This came to me out of nowhere.

Bakura couldn't help but fall in love. It was inevitable. Having half of his soul manifested as a beautiful young boy was torturous, enough for him to rethink his plans. Enough for him to make… acquaintances with the Pharaoh and his pissant friends. Enough for him to show a softer side to his host.

Not to anyone else, though.

The theft and murder was so engrained in his soul he couldn't rid himself of the urge, and Ryou accepted that. If anything, he embraced it as part of his yami. It was always a little nerve-wracking when he woke up to the strong smell of blood permeating the house, but that's what bleach is for.

This night, Bakura had gone out early (without a word of goodbye to his hikari, a normal occurrence) and traveled to the not-so-desirable part of town, killing the homeless and pick pocketing anyone who looked like they had some semblance of money. He amassed eight hundred dollars, being very careful not to get any blood on any of it, and shoved the stack in his back pocket. It would go to something special for his hikari.

He headed home in the early hours of the morning, running his hands through his blood-stained hair. He smiled, resisting the urge to lick any off his fingers. He opened the door to Ryou's flat, thanking Ra his father was never home, and checked in on the boy. He was sound asleep, but he soon smelled Bakura standing at the door and stirred. The spirit rushed off, starting the shower on high heat and standing under the spray.

"'Kura?" murmured Ryou, copper assaulting his senses. He heard water running and figured his yami was already in the shower. "Good," he said to himself, sighing and rolling onto his back. He adored his Bakura, no matter how much he was ignored or attacked. Verbally and physically. Bakura was always appalled at the end, holding Ryou to his chest as he cried.

The night before, Bakura didn't go out. He stayed, brooding in the living room for hours. Ryou was worried about him and ventured over to talk, but to both of their surprise he ended up flat on his back with a bloody nose. Bakura stood over him, eyes narrowed into angry slits.

"'What's wrong?' I'll tell you what's wrong!" he screamed, kicking Ryou in the side. The boy coughed, spilling blood onto the wood floor under him. "Dumbass little dipshits like you always in my business!" He kicked Ryou again, planting his foot on the boy's chest and slowly leaning his weight onto it. "Fuck out of my life! I don't want to see your repulsive face ever again!" He stormed off, leaving Ryou trying not to breathe his own blood on the floor.

Ryou pushed himself onto his hands and knees, clutching his ribs. One of them felt broken, but at another cough the pain tripled and faded. He jolted, hands on his waist alerting him to another attack, but Bakura just pulled him into his arms.

"I'm so sorry Ryou," he said, trying to keep the tears out of his voice but failing miserably. Ryou was still having trouble breathing and didn't respond, bringing a hand up to wipe at the blood spilling over his chin. Bakura kissed the back of his head where a small bruise could be seen through his hair, picking the boy up and sitting him down in the bathroom. Wetting a cloth, he washed his hikari's face until he could see all of it again and walked him to his room.

"Are you sure you're okay?" he asked for the fiftieth time, helping the boy put on his night clothes.

"I'm fine," he answered, normal brilliant smile back in place. Bakura couldn't smile back, willing himself not to start crying again. He wanted to kiss the boy, to reveal his true feelings, but his self hatred didn't allow him any happiness. Ryou nudged the yami out, bidding him goodnight and closing his door. He considered locking it but didn't want to hurt the yami further, so he left it and went to sleep.

As Ryou was recalling past events, the water of the shower stopped and the bathroom door opened. Ryou looked up, blinking in surprise as a fully dressed (and clean) Bakura stepped into his room.

"Let me see," he said seriously, tugging at the hem of Ryou's shirt. The boy obliged, pulling his shirt up and revealing the huge circular bruises on his ribs. Bakura's breath caught, looking over his hikari.

"It's been an entire day," he whispered, the bruises seeming to taunt him. Ryou started to panic when the spirit's eyes looked angry again, putting his shirt back and pushing himself to the far end of the bed.

"I hate you. You're so weak," hissed Bakura, staring directly into Ryou's eyes.

"You hate me?" he repeated, his heart constricting at the words.

Bakura didn't break eye contact, boring holes into Ryou's soul with his glare. "I hate myself," he corrected, backing up a step. "Goodbye forever, yanushi," he whispered, before turning around and leaving the room. Ryou was confused and worried, more for his yami than himself.

