I'm sorry I took quite some time posting this. This chapter was a nightmare to write. Honestly.
I won't bore you with author's notes, so I'll let you guys skip to the reading. I hope you'll enjoy!
Chapter 5: Draco dormiens numquam titillandus
"Is something wrong, Ryou? You don't look well..."
Upon hearing Terry's concern over my health condition, Cedric, Zach and Craig all swiftly turned to stare at me as I took my usual seat beside them. I tried smiling, but I'm pretty sure they didn't buy it.
I blame the sick feeling way down in my stomach.
"I'm fine. Just a little tired, I guess." I absently poured myself a glass of pumpkin juice and nibbled on a piece of toast. Craig and Terry nodded, and although they both kept glancing my way every so often, they decided to leave me alone.
However, Zach, being the subtle one, didn't let the matter drop.
"Are you sure? You really look paler than usual. And you completely ignored that plate of creampuffs over there." I glanced to the left. A huge plate was stacked high with the sweet pastries. I hadn't even noticed. I didn't feel like eating one, actually.
"Really, I'm fine. I couldn't sleep last night. I guess I was a little excited about today." Or rather, stressed completely out of my mind. Because what the others didn't know was that I knew what Bakura and the other Champions were about to face. And I had enough experience with holographic dragons to know that real live ones could only spell death and destruction with capital Ds.
I don't care if Osiris (1) was a God-card, it was still a freaking, two-mouthed DRAGON! I did not appreciate waking up to that during Battle City.
"Yeah, I was pretty excited last night too!" Zach said. "I'm still bitter about not being chosen as Champion, though. I mean, look who gets to represent us! A fucked up kid and a Slytherin asshole!"
He suddenly yelped and glared at the one sitting in front of him. From the corner of my eyes, I faintly saw Cedric give him a look worthy of Seto Kaiba, before he turned my way.
"Don't worry about your brother, Ryou. Dumbledore wouldn't let anything bad happen to the Champions. I'm sure whatever the First Task is, they'll be alright."
If Dumbledore places dragons in the category of "not overly lethal tasks", then this school is even more fucked up than I first imagined. "Measures have been taken to ensure the Champions' safety," he had said. "Underaged students will not be permitted to participate."
We all know how easily that rule got broken, do we?
I'm not really that worried about Bakura. I mean, he's a bloody annoying spirit with more lives than a freaking cat! Who cares if he disappears? He'll just come back, anyways...
Another twist of my stomach and I just couldn't eat anymore. Bakura has his own body now. He might not be able to come back this time.
And for reasons unknown to even myself, I didn't like that possible outcome.
"Let's go to the stadium." Terry suddenly said while standing up. "I don't know about you, but I really want to get some front row seats before the rest of the students all stampede in."
I was quick to follow his lead before anyone could decide forcing the rest of my breakfast down my throat would be a good idea. Craig shot me a disaproving glare but didn't say anything. As we walked out of the Great Hall, an arm was slung around my shoulders and I heard some of my roommates groan in annoyance.
"Hey Ryou!" Marik greeted. "Mind if I join you guys? I'd rather sit with my best friend than with total strangers."
"Sure." I said before anyone could object. Terry nodded to show he didn't mind. Cedric and Craig both shrugged. Zach growled, but thankfully didn't comment.
Marik smirked and we left through the castle doors together, with my roommates walking a couple steps in front of us.
"Edge of the lake!" My friend suddenly hissed in Japanese. "Now. Bakura wants to see you!"
I stumbled to a halt, surprised. Marik's lips were pursed disaprovingly and his eyes were more slanted than usual. I guess he was clearly not invited to our little "get together".
"Oh..." I finally said. "Well... can you save a seat for me, please?" He nodded and I fell behind, taking a turn left instead of following my friends.
It didn't take long for me to reach the edge of the lake. I didn't see anyone, but I knew better. The skies were grey and the trees casted shadows everywhere. I knew the former spirit enjoyed hiding in them. Probably a Thief instinct.
"Took you long enough." His gruff voice took me offguard, having come from right behind me. I grew tense and turned round to face him, slightly annoyed at myself for letting him surprise me.
"What do you want?" I asked. He was wearing one of my old t-shirts, one that was stripped in black and white. Dark trousers covered his legs, which surprised me a little. He had seemed to like jeans better, but I guess these would be easier to run with. His school cloak was fastened over his shoulders.
