The final chapter! Finally! Yes it is very late. Yes it is technically no longer Friday for me because it's about 3:30 in the morning, but you know what, I didn't want to wait another week. I feel like the ending of this chapter is rushed because well, I rushed it. I've been busy, very busy, and I work a lot, expecially on Friday, so I really didn't have any time to write. So I tried my hardest to get this finished before I went to bed, and I did! There are probably a plethora of mistakes that I will fix tomorrow when I have the time after I get off work. A big thanks to nihaomuse for the idea of the identity misconceptions, iPanda16 for the haunted house bit, Anamique4 for the part with the pelican, and my roommate for this first section here! I was talking to her about the last chapter and she wanted to have me write something in there. The way I've chosen to write about the ideas you all had probably isn't the exact way you wanted it done, but I hope I've done it well all the same! Thank you so much!

Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh or the song "Friday."


Chapter Thirty: I Don't Want This Weekend To End

It all ended in a flash of light. A really fucking bright flash of light, which made the entire situation that much more annoying.

Bakura had beaten the Pharaoh. Bakura had finally beaten the Pharaoh. Bakura had not only kicked the Pharaoh's skinny ass, but he had collected all seven of the Sennen Items and was about ready to put them into the stone slab and gain all of the promised power. Marik stood beside him, having made his true loyalties clear right when it would hurt the most: right after Bakura had defeated the Pharaoh and shone that friendship and all that shit he was constantly spewing meant nothing in the face of true evil and great power.

He'd put the Scales in first. He didn't give a damn about whether his heart was light enough for a feather to outweigh it; he had infinite power now, and he'd always been more or less immortal. Next went the Key, because as far as that Item went, he'd never really cared much for peering into the minds of others. Then the Eye, followed by the Necklace. Next went the Rod. Marik gave it a peculiar look as it went, but Bakura was too busy basking in his glory to give a damn. Then came the Puzzle. He held it in his hands and grinned at the way his face reflected in its golden surface. Into the stone niche it went. Behind him, the Pharaoh sort of made a choked gasping noise, and Bakura didn't pay any attention to that either.

Lastly he took off his Ring. He immediately felt the connection between himself and his host waver. But the Ring was close and as long as he concentrated he could keep himself in this body. He put the Ring into the stone and that was when a bright flash of light burst forth from the stone. He heard the Pharaoh scream for him not to, but by that time it was already too late.

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Bakura woke up and had no idea where the hell he was. That didn't bother him that much. He didn't want to say that he was used to it, but when you lived as a spirit stuck inside a golden magical Ring for so many years, yeah, you kind of got used to not knowing where the hell you were or where the hell you'd end up. What bothered him was that he was hungry.

On any other occasion, he would have let his host take over. Feeding the body he possessed was time-consuming and irritating. He hated sitting around and eating knowing that he could have been better spending his time out on the street and plotting evil plots. Ryou also happened to be the better cook, and the foods he made we more likely to be edible than anything Bakura could come up with. But he couldn't allow his host to take over the body just now. He needed to know where he was and what had happened, first.

He'd gathered all of the Sennen Items and placed them into the stone tablet. He was supposed to have been given ultimate power. There had been a flash of blinding light, and then… He'd woken up in what appeared to be the suburbs of Domino? Not that anything looked familiar if he was, in fact, still in Domino. There were shops and people all around him, but nothing looked familiar. In fact, the area looked much nicer than Domino, if anything. The shops were fancy and new and the people passing by walked with smiles on their faces. Bakura didn't like it. It was creepy.

He hurriedly moved from the middle of the street to a sidewalk. He bumped into someone and the person didn't say anything, just smiled as he passed. Bakura snarled. The man did not react.

He ignored this and any and all other senses that told him this was decidedly strange and not at all the norm and kept walking. He kept his eyes peeled for a store where he could get some food and spotted a bakery. Perfect. He walked into the store casually and scoped it out.

It was a small shop, probably the sort that had been in the family for ages. It was all made from a tasteful dark wood that Bakura might appreciate under normal circumstances if he weren't so damn hungry at the moment. All he really paid attention to were the baked goods behind the see-through counter. And the fact that there was not a person in sight. This place was just asking to experience a robbery.

So Bakura snuck around the counter and opened up the cash register with embarrassing ease and helped himself to all the money that was inside of it. Then he slid open the glass containing all of those delectable sweets. There were cookies, donuts, biscuits, pastries, things he wasn't even quite sure what they were, but his eyes zoomed in on the creampuffs. He wanted those creampuffs. He wanted them and he wanted them now. So he grabbed them, stuffed one into his mouth, and scurried on out.

After all of the creampuffs had been consumed in a not-so-timely manner and Bakura had time to reminisce on the main problem of where the hell was he, his mind wandered back to those creampuffs. They were his host's favorite snack, and he'd always hated them in the past. They were messy and too sweet. These ones had also been messy and far too sweet, but even now as he thought about them, he wanted another. Even more strange. He didn't like this. He didn't like this at all.

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Bakura found fairly quickly that he was unable to leave whatever city it was that he happened to be stuck in. It wasn't because he didn't know where he was, or where he was going. It wasn't because anyone was keeping him here. It wasn't because he wanted to stay here. It was because he could not get the delectable taste of those creampuffs out of his head.

He had remained in the city for the rest of the day yesterday, and decided he would leave it the following morning. On that morning he woke up, attempted to leave, and found that he could not. There was no physical force keeping him from leaving, but he was held back all the same. He couldn't not think about the pastries, no matter how much he tried. He'd found that he had to go back.

So Bakura had gone back to the store that sold them, seen that the owner was again not around anywhere, grabbed some of the creampuffs and ran off. He'd gobbled them all as quickly as he could. They were flakey, warm and filled with a delicate cream. He couldn't get enough of them. He was in love.

So the thief found himself returning to the scene of the crime again. And again. After every time he stole from the small shop, Bakura scolded himself and told himself that he needed to leave. He couldn't keep doing this. He had a plan and his plan was to find out what the hell had happened to the Sennen Items and the power he was supposed to have gained when he'd gathered them all together. Yet whenever ha even thought about leaving, he felt a phantom ache in his stomach that he just knew wouldn't go away until he ate another one of those creampuffs. He had to have them. He couldn't leave. It was an addiction now, and addictions were hard things to break.

Today, his third day being in this city, was so far a bit different than the others. This time there was a person walking around inside the store that sold the succulent creampuffs. Bakura couldn't see the figure clearly through the glass, but he didn't think it would matter much. He had money. It was all money that he'd stolen from the shop's own register, but it was money all the same and he could use it to purchase more of the baked goods he couldn't get enough of. He didn't like paying for things he could easily steal, but the creampuffs were worth it. His stomach growled in agreement.

Bakura walked into the shop, heard the bell above the door ring as he opened it. The person who was working inside was bent behind the counter. The figure rose and Bakura figured that answered one of his questions. Or it would have answered the question had he had the question in the first place and cared for it to be answered.

"You!" Marik yelled.

"Hello," Bakura replied, nonplussed. Marik raised his hand and pointed a finger threateningly in Bakura's direction.

"You! You, you—!"

"Yes, me," Bakura continued, grinning now. Marik glared. Bakura smiled. Marik was wearing a horribly dirty apron over what might have been a black tank. Bad decision, as the bits of it he could see peeking out around the edges of the apron was covered in flour. Somehow, Marik had also followed him to this unknown city and was apparently the proprietor of this shop. A very bad one at that.

"What the hell did you do? One minute we're standing in front of all seven of the Sennen Items and you're supposed to be receiving some ultimate power, and the next we're in some random-ass happytown with no exit! What went wrong?" Marik fumed.

"Why would you think I know what that flash was all about? The Pharaoh was saying something when it occurred; maybe he had something to do with it," Bakura remarked.

"Well I just figured what with you being the expert on the Items, you would know what happens when you put them all in the tablet," Marik said caustically. Oh he was pissed. Not that Bakura really minded that much. Marik was more fun when he was pissed and he was a hell of a lot sexier too.

"He probably thought of a way to sabotage me once again," Bakura sighed, putting Marik's current level of attractiveness out of his mind. Really, he should have been thinking of how he got here earlier (and where Marik had ended up for that matter as well), but the creampuffs had kept him from thinking much of anything if it didn't concern the pastries themselves.

"Well why'd he take me too? You're the one he hates," Marik pointed out. His anger was fading a bit; he was now also thinking about the current situation and more concerned with figuring it out than yelling and arguing as he was prone to do.

"That one's easy enough to answer. I've never made it a secret as to which side of the game I was playing. I've been sneaky and have kept my motives a secret, yes, but the Pharaoh and his idiotic followers have always known that I was bad. It wasn't my betrayal that hit them where it hurt, was it?" Bakura mocked. Marik fell silent. Bakura had scored a point and they both knew it. He continued.

"Oh, you fooled them easily enough with your pretty words and your talk of help and redemption, but you never fooled me. I knew you'd turn to my side probably before you even did. You're evil through and through, no matter how you'd like to pretend otherwise. You lied to them and the Pharaoh doesn't like liars. So he punished you along with me."

"I didn't know that I was lying! I didn't mean to betray anyone until I actually did it!" Marik protested.

"I don't doubt it," Bakura agreed. If there was one thing he knew about his companion, it was that he was contrary in all aspects of his person. "You're still confused about where your true loyalties lie even now. You want to be good, but you just can't get used to how boring it all is, can you?" Marik's face darkened, and he'd scored again. "Though if you ever really get confused by that, feel free to ask for my assistance. I can tell you exactly the kind of person you are."

"I don't need your help with anything," Marik spat. He took a step back behind the counter and crossed his arms. Defensive movements. The conversation was apparently over. "Was there a reason you came in here, or were you just planning on stealing more of my pastries and hard-earned money?" Bakura chuckled and leaned back on the counter.

"Oh so you knew it was me then?" he questioned.

"You're the only one in this place who'd be enough of an asshole to do something like that," Marik answered sarcastically. "So hand the cash over."

"Can't. Spent it all," Bakura shrugged. A lie, but Marik didn't need to know it. And even if he did guess the truth of the matter, there was no way he could get back what Bakura wasn't planning on giving up. "You should have been more careful with your register. Every time I've come here until now there's never been anyone at the front. What have you been doing all day?"

Marik flushed. He averted his eyes, and Bakura broke his act of nonchalance to leer fiendishly at him from across the counter. "Well?"

