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April 2016

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Silent Cinderella - Welcome To My Truth (Chp4)

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 Four - Welcome To My Truth

---

'Third time lucky' is how the saying goes, right? Doesn't that mean the ratio is two lots of bad luck to one lot of good luck? What if it's not bad luck, but really horrible unfortunate luck? Does that make the good luck worth it?

In some cases, yes. Cinderella lost her mother at a young age - bad luck number one. However, fortunately, her father raised her well and was there for her. The shape of the second lot of bad luck wasn't obvious until his death. Lady Tremaine wouldn't have been able to win the late aristocrat without some luck of her own, of course. It's either that or Cinderella's father was so infatuated or desperate for his daughter to have a mother figure that he was blind to the step-mother's cruel nature.

By association, 'cinderella' now means one who has gained recognition or has become successful after a period of neglect or difficulty. For Cinderella, the bell rings true. After being forced into servitude, her beauty and kind nature was allowed to shine, by the appearance of her fairy godmother. This allowed her to meet the Prince and if marrying royalty doesn't make one recognizable, what does?

However, fairytales are tales for a reason - to make people feel better. About what exactly? Their lives, themselves, humanity? It doesn't particularly matter. These tales are often extraordinary and unusual and all revolve around the extravagant emerging out of the ordinary.

Can ordinary people live the lives of story book characters? Are we divided into 'good' and 'evil', or categories more like 'damsel in distress' and 'Prince Charming'? Does our luck determine our story? Maybe we make our own luck, which then creates our story? Do we only have one chance at luck? Cinderella met her prince, but as the clock chimed, she had to flee. But her chance came again. Does that mean it's the fourth time, rather than the third, that's the charm?

For Kawai Shizuka, luck was a fickle thing. Her brother held it in abundance when duelling, and she felt like the luckiest girl in the world after her eye surgery was successful. She'd received a chance to work at Kaiba Corporation and wasn't what you'd call dumb. To most, life would seem incredible. But Shizuka wasn't Cinderella, and her luck was nowhere near as simple.

:.:

She didn't really see Kaiba often, but when she did he was never around long enough for her to apologise. Some might have thought it stupid, considering the amount of time that had passed, but the brunette hoped that by apologising to the stoic CEO for her hideous first impression, he wouldn't be as mad and her embarassment from that would also dissipate. That could happen faster if Momo kept being petty and if Marie didn't keep throwing her 'I'm-superior-than-you' looks. The girl was smart, but that attitude made her haughty and made others feel as though they didn't belong.

Minako, thankfully, had warmed up to her. After their first meeting, the woman had looked as though she had wanted to strangle Shizuka and for the next two weeks, her attitude didn't change. Kaiba's secretary had relaxed around her now (and by relaxed, Shizuka meant she wasn't glaring daggers or scrutinising everything she did for the tiniest flaws) - while she wasn't as smart as Marie or outgoing as Momo, the brunette worked hard and that diligence had appeased the older chocolate haired lady.

The end of the apprentice's first month at Kaiba Corporation as approaching and it was around then that Shizuka finally ran into Seto. Previously, she'd hoped he'd just let her babble an apology, bow and wait till he accepted it (or, to be more realistic, be snide and tell her to stop wasting his time). But things never go according to plan. To start with, she hadn't literally wanted to ran into the older teen. Either way, the minute those blue eyes locked on her hazle ones, the babbling commenced.

Babbling as she was, Shziuka quickly found herself stuttering and stammering far worse than she usually did (Kaiba did have that incredibly intimidating effect on people and she was incredibly nervous... But she'd fought for Ryou, so what was her problem..?) so she dragged her eyes to his shoulders. They were broad and strong looking and encased in some expensive fabric that had been twisted into one of his insane outfit designs. Finding her mind wandering from what she was furiously attempting to do (was it obvious that she was mentally trying to stop agreeing with Sora when she had said those metallic buttons make him look ridiculously regal? She was here to apologise for her behaviour, not embarrass herself further!), the petite girl wrenched her eyes downwards some more.

