Announcement:Ahh-hah! Bet you people were never expecting to never hear from me again. About a month ago, I got a review saying that this fic would never see the light of day again, and I thought, "Well… we'll see about that. And I decided to make it a reality… However, I must confess that it was time consuming. In fact, the author note below was something I wrote when I actually started this, so it is pretty much expired (now, I have my own HD TV—laughs diabolically) but yeah, I figured I'd keep it up anyway, to show you the process on exactly how long it took to update anything since… (stares) April? … Seriously? Holy Merry Mother of God… I had no idea it had been that long? (behold the strains that college and the career world have placed on Yamiko's decaying mind—Jesus Christ) Anyway… Yeah…


Author Note: Okay… The only reason I'm even working on this story right now (due to my dying interesting in fan-fiction in general) is only because I desire actual escapism at this very moment. Now normally, I'd go straight for my PS3, but seeing as my family is hell-bent on dominating the TV from 4:00PM to 11:00PM, this is my next best bet (and I am not too happy about it). Lately, I have been not been particularly fond of my family so naturally, I'm in a very, very "bad" mood. Reasons why; my mother is much more preoccupied with talking with her friends on the phone, reading her books, watchingBachelor (fingers tense up on they key-board) and in her spare time, telling me to leave her alone because she needs to think. And as for my sister… for those who haven't been to deviantART, know that I hate my sister with a heated passion, and I just might be one of those few souls out there who wouldn't shed a tear at the word of her demise. Want to know why? Read the journals on deviantART. Now, in case I haven't scared you off, you're welcome to read further or run shaking your heads in disgust at my words. It mean no mind to me—because at this point, I really just don't care. I guess it doesn't matter anyway, seeing as my last two fictions (combined) didn't even rake in over five comments, but like I said—I'm completely de-motivated, and if it wasn't for that fact that I have some dear friends on here who are clinging with everything they'd got, I'd leave. Anyway… Here's chapter seven and now we "finally" get into the contest segment of the story—again. Now, I believe I said I needed to build the bond between Kaiba and Shizuka, so this chapter will also cover that as well.
Disclaimer: I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh… … … Wow! Who'd a thought I'd have such a simple and straightforward disclaimer? (realizes something) … … …Shit.
Plot: Not wanting to chicken out on Mai and Anzu's dare, Shizuka places her name into an international drawing contest. The prize? One Hundred Duel Monster cards of the winner's choice and spending a "whole" WEEK at Pegasus's mansion: No expenses. How will her boyfriend (Kaiba) and brother (Jounouchi) deal with it when after all, impossible odds, she wins?
Genre: Romance/Humor/Drama/General
Pairings:

Shizuka/Seto
Shizuka/Yakou
Pegasus/Cyndia (hinted)
Anzu/Yuugi
Anzu/Otogi
Jounouchi/Mai


Warning: Rated T (PG-13) (Parent Guidance Suggested) For sensuality, cursing and mature themes.
-Imperfect Paradise (Yamiko)

My Torture Ends A Week From Now

-
By Imperfect Paradise


-
-
-
-


-Chapter Seven-
End of the World—and I don't feel fine!


A light drizzle was softly touching the windows of Domino City High School that Monday afternoon, creating a layer of crystal clear droplets on the pane glass, which seemed to glow due to the small amounts of sunlight that had decided to sneak through the layers of the clouds. A majority of the student took no heed of it, doing nothing more than typing away on their lap-tops, accessing and reading school approved or certified PDF web-pages or proceeding to perform research on their topic papers or cramming facts for their upcoming tests.

After writing the definition for "loquacious" (one of her fifty vocabulary words, for her upcoming ENG117 quiz) for the fifth time, Shizuka slowly and quietly set down her pencil to gaze out the window, staring out in the world before her. But just like everyone else, she took no notice of the rain. However, unlike her fellow students, her thoughts did not revolve around her studies, her college transcripts (she wasn't even old enough for that, anyway) or trying to find ways to connect with the boy/girl who sat next to them through their academics. No… Not one single fact could possibly be embedded into her intellect, due to her fast-paced train of thought, which refused to stop to pick up a vocabulary word, antonym or anything that could be of any use on any curricular or school related test. Nevertheless, her mind continued to travel among the memory of what had happened just a few days ago, following the night of her kidnapping.


