And die of shock….. Now.  This instalment was satanic to write.  Really.  And you can probably tell due to quality, but bugger it, it's done now.  Woohoo!

Right, a quick breakdown of what happened with Bakura and Zel for those of you who were confused:  When Kaiba had the seizure, Zel zipped out of Yami and into Bakura via Yami's skull being pressed against the scar, which is actually a sort of magical imprint.  Think Bakura putting a bit of himself into that Puzzle piece and you'll have it.  So, then Zel fabricates reality and keeps Bakura's mind in a limbo whilst he carries on in the real world for a few weeks masquerading as Bakura.  He gets away with it up until the Yakuza descend upon Theo and then Yami puts two and two together.  They then tie 'Bakura' down to the dining room table for a few days and Yami works to get his lover back via the careful art of magically beating the living daylights out of Zel's essence.  Zel shits himself and tries to trick Bakura into rejecting Yami's intruding voice and stay in the fake reality he's created, but love prevails and all that.  Bakura passes out and Yami dumps him in bed and waits around until he wakes up.  And that's that.

Xing (God of this site) has gotten funny about reviewer responses now so names will only be mentioned I'm afraid.  I wish I could say something to everyone who took the time and effort, but after the 'Submission' incident, I don't want to risk it.

So, a big thanks to: Zorra Lombardi, Sasameyuki, Karachi, Amarin Rose, HMOC , MrsHiwatari, Tuulikki, Marron-chan1, Renee the Rabid Squirrel, YumeTakato, BlingBling021, Pachelbel, DaredevilX, Starlit Hope, Blue September and Amiasha Ruri.

Another thanks to Pachelbel for looking this over for me and giving me suggestions.  The costume picks have gone down the pan I'm afraid due to sheer shiteness.  I can't draw anime at all. ;;

Anyway, hope you like this weird little addition to 'Experiment'.  Back to plotless wonder here, I'm afraid.


We have our own place!  Three months slogging our guts out at the (hugely successful) club and three payslips have meant a deposit and a moving into of our very own home!  Yugi and Ryou are calling it our love nest for which I colourfully threatened them, but even that did not dampen my glee. 

No more Hikaris scurrying around my ankles, no more spit-of-a-bedroom to sleep in, no more shouts of 'you can't have an iron maiden in your room'!  And I get Yami at all hours of the day!  So happy!

Right.  I've had my moment now.  It has passed.

… Yay me!

It's two in the morning and I'm on my own, so no one heard that.  Plus I said it in my head.  Or did I?  Sleep deprivation is doing funny things to me.  And Yami.  Any changes that take place in my bad-arse nature can also be attributed to him.

Ah, Yami's.  It was his turn to run Theo tonight and I'm expecting him back in the next half hour.  As pathetic as it sounds, I have trouble sleeping when he's not around now.  I guess that because after we moved in here and were with each other pretty much every night, to not have him in bed feels unnatural.  He say's he's got the same problem and that he's watched a lot of Jackass and The Rocky Horror Show as of late.

I spend my time far more productively.  By midnight I had gone through all of this weeks bills and come up with a plan of action of how to tackle them, have sharpened all my weapons and have made three trays of muffins.  I'm definitely the managerial body here, which is handy as Yami has shown signs of wanting to worm out of the co-owner position and just get back to dancing and serving for a living.  Meh.  I'd just double his salary and tell Stu what I've done.  Favouritism's a bitch. 

"Bakura?  Where the Hell are you in this labyrinth you call a house?"

Oh.  And in my spare time I've been taking care of that.

I walk out of the kitchen into the hallway and flick on the light, grinning to myself when I hear Malik's exclamation of pain from the sudden and unexpected illumination.  Hearing him following me back into the room, I return to stirring the concoction I've got going in a pot on the stove. 

Malik starts bitching the second my back's turned, undoubtedly jumping up onto what's become his sideboard and staring at me.  I'm beginning to regret letting him and Rishid staying here.  I don't really remember why they're even here actually. Something to do with insects maybe.  They probably haven't got a good enough reason anyway, and it was just Yami's squishy heart that let them through the damn door.  They haven't been a hassle over the last two days and they'll be gone by the end of the week, so I don't feel a need to throw them out of a window just yet.

"How many rooms do you need for two people?" he exclaims. It's an old tune that I've heard from too many people now.  Actually, I was the first one to utter it when Yami and I were leaving this place after viewing it as a potential home.  I believe the conversation went something like this:

Me: Yami, we do not need that many rooms.

Yami: We can have lots of spare rooms.  Beside, it's the only place that's capable of supporting life within our budget.

Me: It used to be a brothel.  Excuse me for being a bit quirky about that.

Yami: They're letting us keep the bondage if we want it.

Me: … I loved that place from the moment I set eyes on it.  Just make sure-

Yami: -we wash the leathers?  Of course.  The mattresses are being burnt as well.

