Chapter 3: Budding Relationship

After the Seperation, when the three Millenium Spirits gained their own corporeal bodies, it was a surreal moment. But after awhile it felt as if they've always been there all along. Nowadays it wasn't odd to see both Bakura and Marik annoying the hell out of Atemu while he was working at the Kame Gameshop. It was perfectly normal to always see Atemu by Yughi's side. No one blinked to see Marik helping out in Domino Museum or tinkering with Bakura at Razor's bikershop.

They were tangible; larger than life as they were thousands of years ago. Or as Jou would say, "attractive and exotic as hell!" not that they needed to know that. On a good day they were overbearing. Jou wanted to prevent their head from filling up with more hot air than was necessary. 'Sides it would lead to pretty embarrassing moments.

When you got over their arrogance, pride and insults they really weren't that bad to have around. They were just a darker representation of their Hikari. What made them stand out was more the fact that they were their own person. Gradually they began to revert to their old self and yet they were different. Continueing to develop themselves in body, mind and soul. Through the gang's help they had fully adapted to the best of their abilities in this new and foreign world they found themselves in.

All three men now attended Domino High School, even though in spirit they were much older than their peers. And even though they knew more about history than the teachers and were smarter than other students they still went every schoolday, even Bakura and Marik.

Atemu was introduced as Yughi's older brother. Not a second had passed and he already had his own groupie fan-club trailing behind him every single day, much to his irritation and consternation. He had to swear profusely to Yughi not to Mind Crush any female trying to accost him. That didn't mean he couldn't play mind games with Marik and Bakura. He was Pharoah, supreme ruler of Egypt and he'd be damned if he let a Crypt protector and Thief King laugh at his expenses.

Marik went to school just for laughs and to bother Bakura into joining him for one of his many pranks against Atemu. They told the student body that he was Malik's older brother, who had just returned from Egypt after a successful excavation. After his morbid display with twin daggers no one questioned it. Even now the guys at Domino were leery of even approaching or getting anywhere near the sandy-blond youth. The fact that Marik always had a maniacal grin and blood-thirsty look in his eyes possibly also had something to do with that too.

Surprisingly Bakura was the one that actually paid more attention to school than both Atemu and Marik combined. Unlike Atemu and Marik he didn't had much schooling growing up. It was live and get by or die in the desert. And growing up in a town with thieves, rapists and outlaws had their drawback. So he was diligent in his student like his brother but the bullies quickly learned that he wasn't a pussy like his younger 'brother' Ryou. Off course after the descriptive threats, they were wise not to get revenge on Bakura through Ryou.

And so after all the changes of their transformations and forgetful moments, life continued on. Bit by bit the group bonded tighter with each other. They all congregated around each other. Where you saw one of them, the others where usually nearby. But the most surprising thing inside the group would have to be the friendship between Jou with Seto or Bakura.

Despite their difference Jou and Seto managed to be friends with each other. Their traded insults lost their bite and became more affectionate. They treated each other as best friend, much to the dismay of Tristan before Seto set him straight on that matter. Hard and brutal but at least Tristan got the point. Now if only the same thing could be said of Jou's relationship with Bakura.

It wasn't bad at first. Bakura seemed to tolerate Jou while Jou held his own with the Egyptian. Jou's grades even started to improve considering he spent most of his school time with Bakura in the library. Then they started hanging out more when they both learned of their shared interests in archaic weapons. It was a surprise to all of them, except Kaiba to hear about Jou's fascination with weapons. Off course knowing about Jou's past life in America it wasn't unthinkable. Though it was kind of morbid and unnerving to see the blond haired boy as someone with a weapon fetish.

Never the less they seemed chummy together which was disturbing. Something that most of their group agreed on. They debated a lot on the subject but it was agreed unanimously to let things be. There really was no harm in their growing friendship. They liked each other. There were no fights. So the group let them bel only a selective few keeping an eye out to the both of them.

In the dark of the night they whispered of a past long forgotten. Their deepest secrets were unveiled with not a single bout of hesitation. They were honest and sincere, despite their cloaking of the truth. Gradually the hands of friendship turned and brought with it the forbidden wants of lust and hunger.

"My mother, Zahra, was a feisty girl, 'course with 6 older brothers she had to be. Grandfather turned a blind eye towards her and it cut her deeply. She did everything to get noticed. It drove her mad to see the disappointment in his eyes every time she did something to embarrass him. Even playing as one of the guys got her nowhere."

A sigh and compassionate eyes drew Bakura in. The emotions swirling in the sapphire eyes made his head ache. He was far too tired to figure out the blond youth. He had a good thing here. He did not want to ruin it just because of some confusing signals the blond was constantly throwing at him.

"She must have been pretty heartbroken about it. Me and my dad never got along so it wasn't as bad as with Serenity. She was Daddy's girl and when his love died for all of us it hit her pretty hard."

A ruffle on blond tresses and the soft, "I'm sorry," got lost in the winds as they watched the stars above them twinkle and dance.

"Don't be! Hey, what does Zahra means anyway?"

Startled eyes connected with curious ones before looking away. A blush rose up. He shook his head before laying back down.

"Why you want to know, Jou?"

The boy stammered and went beet red. It was a spur of the moment thing. It took him by surprise. It was just that being friends with Bakura made him feel as if he could say and do anything that wouldn't offend Bakura or upset him in anyway. A part of him wondered why he thought that way. Another clearing of a throat brought him back again to the present and the very patient Bakura. It never stopped to amaze him that Bakura would be patient toward him, but it's true. As fas as he can tell, he's the only one the youth has patient for. Apart from Ryou off course, but he doesn't count.

"Just curious. Atemu told me that most Egyptians has some sort of meaning to their names. Just curious. You don't have to answer if you don't want to."

Bakura laughed at the fearful face of Jou and finally managed to wheeze out, "Flower," before a full blown laughter overtook him. Jou looked indignant and glared at the white-haired youth. His cheeks were burning and his mouth was set in a thin line.

"Are you calling me a flower?"

A jab and poke later things blew in Jou's face as he was pinned down by the hard body of Bakura. Twinkling eyes locked onto smoldering one's before letting up. The Egyptian apologized profusely albeit still laughing at the blonde's expression before subsiding.

"Wasn't calling you flower. It's what my Mom's name means. Flower."

"Oh."

"Yes, oh!"

Jou was so embarrassed he burrowed himself as much as he could in the cool green grass. He pillowed his head and curled up in his self. 'Oh, please just let me die.'

"My people were Nomads. We traveled a lot around the desert. We never stayed at one place too long. That was until we got to Kul Elna. My Grandmother loved flowers and despite the circumstances managed to revive a flowerbed in the middle of the desert. It was beautiful. My mother was named 'Flower' because of her love for them. The fact that she gave birth near her flowers could have something to do with that too."

A soft laugh drew Jou back to his presence. He gave an unneeded breath and the tightness in his chest dissipated. He watched the blonde settle fully on the green floor beside him. Lanky frame stretching out on the grassy hillside. Tired eyes blinked owlishly before finally closing.

"Ya not lying are you?"

A soft laugh and Bakura ruffled the blonde's hair for good measure. A hand shot out and whapped his own away. He settled back down and just watched as the silky hair blew wildly around due to the winding wind. He closed his own eyes and let out a deep breath.

He knew he should probably wake the blonde up and soon. They had classes tomorrow and their friends might worry. Not that he'd let anything happen to the blonde. He just wanted to let the quietness and serenity envelop them. It was nice laying here, just the two of them with nothing more than natural music as their company.

If he concentrated hard, he could pretend it was just the two of them in the world.

To be continued

ETA 19/6 Will try to get the new chapter up