London Shadow Mage - 10

Harry Potter Yu-Gi-Oh crossover – Disclaimer: I own neither

/Ryou and Bakura mind link/

Koe – Voice (What Ryou calls the spirit of the ring)

Yadonushi – Landlord (What the spirit calls Ryou)


A gentle groan escaped the young boy's lips as he slowly came back to the world of the aware. His large brown eyes blinked as they adjusted to the afternoon light filtering in through the shabby curtains over the window. Ryou yawned and gently rolled onto his side. He was in bed as usual, and obviously he changed his sheets since they weren't this color yesterday. He rubbed his eyes with his hand and gently rested his palm on the blanket. Then he remembered what happened. His body jerked up and let the blanket fall away from him. Once again, he woke up in his street clothes, sneakers included, with a familiar gold ring sitting calmly on his chest. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed and fell forward in a tangle of blanket. Luckily he caught his balance before colliding with the wall.

Ryou took a breath and carefully walked around the room looking for any signs of … well, actually he wasn't sure what to look for. If the spirit had attacked that man, there were plenty of ways to get rid of the evidence without leaving a trace. His anxiety spiked when he finally saw something on the ground. Carefully he bent down and inspected the dark spots on the rug. He prodded the red tinted circles until fear gripped him. Blood. It was blood.

He jumped to his feet and thudded against the door in his haste to get away from the scene of the crime. His shaking hand found the doorknob and he stumbled out into the hallway. He kept his legs moving and flew down the stairs, turning the corner into the pub and crashing into something. Instantly he tried to push away, but strong, gentle hands held him steady.

"Whoa whoa whoa. Calm down sport." The voice came from whatever Ryou had crashed into. His brown eyes looked up at the red haired man and the instant the stranger saw the boy's pale, panicked face, the man bent down and tried to soothe him.

"It's alright. What's wrong?" The man asked. Ryou took a deep breath and wiped his face free of sweat.

"N-nothing" He mumbled. He didn't bother trying to pull away from the man's grip. That would only make it harder to get out of here before they discovered what he had done.

"Hey kid, if you're worried about that man, don't be. We sent him out of here last night." The bartender called out to the red haired adult and the little whitenette. Ryou's eyes instantly darted over to the bartender in confusion. Luckily the man in front of him didn't notice his baffled expression, as his eyes looked over at the bartender as well.

"Man? What man? What happened?" He asked curiously. The bartender apparently had no qualms with giving out a few of the details. He didn't even hesitate to answer what could have been a personal question.

"Nothing big. Just some loon went after that kid there. That boy came down here in a panic saying something about a crazy man in his room. Kid said the man was being all kinds of inappropriate and violent, and the guy did seem to be a little off. We got rid of the pest before anything serious happened, so it's fine."

At this point, the red haired man returned his attention to the boy before him. The child was staring at the ground.

"That must have been a scary ordeal for you" He said comfortingly, but Ryou didn't really hear him. He was too busy trying to figure out what the spirit had done. Did he kill the man? Obviously not. Otherwise these people would have said something about it. Then what happened?

"I've got to get going" He mumbled before ducking under the man's arm and quickly walking out the door. He just wanted to get home.

Nobody stopped the white haired teenager as he left and he didn't bother looking back. The instant he was away from the strange pub, he hailed a cab and headed back to Harthrow House. The ride was eerily silent. It was made worse when the tire went flat. The driver assured Ryou he could get another cab there as soon as possible, but Ryou declined and just paid the man what he was due. He was close enough to walk the rest of the distance. He barely made it down the block before his thoughts were interrupted by a voice.

"Ryou Bakura!"

Ryou's head snapped up and sideways. Oh great. Dudley and one of his huge friends. Ryou watched as Harry's cousin said something to his friend and waved goodbye. Then he was heading over to him.

"Hey Ryou. Haven't seen you in awhile. Thought you flew the coop or something." Dudley instantly tried to engage in short conversation once he was close enough. Ryou merely shrugged.

"I've been around." His answers were always short. Polite, but definitely short. Dudley made him uncomfortable. Sometimes he was a decent enough person, and then other times he was just a total jerk. It usually depended on who was around.

"Uh-huh. Well, look Ryou. My folks are having a barbeque this Saturday. You're invited to come. My dad insists." Dudley said as he quickened his pace to catch up to the other boy. Ryou had started walking again.

