Author's Notes: Yep, it's me again with a continuation. I got 20 reviews! #does little dance# Thank you to all my lovely reviewers!
Normal text: the normal story!
Anything written in italics: flashback
'Thoughts': thoughts in the flashback
Flashback: a flashback within a flashback. Basically, a character in a flashback flashing back on another event. #scratches head# Yeah, that's right!
More Notes: The scene in the present takes place about a year after chapter 1 (and the first parts of the flashbacks here.) The first two flashbacks are set the night after chapter 1 and the second two are set about eight months later. Please don't think this isn't important, if you skip it, the story will make no sense.
Disclaimer: Sue me all you like, I have nothing worth taking. But I do not claim ownership of anything, especially Yu-Gi-Oh.
He couldn't remember ever being this nervous. Never had he experienced this feeling winding its way through his stomach, causing him to break out in a cold sweat. His hand went to his collar, tugging at the delicate white fabric.
"Seto, you've got to calm down," Mokuba said from his right.
"Mokuba, I'm perfectly calm," Seto said, starting to turn around.
"Face forwards," Mokuba hissed. "People are watching."
"Mokuba..." Seto ground out through his teeth, facing the right direction once again. Shifting his eyes, he saw Mokuba standing with a large smile on his face.
Tea stepped outside, pulling on a jacket. It was late at night, but she felt the need to get out of her apartment. 'A walk would be good,' she thought, heading towards the local park.
Sitting down on a bench, she glanced at the fountain in the center. It featured a beautiful mermaid surrounded by several fish. Water shot out of the mermaid's staff, as well as the mouths of the fish. The cherry trees were in bloom, their white petals drifting down. Closing her eyes, she sat back and enjoyed the moment, thinking back on the day's events.
"Is this what you want from yourself? To live the life of a cold and stuffy businessman? Please don't hide anymore," she begged. "I'm not going to hurt you. I just want to help you. I want you to remember what life is really about."
Seto heard her words as though they were coming from someplace far away. They echoed throughout his brain, resonating again and again. He remembered horrible things from his life, things that he wished to forget. That was what Tea did to him. She forced him to relive the worst moments of his life. But she also brought him something else that caused him to erase everything else, to make all the horridness disappear. Tea Gardner brought him hope.
Tea, watching him intently, saw the strangest thing happen to his eyes.
It was as if all of the hardness had just faded away, like ice disappearing off a pond in the spring.
Then something even more amazing happened.
A single tear fell down his cheek.
Tea couldn't believe her eyes. 'Se-Kaiba, crying?' she thought. 'No way! Not in a million years would Kaiba break down like this. And especially in front of Yugi's friend.'
But, being the kind, caring person she was, Tea reached up to brush away the tear.
Never, not even in her wildest dreams, could she imagine what happened next.
Seto brought his own hand up to stroke her cheek, reveling in its softness. His other arm reached around her waist, pulling her close. Then, ever so slowly, he bent down and pressed his lips to hers.
Tea put a single finger to her lips. It was as if she could still feel him there, a ghostly reminder of what had happened.
'I've got to stop thinking about it,' she thought. 'I still don't know what he meant by it, if he even meant anything at all.'
Tea was so deep in thought she failed to notice the crunch of approaching footsteps.
"Tea?" the person asked.
Finally it was time.
He couldn't believe it. After the entire wait, after eleven years, the time was here. He could see Yugi in the front row with a wide smile on his face. Next to him was Joey, looking slightly annoyed, as if he couldn't believe this was actually happening. On his other side was Tristan, who was wearing a dopey looking smile.
The back doors opened and everybody's head turned to watch.
He saw girls walk down dressed all in white. Mai, Ishizu, and Serenity passed him, lining up on the opposite side. He craned his neck, trying to look past them all, to see what he was really waiting for.
Suddenly she appeared, clothed in a long, white dress. A veil covered her short brown hair while twin diamonds hung from her ears. The entire audience rose to their feet in one single motion.
Seto Kaiba couldn't concentrate. He stared blankly at his laptop screen, watching various pieces of information scroll past. It was no use, his mind was somewhere else. Abandoning his computer, he looked out the windows that overlooked half of Domino City. The various lights twinkled and sparkled in their many colors. Ever since he had been a child, Seto had been fascinated by the city lights. Every person had a light and behind every light was a story. Maybe somewhere out there, Tea was getting ready for bed, about to turn off her own light.
'Tea,' he thought, his breath hitching in his throat. He hadn't forgotten their kiss outside Yugi's home earlier that night.
'Why did she do it?' he asked himself over and over again in his head. 'Was it in the spur of the moment, did she feel sorry for me or does she actually love me?'
He turned back to the city. After so long, after so much hardship, maybe it was time to love again.
Grabbing his trench coat, he strode out of his office, ignoring the stares from the few late night workers.
Deciding to take a detour through his favorite park, he leaned against a tree, hands in his pockets. Noticing a figure on the bench, he gasped in amazement.
"Tea?" he asked.
Immediately, she rose. "Se-Seto," she gaped. "What are you doing here?"
"This is a public park," he smirked.
Sighing, she turned away.
"Tea," he said hesitantly, not knowing how to approach the distraught girl.
Tea wandered towards the fountain, admiring the stone carvings. "Can I ask you something?" she requested.
Seto glanced at her. Her brown hair blew softly in the breeze, caressing her face. Cherry blossoms floated down around her, adding to her beauty. The moonlight streamed through the trees, throwing her face into an unnatural light.
"Yes," he responded, still entranced by the picture of perfect beauty.
