Heh...finally, I get this chapter up. I know my reviewers have been dying with suspense, so here you go!
"I'll get it!" Soria called, running over to the door. She looked out the peephole—and raised her eyebrows. Someone was covering it with their hand.
"Hey, Dad? I can't see who it is!"
Mr. Wheeler came up, and looked out the window. A grin spread across his face. "Let me take care of this."
Slowly, he twisted the knob—and pulled the door suddenly inward. The man on the other side let out a surprise yelp, tumbling over on his side.
Mr. Wheeler laughed, tousling the man's bleach-blond hair. "Ya always did fall fer dat one, Marik!" he admonished, dropping into the Brooklyn accent from his teen years.
The man rose to his feet, dusting himself off. His lavender eyes danced with amusement. "I should have known you'd pull that one on me."
Soria looked from her father to the man. "Do you two know each other?"
Mr. Wheeler nodded. "This is Marik Ishtar. He was with us in the Battle City tournament—remember, we told you about that?"
Soria nodded. "The one where Yugi Mutou kicked Seto Kaiba's butt for about the hundredth time in a row?"
Mr. Wheeler and Mr. Ishtar laughed. "That's the one!"
Mr. Ishtar looked behind him. "Come on in, Marissa—it's all right. These are my friends."
A little girl with hair the color of burnished gold and sharp blue eyes entered the house, and smiled shyly at them.
"All right, folks, what's all the commotion about down here?"
Everyone looked over at the stairs. Mrs. Wheeler stood there, hand on the banister, watching them curiously. She was wearing a long green skirt and a white shirt. Her hair was gelled—Soria saw that it was the same way she had it as a teen.
"Is that you, Marik?" she exclaimed, hurrying over.
Mr. Ishtar grinned. "Hello, Mai. Long time no see."
Mr. Bakura looked in from the living room. "Marik? Is it really?" He strode out into the hall and clasped Mr. Ishtar's hand. "It's been too long!"
Mrs. Bakura followed. "Where've you been all this time?" she asked suspiciously.
"In Egypt," Mr. Ishtar replied nonchalantly.
Mrs. Bakura grinned. "Good enough for me!"
Kania darted out after her mother. "Soria! Soria, I—"
"Hush!" Soria hissed.
Mrs. Wheeler knelt down so that she was on eye level with Marissa. "Hey there, hon. What's your name?"
"My name's Marissa," she replied shyly. "I'm five, but papa says I'm kinda tall for five. I live with him after he took me from the place with the other kids."
"I adopted her," Mr. Ishtar explained.
Mrs. Bakura nodded. "Well, Marissa, how would you like to help me make dinner?"
Marissa nodded. "Okay!"
Mrs. Wheeler stood up, and she, Mrs. Bakura, and Marissa went off to the kitchen.
Mr. Wheeler shook his head. "Mai would never admit it, but she's got a soft spot for little kids."
Mr. Bakura looked at Soria and Kania. "You girls stay over here and watch out for your friend—we've got to catch up on events." The three grown men walked off, chattering quietly to each other.
Soria and Kania raised their eyebrows at each other, but didn't comment.
Soria looked out the peephole again.
"Da-ad…someone's doing it again!"
Mr. Wheeler entered the hall again, a confused look on his face. "Marik's the only one who does that, though…"
He did the same thing as before—slowly turning the knob, and then jerking the door inward. This time, it was Tecuo that tumbled in, yelping with surprise.
"Tecuo!" Kania and Soria exclaimed, exasperated.
Tecuo grinned sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head. "Sorry!"
Mr. Wheeler gawked at him for a moment. "Girls—who—"
Soria grinned. "Dad, this is Tecuo Mutou. Tecuo—this is my dad."
Tecuo grinned up at Mr. Wheeler, rising to his feet and dusting himself off. "Hi, Mr. Wheeler—sorry about the prank. I just couldn't help myself."
