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.

by Shadow's Mirror

Seto Kaiba scowled at Ryou and Bakura as he strode out of his office to meet them at the reception desk of Kaiba Corp. "Well it is about time. I requested you be here promptly at one. It is already ten minutes past." His scowl was directed solely at Bakura, but it was Ryou who replied.

"We are sorry, Seto. The bus had a little accident. It was not Bakura's fault." He blushed as he said it all in rather a rush.

The brunette boy blinked at Ryou, then arched an eyebrow. "I would not have thought it was... until you said that."

As Ryou blushed even more deeply, Bakura scowled at Kaiba. "It had nothing to do with me. Aren't bus drivers supposed to be able to ignore what their passengers are doing and keep their eyes on the road? It wasn't my fault the driver got distracted when that idiot woman screamed. I was the victim! She wouldn't stop hitting me with her handbag while she screeched out. I was only trying to pick up a card. It fell under her seat, so of course I went after it!"

Halfway through the dark one's tirade, Seto was distracted by Ryou's colour. It was rather fascinating how a human could turn such a deep shade of red so quickly. Shaking his head to dispel both his random thought and the mental image that Bakura's explanation had caused, he looked at Bakura again. "It sounds as if I should be relieved that you both made it here at all."

Bakura blinked. "That was almost nice of you, Kaiba. You really do need my help, huh?" He smirked as the brunette sighed softly.

"Bakura..." Ryou's soft voice somehow managed to sound as embarrassed as he looked. "Seto, what did you wish us to do? You said on the phone that you needed some summoning done?"

"I told Ryou he must have misheard. No way you'd want something like that. It would go against everything you believe in. Or rather, don't believe in. You do know summoning is magic, right?" Bakura was smirking even more now. "Specifically, Shadow Magic."

Seto Kaiba scowled at him. "Magic of any kind does not exist. Therefore, that... thing that you do... cannot possibly be magic. So I therefore have no problem with your doing it today. This way." He turned and strode off, seemingly unconcerned whether or not they followed him.

Ryou almost ran to catch up and even Bakura was curious enough to tag along. "Okay. So you do want me to summon something from the Shadow Realm. Or do I mean someone? Kaiba? Hey Kaiba, are you listening to... Huh?"

Kaiba had reached a door and opened it with a swipe of his keycard to reveal an empty room. At least, it looked empty at Bakura's first glance. A second glance around, as he followed Ryou and Kaiba inside, revealed there was a single large computer monitor mounted on one wall. Kaiba waited while Bakura slowly turned all around.

"Wow. White tiles and white walls. Was your interior designer channelling Ryou or something?" He smiled at Ryou to show he was only joking and his Light managed a small smile back.

Seto Kaiba didn't smile. "This is one of our scanning rooms. The computer is set up to scan anything that is in the middle of the room. The white background makes it easier to work with after that."

Bakura's smile faded into a thoughtful look at Kaiba's surprisingly reasonable explanation. "Huh. That makes sense. So you want to scan the Shadow Monsters that you want me to summon? Has this got anything to do with those new cards coming out next week? There's supposed to be some big promotional thing, right?"

"Yes and no. Yes, there is a promotional event planned, however no, this has nothing to do with that. I was speaking with Pegasus yesterday and he said that a few of the cards have new battle moves and need upgrading in my duel disk system's files. It is a short list. Before you ask," he eyed Bakura, who had just started opening his mouth, "... No, it was not his suggestion that I ask you both here today. This is not a trap."

Bakura shook his head. "You know... if I had a gem for every time someone planning a trap told me it's not a trap..." He caught Kaiba's eye and nodded once. "Don't worry, I believe you. I think I get what you need. You want me to call them here so they can display their new moves, while they're being scanned by your computer. Easier than how you normally would do it, right?"

"Infinitely." Kaiba nodded once. "Normally, Pegasus would send a written description of the moves to me. It is a time and labour intensive procedure. However, we are currently trialling this new system, so I thought these cards would be a good test for it."

Bakura nodded. "Fine. Where's your list?" He took the sheet of paper that Kaiba handed him and studied it for a moment, frowning slightly. "Uh... there might be a bit of a problem."

Kaiba smirked slightly as he drew a handful of cards out from an inside pocket of his purple coat and held them out to Bakura. "I believe you have the remaining one?" Taking the cards, Bakura glanced at them before nodding in reply and Kaiba continued. "These cards can also be your payment, if you wish? I don't expect you to do this for nothing."

"Problem solved but you can keep the cards. They don't fit our deck. How about we say that you'll owe us a favour, instead? Father's coming home sometime next week." Bakura's voice didn't change pitch but his eyes glanced at Ryou before returning to meet Kaiba's. The brunette teen nodded in silent acknowledgement of the potential problem.

Despite Bakura's earlier banter, he knew all about the special promotional event happening the following week. He and Ryou were both invited to it. If Father was there, though, they could have some trouble attending.

"I can arrange a distraction if you need one." Kaiba's quiet words were enough for Ryou to give him a grateful smile.

