A/N: The more I think about the relationship between Malik and Rishid, the more I love it. This story takes place several months after they leave the tomb and begin Malik's quest for vengeance.

Black t-shirt, jeans. Good so far. Bronze skin, lavender eyes, golden armbands. That'll get attention. Worst of all, the kid was clearly a kid. People cast sidelong glances at him, nudging each other and nodding his way, all trying to figure out what a boy was doing in a seedy bar at night. How he even got in.

"Rishid, they say you can get a lot of information and meet a lot of people at 'bars.'"

Malik's goal was to create an elite group that could do everything from smuggling to forgery, and after spending several months in Egypt, they'd left for America to find more members. Rishid had spent many hours reading through guidebooks and learning about the country, and he now recalled what he'd heard about its bars.

"Neither of us are old enough to get into a bar. You have to be twenty-one."

"Oh, really?" Malik's face formed that cold smirk it wore more and more frequently. He examined the golden rod in his hand and held it up. The eye sculpted on it shone brightly. "I don't think that will matter."

Rishid shifted uncomfortably in the booth as Malik wrapped his fingers around a shot glass he'd mind-controlled a waitress into bringing him. "Master Malik," Rishid said quietly, "I don't think you should drink that."

Malik glared at him as he raised the glass to his lips. "I'll do what I want, Rishid. Alcohol seems very important to people living on the surface. I'll find out what's so great about it." He took his first sip and almost made a face as the liquid burned his throat but caught himself in time. Expressionless, he downed the rest and set the glass back on the table.

A man hopped down from a nearby stool and strolled over to them. Rishid saw Malik's muscles tense and knew he would be clutching the Rod, ready to use it at a moment's notice. "Say, aren't you two a little young to be in a bar?" He chuckled and flicked the shot glass. "Probably should be in bed by now."

He looked like he'd just reached the legal drinking age himself. He was very pale- sometimes it surprised Malik that people living on the surface could be so pale, when they'd been able to bask in the sun all their lives. Running a hand through messy hair, the man went on, "You should probably leave. This bar's full of troublemakers. It's no place for two little kids."

"How about I buy you a drink?" The man smiled and dragged a chair to the edge of their table. Rishid was confused for a moment about his sudden change in attitude but the look of concentration in Malik's eyes let him know the man was no longer speaking or acting of his own volition.

He snapped his fingers and two glasses appeared on the table, courtesy of a blank-eyed waitress. Malik's breathing became somewhat labored; Rishid knew it wasn't easy for him to control two people at once.

"Try it, Rishid," Malik urged. Rishid inwardly sighed as he picked up the glass. He really didn't want to drink it, but if Malik wanted him to…

He drank it all in one gulp. It tasted awful.

"Well?" asked Malik.

"I think I'll stick to water."

Malik shrugged and drank his own before turning to the man still sitting with them. "Tell me who you are."

The man rattled off some information about where he went to college, what his hobbies were, who his family was. Malik poked around in his mind a bit too, filling in the gaps, before he was satisfied. "You're useless. Leave."

The man was outside the bar before he was in control of his own actions again. He blinked and shook his head back and forth, wondering how much he'd drank to hallucinate seeing children in a bar.

Twenty minutes later, Malik closed his eyes and put a hand to his forehead. "Are you sick, Master Malik?"

"No," he snapped. He winced and lowered his head. "I'm… fine."

"Perhaps you've drank enough…"

Malik opened one eye and pushed a half-full glass away from him. "Perhaps. We haven't found out anything useful yet, anyway."

He sat back in the booth and focused. He jumped from mind to mind, quickly determining if anyone in the room could be of use or not. He lingered in the mind of a woman three booths over. Her memories revealed that she was an avid Duel Monsters fan, and had several first edition cards. Malik mentally beckoned her.

Her friend looked puzzled as she walked away mid-conversation, stopping in front of Malik. She reached into her purse, pulled out a deck, and placed it into Malik's outstretched hand. Malik thumbed through the cards, took two out, and gave her the rest back. She walked back to her date and resumed chatting like nothing had happened.

"These aren't bad. I don't think anyone else can help us, though. I'll just finish this and we'll leave." He picked up the glass and finished it. By now his head was pounding and he felt nauseous, but that could have been from the exertion of using the Rod so much in one night instead of the alcohol, or so he told himself.

