Crimes for Christmas

By LuckyLadybug

Notes: I still can't believe YuleTide Terror is actually done! And actually . . . it isn't done because it was "to be continued," which this new mystery fic will do! Be prepared for new surprises and more weird and crazy goings-on! The story is mine, the characters from the YGO TV show are not, and sibling and friendship cuteness will abound! YAY!

The winter night was cold and dark, the icy winds and snow whipping through the streets of Domino with almost blizzard-like ferocity. Most anyone with sense was curled up warm and snug in their homes with a blanket, a book, and hot chocolate. But a few brave souls were venturing around on the freezing streets for various reasons. Some had nowhere else to go. Some were attempting to complete last minute errands. And some others were looking for those missing.

Yes, recently in Domino there had been a string of unexplained disappearances. None of the victims had been recovered as of yet and no one could see any similarities between any of them. They were young, they were old. Some were very healthy while others' conditions left something to be desired. The only thing any of them seemed to have in common was that they had all vanished.

So pondered a man as he turned another corner, drawing his dark coat close around him. It was all strange and even ridiculous, but he had the distinct feeling that there was more to this than meets the eye. One of his own friends had been a victim, having disappeared three days before. Right now he and another of his friends were searching for the missing in different parts of the city and not having much luck. But he refused to give up. He wouldn't give up on any of the few people that he numbered among his "family."

"Mister! Please, you've gotta come help!"

He turned around at the young voice in surprise, wondering what a child was doing out on a night like this, and found himself looking at a small boy with reddish hair and wide, worried, gray eyes. He wasn't dressed appropriately for the weather and somehow he reminded the man of someone, though he couldn't place exactly who.

"Please!" the boy said again without waiting for an answer. "My brother's hurt. You've gotta come help him. He's hurt awfully bad!" Tears filled his eyes as he turned and ran into a nearby alley, not stopping when the man called for him to wait.

He looked down at the flurries of snow as he chased after the child, suddenly realizing he saw something amiss. Red was streaked through the whiteness graphically, signaling that someone nearby was obviously injured—probably the brother the young boy had spoken of. This would have had to be recently done. The snow was falling so heavily that within minutes the previous layer was always covered over. Indeed, as he wandered down the darkened path, he soon found a body laying limp in the snow, blood spilling from several bad wounds. A trenchcoat was adorning the hapless person and the cloth was spread open to reveal a midriff-displaying tank top and dark, torn pants. If the wounds hadn't killed him, certainly the exposure to the cold must have. Nearby in the snow was a knife stained with crimson, and as the man drew closer, he could see that the form was holding a gun in its hand.

"You inflicted pain on your own body and then killed yourself, eh?" he muttered, leaning over the pale corpse. "This world just got to be too much for you?" He could understand how one could become that depressed and feel so alone as to think that was only one way out. He had felt depressed and alone many a time, though he hadn't ever tried to end his life. As he idly brushed some of the gathering flakes off of the ice-cold form, he suddenly let out a gasp of disbelief. This was his friend, the one who had been missing. In the dim light due to the storm, he hadn't been able to see the face at first. But there was no mistaking it now.

Immediately he knelt down, easily removing the gun from the limp, cold fingers. This wasn't right. He wouldn't have killed himself. He wasn't a suicidal person. And the dead man's friend knew in an instant what the true explanation was. This was murder. He had been tortured and then shot to his death, and whoever was responsible had left him here trying to make it look like he was an extremely depressed person who had ended it all!

The blonde man clenched his fists in rage at the atrocity and then bent down, desperately searching for any possible signs of life. If the body hadn't been here very long, maybe there was still a chance, if he hadn't been dead when he had first came to this place. . . .

After several moments he leaned back, all his efforts having been in vain. His friend was truly dead then. He had lost someone else. Feeling numb, he carefully took the body into his strong arms and stood again. He would make certain that everyone knew this person had been murdered in cold blood. And he would avenge this death. It hadn't been supposed to happen. When he found out who had done this, they would pay. He had a good idea of who had been responsible.

Suddenly remembering the child who had led him here in the first place, he cast his gaze around the dark alley but saw no one. The boy had simply vanished. And what was more, there were no footprints at all. The snow wouldn't have covered them over that fast. It was as if the child had never existed at all! But that was impossible. He knew he had seen him. . . .

Wait. . . .

He looked down at the corpse in his arms. That was who the boy reminded him of! He had the same red hair and grayish eyes. And he had said his brother was hurt. . . . Brother. . . . Now he understood.

And then another new realization occurred to him. Hurt . . . not dead. . . . What if his friend had gone into hypothermia from the cold and he was still alive, though he didn't appear to be? No one suffering from hypothermia is dead unless they're warm and dead. But then he had lost so much blood as well. It was pooled around him and there were patches of it all the way to the front of the alley. What must have happened was that he had been fatally injured somewhere and then dragged here by the assassins, blood dripping in every direction. It made the blue-eyed man angry just thinking about it.

Without wasting another moment he headed out of the alley in determination. If there was any chance of saving his friend, there was no time to lose.

