Warnings: The story will be O.C. heavy. I will attempt to make this character as un-Sueish as I possibly can (According to the Mary Sue Litmus Test, I've done a pretty good job), but the fact remains that most (if not all) of the altercations I have made to the original plot line stem from the character I have introduced to into the story. If you are a person who can't stomach heavy amounts of an O.C. in a story, than I apologize, because I don't think you will enjoy this story. Other than that, this story is rated mainly for the language that will pop up in later chapters (I'm making the cast start to speak like actual teenagers), and a warning about the flow. It's going to take a little while to get the feel for this story, so expect teh first few chapters to be a but choppy. I'm no published author, and if there's one flaw (trust me, there are a great many more, but this is the one I hate the most) in my writing, it's that my flow needs work. Other than that, I hope you enjoy this piece.

Disclaimer: If I owned Yugioh GX, there would be people talking like they will eventually in this story. i.e.- cussing their mouths off.


Sarcasm Productions is proud to present a Mistress presentation, brought you by Aqualoner, The Beta, and :

Year One: The Academic


Ottilia Shanner ("Lia. It's just Lia." She would insist in her curt, controlled voice. She was never one to lose her cool over something so trivial. Or even something grand. Lia's head was one that was kept, even in a crisis) was no stunning beauty.

She wasn't the sweet, gentle fairytale princess with long locks of gold tumbling free over her slender, but still well curved body. She wasn't the wicked temptress in black leather and deceptively innocent white lace lying open over sensual skin, dangerous smirk on her perfectly ruby lips. She wasn't even the tragic heroine, dark blue (or green, both were appropriate) eyes flashing bravely in the face of her adversary, grim face still breathtaking despite being covered in grime and sweat and blood, and still very much capable of bringing grown men to their knees in her purity and kindness. And she was most certainly not the enchantress, evil and good in one, her entire form a concentration of the terrible beauty the gods had long degree unfit for mortal kind.

No, Lia Shanner ("Shaaaner. Shaaaaaaaner. With a long 'a'. As in 'aaaaaple." She enunciated with a grimace. " Not Shayner, as in 'ape'.") was none of these things. She was, in her own words, and the words of many others, the 'plain type.'

She was an unimpressive 155 centimeters –five foot something, she'd been told, in imperial-, with cold hazel eyes and skin that tended to burn rather than tan. As a result, she was rather pale, a few, sparse freckles arranged in no particular manner across her –admittedly- well shaped nose. Her mouth consisted of two, slightly darkened pink lips that darkened even more when she worried her lower one between her teeth (a childhood habit she was about to get rid of. She had bitten her lips instead of her nails). Her face was rounded, framed by a set of curly brown tendrils that wouldn't stay slicked to her head no matter what products she used. The rest of her mane was a head of brown curls that tended to flicker with red in the right lights, if someone was sitting close enough to see (but no one ever was), and had the nasty habit of frizzing up in humid weather.

She was thin thing, scrawny even, with small shoulders, a delicate looking neck, and hardly any curves. Her body stood in a straight line, sans anything remotely resembling hips and only the slightest bumps on her chest. Lia had given up hoping that she may yet develop because at fourteen, her elder cousins had all started to look like goddesses in denim and cotton shirts and Lia herself like a little girl swimming in her mother's clothes.

Still, swimming in her mother's clothing would have to be better than this.

She twisted to right and regarded herself in the glass.

No.

The left.

No.

Sliding it off her shoulders and tying it around her waist.

No, no, that just made her look even more chest-less.

Sighing at her extreme misfortune, Lia, undid the knot at her waist, and pushed the yellow jacket back up onto her slim shoulders.

" Look at it this way, cherie." She murmured to her blank-faced, utterly depressed reflection. " At least it can't get any worse."

She eyed herself again.

" I look like a banana." She stated, with a twinge of disbelief. " An unpeeled banana. I am going to one of the best educational institutes offered in the modern world, and I look like an unpeeled banana."

She moaned, and threw herself back on the bed.

