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Folgen Sie Ihrem Traum Chapter 23 (Yu-Gi-Oh, Seto/Téa, #14)

Title: Folgen Sie Ihrem Traum (Follow Your Dream); Chapter 22: More Revelations
Author: Crystal Rose of Pollux (rose_of_pollux)
Pairing: Seto Kaiba/Téa Gardner
Fandom: Yu-Gi-Oh
Theme: 14; Paris, France
Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine (except for the OC dancers) and the story is
Warnings: Villainy
Rating: PG13

This chapter will be cross-posted to 30_nights, 20_heartbeats, and http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4336463/23/


Seto was halfway to Paris when he received a message from the von Schroeders that the Rare Hunters had fled the warehouse, taking Téa with them. Once again using the tracking signal to guide him, he followed the signal, all the while trying to comprehend his own actions.

He had his money; Kaiba Corporation was as good as restored. And yet he was risking so much to ensure Gardner’s safety. There was no getting around it; he did feel for her. He had almost come close to telling her that, but she had to bring that traitorous Aurus along with her. And now she was paying for it.

The CEO sighed, trying to push back the feelings of worry. There was every chance that he would be too late—that Téa would already be initiated before he got there. He was hoping that she’d find some way to stall long enough for him to arrive. She was a strong, fiery spirit; she would be able to hold them off for a little while. Her spirit was what had stood out almost immediately; Seto had noticed that she wasn’t one of the quiet girls who stood back, without saying a word. And she was one of the few people who possessed the nerve to stand up to him—and more than once.

But the Rare Hunters were a cruel and cold group of people; she would only be able to hold out for so long. And if she flatly refused, they wouldn’t allow her to get far; Seto had seen the crazed look in Arkana’s eyes.

There would plenty of time for him to excavate his feelings later; right now, he would have to reach Paris before his feelings became useless.

***********************************

It was the height of summer, and yet Téa Gardner was shivering miserably as Kayser led her and Aurus through Paris. The city was illuminated with lights, but Téa’s world was shrouded in the darkness of despair. She glanced around at the circle of Rare Hunters surrounding her, each one poised to cut off her escape if she indicated that she considered fleeing.

The strength that had been an essential part of her spirit was ebbing away with each step they took. She had been holding onto so many hopes and dream when she had left Domino, and now all of them had slipped through her fingers. They were beyond her reach, but taunted her all the same.

She still grasped on to whatever strength she had left; she resolved to herself that she would not cry in front of them, in spite of how crushed she was. She walked on, like Eowyn heading into battle. But it was all a façade; all this time, she had assumed that she and Seto were finally in this case together, and to be betrayed by him now was simply the last straw.

She wasn’t angry with Seto; that was simply the way he was. She was more upset with herself for ever believing that he had changed. In spite of the memories of how they had worked together… how he had helped her in Pennsylvania, even though he was going out of his way… how he showed up at the theater to warn her to be careful… how she had embraced him—twice, even though he had not returned the embrace… It was all for nothing.

How ironic it was that her sorrow was due to the betrayal more than her fate. After all, there would be some way out of this predicament; even if she was inducted, Yugi would receive the word from Leon, and he and the others would soon get her out of here. She would only have to stall… unless they used some sort of mind control over her. That was possible, though she wasn’t sure how, now that the Millennium Items were gone. Perhaps they would use the Anubis pendant…

The pendant!” her mind exclaimed. “Kaiba still has the pendant! Do they know about that? Did Aurus tell them?

She glanced at the silent Aurus, unaware of the lies he had previously poisoned her mind with. Her thought for him was that he would be able to find a way out of this, too; she could not have known that the boy was already a Rare Hunter, albeit against his will.
“Here we are…” said Kayser.

The man had led them to a clearly old manor house. The rusted iron gates were wrought into a family crest and opened into a path that was overgrown with foliage. The house itself was unkempt and in need of repair, though it must have been warm and luxurious in its prime; it had obviously been abandoned, and was now used as a headquarters for the Rare Hunters.

