Chapter 40

"The Journey Home"

At the end of the week, everyone was grateful to hear they were going to be released from the hospital that evening. They were all still sore, but the doctors assured them that there was no need to remain bedridden. While most of the others chatted happily, Vitani slipped out unnoticed, and made her way down the halls, something clutched tightly in her fist.

She knocked lightly on the door of Weevil Underwood's room.

The door opened and the boy stood in the doorway, rubbing his eyes and placing his glasses upon his face. As soon as the insect master could see, his expression turned dark, "What do you want?" he asked testily, obviously not having forgotten that she could have helped him in that duel that nearly killed him, but chose not to.

Vitani swallowed hard. He had every right to despise her. "May I come in?"

Weevil continued to glare at her, but stepped out of the way and opened the door wider. Rex Raptor was now visible, fast asleep in his chair, a small snot bubble expanding and contracting from his nose as he breathed.

Vitani stepped past him into the room, "I know what you must think of me," she said, "And I don't blame you at all. I also know this doesn't make up for my actions…but I wanted to give something." She let her fist unclench, and out of it, a scarab pendant trapped in an amber stone fell, the thin gold chain still held tightly between her fingers.

Underwood's eyes widened as he stared into the stone at the insect. Almost mesmerized, he walked slowly up to Vitani, where the little pendant seemed to call out to him. Regaining his composure quickly, he straightened up and held out his hand under the item expectantly.

A small smile of relief curled across Vitani's lips and she dropped the pendant into his outstretched hand. "I know it's not much," she told him, "but don't ever underestimate it."

For a brief second, the bug master was sure that it had glowed for an instant in his hand, but whatever he had seen died away almost instantaneously. He could think of nothing to say to her, so Weevil simply nodded in agreement.

Feeling satisfied that she had accomplished her mission, Vitani headed for the door. As she reached it, Weevil finally found his voice, "Hey, wait a minute…"

"Yes?" she asked, looking back at him.

"This…" he held up the pendant, "Does it have something…special…about it?"

She smiled and nodded, "You will see. Just don't lose it."

He frowned slightly, clearly not contented with her answer, but knowing she would tell him no more. Then he grinned at her, sliding the chain over his head and around his neck. "Thanks…"

"You're very welcome," she said, then turned and left the room.

She had not gone more than a few yards when a hospital official and two Egyptian police officers approached her. The doctor gave her an apologetic look, "I tried to stop them," he said, "but they had a warrant that was activated on the date of your release from us –"

Vitani put up a hand to silence him, her jaw set. She had known this was coming, and she was ready to accept it. She held up her wrists, and one of the officers pulled out a pair of handcuffs.

But before the officer could snap them on, another hand closed its long fingers over her wrist. She looked up to see Seto Kaiba standing beside her, glaring at the men.

"Can we help you, sir?" the second officer asked.

"You can keep your distance from Kaiba Corp. employees," Kaiba said sternly, "Unless you'd like to find your country's oil industry bought out."

The men all exchanged dark expressions before the first officer put away the handcuffs and the both of them stormed away, followed quickly after by the doctor.

Vitani gaped at Kaiba. This was a man she barely knew, who was in the hospital partly because of her, and yet he had just saved her from what might've been ten years in prison! "Why did you –?" she started.

Kaiba laughed shortly. "You in prison? It's a waste of talent. Besides – I could use a new personnel assistant. I hate to admit it, but running a company completely by myself is sending me to an early grave…Are you interested? If not, I can call those cops back…"

Despite his less than friendly words, Vitani felt a rush of affection for Kaiba, and hugged him tightly around the middle. He was giving her a chance to start over! To clean her slate and make up for all the horrible things she'd done! To live a normal life again.

For a moment, Kaiba was at a loss for words. Blushing slightly, he pushed her away. "Let's not get carried away," he said hurriedly, "This is a strictly-business offer. Are you in or out?"

"Sorry…" she mumbled, ashamed at herself for losing her self-control, "I accept your offer. When do I start?"

"As soon as we return to Japan," Kaiba said, "And I warn you – no one who's worked closely with me has ever lasted long. Will you be able to handle what I demand of you?"

