Disclaimer: I do not own yugioh.
Stick arround till the end of the story and I assure you, you won't be too disappointed.
"Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Bee--." A slender hand reached from under the covers and slammed on the annoying alarm clock, shutting it off. A few moments later, a brunette head poked out, blue eyes opening reluctantly to glance at the time. 7:30 am. With a sigh, she got out of the bed and into the bathroom. After 20 minutes, her towel clad, petite body appeared again, walking toward her closet. Quickly picking out an outfit, she got dressed. Having finished her hair and makeup, she stared at the reflection staring back at her.
It wasn't Tea Gardner, the famous dancer, but Tea Gardner, head of the Marketing department at Dungeon Dice Monsters Inc. But there was no disappointment, no longing, and no regret in her eyes.
No. she was happy.
With a satisfied smile, she walked out of her room, and into another bedroom, decorated with various stuff toys and dolls. In the middle, on a small bed, covered in baby blue covers, lay a beautiful 4 year old girl, her brunette hair sprawled over her forehead. With a gentle and loving smile, she walked closer to the bed and gently shook the child.
"Eri, baby wake up." The little girl mumbled something in her sleep, eyelids fluttering beautifully before opening to reveal brilliant blue, just like her mothers.
"Good morning mommy." She said in a sweet voice, coupled with a bleary, but sweet smile. Tea smiled back and said.
"Come on baby. Get out of bed and get ready." She girl nodded her head and kicked off the covers. Tea shot one last look at her daughter, folding the covers and walked out of the bedroom. She went downstairs into the kitchen to begin preparing breakfast. She knew she didn't have to worry about Eri. Even though her daughter was only four years old, she was much more mature and trustworthy then any child her age. She knew Eri would be ready and down for breakfast soon.
Her prediction came true soon. Eri came down, wearing her school uniform, shoes, and hair brushed. She shot her mom a dazzling smile and sat on the chair at the kitchen island.
"Mommy, what are we having for breakfast?" She asked. Tea smiled and placed a plate of pancakes before her.
"Pancakes. Yay." Eri cheered and began eating. Tea just smiled and sat down as well, drinking her cup of coffee.
"Mommy, you are not eating breakfast again." Eri said with a frown. Tea shot her an apologetic smile.
"Sorry sweetie. I don't feel like eating right now. But I promise I will eat something when I get to the office." Eri held out her pinkie.
"Promise?" Tea locked their pinkie together and said.
"Yes. Pinkie swear." Eri seemed satisfied now and continued eating, while Tea went back to her coffee, watching her daughter. Eri was eating with enthusiasm, since pancakes were her favourite breakfast, yet she still was being careful not to spill anything on the table or her clothes. That was just like Eri, to do everything with as much perfection as she could muster. Even though Eri looked like her in appearance, but in attitude, she was so much like her father that it hurt Tea. Even though Eri had never met him, hell, she didn't even know him, but still she expressed so much of his qualities that it scared Tea. So many what if's rose in Tea's head, the questions that often kept her awake and at Eri's side for hours and hours for many nights. Her only salvation was hope that Eri would not turn out like him. She desperately hoped and prayed Eri would not be like him. Eri was her life, her light, her treasure, her everything. If she …
Tea couldn't even bear to think.
'No.' she shook her head. It would never be. Eri was her daughter, and would always be hers. She would do everything in her power to save Eri from his shadow, no matter what the cost.
"Ding Dong." The doorbell rang. Eri's head shot up excitedly, her eyes widening in joy.
"Papa." She said and made an attempt to get out of her chair, but Tea shook her head and placed her coffee mug down.
"I'll go and see who it is. You just sit here and finish your breakfast." Eri nodded her head. Tea got up and leisurely walked towards the door and opened it, to be greeted by the smiling faces of her friends, Joey and Tristan.
"Morning Tea." Tristan said as Tea moved aside to let them in.
"Ooh, pancakes." Joey said, darting towards the kitchen. Tristan and Tea exchanged amused smiles and followed him.
In the kitchen, Eri waited patiently for her papa to come. She heard footsteps and turned her head to see her papa, but instead saw Joey come in. A confused look appeared on her face.
"Daddy?" She said with scrunched eyebrows. Joey walked towards Eri and lifted her in his arms.
"Hey babe." Eri giggled at being lifted and wrapped her arms around his neck.
"Good morning daddy." Eri said. "Where's papa Duke?" she asked.
"What? You are not happy to see me?" Joey said in mock hurt. "I'll leave then." He moved to place Eri on the floor, but she tightened her grip on his neck and refused to let go.
"No daddy. I didn't mean that. I love you." Joey chuckled and picked her up again.
"That's right. And daddy loves you." Just then, Tristan and Tea came in. Eri let out a squeal.
"Daddy Tristan." She said, bouncing to his arms. He caught her carefully and now carried her.
"How's my pretty little girl this morning?" He asked. Eris milled brightly.
"I'm happy. Mommy made pancakes and they are so good."
"I can smell that." Joey said and ate a piece.
"Daddy that was mine." Eri whined. Joey laughed sheepishly and muttered an apology.
"I made extra. I knew you would want some." Tea informed him.
"All right." Joey cheered and sat down at the island. Tristan placed Eri back at her seat and seated himself as well.
"Joey, you ate at home, and then you ate a donut on our way here. You still hungry?" Tristan said in amazement.