" Pourquoi est-ce que j'ai fait cela?" She muttered exasperatedly to the ceiling above her.

" And why is it that you want to go to my school?"

"Honestly, sir?" A nod. " Because it's you, and really, your standards are going to be incredible. You've never settled for anything less than the absolute best, and this school is one of your top projects. Really, are my expectations of you and your work so off the mark?"

" I just had to get all precocious, didn't I?" She said to the ceiling, forcing herself to speak in English. " I had to impress him by being a little brat, didn't I? Dieu," She hissed, looking with massive distaste at the jacket she wore, " he might be the most brilliant man on Earth, but he has no idea of what a la mode means."

She hauled herself off the bed, and eyed the clock on the wall.

"Well, cherie, your imminent doom awaits."

Grabbing the travel bag at the foot of her bed, she threw once last look around her room, taking in the poster that crinkled at the edges from being up for too many years, the stained wood of her dresser where she'd knocked over a glass of water three months ago, the reddish hue of one corner of her bedspread where she'd had her first-

She shook her head, faint blush on her cheeks, and tossed the travel bag over her shoulder.

" Well, I suppose that this is au revoir, ma chère chambre." She ran her hand down the side of her door lovingly. " Tu me manqueras."

She heaved a final sigh, and exited the room, travel bag still resting in the crook where her neck met her shoulder.

Three seconds later she darted back in, slammed the door closed, and looked in her reflection in the mirror hanging on the back of her bedroom door.

" Pour quoi est-ce que j'ai besoin d'être dans le dortoir jaune?" She snarled, and kicked the mirror half-heartedly. With a final, frustrated snort, she stalked out of the room for real, cursing under her breath the fact the Seto Kaiba saw fit to put her in the dorm in whose colour she looked the worst in.

Lia Shanner wasn't often in such a fuss, didn't often indulge in a hissy fit, bordering on an undignified (and Lord, how she hated to be undignified) temper tantrum, but when she did, more often than not, it was about her appearance.

But Lia Shanner had just turned 14 that August, and had so ushered herself into that glorious age where she wanted nothing more than for the ground to open up and swallow her whole, because she hated her body, hated her hair, and most of all hated how figureless and little girlish her much curvier (and rather noticeably older, but she ignored that) cousin's clothes made her look.

Young adulthood was a turbulent time for any person, but the day Lia Shanner boarded the plane bearing the Kaiba logo (a Blue Eyes White Dragon. She rolled her eyes at Monsieur Kaiba's originality, and wondered if the man thought of anything other than his company, his brother, and how many objects he could tack that godforsaken dragon on.) at l'aéroport nationale de Paris, she had idea exactly how turbulent young adulthood was about to get for her.

" You seem confidant you'll get in."

" Have I any reason to begin panicking, sir?"

" Not really. It's just that most of the applicants have lost their nerve when they come face to face with me."

" I admire and respect you, Monsieur Kaiba. But it takes a lot to make me fear a person."

" Is that so?"

" I've helped my mother follow the footsteps of the Holocaust victims. I've been with her to the graves of Rwanda. I've seen the records of the Armenian Genocide. I find it difficult to imagine that you are anywhere as cruel or heartless as the men who instigated those atrocities."

" …Well played, Ms. Shanner. Well played."

" Merci, Monsieur Kaiba."

Seto Kaiba was a genius.

No one in their right minds (and possibly a few out of their right minds. No one had ever proven Ryou Bakura's sanity) would dispute that fact. The man was brilliant, fantastically so, and while he had never actually released his test scores to the public, anyone could guess at his GPA.

(He never let anyone see that either. Some nonsense about privacy and moral ethics – like he was really one to talk – and if you don't stop bugging me about this I will have you hung from that light post in the dead center of Domino City. Yes, of course I can do that, I'm Seto Kaiba!)

But all school related achievements aside, the man was undeniably brainy.

