Challenge: Shopping Spree
Title: Baby Blues
Rating: PG-13 (language)
Summary: Seto’s secretary just had a baby, and Mokuba, who notices, forces his brother to shop for a gift. Against his will Seto is forced to shop with Anzu and Shizuka, because they’re girls and they know about these things…
Kaiba Seto did not like to be disturbed. If he were in a hotel instead of his sky-high company building he would have the little “DO NOT DISTURB” sign on the handle to ward away any potential unwelcome disruptions. As it was, he did not have a sign on his office door handle, content to have a secretary who did the job just as well as that convenient sign. The woman, Seto didn’t quite know her name, though he was sure it was something along the lines of Amimoto (it was Imamura), was pleasant and efficient. She knew who was allowed in Kaiba’s office and who wasn’t. She knew what phone calls to put through, what phone calls weren’t worth wasting her boss’s time with, and she always knew when Seto would need a refill in his coffee mug.
Therefore, when Seto began to get calls about whether or not the prototype of a new gaming device should be colored pink or green, he knew something was different, but he shrugged it off. When Seto had to get up from his desk to refill his coffee cup constantly (he drank a lot of coffee), Seto felt odd, but he let the feeling pass and chose not to investigate the reason he felt strange. However, when Mokuba entered his office at twelve in the afternoon, Seto knew something was off and intended to find out what it was. Mokuba was never allowed in Seto’s office until after five o’clock, the only exception on the weekends. It was a sunny Wednesday afternoon, not that Seto noticed or cared that it was nice weather outside. He never concerned himself with the weather.
“Mokuba,” Seto stated as his younger brother strolled casually into his office and plopped on the couch he insisted Seto keep in his office. Mokuba was always concerned about his brother’s health and insisted that Seto never got enough sleep.
“Nii-sama? Where’s Imamura-san?”
Seto frowned. “Who?”
“Imamura-san. Your secretary. She’s not at her desk.”
Seto blinked. “So that’s how you got in here. You know, you’re supposed to be in school.”
Mokuba smiled at his brother. “Nii-sama, we don’t have school! I’m on spring break right now.”
Seto sighed as he was reminded of how little he knew about Mokuba’s life. Work was stifling and draining all his family time with the only family he had left. “Still, Mokuba, you know the rules.”
Mokuba sighed dramatically, rolling his eyes, and stood up with many histrionics that made Seto smile and cough to hide his laugh. “Yes Nii-sama, I’m leaving. I’ll be back by five.” Mokuba made his way to the door but paused midway in the threshold. “I’m going to find out what happened to Imamura-san!” He announced, then narrowed his eyes as a thought came to him suddenly. “You didn’t fire her, did you?”
“No,” Seto replied. “To my knowledge I did not fire her.”
Mokuba grinned. “Good, because Imamura-san is nice! And I can trust her to send you home when it gets too late at night and your eyes are glued to your work. See you later Nii-sama!” Mokuba ran out the door, slamming it shut behind him.
By the time Mokuba returned some five hours later (he was slightly late because he got slightly lost on his way back to the elevator) Seto had forgotten all about Imamura-san and was surprised, then, when Mokuba came rushing in with a huge smile on his face and shouted excitedly, “I know where Imamura-san is!”
Seto looked up from his computer. “Who?”
Mokuba’s face grew blank. “Imamura-san. Your secretary. She’s not here.”
“Oh,” Seto said blandly. “Right. So, where is she?”
“On maternity leave! She just had a baby!”
Seto blinked. “Don’t those things usually take at least nine months?”
Mokuba rolled his eyes then threw himself on the couch. “She didn’t want to leave until absolutely necessary. In fact, she waited until last month to take time off. She had her baby last Saturday. It’s a boy.” Mokuba smiled.
“That’s nice Mokuba,” Seto remarked, his attention already back on his work.
Mokuba sat up and pouted. “Nii-sama, don’t you think it’d be nice if you got her something?”
Seto shrugged as he began to type. “Like what?”
“Well,” Mokuba said, “you could get something for the baby! That’d be nice! Like, a baby toy or something. Clothes are rather personal and you won’t know if they’d fit, but yeah, you should get something. Like a stuffed animal. And you should probably get Imamura-san a card saying congratulations.”
