If you had asked me two years ago that within the year I would meet some of the greatest friends in my life, I would have just looked at you with the most hateful look on my face. I would have never believed that I would be able to be happy ever again. After the accident that took away my parents and my younger brother from me, the accident that took away my voice, the accident that had been my fault; I honestly didn't think that I would be able to move on with my life. I thought that I would just be stuck in this bottomless pit of sadness and regret.

When Sophia came into my life halfway through that year it became a small little blip of light. She taught me sign language and how to communicate again. She moved into my house with me and let me feel independence again after spending so much time in a hospital room being watched night and day. She helped me take the first steps.

Japan had not been my idea. Sophia had brought it up when one day she had come back from a meeting and told me that the clinic had found a renowned surgeon who would be able to fix my throat; well a 38% chance of fixing it anyway. It had been the best option so far, that or just stay in Ireland. It had been a very difficult decision for me. I would be leaving everything behind, everything I had left of them. The memories, the house, the town; everything would remain here while I went away to some tiny island with a small chance that I would be able to speak again. I didn't want to go; Sophia made the choice for me.

I was furious coming over to Japan. I refused to sell the house, much to Sophia's protest, but eventually she relented since I agreed to go to Japan. That didn't mean that I was going to go through with the surgery. There was only a 38% chance of recovery, one wrong move and I would die. The surgery was risky, it was either you come out alive and can speak again, or you die. I was fine with sign language, sure it was rough and few people understood what I was trying to say but I was still breathing. Sophia said that she wouldn't be able to live with me in Japan; I would be on my own. I got an apartment and was to attend Domino High for my education.

Domino High ended up being just what I needed. My first day of school I met my best friends, though I didn't know it at the time. Anzu and Miho had been assigned to translate for me because they were both able to read sign language. They introduced me to their friends and I soon became one of them, thanks to Yugi.

Yugi had reached out and wanted to show that we could be friends, the language barrier wasn't an issue. However, becoming friends with Yugi lead to a lot of dangerous situations because of the Millennium Puzzle and the Other Yugi inside of it. It was still a huge mystery to me, but I knew the two were connected. For a while Other Yugi was there to save me from whatever danger seemed to happen that day, but over the past year and the more the danger became worse, we became closer. If you can call it that; there is attraction and I feel like I can trust him, but I don't know anything about him. There's still a lot of missing pieces, and I'm afraid that this is something that only time can fill in. Fighting off thugs, Kaiba's elite group, Kaiba himself with the Death-T, and the Other Bakura trapping us in dolls, these last few months of short lived bliss were needed.

It was October when that bliss burned around us and our first real step into the secrets of the puzzle began.


"Wait, Miho you're moving?" Anzu asked looking at her best friend as we all sat around our desks on break. She had just sprung the news on us a few minutes ago. She was moving this weekend.

"Mama says that her job is making her go to America. Miho doesn't want to leave all of you, but Miho can't leave Mama either." Miho said sadly looking at us for support. I could see the pain in her eyes and I knew how that felt. The fear of going to an unknown place, not knowing anyone, and only one person to get you started.

"Miho. It will be fine, you'll move to America and you'll meet wonderful new people and will make great friends. It happened to me with all of you, so I don't doubt that it will happen for you." I signed to her slowly smiling to her the whole time. Her eyes began to tear as she flung herself at me wrapping her arms around my neck.

"Thank you Maria! Miho won't forget any of you, promise!" Miho said sitting back. We all shared a group hug before the bell rang. Class seemed to fly by with the news that Miho was moving. What would we do without her? She was bubbly and so carefree, she calmed me down most of the time when I was stressed or upset about something. What would Anzu do? Miho was Anzu's best friend since grade school apparently. Those two have been through a lot together. I shook my head not wanting to think about it. She would be fine and Anzu and I would figure it out; Honda must be devastated though. I frowned looking over to him seeing him just staring at his desk. I knew he wasn't paying attention to class but he wasn't exactly having the reaction I thought he would. I pictured him having obnoxious tears in his eyes declaring his undying love for her and all that, however, Honda has matured over the last year. My attention was brought back to class though when Yugi poked me motioning his gaze towards the front. If I kept spacing out like that I would be yelled at by sensei.

