Greetings, everyone, this marks the first of three all-original story arcs set in the Avatar universe. And I'm constructing this entire series in chronological order meaning this takes place after Battle City but before the Doma arc, before the movie as well. These Original Story Arcs (or OSA) are mostly for character development but partly to tie up some loose ends made by the series. As usual, the Duel Monster Database will be reset and when monsters first appear in this OSA, they'll get a profile. For monsters that don't have actual cards, description text will be given. Also as usual, reading the previous story arcs isn't a necessity but it definitely wouldn't hurt (especially here where I make frequent mentions to the episode Holy Match-i-mony and certain Duelist Kingdom episodes). So sit back and enjoy my first attempt at an Avatar OSA.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Avatar

Enter the Shadow Realm
Fanfic Chapter 169: A Friend in Need

In the sky over Domino, a small black hole appeared. This black hole crackled with energy. Four beams of dark energy exited and made a beeline towards the center of town. They were followed by a stream of light particles.

A faint voice could be heard, "I hope I'm not too late."

Tea Gardner walked up the steps to the apartment where Harold Kumara lived alone. It was a bright and warm day outside and Tea couldn't believe that Harold was inside. She knocked on the door before opening it. "Harold, are you here?"

"In the living room, Tea, come on in," came Harold's voice from the rear of the apartment. Tea walked through the kitchen and into the living room.

Her jaw dropped. Tea put her hands on her hips and scowled at Harold. "Harold Kumara, you should be ashamed of yourself!"

Harold was lying on a couch in a white tank top and jeans, a bowl of popcorn in his lap, his small 20 inch television playing across from him.

Jean-Claude Magnum was on the screen.

"I can't believe you're watching a Jean-Claude Magnum movie after everything he put Mai through during Battle City!"

"Oh, this?" Harold asked like it was no big deal. "Actually, this is the one I slept through."

"Oh the one where he plays the villain role."

"Yeah, it bothered me that I didn't know how it turned out so I borrowed a copy from Tristan."

"Oh." Tea sat down next to Harold.

"Magnum plays this evil rich tycoon named Dawson," Harold explained. "And like all evil rich tycoons, he wants more and more. But the one thing… or should I say the one person he could never have was Trina."

"And why is that, oh wise one?" Tea asked sarcastically.

"Trina and Mark had been friends since childhood. The director made it look like something could develop between them if you know what I mean." Harold gently nudged Tea's shoulder with his elbow. Tea tried rolling her eyes in disgust but only ended up chuckling along with Harold. "The two were so close that it made Magnum/Dawson jealous."

"So he has one of his henchmen fly down on a kite and take her away," Tea finished. "That I do remember you telling us."

"Then you would also remember that I fell asleep about half-way through so I don't know how it turns out. I've just reached the part where Mark finally scrounged up the courage to go after Trina."

Tea stared at the screen for a minute, for some reason the scene of Yugi coming to rescue her from the stalker in the equipment shed was flashing across her mind. Trina's so lucky to have someone as devoted as Mark who's willing to risk life and limb to rescue her. I wish I had someone like that.

"So did you have a reason for popping in other than hearing my Mr. Moviefone impression?"

"Oh, well I was going to ask you if you wanted to go see a fantasy movie with Yugi and me, but seeing as how you're already preoccupied…"

"No, no, no, I can go," Harold said quickly as he turned off his television. "Let me just grab my stuff. I'll only be a minute." Harold ran into his room and pulled a short-sleeve flannel shirt over his white tank top and laced up his sneakers. He looked over on his bedside table and noticed his Armlet. He picked it up.

Suddenly the Armlet started to glow. Harold saw several images such as a female-shaped form, a pair of glowing red eyes, and several shadows wearing what looked like Duel Disks. Harold shook his head to clear it. "What was that? I hope that wasn't a premonition." He looked at his Armlet again as if expecting it to answer. He then donned his Armlet and took his backpack which contained his Duel Disk and deck. He came back out. "All set, let's go."

Tea tilted her head at him before saying, "Okay." And the two walked out of the apartment.

