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 sound effect.

 

Another Source of Magic
Chapter 2: A Successful Spell

By Shadow's Mirror

 

Ryou gaped at his yami in shock. He couldn't possibly have heard him correctly. "You… you're going to do what?"

Bakura looked down at the large spellbook in his hands and then glanced over at his light, a sneer on his lips. "You heard me. I'm going to use this book to magic myself up a real physical body. Then…" his eyes gleamed as he savoured the anticipation, "Then I'm going to go for a walk. All by myself. With you nowhere in sight." He closed his eyes to feel the thrill of that thought more clearly, and so missed the pain that flashed through his light's eyes.

"But… but Bakura…" Ryou moved forward slightly, his hand hesitantly coming up as though he wanted to reach out to his yami. Bakura frowned and turned, his eyes opening just as Ryou's arm dropped back down to his side. The boy sighed and half-turned so he was facing away from Bakura. One hand moved up to rub his arm as though it pained him. In truth, even though the knife wound had long healed, at that moment Ryou could feel it as though it had just been cut again. He desperately wanted his yami to listen to him, but he knew that Bakura never would.

Bakura scowled at his light, angry that his moment of triumph had been interrupted. His expression shifted subtly as he recognised Ryou's defensive posture. As Ryou rubbed his arm, Bakura had to force himself to remain still. He wasn't sure what he was stopping himself from doing, only that he definitely did not want to do it. His voice was harsher than normal when he spoke. "Cut that out!"

Ryou tensed, glancing over his shoulder at his angry yami. Seeing Bakura's scowl deepen, Ryou forced himself to relax. Things were bad enough without Bakura being angered even more. Somehow, he had to calm his yami down! He tried a small smile. "Do you…" He had to force himself to finish what he'd started. "Do you need any help with the spell?"

Bakura blinked, startled by his light's question as much as Ryou's hesitantly conciliatory voice. He shook his head; his anger fading as quickly as it had risen. "No. I'll manage."

For a moment, they stood there, silently eyeing each other. Neither one was sure what to do next. Finally, Bakura abruptly turned and started towards the door. Ryou blinked. "Bakura?"

"What?" Bakura snapped back, not even slowing down.

"Are you… Will you…" Ryou bit his lip nervously. He wanted to ask his yami if he was going to be all right on his own, but he knew Bakura would react badly if he did so. He also wanted to ask Bakura if he would be coming back. After all, with a physical form, his yami would no longer need Ryou, and he had certainly complained often enough about having to be with him. Somehow though, Ryou knew he didn't need to ask that. His yami would return. He was sure of it. Still, he had to say something… Bakura had stopped at the door and was waiting impatiently for Ryou to finish what he'd started to say.

"Will you… be back for dinner?" Ryou wasn't sure why he'd blurted that out. He blushed faintly in embarrassment as Bakura slowly turned to stare at him. "Well, physical bodies need to eat so I just thought…" Ryou forced himself to stop the rush of words. He gave Bakura an apologetic smile. "Never mind."

Bakura snorted and shook his head, turning away. He started to go out the door, but something made him hesitate. "Yes. I'll be back for dinner." His voice was little more than a low growl, but Ryou heard it. As Bakura walked down the hallway, he could feel his light's shocked eyes tracking his movements. He snorted again. Ryou would probably still be in shock by the time he got back!

* * *

Sitting down at the kitchen table, Bakura reverently placed the ancient book in front of him. He stroked the leather cover and couldn't stop a small smile from stealing across his face. It was time. Taking a deep breath to steady the nerves that he was surprised to feel fluttering within him, the spirit carefully opened the spellbook. He turned to the first page with writing on it and his eyes eagerly scanned it.

The page was written entirely in Japanese.