Elsewhere in the city, Runihura was planning his first attack of destruction upon the unsuspecting city of Domino. He had stood by, watching as Priest Seto carried out endless mayhem and madness—possessed by his wicked father Akunadin. Now that Priest Seto—Seth—was free again and in control of his body, Runihura thought that it was about time that he took center stage. He stood on the roof of KaibaCorp, the long, spiked bangs draped at either side of his face blowing about in the fierce winds. Pathetic humans. While Runihura might seem mischievous when first meeting him, he certainly wasn't any pushover, and he was a lot smarter than some people might take him to be. He hadn't been given the Egyptian name meaning "Destroyer" for nothing.

"Seto Kaiba, you have no idea of what's standing on your company's building," Runihura cackled to himself as he let the electricity spark at his fingertips. "But you will quickly find out!" For his first official act of catastrophe, he would do something that might seem relatively minor. But then, short-circuiting the company that owned most of Domino City wouldn't be all so minor at that. His first act of destruction back in ancient Egypt hadn't seem enormous either, but it had alerted everyone to the kinds of powers he possessed. Smirking, he set about overloading the amount of electricity KaibaCorp was taking in. When he heard a resounding explosion from within the building, he gave a wild grin of satisfaction. "It's begun," he uttered before teleporting away. Surely the one who's attention he wanted would instantly suspect that he was responsible for this.

"Holy moly," someone standing below on the sidewalk muttered in a soft accent, shielding blue eyes as he watched the entire scene that culminated in the disappearance of the strange man. Shaking his head, he soon climbed onto his motorcycle and rode off.

Seto Kaiba found himself being awakened out of a dead sleep by the ringing of the telephone. Muttering to himself as he slowly became aware of what was happening, he groped for the phone and said something into the receiver that roughly translated to "This is Kaiba. What do you want?"

In the next moment he bolted up, completely awake. "What?!" he demanded loudly, his blue eyes flashing angrily and with disbelief. This couldn't be right. Somehow all the electricity at KaibaCorp had overloaded, causing small explosions throughout the building. There was no way it could have been due to the storm. It was very deliberate and obvious sabotage.

"I'm sorry, sir," one of Seto's security guards said regretfully. "I don't know how anyone could have gotten inside to do this! The only other way could have been if someone was on the roof and had gotten into the fusebox up there, but then again, they couldn't have gotten on the roof unless they had been inside the building. . . ." He trailed off, confused beyond belief.

Seto growled angrily. "How bad is the damage?" he asked, easing himself out of bed. There was no way he'd be sleeping anymore tonight.

There was a pause as the man checked. "It can all be repaired, sir, and the generators are on," he reported at last. "Luckily the infirmary wasn't affected by what happened. But still. . . ." He shook his head, completely baffled. "I just don't understand. . . ."

"I want all the security tapes checked immediately!" Seto ordered coldly. "This is outrageous." There was just no rest for the weary, was there. Then there were those people who were missing all over the city. Seto had lost at least one good employee among them. He was determined to get to the bottom of everything that was going on, though he didn't know how he would.

As soon as he hung up with his guard, the phone rang again. In irritation Seto snapped it up, wondering what was going on now. "What is it?!" he growled. "This had better be good."

The person on the other end of the phone was the last person Seto had ever expected to hear. "Oh, Kaiba-boy!" Maximillion Pegasus scolded gently, clucking his tongue. "Is that any way to address an old friend?" He leaned back in his office, looking out at the view of the city. Everything looked normal, but appearances could be quite deceiving.

Seto's eyes narrowed. "Pegasus?!" he cried in utter astonishment. What could he want?!

"That's my name, creating cards is my game," Pegasus smiled, sounding as relaxed—and to Seto, just as annoying—as ever. But he did have a serious reason for calling his business rival, which he soon explained.

"I was merely wondering if you were having the same kinds of trouble that have been plaguing me lately," he said after Seto had delivered several more vexed retorts to his comments. "You see, Kaiba-boy, I've lost at least three employees over the past several days! I just can't understand where they went. They all simply vanished without a trace."

Seto would have made another snide remark, if he hadn't been so surprised. He had thought the problem of the disappearing people was only happening in Domino. But if Pegasus, down in California, was having the same problem, what if it was something happening nation-wide? Or perhaps that was too ridiculous. What was he thinking? All of this was too ridiculous. "Actually, a lot of people have disappeared from all over Domino City," he responded coldly, it suddenly dawning on him that it was strange that Pegasus would know Seto's home telephone number. He certainly wasn't listed in the directory. Of course, Pegasus had ways of finding out just about everything.

"Hmm," Pegasus mused. "You know, I actually suspected as much. But it certainly is strange, isn't it, Kaiba-boy? Where could they all go off to?" He frowned, going over the latest reports for his company. Despite his nonchalant attitude toward it all, he was starting to believe that the disappearances were something to be concerned about.

"I'm certain I have no idea," Seto replied coldly. "Maybe you do?"

"Why, you certainly aren't accusing me of being responsible!?" Pegasus exclaimed in mock outrage. "Kaiba-boy, I would think you should know better."

Seto growled. "I know that I don't particularly want to continue this conversation," he responded.

As it turned out, he didn't have to. In the next instant Velma the maid was frantically rapping on his door, her Southern voice sprinkled with worry and fear.

"Mr. Kaiba, sir!" she shrieked. "Someone's breaking in!"