By Lucky_Ladybug

Notes: The characters do not belong to me, of course—only the story idea! ^_~ This story is pretty sad, so I'm issuing a Kleenex warning for the whole thing. Hope y'all enjoy!

He screamed painfully as the monstrosity drained his energy, and, it seemed, his very life from him.

"Big brother!" Mokuba cried, trying to run forward to rescue him.

"What . . . are you . . . going . . . to do . . . with me?!" he choked, falling to his hands and knees and breathing heavily.

"With you?" the horrible beast repeated. "Take you over, of course. But first . . . I think I'll torment you some more, just for fun!"

In his current condition, he found himself unable to offer resistance.

"Don't you dare lay a hand on my brother!" Mokuba screamed, springing into the air to attack.

"No, Mokuba, don't . . .!" he tried to protest, but in vain. Swiftly the monster shocked Mokuba with a lethal burst of electricity. With a cry of anguish, the boy vanished.

"Mokuba!" he screamed. "You snake!! You didn't! You couldn't . . .!"

"I could and I did," the horrible creature responded. "He's gone, and you couldn't do a thing to stop me!" he sneered.

Seto Kaiba collapsed to the ground, tears falling from his eyes. "No, Mokuba, no . . ."
Mokuba's eyes were wide with worry. "He will be alright, won't he?"

The doctor, a kindly, elderly man, smiled sadly. "We'll hope for the best," he said softly.

Seto thrashed wildly on the bed. "Mokuba . . . I've failed you . . . I'm so sorry, Mokuba . . . I couldn't protect you . . ." he moaned.

Mokuba's eyes filled with tears. "No, big brother, no! You haven't failed me! You could never fail me!" He laid his small hand over Seto's limp, cold one, remembering how this nightmare had begun several hours earlier.

His brother had been fighting with a guy who had been embezzling money from KaibaCorp and was trying to make his getaway on a boat. Seto didn't intend to let him escape, and they had both wound up continuing their combat in the icy winter water. Seto had eventually managed to defeat his opponent through an ingenious display of his martial arts skills, but he had been gravely injured in the process and was now at death's door and very delirious.

"He's gotta be alright," Mokuba said tearfully.

"The next few hours are crucial," the doctor replied soberly. "Hopefully his condition will start to improve by morning."

"Seto, can you hear me?" Mokuba pleaded, but in vain. His brother had lapsed into silence. This had happened off and on ever since Mokuba had found him laying injured and half-frozen on the dock three hours earlier. Mokuba had been terrified that his brother had been dead then, but when he had gently pressed on Seto's chest, he had coughed up water and started to hallucinate. That had continued on up to the present time—Seto would wake up delirious and saying strange things and then he would fall unconscious again, as he had now. "Oh, big brother . . ." Mokuba gently laid his head on Seto's chest, sobbing.
Seto looked around. He was standing in front of Yugi's grandfather's game shop when suddenly Mokuba came out the door, looking as though he was going to walk right past Seto without saying a word.

"Mokuba, what's going on?" Seto asked.

Mokuba gave him an odd look. "How do you know my name? I don't know you," the boy declared.

"Wha—Mokuba, what are you saying?" Seto was wounded deeply and very confused. "I'm your brother—Seto!"

"You're not my brother," Mokuba said scathingly. "Noa's my brother!"

"Noa . . ." Seto couldn't believe it. Noa was back?! "Mokuba, he's not your brother! He's brain-washed you! Mokuba, look at me!" He knelt down next to his brother and looked into his eyes. "Don't you know me, Mokuba?"

Mokuba pushed him away, looking disgusted. "You're not my brother! I've never seen you before!" He ran off down the street.

"Mokuba, wait!" Seto tried to follow after him, but abruptly he heard a loud roar and an enormous, familiar beast rose up in front of him, blocking his path. Seto gasped. "No, it can't be!"

The Blue Eyes White Dragon roared again warningly. It was obviously not about to let Seto pass.

"This is my dragon!" Seto exclaimed. "It obeys me! What's going on here?!"

"It's mine now." Noa laughed coldly, stepping out of the shadows. "Just like everything else that was yours is now mine. Your company, your computer, and oh yes, your brother, too! He's my brother now!"

