Snow Child

Chapter 13

Chapter 13

Standing outside a door with "14a" Written across it in gold lettering, Yukiko reflected on how she couldn't quite believe she'd managed to get Seto here. Admittedly, he wasn't wearing a costume like she was, but he was here and that was more than enough. Yukiko guessed it was down to a guy thing of not wanting to appear weak. Once he'd learnt Joey knew he'd been ill, he had begrudgingly agreed to go as if he would seem pathetic if he didn't turn up. Yukiko thought being ill was a perfectly good reason for missing a party, but apparently not. Yukiko gazed down at her outfit, feeling suddenly very uncomfortable. She had gone out earlier in the day looking for a costume, egged on by an amused Mokuba. After school, he had gone with them to the costume shop. He was very different from his brother, showing enthusiasm for the party, despite knowing he couldn't go. He had too much homework to do and besides he had a friend coming over that evening. When they'd seen a particular costume hanging on the railing, Mokuba had laughed, saying she should get that one. At the time Yukiko had agreed, deciding it was an appropriate costume for her, but know she was wearing it, she had second doubts. The floaty white dress fell to just above her knees, finishing off with a fluffy white trim and she could feel the Alice band that supported the fluffy halo digging in on her head. Even so, she grinned to herself. A snow Angel. It was appropriate.

Yukiko shifted uncomfortably, feeling the weight of the angel wings strapped to her back. She was struck by the thought she wasn't really enjoying this dressing up thing. It was uncomfortable. Besides her, Seto stood wearing his usual choice of clothes, a shirt, tie and tailored trousers. Yukiko felt stupid stood next to him wearing this. Sighing, knowing there was no turning back, she knocked on the door. They were only waiting a couple of seconds when the door was wrenched open and the sound of music met them. Someone leapt towards her, wrapping their arms around her in a frantically friendly embrace. Yukiko stumbled back, only just managing to keep her stance. The person holding onto her let go and grinned at her. She could smell the unfamiliar scent of alcohol on the person. Joey beamed at her and then gazed over to Seto.

"Kaiba! Where's your costume?" He demanded pointing a finger at Kaiba accusatively. Joey, who had dressed up as what Yukiko guessed was a cave man, was looking angry.

"Wheeler, if you even lay a finger on me…" Seto began with a growl, but before he could finish Yukiko pushed Joey inside the apartment. She gazed around and saw a whole bunch of people sat around chatting while listening to the music. She recognised Yugi who had apparently dressed up as his favourite duel monster card, the dark magician. Yukiko only recognised the character from when he'd helped teach her how to play duel monsters. He was talking to Téa who was wearing a medieval princess dress. There was Mai, who she'd met briefly before at Kaiba Corp. She was dressed up as a devil and she was now chatting to Joey, who Yukiko noticed with a blush, was struggling to keep his eyes locked on hers and not anywhere else. She saw Tristan sat on the sofa, his arm casually draped around a girl Yukiko didn't recognise. The girl looked younger than the rest of them, with auburn hair and brown eyes. She was dressed as what Yukiko guessed was an ancient Greek. Yukiko smiled seeing everyone here, whether she knew them or not, had decided to dress up. She turned to Seto, who was observing the scene with an expression close to disgust.

"Don't you feel weird, been the only one who hasn't come in costume?" She asked quietly. He almost glowered at her in response.

"Tell me when you want to leave," He ordered, moving away from her and going over to the dining table, the place furthest away from everyone. He sat down and pulled his PDA out of his pocket. Yukiko sighed and looked around the room. She was stood in a fair sized living/ dining room, three sofas in front of her, a wooden coffee table between them. There were four doors leading off from the main room, two she presumed would lead to a couple of bedrooms, the other a bathroom and the last a kitchen.

"Hi Yukiko!" a voice cried out suddenly. She looked around to see Yugi waving at her. She waved back grinning.

"Great costume!" Téa called out over the music.

"Thanks, you too!" She called back. Then she felt someone bound up behind her, grabbing her and pushing her towards one of the doors.

"Come on! Let's get you a drink!" Joey's voice laughed from behind her as he steered her into the kitchen.

The kitchen was small, but ample. When they entered, there were already two people inside talking. Yukiko recognised Ryo instantly and smiled at him. Stood with him was a boy with black hair and bright green eyes. He had a dangly earring with a dice on the bottom of it, but didn't seem to be wearing anything else that indicated a costume. He was wearing what Yukiko presumed were his regular clothes. She was just about to say hello when Joey spoke.

"Right what ya drinking?" He grinned.

