A/N: Written as a birthday present for my dearest Riles. I bet you love me even more after this, don't you? lol I am aware that it's a bit late, but I was having a small vacation away from the computer once again.

The events in this fic are set short before Memory Arc when the Pharaoh goes to Egypt. Never seen it myself because the TV's directory screwed up on it, but meh. Life's a bitch sometimes.

Disclaimer: Nope, still don't own Yu-Gi-Oh! However, you should check back in a ten thousand millennias to see if the situation's changed. After all, thou shalt never know…

Warnings: Yaoi. Hinted Yaoi. A bit of gore. Abuse.

Before the Time has Come to Leave You

It is inevitable. Just like the frost in autumn. With cold fingers it touches the Earth, killing everything that still struggles to survive in such a harsh time, erasing life with one whisk of its icy breath. And then comes the winter, and the world freezes, holds in its breath to exhale only when the first spring sunrays pet the earth with a touch so soft and fragile as the wings of a newborn butterfly. But while the world is not breathing, many delicate and fragile beings cease to exist. Slowly, ever so excruciatingly slowly they give in to the harsh nature of things and succeed to eternal darkness and nothingness. They are the children of Light who need care and love, careful and delicate handling to let them survive until the arrival of spring when the icy spell of Death is broken. But before that joyous moment can commence, there are days too short, nights too long, hours too lonely and times too cold. It makes one's heart freeze if nothing is there to warm it. Yet every winter has its spring. Every being has its time of rebirth. That is the natural order of things.

And while that is true for others, Bakura knew that their autumn would only be followed by winter. The spring would never come, and he wondered if he pitied the fact. Everything would freeze and remain static until the end of days. One morning he would be gone forever, and there was nothing either of them could do about it. It was the natural order of things.

Bakura felt it with the very ends of his nerves – that foreboding sensation too unmistakable, too predictable, too… familiar to be ignored or chased away by sweet promises. He had not told Marik yet, and he doubted that he ever would. But perhaps he did not need to. Marik was not a fool, and he had started to sense that something was wrong, no matter what Bakura told him. Perhaps he already knew it somewhere in his subconscious. Their summer had come to pass. Too soon. Too soon for his liking and yet the sooner it was over, the better. But… Not yet. Oh Ra, not just yet! He was not ready to hold in his breath again; he needed more time! Yes, he would eventually inhale for one last time, greeting the winter to forever stay within its cold embrace, and he would never exhale again. Eternity… It seemed so unbearably long, so… so permanent.

Marik stirred beside him, but did not awaken. He was still living in their summer, not noticing the fact that it had given way to Indian summer, slowly spiralling to an end.

A thoughtful smirk appeared on the spirit's lips. Marik was so incredibly pure. Quite often he was just like a child – so easy to please, so easy to bring a smile blossoming to his lips. Surprisingly enough, he had somehow managed to keep his inner light untainted despite the harsh times that he had gone through. The young man had merely put a shade around the mesmerizing glow to hush it. Beneath the cover, the light was still the same. And Bakura could not bring himself to destroy his fairytale. He will warm the Egyptian with the last fading rays of their passing Indian summer before allowing it to be drenched with the cold, gloomy rains of autumn and sealed away under the icy kiss of winter.

