Break time! I'm getting kinda tired of my typical action based dramas. So now, I'm writing something completely different. Since I'm rather new to this more relaxed style of writing, the chapters won't be quite as lengthy as my usual writing (to compare, it's a THIRD of the length of my shortest Legacy Gundam chapter), but I hope it won't affect the quality of the story too much. I'd be happy to hear any feedback that you readers out there might have too, this is a whole new world for me. With that out of the way, I hope that you enjoy the first chapter of Shuffle! Soul searching and new beginnings!

Oh! Almost forgot, mandatory disclaimer.
Sargent Toughie does not own Shuffle! nor any of the characters that appear in this story. This, however, will not stop his conquest for world domination.

And now, with that out of the way, read on.

Shuffle! Soul searching and new beginnings!

Chapter 1

Sia stretched lightly as she stepped out of bed and made her way to the lower level of her house. Since her father was going to be out of the house until late today, the red head didn't have to worry about getting out of her night gown. As she finished the descent, she glanced over lazily to see her blonde friend hard at work in the kitchen. Still extremely groggy, she strolled in and pushed herself up into one of the taller chairs that sat propped up against the counter that led to the kitchen. She then laid her arms down on the counter and nuzzled her head into them, almost on the verge of falling asleep again at the counter. Upon seeing her friend at work in the kitchen, Sia couldn't help but recall the one time that the two of them accidentally kissed. Things were a little awkward for a few days after that, but it got back to normal fairly quick. Still, every time Sia saw her, that memory kept popping up in her mind, it absolutely refused to stay down.
"Kaede, what in the world are you doing over here so early? I didn't expect you here until noon."

The blonde girl turned around to face Sia with an energetic smile. How she pulled herself out of bed so early, and still had so much energy in her, was something that would forever remain a mystery to Sia... And during summer vacation, of all possible times. Sia saw this as the prime time of the year to wake up late, be lazy for most of the day, and have fun for what ended up remaining of the day, all without having any worries at all. Apparently though, Sia was just about the only person out of her entire group of friends that thought this way.

Since they weren't bogged down with school for the entire summer, quite a few of Sia's friends had gone out and gotten summer jobs so that they could have a little bit of extra spending money. Rin started working at a financial office, sorting papers as an intern. He'd always complain about how boring it was, but he raked in a considerable bundle of money for a high school student, that was standard for white collar work though, Sia considered him lucky. Asa started lending a hand at the local day care, thanks to Rin, she now had the ability to keep up with all of the toddlers without worrying about her body seizing up due to an overload of magical energy. Mayumi had taken up her dream job and was acting as a freelance photographer, she ended up selling most of her photos to the local magazine. Itsuki had gotten a job at the beach, figuring that it was the perfect way for him to get around the ladies... However, he was tragically mistaken when he realized that he'd spend his entire day washing towels in the back rooms.

Those that didn't get jobs filled their summer with other activities. Nerine had decided to study cooking further, and started taking lessons from Primula, of all people, since Primula had moved back in with Nerine and her father for the summer. Sia had no such activity in her life, as she planned to use the entire summer to relax an unwind from a rather stressful year of schoolwork. And Kaede... well... she was Kaede.

Since both Rin and Primula had moved out of the house, Kaede didn't have anybody around that she could tend to. After a few days, it was apparent to Sia that she was starting to get rather lonely living in that house all by herself. Eventually, Sia offered that, if she wanted to, Kaede could come over to her house and hang out whenever she wanted. The result was Kaede pretty much falling back into her old niche of acting as the house maid. Sia was certainly against having Kaede work the entire day, but if it stopped her from going back into her psychotic boxcutter mode, then Sia was more then happy to have the blonde work her heart out. Besides, that was more time for Sia to do what she wanted to do, instead of clean around the house.

Kaede laid down a large plate of food in front of the utterly drained Sia and smiled at her happily, replying to her question about why the blonde came so early.
"Oh, I really don't have anything better to do, so I figured I'd get a start on my day early."

Sia groaned and lifted herself up to look at the food, it was certainly all well prepared, leagues away from what she herself could have done. This was one of the benefits to having Kaede come around every day, and Sia certainly wasn't going to complain about it.
"mmgh, thanks."

