Yu-Gi-Oh!

There You'll Be

By LuckyLadybug

Notes: Sooo . . . why are Marik and Mokuba friends in my fics, other than the fact that it's just a cute idea? XD Here I've tried to explain. The story is mine, the characters are not, and this is friendship cuteness. Thanx to JP for his plot help! Oh, and this takes place sometime between Stolen Memories and The Disappearing Deejay Dilemma. I'm sorry about the removal of the song, but with the newly stated policy I had to remove it. Try listening to There You'll Be by Faith Hill as you read. It was the inspiration for the fic.


Mokuba sat on his bed, finishing up his homework. Seto had said that if he got it done first, he could go do something fun with Marik. The Egyptian boy had repented after Battle City and then had become friends with Mokuba during a traumatic experience following a deadly car crash. Mokuba and Marik were practically inseparable now, and Mokuba was anxious to go spend some time with his friend. It didn't matter that they were six years apart in age—they didn't treat each other any different than they treated those closer to their respective ages.

A knock came on the door—a hesitant, concerned knock. "Mokuba?"

Instantly Mokuba looked up and ran over. "Big brother!" he exclaimed, hauling the door open. "I've got my homework almost done!" His eyes were bright with excitement.

Seto came in slowly, looking serious. "Mokuba, I . . ." He shook his head. "I have some bad news," he said quietly. Seeing Mokuba's cheerful expression didn't make it any easier for him to say what he had to. He knew how Mokuba would look once he told him what he had just been told himself.

Mokuba stared. "What happened!" he demanded. "Is something wrong!" He felt a knot start to form in his throat. Someone was hurt. Someone must be hurt. . . .

Seto sat down on the edge of the bed and looked into Mokuba's frightened eyes. "Mokuba . . . Marik was in an accident tonight," he said quietly. He kept a hand firmly on his brother's shoulder. He hated saying this.

The color drained from Mokuba's face. "What do you mean, Seto!" he cried. "What kind of accident!" He knew Seto would tell him something like this. But thinking of Marik being in an accident. . . . It was so horrible!

Seto rubbed a hand over his forehead. He hated telling Mokuba this, but he knew the younger boy needed to know. "It was a drunk driver, kid. He was out carousing around and he wasn't watching where he was going. Marik was on his motorcycle and . . ." He stopped again, then heaved a sad sigh and continued on. "Marik saw what was coming and tried desperately to avoid a collision, but . . ."

Mokuba let out a shriek. "But he's okay, right, Seto!" he said shakily. "He's gotta be okay! Is he okay!" All he could see in his mind was the image of Marik's body flying limply through the air.

Seto stared deep into his brother's eyes once more. "Well, he was wearing a helmet, of course," he said at last, "but he got thrown pretty far and . . ." This was the hardest thing Seto had ever tried to tell him. "He's in a coma, Mokuba. They don't think he's going to wake up."

Mokuba just stared blankly, the words boring deep into his mind. Marik might . . . die? "But he's gotta wake up!" the boy wailed. "Please, Seto, please! Tell me he's gonna wake up. . . ." Tears coursed down his face as he gripped at his brother's wrists. Of course Seto couldn't promise him that, and he knew it. But he felt so helpless, so lost, so alone . . . Seto could always make it better.

"I'm sorry, kid," Seto said quietly. "I don't know if he will any more than anyone else does. Only God knows what's going to happen to him now."

Mokuba knew Seto was right. He sniffled and embraced his brother, sobbing furiously into his trenchcoat. And Seto held him comfortingly, allowing him to cry.

At last Mokuba looked up, trying to brush the tears out of his eyes. "Seto . . . can . . . can I see him?" he whispered. He knew it would be hard to see Marik laying so still and hurt, but he wanted to anyway. He wanted his friend to know that he was still right there, cheering him on. Maybe it would give Marik strength. That was what he hoped.

Seto was silent for only a moment. "Of course you can, Mokuba," he said gently, lifting him down. He could see this meant a lot to the boy. "Come on. I'll take you there."


Mokuba sat by his friend's bedside, staring into his pale face. "Marik," he whispered shakily. "You've gotta wake up! You've just gotta! . . . Can you hear me at all?" he sobbed. Though he had known this would be hard, it was much worse than he had even imagined.