Yugi paced up and down the city square. He took another look at the clock. "Where is she?" He asked. "It's been ten whole minutes."

"Calm down, Yugi," Yami said appearing underneath the clock. "She'll be here. You seem more hyped up than usual. Is something the matter?"

"Uh… nothing."

"Yugi, I can tell when you're hiding something."

"Oh, well…"

"It's about Tea, isn't it? You want to tell her something but you're too nervous to say anything."

Yugi found himself smiling, "I can't keep anything a secret from you, Yami. Well yeah, it's exactly what you said."

"Well you're about to get your chance because here she comes." Yugi jumped as Yami faded away and Tea and Harold showed up.

"Hey, Yugi," Tea greeted. "Sorry to keep you waiting."

"It's all right, Tea. Oh, hi, Harold, I didn't know you were coming along."

"I asked Harold to come along seeing as how we're going to see a fantasy movie, his favorite type," Tea explained. "I hope you don't mind."

"Not at all," Yugi said. "The more, the merrier. Let's get going. The movie starts in ten minutes." The three set out.

"You won't believe what Harold was doing when I came to get him," Tea said to Yugi. "He was watching a Jean-Claude Magnum movie."

"It was the one I slept through!" Harold protested. "I wanted to see how it ended!"

"You better not let Joey know about that," Yugi warned. "He's been putting down Magnum after he tried to kidnap Mai."

"Not that I blame him," Harold disclaimed.

Yugi was quiet. He was hoping it would just be Tea and him so he could tell her how he felt but now that Harold was here…

Unfortunately for Yugi, Harold was a good judge of facial expressions. "Hey Yugi, can I talk to you for a second?" The two held back. Tea stopped and turned to look at them. "Uh… sorry, Tea, guy talk, hush-hush."

"Fine, whatever," she said and continued walking.

"Yugi, I don't want to be a third wheel here, so if you just want it to be you and Tea, I can…"

"No, Harold, I mean… it's not that I don't like having you along, but… I kind of… wanted to talk to Tea alone."

"Don't tell me, you wanted to confess your undying love for her," Harold said in mock-drama. Yugi's face grew beat red. Now it was Harold's jaw that dropped, "Holy guacamole, you're serious."

"Please don't laugh," Yugi said meekly.

"I won't laugh but I will say that it's about bloody time," Harold said sounding a bit like Bakura. "If you ask me, you two have been beating around the bush long enough. It's time to sink or swim."

"You really think… but if I screw up, she might…"

"You think that if you screw up, she might resent you for the rest of your lives. Uh… Yugi, this is Tea we're talking about. So far the only guy she resents is Kaiba and it's not hard to see why. Go for it. I guarantee that the worse that could happen is she would give you the 'we can still be friends' speech and you're no worse off than when you started. But just between you and me…" Harold leaned in. "I think it'll be a slam dunk."

"You really… think so?"

"No, I know so. So get in there, champ, and win one for the gipper. And don't worry, I'll be right behind you but not so close that I'll hear you utter those three life-changing words."

Yugi nodded. "I will. Thanks for the pep talk, Harold."

"Good luck," Harold said.

"Hey, Yugi, Harold," two voices called out. A tall blonde-haired boy in a leather jacket and blue jeans and a girl with red hair pulled back in a ponytail wearing a yellow tank top and jogging shorts walked up to them.

"Hey, Joey, hey, Serenity," Yugi and Harold greeted.

"Hey you two," Tea called back. "Are you two going to stand there all day or are we going to see this movie?"

Harold made a motion for Yugi to go ahead and do it. Yugi nodded. Harold turned towards the Wheeler siblings. "So what brings you guys to this neck of the woods?"

"Just showing Serenity around," Joey said.

"Yeah, it's actually the first time I've actually 'seen' Domino since I got my bandages off."

"We're just hanging out before she has to leave."

"Oh, that's right, you two don't live together any more," Harold said remembering the explanation Joey gave after Weevil threw Yugi's prized Exodia cards over the side of the boat to Duelist Kingdom.

