Eat Your Words, Beautiful
A Yu-Gi-Oh Oneshot
Site: seventh-star DOT net
This is a response to suppistenshi's Challenge #1 on the anichallenge LiveJournal community. The challenge required me to use the line "He rubs me the wrong way," only to have the speaker's words thrown back at them. This is Azureshipping (Seto x Anzu), and no, I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh. This is for entertainment only, not-for-profit.
It was an amazingly beautiful spring day, and school had just let out for the afternoon. Teenagers flocked from the halls of Domino High, eager to enjoy the nice weather and the remainder of the day left for them.
"Come on, Téa. What's wrong with him? He's handsome, he's smart-- you said yourself he can be funny sometimes!"
"Only when he's not trying," the brunette responded, shaking her head at her friend, the lavender-haired Miho Nosaka. "You don't know him like I do, Miho. He's just..."
"He's just what?" Miho asked, stopping and standing in front of Téa. Crossing her arms over her chest, Miho cocked her head to the side and favored her friend with a questioning stare. "Enlighten me, Téa. Tell me, why won't you at least talk to Seto Kaiba?"
Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Téa floundered for a plausible excuse --one that would ring true, even in her own ears.
"I don't know," she finally replied. "He just rubs me the wrong way."
Miho didn't know how to respond to that, so she quit while she was ahead, stepping aside and walking along with Téa again. The subject of Seto Kaiba was thusly dropped, and not brought up again that entire day.
Little did the two girls know that the very subject they had just breached had overheard --completely by coincidence (or was it fate?)-- everything they had just said. Seto Kaiba now knew that he rubbed Téa Gardner "the wrong way," and for someone in his current predicament, it was the best news he could have heard all day.
His plan couldn't go into effect until the next day of school, but Seto Kaiba, ever the man of the hour, spent his time in between, preparing. What little time he got to himself --between his company, his brother, and those annoying fangirls at school-- he had to spend meticulously, not wasting a moment. And now that he had a goal in mind, he was driven enough to ignore any potential distractions.
Shortly after Duke Devlin left Domino High to transfer back to the United States and take care of his fledgling partnership with Industrial Illusions, Seto Kaiba became Domino High's newest "hot prospect." And that meant that nearly every single female in the entire school --and by single, he meant every ONE of them, even the ones with boyfriends!-- went after him single-mindedly. Every morning, his shoe cubby was filled with sickeningly pink love letters and messages of adoration. The hallways thronged with giggling gaggles of girls, closing in on him like swarms of locusts.
He was sure they wanted to eat him alive.
One of the only girls that didn't participate in such idiocy was the only girl Kaiba could claim he actually knew, at least rather well.
Téa Gardner, Domino High's perpetually-single and female "hot prospect." Sure, Kaiba spent most of his time at KaibaCorp or at home with his brother, but he wasn't oblivious to the school gossip. Nearly three-quarters of the male population --most especially those in the third year, same as Kaiba and Téa-- found themselves enamored with the blue-eyed brunette. She was athletic, she was beautiful, she was nice- and she had a spitfire attitude on her that somehow drew guys to her rather than repel them away.
The girls that didn't like her so much called her many wicked things, including tomboy and dyke.
The one thing that Kaiba simply could not understand --not about any females, least of all Gardner-- was why someone like her remained single. Wasn't Yugi head over heels in love with her? What had happened to that? There had been at least one incident --probably more than that, but Kaiba had simply lost count-- of some guy talking about how much he'd love to see Téa wearing even less than the skimpy gym uniform, or what he'd like to do to her if he got her alone-- and said guy would have his nose broken or his lip split by an angry mutt (who tended to go by the name Joey Wheeler, though Kaiba would wear pink before he'd call him by name) or the horned-one (his name was something like Taylor or Tristan or something, but Kaiba didn't bother with such inane details). Kaiba always figured that such incidences were in defense of poor, terrified little Yugi, who had yet to confess his feelings for Téa.
But he wasn't alone, obviously. Surely several guys that had somehow gotten around the mutt and his friend's defense of Téa. One of them had to have slipped a love note into her locker, or tried to run into her outside of school. And she still remained single, and she still hung out with the same guys more than she did with any one girl (except maybe that Nosaka character, but that was only because the two girls went to the same dance class. Kaiba had no idea why he knew such a thing, but he did).
So maybe it wasn't the guys, it was the girl.
Was she holding out for someone in particular?
