Unmei: Oh joy.
Yami: Took you long enough.
WSJ: Sorry! I haven't been inspired! And when I was inspired, it was to do several Fruits Basket fics, not this.
Chiot: ...What's with the monsters?
WSJ: (sigh) Plot bunnies. Fever induced plot bunnies. There's nothing worse than being stuck in bed sick for five days, except perhaps for the homework that comes afterward.
Chiot: (pokes a few of the fluff balls) No joke.
WSJ: Hmm... Let's see, a couple notes... Someone asked who my favorite OC is. (smirk)
Sekil: (inches away from her)
WSJ: Actually, you haven't met her yet. She comes into play later on. As for those that are around now, I'd definitely have to say either Jonathon or Director-Baka. I'm also rather fond of Amoura, but she's not mine.
Unmei: As for Serenity's birthday, she doesn't officially have one. Same thing with age, all we're told is that she's younger than Joey is. WSJ's put her two years younger than me, and given her a birthday of May 31.
WSJ: Well, when I started this thing I gave myself five chapters to get to the main plot. I'm close, but I think there's going to be one more chapter of filler fluff before the real fun begins.
Chiot: Huh... The notes this time are short... WSJ does not own anything but various OCs. There, short enough for you? (wanders away to find coffee)
WSJ: Oh yes, and this chapter is entirely Kat-chan's fault. I needed them to do something evil to Director-Baka, and Kat-chan shoved Sister Act II down my throat... Not to mention Mulan II... (snickers softly) "Eeeeee!" So yes. This is all Kat's fault. Kat-chan? This chapter's for you, my ever-awesome partner in crime.
Warning: This chapter gets a little bit vulgar at some points, because Ryou's in a bad mood and people can be stupid. I'm sorry if it offends some people.
Muse-ic of the moment: Warrior is a Child by Twila Paris, and the entire soundtrack to the video game Phantom Brave (which I am ADDICTED to. Thus another reason I haven't been writing lately...)
The Yamis of Tokyo U: Sophomore
Chapter 5 Crippling Fury
"How splendid! The passion, the drama, the ferocity!"
"Oh, shut up before we officially have to name ourselves a soap opera."
~(Pegasus and Yami; DarkGatomon; As If!)
Yami returned to the dorms two hours later to find Ryou peacefully asleep in his bed and Yugi, Sekil, and Bakura locked in a riveting game of...
"Got any three's?"
Yami snorted softly, taking a seat on the edge of Sekil's bed, since all the chairs were occupied. "Don't you have anything better to do?"
"Like what?" Sekil asked, accepting an ace from Yugi and setting aside the pair. "Debating the fact that Unmei's probably about ready to kill my brother? Nevermind the fact that I'm equally to blame."
Bakura rolled his eyes. "Stop it Sekil, the fact remains that you're a good friend while your brother is a little less than sane. In cases like that, it really doesn't matter who's actually to blame."
"I guess so," Sekil sighed. "Where is Lark, anyway?"
"Arca took him shopping," Yami said, flicking an imaginary speck of dirt from his leather pants. "And I don't think he'll be back anytime soon, today or otherwise. He's not fond of Bakuras, although this Bakura isn't the one he should hate. I did manage to explain to him just why Ryou and Bakura are distrustful of Mahaado, and he understood and told me he'd try and keep his distance."
"Well that's a relief," Sekil sighed, then caught Bakura's look. "What? He's not completely off his rocker, you know."
"Just a few grains short of the Sahara." Bakura muttered, tossing down his last set of cards. "Damnit Yugi, you win again."
The hikari grinned, and Yami reached over to ruffle his hair, giving him back the Millennium Puzzle as he did. "Like yami like hikari."
A soft groan from the bed caught their attention. Sekil turned around in his chair, and Bakura got up to lean over his little brother. "Ryou? You okay? How do you feel?"
"Like I got ran over by a Greyhound bus," the telepath said sourly, sitting up with only a little help from Bakura. "Damn, I really don't like Lark."
Sekil winced, though whether it was from hearing kind and gentle Ryou curse or the insult to his brother no one could tell. "Eh... Wasn't entirely his fault, 'mei. I think, I hope that only happened because it was both of us touching you. It shouldn't happen again."
"It better not," Ryou scowled, and for a moment he looked so much like Bakura in a bad mood that Yugi gave a little squeak of surprise. A moment later the scowl softened and Ryou sighed, running a hand through his thick bangs. "Sorry," he said wearily. "I feel like I just finished a six hour spar with someone ten feet tall armed with big fists and a battering ram. I'm not mad at any of you."
"It's all right Ryou," Yugi said, unable to keep from giggling at the mental picture. "We understand. Come on Yami, let's go see what Tea's up to."
The pharaoh rolled his eyes, then gave a little wave and followed his hikari out of the dorm. Ryou laid down again, and with a sigh rolled over so he was facing the wall. He drifted back to sleep listening to Sekil and Bakura start up a game of poker.
When he awoke the next morning, he was barely in a better mood. Normally, after a fight as good as the one he'd had with Tenchi and Ranma, he'd stretch out and then go for a long walk to work off some of the adrenaline. Instead, he'd been in bed for most of the rest of the day and night, not to mention the fact that he'd been touched by, more or less, a Mahaado. When he tried to roll out of bed, he had to stifle a groan. He was so stiff, and he ached everywhere.
Stumbling into the bathroom, Ryou splashed his face with cold water, which woke him up better than coffee ever had. After a moment's debate, he decided to forego the shower this morning; a warm one would put him back to sleep, and a cold one would just make his muscles more stiff.
Making his way back into the bedroom, he groped around on the desk until he found his watch. Holding it up to his ear, he hit the button on the side and listened to the soft voice recite the time. His first class started in about an hour, and he'd overslept.
Growling softly under his breath, Ryou turned to face the other bed. Sure enough, Sekil was gone. Until this moment, Ryou had assumed he'd still been asleep and hadn't even bothered to reach out and touch his aura. Ryou had never been a morning person, and when he first woke up he had what Bakura jokingly called 'tunnel-vision'. He sensed just what was in front of his feet so he didn't trip over anything, and that was about it.
