Yu-Gi-Oh!

Family Ties

By Lucky_Ladybug





Notes: Well, I said this would be part of something bigger. XD I've split the original one-shot into two chapters and will be adding more, starting now! ^___^ This shall be a big project! The story is mine, the characters are not (except Halima), and this is chock-full of sibling/family cuteness! Also, while I refer to Marik's and Ishizu's brother as "Rishid," a character or two will call him "Odion" in this story, for reasons that will be revealed, and I would appreciate it if y'all didn't fall apart because of it XD There's so many important things to be angry about in life without getting up in arms because of a NAME, of all things! ^__~ SHEESH, people!!!





~*Rishid*~

Darkness.

Complete, enveloping darkness. The kind that overwhelms one's soul until they feel as though there will never be light again.

Screams.

Pain-filled . . . agonized . . . horrifyingly innocent. . . . Someone is being punished unrighteously.

This is not a random terror of the night. It is real . . . was real. . . . It really happened, sometime. . . .

"Stop!! Stop it!! You're hurting her!!" The adult female voice breaks into the calamity.

Wails rip through the air . . . screams of an infant, terrified at the horrors about him. How do I know it is a he? I can't explain.

"You're hurting her!! I won't let this go on! I won't!!"

The cries continue, tearing through the darkness.

****

"Rishid?! Rishid, what on earth is the matter?!"

I start awake, looking up at Marik as he stands over me, his lavender eyes wide and concerned.

"Brother . . . is the darkness gone? The screams . . . have they stopped?" I look up at him with an almost-panicked expression. The dream . . . the past memory . . . it has affected me deeply for some reason.

Marik blinks. "What darkness, Rishid? And what screams?!"

I blink as well, trying to get reacquainted with the here and now. "Forgive me. . . . It was a dream I was having. . . . So vivid. . . ." I pull myself up, only now realizing that I am on the floor.

"A vivid dream?" Marik repeats, leaning back and crossing his arms over his bare chest. Even though he likes the heat and becomes chilled quite easily, he cannot seem to sleep with a shirt on. "Our sister would say that it means something."

"I know it is something from someone's past," I say. "But I do not know whose past it is." Could it be mine? I wonder. But why do I not consciously remember it if it is?

"This isn't a dream you've had before, is it?" Marik wants to know.

I sigh. "Yes," I admit. "Each night more details come to light."

"Do you want to talk about it?" Marik is very much awake and willing to talk with me if I wish. He and I are very close and have been ever since he was born.

I stand up and then sit on the bed, Marik quickly following. "There was much darkness and confusion. Someone was being beaten. . . . The abuser refused to stop, despite pleas and protests from the child and from someone else, perhaps the mother. . . . An infant was crying . . . so very terrified by it all. . . ."

Marik looks at me in concern. "Is it something you might remember from your past?"

"It could be," I answer helplessly. "I wish I knew."

Marik stares into the distance and I know he is remembering the past. His past. Our past. Tears slide his cheeks and suddenly he gives me a tight hug.

"I'll never forget the horror of seeing . . . seeing Father trying to kill you," the boy whispers. "It was so diabolical . . . so evil . . . I always knew Father thought of you as only a servant, but I had never imagined that . . . that he hated you so much. . . ."

I hold him close to me, laying my cheek against his unruly blonde hair and inwardly chuckling as I remember how Ishizu used to complain about it never staying down when she tried to brush it. "It's all over now, Marik," I tell him. "It's over. We're safe now."

Marik looks up at me, something obviously plaguing his mind. "Are you happy, Rishid?" he asks finally.

I pull back, blinking in surprise. "'Happy'?" I repeat.

"Here with us," Marik elaborates. "Ishizu and I. Are you happy with us, Rishid? Do you ever wish that . . . that someone else had adopted you into their family?"

