Yu-Gi-Oh! KC Grand Prix 2006

Disclaimer: I don't own, I fantasize.

99.9 percent of the things in this story are NOT true!

*Also, Mai separated from the group so she could focus more on her duelling without all the distractions. Now on to the story!

Chapter 4: More Than Just Duelling

The gang had finally settled down in the restaurant, with something on each of their minds. After the duel, and after Kaiba came and protected Tea from that guy, Bruce Savage, not a lot of words were exchanged between the best friends. They had congratulated Tea on her duel and she said nothing in response. She seemed a bit…distracted. It wasn't that the guys had done or said anything wrong, but they kind of understood that duelling had become important to Tea, even if the reasons were unknown.

Joey patiently waiting for his food continued to glance at Tea, who sat directly across from her, every now and then. It seemed like she was someone else in a way. She wasn't just a "cheerleader" anymore, like Kaiba labelled her to be, she was a duelist.

What is her sudden interest in duelling? I'm not sayin she can't be a great duelist, but this is kinda outta her character. Jus' look at her, I've neva seen her so…determined bout sumthn like this.

Joey leaned back in his seat, and looked up at Yugi, who was sitting right next to Tea. He couldn't read the expression on the multi-colored haired teen, but he knew that he felt a tad bit concerned for their friend.

I wonder does Yug knows what's goin on wit Tea..I mean, he did help her wit her deck in all. Maybe Tea told him her real reason fa wantin to duel..but wuldn't he have told us by now?..

Joey then looked at Tea who was now staring directly at him. He slightly jumped. She had a weird look on her face. He switched his attention over to Yugi and Tristan and they had the same look on their faces. "Ahh! Wat's da matta w you guys?"

Tristan's mouth dropped. "Joey, something serious must be on your mind…"

Joey blinked a few times. How could Tristan tell? Was he thinking the same exact thing I was thinking? Oh no…was I talking out loud again? "Uhhh, not at all! Wat makes ya say that?"

The blond then looked at Yugi, who was smiling softly at him. "Maybe because your food has been sitting in front of you for 2 minutes and you haven't even made an attempt to touch it."

Joey's eyes widened a little as he looked down in front of him. Sure enough, his food sat in front of him. He was so deep in thought that he hadn't even realized that the waiter came and left, or that the others started eating. "Ah, I guess ima bit outa it," he sighed.

Tea studied him. He never let anything distract him from his food, and she could tell that there was something wrong with him. His eyes held what looked like concern and confusion in them. She softly sighed, believing that she knew the reason.

I hate leaving the guys in the dark about this, but they don't need to know, not now. It just doesn't concern them and I just need to figure things out on my own. That I'm more than just an average girl…I have to find out my meaning in life. Was I meant to be my own individual, or was I just meant to support Yugi and Joey at what they did my whole life…

A cell phone began to vibrate on the table and everyone stared at it. Someone was calling Tea. "Excuse me you guys," she said grabbing her phone and walking right outside. As she looked at the caller, she immediately cheered up and allowed a genuine smile to creep on her face. "Daddy!" She happily said as she answered her phone.

Rick Gardner smiled upon hearing how excited his daughter was. "Hi Honey. Sorry I missed your call earlier. I was in an important meeting."

"It's okay! I was just calling to let you know that my friends and I were going to stop by to visit."

He raised a brow, although she couldn't notice it. "Oh? What are you doing here, honey?"

"Yugi, Joey, and I are in the duelling tournament that Seto Kaiba threw and the first destination was home!"

"Duelling? Since when have you gotten serious about duelling, Tea?"

She sighed. She already knew that she was going to have to explain a lot of things to her father, but that didn't mean she had to do it now. "I'll tell you later…long story."

He chuckled. "Sure. Well, stop by today when you can. I'm actually on my way home now, I've been working non-stop trying to keep Mazaki Corp. on track with all the paper work, proposals, and program simulations that needed to be done."

Tea's smile turned into a slight frown. "Daddy, you know you shouldn't work too hard…"

"But you know as well as I do, Tea that this company is not going to run itself," he said looking outside the window of the limo.

"Yeah, I guess…" Tea said, unsure of how stressed her father really was.

"Honey, don't worry about me. I'll be fine." He smiled. He loved his daughter. He could tell that she was always concerned about his health and would be highly upset with him if he wasn't taking care of himself.

"You better be. I'll be there later to check up on you, Daddy." She said firmly. She cared about him too much to watch him throw his health away just for his company.

"I know. Whenever you're ready, text me, I'll have a limo pick up you and your friends."

"Thank you, Daddy. See you later!" Tea said as she hung up and turned into the restaurant to join her friends in a much better mood.

