DIS: Heys, peeps. I'm here with a small one-shot that takes place in ancient Egypt. (smirk) I decided to take my chances at Malik/Bakura for this one. I am looking forward to it. This is only my second yaoi fic, so please bear with me.
Title: Sand Coloured Hair
Summary: Bakura, wounded and in need of help, finds himself stumbling into Malik Ishtar, the brother of the High Priestess. What he didn't know was that Malik was unlike any other noble in Egypt. One shot.
Disclaimer: No matter how many stories I write, I will never own YuGiOh.
Notes/Warnings: Malik/Bakura; yaoi; one shot; set in ancient Egypt; second attempt at yaoi
Sand Coloured Hair
The pain was unbearable. It might not have been so difficult if he hadn't wasted his water on drinking it. His other possessions were being held by the Pharaoh, damn the man. The only thing that he had now was his oldest and most precious dagger. He cradled it in his hand, curled up against his chest defensively as he limped along the alleys of Thebes. Perhaps, if he hadn't put so much trust in his worthless partner, Heru, he might not have been forced into this position. Perhaps, if he hadn't allowed himself to be arrogant and had been careful to watch out for guards, he wouldn't have such a wound.
Instead, he had ignored all common sense that afternoon. Heru did not stay to assist him as good, faithful partners were supposed to do. Bakura had dropped his findings while digging around greedily for more gold, not even bothering to look over his shoulder every once in awhile to be sure that no one was behind him as he usually would. His reflexes were disgustingly slow when he was attacked. Like the idiot he seemed to be acting that day, he ignored protecting his stomach and abdomen, the two weakest parts of a person's body, and had thrown his arms up to cover his face.
It was an amateur move that he would never have performed except that...
Except what? A sneering voice that sounded suspiciously like his own surfaced in his mind. There is no excuse for what happened today. These were not the actions of the great Thief Lord, Bakura! These were the actions of an amateur thief who didn't know what he was doing. The only thing that went right was the entry and escape. So you are good at running. Fine; but what good is that going to do you, boyo? None. None whatsoever, especially when you are supposed to be attacking the Pharaoh and bringing down his regime! These are the actions of a coward, not the Thief Lord.
The taunting words echoed inside Bakura's head and he paused in the alley, gritting his teeth as sweat poured down his face. Ra's death was approaching, his brilliant, last rays of sunlight streaming across the sky, colours dancing alongside Nut and her starry expanse. Bakura realized that if he did not get assistance soon, he would die. He had lost too much blood already and if he left his wound untended for much longer, he would get an infection.
With a hiss, he pushed his back against the dusty wall, panting slightly. He looked down at his soaked front, blood dripping through his fingers that pressed futilely against the deep, burning injury. How he had allowed such an idiotic thing to happen was beyond him. Groaning softly, more out of exhaustion than anything else, he closed his eyes and tried to relax his tense face. Damn the man, he thought furiously. Atemu has never known when I am in his palace until the very last minute. How in Ra's name did he manage to discover it now?
"You are hurt," a silky voice remarked in a tone of indifference. His eyes flashed open and his arm that was pressed to his chest tensed, his fingers tightening over the hilt of his dagger. Across from him stood a young male about the same age as him in his early twenties. His lavender eyes were expressionless, seeming to analyze him as he would just another working peasant in the land of Egypt. His clothing was rich, that of a nobleman's. Bakura's jaw tightened in fury.
This filth dares to talk to me, the one who pillages from his kind? Bastard, Bakura growled in his mind. "Leave me be."
"You have a death wish?" Bakura gave a low sound of warning in his throat, but he ignored it completely, holding out a tan hand. "Stop being stubborn. It is nearly evening. I can see you have been bleeding for some time. I can help." Bakura glared at the hand resentfully, hating that he needed help. He pushed off from the wall unsteadily and stumbled a bit before he pitched forward, everything going black.
Malik Ishtar clasped his hands together as he surveyed the infamous Thief Lord, Bakura. He would never have imagined the ingenious thief to be found wandering around the Pharaoh's city, wounded, and unable to defend himself. Malik might have hesitated in assisting the man if he hadn't known from the short, breathless words that Bakura had thrown at him that he would be incapable to harm him.
As his sister was the High Priestess and Malik was required to know some abilities that priests knew of, he knew how to care and tend to the sick or wounded. Bakura, although a less mild case, was just as those that he and his sister, Isis, helped. The only difference was that this man was supposed to be untouchable by any of the Pharaoh's men and clearly, today that was not the case.
