Yeesh- sorry I took so long. If anyone is still thinking about staying put with me, than enjoy and THANK YOU AS ALWAYS!

Chapter 12: Anger Issues Are High Today, With a Low Chance of Revenge

Disclaimer: Sorry to disappoint you, but nope. None of its mine except the crazed Naomi.
The door to the meeting room creaked open slowly, just wide enough for him to peak through. Was she...? Oh no... Naomi was already there, waiting for both Dartz and him. She was leaning all the way back as far as she could in a chair, feet holding her in one place by being wedged under the table. She tossed a dagger into the air and caught its hilt as it spun down again.

She wasn't really going to bring a weapon with her... right..?

Well, she can go right on and keep tossing that knife up in the air all day if she wanted to; he knew who was his target and he sure didn't need Dartz telling him all over again.

So decided, Rafeal slowly inched the door shut again, intent on leaving her behind... and nearly jumped straight out of his boots as he received the surprise of his life.

"Ya know, someone's gonna hav'ta get Alister off- literally- of the T.V. set," the 'surprise' said in its usual heavy Australian accent. "Don't suppose you could...?"

Mentally cursing the brunette out- why did he have to be so loud!- Rafeal reluctantly replied in a low voice, "No, I can't. Unlike you, I actually have a target to go after, so if you'll excuse me, now..."

"Rafeal- Valon? For once you two are on time?" It was a day for guessing who's voice was who's apparently, and the two didn't need three guesses to know who it was now. In fact, they didn't even have to bother, as the newcomer made himself present as he waltzed his way between the two and opening the door all the way.

Naomi looked up as the door opened, neatly catching the dagger without even looking at it. "Ah... so there you are. And Vally too? Interesting... I thought he was more of a loner... Oh- and I see you managed to get the dye and glitter out. Sir."

The brunette sent a glare her way, but didn't bother with replying- she'd have a field day in annoying him further. "Dartz, can I pleeeaaassse leave? I know what my mission is... and I'm supposed to be off duty today anyways, so-"

Dartz cut off his whining with a glare as he seated himself down. "And let this golden opportunity go to waste? Never. You hardly get to mission briefing on time on any other day. Now... Rafeal... Naomi..." Keeping one eye on Valon so he couldn't just sneak off, their boss turned the rest of his attention to the other two. "I did manage to get the dye out, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. You two are to once again go after First Most Wanted Soul..."

"Who is?" Naomi interrupted.

Rafeal gave her an annoyed look- she claims she worked here for practically forever, yet she doesn't know which Wanted Soul was who?- and answered for their boss, "Yugi Mouto." He couldn't help but give in to his immature side and add a 'duh' in there.

"Enough," Dartz hissed, already growing annoyed at how the briefing was going. Technically they didn't need it after the countless times he handed it to the blond before but... it was just fun to make them come all the time. Especially when they found it annoying and said amusing things about it when they thought he wasn't listening. "I want Mr. Mouto's soul captured this time."

Rafeal nodded seriously- just like he did countless times before. "Will do." Now can you get Naomi to stay here? She can torture Alister even better than Valon can.

The asassin leaned over the table, dagger momentarily forgotten so that it fell to the floor- or into it. "And where in this little duel am I coming in?" she asked.

"It's your own fault you're stuck on this one, my dear," Dartz answered, unable to keep the smile off of his face. It was very rare that he ever got Naomi back- just like how rare it was for Valon to show up for something on time. "As I can remember it, you more or less blackmailed Rafeal in letting you go. Although, with blackmail the term shouldn't be 'letting' you, would it?"

Naomi blinked the statement out of her concern. "Can I kill that annoying bleep?"

"Please let her- that girl is soooooooo stupidly annoying," Valon added. "Always going off on how 'friendship is soooooooo important and blah, blah, BLAH!'"

Dartz glanced from one brunette to the other, only mildly concerned that the thought of killing things personally in a rather grosteque fashion was starting to spread from the assassin to the rest of his employees. True... the ultimate mission was to destroy all humanity... but that wasn't murder- that's called saving the planet. "No." He finally answered.

The assassin frowned, obviously displeased with the answer. She leaned back in her chair though, hopefully intending to let the rest of the briefing go as planned. Valon, on the other hand, groaned and immediately opened his mouth to protest-

-but was cut off quite cleanly. "And you, Valon, can deliver a message for me. Tell Mr. Underwood and Mr. Raptor to get Alister off of the... 'television' set."

Valon frowned until he realized that the fool had left a loophole in there. "I know that I can, sir... but do I ha-"


"Okie-dokie." There was not a chance in Hades' domain that he could have missed the intended threats hidden in that answer. The Australian left the room quickly, and the remaining occupants could hear him shouting loudly for the two midgets.

Rafeal shook his head absentmindedly- once upon a time people didn't have to deal with headaches, and now, thanks to Valon, everyone in this building had their own private bottle of Tylenol AND Advil. "Anything else sir?"

"Errr... no. Get going."

The brunette was up and out as soon as their boss had said 'no,'slamming the door behind her. Rafeal followed slowly after her- maybe she'd start off without him and get lost and never come back. That would be nice.

Unfortunately, as he entered the hallway- closing the door quietly closed behind him ( he really didn't need Dartz yelling at him for yet another migraine )- he could hear a cry of surprise/pain and a thud... somewhere's down towards the living room. Uh-oh.

That hurt... Blinking, Valon resisted the urge to rub at his head where his attacker had hit him. Wouldn't look too tough of him- and it was rather difficult to accomplish otherwise when laying right on the floor. "Wha' was that for!" he demanded with a frown.

His attacker- Naomi, who else?- raised her eyebrow, smiled and replied, "Oooohhhh... I felt like it. And also for the shouting... I have a headache, ya see."

Muttering obscenities, the Australian sat up. "Well, ya didn't have ta hit me! And you do a fair amount of shouting yourself!"

