Disclaimer: I don't own Yugioh or any of its characters.
Confessions on Christmas
"The dinner was wonderful, jii-chan." Anzu said and smiled at Yugi's grandfather.
"My, thank you, Anzu." the old man said. "I'm glad you all enjoyed the evening so far."
"We sure did." Honda said, putting an arm around his girlfriend Shizuka.
"I didn't know you could cook like that." Jounochi said. "Honestly, if I had known, I'd have invited myself over to dinner at least once a week."
"Oh, would you, honey? Is my cooking not good enough for you?" his just-wed wife Mai asked teasingly.
"Now you're in trouble, Jou." Yugi commented and grinned.
"Isn't he always?" Otogi asked, causing everyone to laugh – well, nearly everyone.
"Did you two enjoy yourselves, too?" Yugi's grandfather asked the last two guests.
"Very much, thank you." Mokuba answered.
His brother only nodded shortly.
"I'm glad you accepted the invitation, Kaiba-kun." Yugi said, trying again to start a conversation with the young CEO. But again, it didn't work. Kaiba only nodded.
"Say, can you even talk?" Honda asked with irritation.
Kaiba glared at him, making the other man flinch and causing Shizuka to giggle. Upon this sound, he shifted his glare onto her. Blushing, the young woman looked to the ground.
Kaiba then turned his gaze to Yugi and his grandfather. "I appreciate the invitation as well as the dinner."
Yugi's grandfather laughed. "Ah, I'll take it as a compliment, boy." he said.
Kaiba showed no reaction to this.
At least he had been peaceful. He hadn't even picked on Jou the whole evening.
"And now it's time for the presents, right?" Mokuba asked merrily.
Kaiba raised an eye-brow. "Mokuba, you're seventeen. One should expect you to show more reserve."
"Ah, don't be too strict with him, it's Christmas!" Yugi said.
Mokuba, the only one who had noticed the irony in his brother's statement, grinned. "So, presents?" he asked.
"Very well, I'll start." Yugi said.
Honda waited nervously until the others were done with their presents. He wanted his present to Shizuka to be the last this evening. He was incredibly happy, after all he and Shizuka were a couple for more than a year now. He could hardly believe that he had beaten Otogi for her heart, but his doubts soon disappeared. He loved Shizuka, and she obviously felt the same for him. So for this Christmas, he had thought of something to prove to her how much he really loved her.
Now, everyone else had given their gifts. Well, Kaiba hadn't. Then again, Kaiba wouldn't bring presents, anyway.
"My turn now!" Honda said grinning and gave his presents to everyone, except for Shizuka. When they had all received their gifts, he finally turned to his girlfriend.
"Shizuka-chan, now to you. I've been thinking about what gift I should get for you. I wanted something to equal your beauty, your excellence and sweetness." he said.
Shizuka blushed. "Th-thank you." she whispered.
"Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything matching your perfection. All I can give to you is my love."
Anzu sighed, taking Yugi's hand. "Isn't he romantic?" she whispered. Yugi nodded.
Honda now went down onto one knee and took out a velvet box. Anzu and Mai gasped, as he opened the box, Joey jumped to his feet and Kaiba clenched his right hand to a fist.
"Kawai Shizuka, will you make me the happiest man in the world and marry me?"
The whole room was waiting for the answer.
But it didn't come.
Shizuka stared at the ring and blinked a few times. It was beautiful, indeed. Honda must have spent lots of moneys on it. She looked into Honda's beaming face, then to her brother's unbelieving expression, to her sister-in-law's shining face, to the expressionless face of Kaiba – although she thought she had seen his eye twitch slightly… - and back to her boyfriend, who now looked a bit helpless.
"I… Hiroto… I'm… I'm overwhelmed." Shizuka stammered. "I… I really didn't expect…"
"What is your answer?" Honda asked.
Shizuka gulped. "I… It's such a huge decision, Hiroto. I can't decide right away. Please, give me some time." she whispered.
Honda looked disappointed, as if she had beaten him. "Oh. Very well. Take your time."
"Thank you, Hiroto." Shizuka said. "Would you please excuse me?"
"Er… sure." Honda answered, now totally discouraged.
"Thank you." Shizuka said and nearly fled out of the room."
"I can't imagine her saying yes!" Otogi spat.
"Oh, shut up! You're only jealous!" Mai snapped.
"I think she'll say yes, Honda-kun." Anzu said. "Trust me, she was only surprised. When she returns, she will tell you that she agrees. I just know it."
"Thanks, Anzu." Honda said. "I sure hope you're right."
"Well… we're not through with the presents yet." Mokuba remarked, trying to loosen the atmosphere.