Sighing, Ryou went over and picked up the note sitting on Sekil's pillow. The braille was clumsy, and felt like it was barely more than holes punched in a piece of paper with an ink pen, but the effort made Ryou smile a little. He wondered if Sekil actually knew braille, or if he'd used a dictionary.
'Ryou: You were dead asleep when the alarm went off, you didn't even twitch. I figured you'd just as soon skip spars this morning and let you sleep. You can beat me up later for that if you feel like it. I'll be in class until noon. Ciao! Sekil'
Ryou set the note on the desk, then rotated his shoulders to attempt to get the kinks out of them. It didn't work very well, and for a moment he debated just skipping class and going back to bed. Then he shook his head. This was his first session of this particular class, it wouldn't be a very good idea to miss it, no matter how awful he felt.
In a few minutes' time he was dressed, and he left the dorm as soon as he could. The class was situated about halfway across campus, and since he had to walk Ryou figured he'd better give his sore self as much time as he could. He carried his backpack on his shoulders, his laptop case slung across his chest like a bandolier. Though he had no idea whether the day was sunny or overcast, his sunglasses were firmly on his nose, and he swung his white-tipped cane back and forth in front of him as though he really needed it to find his way. As he'd told Sekil, it never paid to take chances when ordinary people and his powers were concerned.
In the end he was nearly late, and walked into the classroom rather quickly. Someone had been crossing in front of the door at the same time, and she gave a muffled shout as she tripped over Ryou's stout oak cane. His reflexes kicked in and he managed to catch her before she fell, trying not to wince as his muscles screamed in protest.
The room went silent as Ryou carefully set his classmate back on her feet, murmuring a quiet apology to her. He could feel, as well as sense, the eyes of everyone on the room on him. They were all students, the teacher was not yet here.
A chair scraped back, and Ryou carefully kept his face cast down as he 'watched' the aura come nearer and listened to the footsteps. It was a boy, shorter than Ryou, though stouter. His aura reeked of superiority and scorn, and Ryou had to fight not to wrinkle his nose at what was, to him, a nearly tangible stench.
"Well, well, well," the boy said slowly, swaggering up to Ryou. He'd been in one of Ryou's classes last year, his name was Tohma. He'd been a bit of a bully last year, but he seemed to have gotten quite a bit worse over the summer. "Seems the rumors are true."
"What rumors?" Ryou asked, keeping his voice light and curious.
"Rumors that the little blind boy is still on campus. What I want to know is why."
"Why?" Ryou repeated, struggling to keep his voice innocent. This day just kept getting better and better...
"Why're you still here?" Tohma asked, and Ryou could hear the sneer in his voice. "Are you just playing around, along for the ride with your big brother? Here just to show people you can? You're taking up dorm space and class seats that should go to other people. Both of us know a cripple like you won't be of any use in the real world, no matter how many degrees you've got."
Ryou bristled, losing the fight with his mounting temper. Tohma might have just been saying things that he knew would make him mad, but the grain of truth in them still stung. The word 'cripple' was the last straw. He'd heard it a lot over the past few years, mostly whispered behind his back by people who had no business talking about him.
In an instant, Ryou'd dropped his cane and grabbed Tohma by the collar. Spinning on one foot, he slammed the shorter man back against the wall beside the door. "Say that again," he snarled, his nose an inch from Tohma's. "I dare you."
He could sense Tohma's scorn, no real fear at all. "That was a lucky grab. Your brother teach you that? I hear he's a martial artist, and that you think you're one too. That's cheap, trying to make people think better of you by hiring a couple guys to throw a fight out in the middle of a field where everyone will see it and think you're some great marvel."
Ryou ground his teeth together, his fists shaking in anger. Tohma knew he was mad, and smirked at him. "Bet you couldn't even hit me."
Growling softly under his breath, Ryou drew back a fist. He sensed Tohma's eyes widening, and a small finger of fear crept into the bully's mind for the first time. The students behind them were still hushed, staring at the drama unfolding before them.
Ryou winced as someone grabbed his wrist, jerking him back from Tohma. He went willingly enough, some small part of him horrified at what he'd been about to do. The rest of him was still angry.
The person who'd grabbed his wrist, the teacher, was still talking in a loud, scolding voice. "-and I honestly don't care if you feel like fighting, but do it outside of my classroom. Do you both hear me?"
"Yes sir..." Tohma and Ryou both muttered.
"Good," the teacher nodded, still holding onto Ryou's left wrist. "Now - Good God!"
Too late, Ryou realized his mistake. He tried to snatch his wrist back, but the teacher had already tightened his grip, staring at the rose scar across the back of Ryou's hand, and the twisting pattern of vines and leaves that snaked itself most of the way to his elbow.
Students were crowding around now, Tohma in the lead. "Wow!" he sneered. "Not only is he blind, he's a masochist too. What's the matter, not enough money to get it tattooed on, so you used a knife instead?"
Ryou snarled at him. "You don't know anything!" Desperately, he fought down his panic. He hated being the center of attention, especially when the attention was on his scars. It was bad enough when Sekil had caught him shirtless, at least he deserved to know. These idiots didn't care, wouldn't understand, didn't need to know.
With a hard heave, Ryou managed to jerk his wrist out of the teacher's grasp. He pushed his way through the crowd of students, barely pausing long enough to stoop and grab his cane. Then, not even pretending to use it, he ran.
When Sekil came back to his dorm just after 12:30 to pick up his books for his next class, he found Ryou sitting on his bed with his knees drawn up to his chest. His fists were clenched around the material of his pants so tightly that the knuckles were turning white, and his eyes were squeezed shut just about as hard. He was trembling violently, and Sekil's eyes widened in worry as he dropped his bookbag and hastened toward the other telepath.
Two feet away he was forced to stop, wincing at the waves of emotion coming off the blind man. At first, Sekil had been afraid he was sick or hurt, but that wasn't the case. Ryou wasn't trembling in pain, or in fear. He was angry.