"I was busy cooking, all right! I'm the only one who works here, so I can't spend all my time watching over the front desk if I want to have product to sell! I didn't think it would matter! You're the only one in this entire place who would have stolen from me anyways!" Marik exclaimed. He crossed his arms and jutted his hip and succeeded in looking very angry, but not in making Bakura feel very sorry for his actions. No one had ever been able to do that.

"I might be the only one who succeeded in stealing from you, but I can't be the only one to try," Bakura corrected. "If someone wandered in here and was hungry enough, they would try taking those pastries too the moment they saw that there was no one at the front."

"No, I'm pretty sure that would only be you," Marik insisted. He wiped his hands off on his apron and leaned against the counter. His gaze drifted to the streets outside of the shop where people passed each other with a smile and a greeting. "Have you really paid attention to the people here? They're all so happy and nice. I don't think they've ever had an evil thought in their heads. There's no way a single one of them would steal from another person. You're the only one who would do that."

"You knew I was a thief from the moment I'd met you. I never lied about that either," Bakura argued. But his gaze too went to the streets outside. He hadn't paid it much notice before, but Marik had a point. All of the people he'd passed in this city were constantly smiling and cheerful. He hadn't seen any one of them do a single bad thing yet, besides himself.

"I didn't say you had. It was because of that certain character defect that I knew that you had wound up in this hellhole as well. The people hear are too damn happy and satisfied with their lives for it to have been anyone other than you," Marik said. Bakura grinned.

"Sounds like the complete opposite of you, hmm? So why are you still here and running a bakery at that?"

"Why are you still here?" Marik replied back. Bakura didn't say anything. He thanked the gods for small favors, like the fact that he still wasn't facing Marik so the blonde couldn't see his face heat up.

"Haven't felt like leaving yet. I wanted to get the lay of the land before making any rash decisions." Yes, that was a good enough excuse for what was really just that he couldn't stop thinking about those creampuffs long enough to actually get away.

"So then you probably haven't noticed that it's impossible," Marik commented. Bakura swiveled his head around to look at the other male. The points of Marik's mouth turned upward into a smirk. "If you'd actually tried getting out of this place, you'd have found that you can't. It's impossible. Every time I try to leave I somehow manage to wind up right back in front of this shop. If you ask the people who live here, they'll tell you that there's no way to do it. This is all there is."

Bakura laughed. Sure, he hadn't really tried leaving as of yet, but what was impossible was that he wouldn't be able to if he wanted. If Marik couldn't find his way out, then it was because Marik was apparently very bad with directions. But he was the great Bakura, and nothing could keep him from doing exactly what he wanted. Marik just continued to look at him and smile.

"So you say. But I can leave whenever I want, and I'll prove it to you. For now, just give me five of those creampuffs," Bakura replied easily. The idea was ridiculous. There couldn't be a city that kept you inside of it and didn't allow you to leave.

"Five, huh? You'll lose that figure if you keep eating like that," Marik mocked, but he handed the bag on over. Bakura took it and left the store, having tired with the conversation now that he had his prize. The moment he was far enough away that he didn't think Marik could see him any longer, he dove into the bag and shoved one of the desserts into his mouth. It was incredible. He found it hard to believe that Marik could have possibly made this.

Marik, who apparently believed that this city was keeping him here and not allowing him to escape. Marik, who was an idiot. An idiot that Bakura cared a bit more about than he knew he should have, but still an idiot. Neither of them knew what had gone wrong with the Sennen Items, but Bakura sure wasn't going to stand around and bake because it was "impossible" to leave. He'd prove Marik wrong easily enough.

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"So what are your plans on getting out of this place?" Marik asked. The two of them were inside the small shop once more, and the scent of fresh baked goods pervaded the air and Bakura's thoughts. A fresh batch of creampuffs had just come out of the oven, and Bakura had eaten two of them already. He was trying to control himself in front of Marik, but it wasn't working that well. He could feel the blonde's eyes on him and knew that although Marik hadn't said anything about his addiction, he was being laughed at all the same.

Of late, his thoughts had mostly been surrounding those creampuffs, and a little bit surrounding the creator of them himself. He hadn't had much time to think of any escape plans at all, so Marik's question gave him a vague sense of discomfort. It was the same question he asked every time he caught Bakura in his store, and time after time the thief was more than disturbed to admit that he hadn't given it any thought at all.

"I'm working on it," he said. Marik scoffed.

"It's a good thing you're immortal, you know. If anyone else took as long as you did to come up with a plan they'd never get anywhere." Bakura frowned at his third creampuff and Marik continued talking. "I, on the other hand, am not immortal, and I would like to get out of here. So kindly work on it a little faster."

"Why do you want to leave so badly? Seems like you're living the life here," Bakura scowled, gesturing wildly to the shop. It was tiny, yes, but it was comfortable and clean and from what he could tell, one of the most popular bakeries in this city. He'd never known Marik could be so good at making food. To be fair, apparently the blonde hadn't either.

Marik had woken up in front of the store when he'd first arrived here and gone into the building to see if there was anyone who could tell him where he was. He'd found that the entire store was empty, and had been hungry enough to try to make himself food. All that had been there were ingredients for baking, so he had made some muffins. While he'd been waiting on them to finish, people had started coming into the shop and asking to buy them. Since then, having nowhere else to go and no way of getting out of this city, Marik had just remained in the shop as owner and decided to earn some money on the side.

Now Marik was glaring at him, and once again Bakura had managed to piss him off in some manner. It seemed to be happening a lot, though he really had no idea why that was. He'd just been being himself, albeit a him with a new obsession for devouring creampuffs.

"Will you just shut the hell up already? It seems like every time you open your mouth you say something to piss me off," Marik muttered sourly. He stomped on over to the small circular table Bakura was sitting at and took a seat across from him. He put his elbows up on the table and glared. "I want to leave because this place isn't real. There's no way a city like this could exist where everyone spends their entire day in happy bliss."

"Humans long for happiness," Bakura shrugged. "In this place the only thing you have to worry about is me stealing your wares."

Marik leaned in closer to him. Bakura's heart suddenly decided to beat a little faster, and Bakura glared down at it for a moment before he realized it was stupid. "And what do you want? Would you be satisfied staying in this city?" Marik questioned.

"No, of course not," Bakura scoffed. He leaned back a bit; just enough to make it still look casual while still putting some distance between them. "I want to get back so I can figure out what happened and get the power that was supposed to be mine."

"Exactly," Marik agreed. "I want to go back because my life is there. This place is nothing. So stop stuffing your face full of creampuffs already and help me think of a plan to do it!"

"I'm working on it!" Bakura repeated. Marik grinned sort of, leaned in much closer than was necessary or proper. His lips were way too close. Far too close for it to be all right at all. His heart skipped a beat and Bakura decided this was the right time to get the hell out of here. He stumbled awkwardly out of his chair, ran into the one seated behind him and nearly knocked it over. He tried not to look at Marik as he left, but he could tell just by the frigid silence that he had once again done something to anger the blonde. He nearly ran out of the store and decided that from that point on, he would figure out a way to escape on his own.

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Except Bakura found that he really couldn't. Somehow, without his notice, his addiction had grown too strong to resist. There were now very few moments in the day where he found himself unable to not be eating a creampuff, or thinking about eating one of them even though he knew he had more important things he should have been pondering. He wound up visiting Marik's shop during numerous points of the day. Sometimes the blonde was in, sometimes he was in the back and Bakura could steal the pastries. He tried making sure that Marik wasn't around when he visited. Since the last time he had really talked to Marik, the blonde had only gotten more hostile toward him. Bakura tried not to think about it much. He didn't think about it much. The creampuffs kept him from thinking about anything much.

He didn't know what it was about them that kept him coming back. He didn't like sweets that much. Ryou liked sweets. Ryou liked creampuffs. Bakura did not like sweet foods and he did not like creampuffs. But damn were they good.

This needed to stop. Things could not go on like this any longer. He needed to speak with Marik and find out what exactly the blonde was putting in those sweets to make them taste so good. Even if he didn't really want to necessarily see Marik, this was ridiculous on all accounts.

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"They're baking now, so you're just going to have to wait," Marik stated when Bakura walked into the door. His eyes had immediately zoomed in at the area where the pastries normally rested, and having been caught in the action now, Bakura found himself blushing.

"What are you putting in them?" he demanded.

"Um, the normal things?" Marik stated sarcastically.

"Then how are they tasting so damn good?" Bakura demanded. "You have to be doing something! We've been stuck in this place for over a week now, I still have no idea what happened to the Sennen Items or exactly where we are, and I can't even think about leaving because I can't stop eating those damn creampuffs! You have to have put something in there! There's no other reason I would want them so badly!"

Marik started at him. Bakura slowly calmed himself and got his ragged breathing under control. He hadn't exactly planned on going into the conversation yelling, but something about Marik's person made him loose all sense of self-control. Marik continued to stare and now Bakura started to feel self-conscious, which only irritated him even more because he wasn't supposed to feel things like that.

"That's why you haven't tried getting out of here?" Marik asked. "Mr. 'I'll prove to you that I can leave!' Because you can't stop eating my creampuffs?"

"It's ridiculous, I know," Bakura stated lowly. "So now answer the question. What have you put into them? I can't get them out of my head and I want to know why."

"I haven't put anything into them at all!" Marik exclaimed, suddenly laughing. "You honestly just can't stop eating them! Oh gods, that's good! That's fucking brilliant! That's the funniest thing I've heard the entire time I've been here! I've been trapped in some fucking make-believe city where everyone is happy and no one can escape all because I thought you were actually able to win against the Pharaoh! And now, not only did that plan fail because of whatever the hell happened with the Sennen Items, but I can't find the exit to this place, and you're too addicted to even try!"

"Shut the fuck up," Bakura scowled irritably. It was all the truth but it was the last thing he wanted to hear. Especially not coming from Marik. He didn't want to admit the truth of it, but he was starting to realize that he cared much more about how Marik thought of him than he should have.

"No! I'm not going to shut up! It's your fault! All of this is your fault! I don't know why I ever betrayed the Pharaoh and his friends when it should have been obvious that they would ultimately win in the end! Where are the Sennen Items now, Bakura? You don't have a clue! You're too fucking obsessed with these worthless creampuffs to even try to find them! Meanwhile the Pharaoh is probably back in the actual world laughing at how easy that all was!" Marik yelled. His face was quickly reddening and his fists balling up to his sides. He wasn't the only one beginning to get angry. Bakura didn't take insults very well, regardless of whom the person saying them was.

