(bouncing up and down) I'm soooo excited about this story! Plus I've finally gotten through an extremely difficult scene in BTBT with Kura and Ryou. (Not that kind of scene you pervs) There was blood and screaming and the likes. (beams happily) Readers: o.O...

Ahem, on to this story though. It's very special to me actually. The first story/plot I ever thought up for Yugioh. Never wrote it out...until now. Sure it's changed a lot from my original ideas but then again that was a few years ago. I've matured! (inner voice: Suuuure) Alrighty peoples, let's get some things straight for this story: Yami and Yugi are brothers. Marik and Malik are brothers. Minkah (Bakura) is Ryou's cousin. That's all you need to know about them for now. (smiles happily)

Malik Ishtar: (aka: Yami Malik)

Marik Ishtar: (aka: hikari)

Minkah Bakura: (aka: Yami Bakura) Ryou's cousin. For all you out there who are angry that Kura isn't named Bakura in this fic, quit whining already. You'll be fine. There's a very good reason he's not called Bakura. (smiles secretly) No need to get into that yet though.

IMORTANT NOTES: OkayI lied. There is a bit more you need to know. (so sue me. neh!) There are a few characters who won't be completely in-character. Mostly Kaiba and Marik, really. (much to my sister's dismay) hehe. Anyway, this is my first fic where the characters aren't in the Yugioh world so I'm stretching some things a bit. (like playdough!) So don't be surprised if a character seems a bit different. On a VERY IMPORTANT note: any time Marik says something in this fic he is whispering. I wanted to make that clear because it would have been incredibly stupid to put "Marik whispers softly" after each quote. So you just remember that and it will be explained later on. (as will TONS of other goodies!)Whoot!

Inner Depths

A curtain sheltering the heart

From the bleak, unfeeling world

A fantasy, a dream realm

To keep from reality's stone truths

But where should one begin

When one's logic is twisted and swirled

Unable to return to what is?

To traverse back—there is no use.

Does one ever really wish

To pull back the silken curtain?

Most would rather dwell behind it,

Cloaked in its warm falsehood of dreams.

Chapter One: A Mysterious Phone Call

(Ryou's POV)

I groan as a loud piercing beeping blares through my dark bedroom. At first I attempt to drown it out by burying my head under my pillow. It doesn't work. It's like the noise is drilling right through the fabric to feast on my eardrums. Sighing heavily, I sit up, eyes widening when I look over at the clock on my bedside table: 5:30 AM.

"Oh he has got to be kidding me," I grumble, sliding out of bed and grabbing my robe from the bed frame as I exit the room.

I make my way down the pitch-black hallway, not bothering to turn on the lights. Gritting my teeth, I trudge down the cold wood stairs, the beeping sound significantly louder now. I crinkle my nose as I enter the kitchen where the smoke alarm's blaring right overhead like the bloody world is coming to an end. There's a gray smog looming throughout the room, cold air coming in the two open windows; no doubt an attempt to clear the room of the smoke. Amidst it all I can just make out a figure rushing about frantically near the stove.

I roll my eyes, striding over and opening the pantry door. Grabbing the broom in its corner, I march under the blaring device on the ceiling. Using the broom's handle, I reach up and push the red button on the smoke alarm. The noise ceases. My father turns around, staring at me in disbelief. We're both clad in our pajamas; well pajama bottoms and tee-shirts. His are dark blue with black stripes; mine plaid of red and black.

"You know, I prefer not to wake up until 6:30," I grin.

He smiles weakly. "Sorry Ryou. I was just trying to start breakfast."

We both glance over at the stove top where the pan is sitting. I move as close as I dare, its contents giving off an overpowering stench of burnt…something. All that remains of whatever it was is a black pile of ashes and…stuff.

"So what was is this time?" I cough turning and snickering at his flustered face.

"Omelets," he admits with a smile.

I roll my eyes. "Otousan, I told you I'd do the cooking from now on."

He frowns. "Now now, you need to be focusing more on school work…spend more time with your friends…be a teenager."

I laugh. "Otousan, I'm fine."

He shakes his head. "Now that I'm back I want to try to make up for lost time."

I notice the guilty look in his eyes as he states this. Walking over, I give him a warm hug.

"It's all right, Otousan."

He sighs putting an arm around my shoulder. "No, it's not all right. I was gone so many years. I wasn't there for you. After Amane and your mother…" His voice cracks.

I gently squeeze his arm. "I know."

He looks down at me, a smile slowly forming on his face. "They should be happy for us now." He walks over and closes the nearest window, the smoke having finally cleared out a bit.

"I'm sure of it," I grin picking up the pan and tossing its contents out the other window near the stove. "Now I'm going to make breakfast."

He sits down on a stool, elbows resting on the table. "I don't know what's wrong with me. I used to be a great cook. I guess all those years of cooking over fires and such have affected my talents."