Gulping softly, Sekil reached out mentally to snag Bakura, who was thankfully in his dorm. A moment later the former tomb robber stuck his head in the door, looking puzzled. "Sekil, what-" he stopped when he saw Ryou.
Bakura jumped to conclusions, just as Sekil had at first, and nearly ran to Ryou's side, reaching out to put a gentle hand on his shoulder. "Ryou, are you-"
For the second time in as many minutes he stopped in the middle of a sentence as Ryou turned on him, grabbing his wrist in a grip like iron. His eyes flashed open as he growled, and involuntarily Bakura leaned back. "Otouto, calm down, it's only Sekil and I. What's wrong?"
Ryou's hostile look vanished and he let go of Bakura, though he was still scowling a little. Sekil felt his anger taper slightly, at least enough for Sekil to come closer and sit down on Ryou's other side without fear of scorching himself. The rage was still there, simmering beneath the surface, and Sekil shuddered slightly as he wondered what in the world could make even-tempered Ryou that furious.
"We made another mistake," Ryou said bitterly, causing Bakura and Sekil to exchange wide-eyed glances. Ryou held up his left hand, palm away from him as though he were admiring the rose scar that spread across the back of his hand and wrist. "This damned scar was obviously no accident. We should have thought to keep it covered up before now. Now I'm not only blind as a bat, I'm a masochist too," He sneered, and Bakura winced, though he hoped the anger wasn't directed at him. He'd only seen Ryou this angry once before, and he'd always hoped he never would again. Wrath of the gods apparently applied to half-mortal demi-gods, too.
Sekil was worried too. "What happened, 'mei?"
Ryou shook his head, still scowling a little. "Nothing that hasn't happened before... They just went farther this time. He had the nerve to accuse me of hiring Tenchi and Ranma to throw the fight on purpose! How dare he! I worked hard for every single one of my black belts!"
"Of course you did," Bakura said firmly, putting a hand on Ryou's shoulder again. This time he wasn't attacked. "We know that. Everyone who matters to you knows that. What does it matter what a few bullies think?"
Ryou sighed and shook his head again, his anger abating a little more. "I know, I know... I get so damn tired of it, though!"
Bakura squeezed his shoulder. "Why don't you get some sleep, Ry. Or better yet, call and have a nice long talk with Serenity."
Ryou gave him a wane smile. "Maybe I will. Thanks niisan."
Bakura gave him a warm smile back, though he couldn't see it. "Any time... hikari."
Ryou smirked and little and made shooing motions at the both of them before reaching for the phone. Maybe a talk with his girlfriend would help calm him down.
As soon as they were outside the dorm, Sekil turned to Bakura with raised eyebrows. "What was that all about?"
Bakura shook his head and motioned for Sekil to walk with him. "Ryou's always been bullied," he said once they were away from the dorm. Absently, he rubbed the faint scar on his cheek that he'd gotten from one such bully. "Even before he went blind, but especially after. People always assume things. Assume that because he can't see, he's totally dependent on others. Assume that he'll never be able to do things on his own. Assume that he should be a meek, feeble-minded cripple." The former thief shook his head in disgust. "They always assume. Sometimes it's not even bullies, but years of being treated like a very small child or completely ignored can be very trying on a person. I'm not surprised Ryou got mad when someone suggested he let Tenchi and Ranma throw the fight to him."
Sekil nodded sympathetically. "The fact that Unmei's not a cripple just makes it worse. He knows he's just as capable of doing things as you and I, and in frustrates him that other people can't realize that too."
"That's exactly it." Bakura agreed with a sigh.
Sekil grinned slowly. "I think we have some heads to bust. Let's see if we can't find out who that bully in 'mei's morning class was."
The grin that lit Bakura's face would have reminded Yami and Yugi of Battle City. "Yes, let's."
In the end, they were nearly too late.
Ryou was still angry.
After he was sure Serenity had gotten out of school, he'd called her house only to be informed by her mother that she'd already been and gone. She and Rebecca (and Mokuba when he wasn't at Kaiba Corp) were helping out at the Game Shop when they could, since Grampa Moto was in Egypt and Yami and Yugi were both at college. Ryou had managed to thank her politely, and cursed as soon as he'd hung up. Since then he'd been prowling around the dorm, too restless to sit still and too aware of his own anger to risk other people by going outside. He didn't know where Sekil had gone, and when the sun set and the stars came out and he still wasn't back, Ryou couldn't even find it in himself to be worried, only rather annoyed.
Finally he gave up. Sensing that most students were, if not asleep at least in their dorms, Ryou grabbed his cane, pulled on his boots, and headed for the streets. It was dark enough that he met no one, and of course he was perfectly at ease whether in darkness or light.
He had a vague feeling, an almost knowing of what was coming. Whether it was some bit of precognition or just instinct he didn't know, and didn't particularly care.
As he stalked through the darkened campus, Ryou felt the shadows following him, the ones that thought they were being cunning. Little did they know that their intent, their hatred shone to him like a beacon in the night. Inwardly, even in the midst of his anger, he sighed. People were so stupid sometimes...
No sooner had he stepped outside of campus grounds then they struck. In an instant, Ryou was ringed in by at least a dozen men. Most of them were smaller than his five-foot-ten frame, though a few were heavy, as though built out of bricks. They were all college age, most juniors or seniors, and it didn't surprise Ryou that Tohma was in the lead.
Subtly, he took a tighter grip on his cane. There was a reason it was solid oak and not flimsy plastic, after all. Sure, he'd invited this by walking out after dark, but that didn't mean this wasn't going to hurt a bit. It had been inevitable, though. Ryou knew that. He'd shown Tohma up that morning, would have hit him if the teacher hadn't intervened. In the book of a bully like Tohma, that was an unforgivable sin, especially for a cripple like Ryou.
"Well, well," the sneer in Tohma's voice practically dripped testosterone. "Lookie what we found boys. It's the little white mouse, out for a midnight stroll before his big brother tucks him into bed."
