an AU twist on Bakura possessing Ryou.
tendershipping with past thiefshipping.
heavily nsfw + guro.

"Bakura, I love you." Ryou murmurs, taking a step closer. "I thought you loved me, too, or was that a lie?"

"I..." His thoughts are slow in coming, the world isn't responding, and he shakes his head slowly, stupidly. "...I never wanted this."

There is no response. Impassive, impassive, and when - Bakura looks back in his mind, wonders when it got so bad. How did it come to this? He's never felt so weak, so tired, in his entire life, like his body (or maybe his soul, whispers a sly voice) is shutting down.

"I have to go." Bakura chokes out, backs away and turns without waiting for a response. He manages maybe three steps before he's running, running, and -

The day after the funeral, it begins to rain.

It's not show-stopping, torrential rain, the kind that swirls through gutters, keeps people indoors and away from windows. No, for the most part, life in Domino City continues, much the same as it always has.

Yet it's enough of an excuse not to visit the freshly turned grave.

Oh, he provides himself with an assortment of excuses—the roads will be dangerous, the cemetery will be swamped, driving visibility will be low; the list continues on, and he tells himself that he resents the weather, would be visiting his fallen friend if only the conditions were better.

When he stops to think about it, though, really think about it and be honest with himself, a strange feeling worms its way through his gut. He gives a name to it—relief—and tries not to question why.

On Monday, the drizzle (because that's all that it's been, really) finally fades to be replaced with tentative sunshine. The air is clean after the cleansing moisture, city life sluggishly returns to its grind, and Bakura knows his time to hide is up. He starts his old car hesitantly, the engine protesting before rumbling to life, and begins the three mile drive to Domino Cemetery.

The time is 8:47 AM—the year, 2012. He doesn't bother to purchase flowers; the gesture would feel too much like guilt, and besides, it's not like the recently deceased can appreciate it, can appreciate anything at all, for that matter.

He drives slowly.

It doesn't take long to realize someone is watching him.

He raises his eyes slowly, slowly, slowly, and

caught you.

He's staring into eyes darker than even his own, eyes that widen slightly at Bakura's glance before narrowing-eyes that, for the most part, remain calm.

That's the strange part - they don't move, don't waver in the slightest, and it's that realization that keeps Bakura looking straight into them whereas he would normally look away. That's what strangers do, isn't it? They catch each other's gaze and immediately avert their eyes. Instead the boy before him stares back with a calm, unwavering sureness, and finally Bakura breaks the silence, uneasy.

"Can I help you?" He swallows, annoyed despite himself; he's come for solitude and a goodbye, not for being stared at over a new grave,

At that, the boy finally reacts. Slowly, catlike, he blinks and when he speaks, his voice is quiet, polite, but with an undercurrent of excitement and confusion.

"You can see me?"

Bakura straightens from his bent position easily and musters a glare to disguise his uneasiness.

"What kind of a question is that?" He looks the kid over in disgust. "Were you expecting anything different?"

It's a while before the boy speaks again, a while before he responds in a velvet-soft voice.

"Yes, actually." he admits.

Bakura snorts in derision and leaves, grass staining his knees, dark eyes on his back and behind his eyelids.

With a mile's road between him and the grave, the encounter is quickly forgotten.

He returns home to the life he has always known.

Can you see me?

Something in Bakura likens looking into a mirror to a hand struggling into a size-too-small glove.


Dark eyes—his own this time—follow his every movement in the mirror silently. He begins slowly, breath hitching as he watches his hands slide off his clothes. His eyes flick up to meet his own, and he places a hand to the cold glass, pulls it back to press it to his skin, almost manages to convince his body that the touch burns.

Bakura shivers, once, at the chilled fingers, the same ones that turn the shower knob to the coldest setting.

He lets his head roll backwards under the water, lets his mouth open, lets the water drip down his hair and face, begins to shake from the cold.

The goal was to remind himself that he was still alive.

On Tuesday he feels hungry eyes on his face in a field of the dead.

Somehow, Bakura knows without looking that it's the boy from before. He waits; a minute, two, six, eleven, staring at the grave and the torn grass clenched tightly in his fist, ripped from the roots with an idle hand. He counts to ten, takes a breath, looks up swiftly, and the first thing that comes to mind is -

The boy is drinking in his face with the fervor of the zealous.

