Legal Disclaimer: Everyone in here belongs in some fashion to Kazuki Takahashi, and not to us.
Title: Thief's Treasure
Rated: PG-13
Timeline: Sometime after Duelist Kingdom, before Battle City
Notes: If you can't stand the Spirit of the Ring/Yami no Bakura being even remotely nice to his host, then this is probably not the fic for you. We did our best to keep it in character, but the plain truth is, we don't see Bakura and the Spirit when they're just sitting around the house by themselves, so I doubt we really know how they act around each other, once they've known each other for a while. This is our take on it. Also, we know perfectly well the convention is to call the Spirit Bakura and the host Ryou, but it just doesn't feel right for us to write that for something we're posting. So we didn't. I think you'll be able to tell who is who without that, though.
Pairing: Vaguely sorta Bakura/Spirit of the Ring-ish, maybe something that could be Spirit/Yugi or Bakura/Yugi. See what you like, we don't mind.

At the beginning of the week, school had been canceled due to the snowstorm that had blown in out of nowhere. The Dark Spirit of the Millenium Ring was perfectly fine with that. Anything that involved actually stepping out into all that cold wet stuff was fodder for nightmares, and he preferred causing them, not having them. So he and his host had spent the first three days of the week lazing around the apartment, watching various television programs, and sorting through their Duel Monsters deck.

Or to be more accurate, that was what Bakura had done while the Spirit had remained in the back of their shared mind, watching and making card selections, pointing out combos, and in general tutoring his host in some of the more arcane aspects of running an occult deck. He hadn't even bothered to come out into his translucent spiritual form, preferring to remain inside the warm confines of his soul room.

That had been what it was like the first three days and two nights. On the third night, cabin fever had struck with a vengeance on both of them. And now, it seemed as if the price were about to be paid.

A sharp, irritating ring echoed through the apartment in the early hours of Thursday morning. School was back in session, or so it was for most people. Things began to head in a slightly different direction in that one bedroom, however. The alarm clock rang merrily over and over, fulfilling its function of letting its owner know it was time to get up. Bakura's only reaction was the swat at it weakly, not even bothering to open his eyes to glare at it.

The only result of that reaction was for the clock to fall on the floor and continue ringing, just slightly muffled as the white-haired boy covered his head with his pillow. He groaned suddenly, hearing a dark and annoyed voice in his mind.

Turn that noise off! I'm trying to sleep!

Bakura only mumbled a little sleepily, almost rolled over and sat up, then fell immediately into an extremely non-restful sleep. Underneath the bed, the alarm clock kept on ringing incessently. This might well have continued forever, had the sleeping body in the bed not suddenly sat up, a colder and angrier look in the brown eyes than most ever saw, and with spikier hair.

The minute the Spirit of the Ring was in charge of the body, he knew exactly why his host wasn't doing anything but trying to sleep. Every body part ached in ways they weren't supposed to, the nose was completely stuffed up, and there was an irritating itch in the very back of the throat. Even the skin felt disgustingly filthy, though that was probably more from what they'd been up to the night before than anything else. All in all, it seemed that they had a cold.

At the same moment, the phone began to ring, in almost total unison with the alarm clock. The Spirit glared at both impartially, then reached under the bed with a foot, kicking the clock out and crushing it into silence. That got rid of one source of noise, and the other was silenced by stumbling out of the bedroom, down the hall to the living room, and picking up the phone.

"Hello?" No one could've told that this wasn't Bakura Ryou speaking. The Spirit prided himself on being able to imitate his host to the point his own father had never known the difference on the three occasions he'd visited since giving the Ring to his son.

"Bakura?" The unceasingly cheerful voice of Yugi came down the line, a hint of worry in his tone. "Are you all right? You're late. You were supposed to meet us at the corner almost ten minutes ago."