As Kaiba walked through the streets of Italy hours later, he could see numerous duels taking place. Some duels were just beginning and some just ending. Never once did he stop to watch, though, realizing that it was really no one worth watching. A bunch of them were amateurs, and just by one glance he could tell that most of them wouldn't last long because of the cards they had in their decks. They used pathetic monsters, combined with pathetic magic and trap cards. He had no idea how they even got in the tournament, but as long as the weak eliminated the weak, he didn't mind.

His mind then drifted off to Gardner and he smirked. He could guarantee that she wasn't going to survive her next round. Kaiba wasn't the type to pay people to duel her just to see her lose. If anything, he would duel her, himself, but he would love to see her struggle, see her squirm.

I hope she didn't gain a little confidence from her duel with that wanna-be duelist, Savage. He is nothing but a low ranked duelist and would not have lasted long in the tournament anyway.

He closed his eyes and shook his head. Her deck is going to need better cards if she plans on staying in this tournament, even though I doubt she would even know how to use them.

He heard a low chuckle and footsteps nearing him. He opened his eyes and noticed a tall slender man with jet black hair walk in his direction. Kaiba's ice cold eyes narrowed into slits as he stared at the man. Once he came shoulder to shoulder with Kaiba, he seemed to have stopped. Kaiba frowned.

"Good afternoon Mr. Kaiba. It sure is a pleasure to speak with you," the man said with a devilish smirk playing upon his lips.

Kaiba continued to stare at him and turned away. "I never said you could speak to me. Get out of my sight." With a look of pure disgust on his face, Kaiba began to leave.

"You are pathetic, Kaiba." The man said, stopping the 19 year old CEO in his tracks. He turned around and his eyes hardened.

"What did you just say.." Kaiba asked in a dangerously low tone.

"It seems you don't recognize me." Sergio smiled and Kaiba then raised a questioning eyebrow.

Sergio seemed to not be intimidated by Kaiba's stare. "I am Sergio Fiasco a muti-millionaire in the US and someone who you need to show respect to."

Kaiba's arms immediately crossed and his eyes closed. "Oh, please, you are absolutely no threat to me, and you do not deserve my respect."

"Oh really? You will have no choice but to show me respect when I'm through with you." Kaiba snorted. "Watch your step, Kaiba, or you will find yourself somewhere you do not want to be."

"Ha, is that a threat?" Kaiba asked with a bit of humour in his voice.

"It is more than just a threat, Kaiba. It's a promise." Sergio smiled and began to walk away, not looking at the intense look that was left on Kaiba's face.

Kaiba watched him as he walked away. The day you would be a threat to me is the day that I would be friends with Joey Wheeler. His phone began to vibrate. He did not need to look at the caller id to know that it was his younger brother calling him, since it was the only call he was expecting.

He lifted the phone up to his ear as he began walking to headquarters. "Hi, Mokuba."

"What's up, big bro?"

"Making sure that the tournament is going exactly as planned."

"We have been keeping a close eye on all of the duelists today and none so far seems to be a threat to our tournament."


"When should we expect you back at Headquarters?"

"Soon. There are just a few things here that I need to check up on."

"Okay Seto. Please be safe. No one right now seems to be a big threat to anyone, but that doesn't mean that they're not crazy." Mokuba was growing up, meaning that he could make sense of most things that he couldn't before. One thing that he learned was that no matter where they went, they would always run into crazy people who were determined to either kidnap him to get to Seto or would do anything possible to catch Seto off guard.

"Don't worry, kid. I'll be fine." Kaiba's eyes softened.

"I love you, big bro." Mokuba said

A faint smile appeared on Kaiba's face. "I love you, too."

The limo pulled up in front of the gang and the chauffeur got out of the car and walked around to open the door for them.

"Geoffrey!" Tea gave him a hug.

"Good afternoon to you Miss Tea." He said returning the hug. "It's good to see you again."

"Likewise! How has life been?"

"As exciting as it can get when working for your busy father." Tea laughed. She loved Geoffrey. He was a close friend of the family and he was always someone who she could turn to if she did not want to disturb her father when he was busy with work.

"He isn't working himself too hard is he?" He could tell that the concern for her father's working habits has not changed. By looking in her eyes he could tell that she was still the same little girl she was years ago who thought her daddy worked too hard.

"When does he not work too hard?" He said as he put his hand on her shoulder. Tea sighed. "But who are your friends?" She turned around and smiled.

"How rude of me. Geoffrey, these are my best friends, Yugi, Joey and Tristan."

"Nice to meet you, gentlemen. I hope Tea has been behaving herself." Geoffrey said to the gang and grinned.

"Yeah, she has been a real lady!" Joey and Tristan said as they began to rub the back of their heads. They could have sworn that the back of their head was not this tender before they met Tea. Anytime they do something stupid, or even think about it, Tea does not hesitate to smack them upside the head. Yugi just laughed.

