I don't even know why I'm trying this... Meh. Oh well. Tell me what you think, ne? And just in case you somehow missed this... It's a crossover.


On the fourth of June, the rain came down in buckets. The skies were black with lightning clouds, the air was heavy and cold, and winds with the force to knock over a full grown man raged sporadically throughout the entire day. The streets were almost completely empty as people took shelter in homes or storefronts, waiting for the next brief respite in the weather so that they might be able to run out, do what they needed, and get back inside unscathed.

It wasn't the best weather to celebrate one's birthday in, but Muto Yugi found that he didn't really mind. For all that he'd been soaked when he fought his way to school that morning, and soaked again on the trip back home, it was still one of the best days of his admittedly short life so far.

On his tenth birthday, Yugi had almost made a friend.


If the amethyst-eyed boy stopped to really consider it, he would realize how pathetic that was. But then, that was exactly why he wasn't stopping to think about it. Not for the first time, Yugi found himself latching onto a reason to be happy and holding it tightly to his chest so that he could enjoy it as much as possible before it faded.

Maybe it will last a while this time, the boy mused to himself as he dried off and changed into warm clothes after finally making it back home. If it really lasted... It would be so nice, for once, to have a reason to smile ready and waiting without even having to search for it. I almost made a friend!

He didn't really care that Senji had only played with him in school because of a dare, or that the boy's real friends had made it abundantly clear at the end of the day that nothing similar would be happening again. All Yugi could think about was the fact that for the first time ever, somebody other than his grandfather had noticed that he existed and actually paid attention instead of turning away.

It didn't happen often. "...Okaasan and otousan didn't even do that, you know," he recounted softly as he climbed up to sit at his desk, where a box and an array of little gold shapes were strewn about in one corner, as they had been since he was six years old. "I think, maybe, okaasan used to. Sometimes. But otousan..." The little boy's smile became smaller as he fiddled with a piece of the puzzle that he was only halfway done with. "Otousan always said I wasn't a very good son... But that's okay! Because I was born too early, and I was always so sick when I was little. I could never play sports or talk much or do anything really, and I'm not super smart, and I look very pale and my hair is really weird, so I don't blame them for leaving me all alone," he told the puzzle in a soft voice.

His smile widened again as he fit one tiny gold piece against another with tiny, clumsy hands. "But Senji noticed me today! And we played during lunch and sat together in class and nobody made fun of me. It was just like having a real friend, I think, even if it was only for today. It's a nice birthday gift, ne? I think so..."

Yugi had almost made a real friend today. And that meant that one day, just maybe, he could really make a real friend, just like all the other children. It was a bit pathetic, but it was still a step in the right direction, right? "But it's okay," he chattered quietly to the puzzle as he turned it around in his hands, looking for a new spot to work on. "You're not really a person but I think you still make a good friend." He frowned at an oddly shaped piece in his hand. "But I'm still gonna wish to make more friends, okay?"

Another grin lit his face as he suddenly managed to fit the piece into the puzzle. "That makes four puzzle pieces this month, and two of them today! Maybe the rain makes it easier to put together? Hm..."

"Yugi! It's time for dinner!"

With a series of rapid blinks, Yugi glanced at his door, and then at the puzzle in his hands. "Oh... Hai, jiichan!" He set the puzzle back down in its' spot on his desk, and smiled at it. "Well, I guess that's all I'm going to do for today. Dinnertime now." I should tell ojiichan about Senji! I bet I'm gonna get a real friend soon. I just have to! "Bye, puzzle..."

Just an ordinary day.


People from all walks of life regarded shadows in much the same way that they were cognizant of earth, fire, water, lightning, and air; naturally occurring, impossible to truly be without and absolutely fascinating on a level that no man-made phenomenon could ever hope to achieve. However, at the same time, there was a stigma attached to the shadows that didn't hold true for any of the physical elements, an intrinsic fear that was created by the very nature of shades. Shadows were created by the light, but they held none of their own. They were the natural, visible proof that no matter what, there would always be darkness in every corner of the world, no matter where one might travel. For many, this was a frightening prospect.

Harry... Well, he had never been one of 'many.' Even though the majority of his life had been spent locked in a cupboard, the five year old wasn't afraid of the dark. In fact, if he ever stopped to think about it, the emerald eyed boy would come to find that it was because of his cupboard that he couldn't find it in himself to fear the Shadows. After all, how could someone fear the place they believed was 'home?' It made no sense.

To him, the shadows were his only friends.

Of course, his classmates didn't share that opinion. The green eyed boy had been so confused when he found out that everyone in the kindergarten class, including the woman who taught them during the day, admitted to having a fear of the dark. He wanted to ask them what was so scary about shadows and the dark that he just couldn't see, but after a few months of being in primary school, Harry had quickly found out that freaks like him simply didn't operate like everyone else.

