The More It Intertwines With Its Prison
"Marik, we need to talk."
The boy's back tensed for a fraction of a second at the serious tone of Ryou's voice. He forced himself to relax and reply nonchalantly. "Can it wait a few more minutes? I was about to order pizza." Marik pulled the phone off the wall and began dialing.
Just as it began to ring, Ryou ripped the phone from his boyfriend's hands and dropped it onto the receiver. "Now."
"Okay, now," Marik agreed, struggling to keep his voice from wavering. His eyes darted up and down, from side to side, trying to find anyplace worthy of his focus. Anyplace besides Ryou's eyes.
"Look at me, Marik."
He reluctantly settled his eyes on Ryou. The simmering fury that Marik had heard in the boy's voice was just as apparent in his pretty, pale face. "Ryou, what's wrong?"
"Why do I love you?" Ryou blurted.
Marik blinked and his mouth fell open. "Wha…wha…huh?"
He watched as his boyfriend clenched his fists at his sides and screwed his eyes shut, as if expecting the answer to come in some sort of painful blow. "Why do I love you?" Ryou shouted, the fury boiling over.
"Uh…" Marik tried, positively dumbstruck. What kind of a question was that, anyway? It didn't even begin to make the first resemblance of sense. "Ryou, I…I don't think that I can—"
"Don't lie! The Spirit told me what you did!"
"What did I…?"
A cry of frustration escaped Ryou's throat. "You brainwashed me!"
All traces of moisture vacated Marik's mouth. He made several futile attempts at swallowing before daring to speak. "Ryou, how would I have—"
Darkness dominated the boy's presence. "You used the Millennium Rod to make me fall in love with you."
"That's…that's not even possible, Ryou. Only the Key can be used to manipulate emotions that way… Why are you even listening to Bakura in the first place? What's he ever done for you but cause trouble?"
"He wasn't lying this time. I can see it on your face, Marik. You used the Rod to make me fall in love with you."
"That's not how the Rod works…"
Ryou's eyes narrowed. "The Spirit explained it to me. That the Millennium Rod has the ability to tear souls apart, that it was originally used to separate evil ka from their human hosts and then seal them away in stone tablets."
"I…I still don't see how—"
"He said it didn't have to be a tablet. Just something physical. Like a body. Like my body. And the longer that piece of the soul remains sealed, the more it intertwines with its prison."
Marik could no longer control himself. He gave a groan that could not deny the accusation Ryou had just made. Hands shaking, he snatched the phone and dialed the nearest pizza establishment. "Hello? Yes, I would like to order one large cheese pizza…"
The two sat on opposite sides of the couch, eating their pizza in silence. Marik glanced over, hoping to find that Ryou's expression had softened in the several minutes since he had last stolen a look. Marik knew that he had to make Ryou understand. He had no doubt that the Spirit had managed to make what he had done sound a thousand times more vulgar than it was. He swallowed and opened his mouth to speak.
"I'm just another one of your mind-slaves, aren't I?" Ryou asked calmly before taking a bite out of his pizza.
Marik froze. No, he thought. "No! Ryou, it's never been that way!"
"Seems like it to me. The Spirit told me that the first condition of your alliance was that you were allowed to place a piece of your soul in my body. Just in case."
"But…I've done the same with countless others! They didn't fall in love with me…"
"You killed most of them."
"Because you took your soul back."
"What makes you think I didn't take it back from you, too?"
Ryou sighed. "Marik, I've wondered for a while now. The Spirit just confirmed my suspicions."
Marik worked his mouth, too stunned to actually get any sound to come out.
"I noticed that I was sympathizing with you—"
"But that's perfectly normal for two people who are—"
"—almost constantly," Ryou continued without pausing to listen to Marik's argument.
"You're supposed to feel that way about me!" Marik protested. "I feel the same!"
A frown settled over Ryou's entire body. "Did you steal a part of my soul to replace the piece of yours that I have?"
"NO. You are a whole person! I could never take you apart!"
Ryou fell silent and stared at the remaining crust of his pizza. He stood and went into the kitchen, where Marik could hear the faucet running.
"How did he guess so much?" Marik murmured to himself.
"I'm going to bed!" The proclamation was swiftly followed by the slam of a door.
Marik lay silent, staring sadly at the still figure of Ryou.