Sitting down on the edge of the fountain, she ran her fingers through the water, watching the ripples that radiated outwards from her fingers.
"About earlier today," she began. "When I was headed for Yugi's and I met you, and I – we – umm..." she trailed off.
Seto sat down next to her on the fountain. "And?" he prompted.
Looking at him for the first time, she started again. "Remember Battle City?" she asked. "I was under the crate and the Rare Hunter threatened to drop it on me. I told you to help Yugi and Joey. Why did you save me instead?"
Seto looked directly into her eyes. Two pools of blue stared up at him. So unlike his own, her eyes were filled with warmth and happiness while his were more secluded and mysterious.
Tea was the first to break eye contact, unsettled by the intensity of his gaze. "The truth is," she continued. "The day you rescued me, I started thinking about you. Wondering why you acted the way you did. I kept trying to figure you out; you were a puzzle I could never solve."
"So that's what I am to you?" Seto asked. "A random puzzle piece you found interesting?"
"N-no," Tea said. "You're so much more complicated. It took years of fitting the pieces together to discover the mystery that is Seto Kaiba."
"And what did you find?" Seto inquired, moving closer towards her.
"Well, I had to figure out why you're so arrogant and selfish but love your brother more than anything," Tea began. "Why you refuse Yugi's friendship but help him save the world countless times. Why you save my life and then refuse to have anything to do with me."
"That's not true Tea," Seto said, gathering her small hands in his.
"What do you mean?" she asked, looking bewildered.
"In Duelist Kingdom, when you yelled at me about what I had at the end of the day?" Seto said.
"Uh-huh," Tea nodded.
"After it was over, right before Battle City, I started thinking about your words a little more. Sometimes I just couldn't help thinking that what you said was true." Here, he paused. Apologizing was not one of Seto Kaiba's strong points, and he didn't know exactly what to say.
Tea was sitting quietly on the edge of the fountain, a small smile on her face. 'It's almost like he wants to tell me how thankful he is, but he doesn't know how,' she thought.
"So you want to say that..." Tea prompted.
"I'm sorry," he stated. "You were right when you said that I spent too much time around my machines." He glanced down, almost embarrassed by his confession.
Slowly, he glanced up at Tea.
"Thank you Seto," she said, her eyes shining. "Thank you for everything."
Slowly, she began her long walk down the aisle, placing one foot in front of the other.
Some people started to cry and Joey wiped large tears from his eyes. Even from his place, Seto could hear him whisper, "It's so sad!"
Tea seemed unaffected, her blue eyes still focused towards the front. Seto glanced down at the small diamond ring around her left finger. Soon, he would be adding another one to it.
She was almost there. As she climbed the last steps, he could feel his heartbeat start to quicken. Tea smiled briefly before giving him her hand.
"Seto, why are we here?" she asked.
"Why not?" he responded, seeing her nod in understanding. He had been with her less than eight months, but already she knew that he liked quiet retreats where he could think.
"No reason," she said. "It's just that..." she trailed off.
"What?" he asked, coming up from behind and wrapping his arms around her.
"...that this place has nothing but good memories," she finished, relaxing against him.
Seto buried his nose in her hair as he also looked at the familiar fountain with the statue of the mermaid.
"Actually," he whispered in her ear. "There is something I wanted to ask you."
Tea watched as he spun her around to face him before getting on one knee. Comprehension began to dawn on her features as she saw him pull out a small box before asking the all-important question.
"Tea, will you marry me?"
Her hand felt unusually warm while he knew his was cold and clammy. He squeezed hers gently and could see her smiling in return.
The priest began reciting the vows, the duties that they would have in marriage. Seto heard Tea's voice clearly as she promised to take care of him in sickness and stay by him no matter what happened.
It was his turn. His time to return the vows that Tea had already given to him. The priest, Tea, and everyone else in the church watched him as he spoke the two words.
Tea glanced from Seto to the ring and back to Seto again. Her eyes widened as she heard his words.
"Tea?" he asked.
"Yes!" she exclaimed, tears starting to fall from her eyes. "Yes, I'll marry you!"
Seto rose to his feet, a smile on his face. "Here," he said pulling out the ring.
Tea could barely watch as Seto slid the ring onto her finger. As he drew his hand away, his eyes met hers.
"I love you," he said, leaning down to kiss her.
The priest spoke the final rites as Tea handed her large bouquet of flowers to Serenity. Slowly, Seto took the small golden band in his fingers before taking her hand. He then slipped the ring over Tea's fourth finger. Pausing slightly to admire it, Tea took the other ring and put it onto his finger.
The final words were spoken, the words that would seal their marriage forever.
"You may now kiss the bride," the priest said.
Seto drew Tea closer, watching her eyes. They were brimming with tears, but underneath, he could see the happiness in them. And so, he bent down and gently placed a kiss on her lips.
They were joined. For better or worse, in sickness and health, until death did them part, they were one, united forever.
Author's Notes: Funny, the wedding part was never originally in the story; it was just the part in italics. Actually, I didn't even get as far as the proposal. But then I decided to write more because it was so short. So I added in those scenes. Anyway, it was really fun to write! I hope you liked reading it as much as I liked writing it.
Thank you to all my reviewers who encouraged me to write this chapter.
Sugar Spice and Not So Nice
Dreamer of Dragons
Degressi to be
Mokuba's Official Glomper
A Candle in a Damp Cave
And I really think that this is the end. I kind of left it open-ended last time but now I left it off with the wedding. I probably won't be writing anything else for a few weeks while school finishes and I have finals. And I get to see the new Star Wars movie on Thursday. So this is swimmurgirl signing off until the summer. 16 more days...