Disclaimer: I own nothing involved in this story unless I invented it myself. This is written for fun, not for profit.
Romance: Seto x Kisara
Word Count: 8,952
Genre: Romance, Drama
Challenge: This was written for the Yu-Gi-Oh Pairings Challenge, season seven.
Notes: This is an AU. It's a complex one I've been thinking about for ages. I might write more set in this world, eventually. You'll see some mentions of some of what makes it AU, but I can't possibly list them all.
Summary: Homeless life is risky. Breaking into someone's home to eat is even riskier. Kisara has only begun to take risks.
"You had better have a very convincing explanation for why you're here." Kaiba bit the words out. He stood in the doorway to his kitchen and looked at the girl who stood frozen in front of the refrigerator. Only the light from within the appliance itself lighted her pale hair, and her large blue eyes were round with fright.
Instead of answering, she rushed to the door that she'd entered by only a few minutes earlier, moving as swiftly as a gazelle. Kaiba said nothing, nor did he move. Her hands battered at the door, but unlike before, it did not slide obligingly back and permit her to leave.
"I asked you a question, girl," he said, not moving from his spot. "Are you going to answer me or do I need to call the authorities?"
She turned and stared at him, the fright not fading as she did. She moved back and forth a little, her hands still brushing against the door as if she expected it to suddenly open and let her out. There was no chance of that happening, of course. Kaiba had made certain of that before he'd said a word to her.
He narrowed his eyes and gazed down at her in disapproval. He would give her perhaps one more minute to say something before he called the station and had someone come to take her away. Of course, if he were any judge of character, she would probably collapse the moment that the police car arrived, if not sooner. She scarcely looked healthy enough to stand up even now.
Just as he presumed she wasn't going to say anything, she drew in a deep breath and straightened up. "I was going to take some of your food. If you let me go, I won't ever come back. I promise." She hesitated a little before she continued. "But I would like something to eat, if it's not a bother, sir."
Kaiba looked her up and down. She was several inches shorter than he was, and dressed in several layers of clothes, a wise decision given how chilly it was. On a closer look, another idea crossed his mind: she wore all of those clothes because that was all she had to wear in the first place.
He said nothing at first, but kept on looking at her, thinking. She didn't move and looked right back at him. There wasn't actual defiance there, but determination filled those large eyes.
When he moved, she didn't flinch, which improved his opinion of her courage by a small margin. Whatever else she was, she wasn't a coward. He turned away from her, though his ears were perked in case she made some kind of a dangerous move, and touched a button on the laptop he'd set down behind him. The lights came on in the kitchen at once, exposing them both to each other more clearly.
"Who are you?" He asked as he turned to look at her again. She caught her breath as he stepped more into the light and pressed herself more against the door. He couldn't be certain if her reaction were due to awe or fear now.
"You…you're Kaiba Seto. I broke into your house." From the tone of her voice, she expected hellfire to consume her at a moment's notice. Perhaps not even with that notice.
Obviously, word of what he'd done to the last intruder had gotten around.
"I didn't ask who I am. I asked who you are." Kaiba stared down at her some more. "You have thirty seconds before I call the police." Now would be when she would faint or beg him not to. He looked forward to it. He'd been involved in some interesting developments before the intruder alarm had sounded.
She lifted her head a little more, steel entering her gaze. "Kisara."
Well. This was interesting. Not many petty thieves would have answered him. "Kisara who?"
"Kisara." She repeated, and anything else that she might have said died in the fierce rumbling that could only have come from her stomach. She glanced over at him, then at the refrigerator once more. "If you're going to call the cops, then do it. Maybe I can get something to eat there."
Kaiba made a quick decision. He gestured towards the refrigerator. "Go ahead."
Kisara didn't think twice about it. She hurried over and yanked it open, her gaze skimming the offerings. Kaiba wasn't even certain of everything that she would find in there. The cook had free access to the leftovers, and he'd suspected for months that she sold what she didn't eat herself to line her own pockets. Kisara pulled out a couple of pieces of cold chicken and chilled soda, as well as an apple and two carrots.
Kaiba gestured once again, this time toward a tall stool before one of the kitchen counters. Kisara settled there and started eating, casting the occasional glance towards him as she did. He still said nothing, only waited for her to be done.
"Where do you come from?" Kaiba asked as soon as the last morsel of food passed her lips. Kisara wiped her mouth with a napkin she'd picked up and looked over at him.
"Nowhere in particular. I've been traveling around for a couple of years now." She glanced at the remains of her meal for a brief moment. "Why?"
Kaiba stared at her even harder than before. "I'm asking the questions here. How much education do you have?"
"I graduated high school. I don't have any transcripts if that's what you want." Her lips thinned for a moment or two. "I didn't expect that I would need them while I was committing breaking and entering. Was I wrong?"
Silence fell between the two. Kisara started to stand up, until she caught Kaiba's eyes, and sank back down to the stool. "What do you want from me? I ate, and I'm ready to leave. Thanks for not calling the cops." Tension edged her words, mirrored by her clenched fists, and Kaiba found himself smiling. Not that most people would have noticed the expression.
