Ah this is the lovely sequel to Son of Apophis! Whoot whoot!

NOTE: If you haven't read SOA don't even attempt to read this one. Believe me. You will fail to understand over half the story. Mwahahah! I laugh at your befuddlement! (Minkah: Just get on with it already) -.- fine fine...geez, ruin my moment of amusement...

ladygoddess: Late review for the final chapter? Pffft. It's not like I was updating again any time soon. S'all good. -thumbs up- "Wait, GREAT CHAP LOVED IT, wait that was the end O.o…" snerk. You're very perceptive, love. -laughs- You poor thing. Yes yes, people died. At least one more Yugioh character shall be dying in this one. (Only one is planned out so far) Malik: It's me isn't it? -sigh-

shadowweaver666: Worry not about late reviews and such. It was the final chapter. There was no big hurry. -shrugs happily- "already having withdrawal. Aw i got three ratties cos my other two died :( so i decided to adopt anyway to the point. He he they are three husky rat brothers and i have named them dum dum dum: neo, mckie and...minkah. lmfao. sorry but minkah did fit him so much." -falls over laughing- Wow...hehe...wow! I'm flattered! (Minkah: Why? S'not your name, after all.) -.-; true. Hope the ratties are doing well! Luigi and Pug (my own ratties) say hi!

cgflower: "ROAR!" Eeep! -falls over- "there's a sequel? has it been started yet?! because that was way too good to end." -beams happily- Yeah. That would've been a mean place to end the story, no? "i actually forgot to study for a test because of this story. ;;
ok, so it was a "forgot" (cough cough), but still..." hehe. I'm doing that right now with my Arabic homework. Mwhwhe. (Minkah: You'll regret this tomorrow!) Shut up!...anyhoo, "must...read..more...of your..stories!" I think you have an addiction, sweetie. -does victory dance- I've reeled in another one! Passsssha!

nayades18: "Your story is the first fic I read on this site, and this is my first review!!" Aiiiiieeee! Celebrate! -tackleglomps- Marik, get the sparkling juice! We must part-ay! "It is amazing how you can transmit such emotion in every character ,you-re a very talented writer" Praise and flattery. Y'know, I think we're going to get along just fine. -smiles happily-

Under Finger and Thumb: "Why did you make me cry?" -shrugs- I had nothing better to do. Don't worry. We've got plenty of action in this story. I'm currently on page eleven of the fourth chapter. I've been stuck on that fucking chapter for AGES. Meh. Stupid chapter.

The Reader: "Anyways, my mother actually banned me from reading all your stories except for Beneath the Surface." Uh oh. (reader: "?") Ummm...so she's...not really watching that one anymore...right? -hopeful look- Cause the gay coupling starts in the next chapter..."She says that one is alright.. yes, my mother sat there, reading every one of your stories that you posted all the way through." But she hasn't REVIEWED? -grumbles- You think if she has to ban it she could at least review and tell me how bloody brilliant it all is despite the "graphic" nature. (Minkah: Getting a bit big-headed, ferris?) -grins sheepishly- Just a tad.

Joey-lover: Yay! Once again: rated a success! Whoot whoot! -tackleglomps- Oh this is just so darned exciting! (JouLove: Nod nod nod)

IM NOT GOTH: " Afika must die, I thought Minkah did. But confusion" -grins evilly- That was the idea, sweetie. (ING: Well I didn't appreciate it!) (Minkah: And I didn't appreciate being tortured out of my mind!) Ferris: -laughs nervously-

queen of golden sands: "OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG! I worship the ground you walk on! worship!" -looks down- It's kinda...dirty. (Minkah: Don't be so literal.) Shut it you! I'm talking to someone! A queen, at that! (Minkah: SIGH) "Kaiba died! Kaiba died! throws confetti and runs around dancing (O.o I never imagined I would be celebrating that...)" I know. Strange, isn't it? (Yami: Well I would have no problem with it...) -smirk-

NightEclipse: "If you must be done you have to write a sequel!" -laughs- Didn't read my author notes, eh? (Minkah: But can you really blame them?) Meh! Anyhoo, yes the sequel hast cometh! -dramatic music with big choirs- (I LOVE big choirs!)

koinu27: "Minkahs going back to Domino to kill all them. He wouldnt kill Marik though, would he?" -smirks- Hmm...oh the nagging questions, no? (Koinu: Just answer me, dammit!) hehe