Ishizu and Rishid had agreed to let Mokuba have a few minutes alone with his friend and were both waiting outside the door. They held each other close, each drawing comfort from the other's presence. They could hear Mokuba's pleading voice. It was all so much to handle. The both of them had been there right after Marik had been hurt. Rishid had held him in his arms and tried to comfort him with gentle words while Ishizu had sang shakily in their native language. Marik had known they were there. He had smiled before slipping away into the coma he was in now. The doctors, unable to do much, had sent him back home with his siblings and a bit of medical equipment. Ishizu knew they figured he wouldn't last. But she and Rishid would never give up on him.

Inside the room, the older boy gave no response to his friend's sobbing pleas. His breath was soft and barely discernable unless one was actually looking for it. The doctors had been surprised that he was still breathing on his own after the accident, but he was, and he continued to now. But other than the slow rise and fall of his chest, he hadn't moved. He looked only deeply asleep, but Mokuba knew his friend wouldn't suddenly open his eyes and look up, as the boy so longed for. He couldn't.

But Mokuba had to grin. "You always did defy everyone else," he remarked, watching Marik's continued breathing. "No matter what anyone else said or did, you always did exactly what you wanted." He meant this only in the best of ways now. Marik's wrongdoings were in the past. There was no reason to dwell on them.

Now the raven-haired boy looked down, tears stubbornly emerging from his eyes again. "If you hadn't defied those people back during that car crash, I'd be dead now," he said softly. "Do you remember, Marik? Do you remember what happened then?"

If Marik did remember, he gave no sign of it. But Mokuba's own thoughts began to drift back into the past, to that fateful, dangerous night that had wound up bringing the two of them together as friends.

"I remember it, Marik," he whispered. "I could never forget it."

Flashback

It all happened so fast, so quick.

Mokuba never even saw it coming.

He had been talking and laughing with Seto when the limo's brakes had given out. The chauffeur had tried desperately to get the vehicle to stop, even trying the emergency brake, but all in vain. With a sickening crash the limo swerved and slammed into the railing on the side of the freeway, sending all of the automobile's occupants pitching forward.

Mokuba let out a startled cry as he was jostled hard against the inside of the limo's door, banging his head roughly against the window pane. Moaning, he clutched at the quickly-forming bump and forced his eyes open. It seemed that everything was drifting in and out of focus.

"Seto?" he called out then, feeling panic creep into his heart. "Seto, are you okay?"

There was no answer, and before the already-dazed boy could look over at his brother he suddenly felt another car crash into theirs from behind. Then his world went black.


There was only one witness to this tragic accident—Marik Ishtar, who was riding down the highway on his motorcycle. With a gasp, he immediately pulled the bike over to the side of the road and ran over to check on those involved. He was quiet and reserved since Battle City had ended, but he wasn't uncaring. That wasn't his nature, no matter who thought otherwise.

"Is everyone alright?" he demanded as he removed his helmet and looked at the people in the first vehicle he came to, which was a white truck. His soft bangs flopped into his eyes and he didn't bother pushing them aside.

"We're okay," the driver said shakily. "We didn't even see that limo had crashed, and before we knew what was happening, we were slamming into it." He had a gash on his left temple and some small cuts on his hands, but otherwise he did seem alright.

Marik glanced over at the limo and gasped, his eyes widening as he recognized it as belonging to the local millionaire Seto Kaiba. The thought of Seto Kaiba becoming involved in an auto accident was strange to him somehow. And yet he knew the businessman wasn't invincible.

"Look, if you are all okay, call the police and an ambulance immediately!" he requested. "I'm afraid that they may be hurt!" Without waiting for an answer he dashed up to the limo and reached his hand through the broken glass to unlock the driver's door. Quickly he grabbed the unconscious chauffeur and hauled him out, then laid him on the grass nearby and went back for anyone else who may have been in the vehicle.

Seto Kaiba had been thrown clear of his seatbelt and was laying on the floor of the limo, badly cut and also unconscious. Kneeling down next to him, Marik somehow managed to sling the other boy over his shoulder and get him out as well.