"No thank you" Ryou said instantly in his ever respectful tone.

"Bet you'd come if Harry was gonna be there, wouldn't you?" Ryou would have expected these words to be bitter, but surprisingly it seemed as if Dudley was simply stating a fact. Ryou glanced at the bigger boy, trying not to betray his curiosity. Dudley caught the glance and a smug half smile flickered onto his face.

"So. You been hiding out in your house because of the string of thefts in the area?" Dudley asked as he faced forward again. He could see Ryou's house in the distance. Might as well try one last time to start a conversation.

"I don't have anything worth stealing" that he doesn't already have. Ryou's face betrayed no emotion as he locked his eyes onto his house.

Dudley actually started to laugh. Ryou frowned but didn't let himself glance at the portly teenager this time.

"You're famous right? Anything you own is valuable to someone. I'd think your place is a prime target. They probably just don't know you're in town or that you're famous. You don't look it." Dudley had a full smile on this time as he glanced at Ryou. The other teen was still staring forward with a blank expression.

"So tell me what you think. About the robberies. It's not really something you see in this town." Dudley pretty much demanded Ryou's opinion. Probably to make sure it coincided with his own.

"Whoever's doing it is a horrible person." Ryou said simply. A deep chuckle echoed in the back of his mind, but he kept his outer mask forcibly calm.

"You think it's just one guy? No way. It's got to be a group or something. There is no way one guy can bust into that many places in one night." Dudley decided.

"It's not that unthinkable. It's not like the thief took a lot from each place right? Just one or two things before he moved on. If he knew what he was looking for, he could be in and out in minutes. It's pretty obvious this thief has years of experience. He probably breaks into a bunch of places in one night just for the challenge. It's like he has a disease really. He can't seem to stop taking what doesn't belong to him. Money, possessions, time…" Ryou explained. It was silent for a moment which caused Ryou to glance to his side. Dudley was watching him.


"Nothing. Just glad to see you can actually have a conversation without Potter to hold your hand" Dudley said, only to receive an irritated glance from Ryou. The white haired teenager sped up and turned down the path to his front door without saying a word. He only managed to get a few steps closer towards his house when he heard Dudley yell 'wait' and felt a large, heavy hand grab his wrist, stopping him in his tracks. No matter how much he tried to pull his skinny wrist free, Dudley's grip remained firm. The larger boy didn't seem to be having any trouble keeping Ryou in place.

"Look, I didn't mean it like, a bad thing or something. I mean, it is, but … Ryou, what I'm saying is, Harry's not here anymore, so if you ever want to talk to real people or something. You know. You'll go mad if you stay in your house alone all the time."

Ryou finally stopped any resistant he had been offering and went still. As he stared at the ground, the pressure on his wrist disappeared. Ryou turned and faced Dudley with guarded eyes. Dudley looked as sincere as he could look, but Ryou knew that appearances could be deceiving. He knew that very well.

"Just come to the barbeque. A whole bunch of people are gonna be there." Dudley said one last time as he stared at Ryou. Ryou stared back evenly until finally breaking the gaze and looking to the side.

"I'll think about it."

Dudley was instantly wearing his usual pompous grin, as if he had just accomplished something of great difficulty and he thought he was the greatest thing in the world to be able to successfully pull it off. He finally turned to leave and Ryou looked back towards his house. Dudley left without another word and Ryou finally made it to his door. It was only then that he noticed something white sitting on the overhang above his front door. As he stepped closer, it moved, pulling a fluffy white head out from under its wing.

"Hedwig!" Ryou greeted the bird as she shook out her feathers and jumped down to land on Ryou's white nest of hair.

"How long have you been here?" Ryou asked with a light giggle in his voice as he opened his door. The owl stayed quiet due to the parcel in her beak. As the door opened, she spread her wings once more and glided to her favored place on the back of Ryou's sofa. Finally, she let the letter fall onto the seat, looked at Ryou, and let out a soft 'cree'.


It had been a full week since his named was cleared of all charges. Harry and his friends were finally letting the excitement of his lack of expulsion taper off. Right now, the young bespectacled teenager was mainly preoccupied with the owl fast approaching his godfather's secret hideaway.