“Congratulations? What for? For being only the nine billionth woman on Earth to give birth successfully?” Seto asked sarcastically. “How about a card for the doctors as well? It can say ‘Congratulations on not screwing it up!’”
Mokuba frowned. “Nii-sama, I’m being serious.”
“I’ll be serious, Mokuba,” Seto promised. “So, you think I should get the baby a gift? I don’t know the first thing about babies.”
Mokuba smiled. “I know. So…I asked some friends to help you pick out a gift.”
Seto narrowed his eyes, suspicion glaring acutely at the young adolescent. “Who did you ask to help me?”
“Mazaki-chan and Kawai-chan,” Mokuba said, inching slightly away from his brother’s desk. “I know how you feel about Yuugi-tachi, but they’re girls so they’ll know exactly what to get! And they’re not that bad to hang around either.”
Seto glared for a moment longer before he dropped his gaze. “When?”
“Tomorrow!” Mokuba bounced happily up. “They’ll stop by around nine o’clock to pick you up. Promise to be nice?”
Seto scoffed. “I’m not promising anything, Mokuba. You know how I feel about shopping. You know how I feel about people. You know how I feel about Yuugi-tachi.”
Mokuba let out a long suffering sigh. “They willingly agreed to help, so the least you can do is be tolerable.”
“I’ll try my best, Mokuba.”
At ten minutes to nine the next morning, Seto heard loud voices from outside his office door. One was a woman’s voice and she sounded both pissed and offended. The other was distinctly Mokuba’s, apologetic and anxious, who had insisted on accompanying Seto to Kaiba Corps that morning. Curious, Seto paused in his work to listen to the heated conversation.
“Mokuba, you lied to us! You told me that we were helping you shop!” the woman shouted indignantly. “You never said anything about helping that as-”
“Anzu, I’m sorry! But honestly, would you have said yes if you knew it was Seto and not me I wanted you to help?” Mokuba interrupted quickly.
“Of course not!” Anzu replied. “You know he hates me as well as Yuugi and the rest of us! Why should I help the creep?”
“That creep happens to be my brother!” Mokuba retorted and Seto couldn’t help but smile at his brother’s loyalty. “Please help him find a gift? For me?”
A third voice spoke up. “Anzu, this might be a good chance to prove to Kaiba-san that we’re not as bad as he thinks. And we can’t say no to Mokuba. You know how he tries to get Kaiba-san to make friends. I think it’d be a great bonding experience!” Seto recognized the chipper voice as Kawai-chan, Jounouchi-kun’s little sister.
Anzu sighed. “Okay, fine. I’ll help Kaiba-san find a gift for Imamura-san. But let’s do this quickly, please?”
There was a tentative knock on the door before Mokuba pushed it open slightly. He inched his way into the office slowly, followed timidly by Anzu and Shizuka. The door closed softly behind them once all three were inside, assembled in a line in front of Kaiba’s desk.
“Morning, Kaiba-san,” Shizuka greeted softly. “Ready for some shopping?” She smiled slightly, hesitatingly, at him to lighten the mood.
Seto grunted slightly as he stood. “Let’s get this over with,” he said and Shizuka’s smile faltered, until Mokuba glared at his brother. Seto sighed. “I mean, I’d love to go shopping. Thank you for offering your help, Kawai-chan, Mazaki-ch, um, Mazaki-san.” Anzu smirked and let her arms, formerly crossed over her chest, to fall to her sides.
“Well, let’s go then!” she said, turning and opening the door. “I hope you don’t mind, Kaiba-san, but can we take my car?”
Seto glanced over at Mokuba, who nodded discreetly, then turned to the girl, swallowed his pride (he loved his limos), and forced a smile. “Of course, Mazaki-san. No problem,” he deadpanned.
Anzu nodded once in acknowledgement, then led them out of the office. Seto turned at the last minute to Mokuba, who had seated himself comfortably at Kaiba’s desk.
“Don’t worry Nii-sama! I’ll fill in for you until you get back!” The teenager waved cheerfully and was the last thing Seto saw before the doors closed ominously behind him.
When Seto had agreed to let Anzu drive her car, he did not anticipate that it would be the only flowery pansy pink Volkswagen Bug in existence. Nor did he anticipate squeezing his tall frame and long legs into the cramped back seat of said car. Of course, there was an upside to this pattern- Seto fully expected to be forced to suffer the company of all of Yuugi-tachi, which meant the likely hood of that happening was now slim to none. He still would have preferred riding in his limousine instead of Anzu’s pink little car though.
