You Don't Know Me
By Azurite - azurite AT fanfiction DOT net
azurite DOT incandesce DOT org

I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh or its characters. This is a not-for-profit work, for entertainment only.

Not sure where the idea for this came from, but I love the concept of outsiders looking in. It's done especially well in Ranma 1/2, where people that AREN'T martial artists or Furinkan High students are looking in on the whole world of craziness, arranged marriages, and curses. So here's a peek at a similar sort of take on the dueling world of Yu-Gi-Oh...

Mr. Kaiba, the letter began, You don't know me. I shouldn't expect you to find any familiarity with my name, even though my husband is one of your hardest workers, and has in the employ of your corporation for over twenty years.

Of the thousands of workers once in your father's employ, my husband is one of the few hundred that deigned to remain after you gained control. The change was shocking for everyone I'm sure, yourself included. I don't mean to be brash and make assumptions, but in this instance, I feel as though I know more about you than you know about me or my family. After all, it is not often that a major industrial firm suddenly loses its seasoned leader and the leadership changes hands with a young man not even out of high school. This is not to say you don't have the knowledge or experience to run your company-- I know full well that you do, and my husband has never once complained about your leadership. In fact, Kaiba Corp. continues to grow in popularity every day, and I see your corporate logo printed on everything from my son's toys to the hospital equipment where I work.

But there is one thing I can say with certainty that you do not know about, and I must apologize in advance if this offends you in any way.

Mr. Kaiba (if it is indeed you reading this letter, and not some secretary), you are sadly uniformed about family.

What I mean to say is that you are one of the few men in this world who can and does throw yourself wholeheartedly into your business. You don't have the ties that most of today's businessmen do-- ties like family. I am aware that you have a younger brother, but as far as I know, that is the extent of your living relatives. This must make it very difficult for you to understand anything from the perspective of those now-tens of thousands of men who work for your company, whether directly under you or a subsidiary firm.

Men your own age and even younger are already vying for entry-level jobs at your corporation. My own son, who is only six years old, has expressed an interest in working for you one day, meeting you. He admires you a great deal, and I would never hope to sway his high opinion of you otherwise. After all, his father speaks so highly of you, it comes as no surprise to me that he would want to become just like you. He sees you in the news and hears about you from his classmates.

But what my son does not realize is that to work for Kaiba Corp., many sacrifices must be made. I had a nephew who wanted to join my husband in working for your firm, and so at only fourteen, he tested for admission to two of the toughest cram schools in the country. He made it in, and along with school, he was working almost sixteen hours a day. He already had extra-curricular club activities, and made it a point to keep a solid record of all your doings, from dueling to stock trades and public mergers. It wasn't too long ago that he graduated from his high school with the highest honors, and acceptance letters from top universities from around the world.

But he denied each and every single one, and instead applied for an entry-level position at one of your subsidiary firms. The anxiety kept him awake for several days, and his health deteriorated. When he finally got a response back, he found out he was denied the job. A week later, he committed suicide. Now, I don't blame you for his death, Mr. Kaiba. It's implausible and illogical. There were undoubtedly other factors that contributed to my nephew's decision, factors that I can't even begin to fathom.

But it frightens me that my own son might traverse that same path.

It terrifies me that my husband is so blindly devoted to you, more than his own wife and son. He too, spends sixteen hour days at your firm, toiling away and doing the work of ten men. But he doesn't come home and complain. Not once since I have met him has he had a single negative thing to say about you, your firm, or anything relating to you in the slightest manner. Quite the contrary, he has praised you endlessly, which most would find strange-- high praise coming from a middle-aged man to a teenage corporate executive officer.

But perhaps you don't find it strange at all. You have been the executive officer of Kaiba Corporation for many years now, with a great deal of experience behind you. You have traveled around the world and seen many places, and given opportunities to people everywhere.

But regardless of where your travels take you and the experiences you gain from them, I still do not believe it possible for you to step into the shoes of one of the men working in factories producing your Duel Disks, toiling away at computers simulating duels, testing out hospital equipment, or relaying finances from one subsidiary to another.

