Disclaimer: The creator of Yu-Gi-Oh! is Kazuki Takahashi. Not I.

Warning 1: Thou shall not steal. Plagiarism is a dastardly deed. Thank you.

Warning 2: No beta reader. Apologies for everything wrong, such as any uncharacteristic actions and emotions, in this one-shot. This follows the English dub of the anime and the Americanized names, and it is based on the assumption that no definite connections between checkers and Seto Kaiba in the anime are present. Only one Japanese honorific, nii-sama (Respectful Older Brother), is used (another apology to those who detest the sprinkling of random Japanese words).

Italics – flashback

'words' – thoughts

Before Checkers

By Jan J. (P.J.P.), Little Sister's Keepress

He had never really learned the rules. Seto was just not interested in checkers. The pieces were flat, circular. They were boring when compared to those in chess. He had had better things to do. Better pieces to study.

Of course, all the other children at the orphanage had known the game of checkers completely—almost religiously. They had known when was the appropriate time to excitedly command the other player "King me!" None of them had known how to play chess. He was the only one. Seto could recall the day of this discovery. It was the day that had barred him from the rest. It was the day when he had consciously barred the rest from him.

Sunlight streaked across the recreation room's confines. Chatter from boys and girls smothered the clock's mechanical ticking. A young brunette, one of the kinder social workers, cheerfully barged through the French doors. Conversations paused as the children took in her enthusiastic entrance. Seto looked up from the picture book that he was reading outloud to Mokuba.

"Hi, everyone!" she exuberantly called out. "We received a gift of new games for you. Who knows how to play checkers?"

A field of hands waved wildly in the air. No one would notice Seto's hands. No one would notice that they were gripping the storybook. He glanced at Mokuba.

"Want to finish the story in our room?" Seto asked quietly.

"Definitely, Big Brother!" Mokuba replied as he leaped up from Seto's lap.

Tugging at Mokuba's hand, the elder boy felt a rivulet of guilt. His younger sibling would have had more friends if not for him. Mokuba wanted to be like his nii-sama so much. Consequently, the younger chose to be "checkersless," too. And skipped out on participating with the other orphans to be in Seto's company. However, unlike his sapphire-eyed protector, Mokuba remained "chessless." His little brother didn't quite understand all the moves as yet.

Mokuba ran ahead of Seto. The numerous doorways flanked both of their sides in the hallway. Seto stared at his brother's retreating form. He smiled tenderly when Mokuba suddenly turned around to check to see if the elder was still behind him.

'Who needs checkers, anyway?' the child prodigy thought.

Seto Kaiba never learned checkers before chess.

He never learned checkers after chess.

He still doesn't care much for checkers.

He has better things to do. He has a better piece to study.