Malik slipped his fingers from their twined position and rose to his feet gracefully, moving around the table towards where Bakura was lying silently. He settled next to him and eyed his body, his mouth turning down at the corners. He had been secretly envious of the thief's freedom, despising the life in to which he was bound. His sister was intent on making him a priest, which he steadfastly refused, and yet she never relented no matter how many times he told her that there was no chance of such a thing. He wanted to leave the Pharaoh's clutches, however lenient they may be. He simply wanted to be...free.
Curiously, he reached out a hand to Bakura's face, but the latter's hand shot up with a remarkable speed, his fingers closing around his wrist. Malik froze and met the cobalt-gray gaze of the male below him. Bakura's mouth was pursed with either pain or irritation, Malik was unable to tell. Forcing himself to remain calm, Malik quietly said, "I have stitched up your wound. If you move unnecessarily, it will open up again and bleed. Frankly, Thief Lord, you can't afford to lose anymore blood." His steady gaze flickered down to Bakura's fingers. "Release me. I could always hand you over to the Pharaoh."
"Not if I kill you first," Bakura sneered.
Malik smiled. "You won't get far, Bakura." The thief ground out an expletive, throwing Malik's wrist from him in disgust. He lowered his arm and stared up at the ceiling without any further comments. His other arm rested across his stomach where his wound was, his fingers flexing as if he were in great pain. His tongue darted out to wet his lips and he turned his gaze back to Malik's face, looking ready to ask a question. Before he could attempt it, Malik said, "My name is Malik Ishtar. Do not confuse me with my sister or her lover, the High Priest. I am nothing like them and would prefer if you would not make any assumption that I may be."
"I can only say I'm relieved. It would be understandable, I suppose, if a priest –," Bakura's voice dripped with venom at the word, "– had saved me, but I prefer to be in better company than that." He bared his teeth in a smile. "Does your sister know what you've done, little brother of hers? No doubt the High Priestess will have a nice tantrum, rant a bit, tell the High Priest, and then they will both go marching to the palace to the asshole of a Pharaoh. What a pleasant chat that will be. It will last two minutes and take only five more until Atemu's men come to finish me off – or imprison me for a public execution."
"Save your musings for your mind," Malik grunted, leaning back. "I'm not interested. The fact of the matter is that my sister knows nothing of who I am entertaining and I plan on keeping it that way, in fact. It is better she stay misinformed. Seto will not tell the Pharaoh anything useful, as he is particularly resentful of him, and my sister probably will refrain from doing so if he doesn't, but that does not mean people won't hear them talking and report it. They tend to get very handsome rewards when they tell Atemu those kinds of things."
"Of course. Why wouldn't they? If they wanted to, they would betray their friends so they might get in favor with the Pharaoh." Bakura let out a short, mirthless laugh. Malik gazed at the bitter look in Bakura's eyes for a moment and then dropped his gaze to his lap. As long as he kept Bakura in his living quarters of the temple, no one would have any idea that the thief everyone wanted to capture was in his company.
"You'll be needing something to eat," Malik stated, rising to his feet again. Bakura's mouth curled a bit, noticing that he didn't turn his back on him, but edged sideways, so that he was still in his vision. When he disappeared, Bakura turned his head to stare up at the ceiling again. It was high above him and couldn't possibly be touched with anything but a ladder. Oddly enough, it calmed him.
He is intent on keeping me safe, Bakura reflected, and I will keep a hold on that to remain alive. As soon as I am well enough, I will return to the desert.
Malik leaned against the doorframe as he watched a servant prepare a tray for Bakura. He had told them he wanted it for himself, as they knew nothing about the guest he had sneaked into his quarters. Generally, he was the only one that came near the kitchens that wasn't a servant or slave. The footsteps that approached him from behind sounded far too steady and smooth to be either of those candidates.
"Isis is asking for you," Seto's low voice stated as he stopped behind him. Malik ignored him, uninterested in what the High Priest had to say to him. Although the two respected each other in front of Malik's sister, it was obvious by anyone else how much they resented each other. Malik hated priests and had thrown a good-sized tantrum when his sister chose to become a priestess. Her being elected as High Priestess hadn't helped their relationship any better.
In the beginning after their parents had died, things between them hadn't been as terrible as they were now. They depended on each other and the wealth their parents had left them. Their parents had been holy people, too, and Malik had never had any problem with that until his mother died. He would never tell Isis his reason for being so unwilling to become a priest. He had learned what his father did to young boys training to be priests. He had learned through his father's actions towards him that it wasn't just him: it was a fair number of priests that took advantage of the children.
Naturally, then, when Isis told him of her want to become a priestess like their mother, Malik flew into a violent rage. Ever since his father's physical and sexual abuse that everyone was blissfully unaware of, he had become quiet and reclusive. The servants had gotten things thrown at them as he blindly tossed priceless pieces of furniture around the manor and he yelled and screamed at his sister, not even allowing her to speak. Even as shocked as she was by his behavior, she moved forward with her plan and as soon as she was elected High Priestess, she moved him into the temple's living quarters.
