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* indicates a character's thoughts.


Another Source of Magic
Chapter 12: The Spell's True Power

By Shadow's Mirror


Ryou took one step inside the kitchen and froze in shock at the sight before him.

The normally spotless floor was covered in a thick layer of something white that bore a suspicious resemblance to the castor sugar that Ryou had retrieved from the pantry before he'd gone out. The only difference was, the last time he'd seen it, the castor sugar had been in a packet sitting on the counter, not spread all over the kitchen floor. It hadn't had little paw prints tracked through it either.

"Bakura…" Ryou sighed softly. He should have known that his yami would find some way of getting into trouble, even though he'd been out for barely half an hour. He made his way gingerly over to the counter to inspect the damage.

The bag of castor sugar, which had been almost full just an hour earlier, was now lying empty on the floor to one side of the mess. Ryou looked thoughtfully at the bench. He'd been about to make a double batch of cookies before he'd realised that he needed more flour for the recipe. Although he'd assembled most of the ingredients before his discovery, he'd put most of them away again. Only the sugar and the chocolate chips had been left out on the counter. The chocolate chips! Ryou breathed a sigh of relief when he spotted them. They weren't exactly where he'd left them though. He was sure that they'd been beside the sugar, not on the other side of the sink.

He also didn't remember the sealed packet having chew marks all over it.

Ryou had no idea what had happened, but he thought he knew why it had. With guilt weighing heavily on his conscience, he went off to find his yami.

* * *

Finding Bakura was as easy as following the little sugar paw prints that led from the kitchen, through the living room, up the stairs and into the bedroom, where the trail disappeared underneath Ryou's bed. Ryou knelt down and spoke very softly. "Bakura, I know you're there. Please come out." When his yami didn't appear, he added, "I'm not mad at you. I know it was my fault. I never even thought… You were hungry, weren't you?"

*Yes. How… how did he know? He's… he's really not mad at me?*

The edge of the bedspread stirred and a small white-furred face peeked out at Ryou, the large brown eyes looking unusually hesitant. Ryou smiled gently and Bakura slowly limped out from under the bed. At Ryou's gasp, he froze. The next moment, much to his surprise, Bakura found himself being held in the gentle arms of his light as the boy stood up. Ryou's eyes were very anxious as he looked down at Bakura.

*What… what's going on? He looks… worried… About me?*

Ryou sat on the bed and carefully laid Bakura down in front of him. "You were limping. Where does it hurt? How bad is it? Oh… Bakura…" Ryou closed his eyes, visibly trying to calm down. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. If only I'd thought to feed you before I went out. Then you wouldn't have tried to get something for yourself. I know you were up on the counter. You hurt yourself getting down again, didn't you?" Opening his eyes again, Ryou looked down at his yami as he gently checked Bakura's fragile little legs for injury.

*His eyes… He's… he's near tears… For me…* Ignoring the twinge of pain in his left front leg, which, as Ryou had guessed, he'd hurt jumping down from the counter, Bakura moved his paw until he touched Ryou's hand. The boy went still and blinked down at him.

*If only there was some way I could… What? What do I want to do? What do I want to tell him? That it's not his fault? Yes. I might be a cat, but it hasn't affected my mind. I can still read and his note said that he wouldn't be gone long. If I'd been more patient… If I'd thought it over before I climbed up to the counter… But no… I just had to prove that I could still look after myself. Even though I ended up proving the opposite. I'm completely helpless in this cursed form. I can't even open a bag of chocolate things! All I did was make a mess and... Ow. My paw hurts.*

Ryou watched, entranced, as his yami's thoughts flickered through his eyes, as easily understood as if he'd been speaking aloud. But then, Ryou had always been very good at sensing his yami's mood from the look in his eyes. As he saw how upset Bakura was, it caused his own worry to seem inconsequential. Everything in Ryou urged him to comfort his yami.