"Can you read and write? Type? Sort mail?" Kaiba shot the questions out one after the other. "Are you capable of locating places if you have directions?"
Confusion reigned all over Kisara's face as she took in the questions. "Of course I can read and write. I'm not a very good typist, but I do know how to do it. Sorting mail can't be that hard, and I've always been good at reading directions. Why?"
Instead of answering, Kaiba only asked another question. "Why are you homeless?" From the look in his eyes, he would not accept anything other than the exact truth. She had read his expressions well enough so far and hoped she would continue to do so.
She didn't answer right away. Instead, her gaze dropped to the floor for a moment or two. He would ask again and again if he had to; he wasn't going to bother with her if she wouldn't co operate with him. He wasn't asking just for the sake of talking to her, either. He had a reason for everything that he did.
"It's nothing dramatic, if that's what you're asking," she said at last. "My parents are dead, and I couldn't afford the payments on our old house anymore, so it was taken by the bank. I haven't been able to get a good enough job to afford to get my own place, and none of my friends back home were able to give me more than a couch to sleep on for a few days."
Kaiba raised one eyebrow a scant millimeter, asking for more details. Kisara sipped a little at what was left of the soda she'd claimed.
"I didn't want to be a burden on them, so I just left one day. I call them every now and then, when I've got the money." She shifted a bit, still not quite meeting his eyes. "I work when I can. Last week I helped a few women clean their houses. I usually can manage to find a place to stay for a while when the weather gets very bad."
She isn't the most suitable person ever. But she will be loyal. Kaiba knew people, and he knew that if he took her off the streets, she would end up walking into fire if he asked her to. The more loyal people around, the better. It wasn't as if there were that many of them in Domino.
"Come with me," he decided and stood up. Kisara stared at him, then stood up as well, tension stiffening her muscles. He headed down the hallway, hearing her light footsteps behind him, and nodded to himself. She wasn't stupid; that was yet another point in her favor.
He led her down the hall, up a flight of stairs, down another corridor, up a second flight, and then into a corridor of doorways. He stopped outside one of them. "You'll sleep here tonight. Tomorrow, I'll have something else for you to do."
Kisara stopped where she was and looked at him. "What are you talking about?" Her voice was wary and when he looked back at her, he could see the tension that still coursed through every inch of her.
"Tomorrow you are going to have an official interview at KaibaCorp." He knew that there were a few openings there, and from the limited information that he had, he was certain she qualified for at least one of them.
"You're giving me a job?" Kisara shook her head in disbelief. "Why?"
"Go get a shower and go to bed." Kaiba did not intend to give her answers, especially when he didn't quite know what they were himself. "Be awake at seven-thirty. You'll be going there with me."
Kisara blinked a few times. "I don't have anything that's clean enough to be interviewed in." She fidgeted for a moment. "Actually, I don't have anything other than what I've got on now."
"You'll find clothes in there. I trust you can pick out something decent without help." Kaiba turned and walked away without looking back. He did listen, however, and was pleased to hear the door opening and closing. She was showing sense.
But he wasn't stupid, by any means. As soon as he stepped out of the guest corridor, Kaiba opened his laptop and sealed all of the doors and windows. None of them would be able to open until he released them in the morning.
He eyed the security system on the laptop with a hint of pride as he returned to his room, his feet so familiar with the route that he didn't need to pay any attention to it. Her timing was good, he realized. If she'd come on almost any other night, then his main security force would have located her before she'd even set foot in the mansion.
Kaiba settled into his own room, then touched his videophone, dialing a number he knew as well as his feet knew the way back to his room. By the time he had settled in, a familiar voice spoke from the phone. "Hey, big brother!"
"Mokuba." Kaiba nodded at his younger brother. He suspected that his brother would be still be awake. "How have you been?"
"Everything's good here. Why are you calling me at eleven at night?" Mokuba eyed him, a curious gleam in his eyes. "You're testing your new security system tonight, aren't you?"
"Yes." Kaiba intended to inform his brother of what had happened, but in his own good time. Verbal sparring with Mokuba was one of the few unlimited pleasures that he permitted himself. "It works perfectly."
Mokuba didn't take his eyes off him. Kaiba said nothing more, but he didn't need to. "So who tried to break in and what did you do with him?"
"Her." The CEO corrected him with a prim hint to his voice. "A young woman named Kisara. She is currently asleep in the guest room. Or had better be."
For a few moments, Mokuba said nothing at all. He only stared at his brother. "She broke into the house and you gave her a room?" The older Kaiba nodded. "I never thought I'd ask this, but are you insane?"
Kaiba shook his head. Only to one of his brothers would he explain his thoughts. "She was homeless and only after food. I have a few openings at KaibaCorp I think she might be suitable to fill. She'll be completely loyal and it will cost me almost nothing." Completely loyal employees were all but impossible to come by, even for him. He doubted there were ten of them in all of his millions who would give him the time of day, much less the shirt off their back, if he should need it. Kisara would be different.