This led to an interesting train of thought. Not that Kaiba cared what the fangirls thought of him, but he wondered if they thought of him in this same fashion as well. Did they wonder why he refused their every advance? Did they assume it was because he harbored a secret crush, and was waiting for the right moment to confess his feelings?
But maybe... just maybe they did think that. And maybe if he proved to them that he was truly in love with one girl, and one girl alone, they would leave him alone. For good.
It was almost too much to hope for.
Well, the target was obvious. The most wanted guy in the school going after the most wanted girl in the school! It would be easier since it was Gardner-- he knew her. He knew what she liked, where she worked, who she hung out with-- even where she lived. Her phone number would be easily obtained, and well, getting her attention...
He had to plan, and he had to plan carefully. And quickly.
Every day that those fangirls hung off him, the more irritating it got. He needed to put a stop to their antics, and NOW.
The next day at school, Kaiba purposefully slowed his pace, allowing the fangirls to walk alongside him. For the first time in months, he actually bothered to turn and speak to them. Yes, this was all part of his grand master plan. He had everything worked out in his head-- every possibility, every variable. There was simply no way that this could go wrong!
"Hey, Kaiba, so you don't have a girlfriend?" one girl asked.
"Well, no..." He hadn't taken any acting courses, but he had studied human behavior and psychology enough to know how to tone his voice properly. Simpletons. They would be eating out of the palm of his hand!
"Why do I sense a 'but' in there?" another one piped up, sounding upset.
"Wait, so you mean there's a girl you like?" the first girl demanded, tugging slightly on his sleeve. He wanted to snap at her for touching him, let alone stretching his school uniform, but he had to keep the plan moving.
"There is one, but... well, it's silly. Never mind."
"No no no!" They all chorused immediately.
'Heh. How predictable.'
"You have to tell us who it is!"
"Yeah, is it... is it someone we know?"
"Maybe..." Kaiba trailed off purposefully, allowing his gaze to be drawn to the bright windows on the side of the hall. Just up ahead, leaning against the wall with the mutt, was none other than his target. Locking eyes with her for a moment, he allowed himself the tiniest of smirks before quickly turning his head away. Téa didn't seem to have the slightest inkling what was going on, and neither did the fangirls.
'So far, so good.'
"Is it... I mean, is she here now? Is it..." the girl's voice dropped to a stage whisper, "one of us?"
Kaiba just gave them a sad sort of expression, his gaze dropping to the floor.
"Aw, darn..." the girl cursed.
"But it is someone we know, though, right? I mean, you said maybe..." the first-year student put a finger to her chin, appearing deep in thought.
"It must be a girl who goes to this school," a second-year piped up. "But maybe she's in third-year?"
There weren't that many third-year females that haggled him. Probably because the third year was mostly boys, with less than 40 percent of girls being in Domino High's graduating class, let alone Kaiba's own classroom. The girls all whispered hurriedly together, blocking the doorway into Kaiba's class. Most of his fellow classmates maneuvered their way around the gaggle of girls without a word, but a few of them shot Kaiba some dirty looks, others just shaking their heads at the obsessive younger girls.
"Can't you give us a hint or something?" the first year asked imploringly. At that moment, the bell rang --sharp and shrill, and the girls, right underneath it, leaped up in fright, a few of them yelping in fear.
'Ah, saved by the bell.' Kaiba could hardly suppress the grin that threatened to split his face.
"Sorry ladies..." He faked his regret at having to part from them. "Some other time."
The day continued --with everything going according to plan. If everything went off at the right time --and Kaiba was SURE it would-- then in a few days, those girls annoying him would be just a memory.
Predictably, at lunch, the flock of usual girls surrounded him-- and then some. Word had spread quickly between members of the Seto Kaiba Fan club that their beloved actually had a secret crush on a mysterious third year girl, and while most of the members were horribly jealous, they also wanted to know who this mystery girl was, and if Kaiba would ever confess to her. Moreover, if the girl ended up being one of the more steadfast, silent Fan club Members, then hooking them up would be a dream come true! So the girls, working together in all their might, decided to worm the information out of Seto Kaiba in whatever way they could.
They had no idea that Kaiba already planned to let them know... albeit not in the way that they probably were thinking.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Such was the law of nature, as Seto Kaiba knew it, and, following that rule and the Theory of Chain Reaction, things had to go in his favor. First, the number of girls in the fanclub in addition by the number of friends they could convince to come with them, added to the number of people already eating their lunch in the classroom made for one astronomical number.
And, any minute now...
