Chapter Three

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"P-Professor Bakura," Harry stammered.

"And you're the Potter runt, aren't you?"

Runt? Harry bristled. He wasn't that short. "Yeah. The Potter runt."

"Would you care to explain to me, Potter, why you're not in the classroom with the rest of the vermin?"

"Professor Ryou was—I mean, I was—I wanted to make sure he was alright." Even to Harry the excuse sounded lame; it certainly didn't explain why he'd appeared out of thin air.

"He's still breathing, isn't he?" Bakura snapped. "He'll be fine."

"Sir, he really didn't—why did you do that?"

Bakura arched a fine white eyebrow at him. "Do what?"

Harry glanced down at Ryou's unconscious body. "Hurt him."

Bakura picked Ryou up, glaring disdainfully down at his hikari's prone body. "I don't see how that's any of your business."

"He didn't do anything wrong," Harry protested. He got to his feet, thoroughly aware that Bakura could break his spine if he really wanted to. Rather than angry, however, the yami looked—amused? "Why did you do that to him?"

Bakura shrugged. "It's of no concern to you." He sighed. "But I suppose your class still needs a teacher, so—" he handed Ryou to Harry. Harry took him gingerly, afraid that he wouldn't be able to hold him up. To his surprise, Ryou's body was light, almost as if his bones were hollow. Or, Harry thought, feeling Ryou's ribs pressing into his arms, perhaps he didn't eat enough.

"Take him to our rooms," Bakura ordered. "They're above the Slytherin dungeons."

"What?"

"He needs rest, and I don't think sleeping in this hallway is very safe, especially after the bell rings."

"But—he—you—"

Bakura's sharp crimson eyes narrowed. "Just because I beat him I'm not allowed to be concerned?"

"It's not that—"

"Just take him to his room. As quickly as possible. And get your ass back here for lessons."

"But—"

Bakura glared. "But what?"

"Nothing sir."

"Oh, and Potter?" Harry stopped and half-turned to face Bakura.

"Sir?"

"If you so much a breathe a word of this to anyone, you'll spend the rest of your life in a hospital, understand me?"

"Yes, sir."

"Yuugi! Yami!" Harry rammed his shoulder into the door, arms full of unconscious Ryou.

"Damn it!" That was Yami, he was sure of that. What was wrong?

He heard footsteps pounding towards the door and exasperated muttering. "What the hell do you want?" Yami swung the door open and Harry stared.

Dead silence as Harry took in Yami's bare chest, half-unbuttoned jeans, and the red bite-mark blossoming on his collarbone. At least Yami had the decency to blush.

"Harry?" Yuugi poked his head around Yami's frozen shoulder. "What's the matter?" Yuugi was even worse off than Yami, clad only in dark blue boxers and his jewelry, but he seemed completely unabashed.

Oh, no. Harry did NOT want to think about what they were doing in here. No thoughts. Nope. Not about why they would answer the door half-naked, not about why they were half-naked in the first place, and certainly not about the hickey on Yami's chest. Pure thoughts. Innocent thoughts. Happy thoughts.

"Umm—"Harry could feel his cheeks blazing red. "Er—"

Yuugi shook Yami gently. "Yami, let him in. Ryou looks like he's in bad shape."

Wordlessly, Yami stepped aside, the shock just beginning to wear off. "Thank you," Harry muttered, deliberately avoiding the ex-pharaoh's eyes.

"You can set him down in here," Yuugi said, opening the door to his room. "He won't fall off a futon."

After Harry had settled Ryou on Yuugi's spare futon, he joined the two in Yami's room, and was immediately relieved to see that they had both put some clothing on.

"I'm sorry—" Harry began, but Yuugi waved a dismissive hand at him.

"Don't worry about it. I'm sorry if we scarred you for life."

Harry blushed. "No, not at all."

"Liar."

Harry gave Yuugi a sheepish grin. "Maybe."

"Look," Yami said, "maybe we can keep this quiet? I mean, I don't think it would go over too well if the entire school knew we were—"

"Gay?" Harry supplied, the blushed when he realized what he'd said. "I didn't mean—"

"It's okay," Yuugi laughed. "We are. No use denying it now, hm?" He winked roguishly at Harry.

Yami sighed. "Guess not."