Tension reeked through every corner through the limousine, not sparing anyone from its sharp and skin-prickling clutches. The only passenger spared from its uncomfortable presence was none other than the driver himself, who contentedly sat on the other side of the two-inch-thick sheet of acrylic glass, humming an unknown tranquil sounding tune, completely oblivious to the anxiety coming from both passengers on the other side.

Indeed, Shizuka was making sure she was as far away from Kaiba Seto as humanly possible, without trying to make it seem obvious that she was avoiding him. It was unlike her to be so rude (even to someone as haughty and emotionally detached as Kaiba) but he had her reasons. The look and feeling Kaiba was himself was giving off, could have paralyzed anyone who saw him; his eyes were merciless and dark, his face as hard as rock, and his body shook in an uncomfortable manner, every so often as one minute or slightly longer, which continued to terrify the young auburn haired girl. Well… it was lucky for the people outside (they would never see such a thing due to the black-tinted windows) and the driver seemed quite content and didn't bother looking at the rear-view mirror long enough to see the discord, so it had become Shizuka's burden, and Shizuka's burden alone. Still, it seemed like Kaiba was going to snap at any given time (like a rattlesnake or some other dangerous creature who would defend itself in the most violent or devastating way imaginable) so Shizuka decided to stay silent unless something came up that was of enough importance to engage Kaiba without having him kill her in cold blood.

About an hour or so passed, before Shizuka managed to disengage from the uneasiness, and took to staring outside the chauffer window watching as several off-ramps came and went.

Kaiba hadn't changed from previous his position at all.

Perhaps it was the amount of time that caused Shizuka to relax, and it was probably that that caused her to forfeit the idea that Kaiba hadn't loosened up at all. So, maybe it was certainly fate that after watching several cities come and go, that when she finally caught site of the off-ramp sign telling her in bright bold letters "Domino City; next three exits" that she looked sighed and looked down at her lap and took notice of something that proved to be of some irrelevance.

She was still wearing the overly expensive dress—the one Kaiba had told her again and again was more than just a single pretty penny. She also remembered that it had been heavily damaged due to her second encounter with that silver-haired boy at the Tokyo Conrad (her face flushed slightly just in memory of that extremely awkward and somewhat disgracing moment). Gulping for a moment, she wondered how Kaiba was going to take it… Knowing him, he'd probably have it come out of her paycheck, or have her pay for it in its entirety (she paled, knowing very well that she'd never be able to afford even the stitching of this formal attire). Whatever he would decide on, Shizuka was almost positive that among whatever he decided was a suitable consequence for her carelessness that he would also throw in something nasty regarding the Jounouchi bloodline linking it directly to her and her brother. She thought briefly about putting it off for as long as possible, but when she became aware that they were rapidly approaching the freeway-exit, she knew that that wasn't an option now.

Clearing her throat, she began to go forward with the inevitable.

"Uhm… Kaiba-san?"

Grunt.

She recoiled for a moment, but then found it in herself to continue. "Uh… I'm—I'm really sorry about the dress…" she began trying everything she could to keep her mousy nature at bay, but only succeeded in accomplishing a stuttering normal voice. "I know that you wanted it to be returned and all, but—"

"Kawai, answer me this; what could I possibly do with a woman's one-piece?" Cynicism and rudeness enveloped his words like topping on a cake—perfectly and smooth.

Finding that she had recovered at much quicker pace than usual after hearing the usual Kaiba antics, Shizuka looked away and stated quietly, "My apologies, Kaiba-san."

Silence flowed between them again, but even as the car pulled off the highway, taking the off-ramp on the left, the uncomfortable aura was still adrift in the air between them. Feeling slightly more at ease due to the fact that the main concern she had been thinking of had been acknowledged, Shizuka (nearly forgetting the now throbbing bubble that sat between her and the tensed CEO) looked over at him began, somewhat concerned, "Kaiba-san, are you oka—"

At that moment, the tension had reached its peek, and the bubble that had been separating the two of them from each other had completely popped and Kaiba suddenly leant all the way towards her, and blurted out what seemed to have been the cause of his misery for the entire ride back, "You didn't enjoy it, did you?"