Two seconds later and he had yet another beautiful, clear view of the ceiling lights. "HEEEEYYYY!"

Before another hit could be landed, the door to the room slammed open, admitting a very tall, muscled blond. "What's going on?" he demanded, taking a cautious step into the room.

From behind the edge of the couch, Rex dived to try burrowing under it, crying, "AHH! Don't let it get me!"

Next to him- but standing and looking more annoyed than frightened- Weevil rolled his eyes. With not a drop of sarcasm left out of his voice, he replied, "Well what does it look like, blondie? Your crazy friend is trying to kill Valon- which I personally don't mind."

Rafeal frowned and opened his mouth to say something to Naomi- probably something nasty- but was shut up mercifully for this author in having to censor everything as the brunette flew past him, saying something along the lines of 'I have to get changed before we go- I'll be down in a minute.' So, instead of overworking my hands, he was left blinking and mouth moving... but nothing coming out... mostly. "Wha- what..?"

With a grunt, the Aussie got back to his feet, choosing to wipe the 'dust' off of his clothes instead of trying to find out what part of his back was broken thanks to the 'crazy' one. "Can I kill her now?"

Ignoring the wrestling fight that was Weevil trying to drag Rex out from under the couch- unsuccessfully- Rafeal shrugged and sank instead into his favorite armchair. "I didn't know you were going to apprentice under an assassin. Did she hit you that hard that you have to pretend you're not hurt?"

"You can tell?"

"Hmmm... the wincing and constant wiping at your clothes- yeah."

Choosing not to reply, Valon shuffled over till he was beside Weevil. He grabbed a hold of Rex's exposed sneaker and pulled once. Out came Rex. "Oof! Hey- I was hiding!"

The brunette dragged Rex across the carpet towards the... occupied TV set, grabbing Weevil by the collar of his shirt along the way. "You two get to work with those sissors and get 'im out of there. WHETHER HE LIKES IT OR NOT!"

Alister turned off the flow of protests as quickly as though someone had turned off his vocal cords with a switch. It wasn't a wise idea to try protesting when it was two or three tempramental people cutting you out of duct tape. They might decide to leave some of it sticking it in your hair or worse... like cutting your hair off along WITH the tape... shudder...

Rafeal winced and got up quickly to leave. "I better go meet Naomi by the, uh, motorcycles... before she decides to leave by herself, ya know? Bye." He left the room before the growling Valon could say a thing.

Four, fifty-nine and counting... Five o' clock. Scowling, Rafeal glanced up from his wristwatch to scan the room again. Surely it didn't take girls more than five- ten minutes, tops- to change their outfit? And certainly not Naomi- she was almost wearing some sort of black shirt and the same color of pants.

And more importantly, why was she changing her outfit anyways..? THIS WAS NOT A DATE! Hmph, he should have said something earlier. True, it would have earned him an never ending stream of teasing from Valon for saying something- whether it was a compliment or not- about her clothes, but at least he wouldn't be waiting here now!

Well, too late now. Scowling, the blond shifted balance to one foot from the other, keeping both the motorcycle and him up- never mind the kickstand. He decided to give her just oooooonnnnnneeee last minute. Then he'd leave.

Fortunately for his health, she arrived safely within the parameters of five seconds to blast off. She didn't bother to check whose helmet she was grabbing, but just picked up the nearest one and placed it 'gracefully' over her hair... which was for once up in an intricate version of a ponytail.

And not only that was different- she was actually wearing a skirt! Fortunately for the nearly-having-a-heart-attack-from-the-shock Rafeal, she was still wearing her regular kind of black tank top... with a slightly lower cut... eep. Ack-! She's actually wearing makeup!

Glad she couldn't see him blinking in surprise at her choice of clothing due to the dark visor on his helmet, Rafeal growled, "This isn't a date or anything- it's a serious mission." Further comments were cut off as she slid onto the seat behind him and slung an arm around his waist.

"Don't tell me you're going to be jealous," just from the sound of her voice he could tell she was smiling slyly. "Besides, I was bored with just wearing my usual outfit all the time."

He grunted but didn't say anything.

"Are you going to drive or not?"

Blink. Oh. "Shut up," he growled, kicking the once ignored kickstand up and turning on the motorcycle in one smooth, practiced motion. He paused, quickly got over the embarrassment of the thought of actually saying this, and then said, "Hold on tight- it'd be bad if you fell off."

"Ahh... you're actually worried about me. How sweet." The last part sounded more like a curse than whatever that's supposed to sound like.

"No- I'd lose my job," he corrected just a little too quickly and little too harshly than intended.

The arm around him tightened. "Let's get this over with. Drive."

The motorcycle jolted forward and tore the asphalt up as though the faster it went, the more the driver could pretend he left the female brunette behind.



Duke blinked, jolted out of his thoughts- he was planning on voicing his thoughts out anyway, but then his companion wouldn't be interested. "Oh... I was just thinking..."

"What?" Tristan repeated, shoving his hands into his denim jacket pockets, sparing a glance at the slightly shorter boy. The two had become separated from the rest of the group on a shopping tour. The whole idea was Tea's- she figured that just because they were fighting evil to save the world from being destroyed didn't mean they couldn't enjoy their trip out of their home country and shop for souveniours. Serenity had unfortunately agreed with the idea.

"Weeeellll... if one of us managed to win fair Serenity-" he ignored the glare directed his way, "- then what would the other do? Go out with another girl..? That wouldn't seem right, somehow..."

Tristan snorted. "Not for you," he muttered, just loud enough for the other to hear.


"C'mon- you got a fan club aching to win your heart."

"I like Sereni- hey! WATCH WHERE YOU'RE DRIVING, YA LOON!" Duke shouted after the roaring motorcycle, forgetting that he had stepped off the sidewalk onto the street himself. As quickly as his anger came on it was gone and he was elbowing Tristan in the ribs, smiling. "Didja see that girl? Cuuuute."

