Title: Within the Cross

Pairing: Téa x Bakura

Rating: M


I probably shouldn't be here. Nope, I am POSITIVE I shouldn't be here, but before I can finish my other stories, I need to do this. Badly.

Okay, so I've wanted to write something like this for a while now, and finally I had the inspiration to start it. Mostly because I realized the lack of BakuraxTéa and an exceeding growth of SetoxTéa (even though I am a rabid azureshipper). Of course I am excluding the mountains and mountains of yaoi… [Stares at the fan girls] Sorry, but no yaoi action here to be seen. So I say good day! [Flips her cape behind her shoulder]

It's not going to be a very long fiction; ten chapters long including the prologue and epilogue. But then again, the chapters are really long, so…

In regards to the timeline, I have it set where everything is canon up until around mid/end Battle City. And then it kind of splits off into an alternate timeline… Yeah. So I'm making a 'few' creative changes to suit my needs. Ugh, writing a completely canon Yu-Gi-Oh story is hard and I prostrate myself in front of those who have succeeded.

Quick note: Prologue's short, and nothing like the rest of the story. It's just a tad bit of background that sets things up. Just thought I'd let you know.

Disclaimer: For now, and for all future chapters, Yu-Gi-Oh! And all affiliated titles do not belong to me. Honestly. I'm just here for fun, not profit.

Chapter One:

The Prologue

Bakura shook with fury as he watched his life points spin down until they hit zero. Yugi, standing before him, a smug, triumphant look plastered across his face, didn't blink as his signature Dark Magician faded out of existence. Behind him, his friends cheered wildly, Téa amongst them, and she cheered louder than them all.

"Way ta go, Yug'!" exclaimed Joey, punching his fist in the air, nearly taking off Tristan's ear in the process.

"Hey, watch it, man!"

Téa ignored the two dunces, watching Yugi close his duel disk, speaking to Bakura in chiding tones. "You were a fool to challenge me, Bakura, especially with such high risks." He pointed sharply at him, his eyes drawn down. "You know the deal. I lose, you get my Millennium Puzzle. I win, you leave me and my friends alone-- forever."

Way to tell him, Yugi! whispered Téa's thoughts excitedly. For a while, she thought that the battle may have belonged to their once dear friend, but in the end Yugi pulled through- as if there was any other option when it came to him!

But it's not Yugi, reminded her hesitant thoughts. It's the Pharaoh… remember?

A delightful shudder ran through her body, her eyes fluttering closed. She went unnoticed as she thought of the spirit's velvet tones, the way he held himself up in the face of even the scariest of foes. He was such a powerful and courageous presence, and every time she thought of him, she just…

"I'm very clear of the terms I set, Pharaoh," seethed Bakura, and just to make a point, he already began to walk backwards, away from the group of friends who were quickly gathering closer together to watch. "But you best be on your toes; your Millennium Puzzle will be mine."

Any other time, Téa would have shrugged off such a threat, just like all her other friends were doing right now, especially with Joey who was firing off less than respectable comments towards the white-haired opponent. However, there had been a strange, almost uncomfortable force behind each and every one of Bakura's words, so much so that she was compelled to believe everything that he said. He would be back, and the puzzle would be his, despite everything else that said otherwise.

"You'll never get your thieving hands upon the puzzle," declared Yugi with just as much force, pulling Téa out of her thoughts, "and the sooner you realize this, the sooner you'll--"

"Find peace, Pharaoh?" interrupted Bakura snidely. He laughed sharply, his pearly whites shining in his dangerously perfect smile. "There is only one way I will find your so-called peace, and it happens to be hanging around your neck." Then, as an afterthought, he waved his hand around in the air, "And in some other interesting places, I'm sure."

He dropped his arm and turned, angling himself so he could just barely look back at them. "Perhaps I will go and get them first. And then…" Another chuckle, and he turned away fully, beginning to walk away, under the abandoned overpass deep within the darker part of the city. "Well. Let's just say I'm sure we'll meet again."

Bakura waved his hand in the air up until he disappeared. Yugi's eyes never wavered once, not until he was sure his opponent was long gone. Then, he sighed, allowing himself to relax.

Téa walked up to him, standing next to him, folding her hands together behind him. "So, do you think he'll come back?" she asked, her blue eyes shyly unable to meet with his strangely crimson ones. It didn't matter much anyways, because he was looking back to where Bakura had disappeared.

"Yes," he answered with no hesitation. "He will."

Téa sighed. "I was afraid of that."

Apparently the tone in her voice was enough for Yugi to look back down at her. She could feel the force of his gaze upon her, and she was obligated to look back at him, even though every time she did, she felt as if her knees turned to jelly. She couldn't read his expression- she doubted she would ever be able to- but if she knew anything about him, she could have sworn she saw a flash of concern within the depths of his irises.

Then, she blinked, and crimson became violet, and the strong presence vanished, revealing her best friend and long time companion, and she knew without a doubt that in his eyes- Yugi Mutou's eyes- he was definitely concerned.

She smiled sheepishly, scratching her head. "Oh, don't give me that look. I'm fine, Yugi! See?" She jumped a little, taking in a deep breath, fisting her hands on her hips, and puffing out her chest. "Fine!"

She knew, despite her little show, that he didn't believe her, but Yugi never pushed. "Alright, Téa," he said quietly, a small- was it forced?- smile on his face. "If you say so."

The air left Téa, and her shoulders slumped. "Yugi…" Why did he look so hurt all of a sudden?

"Hey you two!" called out Joey, waving them to follow. "We're goin' out for a bite to eat ta celebrate. So are you two just gunna sit there an' chat, or are ya gunna stuff your faces?"

"Stuff our faces!" cheered Téa and Yugi in unison, although he still seemed less enthused than before. Téa couldn't really think of a reason why; she hadn't done anything to him.

Maybe he's concerned about Bakura…

Thinking of Bakura caused her to turn out of a compulsion to look back at the blackness that he had disappeared into. If she concentrated on it for long enough, she could have sworn that he was still there, his dark brown eyes still watching them, waiting for the right moment to strike…

"Téa! Are you coming?"

It was Yugi calling to her from the group. Startled and a bit embarrassed, she ran to catch up with the rest of her friends-- but not without looking one last time behind her at the figure in the shadows.

But as soon as she thought she saw him, his arms crossed, his irises lowered in a mysterious, deadly expression, he was gone, remaining to be simply a illusion.

Man, I'm losing it. Maybe it's because I'm so hungry.

Shaking off her foreboding thoughts, she caught up with everyone else who quickly set about to making fun of her and her rapidly shortening attention span. Returning the jibes in kind was enough to distract her from the feeling of eyes upon her back. But then, they disappeared completely, the remains of his presence fading away completely.

It would be two years until she saw him again.