It was so strange, Bakura thought, leaning against the headboard with a soft white pillow stuffed behind him, that he had found peace in the arms of a human. Especially a human like Marik. And then, it was not surprising at all because the both of them knew what pain and darkness was, how it felt to have your heart turned into a piece of ice. It was not a solid and smooth piece. Oh, no! It was a sharp, multi-edged, spike and thorn-coated chunk with the weight of a mountain. It is true that hearts of ice feel nothing. They just crack, their edges shatter to provide more edges, and they grow some more spikes along the way. And it digs deeper in one's chest, causing torment beyond words and explanation. Frozen hearts have no scars on them, but everything around them is scarred. Such people's souls are levitating in eternal darkness. They want to scream from the pain their hearts cause, but their voices always fail them. They want to cry, but all the salty tears have long been used to build crystal cages around their aching hearts. Though seemingly free from any painful emotion, they are bound in the most horrible way – they are condemned to never feel the simple human happiness. To feel again, they would have to smash the cage around their hearts, and all of them want it ever so desperately. But they cannot. Even knowing that it is the only way to release, and more than willing to be truly free, they cannot take that path because as often as not the salt of their unshed tears has turned their hearts into beautiful, but oh, so cold and fragile wonders. By smashing the crystalline cage around them, they might result in having their hearts shattering into millions of glittering pieces of ice. And even if the heart is still living under the hard cover, it is raw from all the ice and salt it has been trapped in for so long. It needs gentle surroundings, but its former spikes have left the insides scarred and bruised. Rough. And the sore heart cannot take it. The scars burn and eventually smoulder it into ashes.

And Bakura held on to this truth. He was only sparing himself the pain by not letting the ice around his heart melt. He would gladly endure more spikes digging deeper in his chest than let his heart shatter or burn. Even if the reason was Marik, he will rather feel pain than feel at all.

The winter was drawing nearer; he could feel its breath against the back of his head, chilling him to the bone. He would have to leave soon. And Marik… Marik was not going to like it.


The spirit glanced down to be met with a soft lavender gaze. Yes, staying was impossible.

"You look so distant this morning."

Bakura had not even noticed the arrival of the dawn. He glanced over to the window, realizing that the thick pale curtains slightly dimmed the light from outside. "Just thinking, that's all," he replied airily, maintaining his expression unreadable even with that cocky smirk playing on his lips.

"Something important? Something that, perhaps, I should know too?" Marik raised a brow. He could sense that something troubled his lover, and that he did not want to tell what it was. The Egyptian wondered whether that had something to do with Pharaoh coming to Egypt to find his memory.

"Perhaps you should," Bakura agreed, small flames of mischief lighting up in his chocolate brown eyes. He had to keep Marik happy and rid of any concerns – it was his way of expressing gratitude for the rare summer sun that had come to shine in his life during the times spent with this Egyptian. Bakura leaned over him, one hand landing on the tan shoulder and keeping him pressed against the mattress. "The thing that bothers me is that I want you. A lot. Right now and a lot."

Bakura rubbed his hips against Marik's, making the blonde smirk and buck beneath him, showing that he was eager and accepting of whatever the spirit had in mind. Receiving the mute approval, Bakura moved entirely on top of him and leaned down to receive a blazing kiss that singed both their senses and left them hungry for more. Marik opened his mouth to meet the spirit's tongue and draw it in a wild dance that made them both run short for air in a matter of moments. But they did not withdraw, eager to indulge themselves a little longer in the choking feeling. When they finally broke apart with desperate gasps for air, both were panting heavily, their hearts racing like wild horses galloping down a mountain slope. One second was enough to raise passion without control, but it was never enough with that, it never stopped just on that. Bakura's mouth latched onto Marik's neck, his lips, teeth and tongue moving over his skin with feverish speed while his hands explored and kneaded the tan body beneath him. Marik moaned from the fiery onslaught, a red-hot surge bolting through his veins and lust filling his bones with a heavy feeling. Not wanting to stay behind, he reached up to bite Bakura's shoulder, his own hands setting to tease his lover. The thief growled, and muttering something illegible, moved back to Egyptian's mouth.

Passion and desire roared higher and higher, making Marik squirm with impatience as Bakura moved lower and lower, taking forever to cross every centimetre of his body on the way down. Marik knew that the spirit was not to be rushed unless he wanted to extend the merciless tease and torture he was receiving right now. He felt as if the bed had suddenly caught fire. Marik was feverish, invisible flames burning away at his insides with unbearable intensity. He let out a hollow moan and raised his hips to grant a better access, but Bakura ignored it and took his time. His hot mouth was driving the other mad down there, his thrashing and squirming under the ruthless and sadistic assailant becoming rather violent.