That being said, when he was confronted (well, not confronted, as the perpetrators didn't even have the guts to go up to him face to face and tell him) about his favourite project, Seto Kaiba proved his genius once again by coming up with the perfect (and deliciously ironic) solution.

His board of education – that little, overpaid section he'd set up to monitor Duel Academy (he even loved the name)- had, early one morning about two and half years after Duel Academy had admitted its first, eager pupil, received an e-mail from the National Board of Education – not that they were any better than his board, but Kaiba was a business man, not a politician, and couldn't be bothered getting into any office other than the one that rested atop his massive skyscraper in downtown Domino. As such, they may have been the National Board of Education, but his Board was just as qualified, if not more qualified, to run the educational system- concerning his Academy.

To make a long – and loud, angry, chalked full of vicious swearing and Mokuba sitting on an office couch with a bowl of popcorn, enjoying the show – story short, the e-mail voiced the concerns (" Concerns my ass." Kaiba had been heard to mutter when pressed about the subject. " They were just pissed someone half the age of their youngest member was doing a better job at running a school than them.") about his cute, little school. (" One, don't call one of my projects cute and two, never refer to anything related to me as little. Nothing." Kaiba was also heard to say this when pressed. Whether or not the last line had anything to do with the attractive redhead standing with Mokuba Kaiba several feet away with whom Kaiba was seen leaving hand-in-hand with is yet undetermined.) The e-mail continued, pointing out that a school was meant to educate children about life skills they would need later on in the real world and work force (" Dueling is a way of life." Said one of the few interviews Kaiba allowed on the subject. " Just because they probably wouldn't know a trap card from a spell card doesn't mean they should be depriving kids of the right to learn about it.") and would be able to use for the rest of their lives, not silly card games!( " …" At this point, loud cursing could be heard all over downtown, claimed one pedestrian, originating from the Kaiba Corp. building.) The e-mail concluded with the statement that unless Seto Kaiba started teaching a real curriculum at his school, the National Board of Education would be forced (" What were they going to do, sic grade school kids at me?" Kaiba had been heard to scoff. Loudly. To the public. On national T.V.) to shut Duel Academy down.

In the brave words of the CEO,

"Over my dead, mangled body."

(There were several other words included in the original statement, but seeing as the statement was made to an audience consisting of all ages, they were edited out.)

As it was, the National Board of Education – again, his Board was just as qualified, and could probably do a much better job if he ever decided to instigate a hostile takeover (he'd actually not done too many of those. It took time away from his brother and his deck)- had ruffled the almost unruffleable – Mokuba made the word up. The soon-to-be Mrs. Kaiba thought it was cute – feathers of Seto Kaiba and he had been on the war path.

But by a stroke of luck, the National Board had forgotten one very important thing:

Seto Kaiba was as competitive as he was brilliant.

He could easily have taken those pompous, stuck-up, crotchety old windbags down, either in a courtroom or a duel arena, but where would the fun in that have been? Where would the thrill, the chase, the excitement, have been in that? (His fiancée told him he was slightly obsessed. He told her she loved it. She didn't deny it, just looked at him with a strange expression on her face, and he got no work done that night. Not that he complained. Mokuba might have, had the boy not learned that going into his brother's office late at night when his almost-sister-in-law was there was a very bad idea.)

So Seto Kaiba, in all his admitted and acknowledged brilliance, came up with a plan that would both satisfy the demands those old bastards had presented, and allow him to keep his school running the way he had meant it to be.

He had not wanted to compromise his duelist students.

But if the National Board wanted him to start teaching subjects like French, and math, and history, then he would do just that.

With the right students, of course.

After many nights spent going over files, hiring new teachers, analyzing criteria, and hand picking the test subjects in his latest expriment, Seto Kaiba announced the creation of the Academic Program, to be implemented at his school, Duel Academy.

His Academy would remain the way he had intended it, a learning environment for the next generation of duelists and possibly, the next King of Games (God, he hated Yuugi as much as he respected him). But starting the following year, the doors of Duel Academy would be open to any student, duelist or not, who wished to get a top ranking education. They would have to send in applications, sit through a rigorious 'entrance exam', have a background check run, and then have a one-on-one interview with himself, to see if they were worthy of his school. The applications would be open to anyone at the North American equivalent of eighth grade, ready to start high school in the fall.