The arrived at the mall in record time- Seto was pleased to say that Anzu was a competent driver, unlike Kujaku Mai whom, Seto recalled overhearing, drove particularly terribly. And if memory served him, Jounouchi-kun once tipped a truck over. Thankfully, Anzu did not learn to drive from either of them, and if she had, it didn’t show.
“So,” Shizuka said as they stepped into the mall. “Where should we start?”
Anzu convulsively grabbed Seto’s arm suddenly, shaking excitedly. “Oh look! Aren’t the dresses adorable!” She was enthusiastically pointing at the baby clothes, her eyes shining. “Look at the lace! And what a cute shade of pink!” Anzu suddenly dashed over to the rack, pulling dress after lacey dress off the rack and loudly admiring them.
“This one has cute white bunnies on it!” she exclaimed, shoving a rather ugly little dress in Seto’s face. The pink was dark and rather putrid, as if a vat of puke lime green dye had accidentally been dumped in the pink dyes. The white bunnies were also a dark cream color, as if stained by spilt coffee. Glancing from the dress to the sign above the dresses, Seto slowly backed away from Anzu and the dresses. “Mazaki-san, those are used dresses. Besides, the baby is a boy.”
Anzu was not listening to the man, excitedly showing Shizuka a cute white dress with silk trim and pretty pink flowers dotting the material. “Kaiba-san, you have to get this!” she said suddenly.
“What am I going to do with a baby dress?” Seto asked.
“You have to give the baby this dress!” Anzu insisted, Shizuka beside her nodding just as eagerly.
Seto shook his head. “Absolutely not.”
Anzu pouted. “Oh, but it’s so cute!” Shizuka looked close to tears.
Seto sighed. “This is ridiculous. It’s a baby boy.”
Seto bought the dress and was then forced to carry its bag around the store. Next, the girls moved on to the toy section, a very reluctant Kaiba trailing behind them.
“Oh, look at this little duck!” Shizuka cried, lifting up a sweet yellow duck with a white ribbon around its neck. “Oh, it’s so soft!”
“Shizuka, look at this cute little kitty!” Anzu called, pointing to a fluffy white cat that Seto mistook for real at first glance. Looking closer, Seto wrinkled his nose in disgust. The cat, though fake, still shed and its long white hairs looked like quite a hazard for any teething tot.
From the corner of his eye, Seto spied a sensible blue elephant that was soft and huggable but certainly had no girlish ribbons or hazardous fur. Picking it up, Seto smiled in satisfaction. The elephant would do nicely for a present.
There was a squeal from behind Seto. “Kaiba-san! It’s perfect!” Thinking they were talking about the blue animal he had selected, Seto smugly turned to face them, only to be met by the beady black eyes of an all too pink rabbit.
“What is that thing?” Seto asked, quickly stepping away from the toy.
“It’s for the baby! Isn’t it just lovely!” Shizuka gushed. “Look at the matching ribbons!” The bunny had two white ribbons with little crimson rabbits hopping across the embellishment, one tied around each of the rabbit’s bright crayon pink ears.
“It’s…lovely,” Seto repeated, puzzled. “But I think this elephant is a better gift.”
“That old thing?” Anzu cried in dismay, whisking the poor blue elephant out of Seto’s arms and tossing it carelessly over her shoulder. “That won’t do at all! No, this rabbit; trust us, it’s perfect.”
Seto finally gave in and bought the bunny as well, though he secretly snuck the elephant in as well. It needed love after Anzu dumped it so frivolously on the ground. It was going to a good home, Seto figured. After all, Kaiba mansion was big enough that he could find room for one little blue elephant.
Seto figured they were finished shopping- after all, they had a dress and a toy for the baby, the child didn’t any more corruption. However Anzu and Shizuka insisted on looking at the dishware.
Seto had to admit, the little sets of bowls, plates, and child-sized utensils were ideal gifts for a growing child, not to mention practical. While the girls crooned over a set of Peter Rabbit plates and forks, Seto found a bowl, cup, and plate set with fish swimming along the rims of the dishes. Seto decided to buy the set.