Me: Ah, a housewarming burning.  How lovely.

And burn them we did, with many people and a great deal of alcohol around to celebrate the occasion.  The flames were a disturbingly odd colour and there was a noxious smell of something the following morning, but still.  It was lovely, unlike redecorating the damn place.  We couldn't leave the bright and anatomically incorrect frescos that had been painted in every room, no matter how amusing there were.  The bloody Hikaris would not stop blushing every time they were here.  Personally I had come to consider them a pretty good deterrent against people, but Yami insisted they had to go.

He did, however, admit that I was right about the excess amount of rooms when he realized that we'd have to completely repaint no less than six 'bedrooms' as well as what we've turned into the living room and our newly-installed kitchen.  But then he often has to bow down to my superior wit and intelligence because I'm great.  On the decorating front, it was handy as, oddly enough, no one wanted this place so we got it reasonably cheap, and with a mortgage that isn't going to kill us, there was plenty of cash to spend on paint and furniture. 

I went to work on the second day of Painting Week, returning to find that Yami had gotten pissed off halfway through the third room and made the Dark Magician do it.  He did a pretty good job of it too, seemingly happy enough to be useful again after sitting dormant for so long, although I don't think painting a room terracotta was what he had had in mind.  Apparently Yami had had to make the Puzzle glow very brightly in his face before commanding him to put down the lavender paint, which was destined to go in our room.

I jumped on the Duel-Monster-Slave bandwagon the next day when Yami was out, something that I regretted quite quickly.  Man Eater Bug with a roller is a funny sight but not very productive.  He seemed psychotically keen to attack the walls though, so I ended up just shutting him in and keeping Yami away until he was done, taking the credit afterwards. 

I think some magic crept into the operation at some point as what should have been a tasteful cream had turned a psychedelic orange shade at some point.  Ah well.  We'll just stick the ceiling mirrors out of the terracotta room in there to cover most of it.  The light is good in there as well, making it a pretty good place for Yami to practice routines.

Said mirrors will also hide the claw marks, which had been pretty hard to explain without sounding like a Duel Monsters Oppressor, but I think he bought it.

Right now though, Malik kicks around on my sideboard again, and I make a mental note to make him scrub off the marks with his toothbrush.  "Can I just ask-"

Didn't give me a lot of choice there, did you?  I hate it when people do that.  Like when they go into a room that could probably be mistaken for the Sistine Chapel and say, 'big, isn't it?'. 

 "-why are you cooking in the middle of the night?"

Because I want to.  Because I live here.  Because it's my house and I shall utilise my stuff how and when I chose, and no one has any right to tell me what to do in my domain.  Except Yami.  Because he's a co-conspirator, not because I am whipped and will do what he says.  Oi, need sleep.  No, need to hire more staff, sleep with Yami and then sleep.  Yes, a good plan.

"Yami's due back soon.  He's always starving when he gets in and I don't like him raiding the fridge and taking my pickles, and since I'm up…" I shrug a little, stirring the goopy mess absently.  Ra knows what I've got in this pot, but it smells good and tastes better so I'll just run with it.  And we're not going to be one of those career-driven couples that live out of the microwave.  At least as career-driven as two club owners can get.

"Hmm.  I didn't expect you to be this… sensitive."

I scowl fleetingly consider chucking in a few chillies to make this more macho but decide against it.  Wouldn't work with the cream.  I chuck a chilli at his face instead and glower at my own poor aim when it misses his mouth and eyes and gets his nose instead.  Will need to work on that.

"It gives me something to do so shut up, and you eat it too so I'd be very careful in what you say about my cooking."

Hmm.  Need a ladle…  I turn to face Malik and point to the item hanging from a hook just behind his head.  He hands it to me obediently, placing his hands back on the edge of the counter immediately afterwards and eyeing the muffins on the table.  I give him a stern look and he quits drooling before I have to wrestle him back out of the kitchen. 

That'd be an interesting thing for Yami to come back to: a half dressed drooling Malik groping against me on the table. I shake my head to clear the mental image.  I'd be sleeping on a couch in the darkest and farthest point of the Shadow Realm for a century, at least.  Mind, the wrestling and table elements seem like a nice idea…

"Another question?"

I sigh.  This is going to be a long night.  I should have gagged and bound him to the spare bed as I suggested on his first night here.  Yami wouldn't have it though.  Mind, he was quite distracted playing Scrabble with Rishid at the time so if I did it now I could claim he said I could and just didn't remember.  That would involve wrestling, a flight of stairs and ruining the contents of this pot though.  I might as well just let him pester me here.  "Go on then."

"What's in those locked rooms?"

I roll my eyes, more than a little pissed that he's gone up to the third floor when he had absolutely no need to other than to nose around.  "First one's full of stuff that you have no business knowing about."

