Episode Nine and Three Quarters
Gha; propbably hates me right now. I had to run out of the house just as this started uploading, and left the website to idle. Gomen, gomen! X.x
Anyway; here it is! The final chapter of the fic. I hope everyone had been enjoying the rewrite so far (though from the reviews, a lot of you are). I hope to have the first chapter of A New Generation of Priests Special Edition out before the start of next week.
CHAPTER FIFTEEN – PARTING COMPANY FOR THE SUMMER
Something warm and bright was shining in his eyes, making him try to lift a hand to swat at it. There was a twittering sound too, like birds outside, but with the way his head was pounding, they could have been right next to his ear for all he knew. He moaned softly, eyes fluttering open, squinting against the light shining down on him. Dizziness overcame Atemu almost immediately, and he shut his eyes once more, wishing his head would stop hurting. His movements obviously caught someone's attention, as he felt a slight weight at the foot of the bed he was in. He waited a moment before opening his eyes again, to see a patched up Bakura smirking down at him.
"Rise and shine, your worship," he said. "I think you've had enough beauty sleep."
Atemu snorted, rolling his eyes as Bakura leaned forward, taking some chocolate from a nearby bed stand and handing it to him.
"Here, eat that," he said as the pharaoh raised an eyebrow. "It'll make you feel better."
Atemu gave him a disbelieving look. "It's chocolate."
Atemu rolled his eyes again, munching on the dark chocolate slowly, eventually pushing himself up as he got his strength back. Bakura, meanwhile, reached over to a massive pile of candies by the side of his bed, snatching a chocolate frog and munching on it.
"Where…?" Atemu began, sweatdropping at the pile.
"Impressive, eh?" Bakura replied. "Must be half a candy shop there. Harry got the other half."
Atemu looked around, noting that neither Yuugi nor Harry were in the hospital wing. "Where is he?" he asked. "And… Yuugi…?"
"Yuugi was practically in and out of here," Bakura replied. "He was shocked as all hell, but he was okay. Harry just woke up and left recently."
Atemu nodded slowly, before biting his lip. "And… what happened…?"
"You mean… with the Stone and everything…?" he asked, before continuing when the pharaoh nodded. "Well, Dumbledore had it destroyed. He knew that something would be after the Stone, whether it be Voldemort himself or one of his followers. That's why it got moved here in the first place."
"So… he knew Voldemort was alive…" Atemu said slowly. "That's why he had us come here…"
"Probably; he didn't say as much when he was here," Bakura replied, reaching over and caressing the side of his face. Atemu turned a bit pink and the gesture.
"S-so… everyone knows now, hm?" he asked.
"Well, as Dumbledore put it, what happened between us and Quirrell is totally secret… which means, the whole school knows about it by now," the tomb robber answered. "It has been three days since then. Besides, as Ron put it, it's kind of noticeable having Yuugi attending classes and unconscious in the hospital wing at the same time."
Atemu looked down at his hands, flexing them. "I can't believe this is real…"
Bakura shuffled a bit closer to him, cupping his face gently with both hands. Atemu let his eyes slip closed at the feeling… his touch… Bakura's touch… It was so very real… He let out a soft, content sigh.
"Atemu…" Bakura murmured, coming closer to him. "I… I thought you died…"
"I thought I did too…" he replied softly. "I… I didn't want to… I was afraid I would never see you… any of you again…"
The tomb robber nuzzled him gently, so close to him he could feel his heartbeat… finally, he was going to get their moment… finally…
Bakura bit back a growl of irritation; Ra dammit all, if he did not get a chance to get a kiss out of the pharaoh, he was going to have to kill someone…! He turned around, glaring as a huffy Madam Pomfrey approached the bed.
