Bakura thinks Malik Ishtar is ridiculous.
He sits with his back straight on a comfortable chair, pretending to lay himself languidly upon it with an expensive cup of espresso in one hand. Even covered up, rare in itself, he stands out like a beacon in the middle of the day and an invitation at night. He doesn’t eat meat but wears fur in the Fall, and he’s such a hypocrite that Bakura doesn’t say anything. Not yet.
“It’s cold here,” Ishtar says, uncrossing his legs and flashing his shiny shoes at him. Bakura tilts his head and wonders why are you here, why are you looking at me like you’ve bled out, why are you cold?
“What did you expect?” is all Bakura wonders aloud.
“You. And you came,” in his handsome, most pretentious voice, too low. Great expectations, this.
Bakura levels a sneer and teeth at him, but the real venom won’t come. Maybe he’s cold, too. Or maybe the idea of Malik Ishtar reading Great Expectations pushes something out of place. Or, maybe he hasn’t seen Malik since before, and before is the place where they’d had an easy time talking to each other, because it was all screaming and invitations and death threats. “It’s typical that you think anyone comes when you call,” he grinds, below the volume of the coffeeshop background music, leaning in low to whisper-murmur it into Malik’s cup. “… I came for what’s mine.”
The level of oxygen in the room lowers. Malik’s jaw muscles twitch, the crease at the underside of his eyelids where he’d spent so many years squinting into the sun folding once, twice, as he blinks away the idea that Bakura remembered and that Bakura thought him to be a man of his word. Of all things. As though it mattered that little.
Bakura hisses, the blood in his ears tapping, thumping with the beat of his heart, not Ryou’s. He can feel himself settling deeper into the body with his anger; feel his vision sharpen with the need of it, the salty taste of pressure in his throat as the hiss unfurls over the physical universe and becomes a rumble. The more he occupies it the more still he feels, containing the need to strike to his fingers and his face, until the thunder in his throat has him quivering, too-long fingernails tapping the chair under his arms.
"Show me," he commands, and leaves out, or I’ll kill you, I swear to god I will kill you.
Malik watches him occupy the body completely, wide eyed and still like prey. His brown skin is silver-gray under the lights, washing him away and leaving his previous impression of singularity blurred. And he is alone tonight, without his charm, without the Rod, without manservants. But he doesn’t shake, and he doesn’t make the move to run, even though he meets Bakura’s eyes and knows, completely, what was left out.
And if he’d wanted something else when he’d called for Bakura last night, breathing the address to his host on the apartment telephone, leaving Ryou with more questions about the last six months than Bakura was prepared to answer, then he would not get it. Not now, anyway.
Thin-lipped, dark bruises encircling tired, brown eyes. Gaunt, hollow-looking cheeks, pallid skin stretched too tightly over prominent bone. Lank, straggly hair, unwashed and hanging limp and lifeless around angular shoulders.
He can barely recognise himself anymore.
But, it’s him.
That provides some comfort, at least.
It’s not him.
It’s not bloodstained eyes, or lips curled at the corners. It’s not vicious retorts, whisperings deep within his subconscious, and skin so ghostly-white it can’t possibly be human.
The powerless observer, he watches the grotesque metamorphosis, the all-too-familiar transformation; the transition from mundane to monstrous, from Ryou to not-Ryou, to darkness, to evil—
He’s frozen, trapped, paralysed.
He’s afraid, transfixed, hypnotised.
"Landlord," that beastly mouth, that silver tongue; so alluring, so deceptive, taunting him. "You’ll never escape me."
The Spirit repeats the same mantra; the same torturous, tormenting truth that’s haunted Ryou Bakura for several months — for several years, even — after the Sennen Ring’s destruction.
"You’ll never escape me. You’ll never escape me. You’ll never escape—”
For the rest of his life, Ryou Bakura hated looking in mirrors.
(Spectrophobia is the intense fear or mirrors, or one’s own reflection).
title: your bones i let go and the dream did subside
pairings: predominantly focused on past thiefshipping, present day angstshipping, some hints of past tendershipping if you squint
note: i will un-anon when i come off hiatus (you could guess), ALSO MORE IMPORTANTLY REMEMBER THAT FIC that you recc’d all that time ago? ‘Stars from the Gutter’? Well it’s officially dead, but the author has posted a huge summary of how it would’ve gone, if you haven’t already seen it!!!!
also HAPPY BIRTHDAY! (is this early? late? i can never tell with timezones;;)
Title: Roof in the Rain
Summary: It starts with a fistfight on a roof in the rain, but it’s been going on forever and it’s never been like this. (Extended Battle City AU, pre-Battle Ship). For Bianca.
Rating: T (crossdressing, murder)
Summary: They’re just here for information that can’t be obtained by the Rod alone, but that doesn’t stop Malik from wanting to eat Paris alive.
consumes Bakura each time he sees Malik embrace his sister, the sole person he provides with physical proof of his love in the form of a kiss to her forehead. It shows up with a hiss when Malik lay fast asleep in his brother’s arms, being carried upstairs to bed like the child he was never allowed to be in the tomb.
Bakura has family too, faint wisps of gray-blue shadows that are particularly adamant in their nightly shrieking from within the Ring. There’s the brassy voice of an older cousin who slipped Bakura extra food with a wink when famine hit Kul Elna. The soft, broken sound of his baby sister’s weeping wraps around his brain and heart and lungs until he cannot breathe except in rhythm to their chanting of
kill for us revenge revenge
Could those truly be the words of his beloved dead? They were both so gentle, so kind, unlike those
soldiers who melted our flesh off, ground our bones to dust and sand, it burned, it burned, it BURNS
And three thousand years would change anybody.
“What do you think about, times like this?” Malik asks suddenly, tugging loose Ryou’s headphone from his ear; he had been silent since before their flight’s takeoff, well over an hour. It takes Ryou by surprise, and he turns to fix a disapproving scowl in Malik’s direction.
“Can’t stand not knowing, can you?” Ryou rolls his eyes. “What do you think about, Malik?” Malik balks; violet eyes narrow in suspicion of tone.
“Since that’s obviously what you really want to talk about,” Ryou adds, sickly sweet.
Malik opens his mouth, waits a beat, until—“Forget it.”
“Mm. Big thinker, you are.” Ryou replaces his headphone, self-satisfied, and a subtle smirk stretches his lips—Malik doesn’t think he’s ever associated the expression with Ryou, but thinks that maybe it fits. He straightens his back and glares at the seat in front of him, head tipped against the wall of the cabin and filled with imagery of falling, explosions, chaos, maybe coming out unscathed (for once). He keeps quiet.
Couldn’t sleep. Wrote angstshipping. Maybe now I’ll drift off.
Ryou is a little too eager to hear about Malik’s nightmares. He doesn’t see, can’t tell that the last thing Malik needs is words when he wakes up from biting his lip so hard it bleeds and he tastes the blood in his dream
blood running down his back
What Malik needs is Ryou’s frail figure pressed against him, pale lips to his chest, fingers laced through his
fingers cold enough to soothe hell
But always Ryou asks, What was it this time? As if there’s anything to fear but darkness and snakes with daggers for teeth and ink for poison and worst of all
himself with no mask just veins and loathing
Kiss me, Malik says. Bite me, fuck me, stop asking questions. He doesn’t see, can’t tell that Ryou knows no one has ever really trusted him
he’s ten years demonic
He needs to be trusted with Malik’s raw horror, but instead is silenced with a kiss that has no love, only desperation.