So.

Apparently this is what happens when I decide that my next fic is going to be a fluffy little romance.

Serves me right for trying to write plotless fluff. Seems it's just not my forte. ...Darn. Guess I'll just continue to get the readers who appreciate a little meat on their romance stories. Don't worry, this is definitely a romance. This is very definitely Kleptoshipping, Yami Bakura x Yugi Mutou, yeah... it focuses on the romantic relationship between the two of them...

I'll...just let you guys read it and rant about my reactions at the end.

I own nothing! Not even the Yugioh mangas I've been reading!


Sanctuary

My heart beats quietly. Sometimes all I do is hold still and listen to it. I feel it, gently moving in my chest.

Rarely does it beat loudly. It seems that though I am small, I am jaded. I wonder why I am this way. Did something happen that I have forgotten? In the distant stretches of memory, is there something faint and hard, something I was dashed against long ago, that forever rendered me unfeeling?

I don't know. Perhaps I will never know.

My breathing accompanies my heart in a slower rhythm. I listen as I take a deeper breath, knowing that my heart should speed slightly in response.

But it doesn't.

I measure time in rent and heartbeats. There seems to be little else for me. I am grateful for my existence, what little I have, so I pay my rent faithfully.

I am a thief, and a stealer of souls. How else am I to pay for life? I have nothing.

Nothing but the quiet sanctuary of my heartbeats.

Pretense

The time has come for my rent to be paid once again. Watching through my host's eyes, I wait quietly for an opportunity. My host has been cautious lately, it seems. Few people acknowledge him at school.

It's a good thing, then, that he has so many friends at home.

Now, I need to give him another friend. He needs his closest friends closer.

"Bakura-kun!"

Is this one close?

"Hello, Anzu," my host replies with a smile.

She twirls a finger in her hair. "I was wondering what you are doing after school today. Do you want to go to the Arcade?"

He always returns home to play with his friends. That's why he has them, after all. If he chooses to go with her, though, then I know she is important to him, that he wants to have her with him, to be his friend.

"That would be great!" he replies.

At this, I slip into control, making sure his face shows no sign of the change. She will make a wonderful friend for my host.

"Yugi! Bakura's coming with us after school!"

Eyes and lips were made for lies. That is all I use them for. That is all I've ever known.

I lie with a smile for the strange, short boy who fills me with an unknown dread. Most of that dread emanates from the reversed pyramid he wears, the home of that Guardian Spirit. Not all, though.

It almost makes my heart beat faster.

"Awesome!" the spiky-haired boy exclaims. "Do you really like games, Bakura?"

Lies must be fast and hesitant. They must be practiced and spontaneous. Most of all, a lie must be the truth.

"I love games!" I say.

He smiles at me. "I'm glad."

There is no pretense in those eyes.

Suppose

I cannot move in front of him. I cannot make my presence known. That Guardian might be able to stop me, so I hide in plain sight. Small people with small smiles surround me.

This...dare I call it existence of mine is pathetic! Measuring time in heartbeats, one hundred twenty-five thousand between payments of rent. Paying rent for my thoughts to exist. There is nothing else left of me.

Yes. Left of me. This can't be all there ever was to me.

The apartment is dark when I arrive. The faint sound of music from down the hall is cut off as I close the door behind me. My host spent most of yesterday cleaning, and I can still smell the lemon and chemical mixtures he used.

I walk over to the drawer in the dark, letting my body follow my host's memories. Lightly, my fingers play over the different handles until I find the once I'm searching for. I grasp the handle of the short knife. I focus on the tensing of my muscles, the restricted blood flow turning my knuckles white in the faint light from the window.

I couldn't pay my rent today.

I stare at the blade, as if it could answer my questions. The light glints back, pale and weak. It is nothing, compared to the darkness. I want to cover up that light.

Carefully, I press my fingertip to the edge of the blade. I barely feel it cutting, but a trickle of darkness runs down. Feeling is distant, almost as if I am watching my host do this, but I know he would never do something like this. This is me.

I cut deeper into my other fingertips, to make up for the lack of pain in that first cut. The blade isn't pale anymore, as thin ribbons of darkness run down my arms, dripping from my elbows to the floor. I smile, not able to stop myself. My heart is almost beating faster. I can feel it.

I carry the knife with me to bed, making thin little lines of darkness on my arms as I go. My host will find he has been given a different kind of rent in the morning.

I suppose this is the closest to pleasure I will ever know.

Silence

My host is shaken by the rent I gave him, moving his arms cautiously so he doesn't disturb the bandages he now wears under his sleeves.

"Hi, Bakura!

"Oh...hi, Yugi!"

I relish this dread, this feeling of danger. It almost makes my heart beat faster. I watch for signs of the Guardian as the boy approaches.

"Are you okay, Bakura? You've been very quiet today."

