Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh! belongs to Kazuki Takahashi.

It's an ugly conglomerate of dub, anime, and manga. Because I'm high on cold medicine and that's how I want it to be. Consider yourself warned.


     ". . . ."

     "What, no 'Thank you'?"

     ". . . ."

     "Go to sleep."

     "I'm not tired."

     "Hn.  I'm surprised.  You should be.
     "Very well.  Would you like a bedtime story?"

     "Wou . . . what?"

     "Once upon a time--don't you dare give me that look, landlord."


     "Once upon a time, there was a young man.
     "He had a good life, as lives go--his family was wealthy, his mother was the sister of the head of their village, and his father was high up in the court at Thebes, entrusted with a great task by the very Pharaoh himself.
     "Then, one day, a train arrived in the town, carrying a priest named Akunadin who was there under the orders of the Pharaoh.
     "The priest came to the young man's house and spoke to his father for a long time.  Because the young man was the spoiled favorite of the family as well as curious by nature, he hid and listened in on the conversation.  And that's how he learned the truth of his father's job, and how deeply it was intertwined with the Shadow games that anyone with half an ear for gossip knew about."

     "Stop it.  I don't want to hear this.  I don't care about you."

     "Shut up and listen.  I'm telling you something about the Items that you should be grateful to learn."

     "You're probably just lying again, anyway. . . .
     ". . . !"

     "Don't smart off again, or I will hit you."

     "I'm sorry."

     "After the priest explained what he was there to do, the young man's father was very, very pale.  But when the priest asked for directions to the village jail, he gave them.
     "Why the confused look, landlord?  Oh, right, you didn't get to go with Yugi and the others.  Your 'heart held a great burden,' or whatever that nonsense was."

     ". . . ."

     "Don't clench your fists; you'll mess those up.
     "Well, you don't need many details.  Suffice to say, when Akunadin arrived at the jail, he killed everyone in it."


     "Their lives are what enabled the Millennium Items to be created.  The Pharaoh himself came to the village, to use his powers to twist the criminals' kaas into a single, shapeless force, strong enough to bind the darkness of the Realm itself and break it into seven parts."

     "Yami would never have done that."

     "This is not Yami that I'm talking about.  This was his father."

     ". . .You have to be lying.  How would you even know all this, anyway?  Are you supposed to have been there?"

     "Of course not.  No one should have been there, save the Pharaoh.
     "But the young man had watched them build the temple that the Items were created in in his childhood.  Why should he have any reverence for something he saw the creation of?
     "Not that he didn't feel some small amount of trepidation, walking into that holy pla--"


     "You should know better than to laugh at me, landlord."

     ". . . .
     "Aaa!  Hu . . . sorry!  I'm sorry!"

     "I know.
     "Not that he wasn't careful to avoid incurring the wrath of any gods or men when he snuck in there.  But even that changed soon enough.
     ". . .If you had heard the screams as those souls were ripped apart and forced together, Bakura, you would cease to imagine that you know even a fraction of what pain really is.
     ". . . .
     "No matter what they had done. . . .
     "Something went wrong.  The young man didn't know what, because he had left the temple.  He had climbed up to the cliffs, in fact.  So he had a ring-side seat to the destruction when the Shadow Realm exploded and the monsters decimated Kuru Eruna.
     "Akunadin and the Pharaoh managed to stop them and even to reseal the Realm back in the Items, but not until everyone else was dead.
     "Everyone except for the young man on top of the cliffs.
     "And if you asked him, he would have told you that the two had deliberately let the monsters slaughter the village, so that the Pharaoh could go back to Thebes and continue his talk of peace and virtue, and no one would ever know how the Items were created or what they could really do.  But those were just the words of a bitter refugee, and Yami is far too much like his father to listen to those, now isn't he?
     "Either way, the Pharaoh and Akunadin left the village with the seven Items in their hands, and the sun hadn't even set on the first day before soldiers arrived to wipe all traces of the village's existence from the earth.
     "What the hell are you doing?!  I thought you said you didn't care about me!"


     "Then stop giving me that pitying look, dammit!"

     ". . . ."

