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

Warnings: This will get very angsty in later chapters, sometimes gory so this is not for the faint of heart. Also, this is AU. (My first AU story, wee!)


— Everybody, Everybody —

Chapter Eleven

More pictures were put into their slots. Photo after photo, terrible moment after a beautiful kiss, all drowned in malcontent and the disrepair of a young twin's love for his brother. Slot after slot, they filled in themselves and it went faster and the tears came faster but there were no more tears. All had been depleted on the couch with the picture book wide open.

Tired, dry gasps. Red eyes that felt like imploding on themselves. Limp, silver hair that fell over a porcelain face.

As his head rested despairingly on a cushion on the gray couch in the center of the room, all of it just as foggy and bleak as the day he opened his eyes and found the picture book sitting next to him, he held the last picture languidly in his hand. His brown eyes starred up into the ceiling and his lips moved to a soundless tune. The picture tipped in his hand.

He didn't feel like sliding it into the picture book. He didn't feel like remembering it. His body and mind were numb with the faint throbbing at the edge of his psyche. Last slot… His head turned to it and the soundless tune was revealed to be a sentence.

Inside the photograph, he was lying in a blood and sweat soaked bed as the morning brightness filtered into the room through parted curtains. The young him opened his eyes and they blinked harshly under the light, already they were used to the darkness and misery of the night.

He sat up and yelped, the pain shooting up his spine and laying him back down. The door opened and his brother came into the room, a pair of jeans unzipped and a blue button-up shirt hanging loosely on his torso. Bakura smiled at the awakened form of his brother. He came over and kneeled down by the bed so they were eye-to-eye.

"Good morning, Ryou," he looked into Ryou's eyes that were stoic and dry, "How do you feel?"

The picture book rocked and trembled with screams.

("No more, no more,")

When he didn't answer, there was a long pause in the room and Bakura broke it by taking the boy's face in his hands and cupping his pale cheeks. He put his forehead next to Ryou's and buried his face in white, snowy hair. "I love you," he said.

("And he tells me he loves me.")

More silence and Bakura's voice cracked as he murmured, "Don't you love me, Ryou? Don't you?"

"… Yes, big brother."

The picture dropped out of his hand and he fell off the couch, screaming out until his voice was hoarse. There was nothing else he could do. Nothing. Nothing.

The ghost of him turned in the mirror, holding the shadow's hand.

"IT'S OKAY BECAUSE I LOVE HIM."

He fell back and screamed.

A dream of love's perfection watched in despair.

("Why won't he quit…")

And he went away.

-

Marik Ishtar watched helplessly as Ryou's eyes were blank, just two deep pools of chocolate hiding a mind that was far away for the moment. Ryou had been that way for a few moments now, his lips moving in a rhythmic pattern, almost as if he were singing to himself. But Marik had other concerns. As he watched the boy, he couldn't help but also watch Fake Ryou who lay next to Ryou, running his hand soothingly down Ryou's beautiful hair.

Though Marik was almost sure that Ryou could not feel it, he wondered if Ryou was aware that someone was trying to comfort him. Ryou's eyes were streamed with tears as were Fake Ryou's but he didn't seem upset. That grin, those movements… he seemed…

"Are you okay?" Marik asked in a whisper, not yet wanting to break Ryou Bakura from his trance. He directed the question to his pretty hallucination who didn't look away from stroking Ryou.

'I'm fine,' his smirk didn't waver, 'but are you okay, Marik Ishtar? How do you feel now that you know that Ryou Bakura is not the innocent little doll you made him out to be? Not only does he pleasure his teachers but he was raped by his brother. He is not so pure, is he? He is not so wonderful, is he? Or…' he stopped his petting and turned his head, tears streaming from them and that smile grave, 'is that what gives him his beauty? A tragic, disgusting loveliness that triggers your cravings?'

Marik's lips quivered.

'Do you love him?'

"Yes," he shouted, his hand flying up to his mouth to cover his sudden yelp. He looked at the still stoic Ryou and shook his head incredulously. "Bakura is the disgusting one; he's the one who hurt Ryou!"

Fake Ryou put his hand around Ryou's arm and tightened his hold. 'Ryou hates him so much, Marik. But he will never have the strength to walk away from his brother. And Bakura will never let him go. After all, why should he? Ryou belongs to him.'

"That's not true!" Marik's breath came faster.

'He will come for Ryou to take him back home, Marik. Ryou cannot be held here for all eternity and Bakura will rescue him. You know this.' His voice was changing. How was it changing? From sweet to deadly and now to a listless whisper. The Fake One's eyes were narrowed on Marik's figure.

