Uupdated, as promised. However, I miscalculated. Yami will have his encounter with Malfoy at the next update. However, the next update will simply be uploaded as a longer Chapter Twenty Five. Roughly done in two weeks time. Sorry for the inconvience...I deserve to have tomatos thrown at me. (cries)

Please read and review! Again, sorry for such a boring chapter...

Chapter Twenty Five: Suspicious Discussions

Walking down the halls, Harry sighed. He, Hermione and Ron had been walking through the corridors aimlessly for quite some time already; Ron shifting impatiently on his foot, Hermione reading a book along the way…and Harry…poor poor curious Harry…still wondering about the three foreigners.

The corridors were literally empty now; many of the students had already returned to their common rooms. The moving portraits had also fallen asleep, and were now immobile in their slumber, except for the occasional snorer or two.

"Er, Harry, mate," spoke up Ron hesitantly. "We've already been down here before."

"Oh?" Harry started a bit, jostled out of his thoughts. He looked about, wondering exactly how could Ron manage to know where they were; after all, all of the corridors looked exactly the same. "Er…have we?"

"You mean you haven't noticed?" Ron asked exasperatedly.

Harry shook his head. "Sorry," he mumbled. "Too caught up in my thoughts, I suppose."

They continued to walk down the hallways, Harry still deep in his thoughts.

"Touchy, isn't he?" Ron asked loudly, obviously a little unnerved with the silence. "You know, Ishtar. Kinda dodgy, don't you think, with the way he always reacts to things?"

"Marik is always like that," Hermione said, still concentrating deeply on her book. Ron looked at her.

"Yeah, I know," he said, "but…still…he's usually like that only when we ask what's wrong with him and his friends. I don't know, don't you think that's just kinda…dodgy?"

"So you agree with my first theory," Hermione nodded, though her voice was slightly crispy. "Wonderful. What happened to, 'they're just kids, Hermione'?"

"Well…they are!" Ron defended. "But I'm just talking about Marik. There's nothing wrong with Yugi."

"What about Ryou?" Harry suddenly asked, finally snapping out of his reverie and turning around. "What do you two think about Ryou?" Ron cocked his head to the side a little bit, looking slightly befuddled, while Hermione gasped, and finally looked up from her book.

"Dodgy too," Ron said immediately, nodding his head with finality. "Dodgy." Hermione scowled.

"How can you accuse him of doing anything dodgy?" she demanded. The redhead merely gave her an odd look, before he frowned.

"Got someone else other than Vicky?" he sneered. "What happened to Vicky?" At this, Hermione turned a furious red.


"What?" asked Ron innocently. "I mean, when your guys are doing homework, man…Ryou this, Ryou that, oh Ryou this, oh Ryou that, oh Ryou you're SOOO intelligent…"

"Ronald Weasley!" Hermione cried. "Take that right back!"

"And then there's sad, cute little Ryou," Ron went on, "you know, like what Parvati called him once? Like a cute little lost puppy who needs someone to guide him? And then there's also what Lavender said, what was it now…'dashing', was it? And then there was Cho…dunno what she said, some long thing in Japanese…sounded like, 'takiki takaki kawaii' whatever…which one do you like, Hermione? Lost puppy Ryou? Strong, dashing Ryou? Mysterious, intelligent Ryou? Or…"

"Pissy, sarcastic, cold-hearted, cold-blooded, not-so-clumsy Ryou?" Harry suddenly spoke up. Both Ron and Hermione momentarily stopped arguing enough to stare at Harry. Nodding pensively, the black-haired boy turned around, facing them as he remembered that day at the Ministry. "Loud, rude, speechy Ryou? Arrogant, cocky, dead-looking Ryou?"

"Dead-looking Ryou?" Hermione repeated incredulously. "Harry, what on earth are you talking about?"

"And then there's also tall, forceful Yugi… " Harry went on, seeming as though he were rambling. "Tall, cool, hard Yugi…commanding Yugi…strong, stern Yugi…darker Yugi…"

"What?" Ron asked, his voice slightly loud as he tapped Harry lightly on the forehead. "Harry…? Are you alright?"

"But Malik's the only one who doesn't change…" Harry continued quietly. "Ryou and Yugi…they change sometimes…Ryou gets more arrogant and cocky…Yugi gets more stern and commanding…it's like as if they both gain some sort of confidence…"

"Well…I have noticed that too," Hermione admitted. "We saw that on the train, remember? Maybe they just have some sort of multi-personality syndrome. Like schizophrenia or something."