He shrugged. "I want you to hold on to something for me." He said, casually. "I would keep it myself, but I've learned it was never a good idea to keep all your valuables in the same place."
I blinked. When did he start asking me for favours? Better yet. When did he start to trust me with his "valuables"?
"Sure." I mumbled. "As long as it isn't anything lethal."
He chuckled and pulled something out of his pocket. It wasn't very big, because it could easily fit in his fist.
"Don't you worry your little head over it. Just keep it with you at all times." I moved my hand forwards to take whatever it was he was holding, but as soon as I was close enough he grabbed my wrist with his other hand. I glanced up at his face. He was glaring at me.
"I mean it. Keep it in your pocket. Even when you go to sleep at night. Don't let it out of your possesion, even for a second, or I swear you'll regret it. Am I clear?"
I frowned. "Fine, I get it. What is it, anyway?" He kept his eyes fixed on me a couple seconds before finally releasing my wrist. Something heavy fell into my open palm, and I closed my fingers around the cold metallic ball.
I recognised the thing as soon as I glanced at it.
"What... When and how did you get this?"
He smirked. "Duellist Kingdom. Trust me, Landlord. You do not want to know how."
My stomach churned once more as I thrust the Milennium Eye deep inside my jean's pocket. Point taken...
"One more thing." He suddenly said as I turned to leave, stopping me in my tracks. "Ishtar doesn't need to know."
When I reached the stadium, students had already started piling in, so it was difficult to move through them to reach my seat. Provided I did find it. I was starting to loose hope when a tanned hand decided to prove me wrong by grasping my wrist and pulling me to the front of the rows. My roommates were already seated, and Marik's cloak had been strewn over two seats next to them to signal they were already taken.
"Where have you been?" Craig asked as I sat beside Cedric, Marik having moved his cloak so we could sit down.
"Bathroom." I mumbled. My Egyptian friend chuckled. "Urusai (2)", he whispered. I rolled my eyes.
My four roommates then got into a heated debate over something, but the growing chatters of the students around us made it impossible for me to hear anything besides Cedric's part of the conversation. I turned towards Marik, but the look he was giving me stopped me from saying anything.
"What did he want?" He asked while keeping his eyes narrowed at me. The tone in his voice was enough to say he didn't trust Bakura as much as I thought he did.
Ishtar doesn't need to know...
"Just wanted to make sure I was still alive, I guess." I quickly said. "Remember what he said at the beginning of the year? He wanted to make sure I wasn't killed stupidly."
Marik didn't seem convinced. "Ryou..." He growled. "If I were to guess which one of you were to die today, I'd bet on the one facing the dragon."
I winced. "You really want me to be sick, do you?"
"Speaking of which..." He sighed and dug an apple from inside his pocket, which he pushed none too gently into my hands. "Eat it!" He ordered. "Your friend Terry told me you hardly ate this morning. I was going to save it for myself as a snack, but you just look like you could keel over any second now."
I stared at the apple, then at him. I opened my mouth to protest.
"Don't make me force it into your mouth!" He growled before I could say anything. I sighed and took a small bite.
"Ah, there you are!" Ludo Bagman exclaimed as Bakura entered the tent. "I was starting to think you might have chikened out!"
Bakura scoffed and walked over to the nearest wooden post. Harry couldn't help but wonder how the Slytherin managed to appear so calm as he leant casually against the beam. Viktor Krum and Fleur Delacour didn't look as confident as before, and both had sweat glistening on their brow. Harry didn't feel any better.
"Step right up!" The enthusiastic Bagman beckoned them all around him and produced a silk bag. "In this bag you'll find a miniature of what you are about to face. There's four of them, all of different... varieties. Your tasks, gentlemen, my lady, is to grab the golden egg."
All four nodded, and waited as the sound of students rushing overhead to their seats grew louder, before being replaced by an excited chatter.
"Ladies first!" He offered the bag to Fleur. She pulled out a Common Welsh Green, bearing the number two around its neck.
Viktor Krum was next. He drew the Chinese Fireball, and would be the third Champion to compete.
