Snow Child

Chapter 7

Chapter 7

A couple of hours later, Yukiko was stood before the mirror in her bathroom. The Bathroom was spotless white and every surface seemed to gleam. She'd just spent the best part of the last couple of hours in the bath, trying to bring her numb body back to life after the freezing cold of playing in the snow. Most of her thoughts since then had been puzzling thoughts about Kaiba. She had been sure he was going to be angry or cold about the snow incident. She allowed herself to giggle at her unintended pun.

On a serious note, I don't understand him at all. I thought he'd be angry with us, but then he started chasing me, getting into the snowball fighting too. He got his own back. We were having fun, but then it stopped so abruptly. He spoke a sentence to me, and then walked away.

Frowning, Yukiko decided to put her worries to the back of her mind, or at least to try. She examined her appearance. Her hair was wet from her bath and hung over one of her shoulders from when she'd brushed it. She was wearing a warm fluffy dressing gown and similar socks. Her eyes seemed brighter and her skin healthier. If she ever got chance to tell Kaiba on one of his apparent rare days where he was in a good mood, she promised herself she'd thank him for all the help. She had of course said it before, but his response left a lot to be desired. She knew she was still a little too skinny, from the way the dressing gown hung off her tiny frame, but it was no longer dangerous. Yukiko sighed, she was thirsty. She left the room, not sure if she could handle speaking to Kaiba right now. He confused her.

She reached the kitchen and hurriedly poured herself a glass of milk. She downed almost half of it in no time. That was when she heard the noise, coming from the end of the hall. Puzzled, Yukiko made her way forwards, placing her glass on the counter as she went. The noise she'd heard was like a growling sound. As she entered the main entrance hall, she could tell it was coming from the dining hall. Yukiko walked towards it curiously. She opened the door and walked through, letting the heavy wood swing closed behind her. Yukiko froze, terror gripping at her in a way it never had before. Two huge monsters stood before her, facing each other. A real monster! Were they real? She could feel her breath coming in heavy sharp bursts as she examined them. The beast on her right was black, its skin shining in the light. It had deathly terrifying red eyes. Yukiko's eyes flitted over to the second monster, the one on her left. It was, if possible even more frightening. Its skin was white and as Yukiko watched, it unfurled its wings menacingly, its topaz blue eyes glinting. Yukiko stumbled back horrified. She felt a tug on her wrist and stared around, almost crying in fear. Her terrified gaze met grey eyes. It was Mokuba.

"It's okay, Yukiko. Seto's just dueling Joey!" He exclaimed excitedly. Mokuba began to pull her around the white dragon. Yukiko glanced around. The boy she met yesterday, Joey, was stood on the other side of the black dragon. He peered round to meet her gaze now.

"Hi, Yukiko!" Joey smiled, waving at her.

"Hi Joey!" Yukiko exclaimed, surprised to see him here. She'd somehow got the impression Kaiba wasn't fond of the blonde boy who'd helped her out. Then Kaiba caught her attention. He was stood, almost laid back in appearance, his arms folded, looking close to boredom as he waited.

"I… I don't get… what's happening?" Yukiko asked weakly, still eyeing the monsters before her as if they may turn and attack them at any minute.

"They're dueling," Mokuba replied.

Dueling. There was that word again. Duel, Dueling, Duelist It meant something. I knew it did. I could feel something deep within me stirring at the word, a forgotten part of me telling me, or at least trying to tell me, but I couldn't understand it. What did it mean?

"How come she don't have a clue what duel monsters is, Money bags?" Joey asked loudly. Yukiko turned to him to see a look of puzzlement on his face.

"Shut up Mutt, and make your next move." Kaiba snapped his eyes stern.

"Are ya sure you want that, Rich boy?" Joey taunted Kaiba grinning broadly as he spoke. Kaiba glared at him, but made no other attempt to communicate.

"Alright, as you insist," Joey laughed, "I activate Deal of Phantom!" He cried out. A large card, that appeared to be hovering just above the ground, behind the black dragon, flipped over. Yukiko glanced around, not sure what was happening.

"This here trap card will increase my monsters attack points by 100 for each of my monsters in the graveyard. Nah if I aint mistaken, I make it eight monsters in my graveyard, making my red eyes attack 3200! Enough to squash your blue eyes! Red eyes, ATTACK!" Joey shouted. There was an ear splitting roar as the black dragon launched its fireball at the white dragon. The white dragon disintegrated as the attack met its target.

"Finally, I play these two cards face down and dat ends my turn. You impressed Kaiba?" Joey grinned, clearly impressed by his own moves.

