Summary: After Joey's girlfriend, Carla dumps him for Seto; Joey stumbles across Ryou being mugged and learns that he's a girl! Seto can't stand Carla, but finds Ryou interesting. How does Mai fit into all of this?
Pairings: Seto/Ryou, Hinted; Joey/Mai
Disclaimer: I don't own the Anime Yu-Gi-Oh! or any character associated. I do own Carla Whitmore and Anhara "Anna" Barton. They are original characters and all likeness to people living or dead is purely coincidental. These characters are not based on anyone else's character design, again if any likeness, it's purely coincidental.
Warnings: Female!Ryou. The use and introduction of female Original Characters. Any fans of OCs and OC pairings should leave now. Anti-OC pairings and blatant bashing of my own character. I created her; I can do what I want with her. And I plan to. A bit of character bashing on the OC's behalf and a few swear words, but nothing over the top. Set after Yami is sent to the afterlife, so no Yamis in the story. And Seto goes to school.
AN: Hello again, everyone. Again, this chapter was slightly hard to write as it's in Seto's POV. Seriously, that man doesn't get any easier to write. He's probably OOC in this chapter, but at least we get to see him give Carla yet another verbal smack-down, which is always fun to read, right? A tiny bit of fluff between Seto and Ryou in this chapter as well.
Thanks so very much to; Kitten Kong, EgyptianSoul.88, DaAmazingMeepers, Goldenqueenofthecove, Rurouni Blue Star Sapphire, Secterscope, Remy, Tearless, Shadow Phoenix 16, Kanberry, CleverPhoenix, justarandomNightWorldfan, SilverMoonKitty, Dreamcreator, Skreech, Little Ryuu, bezthegeek, Royalraven007, Lilac Rose6, The Crow Princess, QueenRue, KlonoaDreams and LykNaoPlzKThxBai for reviewing the last chapter. And for being so patient with me.
Comments, suggestions and rants are all welcomed and encouraged. Do let me know what you think.
"Huh, so Ryou made them crack by playing poker?"
Taking a sip from his coffee, Seto had just finished explaining to Mokuba of the events that had transpired with Ryou as his PA. It wasn't uncommon for him to divulge about the annoyances and utter frustrations around the breakfast table. He rarely talked about work as Mokuba was at an age where it was all too boring to listen to. But Mokuba always found some sort of amusement listening to the tales about the delusional fangirls that plagued him anywhere and everywhere.
And he had certainty heard of some strange tales from these brats, none of which made a lick of sense.
"I knew she would be awesome," Mokuba said around a mouthful of cereal, unable to hide the smugness in his tone.
Seto had to admit; he was fairly impressed as well.
He was never the one to give out compliments, especially verbalizing them, but he had to admit that Ryou was pretty good at spotting out potential Harpies and organising security to lure them away so he could make a quick getaway. She was also pretty efficient; doing what was asked of her without sassy retorts or clumsy incompetence like he has had from previous secretaries.
That's why he would only hire mature and happily married without kids 40 something's as his employees; they are a less of a threat to his sanity than those younger women who have tragic pasts, hold dark secrets or are generally scarred in some way that he was the only one to make them 'live' again.
Why they thought someone like him would be able to do that, he didn't know. He had no trouble admitting that he had a giant chip on his shoulder and generally hated the human population. And was it any wonder with all these idiots trying to claw their way to him and his money?
"I wish I could have been there," Mokuba stated as he finished his breakfast, pushing the bowl aside to look straight at Seto from across the table. Again, he had that mischievous mannerism to him, which earned him a raised eyebrow from his brother. "But at least I know she's going to be awesome at the party tonight."
Shit, that was right. The social dinner was tonight. Dammit, he almost forgot about that.
"You're planning on getting Ryou to be my date for the event tomorrow?" Seto asked, ripping his coffee away from his lips to give his younger brother a slightly disbelieving expression.
"Yep!" Mokuba grinned happily. "Told ya you would like it."
Seto found himself frowning. After all the trouble Ryou went through yesterday as his Personal Assistant, what kind of hell would these Harpies put her through if she turned up as his date?
"Are you sure that's wise?"
"Of course," Mokuba replied as he flapped a hand casually at him, dismissing his concern. "She may not look it, but Ryou can handle herself."
Yeah, Seto knew that first hand.
"Besides, you might actually enjoy yourself for once without having to fend off those Harpies left, right and centre," Mokuba added.
Seto still wasn't convinced it was a good idea. "Did she agree to this?"
"She sure did," Mokuba replied as he rolled his eyes toward the ceiling but still smiling none the less. "Relax, Seto, she'll be fine."
