A/N: This idea would not go away, so I wrote it. This is not a Yami-beats-Bakura fic, nor is it a Yami Bakura redemption fic. Its just…well, read it for yourself, and please review to tell me what you think.

Insert standard disclaimer here.

Five Thousand Years

When he was born, I felt it.

It's dark inside the ring – dark and featureless. There is no floor, no walls, no ceiling. You walk and your feet don't seem to carry you anywhere. You trip and fall on nothingness. You scream and the darkness swallows up the sound as if it was never there.

Eventually you stop. Stop moving, stop caring, stop thinking. You drift, lost in a timeless void.

I should have died.

No doubt he who imprisoned me expected me to – either that or go mad in my constant isolation. Maybe I am mad. But I am alive.

The Pharaoh meant to trap my soul within the ring for all eternity – but as always, he overestimated himself. No mortal, no matter how powerful, can seal away a human soul forever. Even the cards that Pegasus made would have eventually disintegrated, destroyed by the sheer energy of what they contained. Pharaoh realized this at the last minute, while he was still deep in the grip of magic he didn't fully understand – and this is where he got creative. He knew he did not have the power to finish the spell to lock me away, so he stopped it – ended the spell and sealed the ring with only half of my soul forced inside.

No words can express the agony of having my soul ripped in half. Caught between two worlds, my consciousness stretched until it snapped, and I suppose it is only luck that it snapped into the ring instead of the mortal world. I could only assume that the part of my soul in the real world withered and died, to be taken to Osirus. But in the ring – ah, in the ring I had the last laugh, for I survived. In constant agony, yes, barely holding onto the threads of sanity, yes, constantly alone – yes, all of these things, but I endured. In the end my strength overcame even the worst of the Pharaoh's punishments, proving once and for all my superiority.

Despite my obvious supremacy, I could not escape from the ring. For centuries and more I languished within it, though I did not age. Souls do not grow old; it is only the weak flesh that ages and dies. Even as my earthly form decayed, my soul – shattered as it was – retained its potency. Yet one more thing that the pathetic Pharaoh failed to realize.

At first I clung to this faintest of hopes – that the Pharaoh, in his ignorance, had left some loophole, some way out of this hell. I clung to the belief that he did not know that my spirit endured, that someday his guard would drop and I would escape to wreak my revenge upon him and his descendants. However, this belief could not sustain me through five thousand years of imprisonment. Eventually, I stopped caring. My memories deserted me, leaving only the pain of my shattered soul as companionship – until even that became such a part of me that I no longer took note of it. Reality was pain, and acknowledging it would be as senseless as taking a moment each day to realize that I had two feet. There was nothing but the pain, until the time that he came. His presence was the first thing I felt in five thousand years. 

It came without warning – a sudden awareness, like a flickering light in a nearby room. The deviance from the unchanging pattern of the ring was mind-blowing. Then the flicker exploded in a blaze of soft, pure white light.

The light seared my eyes and I screamed, turning away from it in a desperate attempt to escape back into the darkness. For an immeasurable time I hid from the light, until my eyes adjusted and I could face its radiance without flinching. It was then that I discovered something I had not noticed during my frantic attempts to flee. The pain that I had lived with for millennia, that was as much a part of me as my spine – it was gone.

Just like that.

My ripped soul had been a never-healing raw wound inside of me. Yet this light seemed to reach down to the depths of my being, illuminating all my suffering and soothing the rough, painful edges of my soul. Its rays were a healing balm to my battered and numbed senses, and within moments I knew that I needed this light more than anything else in the entire world.

I hated it immediately.

The light was formless, yet I sensed an intellect within it, a mind that was not truly present in the ring. I hated it for that, hated that it was not truly there and suffering with me. I despised it for taking so long to come and relieve me of my torment, and perversely I cursed it for taking away the pain that had become my only proof that I still lived. The light awakened my mind and forced it into action for the first time in millennia, and I hated it for that as well, for taking away my catatonic mental state. It had been so easy not to think! Now even the escape of drifting within my own mind was lost to me.

Slowly my memory returned. I remembered my life, my history, my capture, and finally I realized the only thing this light could be. I had been foolish to think that the half of my soul in the mortal world had gone to Osirus – the god of the underworld would surely not accept only half of a soul. For five thousand years I had cheated death, and now death, in its own time, had caught up to me. The light in the sky could only be the other half of my soul, reborn in the mortal world. I had no doubt that someday I would find this new incarnation and reclaim what belonged to me. I would have a complete soul again – and then the god of the underworld would come and claim me at last. Osirus waited for me; the crocodile that lies beneath the scales of Anubis snapped its jaws in anticipation of my heart. The darkest hearts are, of course, the tastiest morsels, and mine was a promise that was five thousand years overdue.

I knew all this to be true – but now, with my escape seemingly looming on the horizon, my ambitions returned full force. I had defied death for this long, and I would not calmly submit to it now. There was a way to escape it – the Millennium Items. The second my soul was complete again, I would find the items and escape death forever. It would be my final and lasting revenge upon the Pharaoh. Oh, the irony! He had imprisoned me in order to "save" his kingdom and punish a horrible criminal, and in doing so he had only ensured my reappearance. I would go and conquer a world in which my enemies were long dead, and there would be no one to stop me.

So as the light shone brightly in the darkness of the ring, I lay quietly and drew strength from its rays, waiting for the time when fate would make me whole again.

Some time later – it could have been days, months, even years – my chance came. The light that had become a constant fixture inside the ring suddenly pulsed with brightness. It expanded, growing until it threatened to utterly consume my prison. I stepped into it without fear. Fate had finally intervened.

The light had once again blinded me, but I knew immediately where I was. I could smell something cooking. I could hear the sound of birds, and something similar to a door slamming – the first sounds I had heard in five thousand years. They seemed unnaturally loud to my ears. I heard quick, frightened breaths and burned with the need to see the person to whom they belonged – and finally, finally, my vision cleared.

I saw a young boy with long white hair staring up at me, half in fear, half in awe. It was like looking into a mirror, exactly as I remembered myself from all those years ago. I smiled, and a sadistic joy filled my heart. I was free. I would find the Millennium Items, and then I would track down all of the Pharaoh's descendants and destroy them one by one. It didn't matter how many years it had been; I would still find them. My revenge would be complete – and it would start with this boy, whose shining soul had so long taunted me with dreams of escape.

Watch out, Pharaoh. I'm back – and this time, things are going to be very, very different.

Please review.