I'm back in the swing of updates and if anyone is reading or still following Desert Flower, it's going under a editing, NOT a re-write, first chapter edited already, When Silence Is Broken is now complete, just throwing it out there as a FYI, anyway enjoy the chapter.

This chapter has been edited to the best of my ability.

Warnings: M. Slash (Male/Male)

Chapter 17: Away around Forever.

Marik paced the floor beside Yugi, who was still unconscious on the floor. No way was he going to go out of his way to make the short host more comfortable. Ryou fussed enough by placing a pillow under his head hours ago. Marik wasn't going to offer anything more to the Puzzle Host then his hard floor.

The sun was setting, and he didn't want Yugi spending the night, he had a shift at the club in a few hours. He stopped pacing grabbed Yugi by the front of his shirt and yanked him upright, off his feet and slapped him across the cheek, "wake up." Yugi instantly awoke wide-eyed and a hand to his now stinging red cheek. Information or not, Marik couldn't take having the Host in his presence any longer, "time to leave." Yugi hit the floor hard and with a cry of pain.

The Host looked to be in a confused daze and didn't move fast enough. Marik tugged him to his feet and shoved him towards the door. "I need help," Yugi stumbled on his feet and fell on his knees and hands; his body still felt sluggish and heavy from the instant waking.

"You got that right," Marik grabbed him again hauling Yugi to his feet.

"I'm serious, if I go back I'll die, and it'll be on your hands," Yugi fell against the door his body struggling to respond.

"I'm sure I'll find a way to sleep at night," Marik pulled him off the door and opened it.

"Ryou's my friend and he'll not forgive you," Yugi jerked himself free and backed up.

"Don't bring Ryou into this," Marik seethed the warning, maybe he should give the other a faster way out, right out of his window and over his balcony. "I've reached my hospitality limit with you," he grabbed Yugi again and shoved him out of his apartment.

"Ryou!" Yugi called out as Marik closed the door in his face.

Ryou awoke on the couch, rubbing at his eyes and looked about, noticing almost right away that Yugi was gone. He then saw Marik standing before the door, "what are you doing?"

"Taking out the trash," Marik dusted off his hands and stretched, a job well done, he thought smugly.

"Where is Yugi?" Ryou rose to his feet glancing down at the pillow on the floor. Marik winced when the Puzzle Host started banging on the door and yelled to be let back in.

"He went home," Marik shrugged crossing his arms over his chest ignoring the insistent pounding and yelling behind him.

Ryou raised an eyebrow, "really?"

"Yes really."

Ryou straightened his rumbled clothes, "then who's that?"

"It's Yamauchi; Perkins got out and I refuse to save him again," Marik blocked the door with his larger frame.

"Liar," Ryou openly accused then ordered, "move."

"I don't think so," Marik said stubbornly, ready and willing to take on any challenges the Host presented and knowing his victory would be assured.

"Marik," Ryou looked up at him with those big eyes of his and hooked a few fingers in the belt-loops of Marik's jeans preventing any escape. He stepped in real close, fingers lightly brushing the well toned abdomen and all the right places were pressed together, "I want you." Marik's breath hitched as the Host gave him a smoldering look and the allure that was all Ryou, "to open that door or you can spend tonight satisfying yourself." Ryou stepped well out of reach with his arms crossed over his chest and the alluring look gone and replaced with annoyance. Gods damn it! Apparently, Marik hadn't been all that prepared for Ryou's challenge as he opened the door.

"You're a bastard Marik," Yugi hissed at him making his way back through the door.

"Whatever," Marik walked to the couch and sat down; feet on the coffee table and snatched up the remote and channel surfed.

"C'mon Yugi, let's get you cleaned up," Ryou wrapped an arm about the other's shoulders and lead him towards the bathroom.

"The door stays open Ryou," Marik called after them.

"Sorry," Ryou said sympathetically when Yugi hissed and jerked in pain. "Who did this to you?" They were in the bathroom for a while, and set on the task of cleaning Yugi's wounds.

"I don't... I can't," Yugi's eyes filled with tears.

"I too was attacked, though it's been a little over a week," Ryou trailed off, quickly counted the days in his head since Marik had taken him in and realized he had been in other's care for well over a week now. Why hadn't Marik kicked him out yet? Ryou's heart sped up; maybe Marik liked him more than he was letting on. However, Marik was quite adamant about him staying only a week; Marik could keep both feelings and sex separate from each other. Did Marik feel more for him then he was admitting? Ryou's chest felt as light as air.

"Is that why you're here with Marik?" Yugi wiped at a stray tear.

