A/N: Sigh...here is the end, well sort of. I have spring break up and coming and if you readers wish for them in Paris review and let me know. I have had ideas kicking around FOREVER, ever since I orignally cancelled their trip. So...if you want it...tell me. I can't believe this is the end. SOBS... Tying up the bow...my proverbial loose ends. I hope you enjoy this epilogue. Let me know, and I hope all of you readers and shadow lurkers had as much fun reading this as I did writing!
I so do not own Yu-gi-oh...if I did...smirks...but I don't...
Standing by the window, Serenity watched as the snow fell gently on the grounds below. There was a quiet hush to the mansion, all of the clatter of forks and plates and chatter of friends had long since ceased. The rooms were lit, not by harsh lights of lamps and overhead ceiling bulbs, but in the incandescence from the tree and soft candle glow. Her brother and friends had left about an hour ago, and after playing with many of his toys, Mokuba had fallen asleep practically under the tree, while she and Seto had sat and enjoyed some hot chocolate.
No, it wasn't Seto's choice drink, especially after she had previously spilled it on him, but for some reason he had thought it appropriate. They had sat quietly and sipped from the steaming mugs while Mokuba and the puppy had tormented one another in chase games. The monstrosity Duke had given her was to be a target for snowballs in the morning when the sun came out. She had told both boys they could take back their gifts, but Duke wanted a constant reminder for her on what she was missing out on. Tristan merely shrugged and explained there were no dogs allowed in his apartment.
Yes, Joey had blown quite the gasket, but thankfully she had cut him off at the pass and he had behaved better than what she had expected. Biting her lip she looked over at the bow Seto had placed in the box. She had to smile, he was so…
She couldn't believe that he remembered that night. It hadn't been that long ago, and yet—it felt like forever.
In one fluid movement he grabbed her keys from her hand, and then tossed her up over his shoulder. He gave her backside a firm swat and smiled. "Just how I like my women nice and compliant."
He was infuriating! How dare he? She felt like a sack of potatoes! And he smacked her ass!
"I can walk! Put me down!" She struggled.
"Would you like to fall from six feet up?" She stilled her movements. She was fairly high off the ground. "Better." He grunted.
"If you insist on carrying me, why not carry me like you did Mokuba?" she slapped his back, as hard as she could, feeling the sting in her hand, but knowing he probably felt nothing.
She felt his chuckle before she heard it. "One day I will Serenity."
"You are so arrogant and smug, self centered and aggravating. Do you think you are God's gift?" She slapped him a few more times as her hair dangled down, past his backside. This was humiliating!
"I never claimed to be a gift, but you'll be mine on Christmas Eve Serenity. I've already picked out the bow…" She giggled at that, she had no idea why, but she did. Somehow, the image of this man sticking a bow on her head was amusing.
She had no idea.
Who would have guessed that she would have laughed at a gift that was so smug and wrong in so many ways. She had laughed at her own capture, no one else understood, no one but the two of them—no one really had to understand nor did anyone seriously have a right to. His gift proved that he had been serious since day one. He had thought of what to get her, of what would make her giglle and laugh FOR him. That night he had suggested that he had picked the bow out she had laughed, giggled, even as she hung over his shoulder. It seemed, now, that even then he knew her quite well. It wasn't money that intrigued her, it was his mind.
"Where are you?" He whispered against her neck as his arms slipped around her body from behind. "Because you certainly aren't here right now—though I do hope the smile on your face is due to thoughts of me." Seto Kaiba had entered the room in stealth mode. She had looked like the perfect angel, plucked from the top of some amazing tree and placed there for his heart to skip beats to.
Serenity leaned back into him and took a deep breath. She had longed to be nestled in his arms all night long, now that she was there—she intended to stay. Had it been a fairytale? She wasn't sure, but now this moment was perfect.
"Would you like your gift now?" His warm voice was a growl against her neck.
Serenity frowned, unseen by Seto. "You already gave me your gift—the bow." Sounding quite confused, she turned in his arms and was rewarded by his signature smirk.