Malik rose to leave and Rishid hurried to his side. The boy was a little unsteady on his feet, but he shoved Rishid's hand away when it was raised in concern. They were almost out the door when a hand suddenly reached out and closed around Malik's wrist. An older man with a shady smile appraised him. "What's a cute thing like you doing out here alone?" he questioned, leaning towards him. Malik leaned back the same distance, eyes confused. He didn't know why he was being called cute and wondered if the man had mistaken him for a girl.

"He's not alone," Rishid growled, snatching Malik's hand away. The lecherous grin never left the man's face as Rishid picked Malik up and rushed out of the bar. Malik protested and struggled in his grip, but Rishid refused to let go until they were well past the parking lot. As soon as he set him down on the sidewalk, he turned to yell at Rishid. When he opened his mouth, though, he turned green and clapped both hands over it. After a moment, he whispered, "I feel sick, Rishid."

"Allow me to take you back to our hotel, Master Malik."

Malik nodded, and Rishid picked him up again, walking the half-mile or so to where they'd reserved a room. They used the back entrance and Rishid climbed the seven flights of stairs to their room. Inside, he lay Malik down on the bed. He looked really ill at this point. Rishid wet a washcloth and pressed it to his stepbrother's forehead.

Malik was feeling more and more nauseous, but he refused to throw up. He tried to focus on the soft sheets of the bed, the warm air of the room, the soothing dampness of the cloth. His thoughts jumbled together and he had to question why people drank so much alcohol if this is how it made them feel.

Rishid got up to re-soak the cloth. The room spun, making Malik moan. Muffled laughter made his eyes burst open. He glared as Rishid approached the bed. "What's so-funny?" he managed to ask.

Rishid's brow creased. "Nothing, Master Malik."

The laughter returned, louder and darker. Malik stared at Rishid's motionless mouth.

He guessed this was another side-effect of drinking so much. But as the minutes passed and muted whispering began, a feeling of unease swept over him. He could only make out a few words, but they were terrible ones. Kill…everything red…stab right there… When the murmuring stopped, the laughter returned. Malik's fingers twitched; he wanted to cover his ears, but he somehow knew that wouldn't stop the noise. His breath caught in his throat when the voice spoke his name.

…Malik…

…..Maaaliiiiik…..

Malik felt for the Rod on his belt. It always made him feel better to know it was nearby, but as soon as he touched it, laughter exploded inside his skull. He groaned, let go of the Rod, and held his head.

Suddenly, it was quiet, as Rishid re-entered his field of vision and handed him a glass of water. Malik gulped it thirstily before letting the empty glass fall to the floor.

Let me destroy him, Malik.

The sudden clarity of the voice startled Malik. He started to answer aloud, then shut his mouth and thought, Who are you? What do you mean?

We are one. If you let me take over, you won't feel sick anymore. I promise everything will be perfect. I can give you everything you want.

I want to kill the Pharaoh, Malik found himself thinking.

I know. I would kill him in a beautiful way for us… His screams would echo forever and we could bathe in his blood.

In his blood…

Yes. We'll kill him and no one can stop us. No one is strong enough. We have the Rod.

Malik shook his head slightly. I have the Rod. Only me.

Listen. I am you.

No! I don't know who you are!

Tch. You're weak.

Suddenly, everything darkened. Malik felt like something was forcing him away from the light, and it scared him. He tried to push back, but he was so sick and tired, and everything kept getting darker. The cackling started yet again and he heard it not only in his mind but in his ears- and was his mouth moving?

"Master Malik!"

Rishid firmly placed his hands on Malik's shoulders and peered at him with concern. The smirk faded from his face and his cruel eyes clouded over.

He clutched Rishid's arm. "I don't want to go into the dark. Rishid, you can't let the darkness take me!" He was becoming frantic. "Don't let it have me!"

Rishid slowly sat down next to Malik, ignoring how deeply his fingernails were digging into the skin of his arm. For a second, he'd seen a different Malik- the one who'd killed his own father and had almost killed him. But the wide lavender eyes looking at him now belonged to his beloved stepbrother, and whatever the owner of those eyes asked for, Rishid would give without hesitation.

"I will never let it have you, Master Malik," he promised, right as the voice inside Malik's mind taunted, You are already mine.