My Brother's Keeper
By Lucky_Ladybug

Notes: None of the characters in this fic are mine (except for the baddies). They belong to 4Kids and some Japanese companies ^_~ The story idea is mine, tho, so no stealin' it now! Oh, and the perfect title was suggested by JP! ^_^ Another thing: I've only seen the first American season of the show, so I hope some of the details aren't terribly off! ^_~ One more thing, just so you know: I am NOT hinting at slash (yaoi) anywhere in this fic ;) LOL. . . . Now I'll shut up and let y'all get readin' . . . hope y'all like!

"That's enough for one day," the man growled low. "He's not going to talk. Take him back to his cell."

The henchmen sneered as they grabbed the unconscious and badly beaten young man and dragged him out the door.

"He's a stubborn one, that's for sure," the first one laughed.

"He'll havta talk soon," the second one commented, "or there won't be any of him left to talk."

Arriving at the cell, they roughly shoved him in onto the floor. He moaned, but didn't awaken. Laughing nastily, they locked the door and left.
As consciousness slowly returned, the prisoner found that once again he was cold, weak, and badly injured and in pain. When he opened his deep sapphire-blue eyes, the four walls of his cell seemed to dip and sway. He closed his eyes again, hoping to stop his vertigo. When he did, memories came flooding in.

"Mokuba," he whispered softly, praying that his younger brother was safe.

This had all started when Mokuba had been abducted by an unknown business rival. He had tracked them down and freed Mokuba, but now he had been captured himself and, to make matters worse, he didn't know if Mokuba was alright.

He wasn't even sure why he'd been captured, but it had something to do with some information that he was supposed to know—or not know, he wasn't sure which—but didn't. Unfortunately, no one here believed that. He had a feeling that Mokuba had just been the bait to lure him there, and that he was the one they'd wanted all along.

He came back to the present, feeling the blood trickle down his face. Many more interrogations like that and he wouldn't be around much longer, he thought grimly.

But then his sense of morbidness passed and he looked up determinedly. No, he was strong, he was tough, he had cheated death before and he would do so again. He had Mokuba to think of. What would happen to Mokuba if. . . . No, he was going to get through this.

He tried to get up but a new wave of pain swept over him and he collapsed limply back to the stone floor like a ragdoll. This was the third day . . . no, fourth . . . oh, heavens, he had lost count. The days since his capture all merged together as one long, endless nightmare of pain and agony.

A shadow fell across the battered young man and he looked up, a steely defiance in his eyes.

"You aren't making things easy on yourself, you know."

"I cannot tell what I do not know," Seto Kaiba responded angrily.

"The boss thinks you do know it," the henchman said with a nasty laugh, "and he's not giving up until you tell it."

Seto fumed within himself. This was really outrageous.

"I'll be back for you in a couple of hours," the henchman growled, "and if you're not ready to spill the beans by then, we're gonna get rough."

"Going to?" Seto repeated incredulously. If they didn't call what they'd already done to him "rough," then he was really in for it.

The henchman only laughed and walked on down the hall, his footsteps echoing loudly.

Seto groaned, looking at the numerous injuries he'd sustained over the last few days and thinking wryly that it was a wonder he didn't have any broken bones . . . yet, anyway. He couldn't remember the last time he'd had something to eat. They hadn't fed him in all the days he'd been trapped there, and it was really starting to take its toll on him.

He eventually slipped into an unwilling sleep, his last coherent thoughts being of Mokuba.
He awoke to find himself being pulled roughly to his feet by the henchmen.

"Come on," the first growled, Seto's weakened state apparently meaning nothing to him.

"You're wasting your time," the CEO of KaibaCorp replied, his voice barely audible.

"We'll see," the second said ominously. "The boss has some extra surprises in store this time."

Seto didn't like the sound of that one bit.
"Well, Kaiba, are we ready to talk today?"

"I don't have the information you want," Seto replied, the only thing keeping him from falling over being the henchmen holding him up. He had never seen what his enemy looked like. He had only heard his menacing voice and seen his silhouette in the shadows.

"You are stubborn, aren't you?" The leader turned to his henchmen. "Chain him to the wall."

Seto struggled to resist them, but his efforts were in vain. In his weakened condition, there wasn't a lot he could do, especially with the two henchmen being built like Arnold Schwartzenegger.

"What are you doing?" he demanded when they ripped his shirt off. Then he saw the whip and other such painful-looking objects laying on the table nearby. In the past, they had beat him viciously and thrown him across the room. Seto had thought he knew the meaning of pain before, but as the henchmen started in he discovered that this was ten times worse than anything he'd experienced in the past.

He resolutely told himself that he would not scream, which got harder and more impossible as the session wore on. Then, when they applied two of the nameless instruments at once, he could bear it no longer. A howl of agony tore from his lips.