The old wooden doors opened, and Téa and Aurus were lead to the once-lavish drawing room. Bandit Keith was sitting in an old armchair by the fire, like a king on his throne; the cruel man gave a satisfied smirk as Téa entered the room. She tried not to meet the card shark’s eyes, instead taking in the old room, which was draped with cobwebs and covered in dust. The firelight illuminated a large portrait of a tall, handsome blond man standing arm and arm with a curly-haired brunette woman. Just visible in the lower right-hand corner of the portrait were the painter’s initials, nearly invisible in the dust: “O.G.”

“This house isn’t yours, I’ll bet,” accused Téa, for the blond man in the portrait looked nothing at all like Keith or any of his possible ancestors.

“Very good, Gardner,” sneered Keith. “This is the famed Chagny Manor, once the grandest estate in all of France. Only the grandness of the Versailles Palace was said to have matched it. It was last owned by a 19th-century Viscount. He left the manor to his two daughters, but their travels took them far; they married and settled down in their new homes abroad. The Viscount remained here with his wife until the end of their days, and the manor was eventually abandoned. We felt that it would be a shame for it to go to waste.”
“I thought you were a terrible person, but you’ve just hit an all-time low,” Téa said, scowling. “You don’t have any right to just barge in and take over the place, even if no one came back to claim it!”

“This manor will soon be your home, Gardner,” Keith informed her. “This is where all of the Rare Hunters stay when we’re not on assignment.”

Téa’s initial response was to retort that she didn’t want anything to do with this, but she stopped herself; she was, after all, trying to stall for time.

“I’ll have to give you credit, Gardner,” said Keith. “When I first saw you at Duelist Kingdom, I never would’ve pegged you as someone who would’ve end up giving me a hard time, not to mention totally ruining this little dance troupe plot we had going along.”

“I feel so honored,” she replied, sounding more like Seto than herself. Apparently, they had both rubbed off on each other, however slightly. And that made the betrayal hurt all the more.

“We already have an assignment ready for you, Miss Gardner,” said Kayser. “You see, Kaiba has that Anubis medallion that we need. I’m sure that after he sold you out, you wouldn’t have any qualms in taking it from him.”

“You want me to steal the medallion from Kaiba!?” she asked, stunned. It was almost perfect; she could escape without even having to meet with Seto at all. She couldn’t rely on him to help her home; she would have to handle it herself. And yet, Kayser did mention that it would be an opportunity to get some sort of vengeance against Seto, who had sold her out…

Téa shook the thought from her head. Even if he had done that to her, she couldn’t sink that low. She glanced around the house, trying to find something to discuss that would stall the time.

Bandit Keith seemed to be able to read her thoughts.

“There’s no need to drag this out a moment longer,” he said. “Arkana, bring Miss Gardner her new uniform. And Strings, bring the papyrus for her to sign. And Kayser… do me a favor and shut that cell phone of yours off before anyone else tracks down its signal!”

*********************************

Unfortunately, Seto had been in the middle of Paris, tracking the signal when it finally shut off. He muttered something under his breath, trying to figure out a different way to find Téa.

“Where’s a crazy informant when you really need one…?” he muttered to himself.

You do not need an informant, my friend.

The CEO froze; he had heard this voice before, when he had been an inch away from death after being bitten by a funnel web spider. He had dismissed it then as a product of delirium, but now he was wide awake. He racked his brain for an explanation, and found nothing.

“I don’t know who you are,” said Seto. “But if you know where Gardner is--”

You do remember the general area the signal was, do you not?” the voice replied. “You will find your destination there.

Seto didn’t bother to discuss anything with the voice; he followed his instincts, trying to recall where the signal had been. He hadn’t expected to end up at an old, abandoned manor house. He rammed the front door, which didn’t budge, in spite of all of his efforts.