Mr. Wheeler started, and shook his head. "Uh—never mind that." His voice had a distracted tone. "Are you here alone?"
Tecuo banged his palm against his forehead. "Mom!" He darted out the door, dropping his backpack in the middle of the hall.
Kania sighed, shaking her head. "Tecuo Mutou, what are we going to do with you…?"
Mr. Wheeler went back into the kitchen, shaking his head. "No way," he murmured.
"No way what?" Mrs. Wheeler asked, touching his arm.
"Hunh? Oh—nothing. You'll see."
Meanwhile, Tecuo and Mrs. Mutou had just come back to the door. "C'mon, Mom! In here!"
Mrs. Mutou laughed. "I'm coming, Tecuo, I'm coming!"
Kania smiled, bowing. "Hello, Mrs. Mutou."
Soria grinned. "Yeah, hi, and welcome to the wreck—uh, I mean, house."
Mrs. Mutou grinned. "Don't worry—this house is certainly neater than ours!"
Mr. Wheeler looked back out into the hall. "Soria, Kania, your mothers need you in the—"
"Joey? Is that you?"
Mr. Wheeler blinked, and looked at Mrs. Mutou. He blinked again. "Rebecca?"
Mrs. Mutou smiled. "The one and only!"
A grin spread across Mr. Wheeler's face. "'Ey, guys!" he called over his shoulder, dropping into the accent again. "Look who da cat dragged in!"
Mrs. Bakura looked out of the kitchen. "Rebecca! We haven't seen you in years!" They were soon joined by Mrs. Wheeler, Mr. Bakura, and Mr. Ishtar.
Tecuo grinned, and began edging around the crowd of chattering adults to get to Kania and Soria—
"Tecuo! Come here, please!"
Tecuo groaned. "Coming, Mom…"
He felt the eyes of all the adults watching him as he trotted to his mother's side. The back of his neck was beginning to feel hot—he knew they were comparing him to his father.
"This is Tecuo," Mrs. Mutou said, laying her hand on his shoulder.
Mrs. Wheeler smiled. "He looks exactly like Yugi!"
"Except for his hair," Mr. Ishtar said, grinning. "But the only difference there is the coloring on the edges!"
Tecuo blushed a little, muttered something about needing to work on algebra, and ran for the stairs.
"It's not funny," he growled at Soria, who was doubled over with silent laughter.
Kania grinned apologetically. "It is, kind of. Now, let's go upstairs—we have some algebra to work on!" Tecuo nodded.
Suddenly, the comfortable warmth of the Puzzle in his backpack became a searing heat. /Tecuo! My friends!
Tecuo yelped—out loud, as well as in his mind. /Turn off the heat!
Soria looked at him. "What?"
"Nothing," Tecuo said quickly. "I just caught my back on something in my backpack."
/What are you doing? That hurt!
/Those are my friends—were my friends, from when I was with Yugi!
/So? Tecuo grumped.
/Thought so. Please don't do that again.
Yami's voice was much subdued. /All right.
The second the three of them were gone, Mr. Ishtar turned to the other adults. "There's something very important I have to tell you all." His grave tone and expression froze the others dead. They knew he wasn't joking.
Mrs. Wheeler sighed. "Come into the living room. We can sit and talk there."
Mr. Ishtar nodded. The five of them went into the living room and sat down on couches.
"Marissa!" he called. The little girl came out of the dining room at sat in his lap, looking for all the world like a life-sized china doll.
"Earlier this morning," Mr. Ishtar said quietly, "Marissa saw something very strange. I don't know what it could mean—and that is why it's so disturbing."
Mr. Bakura nodded. "Go on. I have a feeling we need to hear this."
Mr. Ishtar leaned forward a little. "Marissa, why don't you tell them what you saw?"
Marissa nodded. "I was waiting for Papa to come out of a shop, and I saw two boys walking on the street. The shorter one saw me, and told the taller one. The taller one said something else, and then disappeared."
