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.
It was a completely normal, completely unremarkable day. The sky was clear, the birds were singing merrily and no one had tried to take over the world for at least a week. In the kitchen of the Bakura residence, the radio was playing a tune that could only be described as 'perky' and Ryou was humming and moving his hips in time to the beat as he finished washing the breakfast dishes.
Bakura watched his light wiggle and tried to summon up at least a little enthusiasm for the sight that normally fascinated him. That was harder than usual, though. He scowled.
"It's too quiet. How am I supposed to concentrate on watching you when I'm tensely waiting for something to happen?"
Ryou blinked at the sudden complaint and looked over at his yami, an adorable look of confusion on his face. "You believe something will?"
"Like I said, it's too quiet. Ever heard that phrase, 'the calm before the storm'?" Bakura's scowl deepened. "The last time it was this quiet, Marik tipped that pot of glue all over Isis's cat. Remember? Malik called me to help them bathe it."
A delicate shudder passed through Ryou's slender frame as he nodded. "How could I forget? It took two weeks for the worst of your scratches to completely heal. I do not believe Isis has forgiven you all yet for the claw marks in her sofa."
Bakura shrugged. "My point is, that happened on a quiet day just like this one."
Biting his lip, Ryou considered that point. "Isis told me she has forbidden Marik from going near anything that could spill, stick, stain, cause injury or result in anything that Malik cannot clean up in ten minutes."
"This is Marik we're talking about. That still leaves a lot of possibilities." Bakura stretched and looked rather grumpy. "Don't you feel like something's about to happen any minute?"
Ryou had just started shaking his head when a wailing sound started up somewhere nearby. He blinked and shot a very nervous glance at his yami. "Bakura... have you done something I should know about?"
Bakura pouted at the other boy. "Why do you always ask me that whenever we hear crying or sirens?"
"Because most of the time you are the cause of the crying or sirens." Ryou hurried towards the back door. "I think it is coming from next door."
Pouting over the unfounded accusation; he'd only been responsible for crying once and sirens twice... all right, three times but the fourth time had not been his fault; Bakura followed Ryou outside to find out what was going on.
"Ryou! Oh thank goodness you're home!" Their neighbour, Mrs Hitashi, was in her backyard. She was a thin woman in her late forties with dark hair always worn in a neat bun and kind eyes. She always had a smile and a cheerful greeting for Ryou and Bakura whenever she saw them outside and more often than not would stop and chat for a few moments. Right now though, she sounded quite distressed. From inside her house, the sound of wailing persisted.
"Is something wrong, Mrs Hitachi?" Ryou immediately headed over to the fence to speak with her.
Bakura followed his light for two reasons. He was curious and he rather liked the woman. She showed obvious concern for Ryou and kept an eye on him whenever Father was away. The first time she'd seen the yami, she'd been very wary and had sought confirmation about his relationship to Ryou and why he was suddenly living there as well. He'd been delighted by that. If she'd just accepted him without question, he would have considered her concern for his light to be nothing more than show.
Mrs Hitachi nodded. "Oh, Ryou, something terrible's happened!" She wrung her hands as she joined them at the fence. "Watari, my daughter Suzumi's parakeet... she had him out of his cage. He was sitting quietly on her shoulder while she did her homework, as he often does, when our cat made a leap for him. He flew off in a fright and my husband opened the back door at just that moment. Now we can't find him anywhere! Have you seen him?"
Ryou bit his lip as he shook his head. "No, but I will keep an eye out for him. Did it just happen?"
The woman nodded. "Yes. Just a few minutes ago. Poor Suzumi's in such a state over it." She looked back at her house, clearly worried about her daughter. Returning her attention to the boys, she sighed. "Would you boys do me a favour? My husband thought he saw Watari fly over into your tree." She gestured to the large maple tree that shaded most of the backyard. "We thought if you could put the cage in your yard, he might fly down to it, since it's familiar to him."
Ryou nodded. "Of course! We would be glad to. We shall keep an eye on it and if he comes down, we will let you know."
Mrs Hitachi looked relieved. "Thank you so much!"
While she was getting the cage, Bakura leaned in to whisper in his light's ear. "You know the chances of the bird coming to the cage are rare, right? He's probably long gone by now."
Ryou nodded and whispered back. "I know, but rare or not, a chance is a chance." He fell silent as the woman returned with the cage.
Bakura took it from her, since it was rather large and he was stronger than his light. Ryou smiled gently at her. "I hope he comes back to it."
"So do I, Ryou." Mrs Hitachi nodded, looking a little less distraught now that some action was being taken, no matter how small. "Thank you for this."
"You are most welcome." Ryou waved and then followed Bakura as he went off to put the cage somewhere a passing parakeet would see it.
