inarticulate: Ginshu from Amatsuki smiling. (we're never alone)
Lepidopteran ([personal profile] inarticulate) wrote in [community profile] tentacles2012-02-18 02:07 pm

[Yu-Gi-Oh!] The Rest of the Road

Title: The Rest of the Road
Fandom: Yu-Gi-Oh!
Pairing: Malik/Rishid/Bakura/Dark Bakura, Bakura/Dark Malik
Word Count: 1588
Notes: for [community profile] 1sentencefic, table 3. Post-canon.

Summary: Malik's putting his life back together.

In the dark, alone, Malik can hear nothing but his own pulse beating an inescapable rhythm.

When he wakes up-- strange, because he doesn't remember falling asleep-- his mouth tastes of bile and his eyes won't focus properly.

The crush of people is almost unbearable without the comforting weight of the Millennium Rod in his hand, and it isn't long before Malik ducks outside to suck in desperate breaths of cool air.

Malik sticks his face in front of the fan and closes his eyes so that he can imagine he's on his motorcycle, but the illusion doesn't last long; the fan doesn't blow the air fast enough.

Malik's not sure whether it's the absence of the spirit or the memories, but when he and Bakura are alone together in the room because Yuugi's left to get snacks, the only thing Malik wants to do is leave.

"I'm sorry," he says finally, even though he's not really sure why or what for, and Bakura's surprised expression says that maybe he doesn't know either.

Malik quits the very first job he gets because the supervisor looks at him like he's dirt and mutters too loudly about stupid foreigners, and because Malik's first thought is if I only had the Millennium Rod.

When Malik comes to, he's standing up in the middle of the room and he doesn't remember moving there, but when Ishizu asks what's wrong, he just shakes his head and says, "Nothing."

The next time it happens, he finds himself kneeling in a pile of shredded sheets with Rishid in the doorway, watching him.

He murmurs the ritual words under his breath as he applies the kohl with a steady hand, but he does not recognize himself in the mirror.

Malik's nose is pressed into Rishid's shoulder as he breathes in the familiar, comforting smell; Bakura's hands are light on his shoulders, like he can't quite touch Malik's back.

Coming out into the sunlight from the museum is like waking up; this is his new reality.

Rishid watches them as they talk over each other, but, in the end, it's Ishizu who plucks the scroll away from both of them and reads the chant in a low, strong voice, even though disapproval clouds her expression.

Afterwards, Malik, Bakura, and Rishid lie together in a tangle of bodies, and Malik traces the scars on Bakura's hand, back and front and back again.

"Where else would you live?" Malik argues.

Second Best
The spirit without his own name bristles every time Malik tries to invite him into the bedroom, but Malik can see the empty look in his new-- old?-- eyes and the tense, unhappy set to his jaw that Malik thinks might be loneliness.

When it finally happens, it's not in the bedroom; the spirit tackles Malik on the couch, his mouth hungry and desperate against Malik's.

Malik sleeps through most of it, but he wakes up enough to see each of the others sitting at his bedside in turns, like guardians, and he feels safe.

Their family has never been much for hugging, but Ishizu starts hugging him every day after his illness until Malik starts looking forward to it and initiating his own.

He stares into the candle's flickering flame for a good long time and even tries sticking one of the kitchen knives in the flame, but all he feels is the sting of heat against his hand and the burn of smoke in his eyes and nose when he blows it out.

The spirit crows in triumph as his car crosses the finish line onscreen, but Malik feels the way their shoulders press together as they shift and lean and jostle each other, and he knows he hasn't lost anything.

Malik asks, once, if it bothers Ishizu that his dark side came back, and she considers for a moment before pulling him into another hug and telling him that she's not bothered so long as they're a family.

When he's alone, Malik finds himself whispering Rishid's name under his breath no matter what else he's doing.

Rishid falls ill one day, and, before Malik can panic, Bakura pulls him into the kitchen to teach him to make okayu; it works.