"It turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks, but let me show you how a real champion plays!" Kaiba ordered, pulling a card from a slot in his wrist band. Yukiko hadn't noticed the over sized bracelet. She could see now that there were cards laid out along it. She then noticed the flicker of triumph flit across Kaibas piercing blue eyes. He placed the card down on the wrist band, smirking as he did.

"I summon, Lord of D!" He cried out, then flipped a card that was face down, "I then activate The Flute of Summoning Dragon, calling fourth my two Blue Eye White Dragons!" He exclaimed, the triumph still very clear in his eyes. Two more of the horrible monsters appeared, roaring with glee as they did. Yukiko stepped back, afraid.

Yukiko watched fearfully as the two opponent's monsters slugged it out on the field. Eventually Kaiba was crowned the victor. Yukiko had watched the battle intently, hardly able to believe her eyes. As the last of his life points were drained away, Joey beamed, ruffling the back of his own hair. He wasn't fazed at all at his loss of the battle.

"Nice going, Seto!" Mokuba grinned, "Although you have to admit, he had you worried for a second!" Seto turned his blue eyes upon Mokuba, who playfully stuck his tongue out at him.

Yukiko smiled at Joey, who was still grinning.

"Would you like a drink?" She asked kindly. She was really glad the monsters had disappeared and was feeling relaxed again. Joey grinned at her.

"I am kinda thirsty," He admitted. Kaiba threw Yukiko a deadly look, which plainly stated he did not want Joseph Wheeler in his house, drinking his drinks. Yukiko felt the colour instantly flush into her cheeks under the harsh glare of the CEO.

"You do not live here, so you can not invite people to stay. Do you understand?" Kaiba snapped glaring at her. Yukiko dropped her gaze to the floor.

"Jeez, Kaiba. No need to be so horrible to the girl!" Joey exclaimed. "Why the hell do you stay with this idiot?" he added scowling.

"Erm… well… he found me…" Yukiko began, stuttering over her answer.

"Yukiko!" Kaiba snapped. His eyes were terrifying and Yukiko felt her face turn scarlet under his observations. He apparently didn't want people to know he'd taken in a homeless girl. Joey shot him a furious glare.

And there it was again, that nudging sensation. I could see a pile of cards face down, clipped into Joeys brightly coloured wrist band. Although I am sure this was my first time seeing the cards, it felt as if they were somehow familiar to me. I knew I needed to learn how to play.

Yukiko turned to Kaiba feeling an odd sort of determination. She glanced at his wrist band, which seemed to have shrunk in size from when he'd been playing only moments ago, and saw the pile of face down cards clipped there.

"I want to play that card game thing, just without the big monsters." Yukiko said bravely.

"You mean Duel monsters? Yukiko, ain't you ever heard a it before?" Joey asked again, showing obvious confusion. Yukiko smiled at Joey and shook her head.

"Not before today," She replied. Kaiba was watching her carefully, curiosity nagging at him. Moments before she had been trembling with fear when met with the holographic monsters, but now she wanted to play? He hated the fact he couldn't work her out. It was frustrating to say the least.

"Haha, No problem Yukiko! We'll get the team together! Yugi is still the reigning King of Games! So who better to teach ya!" Joey exclaimed excitedly.

"So, if its attack points are higher than your opponents monsters, when you attack, it will destroy the target monster," Yugi's calm and patient voice explained. Yukiko was sat on the floor of the large living room in the Kaiba mansion, a large playing mat spread out before her. There were two piles of cards set out on the mat, one on either side. Yugi was sat opposite Yukiko, several cards in his hand. Around them were a bunch of people. Yukiko knew Joey, Yugi, Ryo and Mokuba, but it was her first time in meeting a boy with brown hair styled into a spike with brown eyes called Tristan. She'd also been introduced to a girl with shoulder length brown hair and blue eyes called Téa. Now all of them were sat around them, watching the duel unfold as Yukiko tried to get to grips with the rules.

Somehow, both Yukiko and Mokuba had managed to persuade Kaiba to allow Yugi and his friends around to hang out. Yukiko got the impression Mokuba was fond of the group, whereas Kaiba wasn't so fond. It occurred to Yukiko as she glanced over at Kaiba that he might like to think of himself as independent. He had no one who he relied on, other than his brother. Kaiba was sat in the same room as them. He was sat in an arm chair as far away from the group as the walls would allow his eyes staring determinately at his computer screen. Yukiko shook her head slightly. She couldn't understand his hostility to the group she was sat with.

"So, I can attack now?" Yukiko asked Yugi, turning her attention back to the mat. She gazed at the monsters on her side of the field.

Kaiba tried not to let the duel bother him, but all he could hear were the sounds emanating from the dweebs. He wasn't getting any work done, listening to them.

