Ye gods, I'm writing about Honda. I can't stand Honda! He's annoying! ::falls out of chair, though hole in floor and into basement:: Rayemars, this is all your fault, you hear? I blame you for this. In a nice way. ^_~

Erg. I keep referring to Ryou Bakura as just Ryou because I can't ever find an appropriate place to call him Bakura. But Yami Bakura is not plain Bakura.

Curse words, possible OOC depending on your perception of the characters, fluff & WAFF with a pinch of angst, yaoi.

Honda/Yami-Bakura/Bakura, with Malik thrown in that relationship somehow. Everybody wants to get into Ryou's pants, and this is all you need to know. … Heh.

Something To Protect

Poison Ice Cream

The other Bakura stared at Honda's motorcycle intently, hands crossed behind his back as though he didn't want to touch the machine. He circled it, eyes shifting warily as he took in the wheels, the sidecar on the right side, and examined it as thoroughly as an ancient spirit who knew nothing of technology could.

"This one's not yours," He stated, standing up and turning his stare on Honda. The brunet nodded. He'd borrowed it for the sidecar, which his bike was lacking. Though he hadn't taken Bakura out on his bike yet, he had the impression that the quiet boy might not be comfortable riding behind him. "Malik has one too," The spirit said, mostly to himself, before addressing Honda once more, "and they're not as safe as cars, correct?"

Honda nodded again, before skipping to the point, "I won't crash when Ryou's with me."

The dark Bakura raised an eyebrow.

"And I brought an extra helmet for him," The taller boy gestured to said helmet sitting in the sidecar.

At this Yami Bakura raised his other eyebrow, before an only slightly devious smile appeared. "You didn't bring a helmet for me?" He asked, almost succeeding in his imitation of sweetness.

It took Honda a moment to react. It wasn't exactly a surprise that the Ring Spirit had decided to tag along – once he came out of the Ring he generally stayed out until he got bored or too fed up with the people around him – but he knew how the spirit felt about being even social enough to leave the house.

 Honda looked from Yami Bakura to the extra helmet, and then back to Yami Bakura again. "If Ryou's wearing it when you come out…" He began.

A snort of, "idiot," interrupted him. "I never said I wanted to wear one. It'd push down my hair." With that there was a bright flash of light, and Honda's vision went spotty. Now when he closed his eyes he could see little navy blue silhouettes of the Ring. Peachy.

Ryou stood patiently while his other half walked over to Honda and grabbed the taller boy by his shirt, pulling him down. Sometimes being tall was a bitch, Honda decided, because Yami Bakura was damned if he'd ever stand on tip-toes. His back was complaining, but Yami Bakura did not release him yet. He wondered what the spirit was planning.

Yami Bakura prided himself on never being predictable. Just when Honda thought the spirit had settled into a pattern, he'd do something Honda's imagination hadn't even touched on. Such as taking over at school last month and pouncing Honda in front of the math teacher and any students who had been in the hall.

Not that Honda had minded in the least. If you were going to "come out" then you might as well slam the door behind you. And the look on the math teacher's face had been more than enough to make up for the fact that she'd kicked him out of class the week before, even if Yami Bakura made it so that she didn't remember. Which was good, as they didn't need that on their permanent records, but he hadn't done any modifications to the student's minds. "Too many," was the excuse, though Honda had an idea of the real reason.

Although you'd think that they would have found somebody else to tease by now. It didn't matter to Honda, though. He was more than used to being on people's shit-lists for some reason or the other, and he was damned if he'd let the little bastards get to Ryou.

But back to the present, Yami Bakura was still staring at him, and Honda was trying to figure out if he was going to get slapped, kissed, or something else. He hoped that the first option wasn't the one Yami Bakura would settle one, because he tended to retaliate, but if Yami Bakura kissed him then the motorcycle wouldn't be running any time soon.

The thief settled on the 'something else' option, throwing Honda back. It took the taller boy a second to regain his balance, in which Yami Bakura tossed the extra helmet to Ryou.

Honda shook his head and put on his own helmet. A quiet evening with Ryou had really been too much to hope for.

"Where are we going?" Asked the white-haired boy. Honda grinned down at him.

"It's a secret 'til we get there!" With this he flipped his visor down and started up the bike, trying not to rev it up too loudly. Yami Bakura settled onto the seat behind him, pulling himself too close to Honda for the latter to be able to concentrate on the road easily. He debated telling the spirit to scoot back or not, before shifting the bike into gear and pulling out.