"What have you got?" Yukiko asked.

"Well, there's beer, lager, cider, wine, spirits…" He said, hiccupping as he read the list out. Yukiko felt the colour rise into her cheeks as she realised she didn't really have a clue what was good. She wasn't sure if she'd ever drank alcohol before.

"… I've never drunk… alcohol before…" She muttered embarrassed. Joey gaped at her, open mouthed. He was still gaping at her when Tristan, dressed as a soldier, walked into the kitchen.

"Another Cape Codder for Serenity, please!" He announced. Joey turned on him instantly, lunging for him.

"I swear Tristan! If you get my sister drunk…" Joey shouted, dragging him out of the kitchen, leaving Yukiko stood staring after him.

"Never?" An unfamiliar voice asked curiously. Yukiko looked around and saw the boy with the dice earring had spoken.

"No, never," Yukiko admitted, smiling at him.

"I'm Duke," He smiled, introducing himself.

"Yukiko," She replied, blushing slightly. Duke picked up an odd shaped plastic jug and walked over to the freezer; he filled the jug up with ice then returned to the side.

"Well, I'll make you the best first drink of your life," He said glancing at her. Yukiko watched as he added a clear coloured liquid to the pile of ice, then a red fruit juice. He screwed a top onto it and began to shake the jug violently. Yukiko watched in something close to a trance. He then stopped, pulled a small plastic top off it and poured the liquid into a glass, leaving the ice inside the jug. He passed Yukiko the glass and winked.

"Enjoy," He grinned. Yukiko sipped the drink tentatively. It was sweet, with a strange bitter edge. She smiled and looked up at Duke. It was good.

The next time Yukiko checked, a couple of hours had passed. It was now ten at night, but she didn't feel remotely tired. In the main room, they'd pushed the table and sofas back and were all sat around in a circle, a bottle between them. Yukiko wasn't sure what had happened, but she felt exceptionally more giggly and confident. She presumed it was to do with the drinks she'd been having, but she wasn't sure and right now she couldn't care less. She was having fun. Joey leaned forwards and span the bottle. There was a collective intake of breath as the bottle began to slow, eventually coming to a stop pointing at Yugi.

"So Yug, you've got to kiss…" Joey began, spinning the bottle a second time. It came to a stop and it was pointing a Téa. Yugi blushed, his usually strong features turning childlike. Despite this he turned to Téa, who was sat on his left, and pressed his lips softly against hers. There was a collective wolf whistle from the rest of the group as they broke contact, both of them with red tinged cheeks. Yugi leaned forwards and span the bottle. It landed on Tristan. After a second spin, much to Joey's horror, it landed on his sister Serenity. Tristan pressed his lips firmly against hers, resulting in an angry Joey dragging him away from his sister. He glared at Tristan as he span the bottle. It landed on Joey.

Yukiko felt strange, the edges of her vision were almost blurry, but now she could feel a slight ache in her legs as she consumed what must have been her seventh glass of the fruity drink. She was just thinking over how much fun she was having when she heard her name.

"Joey… you have to kiss Yukiko!" Tristan's voice exclaimed. Yukiko blinked, startled. She looked around the circle her face burning. Joey, who was sat opposite her, was already on his hands and knees crawling towards her. He moved closer to her. Yukiko could feel her heart accelerating and before she'd even had the chance to protest, he'd put his hand on the side of her face and pressed his warm lips against hers. Her eyes widened in shock as his lips parted and caressed hers. If Yukiko had expected it to be a quick kiss, like Téa's and Yugi's, she was sadly mistaken. She could taste something bitter in Joey's breath. And still he kissed her, his mouth moving over hers passionately. Yukiko had a sudden thought that Joey was doing this purposely to wind Kaiba up. Realising this, Yukiko made to pull back, out of the intense kiss. As she tried to move back, Joey lost his balance, falling on top of her, sending her flying back onto the floor. Joey collapsed in a fit of drunken laughter as the rest of the group whistled and egged them on.

"Get off her, Wheeler." A stern voiced demanded. Yukiko looked behind her as best she could in the current situation. Seto was stood above them all, a terribly stern expression on his face, his arms folded disapprovingly. Joey lifted himself up off Yukiko, his hands on either side of her head, his knees either side of her legs, still preventing her from sitting up.

"What's up Rich boy? You want a kiss too?" Joey asked rather aggressively.

"We're leaving Yukiko," Seto said, ignoring Joey. This seemed to aggravate Joey more and he stood up, allowing Yukiko to sit up her halo now lopsided.

"Why?" Yukiko asked frowning, turning to Seto, the alcohol giving her the confidence to question his authority.

