Never let it be said that Kaiba Gozaburo was not a tactical man. A man plague by moments of carelessness perhaps; but then almost all men of power were prone to be. Kaiba Seto himself was known to be careless from time to time. And there are things that Gozaburo can predict about you before you even thought of it yourself.
Unfortunately for the Kaiba brothers, this time he was one step ahead of them, due to the carelessness on Kaiba Seto's part.
Even in death, the late Kaiba is a master tactician. Fifty-five percent of Kaiba Corporation shares were held frozen, unknown by anyone, just waiting for the true blood child of Gozaburo to claim them. There was no time limit. Which means the heiress, the daughter, may pop up anytime to claim these shares, claim ownership over the company that Kaiba Seto had sweated, bled and sold his soul for, just by turning up.
Kaiba Seto himself, only owns twenty-five percent and these he'd forced and coerced from the Big Five, as the owner of the biggest shares, outside the fifty-five percent, he had the right to the CEO's chair, but for how long?
At first, he'd assumed that Gozaburo had no natural children anymore aside from Noa. Hence the relief when the boy was incapacitated inside a computer systems. However, just over three weeks ago, his lawyers brought in papers of a registered Kaiba Katsuko, who would be eighteen years old this year.
Further investigations turned up more evidence of this child's existence. However, aside from a name, a possible age, gender and eye colour there was nothing else for investigators to go with. And brown eyes are a dime to a dozen, almost all Asians have brown eyes, and not to mention the mutt, and his shark hair friend Honda. The only thing that puts them out of the running is their sex.
Mokuba, being the ever optimist, announced that at least they only have to look at half of the population instead of the whole thing. Right, look on the bright side, just half of Domino would be what? Thirty thousand? Or was it closer to forty thousand? That's assuming that the girl is still in Domino, unlikely according to Kaiba Seto's calculation. If he had been in Goazaburo's shoes, he would have sent his child somewhere far away, like France or America, not stick her around Domino.
Although, if the mad man's sick humour was anything to go by, chances are he might have stashed his daughter right at the Kaiba Mansion's doorstep, just for the fun of seeing Kaiba Seto hunting after a non existent blood child overseas.
The man must be laughing in his grave by now.
Glaring straight ahead, Kaiba switched the heavy metal briefcase to his left hand, that damn thing is bloody heavy, but unfortunately the lab still haven't come up with a lighter bullet proof material for his lap top. Something that he absolutely must have, due to his unfortunate run ins with crazy gun waving idiots.
As he rounded a tall hedge, something snagged his coat and he was roughly jerked backwards. With a furious expression, Kaiba whirled around, and found himself further tangled up in a rose bush. Okay, note to self, never walk by rose bushes in coat. He'd only done so since there seemed to be a large amount of girls laying siege on the normal route he took, ready to bombard him with those crazy 'love lunches' spurred by Japanese anime fad.
Unfortunately, all this thinking doesn't help him get out of the bush; therefore, settling his briefcase down, Kaiba began the painful process of untangling himself. Damn those thorns for being so prickly.
He pricked a finger. Who dares to interrupt the Great Seto Kaiba while he untangles himself from the clutches of the evil rose bush?
"I- my name is Nakamura Kimiko, and I have admire you for a long time."
Okay, breath, you are Kaiba Seto, you can breath, there are lot's of Jous around, like, like that Jouken, Jounoushi and Joey, she's probably did not even meant a Japanese name even… Oh, and who on earth would admire a mutt like that even, hah! No way it could be that loser dog; no one admires loser dogs, right?
"W-will you go out with me?"
The distinctively female voice floated to the person hidden by the shrubberies around them. Who was currently sucking at a bleeding finger rather grumpily. Why can't that stupid girl bring this up somewhere else?
It's him! It's him! It's him! It's him! It's him!
Okay, stop, halt, shock, right, shock is making him acting this way, right, must pull coat away from roses, right. Now, let go you stupid symbol of all things evil. Kaiba glared ferociously at the bush, this is entirely its fault.
"I'm really happy that you like me so much,"
Kaiba stopped tugging. There was a sharp intake of breath, but he couldn't tell whether it was from him or the girl. Of course it must be the girl, why should this involve him at all? There is nothing about the mutt that he even like, the mutt is messy, stupid, noisy, eats too much and would probably develop diabetes, high blood pressure and gout from all those food he consumes. Not to mention obesity, except that mutt had managed to stay slim all this time, always wearing those stupid little shorts to tempt people into looking those long slim legs that stretches on forever.
