Whatever Kokoro and her brothers were doing, Yugi was fairly certain he wanted no part in it.
He hadn't even realized that they were in the park, until he saw Masaru sprint from one side of the path to the other in nothing but combat boots, board shorts, and grease paint, with several cans of something in his hand, screaming for revenge against Kokoro. Vibrantly colored foam string littered both his classmate and the trees – green, and pink. Yugi decided, very quickly, that he wanted no part in what he could only assume was some kind of weird game, and tried to walk on.
Then Isamu dragged him into it. Literally – as he walked across the path, the middle child of the three shot out of the bushes and dragged him back beneath cover, just as hot pink spray string flew in their direction.
"Yugi, you're just in time." Isamu whispered as they ducked behind a tree.
"For what?" He queried, as the upperclassman pulled a large backpack out from beneath a bench.
The bag was filled to the point of bursting with cans of various colored string cans. Isamu's, he noticed, were green, which he assumed meant Kokoro, still hidden somewhere, had commandeered the pink ones. Without an answer, Isamu tugged on his uniform jacket, without regard to Yugi's cry of outrage, and pushed a pair of shorts about his size at him.
"We need your help. A bunch of us are playing War. Masaru, myself, Jou, Honda, Hideki and a couple of others. We were hoping you'd come by and..."
Isamu paused, then abruptly got onto his knees to bow.
"Please help us, Yugi. Kokoro, Anzu, and Jou teamed up and they're kicking our asses! You're the only one who can get them!"
And, somehow, Yugi found himself in the park, without a shirt, armed with two cans of spray string while dressed in his swimsuit – which, he had learned, was because they all planned to go to the beach nearby, and had planned to swing by the store to grab him when Takumo found a sale on canned string. As he stared at the cans of string, Miho sprinted by with a delighted squeal, and narrowly avoided a spray of blue string as Honda chased after her with a broad grin. His teammates, Yugi had learned, were Isamu, Miho, and Hideki. Kokoro, Anzu, Jou, and Eiko were on their own team, and Ryuji was on Masaru's team, with, of all people, Takumo, their father, and Honda.
There were no real rules, except not to shoot the others in the face, and that the string couldn't be taken off on purpose. The team who had gotten the most on the other teams won, and the other two team captains had to buy them ice cream. Kokoro was captain of her team, Ryuji of his, and Isamu of the last.
Yugi really didn't want to play, but Isamu gave him little choice, and he didn't want to be a spoil sport by sitting out, leaving the teams uneven and watching from the side as his friends had fun. All he had to do, Isamu insisted, was get Kokoro – and try to avoid being hit himself. She was, according to her brother, "too damn fast", and, like her siblings, took things perhaps a little too seriously.
He scooted cautiously through the bushes, and paused as Anzu sprinted after Ryuji. Though reluctant, he sprayed haphazardly in her direction, and managed to take her by surprise as the string wrapped around her arms. She spun, caught a glimpse of his hair, and started to give chase. With a shriek, he sprinted in the opposite direction, as Ryuji turned around and got her in the back, and she turned her attention back to him. He could hear Jou and Honda shouting, for once not at each other, and Anzu's demands Ryuji stop running like a little girl, over Eiko's high pitched war cry as she appeared from behind a tree just a few feet away and nailed Hideki in the chest.
Kokoro, somewhere on the far side of the fountain, let out a howl and dropped down from high in a tree just as her father passed into the open air, nailed him with a bunch of pink string, and was gone back into cover before he could retaliate, laughing all the while. Reluctant, but with his target in mind, Yugi carefully made his way over to where she vanished, and only managed to get sprayed once, by Jou, who had given chase to Honda, who in turn chased Miho, and fled, before he was hit in the back of the head with both blue and green string.
Yugi waited patiently in the brush, pink string sticky on his shoulder and chest, for Kokoro to make a move. Then the brush behind him shuffled, and pink string made a direct course for his chest. He cried out, jumped to the side, and had the presence of mind to retaliate with a spray of his own. A moment later, Kokoro appeared, glare leveled at the green spray on her chest.
Yugi had never before seen her in a swimsuit – or, half of one, as she wore denim shorts, but no shirt. It was nothing more than two triangles of bright red fabric with some basic tribal pattern that barely restrained her chest, and clashed horribly with the mint green tendrils that now covered it.
He almost feared for his life.
He ran, as he supposed he well should, in the opposite direction, screaming briefly at the top of his lungs as pink string sprayed around him, and Kokoro tried to convince him that she "wasn't going to hurt him", which he didn't believe for a second. Takumo, desperate for revenge, was his saving grace, and charged out of nowhere like a bull to cover his enraged daughter in blue strings. She let out a wail of anguish, and turned on her heel to give chase, sprinting off with a promise to destroy Yugi later.
The game eventually began to wind down. He lost track of who got who by he time he found a nice spot to sit and wait. Eiko, Anzu, and Miho had all given up, and sat on the bench safe zone with the bag that contained the rest of the cans, and he sat down on the ground beside it. Shortly thereafter, Honda and Jou came sprinting by again, apparently not even the slightest bit tired, trailed by an exhausted Takumo, who flopped down on Yugi's other side and spread out on his back – and promptly began to snore. It was decided that the game would only go on until everyone emptied their current cans, before they would shower at the beach and relax.
What Takumo planned to do with the other twenty cans of string – which were apparently only a few yen a piece – Yugi wasn't sure.
It was decided, when Honda and Jou stopped throwing empty cans at one another, that Takumo's team had won. The announcement immediately woke him up from a dead sleep, as though he had been shocked, and he leaped to his feet and beat on his chest like an ape. Kokoro, arms crossed over her chest, pouted and turned her head away, though he could see her fight not to smile. As they walked towards the beach, which was little over a two blocks down the road, Isamu sidled up beside him and slipped him a high five.
"Nice job, Yugi. If you hadn't thrown Kokoro off her game, they definitely would have won."
Kokoro, on his other side, narrowed her eyes at her brother, then him.
"Traitor." She accused, then stuck her nose in the air, and promptly stumbled over some stray debris on the sidewalk.