"Not? Who has presents left?" Yugi asked, realizing and approving of Mokuba's attempt.
"Come on, Nii-sama! Give them your presents." Mokuba said, turning to his brother.
Kaiba sighed. "Very well." He went to the tree, took two bags and opened them. There were lots of presents inside. "You can take out what's yours." Kaiba said.
Anzu first opened her present. "Dancing shoes?" she asked. "They're… They're beautiful, Kaiba-kun! How did you know I needed some?"
"Oh, a collier – how thoughtful." Mai remarked.
"I've been looking for that disk for ages!" Yugi exclaimed.
"A book about Egyptian archaeology? My, thank you." Yugi's grandfather said.
"Is that a set of metal dice? Interesting." Otogi said, looking at his present.
"Honda-kun, this is yours." Yugi said and gave the present to his friend.
Honda unwrapped it without enthusiasm. His mood lightened up a bit when he realized that it was the video game he had wanted for ages.
Kaiba looked at the two presents left. One was for Shizuka, who had just left, the other one was for her brother. Smirking, he took the latter – an envelope – and threw it at Jounochi who could hardly catch it.
"Hey!" Jou protested and already wondered what this "present" would be. Angrily, he ripped the envelope open. Surprised, he took the present out. A Duel Monsters card – and also, it was one he had wanted to buy for ages. He stared at it for a moment. "I… That…" He stopped, then he looked at Kaiba. "Thanks, man."
Kaiba shrugged, then he took the last present and hid it in his jacket's pocket. "If you'd excuse me."
"No problem, come back soon." Yugi said.
And so, Kaiba, too, left the room.
Not knowing where to go, Shizuka had finally entered the game shop. She went through the room and looked around at the many things standing there. She didn't want to switch on the light, so only the moonshine lit the shop.
Why was she running away, anyway? She really had no reason to. She ought to be happy. She had a wonderful boyfriend, and now he even wanted to marry her. Hiroto was a wonderful person, he was sweet and caring and…
Who was she trying to deceive?
Of course, Hiroto was the perfect boyfriend. But not for her. He was sweet, kind, caring… and she was repeating herself.
Why couldn't she be happy about his proposal?
Well, because she didn't want to marry him.
Now, she had said it… thought it… whatever. She, Kawai Shizuka, did not want to marry Honda Hiroto.
But why? Didn't she love him? Then why was he her boyfriend?
Shizuka sighed and sat down with her back against the counter. This was the problem. She was in love with Hiroto. But… did she love him? And where was the difference? She was sure, there was one. And she was in love. She had fallen for him. She had a crush. But was it love?
She didn't think so. And she certainly wouldn't marry him if she didn't love him. She couldn't. It wouldn't be fair. Not to him and not to her. She simply didn't love him enough to marry him.
But how could she explain this to him? He wouldn't understand… and even if he understood, he would be hurt. Or should she lie to him? No, that would be even more unfair.
Hiroto was handsome, Hiroto was funny, Hiroto was caring, sweet, loving, adoring her…
But he wasn't what she needed.
God, did she dare to even think it?
He was not Kaiba.
Again that thought… Why did she now think of him, after all these years? It had been an infatuation. A crush. And it had been five years ago when she had been fifteen years old. Yes, she used to have feelings for Kaiba – but not anymore. She had given up when she had realized that there was no way he would ever notice her. She had overcome this infatuation. Later, she had spent more time with Hiroto, becoming fonder of him, finally falling in love.
But it just wasn't the same. Compared to the feelings she had had for Kaiba, her feelings for Hiroto seemed so weak… And she was sure they weren't weak. But back then… her first crush, love or whatever it had been – it had seemed so much more… intense…
Did she want Hiroto to be like Kaiba?
What a stupid thought, of course not. She didn't love Kaiba anymore – did she? No. She had gotten over him ages ago. She probably only thought of him because they had met this evening for the first time after four years.
After all, she didn't want Kaiba, but only feelings as intense as those she had felt for Kaiba.
Shizuka really cared for Hiroto, but she couldn't imagine herself as his wife. Maybe he was just too sweet for her. She knew, she was a sweet person herself. Didn't too much sugar spoil the cake? It was fine for the moment, but not forever. For her life, she wanted more than eternal sweetness…
These were selfish and cruel thoughts, in Shizuka's opinion. Still, it was how she felt. The proposal told her to finally face it: She and Hiroto weren't meant to be – at least she couldn't imagine or even wish that. What should she do? Finish their relationship? It seemed so unfair… Yet, everything she could do now seemed unfair. And only because she was loved by someone she didn't even deserve…
"Honda Shizuka…" she whispered, pondering what it sounded like. She didn't like it. It wasn't the name she wanted for herself. "Kawai Shizuka… Honda Shizuka…" It didn't sound right. Then what other name? Otogi Shizuka… Definitely not, but she was only trying how all these names would sound. Muto Shizuka… No, it didn't fit either. "Kawai Shizuka…" Best, so far.