It hadn't been fun to realize that he was just as different from the other children there as he was from the Dursleys.

"Boy! What did you say to your teacher to make her call us in? Didn't I tell you to keep your trap shut and be stupid while you're in that place? Is it so much to ask? Well? Goodness, you can't even do that right..."

The small, messy-haired child kept his large eyes on the floor of the Dursley home's foyer, staying absolutely still as he listened to his aunt berate him. He didn't even move to keep the glasses he'd only just gotten from slipping down his nose. He thought about saying he was sorry for being strange, but by now, he knew that nothing would keep his relative from finishing her fit and sending him into the cupboard. Really, he didn't even mind the yelling, not any more. Even though Lisa cried when her aunt was yelling at her... But then, he was a freak. He was different. Maybe only good children cried and said sorry when they were in trouble...?

Most of the time, Harry didn't really care what happened around him as long as he got to eat and sleep relatively uninterrupted. It was normal, to him, that Petunia and Vernon cared much more for Dudley than they even pretended to care for him, and that Dudley got all the toys and the better clothes and never got punished for anything, even when it was his fault. He didn't even mind that Dudley had friends to go to the park with and play with and share snacks with.

Sometimes though, like now, the boy couldn't help but wish he could act normal and good for a little while, to see what it was like and maybe be treated just like his cousin was. If he could play with people and wear bright colors and talk without getting into any trouble for it, just for a little while... Even only once... Maybe then, he could be happy. He'd be a good boy if it meant he could just see what it was like.

"...not even listening! Just as impertinent as that mother of yours. Why couldn't you be a nice, good, normal boy like my sweet little dudders? Hmph..."

Harry didn't really notice it when he was all but shoved back into his cupboard. He didn't stand tall enough to actually hit the broken light bulb that was somewhere on the ceiling, and the backpack that was almost larger than him cushioned his body when he tumbled onto the folded blankets that made up his cot.

He shifted until he was sitting on his bed properly, and finally fixed the large glasses that had been slipping off of his face. He looked blindly to his left, at a corner of the cupboard where he knew there was nothing but darkness, even when the light sometimes decided to work. "...I could be good," the five year old mumbled, both to the shadows that he imagined as his friends and to himself. "I think I could be good. And normal. And nice..."

Good, and normal, and nice, he repeated in his thoughts as he curled up on his blankets, resting his head on the large back-pack. And... Smart. Good, and normal, and nice, and smart. And... Happy. And I could make friends if I want. Good, and normal, and really nice, and really smart, and happy, and I could make friends if I want. And... Um...

With his eyes closed, Harry began the most focused imagination session of his life, thinking of what the perfect 'good' him would be like. Maybe he could just build the perfect 'him' and let that Harry go to school and talk to the Dursleys, so that maybe, he could see what it was like to be normal.

...And 'good' me still has to be not afraid of the shadows, he added to his very long list, which had been building up for fifteen minutes at that point. Even if it's not normal, the shadows are my friends, and 'good' me shouldn't leave them. So... Good, and almost-normal, and really nice, and...

The empty, shadowed corner of his cupboard shifted a bit.


Ishizu loved Rishid a lot more than she would ever be able to care for him, and Malik wasn't sure that he'd ever be able to blame her for that, blood ties or not. If it were his choice, he would also choose Rishid over his own self. His brother was smart, kind, and unfailingly loyal, almost to the point of stupidity.

Rishid was also the only one that believed him when he said that all the bad things he did weren't his fault, not really.

The blonde Egyptian couldn't understand his brother's loyalty or tolerance. Things had reached a point where he was starting to believe that underneath everything, he really wanted to be the horrible person that he was turning out to be. Maybe it only felt like something else was controlling his mind and body during those times. Perhaps, the insane, angry voice that he only heard in his dreams and on the darkest nights was the one that he was meant to be using.

He scared himself.

"I don't want to be bad," he mumbled into his arms. He pushed himself back, curling further into the corner of his closet where he'd taken to hiding every time he did something cruel and didn't feel like facing the world. "But maybe... Maybe I should stop fighting it...?"

All of a sudden, he flinched, and buried his face even deeper into his arms. In the back of his mind, he could hear the voice crowing and cooing and crooning, agreeing, that he should just give in and enjoy the dark and let the shadows take care because they would always take care and you just have to give in, give in, give in and destroy it all...!

The shadows were coming to life around him now, and no matter how small a ball he curled into, they were always just inches away, caressing, wanting to swallow him whole. He knew now, from experience, that the Millennium Rod was shining on his belt, even though he wasn't attempting to use it all. The light was golden but perverted, because what kind of light was eaten by the shadows instead of driving them away?