"What are you waiting around here for, Potter? I'm sure there are more productive things you could be doing."

The sound of a voice made Harry spin around in his seat beside the window and lock eyes with a powerful wizard. Harry was just about to respond when a certain white owl landed on the window ledge with a letter in her beak. The adult wizard's left eye spun in its socket, tracking the parcel of paper even as Harry grabbed it and roughly jammed it in his back pocket.

"Hand it over" said the man as he limped closer with the help of his sturdy wooden cane. Harry knew there was no point in trying to hide the letter. Mad-Eye Moody's magical eye would track it no matter where he tried to stash it.

"It's just a letter, sir. Personal mail. I don't really think you have the right to read my mail." Harry said evenly as he stared Mad-Eye down. The older wizard merely pulled out his wand, and with a simple flick, the letter came rushing to his hands. Harry's vain attempt to catch the letter went unnoticed by the auror. He inspected the envelope with his wand under the harsh glare of the young wizard before slipping the envelope open and pulling out the paper within.

"Bakura? Who is this wizard? What have you been telling him? How does he know you?" Mad-Eye demanded as his one eye skimmed the smooth handwriting of Harry's friend while his magical eye locked onto Harry and awaited an answer.

"Ryou is a muggle friend from my home town. I didn't tell him anything about us." Harry replied rather icily as he walked over and grabbed the letter. Mad-eye kept his grip on the note, watching both it and Harry carefully before finally releasing it and allowing the teenager to read his own mail.

"Do not get too comfortable around this Bakura person. You can't trust anyone in these dark times. Constant Vigilance, Potter." Mad-eye warned before he turned and hobbled out the door, heading towards the meeting the order was about to get under way. Harry watched him leave in silence. First off, Bakura was a muggle so he really had nothing to fear from him. Second, Harry was still annoyed he wasn't allowed to sit in on the secret meetings. The Order of the Phoenix was trying to stop Voldemort and apparently keep him protected, so why couldn't he hear what they were saying about him? It was utterly ridiculous.

Harry shrugged off the confrontation with the famous dark wizard catcher and headed up to the privacy of his room. As he opened the door and saw the two people inside, he remembered his room was a shared room and nothing was private in his life anymore. At least with Ron and Hermione he wouldn't have to defend his choice of friends.

"Hey Harry. Ryou wrote you back? Bout time." Ron chanted with an amused smirk. Hermione was doing her best to appear supportive, but her worry about the whole sending letters thing was still easy to spot on her face. She was like that every time Harry sent and received a letter. Her anxiety didn't usually last though. She and Ron had already learned a little about Harry's mysterious muggle friend and were genuine when they asked how he was doing. When they weren't cleaning, sharing stories about their summers was how they passed the time and in numerous cases, Harry's stories involved Ryou. As their curiosity and interest grew, Harry had started sharing pieces of his letters with them.

"I only sent out Hedwig a week ago" Harry reminded his red haired friend as he walked over to his bed and sat down. He started reading the letter even as Ron drawled on about how a week was a long time and how Hedwig was a fast flyer that could easily make the flight in a day if she wanted. Little Whinging wasn't that far away. Harry tuned him out for a moment and left discussing the concept of resting and the time needed to write a reply in Hermione's hands. He didn't really appreciate her mentioning how if he HAD to write to Ryou, he should be doing it less frequently anyway. However he decided not to do anything above an annoyed glance in her direction in favor of reading the letter.

"Huh…that's weird" Harry murmured aloud as he read. Instantly four eyes were trained on him.

"What's wrong, Harry?" Hermione instantly inquired, bringing Harry out of his thoughts.

"Oh, nothing really. Just that Ryou said he was surprised when he saw Hedwig sleeping at his house. He spent his Sunday in London and didn't get home until late on Monday, so he thinks Hedwig spent all night outside waiting for him." Harry admitted.

"If Ryou was in London, why didn't Hedwig just take the letter there?" Hermione asked, but that was what Harry couldn't answer. Hedwig was a smart girl. Maybe she just knew better than to deliver mail to a muggle in a place with so many non-magical people. That was probably it.

"More importantly, what was he doing in London that could take all night?" Ron jumped into the conversation with a suggestive grin on his face.

"Ron! Ryou's not like that. Is he?" Hermione had begun, surprised at what Ron could have been implying, only to turn to Harry for confirmation on the subject. Harry laughed.