"What?" Ryou blushed, suddenly paying attention to what he was doing.

"Is that why you're with Marik?" Yugi repeated with a frown and added. "Because you were attacked?"

"Yes. He saved me and has been taking care of me since," Ryou forced his smile as his heart battled with his own confused thoughts and feelings of Marik.

"But why Marik, surly you remember everything that he has done to us in the past?" Yugi looked appalled; anyone would have to match the same level of Marik's insanity to pull off any kind of relationship with him. It was a no-brainier that Bakura got along so well with him, both were cruel and vindictive towards everyone and everything.

"I don't remember any of that," Ryou stared at him, if Marik had done anything it had never been directly aimed at him or his dark half, just Yugi and his group.

"You don't remember?" Yugi half shrieked, "How could you not? He's a monster," his eyes narrowed and he dropped his voice to a whisper, "their all monsters." His eyes swept to the door, "we need to be rid of them all."

Ryou stopped cleaning the bite mark and dumped the cotton-ball into the small bin at his side and pulled a new cotton ball from the bag in his lap and started on a bite mark on Yugi's shoulder. "That's a little harsh, since Marik saved me rather than to leave me in the street to die, I kinda owe him one and he's been nothing but kind to me." Ryou again glanced at the other, despite a Dark Half's duty in protecting their Hikari, it was also a Hikari's duty to protect their Dark Half wether it was from other people or other Hosts, Ryou made a mental note to keep a closer eye on the small Puzzle Host, if he did anything to hurt Marik, Ryou would be getting rid of him.

Yugi sighed and redirected the conversation back, "what do you remember?"

"Not much at all," Ryou frowned a little, since when did such dark thoughts cross his mind about his friends, is Yugi or had he ever been his friend? "It's not amnesia I have. It feels like something else that's keeping my memories from me." Ryou met Yugi's eyes and smiled," Is it wrong of me to not want them back. I'm happy with knowing what I know now and that my Marik that exists now."

"Are you stupid?" Yugi grabbed his arm tightly, "these Dark souls that we have been burdened with are a curse and should be done away with for good."

"You're hurting me," Ryou gasped trying to pull his arm free. It happened so fast, Yugi was yanked away from him and pinned down on the floor by his throat.

"I warned you," Marik snarled his grip so tight that it cut Yugi's air off and fist drawn back about to strike.

"STOP!" Ryou yelled at Marik throwing himself at him. "Please don't Marik." He pleaded, "He's been through so much already." Yugi didn't deserve a beat-down in the condition he is in.

Marik's whole arm shook with so much built up strength and rage. Ryou clung to his arm worried that if Marik did hit Yugi, the blow would kill him. "I'm done with Ryou's gentle approach." Marik released Yugi's neck and grabbed his shirt and yanked him closer, "you and Yami are responsible with what happened. I don't buy your innocent bullshit." Marik shook him enough to rattle his teeth. "Where is Bakura? What have you done with him?"

"I don't know what happened to Bakura," Yugi gasped gripping onto the arm that held him.

"You're lying," Marik growled he could see it, grabbing Yugi's still injured fingers, followed by crunching sounds. Yugi screamed in pain and struggled to get away. Ryou tried to get Marik off Yugi, only to have Marik shove him hard enough that Ryou fell backwards into the bathtub landing awkwardly sprawled out. "Answer me," Marik twisted Yugi's fingers again, more crunching and snapping, his screams were piercing.

"I don't know what happened to him," Yugi cried. "Yami has kept me blocked out for so long. I swear I don't know!" Marik not really satisfied and wanted to inflict more pain, but at Ryou's request he let him go. Yugi sobbed back deep breathes as he hugged his hand to his chest with his good arm; he pulled himself away to the other side of the bathroom.

Marik approached the tub in a few steps and held out his hand for Ryou and pulled him out and to his feet with an apology. "You asshole," Ryou shoved Marik with both hands, which did nothing, and he stepped around him.

Marik grabbed Ryou's arm and pulled him close, "he can't be trusted and I'll not have you hurt because of him."

"I can take care of myself," Ryou pulled free and crossed the room to the corner Yugi had huddled himself in and crouched before him. "Let me see," Yugi shakily held out his hand and Ryou had expected to see broken fingers, instead Yugi's dislocated fingers were now fixed a little swollen and bruised, but they were useable once more. Ryou stared at Marik with a bewildered look on his face.

Marik said nothing when he moved to stand next to the door, giving Ryou what space he needed. Ryou grabbed the hand-towel and ran it under cold water, rung it out and wrapped it about Yugi's hand.