Following the buttons down his chest, the tailored jacket flared out and become more like a trench coat around his navel. Turning red, thoughts of what was south flooding her mind, Shizuka squeaked (in an unsightly and high pitched manner) and flung herself into a deep bow.

"I'm-really-sorry-Kaiba-sama! It-won't-happen-again-and-I-swear-I-never-meant-it!I-promise!" Squeezing her eyes shut, she continued with a shuddering breath. "And, um... I-just-wanted-to-say-thank-you-for-giving-me-this-opportunity-because-it-really-means-a-lot-to-me-and-I-can't-ever-thank-you-enough!" A shaky sigh and a shudder later and silence reigned supreme. The seconds ticked by as the air conditioner made her bangs tickle the tip of her nose unpleasantly.

"You're welcome." Footsteps sounded as he left, brushing past her in the opposite direction. By the time she'd straightened up, Seto Kaiba was gone, leaving one very confused girl all alone in a fancy hallway, wondering what the heck had just happened.

:.:

Things became relatively normal after that. Marie was still a snob, but she even gave that attitude to actual employees of Kaiba Corp, so it wasn't anything to take to heart. Momo had become bored of picking on Shizuka for her entrance over and over again, so she now mixed it with insults about her grades, personality, clothes and brother (she did all this even though they had barely interacted - but of course, Momo knew a lot more about everything, including Shizuka herself, than the brunette could ever hope to). Sora had shut her up by catching her wearing the same outfit twice in two weeks, down to the exact accessories. The cherry red head had cheerily informed her this was a fashion no-no as the annoyed girl stomped from the cafeteria. Shizuka had merely 'hmmed' in a tone she hoped was agreement and acted as though she was totally up with the latest fashion trends and societal rules.

To be honest, working at Kaiba Corporation was much easier than she thought it would be. That held true for the social aspect at least. Most of the time she was stuck filing papers or doing basic computer work (both Momo and herself had been banned from doing anything too technical after it had taken marie three hours to fix their blunders, pushing up her glasses and clucking her tongue all the while). The interns were given boring jobs that 'weren't up to their calibre' (Momo's voice was always heard complaining over some task or another if she wasn't fawning over the latest piece of eye candy at any rate). These jobs were menial tasks like delivering coffee, photocopying, buying snacks, photocopying, writing down missed/ignored/deemed unimportant phone calls and had photocopying being mentioned?

It wasn't that the work was hard, it was just never ending, dull, tedious and boring. It all sort of looked the same after a while, though at least that made it more difficult to make mistakes. However, when a mistake was made, as the interns soon found out, it could take an incredibly long time to rectify! It also tended to include a lot of groveling and apologising.

But socially, Shizuka could clearly see why Kaiba Corporation was rated one of the best places in the world to work. The cafeteria was top notch (those sweet chili wraps and chocolate mousse cakes!) and there were numerous rooms to relax in with pay TV, pool tables and even a gym with full sports courts! Despite working for quite possible the most uptight boos ever who simply wouldn't settle for less than perfection, the steel and glass tower held an incredibly friendly atmosphere.

Being the sister of Seto's second biggest rival, the brunette thought Momo's bratty comments would be the nicest thing she would hear. As it turns out, her brother was incredibly well liked (something she took great pride in knowing). Shinji-san had introduced himself after returning from sick-leave (though the young man still did look a bit peaky) and told her (under strict confidentiality) that he even had her brother's autograph. Ignoring her embarrassment that Jounouchi thought of himself so highly to give out autographs, Shizuka had found other people who liked her brother. Sora thought he was a babe, Miki liked his luck strategy and Takao was content that he wouldn't be out of a job so long as Seto had plenty of rivals.

Regardless of all the good things that happened at Kaiba Corporation and all the skills she had learnt and would continue to learn and improve, which of course would help her in the future, this working life was taking it's toll. Her friends didn't quite understand why she couldn't ask for a sick day and hang out with them instead.

