Greetings!

Well, I did mention that I was going to start another story, so here it is. The premise of it is rather strange, but hopefully not too strange. *crosses fingers*

Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh! is owned by its respective owners. I'm only borrowing the characters for the moment and I promise to return them at the end of the story.

Enjoy!

**~~**

Part I: Memories

The boy ran as fast as his legs could carry him.

He didn't know where he was going; all he knew was that he had to get away from his pursuers. He shouldn't have snuck out, not at this time of night. All his life, he'd been told that it wasn't safe for him to wander around town, especially not by himself. He hadn't listened, though. He'd wanted to see what it was like on the outside, so he'd snuck out by himself. Now he wished he'd just stayed home.

"No matter how fast you go, you're not going to be able to get away from us!"

The voice taunted from behind, but he ignored it. He wasn't weak. He'd been trained to defend himself and he would do so, if he could not outrun them. For now, all he wanted was to get away.

He saw a corridor come up ahead and he immediately took it, thinking that if he could only get lost in the shadows, they'd never find him. He sighed in relief as he turned into the corridor, welcoming the darkness. His relief was short lived, however, when a strong pair of arms encircled him. He kicked with his right leg and was rewarded with a grunt. The arms let go of him and he turned to run the other way, when he found himself face to face with the man that had been chasing him.

Before he could react, a strong hand impacted with his face, sending him to the ground. His vision blacked out for a moment and when he came to, he was face down on the soft sand. Hands were tearing at his clothing and he panicked. He tried to get up, but someone was holding his arms above his head and whoever was tearing at his clothing had his legs pinned down. He opened his mouth to scream, but a sweaty, dirty hand was placed over his mouth.

"Don't even try it, pretty boy. You're ours."

He suddenly felt a chill over skin that should have been covered, while hands roamed over his thighs. The hands were rough, leaving bruises wherever they touched. The boy could do nothing. He never ceased to struggle, however, even when it became apparent that he would not win.

"Let's see how the pharaoh's little boy likes associating with us commoners."

The boy held his breath, knowing what was to come. His father had warned him about the possibility of this many times, and it was his fault that he was about to become a victim. He should have listened; he shouldn't have left the palace. Knowing that this was his doing didn't lessen the impact, though. He was scared. Nothing, no amount of self recrimination, would change that.

"Let's see how you commoners like being put to death for assaulting the son of the pharaoh."

The boy released the breath he'd been holding at the sound of the familiar voice. He heard the sounds of weapons being drawn and could only lay there, shaking in fear and shame at what he'd allowed to happen to him.

"I suggest you release my son immediately."

"Why," the man pinning the boy's legs said. "You're going to kill us anyway."

There was silence, and the boy began to wonder if his father had changed his mind about saving him and had left. Before he could react, the sound of an arrow being fired was heard, and a heavy body landed on top of him, completely covering him up. The weight was strong, pushing his face into the soft sand below him. He struggled to catch a breath, but found that he was inhaling sand instead.

After a few agonizing moments, the weight was removed and he was hauled up, only to come face to face with his father's angry gaze. Beside him he could clearly see the dead bodies of his two assailants.

"I am sorry, father. I disobeyed. If they had assaulted me, it would have been my fault." He bowed his head. "I am not fit to be pharaoh."

His father's gaze softened, and the older man smiled sadly.

"You disobeyed, my son, but this is not your fault." The older man took off his cloak and wrapped the boy in it. "As for you being pharaoh, you are still too young. Why don't we wait and see?"

****

Yugi Moto's eyes shot open and he sat upright in his bed. He was breathing hard and tears had pooled in his eyes. He closed them and the tears fell down his cheeks and landed on his bedspread. He was shivering, and he wrapped his arms around himself to try and control the shudders that were passing through him.

"I am sorry, aibou. I should have been able to shield you from that."

Yugi looked to one side to find Yami sitting on the edge of his bed staring intently at him. Yami's eyes were wide, and Yugi could see the remnants of fear in them.

"You remembered that, didn't you? You were dreaming?"

Yami nodded. "I have had that dream several times in the past few months. It is rather disturbing. It is the only thing I recall, however. Anything before and after is a blank."