(The hunger of a madman.)

Bakura feels himself stumble to his feet (trip a little, struggle to rise with muscles stiff from the cold, catches and rights himself just in time) and lets the torn grass flutter from between his fingers. Each waits for the other to speak, Bakura swearing he will not be the one to break the silence as he fixes him with a fierce, challenging glare.

"You can see me."

It's a statement this time, and Bakura's baseless anger dissipates, dew in the afternoon's sun.

"Yes." He pauses for a foolish second. "Were you expecting anything different?"

The memory of the boy's tired smile the last time they spoke—yes, actually—flashes to his mind like silver beneath the surface.

"I'm Ryou." He sidesteps the question with ease. "It's nice to meet you."

Bakura's taken aback, but he's never been the type to let emotion play across his face, and he responds automatically without really thinking.

"It's nice to meet you, too."

Ryou smiles, and with a stiffness he didn't realize his facial muscles possessed, Bakura smiles back.

It was hard to believe he could ever be dangerous.

"He's gone, you know."

Bakura says nothing—what is there to say?—the ring on his left hand is suddenly the most interesting thing in the world to him, and he twists it around his finger with a single-minded intensity.

"He's never coming back, Bakura."

A dull ache at that. Bakura winces slightly, the way he does whenever someone hurts him. It's a sensation that used to be rare until everything changed.

Until he changed.

"I know."

A silence meets his words, long and suspended with the tension of a spring, stretch and snap.

I know.

Soon, discomfort melts away to be replaced with a tentative familiarity.

There is no possible way the boy could know when he visited, and yet every time Bakura steps out of the car, Ryou is waiting by the headstone for him. He tests him, switches the days, hours. Once, he stays away for two weeks. Ryou is there when he returns, as if he had never left; the only difference is the expression of anger and reproach he fixes on Bakura, and the responding guilt that rises within him before he can even question it.

"Don't do that to me again," Ryou scolds, and Bakura finds himself promising.

They talk for hours each time, about everything and about nothing, until upon awakening one day, Bakura realizes he is no longer visiting a grave. He is visiting Ryou.

The realization does not bother him.

"...You see this?" Ryou asks quietly, rubs a pianist's finger on the headstone. 1988 - 2012, it reads, and he pauses to scratch at the dash between the two numbers.

"This is the life. This mark represents their whole life." The mournful eyes stare into his almost accusingly, testing him. "It's important, you know?"

"I know," Bakura hears himself say, and realizes he means it.

On another Tuesday, a question occurs to Bakura.


The teen is sprawled out on the grass in front of him like a doll cast aside. Bakura leans back against the grave in a parody of comfort.

The thoughtful eyes shift to meet his.

"Yes, Bakura?"

He loves the way Ryou says his name; softly, as though he's tasting the sound of it on his tongue. He'll never tell Ryou that, however—and hopes he never regrets not doing so, as he'd forgotten to tell his other so many things, and—Bakura reminds himself to breathe.

"Why are you always here?"

At that the tension returns, clots and thickens the air, palpable and for no explicable reason, Bakura suddenly has the overwhelming feeling that he's said something wrong.

"I never leave, Bakura."

Bakura blinks, feigns a nervous chuckle, eyes Ryou to see if he's joking, quickly sobering when there is no laughter to be found in Ryou's eyes.

"Are you...homeless?"

The thoughtful eyes leave him, return to the sky. His reply is soft, soft enough to miss if Bakura weren't already straining his ears to catch it.

"You could say that."

The conversation withers after that. He lets it die without complaint.

"It's like you're fading."

Bakura's mouth parts ever-so-slightly in vague bewilderment.

"What do you mean?"

"I don't know," The colleague replies with a strange look. "You've been so...dreamy. Out of it, I guess. It's not like you."

The line of questioning is decidedly odd, and Bakura feels unwarranted irritation rising in him before quelling it.

"I'm fine," Bakura responds curtly. "I'm fine."

"...He's not coming back, Bakura."

Yuugi reaches, tries to break through the shell, scrabbles for a hold, fails and falls. Distantly, Bakura recalls missed voicemails and the unwelcome concern of others.

"I know." Bakura hears his voice turn cold, armor itself with jaded cynicality and edges of insecurity.

I know, so stop trying.

"It must be lonely."

