AN This follows directly after Joey Taylor's story Yugi and Harry and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and is of the summer between the end of their third year and the beginning of their forth. Enjoy.
Harry stared at the too-prefect houses and wondered if anything had changed.
The Dursleys hadn't, except Dudley was bigger, Vernon was redder and Petunia seemed to have tinted her hair, was it going white already?
He kept everything concealed behind his blank face, yes-sir, no-sir, keep your head down, hide everything, and never let anyone see they've gotten to you.
He wanted to go home.
Home was friends, home was magic, and home was freedom.
Freedom to be normal.
He suppressed the snort, normal; he bet his relatives would kill him if they knew he considered Hogwarts a whole lot more normal than their home.
Not that he had felt free this past year. Dementors kept him trapped, Dumbledore had kept him trapped.
Home was Sirius Black. His Godfather.
Letters; His friends had promised, Lots and lots of letters. He would not be left without information again. Hermione even said she would number her letters and alternate between owl and snail mail so he would know if he was missing any, and Kari and Yugi had agreed that it was a good idea, but would stick with snail mail since it was a bit far for owls to fly. Ron had just looked at Hermione like she was crazy… again.
Mokuba had said something about mail drops and muggle to magic mail, and Harry wasn't even sure how Kaiba's little brother had gotten into the conversation, except that Mokuba and Ginny had basically started to hang on the fringes of their group, coming and going as they pleased.
It had been better for the last week of term, when everyone was friends again and all the fighting had stopped, and even Ron and Hermione avoided disagreements. Joey and Kari were on speaking terms again, if not as friendly, Yugi had gotten some sort of promise out of Yami and both seemed… if not happier then content to let it lie, and Ombre had stopped hovering over Kari.
Home, ten weeks until he could back to Hogwarts, but he lived in hope that the Weasley's would let him stay again.
Uncle Vernon was waiting, seeming to get more impatient by the second.
"Here's your list of chores for the week." Vernon handed over a thin piece of paper and Harry scanned the list. Its shortness had looked promising, until he saw the words 'garden shed, clean and tidy everything,' and realised the list was a whole lot more work than its shortness implied. "Well?"
Vernon snarled, "No boy, get your stuff away first, chores tomorrow."
Home was where the heart was and his was far, far away.
Yugi stepped off the plane with a bounce in his step, a marked difference to how he had been just a few days ago when he had been falling asleep half the time, and eating his own weight in food the rest.
Joey and Yami trailed behind slightly, both seemed the worse for wear after the long flight, although not as badly off as some of the passengers. There had been turbulence, more than was usual, and while Yugi had slept right through it Yami had been questioning the safety of these modern machines, not that you would have known it unless you had noticed the altogether too tight grip Yami had kept on the hand-rest. Joey on the other hand was starving, and never before had he missed the heavy but filling food of Hogwarts quite as much, the meal served during the flight had done little towards satisfying his hunger.
Joey ran his fingers through his hair once again, "Do you think this over-priced Airport might have some real food before we go through customs?"
"Doubt it, Heathrow just had those junk machines, and Domino's Airport just had the tasteless hot drinks. Why should JFK have anything more?" Yami replied with a hint of dry humour, Joey's appetite was well known and much fun poked at him for it.
"I think I might have something if you're hungry Joey," Yugi said, and unzipped his carryon.
"Nah Yuge, I'll be fine. I can't take any of your chocolate." Joey replied, as his stomach growled, revealing the lie.
"It's okay; I got some at the coach stop. It's not Honeydukes just something called Galaxy. Kari said they were good, right?" Yugi looked up and held out three plastic wrapped chocolate bars.
Yami shrugged, and Joey took a bar and stared at it, "It's weird; there barely any plastic at school and the village didn't have any at all, but anywhere else you go it's everywhere."
"Come on, Customs, luggage, Tea. You know Tea doesn't like to be kept waiting." Yami poked Joey to get him moving again, and Yugi's face lit up.
'Tea…' He thought, and bounced ahead.
"Home again." Kari sighed, stepping off the plane. She turned her face up to greet the setting sun. England might be where she was born, but she considered Domino her home.
