A/N: This fic is written for the 2nd round of a Yu-Gi-Oh fanfiction contest I'm in. The pairing in this story is Darkshipping (Yami Yugi x Yami Bakura). This story was a challenge to write since this is the first time I've written either character in a story (much less as a pairing). Hopefully, they are not too OOC but if they are, I apologize. Also, I missed the episode where Yami Bakura loss the memory game and I don't know exactly what happened to him; so, this is going to be AU-ish. Also, Yami Yugi will be called Atem since this takes place post Ceremonial Duel.

Warnings: Shonen-ai, slight spoilers

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

A Kiss Before Oblivion

Bakura didn't know what exactly happened or where he was. In fact, the last thing that he remembered was losing the Memory Game to the Pharaoh. Now, he had waked up to find himself chained to the floor in a dark, barely lit room.

The floor was made of stone and was cold to the touch. The walls seemed to have been created by a brick-like substance and had several rusty candle holders attached to it. Dimly-lit candles provided the only source of light in the room, and their flames gave off an eerie glow. Bakura was in the middle of the room bound by steel chains that wrapped around his body. No matter how much he struggled, he couldn't break free.

Suddenly, a cracking sound echoed throughout the room, and Bakura turned his head to see a large crack appear in the floor. The crack quickly began to spread, and darkness began to replace the floor. Normally, Bakura wouldn't be afraid of the dark and he often even embraced it. However, there was something about this particular darkness that made him rather uneasy. It was as if this darkness was pure emptiness that erased everything that it consumed. Though it was difficult to see in the dim light, Bakura noticed that the floor around the small area where he lay was crumbling away.

Then, a door began to open and a bright light flooded the room. The tomb robber had to close his eyes for a brief moment to shield them from the harsh, bright rays. After a while, he slowly opened his eyes and noticed a figure standing in the doorway. As he focused his vision, Bakura began to recognize the spiky-haired silhouette.

"Well, if it isn't the Pharaoh", stated Bakura as a smirk crossed his face. The other came closer and Bakura was able to get a good look at him. He was filled with mixed emotions when he noticed that the former Pharaoh no longer appeared as he did when he had possessed Yugi's body, but instead looked like he did when he was alive 3000 years ago.

The ex-Pharaoh noticed the slightly confused look on Bakura's face and said, "I have been freed from my ties to the Puzzle, and I have since moved on to the afterlife."

"So, what pray tell are you doing here, and where exactly is 'here', anyways?" asked Bakura. At this question, the other spirit grew a grave expression on his face, and Bakura had a sinking feeling that he would not like the answer.

Atem wasn't sure how to answer the white-haired spirit. He should by all rights hate Bakura, and he did to a certain degree; however, he also couldn't help but feel pity as well. Enemy or not, Bakura still needed to know about his fate; so, the ex-Pharaoh drew a deep breath before answering.

"Well", he began, "this room is known as the Pit of Oblivion. It is where the souls of those who have committed terrible crimes sometimes go. The darkness that resides here judges those who are sent here, and in many cases it consumes them. You are here because of the crimes you have committed both in life and as the spirit of the Millennium Ring. As for me, I have been summoned here with a choice to either watch your destruction or to try to save your soul."

"And what will you do, Pharaoh?" Bakura asked in a taunting manner. Atem smirked and replied, "I'll save your soul, of course." A brief look of surprise formed on the tomb robber's face, before a scowl replaced it and he said, "Of course, you have to pretend to be the hero like you always do. Well, I don't need your help nor do I want it! I'll just find a way to escape myself."

Just as he said those words, his chains suddenly felt tighter and heavier. "What's going on?!" exclaimed Bakura. Atem simply looked at him and replied, "Those chains are formed by the hatred in your heart. The more hatred you have, the heavier they will get. You must let go of your hatred if you want to escape."

"Do you really think I can just let it go?!" shouted Bakura. "You obviously don't know all that I have been through." Atem had to admit that Bakura had a point. After all, the white-haired spirit had held a grudge for over 3000 years; so, it would be nearly impossible for him to simply drop it after all this time. Still, the ex-Pharaoh couldn't just stand by and do nothing. At the very least, he had to shed some light on how dire the situation really was.

"Look around you, Bakura," said the ex-Pharaoh. "Even as we speak, the floor around you is crumbling away. If nothing is done soon, you will be trapped here and consumed by the darkness for all eternity! Do you really want that?!"

Bakura moved his head as much as he could and took note of the large gap between him and the former pharaoh. As he looked at it, the gap began to slowly expand. The chains kept him from looking around, but based on the tone of the other spirit's voice, he had a feeling that he was probably surrounded.

"Look", said Atem, "I might be able to help you. I can use my powers to loosen the chains, but it is up to you to break them." Bakura, however, just gave him a skeptical look.

"Why do you care?" Bakura asked. "After all, I tired to kill you and those friends of yours numerous times. If anything, you should be happy to get rid of me. So, what reason do you have for trying to save my soul?"