As soon as he has spoken, Bakura shuts his mouth, regrets his words. Ryou regards him questioningly.

"What do you mean?"

There's fear now, instinctive and infectious and he can't shake the feeling of being studied, of being weighed, like a word misplaced will end it all. He winces, but gathers his will regardless; collects his words and does his best to ignore the feeling of falling.

"Staying all by yourself, here," too late he realizes his blunt words could be misinterpreted, and extends an apology, "Ah, I didn't mean—it's just, surely there are places you could go—?"

You could come with me, he bites back, doesn't know where the offer comes from and realizes with a start that for all the feeling of comfort he has here, he knows nothing about the boy beside him. Disquiet settles in his stomach, but before he can pursue its source he's interrupted by laughter, ringing and bright.

Ryou laughs so often, he thinks, as though everything Bakura says is intended to be humorous.

"I'm never alone, Bakura." Ryou smiles, strangely endearing, and when he speaks again, his demeanor has shifted. He has become a teacher explaining a concept to a slow child.

"What do you mean?"

"They're all around us." Ryou waves an arm vaguely. "They're jealous that you can see me, that we've found each other."

Bakura says nothing.

" does get lonely, you know." Ryou shares abruptly, voice thoughtful. "When you're not here."

Melancholy weighs on his heart, then, strikes him so hard and heavily that he just -

Bakura comforts him the only way he can think to.

They kiss on Malik Ishtar's grave, and he can only feel hollow.

Bakura should be working, but he'll settle back in his chair in the dark office, anyway, shut the blinds and turn off the light and—

Yuugi knocks on the locked door, but he ignores it. He has no room in his life now for hearing about the past, for dwelling on meaningless words, empty words, comfort meant to be given that falters, shudders and dies, and the boy will never give up because he just doesn't get it.

There's a strip of skin feebly hanging beside one of the nails of his left hand, and he picks at it, worries the skin with dirty fingernails. He watches in a kind of trance as it peels away slowly, clings to the finger with everything it has. Raw, pink flesh is exposed, puckered and shining with a spot of blood welling up and suddenly he's disgusted by what he's done so thoughtlessly, sucks at the finger with a revolted grimace.

(He knows that obsessing with hangnails and other such mild wounds is a thing for children, but suddenly, strangely, he can't shake the urge to find a scab or a cut or anything else to pick and peel and wound.)

Bakura's not quite sure how he ended up back in the cemetery. He has no memory of driving, not even of even deciding to go, and yet Ryou's waiting for him by the grave as always. He's calm, serene.

"Bakura," Ryou greets cordially, a slight dip of his head passing as a polite nod. "I wanted to talk to you."

Bakura takes a seat on the wet grass across from him, folds his legs in mimicry of Ryou's own pose.

"...I wanted to talk to you, too, Ryou." He's overly aware of his dry tongue in his mouth, the pace of his breathing.

"You first, then." Ryou smiles indulgently. "You first."

Bakura clears his throat, swallows.

"I want you to come live with me." Bakura explains, his voice calmer than he feels. "I don't like the thought of you without someplace to go. Come live with me."

Ryou's bangs fall into his eyes with the first few words, his smile shifting into a frown.

"...I would love to."

Bakura relaxes with a grin, wonders why for a moment he felt fear. "Then let's-"

"I wasn't finished."

Bakura pauses, startled.

"I would love to, but I can't."

It takes a moment for Bakura to process what he's heard and he feels his ears begin to ring.

"Why not?" Bakura hears himself demand when he's recovered, stubbornly, almost childishly, unsure why he is so suddenly, completely upset. "Why not?"

"Because." Ryou smiles serenely. His fingers reach out to flit across Bakura's face, to burn and tease the skin of his cheek. "Because I can't leave, Bakura."

The world spins sickeningly, and suddenly Bakura is on his back. Ryou settles his body on top of Bakura with ease, kisses his neck.

"I can't leave, Bakura." The eyes that began it all bore right through his being. "I'm dead."

No, Bakura thinks, his hand curling up to press to Ryou's neck. Ryou smiles, and it's different from before, a cruel slash set into skin like bone. Bakura searches clumsily for a pulse.

