Learning and Losing

Summary: When the ever popular Yami, Marik and Bakura accidentally meet the Outkasts (a.k.a. Yugi, Ryou and Malik) they get into a very rocky start. But as fate decided it, coincidences keep happening...

Disclaimers: Don't own, don't sue. Duh.


Chapter Eleven: Heartache


"Malik?" His sister, Isis, knocked on the door to his bedroom. He had locked himself and had refused to go to school that day. "Are you done being depressed and unhappy?"

"Obviously not," was the muffled reply.

Isis sighed. Teenagers and their dramas. "Well, when you're done with your soap opera, tell me. I don't like the idea of you not going to school. I don't care what you're going through—you're a scholar, and if your grades start slipping, you'll have to move to another school. We can't pay for your tuition and—"

Malik tried to ignore the sound of his sister lecturing him for the nth time that day. Isis had been clearly alarmed by his actions. He had never done something this drastic before.

But he definitely didn't want to see Marik today. He didn't want to talk about it, either—for sure Ryou and Yugi would try to coax something out of him, and he wasn't in the mood to talk. He didn't even want to think about it.

You can't avoid him forever, a little voice inside him chided.

Oh yeah? Watch me.

Malik buried himself deeper into his pillow. He didn't want to think about anything.

He knew that what he was doing was regrettable in the future. Heck, he was already regretting it now in the present. But right now wasn't the time to feel guilty about skiving off classes. He was having a problem of the heart, damn it, and he didn't want it to interfere with schoolwork. And since heart problems weren't exactly those that you could push aside and ignore forever, he had to push aside schoolwork for the day. He could catch up, anyway.

However, he had already wasted a day of pondering and nothing had come out of it. He couldn't afford to miss another day of school. He wasn't that type of person.

But how can I face him?

He groaned. That was the problem. He couldn't.

In the beginning, avoiding his Jock counterpart seemed like the right idea. In his book, absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder, and he had been confident that whatever he was feeling for Marik was bound to disappear sooner or later.


After avoiding Marik and realizing that he still liked him, Malik wasn't sure what to do next. Besides, staying away from school was a bad idea, because it did nothing but imprint the other on his mind. He was probably going insane from thinking of him. Nothing could take his attention away. He had even tried making computer animations that involved bloody deaths, and even that didn'

He didn't know what to say. He didn't know what to do. Everything was just so confusing.

But he couldn't come up with anything.

And until he did, he would just have to keep avoiding Marik.


"I think Malik is avoiding me," Marik said to Bakura. However, the albino didn't seem to be listening. Instead, he was staring at this painting in his room. Marik frowned. "Hey! Bakura! I'm talking to you!"

Bakura blinked, and then started. "Huh? What were you saying?"

"I said…" Marik fought the urge to slap his friend, "I said, I think Malik is avoiding me."

"Why would he?" Bakura frowned. "I thought the two of you were getting along well."

"We were," Marik emphasized, "but now everything's gone completely out of whack." He frowned. "We were fine a couple of days ago, when he came by my house. Then when we met up again at that ice cream place…he was talking but he wasn't really talking to me, like he was trying to make this thing in his mind go away." He gestured frantically with his hands. "He hasn't gone to school for two days and I'm worried. I tried to call him but he won't answer. And today he went to school, but he's avoiding me! I tried to talk to him—he actually ran away from me! I don't understand it. He's avoiding me and I don't know why! What did I do wrong?"

Bakura merely stared at him. "How should I know?" he said after a long pause.

Marik glared at him. "Thanks for all the help, Bakura." He looked at his watch. "Where's Yami? You said to get here at seven and it's already eight. I want to eat dinner already!"

Bakura rolled his eyes. "Marik, I think you're going crazy. You're being completely random and I'm not following you anymore."

"You're one to talk," Marik snapped. "Here I am telling you all my problems and all you can do is stare at stupid painting!"

The albino blushed. "The painting is not stupid!" he countered angrily.

"Oh really? And why isn't it?" Marik turned to scrutinize the object. Sure, it was a well-made one, but he couldn't see exactly what made it so special. "And why is it in your bedroom? I mean, what do you do, stare at it before you sleep?" he snickered.

Bakura glared at him. "Shut up!"

"Or maybe it's a gift," he mocked. "So who's the girl, Bakura? You've been keeping someone from us?"

Bakura turned redder. "There is NO girl!" he shouted.

"In denial, aren't we?"

"Like you aren't!" Bakura folded his arms. "I bet you did something horrible to your little Outkast," he said mockingly. "And you're just pretending that you didn't do it. That's why he's avoiding you."

Marik's eyes narrowed. "I did not," he said darkly. "Take that back."

"Take what back?" Bakura blinked innocently. "The truth, Ishtar? Why don't you think about it? Why would that genius avoid you for no reason? Obviously, you've done something wrong."