"If it's an illness," Ron said thoughtfully though, "Madame Pomfrey could've fixed it. Ryou and Yugi are always in the Hospital Wing."

"But not MENTAL illness," Hermione emphasized. "Can Madame Pomfrey cure MENTAL illness?"

"I don't bloody know, why don't you ask her?" Ron exclaimed. "You're the brains, you should know…"

"Well obviously she can't," Hermione argued back, "since there are people in St. Mungo's…!"

"Stop it!" interrupted Harry sharply. He suddenly turned about, and discreetly cocked his head to one side, and both Hermione and Ron instantly ceased their arguing. For there stood, timid and hesitant, around the corner, was Neville Longbottom, round face strangely blank.

"Er…hey, Neville!" Ron greeted cheerfully, though his effort was in vain. "Got that Dementor essay done? Man, all those different origins of them, what a head-wracker…"

"Oh…yes, of course," Neville stuttered in reply, starting a bit. Determinedly, the other Gryffindor gingerly stepped out from around the corner, his face still in the expression of hesitant nervousness. Harry winced inwardly. It had been too late to warn Hermione and Ron not to speak of St. Mungo's in front of Neville, but the other boy seemed to be taking it awfully well, despite his obvious effort to avoid the conversation.

"So…umn…" Neville shifted a bit. "How are they? Yugi and all of them?"

"Fine," Harry replied, nodding. "Just fine."

Though Neville nodded, there was clear evidence that he didn't quite believe them. Scratching the back of his head, he continued speaking, while staring at the floor, "Well…you know…I couldn't help but overhear while I was going to the library…Professor Lupin's given me an extension of the essay…"

"Lupin gave you an extension?" Ron suddenly interrupted loudly. Hermione instantly shushed him and promptly stepped on his toe.

"Um…yeah," Neville nodded to the floor, oblivious to Ron's painful limping, "…well, I suppose I couldn't help overhearing you three talk about Yugi and all of them…"

"Did you see anything suspicious at all with them?" Harry asked, unable to help himself. He shook his head. "Er…I mean…strange?"

"Well…nothing different than what you guy said," Neville admitted, finally looking up. "But…" Here, he took a deep breath, his nervous façade slowly turning that into one of deep courage,"…I don't think they've got…what you think, Hermione."

Suddenly, Neville's defiance and courage deflated, and he sank along with it, as thought exhausted at his sudden show of boldness over an issue he was quite sensitive of.

Followed by Neville's deflation came with Harry's, Hermione's and Ron's pensive silence. Harry focused his gaze on the floor, his face scrunched in deep deep thought. He was the first to speak.

"Well…if it isn't anything physical or psychological…" he said slowly, still in deep contemplation, "…what other reasons would there be to explain their behaviors?"

"Maybe like…someone else within them, or something?" Neville suggested, shrugging. "Like er…what happened to Ginny?" he continued tentatively, once again nervous about treading on soft ice. This fret was expectedly returned with Ron's narrowed look, as though daring Neville to say anything bad about Ginny. This was one expression Neville hastily apologized back, saying that he had not meant anything negative, but was just suggesting something. When Ron finally nodded in understanding, and Neville looked relieved, Harry spoke up.

"You mean…like when using Riddle's book, Riddle could enter Ginny's mind, and control her to do things?" Harry asked slowly. Behind him, Hermione gave a small gasp, covering her hands over her mouth. Ron still looked befuddled.

"You mean…they might have some sort of book like Riddle's," he asked, "and that he's controlling them through it?"
"But…with Ginny it was different though," Hermione breathed. "It must've been…what Riddle said…"

"…Was that every time Ginny gave him a bit of her soul, he put his in return…" Harry confirmed. The thought startled him. Could it possibly be…? "But….with him…he could have a separate body. He didn't live in Ginny's body."

"He must've," spoke up Ron. "I mean…Dad's told me all about that book…and Ginny said something about it too, once in a while…I mean, during the time that he was taking over Ginny, he had to stay in her mind and control her body to force her to do all that…so it was like, she was sharing her body…"

"But You-Know-Who can't possibly be within their bodies!" Hermione exclaimed. Ron turned on her, a quizzical look on his face.

"Why not?" he asked, genuinely curious. Hermione bit her lip, and both Harry and Neville turned their attentions on her.

"Because…" she emphasized, "well…for one, he's got nothing to live in, right? He has nowhere to put his soul…much less put it in them…"

"Unless they're Death Eaters," Ron spoke up, "spies of You-Know-Who."

