Bakura felt his mother's arm drape around his shoulder and pull him close, but he didn't pull away. At any other time, he probably would have growled at the woman and shrugged the arm off, then stuff his hands in his pockets and pretend the hurt look his mother wore didn't hurt him. He was probably the only "tough guy" that didn't go out of his way to show his mother he loved her. Sure, he loved her- of course he loved her, it was his father he couldn't stand!- but he just hated being touched by family.

But right now, he couldn't imagine being anywhere else. He even put his own arm around her to show her he was alright, gently rubbing her back. His mother was small and delicate, with pure white hair and the kindest green eyes you would ever see. Her face was a bit round, and she was a tad chubby from the baby weight she hadn't been able to lose after three kids. Her hands were small though; fragile looking, like a handshake could break them, with long slender fingers. Her nails were usually cut to a nice length, but right now they were chewed down to the quick.

His mother liked to worry about everyone and everything. She had been the one to notice his friend Marik's bruises day after day. Bakura had asked him about it before, but after the fifteenth "I'm fine, Bakura", he'd dropped it. Figured Marik just got into fights when he wasn't around. Tried to stop caring and for the most part, did. But his mother wouldn't give up. She asked him what had happened in the calmest, most persuading voice she could make until he finally broke down one day and told her everything. How his father got drunk on anything and everything and beat him and Odion nearly every night, and how he threatened Ishizu with rape not to tell a soul. Something Bakura had never thought about. He'd felt like a shitty friend after that, but he'd been proud of his mother because she was able to get his friend the help he needed.

So if the question was, "Does Bakura love his mother?" the answer would be "Yes."

Then there was Ryou, his twin brother, whom he may have loved even more. He was the spitting image of their mother when she was younger, before kids. His white hair was even the same length as hers, though a tad wilder in nature so it stuck up in a few places. His eyes were also wider, brighter. He was definitely more muscular than her, and taller, but if he wore the right clothes, their mother's old friends would greet him as they would her, and go on about how thin she had gotten, and how young she looked. Occurrences like this made Ryou awkward and weary whenever they went out without their mother, and he tried not to wear clothes that even resembled gender neutrality, let alone women's clothes.

Finally, seated on Ryou's lap, was their little sister Amane. She was only six, and she had just lost her right incisor. She was very proud of the gap between her teeth, and liked showing it off to anybody who would listen. She had her father's blue hair, styled in a short pixie cut due to a recent accident with bubblegum, but had her mother's eyes. Bakura was the only one in the family with his father's purple eyes. He was a bit jealous of that... Because he, he who hated his father, was forced to look into the man's face whenever he passed a mirror. Forget that he had his mother's white hair. The eyes were the same. Silent. Strong. Apathetic. But Amane, who had their father's hair looked so much like their mother. And Bakura was jealous of that.

But right now, he wasn't concerned with his looks. They were all glued to the TV- or, more precisely, what the newscast was showing at the moment. It was long after their bedtimes, since it was Thursday. Their mother had work and they had school. But not one of them could sleep with that was going on in their home town. None of them could even think of sleeping after what they had just witnessed.

Ishizu's scream would haunt them forever.

Their mother's eyes were wet after they saw that. It was why she had pulled her family close. She needed the comfort after losing her friend, and they needed the comfort after watching someone they knew being ripped to pieces by rabid humans.

The camera turned away from the eldest Ishtar being devoured, to which Bakura was both angry and grateful for. He would never want to witness his best friend's big sister being eaten, but he hadn't been able to look for Marik in the crowd. He didn't want Marik to be in the crowd. He wanted Marik to be home, safe and sound. He swallowed hard.

"Where's Marik?" he whispered to no one in particular. Then, screaming, "WHERE THE FUCK IS MARIK?"

His mother's arm tightened around him. She didn't bother to scold him for his language. She, of course, was more worried that he was crying. She whispered a kiss to his temple and then rested a cheek on his head. He took a shuddering breath, then forced himself to calm down. He couldn't help Marik by screaming at the television. He turned to Ryou. "Give me your cell phone."

Without thinking, Ryou handed it over. Bakura's had been confiscated earlier that week for having it out during class. And also having a picture of Marik and he flipping off the camera with rock metal faces as his background. He didn't see the big deal, though.

Taking the phone with a grateful nod, Bakura immediately punched in Marik's number. It rang, once...twice...five times...six...twelve. He hung up but kept the phone in his lap so he could call again in a few minutes. He would not give up until he either got a hold of Marik, or knew he'd been eaten. For now, he turned his attention back to the news.

