Yu-Gi-Oh!
The Evil Experiment
By Lucky_Ladybug
Notes: As always, the YGO characters aren't mine! The basic story idea is from a Jedi Apprentice book of the same title, but the details are all mine! Thanx to JP for his help! ^_^ **passes out Kleenex.**
The woman sat in her well-lit laboratory, studying the vial in her hands thoughtfully. After many long months of constant, back-breaking labor, she had finally completed the drug she had been planning out for so long. Her hard work had paid off at last.

She held the vial up to the light, gently swishing the oddly-colored liquid inside. Now she needed someone to test the drug on. And it couldn't be just anyone, either. Only the strongest and the most noble person would do. Otherwise the test would be pointless. And she knew exactly who she wanted—she had planned it for months.

The woman stood up, replacing the vial back in the vault in the corner of the room. As she turned, she glanced at a picture on the front page of the latest newspaper. "He is the perfect subject," she murmured. "He is the only person I know of who could possibly fit the requirements for my test." She picked up the paper and stared at it intently. "He has survived so much in his short life. . . . What he has been put through over the years would have been more than enough to destroy a simple-minded entity. This one must be incredibly strong-willed. I wonder what the driving force is behind that?" She set the paper down again, turning to the door. "But even the strongest person must be able to be broken . . . somehow." Her voice was dark and sinister as she contemplated this.

She called to her assistant, who was just outside the door. "Find the others and then all of you bring me this boy," she ordered, handing him the paper.

He stared at the picture in disbelief. "But Dr. Portman . . ." he protested.

"Bring him." Dr. Portman didn't raise her voice, adding an extra sense of terror to her order. "I don't care what you have to do. But know that he won't come peaceably. Just bring him in one piece and I'll take it from there. He is the one I want for my experiment. No one else will do."

"Yes, Ma'am," the big man quavered. Quickly he turned and disappeared down the hall. Dr. Portman watched him go, a wicked smirk playing on her lips.

Soon, she vowed silently. Soon I will discover what keeps you alive. And then I will completely break you down, just to prove that it can be done.
****
Seto Kaiba finished his work and leaned back in his chair, idly looking out the window. Being the CEO of a multi-national company was very exhausting and not always fun—but it was profitable.

And he had Mokuba to think of. He had to keep his brother safe and well cared for. At least the money he made from his company kept Mokuba well-fed and clothed, he thought as he stood up. It was definitely time to call it a day.

He slowly walked downstairs and out of the building, looking around for his limo. Suddenly a dark figure stepped in front of him, concealed by the many shadows of the still night. "Seto Kaiba?"

Seto stared back defensively, feeling the need to protect himself from this unknown person. "What is it?"

"My master wants you to come with me," the man replied, stepping forward.

Seto tensed, narrowing his eyes. "And what if I refuse?"

The man grabbed Seto's arm fiercely. "I'm afraid that's not an option."

Undaunted, Seto kicked out hard, sending the man flying against the wall. He turned to run, but then the man was on him, bringing him to the ground.

The two grappled viciously on the sidewalk, each getting the upper hand for a brief moment before being overpowered by the other. Seto eventually wound up the victor, and he glared at the man as he kept him down on the pavement. "Now. I want some answers, and I want them now," the blue-eyed boy growled low.

The man didn't seem too worried. "Of course, Seto Kaiba. I'll tell you anything you want to know."

Without warning, Seto suddenly found himself caught in a chokehold as a second man came up from behind and grabbed him around the neck. He gasped, letting go of the first man to fight with his new opponent. Unfortunately, that gave the first man the opportunity to also grab Seto. The boy struggled, rage evident in his eyes. He kicked out at the first man, hitting him in the chest and sending him back again, this time against a lamppost.

"You fight well," the second man complimented, pressing unbearably on Seto's throat. Colors swirled in front of the poor boy's eyes, but he refused to give up. He tried to reach up to squeeze a pressure point on the man's arm, but the man was too quick for him.

A sudden immense pain shot through Seto's body and it was all he could do not to scream. "What . . . what are you doing to me?" he choked out.

"Oh, this is only a minor dosage," the man replied, pressing once more against the boy's throat. "Surely the great Seto Kaiba won't be broken already?"

Seto didn't answer at first. He couldn't breathe, and the pain was quickly becoming more intense. "I don't know what you're up to," he now gasped with his last conscious breath, "but I will not be broken." The fiery pain combined with the pressure on his throat was too much.

The man smirked as the boy fell limp in his arms. "We'll see," he muttered, dragging Seto's body into a dark alley. "We'll just see."
****
Mokuba hung up the phone in despair. Seto wasn't at his office, and he also wasn't answering his cell phone. "He must be hurt," the little boy wailed. "He'd answer his phone if he was at all able to!"