The Spirit's borrowed eyes moved slightly to the clock on the wall, then the one on the stove, just to be certain. Yes, his host was late for school. Well, he didn't have to put up with it today, and he had an excellent excuse. "I don't think I can make it today, Yugi. I feel horrible." There was no need to even fake a cough, since one conveniently showed up just then. This was one of the perks of not having a body of his own: he didn't have to put up with this unless he really had to.

What's going on? Bakura's voice drifted out softly from his soul room. The Spirit shot a mental reproving look at him. Didn't he know not to interfere with someone on the phone?

Be quiet. Let me finish this, he commanded sharply, then returned his attention to the phone. "I hate doing this, we've already lost three days, but I really don't think I can manage, Yugi."

"All right, you probably shouldn't. You sound pretty bad anyway." The host of the other Millenium Spirit sounded genuinely concerned. The dark one smirked to himself; it was far too easy to manipulate someone like that. Sometimes he wondered what might've been if the short gamesman had been his reincarnate instead of the soft little boy he had instead. "Is there anything else?"

"No, I can manage it," the Spirit reassured him, coughing a little again. There would definitly have to be measures taken before he returned to bed. Bakura could deal with them, however.

"Well, you rest and get better. I'll come by after school with your homework assignments." Yugi hung up after their farewells, still sounding cheerful despite the risk he was running of being late himself. At least Bakura knew better than to be that sickeningly happy around him. The spirit had nothing against happiness in general, but there was a point beyond which one shouldn't go. Yugi was so far beyond that point it wasn't even measurable.

But he had more important things on his mind at the moment. He turned his attention back to his host, still peering out of the door of his soul room, waiting to find out what was going on. You're sick.

I have you sharing my body. I think that qualifies as mentally deficient in some quarters. Bakura replied tartly. The Spirit let his lips twitch ever so faintly before starting back to the bed

I mean that this body is sick. He seized Bakura and tossed him casually back into control of things. Here, you deal with it. I had my fill of sickness eons ago.

Bakura stumbled the full weight of being awaken and sick crashed in on him, leaning one arm against the wall to keep his balance as he adjusted to being back in control, coughing hard. "Thanks for the warning." His defiance of the Spirit tended to confine itself to moments when the life and death of people he cared about were on the line. Just arguing over a cold didn't seem worth the effort right now.

I did warn you. It's not my fault you didn't believe me, the Spirit taunted him. Bakura rolled his eyes, coughing again. It felt as if small spikes were digging themselves into his lungs every time he did so. This was just not going to be a good day.

"You warned me? You told me I was sick about a half a second before you gave me back my body!" Bakura started down the hall, seeing the bedroom at the far end of it. It felt as if the distance were almost a thousand miles instead of just the few feet. He really should have just stayed asleep.

There was a snort from the soul room across the mental hallway. Yes, I warned you. Now do something about it. Even though the Spirit was at least seventy-five percent responsible for the cold, he wasn't going to help in any way he didn't have to. This was Bakura's problem.

"It's not like I can just wave a hand and I'm all better. I don't have that ability." Bakura made his way carefully down the hall, his fingers caressingly lightly on it for balance. He could feel the Spirit ruffling briefly through his memories, seeking a convenient answer.

Cough medicine. You have some. Take it. The abrupt commands weren't to be disobeyed, even if they hadn't made a great deal of sense. Bakura carefully made his way to his bathroom and opened the medicine chest. The cough medicine was right in front, since he had a tendancy to get one of these things at least once per season. Sometimes twice in spring. He quickly took a dose, then tossed a couple of aspirin down his throat, chased by cold water.

In the depths of their shared mind, the Spirit watched his host's personal ministrations, not letting any of the concern he had seep out. He'd long since learned that medicine was far more advanced in this time than it had been when he had walked the Earth as a mortal, but that didn't mean he wasn't concerned. Physicians still lost patients, and accidents could still happen. He was only concerned because Bakura was his key to finding all the Items, he told himself. The universe just kind of coughed and looked the other way as he worked on convincing himself. If someone repeats something often enough, just maybe they'd actually believe it.

