Summary: Set during Battle City; one-shot; sibling-fluff, dark and angsty. Malik's soul sorta goes wandering all over the place during Battle City....He's quickly losing hope, but his sister's tears give him a new reason to fight.

Disclaimer: All I own is a load of screenshots and an obsession with the Ishtars. And sadness. Can you own that? o.O'

Warning: Rated for a whole slew of things, such as: a smattering of curses, Yami M getting hit in the face a couple times, an attempted rape, suicidal thoughts.....

Warning #2: I am not terribly fond of Yami M. ....Yes, it was funny when he got bored and went on a rampage in Noa's floating fortress thingy, and he did get rid of Ishtar the evil child abuser, but I dun really like him. In this fic.....he does something....very....bad. I'm giving you a fair warning. Please, don't flame. My self-esteem is low enough already. -_-

Note: Go ahead and read my author-ramblings. There's some shtuff you need to know. I'll try and make them somewhat concise......XD

Note #2: Malik's ESP-thought-talking-thingies are italics. Except during the scene when Malik is inside his mind. You'll see what I mean. Oh, and I added another day onto the Battle ship arc thing. ^^

Mojobubbles: Before I say anything else.....*fwaps Malik*

Malik: ........STOP THAAAAAT!

Kamilah: Hehe. Welcome to 'Reasons', a fic inspired by Hoobastank's song 'The Reason', and a scene we've nicknamed as the fwap-scene.

Mojobubbles: Because it gives us excellent reason to fwap Malik. *fwaps him again*


Kamilah: In eppie 127 or so, Isis gets to thinking about Malik and she starts crying.......sorta.....well whatever. She was gonna cry.

Mojobubbles: So Malik accidentally made Isis-neechan cry.

Malik: I said I was sorry already.......V.V

Mojobubbles: Well anyway. The fic begins with a conversation between Isis and Shizuka [Serenity], which we sort of rewrote, and then later on is what I've named the rape-scene, where we took an actual conversation between Isis and Yami M and spun it off in a different.......disturbing.....direction.

Kamilah: R & R, onegai?

Mojobubbles: Oh yeah.....SPREAD IT ACROSS THE WEB! The Ishtars will be returning to the storyline after the pharaoh's-memory-arc! However.....the Yuugiou manga actually.....ended....

Kamilah: Couple random Jappie terms to know:

Yami no game – dark game (the dub calls it a Shadow Game)

Oniichan – 'o' shows respect, 'nii' is the 'big brother' stem, and 'chan' denotes familiarity/friendship....what Shizuka calls Jou-kun.

Neesan – general 'big sister' term.....what Malik calls Isis.

Blank-sama – kind of like saying Master Blank.....there's a lot of Malik-samas, Kaiba-samas, etc.

Chichiue – Father


Shizuka sighed, staring out at the black-and-purple clouds that surrounded the top of the duel tower.

Her brother was up there, in that Yami no Game, dueling Malik.

She was afraid. She'd seen the way he'd controlled Jounouchi's mind. She'd seen what Malik had done to Mai and Bakura. What would he do to Jounouchi?

Suddenly, she heard a 'whoosh' behind her and jumped. She turned, seeing it was only Isis coming in the room.

"Isis-san...." Shizuka was surprised. Isis hadn't said a word since the other day....

Isis looked at Mai, lying motionless on the bed. "How is she?" she asked softly.

Shizuka shook her head. "Still nothing."

There was a silence as the two of them looked out the round window and up at the yami no game.

"Oniichan's up there," Shizuka murmured.

Isis nodded, noting Shizuka restlessly drumming her fingers against her leg.

"I'm a little worried...." Shizuka admitted.

Isis nodded again, smiling slightly. "He's lucky to have you, you know."

Shizuka smiled too. "I think I'm the lucky one." She sobered quickly. "I'd like to go and watch, to cheer him on.....but I can't. I have to stay with Mai-san....."

Isis was still smiling. "I know. I have to watch over Rishid in the same way."

Shizuka nodded, having forgotten that Isis viewed Rishid as a brother. She supposed Malik did as well, but she was still having trouble imagining that there was a time when Malik had been good.....Especially after what had happened the other day.