Velma tried to pat his shoulder reassuringly. "I'm sure he's okay," she said soothingly.

"He's hurt!" Mokuba sobbed. "Yugi hasn't seen him either! Seto wouldn't just go off somewhere and not call to tell me!"

Velma knew that was true. "I'll call the police," she said softly. "Don't worry, honey—we'll find your brother."

Mokuba nodded, feeling numb.
****
Seto awoke slowly, feeling a hard, cold wall against his back. What was going on? What was he doing up against a wall? He pulled and found that he seemed to be stuck. I'm chained, he realized. But why?

"Hello, Seto Kaiba. I do hope your nap was pleasant."

Seto struggled to open his eyes at the sound of the voice. He felt like a huge cloud of fog had settled over his mind. "Who are you?" he mumbled, still not fully in control of his voice. As his eyesight came into focus, he found himself staring at a vaguely familiar woman bending down to look him in the eyes.

The woman's lips pulled back in a chilling smile. "You will call me Dr. Portman."

Seto struggled vainly against the chains binding him. Now he realized that he had been stripped of both his trenchcoat and his shirt. That annoyed him greatly, but he had other things to worry about now. "I don't need a doctor," he growled, his eyes narrowing.

"No, you don't," Dr. Portman agreed. "You're in perfect health . . . at least for now."

Seto felt a chill run up his spine. Her meaning was quite obvious—she intended to do some kind of harm to him.

"But then, I'm not the kind of doctor you were thinking of," Dr. Portman continued smoothly, the icy smile never leaving her face.

"Oh? Then what kind are you? A mad scientist?" Seto spat the words out, his anger building.

Dr. Portman laughed. It was a dry, empty sound dripping with wickedness. "Oh, come now, Seto Kaiba. . . . There are no mad scientists—only brilliant geniuses who aren't appreciated for what they can do!"

Seto narrowed his eyes. Now he remembered who the woman was. He had seen her being interviewed on television many times about her latest scientific advances, and she had came to the last couple of press conferences he had held, for unknown reasons. "And what exactly is it that you want with me?" he demanded.

Dr. Portman smiled again. "You'll find out all in good time," she replied. "You see, I conduct experiments," she explained.

Seto again felt the rage boiling within him. "You won't be conducting any on me," he vowed forcefully.

"We shall see." Dr. Portman turned to examine one of her charts. "You see, Seto Kaiba, there is something I have been wondering for a very long time—what is it that keeps a person fighting for their life against all odds? I realize it is different in every case." She turned back to face him. "You . . . you, having been through so much, would ordinarily have gone completely insane by now. What is it that motivates you to never give in? Is it your greed? Your desire to again be the world's best Duelist?"

Seto narrowed his eyes. "Nothing so trivial." True—someday beating Yugi was important to him, but nowhere near as important as . . .

Dr. Portman came close, standing nose to nose with him. "What, then?" she demanded. "What is it that keeps you alive?"

Seto didn't answer. He only glared at her, steely-eyed.

Dr. Portman smiled knowingly. "I didn't think you'd tell me willingly. But I will find out," she vowed. "And then I will see if it is possible to completely break you down."

"You will never have the satisfaction of breaking me," Seto replied fiercely. "Whatever it is you want to do to me, you will be greatly disappointed at the results."

Dr. Portman didn't answer. Instead she walked over to the safe and removed the vial. Carefully and precisely she filled a syringe with the drug and then turned back around, holding it in front of Seto's eyes.

"What is that?" Seto demanded.

"This," the woman replied with a dangerous smile, "is what I have been working so long to create." She came closer.

Seto tried to fight her, but his arms and legs were all tightly bound and there was little he could do. But still he struggled. He would never just willingly allow her to do whatever it was she wanted.

Dr. Portman smirked at him again. "You are quite the fighter, aren't you?" she remarked. "It will be interesting to see how long you can resist." She struck him sharply across the face, causing his head to slam back hard into the wall, but Seto only clenched his teeth and didn't make a sound. While the boy was still dazed from the harsh knock he'd just taken, Dr. Portman plunged the needle into his neck, releasing the vile drug into his system. "Now we shall see how strong you truly are."

Again the intense pain began to overwhelm Seto, but the boy bravely fought against it and struggled not to scream. "It . . . it will take more than this to . . . to break me," he choked out.

Dr. Portman had half-expected his response. "But there *is* more, my friend," she informed him, completely undaunted. "So much more."

The pain grew worse with every passing second. Seto felt as though every inch of his body was on fire. But still he did not scream. He would focus his mind on other things—anything other than the pain. He could not allow this wicked woman to win.