He gently took Bakura's front left paw, the one that was quivering slightly as it touched his hand, and checked it. Ryou wasn't surprised when his yami winced and tried to pull away. "Shhh… Let me see, Bakura. Oh, good, it's not swollen or anything. It looks like you've just twisted it, or something like that. We'll ice it down while you're eating. A little rest and it will be as good as new before you know it!"

*That… sounds good…* Bakura lay quietly in his light's arms as Ryou carried him downstairs to the kitchen.

After a slight dispute over what he was having to eat ("No, Bakura, chocolate isn't good for kittens. Here, I have some nice sardines just for you."), Bakura got his first meal as a kitten. As he munched the sardines, his light held an ice-cube wrapped in a dishcloth to his sore paw. Ryou was right. By the time he'd finished eating, Bakura's paw was feeling much better.

Ryou smiled at his little yami as Bakura finished licking the bowl "I knew you'd like them. Now, why don't you have a nap? I still have a few things to do before… Oh dear…" He bit his lip and eyed his yami worriedly. "I'm supposed to go over to Yugi's this afternoon, but I really can't leave you home alone again. I wouldn't have done so the first time except that you were sleeping so peacefully that I didn't like to wake you. I'll just have to call Yugi and tell him that something…" Ryou looked down at the paw on his hand, then at Bakura's determined expression.

*No. We're going out. Both of us. Even if I have to run all the way there with you chasing me.*

"Well… I suppose I could take you with me. I could always say that I was… minding you for a neighbour or something. Yes, that could work." Ryou smiled as Bakura relaxed. He somehow managed to keep himself from patting his yami's invitingly silky fur. "All right. We'll go. But you should rest that paw as much as possible in the meantime."

* * *

Bakura lay curled up on the living room couch, his head resting on a cushion. His paw was aching slightly but apart from that he felt content. He was warm, dry, safe, comfortable and he could hear Ryou moving about the kitchen as he cleaned up the spilt sugar and made his lunch. All was right with the world, he was relaxed and sleepy, but he didn't feel like sleeping. He was too happy to be going out.

*I'm glad we're still going. We haven't been able to go out in weeks.* Bakura winced at the memory. *I still can't believe Father actually grounded us… just because he found Ryou sleeping beside a school uniform. All right, so it was a girl's school uniform, it wasn't like there was a girl in it or anything. Well… not then… Of course, I'd been in it up until an hour or so earlier, but that doesn't count… even though I was in female form at the time. But Father didn't know that! So why did he feel compelled to give us his 'ancient civilisations' lecture and ground us until he went away again? I don't think I'll ever understand that man… Which probably isn't a bad thing…*

* * *

"Yugi, Ryou's here!" Yugi's Grandpa called as he showed Ryou up to Yugi's room. He smiled as Yugi stuck his head out of the doorway, a big grin on his face.

"Thanks Grandpa! Hi Ryou! Malik's already here." A sound that could have been an indistinct greeting came from inside the room. Yugi chuckled. "Don't mind Malik today, he's had a rough morning. Isis forgot to get his favourite cereal so he had to have," Yugi struck a dramatic pose, "something healthy for breakfast!" He laughed and stepped back from the doorway so Ryou could enter the room.

"Oh dear, poor Malik." Ryou chuckled softly, his eyes going to the blonde boy lying… no, sulking was more like it… on Yugi's bed.

"Hmph. As I've tried to explain already," Malik scowled at Yugi, "the banana wasn't the problem. I just switched with Marik because I don't like bananas. It was how Marik ate it."

Ryou blinked. "How did he eat it?"

Malik's lips twitched as he fought a smile. "Very enthusiastically. With sound effects." His slight smile faded. "Only Isis caught him at it. She thinks it was me so she's going to get more bananas instead of my cereal since I 'liked it so much'. I really hate bananas."

"Oh. Oh dear." Ryou traded a glance with Yugi and they both burst out laughing.

Malik scowled at them. When that had no effect, he looked away. A small movement caught his attention. "Hey Ryou… your bag's moving."

