A/N: I was reading some of Cassandra Claire's Harry/Draco fanfiction and was inspired by her beautiful, flowing writing style. Hope you like it?
Beta-ed by ChaosRocket!
Like clockwork, the bedsprings squeak in the middle of the night and Bakura's weight is suddenly missing from the minuscule single bed. Had Marik expected the company, he would have invested in something larger and more suitable many months ago, when he first rented the apartment, but it's useless to dwell on that now.
He waits for Bakura's faint footsteps to disappear before he turns and lies on his back, deliberating.
Smack dab in the middle of the night, at the most godless hour, Bakura gets up and slips up the staircase to the rooftop, where he stays until dawn, and then climbs back down. He then joins Marik in the bed again, sliding as far as he can toward the edge because they're still at that stage where they're fucking, but not comfortable enough to sleep together.
Marik has never followed Bakura to the rooftop before.
Sometimes, he lies in bed for those few hours, wondering what Bakura could be doing up there. Does he stand at the edge of the rooftop and look down? Does he imagine the sight of his own mangled body on the concrete below, bloodied and bent, as grotesquely misshapen as the state of his thoughts? Marik doesn't know, and he doesn't ask.
Finally, he places his bare feet on the cold floor and stands up. The frigid tiles don't even register in his mind. Somewhere along the way, the nerves in his hands and feet have shriveled up. The only warmth he ever feels under his fingertips is the weak pulse of Bakura's heart or the taut skin of his jutting, angular hips, but even that warmth is sometimes lacking.
Marik picks up a pair of pants from the floor and throws them on haphazardly, not caring if they are his or Bakura's, and pads outs of the bedroom.
The short walk up the stairs takes too long. Marik steps one second at a time, one minute at a time, unsure of what he will find once he opens the door to the rooftop. Finally, he looks across the flat, black top and sees him.
Bakura is sitting on the ledge. His back is turned. In the dark, Marik only sees a shock of white hair, so luminescent that it might as well just be Bakura's head, decapitated, floating in midair.
Before he knows it, Marik is sitting down beside him and glancing at the sight below. Three stories stare up at him. The street road is a decrepit, winding black, and Marik wonders how a splash of red would adjust that shade.
"Do you ever think of jumping?" Marik asks finally.
"No," Bakura answers shortly. He still hasn't turned to face Marik. "If I really wanted to kill myself, I would make it faster than that."
"Gun. Knife." Bakura shrugs. "The last thing I'd want to do is make a spectacle of myself on the streets of Egypt."
"Mm," Marik acknowledges. He feels so removed from the conversation that the sounds pouring from Bakura's lips merely swing past his ears, leaving him with frosty emptiness. There are no words that could fill him anymore.
"Am I keeping you up?" Bakura finally asks. "You don't need to be here."
Marik looks into the far-off horizon.
"I think we're here for the same reason."
"Get back to bed," Bakura says, but he doesn't sound angry.
Marik doesn't budge, and says, "Maybe it's easier for me to be awake up here than it is down there."
Bakura finally turns to look at him. His eyes are a bottomless black. There was a time when they gleamed a warm, earth-brown, sparkling like a glass of champagne. Where has that color gone, Marik wonders? Maybe it was sucked up by the sands of Egypt. Maybe the conclusion of his revenge ripped the color out of his eyes—the proverbial windows into the soul—tearing out any last flicker. The eyes that once flashed to and fro, sighting details that would complete his quest, no longer have a purpose.
"Why are you up, then? Nightmare?" Bakura asks perceptively. He's still looking at Marik. Really looking, and it makes Marik feel better for it. He stays silent and affirmative.
Bakura's hand reaches up to Marik's face, bringing him forward, and he presses his mouth to Marik's lips. They are both cold. The fingertips touching Marik's neck, crawling against his scalp, through his hair, are glacial. Marik stays numb through the kiss.
"Go back to bed," Bakura repeats against his lips.
Somehow, those words twist something in him. Back to bed, as if that will help. He's sick of counting the cracks in the ceiling and running his fingers over the felt blanket while he waits for Bakura to slip back into bed each night.
Bakura continues, ignoring Marik's silence, "You'll be warmer there."
"No." Marik bites Bakura's mouth and growls, "There's no fucking place on earth where I'll be warm anymore."
Bakura pauses, really looking at him again, and Marik can imagine the words going through his head.
And suddenly, Marik can't take it anymore. He lunges forward and kisses Bakura harshly. Using his whole body, he pushes Bakura down to the ground and the smell of sun-baked tar strikes his nose. Bakura's legs are still hanging from the ledge, but somehow, he is safe with the weight of Marik on top of him.
