DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction produced for entertainment purposes only. Yu-Gi-Oh! and all related characters are the creations of Kazuki Takahashi.

A New Hobby
by Shadow's Mirror

The fluffy white kitten idly batted a red tinkling ball from one paw to the other as he lay like a boneless rug on the living room floor. Every three bats, he sighed. Every sigh was just a little more emphasized than the last. After the sixth sigh, a soft mew came from the nearby sofa. It wasn't an annoyed sort of mew. It wasn't actual cat speech, either. It was a simple questioning sort of mew.

"I am bored. Bored. So bored. Really bored. Ugh it is so boring." Dragon the Kitten sighed again, as dramatically as a very plump kitten could sigh.

His twin sister, Fluffy, arched a furry eye ridge as she peered at him over the sofa's edge. "Then why not find yourself a new hobby, my brother?" She rolled over onto her back and wiggled her fluffy little legs in the air for a few satisfying moments before rolling upright again. She enjoyed acting like a normal kitten whenever possible, but if anyone had been there who could understand their language, they would have realised at her next words that she was anything but a normal kitten. "You could take up knife throwing, like your Bakura does."

Dragon frowned up at his sister. "I'm already proficient in that, as you well know. Knives, swords, daggers, spears, crossbow, longbow, slingshot, staff... You know them just as well as I do." They were children of the Shadow Monster Fusionist and he had trained them thoroughly. Dragon sighed again. "Besides, I don't want something physical to do. I want to challenge myself mentally. But I finished reading all of the interesting books in the house last night." He scowled. "Not that there was much here. I already know the whole history of Egypt." He batted the ball a bit more.

"True, Ryou's Father does not exactly encourage his son in learning about anything else." Fluffy sounded a bit sad. She adored her young caretaker and one of the few things that disturbed her easygoing nature was how Father treated him.

"Exactly!" He batted the ball hard enough for it to roll under the sofa. "I need more stimulation! I'm stagnating! I can feel my brilliant mind dulling, like a sword striking against a rock time after time!" Dragon almost howled it as he dropped his head down onto the carpet and gave a little roll from side to side for emphasis of his tirade.

Fluffy blinked at him in alarm. "Oh no! Do not speak so! Whatever would Papa say if he heard you saying that? You know better. Swords should be treated with respect."

He went still, then slowly raised his head to blink at her. "That's your response? I say my mind is dulling and you focus on my sword analogy instead of my complaint? Really?" He pouted at her.

She shrugged elegantly. "There is no point going into a sulk over it. I know perfectly well that you are merely being overly dramatic. You do not need Father to have books lying around just for you to learn from, after all. If you wish to learn something new, there are other ways to do so."

"What other ways?" She had his complete attention.

For answer, Fluffy rolled over a couple of times until she was on the other side of the sofa, where Ryou had left a couple of magazines. She sniffed one, then another, then delicately flicked through that second one until she found what she was after. "Here. Come up and look."

With a low grumble, Dragon wriggled to his feet. He glared at her for making him move from his comfy spot even as he jumped up. The wings on his back snapped open and he glided effortlessly to where she was, landing with his usual skill and grace. He gave her a smug look, then glanced at the article she was pointing to. Blinking, he gave it another look, then read through it properly from start to finish.

"My dear sister... you may be onto something, here." He smiled a grin so wicked, his caretaker would have been proud of him.

"Good. Before you do anything about it, however, you had best start mewing as loudly as you do when your food bowl is empty." She pouted at her brother as he just sat and blinked at her in confusion.

"Er... why?" Dragon reared back in surprise when her pout became a rather annoyed glare.

"That was my tinkle ball that you just batted under the sofa and someone needs to get it out again."


Two weeks later...

Ryou sorted through the day's mail as he walked down the hall and entered the living room. "The electricity bill is here. I will have to contact Father about it." He sounded worried. "It is higher than usual."

Bakura looked up from the TV show he was watching and winced. "Sorry, Ryou. It's my fault, right? When I'm in human form, there are two of us living here."

"No, it is not that." Ryou smiled reassuringly at his darker half and shook his head. "It is because of the Christmas lights we put up a few weeks ago. This is the first year I have put any up, so naturally the bill will be higher because of it. I only hope Father will not tell me to take them down immediately." His smile slipped. He was obviously very worried that the man would say just that. Considering that it was a definite possibility, Bakura couldn't even deny it.

"If he does, tell him there's a contest and the winning house gets a cash prize. He'll encourage you to win it and won't say anything about the bill or taking down the lights, after that." Bakura grinned at his Light, who smiled back in relief.

"Oh. That is a good idea, Bakura. It's also true." He bit his lip immediately, but it was too late.