Mokuba pursed his lips for a moment in thought. "Are you going to tell Seth about her?"
"In due time. He has his own work to do." Seto knew that his twin would be around soon enough to want some kind of a donation for his church. Or just to bother him in particular. The two actions were the same when it came to Kaiba Seth.
"I suppose you know best, big brother." He wasn't an employee, but Mokuba was completely loyal, and his brother knew it well. "I need to get some sleep soon. Let me know how it turns out." Mokuba reached to cut the connection, then paused, a mischievous grin twisting his lips. "Big brother?"
"Is she pretty?"
"Good night, Mokuba." Kaiba cut the connection himself. He stretched back on the bed and closed his eyes. Mokuba's last question floated about in his mind, and he did his best to ignore it for as long as he could. Unfortunately, he'd never been able to ignore any question that either of his brothers asked of him for very long.
Was Kisara pretty? A simple question, with a simple answer. Yes, she was. Did it make a difference to how well she would work for him? No, it didn't.
But it did make an entrancing mental image to take into his dreams that night.
Kisara stifled a deep yawn and did her best to remain focused on the instructor's words. She didn't dare let her attention lapse and find that she could no longer qualify for a job here. This was her first chance at real, steady work in three years.
KaibaCorp. She didn't let her mind wander, but somewhere in the back of her thoughts was the sheer wonder that she was really here, dressed in a demure skirt, blouse, and boots combination that came from Kaiba Seto's providence, and she was only here because of him in the first place. Because he'd been generous enough to give her a chance instead of throwing her to the police.
She tried not to yawn yet again. Working in the mailroom promised to be excruciatingly dull, and so far, even just learning how to do so was enough to send her to sleep. But it did come with rewards. Many rewards.
The five other new recruits who were there in the class wore much the same outfit that she did, depending on their gender. This wasn't so much a benefit as it was their official uniform for working here. Kisara knew she was going to have to pick up new clothes eventually. She wouldn't get a real paycheck for another month, though. Until then, she'd be satisfied with what she had.
"Hey." One of the recruits nudged her a little. He was about her age, with spiky blond hair and a cocky smirk. "What's your name?"
"Kisara." She murmured the word as softly as possible, still trying to keep her attention on the teacher.
"Nagumo Kouji." He leaned back in his chair and folded his hands behind his head. "Is this the most boring thing you've ever heard or what?"
Kisara could feel her cheeks reddening. It was boring; she'd thought the same thing herself only moments earlier. But she dared not miss anything. "It's necessary. We can't make mistakes."
"You're not into that whole KaibaCorp honor thing, are you?" Nagumo might've said more, but the teacher turned in their direction, his eyes narrowed.
"Could you give me an example of how to detect a letter or mail bomb, Nagumo-san?" There was a definite edge of displeasure in the tall man's tone as he eyed the gossiping student.
Nagumo shifted a little and shrugged. "It blows up in your face?" He snickered and looked around in anticipation. Kisara said nothing, only ducked her head a little, her cheeks still flaming.
"Kisara-san, then. What about you?"
Kisara clenched her fingers into fists and tried to remember everything that the teacher had said. "There isn't any return address on the letter or package, or if there is, it isn't easy to trace. Block letters are usually used if there is any address on it, which is supposed to make it more difficult to trace the handwriting." There had been more, she was certain of it, but she couldn't remember anything else! "That's all I can remember, Honda-san."
Honda nodded. "There are a few other methods," he said and gestured to the chart behind him. "If the envelope is difficult to bend, that's a big tip-off. And don't bend it too much if you find one like that. That could make it go off."
Kisara relaxed for a moment, but still kept her attention on the teacher. She could almost see Nagumo out of the corner of her eye, but tried not to notice him all that much.
"That's it for today," Honda declared half an hour later as he gathered up his papers. "Tomorrow you'll have a quiz on what you've learned the last few days."
Kisara shuddered at the thought; it was bad enough to have to deal with questions in class, but a test? She'd never done well on tests. It's either this or the streets again, she told herself firmly as she gathered up her few possessions. She almost missed hearing what Honda had to say as she did so.
"Also, starting tomorrow, KaibaCorp officials will be going through every department and inspecting everyone's green cards, driver's licenses, and any other identification that you might have."
Everything stopped for Kisara at that moment. Identification? She swallowed for a moment. "What will happen if we don't have any, sir?"
"Everyone who doesn't have proper identification, or who can't produce it within a week's time, will be reported to President Kaiba," Honda told her. She nodded, aching to ask why this was going on, but that was one step too far.
Nagumo, however, didn't feel the same restraints that she did. "So what's got the bigwigs' panties in a bunch so they're checking us all? What, someone sneak in and try to work overtime without permission?"
"All you need to know, Nagumo-san, is that this is for your protection and for KaibaCorp's. Have your identification ready when the agents come to speak with you," Honda replied. Everyone else nodded, though Kisara's stomach had begun to ice itself together.
Identification. She clutched her small purse closer to her; what little she had was in there, and none of it was up to date. Most of it was only accurate in the terms of height and hair and eye color. She'd lost weight since the last time she'd gotten an I.D. card, and her hair had grown out quite a bit anyway.