Yes, take a shower, the Spirit encouraged his host as Bakura eyed the shower. Neither of them had really been in the mood to do anything more than strip off the outfit they'd had on and fall into the oh so soft bed when they'd come in the previous night. Bathing was absolutely required now.

Bakura nodded slightly, reaching for the faucets, then wobbled briefly. "Ohh...I think a bath would probably work better." He wasn't all that certain he could stand up long enough for a shower right now. Besides, a bath would probably feel better. He could put a few things in it to help him relax. He'd never thought too much of aromatherapy, but a few of his former gamer friends had, and he'd picked up a few things that seemed to work.

It didn't take very long to have everything set up, even with moving around as slowly as he was, and soon enough he slid into the steaming hot water with a deep, heartfelt sigh. His eyes slid shut, and he breathed in as deeply as he could, coughing some. Some of this stuff should work with his cough. It had before.

"You're going to spend today resting." The voice wasn't quite as 'inside' of his head as it usually was, and Bakura opened his eyes to see the translucent form of his tenant, perched at the opposite end of the bathtub, as nude as he himself was, watching him with narrowed dark eyes. He didn't even considering covering himself up. It wouldn't have done any good, the Spirit knew him inside and out anyway, and modesty just wasn't something he thought of any longer. Besides, part of him wanted to take the occasional approving glance as a twisted form of compliment. They were nearly identical, after all. He tried not to look too much at the Spirit when he was out like this, though. The thought of potentially being gay didn't bother him. The thought of potentially being as narcissistic as the thief did.

He closed his eyes again, relaxing. The heat of the bath and the scents in the air were already starting to help him feel better. He was going to have to send a letter to Suzuki to thank her for dragging him to the aromatherapy stores.

"Fine by me." He responded finally when he could feel the weight of the Spirits' gaze on him, then coughed a little. "I told you that I needed more than black leather last night."

He didn't have to look up to know he was being leered at. "But you looked so good in it!" If truth were to be told, it was the Spirit that had looked fantastic in it, since he'd been the one running the body at the time. Wandering around some of Domino's teen clubs hadn't really been what he'd wanted to do when there was all that snow, but it had at least gotten them out of the house. The clubs were doing a roaring business, perhaps because of the snow. No one wanted to stay home, but behind their doors, everything was warm and light and full of a wild energy that pulled to both Bakura and the Spirit.

"I look better in it when there's not five feet of snow out there." He sighed a little, wondering when all the snow would finally melt. He hadn't bothered with checking the weather, so he had no idea if there was rain on the way or not. Apparently it was warming up just enough so they could go back to school, though. Maybe that was why the Spirit had determined to go out the previous night. He didn't like wasting his time in school when he could be out there hunting down any Items that might be in town and have owners that were far weaker than Yugi was.

There'd still be school tomorrow, though, and he was going to have to be ready for it, if he could help it. He ducked underneath the water, soaking his long hair until it was wet all the way through, then sat back up. The Spirit was gone from his perch, as he discovered when he opened his eyes, and for a moment he wondered if he'd returned to his soul room.

His answer came when fingers closed on the bottle of shampoo he had just touched, right on top of his own. "Put your hands down." The Spirit said quietly. There was a faint flicker of energies stirring, and he watched the Spirit's hand become just tangible enough to get the shampoo poured. The hand faded away slightly as the bottle was put back where it belonged, and then he could feel the shampoo being massaged into his hair.

"I didn't know you could do that." Bakura murmured a few moments later, enjoying the feeling of being pampered slightly. The Spirit slowly worked on a stubborn knot, carefully working it out before answering.

"I usually can't. If it's you or my deck or the Ring, I can touch it as I wish. But for other items, I'm out of luck most of the time." There was a hint of something darker in his voice, and Bakura shivered. Maybe he should put more hot water in the bath? "I don't think that will always be a problem, though." Something in his voice made Bakura think of Pegasus and the way he'd just...vanished. And hadn't he heard a mention on the news about Pegasus' golden eye being stolen?