"No," Joey said solemnly.

"But Mom agreed to let me visit as often as I want to," Serenity said cheerfully. "Since Joey helped win the money for my operation, my Mom has been more open-minded towards him."

"That's great, I was… uh…" Harold sounded like he was going to say something emotional but then he cast a side glance at Joey and instead cleared his throat. "Well anyway, I'm glad you two are going to spend some time together." His cheeks were blushing just a little.

"I was hoping to spend some more time with you and the others too," Serenity said.

"Really?" Harold asked more optimistically than he intended. He looked over at Joey. "Is that okay with you?"

"As long as I can keep Tristan from fawning all over her, than yeah, it's no biggie. By the way, what's with Yug? He's acting like he's about to go to his own execution." He gestured to Yugi who was cautiously approaching Tea who was waiting at the corner.

"Depending on Tea's answer, that may exactly be the case."

Yugi took several deep breaths before approaching Tea from behind. "Tea."

Tea turned to look at him. "Yeah, what is it?" She noticed his face apprehensive. "Yugi, are you all right, you look flushed." She touched his forehead. "You don't feel like you have a fever."

Yugi gritted his teeth. Tea's motherly manner certainly wasn't making what he wanted to say any easier. "Tea, I need to tell you something."

"Okay, what is it?"

"Well… we've known each other for a long time. So I feel like I can say this."

"Sure, Yugi, you can tell me anything."

"Well, the problem is this isn't going to be easy because… well… it involves you."

"Involves me, in what way?"

"Tea, for a long time I've been feeling this way and, even if… after the fact you hate me, if I can get this off my chest, I can still sleep well. Tea, for a long time, I've had… actually I l…"

"Hey, what's that?" Tea pointed behind Yugi.

Yugi turned but only saw Joey, Harold, and Serenity. "It's just Joey and Serenity talking with Harold."

"No, above them." Yugi looked up and saw a black speck but only for a second. Then it appeared again. Two more black specks appeared. Soon four black lines were seen streaking through the air. It was making a beeline directly towards Yugi. "Yugi, get out of the way!" Tea shoved Yugi to the side just as the lines wrapped themselves around her arms and legs and pulled her into the air.

"TEA!" Yuig called out.

"Yugi, help me!" Tea cried.

"What is that?" Serenity asked.

"Don't know," Joey replied. "But if it's grabbing Tea, it's dead meat! Let's go!" Everyone took off after Tea.

I was afraid of this, Harold thought. The vision given to me by my Armlet came true. Tea was the feminine figure in the vision. I just hope we're not too late.

"Yami, can you disrupt those energy things that are binding her?" Yugi asked.

"I'll try," Yami replied and flew up. He flew right through the dark energy binds. All of a sudden, Yami was struck with dark energy. He was flung back to Yugi.

"Yami, are you all right?" Yugi asked.

"Somehow it was able to strike me. For a moment, it felt like the Shadow Realm magic that Marik used during Battle City."

"Maybe it's the seventh Millennium Item," Yugi guessed. "Someone found it, and now they're using it to get my Millennium Puzzle."

"I don't know, Yugi, I think there's more to this than meets the eye. Let's follow Tea and maybe we can find out who is doing this and why."

"Good idea, Yami."

But as hard as they tried, Yugi and the others couldn't catch up to Tea. And Tea just kept going higher and higher and until she disappeared from sight.

"She's gone… Tea's gone." Yugi dropped to his knees. "And I wasn't strong enough to save her."

"Don't worry, bud, we'll get her back," Joey said.

"But how? We don't even know where she is," Yugi said, tears streaming from his face. "No, Joey, it's over."

"Hope is not lost," a disembodied feminine voice said. "You can still save her."

Everyone looked around but could not find the source of the voice.

"Uh… did anybody besides me hear that?" Joey asked.

Light particles began gathering in front of them.

Serenity instinctively took a step closer to Harold while Joey and Yugi stood in front of them. "What's going on, Harold?" She asked.

"I don't know, Serenity," Harold replied. "But whatever it is, I hope it's friendly.

The End