That means weaponry and all the stuff that we kept from the out-of-business brothel.  Washed, of course.  The mirrors are lying in a pile in there at the moment to be moved down and screwed in on the second floor in the next few days.  Heh.  'Screwed'…  Ra, I'm lame.  Yami, get your arse home now before I go completely loopy.

"The second's a portal we've managed to sustain into the Shadow Realm."

He looks surprised and a little worried.  A feeling of immense satisfaction bounces around my gut.  It's hard to get one-over on Malik most of the time, so when it is actually managed the feeling is extra-sweet. 

"You guys have a bit of the Shadow Realm in your house?"

I nod, not thinking a great deal of it myself.  It was Yami who pulled it off and I must say that I'm very impressed with him.  Hmm, need more chives here.  "Yeah.  We think it'll be a good place to develop photos."

Moving to the fridge I see that his expression turns, if possible, even more disbelieving.  Mission accomplished.  Malik has this little thing where he prides himself on screwing with people's heads.  I just got one over on him to quite a large extent.  So ha.

Turning back to dinner/breakfast, I chuck in the chives, swipe my finger through it and taste it just as I hear the front door open.  Mmm.  Tastes good.  I'm definitely going to earn lots of brownie points off of this.

A shout of, "honey, I'm home" and then Yami sweeps into the kitchen, completely ignoring Malik and wrapping an arm around me.  I kiss his temple as he glances into the pot, quirking a brow as a bubble pops at him.  Then his nose crinkles as he smiles.

/You're sweet, you know that?/

He at least had the good sense to say that privately.  I don't want to think what Malik would do if he heard that. 

Sliding the duffel bag off of his shoulder onto the table, I watch him pick up a muffin and begin to pick it apart, his eyes on his own hands.  "'Kura…"

About fifty warning bells go off in my head at that nickname and tone.  Yami always does that when he wants something that he'd otherwise need to fight me tooth and nail for.  The fact that he's buttering my up in front of Malik doesn't bode well for me either.  The psychotic little twit is watching us both quite bemused.  I toy with the idea of hitting him with the dirty ladle that I'm now using to spoon out our meal with.

Yami finally looks up at me and I can feel that rather than see it.  I hear his intake of breath though and my brow quirks minutely in anticipation.  "I talked to Stu about hiring another duty manager or two and having me sticking to stage work, and he thinks it's a really good idea.  There really is too much to go between two people."

I pause in serving, turning on him slowly and brandishing the ladle like a weapon.  Goop drips onto the floor but I don't care.  Malik can clean it later.  "I said we were going to talk about that before running to Stu with it."

Yami gives me a lazy smile, his lids lowering.  "You said I could talk to him about it."

And undermine my own authority?  Never!  "When?"

He smirks.  Ah.  Right.  Then.  That little shit.  That was a very underhanded method and honestly I'm a bit miffed about having it used against me.  I've been a bad influence on the lad apparently.  "Alright, fine, but next time your eyes are rolled so far back you're staring at your own brain I'll ask if I can build a go-kart circuit on the roof."

A frown and the smirk vanishes.  "That's just ridiculous."

"Bet it would be fun to try though."

Yami doesn't look like he's to be deterred though, putting down the once-beautiful-yet-now-mutilated-muffin and placing his hands on his hips.  Malik remains ever watching and, for his own safety no doubt, silent as he eats.  "Kura, I'm simply not cut out for this management lark-"

If that isn't irony then I don't know what is.  "Oh, because you've never had to look after a large group of people and financial affairs as you would, say, when ruling a bloody country."  I go turn my back on him and finish ladling out my concoction, picking up my bowl and a spoon and then hopping up on the side to eat it.

"Yeah Yami.  You can't just pretend to have amnesia so you can dance around half naked without any responsibilities.  That's just rude," Malik mumbles around his spoon, his bowl held close to his chin.  I have to smile at him.  He may be an irritating pest but at least he's on my side.

Yami glares at him for a moment before walking towards me to pick up his own serving.  Obviously deciding to ignore Malik's little input, his expression turns sardonic and nonplussed.  "That was centuries ago and you know I barely remember it.  Besides, I enjoy the dancing and I'm better at it."

"Keeps your arse tight as well."  I really didn't mean to say that, even if it was only a barely-audible mumble.  It was audible enough though as Yami blushes brightly and Malik starts laughing hysterically before choking on his spoon.  Neither of us help him.

"Look, if you don't let me I'll just quit and reapply through Stu for a dancing job."  Little sod's apparently put a lot of thought into this.  Well, I might as well concede as if I don't he'll get miserable which means he won't put out and then I'll get miserable and kill Malik or something.  And we can't be having that when he still hasn't cleaned my boot-scuffed cabinets.

Gesturing with my spoon as I swallow, I look at Yami with an expression of utmost seriousness.  This is a business thing after all.  "So I'd be your boss?"  A nod.  He seems quite happy with that.  "You'd be beneath me?"

