Version: 1.5 – Minor grammatical fixes thanks to the After the Deadline proofreading service that’s part of WordPress’ Jetpack.
Conceptualized/First Written: 12/5/04
Completed/Final Edit: 12/7/04, 6/8/07
Don’t Forget! If you’d like to know what I have to say to your reviews, check out the official WDKY page and click on ‘Review Replies.’ Alternatively, you can check my LiveJournal and go to my Memories/Azurite’s Fanfiction section. I’ll eventually add a Review Replies section as well, so if you see that, check there!
On Chapter 12… Frankly, I’m a bit insulted that some of you thought I actually didn’t write Chapter 12. I write ALL my own fics. I don’t do the “ghostwriter” thing, nor do I plagiarize. No one else has access to ANY of my accounts. Over the year (plus) that WDKY’s been coming out, I’ve had very long chapters— and most of you said it might take you hours or even DAYS to read them. I’ve tried to shorten my chapters, and the plan for Chapter 12 indicated just that— a short chapter!
Anyway, since this upcoming arc deals with the Big Five, you should remember something I pointed out early on— the VR World/Noah’s Fortress arc never occurred in the WDKY ficverse. Think of the fic as a fusion between the original and the dub, the anime and the manga— lots of elements from both are here in WDKY, to give it the most “complete” Yu-Gi-Oh universe setting I can.
Lastly— I’m nearing 600 reviews (as of this writing)! WOW! I hope to get Chapter 16 (complete with the spoileriffic profile image on FFnet) up ASAP… but since it’s original art, give me some extra time, okay? I shouldn’t even be here now, I have finals…
‘Why is he here?’
Not that Seto Kaiba minded his brother’s presence. Not at all. But since when did Mokuba go out of his way to meet him at the high school? True, Mokuba would be starting at the nearby junior high soon enough —and Seto always did emphasize preparedness above all else— but still, something was odd.
And if that wasn’t enough, his little brother was talking to the mutt.
Something was definitely wrong.
“Mokuba, what are you doing here?” Seto strode up to the pair, though he blatantly ignored Joey’s presence. He wasn’t about to start acting perfectly cordial to Wheeler every moment of every day; just because they’d had a few close-calls in which Wheeler saved his hide… it didn’t mean anything.
‘Once a mutt, always a mutt.’
“Oh, hey Big Brother! Um, I was just talking to Joey… remember that bet I won from a while back? Well, I was thinking about—”
“Have you seen Téa?” Normally, Seto didn’t interrupt his brother unless something was stressing him out —or worried about something. And in this case, that ‘something’ was Téa being missing. It was one thing if Téa had practice with the dance club or DPAC, but after several weeks of observing her schedule, Seto knew that neither was the case today.
All of her friends were already outside— Kaiba could see them emerging from the cubby areas, casting odd glances his way. They all knew he didn’t hang around campus very much, but since he and Téa were…
“Wait a second, Seto.” Téa tugged on his uniform sleeve almost urgently, digging her heels in and forcing him to come to a stop.
“What is it?” They were going to be late if they didn’t hurry. But… surely she wasn’t going to insist they walk separately, like before, right? Surely she wanted everyone to know by now…
“What are we?”
“What kind of question is that?” He didn’t really understand, and truth be told, he was a bit impatient. Part of him —the perfectionist— wanted to hurry, simply because he was never just ‘on time,’ he was always early. Another part insisted he take his sweet time and walk on the school grounds, Téa at his side. Let them all stare and gape and drool.
Téa shook her head, and sighed, releasing her hand from his sleeve.
“I mean… what— what is this? Are we ‘boyfriend’ and ‘girlfriend,’ or…” she trailed off, wondering what a person such as Kaiba would refer to their relationship. She was afraid he’d say something like ‘a mutual unprofessional relationship,’ or some jargon like that.
“Or what?” Did she expect him to refer to them as something else? It was a ridiculous notion —he’d never even thought about being attached to anyone before, and now, here he was. It was all a little new to him, and, as unusual as it was for Seto Kaiba, he was letting Téa take the lead and show him what to do.
Téa exhaled abruptly, closing her eyes in a sigh of relief.
“Nothing. Never mind.”
With that, they both walked on campus, not caring about the whispers, the stares, or the pointed figures gesturing their way. All they saw was each other.
