Chapter 4: The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Notes: ^_^ Okay, sorry this chapter took longer than the others, but hey, I got it up before Christmas, didn't I?

"^_~ Yeah, yeah, let's get on with it, SK. Okay, thanks SO much for reviewing everyone. ^^ And here's Chapter 4!"

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Chapter Four: The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Seto tossed and turned in his sleep, feeling uneasy about his entire Christmas Eve. First, he'd ran into Yugi in the streets, wound up with the only missing puzzle piece of his prized Millennium Puzzle, and been visited by three ghosts: One who claimed to be his ancient self, one who claimed to be a strange Egyptian curator, and the last who claimed to be the spirit of the Millennium Puzzle, all telling him to return the missing puzzle piece, or else.

"What next?" he murmured in his sleep, wondering if he could just make it through the night without anymore supernatural encounters.

Suddenly, however, a dark shadow fell over his bedroom, and a chill ran through the room as well, blowing the covers right off of the sleeping boy, causing him to open an eye.

"What in the world?" Seto murmured, sitting up in his bed, which was beginning to fade away as he sat there, his room swirling in blackness and eeriness, as if he were being transported, again, to another place.

"WHO'S DOING THIS?!" Seto cried, feeling insecure as he suddenly found himself sitting in a snow-pile in the middle of someone's backyard, on a very dark and dreary day.

The trees stretched out their black and dead branches above, and the sky was dark and cloudy, as if threatening to thunderstorm any minute. As Seto stood up, brushing snow from the bottom of his pajamas, he caught sight of a small and familiar boy, bending down near a gray rock of some sort that was protruding out of the snow.

Suddenly, a dark figure standing near the side of the house caught his eye, and Seto turned sharply to face the figure.

"Who are you?" he demanded, biting his lip as the dark figure merely stretched out his hand and pointed toward the boy near the rock.

Unsure, Seto walked forward, biting his lip.

"What now?" he murmured to himself.

Seto walked closer, narrowing his eyes, trying to figure out what was going on. As he neared the boy, he gasped as he recognized the figure as none other than Yugi Motou!

A very depressed and sad-looking Yugi Motou, however, he realized as the boy knelt down near the stone poking out of the snow. The boy looked similar to the way he did in the present, but a bit taller, and much more depressed-looking than Seto had ever seen him.

"I'm sorry," The boy murmured, putting down a flower on the snow in front of the gray rock as Seto walked up behind the boy. "It's all my fault, I know..."

Seto gasped as he suddenly noticed the inscription on the rock that he now recognized as a gravestone.

~Here lies the remains of a dear friend~

That was all the inscription said, but it was enough to make Seto realize what it was. Yugi, never able to complete the Millennium Puzzle, had most likely buried the puzzle and set up a grave for his now long-lost friend.

"No!" Seto cried, trying to reach out and grab Yugi's shoulders as the boy turned around, his face tear-streaked, to walk back to the house, to no avil.

He merely fell right through Yugi's body, as if he, Seto, were a ghost to him!

"What's going on?!" Seto cried, turning around to face Yugi's back. "Yugi! I have your puzzle piece! It got caught in my coat! Your friend isn't gone! He...!"

Seto trailed off as the dark figure walked over to Seto, his face covered with a dark shadow of some sort. Seto backed away, not wanting to get involved with whoever it was that could see him, when no one else could.

"Who are you?" Seto asked, despite his resistance. "And why can't Yugi see me?"

The dark shadow seemed to vanish from the man's face as he looked into Seto's blue eyes with his hard, black ones. Seto raised his eyebrows, nervous, as he recognized the figure from a painting on one of the castle walls at Duelist Kingdom.

The man had dark skin and a white turban around his head, and long white robes, but it seemed despite the light color, he was a dark figure...and most likely another ghost haunting the CEO.

"I am Shadi, ghost of Christmas yet to come," The man murmured, his voice cold and dark. "You are a ghost as well, Seto Kaiba. Yugi Motou cannot see you for that reason."

Seto gritted his teeth, beginning to get angry.

"I'm NOT a ghost!" he cried, as the scene around his began to swirl, and change into a sort of graveyard.

Seto blinked, looking around as he suddenly noticed a small boy, tears running down his cheeks as he walked away from a grave. Fearfully, Seto walked over the boy, who he recognized as Mokuba, his younger brother!

"Mokuba!" Seto cried, wondering what had his younger brother so upset. "Mokuba, it's me!"

Mokuba, however, deaf to Seto's cries, continued walking toward the exit of the lonely cemetery. Seto, feeling a sting come to his eyes, turned around and noticed Shadi standing by the grave Mokuba had come from.

