Sins of the fathers

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Warnings/notes: Marik/Joey (past, kind of), Seto/Joey, major weird, slightly dark, shortie, references to information revealed in the 'Enter the Shadow Realm'-arc, hints at paternal (emotional) abuse, ooc?

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

written at 2nd January 2005, by Misura, in reply to an Anniversary-challenge made by xXxRachiexXx which offered as a pairing: Marik/Joey and as a virtue/vice: wrath (Yeah, I cheated a bit. Sorry.)

(!) At some point, I used -s to indicate a continueing sentence. The automatic editor has removed these -s at the start of each line, so I just hope you'll spot the place where they should have been and will be able to make sense of the lines in question.

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At ten minutes past midnight, listening to the even breathing of Kaiba -though he supposes it's okay to think of him as 'Seto' now, things between them being what they are- Joey stares up at the ceiling and sees the darkness wearing Malik's face.

He knows that in the morning, he'll remember this as a dream, or rather, a nightmare.

Somehow though, that knowledge doesn't lessen the anxiety that grabs him by the throat and makes him want to shake Kaiba until he wakes up, so that he at least won't be all alone with this psycho who has, briefly, been in possession of his body, mind and soul. (Never mind that this is a dream, so he probably won't be able to wake Kaiba, or if he will, it'll only be a dream-Kaiba that wakes up, not the real one.)

The darkness smiles at him, as sweetly as his sister when he hugged her goodbye on the air-port, a few weeks ago now. Joey glares back, hoping against hope that maybe he's learned enough from studying Kaiba to be able to chase people -and ghosts- merely by looking at them.

"Well, well, aren't we the little slut? Sleeping with the enemy ... Yugi must be quite disappointed in his best friend." There's a purring quality about the darkness' voice, like a cat that gives its prey a false sense of security before pouncing and devouring it.

Joey makes no reply; he never does. Somehow, only one voice is ever audible in his dreams, and that voice doesn't belong to him. It makes little difference anyway. Since the dream is his, the darkness can read his every thought.

"Oh, he may act like he doesn't mind, like he's happy for you and Kaiba, but really, Joey, you know better, don't you? You know what Yugi's hiding behind that cheerful mask of his, because you're walking around with one just like it, always pretending to be this happy-go-lucky kind of person, just so that people will like you. Pathetic."

These words are mere babbling, Joey is aware. After all, this is a nightmare, so sooner or later, the darkness will get to him, and it won't do that by talking about Yugi. Good old Yugi, who's engaged to Anzu nowadays, and still figuring out how to make sure Yami gets mentioned in the marriage-contract as well, since it wouldn't be right if he wouldn't be.

"You don't like me very much, do you? That's such a shame. I like you very much. You're simply so ... cute. Sweet. Innocent. Proud. Tasty. Does Kaiba ever tell you things like that? Has he ever licked the salty sweat from your skin when it is mixed with dirt and blood, and told you that you were the most beautiful thing he's ever seen?"

Kaiba now, is a different matter. Joey has accepted that Kaiba is weird, and that there'll always be things about Kaiba that will remain a mystery to him, or that Kaiba refuses to discuss with him. It's a trade though. Kaiba, more than most people Joey has ever met, understands that sometimes, talking about matters won't make them better, but worse.

"Tell me something, Joey. What do you think is the worst thing I ever did? What is the greatest sin that rests on my conscience? What do you feel I should be damned for?"

Joey knows that this is the point where it gets dangerous, where things will begin to spiral downwards, out of his control. As long as he only has to listen, he can manage to defend himself, to shut himself off, but as soon as he needs to respond, he loses control.

"For the mere act of becoming? That's pretty harsh." The darkness sniffles, sounding like there's a lost child in there somewhere, who went out into the night with a single candle to light its way and can't find the way back to the safety of its bed, now that the candle has stopped burning.

"Ah. For killing the person who named himself my father, while all he ever did was to shape me in the form of the tool he wanted me to be, not once listening to me? He hurt me. He kept on hurting me, even after I'd begged him to stop, to let me see the daylight and to grant Odion his wish. Do you know what it's like, to be chained to a person by bonds of blood, even though they don't care one whit about you?"

The child is screaming now, crying out and weeping in fright, even if Joey can't make out a single word of what it's saying, of whom it calls to come to its rescue. Maybe, once, he hears the name of Odion.

"Of course. I'd forgotten. You do know what it's like."

The child has been swallowed up by the darkness now. Perhaps it has never been there and has been an illusion all along. One day, Joey has promised himself, he will reach out. He will reach out and save the lost child, but before he can do that, he must find a way to save himself.

"Isn't that what's at the heart of all of this?"

The hands of the darkness are soft as they caress his skin, soft and warm, and the invisible lips that brush past his cheeks, down to his neck, his chest, his stomach, are hot and sweet. Joey tells himself that there is no enjoyment in this, that his reaction is merely his body betraying him.

"I killed my father," the darkness murmurs, whispering to him like a lover, warm air tickling his ear.

"And the only reason that you despise me for that ... "

Joey moans. He would like to believe it's because he's uncomfortable, being held by this dream -

" ... is that ... "

while all he really wants -

" ... you wish ... "

is to -

" ... you could have done the same."

wake up now.

Joey stares at the alarm-clock, to find that it's exactly twelve o'clock. Midnight. Next to him, Kaiba has turned over in his sleep. He's lying curled up with his back to Joey, probably with a content expression on his face. (The room is too dark to be sure, but Joey has seen Kaiba asleep before.)

Briefly toying with the idea to go and get a glass of water, like everyone does in the movies and the books after a bad dream, Joey decides he doesn't really want to find out what might be hiding in the darkness beyond the bedroom-door.

Instead, hesitating only briefly, he kicks Kaiba. Softly, of course. Kaiba is, after all, a light sleeper, and a real bastard, too; if Joey'd give him so much as a bruise, he'd be made to pay for it in a way that probably involves either maths-homework or a week without sex, neither of which Joey likes very much.

A muttered, mildly annoyed sound informs him that he's been successful. Just to make sure though, he whispers Kaiba's name. (He doesn't know why he keeps his voice low; it's not as if Mokuba'll be able to hear him with three rooms in between them.)

Kaiba confirms that yes, he is awake, and Joey'd better have a -good- reason for robbing him of his sleep. His voice sounds more tired than angry, actually, so Joey feels slightly guilty, instead of pissed off at his boyfriend's insensitivity.

Joey assures Kaiba that he has a -very- good reason; he needs to ask a question.

Kaiba inquires what answer Joey might need so badly that it can't wait until the morning.

And Joey asks: "What was it like to kill your father?", knowing that Gozaburo wasn't really Kaiba's father, but at the moment, that's really not the point.

And Kaiba remains silent, his face unreadable and hidden by the darkness that fills the room as well as the world outside at night, until Joey has to conclude that he has gone back to sleep.

And when the light has once again returned, they have breakfast together, with Mokuba joining them after half an hour, and they don't speak about their unfinished conversation in the dark.

They never do.

OWARI