"Ah, now we are getting somewhere," Seto's enemy said maliciously from the shadows. Seto could tell the brute was smiling. "Just about ready to crack now, aren't we?"

"You're wasting your time," Seto managed to say. It came out barely above a whisper. "And when I get out of here, you're going to have a serious lawsuit on your hands."

"Ah, I very much doubt that, young Kaiba. You don't even know who I am, my friend."

Seto gritted his teeth angrily and braced himself for the next onslaught of pain which was sure to come.

It was even worse than he'd imagined. He gasped, straining against the chains that held him captive and powerless to defend himself and wishing desperately that the blanket of oblivion would settle over him, but the pain was just shy of inducing unconsciousness.

Mokuba. He would think of Mokuba. He had to come out of this alive, for Mokuba's sake. He didn't want to trust anyone else to care for Mokuba, not after what had happened with his last board of staff turning on him and aiding Pegasus with his diabolical scheme.

His thoughts were interrupted by a new instrument and another new wave of pain. Didn't these guys ever give up?

"Ah, you've been quiet these past few moments," the wicked man observed with a sneer when Seto screamed. "I was wondering if you were still alive."

Seto was starting to wonder himself how long he'd stay alive in this torture chamber. His vision was starting to blur and he realized that he was probably going to pass out soon now, tho at the moment he wasn't sure if he would ever wake up if he did.

Come on, Kaiba, he told himself, stop thinking like that. You'll make it through this. Think of Mokuba.

Then he was slammed hard against the wall, and stars exploded in front of his vision, as well as blood. He could feel more blood running down his back and arms, and then he was struck again with a hard object and he sank to the floor with a final moan, still helplessly chained to the wall.

The mastermind behind the treacherous idea paused, looking at Seto's limp body thoughtfully. "He doesn't know what we want to know."

"But boss, how can you be sure?" the first henchmen asked doubtfully.

"We've been at this for almost eight hours," he replied. "If he does know something, he surely would have cracked by now. What we've put him through would have killed a weaker man. Unchain him."

The henchman removed the tight chains from around Seto's wrists and he collapsed to the floor in a heap.

"Leave him here," their boss ordered. "Someone may find him, and he won't be able to identify me . . . if he lives."
"Seto? Big brother?"

He was dreaming. He must be. It sounded like Mokuba, but how was that possible? When he opened his eyes, there was his younger brother looking down at him, his blue-gray eyes wide with worry and horror.

"Mokuba . . . how did you get in?" he asked, his voice rasping. "Didn't they see you?"

Mokuba shook his head. "There's no one else here, big brother. They've all left. I hid in the bushes and I saw them leave." He fought back a wave of tears. "What have they done to you, big brother? What have they done to you?"

Be strong for Mokuba, Kaiba, he told himself. It's probably not as bad as it looks . . . or feels. "I'll be alright, Mokuba," he said aloud. "I think I can stand."

Mokuba's eyes went wide. "No, big brother, you're hurt awfully bad! You'd better not move. I'll get help."

Seto tried to stand up anyway, but an enormous wave of dizziness and pain swept over him. Mokuba's right, he told himself as he slammed back on the floor, hard. I can't get up. I don't even know if . . .

"Big brother! Big brother!" Mokuba called urgently.

Seto struggled to open his eyes again. He knew now that the attack had been much too brutal and that he probably wouldn't survive. He had probably better be honest about it.

"Mokuba," he said softly, it taking all of his strength to speak, "I love you. Never forget that." He reached out weakly to ruffle Mokuba's hair.

Mokuba, realizing the implications behind Seto's statement, shook his head vigorously. "No, big brother, no! Don't go! Don't leave me!"

It broke Seto's heart to hear Mokuba's horrified voice and he fought against the blackness and the pain that threatened to overcome him, to no avail.

"This is my fault," Mokuba wailed.

"No, Mokuba, it's not," Seto replied fiercely, drawing what he assumed would be his last breath. "Never think that, Mokuba. . . . It's not true." He paused. "I love you, Mokuba." He could hold out no longer. His blue eyes closed, his hand dropping limply back to the floor.

"No!" Mokuba's screams echoed up and down the lonely corridors. "Wake up, big brother! Please!" He could no longer stop the tears from falling.

Suddenly a shadow fell across the door and Mokuba looked up. It was the taxi driver who'd brought him here. "Whatever's gone on in here, kid?" he demanded.

"Don't ask questions!" Mokuba returned. "Call an ambulance! My brother's hurt!" He refused to believe Seto was dead. He couldn't be, he just couldn't!

The cab driver took a look at the scene before him in astonished horror and pulled out his cell phone.