The week went by too quickly. We all spent every moment outside of class together that we could, going to all of Miho's favorite places and doing her favorite things. We all agreed to go to the airport to see her off wanting to say our final goodbyes. We met up at the terminal at about 2:00 p.m. waiting for everyone to get there. Anzu and Miho were chatting, the two beginning to get tears in their eyes. We were waiting on Honda. I hoped that he didn't decide not to come.

"Where is he!" Jounouchi shouted suddenly making me jump. I placed a hand on his arm and he calmed down.

"He'll make it." I signed seeing Jounouchi nod. He was slowly starting to pick up on sign language and he had asked me to teach him like I did with Yugi. Honda said that he'd like to learn too, but I figured one at a time would be better.

"Sorry I'm late guys." Honda huffed after running over to us. He placed his hands on his knees catching his breath. He stood up and smiled to everyone and it broke my heart. He looked so devastated. Jounouchi started off the goodbyes when Miho's mother said that they were supposed to board soon.

"You're gonna do great in America Miho, and remember, we'll always be friends no matter what." Jounouchi said giving her a quick hug moving back to let someone else say a goodbye. Yugi stepped up next.

"Miho-chan, we're going to miss you but we're here if you ever need us ok?" He said giving her a hug then stood by Jounouchi. I looked to Anzu and Honda and nodded stepping up to Miho; they should be the last two.

"Miho, we haven't been friends very long but you're a very special person to me. I know you're scared and you don't want to leave all the memories behind, but you'll always have those with you, and you'll make new ones." I hugged her tightly after I had finished signing to her. "I want you to have this." I smiled to her after pulling away and held up a small keychain that I made. It had a small Poki on it that I had made from sculpting clay. She smiled and started to cry a bit and hugged me again.

"Miho loves it! She'll treasure it always!" She sobbed finally starting to break down. I rubbed her back trying to sooth her and it worked. She sniffed and a few tears fell but the sobbing had stopped. I moved away walking back over to Jounouchi and Yugi watching Anzu move forward. They hugged for a really long time and Anzu whispered something to Miho that had her sobbing again and clinging to her.

"You'll always be my best friend Miho." Anzu said through her own sobs. Miho's mother came over and said that they had to leave. Anzu pulled away and Honda moved up quickly to Miho and hugged her. He pulled away and just looked at her.

"Honda-kun?" She said as he brushed a few bangs out of her eyes. He leaned forward and kissed her cheek before he looked down at her again with a small smile.

"Some lucky bastard in America is going to take care of you, and you're going to make him the happiest man alive. I'll miss you Miho." He said then pulled away.

"Honda-kun . . .. thank you." She said as she hugged him before heading to the gate. She waved one last time to us then went in with her mother. The others went to the window to watch the plane while I stood there with Honda for a minute.

"I love you Miho." I heard him whisper. I felt tears come to my eyes as I reached out and placed a hand on his shoulder. He looked at me and I knew he wanted to cry but he didn't. We walked over to the window with the others and watched the plane take off; it was only when the plane was out of sight that Honda finally let the tears fall.

After everyone went home and the initial hurt of Miho being gone started to ease away our lives seemed to return to a pattern. We would all take turns playing Duel Monsters during breaks, since the game had grown even more in popularity, and then hang out after school for a bit.

"Bwa ha ha ha! Take this, Anzu! I attack with Rock Ogre Grotto!" Jounouchi shouted putting down his card. Yugi and I sat on one side of the desk while Honda sat on the other. A group of people had actually stayed in to watch today and were cheering their favorites on.

"Go for it Anzu!" Someone from the crowd yelled.

"Then on my turn I use the spell card wind of the gods. The holy dust erodes your golem! He turns to dust! I win!" Anzu said playing her card with a smirk on her face as she won the duel.

"Argh! I lost again!" Jounouchi yelled throwing up his cards in defeat. My shoulders moved in a chuckle seeing the display. He had just lost to me the previous match after all.