"They have no Dark Marik, "Harry replied shortly, still curious to hear what Hermione had to say. "Go on, Hermione."

"Well…he's got nowhere to put his soul…I mean, other than in Riddle's book…"

"But what about him being half-dead-half-alive?" Ron suddenly interrupted. "I mean…can a soul…can a soul be like, half-dead-half-alive?"

"Well, a lost soul would be…well….lost," admitted Hermione. "Just like a Dementor sucking them out. They would be hosted within the Dementor, and if they're in a large mass, send them to the Dementor's Realm. But it one soul was not extracted from a Dementor…it would be floating about, wandering for the rest of eternity…unless it can find someone, or somewhere to host it."

"And the incantation to put its soul in something?" Harry asked, his eyes wide.

"Only if the soul has been recently extracted, and there is still some wizarding powers upon it," Hermione said. "Which brings me to my next point…"

"Wait a minute," Harry said again, stopping her with a hand. "So with Voldemort…" (here, everyone involuntarily winced) "…when he killed my mum, and the spell reflected off of me, he died…but his soul survived?"

"And that must've been when he found Quirrell," Ron whispered, his eyes wide. "And then he used his last remaining powers…"

"And latched his soul onto Quirell…the host," Harry finished. "So…Yugi and them…?"

Hermione shook her head, though she still looked pale with shock. "No…what they're going through…maybe it's like what Ginny went through. Some soul in their bodies, taking over whenever they want…"

"But in order to be powerful enough to exchange souls and use the bodies so often…" Harry breathed, "they must have something that hosts the souls whenever the main body can't…"

"Hold it, hold it," Ron spoke up, holding his hands. "Let's slow down for a moment. Doesn't this entire soul thing seem far-fetched? I mean, what happened to them with er…schzo-whatever?"

"Well, it's possible," spoke up Neville, and the other three started a bit. In their deep discussion, they had even forgotten Neville was there. "I hear that Muggles with those kind of sickness…they act differently than normal people do." At this, his voice grew much quieter. "Maybe…maybe it's true that they share their bodies with other souls…because they surely don't act insane…" Hastily, Neville started again, and looked behind him. "Well, I have to go," he said, smiling weakly. "The essay…"

"Yeah…it's okay," Harry nodded, still distracted. "Thanks Neville."

Neville nodded. "No problem." And, after taking a deep breath, the other Gryffindor left, disappearing down the hall.

Ron's face looked uneasy. "Well…Yugi or Ryou isn't insane…"

"I wouldn't put that past with Ryou's other personality though," Harry muttered. "Did you see him at the Ministry? Big, crazy grin on his face…like as if he was enjoying the dangers of it all!"

"You must be kidding," Hermione said defiantly. "Ryou would never…"

"There are plenty of things Ryou or Yugi would never do," Harry agreed, "but there are also plenty of things that their other halves might want to do."

"But still…" Ron said uneasily, "…sharing bodies with dead people…I mean…come on, how does that ever happen? Where would these dead people's souls be in anyway? Ryou and Yugi don't have books like Riddle did."

"No." Hermione shook her head. "But I'm afraid that Harry's theory might be right, Ron."

Ron gave an exasperated groan. "Why? Come on! What's with the mystery here? Why are you guys so quiet and shocked and stuff? You-Know-Who isn't obviously sharing their bodies!"

"But he might be sharing their Items," Hermione whispered. "Think about it, Ron! The Order's after You-Know-Who's newest weapon…if he did put his soul in a whole bunch of different places, he could never die! He'd be invincible, coming back and coming back all the time! You would never be able to kill him!"

"But the Order said…" Ron argued.

"The Order said that Voldemort was looking for the Millennium Items," Harry breathed. "Voldemort's already got some, judging by what Fred and George said about that weird dude that Bill tried to save. And if Voldemort…"

"But when did You-Know-Who ever had the time to put his soul there in the first place?" Ron asked. "I mean, if he did put them there, how did they get scattered?"

"It's not possible that the Millennium Items can be hosting You-Know-Who," Hermione whispered. Harry looked at her.

"Why not?" he asked.

"An inanimate object cannot hold more than one soul a time," she whispered. "And judging by what the legend of the Millennium Items say…if there really are souls in there…in the Ring and in the Puzzle…"

Harry's eyes widened. "Then…"

Grimly, Hermione nodded. "You-Know-Who could never have possibly put his soul in there," she whispered. "At least, not with the Ring and the Puzzle, because they're already occupied, unless he minimized his soul to only a faint drop amount. But Harry…if you really want to go with this theory, then Ryou and Yugi…"

A silence fell upon them all, each of them staring at the floor, as the dawn of realization swept them speechless.