His thoughts turned to Mokuba. The poor kid must be worried sick about him. How long had he been trapped here? He had no way of knowing. He wasn't even sure what day it was.

"Seto? Big brother?"

Seto wrenched his left eye open and looked around. It couldn't be, he thought to himself. But he heard Mokuba calling to him—he knew he had!

And then he saw him. Mokuba was running frantically through Dr. Portman's lab, calling Seto's name over and over.

"Mokuba!" Seto screamed. "Get out of here! Please . . . just get out!" There was no telling what that doctor would do if she found him in there!

Dr. Portman perked up, hearing Seto's cries. "Mokuba?" she mused. "I wonder who he is. He must be immensely important to Mr. Kaiba," she decided.

Seto watched in horror as a burly, evil-looking man appeared behind Mokuba and wrenched his arms back. The younger boy let out a shriek of agony and struggled to free himself. "Mokuba!!!" Seto screamed, trying to break free of the chains binding him to the wall. The pain flared up again, but Seto didn't care. He had to rescue his brother! "You monster!! Let my brother go!!" He pulled harder, but the chains didn't give in.

A knowing smile slowly spread across Dr. Portman's face. Mokuba was her prisoner's brother. Of course. Now she remembered reading about Mokuba in another newspaper article a long time ago, one which had told of how Seto had risked his life to save the younger boy from an escaped convict who had kidnapped him. Seto Kaiba loved his brother more than anything or anyone. She realized that that was what kept him alive during the intense times when he had been nearly dead—his love for his brother and his determination to never leave Mokuba all alone.

"Seto!!" Mokuba screamed. "Please, big brother!! Please rescue me!!!"

The burly man grabbed Mokuba viciously and wrapped his hand around the boy's neck.

"Let him go!!!!" Seto let out a cry of agony as he realized there was nothing he could do. Mokuba fell limp in the man's arms and he then carelessly threw the little boy's body hard against the wall where Seto was chained. "Mokuba," Seto said softly, struggling again to get free. "Please, little brother. . . . Please get up!" Tears filled his eyes.

If Dr. Portman had had a heart, Seto's pained cries would have stabbed her. But her heart had grown cold years before, and the boy's stricken and heart-broken expression meant nothing to her—except that things were going exactly as planned.

She moved up next to Seto and forced him to look at her. "You see, Seto Kaiba," she told him now, "this drug brings your worst fears to life. Now I see what you fear most—that something terrible will happen to your precious brother and you won't be able to do a thing to stop it!"

Seto turned his gaze away, trying to look down at Mokuba again. What was she talking about? This was no drug-induced hallucination—Mokuba was right here, laying on the floor next to him! Then he knew. Dr. Portman must have kidnapped Mokuba as well—and for the sole purpose of making Seto go crazy. He gave a strangled cry. "You witch!! You devil!!" He strained against the chains, wanting more than anything to take his brother into his arms and hold him close, protecting him from whatever evil they were trying to inflict upon him.

"What you are seeing is not real," Dr. Portman said with a certain amount of satisfaction, "but you are convinced it is." She found another syringe. "This session has gone perfectly. Now, Seto Kaiba, you will take a nap until I want your services once more." She injected the new drug into the boy's arm, and he felt himself grow exhausted.

"No," he said weakly. "I have to get to Mokuba! I . . . I have to . . ." He trailed off with a groan, falling unconscious.

Dr. Portman set the empty syringe back on her table and observed her captive, smiling triumphantly. So the great Seto Kaiba had his weaknesses too, just as she had thought. He wasn't the all-powerful, strong boy the newspaper had made him out to be. All Dr. Portman had to do was continue to let her drug push the right buttons, and she would have that boy completely devastated within a short time. After a few sessions, he wouldn't even need the drug to see these hallucinations, and Dr. Portman would prove that every person was capable of being broken—no matter how strong they might appear to be.

Her reasoning made perfect sense to her, even though anyone else would be able to obviously see that the woman was completely devoid of sanity. That is what made her so extremely dangerous.
****
Mokuba ran to Yugi's grandfather's game shop, tears flowing from his eyes. He had been to the KaibaCorp building, the Kaiba Land dueling park, and to anywhere else he thought his brother might have gone to—but there was no sign of Seto anywhere. He knew Yugi and his friends would help him look, so he opened the door frantically and went inside.

Grampa Muto was behind the counter, and he looked up at the sound of the door opening. "We're closed . . ." he started to say, but then he saw who had entered. "Mokuba!" he cried in disbelief. "What is wrong?"

Mokuba came up to the counter, the tears still coursing down his face. "My brother's missing!" he wailed.

