Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters presented here and am not making any profit off of this whatsoever.
Title: Louder Than Words
Word Count: 5,472
Rated: R
Romance: Yami no Bakura x Yami no Yuugi
Notes: This takes place a few years after the Ceremonial Duel, posits that Yami no Bakura and Yami no Yuugi both have their own bodies now, and was written for the second season of the Yu-Gi-Oh Pairings Challenge. Comments and criticism gratefully accepted.
Summary: Which is more intense? The storm raging all over Domino City or the storm raging between Bakura and Atemu?


Thunder cracked over Domino City, setting several small items to shaking on their shelves. Atemu, former Pharaoh of Egypt, was not one of them, being neither a small object nor prone to shaking due to loud noises. Thunder, lightning, and curtains of rain such as what were now sweeping the city had an entirely different effect on him. He stood before a window and stared out, his fingers clenching and unclenching repeatedly, all of his attention on the spectacle raging just a few short inches away from him.

"Atemu?" Yuugi's quiet voice was just barely audible as yet another blast of thunder echoed. Atemu nodded slightly to show that he had heard the other, but he didn't look away from the storm as it wore onward. "Atemu, you always get like this when there's a storm." There was the faintest hint of reproach in the words, but Atemu knew they weren't serious. It was just the next thing to impossible to get his attention when this kind of weather occurred. He was lucky that tournaments were only held when the weather forecasters had predicted clear skies, or indoors where the majesty of the heavens couldn't be seen quite as clearly. It was virtually the only thing that could come close to distracting him from a good duel.

"They're beautiful, Yuugi," Atemu said, noticing the pale reflection of his partner as Yuugi came to stand beside him. Egypt had had a few storms like this, usually during the rainy season, but nowhere nearly as often as Domino did in the spring, like now. He wanted more. He ached for more, in ways that he couldn't express.

"I guess." Yuugi didn't love the storms like Atemu did, but he'd grown up with them. They weren't new and fascinating and didn't call to him like they did to the once-Spirit of the Puzzle. One of the side effects of Atemu having been granted his own form was an appreciation for so much more than he had ever imagined possible. Storms were only one thing he was fascinated by. "Did you want to play some chess or something?"

Atemu shook his head. He enjoyed games of every type with Yuugi, regardless of which of them won or lost these days, but the storm had his full attention. "Later, I think." He reached out and touched the tips of his fingers to the cool glass. He still marveled over so much in this time, even after his experiences as Yuugi's other self. Having relived a portion of his old life and regained his memories of the past, there was always a part of him that gazed on the works of this age and was simply awed.

He made his decision quickly and turned away from the window. "I'll be back. I'm going for a walk."

Yuugi looked at him in confusion. "In that?" Thunder crashed again, and a bolt of lightning ripped across the sky, lighting everything for a moment before fading. He didn't ask if Atemu were crazy, but what he did say made it plain that the prospect had crossed his mind.

"I'll be fine." Atemu smiled reassuringly at his partner, then went for his raincoat and umbrella. Yuugi's mother had taken quite a bit of pleasure in shopping for him once he'd officially joined the family as Yuugi's honorary older brother. She'd been more than a little surprised to find out that the Puzzle her son had carried for a year and a half had held the spirit of an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh who now had his own body, but she adapted quickly. The shopping spree had been memorable, to say the least.

Really, the weather was more than a little difficult to move through once he'd left the Game Shop and started down the street. He made certain to go in the direction the wind blew, enjoying the feel of it as his raincoat flapped against his legs and the umbrella tugged in his hands. The rain itself spattered against what parts of his skin were still exposed, and there was just the faintest tinge cold to the wind, sending chills down his spine.

This, among other things, was one of the reasons he was so glad to have his own body now and not just to live through Yuugi's. Now he had a real life, as opposed to stealing time from his dearest friend. The afterlife, and all those he had left, would be there in another fifty or sixty mortal years, and after waiting three eons, he was certain they wouldn't mind just a little longer wait.

