Bakura unlocked the door to Marik and his small apartment and pushed open it roughly, as per usual. Bakura had left to take a breather for a few hours, which had meant hitting the bar to sulk and down a few drinks. Marik hadn't answered his texts or call letting him know he was coming home, but he didn't think too much of it. Marik had his phone on silent quite frequently because the ringtones annoyed him and, after all, who would call? He only had a few numbers in his contact list. It just agitated him a bit how the boy could ignore his requests to check his cell every few minutes to let him know that he wasn't, well, dead or something. After all, the kid was practically a ticking time bomb. Maybe he did have reason to be worried, he realized the more he thought about it… His heart certainly was giving him an awful feeling when he found no one in the living room or kitchen.

"Marik?" Bakura raised his eyebrows and approached Marik's open bedroom. He peeked inside. Empty. In desperation he went to check the closet, in case the fool got to caught up in finding something to wear in each and every situation. He pulled the door open hesitantly in fear of catching the blonde undressing. Not at all because of seeing Marik's body, but because he was sure to get a scolding if he was caught staring. Not that he cared too much about that either, for that matter…

"Marik?" He peeked into the bar of visibility the ajar door had given him, but found nothing but a light left on among shelves and shelves of outfits, half of the outfits for the oddest occasions 'just in case it ever came up'

Bakura strode to the bathroom, the last place to check. He felt so stupid not to think he could just be going to the bathroom, he tried to convince himself. However, something was telling him it wasn't all right in there. He rapped on the door a couple of times.

"Hey," He called through the door "just wanted to let you know I'm home. You in there?"

No response.

Bakura knocked on the door harder, "MARIK ARE YOU IN THERE OR NOT?" His voice boomed as his fist rapped on the door at immeasurable speeds. The whole door shook to its hinges before an odd noise came from the bathroom, so quiet Bakura almost thought he was hearing things. He immediately stopped slamming on the door and tore it open, not caring if it left a hole in the wall. He could always fix that later. In the instant between the door being flung open and what he saw after, he figured this could go one of three ways:

1. Marik could be peeing or something and both parties would be extremely mortified at the misunderstanding.
2. Something could actually be very wrong
3. He could possibly not even be there (which would open a whole other can of worms)

2. Marik turned quickly to Bakura, startled, pulling his shirt down quickly in front of the mirror. The only thing that did not concern Bakura was that his makeup had been applied today. However, his unbrushed, moist hair drew Bakura's attention to the glistening sweat beads that were formed on his forehead as well as the base of his neck. His swollen, red eyes darted from the door, to Bakura, and down to the floor as if he had been caught in the middle of a dirty secret. But what? Bakura shifted his weight to one side and crossed his arms. He wasn't going to be having this foolish behavior every time he went somewhere. Added stress was not good for his already waning sanity with this boy around.

"What is going on, Marik?" It was more of a demand to talk than a question. His hands clenched into tight fists before the answer even came. Marik made only a small attempt to reply, his lips faltering hopelessly, in search of a logical explanation. With each passing second of silence, Bakura's knuckles became snowy white and nails nearly pierced the flesh of his palms. Marik could not keep secrets from him, it was not in his character. It wasn't allowed. Marik merely gave up and turned back to the mirror, contemplating his visage. After but a moment, Bakura slammed the door behind him to earn Marik's attention. He bore his teeth, far past his limit with the blonde.

"Tell me!"

"N-nothing!" Marik stammered, "I-I was just admiring my body! That's all!" With an index finger, he tucked away a stray piece of hair behind his ear.


At the mention of his name, his trembling, clammy hands gripped the cool porcelain of the sink. His shoulders arched over the sink, his chest heaved, a shaky breath expelling from his mouth. He raised his head to look at Bakura, but only through the mirror he now gazed into. The boy's initial fright transformed smoothly, albeit suddenly into…anger? His gaze tightened and his nasally voice piped up to a normal volume,

"Just leave me be, Fluffy! I'm entitled to some privacy!"

Now, something was definitely wrong, Bakura figured. Marik only took on an air of genuine aggression when he was fighting Melvin for control or he was remembering his childhood in Egypt. It only took that much for Bakura to realize exactly what was happening. His stance relaxed and his eyebrows raised with concern.

"Marik…" He repeated in almost a whisper, holding out his hand slightly. He was unsure of what he was supposed to do, what to say.

"I said…" His eyes narrowed and his body turned abruptly, gaze tearing to the white haired man. Bakura stepped back, alarmed. Not one bit of Marik's voice was altered, nor did his hair change, not one iota. This was all Marik. Marik…

"Leave me alone!" Marik raised his fist and quickly it found its way to the wall. A bit of the wall caved in around his hand, plaster showering the floor like grey snow.

"Frig!" Marik pulled his hand out quickly. The rage flickering away from his eyes, replaced with pain. "They don't tell you that it hurts like this when it happens in the movies!" He cried out, shaking his hand wildly in attempts to alleviate the pain. He ran around the room, crazed before Bakura grabbed him from the back, his rough hands holding the Egyptian by the forearms. Gods only know what would happen if I wasn't here. Bakura shushed the boy gently, moving his hand to gingerly hold the injured one.

Bakura's touch seemed to calm him, earning a sigh of relief. He opted not to speak, allowing Marik to work this out for himself. I'll help you if you need it, but you aren't getting off this easy.

