Look Who's Not Dead

Catching Myrtle's hand in his, Bakura docilely followed Professor Slughorn through the halls to the Great Hall, smiling down at his sweetheart. The girl's expression as she smiled back at him was blindingly bright, and he felt his mood lifting almost in spite of himself. Whatever else might be going on he had her.

Steering the girl through the packed masses of Slytherins filling the Great Hall, Bakura angled them so that they had a decent view of the stage. Myrtle leaned against him and looked up at him trustingly as Dippet held up a shaking hand in a clear signal for silence.

"Students," the headmaster said in a carrying voice, looking around the packed hall. "I regret to say that there has been a tragic accident. Miss Olive Hornby is – dead."

The room instantly filled with voices clamoring for the headmaster's attention. Myrtle's grip on Bakura's arm tightened and he looked down to see that she had gone very white. It took him a moment to realize that she was scared, but once he figured out that much the rest fell into place easily enough. Myrtle had always viewed Hogwarts as a safe place. Suddenly realizing that people could be killed in a place that was supposed to be safe would be terrifying.

Dippet raised his voice, trying to calm the students. When the hall finally quieted enough that Bakura could hear what the headmaster was saying, Dippet had gestured Tom Riddle up to the front of the room with him and wrapped a proprietary arm around the boy's shoulders. "Young Tom here assisted me in finding the source of the accident which cost Miss Hornby her life, and for his bravery in the face of possible danger and his quick thinking, I am proud to present him with a Special Award for Services to the School."

Bakura grimaced. Knowing Riddle, he'd use this unashamedly to attract still more idiots to follow him around. Fortunately the older boy wasn't interested in first year students, but the court following that he had surrounded himself with weren't all so picky about who they tormented. Myrtle had been one of their targets for some time before Bakura had managed to get it through their heads that they weren't to touch her.

Dismissing all thoughts of Riddle and his coterie, Bakura turned his attention back to the shivering girl clinging to his arm, and carefully pulled her into an embrace. Myrtle turned into him gratefully, pressing herself closer into his arms as though she wanted to hide there from the world, and he smiled. It felt good to have her turn to him for protection. He'd never had anyone think that he would help them before; they'd always been turning to others to get rid of him, not depending on him to take care of them.

"It's all right Myrtle," he reassured her quietly, stroking her back with gentle hands. "You heard the headmaster. Everything's been taken care of. Whatever went wrong, it's been fixed. Hornby may have died, but nobody else is going to get hurt." He actually wasn't completely certain of that, but he didn't think that saying so would help anything, and Myrtle did seem to be relaxing as he spoke.

"You're sure it's all right?" Myrtle asked him tentatively, looking up at him with teary eyes, face gone red and blotchy as it always did when she cried. "Hornby's dead! What happens if someone else dies?"

Purpose straightened his back, and Bakura felt his face growing grim and still. "Then it won't be you." He said quietly. Shrugging the away the thought, he grinned and added quickly. "But come on, Myrtle! Do you honestly think that the teachers aren't going to all be just as worried as you are? They'll make sure that whatever killed Hornby doesn't cause any more trouble."

Dippet said something else that he didn't quite catch, and the usual tables in the Great Hall filled with food. Death or no death, there was breakfast. Mood lightening, Bakura steered Myrtle to a chair, and wrapped an arm around her comfortingly. "It'll be all right," he told her. "You'll see."

It was a vow he made to himself as much as to her. He wouldn't let anything happen to her. She was depending on him, and he resolved to be worthy of that dependence. Myrtle had done enough for him when there was every reason for her to run from him. She had always stood by him. He wouldn't let her down, not now that she needed him. No matter what, he wouldn't let her get hurt. She deserved to be happy, as he never had.

He loved her.