Disclaimer: Despite my passionate love affair with the protagonist Kaiba alas I own neither him nor Yu-Gi-Oh!
A/N: Konnichiwa everyone, the ever diverse P.O.J.A has taken a whack at another fanfic here. It's been on my mind for almost a year now, but after reading a couple of Seto Seren fics those jumbled thoughts finally made sense. It's written mostly from Kaiba's POV but Serenity's POV is also included where necessary. I do hope you enjoy and feel free to review, constructive criticism always welcomed ;)
- change in scene
-O-O- change in POV (during same scene)
Chapter 1: Strike a pose
For the first time in Seto history, I was late. Late for a supposedly important meeting about some potential investors my American subordinate Richard Joseph had arranged. And of all the times for my lovely 2007 SLR Mercedes to have engine trouble, it chose today. I'll have to seriously deal with those imbeciles at Maintenance when I reach home. Then again, I'm sure this was their ploy to finally rid the horrid man of the mansion once and for all; make sure the radiator's low on antifreeze, count your blessings that he's in a hurry for something, and 'boom', engine gone causing him to end up in a ditch somewhere off the highway. Well, sorry to burst your bubble Maintenance but I didn't crash and burn for I spotted my engine overheating miles ago.
And that's how I ended up here. On the side of the suburban highway with no engine coolant and the nearest gas station was overseen 5 miles ago. Maybe this was their grand plan after all...bastards. I popped the hood of my car to let it cool a bit before examining the damage and take the chance outside to observe any stores or vendors nearby that may be of some help.
Not a damn place in sight and sundown is beginning to catch up on me. Whatever, I'll just call Roland and have him—
"Excuse me sir, but I think your engine's overheated," I heard someone say.
"No shit Sherlock," was my callous reply to the most obvious of statements as I proceeded with my dialling of Roland. The girl continued somewhat unfazed by my attitude, as though she expected nothing less of me.
"I think you need this more than I do" and she extended two bottles of water for me to take. "It's no fancy antifreeze, but it works just as well." The last thing I needed was a stranger's sympathy, but I pushed my pride aside just this once for the sake of arriving at my meeting somewhat on time.
As I took her offer I saw her slightly tug on a leash and a little Yorkshire terrier barked at the prospect of having her water given away. She was heading down to the beach off the highway, that plain Jane of a girl. There was nothing too special about her, especially her seemingly hand-me-down attire, but the carefree smile she wore as she carried her dog for the journey to the beach was radiant under the sinking sunlight. I was never good with thank yous so I did what I knew best. Reaching into my wallet I pulled out the smallest change I had and gave her a little something for her trouble.
"Hey," I called out and she stopped to lend me an ear.
"It's the smallest I have, but you can keep the change and get yourself something nice to wear" and I produced a hundred dollar bill for her to take. Again she smiled a smile of knowing as she gently shook her head, raised her hand and said "It's called common courtesy, and you're welcome." She was off once more, stepping lightly to the beat of her own drum leaving me behind to tend to my worries as it should be.
When all was said and done I jumped back into my Benz and did a 90 down the highway eager to arrive less late than I already was. Then reality dawned upon me like a new day and soon I was cruising down to a casual 65 as I headed to KaibaCorp. I wasn't late, the CEO is never late. Everyone else is just extra early.
"Hey sis what took you so long, and where's the water I asked you to bring?" nii-chan said as he saw me in walking distance.
"Some poor guy was stranded on the highway and I figured he needed it more than us, right Kiko?" and my buddle of joy barked affirmatively at my words. Course, I dare not tell my brother that the 'poor guy' was none other than his nemesis Seto Kaiba, for I was sure to never hear the end of it. 'He can call his helicopter to pick him up, why does he need our water?' blah blah blah. Sigh. I love my big brother, but when it comes to duelling, worse yet to anything Kaiba related, he can be a pain.