"They maybe you should have stayed there with them. Led your life in complete servitude to the Pharaoh and helped him regain his memories and win against me, and then watch as he left the lot of you to finally allow his soul to rest. Then you could have moved to Japan perhaps, become good friends with the rest of the Yuugi-idiots and lived out the rest of your life doing boring mundane things like finishing school and getting a job and being a nice fucking happy person, right, Marik? Is that what you want? I bet you really do just love this place then, don't you? You can live your entire life here and be a happy idiot with a bakery," Bakura spat. He wasn't going to lie; even if Marik had stood by him at the end of the match against the Pharaoh, the fact still stood that Marik had betrayed him as well after Battle City, and it stung.

"Fuck you! You don't know me at all, and don't give me that bullshit that you do! You don't know anything about me! Just because I had a grudge against the Pharaoh doesn't mean I'm suddenly exactly like you, and we're kindred spirits or something! It doesn't mean that I wouldn't be perfectly happy living a life where I don't have to worry about my family heritage and what my surname means!" Marik yelled back.

"Bullshit!" Bakura exploded. He pounded his fists on the counter and got as close to Marik as he could with it still between them. "Bullshit! You don't spend your life cultivating that much hatred inside of you and just decide to let it all go so you can become a good person!"

"Maybe you don't," Marik said lowly. "But then you're hardly a person anymore, are you, Bakura? You're just some kind of lowly parasitic demon hampering the brilliant soul of the host you posses." The words were spoken with calm, cool venom, and as they hit him Bakura actually flinched. A sudden blinding flash of lightning coming from outside the shop masked the involuntary movement. Both males turned to face the outer world.

The sky was dark and heavy black clouds hung ominously in the sky. It hadn't started raining yet, but it couldn't be long before it did. Another blazing bolt of lightning streaked across the sky and lit up the world long enough for the two to make out the faces of the people standing on the other side of the glass window. There were dozens of glaring faces, all expressing the same hard fury that both Marik and Bakura had just moments earlier. All were looking inwards.

This… was bad. Something had gone wrong and Bakura wished he'd been paying more attention to his surroundings than Marik's words because he hadn't a clue what it was. But there were no smiles anymore. Now there were only looks Bakura was very familiar with indeed.

"We need to get out of here," he said.

"What's going on? Why are they all looking at us like that? What the hell happened?" Marik asked. He sounded worried and he had every right to be.

"Doesn't matter. We need to get out of here."

"How can you say it doesn't matter?" Marik shouted, turning on Bakura once again. But Bakura was hopping over the counter and looking for just where the back exit was. It was hard to make much of anything out with how dark it had gotten, and he hadn't ever bothered locating it before. Marik noticed he was being ignored and grabbed Bakura by his shoulders and spun him round.

"Every single day we've been stuck in here they've spent their time smiling and being nice to one another and not giving a single shit about anything that the two of us do. Does it look like they're like that now?" Marik demanded. Bakura glared and shoved him away and walked through the doorway he had finally located. The warmth of Marik's hands lingered on his shoulders, and with a scoff he turned back, grabbed the blonde, and dragged him along with him.

"I don't know what the hell happened, but I do know that we need to get out of here, so kindly cease your bitching and lead the way to the exit! You know this place better than I do," Bakura said. There was a crash behind them. The sound of glass breaking. Bakura looked at Marik again and saw that now his companion finally seemed to have gotten an idea of how bad of a situation they were stuck in here.

"This way," Marik said and took the lead.

It was dark and Marik stumbled more than a few times while trying to maneuver around the room. The storm had killed the electricity. Bakura would have laughed every time the other male swore when he bumped into something, but instead he was concentrating more on the noises of hurried footsteps coming from behind them.

"Any moment now would be great," Bakura said lowly. No point in alerting the people behind them to their location any more than Marik's stumbling was already doing. The dark worked both ways, and as long as they could get out of here without being found, then Bakura was perfectly fine with the lights out.

"I'm working on it!" Marik hissed back. He stumbled again and then yelped. Bakura stopped walking. The footsteps had gradually been increasing in volume, but he hadn't thought anyone had gotten that close to them yet. Perhaps he was wrong. He hoped he wasn't wrong.

"Let go of me! What are you even doing?" Marik demanded. Shit. Bakura did grab onto Marik now, and he yanked the blonde away from whomever had taken hold of him—and right into the hands of another person. Marik complained about something as Bakura wretched himself away, apparently not yet aware of what was going on. Another hand latched onto Bakura, clawed and painful and digging into his skin. Along with it came three more.

Bakura struck out against the people holding onto him, but for every person he knocked down, two more took the first's place. This was getting out of hand. He was stumbling and tripping over the various things lying about in the room and the bodies of those he had hit. From beside him, he could tell Marik's wasn't faring much better. Slowly, the two of them were dragged back out into the main area of the shop.

It was still dark, but the strikes of lightning that cut across the dark sky like a scar helped the two to know just how thoroughly they were screwed. They were surrounded, and every single furious townperson who'd been glaring outside of that window was now jammed inside and grinning in a way that was neither happy nor comforting. This was fanatical, insane grinning and it couldn't mean that anything good was in store for them.

"What the hell? Fuck! Get the fuck off me!" Marik swore. He was still trying to fight away the arms of those who had grabbed him. Long red marks stretched down his arms from where hands had clawed and latched onto his skin. He was fighting a match he wasn't going to win, and while Bakura wasn't one to give up, he thought that it might be better to wait and see what happened in this case.

Giving up and furious, Marik turned to face Bakura once more. The hands holding onto him dragged at him but he pushed and kept his eyes locked with Bakura's own.

"This is all your fault," Marik spat. The words were hateful, harsh; almost as hurtful as the ones he'd stabbed Bakura with before. It wasn't his fault, Bakura wanted to say. He hadn't a clue that anything like this could have happened. It wasn't his fault at all, and Marik should have been able to see that, but Marik wasn't, and Bakura cared too much.

"I should have never gone over to your side. I should have helped the Pharaoh get rid of you like I was meant to! Then he would have been put to rest and my role as Tombkeeper would have been over, just like you said. And I would have been happy! Everyone would have been happy with you gone! Hell, even Ryou would have finally gotten his life back!"

The grinning people from the city were moving in closer and their outstretched fingers were gnarled and clawed like the roots of a tree ready to rake and scratch but Bakura wasn't paying attention. He was thanking the storm for the darkness it provided because he did not want Marik to see his face. He couldn't say how or why it was that the blonde's words hurt him, but they did hurt and he didn't want anyone to know of it. And he knew that the majority of what Marik was saying was born from anger and didn't matter at all, but it did. He wasn't supposed to hurt. He was a demonic parasite who ruined everything, just like Marik had said. He wasn't supposed to have a heart and it wasn't supposed to be beating as quickly and weighing as heavily as it did. But Marik wasn't finished yet.

"And now it's you're fault that I'm stuck in this place and I'm probably going to be killed by these assholes! Everything is you're fault! It you didn't exist, none of this would have happened! Everyone would have been happy!"

Was that true? Bakura didn't really give a shit about the Pharaoh and his friends, but was it true that Marik would have been? He supposed that maybe it was. And his host… Bakura never put much thought into Ryou. Ryou was his host and that was all there was to their relationship. He'd put even less thought into the idea of Ryou in regards to how others thought of him. He wasn't even sure if Ryou's friends put much thought into Ryou. He supposed they did… but Marik was not a friend of his host. Marik should not have cared at all. Yet…

Their attackers were getting closer and closer. Marik was still fighting and scratching like a caged animal, but Bakura had stopped doing much of anything. He watched the space keeping him separate from the others diminish and wondered what had happened to cause this. Could this all have possibly been from the Sennen Items? He sort of wished he had spent more time thinking about it before, but the creampuffs had clouded his mind. Funny, he didn't care about them at all now. He had something else on his mind. He wondered if he had put more thought into their situation if Marik wouldn't be as angry as he was now.

As the crazed citypeople grew closer, a flash of light not unlike the one the one that had come from the tablet with the Sennen Items issued forth. At first Bakura thought it was another strike of lightening, but the light soon grew too unearthly luminant for that to be true. It enveloped everything and Bakura had to shut his eyes to try to block it.

He felt his body move, though he was quite sure he was not moving it. He thought that maybe he had been finally caught, but it didn't seem that way. He could not hear anything at all except the steady downpour of rain. He wondered what had happened to Marik. But thinking about Marik made him hurt in ways he didn't want to hurt. He didn't want to care at all and he shouldn't have cared at all, but he obviously did. And Marik didn't. Marik cared about his host. Bakura the spirit didn't seem to matter to him at all except that he continually messed things up. Perhaps, Bakura thought as the sound of rain grew louder and louder, he should just be Ryou then.

00000

Marik woke up. His head spun and the noise of rain pounded in his ears like his heartbeat. He sat up, winced at the pain in his head and his arms. Everything was too bright when he opened his eyes, so he closed them and peeked through them gradually. The light faded, and he once again didn't know where the hell he was. But he was kind of starting to get used to that by now.

Some kind of room. It was dark, so he couldn't make out much of it, but he could tell that he was definitely in a room. It was raining outside. There was a lone window in the room, and through it he could barely make out the outside world to tell where he was. He didn't think he was in the crazy happy city anymore. Though a quick look at his arms showed that he still bore the scratch marks from the not-so-happy but still crazy people that had lived there. Marik looked around again, hoping to find some kind of light switch, but instead found his companion.

Bakura was lying face down on the ground, and Marik quickly squelched any unpleasant feeling of worry that sprang up from within him as he quickly bent down to help the other male up. Bakura was all bones and angles and a lot lighter than Marik had thought he would be. He wondered how much and how often Bakura fed the body that he shared. Now that he thought about it, he had only ever witnessed the spirit eating those creampuffs.

In his arms, Bakura stirred. He opened his eyes slowly and for a moment they were confused and open. Then they narrowed, became sharp and deadly like how Marik was used to seeing them and… changed again. All the evil in those chocolate orbs fled in a hurry, and the confusion was back now and everything was wrong. Marik nearly dropped Bakura in his surprise.