"Bakura…" A desperate moan was all that Marik managed as his lover masterfully avoided his arousal and indulged himself a little bit longer in this game where both sides came out as the winners in the end. Finally his lips brushed ever so lightly along the hard piece of heated flesh, hinting of what was about to come. Marik cried out with relief when he felt that hot and moist mouth close around him, the pleasure spiralling beyond his understanding. Bakura moved up slowly, taking forever to cross every millimetre of the burning skin. Just as tormentingly he moved downwards. Slowly the speed increased, and Marik was trashing between the sheets, getting more and more lost in the heavenly sensation. Every time Bakura's sharp incisors scraped his overly sensitive skin, it felt like being hit by a lightning and the thrill echoed throughout his body, first reverberating in his spinal cord, then darting straight to his toes, making them cramp and drawing the final release nearer. Once it came, it blinded Marik from the inside with its unbelievable and brilliant power.

Bakura swallowed with a smirk dancing on his lips and spread the Egyptian's legs apart. His entry was violent, making Marik let out a groan. However, the satisfaction and the shreds of passion that still lingered in his relaxed body tuned down the pain. Moments later, Bakura had brought himself to his own wild release and came down to rest on top of Marik, catching his breath.

"Not a bad beginning for a day." Marik smirked up at his lover and reached to rub his thigh enticingly. They lay tangled on the bed, both pleasantly exhausted and their sweat mixing together. Light was still shaded down by the curtains even though the sun had risen higher up in the sky by now, and the shadows had a pleasantly golden tinge to them, making their surroundings a soft pastel colour.

Happy people were beautiful people, and Bakura could only agree to that. If Marik was handsome when they first met, then now he was insanely beautiful. "I would say quite the opposite of bad," he replied and smirked at the Egyptian. He rolled off of him and stretched his tired muscles, relishing in the quiet albeit wonderful ache. It was such a heavenly sensation, unlike the other types of pain, and Bakura wished he could keep it forever alive in his memory. But he knew better than that. He knew that it would eventually fade out and disappear, leaving only emptiness and a new kind of pain in its wake.

All fairytales come to an end. And theirs had just come a nigh away from its Finale Grande as another day withered away. Cold winds were sailing through the air, announcing the tremendous approach of the winter. Hearts started to freeze and humanity – to vane. Bakura was leaving soon. It was not to be discussed. But Marik did not want to let go just yet. He looked at his lover sitting across from him on the bed.

"Why must you leave?" Marik demanded, the darkness and the soft candlelight playing across both their faces, the strange shadows making them foreign to each other.

"You knew it will happen one day," came the cold reply, but Marik shook his head. This was insane! Why did Bakura have to go now that everything had finally fallen into place? They had been so happy together. Why change that?

Bakura felt his irritation growing. He had suspected an ending like this. Marik starting a drama was not going to help the situation in the slightest. The frost had come and bitten down the last flowers of the autumn and now coldness was slowly spreading all around them, covering everything in an icy veil. Now was too late to change anything. Soon Bakura would have to inhale to never exhale again.

"You don't have to leave, Bakura. You can stay here, with me. We were so good together…" Marik's voice trailed.

"That time has passed, Marik."

The Egyptian flinched inwardly. He knew what Bakura was trying to accomplish, and he knew that it would not work out the way he intended. Perhaps he wanted to spare him, trying to turn his heart into ice once again, but he no longer could do that. Marik's heart had recently been freed from the cold cage, and nothing would make him to return there. He was not going back. Bakura was wrong. That was not the best way of existence. Or escape, for that matter. It was, actually, the worst way of existing, but the spirit refused to believe in it.

"You're trying to avoid pain, Bakura, but you're doing it the wrong way."