There was a pause.

Fake Ryou shifted himself, resting his head on the small of Ryou's back. 'And it will go back to how it was. Bakura will continue to take Ryou against his unvoiced will and you… will be all alone, Marik.'

"Please, stop…" Marik shook his head again and huddled up to the couch in a childish manner, his legs drawn up to his chest and one hand running feverishly through his thick blonde hair. His large, lavender eyes were now wet and he whimpered to himself. Fake Ryou got up from his spot by Ryou and sat down near Marik, placing a hand on his shivering shoulder.

'You don't like to be alone. It's scary to be alone… without Ryou.'

Marik gasped and looked up. Through bleary vision he could see Ryou on the floor, holding himself. It didn't make sense that they should each comfort themselves. They could comfort each other, be together inside the walls of loneliness that threatened to close in on them. That's what Marik wanted. To be lonely with sweet Ryou Bakura.

Fake Ryou leant down. 'Are you going to let him go?'

"… No."

-

The car stopped once again and he looked up at the building that loomed over him. Bakura seldom visited the downtown area and any other day he might've been uneasy about leaving such an expensive car in this part of town where anyone could easily thieve it. But today was not any other day and he jumped out of the car, leaving the keys inside. There was nothing that was going to stop him; Ryou had to be here.

He opened the front door and was greeted with a hallway, an elevator on the left side of that and then another door that read: Superintendent's Office. Without hesitation, he went to the door and pushed it open, surprised to see Ms. Sinclair. Or someone who looked like Ms. Sinclair. In a second, after the woman looked up, he realized that it was not her; this woman was much younger.

"Can I help you?" she asked, tilting her head. Bakura despised dealing with administrators but tried to calm himself in order to ask a question.

"Which floor does Marik Ishtar live on?" his voice was rushed but he didn't care, didn't care. Nothing but Ryou mattered.

She blinked, noting his attitude and looked down into a notebook that was set open on the desk. She flipped through it a few pages and her lips moved, it seemed that she was saying, "Marik Ishtar…" A second passed and she pointed to a spot in the notebook. "Marik Ishtar, room 129 on the fifth floor." She said with a satisfactory sigh. "Are you a friend of his…?"

Her question tapered off as she looked up only in time to see Bakura's form leaving the small office and heading for the elevator. Once inside, he pressed the right button and waited impatiently as the elevator creaked and groaned when it reached new floors. His heart was beating faster as the realization that he was going to see his brother again dawned on him.

The doors to the elevator finally opened and he went rushing out, looking from side to side to see if any door had the numbers '129' on the front. After going down two hallways, he found it. Bakura stopped, his head turned to the left and he walked that way, his hand automatically knocking.

There was no response and, after a second, he knocked again but with more force. Still, nothing. Bakura narrowed his eyes.

-

Marik's eyes widened at the banging on the door. He stared at it and, already, knew who it was, knew the voice even from the one word he'd heard before from him. Ryou knew who it was too, he'd come out of his trance at the first knock and began to panic. Marik had a hard time holding himself back from embracing Ryou but he didn't resist the urge of telling him, "It's alright."

Ryou shook his head, his face covered by his hands. "I-I don't know what to tell him… I can't…" he took in another breath to sustain his words, "I don't think I can be strong enough…"

A long pause and only the continued pounding of the door sounded throughout the apartment. Yelling and shouting followed; Marik heard his name being called by Ryou's brother over and over again accompanied by a slew of curses. Ryou looked at the door broken-heartedly and Marik fisted the hem of his shirt.

"Then I'll be strong enough for you," his gaze from the door didn't waver. Ryou looked at him and Fake Ryou's chest was moving up and down.

The door flew open. Bakura finally managed to kick it open by aiming at the rotting third hinge and it broke off, letting him open the door from the opposite side of the handle. He stepped inside the apartment and looked straight at Ryou who was on the floor, wearing large clothes and sobbing into his hands hard now. An intense heat spread throughout his body as his gaze shifted to Marik who sat on the couch, lazy lavender eyes focused on him.

Bakura's breath came faster and he balled his fists, trying to gulp down what he felt rising up from his stomach. This was where Ryou was for the past day and a half. In here with Marik Ishtar, wearing what were obviously his clothes and crying. Bakura felt like vomiting and punching Marik and holding Ryou all at the same time. His eyes flickered to the blonde when said tanned-skin teen stood from the couch.

Bakura ignored him and went over to where Ryou sat and gently took hold of the boy's arms and pulled them away from his face. Ryou struggled to keep them up.