Above him Ryou's body begins to shake, begins to fester and rot before his eyes before it splits apart like a carcass in the heat. He smiles, a full, toothy grin, only it's no longer Ryou, but a grinning death's head and a shock of maggots writhing within the cheek and the skull is leaning in to press a kiss to his lips and—

and Bakura wakes in his own bed with sweat-soaked sheets and a pounding heart.

He does not sleep again.

There are few words spoken the next time Bakura visits. If something in the atmosphere has changed, Ryou shows no sign of noticing; they sit, bodies pressed together, a firm hand sliding into Ryou's with a kiss to the cheek.

"I really like you, you know." Ryou informs him mildly.

"...I'm glad." Bakura's mouth dries. Never has he felt so out of his element, but Ryou and his pale, quiet confidence has that effect on him; fills him with detached longing, reduces him again to a mumbling, gangly teenager, uncomfortable in his own skin. " you too, Ryou."

Ryou's thumb strokes his hand gently, an unspoken I know before he turns his head into Bakura's hair and kisses his neck. Bakura shivers, and lets his head fall back to allow Ryou access to more skin.

The body beside him shifts, and weight settles on top of Bakura; weight as Ryou slides into his lap coyly, presses his lips to Bakura's shoulder. Bakura hears rather than feels his breathing heighten, registers Ryou undoing the first button on his shirt.

"W-Wait." Bakura swallows, his throat flexing against Ryou's lips. His fingers fumble to wrap around Ryou's hands, not quite pulling away, not yet, but halting their progress. There is something inherently wrong about where this is heading, something he can't quite place his finger on, something that makes the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. Ryou pauses without really moving away. Bakura half-realizes that he is trembling, and distantly asks himself when he became…

"I know you want me." Ryou murmurs, breaks through both the silence and his thoughts and nuzzles into his neck. Desire flares in Bakura's stomach as Ryou shifts against his hip. "I want you."

His voice is low and hoarse, and his fingers weave into Bakura's, pull them away to continue unbuttoning his shirt. Frozen, Bakura lets Ryou guide his hands to his waist without further protest, and this time Bakura's cold, wet lips meet his mouth and not his neck.

He produces a condom from some remote pocket, and all Bakura can think as he's pushed onto his back is tastes like death, tastes like death, Ryou tastes like -

Bakura doesn't care how many hours it's been, he doesn't care how long he's spent in the shower scrubbing at his skin with soap and nails until he bleeds, he doesn't care doesn't care doesn't care because he is dirty and filthy and he will never be clean.

Fucking in a graveyard, dead bodies all around and below - it sounds the lines of a song by some greasy garage band. Fucking in a graveyard, dead bodies all around and below, woah-oh, and the singer will have white hair and eyes that see too much and a crooked streak of a line for a grin. Woah-oh, woah-oh-oh, and Bakura sinks his nails into the skin of his thighs, raises his head to look in the mirror.

The person who stares back, it's the face of someone who—someone who fucked a stranger in a graveyard on his fiancé's grave. Bakura laughs dully, and the sound chokes out through his breathing (harsh and ragged like he's ran for a marathon, no, for his life), twists into almost a sob of despair.

How did he feel inside you? A voice sings. Horror rises, claws in his chest to see Malik Ishtar stare accusingly at him from the mirror. Fucking on my grave, tell me it at least felt good.

"" Bakura moans, closes his eyes, shakes his head wildly as though the motion can will away the vision, somehow stop the world from spinning. "I didn't, I didn't!"

Don't lie. Don't lie to me. The vision (that's all it could possibly be - a vision, a dream, a nightmare, nothing more) flickers. Saw it, I saw it, he fucked you into the ground and you liked it, you liked it, you

Bakura screams, then, screams until his jaw slackens and he vomits violently into his hand, stomach convulsing sickeningly. The bile slips through his fingers and pools on the floor around his knees.

When he looks back into the mirror, there is only Bakura, Bakura ten thousand times, wide-eyed Bakura, shaking Bakura, Bakura with drying blood under his fingernails and his own sick smeared across his face and in his hair.

Bakura does not see Malik Ishtar again; he tells himself the encounter was only a nightmare, and drowns any dreams with pills dropped onto his tongue by a trembling hand.

He stays away for a month this time, the longest he's been away, but an ache of longing begins to pulse through him, tug at his being and so it's not long before he decides to go back, and why not? Of course he goes back, of course he cannot resist when it had been futile to even think of attempting to in the first place.

