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One Night in Bangkok
by Edmondia Dantes

Disclaimer: I own all but the characters. Those belong to Takahashi-sama.

AN: It's my ancient AU. Literally ancient, this sucker was written way back in 2003. If you're looking for a plot, or indeed anything that actually makes sense, then GTFO. This is mindless self-indulgence from my freshman year of college, and it shows. I haven't edited it a bit, so all those dangling plot holes and threads are right where I left them six years ago.

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Chapter One - Covetousness

-7:00 p.m.-

Downtown Bangkok. High summer, a still, drowsy night, heat so thick and syrupy that an unwitting soul could drown in it.

The Banyan Tree Bangkok, the city's tallest luxury hotel. The home of the world's most prestigious chess match, organized by the American billionaire Pegasus J. Crawford. Anticipation flowed through the cool hallways like the swirling cigarette smoke that drifted from a thousand idle hands. Glass clinked against china, and through the restless rustle of the gossiping throngs, a hundred flashbulbs flared with blinding light on painted faces.

The room was gorgeous. The room was opulent. The room was crowded. And the room was noisy.

A young boy stood calmly amidst the chaos, bright violet eyes drinking in the sights with an innocence that seemed to clash with the worldly setting. Slender, beautiful, eighteen years old, a freshman at Tokyo University.

Yugi Motou, Japan's King of Games.

He brushed bangs soft as spun gold away from his face and smiled up at the tournament coordinator. Behind him, his best friend made a face.

Croquet didn't smile back. "You have reached the final round, as was expected of you. Tonight is the final match, held here, as you are aware. I trust you are prepared?"

Yugi nodded decisively, disguising his anxious excitement with a more professional detachment. Just because this was the largest tournament he'd ever played in - just because this was the only time he would face an unknown opponent - just because his grandfather desperately needed the money to keep up the Kame Game Store - he had no reason to get nervous, right? "Yes, I'm ready."

The great double doors at the end of the hall swung open. Yugi started at the echoing sound as sudden silence rippled through the clamor of the crowd.

Croquet smiled, a slight twitch of the lips, or was it just his imagination?

"Good. And now if I may present your opponent, Yami Takara," Croquet intoned, gesturing to the young man who had just swept through the open doorway and brought stunned quiet in his wake.

Yugi glanced over - and felt his jaw drop as the boy sauntered casually in his direction.

Beside him, Jounouchi stared. "Uh... Yugi, you wouldn't happen to have a secret brother or something, would ya?"

"Not that I know of," he murmured slowly, dazed. The resemblance the stranger bore to himself was uncanny - but... this boy...

Gorgeous. Slim and young, barely bigger than Yugi himself, all dusky golden skin and flashing eyes, the slightest hint of a smug smirk curving his firm lips when the crowds stilled and parted at his passing. Arrogant and calm and lethal, footsteps soundless as he padded down the length of the hall with the easy, restless grace of a jungle predator. Sex and sin in black leather, touched by ruby darkness and golden light. Around his neck, a golden pendant, a perfect match for Yugi's own, gleamed with an unholy brilliance under the harsh glow of the fluorescent lights.

Yugi's stomach started to twist into knots. This... this was his opponent? He knew the name - everyone knew the name, undefeated in twenty countries, how could anyone not know his name? But until now nobody had known his face... and it was all he could do to keep from openly goggling.

God, but he's beautiful...

Brilliant crimson eyes widened as they fell upon him, sharp, catlike curiosity lighting the coolness of the boy's expression. He strode over, offering a brusque nod to Croquet, before his gaze returned to Yugi again.

Yugi barely heard Croquet's introduction. He was too busy staring. I'm supposed to concentrate on chess while I'm staring across the board at him?

Yami caught his eye as Croquet kept mumbling what might as well have been nonsense. Yugi felt himself slowly turning red as the inquisitive gaze swept the length of his body, intimate as a caress and twice as promising. Twice as dangerous - to his body and his soul.

But oh, so very beautiful.

"Gentlemen, shake hands."

Shake hands? With this darkling? Did he dare? The heavens only knew what could come of touching those slim, elegant fingertips, and could he risk it? Risk a touch?

Yami didn't give him a choice.

Yugi started at the sudden contact, a sharp spark racing down his spine. He glanced up, wide-eyed, at the slightly taller boy, whose sharp eyes had narrowed, pinning him with a searing, hungry gaze. His breath froze in his throat as the boy's cool hand squeezed his own.

...and haven't I seen you in my dreams?

Sharp scarlet softened into wine - a sight for only his eyes, he knew. Hello, my pretty one, he seemed to whisper without words. I've been waiting for you...

