Nothing like rain to bring two people together…
Seto Kaiba, CEO of Kaiba Corp and teenage billionaire, was not impressed.
A quick glance up at the late afternoon sky told him everything he needed to know. Dark blue clouds were hovering on the horizon and he could have sworn he heard thunder rumbling in the distance. Bringing the coffee cup he carried to his lips, he took a sip of the bitter brew he'd just purchased and contemplated on calling Roland to pick him up. The only reason he was walking anyways was to work off the stress of the day. Six board meetings and three emergency phone calls had had his stress level up near the breaking point. Forecasted profits for the quarter were down by ten per cent. His new portable duel disk system wasn't as energy efficient as he'd planned and his computer system, the one he'd designed and built himself with automatic back ups and safeties, had crashed. Somehow, all of the code he'd been working on for the previous hour had vanished into Cyber Heaven. To top everything off, he had a math exam on Monday. If anyone else had called or asked him one more question, he had been milliseconds away from losing control.
It didn't help that a pair of brilliant, laughing, blue eyes kept flashing across his mind.
If he believed in Fate, he'd swear She was laughing at him.
No, he would continue the walk home. A bit of water falling from the sky was not going to make him run for cover like a sissy, little girl. Hefting the silver briefcase he carried, he took another sip of his coffee as he entered Domino Park. It was the quickest way home. In fact, if he hurried, there was a possibility that he could make it before the rain started. That was a hopeful thought.
Those hopes were dashed a second later as the first raindrop plinked onto his head. Sighing once, more in resignation at the way his day was going than anything else, he squared his shoulders and slowed his pace. Getting wet, it seemed, was not his choice anymore so why should he hurry. At least the briefcase was waterproof, he thought grimly, watching people scatter for shelter from the oncoming shower. Moments later, he was alone in his journey on the twisting, curving pathways of the park. Thunder rumbled in the distance and a flash of lightning lit the sky but the warm rain continued to fall most gently. Maybe Domino would only see the edge of the gathering storm.
The only good thing about the rain was that it cut the heat of the day. That may have had something to do with his temper. It was unseasonably hot and humid and everyone's tempers, his definitely included, had been affected. Strange how the weather (and thoughts of those impossibly blue eyes) had made him even more irritable than usual.
His dark brown hair was thoroughly wet and rivulets of water traced interesting patterns down his face before dripping off his nose and chin. Trickles inevitably found their way under the collar of his thin, light blue shirt, spreading wetly across his shoulders and back. The Italian leather shoes he wore, completely ruined, squelched unpleasantly with every step.
There was nothing to be done but continue home. Calling Roland to pick him up now would be admitting defeat and he was not one to bow down to the whims of Mother Nature.
Bringing the Styrofoam cup to his mouth once more, he tilted it back to take a mouthful when something in the distance caught his eye. In the centre of a grassy area edged with colourful flowers, someone else was still out in this weather instead of running for cover. Someone else that didn't mind the warm rain that was starting to fall more heavily. Squinting his eyes, and unconsciously quickening his pace, the only thing he could make out was that it was a girl.
She had her head thrown back and her arms spread wide, as if embracing the weather and enjoying it thoroughly. Her chocolate brown hair hung long, loose and wet down her back and just as he approached, she started to move. Arms rose gracefully, fingers delicately poised, above her head as she twirled, her wet hair scattering droplets of water in every direction.
Seto froze in wonder as the girl began to dance in the rain, heedless of how her navy blue shirt and beige shorts wetly enveloped her generous curves. Watching her, he was amazed at the innocence and passion she displayed. Her movements were precise, graceful and elegant as she swayed to music only she could hear. Her long legs moved with an ease that showed extensive practice in this particular art form and Seto indulged himself for a few minutes more as she whirled and spun in the rain.
He hadn't seen her face yet, too much hair in the way, but the lithe body intrigued him. It seemed somehow hauntingly familiar. Who was she? Did he know her from somewhere? The two questions chased each other endlessly through his mind as he took a final sip from the coffee cup in his hand. He hadn't even realized it was almost done, so entranced was he by the perfect sight before him.
A sudden change of direction let him catch a glimpse of her profile and his mind reeled. He hadn't expected it to be her, although now that he knew who it was, it shouldn't have surprised him. Her cerulean eyes had been teasing him all day. She hadn't left his thoughts alone for a single moment. Always, her eyes watched him from a corner of his mind. His concentration, what little of it he had left, had been shot for the entire afternoon.
Téa Gardner continued to dance before him, unaware of her audience of one.