Yuugi gave him a mock-pout. "Are you ashamed of me, mou hitori no boku?" (My other self, literally. This is what Yuugi calls Yami in the series until he realizes that Yami is an ancient pharaoh)

"No, of course not, koi." (Not the fish. 'Koi' is short for 'koibito'—boyfriend.)

"But—"Yuugi began, waiting for Yami to complete his thought.

"But I don't think people here are as accepting as in Japan."

"Is Bakura—"Harry began. "Are he and Ryou?"

"I don't know. Are they?" Yuugi glanced at Yami, giving him what appeared to be a thumbs-up. Harry blinked in confusion.

"Are they... ?" Yami copied Yuugi's gesture and glanced down at his own hand. "Oh," he said suddenly, understanding. "I don't think so."

(A/N: In Japan, extending the thumb means you're talking about someone's boyfriend, and extending the pinky means you're talking about someone's girlfriend.)

"Hunh?" Harry turned to Yuugi for an explanation.

"They're not lovers."

Harry blushed. "Oh."

"Uhhn ... "

Yuugi's head snapped around. "Ryou! You shouldn't be up!"

Ryou was leaning against the doorway, bent over in pain. "Oww ... I'm fine, really, Yuugi-kun." He took a step forward and winced. "Harry, what are you doing here?"

"I brought you here, Professor. Professor Bakura told me to take you to your chambers, but I thought—"

"No, I mean why aren't you in class? I remember Bakura telling you to come back as soon as possible."

"I wanted to make sure you were alright."

Ryou managed a weak smile. "Well, as you can see, I'm fine. You should get back to—" The bell rang. "—class," Ryou finished lamely.

"Bullshit," Yami snapped. "You're not fine, Ryou. You're half-dead, and you're going to go lay back down. Yuugi can sleep in here with me tonight."

Yuugi's faint blush told Harry that the small professor had been planning that all along.

"No. I—rrgh," he groaned as he tried to straighten his spine. "I'm alright. I should get back to Bakura. He'll be upset when he can't find me."

"Why would you want to go back?" Harry burst out. "I saw what he did to you! Sir!" he added, almost as an afterthought. "Why—I mean, I know it's not my place, but—"

"I owe him my life," Ryou answered simply, one hand on the wall for support as he limped towards the door. "I'm sorry for inconveniencing you, Yuugi," he apologized, half-turning to look at him.

And with that, he was gone.

"I'm worried about him," Yuugi said, shaking his multicoloured head. "He's getting worse."

"What do you mean?" Harry asked. "He's getting worse?"

"Ryou—has problems," Yuugi explained. "He's been on his own since he was very young. His mother and sister were killed in a car accident, and his father was never in the country, much less at home. He never had any friends, he was always alone. Depressed. Very, very depressed.

"Bakura was a dream come true for him. Someone who could never leave him, whose very existence depended on his survival. For the first time in his life he was needed, wanted, protected. And that's when things started going downhill.

"Bakura was always touchy. Crazy. Tried to kill Yami more times than I can count. But he started getting attached to Ryou in his own way, and, well—Bakura's not great with emotions."

"Never has been," Yami interjected. "He had a rough growing-up as well, and he thinks he's toughening Ryou. Preparing him for the real world. He doesn't want Ryou making the same mistakes he did."

"That makes sense, I guess," Harry said slowly. "But doesn't he realize what he's doing?" Harry could scarcely imagine someone as kind and gentle as Ryou becoming like Bakura. He shuddered to think of it. "Doesn't he care?"

"He does. That's the problem."

Ron and Hermione were oddly quiet at dinner. Harry waved a hand in Ron's face and the redhead snapped to attention, knocking over his pumpkin juice in the process. "Hunh?"

"What happened to you two?"

"Bakura," they answered simultaneously.

"That's Professor Bakura to you two," a sickeningly sweet voice chirped and Ron recoiled in horror as the former tomb robber strode by the Gryffindor table.

"Yessir!"

"What did he do?"

"Tell me, Harry," Hermione said, still looking vaguely traumatized, "have you ever heard of a place called the Graveyard?"

"Er—no, I don't think so. Sounds like a club."

"It's not," Ron said faintly. "Poor Neville, looked like he was going to have a heart attack ... " Harry glanced over to a pale, shaking Neville, who seemed to be having trouble managing his fork. "But God, that was awful ... "