Ryou stopped laughing immediately. "Oh… Yes… I… I'm minding a… Oh! Please be careful with him, Malik! He has a sore paw…" Malik had scooted off the bed and found the kitten in Ryou's bag before the boy could finish explaining. He held the tiny kitten up and grinned at him before turning to Ryou, a curious look on his face.

"Him huh? You didn't tell me you had a kitten. How could you not tell me you had a kitten? And such a cute kitten too!" Malik was still looking at Ryou so he didn't notice how the kitten glared at him. But Ryou noticed. It made him very nervous.

"Oh! Yes, he is cute!" Yugi smiled and trotted over to admire the kitten.

Ryou closed his eyes and silently prayed to Ra that Bakura would lose his memory. Just of the past few minutes and as long as it took Malik and Yugi to stop calling him 'cute'. After his reaction to being called 'sweet', Ryou really didn't want to think about what might happen otherwise. He suddenly realised that Malik was speaking to him. Opening his eyes, he noticed both boys looking at him curiously. "Um…"

Malik frowned. "Tell Bakura to stop talking to you so you can hear us! I want to know why you didn't tell us about your kitten!"

Ryou breathed a sigh of relief. There were advantages to having a yami. Having a permanent excuse for being distracted was one of them. "He's not really mine. I'm minding him for a neighbour." Ryou was mildly surprised that the lie came so easily. Perhaps it was because he'd practiced saying it so much on the way over.

"Why would your neighbour ask you to mind a kitten?" Malik looked suspiciously at Ryou, obviously not convinced that the kitten wasn't really Ryou's.

"Because he was hurt this morning and my neighbour was worried about him. He fell."

"Don't cats usually land on their feet." Malik looked down at the kitten. Bakura looked back at him.

"Yes. That was the problem. He hurt his paw in the landing." Ryou didn't need to act convincing. After all, it was the truth.

"Oh! The poor little thing!" Yugi lightly scratched the kitten behind his ears. Ryou fought hard not to wince visibly at the glare Bakura gave him in protest at the treatment. "It's nice of you to look after him. He's a very lucky kitty!" Yugi smiled at the kitten, then at Ryou before turning towards his desk. "Well, as much as I'd like to keep playing with the kitten, I guess we'd better get to work." He sighed. "This homework isn't going to do itself."

"Yeah, unfortunately. Don't look so worried Ryou. I'll watch the kitten. While you two do your homework, he can help me with my history assignment!" Malik grinned and jumped back onto the bed with the kitten held against his chest.

"Are you still doing that? It's due next Wednesday," Yugi lightly scolded. Malik poked his tongue out at Yugi in response.

"You're as bad as Isis! Tell me something I don't know!"

Ryou blinked at the blonde boy in surprise. "You're having trouble with it? But… it's about Ancient Egypt! I would have thought it would be easy for you."

Malik made a face. "It's all right for you and Yugi, you have your yamis and they lived in that time. But my yami only knows the Egypt that I know. He's been no help to me at all! Even my spelling is better than his!" Lying down again, he put the kitten on the bed and stared moodily at his notebook.

Yugi smiled. "Don't worry Malik, Grandpa and I have lots of books on Ancient Egypt. I'm sure you'll find something to help you."

Malik sighed, obviously not liking the thought of doing research. "Gee… thanks… Couldn't I just have a quick peek at both of your assignments?" He looked hopefully at the other boys.

Yugi and Ryou traded looks, remembering the last time that they'd let him do that. "No!" they said in unison.

"It's for your own good, Malik," Yugi said seriously.

"Yes, the teacher was cross last time when you copied from us. You only got away with it because we said that we'd all done the assignments together, using the same books. Imagine how she'd react if it happened again. I don't think that excuse would work a second time."

Malik sighed as Ryou finished speaking. As much as he hated to admit it, his friend had a point there. "Okay, fine, I won't copy. But couldn't I just…?"


* * *

Bakura stretched out on Yugi's bed. He was bored, but in a good way. Yugi and Ryou were hard at work over at the desk and Malik… well, Malik was biting the end of his pen and staring moodily at his notebook. He hadn't written a single word in almost half an hour.

