Prideshipping Without Prejudice

AN: I have thought for a while that this story would be one which could lend itself brilliantly to an adaptation with the YuGiOh characters; this is my first attempt at writing of any kind so you'll have to cope with my deficiencies. I hope others think this idea works and enjoy my story…you'll have to let me know…

So here's my take on a Yami X Kaiba version of Jane Austen's' 'Pride and Prejudice'.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single and talented duellist in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a partner?"

Chapter One:

"My dear Arthur," said Solomon one morning as he entered the main premises of their small gaming shop, "have you heard that a nationally ranked player of duel-monsters has taken up residence in one of the KaibaCorp penthouses?"

Arthur had not.

"Imagine how wonderful it will be for our boys to duel someone of that calibre and meet some new friends, and it certainly can't hurt business."

"Do you think that is their object in coming here?" asked Arthur – somewhat amused…"perhaps they will think our local tourneys beneath them."

"Their object, perhaps not, but it is very likely that one of them may draw her attention and gain some recognition…who knows where that could lead?"

"Her? So it's a female duellist…matchmaking Solomon? What is her name?"

"Mai Valentine and it's no such thing! It would be foolish not to realise this is an opportunity however, perhaps we should throw a small tourney and you could invite her!"

"I think it would be pushy to send invitations to someone we've never met when they've barely arrived, although I will say I would be very glad to see Yami gain some of the credit he deserves."

"You always single out Yami above the others! Joey has plenty of talent and Tristan, Ryou and Marik are deserving of some of your attention but you always give Yami your preference."

"I care about all our boys Solomon, you know I do, it's just that Yami has an uncommon talent."

"Well, I suppose you're right; perhaps we should wait to know more of her before I get carried away."

In the end it was Arthur who first met Mai - much to his surprise, when she came unexpectedly into the gaming shop to look at the duel-monster card collection. He was favorably disposed to her after encountering her at her most charming (he was able to supplement her deck with Harpy's brother) and raised the encounter at dinner that day.

"What did she look like?" asked Joey with his usual openness and lack of subtlety, Marik – similarly interested also raised his head immediately.

"A very attractive young lady, certainly knows her stuff with her cards…a very well put together deck." Arthur replied, provoking groans from the two who had been hoping for a further description of her other charms.

They were impatiently shushed by the others and Arthur continued…

"I have other news from her which may be of even more interest," he smiled "there's a local tournament coming up and she's going to attend….furthermore there are going to be other participants!" He paused dramatically…."Seto Kaiba is in town!"

At this piece of startling news Solomon interjected "but we've never seen him before! For all he runs that huge gaming corporation, he lives in his mansion out of town and is rarely seen outside of KaibaCorp. He's doesn't compete in local duel competitions."

"I understand Mai is in town to beta test some new gaming technology for him with some other regional players and since he has guests he's currently staying in the other penthouse while she's here."

This was a bombshell. They all knew of Seto Kaiba of course, the enigmatic young owner of KaibaCorp had burst onto the duel-monsters scene after taking over the company following the death of his adoptive father. He had then remoulded it into the multimillion dollar technological pioneer of the gaming world and was renowned as a top calibre duellist himself.

Yami now showed a keen interest in the conversation "Kaiba himself is intending to play?" he asked in a deep voice, the narrowing of his sharp amethyst eyes revealing he had a far greater interest in Seto Kaiba than the others had known.

"So I understand from Mai," responded Arthur and the rest of the meal was spent discussing the upcoming event by the five brothers, with much speculation upon the identities of the rest of the Kaiba party.

Upon the evening of the tournament the local event was buzzing with excitement as the identities of those attending had become known. The duelling tables were set up about the rooms and the usual throng of interested spectators chatted amongst themselves, awaiting the players and other attendees. They had heard that the players would include some of Kaiba's guests: Mai Valentine, her sister Vivian, Weevil Underwood and Rex Raptor. There was also the possibility that Kaiba himself would duel (a matter of much speculation although it was unconfirmed) he was certainly expected to be present and many hoped to meet him.

Solomon was already present, bringing with him his five sons, the eldest two - duellists of note in the area. All five were looking forward to competing, with Yami and Joey in particular anticipating the challenge of new opponents.

A stir at the entrance indicated the arrival of those awaited and the evening got underway.

Joey found to his delight that he was to duel against Mai in the second session and played at his erratic best during the preceding duel as he honed his skills in anticipation. Indeed many envied him the chance…Mai was making a definite hit with all present. Her violet eyes and masses of long blonde hair were teamed with a curvaceous and provocatively dressed figure and since she was enjoying the notoriety and attention she was in a sparkling mood, captivating many with her easy manner and flirtatious charm.

This was in direct contrast to the effect produced by Seto Kaiba. To be sure when he had first strolled into the rooms (like he owned them) plenty of those present had felt a certain thrill at his tall handsome figure. He was certainly eye-catching…his slim yet strong seeming body was clad in a midnight blue shirt and trousers (which clung and were clearly tailored) and the flaring trench coat gave a dramatic frame for the whole. Nor were his looks deficient, he had sculptured bone structure and piercing bright blue eyes looked from beneath the deep brown fringe yet the expression within them was soon noticed…Kaiba sneered.

What a contrast between him and Mai!