"You're so lame Jounouchi." Anzu said in teasing.

"Yugi! Why?! Why?! Why can't I win?! What am I doing wrong?!" He shouted grabbing poor Yugi and shaking him like a ragdoll.

"Show me your deck, Jounouchi." Yugi said once he was let go.

"Okay." Jounouchi said handing it over. Yugi looked at his deck while I leaned over his shoulder getting a look myself.

"Ack! Your whole deck's made of monsters? All 40 cards?" Yugi said stunned. I blinked then just looked at Jounouchi. No wonder he kept losing.

"That's right! Stuffed my deck with the strongest monsters I could find!" Jounouchi said proudly.

"Uh, that's no good." Yugi started to explain. "The biggest strategy of this game is combining monster and spell cards. Your opponent can easily dodge your attacks if you only fight with monsters."

"Awright Yugi! Please! You gotta train me to play better!" Jounouchi pleaded with him.

"Okay! Come to my place after school, Maria-chan is coming over too. The finals of the Duel Monsters Tournament is on TV at 5:00 tonight! Let's watch it together!" Yugi said happily while I smiled. He's come such a long way in the year that I've known him. After school we all met up and decided to walk to Yugi's together. As we got closer I saw that Yugi's grandpa was outside.

"I'm home Grandpa!" Yugi said as we walked up to the door.

"Ah, Yugi, welcome home! You're all here! Come on in." He said while finishing sweeping.

"You closed already?" Jounouchi asked.

"Of course. The Duel Monsters Finals are on tonight! I can't be stuck watching the shop!" He said happily as we all walked inside. "By the way Yugi, a package came for you." The elder Motou said lifting up a package from behind the shop counter.

"A package?" Yugi mumbled taking it from his grandpa. "There's no name on the return address." Yugi shrugged taking it up with him as we all headed up the stairs to the house.

"Yugi, welcome home. Hello Maria, Anzu, oh and Jounouchi isn't it?" Mrs. Motou said as she saw us come up the stairs from her spot in the kitchen. I smiled and waved to her seeing the others walking into the living room beginning conversations. I walked into the kitchen smiling to her.

"Would you like some help?" I signed knowing that she was going to cook for all of us because that's just how she was. The Motou's have picked up on sign language from how often I've been over at the house, and with Yugi's sign language books lying around they must have studied on their own.

"Only for a bit dear if you want, you're the guest." She said back. She was able to read it but she had a hard time returning the gestures. I grabbed one of her spare aprons and tied it on helping her clean vegetables and doing prep work for her so she could simply cook. Once the prep work was finished she smiled to me and nodded towards the living room. "I've kept you away long enough. Go have fun, dinner will be ready soon and then that big program will be on that you're all so excited to watch." Walking back into the living room I sat down with them seeing Yugi shake his head at me with a smile.

"You didn't have to do that." Yugi signed quickly continuing to listen to his Grandpa while Anzu and Jounouchi had a conversation.

"I wanted to, you're mom has done a lot for me." I signed. It was true; Mrs. Motou has sort of begun to dull the pain of that missing hole for me. Whenever I'm around her it makes me remember my mom and what we use to do together. It was comforting for me. Anzu grabbed Yugi's attention after his Grandpa fell asleep for a quick nap and Jounouchi and I started up more sign language lessons. Soon after Mrs. Motou came in with dinner placing it on the floor saying that she was going out to her book club and wouldn't be back for a bit. We all waved and said our goodnights to her as well as thanked her for the food.

"The show's almost starting!" Yugi said as we ate.

"This is really kind of exciting." Anzu said not really being as into it as the rest of us were.

"Of course! This decides the top Duelist in Japan!" Jounouchi said.

"Well, second best." I signed nudging Yugi.

"I made a decision not to fight in a tournament unless I was fighting him." Yugi said. We all knew who he was talking about.

"Kaiba, right?" Anzu said as Yugi nodded.

"Yup! This time fair and square! That's my dream." Yugi said happily.