When Bakura stepped up to the bag, Harry couldn't decide whether it would be better for him to be the first or the fourth Champion. The Slytherin pulled out the Swedish Shortsnout. Harry would have questioned his sanity upon seeing the slight smirk the older teen had as he stared at the number one, but he was too preoccupied by the fact that he was about to pull out the Hungarian Horntail.
"There you go!" Bagman cheered. "Mister Bakura will be first. Step right up as soon as you hear the whistle!" And he left the tent, dragging a zombie like Harry with him.
Bakura leant back against the wooden beam, as if nothing major was about to happen. That is, until a wave of nausea suddenly washed over his stomach, making him cringe.
"Ra dammit, Ryou!" He growled to no one in particular as he brought his hand to his forehead. No one understood Japanese, anyway. "Cut it out!"
The whistle blew, and so he pushed away from the beam, doing his best to ignore the nauseous feelings that weren't his own. He barely noticed Harry walking back inside the tent as he left it, focusing his thoughts on pushing away his lighter personnality's sickness.
And then, he was on the field. Facing him, a large dragon with blue scales was crouched protectively over what he assumed was its nest, amber eyes peering at him suspiciously over a squished snout, hence its name.
First things first, he thought. He felt the Ring quiver from beneath his shirt, and lifted his hand over it to mask the bulge it was sure to create as soon as the spikes would move. Sure enough, two of the dangling pieces had lifted from their resting place on his chest, and he felt the tips pointing to his left, towards the benches.
"There you are!" He growled, looking up towards the bleachers. His eyes met brown beneath white bangs, and he glared. Hard. Brown eyes widened in surprise and shock.
The sick feeling faded, becoming more bearable. Bakura smirked, still looking up towards Ryou, then turned back towards the dragon. The creature hadn't moved a muscle.
The Thief stretched his arms, feeling satisfied once he felt the bones cracking slightly, and clutched the wand in his hand. "Osbcurum tenebrae!" He growled.
The field darkened, and he pulled his dark cloak closer around him, running straight inside the shadows forming between him and the dragon.
"Where did he go?" Cedric suddenly exclaimed, as did most of the students around us. Ludo Bagman's voice faltered in the middle of a comment over "the Slytherin's Champion hesitation" that was "surely a sign of fear," replacing it with a shout of surprise.
Marik was leaning dangerously over the railing, peering down at the shadows. "Dammit! I can't see him!"
I grabbed unto his arm to pull him slightly back before he decided to kill himself. "Careful!" I said before glancing around the field. The dragon stirred and roared, wrapping its wings tighter around itself and its nest. Smoke rose from its short snout, and suddenly a blaze of fire shot across the shadows.
Marik cursed in Egyptian beside me whereas I froze, having caught a glimpse of movement a few meters away from the fire. I leant forward, squinting. There it was again. It was quick, moving fast, a darker mass racing through shadows.
"There he is!" I said, pointing. "He's using the shadows... to hide." The dragon suddenly lurched its head forward, blasting a second burst of flames onto the field. Once again, it had hit the spot where, 10 seconds before that, the mass of darkness I was sure to be Bakura had stood.
"I hope your brother is fast!" I suddenly heard Terry comment. I turned my head towards my friend, who was leaning over Craig and Cedric so that I could hear him. "Dragons' eyes are sharp, despite also being their weakness. Even with that veil of darkness, it can still follow his trail."
There went my stomach again...
"Ryou, are you sure you can see him?" Marik snapped from my other side.
Does he really think I would lie over something like this?
"Maybe it's a twin thing..." Cedric muttered. Marik shot a look his way, then our eyes met. Yes. Maybe it was a "twin" thing...
"Ra-dammit!" Bakura cursed as he took a sharp turn to avoid another burst of flames. "Time for plan B." He lifted his wand. "Geminio Umbra!"
A darker mass of shadows took form, running alongside him. It quicky took the shape of his body, as if his own shadow had decided to stand beside him instead of painting a pattern on the ground. With a flick of the wand, Bakura sent it running away from him, and straight towards the dragon.
The beast's eyes had been trailing behind him up until that point. Confused by the sudden split in the shadows movements, it realed its head backwards, unsure of which trail to follow.
When Shadow Bakura drew dangerously close to itself and its nest, the dragon completely took its eyes off the real Bakura's trail, feeling more threatened by the decoy. It plunged forward, his front paws leaving the nest, snapping its jaws at the Shadow in front of him.