"Ahh… Marik?" Bakura asked. Except the voice was also wrong. It wasn't rough like Bakura's and dripping in sarcasm and bitter resentment. It was too sweet, too honeyed and too soft. Now that he thought about it, everything about Bakura was wrong. He was all too soft. Even his hair was no longer pointing up in that sharply spiked manner it had, but lying tamely against his scalp, still tangled and a bit messed up, but not Bakura. This wasn't Bakura.

"Yeah," Marik said. He knew it wasn't Bakura but he still wasn't quite sure who this was yet. He had met Ryou on occasion, but not enough to identify him the way he knew Bakura.

"Where are we? What happened?" the man asked again, softly and quiet and completely wrong.

It had to be Ryou. It wasn't Bakura, and as far as he knew there weren't any other strange spirits that inhabited the poor boy's body. But it didn't seem like Ryou either. Perhaps it was just because it was dark, he was still disoriented and he'd been expecting to see Bakura. Marik worked hard to hide his disappointment.

"What's the last thing you remember?" Marik asked carefully.

"I… don't really know," Ryou replied. "I haven't been awake for a while. Bakura, he… I think I remember that he was about to fight against the Pharaoh." Ryou sounded upset with himself. Marik wanted to sigh. He hated having to comfort other people, especially because he was so bad at it.

"Well he did fight against the Pharaoh, and he won." Ryou nodded slowly. "Bakura gathered together all of the Sennen Items and was supposed to get some kind of power, but instead the two of us just wound up being transported to this weirdass city where everyone was happy, right up until they tried to kill the two of us. Then there was another bright flash of light, and we wound up here. Wherever here is," Marik explained shortly. He looked around the room again, trying to make out anything that was in it. He couldn't. It was too dark to even try. He could barely make out the form of Ryou still being supported in his arms. Now that he thought about it, why was Ryou still in his arms.

"I see," Ryou mused. "We should probably work to figure that out first then, shouldn't we?" A good idea, but first Ryou still needed to move. Marik fidgeted around to give the boy the clue, and Ryou apparently finally got it but took his sweet time in leaving. It was unconsciously annoying and it irritated Marik in the same way that usually every action taken by Bakura irritated him. That irritance made him wish Bakura was here instead, and in turn that thought pissed him off even more. He didn't want Bakura here. He didn't need Bakura here. Bakura was the reason everything had gone wrong. He was supposed to be happy that Bakura wasn't here.

Ryou rose to his feet with a grace that Marik hadn't known he possessed. He'd always sort of assumed that the original owner of the shared body was a clumsy, timid boy, though right now he was moving with a fluid stealth that Marik would have expected to see Bakura employ. And again he was thinking about Bakura. Marik told himself to stop thinking about Bakura because Bakura wasn't here and this was Ryou, even though Ryou maneuvered around the very dark room without stumbling or tripping and with such poise that it was nearly impossible not to think of Bakura.

But then Ryou located the light switch and Marik wasn't thinking about much of anything because the light was blinding and he had to shield his eyes.

He opened them slowly and finally got his first real look at the room he found himself in. A bare light bulb hung from the ceiling. It moved slowly back and forth and cast the light around the room and the clutter in it in slow lazy luminous arcs, creating shadows that lengthened and then fled away as the light came round once more. The floor was nearly covered with miscellaneous things here and there, and Marik again wondered how the hell Ryou had gotten around so easily in the dark.

He could make out more chairs than could ever be needed in a single room, all rickety and half broken and shoved into piles that looked like they would fall over if someone breathed too hard. On top of those chairs and in separate piles of their own were haggard looking ragged clothes, tossed about helter-skelter in any which way and hanging like dead branches on a tree, ugly and shameful. Marik crinkled his nose instinctively, though he couldn't smell anything coming from them. There was a tarnished lamp in the corner, but it was broken and bent. Several books rested in another. Their spines were broken and their covers were dirty and soiled. Some scattered pages lie on the floor, yellowed and crinkled. On the floor was a threadbare rug that did have a certain smell to it, and Marik jumped off it with a grimace when he realized he was sitting on it.

"So we've wound up in a dump, by the looks of it," he said dryly. Ryou hummed.

"We should see what the rest of the house looks like," he said. Ah, so they were in a house now, were they? It made as much sense as anything else, Marik supposed.

The rest of the house (for it was a house) was despairingly similar to the first room they'd woken up in. Random piles of trash littered the floor and whatever table space there was available. These piles were mainly composed of old broken bits of furniture, but there were more oddities such as shattered light bulbs, blown out and very old television sets, and Marik's personal favorite, a pile of bent silverware, broken glass dishes and cups, cooking utensils and plastic containers. Why they were there, he didn't know, but they were there.

All bed coverings and chairs and couches were stained and torn. There were holes in the walls and several windows were broken. Puddles of water were forming on the floors of the rooms with the broken windows and without, as most of the ceilings were leaky. Half of the rooms were missing light bulbs, about a quarter of the ones that did have light bulbs actual worked. Fortunately, there were many old candles in the room that was supposed to be the kitchen. Ryou had found them. Marik hadn't wanted to take a single step in that room. There was an upstairs, but the stairs that led up to it were busted and neither of the two had found an alternate way of reaching the second floor.

"Well this is quite the place, isn't it?" Ryou asked.

"I suppose you could say that," Marik mumbled. It was certainly a piece of work, though at this point he was wishing he'd stayed in happytown. The conditions hadn't been quite so dirty and he'd been much more satisfied with the choice of companionship. And now he was again wondering where in the hell Bakura was, and why he hadn't shown up yet.

"Is Bakura all right in there?" Marik asked, frowning at the area where the Sennen Ring usually hung around Ryou's neck. Of course it was not there now because it was stuck with the other Sennen Items in the big rock tablet. It was a bit strange not seeing its gold glinting madly and the points of it clanging together. Ryou seemed genuinely surprised by the question, and it was the first time that Marik was truly able to identify him as Ryou.

"Yes, he's fine. Why did you want to know?" Ryou asked. Marik turned his face away sharply and inwardly cursed himself for even asking.

"He's the one who got the both of us into this mess, right? Just wanted to make sure that he was suffering through it too and hadn't somehow disappeared." Yes, that was exactly what he'd meant. Marik didn't care about the spirit in any other way at all. Actually, if there truly wasn't anything wrong with him, then why was Ryou even still here? Shouldn't Bakura have regained possession of the body by now?

"It's just like him to run and hide though, isn't it?" Marik asked. "He's leaving the two of us to figure out what to do in this pigsty while he doesn't do anything at all."

"He's very mean, isn't he?" But Ryou was frowning, like he didn't like what Marik was saying, and that was just as confusing and wrong as everything else. Marik didn't think that Ryou hated Bakura, because Marik didn't think that Ryou had the capacity to hate anyone. But as far as he knew, the two of them hadn't ever led been happy with the other half of their mutual existence.

Marik didn't say anything, so Ryou took it upon himself to break the silence. "So what should we do?"

You should let Bakura take over so I don't have to tiptoe around you anymore and we can really figure something out, was what Marik really wanted to say, but apparently Bakura didn't seem to eager on coming out, and he didn't want to sound like he was either. "I'd like to leave, if at all possible. We need to figure out where we a re this time and if there's a way for us to get back to Domino."

"I don't think we can," Ryou said. "It's raining too hard and it's pitch black out there."

"Then we find flashlights. A little water never killed anyone," Marik said. He didn't want to be in this house any longer than he needed to. At this point, he didn't give a damn about the rain.

"I don't think we'll be finding those either, Marik," Ryou pointed out, once again helpful as ever. "Everything we've come across so far has been broken. If this house even had flashlights, I don't think they would work."

"So what are you suggesting then? That we just stay here?" Marik questioned. Ryou nodded.

"We may have to. At least until the morning when we can see. The rain may have stopped by then as well."

"Nope, that's okay, I think I'll go out there and chance it, if it's all the same to you. I'm getting really sick of being stuck in these random places and not knowing what's going on. I'm not staying here any longer than I need to," Marik stated. He left Ryou with that. He remembered having seen what he thought was the entrance on their tour of the house; now he just needed to find it again.

Which he did, fairly easily actually, given how much of a wreck the house was, but actually leaving turned out to be another matter altogether. When Marik opened the door, he saw that it was not just raining. It was practically a typhoon out there, and all he could see was a whirlwind of rain slashing across the darkness of the night. No matter. All he needed to do was walk until he found a temporary shelter that was not this place. But Marik didn't get the chance to do that. As he was about to leave, the large wooden door suddenly slammed shut. He barely had enough time to move out of the way as it rushed past. He fell on his ass and looked at the now tightly closed door in stunned silence. At least until he heard a slight shuffling sound from behind him and turned to see Ryou standing there.

"Did you close that?" Marik demanded. Ryou shook his head and didn't say a word. Frowning, Marik picked himself off the ground and opened the door again. Just like before, it slammed shut before he had a chance to leave it. He raised his hand to try again and suddenly a broken end table came flying from the closest room (thankfully on the other side of him) and smashed itself into the door. Marik jumped back quickly and he thought he heard Ryou swear behind him, which was strange, but not at all of importance compared to the flying furniture that had nearly just decapitated him.

"Marik, are you okay?" Ryou asked. Marik spun on him.

"Did you see that?" he demanded, eyes wide. One hand thrust out behind him to point to the wreckage. The other pointed to Ryou himself, like he wanted to make sure that the other wouldn't be going anywhere. "That table just flew into the door!"

"I saw, but I—"

But what Ryou was going to say did not matter at all, because another voice boomed out loud instead.

"AWAY. GET AWAY."

Marik jumped, Ryou looked vaguely concerned, and the voice abruptly stopped. Marik took a step closer to the door to test something.

"AWAY!" the voice shrieked, and Marik jumped back, theory confirmed. He looked at Ryou and Ryou looked at him.

"Well it looks like maybe I'll be staying after all."

00000

For a day they didn't mention the voice. For a day Marik sort of pretended like he wasn't trapped inside what he was sure was the most disgusting house he'd ever seen and that it wasn't still raining and dark out even though that was impossible. Marik pretended like he wasn't trapped with Ryou and then he pretended that he didn't care that Ryou wasn't Bakura, because Ryou made it pretty hard to pretend like he wasn't there when he kept talking all the time.

