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If Not Now, When?

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“Not now, Marik.” Bakura shrugs the silky, wandering fingers away from his shoulder with a scowl. “I’m thinking.”

“You’re always thinking,” Marik says with a sigh. He tries again, wrapping his arm around Bakura’s waist and dragging his fingers over his pale, bony chest – slowly, as though he’s counting the ribs. He leans towards Bakura’s ear, wrinkles his nose as fluffy grey hair tickles his cheek, then whispers, “Maybe a break would help you to think more clearly.”

Bakura grabs Marik’s wrist and extricates himself. He notes that Marik’s nails are trimmed and filed to perfection, undoubtedly for his benefit, but that only adds to his annoyance. “I said not now. If you spent more time thinking with your brain instead of your cock perhaps you’d have gathered the millennium items by now.”

Marik bristles, makes a few seconds of pleading eye contact with Bakura, then turns away, blinking rapidly. “Sometimes, Bakura, I think…” He swallows. “Fuck you. I’m going out.”

“Good,” snaps Bakura. “Finally, I’ll be able to hear myself think.”

The whole motel room shakes as Marik slams the door on his way out. Bakura’s heart is beating so hard he can hear it as the shockwaves reverberate around the faded, dented walls.

It’s just anger, Bakura tells himself as his hands begin to shake.

He flops down onto the unmade bed, massaging his pounding temples. He’s lost his train of thought anyway now. Stupid distracting Marik. With a resigned sigh, he scrambles between the off-white sheets and closes his eyes.

His heart is still pounding more than it has any right to.

* * *

“Not now, Marik.”

Marik winces at Bakura’s glowering face, and withdraws his hand as though Bakura’s skin is burning hot to the touch.

“It’s dark… Nobody will see,” comes Marik’s purring response, a last-ditch effort to elicit any kind of reaction from Bakura.

“How many times do I have to tell you – I don’t want to hold your hand in public.” Bakura folds his arms, stopping dead just by a dark alleyway between two apartment blocks. “Can’t you keep your mind focussed on something that isn’t me for one damned moment?”

Marik draws closer to Bakura with a sly grin. “I’ve been doing whatever you want all day…” He glances into the darkness down the alleyway. “And besides, you deserve a break…”

Bakura raises his eyebrows as he follows Marik’s gaze. “Is that code for ‘I want to fuck you against the wall of a back alley next to a pair of bins’?”

“Well, it doesn’t sound as good when you say like that,” Marik says, already deflating like a forgotten balloon. His eyes flicker across Bakura’s grouchy face, and his shoulders sag. There’s no point in pressing the issue. “Never mind.”

Marik turns and starts walking again in the vague direction of the motel that’s become their home. Bakura hangs back and watches him for a moment. There’s an unusual heaviness in his stride, as though it’s a real effort to drag his feet across the pavement.

Bakura swallows and takes a deep breath. His pulse quickens, and there’s a faint sick feeling in his stomach. It’s just because I forgot to eat anything for dinner, he reminds himself.

But he didn’t forget, so much as he didn’t want to accept half of the falafel and chips that Marik ordered. It felt too much like relying on him – and he’ll be damned before he relies on anyone else, least of all Marik.

Just as he begins to drag his own feet along the uneven paving slabs, Marik turns around with an accusing scowl.

“You only ever want me when you’re pissed off with the Pharaoh.” Marik’s voice wavers slightly as he speaks, as though it’s taking all his energy to control it. “Do you know how much that hurts, Bakura?”

Something in Bakura’s chest drops, and his heartbeat grows louder again. “That’s-” Nonsense. Untrue. Absurd. But he can’t bring himself to finish the sentence.

“I sort of knew that this was how it would be, that you were always just using me, and I thought I was okay with it. But… But…” There are silent tears running down Marik’s cheeks, becoming little grey rivers as they smudge his eyeliner. “It hurts too much.”

Marik. Bakura’s lips form the shape of his name, but no sound comes out. He watches helplessly as Marik sniffs, defiantly wipes away the glistening tears from his face, and begins a purposeful walk along a road that most definitely does not lead to the motel.

Bakura raises a hand to his chest; the drumming of his heart is terrifyingly fast, and it’s pulsing all though his body. He tries to breathe evenly, but it’s like he’s winded and can’t get enough oxygen. His shaky knees collapse in on themselves, and he sinks to the floor.