My host is nearly as good at lying as I am. He grins and makes himself yawn, covering his mouth. "Just tired."

The little Light laughs. "We did keep you out pretty late last night. Sorry about that."

My host shrugs, uncertain what to say, since he can not remember what happened while I was in control.

"Bakura?" the little Light says slowly. "You...didn't put the ring back on, did you?" My host looks up in surprise. I flinch at his reaction, certain that he will give something away.

"No, Yugi," he lies nearly as well as I do. "I have it locked up at home." His heart pounds furiously against the warm metal of the ring. My heart almost beats faster as I watch the Light's face for any sign of the Guardian emerging.

"Oh," he says quietly. "Okay. That's good."

I can't help slipping into control for a moment, simply to stare at him in shock. Did he just sound...disappointed?

His face turns ever so slightly pink under my gaze. "I...we're just...worried about you...that's all."

I relinquish control so smoothly my host never knows I was there. I...I must have imagined it. My host continues his own small charade, his hands busy with pencils and notebooks and other items of no value beyond their own charade to convince authority of the effectiveness of their discipline.

I'm so flustered that I have become excessively loquacious.

For just a moment, my heart was beating faster.

I will owe rent just a little bit sooner than usual.

For a few moments, the Guardian's vessel looks like he wants to say something else. My silence makes him leave.

Closed

I'm trying. I'm trying to put together the puzzle. Somehow, though, I know I can never solve it. It has never been my place to solve puzzles. I don't know how I know this, but I do. I wonder what else I might remember, just through different things.

If I remember this much, there must be more to remember.

Right?

As I ponder this, I remember something else. I am not a solver of puzzles. That task is reserved for another. The vessel of the Guardian can only become such because the puzzle has been solved.

Control over my host has become so easy. He doesn't even notice the small gaps anymore, thinking he has just been daydreaming. I turn my head to watch the little Light out of the corner of my eye. He has a serious expression on his child-like face, focused towards the front of the room where some woman is lecturing about grammar.

"Bakura-kun!"

In the split moment before I surrender control and my host turns his head to respond, something unexpected happens. The little Light's eyes meet mine, and he sees me.

I'm not sure how I know, but I do. That millisecond of time stretches in my mind. There is no animosity, or fear, or anger or hatred, or pride or challenge is his gaze. There is only recognition and something else that I don't recognize, but reminds me of the disappointment I heard earlier.

"S-sorry," my host stutters at the teacher.

As she has him conjugate a noun or something, I can't help but wonder how much of a stir I would cause if I simply turned around to stare at the little Light. He's much more fascinating than adverbs or whatever.

That instant my heart nearly stopped, and now it's pounding furiously. Something about the little Light, or the Guardian he is vessel to, has awoken it. I know if I were in control right now, I would be light-headed and possibly blushing. How odd.

I make a decision. I have to know why my heart is acting so oddly around the little Light.

It's easier than I thought. All I do is wait for him after school, around the corner where hardly anyone goes. When I see him come out, I step out of the shadows and wait until his eyes meet mine. That bright, amethyst gaze alone almost makes my heart race. I nod towards the corner, and he nods in response and walks toward me. That old, familiar dread fills me, making my arms and legs feel heavy while my head is light.

The sound of the other high school kids is muffled around the corner, the cool brick wall adding to the chill in the air. I turn to watch him come around the corner, his breath misting in front of his face, his eyes bright and his cheeks turning slightly pink from the cold air. He hesitates for just moment, his gaze wandering around his new surroundings, not looking at me.

"What is it, Bakura?" he asks.

I say nothing, instead watching him. He hasn't stopped moving, shifting his weight, lifting his hands to tug at his clothes, to straighten his hair, to settle on the shoulder straps of his backpack only to move to rearrange the black scarf he is wearing. My heart is still beating far faster than I am used to.

It doesn't take him long for his movements to slow, recognition lighting his face. There is, however, more than recognition there. There is something excited, and something frightened, and something I do not have a name for that makes my heart beat even faster.

"It's you," he says. It's as if he knows he is supposed to be afraid, but...

"I've been wondering when I'd see you again."

The words he just said don't mean anything to me. I watch as his movements still, his hands resting at his sides, turned just slightly forward. His eyes are wide, his lips slightly parted as he stares at me.

Still, I say nothing, trying to figure out why my heart is no longer just racing, but pounding so hard I can feel my ribs vibrating. Does it have something to do with the Guardian inhabiting him? Is it his own innate kind of magic?

I take a few steps closer to him. That's all that's needed for us to be standing with just a small space between us. I can't help just staring down at him, his face now tilted up toward mine. There's something about his stance, I think, that says something of submission, of some kind of surrender.