"Bakura," Marik groaned in frustration, "I can't even get mad without needing your help! I can't do anything right, can I?" He thrashed against Bakura's grasp, but the man did not budge or loosen his grip in the slightest.

"I'm sorry…" Marik bit his lip as the tears that had pooled in his lower lids finally spilled over. "I just…"

"I hate them!" Marik choked, tears sliding down his cheeks in multitudes. Bakura hid his face in the Egyptian's sandy blonde hair, pushing him to continue, half to ease him into talking about it and half to see if his presumptions were correct.

"Sure, they fuel my anger toward the Pharaoh or whatever you always say, but…"

Marik gasped and choked out the words in a loud cry "They ruin me!" He broke down, his body racking with sobs against Bakura, who was now holding both of his hands.

Bakura chuckled softly into Marik's hair.

"Oh, come on, Marik… Is this really what you're on about?"

Marik stiffened.

"Only you could go through a childhood trauma that led to an awakening of a dark spirit within you and the drive to live a life devoted to hunting down the Pharaoh…and decide to concentrate on how the scars make you look." He laughed harder now, but didn't release Marik quite yet. He just wanted to hold him, just a bit longer.

Guilt crept up on the spirit, a feeling he rarely felt and was very uncomfortable with, He suddenly realized his wild cackling could be deemed as inappropriate when it only warranted harder sobs from Marik. The man did not ruin anything else by speaking, and allowed Marik to release the sorrow of several years of turmoil not mourned for several minutes. He only chose to speak when Marik's cries had subsided.

"Marik, I-" He whispered, his voice softer than usual, although still coarse. Oh, how this petty boy has got me acting like his pet. I never apologize, why has he got me second-guessing my actions?

"Bakura?" Marik quickly interrupted, throwing a glance over his shoulder.

"Yes?" Bakura drew out the question slowly, curious as to what the thief was getting to.

"You think I'm pretty…right?"

Bakura felt his chest tighten and face grow hot with the simple question. His perception of the boy's appearance far surpassed 'pretty', even surpassed 'beautiful'. He could scarcely look at his toned bronze skin without wanting... needing to pull the Egyptian in and kiss every bit of him he could get to, but he dared not admit to that. Not one word of it.

"What kind of question is that?"

"Bakura, answer the question…" Marik pulled gently away from Bakura's hands and immediately Bakura reached for them again, unable to separate himself after getting this far. Don't go…

Marik just sighed and complied, his fingertips gently gliding over the other's rough palms before carefully interlacing their fingers.

"Don't make me answer this question, Marik." Bakura shivered at the boy's delicate touch, but even more so at the desperation in the boy's next question.


Bakura shut his eyes and took a deep breath. I suppose this is just a good a time as any… but, Gods, Marik I don't want to do this. Half of him hoped that he could just say this and have Marik brush it off like any other time he tried to come on to him. But there was that nagging feeling in the back of his head that wanted to tell Marik everything and let the events unfold from there.

"Of course I do, you imbecile." He breathed, his lips an inch away from the boy's ear. Marik shivered, grabbing Bakura's hands tighter.

"Doesn't my back, the Pharaoh's memories and all, make me less so? Even a little?" He cocked his head, stroking slender white hands with his thumbs. Bakura was about to reply that it did not matter, as the significance of the inscription was far superior to the aesthetic, which was, of course, breathtaking. "Nevermind that it's one of the main things that we have that the Pharaoh, ironically, does not."

You know me too well. It's getting scary. Bakura thought to himself, considering the boy against him. He nuzzled the crook of his neck and inhaled the faint scent of lotion and cologne. He pulled his hands from Marik's and moved them over his shoulder blades. He dragged his hands down until he reached the bottom of the boy's cropped top. He pulled the fabric up and over Marik's head, exposing his back in all of its glory. Bakura delicately placed his hands on Marik's shoulders and planted a kiss on the back of his neck. Bakura smiled when Marik did not shy away from his attention Maybe…

"No." He breathed, a low purr emanating from his throat. "Not one bit." His fingers ghosted over the contours of the scars. Bakura had seen them so many times, but never this close. They came from pain, from a hot knife held by his father, but they were a part of Marik.

"They are just as beautiful as every other part of you."

Bakura leaned down and kissed between his tanned shoulder blades. Marik tensed and pulled away from him. The boy shook his head and turned around, forbidding any further access.

"Marik?" Bakura's eyebrows furrowed. Had he gone too far? I should have asked. I should have-

His thoughts were silenced by the gentle touch of Marik's palm on his cheek. The boy spared all formalities and crashed his lips onto Bakura's. His kisses were returned by the man with increased force, absolute desperation, as if it could never be enough.

Bakura hooked his fingers through Marik's belt loops and abruptly pulled the Egyptian closer to him. The boy's lips ghosted over his, his breath hitched.

"Thank you…" He took Bakura's lower lip between his teeth and pulled back gently. His thumb glided over Bakura's philtrum, then traced his lips delicately.

"Thank you, Bakura…" Marik repeated, pressing himself as close to the man as he could.

Bakura held Marik's hips, and pulled him hard against him. He closed the distance between their lips to hush the boy. He slid his tongue softly over the Marik's lower lip, warranting a small gasp. Just…don't say anything else. I've waited too long for this. Far too long.