While preparations for making the new body continue, Bakura has an intimate moment with Ryou, and a rather less intimate moment with Shego.
Warnings: shonen-ai, het UST implied, still with the lame humor.
Notes: Sorry it's not funnier. I try, but I'm not great at humor. I'm pretty good at smut, though, and there's a totally lemon outtake from this chapter called "Steam," which will be posted as a seperate story.
Chapter Four: In Which Bakura Does Something Really Stupid.
Ryou soon discovered that once Dr. Drakken got his mind focused on something, he worked quickly. The hours seemed to pass slowly while he was mostly shut up in his little room or inside his head, but in fact it wasn't long before Shego came to the door again to show Bakura what she'd brought back from her "shopping trip."
The spirit took over briefly to give his approval for all that she'd found. In fact, he complimented her profusely for her skill in thievery, which Ryou found rather annoying. From his keyhole view of things, he noticed that Shego seemed quite unimpressed with Bakura's flattery.
"Yeah, yeah, that's what they all say," she muttered. "Look, all I want to know is, is this what you need or do I have to make another trip?"
"It's all perfect, as far as I can tell. When Drakken gets his side of things together I'll know better whether we need anything else. For now, this will do nicely."
"Yeah, well, I picked up a few more things for the boss," she said, glancing over her shoulder toward the door to the lab. "He decided to beef up security in this dump, just for you."
"I'll take that as a compliment," Bakura said, almost purring at her in a way that Ryou found oddly disturbing.
"Whatever." Shego shrugged and went out, making a point of locking the door very carefully.
A few more hours passed, and Bakura retreated again, leaving Ryou to deal with the boredom of waiting. Eventually Shego returned again, this time with some hot, fresh takeout from a surprisingly decent Chinese restaurant.
"Couldn't find a Japanese restaurant, this is the best we can do," Shego said as she watched Ryou open the containers.
He smiled at her in appreciation as he sampled one of the dishes. "This is fine, thank you very much for your trouble," he said, automatically polite. She snorted at his politeness and stood by, watching him eat. When he was done, she motioned for him to stand up.
"Ready for a little trip? Nice little walk across the room, maybe?" she said, sounding suspiciously playful.
Ryou looked at her doubtfully.
"Come on, you need a change of scene," she said, tugging on his good arm. "Trust me, the change will do you good."
As he stepped outside the room for the first time in about ten hours, Ryou was amazed to see how much had been changed. The helicopter-kitchen contraption was shoved off to a corner and covered with a sheet. It had been replaced by rows of lab tables filled with a mixture of high-tech and old-fashioned laboratory equipment.
The scene reminded him all too fittingly of a Dr. Frankenstein movie set. Tall electrodes buzzed and shot off random blue sparks, a table full of beakers and test tubes bubbled and dripped, computers hummed and blinked, and in the midst of it all, there was a wide slab of a hospital gurney, complete with straps and wires waiting to be attached to a dormant body.
Ryou stared at the slab with wide, wondering eyes. He tried to imagine himself, or someone else who looked a great deal like him, lying there, just beginning to breathe...
He looked away. It was too much to think about.
Shego led him past all this and on across the room to another door. She pushed him through it, into another former office. But this one was much larger than the one in which he'd spent the day. It was outfitted with a bed, a table and two chairs. A smaller door within it led to a private bathroom.
The room in which he'd spent the day only had a small window, barely more than an air vent, high in the wall and mostly blocked by a tree. This room had a real window, although there were bars on the outside. Through them he could see a short stretch of pavement, a gravel-filled gully, and rising up beyond that a steep, rocky hillside.
"Don't bother trying to open that," Shego said, following his gaze, "unless you like nasty surprises." She was grinning.
Ryou noticed the wires attached to the bars and outside frame of the window. Alarms, or worse, he figured.
"I don't think he's planning to leave," he said. "He came to you for something, didn't he?"
She looked at him curiously.
"You don't know what he's after? The whole 'make me a new body' deal?"
Ryou's eyes widened. "Oh. You're really going to try that? I wasn't sure he really meant it. You see, he really doesn't tell me his plans," he added. He didn't bother to mention that this was mainly because Ryou couldn't lie to save his life. He hoped he was being convincing now. If they thought Ryou wasn't in on Bakura's schemes, they might let their guard down around him. "I have no idea what's going on most of the time," Ryou said. That was true enough that he could easily sound convincing.