"The bow was to adorn the head of my gift. This gift is uniquely yours." Seto tilted her chin up and brushed his lips against hers. He looked down at her face and noticed her eyes remained closed even after their lips parted. "I wanted something to always remind you of this night and the way you fell for my charms."
Honey colored eyes snapped open at his words. "Of course I will always remember this night and your arrogance. I only need to look at you and I know just what an egotist I'm involved with." She pouted slightly and glared, taking her arms from around him and folding them, defensively, across her chest.
Kaiba tsked at her, but held her still, steadily against him with his left hand while his right hand reached into his pocket. The small velvet box had been sitting there most of the night, but he wanted to be alone with her when he gave it.
When he showed her the box she looked at him with confusion.
"I told you that the gift you gave me wasn't supposed to be a large monetary thing. It was supposed to be funny, and yours was…and…" She stopped when his finger settled on her lips. His blue eyes glinted and he almost smiled at her.
"Technically, the gift for Christmas Eve won your laughter and made you mine. This is your Christmas Day gift—as mine. You didn't honestly think that the bow would be the only thing I would give you? We're a couple now and I believe spoiling is in order." With that he opened the box. He watched her eyes widen as she stared down at the treasure. It was a pin, in the shape of a ribbon—platinum in substance and encrusted with emeralds. "The color of the dress you wore the night you presented your challenge and enticed me into this game of yours. I won your game, and now you're mine Serenity."
She nodded, she was his. Her heart longed for him, her mind ached for his spirit, and her soul needed his for completion. Her fingers reached out and freed the pin from its place. Stroking the jewels, she smiled. It was pretty and perfect, and no doubt, designed exclusively for her.
"It's quite unique." She whispered in reverence.
He nodded, "I wanted something that would be yours alone."
Looking up to meet his eyes, she placed her hand on his chest. Seto slipped his hand over hers and held it closer. His heart was beating beneath her palm as her mind raced with a million questions and thought and wants. Since their meeting on the balcony that night, she had been intrigued and mystified. When they rode in the carriage, she encountered his stubborn streak and desired him. When he kissed her, he melted her from within. Biting her lower lip, she searched for words she couldn't find.
"Silly me," she whispered. "I'm giving you something that you'll have to share, but I promise the biggest part will be yours."
Tilting his head, he continued to look at her with a question in his eyes. Had they always been this deep and blue? Had their depth always seemed like that color just after the sunsetwhen the light was fading from the sky? Had her heart always needed him this desperately? Serenity knew she had never wanted another man the way she wanted him.
"I love you Seto Kaiba, but the heart I give you needs to be shared with the others in my life—though I assure you, the best parts are yours alone." Pink tinged her cheeks as her eyes fell from his face focused on his hand holding hers over his heart.
The moment was so tense and deep and profound…until.
"You loved me since the moment you laid eyes on me at the party didn't you? I was impossible to resist." Serenity's eyes snapped up to his face. "I mean, I can't blame you, do you realize how many would kill to be in your position?"
He nearly chuckled when her jaw dropped.
"I mean I am the Seto Kaiba—billionaire, entrepreneur, expert duelist—"
"Snob, egotist, persistent pain, cocky, arrogant—" Serenity helped him add adjectives to his list.
His lips silenced hers, and instead of fighting him with more insults, she sank into him. Seto's hand abandoned hers on his chest, to slip upwards and cup her cheek gently. Every inch of her was so soft and smooth. Gently he pulled her tighter against him, until her curves were pressed deeply against the hard muscles of his body. Serenity's hand still pressed to his chest, while the other stroked up his arm to slip into his hair. Moaning softly, she allowed him greater access to her mouth.
This kiss deepened as the two fought for dominance. Serenity had a point to prove and a place to put Seto in, while he simply wished to possess her. Taking her lower lip between his teeth he gently tugged, then slipping his hand to the nape of her neck, he pulled her mouth harshly against his. Tongues danced as the two tasted and experienced one another as if it were the first time. Finally, breathless, they broke the intimate taste.