Under my scrutiny, I notice he has started to tremble. He's bundled up warm enough it can't be the cold, can it? I realize that with his earlier fidgeting, his scarf has come slightly loose, exposing the smallest amount of skin. I can see his pulse in his neck, pounding nearly as rapidly as mine.

Now. That is a puzzle. Do I make his heart race as he does mine?

He finally moves, his right hand lifting to my chest. His fingers are exploring the curves of the ring beneath the fabric of my shirt and jacket. His eyes follow the path of his finger as he traces the circle. My face suddenly feels unusually hot. Has he lured me into some sort of trap? Will the Guardian emerge, now, to fight me?

Before I decide, his eyes have returned to looking up at me. My mouth and throat are so dry, and I don't even notice that I'm leaning closer to him until he moves up on his toes to meet me.

My first instinct is to jerk away, but his fingers have latched onto the ring, and his other arm has made its way around my waist without my noticing. His lips are warm, and surprisingly smooth as they move against mine. I realize his eyes are closed, so I close mine as well. With the distraction of sight taken away, I can feel so much more, his body leaning into mine, his hands and arms still trembling. My own hands seem to have gained their own mind, moving slowly up to his face, holding his jaw as I open my mouth to press deeper into him. He breathes in suddenly, in a small sort of gasp that makes my head spin. Something that feels almost like rage, but not really, seems to have taken hold of me, making one hand clench around his scarf as the other scrapes roughly down his chest.

He pulls back, and a low growl escapes me as I open my eyes. He stares at me, and I can't help but be entranced by the way his eyes are flickering across my face.

"Yugi!"

It's more of those idiots, those people my host is always hanging around. I believe the blond, stupid-looking one is the one who yelled out. He stands in what I can only guess he thinks is some sort of fighting stance, his hands clenched and anger flashing in his eyes.

"You!" he snaps. "Let go of Yugi!"

I look down at the little Light, realizing that if they just noticed us then they only would have seen me holding his scarf as if I meant to choke him with it.

I smirk, and shove the little Light, knocking him flat on his back. "Just letting you know I'm still around," I laugh. They rush towards the little Light, helping him up and trying to look protective.

I laugh again, then carefully meet the little Light's eyes. "I will be back," I say quietly, smirking as I slip myself back out of control. The Light gives me a faint, but very real smile.

Inside, in my quiet, my eyes are closed, the better to feel my fluttering heartbeats.

Break

I am a thief, and a stealer of souls.

Anger, hatred, jealousy, fear, pain...I know all of these things. I am these things.

Each human soul is alike, yet unique. There are facets and shades, multiplying the deeper you search, rather than shrinking.

The depth of human darkness is unending.

He smiles, his chin propped in his hand as he looks at me. It's a lazy, possessive sort of look he gives me. That much is understandable. I have shown up at his house nearly twenty times in the last month, after all. He doesn't even have to move. I'm drawn to him.

"I love you."

The words mean nothing to me. He has spoken them before, and I wonder how he can conclude something like that with so little to base it on. It almost makes me curious enough to ask.

Distrust, sadism, shame. I know what those are. I am those things.

I am the darkness.

I rarely say anything. There is nothing to say. This has not deterred him yet. He shifts closer to me, his fingertips running up my arm and tangling in my hair. His other hand takes hold of my wrist, and with a gentle tug he encourages me to follow him up the stairs to his room.

I owe my host rent far more often than I used to, and I cannot bring myself to pay as I once did. I'm frightened, though of what I cannot say.

So I pay in blood, instead of souls. Some could say that blood is a part of the soul, so every one-hundred twenty-five thousand heartbeats I give a little bit of my soul to my host. The Light says nothing about the little lines along my arms and hands and chest. For some reason he has decided to not say anything, one of the few topics he doesn't bring up.

"Bakura?"

I look up at him from my seat on the park bench. His brow is furrowed, sadness floating just behind his eyes.

"What is your real name?"

Name? I am a dark and a stealer of thief. That is...I meant to say I am a soul and a stealer of shadows. I know fear and shame, greed and anger, distrust and malice. I know all of those things.

He sighs quietly and sits down next to me, the cold turning the tips of his ears and nose pink.

I feel many things. Fear, anger, jealousy, shame, distrust. I...am...those things. A twist in the dark, my mind is undone. My heart, my small, bitter sanctuary. Abrasive entropy and nothing else.

His hand slips into mine, his warm fingers curling around and holding my hand tightly. "What do you feel about me?" he whispers. "You know I love you..."

I shake my head slightly, and he trails off. The words he is saying don't make any sense. They don't mean anything. My ribs are starting to ache from how hard my heart is pounding against them.

The fingertips of his other hand brush in a light caress against the back of my hand. "I've been thinking," he murmurs quietly. "My other self was very violent at first, especially when he was afraid. He didn't feel any remorse for hurting people. He got better though. I thought...maybe...you just needed some time. I thought that maybe just...I don't know." He looks up at me. I...can't tell what he is looking for, in my eyes.