Not that Marik could really fault him. The silence was growing on his nerves as well, but making small talk was the last thing he wanted to do. It wasn't that he didn't like Ryou, because there wasn't really anything wrong with the boy, just that he'd… kind of been expecting Bakura.

He couldn't say that he was altogether upset that he was trapped with the evil spirit of the Sennen Ring of all people. He was better off with Bakura here than anyone else, or no one. Sure, in the end it was still all the spirit's fault that the two of them were stuck here, and Marik was still very angry about that, but it was getting harder to keep being angry about it when the damn idiot wasn't even around to remind Marik why he was so angry.

A big part of his reason for betraying Yami and the rest of them was because of Bakura. Because he truly did want to be good, but the damn tomb robber hadn't left his mind for a second since Battle City had ended. They hadn't left on good terms (Marik was actually surprised that Bakura hadn't tried killing him yet—after all, he had gotten the spirit banished to the Shadow Realm and had betrayed him as well), and for the longest time Marik was sure that that fact was the only reason he couldn't get Bakura out of his mind. Right up until Bakura invaded his sleeping dreams as well, and then Marik was sort of forced to admit that the actual heart of the matter was that he had something of a crush going on.

Thinking about it irritated and frustrated him, because Marik Ishtar didn't do crushes. Marik Ishtar didn't like people, and certainly not in that way. And even if Marik Ishtar were to like a person, it certainly wouldn't be a dead homicidal spirit with a revenge complex and an inability to understand anything more complex than the most basic of human emotions. He was still harboring more than just a little bitterness over his failed attempt to kiss the man back in the bakery shop. It had been a spur of the moment type thing that Marik regretted even now, but he turned all that regret into anger at Bakura for moving away so quickly. If he'd just stayed still, maybe they could have resolved some of this (one-sided apparently, if how rapidly Bakura ran out of the building meant anything) sexual tension.

Not that any of it mattered now. Bakura wasn't even around. Bakura was hiding away inside his host's mind and letting Ryou do all the work. It should have been a good thing, to get away for the spirit for a bit and to let his mind calm, but instead it did the very opposite of calming. If Bakura were here, Marik didn't doubt that they would have figured something out by now. Or at least things would be less boring.

He looked around at the piles of mess in the room he'd picked out at the one he would reside in. It was the least messy one he could find, but that didn't mean a single thing really. It was a bedroom, but Marik would not have even brushed up against the bed. Instead, he had searched and searched for the cleanest bit of carpet he could find and lied curled up on it for the night as he'd tried to sleep through the thunderous noise of the rain coming down hard. Ryou had picked the room right next door. Although Marik had no idea what time it was (the clocks were all broken), it had to have been several long hours since they'd heard the voice, and they hadn't spoken once since it.

If it were Bakura… But Marik decided he'd had enough of thinking about Bakura for at least one hour. Sitting around and sulking that the nicer of the two was in control of the body and not the one he shouldn't have wanted was not going to figure out where he was and how he could get out. And who knew, just because he had never really talked to Ryou before didn't mean that the other teen was an idiot. He was probably smarter than Bakura, or in the very least not as emotionally stunted or likely to cause irrational rage in Marik.

He left his room, tried to steer clear of the door as much as he could (it was hanging by one bolt and Marik was quite sure that if he so much as breathed in the general proximity of it that it would fall over) and headed out into the hallway to get to Ryou's room.

Ryou's room did not have a door. Which was unfortunate if the other male wanted privacy, but perhaps for the best if he didn't want it falling on him. Ryou's back was turned to him, but Marik knew the difference well enough to know that the back of the white head of hair he saw did not belong to Ryou, but to Bakura. The hair was much more spiky, more tangled than before, as if Bakura had ran his hands through it numerous times and decided not to smooth it back down again. Marik's heart fluttered like the heart of a bird before he quashed any enthusiasm he might have felt at seeing Bakura and reminded him that he should have been angry that the spirit had gotten him into this mess to begin with.

Whatever Bakura was doing, he was doing it pretty intently. He hadn't moved at all during the time Marik hadn't moved because he was too busy staring at Bakura. Now he felt foolish for realizing that he had been staring, and he knocked on the wall rather sheepishly, then wondered why he hadn't just walked right in and had instead bothered with formalities. This made him frown, but then Bakura turned around and he looked a bit startled and that made Marik almost smile, until Bakura frowned like he wished he hadn't seen Marik at all.

"So you finally decided to show your face," Marik remarked, all bitterness and harsh words.

"Don't worry, I'll be gone soon enough," Bakura scoffed. If Marik had actually wanted Bakura gone, that would have made him happy. But he didn't. He wanted Bakura to remain right here so he could stay angry at him and so he could keep looking at him, because Bakura looked very nice.

"What, have you just given up and decided to remain in this place? I suppose you would like this mess better than the previous location. Maybe I should try to unearth some working part of the kitchen and make some creampuffs for you, hmm?" Marik taunted. Bakura's face flushed and his scowl deepened, but he didn't move at all. Marik wanted to anger him so much that he came closer and… did something. His brain wanted to insist that any movement bringing Bakura to him would devolve into sloppy makeouts, but more likely it would just bring the pain of Bakura's fist coming straight at his face. Yet Marik didn't want to let up on his anger any.

"You don't know anything, Marik," Bakura said instead of doing anything like what Marik wished for him to.

"Oh, now you're on the other end of that line," Marik said. "Is it supposed to make me feel bad or something? I don't. I'd really just like for you to stop hiding way and help me figure out a way to get out of this mess you dragged us both into."

"Ryou can help you with that," Bakura said dismissively. "I'm sure you'd appreciate his company more anyways." But Marik didn't want Ryou, he wanted Bakura, but Bakura was already leaving in place of his host. The wild white hair was settling and calming, the reddish tint to the eyes went away almost completely. The sharp points of the mouth slackened and then softened and before his eyes Ryou was back. He smiled nervously.

"I'm sorry, Bakura must have taken over," he said. The statement struck Marik as strange, but he was too disappointed by this sudden change to really work out how or why.

"That's fine. I wanted to talk to you anyways," Marik lied. He didn't want to talk to Ryou, but on the off chance that Bakura was still around and listening in on their conversation, he wanted it to sound like he had. Oh yes, he was bitter.

"Oh. About what?" Ryou asked. It was time to get down to business then and to again try to forget Bakura. Hard as it was.

Marik searched for a somewhat clean spot on the carpeted floor and took a seat. Ryou mirrored his movements and his face took on a measure of serious Marik hadn't seen on it before.

"We need to talk about where we are and what happened. And why we can't get out," Marik said. "That voice. It yelled at me when I tried to leave. You heard it too, didn't you?"

"I did," Ryou agreed. He frowned, another expression Marik hadn't ever seen him make that was too reminiscent of Bakura. Perhaps Ryou and Bakura were more similar than he had originally thought. Or perhaps he was just going crazy and starting to see Bakura in everything now. "It didn't seem to be coming from anywhere in particular, did it? I don't want to say it, but, do you think this place could be…"

Ryou's voice fell to something like a whisper, the perfect image of the way a character would act in his position if this were a shitty B-rated horror movie. And Marik was left to finish the chilling sentence.

"Haunted."

The moment he said the word, a cold air ran through the entire house and made the hair on the back of Marik's neck stand on end. It could have come from one of the various broken and thus open windows in the house. It could have come from the unreachable upstairs room. Unfortunately, Marik was sure that, just like in that B-rated horror movie idea, it had come from whatever pissed off spirit called this place home.

"Okay so we've decided that we're living a really shitty horror movie. And apparently the ghost of this place doesn't seem to want to let us leave through the front door. What do we do?" Marik asked, arms crossing. He wasn't scared of some phantom voice or a cold draft of wind. He was just cold and wanted to act obstinate.

"We could try leaving through the windows… but a lot of them still have broken glass shards around the windowsills or stuck in the frame. If there is a ghost and it's able to throw a table against the door, I don't think that would be a good idea," Ryou murmured. Marik winced. No, probably not.

"So we really are stuck here then, basically," he said.

"Unless we can think of a different way to escape. How did you get out of the first town?" Ryou asked.

"The people around us went crazy and became murderous and a bright flash of light enveloped us and brought us here," Marik explained shortly. Except Bakura had woken up as Ryou.

"Well if we could figure out why any of that happened, we could maybe find a way out of here," Ryou said.

"Uh-huh," Marik agreed. He stood and heard one of his knees pop. "Well, think I'm going to head back to my area then and ruminate on that for a while. I'll let you know if I think of anything." Except he wouldn't, because that was honestly the silliest suggestion he'd ever heard. He left Ryou's room without waiting for a response and headed on over into his own.

He did actually try to think about it for a moment, but nothing came to him. There was just nothing to connect a happytown turned murderous to a disgusting broken down house with a ghost. The only thing that seemed to connect the two in his mind was the bright light that had brought him to both places. First it had been the light that issued from the tablet of the Sennen Items, then it had come from a strike of lightning and brought him here. Of course it all had something to do with the Sennen Items, but Marik couldn't really think of what that could be.

00000

Marik woke up. He couldn't really say that it was night, and he couldn't really say that he'd been sleeping. It was more like he'd been lying uncomfortably on the cold floor, trying to make himself small to conserve body heat, and had fallen into a bottomless abyss of uncomfortable and fitful unconsciousness. It was dark out like it should have been during the night, but then it had been dark out for what had to have at least been forty-eight hours by now, and at any rate it was darker even than it got during nightfall.

Marik couldn't remember standing, but then he was standing, and then he was walking, and he couldn't really remember having wanted to do that, either. He was tired and more drained from his somewhat sleep than he was rested, so he didn't quite realize what was wrong with any of this until his foot stepped on a shard of broken glass and the pain raced liquid lightening from his toes to his torso to the tips of his fingers and he tried to stop himself from moving. Then he realized that he couldn't. He didn't have any control over his body.

Marik had never been controlled by the Sennen Rod, but he imagined this was what it felt like, and it was terrifying. But he had lost control of his body before, and what was even more terrifying was that this felt like back then. Back when he'd been kicked out of his own body and had to search for a way back in it. Marik had to search his own mind now to make sure that it was still just him in there, that his other hadn't come back and was planning on taking over yet again.

He tried to open his mouth to say nothing really, just something that would allow him to know he still had control over some aspect of himself and found that he could not. His entire body felt like it was encased in the frigid hand of some giant that had chosen to manipulate him at will.