She was always so happy and carefree during school hours. So alive! Everyone else always seemed to pick up on and respond to her good mood. Everyone except him. He was usually too busy working on his laptop to pay any attention to her. His stomach twisted uncomfortably. Grimace. Lying to himself was not a good idea. Too busy to pay outward attention, he amended. The corner of his eye always seemed to be trained on her. He could find her in a heartbeat no matter where she was: in the classroom, the hallways at school, or cheering her friends on during a duel. He'd even had Roland change the route he took just so he could catch a glimpse of her as she walked home from school.
The funny thing was, he'd caught her staring at him before as well. Her eyes never rested on him for more than a second but he knew instinctively when she was doing it. Again only from the corner of his eye did he catch her sneaky little act. The feel of her azure eyes on him always threatened to make him blush. This wasn't something he was used to. She brought new feelings out in him, feelings he didn't know how to deal with. No one had ever affected him this way before.
Her beautiful dancing continued as he brought his mind back to the here and now. Everything she was, all of her passions were on display as her body continued its' sinuous, sensuous movement to a beat only she could comprehend. Flecks of dirt, wet grass and flower petals stuck to her bare feet and shapely legs and she didn't care. Wet hair clung to her face and neck, obscuring parts of her from his view and she didn't care. Rain dripped from her elbows and nose, made trails down her arms and legs and she didn't care. The only thing that consumed her, that drove her onwards at that moment, was getting the dance out of her soul. She had a zest for life that he was lacking and he envied her for it.
As they say, though, opposites attract.
The walk home was supposed to cool him off and instead he found himself heating up at the sight of her. She was striking, to say the least. Her glittering eyes bewitched him and her lush, full lips tempted him. He'd never denied that she was attractive – at least to himself – and it wasn't just her outward appearance that he found so appealing. Gardner was the only girl he knew of that wasn't afraid to speak her mind and voice her opinions to his face.
The final question she'd shouted at him, with tears in her eyes and her heart on her sleeve, while they were atop Pegasus' castle during Duellist Kingdom had haunted him for weeks and months afterwards. Sleepless night after sleepless night, he had tossed and turned as that one question, and the broken voice that had asked it, had churned and burrowed through his mind. What did he have at the end of the day? He'd tossed off the only answer he could think of and yet, that wasn't enough. Sure, he had everything he needed. But did he have what he wanted?
The proverbial light bulb flashed over his head.
The answer became crystal.
At that moment, all he wanted was her.
Her arms dipped low to the ground and her fingers softly caressed the petals of a yellow flower as if it were the most precious thing in the world. Would her fingers be as gentle if they skimmed across his skin? Would they ease the fire that was starting to burn so hotly in his stomach? Or torment him into wanting more? The Styrofoam cup popped noisily as it collapsed in his fist before being dropped. The lid clattered on the ground, breaking the silence of the rain completely.
Startled, sapphire jewels snapped up to meet his. Her mouth formed an 'O' as she realized she had an audience. Her slim hand flew up to cover her mouth as she saw who her audience was.
"Kaiba? Wh-what are you doing here?" The dulcet voice was a little breathy and her chest still heaved from the exertion of her dancing. The combination was proving to be deadly as his eyes somehow managed to focus on hers once more. But the eyes he was looking at were so much more vivid than the ones that had continued to torment throughout the afternoon at work. That fire in his stomach was spreading throughout his system and the blood loss to his brain would soon be too much to handle. Thankfully, he'd worn comfortable dress pants to work. Nothing should be too noticeable.
"Kaiba?" She was starting to get a little weirded out. He was just staring at her. No smart-ass comments or remarks, just his ice blue eyes on her. How long had he been watching her? Why was he watching her? Why wasn't he being driven around in his fancy-pants limo instead of walking in the park and getting soaked? Did he know that his wet shirt clung to him like a second skin, outlining every tantalizing curve of sinew and muscle? Mentally shaking her head, she cleared those thoughts away. They were too dangerous to think about right now, when he was right in front of her. Those thoughts were better left for nights alone in her bedroom, where it was safe to dream about what might have been. She had to stay clear-headed and composed right now.
Finally finding his voice, he spoke. "What, is it against the law to watch someone dancing in the park in the rain? Last time I checked, the park was a public place. If you don't want anyone to watch, you shouldn't do it in the park." Something flared in her eyes and her mouth closed with a snap. Seto deliberately moved closer to her, easing the distance between them, step by agonizing step. His shoes continued to squelch and splash in puddles until they reached the grassy area she was standing stock still in.