Bakura nodded once. "Good enough. Right, let's do this."

Kaiba and Ryou both moved back against the wall as Bakura took up position in the middle of the room. He closed his eyes for a moment and a mage wind began to ruffle his hair and clothes while affecting neither of the other two teens. Shadows began to gather around Bakura and he reopened his eyes to reveal blood red instead of chocolate orbs.

"Monsters of the Realm of Shadows, I summon thee to me to work my will." One hand shot out, the cards fanned in his hand as his other arm folded across his body as if he was bracing himself.

Ryou winced slightly. "Oh dear." His voice was a near whisper, so as not to distract his dark half. "He does not normally say anything while doing this. Or strike any particular pose."

Kaiba sighed softly. "In other words, he is going to milk this for all it is worth." His voice was just as soft.

"Most likely, yes." Ryou winced again.

Bakura ignored them and began his summoning.

"For a thousand years, your magic learned. Five thousand years, respect is earned. I ask your aid, Elder and Mage. I call to thee, come forth Dark Sage!"

A pool of shadow began to form off to one side of Bakura but he continued to speak.

"Sister to the winds, daughter of the sky. Upon your night-dark wings you fly. Come to me now, my call abide. Dark Witch, I'd have you by my side!"

A hooded figure had begun slowly rising from the shadow pool, now the shadows gathered to form a column of Shadow a short distance away. Bakura ignored it and kept on summoning.

"Guardian of the Page, Keeper of the Word, I seek your knowledge, seen and heard. With eyes of truth to see through lies, Spirit of the Books now arise."

The hooded figure continued to rise slowly from the pool as the column of shadows grew up to the ceiling, but beside it the shadows also began to whirl into a twisting spiral of darkness. Bakura paused to take a breath, then went on.

"Child of Shadow, Child of Fire, to call you forth is my desire. Child of Magic, Child of Flame, I summon thee here by thy name. Fire Sorcerer!"

The hooded figure was still rising slowly from the pool. The column of shadows had reached the ceiling and was pulsing with a soft golden light forming at its heart. The twisting spiral of shadows beside it had grown to the size of an adult human and a nearby patch of shadow suddenly burst into a circle of flames. Bakura smirked and raised his head, his red eyes blazing as the shadows gathered around him to form a dark aura. He looked more than a little evil.

Seto Kaiba arched an eyebrow. "Does he do this sort of thing... often?"

Ryou sighed softly. "Yes. But not normally quite so... dramatically."

Again, Bakura ignored the peanut gallery and kept going.

"Apprentice to the Master of the Mages. At his side throughout the ages. Come to me in a rush and a whirl. I call you forth, Dark Magician Girl!"

The hooded figure was almost completely out of the shadows. The column of shadows was rapidly retreating to reveal the figure at its heart. The dark spiral had begun to slow, fading as it did so to reveal the form it had been hiding. The circle of flames rose and then fell, their light too bright to see past them even though they were now barely embers. The air off to one side of Bakura began to grow dark, then sparkling lights appeared within it, like tiny stars.

Bakura glanced around, making sure everyone was coming through all right. He took a moment to steady himself for one final push.

Seto Kaiba leaned in towards Ryou to speak softly in his ear. "How long did he spend thinking these rhymes up? Should I be honoured? " He sounded amused.

Ryou sighed softly, yet again. "He comes up with a few new ones every weekend. He started off with our own deck, then the others'. Most of these cards are in Yugi's deck, so he's had them memorised for months. Just in case he ever had to do something like this." He looked more than a little embarrassed.

Bakura, still ignoring the sideline commentary, took a deep breath and began the last summoning. He started off in a very soft voice, but built it up until the last line, which he cried out with every bit of drama he could throw into it.

"I call to the Shadows to grant my wish. I beseech the Shadows to grant my plea. I ask the Shadows to grant me the power, to summon the one I need to see. From beyond the Shadows. From beyond the Light. Where all is chaos and eternal night. Let the way be unlocked. Let the path be clear. To call the Magician of Black Chaos here. Let the Gates of Chaos be opened!"

As he cried out the last line, Bakura moved, unwrapping the arm around himself and throwing out his hand as he opened his other hand, which still held the cards. Instead of falling, the cards rose into the air before him. All of them were now completely blank, as their monsters emerged from the Shadow Realm into the Mortal World.

The air around him crackled with dark energy as the air before him shimmered. An ancient doorway appeared, however the door itself was nothing but a portal of darkness. From within the darkness, a form began to emerge.

As all of the Shadow Monsters completed their various grand entrances, Ryou sighed softly. "Oh dear. He summoned them all flawlessly. I will be hearing about this for at least a month."

Seto Kaiba allowed himself a light pat of Ryou's shoulder, in a rare show of sympathy. He also made a mental note to make sure that Ryou got a whole box of the new cards that the promotion event was for.

Although the favour he now owed Bakura would be used for Ryou's benefit as well as Bakura's, he felt that Ryou deserved something extra. After all, he would have to live with Bakura after this.

The End