He decided not to think about it. It made things unpleasant, and he didn't really want to be worried about it right now. He turned and moved as the Spirit commanded, letting the other rinse the shampoo out and then put in the conditioner, once again making just his hand solid enough for that. As the last of the conditioner was rinsed out, something occurred to the teenager, and he laughed softly.

"What is it?" The Spirit might well have sounded concenred, if he were anyone other than who he was. But since he wasn't, he didn't.

"No one else would ever believe you'd do this for me," Bakura said softly. "If anyone even knew you were still around." Duelist Kingdom hadn't been all that long ago, and everyone Bakura had talked to had seem to think that the Ring, and the Spirit, were both gone forever. Bakura had no intentions of telling them differently either, as much as he liked Yugi.

The Spirit looked at him, a hint of reproval in his dark russet eyes. "No one is going to know." There was not one inch of give in that statement either.

"Of course not. But it's still nice." If he could ever get the Spirit to stop this insane desire to collect all of the Items and maybe calm down some, perhaps they could have the same kind of relationship that Yugi and his spirit had. Though to be honest, Bakura doubted it.

The Spirit watched him for a few moments, then stood up. Despite having spent at least ten or fifteen minutes in the tub, he was perfectly dry, the water not even touching him. "How are you feeling?" His tone was just as gruff and uncaring as it usually tended to be. No softness here. None at all. The only answer Bakura could provide at the moment was a deep yawn. He really wanted something to eat, but the thought of actually having to cook just wasn't bearable. If only he could get takeout... "Can you get up?"

Oh, yes, he still had to finish this. He managed to get to his feet carefully, let the water out of the tub, and dried off with the fluffiest towel he could find. He tossed said towel into the hamper as he left the bathroom, briefly noting that the Spirit had vanished while he was doing that. The more that he walked, the steadier on his feet he felt, and soon he was in his bed, reaching for the blankets. He felt the other take over just long enough to get tucked in, then he was back in charge again.

Get some rest, the Spirit ordered him, and this was one command that Bakura was more than happy to obey without so much as a whimper or complaint. The dark waves of sleep soon wrapped over both of them, as the sun rose higher and the snow outside began to melt away.

Several hours of peace had passed in the apartment, broken at last by the sound of someone knocking on the door. The spirit groaned deeply as he became aware of it. I forgot that he was coming over. He could feel Bakura's mumbled protestations at being awakened and reached mentally over to him. I'll handle this. You sleep.

As he took control, he could feel Bakura going deeper into sleep, and made certain he'd stay that way. The body felt better already, and that was all to the good. He'd have to see to it that he ate or something soon, though. He normally didn't bother with that sort of thing. Keeping the body fed and taken care of was almost exclusively Bakura's responsibility anyway. This one time, however, he felt he could make an exception. But just this once.

After putting a pair of jeans and a shirt on, and making certain the Millienium Ring was properly hidden, he headed for the door and opened it carefully, not at all surprised to see the diminiutive duelist standing out there, waiting ever so patiently. "Yugi..." He smiled a little, using that perfect imitation of his host once again.

"Are you sure you should be out of bed, Bakura?" Yugi asked as he hurried inside, concern in his violet eyes. "You don't look very well. Let's get you back into bed. I can show you what we did today, and show myself out. You might want to think about not going to school tomorrow, either."

That thought was far more attractive than the Spirit wanted to admit, really. But he had to keep up the appearance of normality, for now. "I'll be fine." Before he could say another word, though, his stomach took the chance to roar in absolute fury, quite loud enough for Yugi to hear it.

"Have you eaten anything today?" Yugi looked worriedly at him, then shook his head at his own thickheadedness. "Of course you haven't. When I've got the flu, Grandpa has to bring my soup to me. You go get comfortable, and I'll fix you something to eat. Now that I think about it, sitting up for a while couldn't hurt you."