"Kaiba!" the Egyptian boy said urgently as he placed the injured businessman in the grass. "Can you hear me?"

Seto moaned, barely conscious. "Mokuba," he whispered.

Marik perked up. "Mokuba!" he exclaimed. "Kaiba, was he in the limo with you?"

"Get him . . . out," Seto mumbled before falling unconscious again.

Marik stood up, his heart pounding. Mokuba was still in the limousine! But what if something were to go even more wrong? Mokuba was only a child! Marik knew he would have to return a third time. If he could help it, he wouldn't let a child suffer a horrible fate. He himself had endured endless agony as a child. He wouldn't wish what he'd gone through on anyone, nor did he want any child to have anything less than a normal childhood. If Mokuba was seriously hurt, the damage could be permanent. But then on the other hand it might not be. In any case, Marik was going in after him.

"You can't go back to that limo!" someone from the white truck gasped as they realized his intention. "There's been a gas leak! The whole thing could blow up any minute!" Marik's fear was confirmed.

"It's foolhardy!" another one chimed in, trying to restrain him. "You'll just die in the attempt!" The strong man gripped at Marik's thin body, pulling him backwards. But the Egyptian was undaunted.

"If I do not go back and at least try to rescue Mokuba, I am nothing more than a coward," Marik retorted, shoving the people aside and running back to the damaged automobile. He glanced about anxiously, at first unable to see anything. "Mokuba!" he worriedly called as he began to cautiously climb inside. "Mokuba, are you here!" He coughed as smoke began to rise, knowing he had to hurry. Please help me find him, he prayed fervently, looking around again.

At last he saw a tortured form curled in a ball almost halfway underneath the seat and immediately he dropped to his knees, recognizing the form as that of Mokuba's. Gently he scooped the little boy into his arms and turned to run for it. There was no time to lose.

Mokuba groaned softly, blood trickling from a cut on his right temple. "Seto . . ." he choked out. "Big brother . . ." He groped around in the thickening air, hoping to grab onto the one person he loved more than any other. Instead his fingers found their way to Marik's hooded shirt and gripped tight. In his state, he knew this wasn't Seto, but he also knew he didn't need to fear his rescuer. Still he called out weakly for Seto again.

Marik allowed Mokuba to keep clutching a fistful of lavender softness. "Shhh. It's alright, Mokuba," he whispered, holding the younger boy close to him as he fled the car. "You'll be with your brother again, very soon."

No sooner had he gotten out than the entire thing burst into flames, exploding horrifically and sending him flying forward several feet. With a cry of pain the boy slammed against the concrete harshly, never letting go of Mokuba's little body as he hit his head and slipped into oblivion.


Confusion.

That was the first feeling that Mokuba had as he began to regain consciousness. Confusion . . . pain . . . loneliness. . . . His brother wasn't there. Where was his brother? Why wasn't he with him? Seto was always supposed to be there!

"Seto!" he screamed, his blue-gray eyes flying open. "Seto, where are you!" He looked around the room frantically, and, seeing no one else, stared up at a doctor pleadingly. "Where's my brother!" he sobbed. It hadn't fully registered yet that he was in a hospital—the KaibaCorp infirmary, in fact. He only knew that this doctor was here and Seto was not. And he couldn't imagine why this was. He couldn't even remember what had happened.

The elderly doctor, shocked to see his patient suddenly awaken as he had, immediately sat down on the edge of the bed and looked into Mokuba's tortured, frightened eyes. Finding that they were normal and not dilated, he nodded in approval to himself.

"Calm down, son," he then said gently. "Your brother is safe."

"Where is he!" Mokuba cried again, then reached up and clutched at his aching head. The yelling had made his head hurt.

"Settle down," the doctor said, a bit stern now. "That's a pretty nasty bump you got. You're lucky to be alive, you know. If it wasn't for that Egyptian boy being willing to get you out of your brother's limousine, you wouldn't have made it." It still amazed him—the tale of what Marik had done. He had risked his own life for this child. Seto Kaiba would no doubt be grateful.

Mokuba sat still, trying to digest that information. It was coming back now—he remembered the limo crash. The pain. . . . Someone had rescued him? But what about Seto? "Where is my brother?" he wailed again.