He smirks and an image that strongly resembles one of the murals we painted over except with slightly different faces gets rammed down the bond and into my head.  I choke a little bit in surprise, causing Malik to laugh even more.  Finally getting control of myself, a nod affirmatively to show my agreement before forcefully handing a second bowl of goop to Malik in the hopes that if he keeps eating he'll be less irritating.  Well, no one said hopes had to be realistic. 

I take another spoonful and decide to catch up on Theo events.  It's quite remarkable how much can happen there in a day.  The people there are rather 'colourful', so that isn't too surprising.  "So what else happened tonight?"

Yami pauses in his own eating, and I'm pleased to see that he's enjoying it.  He gets so much exercise now that I need to practically force food down his throat to get his diet to keep up.  He's lithe as it is and I don't want him to start loosing weight, as he certainly doesn't need to.  "Midge and Raethorn broke up again."

I snort into my bowl with barely contained amusement whilst Malik pipes up, obviously wanting to be involved in this conversation.  "Midge and Raethorn?"

I shudder at the mispronunciation.   "It's 'ray-fon', idiot.  He's one of the bar staff and half of what might as well be an old married couple."

Yami puts his empty bowl onto the table and joins in, sounding almost bored.  "Midge is a divorcee and discovered his bisexual tendency about a year ago."

"Which, coincidently, was a pretty big factor in his marriage going to Hell.  The pool boy played quite a big role too," I chip in.  Midge and Raethorn break up almost seasonally so this is a story I've heard and told many times. 

Nodding, Yami lowers his hand from where he has gestured at me and my contribution and returns to looking at Malik.  "They were doomed from the start but, after eight months-"

"Of which about six collectively they were actually together-"

"- They're still pretty much an item.  Midge threw a bottle at his head tonight for some reason, and I've put my bet in the pool that they'll be back together by Thursday."  Shrugging with a small smile, quite possibly at the fact that our relationship isn't quite that dysfunctional, Yami then picks up the mutilated muffin and breaks off a small piece, chewing on it thoughtfully.

"Thursday's only four days away.  Average is about six for them so I would've gone for Saturday at the earliest."  Mental note: place bet when at work later. 

"We'll see; it's their three-day mini-break on Friday don't forget, so I think they'll have made up by then.  Oh, we had a couple of girls in to apply for the audition tomorrow."  He frowns a little and looks up at the ceiling, counting off each name on his hand as he speaks.  "Vicky, Jenny and 'Madam Cinnamon', I think."

I snort derisively.  "I don't care what they call themselves as long as I get a criminal background check and their bank details if they're hired.  We can stick the new duty manager on their nights.  I'll help audition them though.  Might be worth a giggle."

Yami looks a tad apprehensive again now.  Since when did he get so skittish?  "That's the other thing; with auditions on we're going to have no where to practice this new routine.  Could I bring the guys back here to work on it?  We can put those mirrors up in the orange room and practice there."

Obviously my expression of surprise, disgust and fear is quite comical as both Yami and Malik smile amusedly at me whilst I digest that suggestion.  "You do remember the dancers, don't you?"  I ask carefully after a moment.  The fact that Yami's even conceiving this disturbs me on a deep and profound level.  "Half of them have got fetishes that even freak me out, and the last thing I want is Stu, 'call me muffin or I'll sexually assault you when you're not looking', knowing where I live."

His arms crossed in a posture that mirrors my own, Yami smiles at me sickeningly.  "Come now, Bakura.  He only does that because he likes you."  Stupid git.

"He doesn't if he knows what's good for him."  My tone may have been a bit of overkill there, and I think that the pocket of Shadow Realm billowing out behind me may perhaps fall under that category as well. 

Neither of them look impressed.  Malik's polishing off his second serving and Yami has still got his arms crossed.  "You know I'll have them over anyway so you might as well give in now."

The sad thing is he's right.  "Alright, fine.  But I want to be here to keep an eye on them all.  And none of them go up to the third floor.  The last thing we need is to drag some traumatised pole dancer out of the Shadow Realm, and I for one can't be bothered to erase any memories."

Yami smiles and I get a happy little tingle of contentment sweeping down the bond.  Something else tags along with it making my hands twitch for a moment and I can tell that he's quite grateful.  Right, so will now hand Malik his toothbrush and lock him in here with cleaning fluid, stop by upstairs to pick up a few toys and then do wicked, wicked things for the next few hours.

Yes, I certainly like this independence thing.

Yup, everyone is now officially OOC.  (Sighs) Ah well, bugger it.  Not sure what's happening with the next instalment; if it'll appear, what it'll be and if it'll be in Bakura's POV still, but we shall see.  Hope this hasn't been a disappointment after such a long wait, and that I've at least entertained you for a few minutes.