"Yeah, well, Drakken's the cautious type, and neither of us plays well with others, so this is just our little way of making sure you both stick around. Besides, the doc's pretty ticked off that either you or your 'other half' waltzed in here past some of the best security money can't buy, and he doesn't want you waltzing out the same way."
"I see," Ryou sighed in resignation. He glanced around the room, and noted that the bathroom was small but included a shower stall. That brightened him up considerably, and he turned to her with a smile. "Thank you for the bed. And I'm sure a shower will be very nice."
She stared at him hard for a moment, and then shook her head. "Are you always this polite and reasonable? Because you're making me nervous."
"I suppose so," Ryou said, wondering why the good manners he'd been trained with seemed to affect so many people this way.
"Like, you're not even going to ask me to take off the handcuffs, are you? Because it might be rude or something?"
"Oh, well," Ryou looked at the cuffs doubtfully, "would you, if I asked?"
"Ha. For you, maybe... for the other you, not a chance."
Ryou nodded and smiled to show that he understood perfectly. "I'll manage, then."
"By the way," Shego said, "what should we call you? You have a name of your own, don't you?"
"Yes of course... it's rather odd, though. This ancient spirit happens to have the same given name as my family name. You can call me Ryou, if you like."
"A 3000 year old Egyptian had a Japanese family name? What's with that?"
Ryou shook his head and shrugged. "I have no explanation. Apparently there's some link between us. Unfortunately."
She gave a skeptical grunt. "Okay, Ryou. Or should I say, Ryou-chan?"
He blushed. She was grinning wickedly.
"As you wish, Shego-sama," he said, bowing his head over his cuffed hands.
She shook her head again and turned to go. He heard several locks click into place after she closed the door.
Bakura sniggered inside his head.
"What's funny?" Ryou asked.
Fool, the spirit answered. Ryou wasn't sure if he was referring to himself or to Shego.
The spirit tugged at his mind. He slipped away, letting the other take over. In only a minute or so he was back, blinking in surprise.
"What was that...? Oh." He held up his hands. The open cuffs dangled from his good wrist. The broken one throbbed a little more than it had done, although it was healing rapidly, especially whenever Bakura took over.
I had to twist it a little, Bakura thought, quite unapologetic. Hold your hands up a little higher and we'll soon find out if there are any surveillance cameras in here.
Ryou was not happy with the idea of being watched. He waved his hands around and peered into every corner of the room. When nothing happened after several minutes, he dropped the handcuffs on the bed with relief.
All right then, Bakura thought, satisfied. You may as well rest a bit. You'll heal faster.
Ryou nodded and stretched out on the bed, which was infinitely more comfortable than the orange sofa had been, and fell into a restless sleep in seconds.
He woke up sometime later, unsure how much time had passed. He wasn't hungry, the light hadn't changed much, but his wrist felt nearly as good as ever. He held it up over his face and flexed his hand. It was a bit stiff, still, but there was hardly a twinge of pain. It felt like a nearly healed sprain, nothing more.
Thank you, he thought, surprised.
It took some doing, Bakura thought back at him, but it will be worth it, if they still think we're incapacitated a bit.
Ryou lay there awhile, staring at the ceiling in the grey light. He didn't feel much like moving, since there was nothing to do but pace the room, but he was nowhere near sleep now. And he noticed something else.
"I stink," he said. "I hope the shower really works."
He got up and went into the bathroom. To his delight, the shower was clean and functional. When he closed the door he discovered a full-length mirror on the back of it. With a shrug, he started to undress.
Ahh... Bakura thought, eyeing Ryou's reflection.
It was an odd sensation that he'd never gotten used to, having Bakura look through his eyes at him like this, especially since Bakura's view of his body was quite different from his own. He'd always thought himself too thin and pale to be attractive, with his soft-looking, rounded face, but Bakura thought otherwise. It was just plain weird, Ryou thought, to be getting turned on by looking at himself in the mirror. His own sense of himself was far different, especially at the moment.
"I'm disgusting," he said, wrinkling his nose, "and my hair is hopeless."
Nonsense, Bakura thought. You're perfect. Just wait until I have my own hands to fondle you with...
