Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh! belongs to Kazuki Takahashi.
Possessionem regis: Latin for "the king's property." This is also one of the definitions of "yadonushi," Yami no Bakura's name for Ryou Bakura, the other two being something to the effect of "landlord" and "host (to a parasite)."
This is the result of wondering "What's Bakura doing
during the DOOM and Grand Prix arcs?"
It started slowly.
Initially, Bakura only appeared in his peripheral vision. It made Ryou jerk and glance to the side strangely several times, but the thief--apparently not playing mind games with him for once--only stayed there, staring at him until Ryou lowered his gaze and turned back to whatever he was doing. It was weird at first, always seeing that faint haze at the corner of his sight, and sometimes Ryou rubbed his eyes reflexively and wound up looking like he wasn't sleeping enough, but he adjusted. And once he adjusted, he tried to ignore it.
Ignoring it was better than looking at him. Ryou wasn't an idiot. He knew what the expression in the thief's eyes had been.
He'd seen that expression plenty of times in his life--people found him attractive, and he knew it, though it made him uncomfortable when they went from looking to telling him. He'd turned down a dozen offers for dates from girls, one or two vague comments about coffee from guys, and once a woman who'd offered him a pretty nice price to be her escort for the evening. It was always the same general excuses: he wasn't like that, they didn't have much in common, he was too busy with studying--though with the woman he remembered he'd just kind of blinked until she apologized and walked off--because he couldn't flat out say that he wasn't interested. That would just lead to endless questions and one or two boring, dragged-out dates that he didn't want to go through. Although lately, he'd been turning people down because he didn't care to see anyone else in the hospital with a coma.
Still, he knew the look. He'd seen it in girls' eyes, glancing shyly or giggly across the room at him, in guys' eyes with the way they'd look without actually looking while everyone had to change for gym. It was always half-lidded, too, like it was supposed to be a secret. He'd never understood that. It wasn't a secret--he knew. He just didn't react.
Bakura's eyes had been half-lidded, too. The thief had been studying him, looking at him like Ryou was a puzzle to be figured out, which was different from the way most people looked at him, true; but the want was still there.
So he ignored it the way he had with everyone else.
It wasn't like there was anything to say.
Things stayed like that for a while,
and soon it just became a part of normal life.
After all, he was friends with Yuugi Mutou. It took a lot for something to not be normal.
It was about a week and a half later that Bakura first touched him.
He'd been microwaving dinner, because he was feeling too lazy to cook anything and he didn't want to go out to buy a meal. Yuugi and everyone were still on their trip to America, and there wasn't anybody else in Domino that he knew well enough to hang out with outside of school, so he'd just come home that afternoon and watched television for most of the day, putting off his homework until later that night. He'd been standing in the kitchen, blankly watching the beef bowl rotate and thinking something vague about radiation and how he really should move to the side, when the thief slid his arms around his waist.
Ryou froze instinctively. He stared wide-eyed at the microwave for several seconds, until he managed to tilt his head enough to look down. He could feel a faint weight against his back and legs, and he could see Bakura's arms wrapped around his torso, but they were transparent. He could see his shoes through the thief's hands.
Wrapped wasn't the right word, though. Bakura wasn't holding him; his arms were resting lightly against Ryou's sides and his hands were folded casually in front of the teenager's stomach. It was the sort of loose, careless grip that you would use on an object that belonged to you completely.
Ryou knew then what was happening, and he clenched his hands into fists. He would have broken free and punched the thief, if he'd thought that there was a chance of hitting more than thin air.
But there wasn't, and he knew it, so Ryou just stood there, muscles tense and fists clenched. The microwave finished cooking the bowl and beeped at him. After three counts, it paused and began beeping once a minute. Ryou counted them and didn't move.
Seven beeps later, Bakura let him go. He remained still for a beep longer, but the thief stayed away. Finally, Ryou walked to the microwave, set it to reheat his food for 20 more seconds, and stared resolutely at the numbers while they ticked down, ignoring the haze leaning against the counter in the corner of his eye.