"I believe there's a vendor down the beach. Would you like me to go buy another?" I asked him.
"Nah, it's getting late anyhow and I'm not in the mood to hear one of mom's tirades about me bringing you home so late."
"Can we at least stay to see the sunset Joey?" I plead.
"Alright," he replied. Ever since I got my sight back the world in all its filthy glory couldn't look more wonderful to me. I lived for these moments, when it's just my brother and I, no cares or worries, just us basking in the warmth of the sun's last rays whilst the tides toil on to form that sea of wonderful blue.
"Are you coming to the show?" I asked breaking the peaceful silence that begun to loom.
"Are you sure this is something you want to do?" he replied more stoic than I thought him capable. The first time I told him I had finally gotten the modelling gig I'd been waiting almost 3 years for, he was happy. Happy that I'd stopped living out mom's dreams and began doing something I wanted. And then I told him which department of modelling I had entered, and he was furious. He started rambling about how I'd sold myself short, how he wasn't surprised that mom would allow me to do such a thing because she'd sell my soul to make a buck, and other profanities I'd rather not repeat. It hurt to know he disproved of what I was doing, for it was his support I counted on the most.
"Why do you make it sound so dirty? It's very classy, and it's an exclusive show. I'm not walking down a stripper runway Joey, and right now you sound very hypocritical."
"Me? A hypocrite?" he flared in disbelief.
"Yes you! The same brand name Mai buys for you is the same thing I'm endorsing, and I don't hear you complaining one bit to her about it."
"That's because when she wears it it's only for me not for thousands, no, millions of people to see her in."
"Please Joey…I can't…I can't do this without your approval. It's a once in a lifetime gig." I stopped myself short as I felt the saline drops sting my eyes. I can see it's hurting him just as much as it is me, and when he gave an exasperated sigh I braced myself for the worst.
"If I go to this thing tomorrow and I don't like what I see, will you drop it and find something else to model?"
"Oh Joey I promise!" I squealed swinging my arms tightly around his neck, sprinkling a million kisses on his cheek.
"Alright, alright, you're starting to slobber me like Kiko. Now, let's get outta here before mom—" but he didn't finish his sentence as my cellphone rang and I see it's mom calling to find out where I am. Sigh, let the ranting begin.
"Moshi moshi? Oh hi mom…"
"So let me get this straight. I postponed a meeting with one of our European brokers to come to this?" I could've killed the man right then and there as I watched him fidget with his tie, the creases of his brow stained with newfound sweat.
"Please Mr. Kaiba, hear me out this last time. I'm telling you this investment would be most beneficial to KaibaCorp if you give it a chance," he stated fumbling over some of his words. Pathetic excuse for a director.
"Do tell me Richard, since when does Duel Monsters and lingerie go hand in hand?"
"It has been known that in many gaming conventions models are used as promotional items to launch new software and games. And what better models to use than the Angels coveting the glossy pages of Victoria Secret magazines. Their last sponsor declared bankruptcy a few months ago and in order to launch their new line of sleepwear they need a solid investor. This is where you come in Mr. Kaiba."
"I refuse to endow this venture for the sake of delivering a closet pervs dream come true Richard, and believe me when I say the next time you choose to waste time, don't you dare call me," and I flung the manila folder with the proposal in it to it's rightful place; the trash heap called Richard Joseph.
"C'mon Seto, I think he's making a point here," Mokuba said speaking up for the first time since this meeting began. I had often taken him to some of the business meetings as part of his directorial training. That department after all, is poorly lacking a proper head and if qualifications weren't so low these days I would've fired those solitaire playing nuisances a long time ago.
"Don't insult my intelligence Mokuba."
"Don't critique mine before you hear what I have to say." The audacity of adolescents these days, standing up to their arrogant superiors as though we were equal…I trained him well.
