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

Her Sweetness: Alright, no, this is not a one-shot. Yes, A Tale of Two Idiots is still being continued. And no, I am not currently motivated to write for it at this particular second! So please enjoy this fic. -smile-


Slide

Chapter One


The fact that my name is Malik Ishtar has nothing to do with me.

XXXX

The first snow of the season. It's times like these that I despise my Egyptian heritage. Egypt was so warm and here, in the city of Domino, the winters are frigid. Still, everyone seems to be accustomed. Of course, I wouldn't notice the cold so much if I had enough sense to get myself back to my house and my warm fireplace. Out here in the park where the snow is free to harass me, I am shivering.

I heard somewhere before that if you move around you'll be warmer than if you just stand in one place. But I was told to wait here and I have no where else to go. I suppose I could walk around the bench standing next to me, just go round and round but there is a man sitting there and I don't know how he would react to that. I am afraid of being shot as of late.

Ryou tells me I'm silly.

As I stood in the same place, occasionally shifting the weight of my body from one foot to the other, children run around freely. I don't know why I should be afraid of walking in circles around a man and they can catapult snowballs at random strangers. It is probably because they are cute, blushing little girls and I am a seventeen-year-old Egyptian boy. There is a difference, unfortunately.

The snow continues to fall and damn myself for not having brought a hat along with me. In the fifteen minutes before sunset, my golden hair is glowing under the red-pink sky. Suddenly it worries me about the children.

They shouldn't be out so late… where are their mothers?

I looked to the side of me and out of the corner of my eye the man sitting on the bench is beginning to look unappetizing. He seems as if he's just sitting here, watching the little girls play. That can't be good. And there's no one else out here besides me. I wonder. If he starts to kidnap one of them, would I do anything?

Besides run away, I mean. Sometimes I worry about myself as a man. Would I have any courage if one of these darling little ones was whisked away by a man who looks like an aged hobo? Would I?

I would probably wait for Ryou and after assessing the situation, he would do the right thing and in his mind he would be wondering if I am seriously retarded. I cannot make decisions on my own. But he knows that and he doesn't judge me for it. He is so sweet to me that sometimes I think I will burst. How can one person be that perfect?

Suddenly the man on the bench shifts under his large, tattered winter coat. He makes a noise and finally belches loudly. I shift my weight to my left foot and turn away, afraid of fumes.

That is so disgusting. I understand the fact that I'm a complete stranger but he could say excuse me. My thoughts turn back to the girls. If I turn on the news tomorrow morning and see that one of them has been kidnapped I'll know it was him. Whether I go to the police with my knowledge or not, I will still be completely disgusted and remorseful.

I heard crunches in the snow and they're too heavy for it to be one of the girls. It turn around and see Ryou coming up from down the hill, waving his hand at me. He is not dressed nearly as heavily as I am. He is not Egyptian. So lucky.

"Malik," he said and smiled when he reached me. "I was worried you might not be here, sorry I took so long. Bakura had hidden the remote from me this morning and today, when he wanted to watch television, he'd forgotten where he'd hidden it. It was a real fiasco."

I laughed and nodded my understanding. Ryou and I have a lot of the same problems. It's because we have an very large identical problem—the source of all our trials and tribulations.

Ryou turned and started to walk away, expecting me to follow him. "Well, come on then," he said.

"Um, wait, Ryou," I said and he turned back to me. I walked the few steps towards him and leant in, whispering, "I don't think it's a good idea to go yet."

He blinked. "Why not?"

This time I blinked and dusted the snow out of my hair. I jerked my finger back, trying to be inconspicuous at my pointing towards the man on the bench. Then I motioned toward the still-joyous little girls a few yards away. I said, "I think he's going to kidnap them when we leave. No… I know he is."

It was quiet for a moment. Ryou looked at me then peeked over my shoulder to see the man. Finally, he said, "Why do you think that, Malik?"

