Clash

            by Lethe Seraph

            Chapter One: Endless

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            I hope this isn't too out of character.  It's probably not even canon… ::sweatdrops:: I hope you can bear with me….

            This story is based on a roleplay I participate in.  ^^;; Huggles to all.  Please review.

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            love not returned

            wings unable to fly

            pain without hope

            kept hidden inside

            I wasn't sure, really, why it had started.  We just hated each other from the beginning.  Maybe it was our egos, how we both always had to emerge dominant.  I wanted vengeance; he wanted to rule the world.  Both would require victory.  And neither of us would let the other succeed.

            Yet we never seemed to stray from each other.  Everywhere I went, I would find him, and vice versa.  We would always fight, but never win.

            We were at a stalemate.

            Day after day, I would challenge him, or he would challenge me, and we would go about the same old business – day after day.  Always the same.

            He was a part of my life, my constant enemy, archrival, foe.  I was dependent on him, and he on me, for the excitement that made it worth living.

            it's strange, this life

            you're never far

            rarely apart, yet

 hardly together

            It's just the way things are.

            I didn't think about it, though.  It was just one of those things I took for granted.  It was an ordinary thing, almost subconscious.  I would fight with him, but did it matter?  He would always be there, and so would I.

            But…

            Somewhere down that line, my feelings started changing.

            Why?

            Nothing was different.

            Was it?

            ---

            "Damn you!  Why can't you just die?"

            "I'm already dead, idiot."  The thief smirked evilly, drawing a knife from a hidden pocket.  "Shall we play?"

            "Your host isn't dead.  I can destroy you."

            "I doubt it, Malik-baka.  You're weak and stupid."

            Malik grinned.  He stepped closer to the white-haired boy.  "Is that the most original thing you could come up with?"

            "That I thought you would understand, yes," jibed Bakura.  Malik could just hear the little crowd going "Ohhhhhh…" in the background.

            Malik glanced around, reassuring himself of the lack of any authority figures lurking nearby, and grabbed Bakura's collar.  He yanked Bakura up a bit, bringing the thief to his eye level.  "Prepare to lose."

            He said it every day.  Not that it mattered.

            Bakura escaped his grasp quickly, and sidestepped when Malik lunged at him with the Millennium Rod unsheathed.  Ruby eyes glittered in satisfaction when his knife drew a line of blood from the other's sleeveless arm.

            Malik growled and charged again.  This time, Bakura was a bit slower in dodging.  Malik had managed to cut his shirt.

            "Damn.  And I liked this one, too," said Bakura.

            "I hope you don't like your pants, then."

            "You manage to make everything sound wrong.  Did you know that?"

            Malik grinned.  "You pervert.  You're just hearing them wrong."

            "My hearing is perfect," said Bakura with a smirk.  "Just like the rest of me."

            "Oh, really?"  Malik raised an eyebrow.  "I'll just have to check on that, won't I?"

            "Tch.  One would almost think you liked me…" said Bakura.  He laughed as Malik realized just what he had said.  "You comprehend things so slowly."

            Malik protested, face showing crimson through its tan.  "No, I don't!  I wasn't willing to reply to such a… a….ridiculous thought!"

            "I'm sure."

            "Don't doubt my intelligence, Thief," said Malik.  In a swift moment, he had stepped behind Bakura and pinned his arms to his back.  Malik drew his teeth across Bakura's exposed neck, and Bakura hissed.  "After all, I found an opening."

            What would this look like to anyone else? wondered Malik briefly.  Two boys, one holding the other close with his mouth on his neck. 

            Bakura lowered his head and chuckled in the way that only he could.  It made Malik feel as though Bakura knew something he didn't, like the white-haired boy really was superior in some way.  "So, Malik."

            Finally it dawned on Malik that the statement probably required a response.  "What?"

            "Are you gay?"

            "WHAT?" yelled Malik.  Bakura took that moment to free his arms, elbow Malik in the stomach, and create a distance between them.

            Bakura grinned.  "Looks like I've found an opening, ne?"

            "Not funny," muttered Malik.  Bakura had been joking, then.  His heart had started pounding so quickly…

            Damn!  His stomach still hurt!

            "You'll pay for that one."  The tomb keeper's fingers tightened around the Millennium Rod.

            The tomb robber's grin widened.  "How, exactly?"

            "In blood."

            "Sounds fun," said Bakura nonchalantly.

            "I'm sure it does!" shouted Malik, rushing towards Bakura once again.

            It was a nimble dance they performed, neither growing weary. 

            Bakura leapt away from the thrust of the blade, and parried with his own.  The clash of metal on metal spurred both boys on, each vying for a victory.  Bakura's knife slid downwards – Malik laughed.  "You can't win."

            "Neither can you."

            Malik nodded.  "I can try."

            "As can I!"  Bakura forced Malik's blade back in a sudden burst of strength.

            Malik cursed.  A bead of sweat rolled down his cheek.

            He knocked Bakura's blade to the ground.

            Bakura looked down, amazed.  The point of Malik's Millennium Rod was touching the center of his shirt lightly.  Bakura's gaze traveled upwards slowly, to find the elated face of his enemy.

            "I could kill you now."

            "Yes, you could," said Bakura simply.

            But what would the point be?  Bakura was the only person worth fighting in the world – aside from Yugi, but the child wasn't willing.  There was no playful banter there, only open hatred and determination.  Though true that Bakura and Malik hated each other, and were both equally determined, they shared a sort of bond.  There was no other person like that.

            If Malik killed him, what would he do tomorrow?

            Bakura's gaze remained on his.  The ruby eyes were serious, piercing.

            What would he do, indeed.

            This was all there was.

            It was all he needed, really.

            Malik smiled as he made his decision.  He pressed the Rod a little bit deeper into Bakura's chest.  Ruby eyes widened in surprise, but no sound came.

            "Do you feel it?" said Malik.

            "Yes."  Bakura placed his hands on Malik's.  "Don't go slowly."

            Malik withdrew the Rod with one hand, but left the other in Bakura's.  "I'm not going to at all."

            The surprised eyes blinked.  "You really are something, Malik-baka."

            So are you.

            "What do you say we go get something to eat?  All of this fighting can wear a person out, you know."

            Bakura responded after a silence.  "Assuming you're paying."

            "Hey!  You're the Thief!"

            "I robbed dead people, genius," sighed Bakura.

            Malik rolled his eyes.  "Fine, I'll treat."

            Bakura looked at Malik expectantly.

            "What?"

            "Are you going to move your hand or what?"

            Malik blushed furiously and snapped the offending appendage away.  "Yes!  Yes, I am!  What are you waiting for?  Let's go!"

            "Sometimes I wonder about you…"

            "Shut up.  Is ramen okay?"

            ---

            it's strange, this life

            you're never far

            rarely apart, yet

 hardly together

            It's just the way things are.

            After that day, the two went out for ramen every day.  Aside from that, though, nothing had really changed.

            Except for the large metaphorical hole in Malik's wallet.

            For some reason, he didn't mind.

            It was just one of those things he took for granted.

            Until it changed.