AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is the first of the Written in the Stars prizes. Written for Judy, who requested YuugixAtem/Dark Yuugi fluff. Although the story is fluff, the author's note must be serious simply because of the subject matter: Some of you who read iWritten in the Stars/i may be aware that I work at a call center, and may wish to know if this survey/call is real. The answers are no and kind of, respectively. Although I made the survey up from scratch because using one of our real surveys would be breaking the confidentiality agreement I signed when I started working there, Yuugi's questions are all drawn from real-life questions I get all the time, and yes, I really have had calls that run like this. (You meet all kinds in my job . . . ) Usually they're not this entertaining, but it does happen. Welcome to the best of my world. (Incidentally, if you believe you may have talked to me on the phone, please do not mention the name of the company I called you from if you review. I could lose my job.) The company name, as well as my surname, are also fictitious, and Yuugi's answers to the survey are mostly based on my own recent visit to Verizon to purchase a new phone (same model as Yuugi's, and incidentally, my phone is named Yuugi. Make of that what you will). Moving on.
In other notes, I would like to note that the inspiration for this fic was a wonderful woman who told me tonight her name is Joanne Wheeler, but I could call her Joey and that would be just fine. (I nearly died.) Also, the woman I talked to my very first weekend at my job, who picked up the phone at 2pm on a Sunday just to ask why I was calling her during sex. Here's to you, ladies.
Title: One Eight Hundred
Pairing/Characters: post-series, A/U Yuugi/Atem.
Word Count: 2 027
Story Rating: T for mentions of sex.
Story Summary: Yuugi needs to talk on the phone. Atem won't let him.
Disclaimer: Anything you recognise? Totally not mine.
Spoilers: None, amazingly.
Warnings: None. Um, horny!Atem. Does that count?
Notes: See above.
Feedback: There may be something out there that's better than a review containing concrit, but if there is, I haven't found it yet. So if you have two minutes and you wouldn't mind? Please? Arigatou. (And concrit is cool. Flames are not.)
Special Thanks/Dedications: For Judy, who solved the mystery in Written in the Stars.
Ring. The sound didn't echo anymore, not now that Yuugi had put it next to the sofa, where it had nothing to bounce off. Ring.
Yuugi grabbed the phone.
"Hello?" Yuugi caught himself just before answering in Japanese. Score.
"Hello. May I please speak with Yuugi Mutou?"
Yuugi flopped onto the couch. "That's me."
"Hello, Mr. Mutou. My name is Nina Schaeffer. I'm calling from Numa Incorporated on behalf of Verizon about your recent phone service."
"Yeah." Yuugi swung his legs up onto the sofa. He missed Domino and could hardly wait to go back, but at least the apartment was nice, the furniture the absolute best – and there was no Jii-chan here to tell him to keep his feet off the cushions. "Is something wrong?"
"Not at all. We're just calling to ask some questions about your customer service – you know, how you were treated, if your service was done properly. That kind of thing."
"Oh. Yeah, okay." Yuugi had been warned about telemarketers by both Anzu and Kaiba, but this girl sounded nice enough. "I don't have to buy anything, do I?"
"No, sir. We're not selling anything – we're just interested in your feedback."
Yuugi blinked slightly at the 'sir' and then got over it. "Okay."
"Thanks! To begin – do you or anyone in your household work for Verizon or any Verizon subsidiary?"
Yuugi tried to imagine Atem working on mobile phones and winced. "No."
"And were you the person who dropped the phone off at your local Verizon store for service?"
"I dropped it off. My partner picked it up." Yuugi nodded at Atem as he set a tray down on the coffee table and poured two cups of tea – one for Yuugi, one for himself.
"That's fine. We just need to make sure we're talking to someone who actually knows what was done."
Yuugi smiled as Atem measured out cream and honey and stirred with a cinnamon stick – Yuugi's favourite. "That's me."
"All right. And could you tell me what model phone was serviced?"
"It's, um – " Yuugi grabbed his mobile off the table. "It's a Chocolate LG."
"And why did you have service on your phone?"