Soki-Chan the Great: -ish still dying laughing- That was damn AWESOME, honey! You must do it more often! (Minkah: Please don't.) Oh hush you!..."Really loved Ryou's internal monolouge... 'muscled arms crafted to utter perfection...' I was drowning in my saliva by the end of that!" -grins- Gotta love Afika-imagery. -starts drooling- "Minkah: "Hey,WTF! I totally had that right, took me fuckin' forever to think that with a straight face..." -dying laughing- Okay..hehe..okay...hehe...-hyperventalating- that was...-falls over snickering- (Kaiba: I hate you ALL)

Jenn: "YAY for Minkah sort of coming back. -tackles him- Don't be ebil, now." (Minkah: -snort- Fat chance) "-pats Kaiba- It'll be ok. No, wait... No. Not for you. -pats again-" (Kaiba: -sigh-) hehe. "I've become deterined that at some point in my life, I will at least attempt to learn Arabic." Oh good for you! Here we go: Ahlan wa sahlan! (means "welcome!" Or "Hello!") Lesson one: Complete. (Jenn: Yay!) "What else would I need you for? -ebil grin- No, I don't think I should answer that..." -smirks- I haven't the foggiest. (Minkah: Break it up! Break it up!)

Silver Mirror: "What a way to end the first part of the story!!" -cackles- I know! So many cliffies! (internal voice: we loooves evil cliffies) Silver: O.o

TheGodFish: So how's your stepdad doing? Hope all's going fairly well. -huggles- "throws you tic tacs I do hope that you post the sequel soon, I loved the last few sad chapters. Poor everyone... When it said that they though Minkah was dead, I almost freaked..." -grins- That was my intention. (Minkah: You're mean to them) I'm mean to everyone. (Minkah: So true.)

Sagira 98: "Poor Malik I feel sorry for him. I'm guessing that there's going to be a lot more drama in the sequel." Pfffft. Understatement. "And you nearly gave me a heart attack with that television report." -ebil grin- Excellent. (Sagira: Hey! I coulda died!) What do you want? A warning label? (Sagira: umm..sure!) Oh. Okay then -pastes big warning label on Minkah's head (POSSIBLE DANGER TO HEALTH- (Minkah: WTF!)

Sirithiliel: Tis been so long, hasn't it, sweetie? "college has decided to challenge me...and it's winning. stupid chemistry, i hate equations!" Ah the equations! Those were actually the only part of chemistry I understood. My brother was like:"You don't understand this? This is the Easy part!" and I was like: "Nuh uh! This is the easy part" Apparently no one understood it but me. -smiles- I'm strange like that.

Kanashimi no Tenshi: "HOLY SHIT! you actually had me crying a bit for a second there! Go you! i didnt even cry when My grandomther died. You have this..gift thing..." O.O Whoa. That's...that's intense, isn't it? (kana: -nod nod nod-) (Minkah: Oh come off it, ferris. It wasn't about your writing abilities. She was crying for ME and all the SHIT you put me through!) :p Maybe maybe...

dragonlady222: " I can't believe Akifa set it up to look like he and Minkah died (Yes, I can believe it.) It's so insane, it probably was easy for him to do." Hell yeah! Afika's soooo cool like that! "He really lords it over his little group doesn't he? I wonder if there will be a rebellion. If there is I am betting on Minkah." Let's not be hasty. You don't know the other remainding Apophis people very well yet. "I am getting that he was raped and abused when he was younger" Abused: yes. Raped: no. " Probably part of a sick part of his training." Oh indubitably. "I still can't believe that he would want to go back to Domino to kill the ones who tried to help him or does he not realise that is part of what Akifa wants" You'll seeeee...

Spryte: Yes yes, sweetie, Minkah's alive. (minkah: Dammit! I'm sick of this story!) -.-;

mistress-oblivion: "I loved and despised this ending all at once. But it's a good kind of despising (that made no sense at all)" Yes it does. And it was my intention for the ending to be so. "is super hyped up about what's going to happen next" Uh oh. (Minkah: Tie her up before she starts hugging us!)

Lorna Shadows: "Highly doubt anyone can get over that little adventure" -winces- So true. So true. Stupid bastard bakura. "Poor Malik, letting go is hard. Oh well its not like they're saying good bye forever." (Malik: WHAT! He's alive?) ferris: Lorna shush!