Atem thought about it for a few moments. It was true that he had many reasons to Bakura, and if he had never had met Yugi he probably wouldn't think twice about letting the tomb robber fall into the Pit of Oblivion. However, being with Yugi and his friends taught him about friendship, trust, and forgiveness and the ex-Pharaoh began to change throughout all their adventures to find his name and memories. Although he wasn't sure how long it was since he lost to Yugi in the Ceremonial Duel and moved on to the afterlife, but he vowed never to forget his young friend and the others. In fact, if Yugi was with him right now, he would probably urge him to do whatever he could to save Bakura despite everything tomb robber did in the past.

"I guess you can say that Yugi rubbed off on me", said Atem. "So, will you let me help? There is no way you can escape on your own, so we have to do this together!"

Bakura quickly reviewed his options. He really didn't want to accept help from the Pharaoh. It could be something that the Pharaoh could hang over his head, and Bakura didn't want to feel like he owed the other spirit anything. However, being trapped and consumed in some pit of darkness for all eternity appealed to him even less. So, he decided on the lesser of two evils.

"Fine", said the tomb robber, "As much as I hate to admit it, I suppose I could use some assistance." Atem gave him smug smile, and then he began to chant a spell. Suddenly, a bright ray of light appeared and hit the chains. While it didn't free Bakura, it did weaken the chains and make them feel lighter.

"Bakura, it's time! You must let go of your hatred! If you can do that for even the briefest moment, then you can break the chains!" shouted Atem.

The tomb robber tried his best to let go of the hatred within him, but that was easier said than done. After all, he had been filled with hatred for such a long time. However, he looked at the Pharaoh and thought, 'Do I still hate him?' Of course, the Pharaoh had constantly interfered and ruined his plans, but what reason was there to hate him at that exact moment of time? Zorc had been defeated, the Millennium Items were probably destroyed, and there was no way he could organize any evil schemes while trapped in this room. Also, the Pharaoh was willing to help the tomb robber despite all the terrible things he did.

Slowly, Bakura's hatred began to slip, and the chains began to break one by one. Soon, he was able to stand up and get a good look at the room. It became clear that Bakura was indeed stranded in the middle of the room and that the small area of floor that he was standing on was getting smaller every second.

"Jump, Bakura!" shouted Atem as he stood on the edge and held out his arm. "Jump and I will catch you! You have to trust me!"

Within a few seconds, Bakura leaped towards the ex-Pharaoh. Atem reached out as far as he could and managed to grab onto the tomb robber and pull him to safety. Then, he held the white-haired spirit moments. Needless to say, the Pharaoh's actions confused Bakura, but he was even more befuddled by a strange, warm feeling he got as the Pharaoh held on to him. He never had that feeling before, and he wasn't sure what to make of it.

Suddenly, the ground beneath them collapsed, and Atem barely managed to grab the edge in time. Bakura was barely hanging on to the pharaoh, and to make things worse, the darkness seemed to have grabbed a hold of him and was pulling both of them in. 'So, the darkness still wants me, eh?' thought the tomb robber. It was then that he went over the options in his head. He tried to move up, but the darkness kept pulling him down. He also considered letting the darkness have him, and taking the Pharaoh down with him, but for some reason, that didn't seem right.

'Perhaps, I have gone softer than I thought,' the tomb robber mused.

They hung on for quite a while, hoping to find some way to escape. However, the Pharaoh's strength began to wane and the pull of the darkness became increasingly stronger. Eventually, Atem noticed that his hand was beginning to slip and said, "I don't think I can hold on too much longer. I'm sorry, Bakura." Yet, the tomb robber was still preoccupied with deciding on he should do.

Finally, Bakura came to a decision. He knew that the Pharaoh would probably keep holding on until the very end. However, the darkness only really needed the tomb robber. Also, he didn't know when or how, but for some reason he seemed to have developed some sort of feelings for the Pharaoh. Perhaps, it was the fact that the Pharaoh tried to save, or maybe it was the way they held each other. In any case, it was these feelings that helped the tomb robber make a decision.

"It's a pity," he suddenly muttered. Before Atem could ask what he meant, Bakura rose up as far a he could and kissed the Pharaoh. While the Pharaoh was still in a state of confusion, Bakura continued, "It's a pity we didn't meet under different circumstances. If we did, then perhaps we could've had a future together. Oh well."

After he muttered those words, Bakura let go of his hold on the Pharaoh. "Bakura! No!" shouted Atem, as he reached in vain to catch the other spirit. However, it was too late, and he could only watch in horror as the tomb robber disappeared into the darkness for all eternity.

After a few moments, Atem finally managed to pull himself to safety. Remembering Bakura's last words and the kiss, he placed his hand onto his lips and tried hard to keep the tears from forming in his eyes. For a long time, he stood in morning looking over the dark room. Finally, the ex-Pharaoh whispered, "Farewell, Bakura", and he slowly walked to the door from which he came.

The End