"That's because daddy Joey's stomach is a bottomless pit." Eri cheered, repeating what her papa Duke often said. Joey shot her a weak glare, but turned his attention soon to the plate of pancakes Tea placed before him.
"You don't know my situation Tristan." Joey said, stuffing his face. "Mai's got me on this stupid diet so I can't eat anything tasty. All I get is stupid fruit." Tristan shot him a sympathetic smile.
"Maybe I shouldn't give you this then." Tea said, eyeing the plate. Joey quickly circled his arms around it protectively.
"No please. Have mercy on my stomach." He begged. Everyone laughed at his antics. Tristan glanced at the clock and said.
"Hurry up man. We don't want Eri to be late."
"Where's papa Duke today?" Eri asked. "He always takes me to school." Tristan smiled and answered.
"He had some important meeting in the morning so he asked if we could come instead." Eri nodded her head in understanding.
"But don't you worry babe." Joey said, ruffling her hair affectionately. "We are going to take you instead."
"Daddy Joey. You messed my hair." Eri exclaimed loudly, trying to fix her hair. Tea laughed at her daughter's antics as she brushed her fingers through her to fix them. It didn't take long as Eri had beautiful straight hair, just like Tea used to in her teens. Eri even had the same bangs.
"Okay. I'm done. Let's go." Joey said, pushing the empty plate away. Tristan nodded his head and helped Eri out of her chair. Tea grabbed her school bag, with all her books and handed it to her.
"Now baby, be nice to all the kids and the teacher. And don't get into any trouble." Eri rolled her eyes, having heard the same speech many times before.
"I won't mommy. It was only once."
"Once?" Joey raised an eyebrow. "What happened once?"
"Oh nothing." Tea said, dismissing it with a wave of her hand, ushering them out the door.
"I got into a fight with this bully." Eri said with a proud smile. "He was bullying me and my friends so I beat him up. I hate bullies."
"That's my girl." Joey said proudly. "You show them."
"Next time, just tell us and we'll deal with the bully, okay?" Tristan said, and opened the door of his car to let Eri in. After Eri was seated, he turned to Tea.
"We'll see you later." He quickly kissed her on the cheek and sat inside. Joey did the same and they waved bye to her before moving out of her driveway. The ride to school was filled with conversation and giggles, with Joey trying to teach Eri tricks and pranks for bullies and Tristan chiding him.
They pulled up in front of her school and helped her out.
"Now tell me. Who is the bully?" Joey said, eyeing the playing kids suspiciously. Eri giggled and Tristan rolled his eyes.
"Ignore him sweetie and go ahead. Have fun at school." She quickly kissed each of them and ran towards the kids, laughing at her daddy's words. No doubt, daddy Joey was the funniest of all her daddies.
Joey and Tristan stood there, watching her talk to a little girl her age. Just when they were about to sit in the car and leave, they saw a little boy go to Eri and talk to her.
"Hey Tris, do you think that's the boy?" Joey asked.. Tristan eyed the boy carefully.
"I don't think so. They look like friends." He said and sat in the car. Joey still stood, eyeing the kid.
"He looks too friendly for my taste."
"Shut up and get in the car or we'll be late for work." Tristan said. Joey scoffed and sat but his eyes were still glued to the children. They saw Eri laugh and watched the boy hold Eri's hand as they walked into the building.
"Did you see that?" Joey yelled frantically with wide eyes. "That little runt held Eri's hand." Tristan shrugged his shoulders and began driving.
"They are friends. I guess that's what kids do."
"No. that's what boys with dirty minds do." Joey growled.
"Dude, he is four years old. I bet his dirty fantasy involves gummy worms and chocolate." Joey's eyes went wide.
"That's what my fantasy is. Tris, we got a situation. We have to do something about that kid."
"No we are not doing anything. They are kids. We don't have to worry about that kind of thing for another 10 years."
"Keep fooling yourself Tris. I'm going to get to the bottom of this. I know or Eri is pretty and all, but no way am I going to let stupid boys get near her." Tristan ignored Joey's rants and continued driving.
The rest of Eri's day was uneventful compared to her morning, but when lunch came, she was excited and ready to see her other papa.
"Hey Eri, are you eating with us today?" Her friend asked and Eri shook her head.
"No, my papa is coming to pick me up today." Her friend sighed.
"Your parents are so cool. I wish I had as many daddies as you." Eri laughed and looked around the playground to spot a tricolored head.
"Got you." A voice said from behind her and soon, she was being lifted up in the air. She let out a loud giggle.
"Papa Yugi. Where did you come from?"
"I was here earlier but I hid behind the slides." Yugi said with a smile. Eri laughed and said goodbye to her friend, as Yugi held her hand and led her towards his car, where Tea was already seated.
"Mommy. Hi." Eri said happily as Tea hugged her and helped her in the car. When they were all settled in, Yugi drove them to the nearest family casual restaurant. Once inside, they quickly ordered food and watched Eri play in the children's play area in the restaurant.
"So, happy to be back with Rebecca?" Tea said with a teasing smile. Yugi blushed.
"I take that as a yes." Tea said with a laugh. "Why don't you just propose to her already?"
"I… I don't think it's time yet." Yugi said. Tea huffed.
"If you keep her waiting, she may just leave you, or better, she may just propose to you herself." Yugi seemed thoughtful.
"You think she is ready for this?"
"She has been ready for years." Tea said. "Just do it already. We all know that the answer is yes. So just go for it." Yugi nodded his head.