He had still never forgiven her.
"Did you hear me?" Seto snapped. Malik turned his head the slightest bit in bored acknowledgement.
"I could care less what Isis wants. If she had to send her lover so she wouldn't dirty her feet by coming near the kitchens, then clearly it isn't incredibly important." The servant approached him slowly with the tray, but Seto whipped him around and slammed him against the doorframe. Malik's mouth curled in a sneer. "You aren't usually one to lose your temper, High Priest. Don't like how I'm talking about her, I suppose?"
"No. In fact, Malik, it's your attitude that is grating on my nerves. I could care less how you talk about me or Isis, but I am telling you right now to get your worthless ass to the den so that I don't have to deal with your shit. Am I clear?" Malik stared back at him coldly, his eyes turning dark. He shoved Seto away from him, stressing that his strength was a bit more than Seto's, despite the height advantage.
"Keep that here, I won't be long," he told the servant and then pushed past Seto to go meet with his sister. The priest, his mouth thin and white, followed him stiffly. Malik glanced behind him and smirked. He knew that Seto had never liked him from the start. He had shown how capable he was at a priest's duties, perhaps even more capable than Seto himself, but had never applied himself. He had done everything carelessly, but strangely efficient despite his unfocused attention. Isis, too, had shown more than a bit of annoyance with this, as she had worked brutally hard to become a priestess.
When they entered the den, Isis rose to her feet and gave a coolly respectable smile. Malik had thrown insult after insult towards her after she had become priestess. She no longer spoke to him, and he rarely wasted his time or breath on her. "I see Seto successfully retrieved you," she commented, sitting after he and Seto did. "I hope you didn't cause too much trouble?" Her caustic tone suggested otherwise. Malik merely gave a slow, suave smile that had charmed thousands of other women, but kept his sister's face hard. She had once been charmed by it, but the words that followed were always venom; so after so many years, she eventually gave up any hope of rekindling her relationship with him.
"Why not get to the point of why I've been called here, Isis, and stop you're incessant nagging on my unpleasant personality traits? None of us want to be in each other's company."
I would if you weren't so scathing, Malik, she silently answered him. Aloud, she said, "It has come to my attention that you've passed the age to marry, Malik, and have not been looking. You are the heir to the Ishtar clan and it is...practical...for you to begin searching and find a wife. The sooner you are married, the sooner you can get away from me, which seems to be something you would like." He chose not to respond to that for the time being.
A wife, he thought, leaning back into the divan and gazing across at her. He had looked, although subtly so. After the wedding night, he would have no reason to bother himself with the mindless woman. But even after so many meetings with women and so many times that he let his gaze split through crowds, he had found no one that brought any lust to his attention. There was no woman he could stand to look at, let alone spend a wedding night or even a few hours with. His search had ended futilely, as he should have expected.
"I'm not interested in marrying," he stated plainly after a moment's pause. Isis's eyes flashed to Seto, almost pleadingly, but before the man could say anything, Malik stood and quietly assured, "I did look Isis, something you would not have noticed. I looked, but found no one I could imagine myself spending so much as an hour with. I was very thorough and had no specific qualities in mind except that she may be somewhat attractive to me. I couldn't find anyone."
Isis raised her eyes to his, feeling her heart warm at his almost gentle tone. There were times when Malik would return to the brother she once knew and she could love him without it hurting. The moment never lasted long enough, but it reminded her why she clung to him as her brother so fiercely, why she wouldn't allow Seto to beat him into submission like he wanted. He was still her brother, and would remain her family for always.
"...You are certain, Malik?" She queried.
"If I...find a woman I think might appeal to you...?"
"You can introduce me, but I promise nothing," he replied with a lift of one of his shoulders. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I am hungry." He turned then without getting permission to leave, as he often did, and Isis watched him. She knew that Malik had high standards – he had never been with any woman, as far as she knew – but there were so many women that yearned for his body. He had beautiful features that concealed nothing of what he thought, and a body that was slender and lithe. She could understand why women so often ran their eyes over him. What she could not understand was how Malik hadn't indulged himself before.
Bakura opened his eyes as Malik entered the room. The dark look on his face and the stiff manner in which he spoke shouted out volumes. He settled the tray beside Bakura and sat back, his expression black and foreboding. However, Bakura was a thief and had always played with danger. This time was no different. He was interested in what had upset Malik, who had seemed so serene and without worry moments before. "Upset?" He took a piece of cheese and chomped on it hungrily. If anything, Malik's expression turned blacker. "Mmm? Don't try and pretend there isn't something wrong, boyo. You forget I'm not a fool."