     ". . . .
     "They were mostly likely killed as well, you know.  For seeing too much, even as they followed their orders.  Though I can guarantee the end of at least a few . . . but I doubt that's a story you'd like to hear, is it?"

     "No.  Please."

     "I thought so.  First kills are always messy.
     "You're too squeamish for your own good, landlord.
     "Years passed.  The pharaoh--god on earth--died, and Yami took his place.  Akunadin grew older and learned all his past sins by watching his son.  And the young man stole the crown of the life the old pharaoh had forced him into, and was the king of thieves.  Not a title to take lightly, and those who did regretted it.  For as long as they could.
     "It was a good time, though I doubt you'd have enjoyed it.
     "Eventually, the thief found himself in a tomb that he had already robbed, and which he knew inside out.  In fact, the very bracelets on his arms were the ones he had taken from the tomb's occupant.  He was aware of traps that the priest waiting for him had no idea of.
     "I always did find that amusing.  If Mahaado hadn't been so intent on guarding Yami forever, he never would have wound up unleashing the Ring.  Irony, Bakura, is a father-fucking bitch goddess--but only when she isn't on your side."

     ". . .I . . . who?"

     "Don't pick at your bandages.
     "Despite everything, the thief found himself falling down a very deep pit.  Very deep.  It might have turned out to be bottomless, if he had happened to keep falling.
     "But he didn't.  Because it was about then that he found the Ring embedded in his chest.  If you remember, that's not the most comfortable feeling.  But it was something to focus on.  Something that let him concentrate.
     "Which is how the thief managed to make a deal with the darkness.  It wanted freedom, and he wanted life, and therefore a partnership was reasonable.  So between that and the Shadow monster he had bound to himself with blood and scar tissue, the thief was more than able to escape.  And after that. . . .
     "Hm. . . .
     ". . .Well, after that, it gets confusing.  Sorting through two different sets of memories is a difficult task, you know."

     ". . .I guess so. . . ."

     "The Ring lived up to its side of the bargain.  Time and again.  In fact, when the thief died, he found that he was still alive.  The Ring had stored his kaa, and held it until it found a suitable replacement for the body he'd lost.
     ". . . .
     "I suppose even the darkness can make a mistake.
     "'Displeasure' is much too mild of a word to explain what the thief felt when he first possessed his new form.  But that might have been bearable, even changeable, if not for the fact that there was a boy wandering around in the body as well.
     "You know this part, don't you, landlord?"

     "I don't want to hear any more.  I don't like this story."

     "You aren't supposed to.
     "The thief made do, until the time came that he finally introduced himself to his host.  The boy reacted in about the way anyone hearing voices inside his head would, I suppose.  But it was what he did afterward that put a strain on their potential partnership.
     "The boy betrayed the thief.  For people who had been in his life a grand total of two days, he turned against the person who had taken up permanent--permanent--residence within him.
     "Poor judgment on the boy's part, if you ask me."

     "I didn't."

     "The boy tried to run, so the thief waited until he saw his chance.  And when it came, he cajoled the boy into letting him back, using those very same friends.  Do you remember what I told you about irony?"

     "Stop it. . . ."

     "Once those barriers were removed, the thief had him caught.  And when he was back under his thumb, the thief forced him to do things that made the boy cry."

     "S--shut up!"

     "And the boy was damn well more obedient after that.  Hmph.  Almost to the point of being dead inside."

     "You. . . ."

     "I told you to wear me, landlord.  Did you not understand the double meaning?"

     ". . .All . . . I. . . ."

     "And then, suddenly--then the boy tried to betray him again.  And so the thief is waiting, just like he did before, because the boy is going to pay doubly for what he's done this time.
     "And because the boy was too stupid to make a deal with the darkness, he deserves every single thing that happens to him.

     ". . . ."

     ". . .Are you crying?"

     ". . . .
     "Nuh--. . . ."

     "Heh.  I love that taste.
     "Go to sleep.  Your wrists should have scabbed over by now, but don't toss around.  You wouldn't want to have to clean blood off the sheets.  Again.
     "Sweet dreams."