Dreading to know what lay ahead, Seto walked slowly toward the grave until he came within reading distance of the inscription on it. His eyes widened, filled with horror as he read the name.

~Seto Kaiba~

"No..." he whispered, backing up, feeling horrified. "No...NO! That's not true! I'm not dead!" he yelled, although he didn't know what good it would do him.

Shadi turned to look at Seto with his cold, hard face.

"You ARE dead, Seto Kaiba," he replied coldly, narrowing his eyes at the boy. "You kept putting off returning that puzzle piece and kept putting it off, until one day, you were outside in the snow, looking around for your younger brother."

"NO!" Seto yelled, squeezing his eyes shut, not wanting to hear anymore lies.

He knew he wasn't dead. He COULDN'T be dead! After all, hadn't just a second before he'd been in bed at home?

"Yes," Shadi insisted, walking toward him, his words bearing down on Seto as he continued. "You were attacked by a possessed student, and killed. Had you returned that piece, things would have been different. Had you only listened, things would have been different."

"I'M NOT DEAD!" Seto screamed, backing away from Shadi, but suddenly, a huge, dark pit appeared behind him, and Seto, unknowingly, stepped in.

Luckily, as he fell, he caught onto a root that was sticking out of the top of the hole, and clung to it as Shadi's form appeared above the hole, looking down at him with the cold eyes.

"You failed to head the warnings given," Shadi replied coldly as Seto felt his grasp on the root slipping. "You failed everyone, and betrayed the Pharaoh. And it was all...your...fault..."

"Nooo!" Seto cried as his hand slipped off the root and he fell, down, down, further and further down the deep, dark abyss.

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"Nooo!!" Seto screamed, bolting up in bed, sweat dripping down his forehead and down his cheeks as he panted, looking around his room.

Dim, early-morning light streamed in through the windows of his room, and onto his bed. A bird chirped outside and Seto looked down at his hands.

"I'm not dead..." he repeated to himself, as if to reassure himself. "It was...a dream. All a dream."

Smiling, he looked around the room, realizing everything was still the same. No ghosts, no graves, no snow, no nothing. Just a normal bedroom...

As he scanned his room, his eyes suddenly fell on the golden piece of the Millennium Puzzle that was laid out on the table, still. It glinted in the sunlight, and Seto bit his lip, jumping out of bed and grabbing the piece.

"It's not that I believe in dreams giving messages," Seto assured himself as he ran downstairs and out the front door, in his pajamas, robe and slippers still. " reason not to be safe..."

He ran down the empty streets, hardly anyone out, which was probably a good thing too, Seto thought to himself, only just then becoming aware of his attire.

Hurrying down the streets, as if he were being timed, Seto finally caught sight of the Game Shop and hurried up to the front stoop, where he tapped quickly on the door, biting his lip.

"Answer, answer," he murmured, the cold piece of the Millennium Puzzle still clasped tightly in his right hand as he heard a rustle front inside the house.

A moment later, the door opened and a very weary and tired-looking Yugi, clad in light blue star-printed pajamas stood in the doorway, rubbing his eyes, as if he had just woken up.

"K...Kaiba?" he muttered, looking up at the CEO, who looked anxious. "Is something the matter?"

Seto held out his hand, giving the piece of the Millennium Puzzle out to Yugi, who looked puzzled at first, and then delighted.

"It was caught in my coat yesterday, when you broke it on the sidewalk,"

Seto explained as Yugi took the piece, his face shining brightly as he grinned.

"The puzzle piece!" he exclaimed, feeling his heart soar. "Oh, thanks Kaiba!"

Seto looked down at the ground, glad to have given back the piece, but now feeling awkward, standing on the front step of the Game Shop in his pajamas on Christmas morning.

"I should have called last night," Seto muttered, turning around. "I'm glad you got it back, though."

Yugi grinned happily, looking down at his piece and then back up at Seto as he started to walk away.

"Merry Christmas, Kaiba! Thanks again!" he called after the boy, waving as Seto walked down the sidewalks.

"Merry Christmas..." Seto replied automatically, slowing down a little as he spoke the words.

~Merry Christmas...~

All of the sudden, as Seto stopped in the snow, and he smiled. It was as if something inside of him sudden turned on, and the spirit of Christmas finally dawned on him that year.

Still smiling, Seto broke into a run and hurried back toward Kaiba Manor, eager for Mokuba to wake up, so the two could spend their Christmas together, just as Yugi and his reunited friend would.

Yes, it would be a very Merry Christmas that day...for everyone.

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^_^! What'd you think?! -SK

"Review and let us know! ^_^ That's all for this story, but we've still got more Christmas stuff ahead in "Winter Wonderland." And if you don't read that story, then Merry Christmas! from both of us!" -Red Archery Girl

^_~ Yep! -SK