A/N: This is a side story, though it is not significant to the other, which will not be posted for a long while yet. Both are complete on their own, this is just inspired by a comment made in the main story. Sorry if you couldn't care less and read this note! Read & Review please!

Snow Bunnies

Ryou felt his face grow hot when Malik shifted under the blanket they were sharing on the couch in his living room and their hands brushed in the small space between them.

The other boy had been here for a few days now, ever since their darks had gone on another rampage in their bodies and left them bruised and bleeding together on the floor of his bedroom. They were lucky it was winter since their evil halves seemed to abhor the cold and spent little time taking over their bodies to go out in it, giving them a small break for once.

They'd spent the first day after basically passed out on the floor after barely managing to help dress each other's wounds. When they awoke late the next day food was found after taking showers and replacing the blood-encrusted clothes they had on with clean ones and redoing bandages. It had snowed sometime in the night after they'd gone to bed with Malik in the guest room. It was only today that they were actually able to move almost normally. Currently they were sitting together under an extra blanket, since it cost money Ryou didn't really have to pay the bills for heating, and watching TV.

Malik suddenly slipping from beneath the blanket startled him and he watched as the other made his way over to the window to press his forehead and hands to the glass. Bandages starting on his tan arms from under his short shirtsleeves wrapped tightly down all the way to disappear beneath the gold on his forearms that he'd replaced after they'd been done. The carefully wrapped bandages allowed movement so Malik was able to bend them and get close to the windowpane. "Look Ryou." The awe in his voice brought the other over, the pale teenager walked with a slight limp holding his ribs with an arm bandaged like Malik's and his other hanging by his side in the same state.

The dark's had been fighting each other again with knives, explaining the dozens of cuts covering their torsos along with a few burns from when they'd heated the blades.

A soft smile with the underlying sadness that was always there came to Ryou's face when he stood next to Malik and looked out. It was snowing lightly outside, the little white flakes adding to the piles from the heavy snowfall the night before. This was Malik's first time actually seeing it in person and his face showed the childish wonder he felt while looking out.

After swiping the cool glass for what seemed like the hundredth time to clear the fog his breath caused, Malik gave up and pulled open the window, sticking his hand out to catch the snow. Watching fascinated as the tiny flakes melted against the warmth of his palm, he spoke in that same quietly awed tone. "It's that frozen rain, like you said happened last night."

"Snow. Remember Malik?" The Egyptian nodded before reaching out for more snowflakes. Ryou closed the window this time when Malik brought his hand in and spoke softly, "It is too cold to leave it open like that, but we can go out in it if we go dress in some warmer clothes, for a little while at least, if you like?"

Malik's lilac eyes lit up a little as he wiped his wet hand on his borrowed jeans and breathed out, "I would love to." Ryou smiled and beckoned for the excited teen to follow up to his room. They got bundled up in warm sweaters and heavy jackets before going back down, conveniently leaving their accursed millennium items behind.

Opening the closet by the front door, Ryou pulled out two pairs of boots, "You may use the pair I bought recently, I have another, older pair I can use." They pulled them on and Ryou grabbed of a couple of scarves hanging there and helped Malik get it situated around his neck, the Egyptian was shifting on his feet a little, eager to get out into this new (to him) phenomenon called snow.

Malik stepped out, his mouth open for his warm breathes to puff out into a visible vapor as he looked with amazement at the white snowy landscape before him. It was quit in the streets since everyone was at school or work; they hadn't been able to go due to their injuries. "Wow." Ryou followed as he walked out into it and looked up at the sky, closing his eyes as the little white flakes fell onto them to catch in his long lashes.

Hugging himself for warmth, Ryou smiled at the other teen, the sadness barely visible as he watched the peaceful look over come Malik's face. Malik's eyes sprung open and his companion couldn't help laughing when he stuck his tongue out to catch some snow on it, jumping when it immediately turned to cool water before running down his throat. Turning, he gave Ryou a lopsided half-grin before tilting his face up once more, spinning a little in the 'frozen rain' drifting down.

Ryou was glad to see Malik smile; the teen had become very somber, much like his sister, after the ordeals of Battle City. It hadn't been up until right before Marik reappeared that he'd started to lighten up, the evil presence's return had shattered what little happiness Malik had found. He squatted down and began rolling a snowball, deciding it was the perfect opportunity to teach his friend the fine art of a snowball fight. The snow stuck together easily into a moderately sized snowball, after putting a knee to the snow for balance Ryou threw it at the blonde, hitting him in the chest and laughing when Malik stopped dead still to look down at the snow splattered on his front in shock.

Unlike Malik, Ryou had become so accustomed to this way of living that he'd learned to push past it sometimes just to have whatever fun he could. Standing, he lobbed the next snowball at Malik's chest, laughing again when his hands came up automatically to block it but only succeeded in deflecting a good majority of it onto his face when it burst apart.

Sputtering in indignation Malik wiped his face free of the snow, his voice going a little harsh as he questioned a bit on the loud side, "What was that for?"

