Disclaimer: Me no own. Capishe?

As usual:
//Yami to Hikari//
/Hikari to Yami/
Personal thoughts

Yeah, yeah, Baku-chan's not getting much of the spot light, but he will, I promise. Meanwhile you'll have to be satisfied with Ryou. :)
^_^; Didn't get to half the things I wanted to, but was trying to get a chapter up quickly for you guys so things got split and pushed around. What do you think? Shorter chapters and more updates or longer chapters and less updates? Mail and review. I still need a beta-reader!

Is This Normal?!

Ryou yelped as he was pulled by his hair from behind.

//Speak of the devil,// his Yami purred dangerously in his mind.

"Well, what do we have here?"

Cold hard eyes stared down and Ryou fought to breathe.

/Yami.../ he called hesitantly, but all he could hear was a resounding and empty click as the door to his other's soul room closed shut.

Chapter 2: Welcome to Hokushin

Ryou's hand automatically reached back to try to relieve the pain as he clutched his hair protectively and thankfully his assailant let go.
He was spun around harshly to meet the face of cleanly shaven man with dark frigid eyes and a matching scowl marring his mouth.

The teen wet his lips. "Ah... sir?" he asked tentatively. The man was at least a head and shoulder taller than he was, and couldn't possibly be a student. Ryou prayed fervently that he wasn't a teacher.

"You know the rules. If you brats insist on dying your hair, it at least has to be natural colours." If it was possible, the man frowned even more. "And no jewelry," he sneered as his eyes caught the millennium ring, glinting tauntingly in the sunlight.

Ryou opened his mouth, hand rubbing at the raw spot on his scalp.
"I don't colour my hair!" he said, caught between incredulity and fear. He took a step back as the man poked him sharply on the chest.

"You expect me to believe that that's natural?"

The teenager winced. "Yes."

"Regular freak of nature, you mean," the man scowled and watched in satisfaction as the teen's eyes darkened and dropped to study the tiled floor.

The boy, however, had an entirely different reason behind his actions. Apparently his Yami wasn't as indifferent as he was lead to believe... or at least it seemed he didn't enjoy having his hair insulted.
In any case, Bakura had been watching, and he wasn't happy.

Ryou's fists tightened as he felt his Yami surfacing.

"Excuse me, please, I don't want any trouble..." the white-haired boy said softly, more calmly than he felt and turned abruptly in an attempt to walk away.

Unfortunately, the man had different ideas.
Grabbing the transfer student by his arm this time, he pulled violently, eliciting a startled cry and sending the papers his victim was carrying scattering to the floor.

"I'm not done with you yet."

Ryou hissed and bit his lip.

"Kurokaze-san!" a worried voice called.

Bakura smirked. //Ah, I guess I get to meet Kurokaze sooner than expected...//


//Shut up!// Bakura retorted, but to his Hikari's relief he made no further efforts to elicit control.

"Kurokaze-san! What's going on?" Hana panted as she glanced at the tableau before her. Kurokaze had a grip on the new student's arm at was painful just to look at. "Let him go."

Kurokaze-san just stared at her coldly with his ever-present frown.

"Hana-san. This boy is blatantly breaking school rules. Dying his hair and letting it grow so long... He's not even in uniform!"

The brown-eyed councilor straightened as she caught her breath and met his gaze with a frown of her own.

"I'm afraid that's my fault, Kurokaze-san. He didn't know. He's been here for all of 10 minutes," she said, flapping the piece of paper in her hand. "You'll have to forgive me, I forgot to bring him up to date." Her face melted into an easy smile, but it failed to reach her eyes. "I even forgot to return his schedule!" she laughed self-depreciatingly.

The groundskeeper held his silence and her gaze, an unspoken challenge filling the air. Ryou, meanwhile, just looked helplessly from one figure to the other.
Hana felt her heart go out to him. At that instant he looked so lost, maternal instincts just kicked into high gear.

For a while it seemed as if the grounds keeper wouldn't relent, but Ryou let out the breath he hadn't known he was holding as the man growled in acquiescence.

"Very well," he hard-faced man finally ground out, and Hana watched as her new student took a hasty step back as soon as he was released, rubbing his arm gingerly. "But he'll have to do something about that hair."

"I don't dye my hair!" Ryou restated with a hint of desperation, but blushed as two of the staff members turned their gazes on him, one malevolent and the other placating.

"I'm sure we'll come up with something, Kurokaze-san," Hana said pleasantly. The other man just grunted in response, barking at the students in his way as he stomped off. They promptly scattered in response.

Ryou swallowed as he realized that a crowd had gathered in a loose ring around him, pushing down panic.
Funny how you never realized you were claustrophobic until too late.

//So much for keeping a low profile,// his Yami remarked wryly, clearly finding his hikari's predicament humorous, and despite himself, Ryou felt a twinge of annoyance run through him.

Without so much as a word to his other, he erected a hasty mental barrier between them. It wasn't all that impressive, and Bakura would be able to break through it easily if he tried, but for now, his Yami didn't seem to want to bother.

Of course, it would've been much more satisfying if Ryou hadn't heard his Yami laughing through their bond before the wall went up.

He sighed and started picking up his papers, studiously ignoring the curious gazes he felt on his back, his eyes flicking up only once to acknowledge the school councilor as she bent down to help.

