Kano: Whee! New chapter! Um..not much happens in this one, I suppose. Yami and Yugi come to the rescue, and Bakura insults some people. Also, the fire ants that brought you the freaky symbols are now just little fire ant corpses. The end.

Disclaimer: I hate these things. A lot. If I owned Yu-gi-oh I would be off trying to think of a way to hook Katsuya and Seto up, not writing Fanfiction.

|Temptation In the Garden of Eden |

Ryou's eyes slowly fluttered open. He was just debating the pros and cons of remaining conscious when Yugi's face swam into view. He jumped, sitting up so fast that the room began to spin. Ryou held his head, moaning, waiting for the dizziness to pass.

' Yugi..what are you doing here? '

Another thought suddenly surfaced in his foggy mind. He raised his head, eyes narrowing at the sudden overload of light.

/ Where am I..Why is it so bright in here..? /

He was in his room, on his bed. Someone had turned the lights on, but Yugi, noticing how Ryou blocked his eyes, quickly motioned for Yami to turn them off.

' There. Is that better? Are you feeling alright? '

Ryou nodded briefly, moving to get out from under the blankets that had been tucked in around him. Yami was at his side faster then should have been humanly possible, hands firmly wrapping around both of his arms.

' Ryou, you need to stay- '

That came from Yugi, but he stopped mid-sentence at the expression of pain on Ryou's face. Yami let go of his arms around the same time, having noticed the white-haired teenager's discomfort only when Yugi had. The three of them were fast to notice that the palm of one of his hands was red and sticky with blood.

' Bakura, what happened to your arm? '

Ryou, still half-hidden by the bed sheets, winced. It was obvious by Yami's tone that he knew exactly what had happened. Or rather, who had happened.

' Get the Tomb Robber out here. Now. '

Bakura must have been listening to their conversation because before Ryou could tell them what had really happened-or at least make up a good excuse- there was a bright flash of light and Bakura was sitting beside his softer look-alike on the bed, one arm slung over his shoulders so that he could he pull the boy closer to him.

There was no love in Bakura's movements, no fondness, just a jerky sort of violence that matched the sneer on his face. His slightly narrowed red eyes screamed ' Mine. ' as he glared up at the spiky-haired spirit that stood beside the bed.

' What are they doing here, Baka? '

Again, Ryou never got a chance to answer. Yami interrupted him as if he weren't even there.

' We're here to protect him from you, you spineless thief. '

Bakura's glance shifted from Ryou and then back to Yami. They glared at each other in stifling silence until Bakura managed a half-growled reply.

' I haven't lain a finger on him all afternoon, so drop the ' high and mighty ' act Pharaoh.'

Yami frowned, grabbing Ryou's injured arm by the wrist, holding it up so that Bakura could see it from his vantage point on the other side of the room.

There was a long rip in the gray sleeve, the ragged half-crescent gouges in Ryou's pale skin easily visible even in the dim light. A few of them still bled heavily, turning the cloth around the injury a dirty copper color. It was obvious to even the least medically educated person that they would need to be cleaned out and wrapped before infection set in.

Something changed in Bakura eyes that, it seemed, only Ryou was aware of. To everyone on the outside they remained impassive and spiteful, but Ryou could not be so easily fooled.

His Other was actually surprised, and for only a moment, concerned.

Concerned about me.

' ..I had nothing to do with that. '

Over his shock rather quickly, a cold smile manifested itself on Bakura's face.

' Little Ryou has a few more secrets then he is willing to admit. But, if we' re done here- ' Bakura accentuated his words in such a way as to say and we most definitely are, ' I will trust the Brat to show you both out of the house. Immediately. '

He cast a fleeting glance at the Millennium Puzzle hanging around Yugi's neck, and then he was gone.

Ryou suppressed a shudder at the wave of anger that washed over him through their mind-link. He moved to push himself up out of the bed, accidentally putting too much weight on his hurt arm.

He would have toppled onto the floor if it hadn't been for Yami's natural speed, and he held Ryou steady until the boy had gained his footing. Yugi was at his side a heartbeat later, but by then Ryou had pushed himself out of Yami's arms, trying not to look as embarrassed and scared and exhausted as he felt.