"Go with your brother, Shizuka," Isis said suddenly. "I will take your place here."

Shizuka blinked. "But...."

"Please," Isis protested. "You should be with him."

Shizuka slowly got to her feet, chewing her lip. "Th....thank you," she said at last, bowing slightly before running out of the room.

Isis sighed, watching her go. She sat on the small chair placed next to Mai's bed, staring down at her hands. Shizuka was so afraid. She was afraid of what she would find up at the tower. She should never have come to Battle City. She'd seen so much.

But Shizuka fought through it all, because she had her brother. She would follow Jounouchi to the ends of the earth, and everyone knew it. Jounouchi is her everything – her lifeline.

'He's your brother.'

She closed her eyes and bit her lip. Before she even realized it, she was crying. No one ever saw her when she felt this way, but she did. She cried when she was alone.

But this time she wasn't alone. Because there was someone else in the room, someone who wouldn't - couldn't watch the duel. This someone knew what would happen to Jounouchi better than anyone else. He knew very well what his other, darker half would do to Jounouchi. Yami Malik would break Jounochi, break them all, like he'd broken Isis and Malik, only a few days ago......

They had only been at Alcatraz for a few hours when it happened. The thought of the finals had everyone on edge.....everyone except a few people.


"You lost your fight, and yet you can watch the others so calmly. You're always like that," he smirked, his gaze meeting hers. Malik, standing next to his other half in a transparent form, watched Yami Malik carefully, his eyes narrowed. "Tell me, where is Rishid?" Yami Malik asked.

"I don't know," Isis said coldly.

"Stop playing dumb," Yami Malik grinned. "You know where he is."

"Even if I did, I wouldn't tell you," Isis answered, ignoring his last statement.

"I knew you'd say that," Yami Malik said, drawing the Sennen Rod from his back pocket, ignoring Malik's protests of "Don't you dare-!!"

Isis backed away, her eyes widening.

"You've given the Sennen Tauk to the pharaoh, haven't you? Now you can't see the future, and you have nothing to protect you from my Sennen Rod." He was grinning insanely now.

Malik's eyes widened. "Neesan....." He turned to his other side. "Don't you dare use it on her...."

Yami Malik paid him no attention. "It would be easy to control your mind, and find out where Rishid is...."

Isis stared at him, panicked.

"Beautiful," Yami Malik laughed, his eyes widening. "To see you of all people scared like this......"

Suddenly, without warning, he threw the Sennen Rod to the side and shoved her against the wall.

"G....get away from her!!" Malik yelled in horror, grabbing frantically at his other half.

"S-stop!" she cried, trying in vain to pry his fingers off her shoulders.

"Why are you so scared?" he asked, reaching out and stroking her cheek. "I promise if you hold still, it won't hurt....."

Isis and Malik both stared at him in utter horror, realizing what he intended to do.

"NO! NOOOOO!" Malik screamed, beating Yami Malik and pulling him as hard as he could. Because Yami Malik currently inhabited his body, he and Malik were connected in a way. Yami Malik was the only one Malik could make physical contact with, but it wasn't much. Malik was trying as hard as he could to get him away from his sister, but without a physical body it wasn't working.

Malik knew he was going to have to act fast. He turned and tore out of the room, finding one advantage to being without a body – you could run through walls.

He found Yuugi and his friends, congregated in Yuugi's room, and ran to Yuugi, hoping that he would be understood.

"STOP HIM!" Malik screamed.

Yuugi looked around, blinking in confusion. "....Malik?" he mumbled.


Yuugi looked panicked. "Who? Do what!?"


"Who?!" Yuugi repeated.

"HE'S GOING TO RAPE HER!!!" He was screaming and sobbing at the same time.

"He's going to what!?" Yuugi gasped. By now everyone was staring at him, watching Yuugi speak with someone they couldn't see.

"Has Yuugi gone nuts or something?" Jounouchi mumbled. But then they heard the screams.

Yuugi went pale. "T.....that was Isis-san....."

They all leaped to their feet and ran out of the room, and Malik turned and ran through the wall, grateful for the fact that he could run as fast as he pleased without a physical body.

