Home for the Holidays

By Lucky_Ladybug

Notes: Whee! My second Christmas special! ^___^ The story is mine, the characters are not (except for the ones not on the show, LOL), and this is full of sibling and friendship cuteness! =3

The day before Thanksgiving dawned gray and snowy, dumping an abundance of the icy whiteness over Domino City. The residents had mixed feelings about this.

Joey woke up, took one look outside, and leaped back into bed. "Oh man, it's cold!!" he gasped. "The floor's like ice!!" After thinking a minute, he then grinned and laughed to himself. "Buut . . . I can deal with that. No school!!!"

Bakura blinked, staring at the blanket of snow. "The first snow of the year," he said fondly. He was very excited for Thanksgiving this year because his father was coming home for it and hopefully for the rest of the holiday season as well.

Yami Bakura only grunted. "Snow is evil," he said flatly.

"Oh Yami, you're just not used to it!" Bakura replied. "Why, I'm sure if you gave it a chance, you'd . . ."

"Nonsense," the thief interrupted. "You even nearly died in the snow, and here you are singing its praises!"

Bakura sighed.

Meanwhile, Yugi, Téa, and Tristan were all discovering the snow from their respective homes. Yugi didn't mind it so much. (Solomon wasn't so thrilled, however.) Téa sat at her desk and enjoyed watching the flakes coming down. Tristan planned to get together with Joey later on and make snow creations.

Mokuba was excited as well. He flew to the window of the Kaiba Manor, his blue-gray eyes wide. "It's snowing!!" he chirped. "Seto, it's snowing!!"

Seto smiled at the younger boy's enthusiasm. "It seems to be," he agreed, typing a mile a minute on his laptop.

"I wanna go out in it!" Mokuba declared.

Marik was feeling just the opposite. "It's freezing out there!" he gasped, hurrying in after retrieving the mail.

Rishid smiled gently. "We could start a fire," he suggested.

Marik wrapped his arms around himself tightly. "That sounds good," the boy said, smiling back.

Ishizu draped her white cape over Marik's shoulders. "At least we have not had to deal with a mystery for a while," she said. It had been a month or so since their last case, and they were very happy for the peace.

Marik sat down near the fire, which Rishid had just started. "I doubt that it will last," he sighed, grateful for his sister's cloak.

"We can hope," Rishid replied with a slight smile, though he really didn't hold out much hope for it himself. He had heard of the "calm before the storm," and it wouldn't surprise him none if they were having such a calm.

"Yes," Marik chuckled, "I suppose we can."

Serenity was delighted with the snow. "Remember when we used to build snowmen in our old front yard, Joey?" she exclaimed, her hazel eyes shining with the remembrance.

Joey smiled. "Heck, yeah," he said fondly. "How could I forget that?" By now he had ventured out from his bed, fully enjoying the cold because of how he'd realized that school would be canceled.

Serenity looked at him shyly. "Well . . . I was sort of hoping that . . . that we could make one again," she said in a soft tone. "For old time's sake. . . ."

"Sure we can, sis," Joey replied, laying his hand on her shoulder. "I'd like that too. Maybe after breakfast?"

Serenity readily agreed.

Duke was busy getting his shop open. He was planning to have special deals for the day, since the holidays were right upon everyone. The raven-haired boy passed by the employees shoveling the walk, stopping to speak with them briefly before going inside. To his pleasure, everything looked normal and not as if werewolves and vampyres had been prancing around down the aisles, which was pretty much what had happened last month. "I just hope that mysteries stay out of my life for now," he muttered, sitting on a desk to survey the room. Unfortunately, he knew by now that that wasn't likely.

Idly he rubbed his shoulder, remembering the pain of having one of his metal shelves fall on top of him. Then there was the time he had been beaten and left for dead in a crate. . . . "That's what I get for becoming involved in Yugi Muto's mysteries," he sighed aloud.


Téa was practicing her ballet when the phone rang. Curiously she picked it up, blinking her blue eyes. "Hello?"

To her surprise, Burt Thorton's high-pitched, nervous voice came on the line. "Téa!" he exclaimed. "Oh, Téa, I'm hoping you can help me!!!"

Téa blinked again. She had worked for Mr. Thorton at his toy store the last holiday season, but she hadn't really heard much from him since then. "Mr. Thorton? What's wrong?!" she asked, completely surprised.

She could hear the sound of Mr. Thorton accidentally breaking something he was holding, most likely a vegetable of some kind. "Something's wrong at my store!!" he wailed. "I just know it!!!"

"What would be wrong?" Téa pressed, hoping she could get him to give her a straight answer before long.