He wanted to fight it but didn't have the first idea how to do that. Any movement Marik tried to make did not actually result in movement. He thought again to the Rod. Few people had broken his control over them, but it had happened. The Pharaoh had been able to break Jounouchi free of his control during the duel they'd had together. Marik suppressed any fear he felt and thought about that now. The only person here with him was Bakura—or rather, Ryou. He did not have any connection with Ryou, but he had once forged a bond with Bakura during Battle City when the spirit had helped him fight against his other. Marik had not ever tried to find if the link between them still existed, but he searched for it now. If it was still there, if he could find it, if it still worked… he could call to Bakura.

"He haaateess yooouuu…" A voice called. It felt and sounded the same as the cold hand that clutched Marik tightly and the frigid wind that had caressed him earlier.

Who are you? Marik wanted to shout, but he couldn't, so he ignored it and continued to search his mind for any sign of Bakura.

"He hates you…" the voice cooed again. "He haaatesss you, he doesn't want to seeee you, he hates you!"

It was distracting because the voice was repeating thoughts that Marik had briefly held earlier. When he'd tried to kiss Bakura and Bakura had ran so quickly, how had he been able to think anything else than that it must have been because Bakura did not feel the same way? The idea that Marik had been rejected without even confessing his absurd feelings made him angry and likely to snap out at Bakura for any little thing. Maybe Bakura hadn't hated him then, but what if he did now? What if the reason he was letting Ryou run the show was because he didn't even want to see Marik anymore?

"That's it!" the cold hissed.

That was it! He'd found the link! Marik pried it open and for a second felt the briefly unguarded essence of Bakura before the link clamped tightly shut down on Bakura's end. That gave him worry, but in an instant he could hear the noise of footsteps hurrying to him. Marik hoped that he would see Bakura and he did—but then it was Ryou.

Marik's body was still moving of its own accord and he could still do nothing to stop the coldness from edging him forward to… somewhere… but it didn't seem to matter as much. The closer Ryou got, the more Marik could feel the coldness leeching away from his body.

"I can't move!" he yelled loudly. The sound of the pouring rain was harsh and discordant, but his voice easily carried over the noise. "It's got a hold of my body!" He didn't need to yell, but he did, because he felt the need to cover up his disappointment.

Ryou reached forward and grabbed at him and it would have been better if it had been Bakura, but then the coldness was shrieking and Marik's body was now on fire, and he was burning and everything around him was slowly turning painfully bright. Marik stared at Ryou through it all and wished that it were really Ryou he was looking at.

He'd called out to Bakura. The link was between him and Bakura, not him and Ryou. Ryou would have had no way of knowing where he was or that he needed assistance. It would have had to be Bakura. It would have had to always be Bakura. Marik was only noticing it now though, because Bakura had been a little too late this time around to disguise himself.

Marik didn't know much about Ryou, but in hindsight, he should have been able to tell the difference. He'd seen Bakura put on an innocent face and fool Yuugi and the others by pretending to be his host more than on one occasion. It was embarrassing that Marik had fallen for the same trick, especially when Bakura wasn't all that good at it.

He could model Ryou's appearance and he could model Ryou's speech patterns and he could even copy something of Ryou's personality, but there were still aspects of Bakura that still slipped. Ryou didn't refer to Yami as "Pharaoh" and Ryou probably would have never wanted to talk about the spirit residing in him, much less remark on how cruel he was and call him "Bakura." Ryou could not have snuck around a dark, messy room without falling and perhaps even hurting himself, and Ryou shouldn't have ever looked like Bakura, because Ryou was as separate from Bakura as the sun was from the moon, even if they both resided in the same sky. It had always been Bakura, just a Bakura trying to pass himself off as someone else.

Maybe Bakura really did hate him like the voice said. He apparently no longer wanted anything else to do with Marik, to the point where he was trying to hide even his real identity. It hurt, and Marik couldn't lie to himself and say that it didn't. Bakura had always seemed interested in him before, but… Maybe it was because he'd been a different person before. The person he was during the Battle City tournament was not the same person he was now. Bakura had already said as much. Maybe Bakura was still looking for that person. But Marik wasn't that person. He couldn't be that person. Not anymore. That person was gone. But… if Bakura wanted to pretend, then maybe Marik could too. Maybe he could get the spirit interested in him again.

So as the bright light engulfed them both, Marik thought that he had a plan.

00000

Bakura was again the second to wake up. This time he did not wake to Marik holding him and he did not see the blonde above him looking slightly worried but in general attractive as all hell. It would have been a much kinder way of waking up. Instead, Bakura opened his eyes and found that his head felt like it had been smacked around with a sledgehammer and on top of that he had an unpleasant bout of nausea that made him feel like he required a porcelain toilet. He was also strapped down tightly to a seat, which in his experience was never a situation to wake up to.

Bakura looked around and could not even begin to describe where he was. There were seats, there was metal, there were tons of buttons and display screens and loud noises and he didn't like any of it. It all reminded him of the one unpleasant time he'd decided to take over the body of one of his previous hosts to experience what flying a plane felt like, only much worse. Wherever he was was narrow like a plane but much more complicated and unfamiliar. He nearly let out an audible sigh of relief when he noticed Marik sitting down in a seat at the other side of the metal room from him.

But then he took more notice of Marik and saw that something was definitely wrong here. At first he convinced himself that it was because he still felt nauseous and maybe that was affecting his vision as well. But no, he shook his head and blinked a few times and each time Marik's hair was still way more spiked than it should have been. His actions must have caught the attention of the blonde, because then Marik was turning and greeting him with a wide scar of a grin that ran from ear to ear and was much too wide yet somehow not exactly like the grin he'd remembered being on the face of this maniac.

"So the creampuff wakes up after all," Malik said and Bakura had to remember that he was still restrained and tightly locked into his seat so he couldn't stomp on over and rip the bastard's tongue out.

Besides that, he was Ryou. Ryou who was disgustingly weak and likely would have fainted had he seen what Bakura had just imagined. But Ryou had been sleeping peacefully in Bakura's mind for a very long time now and wasn't due to wake up any time soon, so the real Ryou did not see the image Bakura created in his own head. A shame. Hearing his host's pathetic reaction to it may have cheered him up some. This man was not supposed to exist anymore, and the fact that he did made Bakura's blood boil.

Bakura put on the sweetest face he could and also tried to look vaguely startled by this new person, because Ryou had never met the other side of Marik and Ryou didn't know anything about this man at all. Maybe that would be enough to keep Ryou alive and Bakura with his disguise intact. He didn't want to drop the Ryou act is he didn't have to, and while Malik's return couldn't mean anything good, for now he was just going to watch and see how things turned out.

"Oh, I must have been sleeping for a while then," Bakura said, trying to sound clueless. He was still pretty clueless as to where he was now and what was going on, but he usually hide that behind grins and crude remarks. "Who are you? Do you know where we are?"

"I'm Malik," the asshole explained. "You can think of me as another version of Marik."

The worse version, Bakura wanted to scoff. But instead he kept concentrating on acting like he only had half a brain and couldn't tell when someone dangerous was nearby. "Oh, like Bakura then?"

"Something like that," Malik agreed. For a moment his gaze lowered to Bakura's chest. More specifically, the spot where the Sennen Ring usually hung from is neck. It looked like an unconscious movement. Malik's face darkened when he did it, but then he was again grinning in that not-quite right way of his and his electric eyes were holding Bakura tightly.

"We're on a ship," Malik announced finally, and just like that everything was normal again. As normal as normal could possibly get in this situation. But Bakura was no longer left with a vaguely unsettling sense of wrongness. He smiled although he wanted to tell Malik that he was an imbecile because he had been on ships before and this was not a ship, but Malik was still smiling like he knew what Bakura was thinking.

"A spaceship," he finally finished.

Bakura couldn't help it; a laugh tore free of him that represented all of him and none of the Ryou he was trying to be. Yet at that very moment he was saved by a sudden rough movement of the ship, or spaceship, or whatever it was that they were on. The entire structure creaked and screamed like something was being broken off of it. Bakura's hands gripped onto the arms of the chair he was strapped to and the laughter died choking in his throat. A quick glance at Malik let him know that the other yami was in much the same condition and he didn't feel so pathetic anymore.

Then none of that mattered because the air was moving much too slow for everything else and Bakura felt like he couldn't get enough of it into his lungs and he was gasping and the colors of everything around him were bleeding and running together and leaving him far behind. Sound seemed to distort and everything was going either too slow or too fast and then it was all over and he fell down into his seat before slowly rising back up again. The straps tugged lightly at the strange bulky clothing he was wearing, the tugs of convincing lover, but Bakura didn't touch them. Bakura didn't want to move until he felt like his stomach reached the rest of his body in time.

So he just gasped in his seat and beside him Malik did the same. Neither of them mentioned this to the other or even looked over at the other. Bakura supposed he wasn't being very Ryou-like right now, but he couldn't really find it in him to give a single damn at the moment. Malik wasn't being very Malik-like, although Bakura supposed the situation had shaken him up just as much.

Bakura nearly jumped in his seat (which he supposed was Ryou-like behavior, just not Bakura-like) when a speaker system came on from someone above him and a harsh, raspy scream-like noise started to come from it. It sounded like something was trying to speak but was never going to succeed. Then it turned of, and Bakura decided he'd had about enough of this. His hands flew to the buckle to the seat straps and undid it. He took a step out in front of him and then nearly bashed his head into the ceiling of the metallic contraption as his body began to float upwards of its own accord.

Malik was laughing at him, the noise almost as discordant as the sound that had just been playing over the speakers. But there was a certain shocked quality to it that Bakura didn't miss. The other personality was just as unnerved by all of this.

"I told you that we're on a spaceship!" Malik cackled. "We're in space now! There isn't any gravity."

"I see," Bakura responded. He knew about gravity, of course. Just because he'd been born centuries ago didn't mean that he was uneducated. He had just never expected to be thrown into a situation where the lack of gravity would ever be a thing concerning him. He'd never expected to go to space. The fact that he was might have thrilled him if he weren't still troubled by the vague sensation of wanting to be sick and not knowing why he was apparently in space, or what that horrid creature over the speaker was. While he couldn't do anything about his stomach, he could find out about the creature, and from it maybe learn of why he was here.

