Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh, and am in no way making monetary gain from this fic.

A/N: I shocked myself by writing a fic of this nature. Fluff and things of that sort aren't exactly my forte. I think I managed to regain myself about halfway through....but then I lost it again. Damn WAFF. Reviews would be strongly appreciated. Enjoy your little treat.

Summary: In another time, in another place; Pharaoh reigned supreme. But times change; and Yami's control has ebbed away, leaving him insecure......and vulnerable.

Warnings: Some vulgar language, mental anguish on Bakura's part. And shounen-ai, of course. That shouldn't even *be* a warning, though. You should expect it, want it, and foresee it in my fics.


The café was alive with a midday crowd buzzing with meaningless sentimental chatter. Most of the people in the coffee shop were teenagers, intent on scoping out potential popularity from being seen in this new hot spot. The café had opened just last week, and was already all the rage to the general populace. Particularly the youth.

This was precisely why Yami sat alone at a corner table with his cup of steaming hot black coffee, looking into the masses of people from the sidelines. He may have looked the same age as these vibrant youths with grandiose dreams and expectations, but he was really not. Millennia of time rested on Yami's shoulders, and he never forgot them. He was too different from these teenagers to want to know them. It depressed him.

But Yugi had so wanted to come here with his friends that Yami simply hadn't had the heart to refuse him. Yugi was, after all, a teenager. And such a vivacious youth was prone to socialize. Yugi was simply just too gregarious to stay at home all the time. He needed people his own age to enjoy the company of. He needed other *teenagers*. Yami simply couldn't fill every void in Yugi's heart, and he knew that despite how painful it was to realize.

He heard Yugi laugh with his friends from across the café as they sat on bar stools with their cups of flavoured, iced, and sweetened caffeinated concoctions. Yugi was happiest here, with people his own age. Yami sighed. He ostracized the feeling of Yugi slipping away from him. He hated the rift that he could feel growing between him and his sugar-sweet hikari. He saw it every time Yugi smiled at him, and he was able to look past the grin and see the emptiness and sorrow in his light's amethyst eyes. He hated it because he knew that when he smiled; that same emptiness was reflected in his own eyes.

Yami hated all that. But most of all, he hated not being able to *do* anything about it. This was not his situation to have power over. Whichever way that Yugi decided to grow in-even if it was away from Yami-was solely up to him. This was not Jounouchi's to decide, nor was it Anzu's, or Kaiba's, or Yami's himself. And that frightened the tri-colour-haired boy.

Yami was not used to not being in control of *any situation*. In Egypt; the entire empire's fate had rested with him and his decisions. He had been in complete and total control of everything that went on around him, and beyond. But he was in most control of the *people* surrounding him. His slaves had gone nowhere unless ordered to. Advisors, warriors, religious men, and citizens alike had been like marionettes for him to move as he so wished.

All those years of unquestioned command had created a deep-rooted sense of security inside Yami; one that he had depended on for his entire life, and one that had never before failed him. But now, as he sat in the coffee shop with jazz music playing unobtrusively over the radio, and the incessant prattle of teenaged anguishes flooding his ears, something that he'd been struggling to suppress suddenly buoyed up and smacked him in the face: Things are not as they once were.

Yami stared deeply into his mug of coffee, now tepid, wishing that he didn't have to deal with all of these foreign facets of life. Yearning with all of his ancient, eternal heart that things could simply go back to the way they were before. That Yugi would love him with all of his sweet little heart and dote over him like he used to, that he could go just one week without questioning something of profound importance, that he could just regain *control* of his own *life*. But none of that was to be, now was it?

Yugi's fascination with him had dwindled to a pitiful amiability. Yami's mind never stopped, and terrors of his own demise flooded his dreams every night. And, without knowing it; Yugi had wrapped Yami around his little finger. Yami was now the marionette, and Yugi the puppet master. Yami could foresee horrid hallucinations of him sacrificing himself for Yugi, and receiving no remorse to his departed soul; for the gap between them had grown too great. He could see himself as a liability to his saccharine hikari. And that depressed Yami more than he thought possible.