Marik glared at him. He had never wanted to hurt Bakura so much before. How could he say something like that? He hadn't done anything to Malik…or said anything…

Had he?

He bit his lip, mentally reviewing everything he had done the past few days. Nothing came up. He couldn't have done anything to make Malik hate him.

So why was he avoiding him?


"…Malik?" Yugi began hesitantly. The two of them were walking home. Ryou had music lessons, and it was just the two of them.

"Yeah, Yugi?"

"I don't think it's working," he said.

Malik stopped walking. "Huh?"

"You know…" Yugi bit his lip. "The whole avoiding thing. It isn't doing any good for the two of you except to cause a giant misunderstanding."

The blonde laughed hollowly. "Then what do you suggest? I tell him how I feel?"

"I didn't say that, I just…" Yugi groaned inwardly. "I was just hoping the two of you could make up already. Or at least you could pretend that nothing's wrong. I mean, something is wrong, but it's the something that you don't have to make an issue about—"

"So it's not an issue if I'm potentially falling in love with him?" Malik snapped.

"Um, that's not what I meant—" Yugi began, but his friend cut him off.

"That's exactly what you meant," Malik said quietly. His voice was soft but it was firm. "Let's not talk about this anymore, Yugi. I'm going to avoid him. End of story." His eyes were started to well up. "This is my problem, not yours, and I'll solve it in my way. Okay?" Yugi nodded. "Thank you." And they continued walking in silence.

Once the two of them parted ways, Yugi sighed.

It had already been a week, and Malik was still adamant on ignoring his Jock as if he was this invisible entity. It was obvious to any blind idiot that Marik was getting frustrated and confused over how Malik was acting. Suddenly, the two of them were back to square one.

Maybe even negative square one. After all, the two of them didn't exactly hate each other back then…that was Ryou and Bakura.

Ironically, Ryou seemed to be getting on well with his Jock. At least, well enough as not to complain about him every second.

But Ryou was farthest from Yugi's worries. It was Malik and his continuous depression that got his concern. Even though his friend tried to laugh it off and pretend it was nothing, Yugi could see that Malik was hurting inside.

And he could do nothing to help him.


"You've been down in the dumps lately," Mai commented to Marik, who was mournfully staring at his melting ice cream sundae. "I know you're rich, Marik, but wasting money like this isn't good. This is food!"

Tea giggled. "Mai, you're not making him feel any better."

"Well, he's not cheering up anyway, isn't he?" Mai shook her head. "C'mon, Marik. Give us a smile. Why are you so depressed?"

Marik shook his head. "It's Malik."

The two exchanged confused glances. "Malik? The Outkast?" Tea asked, surprised.

"What happened?"

"I don't know!" Marik exclaimed, frustrated. "That's exactly it. I don't know what happened, but now he's avoiding me like the plague!"

"Want me to ask Serenity to talk to him?" Tea offered. "I mean, she's friends with them and all."

Marik shook his head. "No—I want to find out what I did wrong myself. And then I'll solve it myself." He clenched his fist. "I should talk to him."

Mai smirked. "Okay. Here's your chance—he's walking this way."

The blonde looked up to see that Mai was right; Malik was heading straight toward their direction. Unfortunately, when he saw Marik, the other blonde abruptly turned and ran. Marik felt utterly hopeless. Malik was really intent on avoiding him.

Tea blinked. "So he really is avoiding you like the plague. I thought you were just overreacting."

"Shouldn't you go and confront him?" Mai asked.

"But I don't want to force him to tell me what's the problem…" Marik bit his lip.

Mai sighed. "Oh please, Marik. Delaying the inevitable is never a good thing. You should talk to him." Tea nodded in agreement.

"I will…" Marik hesitated, "tomorrow."

The brunette looked at him skeptically. "You better do it tomorrow. I don't want to see you moping around anymore."

"Okay! Okay! I'll do it tomorrow, promise!" Marik said, hoping that the determination in his voice would be there for him tomorrow.

Time to work up some courage for tomorrow.

Marik wasn't sure if he wanted to find out exactly what he had done to Malik to make the Outkast hate him so. What if it was something unforgivable? What if…?



Malik stared at his iPod. It stared back, with the Apple screen repeated blinking.

He groaned. "Now even my electronics are going stupid," he muttered angrily, trying to find a way to fix his iPod. But nothing happened; it was either frozen or it had gone completely haywire. And for the life of him, Malik didn't know why—he hadn't let it touch water, he hadn't thrown it, he hadn't done anything. But it wasn't responding, just showing the blinking Apple screen.

"Screw you, Apple!" he screamed in frustration after doing everything he possibly could to fix it in vain. "Damn you, iPods! Are you also plotting my misery? Is there a giant conspiracy out there to get me?" He threw the iPod at the door.

