Snow Child

Chapter 15

Chapter 15

Yukiko woke up gradually, feeling the heaviness of sleep lifting from her to be replaced by a dull pounding inside her head. She tried desperately to hold onto sleep, trying to wrap her subconscious back in it. Try as she might, it slipped away from her, forcing her eyes open. Yukiko lay under the warm bed sheets for a few minutes, trying to contemplate the aching nausea pounding against her skull. Yukiko sat up, rubbing her head. Why was she in so much pain? What had happened? Yukiko felt a sudden dip in her stomach, which didn't help the queasiness in her belly. She couldn't remember a lot of last night. It was all a blur! Had her amnesia struck again? Then she remembered with a flutter of excitement something she prayed she'd never forget. She had kissed Seto. Despite the pain she was in, she couldn't help but grin. She glanced next to her and saw the bed was empty. She laid back and laughed, the fluttering in her stomach making her want to squeal with happiness. She swung her legs out of bed and tried to stand. She was unsteady on her feet and fell back onto the bed. Frowning, Yukiko pushed herself back on to her quaking legs. She stood for a few seconds, feeling woozy. She rubbed her head as pain shot through her skull again. Groaning, she dragged her feet to the en-suite bathroom. She switched the light on and winced as the bright light burned against her eyes. She leant for support on the sink and gazed at her reflection. She didn't look brilliant. Her skin was very pale and she had dark rings around her eyes. She was wearing Seto's shirt as she usually did at night, but it was all buttoned up wrong. Yukiko left the room feeling awful. She left his bedroom and walked to the top of the stairs. She gazed down them with a feeling of dread. Holding tightly onto the wooden banister, she made her way slowly down the stairs, her stomach feeling all the more worse with every step she took.

Yukiko walked into the kitchen, clutching at her pounding head. The kitchen was empty. Yukiko glanced at the clock on the island counter. It was twenty five minutes past ten. No one was home and no one would be home for a few hours. Yukiko then noticed a packet of tablets on the counter top along with a glass bottle of mineral water and a glass. On the packet was a blue piece of paper. Yukiko sat down at the table and pulled the items towards her. She picked up the note and read:

Thought you might need these.

Seto K.

Yukiko grinned as she read the note. There was no sign of affection in it, no kisses, but Yukiko couldn't help grinning like a Cheshire cat. The very fact he'd left her a note meant more to her than she could explain. Placing the note to her side, she examined the packet. It was a box of paracetamol pain killers. Yukiko took two out of the pack and poured a glass of the water out. She quickly swallowed the tablets, grimacing as she did. Her head really was pounding. Draining the glass, Yukiko made the decision to go and watch some TV for a bit. She grabbed the half full bottle of water and brought it with her into the living room. She set it down besides the sofa and stretched out upon it, resting her head on the arm of it. She pulled the fluffy brown throw around her, switching on the TV with the remote. Yukiko felt her eyes start to droop as the minutes passed by, a cooking show on the TV.

When Yukiko next opened her eyes, several hours had passed by. It was now half two according to the TV. Yukiko stretched, yawning. She felt a little better. The sharp pain of her headache had now been replaced by a dull thudding, which she decided wasn't as bad. Yukiko shuddered, suddenly caught in a chill. She was freezing. What had caused her sudden drop in temperature? She stood up from the leather sofa, pulling the throw up with her. She wrapped it around her, shivering. Maybe she should go put some trousers on. Yukiko shuffled out of the room. She walked into the hall way and started on the stairs. She was halfway up them when the doorbell rang. Yukiko turned around and gazed at the front door curiously. She wasn't expecting anyone, and Kaiba would have told her if he was expecting company. Seto had got her a telephone with his number on speed dial a few days after she'd arrived here, but she'd never had to use it, the only time she had was to memorize his number. She was just considering running into her room and calling him when she stopped herself. The snow and ice may have started to thaw away, but it was still ridiculously cold outside. She couldn't keep whoever it was waiting. If they were here for Kaiba, she'd just have to tell them to come back later. Holding on to the blanket wrapped around her shoulders tightly, Yukiko walked down the few steps she'd climbed and approached the door. She pulled it open, receiving an icy blast of wind, which swept through her body.