Suddenly, he turned and saw the pharaoh running beside him, without a physical body as well. Malik faltered for a moment, staring in surprise, slowing nearly to a stop.

"There's no time!" Yami Yuugi cried, grabbing Malik by the wrist and yanking him along. Finally, the two of them reached Isis' room, ahead of the others.

"STOPPIT!!!" Malik screamed, grabbing Yami Malik once again and trying to pull him off of Isis.

Yami Malik ignored him, his hands traveling across her bare shoulders, tugging at her dress.

"GET THE HELL OFF HER!!" Malik screamed, attacking his other half once again.

"Stop this madness!" Yami Yuugi shouted, but before he could do anything, the door flew open, and the others poured in.

"OI, GET OFF!!!!" Jounouchi yelled, running forward and wrenching Yami Malik off of Isis. Honda and Otogi darted forward, the three of them restraining Yami Malik.

Yami Malik was laughing at the top of his lungs, and he was still laughing when Jounouchi punched him the jaw, sending him straight into unconsciousness.

Malik sighed, his knees weak with relief, and collapsed to the floor.

"Sick freak," Jounouchi mumbled in disgust, his voice shaking slightly. "Trying to his own sister......"

"No...." Yuugi said softly. "You're forgetting that's not the real Malik....." He stared straight at the real Malik, not really seeing him, but knowing he was there. Malik stared back, silent thanks in his eyes.

Isis fell to the floor, shaking all over. Anzu pushed through the others and walked over, crouching next to her. She hesitantly put a hand on the other woman's shoulder. "Hey, it's ok...."

Isis said nothing, only buried her head in her arms, biting back a sob. She wished they would all go away....

"It's going to be alright," Anzu said softly, hugging Isis gently. "It's over now."

Malik clenched his hands into fists, his nails digging into his palm and nearly drawing blood. He closed his eyes, concentrating, and when he opened his eyes again he was in his soul room.

His other was standing there, smirking, watching the scene. Malik stared at him, loathing him with every fiber of his being.

"You...." he hissed. Yami Malik turned to him, grinning.

"Were you really going to rape her?" Malik spat, the words tasting bad.

"Why wouldn't I?" Yami Malik answered nonchalantly. "Oneesama's a very pretty woman, you know."

" sick.....YOU SICK BASTARD!" Malik screamed, running at Yami Malik, knocking him, laughing, to the floor.

Yami Malik shoved Malik off of him, grabbing his shoulders and pinning him to the floor. "You're too angry, 'aibou'. Why don't you just calm down?" He reached out and placed his hands around Malik's neck, his grip painfully tight.

"GET OFF ME!" Malik snarled, kicking him off. He scrambled to his feet, determined not to let Yami Malik get the upper hand again. He wouldn't let his anger get the best of him.

Yami Malik got up as well and locked his gaze on Malik, his humor gone. "Now you're forgetting who's in charge here. What is it going to take to remind you? Do I need to carry out my threat?"

Malik's eyes widened.

"It really would be exceedingly simple, you know, to finish of Rishid," Yami Malik continued, nonchalant. Malik clenched his hands into fists again. He knew what his other wanted. He wanted Malik to get angry.

Which was a mistake.

"'re despicable."

"Thank you!"

Finally, Malik snapped. He couldn't stand it any longer, couldn't stand the thought that he was weaker than

"SHUT UP!!!" he screamed, running forward and sending his fist straight into Yami Malik's jaw. He stumbled backward, unconscious before he even hit the ground.

Malik stood there for a moment, eyes wide, comprehending what had just happened. Was......that it? Was he free?

He stared down the corridor that made up his soul room. At the end was a door – a door that led back to his physical body and out of his madness.

Malik walked slowly to the door, heart pounding, then picked up the pace, breaking into a run.

He reached for the handle on the door, his fingers brushing metal, when suddenly what felt like an electric jolt coursed through his body, sending him flying backwards.

He couldn't get out....He could just hear Yami Malik cackling at his ear, even though his other was still out cold.

He couldn't get out....he was trapped.....