"I wish I could be on the outside," he spoke to himself, lavender eyes clenched shut tightly as he tried to ignore the strange world his closet was becoming. "I could have gone to that Academy. I could learn how to control this kind of thing. I could find someone to fix what's wrong with me. I could track down that bastard who murdered my father. I could..." He paused, and even that shadows seemed to fade away as he thought.

If I'll be bad anyways... Why can't I just leave?

But the thought excited the voice again, and he had the worst headache he'd ever gotten as the voice got louder and crazier and even more frightening. Still, the thought stuck with him. He couldn't be good no matter what, so what would it hurt to leave and see the outside world as he so desperately wished to?


He hadn't been allowed to go to the funeral for Amane and his mother, but that was okay, because he knew what was really going on. He always had. There had never been a car crash, and the funeral was just a farce with empty caskets and oblivious people to confirm that it had really happened should anyone ask for some reason. Or rather, should he ask for some reason.

But Ryou was never going to ask, because he'd known the truth long before everything happened. He knew that he was the reason his mother and sister were gone. They were gone because there was something wrong with him, something powerful that was simply impossible to stop or get rid of. Something dangerous that his fragile mother and sweet, gentle sister would always be threatened by if they tried to stay. Something that would inevitably find them if it knew they were alive... Just like it did last time.

The white haired boy looked down, to the golden artifact that sat in both of his hands. All of the ends hanging from the ring pointed in one direction, and in his mind, he could hear that voice: /You know I know where sweet mother and darling sister are hiding. Come, let's go to them. It's the longest game of hide and seek you've ever played. But they don't hide so well, do they, yadonushi...?/

His brown eyes drifted over to the dresser across the room, where a framed picture sat in the shade of an unlit desk lamp. That was the last picture that he'd ever taken with his sister, the twin that was barely seven minutes younger than he was. Three years was a long time, but the ten year old could still remember clearly his sister's high pitched laughter, the braid she kept her light brown hair in, her eyes that were bright and hazel compared to his own dull chocolate orbs...

And then his eyes moved from the picture frame to the eight well-kept dolls that also rested on the dresser, each with unnaturally alive-looking eyes and frightened or shocked expressions on their faces. "No," he whispered quietly, "I think I'll just keep you and these shadows all to myself..."

The voice knew where they were... But so did Ryou. How could he not? Amane was his twin. Her life was the only thing he saw in his dreams, when he wasn't occupied with the nightmares from the malicious spirit in the Ring. And besides... Mother and Amane wouldn't want me. There's no reason to go looking for them if they'll just leave me again.

Nobody wanted him. Not his mother who was scared of him, or his sister who didn't even think about him, or his friends who wouldn't be dolls if it weren't for his childish love of games. Not even his father, who had stayed behind for some reason all those years ago to take care of him, had any desire to remain nearby more than a few days out of a year.

Deep voiced chuckling rang out in his head, and Ryou curled in on himself, closing his eyes so he wouldn't have to see the apparition that he could sense was appearing in front of him. /Are you feeling lonely again, yadonushi?/ The voice mocked. /Am I not enough for you? Are you unsatisfied with my rent? I don't see why... Now, your friends can play whenever you want.../

"I don't want to play with them as dolls! I want living, human friends! I don't want you to pay this rent!" Ryou exclaimed with a scowl, only to cut himself off abruptly, paling. The white haired boy only clenched his arms tighter around his legs when he felt ghost-solid hands gripping his shoulders painfully. "Please just go away, Bakura. Just... At least until tomorrow... Please?"

There was more mocking laughter, until finally, the room was dark and empty yet again. That didn't change the presence that would forever remain in the back of his head, but it was good enough. Ryou trembled a bit; as soon as he noticed it, however, he forced his body to still. The spirit was being relatively nice today, but the smallest signs of weakness from him had the ability to set off a hair-trigger temper that he had no desire to deal with anytime soon.

Slowly, Ryou slid off his bed, and took the few steps necessary to reach the desk in his dorm room. The envelope, pen and paper was already laid out and waiting, as always.

"Dear Amane..."

Even if his sister didn't want him, he could still remember the days when she was the only one he confided in. The letters were probably the closest he'd ever get to a confidant like her again.

"Today, I managed to make that boy with the blonde hair leave me alone. It hurt to say those things, but at least he'll never become a doll. Not like the rest of them..."

A/N: Dear strange people who have me on author alert and decided to read this: no, I'm not abandoning Second Bloom by doing this. It's just the result of an inspiration in between classes and a cute picture.