There was no one there. She reluctantly stepped outside looking left and right. The icy wind was battering into her, as if it was determined to tear her apart. Yukiko retreated urgently back into the warmth of the house her teeth chattering and her body trembling with cold. Yukiko closed the door and locked it. Frowning, she started back up the stairs, now planning to have a hot bath to bring her numb body back to life. She could hear the wind picking up outside sending a sudden chill rippling through her. There was a loud bang, shattering the silence of the house. Yukiko cried out, her heart jumping and beginning to race. The echoing bang was followed instantly by a gust of freezing wind, whipping through the building. Yukiko had dropped the blanket in fright and she whipped around. She could feel the cool air through Kaiba's shirt and goose pimples rose up all over her body. The front door had blown violently open, allowing the wind to have its way and blast all around the house. Yukiko made her way back down the stairs, nudging the cover to the side with her foot. She grabbed the door and tried to push it closed. She fought against the strength of the wind, but it was as if the wind was fighting back. Why wasn't it closing? Yukiko gritted her teeth, imagining it now, calling Seto at work and asking for his help.

"Seto, the door won't close," She'd say. There would be a pause as he contemplated the idiotic thing she'd just said. After a few moments of silence he'd reply.

"What do you mean it won't close?" He'd ask in his usual stern and bemused tone.

"The wind, it's too strong!" She'd exclaim while blushing furiously at how pathetic she'd sound. There would be another pause, and then he'd sigh exasperatedly.

Yukiko slid to the floor panting. Despite the gusts of freezing cold air still battering into her from the open door, she felt flushed from her efforts. She closed her eyes, trying to catch her breath and concoct a plan to close the damn thing.

"Are you alright, Yukiko?" A voice asked, startling her out of her thoughtful trance. Yukiko cried out, jumping to her feet, her heart frantic. She turned around. Stood in the doorway was the polite white haired British boy, Ryo.

"Ryo, you scared me half to death!" Yukiko exclaimed, clutching her chest, trying to calm her nervous heart. It was acting very frantic.

"Sorry, Yukiko," He smiled apologetically. Yukiko smiled back at him.

"It's okay, what are you doing here?" Yukiko asked curiously. He smiled again.

"I saw you were having trouble with the door? Would you like some help?" Ryo asked kindly. She was secretly very thankful he'd turned up. She wasn't much liking been on her own.

"Yes please. I don't know what's wrong with it, it must be jammed," Yukiko replied awkwardly. Ryo stepped inside the house and pushed the door closed. Yukiko felt her cheeks flush instantly. How weak and stupid was she? He'd closed that door easily.

"Great night last night, wasn't it? Would you like a drink?" She asked leading the way into the living room, trying to hide her embarrassment at failing to close the stupid door. Ryo sat down and smiled up at her.

"It was a lot of fun. I'll have a tea, if that's alright?" He asked. Yukiko beamed at him. She nodded and left the room, heading into the kitchen.

Yukiko filled the kettle up and switched it on. She quickly prepared the drink using one of the large mugs. Holding it by the handle, she carried it back to Ryo.

Yukiko walked back into the living room, the cup of tea clutched in her hands. She stopped as she entered the room. It was empty. Yukiko spun on her heel, wondering if she hadn’t seen Ryo and he was somehow there. Yukiko walked further into the living room frowning. She placed the mug down on the coffee table. She left the room, feeling puzzled. Where had he gone? The thought occurred to her that he might have gone to use the bathroom. Smiling slightly at her stupidity, Yukiko walked into the entrance hall, trying to listen out for him. Yukiko faltered as she reached the hall. The front door was open again. Why? Had Ryo left? She couldn’t understand why he would go without saying so. The boy was too kind and polite to do something like that.

“Ryo?” Yukiko called out turning away from the open door to gaze around her. There was no response. She turned back round to face the door. Yukiko was about to approach it when it slammed shut. She jumped back, startled. Yukiko had just about regained control of her nerves when every door in the building seemed to open, before slamming shut. She let out a yelp of terror as she span on the spot, desperately searching her surroundings for something, but not really knowing what.

“Ryo?” She cried out again, this time with more urgency in her tone. She darted towards the stairs and, clutching onto the bannister, she began to dart up the stairs, as her whole being succumbed to the feelings of terror washing through her.

“Stop!” A voice cried out. Yukiko instantly obeyed the voice without meaning to. She froze midway up the stairs before turning on the spot to gaze back down. At the far side of the hall, Ryo was stood . Yukiko let out a sigh of relief. She wiped away the tears that had formed in her eyes as she was overcome with relief.

“Thank god,” She breathed making her way back down the stairs urgently. She had never been so thankful to see someone before. When she reached the bottom of the stairs and started towards the white haired boy, she faltered. Ryo… it was definitely him, but he looked, different, somehow. His hair, which was always sort of messy, seemed wilder somehow, but then again that could just be down to the weather, Yukiko reflected. His eyes though, they seemed harsher than usual. His expression was always one of kindness, so why now did he look furious?

“I thought you’d gone…” Yukiko breathed, barely daring to try and approach him. “Ryo… Is everything okay?” She added the question tentatively. His new demeanour was setting her nerves on edge. She wished he’d stop staring at her like that! It was an awful, almost ravenous, look.