Altered State
The blackouts don't stop, but with each he comes back from, he feels a little stronger.

The winter is colder than he could have imagined, and he spends it moving from person to person and leeching their bodyheat even when he's at the kotatsu.

Most of the jewelry stores Anzu drags him by have lacy, delicate chains, and it isn't under they pass a window that displays a necklace made of copper swirls that Malik stops.

Malik comes home one day to find the bathroom covered with blood as the spirit carves a scar into his face, and for a dizzying, terrifying moment before he loses himself, he is ten years old again and the spirit is Rishid.

Hold On
Malik wakes up again with the taste of blood in his mouth, but the spirit is under him with his hands tight around Malik's wrists and he's grinning.

Surprisingly enough, it's Bakura that finds Malik and takes his hand as they sit on the park bench together and watch the people go by.

Malik comes back to himself abruptly, with his heart racing and Ishizu's arms tight around him.

She pries the scissors-- thankfully clean-- out of his hand and kisses his cheek; he doesn't cry, but his breath comes in shuddering gulps anyway.

"No," Bakura says to the spirit, covering the paper with a hand before handing Malik a winged figurine with an apologetic smile, "you don't get to DM anymore."

It's only because Malik knows the subtleties of Rishid's expressions that he sees the surprise and the amusement flicker across his face as he accepts the frilly pink apron.

The fish tastes strange under his tongue, too sweet and full of a flavor that makes Malik's eyes water, so he shakes his head with an apologetic smile and goes back to the fava beans on toast.

Malik opens up the journal to find that his words have been scribbled over and the only thing written in large, shaky letters is, "YOU CAN'T KILL ME."

A gym is too public for any of them, but the spirit comes home one night with a full set of weights that they can share between them while Ryou and Ishizu sit on the couch and occasionally commentate.

One night, Malik accidentally slices his finger, but though he can feel his darker side stirring at the corners of his mind, he doesn't black out.

"He's like a child, and he can't hurt us without the Rod, so you don't need to be so scared," Bakura tells him quietly that same night, his hands warm around Malik's.

When the electricity goes out, Malik is startled to find that his heart isn't beating quite as fast as it used to, though he still presses close to the others as they light candles and set up a board game in the middle of the floor.

He wrinkles his nose at the creampuff Bakura's holding in front of it.

Bakura calls it art therapy; Malik isn't convinced, but even he has to admit that when he's done and staring at the incoherent mess of black and red and gold that he sees in his dreams, he feels calmer.

This time, when he opens the notebook, that thick, heavy scrawl that he barely recognizes as his own says, "I had sex with your boyfriend," and under it, in Bakura's much more delicate handwriting, "(he means me, of course, let's talk when you read this!)"

Though he'd known it was coming, it's an hour of the two of them locked up in a room together just talking before Malik has the fortitude to write back, and he mulls over each word before writing it, careful and deliberate.

Bakura and the spirit have had rough sex before, and Malik knows they both enjoy it because they've told him as much, but somehow it's a little different seeing the half-healed scratches and Bakura's tired smile and knowing that he did that and he doesn't even remember.

Though his childhood was short on it, Malik thinks that living like this, in the light, he's starting to hope that he never stops hearing it again.

The scene in the living room is normal: Rishid on his laptop, the spirit chortling as Bakura sits in the floor in front of Ishizu and she braids his hair, Malik leaning against the spirit and Rishid's legs by turn and watching everything with a smile.

The first thing Malik does with his new motorcycle is drive down to the sea and watch the ocean waves lap at the beach.

Speak Up
"You're squishing me," Bakura complains, and Malik rolls them over and against the spirit with a grin.

It's been three years, three months, and seven days since he learned the truth when Malik takes a deep breath and writes "What he did was wrong, too," in the notebook, and he even believes it a little even as tears sting behind his eyes hard enough that he has to set the pen down.