"And yet here you are, without your things, taking the mercy of a stranger, and virtually stranded without any of your fellow thieves," Malik mocked. Bakura's eyes narrowed irritably. He hadn't expected a retort. It not only caught him off guard, but made him realize that he was, at the moment, a failure.
"Shut the fuck up. It's none of your business."
"And my life is none of yours, so you shut up and eat your food." He swept upward in a single, graceful movement. Still a bit agitated, but now curious, Bakura watched Malik move across the room, snapping his shirt off and tossing it over his bureau. Bakura's eyes slipped up and down his body and his eyebrows lifted slightly. He wasn't built to be a noble, and certainly did not move like one. He reminded Bakura of an untrained thief, but with potential.
Not bad looking, either, Bakura thought with a slight smirk. He took a date from the tray and popped it in his mouth. He continued to eat the food on the tray, taking drinks of the wine every once in awhile, but watching Malik move around the room restlessly. "What do you do?" Bakura asked him at last. Malik paused, sending a cynical look towards Bakura. "If you're not a priest, what are you?"
"I am nothing," Malik spat at him moodily. He spread his arms out gallantly. "I am Egypt, raped by a witless Pharaoh and his priests and priestesses who know less than even he." He let out a bitter chuckle and dropped his arms, pushing a hand through his sand coloured hair. Bakura stared at it, transfixed by the length and colour. "I am you, except chained to this dusty landscape." Giving a disgusted snort, Malik turned and began to pace around the room again. He stopped again and turned to Bakura with a queer expression on his face, as if he wanted to say something.
Bakura took a drink of the wine, saying, "Curious: is the High Priest just like the other priests?"
"No. He wouldn't need Isis if he was."
Alarm rose up in Bakura. As far as he knew, there was a very small handful of people that knew of what the priests did to their young apprentices. Malik eyed him and then stalked forward, kneeling down and leaning forward so they were nearly nose-to-nose. For the second time since Bakura met him, he was wary of the male that was before him. The expression on Malik's face was so deceptively gentle that it raised the hairs on the nape of his neck.
"They look at your face, Thief Lord, and nothing else," Malik murmured. His mouth curved. "Even I am aware of my attractive looks. Perhaps, if I was a more homely looking person, I would have been left alone and been given a cheerful life." His eyes darkened considerably, turning almost black. "Will you kill me when you leave here, or will you use me and then leave when you're satisfied?" He leaned closer, his lips brushing Bakura's. "Is this what everyone wants when they look at me?"
"Hmm...You're as twisted as I am, Ishtar," Bakura remarked, a bit unnerved, but more than a bit interested in this different side of Malik.
Laughing, Malik pulled back and brought a leg up, draping his arm over it. "Your reasons for being twisted are less complex than mine, I think, Bakura. I want something that's impossible: freedom. You want the death of the Pharaoh and for his government to collapse. I will have to say that your desire is far less incredible than mine. There are too many people that know me and my sister would hunt after me if I ever tried to escape. If I ever disappear, so does the Ishtar finances. If I die without marrying, or am assumed dead, that money is lost to Isis and she is not entirely dependant on what she gets from being High Priestess. It isn't a terrible amount to lose, but it could still devastate her."
"Interesting. And you're not married?"
"The women I've met don't appeal to me," he responded dismissively. Bakura sensed there was something behind that comment and the way Malik's jaw tightened, but let it pass by him for now. He turned his eyes back to the tray and picked at the last bit of the grapes in the bowl. "And what of yourself, thief? Do you have a woman that wonders where you are now?"
Smiling, Bakura said, "Women in general don't appeal to me, Ishtar." A corner of Malik's mouth twitched, but he didn't give an answer to that announcement. After finishing the last bit of food on the tray, Bakura rested his head against the pillow, his neck a bit sore from his constant usage of it. He brooded over the events that had unfolded that night, still wondering - as he had been since his close escape - how he had allowed everything to go wrong on his raid on the Pharaoh's palace.
"Regretting?" Malik's voice slipped into his thoughts. He turned his eyes from the ceiling to Malik's pleasant face. His eyes had lightened to their original colour and he seemed to have returned to the male Bakura had met in the alley.
"What do I have to regret?" He scoffed. His companion seemed amused and he lifted his arm from his arm from his knee, tracing his finger along Bakura's jaw line down to his chest, tapping it once.
"I listen to the tales of your great victories against the Pharaoh as much as everyone else does, Bakura. The only possible reason you would be in Thebes is if you were on a venture in the Pharaoh's palace. As far as I am aware, Atemu has never known of your presence until you make it obvious. Care to share with me why it is that you not only barely escaped, but abandoned your companions and whatever you stole?" Bakura frowned, feeling the light weight of Malik's finger on his chest, debating with himself on whether to tell him the truth.