The Spirit smirked to himself, very much enjoying the notion of the holder of the Puzzle serving him, if only for a little while. Perhaps when he had all the Items, he'd keep the boy around, if he were a suitable enough servant. "All right. I'll be in the living room." He suited actions to words, settling down on the couch and using the remote to turn on the television. As if in silent mockery of just who was really watching it, the program turned out to be a documentary on ancient Egypt, the pyramids, and tomb robbers in particular. The Spirit rolled his eyes mentally, and prepared to correct every error they made.

He could hear Yugi rattling around in the kitchen, occasionally murmuring a few things that had to be in answer to the Spirit in his own Puzzle. The dark spirit kept his head down as much as he could, not entirely certain if the other could sense him or not. He knew that he hadn't known when the other was there until he had taken control of Yugi's body, but he had no idea of what kind of powers the Puzzle gave the spirit within. Better safe than banished. Again.

A bit less than twenty minutes later, Yugi came into the living room, with a tray that had a bowl of chicken noodle soup (his personal favorite when it came to soup and the one he bought the most of when he went grocery shopping) and a few saltine crackers leaning against it. "Here you go. And I left plenty for you to heat up later, too." He settled it beside the sick boy carefully, then squeaked in surprise. "I forgot to get you something to drink! Just a second!"

As he hurried away, the Spirit smiled, keeping it from being a smirk by effort of will, then started to carefully eat. It was no half-raw steak, that was for certain, but he knew it would have what Bakura needed to finish getting better. If his host hadn't been so tired, he would've let him handle this, though.

"Maybe I should stay with you, just for a little while," Yugi mused as he set a glass of orange juice on the tray. "It's got to be boring sitting around here all by yourself."

The Spirit resisted a snort. As if Bakura were ever alone. But the thought of having the smaller duelist around was still very attractive. Best not to seem too eager, though. "I don't know. You might get sick too."

"That's all right, I had the flu shot already, and I don't really get colds that easily." Yugi's grin was infectious, and the Spirit didn't mind catching that at all. "I called Grandpa before I left school and told him I'd probably be here for a while anyway, so he won't miss me too much. The homework's pretty easy, too."

There was apparently no getting out of it. So be it. "Well...all right, if you insist." The Spirit smiled a little weakly, as if he hadn't wanted to inconvenience Yugi, and he watched as the smaller boy tucked a blanket around his lap, getting him more comfortable. Yes, he could really get used to this kind of treatment.

"When did you last take something for this cold?" Yugi asked, heading for the bathroom as the white-haired boy ate the rest of the soup and crackers. "Is there any left of it?"

"This morning, not long after I talked to you, and there should be some in there." The Spirit took a long sip of the orange juice, letting it nearly caress his taste buds. He was going to have to drink more of this. He rather liked it.

The conversation was derailed slightly a few minutes after Yugi brought him another dose of cough medicine, by the program on the flickering screen before them. Both Yugi and the Spirit laughed at one particular fact that was being preached as purest fact, and was so completely wrong it was laughable to both of them.

"Do you miss the Ring?" Yugi asked suddenly, turning to look at him with piercing violet eyes. The Spirit stiffened mentally, fighting back to reply that he didn't have to miss what wasn't gone, what could never leave him.

"Well, in a way. My father did give it to me, after all. I'd hate to have to explain what happened to it to him."

Yugi laughed softly. "'I'm sorry, Dad, but I had to toss it away. You see, it was haunted by the soul of some psycho who kept sending all of my friends into comas and wanted all kinds of weird psychotic things'!"

The Spirit growled to himself; how could they think he was a 'psycho'? But he kept himself under control. There would be vengeance for all of the slights one day. Yugi being his personal servant for eternity would make for a good start for this. He still had to think up something suitable for Honda to avenge the injury of Duelist Kingdom. "I don't think he'd believe it. After all, where's the proof?"