"I hear Kaiba still is in the hospital." Anzu said making me look up.

"I went to visit him after my appointment. No change." I signed seeing Yugi frown at the floor.

"I still. Even if he came back, I still wouldn't trust him! I'd never trust that creep! Never!" Jounouchi said making me toss a pillow at his head to calm him down. "Hey!" He said while I rolled my eyes sticking my tongue out at him making him laugh. Jounouchi and I have become like brother and sister in the way we fight or just simply interact with each other.

"It's about to start!" Yugi's Grandpa said suddenly. We all jumped then looked to the television.

"For the many Duel Monsters fans across the country, it all comes down to this moment! Out of the 100 Duelists who made it through the regionals, only one can claim the crown! The fin-" I faded off thinking about when I went to visit Kaiba. I knew he had been in the same hospital that I go and get my treatments for from the nurses talking about him. I had asked Yugi what he thought about it and the two of us decided that I would visit when I was there to keep an eye on him and make sure he was okay. When I went and saw him it was almost heart wrenching. He was just there, eyes blank. Mokuba had been in while I was there and we had shared a small conversation.

"Maria?" He had asked when I had walked into the room.

"Oh, hello Mokuba. Should I . . . come back another time?" I signed seeing him shake his head.

"No it's ok. What are you doing here?" He asked. I looked to his brother for a moment then back to him.

"Checking in on how he's doing." My hands were slow reflecting my mood. Kaiba looked awful.

"I miss him, but . . . I know that I'll get the Seto back that I remember when he wakes up." He said hopefully. We didn't move for a few moments.

"How are you holding up?" I signed hearing him chuckle.

"I hate going home. It was ok when I knew he was just at work but knowing he's here. It makes being in that house really lonely." Mokuba started to get tears in his eyes. I reached forward and hugged him. He hugged me back tightly as he cried gently. I knew he'd been holding this in; it was obvious by how painful it sounded. Once he was finished crying I stood grabbing a piece of paper off the table and wrote down my phone number and my address. I handed it to him with a smile.

"My door is always open to you, and I have unlimited texting for my cell phone." The phone had been Anzu's idea. Mokuba smiled and nodded folding the paper up and put it in his pocket but not before he added my contact information into his phone. "I've got to get going, but remember text or come over okay? I've got a spare bedroom and some awesome animated movies." I hugged him one last time before leaving the room, but not before looking back to Kaiba. You're little brother needs you Seto; get yourself together and be there for him, while you still can.

"The BUG GUY WON!" Jounouchi yelled making me jump. I blinked looking at the television and low and behold Haga had won the title. He was being handed his trophy by Pegasus.

"That's all folks. Don't forget to get your own limited edition cards at-"

"Insector Haga. Can't say I'm surprised." Mr. Motou said crossing his arms.

"Same, what a great duel!" Yugi said.

"C'mon Yugi! Train me!" Jounouchi said suddenly.

"Okay!" Yugi said with just as much enthusiasm.

"Before that, let's open this package." Grandpa Motou handed Yugi the box as he put it on the floor.

"We can play after this." Yugi said beginning to open the box. "What can it be?" Yugi opened it and we all stared in surprise. There was a strange glove, small stars, and a video tape. I looked to the others having a bad feeling about this box.

"Maybe the explanation is on this tape?" Jounouchi said handing Yugi. "Can you play it Yugi?"

"Yup." He said as we all sat so we could see the TV. I got a bad feeling as Yugi put in the tape. Whatever was on this tape was not going to be good. I just knew it.


And so it begins again

I hope you all found it okay

This is the first chapter of the new season!

I figured I would do a bit of recap and just in general Miho leaving, what's been happening etc.

I'm following the basic timeline of the show and manga, it may vary just a little bit depending.

As far as the cellphone thing, with the year cellphones were a new thing however this show and manga have holographic chambers to play card games in, I'm pretty sure they would have cell phones at this point.

Please review and let me know how excited you are about the new season

Also, let me know some favorite episodes so that I can fit them in, if I don't know I may skip it.