"Not yet, first there's customs, then luggage, then the drive to Kaiba Corp, then the taxi home, then collapsing into our beds. After I wake up, then I'll be home." Ombre replied, prodding Kari to move out the way.
"I'm going to miss the gang." Kari replied, ignoring the stream of words.
"I won't" Kaiba declared, "And Ombre isn't the only one who wants out of here Ironhide." He stalked off, heading towards to small car that would transport them to the Airport proper.
"Home, home, home." Sang the younger Kaiba, again and again and again. Ombre wondered if it was worth the effort to hit him.
Hermione stared out the window of the car and wondered when her parents had become strangers, and why it felt like she had left her real family back at the station. Friends; and they were more than friends with each passing year.
Three years ago if you had asked if Hermione had anyone she considered a friend, the answer would have been no, or at best maybe.
No, that was wrong. She had had lots of people she considered her friend, until Hogwarts had shown her, until Harry had shown her, just how empty those friendships were.
Her friends were willing to die for her. A single tear rolled down her face.
Even when they hated her, they were willing to die for her, and she for them.
She couldn't imagine her life without her friends.
No. That was wrong, again! Wouldn't Ron laugh if he could see inside her head? He understood friendship so easily, he had had friends for years, and he had so much more practice at this than her.
No. He had brothers, and his sister. They were siblings, altogether different from friends. Who else did Ron chose to be with? He was no better at this friendship thing than she was, he treated them like they were more siblings, siblings he liked as opposed to Percy, it didn't matter if they fought; family was family, it couldn't be broken.
But it could be mended too.
Before she hadn't known that, before Hogwarts, before her real friends.
She still didn't understand. She had dozens of friends now, from her best friends to her casual friends. Somehow she had even managed to be friends with Parvati and Lavender, and she couldn't imagine her 10 year old self ever doing that. They weren't good friends, but they could talk, (and talk and talk and talk), and she could listen and nod in the right places.
But her real friends; Harry, Ron, Kari, Ombre, Yugi, Yami and even Joey. They would die for her, risk their lives for each other, just as she would. If you paid attention then they saved each other so many times that the group had to be crisscrossed with life debts, but they would never call on them, because they knew they would never need to.
And now they were scattered across the world until the summer ended.
She retrieved the letter she had received just a few days ago, and looked to her parents; her mother was fiddling with the radio while her father had all his attention on the road.
Home. She would ask when she got home.
Ron was hungry, and wanted out. Ginny was moping beside him, playing with her Gyffindor scarf and staring without seeing out the window. Fred and George were in high spirits, and Ron wondered how long it would be before their next prank. Percy was discussing his exams with their Mother, who kept saying things like, "That's nice dear," or "I'm sure you did fine."
The Knight bus might have been fast, but for Ron it couldn't be fast enough.
He wanted out.
The bus was too hot, too crowded, too… busie.
Surrounded by people and already lonely. Ron looked at the bar and wondered if he could hit his head against it while the bus was skidding every which way. He missed his friends already, which had to be some sort of record.
No, the record was made while he was on the train and realised he was missing his friends while they were sitting right beside him, or maybe when he pretended to grin while watching his friends depart, or maybe it was during the year while he was missing his friends while shouting at them.
No school work, no homework, no bossy Hermione, or teachers watching him, no Snape, no detentions, no Dementors and there would be Quidditch, and home cooking, games, Bill and Charlie were coming home, and his room to himself (for a bit).
Harry and Hermione might come over to stay, and there would be the Quidditch world cup, they had to see that.
Ron continued to list the good points until the Knight bus reached their stop.
No friends, alone with my siblings, no chess unless Dad was free, or Bill, no Duel Monsters, not that he could afford the cards, but then neither could Joey really, no friends.
What would Harry think if I sent a letter tomorrow?
I mean it's for his benefit really, isn't it?
Ron smiled as he placed his trunk in his room.
Maybe I'll just have a quick go on my broom, while Mum is cooking tea.
There's plenty of time.