The corners of his eyes prickle.

Fuck you, Marik,” he hisses.

* * *

Bakura’s sitting at the bottom of the bed, deep in thought, while Marik lounges diagonally, hogging all the pillows as he reads some ridiculous magazine about motorcycles. Bakura’s deep in uninterrupted thought, just like he always wanted. He sighs heavily, stands up, and begins pacing.

Marik came back to the motel eventually, not least because he’d left  the millennium rod in the safe, along with all of his belongings in the broken Ikea cupboards. He even brought chips and dips as a peace offering, and mumbled an apology for over-reacting as he pushed his way through the door and made a beeline for the bed.

Bakura didn’t sleep that night. He didn’t even try. His heart wouldn’t stop pounding, and it made him queasy… Too queasy even for the chips and dips. He put the dips in the semi-functional mini-fridge, before taking a long, hot shower and settling down to watch Marik sleep.

They still haven’t acknowledged, let alone spoken about, Marik’s outburst.

Bakura can’t think of anything else. The same image of Marik, eyeliner running down his glistening cheeks, keeps playing in his mind’s eye while it hurts too much echoes through his ears. The more he thinks about it, the harder it gets to breathe. He closes his eyes, balls up a fist, then adds one more dent in the door.

Marik jumps, dropping his magazine. “Ba-Bakura?”

Bakura looks over to him, scowling even more than usual. It hurts – physically, and in his soul – but he knows what he needs to do now.

“Marik, I’m…” It hurts to look at Marik too, whose shoulders have already tensed as though he’s expecting to have to reapply his eyeliner again. “I’m sorry.” His voice is barely audible, even in the silent room. “I’m so sorry.”

Marik raises an eyebrow. He tosses the magazine onto the floor. “You’re… sorry?” He repeats the word as though he can’t quite believe it.

“I didn’t know I was hurting you so much.” He winces as he tries to straighten out the hand that made contact with the door. “And even when I thought about hurting you, I didn’t think I’d care.”

“Just because you don’t care, that doesn’t mean I have to put up with…” Marik’s words start out full of righteous anger, but then he trails off. His lips curl into a faint smile. “You do care?”

Bakura’s cheeks flush a deep red. He wonders briefly why it’s so difficult to admit to it, when Marik himself makes no effort whatsoever to conceal the feelings on his part. His heart pounds more than ever, but for once he doesn’t brush it off as having some other, more innocuous cause.

“I do,” Bakura says with a snarl. “I didn’t want to, but…” He sighs as Marik’s smile quickly loses its brilliance. “Look, I’m not very good at this kind of thing.”

“I know.” Marik gets up from the bed and takes a couple of tentative steps towards Bakura. He hesitates. “I need more than words, though. I need to know that-”

“Marik, do you know how much it hurts me to see you upset, knowing that I’m the one at fault?” Bakura snaps. “It makes me feel sick, physically sick. I haven’t felt anything like… this in millennia.”

“Anything like what?” Marik’s expression has softened. He reaches out to Bakura, and brushes away a soft strand of hair before cupping his cheek.

Bakura feels a twinge of… something, rippling all the way from his chest to the base of his spine. He reaches out, wraps an arm around Marik’s waist, then traces his fingers over the uneven scar tissue on Marik’s back before pulling him close and into a deep kiss. There’s an odd sensation in his belly, as though his insides are melting, but he ignores it for now, losing himself in the faint scent of musky bodywash and the warm softness of Marik’s tongue.

Marik shivers into him. The hand on Bakura’s cheek moves around the back of his head, tugging gently on his long, tangled hair.

Bakura draws back, breathing hard. His body tingles all over, but he doesn’t want release so much as just to be as close to Marik as he possibly can, to touch him all over and feel his body pressed up against every inch of skin.

“Shut up, Marik. Just…”

Bakura slips his other hand inside Marik’s hoodie, kisses him again quickly, before pulling it up and over Marik’s shoulders. He winces and swears as the fabric catches on his swollen knuckles. Marik pushes his hands away, then wriggles out of his hoodie.

“Looks painful, Bakura,” says Marik unhelpfully. “Bet you’re glad I don’t go round punching doors to deal with my feelings, aren’t you?”

Marik wiggles his fingers, and Bakura can already feel them inside him, the ghosts of all the times he’s used Marik over the months they’ve been together; it leaves a bittersweet taste in his mouth.

