Author's note: So. This story. It is technically on hiatus, but I stumbled across this in my documents folder, and I cleaned it up a bit and decided to post it as a show of good faith. Because I do intend to eventually come back to this (and I do have the plot mapped out in my head), but I don't have the time or the energy to devote to it now. This isn't a complete chapter, but it is a little something. Since I've been pretty inactive on here for a while. Eheh.

Somewhere beneath the flash of a camera and the whine of its recharge, Catherine Willows let slip an exasperated sigh, blowing bangs from her face. "This is ridiculous."

"Still nothin' on your side?"

"No footprints, no fingerprints, still no signs of forced entry… It's like this thief popped out of nowhere, grabbed the loot, and poof."

"Gone." Nick sat back on his heels, toying idly with his own camera, and sent Catherine a sympathetic look through the open door. "Yeah, there's nothing in the hallway here, either. Is this guy sure he didn't just, I dunno, misplace those books and whatever?"

She rolled her eyes expressively, tossing blond hair over her shoulder. "Doesn't seem like it. Mister Big Time Archaeologist keeps them locked up at all times, according to the family." Snapping another photo of nothing in particular, she began a slow circuit around the study, taking in the details of each carefully displayed knickknack. "Priceless, apparently."

"Figures." Nick frowned, a hint of frustration and southern accent bleeding into his voice. "Looks like I'm gonna miss out on Warrick's case. I'm not seeing this one wrapping up anytime soon." At the sound of a gasp, he tilted his head slightly, half-rising from the plush carpet. "Cath?"

"I think I have something," Catherine murmured, bent over the desk at a strange angle, forceps hovering over the rich grain of the wood. Nick saw her hand dip, down and up, her eyes intent on her prize.

"What is it?"

"One long, blonde hair. Stuck in one of the figures."

He quirked an eyebrow, moving to lean lightly against the doorframe. "You sure it's not yours?"

She shot a glare at him, bagging the sample and labeling it. "It's not mine, Nick," she said, surveying the desk more carefully. "But no one in the family is blonde, so…"

Nick nodded slowly, a grin turning at the corner of his mouth. "Looks like our thief may have slipped up after all."

"They always do, Nicky. They always do."

"Ryou," Yugi said, prodding at his friend for perhaps the thousandth time in the last quarter-hour. "Ryou, please wake up. You're freaking me out."

Aibou, his soul is exhausted. It would be best to allow him his rest.

Yugi turned his attention toward the presence standing translucent beside the miniature coffeemaker. I know, I know. But we don't even know what happened to him! What if it's something serious?

It's probably safe to assume as much, Yami said, frowning thoughtfully. Considering the circumstances. But to wake him now risks his soul's recovery.

And Bakura waking up.

Yami lifted one eyebrow, gaze pulling slightly to the left. I never said that.

"But you were thinking it," said Yugi aloud, finally shifting to fall back into the armchair, still within reach of his sleeping friend. "I know you're worried about the Spirit of the Ring, but when Ryou wakes up, I want to talk to him first." He hesitated, brushing at his bangs before glancing once more toward the spirit. "I'd rather not explain to Grandpa why we're paying damages on a room demolished by shadow magic."

Yugi, said Yami, I'm not going to demolish the…

Yugi lifted an eyebrow, gazing at his translucent other. The protest fell silent.

Well, I wouldn't have done it deliberately.