Grampa Muto walked out from around the counter, looking concerned. "Have you told the police?" he asked seriously.

Mokuba nodded. "They can't figure out where he would've gone to!" he cried.

Grampa Muto gently put his arm around the boy and led him to the stairs at the back of the shop. "Come with me, Mokuba," he said comfortingly. "Yugi and the others are still here. We will all help you find your brother."

Mokuba managed a weak smile. "Thank you," he said softly. "I knew you'd help!"

Yugi was talking with Joey, Tristan, Tea, Bakura, and Marik when Mokuba and Grampa Muto came up into the living room, and all the teens stood up in surprise when they saw the little boy's distressed and tear-streaked face.

"Mokuba!" Yugi gasped.

"Haven't you found your brother yet?" Joey asked in concern.

Mokuba shook his head. "I've looked everywhere!" he wailed. "Seto's hurt—I know he must be!" A dark feeling of immense unease had been building in him ever since he realized that Seto should have been home before.

Tea knelt next to him, trying to smile reassuringly even though she felt as though she herself might start crying. "We'll find him, Mokuba," she said softly. "He'll be alright."

Mokuba continued to sob and Tea pulled him close, her blue eyes shining worriedly.

"Hey," Joey said suddenly, staring at the TV.

"What do you see?" Marik asked, also turning his attention to the television.

"That's Dr. Alice Portman," Joey said, pointing at the screen. "She's being interviewed or something."

"Who's Alice Portman?" Tristan asked teasingly. "Your latest crush?"

Joey looked steamed. "No, wise guy! You've heard of her—she's that real famous local scientist!"

Mokuba blinked. "I recognize her," he said softly, feeling confused.

Yugi turned up the volume to see what was being said, feeling that somehow this Dr. Portman was someone they needed to pay close attention to.

"Dr. Portman," a reporter was asking, "what is your latest project?"

Alice Portman smiled, looking collected and confident. "I have just completed my latest project," she told the reporter smoothly. "It's a revolutionary discovery, and it's in the testing stages now."

"Can you tell us more about it?" another reporter wanted to know.

"It's quite confidential for now," Dr. Portman replied, "but I will say that it will be extremely useful in dealing with any future threats to our country." With that she walked through the clamoring reporters and off the screen.

"I wonder what she's up to," Tea mused, looking concerned. "Something didn't seem right somehow."

"I felt it too," Bakura said softly, his brown eyes wide. "Mokuba, do you remember where you recognize her from?"

Mokuba struggled to think. "She . . . she came to my brother's last press conferences," he recalled at last. "I remember thinking that she seemed awfully interested in just watching Seto."

"Maybe she has a crush on the guy," Joey shrugged.

Mokuba shook his head adamantly. "No, it wasn't that kind of a look," he insisted. "It was a cold, calculating, business kind of look. I thought maybe she wanted to talk about some kind of a business deal after the conference, but she never approached Seto at all. She just kinda watched him from a distance until the security guards led her away."

The teens looked at each other, exchanging a silent message between them. They all felt that this Alice Portman was not the person she appeared to be on television. But what interest would she have in Seto Kaiba? That was what none of them could figure out. The pieces absolutely did not fit.

"What kinds of stuff does this Dr. Portman do?" Tristan wondered now.

Joey paused. "I dunno," he admitted. "I think she kinda mixes up formulas and stuff like that."

"Well, that's a big help," Tea sighed.

Mokuba looked up at them worriedly. "You don't think she did something to Seto, do you?!" he cried.

Now Yugi paused. "I don't know why she would," he said slowly, "but it does seem strange that she would show such an interest in your brother." He stood up. "I think we'd better try to find out more about her—and about this project she's doing."
****
Seto's return to consciousness was slow. He felt extremely weak and he could barely move. What had happened?!

"What are you seeing is not real. What are you seeing is not real."

The words echoed over and over in his memory, and suddenly he remembered. "Mokuba," he rasped softly, trying to open his eyes. It felt more like he was trying to lift a two-ton anvil and he soon gave up the effort.

Instead he tried to put the broken pieces back together in his mind. It had seemed so real . . . so hauntingly, excruciatingly real—but Dr. Portman said that it wasn't.

Of course!

Now that Seto's mind was clear, everything made sense. It *had* been a drug-induced hallucination. It truly wasn't real. If he could just remember that the next time he was forced to endure those horrors, maybe he could still come out of this unscathed. He had to get away from here somehow, but he knew that wasn't an option while he was helplessly chained to the wall. For now he was forced to endure the torment that this witch inflicted on him.

"Good morning, Seto Kaiba."