Yugi chuckled humorlessly. "Scary as hell is more like it," he commented, still recalling how vivid everything had been. "Everything was so real, Yami, it was as if I were there."

"I know. It is a shame that the only memories I have of my past life involve one crisis or another."

Yugi nodded his agreement. "At least you got to see your father in this one."

Yami smiled sadly. "Yes. It is good to know his face."

**~~**

****

'I should have cleaned my shoes. If he sees that they're dirty, he's likely to extend this little 'lesson'.'

The stray thought entered the boy's brain as he examined his shoes, noting that there were scuff marks on them. Behind him, he could hear the riding crop as it beat against his back, but years of his adoptive father's 'lessons' had taught him to tune out the pain. He'd feel it later, of that he had no doubt. At least then, he'd be able to control how he let it out. He'd more than likely be alone as well, which would ensure that no one would see him show weakness.

Suddenly, he was turned around and slammed into the wall he'd been leaning against. A hiss of pain escaped his lips as he impacted as the extent of the damage to his back became known to him. He berated himself for having reacted that much. He was better than this, after all. It had become a game to him. The less he reacted when his adoptive father beat him, the angrier said man became. The boy liked that. It gave him a tiny amount of control in an otherwise uncontrollable situation.

"So you do feel pain, Seto. I was beginning to wonder if I had to continue this until I got a reaction out of you."

Seto looked up at his adoptive father, his face blank, devoid of emotion. He'd practiced this expression in front of his mirror every day, until he was satisfied with it. He'd practiced it with everyone around him as well, and he'd managed to fool them all into thinking that no matter what they did to him, he didn't care. It was the only way he'd managed to survive life in the Kaiba household.

"Well, what do you have to say for yourself?"

"I'm sorry, father. I should not have fallen asleep during my session with the tutor."

The apology came out flat, which angered Gozaburo.

"You think that in a battle of wits, you're going to beat me? You're wrong, Seto." Gozaburo said.

He grabbed Seto by the front of his shirt and dragged him out of the library. Gozaburo walked fast, which meant that Seto had to walk twice as fast to catch up to the much taller man. They headed for the stairs, and Gozaburo raced up them, dragging Seto along. Seto had to bite his lip to keep in the moans of pain that wanted to escape his lips, since every step was sheer agony.

When Gozaburo did this, he'd usually finish and then leave Seto to get to his room by himself. Seto would then clean the wounds, drench them in antiseptic, bandage them, take one of the sleeping pills that one of the doctors had been kind enough to leave him without Gozaburo's knowledge, and then crawl into bed to sleep off most of the pain. That routine had already been broken and Seto couldn't help but fear what Gozaburo was going to do.

They reached Seto's room in record time. Gozaburo immediately dragged Seto to the closet, where he took out one of his white business suits.

"Get dressed!"

Seto caught the suit and stared at it. "What?"

"You heard me, get dressed!"

Seto inwardly sighed. He undressed in front of his adoptive father, putting on the slacks first. When he went to put on the coat, he stopped.

"The blood is going to seep through the coat," he said calmly, as if he were stating any other fact.

Gozaburo frowned, and then made his way to Seto's bureau, where he took out a black undershirt.

"Put this on underneath the coat."

Seto did as he was told, while Gozaburo watched him. When he was finished dressing, Seto walked to his closet and pulled out one last item of clothing. It was a deep purple trench coat. It was long and covered most of him. He'd seen it in one of the shops in town and he'd bought it during one of Gozaburo's last business trips, even though the trench coat wasn't usually his style. Seto didn't like wearing too many layers and the coat seemed rather bulky. Right now, however, the trench coat was perfect. If the white coat of the suit were to become stained with blood, the deep purple color of the trench coat would cover it. He put it on and walked out of the closet.

Gozaburo raised an eyebrow when he saw the coat, but said nothing. Instead, he once again grabbed Seto's arm and dragged him out of his room. Before long, they were walking into Mokuba's room. Seto's heart began to pound in fear at whatever Gozaburo had in store for them both.

Mokuba was lying on his bed reading when they walked in. His eyes brightened when he saw Seto, but darkened just a little bit when he saw Gozaburo.

"Mokuba, get dressed!"