Shizuka, thinking back on the course of the party, remembering how nice it had been before Siegfried had ultimately ruined what could have been an interesting experience, and answered as frankly as she could, "It would have been much nicer if that long-haired jerk didn't take such advantage of my naiveté…" (Kaiba's anger suddenly fell abruptly and was replaced by a look that resembled something between confusion and horror) "Other than that, I would say that it was rather nice and—"

"That… lousy, conniving- son of a-bitch!!"Kaiba screamed, leaving no room for any form of dignity. Before Shizuka could even attempt to try to calm him down, Kaiba sat back down in his seat, folded his arms across his chest and hissed in a state of irritating ramblings, "That little "Pegasus-Pansy" just had to "prove" himself tonight didn't he? First he shows up my hacking skills, then he does it again—"

As he continued on with his tedious, self-explanatory, verbal therapy, Shizuka's face suddenly paled, realizing Kaiba had meant something entirely different from what she thought he had meant, and she, in her obviousness, had a hunch that whatever she had said before had made it even worse.

"—he takes delight in humiliating me and now-the pompous bastard is taking total and "complete" advantage of the first woman on the entire planet I ever saw fit to—" he suddenly paused, and actually took a look at Shizuka (barely noticing the fact that she was shaking in fear of Kaiba's incessant screaming) and accused, abruptly (and loudly), "and what the hell do you think "you're" looking at!"

Shizuka did nothing more but regard him with that same look of dread, and continued to tremble in light of Kaiba's capricious attitude. At first, she thought she should say something—anything to get out of this current conversation! Heh—why, she could imagine that the most simple and robotic response could have given her slight reprieve from this current predicament, but for some odd reason, the words just wouldn't come!

Nevertheless, it was truly one of those rare occasions, when silence truly was golden, and this long and extended pause she was giving off finally made Kaiba see what his current mannerisms were inflicting upon the young high school girl. But what was unexpected in its entirely, was that when the young corporate executive officer regarded the quote-on-quote "mutt's sister" with a look that Shizuka couldn't quite identify—at least by Kaiba's standards—some minor mental relapse must have set itself off in the back of his mind, and with that, Kaiba suddenly fell limp and nearly crumpled towards the floor of the chauffer, Shizuka grabbing him by the shoulder just in time.

With as much strength as she could muster, Shizuka hoisted him up as best she could, and let him fall somewhat on her lap, Kaiba resting there as if he didn't have a choice. Staring at him with a look of concern, (partially because she was really worried, and slightly being apprehensive of what could happen if anyone caught wind of her being near the famed Seto Kaiba in a state like this) and asked, "Kaiba-san, what's going on? Are you okay!"

Kaiba didn't respond. His eyelids merely fluttered, and something that sounded like a small moan escaped his lips somewhat.

Panicking slightly (this situation was really staring to scare her) Shizuka reached over (holding on tightly to Kaiba with one hand) and switched on the intercom of the limo. She spoke into the mike and asked, "Excuse me, sir; could you possibly activate the wet-bar in the back?"

"It's an additional twelve thousand yen, dear. Has Mr. Kaiba given you clearance?"

Taking a moment to look at Kaiba's distressed form in her lap (knowing very well what any sane person would do) Shizuka rolled her eyes and inquired, "Like it matters?"

Shortly following this, there was a brief pause (as if the driver was contemplating on what he should do), and not long after that, the light appeared over the liquid and ice dispensers, and Shizuka (having grabbed a wine glass from the side) helped herself to some of the water, and also grabbed a little bit of ice. After setting the items aside (the ice inside it creating a melodious little noise that sounded like little jingling glass marbles lighting hitting each other as it was set down) Shizuka withdrew one of her gloves and bunched it together so it formed something that looked like a handkerchief of some sort. She then re-obtained the glass, dunked her makeshift cloth inside and without another word began to wipe it gently against Kaiba's forehead.

At this point, Kaiba had somewhat returned to the land of the living, and regarded Shizuka with that same look he did before, only to have his facial features retreat to something that could never more clearly demonstrate what Shizuka, her brother and their friends thought Kaiba was completely incapable of showing.

In a state of total weakness, Kaiba glanced to the side, and after staring into open space and murmured one, unforgettable word that would never be forgotten by Shizuka in her entire life.