"May I attend to my patient, please," she said in an annoyed voice. Bakura bit back another annoyed growl, getting up off the bed and allowing himself to be shooed away. He glanced back before he left the room, catching Atemu looking up, smiling at him softly…
The tomb robber ended up walking away with a bit of a spring in his step. He would get his chance…
Malik was stretched out under a tree, some parchment on his lap, with Harry's owl, Hedwig, hooting softly beside him. He dipped his quill into an inkwell, writing out a letter to his sister, letting her know that he would be coming home soon as well as writing as much as he could about what happened.
The pharaoh and his host split… literally. It was no secret to him that the spirits had been looking for a way to part from their outer selves, but the way it happened… Was Atemu's new body tainted with Voldemort's darkness? What would happen in that case? Could… could Voldemort use him at all…? He paused at the thought, making a face. What could they do if that was the case? Would they have to fight Atemu…?
He shook his head, trying not to think about it; and was about to write more, when someone tossed something at him, nearly making him blot the ink. Malik caught the offending object and was about to snap at whoever threw it, when he realized exactly what it was he was holding.
The Millennium Ring!
He looked up in surprise, spotting the person who threw it. Bakura stood not all that far away from him, his arms crossed and an eyebrow raised, a bit of an amused look on his face.
"Take it," he said. "I don't want it anymore."
Malik stared at him as if he grew another head.
"There's no catch," the tomb robber continued, walking closer until he was standing just above him. "The Ring has the power to transfer one's soul into something else, so I've taken up permanent residence in my host. You needn't worry about any after effects from me."
Malik stared at him for a good moment, before saying, "Okay, here's a good question: why!"
Bakura smirked, putting his hands on his hips. "The damned thing almost got me killed down in that chamber because it wouldn't respond to me. I think it's mad at me; 'ya know, for not being a good little boy. Besides, it probably misses its original owner. You're close enough to that priest that it'll probably work for you."
Malik frowned in thought. "Which priest was that?"
The tomb robber waved a dismissive hand. "The one that's sleeping in Yuugi's deck right now," he answered vaguely, turning to head back into the castle. "S'cuse me, I gotta go terrorize Ryou's friends. They're being rather buddy, buddy with him, now that everyone knows about me and the pharaoh."
With that, he started off toward the school, leaving a very confused Malik in his wake. He shook his head before looking down at the Millennium Ring in his hand, hardly believing that the tomb robber actually willingly gave it away. After a moment, he slipped the leather strap that held the Ring over his head and letting it dangle around his neck. It felt good there, almost as if it belonged… He fingered the points a bit, before turning his attention back to his letter.
The Great Hall was decked out in drapes of the green and silver house colors of Slytherin, with one large drape behind the professors' table showing off the house's mascot – a snake – much to everyone else's disappointment. Yuugi and the others sat down in their respective seats, trying to ignore Malfoy as he looked at them with a sickening smirk on his face.
Atemu did not join them until later, held up by a fussy Madam Pomfrey who would not let him go without one last checkup. He approached the Gryffindor table, uncomfortable with all the stares he was getting. He managed to slip into a seat beside his former host, before the whole hall fell into a hushed silence as Dumbledore stood up at the professors' table to make a speech.
"Another year gone!" he exclaimed cheerfully. "Now, I see the house cup here needs awarding, and the points stand thus: in fourth place, Gryffindor with three hundred and twelve points. In third, Hufflepuff with three hundred and fifty-two. Ravenclaw has four hundred and twenty-six; and in first place is Slytherin with four hundred and seventy-two."
The Slytherins broke out into cheers and stamping, though they were the only ones. Anyone else that made any noise was just giving them polite (and strained) applause. Harry could not even look at Malfoy; the look on his face was just insufferable.
"Yes, yes, well done, Slytherin, well done," Dumbledore called over the noise. "However, recent events must be taken into account."
The cheers slowly died, some of the smiles on Slytherin faces dieing slowly. The headmaster cleared his throat.
"Yes… I have some last minute points to award," he began. "First, to Mr. Ronald Weasley—"
Ron turned as red as his hair, trying to hide his face.
