I need to make some things clear before you start reading:

I called Hikari Marik 'Malik' and Yami Marik 'Mariku' to make the difference of the names a bit clearer. Mariku is Malik's older brother. Ryou and Bakura are twins. This is AU and Duel Monsters or the Sennen Items don't exist. Well, on with the story!

Chapter 1

Partners In Crime

This could not be true! A tan hand ran through thick platinum blond hair. Lavender eyes stared into the orange gold sky where the sun was about to set in the early evening. A light breeze blew by, but it was not able to cool the young teen's head. The look of his narrowed eyes was even more stressed by the kohl markings decorating his eyes. He let out a heavy sigh.

'This can't be true', he repeated in his mind as he shook his head desperately trying to clear it. Gold, heavy earrings danced wildly as he did so, contrasting to the midnight blue school uniform he was still wearing. He brought the hand that had previously been busy with his hair to his temple, massaging it. This simply could not be happening. He tried to convince himself that this was just a dream and that he would wake up to the angry yelling of his older sister any second now, in vain. He did not wake up. So it had to be true.

He was used to his older brother always causing trouble, but this had crossed a line. In the the teen's rather religious family, he had simply gone too far on that one. Mariku, the boy's older brother by two years, had sat beside him in the cafeteria today. That alone was already very strange. But the worst thing was yet to come. Mariku told his little brother that he had come to announce something. 'To brace him' would have been a better choice of words. He then told him

"I'm gonna bring my boyfriend with me for dinner today."

The younger of the two brothers had started choking on his lunch from shock. "W-what?" he asked when he had pulled himself together again. His older brother merely grinned victoriously. He had not told him any more about that matter and had not shown up again after lunch. Malik, the younger one of the two, had not gone home after school. He had spent all day on the rooftop of the school building, trying to come up with something he could do. But it was already evening which meant that he had to go home soon and greet his brother's…

He shuddered at the mere thought of the word. What would his siblings Isis and Rishid say? Certainly Mariku had not used the word 'boyfriend' when he had told the rest of the family that he would bring someone home. Their family, even though they had lived in Japan for about eight years now, was still very religious. All four of them came from Egypt and the only one who did not give a damn about their country's tradition and customs was their easy-going brother Mariku. He had never cared, not even back in Egypt, nor when their father and mother were still alive. Never.

And if he brought a boy as his 'lover' with him today, he was sure everyone would get a heart attack. This had by far been his brother's worst idea in years. Now that he thought about it though, how could it be that his brother had a lover? His wide lavender eyes blinked in confusion. He had not thought about this yet. His brother was not exactly what you would call 'normal' after all. He bitterly remembered the time when he had to see a psychiatrist almost every day just to make sure he would not go back into 'that state'. His brother was not crazy and he had never doubted his sanity. He of all could understand best why his brother did not act normal sometimes. But how would a common person know? Mariku tended to be aggressive or even violent sometimes. If only once he would do something to another person, he was certain that person would not want to be with him anymore. Which meant that he must have been pulling himself together for that other boy. It was weird just to think about it. Mariku? Caring deeply for another person? It did not match, he thought shaking his head once more. His brother was able to care for other people, but he had never done so towards someone who did not belong to his family. Mariku cared for his little brother most of all, or so Malik had assumed. It did not seem that way if you just watched from the outside. It even seemed as though Mariku could not stand his little brother like most older siblings did. But he was very protective over the 'chick of the nest' as Isis sometimes referred to him.

Then again, how was it possible for someone to be and stay together with his older brother when he was obviously not the type for relationships or socializing at all? He heaved yet another sigh. He was thinking too intensely about this. He would have to see for himself, that 'special someone' of his brother, that is.

'Shit!' thought a furious white haired teen as he sprinted down the stairs of the school building. A pair of mahogany colored eyes set concentratedly yet angrily on the way ahead of them. He was so going to be late. He had promised his twin brother, Ryou, to be earlier home today because said brother had asked him to. However, something had, let's say 'occupied his time'. Well, actually it had been some other students who had dared to bully his precious brother the other day. Of course he had had to teach them a lesson and make sure they would not do it again, right? So his tardiness would be jusitified. Yet another problem arose. How was he going to tell his sensitive twin that he had beaten up some students?

