A/N: I don't know. I don't like writing these characters. The only connection I could come up with is that Marik's afraid of the dark, and Shizuka was hlind the entire time she had any importance in the series.

"You kidnapped a blind girl?"

Sometimes Marik couldn't believe the incompetancy of his Rare Hunters. The pair kneeling before him, especially-they had just brought in more of Yugi's friends to use as potential mind-slaves, but one of their victims was a girl, about 13 or 14, and from their descriptions, apparently blind.

Marik sighed. "Where are the boys you brought in with her?"

"Sir!" One of the rare hunters answered immediately, terrified of Marik's punishment. The duo had incurred enough of his anger that day. "We separated them! The boys are in the warehouse, and the girl is in the basement."

"Okay, that's enough," Marik said, waving them off. The two jumped up and scampered out of the room. Marik sighed again.

He contemplated visitng the boys first, if only to buy time to figure out what to do with the girl. Marik was single-minded in his goal of avenging his father's death, but even he had his limits. Unless this girl was dating Yugi or something just as important, he had half a mind to just let her go.

... though the other half of that mind was ready to exploit her for the same reasons he wanted to free her.

The walk to her room took a few minutes, not nearly enough time to conisder all of his options. Ignoring any moral qualms he might have had, the plan of action he came up with was to brainwash her and use her as a hostage. Not the most creative or honorable of his plans, but... well, if he had a blind girl at his disposal, he was going to make the most of her. He grabbed an old battery-powered lantern off a hook on the wall and descended the stairs to the basement.

The door opened without so much as a squeak, and still she turned to stare right at Marik-or rather, point her head in his general direction-as he walked in. The lantern threw odd shadows on the wall. Marik wished he had just turned the lights on before he came down instead of carrying the stupid lantern. It's not like she could tell the difference.

"Who are you?" She asked without hestiation. Marik took a moment to hide his surprise to her question. Well, not to the question so much as the fact she responsed at all. He raised the lantern to look at her. True to their description, she had bandages over her eyes. So she wasn't a complete cripple, she was just temporarily blind. Marik wasn't sure if that made him feel better or worse.

"That doesn't matter."

"Why did you kidnap me and my friends?" She tried to hide the panic in her voice, but she was only a teenager and had clearly never been in this situation before.

"Because you have some connection to Yugi Muto. What is that connection?"

"H-he's brother's best friend-" she stopped herself, but it was too late. Marik approached and she backed away slowly, though there was nothing in the room besides the two of them. Nothing to help her and nowhere to escape to.

"Who is your brother?"

This time she knew to stay silent. But Marik alreadly had a good bit of information. The connection was probably too distant to be truly effective. He already had Jounouchi and Anzu, and he still had the boys to interrogate.

"If you don't want to say anything, you can just stay here in the dark," he threatened. She shook her head.

"It's all dark."

Marik shuddered at the thought of perpetual darkness, and before he knew, he asked her, "How can you stand it?"

"I'm afraid..." she mumbled. "...to take the bandages off..."

"You're-you mean you just haven't taken them-" Memories of pitch-dark tombs, torch-lit passageways, and no sky but a stone ceiling. She had the option to see and escape the darkness, but she wasn't brave enough to take it? A sudden terrible and effective thought seized Marik. "Tell me who your brother is or I'll take them off myself.

"No," she said immediately, inching away from him towards an unseen wall. Marik approached slowly. Shizuka backed into the corner, panic gripping her. "Please, don't."

Guilt gnawed at Marik, but he ignored it like he'd been ignoring it for years. He wanted to know almost enitely to satisfy his own curiosity. "Just tell me."

"I won't!" She huddled on the ground in the corner, her arms covering her head. Marik reached for her and grabbed her arm.

"Tell me!" He shouted. Shizuka threw up her arms and swung at him wildly. One arm knocked the lantern clean out of his hand, where it smashed on the ground and lost all light. Marik jumped back with a shout.
He swore loudly and backed away from her. She heard him immdiately give up his attack.

"What is it? What happened?" she asked, still shaking from his threats.

"Nothing. Shut up," he ordered, waving his arms around to find the wall. His fingers brushed against stone, and he shuddered. Stone and darkness. His life to this point.

Shizuka heard Marik back away from her and inch slowly along the wall. But not the wall towards the door. In the darkness, he lost his sense of direction, but she remembered which way he came in. She started slowly walking away from him, towards the entrance. If he was creeping along the wall like that, he must have dropped his light. So if she could beat him to the door, she could get out. And then what?

Marik finally reached the end of the wall... only to hit another corner. He felt the wall wildly, searching for the door, but none existed. The darkness closed in around him, suffocating him. Laughter echoed in his mind. He crouched on the ground and shut his eyes, but it made no difference.

The millennium rod shifted when he knelt down. Remembering it, Marik grabbed it out of his belt and called a Rare Hunter to come open the door. He turned around and stared towards the other corner of the room, keeping their minds linked so he could stare at the faux visions of his mind-slave and not the lightless room he was trapped in.

Shizuka found the handle of the door. Her hand rested on it as she hesitated. If she opened the door, she could get out of the room, but into what? She still couldn't see anything. But if she took off the bandages... oh, but what if it didn't work! If she ran out this door, and still couldn't see, she wouldn't be able to keep going. This man would catch her again. But if she went out as she was... well, she wouldn't really be able to do anything. What was the difference? Why couldn't just have the courage to try?

Before she could think anymore, the door opened, and a man walked into her. Marik all but sprinted from the other side of the room. When he arrived, the Rare Hunter was struggling with Shizuka, who was trying to get away from him.

"Let her go," Marik ordered, then turned on her. "What are you doing? How do you think you're going to get out of here when you can't even see?"

She said nothing. With his own fear of darkness, Marik felt some sympathy, but mostly he was angry. She had the opportunity to see, but she was afraid! Why couldn't she just take it? He reached out to her. She flinched. Marik grabbed her by the shoulder and took the bandage delicately between two fingers.

"Don't," she begged, now afraid to move lest he pull it off. "I can't do it."

"Why not?" He demanded. "You'd rather be stuck in darkness forever?"

"No... I just..." she tried to find the words, but faltered. They stood like that for a good minute before she could finish the sentence. "I'm afraid that it didn't work."

Marik stared at her a good half minute more. Afraid. He just panicked because he was stuck in a dark room for a minute. What was so wrong with that?

"Take her to the room with the boys she came in with," Marik muttered. He couldn't just let her go.


"You heard me!" Marik barked, wishing he'd just left the mind-control on. The Rare Hunter grabbed Shizuka and dragged her out of the room. Marik followed them out, slamming the door behind him, just as she said something. He whipped his head towards her, but he couldn't be sure... it sounded like... she thanked him.