Note at the end of the chapter is details of this story being broke up into a second part, which picks right up after this chapter.

This has been edited to the best of my ability, enjoy.

Warnings: M. M/M Yaoi. Supernatural, Language, Violence. The plot is mine.

Chapter 36: The Journey Part 4

The aroma of food that wafted down the beach upon their return had been freshly caught fish cooking by the bonfire. Still in good spirits of their day they continued talking while they ate, some voicing on wanting to come back again, jokes, playful banter and laughter filled the area.

As the night drew on, the flames died down and a chill in the air forced couples to snuggle up and yawns escaped with mutters of needing to sleep. The Healer, Joey and Serenity were the first ones with a goodnight to everyone and returned to the boat. Yami stared through the flames at Bakura and Marik, refusing to leave despite Yugi had drifted off to sleep against him.

Yami had voiced his concerns that once Ryou knew who and what he was, that another great war might befall them all and the possible destruction of the Realms. Bakura saw no issues. He was safe no matter the outcome as are Marik and Malik... everyone else, well Bakura again had no problems, in fact he longed to see that glorious blue Spark fill his Mate's chest and mouth as he burned everyone and everything to ash and rubble. Sadly, Marik reminded both the Demon Lord and Bakura that Ryou possessed no such ability, born without a Dragon form and the lack of said Spark.

Malik and Ryou were so occupied with each other, their Human in the half Demon's lap. His fingers tangled in platinum hair, a very personal conversation filled with chuckles, a little groping and kissing. The pair acted as if they were the only ones on the Island. Bakura smirked to himself as did Marik upon seeing how Malik and Ryou so easily made each other happy.

Bakura's smirk was replaced by a somber look as he rose to his feet, since the Demon Lord would rather spend the night staring him down and trying to prevent any deep and meaningful conversations from happening between him and his Mate. Bakura would take a walk about the Island with Ryou.

Bakura cleared his throat; Ryou separated his lips from Malik's, who growled at the sudden loss of contact. "Take a walk with me," Ryou didn't hesitate and placed one last kiss to Malik's lips with a promise to continue later, before taking Bakura's hand and getting to his feet.

Ryou followed Bakura down the beach along the water's edge. The bonfire was soon enough nothing more than a small ball of light in the distance behind them. "It's so beautiful out here," Ryou's eyes were on the clear night sky, filled with more stars then he had ever seen in the city. He turned his attention on his Mate. Bakura had been in his natural Demonic form all day, his pale skin with a gray undertone, seemed whiter in the moonlight, crimson red eyes seemed to glow and his large black wings trailed behind him in the sand. Ryou absently reached out, running his fingers along the dark blue feathers, his Mate so stunning... Bakura raised an eyebrow, he never minded his Mate touching any part of his body at all. In fact he welcomed it in the name of it leading to more pleasurable things.

Ryou pulled his hand back with a soft smile and they continued to walk for a while more, his thoughts turned on the almost conversation they had that morning. Ryou knew now why Bakura wanted to take a walk, so they could be alone, spend this time to talk. "Ask," Bakura said suddenly glancing down at him from the corner of his eyes. "You won't know anything until you ask me."

"Who is your Master? How much hold does she or he have over you?" Ryou didn't hesitate to give voice to the thoughts that plagued him.

"My Master is male and he has a complete hold over me. His command is law and I must obey. I can never break from my servitude or that I would willingly wish for it to be broken. The day I'm freed will be the day he no longer wants nor needs me or I sacrifice my life for his."

Ryou stopped walking. His Mate continued for a few more feet before he too stopped, glancing back from over his shoulder. "You're in love with him," Ryou's voice slightly cracked an ache within his chest. His Mate belonged to someone else so completely that he would lay his own life down for this other.

"Of course," Bakura turned about with a raised eyebrow. "You are my Master."

"What?" Ryou took a step forward, it took a moment for Bakura's words to sink in. "I can't be your Master. Humans just don't walk about with slaves, let alone a Demon one."