"I'm sorry," Yugi trembled with pain still surging through his fingers and hand, "I should have had more power to have stopped him. He kept me powerless, threatened my Grandpa's life if I did anything he didn't like. I couldn't tell you and it's my fault that you are no longer together." Marik snarled and Ryou confused on who he was talking to. "I don't care if you never forgive me nor do I care if you hate me... all I want is help in getting rid of Yami forever." Yugi glanced up and for the first time in a long time a surge of determination filled him, "I'll do anything and I mean anything if it'll get rid of him, forever."

"Get rid of the Righteous Bastard?" Marik laughed amused at the thought, "The Righteous Bastard who cursed us to the Items for all eternity. You of all should know that a Dark soul can't be destroyed or banished forever." Bakura was proof on how he so miraculously returned so many times after being banished; he too had pulled of a return.

Ryou stared at Yugi; did he have the power or knowledge to do such a thing and if so would he expel them all, Yami, Marik and Bakura. "Banishing your Dark half is extreme." Ryou glanced at Marik his chest tightened in worry that the Dark soul's very existence might be endanger and Marik would go along with anything that had to do with getting rid of Yami forever.

"Not to mention painful for the Host," Marik spoke up and added. "I find this hard to believe, you and Yami were so happy together that you're practically married and a step away from adopting babies," Ryou ignored Marik's comment and stared at Yugi. The cuts, scratches, bite marks, the injured arm, dislocated fingers, the fear and talk of banishing Yami. All the pieces slipped together and a full image of what the other had endured.

"Yugi." Ryou reached out and cupped the other's face, "How long had he been..." Ryou glanced back at Marik, who gave a slight shrug of his shoulder and shake of his head.

Marik for the third time in his life, saw a Light crumble and break before him. Yugi shook his head, "I don't." He trailed off; tears filling his eyes and spilling down his cheeks, obviously everything that happened between the two affected Yugi emotionally.

Marik however couldn't pull up enough sympathy to fucking care and rolled his eyes when Ryou tried to console Yugi. Someone right then knocked at his front door .Thank the gods one of them liked him enough to give him a hasty exit. "I'll get that," Not that Ryou looked even interested in answering it, "and you," Marik stopped in the threshold of the bathroom, pointed at Yugi. "If you do anything that results in harming Ryou, I'll bury your corpse in the woods." Marik left the room.

Ryou got up once Yugi let him go. He gathered everything he had been using to clean Yugi's wounds and sat down on the floor in front of the other and went back to work on cleaning his injuries. Ryou could tell the other was hiding something from him. He could feel it. "When did he start treating you like this?"

Yugi was silent for a while seemingly lost in his own thoughts, before he spoke, "I don't remember when it all went wrong. I do remember Yami got cruel real fast. At first, I thought it was me, that he didn't like me anymore, or that I had done something wrong..." Yugi broke down, his words became incoherent; he slumped against Ryou sobbing into his shoulder, clutching at him tightly, "I loved him so much."

Ryou held him letting him cry it all out, "I'm sure that if we put our heads together we can come up with something."

Malik sat on the living room floor staring out the window watching a storm roll in over the city. He hated nothing more than to be alone with his thoughts. His sister was gone and he didn't know when she would return, and Bakura. Malik lowered his head into his arms with a sigh, feeling rather foolish for the things he had said and wanted to apologize to Bakura so badly.

Bakura had left him after he had demanded it. The whole day had passed, and Bakura had not returned. Malik for his part had apologized to the golden broken bits of the Ring hoping Bakura would hear and show himself, they just shone dully in the light as a reply. The later and darker it got the more worried Malik was that Bakura might not show himself again, and then what? Continue on his own? Face Yami in a final battle of some kind and hope he can work out what Ryou's answer is on his own and banish the Puzzle Spirit forever himself.

Malik sighed again; his fingers ran through the broken pieces of the Ring enjoying the feel of the cold gold and the clinking sounds it made, he stopped when arms wrapped about him and a chin rested on his shoulder. Malik saw his and Bakura's reflection in the window, "Can I really trust you?" Malik asked gripping onto the arm tightly and holding it to him even more and lent back in the other's embrace. Bakura only nodded against his shoulder, "I can do whatever it takes as long as you are at my side," Malik feared the most going it alone.

"You are my partner," Bakura murmured, his arms tightened a little more about him. "I'll stay with you until the end." Malik turned his focus on the incoming storm; together they'd find Ryou and put an end to Yami.


R&R (love and cookies)