Bakura made his way out of this compartment of the ship by clinging onto whatever holdings he could find to keep him from once again floating on up to the ceiling. Ryou hadn't ever been very interested in them, but Bakura had seen silly American movies before where the main characters were in space. He'd never really paid much attention to them, but he did know that there should have been a way to restore gravity to the craft. Apparently the pilot didn't think that was needed. But Bakura would educate the man on that point.

He found out quickly that he had also not paid enough attention to those space movies to figure out the workings of the inside of a spaceship. Malik was following behind him silently, and it was more than a bit unnerving but he didn't seem up to creating any mischief or killing and destroying anything just yet. He just followed and marveled silently at the contraptions around him. Bakura hadn't thought he would care.

He located what he thought was the piloting area. When he stepped into the room it looked like the piloting area. Yet in the seat he thought would hold a human being was instead a large seabird with a very characteristic throat pouch.

"What." Bakura couldn't help it; he let his disguise slide some.

"Is that what I think it is?" Malik asked. He had apparently let his psychotic personality slide some as well.

The bird in the pilot seat hopped around and turned itself around and looked them both in the eye with its yellow-gray ones. It opened its large bill and let out that horrid "k-r-r-r-r-r-r" screaming noise it had made before. It was very much a pelican.

"I'm done," Bakura announced. "I'm done, I'm done. I'm not doing this anymore. I am done."

The pelican opened its bill again and made that horrid noise. Apparently it was trying to communicate. Of course it was. It only made sense that it would want to speak with them.

"I think we're going to the moon," Malik frowned. Bakura started at him. He was bent over the control panels, and when he spoke the pelican turned to him now and rustled its large wings a bit and sort of bobbed its head. The moon. They were headed to the moon. With a pelican as the pilot. Of course. It all made sense.

"Why?" Bakura exploded. "Why are we going to the moon? The other situations at least made a slight amount of sense, but this? And a pelican of all things!"

"Maybe pelicans are good pilots," Malik said, still frowning.

"No they're not!" Bakura shot back. "Pelicans are horrible, horrible pilots!" He quieted down some, just a bit ashamed of his outburst and how thoroughly he had let his own personality show, then closed his eyes and tried to get back under control.

"I'm sorry for yelling," he apologized, forcing his voice to sound calmer. When he opened his eyes Bakura attempted a small smile. The words felt and tested like dirt. "I was just a little upset. It's a bit bothersome going from situation to situation like this. I think I'm just going to find a place to lie down."

Malik looked at him straight-faced, then grinned. "Whatever you say, creampuff."

Bakura decided he would punch him in the face. Not right now, because he hadn't been lying when he'd said that he wanted to lie down, but definitely very soon in the near future. And he would need to find out what exactly had happened to Marik and why his other was here. That worried him more than he cared to admit. Marik was the one who had called out to him back when they'd been in the haunted house, but… he'd woken up as his other personality. Maybe something had happened. Something had to have happened. Bakura would get to the bottom of it, but first he had to get used to the fact that he was being flown to the moon by a seabird.

00000

Bakura dreamt of the pelican. It flapped its large wings to keep itself hovering in place and looked into Bakura's soul with its beady, somehow accusing eyes.

"Oh gods why are you here?"

"I'm here to tell you what you want, Bakura."

The pelican's voice was still obnoxious and sounded too much like screaming for it to at all be anything like a symphony on his ears, but at least it wasn't making the terrible screeching noise anymore. Not that that made the fact that he was dreaming about a giant seabird—which also happened to be the pilot of this spacecraft—any better.

"Well you aren't doing a good job because what I really want is for you to be gone," Bakura spat out. The pelican made a gargled chocking sort of noise and then opened its wide bill up yet again.

"Perhaps you would like this better then."

And then his subconscious turned the bird into Marik. Only this Marik was terrifying instead of attractive because Bakura knew that he was actually a pelican in disguise, and he still possessed the pelican's yellow-gray eyes instead of the gorgeous lilac color. Bakura frowned.

"What are you trying to imply here?" he questioned.

"I am merely showing you what it is that your consciousness desires," the pelican-turned Marik answered. It spoke with Marik's voice, but the pelican's original raspy tone overlaid Marik's nasally words and made the whole effect of speech sound garbled and even more frustrating to listen to than Bakura normally got when listening to Marik speak.

"Well tough shit for my subconscious, isn't it? It looks like Marik's vacated the premises and my new roommate is a psycho," Bakura stated.

"But you know that isn't true," the pelican said. That wasn't exactly true. There was something off about Malik, and he seemed a hell of a lot more subdued than the crazy darkness who'd dueled him long ago, but that didn't mean that this wasn't actually Malik. It was just a thought that he'd had, persistently tickling the back of his mind and now brought out by the words of a dreambird.

"He's doing the exact same thing you are. The other personality is gone and Marik is hiding just as you are," the pelican continued.

"You don't know that for a fact!" Bakura argued. He didn't want to know it for a fact. He was acting like Ryou because he thought that Marik didn't want anything to do with him. Marik liked Ryou, not him. So Bakura was giving Marik exactly what he wanted. Now this bird was telling him that Marik hated him so much, he didn't even want to act like himself, but instead wanted to hide behind the face of his yami?

"The two of you need to stop hiding," the pelican said.

"I'm not hiding!" Bakura shot back hotly. He didn't hide. He didn't run away from things. "Marik wanted Ryou, so I gave him Ryou! If he doesn't want him now, then that's his fault, not mine!"

"Talk to him," the pelican advised. Bakura scoffed. The bird turned back into a bird and turned his head to give him a disapproving look with one of his eyes. "He is what you want. If you truly desire him, then you'll figure something out."

Bakura scoffed again. Yes, he wanted Marik, he'd come to terms with that, and knowing that Marik didn't want him hurt like a bitch, but he wasn't going to cry about it. He hadn't ever needed anyone in his life, and he didn't need anyone now either even though Marik was perfect in nearly every way. He didn't need to talk with the blonde. Things could continue down this path until they got out of this whole mess and he got the ultimate power of the Sennen Items and then ruled over the world like he was meant to and didn't have to see Marik ever again.

With a huge flap of its wings, the pelican flew at Bakura and hit him with its long bill. It shrieked at him and Bakura woke up.

00000

Bakura woke up. His head hurt. It was all the fault of that damn pelican. The bird's laughing shriek stayed with him in his mind and told him the same thing that his dream had; he needed to go talk to Marik. The urge to find Marik and talk with him and settle all of this was as strong as the urge he'd felt to consume those pastries back in the happytown. That urge was altogether gone now, and Bakura felt embarrassed to think back on it now, but it seemed to have moved on to a different subject. The intense need to soothe it was almost overwhelming.

Bakura couldn't say where exactly Marik—or rather Malik, as he was pretending to be—was hiding, but he had a pretty good feeling that he would find him eventually. There were only so many areas the blonde could hide from him aboard the spacecraft.

He found Marik looking at one of the small windows that allowed them to see the cold, empty expanse of space surrounding them. His wildly-spiked hair had deflated some, like whatever he'd put in it to make it stay like that was beginning to lose its hold. It only lent further supposed to the idea that this really was still the original Marik. He was looking at the slowly shrinking sphere of the Earth out the window.

"We need to talk," Bakura said. He did not bother to disguise his voice or his hair, and he did not mask his usual expression with a smile that hurt his mouth. This took Marik by surprise, and when he turned around to face Bakura it was as Marik, not Malik. But then the grin was back and the walls had been built again to hide any weakness.

"Did you enjoy your beauty nap?" Marik cackled.

"Yes, quite a bit actually," Bakura remarked, "I thought about this situation here and decided it needed to be resolved. So let's talk, you and I, and drop all of these silly pretenses. You know that I'm not my host and I know that you aren't your yami."

"Have you gone crazy? I'm afraid that Marik isn't here anymore," Marik said, though it was obvious from his voice that Bakura had caught him off guard some. Bakura grinned and moved in as close to Marik as he could while still floating around like an idiot. It wasn't very easy to do. He should have mentioned that to the pelican, now that he thought about it. Marik's grin was still plastered to his face, but it was looking decidedly shaky.

"Come on, Marik, I know it's you. You aren't fooling anyone. It's pointless to keep the act up," Bakura grinned.

"Fine then," Marik spat out. The grin disappeared. The fire in his eyes burned and he was acting like himself again. Bakura wished it were possible to move closer still and become one with that fire. "Fine, I'm lying. I'm Marik. Now what do you want?"

"Aw, that's not very nice of you. I thought we were going to work together to figure this out. I just wanted to see what was troubling so much that you had to hide behind the face of your darkness," Bakura remarked offhandedly.

"Likely the same thing that made you think you could pretend to act like your host and I wouldn't notice the difference," Marik said back, equally cool and as venomous as Bakura himself.

Bakura didn't say anything in response to that right away. He'd been expecting it and had known that his own weakness would be thrown right back in his face, but he hadn't thought of how to cover it up yet. Marik waited.

"Come on, Bakura, I thought you wanted to work together to figure this thing out. That's what you said, anyway. Yet it seems to me like all you really do is just hamper our efforts. In the first town you wasted your time chasing after deserts, and in the last you hid and hoped that I wouldn't notice," Marik taunted.

"I thought you would appreciate working with Ryou better," Bakura responded tactfully. Marik's face screwed up and when he spoke it was with much more anger than Bakura thought his statement should have brought out. Evidently there was something more going on here that he had missed.

"You really don't have a clue, do you? You're so infuriating, and you don't even know why! I don't know why I bother with you," Marik hissed out. Bakura knew he was going to turn to leave before he went through the motions himself. And he didn't really want him to. He didn't want to see Marik turning and leaving him. He didn't ever want to see Marik's back facing him. So he reached out his hand, and then the ship decided to go into overdrive.

It was all the damn pelican's fault, Bakura knew it. How he hated that pelican. One moment he had taken a hold of Marik's strange suit thing and turned him around, and then the next the shi p had shaken around and pushed the two males together in the most cliché of ways. Bakura hated it. It was as if his life had suddenly turned into a scene from a rom-com, and he knew it was all because of something the pelican had done. But his lips were perfectly fitted to Marik's now, because despite the lack of gravity neither of them had been quick enough to move out of the way and prevent their mouth from locking with one another's.