"He was pulled out as well," the doctor reassured him, then hesitated, as if trying to decide how much more to reveal. The truth was that Seto had been injured far worse than Mokuba or the chauffeur had been, but this physician knew that Mokuba was not ready for that knowledge yet. "And he's still alive," he added when Mokuba looked up at him worriedly. "You'll be able to see him soon. Meantime, you should just try to rest."

Mokuba was only vaguely relieved at the news that he would be able to soon see his brother. He could sense that something still wasn't right, but he knew that if he continued to be hysterical, the doctor wouldn't tell him anything. The boy took a shaky breath and looked up at him again. "Who was this guy who rescued us?" he asked softly.

"I believe you know him," the doctor replied after a slight pause. "Marik Ishtar. He nearly perished when he went to save you."

Mokuba gasped, his eyes wide. "Marik!" he exclaimed. "Marik saved me, and Seto too!" He didn't know the Egyptian boy that well. Oh, he knew of Marik's past. He knew that Marik had repented. And sometimes Marik was around with Yugi and the others when Mokuba went by the Game Shop to visit them. But usually the tan-skinned boy was a silent enigma, keeping to himself. He and Mokuba had barely ever exchanged words. And now Mokuba learned that Marik had saved both him and Seto!

"That's right," the doctor told him. "Marik saved you both. The limousine exploded only a split-second after he got you out." At least, that was what he'd been told. And from the news coverage he had seen, it seemed truthful. "He was risking his own life greatly."

"Is he okay!" Mokuba demanded. "I've gotta see him and thank him for . . . for what he did," he finished quietly. He looked down, studying his hands. Marik saved him. The once-cold Egyptian had rescued them both! It seemed so startling. And yet Mokuba knew he shouldn't feel that way. After all, Marik had repented. Why shouldn't he help? But risking his own life. . . . The doctor seemed to be putting it mildly. Mokuba had the feeling that Marik had nearly died, as well as he himself.

The doctor smiled. "I think that can be arranged," he replied. "He's pretty banged up and he has a bad headache, but instead of going home as he should have he insisted on staying here until he was certain that you and your brother—and your chauffeur—were all okay. Wait just a minute and I'll go get him." Marik had been unconscious when he and the Kaiba brothers were brought in, but the feisty Egyptian had soon recovered his senses and wanted out of the examination room. And he also had wanted Ishizu and Rishid to not know what had happened. He was fine, he had said, and there was no sense in worrying his siblings unnecessarily.

The doctor left the room to get him then, leaving Mokuba to ponder over everything. Where was Seto? Was he okay? The doctor still hadn't said if Mokuba's brother was badly hurt. But he didn't have to. Mokuba could sense it was true.

Marik must really have repented, to risk his life for us, Mokuba thought then. He knew, of course, that Marik had recently nearly died trying to save his sister, and Joey, Tristan, and Mai as well, from his Yami, but Mokuba admitted that he actually hadn't expected the Egyptian boy would rescue him and his brother. Mokuba had actually wondered if Marik was still angry at the world sometimes, since he was always so quiet. He rarely wanted to talk to anyone, it seemed to Mokuba. He just hung out with Yugi and the others silently, listening to them talk about Duel Monsters and tournaments and the like. The boy would say hello to Mokuba if they happened to wind up near each other, but other than that they hadn't spoken.

The door opened again and a battered-looking Marik stumbled in. Upon seeing that Mokuba really was awake, he smiled and limped over to the chair next to the bed. "Hello," he greeted. "I'm glad to see that you are alright." He was holding an icepack to his head, but now he set it aside and sat down weakly, leaning back in the chair.

Mokuba smiled back a bit shyly. "Thanks," he said softly. "Thanks for saving us." It was true that whenever he had spoken to Marik, the Egyptian seemed peaceable and gentle, as he did now. Mokuba knew it was something he needed to get used to. Marik was not, nor would he ever be again, what he was during Battle City. In a way, Marik sort of reminded Mokuba of "Namu" now—kind and gentle and sweet. But now the Namu personality was for real and not just an act.

Marik nodded slowly but didn't reply, closing his eyes as if he was attempting to ward off pain.

