't that name mean—?"
Kaiba had a quirky grin on his face as he interrupted, "It's a fine name. You wanted a name, I gave one to you, so go on and change her diaper or something."
His brother made a small exasperated sound. "I just had her diaper changed by one of the maid's. Can't you smell the baby powder? Hmph. I will leave. Now, say goodbye to little Metsukiao." He made a face. The name fit her, but he still could not believe his brother was so uncreative.
Kaiba gave a small sigh, watching his brother leave the room. As soon as it was quiet, he resumed his work.
As with anything he did, Kaiba only accepted the best. The same was true even with little Metsukiao. Despite the fact he did not want the infant, he still refused to treat her any worse than everyone else in his household. Therefore, he read and researched about countless nannies. There were plenty of willing people, but for some reason or another, they just could not make it up to his expectations.
For certain, Kaiba was not merely extending one of the maid's roles to care for the child. He had not hired them for that, and he would not change it now. Still, the maids were doing extra work right now because of the length of time it was taking to find a suitable nanny.
Not just anyone could be allowed to raise a Kaiba. That was indeed what her last name had changed to. After all, Seto and Mokuba's own names had changed to that through his hard work. Even with all his high expectations, Kaiba was not going to expect Metsukiao to earn her name as an infant.
Over two weeks had gone by since he had allowed Metsukiao in his home. Mokuba's enthusiasm had dwindled down into something more enduring but less excitable. In fact, his little brother was growing very responsible—almost like a young father. It was Mokuba who helped with most of the work and struggled to learn how best to care for Metsukiao.
School, however, still existed. As much as he would enjoy staying home to spend some more time with Metsukiao, whenever she was crying, there was a part of him grateful he would be away and would not have to deal with it.
Author's Note: Any new readers wondering what 'Metsukiao' means should just continue reading. I reveal it in a later chapter.