"Okay. I'll think about it." Tea smiled and called Eri as the waiter brought their food. After lunch, Eri was dropped off at her school again, where she excitedly told her friends all about her lunch date. She had been initially surprised that all her friends only had one dad, but she had four. But her mom said it was because she was lucky, and she certainly seemed to believe it.
At the end of school, she waited with her friends for her daddies to come. Normally, it was her papa Duke who took her to school, papa Yugi would occasionally take her for lunch, sometimes her mom would be with him, and then her daddies Joey and Tristan would pick her up from school to drop her at her aunt's Serenity's day care before her mom would pick her up to take her home.
She watched as the familiar car pulled up and her daddy Joey called her. Saying goodbye to her friends, she quickly ran to the car and sat.
"How was your day babe?" Joey asked, driving towards the day care where Serenity worked.
"It was nice. We played tag and hide and seek, and I won. Then papa Yugi took me out for lunch and mommy was there too." She said excitedly.
"That's good. Say Eri, who was the boy with you in the morning?" Eri seemed confused.
"You know, the boy who held your hand." Joey said. Eri smiled in recognition.
"Oh, that. He's Duncan. He's my friend."
"Just a friend, right?" Joey asked to confirm. Eri looked confused, and lost. "You don't kiss or anything, right?" Eri make a disgusted face.
"Eww. No." she said, scrunching up her nose. "Boys have cooties. I don't want to kiss them." Joey sighed in relief.
"Good. Keep thinking that for the rest of your life and my life will be easy." She giggled at his words, even though she didn't understand much. They stopped in front of the day care and Eri quickly got out, saying goodbye and entering the building. Her aunt Serenity was already there, waiting for her.
"Hey Eri, had fun in school?" Serenity asked. Eri giggled and nodded her head.
"Yeah. But I had more fun with daddy Joey today. He is so funny." Serenity smiled.
"Don't we all know that. Okay sweetie, let's go in so we can get started on your homework." Eri nodded and followed her aunt inside. Besides Serenity, she had two other aunts, Mai and Rebecca. Mai always bought her pretty clothes and shoes, and Rebecca taught her all the computer games. She loved all her aunts and daddies.
Tea was done with her work in the evening and quickly rushed towards the day care to pick up her daughter. She had a brief conversation with Serenity before she took Eri home and began preparing dinner while Eri watched TV, having finished her homework at the day care. After dinner, both mother and daughter sat together and watched TV, talking and having fun. Near 8:00pm, Tea took Eri to prepare for bed. After changing her into her PJ's and tucking her in, Tea sat by her bed, ready to tell a bedtime story, as was their nightly ritual.
"Mommy, tell me the story of how I got to have four daddies." Eri said, stifling a yawn. Tea smiled softly and brushed her daughter's bangs.
"Okay." She took a deep breath and began.
"Once upon a time, there was a queen." She said in a sweet voice.
"Can she be a fairy?" Eri asked. Tea laughed and nodded her head. Eri mostly asked for this story, being her favourite, but always changed the character to be a queen, or a princess, or a fairy. She figured today, she wanted a fairy.
"Okay, once upon a time, there was a fairy. She was pretty and smart, and really nice to everyone. She always smiled and laughed, and tried to make everyone smile and laugh too. She had many friends and she loved them all. The fairy loved to dance too. She would dance when she was happy. Her friends said she was the best dancer in the world." Eri smiled and closed her eyes, enjoying the story.
"There was a dragon that lived near where the fairy lived." Tea said, her voice losing the cheer it had before. "He lived in a big castle with huge walls and gates."
"To keep people away, right?" Eri asked. Tea nodded her head and ran her fingers through her daughter's hair.
"Yes. He didn't want people to come near him. So no one went near him or his castle. But the fairy thought that it was mean of people to not talk to him. She thought that the dragon was just lonely and wanted friends. So she decided to go to his castle." Eri's face held a frown now. Tea's eyes glazed over, as if in a different world.
"Her friends warned her about the dragon. They tried to stop her and told her that he was a mean dragon. They said he would hurt her. But she didn't listen to them and went to the dragon." She stopped there. Silence hung in the room.
"He hurt her, right mommy?" Eri said in a soft voice, not opening her eyes, but the frown on her face was gone.
"Yes." Tea whispered. "He hurt her. He hurt the pretty fairy who wanted to help him."
"Than what mommy?" Eri asked.
"The fairy cried and cried because she was hurt deeply by the dragon. She went to her friends and they hugged her and promised to help her. They said they would always protect her. But the fairy still felt lonely." Her voice changed and now housed a lighter tone.
"Then one day, the fairy had a beautiful baby with the prettiest face and the prettiest eyes. The fairy was very happy and named the baby girl Eri. But the fairy was scared that the dragon may come and hurt her baby. So the fairy's friends said that they will always take care of the fairy and baby Eri, and they all became Eri's daddies."
"And then the fairy and her baby Eri lived happily ever after with all her daddies." A male voice finished the story for them. Eri squealed in joy and got up.
"Papa Duke. You are here." Duke moved forward and hugged her.
"Did you miss me?" He asked slyly and Eri nodded.
"Yes. But daddy Joey was really funny. He said a lot of funny things."
"That's why we call him a clown." Duke said, ruffling Eri's hair who giggled in response.
"Okay, enough. You can talk in the morning." Tea said. She bent down and kissed her forehead.
"Now go to sleep. Good night." Tea got up and began walking towards the door, Duke following close behind.