The first half of the ride was uneventful, but as Honda had already figured out, any chances for a peaceful evening had already crashed and were burning away. He just hadn't expected the fire to be so large.

The sound of another bike reached their ears while waiting at a red light. Honda glanced in his rearview mirror, admiring the motorcycle – an expensive chopper – before his eyes widened to rival Yuugi's.

The rider of the bike that had just pulled up was none other than Malik.

"Bakura," The tan boy called, taunting. "You're letting somebody else drive?" He laughed, though not as loud as he'd been talking, and the annoying sound was almost hidden in the rumble of the bikes. Malik, Honda noticed, didn't wear a helmet either.

Yami Bakura's hold around Honda's waist tightened slightly as his arms tensed.

"Hey, let's see if he's any good on a bike! Race me," He said, the challenge more in more of a commanding tone than anything.

Honda frowned. Yeah, sure, while Malik obviously had the faster bike and Honda had the added weight of a sidecar—

"Accept," The Ring Spirit whispered, and Honda wasn't quite sure how he heard him over the noise of the bikes and other traffic. He didn't speculate much on it as the light turned green and Malik shot off, cackling entirely too loudly. He was much better at taking orders than he was at drawing conclusions about things that shouldn't have been quite possible.

Malik had already gained a lead and was increasing it; his bike had the better acceleration and was lighter. The brunet leaned forward on his bike, willing it to go faster.

He wasn't sure on his view of Malik. This was the same person who had taken control of his best friend, threatening Jounouchi's life, tried to kill Yuugi, and played a near-fatal magical tug-o-war using Ryou as the rope… although the thief sitting behind him was as much to blame for that as Malik. But Yuugi was all for forgiving the Egyptian, and Honda had – mostly – forgiven Yami Bakura, whose list of offenses was at least as long as Malik's.

And then there was the relationship between the dark Bakura and Malik, which Honda knew would make his head hurt if he thought about it too hard. At times they seemed like Kaiba and Yuugi, only rivals, although at a more violent and homicidal level, then at other times … Honda knew that they'd slept together at least once, which, he would admit to himself, did cause a certain feeling akin to jealousy to rise up. Then there was the murderous glare Yami Bakura would give Malik when the latter looked at Ryou hungrily, and Honda would have been more than willing to help the white-haired thief clout Malik at those times.

"Hurry up, fool! You'll lose if this keeps up!" Once again Honda heard the quiet hiss, though he was at a loss as to how he'd carry out the order.

The chopper made a wide left turn around a corner, slowing down to do so, and inspiration struck the brunet boy. Reaching the turn he swung the handlebars sharply, yelling out, "Lean to the right!" as he did so.

The sidecar wheels lifted off the ground as the bike made a near ninety-degree turn. Honda felt his adrenaline and fear shoot up, wondering if his passengers would lean and knowing it was too late if they didn't.

The wheels returned to the asphalt with a small thump as the bike continued speeding after Malik.

Honda felt a grin break out. Yeah, racing like this was illegal, but it was fun as Hell, proved by Yami Bakura's maniacal laugh that broke out. The gain was slight, but… Malik didn't notice their maneuver, and made another turn, this one to the right. Well, it was a little more difficult, but if Ryou was up to it… He glanced to the right at the other boy. Ryou's hands were gripping the sides of the little compartment as he leaned forward, hair flying out from beneath the helmet. Honda could almost see a small smile on the reserved boy's face, though the angle he was looking from was difficult.

This was why Honda had bought his motorcycle, ignoring his mother's pleas, his father's threat of not caring when Honda crashed and died, even Jounouchi's little-shown concern. They didn't know. They didn't realize that to be rushing through the streets, not in a car, with no confines or constraints to stop the wind from hitting your face.

He wondered, rounding yet another turn and bringing them closer to Malik, what Yami Bakura looked like with the his hair thrown back from the wind.

A little more…

Honda flashed a grin at Malik as the trio past him, the expression on Malik's face rivaling the way his math teacher had looked that one day. Now that he was in the lead, he could decide where they went. He looked around quickly. Well, they weren't too far from his destination…

"Lean!" He yelled, letting go of the gas as he wrenched the handlebars to the left. He could feel the sidecar lifting higher than it had any of the previous times, heard Ryou's small yell and forced down the sudden panic that they maybe wouldn't shift their weight enough…

The 180-degree turn was complete, now putting them in the opposite lane and facing the right way. Ignoring both Malik's yelling and the cars honking in protest Honda started up again, turning the gas as hard as he could. Now it was just a flat stretch of street; the place Honda wanted to finish at was only a few blocks ahead. Malik had the advantage on a straight stretch, though…

He'd just have to bet on his tiny lead.

