DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction produced for entertainment purposes only. Yu-Gi-Oh! and all related characters are the creations of Kazuki Takahashi.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Text in bold is being emphasised.
By Shadow's Mirror
Bakura sighed as he walked along the pavement, a few steps behind his light. Of all the mundane chores Ryou insisted that he help out with whenever he was in his physical form, in Bakura's opinion, grocery shopping was definitely the worst. They hadn't even reached the shop yet and he was already bored!
He looked around, searching for something to occupy his mind with. The cars whizzing by provided the necessary distraction and he idly watched them as he walked, mildly intrigued by how fast they were moving.
Something sparkled on the other side of the street, the sudden gleam catching Bakura's attention. He paused, scanning the area with the same keen senses that had made him an expert thief in his former life in Ancient Egypt. The sunlight struck the object again and Bakura smirked as he identified the source. Someone had dropped something small and silver.
The possibility that it might be money was an irresistible temptation.
Without a moment's hesitation, Bakura veered off the pavement and started across the street, his attention focused on the spot where the object was lying. He was only vaguely aware of Ryou's startled exclamation, so the hand on the back of his jacket caught him completely by surprise. Before he could react, Bakura found himself pulled backwards… out of the path of an oncoming car.
"Bakura! Don't ever do that again! You might have been killed!"
Shaken more than he would ever admit by his close call, Bakura's instinctive reaction was to take offense at Ryou's demanding tone. He whirled around. His intention was to give the other boy a sharp response, but one look at his light changed his mind. Ryou was paler than normal and visibly shaken, his eyes filled with the same fear that echoed faintly through their mind link. Instead of snapping at his light, Bakura frowned. "What's the big deal? I was just crossing the road!"
Ryou shook his head. "No! You should never cross the street like that. It's not at all safe. You didn't even look to see if there were any cars coming! You should use the crosswalk, Bakura." At his yami's uncomprehending blink, Ryou blushed faintly. "Oh… I guess you don't know about that."
Bakura frowned. "So show me already."
"All right." Ryou smiled and started walking again. "Come on, Bakura, there's one at the end of the block."
"So that's a crosswalk? Those lines on the road? That's it?" Bakura sneered at the road markings, unimpressed.
Ryou smiled. "Not quite. See that box up there?" He pointed to the crosswalk sign. "It changes depending on whether or not it's safe to cross the road. Red means you should stay where you are and green means that it is safe to walk. Right now it's red, so we'll just wait until it turns green. Okay?"
Bakura looked up at the sign thoughtfully. "Red means stop, green means go. Got it."
As his light smiled at him, Bakura couldn't help smiling back. There was a lot about the modern world that he didn't yet understand, but at least he had Ryou to teach him what he needed to know.
Four hours later, Bakura groaned as he trudged back along the pavement with his light. It had been a long and agonising shopping trip. They were both carrying several bags of groceries, but the trip had also resulted in both of them gaining aching legs from walking, aching arms from their burdens and headaches from the loudspeaker systems that had been blaring out announcements the entire time they had been in the mall. Both light and yami were hot, tired, hungry, thirsty, in pain and irritable in general. Even Ryou was tired enough to be walking with his head down rather than chattering away happily about what he would cook with their provisions, as he normally did.
Bakura was so busy making a mental list of excuses to give his light for never going shopping again, he failed to notice when Ryou stopped suddenly. Bakura promptly bumped into him with enough force to make them both almost drop their bags.
"Hey! Ryou! Some warning would be nice. Don't just stop like that!" The words snapped out and Bakura immediately regretted them when Ryou looked at him with his eyes brimming with tears. "Um… I didn't… I mean… There's no need to be so upset. I didn't mean to yell at you."
"I… I'm not upset about that." Ryou sniffed and a single tear rolled down his cheek.
Bakura blinked. "You're not? Then… why?"
"I forgot the cream." When Bakura only blinked at him, Ryou elaborated. "The cream to have with the strawberries I got for dessert tonight. I was going to get it at the shop we passed a few minutes ago, but I forgot all about it. Now I'll either have to go back and get it, or go without." He sighed.
"Oh." Bakura thought about it for a moment. He could tell by what he was sensing through their mind link that Ryou was exhausted, but he knew his light would probably go back and get the cream. It was one of Ryou's favourite treats. Bakura considered the dessert to be too sweet for his liking, but he had to admit, if only to himself, that he rather enjoyed seeing the look of pure pleasure that it brought to Ryou's face.
"I'll go." The words slipped out before he could stop them and Bakura mentally kicked himself for it. Then he had to stop himself from instinctively stepping back as Ryou was suddenly far closer to him than he had been a moment earlier.
Ryou gazed up at his wonderful yami, his eyes bright with happiness. "Really? You don't mind? Oh thank you, Bakura!"
"Yeah… Well… Just don't expect me to do this again! It's a one-time-only deal. Right? Right! Now, you go sit down on that bus stop bench and wait with the groceries. I won't be long."
