Crashing Paradise, Part II.
As if on cue, Yami no Malik stood up again and dusted off his clothes once more, getting rid of the little strands of grass that had been clinging to his trousers. Holding his hand out to Yami no Bakura, he commanded in a tone that brooked no denial, "Come. It should be safe to return now."
Muttering insults mentally, Yami no Bakura reluctantly placed in his hand within the other's, taking a certain pleasure in digging his nails into Yami no Malik's palm once they had arrived on the path once more. As expected, there were no harpies, making it possible for them to proceed down the path at a more natural pace. The sun was shining – or at least, there was plenty of light – the ground was grassy and flowers grew in abundance around them.
Were it not for the fact that they were off to kill someone who was already dead, and a definite sullen air hung around both of them, the scene could have been described as idyllic.
For a while, they walked in silence, then Yami no Bakura brought up a question that had been nagging at him for a while, "I can understand you traveling to the Mortal Realm since the Sennen Items are there, but why here?"
Not breaking his stride, Yami no Malik answered with a slight note of surprise in his tone, "My abilities have nothing to do with the Items. I can travel to wherever the shadows exist, for it's from the shadows that I was born."
A pause, then came the highly exasperated demand from a frustrated thief who was not having a good day at all, "Do you ever stop being so fucking dramatic? You're worse than the Pharaoh!"
Startled, Yami no Malik started to laugh. That was not an inquiry he had to deal with before – and considering that Yami no Bakura's usual greeting to him once he had appeared in the Shadow Realm was a long rant about the Pharaoh, the shadow born didn't exactly think that Yami no Bakura was in the best position to accuse him of being dramatic.
This time, it was Yami no Bakura's turn to sulk. Having what was meant to be a serious question provoke laughter was certainly grounds enough for a good sulk and besides, he couldn't let Yami no Malik monopolize the field of sulking, could he now? Folding his arms over his chest, the thief stomped angrily down the path, taking a vicious delight in stepping on as many of the flowers as he could. Following behind the paler boy, Yami no Malik finally stopped laughing and pointed out with a chuckle, "Of course I'm worse than the Pharaoh – I'm evil, remember? As are you."
The insult Yami no Bakura was about to snap along the lines of that they were meant to worse than the Pharaoh in a moral sense not when it came to unnecessary dramatics died as the implications of Yami no Malik's statement struck him. When regarded in a certain light, it sounded almost like a compliment. Though obviously it couldn't have been meant as such, considering Yami no Malik's usual attitude. Then again –
"We're here." Yami no Malik announced quite unnecessarily as they passed through a wooden gate to find themselves on a boat that floated gently on the unmistakable waters of the Nile. This was interesting really, since the gate had looked as if it led into just another meadow, but Yami no Bakura supposed that the Pharaoh wouldn't have the same idea of Paradise as did the drunken, carousing people that he had spotted in the far end of the field. Shame really – they had looked like they were having fun.
The sight of the Pharaoh talking animatedly with his court – and, Yami no Bakura noticed with a slight cringe, the father whose corpse he had desecrated back in ancient Egypt – snapped the thief out of those thoughts though. They seemed to have been unnoticed though, due to the slaves that flocked the ship, carrying platters of treats and drinks back and forth. Under his breath, Yami no Bakura muttered to Yami no Malik, "Do you actually have a proper plan this time or are we going to end up running once more?"
"I happen to have an excellent plan." Yami no Malik replied quietly, dark indigo gaze trained on the Pharaoh, "We tell one of the slaves that another god – if they regard me as a God, then they probably consider him to be a demi-god at the least - wishes to talk to Pharaoh Atemu in private, and then we deal with him."
"What do we do with the corpse afterwards – send it to the Shadow Realm for the Summoned Skull to devour?" Yami no Bakura suggested sarcastically.
A dark laugh answered that, Yami no Malik retorting, "What makes you think that there'll be enough left of him to feed to anything?"
…that sounded good to the thief. Grabbing a loincloth-clad slave, he told him, "Inform your master that we wish to speak with him in private. Tell him that we too are gods." Admittedly, he was only human but he refused to admit that Yami no Malik was better at him than anything – whether it be evil, immortality or simply fluffy-hair. Watching the slave scurry off, he dragged Yami no Malik towards the rear of the boat, making sure that they would be blocked from view of the court. For his efforts, he got a questioning look, resulting in him explaining, "Do you really want to battle the entire court once they realize who we are?"
Acknowledging that Yami no Bakura had a point, the golden psychopath nodded briefly, then leant against the railing, looking down at the waters thoughtfully. Wondering what was so interesting, Yami no Bakura looked down as well, which is why both of them missed the look of utterly horrified disgust that crossed the Pharaoh's face once he saw their backs.
