So, another thiefshipping oneshot! This is for Unattainable Dreams' 'Prompt Exchange Challenge' (go check out the forum, it's great fun!) and it was a lot of fun to write. Also, I've never been on a helter-skelter, so I totally just made up that part. ^_^ It is mostly-abridged-based thiefshipping, because how could I not with this awesome prompt?! It is also very, VERY out of character. But I had fun. XD Enjoy! - Jem
Prompt: "Perfect couples are like chocolate covered squid tentacles. On the surface, what you and I see, everything is great. But on the inside, the whole relationship is rotten."
"That... is terrible. Have you always been this cynical?" [Sent by The Path of Supreme Conquest]
It was one of those picture-postcard-perfect days; you know, the days where families come crawling out from under the woodwork just to stroll about outside, taking pictures in the sunlight and pulling faces at the screen, laughing and joking and teasing in the process of making memories. At first glance, the summer fair that took place in the middle of the park looked ideal. Stalls selling candyfloss and ice cream laid about in the streaming sunlight, faint excited screams ringing out from the rides, music and happiness filling the very air of the place. Couples entwined on benches, children rushed to the rides, parents laughed in the few moments of peace ... Everything looked perfect.
At first glance.
As the couple that paced through the gates with confident footsteps and wide, wild smirks looked around, their eyes gleamed at the promise of the amount of trouble they could cause. The park was full to bursting, it being such a lovely summer's day; people gathered in clumps around the stalls selling various treats, the games and party tricks, the puppet stalls and the buskers, and most of all, the rides themselves. The crowds were preoccupied with each other, the games, the weather, most of them locked in conversation and paying little to no attention to their surroundings. Identical smirks stretched across the newly-arrived pair's lips as two hands, bronze and pale, intertwined. So many opportunities.
With a quick jerk of a white head the couple separated, linked hands lingering for a brief moment before they split, weaving through the crowds with a practised ease. They spared no glances for the mindless attractions that blazed out at them, moving with a sharp focus and determined gazes, hands dipping into pockets and bags and coming away with fists full of wallets and jewellery. The pale one was quickest, as always, making his smooth way around to the other side of the fair in record time, his long black coat newly heavy, the many pockets lining its insides full. He leaned casually back against the railings of a fence, the crowds largely ignoring him, his white hair fluttering in the breeze and acting as a beacon for his darker partner, who was only a few minutes behind him. A self-satisfied smirk tugged at pale lips as a tanned teenager approached, his hands nonchalantly in his pockets. The pale one spoke as the other approached. "You took your time."
"You've had more time to practise, Bakura," came the sniffy reply.
Bakura grinned. "That's true enough. What have you got?"
"Three wallets, a new watch and a couple of bracelets," the tanned one shrugged. "You?"
Bakura's grin stretched wider. "Seven wallets and two purses, a brooch, four bracelets, a necklace and a pair of earrings."
The other pouted. "No way you got a pair of earrings when -"
"Don't get pissy, Marik," Bakura chuckled, poking him on the tip of the nose before his hand slipped into one pocket, returning with two identical pieces of dangling gold.
Marik frowned down his upturned nose, examining the gold from the side. "How?"
"I dropped a penny, she bent down to pick it up, I grabbed them from her ears whilst she was otherwise occupied," Bakura shrugged, the corners of his mouth quirking upwards slightly. "I assume this means I win our little bet?"
Marik sighed loudly, removing the money from his wallet with a disgruntled expression and pressing them into his pale partner's hands. "Fine. You win. Don't spend it all on crap, though."
"As if I would." Bakura's eyes lit up a bit as he accepted the notes, slipping them, along with the earrings, back into one of his pockets. He pushed off the railings, one arm winding its way around Marik's shoulders as they re-entered the crowds. "Where do you want to go now?"
Marik shrugged, glancing around with his violet eyes narrowing wickedly. "Let's stay here for a bit. I need a chance to redeem my reputation."
"As if you ever could," Bakura scoffed. His grip tightened around Marik's shoulders when a tanned arm snaked around his waist, drawing them closer together as they swayed through the crowds. The sun was still streaming from a cloudless sky, the extra warmth of their entwined figures almost too much in the midday heat. Marik relaxed with a sigh, resting his head on Bakura's shoulder as they continued, their steps slower now as they meandered. Bakura growled softly. "Can't you walk for yourself?"
"Your shoulder is comfortable," Marik mumbled, leaning further into his pale partner as they continued on their way. Bakura merely grunted in response, begrudgingly allowing Marik to sag against him as they wandered around the park.
"Come on," he eventually muttered, footsteps slowing. "It was your idea to stay. What do you want to do?"
Marik blinked, hoisting himself away from Bakura with a sigh and glancing around. His eyes lit up when he saw a stall, grabbing Bakura's hand and tugging determinedly. The pale one sighed. "Where are you taking me now?"
