Hi everyone, this is a Marik (not the Yami)/ Bakura romance, which means boy/boy, just to warn you, in case that bothers you. But if you're like me, and don't really care, then by all means read and review. Enjoy the story!

Disclaimer: I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh.

Chapter 1: Renewing a Partnership

Life as a world-renowned thief definitely has its ups and downs. Especially when you run out of things to steal.

Once, I was obsessed with stealing all seven of the Sennen Items, ancient Egyptian artifacts that would have granted me all the power in the world. I even had a partner in my evil schemes, Marik, until he went crazy and turned against me, and gave my Sennen Ring to my archenemy the Pharaoh. Now the stupid Pharaoh has almost all the Items, so he's too powerful for me to fight.

I should really choose my allies more wisely.

But I suppose I should introduce myself. I am the aforementioned world-renowned thief, tomb robber, and Spirit of the Sennen Ring. But most people just call me Bakura. After that traitor Marik ruined my plans, I had to leave the Sennen Ring, as well as Ryou, the boy who originally had the Ring and provided the host for my spirit. Ryou, the Pharaoh, and the rest of the fools I had the misfortune to be associated with all thought I had disappeared.

Hah. I told you they were fools. They didn't know that I didn't really need a host; I was perfectly capable of creating a body of my own. I just liked to throw people off track. So now, a month after Marik's betrayal, I was living in a house of my own on the outside of Domino City, close enough to observe the Sennen Items without being noticeable. (I stole the house, by the way. Don't ask how, as it's fairly complicated.)

One day, suffering from extreme boredom, I had taken to lurking in alleyways in the hopes of robbing a few rich passersby (too bad Seto Kaiba knew what I looked like; his wallet could have had me eating lobster for a month) when I heard the sound of a motorcycle speeding down the alley. It sounded strangely familiar...

"Marik!" I snarled nastily under my breath as the platinum blonde Egyptian drove by. Overcome by fury, I leapt from my hiding place and tackled him, sending him sprawling to the ground as the motorcycle sped away rider-less. "I'm going to slit your throat, you sniveling little traitor!" I hissed viciously, pinning him to the ground with one hand as I dug in my pocket for my knife.

He twisted in my grasp and sent a swift knee to my groin, and I howled in pain and dropped his arm. Marik struggled to slide from beneath me, but despite my pain I fell atop him, successfully pinning him with my body weight. Panting, I reached for my knife again, but when I shifted, Marik gasped. I paused. That wasn't a gasp of pain. Shaking my head indifferently, I moved once more for my knife, and I felt Marik tense beneath me.

"Ba-Bakura, oh God," he murmured. Huh? "Bakura, don't stop," Marik breathed.

What? Ew!

I rolled off him and climbed quickly to my feet. "Shut up you sick pervert!" I snapped. "I was trying to cut your throat, not feel you up!"

Marik scrambled to his feet and backed away, eyeing me warily. Then he smirked. "I know," he replied, and took off at full speed.

Well, Marik's certainly gotten smarter since the last time I saw him. Growling angrily, I raced after the athletic blonde, determined to have my revenge. He outpaced me for a few minutes until, suddenly remembering a shortcut; I rushed through an abandoned building and cut him off from the street. Marik, to his credit, showed no trace of fear in his violet eyes as I backed him against a crumbling brick wall. He merely raised his hand and slid it down the back of his purple midriff shirt, and his low-slung black leather pants squeaked as he took a defensive stance.

Now that I think about it, Marik's clothes were kind of slutty. But that's not important.

"What do you think you're doing?" I snarled, whipping out my long, curved switchblade. Marik smirked and drew his hand from his back in a smooth, fluid motion, revealing the Sennen Rod.

"Why, Bakura, I don't think it's fair for you to have a weapon and me not, don't you agree?" he drawled, and twisted the top of the Rod to reveal a sharp knife inside it.

I stared in wonder. So the Pharaoh didn't have the majority of the Sennen Items... "How did you get that? I thought you gave it to the Pharaoh," I gasped, forgetting all about murdering Marik.

He shrugged. "Let's just say a certain thief had an influence on me," Marik replied. I grinned (but it was an evil grin, I promise) at the blonde Egyptian and took a step backward.

"You wouldn't happen to have my Ring by any chance, would you?"