"You!" Atemu declared, stabbing at the air dramatically, self-righteous indignation written across his face as he stormed across the deck to glare up at both of them. "What are the two of you doing here? I refuse to believe that either of you actually earned admittance to Paradise." Glowering angrily up at them, his air of authority was ruined somewhat by him absently adjusting the cloth wrapped around his waist, which had slipped a little from the force of his angry steps.
"Have you not heard? I am the darkness and the darkness always returns." Of course, that statement would have made more sense if Yami no Bakura had ever been on this boat before, but it seemed a shame to waste a perfectly good catchphrase just because it was a tad inaccurate. "I'm here to extract my revenge on you for the village that you destroyed to make the Items, for killing my family, for orphaning me, for having me sealed away in the Ring, for sending me to the Shadow Realm so many times-"
"It's all about you, isn't it?" Yami no Malik interjected, spotting the perfect place to make his complaint. "I'm here to complain about the fact that you constantly keep sending that mortal to my Realm. What do you think the Shadow Realm is- a garbage disposal unit?"
"Hey!" The thief objected, eyes widening with shock at being referred to as garbage. This was not what he had expected to have to listen to. It was supposed to be Atemu being insulted, not him! "I am not garbage – do I look like garbage to you?"
"Yes." Atemu replied briefly, unable to resist. The thief had set himself up for that one, after all. That done, he informed Yami no Bakura, "As for your village, that was the fault of the brother of my father. Go repeat yourself at him." Then turned his attention Yami no Malik, "And you should be glad of the company. Would you prefer that I sent you a duck instead?"
Temporarily stunned by the news that he had been blaming the wrong person for most of his existence, Yami no Bakura didn't even ask why a duck, but instead just stared at the Pharaoh, too in shock to even do as suggested and accost Atemu's uncle. Ignoring him, Yami no Malik arched a dark golden eyebrow at Atemu, "Strangely enough, I fail to believe that your motive for sending the thief to my realm was that you did not wish me to be lonely and thought that it would be best to ascertain that I would have suitable company. Leaving aside the issue of if the thief is suitable company, of course."
With a shrug, watching Yami no Bakura warily, Atemu pointed out, "Regardless of my motives, the fact remains that he certainly can't stay here and therefore ends up at your Realm by default since that is where I had condemned him to. Therefore, I would suggest you simply get used to it – there are worse persons whom you could have been encumbered with. At least the thief is reasonably attractive – I'd call him intelligent as well, but anyone who spends their second chance at life pursuing the wrong person for vengeance doesn't fit that description."
"'Reasonably attractive'! And are you implying that I'm unintelligent!" In his own way, Yami no Bakura was quite pleased that Atemu had just insulted him. After all, that gave him a reason to hate the Pharaoh, and admittedly, the reason wasn't quite as good as all the reasons that he had just lost, but at least it was something to cling to. Not to mention that stating the thief was only 'reasonably' attractive had just made whatever chance the Pharaoh might have ever had with him slip from 'impossible' to 'die for even thinking of it'.
Taking a moment to think about it, his attention still on the thief instead of the shadow spirit, Atemu answered, "Perhaps not so much unintelligent as misinformed, but that doesn't matter since the two of you share common interests at least." That particular statement caused both Yami no Bakura and Yami no Malik to give Atemu suspicious looks, neither of them willing to believe that Atemu was truly trying to make them happy.
The Pharaoh merely arched an eyebrow at them, and smiled enigmatically. Atemu wanting them to be happy was obviously out of the question but Atemu wanting to get rid of them and make sure that they wouldn't come back? That made more sense, especially if one considered that he couldn't actually banish them to the Shadow Realm now that he no longer possessed the Items. Not that it occurred to either of them to realize that, Yami no Bakura because he was still in minor shock from the revelation that he'd been pursuing the wrong person, and Yami no Malik because it wouldn't occur to him to do something like that.
"Our common interests seem to be limited to slaughter, torture, the gaining of power and revenge against you - none of which can be effectively carried out in the Shadow Realm." Yami no Malik argued finally, seeing as the thief didn't seem to be about to say anything and their silence was beginning to make them look foolish. Not that the shadow born knew exactly how the conversation had changed from him condemning the Pharaoh for abusing the Shadow Realm to Yami no Bakura's potential as a partner of sorts.
"Which is precisely why the two of you would benefit from some time alone in the Shadow Realm – you could discover other interests the two of you share." Atemu suggested smoothly. Not for nothing had he been able to run an entire court on his own. Compared to that, matchmaking two stubborn spirits ought to be easy – and if that failed, he could always see what happened when undead were fed to crocodiles. Though considering that the crocodiles weren't really alive either, would they even have appetites?
"…" Complete silence greeted that idea, coupled with near-identical looks of disbelief. Finally, Yami no Bakura asked the question that was in both of their minds, "Are you trying to suggest that Yami no Malik and I become friends?" The emphasis he put on the word made it clear that he considered the idea to be every bit as likely as say, him deciding to learn how to fly by jumping from a very high place with a pillowcase in his hands to use as a parachute.
