"Marik, I want to go home."

He turned to sit side-saddle on the quickly-moving motorcycle, his lavender eyes questioning.

"You look pale."

I clung tighter to Bakura's waist. "This dimension is horrid. Even the smell. I want to go back to the Anime realm. Please." I whispered.

"Please! I can't take this anymore!" Bakura hissed, trying to pry my arms from him.

Before I could continue any further, Marik's head ducked. Oh, God, no. Not now. Not now. But the inevitable took course. Yami Mariks head lifted with a sadistic laugh.

"Hang on, Kitty. And prepare for blood spatter." he said. The words just a year ago would've made my stomach roil. Now I just sighed in defeat.

"I'm not a-" Before Bakura could finish his miffed argument, the motorcycle jerked to something resembling 10th gear

"I'm going to have fun in this realm!" he whooped. I felt myself begin to slip, and panicked.

"BAKURA!" With lightning speed he grasped my wrist, yanking me into the tight space between him and Marik.

"Don't expect that again. And Marik, slow down." he snarled.

"Shut up, Ninja Puff!" Yami Marik roared as the motorcycle somehow managed to pick up even more speed. I cried out, startled, hiding against Bakura's shoulder. His hand settled tightly around my waist, I was sure to keep me from slipping.

"Shut up!" he ordered.

As Marik ran over the first person I cringed into Bakura, shuddering at the high-pitched scream, at the blood raining down on me.

"The blood is so much worse here. And it flows." I croaked. I felt Bakura's neck extend, and knew he was catching it on his tongue. So was Yami Marik, most likely. Why couldn't I have stayed home?...

Oh, yeah—because I'm an idiot.

"Try some."

I lifted my head to see Yami Bakura holding out his hand, blood staining the tip of his index finger. I gulped. I didn't want to try it. It didn't taste too disgusting—I was used to it, by now—but the thought of where it came from made me feel positively ill. Of course, if I refused he'd force it down my throat…

Playing it safe, I gently licked the thick, red liquid from his fingertip. He smirked approvingly.

"Good girl, Miyuki!" he laughed, patting me head. Then he sat back thoughtfully, ignoring my desperate scrambling as his shifting made me almost fall from the vehicle once again. "I bet she was a virgin."

"You can tell?" I raised my eyebrows incredulously. He cackled.

"She tastes a lot like you did,"

I touched my neck, feeling the scar across my throat. "Don't bring that up."

"TOURISTS!" Yami Marik shrieked delightedly, swerving violently to the left.

"Hit that one!" Bakura shouted, pointing to a particularly sickly-looking man as he—for my safety—grasped my collar. So I can choke slowly to death instead of quickly taking off the top of my head on the pavement. Still, I was thankful for it when I was nearly thrown from the vehicle.

"Thanks," I managed to gasp.

"Marik, after this we should probably find a place to settle for the night. It is almost sundown. And you know how Miyuki gets."

"I'll never get out of here," I moaned, slapping my hand over the side of my face. My voice was drowned out by the roar of the engine and panicked shouting from various people.

"How about that place over there?" Yami Marik suggested, jerking the front of the bike quickly towards a diner marked 'Rita's Cafe', at the same time grinding the poor man underneath the turning wheel. Yami Marik and Bakura burst into choruses of joyous laughter as his blood sprayed into the air. I curled up against Bakura, hating the blood splattering my clothes. Knowing them, they would stretch out this living hell as long as they could—even if just to torture me. Instead of arguing—realizing it would only encourage them—I hid my face against my propped-up knees, relying on Bakura to keep me from falling. I just wasn't in the mood to keep my head up and watch this particular mass-murder. Sighing, I allowed myself to delve into daydreams.

That night had been so frightening. So frightening. I wished I could erase it from my memory. But at the same time, I never wanted to forget my saviors' face. It was burned into my memory, either way. The soft emerald eyes, and tan, angular face. The high cheekbones. Even the exact way his bright blonde bangs fell over his forehead. That made the memory hurt, though—my savior wouldn't recognize me. It was so very long ago, and I was just a normal girl back then…

"I'm not going in there."

