Ranch of No Return

By Lucky_Ladybug

Notes: This story is mine, the characters are not, and this isn't yaoi! Just the usual disclaimers XD Oh! And parts of chapter one were borrowed from an RP with Emerald Dragyn RC ^__^

"Well," Joey grinned as the small airplane took flight from San Francisco International Airport, "it looks like we are Boston bound!"

"Or we will be, if nothing goes wrong," Mai remarked dryly.

"Hey," Joey shrugged, "what's the worst that could happen?!"

The plane gave a violent lurch, sending everyone pitching forward into the backs of the seats in front of them.

"You always have to ask that, don't you?" Tristan sighed.

Joey gave him a smoldering look and didn't reply.

"It's strange that there's not many people on board," Tea mused, glancing around. Other than her and all of her friends, there were only five others traveling in the jet.

"That sound is also pretty strange," Yugi exclaimed, blinking as he heard it again. "What is that?!"

"Oh man," Joey groaned as the overhead baggage door fell open and a black-and-white cat leaped out, "Oreo snuck out of the cage she was supposed to be ridin' in!! That sound must've been muffled meowing!"

Bakura chuckled merrily as the kitty leaped into his arms and purred like a motorboat. "Oh, she's really no trouble at all, you know," he said as the cat licked his cheek.

"She just adores you and your Yami, doesn't she." Mai flipped her hair and watched with some amusement as Oreo ran to Yami Bakura, who had tilted his chair back and was peacefully sleeping. The feline gracefully landed in his lap and purred loudly as she walked up onto his chest and settled down to take a nap herself.

A bright flash lit up the area for one brief moment and Joey smirked as the Polaroid picture emerged from his camera and began to develop. "Here's one for the scrapbooks!" he grinned mischievously.

"Somehow I have the feeling that Yami Bakura won't be too fond of that page," Marik laughed.

"Your Yami sure seems to be able to snooze through anything," Tristan said to Bakura, watching as Oreo kneaded her paws into the thief's chest without him even rousing.

"It certainly seems that way, doesn't it," Bakura agreed.

Abruptly the plane dropped again, more violently this time.

"What's happening?!" Mokuba gasped. "This doesn't seem like any kind of turbulence!"

Seto, who had been doing work on his laptop, now unbuckled his seatbelt and got up. "I'm going to go ask what's happening," he declared coldly, heading toward the cockpit.

The plane rocked to one side, sending the young businessman flying across the floor.

Joey blinked. "Learnin' gymnastics, Kaiba?" he joked when he saw the strange position the other boy had fallen in.

Ignoring him, Seto stood up once more and went to the cockpit door. Throwing it open, he surveyed the small control room in disbelief. Before long he was joined by the others, who all stared as well, unable to comprehend the scene before them.

"There's no pilot!!!" Tea shrieked in horror.

"And no copilot!" Yugi put in.

"Or flight attendants!!" Tristan burst out.

"Oh this is terrible!!" Ms. Myrvyn, a excitable millionairess, cried out. "We're all doomed!!"

"We're not doomed," Seto grunted, taking the pilot's seat and applying the headset.

"Seto!!" Mokuba exclaimed in alarm. "You don't know how to fly an airplane!!!"

"Now he tells us," Joey moaned.

"Shut up, Wheeler," Seto grumbled, flipping several switches and pulling a lever. The plane shifted wildly from side to side and then abruptly turned its nose upward, sending everyone spilling back into the cabin.

Yami Bakura was awake by now, of course, and Oreo clung to him in panic as the plane did its out-of-control tricks and spirals. "WHAT IN HEAVEN'S NAME IS HAPPENING?!?!" the tomb robber screamed loudly, wincing as Oreo accidentally dug her claws into his chest in a frantic attempt to not be moved.

"There's no pilot and Kaiba's trying to fly this thing!!" Tristan shot back, grabbing onto a nearby seat.

"Despicable. Absolutely despicable!!" a female voice cried. The owner of the voice, Linda Owens—a news anchor for a Boston TV network—flew through the air, crashing abruptly into Rishid and knocking them both to the floor again. The Egyptian man grunted in surprise and then slowly stood up, offering a hand to Linda as well. She accepted it gratefully, getting to her feet just as the plane nosedived and sent everyone pitching forward this time.

"Seto!!" Mokuba screamed in the cockpit, watching in panic as a piece of ground loomed ever closer. "Seto, we're gonna crash!!!"

"Not if I can help it, kid," Seto retorted, pulling another handle abruptly and forcing the plane to pull up slightly. "Try again to get someone on the radio."

Shakily Mokuba climbed into the copilot's seat and complied, grabbing the microphone and yelling into it frantically. "Mayday!! Mayday!!" the terrified boy cried, his blue-gray eyes wide in horror. "There's no pilot in our plane and my brother's trying to fly it!!" As before, he heard only static.

"I seriously suspect foul play," Mako declared angrily, narrowing his blue eyes indignantly as Mokuba continued to have no success with reaching anyone.