"What do you know about pain?" Bakura hissed darkly, getting up from the bed and walking around it to come closer to Marik. "What do you know about pain?"

"Nothing that you wouldn't," he replied and really meant it. Did Bakura think that he was the only suffering person in the entire Universe? "Or have you forgotten what's etched onto my back?"

Bakura laughed out coldly. Marik thought to know what true pain was. Well, he was wrong. No one could know that unless he went through all the different levels of pain. And he had. He had been there once, and he did not want to go back there ever again. No, never again. Physical pain was only the beginning. Marik did not know what followed after that.

"I want to help you, Bakura. Why can't you understand that?" Lavender eyes looked at him pleadingly. Marik did not want to lose the recently gained peace, no matter what others thought and no matter how wrong it might seem to his family and the rest of the society. He knew that his sister thought it to be for the best that Bakura was leaving. She had always frowned upon this relationship; she could never understand her brother's sudden passion for someone of his gender, someone so corrupted in mind and soul as Bakura. But you could not order your heart to like or dislike someone. Things just did not work that way.

"Help me?" Bakura's eyes bore into Marik, anger rising steadily in him. "You want to help me?"

"Yes!" the Egyptian replied hotly, responding to his gaze with firm determination. "I can ease your pain if you would just let me." If only Bakura would allow him, he would help him to overcome everything. It was possible, and Marik was a living proof for that. He had once been where Bakura was right now – in those crossroads where life can go either way, depending on your choice. Right now, Bakura was choosing wrong.

"Ease my pain?" Bakura raised one eyebrow cynically. The Egyptian did not know what he was talking about. It was impossible – to ease his pain. Marik was such a fool, letting some empty illusions feed him. Their summer was over. Winter was taking its place.

"Yes, Bakura. Let me ease your pain. I know I can," Marik pleaded. He did not want to lose what they had, what they had created together. He knew that it was selfish, that it was a lowly wish for someone like him, that he was acting irresponsible and childish. But he could not help it. He had been alone for far too long before Bakura came along to chase away the loneliness. Now he was ready to fight for it, no matter what he would have to sacrifice. And even if he completely lost his mind trying to keep his lover with him forever, he would take any chance he got.

"Fool," Bakura snapped, walking up to him. Now he was standing in front of Marik, towering above the sitting male. Scorn passed through his brown eyes when they set on his lover. Marik was obviously losing his common sense, become too infatuated with their relationship. "You can do nothing. There is no cure for the pain that I feel."

"Yes, there is! You just don't want to see it!" the Egyptian defended, insisting on his words to be true. Gods, why did Bakura have to be so close-minded and stubborn?

"You are the one who doesn't see it!" Bakura retorted forcefully and showed the Egyptian backwards, making him fall flat onto the bed. He was going to prove Marik that he was wrong. The pain can never be lifted. It has no cure with the exception of death. Bakura got on top of Marik, his eyes glinting with lethal darkness. "And I'll prove it to you." He leaned down to press a brutal kiss on his lover's lips, his hands clawing at his clothing and ripping it off of his lithe body. Before the time had come for him to leave, he was going to prove his words being right.

Marik did not resist. He accepted everything Bakura did because that was the only way to prove that the spirit was wrong. Without even knowing it, Bakura was looking for someone to relieve his pain, and Marik was here to do just that. He reached out to cup his face, but felt rough hands clench around his wrists, squeezing them tightly and painfully, and pull them up above his head and keep them pinned down with just one hand. Bakura broke the kiss to glare down at Marik, and his newly freed hand moved down the other's body without the usual affection. He found the buckle of Marik's belt, undid it and yanked out of its loops with a sound that was so horrifyingly close to a crack of a whip. Marik flinched, but did nothing to resist. And Bakura did not even want his resistance. He tied the Egyptian's wrists together with his own belt and kept them pinned down to the pillow while the spirit looked for something to tie them to. The bed had no posts or a railed headboard. This fact only increased Bakura's anger and he dragged Marik off the bed and threw him to the floor. Since the bed was a rather heavy one, the Briton found it rather safe to tie his prey to one of its legs. That way, he would have both his hands free for whatever he had in mind.