"You are not completely Human," Bakura's somber look Ryou knew so well, spoke volumes that his Mate was deadly serious as was the topic.

"How is that even possible?" Ryou knew without a doubt that his parents were Human, then his thoughts shifted, seeing the Demon before him, the raw power Bakura had displayed on so many occasions, no doubt in Ryou's mind at all that his Mate was a very powerful Demon, Marik and Malik as well and then there was him, a powerless Human who needed defending most of the time and couldn't even keep up if he wanted to, there was no equal here between them. "Is it that you think I'm weak and wish me to be something other than Human? Something more then what I am."

"I have never thought that." Bakura shot back slightly angered, "I have never thought of you as weak or wish you to be anything other then what you are before me." It was true; Bakura had never once acted as if he were a burden.

"Tell me, how can you possible think I'm your Master?" Ryou's mind might have been reeling, but he was taking it all in.

Bakura took a second to get his thoughts straightened. "Remember the conversations when we first met, about how you were reincarnated?" Ryou nodded his head yes. "Your life before this one, you weren't like the others of your kind, you were weak, without Spark and form and you were looked down upon." Bakura made a slow approach. "You were in need of protection and a Mate to prevent others from using you to destroy the Realm. We Mated under contract for your protection, only we fell for each other. Fear rose in some that I may use you to destroy the Realms. In order to stay by your side, I had to go through certain changes, which prevent me from using you in such away. You had to become my Master, you control me and in turn I became your Guardian, your champion, your chosen, I became a weapon you needed."

"What am I?" Ryou's voice strained against the tightening in throat.

"A Dragon," Bakura's voice was strong and clear so there was no mistaking what he said.

"I would know..." Ryou instantly stopped talking as Bakura stood before him, his chin raised.

"You're having trouble satisfying that insatiable hunger," Ryou's heart beat faster in chest. "You do know, Dragons eat raw flesh and I have noticed your eating habits of late." Ryou swallowed thickly. "Also the lost hours you couldn't recall or the situations you found himself in unknowing how you got there."

"Oh, gods," Ryou muttered placing a hand over his mouth, not sure if he wanted to hear anymore, "I'm Human; I have parents that are Human." He didn't know who he was trying to convince, it definitely wasn't Bakura.

"The Dragon chose its own time and place to be reincarnated, even chose its vessels to keep it safe. Can't you feel the Beast within you that lays dormant, feel it breathing, feel it sleeping?" Ryou frowned; he now was too frightened to feel anything, not fully accepting or understanding the raw powerful surges that had filled him just before blacking out. "There is nothing to be afraid of; you are as much a part of the Dragon as it is a part of you." Ryou doubled over finding it hard to breathe, slightly gasping. "Easy," Bakura swiftly picked up his Mate in both arms and carried him over to sit on a large rock. "Just breathe."

"Why didn't you say something?" Ryou had his head between his knees, taking in deep even breathes while Bakura rubbed his back.

"Truthfully, I didn't think that side of you was there, that the Dragon was indeed forever lost to me, I didn't care, I am so happy and content with you as you are." Bakura cupped his face gently. "I didn't want to frighten you away or you be frightened of what you really are." Ryou gave a breathless laugh.

"Frighten me away, seriously?" Ryou turned his head on his knee and glanced at his Mate. "I'm not going anywhere unless it's with you." His mind absorbing everything said, but one thing Ryou was sure of over everything else was that it didn't matter what was happening around them or what he was told, he loved Bakura more than words could express. "Give me a moment," Ryou said before Bakura could say anything else, a little time to reorganize his thoughts. Ok, if he had something, another side to himself with a complete separate personality, Ryou wanted to find out all he could, but this other side of him, so if anything was to happen he wouldn't be so freaked out about it. "Tell me about this Dragon side of me."