Marik didn't move away and neither did Bakura. But Marik didn't move his lips at all, and neither did Bakura. The two stared each other down with intimidating expressions like both wanted the other to be the first to capitulate and back down or to move forward. But neither was about to, so instead they just sort of floated around each other connected at the mouths. It was awkward, to say the least, and not how Bakura had imagined kissing Marik.

The spaceship moved again and it was enough to break them up. Marik coughed. Bakura's eyes sort of wandered a bit. The sexual tension rose to the point where Bakura could feel it. A loud screeching screaming noise came over the speakers and Bakura again reiterated in his mind how much he really hated that pelican.

"Fine, fine! I got it!" Bakura yelled out loud. Marik's brows bunched together and he looked perplexed. "Marik, I like you. I don't fucking know why, because you're an irritating and emotional prick who can't seem to decide whether he wants to be good or evil, but I want you. And I don't really give a damn if you hate me."

"When did I ever say I hated you?" Marik asked. It wasn't what Bakura was expecting to hear Marik say, and he had to admit that he was disappointed. Not that he had expected or even wanted loud proclamations of love, but he'd at least wanted to hear that this wasn't all completely one-sided.

"Should I write all the times out?" Bakura asked dryly. "I think the most recent was when you said that everything was all my fault, and you mentioned how happy yourself, my host, and everyone else would be without me around."

"Oh." It was a silent, embarrassed admission of guilt. "I was angry then."

"I realized," Bakura said.

"Well I didn't exactly mean all of that. I mean, I'm sure Ryou and the Pharaoh would be happier if you weren't around, and I still think this is all your fault—"

"Reassuring," Bakura interrupted. Marik glared at him.

"But as I was saying, I don't want you gone. I'm much happier with you being here," Marik finished.

"Even though this is all my fault?" Bakura asked. He couldn't help it; he was hopeful.

"Even though this is all your fault," Marik agreed. He was grinning now and floating much closer to Bakura than he had been before. That was good, Bakura thought. That was very good. He was pretty sure that sexual tension was nearly burning between them now.

"And I don't want Ryou to be here, I would much rather have you messing everything up. Because I'm horribly attracted to you despite how much of an idiot and an asshole you are. That's the real reason I betrayed the Pharaoh."

"So I'm the better eye-candy then, hmm?"

"Much better."

Marik was as close as he'd been that day in the bakery before Bakura had run off. He was grinning in that sultry, sexy way of his, and his lips were just close enough for Bakura to devour them. He'd wanted to do just that from the beginning, he realized. He'd always wanted Marik. Marik was much too rare a treasure to pass up without taking him all.

"So can we fuck now?" Bakura asked.

"We can," Marik answered. Bakura took Marik and his lips all for his own.

And then the sound of that horrid screaming "k-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r" interrupted everything and the ship was going out of control and Bakura was basically flying everywhere because there still wasn't any gravity and he didn't know what the fuck that pelican was doing, but it certainly wasn't flying the damn spaceship correctly.

"Oh fuck!" Marik swore. Bakura averted his gaze from the direction of the pilot's cabin to the small window the two were still floating nearby and saw exactly what was causing so much trouble. The earth was gone. In its place the moon was looming closer and closer and was coming at a much faster pace than it probably should have been.

"We need to get to that pelican," Bakura stated. Marik nodded. The two grabbed each other's hands and tried their best to make their way to the pilot's quarters without crashing into anything that looked important. It was damn neigh impossible. Whatever had happened, the ship was clearly out of control. The two of them were tossed every which way.

They had almost reached it. Then the entire ship came to a shuddering, screeching halt—and sped up again. Bakura's hand was wrenched from Marik's. He crashed into the pilot door and Marik was thrown to the other side of the room. The ship groaned and creaked and the world spin in front of Bakura's eyes and the vaguely sick feeling he'd been having all the while turned into an extremely sick feeling and he pressed tightly to his stomach to keep himself from vomiting.

"Mark!"

"I'm fine," Marik called out. He'd hit something hard when he'd crashed, and bright red blobs of blood were issuing from somewhere inside his suit. He looked anything but fine. His eyes were too wide and his expression was too frantic.

"See what's going on!"

Bakura nodded. He had to find out what was going on. He grabbed the door but it wouldn't open; something in the crash had jammed it tightly shut. But it didn't matter for long because the spaceship came to a second careening crash and the door flew open and knocked both males inside of it.

He only had a few seconds and nothing he looked at seemed to make sense. The pelican was groaning and screaming and its wings were fluttering in agitation. The buttons and displays above the pilot seat were flashing warning signs and all at once it hit Bakura that they were definitely going to crash, no way around it. The pelican looked him in the eye and screeched.

"Fuck you, no one's dying!" Bakura yelled back. He looked around him, spotted Marik. Blood was still floating all around the blonde and Marik wasn't alert enough for it to be all right. Bakura pushed off against the nearest surface he could find and grabbed the blonde and brought him close to him.

"What's happening? What's going on?" Marik asked.

"Just keep your eyes open!" Bakura yelled. "Don't you are fall asleep!" Marik nodded but the movement was weak. Bakura ignored it for now because if he thought about it he would not be able to do what he needed to do. He was worried, yes, but he could allow himself to be distracted by it. He propelled himself forward again with Marik in arm and grabbed the pelican in his other. It groaned indignantly.

"Shut up I said we're getting out of here!" Bakura said. The pelican gestured widely with its head, and Bakura saw that it was a little too late for that now. The surface of the moon was so close he could see each crater that made up its bespeckled surface, it was only growing larger and larger. They were fucked. They were going to crash into the surface of the moon and they were going to die.

The spaceship crashed. The pelican screamed. Bakura and Marik were thrown apart. There are no explosions in space, but there was something, and it engulfed everything in a bright light that was horribly familiar, but Bakura really couldn't remember how because his consciousness was fading.

00000

"You have done well."

Bakura looked up. He'd never really worshipped the Gods in the same way that those also born during his first lifetime did. He supposed once he had, but the murder of his entire family and village had taught him to depend on no one and nothing other than himself. But even one such as him knew that he was facing the god of resurrection and fertility when he saw him.

Beside him, Marik stood slack-jawed and amazed. By this response alone, Bakura guessed that Marik did believe in the old Gods, and he believed in them strongly. It made sense, of course. He'd been living in an underground tomb for his entire life.

"You're heart is still nowhere near light enough to balance the scales, but I can sense that some of the burden has left it," Osiris said. Bakura wasn't sure what he was supposed to say to that. Bakura wasn't sure he even really understood what was happening right now, much less how he was supposed to act in the presence of a god, perhaps two. If the scales were being spoken of, then Anubis had to be lurking about somewhere.

"What the hell are you saying?" Bakura asked.

"Bakura!" Marik yelled. Then hit him. Hard. Bakura rubbed the area and glared and Marik glared back and Osris made a noise that might have been a chuckle but might not have been. It brought both male's attention back to him.

"If every soul who collected the Sennen Items was granted the wish they desired, this world would have come to an end long ago," Osiris explained. "To prevent their great power from getting out of hand, a test had to be created. Only those pure of heart would be able to obtain the powers held by these items. Your friend the Pharaoh saw this when you put his Puzzle in with the other Items. He was trying to warn you. He didn't think you would succeed."

"But I did, right?" Bakura asked. "The ultimate power is mine."

"If you truly think your heart is light enough for something like that, we can proceed with the weighing right now," a voice hissed. A second figure came into view. The head of a jackal. Anubis. Bakura grinned wryly.

"I think we'll keep my heart right where it is, thanks," he said. Marik chose this moment to speak. He left Bakura's side and approached the two gods. Bakura felt an immense irrational amount of fear fill him. He was suddenly positive that these two would kill Marik if he left his side.

"So this was all a test then. To see if Bakura's heart was light enough? And he failed it," Marik said.

"Correct," Osisris answered. The god's eyes fell from Marik to Bakura, then back again. "His heart is too heavy to be gifted with the ultimate power. In most cases, failure usually results in death. However, your case is… interesting. You will not be given the power of the Sennen Items, Bakura. But you will be allowed to keep living and to keep trying. If you can make your heart light enough an continue to learn through trials and errors, then perhaps you will have what you desire after all."

The voice was fading. The scales and the jackal-headed god who carried them were slowly darkening and beginning to leech together into a dripping image that finally melted away into nothing. The world did not turn to white this time around. The world dyed itself black

00000

and when Bakura woke this time he was in Domino. To be more precise, he was in his host's apartment. The familiar weight of the Sennen Ring rested against his chest. The unfamiliar weight of a human body rested against his shoulder. Marik stirred and opened his eyes and smiled.

"Well well, look at that," he said, pointing to the Ring. Its spikes were glowing and pointing to an area somewhere out in the city.

"There's an Item nearby," Bakura mused.

"You have to gather them all over again," Marik said. Bakura nodded. He thought he should be angry. He was a bit, but mostly he felt content. He closed his eyes, concentrated a bit, thought of something different. He heard a soft chuckle and when he opened them, the points of the Ring were turned to something different.

"We did get interrupted earlier, didn't we?" Marik asked.

"That we did," Bakura remarked. The Ring jangled against his skin, seemingly eager to point out that the object he wanted most was right here. Marik rested a hand on it and slowly slid on top of Bakura.

"Well let's fix that then," he said. The Ring and Bakura both shook in agreement.


Okay real quick, because I really want to go to bed and am super tired. While writing I had this fledgling of an idea of each of the different "scenes" Bakura and Marik find themselves in be related to the order in which Bakura put the Items into the huge stone tablet thing in some way. First the Scales, which were obviously mentioned in the end. The first scene related to the Key and the Eye, both of which are related to the mind and seeing the way people think. The next two were the Necklace and the Rod, one of which tells the future, and the other which allows the user to have control over another person. Then the last two were the Puzzle and the Ring, which rid a mind of evil and lead one to what s/he desires most, in that order. That may or may not have worked out as I wanted it to, but I tried to make it so it did!

Oh, also! Is anyone going to Sugoicon? I am! So if you're going, you should let me know, hint hint. It would be a lot of fun to meet people!

Lastly, thank you to all of my reviewers! I know I lied a lot about when chapters would be coming out, but I'm actually still very impressed with myself for being able to get such a large amount of words out in the period of time that I did. It's been a little over a year, which considering how long it took me to do Blood isn't bad at all. And so a huge amount of thanks to the reviewers who make me want to update! Thanks for sticking with this fic! I love you all!