Chapter Two: Dream Catcher

When mother told me she loved me, that nothing would ever change her feelings, I believed her. Why would I think any differently? Her smiles and hugs were so soft and warm that I envisioned being wrapped in a woolly blanket, always rocked fast to sleep by a favorite lullaby and a kiss on the cheek. It made me happy to know that someone cared for me and wanted nothing but the best for my future. But now, as I stand in front of this man, his rage threatening to tear me apart, I doubt how true my mother's words really were. How could she do this to me? How could she promise everything would be all right when, in reality, it never was? How could she lie like that? More than that, how could she lie to me?

Seeing that the man wasn't going to back down, I softened my look. Teeth relaxed, lips uncurled, body limp, my stance went from an angry, rabid wolf to a poor, beaten puppy. Fixing my huge, malnourished eyes on him, I bring my hands together, folding the fingers as I speak.

"Please, sir," I manage meekly, politely. "please don't hurt my brother. He didn't mean to do whatever he did. He's only a child-only five years of age! I know he's sorry, so you don't have to punish him."

To my surprise, the soup ladle lowered. Was an angel looking out for me today? Did good finally triumph over evil? I offered silent thanks to God for His rare kindness and understanding. Since when was I, a humble house servant, able to know the compassion of divine intervention? Thrilled at my change in luck, a small smile graced my lips, the first genuine sign of happiness I have shown since mother's death.

"You see, Mokie's really a good boy, smart and sweet and never bad. He's always there when I need him, works hard; helps fix animals when they're sick-"

As quick as my happiness came, it escaped, like a Chinese dragon vanishing from a peasant's sight. One second, I was standing and listing my brother's many praises, the next, I was on my bottom, my backside rubbed raw by the cabinets I fell against. Stunned, I tried to recall how I got here and what just happened, but a piercing scream erupted behind me, and the memory was lost forever.

"No, don't!" poor Mokuba cried, "Don't! DON'T!"

Watching in horror and disgust, one of my hands shot out, only to be knocked away like a golf club batting a ball on the green. The blow hurt worse than an iron's burn, but I barely felt it. All I could feel were Mokie's screams in my ears, each sharp sound piercing my heart like an arrow shooting down an eagle. Pride and resolve to resist an outburst fading, I began crawling towards my sibling, determined to use the last of my strength to serve and protect my last living relative.

"Stop…hurting him!" I gasp, forcefully as I can muster. "He can't even defend himself against…you! Don't…do this! You don't…have to do this!"

Like always, my whimpers and begs were drowned out by an ocean of anger and bitterness. The waves of abuse kept crashing down, suffocating us with enough strength to down a buffalo. We were just baby deer in a setting that we didn't know or understand, forced to live in a human zoo with creatures that wished to eat us alive. Although we were products of vengeful deforestation, without a home, parents, or material possessions, we did have each other, and that's all we knew we needed in order to survive.

Light-hearted with that fact in mind, thinking of my brother's love, I collapsed on top of him, curling my body around his. His scared, cherub face regarded me quizzically, mentally asking why I would do such a thing, why I would sacrifice my life to save his.

"Because I…love you, Mokie." I whisper to him softly, as softly as I remember mother whispering to me.

My heart skipped a beat every time I heard her speak, and a light, fuzzy glow resonated deep inside me as I cuddled next to her. I get that way when I'm sharing feelings with my brother, too. It must be that solid gold bond I have with him that makes my heart melt like chocolate on a loved one's tongue. And, as young and innocent as Mokuba is, he comprehends those emotions, almost better than I do. He proves it to me when our eyes meet, indigo and sapphire swirling together, uniting us in a great, grand sea of love and friendship sure to keep us swimming in each other's souls forever.

"I love you…my Mokie." I tell him again, reaching for his hand. When I find it, I give it a nice little reassuring squeeze. I'm not sure how much he believes me, but it's the best I can do for now. "I love you, and I-I don't want to see you…hurting."

His big, wet eyes still seem frightened, but less than they were before. I know he's listening to me. I know he understands me. Like a precious porcelain doll, he squeezes my hand back, his delicacy briefly fixing my broken smile.

"I know, Seto. I love you, too. I love you so much that I want the same thing for you."

"What's that?" I ask, hiding my face from the dreaded soup ladle.

A tear slips down his cheek, a crystal droplet unearthed over amethyst skin.

"To not see you hurting, either."

Too weak to wipe his tear away, I hold him against me, feeling a tear of my own join his as we wait out the storm. We may no longer have mother's love, our lavish estate, all the toys we used to play with or the library we spent all day at, but we do have, and always will have, each other. To me, that is the best tale I've ever heard, one I helped create and even star in. Together, Mokuba and I will end this nasty chapter of our lives. This story will have an ending. And together, we'll see that other people know of it, too.