He pushed the doors open and left the school, heading towards the street when suddenly…

He stopped abruptly in his tracks as he heard something that caught his attention. He listened closely, the sound was so faint that he would have missed it if it had not been for the coincidence that it was very quiet at the moment. It was a soft melody, so exotic sounding and unreal that he hardly recognized it as a voice. A voice it was, singing a soothing song. A song sung with the utmost emotion and care that it would have made a common person cry. But Bakura, the one who had come to a halt because of this melody, was no such person.

He turned around to see where the voice was coming from but found no origin. Left, right, behind. He saw no one except for a few people on the sidewalk and some cars passing by. The voice rose for a moment as the song seemed to reach its climax and as absurd as it seemed to Bakura that moment, he could have sworn the voice was coming from above, so he looked up. For a second he had to shield his eyes to protect them from the sun's mercilessly bright beams. And then he looked closely. He had not expected to actually find someone on the rooftop of the school building, but clearly there was someone standing there in the sunset.

From the distance he could only tell that the person was a student of Domino High since he wore the same school uniform as he himself, a male's uniform no less. The boy was still singing peacefully and had not noticed the other teen listening to him. Bakura had to admit, he was surprised, which he hardly ever was, that the singer was male. The song was sung so softly and gently that it seemed impossible for a boy to sing it but this guy did. And he did a damn good job at it, might the white haired teen add. He had to shield his eyes for a second time because something was blinding him, but it could not have been the sun this time. He soon found out that it was jewelery which the singer of the foreign song was wearing. He could not make out the lyrics of the song as it was sung in another language. He assumed it must have been Arabic or something similar. With the platinum blond hair floating in the gentle breeze, the bronze skin, the golden jewelery and that perfectly smooth voice he almost looked like an illusion or imagination. Maybe he was, Bakura thought and shook his head. When he looked again the student was still standing there but the song ended soon. For a moment Bakura was dissapointed but he quickly shook it off. He had no time for this now. He was already going to be late.

Besides, the boy was obviously a student here. And with that exotic appearance he would not be hard to find, the teen thought with a smirk. He could still take care of that tomorrow. Of what exactly? He wondered as he turned to walk home. He would know by tomorrow. Now he had to get back home.

"Where have you been?", came a worried voice as the white haired teen entered the house he called his home. Two chocolate brown eyes were staring from the other end of the hallway as the other shut the front door.

"Something took longer than expected", Bakura replied casually. He had not thought of an excuse. His mind had been occupied with too many thoughts of that student from earlier. Could he not stop thinking about it, at least now that he was home?

"Oh…" Ryou wanted to ask what it was but he was afraid that his twin brother might get mad at him for asking things that did not concern him.

"So, why did I have to come home earlier anyway?"

His brother seemed to brighten a bit at that but it faded as quickly as it had come. "A friend invited me to have dinner with him and his family."

"And? That doesn't explain why I have to be here earlier."

"He said I should bring you, too", the younger looking teen said with something that sounded like hope in his voice.

"Why should I? I don't know them", Bakura pointed out with a scowl. His brother's face considerably dropped at that.

"I just thought… since he asked…" Oh no, Bakura did not like where this was going. His brother was about to use his puppy eyes. They worked most of the time and he knew that.

"Look, Ryou", Bakura began in a somewhat softer tone.

"I already said you would come, too", the smaller one of the twins said, voice almost cracking mid-sentence.

"Alright! I get it! I'll go there", he said seeing that he would have lost as soon as his more fragile brother began to cry. His brother's expression lit up in an instant.

"Thank you, brother!"

Isis was standing in the kitchen, preparing dinner, when she heard the front door close non too carefully. She immediately lay the knife she was holding onto the kitchen counter to see who had come home. She glanced into the hallway and was greeted with the sight of her youngest brother. A sigh of relief that she could not hold back passed her lips.