Ryou smiled, feeling warmth spread through his skin at the thought. He shook his head to clear it a bit and stepped into the shower stall. In a few seconds, steaming hot water engulfed him, while Bakura's steamy thoughts continued to flicker through his mind.
In the course of the shower, he found that his newly healed wrist was actually quite supple again after all. (*)
After that, Ryou crawled into the bed and slept more soundly than he'd done since they'd left Japan.
Before it was light the next morning, Bakura took over and went to work on the locks. He examined the window, decided it wasn't worth bothering with anyway, and concentrated on the door. He laughed as the first two locks gave way easily, but he had a little more fun with the third. It took nearly twenty minutes to get through that one, and that was without using any magic.
"Foolish modern mortals. Nothing they devise can compare with the security devices of the ancient Egyptian tomb builders."
He opened the door a crack and listened. The bubble and whir of the lab could be heard, and there was some other sound nearer at hand. Someone was sitting or standing nearby, he was certain. After a moment's patient listening he heard the soft rustle of clothing and the creak of a chair, then Shego cleared her throat in that idle way people do when they're bored. Then again there was that other sound that he couldn't identify.
I think she's filing her nails, Ryou thought.
Ahh, of course.
Bakura slowly, very slowly and quietly, opened the door, and stepped out.
The lab was nearly dark, the glow from computer screens and digital readouts providing most of the light. Ten feet away, in a small patch of light that came through the windowed wall from the corridor, Shego was sitting with her chair back against a wall. She would have had a good view of the door and the area around it even in the shadows, but she was bent over her task of filing her nails and peering at a magazine that was spread out on her knees as well.
Bakura could make the Ring invisible but not himself. However, he could be as stealthy as a cat, or more so, when he needed to be. He slipped by, quickly crossing the dimly lit space between the door and a bank of equipment that hid him from view. Shego never looked up. His heart was pounding, mostly with Ryou's nerves, but he calmed himself and stopped to take a good look around.
Let's see what they've got set up for us, shall we? he thought. Ryou didn't seem to relish the idea.
Carefully keeping out of Shego's sight, he prowled around the lab, noting the items he'd requested neatly arranged alongside a computer terminal and several unfamiliar electronic devices. Wires trailed from one of these terminals to the gurney. There was a display of numbers and symbols on the front of it that meant nothing to him. He frowned at it for a few seconds, then shrugged.
We'll find out soon enough, he thought, and moved on toward the door to the lab.
You're not leaving? Ryou asked.
Of course not. Just making a point.
He peered back towards the room they'd left, and towards Shego's chair, through a bank of test tubes and tubing and beakers. He could see the chair. Shego was no longer in it.
"Looking for something?" said Shego.
She was standing right behind him. He wasn't even surprised.
"Making sure of the arrangements," he said smoothly, turning to face her. "You're up early."
"Uh-huh. So are you. Took you long enough to open the door."
He scowled at her. "Barely ten minutes," he snapped, stung by her skepticism.
"Yeah. Whatever. Now, I know your polite side was right and you probably aren't interested in leaving, but my boss won't like it if I let you walk around on your own like this anyway. So you can either go back into your little room quietly and stay there until we're ready for you, or..." She raised her hands. He gazed at them in fascination, although they appeared quite normal -then suddenly, green energy flared around them.
"Very intriguing," he said. "I wonder, what other uses you can put them to besides blasting things? Energy like that might well be used for pleasure as well as pain, don't you think?"
She stared at him a moment, then laughed out loud. "Wait, wait a minute.... are you coming on to me?"
"What if I was?" he purred.
She gaped in highly amused disbelief. Ryou was feeling about the same way she looked, only less amused. In fact, Bakura noticed, Ryou almost cheered mentally when Shego pulled back her fist to hit him.
He blocked it with the bandaged wrist. This worked well because she wasn't expecting it; in fact, he thought she might have pulled her punch just a little, but he couldn't be sure. He used the plastic splint and bandages against her and knocked her fist aside to where he could grab it with his other hand.
But at the same time she jabbed up from below with her other hand and, as he should have expected, with her knee. He twisted his hips at the last possible second so she only knee'd him in the thigh. The move barely avoided an injury which Ryou would never have forgiven him for, and which might well have defeated much of the purpose of their whole project.
Her other fist slammed into him below the ribs at the same time. She took advantage of his dodge to protect Ryou's assets by yanking her hand back as he tried to hold onto it, which pulled him just a little off-balance.
