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April 2016

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formal, beach

Silent Cinderella - The Dream (Chp2)

Fandom: YuugiOu
Characters/Ship: Seto and Shizuka +others/Silentshipping
Genre: Romance/Drama
Shizuka wants to get ahead in life. Kaiba just wants to de-stress. Mokuba wants his brother to be happy, and Jou's rather clueless. A tale of a not-so-epic love between Domino's Prince-of-pretty-much-everything and the girl who's rather unsure.

Chapter 2: The Dream

~~~

Once upon a time, a young girl, Cinderella, lived with her widowed father. He gave her everything she could ever want or need. However, he believed Cinderella needed a mother's love. So her father re-married. Te woman was beautiful, from a good family and had two daughter's Cinderella's age. They made a good family.

At least, they had. That was until the father, a good and kind man, tragically passed away. The step mother's true personality was revealed. A bitter, vile woman was left as the matriarch of the family and their beautiful chateau. The woman put the needs of her two awkward and vicious daughters first and her own desires ruled the house (which had long ceased to be a home). Meanwhile, Cinderella was abused and humiliated, becoming a servant in her own home.

Bu, in the face of adversity, Cinderella grew into a beautiful and caring young maiden. She had her dreams and desires and eventually found true love in the Prince of her small kingdom (with a bit of help from her Fairy Godmother).

The step sisters and their mother got what they deserved and the kingdom prospered under Cinderella and her prince. And they lived happily ever after.



But this isn't a fairytale. This is a story set in Domino City, one of Japan's most bustling areas. It's ruled not by a handsome and kind prince but rather by business tycoons and corrupt politicians. Cinderella never existed outside of the well worn pages of her tale or beyond Walt Disney's colourful movies.

The dreams of young girls are created by fairytales and destroyed by reality. However, despite life's hardships, some people won't be swayed from their optimism, continuing to believe that "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" and that their Prince will sweep them off their feet.

How often does that happen? How often are we fulfilled? How often are we happy? But that's a discussion for another time. For now, let's begin the story of a girl dreaming of her Prince in a world so unlike Cinderella's.

---

It was another dreary day; the last month had been full of them! The sky was grey and the rain fell in heavy torrents, creating large puddles and making slushy mud. Shizuka sighed, her breath fogging up the window as her teacher droned on – history was so much more interesting when it involved ancient artefacts and a very real threat to the world she lived in. After everything that had happened in Battle City, she'd done more research on Egypt and the origins of Duel Monsters, but now her favourite subject was as dull as the rest of school.

After lunch was art and the redhead could only hope the rain would ease off by then. She had to walk home at the end of the day and didn't particularly feel like getting drenched. Her house was only a few blocks away, but her jumper always smelt like wet dog if it got the slightest bit damp. She wrinkled her nose as she recalled how her room had smelt for days after she lost the cream jumper under her bed. It hadn't been very appealing, to say the least.

The rain had stopped later on, letting the students run free at lunch, getting rid of all the energy that magically appears after being locked up in school during the wet spells. Then it had become so hot that puddles had begun to evaporate while she was painting in art. After school ended, it was as if she'd jinxed herself. The moment she walked outside, refusing her friend's offer for a ride home or to borrow her cute umbrella, the water started belting down even harder than earlier. Shizuka heard some of her classmates curse and they splashed her as they ran by, bags over their heads as thunder rolled in the distance.

She panted as she ran home (jumped stuffed unceremoniously in her bag, no doubt ridiculously wrinkled), trying to squeeze under awnings when she could. Her shirt was soaked through and she was pretty sure her brown shoes were now irreparable due to water damage from all this damn rain! She cursed mentally, hair sticking to her head and ran around an old couple in the middle of the path.

As the first bolt of lightning lit up the sky, the thunder boomed much louder than before. The ginger haired girl jumped and slipped, catching herself on a pole. The girl, in her second year of high school, decided it wasn't worth the dash home and slipped into a bookshop at the end of the street. It was quaint and warm, albeit the floor a bit slippery and the room slightly squishy, but it sold coffee and homemade cookies, almost seemingly in an effort to make up for its dated appearance.

With a mournful sigh, she shut the door and checked her watch. It was already half past four. Her mum wasn't going to be home for another two hours, she could probably pick her up then. Shizuka was about to go through her bag, but realized she left her phone charging on her desk after talking to Maya last night. Blowing some stray hair out of her face, she wondered how long the storm was going to last. Her mother knew this was one of her favourite places – she'd come looking eventually. Until then, she'd do her homework. After opening her saturated bag, the teen was glad when her jumper looked to be in perfect condition – then she saw the stain.

Groaning, she looked at her hands, finding then removing the offending wet paint with a napkin. Her calculator decided to die as well and she embarrassed herself by not having enough money to pay for her hot chocolate. She resignedly packed up her things and decided just to walk home, wishing that she hadn't broke her umbrella last week.

