Thief of his heart

Warnings/notes : Bakura/Ryou, AU in pseudo Ancient Egyptian style, some other characters showing up probably (not sure which ones yet)

Disclaimer : I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh.

written at 14th july 2003, by Misura

Thanks to Firekat for pointing out a consistent spelling-error I'd made and have corrected now.

Please note that this fic does not aim to give a proper representation of life in Ancient Egypt.

**********

Ryou's mouth watered as he passed the stalls of the Thebean market, from which all kinds of food seemed to call out to him invitingly.

All kinds of *expensive* food.

I can't afford to buy that kind of things.

If Ryou had known the temptation would have been this great, he'd have taken a detour.

Unfortunately the press of the crowd around him made it impossible to turn around now ; Ryou was hard pressed to keep on his feet with all those people pushing and shoving at him.

He briefly closed his eyes, praying to Ra or whatever god that was listening this ordeal would be over soon ; he was sure he'd faint with the heat and lack of fresh air otherwise.

Protectively clutching the small bag that held what little money he had left, Ryou allowed himself to be pressed in the direction of the main-street. Hopefully, things would be a little less crowded there. Hopefully.

*****

Bakura smiled innocently at the shopkeeper. The man had been keeping an eye on him since he had wandered over to his stall, studying the various jewels on display.

His clothing clearly indicated Bakura was in no position to buy any of them, yet the man dared not chase him away too soon ; there always was the possibility Bakura was sent by someone else to check the wares in this part of the market, in which case insulting him could cost him a customer. The more wealthier someone was, the less time they usually wished to waste on the market, to look for something suitable to their taste.

Bakura knew this of course, hiding his grin of amusement at the shopkeeper's dilemma while studying a particular expensive piece for the third time.

He wasn't interested in stealing anything from this booth anyway ; most of the gems on display were fake, or had small flaws only an expert would notice.

Bakura had become such an expert, after having risked his life one time too many for a worthless bauble. His teacher had been an employer of the Royal Treasury once, before being fired in disgrace for accepting bribes.

The booth next to this one though ...

He was reasonably sure each and every gem in those jewels was real. Which probably explained why *that* stall was guarded by four well-muscled private guards, while the one Bakura was standing in front of didn't even have one.

He must have bribed quite some people to get permission for four *armed* private guards.

The City Guard didn't like anyone else running around in the same town as Pharaoh and some of the most influential persons in the land with more than a simple knife.

And, Bakura had to admit grudgingly, they did a pretty good job on keeping Thebes safe. Not for thieves of course, but anyone else, especially the rich persons who donated a little extra to fund the purchase of new arms, could be sure his properties and life were well-guarded.

Still, the best loot was also to be found here, and if Bakura played his cards right, he'd be able to disappear and lay low for quite some time before he'd have to risk his neck again.

Even though he liked the rush of adrenalin stealing gave him, he mainly did it to keep alive. Jobs were sparse, especially for someone a little picky. Or someone who wanted a bit more luxury than ancient bread and water for dinner and a streetcorner to sleep.

Bakura had seen the people who lived like that, the light in their eyes fading day by day until they only lived to work, eat and sleep. He had no wish to become like that.

Neither did he like to pick on those only a little better off. Not because he pitied them, and because him taking what few things they had would ruin their lives, but more because the risks outweighed the gains so far.

People who didn't have much would fight much more harder to keep it. By robbing them, he'd gain an enemy for life, while the loot would only sustain him for a few days.

Bakura preferred richer preys. Especially nobles, who considered being stolen from a loss of face and thus were less inclined to set the Royal Guard on his trail.

Not that Bakura left any traces of course ; he was a professional.

As a new rush of people from the main-street made their way through the narrow alley where the jewelers' booths were located, he moved towards his true target, profitting from the necessity for the four guards to divide their attention between so many people.

Also, since he had been there for a while already without doing anything suspicious, they might be inclined to ignore him in favor of the newcomers.

Fools! Your master deserves to be robbed like this for not training you better.

All muscles, no brains ; that's what you are.

His hands moved quickly, darting out and vanishing back in his cloak again with their prize ; a rich gold necklace, set with numerous small gems that would be easier to sell separately than one big stone.

By the time the guards discovered something was missing, Bakura had already melted back into the crowd again, not making the mistake of running or trying to hide.

When the eyes of the main-guard raked through the crowd, Bakura answered his gaze arrogantly, challenging the man to accuse him without any proof.

The City Guard would be delighted to hear a normal citizen filing a complaint against one of the detested private guards for harassment, something that would cause considerable damage to their master's reputation and thus, his income.

Come on, try it! In this crowd, it'll be the act of a mere second to slip the jewelry into someone else's pocket and plead innocence.

I'd just love to see you getting dragged away by the City Guard.

~tbc~