HieiWannabe: "It looks like Afika really is out to take over Apophis, or more likely, destroy them and put his own group in their place. But if he did that, why kill the kids in Domino?" A question that shall be mulled over by the characters in this half of the story. Fear not! (Minkah: Be afraid be very afraid!)...wellll..yeah, maybe you should be. "it leaves so many unanswered questions." -cackles- I know! Isn't it wonderful? (Hiei: Not the first word I'd choose...)

Let's seeee...I shall dedicate this first chapter to NightEclipse, queen of golden sands, and in a very special way to nayades18! Whoot whoot! (the song at the beginning of the chapter is one of Martina McBrides.) -shrugs- Dunno. It fits nicely. This is a shorter chapter than the rest, just so ya know! Onward!

Wrong Again

From the day we met

You made me forget

All my fears.

Knew just what to say

And you kissed away

All my tears.

I knew this time I had finally found

Someone to build my life around,

Be a lover and a friend

Have to roll my heart and put me through

I knew that it was safe with you

What we had would never end

Wrong again.

Everybody swore

They'd seen this before

We'd be fine.

And you'd come to see

That you still loved me

In good time.

And they said:

"There's nothing you can do

It's something that he's going through.

It happens to a lot of men."

And I told myself that they were right

That you'd wake up and see the light

And I'd just have to wait till then.

Wrong again.

(Martina McBride)

Chapter 1: Dark Autumn

(Malik's POV)

I sit on my sleeping bag, just staring into the dark abyss. Marik's asleep beside me, twitching fitfully every so often. When this happens I reach over and knead my knuckles into his back firmly until he stills again. Yami and Yugi are slumbering against one another on the bed they share next to the window.

"Malik?"

Okay. So Yami's awake.

"What's wrong?" he asks softly, sitting up on the edge of the bed.

I sigh heavily. "Just can't sleep."

"Again?" The concern in his voice is obvious.

I smile humorlessly. "It's nothing to worry about, Yami. Just go back to bed."

"Malik..."

"Please. I'll be fine," I reply insistently.

I can just make out his gorgeous features in the dimness of the room. His eyes are laced with doubt. He wants to come over and hold me, comfort me. He can't though. My koi's tried. It only makes it worse. The guilt's becoming unbearable. I can't stand myself. What I did to him—that he doesn't even know: That I offered my heart to someone else. The only other person who knew was Otogi...and Minkah, obviously. But they're both dead now. And I'm left feeling like this. So empty.

"...All right," he says haltingly after a moment. "G'night Malik."

"Good night," I whisper as tears slip down my cheeks.

(Minkah's POV)

"Once more," Niu states firmly as he steers the jet towards the airfield. "What are you going to do?"

I frown, not pleased at having to work with the black teen. No I'm not racist. If anything—he is. He's always looked down on me. I am half Egyptian half shit, after all. It makes sense really. I just hate it when people have to point it out and remind me constantly.

"I'm going to track the bunch of them down and eliminate them," I growl leaning back in my seat.

"How?"

"Furtively."

He nods. "And then?"

"Niu, come on...!"

He glares at me out of the corner of his eye. "I'm taking what Afika's given me to do very seriously. You should consider doing so yourself. Now come: what next?"

I grit my teeth but hold back a scathing remark. "I lie low and wait for you at the Plaza Hotel."

"And when will I come?"

"The Saturday afternoon at 4:30 sharp."

"Good," he nods again pushing his sunglasses up further onto his nose. "Now why don't you go in the back and rest a bit before we land?"

"Not tired," I mumble.

"It's still bugging you?"

I look away so he can't see my face. Yes it's still there. After what happened at Kaiba's...I haven't been able to sleep. I need someone there constantly. There's only one reason I'm not a cowering shuddering pile...and that reason isn't here with me now. I've got to rely on myself for the time being.

"I'm fine," I say quietly after a moment.

"Minkah, if this is too much for you..."

"Afika has faith in me. That should be enough for you too," I snarl.

"There's no need to use that tone with me. I'm not trying to pick a fight here. And Afika doesn't have faith in you. He just doesn't want your remaining sanity to be the cost of us leaving you behind. That's why I'm here," Niu states steadfastly.

"You just get the bases in Japan destroyed," I hiss staring out the window at the city as we pass over it. "Leave the rest to me."