"Yugi!" was shouted at full volume across the airport in Tea's voice. The girl in question was jumping up and down and waving, and added "Joey! Yami!" after a moment. The young man standing beside her just shook his head.
Yugi smiled, while Joey went for the full out grin, and Yami raised a hand, a much less energetic wave than Tea's had been. Still the three young men made their way through the crowds as quickly as possible, which meant a lot of apologises.
If there was a moment hesitation when the friends greeted each other no one else noticed as Tea glomped Yugi, Tristan clasped Yami's arm, and managed to thump Joey on the back.
"Did you hear? I'm a professional dancer. I mean there's an audition every year, all I had to do was past my exams well enough to get an audition, but they hardly ever take second years on professionally, I thought I would be waiting tables again this summer, but I got a part! It's only for two weeks, but Pegasus…" Tea's monologue stalled as she realised whose name she had used. Her friends had many reasons to distrust him.
"Pegasus sent Yugi a letter." Joey said; his voice sceptical, the use of Yugi rather than Yuge pinpointing his discomfort.
"I think Pegasus can be trusted… to a point. His judgement is terrible, but I don't think he means us any harm." Yami looked at Yugi as he talked, and Yugi nodded slightly.
"So are you going to do the tournament?" Tristan asked.
A trio of yes's followed that question, "Even if it is a bit unfair on these poor Americans" Joey joked.
"I'm afraid I just duel the last game, I'm the secret prize." Yami explained.
"Well… I have a job." Tristan began, "You won't believe this but the company that usually runs security for the tournaments decided that since you three always attract trouble they might as well hire someone who is always in the middle of it."
Joey laughed, "You're security? I don't believe it."
"Believe it Joey, but I'm undercover, have been at all the tournaments in the past year, no one who is looking to cause trouble looks twice at me since they know I'm a fan of the game. They are even paying for my education so I have a cover story."
"Even with everything we've been through I don't think I quite believe it."
"At least I'm not working with the government." Tristan shrugs.
"But if there is some creep that comes after us, what are you going to do?" Yugi asked concerned.
"Depends, I'm more so that the higher ups know what and who to keep people away from, and to report things like kidnappings, or anyone who raises alarm bells. My instructions actually include, if in the event of unexplained phenomena that could be termed magic, please call in a situation 4, if a sit 4 is called please note no assistance will be forthcoming but we'll keep the area clear of civilians."
"So should you be telling us?"
"Guys, the world would have to end before I'll believe you to be a danger to others. Targets on the other hand…" The sounds of a Tristan Joey wrestling match could be heard from the other side of the car park.
Ryou had waited until everyone had left the station before making his own way. Not that they noticed, he had just headed to the nearest café as soon as he got off the platform. Without robes and looking his real age there was little to notice about Ryou Bakura, except his near white hair, and that was easily hidden with a bandana.
He looked like a dozen other students passing through, from his well worn clothes, down to his far newer but still battered suitcase.
The fact he drank his coffee like a pro that had spent rather too long away from real coffee only added to the image.
A familiar weight hung around his neck, and his mind counted the minutes until he could take the nearest fireplace. His hands itched to check that he still had the pouch of floo powder, and the annoyance at not being able to Apparate there washed over him.
Coffee finished he stood up, smiled at the counter girl and wandered out the door, seemingly aimlessly. It took him thirty minutes to find the place, and twenty more minutes of wandering before he was sure that no one had followed him.
The door opened at his touch.
Well it wasn't the nearest Wizarding fireplace. There was one at the station.
Bakura didn't trust it. Draco didn't trust the floo powder supplied there. Ryou was just fed up with fighting.
For far too many years had he worn the Ring. There was only so long he could hold up, only so many times he could win the fight. Now he just fought when it was life or death, or when it was about his friends. He wasn't about to fight over how he would get…
There was a familiar blankness in his mind. It should have chilled him, but he was almost numb to it now. He had once wondered what would happen to him when his whole mind was nothing but blankness. He had asked Bakura once, in a fit of anger. Bakura had withdrawn from that fight but the next one… the next one had left Ryou shattered.
He had never brought it up again.