"So Pharaoh, would you care to regale a familiar---thought perhaps unwelcome---face with your apparent woes?" A voice suddenly materialized, breaking Yami away from his morose inner reality. His head snapped up, and he was met with the site of Bakura standing cockily before him. From beneath wild white bangs, Yami saw the former tomb robber's vindictively flashing brown eyes, alive from amusement. Yami also saw, in the reflection of the chocolate orbs, himself, and how pathetic he looked. Yami bristled.

"What makes you think I have any woes to regale your twisted little mind with, tomb robber?" He snarled habitually. Bakura made a soft chuckling sound from deep inside his throat that gave Yami the distinct impression that this maniac had caught him with his guard down.

"Perhaps the fact that you were staring into that mug of liquefied *beans* like you were expecting it to start telling you the solutions to all of life's problems." Bakura purred arrogantly, knowing that his keen observation could not in any way be denied.

He knew perfectly well that he had been the only witness of a moment in which his adversary had been undeniably lost and susceptible; and that fact sent shivers of delight down his spine.

Yami felt obliged to answer, to at least *attempt* to turn the tables here and regain his honour. Yet, like it always did when he didn't want it to; his mouth voiced what his mind had decided was its most primitive and immature answer. "Why would I tell *you*, of all people, anyway?" he demanded, clutching his coffee mug tightly with both hands like a stubborn child.

Bakura answered with a one-shouldered shrug, making it perfectly clear that he couldn't care less either way, but that he wouldn't mind listening to the former Pharaoh for once in his life, if Yami did, in fact, decide to confide in him.

A not entirely uncomfortable silence hung over the table as Yami internally analyzed all of his options. To his horror, he found that he wanted to open his heart to someone. And if the tomb robber was the only someone around at the moment, then who was he to be picky? But Yami's resolve would not dissolve so hastily.

Glancing up from his mug, he scrutinized the white-haired boy's face for any signs of overtly malicious intent, but found nothing. "Where's Ryou?" he asked lightly, changing the subject as a last resort. Bakura's eyes flickered for a second across the café to the bar stools, and Yami followed his gaze to find Ryou sitting with Yugi and company, talking and laughing.

Yami's eyes snapped back to Bakura, the edges of his lips twitching, betraying the smirk he wanted to hide. Bakura's gaze returned to him, and he looked down at Yami disdainfully. "What?" He asked defensively, his cheeks flushing slightly from the Pharaoh's stare.

Yami chuckled softly. "Nothing," he replied lightly, switching his gaze back to his mug, somehow already feeling soothed by the presence of someone more along his own time, even if that someone *was* a back-stabbing low- life who would probably have killed his own mother just to get a free meal. "I just never pictured you as the type to let Ryou off that tight leash you keep him on.." Yami murmured absently, not looking at Bakura. He could feel the other boy's eyes boring into him, could feel the icy flash of anger as his tactful words hit a soft spot deep inside Bakura that made something in him helix in a cold rage. It comforted Yami that he could still impact someone so deeply.

Bakura slid into the chair opposite Yami and leaned his elbows on the tabletop, staring intently at Yami, challenging the former Pharaoh to meet his eyes. Yami eventually obliged, glancing at Bakura coyly from a veil of flaxen bangs. "I'm not as bad as everyone thinks." Bakura said slowly, speaking in breaks as if to let the words sink into Yami's mind. "Ryou's free to do mostly anything he wants, though there are a *few* restrictions. But then again; I don't really see you as the type to head the 'Let Your Hikaris Run Wild and Free' campaign either," he growled, the goad slipping from his tongue out of an intangible customary routine he shared only with the former Pharaoh.

While saying all of this, Bakura held Yami's gaze with his own, though carefully avoiding directly looking at him. Scarlet eyes were bewitched, and to look into them was to fall under their talismanic magic. When he was finished, he broke the eye contact with unspoken relief, leaving the table silent once more.

In their detached quieten, both Yami and Bakura took time to weigh what each was risking, and their wagers turned out to be the same: pride. The very interaction which had just taken place had, in fact, been a high- stakes gamble on Bakura's part, and both realized it, to one extent or another. Yami was more profoundly aware of this, and was also acutely aware that the tomb robber's nerve was failing him. But for some impalpable reason, Yami wanted the other Egyptian's company. At least for now.

Yami's mind scoured his innermost conversational pieces for any topic that might keep the white-haired boy where he was.

"You honestly mean to tell me that you don't beat Ryou?"

Fuck. That hadn't supposed to come out like that.