Tristan rolled his eyes, obviously thinking 'see what I mean?'

His companion chose to ignore that, though, already barreling on with a goofy smile on his face. "I wonder if she likes duelists? Maybe she even duels! Maybe I'll actually meet her if she's dueling Yugi one day! Oh yeah- I can see it now..."

"Yeah- she's trying to steal someone's soul and you're slowly inching closer to her, asking for her phone number," the brunette said, bored. "You do realize these days that bikers generally like beating strangers up or stealing their souls?"

No comment.

Not that stopped him from smirking and saying, "And for all you know, that could've been Mai."

Duke scoffed at the idea. "Mai doesn't wear skirts like that- her's are longer."

"Skirts can't get any shorter than the one that girl was wearing!" Tristan proclaimed loudly, not seeing the curious glances from the nameless people on the sidewalk.

He was surprised as the other boy grabbed his arm and began pulling him along. "C'mon! Maybe we can catch up to her!"

"Them. THEM! THERE WAS A GUY WITH HER TOO!" Tristan was left running after Duke, dodging between groups of people.

"I THINK SOMEONE'S FOLLOWING US!" Naomi called up towards Rafeal over the roar of the engine. She couldn't get a good look at them- all that she saw as they drove away was two boys running after them... and one of them seemed to have a very goofy grin on his face.

Rafeal winced, making a mental note to tell her that she didn't need to shout that loudly over the engine- he and the whole road heard her quite clearly. "SIRENS OR FLASHING LIGHTS?"

Roll of the eyes. "NO."

"THAN FORGET ABOUT 'EM. Just the pharaoh's idiotic friends, probably," the blond muttered. Another note- tell her not to be so paranoid. "TELL ME IF YOU SEE THE PHARAOH, NOT ANYONE ELSE, GIRL!"


Muttering many curses, Rafeal snagged the first parking spot he could find- hearing many other curses from a fellow driver as he drove ahead of him- and was off his motorcycle and heading through the crowd to find the elusive boy.

Naomi slid off the seat much more gracefully and even remembered to see if the kickstand was up. Holding her helmet under her arm she followed 'swiftly' after him, actually taking the time to weave through the groups of people.

"Ahhh..., Serenity- do we have to..?" Joey whined, collapsing against the store window to show just how tired he was.

His sister smirked and nodded. "C'mon- you said Tristan and Duke wasn't too far behind... you can stay out here if you want."

"Nah... I'll go..." with obvious effort he managed to balance again. He really didn't want those two barnacle heads spotting them and catching up. If it hadn't been for his talent for throwing a good imitation of their voices, Yugi would've opened his eyes during his doze to see that both Tristan and Duke weren't there... not since they were separated during that be-U-tiful traffic light. YES!

Even now the poor, bored to sleep, blond was stumbling behind Tea, nearly running into the door. Joey quickly glanced down the street and followed after the others. There was no way those two goof balls were going to find them in here...

They all ignored the screech of tires and the screaming of car horns and people behind them.

Darting between the latest group of giggling window shoppers, Tristan couldn't help but cry out a triumphant 'GOT'CHA!' as he grabbed unto the dark haired boy's elbow. He was ready to keep hold as Duke tried to wiggle/wrestle/whatever his way out, but he was just standing there, letting all manner of bugs and whatnot fly in and out of his mouth, partying alllllll day long.

Tristan followed Duke's stare and merely grunted at the sight of the other's newest crush. As far as he could see, she looked like any other brunette with a skirt and tank-top back home. "All right- let's go catch up with SER-EN-I-TY and the others before Yugi has another guilt trip, thinking our souls were captured or somethin'." He blinked as the sun suddenly went out. "Wha-?"

"Where's the Pharaoh?" the large blond obstacle demanded, not only grabbing the brunette by the front of his shirt... but actually lifting him up so he was only about two inches away from his face. "NOW-, pencil sharpener head!"

Calmly and blissfully unaware of anything going on, Duke slid out of his companion's grip, sidestepped around the obstacle till he could see his 'crush' again. His face cracked into a smile. "Hullo..."

Naomi blinked. "Hi." She quickly stepped closer to Rafeal, clearly meaning to say 'I'm with him, so get that goofy grin off your face and leave before I alert my partner- who didn't want to be my partner in the first place, but never mind- to beat your brains out onto the ground.'


Tristan winced. "Jeez, man- get a breath mint, wouldja!" He made a big show of breathing away from the blond's face.

Growling like a rabid dog driven too far into insanity- and isn't that a beautiful mental picture for anyone- Rafeal shook the boy, emphasizing each word he 'said.' "Tell. Me. Where. He. Is. If. You. Want. To. Stay. ALIVE! MY FRIEND IS AN ASSASSIN AND I WON'T HESITATE TO SIC HER ON YOU!"

Duke sidled closer to the girl. "You can sic her on me..."


Rafeal blinked, finally becoming aware of the growing situation behind him. Whatever- Naomi could easily take care of herself. She DID nearly choke him- HIM, practically a body builder- to death. "WHERE IS HE!"

Naomi smiled slightly, jokingly asking- he hoped- "May I?"

"YES! PLEASE DO, MY DEAREST!" He didn't wait for her to sic him- he grabbed her in a massive bear hug, nearly breaking her in half. He sighed, content.

Meanwhile, Tristan glanced around his captor's shoulder and rolled his eyes. Leave it to Duke to maul a stranger... reeeeaaaaaal smart. "Look- can I go grab my friend and leave? I have to find my friends before they think our souls were stolen." He blinked and frowned, looking at the blond more closely despite the bad breath. "Heeeeey... you look just like that blond bi...ker... oh."