"Oh, I'm sorry... uh, I think you dropped this."
Perfect. One of the fangirls had bumped into his target, and she, in turn, had collided with her desk. The note that he'd slipped in there earlier --long before anyone else was even in class-- dropped out, at the fangirl's feet. And the fangirl handed the note back to Téa, probably thinking that the binder paper was just class notes...
The girls surrounded Kaiba once more, but he kept his gaze riveted on Téa. It only took a few moments for his club to realize that he wasn't paying attention to them anymore, and only a few moments longer ('Talk about a delayed reaction.') for them to realize where his gaze was directed. Or rather, on whom.
In an excited, barely-hushed whisper, one of the fangirls leaned close --annoyingly so-- and asked him, "It's her, isn't it? Téa Gardner, right?"
Kaiba knew the best response was to say nothing at all, and, according to plan, the girls all burst into a fit of giggles and dreamy sighs. Some of them looked a bit wistful, obviously wishing that Kaiba's gaze had been fixed on them. Of course, had he actually the presence of mind (more like that lack thereof) to stare at any of them, they all probably would have burst into flame.
Téa hadn't the slightest clue that it was he who had placed the note in her desk. She probably had no idea that, according to the letter, he harbored feelings for her (had for a long time, in fact. But that was the letter. And besides, according to Seto Kaiba, one day was a long time. A lot could happen in a day, as he'd come to learn...) and could she possibly meet him on the roof after class? He left the note unsigned.
There were three classes between now and then-- trigonometry, Japanese literature, and finally, gym. And, come after school, his plan would have to go into effect, and those fangirls would leave him alone... for good.
Of course, this was all dependent on one of two things: 1) Seto Kaiba's acting prowess or 2) his negotiating abilities. He wasn't entirely confident in either of them, but if it meant getting the annoying brats off his side, then he'd do his damnedest to ensure Téa went along with his scheme-- at least for a little while. It wasn't as if he was actually planning on dating her... just getting the rest of the school to think he was.
"That's so romantic..."
"Yeah, the two of them have known each other for a while, haven't they?"
"Man, if he's been harboring a crush for that long, it's gotta be true love."
"We totally can't get in the way of that!"
"No way... but I mean come on, Kaiba's so clueless about girls that he totally needs our help!"
Kaiba shot the fangirl who'd spoken an odd look; she just blushed and nodded determinedly.
"Yeah yeah, take our advice, Kaiba."
"It's the least you can do for all of our hours of single-minded devotion to you, when you didn't even bat an eye at us."
"Don't think we didn't notice."
"But we still think you're the hottest guy here at DHS anyway."
Was that supposed to be a compliment?
"Okay, for starters, you have to..."
Maybe the fangirls weren't all that bad. They had given him a rather enlightening insight into the female mind, however brief. And they were just young first and second-years; none of the third-year girls who "liked" him dared to advise him on scoring with Téa. Maybe that was because they preferred indirect contact with their crush, or maybe it was because they knew it was futile; Téa Gardner didn't date anyone. She refused everyone's advances and come-ons, and no one could make out why.
Holding out for a hero, perhaps?
But Téa didn't seem like the type to believe in foolish fantasies... not anymore, anyway. She might be stubborn and fiery-spirited, but she was no dreamer. Not anymore, anyway. Even Kaiba knew that...
And he could probably guess why, too.
"Man, she blew you off again?"
"Yeah. She doesn't even give a damn good excuse. She makes with the nice-nice, bothering to tell every guy that asks her out off, but in that nice, good girl way of hers."
"She ain't such a goody two-shoes as everyone thinks."
"Yeah, we all know she's just itchin' to get laid."
"Playin' hard to get, that's totally Gardner's game."
"She isn't gonna be so 'hard to get' with the three of us on her, though."
"Hah, by the time we're all through with her, she'll be beggin' for more!"
"You're assuming she'll be able to speak, dude..."
The three guys chuckled mirthlessly and left the gym, leaving an astonished Seto Kaiba in their wake.
Okay, so things weren't going to go according to plan, after all.
Téa, meanwhile, was waiting near the back gate to the school, the rarely-used path beside the gym building. Gym class had let out, and she was grateful for how close it was to the meeting point another one of her mysterious letters designated. It meant that she could see them arrive, instead of awkwardly walking up to boys waiting by themselves, asking if they had slipped her a love note.