"You better get to Care of Magical Creatures, Yami," Marik muttered, one hand subconsciously running over his previously torn eye. "I'll stay here with Ryou."

The ex-pharaoh gave Marik a level, intent gaze. "You sure?" he asked. "I wouldn't want that horrid eye of a Yami turn up on you again. You sure you'll be alright?"

"I'll just summon an eye-patch or something," Marik said off-handedly, waving his hand. "You go."

Nodding, Yami agreed, heading off. "I'll make sure I get every detail for Ryou when he comes to," Yami assured. Marik scoffed.

"Aw. You never care that much about my grades, pharaoh."

Yami replied back with a smirk. "Neither do you."

"Horcruxes," Hermione said abruptly.

"Er…bless you?" Ron replied back. Hermione shook her head.

"No no…Horcruxes," she breathed. "I just remembered. Horcruxes…they're a severe type of dark magic…"

"What sort of dark magic?" asked Harry, looking at her curiously as they headed off across the fields for Care of Magical Creatures. "What do they do?"

"Well…if one performs a Horcrux…" Hermione whispered, looking very nervous, "…they'd have to kill someone…murder someone…and once they do that, they can extract a bit of their soul and put it in different objects…"

"Hor..cruxes?" Ron repeated slowly. Hermione nodded. "You mean…if you kill someone, then you can perform this Horcrux, and then you can put a bit of your soul into something!"

"Yes," Hermione nodded, looking very anxious. "But we should not talk about it…it's a terrible thing to do…if one performs the Horcrux spell so many times…their souls….they become mutilated…but they'd never die…"

"So you think Voldemort is trying to make Horcrux whatever?" Harry whispered. Hermione nodded.

"It just occurred to me too…I overheard Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall talk about it…maybe…maybe at some point, Voldemort wanted to put his soul somewhere for safe-keeping, so that he'd never die…do you think maybe that's why he's after the Millennium Items? Maybe not just for the power of the pharaoh, since it's already heavily rumored that the pharaoh's been reincarnated…but…"

"Good day, Hermione," greeted a low, regal voice. Instantly, all three of them jumped at the sudden eavesdropper, whirling around to face the intruder. However, there stood their fellow Gryffindor, Yugi Mouto, his eyes a bit more narrow than usual, and a contemplating shade of ruby.

"Oh! Er…hello, Yugi," Hermione greeted nervously. Yami titled his head to one side, arching an eyebrow, his face devoid of a smile.

"Is something the matter?" he asked calmly.

"Oh! Oh no," Hermione said hastily. She cast Harry and Ron desperate looks.

Again, Yami arched his eyebrow further, this time making it disappear into his angular bangs. "Worried about Ryou, I suppose?" guessed Yami, who had no doubt that Hermione would be nervous about Ryou's condition. After all, the two of them did become Apparition partners a few weeks ago…

"Huh? Oh, of course!" Hermione nodded. Behind her, Ron's ears turned slightly red, and he was biting his lip. "Is he alright?"

"He will live," Yami sighed gravely. "It's not the first time he has fainted, I assure you, so I'm quite sure he will survive." Sighing, Yami closed his eyes. "Oh…by the way, do forgive me for intruding…but did I overhear something about souls?'

"Oh! Er…" Again, Hermione shot both Harry and Ron desperate looks. "Well…"
"Yeah, we were," Ron said loudly, stepping in front of Hermione. He grinned weakly at Yami, clearly making things up wildly as he went along. "Just talking about souls…you know, Dementors and the whatnot. You know…have you have wondered where a soul goes when a Dementor sucks it out?"
"I naturally assume that if it's been in the Dementor long enough, it will be stored in the Realm of the Dementors," Yami replied calmly. Ron rolled his eyes.

"Okay, okay, so you're a brain-head," he said. "But yeah, that's all we were talking about. Why?"

A graceful shrug of the shoulders as an answer. "Nothing, really," Yami replied. "Perhaps my hearing is impaired, or maybe the language spell is slowly wearing off…but I wasn't sure if I had heard about Dementors in your conversation."

"What's it to you about our conversation?" asked Ron, slightly heatedly. "We're perfectly liable to talk about whatever whenever we want…"

Yami shook his head, clearly having far more patience than Ron. "At times like these? Surely you know how dangerous it is to be overheard at times like these. What with Lord Voldemort around…" Suddenly, Yami looked at them sharply. "By any chance, are you interested in the Millennium Items?"