"Don't go there!" she said firmly.
"Where?" a cold voice asked, making her jerk. Of all people that might have come… Why not Mai? Or Anzu? Maybe her brother?
But it had to be him.
"Kaiba-san." Shizuka said, without looking up to face him.
"What do you think, Jou? Will she say yes?" Honda asked.
"How would I know?" his friend replied. "I only know that she's too young for marriage. She just got twenty, Honda-kun! I like you, really. But if she asks me for advice, I will tell her to decline. She's too young."
"I see. You're a great friend." Honda said with a bitter voice.
"Please, Honda-kun, don't be angry at him. He is only worried about her. But it's Shizuka-chan's decision. Nothing else matters." Yugi tried to encourage his friend.
"And I'm sure, she'll agree." Anzu said again. "She needs only a few moments for herself to figure everything out."
Mokuba wondered if he was the only one who noticed how long these few moments already lasted… or that Shizuka wasn't the only person who had left…
"Where should I not go?" Kaiba asked.
Shizuka shook her head. "I was only talking to myself." she explained. Why couldn't he just leave again?
Kaiba stepped in front of her and looked down on her. His expression was as unreadable as always. Maybe his eyes told a different story, but it was too dark to see them.
"You know… actually I wanted to be alone." Shizuka said after a while.
"I know." Kaiba replied. He didn't sound as if he actually cared about that fact. But before she could ask him to leave, he spoke again. "Will you accept?"
Shizuka blinked at him in confusion that soon turned into irritation. "You… What… This is none of your business, Kaiba! Why do you ask?"
"You will decline." he stated simply.
"How would you know?" Shizuka asked, not even angrily, more out of curiosity.
"You would be happy if you were going to accept." Kaiba answered.
Shizuka laughed, a trace of bitterness in her voice. "But Kaiba-san, how would you know if I'm happy or not? You don't even know me." This had been her problem from the beginning, hadn't it? That he simply didn't know her…
"I've seen you happy, Kawai. It looked different." Kaiba replied.
Surprise after surprise… He knew her name, Kawai? He could tell if she was happy or not? "When did you see me happy?" she asked. Had he noticed her?
Oh no, she felt it again… The hope was flaming up again… The old feelings…
No! She had got over him! She had put it behind her!
"Many times." Kaiba said, while he turned around, showing her only his back. "During Battle City. While you were watching your brother duel, also while you were standing at the window, looking down onto the city… At the Christmas party the same year, you were there as a waitress… At the Duellist Party Pegasus gave…We danced, remember?"
He had noticed? He had noticed her? Even as a waitress, he had noticed her? It couldn't be… She felt somehow… cheated. Why hadn't she realized? Why hadn't she known? But why had he noticed her? Why? And curse it, it returned. Emotions she had abandoned long ago returned with all their force…
"You remember that we danced?" she whispered, thinking she just had to say something.
"I never dance." Kaiba said. He said in a calm voice, nearly as if he was talking about someone else, as if he was only an objective observer. A strange voice for a confession like this.
"So you noticed me." Shizuka said. Her inside was a turmoil, she couldn't even say why. But she felt guilty…
"You wanted me to notice you." Kaiba replied. "I'm not blind, of course I noticed."
Shizuka cursed him silently. He made it easy for himself, turning away from her… He could pretend to talk to a wall, while she had to talk to his back…
She stood up and turned around, too. Now they stood back to back. "I wanted you to notice me, that's right." Shizuka said. "Back then I… I think I was in love with you." It wasn't the whole truth. She had loved him, at least she was sure she had… And maybe she still did. Some of her feelings told her that.
And again, he surprised her. "I know."
"You know a lot of things, don't you?" Shizuka asked, now getting irritated.
"You're just not subtle enough." Kaiba replied.
She didn't dare to ask him if he had loved her, too. If he said yes… it would mean the last four years had been in vain – kind of… Or maybe not? Why did he confuse her like this? She shouldn't care about him anymore. She should love Hiroto, she should go back to the others and accept his proposal…
"I first noticed you at the duel before the Battle City finals." Kaiba said. "When you jumped into the water. You were... I think you fascinated me. Maybe it was a bit more… Anyway, I tried to get to know you, so your attempts to catch my attention were quite welcome."
"I never noticed." Shizuka whispered. "I thought you wouldn't even see me."