"… … … … … …Sorry."

Shizuka almost felt her heart stop entirely, and her mind went numb for a moment or two, before she suddenly set the cloth aside, not saying a single word in the process. What seemed like the longest silence yet passed between them, and regardless of the previous circumstances, it was also the most uncomfortable, and for the both of them.

Shizuka honestly couldn't believe what she was hearing.

This… this was… "insane." No, not even that word couldn't even partially begin to explain what this whole situation was. Hmmm … Ludicrous! That was much better, but even that had a little ways to go. Granted, it had to have been real, but it was more dreamlike that reality and Shizuka had the hardest of difficulties believing in it. She was about to question Kaiba's reasoning for saying such a blight against his morals in the first place, but in the end, he received the initiative.

"Tell me," he began, sitting up slightly, but not enough to cause himself to faint again, "Why is it that you don't care for yourself… Why is it that you are so considerate for others, kind, and passionate—yet you aren't your brother and his friends?"

Shizuka kept quiet, not saying a single word.

Kaiba continued, his eyes continuously filled with doubt, "You speak of the differences between right and wrong, yet you don't continuously preach about friendship and morals like Mazaki Anzu. You have so much faith in others, yet you don't mindlessly stick up for them like your brother and Honda. Then there's the fact that you have this unyielding aura so similar to that of Yuugi's, yet you posses no confidence nor any ambition to speak of… Tell me," his eyes were filled with doubt and that same weakness that seemed to conquer more and more of his mind every minute. "Why is it that such a person can function and exist in this world? How can that possibly be so…?" (A/N 1)

Shizuka still remained silent, as if she was going over the same thing in her own mind. She looked down at the ground for a moment, as if contemplating on an answer. After a few minutes, just as the limo finally entered the residential district where the Kaiba manor resided, she finally uttered her response.

"If you want an answer, Kaiba-san… I am afraid I have none."

Kaiba just stared at her, completely confused.

"…I suppose," Shizuka continued, as if giving it a little more thought, "That our differences lie in our own strengths." She looked out ahead of herself and stated her thoughts, "You have multitudes of it; your desire to win, the accomplish your goals, your dreams… The devotion you have towards your brother for not only his wellbeing, but also his happiness, but…" Looking him dead in the eye, she stated, quietly but factually, "But the biggest presence in you, is the unfortunate fact that whatever it is, is that it wants to grow stronger, and possess unlimited lengths of influence over not only others, but the image you have created of the self you want to be." She then looked towards the window and came to her conclusion.

"But I… I find myself growing weaker each day…"

For a moment, it looked almost as though Kaiba had his eyes widened (as if he had absorbed this information with the greatest of difficulty) but if they did, it was only for a split second, because then it reverted back almost as quickly as it had come.

Shizuka continued, "I know you have suffered extreme hardships in life. With your parents, Gozaburo, and other countless influences I have heard of from my brother. I have some bad things happen to me too; watching as my father lost his job, then having to endure watching the steady process of his willpower withering, eventually losing himself into the clutches of alcohol. That lead to him taking his anger out on my mother, eventually driving them to separate not only me from him, but also from my own brother. I was helpless… and allI could do was just… watch."

Shizuka eyes then slowly closed, and she began, "The difference is, you find ways to keep going, through your technology, your cards and your fame. Deep down, I know I have no escape from what has formed my life, and I have decided not to fight against it. Instead, I have accepted it, and understand that it is now a part of my life, and it will never leave me alone, no matter what I do to forget it."

Nothing was spoken between them for what seemed like hours… until...

"… … … … … … You… consider that… … not… … to be strong?"

Shizuka slowly looked at him, only to find him staring at her right in the eyes. His eyes were filled with anger, self-pity and… … … … what appeared to be… … "envy."

Speaking through barred teeth, Seto Kaiba explained through harsh sounding words, "I… could never begin… to accept… what Gozaburo has done to my life. He… … took us in for pure amusement, in order to toy us along… His objective was never to care for us… but to test our own emotional and mental limits... to break us in every possible way, as if it were intended from the start, like pawns in a chess game… Pawns in the very first game I had ever known…"

Shizuka began, "Kaiba… why do you always—"

"See life as a game?" Kaiba inquired, knowing what Shizuka would say the moment she opened her mouth. "Because I haveto… From as far as I can remember, it's all I have ever known. All my life, there has been only one game I have ever played. It was never any of my toys I cherished through childhood, not any of the games in the arcade, and no… not even duel monsters that your friends are certain that I am obsessed with."

