By Lucky_Ladybug

Notes: The characters aren't mine and the story is! ^.^ And this is full of friendship and sibling cuteness! =3 **Kleenex**

The rain splashes against my helmet and over my bare hands as I ride through the city streets in the storm. Yes, I already know it's dangerous. I'm not trying to do some fool fatal stunt just to prove I can. Quite on the contrary, I'm trying to get a message to Yugi that cannot wait. Ishizu discovered something on an ancient scroll that concerns both Yugi and the Pharaoh and she said it had to be relayed to them immediately. She begged me not to go in the rain, but I could tell how urgent this is, and since the telephones have gone out, there is really no other way.

Now it's becoming harder to see. Amidst the rain and the fog, I can barely see a thing in front of me. The Game Shop is to the right, isn't it, or is it to the left? Or even straight ahead?

Before I can do a thing, two bright headlights appear in my line of vision. I hear a horrible, dull crash and suddenly I am quite airborne, unable to stop myself. My helmet comes off as I hit the ground and pain explodes through my head, limbs, and everything else.

I lay here, motionless for some time, my sightless eyes staring up into the rain. "Sister, I've failed you," I whisper, feeling the blood run down my face and into my eyes. I try to move and find I am frozen. Am I blind? Am I paralyzed?! Or am I . . . so close to death that I can't move or see?

I hear someone pass by above me. "This one's a goner," he mutters, brushing my eyes closed with a hand.

"Are you sure?" a second voice asks.

"Yeah." The first man seems to be standing up and walking away. "He's already dead."

But I'm not dead!! I want to scream. I'm alive, I just cannot move or see or speak!

A dark cloud seems to settle over me now, pulling me in unwillingly. Its eerie, long fingers reach out, caressing my cheek and arm and grasping me firmly. "There's no escape now, Marik Ishtar," a disembodied voice laughs. "That man was right---you are dead!"

I struggle against the force holding me. "You're lying!!" I retort angrily.

"Oh? Then why are you hovering here in space? Shouldn't you be in your body if you are alive?"

"I am not dead," I hiss, breaking free. I stumble forward, dizziness overpowering me. This, I hope, is an indication that I truly am still alive. I couldn't be so dizzy if I'm dead . . . could I?

"Marik!! Hey, Marik!!"

I look up. No one is around me any more, but I hear more voices . . . familiar voices . . . friendly voices. . . .

"We believe in you, Marik!" Yugi's voice calls.

"Heck yeah, we do! Don't give up, man!" Joey yells encouragingly.

"Ishizu and Rishid will be here soon!" Téa says now. "Hang in there!! You've got all of us to support you!"

And then I hear and know no more.


Voices . . . so many voices . . . people crying . . . so much confusion. . . . I don't know what's wrong. . . .

I rub at my eyes, trying to clear my vision, and then I see that I am standing in some sort of grassy area. . . . It's still raining, but I do not feel a thing. Yugi and the others are standing nearby and I try to call to them, but my voice refuses to work. How on earth did I get here? How am I standing?! And why does everyone look so sad? Slowly I move forward, trying to hear their conversation.

"He really was a good guy," Yugi says softly.

Téa nods, seeming to be crying. "He was one of the best friends anyone could have," she agrees. "Even at the end, all he wanted to do was help another."

"That's the way he was," Bakura remarks, his brown eyes sorrowful.

Joey is looking down, his eyes narrowed in apparent sadness. "I'm glad we got a chance to know him . . . the real him," he adds. "When we first met him, he was such a big-time jerk. But then afterwards . . ." He sighs and shoves his hands into his pockets, refusing to say more.

"I wish he hadn't died," Serenity sobs, and Joey puts an arm around her.

Who has died??! I scream silently. It's not . . . me, is it?!

"Why did he have to die?!" the auburn-haired girl bursts out, suddenly angry. "All he was trying to do was think of someone else! If anyone had to die, why couldn't it have been the person who hit him?! He didn't even bother to stop to help him! He just left him there in the middle of the road and . . . and just . . . drove off. . . . That was so cruel . . . so . . . so terrible!!"

"I dunno why he died," Joey says softly. "Those things happen. . . ."

"They say the good die young," Tristan puts in, trying to comfort Serenity but not having much luck.

Mokuba is embracing his brother tightly, refusing to let go. "I knew this would happen!" he wails. "I knew it would!! He's always risking his life to help others!!! He takes too many chances!!!" The young boys pauses, biting his lip. "I mean . . . he took too many," he whispers, speaking in the past tense now. "He always took too many and now he's gone!!!! HE'S GONE!!!!!!!!!" He struggles free from Kaiba's grasp and turns to run. "I hate him!! I HATE HIM!!!!!!" Tears fly from his eyes as he stumbles and falls. I run to his side and try to help him up, but my hand goes through.

Instantly I recoil, my eyes wide. What is wrong with me??!! I am dead, aren't I?! I'm the one they're speaking of! My blood runs cold.