He had smirked in the camera, and let it pan out to show the millions upon millions of applications flowing into his company behind him.

He had won.

"I did this background check personally, and it says here that you were moved up a grade in grade three. Is that correct?"

" Yes sir."

" And why were you moved up?"

" You'll have to ask Monsieur Letête to be sure, as he was the one who moved me up, but I believe it had something to do with my, if I may call it that, precociousness."

" You think of yourself as precocious?"

"When you were my age, didn't you, Monsieur Kaiba?"

The search had been … difficult, to say the least.

Seto Kaiba was a proud man, and was not about to let just anyone into his precious school. He looked over application after application after application, and when his eyes hurt too much to look at any more, he sent them down to the team he had assembled to weed out the unworthy, and had them spend pointless hours looking at curvy handwriting that always began with 'I think I should be allowed to participate in the Academic Program because…'

Ever so often, either he or his team would come across something good, and have the kid flown up to the testing facility outside of Domino for the entrance exam and the interview, during which the background check was run.

Interestingly enough, Kaiba never ran the check before the entrance exam was written. As he said to one brave reported who asked him why, he wanted to be impressed by the kid, not the kid's background. If the kid was rich, but couldn't add two plus two, then, in his own words:

" I don't care how much money your parents are willing to shovel out. If you don't have what it takes, you aren't getting into my school. That being said, if you do have what it takes, but are having financial trouble, Kaiba Corp. will be more than willing to help out. And I'm sure the National Board of Education has some sort of scholarship plan set up for that kind of situation."

He'd said it with a sneer.

As it was, there was several hundred who 'had what it took' to make it into the Academic Program, and so, by the end of the fourth year of Duel Academy, the students had receive letters over the summer that the Program was a go, and the following year they should be ready to share their dorms with the non-dueling students of Duel Academy.

There was a few rocky starts, but several Duelists (as the dueling students were dubbed) had had friends back in there hometowns who didn't duel, so the Academics (as the non-dueling students were dubbed) found that, all around, they had a pretty good time of it.

As the Program flourished – something Kaiba had never stopped rubbing in the National Board's faces – the classes reserved strictly for the Academics opened up to the Duelists. The argument against it was that that meant that the Dueling classes ought to be open for the Academics, but a last minute poll taken by the top students from both factions showed that less then 2% of the Academics would be interested in taking Duelist classes, while a rousing 86% of Duelists were interested in the Academic classes.

This poll eventually led to the addition of the Academic classes listed on the course selection sheet for any entering student at Duel Academy.

I'm not going to tell you how much I 'belong' at your school, or how much I 'deserve' to go there, because, if I am to be completely honest (and I pride myself on that), those two decisions are entirely up to you, and you alone, Monsieur Kaiba. This is your school, your facility, and I am not about to come waltzing in to tell you who you should and should not be allowing into it. If you decide I'm worthy, then yes, I will be delighted and honoured. If you don't, then I will probably sigh, and apply elsewhere. It's not that I don't care about getting into the Academic Program; it's just that I have decided not to limit myself to this particular program. It is, however, my first choice. Why? Simply because of the quality you have displayed in all other aspects of your life, Monsieur Kaiba, from your dueling to your love life (in passing, I wish you marital bliss and my congratulations on your up-coming nuptials) and I am expecting the same quality, the same high standards from your school. I barely begin to imagine all the possibilities that are spawned from saying: I went to the school owned and run by Seto Kaiba. Am I just using your good name to further myself? Undoubtedly, sir. But, respectfully, you are just using us to raise your school to new, staggering heights. Do I deserve a place at Duel Academy? That is for you to decide. Do I think I do? Beyond a shadow of a doubt. Sincerely, Ottilia Shanner, age 13. The problem with the addition of the Academic classes to the course selection sheet was that when of the new attendants of Duel Academy casually glanced down the list to see what it was that they wanted to take that year, the confusing number of classes (ranging anywhere from Fusion to the ever popular Academic equivalent to ninth grade math) tended leave them desperate to figure out what was what. Usually, this meant seeking out a teacher, and bugging the more informed individual to explain the massive amount of choices the students were allotted, and what each course entailed (although, that could easily be looked up in the Course Guide. But no one seemed to think of it, save for a few level headed Academics). The aforementioned confusion over the large amount of choices had, on several occasions, been the cause of students ending up in courses they hadn't wanted, or had no clue of what they were doing. (One example would be the year that half of the Obelisk Blue boys had ended up in Auto Shop, when they had been attempting to take the follow-up course to Field Spells 101, conveniently located right next to each other on the course selection sheet. Dr. Crowler had had a fit at the sight of several of his most prized pupils in greasy overalls with oil smeared across their faces, laughing with several Academics who were teaching them how to build a motorcycle from scratch. Atticus Rhodes, for one, ended up with a sleek blue set of wheels by the end of the year; his groups end-of-the-year-project.)

