I had always wondered what the world was like, outside the prince's palace. All the information I had about it was rumor. Some people said there were places you could find anything your heart desired, mountains of sweet things just laying there for you to take. But others said that everything on the outside was savage, that there were beasts that slit your throat in the night. Only one of the servants had actually seen what there was out there... but when asked he'd always say the same thing; that it was better the outside stayed outside and the inside stayed inside. Now that I've seen all there was to see, I have to agree. It's better the outside doesn't taint the inside. People are much happier when they're ignorant.

The basement of Rita's diner was quite cozy, I had to admit. Though rickety and dank, there was a particular warmth to it that you felt when you closed your eyes. At least, when the overhead light was on.

But soon Bakura would come in and turn off the light- he liked the dark and the cold. And then he'd settle close to me so he could feel me shivering from it- he also liked to torture me. It'd take him a while to fall asleep, and he'd savor my terror.

Too jumpy already to stay laying down, I sat up in my sleeping bag and hugged my knees. Happy thoughts dodged me as I tried to grasp them, and even my saviors' face was blurred beyond recognition. Instead, I focused on the light above my head until I couldn't see through the black it'd burned into my eye. Normally I wouldn't allow myself to even do that, but Marik had decided to keep watch tonight considering how little they understood about this realm. Because that's going to do a lot, when remembering how the townsfolk had ran like mice...

The door creaked open, and clicked shut just as quickly. I turned my face towards the sounds, though I couldn't see who it was quite yet.

"Lay down." Bakura's voice ordered fiercely. I listened to him shaking out his sleeping bag and flattening it out beside mine. Then, sight coming back, I watched him sit on his knees in front of me- my apprehension growing.

"Stop telling me what do do. I'm not your pet." I snarled shakily, indignant. Or at least, trying for indignant. He smirked.

"Really." Chuckling softly, his cool hand touched my hair. Then it slid slowly down my neck, and repeated the movements a couple of times. I watched him weakly, set on edge by the touch.

"Stop it."

Instead, his hand turned so he could scratch behind my ears.

"Please."

"What's wrong, my pet?" he asked softly, eyes bright with glee. "Do my nails feel like claws to you? Perhaps I'm one of your monsters come to slay you."

You are a monster!

"Slay me, then."

"Lay down, Miyuki. Now."

"No."

More amused than agitated, he planted his hand firmly over my chest and shoved me down into the sleeping bag. "Try to obey this time."

Unconsciously I rose to one arm and began to judge the distance between myself and the door, wondering if I could make a break for it or if he would catch me first. My limbs were so tense they quivered, my palms a little sweaty.

"If you're going to treat me like this, I'm going outside to find Marik." I huffed, glaring at him and trying to relax myself.

"Oh? You will, will you?" he hissed, eyes glinting. I couldn't quite tell whether he was still enjoying this or starting to become irritated. Either way, I didn't want to find out what he'd do if I tried to escape.

"What's wrong with my leaving?" I asked breathlessly, slowly sinking to my elbows. He just smirked at me, not answering- not having to. Why he wanted me here was obvious. I need to start drugging his dinner...

Of course then I'd be virtually alone, and that would be...

"Bakura?"

His gaze dropped to my neck- or more specifically, one of the veins there. Perhaps he wasn't a vampire, but he had a certain lust for blood that could only be described as vampirism. A sadistic grin crept over his face.

"Bakura-"

He slammed his hands down on either side of me, looming overhead- just a black shadow silhouetted against the light. As I tried to squirm free his head tilted forward a little. His lips hovered above my neck, his breaths licking my skin. I panicked.

"M-Marik!" I cried, shoving him away- and experiencing the pain of the heel my hand ramming into his jaw at the same time he did. "Help me!"

"You little-" Bakura shouted furiously, literally pouncing on top of me and pinning my wrists above my head with one hand. His other hand gripped my hair tightly, close to the scalp, making tears come to both our eyes. A snarl contorted his admittedly gorgeous face. "If it wasn't for this ridiculous connection I'd... I'd-"

His voice trailed off as both of us realized Marik was standing nonchalantly in the doorway, watching the scene as it unfolded.

"Brings back memories, doesn't it, Bakura?" he murmured, smirking. Bakura's normally white face turned pink. And mine turned bright red. TMI!

