Shadows of the Night
Chapter One
by Katsuko and Eternal SailorM

Anger.

That was what Bakura felt most, the only thing he'd truly felt since Zork's Curse went into effect. Fifty years of being twenty-four, only a small number in what he knew for certain would be eternity. Fifty years since the Curse had poisoned his blood and ripped him from his beloved, he who was now Pharaoh, he who would age and die while he remained young until the end of time.

If only it had been his beloved standing so close when the Nameless Pharaoh sacrificed his life to seal Zork away! But no; it had been the brother of the priestess, a man-child of sixteen winters, who had been caught by the backlash of the Curse that now coursed in both their veins. A man-child who would be as eternally on the brink of adulthood as he would remain eternally in the springtime of his life.

He despised those who would age naturally, who would know sickness and age and blessed death. The Beautiful Afterlife was forever locked to Bakura and Malik, and that fact had sent them both into the rage that they took out on all in their path. They worked under cover of darkness, killing and destroying, and traveled during the daylight. Ra, it appeared, would not touch them; Bakura forever felt cold even in the harsh light of day.

Several lands they'd raped in the course of half a century, with the name netjer kem following them. At least, until they left the sands of their homeland, driven out by those who protected Bakura's beloved who now sat on the throne. Another name found them upon the shores of Greece: brykolakas.

What name they were called mattered little to Bakura; all he had left was his rage, and he unleashed it upon all the fragile humans in his path. This land was full of pale imitations of the people they'd left behind in Kehmet: fair hair, fair skin, fair eyes. They died, however, like everyone else--screaming and bleeding and begging for their lives in that strange tongue that he cared not to understand.

But not this man-child before him. Fair hair, fair skin, dark eyes that would put any native child of Kehmet to shame. He was not screaming, he was not begging; his eyes peered at Bakura, almost through him, before sliding shut. This child accepted his fate and would not fight him. It was almost a pity, really; Bakura had become accustomed to his food putting up a struggle.

He was somewhat surprised at how much sweeter the blood tasted when his victim was willing. He could hear the little signs of life slipping away as he fed for once without having to ignore the screams; a soft whimper was the only sound the boy had made before falling silent. Bakura could hear the child's heartbeat slowing, slowing so peacefully compared to other kills he'd made in nearly fifty years' time....

And then he was wrenched violently away from his meal, a snarl reaching his ears as his companion pulled the limp form into his own grasp. Bakura blinked silver eyes in amusement at Malik; the younger netjer kem did not share his mirth.

"You're mean, Bakura," he growled. "I wanted him!"

"There's still enough life in him for you to get a taste," the elder replied with a small shrug. "He's a willing kill. Sweeter than virgin's blood."

Malik's expression darkened. "No! I want to keep him!"

This... was a surprise. While Bakura knew that Malik was trapped between childhood and adulthood, until now he'd always acted in a manner more befitting an adult in his rage. This childish behaviour was completely against all he thought he'd known about his unwilling companion.

"He's so cold now," the fair-haired Egyptian murmured, fingers ghosting almost delicately over the still-bleeding puncture wounds on the Greek's neck.

"That's because he has little blood left in him," Bakura snapped impatiently. "He is dying. He would have died anyway had you kept him. You would most likely have grown bored with him and eaten him yourself."

"I would not!" Malik replied just as sharply. "The oracles said that my merwet would be born when I was old and lie in a land far from home! I'm sixty-six winters, and we've not seen Kehmet in twenty summers! This one is mine!"

"He is dying," the elder said, tone gentling somewhat; he knew that the oracles spoke the truth more often than not. His own prophecy had said that he'd be forced from his own beloved's side and never again meet in this lifetime. "His blood will run out shortly."

"Then we have to replace it with more," the younger insisted, lavender eyes pleading. "Replace it with stronger blood." Before Bakura could realize what Malik intended to do, the fair-haired netjer kem had torn his own wrist open with his sharp teeth and allowed a few drops to spill on the wounded neck. The elder was surprised to see the marks close over and heal, but the Greek's heartbeat continued to fade.

"No," he murmured, stepping forward to help his companion. "The blood has to go inside him if you wish to replace it." As he spoke, he lightly took hold of the dying boy's chin. Malik blinked at the elder for a moment before moving his bleeding wrist to the now-open mouth.

"Please, merwet ib," the younger near-whispered, "just drink a few drops for me."

To Bakura, the plea was almost heartbreaking. Malik had only ever pleaded for anything one time since they were Cursed, and that was to be mortal again. That was a wish that would never be, and he felt that this was just another--

His thoughts abruptly halted when he realized that a few drops of Malik's blood had slipped past the Greek's lips; one moment the child was on the brink of death ,and the next he was latched onto the younger Egyptian's wrist. The boy's heartbeat picked up speed for a few moments, racing hard as he swallowed Malik's life into himself before slowing and then stopping. His head fell to one side, eyes still closed as they'd been when Bakura's first bitten him. Even without the beating of a heart, the elder could sense the slow breathing he associated with himself and his companion.

"What happened?" Malik asked, fear entering his voice for the first time since that day in Kehmet. "He's not moving, Bakura. Did it work? Is he alive?"

"We have to wait," Bakura said with a certainty that he didn't quite feel. "Wait and make sure that your blood takes to him. It might have worked, though. He breathes as you do, little one."

"I don't remember sleeping," Malik noted, fingers absently combing through the boy's hair. "We didn't, did we? We were just... Not Alive, weren't we?"

Bakura nodded. "We did not sleep because he Cursed us in an instant," the elder replied, his tone somewhat bitter for a moment before calming once more. "Your beloved has taken the Curse differently. His body needs to change; when he's awake again he'll be like we are."

"What will he eat?" the younger worried. "We've drained the village; there is no one left for him to take from."

"Then we feed him from us," Bakura decided. "A little from me, a little from you. Then we move on from here. Daylight isn't far off and I want to be on a ship by then."

Malik frowned, head tilted to one side in confusion. "Why are we taking a ship, Bakura?"

"Because it's time we were home. My people's souls have lingered long enough. It's time to reclaim the Sennen Items."


brykolakas - vampire (Greek)
merwet - love, beloved
ib - heart


18 February 2006

Did I mention we're having fun with this?