There had once been the echo of bullets in the video, but now, aside from screaming, groaning, and sloppy munching, it was quiet. It was obvious what happened. The police had run out of bullets. Bakura raised a hand to his mouth and bit down hard on his thumb. He didn't want it to be true. Not because he actually had some morals and cared whether or not the cops there died. But because he had seen Odion laying on the roof of one car, taking aim at the zombies that filed the streets. Bakura knew what it meant for Marik's adoptive brother if they were all out of ammo. He didn't want the man to die. He didn't want Marik to be alone.

If any god was listening to his thoughts right now, it was obvious the deity hated him. With only their batons to defend themselves, the police were soon over powered by their undead adversaries. Zombies grabbed the flailing weapons and used them to pull the officers closer and bite into their flesh. The men began falling back, retreating to hopefully regroup. For a moment, it looked like Odion would be safe. He was near the front- or maybe the back, since all the men were walking backwards- of the group, holding his baton like a sword. It seemed as though he would be safe. But then one of the men standing close to him was attacked and dragged to the ground. As much as Bakura pleaded, as much as he actually prayed, Odion didn't take the boy's silent advice to just keep walking. Forget about kindness and save himself, save Marik. But no, he stopped and raised his baton to hit the monster currently chewing on his fellow officer's ear. In that time, another zombie was able to grab his pony tail and yank his head back. Sharp yellow teeth bit into his neck, and he no longer moved.

Bakura swallowed, his mouth feeling dry and tasting bitter. Amane began crying into her brother's neck.

The camera stayed on the image of the police being torn apart for another minute before flicking back to the red haired woman in the news room.

No one on the couch spoke. All were silent aside from Amane's gasping sobs. Slowly, Ryou turned to look at his brother. Bakura was staring at the television, wide eyed and pale. His breathing was deep, purposeful. His mouth was set into a gruesome frown.

"Bakur-" Ryou started, knowing the look; he got that look whenever he was about to do something stupid. Before he could finish Bakura jumped up and raced out of the room. Ryou gave Amane a quick hug and handed her to their mother, then chased after Bakura. He found his brother picking the lock to their father's study. He knew there were hunting guns in there. He knew there were other weapons too. But he had known what his brother was going to try the moment he stood up.

"Bakura, you can't go out there," he said, walking up behind Bakura.

"Why not?" his twin growled in return, not looking up. The lock clicked and the door swung open. Bakura stood and pushed inside, navigating around littered desks and waste baskets and boxes of antiques and ancient artifacts.

"Because, if you do, you're going to die!"

Bakura opened the closet on the far end of the room, pulling out an elephant rifle and studying it. "I still have to go see. I can't just leave Marik out there."

Ryou let out an angry huff, crossing his arms. When his brother and Marik had first become friends, Ryou had been thrilled. Bakura didn't like making friends, especially friends who weren't like him. He'd had a friend once, though. A boy with skin so pale it looked gray, with beefy arms and dark raven hair. He'd had the creepiest red eyes... and they had been natural! He and Bakura had been pretty close friends, but Ryou would never believe his brother would tromp outside in the beginnings of a zombie apocalypse to save him

But now he regretted ever introducing him. He didn't want Marik to die, but if his brother would be safe, he could live with it. He already missed his dad too much, and the man wasn't even dead. He didn't want to lose anymore family.

Crossing over to Bakura, he grabbed his arm and forcibly turned him around. Bakura looked a little surprised at the action, Ryou usually being calm and talking through his problems; but he didn't have time to say anything as his twin's palm smacked him hard across the face. He gasped slightly at the sting, eyes scrunching. He looked down at Ryou with a warning glare. Ryou usually shrunk under these looks, but this time he stood strong and glared back.

"Bakura, if you go out there, do you know what's going to happen? You're going to be killed and eaten just like Ishizu and Odion. If Marik had been there, he would have been near Ishizu, no matter what was happening, and you know that. If he'd been killed, he'd have been on the ground by her, and if he hadn't, he would have been trying to fight the zombies off. You know that! So we can assume he's safe at home. Just call him again. He might not have heard the first time."

Bakura stared at him, but then growled and pushed him away. "We can't assume anything. How do you know he wasn't just dragged somewhere else and is still fighting for his life out there? He might-"

Ryou slapped him again, on the other cheek. This time Bakura growled and pushed him away. "Stop it! I'm staying here." He turned his back to Ryou and continued hunting in the gun closet. He would not run out of ammo mid-fight and leave himself defenseless.