When he blinks and brings himself back to the present, he realises that Marik’s already undone his belt and jeans, and is working on pulling up his t-shirt. Bakura lifts his arms, so that Marik can tug it over his head with minimal effort, then leans forward, pressing his chest against the toned muscles of Marik’s.

“Your body…” he whispers into Marik’s ear, before licking the edge of it. “Your body feels so good against mine.”

Marik’s lips find their way to Bakura’s neck; he nibbles and licks and grins to himself as Bakura’s body shakes in a way that feels wholly novel. Bakura forces himself through the pain in his knuckles to pull down his jeans before kicking them off, then gets to work on Marik’s.

Moments later, he’s pushed Marik down onto the bed and is straddling him, kissing him so hard that neither of them can really draw breath, and grinding against him.

Intimacy with Marik has always been good. Their bodies feel like two halves of a whole, fitting together as perfectly as pieces of the millennium puzzle. Marik knows precisely where to touch, exactly how to tease, to bring Bakura utterly to his knees – in more ways than one.

But it’s different this time. It’s not just a physical sensation, or a much-needed way to vent his frustrations; he’s always been so careful not to let feelings creep into their sex life, even if it meant locking them away somewhere and carefully avoiding any acknowledgement of them – but now that he’s admitted he cares for Marik, all those repressed feelings are coursing through him like poison. No, not poison – more like a beautifully, dangerously addictive drug.

When Bakura draws back for air, Marik grabs the bottle of lube on the nightstand, which hasn’t been touched in days, and squirts a generous amount onto his fingers. He moves his hand downwards, and Bakura kneels up to allow it between his legs.

“I want you, Marik.” The words slip out of Bakura’s mouth before he can stifle them, and he blushes as Marik stares back at him in what looks like awe.

Marik’s finger starts to tease at him, and Bakura pushes himself onto it, shuddering and biting his lip. He’s already made too many embarrassing admissions today. He won’t let himself moan. He won’t let himself…

All his pride goes straight out of the window as Marik slips in another finger. The muffled sound of a loud television can suddenly be heard through the wall by the bed, but it’s no match for the volume of his breathy, whining moans. With his good hand, Bakura squirts some lube onto his palm, then rubs it along the length of Marik’s cock. His bruised knuckles cause him to grimace; he can’t quite close his fingers as tightly as he’d like.

Frustrated, he pulls himself up and brushes Marik’s fingers aside, then lowers himself back down onto his cock, inhaling sharply. One of Marik’s hands grabs the bedsheet and scrunches it up, pulling it off the corner of the mattress; normally Bakura would be annoyed at having to remake the bed, but today it just makes him ride Marik all the harder.

He’s close to the edge already; as the tingling pleasure builds, his lips form more humiliating words.

“Marik, I love you.”

The words are more breath than sound, but they make Marik’s hips twitch and buck in just the right way. Bakura closes his eyes and repeats the words again, more than once, as his body convulses in pleasure. He feels Marik pulse inside him, then a wet warmth fills him.

When he finally opens his eyes, breathing hard, Marik is rubbing his eye, and there’s a splash of cum dripping down his cheek, smudging his eyeliner. Bakura leans forward and kisses it away, though it looks far better on Marik than tears.

Their lips meet for a more tender kiss this time, then Bakura settles into the crook of Marik’s arm.

“I get a cuddle today?” teases Marik. “You really do love me.”

Bakura feels hot all over. “Damn it, I really said it, didn’t I?”

“You did.” Marik kisses his forehead. “I love you too.”

* * *

“Not now, Marik.” Bakura shrugs away one of Marik’s ever-exploring hands as he sits at the desk, writing in his notepad. He looks up, and turns around. “Just… let me finish this paragraph.” One of his hands does some exploring of its own, and Marik’s cheeks instantly burn hot pink.

“Y-you can finish the whole page if you want.” A trickle of blood leaks from Marik’s nose as Bakura’s hand brushes against him.

“Fuck it.” Bakura tosses his pen decisively aside on the desk, then stands up, facing Marik. “How am I supposed to concentrate now?” But instead of telling him off or brushing him aside, he pulls him forward and kisses him. It’s time for a break. Another break.

Bakura doesn’t get much quiet time any more, but it’s more than worth it to keep Marik happy.