After the flood
Warnings/notes : AU, Bakura/Ryou, Ishizu, mentionings of violence and death, a rather fluffy and innocent Bakura.
Disclaimer : I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh. This ficlet is part of 'Feast of the king's shadow', meaning its title is taken from this novel by Chaz Brenchley.
written at 16th october 2003, by Misura
Ryou didn't know where they were taking him, these strange men that had burnt down his village for no reason at all. They scared him, the way they kept looking at him, touching his hair and calling things to each other in a language he didn't understand.
At first he had tried to be brave, to hide his fears and put on a courageous mask. That was before one of the others had been braver yet and tried to escape. 'Tried to' being the operative phrase here.
It hadn't been long before the boy, whose name Ryou hadn't even known and probably never would now either, had been recaptured. Their captors had horses, after all, and plenty of water to keep fresh while the prisoners were ill-fed and hardly got any water. Just enough to keep them alive.
He supposed they were going to sell them as slaves or something ; what other reason could they have for not killing all of them right away? It hadn't been enough to save the nameless boy's life though.
Probably he was supposed to have been an example, a lesson for all of them. If they were foolish enough to try to escape as well, *this* was what would happen to them. Pain and death, followed by an anonymous grave in the sand, where wild dogs would come at night to gnaw at the bones ...
Ryou shivered, feeling cold in spite of the sun that burnt down on his skin. It should have felt good, a moment of cool in the merciless heat of the desert. It didn't. He felt sick and weak, and the temptation to just let himself fall down in the hot sand without getting up again grew stronger every second.
Hope kept him going. A foolish, desperate hope that maybe, somehow, he'd regain his freedom. Or at least his happiness, his enjoyment of life. Part of him reasoned he should be wiser than to cling to such illusions, that he'd only get hurt and disappointed in the end. He ignored it.
He couldn't let go of his hope. It was all he had left.
Two months later found him in the household of some wealthy priest he had only seen once, on the day he was purchased. He hated that word, hated the thought of being sold like cattle. Most of all he hated the collar around his neck that told everyone what he was.
Property. No real human being. He was kept well-fed and -dressed, his tasks easy and light. Somehow though, he grew more miserable every day. Ryou sighed, staring out over the city around him.
They had tried to teach him their language at first, so that he might easier understand their orders he supposed, but he had refused to learn it, playing dumb. After a while they had given up, satisfied with the way he fulfilled his assigned tasks.
This evening, he had been done with them early. He always went to the roof then, to watch the sunset, which was just as beauitful here as it had been at home. It comforted him a little, soothing his spirit somewhat since there were still things he could enjoy.
Normally he returned back inside as soon as the darkness had set in, but this time something seemed to hold him back, urged him to wait just a little while longer. He gave in to it, knowing no one would miss him or punish him for it. He'd only have to be a little more careful when he descended the stairs in the dark, that was all. He could do that.
There was a full moon tonight, shedding a silvery light over the rooftops of this alien city. The sounds of people slowly died down as night set in. Ryou felt more awake somehow, more alert than he had been all day.
A cool nightbreeze carressed his skin, ruffling his long white hairs. He sat there motionless, at peace, for what might have been hours. They seemed like seconds, gliding by. And then he saw it ... him.
There was movement on the roofs, a single figure moving with a catlike grace, jumping from roof to roof like it cost him no effort at all. Ryou watched him silently as he came closer and closer to where he was sitting.
Finally, the figure was close enough to make out his -for it definitely was a boy, Ryou saw now, hardly any older than himself- features, the color of his eyes -dark brown- and hair -white, like Ryou's-.
Ryou rose, raising his empty hands to signify he had no evil intentions. The figure stepped back nonetheless, apparently not expecting to find anyone awake here at an hour like this. For the first time, Ryou wished he knew how to speak this people's language.
The boy said something. Ryou made a helpless gesture.
The boy repeated his statement, more clearly now. Ryou pointed at his ears, shaking his head.
The boy stared at him, then pointed at the collar around his neck. Ryou touched it gingerly, uncertain of what the boy was trying to tell him.
He stepped forwards, into the light of the moon. The boy gasped, though Ryou had no idea why. His looks weren't *that* exotic, were they? Even if he hadn't seen anyone else his age with white hair ... until today.
"Ryou, that's your name, isn't it? You are Ryou!" The boy almost seemed to dance with excitement.
"Yes, but ... how do you know my name? Who are you? And how can you speak my language?" Ryou inquired stunned.
"Ishizu told me about you." the boy explained, like that ought to answer any question Ryou might have had. "She told me I'd meet you tonight, but I didn't believe her. She's a seeress, you know."
"Not really. I'm not from around here. Or didn't she tell you that?" Ryou asked.
"Hmm, she might. I don't remember. Half of the time she's talking nonsense anyway. Or scoffing at me and Malik to grow up." The boy grinned and winked at Ryou. "She can be very bossy."
"Oh." Ryou replied weakly.
"So, you coming?" The boy held out his hand, his eyes glittering. "Unless you enjoy wearing that collar."
"I don't." Ryou replied, biting his lower lip. "But ... what if I get caught? They'd hurt you too, for helping me." The boy laughed.
"I'm not afraid. You shouldn't be either, Ryou. Ishizu has foretold me I'm to be your protector. I will fight for you and guard you so that no one's ever going to hurt you again." The boy smiled at him winningly. "She's always right about the important things."
"Oh." Ryou said, again. "That's ... nice to hear ... "
"My name! How could I forget! You must think I'm very rude for not telling you before!" The boy looked heart-broken, making Ryou feel obliged to shake his head reassuringly.
"I am called Bakura. And from this day hence, I will be like your shadow, going wherever you go to keep you safe from any harm."
Somehow, Ryou believed him.
~ending of this snippet~