"No. No. No. Are you serious? No. Really now? How many times must I repeat myself?" Toriyabe Hanako, a short woman in her early twenties, pushed up her glasses and glared. She was the second most intimidating and third toughest person at Kaiba Corporation, only behind the Kaiba brothers. Mokuba was the likeable Kaiba, friendly to all, but she was second only to the boss – she was Kaiba Seto's secretary. And she was pissed.

"Do you even know what we do here at Kaiba Corporation?" The man in front of her started to speak, but Hanako cut him off. "We deal with the most advance gaming technology available; we're superior, top of the field. This," the brunette gestured angrily at the application she'd just tossed into the bin, "- is pathetic."

"But Toriyabe-san –" The young man from PR started, but the petite secretary slammed him down.
"The Kaiba Corporation Achievement Scholarship is for people who have already achieved. They need to be skilled in the areas of computers, have a solid understanding of maths and science and also be reasonably involved in Duel Monsters. This is by no means an application to be a cover girl," some of the others in the room scoffed and chortled, "-it's a serious form to possibly fast track a career in working here or to get a respectable job in design!"

More people had gathered around the elevator and coffee machine at either end of the hall, watching the older woman snarl, amused at the man's plight, but so very thankful they weren't in his position. "Uh, well…there are a few other applications here-" The black haired man shrunk as those green eyes narrowed further. "These are better! Really, I promise these were the best of the lot!" Truth be told, these were the ones Shinji was just about to throw out. He wasn't interested in working with these ones.

Hanako snatched the remaining three files and stormed up the hall, heels clicking loudly. She entered the elevator (everyone pretended they'd just gotten out) and turned around. Before the elevator shut, she called out quietly in a voice that carried down the hall that still hadn't quite started to function normally again. "Be careful, Shinji-kun. If you're wrong…well, you know, don't you?" A sweet smile and the elevator closed its doors smoothly.

Some of the older staff, more senior than Hanako, chuckled. The boy wasn't really going to get fired. Kaiba Corporation rarely fired people if they could help it, and Hanako didn't have the authority to do that anyway (not that the younger and greener employees knew that).

Hanako exited the elevator, still smiling. That poor boy. Silly thing should have given her the proper papers in the first place, instead of all the riff raff. She couldn't fire him (but she did have the power to put those motions in place rather quickly) and he was only filling in for the head of PR while he was away (why Yamamoto-san had left Shinji of all people in charge, she'd never know), but it was so fun to mess with the newbies. She walked towards her desk as the elevator dinged cheerily, going back down and she smirked. Hanako really did love her job.

"Anything else?"
"No sir." Hanako held her boss in high regard, which was probably why her work limits exceeding others and why she'd risen so quickly to secretary of the 'Prince of Domino' as the more impressionable girls fawned. He needed to relax more, so she would do everything she could do to help, unlike her idiotic sister, Minako, who was Head of Staff at the Kaiba Manor. "After you sign these, we can send of the confirmation letters and the scholarship recipients can start by the end of the month."

Another smile was directed at Seto, but his eyes were glued to the glaring laptop screen in front of him, as they had been for the last twelve hours. Hands perfect for playing the piano (and the girl's in the coffee room often fantasised about what else) scrawled his signature thrice, barely looking over the files, and returned them almost instantaneously.

"You can leave now, Hana." The brunette smiled again, whispering "Good night, Seto-sama" as she bowed. As usual, his focus had returned to the softly whirring machine on his desk. Seto never gave a reply, but she was used to that by now. Hanako and her unguided twin, Minako, had been with Kaiba Corporation since Seto had taken over.

There were no words to show her respect for Seto. Unlike the brats who stuck photos of him on the sides of his computers and gossiped about his life, Hanako genuinely cared about him. Seto certainly wasn't the easiest person to get along with, but he had let her in more so than others. She was the one who was asked second opinions, organised things when he was ill and invited to watch Mokuba's soccer games (by the younger Kaiba, of course) or be his date for charitable functions.

Despite all she didn't know about him, she wasn't giving up. With everything he'd done for her and Mina, she'd do anything to protect the young CEO. With his help, she had plenty of money, a stable and most envied job, a comfortable home and she didn't have to worry about Minako doing god-knows-what. No one was ever going to harm him in any manner – she'd stake her life on it.

---

The storm had started to cease when she got to her street, but the rain kept up long into the evening. After a warm shower and a dinner of oden, Shizuka settled down to start her homework (again). By 7.30 pm, she'd finished planning her artist essay and she completed her history homework. The brunette sighed, wishing she hadn't spent the better half of fifteen minutes searching for batteries for the damn calculator!

Now she had the choice of watching a drama on NHK or doing maths. It had been a really long day, but she knew she really ought to get her work done...