"Yeah, yeah, deny all you want, I know what you mean," Mokuba continued to find a sense of amusement out of this conversation. "If she gets too stressed, you can use that as an excuse to leave early anyway."
Seto sniffed slightly from indignity. "I'm not going to use her as an excuse," he retorted sharper than he had intended.
Suddenly, Mokuba's smile turned into an all knowing smirk. "Hm?"
Seto nearly choked on his coffee. Dammit, he walked straight into that one.
"I'm going to school," he abruptly announced with an air of disgruntlement, placing the coffee cup heavily on the kitchen table and taking to his feet, hastily grabbing his back and making an exit.
"Say 'hi' to Ryou for me!" Mokuba called out cheerfully.
A little too cheerfully, that little brat. He could just hear the smugness in that boy's voice.
The trip to school was thankfully short, because he was driving aggressively - there were such idiots on the roads these days. Not because he subconsciously wanted to see Ryou again; the pretty young woman being one of only a handful of people sincerely happy to see him.
Blinking, Seto turned around to watch as Ryou ran over to him, wearing the male's school uniform and carrying her book bag as she usually did, but she appeared slightly concerned about something. "Ryou?"
"There are you," Ryou said out of breath as she leaned on her knees for a moment to get her breathing under some control. "Thank goodness I found you."
Now, this wasn't every day Ryou came running up to him in the middle of the schoolyard, looking disturbed by something. She didn't even looked this displeased when she was acting as his Personal Assistant, and she had encountered numerous deranged fangirls.
It could mean one thing, something Seto didn't really want to deal with first thing in the morning.
"What is it?" Seto instantly asked, kinda hoping it was one of those 'security threats' he dealt with everyday at work, not that he wanted to deal with them here as well, but at least he could deal with them and get them arrested for trespassing.
Straightening her skinny frame, Ryou took in one last deep breath before releasing it slowly, glancing at her surroundings as she did so before turning those brown eyes back to him. "I know you probably don't want to hear about her first thing in the morning," she started to say. "But I thought I better warn you that Carla will definitely seek you out sometime today in front of a large group of people."
Seto immediately felt his form twitch at the vermin's name. "When doesn't she?"
"Ah, true enough," Ryou said as a small, almost wary smile appeared on her lips. "But this time she's going to do something far more..."
"Demented?" Seto quipped harshly.
"Arrogant," Ryou finished, rolling her wrist to emphasize the point.
Seto could only sigh. "What does she want now?"
"Mai said something to her this morning as we were walking to school," Ryou explained, giving off an exasperated sigh herself, giving Seto the clear indication that the Cretin was giving her more than her share of frustrations as well. "Carla thinks she's 'won'."
"I see," Seto muttered, pretty certain that he just gave off a tell-tale twitch. "What will she be going on about this time?"
Startled by the voice, Ryou glanced off to the side, her shoulders dropping in a show of frustrated surrender. "Unfortunately," she murmured as she spared Seto a quick and sympathetic glance. "It looks as if you're going to find out."
Once again, Seto sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. He was over these confrontations; he had said everything that needed to be said, in a way that should have gave a person with half a brain the indication that he didn't appreciate their presence.
But, as she had proved time and time again, Cretin here was the exception to the rules of logic and reality.
"What now?" Seto snapped harshly at the approaching emerald eyed girl, figuring he might as well get this meeting over and done with so he won't have to worry about it for the rest of the day. "Refrain from using my first name, vermin."
Undaunted by his blatant lack of respect, Carla smirked as she strolled over to him to stand directly in front of him. She had her hands on her well-rounded hips as classmates and fellow school students began to linger round, probably due to her boasting.
"I've been waiting all day, Seto," she said, clearly displeased that he had kept her waiting all this time.
"All day?" Seto repeated as he arched a sceptical eyebrow at her. "It's still morning, simpleton."
She, of course, brushed the logic aside with a witty retort that was supposed to leave Seto reeling at how amazing and sassy she was.
"Oh, just get over yourself, already!" she snapped, moving to fold her arms under her large and perky bust, her smirk never wavering. "I know you're dying to ask me, so you might as well do it now. I'm sure everyone would love to hear it," she said as she indicated with a tilt of her head over her shoulder. "Especially Wheeler over there."
Sure enough, a blond head popped out of the crowd and a pair of light brown eyes looked around in a confused, yet agitated manner. "Huh, ask her what, Kaiba?" Joey asked as he and his friends pushed their way to the front of the crowd.
Seto, however, raised an eyebrow. "I haven't the faintest idea," he replied, which only caused Joey to furrow his brow further.