*There's no way he's going to have that finished by next Wednesday. At the rate he's going, he'll be lucky to get it done by next year!* As he looked at the boy though, Bakura noticed something about Malik's eyes. It wasn't that he was thinking about what to write, he simply wasn't 'there'. *He's talking to Marik.*

As Bakura watched, Malik blinked. A look of pain flickered through his eyes. It was gone so quickly that, if Bakura hadn't been looking, he would never have known that something was wrong. Outwardly, Malik didn't move, but Bakura was suddenly sure that the boy was very upset. *Malik?*

The boy blinked again and shifted, his eyes looking away from his notebook. Noticing the kitten staring at him, he smiled slightly. Bakura caught the slight hint of sadness in the smile. Before he could wonder about it though, Malik had reached out and started stroking his fur.

*He's… petting me…* Bakura went rigid in shock for a moment before the surprisingly gentle touch fully registered. *Actually… this doesn't feel half bad…* Relaxing, Bakura lay down and allowed himself to enjoy the experience. He closed his eyes.

Bakura was almost asleep when he sensed the shadow magic swirling around him. It was only faint, too faint for any of the lights to feel, but his senses seemed to be attuned to it. Then the image began to form in his mind. He fought it at first, but when he realised who was in the image, he allowed it to come. As he watched the scene… no, he realised, the memory… unfold, Bakura understood the pain in Malik's expression.

Malik had lied about the banana incident.

Oh, he'd told the truth about how it had happened, and the fact that Marik had ended up eating the banana. But he'd lied about Isis's reaction. Marik had definitely enjoyed the banana, with an eagerness that defied description, but Isis had not been pleased about it. In fact, she'd ended up scolding him. Marik had been so upset by her words that he had retreated into his soul room and was refusing to come out again. In his pain, he'd struck out at Malik, blaming him for not eating the banana himself.

*What a mess. Only Malik and Marik could possibly have gotten themselves into this.* Bakura sighed. *Fools. Instead of getting upset with each other over it, they should just wait until Isis calms down and apologises. She will. She was just shocked. Considering the way Marik ate that banana I'm not surprised. If this is how Isis reacts to that though, let's hope she never sees how Malik eats a lollipop...*

Bakura opened his eyes and looked over at Malik. He blinked. *Huh? His expression… He seems… more relaxed now. What…? Wait… that image in my mind… the shadow magic… What was it Ryou said about the spell? It was supposed to give me 'the ability to ease the mind and heart of anyone the caster touches', that's right! So… when I relaxed… that part of the spell must have kicked in and… what? Showed me his memory? No… It let me see what was upsetting him. But how would that have calmed him down?*

Looking up at Malik, Bakura noticed the distant look in the blonde boy's eyes again. This time though, when he blinked and returned from the soulrooms, Malik was smiling happily. *They've sorted it out. About time they came to their… senses… Wait a minute… Could that be how the spell works? Because I could see that it wasn't anything they should be upset about, could that have gotten through to them? Bah. Enough of this. Ryou's the one who's into theory and philosophy, not me. However it works, at least he's cheered up. Heh. Now he owes me.*

Malik smiled at the kitten. He'd been so upset, but patting the kitten's soft fur had made him calm enough to think things through and realise that they weren't as bad as he'd thought. Now he and Marik had made up and they were happy again. The kitten deserved something nice for that. It seemed to like him petting it… Malik smiled happily as he got an idea. "Come here, kitty!"

Bakura blinked as he suddenly found himself tipped onto his back. The next moment, he tensed in shock as Malik started rubbing his stomach. *What? Hey! Stop that! Ryou! Help!*

Ryou turned around as a shaky "Mew" came from the bed. He blinked at the sight of Bakura lying on his back with his paws waving ineffectively in the air as Malik… "Um… Malik… what are you doing?" Yugi turned to look too.

"Giving him a tummy rub! Cats love this! See? He's purring!"