Kneeling Ryou began to roll another, smiling as he spoke with good natured humor, "Do not get so offended Malik! It was only a snowball. It is like a game; you take a handful or so of snow and pack it into a ball then try and hit someone with it." Another one was thrown, only this time Malik dodged it, his face lighting up with recognition.

"Kind of like that time at the park with the water balloons right? It's a war game."

"Exactly." Ryou was concentrated on making another projectile and missed Malik making on of his own, he yelped and barely missed falling over when wet snow connected with the side of his face. Malik laughed a little as he blinked in surprise, then gave a shout of his own as he tried dodging one thrown at him, but got caught in the stomach.

When Malik knelt to make another snowball Ryou took this opportunity to scoop up as much snow as he could in his arms and sneak up on his unsuspecting prey, dumping the whole load over Malik's head. The Egyptian shot up straight to his feet, "Cold! I'm going to get you for that!" He chased after Ryou with his snowball in hand, both laughing as they went around the yard. Ryou turned to dodge a snow pile on the ground and Malik's well-aimed snowball caught him in the same place as before on his face.

Malik slipped in the snow and crashed into Ryou, sending them both laughing to the ground, with him on top of the white–haired teenager in the snow.

Slowly their laughter died down and they just stared at each other, Malik making no move to get off, nor Ryou trying to push him away, though his hands rested against the blonde's chest. Pale and tan cheeks alike were flushed from the cold and the way they were laying in the snow. Without a single thought to it, Malik began lowering his lips to meet Ryou's, never breaking eye contact as he did. Their lips were only inches apart… two inches… one, but at the last second, both chickened out and turned their faces away. Malik climbed up and offered a hand to Ryou, then looked slightly alarmed at the other's strange behavior.

"What are you doing? Are you okay?" Ryou laughed at this as he swept his arms and legs through the snow, stopping after a minute to take Malik's hand and stand up.

"Of course I am fine, I was making a snow angel. I need to be careful or I could ruin it." He blushed as Malik picked him up by his waist and spun him free of the impression in the snow before setting him down. Swallowing his nervousness Ryou pointed to it, "See?"

"Oh. I want to make one." Malik's tone was quiet again but his eyes held a small sparkle of happiness in them as he turned to Ryou for instructions.

"Just stand right there next to mine and fall backwards, make sure you have enough room for your arms so they do not overlap though." Ryou smiled when teen did, returning the favor of helping Malik up out of the impression.

Frowning, Malik examine his angel, it didn't look quite right, "I messed it up, it looks like its wearing pants and its wings are connected to its body."

"Try again, only this time keep your legs together so the snow will not pile up between them." His voice was the gentle one of a patient teacher as he moved Malik to stand on the other side of his angel opposite Malik's first one and made sure to nudge his legs together and start him with his arms outstretched. "There, now try. But do not bring your arms all the way to your body when you do it this time."

"Alright…" Malik seemed skeptical but did it anyways, smiling when after Ryou helped him up, he looked down to find a perfect angel next to Ryou's. "Pretty. What else do people do with this frozen rain stuff?"

"Well… You can build a fort, they are usually for helping in snowball ball fights." He couldn't help but smile at how the Egyptian forgot to call it snow and the confused look that over took his face after he was told about the new activity.

"A fort?"

"It is like making a sand castle, only with the snow we will be able to make the walls large enough to sit inside. They are used as a shield for blocking the 'enemy' snowballs."

Malik's face lit up with understanding, "Oh! You pack it into the walls of the fort like with the snowballs. Can we make one?"

"If you like, we can do it on the other side of the yard and leave the angels here." Nodding eagerly Malik took Ryou's hand and pulled him over away from the angels and they began building a fort together.

It was a little while later when Malik turned away from the wall he was working on to be met with Ryou's back, the white-haired teen was humming softly as he worked on something on the ground instead of the half formed wall in front of him. Malik walked up behind him unnoticed until he spoke, "What are you doing?"

Ryou gave a startled yelp and would have fallen had Malik not caught his arm; he put a hand to his rapidly beating heart and gasped for air in between words, "Malik! You know you cannot come up behind me like that!"

"Sorry Ryou."

"It is alright, just try not to do it again." Ryou moved to the side to reveal two lumps of snow on the ground, "I am making snow bunnies, I was just about to put the eyes when you startled me." Malik squatted down next to him as Ryou picked up some round stones he'd fished from the nearby flowerbed and pressed them into the proper places to give the bunnies eyes. He'd carefully shaped the snow to give them ears and legs, though they were rather big for bunnies, so the detail could be seen, they were cute nonetheless. "What do you think?" Malik blinked at the smiling face so close to his own for a moment before looking back to the little snow creatures, taken off guard by being asked for his opinion. Not many actually cared what he thought.

"They are kind of cute." Though this was said with his usual solemnity he couldn't help the little smile that came when Ryou gave him a dazzlingly sweet one for the complement. But it soon fell at Ryou's next words; though it was obvious the English teen did not relish them.

"We really should go in soon, or we may get sick. We have been out here for so long already." He stood, brushing the snow from his pants and Malik followed.

"But what about…" Malik trailed off and gestured to the half completed fort around them, upset at having to go back inside when it felt like they'd only just come out.