"Oh, come on, Miyuki!" Marik begged desperately, grasping my wrist and trying to coerce me through the doors of 'Rita's Diner'. Having long-since finished in their bloodbath, Yami Marik had finally returned to 'normal'. Thank God…

"We'll only kill a few people, then! The others will run, we'll have the place to ourselves! For Ra's sake, just go through the friggin' doors!"

"No! I've had enough blood for one day. Even one more persons. I'm done!"

"Well excuse me, princess," Bakura hissed, throwing me up over his shoulder like a sack of friggin' potatoes, "but the last time I checked, I was the one who could back up my arguments."

"Like hell, KITTY!" I snarled, pummeling his back with my fists. It was all to no avail. He kicked through the doors with a loud bang, making the entire place go silent.

"And by the way, the last time I checked? I also was not a kitty." He spat, tossing me onto one of the cushioned restaurant seats. Then he spun, pulling out his knife. "Listen up!" he ordered, addressing the wide-eyed crowd. They appeared to be paralyzed—one man held a burger halfway to his mouth; a woman, due to the angle of her bottle, was now pouring wine into her overflowing mouth and down her shirt. "We're going to be staying here for tonight, and we'd prefer to be alone!" Bakura continued, pacing behind where I sat. "And if you don't…"

Suddenly the cold steel of his knife was pressed to my throat, digging into my skin. I winced, startled.

"…then the girl dies!"

"Oh, come on!" I rolled my eyes, annoyed. "At least use someone you won't have to bluff with!"

He smirked. "Then I have your divine permission to slaughter?"

I sighed. "Fine. Whatever. But only if you have to."

To my horror Marik grabbed a 7-year-old girl by her collar, holding her up for Bakura to see.

"How about this one?" he asked, handing her to Yami Bakura. He examined the girl, head cocked slightly to one side.

"That'll do nicely," he smiled. The girl burst into terrified tears.

"No! Not my baby!" a fairly plump woman screamed, standing with her mouth agape in frozen shock. I stood with her, shouting;

"God, guys, don't use the kid!" He dropped the girl—who promptly ran back to her mother—and turned to me.

"WHAT DO YOU WANT!" he roared, clearly more than a little exasperated.

"It's a friggin' kid, Bakura! Don't you have any sense of humanity?"

"Then who the hell should I use?"

"I don't know! Not me, and not the kid, alright!"

"FINE!" Some random brown-haired chick in the back began to laugh her head off, as her male companion watched blankly. Marik and Bakura looked at each other, and seemed to come to some sort of an agreement. Both nodded, then grabbed the girl by her wrists and yanked her to the center of the room. She was still chuckling. Strange.

"What's your problem?" Marik asked, looking at her as though she was contaminated.

"I-it's funny!" she cackled, shaking her head. "Are you two.. m-married?"

"NO!" both Bakura and I exclaimed, jumping away from each other. She began to laugh harder.

"Dammit, you're supposed to be frightened!" Bakura complained irritably.

"The people in this dimension are messed up," Marik muttered under his breath. I could've told him that days ago.

"I-I'm s-sorr—whoo!" she giggled. I'd never felt quite as bad for Bakura as I did now.

"Alright, everyone OUT!" he hollered, "I won't be able to take much of this, so hurry up!"

"Now, now, Bakura. Be patient." Marik chastised, snickering. "If you can deal with Miyuki and I for this long, surely you can deal with this annoying one for a couple minutes-"

"I only deal with you two because I have no choice!" One deathly pale hand grasped the girl's hair close to the scalp, shaking her. "I don't have to deal with this one!" At that the people who hadn't fled already shot to their feet and left the diner in a rush. I shook my head, the hilarity of the situation suddenly hitting me. A crowd of people running like mice from two men, to save a giggly girl who wasn't scared in the first place. Kind of ridiculous, really. Of course, that used to be me…

To my surprise Marik weeded out one man from the crowd and grasped his collar, forcing him to a stop. The man wore an apron littered with fingerprints around his large belly, a lopsided chefs hat atop his balding head. He yelped in surprise.

