Going Under

By Lucky_Ladybug

Notes: The usual. The characters aren't mine and the story is ^^ The plot is based on a couple of role-plays with Wingweaver Hope, however, so she must be given some credit too! ^___^ **pokes the snowflakes in the fic!** I am SO in a Christmas mood and I can't explain why! XD

Gently I carry my brother's nearly drowned body into the Kaiba brothers' summer home, holding him close to my heart. It was so horrible . . . looking for him amidst the harsh waves and not being able to find him. . . . Then to find him laying at the bottom of the lake in a bed of seaweed was almost too much to bear.

We were out on the water in a boat, trying to uncover the secrets of a strange, supernatural mystery that has been plaguing us all---especially young Mokuba---ever since coming to the Kaibas' summer home high in the canyons. Upon seeing another boat out so late at night, and when it seemed that a harsh storm was brewing at that, we tried to find out if the occupants were in danger. Our reward for trying to help was being thrown into the stormy lake and having two of those with us---Marik and Mokuba---both nearly meet their end. But Marik's fate is far more undecided than Mokuba's. At least Kaiba's brother is conscious. Marik wasn't breathing when I found him. Ishizu and I know that it is only by the grace of God that our younger brother is still alive.

"How is he?" Ishizu asks me quietly as we enter the living room.

"Very cold and wet," I reply sadly. Marik revived partially on the beach, but only long enough to tell us how cold he was before swooning once more.

Kaiba brushes past us, Mokuba's shivering form in his arms. "Get your brother into some dry clothes and bring him downstairs again," he says to me, heading for the stairs himself. "Ishizu, you start a fire."

Ishizu nods and immediately goes to work with her task, knowing how critical the heat will be at this time.

I take Marik upstairs to a vacant guestroom and gently lay his motionless body on the bed. The boy doesn't stir as I begin to remove his drenched shirt and pants. If I could not see his chest rising and falling, I would be quite inclined to think that he was dead. I say many silent prayers of thanks that I was able to extract the water he'd swallowed and that his heart has since started to beat again.

"It will be alright, my brother," I tell him kindly, hurrying to retrieve several fluffy towels from the nearby linen closet. Carefully I dry his cold skin and then respectfully wrap a towel around his loins while I search for the other clothes he brought with us when we came. Marik still does not move, seeming to be deeply unconscious.

I try to block the horrible images from my mind of what happened over the past hour. . . . The waves sweeping over us . . . Ishizu screaming and swimming to me, telling me she could not find our brother---only one of his golden chains, which was dripping red with blood. . . . How I dove under the water to look for him and found his poor body laying lifeless at the bottom. . . . The many long moments Ishizu and I vainly spent trying to restore his breath and heartbeat. . . .

"Oh my brother," I whisper, finally finding the clothes and beginning to help him get into them. "How often will you have such treacherous experiences? How long will you have to endure such horrible things?" Tears gather in my eyes as I run a towel through his blonde hair. Marik does not acknowledge me.

Before I give him his shirt I turn my attention to a wound on his chest. He was obviously struck with something, but I do not know what it would have been. Carefully I clean and bandage the injury, relieved that it doesn't seem to be very deep or serious.

Now I gently pull his soft lavender shirt onto his poor body, knowing that it will keep him warm. He looks so helpless, laying here. . . . It is breaking my heart.

I know he could still die, but I pray he will not. After wrapping him in a large, warm quilt, I take him back downstairs and lay him very gently by the fireplace, which is now crackling and ablaze. It is as though I am carrying a ragdoll instead of a live boy.

Ishizu looks up at me as I lay him down on the hearth. She can see that he remains still and silent, and tears fill her eyes.

"You two should change out of your clothes as well," Kaiba says coldly as he comes in with Mokuba. The raven-haired boy is walking on his own and has a thick quilt draped about him. Slowly he comes over and sits beside Marik, obviously not intending to move. "If you get sick, you won't be able to care for your brother." Kaiba has already changed, and now he sits down by his own brother.

Ishizu exchanges a look with me. We know Kaiba is right. We cannot risk becoming ill, not when Marik needs us. But we decide that we will change one at a time so that our brother will always have at least one of us with him as well as the Kaibas.

"I will return shortly, my brother," I say quietly, touching Marik's shoulder. I notice that the quilt has pulled away from his bare arm and I quickly replace it before standing to go upstairs. My heart breaks as I hear Mokuba's young voice behind me, begging for Marik to answer him. Of course my brother cannot, and Mokuba hugs him sadly through the quilt.


