The Phantom of the Theatre
Notes: Muwahahaha! I'm really excited about this one. XD The canon/show characters aren't mine, neither is anything relating to The Phantom of the Opera, the story is mine and so are any characters who are not canon (such as Runihura), and friendship and sibling cuteness will abound!
Yugi Muto sighed contentedly as he walked home from school one chilly February day. It might be cold outside, and there was snow everywhere to walk through (which Yugi didn't really mind), but the short boy's mind was on other things—such as that over a month had passed since they had been involved in any horrendous, disturbing, life-threatening mysteries. Del Vinci, the Mafia don they had been trying to stop back in December, was still in jail and it didn't look probable that he would be escaping this time. There was far too much evidence that proved he was guilty. Yugi knew that Seto Kaiba must be extremely pleased about that fact. Hopefully Del Vinci would never be able to harm Mokuba again.
"I still sense that something isn't quite right. . . ."
Yugi blinked and started as Atemu appeared beside him. Then he sighed, knowing that the Pharaoh was right. He himself felt it as well. "I know," he said then. "You're thinking about all those weird electrical mysteries, aren't you, Yami?" Over the past month, there had been much that couldn't be explained where it came to electricity—cables would suddenly be on the ground when there hadn't been any severe weather, buildings would suddenly blow several fuses at once, and some people had even wound up electrocuted. It was all too much to be coincidental—and it all happened over a small area that included Domino City. Though odd things had been happening for over a month, most of them hadn't wound up on the news until recently. That was why Yugi and the others hadn't especially been investigating, though they had become suspicious of the causes of it all.
"I am," Atemu nodded. "I'm certain this Runihura person could be involved in someway. It seems almost as if causing such problems would not be below him." It all sounded so familiar to some part of his mind. He wished that he could encounter Runihura for himself. Then maybe he would remember.
"Do you think Seth and Khu know about him?" Yugi wondered. "Maybe, if we could find where they went, we could ask them." The former high priest and his elder brother had both mysteriously disappeared after the events concerning Del Vinci. Prior to that, they had been temporarily staying at the game shop, which was something that Yugi was sure that Khu hadn't been happy about. For a reason unknown to both Yugi and Atemu, Khu still seemed to carry a deep grudge against the Pharaoh.
"If we could find where they went." Atemu narrowed his eyes. "Your grandfather thought that maybe the reason they left had something to do with a code they were trying to solve."
"Yeah," Yugi agreed with a nod, "he told me that as well. But I didn't think they ever did manage to solve the code." He had found quite a few pieces of paper laying around the house when he and Atemu had returned to it on an early December twenty-third morning, all of them showing various attempts at deciphering the unknown code. "And they took the original paper with them. . . ."
"It's all quite strange." Atemu quickly sidestepped a patch of ice on the sidewalk.
Yugi looked up at the gray clouds. "Téa said she's auditioning for a part in the play that the local theatre is putting on," he remarked idly, changing the subject to something more cheerful. He was excited for Téa and hoped that she would get the part. He himself was certain that he'd be much too shy to ever try out for the stage.
Atemu nodded absently. "It seems that Téa would do better at dancing than acting, though," he said, taking note of how it was usually hard for the spirited girl to conceal her true feelings about things.
"Well, she said it was just a small part," Yugi replied. "But she was excited about it anyway. If she gets it, she might get to dance a little bit. I think she told me the part was for a ballet dancer." He watched as several small snowflakes began to fall. By the time he and Atemu got back to the game shop, it was coming down steadily.
Bakura found himself visiting with Marik as the afternoon passed by. They were sitting on the floor in the Ishtars' living room, just discussing the most recent goings-on and occasionally playing a video game or two (as Marik had discovered that he quite enjoyed them and had bought several recently).
"Frances has been coming over a lot more lately," Bakura sighed, idly turning the controller over in his hands. "Father hasn't proposed yet, which I'm relieved about, but I'm sure that will come." His shoulders rose and fell despairingly and Marik felt sorry for his friend. He knew how Bakura worried that Frances wasn't what she seemed—and that she might even be Franceska, the vampyress, in disguise. Unfortunately, Bakura's father would never believe such "nonsense."