Ryou's grip on his staff was white-knuckled, though it was too dark for any to see. He grit his teeth, trying very hard not to snarl. A small corner of his mind was screaming at him to calm down, to be careful, screaming that even bullies didn't deserve the full wrath of the gods, but Ryou was getting very close to not listening.
Tohma, taking his silence for fear, swaggered closer as all around them his friends sniggered and nudged each other. This wasn't work, this was humoring their buddy while he put someone in their place. The kid was blind, it wasn't even like Tohma would need any help. They were just there as witnesses. "Aw, I'm sorry, did I not word that right? I'll have to fix that. You know, it wasn't very nice, threatening to hit me earlier. People have been sniggering at me all day. Even my girl found out, somehow. I'm afraid I'm going to have to make you pay for her laughing at me, you blind rat. Maybe you can show me some of those martial arts 'skills' you value so much."
Ryou's eyes flashed in the darkness, though there was no light for them to reflect. Tohma appeared not to notice, though a few of his friends shifted uneasily. "Oh?" Ryou asked, his voice deceptively soft and mild. It was as cold as ice, though, and his eyes glinted like shards of glass. "Maybe I shall. And it was so kind of you to point out my lack of sight, Tohma-kun, I hadn't noticed."
A few of the men laughed nervously, and Tohma scowled, taking another step closer to Ryou. "Listen to me, you blind fag," he snarled. "You think you're so much better than everyone else. It's time someone taught you your place."
"It certainly won't be you," Ryou countered, his voice still soft and holding a deadly calm. "Why must you humans always judge? Because I cannot see, it's all right if you kick me into the dirt. After all, no one cares about the cripples except to pity them. Because I have long hair and a pierced ear, I'm below those who do not. Because I carry scars, you don't have to notice me, because it's far too awkward. Always passing snap judgments..." he shook his head slowly. "Tsk tsk, foolish humans..." Unnoticed by all in the heat of the confrontation, the wind was picking up, sending trash skittering down the street.
Tohma stopped, staring at him. "You're fucking crazy," he muttered at last. "You're not just a bleedin' cripple, you're crazy!"
"Am I?" Ryou asked, his voice barely above a whisper. "Poor Tohma, got humiliated by a crippled lunatic. What will your friends think?"
Letting out a muted roar of rage, Tohma charged at the blind telepath. Moving with the easy grace of someone who knew what was coming, Ryou dropped his cane and moved out of the way of his fists. Then he caught one of the bully's wrists, pulling him almost into an embrace.
"Gods punish bullies, Tohma-kun," Ryou whispered, his voice speaking of hell and shadows, darkness and ice. Tohma shivered despite himself, but a moment later it was replaced by his own rage.
"Fuck you!" was his response, spinning on one heel and jabbing his free elbow back into Ryou's solar plexis. Something cracked, and Ryou let go of his wrist, doubling over at the pain in his chest. Hopping back a step, Tohma spun around again, this time in a heavy roundhouse kick that connected solidly with the side of Ryou's head, throwing him to the pavement with a dull thud.
Tohma's friends sent up a cheer as Tohma grinned, preening and strutting rather like a cock rooster after a fight. They were a bit premature, however.
Groaning softly, Ryou pushed himself to his hands and knees, and then struggled to his feet. The circle of watching men let out a ragged gasp, and then fell silent. Tohma turned around, looking surprised. Ryou was glowing, his aura snapping around him like silver and white flames. As the men watched, amazed, the blood from a split lip and scraped cheek slowly tapered, and then the cuts themselves began to heal before their very eyes. The worst part, though, were Ryou's eyes.
They were glowing bright red.
When Ryou was frightened badly enough, sometimes he lost control of his powers. Windows were smashed, and things (or people) got thrown in a sort of desperate, random self-defense. Sometimes, if the fear was strong enough, it would be translated into a physical whirlwind that whipped around Ryou, sheltering and shielding him from everything around him.
But he wasn't afraid now. He was mad, madder than he'd been in a long time, and for his power, anger was worse than fear.
When he got truly angry, his control over his powers was iron. They never lashed out in random destruction, but were kept under a leash and lashed like a short and very deadly whip. When Ryou was truly angry, there wasn't widespread destruction, only a few missing persons.
Thankfully, Ryou had only been really and truly angry once before. He'd always been a calm, thoughtful child, and after Bakura began his beatings he'd become even more introverted. But once, when Ryou was around ten or so, Bakura had threatened Amane with horrible things. Ryou's anger had snapped, and for the first and last time he stood up to Bakura. The yami had felt the gatherings of power, and without even knowing what he was doing he'd called on the Ring's power to stifle it. It had worked. The magic of the Ring had canceled out Ryou's fledgling telepathy, and all he'd gotten for his troubles was one of the first really bad beatings Bakura ever gave him. In fact, Ryou no longer even remembered that incident. It was one of the many that had been blocked off, suppressed because of the pain it caused to remember. After the Locking Rituals, with the Ring no longer there to suppress his powers, Ryou had never really gotten that angry again.
"That hurt," he hissed, and several of the men turned tail and ran simply at the tone of his voice. Without turning, Ryou waved a hand and froze them all in their tracks. A moment later he'd forgotten about them. All his intent was focused on the bully named Tohma.
Tohma took a step backward, only to bump against a wall that shouldn't have been there. Casting a panicked glance over his shoulder, Tohma could see nothing, although his back was pressed against what felt like a solid wall. He turned around again just in time to see Ryou take a step closer. His face was calm, but even so it carried a menace that scared Tohma to the core for the first time in his life. "D-don't come any closer, you freak!"
Ryou's grin was ghastly, like something out of a nightmare, but he stopped his advance. "Poor Tohma," he said, his voice still soft. "Never thought he'd ever face someone stronger than himself. Perhaps it's time I showed you what it is like to be bullied." Though his face was still calm, inwardly Ryou was seething. The things he was pulling from Tohma's mind made him sick. He wasn't the first that Tohma had teased. Far from it. There had been many others, girls and boys, over the years. Several of them, Ryou saw with a pang of regret, had been driven to suicide by the taunting of Tohma and others like him. And when he'd found out about each and every one of them, Tohma had laughed...