He wants to know how I feel? I distrust everyone. I'm jealous when he spends time with other people. I feel angry when he is hurt, and I hurt when I am around him. He shames me and makes me hate him without really hating him.

He sighs again, and stands to leave. I know what else I feel. Fear.

I reach out and grab his wrist. I can't make myself look up at him, focusing on the smooth skin of his wrist beneath my fingertips.

"I'm afraid," I whisper. "I'm afraid you're going to leave."

I...I want him to stay. This small, jaded sanctuary...I want to give it to him. It's my choice, to let him into my quiet room.

It's just too bad that he can make his own decisions, too. I know he won't choose me. He'll break my quiet sanctuary sooner or later, I know.

Only

My name is darkness and shadow, the fleeting ache that comes with nightfall and rain in the desert. I stand absolute and empty. I feel nothing. I am nothing.

Time does not flow smoothly. It skitters and jumps erratically, flighty and slipping through grasping fingers. I wonder how humans can stand it, living in such inconsistency. I stand at the edge of the desert, the dry wind scouring against me, hollowing.

The Guardian has won. I have to say I didn't expect that. Best laid plans of mice, eh?

I did, however, predict the Light. I remember everything, now, and I know everything that I am.

I...am not a thief.

The last faint light of the sun disappears from the horizon, leaving a golden band behind me as I face the approaching night. There was no other possibility, really. One layer after another has been removed, stripping me of even the faintest semblance of humanity. There are further depths left unplumbed, as well. I knew this would hurt...

And yet there was no way I could have prepared myself for this exquisite, white-hot agony assailing my mind and my body. Funny...I would have thought broken hearts only hurt your heart.

I watched his face carefully, and I saw the point at which he realized what I am. His puzzle-mind fit the last piece into place, and he saw me for what I am.

Darkness.

Shadow.

I am everything he is not.

So I stand here, watching the waves of night sweep in to drown me...

...waiting...

...hollow

...

"Bakura!"

That voice sets fire to my spine, making my head snap back in pain. I turn to face the light.

My Light.

The watery gold behind him threatens to obscure his features, but he can never hide from me. I am darkness and he is Light.

He looks angry. I can't say that I blame him.

"You idiot!" he growls. I feel my lips twitch in mirth. Anger only serves to make him even more beautiful. I should try to make him angry more often in the future.

It seems I am suddenly optimistic.

"I...I'm not really sure what's going to happen," he says slowly. "But if you leave now, I'll never forgive you!"

I grin, and shrug. "Ha!" I laugh.

Of course. Of course he could say something so childish, so immature and serious that I cannot deny him.

It's not so surprising, really. He is my only Light.


Yeah, it's a little different.

Kay lots different. I have to admit I have never read a Yugioh Fanfic that takes Bakura's character in the direction I have in this fic. In the Yugioh manga, and I suppose in the anime, you find out that while Yami Yugi is the Pharaoh, and more or less a separate human being who lived thousands of years ago, Yami Bakura isn't actually the Thief King. He's the Dark God Zorc Necrophades, who may or may not have possessed the Thief King, and who now possesses Ryou Bakura. The Fans of Yugioh tend to ignore this and just insist that Yami Bakura was the Thief King.

I have now written a Romance between the main Protagonist and the main Antagonist of Yugioh. XD I win! And you just lost the game! I'll let you nice reviewers determine how successful I've been.

Lol. Bakura totally references Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He does stuff like that in Canon, too. The beginning of Millenium World has him quoting Spiderman at Yugi. It's pretty awesome.

I've never written entirely in first person presents tense before. A little strange, but fun once I got used to it. Also, the beginning of the fic kept reminding me a lot of my other story, Shadow in the Dark, but then it went it's own direction and now they're nothing alike:)

Another odd thing about this fic is Yugi's personality. I have to admit that as odd as it sounds, Yugi has always struck me as slightly more dominant in personality than his Yami. This would be very interesting to play with if I ever felt like writing a Puzzleshipping fic, but, back on topic, it was a little odd to me that even in this fic he strikes me as just slightly more dominant than this characterization of Bakura. This may be due to the fact that we're seeing everything from Bakura's point of view, and we only see Yugi instigate any physical interaction between them. Still, an interesting concept. It almost makes this story look like Darkshipping (YamixBakura) but Yugi is still just immature and headstrong enough that I feel likes it's him and not Yami.

Also, for those of you who care, this is the closest I will ever come to writing a songfic. If you're curious, the song is And So It Goes by Billy Joel.

Hmm...anything else?

Ah. Sorry this one is un-beta'd. I know Neonn is probably still awake reading Fanfics, but I'm ready for bed and I don't want to wait for herXD