Two blocks away, a girl who had once held the affections of two close friends squinted up at the shop's display. She ignored the moans from the boys standing behind her- only she and Tea could ever enjoy window shopping after three minutes. She blinked suddenly and squinted harder up at the display. "Hey... I thought I saw that dress down a few stores... right, Tea?"

The brunette next to her nodded slowly. "Yeah... you're right! Tch, I hate partnership's when it comes down to clothes shopping."

Serenity nodded in good natured annoyedness. If that's a word.

Behind them, Joey shifted weight from one foot to the other, not liking how they were both aching. If he ran into Valon now, he just might give u- noooo... He'd wager a good foot massage to whomever won the duel. "Uh, sis- can we, uh... get going..?" he asked hesitantly.

His sister and Tea exchanged glances and settled for some deep, inner thinking on the matter. Then, as one, they answered, "Nah! We loooove that dress!" They left the two boys with their moves gaping wide, crashing through the store's entrance to do some serious shopping.

"That was unexpected..."

Joey clicked his tongue and sighed. "I was so sure I had asked it the right way... the right time... everything!"

His remaining companion, Yugi, shrugged. "Girls are so hard to figure out. Hey- there's a bench!" They're conversation was momentarily forgotten as they practically mowed down other shoppers on the way there. "Hey... where's Tristan and Duke..?"

"Uhh... they're hiding... in the dark alley... to... spoke us. Umm... Remind me to warn Tea and Serenity before we, uh, get near it, 'kay?"

Yugi nodded sleepily. Boredom and too much relaxation almost always made him sleepy. "Oh... okay..."

"Duke- Duke! It's the soul stealing bikers again! I TOLD YOU SHE WAS BAD NEWS!" Tristan tried to shout at his still drooling friend, his struggles to be let loose getting more frantic. This guy had to be a robot from Terminater Three- HE WASN'T LETTING GO! "DDDDDUUUUUUUUUUKKKKKKKEEEEEE!"

Rafeal's frown became beyond pronounced. "That's it! We'll just find your Pharaoh friend TOGETHER!" Ignoring the shrieks from his captive, he dragged him all the way back to his motorcycle, whipped the parking ticket off and put in his back pocket and drove off.

"Just yooooouuuuu an' meeeee..."

Grunting, Naomi lurched after the blond, quickly gave up and shouted after the roar of the motorcycle, "ALL RIGHT! YOU TAKE CARE OF HIM... I'LL TAKE CARE OF... this guy..."

"Sweeetie pieeee..."

"Do you always hit on girls this way..?"


"Okay- this might hurt, so don't hesitate to tell me if it does," Valon stated to the redhead, "Because I wouldn't want to miss a minute of it." His hands clutched a bit of ductape that the idiot had taped around the back of his head. "Ready..? Good." Ignoring the marvelous dives his coworkers made to get behind the only safe haven in the room- the couch- he pulled sharply on the tape end.


The brunette tossed the last piece of duct tape into the garbage. That did the trick. "Okay- all done."

"YOU ARE GONNA DDDDDDIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEE!" Ignoring the fact that he was going to leave the television set completely open for any one with time off to use past his show time, Alister stumbled to his feet and started after the other boy. He was usually faster than Valon- it shouldn't take long to catch him.

From behind the couch, Weevil and Rex merely watched, amused, as their ex-coworker succumbed to a wrestling death challenge from the shrieking redhead. "We warned you!" Rex called to him. "Ohhh... that had ta hurt..."

Once the redhead had his prey pinned- if you call sitting on the brunette's back, holding his arms down and ignoring the kicks pinned...- he directed his attention the two other teens. "You- get me some duct tape. Now." He made sure to leave little room for argument in the tone of his voice. "And you- get the biggest container of rubber cement we have. Also right now." Weevil snorted in annoyance but followed behind the over eager Rex.

Rex was the first to return, carrying a bundle of brand new duct tape that one of the three older and taller boys had bought recently. "Will these do?" he asked sarcastically, dumping the load near Valon's head.

"Hmmm... Yeah, that ought to be enough- Valon, quit struggling. Ready to wrap your very own mummy up?" Alister grinned wickedly. Rex blinked but nodded, first slowly and then faster till he looked more like a bobblehead doll than himself. "Good- legs first."

Valon grunted and continued kicking the air, determined not to give them the chance to even put an ounce of that diabolical stuff on him. "Gerroff me!"

"I- I can't! He's kicking too hard!" Rex cried, nearly getting chopped in half in one of his poor attempts.

The lag time to think of something only took one muttered, untypable curse word. "Take off yer shoes and put it near his face- he'll pass out soon enough." The redhead's words ended in a horrifying evil laugh.

Even Rex blinked again as he did what he was told, hoping to stay on Alister's good side long enough to not suffer the same fate as the poor Aussie. Five minutes later of crossing and uncrossing his toes, and just wiggling them inside his lime green socks, and Rex came to the 'swift' conclusion that his shoes just wasn't stinky enough to produce the same effect Valon's has on everyone else.

Of course, Alister realized the same exact thing. "Hmmm... are those new?"


"Bleep. All right- Raffy's rain boats should be in the hall closet near the kitchen- hold your nose and bring 'em back. If those don't get him, nothing else will..." The redhead trailed off, leaving the already leaving brunette's imagination to supply his own conclusions.

For Weevil, the search for the 'largest container of rubber cement here' was not working out too well. This building was just too large for own small pint nerd to look through by himself! So... help was required. And who better to ask than one's own boss..?

"Hmm... sir?"

Dartz shut his eyes as his face squinched up from behind the protective shield of his magazine- for once, not Rafeal's. He knew just from the voice along that it was that annoying Weevil again... and if he came to whine over not getting to duel Yugi- well, he was ready for him! Two articles out of 'Torture Weekly'- a must read for any would-be world conquerer- would finally be put to the test!