Anger raged in the blue-eyed boy's heart. "You can't do that! I'll sue you blind," he threatened. "Mokuba will remember me! He won't be under your spell forever!"

"I didn't have to put a spell on him," Noa shrugged.

"What are you saying?! Of course you did," Seto growled.

"Unfortunately for you, Mokuba just doesn't want anything to do with you anymore. He made himself forget." Noa turned to leave.

"No! You're lying!" Seto yelled. "Mokuba would never do that!"

"Face it—now you're all alone," Noa said coldly, taking the dragon and disappearing around the corner. "No one cares if you live or die, not even your precious brother, Mokuba!"

Seto sank to the ground in despair. That wasn't true—it couldn't be true!
"Please . . . Mokuba, remember me," Seto pleaded. "Noa's not your brother!"

Mokuba could barely stand to watch and listen anymore. His brother's voice was filled with a heart-wrenching pain and anguish and he reached out to take Mokuba's hand. "Seto, of course Noa's not my brother," Mokuba sobbed. "You're my brother! You'll always be my brother!" A tear splashed on Seto's hand, which Mokuba had taken between his own. "Please, big brother, you gotta hang in there! You're gonna be alright . . . you've just gotta be!"

Seto didn't calm down. He breathed heavily, fighting hard to stay alive. He didn't even seem to really realize that Mokuba was there.

Mokuba ran a hand through Seto's brown hair desperately, the way Seto had always done to comfort Mokuba when he was sick. "You gotta stay with me, Seto," the young boy cried. "Don't leave me!"

Seto's breathing finally slowed to normal and he slipped back into unconsciousness.

Mokuba's emotions were mixed. He was relieved that he would (hopefully) not have to hear any more of Seto's heart-rending cries and screams, but he also knew that whenever Seto fell unconscious, there was always the danger that he wouldn't ever wake up again.

"Sleep peacefully, Seto," Mokuba whispered tearfully, "but please come back soon!"

The door opened and the doctor came in. "How are you holding up, Mokuba?" he asked.

"I'm fine," Mokuba replied softly. "It's my brother I'm worried about!"

The doctor came over to examine Seto's still form and his eyes narrowed in concern.

"He's worse, isn't he?" Mokuba said quietly.

The doctor hesitated, then nodded somberly. "Your brother is very sick, Mokuba. We're doing everything we can, and your brother is quite the fighter, but there's always the possibility that . . ." He trailed off. This was the part he always hated about his job—telling people that their loved ones might not be around much longer.

Mokuba shook his head firmly. "He's gonna live! He's just gotta!"

The doctor smiled sadly. "We can hope so. But we do need to be prepared for the worst. . . ."

"He's not gonna die!" Mokuba practically screamed. The doctor sighed, patted Mokuba on the shoulder, and left.

Mokuba's tears overflowed again and he laid his head on Seto's shoulder. "Don't leave me, big brother," he whispered.
Seto found himself reliving a horrifying experience from several months before. Mokuba had been missing for hours and Seto had directed his chauffeur to drive down a lonely country road looking for him.

"Stop!" Seto ordered abruptly. "I see him!" He opened the limo door and called to his brother, who looked up with a completely vacant expression. A dangerous knife gleamed in his small hand.

"Mokuba! What happened to you? What are you doing?!" Seto demanded as the boy climbed into the limo, fully intending to plunge the knife into Seto's flesh. "Did Noa do this to you?" he asked, grabbing Mokuba's wrist and restraining him from using the knife. "Why don't you remember me, little brother?" he asked. "Why don't you know me?"

Mokuba struggled to pull free and wound up cutting his brother's arm with the knife. Seto cried out in pain.
Mokuba jumped when he heard Seto's agonized scream. "Seto! What's wrong?" he gasped. His brother was clutching his left arm as if it was hurting him.

"Put the knife down, Mokuba," Seto pleaded. "You don't want to do this. . . . Please, Mokuba, snap out of it!"

"Big brother, I don't have a knife . . ." Mokuba trailed off. Seto must be reliving that awful experience when Mokuba had been poisoned by a zombie and placed under their control. He had had no control over what his body had been doing and he had nearly killed his brother.