"I'm not sure. But look, doesn't he seem the type?"

Ryou peeked over my shoulder again. "Well…"

"I'll feel bad, Ryou," I insisted. "I'll feel bad if I see that a little girl is kidnapped here tomorrow on the news. It'll be all my fault."

"No, Malik, it…" he stopped. "Okay then. What if we wait here until he leaves?"

"That would be good." I smiled at him and he smiled back. He's so tolerant of me, I could burst. We whispered among each other for another moment after that, conspirators against the would-be kidnapper. Ryou said he wouldn't stand here all night until he moved so we sat down on the bench with him. It made me uncomfortable but Ryou assured me that I would not be shot.

The man didn't seem to mind that I was sitting next to him but I sure did. He smelled. Much worse than even my dirtiest sock. And I didn't know it back when I was standing next to the bench but he farted continuously. It was almost toxic and Ryou and I felt faint. Still, we had to stay there to protect the girls.

But it was hard. The smell of his gas was bad but to add to it, we were on a very small bench and he was practically heaving when he breathed. His breath was far past halitosis. It was then that I was certain that he was a homeless person. People with jobs and houses aren't this nasty. In order to keep up with society and be accepted in the modern world, you must have some sort of interest in personal hygiene.

This man lived here in the park and the bench was his home and the little girls were the lawn gnomes on his front yard. I was almost certain he wouldn't hurt them now. I was going to tell Ryou my findings but at that moment, the girls all stopped in their tracks. Their ears seemed to perk up like dogs listening to a silent whistle. Suddenly they all laughed and dispersed. Obviously there was a mother somewhere who'd called them all into their nice warm house for dinner.

I shivered and remembered how cold I really was then. When the girls were gone, Ryou stood up, probably so glad to be free of this horrible farting man. I stood with him and we looked back at the man to see that he was asleep.

"That was terrible," Ryou said, somewhat out of breath. Had he been holding his breath throughout the entire thing?

We walked off, our snow boots crunching the powder beneath us. "Thanks for waiting with me," I said to Ryou. He looked at me and I continued, "I really would have felt awful if one of those girls were kidnapped, you know."

"I know."

By the time the girls had gone, it was already night. The sun had set and the stars rose after it, each point of light gleaming over our heads. The lanterns in the park turned on in response to the darkness and we were surrounded by tiny lights down by our feet.

Suddenly, a light came on inside my head.

I stopped and shouted, "Oh no! Ryou, I'm so sorry! The movie, we were supposed to see a movie tonight!"

Ryou's eyes were wide at my yelling but on spur of the moment realizations like that, I can't contain it.

He tried to calm me down. "No, no, it's okay. Really, Malik, we can see a movie anytime and besides—"

"But you said…" I trailed off. I could feel a swelling behind my eyes and soon my vision would become blurry. I didn't want to cry in front of Ryou. I'm always crying but I don't want to seem like such a girlish fool in front of my best friend. I shook my head and suddenly felt a hand clasp my shoulder.

Chocolate orbs were staring into my own lavender eyes. "Come on, it's not a big deal. We can go tomorrow if you want. You know neither of us has anything to do."

I coughed out a little chuckle. "But what about Bakura?"

Ryou thought for a moment. "Oh… you're right. Well he can come along, too. Hey! We'll bring Marik along as well!" He lowered one of his eyebrows. "It can be a double date."

"But…" I blushed a little. Luckily, I'm sure it went unnoticed because of how cold my face was. But no, Ryou noticed it. Ryou notices everything. "You're not dating Bakura," I said, "and I'm not dating Marik."

"Who cares about technicalities?"

"Marik doesn't like me that way, Ryou," my voice lowered.

Ryou pouted. "You don't know that. That's just your negative way of thinking, that's what it is. You've never even asked."

"But—"

"Have you asked?"