(Yugi's POV)

I hurry from the school building as the final bell rings, announcing our momentary freedom...until Monday anyway. Darn it. I hate school. I wait by the big tree next to the street for my brother and Malik. School's been rougher than usual for me. Mare's still not up to coming. The psychiatrists warned it might be a few months before he should go anywhere with a large number of people.

"Yugi!"

I look over, smiling when Yami and his koi rush over to me, Jou and Honda trailing behind them through the crowds of ecstatic teenagers. My brother envelopes me in a tight embrace as Malik ruffles my hair playfully.

"How's it going, shrimp?"

I pout. "I thought we talked about that nick-name."

"We did," Malik replies with a grin.

Yami rolls his eyes. "All right you two. Let's get on home to see Mare."

"I told him we'd take him out this afternoon," Jou states happily as our small group starts off down the block.

"What?" Malik exclaims. "Why'd you go and do that? You know he can't be around a lot of people! The entire city's going to be crazy on a Friday!"

The other blonde smirks. "That's the beauty of it! We're going coffee shop hopping!"

We gawk at him.

"But...you two both hate coffee!" I scoff disbelievingly.

"But Marik likes it! Besides, they always have tons of little goodies to eat there too!" Honda cheers happily with an equally jovial Jou prancing beside him.

Malik and Yami share an exasperated look. I snicker. It really is amusing...and thoughtful. Jou and Honda have been nothing short of supportive the past few weeks with Mare's condition. That they'd do this for his sake...well, and then there are the treats at the shops as well.

"All right," Malik sighs, giving in. "But even the slightest hint he's upset and we go home."

"Fair enough," Honda nods locking arms with Jou. They both skip ahead of us merrily.

I laugh. "Looks like someone gave them sugar today."

"Ra save us," my brother mutters with a smile on his face. "So we're going around town with these two sugar-high clowns and a soon to be caffeinated Marik."

"And me! I like coffee too!" Malik puts in nudging his koi in the side.

"You just had to remind me," Yami moans pinching the bridge of his nose.

(Yami's POV)

"What do you mean yer not comin'?" Jou whines as we all stand in the living room. "Yami, we were plannin' on this being an outing wit' everyone!"

I smile shaking my head. "I just want a little time to myself is all. There's nothing to worry about," I add directing a look at my younger brother who's eyeing me suspiciously.

"S'not the point, man. Mare is comin' and..."

"Let Yami do what he wants," Marik puts in with a small smile on his worn face.

Malik sighs heavily. "All right then. If that's decided we'd better get going. I promised Mr. Bakura we'd bring Ryou with us..."

"Then let's be off!" Grandpa suddenly exclaims appearing in the doorway. "Hurry up you all!"

Malik and Yugi gawk at him.

Jou grins. "Oh, didn't I mention he was comin' too? I did say an outing wit' everyone!"

"You think I'd miss an opportunity to coffee shop hop?" Grandpa says with a wink.

"I should have known. All right, come on everyone," Malik states, giving me a quick peck on the cheek. "See you later?"

"Of course," I smirk knowingly.

My face becomes stone as they leave. I hurry to the window, watching the noisy bunch go off down the block to pick up an ashen Ryou. The poor kid's been sinking lower and lower into depression. I don't know how much further he can go before drastic measures need to be taken. I pull my jacket out from under a couch cushion and head outside into the brisk autumn air. It's been too long. This visit is overdue.

I'm at a loss for what to do. Malik's been drifting further and further away. No matter what I do nothing seems to work. How can we continue on as a couple if we can't even talk about what's wrong? I have a hunch what it's about. But once again, I can't ask him. I don't want to burden Marik by asking him either. He just needs to concentrate on getting well again.

There are very few people I could ever talk to about relationship problems. Marik—but only on a rare occasion. I try to keep Yugi out of such conversations. He's young and giddy. I want him to focus on his own life a bit. He's been under the weather lately since neither Ryou nor Marik have been attending school. The near-death experience with Kaiba ordering Minkah to kill my brother and Marik shook him up quite a bit. He still has nightmares. I have to wake him some nights when he's howling under the covers, begging for mercy. Grandpa...it's just too weird to talk to him about such things. Jou and Honda...Need I say more?

The weather matches our relationship perfectly. Beautiful in appearance—but in reality: dying. The leaves tumbling down are golden, mango, peach, hazel, light green, and yellow. Gorgeous to behold. Who'd think they were all lifeless?