"You'll like this," Marik promised, turning with a grin lighting up his face. Bakura smirked in return, pulling them to a halt for a moment and spinning Marik around to face him, leaving his hands resting lightly on Marik's shoulders. The Egyptian's head tilted to the side, his hair fanning attractively as he narrowed his eyes at Bakura. The sun made his tanned skin burst, gleaming in the bright rays, his violet eyes shimmering and flecked with grey and black, his bronze lips twisted quizzically and golden hair shining. He quirked one eyebrow, his expression mildly amused. "What's got into you?"
Bakura remained expressionless, his fingers curling around the back of Marik's neck and tugging him forwards. Their lips met briefly, Bakura's mouth surprisingly soft until he pulled away. Marik smiled at him, entwining their fingers once more as they started back through the fair. "Come on. I saw a ride we just have to go on!"
Bakura rolled his eyes, grumbling under his breath; that teen could be such an insufferable child at times. Marik poked his tongue out, ignoring Bakura's continued mutters as he tugged him through the crowds, making a beeline for one stall. Bakura sighed loudly when he saw where he was being dragged. "A helter-skelter? Really?"
Marik grinned, his grip tightening around Bakura's hand as if to stop him running away. "Come on! It'll be fun!"
Bakura eyed the tall tower warily, his brow furrowing. "No way am I riding down that thing."
"You have to!" Marik turned back around with a determined expression, dropping Bakura's hand in favour of placing his fists on his hips. Bakura would have laughed at his very feminine stance, had he not been so turned off by the idea of riding down a thin slide on a ratty old cushion, squashed in the tiny space next to Marik. The Egyptian glowered at his partner. "You are riding it with me whether you want to or not."
"You'll be riding it without your arms if you aren't careful," Bakura threatened, but Marik merely laughed at him.
"If you want company tonight, you will come with me," he tossed over his shoulder, striding away with his hips swaying. Bakura growled, glaring after him for a long moment before finally relenting and stalking after him, catching his hand in a crushing grip.
"You will pay for this," Bakura hissed, and Marik turned to him with a grin, planting a quick kiss on his cheek as they joined the line. The sun beat down as they waited and Bakura shifted impatiently on his feet, his black coat an unwelcome weight over his shoulders. Marik noticed and sighed, leaning against his side. "Leave your coat down here if it's bothering you."
"I can't," Bakura hissed. "Can't risk it getting looked through."
"Good point." Marik slid closer, winding his arms around Bakura's waist. Bakura grunted, remaining stiff; he wasn't going to encourage Marik, considering what he was being forced to do. The Egyptian pouted up at him before leaning away with a grumble. "Fine. But you won't be able to get away from me once we're in the tunnel."
"More's the pity," Bakura muttered, earning a sharp elbow jab in the ribs. He winced.
The queue dwindled far sooner than Bakura would have liked, but Marik bounded excitedly up to the top of the helter-skelter as soon as it was their turn. He grabbed a tatty old cushion off the pile, placing it at the top of the tunnel and grinning at Bakura. "You go first."
Bakura edged a step closer, eyeing it warily; the cushion teetered right on the edge of a sheer drop, the enclosed slide twisting out of sight almost immediately. He didn't trust it at all. "No way. If we're going down this thing, you are sitting at the front."
"Fine," Marik huffed, but he settled easily enough, patting the cushion behind him invitingly. "Come along."
Bakura grunted, uneasily slipping closer and nudging the cushion with one toe. "Are you sure this thing is safe?"
Marik burst out laughing, the bright sound echoing tinnily off the enclosed walls. "Just get down here, and you'll find out."
"You will pay for this later," Bakura promised darkly, begrudgingly sliding onto the cushion. He spread his legs, curling them around Marik's slim form, his arms winding around the Egyptian's waist and his chin resting on his shoulder. "If this thing kills us, I am going to murder you."
Marik smiled, turning his head just enough to shoot Bakura a fleeting glance as his hands curled around Bakura's legs. "Just hold onto me, and we'll be fine."
Bakura grunted, but he couldn't stop his eyes from closing as Marik tipped the cushion over the edge.
The air whooshed past them at an alarming rate, flapping noisily in the air and tossing Marik's excited shouts far behind them. Bakura cracked open on eye and shut it again immediately, burying his head in between Marik's shoulder blades, his grip tightening embarrassingly around Marik's waist. The Egyptian merely leaned into his touch, still whooping. Thankfully the ride was over quickly, the tunnel spitting them out unceremoniously onto a fairly-soft tarmac surface, sending them both tumbling head-over-heels with the cushion flying around them. Marik ended up sprawled half-on-top of Bakura, his chin pressed into Bakura's chest as he rolled, breathless with laughter. Bakura merely closed his eyes and continued digging his fingers into the Egyptian's bronze hips, lips firmly twisted into a frown. It softened a little at a bright kiss from Marik, and brown eyes fluttered open to meet a breathtaking violet gaze. Marik smiled, pecking him once more. "Thanks! That was so much fun."