"Foul play?!" a middle-aged Irish man, Mr. O'Dover, screamed. "What a dastardly thought, young man!!"

"Under the circumstances, sir, I'd be inclined to agree with him," Mai countered.

"And we've seen enough mysteries in our time to know foul play when we see it!" Joey added.

Grimly Seto turned to Mokuba. "Kid, I'm doing my best, but whether we crash or not it's gonna be a rough landing. Tell the others to get back in their seats if they can and then get to one yourself."

"But Seto . . ." Mokuba began, not wanting to leave his brother to fly the plane by himself.

"Go!!" Seto said forcefully, but just then the belly of the plane touched the ground. It bumped and skidded along, and the boy was quite aware of the ensuing loud screams from the cabin—and from right next to him as Mokuba clung to his arm in sheer trepidation.

It was only a few more seconds, but by the time the plane stopped its wild swerves and turns and had settled down, everyone felt more like it had been a few hours.

Mokuba was still gripping the older boy's arm, his face chalk white. At last he let out his breath and sighed in relief at the realization that they'd stopped.

"Seto?" he whispered shakily. "Seto, are you okay?"

At first his brother didn't reply and continued to stare straight ahead, his hands firmly wrapped around the steering device.

"Seto?!" Mokuba screamed now. "Seto?!?!"

The brown-haired young man blinked then and turned to look at his brother. "I'm fine, kid," he reassured the younger boy with a smile. "But we'd better go check on the others. Someone might've gotten hurt back there, especially since no one had time to put their seatbelts on."

When the Kaiba brothers walked back into the cabin, everything was in an uproar. Some of the passengers were draped over seats, some upsidedown in them. Others were laying against the walls and sprawled in the middle of the floor.

Mokuba ran straight to Marik, who was hanging uncomfortably across the back of a seat and looking disoriented. "Marik!!" the younger boy cried, grabbing his friend's hand. "Marik, are you okay?!"

Marik groaned and slipped off the seat to lay on the floor, staring up blankly.

"Marik?!" Mokuba yelped again, kneeling next to him and waving a hand over his lavender eyes. "I think he's hurt!!"

Ishizu staggered up from the back of the plane, clutching her forehead in pain. Quickly she knelt next to her brother and gathered him into her arms. "He's in shock," she explained, "as I'm certain we all are in varying degrees."

In a moment Marik shuddered and blinked, moving closer to his sister.

"He is alright," Ishizu said in relief.

Within a few minutes everyone had been checked on. Most all were conscious but in various states of trauma or injury.

"Man, what really could've happened?!" Joey cried in vexation. "Why would all the plane's crew just bail out and leave us here?! Maybe it was really was some kinda plot like Mako suggested!! Maybe someone doesn't want us to get to Boston!!"

Seto rolled his eyes. "That's crazy, Wheeler," he said flatly.

"Well, hey, it could happen!!" Joey said defensively.

Yami Bakura slowly rose up from where he had been sprawled on the floor, ribbons and glitter from Tea's overnight bag adorning his hair. He seemed unaware of this as he glanced about frantically for Bakura, but Tristan immediately noticed and promptly cracked up.

"Well, it's official," Tea sighed. "He's finally gone crazy."

"No, I haven't," Tristan choked out between snickers, "but look at Yami B!!!"

All eyes were instantly fixed on the tomb raider, who snarled warningly and gave Tristan an infamous If Looks Could Kill glare.

"Look in a mirror, for heaven's sake!" Mai burst out when the cabin erupted into laughter and Yami Bakura still looked clueless.

Angrily Yami Bakura grabbed her compact and stared at himself. With an infuriated Egyptian curse he began pulling the ribbons out and then struggling to remove the glitter.

"You'll have to wash that out," Tea told him.

In response the thief ran to the water cooler and knelt under it, pouring the cold liquid over his hair.

"Hey!!" Tristan yelled indignantly. "You're gonna get the plane wet!!"

"Shut up, foolish mortal," Yami Bakura growled.

Meanwhile, some of the others had begun wandering to the door and looking out, trying to get some idea of where they'd crashed.

"It looks like an empty field," Yugi said in amazement, wondering just how far off course they were. He had a pretty good feeling that they weren't in California anymore.

A clap of thunder sounded overhead and everyone jumped. "Whoa!! What was that?!" Tristan exclaimed, still spooked out from the whole crashing experience.

"Only thunder," Mai shot back. The heavens opened up and began to lavishly sprinkle drops of water all over the area. "And rain," she added then.

"Oh my," Bakura said with a blink, staring off in the distance at something.

"Whaddya see, man?" Joey wanted to know.

Bakura blinked again and rubbed his eyes. "Oh . . . it . . . it must have just been some sort of illusion," he shrugged now, looking completely baffled.

"Come on, pal, let us in on what you saw," Joey begged, intrigued now.

Bakura shook his head. "Well," the soft-spoken British boy declared, "I was certain I saw a rider on a horse a moment ago—but now they've completely vanished into thin air!!"