Taming the Darkness
Notes: The characters are not mine and the story is! This was inspired by Yami Marik's comment that he would enjoy taming the darkness, after Yami Bakura proclaimed himself the darkness. The Livejournal community Darkficprompts has helped it into being as well. These two make such great enemies that I found myself really regretting that they never clashed again in canon. I'll mostly be following the anime, as usual, but with a few manga things thrown in here and there. It's a series of connected but stand-alone vignettes, taking place at some point in my Pendulum Swings verse. Many thanks to Kaze and Lisa for plot help!
The voice was dark . . . amused . . . merciless, penetrating his consciousness. He had heard it before, he knew that much. . . . Somewhere not too long ago, and yet long enough ago that it might as well be another lifetime. . . . And as far as he was concerned, it was. . . . A lifetime---no, many lifetimes---when he had been infused with Zorc Necrophades, the personification of the shadows in people's hearts. . . . He had only recently gotten his own soul back. . . .
"Wake up, Ring spirit, so your demise can begin."
A hand grabbed hold of his hair, pulling it at the roots. A low growl built in his throat as he tried to pull away, to grab the hand and force it back. . . . But he could do nothing. His arms were stretched out, his wrists bound. And judging from the coldness around his ankles, so were they.
Actually, his entire body felt cold. His back was pressed against the rough surface of some kind of rock. There was some kind of cloth girded around his waist, hanging almost to his knees, but it felt like it was slit up both sides. And his feet were bare.
Who had done this to him? Who was talking? Why couldn't he placed that wretched voice?
His lips parted as he fought to speak. His voice did not want to come; he was still too deeply in the world of slumber, inspite of the realizations about his current state. But he was determined. With all of his willpower, he forced his vocal chords to vibrate.
"What's . . . who . . ."
"Oh, don't tell me you've forgotten me." The grip on his hair tightened and his head was pushed back. "And after you made such a specific vow to kill me the next time we met."
At last the voice fully reached his senses. He stiffened, disbelief and shock washing over him. "It . . . can't be . . ." he muttered. His eyes flew open, but only the darkness reached his retinas. The darkness . . . and a vague silhouette. He strained, battling to focus. Wild hair . . . veins . . . a glowing eye symbol on the forehead. . . .
"Yami Marik," he snarled.
"You do remember!" the madman exclaimed in mock delight.
"Of course I remember," his prisoner rasped. "And I also remember you were destroyed. Marik obliterated you."
"He rid himself of me," the dark entity purred, "but I was not obliterated. He can survive without me; so too can I survive without his body. I am complete on my own! And when I was fed to the darkness, my strength only grew. You should know all about that, though, shouldn't you, Ring spirit? One who claimed to be the darkness itself." He pulled harder on the whitish-lavender hair. "Or was that Zorc Necrophades talking?"
The other's eyes widened. "How do you know about Zorc?" he demanded.
"Didn't I mention? While I was in the shadows, I learned many things, including the fact that the being I thought I destroyed was composed of two entities---Thief King Bakura and Zorc Necrophades." He leaned in, his eyes wild. "Zorc Necrophades was vanquished by the Pharaoh, which means you are the thief---though you still go by 'Yami Bakura.' And I guess you'll have to do."
"Do?!" The Thief King struggled against the tight bonds. "What are you talking about?! What have you done?!"
The wicked smirk widened. "You don't remember? I took you away. I brought you to my domain." At last he let go of the hair, and did so with such force that Yami Bakura's head snapped back, hitting the hard and jagged surface to which he was chained. "It's about time for our rematch, don't you think?"
Completely awake now, Yami Bakura struggled harder against the vises binding him to the wall. "Release me at once!" he commanded. "I won't fight you like this."
"Don't worry, you'll be released," his enemy sneered. "Released into a world of nightmare and shadow unlike anything you've experienced, even with Zorc." His horrid expression twisted. "Remember, I also made a vow that fateful night. I vowed to tame the darkness. Now I will make good on that promise."
Yami Bakura was seething. Yami Marik had stripped him and left him bound to the wall as a deliberate indignation. And he could not deny that the thought of repaying him for this as well as for the past left a satisfying taste in his heart and soul.
His own expression twisted, his lavender eyes filled with relish. "Good!" he said. "Just try it and I will show you what true suffering is. I am complete without Zorc. And you will regret challenging me."
"I doubt that, but I'm glad to see you're as willing as ever." Yami Marik sneered. "You're very interesting in this form. Still, I wonder what happened to the boy whose body you once shared?"
Yami Bakura stiffened. From the other's tone, he knew exactly where Bakura was at this moment. "What have you done with him?!" he burst out.
Yami Marik's eyes only widened as the red lines raged against the white. "So it's true!" he exclaimed. "You've gone soft. You didn't care if you risked his safety in the past." Then his eyes narrowed thoughtfully. "Or were you just so confident in your victory that you didn't think he was in danger? I do remember, from seeing through Marik's memories, that you saved the boy's weak spirit from the attack of Slifer during the Battle City finals. You claimed it was just because you needed his body, but hmmm. I wonder."
"I don't have to justify myself to you," Yami Bakura growled. "Just tell me where he is."
Yami Marik stepped closer. "Well . . . some of him's here, some of him's there," he hissed. "You know, I had a lot of fun taking him apart. Of course, he didn't find it much fun at all."