It must not have worked, because Yugi already had that horribly-upset- expression-that-sort-of-reminded-you-of-an-over-protective-Mother look in his eyes.

' What are you two doing here? '

Yugi's worried look seemed to intensify, though Yami had gone off on his own inner thought pattern, noting how, although Bakura did not bow his head, he did not look them in the eyes either.

In fact, whenever he did have to look at either of them, his eyes trained themselves on the bridge of their noses or to a spot just to one side of their shoulders.

His skin had become pale, noticeable more so then usual. There were dark shadows gathered around his eyes, red marks like..Yami took a moment to think of the word..like the imprints of fingers on his jaw line.

Ryou was..gaunt. He looked like he was barely a night or two away from collapsing.

Yugi sighed internally and, knowing that Yami's analytical musings could go on for a long time, took it upon himself to answer Ryou's question.

' Well, Ryou, when you didn't show up at school at all this week..and, well, the phone was unplugged, so we got worried and came to check on you. .. I'am sorry if we got you in trouble. '

Yugi bowed, hurriedly finishing his impromptu speech, noticing how Ryou had become more confused with each word he spoke.

' What..what do you mean, all week? It's Thursday. I just talked to you today and.. '

Ryou trailed off. Both Yugi and a now-attentative Yami were looking at him strangely, and it was starting to make him uneasy.

' Ryou, it's Wednesday. I haven't spoken to you since last week..remember, that storm? '

Ryou nodded numbly.

' We came because we were afraid something had happened to you, and the school was starting to get suspicious.. '

Yugi stopped there, but Yami readily took up after him.

' When we got here, the door was already unlocked. All the lights were off. We found you up here, lying in bed asleep, and I would really like to know why your window is boarded up like that. '

Yami spoke in the same tone he used when reading the grocery list. It was typical for him, as if his mind was too preoccupied to really pay very much attention to what his body was doing.

Usually Ryou found it amusing, but he was too tired to be confused and too confused to find anything amusing. All he wanted to do right now was take a very long nap, to try and forget everything that had happened today..or rather, that week.

He managed to get both boys out of his room and down the stairs, but Yugi refused to leave.

' I'll go Ryou, but you have to answer one question first. Just one. '

Ryou looked at him doubtfully, the unspoken warning from Bakura coming through painfully clear. He took a deep breath to steady himself and ignored his Other.

' All right. Only one. '

Yugi nodded, suddenly very serious.

' Did your Yami have anything to do with your injury? '

Ryou paused. If he said yes, lied, that would be the end of it. He was sure of it. Just that one little lie and Bakura would be gone forever. Yami would never stand to see Yugi upset, least of all by Bakura..he would be free..

' No. '

Ryou got the impression that Yami only just managed to restrain himself from glaring, while Yugi's hurt feelings were made more apparent by the saddened expression on his face. But he had anticipated their reactions already.

Ryou knew neither of them would believe him, but..it wasn't like he could tell them the truth. He could barely remember all that had happened himself.

He was about to show them out the door when something Yami had said struck him as odd. He stopped the Spirit of the Puzzle before he could follow Yugi out the door.

' Yami, did you say that when you got here I was already in bed? I mean, you didn't put me there when you came in? '

Crimson-tinted eyes bore up into his, and even though Ryou was a little taller then Yami, he still refused to meet the Spirit's eyes. There was silence for a long time, broken when Yugi called for Yami to hurry up. It was only then that Yami spoke.

' No. I am positive that neither of us did. '

And then Yami's voice dropped down to a more confidential whisper, so that there was no way Yugi would have been able to hear what was said.

' Bakura, if there is something happening that you couldn't admit to Yugi.. '

Somehow Ryou found the courage to lock eyes with Yami, and as he did the thought occurred to him that he could tell Yami everything. About his newly- discovered Brother, his lingering guilt over his Mother's death, all of it, and that Yami alone would understand and care and help in any way he could.

Ryou was tempted to blurt everything out at that moment, but there was a disturbing glint in Yami's eyes that kept him from saying anything. Something that sounded suspiciously like Bakura warned him against trusting the ancient Pharaoh.

' No. '

The word was barely a whisper. Some sort of understanding passed between the two boys, Pharaoh and slave.

Yami nodded a silent and grim-faced farewell, and then he and Yugi were gone.