Notes: Whee! It's been fun doing this little revision of parts of Stolen Memories. And very interesting. If you want a more detailed account of Rishid's recovery, check out Closer Than Brothers ^__^ Title comes because of the fact that Marik and Rishid aren't biological brothers, but I digress XD Anyway, I wrote that fic before I revised Stolen Memories, and now hopefully they both fit together even better ^__^ All hail sibling cuteness!





Epilogue

After everyone had gotten back to Domino City and had had a chance to recover from their experiences, they all gathered at Yugi's place to wrap up the final loose ends in the mystery. Even Rishid was there, having recovered from his horrible experience after Marik had came to him. He was still weak, but quite on the mend. Now he sat by Marik's side while Ishizu sat by the boy's other.

"It's so good to see everyone here safe and sound," Yugi declared with a smile, looking at each of his friends in turn. Everyone was there, including Duke and even Weevil.

"I just came for some answers," Weevil declared. "Such as, who were those crazy people who abducted me and Yugi?!"

Quickly Yugi and Tea explained about Seth's cult, leaving out for the time being the part about Seth himself being an escaped evil spirit from the Shadow Realm.

"I guess Marik must've seen some things he shouldn't have about their cult and that's how he wound up in the car crash," Joey remarked.

"That is true," Marik nodded solemnly. "I . . . I was in the woods when I saw a most horrible sight—a mangled body laying in the snow. I couldn't imagine who would have been responsible for such a thing, but I daresay I soon found out.

"Noticing a couple of cloaked figures in the distance, I decided to follow them. They led me to Seth's ship, where I saw many more gruesome scenes of torture." He shuddered, the horrid memories still fresh in his mind. "I had never seen so many examples of human torment before, and I was just leaving to report the atrocity to the police anonymously when I was accosted by several of the guards. When I tried to use my Rod to put them under mind control and let me leave in peace, they counter-acted it with a dark spell of their own.

"I had also seen them using their dark magic to summon Seth from the Shadow Realm, and when he saw me—or rather, when he saw that I had the Millennium Rod—he told his slaves to kill me and take the Rod from me. I found a van that they'd been using and took off, but they quickly followed." Marik went on to explain that the chase had eventually led them down the highway at breakneck speed.

"I do not remember crashing, nor do I recall loosing the Millennium Rod," Marik said now. "Perhaps I put it somewhere for safe-keeping until I could return for it and it wound up in the snow later on. But I cannot understand why no one else found it."

"It is your destiny to have it, brother," Ishizu told him softly. "Therefore, you were the one to retrieve it."

"I suppose so," Marik said slowly.

Joey crunched on a potato chip loudly. "Why the heck were all of us bein' stalked?!" he demanded.

Ishizu looked grave. "Seth's followers came from all parts of the city and from all walks of life. Seth wanted all of you dead anyway, and when he found that some of your past enemies were among his cult members, he was only too happy to let them attempt to get rid of you."

Marik nodded grimly. Another of the secrets he'd uncovered was that many of Seth's followers were people thought to be respectable in the city—police officers, firefighters, even a member of the city council. Obviously that sort of news was very destructive, and it was one of the other main reasons that they had tried to eliminate Marik.

"Kaiba, there's something I'd like to know," Tea said suddenly. She was sitting in between Seto and Yugi and didn't seem to mind that arrangement in the least. "Didn't you say you'd heard Betty talking on the phone right before she told us it wasn't working?"

Seto nodded. "I did."

"But she didn't seem to be mixed up in the cult," Tea said in confusion.

"I know." It didn't make sense to Seto, either—that Betty was talking on the phone about killing Seto and then turned right around and tried to help him and Tea.

"And why did those people kidnap the two of you?" Tristan wondered.

Seto leaned back, holding Mokuba close. "Now *that* I can answer. They were trying to take us to Seth."

Tea shuddered. "But they didn't know how to use dark magic, like some of Seth's cult members did, so they drugged us and threw us on a train."