Bakura's eyes widened, his pupils becoming pinpoints as he stared at Yami in affronted shock. Yami had never before noticed the capacity of which Bakura's face relayed his emotions for the few seconds before his composure was regained. Face flushing angrily with a smouldering outrage; Bakura turned his head away from Yami, suddenly finding the café's bulletin board much more interesting. Yami felt a superfluous pang of guilt at offending Bakura. Silence hung heavy in the air once more; the kind of noiselessness in which a solitary nuance of expression could say more than words ever could. But the moment passed hastily.

"I have not once laid a hurtful hand on Ryou," Bakura hissed, resolutely making his indignation at the statement clear. He hid his face from Yami behind silver-white bangs, resting his chin in the palm of his hand sulkily, his lower lip sticking out a minute amount in a childish pout. Yami laughed uneasily, unsure of whether he should have found the gesture as amusing as he had.

"Don't get into a huff, tomb robber," he appealed lightly, mirroring Bakura's sulky gesture with his own, in jest. "If you say you haven't hurt Ryou, then I believe you..though I can't say why I should." Bakura's chocolate brown eyes appeared through thick tresses of snowy hair, and he turned to face Yami once more, resting his chin in his hands. He peered expectantly at Yami, as though he was waiting for Yami to say or do something to amend for his previous blunder. The Pharaoh realized that this would take tremendous tact, but predicted that Bakura would make it easier for him by starting off.

"You have no reason *not* to trust me," Bakura countered curtly, his eyes flashing with keen expectation. Yami laughed once again, more easily this time than before.

"You! I have *every* reason not to trust *you*!" Yami offset, genuinely amused. "You; who formed an alliance with a man who wanted nothing more than to ruthlessly murder me! Of all the reasons *not* to trust a person....." Yami trailed off, shaking his head in feigned distress. A familiar smirk broke Bakura's frown, and Yami knew that he had redeemed himself unerringly.

"Pharaoh," Bakura purred, leaning in closer to Yami and gesturing to the spiky-haired boy with a flippant hand, "My sole objective in *that* matter was simply to get your *puzzle*." Bakura winked almost playfully. "I had no intentions whatsoever of hurting you in any way..." he insisted placidly. The edges of Yami's lips quirked up in a smile that he knew he couldn't veil.

"Why do I not believe you?" He asked laughingly, almost forgetting whom he was talking so glibly with. This was no old lost friend. This was a common plunderer who would probably just as soon stab Yami as he would speak with him. But at the moment; the Pharaoh simply couldn't bring himself to care. Bakura was here, he was civil---enjoyable, even---and, most importantly; Bakura was of Yami's epoch. This was someone with whom Yami could speak confidently with about matters which had taken place aeons before what little history Yugi had been schooled in.

Yami smiled almost genuinely as he leaned back into his chair. He found himself actually taking pleasure in Bakura's company, though it was awkward and foreign. An ancient understanding and threadbare dignity connected the two opposites, providing both with a bond unfathomable by even themselves.

"I never thought you the type to come to places like this," Yami confessed evenly, eyes flickering to Bakura's face. An anomalous glaze clouded over the white-haired boy's brown eyes as he grinned tauntingly at Yami.

"I never would have thought you'd think of *me* at all. I always presumed that your psyche was consumed by visions of duelling and fooling around with that clueless little hikari of yours." Bakura replied lazily, taking a repartee jab at Yami. The former Pharaoh said nothing, preferring to look across the coffee house past the throngs of people to where his hikari and ensemble sat laughing together. Bakura sighed, realizing that it would be a battle for the Pharaoh's attention. But Bakura had never given up on a battle.

"Why are you over here talking to someone who stole from your ancestors' tombs, anyway?" Bakura asked lamely. "Shouldn't you be over there with *those* idiots, having a good time?" He inquired flatly, trying to sound as though he really couldn't care less.

"I'm fine here, with you." Yami replied before he could think of the words that were coming so easily from his mouth. An uncomfortable silence settled on the two ancients, and Bakura was able to sense a deeply morose mood spilling from the former Pharaoh's soul. Minutes went by before Bakura became agitated enough to figuratively poke Yami with a stick to elicit some sort of sign of welfare.