Mokuba watched them carefully, before nodding.

"Where are we going?" the boy asked.

"Do you remember that carnival you said you wanted to go to?"

At the question, Mokuba's eyes widened. He nodded.

"Well, Seto talked me into taking the both of you, so hurry up and get dressed," the man replied, as he patted Seto's back.

It took everything Seto had not to cry out at the pain the man was inflicting.

"Big brother, you're the greatest!" Mokuba exclaimed.

Mokuba ran up to Seto and wrapped his arms around him, hugging him tightly. Seto's vision blurred slightly at the renewed pain, but he held it together. When Mokuba released him, he managed to clear his face of any traces of pain and smile. Mokuba smiled back, and then ran to his closet to change.

"Do you still think you can beat me at my own game, Seto?"

Seto looked up at Gozaburo, whose expression was one of triumph. His heart sank as he realized that he had lost. This was his punishment. Gozaburo was going to force him to take Mokuba out, when all he wanted was to crawl into bed and not move for a few days. He hurt, and Gozaburo knew that further motion would only aggravate the wounds, causing more pain. Gozaburo also new that Seto wouldn't want Mokuba to worry, so he'd have to pretend that everything was fine, even if he felt as if he were ready to drop.

Gozaburo reached out and put his hand on Seto's cheek, forcing the boy too look at him. He leaned forward until his lips were next to Seto's ear.

"Let's see how good of a pretender you really are."

****

Seto Kaiba jerked awake, fear clutching at his heart as he saw the familiar, dark surroundings. His back hurt, and he reached behind to rest his hand upon his bare back, feeling the raised welts of the scars he'd acquired that day. The sleep still muddling his sharp mind dissipated, making him realize that even though he was still in the same room he'd always occupied in the Kaiba household, he was no longer under Gozaburo's control. The man was dead, as he should be.

He sat up in the bed and shuddered, remembering the rest of that dreadful day. Mokuba had a lot of fun at the carnival. Kaiba had done his best to be the playful older brother, letting his brother know nothing of what had happened at the house before they left. The trip had been cut short, however, when Kaiba had passed out. When he'd woken up, he'd been in bed with Mokuba lying beside him. He'd been feverish and in a lot of pain, but had told Mokuba only that he was coming down with the flu. He'd found out from Gozaburo later that he'd passed out from blood loss, and that two of the cuts on his back had become infected.

Kaiba shuddered again at the way Gozaburo's face had looked that night when the man had been telling him all of this. It was almost as if the man had been proud that he'd been able to sustain the farce for as long as he had. Before he'd left, Gozaburo had said that Kaiba was now ready for the presidency at Kaiba Corp. and had appointed him president at the next board meeting. At the time, Kaiba had felt repulsed that the man had gone to such lengths to test him, but at the same time, had felt proud that he'd been able to accomplish what he'd wanted since the day he'd found out Gozaburo was going to visit the orphanage. Now, Kaiba wondered just how much of himself, of his soul, he'd given up in the process.

He didn't have a chance to further examine his life because the sound of glass shattering to his left drew his attention. Kaiba immediately ducked, expecting something else to fly through the window. When nothing came, he immediately got up and turned on the lights, only to find a red brick lying on the floor in the middle of his bedroom.

"That's odd," he said to himself as he walked closer to it.

When he reached it, he realized that there was an envelope attached to it. He reached out to retrieve the envelope only, leaving the brick where it had fallen. The envelope was addressed to him in a very informal manner, with only his first name neatly printed on the white paper. Frowning, he opened the envelope, took out the crisp, white sheet of paper and began to read the typed note.

~You think you won, but you're wrong. I taught you everything you know, Seto, don't forget. You will never be able to beat me. Since by now I have no doubt you know who I am, come to the address listed on the bottom of the page. Come alone and come tonight. I will be waiting.

"Father"~

Kaiba's blood ran cold when he saw the way the note had been signed. This had to be a very sick joke, and whoever had done this was going to pay dearly when he got his hands on them.

"Mr. Kaiba, are you alright?"

Kaiba turned to see the head of his security, plus two other guards, come into his room.

