DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction produced for entertainment purposes only. Yu-Gi-Oh! and all related characters are the creations of Kazuki Takahashi.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Text in bold is being emphasised.
Bakura sighed as he walked along the pavement, a few steps behind his light. Of all the mundane chores Ryou insisted that he help out with whenever he was in his physical form, in Bakuraís opinion, grocery shopping was definitely the worst. They hadnít even reached the shop yet and he was already bored!
He looked around, searching for something to occupy his mind with. The cars whizzing by provided the necessary distraction and he idly watched them as he walked, mildly intrigued by how fast they were moving.
Something sparkled on the other side of the street, the sudden gleam catching Bakuraís attention. He paused, scanning the area with the same keen senses that had made him an expert thief in his former life in Ancient Egypt. The sunlight struck the object again and Bakura smirked as he identified the source. Someone had dropped something small and silver.
The possibility that it might be money was an irresistible temptation.
Without a momentís hesitation, Bakura veered off the pavement and started across the street, his attention focused on the spot where the object was lying. He was only vaguely aware of Ryouís startled exclamation, so the hand on the back of his jacket caught him completely by surprise. Before he could react, Bakura found himself pulled backwardsÖ out of the path of an oncoming car.
"Bakura! Donít ever do that again! You might have been killed!"
Shaken more than he would ever admit by his close call, Bakuraís instinctive reaction was to take offense at Ryouís demanding tone. He whirled around. His intention was to give the other boy a sharp response, but one look at his light changed his mind. Ryou was paler than normal and visibly shaken, his eyes filled with the same fear that echoed faintly through their mind link. Instead of snapping at his light, Bakura frowned. "Whatís the big deal? I was just crossing the road!"
Ryou shook his head. "No! You should never cross the street like that. Itís not at all safe. You didnít even look to see if there were any cars coming! You should use the crosswalk, Bakura." At his yamiís uncomprehending blink, Ryou blushed faintly. "OhÖ I guess you donít know about that."
Bakura frowned. "So show me already."
"All right." Ryou smiled and started walking again. "Come on, Bakura, thereís one at the end of the block."
"So thatís a crosswalk? Those lines on the road? Thatís it?" Bakura sneered at the road markings, unimpressed.
Ryou smiled. "Not quite. See that box up there?" He pointed to the crosswalk sign. "It changes depending on whether or not itís safe to cross the road. Red means you should stay where you are and green means that it is safe to walk. Right now itís red, so weíll just wait until it turns green. Okay?"
Bakura looked up at the sign thoughtfully. "Red means stop, green means go. Got it."
As his light smiled at him, Bakura couldnít help smiling back. There was a lot about the modern world that he didnít yet understand, but at least he had Ryou to teach him what he needed to know.
Four hours later, Bakura groaned as he trudged back along the pavement with his light. It had been a long and agonising shopping trip. They were both carrying several bags of groceries, but the trip had also resulted in both of them gaining aching legs from walking, aching arms from their burdens and headaches from the loudspeaker systems that had been blaring out announcements the entire time they had been in the mall. Both light and yami were hot, tired, hungry, thirsty, in pain and irritable in general. Even Ryou was tired enough to be walking with his head down rather than chattering away happily about what he would cook with their provisions, as he normally did.
Bakura was so busy making a mental list of excuses to give his light for never going shopping again, he failed to notice when Ryou stopped suddenly. Bakura promptly bumped into him with enough force to make them both almost drop their bags.
"Hey! Ryou! Some warning would be nice. Donít just stop like that!" The words snapped out and Bakura immediately regretted them when Ryou looked at him with his eyes brimming with tears. "UmÖ I didnítÖ I meanÖ Thereís no need to be so upset. I didnít mean to yell at you."
"IÖ Iím not upset about that." Ryou sniffed and a single tear rolled down his cheek.
Bakura blinked. "Youíre not? ThenÖ why?"
"I forgot the cream." When Bakura only blinked at him, Ryou elaborated. "The cream to have with the strawberries I got for dessert tonight. I was going to get it at the shop we passed a few minutes ago, but I forgot all about it. Now Iíll either have to go back and get it, or go without." He sighed.
"Oh." Bakura thought about it for a moment. He could tell by what he was sensing through their mind link that Ryou was exhausted, but he knew his light would probably go back and get the cream. It was one of Ryouís favourite treats. Bakura considered the dessert to be too sweet for his liking, but he had to admit, if only to himself, that he rather enjoyed seeing the look of pure pleasure that it brought to Ryouís face.
"Iíll go." The words slipped out before he could stop them and Bakura mentally kicked himself for it. Then he had to stop himself from instinctively stepping back as Ryou was suddenly far closer to him than he had been a moment earlier.
Ryou gazed up at his wonderful yami, his eyes bright with happiness. "Really? You donít mind? Oh thank you, Bakura!"
"YeahÖ WellÖ Just donít expect me to do this again! Itís a one-time-only deal. Right? Right! Now, you go sit down on that bus stop bench and wait with the groceries. I wonít be long."
