VDay Concoction
by Marika Ikeda

Well, my test subject said it was safe to subject the rest of the world to this, so yeah. Keep in mind that it's not supposed to flow all nice and smoothly like a storybook. It's supposed to read as one big babbling mess from the main charrie. Keep this in mind and you'll be fine.

So without further ado I present the O.K.B.'s V-Day Concoction.

Who created Valentine's Day?

Wait, I take that back. Who decided that a day in February would be synonymous with love-love hearts, pieces of coloured paper with "I love you" written on them, flowers, and chocolate? Who decided that the gist of the day would be to give these things to other people? And who, for the love of Ra, decided to introduce this retarded holiday to my other half?

...And why is it that HE gets all the attention and I get none? We look exactly alike, with the exception of our voices, and his eyes are a little narrower, but still, for some reason, everyone seems to like the psychotic one.

He's been gloating for the past hour and a half over the cards and candy he got... and he's been eating said candy, wrappers and all. Was I a goat in a past life or something to have a paper-eating fruitcake as a part of me? Anyway, like I said, he's been gloating over what he got and laughing because he's the ONLY one of us who got something, aside from Rishid and Isis, that is.

So I've been sitting here trying my hardest not to make him choke on candy or slit his throat with one of those stupid cards. I'd never actually DO those things though, and not because I'm the so-called "good" one, but because the guy scares the hell out of me.

You'd never think it to see us, but yeah, I'm afraid of him. It's not because he tried to get rid of me or because he tried to kill other people. It's not even the fact that he succeeded in killing my father. It's the fact that he's frickin' loony. I don't know what he's thinking. Honestly, I don't know if he thinks at all. He just acts.

I wish I could just find a job and get out of this apartment. Ever since Isis took the job at the Domino Museum as the head of their Egyptology department my life has been hell. She doesn't understand that I can't find a job here. The Japanese take care of themselves first and everyone else later. I'm 100% NOT Japanese. This means that my chances of getting a job in this Ra-forsaken country are slim to almost none. Even the Americans have better luck than I do. At least they can get jobs as English teachers. I can't even speak the language. There isn't much by way of work available for someone who isn't Japanese and speaks Egyptian, Arabic (useful for living above-ground in Egypt), and very poor Japanese with an accent so thick that it doesn't even sound like Japanese anymore. What I wouldn't give to just leave this place and go back to Egypt where I'd have a better shot at surviving as something other than a prostitute... though I bet they're even picky about those too.

Maybe I'll just crawl back into bed and spend the rest of the day separated from this overly-mushy holiday. I can't take much more of hearing Isis rushing around getting ready for her "date" with one of her co-workers, Rishid talking nonstop on the phone with some college exchange student from Arabia, and HIM.

Oh lovely. Now he's sitting there staring at me like he's waiting for me to say something. Or maybe he's waiting for me to wonder why he's starting to turn blue... oh shit. I don't know CPR! Um... maybe if I hit him real hard on the back like Isis did to him when he choked on that cookie the other day.

Okay, that didn't work... Plan B: Hit him harder.


Well, at least he stopped choking. I don't think Isis will appreciate the fact that it took her lamp to get him to stop though, or the fact that he swallowed whatever it was he was choking on. Maybe she won't notice the lamp in lieu of the fact that he's still alive... and why is there a chunk missing out of one of these paper hearts?

It's damp. Oh no, not again.


Rishid is the first to appear, poking his head out of the kitchen, covering the mouthpiece on the phone. "Can you please keep it down? I'm on the phone."

I roll my eyes. He was a loyal friend and companion, now he's 20-something going on 15. At the rate their going, I'll end up the oldest one in this apartment.

Isis comes rushing out, babbling on about how I'm going to die a thousand deaths if she's not ready in time for her date. It's not like I'm the one who's eating chocolates without taking off the wrapper or choking on chunks of paper hearts. He might look like me, but that's not me! I'm the sane one! Why am I not surprised when she takes one look at him, glares at me and berates me for being jealous of him, then goes right back to hole herself up in the bathroom for another few hours?

Perhaps it's the fact that I'm tired of being ignored, or it could be that I'm sick of getting blamed for his random acts of stupidity, or maybe it's that this holiday is pissing me off. Whatever it is, I can't take it anymore. I don't know why I'm angry, I just know that I can't keep it inside. Last time I did that, HE showed up. I'm not a mogwai. I shouldn't be spawning more of me when I get wet or upset or angry or whatever it is that does it.

So I throw the rest of the lamp into the wall where the back of Rishid's head is visible.

That got his attention. See? He's hanging up the phone. Uh-oh. Okay, maybe running would be smart, legs. Um... legs? I said run, not stand here frozen while he comes at us like a bull elephant.

"What the hell has gotten INTO you? I was trying to talk on the phone! What is so damned important that it can't wait even five minutes until I'm done?"