Malik collapsed to his knees, striking the ground hard with his fists. Bitter tears slid down his cheeks. "Dammit....Oh God, I want out of here so bad....please....I want to tell her.....I want to tell her goodbye, tell her I'm sorry....

"Tell her I love her......"

That night, he didn't leave Isis' side for a moment, even though she couldn't see him.

The others were all clearly shaken up. Jounouchi told Shizuka and Anzu to lock the door to Mai's room, and Yuugi told Isis to let them know if she needed anything.

Malik had been watching, and he'd smiled wryly – Yuugi was making good use of his euphemisms. 'Call if anyone tries to rape you again' – that's what he was really saying.

But Malik did appreciate their offers, and he could tell Isis did as well, as exhausted as she was.

It was late at night, and everyone had retired to their own rooms for the night. Malik had been standing in the corner, his physical body still out cold, watching Isis, never wanting to let her out of sight again. She was pacing, exhausted but unable to sleep. And Malik could understand why......she was scared.

Suddenly, something creaked and footsteps could be heard throughout the blimp. Isis jumped, staring through the darkness.

Malik sighed. She was so scared....

She slowly walked over to the bed, sitting on the floor and leaning against the bed. Finally, all the fear and pain she'd been feeling crashed in on her, and she buried her head in her arms, shaking. He sighed, walking over to her and sitting next to her, his heart aching. Just for once......just one time, he'd like to be able to physically be there, next to her, to protect her.....Soon, she was asleep, and he lifted a blanket from the bed and wrapped it around her shoulders. He swallowed back sudden tears.

"Is she alright?"

Malik didn't even turn. "How long have you been here?" he demanded. The other didn't reply, but sunk into a chair across from Malik and Isis. This man was the only other one besides Yami Malik who could see or hear Malik in his current state, even though Malik was becoming weaker every day. How the man could see him, Malik didn't know, but with him one could never really be certain.....

"You are troubled, my friend."

Malik clenched his hands into fists. "Gee, do you think?! Did you figure that one out on your own, or did you sense some mystical unbalance again!?" Malik stared at the floor. "And I'm not your friend," he added as an afterthought.

The other said nothing, simply looked Malik up and down.

"Stop staring at me like that." Malik scowled. "You're too creepy, Shadi."

The other said nothing. Malik squeezed his eyes shut. He couldn't deal with the enigmatic Egyptian and his comments, not tonight. "Please.......just get out of here. Leave me alone." He chewed his lip. He was not going to cry.....not in front of Shadi....

He knew that the man was only trying to watch out for them, but Malik found he couldn't trust him. Malik still blamed Shadi, in a way, for what had happened to them, even though he knew deep down it was all his fault. He'd read somewhere that it was a sign of low self-esteem to blame others for one's own shortcomings.....

"It's all my fault....If it weren't for me....."

Shadi looked at him, his expression grim.

"He violated her....." Malik continued. "If Yuugi and Jounouchi and the others hadn't shown up in time, he would've....he would've....." He couldn't say it. "And Rishid!" he added. " brother's at death's door, all because.....because I wanted these two stupid pieces of cardboard!" He bit back a sob.

"It would be would be so much better if I was dead," he said softly. "I wouldn't be around to hurt screw anything up....I'm not worth anything.

"But I can't die, can I?!" he said bitterly, striking the floor with his fist. "I want out of here.....but I can't.....There's no way......"

"Don't talk like that," Shadi said finally, his tone firm but gentle. "What you are thinking is not the answer. It never is." Shadi got up and crossed the room, crouching in front of Malik.

"Suicide is for the weak," Shadi stated bluntly. "And you, Malik Ishtar, are not weak. You will rise above this. I know you will." He looked over at Isis. "Your sister did."

Malik stared in shock. "S-she considered.....taking......her....her life?"

Shadi nodded grimly. Malik shook his head fiercely. "You're making it up!"

Shadi stared straight into Malik's soul. "I could show you."

Malik stared back at Shadi for a moment, until the room grew blurry with unshed tears, and Malik turned away, shaking his head. Shadi got up, turning around, ready to leave, a portal opening in the floor.

"S.....Shadi, wait up!" Malik called. "I....I don't think I have much time left, so....thank you....for everything....."

