Disclaimer: For the final time, I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh.

A/N: Here it is- chapter 15, the last little piece of this tale. I'm almost proud of this story- from being a plotless nothing, it's come a long way. I'm glad I could end it here- 15 is divisible by 3 (that's a GOOD sign)! I really hope that everyone likes it! So... Without any further delay, please enjoy chapter 15 of "Addiction".

Note: I bet you all forgot about those rose petals Seto bought, didn't you? Heh heh heh. Well... he certainly didn't. (and neither did I!) Short bonus scene at end of chapter. (winks)

chapter Fifteen:

It's a sorry state to find yourself in-
Lost in an addiction you just can't break.
But take away the secrets and lies,
The arguments and the heartache,
And every moment was
Infinitely, impossibly
Worth it.

(At Long Last, the Present Conclusion)

Like a reckless herd, Joey and Tristan barreled into the classroom. Just another average morning for them. Yugi came in with a little less exuberance, books in his arms and a small bookbag slung over one shoulder. He was far from a morning person, and even his fierce, competitive optimism would be a few class periods in coming.

Téa was the last of their group to arrive, still on that sunny high that she had woken up with. The days were getting shorter and colder, but she didn't care. A bright purple scarf was wrapped around her neck, looking adorable but utterly ridiculous. She didn't care. Nothing could bring her down- not that day.

Since school wouldn't officially start for quite a few minutes, she put down her books and papers and things, and settled down to talk with the boys. Only a few other people were in the classroom then besides them- their class's brightest student, a girl with long hair sleeping on her desk, a boy playing a hand-held game in a chair by the window, and Kaiba. Secretly, she smiled at him, though, as per the usual, he didn't dare return it.

"Hey Téa," Joey said suddenly, seeing a tissue-paper package. "What's that on your desk? It looks like a... a present or something. Oh shit! It's not your birthday is it? I didn't mean to forget, I swear. If you just-"

She waved away his apologies. "Don't worry Joey. It's not my birthday. And I really don't know what that is." She went over and picked it up. Gently, she peeled away the wrapping. A deep, dark red rose sat in stark contrast to the dull wood of the old desktop. "Wow," she breathed, eyes going wide.

"Who gave you that, Téa?" Yugi asked. "I don't think it was any of us." He looked at the other two boys. "Right?" They both shook their heads.

There was a small, white card attached to the stem. Deftly, she untied the string that held it and took the card in trembling hands. In a delightfully familiar hand, it read:

"Don't think this means anything- it doesn't. Here's to all the other dirty little secrets in the world- you know that you'll always be mine. Just so you know- and I don't give a damn if you remembered or not- happy four months. It's been... interesting, hasn't it? I like roses; appreciate this romantic gesture because it's probably all I will ever have the stomach for. You know how I feel about useless fripperies others excuse as 'romantic'. And you can go ahead and despise the hell out of me, but... Damn it, even if I swore that this would never happen, I had to let you know.

I love you."

There was no signature, but she didn't need one; she knew who had given it to her. She knew the only man in the whole world who could have sent it. And...

"He loves me." Barely a whisper, but oh how good it felt to say it out loud.

"Huh? What'd you say Téa?" Joey asked, hearing her mumble something too soft to hear. "And what'd that note say anyway?"

His simple inquiry seemed to snap her back to herself. She folded the note up again and shoved it into her bag beside her chair. "Oh nothing. Just... Um, a secret admirer or something. You know the sort of thing." She turned her attention rather conspicuously to the rose. "And look at this rose that came with the note- isn't it beautiful?" She held it up close to her face and smiled. "It really is very beautiful."

Seto didn't want to look at her, but he was finding it very difficult to peel his gaze away. The rose and the note were on her desk- he watched her read it, and watched the different emotions it evoked come and go across her face. That was it- he still couldn't believe that he actually went through with it. He felt raw and almost vulnerable, opening himself up to criticism or judgement. When he thought back to how long he denied his feelings, it seemed nearly impossible that he had finally confessed. But he did- and he loved her so much it hurt. It had totally taken him over- an all-encompassing feeling of drenching, torrential ecstacy. He loved her, and no matter what happened, he knew that a small part of him always would.

The only thing that remained to be seen was if she returned that love. All he could do, even though he despised the very thought of it, was wait.