"How else are you going to explain it?" Yugi shrugged a little, then motioned for him to finish up the last of his meal. The show played on, with both of them commenting on a few inaccuracies, and the Spirit of the Puzzle even mentioning one or two as well. The dark spirit kept his mouth shut on some of the things they said about tomb robbers in general, and wondered if it would be possible for him to let them know just how wrong they were.

"The other me finds that kind of amusing, but he won't say why," Yugi said, his eyes fixed on the screen. "I think it has something to do with the Spirit of the Ring, but he's being kind of quiet about it."

Said Spirit of the Ring found out just then what it meant to be 'eaten alive with curoisity'. Unfortunately, there wasn't anything he could really do about it. He tried not to fidget, not wanting to bring too much attention to himself right now, not when things had been going so very well. His eyes flashed a little with annoyance though. This concealment was really due to one person, and only one.

"I really have to express how I feel to Honda one day, for what he did with the Ring." Something to do with knives and a slow agonizing death came to mind. One that stretched out for several centuries. Perhaps seal his soul into an Item and let him know what it was like to suddenly be torn away from the only connection he had to the world of life after so many eons with nothing but the shadows around him? That sounded about right, and he doubted Bakura would object too much.

"You're not upset with him, are you?" Yugi didn't look at him, only kept his attention on the screen before them both. As far as the Spirit could tell, it was still the normal Yugi and not the other one. That was definitly all to the good.

"Why would you think that?"

Yugi shrugged a little, and the Spirit thought all was well, until he said something else. "Maybe because you're the thief, the Spirit of the Ring, and not Bakura Ryou?"

"That's not possible." The Spirit said flatly, still doing his very best to sound like his host. "The Ring's gone, Yugi. You know that. I know that."

Yugi turned to him slightly, amused now. "I can feel the Ring. I'm not a total idiot. It's a kind of fuzzy feeling in the back of my head. I've only felt it around the Ring, too. It's weird."

"What is it you want, Yugi?" The Spirit asked, not denying or admitting to anything. He refused to let the Ring show, either. No matter what Yugi thought, he wasn't going to let him know.

Yugi looked back at him, not looking accusing or angry. "I want Bakura to get better. That's all. You're not hurting him right now, or anyone else."

"That's what I'm trying to do." If Yugi had figured it out and wasn't immediately calling on his other to get rid of him, then maybe things weren't out of his control. But they'd have to be managed carefully. He was not letting them know that he was still around. They'd be in too much of a rush to seperate him from his host, and he couldn't have that.

"Good." Yugi tucked the blanket in more firmly around him. "No going out, for any reason. If you need something, give me or Anzu a call and we'll get it for you. The cough medicine is taken every six hours, the aspirin every eight, and make sure you drink lots of liquids, and get either soup or broth into your stomach, otherwise it's just going to come back up." He sounded so officious and so eager to help his friend in need. "And if your temperature gets to be a hundred and five or higher, call me or Grandpa, and we'll get you to a hospital. You'll need to have the temperature come back down."

The Spirit smirked ever so slightly. "I doubt that will happen." He wouldn't let his host get that sick, after all. All of the advice Yugi had given were things that Bakura already knew, and he would be certain his host took care of himself. He had some very good reasons for wanting this body in perfect condition, after all.

Yugi still worried, though. "You never know. This flu season has been pretty severe. But I meant what I said. No going out."

"What would I have to go out for?" The Spirit wondered, snorting. Clubbing could wait until all of that disgusting white stuff was gone. His cabin fever had been dealt with by their previous night's outing, and he was perfecty willing to wait inside until spring, or at least a clearer, not quite as cold day.

"To try and steal something?"

Another snort was the answer to that. "I was a tomb robber, not an idiot. Going out when I'm not at my best is a fast way to being caught. Once was quite enough." He noted that Yugi looked somewhat cute when he was snickering. He needed to get Bakura back in control of the body. He was obviously going delusional.

"You take care of Bakura, or else. I'll be by tomorrow to see how you're doing." Yugi started for the door, stopping as the Spirit laughed darkly.