Taking Bakura's state and using it to my advantage, I forced my frozen limbs to work and slithered out from underneath him. He made no move to stop me.

But as soon as I was out from underneath him, Marik settled behind me and lightly caught one of my wrists.

"You really should stop torturing the poor girl. After all, it doesn't seem like she's getting into the spirit of things." he chastised, chuckling lightly. I glowered up at him, trying to twist my arm free.

"I'm right here, stop talking about me like I'm not!"

A puzzled expression flickered over Marik's face. "Stop acting like you're not here?"

"Yes!"

A pause, then he slowly tried again. "Bakura, you should really stop teasing... you, Miyuki... because you're not getting into the... spirit of things-"

I sighed. "I meant how you described me and what you said, not your phrasing."

"Aah!" Smiling as he began to understand, he leaned back casually- taking me down with him. I landed in a sprawl against his well-muscled chest. Why must I always be thrown around like this?

"Encountered any trouble yet?" Bakura asked, shifting to a cross-legged position. Marik laughed, setting me teeth on edge.

"Well, there was one person... cop, that is. But they'll have to call backup if they're still alive- I didn't bother to check. I'll be out again in a minute."

At that I shivered, moaning. The reason was my mind, envisioning Marik standing over another helpless victim's bloodied body.

But Marik misconstrued the cause. "Relax, Miyuki. I can easily protect you both- so long as I have the motorbike and less than 30 opponents." His attention returned to Bakura. "By the way, she'll sleep much more soundly if you turn up the heat."

He turned his face away, cheeks reddening again. "You know I have absolutely no desire to-"

Marik laughed. "I meant using the heater system. You're way too sex-oriented for your own good." With that, Bakura's face turned an interesting shade of vermilion. I thanked Ra that I wasn't alone in the room with him- he wasn't very tamable, and his pride was wounded. I didn't want to see what would become of me with those two factors involved. Like on the motorcycle, I clung to the nearest solid and graspable surface- this time not Bakura, but Marik. He laughed again, his hand resting warmly on the small of my back. "And you're too weak."

"Thanks for pointing that out," I responded dryly.

"Don't be annoyed at me for saying the truth, Miyuki."

I tried to crawl off of him, but his hand turned from attempted comfort- or whatever it was he was trying for- to restraint.

"Let me go."

"Bossy today, aren't we?" Bakura snorted, the amusement back in his eyes and his cheeks returning to the normal pale. "She was more fun when she was crying."

"Indeed, for a time." Marik agreed, nodding. "Still, you are being a little harsh. She's our companion now, so we might as well make her a little more comfortable. We don't want her running away and getting herself killed."

"I do, actually. That'd just be a little difficult considering."

"As if you're the only one suffering!" I shouted, managing to jerk myself free. "At least you aren't that far out of your comfort zone!"

"Shut up, Miyuki." Bakura ordered, gaze freezing. My vocal chords ceased to function underneath it. Instead, I turned from them both and sulked. At least they haven't turned off the light yet, or left me alone in here...

Bakura's hand lightly touched my back. "Lay down."

"Leave me alone."

He began to say something, before his head ducked. Then his voice suddenly became soft and coaxing, shifting- quite shyly- so that his thighs straddled mine and his arms wrapped around my waist. "I'm sorry. My other half can act like such a... a wanker." O-other half...

"Oh, Ryou," I moaned, huddling against him. "I thought you were still Yami Bakura."

"Yeah, well..." he whispered, smiling innocently. His hand ran through his long, thick hair. "...I'm not... so..."

"See you." Marik yawned, rising to his feet. "This just got dull, and besides- gotta make sure that damn cop really didn't call for help. I'll leave you two lovebirds alone."

As he left the room and his words sank in, my face flushed once again- this time quite madly. And, judging by how awkwardly and stiffly he began to shift, Ryou was as well.

"Don't worry about it," he said softly anyway. "I don't... I don't figure I'm quite you're type anyways, and besides, I already have..."

"Yeah, I know. You have Yugi." I settled into a more comfortable position and smiled, a little comforted by his presence. "Do you think you could..."

He chuckled. "...tell you about him again?"

"Yeah." I closed my eyes. "It's comforting to know that there's a little sanity in this world, somewhere."