Even when he'd had control of Yuugi's body, there had been a faint sort of barrier between himself and everything else. He didn't know even now if it had been a magical kind of thing or something in his own mind, keeping him from getting too comfortable there. He'd accepted that he might never know everything about the bond between the two of them as it had been. They couldn't hear one another's thoughts any longer, but after all the time they'd spent with one another, they didn't need to. That was why Yuugi hadn't protested when he'd went on this walk. Yuugi understood.

He wondered if Bakura felt the same way that he did now that the thief had his own separate form as well. They were all still trying to get used to that. His pale-haired nemesis hadn't spoken much of why he had been granted the gift of a second life. Actually, he hadn't really said anything about it. His former host was the one who had told them a few things, such as Bakura having no more power and control over the darkness and shadows than Atemu himself did these days. They shared an apartment, but Atemu suspected it wasn't exactly by the thief's choice. Perhaps it was some divine form of judgment? He couldn't think of too many other punishments that would be worse, though given how the modern Bakura felt about the thief that had used him like a puppet, he wasn't certain just who was being punished, or for what.

Thoughts of the thief slid away under the much more immediate caress of the wind and rain. Flashes of lightning across the sky lit his way as he walked along, scarcely noticing just where he was going. He simply walked, crossing streets and turning corners at random. All that mattered was the glistening storm that rippled all around him, the electricity charged air that he breathed...

"Too good to say hello to anyone still, I see," a cool, crisp voice spoke, and Atemu almost jumped. He'd been so caught up in his pleasures that he hadn't even noticed someone was there, much less that it was someone he knew.

Then he realized just who was there, and his lip curled almost at once. "Bakura." He would have much preferred it if it were Bakura Ryou who was there, as that particular one who bore the name was always polite, courteous, and extraordinarily sweet to be around. In more than one way, an irreverent portion of his mind whispered to him. He tucked it away; that particular encounter had been long ago and he didn't need to have such thoughts on his mind when facing this Bakura.

"At least you remember my name." The former thief, and Atemu wondered just how former he was on occasion, smirked at him. He wore a raincoat as well, one that clung to his body, with a hood that protected his hair from the elements instead of an umbrella.

"I know my own now, too." Atemu rolled his eyes. The other never would let him forget that he'd forgotten, or given up, so much all those eons ago. It was one of the usual starting points of anything that might resemble a conversation between them.

Bakura didn't move from his spot. His gaze flicked slightly upward as lightning flashed by, and Atemu saw it reflected in his eyes briefly. Something about that reflection caught at his attention. Bakura's eyes had always been intense, filled with rage and cockiness and so many other things. They still were, though there was something different in them this time. Atemu frowned to himself; what was it? What was the change? For that matter, what had caused this change?

"Just what are you looking at?" Bakura growled as he noticed the other looking at him. Not just looking; staring, Atemu admitted to himself, and himself only.

"You." Atemu smirked back at the other, enjoying the slight confusion to tinge those expressive eyes. "I think you've got something on your nose."

He was not surprised at all when Bakura didn't so much as lift a finger to check. He hadn't thought he would fall for that. Instead, Bakura stepped a little closer to him. "Is this what you do in your spare time, Pharaoh? Wander the streets like a lost puppy in the rain and think up useless insults?"

"And what of your spare time?" Atemu shot back. "What do you do now that you're not stealing souls and attempting revenge? You've never said why or how you returned, you know." The question had recurred to him more than once, and he had a slight hope if he took the other by surprise, perhaps he'd even get an answer.

"Because you have no need to know," Bakura replied just as quickly. If he'd had any idea of what was going through Atemu's head, he might not have told simply to spite his enemy. Again lightning flashed and thunder rolled, and both of them paused as the air seemed almost to tighten around them. The rain, which had slacked off a little before, now began to increase once again in intensity.

Atemu scarcely noticed what insults flowed off of his tongue or what came from Bakura as they verbally sparred. Something else was growing much, much more interesting with every passing moment. It wasn't so much what was coming out of Bakura's lips, as it was the lips themselves. It wasn't the defiant way Bakura tossed back his head, though that was interesting enough in and of itself. It was the slim and muscled body that was so tantalizingly close, and yet as unreachable as the moon.

They have reached the moon, however, he found himself realizing. It might not have been his people, but it was possible. Did this mean that Bakura was somehow reachable, and by him?