"What are you thinking about?" he blurted suddenly, snapping the tri-colour haired boy out of his miserable reverie and bringing scarlet eyes sliding back to meet him. The question hung in the air, unanswered for a moment as Yami hesitated.

Could he trust Bakura with the truth? Would a tomb robber have the insight to pinpoint the feeling of entrenched despair from a single sentence? Apparently, Yami's mouth didn't care; as it voiced his innermost thoughts with reckless abandon that made Yami himself want to bang his head against the marble tabletop.

"Walls, veils; things that separate." He answered drearily. Bakura quirked a perfect, slender silver eyebrow at the odd response.

"Care to elaborate?"



"Why not?"

Yami opened his mouth to respond, but found that, for once in an awkward situation, he was speechless. The simplicity of Bakura's inquiry confused him, and he found himself lacking in a purpose to withhold an answer. Why *shouldn't* he explain? Because of whom he would be explaining it to? Bakura was being courteous and gentile, and Yami found himself lulled into a dangerous sense of trust because of it. But on second thought..even if he did confide in Bakura; who would care? Who would know? There was little to lose. He chuckled absently. "Are you offering me a therapy session, tomb robber?"

The question made even Bakura laugh; a soft sound that was truly genuine...but nobody needed to know that. "I suppose I am, yes." He mused, somewhat delighted at the thrillingly alien situation. And secretly euphoric at the opportunity.

Exactly what kind of opportunity; he wasn't quite sure of. He only knew that he had wanted something from the Pharaoh for quite some time now, and that this somehow seemed to be a step in the right direction to getting whatever it was he wanted. It was not unusual for his subconscious to hide things from Bakura; so his little obscure infatuation with the former Pharaoh was tolerated.

"What's your fee?" Yami asked mildly, realizing that he just might be dancing with death by going through with this. This was not a particularly bright thing to do, and Yami fully realized the potential complications. Complications including the theft of the Sennen Puzzle, or perhaps even his untimely death. And for some twisted raison d'être, Yami didn't mind.

Bakura looked almost confused at the query, blinking suddenly, as though it was a matter he'd never before thought of. But Yami knew that the appearance must be counterfeit; a tomb robber was bound to have money on the mind. "No therapist is free. We both know that." Yami said casually.

Bakura's eyes flickered around Yami for a moment, stopping for just a millisecond on the Puzzle that hung from his neck. Yami's hand immediately went to the Sennen Item's side, making clear to Bakura that the item was *not* to be bartered for. The white-haired boy's eyes scanned Yami over for a second, before retreating back under heavily-lashed eyelids, as the former tomb robber considered his levy. Yami waited patiently, thankful for a stall to the tremendous stupidity he was surely embarking upon.

"Well, if you insist that you must pay me, Pharaoh," Bakura almost purred, hiding his face under a veil of white hair "I suppose I can think of one thing.." He trailed off, raising his head to meet Yami's scarlet eyes with his own brown ones. He smiled a secret smile, folding his arms across his slim chest. Yami got the distinct impression that he was a mouse cornered by a very hungry and greedy cat.

"Your fee, tomb robber?" He asked stiffly.

Bakura's grin widened, and he leaned close to Yami. "I want.."


Bakura paused; his eyes flickered at lightening speed over Yami's face, "A cappuccino."

The answer caught Yami by surprise, and he was sure that he had heard wrong. Bakura leaned back into the uncomfortable café chair and laughed quietly, enjoying the bemused look on the former Pharaoh's face. "You want a what?" Yami asked incredulously.

"You heard me, Pharaoh." Bakura inferred, running his fingers through his hair, half embarrassed. What in the name of Anubis was possessing him to be so .pleasant? This was not like him, nor was it comfortable to him. Particularly when the recipient was an ancient brat who'd lived in the lap of luxury for all of his life in ancient Egypt, while he himself had been forced to plunder and steal just to survive. This was simply not acceptable. Yet Bakura found himself unable to revert into his comfort zone of guarded gazes and empty insults. His shadowy obsession began unfurling itself into the light, for Bakura to see. What he saw was maddening......yet not surprising.

He became even more infuriated with himself when his baleful eyes peeked at Yami through a shroud of white hair, only to see the Pharaoh smiling at him with eyes glittering like diamonds. His face flushed horribly, tingeing his pale cheeks bright pink. Bakura coughed gruffly to regain himself, and shook his head before being able to comfortably meet Yami's scarlet eyes. "So, what are you waiting for?" He demanded curtly. Yami seemed confused by the question, and Bakura leaned over and smacked him on the side of the head, though his hand hit nothing more than hair.