"You head cook?" Marik asked smoothly, a nearly sadistic grin playing on his face. The rose color leaving the mans cheeks, he nodded stiffly. "Good," Marik continued, "Then we have a job you can do for us before you leave."

But I really wasn't a normal girl then, was I? I was less than that, a servant to the prince. That wasn't such a bad thing, though—not as horrible as it sounded. It was the norm, actually, in those days. I couldn't remember much from that time, but if I strained I could catch glimpses of the past. I wasn't one of the more… important, I suppose, servants—where… where did I work? The kitchens, I think? A kitchen-maid? Something like that. I wasn't supposed to be in the dungeons, I know that much. So why was I down there that night?

"I'm telling you, Miyuki, this is the life!"

Bakura mumbled the words happily through a huge mouthful of Ramen noodles, slurping them up quickly to start as soon as possible on another large bite. Marik seemed just as pleased—working instead on a huge chunk of steak. I sighed, poking at the popcorn shrimp that was scattered about my own plate. Having long let both captives go, both of them seemed well at ease—not to mention completely unfazed by all earlier happenings. Was I the only one who'd lost their appetite?

Of course…

"Oh, come. Lighten up! It's too early for another one of your f-"

"Leave it, Bakura." Marik snapped. "That's not any of your business-"

"You kidding? I'm the one who always has to deal with her!"

"BOTH of you shut it!" I exclaimed irritably, shoving my plate away. "I'm not going into one of those, alright? I'm just still adapting, so give me a break!"

Bakura covered my eyes from behind, laughing when I froze automatically. "Are you sure?"

Beyond angry, I shoved him away. "Stop it, will you? Besides, you aren't the one that has to deal with me, it's your other half!"

"My weaker half-"

"Sit down, shut up." Marik interjected, narrowing his eyes at Bakura. He actually obeyed—leaving me certain that they'd come to some sort of agreement, most likely involving me, while I had been spacing. I pulled my plate back to me, and dinner continued for awhile in silence.

"I… haven't been seeing Ryou during the day, now that I think about it," I noted absentmindedly, pocketing a piece of shrimp in my cheek. "Where has he been?"

"I don't know, and I don't care."

Sighing in thinly-veiled annoyance, I leaned against my hand. Ryou, Yami Bakura's 'weaker' half, was just about the only kind person in our entire group. That was probably what had happened to him, then… having to deal with my problem during the nighttime, he sacrificed all his daylight hours. Not once had he complained about this—but then, that was against his gentle nature.

Shaking my head, I unconsciously rose to my feet. Such thoughts were going to make the night even longer. Mustn't think about that. Mustn't make it worse for myself or poor Ryou. Calm down.

"Miyuki."

Marik turned to me, resting his elbow on the tabletop. A smirk spread slowly across his face.

"Sit back down and eat, Miyuki... you'll adapt soon enough. Give it a few more years."

"Years," I moaned, slumping against my seat and covering my face in my hands. "My entire goddamn life and I won't be used to this! I don't want to stay that long!" Sighing, I let my head fall with a bang to the table. "I didn't want to stay this long."

"Hmm." Marik grew silent, gnawing slowly at a tough piece of meat. I lifted my head an inch and watched his jaw work for a minute, entranced.

"...Sorry."

"Hmm?" His eyes lifted to my face, expression inquisitive.

"For complaining."

Bakura began to laugh uncontrollably, so hard that tears streamed streamed down his face. Even though the laugh was purely amusement, there was still enough cruelty in it to make a shudder run down my spine. "You still have so much to learn, Miyuki. If I didn't have to worry about dying myself, I'd teach you the meaning of those words-"

"It's a crying shame that you do, then, isn't it!" I hissed, leaning so my face was an inch from his. This just made him laugh again, grasping my chin and yanking me onto his lap. My desperate struggles were nothing to him.

"Bakura."

Bakura caught a lock of my hair between his forefinger and thumb as his other hand covered my eyes. I shivered in his grasp and fell still, realizing too late that this would just please him, urge him on.

