Bakura was bored. Ryou had allowed him to go about the town in his body for a while, and Marik wasn't around at the moment. Every gang in the city had gone underground the second he stepped out the door.
It seemed that whenever someone spotted white hair and red eyes, the alert went out to run.
So he honestly didn't expect his day to become interesting.
At least, until he was hit in the head with an owl.
Cursing, he picked up the errant bird. It looked as cross as he felt. Ryou woke up in time to stop Bakura from killing it painfully.
/Yami wait! Did it come with a letter?/
/Why should I care if it came with a letter?/
/Because if it did, then maybe I could send one back./
Ryou was amused at how surprised his Yami sounded. It wasn't often he could pull one over the eyes of his darkness. Especially since the Ring and the other Items had been sealed away finally.
Still, it wasn't like they lost their dark sides. It only meant that the Items wouldn't be an issue anymore. Yugi still had his Yami, and Ryou still had Bakura. Even Marik had Malik.
Ryou took over and spotted the letter. It was from an old friend of his cousin's family. Sirius Black.
I hope I spelled your name out right this time. Sorry for not owling you for the past decade, but I was falsely imprisoned for twelve years.
Anyway, how have you been? Have you grown any bigger since the last time I saw you? Or are you still the runt I remember who liked to pull my tail?
Things aren't going so great back home. The dark idiot is back and he's targeting Harry. I was wondering if you wouldn't mind letting him stay with you for a few months. He won't be too much of a problem, and he knows how to do household chores.
Let me know when you get this,
Ryou grinned. He remembered Sirius very well. The man had made him laugh after his mother had died. His sister had barely survived, and was attending a school in France. She never told him which one.
Ryou on the other hand had ended up with his father. Which is why he spent the last ten years regularly changing schools. It was like his father was running from something.
Ryou took out a piece of notepaper and a pen. Once he went to a cafe and ordered a cup of earl gray, he started to write Sirius a letter back. A few people shot him odd looks because of the owl.
I wouldn't mind spending a few months with my cousin. I just hope he doesn't mind the oddities that happen around me regularly. What is Harry like by the way? Last I heard Aunt Lily and Uncle James had a three month old.
He tied the letter securely around the leg of the owl. It took off after drinking from the water glass that the waiter had given him.
Once he left the cafe, Bakura spoke up. He sounded...confused?
/What the hell was that about?/
/I have a cousin back in England. People back there tend to send letters using owls for some reason./
/So...no owl legs for dinner?/
Ryou sputtered. Bakura actually considered eating an owl? He could feel his darkness' amusement through their link.
Two days later another owl came to Ryou. He was blinking through his sleepy daze, and realized that something big, white and feathered was giving him a patient look.
"Hello. Would you like some bacon?" he asked. He was too sleepy to even consider eating anything other than buttered toast at the moment.
He heard Bakura sputter in anger. That was his bacon dammit! He was so eating this wretched bird.
Suddenly the white owl glared at the spot where Bakura was standing, wraith like. She seemed to be giving him a look that read 'Try it and you will suffer.'
Ryou and Bakura were startled. Normal owls couldn't see Bakura unless he manifested himself. Even then they wanted nothing to do with him.
Ryou took the letter off her (he sensed it was a female) and read it. He was taken aback by how polite it sounded. Most boys his age were rude or would be annoyed with being told what to do.
Harry it seemed, didn't mind that he was being sent to live with his cousin. He actually looked forward to leaving his old life behind!
Ryou sent a letter back, and the owl gave him an imperious hoot. She took off after stealing all of Bakura's bacon...to his rage.
/I am going to kill that owl! That was my bacon!/
"I'll make some more bacon and some sausages," said Ryou calmly.
/...Make it steak and you have a deal./
Ryou was used to Bakura's carnivore tendencies. He cooked the steak rare, so his darkness could savor the bloody taste. It was a miracle Ryou hadn't become a vegetarian after all these years.