Nonsense. He was the Pharaoh, if anyone were unreachable, it would be him. For that matter, Bakura should be fondly hoping that he would deign to notice him! Granted, he hadn't ever really been able to forget him. Every meeting they'd ever experienced had seared itself into his memory, and only sacrificing his entire life and memory to save the world had changed that once before. Even so, now he had all of those back, and he had no intentions of ever losing them again.

None of that stopped the images that had begun to swirl in the back of his mind, or the tightness he was beginning to feel in his pants, which only got worse the longer he stood there and exchanged barbs with Bakura. Instead, he was certain thinking of Bakura in Egypt had begun to increase the intensity of what he felt.

His gaze flickered briefly over the ex-thief, and he wondered how he had failed to notice some things before. The body that he had now was neither that of the King of Thieves nor Bakura Ryou, but a mixture of the two. As did he himself, Bakura had the darker skin that came from living at least one life under the burning sun of Egypt, but his hair more closely resembled that of his former host. It had been much wilder three thousand years earlier. The muscles weren't as obvious to most eyes, but Atemu saw them clearly. His eyes were not deep brown, but pale violet, and filled with an amused mischief that could never be quenched.

Atemu swallowed, not caring if Bakura noticed or not. One word only summed up what he saw before himself: gorgeous.

Another occurred to him: sexy.

"Like what you see, Pharaoh?" Bakura's voice broke through his half-daze, and Atemu jerked away. He had to be insane! He hadn't been checking out Bakura!

All right, so he had been, but he didn't need to let anyone else know that.

"What in the name of the gods are you talking about?" Atemu absolutely didn't want Bakura knowing what had been going through his mind. The thief would never let him forget it.

"I would think that you would understand a simple question. You've been staring at me for five minutes, and I might even suspect that you're drooling." Mockery tinged Bakura's tone, and something else that Atemu couldn't identify? Amusement? Curiosity?

Atemu dismissed the thoughts as quickly as they came. He was Pharaoh, regardless of the era, and he would not be taunted by a lowly thief!

Unfortunately, it didn't appear that Bakura had received a memo to that effect, as his smirk only increased with Atemu's silence. "Aren't you going to answer me? Or did the sight of me strike you dumb?"

That voice! Rippling with cruelty or dark laughter, it had haunted him for three thousand years. He wondered if he'd even heard it when he was in the darkness of the Puzzle, before Yuugi had put it together. He thought he might, and simply hadn't known what it was at the time. Fury clawed at him; for so many eons they had been antagonists, facing each other over any form of battle they could manage. He could be said to be the winner in the end, truly, but when victory had never been acknowledged by the loser, was it really over?

He had to get away from here, away from Bakura, and quickly. He wasn't certain if he could lose the other in the storm, sad to say. The rain and wind were wonderful to walk through, but he couldn't walk all that fast no matter which way he turned. I have to figure out a way to stop him from following me. Challenging him to a duel wouldn't work. Even though Atemu was certain he would win, doing so wouldn't keep Bakura away from him. Beating him physically was not only more than a little crass, but there was a chance Bakura could at least match him in strength.

Not to mention if he thought about it long enough, he was more than a little certain Bakura would simply be turned on by the violence, and that took his mind down directions he was unsure if he wanted to walk.

But perhaps a side-path could be interesting to explore. He smiled as the idea uncurled in his mind, and decided right away this was going to have to be it. He wanted, he needed to get away from Bakura, to get a chance to deal with everything that had surged through his mind while staring at him, to put it into some kind of sane perspective, if such a thing could exist when it was the insane tomb robber he was thinking about.

"Pharaoh!" Bakura didn't sound in the slightest amused. Atemu took advantage of that. It was just like in Duel Monsters: you laid a trap for your opponent, and when they thought they were in a position to win, you turned the whole game around on them.

Atemu moved quickly, pinning the thief against the rough brickwork of the nearest building. He'd actually managed to take him off guard, something that could not have happened a round dozen times in Bakura's entire existence. He didn't hesitate another moment. Doing so would have lost him his advantage.