Yami made a sound of protest at the mild abuse, and glared at Bakura. Bakura glared back, and an invisible electricity formed between the two, until Bakura became uncomfortable enough to break it. "What *are* you waiting for, Pharaoh; a drum roll? A red carpet, perhaps?" He teased, trying to be stern.

Yami's eyes widened in confusion, and a thought flickered through Bakura mind that Yami looked just like a kitten like that. He looked over at Bakura, unblinking. "Am I supposed to do something?" He asked, uncertain. The white-haired boy sighed despairingly and pointed up to the café's counter.

"Go and get me my damned coffee! Iced café mocha, blended. [1]" He ordered. Yami looked slightly put-off by the rude order, but moved to get up, casting an injured glance down at Bakura.


Bakura's eyes widened to the point where his pupils were lost in white. Where the hell had *that* word come from! The 'P' word wasn't even previously registered in his internal vocabulary! It had been......5,011 years since that word had come from his mouth. And now it came again; and for *Pharaoh*, of all people? Had Yami heard, Bakura wondered with horrid curiosity, sneaking a peek at the scarlet-eyed boy.

Yami's shoulders shook just a little, his mouth twitched; he was laughing! That bastard, Bakura thought vehemently. That little fuck is laughing at me!

"Don't be so embarrassed, tomb robber," Yami said, a tremor in his voice. "It happens to the worst of us..apparently." Bakura scowled as Yami walked off to get the white-haired boy's coffee. "You were long overdue, anyway." He informed the other boy over his shoulder. Yami didn't see the rude hand gesture Bakura made.

But five minutes later, another thwarting silence had overtaken the table, and Bakura sat staring intently at Yami, tapping his fingernail on the edge of his cup of coffee, waiting for the other boy to start talking. His eyes narrowed. "You know, for once in my life; I'd rather I didn't come away from a deal as the only one benefited," Bakura muttered crossly, glowering across the marble tabletop at the silent boy. "How about helping me fulfill my end of the bargain by talking?" He suggested lamely, to which Yami gave a wan smile and shrugged.

"I don't know where to begin." He confessed, shaking his head despairingly.

"The beginning always seems to be a good spot to start." Bakura replied helpfully, sarcasm weaselling its way into his voice almost naturally. Yami looked over at him with large, lost eyes. Unguarded and pained eyes. Empty and mournful eyes; and Bakura was struck solemn with their gaze.

"What if I don't really know where it started?" Yami inquired, looking too much like a lost child for Bakura's comfort.

Bakura carefully prepared to open himself to Yami; he realized that empathy and shared experiences were going to be needed in these dangerous matters he was about to embark upon. He knew what was coming, even if Yami didn't know, himself....and Bakura knew that it would be excruciating for both to suffer. He raised his eyes to meet Yami's own saccharine cerise ones, looking so doleful and unhappy. Ah, how familiar.

Bakura shifted in his chair, getting more comfortable. "How about you start at where your loss of control suddenly hit you.....?" He recommended. Yami's stunned expression at the other's keen insight amused Bakura, but he pushed the thought to the back of his mind as Yami began stuttering out detached sentences.

Two minutes later, however, he was relating the entire agonizing fall of his happiness to the white-haired boy without hesitation. The bond between them grew stronger. Bakura listened intently.

And looked deeply into Yami's cerise eyes.

And wondered if their ruby charm would be enough to compel him to let his diffidence go. Wondered, still listening to Yami, if he would ever actually be able to tell the other boy of this disgustingly romantic ardour of his.....


A half an hour later, and Yami was still going strong. The need to breath no longer concerned Yami as he conveyed thought after thought to Bakura without hesitation. Bakura's head was swimming with all that Yami had told him; and every part of his brain was trying desperately to store every shred of information, no matter how insignificant, for future use.

There had been a couple of times when Yami had shown serious signs of fatigue; once even coming close to crying, but Bakura had managed to gather up the strewn remnants of the other boy's honour and stop the potential flow of tears. There had been several times where Yami had laughed almost hysterically at something, and Bakura had laughed with him, his sides beginning to ache. Bakura savoured every word the former Pharaoh graced him with.