"Mommy, what about the dragon?" Tea stopped and turned around.
"He still lives in his big castle with big door, still alone." Eri nodded her head. Tea turned the light off and made to exit when Eri spoke again.
"Mommy, if the dragon comes back, would you save me from him?" Tea's heart filled with emotion and she raced back to her daughter to hold her hand.
"Yes baby. I would do anything to protect you from the dragon. I won't let him hurt you… ever."
"You can bet on that. We won't let him come near you." Duke assured her. Eri smiled and snuggled deeper into the covers.
"Thank you mommy and papa. I love you." Tea kissed her forehead again and whispered.
"I love you too sweetie. Good night."
The turned the light off and closed the door behind them. Immediately, Tea leaned against the wall tiredly.
"I just wish she would get over this stupid story. It's so emotionally draining." Duke held her waist and they began walking down the stairs.
"Want Tea?" She asked, heading towards the kitchen.
"No thanks." He said, sitting at the island.
"I need it." She said with a sigh.
"You okay?" he asked in a concerned voice. She nodded her head.
"It's just that she always asks for the same story and every time, I feel so tired and drained. I thought I was over it. I mean, it has been more than four years." Duke shot her a sympathetic smile.
"Some wounds run deeper than we think, and just when you think they have healed, they bleed again." Tea nodded her head. This wound did run deep, so deep that she feared it may never heal. And she had no one to blame but herself. It was her stupidity that started all this.
Her friends just didn't understand. They didn't understand Seto, or her and Seto's relationship. Sure it wasn't traditional, but it was special nonetheless. Seto didn't spend enough time with her, not because he didn't want to, but because he was too busy. And she understood that completely. It was her friends who didn't understand it. Well too bad for them. She wasn't going to leave Seto. He needed her and she wasn't going to abandon him.
She walked into the Kaiba corp. building and took the elevator to his office. The entire office was empty, since the day was over, but she knew he was there. He was always there, working hard. Sometimes, she feared for his health and well being. But all he cared about was his company. If Mokuba hadn't left to study in Europe, she could have employed his help in getting him to take a break, but now it was all up to her.
She knocked on his door and after receiving a gruff reply to come in, she entered. And as she had predicted, he was there, bent over his laptop, typing away.
"Seto, are you still not done?" She asked in a concerned voice.
"What does it look like?" He bit back. Immediately, she knew he was stressed and needed a break. She walked towards him.
"Seto, why don't you end this for today and come home? I'll make you a nice dinner and we can relax." She offered. He looked up to glare at her and then turned back to his screen.
"I don't have time for this. Leave." He said. Tea was slightly taken back, but she wasn't going to give up.
"Seto, I know how stressed you are and--." He cut her off and spoke.
"You know?" He mocked. "Please." He scoffed. "Just stop wasting my time and leave. I need to get this done." She touched his arm.
"Seto, you can do this tomorrow."
"Don't tell me how to do my job." He growled at her, causing her to retrieve her arm. "I know what I am doing, and I don't need an airhead to tell me otherwise."
"Seto, why are you being so rude?" she asked with a frown.
"If you don't like the attitude, the door is right there." He turned back to his laptop.
"Seto, I am only trying to help."
"That's it." He bellowed, scaring her. "I am sick and tired of you thinking you can help me. I don't need any help, certainly not from you. Don't think you are anything special and you can change me into a better man. You are just like the other idiots who waste my time every day."
"Seto, why are you being so mean? I thought you knew I cared about you." He scoffed, shooting her a glare.
"I hear that said to me by many women everyday and you are no different."
"Don't you care about me Seto?" She asked fearfully. He let out a mocking laugh and pinned her down with his stare.
"You are just like the other idiots who fool themselves into believing lies and make a world for themselves out of them. Just because I asked you out doesn't mean you are anything special Gardner. I only asked you because Mokuba likes you, and because I thought that you wouldn't try to take a piece of me by getting pregnant. But I am seriously starting to have doubts now." Tears sprang to the corner of her eyes.
"You… you think I am a gold digger? That I am only with you for your money?"
"Tears don't prove innocence Gardner to don't bother shedding any." He said coldly.
"I can't believe you. I actually cared about you, not your money. I never did."
"Sure. And the way you have been screwing me the past few weeks is all out of love and not to get knocked up." He said. Tears fell freely from her eyes now. She couldn't believe he thought so low of her.
"I gave you my virginity because I loved you." She screamed in anger and humiliation.
"What reason did you have for loving me, as you claim?" He asked with mock curiosity. "Was it because I have been so nice to you and your friends in high school, or because I am nice and kind to them now? Is it because I am generally a caring and loving person, always helping everyone out, like you? Or is it because I am a way for you to get to New York and Julliard?" A small whimper escaped her lips at his accusation and more tears fell. He smiled triumphantly at her pitiful state.
"Listen, I don't care what your motive is. I have enough money to send you there so stop pretending to care and trying too hard. Just to home and enjoy the luxuries there, and don't bother me again tonight. I'll be home when I'm done." He said in a dismissive tone and went back to his screen, completely ignoring her shaking form.
"They were all right." She said slowly and he raised his head. "You are a monster." He smirked.
"Yet you are still with me." He said.
"Not anymore." She said defiantly and he raised an eyebrow in amusement. "I was with you only because I cared about you, and I thought you cared about me. But I was wrong. I didn't know you thought so low of me. I won't be with someone who has such a derogatory opinion of me. " She turned on her heel and began walking away.