"I did." Kaiba stated. "You probably noticed that after that party… when we danced… I kept distance afterwards. I realized that I got… too involved. I decided it would be better to stay away from you. It was a hard time. I couldn't accept any distraction."
"And this is where it led us." Shizuka said and laughed.
A noise caught her attention. He turned… She, too, turned around and now the faced each other.
"What is left to say?" Shizuka asked.
For the first time, he actually looked into her eyes. "I don't want you to accept."
She stared at him unbelieving. "What?" she asked. "You… but… why?"
He frowned. "What question is that? You know you shouldn't accept! He can't make you happy, and you know it!"
Her heart beat accelerated, but she put a slight smile onto her face. "Do you think you could?"
She blushed and avoided his eyes. "Why do you say that?" she asked. "You know, Hiroto loves me very much… He would do anything to make me happy."
"That doesn't matter. You don't love him. It might work, but you wouldn't be happy." Kaiba said.
She shook her head. "What do you want, Kaiba?" she asked.
"A chance." he said, putting a hand onto her left arm.
She tried to step back, but the counter was behind her. "You're mad." she whispered. "Kaiba, do you know what you ask for?"
"I know perfectly well, what I'm asking for." he answered. "I want you to give me a chance, Shizuka."
She turned away, feeling close to tears now. "If you had told me all these things four years ago… Kaiba. I would have been the happiest girl in the world! But times have changed… We have changed! We can't go back there."
"Why not?" he asked, putting a hand softly onto her shoulder. "Shizuka, we can – if we want to. Tell me, are you willing to give me another chance?"
"You make it sound so easy…" Shizuka whispered.
"What happened to 'It's never to late for regret'?" Kaiba asked. "And what about 'Christmas is the night when you can make up for your mistakes'? Only phrases you told me back then, Shizuka?"
"You ask too much, Kaiba." she said. "It's been four years, do you even realize that? Feelings change in that time."
"I know." he answered, now putting his other hand onto her other shoulder. "I'm asking for the opportunity to find out, if our feelings… if we really changed that much. Or if we can return there."
"You ask me to leave a man who wants to marry me." Shizuka protested.
He hesitated. "I… Yes, Shizuka. That's what I ask of you. You have to decide."
"I need time-"
"I need an answer." Kaiba interrupted her. "Tell me now, Shizuka."
"We hardly know each other…" she tried to protest.
"I want to change that." Kaiba said. "Decide."
She shook her head. "I can't." she whispered.
His hands slid down onto her arms. "You can't accept the proposal, Shizuka" he said softly.
"I know…" she answered. "I know, and he'll be terribly hurt if I tell him… and if I tell him the reasons…" A tear slid down her cheek. "Maybe it will end anyway… but I can't end it for you. It wouldn't be fair…"
She felt his hands loosen around her arms. Would he accept this? Would he accept her decision and stay away from her?
He didn't understand!
"Kaiba?" she asked. "I… I would love to get to know you better. To give you that chance. But it's too early. I need more time to get over this." she tried to explain. "Please, only some more time."
He touched her arms again. "Take your time, then." he answered nearly gently.
Shizuka smiled slightly and put her own hands onto his. "I will tell you on New Year's Eve." she whispered.
He embraced her for a moment. "I will wait." he ensured her, speaking the words into her hair. She leaned back against his chest. For short time, she forgot her guilt and all bad feelings. It would be hard for Hiroto if she told him she wanted to break up. It would be worse when he found out she was spending time with Kaiba. She didn't want to think how Hiroto would feel, if the old feelings returned fully, if she and Kaiba ever became a couple… She was sorry for him. She didn't want to hurt him. But she couldn't help it.
"I should return now." Shizuka said and turned around to face Kaiba.
"I know." he answered. He reached into his pocket and took out something small rectangular wrapped in blue paper. "This is for you."
Surprised she opened it. It was a very small book that looked very old. The writing inside was Latin.
"I was told you learn Latin." Kaiba explained. "The Metamorphoses by Ovid. You might like them."
She smiled. Who would have expected such a thoughtful gift from Kaiba?
"Thank you." she whispered.
"You're welcome." Kaiba answered, then a smirk appeared on his face. He bowed down and kissed her quickly. "Merry Christmas." he said, still smirking and went to the stairs that led up into the living rooms.
"What-" Shizuka started.
"Mistletoe." Kaiba called back and went up the stairs.
She looked up at the ceiling, and her smile got broader. "Liar." she whispered.
AN: Okay, this is… long. And just as un-christmas-like as my last Christmas story.
Don't ask me why I wrote it, it just… happened. I hope you liked it. Merry Christmas to all Silentshipping fans. And all those others who read this.