She gulped as her turn came up. She had grabbed the first headband she could find since she didn't have time to actually brush her hair, and this was literally her only chance to get away from that horrible nickname that had followed her for years.
No one back home wanted to hire her... they all knew she was a total klutz, rather slow witted and attracted trouble like no one's business. It wasn't her fault... it was just that for some reason delinquents tended to target her first over more attractive targets and by extension wherever she was working.
Her only job before this had been washing dishes, and while the owner was a nice man who took her clumsiness in stride... but the pay was barely worth it.
If she ever wanted to leave that town once and for all, she needed money. Her allowance was pitiful, and the pay from her dish washing job was just enough to pay for a few small things.
When her name was called, she squeaked but went in.
The possible employer was terrifying, but thankfully at a level she was already familiar with.
It was like dealing with a snarlier, angrier Hibari. One who hated people but was forced to be nice (or as close as he could get) to them on a daily basis.
Seto Kaiba reminded her rather strongly of an unhappy dragon, one that was forced to deal with humans regularly despite how much he would prefer to never leave his cave.
She was on familiar ground now. He clearly didn't want to deal with a bunch of unknowns, so it was probably best to treat him like she would an unhappy Hibari whenever she was late.
Show nothing but respect (fear) and a submissive attitude like a small animal and hope to the gods that he didn't bite her head off.
"If you're trying to appeal to my better nature with those ears, it's not working."
She reached up and realized with some mortification she had grabbed a pair of rabbit ears instead of her head band by mistake in her rush to get here on time. Worse, not a single person said anything!
"Whatever... let's just get this over with. I have better things to do with my time than deal with sycophants and idiots," grumbled Seto Kaiba.
What followed was pretty standard. During the course of the interview she did her best not to piss him off... she didn't want to find out if the mental comparison to Hibari was just a coincidence and have him bite her to death if she irritated him too much.
She went home, exhausted beyond belief.
However... the next week she got a call.
She had the job.
A few days later...
"Sorry!" she said sheepishly.
"Easy. Big brother hates it when things are out of order more than he does being late. You're the new one aren't you?"
"Yeah, I still can't believe I got the job. I thought I totally messed it up by grabbing the wrong headband by mistake," she replied.
"Wait... you're Bunny Girl?" said Mokuba, in amusement and surprise.
"Bunny girl?" she repeated.
"Let's just say the headband helped. He actually remembered you after the interview was over," said Mokuba dryly.
She blushed in embarrassment.
"I still can't believe I was hired at all. The only other job I had before this was washing dishes."
"There's a reason for that. You didn't annoy my brother and despite the lack of skills you were one of the rare few who wasn't a plant from another company, someone who was interested in getting in his pants, and he mostly needed someone to fend off the more annoying idiots. The whole secretary thing was just a nicer way of saying that you're the one who has to deal with people."
Her lips quirked up.
"Basically the dragon wanted someone to guard his den so he didn't have to deal with so many humans," she said amused.
"Pretty much. I mean you could wear those rabbit ears again and no one would care."
"I think I might. Clearly they're a good luck charm," she joked.
True to his prediction, no one even batted an eye at the ears after the first week and a half. By the end of the month she was the longest lasting "secretary" Kaiba had ever had, a fact that surprised many considering how quickly he had a habit of firing them.
Then again, they had never had prior experience of how to deal with a dragon thanks to Hibari.
On the plus side, she was getting better at using a computer.
Mokuba was heading to his brother's office to deliver some reports when he realized something.
Bunny girl (he really needed to find out her real name...though she didn't seem to mind being simply called "Usagi-chan") was still manning the desk to his brother's office. There were several rather pushy idiots in front of her, though she wasn't budging.
Mokuba grinned as he heard her stand her ground and insistently ask whether or not they had an appointment.
Watching those self-important idiots walk off in a huff, he snickered.
"Your brother in a foul mood scares me more than they do," she said flatly.
"And yet you haven't run far, far away from him after seeing it twice already."