He could hear the rumble of Malik's chopper coming up. Only two more blocks now… Was that a cop car they'd just past? One more block, Malik was gaining steadily in the rearview mirror, with the little sticker on it that reminded Honda that objects were closer than they appeared.

Honda allowed the bike to slow down, trying to avoid jerking to a rough stop. Malik sped past as he pulled into a parking spot. The blond stared at them incredulously, but then came to a sudden stop in a parking place a little further ahead.

Yami Bakura was the first off the bike, still grinning like the madman he was, hair even messier than usual. Honda watched him discreetly and wondered if tangled hair would have looked half as good on anyone who wasn't one of his ivory-haired lovers. He held the bike steady as Ryou stepped shakily out of the sidecar and dismounted his motorcycle just in time to see Malik saunter up to the trio.

Yami Bakura was geared up for a glaring contest with the Egyptian, but something else grabbed his attention first. As soon as Honda had made it up to the sidewalk and removed his helmet, Ryou all but tackled the taller boy. It took him a moment to react and return the hug; he hadn't known Ryou was capable of squeezing that hard.

"Thank you," Ryou said, voice muffled and hardly intelligible from speaking into the brunet's chest. "That was amazing!" The smaller boy raised his head, smiling up at him, and Honda felt that familiar warm feeling in his chest. He leaned down and gave Ryou a quick kiss, and the green-eyed boy let him go with a slight blush.

Honda found it a bit endearing that, taking into account the things he'd seen Ryou do, the other boy would still blush at the smallest things if they weren't alone.

Deciding to ignore Malik for the time being, he turned to the building they'd parked in front of. "Our destination," He said, presenting the little place to Ryou.

"The Generic Ice Cream Shoppe" didn't quite qualify as a restaurant, being too tiny, or a café. Entering, the quartet could see that there were only two tables (that would seat two people each, a fact which made Malik grin unnervingly) in front of the giant window on the front of the shop. The counter was an L shape, and the side that didn't have the cash register on it was more a large display of all the ice cream flavours than a counter.

Ryou was the only one who seemed at all excited by the place. Honda watched as he dashed back and forth along the ice cream side, debating between the different types. Malik and Yami Bakura sat at the same table, engaged in a glaring contest, and he and Ryou ordered.

"I don't need to eat," The Ring Spirit stated flatly as the mint-chocolate chip cup was placed before him. Ryou shrugged and licked his cone of French vanilla, placing another cup of ice cream on the table in front of Malik.

The tan boy took the opportunity to take Ryou's hand and smile up at the boy. "Thank you," He said smoothly. "What flavour did you get me?"

Another light blush made its way to Ryou's cheeks. "Coffee," He managed to say softly, too shy to take his hand back. Malik stared up at him, making the paler boy's blush intensify.

There was a loud snap, and Yami Bakura had everybody's attention. His plastic spoon fell to the table in two pieces. "Ryou," He ground out, "could you get me another spoon?" Ryou nodded, glad for the excuse to slip out of Malik's hold.

Honda sat at the second table holding a small cone of chocolate. He'd been in danger of crushing his cone when he saw Malik giving Ryou that usual hungry look, but a quick glare from Yami Bakura had silenced him. Ryou returned with the plastic spoon for his other and sat with Honda quietly.

The situation was perfectly set up for a long, awkward silence, until Yami Bakura dropped his spoon once more, although intact this time. "Holy Hell's Balls that's cold!" He yelled, staring wide-eyed at the kiddy-cup of ice cream.

Ryou giggled, immediately becoming the target of the thief's glare. "That's the point!" He told the other, "It's ice cream, silly!"

Yami Bakura switched his glare from Ryou to the ice cream, and back again, before settling back down and picking his spoon back up. Honda wisely stayed silent, but Malik chose that time to start snickering.

"What?" Yami Bakura demanded, defensive. "We didn't exactly have 'ice cream' back in my time!"