Kaiba refused to participate in the friendly competitions and was heard to say that duelling in this fashion was "a waste of time," he wasn't here to "gratify a bunch of nobodies with his attention". He spent most of the evening walking about the rooms, occasionally observing a duel if it contained one of his party.

His character was decided for those present. He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world, and everybody hoped he would never come there again.

Solomon was particularly censorious…he strongly disapproved of the attitude towards duel-monsters displayed by Kaiba (what of the heart of the cards?) and had in addition been told of a slight made by him towards Yami.

Yami had very quickly won against all three of his opponents (including a smug and unctuous guy with glasses named Weevil) and thus was sitting watching another duel close enough to overhear a brief conversation between Kaiba and Mai.

"Come Kaiba" said Mai, "you should play. I hate to see you standing about by yourself like this."

"Certainly not, you know how I detest it and this bunch of pathetic losers – duelling for fun, what a waste of time. You are already partnered and there is not another in the room whom I would not find it a punishment to be inflicted with." Kaiba growled, "At such a gathering as this it would be insupportable."

"Honestly" cried Mai, "you are so impossible to please, I never met so many pleasant people and there are several talented duellists."

"You're just admiring the looks of that blonde mutt you have next session…I'll be amazed if he lasts ten minutes although from what I overhear he's pretty rated around here. Not that that's much of a recommendation I suppose. Who is that kid in garish jewellery who thinks he can mind control his opponents using a rod?"

"What about Joey's brother Yami?" challenged Mai, "I've been hearing some pretty impressive reports about his skills and he's already beaten all three of his opponents, he's sitting over there and he's cute too."

"Which do you mean?" he asked, turning to scan the nearby seating area…he looked for a moment at Yami until catching his eye and derisory look he flushed slightly and looked away. "Surely not the hairdresser's nightmare with the over-sized pendant? He may be an adequate duellist but not skilled enough to tempt me. I am in no humour to give consequence to small-town celebrities. You should find the partner you so hopefully look forward to; you are wasting your time with me."

Mai followed this advice and Kaiba walked off leaving Yami feeling outraged (and secretly disappointed) on behalf of his friends and family. He told the story however as he found humour in the sheer ridiculous pomposity shown and did not mind being the butt of the tale.

Altogether the evening passed pleasantly. Solomon was delighted at witnessing Joey's defeat of Mai and Joey himself was ecstatic, both from the result and from the heady feeling of exhilaration he felt in Mai's presence. Yami felt pleasure at Joey's infectious happiness; Marik had heard himself described as unconventional and unusual and Tristan and Ryou had played comfortably amongst friends all evening. This was all they desired as neither was a serious duellist, Tristan preferred dice games and Ryou being more timid was always content to accompany him. They returned in good spirits to share the evening's news with Arthur who preferred to stay at home with his books on archaeology. He was glad to hear of their pleasure but concurred with Solomon upon the folly and conceit shown by one Seto Kaiba.

When Joey and Yami were alone the former was more forthcoming about his attraction to Mai. Shaking his ash blonde hair away from his deep brown eyes he gazed seriously at his amused brother expressing how very much he admired her.

"She is just what I respect in a woman" he enthused "Strong, passionate, intelligent and so kind to all our friends – not a hint of conceit!"

"She is very beautiful too" laughed Yami, which a girl should also be if at all possible. "She is therefore quite complete."

"She was very gracious after our duel, I was not sure she would take it so well but she chatted to me for a long time afterwards."

"What could be more natural than her wanting to spend more time with you Joey, you are always inclined to look for the best in people and reach out to them with friendliness and candour. In Mai I think you have a worthy candidate but tell me what you thought of her sister? Equally admirable?"

"Well perhaps not at first but after our duel she was very complimentary, I am sure we shall come to like her."

Much too effusive for my taste!" Yami replied, (duellist groupie – he thought privately).

Between Mai and Kaiba was a good understanding, (both cared a great deal for duelling and understood the desire to win) respect for resilience and a measure of friendship (Kaiba would not have called it that) since Mai had met and been very kind to his younger brother who adored her.
Their characters were very different, Mai was open and passionate which Kaiba found to be very dissimilar to his own personality and he doubted her judgement, he thought her often too emotional. For Mokuba's sake (he told himself) he would look out for her best interests. From her fondness for Mokuba and through time spent with him, Mai had learnt something of the past Kaiba had overcome…she valued his strength of character and intelligence and knew that (for whatever reason) he looked out for her in his own way; she therefore valued his opinions. The two were a contrast, both were clever but Kaiba was reserved, haughty and fastidious, his manners though well bred (usually in public at least) were not inviting. Mai was sure of being liked wherever she appeared, Kaiba was continually giving offence.

The way in which they spoke of the evening was characteristic…Mai had spent a very pleasant evening, enjoyed the duels and company and was obviously interested in Joey. She had soon felt comfortable with everyone present and had been received by them with pleasure. Kaiba on the other hand had seen a collection of people towards whom he was indifferent. He had not expected to see anyone worth remembering and had not felt the smallest interest in looking. He therefore had neither given nor received any attention or pleasure.

AN: OK, I'm working now on chapter two…hope you have enjoyed this one enough to want to continue. Please feel free to review…I will value all opinions :).