From everything he has said so far, he mused, it does not seem that he is loyal to Pharaoh. If I didn't know any better, I would assume he hated the man. "I didn't abandon anyone, Ishtar," Bakura informed him, having come to a decision with himself. "My partner took fright and set the alarm. Thieves are not generally loyal and he was one of the less honorable ones. I never knew the Pharaoh's men were aware of my presence or I wouldn't have lingered. I made a few mistakes today, none of which I have ever made before." He eyed Malik's face, seeing the poorly hidden glimmer of disappointment. "You're disappointed. Can you imagine how disappointed I am?"
"My sister would say the gods had something to do with it," Malik mumbled, meeting Bakura's eyes. "Unlike her, I have no explanation for why you made mistakes. We are human, though, so I suppose that would be explanation enough for some people." He rose to his feet and took the tray, setting it on a table. "Get some sleep, Bakura. I'll put out the torches and be back in awhile. Everyone knows well enough not to come in my quarters without my permission."
"Death is not such an unpleasant idea to me at the moment," Bakura flippantly told him. Malik paused, looking thoughtful.
"No," he agreed, "but I've learned things get better as time goes on." His eyes narrowed, the thief watched him go around the room and put out the torches. He was beginning to suspect that Malik had gone through as terrible things as Bakura had in life. It was too easy for him to trust this Egyptian noble; he was not one to put trust in someone as swiftly as he had with Malik.
Malik lit a candle and returned to the table where the tray was, setting it there. "Sleep," he ordered softly. Bakura watched him leave the room and then turned his head back to stare up at the ceiling, where shadows danced along the surface. It reminded him of the cavern in the desert where he and his band of thieves dwelled. Satisfied, he closed his eyes and sleep claimed him quickly.
Malik returned to the room after eating his dinner in the kitchen, where he knew Isis wouldn't attempt to find him. The candle on the table was still fluttering and he could hear no movement from his bed. He moved around to see that Bakura was sound asleep. Sighing, he rubbed his face and blew out the candle, moving around to the other side of the bed. He sat on the edge of it for a moment, staring across to the balcony where the soft moonlight spilled in.
It's nice, he realized, to know that there is someone I might actually be able to talk with. He glanced over his shoulder. However brief he may be here.
Bakura woke up with a hiss of pain, glaring up into the light that came from the balcony. Blinking quickly to adjust his eyesight, he felt the hands at his stomach still. He realized he had sat up halfway and someone was pushing him down. "Enough!" He snarled.
"No," a familiar voice snapped back. He blinked again and Malik's face came into focus, outlined by the light. He realized he was on the other side of him that morning, sitting cross-legged on the bed. "Lay back down, fool." He pushed at Bakura's shoulder again and this time, he went down obligingly. Bakura pursed his lips together angrily as Malik cleansed his wound and lathered a salve on it before rewrapping it in clean gauze. He watched the process the entire time, unbothered by the sight of his stitched flesh. Malik's hands worked deftly, never stumbling, and perfectly steady.
"The priesthood would be pleased if you joined them," Bakura said, looking to Malik, noticing his state of undress. He was wearing only a robe and a pair of loose pants. His hair was disheveled, making him appear as if he had woken up just recently.
"The priesthood can kiss my ass for all I care," Malik answered coldly. Bakura laughed.
"Is that right? Then we are of the same opinion, Ishtar. The Pharaoh depends so heavily on his priests to deal with me that he doesn't realize that is the reason why I keep winning. I won't say he is more powerful than me – because he's not – but you have to admit those pathetic excuses of priests are no match for me."
"They are no match for anyone, Bakura." The thief grunted and turned his head to look at the balcony, his eyelids dropping down a bit. He knew too well which part of Thebes he dwelled. The temple that Isis looked over was in the thickest section of Thebes where mostly holy people and wealthy Egyptian aristocrats lived. He wondered how often Malik went out. "You won't want to leave the confines of my quarters, let alone the temple," Malik quietly told him, glancing to the balcony through the corner of his eye.
"I am aware of how quickly I would be caught. I am still wounded, after all."
"It's more than that." Malik rolled off the bed, clutching the dirty bandages in his hand to throw away. "The Pharaoh knows that you've been injured. His men are swarming the streets, keeping a watch out for you. All of his priests will be taken to the palace to be met with at the end of the night if you're not found dead somewhere in the city. He knows that someone would have needed to help you to stay alive." He tossed the bandages in the waste basket and then turned his head to meet Bakura's gaze over his shoulder. "If he ever finds out, there will be more than one death."
"How could he possibly find out?"