Malik laughed and kept petting the kitten. He looked so happy that Ryou didn't have the heart to tell him that it wasn't a purr. He just hoped that Bakura wouldn't do anything besides growl…

* * *

Ryou eyed Bakura warily as they watched TV in the living room after supper. His yami still hadn't forgiven him for not rescuing him from the indignity of Malik's 'tummy rub' torture. At least he'd put up with it until Malik had stopped off his own accord. Those fifteen minutes were obviously going to stay with Bakura for quite some time though. He had refused to look at Ryou since then and even now he was curled up at the other end of the couch. Ryou sighed sadly and tried to concentrate on the TV show.

Bakura's sharp hearing picked up his light's soft sigh. He tried to ignore the guilt it made him feel, but he couldn't quite manage it. *Curse it to the Shadows! When did his happiness become so important to me? No. I won't do it. He should have stopped Malik. I don't care if he's unhappy. I will not go over there. I won't. I… I… Oh Ra…*

The soft touch of silky soft fur against his hand made Ryou jump. He blinked down at his little yami in surprise for a moment before sighing in relief. A smile dawned on his face. "Hello. Does this mean that you've forgiven me? I really am sorry. Malik looked so happy and he meant well. Honestly! I didn't have the heart to stop him."

*I know. Now shut up and pet me before I change my mind about doing this!* Bakura pushed his head into Ryou's hand.

Ryou blinked again. "Are you all right, Bakura? You're acting very strangely. Is something wrong?" He slowly lifted his hand. When Bakura meowed and pushed against him, he hesitantly reached out and lightly touched his yami's head. Bakura immediately rubbed against him, as though seeking the touch. "Bakura?" Ryou lifted his hand again, now very worried. This wasn't at all like his independent, 'don't fuss over me, don't touch me and especially don't pet me', yami. "What is it? What's wrong? Are you hurt? Sick?"

*Curse it! How am I supposed to do that magic thing if he won't pet me? I'm sure that's how it happened with Malik. He was petting me, I was falling asleep and it just happened. But what if I can't do it again?* Bakura sighed, his head drooping as doubts filled his mind.

Suddenly, he found himself being lifted up. The next moment, he was sitting on Ryou's lap with the boy looking anxiously down at him as he gently stroked his fur. Bakura blinked up at his light in confusion. *Huh? One minute he won't pet me and the next… this?*

Ryou smiled tentatively at his little yami. "You looked so sad… I know it's hard for you, being in this form, but please don't worry. I'll look after you until you change back again. I promise." Still smiling, he leaned back against the sofa and watched his yami as he kept stroking the soft fur, trying to give what little comfort he could. Ryou couldn't bear to see his yami upset.

Bakura closed his eyes and allowed himself to enjoy the attention. The petting wasn't quite the same as when Malik had done it. Perhaps it was because it was his light, but the touch seemed much more gentle, more soothing. Instead of just relaxing him, it caused him to flop bonelessly across his light's lap. A low rumble came from somewhere near. Bakura was stunned to realise that it was him. *Oh Ra… I'm actually… purring! Curse it to the Shadows… I'm too comfortable to worry about it.* He sighed and gave in to the sensations surrounding him.

The image came, as he'd hoped it would, but it wasn't what he'd expected. Instead of seeing what had upset Ryou, he saw the two of them as they were at that moment. Two things struck him; how happy Ryou looked and how comfortable and relaxed the small kitten lying across Ryou's lap looked. *I guess Ryou was unhappy because I was mad at him. Now… I'm not mad anymore and he's… happy. Well, that was easy. Ohhh… this feels good…* It was Bakura's last thought before he drifted off to sleep.

* * *

While Ryou got ready for bed, Bakura strode restlessly around the room. After his nap, he was feeling wide awake and ready for anything… except bed. He looked around. *I'm bored. There has to be something I can do instead of going to sleep again. I've been asleep for most of the day! Huh? What's that?* He padded across the room to where Ryou had left his sneakers sitting on the chair. One of the shoelaces was dangling down. Bakura sat down in front of it and studied it intently.