"Yes, well," Bakura grunted, his frown softening a little. "Get the hell off me, brat."
Marik grinned but complied, dragging himself to his feet and offering a hand to Bakura, which was grumpily ignored. Marik merely shrugged and skipped back out into the fair, wandering through the crowds with a keen gaze. "Come on, Bakura, I want to play a game next. It's about time I redeemed my reputation."
"Never going to happen," Bakura scoffed, taking Marik's hand again as they wandered through the fair, his knees still a little weak.
Marik ignored him, tugging him onwards. "I reckon we should find the one where you have to shoot the coconuts. I bet I could do that; I have a great aim!"
"Like hell you do." Bakura dodged Marik's whack with a sly grin, tugging him closer. "I, however, am a very good shot. I could take you any day."
Marik's violet eyes narrowed dangerously as he turned them on his pale partner. "Is that a challenge?"
"If you think you can take me."
"Oh, you are asking for it," Marik hissed. "Let's go."
Bakura grinned, following behind him as they slipped through the crowds and up to the stall. Marik bobbed on the balls of his feet, and even Bakura's eyes gleamed a little when they were handed the fake guns. Marik rolled his eyes at his obvious excitement, going to the first coconut. "If I win, you are mine tonight."
"That sounds interesting," Bakura murmured in his ear, sending shivers down the Egyptian's back. Bakura gave him a sly grin before continuing, "And the same applies for me, I suppose."
Marik snorted. "Yeah, but you're not gonna win."
"We'll see," Bakura chuckled, stalking past Marik to watch him take his shot.
Marik stuck his tongue out childishly before turning back and taking aim. Predictably, he missed, shooting way off to the right. Bakura clucked his tongue, shaking his head in mock-disappointment. "You're going to have to do much better than that, brat."
"Shut it," Marik hissed with a glare. "I'll beat you yet. Just you try and stop me!"
Bakura wore his smirk confidently as he strode up to the mark. Marik cackled when he missed. "Told you!"
Bakura rolled his eyes. "We've got two more yet, fool."
Marik wrinkled his nose. "Yeah, yeah. Go on then – you go next."
Bakura shrugged, moving on to the next coconut. They both missed the second shot, but as Bakura went up to the third and final target, Marik followed close behind him with a wicked tint to his eyes. Bakura stiffened as tanned arms wrapped around his waist, frowning a little as he lifted the gun. "Marik? What the hell are you doing?"
"Oh, nothing," The Egyptian chorused innocently.
Bakura glowered at him from over one shoulder. "If you're trying to put me off..."
"Not at all," Marik half-sang. "Besides, even if I was, you're too good a shot to miss, right?"
Bakura's jaw set. He turned back, raising the gun, but just as he went to pull the trigger Marik tightened his arms and breathed on Bakura's neck, attaching his lips to the spot he knew always drove the pale one wild.
Predictably, Bakura missed.
Marik was grinning triumphantly as Bakura stamped away. "You've still got to watch me win, remember!"
"You are not going to win," Bakura grumbled, but he obediently stayed in place and watched. Marik lifted the gun, taking careful aim, his tongue poking out ever-so-slightly from between his lips. Bakura watched him with a smirk, although it quickly fell off his face when Marik pulled the trigger and hit the coconut right in the middle, knocking it straight off its precarious perch.
Marik crowed with delight, his arms flinging triumphantly into the air as he span around to face Bakura, grin plastered all over his face. Bakura made some show of disapproval, but the sight of the Egyptian advancing towards him with brilliantly shining violet eyes and dancing bronze skin was too much to stay mad at. Bakura merely sighed loudly, shading his eyes with one hand. "Yes, fine, you win. Go get your prize."
Marik winked, sliding one finger into Bakura's belt loop and jerking him closer. "Better wait until we get back to the apartment, right?"
"I meant," Bakura growled, disentangling himself, "That you won something at the stall. The guy keeps beckoning to you."
Marik blinked. "...Oh." He slipped away from Bakura, heading to the stall. Bakura watched him with a smirk pulling at his lips, leaning back against the railings as he watched Marik collecting something in a bag. He peeked inside before heading back over to Bakura, a smile decorating his lips. "You'll never guess what it is."
"So tell me." Bakura crossed his arms and fixed his tanned companion with a glare.
Marik held his gaze for a moment before giving in, leaning on the fence beside Bakura and digging one hand into the bag. "It's chocolate! I haven't had chocolate in ages."