Seto didn't answer. If Dr. Portman thought he was still asleep, maybe she'd leave him alone. Even if the scenes weren't reality, he couldn't bear to go through them again. They had seemed so vividly real. . . . It had felt authentic when Mokuba was thrown against the wall. . . . Seto had felt as though his heart would break.

His thoughts were interrupted as Dr. Portman slapped him across the face. "I know you're awake, so there's no use pretending you're not," she told him, and Seto was certain she had that same sneer on her face.

Seto forced his eyes open. He would be brave and face things with dignity. "You are diabolical," he hissed.

"Now what kind of a greeting is that?" Dr. Portman scolded smoothly. "I was merciful enough to allow you to rest for a few hours after your . . . experience."

Seto grunted. "You know as well as I do that it wasn't for my benefit." He was starving. When was the last time he'd eaten? Two days ago? Three? "Anything you do to me that might seem like a kindness is actually done solely to help your own purposes," he said coldly.

Dr. Portman was actually glad to see that Seto was in his usual icy, fighting mood. It would make this session that much more interesting.

She held up the syringe. "Well, my friend, I'd love to continue this conversation, but I'm afraid we need to begin again."

Seto struggled. "Don't come near me," he said low, his expression threatening and harsh.

Dr. Portman only laughed. "There is nothing you can do about it, Seto Kaiba. You are helplessly chained to the wall, while I am able to run free!" She advanced on him, but Seto was ready for her. When she tried to lean forward to inject the needle, he banged his head sharply against hers, causing her to become disoriented and drop the syringe.

Dr. Portman looked up at him with an expression of shock, amusement, and anger all rolled into one. "Nice try," she said viciously, "but it only briefly prolonged your freedom." She picked up the needle and violently jabbed it into his arm. "Now you will descend into madness once more!"

Seto clenched his teeth as the pain began, trying to focus his thoughts on other things. He had to remember that this wasn't real. Whatever he saw was an illusion. Mokuba was fine. He wasn't hurt . . .

He trailed off as he saw his helpless brother being beaten viciously. Mokuba screamed in pain as his assailant viciously pounded him with various weapons. "Big brother!!" the little boy screamed. "Big brother, why aren't you coming to rescue me?!" He was bleeding from numerous horrible wounds all over his small body and his gray eyes were tortured and scared.

Seto couldn't stand it. This couldn't be an illusion. It was real! Mokuba was being hurt, and Seto wouldn't allow it to keep happening. He struggled once more against the chains. The pain overwhelmed and weakened him, but he couldn't let that keep him from getting to his brother. "Mokuba!!" he cried heart-breakingly, trying desperately to wrench his arms free.

"Big brother!!" Mokuba screamed again. "Please come, Seto. . . ." He was interrupted by another violent pounding. "If you don't come, it . . . it'll be too late. . . ." The boy trailed off, his gray eyes closing.

"Little brother!!!!" Seto strained at the tight shackles, but it was hopeless. There was nothing he could do.

The man tormenting Mokuba paused and threw water on the boy, forcing him to regain consciousness only so he could continue to feel the pain of the beating.

Seto was infuriated. "You monster!!! He's just a kid!!" He struggled once more. "If you don't let him go, I'll break every bone in your body!!"

"You're in no position to threaten me," the man replied, viciously striking Mokuba on the head. Blood poured from the deadly wound and the little boy fell back, disbelief on his face.

"Seto . . ." he choked out, and Seto felt completely helpless. His heart shattered into a million pieces.

"Mokuba," he said, his voice cracking, "hang in there, kid. . . . Please. . . . I'm coming, Mokuba. . . ." He pulled with all his strength, but the pain shot through him again and he fell back against the wall, gasping.

Mokuba continued to stare at him in disbelief, his gray eyes starting to glaze over. "Seto. . . . You . . . you didn't come for me," he sobbed. "You didn't save me, Seto. Why didn't you . . . come?" The last sentence was barely discernable as Mokuba fell lifeless.

The color drained from Seto's face. "Mokuba!!!!!" he screamed in agony. "No . . . he . . . he can't be. . . ."

"It's your fault, Seto Kaiba! Your brother is dead and it's your fault!"

The voices echoed around him, their haunting tones becoming louder and more pronounced. Seto couldn't bear it.

"Stop!!!" he yelled. "Stop!!!!!"

Dr. Portman observed all this with interest. "You're not really as strong as they said, are you, Seto Kaiba?" she remarked. "All I had to do was play on your worst fear and you completely lost it."

Tears spilled over onto Seto's cheeks as he tried to silence the condemning voices in his head, but nothing he did could get them to cease their accusations.

"Why didn't you save your brother, Seto? Why did you let him die?"