He then leaned backwards, and Shizuka watched as he closed his eyes, and said in tone that was mostly factual, but with the slightest tone of self-pity.

"One… Only one… and it's Survival of the Fittest."

Shizuka stared at him, with a look sharing the gestures of shock, horror and pity. And then Kaiba wrapped up his confession, with the last words that would ever come from deep within his own subconscious.

"And that is why… I am so weak."

This caught Shizuka completely by surprise, and she looked up at Kaiba, with an ultimately mystified expression. Kaiba continued, "Despite all that has happened to me, I can't forget even a moment of it… I can't move on and pretend it has never happened. I am just… incapable of it… and it drives me mad, and makes it worse."

Kaiba slouched in his seat, and looked out the window, with a look of pure misery on his face. Shizuka continued to regard him with confusion, until his words finally sunk in, and she—at long last—finally began to understand why Kaiba had always acted the way he did. It wasn't because he was mean, cruel or, well… exceedingly harsh. In it end, it call came down to one thing, one she would have never believed to exist in the mind of Seto Kaiba.

It was because he was afraid. Afraid that he would never find what in the end, every person needed. Although he was always under the delusion that he had never even needed this… special something to begin with, and at that, didn't even hesitate while hurling that particular farce towards others, but now, it was clear as crystal that no matter what he had said nor how much he argued against it, deep down… He had always desired it. And it was both remarkable and sad as too how talented he had been at covering the whole thing up. (A/N 2)

Staring at him with a look of sadness, Shizuka reached out and touched him on the shoulder (he didn't even flinch), holding the stiff form gently in her palm. Then, she spoke in a kind yet matter-of-factly voice, "Kaiba-san? I know this doesn't say much coming from me," (Kaiba twitched somewhat after those words) "but you don't have to be the absolute best at everything in order to gain respect… … … After all, you haven't beaten Yuugi yet, and yet your brother loves you more than anything else in the world. Isn't that right?"

Hearing this, Kaiba cocked his head over towards her direction, and his gaze darkened somewhat, prompting Shizuka to know that this wasn't helping very much. Removing her hand from his shoulder, Shizuka leant back into her seat, and stared up at the stars, which were viewed from the limousine window right atop their heads. Regarding them for a moment, knowing how far away they were, Shizuka decided to wrap up her little pep talk with the man whom she knew she would never be this close to again.

She concluded, "You're never alone Kaiba… Despite what you may think, there are people who will stand by you, no matter what kind of person you are. Like Mokuba—"

Kaiba narrowed his eyes somewhat at this little pep talk, and opened his mouth to retort to that statement (and possibly unravel yet another harsh statement) but was stopped short by two unexpected and completely unimaginable words…

"—and me."

At that moment, Kaiba said nothing. He just stared at the young woman completely perplexed and utterly confused. Trying to make sense of this, he looked at her quietly and inquired, as if trying to set the record straight, "…. … .. and you?"

Shizuka, without giving it a second thought, replied, "Yes."

Kaiba just sat there, dumbfounded. He couldn't believe it at all. How could he? This… was impossible… Here he was, the man who talked immeasurable shit about her brother and family, the man who perceptibly seemed hell bent on making her and her friend's lives miserable, was now receiving something relatively similar to an apology from the same person who he had forced so much pain on to through the countless times they had ever made contact.

Wait. Apology, did he say? No. That wasn't the right word. What was she supposed to be sorry for? She never made a fool out of him, beaten him or humiliated him in her life. True, she was making amends with him, yes… she was being sympathetic… but for what reason? What logic was behind this unusual kindness? If not an apology, what else could it possibly—

Then, it dawned on him. What was happening to him, and what it meant to him. Dear… god… he thought, not wanting to believe in it. To any other person, it would have seemed obvious, but he had never been subjected to such feelings before in his life. He felt warm inside… The cold was disappearing… But why? What was this strange feeling? Whatever it was, it dazzled him, frightened him and yet all the same, made him feel several things, each one was an emotion he hadn't felt for years on end.