Don’t bother going through the front door; the fiends will have sealed it with all five bolts,” said the voice. “There is no alternative; you must go through the window. I am willing to lose it if it means getting those beasts out of my house.

“Your house…?” Seto replied, incredulously. There was only one explanation—he was going crazy. The sleepless nights spent globetrotting, coupled with the jet lag, had undoubtedly had him hearing ghosts.

Meanwhile, inside the drawing room, Téa found herself in the violet robe that she despised so much. She tried to remain stoic, in spite of the horrible feeling that came with the garment. She was betraying her friends, even though they would understand that she had no choice. And she was betraying herself. But that feeling wasn’t new; it seemed as though that everyone had betrayed her lately.

“It’s you,” smirked Keith.

She replied the thief with a cold glance, who merely held out a piece of papyrus and a small ink-tipped brush.

“We didn’t think that you’d know how to write in hieroglyphs, so we did that part for you,” said Keith. “All you need to do is sign.”

Téa held the brush to the papyrus trying desperately to think of a plan. But panic was creeping in now; she couldn’t focus her mind.

“We’re waiting, Gardner; we don’t have all--”

The drawing room window splintered to pieces with an ear-splitting crash as the trenchcoat-clad businessman made his entrance. Téa jumped, a blot of ink falling onto the papyrus as all heads turned to face the businessman. The brush slipped from her hand as she registered the new arrival.

Seto’s eyes met hers, and he was unpleasantly surprised to see her in the violet robe. For a moment, he thought he had been too late, but upon realizing that she hadn’t yet signed the papyrus, Seto proceeded to embroil in a fresh struggle with the Rare Hunters.

Bandit Keith was in no mood to fight with him here; he signaled the retreat, and the Hunters fled out the front doors.

“Téa!” called Aurus, extending his hand to her. “Come with me; I know where we can escape!”

She started to follow him, but Seto seized her arm.

“Let go of me, Kaiba,” she ordered, her voice uncharacteristically icy. She pulled her arm away.

“Gardner, you can’t go with him.”

“Well, if you think I’m going to go with you after you sold us out, you have another thing coming!”

“Sold you out? What kind of nonsense are you talking about this time?” the CEO asked, genuinely perplexed.

“Aurus told me all about how you took the money and ran,” Téa replied, as though she were stating the obvious.

“That’s right; he can’t make amends just like that,” said Aurus, hoping that Téa would go with him before she discovered the truth.

“Gardner, he’s one of them!” Seto said. “I found a tracking chip on the medallion; he led the Rare Hunters right to us!”

“What!? No way!” Aurus bluffed. “Whom are you going to believe, Téa? I was the one who stood by you all this time; he was the one who ran out on you!”

Téa didn’t reply at first; she glanced from each young man to the other and back again, in mass confusion.

“I didn’t run out on you Gardner; why else would I be here?” Seto retorted. “I could have gone back to Domino. I could have gone back weeks ago, rather than chase you all around the world, but I didn’t. At first I had no clue as to why I was doing this to myself. But now I know; I couldn’t let you face the Rare Hunters alone. You wouldn’t have had a chance.”

Téa frowned.

“And,” he added. “I couldn’t allow them to make you one of them. But that’s exactly what your friend over there wants.”

“I don’t want you to be a Rare Hunter,” said Aurus. “I didn’t even want to be one myself. Can’t you come with me, Téa? We can escape from my cousin together; we’ll have a much better chance of getting away then.”

“Well… I…”

“Gardner, do you even have to think about this?” asked Seto, frowning now. “You know that your entire crew of friends will be waiting for you right now in Domino. Just tell this lunatic to go off alone.”

“Kaiba, look at me!” Téa said, finally allowing the tears to fall. “Look at this… this monstrosity I’m wearing!” She indicated the violet robe. “I left Domino to chase my dreams, and look at me now! All I found were nightmares!”