Kaede backed away and started messing with something out of Sia's sight, though she honestly didn't care enough to investigate as she took a few light bites of the breakfast. Kaede spoke quickly as Sia ate, who was still stunned at how awake Kaede appeared to be, when Sia herself had just barely managed to rip herself from her bed.
"I'm just glad that you get yourself out of bed. Back when Rin lived with me, I always needed to go get him up."

Sia laughed a little, she started to feel a bit more awake now that she had a little bit of food in her, didn't hurt matters at all that it tasted fantastic.
"heh, that sure sounds like Rin, alright."

There was a pause for a few seconds in the room as Sia enjoyed her meal and Kaede finished up whatever it was she was doing out of Sia's sight. After a few seconds, Kaede turned to Sia with a light smile, since the red haired girl was considerably more lively after her meal.
"So Sia, what do you have planned for the day?"

Sia shrugged and relaxed forward on the table as the plate was taken away from her. After taking a moment to think about it, the red head replied to the question.
"Oh, I dunno... I think I might just go downtown and see where the day takes me. Some of the most fun stuff in the world happens on a moment's notice."

Kaede nodded and tossed the plate into the sink, she then turned around and rested her back against the counter to face Sia while the two girls talked.
"Well, sounds interesting. You should end up having a pretty fun day then."

Sia rolled her head off her hands and started to step off the chair, most days when she went out without a plan, Sia got bored and ended up going back home after a few hours. With that in mind, she decided to reconsider on the idea, and try to come up with something a bit more concrete that she could occupy her day with. As she pressed her feet back against the ground, she continued the conversation between her and Kaede.
"What about you, Kaede? What do you plan on doing today?"

Kaede stopped and cast her gaze up towards the ceiling, as though this was the first time all day that she had thought about what she would do once she no longer had Sia's house to clean. Kaede had been 'helping' Sia with house chores for about three days now. Kaede's dedication to her work showed in just how much cleaner the house was, now that she was coming over every day.
"hmm... Well... there are a lot of things here I can do to occupy my time..."

Sia stopped and looked around the room, her voice was filled with a mixture of humor and disbelief at Kaede's statement.
"Kaede... the house has never been so spotless before."

Kaede returned her gaze to Sia, there was a scary amount of honesty in her voice. Sia couldn't help but shudder a little at how dedicated to her tasks that Kaede was. She always knew that Kaede was the serving type, but she honestly had no idea how much passion went into it.
"Oh, it's the little things that make all the difference. For instance-"

Sia just cut her off there, since she herself couldn't imagine spending an entire day dedicated to cleaning and taking care of the house, she couldn't fathom the fact that Kaede was about to give up her third. Besides, she felt partially responsible, since she saw it as her fault that Kaede spent her entire time cleaning instead of having fun, which was what Sia originally intended when she extended the offer for Kaede to come over.
"Kaede, stop. You're not going to waste your third day in a row in this house, like some kind of full time maid or something."
"Oh, well I don't really-"
"You're coming out with me today, and we're going to have some fun. What do you like doing besides cooking and cleaning?"

Kaede stopped for a moment, it looked like she was honestly trying to think of something that she had done recently other then go to school and serve Rin.
"Well... er..."

Sia stopped cold in her tracks for a second, an utterly shocked expression washed over her features. How could it even be possible that she had gone her entire life without having fun when she was out of school? That was no way that any person deserved to live their life.
"No way..."

She only paused for a couple of seconds before she rose her voice and started walking towards Kaede.
"Unacceptable! We're going to find you a new hobby today, and you're going to like it!"

Sia grabbed Kaede by the arm and started walking towards the door. She could already hear Kaede object about something.
"Um, Sia, maybe you should-"
"No objections!"

Sia laid her hand on the door handle, but before she could turn it to open the door, Kaede spoke again.
"Sia, you really should get dressed before you go outside."

Sia stopped when she heard that, she looked down to see that she was still wearing her night gown that she had slept in. As she realized that she was about to go outside wearing it, her face flushed and she let go of Kaede's arm. She spun around to face the blonde and started to scratch her head.
"Heh, heh... yeah, that's probably a good idea..."

Sia moved out from her position by the door and made her way over to the stairs. As she started her ascent towards her room, she spoke out towards Kaede.
"I'll be down in a minute, so just wait for me, okay?"

As the sound of a shutting door rang out, Kaede sighed and rested up against a wall.
"Oh, Sia... I know I should be grateful, but..."

Her voice trailed off as she lost herself in thought.