The Shadows of Understanding

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A collab fic of Double Trouble Togepi and JessieHeart

Chapter By: JessieHeart

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Surprisingly enough, the lessons continued. They began to take up more and more of Ryou's free time. His friends noticed his absence, but he found himself not caring.

"Bakura!" Jonouchi called to Ryou one day. All his friends were with him, Yugi and the gang. "We're gonna go get hamburgers! Come with us!"

"I- I don't have any money!" Ryou shouted back, even though it was a lie. He clutched the Millenium Ring and took a step backwards in the direction of his house.

"Don't worry, Yugi will pay for you!" said Honda.

"I will?" Yugi asked quietly.

"That's okay! Maybe next time!" Ryou said, and to finish the conversation, turned all the way around and walked swiftly towards home.

"'Didn't think it was possible to pass up a free burger," Jonouchi said to the others.

Ryou knew it wasn't like himself to spend so little time with his friends, but he was eager to continue his lessons with Bakura. Bakura's progress had become more than Ryou had hoped for. The lessons were a little awkward at first, for Bakura liked being the teacher much more than being the student. He loathed being told what to do and refused to be wrong about anything. Eventually, Ryou learned to choose his words carefully around his yami, and Bakura realized that in order to learn anything, he had to stop being so demanding.

Ryou went to the library and picked several children's books for Bakura to try. He graduated from those with annoyed ease, so they began reading short chapter books together. Ryou would sit as an astral image while Bakura possessed his body. Ryou read head of each selection over his yami's shoulder, then quiz Bakura about the books to check his comprehension.

Ryou read through the first page swiftly. "It says that Ryota has a problem. Can you tell me what it is?"

Bakura's eyes swept the page slowly, examining each sentence with caution, as if he didn't trust the book. At last, he proclaimed, "Ryota's cat died."

"Is he upset?"

"Devastated," Bakura said simply. He wasn't looking at his hikari, but staring meaningfully at the page. "He's known that cat for as long as he can remember. He can't believe it's gone." Ryou nodded, then expected Bakura to turn the page. Instead, the darker boy ran his hand down the paper and ink, as if trying to feel the words. "How could a life that meant so much to you be taken away so swiftly? Shut away in a place where you can never touch… Not really, at least…"

Ryou reread the page, and realized that none of that was on there. Bakura was thinking out loud. The yami suddenly shut the book and slid it across the floor.

"I don't want to read that one anymore," he said. His tone let Ryou know that there would be no argument.

For having to read Japanese books, Bakura made Ryou read aloud from lengthy Egyptian scrolls he found in his soul room. As he struggled through a scroll, Ryou secretly thought that this was Bakura's way of getting revenge. When he was through Bakura scorned his light's accent, but commended him overall for the effort.

It was tortuous, at times, for Ryou to struggle through Bakura's lessons. But he found himself looking forward them, their private time, the lapses where Bakura would gently encourage him, give him hints about the passage, rather than be his usual self. He wanted to spend longer and longer times in his soul room, finding excuses to touch his yami's warm hands. He began to hate reality. In reality their bodies were one and the same, but in there they were just two souls, teaching and learning.

With each of the lessons, Ryou fell more and more in love with him.

He wondered at the feeling at first. It couldn't possibly be love. The feeling was a fondness, surely, but love? Of course not. He wanted to spend hours on end with his yami, he wanted him to read 'The Shadows of Understanding,' he wanted to listen to that wonderful voice in that beautiful Egyptian language forever and beyond, but he couldn't possibly love his yami. It was whimsical thinking, he was simply dreaming. It wasn't real. Not love. No.

But it was.

"Am I ready to read that book yet?" Bakura asked after each lesson, confident in his own progress.

"No," Ryou replied, and would then name an excuse for not letting him. He knew he would have to hand over 'The Shadows of Understanding' eventually, but he couldn't bring himself to do it. If he did the lessons would stop. Ryou wouldn't be able to stand that, not after all this time. Besides, while he was eager for his yami to read it at first, now the subject of the book terrified Ryou. He didn't know how his yami would take it…

Ryou knew that the feeling might not be returned, but Bakura certainly noticed the difference in Ryou's attitude.

"Is something bothering you?" Bakura asked during one lesson. He grinned evilly. "Please tell me it's the pharaoh. I need a good excuse to cut his head off."