I gaze into his eyes, knowing that he sincerely wants to know. I remember the much pain I have experienced in my life . . . wanting so badly to just belong somewhere and yet always feeling like an outsider. I remember the immense agony Marik has gone through, far worse than what I did. If I hadn't been there, his Yami might have taken over much sooner and things would have been even more horrible than the way they were. I love the boy so much . . . and Ishizu as well.

At last I answer him. "No . . . I do not wish that," I say firmly. "You and Ishizu are my life. I could never be happy if I didn't know you both. Even if someone else had adopted me, I would have felt as though something was always missing." I know now that I do belong, that I am with the most wonderful family I possibly could be.

Marik smiles and hugs me. I return the gesture, the disturbing dream's events again playing over in my thoughts. What does it mean? Will I ever find out?

****

Several more days go by, each ensuing night bringing the dream with it. Each time I experience it, it only reinforces my feelings all the more that it was something real and that I was involved in some way . . . though I cannot understand how.

"Rishid?"

I look up as Ishizu enters the darkened living room where I am sitting.

"It is so dark. Here, I will turn the light on." She does, and I squint as my eyes try to adjust to the sudden change. "Why are you sitting here in the dark, Rishid?" she asks, coming over and sitting on the couch.

I am silent for a time, working out my answer. "I don't know," I tell her at last. "Perhaps I am hoping for answers."

Ishizu nods in understanding. "I have seen something with my Millennium Tauk today . . . something confusing and dark. A certain sadness. I sense that something from the past is about to come forth."

I raise an eyebrow. "Whose past?"

She lifts her gaze to look right into my golden eyes. "Yours, my brother."

This surprises me immensely. Just mine? But my past is tangled up with Ishizu's and Marik's!

Sensing my surprise, she cocks her head to the side and touches her necklace. "Rishid . . . do you remember any of your life before our mother brought you into our family?" she wants to know.

I close my eyes. "No," I reply, shaking my head. "I only recall feelings . . . of terror . . . of anger . . . of being abandoned and cold. . . ."

Ishizu touches my arm gently, her soft, kind eyes showing her outrage at anyone leaving a mere infant at the edge of a well.

"I do not recall my birth mother at all," I continue quietly, "nor any biological family I may have had. You and Marik are my family and I am perfectly content to have nothing to do with my birth parents, whoever they may be. They obviously never wanted me."

Ishizu gives me a bittersweet smile. "They will never know what a wonderful person they gave up," she says.

****

The following day I am alone in the house temporarily while Marik rides his motorcycle and Ishizu works at the museum. The home is silent, almost tomb-like, but it does not have the gloomy feeling of a tomb . . . or of our old home in Egypt. That is one place I would not care to visit again. There are too many bad memories there. I am glad we moved to Domino City permanently to start over. Since the Pharaoh has been found, Shadi told us that there was no longer a need to guard the tomb and that we could live our lives while he tied up any loose ends back in Egypt.

A soft, hesitant knock startles me out of my thoughts and I turn slowly to face the door. Company is not expected. Who would it be? Mokuba, perhaps, looking for his friend Marik? Or could it be trouble of some sort? We have had so many odd escapades lately that it is hard to say.

Carefully I ease the door open, bracing myself for any sort of possible ill activity. To my surprise and shock, a middle-aged, tired-looking woman dressed in Egyptian clothing is standing out on the porch. Her skin is worn and wrinkled, showing that she has come through much in her life.

"Can I help you, madam?" I ask.

She looks up at me in a sort of confused awe. "I am . . . looking for someone," she says. "My child. . . ."

I hold the door firmly. "You will not find your child here," I reply.

She makes no move to leave. Instead she gazes deeply into my golden eyes with her blue ones. "Odion?" she whispers.

Now I am feeling uneasy. That is my middle name, but I never use it. My mother . . . the one I consider my mother . . . she told me that I had been left with a piece of paper that said "Odion" on it and that she assumed that was my name. Her husband, however—I can't bring myself to call him Father—did not care for the name and insisted that I would be called "Rishid" instead. I eventually wound up with both names. "How do you know of that name, madam?" I ask uncomfortably.

