Snow Child

Chapter 30

Chapter 30

Yukiko opened her eyes. She was lying upon cold hard tarmac. Her side ached from where it made contact with the harsh floor. She blinked as a light breeze swept over and all around her, sending a slight shiver all over her body. Yukiko stretched out her muscles ever so slightly, searching for any sign of pain or injury. When she was satisfied she was un-hurt, she sat up. She didn't feel she'd been asleep or anything. She felt like she had just suddenly been placed back into reality. Yukiko gazed around at her surroundings. It appeared she was sat upon the roof of a building. From this position she could just see the roofs of other buildings around hers. Yukiko turned around trying to find the exit from this height. She was surprised to see a group of people stood by the exit, almost the entire distance of the buildings length away from her. The group was staring at her. She suddenly realised one of the people was sprinting towards her a determined expression upon his strong features. Before Yukiko could utter a single word, the brown haired man had crashed down in front of Yukiko, enveloping her in a strong embrace. Yukiko clutched at the man's forearms, burying her face into his crisp shirt clad chest. With that, the balloon of emotions swelled up inside until it burst. Tears erupted out of brown eyes with the force of a tsunami.

"I…c…can't…believe…it…it's…really…you!" She gasped through the force of anguished sobs. The strong arms around her tightened ever so slightly, comforting her. She felt the man rest his head on top of hers. Yukiko balled her hands, taking a fistful of material. She buried her face against him and inhaled. She recognised the scent, his scent. She laughed through sobs, unable to stop herself. The man loosened his grip, but refused to let go, he took a hold of the girls chin between slender fingers and thumb, bringing the girls face up for him to gaze into. Yukiko's face, blotchy from tears, was the most comforting sight Seto Kaiba had ever seen. Blue eyes met brown tear filled ones. He couldn't hold back any more. His usually serious face spilt into a wide relief filled smile. Yukiko gazed into his face and was overwhelmed to see the expression of happiness upon his features. It wasn't like before where he'd kept his stern demeanour up, it was just pure uncensored happiness. The sight of him, gazing at her like that sent a spark as sharp as an electric shock shuddering through her entire body. She laughed again, overcome by her emotion. She threw herself forwards, pressing her lips against his. She felt his initial shock as he tensed up, but he quickly relaxed, his lips caressing hers back, arms wrapping around her waist. When she pulled apart she still kept her arms around his neck, not wanting to break his gaze. She grinned at him, her cheeks flaring up at how forward she'd just been. He smiled back, his eyes gleaming. Yukiko could feel her heart pounding away in her chest, faster than she'd ever felt it beat before. Yukiko leaned forwards, resting her head upon his shoulder, again inhaling his scent, still needing to convince herself this wasn't some cruel trick.

"You're really here?" She whispered closing her eyes and feeling him beneath her.

"I'm really here," He whispered his reply in a voice much unlike his usual stern tone.

"Hey Kaiba, don't be hogging her all t'ya self!" a familiar Brooklyn accented voice cried out all too near for Kaiba's comfort. Kaiba, who'd wrapped his arms back around Yukiko, grumbled.

"The dweeb patrol," he mumbled loud enough only for Yukiko to hear. He unfolded himself from her and got to his feet, pulling Yukiko with him. She grinned at his comment, unable to not notice the hidden sound of affection in it. He was warming up to the 'dweebs'. Stood before them were Téa, Tristan, Joey, Mokuba and Yugi.

"How are you feeling?" Yugi cut in before the others had chance to speak. Yukiko saw the words come from Yugi, but she didn't recognise the serious tone. She examined him closer. He did seem a little different, his eyes more serious and he seemed to be stood in a way that made him seem taller. Yukiko pushed this aside and beamed at him, ignoring the fact everyone was still in costumes.

"I'm great!" Yukiko exclaimed grinning and before she could stop herself she threw her arms around the boy dressed as an Egyptian.

"And it's because of you!" She mumbled into his shoulder, she pulled away and grinned at them.

"All of you!" she finished her eyes threatening to tear up again. She was overwhelmed by their determination to help save her. They could have been caught up in the evil spirits plans at any moment. At thought of the spirit, Yukiko's eyes widened.

"Where is Ryo?" She asked suddenly. That was when Yukiko's eyes focused in on the white haired British boy slung over Tristan's back.

"He's okay, out cold, but he'll be fine," Tristan informed her, seeing the confusion in her eyes. Yukiko felt thankful they'd all seemed to make this out alive. Kaiba suddenly took a hold of her hand and pulled her closer to him. Yukiko felt her cheeks flush at the contact, but couldn't protest.