Marik dropped by unannounced, as usual. He seemed surprised that Ryou was leaving for the airport.
"You got a flight to catch?"
"More like I have to pick someone up. Care to help me steal a car?"
After three years of living with Bakura, Ryou had learned to let his darkness get his criminal tendencies out early, and avoid losing control of his body for days at a time. It had saved him a lot of headaches over the last few months.
"Meh...there aren't any good ones nearby. Want to steal one from Kaiba?"
"Last time he did that, Kaiba threatened to garrote us. Didn't Yami get a car for Yugi?"
"It's a tiny one. The only one who can sit in it is them," laughed Marik.
Last time Joey had tried to bum a ride off his best friend, they had to get the jaws of life to get him out of the car. (By which Yugi meant they had blackmailed Kaiba into helping him pull Joey out. Kaiba had thought the whole incident hilarious.)
Ryou winced. While Bakura would love to steal the Pharaoh's car, there was no way in hell he would like to ride in it. Even with the sun roof open. (Which was the only reason Joey can sit straight. He had his head out of the roof. Unfortunately this was also the reason he was stuck. His legs had been jammed into the front passenger seat and it didn't go back enough that he could climb out.)
Then Ryou discovered a car Bakura would agree to. The only problem was that the security system was completely electronic, and Bakura had the worst luck with anything more complicated than the toaster. (Though to be fair Yami had the exact same problem. Except when it came to video game consoles.)
He sighed. It looked like he was going to have trouble picking up his cousin in an hour.
The white owl returned. In her claws was something plastic. Harry had asked her to stay with Ryou until he arrived. All he had to do was open the window and she would hunt for herself. Seeing some of the prey she brought back had impressed even Bakura. Not many owls could take down a large rabbit that was twice their weight.
The owl dropped the plastic in his hands. She hooted smugly from his shoulder.
Ryou stared. How the hell did an owl get a credit card? Whoever this D. Devlan was, it was clear they had a bad memory. They had written their pin number on the back!
Ryou went to a rental agency and got the car. Marik went with him mostly out of boredom...and because Ishizu was on the warpath. He knew he should have toned down the prank he set off, but he had been so bored!
They reached the air port with thirty minutes to spare. Harry would be arriving on an unlisted flight, which meant that they couldn't find his gate without asking.
Or so they thought. The second they went inside the terminals, the owl took off Ryou's shoulder and headed straight for one of the gates. They followed her, not understanding why she was currently going nuts in an air port.
Until they heard a sharp whistle and saw her dive down.
The voice had a British accent, but with a hint of Scottish. Ryou managed to get to the boy, concerned that the owl would rip him a new one. (She had almost done the same to Bakura the one time he tried to kill and eat her.)
Instead the owl was...cuddling? The boy had short black hair that went everywhere, and his clothes hung off his rather small frame. Well, everything except his shirt, which was a green color with an 'H' knitted into it.
The owl hooted, and turned in their direction. The boy looked with her, and Ryou could see bright emerald eyes hidden behind glasses that had been broken repeatedly and were only hanging on by a thread.
The boy walked up to them.
"Are you Ryou Bakura?" he asked, trying not to mangle his name.
"You must be Harry. Your owl is very well behaved."
Harry beamed at him.
"Hedwig is pretty smart," he said with a smile.
"I thought your flight didn't come in for another fifteen minutes?"
Harry looked sheepish.
"Actually I just arrived ten minutes ago. It took me a while to be able to stand straight without feeling sick."
"Shall we get going?" asked Ryou. Harry picked up his suitcase and followed his new cousin outside. He raised an eyebrow when he spotted Marik though.
"Harry, this is my friend Marik. Marik, this is Harry."
"Yo," said Marik, giving him a two fingered salute. Harry grinned.
"I would shake your hand, but I'm afraid you would bite it," said Harry with a grin. Marik stared at him, and then laughed.