"Think about it Seto, if we invest say 10 percent of our shares into this billion American dollar ordeal, and if with their new line sales profit bountifully, we'll be making the hefty amount we needed to begin production on the new duel disk technology you've been dying to start all month long without having to slave away to raise it ourselves. And like Richard says, when promotional times comes around we can always use those same models to help boost our international sales if they are as renowned as Richard claims.
"You're always saying to take risks where there's more profit than loss involved, and quite frankly I think we'll be making a big mistake if we don't nip this in the bud. Their asking price is hardly putting a dent in our account."
"He's right you know Mr. Kaiba, and I'm sure the ladies would be most pleased to be working with Japan's most elite bachelor, eh?" Richard remarked with a sly grin. I return the gesture with the death glare of all times as I processed what Mokuba just said.
"If you want to see what you're placing your money into they're having a Winter Collection show in the New York Armory tomorrow morning our time."
"I don't think it'll hurt to at least check it out Seto." I see I'm dealing with two closet perverts then.
"If you're wrong about this Richard and make me squander a day, you're fired" and with that I left the two men to simmer beneath my words as I summoned Roland to come drive me home tonight. Which reminds me, I have a date with Maintenance when I arrive.
"Joey hurry up we're going to be late!"
"I'm coming, I'm coming, sheesh! It's not my fault Mai packed for a whole month," he shrieked as he struggled down his apartment steps with pounds and pounds of suitcases.
"Oh stop exaggerating Joey. Besides, unlike some people I would like to take a bath more than once for the week we're staying there," Mai fluidly replied as she opened the trunk for nii-chan to place the luggage in.
"So dad said he'll be coming right?"
"Yeah as soon as his meeting is over, which should be in the next 10 minutes. Is mom okay with driving by herself though?" I couldn't help but smile at the small question. They may constantly bicker, but I know he still loves her as she does him.
"Hai, she said she'll meet us at the airport. Now let's go before we're late for check-in!"
"It's more gorgeous than I imagined!" I couldn't help but gasp at the scenery as we touched down into the JFK airport. The city surely became alive at night; Tokyo never had this much lights!
"Yeah, it sure is. You anxious sis?" Joey asked holding onto my slightly tense shoulders.
"More excited than anxious. Now c'mon, we have to check-in to the Hilton Hotel I believe before we head to the show."
I turned around hard upon hearing that voice call out my name and just as I hoped, it was indeed Duke Devlin.
"Duke, hi!" I squealed as I embraced him warmly. "What brings you to New York City?"
"Sealing a deal here to finally kick start the dice world in good ole U.S of A. Kaiba better watch out now because the dice man is bringing in some steep competition!" As he said that name I couldn't help but remember yesterday by the beach, when the mighty fell but once to the humble offerings of the warm-blooded.
"But I should be asking the same of you Seren, it's quite a distance you travelled here."
"I'm doing a modelling show here, with…Victoria's Secret," I hurriedly said, a faint red creeping onto my face by now.
"Wow, you're rolling with the big guns now aren't you? Congrats" and Duke gave me a quick peck on the cheek increasing the hue tenfold. "Well, I better be off now, plane leaves in an hour. Take care Seren, gambatte!"
"Was that Devlin there?" I jumped when Mai came up from behind me. She didn't say anything about my rosy disposition, but merely quirked a brow in acknowledgement of my blushing at Duke.
"Oh, uh yeah it was. He's leaving now."
"As should we. Joey's bringing the rental around. Are you driving with us or your mom?"
"I think I should take this one with mom."
"Good answer kiddo," she said as she waved a casual goodbye and headed off with Joey. Mom just about drove in with her rental too.
"Ready to go hun?"
"Ready as I'll ever be okaasan."
Except at red carpet events I don't think I'd ever seen so many celebrities gathered together like this, much less be amongst the clamour. I'd never been one for unnecessary show, sending off the starry-eyed to such events to bare the name of KaibaCorp in good fashion whilst I rested in the comfort of my office with a contented smile of solitude. Yet here I was amidst the very thing I despised reciting a debatable mantra that it's 'all for the sake of the company'.