Thus began my second partnership with Marik Ishtar. Unfortunately, he didn't have my Ring, but since we had the Rod, it would be simple to control one of the Pharaoh's mindless followers and steal it from him. In exchange for helping me win back the Sennen Items, I agreed to share power with Marik once I ruled the world, but I really just planned to kill him, since I still hadn't forgiven him for betraying me. Or maybe I'd just make him my slave; I hadn't decided. Either way would be entertaining.

My house on the edge of town became our new headquarters, since Marik had been living in a tiny apartment with his sister- when he moved to my house I think he told her he was moving in with a friend; like she'd believe that. No one who dressed like Marik had friends, unless they were promiscuous female worshippers. Someone needed to tell Marik that he wasn't living in Egypt anymore, and he could wear clothes that actually covered him.

Anyway, I soon found out that having Marik as a houseguest was even more annoying than having him as an ally. The first thing he did was try to redecorate my house- I came home one afternoon from a hard day of thievery to find Marik with a paint can and paintbrush in hand, busily painting the living room a bright shade of violet. (Incidentally, it was the same shade of violet as his eyes.)

"What in the world do you think you're doing?! What kind of fruity color is that?" I cried in horror.

"Hey! I like this color," Marik sulked, offended. Like I cared. "Besides, the house was boring before; it needs to look like a real villain's hideout," he continued, smirking evilly.

"Well, I guess you have a point there," I conceded. "But make it look evil. Paint it black, or something."

"I did- with the rest of the house, I mean," Marik replied excitedly. "This room just needs to be brighter, since we'll come in here to relax." He gestured widely and nearly dripped violet paint all over the carpet.

"What did you do to the rest of my house?" I groaned. My fingers twitched toward my knife- Marik was seriously ticking me off. Marik's face lit up and he grabbed my hand, dragging me through the "villain's hideout," or "evil lair," as he had begun to refer to my home. At least it was appropriate.

I had to admit, the rest of the house looked decent. Somehow, in one day Marik had repainted most of the rooms in either black, gray, or in the case of my bedroom, a reddish-orange shade the color of flames. He had also done something to the furniture so that sharp points resembling devil horns protruded from the corners. I didn't let him know how much I liked it, however. "How did you get the money for all this stuff?" I grumbled.

"Stole it," he replied nonchalantly.

"When? You've only been here a couple of days, and I've been with you the entire time, except for today," I argued.

"I stole it from you," Marik smirked. "You really should put a better lock on your desk."

Despite myself, I was rather impressed. "I guess I really did have an influence on you," I mused thoughtfully. Marik grinned but I immediately continued, "But if you ever try to steal from me again I'll murder you in your sleep, and not even your Sennen Rod will save you this time."

"Whatever, Bakura," Marik sighed. He gazed at me for a moment; then reached up and brushed my cheek with the soft pad of his thumb. "Dirt," he explained.

I saw red. "Don't touch me, you half-dressed pervert!" I snarled, and reached for my knife. Threateningly, I brandished the sharp weapon, sure to let the light reflect from its shiny metal surface.

Marik just rolled his eyes and turned his back on me, striding carelessly back toward the living room. "You really need to lighten up, Bakura," he called over his shoulder.

When had I ceased to instill fear in all those around me, including my allies? Ah, the trials of maintaining a thief's reputation. Now I'd have to rebuild my image. I raced after Marik and grabbed his arm tightly enough to bruise, yanking him close enough to my face so that he could feel my breath against his tanned cheeks as I threatened him quietly. "I wouldn't turn your back on me, if I were you," I growled.

I heard a sharp intake of breath come from the blonde, but he showed no other sign of intimidation, and involuntary respect for him slowly grew in my mind. Marik stared at me levelly through cold violet eyes and replied, "You don't have to threaten me, Bakura. I won't do anything you don't want, since I'm staying in your house. The only reason I stole your money was because I knew you wouldn't give it to me, and you'd already stolen it in the first place."

I loosened my grip ever-so-slightly, and Marik violently tugged his arm from my grasp. I could clearly see the imprint of my fingers against his arm, but Marik made no move to rub his bare arm, or even put on a shirt that covered the rising bruises. Suddenly I felt the urge to apologize to him, but I quickly suppressed the uncharacteristic response and glanced around the room for another topic.

