Sorry for the long Author's Note, but I need to make a few things clear. First off, this is pre-GX obviously. This story works with plots based off the anime and the manga, but most of it is my personal headcanon with just a few alterations. Here's the important stuff in a nutshell:

- Ryo and Fubuki are roommates. I just needed them to be for this to work. Trust me, this would be a really boring fic if they weren't.

- There will be demonstrations of Japanese culture vs. other cultures. I promise I did my research.

- I have a favor to ask my readers. I've tried to follow the canon for the most part, but obviously a good bit of this is a product of my imagination, and I've added twists and turns. If, for example, Ryo and Fubuki fall off a cliff and the chapter ends right there (which doesn't actually happen), please don't say to yourself, "Well, obviously they live since otherwise there wouldn't be a GX." Anything could happen. Believe me.

- Most importantly, Fujiwara Yusuke is not in this. Here are some reasons why:

1. Besides not liking him, I really didn't understand his character that well or any of his motivations. If I tried to write him, I would probably get it all wrong and bash him. I figured his fans would prefer that I leave him out entirely rather than including him and screwing up his character. At least, that's how I would feel if I were a fan.

2. I don't think this alters the canon all that much. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm 95% sure that the Darkness thing happened during Ryo and Fubuki's second year, because that was the only one Fubuki had to repeat. This fic takes place their first year. And honestly, we didn't even know of Fujiwara's existence until the very last season of the show and the canon still made sense to us before then, so he's not a particularly hard character for me to drop.

3. I really want this to center around Ryo and Fubuki. Not just in romantic terms, but in friendship too. Fujiwara would more than likely end up being a third wheel.

Other than that, please enjoy and PLEASE REVIEW! I've been working on this for almost two years and I could really use the feedback!

"Love isn't something you find. Love is something that finds you."

- Loretta Young

"Are you ready for your first year at Duel Academia, Ryo?" Samejima asked.

Ryo smiled and nodded. "Yes sir. I've been waiting all summer for this."

"It's good to see you again. It's been too long since we last met at the Cyber dojo."

"Yes, I agree. And I've become a much stronger duelist since then."

"I have no doubt of that. It's your first year and you're already an Obelisk Blue. In fact, you're one of the elite."

"Elite?" Ryo asked, puzzled.

"Yes, didn't you know? There are two elite members, also called honor students. They represent the best of the best and have the top scores on all the exams, both written and field. You are one of the two. You'll meet the other member next week, when school starts. He'll be your roommate for the year, possibly for the next three years depending on how things work out."

Ryo smiled again, eyes sparkling. "I'm honored that you think so highly of me, sir."

"You deserve it for all your hard work. My hope is that by placing you at the top of the school, you'll set an example for the other students in teaching them the respect involved in dueling."

"I'll do my best." Ryo bowed and turned to leave when Chronos-sensei barged in. Ryo remembered him from the entrance exams and how surprised he'd been when he'd angrily turned away a potential student as punishment for mistaking him for a woman. Because of this, he'd tried to avoid Chronos-sensei during the time he'd spent at the Academia. Technically he wasn't even supposed to be there until next week when classes began, but Samejima had needed an extra hand to help get the campus ready and so he'd made an exception for Ryo, which Chronos-sensei most certainly did not approve of. If there was one thing this teacher hated, it was making exceptions.

"Are you quite finished? I have a very important matter I need to discuss with you," he barked at Samejima, purposefully ignoring Ryo.

"Yes, Ryo and I were just discussing his new roommate."

"And who might that be?" Chronos asked in a bored tone.

"The other elite duelist. What was his name again? Tenjoin something?"

"You don't mean Tenjoin Fubuki, do you?!" Chronos screeched. Ryo nearly winced at how shrill his voice sounded.

"Ah! Tenjoin Fubuki, that was it. Yes, I thought that since they're both such fine duelists, maybe they could help encourage each other and give each other a bit of competition."