This is familiar, Marik realizes. This is how they placate each other. After all, the only pleasure left in the world is a carnal mess that leaves them with no time to think or sort out the tangled tendrils of disappointment and disgust. For Bakura, the disappointment. For Marik, the disgust.
And now that he has Bakura flat on his back and gasping from the force of Marik's kisses, he unravels the sloppily tied drawstring pants and pulls them down Bakura's hips. He's hard already, and that quickens Marik's pulse. The sudden, irrefutable craving for sex in the middle of the night—a habit that's developed over the past few months—causes them both to forgo wearing underwear to bed, so all Marik has to do is tear his own pants down, just enough, and slip down Bakura's body to feel the friction between their bare cocks, rubbing and sliding and grinding to create the only heat between them.
"Ah." Bakura throws his head back and grips Marik's shoulders, toppling him forward, and bucks his hips upward and against Marik's. Wave after wave of pleasure surges through Marik, firing upward and settling like a warm glow in his stomach. Marik pushes back just as hungrily and fiercely, his appetite whetted by the soft skin pounding against his and the quiet huffs coming from Bakura's mouth. Marik reaches down and slips his fingers inside him, causing a low, long groan that stretches into the night and passes like a shiver through Marik's soul.
Bakura gives him a surprised look, no doubt taken aback by the slipperiness on Marik's fingers. "How—"
"It seems that you always carry it in your pocket," Marik answers, giving him a shadow of a smirk. The moment he threw on the pants earlier, he felt the small bottle in the back pocket—another token of their insatiable few months together.
Marik presses deep and grinds so hard that it doesn't surprise him when Bakura comes just minutes later—he must still be getting used to having this young, virile body of his own—and the slickness now between Marik's legs causes him to rock against Bakura harder. There are thoughts still on the edge of his brain; horrifying, terrible thoughts that he needs to forget, and so he moves faster. It's clear by the glazed look on Bakura's face that he's momentarily forgotten his own hideous thoughts, but Marik still hangs against his own terror.
"You're not done," Bakura notes.
The look on Marik's face—and he can picture it perfectly, he's seen himself in the mirror many nights, after waking up drenched in sweat and vomiting in the bathroom at the thought of what he'd dreamt—is savage. He needs more. He trembles at the thought that he will never quite forget, not even now, when Bakura's hand reaches for the base of his cock and he coats it thoroughly in the lubrication Marik used earlier, then leads it between his legs as he bucks up his hips higher, and pushes Marik inside himself, inch by inch. Marik grabs Bakura by the waist and slips inside slowly and gratefully, not missing the grimace on Bakura's face as his full length settles warm and deep. This is real warmth. The only heat that could exist and grip Marik the way it does. Marik leans down and presses a dry kiss to Bakura's lips. It's not much, but it's still a thank you.
As he begins to move, he realizes that they're still at the edge of the rooftop, mere feet, if not inches, from toppling off and smacking into the black road. That thought is both thrilling and frightening, that they are so close to breaking, that Marik just has to tip back a little too far and they will both crumble. Although, in reality, he has already done that. Night after night, dream after dream, he's already broken into a million pieces.
Marik slides out and back in, keeping his hands firmly on Bakura's hips as he sets a haphazard rhythm. He focuses on the way Bakura's body clenches around him every time he slams in, the way his eyes light up and his breath hitches with each thrust, the way he squirms and clutches Marik's bare ass so tightly that he manages to fuck deeper.
It's only at times like these that Marik sees past Bakura's cold smirk and indifference. When his back arches and he groans and thrusts his hips up wildly to catch Marik's quickening rhythm, his face is a palette of emotions. Pain, pleasure, disappointment, fulfillment, joy, and frustration. These are things Marik only sees during sex. At all other times, he is closed and unreadable, hiding inside himself the same way Marik does.
But now he revels in Bakura's knitted eyebrows, his parted lips, and the intensity in his eyes. Marik must look the same right about now. They're both a mess. A moaning, quivering mess that only derives thrill from sticky skin and lashing tongues.
Marik remembers the perpetual nightmare, even now. It clutches him by the heartstrings night after night, bludgeoning and suffocating him until he thrashes awake and glances up sharply at the ceiling, trying to discern if it's made of stone and if there's a pale, fiery glow against it.
It's hot suddenly. It's so hot that Marik's clammy skin slides against Bakura's with more urgency. He's searching for something in Bakura's body. Solace, perhaps. Understanding. He bites the crook of Bakura's neck, grips his hips with so much force that he just hopes Bakura won't break, because he needs him. He thrusts so hard that there are bright spots behind his eyes and he's out of breath, breathless, gasping for air as though he's drowning in Bakura's body.
"Marik," Bakura pants. "What's wrong?"
Marik can't answer. He's choking and trembling and scratching down Bakura's thighs as he tries to place the taut feeling in his chest. It's as though his lungs are being wringed and his throat is so tight that he can only make choked noises.