Shadi smiled slightly. "Of course." Then he was gone.

End Flashback

Malik knew he'd made a lot of mistakes in his lifetime, but when he saw his sister cry, that was when it hit him. That was when he realized how many people he'd hurt, the things he'd done. He stepped out of the shadows.

"Neesan......" he whispered. She didn't acknowledge him.

"Neesan, please," he tried again, his voice pleading. He sighed and walked over to where she was, sitting on the edge of Mai's bed, so close their knees were about touching. He reached out and placed his hands on hers.

She suddenly looked up, shocked out of her crying, staring straight at him.

"M...Malik?" she whispered, her voice hopeful.

He smiled. She couldn't see him, hear him, or feel him, but she knew he was there.

He cursed the fact that his physical body was currently up at the top of a dueling tower, destroying more lives......All he wanted, right at that very moment, was to be able to take her in his arms and tell her goodbye. And tell her he was sorry, sorry for never listening and pretending he didn't care.

But he did care. He'd always cared. And now that he looked back on it, he wished he'd listened. He wished he could go back and rewrite history.

He wished he'd never been born as Malik Ishtar.

There were a lot of things he wished he could change. He wished he could overpower his darker half once and for all. But the fear and pain planted in his heart was there to stay. He remembered, once, long ago, when he'd been so afraid, nearly scared to death....


Isis had been a few months from her fifteenth birthday at the time, and Malik had been nine. It was December 22nd, the day before Malik's tenth birthday.

He wasn't sure exactly when the ritual would begin the next day, but the was sure he wouldn't survive it.

He hadn't said a word to anyone all day, but knowing that Isis and Rishid were just as worried as he was a slight comfort. Malik found that when something is coming, something that you dread very much, the minutes fly by. Before he knew it, it was nearly ten at night.

Malik had fled into one of the rooms with a door and not simply a doorway. He shut the door, wishing he could lock it, and retreated into a corner, finding himself swallowed by the darkness. He'd been sitting there like that, shaking, waiting, and praying for a miracle for a few hours, when the door opened a crack. A silent figure entered the room, shutting the door behind them.

Malik pressed himself further into the corner, not thinking straight in his fear.

It was the servants....he was sure of it....they'd come to take him, to take him into his father's room, never to come out again.

He clung to the hope that they wouldn't find him. He wished the darkness would swallow him whole. But it didn't, and Malik realized there was no escaping the ritual. He was going to die.

All the fear he'd been keeping locked inside him rushed out, and he sobbed, burying his head in his hands and trying to muffle the sound.

He heard the footsteps coming closer, and heard the person crouch next to him. He waited for someone to yank him to his feet, but no one did.

He felt someone stroking his hair.

"N......nee.....san?" He squinted through the darkness, and, sure enough, he could see his big sister's clear blue eyes peering back at him.

"Neesan!" he sobbed, throwing his arms around her waist, hugging her tight. "Make it stop....." He buried his head in her chest. Isis drew him into her arms, smiling slightly as she remembered all the times he'd insisted he was 'too big' to be hugged.

"What time is it?" he murmured, having lost track of the hours while sitting in the darkness.

"After midnight," she replied softly. He whimpered and hugged her tighter. Isis bit her lip. "They're waiting until the morning," she lied. She honestly had no idea when the ritual would begin.

"Neesan," Malik whimpered. "I don't want to die."

"Y-you're not going to die," she said softly. "Rishid and I will be right there when it's over." Suddenly, the two of them heard footsteps echo in the hallway outside.

Malik started shaking uncontrollably, his breathing shallow.

"It's alright, it's alright," Isis whispered over and over, running her fingers through his hair.

Finally, the footsteps walked away, and Malik slumped against Isis, utterly exhausted. She bit her lip, reaching around and picking up a blanket she'd brought with her. She wrapped it around Malik, and he laid his head against her shoulder.

He fell asleep, and she held him close, trying to ignore the fear in the back of her head, the fear that this would be the last night she'd see her little brother. If the pain didn't kill him......the fear might.

It was a few hours later when the door opened again. Isis held Malik a little closer, recognizing the silhouette as that of her father.