"I didn't let him die!!!!!" Seto screamed, but he knew that the voices spoke the truth. In his tortured mind, it didn't matter that he was chained to the wall with no possible way of getting free—he still had let his brother down. He had failed the one person he had promised to always be there for. "Mokuba . . ." He was sobbing uncontrollably by now, so very different from his usually stern, cold persona. "Little brother. . . . Can you ever forgive me?"

His voice was so anguished that Dr. Portman paused and looked at him with a twinge of regret. Was what she was doing really right? Of course, she said to herself now. After all, this had to be tested on someone. If not Seto Kaiba, it would have been someone else.
****
Mokuba sighed in despair, his gray eyes pooling with tears again. They had been all over the city—had stayed up all night long, in fact—but there was no trace of Dr. Portman's laboratory, and no one could seem to tell them anything about the woman either. She seemed to be a very secretive person who didn't make friends.

"My brother's in agony!" the little boy wailed. "I know he is!!" He was keeping a constant prayer in his heart that they would find Seto soon, but things didn't look hopeful.

Tea had the same feelings. "We have to keep trying," she said determinedly. "Let's all split up and see what we can find out," she directed. She went with Joey, Yugi with Marik, Tristan with Bakura, and then Mokuba opted to go with Joey and Tea.

"There's gotta be someone who has at least an idea of where this dame hangs out!" Joey cried, messing his hair up in frustration.

Tea took a deep breath. "Let's ask in here," she said finally, going up to a scientific research building. Joey and Mokuba followed, praying that they would get some answers.

"Can I help you?" the receptionist asked.

Mokuba ran up to her desk pleadingly. "Please, can you tell us where Dr. Alice Portman's laboratory is?" he begged.

The receptionist blinked. "I'm sorry, I have no clue," she said, shaking her head.

"But we've gotta find her!" Mokuba cried.

"I'm sorry," the receptionist said again.

Another woman came hurrying out from a back room. "Excuse me," she said, "did I hear that you're looking for Alice Portman?"

Tea nodded. "We are. It's urgent that we find her immediately!"

The woman nodded. "Did someone you love disappear?" she asked softly.

Mokuba blinked. "Yes!" he cried. "My brother!"

"I'm so sorry," the woman said, laying a hand on his shoulder.

"Hey, how did you know?" Joey asked suspiciously.

The woman straightened up. It was obvious from the look in her eyes that she didn't want to say too much in front of Mokuba. "Well, it can't be proven that she's responsible," she said slowly, "but every time Alice Portman gets close to finishing one of her projects, someone usually vanishes."

Mokuba was horrified. "Haven't the police investigated?!" he demanded.

"They have," the woman admitted, "but they can never find anything."

"Where is her laboratory?" Tea asked now.

"It's up in the canyons," the woman said gravely and gave them directions. "But don't try to go up there alone," she warned. "Get the police to go with you."
****
Seto was going crazy. He couldn't make the voices stop. And he had failed his brother. He had just let him die.

"What kind of brother are you, Seto Kaiba?" one voice said accusingly. "You couldn't save Mokuba!"

"You don't deserve to live," said another.

Millions of spirits appeared before the tortured boy's eyes and advanced on him, prepared to beat him to death.

One sad spirit appeared in front of them all, and Seto cried in horror. "Mokuba!!"

The little boy's ghost just looked at Seto with tragic gray eyes. "Seto, you said you'd always be there for me!" he wailed. "But you weren't there for me, and now they killed me! Why didn't you come, Seto? Why did you just let them kill me?!"

Seto tried to reply, but he found his voice wasn't working properly. His brother's eyes were haunting him, piercing right through to his very soul. "Mokuba . . ." he rasped softly. "Little brother . . . how can you ever forgive me?"

Mokuba's ghost just continued to stare at him, his gray eyes full of sadness. Seto couldn't stand it any longer. He tried to fight through this insanity. Somewhere in the back of his mind he heard Dr. Portman's voice again explaining that this was not real. But . . . how could it not be?

"Stop!!" he cried, tears coursing down his face as he looked away from Mokuba's heart-breaking gaze. "Stop!!!" His body shook with sobs. "What did I do to deserve this?! I couldn't even save my brother. . . . Mokuba's dead because of me! What did he do to deserve such a careless brother as I am?!" He couldn't take any more of this.

Dr. Portman crossed her arms. The drug had worn off ages ago, but the boy was still having the horrid hallucinations. "The test is completed," she decided. "My drug is a success! He has descended into the depths of insanity."

She observed Seto's tormented form thoughtfully. The fight seemed to have completely gone out of him. He was crying and pleading for his brother to forgive him and saying that he didn't deserve to live. "I couldn't save Mokuba," he choked out. "I deserve to die!"