"Is there a way you could tell him about Franceska without mentioning the vampyre angle?" the Egyptian boy asked, though he doubted it.
"I could try," Bakura admitted, "but then if I'd try to say that I was afraid it was Frances, I know he'd be furious." He leaned back, glancing out the window at the increasing flurry of snow. It had been quite a white winter for Domino City this year, not that Bakura really minded. But it did make it harder to get out to the cemetery and visit Amane's and his mother's graves. And whenever he did manage it, the tombstones were always covered with snow and ice. It took ages for the quiet boy to scrape the ice away, but he always struggled to do it when he found some there. Somehow it just didn't seem proper for ice to adorn headstones. It made them seem unkempt and uncared for.
"Yes," Marik sighed, "I see what you mean. It's quite an impossible situation, isn't it. Nothing can be done to prove Frances guilty. Yami Bakura knows that she pushed your father into the gunfire that time, but he won't believe an ancient thief that's been hiding in your Millennium Ring for centuries." He was repeating the man's own description of Yami Bakura, which Bakura had told Marik about a while back.
Bakura nodded. "So . . . I really don't know what to do. I'm afraid Father may be seriously hurt before he realizes that Frances isn't a good person. And at any rate, he will certainly be hurt emotionally." He set the controller down and pulled his knees up to his chest. "He . . . he never really got over Amane's death . . . or Mother's. I know that's a large part of why he's so taken with Frances. It makes me feel so helpless!"
Marik wished that he could say something that would make Bakura feel better, but he didn't know what that would be. He wasn't always an extremely positive person, though he wasn't as negative as he had been before. But the situation not only seemed impossible—it seemed hopeless.
As it turned out, their conversation was interrupted by the arrival of Mokuba. The child had come over in a company limo, but even the short walk up the sidewalk and to the porch had caused the boy's raven hair to be decorated with snowflakes. He brushed them off as he was invited inside, grateful for the warmth and glad to see his friend.
"What brings you here, Mokuba?" Marik smiled gently after greetings were exchanged. The two friends walked over to where Bakura was and sat down with him again. The brown-eyed boy also tried to put on a smile, for Mokuba's sake.
"I got a job with that new play," Mokuba told them both enthusiastically. "I'm in charge of the lighting and organizing the stage tricks and stuff!" He beamed, proud of himself. Rarely did he get a chance to do such things, though he was sufficiently qualified after working with so many of Seto's inventions and helping to test them.
"That sounds like something you would enjoy," Marik agreed with a nod.
"What play are they doing?" Bakura asked, mildly interested. He remembered that Iyoko—his mother—had taken him and Amane to stage plays at times, though it all seemed so long ago now.
"The Phantom of the Opera," Mokuba replied. "It's kinda fun, with all the effects and stuff. And we get to drop a chandelier on the stage." He smirked a bit.
"A real one?" Bakura exclaimed, his eyes widening.
"No," Mokuba replied, "'cause it needs to be one of the really old kind that used candles instead of electricity, and it'd kinda cost a lot to get a real one of those. They'd be antiques! We've got a guy who's making several replicas, in case one of them gets damaged prematurely or something." He smiled now, leaning back and placing his hands behind his head.
"Well," Marik said, "it sounds like you'll be busy for the next while, my friend." But that was good for Mokuba. He needed some kind of a hobby that he could work at when he wasn't involved with Seto at KaibaCorp. After all, Mokuba was still a child and he deserved to have a childhood. Both Seto and Marik had been robbed of theirs.
Mokuba grinned. "Yep." He rubbed his nose. "It'd be really cool if you guys would come watch some of the rehearsals sometime," he said. "I could show you all around backstage and maybe even let you in on some of the theatre's secrets." He didn't bother to ask them to try auditioning for any of the parts. Bakura would be too shy, he was certain, and Marik had said before that acting held no interest for him (as he didn't like being people he was not).
"I'll make a point to come," Marik assured him.
"So will I," Bakura said. Anything that would take his mind off of the problem of his father and Frances would be a good thing, he was certain.