Noticing, Mokuba blinked and worriedly asked, "Are you okay?"

Marik smiled and opened his eyes again. "Yes, I'm alright. I just didn't realize the concrete is as hard as it is," he said wryly. He possessed a good, clean sense of humor which revolved around the usage of sarcastic and dry comments, but most other than Ishizu and Rishid knew nothing of this.

Mokuba laughed, then instantly sobered again. "Marik, you gotta tell me, 'cause the doctor won't. Is my brother okay?" He gazed at the older boy pleadingly with his blue-gray eyes. Surely Marik would tell him something! Marik wasn't like the doctors. He would understand that Mokuba needed to know.

Marik did hesitate, but only for a moment. He knew that if something happened to Ishizu or Rishid, he would want to know no matter what it was. "Mokuba, your brother was hurt the worst of the three of you," he said finally. "Your chauffeur is alright, and you are recovering, but they don't know for certain how your brother is." He spoke as gently as he could, knowing also that if something had happened to one of his siblings, he would want to be told in a kind way. Of course, he wouldn't want anything glossed over either. He hated that.

Mokuba let out a cry of alarm, his eyes widening as more questions swirled through his mind. Would Seto live? Would he ever get to talk to his big brother again? "What happened to him, Marik?" he begged to know. "Please tell me!" Never before had he wanted so desperately for the Egyptian to talk to him. But now that Marik had saved his life, Mokuba somehow felt closer to him. And Marik was his only hope for finding out about Seto now.

"He sustained a very bad concussion, Mokuba," the older boy said quietly, "and he was also cut badly by the broken glass." He paused, heaving a sad sigh. "They say if he makes it through the night he will be alright, but . . ."

Mokuba grabbed the older boy's arm and clutched it apprehensively. "But what, Marik?" he cried, feeling the smoothness of Marik's armband under his fingers.

"But . . . they aren't sure he will make it," Marik whispered. Though it had to be said, he hated bringing such news. He knew how close the Kaiba brothers were—as close as he was to his own dear siblings.

Mokuba had known that Marik was probably going to say this, but still he couldn't bear to hear it. "No!" he sobbed. "Seto's gonna be okay. He wouldn't leave me! He'd never leave me!" He let go of the teen's arm, thrusting it far from him.

Now Marik stood up and moved over to sit on the edge of the bed. "Of course he wouldn't," he said comfortingly. "He loves you so very dearly, Mokuba." He understood that Mokuba was not angry at him—he was fearful of the pending situation. And he could sympathize. Marik decided silently that he would stay with Mokuba as long as the boy wanted. He could see that Mokuba didn't want to be alone. And he was growing fond of his near-future friend.

Mokuba looked up at him. He hadn't seen much of Marik since he had repented, but he had never, ever seen the fierce Egyptian boy act so gentle and kind. Some part of him admitted that he hadn't known if Marik was capable of being this way. But for some reason he felt completely comfortable being with him. Maybe . . . just maybe . . . he wouldn't have to be in agony by himself while he waited for news of Seto. "Marik?" he asked shakily. He would try his luck. It couldn't hurt.

Marik glanced down at him. "Yes?" he asked.

"Will you . . ." Mokuba hesitated, then started over. "Will you stay with me until we know if Seto's gonna be okay?" He was speaking more to the floor than to Marik.

Marik ruffled his hair. Mokuba was a sweet child, shy at times but also capable of being defiant and stubborn. So like Marik himself. The teenager found himself wanting to protect Mokuba from the fate that had been his own in the past. "Of course," he agreed. "I wasn't planning to leave."

Mokuba brightened and snuggled closer to him, his self-consciousness melting away. Marik's gentle behavior was putting him completely at ease. Was this what he had always been like, even under the layers of coldness and confusion from Battle City? He was so . . . kind. "I'm glad to have a friend here," he said softly. "I don't like it when it's just me and those doctors who're so convinced that Seto's gonna . . ." He trailed off with a sniffle. Things like this had happened so many times. Seto had often been in near-death situations. And Mokuba had always in the past had to face them alone, with no one to comfort him. He remembered endless hours spent in agony, curled up tightly in a chair and sobbing. Oh, how he had longed for someone to just stay with him and reassure him of a positive outcome!