Marik did not struggle against him. Nor did he show the pain that bolted through his back upon the collision with the hard floor. Bakura needed to learn that the pain could be lifted and it was the only way. The Egyptian did not close his eyes when clothes got ripped off of his body even though Bakura would have wanted him to.

"You wanted to ease my pain," the dark spirit whispered with venom, one hand reaching into his pocket and extracting a small object from it. Sharp blade glistened in the dim light of slowly dying candles, and Marik swallowed despite his best intentions and attempts to not show his fear. Bakura flashed a sadistic and cruel grin at him. "I'll show you my pain first. Then, you can make decisions."

Bakura moved up to force his mouth on Marik's, the sharp blade of the clasp-knife slowly running along the plains of tanned body, making occasional and seemingly unintended cuts. Marik's breathing wavered every time it penetrated his skin, sinking, though slowly, into his flesh, no matter how deep or long the cut was. He had known what was put on stakes when he decided to show Bakura his truth this way. But… Gods, the pain… Yet he had to admit that it was nothing. Quite insignificant, actually, in comparison to the pain that he had gone through during the initiation ceremony. However, those thoughts did not make the stinging disappear.

Marik gasped when a few longer and deeper cuts were etched into his body. Bakura's fierce kiss mixed with the ever-increasing blood loss was clouding his mind. The familiar fuzzy haze had started to spread its webs all over the Egyptian youth, slowly pushing him towards the welcoming blackness of oblivion. But another scar getting imprinted on his skin jerked him awake. Each small flash of pain brought him back to awareness, and each small moment the blade did not touch him lulled him back into darkness. The insane dance continued.






A scream!

Marik screamed in Bakura's mouth because the spirit had just rammed the knife as deep in his thigh as it would go. In one horrible moment Marik had felt the blade graze against the bone, sending disgusting quiver all over his body. Bakura freed his lover's swelling lips and glanced down at him, dark eyes full of demonic lust. He slowly moved the knife to the side, stretching the wound, but not pulling the weapon out, and Marik gasped in pain even though he had tried not to. Bakura sneered cruelly and leaned the weapon to one side, tearing the cut even wider, every millimetre of the blade departing from the flaming flesh agonizingly slowly. At first Marik bit his lip, trying to hold in the cries of pain. A tiny layer of cold sweat had formed on his body and the cold floor was making him shiver now. It had been so long since he had last felt anything like this, and as Bakura pushed the knife back in his thigh, Marik let a short, shrill scream sound out loud.

"Now, do you see my pain?" Bakura leaned in close to his face, his heavy breath tickling the Egyptian's face. His unoccupied hand clamped down on the injured thigh and squeezed it roughly. Marik cried out despite himself. "Do you still think it can be lifted?" The white of Bakura's eyes was glowing in the dying light of the candles, his pupils widened more than normally, rendering his eyes black. He had blood on his clothes, Marik's blood, but it did not stand out in the partial darkness. Angrily, he yanked the knife out of Marik's thigh and tossed it across the room where it landed with a sharp tingle. "I'll answer that for you, Marik."

Suddenly one of the candles flickered out, darkening the room even more. The next moment disappeared any light that there had been as the other candles rendered into hot pools of molten wax. The last thing Marik saw was the diabolical glint in his lover's eyes, and then through the darkness came a seemingly disembodied voice from, as it seemed, the very pits of hell itself.

"Hell no."