"No. He's not." He said with a chuckle. Hermione seemed relieved and Ron looked disappointed. The trio sat in silence for awhile as Harry continued reading.

"So? How is he?" Hermione asked, putting on a smile as she looked at her black haired friend.

"He says he's doing fine. Apparently there's been a lot of theft in the area, so he's been staying home a lot." Harry remembered the thieving had started earlier on in the summer, but it had stopped as suddenly as it had started. Well, at least it was a normal non-magical crime spree. That put Little Whinging in considerably less danger. Harry glanced up at his friends. Hermione seemed more concerned about Ryou's safety than Ron, who thought it was just rotten luck that a thief had appeared near Harry's hometown. Harry returned his attention to the letter. Ryou gave his congratulations to Harry for clearing his name. Harry had told Ryou about his hearing, though his retelling of the event contained very few key details. Ryou knew he was in trouble but innocent, and that he was cleared of the charges. That was all he would ever need to know.

"Oh, hey. Ryou says he'd love to meet you guys." Harry said as he glanced at Ron and Hermione. They smiled in return.

"And we'd love to meet him too." Hermione knew meeting Ryou was highly unlikely. Ron especially wouldn't ever meet him. Magic and muggles tried their best not to cross paths.

"We should, too. Meet him and all. Is he coming to Hogwarts?" Ron asked, earning a sigh from Hermione.

"Ron, he's a muggle, remember?" Hermione reminded.

"Oh. Right. Bugger." Ron shrugged. He kept forgetting Ryou was not-magical. That really had to be horrible. Life without magic wasn't very appealing to the red head.

"Well, who knows? Maybe after we graduate and all, we can go visit him in Japan or something." Harry offered, though he really didn't see it happening. Not to mention Ron would probably blow their secret about magic. The Weasleys weren't exactly experts on muggle behavior.

Harry was nearing the end of his letter, reading the last bits about how one of Ryou's friends could probably give Ron an excellent challenge in chess. When it came to Hermione, Ryou was confused. St. Brutus's was supposed to be an all boys school. Harry folded up the letter and instantly walked over to a desk to write a reply. He hated to lie to Ryou, but he doubted just ignoring that question would make it disappear.

"Harry, you seriously aren't even going to wait a few days? Give Hedwig a chance to rest? School starts in less than two weeks. That's really not too long to wait you know." Hermione pleaded, but Harry just sighed and dipped his quill in a bottle of ink.

"Fine. I'll send the letter out tomorrow. So Hedwig can rest up." He finally replied. Hermione didn't argue. She didn't get the chance to since just as she opened her mouth to say something, a scruffy looking man entered the room. Harry instantly dropped his quill and smiled.

"Sirius" He greeted as he stood. His godfather smiled back at him.

"Harry. Alastor told the Order you've been receiving threatening letters from a stranger." Sirius got straight to the point as he and the son of his best friend sat down on the side of one of the beds in the room. Harry rolled his eyes at his godfather's remark. Hermione and Ron leaned against the wall, giving the two their space. Hermione was overjoyed someone was finally going to talk to Harry about his irresponsible sending of letters.

"They're not threatening and they're not from a stranger. I've been writing to a friend from back home. A non-magical friend, and yes I'm being careful with what I say. It's no big deal." Harry defended himself for the umpteenth time this month. Did people really not trust his judgment this much?

Sirius gently grabbed Harry's shoulders and faced him with a serious look on his face.

"You trust this friend?" He asked with a grave tone. Harry looked back evenly, never even blinking when he gave a resounding 'yes'. Sirius watched him for a moment longer before a grin spread across his face.

"Good. So make sure you say in your next letter that your favorite godfather says hello!" Sirius said as he patted Harry on the back. Hermione stared.

"You aren't going to tell him to stop sending so many letters? Even though this is your hiding place and he's sending them from here?" Hermione asked, flabbergasted. Sirius glanced at the frizzy haired brunette and gave nothing but a simple shrug.

"He's fine. Harry said his friend is trustworthy, and this place isn't going to be found out by a few trips from an owl. Alastor is just being paranoid." Sirius seemed completely unruffled by the circumstances and soon returned his attention to Harry. Hermione frowned and lost herself in her thoughts. Maybe she was just over thinking things.