"Please," she whispered frantically. "Not yet. Not now....."

There was a terrible silence. But a moment later, he grunted, turning and leaving the room again, and Isis realized she'd been holding her breath.

She'd gone to their father a few days ago, asking him if she could stay with Malik during the ritual.......He'd refused, of course, saying it was against the rules. So Isis had stood there, feeling defeated, helpless. She knew Rishid was feeling the same way, but she also knew he had an idea, and she was almost scared to find out what it was. Rishid had asked her if she was scared of the sight of blood......When she'd told him no, he'd nodded solemnly and turned away, a grim resolute look on his face.

Pondering everything and praying she would still have both of her brothers when this was all over, Isis dropped off to sleep.

She woke to Malik's screams. "NOOOO! I DON'T WANT TO!!" Her eyes snapped open, and she saw a few of the servants yanking Malik out of her arms and out of the room.

"No!" she cried, leaping to her feet, but they pushed her back. For a moment, her fingers brushed Malik's.....but they dragged him out of the room and slammed the door behind him.

Isis could hear him screaming for help.

She dropped to her knees and prayed.

End flashback

"I remember that," she said softly. "You were so afraid....." She froze, realizing what she was saying.

Malik smiled. "Can you hear me?"

"Yes....Oh, it really you?" She looked so hopeful.

"Mmhm. I mean....I can't stay long, but....." He was smiling, blinking away tears.

She smiled back, shaking her head in disbelief. "Malik.....where have you been?"


"....H-have you been lonely?"

"Um....not really." He scratched his cheek. "You wouldn't believe how many lost souls there are wandering around this place....."

"Who have you seen?" she asked, feeling not at all as though she were talking to air. It felt exactly like he was there, sitting in front of her, as tangible and real as the objects around her.

There was a pause. "Noa Kaiba......some older man who I think might possibly be Kaiba and Mokuba's stepfather..... and Bakura.....he's a really nice person. We've passed a lot of time talking together, he and I. There's this little girl, too, and she looks an awful lot like Bakura, so I think she's.....But anyway.

"You know who I saw the other day? I saw Chichiue."

She stared in shock. "....He's here?"

"Yes....When I saw him, standing there, watching me, with this disapproving look on his face....I was scared. I thought it meant I was dead. I think he was a bit ashamed, though, that his own son was afraid of his soul. You know what, Neesan? He actually apologized."

"To you?"

"T-to all of us. And that I think about it, I've come to realize it's not his fault, what happened. If he hadn't been born an Ishtar....he would've turned out the way he did. Sure, I don' t think Chichiue was a very nice person to begin with, but.....I don't think anyone deserved to suffer the fate he did. He never even saw the light....."

Isis nodded slowly, smiling proudly. "'ve grown so much."

Malik smiled embarrassedly and scratched his cheek. "Have I?"

"Oh, and Shadi's been everywhere as well. The other night....I thanked him, you know.....for everything....."

"Shadi is a good person," Isis nodded in agreement. Something occurred to her. "Malik....have you seen Rishid?"

Malik didn't answer. "Yes....." He hesitated. "But......He didn't see me." He swallowed.

"He was just sitting there, a trance, sort of. He didn't even know I was there. I was doing everything I could but he didn't look at me....." Malik took a deep breath and steadied his shaking hands. "A few times, he'd say something to himself.....Neesan, he blames himself for what's happened. I said.....I was saying he had to snap out of it, snap out of it and wake up....I told him you need him more than I do. I told him you can't lose both of us-"

He stopped abruptly.

Isis looked solemn. "Malik....what do you mean, 'both of us'?"

He didn't reply. "N....nothing," he said finally. "It just sort of slipped out."

"Malik...." Isis smiled slightly. "I can't even see you and I know you're lying."

"Look, I'm getting weaker every day, alright?!" He bit his lip, instantly regretting snapping at her. "I'm sorry," he whispered. "I just....."

"How are you getting weaker?" she asked, her voice shaking slightly.

"Every day....." He swallowed. "Every day, it's harder.....It almost hurts to be far away from yami no boku, because I'm connected to him, as much as I hate it....." He smiled wryly. "He's sucking my life out of me. And there's nothing I can do about it."