After her mother called her down, one drama turned into three, before a hot chocolate and a muffin to send her off to sleep. Despite the enjoyable evening, the teenager already regretted the pile of work that remained sprawled all over her desk. Honestly, she was never going to get anywhere if she kept procrastinating like this! She'd just have to ban herself from TV is all...(the poster of the gorgeous Hideki Ryuuga smirked at her from across the room and Shizuka knew immediately that she couldn't –wouldn't- give TV up.)

Some type of balance was needed though. Things were only going to get harder the closer she got to finishing school, despite the fact that it was more than a year away, her teachers were already preparing them for it (not that half her grade, herself included, even wanted to think about university yet). It wasn't that her marks were bad or anything (though they weren't spectacular either), Shizuka just wanted to do her best. She had to do her best!

As her hair fell over her face, she blew at it idly, thinking. 'If my marks aren't good, I might not get that scholarship...I really need that scholarship...It'll help pay my school fees, giving me a head start on saving for university. If I hadn't gotten ill, I already would have had that money...'

Her English assignment (not that they knew exactly what is was yet) floated in and out of her mind throughout the night. There was something about relating something to a movie..? (No, that wasn't it…) Ah! Relating your life to a story (preferably something written – her teacher wasn't too impressed with Hollywood remakes of 'brilliant pieces of classic literature').

Would it be presumptuous of her to relate her life to Cinderella? (It had always been her favourite.) A Prince, a dream coming true, a person who she wanted to be like – this fairytale really had it all. Cinderella was beautiful, kind, gentle and virtuous – she was the perfect girl! As a child, Shizuka had always envied her for that (it was no wonder the Prince had married her) and tried to model herself after the beautiful servant-turned-Princess.

With age, that chase faded while her focus turned to grades and her failing eyesight. On her roughest day, she cried bitterly because of the lack of a Fairy Godmother to save her from her woes. The day after, Cinderella was thrown from her mind – this was her life and she was going to live it, rather than try to emulate Cinderella's pixelated version.

But the beloved fairy tale had returned soon enough. Shizuka's eye operation had been a success and she got to spend time with her brother! It may not have been a fairy tale ending with the holographic monsters and evil alter-egos, but she was happy with where she was. She had more friends now and had been on adventures that were the stuff of fiction (as said all of school friends who were out of the loop) and the young girl was content with that. How could she not be? After all, everyone does love a happy ending.

Ah, she could worry about that later, when she actually knew what the assignment was! (And thinking deeper, she thought Cinderella was a stupid choice – it was probably just because she was tired that her mind drew those vague similarities.) Sighing again, Shizuka thought more on the Kaiba Corporation Achievement Scholarship. The form had been an absolute pain to fill out, but she could really use its help.

It's main purpose was to help those who were affected by hardship but had also achieved despite that. She wasn't interested in computer engineering, but a job at Kaiba Corporation would get her almost anywhere! Her dream was designing – she preferred fashion, but interior or any other type of design was great. As long as she could doodle and dream, the young girl was happy.

(It was much better than becoming a teacher, which is what she'd told the career's councillor she thought she could realistically become. Teaching would be dull with crappy pay, but it'd be a living. Even if it did involved bitchy high school students day in and day out.)

Her mother had always told her that honesty was the best policy, but perhaps being so blunt on her application paper hadn't been the best idea for this case. Maybe that's why she hadn't received a reply – her lack of interest in computers and vague place on the Duel Monsters scene must have ruined her chances more than she'd thought..

The young girl shut her eyes, yawning. She pulled the covers up tighter, praying that Kaiba and Jounochi's antagonism for each other didn't ruin her chances even more…

---

As the computer clicked off, Kaiba looked over the scholarship recipients properly. A pretty girl, Higurashi Momo, had rather good grades, despite her poor attendance; Terauchi Suzume was rather plain, but she was class president and her computer skills were amazing (according to her application anyway); Kawai Shizuka…he'd heard that name before. He knew who she was…well, there was a vague feeling he did, at any rate.

The young president frowned, trying to figure out who that smiling face was, but nothing triggered his memory. Her statement and the information she'd given didn't reveal much about her – the red-headed girl definitely wasn't a duelist (at least not one worthy of being on his radar) and he couldn't remember Mokuba telling him about her, although they went to the same school across the city (though there was a few years difference between them..).

It wasn't until after the brunette had finished packing his duralumin case that it hit him. That smiling face (and horridly ginger hair) face belonged to the mutt's sister. They looked nothing alike – the same applied to him and Mokuba, but at least they had similar tastes and goals. The CEO of Kaiba Corporation turned the lights off and took the lift to the underground car park. With a twist of his key, the car revved up and Kaiba smirked, the last thought of Kawai leaving as he entered the traffic. Things were certainly going to become interesting.

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