A Matter of Family


It was a lazy summer day like any other, one that found Draco behind the counter of the Kame Game Shop with a newspaper spread out on the counter. Admittedly, he still did not understand kanji that well, but he knew enough of it that he could at least get the general idea of what they were talking about in the various articles. Besides, if he ever got completely stumped, Grandpa Mutou was just in the backroom behind him.

That, and pictures helped a lot too; currently he was grinning over one that had been taken by an amateur photographer, depicting a large, shadowy figure hovering over the warehouse district. It was very blurry, but Draco could easily define the form of the monster that Bakura and Ryou had summoned. He grinned as he remembered the thugs that had been fighting against Fleur's magic and Gravekeeper's Assassin just stopped dead as the monster broke through the roof of the warehouse they were in.

Draco had to admit though, he was glad that no one had figured out what happened afterwards, even though two weeks had passed since then. Though, like Bakura said, there was not enough left of Kyle to scrape up with a toothpick, so…

Grinning privately, Draco folded up the newspaper just as the door chime sounded. He turned to greet the customer… but stopped before he could get a word out. A tall and thin woman had entered, with long blonde hair spun up into a bun and a severe look on her face.

"M…mum…" Draco murmured, standing up.

Narcissa Malfoy walked up to the counter, her long dress and robes sweeping along the floor. She looked down upon her son condemningly, eyebrow raised as she observed his casual t-shirt (which had a super deformed print of Saint Joan on it) and tattered jeans.

"Since your father's crude and ineffective efforts to get you to return have failed utterly," she began, her voice as cold as the expression on her face, "I have taken it upon myself to get you to come back to where you belong. I dislike you associating with such… foreign riff-raff."

Draco frowned; talking back to his father had become easy. Talking back to his mother… that was something else.

"If you're referring to my friends, I'm sorry to disappoint you. They're not riff-raff," he stated, just as the door opened to the store and a customer walked in. "They're good people; better than I could have ever hoped for."

Narcissa let out a displeased sound. "The people you associated with before were good people."

"Good people how?" Draco replied. "Mum, we were cruel. We hurt people for no reason, and we took pride in it. How is that good people?"

"And how is this good?" Narcissa shot back, waving her hand to indicate the whole store. "Sitting behind a counter, serving muggles; this is beneath you, Draco."

As if on cue, the customer came up with their purchase. Draco rang through the amount on the register, taking the customer's money and giving them change before putting their purchase in a bag. The customer thanked him, and he returned in kind as the person left.

"It's good work, mum; it's honest work," Draco replied. "It may be 'beneath me' as you said, but at least I'm having fun… smiling, laughing, enjoying myself… Mum, I could never have this kind of enjoyment with the way things were before."

Narcissa continued to glare down at him, her critical gaze boring through Draco… before her feature's finally softened.

"Draco, you are my son," she began, "and I want what's best for you…"

"This is best for me, mum," Draco urged. "I belong here; I have fun here."

"But you make yourself an enemy of the Dark Lord this way," she returned softly. "You've heard your father's stories; they were not exaggerations. You know of the deceit and destruction He's capable of."

Draco gave her a determined look. "I know what he can do," he agreed. "I've seen it; I've seen his Death Eaters summon the Shadows with a spell. I've become a guardian of that Realm, mum, and as such, I can't let that abuse of it to continue."

An almost sad look appeared on his mother's face, before she leaned down, hugging him from across the counter. Draco blinked in surprise; he could not even remember the last time she hugged him like this…

"You risk your life… for this…?" she asked.

Draco nodded his determination, wrapping his arms around her and hugging her back tightly. "I won't run. I won't hide. Like Harry. Like everyone else. If I ever did, no matter how scared I was at the time, I'd never forgive myself."

She pulled back then, running a hand through his tussled hair. "You've grown strong…" she murmured. "Perhaps this change has done you good…"

Draco was about to reply, when suddenly the door burst open with a loud clang of the welcome bell. His mother pulled away in surprise at the rude interruption, to reveal a half panicked Jounouchi standing in the doorway.

"Draco-kun! What are you still doing here!" he said quickly, almost too quickly for the young wizard to understand. "C'mon! We're going to be late to the airport!"

Draco's eyes widened. "Crap!" he exclaimed, before turning up to his mother. "Mum, I've got to go…"

Narcissa smiled softly, nodding in understanding. "Go on…"

Draco paused for a brief moment, smiling back, before his mother turned and left the shop. He watched her leave, ignoring Jounouchi when he asked him who that was. He hoped… he hoped she would not get in trouble with his father… because of him…

"Mutou Ojii-san!" he shouted, turning toward the backroom. "We've got to go!"