"Good bye Seto. You don't have to worry about your money any longer. I won't be a part of your life anymore." She didn't give him a chance to reply or come to her and began running out of the building. She hoped so desperately that he would follow, and despite her pride, she turned around so many times to look back and see him, but he was never there. With a loud wail, she sped up and ran towards the game shop.
"You were right." She said as soon as she entered, collapsing on the floor in front of the door. "You guys were right all along. He doesn't love me. He doesn't even care about me." She cried. Her friends quickly ran towards her and engulfed her in their protective embrace, letting her cry out her pain.
"He said… he said that… I am a gold digger… that I only want his money." She wailed, burying her face in Yugi's shirt. Joey growled angrily.
"That bastard. I'm going to kill him." Tristan nodded and both made an attempt to get up, but Tea grabbed their arms.
"Please, don't. I don't want him to hurt you." They exchanged a look and sat down.
"We are here for you Tea. Don't worry." Duke said.
"Yeah. It's a good thing you're done with money bags. He can't hurt you anymore." Joey said.
"Thanks guys. I'm so sorry for not listening to you." She cried.
"Hey, there is no such thing as an apology in friendship." Tristan said.
"Thanks guys. I'm so lucky to have you." She said in gratitude. She may not have been lucky in love, but she was very lucky in friendship.
"Guys, I … I have to tell you something." Tea said in a shaking voice, 3 weeks after her breakup with Seto. The guys turned their attention to her immediately.
"What is the matter Tea?" Duke asked, exchanging a look with the guys. Tea had been quite depressed during the last few weeks. They just hoped whatever she had to say wasn't too bad.
"I…" she began, but her voice broke and tears fell from her eyes. Yugi rushed to her and hugged her.
"What's wrong?" He asked.
"I'm 2 months pregnant." She whispered. Yugi's eyes widened. He turned to look at his friends who had similar expressions.
"You sure?" Tristan asked. She nodded her head and began crying.
"Now I'm really going to kill that Kaiba. That bastard. This is all his fault." Joey bellowed.
"No." Tea screamed.
"We should at least call him. He needs to know." Duke said.
"Please no." Tea begged. "Don't tell him. He said… he said that I wanted to get pregnant so I could get his money. This would confirm his theory." She cried. "Don't tell him."
"But then what are you going to do?" Tristan asked.
"I don't know." She cried. "I don't know what to do." Yugi hugged her tightly.
"Don't worry Tea. We are here for you. We'll support you no matter what." The other guys nodded their heads.
"I don't want to do this." Tea said, refusing to get out of car. Her friends glared at her.
"We spent hours to convince you come. Then we waited hours for you to get ready. And now you're telling us you don't want to do this?" Joey growled.
"I swear Tea, just get out willingly or we'll do it forcefully." Tristan threatened.
"Can't you guys just leave me here in the car?" she begged.
"No." Duke shook his head.
"I know what you are worried about Tea, but don't worry. We are going to be with you all the time. You won't be alone for a minute." Yugi assured her.
"It still won't stop what's to come." She said.
"I'll punch anyone who says a word, I promise." Joey said.
"Come on Tea, you look gorgeous and you're getting an award. You have to come." Duke said.
"Graduation ceremony only comes once in your life, unless you graduate from college too, and the chances of that for us are slim. So let's just enjoy what we have." Tristan said encouragingly. She smiled and nodded her head, accepting Yugi's hand in getting out of the car. Duke closed the door of the limo behind them and then began walking toward the hall where the ceremony was to be held.
As soon as they entered, eyes were upon them. After all, they had been the loudest and most popular kids of their grade. But the eyes remained locked on them, wherever they went, especially on Tea's slightly bulging stomach. Whispers soon followed.
"I knew I shouldn't have come. I want to go back." Tea said, turning back. The guys grabbed her arms, stopping her movement.
"Just ignore them and enjoy your graduation." Yugi said.
"I'd punch anyone who even says a word, like I promised." Joey assured her again. They stuck together, when talking to teachers. Some seemed uncomfortable when trying to avoid looking at her bulging stomach, yet some stared shamelessly. Joey tried hard not to let his anger get the best of him. After an hour of mingling, the students were called to get their gowns and caps for the ceremony. The guys had to leave Tea, since they were forming a line according to their last names in alphabetic order.
Tea stood in line, very conscious of the eyes directed at her. It seemed like everyone had nothing better to do then to stare at her and then whisper. Well, at least she hadn't seen Seto or her evening would have officially turned to hell. She wondered if he would show up at all. He was the valedictorian and was getting a few academic awards. But she knew Seto didn't care about awards. She wasn't sure if she wanted him to come or not. If he came, she may have to confront him, and after avoiding him for 4 months and looking like she did, she was not looking forward to it. But if she didn't show up, then she would have to deliver the valedictorian speech, and she was definitely not looking forward to standing up in front of everyone looking like she did right now.
"So the rumours are true." She heard the girl behind her say. "Tea Gardner is pregnant." Tea ignored her and kept her face straight, moving along with the line.
"Well, can't say I am shocked." Her friend, standing behind her said. "After all, she did hang out with boys all the time. It was only a matter of time before one of them forgot to put on the condom." The girls standing around Tea let out shrill giggles. Tea kept her jaw clenched and ignored them.
"So who's the father?" Another girl, standing in front of her asked. Tea still kept her mouth shut.
"I saw her come with four boys." The girl behind her said.