"Perfect!" Bakura smirked as he dashed to the dragon's side, unnoticed as it was too preoccupied shredding his Shadow to pieces. A glimmer of gold was now visible from the nest, now only protected by the dragon's tail and lower body. Bakura quickened his pace, leaping over the tail to dive into the nest.
It was now only a matter of seconds before the dragon would realise its target was hiding right beside him.
The Thief grabbed the Golden Egg, tucking it securely in his arm as he took hold of the edge of the nest to jump out. His foot had barely reached the ground when suddenly the dragon's tail lifted up, and he dove forwards to avoid it as it slammed beside him.
Busted, he thought as a deafening roar exploded from above him, and he dashed forwards, cursing the added weight in his arms. He heard a swish and dropped into a forward roll just as the tail whipped the air over him. He didn't waste time pushing himself back up on his feet, sprinting away as fire was breathed down behind him.
"Shit!" He growled as the end of his cloak took fire. Claws appeared on the edge of his vision, and he leapt to the side in an attempt to avoid the hit. A ripping sound filled his ears as pain hit his side, and he was tossed towards a column of fire.
"CORPUS AGUAMENTI!" He shouted as he was about to reach the flames, his hand gripping his wand tighly. He was suddenly soaked in water, and he soared straight through the flames, half protected by his drenched clothes. He skidded on the ground several feet away, air knocked out of his lungs, and laid still.
"Bloody Hell!" Somebody yelled from beside them. Marik and Ryou both stared at the figure that was sent flying out of the shadows onto the light, skidding to a halt just before the entrance to the Champion's tent. Light bounced off of something gold in his arms.
"He's got it!" Ludo Bagman's astonished voice suddenly boomed. "Mister Bakura has succeeded!"
Several men appeared around the dragon, shooting spells at it to tame it. A huge chain appeared around the beast's throat and it was pulled away from the field. The shadows surrounding the pitch were also fading away.
"Wow..." Craig finally said. "I didn't see all of it, but that was something." He leaned over Cedric to add something to Ryou, but he didn't see his roommate. The Slytherin had also disappeared. "Where's Ryou?"
Bakura groaned and opened his eyes, squinting at the greyish skies above him. What the Hell...? His body felt on fire and something heavy on his chest was painfully crushing his lungs. Cursing, he pushed the offensive object aside with his right arm, hardly hearing the thud as it landed beside him. The movement caused waves of pain to flow through his arm, and he clenched his teeth tightly.
His mind was still foggy from the pain as he pressed his elbows on the ground to push himself upright. He nearly collapsed back down, his left arm giving out completely beneath him whereas his right one trembled, and this time he couldn't stop the cry of pain that escaped his throat. Steadying himself as best he could, he forced himself to a sitting position, and his head swam with dizzyness. The cold air around him gradually brought him back to his senses, and he was suddenly aware that, not only was his body currently enduring an almost unbearable amount of physical pain, but he was also wet and thus, freezing.
Cringing, he glanced down at his left arm. Or rather, what was left of it. Part of the bone on his forearm had broke through the flesh and was now visible amidst the blood. His sleeve was completely shredded, and crimson rivers were flowing down the limb. His side wasn't much better. His shirt had been torn apart by the dragon's claw and a nasty wound adorned it, leaving crimson flowers to rapidly bloom on his skin. Shit...
He shifted to his knees, and then, awkwardly, shakingly, the former spirit staggered to his feet, jaw clenched tight to prevent himself from voicing his pain. His right hand left the ground and went to his bleeding side, in a feeble attempt to quelm the flow, while his left arm hung limply beside him. He wasn't even going to try holding it, else his self restraint might be shattered and all his efforts to not cry out would be ruined.
His foot hit something hard, and he glanced down, glaring at the offending artefact. Like Hell was he bending down to retrieve it! There was no way he could manage that with one arm useless. A shadow suddenly fell on the golden object, and its owner gathered the treasure in his arms before glaring down at Bakura.
"Can you walk?" Snape grunted. The former spirit jerked his head as an affirmative. "Good. Now move it!" The Slytherin Head of House gestured towards a tent at the edge of the field, where most likely Madam Pomfrey was waiting.
As they started to walk, Bakura was faintly aware that the buzzing in his ears wasn't going to improve anytime soon, what with the noise the students were making. And by the roaring of the dragon as it was dragged away to be replaced by another.
