Author's note: This is a short ficlit written for a prompt at Yu-Gi-Oh Contest on LiveJournal. It takes place in my main timeline, but after the mystery trilogy. The Casablanca Club mentioned in passing is borrowed with permission from LuckyLadybug. The characters are not mine (except for an OC mentioned in passing) and the story is.
"Seto Kaiba…!? Is that really you…?" The woman's singsonging voice carried clear across the room.
The young businessman, already in an annoyed mood with having to put up with Maximillion Pegasus trying to be funny at this Duelist Convention he was throwing, could only glare daggers as Vivian Wong seemingly careened across the room.
"Last time I checked, I was…" he deadpanned.
"Uh-oh…" said Yugi, following the sudden blur of motion. Well, at least it's Kaiba this time and not me… Wait, what am I saying…?
Yugi's friends, there as his guests, took notice as the young Champion spoke.
"Well, well…" Joey smirked, watching this. "This is gonna be good, guys…"
Tristan grinned in glee, also eager to see how Seto Kaiba would handle this woman. Mai watched, only mildly interested.
Duke, there to further pitch his Dungeon Dice Monsters game was a bit away from Yugi's crowd, but Vivian's antics were not unnoticed by him. He tried not to look too amused, turning back to speak to his trusty assistant while watching the scene unfold out of the corner of his eye.
But one person in Yugi's company was not amused. Téa Gardner found herself standing with her arms folded as she watched Vivian.
Mokuba, by his brother's side, had his eyebrows raised at Vivian, although Pegasus seemed oblivious to the growing tension.
"Ah, Kaiba-boy, you do know Miss Wong, don't you…? Well, of course you do; you invited her to your little Grand Prix, didn't you?"
"Yes, he did…" the woman replied, breathless. "It was the thrill of a lifetime, Kaiba!"
"I'm sure it was…" Seto replied, dryly. "Excuse me…"
He moved towards the refreshments table to fix himself a drink, staring at the Manhattan skyline. Why Pegasus dragged them all here (and why he, Seto, agreed to attend) was still a mystery, though rumors were being spread about a new series of dueling computers—ones that could be compact enough to be set up in arcades nationwide, but smart enough to pose an actual challenge, and that Pegasus might be teaming up with other companies to proceed with the project. In addition to the duelists, game designers were also present, which supported the rumor; the von Schroeders were here, as was a very subdued Aranea Vulsor (her unwilling ex-fiancé, Pip, was here, hired as security, and was giving her a very wide berth indeed). Seto had been trying to distance himself from just about everyone, but Pegasus seemed insistent on dragging him into the conversation. And now, Vivian was, too.
"You were absolutely brilliant, the way you beat Mr. von Schroeder that day…" she said, and he gave an inward start; he had not expected her to follow. She held up a pair of crystal glasses. "What can I get for you?"
"Out of my way," Seto replied, now moving towards the buffet table. He was well aware of Joey and Tristan trying to support each other from falling over with laughter—a clue that made him realize that Vivian was still following him.
"I admire a man brave enough to challenge an intruder to his kingdom…" she went on. "Oh, Kaiba…" She gazed out the window. "Manhattan is ours tonight; why don't we skip this meeting and head to one of those restaurants in the Theatre District? I hear there's an excellent one called the Casablanca Club…" She smiled, coyly. "Here's looking at you, Kaiba…"
Seto stared determinedly elsewhere.
"Oh, Kaiba, this feeling inside me, it's indescribable and it's growing by the second!" Vivian said, utterly infatuated. "Don't you feel something growing in you?"
"Yes—a migraine," Seto countered, walking away again.
Vivian's shoulders slumped, but she continued to follow him. Téa's scowl was slowly becoming more and more pronounced as she continued to watch; she couldn't even hear Joey and Tristan laughing, even thought they were standing right by her, cracking up.
"Oh, I see!" Vivian was saying, as she continued to follow Seto. "You're playing hard to get! I love that in a man!" She walked ahead of him, turning to face him. "Forget about me for the moment. Just… just listen to the voice of the city. What is it saying? I'll tell you—it's saying that we belong here, you and me…" She placed her hands on his arms, oblivious to the piercing glare etched in his face.