"It's the hair, honestly," said Harry, mock serious.
Marik erupted into a fit of snickers. Harry took the chance to put his new suitcase into the back.
While they drove back to Ryou's apartment, they asked him polite non-questions about his life. Where he went to school, who his friends were, what his life was like...the usual.
Harry in return seemed unusually guarded about his life. And that set Ryou and Marik off. They knew he wasn't normal.
Finally they reached Ryou's apartment...when he realized that he had locked the door and left his keys inside. The window was closed too, so Hedwig couldn't fly in and get them. (Ryou had discovered to his shock that if he asked she would follow most commands within reason.)
Ryou sighed. He didn't want his cousin to learn about Bakura just yet. He was afraid that Harry would run screaming from the sight of the five thousand year old spirit.
So what happened next came as a complete shock. Though it definitely amused Marik to no end.
Harry reached into his carry on and took out something small and in a black box. When he opened it, Ryou stared. Harry had a set of lock picks!
To add to his shock, Harry took out three small picks and in less than two minutes had the door unlocked.
He put them up with a grin.
"I was hoping for a chance to test my new set out. Hope you don't mind if your cousin can pick locks," said Harry sheepishly.
Marik couldn't help his reaction, he held onto the metal guardrail and laughed like a hyena. When they could finally get a word out of him, he said with tears of laughter in his eyes, "He is definitely your cousin!"
Harry looked bewildered at that statement. And even more so at Marik's reaction to his skill.
Ryou opened the door, hoping to avoid awkward questions for tonight.
Fortunately Harry was willing to let it go for now, provided he was allowed to sleep out the jet lag. Ryou was more than happy to show him his new room. Harry was out like a light within minutes. Hedwig sat on the bed post, and watched over him like a nesting mother would.
Ryou closed the door.
Marik grinned at his friend.
"And here you were worried that he wouldn't like you!" he teased.
"I honestly didn't expect him to know how to pick locks," said Ryou in disbelief.
"Somehow, I think that kid will get along great with us. Wonder how he would react to Yugi?"
"I don't know, but I'm more concerned about Bakura. He's still asleep."
"So he has no idea Harry is here already?"
"Not a clue."
Marik grinned evilly.
"Mind if I spend the night? Ishizu is on the warpath again."
"What did you do?" asked Ryou patiently.
"Put moths in her closet."
Ryou shook his head. Ishizu would definitely be mad at him for that. The phone rang and sure enough, it was her.
"Tell my idiot brother if he comes back in less than two days I will hang him from his ankles over a spike pit!"
"I will. Good luck cleaning your closet."
Ishizu growled as she hung up.
Bakura yawned, and didn't react when he saw Marik. Ryou had told him that Marik pranked his sister, and that was all he needed to hear. He stalked out of the house, intent on gaming some idiots before Ryou's cousin arrived.
He knew his host would take control more often to keep his secret. Though how he was going to pull that off when the kid was spending a few months with them, he had no idea.
Ryou woke up in an alley, and knew that Bakura had gone back to sleep. He went home, took a shower, and then went to bed himself. Once he realized that Marik had a habit of spending the night, he had purchased a bunk bed. Marik was snoring on the top, his leg hanging off the side.
He tugged on the pajamas that the Ishtars had given him for Christmas. Thankfully, they didn't have bunnies on them like his last pair.
For all the insanity he went through with Marik, the Ishtar clan was like his own family. He laid down and fell asleep almost instantly. He would worry about his cousin meeting his darkness in the morning...
He woke up and stretched. It took his mind a good five minutes to catch up to where he was. Once he was ready to get up, he got dressed in his favorite clothes.
Sirius had insisted on taking him clothes shopping once he realized that Harry had no clothes other than his school robes that could be worn. (Remus and Hermione had taken all of Dudley's cast offs and burned them.)
Now he had five pairs of blue jeans and ten shirts. Sirius would have gotten more but by then the security had realized something was off. They had paid for their selections and left before anyone realized that Harry and Sirius had been out of the house for more than an hour.