"Er…" Here, Harry faltered. Those eyes… ruby rich, sharp and commanding…striking so similar to the Dark Lord… "…Why do you ask?"

"Just curious," Yami replied, shrugging again. "Oh, there's Hagrid," Yami noted, noticing the giant at the far-off edge of the Forbidden Forest. With a faint, polite smile he turned round, bowed fractionally before Harry, Hermione and Ron, before leaving. "If you will excuse me…"

And then he left, black robes swishing unnaturally gracefully behind him.

As soon as the strange, tri-colored haired boy was out of sight, Harry grabbed Ron's robes.

"He knows something," Harry whispered. "I hate to say it, but he knows something. I think he must've overheard us talking about Horcruxes."

"If he did," Hermione bit her lip, "then he must be up to something. Do you think…do you think maybe because of Yugi's powers, he knows a bit of the soul of the reincarnated pharaoh? I mean, I don't pretend to be an expert at Dark Magic or Ancient Egyptian Magic…but the fact its…if the pharaoh did put his soul into the Puzzle, as the legend states…he must've performed a Horcrux."

"Which means the Nameless Pharaoh must've killed someone," Ron said quietly. "Blimey, you think some old fogie could never do something like that…almost like as if he and You-Know-Who almost think alike…"

"Yugi would never hurt anyone though," Harry said quietly. "I know it. His care for everyone is genuine. And the one thing that can be against Voldemort is love. It's the one thing that he doesn't have…and if Yugi has that, which I know he does… he can probably withstand whatever evil is in the Puzzle."

"Do you think Yugi knows it's evil?" whispered Hermione anxiously. Ron snorted.

"Doubt it," he said. "But I mean, who knows? Maybe it's not evil. Maybe the pharaoh's an actually nice guy. Dad's told me tons of times about how ex-pharaoh used to accidentally kill Muggles when sacrificing them to the gods or whatever…maybe during one of those times, he had to use the Horcrux thing or whatever."

Hermione sighed. "We'll just have to see. But for now, I think it's best if we stay away from Yugi and all of them."

Ron started a bit. "Even Ryou?" he asked warily, staring at Hermione intently. With a sigh, Hermione nodded, not noticing Ron's intent look.

"Yes. Even Ryou."

Distinctly, Ron looked considerably much happier as they trotted towards the Forbidden Forest.

/I wonder what Horcruxes are…/ Yugi thought softly. Yami shook his head.

/Something dark, I know it./ Yami said, equally quietly. /Not that I am accusing them of any Dark intentions, hardly, aibou…./

Yugi sighed. /I know. I know. It's just that…I don't know…what do Horcruxes have to do with souls and our Millennium Items/

/If it is something from the Dark Arts/ Yami thought quietly/then we may be able to ask Professor Lupin what a Horcrux is. I'm sure if either you or I cannot persuade him, he might give in to Ryou or Marik./

/Ryou, more likely/ Yugi sighed. /All the teachers have soft spots for Ryou. I just don't think Ryou would be ever be up to asking something like that. You know how he hates being a scapegoat./

Yami nodded understandingly. Lightly, he stretched his back. /Well..I suppose that just leaves you or me. Aibou/

/Maybe I can do it/ Yugi nodded. /It may be interesting. Maybe Professor Lupin can tell me more about the Puzzle, if he does know a lot. I can't get anything out of Professor Binns./

/No one can get anything from Professor Binns/ Yami said dryly.

Er…some Yami and Yugi moments, to have them in the spotlight. The fact was, I was on vacation, and I was devoid of a computer, so this chapter is just cut off short because of the deadline. However, what I will do is that instead of writing a next chapter, I shall continue on with this chapter to Yami's encounter with Malfoy, and then I'll upload the entire thing as Chapter Twenty Five. Does that sound good to everyone?

I'll probably be done this entire chapter in the next two weeks. So all in all, when the next time I update, I will replace this chapter with a longer version, with fourteen pages. This is already seven, so within the next two weeks, I will continue to write seven more to this chapter. Does that sound good to everyone?

Sorry again for getting this a bit late. (sighs) But don't worry…I promised Yami and Yugi spotlight, I will give you Yami and Yugi spotlight.

Heh. Heh. Who has read the HP6 book? So. This will be HP6 side-along crossover story. And Voldemort's Horcrux thing, thinking that seven is a lucky number….WELL…I wonder WHICH seven he might be talking about….hummmmmmmm……