"That's because I know for a fact that while he'll snarl and growl at me, he won't express his irritation with physical violence like the other dragon I know," she deadpanned.
"...Other dragon?" said Mokuba slowly.
"Hibari Kyouya is a much more violent, far more territorial version of your brother," said Usagi with amusement.
"I'll believe that when I see it," said Mokuba flatly.
"Go on in if you want to see your brother. Unlike those idiots you don't need an appointment," she said with amusement.
Mokuba snickered with amusement and went right in.
Kaiba looked up from his desk, then looked at the time before blinking.
"...I just had five hours of uninterrupted productive work."
Mokuba blinked twice, before he snickered.
"You can thank Usagi-chan for that. She's been frustrating those leeches we call our Board every time they come to demand something from you."
"Bunny girl. The one who came to the interview with rabbit ears by mistake."
"She's still here?" said Kaiba in surprise.
"For the past three months. You didn't notice?" said Mokuba with open amusement.
From the look of his face, that would be a "no".
The fact remained that for the past three months he had been getting actual work done without interruptions for several long stretches of time.
And he had no idea who was responsible for this fact until Mokuba commented on it.
If she lasted another month he would have to go to stage two. A test of loyalty.
Usagi squeaked when someone grabbed her off the street as she was heading into work.
In a dizzying set of turns and switchovers (she had no idea where she was, especially since the glass was blacked out from both sides) she found herself in a rather depressing room. There was a mirror window, a plain desk and a man in a really cheap suit.
Usagi was a bit freaked out at first. Who knew what this guy wanted, and she wasn't exactly a fighter.
That concern swiftly died and shifted to something more akin to feminine rage and indignity.
He was trying to buy her loyalty? Sure, the job wasn't what she expected and her boss was slightly terrifying.
But expecting her to fall for this obvious trap?
Usagi stood up, took the money and dumped in on his head.
"No thank you," she said curtly, clearly pissed off. "I might not be more than a guard dog for my boss, but if there's one thing I do have it's loyalty. I will not be bought and if you try to insult me further I will slap you."
She walked to the door and was mildly surprised to find it unlocked. That surprise only went up when she found herself a few blocks from her work. She checked her watch, and walked out the door with her head held high and her pride intact.
She had no idea the chaos she left in her wake, or the openly disbelieving look on her boss' face when he saw that little show. Mokuba was outright grinning.
"Did she pass that weird test you insisted on, big brother?" he snickered.
Most teenagers would have jumped at the chance to earn a quick ten million yen, all for a little spying. Seeing the usually timid Usagi dump it on the random man his brother hired to play the part of a rival company agent and threaten to slap him if he even thought of trying to raise it further had been a surprise. A pleasant one though.
Mokuba had to admit... Usagi was terrifying in her own right when he saw her an hour later. She was clearly pissed off, but managed to maintain a calm facade long enough to do her job.
Something about that smile made the three leeches who were on their board of directors actually wet themselves in fear when she turned it on them.
A days later...
Kaiba looked at the employee profile of "Usagi", aka "Bunny Girl".
Which wasn't her actual name, but considering the nickname she had in her home town he could understand why she chose to let people call her that.
Sawada Tsubaki was a complete nobody. Someone so pathetic that it was a miracle she had managed to show this level of competence as a secretary beyond turning people who annoyed him away at the door.
Her grades were just barely above the failing mark, her physical condition was the absolute dead last of her school, and her only known family was a mother who was quite clearly delusional.
There was word of her father, but the man hadn't been seen outside of the rare appearance in town for years. And never for more than a week at a time. Supposedly he worked in the cold regions of the arctic "directing penguins", which was a cover story so fake it was obviously a lie.
In all honesty as a secretary she barely ranked "acceptable".
And yet she managed to survive as his "secretary" for close to five months when every other applicant was either chased off for annoying him too much, or failed the loyalty test.
He would have to keep an eye on her, bunny ears or not.