For a while he had had freedom of a sort from the Ring. He still didn't understand why, and once again he had started to avoid thoughts on the matter, whenever he returned to them there was the familiar blankness.
He pulled on the drawstring of the bag of Floo powder.
Floating; floating in the shadows.
"Ryou?" Fingers waved in front of his face. Familiar fingers.
The weight was gone.
"Where am I?" The question escaped, he didn't expect an answer from the owner of the fingers.
"Malfoy manor." A young voice said. Ryou turned to see who it was, Draco, he should have recognised the voice.
How? You have as little to do with Bakura and Draco as possible.
Because as little as possible was a large amount when the Ring was involved. The memories rushed in, and Ryou would have paled if he wasn't already as pale as he could go.
"Why… why am I here?" Ryou asked, hating himself for being so weak.
Bakura's face flickered, he Ryou hadn't been watching he would have missed the moment of conflict, "Come on, I'll show you your room." Bakura replied, and dragged Ryou out of the room, Draco trailing.
In a room that wasn't all that far away in the grand scheme of things a young woman paced. A piece of paper was clutched in her hands and she stood divided.
"Three years, it's been three years Kari, aren't we friends anymore?" The woman muttered, tears freely falling down her face.
There were no longer any late night phone calls, there hadn't been for three years, no more emails, no more text messages, and the letters were few and far between.
It wouldn't have mattered to most; friendships often fell apart over long distances, but this woman felt like she was about to make a choice that would change the rest of her life.
Her parents had tried to talk her out of both choices. They wanted her to take the safe option.
The visions were coming quicker now. There were many focus points.
She even recognised some.
Kari had been easy.
Yugi had been hard.
Kaiba had been harder.
Harry Potter she had had to look for.
The others… well she had yet to find them, but she would, she always did in the end, or rather about five seconds before the end.
Her heart hurt.
Kari, her heart screamed that she had to help her friend, even if they were no longer friends. The only problem was she had no idea where Kari was. Kari's name was clearly printed on a headstone and the date… less than a year away.
Mazes, magic, monsters and a scream. No, not a scream, many so very many, all merging together.
Harry she could find, he would be at Hogwarts.
The young woman collapsed against her bed, sobs racking her body, Kari was going to die and she couldn't even find her in time to save her.
It came down to a choice, the magical world or Kari.
The letter drifted down onto the floor.
Well done on achieving your first, we are all very proud of you and I've put in a good word with Headmaster Dumbledore, you should hear from him or Deputy Headmistress McGonagall within the next few days, I'm sure that they'll want all the help they can get with all the events going on this year.
Tea's place wouldn't have held all of them, it was barely big enough for her, but Pegasus had helped there as well, providing rooms for the four boys at a local hotel called the White Horse. It wasn't very big, but it was close to both Tea's place and the theme park where they were holding the tournament.
Breakfast proved to be an experience, not due to the food but some of the remarks of the waitress…
"Ahh, you know that nice young man Max don't you?" The server, an older woman, said after finding out who they were. "Such a nice man, he does drink a bit too much but I think he misses the young miss. I still remember those two when they first found this place, hiding from her family they were, came in for a cup of tea and decided to stay."
The boys shared a glance and knew that if Tea was here she would have leapt onto that clue to Pegasus's past in moments.
"Does he visit often?" Yugi ventured forth.
"Every couple of months usually, he's been staying here the last week, but I didn't need to tell you that, we won't see him past noon poor dear."
As the woman moved away from their table to deliver toast to another set of guests the friends share a look.
"You know, I feel a whole lot less safer sleeping in the same building as Pegasus." Joey said, his knife jabbing the muffin as if looking for the hidden poison.
"He's not going to attack us in our sleep." Tristan tried to assured him.
"He's been trying to be nice." Yugi said, grabbing one of the tiny tubs of jam on the table.
Out of all the tasks Harry had been set the gardening was mildly pleasant. Cleaning and tidying was alright, it was easy enough that his mind could wonder without too much trouble, cooking required focus and was his least favourite just because he seldom got the eat what he made and Petunia would hover over him.