She ignores the question and steps a bit closer. "Odion . . . my Odion," she whispers. "Your eyes . . . they're so unique and beautiful. . . . Such a deep, rich gold . . . just like . . ." She trails off.

"Madam, I do not know you," I tell her steadily.

She sighs. "I know . . . my precious one. But I am your mother."

My eyes narrow. "The only mother I know died when I was a child," I say coldly.

Now she looks down sadly. "At least you did know the love of a real mother, Odion," she whispers. "You've grown up so handsomely." She steps forward slightly and touches my cheek. "I always prayed you would wind up in a good family, my son."

"Don't call me that!" I snarl, suddenly angry. "You abandoned me!! You left me at the edge of a well, all alone!! I am not your son!" I clench my fists. "You didn't want me then. What makes you think I will welcome you now?" Many thoughts swirl through my mind. Yes, I was then adopted by a wonderful mother and gained two precious siblings because my birth mother didn't keep me, but that isn't the point. I cannot believe the audacity of this woman on my porch, abruptly appearing after twenty-five years and looking for her child—me—after what she did. Does she have no shame?

She tries to reach for my hand. "You have every reason to be angry with me, my Odion. I wasn't really expecting anything else. But will you at least allow me to explain myself and why I did what I did in the past?"

I pull my hand away, staring at her intently and giving no answer. What can I say? "I still remember how it felt to be left there, all alone with no one to care for me." What could possibly be a good excuse for leaving an infant in such an isolated area? "I was so cold and afraid."

A tear slips from her eye. "I never wanted to leave you there, Odion," she tells me.

"Then why did you?!" I demand. "And how did you find me here?"

She is quiet for a time before answering my second question. "I met a strange, enigmatic man in Egypt. He told me that my son is alive and living in Domino City, far from where he—you—were born, and that you have two siblings whom you adore so very much." The woman gives a sad sigh. "I came as fast as I could. I wanted to see my precious boy again . . . to see what he has become."

"And why do you suddenly care now?" I growl, raising an eyebrow.

"I never stopped caring, my Odion," she says sincerely.

"I have a hard time believing that." I cross my arms and gaze at her, frustrated at the many emotions I am feeling. Confusion . . . sadness . . . anger . . . hurt, most of all. It seems that none of those who were my parents truly wanted me, except for my dear adopted mother, and she has passed on now.

A motorcycle's roar interrupts us both and we look up as Marik flies into the driveway recklessly—yet somehow skillfully—and parks the vehicle he loves to ride so much. "Rishid?" he calls in perplexity, removing his helmet and shaking his blonde hair out. "Who's our visitor?"

I pause, not certain how to introduce her. How can I call her my mother? She is not that to me. She may have birthed me, but she didn't treat me as a mother should. My real mother is the one I shared with Marik and Ishizu.

Sensing my distress, the woman takes matters into her own hands. "I am Halima," she tells him, trying to smile. "I . . . know your brother."

Marik blinks, coming up onto the porch with us. "You know Rishid? But how?!"

"He is Odion to me," she answers ruefully.

"No one calls him that," Marik retorts.

I sigh, deciding that I must face the truth and tell my dear brother of it. "She gave birth to me," I explain. "'Odion' is the name I was born with."

Marik does a doubletake. "You're his mother?!" he cries. "But how could you have abandoned him the way you did?! How could you do that and then dare to show your face here?!"

"I am not proud of what I did," Halima says. "But I believed then it was for the best, and I still believe so now." She looks at me pleadingly, begging for me to give her the chance to explain that she wishes for.

I narrow my eyes. Well, what have I got to lose? I suppose I might as well know what drove her to leave me by the well. I always assumed that she simply did not want to care for me and so she abandoned me at the first possible place she came to. "You may explain your actions," I say at last, half-turning away. "When Ishizu arrives home," I add.

"Your sister?" Halima smiles slightly, then sobers. "Yes, she has a right to know as well."