Note from Yaminah: Well, I thought that Daisy saying that we were doing a collaboration would be enough. Though I've started to believe some prevention should be had and maybe a little explanation for some things I may believe to be the cause of one thing or another. The only reason my OCs are being used at all is because of my collaboration in this fic. I came with the proposal of the idea based on character development that'd evolved through some awesome RPs during the creation of Runihura's full character. I had these characters for ages upon and ages and they're my creation and mine alone. I hope that this won't serve to be a problem throughout the fic.
Note from me: Sorry, we're not taking requests for other people's OCs in this story. It's all planned out and we don't need extra faces. There's enough already to keep track of!
Raphael reached out, laying a hand gently on Valon's back. He was sprawled mostly on his side, facing his friend, but his eyes were closed. Carefully Raphael ran a hand down the boy's spine to make certain it was intact. When he was satisfied, he checked for other broken bones and then lifted Valon into his arms, carrying him inside. Raphael was strong and muscular, and Valon was rather short in comparison to him. He only came up to Raphael's chest when he was standing at his full height. Raphael could carry him easily.
Alister stared as he watched Raphael enter with the Australian's limp body. "Is he hurt bad?" he asked, walking over to them.
Raphael growled. "He'd better not be," he answered, laying the teenager down gently on the couch. Liu leaped up beside him, rubbing against him and licking his face. Valon did not respond at first, but then he moaned, stirring, and weakly pushed her away. Liu was undeterred. She remained beside him, purring and occasionally meowing softly.
Alister watched for a moment, then left to get the first aid kit. His eyes narrowed as he opened the medicine cabinet and took it down. Why would someone do this? What had Valon done? He knew that the boy had a penchant for getting into trouble, but he was also able to hold his own in a fight. The fact that he had obviously been defeated worried the redhead.
When he came back into the living room, he found that Valon was awake and confused. The Australian's gaze wandered around the room for a moment before he wearily closed his eyes again, rubbing at his head. "Oww," he mumbled. "How'd I wind up here?" The last thing he remembered was the end of the long, drawn-out fight he had been involved in. Those jerks got the better of me, he thought bitterly. They weren't playing fair.
"They dropped you off," Raphael grunted. He took one of the disinfectant wipes from the first aid kit and began cleaning some of the cuts Valon had sustained. "But they didn't stay to chat." Valon snorted at the dry remark.
"Didn't they say what they wanted with you?" Alister asked now. "And how did they know where to bring you?" He watched Raphael clean Valon's injuries before coming to sit down on a nearby chair.
Valon shrugged. "I think they thought I knew somethin' that I don't," he said. "Somethin' to do with their criminal stuff. . . . And they didn't believe me when I said I didn't know what they were talkin' about." He grinned ruefully. "I guess that coulda been expected. Anyway . . . we got fighting . . . and I lost. I think they looked at my I.D. card to find out where to leave me. They probably meant it as some kinda warning." He opened his eyes again, looking annoyed. "And they took my bike! I dunno what they wanted with it, but it's gone. 'Course . . . I'm gonna get it back," he vowed now.
"Not yet, you're not," Raphael growled. "They did quite a number on you." He bandaged one of the worst wounds, shaking his head as Valon tried to rise.
"Raphael is right," Alister said flatly. "You should rest. If you tried to go after them in your condition, they'd beat you up again."
"No, they wouldn't!" Valon snapped, even though he knew he felt somewhat dizzy. He decided on his own to rest for a while, but he vowed that he would find the gang and retrieve his motorcycle.
Everyone in the theatre continued to hustle and bustle about in a panic. While no one had found their Christine, someone had found the pianist knocked out in a pile of music, seeming to have been electrocuted. There were no other signs of anyone else being wounded, but everyone by now was fearing the worse.
Atemu searched slowly, but surely, feeling as though everyone was going past him at light speed. Something had been nagging him ever since the lights had come back on. Nothing yet had turned up to clue him in as to what it might be. His inspection of the stage itself left him empty-handed and he hoped backstage would not leave him equally so.
In the background, he heard Joey come in, shouting a greeting. Not too far behind was Mokuba, telling everyone that things were alright. It took several moments for it to sink in before everyone slowed down. Kaiba showed up several long moments afterwards, quiet as usual. Gerald had gone over to Mokuba, demanding answers and the young actress and received a quick and matter-of-fact answer from Seto.