When I return several minutes later, nothing has changed. Ishizu kisses Marik's forehead and stands, going to the stairs now. She gives me a sad look as she passes by, letting me know that Marik hasn't even moved.

Determinedly I go back over to the fireplace and sit down on the floor near my precious brother. I laid him on his side when I brought him down, knowing that he feels the most comfortable that way. Whether Ishizu's eyes had told me or not, I can see instantly that the boy is still in the same position he was in before.

Mokuba is now sipping a mug of hot chocolate very slowly as he watches me. I know he feels responsible for this in some way, even though he most assuredly is not. It was his visions of drowning and a strange voice on the telephone when Marik tried to call him that brought us here earlier, just in time to rescue him from a ghostly spectre after Kaiba was rendered unconscious and could not help. It was only shortly afterward when the horrible experience with the boat took place.

"Marik's going to be fine, Mokuba," Kaiba says now, speaking softly.

Mokuba stares into his mug, obviously trying to hide his fright. "I hate seeing him like that," he says finally, tears escaping his eyes. "I hate seeing him laying there, not moving at all! It's awful, Seto!! It's so awful!!"

Now Kaiba puts his arms around the younger boy gently, offering silent comfort.

"We all could've died, Seto!!" Mokuba wails. "All because of that stupid other boat! There wasn't really anyone who needed help on it. It was just that awful ghost trying to hurt us!"

I reach out to touch my brother's hair, trying to see if it is still wet. Thankfully, by now it has mostly dried due to the heat from the fire's flames behind him.

I have not spoken since coming back down. I have had nothing to say. Normally I do not speak much to anyone other than my siblings, though lately I have become rather attached to young Mokuba.

"This was not your fault, Mokuba," I tell him firmly, speaking at last. "You couldn't have known." Gently I stroke Marik's hair, feeling sadness creep over me.

"You guys shouldn't have come," Mokuba says softly.

"Marik wouldn't have had it any other way," I reply, and Mokuba knows I am right.

Before long Ishizu comes back down again and sits near us, reaching for one of Marik's limp hands.

A light snow begins to fall outside the window and we remain here far into the night, talking occassionally but mostly just staying silent and allowing our sadness to fill the air. Kaiba lets Mokuba sit on his lap, knowing that the boy is still cold and in shock from his own experience.

"The last time I saw Marik . . . conscious . . . was during that terrible storm," Ishizu speaks up softly. "When that last wave tore through, after you had been separated from us. . . ." She gazes at me and I look away, wishing so badly that it had not happened. "Marik . . . he knew that next wave was coming. He . . . he pushed me out of the way just as it washed over us, allowing it to hit him instead of me. . . ." She trails off, clutching his hand tightly. "When it was gone . . . all that was left was his chain." Gently she sets the now-clean gold chain on top of the quilt.

I smile, looking down at our selfless brother tenderly. "Yes . . . he would do that. He always thinks of others before himself." I lay my hand over Ishizu's and she smiles.

Mokuba sniffles furiously. "Why?!" he cries, hugging Kaiba tightly. "Why won't he ever think about his own safety for once?! He . . . he coulda died out there!!" He buries his face into Kaiba's trenchcoat, sobbing uncontrollably. "He's such an idiot!!"

I narrow my eyes, but I know Mokuba does not mean his words. He is only hurting so terribly, as we all are.

"No," Kaiba answers him now, speaking quietly. "He's not an idiot. He just has a caring heart." From the look in his eyes, I can tell he identifies with Marik, if only for now. For Kaiba, also, will do anything for the one he loves, namely, Mokuba. And nothing will ever change that.

Now Ishizu pulls the quilt closer around Marik's body, checking as she does so to make certain he is still breathing. I can feel his soft breath on my hand as I lean down to brush the hair away from his mouth. He yet lives. I smile, feeling hopeful once more. He will wake up.

Mokuba, regretting his words already, comes over and hugs Marik, afraid that his friend may have heard what he said even though he is so deeply senseless. "I'm sorry, Marik," the younger boy whispers. "I didn't mean it! I'm so grateful that you cared enough to come! It's just that . . . that I don't want you to die!" he wails. "I'm scared that you're gonna," he adds, allowing his voice to drop low again and obviously ignoring the fact that he is not alone with his friend. "And . . . yeah. . . ." He embraces Marik once again before retreating back into Kaiba's arms, clinging to his older brother desperately as if pleading for Kaiba to always stay with him. Kaiba returns the embrace, his long bangs falling over his eyes and obscuring them from view.

