Just a little warning before we begin, Baku-chan has a very nasty mouth and needs to have it washed out with soap, but other than that, I'll try to keep the profanities to a minimum. Enjoy!

Bridled Deception

The demon stalked down the snowy alley, intent on finding the little mortal that seemed to have slipped through his fingers. Little bitch. I'll show you what happens when you run from your master.

Snowflakes were falling lazily from the sky, landing in his hair, catching at his eyelashes, and covering his clothing. Stupid humans and their affinity for fluffy looking things. Just look how pretty the snow looks! Isn't it wonderful?

Wonderful. Bah. Stupid mortals. Life wasn't wonderful. People weren't wonderful, and even those delicate little snowflakes had been known to freeze people to their deaths. Oh yes, wonderful indeed.

The white-haired demon avoided the light of a street lamp as he prowled further on, thinking of the many different ways he was going to enjoy punishing his little mortal when he found him.

His anger was boiling him up inside. How the fuck was the boy still able to move? Hadn't he had enough punishment the night before? Then again, humans were gluttons for punishment, were they not?

It was late now, well past ten o'clock. If he was right in his suspicions, Ryou had been gone for over six hours. Certainly more than enough time to get in a bit of trouble.

Faintly, he almost wondered of the witches had gotten a hold of him to 'keep him safe.' No! He couldn't think like that. He had to find Ryou. He would find the little human if it was the last thing he did.

A deep voice rumbled from somewhere in the dark corner of the alley. "On a wild goose chase, are we?"

Bakura stopped, starring at the spot the voice had come from. He was not in the mood for this at the moment, nor did he have the time. "Show your ugly ass, Yami. What are you hiding for?"

The voice chuckled. "You of all people should now that I love hiding in the dark. It's one of my best fortes."

The demon growled. This wasn't a time for a little bout of word sparring. "What the hell do you want? Finally decided to kill that little mortal of yours and finally heal?" What was he doing out anyway, risking his hide just to tease another demon?

The other demon chuckled again. My goodness, he was in good spirits. "Lost your little plaything, have you? Not very responsible, Bakura."

"Stuff it, darkness. Why aren't you in hiding, anyway? Those witches are still on the hunt."

The demon saw a small shift in the shadows, as if it were shrugging. "He may be hurt right now, you realize. Injured, out in the cold, demons lurking about. Pity."

The fire raging inside of the demon almost burst. His vision was hazing with that familiar red fury. "Shut the fuck up! If you're going to sit there bothering me, then get off your lazy ass and help!"

Yami laughed ironically. "What's the matter, demon. Got a crush on a mortal?"

Bakura was seething. Yami was throwing his own words back in his face. No one made a fool out of him.

"Imagine what that face would look like, all blue, cold, frozen in some river somewhere…"

"Stop it! Stop!" Bakura clutched at his ears, trying to drown out the words and the image. "Stop! What the fuck are you trying to do?! Get the fuck away!!!"

"Mortals are very attractive, you know. Just take a look at the little one who helped me," Yami continued on, seemingly oblivious to Bakura's ranting.

"Too f@$*% bad you killed him!" Bakura shot back. Just anything to shut him up!

"Oh, no," Yami began again. "He's still very much alive…" he paused a moment, as if contemplating. "Wonder what you're little Ryou's into right now."

Bakura shot a ball of dark energy into the shadows. "Stop mentioning him!"

The energy bounced harmlessly off to the side, hitting a trash can. "Aha! So you do like him! Admit it!" Why wouldn't the demon stop with all of the talking?

"Shut the fuck up! I don't need this shit right now!!!" Snowflakes started to intermingle with his fingers as he clutched at his snowy white hair.

"Then what do you need, Bakura? Enlighten me." Gods, did he sound so calm. He almost seemed…amused? Bastard.

"I need to find the little twit before he does die somewhere! Get up and HELP!"

The shadows seemed to hum to themselves, thinking the response over. "You care, don't you?"

The demon what about at his wits end. "Why the fuck would I care?!"

Silence for a moment. "Let me see. He's pretty, isn't he? All soft and fluffy? I'll bet he's got some brains on him. After all," a chuckle, "He did manage to escape from you. Oh, and he's also a nice little mortal, isn't he? The kind that makes you wish you were receiving his attention?"

Bakura wanted to scream. "Leave me the fuck alone!!" The shadow's almost swore that they heard the voice crack.

"Yes, so pretty."

"All right!" Bakura screamed. "I like him, okay! Happy? I like him a lot! In fact, I like so damned much I'd turn myself over to witches right now just to find the little bastard! Now just shut up or help me find him!"

It was utterly silent again, and utterly still. Snowflakes flittered down in the light of the street lamp.

"I don't think that will be necessary."

Bakura looked up confused, seeing a small profile begin to emerge from the dark recesses of the alley.

Soft brown eyes sparkled at him with unshed tears and dripping with an emotion the demon had never seen before.

Ryou smiled. "All you had to do was tell me." His feet slowly walked up towards Bakura, a bruise marring his delicate face as he gave a weak smile. The demon's heart wrenched slightly at the sight, realizing that it was he who had administered that blow but days before.

He suddenly found himself wrapped up in as warm, fragile hug. "You…you were there the whole time?"

Ryou nodded. "I just…I just had to know. You forced yourself upon me because you didn't know how else to show that you liked me. That you cared. I just had to make sure myself that your feelings were real."

Bakura was dumbstruck. "And you…return the feelings?"

The small body holding on to him chuckled weakly. "Hai… I do. I don't know why, but I do."

Yami saw a small, crystalline tear escape the harsh, cold eyes of the demon Bakura. He stepped out of the shadows, holding on to Yuugi tightly.

Bakura looked up at him, seeing the one who had helped Yami through almost death. "There's hope for us after all," Yami stated.

Yuugi smiled at Bakura. "Who would have thought."

Bakura was silent, thinking as well as he could in his suddenly petrified mind. Then, he laughed despite himself, a small chuckle that for the first time in his memory held no malice, no spite, and no hate towards those around him. "There's hope," he whispered.

Ryou wrapped his arms around the demon's neck. "There's hope."

Yami went suddenly still, and Yuugi recognized the stance all too well. "Run?" he inquired.

Yami nodded, picking him up. "Yeah, that sounds about right." He started sprinting down the dark alley, seeing Bakura carrying Ryou just a little ways ahead. On foot, demon's were quite fast, and quite hard to catch.

Yuugi laughed as the wind whipped about his face. He always did love a good game of hide and seek.

~ * ~

Wow. This took a while. You wanna talk about a bad case of writers block? Yeah. Sucky. Very sucky. Well, hope you enjoyed, and more on the way. R&R!!!

Again, gomen. That was cruel not to update, and I'm usually not that bad. Honest! I'm not! *hangs head* All right. I'll accept the flying fruit now. Ja!