Summary: Faith, he said. Faith in a 'friend,' that he would play a card without looking, a card that would decide his life or death. Seto doesn't know what to make of this 'faith,' and decides to confront Yugi about it. (One-shot)

Disclaimer: Toboe LoneWolf does not own YGO. No infringement intended.

Toboe LoneWolf: Yay. A one-shot plot bunny that popped out of a hole and decided to keep running circles around my mind until I wrote it. ('Course, it took me a year to complete, 'cause the bunny stopped hopping for a bit…XP) Set right after Battle City. I'd also like to add that I recently got a livejournal account (see bio), and likely I'll post some YGO pieces there; stuff that isn't quite long enough for a one-shot but stuff I don't want to just throw away. (grins) But anyway! Onward to playing around with Kaiba's head! XP


Faith, He Said

The thought kept gnawing at Seto's mind.

How? How had Yugi played a card he hadn't seen; had instinctively known it was the card Seto had given him? The single card that would give him the chance to survive?

He called it faith. …Along with a lot of other bull, such as heart of the cards and having the strength of his friends behind him, but it came down to that concept.

Faith…in a friend. In him. Seto Kaiba.

Now, that thought was nearly as repulsive as the previous ones. He, 'friend' of Yugi Motou? Now where had that come from? They were rivals; hadn't Seto made that clear?

Apparently not. Or perhaps Yugi was so delusional as to think that the world was a lovey-duvy place. But surely not, as the King of Games. Much as that title irked Seto.

…But that led Seto back in a circle – why, and how, could Yugi do such a foolhardy move – and be right?

Not on the friend thing, of course. But the card. How? It wasn't possible. Minimum requirement of decks was 40 cards. They'd only played a few turns. So what, a one in twenty five chance, maximum? Assuming he even knew what kind of card it was – magic, trap or monster – and place it in the correct type of slot – and then to play it, at exactly the right moment— It wasn't possible.

…Seriously, this thing was going to make Seto Kaiba insane.

Seto paced in his office. Why this was bugging him, he had no idea. It was the stress. It had to be. It wasn't logical, therefore it didn't make sense, therefore he was stressing out over it. Right? Right.

…Yeah right.

Growling, Seto whirled around and grabbed the phone. Without even pausing he dialed the number for the Kame Game Shop.

"Hello, Kame Game Shop! What can I do for you today?"

"I want to talk to Yugi," Seto said tersely.

Solomon blinked. Well. It wasn't every day that someone like Seto Kaiba called your residence. Solomon paused, and then replied, "Wait one moment, please."

It probably wouldn't be a good idea to deny someone like Seto Kaiba either.

Solomon walked up the stairs to Yugi's room, carrying the phone receiver. Seeing the door slightly ajar, Solomon slowly pushed it open to see Yugi flipping through his deck again. Yugi looked up, surprised, and Solomon handed the phone to Yugi, mouthing Seto Kaiba.

Stunned for a moment, Yugi looked at the phone. Solomon shrugged, and then left. Perhaps it was a challenge or something.

"Hello?"

"Yugi."

Well, no doubt about it. "Oh, Kaiba! Uh…"

"When you dueled against Marik, and you played that card face-down without looking at it, how did you know what card it was?"

Yugi blinked. What in the world? Kaiba had called for that?

He chuckled. "And why do you want to know?"

Seto pulled back and stared at the phone receiver. Deeper voice. Most definitely not what he'd just heard previously.

Two Yugis… Seto pushed that thought aside. That could be left for later.

"Answer me."

Yami answered just as bluntly. "Faith."

That word again. Seto Kaiba was beginning to not like that word. The world should be logical, should – no, must – conform to mathematical rules and laws. That was what Kaiba believed in, not magic or faith or delusions.

Kaiba could accept the idea of someone being simply reckless in the face of overwhelming odds. He could accept confidence, or denial, or bluffing. He could accept people relying on luck and superstition, but only uneducated people believed and relied on such things. And Kaiba knew that the person on the other side of the phone was not an uneducated drop-out.

"Faith in cards manufactured by Maximillion Pegasus is nonsensical. Faith that you will always beat the odds is simply foolhardy. And faith in an outside rival that you consider a 'friend' is just ridiculous. What faith could you possibly have?" Even as his voice rose at the last word, Kaiba fought to keep his high-strung tension to himself.

Laughter returned on the phone receiver. "But faith is nonsensical by nature, and foolhardy to some! Faith is belief that does not rest on logical proof, and until you understand that such is possible, you will never be able to move forward."

The laughter stopped, and the voice turned serious. "But faith in a friend, no, that Seto, is not ridiculous. You believed once, and have forgotten, and your heart is blocked. I had faith in you before, and I still have that same faith in you now."

Kaiba did not like the memories the voice was calling up, images of wind and sand and blankness. He tried shoving them away, tried to demand an answer that perhaps he could accept. "You mean you had faith in me even as I challenged you in Duelist Kingdom?"

A pause. "…Even before."

Oh, how he hated that voice! That voice, so smooth and calm and utterly imposing, telling him things he did not want to hear…and yet some part of him did. A voice that demanded respect, a voice that split Seto right in half. One half that wanted to bow down in reverence, the other that refused to bow to such authority.

"Ah, Seto. When will you release your grip? It was faith, nothing more, nothing less. I cannot give you anything else. I will say it again: you had faith once before. When you believed the sun would rise from its daily battle; when you believed in things unseen; when you believed in ma'at."

Kaiba twitched at the familiar-foreign word. For a moment he had stood on top of marble stone in the midst of sand at dawnbreak, next to six others, holding heavy gold in his hands as he raised his voice in welcome to a new day—

"If I had, I have forgotten."

That was all Kaiba was willing to let go.

"…Then try to remember, Seto Kaiba. Khenmes."

A click, and the voice turned to a constant tone. Distantly Kaiba set down the phone. For a moment he glared at it, as if it were the phone's fault for all of this. He did not like this; or that voice, a voice that commanded him that he should obey, that brought back memories he did not want and offered a haven he did not desire. And yet he did, and Kaiba hated it, and longed for it, for that rock-solid foundation and surety set in faith. His foundation had crumbled the day he had met that pointy-haired golden boy, and Kaiba kept seeking and denying and he was tired.

Perhaps…perhaps it would not be so bad to rest.

Faith, he said. Faith in a friend, that he would play a card without looking, a card that would decide his life or death. Faith, in him. Seto Kaiba.

Khenmes.

Friend.