"Malik, where have you been? It's very late already", she said sternly, her ocean blue eyes narrowed.

Her younger brother passed her by and went up to his room, looking rather exhausted. "Had to stay longer", he replied simply.

The raven haired woman put her hands on her hips in annoyance. "And why did you have to stay longer? Don't you even think you can skip dinner again, we're expecting guests today", she said, making it sound like a warning or even a threat in that mother-like tone.

Malik sighed the moment he reached the handle of his room's door and let it slide down again. Skipping dinner would not have been a bad idea although he was quite hungry. After Mariku had told him about today's guests he was not able to eat his lunch properly. Wait. Guests? His brother had only mentioned his… his… never mind. Maybe that other boy was bringing his parents with him as if they were getting… married? He shook his head frantically. No, no, don't even think about it. But who else would he bring if not his family? And why else would he bring his family if not for the acknowledgement of their relationship? Malik almost shuddered at the thought.

"Malik?" Isis asked after she had not received a reply from her little brother.

The teen grabbed the handle once more and this time actually went into his room. "I'll be right back."

The moment Malik had vanished into his room, Mariku came from his own and went down the stairs to Isis. "Was that our brat's voice just now?"

"Don't call him that, Mariku", Isis warned, "but yes, that was him. I wonder where he had been for so long. Even Rishid was earlier back than him."

The teen with the abnormally spiked hair shrugged casually. "Who knows, maybe there's, you know, someone?" he suggested with a smug grin on his tanned face.

Isis put a hand to her mouth, gasping. "You mean, he has a girlfriend?"

Again Mariku shrugged. "Either that or maybe something else."

His sister impatiently put her hand back on her hip. "You know something, Mariku."

"Maybe I do?"

"Oh, you're making me insane!" she exclaimed frustrated. "And you haven't told us who exactly is coming over today."

"I told you. It's my friends." The moment he finished his sentence, the door bell rang. "And there they are", he said with a satisfied grin and went to open the door. Isis sighed and went to Rishid who was sitting in the living room and told him the guests were there.

"Hello there, sweetheart", Mariku greeted cheerfully after having opened the door. Both teens were successfully taken aback by that greeting and their host grinned triumphantly.

"Good evening, Mariku", the white haired boy greeted back sweetly which earned him a dumbfounded look from his twin beside him. Said twin then looked back at the blond teen in the doorway.

"What the fuck?" he said rudely. And this time he earned a strange look from his twin, but that was merely for swearing.

"'Kura! I didn't think you'd actually move your lazy ass here!" Mariku said, looking happy unlike the addressed teen.

"Why did you of all dumbasses out there invite my brother and me for dinner?"

"Brother!" Ryou exclaimed, a reminder that he was not allowed to use such words. But swearing was normal for these two though. After all they were 'partners in crime' as they referred to each other, rather than 'buddies' or even 'friends' although to the eyes of outsiders they were. Mariku was in the same class although he was a year older. But he and Bakura did not befriend because they were in the same class. No, they actually used to ignore each other until one certain incident - a fight between the two. It had been back then in middle school. Mariku had actually dared to mock Ryou in front of his protective twin. That is how they got into a fight. In the end neither of them had won, they had beaten the living daylights out of each other until both were fine with having tied. They admitted they had both never had such a good fight and decided they should not be against each other unless they felt like fighting again. Ryou was relieved when he found out that they had become friends or at least something close to it. Mariku also never mocked him ever again, quite on the contrary.

Despite their 'friendship' since middle school they had never been over for dinner or anything similar. This was going to be the first time.

"Let's say I felt like it", the older teen answered and held the door open for them to enter. With that both entered without saying another word and were greeted by Mariku's siblings, a woman, seemingly in her mid-twenties already with long black hair, blue eyes, tanned skin and a long traditional Egyptian robe. Behind her stood a man, probably older than her, with a partly bald head but a black ponytail on the back of it, also tanned skin but he wore modern clothes despite the tattoo of Egyptian inscriptions on the left half of his face. It took Bakura a moment but he recognized him as one of the city's policemen. 'Oh, fuck! That's that cop from back then!' he realized with displeasure.