Vitani nodded, "I can handle anything after…my last employer…" she trailed off, turning her eyes to the floor, her enthusiasm suddenly gone.

"Forget it," Kaiba said, "It'll be wiped from your record. You work for me now, and that's all that anyone needs to know."

"Thank you…"

* * *

When Vitani returned to the room where she and the others were staying, another thought struck her, "Yugi!" she called.

The boy looked up from the Egyptian book that was hovering in midair near his head, "Yes?"

The woman smiled. The Pharaoh had apparently been reading to him again, "You were the winner of the Egyptian Tournament, so this prize belongs to you." She pulled a crumpled envelope out from the pile of her clothes from the finals, then leaned over and held it out to him.

Yugi carefully tore open the envelope and removed the check containing his $5,000,000 prize. He sighed and called to the other side of the room, "Hey Bakura!"

The white-haired teen turned his head slowly, both black-eyes (the result of his broken nose) focused on the younger boy. "Yes, Yugi?"

"I think I have enough here to pay you back for everything. Here!" Yugi handed the piece of paper to Yami, who walked across the room and placed the check on the bed near Bakura.

Bakura picked up the paper, too overcome with gratitude to speak again. Yugi smiled, "You're welcome."

Joey grinned, "What I tell ya, Bakura? I said we'd pay ya back, didn't I?"

"You meant Yugi would pay him back…" Tristan corrected sarcastically.

"What's that mean?" Joey asked suspiciously.

"It means," Tristan said, leaning against the wall with both of his hands folded behind his head, "That we all knew that you never had a chance at winning!"

"Why I oughta-"Joey started to rage, then inhaled sharply in pain as his excess movement had aggravated his broken arm. Exodia's attack hadn't exactly been a pleasant thing, "If I had use of both my arms I knock the stuffing out of you, Tristan!"

Tristan closed his eyes and stuck his nose in the air, "Lucky me then, right?"

"Come on, Tristan – knock it off," Tea scolded, "Can't you cut him a break?"

"And you," Mai said, adjusting the blankets on Joey's bed, "shouldn't let him get to you like that. I'll bet you dueled at the top of your game in there. Wish I could've seen it though."

"I'll bet you gave Jetsu a real run for his money, didn't ya Mai?"

"Aren't you sweet? Dead wrong…but sweet, still." She kissed him gently on the lips.

"Geez guys!" Tristan started, raising an eyebrow, "Get a room why don't ya?"

Joey blushed, but Mai frowned. "I think somebody's jealous," she said.

"WHAT?!" Tristan cried, flushing angrily, "I am not! Take it back!"

Mai just laughed, and Tea had to cover her mouth with her hand to hide her smile.

Tsuki, who had been trying to remain as quiet as possible when Yami was reading, suddenly burst out in a fit of giggles over the silliness of the situation.

Unable to ignore the girl's infectious laughter, Athena suddenly burst out laughing with her. It had been so long since she'd laughed; it felt like a dam was bursting inside her. Like a benign virus, the hysterics soon spread through the whole room, until the only one left silent was Barak, standing at the window and scowling.

"Morons…"

* * *

The next morning, everyone was packed and gathered in the Al Karnak airport , waiting for their different flights to be announced.

"I hate to say it," Mai said, "But I'm actually gonna miss this place."

"Yeah, it's not so bad," Joey agreed, "Sure it was full of psycho-maniacs…but I'm willin' to let that go."

"Speaking of psycho-maniacs…" muttered Tristan and Kaiba, Mokuba and Vitani strode past on their way to Kaiba's private jet.

"Bye Kaiba!!" Yugi called, waving.

Mokuba turned and waved back, "See ya later, Yugi!" Kaiba then roughly grabbed his little brother's arm and dragged him off, staggering through the crowd.

"Vitani!" Athena called, "You're sure you don't wanna come home with me?"

The Egyptian woman turned back slightly. "Not yet, Athena. But don't worry – when the time is right, we'll see each other again!" Then she too vanished into the mass of people.

"Boy, this has been some adventure," Yugi sighed.