No words were spoken as Seto took Serenity's hand and led her to the couch before the fire. Sitting down, he pulled her into an embrace. She fell into his lap, giggling softly as he stroked his fingers up and down her ribs.
"You know I'm ticklish Seto," she mumbled, as she buried her face against his neck. He kissed the top of her head, lingering there as he breathed in her scent. Serenity pulled back and took the pin she was holding; gently she fastened it to her gown. It was amazing and distinctive. The only girl in the world who possessed it was the one who could now claim a dragon as her very own.
"Was this your plan all along?" She asked as she settled in his arms—finding a comfortable nook, her head resting on his shoulder as strong arms held her loosely. "The bow?"
"In my position I have learned the best laid plans are the secrets you keep straight to the grave." He explained as he moved slightly, leaning back into the cushions of the couch, one of his hands idly stroking through her hair. "How can I surprise you in the future if I divulge my secrets?"
Sighing, she straightened in his lap and stared down into his face, had he ever been this relaxed before? Yes, they had been together numerous times, in a variety of situations, but he never looked so soft and peaceful.
"I desire all of your secrets Seto Kaiba, I already told you mine." She mumbled as she nipped delicately at his lips. His eyes closed in a lazy style as he let out a deep breath.
"You may have told me you love me Serenity, but I think I will need a lot more time to learn all of your secrets. I also think the unraveling will provide me with hours of amusement. This isn't a passing phase or a moment's want. Since the beginning I craved so much more." His thumb traced her lower lip.
She quirked an eyebrow and tilted her head, surveying him in a different light. Gone was the maniacal duelist who would stop at nothing to destroy anyone who dared challenge his supremacy. Here was a man, tainted and torn by life. A man who adored his little brother and now, wanted a woman to share in his world.
"Don't move," she whispered against his lips and then pulled out of his arms. Standing before him, she looked down and smiled. He was all hers. She would continue pinching herself to guarantee this was no dream—it had to be reality. "I'll be right back."
Reaching out his hand quickly, he snatched her wrist and held fast.
"Where are you going?" He asked, she was his now and heaven help him, she wasn't leaving.
Leaning down, she tasted his lips and broke the hold he had.
"I'll be right back. Relax Seto Kaiba…" Serenity walked from the room and stood in the doorway for a moment. Gazing back into the room she watched as he sank into the couch, settling in and making himself comfortable. Good.
The present she bought for him wasn't the usual type of gift for a girl to get for the boy she loved. It was odd and different. What could someone get a billionaire? She had given him her love, which had to be worth quite a bit, and now she would give him something different.
Walking to the closet where the butler had hung her coat, she opened it and reached inside. Nestled in her jacket pocket was her gift to Seto. She smiled as she took the envelope out and looked at it. It simply said his name on it, nothing more. No hints as to her plans or ideas, or as to what the contents held. Smiling, she held it against her heart and let thoughts of New Year's Eve dance through her mind.
Kaiba sat on the couch, now impatiently flipping through the channels the sophisticated system he had afforded. Where was she? The maid came into the room and cleared her throat. Blue eyes turned to her, as his eyebrow quirked in question.
"Will there be anything else Sir? The few of us on tonight wish to get some sleep, we have to be up extra early for breakfast Christmas morning," her voice was soft and undemanding.
"You can all get to bed," he explained as he stood. "We'll have a guest tomorrow morning," he explained as an after thought.
"Miss Serenity, Sir?" She asked with a smile.
He frowned. Impudent staff members deserved to be fired, but he was feeling too generous to fire anyone on Christmas Eve. He looked at his watch, Christmas morning.
"Yes," he answered simply and looked towards the doorway. There was no way she would simply leave, or would she?
"Good night Mr. Kaiba and Merry Christmas," the girl giggled as she left. He really was paying no attention to her.
A moment later Serenity appeared in the foyer to the large room. His breath caught on that moment.