"Ran off?" Gerald declared indignantly. "What do you mean she ran off?" He glared at the businessman, feeling an intense frustration at how things were going with his production. He did not understand why someone was trying to jinx it.
"I mean she ran off," Seto said flatly. "Don't make me repeat myself yet again."
All of this blurred into the background as Atemu sensed something strongly. It consumed him for several seconds and made him freeze. The spirit grew concerned at the near disturbing presence . . . yet, it felt vaguely familiar—almost something from a dream, in fact. A dream from something long ago. . . .
He whirled at the last minute, seeing something stir amongst the shadows of props and a backdrop. For a moment, the former Pharaoh thought he caught sight of long hair whipping behind the set. His magenta eyes narrowed as he tried to locate any more movement. Atemu was certain he had felt a pair of eyes boring into him.
"Phantom . . .?" he whispered.
High up in the rafters, a darker figure laid out, watching all the commotion down below. The body language spoke of amusement. Panic and fear reeked from those down below. Though a pair of sadistic eyes kept watch upon a certain individual closely.
"Sing for me . . . My . . . Angel." The words came out bemused and morphed into twisted sarcasm. A sneer played across thin lips, which was followed by low cackling.
Things had quieted down in the theatre since suspicions of a kidnapping had proven to be just that—suspicions. The pianist fortunately sported nothing more than a nasty bruise and no other injuries had occurred. An electrician had been called and was now working on fixing the lighting console for the stage. Some of the actors and actresses left, soon after everything was in the clear, all of them in need of a bit of a break from all the commotion around the set. Those that remained lingered about, getting something to drink and rehearsing their lines idly. Gerald was still in his office, trying to get a hold of Tazi to figure out why she had left so abruptly.
Atemu sat back at a conference table with everyone else. His thoughts kept going back to whatever it was that he saw in the shadows. He could not shake the feeling that it was something he had encountered before. The possibility that it was the 'ghost' seemed likely. Hopefully, he could identify what it was before another disaster occurred. Once again, he tried to stay focused on the conversation at hand.
"So uhhh . . . Whadda we know about Tazi?" Joey asked as he leaned back into his chair. He took a sip of his soda.
Téa rested her chin in her hand as she propped her elbow on the folding table. "Someone said she'd just moved here not too long ago," the dancer said. She picked up a pretzel stick out of the bowl sitting in the middle of the table and munched on it. "But no one has really seen her out and about, you know?"
"She's really quiet," Mokuba piped in. "Kinda keeps to herself."
Seto listened as he typed away at his laptop. His brows knitted in frustration. Results on this girl were few while work from the company was increasing. "She's also not registered in any of the schools in Domino," he added as he typed away. "And there really aren't records of her previous attendance anywhere."
"Maybe she's home schooled," Yugi guessed. Téa shook her head.
"She said her father was off on a trip."
"What about her mom?"
Téa looked over to Tristan as he spoke. She bit her lip. "I don't know," the dancer confessed. "She made it sound as though she was home alone."
Seto continued to listen as he closed out one Internet window and opened another. At the same time, he checked a chart concerning the month's productivity at KaibaCorp. As he did so, a small box slid up from the task bar at the bottom of the screen to indicate he had several emails coming in. They were most likely to do with work at the company.
Honestly, he thought in exasperation. Can't those idiots do anything on their own? It was almost as though someone heard his question as his cell-phone rang. Groaning, the CEO dug it out of his trenchcoat pocket and flipped it open.
"Kaiba." The young man listened for a moment. "No, that's not what I asked of you." Muttering to himself, Seto got up and walked away from the table, leaving his trenchcoat draped over the chair. Mokuba watched as his brother started to bark orders into the phone. The boy sighed and looked back to everyone else at the table.
"She seems really nice though," Téa told them. "I've never seen her be rude or anything. Actually, she kinda reminds me of Bakura. . . ."
Joey leaned back further. "Well, apparently Moneybags don't think so. Ain't that right, Johnny Sunshine!" the Brooklyn boy hollered over to the CEO. Seto shot him an icy glare.
"Aw, now c'mon . . ." Tristan said. "Are you saying she's some kind of psychopath or something?" Great. This mystery is getting better all the time. He found himself wishing that he was doing something else, such as spending time with Serenity. Sometimes being involved in the mysteries was exasperating, and it almost always involved people getting hurt. He had had about enough. Part of him just wanted to bail out, and yet he knew that he did not want to leave his friends to deal with it.