"Ryou… Hey, come on, don't," He forced his wrists down and tried to look into his eyes. "You okay? Ryou?"

He shook his head and choked out another sob, trying to wrench himself away. "N… No, Bakura…"

"What?"

"Get away from him," Marik took a step forward , his once watery eyes now dry and almost as red as both Ryou's and Bakura's. Bakura looked up at him, a fire in his eyes and he let go of Ryou and stood again. Marik, now with Bakura's full attention, ran with it. "You don't disserve to even look at him! You've never cared for Ryou, all you do is hurt him so I'll never let him go anywhere with you!"

Bakura's head was throbbing. "What the hell are you talking about? You kidnapped, my little brother and you're telling me that I don't care about him? When I get him out of here, I'm coming back to kick your ass; there's no way you're getting away with this, you sick freak!"

Marik narrowed his eyes into slits and his chest moved up and down, up and down; faster, faster as Bakura turned around and then roughly grabbed his brother by the wrists, forcing the boy onto his feet and began to head for the door. Ryou resisted and whined, "Bakura, listen to me!"

"We don't have time, Ry—"

He finally broke away from his brother's grip and stumbled backwards but catching himself before he fell to the carpet. Bakura stopped and turned around, a quizzical and worried expression on his face. The older of the two twins gave a ragged sigh and his arms dropped down to his waist. His eyes began to water and though he unconsciously fought to keep the tears at bay, he couldn't help but wonder sadly: Does Ryou want to stay… with Marik Ishtar?

It was as if Ryou read his older brother's mind. He raised his large, doe-eyes to Bakura. "It… it wasn't my idea to come here… I didn't want to come to this lonely place…" his eyes flickered to Marik and then back towards his brother, "This is your fault. What you did to me, that's what brought me here, in the end, that's why this has happened! I didn't want to come here!"

Bakura shook his head and reached his hand out to the boy. "Ryou, please…"

"That's what I said to you on that night, Bakura! Does it hurt, Bakura? To beg for what you want and not get it from the person who means the most to you? Does it hurt?" He was screeching now, fists balled, shoulders shaking.

"Oh, God, Ryou. Please don't."

"Why should I stop for you?" he gasped, "You… it was against my will, Bakura!"

Marik watched as Ryou struggled for breath and held himself in his own arms. Bakura walked over to Ryou and took him by the arms, holding him and even though Ryou fought against his embrace, he couldn't get out of it. Ryou screamed again and tears gushed from his eyes. Marik couldn't stand the helpless wails that came from Ryou.

He shook his head slowly.

Fake Ryou looked up from where he sat on the couch. His brown, glowing eyes focused on the grip Bakura had on Ryou. He spoke and his stare didn't falter. 'Bakura's taking him back now, Marik, just like I said. And once they get home, you know what will happen. Ryou Bakura is going to be hurt unless you do something. Will you not help him… Marik?'

He lifted his arm to wipe away the remaining tears from his face and nodded.

Bakura tried to shout over Ryou's screams. "Ryou, please stop, calm down!"

"Why, Bakura! Why…" He dropped to the ground, droplets of saline falling onto and staining the carpet. Bakura's eyes were wide and shivering as he looked down on his brother and not another thought came to him before something hard came fast at his temple and a second later, when he was dropping onto his knees, he realized that Marik Ishtar had punched him with all his might.

He fell back, his hands and arms barely supporting him. Ryou gasped and looked up at a Marik he did not recognize. His eyes were narrowed into slits and concentrated on Bakura. As Marik dropped down on top of his brother, Ryou weakly called out, "Bakura…? M-Marik…"

The Fake One closed his eyes, leaning his head back into the couch cushion.

Marik's hands were soon around Bakura's slender, pale neck, grasping and squeezing. Bakura was on his back in a matter of seconds with the tanned teenager hovering over him, straddling his hips. Ryou's eyes widened just a little and he crawled over on all fours, eyes darting from Marik's stoic eyes to Bakura who gasped for air and tried to get Marik off of him, however Marik was a little larger than his brother.

Bakura's eyes were barely open and tears welled in the corners as well as saliva that trickled down his chin from the corners of his mouth. He coughed and gasped for breath but found none. His blood-shot, bulging eyes turned to Ryou.

"R-Ry… Please, Ry—Gah!"

Marik tightened his grip.

"I-I'm sorry, Ryou," he gagged, "a-all I ever wanted was your love… I only ever wanted you, ah… N…"

He was clenching his hands as hard as he could.