Bakura for a moment looked shocked as if he expected Ryou to run from him denying everything. The pale Demon smirked, reaching out to brush white bangs from his Human's face. "Where to start?" Bakura thought for a moment, making himself comfortable. "You were the last born of the Midorikawa bloodline. The bloodline of the Great Ones. You were born into a very powerful royal family that had ruled over the Realm for centuries." Bakura's eyes darkened. "In one night the Dragon race was brought to the brink of extinction. Only three survived, you were one of them."

A dull ache tightened in Ryou's chest, like he wasn't hearing it for the first time, more like being reminded of something horrific, that he'd spent years trying to bury and forget. "How does this make me your Master?"

"After the Annihilation, everyone in the Realm realized that their powers were cut down by half, a lot of creatures died, a few races vanished completely. Lands too began to wither and die. Suddenly everyone saw the mistake they made that the Dragons they all slaughtered were needed to keep the Realm and its inhabitants in balance. There was a mad hunt for any surviving Dragons to be brought forth. Marik and I found you crying over a body of a dying Dragon one night in a burning village in the Human Realm, corned by Werewolves they had chased you down, you were defenceless, frightened and badly injured. Marik and I saved you, nothing we could do for the Dragon, but he gave you, to me, to protect."

"But that doesn't explain..." Ryou trailed off as Bakura held up his hand.

"The Realm was in chaos, Peacekeepers were overwhelmed trying to keep order. I brought you back with me and once others found out who you were, they came after you, trying to stake their claim on you to make you theirs by any means necessary. You and I made contract becoming a Mated pair. Only I didn't expect you to fall in love with me or I with you." Bakura sighed and ran a hand through his unruly hair. "Others feared that I would use your powers for myself to destroy the Realm or take it over and they too came after me and Marik. Only Touzoku believed that in order to truly protect you, I had to go through some changes." His crimson eyes met Ryou's for a moment.

"You mentioned that before, what changes?" Ryou shifted uneasily, searching Bakura's face and body, as if he would visibly see what he was talking about.

"I'm not exactly sure. All I remember was leaving you in Marik's care while I went with Touzoku; I wake up months later, more powerful than ever before, stronger and faster. The battle between Ishizu and myself, it should have killed me; my body should have been incinerated." Bakura sighed, "Depending on the wounds I sustain will determine the time it takes to get back on my feet. What would normally kill a Demon, I can survive it."

"Are you saying you can't be killed?" Ryou whispered eyes narrowed, he knew that Demon's were immortal but they could be killed by other supernatural creatures.

"As far as I know," Bakura shrugged.

"You asshole!" Ryou yelled at him straightening up, "You could have told me instead of leaving me thinking I would never see you again, don't you think these are things I should know about, what about Marik and Malik do they know?"

"Marik has his suspicions, but Malik doesn't."

"They don't know either," Ryou ran his hand through his hair, "Your just a jerk full of mystery."

"If I opened my mouth telling every Demon I come across that I'm truly immortal, then I'd have the whole Demonic Realm after me, wanting my powers and if they can't get it from me then they would go after the ones closest to me and force me to give them that power that I have no control over." Bakura's words were etched with a growl.

"If you can't tell me these things and can't trust me to protect your secrets..." Ryou growled back glaring down at his Mate. "Then I can't properly for fill my duties as your mate or protect you when the time comes."

"Be assured that there is no need to protect me."

"Yes there is," Ryou snapped, "You might not see it but you at times need protecting. Look what happened, no one knew and you were shipped off to that Hollow place, if I had known I could have done something about it. I wouldn't have felt..." Ryou's voice caught in his throat, Bakura rose up on his knees and embraced him.

"In a twisted way, I like how that sounds, you protecting me." Bakura buried his face in Ryou's hair kissing the top of his head and tightened his hold, pulling his Mate in closer to him.

"You're still a jerk," Ryou's words muffled by the Demon's chest.

"No doubt that I am."

Ryou pulled back, "what powers do I have?"

