A/N: Not sure when or where this takes place. Maybe I'll clarify later on. I originally intended it to be a one-shot, but then I realized all the different ways it could go, and well... I didn't want to let go of it yet. ^^' Short though. Not planning for more than 6 or 7 chapters. Enjoy! :D

Disclaimer: I own my summer reading books... and I wish I didn't. ... What, Yu-Gi-Oh! ... oh, I don't own that. Sorry.

Cold… It was so cold…

Ryou shivered and wrapped his arms tighter around his body. The rags he wore weren't enough to keep out the icy air that whipped through the bars of the cage. He could feel the cold of the metal seeping through his clothes, chilling him to the bone.

How long had he been here? How long since he had seen sunlight? Ryou curled up into a fetal position.

The cage looked like it was meant for some kind of huge bird. It hung from a hook in the stone ceiling, and swayed slightly with every gust of wind that came through the small window at the other end of the room.

Ryou lay there and waited, humming softly to overcome the sound of his rumbling stomach. Now that he thought about it, when was the last time he ate? He didn't know. It could have been hours, it could have been days. Time was meaningless in this dark room.

The humming was making him sleepy. He drifted into a kind of dream state…

"Bakura!" Ryou called behind him. "Hurry up! Amane will be waiting at home!"

Ryou and Bakura often went and played in the forest, along with Amane, their sister. It was their favorite place to go. The tall, mysterious trees provided them with shade from the hot sun. The branches were a roof over their heads that shielded them from the rain. The bushes offered them an endless supply of berries to eat, and the streams all ran with clear, pure water. Their home lay just on the edge of the woods, and almost every day they would eat breakfast, then quickly run off to play.

And yet, their mother always warned them before they left the house: "Keep on the path, darlings! The monster who lives in the forest loves to capture people who stray and keep them as pets, especially little children like yourselves." Then she would give them a mischievous smile, kiss them on the cheek, and send them off with a wave. The Touzouku children always believed she was simply teasing them as an attempt to get them to be careful.

On this particular evening, the two brothers had gone out into the forest to pick wildflowers for their sister's birthday. Amane loved the flowers that bloomed in the forest more than any that grew in their mother's garden. She believed that they grew so beautiful because of the fairies that danced on them every night by the light of the moon. Bakura always ridiculed the littlest Touzouku for this, saying that if fairies really did exist, than they sure wouldn't pick the crummy weeds that grew in their forest to dance on. Amane would then burst into tears, leaving Ryou, the more sensitive of the brothers, to comfort her.

But today was a special day. Amane was turning seven, and Bakura, despite his scorn of their sister's fantasies, had agreed to help Ryou gather the flowers for their kitchen table.

Ryou, though he would never admit it out loud, was decidedly effeminate, and knew all the best places to pick flowers. Bakura trudged after him on the path, falling more and more behind with every spot they stopped by.

As they went along, Ryou sang a song about the monster that his mother had taught him long ago. It was a pretty little tune, and he sang it often when he was happy or sad, depending.

"Night falls and all is still.
The world outside sleeps…
The forest awakens-
The darkness inside, something keeps."

Ryou bent over a patch of particularly bright flowers, and, sniffing them delicately, began to pull a few out for his bouquet. Ryou's voice was high and sweet, and it carried high above to the trees. A pair of gleaming eyes watched the boy from overhead, listening to him sing.

"He keeps to the shadows
Few know his name.
He walks the paths unbidden-
He plays his wicked game."

Bakura was coming up the hill behind, panting slightly.

"Damn it, Ryou! Slow down! It's not like Amane's going to have another birthday by the time we-" Suddenly he stopped dead in his tracks, eyes wide. Ryou didn't notice that he stopped talking; he was more concerned with picking some purple flowers to add to the colors of the bouquet. He started the next verse.

"Be wary children!
Don't stay out too late…"

"RYOU WATCH OUT!" Bakura was running towards him, panic and terror flashing across his face. Ryou turned to look at him, pausing in his song.

"Bakura, what-?"he began, confused, but Bakura interrupted him.


Ryou turned around- and screamed.

Tall, looming…

Dark clothes…

Violet eyes… Demon's eyes…

The monster smiled, showing off its sharp teeth. It stepped towards Ryou. Ryou floundered backwards, falling to the ground. He stared up at the monster in horror, another scream threatening to come out of his throat. It knelt before him, and, reaching out one hand, stroked Ryou's long white hair.

"Why did you stop singing, pet? It was so lovely…"

The last thing Ryou heard was the sound of Bakura's anguished scream, as he was too late to save his brother.

And everything… everything… everything went black.

Ryou jerked himself out of his reminiscence. He heard footsteps in the corridor outside the room. He straightened up just before the door opened and his captor walked into the room.

Mariku, as he had said his name was, looked like a man, but Ryou knew he wasn't human. His violet eyes were pupil-less, and glittered with a kind of animalistic nature that scared Ryou to no end. His fair hair stood up in wild spikes that seemed to want to get as far away from his head as possible. He had bronzed skin that seemed odd, seeing as he spent most of his time under the shade of the trees. But what frightened Ryou most was the creature's horribly psychotic grin. Like he was giving Ryou now.

"Miss me, pet?"

Ryou shivered at the words and wrapped his arms around his knees.

"Aw, still not talking? I thought you'd be tired of this silly game by now." Mariku purred, bringing his face up close to Ryou's cage. Ryou whimpered a little and scooted as far back as he could against the bars.

"Won't you sing for me? Pretty please? …Sing for me, snowbird."

Ryou shook his head frantically. Mariku gave a loud sigh.

"You're not leaving any time soon. Wouldn't singing make you feel better?"

Ryou buried his face into his knees and said nothing. After a moment he heard Mariku leave the room, closing the door behind him. Without looking up, Ryou began to sob quietly.

It was true. He was never going to get out of here. He was in the lair of the monster, and no one could save him. Not his sister, not his mother, not his brother… He would never see them again.

Hmmm... I like Deathshipping more and more every time I write it. Oh btw, Ryou and Bakura... they're not that young, I'm thinking. Probably like 13 or 14. (And Bakura's a year older than Ryou.) But this fic definitely won't be explicit, so I'm not too worried about the shota implications and whatnot.

Their romance... think Beauty and the Beast! (My fave movie, like, ever...)

Review? It would boost my confidence immensely. XD