Slowly Marik put his arm around the child and said quietly, "I know exactly how you feel." His mind wandered, bringing him back to a time when Rishid had been almost fatally ill. The doctors had been certain that he would die, but somehow, miraculously, he had managed to pull through and get better. But before the man had recovered, there had been an agonizing wait. The only comfort Marik and Ishizu had had was each other. It would have been unbearable for either of them to struggle through it by themselves.

"You do?" Mokuba found himself asking. "No one else really seems to understand." Not that he had ever really been able to talk to anyone else to ask them. But at any rate the doctors and nurses hadn't seemed to understand.

"But I do. Very much so," Marik said seriously. "I have had my family members close to death more than once. It's the most heartwrenching experience to go through."

Mokuba looked thoughtful. "You love Ishizu and Rishid a lot, don't you?" he said quietly. Even at the end of Battle City, Mokuba had recognized that fact. It had been Marik's sad words of goodbye that had finally caused Rishid to be able to awaken from his unconsciousness. In turn, just after that, Rishid's heartfelt words had convinced Marik not to give up and to keep fighting. And the way Ishizu had struggled so valiantly with everything just to save Marik. . . .

"More than anything," Marik replied instantly.

Mokuba smiled sadly. "I love Seto like that. He's my whole life. I don't always understand why he does what he does . . . but I know that whatever decisions he makes, he does it because he wants to help me." Images of Seto's hurtful actions after he had made everyone think Mokuba had been leaking the corporate takeover plans came, unbidden, to the boy's mind. He had never hurt again as he had hurt that day. But Seto had told him seriously that he just hadn't known any other way to get rid of Gozaburo. He wouldn't have done it if he had known another way.

"I hated myself for days afterward," he had told the boy, "but I knew I'd done the only thing I could." Even so, it had been ages before he had ever gotten over it. Mokuba had often wondered if Seto had even cut himself in his agony, but if he had, Seto had never admitted to it.

Marik nodded slowly in agreement. "They only love us the best way they know how." He wondered what Rishid and Ishizu were doing right now. He had called and told them what had happened, but glossed over his own injuries. They did know he intended to stay and comfort Mokuba and they were very agreeable with that.

Now Marik's thoughts wandered to the past and he spoke softly. "I don't know whether every decision they made was a good one, but I do know that everything they did was out of love." Ishizu and Rishid had given Marik everything they ever possibly could have. They tried to make him feel as secure as they possibly could in their insecure world. They doted on him and loved him with all of their hearts. And in return, Marik gave them his complete, unwavering trust. If either of them ever betrayed him, Marik would be completely and perhaps irreversibly crushed. He was an insecure person with a fragile heart, trusting only a very few people. It was the knowledge that his father was a cruel man who only wanted a heir and otherwise really didn't care about Marik that had sent him over the edge before. He didn't think he could handle such a thing happening again. But Ishizu and Rishid would always be loyal to their brother. Marik knew this.

Mokuba looked thoughtful. "Yeah," he said softly, "you're right." Seto had wanted to get Gozaburo out of the picture so that he and Mokuba could live peacefully again. He hadn't been trying to do something vicious to purposely crush his little brother.

The two boys sat in silence for a while and then Mokuba spoke again. "Marik?" He didn't know how many hours had passed by now. The clock outside the room ticked monotonously, but neither boy bothered to get up and see what it said. When the time came that Mokuba could see Seto, someone would come tell him. There wasn't much point looking at the clock.

"Hmm?" Marik was abruptly jarred back into the present. He had been mulling over many things in his mind—why the accident had happened, why Seto had been injured the worst, and why he, Marik, had been the one to come upon the accident site. But so many things in life couldn't be explained. He knew he wouldn't get any answers, no matter how hard he thought about it.

Mokuba looked at him sadly. "Do you think that . . . that Seto knows I'd be in there with him if I could?" he asked. What if Seto thought Mokuba had just abandoned him? Oh, Mokuba didn't really think Seto would believe that, not if he were in his right mind. But what if Seto was delirious?

