Bakura was bored. He was sitting in English class, determinedly not listening to the droning voice of Mrs. Aardvaark going on and on about the various characters in the book To Kill a Mockingbird. Ra damn that title, Bakura thought grumpily. It had sounded really interesting for a change when Mrs. Aardvaark had announced that that was the title of the next book they were reading in class. Interesting enough to make Bakura read it… after a lot of prompting from Ryou. It had turned out to be yet another one of those fall-asleep books that they usually couldn't they do something interesting for a change? Like beating up that baka pharaoh.
"… So, in order to gain a deeper understanding of this monumental work of fiction, I prepared a few projects for you to do." Mrs. Aardvark said. "But since this is the last project you will do in this class before summer vacation, I decided to give you a chance to be creative. You, alone or with a partner, may choose your own project. I have a list of projects to chose from here, but if you think you have a good idea that is not listed, you may do that, too, if you wish. You will present this project in class, so make sure you don't just write a summary! This assignment will be due two weeks from tomorrow." Bakura remained oblivious, drawing stick figures of him and Marik murdering the Pharaoh in various more or less bloody ways.
/What will you do for your project?/
Ryou rolled his eyes. /Can't you listen for a change?/
/How could any sane person listen to her for more than a second or so?/
/You are NOT a sane person. Anyway, yes, we do have another project assigned, but this time, you can invent your own project./
Bakura's eyes lit up. /I can do anything I want?/
/As long as it has something to do with the book, yes. /
/Good. Very good. Heh, heh, heh…/
/What are you thinking of doing?/ Ryou asked sharply.
/Can we do it with a partner?/
/Yes, and you're changing the subject! What do you have in mind for your project?/
/Oh, just something I plan on doing together with Marik,/ Bakura replied vaguely.
Ryou narrowed his eyes. /It better not be something that will hurt Yami./
Bakura pouted. /Meanie hikari./
/I mean it./
/Oh, fine./ Bakura closed the mind link and tried to catch Marik's eye. It really was a pain that he had been moved to the opposite end of the room after the first two weeks of school. When Marik at last looked over, Bakura said in a loud whisper: "Let's do the project together."
"Got any good ideas?" Marik whispered back. Bakura nodded and smirked evilly. Marik raised an eyebrow and asked: "Meet you after school?"
"Yup," Bakura answered, his smirk growing, if possible, even wider.
Oh no, not again, Ryou sighed, rolling his eyes at the two of them and resolving to warn Mrs. Aardvaark of the psychos' project.
"So, what are we doing?" Marik asked Bakura, who smirked at his partner-in-crime and answered: "You guess. We will need a video camera… and ninety-nine mockingbirds."
Bakura rolled his eyes. Marik could be really dense sometimes. "Ok, so this is my plan…"
When Bakura had finished explaining his brilliantly evil scheme, Marik looked at him, a grin slowly spreading over his handsome features. "That's a great idea! We're gonna have fun with this project!" he said. "Let's start right now!" Bakura exclaimed, and together they ran off to who-knows-where, cackling like the maniacs they were.
Some days later…
Bakura was irritated. "Damn. It's too long. We're supposed to do a presentation of about ten minutes, and ours is over half an hour long!"
"Well, we'll just have to shorten it, then," Marik answered, shrugging unconcernedly.
"But then we'd have to change the title! What would you want to call it instead of '99 Ways to Kill a Mockingbird'? '27 Ways to Kill a Mockingbird'?" Bakura scoffed.
"How about '33 Ways to Kill a Mockingbird'?" Marik suggested reasonably. "That doesn't sound too bad, and it'd be exactly a third of our current length."
"Oh, fine," Bakura grumbled. "So, which ones do we cut out?"
School, first day of presentations
"So, who wants to go today?" Mrs. Aardvaark asked. "We have time for four presentations." A number of people raised their hands. "Let's see…" the teacher said. "So, Ryou, you go first, then you, Yugi, third will be Louise, and last…" she trailed off and looked around desperately in the futile hope of seeing someone other than Marik and Bakura raising their hand. The two yamis were waving their hand in the air frantically, trying to catch her attention. "Erm… anyone else want to go today? Mai… Anzu… nobody?" With a long-suffering sigh, she said: "And Marik and Bakura will go fourth today."