"Suspicious activity? A slave finds out and narks to him? If he ever suspects you of being in the temple, he'll send his men in. I'm not entirely sure that I could get us both out safely."
"You would go that far for a thief, Ishtar? If so, you are a fool."
"You're the only one willing to go against Atemu," Malik stated, frowning as he looked down at the waste basket. "In the mean time..." He crossed the room to his bureau and pulled out one of the compartments, removing a dagger from it. Bakura watched him suspiciously as he eyed the blade of the dagger thoughtfully. "The servants will wonder why there are bloody bandages in the waste basket. The easiest way to absolve their misgivings is by making a plausible lie." He tucked the blade into his hand and drew it harshly across his palm, wincing slightly. "A very plausible lie."
"Interesting. Do you mutilate yourself often?" Bakura inquired, grinning. Malik laughed and returned to the bed to care to his cut.
"I've had worse done to me is all." Bakura watched the blood trickle down Malik's arm, realizing that the cut must have been made deeper than expected. The bandage that was wrapped around his hand put enough pressure on it to slow the flow of blood, but Malik didn't bother to clean the blood from his arm, pulling his robe off to keep the blood from it instead.
"Let me see your arm." Malik turned, raising an eyebrow in question, but extended his arm wordlessly. Bakura pulled on his arm, bringing the other male tumbling down beside him. There wasn't even a flash of annoyance from Malik, just a small grunt as his body hit the feather mattress. Bakura ran his fingers over the warm, dark flesh of Malik's arm, his other hand clasping his wrist. He brought Malik closer, lifting his arm to his mouth and slowly licking the blood, from the juncture of his elbow to his wrist, pausing to suck on the throbbing pulse there.
"Sadist," Malik purred beside him.
"In more ways than you can imagine," he assured, his eyes snapping up to Malik's face. There was a soft smile on Malik's lips that was almost seductive. Recalling the brief moment when he and Malik's lips had touched in the Egyptian noble's moment of bitterness, he shifted, wishing he could sit up and act for himself.
"We'll have to experiment those ways another time," he murmured, flexing his arm as he slid closer to Bakura, his torso touching his shoulder. He leaned over Bakura, hesitating briefly before closing his mouth over his. Malik's soft hair brushed against his cheek, his forehead, his eyelids. It was a tantalizing touch that caused a burning heat to rise up in him. It had been some time since anyone had caused such a sensation in him, as Bakura had been faced with the same men nearly every day.
Bakura released Malik's wrist and buried his fingers in his thick, sandy hair, flicking his tongue over Malik's warm lips. There was another pause of hesitation, making Bakura wonder whether Malik was an innocent and merely put out a different idea. Then, Malik's lips parted slightly, allowing Bakura entrance into the soft, delicious depths of his mouth. He tasted sweet, like a forbidden fruit, and as Bakura glided his tongue over his, teasing and challenging, he moaned in Bakura's mouth, causing a whole new wave of awareness.
Malik raised his head, his eyes glittering with a hidden emotion that even Bakura couldn't interpret.
"Hmm...That explains why no woman has appealed to you as a wife," Bakura stated with a mischievous smirk.
Malik stood in boredom beside Isis as Atemu explained what his current situation was. He hadn't thought Isis would force him to go with, but she had insisted he come along and so there he was, stuck in the throne room of the palace, wanting to be anywhere but there. It's ironic, he mused as the Pharaoh continued on, his expression solemn. They all want to kill Bakura – and expect me to kill him, too – and I want to fuck him. Something must be wrong with that.
Atemu dismissed the priests, but as Malik turned, eager to leave, Isis brushed her fingers over his shoulder and he halted, scowling irritably. "Come with me a moment, brother." She and Malik moved towards the throne where Atemu was seated with his vizier, Siamun Muran. They both swept into respectable bows, kneeling on one knee. "My Pharaoh," Isis quietly said, "I must speak with you of a very personal matter."
He looked from Isis to Malik, his eyes sad and weary. Malik almost pitied him – almost. "Is that right? Please, rise, so that I can see your faces at the very least." The two rose to their feet and Malik crossed his arms, staring across at Atemu, his face devoid of expression. "Malik. You are rarely ever at the palace." He seemed honestly surprised. "I have heard from your sister that you've been looking for a wife, is that correct?"
"Yes," Malik replied shortly. "I wouldn't be here, but my sister dragged me along."
"Everyone should be on watch for Bakura. The sooner the demon is killed, the sooner Egypt can rest in peace." He dropped his gaze to his lap and he fingered the ring on his index finger with his thumb, as if he were thinking hard on something. "I can not imagine that anyone would take him in their home to help him...Especially him. He has done nothing but wreck havoc on the Egyptian people." Atemu gave his head a slow shake, his ankh earrings swaying the slightest bit. He raised his eyes and smiled at the two Ishtars. "I talk to myself. Forgive me. What was the matter in which you wanted to discuss, Isis?"
