Muffins of Serenity
Summary: It bothered me, being drawn to her shop every night, but I've somehow acquired a strange liking for muffins…SxS One shot
Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh or any places, people and/or other things you are familiar with from the show or anything else.
A/N: This is what happens when I'm bored, supposed to be working on screwed up driver's ed, and in a writer's slump so bad it's not even funny…I have homework to so, heh, enjoy this. I'll fail for it.
Seto's POV, just so ya know.
I want a muffin….
How illogical is that? I don't have any muffins here, and yet my stomach tells me 'go get a muffin'. Well, I don't have time for that. I have a company to run. And I don't need a muffin.
Blah blah. Go get a muffin.
Is it natural for your stomach to harass you in such an undignified manner? I didn't think so, but hey! Here it is, harassing me.
No, I tell it again. I'm sitting here working. I have stocks to process, stats to record, and machines to develop. The answer is no!
I think that it's a good thing that my stomach doesn't have Mokuba eyes. That kid, my brother, could get me to do anything by just looking at me. I hate it. But I won't give into my stomach right now. It's only one o' clock, yes in the morning. I should work till three tonight.
Of course, my body hates me right now. I'm pushing to get this all done. New duel disks are on the way. I'm working on holographic card. It's enough to make a genius scream, but my body protests more than my mind does. I refuse to take a break. I'm so close to the solution because there's one thing wrong with the program and I'm so close to finding it…
When suddenly I feel as if I just got punched in the gut. Oh, crap. That hurt. I feel myself double over. Ack, how inconvenient. I guess it would be a good thing to eat…wow, who would have guessed your stomach will attack you if you fail to digest food for twelve hours? Hmm….well, maybe I go out for a little bit.
And I'll get a damn muffin….
You know what I hate? I hate being recognized on the street. But more than that I hate being followed by unattractive, money-grubbing fangirls! I could cajole them into going away, I'm sure, but what's the fun of having restraining orders if I don't get to use them?
I also dislike it when they're following me and fainting like 'Oh! its Seto Kaiba. We must worship him because he is a sex god etc. etc…' I'm not entirely sure I'm comfortable being seen like that, but hell, their fantasy…as long as I'm not really there…
So, after much persuasion from my stomach, I'm on the way to a coffee shop. Just a normal coffee shop, not someplace totally overrated like freaking Starbucks or some crappy place like that. There are better places to waste your life than a coffee shop.
There's a quaint little place two blocks away from Kaiba Corp. Now, when I say quaint, I mean quiet. Strange as it, the entire place cleared out the minute I stepped through the door. Heh, pathetic.
I move toward the counter where the sweet smell of honey and ginger come toward me. I cast a glance around. It really is a rather nice place. It has an autumn feeling to it, reminding me of a warm fire and a warm house. Several circular tables are strategically place with wicker backed chairs and silvery napkin holders. It's colored with warms yellows and browns. Hmm, homey.
The girl at the counter waits patiently for me to finish inspecting the place and smiles when I turn back around. Strangely, it doesn't seem like she's faking the smile. It reaches even to her honey-colored eyes.
"What can I do for you, sir?" she says, her voice perky.
"Um…" I blink. Perky people perturb me to no end, but I guess if you can live with it, have at that. "Coffee," I say. "Black." My stomach growls and I can see the girl suppressing a giggle. "And a muffin," I add grudgingly.
"What kind?" she asks. "We have oat, bran, rye, blueberry, apple, banana, poppy-seed, chocolate, and today's special 'the Muffin of Serenity'."
She says the last one rather proudly, and I can't help but ponder why for a moment. She almost looks familiar…red hair, hanging down to her waist, pulled into a loose, casual pony-tail, honey-colored eyes, rather short, cheerful disposition…
"There's only one left," she adds, still smiling. "I had made them myself."
I ignore her for the moment, trying to remember. I pretty sure she had a name…other than the Mutt's sister…hm…
Of course it hadn't occurred to me to check the nametag pinned to her apron. Stupid…
It says 'Serenity' across it, and I mentally slap myself. "Give it to me, I suppose," I say. Well, if she poisons me, so be it.
She jumps happily and moves to fill my order. "How large would you like your coffee, sir?"
"Biggest size you've got." Hell, if the muffin knocks me out, I'll have enough caffeine in my body to stay awake.
"Eight dollars," she says cheerily. Ack, that's going to get annoying. I give her a twenty, and grab the coffee and a large, sticky muffin. You know, on second thought, it does smell kind of good.
"Thank you, here's your change, Mr. Kaiba." She moves to had me the twelve dollars.
"Keep it," I respond tiredly. I'm sure it wouldn't hurt for her to have some extra money. She flushes and thanks me, quietly tucking the money into a tip jar.
I turn from her and make my way over to a table. My original intention was to get the stuff and go, but the muffin is starting to smell really good. Settling in one of the surprisingly comfortable chairs, I set the coffee down and take a bite of the muffin.
It's covered with a sweet glaze, and the inside is warm and fluffy, with tiny bits of crunchy hazel nut and cranberries.
"This is good," I say to her. She's started wiping down tables, and I wonder why in the world this café is open at one thirty in the morning. She stands up, blushing.
"You really think so, Mr. Kaiba?" she asks hopefully. Her eyes are lit up and she looks almost as if she was hoping that I would say something.
"Of course," I continue cautiously, taking another bite. "There's a flavor that I can't quite distinguish, though."