"I'm fine," he stated, not bothered by the fact that he was standing in the middle of his bedroom wearing only his boxers. "Did you happen to see who got close enough to the house to throw a brick through a second story window?" His tone was fierce, and the guard cringed.

"No, sir. We were alerted to the break in when the security alarm went off from the broken window. We didn't see anyone."

Kaiba clenched his jaw. What did he pay these idiots for? He walked to his closet and threw the door open. Quickly, he put on a pair of pants and a white shirt, picked up his white trench coat, stuffed the envelope he'd been holding onto in a pocket, and then faced his head of security.

"Have the window repaired and make sure that no other part of the house has been compromised. Review the security tapes and catch the son of a bitch who not only got close enough to the house, but got through the gates to begin with. I want him found, do you understand?"

"Yes, Mr. Kaiba. Where are you going, sir?"

"I'm going to take my brother somewhere safe," he said. 'And meet this bastard that passing himself off as my adoptive father,' he added to himself as he walked out of his bedroom.

He quickly walked to Mokuba's room and went to the bed to find his little brother still sleeping. Kaiba smiled at the sight of the boy holding tightly to a stuffed bear he'd gotten him for his last birthday. He was glad that Mokuba hadn't woken up, because he didn't want to worry the boy. Kaiba left the bedside and went to Mokuba's closet, where he packed some of his clothes and his school uniform into a small bag. After picking up Mokuba's school bag, Kaiba went to the bed and picked Mokuba up as well.

"Will you need the driver, sir?"

Kaiba turned to glare at the man. "No. Things get done better when I do them myself," he said, and walked away.

In the garage, he picked up the keys to his favorite car and laid Mokuba gently in the back seat, before getting in the driver's seat. Kaiba was unnerved at what had just happened. It was a little past three in the morning, and he should be asleep. He shouldn't be carting his little brother off to God knows where after reading some cryptic note from a lunatic that was probably a fan or an ex employee of Gozaburo Kaiba. Why after all this time, though? That's what Kaiba couldn't figure out. Gozaburo had been dead for over four years, so why had this guy claiming to be Gozaburo wait this long to do something?

Kaiba shook his head, returning his attention to the road. He'd know soon enough, after all.

He pulled up to his destination in record time and quickly got his brother out of the car. Mokuba was still sleeping, thankfully. Kaiba didn't think he'd have the patience for explanations. He walked up to the door and knocked loudly on it, knowing that he was about to wake up the residents of the house. He just hoped that the younger of the two men came to the door, instead of the older one. The elder didn't like Kaiba very much, and the younger one at least tolerated him. Kaiba was counting on the teenager's kind heart for help with his brother.

After a few more moments of knocking, a light came on upstairs, followed by a light downstairs. Kaiba heard some grumbling before the door was swung open to reveal a pajama clad and very sleepy Yugi Moto.

"Kaiba? What are you doing here? What happened to Mokuba?"

"Shh," Kaiba chastised. "He's asleep and I want to keep it that way. Can I leave him here tonight?"

He'd come to Yugi's not because he'd wanted to. He grudgingly respected the younger teen, but felt no friendliness towards him at all. Yugi was just someone that was there. Mokuba, however, really liked Yugi. Besides, if whoever had thrown the brick through his window was involved with Kaiba Corp. it was unlikely that they'd know to find Mokuba at Yugi's.

"What happened?" Yugi asked, motioning for Kaiba to enter the small living room.

"Something happened at my house, and I wanted to get Mokuba out of there while security was checking it out. If he can just spend the night here tonight, and if you could take him to school tomorrow morning, I'll pick him up at school tomorrow."

Yugi nodded, and Kaiba breathed a sigh of relief. He was always amazed at how generous Yugi was, no matter what the circumstances.

"Sure, you can bring him up to my room," Yugi said.

They were about to go up the stairs when a figure started coming down.

"Yugi, what's going on?"

Kaiba's heart sank. Yugi's grandfather didn't like him at all and Kaiba was afraid that the man would turn them away because of it.

"Something happened at Kaiba's house, so Mokuba is going to spend the night here," Yugi said.

Yugi's grandfather's eyes shifter from Yugi to Kaiba, before going down to Mokuba. He nodded.

"Is this something you're going to take care of?"

Kaiba looked at the elder Moto, who was staring at him.