"You certainly seem to have a habit for attracting trouble," Shadi said, with a small smile.

"We don't try to," Yami said, standing beside Yugi in his translucent form, "Trust me."

"So…what're you gonna do now, Void?" Yugi asked the young man next to Shadi.

Void grinned, "Master Shadi has agreed to take me on as a pupil," he said, "To teach me how to master my…gift." His pale eyes shone as he said the last word, visibly glad to not call it a handicap any longer.

"That's great," Yugi said. Just then a familiar voice called out his name from across the lobby and he turned to find Tsuki (and Dedi) running towards them. As they reached the group, Tsuki flung her arms around Yugi's neck, while Dedi nearly tackled Yami.

"Hey!" Yugi greeted her, elated that he'd be able to see her once more before they had to leave, "Are you going too?"

"Yeah," she nodded, gesturing to her parents, who were waiting for her a little ways off, "We're heading off to America for a few weeks now, and then England after that. But guess what?" she bubbled excitedly, "They said we'll be home in Japan for Christmas and they said that we could visit you if you want!"

"Awesome!" the boy said, smiling. It would be nice to keep in touch. He had grown rather attached to the girl, really. Speaking of attached…

Yami and Dedi were in the middle of making-out, a process that was starting to gross out both of the host body figures. Yugi walked over to Yami and stuck his hand through him, trying to draw his attention, "Ok loverboy, that's enough. Say goodbye already!"

Yami jumped slightly, breaking his lip-lock with Dedi. He blushed, putting one hand behind his head, "Sorry, Yugi…" he mumbled, then said to Dedi, "Until we meet again?"

"I'll be counting the days," she nodded.

Then Tsuki's parents called out to her and both girls ran off, waving, smiling and crying at the same time. As the small group left, the static-filled voice announced a few plane numbers that were boarding presently.

"Guys – I just heard our number!" Tea said, "We'd better go."

As they moved off, Athena grabbed Bakura by the arm and held him back, "Here –" she said, stuffing a small piece of paper into his hand, "Don't forget me, okay?" Before he could answer, she kissed him quickly on the cheek and then dashed off to catch her own flight back to Greece. Bakura stood, dumb-founded, clutching the paper in his fist, as the massive crowd moved around him.

"Bakura! Come on!" Yugi called, snapping him out of his trance. Still flustered and feeling the burning on his cheek where her lips had been, he hurried after the others.

* * *

Once they were situated on the plane and in the air, Bakura took moment to un-crumple the paper in his hand. Scrawled across it in a handwriting that was beautiful despite the haste it must've been written in were these words:

Bakura,

In the short time I've gotten to know you, I know I'll keep your memory with me no matter how far apart we are. I can only hope you'll do the same. Until we see each other again, you'll be in my heart.

Love always,

Athena Icari

P.S. Feel free to e-mail me anytime. My address is "grecianhunstress@athens.gc"

Bakura read and reread the note over in his mind, feeling his stomach twist around inside him. A small smile spread across his face, and he folded the paper, safely tucking it in his pocket. Then he leaned back in his seat, watching out through the window as the city of Al Karnak grew smaller and smaller beneath them. Beside him in the aisle seat, Yugi had already fallen asleep, still worn out from everything that had transpired.

Behind them, Tea sighed, "Oh man…it'll be good to get back home."

"Yeah…" Tristan nodded, "Hell, we've still got about eight weeks of summer vacation left."

"Wow…" she murmured, "It seems like so much time has passed…"

In response to this, Tristan stretched broadly, bringing his arm around behind her and letting it fall across her shoulders. And, surprisingly, she did nothing to move him. She simply rested her head against his shoulder. Grinning, he let his hold on her tighten, and sat back for what was going to be a nice long flight.

On the opposite side of the aisle, Mai was adjusting the pillow behind Joey's back. "You sure you're comfortable?" she asked.

"I'm fine, honest!" Joey told her earnestly, "Why are ya fussin' about lil' ol' me all of the sudden?"

She shrugged, "Do I need a reason to care about you all of a sudden?" she asked, planting a kiss on the top of his head.