And with that comforting thought, he managed to soothe his face back into it's usual unwrinkled self quickly enough as he lowered the magazine a bit. "What?" he asked sharply, aiming to get to the torturing part as soon as possible.

The teen calmly answered with his own question, "Where is the 'largest container of rubber cement' sir?"

Dartz's eyes narrowed. Rubber cement was another big item on the torture, things to keep away from employees and even the craft making lists everywhere. "Why?"

"Alister told me to get it, and I don't know where it is."

Eyes narrowed to slits. "You're following... Alister's directions..?"

Weevil frowned, but reluctantly nodded. Now that the whole of his sane and brilliant mind had come back, it had gotten annoyed that he had just left the room without a smart aleck retort- never mind the murderous look in the redhead's eyes! Retort! "Don't remind me," he mumbled.

With a well rehearsed, 'hmph,' Dartz laid his magazine down flat and flipped on the com link to where Alister was probably at- the Living/Wrestling Room. "Alister? Come in- now!"

There was a brief period of yelps of 'gerroff me!' and 'YOU'RE MAKING IT WORSE FOR YOURSELF!' before Alister replied to the summons, "Yes, sir?" as sweet as any devious employee can be.

"..Who are you torturing.? Rex.. or Valon..?"



The two assembled in the room merely blinked at the very loud scream. "Right, well- what are you planning to do with the rubber cement?"

There was another pause. "Do you want the truth... or a well constructed lie?"

Dartz sighed and rolled his eyes. If there was one rule he learned in dealing with the redhead when he's in such moods, it was to just let everything go- cause if you don't, you're next. "Never mind. Just don't make a mess. Out." He flipped the link closed and quickly informed Weevil before his conscience- or lack thereof- could catch up, "Kitchen Junk Drawer."

The green haired teen turned around and left without a word, determined to get this humiliating journey over with. He paused at the doorway and asked in the passing chance, "May I duel Yu- the Pharaoh after this is all over? Sir?"

Dartz flipped through his magazine, already drawling his reply after the first two words, "Noooooooo."

Weevil sighed, but left, letting the door swing 'quietly' shut with a loud BAM all on it's own.

"Yugi! YUGI!" The blond snapped to attention just as his chin made hard contact with his chest in his 'friend's' attempt to wake him up... by shaking him. Hard. Verrrry hard. "Oh good! You're awake!"

Tea's all too bright and cheery voice bounded in through Yugi's ears to start ricocheting around inside his skull, happily doing a Riverdance number on his brain. He mumbled something along the lines of 'I was sleepin'... leav' me 'lone..' before he found his chin and chest were going to have an even bigger bruise thanks to the ever so helpful brunette.

Beside him, Joey was getting the same treatment thanks to his own sister. Fortunately for him, one head whack against the back of the bench woke him right up. "Yow!" He rolled off the bench to fall heavily onto the cement, forehead getting the same treatment as the back of his head. "Owwwww..."

Unfortunately for him, Serenity was there to pick him back up and was chattering away in her chipmunk-like voice a mile a minute. "AndanywaysTeaandIsawDukebutnotTristanandweweregettingalittleworriedsowecameouttowak-eyoutwouptohelpusfindhim...Oh-!andDukeiscurrentlyhangingoffofsomegirl...withskirtssuspiciou-slylikeMai's-Iwonderwheretheybuy'em,they'rekindacute,yaknow?"

Joey blinked and just yawned. "...what..?"

Next to him and still a bit drowsy, Yugi was having no luck picking out words from Tea's own gibbering. He just frowned and asked tiredly, "So... you two found some cool... skirts or shirts or... or... or whatever on your... shopping..?"

Tea nodded. "Yep. Look-!Isn'tthispinkshirtwiththellamaonitjustsmashing!"

"Uhhh... yeah... whatever you just said..."

Naomi lurched forward a few more steps, amazed that no one passing them by them asked what was going on... or told the idiot still hanging off of her to let go, or even spared them a glance. The last she had checked they were in Los Angeles, California- not New York City!

And the boy wasn't being much help. Between 'complimenting' her and asking for her phone number or address, he just held onto her like a leech. At least he wasn't a zombie anymore. "Soooo..." Oh no. "I didn't catch your name, dea- uh..."

"Are those your friends up there? Do they have a crowbar with them?" She paused and then asked sharply, "Can you walk now?"

Duke blinked but answered her question by getting his two feet onto the ground. He still didn't move his arm from her waist, although having it off from around her neck was an improvement. "Sooo...?"


"My name's Duke Devlin... uh... heard o' me?"

Naomi shook her head, inwardly smiling. "No."

"Oh... well... maybe I've heard of you before... What's your name?"

"I think that girl's waving at you- I'm sure you've heard of her."

"Wha-?" Duke did a double take, mildly surprised to see Tea leading a part of the group- two of them merely stumbling behind them- and Serenity not too far behind her coming towards them. Hmmm... this could be awkward, introducing Honey Bunny to his two friends... "Well... yeah- they're my friends." He added quickly.

Naomi contemplated her chances of success of trying to pry his hand off of her and quickly gave up. If she wanted to keep her cover she would just have to endure this... and maybe even humiliate this 'Duke Devlin' to teach him a lesson. "Uh-huh... Well, they seem pretty excited to see you."

"Yeah, well... we, uh, I mean, we alllll got separated when they were, uh, shopping."

"Is Duke even your real first name?" She asked on a sudden whim. There were quite a few people she would like to ask that question.

Duke blinked but quickly recovered. "Yep- no lie. Is your name like that?"

"Goody..," Naomi muttered, ignoring the question. The girls finally came up to them and she changed her demeanor at once, becoming one of the type of girls she completely despised... a blond BLOND preppie... "Hi!" she greeted them brightly, enjoying the looks on their faces as they saw their 'friend' with his arm around her waist and her arm around him. "Devvy was just telling me about his friends..." she looked up at him, still smiling, "Or was it fan club?"