"No," Bakura shook his head violently.

"No… Marik!"

Fake Ryou opened his eyes.

The tears in Ryou's eyes shook themselves lose as he lunged forward, grabbing onto the fists Marik made around his brother's neck. He cried out, trying to twist the hands off, "Marik! Stop, don't do this! You're wrong, Marik, you can't do this! B-Bakura tried to save me… He tried so hard to make sure I was safe! Please don't; please stop!" He pulled harder. "Oh, God, don't do it!"

Marik was ready to tighten his grasp one last time but the voice that was almost Ryou's was heard nearby and his gaze jerked away to Fake Ryou who stared at him, eyes filled with tears.

'Marik…' he truly smiled for the first time in a while, 'Marik, it's okay. That's enough. That's enough now… that's enough… Goodbye, Marik Ishtar.'

A flash of silver.

The grip on Bakura's neck loosened and finally fell away and sweet air rushed into Bakura's lungs. Marik watched the vacant spot and reached his hand out to feel Fake Ryou's familiar touch. But there was none.

The room began to spin and the last thing Marik Ishtar remembered was the sound of a sweet laugh.

-

Unnatural brightness was what awakened him. He opened his eyes, fluttering at first, to the brilliance and slowly but surely sat up to take a look at where he was. A white curtain surrounded him on three sides and as he looked down he realized he was in a white bed, the sheets and pillowcase crisp and clean. He tried to think of the last thing that had happened but he couldn't remember and didn't feel like straining himself to try.

A sound he heard was from the side of the bed which was not surrounded by a curtain but with a wall and a door that was open to a hallway. People passed by, some wheeling large gurneys and others carrying clipboards and scrutinizing them. He starred out of the door for a moment and wondered if he should try to find out where he was.

Finally, someone came into the room from that busy hallway. He wore a long white coat and green uniform clothes underneath with a clipboard held at his hip. He smiled and said cheerfully, "Well, you're finally up. How are you feeling, Marik?"

He looked around, then back at the seemingly kind man and tilted his head. "Who is… Marik?"

-

Outside the hospital, two boys were standing on the sidewalk, under a streetlight that blinked from time to time. The lighting glowed on their pale skin. Bakura had bandages wrapped around his neck and a few around his forehead but he had no concussion from where he was struck in the temple. Ryou stood a few feet behind his brother with one bandage on his cheek and another on the back of his head even though the wound had almost completely healed.

A cell phone was up to Bakura's ear and he dialed seven numbers. He was quivering involuntarily and holding onto his shirt with his fist. It rang four times before a click was heard and his eyes widened. His breath caught in his throat.

"M… Mom? Mom? Yeah… N-No, I'm okay… No, nothing's wrong. Nothing's the matter. Nothing's wrong…" he sobbed into the phone while saying over and over again that nothing was the matter and, behind him, Ryou broke down and cried too.

-

Monday, first day of December, and students filed into the building. Bakura and Ryou walked into the classroom holding hands and everyone noticed but no one dared to question it. Ms. Sinclair gave the morning announcements first and during them, notes were flicked onto Ryou's desk. He ignored them and Bakura crumbled them up, keeping his gaze focused on Ryou.

The older of the two took out a sheet of paper and wrote something down, soon after placing it on his brother's desk. Ryou took it and unfolded the paper, reading the note and writing back. This continued on through all of the announcements and when Ms. Sinclair turned back to her desk, this was what had been written:

We still haven't talked about it.

Maybe we don't need to.

Do you hate me, Ryou?

No.

Could you love me? Could we put this all behind us?

I don't know if I can ever put Marik Ishtar behind me.

I understand.

Ms. Sinclair told all of them to quiet down so she could call roll.

Melanie Gadwall.

Tad Harrington.

Marik Ishtar.

Everybody looked around when she called that name and they determined that, whoever that was, he wasn't in class today. Ryou pushed back his seat and stood up, his eyes focused on the teacher. They quickly flickered to the seat that once occupied a lonely, nameless teenager.

Ms. Sinclair tilted her head at Ryou. "What… what's wrong, Mr. Bakura?"

His eyes widened and his chest went up and down, up and down. His breathing came faster and faster, tears welled in his eyes and overflowed, dropping to the desk until a small, animal-like cry emitted from his throat, filling the classroom.


OWARI —


Her Sweetness: And we've come to another end. Hope everyone liked it and please leave a review on your way out. Otherwise, I'll think no one was entertained and I'll go into a deep depression.

… That happens sometimes.

Goodbye and Goodluck!