Can I get a HOSHIT for this update? Yeah, I know it's been a year, but such is life. Anyway, I hope everyone likes this chapter. Hopefully another will be along soon!

This is fan fiction: A work written by a fan for amusement purposes only. No monetary assets were gained from the distributing of this fiction.

There is a reason that this work of fiction is rated Mature. For those who are not comfortable with sexual content between two men or do not understand such content, please do not continue to read this story.

aidez-moi à vivre
By Halys

Ryou never pretended to understand love. If he did, he would have been pretending to comprehend an emotion he had never experienced. To Ryou's knowledge, he had never been in love nor was he aware that anyone loved him.

It was not that Ryou disbelieved that love existed; Ryou believed quite the contrary. He knew love existed, and had seen it with his own eyes as it bloomed in the lives of his friends.

No, Ryou definitely believed in love. He simply didn't believe love existed for him.

Heavy rapping on the glass window panes of Amane's entrance woke Ryou that morning. Shouts of his name drifted through the door towards his ears, as he began to stir. Groaning, Ryou sat up and tried to grasp his bearings. Why was he in the café? Why hadn't he been sleeping upstairs, in his apartment?

Ryou shook his head. Someone was still banging on the door. He forced himself to stand, ran a hand through his tangled hair, and straightened his clothes, hoping to make his appearance more suitable.

Satisfied, but only barely, Ryou hurried to the door and unlocked it. The person on the other side rushed inside the care and embraced Ryou suddenly.

"Uh, Ishtar-kun, are you all right?" Ryou asked, confusion coloring his voice.

Malik released Ryou, and began to inspect him. Lilac-colored eyes took in Ryou's appearance, tanned hands traveling his body to check for injuries. Embarrassed by the sudden onslaught of familiarity with a man whom Ryou was only distant friends, the café owner stepped out of Malik's reach.

"Ishtar-kun?" he questioned.

Malik's features beheld his concern and fear. "Bakura-kun, I've been knocking on your door for twenty minutes! I could see you inside, lying on the floor! Are you alright?"

"I… You were?"

Nodding, Malik guided Ryou to a chair, and pushed the smaller man into the cushions. "I arrived early, hoping to grab a quick cup of coffee, but you were closed. I looked inside, and saw you lying on the floor. I thought maybe you were hurt! I had been just about ready to call emergency."

Ryou shook his head, and tried to understand why he had awoken where he had, and why he couldn't remember what had happened the night before. He tried to stand, but was pushed back into his chair.

"Uh-un," Malik said. "You're staying put until I make sure you're alright."

Resisting against the hands that held him down, Ryou tried to stand again. "Ishtar-kun, I have to get up, change, and make ready the shop for customers! I have to open the café!" He pushed free of Malik's grasp but only managed a few steps before he was enveloped in Malik's arms again.

"I can't let you do that," Malik murmured, his voice dangerously close to Ryou's ear. "Why can't you let someone take care of you, for once? Please… Ryou…"

It took a moment to register Malik's use of his first name. He froze, surprised again by the change in Malik's familiarity. The stronger man took the opportunity to push Ryou into his chair again.

"Ishta—" Ryou gasped, only to be cut off.

"How many times do I have to tell you? Call me Malik," he said, smiling softly.

Ryou merely stared at him. Sunlight streamed through the front windows and lightened the blond's hair. His lavender eyes glinted with concern and another emotion that Ryou couldn't ascertain.

"Ish—I mean Malik-kun… I-I don't understand. Why are you doing this?"

A sigh escaped Malik, and he took a seat adjacent to Ryou. "I'm not allowed to be worried about you?" he asked.

The smaller man shook his head. "No… I-I mean yes! It's just… you…"

Before Ryou could continue, Malik leaned forward and settled his fingers gently on the curve of Ryou's chin. The café owner's eyes widened once more, as Malik continued to lean forward and pressed his lips against his. Too shocked by the gesture, Ryou did not respond.

Malik sat back, and turned his gaze away from Ryou. "Look," he began, his voice a mixture of annoyance and nervousness. "I don't really do this whole romance thing, and I don't reach out to people a hell of a lot, but you... I guess I couldn't help it. Sorry."