Rishid was indeed a policeman and faintly acquainted with the white haired teen from longer ago. Bakura did absolutely detest the fact that this Rishid was the only cop that had almost caught the 'Thief King' as he often referred to himself because of his frequent stealing. He had never been caught before but one time the impossible almost happened. That one time included Rishid. He and some 'victims' that others would have called his gang wanted to steal a car, quite a nice one at that. He would have gotten that car if it had not been for one of those idiots who messed up on dealing with the alarm which went off immediately. The police were faster than expected but that did not bother Bakura a lot. He used his favorite route to escape and was surprised when one of the cops had caught up with him. It was a new one, one that obviously knew how to do his job. He had cornered the teen in a small alley and told him not to try and escape again. But who was he to think he could order the Thief King around? Although the policeman was well-built and probably stronger than he himself, he took his chance as soon as it arose. He was at an advantage for knowing every street and alley in that part of the city and was faster gone than anyone could look. Ever since then he had been extra careful and only worked alone now.

He had not seen him ever again since then and now he had to find out that this cop was related to his buddy?

"Good evening, I'm Ryou Touzoku and this is my twin brother Bakura", Ryou replied after the other two had introduced themselves. Isis nodded in appreciation with a smile.

"Come in and sit at the table, please", she said and led them in "Dinner will be ready any minute." With that she went back into the kitchen.

In the meantime everyone had seated themselves at the table. Bakura did not like how Mariku had immediately seated himself beside his brother instead of somewhere else since the table was big enough. He would have said something if that cop had not sat at the very same table so he forgot about that idea. Just as promised, a few minutes later Isis came back in with their dinner and placed it in the center of the table. She smiled at her guests but suddenly her expression darkened as she realized someone was still missing. She turned with an angry expression to the stairs and yelled "Malik! Will you come downstairs now? Our guests are already here and dinner's ready, too!"

There was a short period of silence and then Mariku snickered smugly while Bakura looked rather confused. There was another one? Shortly after that, footsteps could be heard from the room above and then the door opened to reveal the missing person.

For a moment all Bakura could do was stare in disbelief. Out of the door had come a teen that looked very similar to Mariku. The hair color was the same platinum blond but his hair was neatly combed down. His eyes were also lavender but his were so fully opened that it made him look a lot younger than his older brother. His eyes had the same kohl marks under them that his brother had, too and he also wore his gold jewelery in the same places, around the neck and on his arms, as much as he could see, and he also wore those heavy looking earrings. He was still in his school uniform while everyone else had already changed into their normal clothes. And that's when it hit him. This boy was the same he had seen after he had left the school building!

"Oh, so that's your brother, Mariku?" Ryou questioned with a sweet smile.

Mariku nodded. "Yeah, that's the brat."

The 'brat', as his brother had called him, walked down the stairs and sat down at the table. "Oh Ra, just shut up", he said to his almost identical looking brother as he sat down. Bakura noted that his voice also sounded a lot different from his brother's. He did not want to use the word 'melodic' although it was true. It made him think back of the song he had heard him sing. He was definitely the owner of the voice he had been listening to.

"Hello, my name is Ryou", the young teen introduced himself, once again, smiling.

"I'm Malik", he replied although everyone knew that already thanks to Isis.

"So it's you", came suddenly a voice he had never heard before. He turned to the teen that looked almost the same as the boy who had introduced himself as 'Ryou'.

"Excuse me?" he asked with uncharacteristic politeness.

"I didn't know you knew my little brother", Mariku said.

"And I didn't know that you had a brother with such a good singing voice", Bakura replied in a mocking tone. Malik immediately knew what he was referring to. He had not expected anyone to be listening to him when he was singing on the roof of the school earlier. Bakura noticed the other's surprised expression and smirked to himelf. That was all proof he needed for his theory.

"Brat, you've been singing to 'Kura here? You always refuse to sing to me", Mariku said with a fake pout.