Gardening took time, it couldn't be rushed, and Petunia would leave him to it for hours as long as he looked busy.
Gardening also meant he got to shower.
He let his mind slip into waiting mode, feeling the hours tickle away, just waiting until something happened to prove that Hogwarts wasn't just a dream.
He moved to the roses, massive heads of pinks, in all different phases of flowering, except for one pale bud that hadn't even thought about blossoming yet, a green white bud. "Stay white." He whispered to it, and started to remove the dead heads.
When Tea met her friends outside their hotel she knew something was wrong.
"Not enough breakfast guys?" She asked, keeping her tone as light as possible.
"Can we just go?" Joey asked, eyeing the doors as if expecting something to jump out at him.
"Umm, sure. I've got practice later, where do you want to go first?"
Tea rolled her eyes, "Guys, don't you have enough of the gaming yet?" but starting towards to mall anyway.
"Hey! I object! I haven't seen hide not hair of a computer game in nine months. Give me some credit." Joey proclaimed, laughing easily.
"Only because your school doesn't have any. I beat there's some perfectly good games that are almost as good as Kaiba' virtual reality." Tristan put in.
"Between Kaiba and Kari I bet there's going to be a revolution in their games soon enough." Yami said.
The blade of light had been creeping across the room since dawn, the heavy curtains, perfect for keeping out sunlight normally, were open just wide enough that when the slither of light hit Kari it shone in both eyes.
"Gah!" She screamed, and pulled the heavy duvet over her head.
Where was she? No room mates, no curtains around her bed, not Hogwarts. No one banging on the door, not her parent's house.
The joy at that idea surged through her, enough to wake her up.
No Yugi, Yami or Joey.
The misery at that thought made her want to crawl back under the covers.
Work. Your real job, where you're valued and your team expects you to stand between them and Kaiba.
They'll be expecting you…
Duty dragged her out of bed, duty made her eat breakfast; duty saw her on her way to Kaiba Corp.
Them she saw her team, friendly faces, working hard.
"Miss Ironhide… there's a problem…"
This was why she put up with everything Kaiba threw at her, she loved her job.
"Are you sure you want to do this Hermione?" Her mother asked, and Hermione nodded.
"It is ten weeks until I go back to school, ten weeks before I can practice magic again, unless I do this. It's only for two weeks and only two hours a day, they won't let me do anymore than that, but while I'm working I'm allowed to do some magic, and I'll get paid."
"But an internship… how were you planning on getting there everyday?"
"They provide a portkey. It'll transport me between here and there in moments."
Her parents shared a glance, a mixture of pride and lost.
"It's only an interview; I might not even get a place." Hermione took a breath, and wished… "Please can I go?"
"Well… it is only an interview and it is best to get some practice in before you start looking for a real job; that school of yours…" Her father shook his head gently, "Their curriculum leaves too much out when it comes to preparing you for the real world."
"Thank you!" Hermione jumped out her seat and hugged her father, then mother, then running out the room.
She had to tell Harry… and Ron, and Kari…
"Well at least she won't spend all her time reading."
It was a dream, one of those marvellous dreams that you never wanted to wake up from, but it was real, from the gentle summer breeze that was enough to keep him from being too hot to the stone that had gotten into his left shoe and was making a nuisance of it self.
He ran from place to place, leaving his brother and the others far behind. Seto just laughed; a joyful sound that Mokuba hadn't heard in too long a time.
He bounced back to Seto, "Everything is prefect big brother." He declared. Just wait until he could tell Ginny.
"Not yet, but it will be. We open to duellists tomorrow, and next week we host the tournament, ready to be put on a show again?"
Mokuba grinned, he might be but his brother never was, "I am when you are." And the younger boy bounced off to see more of the park.
Seto couldn't help smiling at his brother's obvious excitement, if only he knew how much paperwork there was still to do before the theme park could be completed, how much building work was still going on. Kaibaland would never be completed; Seto had so many plans in productions at the moment that the park wouldn't be prefect for years.