He leaned forward and fastened his lips on Bakura's, kissing with all of his strength. His hands clenched harder into Bakura's shoulders moment by moment, and without even realizing it, their bodies began to mold against one another. Perhaps even more surprising than that was the fact that Bakura kissed him back after only a few startled seconds.

Atemu didn't bother to think after that. Thinking could wait for another day, when he wasn't tasting lips such as he never had before. Bakura's response wasn't the soft yielding he had experienced with the few times he and Anzu had done this before mutually deciding friendship was much better than romance in their situation. He was as savage in this as he was in anything else, his tongue darting out to penetrate past Atemu's lips, finding Atemu's own tongue and probing against it.

He knew he should break the kiss and use Bakura's few instants of shock to get out of there. Bakura wouldn't follow him. He wouldn't want to see him again after this, no doubt. If he could, he'd probably leave the entire country to avoid seeing him, and if anyone asked, inform them in his haughtiest tones that Japan had nothing to offer someone of his skills, or something of that nature.

The Pharaoh tried to ignore the dagger of emotional ice that stabbed deep into his heart at the thought of never seeing Bakura again in this life, and possibly not in the next. Bakura had virtually always been there. He couldn't conceive of a world where he wasn't there, even if they didn't know of each other. It wasn't right. Such a place shouldn't exist, couldn't exist, must not exist!

It was Bakura who finally moved his head enough to break the kiss. Atemu opened his eyes, a small voice in the back of his mind wondering when he'd closed them in the first place, and stared at Bakura, who was so much closer than they'd ever been before.

Was this the first time they'd really touched? He couldn't remember. A small smile and laugh danced in him somewhere at that. He would never forget this first time, then, even if it was the only time. Perhaps especially if it were the only time.

"What was that for?" Bakura's voice was husky and throaty, and the sound sent chills down Atemu's spine and blood right down to another part of his anatomy. He'd never had that kind of a reaction to Bakura before, and even as he wondered why he was having it now, he found himself wanting it again, and more. "You'd better answer me this time, Pharaoh!"

Atemu's only reply was the same one he'd already used: a deep, hard, bruising kiss. Bakura's response was as intense as before, both of them ignoring the wind and rain as the elements tore around them. Lightning cracked and thunder rolled, serving as a background and mirror to the storm going on within each of them. Atemu tried to step back a little, but this time, Bakura didn't let him go. His eyes burned with lust and something else, something different, so far out of Atemu's experience that he had no name for it.

"There's a place," Bakura said at last, "not that far from here." He almost hesitated, then said what he surely could not have been thinking, or at least not thinking alone. "We can get out of the weather."

Atemu nodded slightly and they both stepped away from the other, but not as far as one might have expected, given their history. They didn't touch, but each was hyper-aware of the other's presence in an entirely different way than they had been before.

Bakura knew the way, and Atemu didn't ask how he knew. He simply walked along with him, in silence. There was nothing that needed to be said. They each knew what was going to happen when they got where they were going, though questions of why or how did still fill them both. Atemu had no answers and didn't expect Bakura to deliver any if he did.

It wasn't the best hotel in Domino City. Atemu was grateful, though he would have really preferred the surroundings to be slightly less seedy, all things considered. On the whole, it wasn't that bad. The room was clean, there were no strange smells, and best of all, the door locked securely.

As soon as that door was locked, Atemu found himself flat on his back on the bed, Bakura's lips on his again and the thief on top of him, grinding against him. He slid his hands underneath Bakura's shirt, tracing across the smooth skin for a few second before he begun to tug the shirt itself off, not wanting it there at all. Bakura's hands ripped at Atemu's shirt, and he didn't bother letting Atemu take it off. Before the pharaoh could even begin to do so, a knife was in Bakura's hands, and in moments, his shirt was in shreds.

"Yuugi gave me that," Atemu managed to murmur between harsh, passionate kisses. Bakura only smirked as he ran one finger down Atemu's chest and laid his hand flat over the bronzed stomach.

"I don't care. Are you going to get this off or do I have to do that myself as well?" His fingers slid into the waistband of Atemu's pants for a moment, and Atemu decided the last thing he needed was to have all of his clothes sliced off of him.