Yami was a whirlwind of emotion; his hands flailing wildly as he made erratic gestures to emphasize what he was raving about. The white-haired boy listened with absorbed silence, making appropriate comments or gestures when they were needed. In the back of his head; Bakura was absently recording how many facial expressions Yami had. It was an astounding amount. The pharaoh's sharp visage was almost theatrical. Bakura locked his gaze with Yami's as he shifted in his chair, still engrossed in what the spiky-haired youth was telling him. For the last fifteen or so minutes; Yami's topic of choice was 'How Yugi Has Become So Detached From Me', and, though Bakura was trying valiantly; he didn't know if he could keep being engrossed about talk of the maladroit little teenager if that was all Yami had to tell him about. Even if it was being said by Yami. But just then, as the white-haired tomb robber began retreating into his own thoughts, something Yami said sidetracked Bakura and recaptured his attention like an animal in a snare.

".....It's so frustrating. I know full well that none of this would bother me if I could just find someone I could relate to. Someone who knows me. Not just wants to learn *about* me; but actually knows me, and what kind of person I am. Someone who knows about what it was like to grow up in Egypt, before this time. I just want someone to love....and not platonically." He stressed, shaking his head despairingly. Bakura quirked an eyebrow and beckoned for Yami to continue. His cheeks flushed as Yami's eyes caught his in an involuntary plea.

"Don't get me wrong," he continued after pausing for a breath "I love Yugi. I love him very deeply; he's closer to me than anyone else has ever been, and he's like a brother to me, but...." Yami trailed off.

This was too good to stop *here*! Bakura's mind kicked him severely, commanding him to force the tri-colour haired boy to continue. This was, after all, leading into unknown territory. And this topic just might lead to an opportunity.........

"But......?" Bakura coaxed, motioning for the other boy to continue. Yami looked at the tomb robber despairingly, hands at his temples as though he had a migraine coming on.

"But....that just isn't enough." He exclaimed. Bakura nodded his understanding, therefore encouraging Yami to continue.

"I have this----feeling, in the core of me, and I believe it's love...or something akin to it, at any rate, and it's becoming more powerful, but I can't act on it." He cried mournfully.

"Why not act on it?" Bakura suggested. "Are you afraid of the consequences, perhaps?" Yami shook his head, his flaxen bangs swaying softly from side to side as he did.

"No, no, nothing like that. I simply....I don't know towards whom I feel so strongly." He confessed. Bakura's eyebrows rose, almost meeting his hairline. Woe befall him if this was too good a chance to pass by. Perhaps he might be taking advantage, but maybe, just maybe, Pharaoh longed for him. Perhaps he was to be the recipient of Yami's restrained affections.

"What do you think?"

The question snapped Bakura out of his reverie with a vengeance, and his head snapped up to meet Yami. "Hn?" He asked intelligently, eyes wide with surprise.

"What do you think?" Yami repeated, leaning in towards the white-haired boy with keen expectancy.

"About what, exactly?" Bakura asked. "You covered several topics." He informed the other boy, who smiled wryly.

"I suppose I did." He admitted, somehow not regretting his choice of to whom he had relayed all of his deepest secrets. So the question arose; which of his problems held his top priority? "My trouble of the mystery love." He chose, liking his choice of words. Bakura nodded his acceptance.

"I think...." Perhaps now.....

"Yes?" Yami asked, crimson eyes large and trusting. Bakura almost faltered.

Now was as good a time as any. "I think that sometimes; the one whom we seek is closer than we think they are." He choked out.

Yami smiled wanly. "You're being idealistic, tomb robber." Yami reprimanded softly. "You think that I'll find the one I love right under my nose? That only happens in fairy tales and allegories. Never in real life."

"But what if it did? What if it happened in real life?" Bakura countered, his voice becoming impassioned.

Yami met his eyes with frustrating obliviousness. "But it never does. How on Earth could anything so idealistic happen?" he mused pessimistically as Bakura grew more aggravated.

The white-haired boy sighed and rubbed at his temple. "But what if you just believed it *could* happen? What if the person you want to love is right in front of you?" He asked, stressing the last part of the sentence through clenched teeth.