"I wasn't singing to him, you fool." He then turned to the older-looking twin "I hadn't expected anyone to be listening but I'm glad you enjoyed yourself", the youngest Ishtar said with a smirk that looked almost like his brother's.

'Haughty brat', Bakura thought, strange enough, contently. "I never said I was enjoying it, don't flatter yourself, kid."

"Bakura, please be polite", Ryou warned from beside him. Malik was still smirking but the twitching of his eyebrow when he was called a 'kid' was enough to satisfy Bakura. The teen turned to his older brother though.

"Mariku, I really hope it's not him", he said in a teasing tone.

His brother chuckled in response. "Why? You want him for yourself?" The younger one had obviously meant to say something back but never got the chance because Mariku went on. "And nope, it's not Bakura. Ryou is the one", he said and took the boy's hand in his own who immediately blushed at the affectionate touch while the young Egyptian on the other side of the table paled considerably. The remaining three at the table looked confused at them for a moment and an awkward silence filled the room. After a moment Isis coughed a little to get rid of the silence.

"Mariku, what's the meaning of this?", she asked awkwardly and had not expected the answer that came.

"Ryou and I are together", he replied bluntly. Another silence.

Ryou wanted the ground to swallow him then and there, it was so embarrassing. Malik looked shocked for a moment. Sure, he had expected him to bring his erm… boyfriend but he had not expected him to say it so… casually, as if it was nothing. Isis and Rishid seemed to be even more shocked than him and could not say anything for the time being.

"What?", came a threateningly calm voice from Ryou's side that was not occupied by his boyfriend. He looked over to his brother who was looking back at him with a freezing cold glare.

"Brother, I had meant to tell you…", he tried but lacked confidence. He fidgeted with the hand that was still holding his own firmly.

"Ah… ahaha… why don't we have dinner now before it gets cold?" Isis suggested while she tried to cover her nervousness with a little laughter.

"Ah, yes…", Rishid agreed and so they ate, in silence. Nothing could be heard except for the sounds of cutlery hitting against plates. Looks were exchanged, most of the time uncertain ones. Only Mariku's looks were smug while Bakura shot death glares around to everyone who dared to look at him. Neither spoke a word until they left.

"Thank you for tonight", Ryou thanked and bowed slightly in a Japanese manner despite being British.

"Oh, please, don't mention it", Isis replied with an awkward smile.

"See you tomorrow", Mariku said and Ryou nodded in response but was pulled away by Bakura who quickly said 'bye' and then left with his twin in tow. As soon as the door closed Isis turned to her younger brother.

"Mariku, how… why didn't you tell us?"

"I had told you they were coming over."

"But you never said your… your…", she fidgeted with the hem of her robe in search of the word she did not dare to say out loud.



"What about it?" he asked with a shrug of his shoulders.

"'What about it'?" she repeated, irritated "You know exactly why that bothers me. He's a boy for Ra's sake!"

Mariku only grinned at her. "So?"

"So? Mariku, it's not normal to be in love with someone of the same gender!"

Malik stood in the doorway of the living room, listening to their conversation. He had been going through all possible scenarios earlier and this had been one of them – Isis lecturing him and Mariku not caring one bit. That's exactly how he had imagined it to be, but now that it was reality he wished it had not ended like this. That boy, Ryou, seemed to be a very nice person and did not deserve an evening like this. Why did Mariku have to say it like that? He could have been a bit more sensitive for once.

"In fact, it's not right!"

"Not right?" Now it was Mariku's turn to repeat her part in irritation. She seemed to have hit a nerve. Of course it was not normal, but not right? Even Malik wondered about that for a second before he quickly shook his head. Naturally, it was not right. How could he doubt that? He could not even imagine dating another guy.

"Of course it's not right! Why do you think Ra created men and women?"

"Out of boredom", Mariku said, provoking her some more.

"No, certainly not out of boredom! Why can't you see that it's wrong?"

"It doesn't feel wrong to me."

