A/N: Chibishipping(Mokuba Kaiba x Yuugi Mutou) for Season 10 Tier 8 of YGO Fanfiction Contest. Fashioned after The Hunger Games. No beta because I was pressed for time. I'll run it through some minor secondary edits when I'm not falling asleep on my keyboard, orz.
Disclaimer: Kazuki Takahashi and all associated companies are the rightful owners of the Yuugiou! franchise 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 of the warnings.
It's day two and Mokuba has lost all sense of direction. He has no idea how any of this makes any sense whatsoever, but there seems to be a pattern that Yuugi is following and he's willing to go along with that. This is a game, he keeps reminding himself, they're playing a game, but he can't remember the rules. They are right there, at the edges of his mind; they tease him and taunt him, but remain ever elusive. They're on a quest. They're looking for something, but what? What? He's starting to forget that as well. They are… where? He can't remember. He knows that, once they've reached their goal, everything will come rushing back to him. He'll know his purpose, he'll recall his reasons, and he'll be at ease again. Complete. Not that he's feeling particularly fragmented at the moment. That's Noa, he thinks. Noa's fragmented. Fragmented, defragmented and lasered out of all hard drives. This thought brings out an amused chuckle which has Yuugi glancing back over his shoulder at him in worry. Mokuba would like to tell him that he's alright, that everything's just fine because it's Noa, not him, but the words just won't form. He just grins at Yuugi and follows in his footsteps down a path crawling over gnarly old tree roots. They're playing a game. This is a game field. He remembers that.
"We'll find him, Mokuba. Everything's going to be fine," Yuugi reassures him, but he doesn't feel like things could right themselves again. He fears Mokuba might not recover. They're not playing against Dark Malik this time. They're not playing against Noa in Virtual World either. There is no Dartz and no Leviathans rising. This game field is somehow all of those things combined.
Being beamed up into a silver-coloured spacecraft and them dumped onto a platform inside an arena wasn't something one expected upon attending a seemingly regular duelling tournament. Yuugi had to wonder how he hadn't suspected something foul at play when a hither-to unknown company had come forth to throw a massive tournament. Before the platform had begun to slowly lower between two high walls of tinted glass, he'd had a moment to look around and see the other players. Jounouchi had been on a platform with Anzu to his left, Malik and Mai – to his right, Bakura and Seto Kaiba almost all the way across from them, and several other duellist pairs of different ranks filling the slots between. With the rules of the game booming from overhead, they slip out of each other's view. It's simple. The last survivor wins. Eternal glory and prizes unnumbered with seventy virgins and fifty whores on top. The works.
With only their decks and the new foreign-looking hi-tech duel pads strapped on their wrists it's a monstrous feat to survive. And then the game field gets vengeful. The environment is the only source of food and water, and even that is tricky, as proven by Mokuba's state. The berries he'd thought edible – a stray memory from his childhood – turn out to be poisonous. They don't kill him, though. They just make him forget things. It's sheer luck that saves Yuugi from eating them. A voice at the back of his mind whispering that no, don't. Pharaoh, he thinks for one relieved heartbeat before it's gone and he's left with the cold realisation that it's just him now. Him, and a very disoriented Mokuba.
He wonders how the others are doing. Where they are? Who is running this game? A thousand questions without answers. He duels monsters that come at them from the thick of the leafy forest and from the black shadows beneath the tree roots. Once, there is a water dragon slithering out of a dirty puddle on the roadside. It almost gets Mokuba because he's just standing there, looking dazed and trying to remember what it is that he's supposed to do at the sight of a dragon slowly unfurling in his general direction and opening his jaws wide to swallow. 'Run', apparently, is not an option for his clouded mind.
At night, Mokuba clings to him, shaking like a child mid-nightmare. He probably is seeing one, Yuugi decides, fighting his hardest to not fall asleep because someone has to keep watch. A hollow tree trunk is their refuge for the night and he's painfully aware of how exposed and vulnerable they are. Luckily, nothing disrupts their peace that night but the hollow sounds of a distant gong going off, accompanied by illuminated sky. Oddly distorted and enlarged faces of five duellists shine through the foliage. Five beats of a gong. Five faces in the sky. Yuugi concludes they must be the first ones to lose. He shudders, casting a glance at Mokuba. Thankfully, none of those faces belong to his friends. They're still out there. They're still fighting. Still, he can't help but mourn the fact that fellow duellists have died and that many more will follow. There can only be the one. The victor.