As Bakura positioned the cage, he noticed his light had gone suddenly still. Frowning, he looked up at the boy. Ryou was standing with his eyes closed and his head titled slightly as if listening to something. "Light? What's wrong?"
Ryou shook his head. "Listen. Do you hear that?"
Bakura listened and his eyes widened slightly as he realised what Ryou meant. "That sounds like..."
Nodding, Ryou looked around carefully. "It is. That is Watari. I am sure of it! But where... Oh!" He reached out and grasped Bakura's shoulder. "Bakura!" His voice was barely above a whisper. "Look! Over there." He gestured slightly with his head.
Although their yard didn't have much in the way of landscaping, Ryou had made himself a small vegetable and herb garden alongside the fence on the Hitachi's side. To stop the soil from washing away whenever he watered it, he'd bordered it with stones.
There was currently a small parakeet sitting on top of the stones watching them curiously.
"If we go inside, he might come into the cage." Ryou began to back away towards the door.
Bakura studied the bird for a moment. Where it was sitting... they must have gone straight past it while they were carrying the cage. If that hadn't bothered it, then maybe... "I have a better idea. Wait here." He was gone before his light could ask him any questions.
Although he didn't know a lot about birds, he remembered a story he'd heard in his past life in Egypt. A wealthy merchant had kept birds and one day one of them had escaped. A fast-thinking servant had recaptured the bird by throwing a bucket of water on it. With its feathers wet, the bird had been unable to fly and the servant had been able to recapture it easily.
Bakura didn't have a bucket, but he had something just as good.
Ryou was so busy keeping an eye on the bird that Bakura managed to get within four metres of it before his light realised what he was up to. "Bakura! No!" He gasped out the words just as Bakura unkinked the hose he was holding, releasing the water so it spurted out and onto the bird!
Startled, the parakeet took off. Bakura blinked and frowned as he scowled at the hose. "So much for that story." He winced as he felt his light coming up behind him and quickly turned to explain.
Both boys both gasped as the forgotten hose in Bakura's hand thoroughly soaked Ryou.
"Ryou! I'm sorry!" Bakura quickly kinked the hose again and headed over to the tap to turn it off.
Ryou smiled a little and shook his head. "It was an accident. But what happened to the bird?" He peered in the direction the bird had flown in, towards their rear neighbour's yard.
"It flew. I'm sorry. The water was supposed to wet its feathers so it couldn't fly. I'd heard of it once. I guess it doesn't really work." Bakura frowned when he received no reply. "Ryou?" He looked over at his light. His frown deepened when he saw how still the other boy was and he headed back to him.
"It did." Ryou's soft words were even more surprising than his standing very still, looking into the neighbour's garden. "It did not really fly. It was more... skimming. Look! It managed to get over our fence but it did not get far." He pointed.
Bakura frowned and shook his head. Try as he might, he couldn't see it at all. "If you can guide me to it, I'll go get it."
At his light's eager nod, Bakura jumped the fence. Using every bit of his thief skills, he made his way slowly to the side of the yard where his light had been pointing. From the fence, Ryou called out softly. "You are almost there. It is down on the ground beside the hedge, walking towards the ball."
There were children in the house and they'd left some of their toys in the yard, including a large blue beachball barely two metres from where Bakura was standing. He looked down in surprise, having thought that Ryou had been pointing much further away, and blinked at the parakeet walking calmly along the ground little more than a metre away. Grinning, Bakura pounced.
"Oh thank you so much, boys!" Mrs Hitachi was overjoyed when Bakura handed her back the cage with her parakeet inside it. "Thank you!" She put the cage on the ground, then hugged Ryou happily. He smiled, blushed and returned the hug shyly, blushing even more when she gave him an odd look upon realising how wet he was. "Oh dear... it seems you went to considerable trouble. I'm so sorry!"
Ryou smiled and shook his head. "This was Bakura's fault. I am glad we were able to catch Watari."
"So am I. Suzumi has been inconsolable." Her young daughter's wailing had only just started to taper off to intermittent sobbing.
Much to Bakura's surprise, and considerable shock, Mrs Hitachi hugged him as well without even the slightest hesitation. Apparently his reputation for being a tough and manly man was not as widespread as he'd thought.
"Thank you both so much!"
As the happy woman carried her daughter's treasured friend inside, where his return was greeted with happy cries and more crying, Ryou moved to stand closer to Bakura. He leaned a little against him and smiled at his yami. "I could never have caught him, alone. Thank you for helping."
Bakura felt the heat rising into his cheeks and shrugged as he looked away. "It was nothing. All I did was soak a bird and then pounce on it. It was kind of fun."
As his light giggled at his side, Bakura silently added that seeing his light so happy was better still.