The boy lay on his side, back to Marik, curled up against the far edge of the bed they shared.
Ryou's frosty behavior instilled in Marik a lonely chill. He craved the softness of Ryou's skin, the enthusiastic caress of Ryou's lips, the warmth of Ryou's breath as he whispered those sweet nothings that Marik loved so dearly.
A faint sob sounded from across the bed. It was followed by another, and another, each projecting more desolation than the last.
Marik reached out and laid a gentle hand on Ryou's shoulder.
It was promptly shrugged off. "You can't fix this. There is nothing you can do to atone for using me."
The Egyptian spent a moment nursing the sting that had been dealt to his heart before crawling across the bed and resting his chin against Ryou's arm. "I never meant for it to be this way. I planned to take it back."
"When you no longer had any use for me."
Marik didn't bother to argue. "But my ability to do that left with the Millennium Rod. Ryou, try thinking of it as…a sort of gift we were given. We wouldn't have each other if I hadn't lost it."
"I would have had a choice. Maybe the only choice I've had in years. But you stole that from me."
"Doesn't fate dictate everything, though? Who really has a choice?"
"Fate presents us with multiple paths. But you and the Spirit have successfully dominated every choice of my teenage life."
Marik averted his eyes. He had never considered how much of a blow he had made in Ryou's already limited autonomy.
Ryou shifted, slid easily into place against Marik's body. A slender white hand curled around the back of Marik's neck and pulled him into a kiss. The electric spark that usually passed between them was absent.
Marik pulled back and looked into Ryou's eyes. They were dull and dark; no emotion was betrayed. "Ryou…"
"I'm only here because you've made certain that I can't leave. The piece of your soul I have can't stand being away from you."
"Then I still have a chance to redeem myself," Marik whispered into Ryou's ear. He trailed his lips down the boy's neck. No reaction. "I wonder how long you can hold out?" he murmured against Ryou's neck, allowing his lips and voice to do his work for him.
Marik shifted to loom over Ryou, who stared up at him with a blank expression.
"If you're going to fuck me, would you please get it over with so I can go to sleep?"
"Try to enjoy it a little? What do you want?"
"I want you to get off of me, but that's obviously not going to happen. So please, just get this over with."
Marik's hand slipped beneath the waistband of Ryou's pajamas. For the first time, the action felt…unclean. All the other instances in which they had slept together somehow seemed pure and innocent in comparison. The difference, Marik knew, was that now Ryou refused to acknowledge that he felt anything. There was no shared passion fueling the actions. It felt no different than an impersonal one-night stand. Could that be all this was? One night and one more time?
Unfortunately for his attempt to project a stoic apathy, Ryou's willpower was nowhere near strong enough to deny his body. A low moan escaped his lips as he twisted his head, burying his face in his pillow as much as possible.
"You've never been embarrassed before."
"I'm not embarrassed," Ryou said, his reply muffled by the cotton and down that separated them.
Marik took hold of Ryou's chin with his free hand and kissed him. "I swear on the name of Ra that I'll redeem myself," he murmured as the boy shuddered. He pulled his hand out of Ryou's pants and licked his fingers. "I'll start by doing the laundry tomorrow."
Marik transferred the last load from the dryer to the table, where the clean clothes were separated into "his", "mine", and "ours". He went back into the laundry room and took an armful of hangers. When he turned, Ryou was standing in the doorway.
"Give me some of those. I'm perfectly capable of hanging my own clothing." His face didn't betray what he meant by this action.
For a long time they stood folding and hanging in silence. Finally Marik couldn't take it anymore. "Ryou, please talk."
"I don't know what you expect me to say."
"That you don't hate me, for starters."
"I don't hate you. But I don't love you either. You ruined that."
"What can I do?"
"I already told you that you can't do anything. Honestly, I would rather we break up. You can stay here, only because we both need it. But you will move into the guest room and you will not touch me. Let me know if you need help folding the sheets." With that, Ryou gathered his clothes and left Marik to gaze after him, stunned.
The one thing that had pulled them so close was now pushing them apart. Marik didn't know if he could stand to live with Ryou under such conditions. But then again, how could he possibly stand to live without him?
Obviously Angstshipping is more my speed. Well, there's my second tier entry for the contest! Concrit is always appreciated!
Now off to write that mildly cracky Thiefship... ;3