She hurried out of the building and down the street, thoughts tumbling over one another in her mind. Where am I going to get some? She had a few contacts, unwillingly made over the last couple of years. She could get something faked, if she were willing to shell over the money for it.
No. I won't do that. Not having identification could be troublesome, but having fake identification would be even worse. She couldn't do that to Kaiba.
Her steps hesitated, and she glanced back to the KaibaCorp building, still visible even though she'd traveled nearly two blocks from it already. Could she ask him for help? She was certain that it wouldn't be any trouble for him. He was one of the most powerful men in Domino City.
Which was why she wasn't going to ask. She owed him too much already. There isn't any way I can pay back his kindness. I'll just have to manage the best that I can. If they can wait until I get my first paycheck and my first bills, then I can get identification.
Her new home was just ahead of her and she flashed the only up to date identification she did have to get past the doorman: her KaibaCorp worker's badge. The doorman nodded as she passed by, the door opening once she was close enough, and she hurried inside. She was home.
Home. A word that she hadn't used for any single place since her father had died. Sometimes she still thought of the old house as home, but she'd never see it again. This was home now: a thirty-story apartment building, with her tiny apartment being on the eighth floor.
She leaned against the back of the elevator as it rose up in silence. Like so much else about KaibaCorp, it was clean, neat, in perfect working order, and sterile. I keep feeling like I should take a shower before I go anywhere around here. It's so clean! Kaiba allowed nothing that was his to be less than perfect.
Her apartment was the third one on this floor; it was small, but had everything that she would need, and it all came from her KaibaCorp paycheck. It was much better than the streets she'd been living on before she'd broken into the Kaiba mansion. She paused as she closed the door to check it out once again. Some part of her didn't always believe this was real.
Altogether, there were three rooms in the apartment: the living room, the bathroom, and the kitchen. The bed unfolded out from the sofa in the living room, removing the need for a separate bedroom, and saving space at the same time. She had one month's supply of food, paid for from her first paycheck, as well as half a dozen identical versions of the uniform she already wore. Buying clothes that weren't company uniforms was already on her shopping list for the next month.
She sagged down onto the couch and closed her eyes. She would start her actual job the next day. She didn't have the strength to worry about the identification check. All she could do was hope for the best. It had worked so far, hadn't it?
Kaiba accepted the list from the chief of internal security and skimmed over the four pages before he set it down. "That's how many people don't have all of the proper identification?" Really, he thought that there wouldn't have been this many.
"Yes, sir," the chief replied. "Most of them have just let it slide through carelessness, though I think might need an actual green card. Those have been marked, of course."
"Of course." Kaiba gestured in dismissal. He didn't need someone standing over him while he read a simple progress report. He paid little attention as the chief left the room, the door sealing behind him.
Kaiba stared over the report more thoroughly, not wanting to be distracted. When he was distracted, his thoughts drifted toward the memory of a gentle face, framed by white-blonde hair, and a pair of large blue eyes. He'd dreamed of her often in the days since he'd found her in his kitchen, and he kept an eye on her progress. When the time came, he would make certain she acquired certain materials, such as the information on KaibaCorp's adult education program. She was certainly intelligent enough to have a better position than a mailroom clerk. All she needed was an opportunity. He would give those to her, and see what she made of them.
He was so intent on not thinking about her, that he almost missed her name when it came up on the list. Did I misread that? He checked it over again, then checked the notes that had been attached. I should've known. Kaiba didn't like having overlooked something.
It was still early in the day. He would have time to get this taken care of before lunch. He considered for a moment, then touched one panel on his desk, which slid back to reveal an array of buttons, one of which he touched. A view screen lowered itself in front of him. He touched a second, and the screen filled with static before it cleared and revealed the mailroom. Half a dozen or so employees were in there, sorting mail into piles and sorting the piles into the mail slots.
He noticed Kisara right away. Her pale ponytail swept out behind her as she worked, her attention focused on each package and letter that came before her. She was certainly doing better work than the person behind her was. He focused on that one for a moment and checked the information. Nagumo Kouji. He wouldn't last long. He wasn't a very spectacular employee, and at best qualified as a mediocre one.
Kisara finished a pile of letters, then moved over to where Nagumo was working and took a stack of his, beginning to sort. He glanced at her for a moment, then back to his own work. Kisara said nothing, only sorted at a good pace. Kaiba was about to end the observation when she stopped and stared at one package.
"Sir?" She called over to the head of the office. "Sir, I think you should check this."
Kaiba watched, a hint of curiosity worming through him, and raised one eyebrow as Kisara and the office head both checked out the suspicious package. She paid attention to the training. He looked to where Nagumo was still going through his assignment, showing very little effort beyond getting the letters sorted into the right slots. Good.
He turned off the view screen and began to research what he was going to need to get. This would be difficult. But he liked a good challenge.
Kisara lay flat on her couch, exhausted. Who would've thought working three hours of overtime would take it out of you so much? It would be worth it, though. Not just in the paycheck area, but she felt good knowing that she'd done so much work. Sleeping the entire weekend through was a very appealing idea.