He blushed slightly, "Naw…" he managed to say, mumbling embarrassedly. Suddenly, Joey's ears popped as they headed up even higher, causing him to grunt in annoyance, "Man, I hate this part."

"Here," she held out a stick of gum, "It'll help." She popped a stick into her own mouth as well.

"Thanks," Joey said, turning to look out of his scuffed up airplane window and wait out the period of painfulness.

Mai watched him for a few moments in silence, then reached over and put a hand on his leg, squeezing it just enough to catch his attention.

"Huh?" he asked quickly, turning to look over at her again.

She grinned, "I'm not sure if I've told you yet…but I love you, Joey."

At this, Joey felt cheeks redden a bit and he looked slightly away, "Don't think ya have…"

"Sorry it took me so long to figure it out," she said, leaning over to kiss his cheek.

"That goes double for me," he said. The he took hold of her hand and didn't let go for the rest of the flight.

"You haven't said a thing yet…"

* * *

The landing of the plane hours later marked the start of another sad parting scene. And watching the others in the airport happily leaving for some vacation or other made it even worse. "Well…" Tristan said, as they waited for their bags by luggage track, "It's really over, huh?"

"Yeah…" Yugi said, "And I don't know about you guys, but when I get home, I'm gonna sleep for another couple weeks."

"Sounds like a plan to me," Bakura said.

"How 'bout you, Joey?" Yugi asked, but found no one in the spot where he had left his best friend, "Huh? Where'd he go?"

Tea frowned and pointed. Following her finger, Yugi spotted Joey and Mai a few yards away, speaking so quietly that they were nearly nose to nose.

"Oh…" the fourteen-year-old said.

Unheard by the others, Mai was whispering, "I'm gonna miss you…"

"It's not like we'll never see each other again, Mai." Joey murmured back, trying to keep a positive outlook on things, "Still," he sighed, "It would be nice ta see ya when we're not in life-threatening situations, ya know."

"Yeah…" she agreed, and then reached into her purse, pulling out a scrap of paper and pen. She jotted something down onto it and handed it to him. "Call me sometime, okay?"

"Sure," Joey told her, flashing the young woman a grin.

"Great," she said, then grabbed her duffel bag off the track as it rolled by, swung it over her shoulder and turned on her heel. "See ya later, handsome!" she called back with a small wave as she left.

"Bye Mai!" Joey heard from his best pal Yugi, who was walking up behind him, "See you later!"

"You ready to get out of here, Joey?" Tristan asked, handing the blonde-haired teen his bag.

"You bet," Joey said, pocketing Mai's phone number.

"I'll see you all soon, I expect," Bakura said as they reached the front entryway of the airport.

"Definitely," Tea said.

Barak gave Yami a short nod and followed after his host as the British teen hailed a taxi. When it pulled away, in its place pulled up a van with the Kame Game Shop Logo on the side. "Come on, kids," Solomon Moto called to them from the driver's seat, "Let's go! I can't wait to here about everything!"

The group of friends all exchanged a look and burst out laughing as they headed down their stairs towards their ride home.

~The End~


The Final Note From the Authors: Haha! Just kidding. Just the final note for this story. Hope you enjoyed it! Already a sequel is underway!!

To SulliMike - briefly: See the twist?? See it?? If not, e-mail us please.

To everybody else - Thank you for all your support. Any questions regarding the duels, God Cards, or any other discrepancies you would like to point out, please send them to dana_ja2002@yahoo.com and we will address them as quickly as possible.

Also to all - I consider myself a pretty good artist, but one thing I've never been able to do are big montage cover pages that have fade-ins and special effects and titles and the like. If anyone would like to submit anything, you can send them to the e-mail address above. Any other kinds of fan-arts-of-the-fan-fiction you may have are welcome as well.

And one final note - if anyone knows of other sites similar to fanfiction.net please let us know, so that we can bring The Egyptian Tournament to others as well.

Thank you again!! Stay tuned for the sequel!! Until next time this is Invader Sam and Invader Shaun signing off! ^_~ (that was Sam) O-O (that was Shaun)