Yami Bakura stared at him, his pupils wild with unbridled hatred. But then they darkened. "You're lying," he accused.
Yami Marik sneered again, baring his teeth. "You're right," he said. "But I saw what I needed to see. And don't think I won't use your feelings for that pathetic child against you."
He crossed his arms. "You aren't truly the darkness," he said. "You're just a man. But I will bring out your darkness! I will bring it out and then force it into submission. I will take you to your knees, making you hate me and then leading you to your utter destruction. And you won't have any way of knowing but what the boy will be offered up as a sacrifice to the true darkness along the way!"
"I'll kill you," Yami Bakura retorted, "just as I promised. You'll never have the chance to harm Bakura."
"Is that so?" Yami Marik's evil grin was nearly splitting his face. He knew something Yami Bakura did not.
Yami Bakura jerked up at the familiar call. "Bakura?" he gasped. He looked towards the sound of the cry. How could Bakura have found him so fast? Where was he?
The white-haired boy ran into view out of the darkness, breathing heavily. He stared at his friend, horror and sorrow in his gentle brown eyes to see him chained to the wall. "Oh Yami . . ." He moved to step forward. "Hold on, I'll get you out of this!"
"Oh you will, will you?" Yami Marik smirked more, reaching for something propped against the wall. Yami Bakura stared, his eyes widening in shock. It was a spear, a very familiar one at that.
And suddenly he knew what was going to happen.
"No, Bakura!" he burst out. "Go back; don't worry about me! It's a trap!"
Bakura did not even have the chance to react. Yami Marik thrust the spear, laughing madly as it stabbed into Bakura's stomach. The teen fell back, his eyes wide in agony. He could not even comprehend what had just happened. Shaking, he reached down, sweeping some of the fresh blood onto his fingers. He gaped at it, then looked up at the horrified Yami Bakura.
"Yami," he whispered. "I'm sorry. . . ."
Yami Bakura could not find his voice. He stared as the boy sank to the floor, the brown eyes fighting to stay open but failing. In a moment he was still.
"The Eon Spear. Am I right?" Yami Marik strolled over, as casual as if he was going to the living room television, and prodded the body with his foot. "A shame you can't get it out. You could save his life if you weren't bound to the wall."
Yami Bakura roared, straining at the bonds. The manacles dug into his wrists without mercy, cutting the tanned flesh. Blood ran down his arms, smearing on the wall and over the shackles. And no matter how he fought, he could not free himself. Bakura lay at his feet, lifeless and still.
Was it one of the demon's illusions? It was hard to say for sure. How could he trust that was true? What if it really was Bakura?! Yami Marik would not hesitate to strike him down . . . or would he?
. . . He would not want to kill Bakura immediately. He would want to drag out the torment, as he had mentioned doing in his horrible, unbelievable ways.
"Bakura," Yami Bakura said low. It was an illusion; it had to be. But where was the real Bakura? Was he safe? Was he worried sick? Well, if he knew Yami Bakura was missing, he definitely would be. And what if he did come here trying to save his friend? What would this devil do to him?
"It's no use!" Yami Marik cackled, mistaking the reason for Yami Bakura's despair. "You should know better than anyone that Bakura is beyond hope unless you can get to him. After all, the Eon Spear plunged through your body, too. That's why you have that scar on your abdomen, isn't it?"
Yami Bakura just gave him a cold, hateful look. "You no longer have the Millennium Rod," he said. "How do you know our private business?"
"I'll just keep some of my secrets," Yami Marik said. "You have bigger things to worry about." He pressed his foot against the bottom of the exit wound on Bakura's back. The boy never stirred.
Yami Bakura's eyes burned. He still believed it was an illusion . . . but what if he was wrong? He had to find out for certain. Again he strained against the manacles, to no avail. He was still hanging there, helpless, his fists clenched.
But he was still wearing the Infinity Ring. Could it possibly do anything? It was still so new to him, and sometimes it was temperamental, refusing to obey his commands. Yami Marik had driven him to such anger that he had not even thought about using it. Now he drew a shuddering breath, working to calm his badly-frayed nerves.
"Ring, shed light on this madness," he ordered. "Dispell his illusions!"
The silver ring glowed, seeming very agreeable to his words. But as it tried to do as commanded, it instead flickered and went out.
Yami Bakura stared at it. "This isn't a time for your nonsense!" he cried.
Yami Marik burst into crazed laughter. "Your magic item won't acknowledge you as its master!" he exclaimed. "No wonder you're having such a terrible time."
Yami Bakura glowered. "It was obeying me," he said. "You did something to stop it!"
The veins popped out on Yami Marik's face. "It's just the nature of this place," he said. "Don't you realize where we are?"
Yami Bakura looked around, his heart gathering speed. From what he could see, there was nothing but jagged rocks and slabs in all directions. Several tunnels snaked in different directions, all of them appearing dark and ominous. Stalactites and stalagmites protruded from the ceiling and the floor, only adding to the overall eerie decor.
"It looks like some kind of cave," he growled.
Yami Marik found this hilarious. "This," he said, spreading his arms wide, "is the bowels of Hell. And down here, I reign supreme. You will never escape!"
Yami Bakura stared at him. If he was still mortal, then Yami Marik could not mean it literally. But Yami Marik was known for creating personal Hells for each of his unfortunate victims.
And that could be worse.