"But… Bakura, wait!" he shouted, leaving his room and running to the front door. He caught one last glance of Bakura's white hair before the door slammed. He opened it as quick as he could, but the spirit was gone.

Ryou closed the door, sinking to the floor. Forever? Hot tears spilled down his cheeks, blurring his vision to the point the room was all one gray mass. Without half of his soul, he was dead to the world. Without his yami, he was nothing.

"Ryou, open up!" Yugi yelled outside the boy's door, pounding on it. "We're going to be late for school!" Ryou opened the door, eyes dull and unseeing. He walked out as if in a trance, his bag in one hand and the Ring clutched tightly in his other, starting down the stairs without a second glance at his friend.

"Ryou?" asked Yugi, following the boy. He didn't answer, continuing forward at the same steady pace. "Ryou, what's wrong?" No response. Yugi followed him to school, looking on worriedly as he walked through a crowd that always picked on him.

"Hey, douche-fag!" one of them yelled, pushing him into the lockers. He didn't react, save for tightening his grip on the Ring. "Sissy boy, you wanna play?" No response. The boy's fist reared back as he prepared to punch Ryou in the face, but he was thrown off by a familiar person.

"Ryou, are you alright?" asked Joey, polishing his palms (AN:/ that's what I call it, shut up). No response. "Come on, you could at least thank me!" he said, a bit exasperated.

"Joey, something's wrong with him. I can't get him to talk to me, or even look at me!" said Yugi, extremely worried now. Ryou just continued on to class as if nothing happened.

All first period, he was silent as the grave and didn't react to any kind of stimulus. Yugi dragged him to the bathroom to get him to splash some cold water on his face. One look at his reflection and he had burst into tears, screaming for Bakura the rest of the day. Yugi stayed with him, holding him past the final bell and into cleanup. Ryou stood up, taking a deep breath and walking past the mirrors without looking at them.

"Ryou," murmured Yugi, watching his friend walk home.

When the hikari got back to his flat, he saw a box in front of his door. He was tempted to ignore it, until he saw his yami's handwriting on the top. He couldn't open it fast enough, pulling out a tray of his favorite custard tarts. There was a letter inside, too. It looked very short, but Ryou didn't care.


I know you love these. I stole them from a bakery today.

I miss you terribly, but I'm afraid to hurt you anymore than I already have. I would kill myself, but I don't know if you would die as well.

I can't let you know where I am. I can't go to you.

But I love you with all my immortal heart.

Ryou read it over and over, glancing at the tarts every once in a while. He picked one up and put it in his mouth, moaning at the flavor. They were his favorite.

He folded the letter exactly as it had been, eating the tarts in the entryway of the flat until all thirty were gone. He felt sick to his stomach and rushed to the bathroom, throwing up everything he ate into the toilet. Stomach empty, he dry-heaved for a minute before slumping against the edge of the tub. Bakura was gone, and he was never coming back.

This was not the first time Ryou cried himself to sleep, and it certainly wouldn't be the last.

Ryou refused to go to school, locking his door and sitting on the counter in the kitchen. He never, under any circumstances, let go of the Ring. He slept for long periods, eating and drinking only when he was near starving. He also smeared soap over every mirror, not allowing himself to see Bakura I his reflection. It lasted four weeks; once or twice a box would show up with some stolen item and a note.

Usually it was a sweet, but sometimes it was jewelry.

Today, the first day of the fifth week (not that Ryou would know; he threw away all the clocks and calendars); Ryou was asleep on the kitchen floor, until there was a soft thump outside his door. He awoke instantly, bolting to the door and opening it only to find another box. This one was much smaller than usual, but carefully wrapped.

He brought it inside, unfolding every crease carefully to save the paper. Inside was a locket, one that would usually have a picture. This one had nothing in it.


I stole this from a jewelry store. One person noticed, so I brought him out back and killed him.

I want to be with you. I need you.

Ryou put the locket on with some difficulty, managing to clasp it with one hand and two fingers from the one that was holding the Ring. He felt sick again, but pressed the paper to his face. It smelled like blood, of course, but it also smelled like Bakura.

There was a knock at his door. He had no idea what day or time it was, but would refuse to answer anyway.