*It's just a shoelace. So why am I finding it so interesting? It fascinates me. I have no idea why. It just does. That shoelace is taunting me. It's practically daring me to hit it out of the way. I will not give in to the urge… Must… resist… Oh, who am I kidding? Since when have I refused a dare?*

After glancing warily around to make sure that Ryou was still in the bathroom, Bakura swiped at the dangling shoelace with one paw. The shoelace swung up and then fell back into place. *Heh.* Bakura glanced around again and then swiped it with his other paw. The shoelace flew in the other direction. *Heheheh.*

Ryou came out of the bathroom and looked around for his yami. He blinked. Bakura was sitting up on his haunches happily batting at a dangling shoelace with both paws. He was so focused on his game that he hadn't noticed that he was no longer alone. Ryou tried to keep from laughing, but the sight of his normally serious yami playing like a… well… kitten… was just too funny.

Bakura froze at the sound of his light's laughter. *He's not… he is… Oh… Ra…* He slowly lowered his front paws and took a deep breath. With as much dignity as he could muster, he turned and padded past Ryou, sending a glare to his light as he did so. The look seemed to make Ryou laugh harder, if that was possible. *Bah. I'd like to see you try to resist a dare like that.* Bakura stalked across the room and under Ryou's bed. Lying down, he started to do some serious sulking.

It took Ryou several minutes to stop laughing. When he finally did, he turned the bed down and then startled his yami by simply reaching under the bed and scooping him up! As he cuddled his thoroughly disgruntled yami to his chest, Ryou smiled down at him. "I'm sorry for laughing, Bakura. It just surprised me, that's all. I'm not used to seeing you so relaxed. Forgive me?"

*No chance.*

Bakura looked away. He blinked when Ryou suddenly hugged him more closely. As much as he tried to resist, knowing what he'd see if he looked, Bakura couldn't stop himself from glancing up. Sure enough, Ryou was giving him that half pleading/half hopeful look that all of the lights used whenever they wanted their yamis to do something that their yamis didn't want to do. As always, Bakura found himself unable to resist the 'hikari eyes', as Yami had once named the look. He sighed.

*Fine… But don't do it again.*

Ryou felt the tension leave his little yami and smiled, knowing that he had been forgiven. "Come on, Bakura, it's time for bed. We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow. I'll have to think of an excuse to stay home though. I can't leave you here alone all day."

*Huh? What's he talking about? Oh… that's right… he doesn't know I changed the spell.*

Ryou smiled at Bakura as he climbed into bed and gently put his yami down beside him. Rolling onto his side so he was facing Bakura, the boy began to lightly stroke the soft white fur. "Try to go to sleep, Bakura. It's really not so bad, you know."

*Huh. Speak for yourself. You're not the one who's been too small to hold a Duel Monster card or open a packet of chocolate things for most of the day. You also weren't the one who got called 'cute'… I am not cute!* Bakura curled up beside his light but he didn't go to sleep. Instead, he continued to glare into the night for some time, planning his revenge on Yugi and Malik.

* * *

Bakura stirred, his eyes opening slowly as he yawned and stretched. He was still a kitten, but he could tell by how dark it was that the dawn wasn't far off. He shifted and blinked as he realised how warm and comfortable he felt. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he saw the reason why.

He was lying in the spot between Ryou's neck and shoulder and the pillow. *Huh? How in the Shadows did I get here?* He vaguely remembered Ryou pulling the covers up in the middle of the night… *Oh yeah, I got hot so I came up here to get away from the blanket.* He closed his eyes again. *I'm too comfortable to get up. I think I'll just lie here until the spell breaks.*

Bakura shifted slightly, his head nuzzling against his light's bare skin at the base of his neck. He instinctively gave Ryou a little lick. As his mind caught up with his actions, he froze, his eyes the only part of him that moved as they snapped open in shock.