Ryou watched the blond for some further sign, but when it became evident that Malik was not going to move, he reached forward and rested a hand on Malik's shoulder.

"No, I should be sorry, Ish—I mean Malik-kun. I hadn't realized… I had never thought that someone would care for me… Like that…" Ryou's gaze shifted downward as he spoke, and a blush rose to his cheeks. "I guess I didn't see the signs."

Malik smirked, gracing the smaller man's chin with his fingers again. "How 'bout I give you a clearer sign, then?" Before Ryou could respond, he was wrapped up in another intimate embrace. Malik's lips were moving against his, slick and warm. Ryou tried to focus on the heat coming from the other man, holding him, but images came to his mind, unbidden.

Ryou's fingers slipped into Malik's blond hair, but what Ryou saw was pale locks like his own. Dark, imaginary robes were in Ryou's mind's eye as his other hand gripped Malik's shirt. Malik was too warm, too warm, and he should've been colder.

The taller man moaned Ryou's name as he kissed his way along Ryou's jaw, and suddenly Ryou came to his senses. He threw himself from Malik's embrace, landing hard on the floor.

"Ishtar-kun, I can't… I shouldn't be doing this…"

Malik blinked in astonishment, not understanding Ryou's sudden behavior. "Ryou…" he bent down, offering the smaller man a hand up.

Shaking his head, Ryou stood on his own, waving the hand off. "I can't…" he murmured, biting his lip. "I just…"

"I understand, Bakura-kun. I should've inquired before taking such brash behavior. I should've figured you already were seeing—"

"Please don't…" Ryou interrupted, making his way back to Malik. He stood in front of the other man, hands closed together but warmth was in his eyes. "I'm not seeing anyone, if that's what you were suggesting. I just can't be involved with someone when… When I could not give them my heart."

Malik strode forward, and gently brushed away the tears that had begun to silently slip down Ryou's cheeks.

"I'm sorry… Malik-kun."

The taller man's eyes lightened. "I don't understand, Ryou, but… That's alright. If I have to, I'll wait. No, don't shake your head like that. I'm not a big emotion kind of guy, but what I say, I mean. My feelings are like my word, which I never break."

There was an uncomfortable pause, and then Ryou nodded.

"Good," Malik smiled. "Now, how 'bout you get cleaned up while I get the café ready to open."

"Malik-kun, are you sure…"

Smiling more, Malik threw his arms open. "How hard could it be? I clean a few dishes, turn on the coffee makers, and turn the sign around, right?"


"Get out of here! Get going, and get cleaned up! I'm sorry to tell you this, Ryou, but you smell like you need a bath."


The remainder of the day was spent showing Malik the inner workings of the café. Three plates and a bottle of vanilla syrup had been broken, but Ryou hadn't laughed so much since his sister was alive.

Malik Ishtar was kind, considerate, and caring; if not a little brash. However, Ryou enjoyed his company. It wasn't long before Ryou began to slowly open up for the Arabic man.

Night was beginning to fall on Amane's again, and Ryou knew he had to send Malik home, or at least, back to his bike shop. It took a little coaxing, and the promise of another get together, but Ryou managed. Then, he was alone in his café again.

The quiet drips from the espresso machines and soft creaking of the old building permeated the evening air. Ryou kept himself occupied by cleaning the dishes. The rag in his hand swished inside cup after cup, removing coffee grime and sugar grains.

When he finished, Ryou glanced at the clock. It took everything he could to not sigh expectantly. Instead, he turned to his coffee machines. From a counter beneath, Ryou pulled a small tool box. He set it near the machines, and pulled out his rag again. There was a soft "whoosh" of air, as the young café owner released excess steam from each piece of equipment. Then, Ryou ran his cleaning cloth over each coffee maker, lovingly polishing chrome and jet surfaces.

Once he was satisfied that his coffee makers were properly cleaned, he set aside his rag. He opened his tool box, and began to carefully service them. Silence filled the café except for the clinks and ratcheting of Ryou's handiwork.

Suddenly, the clock on the wall announced its presence. Twelve chimes filled the café, and Ryou sat down his tools. His jade eyes traveled the length of his coffee shop, as he waited with baited breath.

Nothing happened.