This time Honda couldn't stop his own small laughs, and Ryou joined him in giggling. Honda was immensely grateful that Yami Bakura didn't have a mental link with him, because the spirit would flay him alive if he knew that Honda had just thought he was "cute." It was true, though. With plastic spoon clenched in one hand and a little bit of the mint green ice cream on the corner of his lips, glaring angrily at all the assembled, and sounding like an old man with the use of, "back in my time," he currently rivaled Ryou for cuteness.

Then Honda wondered if he was just biased, because he was fairly sure that nobody else would have agreed with him save Ryou. Maybe Malik, too, but it was established that the Egyptian was a few flowers short of a bouquet. He stopped laughing and turned his attention to his ice cream. The chocolate cone was almost gone, he noticed, realizing that he might have to get more.

Ryou, too, had recovered from his giggling, and Malik had ceased snickering though a smirk still lingered. Yami Bakura, however, was still glaring at the group, but eventually attempted his ice cream once more.

In all honesty, once he got past the cold it didn't taste half bad. That thought he kept to himself.

The next silence that past over the group wasn't half as awkward, as Yami Bakura and Malik abandoned their glaring in favour of the ice cream. Honda couldn't help but feeling relieved at that. There was always a nasty inadequate feeling that crept into his mind whenever the two would face off, mostly because Yami Bakura wouldn't allow him to interfere.

He wanted to help, but if his help was refused, the way Jounouchi always did –

A tap on his shins interrupted his thoughts. Ryou was watching him over his cone of French vanilla, the half-gone ball of ice cream hiding the lower half of his face. The tap at his shins came again and Honda retaliated, knowing when Ryou smiled from his eyes. The wide, pale-emerald irises were always expressive and shining, and even though his mouth was hidden it was obvious that Ryou was pleased.

"Dear gods, they're playing footsy," Malik's voice cut in snidely and Honda shot him a glare, only to find that the tan boy's eyes were on Yami Bakura. Ryou's feet fell to the floor and the boy concentrated on his ice cream.

Yami Bakura was just as upset as Honda, however. "What's it to you?" His voice was a bit lower than usual, a warning sign to all sane people to evacuate. The only sane person within range was the worker behind the counter, however, and her attention was taken by her Final Fantasy 29 strategy guide.

"It just makes me curious," Malik's voice was casual but carried a slight mocking tone. "I wonder just how it's come about that you, of all people, have been domesticated."

At this Yami Bakura shot out of his seat, still clenching his plastic spoon although the ice cream was currently forgotten. There was a crunch as Honda bit into his cone, and Ryou stiffened.

"Elaborate," The spirit growled.

Malik leaned back in his chair, not taking his eyes off Yami Bakura. "I meant no offense," The blond said, ignoring the mutter of, "liar." "I was just wondering why you allow yourself to have to obvious weak points like this." He gestured to the table where Ryou and Honda sat, this time catching the glare that Honda was still shooting his way. He ignored it and continued. "If I remember correctly, you used to be of the opinion that having … connections with others was just another way for people to bring you down." His grin was entirely too long; he knew the effect his words were having.

Honda finished chewing his cone angrily.

"If something were to happen to either of them…" Malik wasn't finished speaking, though. "You've gotten so close that the effect would be devastating."

He chose that moment, still grinning and infuriating Honda to no end, to pull the Sennen Rod from his belt. The action coupled with his words made his intent plain.

"Little Bakura there, I can understand that," Malik said, giving the topic of his words a lecherous grin. "But Honda?" The brunet bristled at being the subject of Malik's stare. "He doesn't even duel. He's just a mortal with no Item, painfully normal and even stupider when it comes to matters of importance."

Although he knew better than to take Malik's words to heart, Honda couldn't help the feeling of inadequacy that welled up. The Ring Spirit had used many of the same insults, and it hurt to hear somebody else say so nonchalantly that he wasn't needed, that he got in the way. His fists clenched and his glare weakened.

That was when the Rod emitted its familiar golden glow, and Honda felt his consciousness and control drift away. So this was what Malik had meant by, "if anything were to happen." He tried to regain control of his actions, tried to resist when Malik commanded him to stand, but the tan boy's voice in his head reminded him that he was just a normal human.

"Jounouchi's a normal human too," Honda thought at him, and mentally smirked when he felt Malik frown.

And then the Egyptian's presence was no longer in his mind and he could fall back into his seat if he chose, which he did happily. A worried Ryou was immediately at his side, arms around his neck and scowling at Malik.