"Yay!" the two psychos cheered. Everyone else sweatdropped. If those two wanted to present their project that badly, it definitely did not bode well for the rest of the class. No, not at all.
The first three projects went by uneventfully. Ryou had brought a box with five items representing the main character. Yugi had done a poster for the book. Louise had done an extensive project on the significance of symbolism in the book. None of the students had understood it, but Mrs. Aardvaark had applauded it enthusiastically. Now it was Bakura's and Marik's turn. They rolled the TV cupboard to the front of the class and put the tape into the slot. Everyone watched with trepidation. Marik turned to the class. "Well, so we had this idea –" at this point he was cut off by Bakura, who shouted: "what do you mean, 'we had this idea'? I had the idea!" Marik rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah, whatever. So Bakura had the idea that we make a film concerning the title of the story. But instead of calling this film To Kill a Mockingbird, we called it –" He paused dramatically – "33 Ways to Kill a Mockingbird." The class sweatdropped. "Let the bloodbath begin!" Bakura and Marik said in unison.
"33 Ways to Kill a Mockingbird" came Marik's voice from the tape.
"One. Drive over it with a lawn mower." The film showed Bakura with a lawn mower, driving over a mockingbird tied to the ground while laughing maniacally.
"Two." Bakura continued. "Put it in the microwave." On the screen, Marik was shown putting a mockingbird in a microwave and running out of the kitchen. A few seconds later, the microwave exploded with a loud bang.
"Three. Eat it," came Marik's voice again. At this point, a few girls hurriedly left the class because they couldn't take the sight of Bakura eating a whole, live mockingbird.
"Four. Send it to the Shadow Realm." Bakura said. Marik had evidently enjoyed this part especially; with an uncharacteristic amount of glee, he took out his Millennium Rod and pointed it at the mockingbird, which vanished into the shadows.
"Five." Marik continued. "Shoot it." That one was pretty straightforward. Bakura took out a gun and shot a mockingbird… that was at the moment sitting in a tree about a hundred metres away. Most of the class was pretty impressed at Bakura's shooting skills, who just smirked at all the attention given to him.
"Six." The recorded Bakura said. "Stab it." Marik took out his Millennium Rod again, pulled out the dagger hidden inside, and stabbed the next mockingbird that appeared on the screen.
"Seven." Marik said. "Hang it." The film showed Bakura tying a noose around another mockingbird's neck, throwing the rope over a limb of a tree, and pulling the mockingbird up. He seemed disappointed that the mockingbird stopped twitching violently after only a few minutes.
"Eight. Put it in a cage and wait for it to die of malnutrition." (In the back of the room, Ryou said excitedly: "Oh my Ra! He actually paid attention in biology for a change!")
The class watched in horrid fascination as the mockingbird died a slow and painful death. ("Poor mockingbird! How could it survive even one day without food?" Joey gasped.) The fattest boy in class actually fainted.
"Nine. Strangle it." Which is exactly what Bakura did.
"Ten. Hit it over the head with a metal bar." Marik did just that with his next victim.
"Eleven. Drive over it with a car." The screen showed Bakura speeding towards a tied-down mockingbird in a smart Volvo. (Ra knows how he got it. He probably stole it.) The mockingbird called out piteously. Anzu had to leave the room because she was crying so hard at the thought that her friends Bakura and Marik could do such things to all those poor, innocent mockingbirds.
"Twelve. Drive over it with a motorbike." Marik revved up on his motorbike and ran over the next mockingbird.
"Thirteen. Pull it apart limb from limb." Bakura did this with obvious relish. Another few girls had to leave the classroom in a hurry.
"Fourteen. Pour oil over it and drop a burning match on top of it." The sudden flame ensuing from this particular killing method would have scorched Marik had he not jumped back quickly.
"Fifteen. Feed it to the python at the Zoo." That one wasn't even so bad; they had all seen a snake eat live animals before.
"Sixteen. Cut it open and turn it inside out." This one was met with shrieks and several faints from the girls and the more fainthearted boys.
"Seventeen. Rip out its heart." Yet another mockingbird met its untimely death at the hands of Bakura.