That would have been just as embarrassing as having Joey or Tristan deal with these "problems" of hers. In truth, Téa appreciated the sentiments conveyed in the love letters, and she was very flattered-- but she simply couldn't start dating someone she barely knew. She had a close-knit circle of friends, and didn't see the need for a boyfriend.
Sure, it was painful... every day, hanging around Yugi and being reminded of him. But he was gone now, and there was nothing to be done. No point in regretting the past, and what she hadn't done... And sure, maybe she was a bit jealous of all the girls with their boyfriends, looking particularly lovey-dovey this year. Almost three-quarters of the rather minuscule Domino High female population hooked up with somebody during the spring festivals... be it the sports events, or the the cultural festival that heralded the blossoming of the cherry trees and the graduation looming upon them.
Three years of senior high school, and not a single boyfriend to her name. Not a single kiss...
Maybe if the guy she was about to meet turned out to be someone she knew --even only a little-- she'd give him a chance. She didn't want to graduate being 'Dateless Gardner.' She wanted someone to kiss sweetly on graduation day; someone to take her out to a nice dinner on her birthday in August, and someone to encourage her when she needed support. And while Téa hung around with a great deal of guys, none of them were "the one" that Téa could see herself dating. They were her friends , for Pete's sake! Not... boyfriends.
Of course, there were a few boys she knew rather well --better than most of her admirers, at any rate-- and she wasn't friendly enough with them to deem them exempt from the 'boyfriend' category, but still, people like that...
She'd been so lost in her thoughts that she hadn't noticed the young man approach her. He was tall --taller than her, but a bit under Kaiba's towering height of 186 centimeters-- and rather muscular. 'Probably on the baseball or kendo teams.'
A boy on one of the sporting teams... not bad. She could be a literal cheerleader to him-- she was, after all, on the booster squad. The smell of fresh cut grass and the tinge of sweat... she wouldn't mind being wrapped in arms smothered in such a pleasant scent.
'What am I thinking? I don't even know this guy!' But maybe she was just a bit desperate. Miho's words hadn't helped at all, either. Of all the single guys in Domino High, most of them had, at one time or another, approached Téa and asked her out. And always, for one reason or another, she'd turned them down. But now, all the excuses she'd given them sounded paper thin and stupid, and she just wanted to be honest-- I don't know you, I don't know how I can like or trust you.
She was afraid.
Her friends were her security blanket, her safety net. She needed them... but she didn't need a boyfriend. Still, it got so lonely sometimes...
"I see you got my note."
"Y-Yeah, I did... listen, about that--"
"Will you go out with me?"
'Man, this guy just cuts to the chase, doesn't he?'
"No, you see I--" Téa began, but the boy closed the gap between them and snatched her wrist in an iron grip.
"This has got to be the third time I've asked you, but you don't even look like you remember my face. I'm sick of getting rejected, Téa. I told you I want you, and now I'm going to have you."
"H-Hey, don't I get any say in this?" Irritation quickly gave way to anger, and then fear. Two boys appeared from around the corner of the gym building, smirking in a disconcerting way.
"No, you don't."
"Besides, we all know that 'no' really means 'yes' in your language."
"What? No, when I say no--"
"Ooh, she means yes. She wants it bad guys. What do you say we give it to her?" The guys closed around her now, pressing her against the wall with no hope of escape. One of them grabbed her chin roughly, forcing her gaze to meet his, his fingers pressing roughly into the tender flesh of her neck.
"Would you mind getting the hell away from my girlfriend?"
Startled, the boys turned around, but that was the last mistake they made-- one of them was immediately greeted with a fist to his face, sending him flying backwards, a stream of blood issuing from his now-broken nose. One of them backed up, getting into a fighting stance, but the one foolish enough to still be holding her wrists down got a sharp knee to the groin before collapsing on the floor.
With him out of the way, Téa clearly saw who had 'rescued' her, and was now issuing a crisp kick to the final guy's knees, sending him to the ground.
The sounds of a fight had brought several classmates into the unused pathway, shocked to see Téa pressed against the wall and Kaiba standing maliciously over three boys from the baseball team with less-than-good intentions.
"She ain't your girlfriend!" the one with the broken nose spat out angrily, his voice coming out in a high-pitched tone.
"Gardner doesn't have no boyfriend, or we'd all know about it!"
"Would you now?"
This wasn't what he'd been planning, but it would have to do. As for the fangirls... maybe they'd believe that he'd really had been dating Téa all this time, and that the note he'd slipped her was simply something sweet and romantic (not that it was in his nature to be either of those things, but...). Everything was depending on Téa's response now.