My eyes fell on the paint bucket slowly dripping violet drops onto the plastic tarp Marik had spread beneath the wall. "Do you want me to help you finish painting?" I asked.

Marik grinned.

"Okay, Yugi-tachi walk by here every day when they get out of school; I've been watching them for a while now," I informed Marik as we huddled behind a clump of trees overlooking the sidewalk. Marik stared at me for a long moment, not responding, until I shifted uncomfortably. "What?" I grumbled.

"Are you sure this is a good hiding place? I mean; your hair really stands out- won't they be able to see it through the trees?" Marik asked sensibly.

"Good point," I mused, fingering my long, snow-white locks. "Maybe I could put mud or leaves in it..."

"Don't do that! You'll ruin it!" Marik cried in horror, and I raised an eyebrow. I was beginning to wonder about him. "Here, I have an idea," he continued, and whipped off his purple belly shirt, which had a hood on the back.

"Ew, what are you doing? Put your shirt back on, you fruit!" I exclaimed, recoiling.

Marik just rolled his eyes. "Put this on, so you can cover your hair," he explained. "You can give me your shirt, if I'm making you uncomfortable."

I glanced distastefully at the short shirt, thankful that I wore a striped T-shirt under my blue button-up. Feeling like an idiot, I slipped the sleeveless, violet atrocity over my head and handed Marik my button-up shirt. Marik snickered at the sight of me with my blue and white striped T-shirt poking out from the little hoodie, which hit me just under my ribcage, since I was taller than Marik.

"Shut up!" I snapped, glaring at the blonde, who had casually slipped on my other shirt but left it unbuttoned. "You can button that, you know. You seem awfully fond of showing your stomach," I added viciously.

"When you've got it, flaunt it," Marik replied, unperturbed, running a hand proudly over his muscular chest.

"You are such an idiot," I muttered. I caught a glimpse of something moving in the corner of my eye and quickly made sure all my hair was tucked securely under the hood. "Okay, here they come. I think you should control Jounouchi, since he's closest to Yugi and the Pharaoh."

Marik nodded obediently as Yugi-tachi sauntered down the sidewalk, chattering like a group of pigeons that just found a generous bag lady. Marik lifted his Sennen Rod and chanted softly, and Jounouchi suddenly froze.

"Jou, are you okay?" Yugi asked worriedly.

"Yes," Jou/Marik replied. "I just realized something."

"What?" Yugi-tachi chorused in disbelief. Apparently Jounouchi realized very little. I elbowed Marik in the side, smirking.

"If you want to have a little fun, too, go ahead," I whispered. Matching evil grins spread across our faces.

"Well, Yugi," Jou/Marik sighed, "I know you like Anzu..." (At this, Yugi blushed and Anzu gasped, as if it hadn't been obvious to everyone anyway.) "...but I've realized that I love you. Would you please be mine?" Jou/Marik asked, and got down on one knee. Anzu fainted.

Marik and I couldn't control our snickers any longer, and we sniggered uncontrollably into our hands. Ah, the joys of being evil. Unfortunately, however, when Marik laughed so did Jounouchi.

"MWAH HA HA!" Jou/Marik chortled, still on one knee. "Er... I'm sorry, Pharaoh- I mean Yugi. I was just joking." I slapped the back of Marik's head, and he gave me a half apologetic, half annoyed glance.

"Oh, that's okay. It was really funny," Yugi replied, and he, Jou, and the guy with his hair in one big point continued strolling down the sidewalk. They forgot to pick up Anzu. Good.

Marik motioned for me to follow him, and we stealthily crept along behind Yugi-tachi. I took off the hoodie, since we weren't hiding in the bushes anymore and it just made me more conspicuous to wear it. Plus I felt really stupid in it. Marik, however, made no move to remove my shirt (or button it), so, in a moment of wicked inspiration, I dropped the slutty purple thing in a garbage can on the side of the road. Heh, Marik would be furious.

While Jounouchi was under Marik's mind control, Marik could see everything Jou did. Therefore, Marik and I didn't bother trying to stay where we could see the group of idiots; we just found a semi-comfortable spot in the bushes near Yugi's house and waited for the opportunity to steal back my Ring.

