Defeat
By Amphitrite

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Bakura cheats on Yami.
Disclaimer:
This story is based on Yu-Gi-Oh! and its characters and situations, all created and owned by Kazuki Takahashi.
Warnings:
Yaoi. Swearing.
Notes:
Last chapter! This has been a joy to write; it's amazing how easy it was to come back to this fandom. Thank you all for reading and reviewing: it's greatly appreciated!

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"God, Malik, you take as long as a woman to get ready," Bakura complains, scrounging the Ishtars' refrigerator for something raw. The light in his eyes is different now, its mischievous defiance dancing along with a quiet satisfaction.

"I can't find my other earring!"

Amused, Bakura gives up on his search, grabs a can of soda, and goes to Malik's small room.

Running around frantically, searching everywhere, Malik hollers at him to help find his jewelry. Bakura shakes his head and holds up a gold earring lying a few feet away from him on the ground. Murmuring a word of thanks, Malik continues getting ready while Bakura lounges on his bed.

"So what did you and the Pharaoh argue about today?"

"He wants me to go to the zoo with him and his friends. Ugh. You'd think he'd be satisfied with them and not want me around ruining his fun," Bakura grumbles.

Smearing the last bit of kohl under his eyes, Malik comments, "Maybe he feels out of place without you there."

"Maybe," Bakura echoes, annoyance still apparent in his voice.

"You should join them."

"Why the hell would I do that?"

Shrugging, Malik finally departs from his mirror; Bakura follows him to the kitchen.

"You owe him," Malik says bluntly.

"I don't owe him anything," Bakura protests. Malik snorts.

"Would you have forgiven the Pharaoh for sleeping around?"

Silence. Confusion clouds Bakura's face, his russet eyes dark. He laughs suddenly. Self-loathing—even rarer than kindness for Bakura—fills his voice.

"No," he admits, "I wouldn't have."

Malik smiles. "Go," he urges. "Make your honeypie happy."

Growling, Bakura tosses the nearest thing on the counter—a moldy orange—at his friend. "For that, you're coming along."

Tanned face illuminated by an impish grin, Malik retorts, "Fine by me. I like them."

"Asshole," Bakura mutters.

- - -

Rolling his eyes at the stubborn former thief king, Malik stops, crosses his arms, and stamps his feet. "Bakura," he whines, glaring at the offending man, who is dragging his feet, three yards away. "We're never going to get there at this rate."

"That's the point," he mutters under his breath.

"Don't you want to see the Pharaoh?"

"No," Bakura shoots back resentfully, but his quickening footsteps belie his protest.

When they reach the zoo entrance, Malik exclaims, "Over there!" and points out Yuugi and his friends. Bakura has never understood how Malik could like the annoying brats, although he supposes that living underground for ten years could mess with anyone's state of mind.

As they near the happy-go-lucky group, Bakura picks out his lover instantly, a warmth filling his chest and erasing any annoyance from the early-morning quarrel.

"I brought Malik," he says to no one in particular as soon as they're within earshot.

"Bakura!" Yami exclaims in surprise, obviously both happy and triumphant. The group ignores Bakura and greets Malik politely (they, like Yuugi, are also wary but accepting of their former enemy), to which he murmurs a pleased, "Hi, everyone."

Yami moves to stand with Bakura and reaches for his hand—before suddenly pulling it back to his side. A sense of loss fills Bakura, and Yami mutters a resentful "Sorry." Bakura realizes that Yami is trying to be sensitive to his complaints about the relationship, and the sense of loss is replaced by a warm, fluttery feeling in his stomach. Yami's sensitivity to his comfort never ceases to surprise him.

As the afternoon proceeds, Bakura mostly just stands next to Yami, who makes occasional comments to him and laughs sporadically at something the group says. Yami has lost the exuberance he wore earlier, and Bakura catches him staring anxiously at him several times. Besides the strange aloofness, Yami is also walking strangely—with his arms crossed tightly against his chest.

Again, that hated feeling of guilt sweeps through Bakura. When Yami is captured by the lion exhibit, he leans close to the bars and reaches a hand up to absentmindedly push his bangs back.

Bakura grabs it before Yami shoves it back under his arm.

Yami looks to him, alarmed, and Bakura stubbornly turns his head the other way, pretending to be interested in the sign describing the exhibit.

"Bakura, I thought…" Yami's voice sounds strangely wobbly.

Bakura still refuses to look at him. More than a little embarrassed by his change in behavior, he merely squeezes Yami's hand assuringly and follows the group to the next exhibit, dragging a confused—but clearly happier—ex-pharaoh with him. Feeling much more at ease now that Yami's familiar grin back on his face, Bakura smiles a little to himself, the palest pink highlighting his cheeks.

He can handle the embarrassment. Like he cares what those brats think of him, anyway.

As long as Yami keeps smiling at him like that—

He can handle anything.

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END.