So, they were ‘boyfriend’ and ‘girlfriend.’ Well, the former certainly wasn’t a term Seto Kaiba ever imagined being associated with. And yet, here he was, playing the role of a perfectly concerned —maybe just a bit too concerned—boyfriend.
“Er, Téa? Nope, why would you ask? I bet she already headed home or something, or maybe she went to go to another meeting— Hey, maybe she went to go see Ma—” Mokuba stopped suddenly, not just because he’d almost blurted ‘Mai’ around Joey (her name, and everything revolving around her, was still a bit of a sensitive topic with him), but because his brother was shooting him a very stern look. It was a look that plainly said: You’re hiding something, and I know it.
‘I can’t tell them! I promised!’
If Mokuba revealed what he knew, he’d be putting Téa in danger. But…
“So very gladyou could join us, Miss Gardner,” a raspy voice greeted Téa as she was bodily shoved into a wide, brightly lit conference room. Her eyes had difficulty adjusting to the light; as soon as she’d entered the black limousine waiting for her outside her high school, she’d been abruptly blindfolded, and told that if she talked or so much as moved a muscle, they would kill her on the spot.
And given that one of the muscled ‘special police’ that accompanied her upstairs pressed a cold, seemingly real gun barrel to her head, Téa hadn’t so much as breathed a whisper.
Téa stayed silent, finally staring in the face of one of the Big Five— directly responsible for her parents’ deaths.
“You’re allowed to speak now, Téa,” Crump smiled toothily, gesturing to the two special police to leave the office. A few other suits remained, seated around an oblong table, each of them leering at her. Most wore sunglasses on their faces, but it didn’t take a vivid imagination to memorize every one of their appearances.
‘You’re all going to pay for what you’ve done to my family…’
She didn’t just mean her parents. She meant Seto and Mokuba too, and all the heartache they’d suffered…
“What do you want with me?” Téa finally blurted, her voice laced with just a bit too much venom.
“Oh come, child,” Crump chuckled condescendingly, taking a seat. “It’s not as though we forced you to come here.”
“I seem to recall otherwise. ‘If you choose not to come, I promise you won’t get a second chance,'” Téa mimicked Crump’s raspy voice, licking her lips once she finished speaking. Crump sounded like he had a permanent case of laryngitis, and it hurt her throat just to make fun of him. It probably wasn’t the wisest idea, but she was done being ‘Miss Nice Girl’ for someone who had a hand in the death of her parents.
“A matter of interpretation,” Crump sneered. “Did you think I meant we’d have you killed if you didn’t come? That wouldn’t be very beneficial to us now, would it?”
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m not here to threaten you, Miss Gardner. If I wanted you killed, you would already be in your grave.”
‘Yeah, right,’ Téa thought to herself,doubt flitting across her face briefly in the form of a sarcastic smile. Crump only frowned, but said nothing about her clear distrust.
“In any case, I’m here to make a… proposition of sorts.”
Téa frowned, her eyes narrowing and darkening to a deep blue. “I don’t make deals with criminals.”
“You haven’t even heard our side of the story yet, Miss Gardner,” Crump laughed, not the least bit intimidated. Or at least, he didn’t appear intimidated. But he knew that his so-called ‘partners,’ Gansley, Johnson, Nesbitt, and Leichter thought of him as expendable— so if he didn’t succeed in getting the last Gardner on their side, then he’d have to kill her. There was no room for failure.
“I’m willing to make an exchange of information, Téa,” Crump began, ignoring Téa’s cringe at his use of her given name. She detested the idea that he would refer to her as if she were close to him in any size, shape, or form. Surely he knew she hated him. So why all the fake pretense?
“Get on with it.”
“Ah, direct and to the point. You’re definitely your parents’ daughter, all right. And for once, such traits will actually be of use to us.”
Téa grit her teeth together, her eyes narrowing even further. But she had to stick around and listen… she had to!
“Help us, and we’ll help you. Enable us to remove Seto Kaiba from his CEO position, and we shall reveal the truth the truth about your parents.”
“She what?!” Yugi exclaimed. He, Duke, and Tristan all arrived beside Joey just as Mokuba finally admitted where Téa was. The answer: off meeting one of the Big Five— and nowhere near Domino High, that much was sure.
“Aw shit, one incident with those jerkwads wasn’t enough—” Joey began, punching a fist into his other hand angrily.