Yami sighed with tormenting naïveté and gestured casually with one hand, dismissing the question. "Well I'd be ecstatic, naturally." Yami confessed, blinking flaxen bangs from his eyes. Bakura laughed grimly, bemusing the clueless former Pharaoh.

"Alright," Bakura said finally, seeming to secure himself to the table. He looked at Yami with fire in his chocolate eyes. "What if," he said slowly "you understood what I'm saying and leaned forward a little so I could give a good try at sucking your fucking face off?"

"What?" Yami gasped, his breath leaving him as Bakura reached across the table without warning and brought his head closer.

"You can hit me after this, if you want." The tomb robber muttered before pressing his lips against the former pharaoh's.

Yami's lips were wonderfully soft against Bakura's, and the white-haired boy savoured the unique taste. Yami tasted like *home*. It was a flavour of desert sands, of sultry noonday air. Of altars and scented waters. Yami's mouth was a salvation for the empty void Bakura had been housing for some time now, and Bakura revelled in it like it was an oasis. Yami parted his lips as Bakura requested entry with surprising tenderness.

Every alcove of the pharaoh's mouth was uncharted and wondrous territory to Bakura. And a tomb robber loved mapping new territory, and did it with genuine passion. But there had never been such passion as that with which Bakura virtually attacked Yami's mouth; like an animal unleashed. With virtuoso dexterity, he explored and tasted. Yami moaned softly, a small part of his mind still remembering that they were currently in a crowded café, and this was probably not considered appropriate behaviour. What would Yugi think?

At the moment, Yami couldn't care less. He tentatively brought Bakura closer, putting a hand gently on the nape of his neck. The tomb robber's hair was silken and thick, and Yami stroked it delightedly, eliciting something akin to a purr from the white-haired boy.

Bakura shifted slightly, accidentally knocking over his coffee and sending the glass and concoction to the floor. The glass shattered, raising the attention of several people in the café, which was, by now, almost empty as was. Most gasped, ordering their checks with flustered annoyance. A few simply stared, unsure of how to react.

Two of the people whose attention was caught by the noise were Yugi and Ryou. The rest of their group had already left, displeased by the café's ambiance(or in some cases, merely lacking the attention span to sit still for more than ten minutes at one time.). Yugi and his white-haired friend had stayed behind, wanting to catch up on each other's lives. It had been weeks since they'd last gotten the chance to speak alone, and Ryou was in rapture listening to the spiky-haired boy. Bakura had had the impression that his hikari had held 'feelings' for the other boy for some time now. If he hadn't been so preoccupied, he would have been able to undoubtedly confirm his suspicions. But his attention was elsewhere.

Yugi gaped at what, Ryou imagined, was a completely shocking and unexpected sight. And the smaller white-haired boy was true to admit that unexpectedly seeing your Yami being----quite passionately----kissed by someone who was notorious known as one of his mortal enemies would have probably been a bit scandalous. Then again, Ryou had known for months that his yami fancied Yugi's yami. It had been clear as crystal to him, even when Bakura himself couldn't even discern that there was even a feeling to recognize. Ryou smiled inwardly and reminded himself to congratulate and tease his yami when he next saw him. As for the moment; he had a duty, and he knew it. Bakura wanted *privacy*.

"Yugi, what do say we go window shopping for a while?" He asked, fingers lightly touching his spiky-haired friend's arm. Yugi said nothing, though his mouth opened and closed like a fish struggling for air, and Ryou took this as a concurrence, and thus (as gently as he could, mind you) yanked Yugi off his bar-side stool and began walking quickly towards the café's exit. Yugi was pointing at the two yamis like a small child as Ryou dragged him away, holding his hand tightly. He still looked like he was trying to get his tongue around a few choice coherent words.

Ryou ran the last few steps to the door, Yugi stumbling behind him, and both shot out of the café like a rocket. Neither Yami nor Bakura noticed.

Yet, unfortunately for Bakura; his common sense was catching up on him, and he found himself slightly embarrassed by his brazenness. Reluctantly, he pulled away from Yami's delectable mouth, pausing to lick his lips; wanting to keep every miniscule amount of the former pharaoh's unique taste.

When Yami opened his eyes dreamily at the departure of Bakura's lips on his, he found that the pleasant numbness had not yet left him, and was showing no sign of doing so for some time. Had he been able to look at himself from Bakura's eyes, he would have noticed the opaque expression on his face, which was driving the other boy insane in his quick-fire attempts to decode it. "Oh....." Yami almost sighed, his breath coming out in a whoosh of air. His eyes sparkled. "Oh."

