Title: Plato's Immortality of the Soul
Author: Mookie
Rating: PG
Pairing: Yami no Bakura, Yami no Marik
Warnings: possible spoilers
Word count: 681
Notes: Christmas gift fic for Daimeryan Rei.


Yugi approached Bakura and handed him a steaming mug. "It's quite a storm outside," he commented, sipping from his own thoughtfully.

Bakura nodded. "Yes," he said. "It is." They exchanged pleasantries for a short time, and then Yugi moved on to chat with Jounouchi and Honda, who were engaged in a heated debate over whether colored or white Christmas lights were best.

It wasn't until Yugi's attention was fully on his friends that a faint glow emitted from beneath Bakura's shirt, and his eyes narrowed a bit as he took in the revelry around him. Holidays, friendship, good tidings - he had no use for any of these things.

Scanning the crowd, he found the one he was looking for. Marik and his sister were speaking with Kaiba. It had been a surprise to everyone to see the former champion appear. He'd brushed it off saying it had been all Mokuba's idea, and hadn't exchanged a word with anyone the entire time he was there. In fact, he looked downright bored.

A fact that wasn't lost on Marik as he abandoned Isis to her lost cause and wandered over to the window.

Bakura watched him - the two images of Marik. The warm, flesh-and-blood human standing near the window, and his reflection - a cold, dark image without definition.

It was that image that Bakura found most compelling.

Marik seemed fascinated with the snowfall. It was a relentless thing, and had been falling for hours with no end in sight. People had long ago given up shoveling, for their efforts were quickly vanquished as the icy white flakes clung to their gloves and lashes.

Bakura noticed it in the paned glass, the slight glimmer, and his eyes flicked back to the face reflected in the window.

Many times had Bakura been banished to the shadow realm. Many times had victory been so near, only to be snatched at the last moment. He spared a quick glance at Yugi, wondering how much of the boy standing there was Yugi Motoh, and how much was the spirit of the pharaoh. Perhaps it was impossible to fully separate them even now, so much had they each influenced the other.

Marik's arms were crossed over his chest. Despite the weather outside, he'd worn a sleeveless garment. The bronzed skin took on a different hue in the glass.

Humankind, Bakura had learned long ago, would never be free of its sins. Greed, envy, gluttony, the quest for power, and hatred.

Every living soul possessed these traits. The mark of what most considered a "good" person was how well they controlled their baser desires.

Evil could never be destroyed. It was too firmly a part of human nature.

Marik's reflection, Bakura noticed, was off. Where one of Marik's hands had come up to touch the glass, there was no mirrored image.

No, evil could never be quashed entirely. It could only be kept at bay.

A small flash in the glass surprised Bakura - a marked contrast to the muted shades in Marik's reflection. He squinted slightly.

His eyes met Marik's in the window, even from this distance. For just a moment, the rest of the room ceased to exist, and there was no one there but the two of them. Perhaps the four of them, in a sense.

In that briefest of moments, that's when Bakura saw it. It was a smile; a true smile only reserved for him, that only Bakura would see - that only he could see. It was not the wide, psychotic grin or deranged baring of white teeth, but a gentle curve of his lips.

Bakura's breath caught in his throat. In the span of a single heartbeat, he felt as though he'd seen the face of the gods, and then it was gone. The hum of conversation resumed, Marik's fingertips against the glass met those of his reflection, and the snow continued to fall outside.

Bakura's own lips quirked in an answering smirk before he retreated again to the shadows.

Even those who lived in the dark deserved a holiday.