The shop was on the other side of the street about half a block back. Bakura was about to cross over to it when he remembered what his light had told him earlier. He smirked to himself. Ryou was still within sight and Bakura knew the boy was watching him. Ryou always worried too much. But since he was watching, Bakura saw it as an opportunity that he didn't want to miss.
He started walking back to the crosswalk on the corner. It wasn't that much further to walk and it was worth it to show his light that he'd remembered. In fact, if he was careful and cunning, he might even be able to get more than a compliment out of Ryou. Some sort of reward, perhaps. Like ice cream or chocolate for dessert. Ryou could have his share of the strawberries and cream. Bakura preferred chocolate any day.
The light was red when Bakura got there, so he stood on the pavement and waited as patiently as he could. He was tempted to cross anyway. The only cars were still some distance away and Ryou couldn't see the light from where he was, so he'd never know… But Bakura had found out the hard way that his light had the incredible ability to get him to own up to things he'd done and not admitted guilt over at the time. So, Bakura fixed his gaze on the crosswalk sign and waited for it to change colour.
As soon as the light flashed green, Bakura started across the street. He was about halfway across when something unexpected happened.
The crosswalk sign turned red again.
Bakura stopped in mid-step, his light's words echoing through his mind. He wasn't supposed to walk when the sign was red. But… he was only halfway across the road! What was he supposed to do? He tried to remember if it had happened before when he'd crossed the street with Ryou, but he hadn't been paying attention to the sign at all those other times. He hadn't even known it was there until Ryou had told him about it, earlier that afternoon!
As he stood in the middle of the road trying to work out what to do, he began to feel waves of emotion coming from his light's side of the link. Ryou was worried about him, as usual. Bakura was rather annoyed at that. He was tough and could easily take care of himself. He didn't need anyone to worry about him. He certainly didn't need to ask his light, through their link, about what to do! He'd figure it out by himself! That would show Ryou a thing or two!
It all happened at once.
A car came speeding around the corner; its horn blaring out as the driver noticed Bakura too late to stop. He tried to swerve, but he was going too fast. Bakura barely noticed the danger though; he was too busy wincing at the painfully loud mental scream piercing his mind as his light realised what was going on.
But Bakura had been an expert tombrobber in the days when traps varied from walls that closed in and falling slabs of stone, to poison-tipped arrows and unexpected pits with crocodiles at the bottom! His instincts may have been a little rusty, but they were still good enough for him to easily avoid being hit by something as large and obvious as an oncoming car! He jumped out the way, the car missing him by several inches. Hardly exciting, really.
Ignoring the driver's yelled insults, Bakura stalked to the nearest curb. It wasn't until he looked around and saw Ryou running towards him that he realised what had happened. "Shadows! All that trouble and I didn't even get across the street!" He was still fuming when Ryou reached him.
"Bakura! Are you all right? Are you hurt anywhere? The car didn't hit you, did it?" Ryou's anxious eyes scanned his yami for any sign of injury. When he didn't see anything, he frowned.
"What in the world did you think you were doing? Why did you stop in the middle of the road like that? That was so dangerous!" The normally calm light glared at his yami furiously.
Bakura scowled back at Ryou. "The sign turned red before I reached the other side. You told me only to walk when it was green. I was just doing what you told me to!"
Ryou blinked. "Of all the times for you to listen to me…" His anger forgotten, he smiled very slightly, a soft flush tinting his cheeks. "I'm sorry, Bakura. It's my fault. I should have told you. The crosswalk sign always changes to red before you get all the way across. That doesn't mean you stop in the middle of the road. You just keep going until you reach the other side. It's okay. It's the one time when it's all right to walk when the sign is red."
Bakura frowned, obviously irritated. "You're right, you should have told me that before." He turned and glared up at the crosswalk sign for a moment, as if debating whether or not to send it to the Shadow Realm. Apparently he decided against it, since he merely sighed and shook his head. "I'll give it another try."
He was surprised to feel Ryou's hand on his arm. "What? I'm going to get the cream for your strawberries, remember?" When he couldn't shake the hand off, he turned to scowl at his light. "What is it, Ryou? You're going to make me miss…"
Before he could finish speaking, Bakura suddenly found himself being hugged very tightly by his very emotional light. "Ryou?" Surprised, he hesitantly returned the hug, not quite sure what had prompted it. Ryou was normally too reserved to do such a thing. Through their link, he could sense his light's emotions, but they were all too jumbled for him to sort through.
Ryou buried his face in his yami's shoulder and shuddered. "No, Bakura. I don't care about the cream anymore. I'll get some tomorrow. Right now, I… I just want to go home."
Bakura blinked as he suddenly realised what one of his light's whirling emotions was. Ryou had been afraid. Very afraid. For him.
A slight smile curved Bakura's lips and his eyes held more than a hint of warmth as he looked down at his light's head, resting against his shoulder. Maybe the shopping trip had been worthwhile after all. Maybe.
His hand moved up, brushing against Ryou's soft hair before coming to rest on the back of the boy's head. A simple touch offering silent reassurance. "Yeah. Let's go home."