I don't believe it's possible for you to envision how tired such tasks can make someone-- no, not someone, a middle-aged man with a wife and son. But my husband comes home every day smiling, and even though he is too tired to even play with his son, or enjoy dinner with us most nights, he repeats the process every day. He wakes up at 4:30 in the morning, leaves by 5:30, and is at work always two hours early. We don't live all that far from Kaiba Corp., and my husband walks most days, instead of driving or taking the train. But he persists at continuing to do the things he does, every day out of the year.

I have asked him what he hopes for by doing this. Personal recognition from you, maybe? But he has assured me that is not the case. At first, I believed him, but now I am not so sure. My husband is not egotistical, nor does he require praise to do good work. He does exemplary work every day, of that I am sure. He does not have to go ridiculously above and beyond the call of duty to get a raise, bonus, or promotion, but he does anyway. And I am left wondering what it is he hopes to gain from all this. He spends more time with you, his invisible employer, his constant reminder and goal to strive for, even with decades of difference between you two.

I suppose caring for your younger brother might give you somewhat of an idea as to what is expected of a father. But if I know anything about you, it's that nothing comes second to him, not even your company. But if the roles were reversed, and your company meant everything to you --if it were, in effect, your lifeblood-- what would become of your brother, I wonder? I ask only because I wonder for the sake of my own son.

I am a working mother as well. It is not that my husband does not make enough money-- he does. But it was decided long ago that I am not the type to sit home and be restless every day, waiting and wondering when my husband will come home early, just once. I am not the type to hope and pray that he will remember our anniversary or his son's birthday. I have decided to work myself, with set hours and acceptable pay, at a nice hospital not far from my son's school. These are choices I have consciously made, in the effort to be a good mother to him. But I cannot be mother and father at the same time.

I think that is a feeling you can share. Nothing can replace the presence of a parent. Nothing can replace their love, the sound of their voice, or the warmth of their hugs.

My son idolizes his father, because his father idolizes you. In essence, I feel as though I am living with an older version of you, and a younger version-- if that's possible. Yes, I know it's silly, and by this point you must be wondering why I'm telling you all this.

And I suppose I'm wondering myself. Why am I writing to you? I have learned long ago that hoping for others to change on behalf of your own self is rude and selfish. I just want to let you know, I imagine. Every now and then, my son and I have followed your duels, and I while I might never understand the concept of dueling monsters, I do understand one thing about you: knowledge is key. I have noticed you never duel with the exact same deck or strategy, and this is a good way of looking at life, as well. Every observation you make will strengthen you, and prepare you for circumstances which are yet to come.

I don't know whether you will even be slightly affected by this. I cannot say whether I hope for you to be or not. I cannot imagine your reaction, for like my husband and son, I have never met you in person. The Mr. Kaiba I know is merely a facet of who you must be as a real person in life. The Mr. Kaiba I know is one of news programs, dueling shows, and magazine interviews-- little else.

I am sorry if I have troubled you in any way, Mr. Kaiba.
Thank you very much for your time, and please continue to serve as an example to sons and husbands everywhere.
Kaname Kindaichi

So the letter went.

His fingers traced over the neat, feminine script over and over. Not typed-- written by a real human. Little ink splotch and near-cross outs marked the err of human ways. A person with real feelings had written this, and...

"Risa? I need you to schedule me an appointment. Get me the information on a Mrs. Kaname Kindaichi. I need to meet this woman and talk with her."

"Right away, Mr. Kaiba."

The original version of this story had me actually including the interview or whatever you'd call it between Kaname and Seto, but I couldn't think where to go with it. The whole point of the story was Kaname's outside perspective (revealed in her letter) anyway, not Seto's reaction. Also, I originally wanted to take a nod at Anzu and have her be the secretary, but it would have disrupted what I call "the final flow."

The name Kaname comes from one of my favorite heroines of all time, "Kaname Chidori" of Full Metal Panic, while "Kindaichi" is the family name of the infamous detective from the "Kindaichi Case Files" manga. No, I'm not implying Kaname married Kindaichi... --

So, what do you think?