That was all she needed. He made a desperate grab for her with his bandaged hand and tried to shove her backward, but she twisted out of his grasp and got her hand free of his.
For a second he looked into her jade-green eyes. Then he threw up his hands to shield his face. The glare came right through his fingers like an eerie green x-ray. Everything went painfully white, and then quickly faded to black.
Ryou opened his eyes cautiously. It took a few seconds for his sight to clear. When it did, he realized that he was on his back on the floor, again, with Shego standing over him. She looked down with a smug, knowing expression.
"Uh-huh. I was expecting you," she said.
"Ow," he said. The back of his head hurt.
"So I've been told," Ryou muttered.
"Not you," she said. She leaned down and offered Ryou her hand, helping him to his feet when he took it. "Him. Can't even take his own lumps."
A little later, Ryou sat on the bed in the former office, holding the cold pack Shego had given him to the lump on the back of his head.
"Why did you do that?" he wondered at his other self. He was bewildered and hurt, in more ways than one.
Because, in case you hadn't noticed, she's hot. I couldn't resist. It was almost worth it, too.
"If you say so," Ryou muttered, annoyed.
He sensed surprise from the spirit. He felt like he was being mentally stared at in disbelief.
You really hadn't noticed that she's hot, had you? Ryou, do you even look at girls?
Ryou thought about it, briefly. "No... not really. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be looking at."
I didn't think it was possible to be that gay, Bakura thought, amused.
"You hadn't noticed?" Ryou said irritably. He let a vivid thought of their recent activity in the shower flash into his mind, then yanked it away again. "Anyway, I certainly don't see why you're so attracted to someone who has a tendency to kick your arse. Which also happens to be my arse, by the way."
Not for much longer, Yadonushi, Bakura thought soothingly. You needn't be jealous. As soon as I have eyes of my own, I assure you they'll be only for you. I'll send Shego to the Shadow Realm, if you like.
"You don't need to do that," Ryou mumbled, flopping back on the bed. "You can't just go sending everyone to the Shadow Realm all the time, Bakura. It isn't right."
Actually he liked the idea more than he wanted to admit.
Interlude Three (Intercom, Drakken's lab)
"Hey Doc, you awake in there?"
"Of course I'm awake. If the ghost tracking alarms hadn't woken me up, hearing your little discussion with our guest over the intercom would have."
"Heh! That's what you get for eavesdropping. So, the new ghostbusting gadgets I stole for you actually work?"
"Perfectly. The alarm sounded the second he left his room, and I could track every movement after that."
"Very handy. Of course, that means he really is a ghost, you know."
"I don't care what he is, I want that Ring. With a Ring like that I could - dare I say it? - Rule The World."(**)
"Yeah... that and an army of sword-swinging penguins."
"Whatever. You know, Shego, if you'd just led him on a little longer he might have made that Ring appear again.
"Led him on?!"
"Er, forget it. Ha-ha! Just kidding. Bad idea!"
"Anyway, moving right along, heh-heh... how about my new ghostbusting device, hmmm?"
"Yeah, how about it? What would have happened if he'd made it to the door? He would have crossed the beam and, what, been sucked into a jar or something?"
"Something like that. I guess. But he's no use to me that way."
"Well, I don't think he's planning to leave, not until he gets that new body, anyway. How's it coming, by the way?"
"Everything is ready. The DNA duplicator is fully operational, the synth-organic flesh culture is ready to be sequenced..."
"...and in a few hours we'll have a fully grown clone of the boy. All it will need is a mind to animate it."
"And that's up to him. That part's going to be wee-ird."
"Tell me about it. If it works, though, all I have to do is keep him under my control long enough to get that Ring."
"And you have a plan to do that? Because after that the ghostbusting stuff might not work, you know, if he isn't technically a ghost anymore. And the locks are useless (I told you so, by the way), and I don't think he's planning on sticking around to hand over his magic ring or any of his other powers."
"Oh, I have a plan, alright. Uh... of course, if you gave him a little encouragement, he might decide to stick around for awhile."
"Drakken. Don't. Even. Ask."
"Right, never mind..."
End Interlude 3
(* insert lemon interlude here. "Steam - A Lemon Interlude", rated NC17, will be posted seperately.)
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