She closed her eyes and wondered if she should bother getting up to unfold the bed. The couch was comfortable enough as it was, and she was so tired already. I think I'll just stay like this. There was nothing she could think of that would make her get up from where she was.
A brisk, sharp knock sounded from the door. Kisara groaned; whoever this was had better have a very good reason for being there. It had been four days since the interview with the company agents about her identification, and she hadn't made any progress on getting any of it. Red tape and lack of proof of almost everything kept her tied up. All of that had combined with her overtime to make certain she didn't want to move an inch.
Again, the knocking echoed, and Kisara began to push herself to her feet. If it was important, then she didn't want to miss it, and if it weren't, she would at least try to ask that whoever it was leave so she could rest. She dragged her way across to the door and unlocked it.
"Yes? Can I he…" She broke off and stared at who stood there. "W…what are you doing here?"
Kaiba Seto raised one eyebrow. That was all he had to do. Kisara flushed a deep red and stepped back. "I'm so sorry, sir," she babbled, "I don't know what I was thinking, please, come in!" Despite her words, she did want to know what he was doing there. But she'd been rude enough already.
He shook his head. "Get your things. You're coming with me."
She went cold at the words. "S…sir?" She hadn't done anything wrong. She knew that she hadn't.
"We're going to get your identification sorted out. I should have done that already." There was a hint of annoyance in his words, and she couldn't tell if he meant it for himself or for her. "Hurry. We only have an hour until it closes."
Kisara blinked a few times, then hurried to grab her purse and put her shoes back on. Sleep would wait.
She was as quiet as she could be as she followed Kaiba from her apartment to the elevator. He handed over a set of papers that she stared at in confusion before she realized what they were: all of the evidence she would need that she lived where she did and was who she said she was. "How did you get all of this? I kept making phone calls and I didn't get anywhere."
"I made one phone call." Kaiba's lips twitched a bit. "It helps to know the mayor."
He knows Mayor Mutou. Kisara could feel herself drooping inside. For the life of her, she couldn't imagine why someone like him would pay attention to someone like her. She wasn't a troll; she knew that well enough. But why would he help her? Why would he even notice her? Was stealing from his refrigerator that memorable?
A long black limousine waited for them, and Kisara got in without Kaiba having to tell her. As much as she wanted to find something that they could talk about, her mind was completely blank. None of this made any sense. It doesn't matter, she decided. She would work her hardest no matter what, and she wouldn't waste any of the chances that he gave her.
"That was good work, finding that letter bomb," Kaiba spoke. "It could have caused trouble if it had been allowed to go off."
Kisara found herself flushing all over again and stared at her fingers. She wished she had something to do with her hands. "I just remembered what we were told, sir."
He grunted in response, and something about that brought words to her lips. "Sir, I don't know why you're being so kind to me. But I'll do everything I can to make sure that you don't regret it, ever." If he had asked her to jump into a volcano at that moment, she would have done so without a second thought.
"See that you do." That was Kaiba's only response, and the last thing that he said until they reached their destination. He got out and she hurried after him, just able to keep up with his long strides.
Kisara knew that lines in this place were always long and always slow, especially the closer it was to closing time. The moment that Kaiba Seto entered the building, the lines melted away. At a quick gesture from him, she gathered what she needed, and settled into a chair to begin filling out the forms. Her pen flashed over the information, referring to the documents he'd retrieved for her when necessary, and a slight bit of sweat trickled down her spine. She could feel his eyes on her. He was taking time out of his day to help her, and she wasn't going to slow him down.
One set of filled out forms and a test drive later, Kisara stared down at her new driver's license. She could drive again. Of course, she didn't have a car, but that would come in due time. She wouldn't accept one from Kaiba even if he'd offered.
"Keep up the good work," was all that he said as he dropped her back off at the apartment. She watched the limousine drive out of sight, and clutched the license close to her chest.
"I will, sir," she murmured. "I promise."
"Nagumo." Kisara heard Kobayashi-san calling her co-worker, and winced a little. Nagumo was busy taking an illegal smoking break: illegal because something indoors was against company policy and illegal because it wasn't his official break time.
He's going to get fired. Kisara doubted that it would take very long, either. KaibaCorp didn't tolerate those who broke the rules, at least not without a very good reason. Just wanting a cigarette wasn't a very good reason.
"Nagumo!" Kobayashi snapped the name again, and this time he lazed around a corner, his cigarette still in hand. "Put that out. You have to deliver some packages for me. Maybe you can do that and not get lost this time?"
"Hey, this place is a maze. You can't blame me for getting lost!" Nagumo protested, waving one hand in front of his face as he stumped out his cigarette. "Besides, it wasn't as if I were gone that long."
Kobayashi rolled her eyes. "You were gone three hours, on a trip that should've taken you thirty minutes. Here." She shoved a wheeled table piled with packages and a delivery sheet over to him. "Be back in an hour."