Valon had fallen asleep on the couch. He had been out late the previous night, angry and frustrated because he and Alister had somehow gotten into another argument. After many hours of pondering and soul-searching near the canyons, the Australian had returned home, kicked off his boots, and immediately embraced the softness of the sofa. (That was how Alister had found him when he had came downstairs later on in the morning. The redhead had covered his friend with a throw and then had gone into the kitchen to find something to eat.) Now it was afternoon and the brunette was starting to wake up, most likely from the ringing of the telephone. Raphael had answered it and was having a conversation with an unclear party.
Alister, in the kitchen again, merely tuned it out. It wasn't his business. Raphael would tell him and Valon what it was about if he felt like it.
He sipped at a glass of chocolate milk slowly, his thoughts wandering. It seemed that he had become a bit more withdrawn since the events at Del Vinci's skyscraper. The scene still played in his mind of when he had cornered the Mafia don with a revolver and had seemed to be intending to shoot him. Alister still wasn't sure why he hadn't. Del Vinci certainly deserved it. He had purposely tortured dozens of innocent children for his own selfish reasons. But still Alister had not ended the man's life, even though he had been longing to.
Maybe it was because of what happened with Doom, Alister mused to himself. Maybe my experiences with Kaiba taught me that vengeance isn't the answer. But he sighed, unsure of himself, and swished the liquid about in his glass.
Now Raphael hung up the phone. Alister could hear Valon sleepily ask him, "Who was that?"
Raphael shook his head. "That," he replied, "was Hilda, my socialite cousin." He crossed his arms. It had bowled him over when he had picked up the phone and had heard Hilda's voice on the other end. As far as he had known, Hilda had wanted to forget that Raphael—and his two "hoodlum" friends—existed at all. But when he had learned the reason for the call, it made a bit more sense.
"What'd she want?" Valon demanded, now investigating the throw and wondering how it had gotten on him. Raphael, noticing this, gave Valon a look that said, I didn't give it to you. Valon blinked then, realizing it must have been Alister.
"She wondered if I wanted a cat," Raphael replied. Upon seeing Valon's baffled expression, he went on to explain that Hilda's friend Paulette's cat had wound up with kittens and Paulette and her husband had tried to sell them to people. But one had been returned to them for one reason or another and they didn't know what to do with it. It was full-grown by now, and healthy, but they really didn't want two cats to care for. Hilda had then remembered Raphael's appreciation of cats and had wondered if he would be interesting in having it.
Valon shrugged. "If you wanna have it, go ahead, mate," he replied, not really caring one way or the other. He sat up, running a hand through his wild brown hair.
Raphael glanced over at the kitchen doorway, where Alister was now leaning. "What do you think?" he asked.
Alister grunted. "I don't care," he answered. But still, there was something about cats that made him sad in a way. It had to do with his brother Miruko and a kitten he had once had. The kitten had disappeared during the war and undeniably hadn't survived. Miruko had been heartbroken. Alister couldn't really look at a cat anymore without hearing his brother's happy exclamations over the kitten and then his sobs upon finding it gone. But he would be the last person to stand in the way if Raphael wanted the cat.
Raphael smiled slightly. He couldn't deny that he was interested in Hilda's offer. Cats had always been his favorite pet as a child, and as an adult, he still enjoyed their company. And Paulette's Ragdoll cat, he remembered, had been very calm and friendly. If her offspring was anything like her, then it would be a pleasant creature to have around. "I'll call Hilda back and ask her to bring the cat over so we can see what it's like," he said, not having made any commitments until first talking with the other two on the subject.
Valon now glanced idly at the evening paper. "Hey, what's this?" he blinked, noticing a story on the main page. Both Alister and Raphael glanced over questioningly as Valon scanned the article. "It says somethin' about some weird stuff goin' on at the community theatre," the Australian remarked at last.
"Such as?" Alister asked, though he wasn't too interested.
"Such as scenery fallin' over when it's supposed to be secured, props goin' missing, and . . . crikey!" Valon's eyes widened as he read over the latest item—and the one most assuredly responsible for getting the story onto the front page. "A stage light fell down and almost killed somebody!"
Raphael narrowed his eyes. "Did it hit the person?"
Valon shook his head. "He just barely got out of the way in time," he replied. Then his eyes widened again. "It says here that it was Mokuba Kaiba!"