"Yes, sir. It will be taken care of tomorrow."

"Good. Bring Mokuba up to Yugi's room. I'll get some extra blankets."

Kaiba walked the rest of the way upstairs and into Yugi's room. He'd never been there, so he stood at the door for a moment. Yugi's room was so different from his. While his was dark and spacious, Yugi's was small and light. Books littered most surfaces, as well as toys of various kinds. Kaiba could see Yugi's dueling deck on the desk, next to the Millennium Puzzle.

"Here, lay him on the bed."

Kaiba started to do as Yugi told him, then stopped.

"It's your bed, Yugi. I'll just lay Mokuba on the floor when your grandfather brings the blankets."

Yugi shook his head. "Just lay him down, Kaiba. I have a very comfortable sleeping bag I can sleep on."

"Big brother?"

Kaiba looked down to see that Mokuba was awake. He looked around, his eyes still cloudy with sleep.

"Where are we?"

"We're at Yugi's, Mokuba. Something happened at the house so you're going to be spending the night here, okay?"

Mokuba sat up. "What about you, Seto?"

"I'll be fine; I'm going to go take care of this. Spend the night here, go to school tomorrow and I'll pick you up after school. I brought your cell phone, so if I'm not there, call the driver and have him pick you up, okay?"

Mokuba nodded. He looked at Yugi and smiled at him. "Thanks for letting me stay."

Yugi smiled in return. "Not a problem, Mokuba."

Kaiba turned to Yugi as well. "Yes, thank you, Yugi. I appreciate this." He turned back to Mokuba. "I'll go get your stuff from the car, you go back to sleep."

Mokuba, who was already half asleep, nodded and lay back down. Kaiba nodded and left the room, Yugi following. He ran into Mr. Moto and stopped.

"Thank you for letting my brother stay in your house, Mr. Moto."

Mr. Moto nodded to him once, before entering Yugi's room.

"What happened, Kaiba. What's got you so spooked."

Kaiba stopped in the middle of the living room and turned to glare at the younger teen. The boy was observant; he had to give him that.

"Someone threw a brick through my bedroom window while I was sleeping. That's all. I don't want Mokuba there in case something else happens."

He left the house and got the bags out of the car. When he reached the front door, Yugi took them.

"You don't seem like the kind of guy to get spooked when a brick lands on your floor. What else is going on?"

Kaiba sighed. He didn't want to be rude, especially since Yugi was letting Mokuba spend the night, but he was in a hurry.

"Look, Yugi, I appreciate you helping, but this is none of your concern. You should probably go to bed, since tomorrow is a school day."

Without another word, Kaiba turned and walked back to his car. With one last look at Yugi, he started it and took off.

Absently, he looked down at the address that had been written on the note. He was familiar with the street, but wasn't really sure what was there. The address was for a part of town that he rarely frequented, but he was sure he'd be able to find it with little difficulty. He drove fast, eager to get this over with. He couldn't wait to get his hands on this guy, whoever he was. Kaiba shrugged. He supposed it could be a woman too. What ticked him off was that it was someone who knew enough about him and his history with Gozaburo to use it against him. As far as he knew, Mokuba was the only person still alive who was aware of what Gozaburo had done to him. Well, there were the various doctors that tended to him over the years, but Kaiba doubted they had enough brains to do anything like this.

"It doesn't matter who it is," Kaiba growled as he pulled up to the address.

It was an older, semi run down building in the middle of the industrial district. It was three stories tall, but looked like a warehouse. Kaiba parked his car in front of the building and got out. Stealth was useless, since he was expected. He walked to the front door of the building and found it unlocked. Shrugging, he made his way inside.

The inside of the building was pristine. He found himself inside a maze of stainless steel corridors, which he wouldn't have expected from the building's outer appearance. There was low lighting illuminating the way, and Kaiba saw small arrows directing him to where he had to go. He followed the arrows, thinking that the place looked very much like one of his own research labs. When he stopped at a junction, he looked into one of the alcoves and found Kaiba Corp. equipment on the bench.

"What the hell? This isn't one of my labs?"

Someone had to be stealing equipment from the labs and bringing it here. Who or why, Kaiba had no clue, but he was going to find out. It was probably the same person who'd sent him the note.