"You bastard," Ryou hissed, and for the first time his face contorted into a snarl. Several of the watching lackeys shivered at the sight, but all of them were frozen and unable to move. Tohma himself felt paralyzed. He'd made the mistake of looking into Ryou's eyes, and now the red glow seemed to spread and engulf him. He thought he heard shouts, running footsteps, but it was all far away. All he could hear clearly was the terrible, terrible voice of the man he'd thought weak.
"You bastard," the telepath repeated, his entire body shaking in anger. His fists were clenched so tightly it was beginning to draw blood from the palms of his hands, and his teeth so hard likewise that his jaw creaked. "You never cared, did you? You never even felt guilty when they died. You laughed when you found out, said they had it coming for being so weak, that Darwin had decided their genes weren't worth passing on. There are mothers crying for their children because of you, fathers pining away! Sisters depressed and contemplating suicide themselves because of those no longer here! Brothers," his voice caught, and not from anger. "Brothers wishing they knew who had driven their sisters to this so that they could take revenge! Even those victims of yours that still live have been scarred, Tohma Matsuki. You've tormented enough! Your reign of terror ends today, and I intend to make sure Osiris knows that all their precious innocent blood lays on your shoulders!" His voice dropped as suddenly as it had risen, until Tohma could barely hear him. "Do you fear death, Tohma?"
He couldn't answer. Something was wrong, something strange was going on inside his head, and though he could feel his feet on the ground he felt like he was falling, and the red that filled his eyes was bleeding into black...
Ryou let out a startled cry, surprise mixed with rage and disappointment as Bakura smacked him sharply across one cheek, breaking his concentration and letting Tohma crumple to the ground. "How dare you!" He spun, throwing out one hand as he telepathically picked up Bakura and threw him backward.
Sekil, who'd arrived the moment before, built up his own powers and slowed the tomb robber's flight, setting him onto his feet again. Not able to spare Bakura another glance, Sekil turned toward Ryou, who was still glowing bright white. The True Realm telepath cursed softly and strode forward, bodily placing himself between Ryou and the fallen Tohma.
Thankfully, he and Bakura had been within a few minutes walk, and less than that at a dead run. They'd been working to track down Tohma's dorm, having learned from the teacher what his name was, when Ryou's anger had hit them like a brick wall. Bakura, though far less psychically sensitive than most of his friends, had stumbled and fallen. Sekil had actually blacked out for a minute or two. Both of them had known with a cold certainty what was happening, and as soon as they'd gotten their equilibrium back they'd run for the source of the overwhelming anger, hoping they were in time to do something. But by Allah, he'd had no idea Ryou had so much raw power... "That's enough, Ryou."
Ryou snarled, his eyes still glowing a bloody red color. That was what worried Sekil the most. Red eyes tended to be a sign of taint and corruption, he hoped that Ryou had only gained them because he'd flown into such an uncontrollable rage.
"Get out of my way!" Ryou growled warningly. "He must pay for all he's done!"
Sekil shook his head firmly, wishing for a fleeting moment that he had his staff with him. "Killing isn't the way, Ryou. Let him meet Osiris in his own time."
"This is his time!" Ryou nearly howled. "He cannot be allowed to live to torment another!"
Sekil shook his head again, his expression grim. "If you kill him now, Ryou, you become no better than he is. I can't let you taint yourself that way, not like this. You're letting your anger get the better of you."
Ryou let out another howl, and suddenly Sekil found himself being battered by nearly gale-force winds. Letting out a soft cry of surprise, he quickly delved into his own telepathy to anchor himself in place. It was hard, though, harder than it should have been. Damn, but Ryou was so strong...
"He's right, Ryou."
The winds slowed and then stopped, and Sekil dared to open his eyes and drop his arms from where he'd raised them to protect his face. Bakura was standing over Tohma's still body and giving all the still-frozen witnesses the evil eye. It was not he who had spoken, however.
Fate was standing next to her son with one hand cradling the back of his neck, the other over his eyes. She was in full goddess regalia, robes and wings included. The look on her face was gentle, with a hint of worry and sorrow drawing her brows together. Ryou was still trembling, but now it seemed to be from weakness, rather than anger. It was like all the fury had suddenly rushed out of him, leaving him an empty shell. Gently, Fate used the hand over his eyes to push him backwards, and then she lifted him effortlessly into her arms. Sekil thought he saw the flash of metal in the hand that had been at Ryou's neck, but a moment later whatever it was had disappeared into Fate's robes. His eyes were closed, though he didn't appear to have passed out.
"I forced him into a trance," Fate said softly in answer to Sekil's unspoken question. "He's going to hate me in the morning, but it had to be done." She shuddered slightly, her wings making soft rustling sounds as she resettled them against her back. "I wouldn't be surprised if they felt that in other realms. I was in Egypt in mortal form, and it still made me nauseous..." She shook her head, and turned to Bakura. He was ready, and willingly took Ryou from her. Once her son was taken care of, Fate looked toward Sekil with a weary look on her face. "Come, we have some memories to alter." She gestured to Tohma and the circle of trembling former-bullies.
Sekil made a face. Memory erasure and alteration was, by far, one of his least favorite skills. All telepaths had their specialties, and his were precognition and using his powers to restrain others. This was going to hurt in the morning... but at least he had a goddess to help. Sighing, Sekil brushed his hair out of his eyes and turned toward the first of the bullies.
To his surprise, Fate put up a hand to stop him. He looked at her, and involuntarily took a step back. The look on her face was ruthless, calculating, and for a moment it scared him. "Hold, mage," she said softly, her voice as cool as Ryou's had been earlier. "I think Tohma is our first priority. He needs quite a few... adjustments."