He visits early in the morning, several hours before work and the rise of the sun. Bakura jams the key into its ignition with shaking fingers and as he drives, he realizes with a sort of sick happiness that it's been one year. One year since Malik died, one year since Ryou waited for him by the grave, the grave that they -

No. His knuckles whiten with the clenching of the steering wheel, knuckles dotted with marks from his own gnawing teeth, gnaw gnaw gnaw and a snap snap snapping jaw. From road to lot to the opening of the door to footsteps to earth crunching beneath his feet to breath hanging in the air to—

to the boy leaning against the grave.

"Bakura," he greets. Bakura searches his face for an accusation, a why-did-you-leave-me-you-said-you-wouldn't-do-that-again-you-promised, finds none. Ryou is calm, smiles as he pats the ground beside him, sighs happily as he orders sit and Bakura responds, his body moving automatically. Ryou's side presses into his and there's a gentle hand on his cheek, then, a coaxing tug that turns his face and cold lips that press to his.

"I missed you." Ryou strokes Bakura's face with a single thumb, his eyes never leaving him. He swallows roughly, tastes bile again. "Where were you?"

"...I was sick." Bakura admits truthfully. Ryou measures this, nods almost knowingly.

"I'm sorry to hear it." says Ryou though his voice holds no apology. He kisses Bakura again, and Bakura lets him, lets Ryou's lips move against his unresponsive mouth.

There's small talk for a while, of movies and work and the stars. When the horizon begins to lighten, he stands, stiff muscles protesting. Ryou kisses him once more in goodbye, one cold hand trailing down his neck, issues final words of parting that send chills down Bakura's spine.

"Keep your body in good shape for me."

Never has he felt so dead, Bakura thinks numbly. No energy, dead to the world, he feels like a puppet with strings lying slack, maybe even -

"...even listening to me, Bakura?"

Bakura snaps back to awareness and is met with wide-eyed concern. He burns under the searching gaze and senses disappointment thickly radiating from Yuugi. For an instant, his mind toys with the idea of a whole discolored cloud of let-downs and false hopes, surrounding him and choking him and he'd die, then, die with wide eyes (bright with fear) and a mouth open to gasp for a last breath and an expression of horror (or maybe relief) -

"There are bags under your eyes." The disapproval rolls off of him in waves, and suspicion dances across his features. "Are you sure you're okay? You haven't been acting like—"

"Like myself. I know." Bakura cuts him off harshly, coughs with a wince and waves a dismissive hand. He laughs without humor. "Believe me, I know."

"You were getting better for a while." He peers at him strangely, an odd look on his face. "What's happening to you?"

"I—" He stops, closes his mouth, feels the familiar tug gape inside him like a reopened wound.

I wish I knew.

"I love you, you know?" Ryou hums, pulls Bakura's head into his lap and strokes a hand through his hair. "You're perfect."

"I—" He finds his throat closing, struggles for words and comes up with none, something that seems to be happening more and more lately, occurrences increasing at an alarming rate. He shivers when Ryou brushes hair back from his eyes.

"Rest." Ryou advises, bends to kiss his forehead. "Rest, rest, rest. Rest."

"It hurts." Bakura mumbles dazedly. The ache in his bones has subsided for now, but he knows it will be back. It always returns. "It hurts, Ryou, oh god, and it only stops when you're—"

Ryou presses a soft kiss to his lips to silence him. "I know." He murmurs. His breath washes over Bakura's face, cold and sweet with the faintest tinge of dust, dust and the sort of staleness you'd find in an unopened attic.

"...It hurts." Bakura groans again, feels his eyes roll back in their sockets as his eyelids drop.

"Talk to me. It'll be over soon. Talk to me about something you like." Ryou's hand dances through his hair, combs out the tangles. "Tell me about Malik."

An odd request. Bakura doesn't bother to ask how he knows the name; they have never really discussed this before, despite all their meetings occurring on his grave. The pain lessens slightly.

"He was—" Bakura's voice shakes, and he swallows, tries to steady it. "He was strong. Smart. And his laugh was nice. But he was always in trouble with something. He was the kind of kid store dead bodies in trunks, you know?" Bakura laughs distantly, grimacing at the crazed tone he has unwittingly taken on. "And he...god, he was beautiful."