Yuugi took a sip of his tea, milky and sweet and delicious. "I moved here for a year from Japan for my job, and I needed to have something inside replaced so I could get mobile service here without getting a new phone. It wasn't broken or anything, it just wouldn't pick up American tower signals."
Yuugi could hear the click and clatter of keys and the murmurs of other workers in the background. "Just a minute. Let me get this in the system for you."
"Okay." Yuugi smiled as Atem curled up in his lap. It had taken a fair amount of time for Atem, always the picture of propriety and dignity, to admit he enjoyed being cuddled, and Yuugi was more than happy to take the opportunity now that it had been presented to him. "I'm not going anywhere."
"Who are you talking to, aibou?"
"Someone who wants to know about my mobile. Shh."
Atem fell silent obediently. The clicking keys ceased.
"When you found out you needed phone service, did you visit the Verizon website, call the store, or go directly?"
Yuugi laughed sheepishly. "Um, actually I visited the website so I could get the phone number to call the store and find out where it was."
The girl on the other end laughed with him. Yuugi heard more keys being pressed and wondered what Kaiba would make of the undoubtedly clunky system she was using. It had been years since Yuugi had seen a keyboard that made so much noise.
"And when you visited the website, did you find all the information you needed easily, or did you have to search for it?"
"I had to look a little, but it was pretty easy to find." Yuugi squirmed as Atem lay back against his chest and kissed the side of his neck. "Atem, stop that. I'm on the phone."
"I'd like to ask now about when you dropped off your phone, so for the next few questions we'll be using a one-to-seven scale where one means 'strongly disagree' and seven means 'strongly agree.' I'll read a statement, and you rate it on the scale. If you need me to repeat the scale at any time, just let me know and I'll be glad to do that."
Yuugi groaned inwardly. He hated number scales. He always felt badly about giving anything but a top score. "Okay."
"All right, here we go. 'I was greeted promptly and pleasantly upon arrival to the store.' How would you rate that, one to seven?"
Yuugi considered, and wondered why on earth they'd made the scale to such an arbitrary number. "Um, seven. Atem, quit it!" Yuugi swatted Atem's hands away and did up the two buttons Atem had managed to loose. The girl didn't seem to have heard. "Sorry."
The girl chuckled. "No problem. Next is 'The representative who spoke to me about my phone was pleasant and knowledgeable.'"
"Seven. Atem, if you don't stop that – can you hang on just a second?" Yuugi asked, and then, without waiting for a reply, he cupped his hand over the phone. "Atem, this is important. Now stop."
"Aibou, are you talking to a computer?" Atem found voice-activated computers absolutely fascinating, with the result that most of Yuugi's calls to businesses were actually handled by Atem until a human being came on the line.
"No. She's a real person. Her name's Nina. Now let me talk." Yuugi pulled the phone back to his mouth. "Sorry about that."
Another of those chuckles. Yuugi decided in a very vague kind of way that she sounded cute. "It's okay. Next – 'The Verizon representative who spoke to me was able to clearly explain what was wrong with my phone, and what would be done to fix it.'"
"Nothing was wrong with it, though," Yuugi said, swatting Atem away from the phone he was now trying to pry out of Yuugi's hand. "I mean, it wasn't broken."
"I understand. Really they just want to know if the representative could tell you what kind of service needed to be performed, even if it wasn't an issue of something actually being broken."
"Oh. Um . . . " Yuugi thought about it. "Five. I was kind of having a hard time following him. I'm not really big on computers or anything, though, so that might not be his fault."
"I understand." Click, clatter. "Next – 'I was given a clear timeframe for my phone to be fixed.'"
"Five - Atem!" Yuugi let out a yelp as Atem found the one place where Yuugi's shirt had come untucked and slid a hand beneath. "Will you knock it off?"
The grin Atem turned on Yuugi was not at all promising. "Aibou, it's only numbers."
"They do it that way so they can compare answers, or something - stop that! I'm sorry, miss, what did you say?" Yuugi slapped at Atem's hand.
"The next statement is 'My phone was fixed for the quoted price.'"