Mokuba was now utterly curious, and even Pegasus, who hadn't stopped talking the entire evening, now did so to watch. The von Schroeders were highly amused, and even Duke's assistant had stopped his conversation, wanting to see how this played out.
"I'll bet you a pizza that Kaiba loses it in five minutes…" Tristan said.
"I'll see your pizza, and raise you a box of garlic rolls; my bet is three minutes," Joey countered.
"Guys…" Yugi said. "This isn't a laughing matter…"
"It isn't…?" Joey asked, pretending to sound surprised. "Well, whatever it is, Rich Boy is going to have to get himself out of it all on his own."
"She has some issues…" Mai said, with a shake of her head. "I met her once before; she's a good duelist, but… she's not playing with a full deck."
Joey grinned at the double meaning in Mai's words.
Téa continued to stay perfectly still, the scowl on her face getting deeper. Mai was the only one who had noticed this so far, and she was biting her tongue to keep herself from advising Téa to say something. Mai had been the only one who knew about the feelings that Téa had for Seto Kaiba. But when it came to dealing with those feelings, Téa's problem was the exact opposite of Vivian's. Vivian didn't know how to shut up. Téa didn't know how to put her feelings to words.
"You know…" Vivian was saying. "We're a lot alike, the two of us… Loners… dreamers… We were made for each other—soulmates! We've both lost so much, and now we only have each other. We can't lose that…"
Seto was trying his best to completely ignore her now—not very easy to do when she was right in front of him.
"We just can't…" she said, softly. She leaned forward, her lips coming together and approaching his face.
Seto's eyes burned with a flash of rage, and he was about to unleash his wrath, but he never even got the chance—he, along with most of the people in the room, had been utterly distracted by a shrill female voice yelling out, "SECURITY!"
And now all eyes were on Téa Gardner, whose face was growing redder and redder with each passing second.
Pip, the head of security, had befriended Téa before on a previous misadventure in Domino and now gave her a cheerful grin as he approached her.
"You called, Mademoiselle?" he asked.
"Uh…?" she asked, utterly embarrassed.
"Ah, yes…" said Pip, glancing over at Vivian, who had passed with her lips and inch from Seto, having paused at the outcry. "We can't have mashers around. Is this lady giving you any trouble, Mr. Kaiba?"
Seto gave him a look that answered his question instantly.
"Well, then…" Pip summoned some colleagues who helped him escort the protesting Vivian out the door.
"But… but that's Seto Kaiba…!" she said. "He and I belong together…! We…!" She trailed off as she looked right into the eyes of one of the men leading her out. "Gosh, you're adorable…! How are you tonight, handsome…?"
The man muttered something unintelligible, his face burning bright red.
Chatter began to spread back across the room, but Téa's friends were still staring at her.
"Wow, Téa…" said Tristan. "I know you were never fond of Vivian, but I didn't think you'd call security on her…"
"Yeah, well…" Téa said. "I just saw her, and…"
"She was saving her from a worse fate," said Mai, quickly, trying to cover up for her friend. "Isn't that right, Téa? Because we all know Kaiba would've knocked Vivian into next week…"
"Yeah, that's for sure," Joey said, still amused. "And even if I didn't win a pizza or garlic rolls, that was still one of the most hilarious things I've ever seen! I almost wish she had kissed him—the follow-up would've been somethin' to see…"
Joey and Tristan began to crack up again. Yugi gave Téa a questioning look before turning to speak with Pegasus, who had now come to talk with him.
Mai and Téa now exchanged glances.
"Thanks…" Téa mumbled.
The older woman gave her an understanding smile before turning to Joey.
Téa sighed, hoping that, for the most part, this incident would be driven out of everyone's minds… or, at least, her yell.
But as she glanced back at Seto, she froze as she noticed him glancing at her with raised eyebrows. Sensing her embarrassment, he turned away, suppressing a smirk.
He would not soon forget.