Warnings/Disclaimers: Swearing, groping, a touch of mindfuckery. YGO belongs to whoever owns it, but the plot of this story is mine. Also, Marik = yami, Malik = hikari.
“I never expected to see you here alone, darling.” Darkness curls around Ryou’s feet, brushing against the skin of his ankles. The Shadow Realm was just as absurd as Bakura had described it, and an eerie light filtered from nowhere in particular, staining everything purple. “What’s a girl like you doing in a place like this?”
Ryou scowls. “Because that joke hasn’t gotten old yet.”
The smoke parts to reveal the stranger, and Ryou notes sourly that even three thousand years ago, he had a flair for the dramatic. Akefia frowns. “Don’t be like that.”
His eyes bore a hole in Ryou’s chest, fixated on the Ring around his neck. Ryou can’t help but squirm under the scrutiny. Akefia looks just how Ryou had pictured him, piecing together details from glimpses in Bakura’s mind. “You’re Akefia?”
The stranger glowers. “I suppose you can call me that.”
Ryou looks him up and down—he was young-ish, Ryou’s age. “I expected someone.....taller.”
The ground under his feet jerks sharply to the side and when Ryou steadies himself, Akefia is gone. Hands grip his shoulders, painfully tight, and Ryou flinches. Akefia’s lips brush against the shell of his ear and his chest presses against Ryou’s back. “Watch what you say. I don’t find you very funny.” One hand slid across his chest, fingers tapping at the hollow of his throat. Ryou swallows hard. “Get it?”
“I got it.”
The hand on his shoulder squeezes hard, and Akefia steps away. “Good.”
Ryou turns to face him, and briefly the phrase “don’t tempt fate” skims through his brain before he blurts, “It’s no surprise Bakura got the upper hand with you, you know. I was prepared for someone strong, but I hate to break it to you—you leave a lot to be desired.”
Fireworks spark behind Ryou’s eyes as his head cracks against a wall that wasn’t there a second ago. Akefia’s fingers close around his neck and Ryou can hear his pulse hammering in his skull. “You think that demon spawn keeps you around because you stand a chance against him? You amuse him,” Akefia hisses, pressing flush against Ryou. “You will show me some respect.”
Ryou chuckles, choked. The stone of the wall scrapes his back. “Make me.”
Akefia narrows his eyes and for just a moment Ryou thinks he might’ve gone too far, but the grip on his neck eases. The Thief King chuckles darkly. “As you wish. You came here to play a game, didn’t you? Let’s play.”
He waves a hand and more games than Ryou’s ever seen litter the floor, some so old that the board must weigh a ton. He didn’t recognize more than half. Ryou’s lips twisted into a wry smile. “I was thinking something more contemporary, actually.”
“Oh?” Another flick of his fingers and the games vanished. Akefia arches an eyebrow. “What did you have in mind? Battleship? Canasta? Twister?” The Egyptian’s eyes light up. “I know what we’ll play. Truth or dare—I’ve a fondness for that particular game.”
Goddamnit. “I thought we couldn’t lie in a Shadow Game?”
The clouds of smoke above them darken. Akefia smiles pleasantly and the temperature drops a degree or ten. “Why do you ask? You weren’t planning on cheating, were you, Ryou?”
Ryou smiles back. “Of course not. I’m insulted you ask.”
The Thief King regards him for a moment, then snaps his fingers. “Have a seat.” Chairs materialize, and they take their seats. “Rules are simple. Choose truth, answer the question. Dare, do what you’re told.”
Ryou rolled his eyes. I’ve got to be too old for this party game.
“Humor me, would you?”
Ryou flinches, Akefia grins. “The Shadow Realm has no modicum of privacy?” Ryou snaps.
Akefia spreads his hands wide. “All’s fair here, I’m afraid.” He lounges in his chair, stretching his arms over his head. “I’ll allow you to go first. Truth or dare?”
Ryou weighs his (limited) options. “Truth.”
“Scared?” Akefia scowls. “Why are you here?”
The smoke curls around Ryou’s neck, a mocking reminder. He schools his expression into something placid, manicures an answer. “I wanted to see if I could start a Shadow Game like the yamis can.” That was close enough to the truth. He waits for the shadows to drag him screaming into the abyss, but the answer was clearly good enough. “Truth or dare?”
Akefia steeples his fingers, looking at Ryou over his fingertips. He smirks, “Dare.”
A chill creeps across Ryou’s chest and he sees the shadows poking into his shirt, wrapping around his torso. “Get those away from me!” He realizes his mistake a second later. “No, that’s not what I—”
“Too late.” One dare wasted, Akefia motions for the shadows to scat. He smirks, Ryou scowls. “Your turn?”
Ryou shakes his head, furious with himself at being so easily played. “Truth.”
The Thief King eyes the Ring around Ryou’s neck. “Did you goad me into playing this game with you?”
Ryou smiles. “Yes.”
Akefia leans forward, curious. “Why?”