Everyone always thought of Kaiba as a wolf. The lean, easy grace with which he moved, the confidence in everything he said and did. Even the way he approached duelling was attested to that single animal. Téa, however, didn't see him that way. He was more like a panther. A very handsome, very predatory beast. Confident that he was ten steps ahead of the competition and as decisive as a knife-edge when he made a move. Beautiful to look at but deadly in close range. Especially when his eyes were nothing more than glowing blue slits. In fact, the way he was looking at her at that moment made her feel like a plump, juicy zebra – with a broken leg.
"Why are you even here anyways? Don't you have a big fancy limo to drive you places?" She had to keep her cool when all she wanted to do was run. Her heart was threatening to burst out of her chest the closer he got to her. She couldn't let him know that she found his very presence beguiling. She couldn't help it. Something about him was very attractive even though he was an arrogant, obnoxious, gorgeous jerk. Her eyes stayed locked on his, unable to tear away from his seductive gaze. Something was different about him, something was more open than the last time she'd seen him. What the hell was going on here?
"I do have a big fancy limo to drive me places but sometimes, I prefer to do things the old fashioned way." His whiskey smooth voice sent shivers down her spine. How could just a voice be so stimulating? How could it make her want to melt into a puddle at his feet? And the lips that voice came from… no, she didn't want to go there.
His predatory pace finally stopped as he stood only a foot away from her. He was seriously invading her personal space and he wanted to see how she reacted. She had always been so in his face, which disturbed him to no end, so he figured this kind of turn about was fair play. Besides, she was even more tantalizing when her eyes flashed with anger. As they were doing right now.
With fists clenched at her sides, she retorted hotly, "Then keep doing things the old fashioned way and get going. I never asked you to stop and watch me and I don't care to be insulted by the likes of you today." Thunder clapped in the distance, punctuating her words nicely. She stepped back from him, needing to reclaim her own space and get some breathing room at the same time. He was just too hot for his own good. And she was too attracted to him. She was afraid of what she wanted to do.
"I'm hurt. Have I even come close to insulting you? Have I insinuated anything about your dancing ability or your choice on where to show it off?" He stepped towards her once more; his prey was not getting away so easily. "The only thing I said was that if you didn't want anyone to watch, you shouldn't do it in so public a place."
Every word he said was the absolute truth and she couldn't think of anything to say back to him. All she wanted to do was run, go home and call Yugi to talk about inconsequential things. A debate about dancing in a park hadn't been on her mind when she'd wandered in here a half hour ago. The weather had been unseasonably hot earlier and the only thing on her mind was getting the biggest chocolate ice cream cone she could find.
Since the park was only minutes from her house, she'd come here to see Leo at the ice cream cart by the pond. She suspected that he had a thing for her since the cone he passed her teetered unsteadily from the weight of the ice cream he'd put on it. Well, that and the blush on his cheeks. Too bad, he was too old for her since he was somewhat cute. And she already had her heart set on someone else. Who happened to be standing less than a foot away from her again. How did she get herself into these situations?
Thunder had started in the distance just as she'd finished her cone and that was when her inspiration had struck. While everyone else had run for cover, she'd basked in the rain, glorying in the feel of it caressing her skin. The need to express how she was feeling had overwhelmed her and led her into her current predicament.
"Fine, then. I'll just go do my dancing somewhere else, where prying eyes can't see me," she managed to say, finally, after what felt like an eternity. As she backed away, her eyes locked with his, his hand shot out and grasped hers. The shock of their contact was palpable in the air. Either that or they'd both just been struck by lightning. She struggled to keep her face composed, impassive. She couldn't let him see how he affected her. There would be no end to the teasing and tormenting if she did. "Kaiba, I'm giving you to the count of three to let go of me. One."
"Gardner." His voice came out a little strangled. He hadn't been expecting to feel that jolt of heat from his hand holding hers. Couldn't she see how she affected him? No one had ever made him feel like this before. Hell, no one had ever made him feel. "Don't…"
The rain continued to fall, turning into more of a downpour by the second. Domino City wasn't going to miss this storm. Lighting flashed across the heavens, turning the dark clouds pink for a split-second before thunder crashed, drowning out the intense beating of two hearts.
"Two…" Her voice was threatening now though the only thing she was could feel was panic. His hand felt really warm in hers. So strong and capable. Comfortable, like it was meant to be there. That thought frightened her. If he didn't let go of her soon, she wasn't sure what she would do. He was too close to her. She couldn't think straight.
The rain had soaked them both to the skin. Neither of them really noticed.