“Kaiba-san! We have found the perfect gift!” Anzu announced. Shizuka held up a box set of tiny tea cups, tea spoons, tea cup holders, and tiny pastry plates. Each piece of the set was elaborately decorated with dancing pink hearts and the spoons were in the shape of little hearts with handles. Seto sighed.
“Let me guess? It’s the cutest thing ever and I must buy it?” Both girls nodded. Seto rubbed the sides of his temples to soothe a growing headache. “Fine.”
They were finally on their way out of the store, Seto laden down with the bags (the tea set didn’t look heavy but it was deceptively burdensome) when Shizuka let out a shrill cry of delight. “Baby booties!”
Anzu and Seto watched as Shizuka ran over to the basket filled to the top with tiny knitted socks. The girl dug frantically through the booties, finally emerging triumphant. “Look! Little pink booties! They’ll match the dress perfectly!” Seto shook his head.
“You think I should buy them?” he guessed. Shizuka nodded. “And if I don’t I’ll be equal in my wickedness to the boogie man?” She nodded again. “Okay.”
Finally, the girls were satisfied with Seto’s purchases and they finally returned to Kaiba Corps, Seto nursing a headache the entire ride back. He couldn’t have been happier when they finally dropped him off in front of his company building.
“I had fun shopping with you today, Kaiba-san,” Shizuka told him shyly as he exited the car.
“Yeah,” Anzu added, sticking her head out the window to look up at Seto. “It was different. I enjoyed it. Maybe we could do this again sometime?”
Seto hesitated, then reluctantly nodded. “Yeah, maybe. Well…thanks, for your help.”
They nodded and the pink Volkswagen drove off. Seto slowly made his way back to his office. When he reached his office on the top floor, he dropped the bags on the ground and collapsed onto the couch. For once he was thankful for its presence in his office.
Mokuba entered a moment later and he smiled when he saw his brother had returned. “So, Seto, were you successful?”
“Define successful,” Seto groaned, an arm thrown across his eyes in an attempt to get some rest.
Mokuba simply shook his head. “Can I see what you bought?”
“Knock yourself out. I’m about to do the same in a minute,” Seto replied, blindly searching the table beside the couch for his sleeping pills.
Mokuba, excited, peered inside one of the bags. A moment later, he screamed, his hands covering his eyes from the painful sight. “Ah! The pink! It burns!”
Seto, who finally found the sleeping pills (he hoped), grinned at his brother’s outcry. “Doesn’t it though?”
Mokuba, who had calmed down enough to cautiously slide past the bags to sit on the couch beside his brother, nodded. “But Imamura-san had a boy. Pink is a girl color. We can’t give that to the baby!” Mokuba said, scandalized at the thought.
Seto shrugged, popped the pills in his mouth and smiled. “Maybe we’ll start a new trend.” Lying down on the couch, Seto promptly fell asleep.
“Kaiba-sama! Kaiba-kun!” Imamura Akiko was pale but very cheerful to see her employer and his adorable little brother standing in her bedroom doorway. “Hello to you both! What brings you here?”
Seto stepped forward and awkwardly handed the woman a bright blue gift bag. “Uh…congratulations, Imamura-san,” he mumbled.
Akiko gasped as she graciously accepted the gift. Reaching a curious hand inside, she pulled out the white dress and the pastel pink booties. “Oh Kaiba-sama! How did you know I had a girl?”
Seto looked to Mokuba, then back up at Akiko. “I thought you had a son as well?”
Akiko nodded. “Oh yes, they’re twins, but nobody hears about the girl until they visit, and so she, sadly, has no presents as of yet.” Akiko held the dress up. “This is adorable!”
Akiko then proceeded to coo lovingly over the pink rabbit plush and the tiny porcelain tea set, pouring out thanks as if they were spare change. “Thank you so much Kaiba-sama, Kaiba-kun.”
“Congratulations Imamura-san!” Mokuba said as they left. Looking up at his quiet older brother, he spoke softly. “Ne, Nii-sama? Wouldn’t it be nice to get some things for the boy? Maybe Anzu and Shizuka will be willing to help you again!”
Seto was silent for a moment before he muttered, “I think I want to hug my elephant now. This is too much for my nerves to handle.”
Mokuba just smiled and leaned up to give his brother a quick hug. “Thanks, Nii-sama.” Seto groaned.