“There’s more than that,” Seto cut him off, his voice icy. The Big Five —responsible for the Gardners’ deaths, several conspiracies against him and his company, and who knows what else… but why was Téa trying to take matters into her own hands again?
“I thought I said no more secrets, Mokuba,” Seto muttered under his breath. He couldn’t meet his brother’s gaze. Why did he keep getting put into situations like this, where he had to choose between his brother and Téa? Why did he constantly have to choose between the bond he’d forged over years with his brother, and the new one he’d just created with Téa?
Mokuba jerked his head away, refusing to let the tears welling in his eyes slide free. He couldn’t let his brother see him cry… Kaibas weren’t weak!
“You were lying to her too!” Mokuba finally snapped. He hadn’t meant to yell; several passing schoolgirls who’d probably thought him an adorable youngster suddenly stared at him. Great, he was officially a loudmouthed runt.
“There’s plenty of secrets you haven’t even come close to telling Téa, even if you guys are going out. No matter what, she’ll always be aware of that— so she’ll justify being able to keep her own secrets!” Mokuba frowned. It still ached inside, knowing that he could understand Téa, and Seto couldn’t —wouldn’t!— but Téa had chosen Seto instead.
Seto couldn’t respond to that. Maybe it was because he was so surprised— but maybe it was because he couldn’t find the words to say.
Mokuba barreled on, “I told her I’d keep it a secret if she let me in on her plans. If I agreed to distract you guys long enough while she went to go meet them—”
“Where?” Tristan demanded harshly.
“I— I don’t know! They just said a black limousine would pick her up after school. It’s been gone for a while now… But even if you could find it, it’d ruin everything! Crump said that if anyone found out, they’d kill her!”
“That means she’s already in danger,” Yugi whispered, turning serious eyes to face Seto. Kaiba only nodded before dashing out of the school grounds toward his own personal limousine.
“You want me to what?”
“I’m not asking for anything complicated, Miss Gardner. Nor am I implicating that Mr. Kaiba or his brother will come to any harm—” The glint in Crump’s eyes said otherwise.
It wasn’t enough that Seto demoted them once he took over Kaiba Corporation, but when their plan to join forces with Pegasus failed, they resorted to virtual dueling and been soundly beaten at that. Had they not readied for that eventuality, they would still be stuck in cyberspace, prisoners of a group of foolish teenagers.
Not a single member of the Big Five cared to forgive Seto Kaiba for that— and if it meant using his own girlfriend against him, they would do so. Of course, getting her to agree…
‘Liar!’ She wanted to yell at him, she wanted to shout. Part of her even wanted to break free of her self-imposed restraints and attack the man. But she couldn’t let anger take her over like that… She knew what it was like for emotions to control her to the point of helplessness, and feeling unable —or perhaps, just unwilling— to see the truth of a situation. She’d been there. Seto had been there. She never wanted to feel like that, ever again.
‘Make him think I’ll agree. Make him think that I’m tricking Kaiba… Maybe then, I can trap him.’
But the odds weren’t in her favor. Including Crump, there were no less than five other men in the room— all of them easily brawn enough to get her to submit forcefully, if they wanted to. But she couldn’t think like that. This was the right decision. It was her decision, where she could solve her own problems and not put anyone else in danger…
A cell phone rang, Crump’s gaze drifting to one of the heavier-set men sitting near him. The man withdrew a sleek, black mobile phone from his inside breast pocket, flipping it open and speaking without a second of hesitation.
The man was silent a moment, listening to whoever was on the other end. He didn’t even bother with a ‘goodbye’ before he hung up, rising to his feet to face Crump.
Téa’s heart abruptly began to race; she had no idea what the person on the phone had told the other man, and who knew what it could mean for her?
“They know. They’re on the move.”
Téa looked confused, staring between the man and Crump; it was only when Crump turned a malicious, leering grin on her that she realized: any hope she had of convincing Crump that she was on their side had just been shot to death. There was no way out now; she was sure of it.
“Well, well, Miss Gardner, it looks as though you haven’t held up your end of the bargain. And now, you’ll suffer the consequences. Your position is no longer associate… but hostage.”
This chapter is even SHORTER than Chapter 12… Chapter 14 will be longer, though, as will 15 and 16 (the Christmas chapters). I happen to like these shorter, more suspenseful chapters… I’m sticking to my plan of events, so don’t think I’m shafting you for drama, angst, and romance. All in good time… *grin*