He and I both look up to see Ishizu and Rishid standing here, their eyes sad.

"Marik died trying so hard to help another," Ishizu whispers.

So it is me! I stare at my transparent hands in horror.

"Had he known he would perish, that is the way he would have wanted to go," Ishizu continues now. "I know this will be hard for you, little Mokuba, but you must be strong. That is what he would want. . . ." She trails off, fighting back tears.

"Sister!!! I'm here!!!" I scream desperately. "PLEASE!!! Someone . . . please hear me. . . ." I slump down on a stone monument sadly. This isn't the afterlife I'd pictured. It certainly isn't Heaven. What could be worse than being here with those I love but not being able to get them to hear or see me?! Why can't this be some sort of nightmare? I didn't want to die!!

Now Rishid freezes. "Marik is still with us," he says softly. "I can feel his presence. . . ."

I look up, my eyes shining. Rishid can sense me! I go over, wanting to hug the brother I love so much, but I know I cannot.

Ishizu manages a sad smile. "Yes . . . he is here. I sense him as well." Tears fill her eyes. "He wants so desperately to communicate with us, but we cannot hear or see him."

Mokuba's eyes widen at this and he seems stunned.

"We must never forget him," Ishizu declares softly. "His bright eyes . . . his childlike enthusiasm . . . his gentle spirit. . . . His sweet voice. . . . If only . . ." She looks toward the direction I am in wistfully. "If only we could hear him again. . . ."

Mokuba looks pale. "If Marik's here, then . . . then he heard what I said," he whispers.

"He knows you didn't mean it," Kaiba replies soothingly.

Mokuba doesn't listen. "MARIK!!!" he screams heart-breakingly. "I DON'T HATE YOU!!! You're my best friend!! I could never hate you. . . ." He dissolves into tears, his shoulders shaking.

I want to shout back that it's alright. If only I could make him hear me!! If only I could make everyone hear me!! If only I . . . wasn't dead. . . .

Soberly I stand up again and walk past my young friend, hoping that somehow he will sense me.

Mokuba looks puzzled. "I felt a breeze go by," he says slowly. "But . . . it's not windy, just rainy. . . ."

"It is Marik," Rishid tells him. "Marik is trying to communicate with you." Tears fill his eyes as well and he lets them fall, not caring if anyone sees.

"Marik?" Joey yells suddenly. "Hey, where are you, man?! Why dontcha come out and talk to us??!"

"He's dead, Joey," Yugi says sadly. "We know he is. . . ."

"I know that!!" Joey explodes angrily. "But Ishizu and Rishid and Mokuba can sense him. So why can't he just make himself visible so he can talk to us?!"

Yugi shakes his head, not knowing the answer any better than I do. Slowly he moves away from the tombstone he's been standing by. It is mine.

I was half-expecting that, but still . . .

"I don't want to be dead!!!!" I scream. "I DON'T WANT TO BE!!!!!!" I gaze at the scene around me in shock and horror, not wanting to believe any of it. "How long have I been dead??! Why can't I remember what happened before this?!" I collapse to my knees, the tears insisting on falling. "Why does it have to be this way?! Why can't they hear me??!"

"You are not dead, Marik."

The voice comes from all around me, but only I seem to hear it. Now I am again encircled by darkness, everyone I love and care for having faded away.

"I'm not?!" I cry in disbelief. "Well, what the devil is going on then??! Why do they think I am??! Why am I transparent and unable to be heard by them?!" Angry tears come to my eyes.

I do not get an answer and I seem to be being forced to be left in my confusion and loneliness for ages. The darkness surrounds me . . . engulfing me . . . carrying me away. . . .


"Come on, Marik!"

"Please . . . come back to us!"

"You can't go now, man, we're just gettin' to know you!"

Again I hear voices. . . . My friends' voices. . . . They are all calling to me, wanting me to stay with them. . . .

I hear Ishizu and Rishid as well. They speak in alternating Egyptian, Arabic, and English, telling me how much they love me and that it's not my time to go.

But . . . haven't I already "left"?

Maybe . . . perhaps . . . could it have been just something brought on by delirium? I mumble something to that effect in my native tongue.

"It is alright, my brother," Ishizu says softly. "It is completely alright." She kisses my hand and I am relieved that I can feel the action. So I am not paralyzed, at least not in my hands. . . . "You live, dear Marik. Please . . . open your eyes. . . ."

Oh, how I would love to if I could. I try again, but they seem to be glued shut. I struggle to move, wanting desperately to know that I can. I feel the pain in my legs, but I am so relieved to feel anything that I don't care.

"He is waking up," Rishid says in relief, bending down to embrace me. I weakly snuggle close to him, remembering so badly how I longed to in my delirium or whatever it was. "My dear brother," he whispers in Egyptian before pulling back slightly and smoothing my bangs.

Finally I manage to open my eyes. I am laying in my bed, and all of my family and friends have gathered around, watching me anxiously.

Ishizu hugs me now, her blue eyes alight with happiness. Weakly I try to return it, my hands shaking slightly.