He closed the distance between them, hoping that to everyone watching, it looked like he was the Concerned Boyfriend checking up on his Distraught Girlfriend. Of course, he didn't exactly appear concerned --more like he'd like to pummel those idiots a bit more, if only because they fudged his perfect plan-- and she didn't exactly look distraught. Shocked was more like it. And she had, after all, just kneed one of those guys in the groin. She wasn't some weak-minded little simpering brat.
Gardner could take care of herself, and Kaiba knew that. But she'd needed him a few moments ago, no doubt about that. She owed him, and now he was going to collect.
He pulled Téa into his arms, barely having time to whisper "Play along" in her ear before turning back to the fumbling idiots that had nearly raped Téa. Seconds later, she draped her arms around him, the two of them looking as much like a couple as they could. Surprisingly enough, that was apparently enough. Several classmates --boys and girls alike-- blinked, staring in shock, before leaving, talking amongst themselves.
Téa Gardner and Seto Kaiba had been dating in secret? How romantic-- how perfect they were for one another! Both of them stubborn, intelligent, and desirable...
The three boys --and a scant few others-- still remained, glaring at the couple angrily.
"If she's your girlfriend, then why don't you kiss her, huh?"
"He's not here for your entertainment, prick," Téa snapped at him, still keeping her arms around Kaiba's. How awkward --to be in his embrace, when only yesterday she'd told Miho that Kaiba 'rubbed her the wrong way.' But right now, he wasn't rubbing her any particular way-- he was just confusing her. He was being warm and protective and... chivalrous, almost!
Miho had accused her of 'holding out for a hero,' or some prince on a white stallion. She'd accused Téa of being a hopeless dreamer, but Téa considered herself anything but! But if she was wrong about herself and her own wants... maybe Kaiba was the 'hero' she'd been holding out for? He would certainly blow the profile to high heaven. So unexpected, and yet...
'Those fangirls must see something in him...'
Téa had seen them, every single day, crowding around Kaiba. At first, she'd thought they must be missing a brain-- what could they possibly see in Seto Kaiba? But the same young man she'd gotten to know as a selfish, callous, cold-hearted prick turned out to be smart, loyal, and yes-- even handsome! And there had been a few times when he'd even been unwittingly funny, and he hadn't even noticed.
"If you're really goin' out with him, then prove it. Kiss him."
"Yeah, or we can continue where we left off!" one of the other boys sneered. Obviously getting kicked in the knees hadn't deterred his pervertedness any.
"You want me to break your kneecaps next time? I said you don't touch my girlfriend."
"Kaiba..." Téa trailed off. It was rather obvious that the boys weren't swallowing it, and to prove them wrong, Kaiba would have to kiss her. Which he'd probably never do, not in a million years. Lord knew why he was being so heroic in the first place, but he didn't seem like the type to just kiss a girl to prove a point. Besides, had Seto Kaiba ever kissed a girl before?
Kaiba glanced at her, the look in his his eyes quite strange. He appeared to be searching her eyes --was he trying to tell her something?-- but his mouth didn't move. Maybe he was trying to tell her 'Forgive me, for what I'm about to do.' Or maybe it was more along the lines of 'Don't tell me you don't want this, too.' Surely she didn't want him to leave and have these guys do with her what they willed? Wasn't faking it --lying to everyone they knew-- better than letting herself get taken in by people like that?
Téa had no chance to decipher that look, whatever it was, whatever it meant-- whatever Kaiba had been trying to tell her. In the next moment, Seto Kaiba's mouth covered hers, his once-light grip on her waist tightening and pulling her up and into him, their bodies locking almost perfectly together. Surprise quickly filtered through her system, immediately replaced with a warm wash of feeling that Téa hadn't experienced in a long while. Her eyes fluttered shut, her own hands reaching up to tangle in Kaiba's hair, and press his kisses deeper into her lips.
When he finally pulled away, she was absolutely breathless, her cheeks flushed and her pupils dilated. She felt like she might melt on the spot, with how weak and limp her limbs felt. That had been the most amazing kiss she ever could have imagined...
But it had really happened, and now there were crowds of people staring at them in open-mouthed shock. That kind of passion couldn't be easily faked.
His hands had roamed in the course of their kiss, dropping from her shoulders to her sides, hands firm against the swell of her chest and dropping down to the curve of her waist. Seto Kaiba allowed himself a slight smirk, and leaned in again, not kissing her, but instead whispering: "Do I still rub you the wrong way?"