Marik tried to even his breathing, but it was not working. The pain was only annoying; he had to believe in that and then it would go away. It was just physical pain, and it was not the worst that there was. If only he believed that the pain was insignificant, it would be true. But… Ra, it was not. A lot of small bleeding cuts. Pain. Disillusioned Bakura. Pain. A serious wound in his thing. Pain. Bakura was wrong. Pain. Dull pounding in his head. Pain. Bakura was going to leave… Pain. Lavender eyes looked up through the darkness, searching for that Bakura that he had gotten to know in those past weeks. The one that held him in his arms, the one whose kisses singed his skin and made him want for more, the one who could be gentle and passionate instead of being cold, sarcastic and vengeful.

"He's gone, Marik." The deep voice was so dark and icy that the Egyptian shuddered. Bakura had somehow sensed what he was thinking of. Which Bakura he was looking for. And even if that knowledge made the spirit's heart of ice crack, he cruelly erased Marik's hope of finding that person he cherished so much. Their time was over. Tomorrow snow and ice would cover everything, leaving fading memories of better times behind. But this one last night when some shreds of the autumn were still holding in place, trying to survive for a little bit longer, he would slowly take in a very, very deep breath. And it would be his very, very last breath. So, he leaned in for the kill.

The first rays of light were slowly breaching through the darkness, the nearing of a morning chasing away the shadows of the night. Marik was alone in his room, his body battered and bruised, every inch of his flesh sore. He was widely awake despite the early hour and the last night's events, unsettling thoughts denying sleep and swirling through his mind like a swarm of bees. He knew that Bakura was gone forever, and it hurt him to know that they would never meet again. Bakura had crept out of the room during the darkest hours of the night, and Marik thought that he must have been asleep during that time because he had not felt anything. But more than that it hurt to know that his lover had left misguided. Bakura was wrong in so many ways that it clawed at Marik's soul. He had tried to show him the true way of things, but had not reached the other's conscious. Bakura had left being confident that pain could never be lifted in any other way than by dying, that a heart of ice was better off frozen forever and it should never be allowed to melt, that to feel was the worst punishment in this world and even beyond.

Bakura did not know, did not want to know how wrong he was, how wonderful it could actually be – to feel. He knew only pain and darkness, and peace. And he chose to sink deeper in darkness and pain, thinking that it would bring him the peace that he wanted so much. Marik felt his heart constrict painfully and sighed. Had he been the same way once? The answer was – yes, he had. But he had somehow found a way back to light. Yami had almost destroyed him to show the truth, to lead him the right way. Marik assumed it was only because the Pharaoh himself did not know any other way to show it, apart destruction. He had to destroy him first to rebuild him anew. But that was not it. There were other ways to rebuild. One did not have to destroy the old for that. It was so strange, Marik mused, almost hypocritical that Yami tried to lead people the right way while having a heart of ice himself. He was just as lost as Marik had been once and as lost as Bakura still was. But the Pharaoh was al least struggling his way towards Light while Bakura just turned his back on it, gazing deeper into the Darkness. Marik hoped that the both of them would find the way; he really wished for that to happen.

The Pharaoh and his friends were arriving today. Only a few more hours until their plane would land, and Marik would have to go and greet him. And he would. Despite the injuries Bakura had left on his body and soul last night, he would stand tall and proud. Marik would not show the pain that he felt. He had to prove that pain could be lifted, and for that one did not have to die first. Even though Bakura was gone, he had only left Marik's life and was still nearby. Marik desperately wanted for his lover to see that feeling was not the worst thing in the world, that it was not a torture, that hearts of ice could survive even after being melted, but loneliness could kill even the strongest person. Yet deep in his heart Marik knew that Bakura would take it differently. To him, Marik's proud stance would only be another proof that to have a heart of ice was the best thing and not feeling anything was a relief and a blessing. He would see only that in Marik's actions, remaining blind and deaf to everything else. He was too blinded by his own truth to see past the surface, too submerged in his own beliefs to see that he was wrong.

Because that was the natural order of things.

The End

I am so not talking about seasons here. That is my poetical and metaphorically philosophical side when it decides to shine through the usual layer or ice and darkness. Now, go and throw your shoe at me. My dog needs something to chew on. XP