You can let go of my arm now. It's starting to hurt. And you don't have to yell in my face. I can hear you just fine. What does he expect me to do, answer him? Forget it. I have more important things to do than listen to him rant about how I interrupted his phone conversation.

"...what was that noise? MY LAMP!"

Oh great. Now she's here. Come on, Marik, wake up already and do or say something dumb to make them stop coming at me like I killed their family or something... because I didn't. That was you. Stupid other half. You're always around when I don't need you, and now when I could use the help, you're out cold.

"What happened to my lamp?"

"Someone used it as a projectile weapon and launched it at my head."

Sure I did, Rishid. If I'd wanted to use it as a weapon, you'd have joined my useless other off in La-la Land somewhere. I'm not as incompetent as you like to think. Smooth move, letting go of me to whine to Isis... Alright, legs, wake up and RUN!

I slam the door behind me and keep going. Down the stairs, jump the bannisters where I can, out the emergency exit, into the alleyway, and as far from there as I can get.

Aw shit. Why didn't I think things through a little better? It's FEBRUARY. It's WINTER. It's COLD OUT HERE! And I'm not wearing a jacket. Come to think of it, I'm not wearing sleeves or shoes either. Lovely. I'm going to freeze to death while my sister and brother argue about me and my other half eats paper.

I wonder if they'd care if they found my obituary in the paper. Probably not. Marik would eat the newspaper long before either of them ever saw it. Speaking of me dying, I wonder how long it takes for hypothermia to set in, because my toes are starting to go numb and my socks are soaked.

Picture, if you will, some drunken hobo stumbling across my frozen corpse in an alley. Somehow, the press gets wind of it, and soon it's in the paper that I'm dead.

My obituary reads something like "Malik Ishtar, 16, died suddenly Monday from complications from hypothermia. Born in Egypt on Dec. 23, he lived there until his desire for the Pharaoh's power became so strong that he left his underground home at the age of 16 and came to Domino, where he participated in the Battle City tournament and engaged Mutou Yuugi in a battle for the very existence of the world. He was formerly employed as a tomb keeper, watching over the Nameless Pharaoh's tomb until the time of the Pharaoh's return. This was a position handed down in the Ishtar family from father to first born son for over 3,000 years. He was an avid motorcyclist and Duel Monster player, coming in second at the Battle City Finals. He is the former holder of The Winged Dragon of Ra, one of the infamous Egyptian God Cards. He is also the former holder of the Sennen Rod. Mr. Ishtar was predeceased by his mother, father and several of his loyal followers, also known as the Rare Hunters. He is survived by his sister, Isis; his brother, Rishid and his other half-Marik. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Domino-Kaiba Funeral Home, 123 Kaiba Corp. St., Domino." However, Isis and Rishid never get the chance to see it, because that idiot Marik will snatch up the paper as soon as he finds it, shred it like a sadistic puppy, and eat its remains. My own family would end up hearing about my untimely demise through second-hand information.

And I bet they wouldn't even care. Then again, I doubt anyone would. I'm not exactly missable.

It's getting colder out here... or maybe it's just that I'm shivering more. Cropped sleeveless shirts, low-rise jeans, and wet socks don't provide much for way of protection from the cold. People are staring at me. Well, fuck you all, you mushy freaks with your darling significant others. Yeah, that's it, back away from the frozen Egyptian. Go find a convenient snowplow and swan dive in front of it, you lovey... oh Ra... I think I'm going to be sick.

The damn PHARAOH is even in on this holiday! I thought he was supposed to be dead. This isn't FAIR! My sister has a date, Rishid has his flirty student friend, Marik has paper hearts and tin foil, the Pharaoh has his other half, and I get to wander around out here by myself freezing my ass off in the Arctic wasteland that is Domino in February. I'm EGYPTIAN! I'm not used to snow! Sand, I can handle. Lack of water, I can handle. But frozen water falling from the sky like my late father's dandruff nauseates me. This bitter cold makes me want to go into hibernation, and I CAN'T FEEL MY TOES!

I've had it. I'm not walking any farther. I have no idea where I am, my toes, ears, nose, and fingers are numb, I'm shivering worse than I was before, my socks are drenched, and the snow isn't melting anymore when it lands on me. Well, looks like Domino gets something to read in the morning paper. I...

...ow. "Watch where you're going, Malik-chan."

You know, maybe if I didn't feel kind of sleepy, I'd respond to that, but right now, I just want to find an out-of-the-way spot and curl up. On second thought, right here seems fine. People can just go around or over me. Damn, this snow is really cold.

"Aw geez... we didn't hit THAT hard." He sounds annoyed. I'd love it if he were a random hobo, but apparently, my luck sucks tonight. Well, that or the Pharaoh's squadron of Friendship Zombies are roaming the streets in search of brains.