"Come on guys! My daddy is waiting for us!" Tea exclaimed as she happily jumped in the limo.

It did not take them long to get to Tea's father's house. As the limo pulled up in the driveway, the guys could not help but stare in amazement.

"Geez, T, I knew your dad's house was big, but not THIS big!" Joey jumped out the limo.

"Come on Joey, you couldn't guess that the house was going to be amazing by the ride in the sweet limo?" Tristan added as he followed his best friend.

Yugi and Tea looked at each other and smiled. "They act as if they have never seen a mansion before, Yugi."

"I don't know what they expected. Your father is in charge of one of the most successful companies in the world."

Tea laughed and opened her mouth to speak, but was cut off by a warm welcome from the front door.

"Sweetheart!" Rick called to her. It did not take Tea long to see her father and run into his arms. The gang enjoyed the heartfelt scene before them. They way they hugged you could tell that they missed each other.

"Daddy! I've missed you!" Tea said finally breaking away after awhile.

"I've missed you more" He said planting a soft kiss on her forehead. Looking at the guys he smiled. "Yugi, Joey, Tristan, nice to finally meet you. Tea has told me so much about you. Come in and make yourselves at home."

After hours of talking to Rick, he felt like he needed to talk to his daughter and see what was really going on. They walked outside to the garden their backyard. Rick figured they could talk there since she knew it used to be her favorite place to go as a kid.

"The garden is still as beautiful as I remember it." Tea said as she bent down to get a better look at the flowers.

"You know, I make sure the garden is perfect everyday. It reminds me of you so much because I know how much you love this place." He said standing at her side. Tea smiled. There were so many memories of her and her dad would just come out here in the middle of the night and look at the flowers, or stargaze and such.

"I love it here. I miss being a little girl and coming out here with you." She stood up, looking her father in the eyes.

"I miss it all too, but I know you have to be your own independent young woman and live the life you feel is best for you. Too bad it could not have been here." Rick said with a smirk.

"I wish it could have been here too, but I love my life in Domino, with my friends, and chasing after my dream."

"One thing that I admired about you is that no matter what anyone said, you always stayed focused and have done all the right things, even when I don't understand your reasoning." Rick raised a brow and he knew Tea would know what he was getting at.

"You want to know why I'm duelling, huh?"

He laughed. "Well I certainly cannot say that it is one of the easiest things to understand."

Tea stared at him. My daddy is the only one who would understand me about this situation. "Look daddy, this duelling thing…I…Well.." Too bad it is so hard to explain! This is my problem, and I know that if I tell him that Kaiba basically said that I was nothing, he would kill him! "..I got challenged to enter the competition."

Rick gave her a weird look. "Challenge? What do you mean? Why would someone challenge you to enter a duelling tournament when duelling is not your…forte?" He then became a little more serious. "Who was it? Was it a guy? I swear I'll make him pay for dragging you in-"

She swiftly placed her hands on his chest. "Daddy! No! There is no need! It's okay…" She could see that he had calmed down a bit. "..I need to do this. I feel the need to. You know I never back down from a challenge and I don't intend on starting now."

"Baby, you are in the most competitive tournament ever thrown, don't you think you should have-"

"What? Let Seto Kaiba that I am not capable of holding my own?" Tea let the name slip. Crap. She planned on letting him know what was going on, but she did not want to bring names into it.

"Seto Kaiba? He's the reason why you are duelling?"

"Daddy, look, it's not what you think and he is not controlling me." She sighed as she saw the look in her father's eyes. She grabbed his hands. "You raised me right, Daddy, and I know that you told me that I should not care what others think, but I have worked too hard in life and I am too proud of myself to let some man think that I am weak. I will prove my worth to him, no matter what it takes."

His eyes softened and he embraced her. "You are a strong young woman, Tea Marie Gardner. I just want you to realize what you have gotten yourself into, but I know that regardless of what happens you are tough enough to handle it."

She kissed him on the cheek. "I knew you would understand. Thank you."

"No need to thank me Sweetheart, I'm your father, I am supposed to understand you."

In that moment, Tea remembered what it felt like to be apart of a loving family. Her father had been there through it all, when she used to have nightmares, when she fell off her bike and scraped her knee, when she needed to call him at anytime she felt lonely because her aunt was away, and he was there when she was preparing herself to take down Kaiba. She could not imagine where she would be without him and his support.

"Just promise me that if you ever need anything, that you let me know." Rick said sincerely.

"Hey Tea!" The two turned towards the door to see an eager Joey. "Yug and I are ready to find some duelists' butts to kick! You in?"

They both laughed and began leaving the garden. Once at the entrance, Tea refused to walk another step until she looked her father in the eyes and made sure that she made him happy. "I promise."