Malik bit his lip. "You saw what happened the other day. You saw how I couldn't stop him. If Yuugi and Jounouchi and the others hadn't come, I don't know.....I don't want to know...."

"Oh, Malik," she sighed softly. "I knew you were there. I knew you were trying."

"B....but I couldn't protect you....." He looked at her confusedly. "Why don't you hate me?"

"Malik...." She was crying again. "I could never hate you. Never."

Malik bit his trembling lip. "I-it just seems that wherever I look, people are hating each other. For everything. Everyone's crying, and everyone's alone. There are children who see things no one should ever have to see, let alone children. I know......Neesan....I've come to this world....what do we live for? No one seems to care anymore. Neesan, I don't get it anymore. Why? Why is it like this? Did God really intend for it to be this way? Why does it seem like some people have everything, yet He's neglecting others? Neesan....when it gets like this, we have nothing to live for."

She was silent for a moment. "Malik....." Suddenly, it hit her that her baby brother was sixteen years old. He was growing up, and he was alone. "You're wrong. There is something to live for. There always is. Something deep inside all of us."

"What's that?" His voice was barely above a whisper.

"Hope." She smiled, wiping away tears. "I realize now....I realize why no one should carry the burden of foresight. The visions I saw in the Tauk.....they may or may not happen. I honestly don't know. But there's hope. Hope that the future will not be what it seems to be. Hope that things will change. Without hope.....You'd be right, Malik. There would be nothing to live for.

"Malik, you're not getting weaker. You're losing hope."

Malik stared at his hands, feeling lost and uncertain. " do I hope for, then?"

"That you will reach the light at the end of the darkness."

"A-alright." He bit back a sob. "I'll hope, then. Someday.....someday, I'll reach the light. I'll come back, to you and Rishid." He looked up, suddenly urgent. "You both will wait for me, won't you?"

"Of course we will," she said softly, ignoring the tears. "Of course."

They sat in silence for a moment, realizing that their visit was coming to an end.

Suddenly, Malik gasped and leaped to his feet.

"What....what is it?" Isis looked concerned.

"The duel....the duel, it's over." Malik sounded strained. Isis gasped as well.

"And what about Jounouchi?" she asked urgently.

But without warning, Malik was gone, and the loneliness washed over her again. For a moment she forgot about Jounouchi, and the duel, and all she wanted was for her brothers to come back.

She suddenly found herself with her head in her hands, sobbing softly, Malik's words still echoing in her head.

"I hope you recover what you've lost, Malik."

Suddenly, she heard people yelling and shouting, panicked, upset. Her heart was in her throat.

She could barely pick out Mokuba Kaiba yelling, "Doctor! Get a doctor!" Other voices joined his, and Isis realized Jounouchi's was not one of them. Heavy footsteps ran past the door. She got up and leaned against the door, listening. She thought she could faintly hear Yami Malik's deep cackle.

And then, above all the noise was Shizuka's panicked sobs – "Oniichan! ONIICHAN!"


Mojobubbles: Yup. So. Jounouchi lost. ....*stares oddly at Sean the Sheep, who has been bouncing around my desktop for the last few hours* ....*picks him up and throws him*

Sean: *lands on taskbar* x_x

Mojobubbles: ^_^ *picks up Sean again and throws him higher*

Sean: *bounces on taskbar*

Kamilah: Are you done now? ¬_¬

Mojobubbles: ^.^ Soooooo, how'd you all like the fic? I personally think my one-shots have been getting better and better, but maybe that's just me. Parts of it were kind of odd, but.....I was writing from the heart....*sighs and looks all forlorn*

Kamilah: *patpat* But we're doing ok now.

Mojobubbles: Yup, more or less. I'm still a little confused, but I do know I don't ever want to feel the way I've felt these last few weeks....Oh, in the future, be on the lookout for more fics. I actually have a couple ideas for some multi-chapters, but I'm a bit hesitant with those......Multi-chapters and I don't get along. But hey, who knows? Maybe someday I'll even revamp Wild Drive, or finish HPH, or repost CN......