"Yes?" Bakura asked as he rolled my hair slowly between his fingers.

"Let her go."

"Now." I added, trying and failing to snarl.

"Nah. I think I'll keep her like this for awhile. She was starting to annoy me, anyway."

"Stop!" I ordered again, jerking violently, attempting to make him lose his grip. In response his tongue followed the line of my scar, purposefully bringing back memories from before. Purposefully making me gasp and tremble. Purposefully making me relive the pain and terror I'd felt

"Scared, Miyuki?" he mocked, voice low and amused.

"I hate you," I whispered through tightly clenched teeth, twisting my face this way and that to try and see over his hand.

"How kind of you." Bakura smirked. His legs hooked around my ankles as I began to kick, one of his hands captured my wrists as I began to punch. All I could do was squirm- like a fish trying to flop back to water. Deciding that this was more demeaning than the other option, I found myself laying, still and quiet, in his arms.

"I h-hate you," I whimpered.

Suddenly there was another pair of hands on my skin, much softer than the first. They captured my face, patted my cheek. Bakura's hands loosened with a soft gasp to accompany, and the hands took me from him... cradling me. I smiled. Their grip was too weak- this I could escape. I happily did so, taking great pleasure in elbowing them in the gut as I fought. They dropped me with a sharp intake of breath, and collapsed on the ground beside me. The grin turned into a smirk.

...Why is Bakura laughing?...

"My, my, you bad little girl!" he chuckled, tilting my chin up to meet his narrowed gaze. "Is that any way to treat the man who saves you? Shame." Chuckling, he looked over my shoulder at the man. "Does this mean I can have her back, Marik?"

I stared up at him, shocked. Marik? It took a moment for that to sink in. Then, mentally, I slapped myself upside the head. Of course. He was the only other person around, after all, wasn't he?

"Sorry," I muttered to the still-panting Marik. "I... I panicked."

"I… am going... to slaughter you," he snarled, digging his nails into my shoulders. Captured now in both men's grasps, I gritted my teeth and tried to concentrate on happy thoughts. Oh, to be back home in the Anime realm...

...where the air smells fresh...

...where the people are normal...

...where the nights aren't nearly as dark!

"Get offa me," I hissed, glaring up at Bakura. But... something had changed about him, I noticed vaguely as I waited for a reaction. Not a surprising change, but a change nonetheless. Watching Marik warily, he rose from his chair and grasped my wrist, to shove me roughly behind him.

"Touch her and I'll kill you," he whispered silkily, voice low and dangerous. I peeked around him, wincing at the purple bruise spreading across Marik's bare midriff.

"Sorry. But you know, this wouldn't happen if you two would stop treating me like an object!"

"Hush, you stupid brat! These things wouldn't happen if you'd stop being so temperamental!" Bakura roared, pushing me fiercely back behind him.

That was it. I couldn't take that. As my normal self I would've brushed it off, but on top of everything else... I snapped.

"Hell, I'm sorry if I'm such a bother to-" One sob tore up my throat, then another, then another. Weakness that would lead to never-ending torment. A flush of shame burned my cheeks. And, tears streaming down my face, I turned and ran, blindly- just wanting to be away from the - the monsters that thought of me as nothing more than a mouse to play with. What more can you expect from cold-blooded murderers?

"Get back here, you worthless-" Bakura yelled after me, his feet pounding the floor in pursuit. The thought made me tremble all over again. Terrified, I turned sharply and fell into an opened closet, slamming the door behind me. Hurriedly, fingers trembling and refusing to work properly, I- barely- managed to lock the door. After finally succeeding I found myself curling in a tight ball as far away from it as possible, near one of those floor-cleaning boxes, listening to Bakura pounding fiercely on the door and wincing as he shouted and cursed. The room was so dark I could barely stand it... but what was on the so much worse.

After who knows how long the banging stopped. I waited with baited breath for a minute, listening intently, before deciding that Bakura had given up and loosening my stance. I've never done anything to deserve this kind of treatment. Ever. Shaking and sobbing as quietly as I could, I rested my head against the cool cement wall. A few more minutes passed like this, with no interruptions.