"No, no, of course not." Atemu hastily reassured them, waiting for the almost imperceptible sighs of relief before continuing on, "I'm suggesting that you leave this place, return to the Shadow Realm and become lovers."
It was at that point that Atemu found himself being a) pushed overboard and b) attacked by crocodiles.
In all the commotion caused by the court trying to save him, nobody noticed Yami no Bakura and Yami no Malik disappearing back to the Shadow Realm. Once there, Yami no Malik flopped down in his usual spot, more angrily than usual. "I've always known the Pharaoh was a fool, but it never occurred to me that he'd be insane as well. If it's possibly to think of a more ridiculous notion than that, I don't know what it could be!"
Yami no Malik continued to rant on in that same vein while the other watched him thoughtfully. True, it was interesting to have their roles reversed but really, it wasn't that which put such a contemplative light in Yami no Bakura's eyes. No, he had something much more pleasant than simply dismembering the Pharaoh on his mind… Waiting until Yami no Malik appeared to be finished, Yami no Bakura stretched out next to him, and smirked. "Are you quite done?"
"Considering that I've exhausted this language's possibilities of describing the depths of the Pharaoh's idiocy, yes." Yami no Malik snapped back, unable to see why the thief was so amused. Yami no Bakura's smirk widened as he answered, "I fail to see why the suggestion was stupid."
And before Yami no Malik could start off on another rant, the thief leaned over to press his lips against the other's, quite effectively quenching any protests. At least for a few moments, until Yami no Malik pushed him off, then propped himself up on one elbow to half-glare, half-smirk at the thief. "Just because the Pharaoh is stupid doesn't mean that his ideas are."
About to resume kissing the thief, he was surprised to have Yami no Bakura push him away and be the one to glare this time, "You interrupted a perfectly good kiss to say that? I told you your sense of the dramatic was overdeveloped."
"… I hope you're not going to argue with me while we're actually having sex." Yami no Malik settled for saying, starting to unfasten the clasps of his cloak.
With a smirk, the paler boy replied, "I'd prefer having you talk dirty."
"Only if I'm seme." The other retorted quickly, making it clear that he didn't think he needed to negotiate for that anyway.
Yami no Bakura snorted, "In your dreams."
"How did you ever guess?" Yami no Malik drawled with a smirk, then decided to stop talking and get down to the far more pleasant business of seeing how loud he could make the thief scream. Besides, maybe this way the thief would forget about what he had requested in exchange for agreeing to be uke – not that Yami no Bakura had actually formally agreed, but the shadow born was counting on the thief being too distracted to object at that point. So with that end in mind, he pushed the other back down and managed quite successfully to quell any reply that Yami no Bakura might have had with a series of kisses.
…unfortunately for Yami no Malik, he had barely started stripping the other before being pushed off again. Now getting thoroughly frustrated at the constant interruptions to apparently anything he tried, Yami no Malik glared at the other heatedly and demanded in a highly exasperated tone, "Now what!"
Defensively, Yami no Bakura pointed behind the other and said, "There are monsters watching us!" With a sigh, the shadow born turned around to see that what the mortal had said was indeed true – there was an interested-looking group of assorted monsters standing not too far away from them. And strangely enough, munching on popcorn. Dismissing the thought of where they could have got the popcorn from, Yami no Malik rolled his eyes and made a flapping gesture with his hand at them, indicating that he wanted them to leave. Instead, they waved back.
…obviously he'd need to switch tactics.
Getting up to his feet and holding his hand out to the other, Yami no Malik explained casually, "Yes, the Shadow Realm tends to get a little dull – I suppose they thought that we would make a good show. It's somewhat difficult to get any privacy here."
Eyes narrowed, Yami no Bakura stated stubbornly, "I am not going to do anything with you as long as they're watching. Isn't there anywhere in this Realm that we can be alone?"
"Unfortunately, no." Yami no Malik curled his hand around the other's, then smirked. "But I can think of somewhere better than this…" That said, they disappeared.
Obviously, it was a good thing that Yami no Malik and Yami no Bakura had listened to Atemu. As the Pharaoh, his words were law and therefore, he was naturally pleased that they had finally seen the wisdom of paying attention to him and following his suggestions.
However, he did not need to have them prove it with an actual demonstration!
Author's Note: And it's finally over! Go check out the other stories that I posted along with this one (remember, if you friend my livejournal for stories, onlyfiction you don't need to suffer through these long periods of waiting for me to update), especially A Very Serious Fic I or II if you want more humor. Thank you all so much for your reviews, especially Adva Atreyu, Y.BakuraY.Malik fan, CastorPollux and crimson nightmare.