“Ryo?” Yukiko whispered taking a step closer, terrified that something was really wrong with him.

“Don’t call me that,” The man snapped with a growl. Yukiko stepped back, alarmed at his hostile tone.

“What… why?” Yukiko asked completely afraid by this new side of the boy. Ryo smirked, pushing himself up off the wall he’d been uncharacteristically leaning against. He took a step towards her and Yukiko backed away instinctively. The way he was prowling towards her, it struck Yukiko as predatory.

“Look, whatever it is, Ryo… Please… I can help” Yukiko stuttered as she twisted the sleeve of her shirt nervously.

“Girl, that’s not my name,” He snarled at her. Yukiko gulped as her body trembled with fear. Why would he say that? Of course he was Ryo? A sickening thought flickered across her mind then and she had to wonder if her amnesia wasn’t somehow contagious.

“Yes… yes it is… Please… Ryo…” She stuttered as she backed further away from the approaching man. The man let out a laugh, a terrible guttural mirthless laugh that echoed around the entire house, emphasising how alone Yukiko really was with this man. Yukiko felt sick to her stomach. She recognised that laugh. It was impossible, but undeniable. She knew that sound all too well. She knew the sound from her dreams.

“No… Foolish girl… I am not your pathetic little Ryo… I am, however, hurt you don’t remember me,” He sneered at her. Yukiko shook her head as if pure denial could change this. She closed her eyes and shook her head, hoping against hope that when she opened her eyes that he’d be gone. She was sordidly disappointed.

“And after we’ve spent so much time getting to know one another, locked in your mind, while you slept…” He said mocking her, his eyes alight with cruel amusement. Yukiko whimpered as he reached her. She wanted to run, to get away and to scream for help, but fear had rooted her to the spot, not allowing her to move. She was shaking uncontrollably and tears had already begun to escape her eyes and roll freely down her cheeks. She opened her mouth to speak, but couldn’t string her thoughts together enough to form words. Without warning, the man’s hand shot out, his fingers biting into flesh as he clutched at her throat. Yukiko’s hands instantly shot up to try and pry the man’s fingers away from her. He chuckled coldly as he pulled her closer to him. Yukiko could do nothing but stare up into the face of evil, her entire being completely at his mercy.

“You know me as Bakura… did you miss me?” He hissed. Yukiko somehow recovered enough of herself to try and fight. She thrashed about in his grasp, knowing if she wanted to survive, she would have to escape this man and now. His grip was much to firm and despite her best efforts of twisting and crying out, he didn’t relinquish his grip on her.

“And before the fun we’ve spent up here,” He spoke softly, barely struggling against Yukiko’s feeble attempts to free herself. He pressed his finger against her temple, alliterating his point.

“We had so much more fun in the shadows…” He sneered at her. Yukiko cried out using her hands to push against him, desperate to put as much space between herself and the monster. When all attempts failed, she met his gaze her eyes weak and desperate.

“What have you done with Ryo?” She whimpered. The evil clutching on to her looked like the kind hearted boy she’d befriended, he wore the same clothes as him, so what had he done to him?

“He’s up here… trapped,” The man sneered in response, pointing to his own head. Yukiko kicked out. Her foot connected with the man, but he didn’t let go. His face distorted further, twisting in annoyance. He lifted her off her feet with ease and tossed her away from him. Yukiko flew backwards through the air. Her body slammed against the wall where she fell to the floor in a heap. Yukiko felt as she connected and as the air was slammed from her body. She spluttered and gasped as pain swam through her like never before. She choked, trying desperately to regain the ability to breathe. Before she even had the chance to try and flee, hands grabbed at her one snaking around her neck once more. She was lifted to her feet, eyes swimming as she desperately tried to refocus her vision. The man slammed her back against the wall, her head taking the brunt of the force this time. Her vision swam as pain shot through her skull, darkness threatening to consume her. Yukiko fort against it, knowing if she passed out now, it would mean certain death or worse. He repeated the movement again. Yukiko let out a strangled sob of pain as her head reconnected with the wall a second, then a third time.

“What do you want?” She managed to scream out through her mangled breathing. The man, Bakura, let out a hideous maniacal laugh at her desperate words. Yukiko focused her eyes enough to see he was staring at her with clear amusement. He licked his lips, completely enjoying her suffering.

“You escaped me before, girl,” He spoke with a snarl, bringing Yukiko’s face close to his. Yukiko felt too weak to retaliate and feared the consequences of she did.