I roll my eyes as I scrub the blackened pan. "Otousan, you never really were a good cook, if I remember correctly."

"Come now. I wasn't that…"

"Good," I finish.

"Ryou Bakura!" he scolds, though he can't hide the smile in his eyes.

"Yes father dear?" I snicker opening the refrigerator to get some eggs.

(Yami's POV)

I moan heavily at the sound of the alarm clock. Stupid machine. Yugi mumbles something inaudible beside me, burying his face in his pillow.

"I'll kill it this time," a voice mutters.

There's a cloud crash, the sound of the something plastic being smashed to pieces. I roll my eyes, looking down at the floor where Malik is sitting up, glaring at the remains of the offending device.

"Grandpa's not going to be happy with you," I smirk.

The blonde flicks me off before curling up in his sleeping bag. I chuckle, glancing down at the figure next to him. Marik—his younger brother—is sound asleep. I swear the kid wouldn't wake if a parade marched through the room.


"Shut up, Yami."

"We need to get up for school," I continue, unable to stop from smiling.

He growls but sits up. "Fine fine…"

I hear him fumble about in the dark for a tee-shirt, swearing loudly when he hits his arm on the small dresser he and Marik share.

"It might help to turn on the light," I laugh pulling the covers off to meet the cold morning air.

"You will meet a slow painful death if you so much as touch that light switch," Malik growls threateningly as he rummages through his drawer for jeans now.

I roll my eyes, turning back to my younger brother and shaking him gently by the shoulder.

"Yugi, it's time to wake up."

"No," comes the muffled reply.

Malik is in the process of waking Marik up. It's quite a task, requiring an unreasonable amount of shaking, tugging, and swearing. I barely suppress a laugh when I look over to see him attempting to wrestle the boy out of his sleeping bag. Marik is curled up deep inside it, swatting at his brother who's trying to grab his arm.

"Want a hand?" I chuckle, standing.

"Hurry up!" Malik nods irritatedly. "Come on, Marik. Rise and…Oof!" the younger boy kicks in an attempt to burrow deeper into the sleeping bag, hitting his brother right in the gut. "Damn it, Marik!"

I laugh, coming over and grabbing the back end of the sleeping bag. Malik lunges and grabs the arm that's sticking out a bit, pulling. I yank on the sleeping bag, a tired Marik emerging, looking about warily.

"S'all right,' Malik sighs, holding his brother against him.

After a moment of this Marik calms, letting go of his brother and begins going through his drawer of the dresser. Malik stands up, groaning. I turn back to Yugi who's yet to budge.

"Yugi Mutou, don't make me get Grandpa in here," I say in exasperation.

Malik smirks. "Want me to get the ice cubes?"

"I'm up! I'm up!" Yugi exclaims, scrambling frantically out of bed and over to the closet he and I share to get dressed.

Malik chuckles. "He's getting smarter."

"Oh hush you," I snicker.

"You guys are so mean," Yugi mumbles as he pulls on a tee-shirt.

"And you're not devious at all, little one?" Malik smirks.

Marik watches on with bright eyes, a wide grin plastered on his face. When we're all finished changing we race down the stairs. Grandpa's in the kitchen sitting at the small round table drinking coffee. He looks up with a smile as we enter the room.

"Cereal this morning, boys. I've got a meeting today."

"Damn it!" Malik mutters, trudging over and opening the cupboards.

"Malik," Grandpa says in a warning tone.

"Sorry," my koi grumbles, slamming the cereal box down on the table, causing it to shake.



Yugi, Marik, and I attempt to hide our smiles as we get out bowls and spoons. We squeeze in around the table, shoulders pressed against the person's next to us.

"Any plans for today, boys?" Grandpa asks as he turns back to the paper.

"Oh the usual. Skip a class or two…get a nap somewhere in there…snog Yami in the bathroom…"


All four of us burst out laughing as Grandpa gives us a stern look. I grin when Malik's hand reaches under the table and grasps mine. I glance over to earn a wink from him, the others continuing breakfast unnoticing.

(Ryou's POV)

"Ryou! Hey Ryou!" Yugi yells as he and Marik run toward me through the crowded hallway.

"Hi guys!" I beam, turning back to get my books out of my backpack.

"How's it going?" Yugi asks as he helps, placing the books on the shelf in my locker.

I roll my eyes. "Besides that my father nearly burned the house down again?"

"You should just have him camp in the living room and cook on the fireplace," Yugi giggles.

"Nah, he says he wants to get a hang of kitchen appliances again; though I'm not sure he ever really did well with such even before he started traveling," I snicker as we start off down the hall.

"That's like Malik. We just try to keep him out of the kitchen. Grandpa's avoided giving him any chores that involve any appliances in there," Marik whispers, a giddy grin on his face as he adjusts the dark blue turtle neck he's wearing.