Unfortunately, the door opened the exact same moment Malik had thrown it. "Ouch!"

"Sis!" Malik clapped a hand to his mouth. "Oops…sorry."

Isis took the thing that had hit her squarely in the forehead. She frowned. "Since when did iPods fly?"

"Since my life got ruined," Malik replied.

"Uh-oh." Isis shook her head. "Please don't tell me you're going through your teenage angsts again. I mean, you just had one last week. As much as I want to play psychologist, teenagers are much too melodramatic to even be something worth of a study."

Malik scowled. "I am not going through teenage angsts. Those are only for lesser human beings who have no better way of controlling their emotions."

"Right." Isis nodded, rolling her eyes. "And iPods fly."

"The damn thing wasn't working!" he yelled, pointing at the miserable thing. "It refused to work! Look at it, Isis—it's gone completely stupid!"

"Just like your brain," his sister added sagely. "We'll go get it fixed. As for now, try not to do anything moronic. Teenagers tend to do that."

He folded his arms. "Don't you dare compare me to those people!"

"Above the whole food chain now, aren't we?" Isis smirked. "Well, you may be smarter, but you're still a teenager. This must be because you never had fits of drama back then…now you're having a teenage angst every other week! I hope you get it out of your system soon!" and she waved goodbye, laughing.

He was not going through teenage angsts.

He wasn't.

Malik scowled. His sister was wrong. He was not being dramatic.

He bit his lip, and buried his face into his pillow. Tomorrow…

I'll talk to him tomorrow.

His talk with Yugi made him realize a few things he'd rather not realize. He knew his course of action was not working, and he wasn't making anyone happy. That was why…he had to solve it himself.


Classes were finally over, and Marik decided to finally find his Outkast and talk to him. Luckily, he spotted Malik walking in his direction. Marik took a deep breath, crossing his fingers that the other wouldn't walk away. "Hey," he called out softly. The other boy tensed slightly, before walking up to him in resignation.

"We need to talk," Malik said, avoiding his gaze.

"Yeah," he agreed, noting the other's expression with concern. "But not here." So they walked in uncomfortable silence to the school garden. The lovers always frequented this place during class hours, but nobody stayed there after school. They could have privacy there.

The two of them settled in a bench. Malik was not saying anything, so Marik decided to speak up first. "Are you mad at me?"

Malik looked away. "…No," he mumbled.

"So why are you avoiding me?"

"I—" he bit his lip. "I can't explain. It's hard. I've been thinking…about a lot of things. And I don't know what to do."

"Can't I help?" Marik said hopefully.

"You can't."

Marik's expression fell. "Oh." He tried not to feel a little hurt. "I'm sorry."

"For what?" Malik asked softly, still adamantly avoiding Marik's gaze.

"Well, I must have done something to make you hate me…" he said sadly.

"I don't hate you," Malik suddenly interrupted, biting his lip. I love you. "It's just…complicated."

"Please explain," Marik pleaded. "I want to understand."

He shook his head. "You don't. You don't want to understand." I don't want to understand myself…he closed his eyes, wishing this was just a horrible nightmare and he was going to wake up soon and everything was going to be alright.

He felt someone's hand take his own. He opened his eyes to see Marik clasping it gently. "I don't want to force you if you don't want to be friends," he said quietly. "But I just want to tell you…that I really like you." His heart jumped, and he willed it to stop beating so fast. "You're a great person, and I really want to get to know you better. Give me a chance. I'm not so bad."

Malik laughed despite the cold that suddenly took hold of him at the other's words. He just wants to be friends. Just friends, and nothing more. He had been so stupid. "I can't."

"Why not?"

Malik shook his head, feeling frustrated. "Why can't you just give up?"

The other grinned helplessly. "I'm very persistent. Sorry." There was silence. "If you want, I'll go away and leave you alone. But I just wanted to know…if I did something wrong, and if I can do anything to make it right again."

"It's not your fault."

Marik still held his hand. "Are you sure?"

"I—" God, it hurt so much. Being so near him and yet being nothing. Malik could feel the tears threatening to fall. "I can't just be friends with you."

He frowned. "Why—"

"I'm really sorry." Malik stood up. "I have to go."

And he walked away.


Okay, so this took forever. I know. But I'm not into the Yu-Gi-Oh! fandom anymore. In fact, I've completely lost interest.

That doesn't mean I'm leaving this fic unfinished. I'll try to tie up the story with my original plan for it, but don't expect my updates to be quick, and the writing might be a little choppy, like this chapter. I'm really sorry, especially to all my readers.

Don't lose hope, though. Something just might spark my interest. And I might rewrite this someday. But for now, it'll be the sad thing it is now.