Mokuba remembered how, just a few scant days before, Seto had came to rescue him. They had been running through the woods behind the building when Mokuba had realized with horror that Seto wasn't with him. Ever since then he had been trying to get back into the building to find him, for he had realized that Seto had probably been taken prisoner. Now he had found him, but what if he was too late? No, he mustn't think like that. Seto would be alright . . . he hoped desperately that he would be.

He looked down at Seto again. Blood was everywhere. Anger surged inside him. Who would do something like this?! One thing was for sure—they wouldn't get away with it. He'd find out who had been behind it and then they would be in for a world of hurt.

"Hang on, big brother," he whispered. He wasn't sure if Seto was even still alive, but then he had to be! He *had* to be!
Seto was in a strange place. It was dark all around him, but he could hear voices. Some were unfamiliar, others he knew very well.

He could hear Mokuba's the clearest, and the most often. Sometimes he was crying, and other times he was trying to be brave and he told funny stories, but mostly he begged Seto to come back. Seto wanted to say he was coming back, he wanted to *come* back, but he found himself powerless to speak as he battled the darkness and tried to rise from it. Once he thought he heard Yugi's voice, but then he decided that it had just been his imagination.
Mokuba sighed in despair. It had been nearly a week since he had found Seto beaten nigh unto death, and he still hadn't aroused yet. The doctor thought that Seto most likely would never revive. He didn't say so out loud, but Mokuba could tell what he was thinking.

The door opened and Mokuba looked up, expecting to see the doctor or a nurse. He definitely wasn't expecting to see Yugi Muto and his band of friends. Was it his imagination, or did Yugi look taller than he usually did?

"What are you doing here?" Mokuba demanded.

"We heard about Seto," Yugi replied softly.

"Yeah?" Mokuba remained on the defensive. He couldn't imagine why Yugi would come.

"We were all shocked to hear what had happened," Tea continued.

"Yeah," Joey chimed in. "None of us wanted to see Kaiba get hurt. . . . Well, maybe I did sometimes . . . but not like this," he added quickly. He looked aghast at Seto's still form, and Mokuba could tell he was thinking, "He doesn't look so well." Tristan shot Joey a Look.

"Yeah, well. . . . He's gonna get better," Mokuba said defensively. Then his shoulders drooped and he looked down. "He has to," he added softly.

Yugi gently laid a hand on his shoulder. "He'll be alright, Mokuba," he reassured him. "If there's one thing I've learned about Seto throughout all the time I've known him, it's that he doesn't give up easily."

"That's right, he doesn't," Mokuba replied, looking up. "He will get better!"

"That's the spirit, kid!" Joey grinned.

No one was prepared for what Yugi did then. "I wish you victory in your battle," he said low to Kaiba's lifeless form. "My friend."

He turned back to the young boy. "Goodbye, Mokuba."

"Hang in there, kid," Joey added, giving Yugi a weird look.
For a long time afterward Mokuba pondered on what had happened. Had Yugi really addressed Seto as his friend? They were ultimate rivals; why would he do that? Then again, he had come to realize that Yugi was a very compassionate person who didn't like to consider anyone (except Pegasus) his enemy. And Seto had helped him on several occasions. He grinned when he remembered how Seto had destroyed the phony Seto's Blue Eyes White Dragon by injecting it with a computer virus. His brother was always coming up with clever ideas.

"Please come back, big brother," he pleaded softly, almost to the point of tears again. "You've gotta come back. You're my best friend in the whole world! What will I do if you . . ." He stopped, unable to complete the sentence. "I love you, big brother! I don't want you to go!"

Was it his imagination, or had Seto's eyelids fluttered?

"Big brother?" Mokuba perked up hopefully. "Please wake up!"

Seto moaned softly, his long bangs falling over his blue eyes when he opened them. He pushed them out of his line of vision weakly and blinked, trying to focus. "Mokuba?"

Mokuba's eyes lighted up and he embraced his brother eagerly. "Big brother! You're awake! I was so worried that . . ." He trailed off.

Seto laughed gently. "It's alright, Mokuba. Everything's alright now." He returned the hug, and they remained like that for a while, lost in the moment of reunion.

"Yugi Muto was here," Mokuba said at last, softly.

Seto paused. So he hadn't been imagining things. "I know," he replied.

"He called you his friend," Mokuba added.

Seto smiled and ruffled his younger brother's hair, but didn't reply this time. So Yugi thought of him as a friend. He liked that idea, for some reason.

"I'm so glad you're back, big brother!" Mokuba declared.

"So am I, Mokuba," Seto said seriously.

"Promise it'll stay this way," Mokuba pleaded.

"Don't worry, Mokuba," Seto replied with a wry gleam in his eye, "I have no plans to repeat that experience ever again!"

They laughed. It felt good to laugh again.