"Sure, sure." Nagumo winked at Kisara and patted a rectangle in his vest as he strolled by her, pushing the table. She kept her attention on her work. He was going to smoke some more. And probably be extremely late with his deliveries.
She kept on sorting, paying little attention to the passing of time. In her mail at home that morning, she'd discovered several pamphlets concerning adult education opportunities offered by KaibaCorp. College hadn't been an option for her after the death of her parents. Maybe now she could change that. After having worked here for three months, the whole situation was becoming more and more real. This had happened. She wasn't on the streets. She wasn't going to wake up and find herself without a home.
When her own break finally came, Nagumo still hadn't returned. Kobayashi muttered many uncomplimentary comments under her breath, that Kisara tried not to pay attention to as she took herself off to the break room for a snack and a drink. She also had some new purchases she'd made just that morning on the way to work.
I wonder what these are all about. She examined the dozen booster packs of Duel Monster cards, all of them unopened. The game was wildly popular in Domino, with KaibaCorp sponsoring at least one tournament a year, and most of the company's resources going towards improving the holographic technology for it. But Kisara had never been able to play it herself.
She opened up one of the packages and sorted through it. After a few minutes of looking, it was easy to tell the cards apart, since they were color-coded. She divided them into stacks as she opened each pack, monsters, spells, and trap cards. Just looking at it all gave a horribly complicated picture.
I guess this is a good card. She picked up one of them, a Normal Monster, and read the name to herself. Blue Eyes White Dragon. The attack power and the level were both incredibly high, more than any of the other monsters she had. Maybe I should read that rule book and see what I could do with this.
"Kisara?" Kobayashi's voice came from behind her, and Kisara turned around, the card still held in her hand.
"Yes, Kobayashi-sama?" She started to put it back when the supervisor caught her breath.
"Is that your card?" The older woman asked, her eyes wide and round. Kisara nodded, confused. "Don't let anyone else see it."
Kisara stared down at the card, then back up at her. "Why not? What's wrong with it?"
"Nothing is wrong with it." Kobayashi came into the break room and closed the door. "That's only the rarest card in the entire game of Duel Monsters. There are only four in existence. Kaiba-sama owns two of them, and there's a rumor that Mayor Mutou has the third. But no one has ever been able to find the fourth one."
"What do I do with it?" Kisara looked at the card again. "I don't even play the game. I just thought they'd be interesting to look at." Even if she learned how, there was no guarantee that she'd be any good at it. Maybe she should find someone else to give it to, someone who could really appreciate it.
Kobayashi's lips thinned. "Mayor Mutou or Kaiba-san would pay a fortune for the fourth Blue Eyes. You could make a few million, at the very least. You could have enough so you'd never have to work another day in your life."
"Millions?" Kisara didn't believe that someone would pay that much for a card. It was the most popular game in the city, but it was still a game.
"You could name your price with this card, and either of them would pay it, I'm certain. Especially Kaiba-sama." Kobayashi reassured her and patted her on the shoulder. "Think about it. This'll get you out of the mailroom and into a place of your own. But that's not what I came in here. I know your break isn't over for another twenty minutes, but could you go find Nagumo for me? He should've been back already."
Kisara gathered up her cards and put them away in her personal cubby. "Of course." It would be easy. She would probably find him holed up somewhere smoking; he'd had another pack in his jacket, he'd made that perfectly clear when he'd passed by her earlier. She doubted he'd delivered more than half of his packages, if that many.
"His deliveries were all on the twenty-first to twenty-fifth floors," Kobayashi told her. "Let me know as soon as you find him."
"Yes, ma'am," Kisara agreed and started off, glancing around here and there as she walked. She doubted that Nagumo would start puffing away so close to the main mail room, but there was always a chance.
She searched each floor carefully; there wasn't much room for anyone to hide except in closets and occasionally under stairwells, but she checked everywhere she could anyway.
No sign of him. She glanced at the stairs that led up to the twenty-sixth floor. Nagumo had no reason to be up there, but maybe that was why he'd go. No one would expect him there.
She headed up the stairs, checking under before going too far to see if he was there, then opened the door at the top. She hadn't taken more than half a dozen steps down the richly carpeted hallway before a klaxon sounded, and Kaiba Seto's voice crackled over the noise.
"Security to my office. Code Blue Eyes. Repeat, Code Blue Eyes." There was a brief pause before he spoke again. "Be on the lookout for Nagumo Kouji."
Nagumo? Kisara's eyes widened and she hurried her steps, checking more fervently still for any sign of her co-worker. He had to be around there somewhere. Well, not there, but in the building somewhere. He was in some kind of trouble. It had to be more than the smoking. Kaiba-sama wouldn't make an announcement like that, calling security just for smoking.
"Kisara!" The voice came from behind her and she whirled to see Nagumo peering at her from behind a half-closed door. "Come here!"
She hurried over at once, biting her lip. "Nagumo-san, security is looking for you. What happened? What did you do?"
He gestured her into the room and closed the door, locking it. "Hey, you want to get out of this dump? I know you do."
