A/N: Where did Malik and Bakura disappear off to during DOMA? What happened with KaibaCorp after it was taken over by Paradias? For that matter - what happened to Paradias after Dartz disappeared? And how did Kaiba get his company back? And a thousand other questions along the same lines in regards to plotholes the canon never filled in.

Some might recognise this one from the year 2005/2006 and Quizilla where it originally resided until the site decided to do a complete overhaul. Before the site did that, though, I did the same thing with this story. It was on chapter 46 at the time and the edits weren't supposed to take more than a few months. Alas, life decided to get the best of me and that part of the plan failed. So now, years later, I'm bringing it back. New and improved, and considerably changed - in the beginning, at least. If you liked this fic back in '05, please give the altered '12 version a chance.

Disclaimer: If I did own Yu-Gi-Oh!, do you think I'd spend the past seven or so years writing fanfiction for it? All rights belong to Kazuki Takahashi and all associated companies and I claim no association with any of them. No copyright infringement intended with this and no money is being made from this. Please support the creator by purchasing the official releases.

Warnings: all over the place. There's going to be character death, violence, coarse language, adult themes by the bucketful, non-con, dub-con, and damage of public and personal property. Probably not all at once though. Probably.

Pain is just another reality,

a part of how this life goes.

What do we know of verity?

It's hidden among the throes.

So, please, stop and look back -

I'm standing there lost and alone

in a crossing of overgrown tracks.

One half of a heartbeat - I'm gone.

Twisted Games Of Fate

Part 1 - Coincide

The heat was beating down on the city of Cairo, the air almost smouldering. The Cairo International Airport was bustling with activity, a wild contingent of natives and tourists coming and going, cheerful and tired voices mixing together in one choir while slightly mechanic-sounding ones announced the arrivals and departures of planes above the overall ruckus. Ryou and Malik were almost the last ones to join a line for a Kaiba Airways flight to Japan. Ryou had been in the middle of his vacation when Yuugi had contacted them to warn about a new danger that had arisen in Domino, as well as letting them know that the God cards had been stolen from him. In the week that had followed his video call, Malik had called upon all loose ends to find out more about it, but hadn't discovered much, aside from the fact that his former Rare Hunters didn't want anything to do with him anymore and he couldn't just take over their minds without the Rod. Wanting to help Yuugi and his friends out, Ryou had agreed to cut his vacation short and, with the help of a small loan from Malik, purchased his return ticket.

Ryou peered at the Egyptian teen next to him. He'd come to Egypt to visit his father for the first time in years only to find that Malik was working as a guide for the group of archaeologists his father was a part of. From there, they had gotten better acquainted and after spending the last two weeks almost side by side, had become reasonably good friends. Perhaps not the best, but well on the way of becoming ones with time.

"Malik, you've been jittery for the past hour. What's wrong?"

Malik shuffled around with his foot sheepishly and kicked at the bag which he'd dropped at his feet because the line was progressing rather slowly.

"I've never flown in an airplane before. I prefer sailing. The open winds, you know."

Holding back a sigh, Ryou smiled benignly and attempted to calm him. "You flew on Kaiba's blimp and you already know that he really knows how to cater to his clients. This is exactly the same. Besides, I don't think we have enough time to sail all the way to Japan."

"Yeah, you're right," Malik muttered, but didn't look particularly relieved or calmed. It wasn't that he was afraid of heights or flying, but the thought of spending several hours in a narrow place with hundreds of other people was constricting and slightly claustrophobic. Because of his upbringing, he was more used to solitude and seclusion and no amount spent on the surface could change that fast enough.

Once they boarded the plane and got to their seats, they found that they would have to share the middle three-seat row with a girl roughly their age who was currently occupying the middle seat. She had an open folder in her lap and was currently reading one of the documents in it.

Malik surveyed her for a moment before addressing her, "Hello. Would you mind moving over one seat?"

Her head jerked up instantly, and she took a moment to process his heavily accented English. Her gaze shifted from him to the white-haired teen next to him, currently trying to make an excuse on his – she assumed – friend's behalf while simultaneously insisting that it wasn't necessary, willing to go back around to the other aisle and take the empty seat on the girl's other side.

"Sure thing," she said, flashing them a quick smile. Hastily gathering the contents of the folder in one hand, she moved over, almost immediately turning her attention back to whatever reading she had been immersed in before.

Thanking the girl, Ryou took the middle seat, but she only glanced at him sideways and shot him another lightning-quick smile. Following his example, Malik settled in the aisle seat and took to closely studying his surroundings to divert his attention from the thought of flying. He calmed down only after the plane took off without a hitch. Meanwhile, Ryou was attempting to not peek at the papers on the girl's lap, though the images on some of them caught his interest. He couldn't read the language it was in, but from the Cyrillic text he guessed it had to be Russian and the subject of the text was definitely Ancient Egypt. He settled in for a rather uneventful flight.

: : :

Midway through the flight when they had just flown into the air space of India, Malik's attention was drawn to what was happening behind the windows. For the first time in his life, he was witnessing something so incredible.

"Hey, Ryou, look at that! What is that?"

"Hmm?" Ryou peeled his gaze away from the black-and-white reproduction of an Ancient Egyptian wall mural on one page in the girl's lap and turned to look in the direction he was facing. It took him a moment to process the sight that greeted him. "I didn't know that was possible at this latitude."

"What is it?" Malik repeated his question, having never seen anything quite like it before. The bright flickering lights had him completely mesmerised.

"Aurora Borealis," the girl answered before Ryou could, leaning forward to take a better look at whatever had drawn the boys' attention. She quickly glanced over to her left only to see the same shimmering lights behind the windows on the other side of the plane. She continued in Japanese because that was the language they had conversed in, "And you're right – it shouldn't be visible here, and definitely not at this time of day."

"You speak Japanese?" Ryou was pleasantly surprised though the tone of her voice and her expression didn't sit well with him.


Other passengers were also taking notice of the spectacular occurrence outside. Some of them were even pulling out their cameras to snap pictures of it.

"This is bad," the girl muttered, falling back to English again, and hastily shoved all of the papers behind her before getting up and retrieving her bag from the storage overhead. She dug through it until she located her cellphone and scrolled through the list of recently used numbers only to have the phone give out even though it had been fully charged. "Shit!"

"Bad?" Ryou frowned at her actions.

She put the phone away again and stuffed the folder inside her bag before plopping back down onto her seat and pursing her lips. "Very."

"How do you know?" Malik leaned slightly forward to get a better look at her, worry prickling at the back of his mind. They were thousands of feet above the ground and planes had no lifeboats.

She hesitated with her answer. "Just… trust me. This shouldn't be happening. Not right here, not right now."

The Kaiba Airways flight number 0372 was supposed to be a yet another normal flight, but it turned out to be one of those rare occasions when everything doesn't quite go as planned. Something somewhere cracked, and the plane made a sudden jerk. It would have been written off on turbulence and would have remained ignored if one of the engines had not started to smoke. Not soon after, another one did the same thing, and a few minutes later the aircraft was completely out of control.

The plane crashed.