By Borath

Playing with ideas again. I think I'm fixating on this now. I have no beta so excuse any mistakes by *not* pointing them out to me. Thanks.

Yami = Yami-Yugi

Bakura = Yami Bakura



(Bakura's POV)

Something's wrong with the Pharaoh. Not wrong in the sense that it has elicited some pathetic swell of concern in me; wrong in the sense that it is different and I cannot fathom *why*. I hate not knowing. Hate being out of the loop. Not knowing certain things can be dangerous. After all, knowledge is power.

My twerp hikari decided this morning that he wanted to visit him and his hikari. Ryou and Yugi were planning to go to the arcade and Yami was going to stay at the shop and work. Nothing special; Yugi wanted to go act childish and Yami wanted to be boring. What happened just now though was peculiar.

Yugi moved to hug Yami, something that I have seen exchanged between the two in the past so that wasn't the surprise. The fact that Yami took a small step back when Yugi put his hands on his waist, *away* from the gesture caught my interest sharply. Whether Yugi was hurt and pretending not to be or simply hadn't noticed the motion I do not know, or remotely care, because he wrapped his arms around his dark and Yami's hands came to his shoulders a few seconds later.

A new development here. Interesting.

I've always enjoyed puzzling things out so instantly I wanted to find out what had transpired to cause this behaviour. There is something else too. Yami stepping away from his hikari does not sit well with me, not in the way in which that I am concerned about their relationship. I'd hang myself if I actually *cared* about them. No, I mean that it doesn't *feel* right. Something is wrong and I want to find out what it is.

So now both of our 'light' halves have gone. I surprised Ryou by saying that I wanted to stay here and pester Yami, and as the Pharaoh didn't seem to give a damn I received no protests.

So now it's just the two of us. I can begin to figure this out now, and the best way to tackle something unknown like this is through trial and error.

Let the experiment begin.

"Pharaoh?" I ask by way of a warning. Yes, I am giving him a warning before I move. I do have some miniscule shred of compassion in me. It's negligible but enough to make me feel something for him as he is obviously troubled.

"What?' he asks back sharply, crimson eyes narrowed now as he regards me suspiciously. Well, his temper hasn't changed much then.

A thought with a bit of effort behind it and I had pulled us both into the Shadow Realm. To perform an experiment one needs to be in the correct environment after all. His expression now is somewhere between a quirked eyebrow and a frown. It looks quite stupid actually.

"Bakura, why-?"

"Be quiet. I want to know what's wrong with you," I ask before he can get his own question out. If I let him ask it then I'd have to explain then he'd demand to leave and ask what I was up to and it would all just get stupidly messy. I like my way better.

He actually looks genuinely puzzled at that. He doesn't know then. How interesting.

"What do you mean 'what's wrong with me'? What have you done?"

See? Instantly blaming me. "You stepped away from your hikari when he moved to touch you. Don't get me wrong; I would do the same thing, but you don't usually. What's changed?"

More confusion. His ignorance is starting to get very irritating. Right, I'll move onto the experiments now that interrogation has proved unfruitful.

He's stood about five meters away from me in this inky void, if distance could be accurately defined in here anyway, so it would take me about seven steps to reach him. I walk smoothly, slowly, watching him intently. My eyes rove over every inch of him seeking a reaction. A finger-twitch or a foot scuffing to indicate that he was about to bolt would give it all away.

He looks confused as I approach but not anything else. No anger, no fear, just confusion. The tips of my boots are against his now and he still stares at me without flinching. I'm watching his face now, searching. A slightly narrowed or widened eye, a twitch in one of the muscles beneath the socket and I'd know. But nothing.

Proximity isn't the problem. Interesting.

I breathe on his face intentionally, a gentle whisper that he probably won't acknowledge as a purposeful action. A muscle did tick this time and his eyes widened fractionally before returning to normal. Ah, contact is the general problem. But what is it exactly?

