"There are three bodies now," Malik says. Bakura isn't paying attention to him. It's too early in the morning to feign interest in a new case.

"There's no reason to take the case, Malik. We have enough money."

"The police have even asked us to get involved."

Bakura finally looks at him, dressed meticulously with elaborate jewelry, coffee cup in one hand, and reports on the serial murders in the other.

"It sounds boring."

They don't take the case.

Bakura breaks open the lock and slips into the house. No one is home, but Malik is keeping watch outside just in case. Valuables fill Bakura's pockets. He spies a golden ring on a jewelry display, shining and amethyst-encrusted. Malik would love it. He slips it into a pocket and leaves.

The killer licks the blood from his palm and grins at the way the taste mingles with salty skin. A woman lay at his feet, face mutilated, bones broken. The bones had been an accident. The killer only likes it when he can see proof of their suffering, pouring from cut after cut after cut.

"If we had enough money before, we must be rich now." Malik rests his chin on his fist and gives Bakura a hard look. He's rifling through the spoils of last night.

"Paper money isn't half as good as all this." Bakura holds up some of the items: original edition leather-bound books, a watch that must have cost more than a typical month's salary, a silver candle-holder. The ring is still securely in his pocket.

"I have to go," Malik says. Bakura doesn't stop kissing him, feeling him, so Malik shoves him away. Bakura growls as Malik gathers his scattered clothes and puts them back on.

"What's the rush?"

Malik pulls the curtain aside and glances out. "It's almost night."

"Afraid of the dark?" Bakura spits out sarcastically.

Malik looks him in the eye. "Yes."

"It's a nice cover," Malik muses. Bakura keeps his eyes closed and remains sprawled out on the couch. It's too early in the morning to feign interest in Malik's mutterings.

"We can take whatever we want, and no one would ever suspect the detectives that put thieves in jail are thieves themselves."

"It's people's own fault if they get caught. What do the damn amateurs expect, not using gloves or even able to pick the simplest lock?" Bakura grumbles. He feels a sudden pressure above him, and then Malik's hand on his face. Malik connects their lips and Bakura likes this much better, no talking, all action.

Bodies number five and six lay side by side, still reaching towards one another in death. The killer admires his work. As he gets more creative in his methods, he's found people get more creative in their responses. The more they beg, scream, and cry, the more fulfilled the killer is.

"Seven people, Bakura."

"Don't pretend you really care about the victims."

"We're taking this case."

"Convince me."

So Malik does, right on the desk in their office.

Malik puts on his coat to leave. Winter is approaching, which means the man with bronze skin will begin complaining about the weather any time. Bakura is used to this routine. He's known Malik for three years now.

He wonders if he really knows Malik at all.

"Stay," he says.

"I have to go."

His motorcycle roars to life and Bakura's alone.

Bakura peers silently through the window. Curtains almost conceal the room behind them, but they leave a slit wide enough for discerning eyes to make out what's in the dark room. Malik is asleep, and he's being held by a man who appears a few years older. Bakura watches as Malik shifts uneasily in his sleep, and the man instantly wakes up and pulls Malik closer to him with a protective sweep of the arm.

When Bakura walks back home, he tosses the ring into an alley.

"There's a pattern," Malik says. He's scrutinizing notes and pictures spread out over the desk. Bakura leans over the back of a chair facing away from Malik. "We can probably guess where the killer will strike next."

It takes an hour for him to finally ask what's wrong. He gets an idea and walks up behind Bakura. "Are you mad I'm wasting precious desk space? Should we correct that?" he murmurs, leaning in close to Bakura's ear. Bakura doesn't turn around; he just shoots a hand out and stops Malik from getting any closer to him.

Malik's eyes narrow in confusion then fury when Bakura still refuses to look at him. "It's not like you're much help anyway." He leaves to solve the case on his own.

Bakura goes home. He doesn't live in a house like Malik and whoever Malik lets hold him as he sleeps. His apartment is small but well-furnished, mainly with things he never bought.

He turns on the television and doesn't really know why. All that ever comes out of it is trash or annoying rambling. Today the breaking news is that there has been an eighth murder in the city and that police are no closer to figuring out who's behind these atrocious acts. The murders are happening more and more often.

Bakura shuts off the television and microwaves some food. He eats half of it before throwing it away and going to look for Malik.

There's so much blood this time. It's a real treat. The killer bathes his hands in the red substance, and somehow it's in hair hair too, as well as staining his clothes. He'd absorbing all the beautiful color and it's such a happy thought he begins to laugh.

He breaks off when he hears footsteps behind him. He doesn't mind the extra company, of course; he takes his knife and prepares to slaughter the intruder.

But the intruder, with his dark brown eyes and pale, pale skin and hair, is prepared for him. A gun is pointed at his head.

