Calai'di: Ugh, I really hate that stupid new editing thing did. It was a waste of time, honestly.

Warnings: There's an impression of rape in this chap, but I didn't really have it there or anything.

Arabic:

dalma: dark

laa: no

kiff: stop

min fadlak: please


Chapter 5: Picking Locks

---His blood has frozen and curdled with fright,

His knees have trembled and given way in the night…---

Malik was shoved unceremoniously into his soul room for the first time at the age of twelve. There, he got to watch as his yami used his body to strip the flesh from his father's back, which obviously led to the man's death. Then, Malik's memory of watching the event was erased when he was given back control of his body, and he had to watch his father die his gruesome death without knowing who was responsible–a fact that he didn't learn until years later.

Merik figured out how to manifest a form of his own when Malik was fourteen, and their first confrontation was more than interesting....

Malik slumped sleepily onto his bed; it was after lessons, and was now nighttime–or maybe early morning, he didn't know–on the surface. Not that what happened up there had anything to do with his life. His uncle could drag him out of bed at three in the morning or five in the evening; it didn't matter to the Honorary Tomb Keeper. A flame of hatred briefly flared up in his heart at the thought of his uncle, a man nearly as bad as his father had been, as he stood up to blow up the torches lining the walls of his room.

"Heh, heh, heh, heh...."

Malik whirled around angrily at the laughing voice. No one was supposed to be in here; no one even knew where this room was. And that laugh sounded so evil and dark...but there was no one else in the room that it could have come from. Maybe ghosts...? He sighed and turned back around–

"Boo!"

The hikari screamed and jumped backward, landing on his back on the bed. That guy had just appeared out of nowhere, right behind him, and his voice sound so cold and heartless. And–Malik's eyes grew wider as he stared–this guy looked just like him, though slightly older and with much spikier hair. But there were the same lavender-colored eyes, the same oddly tanned body...how could someone who looked so much like him sound so evil?

"Wh-who are you?" Malik demanded, mentally admonishing himself for stuttering. "How did you come here?"

The stranger chuckled softly and stepped closer to Malik. "Who do you think I am, Malik? And where do you think I came from, little Tomb Keeper?"

"I don't want to play games!" the hikari said angrily as the stranger stopped right in front of him. He realized that he was still lying on his back and quickly sat up to avoid anything dirty.

"I am your worst nightmare," the stranger replied, leaning over the teen, "and your biggest fear...yet I could be your best friend and greatest ally. If you help me."

Malik shrank back a little, pressing against the wall. "Help you with what? Who are you?"

"I am the one that will kill the Nameless Pharaoh." The stranger smirked at Malik's confused expression and added kindly, "Don't you see, Malik? It was the Pharaoh, the one whom you pray for every day, that has so completely ruined you life. He was the one that killed your father."

Malik shook his head frantically. "No, no, that can't be...."

"Listen to me, Malik!" The stranger's voice was filled with urgency and a trace of anger. "You know that your father's death is all the Pharaoh's fault. You've been told this before."

"No, no, I won't believe that...it couldn't be...."

"It was. It's the Pharaoh's fault your father is dead–"

"No, no!"

"–It is the Pharaoh's fault you have lived in this hole your entire life–"

"No, I can't believe that!"

"–It is the Pharaoh's fault you have those tattoos on your back–"

"What?! How–"

"–And it is the Pharaoh's fault Rishid almost died all those years ago."

Malik stared up at his look-alike wide eyed. "How do you know all that about me?"

The stranger smirked and crawled onto the bed, pinning Malik against the wall. "Because I am you, Malik. And you are mine...."


Merik stood nervously before his hikari's door, a small metal wire held tightly in his hand. Surprisingly, he was starting to rethink what he was about to do; if Malik already didn't trust him enough that his door was locked, how would he ever trust the yami if he picked that lock? But he really wanted to try, to hold Malik in his arms as he slept, to comfort the hikari through any nightmares he might have...

His makeshift lock-pick was already in the lock before misgivings began to form in his mind again. If he did this and gained entrance to the room, would Malik hate him more? He really didn't want that to happen, not after he'd come so far as to get a hug from his hikari just before bed. He didn't know if he could stand it, going back to square one or worse.

His legs trembled slightly and he dropped to his knees, confused as to what to do. If he unlocked the door, he'd make himself very happy, but Malik would probably hate him more. If he didn't open the door, he'd be as unhappy as he was now, but Malik would be happy and their relationship would probably keep improving.

"Aghhhh! Gods–aghhhhhhh! Oh gods, help me! Someone! Min fadlak! Please!"