"I told you so! I freaking told you so! But would you listen? Noooo, of course not! I mean, it was just a little dragon, what could possibly go wrong?"
"Ishtar..." Bakura growled. "Shut the Hell up before I tear your toungue out and shove it down your throat!"
I shook my head. If Bakura could still come up with threats and tortures to zip Marik's mouth shut, then I guess he was fine. Well, as fine as one could be after sustaining so many injuries.
When we reached the tent, a couple of minutes earlier, Bakura and Professor Snape were just entering from the other end, which opened unto the field. We weren't surprised to notice Bakura wasn't accepting any help as he staggered to the bed, nearly collapsing onto it as Madam Pomfrey quickly moved to heal the bones in his left arm. The piece that was sticking out of his flesh was immediately put back to place, forcing a pained cry out of Bakura's throat, despite the fact he was obviously doing his best to suppress it.
He then proceded to peel off what was left of his drenched shirt off of his bloodsoaken side, while ignoring Marik's comment of "Looking like shit."
His burns were quickly taken care of, and the ribs that had been sprained from his harsh landing as well as the weight of the gold egg were healed in an instant. However, the wound in his side was going to leave a temporary mark, the Nurse said, as was the gash on his left arm where the bone had stuck out.
I spent a whole five minutes blaming the stupid person that had thought stealing from a dragon would be something students should be able to do. Forget the fact Bakura wasn't a regular student.
I got reprimended for voicing my opinion and for fussing over him, complete with a "Foolish boy" comment. Marik took it upon himself to defend me.
Actually, I'm sure he was just dying to yell at Bakura.
"Like Hell I'm shutting up!" Marik spat back. "You deserve every piece of torment after that stunt!"
Bakura's left eyebrow twitched. A pretty sure sign he was going to lash out at Marik and strangle him, despite the bandages wrapped around his now bare torso and keeping his left arm in place. Not wanting to deal with another injured person (worrying over one person is enough for me, thank you very much!), I grabbed Marik by the arm and tugged him towards the entrance of the tent.
"I think they're going to announce the results." I glanced back at the one posing as my twin brother. "I guess it's no use for me offering to help you over to the field?"
As expected, he stood up with a glare, though it was mostly directed towards Marik. "Like I'd need any help..." He grunted. He pulled his newly repaired and dry cloak over his shoulders and grabbed the egg with his right arm. Marik opened his mouth to add something, but I elbowed him before he could say anything and pulled him outside with me. Bakura followed us.
Madam Maxime was the first judge to announce the score she was awarding Bakura. A seven. Mr Crouch followed her lead. Both Professor Dumbledore and Ludo Bagman gave him eight points. And lastly, Professor Karkaroff made a five appear.
"I guess that's what you get for getting injured!" Marik remarked. Bakura shrugged. "Next time, try not to mess up as much as you did today."
The charm hit Marik square in the chest. He stared at us, mouth agape, and then his lips moved. No sound came out.
Bakura smirked. "That's better." He gloated, before casting his eyes on me. "Don't you dare remove it." He growled before walking away to the sidelines, most likely to see how the other Champions were going to deal with their dragons.
Marik stared at him, enraged, his mouth moving wildly as if he was trying to yell at Bakura despite the silencing charm. Then he grabbed unto my arm and pointed at himself, hope shining in his lavender eyes.
Like Hell I was going to help him!
"Sorry Marik!" I apologized, doing my best to conceal the laugh building in my throat. "You heard Bakura. Besides, it's your fault for taunting him."
I quickly moved out of his way and ran towards the bench Bakura was sitting at to join him before Marik could remember to try non-verbal spells at us. Bakura's smirk widened as I sat beside him.
"He's angry..." He stated.
"Actually, I think he's furious."
Marik proved my point by stomping to another bench, where he sat with his arms crossed. Occasionally he would shoot glares our way.
Bakura was enjoying every single minute of it, I could tell.
(1) Osiris is better known as Slifer the Sky Dragon (or, for all you YGOAS fans, Slifer the Executive Producer). I liked Osiris better, because it sounds more Egyptian than Slifer. And because in Japanese, it's Osiris the Sky Dragon.
(2) It means "That's a lie" or "Liar."
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