"It is about my brother, my liege - "
"I can speak for myself, Isis," Malik coldly interrupted. "There is no reason you should beg in my behalf." He could feel Atemu's interested gaze switching from one to the other, but ignored it, keeping his attention on Isis.
"Malik, please," she hissed. Turning away from him dismissively, she tried again, "My brother has found no one interesting here in Egypt for his wife. I know that this is much to ask, but do you think you might be able to find him a woman beyond your kingdom? I know you have many good connections with other kingdoms..."
"I don't think any woman could truly satisfy Malik," he wryly said, looking to the male in speaking with an amused expression. "He must be quite selective if he hasn't found anyone of interest in Thebes. There are all sorts of fine women here, you know."
"In whose perspective?" Malik sneered. Isis shot him an outraged look, but Atemu was not offended in the least by his disrespect.
"True, it all does depend. Perhaps I am not as particular." He paused, glancing to Siamun Muran. After a moment, he sighed. "I can look for you, but I can not say that there is likely to be anyone out of Egypt to appeal to him, Isis. As I see it, the money will go to him mostly, so perhaps he does not wish to marry. If that's the case, why not let the issue go?" He gave a tired smile. "No offense, but women tend to complicate things a bit. It is my own reason for remaining unmarried. It's Malik's decision. I would not wish for you to force it."
"...Of course, Pharaoh," Isis answered, clearly disappointed. "Thank you." He nodded, already having forgotten her problems. She and Malik left after bowing. Malik couldn't help but give a tiny, smug smirk to himself. That the Pharaoh had sided with him was no surprise; he didn't want to have anymore conflict with him than they already had. He was too exhausted with other states of affairs to trouble his thinking about Malik.
This will get Isis off my back for awhile, at least, he thought, secretly relieved.
It's getting better, Bakura thought, sitting up as he tenderly fingered his stitched wound. Nearly a week had passed since he shared that kiss with Malik. His caretaker hadn't been avoiding him, but had made certain no other kisses would come to pass, something that irritated Bakura more than he wanted to admit. The truth was simple: he liked him. Malik was a complex figure that he wanted to figure out. He had always been good with numbers and his favorite types of problems were the complicated ones. Malik was a type of complicated number problem that he wanted to figure out, no matter how difficult it might come to be.
There were other factors, of course, such as Bakura's attraction for Malik's beautiful looks. He was fairly certain he didn't know anyone that looked quite like him. And, truthfully, he was a little obsessed with Malik's hair. The colour was so rich and light, the texture soft, and it was long and spread out over his strong back during the night. Bakura had woken one night and Malik was still sleeping, stretched out on his stomach, his face buried in the pillow. He couldn't help but to brush his fingertips over Malik's hair and along his shoulder.
He's too good-looking for his own good, Bakura decided grimly after slipping out of the bed. Malik had given him some clothes to wear and they were that of an apprentice priest, so he didn't entirely like them.
The door swung open and he tensed before relaxing at seeing it was only Malik, who brandished a tiny knife in his hands. Eyeing it warily, Bakura asked, "What would that be for?"
"Your stitches. If you keep them in any longer, your wound will just get infected." Without hardly looking at him, Malik briskly stepped towards him and took the back of his shirt, towing him to the bed and throwing him on it. Bakura blinked, wishing that this would amount to something other than his stitches getting removed. At first, he thought it might as Malik settled on top of him, straddling his hips. He doubted he would still be holding his knife if he was planning something like that, though.
Malik put the knife in his mouth for a minute and pushed Bakura's shirt up, pulling his pants down a bit, too, so that he could access the wound more easily. Bakura endured it all with a boiling temper, agitated with having Malik on top of him like that. He held still while Malik removed the stitches, inwardly having a conversation with himself to keep distracted.
"That's nice," Bakura commented blackly. "Would you like to get off me now?" Before I end up raping you...
"Not really." He blinked and turned his attention from the ceiling as Malik's hands slid underneath the shirt, pulling it up a little more. "Do you want me to get off?" One of Bakura's eyebrows glided upward smoothly.
"I think you know the answer to that well enough, Malik." He raised his hips to indicate what he meant. Malik's hands paused and there was the same hesitance in his eyes, as if he were unsure what he should do. Laughing softly, Bakura locked his legs around Malik's and turned over so that he was on top. He bent down, drawing moist kisses up his neck to his ear, his breath hot. He slipped his hands down the back of Malik's loose pants to cup the swell of his butt. "Let me show you how to do it..."
