A/N: This fic makes a crashing sound, orz. For the YGO contest Season 9, round 1 – Thiefshipping. A comeback for me, since the last time I wrote anything for this pairing was back in 2006.

Random fact: word count is 777. Intentional.

Also, I lovingly call this 'Quasimodo' because this pairing reminds me of the end of Victor Hugo's famous work which (SPOILER!) ends with the hunchback snuggling up with a lovely mangled corpse to starve to death in the rotting arms of his love. I think it's quite fitting.

Dislaimer: Kazuki Takahashi and all associated companies are the rightful owners of the Yuugiou! franchise and I claim no association with any of them. No copyright infringement intended with this and no money is being made from this. Please support the creator by purchasing the official releases.

Warnings: none. This is laughably worksafe.


Quasi-mode

x
Shadow

There are ghostly hands on him. Slow, teasing, twisting; cruel. There is warm breath against his neck and it's all wrong. He recalls that just a moment ago cold emotionless eyes were staring him down.

The hands creeping under his shirt are warm. It's a mockery; a feeling of not belonging. It's wrong, wrong, wrong. It doesn't belong.

Malik doesn't belong.

Bakura grins, knowing. "You make me wait."

The emotion in his voice, behind his words is something Malik can't place. It makes his skin crawl; makes him feel chilled to the bone.

He doesn't back away.

x
Twilight

Malik's breath catches in his throat, dies a forceful and untimely death when Bakura crushes him against the wall.

"Don't lie to me," the parasite spirit snarls and his grip is vicelike.

Malik hasn't, but he struggles nevertheless.

"We had an agreement," he chokes out, straining. "You will… you will uphold your end of the deal."

Bakura laughs; a cruel and chilling sound. He's waited for so long. Does he think he can wait even a day longer?

He lets go. Lets it all go.

x
Nightfall

"Why do you want them?" Malik asks, again. He doesn't expect an answer. Because of that, he doesn't get one; only the item around Bakura's neck glows eerily. Contemplating.

Again, there are ghostly hands on his skin. Not chilly; too alive. Dead, but not dead. Inescapable. Unwanted. The touch lacks any emotion and, for the life of him, Malik can't name a reason why he would want – or expect – any from Bakura.

It's a game – they both know this. The winner takes it all.

They intend to win.

Both.

x
Midnight

"You… your host," Malik whispers into the night and curses himself for the echo of hesitation in his voice. The brick wall is cold and rough against his back.

Bakura snickers. "What he doesn't know, doesn't hurt him."

He is leaning close to Malik, a ghost of a contact holding them together. Binding them stronger than any pact sealed with blood ever could. Studies him with intense brown eyes that aren't his, not entirely. He looks for a sign – a squint, a flinch, a stray emotion. He finds none.

There's a dog barking in the distance and rough voices squabble just down the alley. The dark sky above melts together with the orange glow of the streetlights. It's almost dreamlike, but he hasn't felt more alive in a long while.

x
Dawnbreak

"It's time," Bakura announces. Stands up and stretches languidly.

The early morning air is crisp. Nary a sound breaks the vigil of retreating darkness.

"It is," Malik agrees and the wooden crate he's been sitting on creaks when he shifts.

He doesn't want to hand over the Rod – even incomplete, even if for a moment – but does so. Dagger unsheathed, he locks his gaze with Bakura's and, briefly, it feels like he's staring down a pitfall. The reassuring weight gone from his hand, he holds onto the only piece of gold he's left. A lone tendril of fear creeps up his spine.

Bakura raises the weapon and stalls. Malik feels like it's about to come down; about to come at him. Bakura sneers, reads him, and drives the blade into his own flesh. Malik can't see anything but insanity in his eyes. Something dark stirs at the back of his mind and he looks away. He might have flinched, but he doesn't regret.

Still, the relieved breath is there when the warm gold is returned to his hand.

"Don't get too attached to it." Bakura's rough whisper slithers around him and Malik can only think that it's already too late.

x
Midday

Malik shows no pity for Ryou; he has none. He fakes emotion while Bakura's ghostly hands travel along his skin. It's a feeling he can't shake. It's a poison he has to swallow to the very last drop. Drain the cup and ask for a second.

"Let's get you back to your friends," Malik mutters to Ryou, but the parasite spirit's eyes stare back at him.

"Let's make you some new friends," it says, but it's only a pained moan that slips from Ryou's lips.

x
Darkness

Malik clings. Crawls back. He hates crawling back, but he has no choice. He insists, forces his hand, and gets his way. A second chance, a second try. He keeps his ghostly hands on Bakura and hates, hates, hates.

The night is obsidian black and they're staring down an abyss, together.

The abyss is stronger. It pulls them in. It laughs and mocks. It sends them falling through fire and spiralling shadows until there is only…