"I'd even tell you about Goldilocks and the Three Bears if it'd make you feel happier," he offered sweetly, then looked away in embarrassment. "I mean... you're a really kind person and you've been through... a lot, so..."

"I know. And it's very kind of you, to help. Will you... will you please tell me about Yugi again?"

"I'm going to turn off the light first, alright?" he informed gently, slowly reaching for the chain on the light.

Panicked, I caught his wrist. "No!"

"Yugi... he's a very altruistic kind of person."

He started the story as I began to tremble, watching him warily.

"In some ways I've tried to model myself after him, really."

He tucked my head into his shoulder, holding me still and whispering in my ear as I fought against him.

"He's sweet and kind... and so understanding."

I felt his muscles ripple as he reached up. The light clicked off.

"He'd do anything to help someone in need."

Giving up, I clenched my fists in his blue and white-striped tee and clung to him. His hand stroked through my hair.

"But when I first met him he was so meek, and almost like a little mouse. People were never very kind to him. Yet still he had such a small, mismatched group of friends- that I was very proud to join."

"J-joey..." I whimpered, trying to focus on the story. He smiled.

"Yes. Joey, the fighter, Tristan, the reasoning voice, Tea, the one who kept the group together, Yugi, the leader. And I- the quiet one."

I heard a loud bang from outside, and jumped. "What was-?"

Insides twisting, I listened a moment to the abrupt silence, the moment seeming like hours. The darkness began to press in on me.

"R-Ryou?"

I waited. No reply.

"Ryou, please say something!" I moaned, taking deep, shuddering breaths. Not another panic attack. Please, not another panic attack. Please.

Since I was ten, I'd suffered from a sort of mental problem- though I hadn't had too big of a problem with it until Bakura had kidnapped me and forced me to own up to it. Like a... a six-year-old, I can't take the darkness of night. Though I honestly don't know why, my mind panics once the light goes out. I hate it, hate it- and very much. And of course, Yami Bakura absolutely loves it. Ryou, sweet and kind as he is, is the only person who offers to help.

"Please say something," I moaned again, the silence torturing.

"Marik, maybe..." he suggested finally, "Maybe it was Marik. It did sound kind of like a gun." His voice was soothing. "Do you want me to continue?"

"M- mm-hmm..." Shuddering, I tightened my grip and nodding slowly. "Please."

"It doesn't really matter much, what I say, does it?" he murmured sympathetically. "I know if I was going through something like this I'd just want to hear someone talking. I wouldn't care what kind of stuff was being said."

"Yeah."

"You don't need to worry, alright? Even if I don't talk, I'm still here. And I'll be here for as long as you need me."

"Ryou?"

"Yeah?"

I sat up, looking into the shadow of his face. "You've... you've been letting Yami take control of you by staying up with me..."

He smiled gently. I could tell by his voice. "It's alright, Miyuki. I like staying up with you."

"Don't expect me to believe that," I scoffed. "You'd much rather prefer to be in control during the day."

"Yeah..." he whispered thoughtfully, making my heart wrench a little. "Yeah, I would. But it doesn't really matter. You don't need me during the day as much, and the night... it's nice. The dark is soothing to me."

Softly Ryou Bakura continued to tell about his Yugi, letting me relax enough to close my eyes and rest my head against his shoulder. Ryou. The one person in this group that was helpful, that I couldn't do without. It was easy to cling to him, trust him, sleep in his presence. With a quiet yawn, I found myself doing just that. But still my mind betrayed me, picturing my savior speaking the words he'd said so long ago.

"Sorry." the prince said quietly, taking to one knee beside my panting form. After what had happened, I was surprised I was yet alive. I tried to pull myself to a kneeling position; he tsked and laid my head back down to the stone floor. "You weren't supposed to be here, my dear. But it makes little difference now." As I began to cough up blood, gasping, crying in pain, he smiled and laid a soft, tan hand across my slit neck. "My personal servants will come for you soon. Close your eyes now, and rest. Things will become quite troublesome for you because of this, and that will be punishment enough for your misdemeanor."

"M-m-m..." I tried to speak, but blood filled my mouth and choked the words from me. I swallowed it with difficulty, but to my sheer terror my mouth filled right back up, spilled a little from the corner of my mouth. He stood, and the last thing I saw was the image burned most deeply into my mind- his beautiful face, observing me in mild concern, as I sank fitfully into an unconscious state.