Notes: Many thanx to everyone who took the time to read and review this fic! ^^ I hope y'all will stick around for my next Yu-Gi-Oh! ventures, which will include a holiday story! ^^ BTW, Kaiba's "E.T." comment is not mine to take credit for. ^_~ It's from an episode of "Diagnosis Murder" ^^ I meant to say that before, but I forgot ;) Hehe . . .


Epilogue

The teens remained in the building for another half hour or more. Yugi awoke again, and he and Seto both rested peacefully, regaining their strength—Seto against a wall with Mokuba curled up at his side, and Yugi against some old crates—while accounts of everyone's misadventures were exchanged all around. Yugi was horrified to hear that Kaiba had also been shot down, but was immensely relieved that the other boy was alright now.

"Man, that was some case," Tristan said, shaking his head. "I can't believe we actually made it out of that one alive!"

The others were silent, knowing how true those words were. They had come much too close to losing Yugi and Seto. Both boys had been dead by all physical signs—and even the mysterious Kasumi had said they were gone—but then they had both miraculously returned to life.

"If everyone's alright now, I suppose we should be leaving," Bakura said finally.

"Yeah, Grampa must be really worried about us by now," Yugi remarked, and tried to stand up shakily.

"Yugi, are you sure you can stand?" Tea said worriedly.

"Sure, Tea," Yugi replied with a smile, and nearly toppled over. "Well, I guess I could be wrong," the boy sighed.

"Yugi, let me help you," Yami Yugi said, and Yugi was too weak to protest.

Seto flatly refused any help—as Tea had expected—and somehow managed to limp to the door by himself, with Mokuba walking alongside him worriedly.

Bakura lagged behind all the others, staring at the room thoughtfully. "Kasumi . . ." he said softly. Other than Seto Kaiba, he had the strongest ties to the mysterious girl. He would always be immensely thankful that she had stepped in and saved him from the vampyres back in October.

"Are you coming, kiddo?" Mai asked, turning to look back at him.

Bakura looked startled, then nodded. "Yes, I'm coming, Mai." He wondered if Kasumi was some kind of guardian angel sent to watch over them.
****
Everyone was riding back to the Game Shop in Seto's limousine when a police car pulled them over.

"Are you kids alright in here?" the first officer asked, looking through the rolled-down window.

"We are now," Tea smiled.

The officers looked at each of the youth curiously, and then they started upon seeing Yugi. "Aren't you the boy I heard about who was shot down?" the second one asked.

Yugi looked like he wasn't quite sure what to say. He had just gotten off the phone with his grandfather, who had been beside himself with worry. Yugi had tried to glaze over his and Kaiba's experiences, but he knew he would have to tell his grandfather about them eventually. "Well . . . I'm alright now," he said at last to the policemen.

The first officer scrutinized him for what seemed like ages, and then turned away, shaking his head. "One more strange thing to add to the list," they heard him mutter.

"Why did you pull us over?" Seto demanded to know.

"We saw your limo driving away from the movie studio," the first officer replied. "We had heard there was a bunch of kids trying to solve the mystery and decided we should see if they—you—were all alright."

"That's right," the second one agreed. He looked at the teens and Mokuba curiously. "Is one of you Joey Wheeler?" he asked.

"That'd be me," Joey grinned.

The officer nodded. "Oliver Brown and his assistant, Cindy Bradford, have been captured and arrested," he announced.

"Now that's somethin' I've been wantin' to hear!" Joey grinned, exchanging a high-five with Tristan.

"The 'alien army' turned out to be a bunch of robots," the officer informed them. "Oliver Brown was planning to take over the world, but he didn't have the aid of real aliens."

"Eh, I might've expected that," Joey shrugged.

"It was Oliver Brown who created those disasters at the studio, wasn't it?" Yugi asked.

"That's right," the officer confirmed, "but it was Carmichael who nearly killed Kim Bates and drugged her boyfriend. Kim had not been a part of the secret society Carmichael had organized, and when she found out about it, she threatened to tell the police. First Carmichael tried killing her, but that didn't scare her off, so then he hurt her fiancé to make her clam up."

"What a creep!" Joey declared hotly.

"What about the guy Kaiba met up with at the convention?" Tristan wanted to know.

Seto had already figured out about him, but since he didn't particularly want to explain, he decided to let the officer do it.

"Well," the officer replied, "he actually woke up at the hospital a few hours ago and agreed to tell us what had happened. He had met up with Carmichael's cronies on the night when Seto Kaiba was taken prisoner. They had hurt the boy with something and were dragging him along with them."

Mokuba bristled in outrage.

"They told the man that Mr. Kaiba was dead and that unless he wanted his wife and kids to be hurt, he would have to keep quiet and forget what he had seen," the officer continued grimly.

"Oh my! How horrible!" Bakura gasped.

