Mmkay, there are TWO separate timelines going on, and I have to introduce the other. Well, I had to in the last chapter. Here is the next chapter for the alternate timeline.


Seto shivered, holding his brother close as the belt descended again, bruising his otherwise creamy white skin. Mokuba began to cry harder, clinging to him for protection. Seto would never let anything happen to his brother.

Even if it meant his own pain.

For weeks, they had been punished for trivial things. Once, Mokuba left the peanut butter on the counter after trying to make a sandwich, and Gozabura had nearly tried to kill him.

But running wasn't an option. They had tried it already.

The night had been cold, and it had been raining. They ran, as fast as their feet would carry them. They had gotten far away, or at least to a couple of children who were cold and tired, it was far away.

Someone had just taken them right back to the man, so he could punish them again.

Finally, the belt was put back on, and Gozabura left the two boys there, on the floor, crying. Of course, Seto would never cry in front of him.


Seto hugged Mokuba fiercely, placing kisses to the small boy's head. "It's okay Itouto-chan. I won't let him hurt you, okay?"

Mokuba nodded, his tiny hands clutching the fabric of Seto's shirt. He trusted his brother.


Jou winced as another bottle came flying through the air, directed at him. It missed of course, but as it shattered against the wall, some of the glass hit him, and the bitter alcohol left in the bottom splattered on his clothes.

Hopefully, the man would pass out before he got to the actual beating.

That seemed to be the routine lately. Jou would come home from school, where he was a bully, hide in his room until his father passed out on the couch, then try to keep him asleep so he wouldn't get beaten.

Of course, this rarely worked. The only joy Jou ever felt was when his sister called to tell him how good things were going with their mother. And how much she missed him.

It kept him going to know that someone still cared for him. And that she was safe. All he had left of her was a picture of their family, before the divorce. Before his father became a raging drunk who had given up on life. Before his mother had abandoned him to a monster.

Unfortunately, the man grabbed Jou by the hair and proceeded to yell and cuss at him, slamming him against the wall.

Sometime later, Jou managed to drag himself to his room, where he lay down.


Seto watched over Mokuba's sleeping form, as he rubbed his arm.


Jou glanced at his picture, a hand on his bruised chest.


Tears in his eyes, bare-chested Seto began to count his bruises.


Trembling in pain, Jou began to count his bruises.


A/N: GOD! This was so short and crappy! Luckily, I'm back on track with where I wanna go with this, so the next chappies should be much longer! GOMEN FOR BEING A CRAPPY AUTHOR! I'M NOT WORTHY! ::bows to the readers, if any, and grovels to the reviwers::