Fate: For Liviania. See, this is what happens when you actually pay attention to the bio up there. You get nifty things like this. Mwahaha. This is waaaay overdue though. Much sorryness for that.

Disclaimer: Not ours, go away, et cetera.



"I know you're in there."

The door swung open. "And how did you know that?"

"Ask me again sometime when I've figured it out," was the cryptic reply.

"Tell me something."


"Why are you standing on my doorstep at two in the morning, Jounouchi Katsuya?"

The blonde's eyes are hidden in shadow, and even when he looks directly at the other, his eyes are still near-impossible to see.

"Why do you plague my dreams, Ishtar Malik?"

Hair like gold and hair like sand, each hiding their own brand of pale eyes. "I've done no such thing."

Jounouchi raised one hand and brushed his hair from his forehead. "Do you see anything there?"

"No." Cool. Disdainful. Beautiful. Sin and delirium standing five foot seven in worn blue jeans and a sleeveless shirt, leaning against the doorjamb with a clatter of bracelets. "Are you drunk, Jounouchi Katsuya?"

"Heh." Jounouchi tossed his hair back and tilted his face up into the light of the outdoor lamp. "No, Ishtar Malik, I'm not. Are you disappointed?"

"No." Yes. "Are you ever going to get to the point of why you're here?" Are you going to walk away?

"You haunt my mind and plague my dreams, Ishtar Malik. We've been over this." Jounouchi smiled under his gold mop of hair, his teeth showing slightly.

"I haven't the faintest idea what you're talking about," Malik said impatiently.

"I think you do," Jounouchi replied softly, reaching forwards and drawing the Rod from Malik's pocket. "I think that you do."

Malik froze, willing himself not to flinch before the blonde twirling the gold ornament through his fingers. "I wasn't responsible for any of that," he breathed. "You know I…"

Jounouchi smiled again, this time more widely. "Don't try and fool me, Ishtar Malik. I haven't spent all this time with the other Sennen Item holders without learning that if the host doesn't want something…their power of influence is great. I think you liked it," he whispered, drawing closer to the shorter boy. "I think you liked it a good deal."

Malik tossed his hair. "Do you think your precious friend Bakura liked it too?"

Jounouchi kept smiling. "Oh, yes. Yes, I think he did."

Malik stopped breathing for a moment. "Well then, Jounouchi Katsuya, what would you like me to do?"

"I would like to know why I can dream of nothing but you since you possessed me and used me for your own machinations?" Jounouchi purred, taking another step forwards. "I would like to know why when every time I look in the mirror, I see that eye on my forehead. I'm still being possessed, Ishtar Malik."

"Come inside," Malik muttered, stepping back from the door. "Rishid and Isis went to England for the museum."

"What about your yami?" Jounouchi inquired.

"You're the one holding the Rod," Malik reminded him. "He won't come out. He doesn't care."

Jounouchi laid the Rod down on the nearest table. "Now talk to me. Why am I still under your control?"

"Maybe you want to be, Jounouchi Katsuya," Malik sneered. "Maybe you can't stand to not be dominated by someone, now that Kaiba's too busy to crush you into the dirt."

"Maybe you didn't want to let me go, Ishtar Malik," Jounouchi retorted. "Maybe you still want me. Maybe that's why I'm here at two in the morning, talking to you."

"Maybe it's because you're a determined little puppy," Malik spat, folding his arms angrily.

"Maybe you hypnotized me again," Jounouchi pointed out. "So many maybes, and none of them are right."

"Why don't you just tell me the truth, Jounouchi Katsuya?" Malik asked.

"And then what will you do? Quietly go back to sleep? Watch some TV?" Jounouchi inquired. "What are you going to do if I tell you the truth, Ishtar Malik? Will you reply in kind?"

"Is there any truth to this matter at all?" Malik demanded angrily. "You're sending me round in circles, and for what? What have I done to you that I haven't repented for? What have I done now? What do you want to blame me for? I don't understand!"

"I want to blame you for everything," Jounouchi replied simply.

"And why is that?"

"Because now my entire life revolves around this shadow of you," Jounouchi mused. "And I want to know if you're anything like the phantom you left in my head."

"And what is this phantom like, Jounouchi Katsuya?" Malik inquired.

Jounouchi reached out, touched a strand of Malik's hair. "Why don't you show me what you're like first?"

"What the hell do you mean by that?" Malik demanded, lifting his chin imperiously. "What the hell do you mean by bursting into my house at two in the morning raving like a lunatic?"

Jounouchi smiled and withdrew his hand. "As I recall, Ishtar Malik, you're the one who let me in."

"You're not answering my question!" Malik barked. "Answer me!"

Jounouchi bit back the angry retort brewing in his mind, taking his time to form a calmer retort.


Still wondering quite how to phrase it.

"Fucking talk to me!"

Jounouchi's control snapped. "Because you told me to come here! Dammit, you asked me to come here. You ordered it! Do you think I wanted to walk trustingly into the house of someone who enslaved me and tried to kill me? Do you think this was all my idea? It was yours! If I wanted to talk to you, I'd call you out! I wouldn't blindfold myself and walk into the lion's den. I'd have this meeting on my terms. But here I am." Jounouchi threw his arms out, disgusted. "Here I am," he repeated wonderingly.