Yugi laughs. "It's true. Malik's a nightmare with such."

"I hope you're not referring to my fashion sense when you say that."

We all turn to find Malik with Yami wrapped around his shoulders. A black-haired boy named Otogi is also there along with a blonde girl named Mai. Otogi apparently owns a business—a fairly prosperous one, I might add. He's respected for that, as well as his skill in only needing to punch someone once. (They're unconscious right away) Mai is one of the most sought-after girls in the school, her dueling techniques ranking some of the highest in the country. The top girl, to be sure. She's anything but friendly to Marik, Yugi, and I, most of the time just pretending we don't exist.

"Oh perish the thought!" Yugi exclaims melodramatically.

"Just talking about your wonderful cooking talents," I snicker.

"Ra, are you still badgering me about that?" Malik sighs earning a peck on the cheek from Yami.

"Just ignore the children," he whispers to his boyfriend, winking at us as he steers Malik away.

The rest of us snicker as we watch the four of them head off. They are their own elite group in the school, respected by most. Bullies rarely challenge them, targeting people like us instead. None of us three are very muscular or impressive in any way—save brain power which only makes us even bigger targets. We're just a bunch of misfits that make great prey. Yami and Malik beat the shit out of anyone caught tormenting Yugi, Marik, or I so we do all right most of the time. They're kind of like older brothers to me.

"Ryou, come on or we're gonna be late for class," Yugi calls, he and Marik already a ways down the hall.

"All right! All right!" I laugh racing to catch up with them.

"Otousan! Otousan, I'm home!" I call upon entering the house that day after school.

Yugi and Marik follow behind me. We have a huge math test tomorrow and decided to help one another study for it. We actually study at these get-togethers, unlike Yami and his friends where it usually ends up being a make-out fest. Yeesh.

"Mr. Bakura!" Yugi calls heartily, placing his backpack down next to the couch.

Marik glances about somewhat like a wild animal that's accidentally wandered into a human domain, eyes darting about nervously. He's always like this when he goes anywhere, even if he's been somewhere a million times before.

"Sit down here, Mare," I say gently patting the couch.

He walks over quickly, sitting down next to me, eyes still whizzing. Our house is middle class, my father having spent over half the money he makes on his trips overseas. There's the couch near the center of the room with the coffee table in front of it; there are the two large windows looking out over the neighborhood. Then of course there's the large fireplace, numerous pictures and such draping on the mantel.

"Where's your dad?" Marik whispers adjusting the collar of his shirt so it's right under his chin.

I shrug. "Probably at the museum…again."

He quirks an eyebrow. "Again?"

I roll my eyes, a grin on my face. "Ever since he's gotten back from Egypt he's been jittery. He goes up to the museum all the time to see what's been shipped in from excavation sites around the world."

"Makes sense," he says, leaning back into the couch cushions.

"Doesn't look like he's here," Yugi announces re-entering the room with three sodas.

Marik laughs softly, a hissing sort of sound that's barely audible. We pop open the lids of our drinks and take sips, glancing about the house passively. I narrow my eyes slightly when Marik reaches over to place his can on a coaster.

"Mare, what happened to your arm?" I ask gently.

There's a long, purple and blue bruise circling his wrist. He quickly tries to cover it, pulling his sleeve down. Yugi frowns, reaching over only to have Marik cringe.

"Mare," I say softly. "What happened?" He doesn't answer, staring at the floor, jaw clenched.

Yugi looks over at me helplessly. He leans in a bit, making sure not to make the blonde feel cornered. I calmly reach over and pull his sleeve up, revealing a number of bruises lining his tan arm He winces, still not looking up.

"Who did this to you?" He bites his lip. "Mare, talk to us," I say with some firmness though making sure not to sound harsh.

"It's nothing," he mumbles.

"Mare, come on. Tell us what happened," Yugi coaxes.

"Just some jerks at school."

I glare. "Does Malik know?"

Marik stares up, eyes determined. "No…and he's not going to either."

I feel my chest ache at this statement. We know how Marik feels about people getting beaten up no matter who it may be. I sigh heavily.

"Would you rather have yourself get beaten to a pulp or the person who did this to you?"

He looks up at me with pleading eyes. "Ryou…"

"Either you tell Malik and Yami or I will," Yugi adds.

Marik stares down at the ground, hands drawing lines over the seams of the couch. He's always been one to pay attention to details, the little things. Many people don't see him as such, viewing him instead as some handicapped misfit with no social life.

"I'll do it," he murmurs.

Yugi and I sit back, more at ease. Marik jumps about a foot in the air at the sound of the telephone. I smile apologetically, getting up to answer. It rings a second time as reach the receiver only to find the device gone.