Yet again, the poor guy blinked in surprise but once again came back up like a blow-up clown. "Uhh... friends-" quick glance over at Serenity- "Friends." He repeated to solidify the statement... for now.

"Rrrriiiiiiigggghhhhht," Naomi drawled, looking over the two girls to assess weakness, and so on... all in the line of work of a killer.

The taller girl- the brunette- recovered sooner before the other and she turned to Duke. "Who is she..?" she asked warily, glncing her over herself. Hmmm... black on black- with black boots... good makeup job... hmmm... good choices.

By that time the two boys also caught up, though they immediately leaned against the nearest solid- a shop window- and merely yawned and blinked over the rest of the conversation.

"Oh... well, Tea.. Serenity... uh, this is... ummm..." He looked over to Naomi for the answer.

Not that he needed to. Naomi was all too willing to continue this little fun. She extended her hand like any well trained prep and shook hands eagerly with both of the girls. "My name's Heather Vivian Dersh. Though not all together- that'd be a mouthful to say everytime!" she laughed lightly.

Serenity glanced up at Tea but said politely, "Nice to meet you," although in a drab voice. This was waaaaay too weird.

Tea just nodded in reply before turning back to Duke. "Do you know where Tristan is?" she asked sharply.

Duke's mouth flopped open uselessly and he stammered a few incoherent syllables before 'Heather' came to the rescue... again. "Do you mean that brunette with the super-gelled hairdo?" she asked, taking the surprised glance from the brunette as a 'yes'. "Oh-! Well, after me and Devvy got to talkin', he said somethin' about going ahead to look for the rest of the group and left us back thataways." She went so far as to momentarily turn around and gesture vaguely behind them.


"Yeah... Oh- and I think he also said somethin' about waiting for us in some cafe passed before meeting up with Devvy... whether he found you all or not- didn't he say he'd be there after, what, fifteen, twenty minutes of searching? Devvy?"

'Devvy' nodded absentmindedly, his mind trying to work it's groggy way back to that scant thirty minutes ago. That didn't sound like something Tristan would do... but when jealousy sents in over a guy winning a girl like Heather in a heartbeat, anyone would start acting goofy. "Uh, yeah. Yeah- that's what he said."

Tea pursed her lips but dind't say anything right away. "Oh... well, then... Uhh... care to join us... Heather..? We have to go find him- it's about time we got back to the hotel we're staying at."

"Hotel? You guys aren't from here?" 'Heather' turned back to Duke. "Then where'd you get your awesome tan? I've been dying to get a tan like that!"

"N-no. We're all from Domino City- in Japan."

"Japan! No way!"


Tea watched the exchange with a look of annoyance on her face. When it came clear they weren't going to stop anytime soon, she sighed and 'rudely' interrupted, "Well, look, Duke... Heather. We have to get going back, so if you'll excuse us- Duke, you can see her later, no... later- we have to find Tristan and go. Hmmm..."

Heather laughed lightly again, seemingly reluctant to let her 'tanned hunk' go. "Well, then- I'll let you go. Here, Devvy-" she whipped a pen from seemingly no wheres and grabbed his hand. "Here is my phone number- feel free to call me anytime. I'd like it."

"Wha-? Oh, yeah! Sure, I'll call, Heather!" Duke scanned the number eagerly, already committing to memory before even seeing it. Impossible? Not at all- you just have to concentrate hard enough, bang your head against something enough times that it's not thinking correctly and anything is possible!

"Good. Oh- and a warning! I live with my grump of a stepfather and like, three stepbrothers. Plus two brothers of my own, so if one of them gets the call... well- they're all grumps and they looooove playing games on people- one of them being, as they call it, 'Who are you calling for?' game. Stupid, right?"

Duke nodded, his mind banishing the memories of him, Tristan and Joey playing that sort of a game just days ago.

"Yeah... well, if they won't stop that then just say you're calling for 'Ryu.' For whatever reason, that's my nickname." Untrue- it was actually her code name, like 'Vale' was for Mai. But she obviously didn't mention that. "I'll see you later, Devvy..."

Duke held back a few tears as he said meaningfully, "I'll see you later too... Ryu."

And with a small laugh and big smile, 'Heather' was gone, expertly melting into the crowd.

Tea snorted and grabbed both Duke's and Serenity's elbow. She proceeded to drag them and push both Joey and Yugi along towards the nonexistent cafe. It wasn't long until everyone learned how to walk again just so the torture could end.

They obviously didn't find Tristan and instead they decided to check the hotel. Obviously they didn't find him there and spent the night talking over where he could be, trying to keep Duke from slipping off in a daydream and Joey and Yugi diving right into dreamland. And for the rest of the night that's what went on.

Meanwhile, Rex had surprised himself in his ability to withstand toxic fumes as he stumbled into the Living Room again, Rafeal's rain boots in one hand, the other pinching his nose. In a nasal voice like his companions, he asked, "'Dhere." He plopped them down by the poor Aussie's face, who gagged and instantly dropped out of conciousness.

Alister snorted, glad he had had enough experience with stinky things to withstand the effects of Rafeal's boots. Anyone that survived Valon's own stench could live through ANYTHING. "All right, let's make this amusing..."

Rex collapsed onto the ground, reduced to having to try crawling away since the stench sapped the strength out of him. "..'ow..?"

The redhead grinned wickedly again, moving off of the prone brunette. "Let's strip him and then mummify him!"

"...You call stripping him and then mummifying him amusing..?"

Blink. "No- just the thought of hearing the screams later as he tries to minimize the pain in taking off the blasted stuff. Oh- and humiliating him for forever appeals to me as well. Why do you ask..?"

Rex flopped his hands, panicked that the stench had now sapped him of the strength to even drag himself along. "Oh... nothing."

Alister's eyes narrowed, then widened considerably when realization dawned on him. "That is sick! I don't like him in any way resembling anything close to that! Actually... I hardly like him at all..."