I take a deep breath before walking in the direction the only other person I've ever been able to talk with is. If only he could tell me what to do now.

(Marik's POV)

I watch from across the table as Ryou sits sullenly in between Yami and Grandpa. His face is wan, brown eyes downcast. He must be hurting something horrible inside. My friend is such a different person than who he was before the confrontation with Apophis. Of course, I've changed as well. We all have.

They were afraid my relapse had been irreversible since it came on so fast. I haven't been that bad in years. Grandpa told me Malik didn't leave the hospital for a week, demanding to see me. I was in no condition for visits, being completely out of control. I don't recall much of it; which is probably for the best.

"Earth to Marik," Jou grins waving a hand in front of my face.

"Yeah?" I smile taking a big sip of my caramel coffee.

"I said this is great, no?" the other blonde states as he happily swallows another gulp from his glass of juice.

"Excellent," I nod, Yugi giggling as Honda attempts to balance a cream puff on his nose. The key word is attempts.

"So what are our plans for the rest of the weekend?" Malik asks rolling his eyes as the cream puff goes bouncing across the table.

"I don't want to rush too quickly back into all this," Grandpa says sternly.

I sigh but know he's right. It is too soon to go running carefree about the city with them again. Malik seems to notice this, reaching under the table and giving my hand a light squeeze. I manage to smile, noting the concerned look in his violet eyes.

"We could rent some funny movies to watch tomorrow," Jou suddenly suggests.

I look towards Grandpa imploringly. His face is burdened with uncertainty. It's been hard for him. He knows how badly I want to get on with life but doesn't want to overdo it. His judgment I trust more than anyone else's. He's always been there for us, protecting and loving.

"I suppose that would be all right," he says finally, running a hand through his silver hair.

I grin, nodding happily. The others ease at this. All—save one person.

"What do ya think, Ryou? Does that sound good?" Jou puts in hopefully to our white-haired friend.

Ryou shrugs half-heartedly, eyes downcast. He hasn't so much as touched his mug of cappuccino. Malik's face is somber as he reaches over and gently rests on hand on Ryou's pale one.

"Ryou, we're trying to help. Please let us, won't you?"

"If you must," our friend whispers soullessly, not moving.

(Yami's POV)

"I don't know what to do," I say softly. "Malik...it's like he's moving apart from me—like his mind is in a completely different world. What am I supposed to do? I've tried everything!"

The headstone doesn't answer. Nor does the corpse beneath. I stare at the inscription on it next to his name:

"You never really leave a place you love. Part of it you take with you, leaving a part of yourself behind."

"Why'd you have to die, Otogi?" I continue bitterly, tears threatening to fall. "I need you here. We need you. Everything's such a mess now. You always kept your head—knew exactly what to do...what to say."

There's the faint whisper of the wind through the leaf-less trees that reach out with gnarled, broken fingers in a hapless attempt at comfort. Somewhere above a wren croons on, an uneven tune that makes my skin crawl.

"I'm sorry I didn't save you. I should have been there...None of it was supposed to be this way," I whisper helplessly, hands fisted at my sides.

"You couldn't have saved him."

I jolt in shock. I know that voice. Turning sharply to my left, my mouth goes dry, tongue sticking to my palate. It's not possible...The deep gray eyes, double crossed scar, wild white hair...

"Minkah," I whisper in astonishment taking a step back.

He stares impassively, studying me. My throat tightens. Out of the corner of my eye I glance at the headstone in a silent plea to Otogi to help me.

"W-what are you...I mean...?" I try vulnerably, unsure myself of what I'm trying to ask.

"Why did I come back?" he states simply, eyes never leaving mine.

I nod numbly, though I'm not sure that's the question I was wondering. Hell I might have asked how he's still alive...or where he's been...We stare at one another for a long moment. The whole world is frozen, holding its breath. Then he speaks:

"I've come to kill you."


Duh duh DUH!

Readers: GLARE

Meheheheheheehe! I love it I love it love it love it!

Minkah: -.- The scary thing is she hasn't consumed any sugar yet this evening.

As a note there will be lots more romance and such in this one. More adventure and bloodiness too! Whoot whoot!

Yami: -smirking- But no Kaiba.

Ferris: -smiles- No. No Kaiba...

Kaiba: -grumbles-

Yugi: Review!