"Nagumo-san!" Kisara didn't often raise her voice, and she hated to do it now. "What did you do? If you go to Kaiba-sama and get it cleared up, maybe you can keep your job."
Nagumo stared at her and laughed. "Keep my job? At this dump? You've got to be kidding. Not with that I've got right now." He patted his vest, a vicious grin spread across his features. "With this, I've got that rich bastard at my feet. He'll give me anything to get it back. If I give it back."
"What?" Kisara wasn't stupid. What he had in his vest now was more than a pack of cigarettes. It had to be. "What did you take?"
The smile grew worse. "His precious Duel Monsters deck. The one with those two Blue Eyes White Dragons in it. He'll give me anything I want just to get it back. This is better than kidnapping his little brother would've ever been."
"You took something that belongs to Kaiba-sama?" Slow anger boiled in Kisara's stomach. She scarcely knew him, but that made no difference. He had helped her, and she would never be able to repay him, but she could do this at least! "How dare you?"
Nagumo laughed at her, patting his vest once again. "It was easy, that's how. All I had to do was wait for him to have his back turned, talking on the phone, while he was looking at it. Slipped right in, had my cart to explain why I was there if he saw me, and grabbed it. Slick as can be." He leaned back on the wall, a smug smirk on his lips. "Just have to get out of here, and then send in my demands. By this time next week, I'll be living it up in the Bahamas."
Kisara straightened up and looked at him, blue eyes gleaming with righteous fury. "No, you won't."
"What?" He lifted his head to look at her. "What are you going on about? Did you want to come with me?" He smirked more. "Or did you want to do this yourself and cut me out of it?"
Her thoughts flickered to that card in her cubby. Rarest of the rare, only two people had them, and one was Kaiba-sama. A powerful white dragon that protected everything that was its.
That was hers.
Kisara wished that she was a dragon right now. Having the power to protect Kaiba-sama would be wonderful. Her attention flicked around the room. There had to be something, anything that she could do to stop him. "No, Nagumo-san. I don't want anything like that. But I won't let you do this to Kaiba-sama."
"You aren't going to let me?" Nagumo repeated the words as if he'd never heard them before. "What do you think you can do to stop me?"
Almost as soon as he spoke, Kisara's gaze landed on something behind him. She didn't stop to think. She barely stopped to speak. "This." She darted forward and slammed one hand against the intercom. "Kaiba-sama! Nagumo-san is on floor twenty-six, and he has your deck! I'll keep him here until you get here."
Nagumo's hand wrapped around her hair and yanked her back from the intercom. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" He stared at her, then shoved her across the room. "You're crazy if you stand up for that jackass. I'm out of here."
He hadn't taken three steps toward the door before Kisara leaped onto his back and clawed as hard as she could at his face and neck. "If you go, you're leaving that deck here! It belongs to Kaiba-sama!" She dug her fingers in harder, determined not to let him so much as set foot outside the door.
Nagumo flailed, his hands scrambling behind him in an attempt to get to her, but the way she clung to his back made it far more difficult than it might have been otherwise. He struggled toward the door, wriggling to take more than a few steps at a time, and not succeeding all that well with her weight on his back. "Let me go!"
Kisara's only answer was to dig in harder. She didn't want to try to go for his eyes; he hadn't done anything that wrong. But he wouldn't leave. No, he wouldn't leave with that deck.
The door slammed open without warning, and Nagumo threw his head up enough to see Kaiba, flanked by a dozen security officers, standing there. The executive's blue eyes burned with an unholy fury as he took two steps across, taking in the entire scene. Nagumo had time enough to notice that Kaiba held a briefcase in one hand before pain exploded across the side of his face, and he knew nothing more.
Kisara watched as Nagumo dropped, his cheek wehre Kaiba had smacked him with the briefcase bright red. The executive kicked the wanna-be thief over and started to rummage in his pockets. "His vest," Kisara gasped, a touch short of breath from her assault on him. "He has it in his vest."
Kaiba pulled the vest open, checked first one pocket, then pulled his deck out of the other. He fanned it out before him, his eyes fastened on each card in turn, then nodded before he gestured to the security officers with him. "Have him taken downtown. I'll press charges later."
"Yes, sir." The officers dragged Nagumo away, leaving Kisara and Kaiba there with one another. Kisara tried to straighten her clothes out and wondered where she could find a bathroom to wash her hands in.
"Thank you." Kaiba said nothing else, and Kisara shivered in delicious pleasure at hearing those words.
"It was the least that I could do. No one should take what's yours, Kaiba-sama." There was no other way she could express what she felt now. She would always protect him and anything of his that she could. What other purpose did she have for existing?
She lifted her gaze enough to see Kaiba looking at her. Her heart sped up at the sight of those cool blue eyes and her mouth was dry. Her thoughts raced, trying to find something to say that was at least intelligent. "How did you know he was the one who did it, sir?" Kaiba's smile was thin and quick, like the blade of a knife. "No. I put the security system that I had at my home into operation here not that long ago. He wasn't authorized to be in my office, and I was alerted as soon as he entered." His eyes narrowed for a moment. "I didn't think that he'd have the nerve to steal my deck, however. That was quick work with the intercom as well."