The door opened and Yugi and his friends came in, looking worried. "Mokuba, what happened?" Yugi asked. "We heard that your brother had been injured!"

Mokuba looked up, his blue-gray eyes shining. "He got hurt fighting some jerk," he sobbed, trying to calm Seto down.

"Oh man," Joey said softly. "Is he in a lot of pain?"

Mokuba shrugged helplessly. Right now the mental pain that Seto was going through seemed to hurt him more than the physical injuries he'd sustained during his battle. Mokuba explained, "He was in the cold water fighting that creep and then the awful guy hurt him bad! Now he's delirious," he told them sadly, "and he's reliving the time the zombies took control of me and tried to make me kill him!"

"Poor Kaiba!" Tea looked horrified.

"Please remember me, Mokuba," Seto rasped sadly. "I'm your brother!"

"Man, I've never seen him like this," Joey exclaimed. "He's so weak and helpless, and usually he's so snappy and independent . . ."

Seto cried out again and then fell silent.

"Big brother, please, say something!" Mokuba asked frantically, rubbing at Seto's wrists. "He's unconscious again!"

"I'll get the doctor," Bakura volunteered, and hurried out the door.

"Mokuba, I'm so sorry this happened," Yugi said softly. "It must be very difficult for you to see your brother like this."

Mokuba nodded, trying not to cry. "He's all I have in the world," he whispered. "What will I do if he . . ."

Yugi laid a hand on the boy's shoulder comfortingly. "Have faith, Mokuba," he said softly. "Your brother will recover."

"You can't know that for sure," Mokuba replied in a voice that was barely above a whisper. "Maybe he won't!"

Yugi didn't have an answer for that.

Then Bakura returned with the doctor, who immediately went to examine Seto. He had only been conducting the exam for a moment when he shook his head sadly.

"What is it?" Mokuba asked, dreading the answer.

"I'm afraid he's gone into a coma," the doctor replied softly.

Everyone gasped.

"Doctor, how likely it is that he will regain consciousness?" Yugi asked, seeing that Mokuba was too stricken to say anything.

The doctor smiled. "He has quite a few things in his favor—he's young, he's strong, he generally has very good health . . . and he has his brother and all of you friends who want him to come back. He has a better chance than some . . . but that still doesn't mean for certain that he will pull through," he added quickly.

Yugi and the others nodded slowly.

"All we can do is wait and pray," the doctor said. "And talk to him," he told them. "They can often hear you, even if you think they can't." He turned to leave. "Have someone page me if there's any change."

Mokuba nodded. "You bet we will!" He hugged Seto tightly. "I know you'll come back, big brother," he whispered. "You won't leave me!"

"Man, Kaiba gets into the strangest situations," Joey remarked low, shaking his head.

"Unfortunately, when one is a multi-millionaire like Kaiba, you collect a lot of enemies," Tristan replied, and the others nodded in agreement.

"Do you think he'll be okay, Yugi?" Tea asked.

Yugi sighed and looked sad. "I don't know. I hope he will be."
Seto wished he knew how to escape the nightmares he was being forced to live. Now he was standing on the roof of a warehouse, holding Mokuba out over the edge. He was under the control of the mind drug!

He was forced to relive the torment of fighting with the drug for control of his body, forced to relive the pain and agony when he had defeated the drug and it had then tried to kill him.

Then the scene changed. He was laying on the floor, severely injured and bleeding, and Mokuba came in, the horrible, eerie, vacant look still present in his eyes.

"Mokuba . . . even if you don't still love and remember me, I still love you . . . I'll always love you, Mokuba . . ." He could feel his strength failing him.

Just as he was passing into the darkness, the vacant cloud lifted from Mokuba's eyes. "No, Seto, no! Don't go, big brother! I do remember you! I love you, Seto! Don't leave me!"

Seto struggled to hold on, but he knew it was fruitless. "I'm not going to make it, Mokuba," he rasped, holding his brother's hand one last time before the darkness closed in.

No, no, this can't be real! Seto screamed. I can't die! I can't!!
"How's he doin', Mokuba?" Joey asked. It was the second day Seto had been comatose, and Mokuba looked exhausted from staying up all through the night, praying for a miracle.

"He's still the same," Mokuba said sadly. "No change."

"Eh, poor guy," Joey remarked.