After a few minutes, I began to grow restless and Marik grabbed my hand, twining our fingers together. My eyes widened at this and I tried to jerk my hand away, but Marik muttered a few words in Egyptian and I suddenly began seeing through Jounouchi's eyes.

"Don't let go," Marik whispered, and I nodded and sat back to observe the actions of the Pharaoh and his friends.

Ra, they were idiots.

"What did you say Jou?" the spike-haired guy said.

"Oh, nothing," Jou/Marik replied. "I was just thinking out loud."

"Okay. Hey guys, wanna sing the friendship song? I can draw smiley-faces on our hands again, too!" Anzu chirped.

"No way in h- uh, sure," Jou/Marik answered. Anzu began screeching cheerfully, while the other three mumbled something halfheartedly. "Friends...blah...something...yeah," Jou/Marik sang tonelessly, and I snickered at Marik. He glared and kicked me in the shin, but when Marik kicked, Jou did, too, and knocked Anzu flat on her rear.

"Ouchie!" she whined pathetically, and Marik didn't even attempt to hide his chortles. I smacked him in the back of the head again.

Jou/Marik swore fluently, scowling at me, and Yugi-tachi gaped in shock. "You fool! You're ruining everything!" I hissed. Just then Yugi transformed, becoming the detestable Pharaoh, and stared suspiciously at Jounouchi.

"I sense something amiss here. I don't think this is really Jou," the Pharaoh said.

"Ask him something, then," said the stupid point-headed guy. Oh, no.

"Alright... Jou, what was the card Yugi gave you that helped you beat Mai at Duelist Kingdom?" the Pharaoh asked, narrowing his eyes.

Jou/Marik stared dumbly for a moment, and Anzu started waving her hand in the air frantically. "Ooh, pick me! I know, I know!" she squealed. Yugi-tachi rolled their eyes at her.

"Just let him go. We'll try again later," I sighed. Marik nodded and lowered the Sennen Rod, and Yugi-tachi disappeared from my vision. We sat dejectedly for a moment in silent reflection until the four idiots ran past us on the sidewalk, yelling at Jounouchi.

"Come on, I first blacked out just up here," Jou called, and they pounded stupidly away.

"Ra, they're annoying," Marik grumbled. "It's way too hard to pretend to be their friend."

"Well, you might have pulled it off if it hadn't been for the Pharaoh," I offered generously. "He ruins everything, though, so I should have expected this to backfire somehow." I sighed again, and suddenly I felt Marik's thumb tenderly stroking my palm. I'd forgotten to let go of his hand!

"GAH!" I shrieked, ripping my hand from his grasp. "What are you doing?" Eyeing him warily, I stood and backed out of the bushes. He followed me with a confounded expression.

"Huh? What are you talking about?" Marik asked. When I hesitated to answer, he shrugged and let the issue pass. Cautiously, he glanced around the deserted sidewalk before striding quickly across the street, and I followed him (though at a distance), watching interestedly as a fat old woman waddled by. She gaped open-mouthed at the athletic blonde, and he flashed a brilliant white smile in her direction after giving me a meaningful glance.

"Hello, ma'am. I must say, you're looking lovely this afternoon," Marik drawled flirtatiously. I could almost feel the heat radiating from her face as she blushed.

"You...so are you," she stuttered, staring at Marik's bare chest. He stretched languidly, sending his low-slung leather pants sliding downward an inch or two and exposing his tanned lower abdomen. It was almost indecent.

"Lovely weather we're having, hmm?" Marik murmured and ran a slender hand through his platinum blond locks. The woman just unbuttoned the collar of her flowered muumuu and fanned herself. "Yes, I suppose it is rather warm," Marik said in response. Seeing me disappear around the corner into an alley, he muttered a quick goodbye and hurried away.

I ran behind the building and caught up with him a few blocks down the road, beside a deserted, graffiti-laden old school. "Well, how did you do?" Marik asked curiously. Smirking widely, I flourished a thick wad of bills and jewelry.

"We may not have gotten the Ring today, but we're at least eating somewhere nice tonight," I replied.

Marik laughed. "We make good partners..." he began, but a sudden cold breeze whirled past us and he shivered, drawing my shirt closer to him. Then he blinked. "Hey, what happened to my shirt?"