A red envelope was in her fingers as she walked over to him with a smile on her face. The electricity in the air was almost palpable. Would this be something he would like, or was it presumptuous on her part? She swallowed her fear and walked over to him, the envelope was presented to him in slightly shaking fingers.
Kaiba hesitated a moment and then accepted the card.
"What is this?" He asked, as he flipped it over twice. Serenity's brown eyes were fastened to the paper.
"It's an envelope," she quipped.
Blue eyes fastened on hers. She shrugged, looked away and blushed slightly.
"Are you going to open it?" She asked, tired of him standing there and staring at her.
His fingers worked on the seal with dexterity, he didn't rip or tear, instead he gently slipped a finger under the flap and slipped it open. He probably received more mail in one day then she saw in a month. Opening it, he pulled out a small leather card.
"A passport?" He asked, sounding surprised. "Why do I need a passport?"
She smiled and took it from his fingers. Flipping it open, she revealed the picture.
"That's you," he noted, she looked very nice in the picture. Her hair was pulled up, not his favorite way for her hair to be, but it was appealing. Her eyes were wide and she was smiling sweetly.
Sighing, she rolled her eyes. "You may be brilliant in most things, but you're surprisingly dense tonight. This is also my gift to you Seto. I now have a passport, I can travel with you to Paris."
Tilting her chin up he moved in close to her lips, his breath caressing them.
"And what makes you think I still wish to bring you to Paris?" Kaiba asked.
Serenitygrabbed away the passport and pouted, "well, if you don't want to, I bet Duke would…"
She was snatched and hauled up against him faster than she knew what was happening.
"Mine," he growled as he claimed her mouth. Struggling for about a heartbeat, she finally gave in and slipped her arms around him and buried her fingers in his thick silken hair. There was no way in hell he would let Duke take her to Paris, or anywhere for that matter. This girl was his and his alone. It had been fine when she dated before tonight, but now, she was his. His mouth claimed hers completely, as he lifted her feet off the ground and moved toward the ceiling to floor windows lining the back of the room.
Serenity didn't even realize they had moved. When the kiss finally ended and her eyes opened she gasped as her eyes scanned the snow covered grounds. Flakes were still falling slowly and settling gently on the ground. Turning in his arms, she was held tightly, her back to his chest. Her fingers stroked his hands, which were now clasped tightly around her waist. Seto moved so he was bending over her, his mouth by her ear. A shiver passed through her. It hadn't been too long ago when she had looked out her apartment window and longed to have someone to share everything with.
"What are you thinking?" She quietly asked him.
"You'd slap me for my thoughts." He kissed her neck, just below her ear.
"Will you take me to Paris?" She asked, closing her eyes as she felt his warm mouth continue dancing against her skin.
"Will you stay the night?" He asked her, his heart skipping several beats.
"If I can stay in a guest room," she offered. "I don't want anything rushed and I think we both need time to settle into this. You have a lot of adjustments to make and so do I."
He nodded, "I agree, though I think it will be the death of me."
"You're too stubborn to die Seto Kaiba." Serenity giggled. "You'll argue with the grim reaper someday, and probably challenge him to a duel."
"Did I ever tell you how you talk too much?" He grumbled.
"You're just mad because you know I'm right." She pressed tighter against him and smiled, closing her eyes.
He rolled his eyes when she turned in his arms and hugged him. His hands held her gently, but firmly. It was time they both went to bed, separately. In the morning they would talk of Paris. Would he ever tell her that her gift to him meant so much? That her desire to be whisked off to the city of romance by him, a man that was hardly labeled romantic on a good day, made his Christmas? Someday he would…
A/N: Well, there it is…hope you all enjoyed. I may do the Paris thing… I am hoping to if I hear enough of you wanting it. Spring break is upon me and so I have time to devote. Let me know what you all think. Once my profile page refreshes the responses to your reviews will be there. Hopefully all of the non-anonymous reviews received their responses through e-mail...if not...sorry? Or they should be coming. Thanks so much for all the reviews, you guys are so wonderful!