Something about the way she said it sent a shiver down Sekil's spine. Usually the gods didn't interfere too severely with humans, preferring to let mortals handle things their own way. When other realms were involved it was different, but what Fate was proposing to do to Tohma was nearly taboo. Sekil glanced at Bakura. Nope, no help there, the former spirit looked like he wanted to kill Tohma himself. At least Fate was willing to keep him alive. "Are you sure you're allowed..."
"Rules be damned." Fate said calmly, still eyeing the prone body. "Usually I don't condone interfering with the way a person was born, but in this case..."
Two hours later, a dozen college students woke up in their dorms, relishing the memories of the best party that had happened in years. Sekil went to bed with only a minor headache, Ryou tucked safely into the bed across from him. Bakura muffled Yami's snoring with a pillow, and fell under his own covers. Fate returned to Egypt and her husband, not enjoying the fact that she'd have to tell him why she up and left so suddenly right in the middle of their... 'fun'.
Many people wondered at the change that suddenly came over him. He was meek, kind, even sweet at times. His friends, thoroughly weirded out by the transformation, all left him for better sport. He rebuilt his life, always wondering about the slightly dream-like quality the first twenty years of his life had taken, if it had ever really happened at all. His family was overjoyed, and thanked the gods daily for their son's change of heart. Fate kept an eye on him for the rest of his life, and eventually even she admitted that sometimes personality manipulation was a necessity. Tohma didn't remember Ryou at all, but for the rest of his time at Tokyo U, for no reason he could ever quite pin down, he felt a strange unease and walked in wide circles around the white-haired blind man whose name he didn't even know.
The next morning, Ryou had woken up silent. Not a sullen silent, but a dazed, slightly confused silent that made Sekil and Bakura worry a bit more than they already had been. All morning he hadn't said a word, just sat, the spaced out expression on his face made even more creepy by his unfocused eyes. Neither Sekil nor Bakura went to their morning classes, staying to talk in hushed voices and dart many looks at the still telepath.
Finally, to their immense relief, Ryou had broken down around noon and began to sob. Exchanging slightly puzzled, but no less relieved, looks over his head, Sekil and Bakura wrapped their arms around him and just let him cry. When he was able of coherent speech, Ryou's words tumbled over each other like over-exuberant puppies, accompanied by more tears. He made them both swear, several times, to never let him get that angry again. Only after they'd given him their solemn word did he calm down enough to speak in full sentences.
Part of him had been ready to kill Tohma and all of his friends without a second thought. It whispered to him that he had the power, why not use it? Why not make sure that the bastard never hurt another soul? He was a demi-god, he was allowed to do this, he was encouraged to do this, to rid the world of filth...
The rest of him had been terrified of that first part, too terrified to try and fight. And really, they wanted to get rid of this bully too...
"If you hadn't come when you had," Ryou whispered, his voice still shaky. "I really would have killed him...!"
"Everyone has a dark side," Bakura had said, looking Ryou in the eye (for all the good it did the blind man). "Everyone. You can keep it in chains, locked away in your deepest heart of hearts, but it's still there. You can swear never to let it loose again, but if you're afraid of it it will always have power over you. You have to accept that it is a part of who you are. A hated part, a part you keep locked away, but still one side of you. After all," he added wryly. "I should know."
Ryou gave him a watery smile and squeezed his hand to show he understood.
In the week or so since then, Ryou had steadily recovered. Yami and Yugi had been told about Ryou's little "adventure", much to their consternation. Both of them had felt the sudden wave of anger - Yami was actually thrown backward against the wall by the strength of it - but hadn't known what it was. As soon as Bakura told them about Ryou being afraid of his darker side, Yugi had gotten a strange look on his face. That afternoon, he and Ryou had locked themselves together in one of the dorms. No one, not even Yami or Bakura, ever learned what they talked about for those several hours, but after they came out again Ryou was much more cheerful and the friendship between the hikaris had seemed to be strengthened by several degrees. Ryou had taken to wearing a black glove over his left hand, to hide the distinctive rose scar. ("Trying to mimic Kawari?" Bakura had asked, to which Ryou replied "Wrong hand, baka, and if I tried to fence I'd end up stabbing myself.")
"Hurry up Bakura, someone's coming!"
Bakura shook his head sharply, snapping himself out of his musings. He could space out later, during class. "Almost done!" he answered in a stage whisper, hurriedly spreading the last of the bottle over the seat of the chair and then stashing both bottle and lid in a nearby desk drawer.
Standing up and backing away from the desk, he glanced at the door just as Amoura hobbled her way in. Beside her and carrying her books was a sheepish-looking Yugi, who'd been playing lookout just outside the classroom door. "All done?" the Puzzle hikari asked.
Bakura smirked and nodded. "Yeeep."
Amoura looked back and forth between them, her eyebrows raised. "Vhat? And vhy are you both 'ere zo early?"
Bakura's smirk grew. "You may have convinced me to stay in the class, 'Moura, but that doesn't mean I can't get back at her."
Amoura frowned, and Bakura had the distinct impression that if she hadn't had crutches, her hands would have been on her hips. "Vhat 'ave you done?"
Bakura tried his best to look innocent. "You'll see."
Amoura sighed and shook her head, but a small smile crept in to replace her frown. "Very vell... Besides, you are not zee only one to vant to get back at 'er." She flashed a grin before turning to her seat. Behind her back, Bakura and Yugi exchanged glances and grins of their own. Seemed Amoura had a vengeful streak too. Goody. Today was going to be fun...
Over the next few minutes, the rest of the class trickled in. Director-Baka entered last of all, carrying her gradebooks. "I trust you all have your skits prepared? Good, we'll get started right away, then." She sat down at her desk, and Yugi and Bakura exchanged glances again and tried very hard not to snicker. She didn't seem to notice anything amiss, however, and flipped her gradebook open to the appropriate page. "All right, Mr. Bakura, Miss Letazaut, would you grace our stage with your presence?"
Normally Bakura would have rolled his eyes, but at the moment he was in too good a mood. Having one person on crutches had been a bit tricky, but they'd figured it out. He and Amoura had spent most of last Saturday working out their sketch, and he was confident that not only would it get them a few laughs, it would haul in a pretty good grade, too. Provided Director-Baka graded fairly, that is.