"It's Yami," said a voice, soothingly. Ryou stood up, taking a deep breath and opening the door. The Pharaoh walked in without invitation, closing and locking the door behind him.

"Tell me," he said simply, not much taller than the boy but managing to tower menacingly over him. Ryou took a deep breath, just having Yami there calming him down and allowing him to think clearly.

"B-Bakura l-left me. He- He said he wouldn't come b-back," he managed, not having spoken in a long time. Yami looked at him for a long while, eyes full of concern. Hikari and yami should stay as one, not ever be separated.

"Did he tell you where he went?" Yami eventually asked, sitting with his back ramrod straight and his hands clasped before him in his lap. Ryou shook his head. Yami sighed, looking over the malnourished boy with ancient eyes. He was wasting away, faster than any human separated from another. His soul was halved.

"I have a hunch," the spirit said slowly, waiting for Ryou to perk up and his eyes to fill with light. It didn't happen. He sat the same way as before, his eyes darkening almost to black. "He could be in the Shadow Realm. But humans cannot survive there; you saw what happened to Yugi… before." Yami shuddered at the memory, just the thought of losing his hikari horrifying. He couldn't imagine what Ryou was going through at this point.

"I don't care," said Ryou, sounding a twin of his yami. "If I die, I die. There's no reason to live any longer." Yami nodded, accepting his decision. He stood up, motioning for Ryou to do the same. His Puzzle glowed incredibly bright, and so did the Ring in Ryou's hand, until there was a flash and the room disappeared.

Ryou opened his eyes and heaved a breath, already feeling his life draining away.

"You have about one minute," said Yami matter-of-factly, standing off to the side. Ryou didn't answer, just shouted as loud as he could. With the pressure of his mind, it reverberated off the intangible walls of the Shadow Realm itself.

"Bakura!" he cried, all of his anguish pouring into that one word.

The yami heard it.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" Bakura screamed, attacking Yami. "He could die, you bastard!" Yami dodged his blows easily, pointing at Ryou.

"I think you have something to say," he said, eyes expressionless. Bakura turned and looked at his hikari, who was gasping for breath on his knees.

"Ryou, why did you come here? You have to go back!" he yelled, attempting to grab the Ring and send Ryou back to the land of the living.

"If I can't have you, I don't need to live," panted the boy, his thin frame of skin and bones trembling as he took his last breaths. "I love you, but you can't see that." He closed his eyes, falling forward into Bakura's arms.

"Ryou? Ryou!" he screamed, looking into the boy's peaceful face. It was like he was sleeping.

"Fuck! Fuck, Ryou, no!" he continued to cry, taking hold of the Ring and willing it to hurry. Yami looked on with fathomless eyes, watching the brilliant flash of light with seeming uninterested. Through the mind link, in his soul room, he was crying onto Yugi's shoulder. Hikari and yami would be whole again.

In death or in life, he did not know.

"Ryou!" Bakura screamed until his throat was raw, holding the boy to his chest. "You're alive, please!" He started to sob, rocking the lifeless Ryou in his arms. "I love you, you can't die!" Then there was a cough.

Ryou's eyes fluttered open to stare into Bakura's; both parties were shocked.

"Hikari!" one yelled in the same instant "Yami!" was heard. They held each other for a long while, breathing in unison, until Ryou spoke.

"I love you," he said simply, not caring what had or would happen. He only lived for the now.

"Impossible," Bakura replied, continuing to rock the boy gently. "I'm a monster." He could feel Ryou shake his head against his chest.

"I love you," he repeated, louder. Bakura pulled back, looking into his hikari's eyes.

"Make it tangible," Ryou continued, leaning up to kiss the spirit. Bakura couldn't refuse anything his hikari asked of him, kissing the boy back and rushing to pull his tattered school uniform off. He stopped at the sight of the boy's naked body.

There were scars and blue outlines of slow-fading bruises all over him, his frail chest heaving. Bakura could see his every rib, and when he turned him around he could see every vertebrate.

"'Kura?" whispered Ryou, confused. Bakura watched him turn back around and undo the clasps on his yami's shirt in silence, until every one of them was free.

"I'm sorry," the boy continued, kissing Bakura's shoulder as he started on his pants. That woke the spirit up.

"You should never be sorry. Everything is my fault. You almost died because of my foolishness." Ryou didn't answer then, pushing the spirit to the floor to have better access to his neck. Bakura moaned, holding the boy close as he ground their erections together.