He opened the door, and noted that he was the only one up. Since he would be staying for a few months (and transferring to the local college that had magical and muggle courses available) he decided to make breakfast for everyone. Some habits were just hard to break.
It wasn't until he realized that someone was up that he bothered to look in the hallway.
The person standing there looked like Ryou, but it wasn't. For one thing, his cousin had hazel brown eyes, and this person had blood red. And his hair spiked worse than Harry's did on a bad day.
The man's eyes narrowed.
"Who the hell are you?"
Harry gave him an bewildered look. Fortunately he had almost finished cooking, because the only thing left was the toast.
"I could ask the same thing. You look exactly like Ryou, but I can tell you aren't him."
The man smirked.
"You must be the cousin he was so worried about. The one with that damn owl."
As if summoned by thought, Hedwig flew into the kitchen...after whacking the Ryou-look-alike in the head with her wing. He cursed, and went into the other room.
Harry put everything on the table and his eyes widened when he realized that the fake Ryou had returned with knives.
Before he could react, the man threw one at Hedwig!
Harry let his seeker instincts kick in, as he caught the blade by the hilt. The man was surprised, but not so shocked that he launched another one. Harry caught that one too.
"I will kill you if you hurt Hedwig," Harry snarled.
Marik yawned, and walked in on them. When he spotted the knives, he gave the fake Ryou a look.
"Thief, didn't Ryou tell you to leave the owl alone?"
"She started it," growled the fake Ryou.
"Morning Harry. I see you've already met Bakura."
"He tried to kill my owl," growled Harry.
"He always tries to kill her. I think he's still mad that she steals his bacon in the morning."
Harry gave his owl a look.
"Hedwig, didn't I ask you to behave while we were here?"
Hedwig hooted and turned her head in annoyance. The Thief had started this war, and she wasn't going to lose to him.
"What's with the knives?" asked Marik.
Harry nodded to Bakura.
"Ask snow white over here. He's the one who threw them."
Marik looked incredulous at Bakura.
"You missed with your knives? Are you sick or something?"
"I never miss, Keeper. The brat caught them."
As if to demonstrate his point, Bakura threw his last knife at Harry. Harry wasn't fazed, and caught it easily. The first two had surprised him, but he half expected the fake Ryou to throw the last one.
Harry shrugged, and put the breakfast on the table. Bakura gave him a calculating look, but sat down.
"Cheer up Thief, at least he knows how to cook bacon and sausages," said Marik, piling his plate up.
Bakura said nothing, but glared when Hedwig tried to steal his bacon...again.
"Hedwig, if you want some you can take it off of my plate. Leave him alone," said Harry firmly.
Hedwig flew to his shoulder and calmly began to help herself. Bakura look surprised.
The owl never let him eat his bacon in peace. It was like she wanted to piss him off.
"So what did you want to do today Harry?" asked Marik.
"I was hoping to explore the town with Ryou. But I suppose I could do it by myself if he's not here."
"What if you get lost?" asked Bakura, curious.
"I can always call Hedwig. She would know how to get back."
Hedwig hooted smugly. Bakura glared at her.
"I think Ryou left early," said Marik.
"Ryou is running errands today. He won't be back until three," said Bakura shortly. Marik gave him an amused look.
"I could show you around Harry. But we might get locked out again. I left my keys at the museum," said Marik. It wasn't like he had anything better to do.
"I can always pick the lock. I just hope Ryou doesn't mind..." said Harry.
"Ryou has picked the lock more times than I can count. I doubt he'll care," said Bakura. (Technically it had been him who picked it, but he wasn't going to tell the boy that.)
Once breakfast was done, Harry washed the dishes and left them out to dry. Marik handed him a helmet, and much to his amusement, Harry trusted him enough to get on.
He had no idea that Marik rarely obeyed the speeding limits.