Yuugi's fists clench and he mutters the entire collection of swearwords he's picked up in his life. He impresses himself with how creative he can get in combining them in whole new ways. This game is unnecessarily brutal – something, he thinks, Seto Kaiba would appreciate, though not at the cost of lives. He can easily imagine the CEO's outrage at the situation and can't help but feel for him a little. Wherever he may be. With Bakura. It's a disconcerting thought in of itself, so Yuugi decides to worry, instead, about his closest friends. There's Jou and Anzu – who isn't even a professional duellist – and Mai, and, to some extent, Malik. And Otogi. With every moment he grows more and more convinced that the black ponytail he'd spied out of the corner of his eye in the far back belonged to him. And he isn't entirely sure, but he imagines having seen buns on the head of the girl clinging to his arm, which makes him think of Vivian. He's glad that neither Honda, nor Shizuka appeared to be present. It's a small consolation and a tremendous ache in his chest at the same time at what they might be going through now and what they'll go through once this game is over. Friends lost. Cruelly. Terribly.
Yuugi doesn't even notice when he drifts off to sleep. When he wakes up again, he isn't sure he's slept at all. Everything seems lucid and foggy. He's thirsty, but he's also wary of drinking water from almost all sources. The dewdrops on leaves are a danger because the leaves could be poisonous; the puddles are all out of question; he's not touching any of the berries, no matter how familiar they seem, and, while keeping to the path, they've wandered away from the narrow stream over the rocky trail of bone-white pebbles. He risks dabbing at the water gathered in the hollow of a nearby rock and hopes to not get sick or deluded. He has to not only pull his own weight, but pull Mokuba along as well. And the latter's condition doesn't seem to be improving. He's already up and smiling at nothing.
The nothing soon turns out to be a Duel Monster looming in the fog and Yuugi has to put all of his wits together to keep them both from harm. The fog doesn't clear until the very evening and by the nightfall Yuugi is bleeding and bruised from the attacks of more monsters than he's ever seen used in a single duel. Thankfully, Mokuba doesn't get into more trouble other than ending up tangled in vines and rolling down a hill and into the same stream from before. It's eerie how the bone-white bottom of it stands out in the shade of the towering trees. They quench their thirst and settle in the safest spot Yuugi can find.
That night, Yuugi sees Jounouchi's face up in the sky and screams. This means Anzu is all alone. What he wouldn't give to find out how she's doing now! Or what transpired there to make Jou lose. Probably sacrificed himself to keep Anzu safe.
Yuugi cries himself into a fitful sleep from which he is eventually awakened by Mokuba's touch. His hand is feverishly hot and with an eerily golden-green glow. He is muttering something unintelligible while frantically working on Yuugi's clothing. Yuugi tries to fight the younger teen, tries to talk reason into him, but Mokuba has become unnaturally strong. His eyes burn a fluorescent green through the dark and Yuugi remembers the odd little white flowers and their glowing middles hiding near the stems of the vines.
"You don't want to do this. Mokuba, this isn't you."
But the words are lost on him. He pushes Yuugi harder against the ground. He pins his hands down and works his mouth down his neck and the front of his shirt, leaving a sloppy wet trail behind. Yuugi is shivering and fighting his hold, but the madness consuming the younger teen is stronger.
"We'll find your brother. Everything's going to be okay."
Mokuba only stares at him with a perfectly blank expression, unnatural green eyes burning. "Want you," he snarls, teeth bared in a predatory grin that looks so wrong on his youthful face that Yuugi is thrown for a loop. It costs him his freedom. Before he knows it, his wrists are bound to a protruding root with his own belt and Mokuba is working on getting his trousers off. Having abandoned all hope to talk his way out of this new form of madness, Yuugi kicks at him and trashes violently, but only earns a good whack to the head with the thick end of a fallen branch. Whatever poison drips in Mokuba's veins now, it has made him deadly determined to reach this one immediate goal.
When Yuugi comes to, Mokuba is rutting violently between his thighs, a crazed expression on his face. The world is swimming in front of Yuugi's eyes and his head feels like splitting apart. He has to cry out with each painful thrust the other makes and nausea burns at the back of his throat, threatening to churn up the poor contents of his stomach and drown him in his own vomit. As soon as Mokuba is done, as soon as he moves away and flops onto the ground, his clothes in disarray, blood and semen on his exposed loins, Yuugi twists around, hissing in pain and retching up acid. He can't see anything through the blur of his tears.
Mokuba lies dead to the world for what Yuugi assumes to be hours. He drags himself over to the stream and cleans himself up, bile still burning his throat. He needs a strategy and he's coming up short. He can't figure out the workings of this game. He wonders if he can beat it. He considers leaving Mokuba where he lies, but can't. It's still Mokuba, even if possessed by who knows what poison and he can't leave him there to die. He can't leave him if there's a chance he might be saved. He's on a drug. Surely, it'll work its way out of his system soon enough. He's wrong.
When Mokuba stirs again, Yuugi has already fought off three Duel Monsters. He comes at him while he's mid-duel and steps in his view, eyes still as bright and luminescent green as before. He gazes at him with intent, completely ignoring the fact that there's a monster about to rip them both to shreds if they don't fight it. He pushes Yuugi backwards until he has him pinned against a tree and nothing Yuugi does can deter him. He doesn't seem to feel the hits aimed at him.