Yugi swallowed. I think I've been looking for you, he tried to reply, and thought he saw... something flit through his eyes, quick and bright and restless as a desert storm.

"Gentlemen?"

At Croquet's annoyed cough, Yami released his hand - and flashed him a grin that dripped with so much wicked mischief it made his breath freeze in his lungs. Yami Takara... a demon in a human disguise? Or just a boy with a devil's smile?

"This way, please."

Yugi blinked, dazzled, as the other fell into step beside him, almost close enough to touch... he shivered at the deliberate brush of slim fingertips against his side, playful and inviting, beaten gold ghosting delicately over midnight leather.

But he scooted closer just the same.

- - -
-8:15 p.m.-

Impossible.

Ridiculous.

Ludicrous.

The trembling voice of the judge rang with strained disbelief as he pronounced the unthinkable. "Stalemate."

Two other voices, one dark and deep as velvet, the other soft and light as silk, echoed his proclamation in soft, thoughtful acknowledgment. Quietly, he wondered how many people noticed that the hands that had battled each other moments ago now rested quietly atop the chessboard, fingertips just barely brushing, the victors (and yet, who had truly won?) still focused entirely on each other.

Ebony and ivory. They painted a pretty picture, that was certain - twins and yet opposite in every way. Professionals in every fashion save the way they looked at each other. The game had been breathtaking and brilliant and fascinating - all because of the way they played. Behind every deep breath and every minute hesitation ran a thick undercurrent of a thousand unspoken questions and tensions - and the spectators couldn't help but hold their breath in wordless expectation. Every attack met with an elegant parry, every brilliant strategy rebounded against another, each more wickedly clever than the last. It could only be the most delicious artistry - the perfect clash of perfect opposites. The fascinated observers hadn't been the only ones enthralled - the champions seemed to feed off of each other, exchanging smug smirks and sultry smiles, racing against each other quick as lightning and crackling with energy.

Intellectual engagement had never been so electric, and the two were still panting from their exertions, eyes locked, fingers intertwined in the faintest of caresses.

Jounouchi snorted and shook his head in amazement. A draw. The tournament to end all tournaments... had ended in a draw.

Only Yugi could pull something like that off. Only Yugi.

Hm. The two drew back from each other as the vultures flooded into the room and descended upon them - but they didn't seem to stray very far.

He watched in bemused detachment as the matching pair was assaulted on all sides by shouted questions in the melee that was the press conference.

Yugi was charming and smiles and sweetness - a hint of a laugh lingering in the soft tones of his voice when he spoke, a flare of carefree grace as he turned to meet still another inquiry - while Yami was everything but, giving short, curt replies, arms folded tightly across his chest, ruby eyes glimmering with annoyance. It was hardly a wonder, then, that so many of their jabbering number fled from the stinging coolness of the elder to bask in the warm radiance that was Yugi. Strange - this near-twin posed almost a contradiction to everything that was Yugi... his brilliance shone all the brighter in the face of the stranger's darkness - but Yami's swirling shadows were made all the more vivid by the light.

Jounouchi shook his head and stood back as they fended off the torrent of never-ending questions.

That was odd... was Yugi blushing?

And just why was Yami standing oh-so-close to his best friend's side?

Jounouchi's eyes narrowed, but a suspicious smirk remained on his lips.

Ooh! Yugi's got a crush! ...on a guy.

Whoops.

Didn't know he was gay.

...

Huh.

...

Yugi's got a crush!

Yep. That was definitely a blush.

Considering that a photographer had somehow coaxed the two into squishing together with the decidedly creepy and scarily cheerful Pegasus for a photo, and their hands had discreetly and inexplicably locked together behind their backs, Jounouchi found that he couldn't quite blame him.

- - -
-8:42 p.m.-

A furiously blushing Yugi fled his side as soon as he was able, and he lost sight of him in the ebb and flow of the crowd.

The reporters had finally rushed off, no doubt to drown themselves in the waiting arms of lovely waitresses, the swill of illicit substances and their own overfed egos.

That was all right with him. He planned much the same for himself - and for his intriguing little look alike. Now, where had his treasure gotten off to? Ah - over there, by the blonde boy who had been cheering him on before... a companion? Friend? Perhaps a lover?

His eyes narrowed as he stalked up to the pair. No matter. Stealing away young lovers was ridiculously easy - and his sweet-as-sugar twin already seemed distracted. If they were lovers, then the blonde couldn't be satisfying Yugi... strange, the boy didn't seem the type to have a wandering eye. But he would take care of that, at least for one night. A single night with the boy and he could be gone with the dawn - time enough and more to suit his purposes.