Dr. Portman shook her head. "Seto Kaiba, reduced to this?" She hadn't quite planned on what she would do with him when the test was completed, but it was obvious that she couldn't turn him loose in his condition. After watching him for another minute, she opened the door to the lab and called to her henchmen. "He is of no further use to me, nor to anyone else in his state," she told them. "Finish him off."

The henchmen watched Seto's pained cries, feeling quite disturbed at this sight, but they soon got over it and picked up their weapons.

Seto looked up. The spirits had begun to beat him now, but there wasn't much he could do about it. He sank deeper into his despair, crying out when he was struck violently across the forehead. "Mokuba," he whispered softly. His brother's ghost was still standing there, but he didn't make any move to stop the other spirits.

"Seto!!!"

The boy blinked, ignoring the latest wave of pain in order to concentrate on the voice he had just heard.

"Seto, you've gotta hang in there, big brother!!" Mokuba's pleading voice came to him then. Seto could see it wasn't the ghost watching him who had spoken.

Seto fought again to rise from the madness. This wasn't real!! he tried to tell himself. Mokuba wasn't dead!!

But then again . . . what if hearing his brother's precious voice in his mind was what was fantasy? Seto had watched his brother die right in front of his eyes, and the ghost was now standing silently to the side, watching Seto's torment but still not making a move to help him. How could that not be real?

"Little brother . . . I've failed you," he whispered.

"I love you, Seto!!"

There was that voice again. Seto struggled to regain control of his mind. He couldn't let himself go insane! Somehow he knew he had to keep fighting for his life. Mokuba—the real Mokuba—hadn't given up on him, and Seto couldn't give up either.
****
"This is the place," the policeman said grimly as the squad cars stopped in front of the building among the trees. "You kids had better stay here until we know what we're dealing with. We've been trying to prove that Dr. Portman has been behind these mysterious disappearances for a long time."

"We've gotta come!" Joey said stubbornly.

"She might have my brother!" Mokuba cried, his eyes shining frantically.

Before the officers could reply, one of them caught sight of a figure exiting through a back door. "That could be her," the policewoman cried, and they moved forward.

"Come on!" Tea directed, and they rushed forward as well.

The woman looked around as she was surrounded by the officers. "I have done nothing!" she declared. Joey recognized her as definitely being Alice Portman.

"We'll see about that," one of the officers replied coldly.

"Where's my brother?!" Mokuba screamed.

Dr. Portman turned to look down at him. "Your brother?" she repeated.

"Seto Kaiba's my brother!!" Mokuba declared. "What have you done to him?!"

Dr. Portman paused. Why shouldn't the public know what she had been up to? This time she had come up with something truly ingenious. "Nothing that I wouldn't have done to someone else with his strength," she replied evenly. "My revolutionary discovery needed a subject to be tested on."

"What are you talking about?!" Mokuba screamed.

"I don't think she has all her marbles!" Joey cried in disbelief. "Are you actually admitting to us that you used poor Kaiba in one of your experiments?!"

Dr. Portman shrugged. "I had to test my substance on the strongest person I could find, and your brother just happened to be the one," she said.

The police officer nearest to her narrowed his eyes in disgust. "Do you realize what you are saying?"

Dr. Portman didn't look fazed. "I had to do it. I have created a drug so powerful it will break even the strongest and most noble of persons. It is the perfect weapon to use against our enemies!"

Tea couldn't believe what she hearing. "You couldn't break Seto Kaiba!" she cried.

"But I have," the woman replied. "You see, this drug brings out the victim's worst fears and magnifies them until they can stand it no longer! Not even Seto Kaiba could withstand it!"

"No!" Mokuba screamed, tears pouring down his face. Without another word he turned and ran inside the building before anyone could stop him.

"I've heard enough," the police officer grunted. "You're under arrest, Dr. Portman."

Tea and Joey didn't wait to hear more. They ran into the building, chasing after Mokuba and praying that they would find Seto was still alive.

"How could anyone be so abominable?!" Tea cried, her blue eyes filling with tears.

Joey shook his head. He had the weird feeling that in Dr. Portman's demented mind, she thought she was doing something good to help the country by creating such a substance. What puzzled him was how anyone could crack up so terribly as to not see how cruel and evil their acts were. "Kaiba!!" he called, glancing around. "Hey man, where are you?!"

Tea ran alongside beside the Brooklyn boy, praying that they would find Seto before Mokuba did.

Joey opened the door to another room and then stood still. "Oh man," he said softly.

"What?!" Tea demanded.

"Don't come in," Joey told her, slamming the door shut in her face and turning to look at Seto's tormented body in horror.