“Ah, ah,” Ryou waggles a finger at him. “That’s not in the rules.”
His opponent laughs. “I knew I liked you! I choose truth.”
“What happened at Kul Elna?”
Akefia’s laughter cut off sharply. “That’s not a question.”
“Oh?” Ryou crosses one leg over the other. “A question is defined by—” Akefia waves a hand and Ryou’s voice cuts out, the skin of his face weirdly tight. He presses his fingers to his face, eyes wide, to find he had no mouth.
Akefia’s face was dark. “No. Ask another one.”
Ryou arches an eyebrow and Akefia waves his hand again. Ryou gasps and clears his throat. “I see.” He thinks. “I’ll pass.”
“Really? Nothing you want to ask me?” Akefia’s goading him now, but Ryou refuses the bait. The thief frowns. “Fine. Truth or dare?”
Humming a bar of Bach’s first cello suite, Ryou thinks quickly. Akefia couldn’t kill him—it wasn’t in the rules. Not directly, anyway, but that was a risk he’d have to take. “Dare.”
“Oh-ho, that’s new.” Akefia points at the Ring. “Give me that.”
Fuck all, that isn’t what he’d expected. Ryou pulls the Sennen Ring from around his neck slowly, unsure of what would happen if he surrenders in the middle of the game. Akefia notes his hesitation. “Relax, we’re practically family. I won’t let anything happen to it.”
Ryou tosses it to him. “Hardly reassuring. You’re next.”
“Truth.” Akefia runs his hands almost reverently over the gold of the Ring—Ryou wonders why.
“Why," Ryou pauses, trying to pick only one thing to ask, "why are we playing this game?”
“Because I like you.” The shadows converge on the thief, violently fast. Akefia flinches and Ryou realizes he’s almost been lied to. “Because,” Akefia adds, with a pointed glare at the creatures shifting behind the shadows, “I think you’re here to do something stupid. And I like it when people do stupid things. And,” Ryou had opened his mouth to speak, but the Egyptian cuts him off, “we both know you’ll choose to tell the truth, so why don’t you tell me why you’re really here?”
I’ve underestimated him. “To commiserate, honestly.” Ryou chuckles, running a hand through his bangs. “I tire of being a pawn, and I thought you could relate.”
Clearly, Ryou underestimated his opponent even more than he’d figured. Akefia’s expression turns dark as he puts together the pieces. He shoots to his feet, his chair clattering to the ground. “You’ve tricked me.” Ryou shrinks into his seat involuntarily, caught. “You played on my anger, on my confidence, baiting me into playing a game with you.” He pauses, seething. “Into playing this game, where you’ve guaranteed my honesty and your life.” Bare feet pad across the space between them, and he looms over Ryou. Slim fingers wrap around the hikari’s wrists, pinning them to the armrests. “And for what?”
Ryou swallows thickly, leaning up to hiss in the thief’s ear, “That’s against the rules.”
The air grinds to halt around them, and Akefia drops his head, shoulders shaking—Ryou can’t tell if he’s laughing or crying and that’s scary as fuck. Before he can think to move or breathe, Akefia slides into his lap and sinks his teeth into his collarbone.
Ryou cries out, the burst of pain catching him by surprise, as the Thief King moves his way up to suck a bruise onto his neck. “Is this what you wanted?” He licks a hot trail down the hikari’s neck. “My cooperation? My allegiance? Or just the truth?” Hands roam under his uniform shirt, and Akefia smirks. “Were you hoping I knew how to kill him?” One hand cups Ryou through his slacks and he jolts, hands coming up to shove at the Egyptian’s shoulders. “Problem? You could dare me to stop.”
“Stop.” He freezes with a jerk, but remains sitting on Ryou’s lap. The hikari shakes his head to clear it. “We haven’t finished our game.”
Akefia huffs, and asks against the skin of his neck, lips on Ryou's pulse. “Truth or dare?”
“Dare.” Ryou leans his head against the back of the chair, sucking in a deep breath.
Akefia hums to himself, thumbs rubbing Ryou’s sides under his shirt. “Kiss me.”
A smirk. “If you refuse, you lose.”
“No,” Ryou says, adamant, “I lose. What’s my Penalty Game?”
“You’re sure?” Akefia bows his head, whispering in Ryou’s ear. “It’s just one, little—”
“Stop toying with me, damnit!”
Akefia grins, teeth unnaturally pointy. “Your penalty?” He leans up, his lips moving against Ryou’s. “Your penalty is—”
Ryou snaps awake, flinging himself off the couch and landing scant centimeters from the coffee table. Marik chuckles, leaning against the back of the couch, watching him. “You alright?”
“I had the weirdest dream.” He sits, shaky, and presses a hand to his pounding forehead. He takes Marik’s offered arm and hauls himself up. The Ring slaps against his chest. “I’m fine, though.”
Don’t lie to yourself, darling.
The voice steals through his head, cool as quicksilver, and Ryou gets the feeling he’s just lost something important.