The more he walked, the angrier he became. What right did this person have to steal from him, and then delve into his personal hell and use it against him?

A ticking sound caught his attention and Kaiba found himself at the end of the long corridor. Directly ahead, in the middle of the wide room, was a computer console. Behind it was a large, mainframe computer attached to several others through the silver wires that ran between them. The mainframe looked suspiciously like the one he used to develop the virtual reality simulators in his personal lab. He had been to that lab a few days ago and the mainframe was untouched, so this had to be another one.

When he got to the console, he saw another envelope addressed to him. Kaiba picked it up and took out the sheet inside to find more neatly typed text.

~I knew that you'd be too curious for your own good. Go ahead, turn on the computer and you'll get your answer.~

This time, the note was not signed. Kaiba put it down and walked around the mainframe, noting that it was exactly like his. What kind of information was stored here? He supposed he had only one way to find out.

Tentatively, he reached out to the computer console. He ran his fingers over the monitor, knowing that he should probably leave and tell his security people about this. His curiosity got the better of him, however, and he laid his fingers over the keyboard. He typed in the sequence that he knew would turn on the machine, and immediately felt a strong, electrical shock run through his fingers. He tried to pull his hands off the keyboard, but found that small, thin wires had come up from the keyboard and embedded themselves into his hands.

Suddenly, he felt as he usually did when he was entering the virtual reality world, like his consciousness was being separated from his body. He saw color, shapes and people, but couldn't really pinpoint anything specific. After a short while, his head began to hurt. Before long, the pain was all there was. He fought it, fought to get back to reality, but found it useless. Darkness overtook him, and Kaiba welcomed it with open arms.

**~~**

Gozaburo Kaiba jerked awake to find himself sitting in front of his workstation. His hands hurt, and he looked down to find them bleeding from where the wires had been attached. He smiled and reached out to turn on the overhead lighting. He blinked at the sudden bright light, but got up when his eyes had adjusted. He had to go and make sure that his plan had worked.

Immediately, he went to the small bathroom off the main room and looked in the mirror. Bright blue eyes, half hidden under brown hair stared back at him. The face, youthful and unmarked by time, was expressionless. The body was tall and lean, and Gozaburo ran his hands down it appreciatively. Seto had always been a handsome child, but he'd turned into and even more handsome teenager. Gozaburo sneered, examining his new features in the mirror.

It had all been worth it. The horrible circumstances that had led him to develop the mainframe to store his mind in until a suitable body to replace his dying one could be found could not have been avoided, but something good had come of it. He'd watched as Seto had stolen his company right out from under him, knowing that he'd be back to get his revenge.

He left the bathroom and rummaged around his laboratory until he found the old Egyptian book of spells he'd read before depositing his mind into the computer. He had to get rid of Seto's consciousness to have sole use of the body, and he needed the book to do it. The Egyptians had always been obsessed with the afterlife and the soul, so they'd done quite a bit of experimenting on the subject. It was lucky for him that they did, because he was going to have to use some of their spells to get rid of this body's original owner.

Gozaburo emptied out Seto's pockets to see what he had to work with. He found the keys to the car Seto had driven here, plus his wallet. Upon opening the wallet, Gozaburo found a school identification card, a driver's license, and various credit cards. There was also plenty of money, which suited Gozaburo just fine. In another pocket, he found a deck of cards, which he vaguely remembered were for that game Seto used to like so much. He shrugged and put the cards back in the pocket of the trench coat.

When he leaned forward to pick up the wallet and keys, he was hit in the face by something. He picked it up and saw that it was a locket in the shape of a Duel Monsters card. Gozaburo opened it to find a picture of Mokuba as he'd been when he had adopted the two boys. Apparently, Seto had developed a sentimental side. He was about to rip it off and throw it away, when he realized that he was going to have to keep up appearances and pretend to be Seto, at least for a little while. He closed the locket and let it fall back onto his chest. He'd be able to get rid of it soon enough.

**~~**

*pokes head out from behind monitor, not sure if rotten tomatoes are going to come flying*

So, how was it? Good? Bad? Confusing? Absolutely useless? Needs to go into the recycle bin?