"I never said that! Just... never mind."

The redhead grunted, choosing to get the worst over with and removed Valon's boots first, taking great care to throw them as far into a corner as possible. "And I was only planning on taking off his shirt and pants! Sicko!"

The door opened at exactly the wrong time and Weevil was left puzzling over the fragments of the sentence he had heard. "Take off his... shirt and pants..?" SAY WHAT? "Is this something that's gonna change the rating on the fic?"

Alister growled and hurled Valon's bracelets- he didn't care what the brunette called them, they. were. BRACELETS!- at him. "NO! Do you have the bleeping rubber cement!"

"..Yeah- but do I want to know what you're going to do with it or not..?"

Rex erupted into a stream of giggles, not caring that he was in a prime position to be duct taped next- nude or not.

"I was going to glue him up on the ceiling, but if that's too much for you to handle then leave!" A pause. "But leave the glue behind."

The green haired teen shuffled further into the room and plopped the glue onto the ground next to the rolls upon rolls of duct tape. "I'll leave you to your... destruction." He ignored the glares and giggles as he left the room again.

By that time the clothing had been removed and the first wrapper to the first roll of duct tape was discarded neatly in the nearest garbage disposal unit. With a grunt and a glare sent at the giggling brunette, Alister all too happily carried on with his task, starting with tying Valon's ankles and wrists together. Just in case if he woke up...

Two hours later, he and Rex were staring up at the ceiling, a good distance away from the dripping rubber cement. Alister looked at the can of the glue and clucked his tongue. There wasn't enough left to glue another person up to the ceiling- just enough to make sure they couldn't set off of the floor or wall.

"I didn't know that glueing a person to the ceiling would actually work..," Rex muttered to himself, watching idly as the glue dripped to the ground. "He won't, ah... be too angry with me for helping you with this... right?"

"Ohhh... I'm sure he won't," Alister answered quietly, working over the math in his head. Yes, there was definitely enough in here to glue someone firmly to the wall.


The redhead calmly replaced the lid on the container- it wouldn't do to have some of the stuff spill out!- and placed it aside, now ignoring the cacoon of duct tape above them. "In fact... he'll probably never figure it out since... since he has such a small mind in figuring such things out."

Rex blinkd. "Huh? Oh- well... that's still good ta know. Anyways... Err- I'm gonna go now... just in case he wakes up, ya know?"

"Right. Well- there is a slight problem." Just as calm as a plotting homicidal maniac, Alister kicked the door closed.


"You're a witness," the redhead informed him, easily pinning the brunette to the floor. "And I don't want any witnesses... mwhahahahahahahaha!" Ignoring the cries for help, he started his work on the newest mummy- first the boot, then away with the outer clothes, and finally with the tape!

As soon as his brief madness was gone, the neat freak gathered the clothes up and- whistling- threw the rubber cement container out along with the four used rolls of duct tape. At the doorway he looked over his exhibit, decided he liked it, and headed out, clothes and duct tape in hand.

The redhead broke his way into Rafeal's room, deftly opening the window and ripping some good sized pieces of duct tape. For proof of his victory, Alister taped Valon's shirt and Rex's pants onto the outside edge of Raffy's window sill thoroughly. Not even a class five hurricane could rip these clothes off!

And for the finishing touch, he made sure to leave the last bits of clothing in a pile next to one used up duct tape rule and three whole ones. That left four rolls for his own personal use.

And there was still one last victim- or witness, depending on your point of view- to take care of...

With one hand still over the boy's mouth, Rafeal finally gave up on the high speed search and pulled up to a stop in another fantastic display of driving skills in a teeny, tiny, not-really-there parking spot. "All right, kid-" He got a tighter grip on the boy, "You have one- ONE chance to tell me where the Pharaoh is. AND DON'T ACT INNOCENT ON ME!"

Long before he could get an answer, or rather, even let go of his mouth, a cop car rolled to a stop next to them and the window on the passenger side rolled down. "Is everything okay here?" the cop asked warily, eyes taking in the whole scene.

Rafeal blinked, instantly knowing how this looked. Fortunately, his mind worked quickly for once and he deftly answered, "Oh, yes, officer. My cousin here- Toby- is a... well... a little soft in the head. Pschizophrenic, see?"

The cop didn't look convinced. "Uh-huh?"

"Right, well, he rarely gets to ride on my motorcycle often... but uh, one of the rules his parents have over him- stupid, really, but they'd kill me if I didn't follow 'em- is not to let him have one of his little... episodes in public. Well- we were just starting to head bakc to his, uh, home, when one started coming on."


"Yeah... And he started screaming about how I was gonna kidnap him or somethin'," he added a laugh, which sounded horribly fake to his ears, "and I couldn't get him to be quiet... so..."

"Oh," The cop nodded slowly. "Well, uh, he's turning blue."

Rafeal blinked, and glanced down at the squirming 'Toby'. He was definitely turning a bluish color. "Oh jeez... Umm... don't be too, uh... too shocked or anything at what he says- it's just cause of his uh... a-affliction, as people put it."

"Not at all, sir... not at all."

Reluctantly, the blond took his hand off of his mouth, and instantly Tristan was shouting. "Help! Help, officer! He's lying- he's gonna kill me or somethin'! Please believe me! HE'S STEALING SOULS!" He paused as the cop he was trying to appeal to merely exchanged looks and shrugs with the blond captor. "FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! YOU'RE THE POLICE! HELP MEEEEEEE! HE'S GOT STINKY SOCKS! ISN'T THAT A CRIME!"

Rafeal shrugged again meekly and gripped tighter on the brunette. "Sad, really... I'm sorry for this, officer... Um, may we get going..?"