But Marik didn't hesitate to reply. "Yes," he answered firmly. "He knows that most definitely. Your bond transcends hospital walls, car crashes, and any sort of obstacle this world has to place in your way." He paused. "And I know because I have such a bond with my brother Rishid. He may not be my biological brother, but that doesn't matter. Our bond is much stronger than blood." Always Marik had thought of Rishid as his brother. He idolized the man and wanted to someday be like him. When Marik had been sad or scared or hurt, Rishid had always been there for him. Marik couldn't think of any time when Rishid hadn't been around. It was a constant in his life that he could always count on.

Mokuba relaxed and settled into the older boy's arms. "Thanks, Marik," he said sincerely. He'd found a friend, one he never could have imagined he would have. But something told him that he and Marik would always remain very close.


It was hours later when the doctor finally came in and brought the word that Seto had survived and that Mokuba could go in to see him. The boy leaped off the bed excitedly, his eyes shining brightly. "Come on, Marik!" he exclaimed. "I've gotta go see my big brother!" He hadn't slept at all during the long wait, and he was obviously tired, but he ignored it all. Sleep was so trivial at a time like this. He would get to see Seto at last!

Marik stood up slowly. "You go on, Mokuba," he said with a smile. "I'm certain you'd rather spend some time with him without anyone else being there." He wouldn't want to intrude on the brothers' reunion. He had stayed and comforted Mokuba, but he didn't want to be a third wheel now.

Mokuba hesitated. "Well," he said slowly, "will you stay at least until he wakes up?" he asked quaveringly, twisting the locket around in his hands.

Now Marik understood. Mokuba wanted someone there to continue comforting him and assuring him that Seto would for certain be okay, if Seto was still unconscious when Mokuba went in. "Of course," Marik said gently, walking with him to the door and down the hall. "I will stay until then."

When they arrived at Seto's room, Mokuba immediately climbed onto the bed next to his brother and snuggled close, his eyes worried and anxious. Marik sat down next to him on a chair, feeling the younger boy's anguish. Seto lay still, bandages covering the worst of his wounds. The heart monitor beeped steadily, and Seto was breathing softly, but other than that there were no sounds. Seto looked as if he were merely sleeping, though the two around him knew different.

But Marik knew something else as well. "Talk to him, Mokuba," he said softly. "He will hear you." He remembered times when he himself had been deeply unconscious. Yet he had heard everything that Rishid and Ishizu had said to him. They had given him the strength and courage to wake up.

And so Mokuba did talk to Seto. He told Seto how much he loved him and pleaded with him to stay, saying that he didn't know how he would go on without his older brother there with him.

"You mean everything to me, Seto," Mokuba whispered. Then he felt his brother stir slightly and reach out to squeeze his hand. "Big brother!" the child cried happily, embracing Seto as if he never wanted to let go.

It wasn't long before Seto had woken up completely and he gazed up at his brother in wonder. "I . . . I was so worried about you, kid," he said quietly when he could find his voice. "How did you get out of the limo? I . . . I was afraid that . . ." He stopped. All these long hours he had been having nightmares in his mind. He had relived the accident. He had remembered being pulled out himself, but he never knew if Mokuba had been rescued. And in his nightmare world, the boy hadn't been. But that was only in the nightmare. Here was Mokuba, bright and happy, sitting at his side!

Mokuba grinned. "Marik saved me!" he said. "He saved us both, Seto!"

Seto looked up at the other teen and stared at him before giving a slow nod. "Thank you," he told him in a rasping tone. "Thank you for saving my brother." He was a bit surprised, perhaps, but not as much as Mokuba had been. His brother's life had been spared thanks to this Egyptian. Seto would consider Marik as someone very important from now on.

Marik nodded back and stood, preparing to leave and allow Mokuba to spend some time alone with Seto. He would go home to his own siblings. They were probably missing him. And he them. This whole experience was making him realize all the more that one never knew what could happen to someone beloved. They could be taken at any time, as Seto could have been taken from Mokuba. Or they both could have died, even.

Instantly the younger boy ran forward and hugged him tightly. "You've been such a great friend, Marik," Mokuba said seriously. "You really helped me through this. I hope . . ." He shifted a bit and then looked up at him again. "I hope that we can always be friends," he said then.