"Beautiful like me?" Ryou teases, shifts Bakura on his lap.

"Yeah." He wets his lips. "Both of you. You're so beautiful."

The pain is lessened some by both the memory and Ryou's cool hand on his cheek. He leans into the touch gratefully, feeling feverish as sweat breaks out across his brow.

"I love him." Bakura voices quietly. "I love him. I love...I loved him. Oh, god, I miss him. I miss him so much."

"He loves you, too." Ryou soothes. "He misses you everyday."

Too tired to question the present tense, Bakura presses his face into Ryou's stomach, feels him shake with gentle laughter. Hands slide down his chest and up under his shirt, and he sighs peacefully, peacefully, peaceful relax happy content when suddenly he realizes that he can still feel Ryou's hands near his head, separate from the ones on his chest, and that there is—oh god, oh god there is someone else touching him.

Bakura's eyes shoot open and he jolts backwards, nearly knocks Ryou over, and the owner of the hands that greet him is, was, are—please god no please someone help me

Malik Ishtar smiles calmly at him and Bakura screams, screams into Ryou's hand, screams even as his fiancé, his dead fiancé leans in for a kiss and he tastes like death, tastes like Ryou tastes like death

The first thing he registers is that Ryou is singing softly above him, something both familiar and foreign. He is with Ryou, he always feels better with Ryou, and Bakura feels his cracked lips almost twist into a smile.

"Oh, are you awake, Bakura?"

Bakura's breathing is ragged now, and it's almost funny, being here with Ryou on Malik's grave. Every time he's thought of it his stomach's churned but all of a sudden it's funny, oh god, it's hilarious, and he can feel his tongue desperately wetting his lips as the world returns to him, can feel his heart pounding, and then he remembers, he remembers, remembers even as he feels Ryou's hands in his hair and another pair touching his neck.

"...Stop it..."

"Relax, Bakura." Malik's face is inches from his, now, larger than life and disorienting as death.

"You''re not..." Revulsion pounds through him, gives him the momentary strength to push them away. He scrambles out of Ryou's lap and to his feet weakly, and he is—is he already out of breath?

"Bakura..." Ryou warns. Both stand, both face him, and Bakura backs away slowly.

"You''re not real." He hears himself protest, shudder. "Stay away from me. Don't touch me. You're not real."

"No, he's not." Ryou says calmly, a small, regretful smile playing at the corner of his mouth. "I'm afraid I've been lying to you, Bakura."

"But I'm real enough." Malik flashes him the same old smile, the one that says I'm feigning innocence, does it show? and for a second, his heart stops. "Didn't you feel my hands, earlier?"

"What are you?" Bakura rasps, panic rising in him thick and choking and hot.

"Even if I told you, you wouldn't understand." Ryou shrugs, as casually as if he were discussing the weather. "Angel, demon. Devil, god." When he grins, his teeth are sharp, and he's humming again, the same unrecognizable yet familiar tune that seems to fog his mind, weaken his knees. "Death."

"Why?" is all Bakura can manage. "Why? Why? Why—"

"You were desperate." Ryou interrupts. "You didn't even want to live anymore, or am I wrong?"

"I—" Bakura wets his lips desperately, eyes flickering over to the not-Malik and when he speaks again, it's a whisper. "Please, Ryou, take him away."

"Malik?" Ryou's laugh is no longer clear-cut and bright but harsh, grating, and Bakura flinches. "Relax, Bakura. He's dead."

"You made me see him," Bakura groans, the pieces falling into place. "This whole time, you knew? You—"

"Your body is young, strong." Ryou cuts him off. "You were already distant from others, and when Malik died, you wanted to die, too."

Bakura stares, uncomprehending.

"Don't you understand?" Ryou's voice drips with amusement. "Hurting yet unscathed, nothing to live for? You were a mess. You were perfect, Bakura. I had to have you."

"No." Bakura shakes his head, taking a step back. "No, no—"

"Bakura, I love you." Ryou croons, taking a step closer. "I thought you loved me, too, or was that a lie?"

"I..." His thoughts are slow in coming, the world isn't responding, and he shakes his head slowly, stupidly. "...I never wanted this."

There is no response. Impassive, impassive, and when—Bakura looks back in his mind, wonders when it got so bad. How did it come to this? He's never felt so weak, so tired, in his entire life, like his body (or maybe his soul, whispers a sly voice) is shutting down.