She laughs. It's a sweet sound, almost like chiming bells. "It's a secret, Mr. Kaiba. I might tell you someday, if you're lucky."
I feel a small smile crawling over my face. How old would she be now? I'm a little over twenty-four now, and if I recall correctly she was, what, fifteen at Battle City whereas I was seventeen? That would make her either twenty-one or twenty-two right.
"Is this your shop?"
"I'm renting the space right now," she answers, looking at the ground. "But I'm hoping to buy it soon. I'm saving up."
"I see…" I wonder how hard it is, to have financial problems, to have to scrounge for simple things.
I never wondered those things before…
I finish the last bite of the muffin and sip my coffee, pondering the bitter taste as if follows the sweet confection.
After a few more minutes of absently watching Serenity clean up the shop, I stand up. "Well, thank you for the kind service. I hope your shop does well."
She smiles and bows. "Thank you for coming, Mr. Kaiba. I hope the service was to your liking. Please come back soon."
I turn to leave, but pause. "I also would like to discourage you from keeping open so late. It's dangerous to work alone at night."
She nods and waves me out the door. "I'll keep that in mind."
The air outside is cold and damp. It smells like petroleum and smoke. City smells. I wrinkle my nose, recalling the sweet smelling shop. Looking behind me for a moment, I watch the girl lock the door and wave again. My hand moves absently in a return salutation, before I make my way back to Kaiba Corp.
I next few weeks began to follow a similar routine. I get a strange urging from my gut, even if I had eaten, and I take a short walk to the new café. She stands at the counter, always with a cheerful smile on her face, ready to hand me a black coffee and a muffin.
We make small talk while she cleans up the shop, wiping down tables, putting up chairs. I feel comfortable there, talking to her about little bits of nothing. A new Duel Monsters card I'd acquired, a new recipe she'd found for her muffins. It became familiar and comfortable. All of this in a quaint little shop. There were nights when I enjoyed talking to her more than anything I had done the whole day. Sometimes, though I hesitate to admit it, I found myself pondering conversations we could have.
After a month of it, there was a sudden change. I came to the shop in the process of a robbery. She was weeping and the thief laughed as he kicked over the carefully positioned tables. I stood, terror struck at the cruelty of it. He turns his attention to her. I notice a silver blade in his hand, and my heart clenches uncomfortably.
I don't know why I yelled her name, whether it was to distract the thief, to take his attention off of her, or for her to merely know I was there, but I yelled none the less, barreling through the door, putting my self firmly between him and her.
"Stay away from her." Even I was surprised at the venom in my voice, as I took a defensive stance. "Get behind the counter," I whispered over my shoulder to her. I could hear her scrambling off of the floor and away as my eyes locked on the man again.
I still can't completely recall, nor could I effectively explain moments that came after the man began his charge. I blocked, parried, and punched at him. He had a sloppy style, but he was strong. I don't know how long we grappled until he was finally able to get a good shot at me.
The balled up fist made firm contact with my jaw, the movement forcing me backwards. I fell over a table and my vision blurred. For that moment, I heard the man chuckling softly, then a loud sickening crack, accompanied by a thud.
I managed to raise my head to look up. Serenity stood there, a metal bat in her hands. It fell to the floor dully and she side-stepped the man to come to my side. There were tears streaming down her face as she hesitantly put her hands on my face.
"Homerun," I laughed, my voice cracking.
She began to sob hysterically. "Seto, Seto, oh my god, I'm so sorry this happened to you. Seto, oh, Seto!" She carried on like it, and I laid back my head, listening to the sound of approaching sirens and her voice saying my name over and over again…
"Oh! Seto hi!"
Looking back, its strange having someone other than Mokuba calling me by my real name, but three months after the robbery, it's almost second nature for her.The bell rings, announcing my arrival. She looks up and smiles brightly, coming from behind the counter.
"Evening, Serenity," I say, enveloping her in a tight hug. Her arms wind around my neck and her hands clasp behind my head.
"You're early tonight," she laughs, standing on my shoes to be eye level with me.
I lean my forehead down against hers. "I thought we could go to dinner."
She tires to repress a smile. "I'm not sure I can leave the new employee alone yet."
"I'm sure he can handle the shop," I say, watching with glee as the disgruntled head I recognize as my brother tromps out a service door grumpily. "You can, can't you Mokuba?"
I relish in the look of shock crossing his face seeing me there. "Seto," he states simply. "You suck."
Serenity and I laugh. She pulls away from my arms and removes her apron, talking to Mokuba as she does. "The shop is slow on Monday nights, but remember your manners if a customer does come in." she throws him the keys. "Lock up and eleven o' clock."
She turns to me smiling and I laugh softly as Mokuba picks up the keys daintily, glaring at me. "So," she says. "Where do you suggest?"
I hold the door open for her and she walks through it. I link my arm with hers as we walk down the street together. I smile down at her. "I was thinking someplace with muffins."
She laughs softly. "Guess what."
"I'm going to tell you my secret muffin ingredient." We stop and she puts her arms around my neck.
"What's that?" I ask.
She pulls herself eye level with me and grins, saying "It's love", before kissing me softly. I can only return it, noticing that she tastes like honey, and hazel, and cranberry, all wrapped up in a warm autumn package…
A/N: Aw! Yeah. That turned out better than I thought it would. I hope you all like it. I thought it was cute and worth the effort I put into writing it. Just the kind of mushy, sweet fanfic I've been trying to write for ages. Anyway, hope you all like it as much as I did.