"Never leave me," Ryou whispered, accepting the fingers Bakura was trying to put in his mouth.

"Never," he repeated, pushing them so Ryou was on the bottom. Bakura frowned and he pulled the fingers out of his hikari's warm cavern.

"I don't want to hurt you, Ryou. You're a virgin, and we don't have anything to make it easier." Ryou shook his head, reaching for the fingers again, but Bakura held them back. "Are you absolutely sure you want to give something so precious to someone like me?" he asked, watching the boy anxiously.

"Not like you," he answered, bringing a hand to Bakura's cheek and stroking it. "You." That set him over the edge, replacing the fingers and moving until he was positioned over Ryou's arousal. Taking the head into his mouth, he swiped his tongue through the slit and closed his eyes at Ryou's moan. The boy was still sucking on his fingers, wrapping his tongue around them in the most erotic ways possible.

Bakura pulled off, staring at Ryou with adoration. His hikari let go of his fingers, arching his back impatiently.

"Make love to me," he whimpered, throwing his head back and grinding into the air. Bakura nodded, easing the first finger into Ryou's virgin entrance. He didn't squirm or tremble, just took as much of the finger as he could into himself and begged for more.

A second finger was added with the same reaction, Bakura surprised that he liked the feeling of his tight hole being penetrated for the first time. He added the third, slamming them as far back as they could go. Ryou cried out and Bakura swiftly removed them, crawling up to his hikari with worried eyes.

"I'm sorry, Ryou, I didn't mean to," he said, kissing Ryou's hot forehead.

"I would have hoped you did," snarked the sweet boy, bringing his knees up and planting his feet on the floor. "Please, it's been so long since I've seen you. I have to feel you." Bakura shook his head apprehensively, knowing it would hurt so much for anyone, let alone a virgin.

"I want you to prove you love me. I want to feel you," he repeated, staring into Bakura's eyes. The spirit captured his lips, trying to distract him with a passionate kiss as he used his own precome to lubricate his erection as much as possible. He tangled his tongue with Ryou's, waiting for the boy to start moaning before he started penetrating him. Ryou didn't react to the first couple of inches, but soon he whimpered pathetically in pain.

He negated it with a "don't stop" and relaxed as much as he could. Bakura was definitely not an average six inches, so he knew to be extremely careful. Of course some of the skin would tear and bleed, but if he gave Ryou enough pleasure it might not hurt so badly.

"'Kura," he moaned, wrapping his arms around the spirit's neck and panting into his ear. Bakura kissed his shoulder, slamming the rest of the way in. Ryou screamed, the noise grating into the spirit's soul and ringing in his ears, but the cries soon turned to pants and groans. That was exactly what he was hoping for.

"Faster," Ryou would murmur periodically, gasping for breath when Bakura hit his prostate. "Harder!" And the spirit always gave him what he wanted, until he tensed up. Bakura lost all semblance of rhythm, pounding into Ryou only to bring them both to completion. Ryou came first, crying out a broken rendition of his yami's name. Bakura followed, filling Ryou to the brim with his seed and panting into his shoulder for a while after.

He pulled out, watching a very light pink mixture seep out of Ryou's entrance. He sighed, satisfied he didn't cause too much damage. Ryou smiled up at him with eyes glazed and half-lidded in fulfillment. Bakura picked him up, taking him to the flat's small bedroom and lying him down. He left, bringing back a towel and cleaning him up. Ryou was silent, his breath evening out as he relaxed, and watched Bakura with unrequited love.

Bakura climbed into bed beside him, delighted when Ryou crawled onto his chest and curled up on top of him. There was a peaceful silence as they shared feelings through the mind link, happy to just be in each other's company again. Ryou took in a deep breath and spoke, still listening to Bakura's heartbeat.

"I ate all the tarts too fast and threw them up," he whispered, speaking of a long time before. Bakura chuckled, wrapping his arms around the boy and holding him closer.

"I guess I'll have to steal you some more then."

I like keeping with Tendershipping tradition. There was abuse. But I don't like unhappy endings, so all my Tendershipping fics end with either sex or some other happy thing. Bakura and Ryou always end up together :D

This story also made my heart hurt while I was writing it :P