A/N: Rated T for Bakura-language and shounenai. Thanks to Crysanth for being my Beta!
"No. Way. In. Hell," Bakura slammed his fists down on the table, glaring fiercely at his manager.
Any lesser being would have shriveled under the intense hatred in his eyes, but after working as his manager for so long, Mai Valentine had long become accustomed to Bakura's tirades. The only sign of her annoyance was a lazy, catlike blink, and her violet eyes regarded him with cool indifference. The sentiment in her gaze was clear, and Bakura translated it with ease: Are you done yet?
No, Bakura answered with a glare of his own. No, he wasn't. He refused to give up when his career was on the line, and in this case, surrendering meant being forced into the most humiliating job he'd ever accepted.
"I'm the most desired actor in the show business. Tell me one good reason why I'd film a bloody gay romance."
"Well, you're popular, there's no denying that, but I'd hardly say you're the most sought after," Mai gave a withering sigh, rolling her eyes at Bakura's vanity. She glanced down at her phone to check the time, an action she knew would only serve to infuriate Bakura more, but she didn't bother to hide the gesture.
Normally, Bakura would have made her life a living nightmare for daring to look away from him when he was talking, but this time his situation was precarious, and they both knew it. Violence proved unlikely to solve the situation, much to Bakura's livid disappointment. After all, he wasn't sure what contracts his tenacious manager had already signed, so he couldn't do away with her just yet- even if the idea satisfied him immensely. She was clearly enjoying his distress more than she should.
"I'm popular, and I'm the most popular," Bakura corrected her dismissively. "How about this? I'll start filming your idiotic gay romance right around the time you stop being such a bitc-"
"You don't have a choice, Bakura," Mai cut his insult off impatiently, brushing one of her many blond locks behind her shoulder with a self-assured flick. "You should have thought of this before you stole that car."
If the woman hadn't been so good at her job, Bakura would have fired her on the spot for her aggravating confidence. The two had history, that couldn't be denied- but it was a history of conflict, manipulation, and an unhealthy number of shouting matches, even by Bakura's standards. He didn't hate Mai so much as her headstrong attitude clashed with his, but he also didn't dare fire her. The woman had a frightening amount of influence in the show business, and Bakura loathed thinking about what would happen to his career if he did.
"I'd rather be taken to court and sued than act as a sappy idiot in a stupid romance film! Especially one involving men," Bakura spat, crossing his arms. He glared across the tastefully-decorated waiting room, kicking at the mahogany table in front of the luxurious leather couch he was slouched in.
"We're trying to avoid negative publicity," Mai reminded him, crossing her arms and tapping her well-manicured fingers warily in an indiscernible pattern. Her tone was entirely unsympathetic to his plight.
"Like taking a homo role is going to help?" Bakura snapped rudely. Mai scowled, taking a deep breath and praying for the patience to deal with Bakura. It was a futile request. No god would be that generous.
"You'll be singing a different tune when Mr. Pegasus comes by," she warned Bakura seriously, giving him a steely look of disapproval.
"Are you going to make me?" Bakura had just enough time to snort disbelievingly before the man in question entered the room, knocking briskly on the door. Bakura glared at the legendary millionaire and movie director, not bothering to hide his loathing for someone who dared prance around in such an obnoxiously bright red suit.
"Ah, you must be Bakura and Ms. Valentine. It's nice to meet you," he greeted them with a generous smile, striding across the room with sure-footed steps and offering to shake his hand.
"What a shame the feeling isn't mutual," Bakura sneered, staring at the hand in disgust until the man finally pulled away, seemingly undisturbed by the rejection and smoothly offering to shake Mai's hand instead. Mai accepted the gesture with a dazzling smile, sending Bakura a brief glare as Pegasus turned to sit down on the couch opposite the two.
"Now, don't be like that, Baku-boy. I'm the director of the upcoming drama, as I'm sure you know," Pegasus offered another disgustingly enthusiastic smile before continuing. "I'm so looking forward to working with you. Together, I'm sure we'll make Yugioh a drama worth remembering," he added exuberantly, spreading his arms in an indulgent gesture.
Bakura's eyes narrowed at the repulsive nickname, but found it difficult to get a word in edgewise with the fool. Actually, everything about the man appeared excessively flamboyant. The small smile dancing across his lips immediately clued him in; Bakura knew instinctively that they were not going to get along.
"Look, Pegasus," Bakura leaned forward as he spoke, his eyes flashing the dangerous crimson that his fans all adored. Of course, the fools had never had to face his wrath without a television screen and anonymity between the two, and that made all the difference. "As much as I'm sure that… 'Yugioh' will be successful," Bakura drawled the word mockingly, voice dripping with sarcasm. "Let me put this into words an idiot like you can understand," he started, glowering in clear distaste.
"Bakura," Mai warned, but he didn't let her finish.
"I have absolutely no desire to play a part in your disgusting gay romance. So I suggest we both save ourselves a great deal of time and end our acquaintance here," Bakura finished in a snarl.
Mai suppressed a groan and Pegasus's eyebrows shot up in surprise, his mouth twitching up into a delightfully amused smirk.