Yami Bakura's voice reached his ears. The spirit's arms were crossed and he had a haughty grin on his face. "Yeah, so he is," the snow-haired thief agreed. "He gets in my way with his foolish notions of protecting my host, he tries to help his friends even if he needs the help more than they do, he thinks he can make me smile, and we all know how pathetically stupid that is."

He turned to Honda, who was trying his best not to look as though the spirit's words had hurt, and his grin widened. "But he's my idiotic, normal mortal. And when you have something to protect, you fight that much harder. With this motivation, it's easy to break your Item's bind over him." He turned back to Malik and shrugged. "You might not get it," The pale one said. "Although, Rishid understands."

Malik gripped the Rod tightly, glowering at Yami Bakura. "And that just makes it all better?" He demanded, anger apparent in his voice. "They're still mortal, Bakura. What are you going to do when they're old and ugly and you don't want to protect them anymore? Then what?" Malik turned and left before any could retort, the bells on the door jingling loudly as he slammed it.

The woman behind the counter looked up, scanning the store, before returning to her video game guide.

Honda felt Ryou relax against him, and the smaller boy moved to sit in Honda's lap. One of the brunet's arms pulled Ryou even closer to him, and there was a quiet, relieved murmur of, "Hiroto," against his chest.

Yami Bakura sat back down and finished his ice cream, not making eye contact with either of his lovers. When the cup was empty he pushed it away and stood, gave the two an enigmatic gaze, and retreated to the Ring with a familiar bright flash.

"Hiroto," Ryou said into his chest again, "Thank you for taking me out today." As though nothing important had happened.

Honda gave the boy in his lap an extra squeeze. "Hey, anytime."

"Wanna go to my house in a little while?" Ryou asked softly. Yet another pink tinge made its way to his face.

Honda agreed, and soon after the two made their way outside. The sun had gone down some time ago, and the moon was a bright crescent, though the sky wasn't completely dark yet. His bike, thankfully, did not have slashed tires. The possibility had occurred to him, considering Malik's mood when he left and that the Rod doubled as a dagger. As Honda was getting ready to help Ryou into the sidecar, though, the light-haired boy hesitated.

"Can I ride behind you instead?"

With Ryou's arms tight around him, Honda started the bike. Unpredictability was one of the shared traits between the two, he reflected.

The ride back to Ryou's was slower, both because there was no race and Honda was in no hurry to move from being that close to Ryou. With his shy boyfriend, he could cuddle or snuggle and just hold the smaller teenager against him, where Yami Bakura generally recoiled from such ideas. Honda would never tire of having Ryou's warm body against him, Ryou not doing anything but letting the taller boy hold him close.

The two entered the empty house and without a word made straight for the couch. Once there, Honda pulled Ryou back on his lap, leaning back into the sofa and enjoying the other boy's weight and warmth. He could stay like that all night, he decided, closing his eyes and wondering when Bakura's parents would return. One of his hands moved on its own, running fingers through Ryou's light hair.

The shorter boy shifted, raising his head to look up at Honda. The brunet opened his eyes at the movement and met Ryou's gaze, large green eyes staring up at him.

"Something wrong?" Honda asked, concern rising at once.

Ryou shook his head, pale tresses swishing along his shoulders. "It's just that… what Malik said…"

Honda held him closer. "Don't let him get to you." His voice was soft but firm.

"No, it's not that," Ryou said. He looked away from Honda, eyebrows drawing together in slight confusion. "I'm just worried about him."

Honda got over his surprise quickly and bent his head down to place a kiss on the top of Ryou's head. Unpredictable indeed. Of all the people to worry about the psychotic Eyptian, Ryou chose to. He should know better than anybody how Malik looked at him, making it obvious that he thought Ryou was some sort of dessert treat that he would devour in an instant were it not for Ryou's other half and Honda being there, and yet Ryou was concerned for him.

"I can't quite see why," He admitted to the boy on his lap.

"Because he doesn't understand," Ryou said. "He's mortal too, but he doesn't get it."

Honda didn't reply and started running his fingers through Ryou's hair again. He didn't know how to reply; he'd never been good at the whole 'consoling' thing. The only thing he knew how to do was to be there for a person, but he didn't ever know what to say.

"Malik," Ryou murmured sleepily, "he doesn't have something to protect."

La fin

~~~

I apologize again if you feel that they're all horribly OOC, Malik especially. This is an experiment on my part, and I think I like it.

Anybody out there who has a motorcycle, feel free to correct me on anything I screwed up. I used to have one, but…