It was all he seemed to be able to say, as he tentatively touched his own lips, eyes flickering up to meet Bakura's flushed and suddenly reserved face.

The white-haired boy coughed, merely to break the awkward silence, and to distract himself from Yami's soul-searching stare. "So....are you going to hit me now? I said you could...." he murmured, white bangs obscuring the look in his chocolate eyes from Yami. Bakura looked down at the tabletop, at where his fists were balled so tightly that his knuckles were white.

And Yami's slender hand snaked out from outside Bakura's line of vision to rest on his, gently uncurling his fingers and intertwining them with his own. Bakura looked up, his eyes large and soulful, and saw Yami smile coyly at him, crimson eyes hopeful.

"That was indescribable." He murmured, eyes flashing. His hand squeezed Bakura's lightly in a manner to gentle to make Bakura feel completely at ease.

"Was it?" He asked, almost surprised that the other boy's fist wasn't flying at him at that exact moment.

Yami nodded enthusiastically. "It was! You've no idea----well, you actually do, of course, I mean you were....you were....incredible." He finally said, an inscrutable smile on his face.

A long and not completely unfamiliar silence settled over the table at the nearly empty café, and each boy silently reminisced about the last five minutes. Yet a nagging question bothered both, with equal intensity; what to do now?

The moment of first contact was over, and there were no foreseeable actions ahead. They were swimming on still waters; unsure of what to do or say. This was a new and uneasy issue for both Yami and Bakura, and both was waiting for the other to do or say something to restart reality.

Yami was first to regain his ability form sensible words, and he let his heart speak without hesitation. "I think...." he began uneasily, not looking at the other boy "that there is something that must be done. Hopefully; we'll both agree to it." He said flatly. Bakura winced and cursed himself. "Tell me if you agree." Yami ordered.

"Un." Bakura nodded anxiously and waited for the spiky-haired boy to continue.

"I think....." Yami repeated slowly, seeming to deliberate on how to finish the sentence. Seconds passed as images flashed by on the former pharaoh's face, but he eventually seemed to come to a conclusion that appealed to him. "That I'll probably need another 'therapy' session sometime soon. Tomorrow, say?" He inquired lightly, a smile working its way onto his face as he enjoyed Bakura's expression of absolute astonishment.

"I....I agree to that." Bakura said hoarsely, his mind spinning.

"You'd better go. I might decide to resume where you left off, and I don't think that the waiter will appreciate that." He said flatly, sounding regretful at having to part with his new found beloved and long-time enemy. Bakura nodded once again and rose from the table, carefully avoided the mess of coffee and glass from the spilt drink.

Yami stayed seated, seeming to want to hang about just a little longer. He steepled his fingers and rested his chin on them, reverting into a world of inner musings and analysis. Bakura noticed this with keen understanding.

As he found his hand on the door handle of the café; he had to turn back for one last look at the spiky-haired boy, whose crimson eyes were glazed over like someone had shuttered them. An impulse made him open his mouth. "Yami." He called out waveringly. The tri-colour haired boy snapped his head up hopefully. Bakura faltered before regaining his tongue. Was he sure he wanted to take this blooming 'relationship' further?

Oh, yes.

"You should probably know....." He informed the crimson-eyed boy "that I have a special '3-for-1' deal on. One session, and you get another three free." He said; face flushing at the pure humiliation of how low he was willing to sink for someone he'd thought he hated.

The way Yami's face lit up, however, banished all thoughts of embarrassment and dislike to hell, never to return. His hand closed around the door handle, and he turned the knob with determination to walk out. "Of course, after those free three, my price raises, you know." He added. Yami waited expectantly, willing to meet any price Bakura named.

"Next time; you have to buy me dinner." Bakura told the spiky-haired boy before striding almost casually out of the café.

Yami smiled and watched the white-haired boy leave. Why couldn't he stop smiling? When would he next see Bakura? What to tell Yugi?! All of these questions ran rampant in Yami's mind. Yet one stood out before the others, with all of its immense importance:

Where would Bakura like to go for dinner?

[1]-The best bloody epicurean coffee in the world.
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