"Yeah Kaiba!" Joey exclaimed, "It's just a game, not that you'd know as you're too chicken to play!" Joey teased grinning. There was a resounding "Oooooo" from the group, accompanied with a spattering of drunken giggles at Joey's insult. Yukiko held her breath as she felt the tension rise in the room dramatically. Seto pushed Joey aside and walked over to the vacated spot in the circle and sat down opposite Yukiko.

"What are ya doing rich boy?" Joey demanded.

"You wanted me to play, right? And if I remember correctly, it's your turn to spin the bottle Wheeler, so sit down and just play already," Kaiba said impatiently.

And so, the game continued, each person getting slightly more intoxicated as the evening wore on, everyone but Kaiba that was. Yukiko couldn't help but watch him as time passed by. He did drink, several cans of what she presumed was beer, but it didn't affect him He was still the same stern faced Seto Kaiba everyone knew, everyone but Yukiko, she reminded herself. She had seen a very rare glimpse of the different side of him. The bottle was spinning again. Yukiko bit her lip as she watched the bottle beginning to slow down. Yukiko felt a dip in her stomach as the bottle came to a stop, pointing at Seto. She felt her eyes meet his and a rush of colour flared into her cheeks. She forced her gaze away from his as he leant forwards and twisted the bottle causing it to whip around. What if it landed on her? Suddenly, she realised that was exactly what she wanted to happen. She wanted to kiss him! If she hadn't been so stupid before to ruin things, to interrupt, she'd have kissed him already and she wouldn't be sat here yearning for the experience. No, if she'd have kept focused and silent for a few seconds more, she would be sat here wanting more.

Everyone watched excitedly as the bottle came to a stop. Yukiko felt the aching emptiness of disappointment as the bottle moved past her, coming to a stop pointing at Serenity. Next to her, Joey jumped to his feet angrily.

"Hell no Kaiba!" He exclaimed shaking his fists at him.

"It's just a game, right Wheeler?" Seto smirked up at him, his eyes dancing with amusement. Yukiko secretly wanted Joey to continue protesting, to stop it from happening, but she was disappointed. Joey sat back down grumpily, glaring off in another direction as Seto leaned across the circle and brushed his lips against the auburn haired girls. Yukiko looked away, a strong aching pang roaring to life inside her chest. She picked up her glass and drained it, trying to distract herself. The drink was sweet, and she tried to focus on that. Why had it hurt so much to see him kissing someone else? Had he felt the same way when Joey had kissed her? Yugi suddenly stood up from the circle.

"I'm going to get another drink," he announced to the room.

"Wait, I'll go with you!" Yukiko said holding her empty glass out. She needed to get away from the game for a little while. If she saw him kissing anyone else, she wasn't sure what she'd do. Yugi smiled as she stood up and they walked together into the small kitchen. Yukiko walked over to the white fridge and opened the door, gazing inside.

"Can you pass me a cider?" Yugi asked politely.

"Sure," Yukiko smiled, realising she wasn't sure which type of bottle it was.

"The green bottles, at the bottom," Yugi said helpfully. Yukiko pulled the bottle out and handed it across.

"Can I try one?" She asked curiously. Yugi nodded at her and she took out a second bottle. It was cold and big, holding almost a litre. Yugi passed her across a bottle opener. After a few tries to open the bottle, Yugi helped her. She sipped the liquid and found it to be pleasantly refreshing and sweet.

"How are things going?" Yugi asked.

"Erm… good… I think," Yukiko replied smiling.

"Have you… dreamt anymore?" Yugi asked concern in his eyes.

"I think so… I can't ever remember. Wait! But I remembered something!" Yukiko exclaimed, yesterdays events returning to her quite suddenly.

"I remembered a recipe my mother taught me! I know my mother taught it me, But I can't remember her, but it's a start!" She exclaimed, trying not to remember the circumstances in which she'd regained part of her forgotten past.

"That's great Yukiko!" Yugi smiled, "We should probably head back," He added.

"Yeah," Yukiko replied, feeling uneasy. She didn't want to see Seto kissing anyone else. Yugi noticed her hesitation. He turned back to her his smile faltering.

"What is it Yukiko?" He asked concerned. She took a large gulp of her drink, unsure of how to explain. Should she even try to explain?

"It's nothing," She smiled confidently, walking ahead of him and back out into the main room. To Yukiko's secret relief, they had set the bottle aside and were now playing another game. Word association. If you lost, you'd take a drink. Smiling, Yukiko retook her seat in the circle and joined in.

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