Malik watched the moonlight play over the sandstone of the balcony, his head pillowed on Bakura's shoulder. Maybe it hadn't seemed possible, days ago, when he first let Bakura take him, that he would let his emotions get involved. He had promised himself that he wouldn't. It was easy to fall in love with a person when you never had much of the emotion in one's life, though. Because of the special salve that was used by priests, Bakura's wound was healing quickly and without any trouble. Soon, Bakura would be able to leave.
And I will return to the life I had before I brought him here, Malik reflected gloomily. He closed his eyes and sighed through his nose, pressing his face into the soft warmth of Bakura's flesh. The thief shifted and raised his hand to Malik's head, running his fingers through his hair and then down his back.
"Malik," he rumbled in the quietness of the room.
"Your father was a priest, am I not correct?" Malik opened his eyes and tilted his head back to meet the blue-gray gaze of Bakura's. He was almost certain he knew where these questions were leading, but nodded nonetheless. He hadn't let anyone else know of the truth of what happened to him between him and his father. There was no harm in Bakura knowing, if he already suspected as much. "So...You experienced first-hand what they did."
"It was one of the reasons I swore off the priesthood," Malik softly answered. "I had wanted to become a priest at first, because it seemed like a grand enough life. I was taught everything that priests are taught, so I was educated to be one. You become jaded of the world after being used that way by your own father. When Isis decided to become a priestess, I nearly lost all sanity, Bakura. I didn't want her associating with those types of people. She tried to make me a priest, but I refused. To keep her off my back a bit, I let her teach me some of the things she had learned. I was put at ease that she picked Seto out of all of them. He doesn't talk with any of the other priests – likely because he knows the truth of what they do. Nonetheless, his attitude leaves something to be desired."
"I did wonder if it was something like that...That you knew at all was what tipped me off."
"It isn't widely known."
"No, it isn't." There was a long pause where Malik was sure Bakura was going to fall asleep, but he spoke again, "What now?"
"What are you talking about?" Malik sighed.
"You know exactly what I'm talking about, Malik." He stroked Malik's back, small feather-light touches that sent countless shivers through his body. He wanted to snuggle close to Bakura and fall asleep, but the subject of their relationship and current predicament had just been brought up; he doubted Bakura was about to let it go.
"There is nothing to do. I have my hands tied here, as you know – "
"Don't try and feed me that shit. No one could possibly find me and as long as you're with me, no one is going to find you, either. Your sister doesn't really need that inheritance. I have to get out of Thebes soon, Malik. The Pharaoh has withdrawn his men from the city. It will be an easy feat for us to escape the city and quite frankly, I'm not leaving here without you."
"A pity for you, because I'm staying right where I've always been." He rose to get up, but Bakura took a hard grip on his arms, glaring up at him.
"You are coming with me."
"Why?" Malik snarled. "So I can be your little toy to throw away when you're finished? No, thank you, I've lived that life once when I was a kid. I'm not interested in playing like that again." He ripped himself out of Bakura's grip and slipped out of bed, pulling his pants on and shoving his arms through the sleeves of his robe.
"Ra damn you, Malik," Bakura swore softly. "Are you trying to make this hard for me?"
"Make what hard?" He demanded in an exasperated tone.
"You don't think I love you? Is that it?" Malik froze, slowly turning his head from his position in the dark. Bakura was watching him with an unreadable expression, his mouth tight. For once, Malik was glad he couldn't see Bakura's eyes, which were so deep and unguarded. "I wouldn't drag you out of Thebes if I felt any differently."
Sighing, Malik pushed his hands through his hair and mumbled, "I can't just leave this all behind recklessly, Bakura, that's all I'm trying to say. As sad of a life as this is, it's all I have. I...do love you, too, but I swear to Ra if you're playing with me, I'll kill you. I killed my father, I won't hesitate to do the same to you." There was a thick silence and Malik dropped his hands, giving a bitter smile. He let his statement sink in, knowing that Bakura hadn't been expecting that.
"I'm not playing with you," he said at last. "Come back to bed, Malik." Malik turned slightly and then approached the bed, feeling a traitorous warmth filling the center of his chest. Bakura tugged him down to the bed, pushing the robe off, kissing his hot skin. He slid his hands up Malik's legs, drawing him up against him. Malik closed his eyes and draped his arms over his shoulders as Bakura brought him to the bed and found his lips with his own. "I've never been in a relationship before," Bakura told him in a thoughtful tone.
"That makes two of us."
DIS: I suppose I could have gone further to show how they escaped from Thebes, but I didn't much feel like it. Here: they lived happily ever after and rode out in the sunset! Well, in the moonlight, really. Anyway, please leave a review telling me how my second yaoi fic was. Ciao!