He has little to no memories of his past, this I know for a fact. It's likely that his spirit has remembered something that his mind has forgotten. Actually that's probably what has happened. His spirit was trapped in the Puzzle after he died so his mind was shattered, dispersed. It's taking time to collect together again so there are a lot of blanks.

I on the other hand have an advantage there. I died as a *result* of my spirit being forced into the Ring so my mind remained intact. Some things were lost over time in the dark, alone, but there are few blanks that I have to worry about.

So what blank could this be stemmed from? A lost lover perhaps? I knew little about the Pharaoh when I was alive so that is a possibility. True love never dies in the soul and all that crap. I'll be severely disappointed if that is the case.

I raise a hand to him in as un-hostile a manner as I can, extending my index finger and placing it squarely on his forehead, in the center of where the Eye of Horus would be if he were angry at me. His eyes are a little wider now but not in fear. He's just confused. I would be too if this were the other way around, but no matter.

Slowly, gently, a drag the digit down his forehead and along his nose, running along the tip and pulling across his lips until it falls away at his chin. He blinks at me but remains impassive. He's trying to figure out what I'm doing. He should catch on that I am toying with his mind soon enough, even if it is not an entirely accurate description of what I *am* doing.

He's not going to be too bothered with physical contact with me. An enemy is alright for touch. There's some fear after that combined with the fact that I am scrutinizing him intensely but he's controlling it. How is it that a mortal enemy can run a finger down his face but the other half of his soul cannot embrace him?

I'm not entirely satisfied that I have ruled out a lost lover, so I will continue along this avenue until I am satisfied.

There is a general path from the face to the torso where the nerves sing when touched sensually. If I am right and it was a lost lover then a similar touch would invoke a response from his spirit and as a result his body. It would probably be something-akin fear. If I am wrong he will remain impassive or try to gut me.

Stepping around him marginally so I am more at an angle to him I place my index and second finger against the slightly raised bundle of nerves behind his ear. Repeating my slow, soft actions of earlier I drag both tips down and then just beneath and behind his jaw-line, all the while watching his face intently.

Not a lost lover then. He is watching me watching him impassively, his pupils slightly dilated now but otherwise the same.

I pull my hand back down to my side when I have followed the thick blood vessel running alongside his jugular to the buckle about his throat, rubbing my fingertips along my thumb absently as if to wipe away the contact. His pupils are normal again now and his eyebrow is quirked. No, I'm not coming onto you so stop thinking that. I'm not exactly playing either.

Where is the difference between what I am doing and what Yugi was doing? Ah yes, entrapment. I merely touched him but didn't hold him; Yugi left him little room to move if he wanted to.

Experiment two. Let's begin.

I return my fingers to that path again, repeating the lazy motions until his eyes are half-lidded and his guard has fallen. Just like a big cat but this is what I wanted. I need to lull him into a false sense of security or he would break my spine into four pieces before I could make my move.

With his mind distracted I smoothly stepped around and behind him, my hand still repeating exactly the same motions over and over, mimicking exactly what I was doing when I was stood infront of him.

Snapping that arm about his chest abruptly, pinning his arms at his side, I move my free arm around him quickly and trap his hands. He lets out a noise of alarmed surprise before bucking against me, trying to escape the confinement I had him in. I'm stronger than he is but an adrenaline burst in anything is always a little harder to cope with.

But he fell still before it got to that stage. I was just beginning to have trouble keeping a secure hold on him when he simple stopped. Gave up. It occurs to me now that I could do anything to him and he would let me. Total submission.

Now I'm getting warmer. I wonder if he knows?

Bringing my lips to his ear, I ask in a low voice, "what's wrong with you?"

He jerks a little at my voice and likely moreso at my breath on his skin. "Let me go." I don't like that. It sounds too much like a plea for him. Too much like begging. Does he seriously think that I would ever take this any further? I'm learning enough at this stage. There's no need to do any real damage.