I growl as best I can, but I sound more like I'm stuttering. I'm shivering so hard that my teeth hurt from knocking together. Ra, I must look pathetic, curled up in the snow and dressed for summer.

He sighs, nudging me with his shoe. I wish he'd stop. His shoes are wet and it's hitting me right below my ribs. "Shiiiit... either my conscience is gonna hate me, or my old man is gonna kill me for being home late."

What's he babbling about? And stop poking me already! I'm cold, wet, tired, and lost. What more do you want from me?

"Get up. I'm not letting you freeze out here."

Is he insane? I'm not moving unless it's in a body bag or because of a snowshovel scraping me off the sidewalk. I'll happily become the next Iceman before I listen to him.

Why does my life always seem to end up with me running into one of them and inadvertantly having them "save my life"? Better yet, why is he giving me his jacket and taking me back in the direction I came from? I don't wanna go back there! I'll get screamed at and have to put up with Marik the Moron again.

Stupid weather. Stupid holiday. Stupid siblings. Stupid me-spawn. Stupid... You know, I use that word too way much.

So now I'm walking with... er... being dragged along by... one of the Pharaoh's zombified minions and heading back to the last place in the world I want to be. It's like a bad VISA commercial from that international channel Rishid watches.

"Which way?" Huh? Is he talking to me again? Heh, like I'd tell him where I live. I'm not that stupi... DAMMIT!

"THERE you are! Rishid and I were worried sick! What were you thinking running off like that without a coat or shoes in this weather?"

Yeah, leave it to my darling sister to make it seem as if they actually gave a damn. And here comes Rishid and the me-spawn up the street. I just bet they were worried. Well, Marik might have been, since I'm the one with the key to the lockbox under the bed. It's where we keep our stash of sweets so that the others don't raid it. Past that though, I can't see him caring much.

"Thank you so much for bringing him back, Jounouchi." I gotta give her credit, she's great at spouting off believable bullshit. How she managed to get them to believe she was a sweet concerned sister is beyond me. Is he blushing? Nope, just cold. Okay, hurry up and say bye-bye, sis. Women. Can't live with them and if you shoot 'em, you'd better be really good at hiding the evidence and have a rock-solid alibi.

And we're back at the beginning. They're mad at me for running off and Marik hasn't said a word since I was hauled home. Sorry, I'm tired, cold, wet, miserable, and want to crash in bed with warm blankets. This day has been nothing but torture. Thank Ra it's almost over. If I get lucky I can spend the rest of it in my bed.

Surprisingly, they're both able to accept the fact that I want to go dry off, change, and take a nap. Neither tries to stop me. Did hell freeze over? Then again, Domino looks like a cold white desert, so I guess it did.

I change out of my wet clothes and crawl under my covers. The only problem with this is that I know Marik will be coming in soon. This apartment only has three bedrooms so he and I are stuck sharing. Lucky for me that we have our own beds. He kicks and hogs the blankets.

I can hear them talking outside. I guess Isis cancelled her date and Rishid didn't call his friend back so that they could go look for me. Marik... hasn't made a sound. It's unnerving. Sometimes I wonder if that thing was actually a part of me or if it were more of a bad dream come to life.

The door creaks open. I know this because the voices got louder and clearer, and because the door squeaks when you try to open it slowly. It's Marik. It has to be. Isis and Rishid are still talking and their voices are still distant.

A weight settles on the edge of my bed.

I peer out from my cocoon of warmth, letting my eyes focus in the dark. A pair of near identical ones stare back at me. Yep, it's him.

"Shouldn't you be out there eating aluminum foil and paper?"

He just stares at me for a moment then grabs my blankets and tunnels under them.

"HEY! Get out of my bed, you spiky-haired freak!"

He squirms around, getting himself resituated so that he's facing me. I would hit him, but like I said before, he's creepy. He'd probably hurt me if I tried and laugh while he did it.

So why is he still staring at me like that?

He pulls one hand up near my face and holds it out to me, that unnerving look still in place. He's holding two... or is it three... Hershey Kisses. They're still wrapped and don't have spit or teethmarks on them, so he obviously didn't regurgitate them from earlier. But why is he giving me his candy?

My confusion must've shown on my face though, because now he's pouting and shoving them at me. Oookay, I'll bite. I take the Kisses and fumble around with the blankets to put them on my nightstand. Before I move my arm back, I can feel his arms wrapping tight around me in a bear hug. I hope I come out of this with all my bones intact. Traction doesn't seem like a fun way to spend one's time.

He snuggles up against me, tucking his head under my chin. I can feel his breath against my neck, his lips moving slightly against my collarbone. His voice is quiet, muffled by my body. It's only a single word, repeated over and over in a language long dead.



Slowly, my sleep-hazed mind starts putting the pieces together.

Maybe he missed me after all...

...And maybe this holiday isn't as dumb as I thought.

Obituary courtesy of Robin Terrae, who writes these for a living.