Malik's notes had told Bakura precisely where to go. There was a pattern, and of course Malik was able to trace it so easily because he was the one who'd established it. Bakura kept pointing the gun at his partner, his face set and cold.

Malik clenches his teeth and struggles with the thick rope keeping him restrained. He knows all of Bakura's tricks, and he'd still been bested, and now they are in Bakura's car and he doesn't know where he's being taken.

Bakura listens to the curses and knows that this is Malik but not Malik. "I have to say I'm impressed. I didn't know that all this time I'd been working with a crazy person."

"You should be happy to be in my company then," not-Malik leers. "I'm Malik's better half. I'm not pathetic like him. I wouldn't," he laughs, "have to leave before dark."

"...Malik has nightmares."

"Every night," not-Malik confirms gleefully. "I get to star in most of them."

Bakura stops the car at their office. Night has fallen and this new Malik's violet eyes glitter in the faint light of the stars.

"Where is Malik right now?"

"Locked away tight. Maybe this time he won't come back out. And it would be all your fault..."

"What do you mean?" Bakura asks sharply.

"You upset him."

"We've fought before, and as far as I'm aware, this is the first killing spree it's caused."

"You don't trust him. I know all his thoughts. He thinks you think he's hiding things from you and that makes you be distant with him."

Bakura slams his fist down on the steering wheel. "He's hidden a lot from me!" Glancing in the rearview mirror, he adds, "Clearly."

"Don't feel too bad," this Malik smirks. "He even hides the dark parts of his mind from himself. Normally I can only reign at night... And then, not when that damn man's around..." He begins to mutter to himself, but Bakura demands to know what he means by that last statement.

"'Damn man?'"

Malik smiles, and it's the most twisted, depraved smile Bakura thinks he's ever seen. "Our step-brother."

Bakura leaves Malik tied up to a chair in the office after removing anything that could be sharp enough to use as a weapon. For good measure, he duct tapes his mouth. He barely sleeps that night as he listens to Malik's furious attempts at escape. The only time he enters the office is to fetch Malik's cellphone when it begins to ring. Bakura answers it and assures the man on the other end- it's Malik's stepbrother, Bakura is so relieved it's his brother and not what he'd been imagining- that Malik is fine, he's with Bakura, yes that's right, his detective partner. Bakura agrees with fake mirth that fools everyone that it is strange for Malik to stay away from home, but that he wanted to work on the case; they'd made a breakthrough.

He leaves the building briefly to search for a piece of jewelry in an alley. It seems someone else has claimed it. He returns to the office and rests.

In the morning, Bakura finds an outraged Malik- his Malik, normal Malik. He's glaring at him with furious eyes. Bakura removes the tape from his mouth and the yelling instantly begins.

In the first lull, Bakura asks, "Do you remember anything that happened yesterday, Malik?"

"Yes. You were being an ass, so I went to work on the case myself. Then I..." He trails off, searching through his memories and coming up with nothing. He looks down at his bloody clothes and freezes. "...Why am I covered in blood?"

"You really don't remember..." Bakura appraises Malik and explains. "I joined up with you soon after you left. We found the killer, and he was a surprisingly good fighter. Things got bloody, as you can tell, and you took a blow to the head; it's probably why you don't remember anything. He escaped, but I think I wounded him enough to ensure he won't be around to murder anyone again. Then we came back here."

"...I see. So why the hell am I tied up?"

Bakura grins and leans down to bite Malik's ear gently. "It seems concussions can make a person quite kinky."

Malik vehemently protests the accusation as Bakura unties him and offers him clean clothes. Malik seems indecisive about accepting them, as though he'd rather be covered in blood than Bakura's poor fashion sense, but he finally gives in. When he comes out of the bathroom, skin freshly scrubbed, his eyes have darkened. "I need to go now." He's remembered the argument from yesterday.

Bakura catches his arm and refuses to let go. "Not before I say something."

Malik pulls out of his grasp and crosses his arm. "I'm listening."

Bakura breathes in deeply. He has limited options in what to say to keep Malik from getting any angrier.

"You should introduce me to your family sometime."

Malik is taken aback. "You want to meet my family?"

"I believe I just said that."

Malik considers this and his eyes soften. "I'll tell my sister, then. She'll want to have you for dinner and she'll cook something special."

Bakura inwardly cringes at the thought of having to make polite small talk with Malik's siblings- one of whom he'd thought was a lover Malik was cheating with. He doesn't go back on his request, though, especially when Malik gives him a mind-blowing kiss before driving to the hospital to check on his supposed concussion.

The killer inside Malik's head is sick at the sights unfolding before him. Malik loves that white-haired man, he can tell, and the fact that he can feel such a weak, useless emotion is revolting. The killer deserves to be in control. He would keep killing, and he'd start with that man, and the world would be better with less people and more blood, always more blood.

For now he will sleep in a corner of Malik's mind, but soon enough he will find a way to unleash his rage and darkness.