"Eighteen. Drown it." The Marik on the screen tied a rock to the mockingbird's legs and threw it in the swimming pool, while the real Marik smirked evilly.
"Nineteen. Cut off its wings and call the cat." Bakura's cat had obviously enjoyed this one; the mockingbird less so.
"Twenty. Break its neck." That one wasn't so bad either. Marik simply took its body in one and its head in the other hand and snapped its spine.
"Twenty-one. Cut off its head." Bakura had actually taken the time to build a kind of mini guillotine for the beheading of the mockingbird. It was kind of cute, at least to the twisted mind. Especially the part with all the blood spraying in all directions and the head rolling off the table to fall to the floor with a splat.
"Twenty-two. Stick something long and sharp into both its eyes." Marik enjoyed that one almost as much as number four.
"Twenty-three. Cut it in various places and watch it bleed to death." Bakura definitely enjoyed that one.
"Twenty-four. Hit it over the head with a club." Despite looking as if it had come straight from the Stone Age, the club was very effective.
"Twenty-five. Skin it alive." The film Bakura took out his favourite dagger while the real Bakura sneered at the girls that were freaking out.
"Twenty-six. Cut off the top of its skull to see how it thinks." Marik seemed genuinely surprised when he couldn't find any visible evidence of thinking.
"Twenty-seven. Call that eagle that has been going hungry for a few days already." Again, that one wasn't all that horrible.
"Twenty-eight. Drop something big and heavy onto it." A grand piano dropped out of nowhere onto the poor, unsuspecting mockingbird. ("So that's where our piano went. I'd been wondering." came Malik's voice from the back of the room where he was sitting next to Ryou.)
"Twenty-nine. Put it in the washing machine and turn it on. If it's still not dead afterwards, put it in the tumble drier." That one was actually quite funny, if you had a twisted sense of humour, like Bakura and Marik.
"Thirty. Put it in the blender." Several more girls and even two boys had to leave the class at that.
"Thirty-one. Pluck it, then fry it." The screaming of the mockingbird as Bakura plucked it and then fried it in oil was enough to make even the most hardened warrior blanch.
"Thirty-two. Blow it up." There wasn't much left of the mockingbird after Marik was done with it.
"Thirty-three. Hang, draw, and quarter it." Quite a few students were reminded uncannily of the medieval witch-hunting, a subject they had recently started in history, much to the yami's obvious delight.
"The End," the Marik and Bakura on-screen said in unison.
In class, after the film
"And that is also the end of our presentation," Bakura said. "We hoped you had as much fun watching the film as we had producing it. If anyone would like to see the complete version, '99 Ways to Kill a Mockingbird', please contact us after class."
Marik looked around. Everyone, including Mrs. Aardvaark, looked decidedly green in the face. Not that many people were still present. Over half the class had left during the film in order to go to the bathrooms. More than half of the rest had fainted. Both of the psychos looked over to Mrs. Aardvaark, waiting to hear her opinion. "That was… very… interesting," she managed at last. "Thank you." Bakura said (2). Ryou and Malik both looked sick but also very angry. When he saw this, Bakura asked innocently: "What? Did we do something wrong?" Mrs. Aardvaark, thinking the question was directed at her, answered faintly: "No… no, everything was… just fine. Class is over for today." Normally everyone would have cheered, but today everyone filed silently out of the classroom, very much subdued and trying desperately to not think about what they had just seen.
/Just wait till we get home./ Ryou threatened over the mind link.
/What could you possibly do to me?/ Bakura scoffed. /You're way too nice to do anything serious!/
/You'll see./ came the ominous reply.
Bakura looked at Marik. From the expression on his face, he was having a similar conversation with his hikari.
"Um, Bakura?" Marik asked nervously, turning to face said person. "I don't really want to find out what our hikaris have in mind for us."
"Oh, come on, how dangerous do you think Ryou is?"
"He's been living around you for quite a while." Marik pointed out. "Something must have rubbed off."
Bakura gulped. "On second thought, leaving Japan until those two cool down might not be such a bad idea."
They left the classroom and headed for the entrance gates.
"Uh-oh, here they come, and they don't look very happy." Marik said suddenly.
Bakura turned towards the steadily growing figures of the two hikaris and realized that Marik was right. There was only one safe course of action possible now.
"RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!"