"I did not ask you here," Malik ground out.

Jounouchi folded his arms, tossed his hair. Smirked. "Didn't you?"

"What do you want me to say?" Malik snapped. "'Yes, I asked you here to make you my love-slave. Now get on your knees, bitch, and wait there, 'cause I put my handcuffs somewhere and need to look for them?' Go to hell."

"Did that," Jounouchi retorted. "I didn't really like it. I don't think you did, either. Too bad."

"I think I might hate you," Malik said wearily. "I don't hate many people."

"You just kind of dislike most of humanity, and that's why you want to kill them all. Us people you hate, you just possess us and haunt us until we either give in or we die," Jounouchi snarled. "I don't sleep at night. I don't go places during the day. I just stay awake like a machine, thinking about you, resisting the pull, trying to stay away from you. Trying to pretend it's all in my head and I'm just insane. But I'm not. You're the crazy one. You're absolutely insane."

Malik blinked at him. There was an eyelash clinging to the point on his face where the skin stretched most tightly over a protruding cheekbone. Jounouchi reached out, brushed it away. "What are you doing, Jounouchi Katsuya?"

"Do you eat?" Jounouchi wondered. "Do you sleep at night? Do you function like a normal person? Do you go on with your life like normal without ghosts from the past waiting for you when you move? Around every corner, in every part of your house, lurking in your mind? Can you breathe without remembering, Ishtar Malik?"

"I hate you," Malik repeated, closing his eyes and twisting away. "I hate you."

"I don't hate you," Jounouchi replied. "I can't hate you anymore. It's like hating your hair, hating your fingernails, hating yourself. It can be done, it happens all the time. But is it real? You don't know. Because what are you, if the thing you hated were to disappear? You would feel immensely better. But...maybe you wouldn't exist. Is that what you want? Sometimes, it is. But if so, then were you ever anything to begin with?"

"Cut the philosophic shit," Malik snapped. "Stop it! Just stop it!"

"Can you live with what you have become if you lose your hatred?" Jounouchi put one hand under Malik's chin and turned the other boy's face to his, startling the Egypt-raised blonde's eyes to fly open in surprise. "Your hatred is a powerful thing. It created that," he added, nodding towards the Rod. "It might have created something else."

"Warm fuzzy feelings for you? Some connection between us that drew you to me?" Malik asked scornfully.

Jounouchi smiled meditatively, his fingers wandering back to Malik's hair. "You'd be surprised."

"I bet," Malik muttered. "Now what, Jounouchi Katsuya? Don't you have anything better to do than fondle me?"

"And here I thought you were vain and egocentric," Jounouchi commented to the world at large. "What are you, Ishtar Malik? What sort of creature are you, that you can compel me and haunt me and hate me all at once?"

"I am many things," Malik said calmly, ignoring the fingers twisting in his hair as best he could. "I don't think I could show you everything that I am."

"I think you could," Jounouchi said, a smirk playing across his face.

"And how — oomf!" Malik stared wide-eyed at the boy who had grabbed him and was now holding him firmly by the upper arms. "Jounouchi Katsuya, what are you doing?!"

"Everything I am, everything you are. Here. Now. Is it a deal?" Jounouchi asked.

Malik closed his eyes. Everything you are. Everything I am.


He knew he was going to be kissed. He knew he was going to be kissed. He knew he was going to be kissed, and he still jumped when lips touched his own. He still let everything go and drowned in darkness. He still followed that same achingly familiar path of dreams to someone else's mind. The only difference that Malik could find was that it was right there, right now, and he could feel everything on the outside as well as inside.

He'd known it would come to this ever since he'd established that link.

And now he was being pushed up against the wall, his shirt being undone and pushed over his shoulders, with Jounouchi Katsuya's teeth on his neck and Jounouchi Katsuya's hands on his skin, and all he could think was dazzled, haphazard flashes, because he'd been waiting for this and baiting him into it for so long that he'd almost forgotten his goal.

"You knew I set this up?" he breathed.

"I've known everything about you ever since you started it," Jounouchi whispered. "Everything I never wanted to know about you, Ishtar Malik."

Malik let his eyes drift shut in submission. "Everything..." Blonde hair that wasn't his own touched his forehead, bringing reality back with a strange shuddering feeling. "I didn't mean to do it."

"But you did." Jounouchi let him go abruptly and took two steps back, standing with arms and legs akimbo. "And you got me. Good for you. Game over. You won. Now what will you do?"

Malik took a deep breath. Looked up. "Game over." He smiled, shadows swirling around the pair. "Batsu geemu." He held out one hand, curled the fingers back towards his palm in a lazy, summoning gesture. "Jounouchi Katsuya."


Fluffy: The horizontal line is doing funny things. Bleh. Oh well. Be afraid! Be very afraid!

Duel: Review. Mwahaha. Ha. Ha.