"Hey, welcome back," Yugi smiles.

"We've missed you, man," Joey says.

Still in awe of this, I blurt out without thinking. "You can see me!" I cry. "You can hear me!" Tears of joy run down my face as Mokuba flings himself into my arms.

"You're really gonna be okay now, right, Marik?" he chirps, looking a bit disturbed by my remarks.

"Of course," I reply, though I wonder what on earth did happen to me. I look up at Ishizu and Rishid, hoping they can explain.

Ishizu smooths my bangs back, touching a strip of bandage I only now realize is going around my forehead. "You suffered a terrible shock," she tells me, the look in her eyes revealing how painful it is for her to talk about this. "When we found you . . . you were not breathing."

"WHAT??!!" I bolt upright in bed, this news disturbing me even more. "You mean I . . . I was dead??!!"

Rishid lays his hand on my shoulder. "We do not know," he says softly. "But it doesn't really matter. Not as long as you are here with us now."

"Are you alright, Marik?" Yugi asks, concerned. "You look pale!"

I struggle to get my emotions under control. Even if I was dead for a minute or so, there is no way what I saw could have been real . . . unless I had been shown what would happen if I did die. . . . Hmm. . . . "I'll be fine, Yugi," I say aloud, giving a weak smile.

Rishid sees the unspoken questions in my eyes and tries to answer them for me. "You started breathing again after another minute," he says gently, "and nothing as horrifying as that happened again. You have been alive since then, but you hadn't regained consciousness until now." He smiles.

"What the heck were you thinkin', man?!" Joey demands. "Ridin' your motorcycle in the rain?!"

I sigh, shaking my head. "I was trying to deliver a message to Yugi," I reply.

Yugi smiles kindly. "I know," he says. "Ishizu told me." He pauses, the look in his eyes stating that he isn't sure how to phrase what he wishes because he feels the words won't be adequate enough.

"Marik, you could've died!" Joey objects.

Ishizu speaks up before I can reply. "Marik knew the message was quite urgent," she declares softly. "He was only trying his best to help Yugi and the Pharaoh." She takes my hand again, stroking it.

Joey sighs. "I know," he says then, crossing his arms. "We're all glad you're okay, man," he tells me gruffly.

I speak with all of them for a while, but eventually they all have left except for Mokuba, and Ishizu and Rishid of course.

"How long has it been since the accident?" I ask quietly of my siblings.

Ishizu kisses my cheek. "Not that long, thank goodness," she replies. "It happened last night."

Only last night? It seems like an eternity since I was able to speak to anyone and have them hear me. . . .

I blink, studying the ceiling. "When I . . . fell . . . I couldn't move," I say slowly. "I thought I was paralyzed. . . ."

Rishid looks at me tenderly. "No, you were only suffering the effects of a horrible shock to your body, my brother," he explains. He shakes his head. "I can only imagine how terrifying that must have been for you. . . ."

I give a hollow laugh. "Yes . . . well . . . I didn't stay conscious for very long after that. . . ."

Mokuba looks up at me. "Were you having some kind of nightmare, Marik?" he asks.

I sigh, not especially wanting to relay what I had been experiencing, but on the other hand wanting to be entirely reassured that it hadn't been real in any way. What if, during the time I wasn't breathing, some of the dialogue from my nightmare had actually taken place? "I suppose you could call it that," I say at last. "I . . . I was dead. . . ."

Ishizu draws in her breath sharply, while Rishid narrows his eyes and tells me gently to go on.

So I tell them what happened. I tell them what I overheard and how hard I'd tried to communicate with them, with barely any success at all.

When I've finished, Ishizu pulls me close and strokes my hair. "Oh my poor brother," she says softly. From the way she grips me so protectively, she seems to be thinking that the events could very well have happened if I had not been found by a caring person who had brought help.

"It was just a weird dream, Marik," Mokuba says earnestly. I have neglected to mention the part aloud where he screamed his hatred for me out of grief, but from the way he looks at me so pleadingly to accept that it wasn't real at all, I have to wonder if he perhaps truly did say that. "It was just a weird dream and you're still here with us!" He hugs me reassuringly.

"Yes," I reply after a pause, "yes . . . it was only a dream." I smile as Rishid hugs me as well.

"You were so blessed, Marik," he tells me. "The only injury you sustained from your horrible fall was a bad bump on your head."

I chuckle weakly. "A lot less than I would have expected," I say wryly.

Settling back into the embraces of my siblings and my dear young friend, I decide to put the nightmare (or whatever it was) behind me and not worry about it. I don't have time to ponder on strange things such as that. I want to live in the here and now.

It almost seems, however, as though vaguely I do remember someone saying, "This is a future that will not come to pass" right before I woke up. Maybe I was shown what would happen if I had died. . . . That I would be missed. . . . Ah well. I won't worry about it anymore.

As I lean against Rishid, half closing my eyes, I can almost swear I caught a glimpse of Kasumi smiling and disappearing.