I did the only thing I knew. I ran.
Down busy streets, through leafy parks, through deserted back streets.
But, as always, they caught up with me in the end.
It was, as usual, my fault. The alley I had chosen ended in a dead-end, high chain-link fence blocking my escape.
I turned to face my followers, one of them I knew by name, Ushio. The other two were strange to me, but looked no less threatening. They walked towards me slowly, cracking their knuckles threateningly, chuckling. Happy with their prize.
I looked around for an escape route desperately. A ladder hung from a fire escape to my left, but it was too high up, out of my reach, even if I jumped. Why couldn't I be a couple of inches taller?
As the three figures got closer I cowered back into the fence, until my back was pressed up against it, now I couldn't even run away.
I was cornered, like the pathetic animal I was.
Ushio moved his face until it was a hairs breadth away from mine, foul breath ruffling my white hair. I tried not to let my fear show, but my eyes widened and I felt my already frail body begin to shake. The running had exhausted me, and the beating that I was sure to come would finish me.
Ushio stood before me for what felt like an age, although only a couple of minutes had passed. Finally he moved away slightly, smug grin on his face.
"Looks like we've caught ourselves a pretty one." He smirked, lustful eyes roaming over my body.
I swallowed. This was worse than what I'd been expecting.
Ushio's cronies cackled, one even licked his lips in anticipation. "Sure thing Ushio, he looks delicious."
Ushio turned to the one who had spoken with a glare.
"He's mine baka. You can have him when I'm finished with him." He spat.
The other two scowled, but didn't argue. Instead they moved towards me and grabbed my arms, dragging me to the floor.
Ushio loomed over me as the other two held me down, pinning my arms to the cold floor.
"Please.. Don't." I begged, eyes filling with tears.
Ushio's smirk grew and he gave a cruel laugh, "Awh, does the little baby want his mommy?"
The three of them laughed as tears fell down my face and I squeezed my eyes shut.
I felt a rough hand stroking the side of my face and scrunched my eyes shut tighter, trying to ignore the sick feeling rising in my gut as Ushio touched me. Ushio's hand worked its way down my torso, grazing along my slim chest. My eyes flew open as I felt him undo my belt and begin to remove my jeans.
"Please.. Stop." I whimpered, tears falling faster now, shame flooding me.
Ushio simply grinned at me evilly, lifting up my striped t-shirt and licking my side, tongue gliding disgustingly over my pale skin, my pronounced ribs.
I closed my eyes again as Ushio roughly pulled off my jeans, throwing them into the corner of the alley. I prayed silently that it would be over soon as I heard Ushio unbuckling his own belt. I bit my lip in terror, feeling the soft skin break and metallic blood flood my mouth.
"What the bloody hell do you think you're doing?"
A cold voice rang through the alley, drawing Ushio's attention away from me. I opened my eyes, looking for my savior. I could just make out some features in the dimly lit alley, black trench coat, striped t-shirt, long white hair, spiky, like bat-wings or cat ears.
"Bakura!" I cried out, writhing under the two thugs who still held me.
"Stay still you little runt." One of them called, covering my mouth with a rough hand, I instinctively bit the hand, tasting the mans blood in my mouth. He cried out and removed his hand, only to return it a second later in a crashing punch. Lights exploded before my eyes and I felt blood trickle down my cheek from where his ring had caught my face and cut me.
"Who do you think you are?" Ushio spat, rising from the floor to approach Bakura.
"I am Bakura. And that," here he gestured to me, "is MY hikari."
I blinked through the pain, I didn't think Bakura had ever called me his hikari before.
"He's mine now. Finders keepers." Ushio bragged, crossing his arms aggressively.
Bakura growled low in his throat. eyes narrowing and glinting crimson.
"He is MY hikari. Nobody touches my hikari. Nobody."
"Oh yeah? What are you going to do about it?" Ushio glared, at least a foot taller than Bakura he loomed over him oppressively.
Bakura scoffed, "You'll see soon enough. I don't let scum like you touch my property."
Ushio laughed, leaning backwards in amusement. "It's a bit late for that Bakura," he mocked. "I've already touched your precious hikari."
Ushio moved closer to Bakura, leaning in to whisper in his ear.
"Such soft skin, and those big, innocent eyes. Do you know how he tastes Bakura? Hmm?"
Bakura growled again, and I could see he was near to explode.
"He tastes delicious. Like vanilla. I can't wait to take your precious hikari's innocence. Hear him cry out beneath me. Leave him sobbing and broken. I can't wait."
Ushio leaned back, away from Bakura, smug smile on his face.
I shivered where I lay on the floor, still pinned down by the other two. Was Bakura going to do nothing? I whimpered slightly and Bakuras head snapped in my direction. His eyes met mine, brown clashing with crimson.
"Nobody touches my hikari." He repeated, eyes still locked on mine.
He pulled away from my gaze, lifting the millennium ring and pointing it at the two pinning me down.
"For your crimes you will be sent to the shadow realm. You will spent the rest of your pitiful lives crawling on all fours like the animals you are. You will wish for death but it will not come. You will be in a world of pain and suffering for all eternity." The words sent a shiver down my spine.
As I watched, purple and black smoke seemed to come from the millenium ring, soon it surrounded Bakura, so he could not be seen.
"Are you afraid yet?" He hissed. "Better start running."
The two shared a frightened look, then released my arms and ran off down the alleyway, ignoring Ushios cries for them to return.
Bakura simply watched them as they neared the street, then, with a lazy flick of his left wrist he sent two tendrils of thick purple smoke towards them. As fast as they ran, they couldn't outrun the choking fog that soon surrounded them. It forced itself through their skin, burrowing under their flesh. I closed my eyes, trying to block out the horrifying image. Then they began to scream. Screams of utter agony, and of pure terror. I curled into a ball, wanting it to stop.