But he adjusted to it. After another week it didn't seem so weird, and it didn't really interfere with anything he did. He wasn't sure how Bakura managed to sit behind him while he was working at his desk, but Ryou figured one of the advantages of being intangible was that you didn't really care if the back of a chair happened to be bisecting you. For a while he would squirm away whenever Bakura rested his hands too low on his lap for him to be comfortable, but the thief just moved whenever he did, resting his chin on Ryou's shoulder as if he had nothing better to do than watch the teenager work out the degrees of angles for geometry class--Maybe he doesn't, Ryou thought absently to himself; after all, with Yuugi gone there wasn't anyone else for Bakura to plot against--so he adjusted to that as well.
What else was he supposed to do about it?
It wasn't like there was anyone to talk
He'd just gotten used to Bakura's tendency to drape himself over his back when he saw the shadow sitting on the counter in the bathroom. The glass of the shower was opaque, so he couldn't tell who it was, but he lived alone in the apartment and it was absurd to pretend that it was anyone but the thief. Ryou shivered once, despite the hot water, before turning his face away from the glass and staring at the tile as he finished washing up.
He stayed in the shower until the water turned cold, and then he stayed in even longer until he couldn't stand it anymore, but the blur on the counter remained. Ryou shut off the water, rubbing his arms in the attempt to make the goosebumps go down. It didn't work, but it was something to do. He wrung his hair out a few times as well, but the shadow didn't move.
Finally Ryou decided that he just couldn't wait as long as Bakura could, and he told himself that all he had to do was open the door, take two steps forward, and wrench the towel off the counter. It wasn't that big a deal.
He shoved the door open, took the two steps, grabbed the towel, and nearly slid on the linoleum, but he managed to get it wrapped around his waist without falling or looking at the smirking thief on the counter. Once he had it tucked in firmly, Ryou picked up the second towel and began furiously drying his hair. He didn't stop until his face finally quit feeling so hot.
He didn't want to look at Bakura, but he also wasn't crazy enough to put his back to him, so Ryou wound up just tilting himself away slightly as he dried off with the already soggy towel he'd used on his hair. He crouched down to dry his legs instead of bending over like usual.
Ryou managed to pull on his boxers underneath the towel, even though he was still damp, and after that he tossed both the towels over the shower stall and yanked on his t-shirt. He tensed up even more when he had to walk past Bakura to get out the door, but the thief just watched him go.
Ryou reached out automatically to turn off the light, and then hesitated. He didn't know what would happen if he turned it off while Bakura was still in there, so he told himself that electricity didn't matter that much and left it burning while he walked rapidly to his bedroom and shut the door behind him. He was more grateful than he wanted to admit that Bakura hadn't followed him.
After that, Ryou started leaving the towels hanging over the stall while he showered. They got a little wet, but he felt less vulnerable. Bakura never moved from the spot on the counter, either, so finally Ryou just incorporated this new thing, like every other thing, into his daily life. He thought about how it was kind of like having a large, person-shaped, transparent bathroom fixture, and with that in mind he tried to ignore it and go through life as normally as usual.
He also tried sleeping with actual pajama bottoms instead of just boxers for a while, but the cuffs kept riding up whenever he turned around and it was too hot, so he quit--even though he was still self-conscious about having to walk past Bakura in just his underwear and a t-shirt. He told himself that at least it wasn't summer, when it would be too hot for the shirt.
Ryou had quit a lot of things in his life recently. It seemed like the less painful way to live.
It wasn't like he had anything to tell
him to the contrary.
He had still been adjusting to the shower thing when he jolted awake one night from a nightmare and found the thief sitting in his desk chair, watching him.
Ryou stared at him for a brief second, but even in the darkness he wasn't willing to meet Bakura's eyes and see what he already knew was there. He looked past the thief instead, vainly trying to make out the time on the clock on his desk.
After what felt like a long time to Ryou, he leaned back against the pillow and tried to untense a little. A while later he closed his eyes, curled up tightly, turned over, and listened for the squeak that would tell him Bakura had moved out of the chair.
He never heard a sound, but it was still hours later before he fell asleep again.