Miki had roared with laughter as she complained, telling the young girl "What, you want to walk up to Kaiba, all casual like and ask for a day off? He'd know in an instant!" She then continued by mentioning that everyday she had called in sick when she actually wasn't, without fail she'd run into the intimidating CEO. "He's got, like, this in built radar thing, I'm sure of it!"

Sora continued the tale. "It's like he tracks down all the guilty employees and stalks them, then purposefully ignores why you aren't at work. It makes you way more guilty and paranoid, even if you have a totally valid reason!"

As a result, the petite girl was trying to squeeze in social outings with her friends around the increasing amount of homework and assignments that was being shoved on poor, innocent, unsuspecting students. Yuki often complained about missing her regular dramas and threatened to go on strike if the onslaught of study continued to when the new season anime commenced. Shizuka, on the other hand, considered herself lucky if she managed to see a full set of commercials these days. School was stupid enough as it was, but some of the assignments tasks and work they were expected to do was monstruous.

At least, she thought tiredly as she dropped her pen idly, honey eyes scanning her now finished essay, working at KC has made me more organized, less lazy and has given me new ideas of how to figure out stuff I don't get. It was roughly half past twelve when she finally crawled into bed, pen tucked soundly in her messy bun after a furious session of math. Falling asleep in an instant, she felt accomplished with what she had achieved.

Even when she woke up in the morning to find out the pen had snapped and leaked all through her hair, over her pillow and on her face, which simply enhanced the dark rings under her eyes, Shizuka couldn't help but feel that the stress had paid off. This is going to be something really awesome, I know it! Even though I'll look like a panda bear by the end of the year, I won't give up! That attitude, though admirable, diminished that day as her maths teacher announced weekly quizzes, her history teacher piled more readings on them and Yuki, class president, demanded one night each week to be devoted ti preparing for the school's cultural festival. Groaning, Shizuka had no choice but to go with the flow.

:.:

Stretching languidly, Shizuka stood up, grabbed her faux leather bag and started walking down the hall. She was almost at the lift when Miki called out to her.
"Wait a second, would you?" The taller woman caught up with her and the brunette waited as the lady caught her breathe - she had winced watching her run in the heels, she'd hate to have actually done it! The redhead stood up abruptly, looking incredibly determined.
"Are you doing anything three Friday's from now? Quickly now! It's life or death, Shizuka!"
Puzzled, she shook her head, not affected at all by the dramatic attitude. "I'm not. Did you need me to do something for you..?"
"Sure do! You and Momo will be taking over Hana-san's job, just for the night. So glad you agreed, see you later~!" With that, Miki ran off, ignoring the girl's stuttering and leaving Shizuka in a state close to panic.

Hanako-san's job? No way! She'd be close to Kaiba, and it was certainly not the good type of close either. This was the type of close where he could breathe down her neck, freak her out and criticise every mistake she made with barely a word. Or, alternatively, the type of close where he could wring her neck for said mistakes. Why couldn't she be with Marie? That girl knew what she was doing, at least.

She'd already embarrassed herself enough as it was (she'd spilt coffee everywhere the last time, though that was Momo's fault for tripping her). Hanako was a seriously extreme worker, what would happen if she stuffed up? Unlike her earlier walk, which had been more of a skip, Shizuka kind of shuffled toward the lift, silently musing her impending doom.

:.:

Three Friday's later Shizuka and Momo left Kaiba Corporation together. They stepped out into the cold night air and the glass and steel doors shut firmly behind them. The two girls looked at each other, not entirely sure of what had just happened. Yes, they had survived the night, but where did that put them? Were they friends? Realising they were staring, they both gave a hurried apology and looked away hurriedly. The two girls waited in a strangely relieved and companionable silence as they waited to be picked up.

Earlier, Shizuka had been relieved to find that the other girl had been just as nervous as she was. However, the amount of work quickly got the better of her and she couldn't really think about much at all. Hanako's instructions were clear but the atmosphere was still intense. Maybe it was the daunting task of filling Hanako-san's expensive business shoes or the nervousness they felt whenever a door opened (she couldn't know for certain, but she was positive Momo was torn between being hopeful or fearful at seeing Kaiba just as she was). However, the girls hadn't seen a trace of their boss, which although she was highly relieved about it, made the entire evening feel rather anti-climactic.