"Well… no, but—"

He laughed aloud and it nearly startled me. He leant in and kissed my cheek, warming up the soon-to-be frostbitten side of my face. As he pulled away, he said, "You're so cute, Malik. Why you don't get everything you want is a mystery to me."

Our walk home was peaceful. The snow continued to fall and that person who once said that moving around was a better way of warming up was right. I did feel better but I also have to give credit to the person that said sharing body heat is a good way of warming up too. Ryou's hand clasping mine felt nice. As we continued down the streets, we were free to talk loudly about whatever we wanted. Eastern Domino is filled to the brim with upper middleclass families with young children and for that reason, there's hardly any activity at night.

Ryou and I live very close to each other. That's how we met actually. When we first settled down in Domino—Marik and I—Marik would go out every day to cause trouble and he often ran into Bakura who was on similar errands. They couldn't stand each other at first; it was havoc all over the city whenever they went out to fight. But one night, as fate would have it, they bumped into each other on a phone-sex chat line. Neither recognized the other at first but after a few continuous nights of moaning and squirting noises, they exchanged names.

You can imagine their surprise when they find out that their archenemy was the one they'd been having telephone-intercourse with. When I first heard about it I thought it was the beginning of the end for Domino and that all hell would break loose but instead it ended the war, at least for the most part. They don't have phone-sex anymore—at least not to the best of my knowledge—but they do hang out quite often. Bakura began to come over to my house to hang out with Marik everyday and Ryou sometimes came with him, just to monitor.

Usually when those two hung out, I got the feeling I was unwanted and retreated to my room. But when I saw how bored Ryou seemed, I invited him up and since then, we've been rather inseparable. Funny how things work out sometimes. Now we're two sets of best friends and I wouldn't trade Ryou for the world… but I do wish Marik and I were closer…

We arrived at my house and I could see the smoke rising from the chimney. Good. I almost raced inside to get at that fire and I could hear Ryou laughing behind me. After unlocking the door, I put the key back into my pocket and we came in, taking our coats off and leaving them in a pile on the floor. Off came our shoes and when we looked up, Marik and Bakura were sitting on the couch watching the blue glow from the television.

Immediately Ryou went into overprotective mother-mode with Bakura. He walked in front of the TV and both our yamis shouted at him to "move your ass".

Ryou frowned. "Bakura, if you sit too close to the television, you'll hurt your eyes."

"Hey, is it my fault Malik set the couch here?"

My eye twitched at that comment but I refused to acknowledge it.

"You moved it," Ryou said firmly and Bakura folded his arms over his chest. I continued to warm myself in front of the fireplace and without even looking I knew Marik was enjoying listening to Ryou and Bakura. He told me once that they should have their own sitcom. I don't think Bakura would like people with cameras running around after him but then again, Marik knows him better than I do.

"Ryou, I'm trying to watch TV."

"We have to go home anyway," Ryou said and I tilted my head to see him. He winked at me and waved as he moved closer to the door.

Bakura's brown eyes were wide. "Why do we have to leave?" he shouted.

"Bakura, lower your voice. And don't be silly, you know it's your turn to clean the bathroom."

"But—"

"Good-bye, Malik," Ryou said cheerfully and I nodded. He turned to my look-alike sitting on the couch. "'Bye, Marik."

Marik grunted and I suppose that was code for "See ya later."

Bakura was eventually coaxed out of our house and they left for a few houses down, their own two-story wonderland with an apparently dirty bathroom. After they were gone, Marik and I were left in the living room by ourselves. I stayed quiet in front of the fireplace all the time kicking myself. Why am I such a mute?

Some more silence followed and I jumped into the river without a paddle.

"D-Do you want to go to the movies with me and Ryou tomorrow? Um, Bakura's coming too… I think…"

When I didn't hear anything for a few seconds, I turned around and saw that I was the only one in the room. Wondering where he'd gone, I heard a call from upstairs: "Malik, we're out of toilet paper!"

I sighed.


To be continued…


Her Sweetness: Review, please!