"Can't choose which one to bring?" Another mocked.
"I don't know how they are still with you. I mean, you are a slut, and you are pregnant. Why would they still stay with you?" Tears began forming in Tea's eyes, but she kept her mouth shut.
"I bet she screwed them all and now doesn't know who the father is among them." A girl quipped. "That's why they are still with her. Even if she is a slut, she is carrying their child, and no man would abandon his child, even if with a whore."
"So they are just waiting for her to pop out the kid. Once it's out, they can do a DNA test and see who the father is. Then, it's only one person's problem."
"But for now, they all get to sleep with her." One girl cheered loudly, earning snickers from all around her. Tea's control slipped for a second, allowing a tear to fall but she quickly wiped it away. It would be her turn soon, and then she would leave. Thankfully the girls didn't say anything else. The line kept moving forward, the people in front of her getting called out to get their diploma. Finally, it was her turn. She heard the announcer call her name and took a deep breath.
"You're up slut… finally after being under for so long." The girl behind her snickered as Tea walked out. Immediately, all eyes were on her. Everyone began whispering, and she knew they weren't talking about her award or accomplishments in school. Finally, she was called to receive her diploma from the principal, who openly stared at her stomach. Snatching the diploma from his hand, she hurriedly walked down from the stage. Duke was waiting for her already. He had been done before her since his last name came before her alphabetically.
"I saw what happened." He said. "Do you want to leave now?"
"No. let's just wait till the guys are done. I don't want to miss them."
"Well, Yugi should be next,, but he's not up soon. Let's sit somewhere. You shouldn't be standing for long." Duke said. Tea nodded her head.
"Seto Kaiba." The announcer called the name. Tea's head shot up towards the stage and her eyes widened as his tall figure walked up to accept his diploma and award.
So he had been there. Then that means… he must have seen her. With dilated pupils, she got up.
"Tea, you okay?" Duke asked worriedly.
"Yeah. I need to use the bathroom." She said and nearly ran out from there. She raced into a deserted hallway and took deep breaths to calm herself. There was nothing to worry about, she assured herself. Seto hadn't bothered to speak with her or find her all these months so why would he bother now? Her eyes moved to her stomach and she knew what the reason may be now.
So what could she do?
Her one option was to hide until the ceremony was over. This way, she wouldn't have to confront him. But she would miss her friends' graduation. The other option was to go out there and hope he wouldn't bother her. After all, he wouldn't want to mess with her friends in front of everyone and make a scene.
So the second option was definitely the winner. She quickly tried to fix her appearance and began walking back, when her worst nightmare came true. Standing before her was the last man she wanted to see, a.k.a. Seto Kaiba. Hesitantly, she took a step back.
"So it's true. You are pregnant." He said, his eyes darting to her stomach for a second before meeting hers again. Mutely, she nodded her head. Silence followed.
"Is it… mine?" He asked. Her jaw and fists clenched at his question.
"No." She spat venomously. "It's mine." She said. He seemed a bit taken back at her reply and attitude.
"Don't call me that." She said. "I am a slut, or whore." She sneered. "Didn't you hear the girls?" He actually looked guilty. This confirmed her suspicion that he was there. She felt a wave of pain pass through her heart.
"Why… why didn't you stop them?" She asked in a broken voice. He looked away.
"I… look Tea--."
"You didn't want your reputation to be ruined, right?" She said in a soft voice. He refused to meet her eye.
"Tea, I'm willing to pay--."
"Pay me?" She said angrily. "I can't believe you would even think that I'm still after you money." She said.
"That's not what I meant." He said.
"I know that you meant. I still remember every word."
"Tea, listen." He began. "That day… I shouldn't have said what I did. I didn't mean it."
"No Seto. You meant it… every word." Tea said. "You had always thought that about me, and that day, you said it." She closed her eyes, trying to force tears back. "That's why I didn't tell you, because I knew you would think I did it for your money." Her eyes snapped open, ablaze with anger and determination. "But newsflash Seto Kaiba, I don't want nor need your money."
"I am the father of this child, and it will need a father figure in its life." Seto said.
"I'd rather raise it as an orphan than have you as its father figure." She said venomously. Seto's eyes hardened at her words. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go watch my friends' graduation." She said and made an attempt to get past him, but his hand shot out to grab her wrist.
"Tea, I want to help with this child." He said.
"Let go of my hand." She said in a deadly calm voice. He complied with her request and let go.
"I am responsible for its bringing into this world and I am willing to help. I would give you enough money per month so you won't have any trouble raising the child."
"My baby and I don't need your charity Seto Kaiba." Tea said.
"You can't raise this baby on your own." He said and her eyes went ablaze again.
"Don't worry about my baby Kaiba. I know how to take care of people I love. Even if I have to beg or sell myself, I'd do it and raise my child, but I won't take a penny from you." With those words, she left, leaving a disgruntled Kaiba behind.
Outside, she was soon met with Duke who told her he had been looking for her. She apologized for her absence and they both sat down. Yugi came on stage soon and then joined them to wait for Tristan and Joey's turn. Luckily, Seto Kaiba made no further appearances. Tea figured he had left. After all, he had nothing at the ceremony except speech that he could have easily refused. Just as she had predicted, Seto had left, but the teachers didn't come to her as their second choice, even though she had been the best candidate. But she realized her current condition would have deterred them. Nevertheless, she was relieved. They left as soon as Joey came off the stage with his diploma. No one said anything in the car except congratulations as they drove towards Duke's mansion.