Bakura looks alarmed. "Marik, are you—why are you crying?"
And suddenly the noises make perfect sense to Marik. He's sobbing. He has his face pressed into Bakura's neck and gasps as the tears smear on Bakura's skin.
"I don't know," Marik whispers. "I don't—"
Bakura takes Marik's face into his two hands. Their bodies are still together, but Marik has stopped moving, and lies still against Bakura to gather his shallow breath. Bakura kisses him carefully, as though pacifying a scared child. And really, that's an apt description. He's still only a sixteen-year-old boy, after all; one who has seen, and heard, and done too much.
Bakura rubs the skin of his back and its godforsaken scars with the lightness of a brushstroke, and this makes Marik sob harder. After all, it's those scars that started it. The glint of a knife reflected in the glint of his father's eyes as it descended, stroke after stroke, scream after scream. Sometimes, Marik wonders what the glint in his own eyes must have looked like when he turned the blade on his own father, years after that initiation.
Marik breathes in deeply against Bakura's neck, still shaking. This has never happened to him before. He has never openly cried like this in front of Bakura, and he takes the silence for what it is—that Bakura has no idea what to say, and that even if he did, he's not very good with words or feelings to begin with. And so it surprises Marik when Bakura tries regardless.
"Marik." Bakura draws back a little. "I've told who I was in the past."
It's not quite a question, but Marik nods slowly, catching his breath. "A thief king, you said. You robbed tombs and pillaged villages and tried to avenge your people."
Bakura nods and continues, "I had a scar in my previous life. It was under my right eye, and went something like this." He gestures a few crisscrossing lines under his right eye, while Marik watches, startled.
"I got the scar from a guard on the night that my family died. He found me in the village after the birth of the items and said to me, 'It's a pity you're too late to join the rest of them, but consider this a parting gift,' and cut my face open."
Marik says nothing. The scars on his back begin to ache. Bakura opens his mouth to finish the thought, but then stops, stumbling on the words, and Marik accepts the little that Bakura had told him. He touches the smooth skin on Bakura's right cheek, imagining his marred face. He knows what Bakura is trying to say. He has been trying to say it for months now. They are the same. Their suffering is one and the same. Marik softly bites down on the sinewy skin of Bakura's neck as his chest tightens again and he's breathless with the thought of what he just discovered.
Their suffering is the same.
And they don't have to stay cold and stifled and apart every night, when Bakura climbs to the rooftop and Marik waits wide awake in the darkness. Both waiting for something. Frigid and expectant of… what, exactly? What could they possibly be waiting for? The past won't, after all, change for their sakes.
Marik presses a hard kiss to Bakura's lips suddenly, gratefully, and it is equally returned. Bakura coaxes his lips open and slips his tongue inside, letting Marik savor the wetness and warmth. He puts his hands on Bakura's waist and starts moving again.
It's serene this time. He slides in and out slowly, relishing the languorous way Bakura swings up and down with him, and lingers at that moment that he's as deep as he can be, before he slips out again. The desperation is gone. The trembling, choking breathlessness is gone, and the only gasp comes from Bakura's mouth as they rise and fall in unison.
When Marik comes, he pauses mid-motion and closes his eyes as the feeling grips him tightly and warmly, before it lets go, the glow spreading upward through his stomach. He pulls out and rolls off of Bakura, who sighs deeply and stares up into the sky, placing his hands behind his head. Marik kisses Bakura again, slowly, and then lies beside him, letting his feet swing from the ledge as he pulls the pants up his own hips again. The rooftop is cold under his body. Or rather, his body is warm against it.
"I guess this is about the time you'd come back in," Marik says, staring at the horizon. A vibrant glow has spread over the sky and the first gold rays pierce the clouds.
Bakura turns to him with smile on his lips.
"Do you watch the clock every night, timing me?" he asks jokingly.
"I do," Marik says in all seriousness.
Bakura's grin fades into a strange expression, something caught between a smile and a grimace, as though he suddenly realizes what his nightly outings have done to Marik.
"I won't do it anymore, then," Bakura decides, turning to stare at the sunrise again.
"You won't," Marik states, disbelieving. "Really? What are you going to do instead? Stay in bed with me through the night, even though we both don't sleep?"
Bakura smirks at him. "That can have satisfying consequences."
Marik rolls his eyes, but he can't deny that Bakura's words stir something in his chest. That Bakura would change his habits just because Marik wills it—because in the long run, he would break a little less each night with a partner and companion at his side—that means the world to him.
The sun is a brilliant, vivid gold in the sky when they finally stand and leave the edge of the rooftop, heading downstairs to what Marik is sure will be another disquieting day.
But one that, at the very least, he can now look forward to.
Please let me know what you think. :)