"Um, it was still under the one-year warranty, so – Atem, stop." Yuugi wondered how Atem had become so proficient at understanding the difference between "stop – I don't want you to do this" and "stop – I'm busy" in only three months. Maybe it had something to do with the amount of time he'd spent living in Yuugi's head, or maybe he was just better than Yuugi with vocal nuances. Either way, he'd at some point decided it was his duty to annoy Yuugi relentlessly by not stopping exactly when Yuugi needed him to stop the most. Yuugi understood it was Atem's way of being playful and loving, but it did occasionally have disastrous consequences.
"Well, in that case, you might consider whether your service was covered as expected."
"Oh. Yeah, that's true." Yuugi hadn't thought of it that way. "Seven, I guess – Atem, stop taking off my clothes!" Yuugi grabbed his belt and re-buckled it before Atem could continue sliding it through Yuugi's beltloops.
Yuugi heard a sudden silence from the other end of the line – no clittering keys, no half-heard murmuring voices, no Nina. He wondered if she'd hung up on him. "Miss? Are you still there?"
As though a button had been pressed, the background noise was suddenly back. She's got a way to shut it off, Yuugi thought. Probably so she could laugh without getting in trouble. That really wasn't the smartest thing to yell into a phone, Yuugi.
"Yes. I'm sorry. I was having trouble hearing you over the air conditioner, and sometimes shutting off the sound on my end reduces feedback. Next – 'Verizon kept me updated on the status of my phone.'"
"Um – they didn't, actually. They just called me to let me know when it was ready. Atem! I'm sorry. My partner's being kind of difficult." Yuugi glared a set of not particularly threatening eye-daggers in Atem's direction. "Difficult" was Atem's cue that Yuugi was getting serious, and he'd really better knock it off before he ended up on the sofa for the night. It wasn't a very effective punishment – Yuugi had never been able to keep the bedroom door locked for more than an hour before padding out and telling Atem to come to bed – but it would at the very least inconvenience him long enough to make staying out of trouble worth his time.
"Oh, I understand. How would you rate Verizon on keeping you updated on the status of your phone?"
"They didn't," Yuugi reminded her.
"Then would you say you disagree?"
"Yes. Atem!" Yuugi pulled his shirt back down. "Enough."
"So how would you rate that, one to seven?"
Oh yeah. One means disagree. "Um, two. I feel kind of bad about saying that, but it's true."
"Well, having your feedback will let Verizon improve. Next – "
"I agree, aibou. It is enough."
In a call center somewhere in an old strip mall, Nina Schaeffer held her hands up and blew air between her lips in a silent whistle, wishing not for the first time that there was a two-way mute on her headset. The girl in the next station over glanced in Nina's direction.
There was a pause before she got an answer. Then – "I think this guy's partner was trying to have sex with him while he was on the phone."
"Are you serious?"
"Did you get the complete?"
"No." Nina stared down at her keyboard. "Do you suppose I should save this, or just forget it?"
"Put it back in for your day off."
Nina snorted and entered a series of information.
If only she'd remembered she had a vacation day to make up.
"Hello. May I please speak with Yuugi Mutou?"
Atem held the phone carefully with both hands. He was still having a hard time mastering the absolutely adorable one-shouldered shrug Yuugi used to hold the phone to his ear. "May I ask who's calling?"
"My name is Nina Shaeffer. I'm calling from Numa Incorporated in regard to the Verizon service Mr. Mutou recently had on his cell phone. My records show he started a survey with us, but didn't have the chance to complete it."
Cell phone? Atem's brow wrinkled. Wait. The mobile. Americans called them cell phones. Right.
"I can see if he's up. He might be napping." Yuugi had taken to enjoying a catnap just before dinner. Atem didn't mind; Yuugi looked positively delicious when he was sleeping.
"All right. Thank you." On the other end of the line, Nina winced. She remembered the name, of course. Why did she of all people have to get the callback on this one?
Atem was halfway to the bedroom when he suddenly also remembered the name. Nina. Calling about the mobile. Yes. Her.
Yuugi was in the process of stripping off his shirt for his nap when Atem came in. "Atem?"
"You have a phone call, aibou."
Yuugi padded into the living room to get the phone. Atem grinned.
This was going to be so much fun.