Tears swelled in the large blue eyes of one Nakamura Kimiko, unconsciously the eavesdropper's hand clenched over a bunch of thorns, causing it to bleed. Both waited in bated breath.
"I'm in love with someone else,"
From the shrubberies, a girl ran helter skelter away from a startled blonde. On the other side of the hedge where a rose bush blooms all year round, a small strip of white cloth was left blowing in the wind. Rivulets of blood stained the cloth red in places where the thorns are bent and broken, revealing casualties of a fierce fight that had taken place between the owner of the cloth and the bush.
Kaiba Seto dashed like the wind to the back of the school, where he had ordered the limousine to wait for him. Wrenching the door open, he threw himself onto the leather covered interior, turning on the air conditioning to 'full'. The cool air felt like nothing against his hot cheeks, and no he had not just run away, he just have an important meeting at Kaiba Corp. that's all. Something about an heiress, oh, and must fetch Mokuba, too.
"Drive faster you fool!" He barked at the unfortunate chauffer, who was driving too slowly for his taste. Mokuba would be all lonely and frightened on his own at school…
He was clutching the briefcase like a shield in front of him; part of his beloved coat is now torn, leaving an ugly rip. This is all the mutt's fault, why does he have to make a confession of love so suddenly like that anyway? Didn't he know that it's prudent to wait for someone to confess, then falling all over himself to return that love?
The next day dawn bright and cheery for Jounouchi Katsuya as he made his way to the cafeteria, Life for him is currently on a Good mode. His parents were finally talking, which means he gets to see Shizuka that more often, and his dad has finally gotten hold of a job, as a gardener for the neighbourhood no less. The neighbours had gathered a collection and paid the elder Jounouchi a sum of money to maintain their blocks. It made the neighbours very happy to see their blocks blooming with flowers, so much so that they sometimes even give free cookies to the Jounouchis much to Katsuya's delight, and free unused gardening tools to the old man who treasured them like a kid with new toys on Christmas.
He never knew the elder Jounouchi likes flowers this much, kinda creepy whenever he thinks about it.
Of course, Life at home is Good, but school life is even Better. With him being the star of the track team, people finally recognize Jounouchi Katsuya as someone other than Yugi Mutou's faithful shadow. Really, it sucks sometimes to be sidelined, not that he isn't appreciative of what Yugi had done for him in the name of friendship and heart of cards, but sometimes, just sometimes, Jou felt like he was losing himself in the brilliant presence of the little guy.
Absently he smiled at a group of cheerleaders who were waving their pom poms at him, blissfully unaware of the hostile glares of the other boys. His attention was taken by the sick feeling at the pit of his stomach, making the usually bright grin looked a bit forced. Surely it can't be that time already?
"Hey, Jou!" Honda, his best friend clamped an arm around his throat, nearly choking the blonde "Heard, you fend off another one yesterday,"
The combination of sick feeling and lack of oxygen was getting into Katsuya; quickly he shook off the offending arm, "Keep your tentacles to yourself, Honda," he growled, "or I might just bite it off,"
"Aww, come on, Jou, Kimiko-chan was the star swimmer of this school, how could you even think about rejecting her?"
"How d'ya knows it's her?" asked Jou suspiciously.
"The whole school knows, there's even a bet on who's next on your babe killer list, and there's this big one on who's your true love is,"
"…, you say it like I do it deliberately,"
"Anyone who rejects five girls a week is doing it deliberately,"
"Trust me on this, Honda, I am so not doing this deliberately, I mean, if they don't declare their love, I won't be rejecting them now, would I?"
"Whatever, just tell them your true love and put them out their misery would ya?"
Jou opened his mouth; at Honda's 'innocent' expression he closed it back again. "Very smooth, bro," he growled, "I'm not telling you anything,"
"Come on Jou, who do you really like? I could make big bucks out of this one,"
"Save it, bud, I'm not telling you anything,"
"Come on, just a teeny tiny hint?"
"For you and your betting board? Let me think about it, nah!"
"Come oooon," Honda clamped on to Jou's waist, "Pleeeeeease, in the name of friendship, I beg yooooouuu,"
At the curious stares of Yugi, Anzu and Bakura, Jou snatched a piece of mint candy from his pocket and chewed furiously. Pointedly ignoring Honda, he said to them, "How the hell did we put up with his presence anyway?"
"Well, he is your best friend," smiled Yugi.