Ryou frowned, confused. This was the first in many nights that his ethereal visitor had not arrived on schedule.

Then, there was a dark chuckle at his ear, and Ryou spun on the spot, nearly dislodging the tool box on the counter.


The spirit gave no response, except for picking up a wrench and examining it. "Been busy, I see…" he said, a smirk forming on his translucent lips.

"I… How are you?" Ryou asked quietly, taking the wrench from Bakura and placing it back in its box. He closed the box and replaced it beneath the counter.

"Well, I got up and took a nice bath. I had a wonderful lunch at this nice ramen stand down the street. Got some house work done…" Bakura tapped his chin in mock thought. Then, he whirled suddenly and pushed Ryou against the counter. He pressed his face close to Ryou, so close that the café owner could feel the chill emanating from the ghost. Bakura growled and ran his frigid lips over Ryou's ear, brushing back pale hair with a sweep of his hand.

"What do you think? I'm dead."

An involuntary shudder passed through Ryou. The incorporeal body pressed against his almost overlapped the clothing he wore. Before he could speak, Bakura's lips covered his. There was a pause as all Ryou felt was a frigidness against his lips. He whimpered softly and the chill increased. Bakura pressed himself harder against Ryou.

Bakura broke the kiss suddenly, and Ryou gasped for air. Heat rose to Ryou's cheeks but it did not compare to the heat that was traveling downwards. His heart raced as it strove to rush blood to embarrassing areas of the café owner's body.

The ghost in front of him let his eyes roam Ryou's body, traveling lower until they came to the obvious bulge in Ryou's khakis. He looked up again, and seeing the dark blush coloring the café owner's cheeks, Bakura smirked all the more.

He leaned forward, his freezing lips brushing Ryou's ear again.

"You little fool…"

Ryou let out a choked cry. The spirit had taken control of his hands again, and was using them to pull at Ryou's shirt. Ryou struggled vainly but soon the article of clothing was removed.

"So, you really like this…" Bakura hissed before sliding his intangible tongue over one of Ryou's nipples. The younger man shuddered heavily, the sensation almost unbearable. Still, Bakura continued to manipulate Ryou's hands, forcing him to unbutton his own pants, and push them downwards. Ryou's hips bucked on their own accord and he cried out again as Bakura's frozen lips moved to encompass him. Ryou's own hands kept him from bucking into the startling cold that settled around him. All too soon, it was over, and he came.

Ryou opened his eyes, surprising himself that he had them closed. He looked down, as Bakura slowly came up to meet him, and was confused by the lack of mess he should've made. Soon, the rushing of blood against his ears died down, and he could hear Bakura's dark laugh.

"A present, since this is the last night I'll be dropping by," the ghost said.

"I… but, why?" Ryou pleaded, hurrying to pull his pants back up.

Bakura drifted through the café counter, and made his way to the door. He glanced back over his shoulder. "Unfinished business."

Frowning, Ryou quickly fastened his pants, and ran to follow Bakura. But he was stopped as a cruel look crossed Bakura's features. "Don't you fucking think about following me!" he snarled.

"But I…"

"Drop it!" the spirit continued, and then disappeared out into the night.

Tears spilled down Ryou's cheeks as he didn't even bother to hold back his sobs. His knees buckled under him, and he fell to the floor. Bracing himself on his hands and knees, Ryou let his sobs take hold. His fingers clenched against the hard wood floor, forming fists. At that moment, Ryou realized his had a slip of paper crumbling in his grip.

Surprised, he sat up, and wiped away his tears. He glanced down at the scrap of paper in his hand, and read the address on it. The memory of the night before came back to him.

Ryou quickly and unsteadily got to his feet. He glanced at the paper again, and the out the glass windows of his café. It took him only a minute to make up his mind, and then he hurried to a closet by the stairs to his apartment, withdrew a coat which he hastily put on, and then, ran towards the door. Without a second thought, he locked the café up behind him and hurried down the dark street. He only hoped he would make it in time.

First: Bet you didn't see that coming. :P

A big thanks to everyone for the reviews. Unfortunetly, due to fanfictiondotnet's policy, I will not risk story removal because of review replies. However, I'll try and get my lazy rear moving and reply to each comment via that little reply button.

: ) Likewise, review please?