*What… did I just do? I didn't really just… lick him… did I? Oh Ra… I did… Why in the Shadows did I do that?* He stared at his light in confusion for a long moment before he lay down again. *At least I didn't wake him up. Wait a minute… Why didn't that wake him up?* Bakura sat up straight and stared down at his light. *I licked him and he didn't even stir? Well, fine! If that's how he reacts, just see if I ever do it again!* Annoyed, Bakura stalked to the bottom of the bed and sat down. He looked up at the window. The first light of day was beginning to lift the darkness.

* * *

Ryou smiled as he stretched. "Good morning, Bakura!"

"Morning, Ryou."

The voice froze Ryou in mid-stretch. His wide eyes darted around the room before he finally spotted his yami, back in spirit form, standing over by the window. "You… you're back to normal…"

Bakura turned, frowning at the odd tone of his light's voice. "You sound disappointed."

Ryou smiled weakly. "Oh… no… I'm just… surprised, that's all. I thought… Wasn't the spell supposed to last for three dawns, like the others?"

"I re-worded it. I thought it was to make a sunny day, so I figured one day would be long enough. Good thing I did. I'd still be stuck in that cursed cat form if I hadn't!" He shuddered at the thought, but his attention never shifted from Ryou. His light was definitely disappointed for some reason.

"Oh. Yes. That was a… good idea…" Ryou busied himself with getting up and making his bed. Bakura noticed that he didn't look at him.

"Ryou… what's wrong? Why won't you look at me?" Bakura winced inwardly as his words came out more harshly than he'd intended. Sure enough, his sensitive light flinched at the tone. But at least he turned around and met Bakura's eyes.

"I'm sorry, Bakura. I just… liked you as a kitten. I mean… I like you as you are, of course, but it was nice to have a kitten… Oh, I'm making such a mess of this…" A faint tide of colour rushed into Ryou's cheeks as he gave his yami a weak smile.

Bakura eyed the boy curiously. "If you like cats so much, how come you don't have one?"

Ryou turned away and headed for the bathroom. For a moment Bakura thought he wasn't going to answer the question. But then Ryou stopped in the doorway. He didn't turn, and his voice was so soft that Bakura could barely hear it. "Father won't allow it. He doesn't like pets. He says that they make too much mess." Ryou went into the bathroom, closing the door behind him.

Bakura stared at the closed door as a mix of shock and anger raced through him. After everything Father had put Ryou through; leaving him alone so much, ignoring him when he was home, not to mention all the trouble he'd given Ryou and 'Kura'; this struck Bakura as being too much. He'd experienced first-hand how much care Ryou took with a kitten. It didn't seem right that he didn't have one of his own, just because Father said so.

"If Ryou wants a fuzzball of his own, then that's what he's going to have! Whether Father likes it or not!"

Bakura thumped his fist on the desk beside him. At least, that was what he meant to do. Unfortunately, his fist hit the edge of the Book of Secret Arts and sent it flying! Scowling at the book, Bakura picked it up. As he went to put it back on the desk though, he noticed the spell the book had fallen open to. It took him a moment to realise what he was seeing.

The spell was written in Egyptian Hieroglyphs.

All the other spells that Bakura had tried had been written in Japanese, the language that Bakura found hardest to read. They had also been written in an untidy scrawl that would have been almost impossible for him to read even if his Japanese had been perfect. But this spell… not only was it in Hieroglyphs, but every character was printed neatly and clearly!

Bakura read through the spell, then read it through again just to make sure that it said what he thought it said. For a long moment, he stared at the book. His mind was racing, but he was also uneasy. It seemed almost… too convenient. A whole book of spells and it just happened to open at the very page he needed? Bakura eyed the book suspiciously. After everything he'd been through because of the spells he'd cast, he had no intention of casting this spell. At least, not until he was absolutely sure that it would do what he wanted it to do. The spell looked simple enough, but then again, he'd thought that about the other spells too.

When Ryou came out of the bathroom, he found the bedroom empty. He also noticed something that made him very worried. "Oh no… Bakura!" He hurried out of the room, calling for his yami.

The Book of Secret Arts was no longer on his desk.


To be continued...