Seto rolled his eyes and pardoned himself from his phone call for a moment. Holding his hand over the speaker, he looked over at the other teens. "I didn't say she was a psychopath," he corrected coldly. "I said she was highly suspicious. That's a far cry from psychotic, not that I expect you to know the difference. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a company to run." With that, the now-grouchy business man returned to his call, walking a bit further from the table. Tristan frowned after him.
Joey finished off his soda. "Blah, Kaiba's just havin' girl problems," he reasoned with a snicker.
Tristan looked back to him. "Don't you mean problems with people in general?" he retorted.
"Come on, guys," Yugi butted in, not wanting to see another argument get started. "We have to take into consideration what Kaiba saw. He's the only one of us who's seen her outside of performances and we all know by now that looks can be deceiving. . . ."
Atemu nodded in agreement with his Hikari. "We must be very cautious," the former Pharaoh said.
"So what?" Joey asked as he leaned forward. "Are you sayin' we should go to her house and question her or something?"
Téa sighed. "I really don't think so. I mean, if she's not involved with any of this, it'll seem pretty awful of us to bring all these accusations into her home. Especially if she's the person we seem to know on stage . . ." Yugi nodded in agreement.
Joey did not look happy. "So we just wait for her to come back then?"
"I guess so, Joey." Yugi sighed too, not knowing what else to do.
Behind the tri-color haired boy, Seto snapped his phone shut and came back over to the table."I for one think she deserves to be fully questioned after running off like that. And the sooner someone does it, the better." Seto dropped the phone back into his trenchcoat pocket and leaned over the chair to fiddle with something on his laptop.
Joey watched him with a mock exhausted look. "The only reason you're so gung-ho about this is 'cause your company owns the property," he accused as he crossed his arms.
Seto did not look up from his computer. "Correct," he answered shamelessly. "Let's not forget that Mokuba has also insisted on continuing to work on this production. Either way, I believe answers are in order. And soon."
Joey rolled his eyes over-dramatically and reached for some pretzels, tired of simply sitting here discussing on what course of action to take, and especially with Seto there. "Anywhoooo . . ."
Before Joey could go off onto whatever spiel he had in mind, Mokuba remembered something. "We could always try to get a hold of her cousin," the boy chimed in.
Everyone looked over to him immediately, including Seto. "Cousin?" several repeated together.
Mokuba nodded as he sat up a bit straighter, glad to be able to offer some information that might be of use. "Yeah, she came to pick her up once," he began. "She looks a lot like Tazi. It's kinda scary really. . . . They could almost be sisters."
"Well maybe they are," Tristan said.
Téa's face brightened in realization. "No, I remember her mentioning her cousin once," she informed him. "She was complaining something about her dead-beat cousin leaving something out on the counter in the kitchen . . . or something like that."
Joey raised an eyebrow. "Dead-beat? Well that's sure gonna help us," he said sarcastically. "Sounds like she's livin' there with Tazi. That'd also mean going over to their house."
"Though we can conclude she's not home alone," Téa said, correcting her earlier mistake.
"What's the cousin's name?" Seto suddenly inquired. Téa looked over, shrugging her shoulders helplessly, and so did Mokuba. Seto growled quietly and typed in frustration. Sounds like another dead end to me. I'm the businessman here and I'm the only one wanting the direct approach. Oh the irony.
Yugi sighed softly. "I guess we'll just have to wait for now. . . . It's just another addition to the whole puzzle." He then turned to Joey. "How'd it go at the other theatre?"
Joey perked up and slammed a hand on the table. Seto watched in annoyance as the screen of laptop wavered slightly.
"Oh yeah!" the Brooklyn boy exclaimed, irritated that he had temporarily forgotten. "I've been meaning to throw something in about that! It was freaky over there!"
As he and Tristan began to explain what had taken place, none of them realized that they were being closely observed by the same presence from the theatre earlier. The figure sneered in amusement, listening to the tale of what had happened at the Desert Star Theatre, and crossed his arms as he leaned back against a beam that was supporting the roof. "They still have no idea," he grinned maliciously. "Though none of this was supposed to involve them, it appears that they're mixed up in it anyway. Not that it bothers me. Quite on the contrary, tormenting them will help in leading me to my final goal." He relaxed as he thought of what mischief he could make next, and especially when he recalled that he had aroused the suspicions of the person whom he had been seeking. Soon it would begin.