Bakura rolled his eyes, but his lips twisted into a smirk when he saw exactly what Marik was holding. "Marik, you know what those are, right...?"
The Egyptian scoffed. "Please, I know I spent the first twelve years of my life in a tomb, but I'm not that naive. I do know what chocolate is."
"No, Marik, I mean specifically..." Bakura trailed off with a long drawn out sigh, raising his eyes to the heavens as Marik shoved the piece of food into his mouth. "Well, don't say I didn't try and warn you."
Marik turned to him with a frown before his eyes widened comically, his expression slowly turning to one of utter disgust. He made a muffled noise somewhere between a grunt, a snort and a gasp, opening his mouth and turning and spitting with a look of utmost horror. Bakura couldn't help but double over with laughter when his tanned hands went to his tongue, brushing it off with disgust. "Blergh!" Marik shook his head from side to side with a disgusted frown, straightening again and turning to glare at his pale partner. "Bakura! What the hell was that?!"
Bakura continued with his laughter until a whack on his elbow had him calming slightly, although the occasional chuckle still escaped his mouth. "It's a squid tentacle, Marik."
Violet eyes widened. "What?!"
Bakura shrugged, choking back more laughter. "Chocolate covered squid tentacles. They were a joke that came out a couple of months ago; I'm not surprised that was the prize, this fair is really crappy."
"You could have warned me!" Marik grumbled, spitting a couple more times onto the turf. "It's disgusting!"
Bakura just shook his head and pushed himself off the railings, offering Marik his arm. "Come on. I think we've had enough of the fair for today."
"But it's still early!" Marik whined, accepting Bakura's arm and allowing himself to be led away. "I don't want to go home yet."
Bakura shrugged. "Let's stay out for a bit, then. We'll eat out tonight; we got enough from the fair to afford that."
Marik brightened a little at that prospect, releasing Bakura's arm in favour of gripping his fingers as they headed out of the park and onto the streets. The sun was dipping a little, although there would be many hours of sunlight left – it was the height of summer, after all. Marik sighed as they wandered the crowds, resting his head against Bakura's. "Where are we eating?"
"Wherever you want," Bakura shrugged.
Marik smiled, sagging a little further. Bakura was hardly surprised when Marik directed their feet towards the nearest pizza place, but he didn't hold back a small sigh. "Again?"
"You said I could pick," Marik pointed out. "And I still need to get rid of the taste of squid."
Bakura couldn't hold back a snort. "Fair enough."
They were quickly shown to their favourite table. Marik rested his head on his chin, peering out of the window with narrowed violet eyes. "There are so many people out tonight."
"Hm?" Bakura was hardly listening as he scoured the menu, largely ignoring his partner. Marik noticed and sent him a glare, kicking him unceremoniously under the table. Bakura jumped and growled, glaring across the cracked plastic. "What?"
"The people." Marik turned back and stared outside, his expression almost wistful. "They all look so happy and comfortable. We probably do, as well – people probably look at us and just see a happy couple, with no idea of what actually brought us here. If they ever learned our true characters, or what we do, we'd never be accepted. We're just freaks."
Bakura quirked an eyebrow. "I thought we agreed to stop caring what the rest of the world thinks."
Marik looked down at the table, his feet kicking at the table. "I know." His expression was still unusually discontented, though, his eyes hiding something as he looked back outside. Bakura followed his gaze, putting the menu down with a sigh. Across the road was a bench, one side occupied by an uncomfortable-looking man, the other by a couple who curled into each other's laps, entwined almost impossibly close.
Catching Marik's slightly sad eyes, Bakura sighed loudly. "Things are never as simple as they appear, Marik. Those people will be no more happy than we are. Probably less so, in face."
Marik still looked away, his shoulders drooping, so Bakura scouted around for anything to say to have the teen smiling again. "It's like ... It's like, perfect couples are like chocolate covered squid tentacles. On the surface, what you and I see, everything is great. But on the inside, the whole relationship is rotten."
Marik blinked, his gaze shooting up to fix back on Bakura's pale stare. He tilted his head to the side, golden hair sliding down the side of his face as his lips pursed attractively. Thinking over Bakura's words, a smile soon stretched Marik's lips. "That... is terrible. Have you always been this cynical?"
Bakura snorted a little, picking the menu back up. "Of course. Have you not realised that yet?"
"Well, yeah," Marik shook his head, his lips still stretched into a smile. "But still, that's going a little far, even for you. I'm sure not all relationships are rotten."
"Ours isn't," Bakura muttered, almost too quietly for the Egyptian to hear. Marik caught the words, though, and the smile didn't leave his lips for the rest of that long night.
Perhaps there was hope for them yet.
I have no idea how I feel about this fic. XD Reviews are really appreciated. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed! - Jem