"The snow will still be here tomorrow Malik." His tone was gentle when he noticed the disappointment in Malik's eyes and voice.

Malik's eyes dimmed, becoming flat as he looked around blankly and then murmuring brokenly, he stared up at the gray sky, "Yeah… But we might not be here…"

"Oh please do not say things like that Malik." His voice was trembling as if on the verge of tears.

"It's true, this could be my first and last time in the snow and there is not a single thing we can do about it if they decide that they would just prefer us to never wake up any where but our soul rooms ever again. Do you think dying is just like going to sleep and never waking up again? Would we even die if they decided to do that? Or maybe our souls would just waste away; unable to live on the brief glimpses of the world they would give us for the pure pleasure of reminding us of something just out of reach, until we just faded away to nothing, not even passing on properly since we never actually died."

"Please don't…"

Both had tears running down their faces, falling off to make tiny holes in the snow as Malik continued without looking down from the bleak sky, ignoring Ryou's soft protest, "How do you do it Ryou? You have suffered this for years longer than I have, yet I have still seen you give me, and other people, genuine smiles. How can you smile when there is so little in your life to be happy about thanks to him?" Malik looked to Ryou, crying just as much as the other teenager was.

"I still smile because," He made a hopeless gesture with his hands, "this really could be the last day, hour, even minute of my life and if I have learned anything from the sudden passing of my mother and sister it is that you could never predict when you will be taken from this world. I refuse to spend my life dwelling on my death because that would make what little time I may have left pointless…" Ryou took Malik's hand and squeezed it imploringly, "Don't you understand? I am able to smile because I am still here, and so are you."

Malik let out a shuddering breath before nodding and taking his hand back to wipe the tears from his face with gloved fingers, Ryou mimicking his movements to get rid of his own tears. It wasn't until they were gone completely from his face that he spoke softly, looking up as it began to snow again, heavier than it had earlier in the morning, "You are right Ryou… and I admire you, you have more courage and heart than anyone I have ever known. They were right to call me a coward, I'm not like you, I'm afraid." He looked down when Ryou's hand landed gently on his shoulder; there was a soft, slightly sad smile on his face that matched his voice perfectly when he spoke.

"We are more alike than you think Malik, just because I have excepted the fact they I may suddenly not be here any longer, does not mean I am not absolutely terrified of it. Come on, it is starting to really snow now. We can go in and get warm; I will make a fire in the fireplace in the den for us." Malik nodded and followed him after one last longing look around that allowed some of the large snowflakes to settle on his long lashes.

Their snow clothes were discarded to dry in the small entryway, both shivered as they made their way through the cold house to the den. Seldom used, the den looked more like an office than anything; it was where his father did his work when home and Ryou rarely had use for it himself. Kneeling on the plush dark green carpet Ryou made a fire, soon it was casting a warm glow over the room with it's flickering light. "If you will excuse me for just a moment Malik." Ever the polite one, Ryou waited for Malik to nod before leaving the teen standing uncomfortably in the middle of the room. He returned several minutes later with the blanket they'd been sharing earlier along with two mugs with steam coming from them. He smiled gratefully when Malik took the blanket, "I made us some hot chocolate, it will help to warm us. Let's sit."

They sat in front of the fireplace together, the blanket draped over their shoulders and each with a warm mug in their hands, a small space remained between them like before as they stared into the fire. Malik took a sip of his chocolate then spoke quietly with a glance over to his companion, "It's good, thank you."

Ryou flushed slightly and looked down into his own drink, "Your welcome."

It was silent between them after that except for the crackling of the flames. Ryou finished his cocoa and set the empty mug next to Malik's in front of them, then, in a move that was very bold for him, scooted over and closed the gap between them under the pretense of wanting more blanket around himself. It was Malik though who was truly the bold one, the light pink both had from Ryou's doing turned into full blown blushes when he intertwined their fingers. It seemed so natural for them to be like that, that neither even really seemed to notice when Ryou's head tilted to lie on his companion's shoulder, nor when Malik's cheek came to rest on the snowy hair of his kind friend.

Though that was untrue, they really were somewhere beyond friendship now, in that gray hazy area between friendship and a slightly deeper relationship. Soon they both became drowsy, using so much of the little energy that was left while their bodies healed to play in the snow and the warmth of the fire had made them that way. Neither of them would ever really remember how they ended up cuddled together lying on the floor in front of the fire when they looked back on this day. Only that that was the one time they'd ever felt safe going to sleep while still under the terrible reign of the evil beings that used them for their own gain.

Before Ryou drifted off completely he looked into the hazy, almost completely closed, lilac eyes in front of his own as they lied on their sides wrapped in each other's comforting embrace, Malik barely hearing him murmur softly as they fell asleep, "We will be truly happy someday Malik, I know it." A heavy burden seemed to lift from both their hearts as the words held what felt like the undeniable truth in them.

After all, one way or another, they would eventually be free of the oppressive lives they now led…

()()()End()()()

A/N: Thanks for reading if you did! Reviews are appreciated; ridiculous flames will be laughed at and fed to Fluffy.

Wish He Was Mine

B.T.W. I am aware the title seems to have no actual significance to the story but that also kind of comes from the main one.