The officers nodded in agreement, then paused.

"Here's the really interesting part," the first one said. "Carmichael and his cronies insist that they never flew the alien spaceship on their set; it can't even fly. It was built for the ruse of the alien movie and was connected up with a strange underground tunnel that leads to the mansion at Summit Hills. The alien burglars people saw were more robots, made to feed into the rumors of alien invasion and keep people away from the mansion."

"Yeah, but they weren't countin' on us!" Joey grinned. "We just wouldn't stay away!"

"The army tested that UFO just a short while ago," the second one added. "For once, Carmichael was telling the truth—the thing can't fly."

"But then . . . does that mean that . . ." Yugi trailed off, his eyes wide.

". . . That the weird lights in the sky might've been from real UFOs?!" Joey finished.

"That's right," the first one confirmed. "It looks like Domino City may well have been visited by real aliens as well as fake ones."

"Oh my," Bakura said softly.

"You're Bakura, right?" the second officer asked, and the boy nodded. "Well, that piece of metal in your front yard can't be traced," the officer told him. "It remains completely unidentified."

Shortly after that unsettling revelation, the officers let the amateur sleuths go on their way, and they talked again about the strange things that had happened.

"There's one thing that still doesn't make sense," Tea said, shaking her head. "What was that awful headless phantom thing?!"

Yami Yugi sighed. He had obviously learned a few things since the last battle with the wraith. "Well, it seems that it was inhabiting that abandoned house at Summit Hills," he told them, "and it didn't like Carmichael and the others using the secret tunnels in there."

Mai nodded. "So Carmichael told it that if it would get rid of us, they would stop using the tunnels and leave Tall, Dark, and Creepy alone."

"How did you find that out, Mai?" Yugi asked, puzzled.

"We fell through some weird panel in the wall in that storage warehouse and found some kind of secret office Carmichael was using," Mokuba replied.

"He had written some memos about the wraith and what he was planning to do about it," Mai said.

"Unfortunately, the identity of the phantom is still a mystery," Yami Yugi said grimly.

"Will it be able to return?" Tea asked worriedly.

The pharaoh sighed. "I don't know," he admitted.

Mai shook her head. "I can't believe you guys have solved two other mysteries," she declared. "This detective stuff is way more dangerous than I would've ever imagined!"

"I hope this case will be our last," Tea said fervently.
****
When they arrived at the Game Shop, Grampa Muto was standing outside waiting for them.

"Yugi!" he cried happily, and looked at all of the teens—and Mokuba and Yami Yugi—with relief. "You're all alright!" he smiled.

"Grampa!" Yugi smiled back excitedly. Joey and Tristan helped their friend out of the limo and he hugged his grandfather, so happy to be home at last.

Grampa Muto invited them all to stay for a while and relax and most of them accepted, except for Seto and Mokuba, who just wanted to get back to their own house.

Tea was the last to exit the limo, and as she did, she hesitated and then turned back. "Kaiba . . ." she began slowly.

The boy looked up with his usual deadpan expression. "What?"

"I . . . I wanted to thank you," Tea stammered. "For . . . for everything."

Seto nodded slowly but didn't speak. Tea hadn't expected him to say much, if anything, so she said goodbye and then quickly left.

Now that the Kaiba brothers were finally alone, Mokuba turned to Seto, his eyes shining. "Big brother, I'm so glad you came back!" he declared. "I . . . I thought I'd lost you!" The little boy paused. "And . . . and I just didn't know how I'd stand it if you were really . . ." He trailed off, a tear slipping down his cheek.

Seto held Mokuba close. "It's alright, kid," he said softly. "You didn't lose me. You never will." He didn't know how he would keep that promise, only that he knew that somehow he had to. He breathed a prayer of thanks that he had been able to return this time.

Mokuba stayed right by Seto's side as the chauffeur drove them back home. As long as they had each other, the brothers' worlds were complete.

They rode in silence for a time, and then Mokuba suddenly gasped in surprise, staring at something in the sky. "Big brother, is that a flying saucer?!" he exclaimed.

Seto looked up at a green light high above the trees. "Frankly, Mokuba, I couldn't care less," the older boy replied. "As long as the aliens don't bother us, I won't worry about bothering them."

Mokuba giggled at that and soon fell asleep in the limo, exhausted from the long day.
****
When they arrived back at the Kaiba manor, Seto tenderly picked up his sleeping brother and carried him into the house. He gently tucked the little boy into bed and laid a hand on his shoulder. "Goodnight, kid," he whispered. "I love you."

Mokuba stirred and opened his eyes. He was only half-awake, but he smiled and laid his hand over Seto's. "I love you, too, big brother," he said softly, and fell asleep again.

Seto gently tousled his brother's hair and then glanced out the window at the green light up in the distance. "Go home, E.T.," he said wryly. "I'm going to bed."