Disclaimer:I own nothing related to Yu Gi Oh! (Except maybe a few plushies and random cards).
Rating: K plus. It may change- notification will be given at the very beginning of a chapter if this occurs.
A/N: Hi! Welcome to my fic, 'Melting Ice'. I hope you'll all let me know your opinions, and tell me about any mistakes I may have made. I am English, and have never been to Japan, so I would like to apologise for any mistakes my research didn't cover! Flames will be used to melt chocolate, so go ahead if you're that way inclined- but intelligent flames (something of a paradox, I know) are prefered!
Seto Kaiba, renowned duelist, CEO of an International Games Corporation, and as his acquaintances put it 'all round cold fish', was having 'one of those days'. It had begun with a phone call at 4am from the CEO of a subsidiary company in France, telling him that another company was aggressively buying them out, continued with a stubborn stain on his favorite coat, and presently, he was being forced to walk to school as his limo had a severe puncture.
Mokuba, as usual, was happy merely being next to his big brother, and was running ahead, looking at all the things he had only seen from a car window until today. They were practically at Mokuba's school, but Domino High was far enough away that Seto Kaiba was going to be significantly late getting there, even if he ran.
"Hey! Seto, look at this!"
Seto briefly glanced at Mokuba, who was crouching over something by the side of the road.
"Mokuba, get away from the road. It's not safe."
Mokuba looked pleadingly at him, and Seto, as per usual, couldn't resist the drawing power of his little brother's ultimate weapon- the dreaded puppy eyes.
"It's a kitten, Seto! I think it's hurt…Can we keep it?" Mokuba pleaded sadly. Seto pushed him firmly away from the curb and took a look himself. It was a kitten, a rather soggy little black one with one white sock, and Mokuba was right, it did seem hurt, and cold, and small...
Glancing about to check there were no cars coming (or people watching), Seto handed his briefcase to Mokuba with a sigh of resignation, and carefully picked the small bundle up. It was quite cold, and fit snugly into Seto's hand, shivering a little.
"What are we going to do, Seto? It might need a vet! We are going to keep it, right?Poor little kitty…Just like us..." Mokuba carefully ran a finger gently over its ears, and was rewarded by the opening of a small eye.
Seto carried on walking, and Mokuba cautiously followed with the silver briefcase.
"I will take it to school and see if anyone can help it there. Hurry or you'll be late."
Mokuba grinned up at him, put the briefcase in Seto's hand, and ran over to his school gates, waving happily back before disappearing. Seto cursed softly; Mokuba was expecting him to bring the little cat home all fixed up, when truthfully, he had no idea what to do with it. He could take it to the school nurse, but how did he know she would give it all the care it needed? He looked down at the small cat and felt a tinge of warmth. He too knew what it was like to be an orphan, to rely on nobody, and to have to struggle to survive. Sometimes you needed a helping hand…
When they were young, the Kaiba brothers were inseparable. Unfortunately, it was often used against them. 'Sir', who ran the orphanage, disliked them, as Seto was 'a child genius' and often managed to run circles around him mentally, amusing his younger brother.
Seto, to save Mokuba a sharp slap, had agreed to clean up from dinner all by himself. Cleaning up after dinner for thirty hungry orphans and five staff had so far taken him from six thirty totwo thirty am- without a break. He was tired, so tired he thought he might drown in dishwater, but more than anything, he knew that if he gave up, Mokuba would be punished anyway, and all his hard work would be for nothing. He didn't see the small woman who had put her head around the door, and watched him sadly.
He turned sharply, slipped on some water, and fell- to stop the plate from smashing, he ended up smacking his head on the floor. Hard. He lay there stunned, and suddenly, the scent of vanilla washed over him, and he felt strong arms pull him into a warm lap.
"Seto? Seto, pet, are you ok?"
He felt a rush of warmth towards her; 'Sir' had a younger sister, and it was she who had come to check on him. All the children loved her, but she lived in America and only visited a few times a year.
"Yes…Yes Miss Onibura. I'm sorry…"
He found himself tearing up, from sheer exhaustion and frustration, and Miss clearly understood just how he felt.
"It's ok, Seto. You can go to bed now- I spoke to my brot…I mean, Sir says you have done well enough. You can do the rest in the morning with the other boys on the rota. Alright?"
He managed a trembly smile, which grew stronger as he saw her smile down at him.
"Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes, Seto. Now, go on up to bed like a good boy. Sleep well."
Seto turned in at the school gates, and checked his watch. Damn, he was a good quarter of an hour late! He had history first period, with Ms Kanezuka, a really spiteful woman who would see, and use,every opportunity his lateness had given her to inflict punishment on him. But first he needed to find someone to help the kitten.
Someone who he could trust to help it no matter what…a real do-gooder…As he walked towards his locker, his eyes flicked into various classrooms. He stopped suddenly. One half of class 3a (who had taken other electives)had two study periods now. Through the glass panel on the door he could see Gardener and Yugi Motou trying hard to ignore the antics of their classmates, while doing homework.
A moment later, he stepped into the classroom, and the teacher at the desk raised an eyebrow at him.
"Yes, Mr Kaiba?"
"The Nurse would like to see Miss Gardener in her office now, please."
She looked slightly disgruntled, but accepted it.
"Very well. Off you go, then, Miss Gardener. Hurry back."
Tea looked concerned and curious, but tidied her book away. "Of course."
She rose and followed him out of the room, her stupid friends watching suspiciously as he closed the door firmly behind them.
"Over here." He grunted, reluctant to sound weak, and hating that he had to owe her something.
"What is it, Kaiba? The nurse's room is the other way…?" She sounded curious, but totally trusting, in much the same way as Mokuba.
"We aren't going to the nurse's room. I need a...a favour."
He grinned slightly. She sounded so scandalized, and her cheeks were radish-like.
"Not that kind of favour, Gardener.Do you really think I would sinkthat low? I…ah…well…here."
They had reached his locker, Tea fuming and red, and as he opened it (Tea noticed the door was slightly ajar already) he carefully pulled out a spare shirt, wrapped around…
"Oh my god!" Tea squealed quietly, her hands automatically going out to hold his shirt and the kitten, who looked a little warmer now, but still in bad condition.
"Oh, Kaiba…Where did you find it? Poor little guy…" She cradled it to her protectively, letting her body heat warm it further.
"Mokuba found it by the curb- lucky it hadn't been hit by something already. He wants to keep it, but I'm late for class already and I don't know how to help it…" He hated every word he spoke, but something in the softness of her eyes when she looked at the tiny furball had affected him in a place he usually kept on ice, and he could admit (if only to himself) that he wanted Mokuba to be happy that the kitten was better when he picked him up from school at three.
"Ok, Seto. I'll look after it for now- you go to class. Meet you at break…Umm…by the stage?"
He was surprised by her quick thinking and assertiveness (he'd had her pegged as a complete weakling), but accepted her offer with a nod, and hurried off to the rest of history.