"—for the best played game of chess Hogwarts has seen in many years, I award Gryffindor house fifty points."
Cheers from the Gryffindor table seemed to shake the bewitched ceiling above, the stars quivering. Percy could be heard telling the other prefects that it was his favorite brother that had beaten McGonagall's giant chess set. It was a moment before Dumbledore could continue again.
"Second, to Miss Hermione Granger, for use of cool logic in the face of fire, I award Gryffindor house fifty points."
Hermione buried her face in her arms, and Harry suspected she had burst into tears. Malik laughed happily hugging her tight as Gryffindors up and down the table were ecstatic; they were up a hundred points!
"Third, to Mr. Harry Potter…" Dumbledore continued, the hall falling deathly quiet… "For pure nerve and outstanding courage… I award Gryffindor house sixty points."
The result was deafening; those that could add up while shouting themselves hoarse realized that Gryffindor was now tied with Slytherin. Yuugi was clinging to Atemu's arm tightly; they had tied for the house cup… how exactly was that supposed to play out…?
Dumbledore raised a hand, the room gradually falling into uneasy silence…
"Finally… there are all kinds of courage…" he continued. "It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, especially when that foe is death itself. So… for a student both new and old… I award ten points… to Mr. Atemu Mutou."
The resulting explosion of cheers, shouts, and applause from Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Gryffindor nearly made Atemu go deaf. He sat in his seat, shocked, as people started congratulating him and pounding him on the back. Yuugi clung to him, crying in absolute joy, congratulating his other half over and over again. They had overshot Slytherin! They had won. The pharaoh closed his eyes, a happy sigh escaping from him, especially when he caught sight of Malfoy, who was near pure white from shock.
"Which means," Dumbledore shouted over the applause, "we need a change of decoration!"
With a clap of his hands, the green turned to red and the silver to gold. The giant banner of the Slytherin snake slowly morphed into the Gryffindor lion, towering proudly over the professor's table. Professor Snape was shaking McGonagall's hand, a very fake, forced smile on his face. Harry knew that the Potion's Master was going to be difficult to be near, but he did not care.
This was the best evening of their lives; better than winning at Quidditch, or Christmas, or knocking out mountain trolls… this was a night they would never, ever forget…
With the excitement over winning the house cup, Yuugi and the others nearly forgot that they still had exam results to look forward too. To their surprise, Harry and Ron did much better than they thought they would. Hermione and Seto, of course, got the best marks out of the first years, overshooting the majority of their peers. Even Ryou did well, despite the fact that Bakura was typically around more than he was.
"I was studying in my mind," he insisted as they looked over their scores, getting a chuckle out of Atemu.
As far as the pharaoh was concerned, he had been taken aside by Dumbledore a few days before they were to leave for home, and given a test to see if he would be able to go on to second year himself. There was a small problem with a practical exam, as Yuugi's wand would not work for him, but he passed the written exam easily.
"Looks like I'll be joining all of you next year," he said happily, his former host practically glomping him when he got his scores.
Before long, their wardrobes were emptied and their suitcases were packed, and they were taking the first years were taking the boats back to the train platform. They returned to the Hogwarts Express, their little group sharing a large compartment, talking and laughing as they ate Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans and chocolate frogs; and letting out shouts of triumph or groans of defeat as they played Duel Monsters. Outside, the scenery sped past, going from rolling green hills to muggle towns in the blink of an eye. Before long, they were pulling off their wizard robes, swapping them for jackets and stuffing them away to be used next year as the train came to a slow halt at platform nine and three quarters at King's Cross Station.
They filed out of the train, though they could not all rush through the barrier onto the "normal" platforms; they did not want to be all popping out at once and scaring all the Muggles that would be there after all!
"You've got to come over this summer," Ron insisted as they stood in line, waiting their turn, "all of you. I'll send an owl."