Shock surged through his system and he felt as though someone was running ice-cubes up and down his spine. "No…" His voice was little more than a whisper as he stared in disbelief at the book. "No!" He dropped his head onto the table as he groaned at his bad luck. "Why couldn't it have been Hieroglyphs? I can read blasted Hieroglyphs!" Sitting up again, Bakura glared at the book as though it were its fault what it was written in. "I knew this was too easy…" He sighed and scowled down at the page of strange letters, already feeling a headache coming on. "Even English would be better than this… but, oh, no! It just had to be the language that's hardest for me to read, didn't it?"

Sighing, Bakura stared at the page, struggling to make out the letters that seemed to shift before his eyes as though they were living creatures. It took him a few minutes to realise that he was reading an acknowledgments page rather than the index he wanted.

He scowled down at the page. "Why would anyone write acknowledgments in a Shadow Realm spellbook? 'My deepest gratitude to the Blackland Fire Dragon for not eating me'… What idiot wrote this?" He turned a few more pages and paused on a page with only a few characters on it. The title page, complete with the name of the author. Bakura blinked. "The Dark Magician… That explains a lot."

Making a mental note to send the Pharaoh's favourite card to the graveyard the next time he had the chance, Bakura leafed through a few more pages until he finally found the index page. His eyes almost crossed as he struggled to make out the writing, which was tiny and cramped and looked as though it had been written with a badly leaking pen.

"Something about birds, something about… apricots?" Bakura blinked and frowned at that one some more. "Oh. How to turn an apple into an apricot." He moved on to the next one, then paused to consider. "What possible use could that be?" He eyed the book, his doubts growing by the moment. For a powerful book, it had some very strange spells in it…

Continuing down the page, Bakura's eyes soon began to blur and a dull ache throbbed in his head. But he refused to give up! The spells were starting to make sense. "How to protect yourself from Dragon Fire, How to make your hat stand up even when it's wet…" Bakura sighed. Most of the spells were starting to make sense, he silently amended.

By the time he reached the end of the second index page, his eyes were aching so much that he almost missed seeing the last line. He blinked and peered at the words, then grinned. "How to manifest a spirit as a physical form! That's it!"

Bakura turned to the page eagerly, his eyes gleaming and his tiredness forgotten as he studied the words on the page. The spell was simple enough, except… The spirit winced. "Why did it have to be that kind of spell? He couldn't make it a nice impressive command, could he? No, of course not. Cursed Magicians… they always have to make things as difficult as possible… I bet the Pharaoh put him up to this, just to annoy me…"

Standing up, the spirit quickly glanced around to make sure that he was alone. The last thing he wanted was for his light to see him doing what he was about to do. With a heavy sigh, Bakura began the spell, his eyes straining to see the words and their accompanying instructions.

First he had to stand on one leg. Then he had to place one hand on his head and the other on his stomach. Then… Wincing because he felt completely ridiculous, Bakura started patting his head and rubbing his stomach. It wasn't as easy as he thought it would be. The fact that his concentration was divided as he tried to read the words in the spellbook didn't help either.

"Heart without Flesh, Strength without Bone,
Grant me a physical form of my own.
Water, Air, Earth and Fire,
Grant me now my heart's desire.
To me now thy magic give,
To know again what it means to live.
This gift I ask, this price I pay,
For three dawns hence shall I be this way."

Bakura had just finished speaking the last word when he felt the spell take hold. He winced as a feeling, like thousands of tiny needles pressing into his skin, raced over his body. He felt dizzy and he instinctively put his hand out to steady himself, even though he knew it was no use. Then he felt the table, solid and cool underneath his palm. Opening his eyes, Bakura stared down at his hand, lying flat on the table. The strange feeling faded, but Bakura never even noticed. He was far too preoccupied with admiring his new, and yet familiar, body.

"It worked!" Throwing back his head, Bakura laughed with pure joy. He had a physical form again! It had been so long! He started for the door, eager to try out his new body. Bakura was in such a hurry that he didn't even stop to close the book.