Yugi had to smile, watching Tea dance was like watching Yami duel, or Kari at her laptop, or Harry flying. She was completely in her element, nothing else mattered.
Tea had gotten them in to watch her practice, it seemed to be utter chaos, but everyone was having so much fun.
Joey and Tristan wasn't paying that much attention, they were arguing about something and Yugi just let the familiar words and tone wash over him, even if it was a bit disconcerting to hear Joey and Tristan slip easily between English and Japanese. A few years ago that wouldn't have been possible; neither had been very interested in learning English. Yami watched the strangers that were part of Tea's world, the dancers, the conductors, the musicians, but Yugi just watched Tea.
Yugi had watched Tea practice years before, she had been good then, now she was music in motion. He wondered what her teachers said.
Yami wondered what her peers said, clear jealously coloured several of the faces that watched Tea, but strangely not those of the other dancers, in those he saw admiration and envy. She wasn't the best, not yet, but she was getting there.
"Right boys, it's time to leave. Theatre's closed until we open tonight." The woman held a clipboard, and had a firm no-nonsense look about her.
"What? But…" Joey began.
"It's okay Joey, they always do this, and we'll be back for the show." Tristan said, pulling Joey away from the woman and heading towards the door.
"You too kid." She added when Yugi didn't move. He sighed and followed his friends out the door.
Ron was sitting in his favourite tree. No one else had managed to climb this old rowan for as long as he knew that trees were for climbing.
Ginny couldn't reach the lowest branch, the twins weren't inclined to climb trees unless they were sturdy looking things with plenty of wildlife, and Percy just didn't climb. He couldn't say for sure that Bill and Charlie hadn't climbed this tree, but they were unlikely at this point in time.
It was his favourite because once he was settled in, no one could find him, he just wasn't visible from the ground and only visible from the air if you were looking in the right direction, and besides they weren't allowed to fly their brooms this far away from the house.
So he was alone. Again.
It wasn't that he disliked his family. No, that wasn't it at all. His friends would have thought him mad. Most of them at least. Well maybe only Harry, Harry didn't know what a pain it could be having everyone in the house wanting to know everything about you, from your grades to possible girlfriends.
Guilty, guilty, guilty.
Harry's relatives didn't care. Yugi's grandfather did, but didn't pry. Hermione was feeding her parents some well constructed lies made out of the truth if he knew her. Joey's parents didn't care, but his sister did but again she didn't pry.
They care. At least your parents care, at least they show it, at least they are alive, and here, at least you know if you get into any real trouble they will help you out.
Ron pulled out the strange cube his father had found. It was a muggle toy, but a puzzle. There were so few puzzles in the magical world. It was called a Row bits or something, and Ron wondered at the name even as he slid the pieces around and around. He wasn't trying to solve it; he had done that years ago until solving it was no longer a challenge, but his hands needed something to do.
He needed something to keep his mind away from thoughts of his friends.
Yami was on his guard while they waited in the foray, soon they would take their seats, but until then they waited.
It wasn't long before a familiar voice made it self known. The tone was warm and friendly, but it always was, even when he had been planning to sacrifice their souls to the shadow realm Pegasus had had the most welcoming voice of anyone he knew.
Yami prayed that he wouldn't notice them, but the chances were slim.
"Yugi-boy!" The voice shouted out across the room, and Yami watched his friends' reactions. Yugi froze for a moment before forcing a smile. Joey wasn't as quick, but while he didn't look exactly happy to see Pegasus, at least he didn't look hostile. Tristan had closed down for a moment, but he too was smiling now, but it wasn't a nice smile, it was a smile that said, 'step one foot out of line and I'll have you dead to rights.'
"I see you brought your friends." Pegasus said, "It's good to meet you Yami, in the flesh, so to speak." A warm firm handshake met the warm voice and warm smile. A memory stirred and he again made the connection between Lockhart and Pegasus, they had the same manner, and a similar danger lurked beneath the surface. "Mr Wheeler, Mr Taylor." Pegasus nodded to them.
"Pegasus." It may have surprised anyone listening closely that a name could be said in prefect sync yet in four completely different ways.