Ryou watched him, a large frown on his lips. But then he sighed, touched his brother's shoulder and said, "Let me come with you then."

Bakura startled and turned around. "What! No way. You stay here and protect mum and Amane. I can do this myself."

"No, you can't. What if there's a zombie behind you, huh?" He reached forward and grabbed Bakura's hair, tugging hard so he was bent backwards. Bakura cried out and glared harder. Ryou felt a little bad, but he couldn't afford to be nice. "What if they kill you just like Odion?"

Bakura pried his twin's fingers from his hair and pushed him away again. "I'll cut my hair before I leave."

Ryou shook his head. "That's not good enough. You need someone to watch your back. Please, Bakura. Don't go out there without me."

Bakura was silent for a long time, his hand in a box of ammunition he'd just found. He paused, sighed, and looked back at his brother. He nodded. "Fine."

Ryou smiled and went to hug his brother, but a gun was shoved into his arms instead. He grinned at him. Bakura only stared hard at him for a few moments before smirking. They both continued to look through the gun closet, grabbing a gun every now and then and filling every pocket they could with bullets. Bakura knew more about guns, so Ryou let him pick which guns were slung over their backs for back up and which were left behind. By the time they were gun, there were three rifles strapped to Bakura and two to Ryou. They had also found some pistols and currently had a few stuffed down the back of their pants and through their belt loops. Bakura grabbed a hunting knife and strapped the holder to his leg.

When done, they were both weighed down by their weapons, but the adrenaline they were beginning to feel kept them from buckling under the weight. Ryou was imagining it as a first person video game. It was probably a horrible thing to do, and would make him careless from time to time. But he didn't know how to fight. It made him feel more confident when he pretended he knew all the controls.

Bakura, however, didn't imagine it as anything other than a search and rescue. He would give anything not to take Ryou along, but there was no other way. He'd just have to keep one eye out for Marik and one on his twin.

Their mother was still shushing Amane as they stepped into the room. Ryou immediately went over to rub her back, whispering "It's okay, Amane. It'll be alright" over and over. Their mother stared at him, at the guns, then whipped around to look at her other son. Her eyes were wide with shock and fear and full of tears.

Bakura swallowed and forced himself to keep his eyes on his mother. "We're going out there, mum."

Their mother's mouth opened a little bit, but then snapped closed. She nodded slowly. She probably knew that, regardless of whether or not they stayed home, they would be killed. Sooner or later the zombies would break in, and that would be the end of their family. Stifling a sob, the woman jumped up and walked over to Bakura, embracing him. He stiffened a bit at the contact, but when his mother's face pressed into his neck and he felt her tears on his skin, he hugged her back. Hard. Burying his face into her shoulder and squeezing until she told him she couldn't breath and pushed him away. She chuckled softly and held his face. He grinned back, a bit awkwardly, most of his face muscles strained from having to hold in his tears.

"Be careful out there, Akefia," she whispered softly, using his real name. She was the only one who was allowed to call him that. Everyone else, friends and family alike, addressed him by his last name.

His lips quivered a bit and he nodded, a single tear rolling down his cheek. He pulled away and turned to hide it, pretending to study his gun. "Sure, mum."

His mother smiled and kissed his forehead before walking over and hugging Ryou. They shared more words than she and Bakura, and from the way Ryou's shoulders were shaking, had shed more tears. When they were done there, everyone wiped their faces. Ryou and Bakura said a quick goodbye to Amane, hugging her tight as well.

The boys made sure their mother and sister had a plan before leaving; they would lock all the doors and windows, draw the curtains and turn off all the lights. They would grab a few guns and knives and plenty of bullets from the study, pack up enough food to last at least a few days, then make their way to the attic. Amane cried, and tried begging them to stay home. When that didn't work, she begged them to take her with them. Bakura glanced at Ryou. He knew where she'd gotten that attitude.

Ryou promised Amane they would be back as soon as they knew Marik was safe. There was a slight hesitancy in his voice that Bakura detected. He wanted to say "Or when we find his body."

Ryou didn't think Marik had made it. Bakura's stomach churned, almost wanting to believe it.

After all was said and finally done, they went to the door, saying one last goodbye as they opened it. They each had their backs to the door, and couldn't understand their mother's horrified look, or why Amane suddenly screamed. But then Bakura felt something sharp dig into his back and he fell to his knees, defenseless as the undead filtered into the room.