He wanted to believe it, but didn't. After all, every time he thought he had been led astray by it, he had always felt…

But in the end, a part of him really wanted it. And it was terrifying, because at this point, it was truly going to win. All Kaiba had to do was let it, and…

As he started shaking slightly, looking like he was either going to explode, or perhaps just lose his lunch (that would be another shock on his unusual composure) Shizuka did nothing more by eye him weirdly, not understanding what was going on. After hesitating for a moment, she asked, as calmly as she could, "Uhm… Kaiba-san? Are you okay?"

Ignoring her question, Kaiba (deciding on what he knew he needed and wanted most) shook his head, and while turning to face her, growled darkly, "Damn it all to hell…"

Before Shizuka could do anything, she suddenly felt herself being pulled forward by a strong and unyielding force, and squeaked as Kaiba suddenly swooped down upon and kissed her, silencing any response or protest she might have put forth.

For a moment, she did nothing, and neither did Kaiba… Perhaps it was from shock on both their parts. For Shizuka, it was because a man who was once thought as a bitter enemy by both her friends and herself was kissing her, almost like a lover. For Kaiba it had little to do because of that reason. On the contrary, he was merely hesitating because he was actually exerting some method of amorous affections on to another person (now that was completely uncommon). But after the moment of shock, Kaiba (knowing he wanted this moment more than anything at that moment) moved his lips gently against Shizuka's, his grip loosened somewhat, as if he didn't want to break the girl's body in what had once been his vice grip. He was surprisingly gentle, but not without passion.

Shizuka continued to remain rigged for only moment longer, before she sunk herself into Kaiba's warmness, and allowed the corporate executive officer to do as he wished for that single, simple moment.

Although it lasted for less than a minute, every single second was powerful and unique, and for the two of them—they would never even think of daring to ever forget it…


"Kawai-san!"

Shiuzka looked away from the window, and found herself staring directly into the face of the current and closest supervisor of the work lab, who presently was regarding her accusingly through mirrored spectacles. Red in the face, the man continued… "This is cram class, not candy-land. Release yourself from whatever pleasures you see out that window and focus on your work. If not, you'll be dismissed from the class-room, understood?"

Shizuka nodded quickly and answered, "Yes! Of course!"

Smirking somewhat, the instructor went away, his focus suddenly having shifted towards two girls who were presently giggling about some American actor in an imported magazine. Shizuka didn't even notice though, and she once again picked up her Princeton approved vocabulary list and began writing out the definition for the word, "banal."


The phone rang at five-o-clock in the morning, three days and seven hours later on Saturday Morning. Shizuka's eyes shot open at this sound, wondering what had woken her when it suddenly went quiet. Seconds later, it was followed by an identical sound, which seemed a lot worse than her alarm clock or her brother's ring tone (which was actually a theme from the video game "Donkey Kong"), prompting Shizuka to realize exactly what it was that awoke her from her pleasant and previously undisturbed slumber.

Finding herself extremely annoyed with the incessant sound, Shizuka disgruntledly pulled herself out of her warm and comfortable bed (knowing full well that her dear brother wouldn't even think about answering the phone at this part of the morning) and made her way towards the phone in the kitchen. It was so hard; Her carpeted floor felt itchy and cold, and her pajamas provided little or no warmth for her. Whoever it was on the phone, Shizuka narrowed her eyes, knowing full well that she would soon give whatever jerk was calling them at this time of day a major and unrelenting piece of her now irked mind.

After finding her way to the location of the source, Shizuka flipped on the light switch, roughly seized the phone from the cradle (she wanted to put an end to that irritating sound as quickly as possible) and said, in a slightly growling voice, hinting that she wasn't in a very good mood, "… Can- I- help-you?"

However, instead of hearing the voices of an inconsiderate telemarketer, a bastardly cruel malcontent or perhaps just their dear friend Honda, an automated voice messaging system played its role in the previous candidates' stead.