Not that there wasn't something interesting about that thought, but it was probably better to plan ahead for something like that, and have spares with him. He was quickly becoming of the opinion that Bakura would be more than happy to indulge him for that kind of play.

In moments, their clothes had been tossed to various sides. Bakura still held the knife, but Atemu still couldn't bring himself to be afraid. It, and Bakura, weren't there to cause him harm. There had even been a faint sort of thrill at having the knife that close to him. It wasn't something he really wanted to indulge in right now either. Another time, another day...

Bakura must have read something of that in his look, since he tossed the blade to one side casually, an amused smirk twisting his lips. "Not that adventurous, Pharaoh?"

"One step at a time. A duelist doesn't begin at the top."

The thief rolled his eyes. "This isn't a duel." He pounced back onto Atemu, who caught him and rolled until he was on top. The pharaoh kissed him deeply and thoroughly on the lips, then began to slowly work his way downward with light, teasing nips interspersed with slightly harsher bites. He didn't want to actually draw blood, though he suspected Bakura wouldn't mind if that did happen. There were many levels to teasing someone, after all.

Bakura's pleasure-filled groans taunted Atemu as he reached the thief's thighs. He'd never done this before, but he'd heard Yuugi and Jounouchi discussing such acts when they were alone in Yuugi's room and didn't think he was still awake. There were other things he'd heard them talk about as well, but he couldn't remember it all in the haze that filled his mind currently. If it were important, he was certain he would remember it in time.

The noises that Bakura had made before were nothing compared to what began to come from him as Atemu began his first cautious forays with gentle licks and light brushings of his fingers. He tried to remember things that he enjoyed, and tested them out to see if Bakura reacted in the same way. He was quite rewarded to find out that it was so, and more than a little smugness surged in him when Bakura's reactions were more physical and less vocal. He would have been fairly surprised if Bakura had been able to utter something coherent at the moment, really. He knew that he wasn't exactly in the condition to speak clearly, at least not where something that didn't involve what they were doing was concerned.

Atemu had no way of judging what the proper amount of time for an orgasm was, but when it did occur, Bakura didn't voice a complaint. He did voice Atemu's name, loudly enough to cause the people in the next room to bang on the wall, but neither of them paid any attention to that. Their own enjoyment was much more preferable, and far more important to both of them.

Once everything had been cleared up, Atemu had only a few heartbeats to catch his breath and relax before he was rather rudely jerked to his feet. He didn't stay there for long, since Bakura had him on the bed again within seconds. A feral smirk twisted across the thief's features. "It's only fair to share and share alike, don't you agree?"

Atemu had no chance to agree or disagree. He tried, but the single syllable to escaped his lips wasn't really recognizable as any kind of a word. He might have said more, if Bakura hadn't dove straight between his legs and proceeded to teach him, in the most direct and intimate way possible, exactly how to extract the most amount of pleasure from this situation. At least that was what Atemu vaguely thought was going on. There were too many explosions of pleasure going on in his brain to really define what was happening as anything other than 'mind-blowing'.

The neighbors banged on the wall twice as harshly when Bakura's name ripped itself from Atemu's lips.

One of the items that had been thrown to the side was Atemu's watch, which meant as the two of them lay in one another's arms afterwards, he had no idea of how long they'd been in here. Time didn't seem that important, either. Certainly not as important as running his hand across Bakura's flesh and finding new and interesting ways to cause him to make any kind of noise possible.

"We aren't even close to being done yet," the thief told him. Atemu had no objections at all. "This is just an intermission."

"I don't remember saying I was going to leave," Atemu reminded him. The storm still rolled onwards outside, though it had lessened a little and would probably pass soon. Atemu thought he would have an entirely fresh appreciation for storms after this.

The small room was quiet for a few more minutes, except for the soft gasps that came as each of them began to explore the other a little more intimately. The passion was rough and direct, neither fearing to bruise the other. After all that they had been through before this, a little physical pain meant virtually nothing. True to Atemu's suspicions of earlier, Bakura found the harsher bites and caresses to be even more stimulating than anything else, and he didn't hold himself back when Bakura urged him to keep going.