Maybe that was why I had been in the dungeons. Had something frightened me, perhaps? Or upset me? Just like always I had run from my problems, not knowing that I'd just encounter more... and encounter more pain than I'd ever experienced before and ever would again. That had been why I'd recognised Bakura's voice so easily, recognised his face... a night like that was something one couldn't forget. No matter how hard one may try.

A soft knock then resonated throughout the small room, nearly making me jump out of my skin. "Miyuki?"

"What do you want, Marik!" I cried out at the door, rolling to my knees. "I'm done! I've had enough and I'm not coming out, no matter what!"

"Come, Miyuki! At least let me in, then." he requested gently.

"No!"

"I won't injure you, I promise."

"Go away, will you? And stop teasing me!" I shrieked, in anger throwing a disinfectant bottle in the direction of his voice. The container burst, making the contents spray all over me, in my eyes. I whimpered in pain, pressing the heels of my palms into my eyes.

"You alright in there?"

"Go... away!" I hissed, hands twitching. Please let there be a sink in here somewhere...

"You can't stay like this forever," he pointed out as I staggered to my feet, feeling around for some sort of eye-washing liquid. My eyes were burning.

"I sure as hell can try for awhile!"

"Please let me in, honey,"

I froze, startled. "Please?" My eyes slowly widened. "H-honey?" Marik paused.

"Yeah. Sure. Come on, then." Thinking rationally, I sighed in defeat. I couldn't stay here forever, just like he said. Besides, I needed help now- or else I'd go blind.

"Okay," I agreed in a small voice, managing to find the doorknob. It took all my will just to press the unlocking mechanism. "Where's Bakura?"

"Seething in the dining area," he murmured as he opened the door. I backed up a few feet, letting him in and at the same time getting myself away.

I paused. "What about you?"

"What do you mean, what about me? I'm right here-" his voice dropped as he took in the situation. "Your eyes..."

"I meant whether or not you're still angry," I huffed, then reeled back when his hand touched my shoulder.

"Just follow me, will you? You're no use blind." he ordered, voice void of emotion. I'll take that as a 'yes'...

"God, do my eyes hurt," I moaned, meekly letting him lead me out of the closet.

"You'll live."

"Bakura'll be pleased to hear that."

"Bakura is very much not pleased right now!" came Bakura's voice, only two feet in front of me- and very ticked off. I jumped a foot in the air, startled. "At least at this point I know why the hell my eyes are burning out of their sockets!"

"Shut up! Just shut up!" I snarled, trying to concentrate on something more pleasant than the current situation- which was not a very hard task.

He caught my wrist in a bruising grip, dragging me quickly along. I tripped over my feet just trying to keep up. "You're more trouble than you're worth!"

"Careful, Bakura," Marik warned quietly, trailing behind.

"I'm going to keep this damn woman on a leash," he muttered under his breath, yanking my arm fiercely when I began to lag behind. I tumbled to the ground, sliding two feet and scraping my knees, stomach and free arm. A sharp hiss escaped Bakura's lips.

"O-ow," I croaked, gritting my teeth and pressing my forehead to the cool tiled floor.

"I told you to be careful," Marik murmured, his hand resting on the small of my back. "You now how clumsy she is," His other hand took me by my arm as the first slid around my waist, pulling me into a sitting position. "Get up, Miyuki."

"I only seem clumsy because you two are always yanking me around before I can balance myself," I sniffled, slowly doing as ordered.

"Hurry up, will you? We've got our eyes to deal with!" Bakura snarled, his hands fisting in the front of my shirt and pulling me the rest of the way to my feet. "If it's our fault you're so pitifully klutzy, how do you explain just why need to find a water source right now, hmm?"

"Leave us for a bit, will you?" Marik requested softly, his foot tapping against the floor. "I can deal with her. I'm the only one that can find their way around right now anyway."

A pause. "Fine."

"You'll know when we're done."