His younger brother was surprised by that comment just as much as Isis seemed to be. It sounded as if he actually loved that boy. It made Malik think once more. Is it wrong to be with someone of the same gender if you really love them? Somehow, if only for a moment, that did not sound wrong at all. No! What was he thinking? Something like this was simply inacceptable no matter how strong the feelings for each other were. Isis was right, he would probably be punished for his sins by Anubis when he died. But that was his brother. His brother had always protected him. He could not simply let him sin and be punished by the Gods just because he thought he felt something for this Ryou.

Isis sighed in defeat. Certainly, that last sentence had made her think the same as him. Rishid walked up to her and put a hand on her shoulder. He nodded to her and she nodded back and went to her room. Nobody talked to one another for the rest of the evening. Malik could only hope that in the morning everything would be forgotten.

Which was not the case. The morning held the same awkward silence as the previous evening. The brothers did not go together to school. It was not like they ususally went together, but Mariku sometimes walked with him, probably to make sure no one would come near hus little brother. But today he did not, he had even left earlier than his younger brother. And that was unusual.

Malik arrived at school at the same time as always and went straight to his locker to gather his books. He got his books out of his rather tidy locker thinking that maybe he should pay his brother a visit later, or maybe they could walk home together. That would be a better start than silence, he decided as he relocked his locker. Only when he closed the small door did he notice someone had been standing beside him. It almost made him drop his books when he recognized the person.

"What do you want here?" he asked more rudely than intended.

He identified the white haired teen beside him as Bakura, the twin of his brother's boyfriend. He wordlessly and without a warning grabbed the other teen's free wrist and dragged him down the hallway saying "Come with me".

"Wait, where are we going? I have a lesson now!" Malik protested and tried to free himself but the grip was iron and he had to let himself be dragged away, earning some strange stares from other students. They were outside again and Bakura brought them behind a wall where no one would interfere, which Malik admittedly did not like too much.

"I can tell you dislike this whole situation as much as I do", he began as he stood in front of the tanned teen with his arms crossed over his chest.

"Well, yes, because like I said, I have a lesson now", Malik scoffed, covering his unease with that.

"I didn't mean that!" the other male snapped irritated. "I mean the thing with my brother and your brother."

"Oh…", was all Malik could say. "And what do you want to tell me now? Certainly nothing I don't know already."

"Believe me, there is something you don't know yet, kid", Bakura mocked as the smirk Malik had not seen since the day before returned.

"Stop calling me 'kid', will you? You're hardly any older than me. And I'm also a high schooler mind you", Malik replied slightly furious now.

"Whatever. I didn't drag you out here to argue about such unimportant things."

"Then why did you come?" the younger one asked and tried to surpress his curiosity.

"I came to make you an offer." That smirk revealed a rather sharp canine which did not go entirely unnoticed by the other teen.

"Well, spill", he ordered bluntly.

"Let's work together to make them break up." Bakura was still smirking while the other's face looked a bit shocked at the offer. Was he serious? He would ruin his brother's relationship and possibly make him unhappy?

"We'll ruin every single little 'date' they have and eventually they will just have to break up. I don't care if Ryou will cry for a month non stop. So…", he paused for a moment and lifted his right hand and stretched it out towards Malik. "What do you say… partner?"

Parnter, Malik replied inwardly. Somehow that did not sound bad. Both, the plan of making them break up and Bakura referring to him as his partner. Why? He hardly knew this Bakura guy but somehow it felt good to know they could get along. Not like he wanted to be friends with him. After this little 'mission' their paths would lead into different directions again, of that he was sure. But that did not matter right now. This was about his brother, no, about his whole family. Everything would be alright again as soon as they were not together anymore. Yes, Bakura making this offer was probably the best thing that could have happened in a situation such as this one. And so he took the other teen's hand with a grin on his bronze face.

"What's your plan, partner?"

A/N: So? I hope this was good enough to make you want to read more~ Looking forward to seeing you in the second chapter, too.

Questions and suggestions (maybe even for dates to ruin?) are as much appreciated as reviews! Thanks for reading and see you soon.