* * *

He'd been to the park many times in the past, but always as nothing more than a shadow lurking in Ryou's mind. As he walked across the grass, he relished the feel of the sunshine warm on his pale skin and the cool breeze as it ruffled his long hair. He was enjoying himself so much that it was only a minor irritation that the wind kept blowing his hair into his eyes.

Pushing his hair out of the way for the fourteenth time, Bakura looked around, wondering what he should do next. A wicked smirk crossed his face as he spied the ducks over near the large pond that was the park's main feature. Perfect. He was in the mood for causing a little mayhem.

Unfortunately for Bakura, the ducks didn't take kindly to people running at them while waving their arms around and yelling at the top of their voices. Instead of scattering all over the park, as Bakura thought they would, they turned and flew straight for him! Within moments, he was surrounded by a flock of very annoyed ducks. Very annoyed ducks with very sharp beaks, and the will to use them. The ducks pecked at Bakura relentlessly, forcing him to back up. He was so busy trying to fend them off that he didn't see where he was going. He stepped back and gasped as his foot met nothing but empty air.

*Splash!*

"Ugh… I don't believe it…" Bakura slowly stood up, looking down at himself in disgust as the water cascaded off him and back into the pond. Pulling a face, he delicately picked a strand of waterweed off his sleeve and tossed it away. "First the ducks and now this!"

Bakura glared at the ducks, which were now calmly going about their business and ignoring him completely. "Stupid creatures," he muttered, wading through the knee-deep water towards the bank. He started to haul himself out of the pond and gasped as he came face to beak with a particularly large duck! Jerking in shock, Bakura lost his grip on the bank and fell back into the pond again. Sitting with the cold water up around his chest, Bakura glared at the duck. The duck glared back at him, as though daring him to try to get past it.

Bakura dared.

By the time the duck finally lost interest and wandered off, Bakura had fallen into the pond twelve times and been pecked five times because he hadn't been fast enough to get out of the way. He quickly pulled himself out of the water and put as much distance between himself and the malicious ducks as he could. When he finally dared to stop and catch his breath, he glared back at the deceptively peaceful-looking pond. "Cursed creatures. If I hadn't made that stupid promise, I would have sent all of them to the Shadow Realm!"

As he stood glaring at the ducks, the wind blew. It was the same gentle breeze that had teased his hair earlier, but now there was an icy chill to it as it reached Bakura's skin through his wet clothes. He shivered and frowned down at himself. "Blast it! Now I'll have to go home and change." He winced as he noticed the state he was in. "Ryou will never let me forget this…" he muttered, but he knew he had no choice. Bakura hated being cold. With a last angry glare in the direction of the duck pond, he started back home.

While he walked, Bakura went over what he would tell Ryou. He couldn't tell his light the truth. It was bad enough that he'd have to explain the state he was in at all, but it was unthinkable for him to admit that he'd been made a fool of by a fat duck! He was so busy planning out his story that he wasn't paying the slightest bit of attention to where he was. By the time he finally began to notice his surroundings, it was too late. He'd taken a wrong turn and was now in a part of the city that he didn't recognise.

"What? Where…? Oh, this is getting ridiculous!" Turning around, Bakura started to retrace his steps. Or rather, he tried to. It didn't take him long to realise that he must have made quite a few turns while he'd been distracted. He couldn't find his way back!

As he wandered the streets, searching for something he recognised, Bakura began to get a little worried. He was in a part of the city where the buildings cast shadows onto the streets, so there was no sunlight to counter the biting wind. He was freezing cold and his shivering was getting worse. His throat was starting to hurt too. Even worse though, at least as far as he was concerned, Ryou's image kept popping into his mind. He could imagine all too clearly his light's reaction if he ever learned of this. Ryou would be fussing over Bakura for weeks!

The thought brought a small smile to Bakura's face. Even though he normally hated it when Ryou fussed, he had to admit that right now he'd gladly put up with it, as long as it meant that he was warm and dry again!