Merik's gaze snapped to the door, behind which his hikari was yelling and screaming. What had happened to him? No could have gotten into the room; the door and windows were locked. But he had to help his hikari; he'd kill whoever was causing the boy to scream like that.

The lock was picked in an instant, thanks to the lessons he'd gotten from Bakura earlier that day, and he desperately entered the room to find that no one else, besides Malik and himself, was there. Malik was thrashing around, his limbs caught in the sheets, yelling at nobody. But something had to have happened for the hikari to be screaming so.

Merik walked over to the bed, remarking silently the beauty his hikari betrayed even while he was thrashing around, and tried to shake him awake. I didn't work as well as he thought, but the hikari at least stopped fighting the invisible person; his screaming increased however. Merik tried shaking the boy again, but it only resulted in the screams decreasing a bit; Malik was still fast asleep, in the middle of a horrible nightmare by the sound of it.

The yami didn't know what to do; he couldn't think of how else to wake someone, so he kept trying to shake Malik awake. And after several minutes of this, the hikari finally quieted and whimpered softly as he left his dream world. Malik's eyes shot open and Merik saw they were filled with fear and very unfocused as he looked frantically around. He finally spotted Merik and, to the yami's great surprise and delight, rocked into his arms, tears streaming unhindered down his cheeks.

Merik wrapped his arms lovingly around his hikari, rocking back and forth to try and calm him down. And though he knew that reliving the nightmare might hurt Malik more, his curiosity was overwhelming.

"Malik, please calm down," he whispered comfortingly. "Tell me what happened, please, Malik."

"Y-you...b-but...wh-why...?"

Merik hugged him tightly. "Just tell me what happened, Hikari."

"I-it was wh-when we first m-met..." Malik sobbed, "wh-when I-I was f-four-t-teen."

"When I told you that the Pharaoh was responsible for everything?" Merik asked, beginning to remember that night.

"A-and you s-said th-that i-it was h-his f-fault about R-Rishid..."

"Well, it was. If he wasn't around, your life would have been much different."

"A-a-and th-then y-you–"

"Shhh, quiet, Malik. I don't need to know any more." It was true; he didn't need to hear it from Malik because he already knew exactly what had happened that night. That night, Merik had bound his hikari to himself in a way he wished he'd never done, and the poor boy would never be truly innocent again.

"Dalma...laa...kiff..." Malik murmured as he slipped back into his dreams. Merik shook him gently to keep him awake.

"Shhh, Hikari, stay with me, please...you don't need to go back there..."

"Y-Yami, stay with me...?" the hikari whispered, snuggling subconsciously into Merik's chest.

"Well, I–"

"Please?" Malik asked again. Merik got over his initial surprise and agreed, pulling Malik with him as he lay down.

"Good night, Hikari," Merik murmured, holding the teen close.

"Good night, Yami..."


Malik groaned softly as he woke up, wondering slightly why it was so warm waking up this morning. He could barely remember what had happened earlier that morning except that he'd had a nightmare, one that he never wanted to have ever again. So when he opened his eyes, he did not expect to see that his door was open. Nor did he expect to suddenly notice the tan arm that was lying onto of him.

He turned slowly over to find that Merik was snuggling up next to him.

"Agh! Merik! What are you doing in here?!"

Merik shot to his feet, staring wide-eyed and almost sheepishly down at his hikari.

"I, uh, I...you wanted me to sleep with you!" he answered quickly.

"Okay, let's pretend I'll agree with that. How did you get into my room in the first place?!"

"I, uh, I picked the lock?"

Malik buried his face in his hands, trying to calm himself. He would bet almost anything that it had been Bakura's idea to do that.

"All right," he murmured after a few moments, "why did you pick the lock on my door?"

"Because you were screaming."

Malik's head shot up, surprised. "I was what?"

"You were screaming." Now sure that he wasn't going to get killed for being here, Merik sat on the edge of the bed, still staring at his hikari. "I was outside the door, thinking about whether I should risk picking the lock or not, when you started screaming. You were switching back and forth between English and Arabic for most of it. So I picked the lock and woke you up, and you told me you were having a nightmare about the first time we met. And then you asked me to stay with you."

Malik ran all this through his head. So, it was actually a good thing that Merik had picked the lock on his door? Was that why he hadn't killed the yami on sight for breaking one his most scared rules? He could sense said yami was staring at him apprehensively, waiting for some kind of answer. Which Malik chose not to give.

Instead, he calmly got out of bed, picked out a set of clothes from his dresser–a set which he knew would drive Merik crazy–along with his uniform from the previous day, and walked out of the room. The slam of the bathroom door was soon heard in the distance.