Students who were less than observant were usually the most likely to find themselves in that mess. It usually meant a quick trip to the Chancellor's office to straighten up the situation, dropping the course and then taking the one they had wanted in the first place. If the class was already full, they were forced to go with their second or third choices. On rare occasions, the student in question chose to stay in the class, usually for the experience of doing something not related to dueling. (Atticus Rhodes stuck Auto Shop out, mainly because his fellow students tended to blast music while they worked, and encouraged him to sing right along into the tool he happened to be working with at the time.)

Unfortunately for him, Jaden Yuki was not observant.

He was a good deal many other things (loyal, kind, funny, sweet, a hero, were titles that would later be bestowed to him out of gratitude, or simply getting to know him), but he was most definitely not observant. So as he was checking off what classes he wanted that year, he had the dismal luck to be distracted by something Syrus was muttering about 'brothers' and 'bullies'. Jaden turned to ask Syrus what he was going on about, and as Syrus was assuring him it was nothing (Jaden didn't buy it, but let it slide), his hand dropped about half a centimeter on the page, and he made his check in the wrong box.

" Je suis folle." She murmured to herself as she filled out the application. Last name, first name, middle name (optional), age, parents/guardians, place of birth, current residence (street, number, district, city/town, country) etc., etc., " Je suis folle complètement. C'est l'explication seule." She rolled her eyes and bit the end of the pen as she came to the three pieces of foolscap provided for her 'Why You Should Let Me Into Your School' letter. She took a deep breath, and put the pen to the paper.

" Merde!" She swore. " J'oubliais, j'ai besoin de l'écrire en anglais! Stupide, stupide, stupide!" She berated herself, and applied the pen anew. Forcing herself to write in the language stated in the 'Terms of Application', she puttered along, twisting phrases around under her breath, cursing the fact that there were several convincing phrases she could not translate directly from French to English, and therefore they lost a great deal of the potency. " L'anglais est stupide, et je ne comprend pas pour quoi la lettre a besoin d'être en anglais. S'il est le génie tout le monde pensent il est, c'est logique qu'il peut lire français." She was so busy with her letter she didn't even notice her mother come in and leave her a snack. The cookies on the plate went untouched.

Jaden Yuki really didn't pay that much attention to his surroundings. He just moseyed along to wherever it was that he was supposed to be at his own pace, often making people wait for him. It wasn't out of any malice, or some egotistical belief that he was better than people. Jaden Yuki just liked to move at his own pace, and enjoy the world, not rush through it like everyone else he knew. He enjoyed the feeling of walking at his own pace, lost in his own thoughts and own ideas and, recently, conversing with a fluffy brown fuzz ball with wings that had taken to following him around, and that only he could see.

As it turned out, Jaden Yuki knew nothing of the Academic Program, and so received the shock of his life after turning to the brunette sitting next to him in his first period class and asking her if she wanted to duel him sometime.