Marik smiled and knelt down so he was at Mokuba's eye level. "We always will be," he assured him. "I promise." And a new thought came to his mind. Anyone could have rescued Mokuba and his brother, but it had happened to be Marik, of all people. Perhaps he and Mokuba were meant to become close friends. Ishizu was not one to believe in coincidences, and she would tell Marik exactly what he was thinking right now, if she were here. It was an encouraging thought.

Mokuba grinned happily and then climbed back onto the bed with Seto, who smiled and looked satisfied. The older Kaiba brother wasn't entirely sure of everything that had gone on while he had been unconscious, but he did sense that Marik would always be a loyal friend to Mokuba, and for that he was very glad.

End Flashback

Mokuba climbed onto the bed and took Marik's limp hand. "Come on, Marik, please," the younger boy begged. "I'll never forget the way you helped me through that. You really understood what I was going through." Only a few minutes had passed, but it seemed more like an eternity. Marik was so still! Mokuba could hardly stand it. In one way, it was as if he were just asleep. In another, it was more like he . . . he was dead. But at least Mokuba knew that much wasn't true. Marik was still alive.

He paused. "Marik, remember what you said about how you and Rishid had that bond like Seto and I do?" he asked quaveringly. Of course he received no reply, but he continued anyway. Marik would hear him, wouldn't he? Just like Seto had heard him? "Well, we have a bond, too," Mokuba told him. "A friendship bond! We're best friends! Nothing's ever gonna change that, right? Right?"

Mokuba's voice climbed higher. "Isn't that right, Marik?" he sobbed, wishing so desperately that his friend could answer him. He knew that it was about time that he needed to let Ishizu and Rishid come into the room again, but still he longed for a response, for some acknowledgment that Marik knew he was there. But Marik remained still, the only movement being the steady rising and falling of his chest.

Now Mokuba hung his head sadly. "You don't know I'm here, do you, Marik?"

"I wish you knew," Mokuba said, giving the older boy a gentle hug. "I'm so scared, Marik! What if . . . what if you never wake up? What if you . . . you die?"

He stopped as soon as he'd spoken, his mouth hanging open in horror at what he'd said.

"No!" he cried then. "No, you can't die, Marik! You can't leave Ishizu and Rishid! And . . . and I don't want you to go," he whispered. "I don't wanna lose my best friend. Other than Seto, you're the one I trust more than anybody else! Please don't die, Marik! Please don't . . ." Mokuba trailed off, the tears spilling over again.

Then Marik's eyes fluttered open. "Mokuba . . ." He smiled warmly. "Don't . . . do not worry about me. I'm going to be alright." He reached up weakly and ruffled the younger boy's hair before starting to slip back into unconsciousness. "And . . . and I did know you were here . . . my friend. You're . . . you were right . . . about the bond." His eyes fell shut again as his hand dropped limply back to the bed.

Mokuba stared at him, his eyes wide in disbelief, and then he let out a whoop of joy as he ran to the door and looked out at Ishizu and Rishid. "He's gonna be okay!" he told them happily. "He woke up and talked to me! He's gonna be okay!"

Ishizu and Rishid looked at him in astonished wonder and then followed him into the room. Marik was unconscious now, but he was out of the coma. When the doctor came in a few moments later, he confirmed that the boy's condition had improved and that he would most likely recover completely.

Ishizu bent down and kissed Marik's cheek. "Dear brother," she said softly. She had known Marik would recover. He wouldn't leave them. Never! Not if he could at all help it. He was strong-willed, much more so than many people in this world.

Mokuba watched, grinning and saying a silent prayer of gratitude. Marik was going to be alright. He knew it as well!

I knew you wouldn't leave us, Marik, he said to himself as Rishid sat down next to his brother and took his hand. You're gonna stick around for a long time yet! Slowly Mokuba climbed back onto the bed and waited for his friend to again awaken. He knew Marik would revive soon and that he was going to get better.

Friends always stick together, right? Right, Marik?

Even though Marik was unconscious, Mokuba could still sense that he had heard the question and understood it. And Mokuba fancied in his mind that he'd heard the Egyptian boy answer him.

Of course they do, Mokuba, Marik's voice replied. Of course they do.