"As I said, the least that I could do." She glanced at him, unsure of what to make of the look she was getting from him. "Is the deck that important to you?" She knew that it had to be, but she couldn't help but ask.
"A duelist's weapon in their deck," Kaiba replied, his expression serious and calm now. "I have invested millions in building this deck. It is worth more than most of the people in this building combined." He paused and looked at her, one dark eyebrow lifted. "Do you play Duel Monsters?"
"No." She shook her head. "I picked up a few cards the other day, but I don't know if I'll ever really play. They're very well made, but I don't know if it's my kind of game to play."
Silence reigned, and she wondered if she should make an excuse to return to the mailroom, when he spoke again. "KaibaCorp is holding a tournament next week. Only people with tickets will be able to view the finals, but the other duels are going to be broadcast on KaibaCorp's Duel Network."
She nodded, not certain of why he was telling her this. Her confusion cleared to some degree, as he fished a silver-blue piece of paper out of his shirt and handed it to her. She read it over, then stared at him. "A ticket to the finals?"
"A reward for your good work today." Kisara stared when he spoke and tried to shake her head, wanting to turn it down. She hadn't done it out of any sense of reward! But before a word passed her lips, he shook his head. "Go back to work."
Kaiba could move with surprising speed when he wanted to. He was gone before Kisara could say anything at all. She stared after him, then at the ticket in her hands. "Thank you," she managed to whisper. "Thank you, sir."
A thousand thoughts rocketed through Kisara's mind as she carefully prepared the envelope. She wanted to be certain that this arrived at Kaiba's desk in time for him to work it into his plans. But she didn't want it traced back to her, if possible. Not that she really would have cared if he knew, but she wanted it to be private, nevertheless.
The ticket to the finals still burned in the pocket where she'd placed it three days earlier. She hadn't let it out of her possession for a single moment. No one else even knew she had it. She wanted to be there. She would be there. She wanted to see him and his deck in action together. And perhaps, even…
She'd find that out soon enough. She double-checked to make certain that everything was in there, then settled the envelope in with all the others on the delivery cart. Ever since what had happened with Nagumo, Kisara had been in charge of delivering mail to the executive level offices, especially Kaiba's. This did give her the chance to see him virtually every day. She didn't object. Nor, she thought, did he.
He hasn't said a word to me about anything, though. He wasn't the talkative sort, though. He spoke when he had something intelligent to say. He hadn't even asked if she were going to use that ticket.
With everything ready, she pushed the cart toward the elevator and proceeded to do her job, delivering each letter and package to the proper recipient. Finally, it came down to Kaiba's office. In most offices, the secretary would have sorted the mail for the CEO. Kaiba preferred to check his personally, for what reason she didn't know, and cared for even less. She simply nodded to the lady behind the desk and pushed her way into the office.
Kaiba sat behind his own desk, which was remarkably free of any paperwork. She didn't know exactly how he did his work, but he was currently staring at his computer, a slight frown between his eyes. She said nothing, but pushed the cart over to him. As soon as she had it within range, he pulled his attention away from the screen and began to go through the envelopes. Most of them he set to the side, and she assumed, as she always did, that such was his 'deal with later' pile.
Once the cart was empty, she turned and began to push it out. She hadn't yet reached the door when he spoke. "Where did you get this?"
Kisara glanced behind her, and as she had somewhat expected when she'd heard the question, saw that he had that envelope open before him. A single card was in his hands. "I found it when I bought some cards a few days ago." She didn't know how he knew it was from her, but why ask questions?
"What do you want for it?" His gaze burned into her, and she could feel her own cheeks flaming.
"Nothing." She met his eyes without hesitation. "It means far more to you than it ever could to me, and you know what to do with it. I don't."
"This is worth millions. No one would just give it away." There was more wonder in his tone than denial. Kisara smiled just a little, though her cheeks still burned at the way he was looking at her.
"I know what it's worth. But everything I have now is because of you. The least that I can do is give you something that means as much to you as that does."
Kaiba said nothing at all, then nodded and gestured for her to leave. Kisara obeyed at once, glad that the blush appeared to be fading at last. She knew that she'd done the right thing. She just hadn't anticipated that he'd find out the truth while she had been standing right there.
As the door closed behind her, Kaiba looked down at the card in his hands. He had three of them now. He was tempted to call Atem and taunt him about it. No. Let him find out the hard way. His Honor the Mayor wouldn't be taking part in the tournament, but he'd watch it, of course. Yuugi would be in it, which was all the incentive the mayor needed to be there.
And Kisara would be at the finals. Kaiba had no doubts about that at all. He looked at the card again, then picked up his deck and shuffled it in. She would also be in the entire tournament with him, through that card.
Strange, she reminded him of it, now that he considered the matter, with her pale skin, white hair, and blue eyes. A light smile touched his lips for a single moment.
He had already given Kisara much. Perhaps after the tournament was over, he could give her dinner.
It would be better than stealing it from his refrigerator, after all. He thought she would like that. He knew that he would.