Helping Amoura out of her seat and onto the low stage at the front of the room, Bakura flashed Director-Baka a winning smile before addressing the class. "We call it, 'Snowfall',"
Amoura took up her position at one end of the stage, leaning on her crutches and looking off into the 'distance' with an overly dramatized look of anguish on her face. Bakura entered from the other side and went to stand next to her. "Are you all right, Amoura?"
She sighed deeply and mimed wiping away a tear. "Zis ski resort always makes me zink of Papa. 'E used to bring us 'ere every vinter."
Bakura's face morphed into a perfect expression of sympathy, and he put a hand on her shoulder. "Your father died a couple years ago, right?" He waited for Amoura to nod sadly. "I'm sorry. Let's go skiing, it might distract you from your sorrow." Amoura nodded again, and the two of them mimed skiing across the stage. It was tricky with Amoura's crutches, but it worked out. Once they'd reached the other side, Amoura looked up at the 'sky'.
"Oh Bakura, it's znowing zo 'ard! Ve'd better go in."
Bakura pretended to look around, unimpressed. "We've got plenty of time. And it's so beautiful out here, I don't want to go in yet." He drew closer to her, and they smiled warmly at each other. "I love you Amoura," he said softly, not having to act at all.
She smiled back as he drew her closer with an arm around her waist. "I love you too." They kissed, and several students (including both Gwen and Yugi) wolf-whistled loudly. A moment later Amoura drew away, and Bakura couldn't help but pout a little. Ah well, couldn't be helped.
Keeping a firm grip on Amoura's elbow, just like they'd rehearsed, Bakura held her up slightly as she let herself fall backward, keeping her from falling too hard and really more of lowering her to the ground. Even so, she screamed, while at the same time he yelled "Amoura!" in his best grief-stricken voice. A moment later he was on his knees beside her, pulling her onto his lap. "Amoura, are you all right?"
She opened her eyes and looked up at him. "I-I do not know... My leg 'urts, and it is zo cold..."
"You'll be fine, Amoura, I promise." Bakura had worn a light jacket to class today for just this purpose, and now he took it off and wrapped it around Amoura, before pulling her even closer. He himself then began to shiver. "S-someone will f-find us." It was remarkably hard to fake chattering teeth, but he'd worked on it an hour or two last night, and was pretty confident that it was believable.
"I 'ope zo..." Amoura said, letting her eyes close and her head fall limply against Bakura's chest. "I 'ope zo..."
Then Bakura helped her to her feet, retrieving her crutches from where she'd dropped them when she 'fell'. He exchanged crutches for his jacket, and the two of them took their bows amidst the polite applause of their class and more whistles from Gwen. When he looked up again, Director-Baka was busily writing in her gradebook, but the expression on her face gave away nothing.
Once Bakura and Amoura were back in their seats, Director-Baka looked up. "Very nice. I understand you two spent some time in the hospital after that little adventure?"
"Yes ma'am," they answered dutifully, and Bakura held up his left hand with the pinkie finger missing. "Took some damage, too."
"So I see," Director-Baka commented, giving him a look he couldn't even begin to interpret. For some reason, it made him nervous, and he quickly looked away. After a moment, Director-Baka continued, "All right, next up are Mr. Moto and Miss Gardener."
Both of them blushing slightly, Yugi and Tea made their way onto the stage. Tea had brought a prop, the Dark Magician Girl staff she'd bought in the Parisian Duel Monsters store. She and Yugi went through a sketch about looking through the store, and then going to see the Eiffel Tower. They too took their bows amidst soft applause, and then returned to their seats.
"Good, good," Director-Baka said absently, scribbling away in her book. She looked up again. "Miss Kennady?"
The grin on Gwen's face as she hopped onto the stage was positively evil, and Bakura found himself wondering what she was up to. An instant later he found out, when Gwen took hold of the hem of the loose sundress she was wearing and carelessly stripped it off over her head, tossing it off to the side of the stage.
There was a collective gasp of intaken breath, followed by the mass dropping of male jaws. Amoura, looking annoyed, reached over and covered Bakura's eyes. A moment later Tea did the same to Yugi, who was practically drooling.
Gwen still grinned, quite aware of what she'd just done to half the class. She was wearing her bathing suit, and knew well enough how she looked in it. She started into her sketch about surfing on California's beaches with Hiro and Malik and Ishtar, aware that most people weren't even listening. At the end she bowed (more gasping from the men) and stooped to pick up her sundress. She slung it over one shoulder, and winked at the class. "Sorry," she said, with a saucy tilt of her hips. "I'm taken."
Several boys groaned, and Director-Baka looked amused. "Miss Kennady, that was certainly a very... creative approach to the assignment. I don't know whether to dock you points, or give you extra credit. I've never seen Bakura turn that shade of red before."
Gwen laughed, pulling her dress back on, and Bakura sputtered indignantly, trying to bat away Amoura's hand, which was still over his eyes. His face truly was bright pink, though.
The rest of the sketches weren't nearly so... eventful, and soon enough the class was ending. Bakura and Yugi were scrambling to gather their books and get out of there before the professor found out what they'd done to her seat, and when she spoke they nearly jumped through the roof.
"Mr. Moto, Mr. Bakura, if you would stay after class, please?"
The two men exchanged terrified looks as the rest of the class trickled out. "Tea and I vill vait for you outside," Amoura said as she passed them, her expression clearly adding 'I'm glad it's you and not me'.
For several minutes after the last of the class left, Director-Baka said nothing, looking through her papers and letting the men squirm. Finally she glanced up at them with raised eyebrows. "You can stop sweating, you're not in trouble."
Yugi and Bakura exchanged looks again, not sure whether to be relieved or not.
Director-Baka continued without giving them a chance to speak, leaning back in her chair. "I wanted to ask how your brother is doing. Ryou, I mean, not Yami."