"Darn it, Otousan!" I mutter searching about the kitchen. It rings again.

"Not going to answer it?" Yugi calls from the living room.

"I can't find it!" I reply pushing aside piles of newspapers as I continue my hunt. It rings again.

"Marik and I will look in here!" Yugi yells back.

I grumble to myself as I head for the dining room, growling in aggravation at the pile of Egyptian books covering the table. The phone rings once more, the answering machine picking up the message.

"Charles? Charles, are you there?" a voice rasps.

I quirk an eyebrow, walking over to the machine curiously.

"Charles, you can't keep avoiding this. I need an answer fast. We can only hold him for so long. They're all over the place! We've had to evacuate several sites…"

"What's going on?" Yugi asks entering the room with Marik at his side.

"Shh!" I hush turning back to the machine where the man's voice is becoming increasingly desperate.

"…Lou isn't sure what we can do about that. Twenty-one of our people are missing…over the past four months thirty-seven people have disappeared in 100 sq miles, all tied to…"

"Ryou! I'm home!" Otousan calls.

"Shhh!" the three of us hiss as he enters the room.

"Charles, you have to make a decision about him. You can't…"

"Where's the phone? Where's the phone?" Otousan yells frantically upon hearing the voice.

"I don't know!" I say back loudly as Marik cowers away slightly. Yugi edges closer to the machine in an attempt to hear.

"Find it! FIND IT!" Otousan shouts angrily, rushing about.

Yugi wraps an arm protectively around Marik who has a terrified look on his face, violet eyes wide and frightened. I run after my father who's throwing books and papers about in the dining room.

"…holding him in my hotel room. My hotel room, Charles! They could come at any bloody time…"

"There!" Otousan yells as he unearths the device from under some papers, fumbling to pick it up. "Hello! John?"

I move closer, trying to catch what the man is saying. Otousan turns, his face tense. He points to the doorway, eyes blazing. I don't protest, hurrying from the room to find Marik and Yugi sitting on the living room couch. Marik's face is buried in the couch cushions, entire frame trembling. Yugi's next to him, rubbing the Egyptian's back soothingly. As I walk over quietly Yugi looks up, eyes cold with fury.

"Why'd he do that? He knows how Marik hates it when people yell," he hisses angrily.

I stare down at the cowering blonde helplessly, my shoulders sagging. Why is Otousan acting like this? What on earth was the man on the phone talking about? It's quiet now, my father's agitated voice barely audible from here.

"I don't know," I murmur kneeling in front of the couch and running a hand through Marik's golden hair. "Mare, it's okay," I say relaxingly feeling his muscles loosen slightly.

He peeks up at me, face slightly calmer. Yugi continues to knead the blonde's back, trying to relax the tense muscles. I smile reassuringly earning a weak smile in response.

Otousan enters the room quietly. We all turn to look at him, Yugi with a glare on his face. My father's face and neck are flushed, perspiration lining his brow. His eyes look worn…lost. He takes a shuddering sigh, running a hand through his unnaturally white hair, further disheveling it.

"Otousan?" I ask quietly.

He looks over at us for the first time as if just realizing we're here. His expression softens when he spots the blonde.

"I apologize, Marik. That was an…important and grave phone call. I'm sorry for yelling."

Marik nods, a weak smile on his face. "I'm all right."

Yugi's expression stays hard but he doesn't say anything. I feel my stomach churn, wondering what could get my father so worked up. Otousan sighs heavily, pacing the room.

"Yugi…Marik…I think it's best you go home for now. Ryou and I have some important things to dicuss."

Yugi stands stiffly without a word, pulling up Marik with him. The shorter one eyes my father fiercely, turning to me after a moment.

"Se you at school tomorrow, Ryou," he states, grabbing Marik's hand and their backpacks, tugging the blonde to the front door.

"Bye," Marik waves as they leave, Yugi slamming the door behind them leaving the room in an eerie silence.

(sighs) I think this is my least favorite chapter of the whole story, to tell you the truth. But hell, I had to start somewhere, neh? Tried to add some cute comedy to it. There will be more humor to come along with gore, knives, blood, bullies, a little romance, mystery, a big fat PRANK...the whole shabang.

Bakura (aka: Minkah): So where the hell am I? I thought I was one of the main characters!

Ferris: You're coming in the next chappie. Got a great scene!

Bakura (aka: Minkah): (beaming)

Malik: Am I gonna die in this fic? Cause you killed me off in the last one...

Ferris: (shrugs) I doubt it. I can't make my stories too repetitive! Gotta have new game to kill! (eyes rest of characters)

Malik: (breathing sigh of relief)

Kaiba: What's this I hear about me being slightly perverted?

Ferris: eheehehe!

Kaiba: >. That doesn't comfort me in the least.

Ferris: Should it?...anyhoo, review!