"What else would I do with him? This is my body as well."

Yugi blinked a little, then smiled some. "The others forget that sometimes, I think. The way they talk when you're not around..." He shook his head, a hint of sadness in his eyes. "You wouldn't like it. I don't like it. You're not my friend, but Bakura is, and I know you're not going to hurt him. They don't seem to have figured it out yet."

The Spirit wanted quite strongly to hurt something just then. "If they think I abused him, they're fools. I'd no more do that than anyone sane would cut their own arm or leg off."

"Knowing Honda and Jonouchi the way I do, I'm not surprised they haven't figured it out yet," Yugi smiled a little. The Spirit was surprised, he'd never heard the small duelist talking about his friends like this. "They're lovable, but they're not always the brightest. They kind of jump to conclusions." Something passed between the two of them as they stood there, the kind of bond that could only be shared by Bakura Ryou, Mutou Yugi, and the spirits within their respective Items.

The Spirit smirked slowly, leaning back on the couch. "If you missed if, I have very little in common with either of them." It was quite true. He had a functioning brain.

"You mean you're not a common thug?" Yugi's eyes almost seemed to double in size as if he doubted that statement. The Spirit just laughed, amused. Yes, he was definitly going to keep this Yugi around, and he would enjoy his company. Perhaps in more than one way.

Yugi waved farewell and headed out, the door closing quietly behind him. In the apartment he had just vacated, the Spirit decided something firmly. That night, a visit would be paid to the Mutou house, and a few memories would be neatly erased. The Rod was the only Item that could really control memories, but the Items all shared a few abilities in common, and the Ring could do a few small things like that. It had come in handy when they were at Duelist Kingdom, after all, with Pegasus and his goons. And it would do so again.

That was nice. It seemed Bakura was awake. Now that he thought about it, he'd felt some hints of his host's presence over the last few minutes or so. He'd kept himself so quiet that he hadn't even thought much about it, though. Having a friend over and not having to worry about him ending up being sealed in a card or a game piece or something like that.

The Spirit rolled his eyes. Really, what kind of a being did his host think he was? "I'd never do that to Yugi." Of course he wouldn't. The other Items were going to be drawn to the Puzzle, which meant he was going to be able to use the small boy to get them all, sooner or later, and to get the revenge that he wanted more than anything. There was no need to hurt the boy before that. Especially not now that he'd made up his mind to keep him around even after that.

He could feel his host's spirit near him, then Bakura manifested in his own translucent form. "You know something? I'd rather have you around than the other Yugi, though."

"And why is that?" The Spirit asked, settling himself more comfortable into the couch and nibbling on the last of the crackers. This was something he hadn't heard before, and it was rather interesting.

"Because you do take care of me." Bakura told him quietly. "A lot better care than he takes care of Yugi. He's been getting into all kinds of trouble since he solved the Puzzle. I heard Anzu and some of the others talking about it the other day. But you never let anything like that happen to me, unless you're in control of it."

The Spirit smirked, running his hand briefly through Bakura's not currently very tangible hair. "He's careless with his toys. He's like some kind of pharoah, thinking they can be replaced with a snap of his fingers. I am a thief. We know how easily things can be taken away. But we don't let go of what is ours easily, or at all." He continued to toy with Bakura's hair, watching as the other slowly slipped back asleep. "And you do belong to me. Just like the Items. And I'll keep all of you, forever."

He waited patiently until Bakura was sound asleep, using his power to nudge the boy into almost a coma. Once he was that deeply out of it, the Spirit stood up. Time to make a visit to another treasure, and make certain no one could do anything to steal it, now or ever. Or in more common terms, to erase Yugi's memory of his existence, and be certain the other spirit didn't know anything of it either. Perhaps it would also be nice to arrange some kind of special quality time just with Bakura and Yugi at some point soon. After all, a good thief kept his friends close, and his enemies even closer.

The End