"Maybe we should get Bakura back to his apartment to recover." Kaiba said his business like tone back in place, but somehow a little gentler.

They all quickly agreed and set off through the exit and down a few flights of stairs, talking happily with one another. All the time Kaiba kept a firm arm around Yukiko as if he thought that at any minute she would collapse or disappear. They reached the apartment and the others trailed in but Kaiba waited until Yugi was about to walk in. Yukiko kept her hand in Seto's as he spoke.

"Pharaoh," He spoke clearly just as Yugi was about to follow his friends through the doorway. Yugi stopped and looked around. He saw Kaiba was the last one in the hall and instead of walking into the flat he closed the door and remained out in the hall with his 'rival'. Yukiko looked confused. Had Seto just addressed Yugi as Pharaoh because of his costume?

"Thank you." Kaiba spoke looking away as though this was the hardest thing he'd ever had to do.

"I would always help a friend, Seto. As it was all those years ago, I still consider you a friend," Yugi spoke, again with seriousness Yukiko had never heard from the small boy before.

"Thank you Yugi, I know you must have risked a lot," Yukiko spoke, her eyes fixed upon the purple eyes of the 'pharaoh'. She could never repay the debt of them risking their safety for hers. Just the knowledge of knowing she had friends who were willing to risk everything for her brought a tear to her eye and caused her to swell with pride.

"And thank you, both of you, all of you, you taught me how to play duel monsters and everything I learned from you helped me defeat the darkness that had been created inside my heart. Without your tutoring, I may never have been able to win," Yukiko smiled, bowing her head in respect and thanks. She felt a hand place upon her shoulders and gazed up. Yugi was smiling down at her.

"Yukiko, although you and I may have never met before, you are my friend, and a friend of those around me. I would risk everything to save an innocent from the evil spirit, Bakura," He spoke quite nobly. Yukiko smiled at him. She was confused by his words, but she nodded to him as Yugi entered into the apartment. Yukiko gazed around at the tall man stood beside her. What should she say? What did she need to ask?

"So… Bakura's really gone then… really?" Yukiko asked, her cheeks turning pink as she tried not to remember how the evil spirit had manipulated her.

"Yes." Kaiba replied shortly. Yukiko diverted her gaze away from him. She'd acted brash up on the roof and realised he'd probably only let her indulged in it to let her get over the shock of been saved. She felt hands grab her from behind and turn her around. Yukiko could do nothing but allow this movement, unsure if she would be able to move under his electrified touch. She gazed up shyly into the man's face, her cheeks turning an even brighter shade of pink. His serious eyes suddenly softened as he took in her appearance. She still had make up smeared over her soft delicate skin, but he could easily see the difference between this Yukiko and the one from before.

"Still blushing, huh?" He asked gently. Yukiko couldn't force out the words. She had no idea how to reply other than to blush even darker. He smirked at her, satisfied with her reaction. He cupped her cheek and placed a very light kiss upon her lips.

Yukiko felt her breath catch in her throat as her heart pounded as quickly as it could. She was sure she was going to pass out if her heart didn't start to steady. Kaiba let her go, his eyes mischievous, just as the door opened. The group crowded back into the hall way, Mokuba following with them.

"Hey Yukiko, you feeling alright? Your face is all red," Joey said upon seeing the brunette girl, her face completely red. Yukiko quickly tried to cool herself down, but was failing miserably.

"I'm fine," She insisted, unable to do much else.

"So, what's the plan now, Seto?" Mokuba asked, beaming up at his big brother. Yukiko smiled seeing the boy. She'd been granted her memories back and they seemed to be coming back at a slow and steady pace. Right in that moment she remembered playing in the snow for what felt like the first time. She knew at that exact moment she wanted to do that again, have a snow ball fight with the Kaiba's, with all her new friends. If she could do that again, she would have achieved real happiness.

"We still got a party to finish!" Joey exclaimed, the large dog costume falling over his eyes briefly. Yukiko eyed Kaiba curiously. Why had he agreed to have a party at his home?

"Fine." Kaiba snapped sharply, "But if you so much as irritate me Wheeler…" He began

"Yeah, yeah, got it money bags," Joey dismissed with a paw and began to walk down the corridor. The others quickly followed suit.

"What about Ryo?" Yukiko asked gazing at the closed door.

"He needs to rest," Yugi spoke kindly

"Pharaoh, he did it!" Yugi exclaimed excitedly inside his spirit room. The Pharaoh, almost identical to him nodded in agree.