"You are not like the others of your kind; you weren't able to turn into the scaled Beast. You lacked the Spark that all Dragons possess. However, the Great Ones were bound to the Realm and all its creatures and in turn you also hold that power." Bakura thought for a moment on how best to explain. "The Great Ones and you were and are like the Realm's battery; you distribute the energy out into the Realm and in turn all the creatures use those powers. The Great Ones felt the burden of sustaining so many, when there were so few of them, so they sent forth some of their powers in Shadow form to help keep balance of their power and the Realm. You are the Key that keeps those Shadows alive which in turn keeps all Demonic creatures like myself, Marik, Malik, Kaiba and Yami in power. As long as you are in good hands the Demonic Realm, our powers, everything remains in balance. Anyone wanting true control and power must also possess you." Bakura grinned, "which is impossible for anyone to possess you since you are mine and I am yours."

"I'm confused, I died so shouldn't the Realm if I'm in control of it, die with me along with everything else?"

"No," Bakura reached out taking a bit of Ryou's hair in his hand, "you are not the only Great One and as long as you and I are bound together, it doesn't matter what happens to either of us as long as one of us lives everything remains as is." Ryou rubbed at his temples it was a lot to take in.

"Who is Pegasus?" Ryou asked, still trying to take everything in.

"Touzoku's bitch." Bakura rolled his eyes at Ryou's stare, "Pegasus served the Great Ones in the war, pledged his loyalty and army to them. After the Annihilation, the Goblin King and his army now serve you and Touzoku protecting you both."

"Who is Touzoku?"

"An asshole," Bakura growled.

"I'm being serious," Ryou nudged his Mate to answers him.

"Touzoku is your older brother."

"I have a brother?" Ryou frowned pulling back, "I don't think I heard right."

"You did," Bakura raised an eyebrow, "and he's an asshole," the pale Demon growled fangs showing when he spoke. "He's tried more than once to enslave me, believing that I'm too powerful, that he made a mistake, that I was a mistake to be free and be with you."

"Wait," Ryou gnawed on his lip worriedly, "can he take you from me?"

"No," Bakura snorted, "the only way for that hack to take me from you is to kill me and I can't be killed as far as I know."

"Can he take Marik and Malik?"

Bakura could see how generally worried Ryou is, not over the fact that he had a brother but more so that they would be taken from him, Bakura would kill Touzoku before he'd let that happened, he moved closer to his Mate and wanted to reassure him. "Touzoku still to this day thinks of you as his little brother, he cares for you. He wouldn't do anything to upset you. Touzoku likes to step on people's toes and throw his weight around. However, he wouldn't intentionally upset you."

"Where is this Touzoku now?"

"Can't say," Bakura gave him a meaningful look and lowered his voice, "He's still injured from a strange wound that won't heal. He's hidden away in the Realm under Pegasus's protection."

"Will he die?"

"Unfortunately, no," Bakura sighed

"When will I meet him?" Ryou asked.

"You don't need to chase him, Touzoku will find you soon enough at the Gathering." Bakura shoulders slumped, "we'll need to talk about the Gathering as well."

None of it seemed real, Ryou felt and looked Human right now and he was with his Mate, he also was relieved that Bakura is his and his alone. "So, can we continue like before? Do I have to give you orders? Do I need to do anything special? How does this change us?" Ryou fried off in one breath.

"Nothing has to change between us unless you want it too," Bakura let Ryou's hair fall from his hand. "Are you planning to over throw Yami and rule the Realm or destroy it?" There was an unsettling clip of excitement to Bakura's voice.

"No," Ryou looked and sounded shocked.

"Would you like me to kill someone for you?"

"Stop it!" Ryou snapped. He had so many other questions. His mind felt so overwhelmed. He really couldn't think of anything else to ask and didn't think he could take any more information about them or his past, knowing that he is Dragon, and he was Bakura's Master and that he had a brother was going to take time to mull it over.