The thief never followed him from the bathroom to the bedroom, but every other night or so Ryou would wake up and see Bakura sitting in the chair, staring at him intently. He got used to it, even though it was unnerving to know there was someone watching him every night. The only thing he did was change his sleeping pattern--he used to curl up on his side facing the door and his desk, but now he started sleeping facing the wall.
Ryou thought about writing to Yuugi and the others and asking when they would be back, but then he decided that things had already gone too far to either explain or have Yuugi pull him back out. He'd just have to deal with it on his own.
It wasn't like that was a new thing.
He managed to deal with everything with a minimum of panic and fear, up to the day he went shopping.
He'd been going through the cans of soup and checking the dates, trying to figure out what he felt like having for dinner. Bakura had been leaning against him like usual, chin resting on Ryou's shoulder. It was almost at the point where the teenager didn't notice anymore. He'd used to wonder what would happen if somebody psychic walked by and saw the spirit hanging onto him, but the people in grocery store were all refreshingly normal.
He gave up on the soup and decided he'd rather have ramen instead, but when he was putting the can back on the shelf it slipped out of his fingers.
Crap, he thought, trying to grab it before it got dented and he had to buy it anyway.
Bakura caught the can and held it up idly for the teenager to take.
Ryou stared wide-eyed at the soup, sitting patiently in Bakura's hand, for a long time. It wasn't until he heard the sound of footsteps moving towards his aisle that he hastily grabbed it and tried to put it back on the shelf before anyone else saw. His hands were shaking so badly that he wound up just shoving it into the other cans, and he gripped the edge of the shelf tightly and leaned his forehead against it.
Go away. Go away go away goawaygoawaygoawaygo away, he said desperately.
Bakura didn't move for a moment, and Ryou was almost afraid that he was going to start hyperventilating. But then the thief pulled back, trailing his hands lightly over Ryou's sides as he did, and Ryou shivered and clenched the shelf so tightly that it cut into his palms.
He didn't move until he felt a tap on his shoulder and the storekeeper asked worriedly if he was okay. Ryou managed not to laugh hysterically. He was proud of that.
After that day, small objects in the apartment started getting shifted around. Ryou gave up on ignoring it. Sometimes utensils or a pot would be sitting on the counter when he went into the kitchen to make dinner or breakfast, or other times his towels would be lying on the counter instead of hanging over the shower like he'd set them. Ryou refused to take the hint with that and hung them back in place. Once he found that the thief had packed his schoolcase for him, which Ryou guessed would have been a kinda nice gesture if only Bakura hadn't put in the wrong books and forgotten his chemistry homework.
He adjusted. He always adjusted. But it took nearly the rest of the month to do it. Every day that he went to school he glanced at the empty desks of Yuugi, Honda, Jounouchi, Anzu, Otogi...even Kaiba was still gone, and he wouldn't have been any help at all, because he thought that everyone was lying about the whole Sennen Items and ancient spirits deal. Ryou sat in the midst of all the normal people in his class and tried to pay attention to the teacher instead of Bakura, who was stretched out lazily in the seat that belonged to Yuugi and always watching him.
He'd get through it by himself.
It wasn't like there was anyone else
He wasn't surprised when it finally happened. It was almost a relief to get the waiting over with, in a way; but in another way it wasn't a relief at all.
He'd dried off in the shower like usual, barely paying attention to the shadow-figure of Bakura as he sat on the counter, watching him through the opaque glass. Ryou wrapped the towel around his waist and tucked it in, throwing the second one over the side of the shower. Then he opened the door, eyes focused on the counter, and started to lift his clothes.
Bakura stood up.
A second later he jerked his head over to look at the thief, silently begging him to just stay still, to let him leave and to stop this now before it went too far for all of them. The teenager noted absently that he couldn't see through Bakura to the mirror anymore. Not that he really needed to.
Ignoring his look, Bakura walked partly around him, forcing Ryou to either turn or leave him at his back. Ryou turned.
Bakura smirked at that. The smirk faded a moment later, though, and he reached up to cup Ryou's face, rubbing his thumb over the teenager's cheek. Ryou stayed still for a moment before suddenly jerking his head to the side.