Chronos stared at Samejima, mouth agape. "You're pairing up Tenjoin Fubuki with HIM?!" he jerked a thumb toward Ryo, who was beginning to feel uneasy.

"Do you think that will be a problem, sir?" Ryo asked somewhat nervously. He'd heard the horror stories about roommates who stayed up until all hours of the night, trashed the dorm rooms, blasted music, and snuck in girls after curfew. He'd even heard of a case where a boy took pictures of his roommate undressing and posted it on the internet, where it still existed to this day. But surely if Tenjoin Fubuki were an elite member, he couldn't be that bad, right?

"Have you lost your mind, sir? They'll never get along! They'll hate each other!"

"That's enough, Chronos!" Samejima yelled sharply. "Ryo, don't listen to him. I have no doubt that the two of you will be just fine. I met Tenjoin at the exams and he's a very nice boy."

"A little too nice, if you ask me," Chronos muttered.

"What was that?"

"Nothing, sir."

"Good. If you'll excuse us, Ryo."

"Yes sir." Ryo bowed again and left. He wandered back to his dorm room and stood on the balcony, thinking. The soft breeze caressed his cheek and ruffled his hair as he looked out at the newly trimmed lawn encompassing the Obelisk dorm. He'd been extremely thankful for the opportunity to come to Duel Academia early, as it gave him the chance to familiarize himself with the campus before the other students arrived. He'd seen almost all of the school over the few days that he'd been there with the exception of the Osiris dorm, which he had no desire to see. But the rest of the school was incredible.

Ryo didn't get excited over much, but the thought of going to a school that revolved around the game he loved was enough to make his heart beat a little faster. The whole time he'd scanned the course catalog and campus map, he'd been unable to keep a grin off his face. Deck Construction, Card Design, Dueling Strategies, Monster Attributes, Gym, and his personal favorite, Intro to Machine Monsters. The only class that puzzled him was the last one listed on his schedule, Duel Alchemy taught by Daitokuji-sensei. He'd never heard of that before.

But what really puzzled him was what Chronos-sensei had said about his new roommate, Tenjoin Fubuki. What had he meant by "too friendly"? And why did he think that they would hate each other? Ryo may not have been the most social person in the world, but he'd been able to get along with most people so far. And Samejima seemed to think they'd be alright; he'd even said Tenjoin was a nice boy.

Curiosity eventually took over and Ryo reached for his handheld computer. He quickly connected to Duel Academia's wi-fi and did an internet search for Tenjoin Fubuki. All he got was a report of his entrance exam. He'd scored very well on both tests, just like Samejima had said. Ryo noted with interest that he'd also dueled using a dragon deck. His rarest card was…Red Eyes Black Dragon.

Ryo's eyes widened. No wonder Tenjoin was a member of the elite. To have a card that rare, commonly used by such duelists as Katsuya Jonouchi and Mutou Yuugi, he had to be very good and very dedicated to dueling. Ryo put the computer away and went back inside, feeling relieved. No doubt Tenjoin was a serious, hard-working student who would be devoted to his studies just like Ryo. Maybe he wouldn't be as serious as Ryo since hardly anyone was, but he surely wouldn't be as wild and crazy as Chronos made him sound. Why had he ever listened to Chronos over Samejima anyway?

No, when Ryo pictured Tenjoin Fubuki in his mind, he pictured a neat and organized looking boy with short, sensible hair, glasses and a very polite air about him. They would study together, maybe duel occasionally, but there would be respect. Ryo would definitely not have to worry about Tenjoin Fubuki causing him any problems.

You just keep on telling yourself that, Ryo. ;)

Did I do okay with Chronos? He pops up a lot in this fic and I'd never written him before (admittedly I'm more familiar with the wackier dub version). I know that he tends to think Obelisk Blues are like gods from above, but…Fubuki is a lot like Juudai, and Chronos hates Juudai. Plus he and Ryo aren't very well-established yet since they're just starting, so they haven't yet attained their "King and Kaiser" status.