"Gardner, don't go, please." Those four words came out in a whisper. He couldn't let her leave just yet. Not after what he'd felt when they'd touched, not after he'd realized that there had to be something between them. Feelings like this didn't just appear out of nowhere. Love at first sight was not something he believed in but there was chemistry of some kind between them. She must have felt it, too, judging by the look in her eyes. Scared wonder was all he could see even as her mouth started to form the final word of her threat.
Or so he thought.
"What? What did you just say?" Seto Kaiba was asking her to stay? Nicely? He wasn't ordering, commanding, or demanding? Hell must have frozen over, she thought. His hand still held hers tightly, as if it was a lifeline keeping him grounded.
"I asked you not to go. To stay for a few more minutes." The words were hard for him to form. He wanted to run, to escape what he was feeling. This was uncharted territory for him and he wasn't sure he was ready to tread across it just yet.
"Why, Kaiba? Why should I stay? Give me one good reason." Another threat from her, although this one was substantially harder than her original one. He needed to think, something that he was finding harder and harder to do in her presence. Their joined hands still radiated electricity but he didn't want to let go. He didn't ever want to let go. She wanted a reason to stay, did she? He'd give her one and let the consequences of his actions be damned.
Dropping the briefcase he held in his hand, he used the one still holding hers to pull her closer. Arms encircled her waist tightly, trapping her against his body. Her rain wet clothes felt good against his heated skin. Being this close to her made it hard to breathe. Funny thing was, she wasn't resisting him, wasn't pushing herself away from him.
"You want one good reason to stay? Only one? I could think of a hundred right now." Her eyes looked up at his, shining with emotion. Why wasn't she trying to leave, to escape his presence? She should be kneeing him in the groin or smacking his cheek but she couldn't bring herself to do it. Not when he was so close to her and she had wanted this for so long. Had dreamed about in the darkness of her bedroom for the better part of a year at least.
"Like I said, I just want one." A half smile curled his lips and his icy eyes melted a bit as he looked down at her, rain still falling from the sky above, and saw a smile playing at the corners of her mouth. Her eyes, though, captivated him. Her eyes were impossibly blue but not faultless, as he'd imagined. Tiny flecks of silver swam across them, heightening their brightness on even as dreary day as this. Long, thick lashes swept down to caress her cheeks as she blinked once, twice.
Never had she looked as breathtaking as she did in that instant.
Consequences be damned. He knew what he had to do. What he wanted to do. Better yet, what she wanted him to do. Her hands had taken a hold of his biceps, preparing herself for what she knew, somehow, was coming.
"How about this reason?" He tilted his head lower and wet lips brushed against equally wet lips. Her hold on his arms tightened as she stood a little higher on her tiptoes to deepen the kiss. This was much better than anything she'd dreamed about. Soft and sweet, however, could only go so far before passion took over.
He felt her mouth open and her tongue slide teasingly across his lips, tasting him and driving him crazy. Turn about was still fair play in this situation. One hand slid slowly up her back, feeling her shiver against him, before plunging into her wet tresses. Pulling her head back just a little, he felt her gasp in surprise before he slipped his own tongue into her mouth. That gasp turned quickly to one of pleasure as he plundered her mouth, tasting her in turn. God, he never wanted to stop kissing her.
She was sweeter than he'd imagined. Chocolate and something else indefinable but irresistible. The fire in his stomach flared and burned throughout his entire body as he revelled in newfound sensations of touch and taste. By now, she couldn't help but feel how attracted to her he was, pressed as close as she was to him.
The dreams she'd had couldn't compare to this. The chocolate ice cream she'd eaten earlier blended with his own unique taste flooded her mouth as his tongue continued its' devilishly seductive exploration of her mouth. She was never going to look at chocolate in the same way ever again. If this was only one of a hundred reasons he could think of for her to stay, she wondered what the other ninety nine might have been.
The kiss was broken a moment later but neither of them separated or even moved the slightest millimetre apart, though his hand did come up and tuck a stray, wet tendril of her hair behind her ear. No words passed between them and the silence was anything but awkward. Both of them revelled in the newfound feelings they had discovered.
Lightning cracked above them and thunder rumbled on its heels. The promised storm hit Domino with full fury and force. The rain pelted them mercilessly as Seto took out his cell phone to call Roland for a ride but neither figured that it was too important to find shelter quickly since they were already soaked to the bone, Italian shoes and all.
Both would regret that decision when they came down with violent colds a couple of days later.
Just a crazy one-shot inspired by the weather outside. Hope you enjoyed it. Let me know if you did or didn't. As always, constructive criticism is greatly appreciated while flames will be used to start my fire-pit in the backyard so I can toast marshmallows.