“So, we’ll run from our nightmares,” agreed Aurus. “Come on, Téa; we have to be out of Paris before Keith realizes that we’re gone.”

Seto seized Téa’s arm again.

“Kaiba, please understand,” she said, before he could say a word. “I can’t go back like this. What’ll they say? What am I supposed to say when they asked me what happened? Do I tell them that all of my dreams are shattered!?”

“Snap out of it, Gardner; this isn’t like you!” Seto retorted. “So what if your dreams are shattered? Put it behind you and move on.”

“That’s easy for you to say,” she replied, forlorn. “You’ve got everything in control in your own little world. And if I go with Aurus, I won’t be there to mess it up for you.”

“You can’t go with him,” Seto stated, firmly. “Chances are that Keith will find you, and you’ll be right back where you started. I may not be able to help you if that happens.”

“And even if you could, you wouldn’t, especially if your company was in trouble,” she added.

“Gardner, do I have to spell it out for you!?” Seto retorted. “I didn’t sell you out; I never agreed to take the money! The fighting went on after you fell unconscious. I took a hit, and that was when they all fled, including your friend over there. For the past several weeks, I’ve been traveling all across the world because of you! You are the only reason why I’m in Paris right now.”

And finally, Aurus couldn’t take it anymore.

“He’s right, Téa; I lied to you,” he admitted.

Her head turned sharply towards him.

“No…” she said, in disbelief. “You, too? Aurus, how could you!? I thought that you were the one person I could trust…”

“I… I’m sorry, Téa,” he said. “I really do like you a lot… and I thought that if I turned you against Kaiba, we could be together.”

It was too much for the girl to bear.

“I… I need to be alone,” she stammered. Without another word to either of the young men, she departed from the manor.

She walked, trying to sort through the muddle in her mind. Why had this happened to her? She was the most unassuming and generous person in the world. Why had so many people betrayed her? She suppressed a sob as she realized that Seto may have had a point with his policy of trusting no one.

The whirling blades of a helicopter pulled her from her thoughts. She looked up to see the craft circling the roof of an old, abandoned opera house. Squinting in the low light, she was barely able to discern a figure standing on the opera house roof. To her shock, it was Kayser.

The normally amiable girl was in no mood to forgive this time; she found her way up to the roof of the opera house, hiding behind an ornate marble sculpture as Kayser kept waiting for the helicopter to pause long enough for him to board.

“Kayser!” she called.

The former dance troupe leader turned to see the girl, her shoulder-length hair flying in all directions from the wind of the helicopter propeller.

“So you’ve decided to join us after all?” he asked.

“Never,” she replied. “I’ve come for some answers. Why on earth did you do this to me!?”

“It was never meant to end like this,” Kayser replied. “I had intended for you to dance your way to glory. You were the one who got too nosy for your own good. And you’ve put me out of a job, too.”

“I feel so guilty,” she replied sarcastically.

“You’d have made a good Rare Hunter,” he said. “And don’t forget; you’ve worn the robe. A drop of ink has landed on the papyrus; I think that might be enough to make you one of us.”

“I’ll never be one of you,” Téa vowed.

“It’s not up to you; it’s up to the ancient text to decide. Will that be all, or do you have any more complaints?” Kayser asked.

“Just one more thing,” she said. “I vow that one day, you’ll be behind bars, where you belong. You put Kaiba and me through too much to get away with it.”

“I’ll keep that in mind. Are you coming, Aurus?”

Téa glanced behind her to see Seto and Aurus standing behind her. Aurus gave her one long glance before following his cousin onto the helicopter, which paused before leaving.

“Just remember, Gardner; you’re one of us, now,” Keith taunted her. “We’ll be coming for you.”

“Try it; just try it,” Seto dared him, under his breath, as the helicopter flew away.

Téa sank to the opera house roof. Her thoughts were still muddled as she glanced into the sky, wishing that she could somehow summon the Time Wizard and relive the last several weeks so differently.

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