Hana raised an eyebrow at the collected students from her position on the floor and thankfully they all took the hint as they sheepishly drifted away, gossiping in low tones about the new boy. Ryou felt heat work its way up his neck as the girls giggled about him and the boys pointed out instead how scrawny he looked in his "sissy sweater". If only he could find a dark corner right now...

They worked this way for a while, neither speaking a word as they methodically picked the papers off the cold tiles.

Finally, Ryou spoke.
"Thank you, Hana-san," he said, tones soft and melodious in the now emptied corridor.

He'd probably make a good councilor himself, Hana thought ruefully. What, with that voice.

Outwardly, she smiled apologetically.
"No, actually, I should be apologizing. Kurokaze-san is not usually so... harsh. Please, Bakura-kun, don't judge our school by his actions alone?" she pleaded, bowing as she handed him his papers.

If anything her new transfer student seemed embarrassed as he hastily took the papers from her hand and nodded.
Hana sighed. He still wouldn't meet her eyes.

"Don't worry, Hana-san. You did try to warn me, after all. Next time, I'll pay more attention," he offered a watery smile.

Closing her eyes, Hana threw up her hands.

"Oh for God's sake, you don't need to make excuses for him. Kurokaze-san had no right to do that."

She was met with a shy smile in response. "Ah..."

Shaking her head in exasperation, she spoke: "You're too nice, Bakura-kun." She didn't notice when Ryou hastily turned his head to hide a frown.

You don't know me at all, he countered mentally.

//Doesn't realize how destructive you are, eh?// he thought he heard his Yami whisper. But it was Bakura, was it?

"So, what to do with that hair?"

From the way Ryou's head snapped up so suddenly, Hana had to fight a smile. He was clutching his head protectively in an act she was beginning to suspect he wasn't even aware of performing.

"I'm not dying my hair!" he practically wailed, eyes almost comically wide.

She couldn't keep it in anymore. Laughter bubbled from her throat and left her clutching at the snitch in her side.

Her poor befuddled student just watched and pouted, half amused and half fearful of her reaction.

"Oh dear, I'm sorry," she gasped, "Just- you looked so..."

"Well, I'm not..." Ryou insisted petulantly, giving her the Dreaded Puppy-dog Look (TM). He knew he sounded like a broken record but at his point he really didn't care.

No. Way.

She almost melted. Almost.

"Well, we have to do something at least, or Kurokaze-san will be breathing down your neck again before you know it."
She eyed him critically.
"Alright, how 'bout this..." she reached up only to have her target backpedal hastily.

"Bakura-kun!" Hana admonished, smiling. "It's not like I carry a bottle of hair dye on me as regular practice."

Sheepishly, Ryou returned to his previous position and surrendered to his fate with a dramatic sigh.

The white locks were amazingly soft, she noted with wonder, despite the fact that they looked spiky. His hair was cool to the touch and filtered through her fingers as easily as if they weren't quite solid.

If only my hair would be so co-operative, she reflected somewhat grouchily.

Ryou fidgeted and Hana fought a blush as she realized how ridiculous she must look; standing in a hallway playing with a student's hair. She hastily drew his hair back against the nape of his neck and looped an elastic around it.

Gingerly, Ryou shook his head, unaccustomed to the feeling of his hair gathered all in one spot, and tugged experimentally at at his new ponytail. Having someone at his hair had brought back memories of his mother.

//I bet you look stupid,// Bakura groused. There was no "we" implied.

His hikari sighed. So much for my mental blockade.

Hana, of course, formed an entirely different opinion as Ryou turned to face her examination.

White bangs still fell haphazardly over his eyes, and longer locks of hair hung down by his temples, not quite long enough to be trapped by the ponytail. Still, his hair looked a little neater than it had before, even if it did still somehow find a way to spike out of the ponytail.

"Kawaii!" she exclaimed with a grin, hands clasped dramatically over her chest. "You'll have to beat the girls off you with a stick now, Bakura-kun," she teased with a mischievous grin.

The said student flushed bright, tomato red.


Hana laughed, amazed at how sensitive her new student was.
"Just teasing, Bakura-kun, really," but her happily twinkling eyes said otherwise. "That should keep Kurokaze-san off your back for a while (can't say the same about the girls). I'll talk to him. I promise."

Finally really smiling back, his face still red, Ryou nodded and bowed.

"Arigato, Hana-san."

"You'll be able to find your dorm without any further trouble, I trust?"

"Yes ma'am," Ryou nodded enthusiastically, "Thanks again," and nigh well fled down the hall and out of sight, papers, ponytail and all.

Left standing alone in the hall, Hana shook her head.

And to think, technically it's not even his first day yet.


Chapter 3 - Dorm is for Dormir... Not:
(subject to change) Ryou meets his neighbours and has his first encounter with a rather familiar local gang.

Thanks to:
Lynx wings, Selcier, TAFKAE, Crossover Authoress, SilverScreamer, ElvenRanger, SilverAnaya, ilpalazzo and Karadaki, who were kind enough to review.
Thanks to Baku for posting this at Akuryou.

Chapter 1: Meeting Ryou Bakura| Chapter 2: Welcome to Hokushin| Chapter 3: Dorm is for Dormir... NOT| Chapter 4: Dog Days| Chapter 5: Once a Theif| Chapter 5: Meet the Gang| BONUS! Chapters that flat lined!|

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