"Yes, Seto has certainly proved himself," The Pharaoh spoke, his eyes distant. Yugi examined his friends features curiously. Something was on the man's mind.

"What's wrong Pharaoh?" Yugi asked tentatively.

"While he was battling Bakura, I felt sure… but it couldn't have been…" He let the unfinished sentences hang in the air. Yugi gazed at him worried before The Pharaoh broke into a smile.

"Whatever or whoever helped today, it does not matter. The main thing is we were victorious and saved Yukiko's life."

Yugi watched the man speak with a deep sadness filling his heart. He was immensely happy they had succeeded in their mission, but now that it was over… The Pharaoh was going to have to return to his well-earned peace. Even so, it was still going to be hard to let go again. Both of them knew this was only a short termed arrangement.

"Pharaoh," Yugi spoke softly, hardly daring to voice his concern.

"Yes, Yugi?" He asked, his serious expression watching his smaller friend.

"You're going to be leaving soon, aren't you?" He asked quietly.

"Yes, Yugi," the pharaoh answered, a sad expression flitting over the ancient man's face. Yugi nodded, already knowing this was the case.

"When?" Yugi asked not really wanting to know the answer.

"Soon, I can feel the spirits already trying to pull me away. If anything, I am glad I could come back, even under such circumstances." The Pharaoh spoke softly. Yugi felt tears threatening to brim over in his eyes again. Why did it have to be like this? He hung his head, trying to hide the tears that had begun to fall down his cheeks. It had been two years! How had he not grown up enough to try and not cry?

As they were walking towards the lobby of the building, Yugi stopped walking. Everyone stopped curiously. They watched him wondering why he'd become motionless so suddenly.

"Yug?" joey asked walking to his shorter friend's side. He waved a hand in front of the boy's face but got no response. He frowned, trying to look Yugi in the eyes, but he stared on blankly.

"Yugi?" Joey called out to him, shaking him a little, but to no response.

Yugi felt a hand on his shoulder and gazed up to see The Pharaoh gazing down at him, his expression full of warmth and friendship. Yugi wiped his eyes clear of his tears.

"I'm sorry, but having you back again, it felt like no time had passed since you left." Yugi whispered, steadying his flow of sadness. The Pharaoh nodded.

"I understand, and it was the same been back, it felt like no time had passed." The Pharaoh smiled. He too had missed his friend, the one who had been alongside him all the way since Yugi completed the Millennium puzzle. It would be difficult leaving again. The Pharaoh suddenly straightened up, looking around.

"It's time," He whispered. He turned back round to smile encouragingly at Yugi. Then without warning, Yugi leapt towards the Pharaoh, wrapping his arms around him. At first, The Pharaoh was startled, but he quickly relaxed and hugged his friend back. Yugi pulled apart from the man and smiled into his strong face, wiping tears away from his eyes.

"I'll miss you," Yugi spoke sadly.

"Yes, I'll miss you too, but like I once told you, I'll never truly leave you. Everything we have taught each other will remain strong in our hearts." The Pharaoh smiled. Yugi nodded.

"Yes, and I hope that wherever you're destined for, you won't forget," Yugi smiled as a bright light seemed to begin to surround the Pharaoh.

"Never," The Pharaoh replied as the light engulfed him.

Yugi blinked, causing a cascade of tears to fall down his cheeks. He sniffed and fell to his knee's, yet again reliving the sense of loss he'd experienced the first time the Pharaoh had left them.

"Yugi!" Téa exclaimed falling besides him. Yugi brushed his tears aside and looked up. He saw the crowd surrounding him, Joey, Tristan, Mokuba, Téa, Kaiba and Yukiko. Yugi forced himself to his feet. He gazed around at the others, his eyes still watery.

"He's gone," Yugi whispered trying to put on a brave face.

"What?" Joey exclaimed.

"The Pharaoh, he's gone," Yugi explained taking a deep breath. He searched within himself to try and find any tiny trace left, but it was all him. There would only be one soul room, and it would only hold himself inside it. He nodded with satisfaction.

"The Pharaoh, he came to help us in a great time of need. Again, we were able to defeat a powerful evil, but he earned his peace. He's where he belongs," Yugi spoke seriously, his eyes determined. Yugi walked forwards, heading out into the day, his mind clear. For the past two years, he hadn't truly let go of the Pharaoh. He hadn't found it in himself to move on, but with this final encounter, he somehow found he had the strength to. He led the way back to Joey's van, a new purpose burning within his chest.

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