Yami Seto was not surprised by the sound that greeted his ears as he snuck into his hikari's office, a bit of a prideful smirk on his face. A few days ago, he paid Seto's aunt and uncle a little visit and… encouraged them that dropping Mokuba's adoption would be in their best interest. Sure, he really should not have been so… persuasive, but his hikari had been under enough stress lately. He did not need that piled up on top of everything else. Besides, the look of relief on Seto's face when he got the notice stating that the case had been dropped made it worth the effort.

Mokuba looked up from where he was playing his Gameboy Advance SP on the couch, grinning up at him.

"Welcome back, mou hitori no onii-sama," he said brightly.

"Heyya, kiddo," Yami Seto returned, before looking over to his hikari… to see he had not looked up from the computer screen. What a surprise.

"You didn't crash the car, did you?" Seto asked, his voice flat as all his concentration was focused on what he was typing.

The high priest rolled his eyes. "Driving isn't that difficult," he returned, tossing Seto the keys. Somehow, his hikari switched to typing one handed long enough to catch the keys and set them on the desk before switching back to typing with both hands… all without breaking his typing speed. Yami Seto sweatdropped; only his hikari…

"Anyway, Fleur's waiting in the car," he stated. "We should head off as soon as you can un-glue your eyes from the monitor, aibou."

Seto's lip twitched as he saved the document he was working on before turning to him. "Don't call me that. It's cute when you're short with spiky hair, but when you're a businessman, people might get the wrong idea."

Yami Seto raised an eyebrow. "What kind of wrong idea?"

Mokuba nearly fell off the couch, howling in laughter, as Seto turned bright scarlet. "I have a girlfriend!" he protested. "So do you!"

"Yes, and they're currently waiting in a hot car in the middle of Domino City summer," the priest countered. "Shall we go?"


Bakura jumped when he heard the clack of the mailbox outside, snapped out of the mindless stupor he had fallen into while watching the talking box. He shook his head, trying to clear it, before looking over to the couch where Ryou was, only to see that his hikari had fallen asleep. A soft smile crept onto his face despite himself; the past couple of weeks had proven to be filled with a difficult recovery for Ryou, but in a way it seemed like a piece of his soul was at ease at the same time. Bakura had yet to catch him writing a letter to his sister, and had even started to allow people to refer to him by his first name (which was good for him in a way; he was tired of people tacking "Yami" before his name).

The tomb robber stretched his arms over his head, before getting up and going outside to grab the mail. It was the usual collection of crap and junk mail… except for one. Bakura held up the small envelope, which just had a simple "I2" in the corner for a return address.

"Heh heh…" Bakura sniggered, heading back into the house. "Looks like that old man pulled through for me."

He tossed the rest of the mail on the table to be thrown out (or laughed at) later, before holding up the envelope from I2 and allowing himself a private smirk. In the next instant, the envelope was ripped open, and it's contents were shook out onto the table.

Bakura stared down at the simple card in something a kin to reverence, letting his fingers brush against it ever so slightly. It was a level ten effect monster… only unlike most effect monsters, its boarder was deep, dark brown with flakes of tan woven into the coloring, almost making it look like the desert sands. It had an impressive four thousand attack and defense, and an even more impressive ability of being able to add to the attack and defense power of all the monsters it defeated in battle to its own. The picture on the card was equally eye-catching, with the secret-rare card foiling bringing out its well muscled upper torso and adding an extra glare to its snakehead tail.

Diaboundou, the God of Thieves…

Bakura smirked again. It was the same monster he had summoned against Kyle, and now it was going to help him torment some Death Eaters and others foolish enough to mess with him.

He made his way back to the living room, looking in on his hikari. It was amazing how the answer to summoning the monster was so incredibly obvious, that it had just totally blown over his head. Simply… his hikari was the light half of his soul… half of himself…

It was no surprise that half of the thief's god was also part of Ryou's soul.

Bakura glanced sidelong at the clock. Hmm… the pharaoh and his hikari were coming home today, and everyone wanted to get together to welcome them back. As much as he did not want to wake Ryou, he supposed they should make the effort to greet them.

He went over to the couch, kneeling slightly, before reaching down to give Ryou's side a gentle shake. In an instant, his hand shot up, gripping Bakura's arm in a tight grasp and making the tomb robber blink in surprise. Ryou did not let go, however, and the thief shook his head, a sheepish grin creeping up on his face. Okay… so the pharaoh would have to go without their presence for once.

Bakura looked down at his hikari's sleeping face… Odd… he never really thought of it before, but… Ryou… Ryou was something precious… He may not love his hikari in the same respect that the pharaoh loved his… but…

That did not mean he would not go to the ends of the earth to protect him.

His smile turned a bit tender, before he whispered, "I've got all the family I want… all the family we really need… right here…"