The girl had finished highlighting something on the course outline sheet they'd been given (Jaden hadn't bothered to look at his yet. He like it when the teacher walked the class through it. Less need for actual thought.), and scribbled something in the corner of the sheet with her other hand. (Ambidextrous, Jaden noted). She'd turned to look at with a blank face and uttered those fateful words:

" I don't duel."

And, invisible to everyone but the Winged Kuriboh hovering by Jaden's shoulder, the threads of Fate connecting the two brunets solidified with a snap.

" You and I are quite alike, Monsieur Kaiba. We both tend to gravitate towards the things in this world gathered under the much abused label of 'The Best'." The scrap of a chair. The sound of footsteps again. A hand on the door handle. Turning back.

" Humans will never obtain perfection, Ms. Shanner."

" I know that. So I intend to aim for the closest thing there is. Right now, Monsieur Kaiba, that is your school."

" …Welcome to the Academic Program, Ms. Shanner."

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hello everyone! Merry Christmas! I hope you like your present, because for those of you who celebrate Christmas tomorrow (so most of the Western world who decided to grace my little fic with their presence, I'm guessing), you'll be getting chapter 2 bright and early (I'm lying. Look for it around noon. Or later. I liked to sleep in.)

I guess you'd like to know what's going on. Well, a couple of years ago, my friend and I discovered this little show called Yugioh GX, and decided we loved it, because (like with most 4kids dubs) we didn't really have to put much thought into it. We could just sit back, turn our brains off, and watch a bunch of teenagers in odd outfits save the world by playing card games. (And trust me, after spending an hour watching Death Note, I needed the time for my brain to reboot.)

After browsing the fandom, I happened to notice that most of the better GX fics (that is to say, the ones that make your eyes bug and your eyes water at the sheer awesomeness of it all) were written using the Japanese names. And while I'm sure it is superior (aren't they usually), I wanted to try and write something decent using the dub. (Because my friend thought it couldn't be done, and I wanted to prove him wrong).

So here I am. Not to say that the authors on the fandom aren't great, because they are, but I wanted to see if I could, well...try and fix the dub. I don't think anyone has quite used this angle yet. And I only used it because I can't write duels, and this gave me an easy out.

Now, for some translations; I initially made Lia French to practice my own, but then it also became a way to isolate her from most of her peers, which is a big theme with her character. And it helped to represent all the multiculturalism Duel Academy's got going on. Yes, I am using an online translator to help me along with Lia's lines, and I picked my French teacher's brain. But I am not French. If anything, I'm learning Canadian French, which, as we all know, is quite different from French French. But I made a point of setting my language (whenever Lia speaks French) on my document to French (France). In other words, please don't be offended if I haven't translated something right, or if I said something that was wrong. Just send me a short P.M., and let me know what I did wrong, or reccommend a new translator. Thank you for your consideration.

Cherie- darling

Pourquoi est-ce que j'ai fait cela - Why did I do that?

Dieu - God (this is the only time I'll translate that, since I think it should be obvious)

A la mode- in style

au revoir ma chère chambre - good bye my dear room.

Tu me manqueras - I will miss you (At least, that's what it means according to my teacher)

Pour quoi est-ce que j'ai besoin d'être dans le dortoir jaune? - Why do I have to be in the yellow dorm?

Je suis folle. Je suis folle complètement. C'est l'explication seule. Merde! J'oubliais, j'ai besoin de l'écrire en anglais! Stupide, stupide, stupide! L'anglais est stupide, et je ne comprend pas pour quoi la lettre a besoin d'être en anglais. S'il est le génie tout le monde pensent il est, c'est logique qu'il peut lire français.- I'm insane. I'm completely insane. It's the only explanation. Shit! I forgot, I have to write in English! Stupide, stupid, stupid! English is stupid, and I don't understand why the letter had to be in English. If he's the genius everyone thinks he is, it's logical that he can read French.

Until tomorrow then!

MoS