"What's going to happen with those people anyway?" Duke wondered now. "Bakura's Yami sent them all to the Shadow Realm!"

Yugi looked serious. "Well, my Yami got them all back so that they could stand trial for their crimes," he said.

Joey paused, blinking. "Hey, I just thought of something—what were those freaky notes that Yugi kept getting? I have a hard time believin' that Seth's cult members would be taking the trouble to break into the school and sneak them into Yugi's desk."

Yugi glanced at Weevil, who looked away quickly. "Actually, I'm sure you're right, Joey," he said, continuing to look at the mop-haired boy. "I'm sure it wasn't them."

"What are you saying?" Weevil grumped under Yugi's scrutiny. "Do you think *I* did it?!"

"You said it, we didn't," Joey remarked, glaring daggers at the other boy. "Come on. Did you?"

Weevil growled. "So what if I did? It didn't do any harm."

"But why, Weevil?" Yugi asked.

Weevil crossed his arms. "I only wanted to scare you a little," he replied. "And . . ." He smirked. "I wanted to see if you'd be smart enough to figure it out. I'd heard about your reputation as a detective and decided to test you."

Joey clenched his fists. "Why you little . . ."

Yugi held out a hand to stop his friend from making any sudden moves. "Let's not worry about it, Joey. After all, he really didn't do any harm, and he did risk his own safety to warn me of danger."

Joey sighed in resignation and backed off.

Marik looked at the floor. He had to admit, he felt a bit uncomfortable being with those whom he had tormented so much in the past. It would take some getting used to. All of them had apologized for not trusting him before, but Marik had told each not to feel badly, that they had no reason to trust him.

Yugi looked at Marik worriedly. "Are you okay?" he asked.

Marik's head snapped up. "I . . . I am fine," he replied softly, but Yugi could see that something was bothering him. Rishid laid a strong hand on his brother's shoulder.

"Are you quite sure?" Bakura asked in concern.

Marik sighed. "It is just that . . . that I have been so diabolical to all of you. I do not deserve your kindness."

"But you're not the same person anymore," Tea said quietly.

"That's right," Bakura agreed with a smile. "You've seen that your past behavior was terrible and now you've changed."

"We've all seen that you're different now," Tristan said.

Joey laid a hand on Marik's other shoulder. "Yeah, man. You saved our hides back in that warehouse, and you nearly got yourself killed in the process. You really have changed."

Marik managed a slight smile. Yes, he had repented. And now it seemed he had friends after all. And of course he had his family. He would always have them.

"Oh, speaking of the warehouse . . ." Mai paused, looking uncomfortable. "It was strange. . . . When I was trying to chop the door down with the Rod's knife, I could've sworn I heard your voice encouraging me," she said softly to Marik.

Marik smiled. "You did. I had fallen unconscious by that time due to a harsh blow I received and also from the fumes that were all around me." Now he paused. "I don't know . . . it was odd, almost as if I had astral-projected myself somehow, but I saw you and the others trying to escape and I called out encouragement to you, praying that you would all make it out safely. Then I returned to my body, and I don't remember anything else until I awoke with Ishizu kneeling next to me."

The others were silent as they digested this information, unsure of exactly what to say.

Finally Yugi smiled and said, "Well, Joey's right—you have changed. And we all forgive you for your past wrongdoings. Isn't that right, guys?" The others all nodded in agreement. "You're our friend now, Marik," Yugi declared.

Marik's eyes brightened and he smiled softly. "I will never betray your friendship," he vowed, thinking that perhaps his bout with amnesia had actually been a blessing in disguise.

Ishizu was thinking the same thing. Marik had needed friends. Now he had them. If this experience hadn't happened, he might not have found them. She laid a hand on his with a smile and Rishid followed suit.

Joey grinned. "Friends to the end!" he declared as he crunched on another potato chip. The others firmly agreed.