A/N: Protectshipping. Honda/Ryou. Contest.

I don't remember if they knew each other very well before they went to Duelist Kingdom. I don't care.

Disclaimer: I don't own it.

"Hey, Bakura."

Bakura jumped-probably not the best action at the time, since he was leaning on the railing of the boat-and turned around.

"Honda? What are you doing here?"

Honda approached, putting a hand on the railing. "I was going to ask you the same thing. You're a duelist? And why didn't you tell us you were going?"

"It's not about the dueling. It's a... more personal mission." Bakura fingered the gold ornament hanging from his neck. "I didn't want to drag you guys into it."

"Yugi didn't want us here either, but here we are," Honda chuckled. "It takes more than that to keep us apart."

"I should've known," Bakura replied, but with none of Honda's humor. "You guys... you have something special. It's not enough to say that you're just 'friends'."

"No, I think it is," Honda mused. "It's everyone else that aren't... isn't... um..." He tried to think of a way to fix his poor misconstructed sentence, but it was too far gone. "Shoot. That's what I get for trying to sound smart."

At this, Bakura did smile, and for how serious he'd been, he might have been laughing uncontrollably. Honda caught it and smiled back.

"What I meant was," Honda tried again. "Is that 'friend' is a stronger bond than everyone thinks it is. Me, Jounouchi, Yugi, Anzu, and you-we're all friends. Not 'just friends'."

"I like that," Bakura's smile lessned, but it was still there. "I wish everyone else were like that. I wish there were more people you could count on."

"Well, you can count on us. If you need someone to help, or just to be there with whatever you're doing... we're here for you, man," Honda offered.

"Thanks, Honda," Bakura finally replied. "When I need to, I'll take you up on that."

"But...?" Honda asked.

"But I need to do this alone right now," Bakura forced out. Honda started to speak, but Bakura cut him off. "No, I know what you're going to say, but please... I don't want anyone else I know getting hurt."

"...alright," Honda conceded, turning away. "But if you need us, you come find us."

"I will," Bakura promised.

I was taking my laptop somewhere to work on my story. I dropped my laptop 3 inches while trying to plug it in and balance all the things I was carrying. This was very stupid. I am now at a lab computer, watching my laptop trying to reinstall its hard drive. I'm not in much of a state to write. I still had my spirit document uploaded so I deleted it and wrote this in its place. At least I know that no pairings were cut because of me.