His smile faded as a particularly strong breeze caused him to shiver violently. He stopped in his tracks and sighed. "This is getting me nowhere…" He winced as the words hurt his throat. He was cold, he was wet, his throat hurt and his wet sneakers were hurting his feet. He didn't care if the Pharaoh did see him. He knew the way home from the game shop. He was using the Ring! It would guide him to Yugi and Yugi would be at the game shop. Bakura paused to consider that and looked up, noting with considerable surprise, and more than a little shock, just how late it was. It was almost dark! He sighed. He was going to be late for dinner. Still, at least Yugi would definitely be at the game shop!

Bakura reached for the Ring. His hand met nothing but his wet sweater! Gasping in shock, Bakura looked down. The Ring! It was gone! "No!" He patted his chest desperately, thinking that it had just moved from its usual position. But it simply wasn’t there!

Bakura fought against the surge of panic rising within him. He needed to think! Could he have lost it somewhere? No, surely he would have noticed! When had he seen it last? With shock, he remembered it catching his eye as he spoke the spell to give himself a physical form. Had he noticed it since? No.

Bakura leaned against a nearby wall and closed his eyes as a nasty suspicion loomed in his mind. The Ring that he usually wore was nothing but a shadow of the real one, just as he was a shadow of the true Ring's guardian, Ryou. Although his Ring looked real, and even felt real to him, it was merely the Shadow Magic of the real Ring, given form in the same way as Bakura himself. There could only be one Millennium Ring, and Ryou had it. Bakura had assumed that he would keep the shadow Ring, even with a physical form, but what if he'd been wrong?

"Curses." Bakura sighed and ran a hand through his thick white hair. "Oh well, what's done is done. No sense in wishing for anything different. I'll just have to do this the hard way, that's all."

Bakura closed his eyes, confident that he would still be able to call on the Shadow Magic. It would be easier if he hadn't left his cards behind, but he could call the Shadow Monsters forth without them, if he really needed to. It would drain his power considerably, but he could live with that.

He frowned as the familiar tingle of power didn't come as it always did. He tried again, picturing the Mammoth Graveyard card clearly in his mind. It wasn't a card he, or Ryou for that matter, used very often, but they had it so it would respond to his call. At least, it should respond… The truth struck him like a physical blow and Bakura staggered back, hitting the wall behind him. He slowly slid down to the ground, eyes wide in shock. The Shadow Magic that should have been within him was completely gone! There was only one explanation, and Bakura didn't like it one bit.

"Oh Ra… That blasted spell… It didn't just give me a physical form. It made me powerless!"

* * *

Ryou looked up at the kitchen clock for the tenth time that minute and then looked outside again at the gathering night. He was worried. "Bakura should have been home by now." His voice was barely a whisper; he spoke solely to ease the silence. He'd been doing that a lot ever since Bakura had left. Ryou just wasn't used to being alone anymore. A shiver passed through his slender form and he hugged himself slightly. Something was wrong. He could feel it. But it was how he was feeling it that was part of the problem.

Usually, there was a link between Ryou and his yami. What one felt, the other often felt too. They could, if they wished to, share their thoughts and feelings with each other, although Bakura usually kept his side of the link closed unless he wanted to speak to Ryou without the others hearing him. But even when Bakura had it closed, Ryou was never completely closed out of Bakura's mind. He didn't think Bakura knew just how strong their link was. It was strong enough that Ryou could always feel something of Bakura's thoughts and feelings, even when Bakura didn't want him to. But for the past few hours, Ryou had been unable to sense his darker half at all!

He'd been worried about it, at first. But then he'd seen the spellbook lying open on the kitchen table. He hadn't been able to resist looking at the spell Bakura had used on himself. Then he'd understood. Ryou was still surprised that Bakura would choose that particular spell though.