Bakura blinked at Ryou. "There really is a contest like that?" His eyes narrowed. "Why didn't you tell me before now?" His eyes narrowed more. "You weren't going to tell me about it, were you? How do we win it?"

Ryou sighs. "That last question is exactly why I was not going to tell you about it. It happens every year, but the winner is always one particular house that goes truly over-the-top." He silently pleaded with Bakura, his eyes going a little wider as he turned on his ultimate weapon. "I like our house lit up as it is now. I do not want to put up so many lights that you can see the glow from the other side of the city."

The Eyes. The dreaded Eyes. Bakura inwardly tried not to shudder as he was hit with their powerful effect. "Okay, fine. We won't put up more lights." He looked away, then blinked and glanced back at his Light. "Wait. Did you say you can see the glow of the winning house from the other side of the city? Really?" He sounded rather impressed.

"That was what the news reported last year." Ryou nodded.

"Huh. That must be some light display." Bakura grinned at the other boy. "Want to go check it out? If it's the same house every year, there must be some info on where it is."

Ryou smiled happily as he nodded. "I know where it is. I also know where quite a few other decorated houses are. Perhaps... There is a bus trip that goes past a lot of them every year. We could go on it one night, if you wish?"

His Light's hopeful look wasn't lost on Bakura. His smile was almost gentle as he nodded. "Sure. That sounds like fun." He coughed and looked a bit wary as Ryou's smile brightened. "Uh... So what else came today? Anything interesting?"

As a distraction, it was pretty lame. But it still worked. Ryou went back to looking through the mail. "Mostly store catalogues. Oh, this one is from the Kame Game Shop!" He smiled and handed it over to Bakura. "Yugi said his Grandpa was going to do one this year. He normally doesn't bother but he has a promotion going at the moment."

Bakura grinned. "Cool. Hopefully it lists the dates the new booster packs will come in." He started flipping through the catalogue but was only silent for a couple of moments.

"Did Father's copy of 'Archaeology Yesterday' arrive? There's supposed to be an article on Ancient Egypt in it." He tried to sound like it was no big deal, but Ryou sighed and gave him a knowing look.

"Bakura... You are not going to send another rude letter to the magazine correcting the article on its facts, are you? You remember what happened last time. That was so embarrassing. " He blushed at the memory.

"Hey, it wasn't my fault the editor was so impressed with my knowledge that he came here to meet me. Serves him right for not giving us any warning." Bakura managed not to squirm at the look his Light gave him.

"You answered the door wearing a towel and tried to get your kitten to attack him."

"He interrupted my bath and I thought he was trying to sell us something!" Both legitimate excuses, as far as Bakura was concerned.

"Your kitten is invisible to those without the Shadow Magic... and he sank his claws into his pants." Ryou winced.

"I got him off before he did much damage. He didn't even notice. Hey, what's that big envelope there?" Bakura was desperate to end the conversation, but he was also becoming increasingly curious about the envelope that Ryou was still holding. His Light gave Bakura a look that let him know that, while Ryou was also curious enough about the envelope to allow the change of topic, it was only a temporary reprieve.

"I am not sure. Did you order something from..." he checked the return address, "... the Domino City Open Education University?"

Bakura arched an eyebrow. "I think I'd remember if I had, with a name like that. Maybe it was sent to the wrong house. Who's it addressed to? "

Ryou looked at him, now clearly baffled. "Um... a Mr D. Bakura."

"Mew!"

Bakura and Ryou both blinked at the excited sound. They blinked again as Dragon launched himself from where he'd been napping on top of his favourite cushion on Father's armchair and landed on the large envelope in Ryou's hands. He grabbed hold of it and seemed to be trying to take it. Ryou carefully put Dragon down on the floor. "Dragon, wait. Here, let me open it for you. Oh. Oh my."

Several papers had come out of the envelope, as well as a large booklet. Dragon pounced on the booklet with a happy mew and started reading it. Ryou picked up one of the pieces of paper and read through it, then silently handed it to Bakura. He was biting his lip and seemed to be trying not to laugh.

Bakura read the paper as well. Then he read it again. Then he sighed heavily and handed it back to Ryou, shaking his head as he eyed his kitten in disbelief.

"My kitten has signed himself up for a correspondence course in relationship counselling. I don't know whether to be surprised that he has an interest in such a thing, or just impressed that he managed to sign up for it without the place catching on that he wasn't human."

Ryou sighed softly. "I suspect you and I should both be more concerned about how he is paying for it."

Bakura winced. "Oh Ra. So that's what happened to Father's credit card when he lost it during his visit last week."

Dragon ignored them as he happily started learning his new counselling course.

Now if only the other courses he had signed up for would hurry up and arrive...

The End