Ever since she had entered her 6th month of pregnancy, the guys had insisted that she move in with one of them so they could take better care of her. Despite her protests, they had decided on Duke's mansion since it was big and had maids to keep a watch over her and cater to her every need.
Once they reached Duke's mansion, they bid Tea good night. After making sure she was out of sight and earshot, they let it loose.
"These people are such bastards, saying the shit they did. I wanted to break their jaws." Joey growled, punching a cushion.
"They said stuff to you guys too huh?" Yugi asked.
"They asked whose bitch she was, mine or Tristan's or did we share her." Joey said, clenching his fists.
"I got same kind of questions and mocks." Duke admitted. "They kept asking whose child she was carrying. Some even said we all screwed her and were with her because we weren't sure whose was it, and that we had to wait for a paternity test."
"Bastards." Tristan said. "I wanted to hit them, but I didn't want to make a scene."
"I just wanted the night to be over so we could get away from all that talk." Yugi said with a tired sigh.
"But that won't stop the talking." They heard the broken voice of Tea reach them. They turned around and saw her standing behind them.
"Tea…" Yugi said softly.
"That kind of talk will follow me for the rest of my life. Everyone will always ask me about the father of this baby," she said, wrapping her arms around her stomach, "and I won't be able to tell them anything." Tears fell from her eyes.
"They would call my baby a bastard and fatherless. My poor baby. They would ask it for its father… " She collapsed on the floor in a crying, sobbing heap. The guys raced towards her and engulfed her in their embrace.
"Don't worry Tea. We'll figure something out."
"My baby would ask me for its father... what am I going to tell it?"
"Tell it and everyone that I'm the father." Yugi said. "If that will solve the problem, then tell everyone."
"Yugi…" Tea whispered in surprise and shock. He held her cheek gently and wiped the tears with his thumb.
"Just tell them and I'll deal with them if they have anything else to say." Tea let out a sob and threw herself at Yugi, hugging him tightly.
"You can't deal with people on your own Yugi." Tristan said. "You'll need help." Then he turned to Tea. "I promise to help you too Tea, in any way I can."
"The baby is going to need an athletic and cool dad." Joey said. "And since you both lack those qualities, I guess I'd have to step in and fulfil those roles. I'd be the cool, funny, and athletic dad."
"I'd be the handsome and sexy dad." Duke said. "The kid is going to be good looking. It would make perfect sense for me to be the source of those looks."
"I'm better looking than you." Joey said.
"If it was a puppy, then that would make sense, but it's a human baby Joey. So human good looks count." Duke said. Joey growled angrily.
"Down boy." Duke added and Joey let out a string of swears. Despite her state, Tea let out a small laugh.
"We may not be the biological fathers Tea, but we can act as one." Yugi said.
"We all promise to help you in any way we can." Tristan said.
"We would never let this child feel the lack of having a father." Duke said.
"We all promise and swear on this baby." Joey said, placing his hand on her stomach. The others joined his hand.
"We all promise to always be there for you and the baby." Tears flowed down her cheeks again, but these were tears of gratitude.
"Thank you guys. Thank you so much." She said between sobs. "I am not worried about this baby's future anymore. It has four great dads. I don't have to worry about anything now."
"Guys." Tea said with wide eyes as she entered the living room where they were currently playing video games.
"Yea Tea. What's up?" Joey said, not looking away from the TV screen.
"Umm, my water just broke." She informed them.
"So?" Tristan said, still playing.
"That means the baby is coming right now." She said through clenched teeth.
"Cool." Joey said, still not moving.
"GUYS." Tea screamed as a contraction overcame her. Immediately, they ran to her.
"Shit Tea, why didn't you tell us you were having the baby right now?" Joey said, helping her stand and walk towards the door. Before she could reply, another contraction came and she let out a scream.
"Call Duke and Yugi. Tell them to get to the hospital." Tristan nodded his head and ran towards the phone while Joey helped Tea into the car. They raced towards the hospital. Duke and Yugi came while they were filling a few forms. The nurse came and took Tea towards a room. They all tried to go with her, but were stopped.
"Only one can go in. Who is the father of the child?" The guys looked at each other and then replied.
"We are all her friends."
"Will the father come?" The nurse asked. The guys shook their heads. "Then one of you can go in." She said and entered the room. The guys looked at each other to decide who would be the one.
"Yugi, you go ahead." Duke said. "God knows Joey and Tristan are not the right ones, and we all know you are the best ones." The other nodded their heads. Yugi smiled and entered while the others waited outside. The only sounds they heard were screams of pain. Finally, after 2 agonizing hours, the screaming stopped. Joey went to the door and made an attempt to get in.
"Please, not yet." A nurse said, trying to push him out again.
"But it's done, right? Why can't I come in?" Tristan and Duke also came forward and began arguing. Finally, the nurse gave up and allowed them all in. They raced towards the bed where Tea was lying unconscious. A very pale Yugi sat beside her, his hand still clenched within Tea's.
"Dude, you okay?" Duke asked. Yugi slowly nodded his head.
"So where is the baby?" Joey asked. A nurse came with a small bundle and stopped in front of them.
"Who wants to be the first to hold the baby?" The guys' eyes widened. Slowly, Yugi nodded his head. The nurse smiled and handed the baby to him.
It was so small, so fragile looking that Yugi actually felt scared holding it.
"So beautiful." He muttered.