"I thought you didn't like my brother," Mokuba said.

Joey sighed. "Maybe not a whole lot, but at least he's pretty much changed from the way he was when we first knew him."

Yugi nodded in agreement. "But even if he wasn't, I still wouldn't want to see him get hurt like this."

"You're right, Yug. I wouldn't, either," Joey admitted.

"Come on, Seto . . . you've gotta fight," Mokuba pleaded. The last time he'd gone through one of these nightmarishly long vigils was when Seto had been brutally beaten for information he hadn't known and had been unconscious for a week as a result. "I love you, big brother!" Mokuba hugged the older boy tightly.
Seto found himself laying in a strange graveyard and looked up. "Where am I?" he demanded.

"The Shadow Realm," an eerily familiar voice replied.

Seto stood up and dusted himself off. "What?!"

"No one cares about you, Seto Kaiba," the evil Kaiba replied tauntingly. "You have no friends. Even your brother has turned on you. Your life is of no worth."

Seto's eyes narrowed in outrage. "Shut up. I'm not going to listen to you. My life is of worth—to me! And no matter how you try to torment me, I'll never believe that Mokuba doesn't love me. You've been torturing me with those delusions about Mokuba, but that's all they are—delusions! They're not real!"

"They are *very* real, Seto Kaiba," his evil counterpart sneered. "Face it—your brother doesn't love you anymore."

Seto clenched his fists angrily. "You've had your fun. You've tormented me while I was at death's door, unable to think clearly . . . but not anymore! You're not going to keep me here any longer. I'm going back!" He took a step forward and found himself falling through the ground and into complete darkness.
"Big brother? Can you hear me?"

Seto could hear Mokuba's voice from far away.

"I love you, Seto," Mokuba whispered. "If you can hear me, squeeze my hand." Seto could feel Mokuba's small hand take hold of his own. "Please, big brother . . ." Mokuba's voice broke and Seto knew the boy was about to cry.

Using almost all of his strength, Seto managed to wrap his fingers around his brother's hand and gave a weak squeeze.

Mokuba gasped. "Seto! You *can* hear me!" He hugged him tightly. "You're gonna be okay, I just know it!"

Seto was able to pat his brother's shoulder before his strength failed him and he fell unconscious again.
Mokuba looked up at the doctor triumphantly. "He squeezed my hand and then patted me on the shoulder! He's gonna be alright!"

The doctor smiled. "He is out of the coma. When he wakes up again, there's a good chance that he will be alright, and in his right mind."

"I know he'll be okay," Mokuba said confidently.
When Seto next came to his senses, he could hear familiar voices talking around him.

"Hey, I think the guy's waking' up," Joey announced.

"I hope so," Yugi exclaimed.

Mokuba laid a hand on Seto's shoulder. "Big brother?"

Seto managed to open his eyes and reached over to place his hand over Mokuba's. The younger boy stood still, his eyes wide, and then he embraced Seto, tears of joy falling from his eyes. "Oh, big brother, I knew you'd wake up!"

"And it's about time, man," Joey grinned.

Yugi nodded in agreement. "We were really worried about you, Kaiba."

Seto smiled crookedly and returned his brother's hug.

"I missed you so much, big brother," Mokuba whispered.

"I missed you, too, Mokuba," Seto said softly. "It's so good to see you again . . . the real you." He didn't elaborate.
Seto soon recovered completely and was back running things at his company. The man he'd been fighting was charged with embezzlement and attempted murder and was sent to prison.

Seto was in his office going over company reports when the door opened and Mokuba peeked in. "Big brother?"

Seto looked up and smiled. "What's up, Mokuba?"

Mokuba came in and sat down next to him. "I've been wondering, big brother—what did you mean when you said you were glad to see the real me?"

Seto sighed. "When I was delirious, that conniving snake that tried to make me turn evil those times in the past tortured me with some . . . disturbing scenarios," he finished finally.

Mokuba could tell that his brother didn't want to say any more about it. "I'm so sorry you had to go through that, big brother," he whispered, hugging him tightly.

Seto hugged him back, but didn't answer.

"I'm so glad you're back, Seto," Mokuba said softly.

"I am, too, Mokuba," Seto replied. "I am too."