The two blinked. "Ma'am?" Yugi asked cautiously, not sure what she meant.
Director-Baka actually looked amused. "That was an impressive show he and those two friends of his put on last week."
Bakura sighed softly, relieved that that was all she meant. "Yes, it was. I'm very proud of him for working so hard to earn his black belts."
If anything, she looked more amused. "Yes, that too, I suppose. It's not every day you see teenagers who can heat air, create invisible shields, and muddle other people's minds, respectively." She laughed as she saw the looks on their faces. "What I meant was what happened afterward. He must have been very tired to have collapsed like that after the young Mr. Mahaados only touched him."
Bakura sputtered, his mind quickly going into panic. How did she know? What did she-
Director-Baka's face turned serious. "And the night after, when something woke me up from a sound sleep. I thought I'd had a nightmare, but I'd never had any nightmares so strong before."
Bakura gulped, and Yugi stuttered, "Er, you see Miss M-MacIntire..."
She smiled faintly, though she still looked grave. She leaned forward, placing her elbows on her desk, but neither of the men worried now that she might discover their prank. "I have a gift, you might say. Oh, not nearly as strong as what you and your brothers and several of your friends have, but I do have a gift. Second sight, I call it for lack of anything better. Illusions don't work on me, at least for not very long. I knew something was odd about you two during the play last year, but I couldn't tell what. I'd never encountered people possessed by ancient spirits before. Or the ancient spirits themselves." She chuckled softly. "I knew something wasn't right about little Rhiannon either, but I assumed that you all knew each other..."
She shook her head. "But that's in the past." She looked up at them, eyes twinkling. "It's quite amusing, you know, listening to a three-thousand year old pharaoh use modern slang." Yugi blushed a little for Yami's sake, and Director-Baka smiled. A moment later it faded. "Truly, though, is Ryou all right?"
Bakura nodded, his mind whirling. Second sight? It sounded like she could see auras, something all telepaths and most mages could do to one extent or another. Now that he concentrated, he could sense that Director-Baka had the tiniest bit of magic in her veins, enough to allow her to see auras and dispel illusions, but not much more than that. "Yes, he is, thank you for asking. He had a bit of trouble with some bullies, but we've taken care of it."
She gave a small grin. "Fate comes in handy sometimes."
Yugi and Bakura both looked at her, startled, but she seemed unaware of what she'd just said. "Very well then, I just wanted to let you know about me so you don't find out on your own and hyperventilate." She paused and seemed to think of something else. "Oh, and Bakura?"
He raised an eyebrow. "Yes?"
She looked him in the eye, the expression on her face strange. "You smell of death. You must love Amoura very much to risk losing your soul."
He couldn't help the small smile that crept onto his face. Wasn't he supposed to hate this teacher? "Yes, I do."
She nodded, as if he'd confirmed something she already knew. She looked down at the papers strewn across her desk and waved her hand, dismissing them. They managed to keep silent until they were out the door.
"She knows!" Bakura hissed as soon as they were out of the professor's earshot. "She knows about me and Yami, and Ryou, and if she was paying attention back then, probably Battle City, too! Damnit, we don't need this!"
Yugi nodded, obviously worried. "Let's talk to Yami, he'll know what to do."
Bakura nodded his agreement, and they headed for the door out onto the verandah were they could see Amoura and Tea waiting. Just as they reached the glass doors, a faint ripping sound met their ears, followed by a loud "Hell and damnation!" as Director-Baka found the rubber cement on her chair.
Grinning widely at each other, Yugi and Bakura pushed through the doors and took off running, leaving their girlfriends and one furious professor behind.
Yami sat back in his seat, his brows drawn together in a deep frown. "Second sight..." he mused, half to himself. "This could complicate matters indeed..."
"I could have told you that," Bakura muttered.
Yami ignored the thief, looking instead at Yugi. "And she didn't seem hostile, or anything?"
Yugi shook his head. "Just amused. I don't think she means us any harm."
Bakura muttered something under his breath, and again the duo of the Puzzle ignored him. Yami nodded thoughtfully. "All right. Let's keep an eye on her, but not do anything else for now."
"Should we tell Sekil and Ryou?" Yugi queried.
"Probably," Yami agreed. "Malik and Ishtar too, just in case."
"Okay," Yugi said, and glanced at his watch. "Gosh, I've got to get to class. Later Bakura, bye niisan!"
"Bye Yugi," the two ancients chorused. For a moment after the hikari had left, the two just sat in silence.
"I wonder what other tricks Fate has in store." Yami mused finally.
Bakura shook his head. "Don't ask, Yami. I don't want to know the answer."
Yami could only agree.
WSJ: (giggles) Yay! Finished! Originally it was going to contain another section, but I figured timing-wise it would fit into the next chapter better anyway, and you guys have been waiting for this one long enough.
Yami: ... (looks around) SJ, it's kinda sparse around here...
WSJ: (sweatdrop) Yes, I know. Unmei's kinda unstable and really really mad at me right now, so he and Chiot and Sekil are over at Ebony's until he calms down.
WSJ: Lessee, other notes... Oh! I have become addicted to Ceres: Celestial Legend. I bought the first manga yesterday, and I LOVE it! (glomps Aki) If you like shojo manga, you should definitely look it up.
Yami: (pokes her) So what now?
WSJ: Now... (rolls up her sleeves) I start work on chapter 6. And if I find time, Like a Thief 10 and HSWA 13. Hopefully I'll be able to update at least two of the three by the time school's out, but we'll see. Ciao!
Chapter 6: WSJ: (V/O) Well, we're headed on into October.
Duke: Happy birthday Mina.
WSJ: (V/O) And I think we're in for a humorous chapter...
Amoura: My cast comes off tomorrow!
Tea: Hehehe... You know what that means!
All three: Dance party!
WSJ: (V/O) And perhaps some other stuff, too.
Mokuba: (turns around as the bell over the door chimes) Hi, welcome to the Turtle Game Shop...
WSJ: (V/O) All this and more, next time!
God bless minna-san!