A ghostly pale teenager stared at his reflection as he brushed out his long hair. He laid the brush down and sighed. The week had been uneventful. He had made sure of it. He glanced at the corner of the mirror, staring at the reflected image of gold. Slowly, he turned to face the real thing. The ring sat in its usual place by his bed. It had been sitting there for the past few days, untouched by its white haired owner.

Ryou walked over to his bed and sat on the edge. He hadn't left the house since his return from London. He didn't want to leave the ring unguarded in an empty house, but he didn't want to take it either. Hesitantly, he reached out a hand to touch the familiar piece of gold, but before his fingertips could brush the cool metal he retracted his hand and let out another sigh.

"You broke your promise. You hurt that man bad, didn't you?" He said quietly to the dead air in the room. He let his hands rest on his lap and traced the lines of his palms with his eyes. Silence reigned in the room. As it should, in a house where only one person lived.

/I did not break any promises, Yadonushi./

Ryou blinked, letting his eyes stray from his hands and land on the glitter of gold.

/Were you not awake for the entirety of the day, as promised?/

Ryou looked away from the ring. Technically, that was true. But that was only half of the spirit's promise. The blood on the rug was evidence that something happened after he blacked out.

/I did not hurt any 'normal' humans either, Yadonushi./

"You're lying, Koe. If that was true, how do you explain the blood? What happened to that man?" Ryou turned to the ring, leaning a hand on the bed side table beside the cursed item.

/So we may have played for a while. Trust me Yadonushi, I did not kill him after I finished with my fun. Besides, he wished us harm. I was protecting you./ The tone of the voice was almost soothing. As if the spirit of the ring was trying to comfort Ryou.

"You said you wouldn't hurt anyone." Ryou said harshly as he stared at the golden pendant, now with both hands gripping the table. He didn't even know what really happened, yet the guilt still weighed heavily on his chest.

/Wrong, Yadonushi. I said I would not hurt the normal mortals. He was not normal, foolish boy. Your naivety is as blinding as the stubbornness of that ignorant dragon loving Kaiba. How often does magic have to dance in your face before you can acknowledge it? I did not break my promise./

Ryou flinched at the angry tone. It took him a moment to really wrap his thoughts around what the spirit had said.

"Magic? Koe, they were just role playing weren't they? That man…couldn't control the shadows, could he?" Any previous irritation or fear he held for the spirit was quickly being replaced with confusion and curiosity.

/Of course not, but they were not playing pretend, Yadonushi. Why else would the ring guide us to that musty place? But as long as you wear the ring they cannot beat you, cannot beat us, with their inferior magic. / Again the voice was soothing. The spirit was trying to get Ryou to wear the ring. Ryou refused to leave the ring in the house alone for someone to find, but he wasn't going to take the spirit's bait this time.

"I'm not afraid of magic. If what you say is true, then I bet that man was a good magician. He won't hurt me." Ryou said, more to himself as he picked up the leather strap of the ring and headed downstairs. He grabbed his backpack and placed the ring inside. He had a barbeque to get to.

/….Yadonushi….it will be safer if you put on the ring. Those boys tubby keeps in his company...well, let's just say I know thieves when I see them./

Ryou stared at the gold necklace as his hand sat idly on the zipper of the bag. Well, the spirit hadn't actually killed anyone last time and, thanks to a few loopholes, technically Koe did keep his promises. For a moment, his hand just barely touched the leather strap only to return to his side empty handed. Ryou shook his head, zippered the bag closed, and headed out the door.


The Dursleys were pleasantly surprised to see Ryou show up to their neighborhood barbeque. Dudley had told his father Ryou might be coming, but the white haired boy's detachment from the Dursleys now that Harry was gone had led Vernon to believe the boy was just being polite and had no intentions of really coming. He smiled when his thoughts were proven wrong.

Ryou was well received by the Dursleys' guests. Dudley had told him the barbeque was going to have a lot of people, but Ryou hadn't realized just how big of an affair it was going to be. Most of the people found the boy charming despite his shyness. There was, of course, a group that didn't see a young little prince. They saw a mouse that had been hiding out in his hole for the past few weeks. They grinned at each other as they watched their 'dear friend' Ryou.