Ombre had woken with the rising sun; she nearly always did, unlike Kari who seemed to think that if you wanted to see the dawn you should stay up all night.
There had been no food in the apartment, but they had been gone for months, the only reason they still had an apartment was because the whole building was owned by Kaiba Corp and priority when to Kaiba Corp employees. Their flat had been used while they were gone, mostly for employees staying in Domino for a few days or weeks for training, meetings or even conferences.
It was clean, tidy and almost completely lifeless.
So Ombre went shopping.
Two hours later she returned with two bags and no longer hungry, having stopped at a small café for breakfast.
Kari was gone; the lack of her laptop on the table it had been dropped on last night signalled that she had probably gone to work. Ombre checked Kari's bedroom anyway.
Ombre glared at the empty unmade bed. Her trunk was still unpacked, bags were scattered around the room, and Kari's clothes from last night were still in the same place she had dropped them from what Ombre could tell.
While in the second bedroom, Ombre's room, the duvet was folded back, the trunk and bags were neatly piled and partly unpacked and her clothes from last night were already in the laundry basket. She wondered if Yugi and Yami ever fought over keeping their rooms tidy.
A cup of tea later and Ombre was no longer glaring, and had started on her unpacking. She still had no idea how in just three years she had managed to pick up so much stuff. The books she could understand, she could still remember a love of knowledge from before, but the clothes? Princess she may have been, but did she really need so many clothes? Uniforms yes, and she needed both Wizarding and muggle wear, and both differed between England and Japan, so why had she brought home her English clothes? Couldn't she have left them in storage or something?
Then there was the junk, only it wasn't really junk because most of it had some sentimental value, but today Ombre didn't feel like being sentimental.
She had forgotten how lonely she would be.
Her friends were all far away, across the sea. So far away that a letter would take days (months or years when she had lived), and might never reach them (true in both times).
She had followed Kari, she had to protect her younger other self, there was a reason… she didn't understand why, but she had to.
She pulled out her deck and ran through the cards, all trusted friends, but they didn't make her feel any less lonely.
She looked at her clock… it was 5am over in England… and midnight over in New York.
She growled at it, grabbed her bag and marched out the room, out the flat, out the building and halfway down the road before she decided where she would go; Kame game shop.
Yugi waited until he was alone to read the note Pegasus had slipped him, after saying that they should talk again. That had been three days ago so Yugi hoped Pegasus hadn't expected him to read the note straight away.
He still smiled when remembering that first night, although the following two nights had been less stressful, Pegasus hadn't appeared again. Apart from Pegasus and the continuous discussions as to what exactly the old man wanted… Joey's words not his, the night had been prefect, Tea hadn't had a big part, or even a small one, Tristan said it was more like a fraction of a part, but Tea had been so happy it had been hard not to join in her excitement and good cheer, so Yugi had not even tried.
Dear Yugi boy
There's a serious matter I must discuss with you and your friends. Let's just say the world can't seem to keep itself out of trouble these days. I'll have someone pick you up a week after the tournament, the players in question have waited long enough I doubt they'll rush now.
There was the same image of a Pegasus at the bottom of the letter, as when Yugi had finished reading it started to attack the words, scattering them about the page and causing the ink to run until nothing was left except pink smudges.
Yugi groaned, not again. Tell Yami now or later? Surely it could wait until after… no knowing their luck someone would come after them during the tournament, they had done so far. He would tell Yami in the morning.
Ryou had settled into his room quietly, without fuss. But it wasn't until a few days later that he realised the significance of the room. It had a lock on his side of the door, and not a simple lock that Bakura could have picked in moments, a magical lock.
The lock that refused to open for anyone but the one who had locked it in the first place. A lock that would only open for that person if they wanted it to open. A lock that wouldn't open if he had locked it and the Ring tried to make him unlock it.
Ryou could tell Draco wanted to laugh as he explained this through the door, and that Bakura was probably considering lashing out at the door for causing so much trouble.
But even as Ryou tried again he knew he truthfully didn't want the lock to open, and hadn't since he had found the Ring in control when he woke up.