Yugi and crew all walked out of the school together at the end of the day. Téa had been acting strange since that morning- Yugi was fairly certain that rose she received had a lot to do with it. He had his suspicions as to who it was from- as if it wasn't utterly obvious- but his curiosity about the contents had only increased. She was quite clearly happy with whatever had been said, but... Well, even if she didn't tell them soon, he knew that eventually he would find out.

Joey and Tristan were- yet again- mindlessly arguing about something indiscernible, as they made their way through the doors amidst the swarm of departing students. Kaiba was already outside, standing at the curb his eye on an expensive watch on his left wrist. He was obviously waiting for a limo to pick him up and take him to his office- his job started almost as soon as school ended.

Téa perked up even more as soon as she spotted him. Taking a deep breath, she hurtled toward him, almost breaking into a run in her hurry to reach him.

Tristan stopped talking suddenly, even though they were in the middle of (another) heated argument. His mouth hung open in shock as he stared at something behind Joey.

Utterly confused, Joey lightly slapped his friend's face. "Hey Tris, what the hell's the matter with ya, man? Why'd you-" Wordlessly, Tristan turned Joey around so he could see the sight that had shocked him into silence. Téa had her arms thrown around Kaiba, kissing him and, apparently, enjoying it.

Joey eyes widened and he let loose a string of cursed. Before he could do something rash, Yugi gently tugged on his arm, and began to quietly explain what he knew of the situation.

Ignoring everything around them- the finger-pointing, the gasps, the unabashed staring- the two happily lost themselves in a familiar haze. Only then, it was so much more meaningful, more amazing, more everything.

Seto pulled away after a moment, pulling her close in a warm embrace. She laid her head on his shoulder. He was a little frightened to feel a wet patch, as tiny tears dropped onto his shirt. Téa looked up at him with a huge, brilliant smile, and giggling slightly, she wiped away the tears with the back of her hand. "Seto," she said, looking for all the world like someone who's dearest dream had come true, "I love you, too."

With a smirk, he said, "I know." He glanced casually over at a stock-still, gaping Tristan, a screaming, jumping Joey, and a dutifully explaining Yugi. "I think we're going to have to talk to your friends."

"Oh, without a doubt," she concurred. "I think Joey's just had his first heart attack."

But with another smile, she pushed away thoughts of the inevitable confrontation. She was so happy- so undeniably, fulfillingly content. Nothing could take that away.

Closing his eyes and pulling her closer, Seto leaned down to her ear and murmured, "You're mine. I love you, damn it, and to hell with what anyone else thinks."

And, with no further thought, words, or even heated looks, he leaned down and kissed her again, knowing in his heart that it was the first of many, many to come. The world could have faded away, but she was still there, so he would still be there. And he would never let her go. He'd never, ever let that feeling fade. And she, with just as much passion, felt exactly the same way.


She clung to him, nails digging into his shoulders. That was it- one of those moments when her whole world exploded and then pieced back together again. She was well-beyond speech, and rapidly approaching the point beyond thought. Again and again, the same words ran in her head like some dark, erotic mantra: 'I love him, I love him, I love him, I love him, I love him.'

She came down soon enough to see him, head thrown back in nearly-inconceivable pleasure and mouth wide open, trying to reach for words that could only manifest as a deep moan. His breathing was rapid as he leaned his head down onto her shoulder, right between her neck and jaw. He kissed her once lightly and she sighed contentedly.

A smile spread across her face as she saw a single, pale pink rose petal stuck to the sweaty skin on the back of his neck.

...And So A New Beginning Has Been Started, Because Nothing Ever Really...


(the final) End A/N: I can't believe it. It's finally over. I... I don't know what to say! Gosh, I really enjoyed writing this. There are a few parts that make me cringe a little, but overall I'm extraordinarily happy with the result and I can always go back and edit what I don't like.

I dedicate this last chapter to all those who've reviewed this story. If I didn't get feedback, I can promise you that this never would have gotten finished. The first chapter didn't get any reviews for about two weeks, and before I posted the third chapter the second only got 2! Wow, I've really progressed; I have 140 wonderful reviews now, and I cherish all of them! (I'm getting pathetically sappy here... Sorry.)

Well, that's it! I will have a sequel of-sorts up in about a week or so; it will be called "abstract melody" and basically it's a giant collection of one-shots/song-fics. I hope you all check it out!

signing off...