Ryou smiled as he talked with one of the people from Privet Drive. Mrs. Figg was her name, if he recalled. She was a very kind woman and Ryou was delighted he had actually decided to come out today. He had been nervous at first. Big get togethers like these had never really been his scene, but he would be lying if he said he wasn't having a good time. It was nice to get out and have a civilized conversation with others rather than trying to convince the demented mind of a 3000 year old Egyptian spirit to engage in some light hearted small talk.

The teenager dipped his head in a polite bow as he excused himself from a small group that had been talking about the latest advancements in modern technology. They had been curious about the holographic projectors that had become so popular with 'Mister Bakura's card game'. Ryou had no qualms with discussing the latest Kaiba Corp projectors, but his stomach was demanding another piece of grilled chicken. He was walking along the side of the house towards the backyard when two boys stepped out in front of him.

"Hey princess" one of them said mockingly as he crossed his arms and smiled at the smaller boy. Ryou's own smile vanished, replaced by a small frown. There was no point in getting into a confrontation. Instead he turned and started heading back towards the front of the house, only to be jerked backwards by his backpack. He let out a small, startled yelp as he fell backwards and landed on the ground. The second of the two boys instantly got in front of Ryou, grabbed his shirt, and hoisted him off the ground.

"Aww, we just wanted to say hi." He laughed at Ryou's pitiable attempts to get the larger muscular teen to release him.

"Hey princess, all we want is a little 'hello'. Weren't you taught to bark?"


The boy let out a series of sharp laughs before letting Ryou fall to the ground. The second boy joined in his companion's amusement and bent down to study their submissive target.

"You know, the entire time you've been here, I don't think I've seen you put that bag of yours down once. So. Whatcha hiding in there, princess?" He asked as he made a grab for the bag. Ryou moved away from him, but that only seemed to fuel the two boys. One grabbed Ryou by the hair while the other ripped the bag away from him.

"Ah, that's why his hair is so long. It makes a decent leash" chanted the boy as he pulled Ryou's hair back. Ryou's head jerked backwards with it. The other boy let out a soft whistle as he opened the backpack.

"My my. This ain't a bad piece of jewelry, princess. Tell me. Is it real gold?" he asked as he pulled Ryou's millennium ring out by the leather strap. He dangled it in front of Ryou's face, letting the sun glint off of the ring's shiny surface. All three boys stared at the ring – two with eyes filled with awe….one with fear.

"Answer me. Is. This. Real?" The boy repeated his question, this time throwing Ryou against the brick wall of the house. Ryou broke his gaze away from the ring and locked it on the two boys. What could he do? They didn't realize what they were dangling so carelessly in their hands.

"Fine. Don't answer. Don't matter … somebody will pay a pretty price for it. And if it really isn't worth anything, well… then I guess you'll have to bring us something that IS." The boy said as he leaned in close and grabbed Ryou's shirt. The second boy took the ring, admiring the sharp tines. Slowly, he started to pull the cord over his head.

"NO!" Ryou yelled as he pushed the first boy away with all his strength and dove towards the second. He landed on top of the other teenager, gripping the golden ring in his hands and pulling it away, keeping it pressed against his chest. The first boy cursed and sent a fist in Ryou's direction. Ryou felt himself hit the ground for the third time that day and pain bit at his cheek. Luckily, the ring was still in his hands. He groaned as he tried to push himself up.

/Ask, Yadonushi. Ask for my help. I warned you it was unsafe to keep the ring in a bag. I can help you, Yadonushi/

Ryou's eyes widened as he sat up and stared at the ring in his hands. He barely said the word 'Koe' before a hand was pulling him up by his hair. He looked up at his attackers. One held him still while the other prepared another punch. Ryou clung to the ring and braced himself for impact. He did not want the spirit's kind of help. He did not want these boys to go through the spirit's games. He would take a beating if it meant protecting them.

Just as the punch was about to collide with his face for a second time, Ryou's hand shot up and caught the bully's wrist. He looked the kid in the eye and grinned. It was an unnerving feature on the usually timid boy's face. It became even more unsettling when said boy let out a deep, disturbing chuckle.

"What's so funny? Think just 'cause you can catch a punch means you're big and bad?" the boy hissed. The white haired boy's response was a quick twist of his enemy's wrist, earning him a delicious cry of pain from the teen, and a swift kick to the boy's gut strong enough to knock the bully back a step.