Ishizu starts to sing a tender lullaby in Egyptian, choking over the words. I can tell that she can't take much more of seeing Marik laying so deathlike. I can't either. Usually when he is hurt he tries to acknowledge us in some way, but for hours now he has done nothing.

Suddenly he gives a faint sign of movement, responding to Ishizu's singing. He shudders, grasping her hand tightly as if afraid to let go, and then reaches out for me desperately with his other hand. Instantly I take it, holding it between my own and noting with joy that it is not as limp anymore.

"Marik!!" Ishizu exclaims. "Oh Marik!!!"

Slowly his eyes open and he rolls onto his back, gazing up at us in wonder.

"Are you back with us, brother?" I ask softly, wanting to make certain he is aware of things.

He smiles in reply and throws the quilt back, reaching out to embrace us both. "Oh yes," he says as Ishizu and I both pull him close, "I am back."

Mokuba looks up in delight, his eyes shining brightly with his happiness.

"We were so worried, brother," Ishizu whispers, pulling back to look at our brother tenderly. I nod in agreement, so very overjoyed to see him up and talking. I can never forget how still and so like a ragdoll he appeared earlier when I had first brought him inside.

"Well . . ." Marik leans against us both, looking as happy as we feel. "You don't have to worry any more." He catches sight of Mokuba and smiles at him. "Hello," he greets.

Mokuba grins. "Hi!" he replies, running over and hugging Marik happily. "I'm so glad you're okay," he whispers.

Kaiba crosses his arms, giving a slight smile as well as he watches his brother.

Marik returns his young friend's embrace, expressing his relief that we are all safe after what happened. He glances out at the falling snow and then up at Ishizu and I again. "How long have we been here?" he asks.

I sigh, laying my hand on his shoulder. "A good while," I reply. "But you are alright now, and that is all that matters."

Marik looks at the fireplace and then at the floor where he had been laying with the quilt and a soft pillow as well. I can tell he doesn't quite grasp the fact that he nearly died (and actually did appear dead for some time), but I do not intend to tell him. Now my only intention is to keep my loved ones close to me and give thanks for the miracle of Marik's life being spared once again. While the snow continues to fall outside, I put my arms around my two younger siblings and hold them close.

Kaiba again holds Mokuba close to his heart, the same thoughts obviously running through his own mind.

"You know, it's actually kinda peaceful here like this," Mokuba smiles, looking around at all of us and at the crackling fire. "Now that we're all okay and everything. . . ."

Marik smiles as well and snuggles closer to Ishizu and I, his young body exhausted from the past events that have occurred.

"Just rest now, brother," I tell him softly. "Just rest. You deserve it."

Marik blinks and tries to stifle a yawn, without much success. I lean back against the wall and allow Marik to lay against me, seeing how tired he is.

"Hey, Marik?" Mokuba says quietly. He, too, is very sleepy by now.

"Hmm?" Marik looks over at his young friend with half-open eyes.

"You've gotta stop scaring us like this," Mokuba whispers, a melancholy tone to his voice.

Marik manages a weak chuckle. "I'll try my best," he replies.


Now I am the only one still awake. I have watched the others fall asleep, one by one---first Marik, then Mokuba, Kaiba, and lastly Ishizu. Marik is sleeping curled up next to me, his arms around my waist. He sighs in his sleep and mumbles something, shivering slightly as he burrows deeper into my cloak, which I have lent to him. Ishizu is wrapped in the quilt, her head on my shoulder. Kaiba has fallen asleep against the opposite wall, Mokuba held safely in his arms.

This is the way I like things---having my precious family close to me and being able to make certain that they are doing well. As I gaze into the falling snow outside and recall the upcoming holiday season, I cannot think of a better way to begin it. Marik and Ishizu are both safe here beside me. Neither of them perished during the treacherous storm. They are both alive.


I look down, hearing Marik's soft voice. "Yes?" I ask quietly, not wanting to awaken Ishizu or the Kaibas.

"Thank you for everything," Marik says sincerely, moving closer. "I love you, my brother." He shudders. "I would have died if you hadn't found me under the lake."

I hold him closer, feeling him start to slip back into the oblivion. "I love you as well, Marik," I reply, wondering how he knows that I rescued him.

Marik is already asleep again, but he is smiling slightly. I can't help but smile as well. Before long I find myself dozing against the wall. I suppose this entire experience has made me more exhausted than I realized. But everything is peaceful now. I can go to sleep without fear of something terrible happening. It isn't long before I have.