"Then you don't need to give me orders." Bakura smiled slightly. "The perks of being your Guardian, is that I don't have to do anything Yami says." Ryou shook his head and laughed when Bakura nudged him playfully.

Ryou sighed in relief and held back his smile. "Oh," He gasped blinking owlishly at his Mate and said. "You know what?"

"What?" Bakura raised an eyebrow as Ryou slowly rose to his feet and stepped about the rock.

"This means you're my bitch." Ryou laughed as Bakura growled and shot to his feet and tackled him, the Demon started his merciless attack on his Mate. Ryou's screams and shrieks of laughter as his Mate found all his sensitive ticklish spots.

It was late when Ryou and Bakura returned to the boat that everyone was sleeping, but for Marik who was waiting for their return. "Did it go ok?" Marik asked getting to his feet as soon as they walked in. His eyes swept from Bakura to Ryou. Truthfully he had half expected the pair to be upset or arguing with each other or Ryou angry and in denial of everything wanting nothing to do with them.

"It's a lot to take in," Ryou smiled tiredly. Marik grinned bending down slightly and gathering his Human in his arms, lifting him off his feet in a hug, a laugh escaped his Human as he grabbed onto him. Once on his feet, Ryou rose up on his tip toes kissed Marik and bidding them a goodnight and headed towards the bedrooms.

"He still had a lot of question," Bakura sighed, "but some will be best explained at the Gathering."

"How did he go?" Marik asked.

"It went better than I original thought it would." Bakura placed his hand on Marik's shoulder, "Truly he's ok Marik. No one is going to be able to say anything to him that he doesn't already know." Marik was relieved; heading to the Gathering wasn't so daunting, it would do Ryou some good seeing where he actually came from, where they all came from.

"Coming?" Marik asked heading out the door and to the helm. He had secured and checked to make sure everything was returned and put back in place or tied down. There would be no stopping from this Island, heading straight to the Egyptian Portal and into the Demonic Realm.

Marik and Bakura took turns at the Helm, giving each other a break to eat and rest. A week at sea, everyone had settled down, Yami had even become helpful taking over the Helm once in awhile and seemed to be his old self. Ryou strangely slept for hours on end, taking long naps through the day and at times sleeping away whole sixteen hours.

Bakura had been worried, but Kaiba couldn't examine Ryou when he would awaken and lashed out at him preventing the Healer from even touching or using his healing abilities on him to see what was wrong with him. Bakura and Kaiba decided since Ryou wasn't in any immediate danger, they'd let him be.

It was on the seventh day; the shores of Egypt could be seen. The occupants aboard the boat were running around at the last minute gathering all their belongings together that they had acquired over their travels.

Soon the group had gathered on deck as the boat pulled into the dock. Bakura, Marik, Malik and Seto secured the boat. As the rest of the group stepped off onto the man-made docks and waited for the others. "Shouldn't someone be here to greet us?" Yugi asked as they started walking down the docks towards a city.

"Not here," Yami took his hand, "Once we reach the Realm, we'll be greeted."

The city was dusty, hot and crowded. Ryou's head was turning vigorously as he tried to see everything that he passed. The sun beat down on them as they walked through the streets; merchants sold their relics and rarities to the people and tourists on the street, calling out to get their attention.

They pushed their way through the crowd, one street lead to another and the less people about the further they got from the city centre. A huge warehouse like building loomed over them, casting its long shadow in the afternoon sun. It had seen better days and looked as if it would crumble at any minute. "This is it, an entrance to the Realm." Yami said moving forward taking Yugi with him by hand through the front door.

Ryou glanced at Bakura as Seto, Joey, Serenity and Anzu followed the Demon Lord and his Mate. "It'll be alright," Bakura said taking his Mate's hand, "We'll be at your side the whole time." Ryou was lead forward, he had a sinking feeling that once they stepped through those doors, not all of them were going to return.

End of Part 1

If you wish to keep reading this story please go directly to Crimson Nights: Realm The first chapter is up now. R&R.