Good afternoon! This is Industrial Illusions, informing you that the victor's of our now famed contest will be chosen in exactly two hours from now. Tune into channel two (doesn't matter which reason, they're all the same folks) or attend your local "Toys 4 Kiddies" "Press-My-Buttons" "Play Till You Die," "Black Clown" or "KidzTECH" gaming distributors to celebrate the worldwide event. Free cards and other goodies will be given out at the previously mentioned locations, so please attend this once in a lifetime event. We wish all of you the best of luck! … Warning—any other shop not listed on our online official program caught in a fraudulent affairs with our contest will be subjected to a fine of two hundred thousand dollars, or up to five years in federal pri—

Having remembered instantly what this phone-call meant (particularly to her) and suddenly remembering it after a whole week, Shizuka, in a state of total and complete panic, quickly hung up, slamming the phone down as quickly as possible. For a moment, she took to staring at the phone like a beast, but then quickly glanced out into and stared into open space, feeling fear gripping every part of her body.

How! She thought, not believing it. They said that stupid contest was going to be announced Friday—next week…! How could it be today?

At that point, a sneaky and sarcastic voice countered, Technically speaking dear, its right on time.Not to mention you've got your time change all backwards. Remember, the eastern hemisphere, particularly Japan, is the first to experience the start of day. Damn-it girl, are you an honor student, or not? (A/N 3)

Shaking her head slightly, she tried to make sense of all of this. It was understandable though… it was early… she was tired. Maybe it was just a dream! Maybe she just hallucinated! Deciding that it was all just a horrible, horrible, horrible dream—she decided she was just going to go back too bed. After all, on top of just, experiencing things for no practical reason, it was much too early to deal with news of such magnitude for her part. She didn't have to believe all of this… not one bit… All she needed to do, was go back to her room and it would all be all righ—

However, before she could even hope to even take one step back to her room, it was then when she suddenly heard the sound of swift footsteps, seemingly approaching the kitchen, accompanied by the sound of what appeared a swishing jacket (someone must have grabbed from the coat hanger in a gesture to put it on). Shortly after registering these unusual sounds, both of them were oddly followed by a familiar happy-go-luck masculine voice that seemed to be yelling in her direction:

"Hey, Shizuka! That stupid contest is going be broadcasted in a few hours, and Otogi is giving away cards at seventy-five percent off! Come on, let's go!"

As Jounouchi entered the room, looking refreshed and ready to venture out in the world not at all groggy in the slightest from having woken up so early. Why or how he never got that much energy when it came to getting ready for school, Shizuka may never know… But if she had been in the scheme of things, she would have been willing to bet that Yuugi had called up minutes ago and informed his friend about the cards, and it would be at that moment that Jounouchi would receive his uncanny manic energy, which he had come to be known for in his most recent years in the dueling world.

But… seeing as how Shizuka was in a state panic, denial and most certainly not- in the scheme of things, enough Jounouchi took notice of the fact that Shizuka was… acting completely unnatural—at least for her standards in her most recent years.

Knowing that something about this had to have been his fault (heh—it always was; even he knew that) Jounouchi lost about half of his manic energy upon seeing his little sister, who was holding herself in a strange and shaking somewhat.

What the heck have I done now?! He thought guiltily to himself. Of course, it seemed pretty obvious. Her being up this early? Looking like she was on the verge of mental break down? Those two observations could only mean one- thing…

Reaching up to scratch the back of his head, he looked to side and said in a sort of guilty tone, "I'm so sorry, sis… I should know better…"

Shizuka slowly looked at him, with an expression that suggested that she was completely lost. Whaaa? She thought to herself.

"I guess I do sing too loudly when I'm in the shower. Even dad complained back when I lived with him, and normally doesn't give a shit… I promise I'll never do again, sis—at least this early on the morning…"

Shizuka did nothing but stare. What the hell is he talking about, she thought. Her thoughts were suddenly broken when she felt a hand grab her by the shoulder (Shizuka jumping somewhat). That same hand was shortly joined by another, and with that, the two of them began hustling her towards the door. Shizuka, coming slightly back to Earth, suddenly asked, "Wait a minute! Brother, where are we going? What's going on! What the heck are you—"

Typically ignoring her, (like he always did in these situations, it didn't matter who it was) he insisted in a merry voice, "Never mind that, sis, come on! If we are the first one hundred people at the Black Crown before it opens, we get free ice cream banana splits! Did you hear that, sis?Free!"