The other boy was still helplessly chained to the wall and was bleeding from many wounds all over his bare chest and arms. His breathing came in short, ragged gasps and his eyes were still open, but Joey couldn't tell whether Seto recognized him or not. Something much worse had happened to the boy than this physical beating, Joey knew.

"Kaiba?" Joey whispered in alarm.

"I failed my brother," Seto rasped, his blue eyes listless and lackluster. "He's dead because of me."

"Come on, Kaiba, that's not true!" Joey cried, only just beginning to realize the extent of the damage this evil experiment had done to his friend.

"Joey, what's happening?!" Tea shoved the door open and then let out a shriek, her blue eyes wide in disbelief.

"I told you not to come in!" Joey said in frustration.

Tea didn't pay any attention. She rushed forward, staring at Seto in shocked horror. "Kaiba, what did that witch do to you?" she sobbed, carefully undoing the shackles that bound him to the wall. Seto fell forward limply, unable to stand up. Tea struggled to catch his heavy body and Joey rushed to assist.

"I couldn't save Mokuba," Seto said softly, a shuddering breath rippling through his body. "I just let him die!"

Tea's heart was breaking. "Kaiba, stop it!!" she cried. "It's not true. Mokuba is alive. You've always been there for your brother! You would do anything for him if it was at all in your power to! . . ." She trailed off. "Kaiba, do you even know we're here?" she asked fearfully.

Seto only stared at her and then at Joey blankly.

"He doesn't know us," Joey told Tea softly.

Seto leaned against Tea, his eyes glazed over. "I've failed my brother," he whispered again.

"No, Kaiba, you haven't!" Tea cried. "Kaiba, listen to me—whatever they put you through wasn't real! They were playing with your mind. Please come back to us!" She looked into his eyes. "Mokuba won't be able to stand it if you leave him, Seto Kaiba," she whispered softly.

Seto blinked, his eyes starting to focus. He was fighting so hard to stay alive, but he didn't know if he could make it. He tried to hold on to the last threads of his sanity as he felt himself fading away. "I love my brother," he whispered as he slumped against Tea, his eyes closing.

"Kaiba? Kaiba!!!" she screamed, frantically trying to wake him up.

Joey bit his lip, absolutely and completely unsettled. "Kaiba?" he said in disbelief, pressing his fingers against the other boy's neck to check for a pulse. "Oh man. . . ."

Tea looked at him in horror. "Joey, you can't mean that he's . . ."

Joey's eyes were sad. He didn't need to speak. Gently he laid Seto's body on the floor and he and Tea both bent over him, trying to figure out what to do.

The door opened again and Mokuba tore in. "What's happening?!" he screamed.

"Don't come in, Mokuba," Tea said shakily, but the boy did not heed her warning. He rushed forward and then stopped short, collapsing on his knees next to his beloved brother.

"Seto!!" he cried, his eyes filling with tears. He surveyed the older boy's body in alarm, seeing the many wounds and the still chest. "He's not breathing," Mokuba said in disbelief. "Please, big brother!! Please wake up!!!" he begged in vain. He looked up at Tea and Joey. "How could anyone be so cruel?!" he sobbed. "They . . . they killed him! They killed him!!" He collapsed against Seto's chest in disbelief, crying uncontrollably. "Oh, wake up, big brother!!" he screamed. "You . . . you can't leave me!! Not now, not ever!!!"

Please, Kaiba, wake up! Tea said silently, praying for a miracle.

Mokuba stared at Seto's pale face and then bent down, kissing him on the cheek. "I love you, big brother," he whispered.

Then Seto's eyes slowly fluttered open. "Mokuba?" he said in apparent disbelief, his voice weak. "Is . . . is it really you?" He reached his hand out feebly to touch his brother's cheek. What if this was an illusion too—one final torment that was inflicted upon him—to have his brother so close once more and again not be able to hold him? But no, it was real! Mokuba was truly there, Seto knew, and he pulled the younger boy close. "Mokuba," he whispered.

"Seto!!!" Mokuba cried joyfully. "Oh Seto!!"

Everyone around him froze in astonishment. Tea smiled through the tears of joy in her eyes and sent a heartfelt prayer of immense thanksgiving to Heaven. Joey turned away so that the others wouldn't see him cry.

The door burst open and Yugi, Tristan, Bakura, and Marik all entered. "Guys!" Tristan cried in relief, seeing them and running over.

"We've been so worried," Bakura declared softly.

"We were searching everywhere," Marik put in.

"Is Kaiba alright?" Yugi asked worriedly. "The police outside said . . ."

"Kaiba is fine," Seto interrupted him, still holding his brother close. He had been hurt badly both physically and mentally, but he knew that all his wounds would heal now. He said a silent prayer of thanks. The nightmare was over. He was finally free.