"No, not at all. What's funny is you little buffoons honestly believe you're tough. It's a shame. Usually those who are lacking in the brain department make up for it with brawn. You two have neither." said the white haired boy in a rather playful voice. The boy's eye twitched before he sent another fist flying towards Ryou. The whitenette grinned and pulled his second tormentor's face into the line of fire while keeping the ring firmly grasped in his hand. One of the two oafs crumpled and held his nose while the second shook his hand. Ryou Bakura stood idly by, admiring his millennium ring. He caressed the gold almost lovingly before tugging the strap over his head.

"Now then…what should your punishment be? I can't have you harassing my poor little Yadonushi" He purred as he turned his creepy smile towards the boys yet again.

"You really think you can take us? So far you've been lucky. Don't think we'll take it easy on you from now on" growled the one teen as he clenched and unclenched his fist. The second boy managed to overcome his initial shock from the blow to his face and stood by his partner, ready to fight. Their target was grinning at them, welcoming the brawl. The tension was palpable in the air.

"Hey. What's going on?" Just like that, the spell that had been caste on the three brawlers was broken. Ryou's face lost that maniac grin and his body posture visibly relaxed. His narrowed eyes glanced towards the interruption. Tubby and Senior Tubby were approaching from the backyard, behind the two boys. Ryou's face melted into the look of pure innocence. He held his hand up to his injured cheek and threw senior tubby a rather pathetic look. Vernon glared at the two bigger teens and didn't notice Ryou's triumphant grin while he ranted and sent the boys away.

"Thank you Mr. Dursley, Sir." Ryou said with a bow, hiding that devious grin from the Dursleys. Vernon walked over and patted him on the back, saying it was nothing and ordering Dudley to go fetch some ice. After Ryou explained he was going to head home now, Vernon insisting Dudley would walk him home to keep 'those ingrates' away. Ryou waited at the front door while Dudley ran in to get the ice.

"See Yadonushi? I can protect us if you let me. Look what happens when you try to play martyr." The boy purred as he prodded his swollen cheek. His host was quiet in his mind.

"Had I not intervened, they would have taken the ring from you. You do realize this, don't you Yadonushi?" the spirit asked to no one as he tipped his head sideways.

/… I know./ Ryou was thankful the Dursleys came when they did. He knew the spirit. The spirit liked to steal the souls of the people who got in his way. He liked to make things into lifeless dolls.

"Oh, stop your worrying, dear little Yadonushi. I've told you and Pharaoh's little pet that I'm a different person than from when we first met. I was going to leave them alive this time." He chuckled. Ryou vaguely recalled Yugi, the boy who held the spirit of a pharaoh instead of the spirit of a thief, saying the spirit of the ring had helped him before. It wasn't much of a comfort, but if Yugi said the ring spirit had changed for the better then Ryou would have faith in him.

Dudley came out with the ice, which was an effective end to the boy's semi internal conversation. Bakura took the ice and glanced at it in his hand for a moment before letting his narrowed eyes fall on Dudley.

"You can go back inside. I saw you watching from the window. Didn't bother stepping in until your dad noticed the ruckus, huh? You will do no good as a body guard if you're too cowardly to face your own so called friends." The white haired boy's words were calm, but dark and haunting. He turned away from the young Dursley before he could even think of a reply and marched down the street. It wasn't until he was out of sight of the house that he finally lifted the ice and let the cold bring relief to his cheek.

"I guess… I should thank you, Koe. You really weren't going to do anything really bad to them were you? Otherwise, why let me stay awake? I could have stopped you since I was awake." Ryou said quietly as he walked down the street. He wasn't expecting a reply, but he distinctly heard the spirit scoff in the back of his mind.

/As if you could stop me. You may be getting stronger when it comes to the shadows, but thinking you can stop ME is just ridiculous. Again, you display your naivety./

Ryou stopped in his tracks. He was getting stronger with the shadows? How so? Was that a good thing or a bad thing? He glanced down at the ring, hanging openly around his neck and sparkling in the setting sun.

/Yadonushi, the ring and its powers are yours to bear. So long as you wear it, I will keep you safe./

Ryou was silent for a moment. "Keep me safe? Or keep your connection to the living world safe?"

/Yadonushi…always wear the ring./