"Jeez. Men are all idiots," Cretin huffed out her insult and rolled her eyes dramatically. "Fine, I'll do it."
She then did something nauseating and surprising; she fluttered her thick eyelashes seductively at Seto as she said the next few words. "Yes, Seto, I would love to go as your date to the social function tonight."
Gasps erupted from the students lingering around them before a still silence fell over the school yard, all eyes turned toward Seto in great expectancy, who blinked, slightly stupefied by what he thought he heard. He didn't know what to say. He couldn't have just heard what he thought he did, could he? No, surely she wasn't this egocentric and delusional?
First, Seto snorted and then he laughed. Not a joyous laugh like Carla had been expecting, but a harsh, dry, mirthless laugh, a laugh that indicated that he was truly stunned by her utter stupidity.
"You truly are brainless," Seto all but spat at her, his eyes hard and stern. He was, in actual fact, beyond pissed right now. She was...this whole thing was just...urg!
"Why the hell would I want to take you?" he asked, looking and sounding utterly disgusted and offended. "You're obnoxious, egotistical, uneducated and a downright hateful person. You have no good or even reasonable qualities about you. I would never risk my well-earned reputation on such an insolent little bitch like you."
He knew that he was losing his temper, but God dammit, what was going to take to get it through her unnaturally thick head that he simply did not like her? He loathed her, detested her more than anything in this world, actually wish she would just drop dead.
"There are simply no words to describe how utterly pathetic and disillusioned you truly are," he carried on to say, his anger seemingly boundless. "First, you thought that dating and then dumping the Mutt would get my attention. When that failed to work, you tried my brother and then tried to talk your way into a job with my business. Yet, those failed those as well. And you know why? Because you, you pathetic excuse for a human, are not fucking wanted or needed!"
The Cretin, surprisingly, couldn't say a thing. Her mouth was opened in a highly shocked state, her face pale and her eyes wide, but she made no attempt to somehow try to make herself out to be the victim in all of this. In fact, she looked visibly shaken, but in reality, Seto couldn't care less. After everything she had done, this was the very least she deserved.
Perhaps now, she'll learn her lesson not to mess with the one and only Seto Kaiba.
"And don't think you can just waltz in, act like a total social retard on the pretences of being sassy and say you're my date," Seto warned, his voice so hateful that it caused the crowd of people around him to wince as though the words had physically assaulted them. "I already have a date, so that's not going to work. And if you approach my brother again, I'll have you arrested for stalking, is that clear?"
A very thick, highly frightened silence followed, nobody was brave enough to say a thing or even utter a sound. Or even move for that matter. Even the Cretin herself was unnaturally silent. Seto had half expected her to burst into tears, wail about how her life was dark and terrible, and how she wanted to give his own life more meaning as it was her destiny to do so. Or some illogical nonsense like that.
But nothing. Not even a whimper or a defiant glare. Not a thing.
Good, Seto thought to himself as he turned around and begin to stalk his way inside. He had only just arrived at school and he was already in a really bad mood, so no one had better get in his way.
However, as he turned around, his eyes locked with the warm chocolate gaze of Ryou, who in turn gave him an understanding and sympathetic look. She didn't hold an ounce of fear like her fellow schoolmates, instead she held empathy. She tilted her head to the side and mouthed 'sorry' and 'are you ok?' to him.
A hint of a smile touched Seto's lips.
"Did Kaiba say he has a date?" Yugi whispered over the deafening silence, which seemed to break the foreboding atmosphere somewhat.
"I heard that, too," Tea whispered in reply, sounding as if she was trying to suppress a giggle.
Immediately, as more hushed whispers arose, Ryou blushed a pretty light pink and tighten her grip on her bag. "Ah, well..."
Shit, Seto cursed. He didn't mean for that to be revealed. He was hoping to delay that piece of news until tonight when he entered the social event. That way, gossip wouldn't spread and the Harpies that frequent these events won't have time to prepare operation; make Seto's date wish she was dead.
Not only that, but now the Cretin was going to bug the living shit out of him for the rest of the day in order to know who her rival was, no doubt doing everything she could obnoxiously do to prevent this evening from happening. The social dinner was going to be nightmarish enough; he didn't need this Satan's spawn there trying to 'win' him over as well.
"What?" The Cretin uttered, finally wincing herself from her muted stupor. "Who?"
She was making demands again. What an incredibly short attention span she must have.
"Her name is Rei," Seto announced as he ran his hand through his hair, feeling a severe headache already starting to form. "So piss off and leave me alone."
"Excuse me! T-that whore!"