The cop nodded briskly, waving his hand in a farewell at the still screeching 'Toby.' The car pulled away. With a grunt, Rafeal placed his hand back on the boy's mouth. "All right- maybe Dartz can get ya to talk... or at least shut you up." And with that he pulled off again, heading finally for the 'hideout.'

Naomi got back first, in an even worse mood than before. She couldn't believe that she had stooped so low as to act like the exact opposite than she was just to worm her way out of that! It was almost like she hadn't humiliated him at all- just herself! She stomped into the kitchen, wisely heeding her senses into not entering the Living Room- bad vibes were coming from there.

She grunted at the poor display of food left in the fridge and promptly stomped off up to her room, not caring who heard her. Let someone try arguing with her! She'd be more than happy to get into a fight! And to pound something straight into the floor.

Just three doors away from her own... room, she spotted Alister breaking into Rafeal's room- again, but she didn't know that... or did she..?- and smiled. It was the first person she had seen so far... and new fighting experiences always helped.

Naomi leaned against the door way, 'calmly' watching the redhead as he flung Weevil's clothes beside Rex's and Valon's. His top half disappeared outside the window momentarily as he went to finish adding his latest trophy to his collection- the bug maniac's glasses. As soon as the window was closed again did she speak. "What are you doing?"

The redhead started slightly, but didn't immediately throw her a glare and shoot back a reply. Instead, he turned slowly on his heels- glaring, yes, but there was a maniacal glint in his gray eyes- and replied slowly, "How long were you standing there..?"

"Does it matter? Hey- back off, buddy! I am not that kind of girl!"

Alister's eyes narrowed and before she could move he had her in a restricting bear hug. The trip down to the living room was excruciatingly painful what with the punches and kicks, but worth it as she, too, fell unconcious from the mixture of poisonous fumes.

Humming softly to himself, Alister shut the window in Rafeal's room again, tossing aside the last of the duct tape aside. All of the rolls had been used, but it was worth it. Now there were four trophies outside good ol' Raffy's window- Valon's shirt, Rex's pants, Weevil's glasses... and Naomi's skirt.

Ahhh... this had definitely been a good day... mostly.

As he calmly let himself into his own room, his mind briefly wandered over what the consequences of his actions would bring... but quickly passed over it and went back to relishing the revenge of duct taping all four of them... Not only that- he had pictures for future blackmail.

Poor Raffy. He would never really understand why his coworkers' clothing was in his room... and maybe Dartz will even punish him for all of it... That would be a perfect ending to a perfect day...

Oh... yeah...

Rafeal and Tristan arrived at the headquarters a few minutes later after the redhead and Mai had fallen asleep. The blond dragged the boy in easily, all the way up to Dartz's office, not really caring whether his boss was awake or not.

Dartz looked vaguely surprised as they entered the room, and quickly hid the magazine he had been... looking at, before snapping, "What do you want? And who's the boy?"

"He's the Pharaoh's friend."

"He's turning blue."

The blond growled, once again not caring whether he'd be punished or not, "He is also very loud and annoying."

"So what is he doing here then?"

Rafeal paused. "Well... we could use him as a hostage.."

Dartz snorted. "And just let the Pharaoh try and stop us before we're ready? Bleep no." The Atlantian blinked, a little surprised to hear him say so vulgar a word. Father would wash his mouth out with soap- even though, at a modest age of Ten thousand and twenty six years old.

"Well... can we bring him to our side?" the blond suggested.

Tristan's eyes widened and he redoubled his efforts to get loose from the blond Hulk and to scream his voice raw.

"Hmmm... perhaps... Hold on-" he momentarily disappeared in the nearest closet. Both captor and captive could hear his muffled voice cry out, "This is a job for... SUPER DARTZ! PRIEST MODE!" When he reappeared again, he was in what looked like a monk's robe or dress- depending on your point of view- with his ever present amulet around his neck.

Rafeal squinted. "Isn't that a dress?"

"NO," the Atlantian growled, lifting the ends up slightly as he made his way closer to the two.

"Looks like a dress."

"SHUT UP! Now... as for you..," Dartz smiled lightly, enjoying the look on the kid's face. He placed his pointer finger on the boy's forehead and said in a chant like way:

" By the power of the Orichalchos

Bring this person under my spell

And... and let him drink... er... Toltross-

If that's even a beverage...

And let him be... errrrr... no longer his usual self... in a... well."

"Toltross..?" Rafeal repeated, ignoring the little tiny flash of blue light after the incantation. He also seemingly ignored the fact that the boy that had been squirming in his grasp moments before was now perfectly still. "And 'no longer his usual self in a well..?' What?"

"I forgot the stupid incantation, okay! It happens after ten thousand years!" Dartz growled in reply, fixing the blond in one of his most wilting glares. The effect generally quietened everyone in the room in a second flat. "Now... go throw him in a dungeon cell before he wakes up again." He turned away for the closet again, waving a hand in dismissal.

With a sigh, the blond dragged the boy off, not bothering to ask why they had a dungeon-or where, really- until he was practically in the basement of the building. Imagine his surprise when he found that there was yet another staircase leading further down, neatly labled in a sign on the wall, 'Dungeon- downstairs, room 13.'

Whatever, Rafeal thought to himself, swinging the 'Dungeon Room Door'- or so it was labeled on the glass square up at the top- closed behind the sprawled form of the brunette. Time for some sleep and to decide whether to kill the Pharaoh before dueling him... or afterwards as one of their souls gets taken away.

Afterward seemed like a pretty likely choice...

I apologize to anyone who was offended by the 'jokes' on the 'preps.' In fact, I'll apologize for anything that was found to be offensive... as long as it isn't a stupid thing that I can't imagine being offensive... ahem... I'm very sorry I let the summer laziness set into me. I didn't mean to keep anyone out there still waiting this long just to read a pretty mediocre chapter. Hmm... well, Thanks to anyone who's still reading this- I love you all! AND I'M SORRRRRRRRYYYYYYY!