Mrs. Bakura jumped a little. "Into thin air?"
Marissa nodded gravely. "Into thin air."
"Just like…he…used to do," Mr. Bakura murmured, shivering a little. Mrs. Bakura patted his arm comfortingly.
Mr. Wheeler looked grim. "Was either of them wearing anything unusual?"
Marissa thought for a minute. "The shorter boy had this gold upside-down triangle thingy around his neck—I didn't see it very well, though."
Mr. Ishtar looked around at them all. "I don't know how—or why—but one thing is for sure. The Millennium Items are returning to the world at large."
Mr. Bakura groaned. "Oh, Lord…this can't bode well."
Mrs. Bakura nodded grimly. "I don't think it will."
"Tecuo, for the last time—what the heck is that thing?"
Tecuo shook his head, running a finger along the edge of the Puzzle, which he'd once again slipped around his neck. "I don't think I'm supposed to tell you."
Kania raised her eyebrows. "Hunh?"
Tecuo shook his head again. "I don't know—there's just this feeling that I'm not the one who's supposed to tell you."
Soria rolled her eyes. "'Tevah. Your choice; your funeral."
Tecuo grinned a little. "Whatever you say, Soria. Now, let's get back to this horrible algebra stuff."
Kania, who had long since finished her homework, wandered aimlessly around the room. She'd been to this house many times, but there was always something new piled up in the mess that was Soria's room. Suddenly, a glimmer of something gold caught her eye. Curious, she looked closer.
It was a necklace, made entirely of gold. In the center was a strange carving that looked like an eye. "Hmm," she murmured, reaching out for it.
Kania jumped. "Hunh?"
Soria smirked. "What are you doing? Gold-digging?"
"Sort of," Kania admitted, holding up the strange necklace. "Look what I found."
Soria's forehead creased into a frown. "Huh. I've never seen that before. I wonder…" She went over to the corner where Kania had been, and looked around. "Hey, there's something else shoved back here!"
She pulled out another gold item. It was shaped like an ankh, and had the very same eye symbol carved into the crosspiece. "I know I've never seen these before!" she exclaimed, confused.
Neither of them noticed that Tecuo had a look that was half-shock and half-recognition on his face.
/Yami! Those are—
/The Millennium Key and Necklace, Yami completed, equal shock in his voice. /But—how?
Soria looked around. "I know I've got something in here," she muttered, going over to her desk and rummaging around through the drawers.
"Aha! Here it is!" She pulled out a rope similar to the one Tecuo had on the Puzzle, and threaded it through the top of the Key. She then tied it around her neck. "There! Perfect!" She looked at Kania. "Put yours on."
Kania carefully fastened the Necklace around her neck, hands trembling a little. "Soria—I have a bad feeling about these things."
Soria paused, and ran her finger along the edge of the Key. "Yeah…so do I."
"Welcome to the club," Tecuo said quietly. "Something's going on with these things—I don't think they're supposed to be here, but here they are."
"Something's fishy about this whole thing," Kania murmured.
"Kids!" Mrs. Wheeler called up the stairs. "Dinner time!"
"In a minute, Mom!" Soria called back. She took a deep breath, and looked at Tecuo. "I think you should tell them about your…whatever the heck that thing is. And then we can show them ours."
Tecuo nodded. "Sounds like a plan to me."
Soria tucked the Key beneath her shirt. Kania pulled up her collar, hiding the Necklace.
"Well," Soria said finally, "I guess it's time to hit the range, and catch our share of friendly fire…"
Tecuo snorted, pushing open the door. "Knowing my luck, the chances that the fire is going to be 'friendly' are slim to none!"
All right. The winners--in order--ARE:
Silver Sailor Ganymede
Congrats! Lotsa sugar cookies for you!
Also receiving honorable mention, for getting the right answers but placing after #5:
You get cookies, too! YAAY! Everyone gets cookies! BWAHAHAHAHA! SUGAR!
Ahem...I'm calm now.