"Good luck. You'll need it with this one." he said, voice harsh with agitation as he shoved me roughly from him. I listened quietly to his footsteps as he stalked away, the best he could without sight. That... was way too easy.

"Now what?" I asked Marik once his footsteps died away.

"Now we do something about preventing your blindness." His voice was annoyingly calm and authoritative. "Are you in much pain?"

I was in a lot of pain. Not like I'd admit that to him. "I'm fine. What's with Bakura? Ryou makes sure he gets enough sleep, and-"

"He's having trouble adapting, I think." Marik murmured, taking me by my elbow and leading me forward- this time at a reasonable pace. "He's not used to having a female around. And especially not having to protect her to keep his own life. Your connection has disrupted his entire daily routine"

Bakura and I, because of that night so long ago and the 'spell' that had been cast, now have to deal with a newly-awakened bond between us. Any pain that one feels, physical pain like a scratch or bruise- or in this case, disinfectant in the eyes- is reflected onto the other. The most annoying part is that we could've gone our entire lives without knowing it- if Bakura hadn't been at the same intersection as me at the same time just a year or so ago, if he hadn't tried to stab me through the heart just for his own damn amusement, the connection would've stayed dormant. But no, I wasn't that lucky. I wasn't even smart enough to let him kill me. I just had to dodge his knife... it just had to barely graze my side as I dodged... he just had to be in just the right position for my blood to land on his tongue. And just like that, the next time he tried to slice me open with that knife he was brought to an abrupt halt- by the cut on his side that exactly mimicked my own.

If it wasn't so serious, I would laugh at the memory. He'd been so flustered, more flustered than I'd ever seen him become again. I vaguely remember shaking in terror when he'd drawn his knife along my left palm, just to be sure- I had been more normal at that time, so it was quite fazing- and then becoming confused when his blood had stained the forearm he'd grasped in his left hand, to keep me still. After that he'd bound my hands behind my back and tied a handkerchief over my eyes, bringing me back to a horribly cliche abandoned storehouse they'd settled in that night to have Marik evaluate the situation.

His response? Being Yami Marik at the time, he'd decided to find out if the connection went the other way as well. To this day Bakura and I have a thin white scar from right shoulder to left ribcage, and Marik himself went deaf in one ear for two weeks- from my screams.

They decided to keep me around after that. Though I suppose 'decided' wouldn't be the right term for it- more like 'needed'. Bakura was so paranoid he wouldn't let me out of his sight for six months after, and even then he'd only leave when Marik was around- or when I was able to escape for awhile. The only upside to this was that I learned to be at ease with him. For the most part anyway... though he couldn't hurt me without hurting himself, his temper was frightening enough to make up for that harmlessness tenfold. That kind of action towards me just didn't seem fair. Maybe he was adapting, just like I was, but...

"... He should still be more polite to me. After all, I don't treat him like that, and I'm going through the same problems he is!" I cried, shoulders slumping. "It's just not-"

"Miyuki, shut up." Marik commanded, fisting his hand in my hair and shoving my head down. A small squeak resonated to the left of me, and suddenly freezing water was pouring from overhead. Shocked, my first reaction was to jerk away. My second, when Marik held me still, was to dig my nails into the counter, grit my teeth and adapt. Always... adapt.

"Wash your eyes out." he said softly, tone amused. "I trust you can handle that task well enough on your own."

"A-are you leaving?" I gasped, trying to get the water into my swollen eyes. In response his hand lightly patted my back.

"Yeah. If I leave Bakura like this he'll go on a killing spree- and I don't want to miss that."

"Fine. Go ahead. I'll catch you later." I sighed. One eye was good enough now to watch him leave, but I refused to look in his direction. I'm the only one here with a single ounce of sanity!

Once I was sure he'd left I used my good eye to glance at the clock, and barely suppressed a pathetic sigh. Six o'clock. It was nearly night... Just as I realized this, the first chill ran slowly up my spine. This night would be just like the others... long, dark, and sleepless.

"Good luck," I wished myself, closing my eye and once again dunking my head underneath the soft rush of water from the faucet.