“I am only here to reclaim what’s mine,” He finished. Yukiko felt the impact of his words sink in. Before she’d had chance to fully process them, he tossed her aside with as much force as he could. Yukiko crashed to the floor, this time at the bottom of the stair case. She glanced up and the simple staircase looked to her like a mountain. Even so, she didn’t hesitate. She scrambled to her feet with a whimper, propelling herself upwards in a desperate attempt to escape him.

“You won’t escape me again!” He growled after her, his voice full of laughter.

Yukiko reached the top of the stairs and fled as fast as her injuries would allow her to down the corridor. Her phone, with Kaiba’s number in it, it was in his bedroom. She needed help, but she also needed to survive. Her pursuer would see if she went in there. Not daring to look behind her, Yukiko forced herself onwards. She crashed against the closed door of Kaiba’s office and forced the door open with quaking fingers. She darted inside, closing the door with a quiet snap behind her. Yukiko stumbled towards the grand desk, her vision swimming as she forced herself to remain conscious. There was a corded phone sitting neatly upon the polished wood and Yukiko quickly pulled it with her as she hid in the leg space of the desk. She was lucky the desk had a back to it and she was hidden from the rest of the room. Yukiko stared down at the phone and forced herself to try and breathe calmly. She needed to focus if she was to remember the number she needed. She rubbed the back of her head and when she brought her hand back round to examine, her fingertips were stained red. She clutched at the phone as sobs escaped her lips. She was so tired, exhausted, but she had to force herself to focus. She needed help. She needed to call Seto. She began to dial.

“Kaiba,” A stern voice answered after barely three rings. Yukiko let out a sigh of relief. Just hearing his voice calmed her nerves enough to speak .

“Seto…” Yukiko whispered his name, pain evident in her tone.

“Yukiko? Are you alright?” His voice sounded instantly more urgent and alert.

“There… there’s someone here… They want to… to hurt me….” Yukiko pleaded as the edges of her mind began to darken. She’d been fighting it off for so long and it felt as if she was losing the battle.

“What’s happened?” Seto’s voice demanded down the phone. Yukiko inhaled and exhaled as steadily as her pain would allow.

“My head… there’s… blood,” She whispered, her eyes itching to close. If she could just rest for a moment, then she’d have the energy to fight.

“Yukiko! I’m on my way now, just stay….” There was a click and the line went dead. Yukiko whimpered, forcing herself to remain awake. She had to stay awake, at least until Seto arrived to save her. Tears were flooding down her face as the realisation of what had just happened occurred to her. The line had been cut. A hand suddenly reached down to grab at her. Yukiko yelled out as she was dragged out of her hiding place. Bakura slammed her down on top of the desk once more clutching her by the throat. Yukiko didn’t struggle. She couldn’t. Any energy she had left simply drained away from her as Bakura lent over her, his stare cruel and malicious.

The surroundings around them shifted quite suddenly. The room was quickly immersed in a dark thick swirling mist the enclosed around them. It was a haze of purple, blue and black, its appearance all too familiar to Yukiko. She remembered it from her dreams.

“Welcome home,” Bakura snarled at her before lifting her off the surface of the desk and tossing her into the centre of the room. Instantly the darkness came to life, desperate to claim Yukiko. She struggled to her feet in desperation to get away, but it was pointless. She’d barely made it to her knees when the swirling evil reached her, creeping up her legs, pinning her in place. Yukiko gazed up, terrified, as Bakura sauntered towards her. When he was stood before her, he bent over, grasping at her chin and forcing her face up to meet his glare.

“You are mine, and I will make sure it stays that way. I’ll make sure that fool, Kaiba, can’t have you. You escaped me before, girl, I don’t know how you did it, but you did.” He growled, his eyes flashing with a rage Yukiko couldn’t even begin to fathom.

“Why? What do you want?” Yukiko whimpered as the darkness crept further up her body, crawling inch by inch up her thighs and over her stomach.

“Your soul. Your soul is mine to corrupt,” he snarled as he straightened back up, letting her chin go. Yukiko stared at him terrified, at a loss for what those words meant.

“And, to do this, any new memories you’ve made for yourself, belong to the shadows,” He barked with laughter. Yukiko fought against the darkness slowly eating at her. She twisted, trying to free herself, newfound determination giving her strength.

“No! No! You… you can’t!” She cried out hysterically. It was no use fighting, she knew that, but she couldn’t stop herself she couldn’t lose her memories! Not again.

“I can, and I intend to. No more friends and no more Kaiba!” He laughed again as the shadows crept up over Yukiko’s shoulders.

“No! No, Please! Please don’t!” Yukiko screamed out as tears spilled down her face relentlessly. Bakura threw his head back and let out a guttural triumphant laugh as the shadows smothered Yukiko, silencing her sobs, smothering her entire body and eating away at her mind.

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