"I heard this promises to be their best show yet," someone behind me said. It was then that Mokuba whispered to me that we were seated directly in front of the Beckhams, whoever they were. I truly cared less for celebrities, much less for fashion where it concerned haute couture. It had only been 15 minutes since we arrived and already I was anxious to leave, that is, until the DJ began playing the entry music for the models as we were welcomed to the gala, and one by one they came out in their outfits.
I hadn't known how much women's sleepwear had evolved so to say, over the years. The once classic silk gown was replaced by raunchy lace and spandex, and I had to admit it was quite appealing. The one they called Alessandra Ambrosio gave a flirtatious wink to those that dared meet her eye to eye as she continued to flaunt the assigned silk bra with complimentary undergarments.
The first round of models had just finished their walk, preparing themselves in the backroom for another fitting. But we were not treated to another sighting of these 'Angels' just yet as the lighting changed once more and the music became very Christmassy.
"Debuting in her first high fashion appearance tonight on our gracious catwalk, from the cultural fashion peak of Japan, ladies and gentlemen I present to you Shizuka!" the M.C for the night bellowed.
Suddenly the runway was dusted in artificial snow and glitter, and a remixed version of 'Santa Baby' blasted through the speakers as the young model made her big entrance. Compared to the others her walk didn't demand attention, it slowly drew you into her as your eyes drunk in a sight that screamed 'Merry Merry Christmas'. She wore a simple hot pink Santa hat, the most clothing that adorned her petit frame. The wings she was given had a snowflake design and it only added to the innocent flair her gracious steps took. It amazed me how these women were able to move even an inch in those heels. The 'Fantasy Bra' as they called it accentuated her bosom in the most uplifting of ways, no pun intended, and the curves did not stop there. Her long auburn hair teased the rim of the hot pink micro Santa skirt sashaying with each step, revealing more and more of the lacy black thong worn by a gracious buttocks, and though she was not as tall as the others her legs were seemingly endless in the thigh high black boots she wore.
But out of everything she wore, it was those eyes that lured you to her; a cocktail of honey and emerald swivelled together in the chastest of pools you'll ever find. She didn't belong here, in this world of glitz, glamour and confidence, but she seemed determined to prove us wrong as she gave her signature pose at the end of the runway and strutted off with an array of applause and whistles behind her.
I had finally done it. I took a deep breath, made my way onto that catwalk and gave it my all. And you know what, they liked me! That surge of confidence I tried so hard to develop had hit me like a two-tonne boulder as soon as my alias was called, and it didn't stop when they applauded my efforts. I managed a glimpse in my family's direction and saw Mai busily trying to restore colour in a deathly pale nii-san. I could only imagine what he'd say after the show. Things were running so smooth, I'd done everything the Angels told me, and then it happened.
I added too much pressure onto my right heel and off it went skating down the runway, carrying me along for the ride. I'd never worn 5 inch heels before, much less having it half an inch wide, and so I did as Ms. Klum said: 'keep the equilibrium between both feet and the ground steady'. I followed her instructions…for most of the show that is. I thought I would've landed flat on my bum on the runway, but at the height I was falling as well as how close to the edge I was standing, low and behold I had to brace myself for impact with the marble floor beneath the 4 feet tall stage.
When I opened my eyes a few moments later I was blinded by the hundreds of cameras flashing their weapons of mass media destruction towards me, but I felt something warm holding me up. I didn't land on the floor. Actually, I hadn't landed on anything. I was in the arms of some celebrity I was sure, feeling utterly embarrassed that I made such a klutz of myself. Then I heard a name, and I couldn't believe my ears.
"Good catch Seto!"
Author's note: Liked it, hated it, thinks it needs improving? All this can be accomplished by pressing that little purple button to your left lol! Will update as soon as I can. Arigato for taking the time to read it ;)