It was the first time since arriving that Ryou was exactly where he wanted to be.
It was the first time Ryou could remember that he had been trapped and perfectly content, even happy at the fact he was trapped.
The only problem being that Bakura and the Ring would be waiting for whenever he decided to leave.
It still made him feel happier knowing that neither Bakura nor the Ring could control everything, even if Bakura did move him into another room.
He sighed and unlocked the door.
Happiness was fleeting. Tea thought as she once again tried to process what Yugi had just told them.
Two weeks ago she had been so excited, so happy. Her first real performance on a real live stage with a real audience. Even then there had been the niggling worries that always plagued her; partly made worse by that fact Pegasus had been visiting her practices. She didn't know why.
Well she knew what the teachers said, what the other dancers said, and what everyone else on campus said. He sponsored the art section of her college, starting just after he graduated with just the art students, then eventually the actors and dancers.
She hadn't known when she applied, hadn't known when she got a scholarship, hadn't known until he started appearing at her practices.
Hadn't known until now that the reason her friends had visited her in America was because Pegasus had sent them the tickets.
Now she questioned everything as she tore her napkin in pieces.
They were in Yami's room, with pizza, which seemed strange except it was just as it had been in Domino, discussing the bad things while at Yugi's.
Was she even a good dancer? Had she just gotten the place because Pegasus wanted a reason for Yugi to visit America?
She had been so happy her friends would see her success, cheering her on like they always did, like she always did for them. Now it tasted like dust in her mouth. Her friends were in danger again, and once again there was nothing she could do except hope that they wouldn't get themselves killed this time.
"It doesn't change anything." Joey said finally, the first to speak after Yugi's revelation. "Whither we duel or not. The big bad always come after us," always after you, Yugi, "So I don't think we should change our plans based on Pegasus's note."
Tristan nodded, "Yeah, we haven't let you down yet Yuge, we're not leaving you to face this alone." Don't ever think about trying to do this by yourself Yugi.
Her friends; the idiots. "It'll be okay Yugi, Pegasus only wants to talk, it's not like he knows there's anything bad going to happen, wouldn't he had said something otherwise?" Come on Yugi, cheer up, it's not the end of the world, not yet, not ever while you're around.
Harry woke up and almost smiled. One week down only nine to go. A faint knocking at his window made him turn; A small owl that looked familiar was doing it's best to fly through the gap he had left for Hedwig and completely failing. He grabbed it out the air and pulled it inside.
"Hello, don't I know you?" He asked the small fellow, who chirped and stuck out his leg where a piece of parchment was tied. Harry untied it and set the tiny owl next to the water in Hedwig cage, and Harry glanced at the letter.
Ron! He smiled fully now, but then shoved the letter into his hidey hole. He would leave it until later, when he had finished breakfast.
He slid down the stairs quietly, avoiding the creaky steps. The post chose that moment to come through the letter box. Harry froze halfway up the stairs.
Silence reigned in the house, all he could hear were various snoring and the postman's foot steps walking away.
There was too much post.
The post was normally all plain and uniform, with the brightly coloured junk mail dancing amongst it.
There was a post card, he could see a postcard. No one who the Dursleys knew well enough was on holiday at the moment. He would know, after listening to Petunia gossip about everyone within a half mile of here. Holidays were interesting enough that he actually paid attention to them. He could then put his imagination to good use and pretend he was there instead of here.
He took the last few steps down and picked up the letters.
He flipped the postcard over and glanced at the signature.
He smiled and flipped through the rest of the mail.
Mine, theirs, mine, mine, theirs, mine, theirs, mine.
His smile was now a grin, and he tucked his letters in his back pocket. Seven letters in one day! Well one was a postcard, but then Joey wasn't much of a letter writer.
The rest of the day didn't seem so bad, what with seven letters to look forward to reading later.
So ended the first week of the summer holidays, between possible danger, impossible odds, probable boredom and definite loneliness it wasn't just Harry that was hoping the holidays were over already.
AN Another Summer story will be coming soon from Joey Taylor, about the summer before this one. Hope you enjoyed. Robin