Somewhere in there, his mind cleared just enough to remember what else he'd heard Yuugi and Jounouchi talking about, and he groaned. It wasn't the kind of pleasurable sound that he had grown used to expressing in the last hour or two, and he found Bakura looking up at him curiously.

"I think we're missing something," the Pharaoh said. He recalled quite clearly the importance of both preparation and lubrication. Yuugi had made a point of impressing it on Jounouchi, and Atemu suspected he would never stop learning from his partner.

Bakura frowned only for a moment, until he rolled over and reached into the nightstand. "I've come here before. The management keeps everything well stocked."

Atemu never quite knew that he could feel that jealous, and did his best to fight it back for an impressive three seconds before he asked, "Who were you with?"

"Malik Ishtar." Bakura replied as casually as he breathed, examining the tube he'd pulled out from there. "The last time he came down, we ran into each other."

Atemu didn't want to hear anything more. He pushed Bakura back down on the bed and kissed him even more ferociously than before, expressing with his lips what his tongue didn't yet want to say out loud. Bakura might have tried to say something, but Atemu didn't let a single word get out, not even as his hands fumbled for the lube.

Bakura did manage to gasp out a question of his own. "Have you ever done this before?"

There was no way he could say that this wasn't Bakura's business. But that didn't mean he was required to like giving the answer. "No. Not like this."

The tube was plucked easily from his hands, and Bakura had him on the bed again. He hoped the furniture wouldn't wind up breaking from the many times they'd thrown one another around on it. They were hardly close to being done either. "Then I'll show you how it's done this time."

When two people know each other, no matter how intermittent the knowing, for three thousand years, some things simply do not need to be said. Atemu could hear words that Bakura wasn't saying. This would not be the first time they came to a room like this. One day, there would be times when they made love in their own homes. He didn't yet know if this was sex or love, but the difference was minuscule in his mind.

Of all the people he had ever imagined that he might possibly learn from in his entire life, the last one he had ever had on that list was Bakura, and what he was learning hadn't even made the list until this day. But when Bakura slowly began to demonstrate, with one well-coated finger entering him, any mental images Atemu had of anyone else performing this vanished as if they had never existed in the first place.

Moments later, when a particular spot was brushed against, Atemu lost track of everything but what he was feeling. A small part of his mind was aware enough to be grateful that Bakura hadn't thought to try this three thousand years ago.

A short while after that, Atemu decided that he wouldn't bother being jealous of Malik. Instead, he would have to issue thanks to the tomb keeper. There was something to be said for experience, after all.

The mental fireworks that had exploded earlier had nothing whatsoever on the white lightning that crackled not only outside the hotel but within his mind and his heart as he reached his peak, Bakura buried within him deeply. The neighbors had given up on trying to get them to calm down, or simply left. It wasn't long after his own cry split the air that Bakura's joined with the echoes, and Atemu was quite glad that this room had a shower stall in the small bathroom. They were both going to need to clean up after all their exertions.

He was also going to need a new shirt, and figure out how to explain to Yuugi just what had happened to the old one. Telling him the truth crossed his mind, but it was hard to say just what Yuugi's reaction would be. The other had forgiven virtually everyone and everything for anything they'd ever done, but this might be a little more difficult.

Atemu decided to think about it when he actually could think. He simply felt too good to stress over it right now. At least he felt emotionally good, if physically worn out and prone to aches in several places if he moved a little too much in any direction. The bed itself could also stand a good change of sheets. As that wasn't even close to being his responsibility, he simply worked around until he could only feel Bakura and not the mess they'd made of everything.

"Was it the storm?" Bakura's question came from nowhere. Or perhaps it came from the same thoughts worrying Atemu, deep underneath the certainty that this was the first, not the only, time.

"Yes. No. I don't know." Atemu used the only answer he had. The storm had something to do with it. He didn't doubt it. Maybe they would have met in some other way if they hadn't both been in it, but there was no way to know if they would have had the same reaction to each other. "Does it matter?"

There was no reply for a time, then Bakura pulled him around so they could look at one another. For a moment, he thought perhaps the other would ask him something in his own turn. But ever since they met on that street, actions had spoken more clearly than anything else between them. Bakura proved that once again, with a kiss that was as searing as all the ones that came before, and more so than all the ones that came after.

The End