Momo left with a curt nod when a private car came to pick her up and Shizuka was left waiting for another fifteen minutes before her brother finally showed up, half an hour later than he should have been. Jounouchi came running up to her; Yuugi, Anzu and the rest following. Meeting him halfway, she answered the gangs questions about her job as best as she could.

It made her feel guilty, but she simply couldn't tell them she worked at Kaiba Corporation. They all hated Kaiba... Well, hate was quite a strong word, but still, they'd all try to talk her out of it. They'd harass him whenever they saw the stoic CEO, which wasn't fair, considering how nice (lack of hatred or even just plain professionalism counted as nice in her books) and Jou would be embarassed. He'd see it as Shizuka needing something he couldn't provide and would feel as though he owed the tall brunette.

Thankfully, the Kaiba Corporation tower was Domino City's dominating feature and located in the middle of town, so it was a reasonable place to meet due to it's centrality and being well lit. It was also surrounded by security, so even Jou didn't do his usual 'Ya my sister and I need ya to be protected' speech. However, the fact that her lies rolled so easily off her tongue made her feel even worse and the discussion of visiting the new Kaiba Land at it's unveiling the next day only made her feel worse. Luckily she hadn't had to lie about wanting to see Kaiba Land. Many of the employees were taking the day off - Kaiba called it 'getting to know the customers' or something.

Jou smiled at her, glad she had taken the Saturday off so she could see Kaiba Land with them. She'd never been before, and the last time they'd been was when Kaiba had tried to kill them all. Wincing at the memory, the blonde focused on his sister again. She usually worked Saturday's but had managed to swap for a Sunday shift. Even though Kaiba's a right jerk, he's damn good at making games and he's pretty good with the kids too.

The new theme park wasn't in Domino, but it would be fun to take a bit of a journey, right? Specially cuz Zuka-chan never really gets any free time nowadays. It's weird, really. It feels like yesterday she was still my baby sister, just taking off her bandages and then poof! Overnight, she's turns into a mini business woman! I know she's tired, it's real obvious, but this work experience thing will help her get a real job. Not like mine. I don't want her to have to scrounge for pennies or worry about how she can't afford to eat some weeks.

Watching his sister muck around with his friends, he attempted not to let his feelings show on his face. I don't like her working, she's still just a kid. I suppose it's anything for a head start in life, right? I wish she'd be more honest though-I ain't around as much as we'd both like, but she's mah sister and I can tell a lie from a mile away. Her eyes dart, hands twist and she does this weird high pitched giggled thing. I don't think she'd ever do anything stupid. God I hope she doesn't. Nah I'm just been paranoid. That's Kaiba's job. Chuckling a bit to himself, he became serious again. She ain't escorting or nothing, but she ain't being truthful and that ain't smart.

Smiling as the young woman who he was only just seeing as more than his baby sister grabbed his hand. She had a genuine smile of her face, and her happiness mirrored his own (as did the shadow of something darker beneath it all). She'd talk when she was ready. Their mother would call him if things were desperate at any rate.

The group continued walking, Yuugi's had gotten closer while they had been chatting. They talked about how they'd make snacks and hot chocolate and argued over which movie they'd watch. Naturally, the group would watch the whole lot, but the mock banter was fun less. Looking down at his sister, the blonde duelist knew his siter needed the useless frivolity. He thought she looked way too stuff for a kid her age.

Laughing again and shaking his head at the look Shizuka gave him, Jonouchi thought a bit more. Listen to me, I sound like an old man! Work is too dull for us. It's making us old and boring. Another reason for adventure! And maybe Shizuka will be reassured that I'm still her brother and can help her.. Or maybe it may just be me that needs reassuring. She's far more successful than me already... I hope my little sister needs me just as much as I need her...

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