The blonde stiffened at his approach, drawing himself up and gesturing at Yugi for silence. Protection, no doubt, the boy fancying himself a self-appointed guardian to an angel in human form. Despite himself, Yami felt his lips curl in a cruel smirk. Good. He should feel threatened. They always did. No matter who or what they were - they always did.

"Hey." The word was a low growl, and he resisted the urge to shatter the boy who barred his way. You're wasting my time, child...

"Yo," he greeted equally coldly, letting his gaze drift past the infuriating blonde, teeth gritted in annoyance. Ah - there he was. Beaming at a straggling fan, pale fingers lifted in a cheerful wave, the brilliance of his smile more than enough to illuminate the whole of the great room.

Beautiful.

Then the blonde nudged the smaller boy in the ribs.

Yami growled.

"Huh? Jou?" came the curious question as Yugi finished waving and turned back to look up at his friend, puzzlement draped prettily across the fine planes of his face.

The blonde snorted and jerked a thumb deliberately backwards.

Bright violet followed the motion, then blinked inquisitively up at him. "Oh! Yami!" Was it his imagination, or was there a hint of breathless expectation in his tone? How intriguing...

"Whaddya want, anyway?"

Damn that blonde.

"Nothing in particular," he answered as lightly as he was able, "I merely have a proposition for you two."

The blonde backed off a little, yielding control to his smaller companion, and Yugi took a cautious step forward. "Proposition?" he questioned softly, casting a wary glance over at his compatriot, who merely shrugged in response.

Oh, so you don't care? Not his lover? Then he's free for the taking... and I do intend to take him.

Yami tried to disguise the smirk that lingered in his voice as he made his offer. "A night on the town - nothing more, nothing less. Come see the sights." Come play my game, little one. I will not disappoint you.

Those hypnotic eyes were on him again, curious and calculating - and he couldn't help but hold his breath in anticipation. He wanted this pretty creature, wanted him more badly than he even dared to admit.

How often had he met a worthy opponent? One brilliant enough to match him move for move, one that challenged and taunted and defied him, one that smiled like a thousand summers? When had an adversary ever been so innocently breathtaking?

The puzzle around Yugi's neck gleamed like hope and hatred and a millennia of forgotten promises, and without thinking, he raised a slender hand to cradle his own against his chest. Warm. It was always warm, but now the gold nearly shivered beneath his grasp - sunscorched summers gleaming with shimmering mirages that danced on the edge of belief and imagination...

What does it mean? he wondered, and watched in fascination as Yugi's slim fingers danced along the edges of his own puzzle, his soft lips curved in a thoughtful frown.

Desire, one of a thousand midnight games, now swirled enticingly around the slender body of his intended prize. And Yami was determined to win him - one way or another, the boy would be his. He would make sure of that.

But would his little treasure play his game?

Yugi glanced down at his feet, still absently toying with his pendant. "I..."

Yami leaned forward impatiently, ready to pounce. Don't resist me, sweet one, don't fight it...

"I accept," the little look alike whispered quietly, meeting his eyes for the barest of moments before looking shyly away.

Yami forced down the triumphant grin that threatened to curve his lips. "Good," he purred, delighted with the slight flush that graced Yugi's delicate features.

Brilliant, beautiful little boy. He watched with hungry eyes as slim fingers brushed golden bangs from his eyes and the tip of a pink tongue darted out to whet the full curve of his lips. Yugi gave him a sideways, expectant glance through his lashes, then turned his eyes down to fiddle with a wrist buckle. So shy and yet so curious, so innocent yet so very ready to play... an alluring mix of veracity and mystery. Pure as moonlight and twice as transfixing.

Oh yes... this would be fun.

He offered his hand.

With a shy, hesitant smile, Yugi twined pale fingertips into his own.

Yami smiled and drew the slender body close to his side - and the other boy didn't object.

Excellent.

Shimmering gold flashed brilliantly against deepest black.

Jounouchi stuffed his hands into his pockets and shuffled slowly behind them, eyes narrowed in suspicion, but still sparkling with mischief.

The matched pair hardly noticed him at all, caught up in exchanging shy looks and soft smiles, busy tracing careful fingertips over soft skin, slowly inching closer together with every lazy step that drew them languorously across the vast expanse of lush carpeting that hugged the marble floor.

The bright lights of the city caught in Yugi's hair as they stepped from the refined coolness of the lobby out into the heavy heat of a sultry summer night.

"Pretty thing," Yami murmured under his breath, gazing down at his prize covetously, and gently tugged the lovely creature at his side off into the welcoming embrace of the darkness.

Jounouchi hurried to catch up.

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~ End Chapter One ~