Just to be expected, not only did that earn Cretin's eternal ire, but the Mutt's protective streak as well. Great, just what he needed.
"I don't need this shit," Seto muttered as he pinched the bridge of his nose and walked into the school building, trying to get some distance between him and his annoying headaches.
"Get back here!"
But, of course, that wasn't meant to be. This day was official a disaster area, he might as well go home and do...something constructive. Or destructive...whatever.
"What did you just say?" Joey asked as he managed to catch up to him.
"You heard me, Mutt," Seto snapped at him. "You have a problem?"
"Damn right I have a problem!" Joey yelled with his face creased into a look of protective anger as he flailed his arms by his sides, looking incredibly disgruntled. However, it was more comical than intimidating. "What makes you think you're good enough for Rei, huh? Huh? Are you forcing her into this? Well!"
"Joey!" Ryou said in a warning tone, moving to step in-between the Mutt and Seto. She dropped her bag harshly onto the ground and placed her hands on his chest in an attempt to push him back, or to at least calm him down somewhat. "He did no such thing, Joey. And he would never, so stop jumping to conclusions!"
"But this isn't right!" Joey continued to flail, not budging in his belief that Seto was no-good for someone like Ryou. "It's, it's Kaiba we're talking about!"
Well, no shit.
"Would you stop yelling?" Tea suddenly commanded, moving forward to smack Joey on the back of the head with her book bag, forcing the blond to be abruptly acquainted with the hard floor. "People have heard enough today!"
"Yeah," Tristan said as he picked Joey up off the ground and began to drag him away with an arm around his neck. "Save it until after class."
"Don't think you've won this, Kaiba!" Joey warned as he pointed a threatening finger at him, but the aggressiveness was hardly effective with the way Tristan was literally dragging him away.
"Well, er, talk to you later, Kaiba!" Yugi offered before he followed his friends, disappearing from sight and leaving Seto and Ryou alone.
"Sorry about that. He'll never change," Ryou said with a sigh as she looked in the directions her boisterous friends left in before leaning down to pick up her discarding bag, Seto subconsciously watching her do so.
"Do you have a headache?" she asked the moment she straightened her tall and skinny frame, opening her bag to search for something. "I might have some aspirin in my bag."
Again, Seto felt a small smile tug at the corners of his lips. "Don't worry about it."
Ryou took a moment to look at him, seemingly studying him for nodding and lowering her bag so she now held it in front of her with her two hands. "Ah, so," she stumbled for words, the blush from before making a vengeful comeback. "Mokuba told you?"
Seto nodded. "That's right."
"You're ok with that, right?" Ryou asked softly, sounding a little shy and unsure, even unconsciously fearful that she might not be good enough. "I mean, if you don't want me to, or I'll get in the way, I'll-"
The relief on Ryou's face was instant and she smiled brightly and warmly up at him, her grip on her bag loosening as she swung it around to press against the back of her legs, giving this really quite cute school girl look. "I'm glad. I'm actually looking forward to it."
Seto, however, was pretty certain she wouldn't be so excited if she knew what type of girls she's going to be dealing with at these kinds of high society events. The pettiness and bitchiness was truly unmatched anywhere else.
"Just don't get too stressed about it, ok?" Seto suggested, a slight frown appearing on his lips.
"I'll be fine," Ryou insisted, still looking rather excited for someone who was about to be thrown into the deep end. "It's you who needs to stress less about it and I'm going to make sure of that."
"Hm?" Seto was a little shocked by that. Not only was Ryou willing to go head to head with some of the most ruthless and petty girls he has ever faced, but she was doing it for him.
"I'm just glad that I can get to spend time with you, that's all," Ryou then whispered softly, yet sincerely, her expression calm and gentle. She was a picture of purity, a light blush to her cheeks, her eyes looking shyly off to the side as she bounced her bag off the back of her legs.
"Ryou?" Seto found himself uttering as he abruptly dropped his own book bag to the floor with a resounding thud and reached out a hand, his body reacting by it's own accord. He grabbed Ryou by the upper arm and pulled her toward him, the slender young woman following without a hint of resistance as she fell into his chest. He then placed his other hand on her other shoulder, Ryou tilting her head back to gaze up at him with shimmering brown eyes and slightly parted pink lips.
Suddenly, the school bell rang, startling the two of them enough to part and look around in a slightly dazed manner, much to Seto surprise irritation.
"Ah, well, see you later, Seto," Ryou said, blushing heavily as she spun around on her heel and jogged away, her white hair flowing behind her in a gentle wave.
"Yeah, later," Seto murmured, a little surprised by his own actions.
Or more importantly, and surprisingly, annoyed by the lack of action.