"Oh, right, kinda hard to remember why sometimes,"
"Jou! That's not very nice," scolded Anzu sternly, but there's a gleam in her eye that tells him she wasn't serious, "all he wants is the secret of your success,"
"Yeah, tell us!"
"Even Otogi didn't get this many followers like you,"
"My secret in track?" Jou gave them a blank look, "Why, hard work and training, of course, everyone know th-"
"No! The Girls!" the boys practically screeched.
Anzu was suddenly overcome by a coughing fit.
Before Katsuya had a chance to reply, a small parcel was shoved into his hands, "Jounouchi-kun! I made this for you this morning, so Ihopeyouenjoyit!"
A cloud dust; and the mystery girl with no name was gone, leaving a carefully wrapped box lunch in Jou's lap.
"See? That's what I meant! How did you do it?" groaned Honda, "We've spent years doing the same stuff, studying the same things, how come only you get the girls?"
"Guess I'm just better good looking than you, best friend," teased Jou.
Honda appeared to consider this seriously, "Do you think it might work if I dyed my hair blonde?"
There was a series of puking noises and ewws!
Jounouchi sighed, unwrapping the parcel he was greeted with pink rice surrounded by various yummy tit bits popular in the 'love lunches' spurred by the Japanese anime craze. On the up side, it meant free food. As for the down side? Well…
He pushed the rice in front of Honda, "Wanna bite?"
"Huh?" Everyone looked at him like he'd sprouted horns. Anzu even checked his temperature. Yugi was looking at him with his large purple eyes, "are you feeling alright, Jou?"
He grimaced, "Look, the coach put me on a diet, says I eat too much,"
"Ha ha, funny," he growled, "so you want it or not?" he glared at his supposed best friend.
Honda immediately shovelled the pink and white creation into his mouth.
From a darkened corner of the cafeteria, a pair of blue eyes had them under observation. Kaiba Seto is a man of great concentration for details, before venturing on a new area of interest; he would have preferred to have the time to study his subjects first. Whether it be an opponent, a new game, or even a new type of food. And no, Kaiba Seto does not do spontaneous if he could help it. Hence the great dislike for oden, there are just too many possibilities lurking within the murky depths of that type of food. A mixed pot of everything, hah, the day you see Kaiba Seto willingly down that soup, will be the day when, when, he gave up Kaiba Corp. willingly.
In other words, never.
Hence, before arriving at school, the great CEO of KC had gone through several books related to the subject at hand. From psychology to Shakespeare and even the dubious but infinitely graphical data from graphic novels, aka comics, all these he'd studied to better arm himself with the knowledge to deal with the vastly tricky question of one Jounouchi Katsuya's love interest.
Of course, to do this, he must first find out whether the blonde was in love at all. If he isn't then all the energy gone looking for such non existent person would be wasted. And Kaiba Seto hated such wastes. According to the information he'd accumulated, one of the first signs of love would be a significant loss of appetite. Hmm…
Of course, the blonde could be sick that day, no reason at all to pin this solely on loss of heart. Let's see, symptom number two, day dreaming, hah, the blonde day dreamed ALL the time. What kind of stupid book is this? Symptom three, brooding and the tendency to avoid familiar company, let's see…
Four tables away, the blonde was smiling at something Yugi had said, but made no attempt to make any jokes in return as per usual. Also, he was sitting to the left of Honda, who was sitting next to Yugi, next to which was Anzu. Usually the blonde and the brunette girl would flank the left and right of the king of games. Could this be considered as 'tendency to avoid familiar company'?
There also seemed to be a dark look lurking in the brown eyes, kind of like the time Jounouchi was under the spell of the Millennium Rod. Only, not as extreme, just, slightly. Scowling, Kaiba glared at the blonde, why couldn't he just give some specific symptom? Kaiba scowled some more at his notes, could it be that the blonde knew what he was doing and was deliberately being vague?
Shaking off that ridiculous thought, Kaiba set on symptom number four. Secret glances.
…, unless the blonde had a fetish for candy wrappers, symptom number four is not helping any. Jounouchi was staring intently at a candy wrapper, occasionally looking up to smile at something one of the others said. Why couldn't the blonde just cooperate and steal a secret glance at someone, anyone? Without a tangible target within reach Kaiba could only glare helplessly at the situation at hand. Knowing who the blonde liked would have given him ample pleasure in crushing the love interest, destroying the marked target would show that he, Kaiba Seto is still the greatest and the only one commendable of Jounouchi Katsuya's attention.
Wait, that didn't sound quite right.