Wakko opened the screen door of the small cabin. The sun had set fifteen minutes ago, and everyone was tired. The Run Away house had always reminded him of a cottage, and as he stepped inside, the room still smelled like the mothballs that the three Warners had smothered the place with the last time they'd stayed there. Wakko didn't mind the smell, and neither did his siblings, but it seemed to drive everyone else who smelled it crazy, so they used it as sort of a defence mechanism. The kitchen was to the right of the door, as was the door to the only other room; the living room. Three beds sat in the far left corner, each with a small wooden plaque stating whose each bed was. The large wooden table stood in the middle of the main room, and Wakko was so exhausted he nearly ran into it. Scratchy entered after him, plugging his nose, followed by Dot with Pinky curled up in her hand.
'What is that delightful smell? Narf,' Pinky asked, sitting up and stretching.
'I don't vant to know,' Scratchy said.
Wakko found his way over to the old wooden cupboards and pulled out several bags of chips, swallowing them all, packaging and everything. Dot walked over to one of the beds on the far side of the room and collapsed wearily without a word. Pinky jumped out of her hand and found a comfortable place beside the pillow, holding his injured arm close. Wakko stumbled sleepily over to his own bed, tongue sticking out, and curled up on it in a ball. He watched quietly as Scratchy sat down on the floor against the wall, slowly nodding off.
'You can sleep in Yakko's bed if you want,' he said quietly. Scratchy looked up and shook his head. Wakko got out of his own bed and crawled into his brother's.
'You can sleep in mine,' he offered. Scratchy sighed and almost smiled, but still shook his head. Wakko could see the smell of moth balls was bothering him. He pulled the brown sheets over his shoulders and left the p-sychiatrist alone.
Rolling on to his back, he stared blankly up at the ceiling, Yakko's glove still clenched firmly in his hand. Where was his brother? What if he was dead? No, Wakko refused to think that. Yakko wouldn't just die. Maybe he was kidnapped? That seemed pretty obvious now that he thought about it. He comforted himself with the knowledge that his brother could talk his way out of anything. Almost. Wakko lifted the glove so he could see it. For no real reason, he took off his own right glove and replaced it with Yakko's. It was too big for his hand, but he found it somehow comforting. A few minutes later, he was fast asleep.
Scratchansniff was slowly drifting off into dreamland against the wall. The smell of mothballs filled his nose, and he would have slept outside if not for the cold and the feeling that he owed it to Yakko to look after the boy's siblings. If he hadn't told them about Pinky and Brain's disappearance, the eldest sibling wouldn't be missing. Then again, they wouldn't have found Pinky. But where was Brain?
He heard Wakko shift in his sleep, and wondered what he and Dot were thinking. Under normal circumstances, he was sure that none of them would be worrying so much, since cartoons can't really get hurt. But that was changing, it was obvious. The question was, why? With that thought swimming around in his head, he nodded off to sleep.
Lying with his back to the stone wall of the cell, Yakko tried in vain to at least rest his eyes. He already had a fever, and his leg had swollen considerably; the cold and the dampness of the caverns weren't doing much for him. A solitary lamp burned by the door, but deep shadows still crept up the rough walls and froze the spongy stone into a solid mass of ice. The only reason he knew it was night was that the constant visits from Greyscale, Malice, and various guards had stopped. He preferred the visits from the guards. He'd figured out that they weren't given the privilege of actually beating him, but were only allowed to try to intimidate an answer out of him. Greyscale and Malice were different.
Only minutes after he was thrown in the cell, Greyscale had had Malice tie Yakko's wrists to two metal rings that jutted out from the wall. He'd then proceeded to whip him. His back still stung. Later, Malice had returned, and had nearly crushed his wrist trying to get him to tell where his siblings were. He would never tell. Never. He knew that it was the only reason he was still alive. He also knew that if he did give them away, Psyche would put his siblings through the exact same thing, and then kill them. He was certain that death was now a possibility for cartoons. He was also certain that Psyche was behind it all. He just had to figure out how he was doing it. And why did he want them?
It was impossible to sleep. He hauled himself up to a sitting position, gritting his teeth against the pain, and leaned against the ice-cold wall. Its numbing cold felt good on his back. He rubbed his eyes with his gloved hand. His ear caught a slight noise. It was the softest footstep he'd ever heard. He was surprised he'd heard it at all. At first he thought it was coming from the door, but then he realized it was already in the room.
'Brain?' he asked cautiously. Brain emerged from a shadowed crevice in the wall.
'Yakko? Why are you here?' the mouse asked, hopping onto the rocky floor of the cell.
'No idea. Why are you here?'
'Pinky and I fell into Lateman's Gorge. I've no clue as to what happened to Pinky, but I was captured and transported here. Like you, I don't know why, but I hid myself within the walls until they assumed I had escaped. Have you seen Pinky?'
'Sorry.' Yakko shook his head.
'Oh well, he probably made it back to the studio. There's not another cell in the place.'
'Do you know why?'
'Psyche refrains from keeping prisoners for a vast amount of time.' Brain said.
'How old-fashioned.' Yakko shifted away from the wall. His back was cold enough to preserve his body for a year. He winced slightly at the movement. Brain looked at him, concerned. He walked over to Yakko and sat down beside him.
'You should be resting,' he said.
'I did,' Yakko answered. Brain didn't pry. Yakko put his hand on the ground so Brain could climb onto it. The mouse probably hadn't had a soft place to sleep in a couple of days. His glove would have to do.
Brain was snoozing on his palm almost immediately, but it took Yakko a couple of hours to finally fall into a light, fitful sleep.