"I have to go." Bakura chokes out, backs away and turns without waiting for a response. He manages maybe three steps before he's running, running, and—

Pain sears through him, hot and acidic, his muscles cramping and his lungs protesting and his body falling apart all at once. Bakura leans heavily against the nearest tombstone, feels his stomach churn disgustingly inside him, can almost imagine intestines spilling out of his mouth if he lets it go—intestines and blood and maybe flies and all the things never said—and knows this is the end.

"I don't understand." He says feebly, weakly, childishly. Ryou stares at him (calmly, of course, he's always been so), and the not-Malik stands beside him.

"Don't you love me?" Malik asks sorrowfully, the shape of his lips not quite matching the words (like badly synced-audio, like someone who's forgotten how to speak), and Bakura's mouth opens and closes for a minute.

"...I love you." Bakura shudders. "I always have."

"Join me?" Malik is closer, now, and if Bakura looks too closely he sees the wrongness of the image, the way the skin shifts as though it's ready to fall off and god save him if he had to see what's underneath. Malik's clammy hands take his wrists, pull him closer for a kiss, and he makes no move to pull away. "Let Ryou take you, and you can join me."

Their lips press together, living Bakura and rotting flesh, and (tastes like death, tastes like dust and death, just like just like Ryou—) and a second pair of lips press to the side of his throat from behind. Bakura groans helplessly.

"I love you, Bakura." Ryou breathes into his neck. His arms encircle him briefly, and he presses their bodies together, arranges his limbs to match Bakura's from behind. Bakura realizes with horror that Ryou's flesh is singing him, melting into his with no more resistance than a stone dropped into water.

"Stop—" Malik muffles him with a kiss, and it's no longer Malik, but a grinning skull with hell in its eyes. Bakura breaks away to gasp for air, struggles, and he does vomit then, only a little, there's nothing in his stomach but a small amount of bile that dribbles down his face and onto his shirt with a sickening shiver of his whole body. "Stop!"

"It'll be over soon," Ryou sings and it's then that—it's then that

Ryou steps into him, physically steps into him, and Bakura can hear screams and only some of them are his own and it's in that moment that his mind brushes the infinite, almost comprehends it.

Bakura's eyes widen, and he sees past, past Malik and into—into

He falls backwards, the vision broken, falls backwards and his body—his body remains standing.

His body turns to face him, smiles Ryou's smile. Bakura recoils, too stunned to move - there is something deeply horrifying, in the truest sense of the word, about seeing your body move and smile without your control—

"Don't worry." his voice says, "I'll take good care of it. The body, I mean. Goodbye, Bakura."

—and he watches as his—no, Ryou's body unlocks his car door and steps inside.

"We're alone now." Malik's voice is both a song and a snarl as he slides a hand up under Bakura's shirt, forces him onto the ground and kisses him despite the sick smeared on his lips. "You fucked him on my grave, right? Give me a turn."

There are maggots in his smile and blood on his lips, and Bakura would vomit again if there were anything left in his stomach. He dry-heaves for a moment, and Malik only continues to kiss him, pulls off his shirt and lets his mouth stretch sickeningly and there are wicked incisors and he moves closer and oh god oh god and


and Bakura

and Bakura sobs for the first time, loud enough to to to wake the comatose. Malik (but it's not Malik, not really, some sick spirit summoned by Ryou, whatever he is—was before he stepped into and stole Bakura's body) tugs at his hair. Bakura feels its teeth close on his lip, snap and tear away his flesh and he can see the demon chew it slowly and swallow with a seductive purr.

There's no fight left in him as the thing undresses him, shoves into him with no lubrication but blood, and Bakura can only slump backwards as the thing slams into his body, eats him alive.

Something in Ryou—no, it's Bakura now—likens looking into a mirror to a body sliding into water.


There's a stillness in the air when he steps out of the shower, a welcoming lift that wraps around him lovingly, whispers welcome to life.

The mirror's reflection looks back at him happily.

For no reason at all, Bakura nods to it, laughs.

He hums under his breath, continues to do so as he's getting dressed, even as he drives, even as the other boy smiles, says Bakura, you look a lot better today.

I am, he replies, with a grin. I am I am I am I am I am I AM I AM I -