"This could be it, Ryou!" Yugi chattered cheerfully. Ryou thought that if his friend became any more excited, he'd break the springs of his bed with his bouncing. Again. "I can't believe we both got roles in Yugioh! We're going to be stars!"
"Yeah," Ryou agreed warily and forced the corners of his mouth to curve upwards. It couldn't really be called a smile, but in his opinion, it was amazing he was even trying.
Yugi frowned at his friend, unimpressed by his commendable effort. Ryou sighed; at times he felt he was tragically unappreciated.
"Come on, Ryou, show some enthusiasm! The roles we're playing are really awesome," Yugi said optimistically, his own enthusiasm undeterred.
"Uh-huh," Ryou mumbled, truthfully dreading the filming quite a bit. He stared down at his washed out skin, not wanting to meet the other boy's eyes or face his own uncertainties about the filming.
"Hey, are you listening?" Yugi complained good-naturedly, crawling to the other end of the bed so he could tap Ryou's hands in an effort to gain his attention. Ryou merely shifted his gaze from his fingers to the light blue bed sheets, following the creases in the soft fabric with his eyes. Ignoring his friend proved difficult; however, seeing as Yugi kept jumping up and down on the bed they were both sitting on.
"Yeah?" Ryou sighed the word more like a question, relieved when his shorter companion moved away, giving him back his end of the bed.
"This is a huge chance!" Yugi began again as soon as he was acknowledged. His eyes were bright, nearly shining in anticipation. "We're total rookies, but we got offered roles in a drama under such a famous director."
"Well, you might not be so flattered if you gave some actual thought to the role you're playing," Ryou reminded him flatly.
Yugi's face fell momentarily, but immediately lit back up.
"It won't be so bad! I mean, probably. I know the remake has changed a lot of the original Yugioh script, and now we have to pretend that we- um …like men, and all," he said, scratching his head sheepishly. "But in the script, the romance is slow moving and mostly revolves around the emotions of the characters. It's actually rather romantic, if you think about it, and we won't need to act out many uncomfortable situations. The show is going to be PG-13!" Yugi pointed out cheerfully.
"I guess." Ryou shrugged doubtfully.
"Ryou-" Yugi trailed off, his smile drooping slightly.
Ryou noted with mild interest that when Yugi's smile drooped, so did the points of his hair. Absently, Ryou wondered vaguely if they really wilted, or if that was just the impression Yugi gave when his usual smile fell.
"I know when we entered showbiz, we promised to stick together and do our best. Still, if you really don't want us to play these roles, we can- we can reject them," Yugi mumbled, trying and failing to hide his disappointment.
"No," Ryou shook his head, forcing himself to refocus on the conversation. "You're right, these are really good roles. I'm not sure if I'm accepting the role or not, but if you want the role, you should take it. When we promised to stick together, it was meant to be for support, not acting. We can still be there for each other and have roles in separate films. We've done that a few times already, haven't we?"
"Yeah, but this time is different," Yugi said reluctantly. "This role is huge. There's no other show like it- they're remaking an old, popular show about card games and turning it into a romance between men, and it's directed by Pegasus."
His eyes were wide and sincere, and Ryou wondered how Yugi could be so honestly good. Yugi was always there for him and Ryou this time should return the favor. Really, he was unsure why he even was hesitating. Yugi was right. This role was huge.
The storyline was based off an old popular anime and an innovative romance, and the drama targeted a completely new audience. It was highly anticipated, not only for the extremely controversial plot, but because of the famous soon-to-be director, Pegasus.
It was particularly advantageous for Ryou- to sweeten the deal, many big-time actors and actresses had rejected the offers for roles, despite the possible popularity. They didn't want to risk their careers on such an unconventional romance, and their reluctance gave a once-in-a-lifetime chance to fresh talents.
In other words, newbie actors like Ryou and Yugi had the chance to play roles that would otherwise be taken by the more experienced actors. Yes, they would have to play the roles of young, gay boys...but it also had the potential to give them an instant rise to fame.
"This role could make us famous. I don't want to go through that without you," Yugi sighed.
"I know," He answered. He knew he should take the role...but he had such an ominous feeling about the whole project. "I just- something doesn't feel right about all of this."
Or he was just being paranoid. What was he doing? This was a chance he'd never have again, but he still considered the possibility of rejecting it. Ryou clenched his fists, silencing his doubts and deciding not to let this fear ruin his chances of becoming famous. He had goals to accomplish and a promise to fulfill, and he wasn't going to spend the rest of his life wondering if he broke that promise because he didn't want to take this risk.
"It's okay. You should do what you feel comfortable with," Yugi told him, his bright eyes sincere and understanding. Ryou lifted his chin to meet the gaze of his friend.
"No," Ryou finally decided. "You're right. I'll do it. Let's tell the director we'll take the roles," Ryou said firmly, setting his jaw defiantly. After all, what was life without a few risks?
Still, the feeling of dread continued to skirt around the edges of his thoughts even as he steeled his resolve. Ryou felt unsure if he was prepared for what he was agreeing to.