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Title: Through the Grapevine
Series: Yuugiou
Rating: PG
Chapters: One-Shot; 7snogs challenge is complete~!
Summary: [Malik x Ryou] Isis hears an interesting rumor about her brother. (For the 7snogs fanfic challenge; theme #05 - rumour)
Warnings: Shounen-ai.
Disclaimer: Usagi no own.

Sometimes, you hear the most interesting things in places you'd least expect.

"Hey, you know that new kid? The one from Egypt?"

"Yeah, I know him... um, what was his name again?"

"Malik Ishtar."

"Oh, right. What about him?"

...I'm not usually one to eavesdrop, but whenever I hear somebody mention my brother, I become very curious about what they have to say about him... especially if it's from two teenage girls in the magazine aisle at the local market. It was quite convenient that I happened to be in the aisle at the time - Malik had asked me to pick something up for him - so I could just flip through some of the magazines while these girls gossiped about him. I am a woman, after all, and only a few years older than these girls, so they likely wouldn't give me a second glance.

It would be quite amusing to tell Malik what they said about him, I think. As long as it wasn't anything relating to the Battle City tournament; but then again, how many people knew what he actually did during it?

"Okay, well, you know how he turned down Miyu-chan the other day?"

"Yeah, I heard about that! I felt so bad for her. That was so mean of him! Why do all of the cute boys have to be such jerks?"

I held back a snort at that remark. Teenage girls were so strange... if somebody doesn't return their feelings, they take it personally, instead of thinking about it. Some people just don't find it right to be in relationships at their current stage in life. I do know that the high school discourages student relationships, and while Malik has never really been one to follow the rules, he's never really been interested in girls, either. Or dating, for that matter.

Then again, the only female interaction he had for the first ten years of his life was with me, his sister. I can't say I blame him for not wanting to date.

"I don't know. But anyway, I heard that he did it because he doesn't like girls."

"You mean he's gay?"

"That's what people are saying, yeah."

I nearly dropped my magazine upon hearing that. Malik... gay? Somehow, it didn't seem to compute. Yes, he hadn't had enough female interaction in his life to be interested in girls, but that's exactly the point - he wouldn't know if he liked girls or not, going by that logic.

But one of them said it was just a rumor that was circulating around the school. So that doesn't mean that it's automatically true; it's just speculation on the part of the student body. I don't know how they'd know, anyway... Malik generally tries to keep his private life under wraps. I don't think he'd let something like that get out into the open.

Not that it'd make a difference if he was gay. It doesn't change who he is at all. It just means that I don't have to worry about him getting some poor girl pregnant... unless he's simply bisexual, but the low interest in girls probably nullifies that idea.

And really, if he's happier being with boys instead of girls, then so be it. Who am I to deny my brother happiness? He's been deprived of so many things that he deserves to have something he truly wants. If that means being romantically involved with another boy, then I'll support that decision.

As long as he's happy.

"Wow, that kinda makes sense, then... do you know if he's involved with anyone?"

"Well... Yuri-chan said she saw him with Bakura-kun over at Burger World. She said they looked really... friendly with each other."

"...oh no, not Bakura-kun too! I swear, all of the cute guys are either gay or complete jerks... it's not fair!"

I wanted to tell the girls that life was rarely fair - being forced to bear the Pharaoh's memories on your back isn't fair at all - but I held my tongue. Instead, I searched through the magazine stand for the one that Malik had asked me to find for him (...I can't tell if these people on the cover are male or female) and left the market, paying for everything I'd picked up.

For once, I decided to walk home instead of taking the public transportation. I had a lot of things on my mind at the time, and I wanted to sort them out before I got home. I knew that I had to at least talk to Malik about this... just to get a confirmation of whether he is or isn't gay. I wouldn't be angry with him if he was, but it was something that I needed to know. I no longer owned the Sennen Tauk, so I couldn't just peek into the future to see what his answer would be.

Honestly, I'd be more hurt by the fact that if he is gay, he hid that from me. I know Malik isn't exactly the most trusting person in the world, but you'd think he'd be able to trust his own sister with a matter like this...

And 'Bakura-kun'... I know they didn't mean the spirit of the Sennen Ring; he'd been defeated by the Pharaoh and his friends. So that meant they were referring to the spirit's former vessel, a quiet boy who seemed to have a streak of bad luck. I knew that he and Malik were friends, but he'd never mentioned anything about a relationship. Although, I think they'd do well with each other, if only as friends. I don't know much about Bakura, but the fact that he also held a great evil inside of his mind... if anybody could understand Malik in that aspect, it would be him.

I arrived home sooner than I anticipated - though maybe it only felt like it was sooner because I was in such deep thought. I still wasn't sure what I'd say to Malik, but one thing was certain: be gentle with him, be understanding, and don't make him think you're opposed to the idea, because you're not. That is, if he is what those girls said he was.

I pushed the front door open, quite prepared to take whatever answer Malik had for me.

However, I wasn't prepared for the scene that greeted me as soon as I entered the house.

Malik was currently engaged in quite a heated make-out session, and by the way that he suddenly pulled himself off of the person beneath him - I caught a glimpse of something white as he did this - it was clear that he wasn't prepared for my return. "Um... hey there, 'nee-san," he greeted as he hurriedly attempted to straighten his tousled hair.

The other person sat up and quickly started buttoning their shirt, hiding a crimson face beneath their white bangs.

I stared at them for a few moments, probably blushing a bit myself, but I finally shook my head and regained my composure. "...so, I suppose the rumors are true. Hello there, Bakura."

Bakura glanced up at me and flashed a weak smile before looking back down at the floor, nervously twiddling his thumbs.

Malik, his face quite red as well, raised an eyebrow at me as he stood, straightening the wrinkles in his shirt. "What rumors?" As flustered as he was, he looked genuinely confused - perhaps he hadn't heard anything...?

I gave him a reassuring smile and stepped toward him. "I heard a couple of girls talking about you while I was at the market. They said that because you apparently turned some girl down a few days ago," I briefly looked to Bakura, "they thought that you might be... well, they think you like boys in the romantic sense, if you get my drift." I didn't know why I was beating around the bush, given what I'd just walked in on, but for some reason, I didn't want to just say it outright that they thought he was gay.

"Oh... that," Malik muttered, rubbing the back of his neck. He exchanged a look with Bakura, who looked utterly crushed, before turning back to me. "Look, 'nee-san, I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner, I just... I didn't know how you'd react--"

"Malik, it's alright," I said, cutting him off. "I'm not angry with you. If he makes you happy, then I'm not going to stand in your way..." I smiled at him, reaching up to gently pat his arm. "All I really want is for you to be happy, Malik. You know that. You don't have to be afraid to tell me anything..."

Malik was quiet for a moment - he looked like he was thinking about what I'd said - and he nodded, a small smirk forming on his face. "Is that your way of giving us your blessing?"

I nodded before turning to Bakura again, who had reached up to clutch Malik's hand. "Be good to him," I said, "don't treat him like the spirit of the Ring did..."

Bakura flinched slightly at the mention of the spirit, but he smiled and nodded, absolutely beaming by now. "I won't... thank you, Isis-san."

Now that that matter had been settled, I reached into my grocery bag. "Oh, I picked up your magazine, Malik," I said, handing it to him. "I can't for the life of me figure out if those people are male or female..."

cute! And it's what the world needs, someone who takes the issues at hand and not just imply them for fear of turning people away. :)

Thank you for that. Er, did that make any sense? *very early in the moring for me.*