"Keep duelling," Mokuba instructs with a sneer that's alien on his face. "I like watching you do it."
He drops on his knees and works Yuugi's zipper open.
"Mokuba, no, don't-"
But it's already too late. He's already sucking him off without preamble and the only thing Yuugi can do is keep attacking the Monster whose claws are striking too close for his liking. He moans in desperation as his focus is slipping. He's still sore to the point of being only barely able to walk and now his knees threaten to…
His knees buckle and he slides down the rough bark, his shirt riding up and his back bruising on his way down. Mokuba only chuckles in cruel amusement, staring him down before altering his position and resuming his interrupted task. The Monster crashed in the undergrowth, finished off by one final attack of Yuugi's Dark Magician. It might be just his imagination, but there's a look of worry on the Magician's face in the split seconds before the hologram vanishes. No one can help him now. He can't help himself.
All day he endures Mokuba's groping. He gets pinned to any surface the other deems fit. He ends up tied down with everything the other can think of. Every time, Mokuba laughs an eerie, unnatural laugh. "Not me," he whispers every once in a while, "Noa. Noa, Noa, Noa, NOA."
The last time he uses Yuugi, he arches his back and screams Noa's name. Soon after, he falls into a deep sleep. Yuugi cannot move. Rain starts falling, but he can't even bring himself to cover up. Dirty water comes rushing down the slope, washing around him, but he's beyond caring. A part of him wishes to die. A part of him desires murder. And yet a part of him yearns for his friends. He doesn't know if it's just rain dripping down his face or are there tears mixed in it too. His eyes are burning.
That night, he doesn't see his friends in the sky and draws some solace from that. He sleeps through the dawn and the best part of the next day. When he wakes up, it is to a world of pain. He feels sick and dizzy as he slowly breaks himself out of the dirt, which has caked over, trapping him. He washes himself clean and watches the water turn red. It takes him a moment to realise that it's not his blood colouring it. It's coming from upstream. There's something white floating down the stream and Yuugi feels like collapsing where he stands. He knows who he'll see in the sky the coming night because they're the tattered remains of Anzu's white jacket. He reaches out and catches it, wishing desperately to prove himself wrong, but no. There's a broken-off chunk of a pin that's all too familiar. Gently, he takes the pitiful piece from the shredded breast pocket and lets the cloth fall back into the stream. He watches it tumble over the rocks before catching on a branch and getting stuck. The shredded fabric floats along the water like a tail of a trapped exotic fish. He clenches the remains of her pin in his fist until it hurts. What else will this game do to them? he thinks bitterly. What else do the patrons of this slaughter field have in store for them?
That night, just as expected, there's the image of Anzu lighting up the sky, as well as Otogi and – yes, it had been – Vivian, and – he isn't prepared for this – Malik. Soon after the sky has darkened again, Mokuba breaks out in a fever. He trashes around wildly and screams terrible things interspersed with bouts of incoherency. Yuugi can't wake him up, therefore opts for the currently safest option of tying him down. That way, he wouldn't be able to hurt himself. His eyes snap open occasionally and they're still burning with that same odd green glow, but as the horrid fit goes on, they begin to fade. Before long, he's crying tears of blood.
For the entire next day, Mokuba is a shrieking mess. He writhes on the ground, the vines Yuugi has tied him with cutting into his skin and leaving bruises. Monsters come for them and Yuugi battles them all off single-handedly because he has no choice. The monsters don't care that he's so hurt he can barely stand, let alone walk. The monsters don't care that he's trying to protect someone. They come to destroy.
That night, Yuugi has no time to look up at the sky when the gong sounds and the images light up. The monsters won't stop coming. He's almost at the end of his rope when the break of a new dawn drives them off. He collapses and sleeps through the rest of the day, only to awaken at dusk. Mokuba is moaning in pain and begging for water. His eyes are no longer glowing, but Yuugi doesn't deem it safe enough to free him from his binds. Not yet. Everything is still too raw to trust him completely. He makes an awkward and rather ineffective cup out of the largest leaves he can find in the area and brings him water from the stream. He takes the trip to and fro several times, but Mokuba is still begging for more. Giving up on the task, he releases him and steps aside, watching him scramble down the slope like a starved animal. When he drinks and drinks and doesn't stop, Yuugi attempts to pull him away from the stream, but Mokuba fights him. He has weakened considerably, though, now that the poison has left his veins, but he's still a handful. Yuugi has to knock him out with a heavy branch to stop him from drinking himself to death. Dragging him out of the water so that he doesn't drown is a feat which leaves Yuugi weak and trembling. He doesn't think he can move a single muscle afterwards. He doesn't want to move, period. He wants to sleep and heal, and wake up in his own bed. But this nightmare has only one ending. And they're only halfway through. Seven duellists are still standing. The victor can only be one. Yuugi isn't sure he'll be the one this time.