Shizuka, realizing now what exactly was happening to her, felt her face completely pale. As Jounouchi mindlessly continued rambling about hot fudge, fried green tea coated bananas and delicious strawberry ice cream (when it came to food, Jounouchi was quite good at sharing his special fantasies) and while trying to resist, whined, "Big brother—no! I don't wanna—"

"Oh don't worry about a thing, sis; I packed a nice change of clothes for you—You can change in the public restrooms! Let's go, let's go!"

And before Shizuka could utter one more form of protest (or even as much as scream, seeing as that was what she wanted to do most of all at this moment), the front door closed right behind them, which was shortly followed by the sound of a chiming, hollow click, which indicated Jounouchi had locked their apartment shut.

And now…

…there was no turning back for anyone…


TO BE CONTINUED


The following is not meant to be counter fanfictionDOTnet format. These are merely author notes. They are not meant to counteract the rules or restrictions of the webmaster's policies in anyway. Thank you for your attention.

-
-
-

Author Note 1 – Please-spare me your ridicule. I am well aware that this is like new-generation STAR WARS styled romance here, but I've been single my entire life so I have no way of knowing how a guy acts around a girl, especially one such as Kaiba (who I'd make a point to avoid entirely, had I ever met anyone with similar gestures). However, to make use of a broader author note (because I find this particular information to be quite funny) my English teacher explained the reasoning behind why the romance sucked so much in the most recent SW films (so off topic on this story, well guess what? I don't really care! Hah-hah-hah!) and it was all due to the fact that George Lucas himself hasn't slept with a woman in fifteen years.

Author Note 2 – This paragraph was actually inspired from the Gospel of Truth by Kazuki Takahashi. He explained that he envisioned Kaiba's character as a knight, who deep down, did everything he did out of an act to gain admiration and love from others around him. It makes sense, after all, Gozaburo showed him very little of it (as did everyone else in the world) so it seems that Kaiba's idea of love was steadily corrupted within the duration of his quest to actually obtain it—hence all the evil deeds he committed against Yuugi, and anyone who dared oppose him.

Author Note 3 – Yeah, I am well aware I screwed up the time change, (wouldn't make sense that it was morning in Japan and the afternoon in America, blah, blah, blah) but I want this story to be relatively interesting. (Even though it defies time and space) But hell, people! Have you ever actually counted the plot-holes in Yu-Gi-Oh? (heck even the Japanese version has plenty) so I am just going to go with it. Have a problem with it… well… SUCKS TO BE YOU! (blows a raspberry in your direction)


Random Note: Hah! I updated! And you all thought I wouldn't! (laughs again) Wait… I already said that. (snaps her fingers) Rats. Anyway, I'm sorry I haven't been reviewing your work lately. (Circuit City had me working overtime this holiday season, and shortly after that, I kind of got sick again). Don't worry though, I'll try to get to writing comments on all of your ficcies (believe it, I love all of them too much to just let them slide like that—really!). Anyway, school doesn't start up for me again until the twenty-eighth. (I actually did pretty well this semester, got three "B"s, one "Pass" and one "A"—considering my work load and all) Anywho, maybe I can squeeze in some time to work on the accursed-Love in the Hourglass… Although, I can't make any promises on that factor, but I promise you, I'll give it a whirl. (NOTE: I completely stole that quote style from a line in Strangers with Candy's "Is My Daddy Crazy" episode… All in all, it's a pretty good show. Seriously; if you aren't affronted by staged racism, stereotypes, really creepy and perverted scenes and forty-year-old ex-cons posing as high-school freshman (I'm not kidding, everything like this is included in the show) than I suggest giving it a whirl.) Anyway, I know, I know… Shortest chapter ever— (whines) but if I made it any longer, it would be the longest chapter ever… and I'm just not- that- nice! … (Notices all of your glares, and catches someone in the distance cracking their knuckles in an unsavory way) (clicks her tongue once)Anyway, look forward to hearing from all of you people. (Or at least the people who have remained on this hole of a website; After all, after all the meaningless male pregnancies, character bashing and horrid OOC that now runs rampant throughout FFdotNet, its no wonder so many good authors have flat-out quit or completely lost their inspiration for this website —dear god, we're all DOOMED!) and…. Yeah.