Still, some force is going to be required. "You're not even trying to get away. You've given up. Why should I even consider sparing something that won't even save itself?"

He shudders a little against me. I must have sparked something. "I don't know," he whispers back.

I was right. Only his spirit knows. He's utterly confused at his own body's actions. He's paralyzed with fear and he doesn't even know why.

"Poor Pharaoh. Still affected by an attack so long ago and you can't even remember it," I murmur to him, my lips still almost touching his skin. He stiffens slightly but still looks confused. I move my fingers marginally against him and feel he tremble. "See?"

'Why are you doing this?" he manages after taking a few seconds to recover from that. There's some anger in his tone now; there would be though, I'm attacking his pride.

"Well, first I was curious and now I'm trying to make you understand," I answer honestly before loosening my grip on him slightly. I want to see what he's going to do before I risk letting go of him entirely. He could still go for my throat if I'm not careful.

"Understand what?" he growls. Yes, he's getting very defensive now. He knows that I know things about him that he doesn't and that ruffles him. Particularly the fact that it's me. Ah well. Better me than one of his other idiot friends. At least I'll tell him straight.

"You're not invulnerable. You never were. You were damaged before you got locked in the Puzzle and the effects are finally catching up with you," I say slowly and clearly as I bring my arms away from him entirely, freezing for a second as he abruptly steps forward and turns on his heel to face me.

Oh yeah, now we're getting somewhere.

"But what happened won't happen again if you get over this paralysis you have when you get scared and have some spine."

Good. He's being quiet and just listening to me. His breathing sounds a bit rough even if it is only synthesized considering that we don't need to breath whilst we're in our metaphysical states in the Shadow Realm. I sincerely hope that the twerp doesn't keel over on me. I am throwing rather a lot at him. Well, enough to let his mind put together the rest.

Perhaps some reassuring words, or as non-threatening as I can manage, would be better suited right now.

"You're more powerful now than then. You can wield Shadow Magic when you need to and you're colder in heart and mind than before; ergo, you can cope. But if you don't have faith in your own abilities and get some spine you will be hurt again and again. You're an easy target at the moment and you need to fix that."

"Don't tell me what I need to do," he snaps back instantly. Okay, we have moved from listening to just being angry. Perhaps I should hit him and snap him out of it.

No, I'd better not. He needs his mind fixed to deal with the messages coming from his soul not having his head kicked in by me. I can do that when he's on top form. It's not so much fun beating on someone who has been weakened by another's hand. Just ruins my fun so there's no point here.

"I'm advising you idiot. It happened. We both don't know *exactly* what but we've got a pretty good idea from the last five minutes. It happened, it's over, it was a long time ago and it won't happen again if you deal with what you feel about it now. Got it?"

Yes, I think my patience with him *just* went out the window. Ah well. My point will just get across to him that bit faster and more abruptly.

He seemed to debate this internally for a time, his eyes flickering as he seemingly searched the floor for an answer. Finally he met my eyes coolly and opened his mouth hesitantly to speak. "I-. Thank you."

I will not be smug. I will not be smug. Ah, screw it. I am smug and superior. Hang on. Crap! I'm smug and superior through *helping* him! How did that happen again? What started as an experiment on my part somehow mutated at some point to become *helping*. This does not please me.

"Yeah. Whatever. Just get your head straight so I can go back to trying to steal your Puzzle. It's tedious if you just give up and hand it to me," I reply firmly with a glare.

He smiled at me, a small thing that could only be described as indulging. I could slap him.

"Fine," he replies to my statement before narrowing his eyes slightly and wrenching us from this world and back into the normal. Glancing around myself with my eyes to regain my bearings, I tip my head to him marginally before turning and striding out of the shop.

Experiment; complete success with unexpected side effects. Note to self; never do that again.


Again, I was procrastinating. What was it this time? English essay. Which I still haven't started. Oh, and Art. Lots and lots of art. Be polite; leave a review.