"I don't want you," he said bitterly. His hand clenched around the fabric he was still holding. "I don't like you! I hate you! I hate you!" He dropped the clothes and swung blindly, punching Bakura in the face. The thief's head rocked to the side, but he kept his footing. Ryou stumbled back and aimed a kick at his kneecap, but Bakura pushed himself forward and made it out of Ryou's range. He grabbed the teenager's arms and swung him around, shoving Ryou against the wall next to the shower. Ryou threw himself to the side, trying to break free, but Bakura only dug his fingers deeper into his skin, to the point where it hurt. Finally he stilled, glaring away from Bakura to the floor.
"I hate you," he repeated, harsh and quiet.
"I know," Bakura said, the first time the thief had ever spoken out loud to him, and Ryou was thrown for a moment because it was so--different. He'd heard Bakura's voice in his head before, several times, but it was like hearing words without sound. This was something new.
Taking advantage of his surprise, the thief leaned in to press his lips against the teenager's, and Ryou tried to bite him. Bakura pulled back a little at that and let go of one arm to grip Ryou's chin, not hard enough to leave marks, but enough to hold him in place. He looked into the eyes that were now glaring at him rather than the linoleum and asked seriously, "So what?"
Bakura pressed his lips to Ryou's cheek, gentler than anything else he'd ever done in his life, still holding the teenager's chin so that he couldn't move his head. He trailed a few more kisses across Ryou's cheek, before biting softly on the skin over his jawbone.
Ryou shivered. "I don't want you."
Bakura lips brushed his earlobe as he kissed the tender skin behind his ear. "You lie to yourself too much, landlord." Another soft bite, and then Bakura pressed the tip of his tongue against the spot. "You never wanted anyone else."
Ryou shivered again, harder. Bakura let go of his chin, and the hand still around his arm, already loosened, dropped away as well. Bakura brushed his fingers along Ryou's cheek before sliding his hand down the teenager's throat and cupping the back of his neck.
Ryou blinked when Bakura's other hand wrapped around his leg, and when he felt the thief lift it out and to the side, opening him, he shut his eyes tightly. He squeezed them tighter when he felt the rough terrycloth of the towel slide down and heard it land with a damp 'thlump' on the floor.
Bakura pulled back slightly and watched the pained expression on his face with a small smirk. "Why so shy, landlord? I've seen it all before."
He didn't open his eyes. He couldn't look at him. 'It.' It. That's all you are, you know, Ryou told himself. An it. Another pretty object for the thief.
The King of Thieves, Bakura replied. Not just any bauble catches my eye. He used his grip on Ryou's neck to tilt his head back, before kissing the hollow of his throat. He pressed another kiss to his Adam's apple, then to the spot above that, and then gently bit the skin at the juncture of Ryou's throat and jaw.
Ryou shivered again before tilting his head back a little further, leaning it against the wall. He could feel Bakura's lips curl up at the move, and he tried to stop shaking.
It wasn't like he'd lost. You couldn't lose something that you never had a chance of winning in the first place. He'd just ignored it until the thief decided to claim his prize.
When Bakura's hand tilted his head back down and he kissed his lips again, Ryou let him. And when the thief leaned down, wrapped his arms around the back of his thighs and picked him up, Ryou let him, without bothering to tell himself that the reason he held on was because he didn't want to fall. And Ryou let him half-stumble, half-carry him down the short hall and into the bedroom, and lay him out on the bed. And Ryou let him have what Bakura could have taken over a month ago. He just buried his face in the pillow in an attempt to smother his grunts and shallow moans.
Later that night, Bakura lay sprawled on top of his back and growled under his breath when Ryou tried to squirm out from underneath. It was hard to fall asleep with the thief's heavy weight pressing him down into the mattress, and the arm that Bakura had wrapped possessively around his stomach pushed uncomfortably against his ribs, but Ryou was so tired that after a while he just passed out despite the ache.
And by the time Yuugi and the others returned to Domino High, he'd adjusted to that as well.