Ryou looked at his hands. He inwardly told himself, Just because you've decided to love him, doesn't mean he's decided to love you. "Nothing's bothering me."

Bakura read the last page of a science fiction novel out loud. He really had gotten very good. "Am I ready to read 'The Shadows of Understanding' yet?"

Ryou sighed. "No. There's some tough vocabulary in there I haven't covered with you yet."

Bakura sneered. "I've read more than a dozen novels, and yet it seems that I've made no progress."

Ryou bit his lower lip. He could understand his yami's frustration. Perhaps he should let bakura read the book… No. Ryou wasn't ready for it. He still longed for their teaching each day. Wait until this silly crush passes, he told the logical side of his brain, then I'll let him read it.

However, in the mean time, Bakura needed to know that his reading was becoming more advanced. Ryou came up with the perfect solution.

"You know," he said casually, "You've practically caught up with my school. Why don't you take control of our body when my teacher goes through grammar?" He waited while Bakura processed the suggestion, but it didn't look like he was willing to accept. Ryou needed to twist it so it sounded like Bakura was doing the favor, not the other way around. "You'd be helping me out a lot. I hate that class and my mind needs a break."

Bakura smiled his roguish grin and agreed. But the plan was better said than done.

When it came time for the possession, the Millenium Ring glowed and Bakura took over. This went unnoticed the whole class, save one boy who also owned a Millenium Item. Yugi, who saw the yami of the Ring appear, jumped and fell out of his chair, terrified. The only times he'd ever seen Bakura come out was when he wanted to kill someone… or destroy… or steal his Puzzle, or something malicious in general. He wouldn't have guessed that the evil spirit just wanted to take a few vocabulary notes.

Jonouchi realized what was going on and tried to fight the spirit right then and there. That resulted in a one-way trip to the principal's office. Then Bakura broke his pencil, and instead of going to a sharpener, he took out a knife and whittled it down. The teacher caught him, and he was sent down to the same place as Jonouchi.

Ryou was not pleased.

"You go me suspended for three days!" he cried, once the two of them were in Ryou's soul room.

"How was I supposed to know that you imbecilic school didn't allow knives? In my day, if you DIDN'T carry a knife, you'd be dead or robbed in less than an hour!" Bakura shouted back.

Ryou turned away and sulked. All feelings aside, he was furious with his yami. At least, he was for a full three seconds. Those were until Bakura put a hand on Ryou's shoulder and turned him around, his face sincere and meaningful. Then all of Ryou's anger melted away

"I messed up," Bakura said, not all together good at apologies. "I didn't know school meant all that much to you. It seems pointless to me anyway."

Ryou couldn't look at his any longer. His heart was going to burst from woeful longing. He loved his yami so much…

Yes, his yami. That was a sole, undeniable truth. That was every reason to tell Bakura how he felt, yet every reason not to. He just had to decide which was more important.

He inner battle did not go unnoticed. "Something IS bothering you," Bakura stated.

"Yes," the hikari said quietly.

Bakura cupped Ryou's chin and made him look into his eyes. "Tell me."

Ryou swallowed, but the lump in his throat remained. He just couldn't bring himself to do it.

"Aibou?"

No, no… Can't do it, can't tell him. He was too precious to lose over a silly crush. These feelings would pass and things could go back to normal. Maybe someday they could be friends… This wasn't love, it wasn't real.

Bakura silently let go of him and walked towards his soul room. His hand landed on the handle.

He turned it, ready to step in-

"Yami!"

Bakura turned his head and saw Ryou standing there, fists clenched, eyes heartsore, face a twisted wreck of insecure madness.

"Yami… I…"

Bakura waited. He blinked.

"I… love you…."

Ryou awaited to full force that his words would have on his yami. He couldn't guess Bakura's reaction. Would he be angry? Happy? Ashamed? What would he do? Ryou trembled slightly, waiting for Bakura's reaction, his eye's never leaving Bakura's still face…

Without responding, Bakura turned his head and entered his soul room.

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End of Chapter Three

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DTT: Wow. You've turned into a sappy romance writer.

JH: I've always been that way. You read my sappy Rocketshippy crap!

DTT: Not crap~!!

DTT and JH: Again, please review! We are naught but humble fanfic authors!

(( DTT makes a comment: Jessie-San has been busy, but as she finally got a school-break, she UPDATED~!!! yay! ^^ ))