The shop was on the other side of the street about half a block back. Bakura was about to cross over to it when he remembered what his light had told him earlier. He smirked to himself. Ryou was still within sight and Bakura knew the boy was watching him. Ryou always worried too much. But since he was watching, Bakura saw it as an opportunity that he didnít want to miss.
He started walking back to the crosswalk on the corner. It wasnít that much further to walk and it was worth it to show his light that heíd remembered. In fact, if he was careful and cunning, he might even be able to get more than a compliment out of Ryou. Some sort of reward, perhaps. Like ice cream or chocolate for dessert. Ryou could have his share of the strawberries and cream. Bakura preferred chocolate any day.
The light was red when Bakura got there, so he stood on the pavement and waited as patiently as he could. He was tempted to cross anyway. The only cars were still some distance away and Ryou couldnít see the light from where he was, so heíd never knowÖ But Bakura had found out the hard way that his light had the incredible ability to get him to own up to things heíd done and not admitted guilt over at the time. So, Bakura fixed his gaze on the crosswalk sign and waited for it to change colour.
As soon as the light flashed green, Bakura started across the street. He was about halfway across when something unexpected happened.
The crosswalk sign turned red again.
Bakura stopped in mid-step, his lightís words echoing through his mind. He wasnít supposed to walk when the sign was red. ButÖ he was only halfway across the road! What was he supposed to do? He tried to remember if it had happened before when heíd crossed the street with Ryou, but he hadnít been paying attention to the sign at all those other times. He hadnít even known it was there until Ryou had told him about it, earlier that afternoon!
As he stood in the middle of the road trying to work out what to do, he began to feel waves of emotion coming from his lightís side of the link. Ryou was worried about him, as usual. Bakura was rather annoyed at that. He was tough and could easily take care of himself. He didnít need anyone to worry about him. He certainly didnít need to ask his light, through their link, about what to do! Heíd figure it out by himself! That would show Ryou a thing or two!
It all happened at once.
A car came speeding around the corner; its horn blaring out as the driver noticed Bakura too late to stop. He tried to swerve, but he was going too fast. Bakura barely noticed the danger though; he was too busy wincing at the painfully loud mental scream piercing his mind as his light realised what was going on.
But Bakura had been an expert tombrobber in the days when traps varied from walls that closed in and falling slabs of stone, to poison-tipped arrows and unexpected pits with crocodiles at the bottom! His instincts may have been a little rusty, but they were still good enough for him to easily avoid being hit by something as large and obvious as an oncoming car! He jumped out the way, the car missing him by several inches. Hardly exciting, really.
Ignoring the driverís yelled insults, Bakura stalked to the nearest curb. It wasnít until he looked around and saw Ryou running towards him that he realised what had happened. "Shadows! All that trouble and I didnít even get across the street!" He was still fuming when Ryou reached him.
"Bakura! Are you all right? Are you hurt anywhere? The car didnít hit you, did it?" Ryouís anxious eyes scanned his yami for any sign of injury. When he didnít see anything, he frowned.
"What in the world did you think you were doing? Why did you stop in the middle of the road like that? That was so dangerous!" The normally calm light glared at his yami furiously.
Bakura scowled back at Ryou. "The sign turned red before I reached the other side. You told me only to walk when it was green. I was just doing what you told me to!"
Ryou blinked. "Of all the times for you to listen to meÖ" His anger forgotten, he smiled very slightly, a soft flush tinting his cheeks. "Iím sorry, Bakura. Itís my fault. I should have told you. The crosswalk sign always changes to red before you get all the way across. That doesnít mean you stop in the middle of the road. You just keep going until you reach the other side. Itís okay. Itís the one time when itís all right to walk when the sign is red."
Bakura frowned, obviously irritated. "Youíre right, you should have told me that before." He turned and glared up at the crosswalk sign for a moment, as if debating whether or not to send it to the Shadow Realm. Apparently he decided against it, since he merely sighed and shook his head. "Iíll give it another try."
He was surprised to feel Ryouís hand on his arm. "What? Iím going to get the cream for your strawberries, remember?" When he couldnít shake the hand off, he turned to scowl at his light. "What is it, Ryou? Youíre going to make me missÖ"
Before he could finish speaking, Bakura suddenly found himself being hugged very tightly by his very emotional light. "Ryou?" Surprised, he hesitantly returned the hug, not quite sure what had prompted it. Ryou was normally too reserved to do such a thing. Through their link, he could sense his lightís emotions, but they were all too jumbled for him to sort through.
Ryou buried his face in his yamiís shoulder and shuddered. "No, Bakura. I donít care about the cream anymore. Iíll get some tomorrow. Right now, IÖ I just want to go home."
Bakura blinked as he suddenly realised what one of his lightís whirling emotions was. Ryou had been afraid. Very afraid. For him.
A slight smile curved Bakuraís lips and his eyes held more than a hint of warmth as he looked down at his lightís head, resting against his shoulder. Maybe the shopping trip had been worthwhile after all. Maybe.
His hand moved up, brushing against Ryouís soft hair before coming to rest on the back of the boyís head. A simple touch offering silent reassurance. "Yeah. Letís go home."