With their mind-link gone, Ryou knew that he shouldn't be able to feel anything from Bakura. He'd studied and made dinner as though everything were perfectly normal. He'd thought about Bakura, certainly, but he hadn't sensed anything. In the past half-hour though, Ryou had felt strangely unsettled. Bakura's image kept appearing in his mind, only it wasn't Bakura as Ryou was used to seeing him. This was a wet, muddy and shivering version.

Ryou frowned slightly as the image came to him again. "Poor Bakura… he looks so cold. I really don't like this." He glanced over at the huge spellbook, hesitating before he started reading carefully through the spell. He'd only read the first part of it earlier. First he'd been laughing too hard over the incantation and instructions, then he'd been too stunned by the knowledge of what the spell did. He hadn't read any further than that. Now, he did.

"'For three dawns shall the spellcaster be mortal, but for this a price must be paid. For this duration, the spellcaster will be without the use of the Shadow Magic within him. The use of his power shall return only when his usual form is restored. The power itself will remain locked within him, though. In a time of danger, or of desperate need, the power may activate on its own to see the spellcaster safe from all harm.' Danger or desperate need? Could that be why…? The image in my mind… Oh no… Bakura!" Ryou started for the door, but came to his senses. "Oh, I don't know where he is!"

The boy thought for a moment, his eyes scanning the room in search of inspiration. They paused on the spellbook. Hesitantly, sure that Bakura would not like it if he ever found out, Ryou turned to the index page. Within moments he had found what he was looking for. He read the spell through carefully, twice, making sure it was the right one, then took a deep breath to gather his courage. Standing back from the table, he lightly grasped the Millennium Ring that hung, as always, around his neck. Closing his eyes, Ryou recited the simple spell.

"Weak to strong, strong to weak,
Guide me to the one I seek."

Ryou opened his eyes, feeling the Ring tugging him in the direction he needed to go. Without hesitation, he followed it.

* * *

"Bakura!"

Bakura scowled and kept his head down as he walked. Now he was hearing things! There was no way that could really be… He jumped when a hand lightly touched his shoulder. Whirling around, Bakura brought his fists up, ready to punch whoever dared touch him. He froze in shock when his eyes met the wide, worried eyes of his light.

"R…Ryou?" he cursed the uncertain whisper that escaped him. The next moment, he gasped in shock as Ryou flung himself forward and hugged him tightly. Bakura couldn't help closing his eyes in relief at the sudden warmth. He knew he should pull away, and he would… in another moment… or two… Ryou pulled away slightly and Bakura shivered as the warmth was replaced by the cold wind again. He blinked at his light. His light smiled gently at him. "I… got lost…" He wasn't sure what made him admit it.

Ryou nodded. "I know. Come on, let's go home." He smiled. "Dinner's ready." Ryou slipped his arm through Bakura's, the sudden warmth making Bakura reluctant to pull away like he normally would have. Instead, he quietly followed his light's lead.

They walked for a while in silence, then, "Bakura… how did you get so wet, anyway?"

Bakura sighed. He'd been so focused on how cold he was that he'd completely forgotten the excuse he'd come up with. "Some cursed ducks chased me into a pond." He glared at his light as Ryou made a sound suspiciously like a strangled chuckle. "Don't you dare laugh." Ryou nodded, the sound coming again, and Bakura's glare intensified. "I mean it, Ryou!"

Ryou's only response was a swift squeeze of the arm he was holding and a teasing glance that made Bakura sigh. He sighed again when his light burst out laughing. "I knew it… you're never going to let me forget this, are you?" Ryou squeezed his arm again, his brown eyes dancing with laughter.

Bakura sighed. The trouble with the spellbook, the spell that hadn't done what he'd wanted after all, ducks, ponds, losing his way. "What else could possibly go wrong today?" he muttered to himself.

Then he sneezed. Twice.

Ryou's laughter faded and he looked anxiously at his yami. "Sounds like you've caught a cold."

"I had to ask…"

 

To be continued...

 

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