Some people jostled them as they moved toward the barrier. Still others called after them:
"See you, Potter!"
"Still famous, eh, Harry?" Malik asked, a grin on his face.
"Not where I'm going, I assure you," Harry insisted.
Harry, Hermione, and Ron went though the barrier first, then Seto, Yuugi, and Malik followed soon after, before Atemu and Bakura went through last. As soon as they emerged, they heard a little girl squeal in excitement.
"Look, Mum, there he is, look!"
They turned to see Ginny Weasley, the youngest of the Weasley clan, pointing and tugging on her mother's sleeve excitedly. She was not pointing at her brother, however…
"Harry Potter!" she exclaimed. "Mum, look—!"
"Stop it, Ginny, it's rude to point," the roly-poly woman scolded as they approached. "Busy year, dears?" she asked them.
"Very," Harry answered.
Malik bowed respectfully. "Thank you for the Christmas sweaters, ma'am."
"Oh, it's no problem, dear."
Yuugi was about to add his thanks as well, when a familiar voice rang out from the crowd.
Yuugi never thought he would ever get the chance to see someone as tall as Seto Kaiba knocked off his feet, but the flying streak of black hair and yellow and blue clothes that tackled him gave him that opportunity. Seto landed with a thump, just barely catching his younger brother as he jumped on him, giving him a tight hug around his neck and nearly strangling him.
"I missed you so much, Onii-sama!" Mokuba exclaimed. Seto sweatdropped, patting him on the head.
"Yes, Mokuba, yes," he assured him. "I'm back for the summer."
Mokuba pouted. "Only the summer?"
Seto gave him a blank look, getting a laugh out of his younger brother as more surprise visitors came up to them. Malik took Hermione's hand and hurried over to where Ishizu and Rishid were approaching them almost immediately, giving his sister a warm hug before introducing the young witch excitedly.
"Oy, oy, Yuugi-kun!" Katsuya Jounouchi exclaimed, running up to him along with Sugoroku… before he stopped dead. "Uhh… Yuugi… are my eyes busted…?"
Atemu chuckled in amusement, Bakura raising an eyebrow as he "casually" rested an arm on the pharaoh's shoulder.
"You got a problem, mutt?" he sneered.
Jou growled. "And… why did you have to come back?"
Atemu sweatdropped as Bakura smirked, holding him tighter. "I'm too sexy to stay away."
The pharaoh hid his face as Sugoroku Mutou looked between him and Yuugi, before he sighed. "I just hope you know how to explain yourself to Yuugi's mother…"
Yuugi was about to reply, when a rude, sharp voice cut him off.
"Ready, are you?"
They all turned to see a large, mustached, purple-faced man, scowling down at Harry. Behind him was a thin woman with too much makeup and jewelry and an unhealthily pudgy boy, both of them looking at all of them with terrified expressions. Yuugi gulped; he remembered Harry telling him about these people: the younger wizard's Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, and cousin Dudley.
"You must be Harry's family!" Mrs. Weasley exclaimed.
"In a matter of speaking," Vernon replied coldly before turning back to Harry. "Hurry up, boy. We haven't got all day."
He walked off, but Harry hung back a bit, getting in a last word with his friends.
"See you over the summer, then," he said to Ron.
"Hope you have a… good holiday," Hermione replied uncertainly, watching Vernon's retreating back and wondering how anyone could be so rude.
A smile broke out on Harry's face, however. "Oh, don't worry, I will," he assured them. "They don't know I can't use magic at home. I'm going to have a lot of fun with Dudley this summer."
With that, he took off after his uncle. Yuugi jumped up, waving after him, shouting, "Bye Harry!"
Harry turned as he ran, waving back. "Bye, Yuugi!" he shouted back. "See you at school next year!"
Yuugi smiled, turning to share it with his other half. School next year… he would never admit being more excited about going back to school. The summer could not go by fast enough; he could not wait to go back to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!