Usagi blinked at the task she was given. Why was she the one who had to organize the office Christmas party when it was mostly for the adult workers? It was an almost guarantee that there would be spiked punch, barely acceptable "Santa/Mrs. Claus/Elf" costumes, and of course far too much noise. And don't forget the presents, which were also a given.
She sighed. Okay, she could understand why they weren't asking the boss to organize it. If he was anything like Hibari he probably disliked the holiday other than spending some quality time with his little brother. And technically she was the one with the most free time since she mostly denied entry to the boss' office.
Time to ask around and find out what everyone wanted and then narrow down a list.
"Um... Mokuba? Do you think you could help me with something?" asked Usagi.
"What do you need?"
"I got roped into organizing the Christmas Party for everyone else. And I would very much like to avoid having your brother bite my head off because they happened to bother him when he would almost certainly like to avoid everyone except for you," Usagi replied. "I need to know what to avoid... specifically which floors he intends to use for the holidays so I can divert the parties to different ones."
Mokuba's amusement only rose when he heard her reasoning. Once again, Usagi-chan proved herself far more adept at reading his brother's mood than any other person save for him. She wasn't forcing Seto to interact with his employees who would almost certainly be drunk that day.
It was an unspoken fact that the last three parties he was forced to join resulted in twenty people being fired...usually for being so drunk they hit on the boss or just irritating him with their noise level.
He was grinning and trying not to laugh as he helped Usagi draft an e-mail with a check list that was completely anonymous. The fact they made a list of "acceptable" booze to spike the punch with (again, she was just assuming it was a given it would happen at some point, so they might as well add it anyway) amused Mokuba greatly.
This was more for the employees, since Mokuba and Seto preferred a quiet Christmas together rather than a loud party.
Within a few hours, Usagi had a decent list. And with Mokuba's help she managed to narrow it down...including the floors that they were allowed to use.
Mokuba had to laugh at the "rule" Usagi also posted once she shared the lists with the employees.
"'The biggest mess makers will have to perform all the clean up, since the janitors will be given the day off. This includes messes made from drunken revelry and improper usage of closet/office or any enclosed spaces between two or more adults. And no, being drunk at the time will not get you out of it... we will be checking the tapes to find out who created what mess during the party and you will be cleaning it up.' Seto's going to love that one," said Mokuba openly laughing.
He hated Christmas parties, and not having to pay the janitors extra to clean up after them was going to amuse his cranky brother.
"I know right? All we're doing is forcing them to be 'responsible' adults or they can find a new job. Besides, you have to pity the poor janitors, especially when they're cleaning up after those sort of messes... it would take hours for the smell of bleach and industrial cleaners to dissipate," said Usagi, eyes sparkling with mischief.
Mokuba cackled. That might deter some of the more sober idiots, but not the really drunk ones.
Kaiba, when he read the office e-mail, had to blink twice at the "rule" being imposed before he openly snorted. He had to read it twice, but each time his amusement stayed.
Mokuba walked in and didn't have to ask why he was amused.
"Remind me to give her a raise," he said, snorting.
"Considering she's lasted six months without doing more than squeaking when you bark at her for being too slow and actually keeps the idiots away from you, she deserves it," said Mokuba dryly.
"Who put her in charge of the Christmas party though? She's still a minor."
"So are you, brother. Apparently she was chosen because she had the most free time...though I had to help her set up the office e-mail so everyone got it. She even made sure that the party rooms would avoid all the areas you'd be in so you won't have to socialize unless you wanted to," said Mokuba.
Kaiba looked again at the floor plan for the party. There were three floors designated for the rather large-scale party...the highest one being two floors below where he would be working that night, which meant the noise level would be minimal and he wouldn't have to go near the drunken idiots. And she had cut out the usual foolishness of the idiots bringing booze by simply ordering it right off the bat. That meant their intake would mostly be limited to what was already available and the spiked punch.
After all, why buy booze when it was being provided for free?
"...Definitely giving Usagi a raise," he muttered.