"Is it… is it a boy or a girl?" Tristan asked. Joey's hand went to lift the blanket wrapped around it, but the nurse swatted his hand away.
"It's a girl." She informed them.
"A girl." Duke repeated, gently touching the baby's forehead. Just then, Tea shifted on the bed.
"My baby…" She muttered in her sleep.
"Wake up Tea. Look, I'm holding your daughter." Yugi said. Tea's eyes shot open and she stared at the small bundle in Yugi's arms.
"My… my daughter?" She repeated in shock. Yugi carefully handed the baby girl to her and watched as tears rolled down her cheeks.
"Congratulations Tea. You're a mother." Duke said, sitting on the bed beside her as she cradled her child.
"what are you going to name her?" Tristan asked.
"Eri." Tea said. "Eri Gardner."
"Eri." Yugi repeated. "Blessed prize. It's perfect."
"Penny for your thoughts?" Duke said, shaking her out of her thoughts. She smiled and finished making her Tea.
"How did your date with Selene go?" Duke smiled.
"It went well."
"So I suppose things are going pretty well for you guys?" Tea said, sipping her Tea.
"Yeah. Now there is only one thing left." Tea raised an eyebrow at his words.
"Introducing her to Eri and hoping that Eri approves." Tea laughed.
"Why should it matter so much?" Tea said in an amused voice.
"Because I don't want to have a girlfriend that Eri doesn't like. The others have girlfriends and wives that Eri loves. Why should mine be any less?" Tea giggled.
"It shouldn't be a competition." Tea said.
"I know." Duke said with a sigh. "But I want to be with a woman who would be nice to Eri, which Eri would comfortable with."
"I'm sure Eri would love her." Tea assured him. Duke smiled.
"I guess I should be heading home now. I'll see you tomorrow at work." Tea nodded her head and went to the door with him.
"Good night Duke. And thanks for everything." He waved goodbye and drove away. Tea closed the door and sat in the living room, sipping her Tea. She was done half her cup when the doorbell rang. Placing her cup on the table, she walked towards the door. She wondered if it was Duke again, having left something behind. The guys did that a lot when they came to her house. She opened the door, but regretted it as soon as her eyes fell on the person standing outside.
"Why are you here?" she asked venomously, staring at Seto Kaiba.
"I… I want to see Eri." He said in a small voice. "It's past her bedtime so I know she is asleep." Tea glared at him for a few moments, but then moved aside to let him in. He followed her as she led him upstairs towards the girl's bedroom. Tea motioned him to stand outside as she went in to make sure Eri really was asleep. After she was satisfied, she motioned Seto to come in as well.
With silent steps, he moved towards his daughter's sleeping form and stood besides the bed to watch her. She was so innocent looking, just like an angel. How he longed to hold her, to talk to her, to hear her voice, to see her smile, to see her laugh, to make her laugh. But he couldn't. He wasn't allowed to do any of that. He wasn't even allowed to be near her when she was awake. The only time he could be near her was when was asleep, and oblivious to all around her, especially him, just as Tea wanted.
He stood there for a while, just watching her. Then Tea motioned him to follow her out of the room. Taking one last look at his sleeping angel, he left the room. Once outside, he followed her to the door. That was what always happened. Once a week, Tea would grant him the opportunity to see Eri when she was asleep, and after a few minutes of his silent longing, she would lead him out the door. When he reached the door, he stopped and turned.
"Tea… it has been four years. Can't you forgive me?" He begged in a tired voice. She shook her head.
"You need to leave."
"For how long are you planning to do this?" He asked, his frustration leaking in his words. "For how long are you going to keep me away from my child? She is my daughter too. I have just as much right on her as you."
"NO." Tea said. "You have no right on Eri. You lost all rights when you refused to accept it as your own and defend her when she was called a bastard by the whole world. You lost that right Seto Kaiba. Eri is my daughter, only mine." Seto looked extremely guilty at her words.
"I know I have made mistakes Tea, and I'm willing to accept any punishment but please, don't deprive me of my daughter." He begged, his voice breaking.
"Your punishment is to never be acknowledged by your daughter." Tea said. "Your punishment is to never be called 'dad' by your own flesh and blood Seto Kaiba. That is your punishment."
"Because I won't let you hurt her."
"I said I was sorry. How many times--."
"Words can't heal years of wounds Seto Kaiba." She said. "Your words have no value to me." His shoulders slumped.
"Please Tea, I'm begging you, let me be a part of Eri's life. I don't care what role I get, just… let me see her when she is awake. Let me talk to her, to spend time with her… please." Her eyes softened.
"Then wait 10 years." She said. He lifted his head to stare at her. "I don't plan on hiding this fact from Eri all her life. I wouldn't be able to even if I tried. I will tell Eri when she is old enough to take in the information. Then it will be her decision whether to accept you, or reject you." Tea said.
"Ten years?" He whispered.
"Yes. Now leave." She said, closing the door in his face. When the door was closed, she slumped against it tiredly. She waited there until she heard the sound of his car driving away. Then she walked upstairs to Eri's bedroom and sat by her daughter's bedside.
"Don't worry Eri." She said, brushing her bangs lovingly from her forehead. "I won't let the dragon hurt you. I promise."
I had this idea in my head. I actually wanted it to be a multi-chapter story, but knew it woluld take me forever to finish it. So I decided to make it a oneshot.
Hope you guys enjoyed it.
Do REVIEW ppl.
And just to let you know, I will be updating my other stories soon... hopefully :)