I heard one final, ear-splitting scream, then there was a purple flash which seared through my eyelids. Then silence.
I slowly opened my eyes, expecting to see corpses, covered in blood, maybe even just body parts. But the alley was clean. The two thugs had disappeared and only Ushio and Bakura were left. The smoke still encircled Bakura, wisps encircling his hair like an evil halo.
Ushio's eyes were wide and I could see his body shaking.
"What.. What did you do to them?" he croaked.
"Sent them to the shadow realm." Bakura answered coolly, with an evil grin. "Now, what am I to do with you?"
Ushios trembling became stronger and he suddenly sank to his knees, grabbing the hem of Bakura's long coat.
"Please, don't hurt me! I didn't mean to hurt him. I was only playing around!" Ushio begged, macho façade gone.
Bakura glared at him then savagely kicked him off his coat, leaving Ushio to crawl away from him into a corner.
"You're disgusting. You try to rape my hikari, then you say you were only playing around? You're sick." Bakura stalked nearer to Ushio with every word, practically spitting the words. The purple smoke surrounding him grew denser and darker, and seemed to be throbbing with anger.
"I'm sorry!" Ushio begged, tears leaking from his eyes as he looked into Bakura's manic face.
"Do you even know his name?" Bakura hissed.
Ushio looked over to me and the look of terror in his eyes was truly disturbing.
"No." Ushio whispered.
"What was that? What is your victim called? What is my hikari called?"
"I don't know." Ushio repeated, shaking making his voice hard to understand.
Bakura grew even angrier with this sentence, the purple smoke grew larger, individual wisps looking sharp and dangerous.
"His name is Ryou." Bakura spat. "His name IS RYOU!" As he shouted my name his eyes shone red. He lifted both of his arms and pushed the shadows towards Ushio, who screamed as they invaded his skin, pushing through his body and forcing themselves into his nose and mouth. He lifted his head to the sky and screamed. Then the smoke grew so thick he couldn't be seen. A final scream, then the smoke disappeared, and Ushio was no longer there.
Bakura stood in front of the empty corner. Body shaking with rage even as the purple smoke disappeared back into the ring. He turned to face me and I cowered into the corner, terrified.
As his eyes met mine they faded from the horrifying red of earlier to their usual deep crimson.
"Ryou." He whispered, anger on his face quickly replaced by concern as he ran to me, dropping to his knees and taking my head in his soft hands.
I whimpered and cringed away from his touch.
"Ryou, it's just me. They can't hurt you anymore."
"What did you do to them?" I whispered.
His expression hardened and he removed his hands from my face.
"I sent them to a place worse than Hell. The shadow realm." He glanced down at me, my brown eyes wide with fear. Fear of him.
"Ryou. They deserved it. Nobody hurts my hikari and gets away with it. Nobody."
"T-thank you." I stammered.
He smiled, "It's my job to protect you. Now come on, we need to get you home."
He helped me pull on my jeans and got me upright. My legs shook under me like jelly and I nearly collapsed. He merely smiled at me and scooped me up into his arms, bridal style. I blushed slightly at the closeness, but as tiredness overcame me I drifted off to sleep in his arms, head buried in his chest, lulled by the gentle rhythm of his footsteps.
"Get off me! Please! Let me go!" I cried, writhing away from the terrifying creatures that grabbed at me, pulling my clothes, grabbing my skin.
I kicked out savagely at the new attacker, my foot connecting with skin.
"Wake up! WAKE UP!"
My eyes snapped open and I hit out at the person holding me, I heard a grunt as my fist met bone and the person held me tighter, pinning my arms to my sides.
Still half asleep I made more attempts to get free, biting, kicking, clawing.
"Ryou!" The person had a voice I recognized. "Ryou! It's just me. You're safe."
I stopped my attacks cautiously, looking up at the person who held me.
"You're safe, he whispered, still holding me tightly in his warm arms.
I rested my head in his shoulder and cried.
"They can't hurt you any more."
I clung to Bakura, sobbing into his soft white hair. He rocked me gently and rubbed my back soothingly.
"Don't cry my little tenshi." He whispered, "I'm here now, I won't let anyone hurt you."
I moved away from him slightly and he loosened his grip, smiling gently down at me.
I reached up to his cheek, where there were three deep scratches, oozing blood.
"Was that.. me?" I asked, gently touching them.
He winced slightly as my fingers brushed against them and nodded.
He smiled, "It's okay Ryou. You were dreaming."
"Thank you." I whispered, burying my head in his hair once more, breathing his scent.
"Saving me." I whispered, drawing patterns on his back with my hand.
He chuckled quietly and shifted me away from him so he could look me in the eyes.
"I will always save you Ryou. Always." He lent in so his forehead rested on mine, closing his eyes and smiling slightly.
His eyes opened in shock a moment later as I gently pressed my lips to his. He looked down at me in a mixture of surprise and something I couldn't identify.
Before I could say anything he had placed his hand gently on my cheek and pulled me into a deeper kiss. He wrapped his arms around my body, tangling his hands in my hair. He nibbled on my bottom lip and I opened my mouth to allow him to deepen the kiss even more. Eventually he drew back, leaving us both breathless and surprised.
I blinked up at him. He chuckled at my surprised expression and took me in his arms again, lying down and pulling me down beside him so my head was resting on his toned chest.
"Aishiteru tenshi." He whispered, fingers playing with my hair.
"Aishiteru Bakura." I replied, reaching up to plant a small kiss on his lips before closing my eyes and drifting back to sleep in the safety of his arms.