"When I got in, the entire place was a mess!" Mr. Thorton replied. "Aisles were turned over, displays were everywhere, and worst of all . . ." He took a deep breath. "When I came in my office, a jack-in-the-box leaped out at me!!"

Téa sighed at that, but she was perplexed. She couldn't imagine who would ransack Mr. Thorton's store, and she told him so.

"Maybe it's those diamond thieves from last time!" Mr. Thorton cried.

"But why would they do it?" Téa asked.

"Revenge?! Maybe they thought Maureen would have some new plushies with the diamonds hidden as their eyes?!" Mr. Thorton's voice was rising. "Téa, you did say you would come back and work here again this holiday season, didn't you?!"

"Well, yes," Téa said slowly, "but . . ."

"Then PLEASE!!" Mr. Thorton begged. "Please bring your friends and come help me with this problem!!" He sounded so desperate and frantic that Téa had to say they would.

But that didn't stop her from asking why he didn't just call the police.

"There was graffiti on my office wall that said not to or I'd have bad luck for the rest of my short life!" Mr. Thorton sobbed.

Téa couldn't stop from sighing loudly. Her boss was so superstitious. "When do you want us there, Mr. Thorton?" she wanted to know.

"NOW!!" Mr. Thorton told her. Téa promised she'd get in touch with the others and that they'd come.


In the meantime, Seto was watched Velma run around like mad.

"What is the matter with you today?" he demanded finally. His Southern maid was making him dizzy.

Velma stopped at last, twisting the dust mop around and around in her hands. "Oh, Mr. Kaiba, I'm just worried about everything lookin' nice for when my sister and all her kids move into the house I've been fixin' up for them," she said. "You remember them, dontcha?"

Seto grunted. "How could I forget?"

Velma giggled nervously. "Well . . . they won't be livin' too far from here. Janine—my sister, ya know—wanted to move 'em all out here so that they'd be closer to me if she needed me to baby-sit."

Seto nodded, already only half-listening as he returned his attention to the pile of paperwork in front of him. He couldn't help remembering one time when Velma had been baby-sitting for all the children . . . how many were there, again? Six? All of them had been loose there in the manor and had caused endless problems. The boys in particular—Brandon and Taylor—had been especially frustrating. "Just as long as they don't have to come here again," he muttered.

Velma went pink. "Oh . . . I'm sure they won't have to, Mr. Kaiba. . . ." She continued to stand there, obviously wanting to say something more but not having the courage to do so.

Seto already knew what it was she wanted. "Go ahead and go," he told her. "I imagine you want to be there when they come."

Velma brightened. "Oh yes! Thank you, Mr. Kaiba!" she exclaimed, scurrying to the door. "I'll be back just as soon as I can!"

"Take your time," Seto replied, typing up a letter that was to go to some business associates of his.


It just so happened that Janine and her kids were moving in across the street from the Ishtars. Marik idly watched them pull up to the house and climb out. One of the boys happened to notice him looking out the window and started to laugh. "Hey, you!" he yelled. "Girly-Boy!" Quickly he gathered some snow off the ground and chucked it clear across the street. Marik jumped, startled, as it hit the window he was looking out of.

"What was that?" Rishid asked, having heard the thump.

Marik sighed. "Somehow I don't think the new neighbor likes me."

Rishid narrowed his eyes, coming over to watch as the young boy laughed again, yelling the rude name loudly before running into his new house. "He has no reason to dislike you," the Egyptian man said. "I suspect he was only being a foolish child. Perhaps he has never seen a boy wearing his hair the way you do."

Marik nodded slowly, just hoping that he wouldn't have to put up with the child's rudeness a lot from now on. He couldn't have known just how much he would have to put up with over the next couple of weeks.


Téa was having a bit of trouble contacting the others. At last she'd managed to get a hold of Yugi, Bakura, Seto, and Marik, but the rest were unaccounted for. Marik had never met this Mr. Thorton before, but he agreed to help find out what was going on.

Soon the group arrived at the station. Seto had brought Mokuba with him, and Ishizu and Rishid had come with Marik, who was wearing his leather jacket. They all glanced around Toys, Etc., seeing that, indeed, everything was a shambles.

"Mr. Thorton?" Téa called, looking around for the store's owner. He didn't seem to be anywhere in sight. But then, he was known to stay holed up in his office for ages at a time. Maybe with the huge mess he had done just that, wanting to be as far away from it as he could.

Carefully they all picked their way over the fallen plushies and Hot Wheels. Arriving at the office door, Téa knocked loudly. "Mr. Thorton?" she called. Upon not receiving an answer, she finally pushed the door open and then stood in shock.

The office was just as much of a mess as the actual store, and Mr. Thorton was slumped back in his chair, apparently unconscious!