"No, your card is in defence mode. It can't attack if it's defending," He heard Yugi's voice say kindly. Kaiba exhaled exasperatedly. He pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and fore finger. It was no use. He snapped his laptop closed and stood up, putting his computer back down in the chair he'd just vacated. He walked over to where the dweebs were playing. Without hesitation, he sat down, just behind Yukiko, stretching his legs out in front of him. He felt everybody's eyes upon him, apart from Yukiko. They were watching him warily and with surprise. Kaiba tried to ignore their reaction and leaned forwards, looking at Yukiko's side of the field and her hand. She had two weak monsters out on the field, both in defence position; one was Cure Mermaid, the other Silver Fang. In her hand she held two magic cards and a trap card.

"Put that card face down," He whispered to her, gesturing over her shoulder to her trap card. Yukiko jumped at the sound of his voice. She turned to meet his blue gaze surprised. He was wearing a serious expression and Yukiko knew not to question him. She did as he said, and played the trap card face down.

"I'm done?" She asked, her eyes not moving from Kaibas. He nodded his expression still serious. They both looked round, to meet Yugi's gaze.

Yugi picked up his next card from the top of his deck. Kaiba may have joined in with the game, but Yugi still intended to go easy on Yukiko. It was still a teaching duel, not a full out war. He in turn placed a card face down in the trap and spell zone. Then he revealed another card already face down there.

"I play 'Stop Defence'" Yugi exclaimed. Yukiko gazed at the card with innocent curiosity.

"Cool, what does that do?" She asked interestedly.

"This magic card's puts all of your monsters into attack mode." Yugi explained, still showing good sportsman ship.

"Oh. Oh no, that means when you destroy them, it'll affect my life points!" Yukiko exclaimed understanding suddenly dawning on her.

"That's right. Sorry," He replied adding his apology in a guilty voice.

"No, don't apologize. Nice move!" Yukiko beamed at him, thoroughly enjoying herself. She was glad for any opportunity to absorb as much of the game as she could. Yugi grinned back at her, glad she wasn't hurt or upset by his move.

"I send my 'Sangan' to attack!" He exclaimed still smiling. The 'Sangan', which had earlier been equipped with a magic card, when Yugi had explained trap cards, now had enough attack points to be able to wipe out her silver fang.

"Not so fast, Yugi," Kaiba said grinning. He pointed to the face down card he'd instructed Yukiko to play. Yukiko flipped it over and read the words 'Mirror Force' on the purple card.

"Wow, nice move." Yugi said, collecting his Sangan from the field and putting it in the graveyard.

"But now I'll activate my Sangan's special ability and add one monster card from my deck with attack points of 1500 or less to my hand," Yugi smiled. Yukiko watched as Yugi shuffled through his deck and pull out a card. He showed the card to Yukiko and Kaiba, revealing it to be 'Marshmallon', a pink blob monster which actually looked quite cute. Yukiko felt her head spin. What had just happened?

"Wait! What happened?" She asked confused, her brow furrowing in puzzlement as she gazed at Kaiba. He allowed her a very brief but real smile that almost took her breath away. She had never seen him smile like that before, and even though it was over in less than a second, Yukiko found herself startled by it. How had such a tiny show of emotion left her wanting more?

"Mirror Force destroyed his attack position monsters, but when Sangan was destroyed and sent to the graveyard, its special ability came into effect," Kaiba said gently, explaining to her without sounding condescending. Yukiko almost gaped at him, but managed to control herself at the last moment.

Why was he been so nice to her? As the game progressed, Yukiko found Kaiba helping her out more frequently, explaining moves to her and answering any question she had. Even with him helping her, he never once took control, he somehow managed to leave all the decision making to her. As the duel ended with Yukiko losing her last 100 life points, playing against the king of card games, how else would it end? She couldn't help but feel exceptionally light hearted and happy. She had achieved what she wanted; she'd learned how to duel. Maybe now some of her forgotten memories would unlock.

"That was a great game, Yukiko!" Yugi smiled, collecting together his deck and the deck Yukiko had been using. Yukiko beamed back at him, feeling oddly satisfied Kaiba was still sat next to her.

"It really was impressive," Ryo agreed politely.

"Erm… I had a lot of help," Yukiko replied blushing.

Kaiba stood up, stretching out as he did. He was irritated at himself for getting involved with the dweeb's game. His legs were aching from sitting on the floor for such a long time. His gaze had turned back hard and he glared around at the group.

"Alright Dorks, I'm going to my office, so don't be loud. Do not disturb me." He spoke the orders, but they came out less stern than he intended them to be. He walked over to his chair, picked up his laptop and walked swiftly out of the room, trying to ignore the warmth growing inside him as his eyes briefly met Yukiko's.

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