Fate: Well, well, well. We've made it all the way to the end. Congratulations and thanks to everyone involved.
Disclaimer: La la la la! I'm not listening!
Two pairs of eyes turn to the clock.
"Tell me one last story," Ryou begs. "One little story about me."
I take a deep breath. Squeeze my eyes shut. Open them and look at him.
"One last story," I agree, and try to begin.
I opened my eyes and looked straight into a mirror.
Hang on. My eyes weren't green.
I flung myself into a sitting position and grabbed my not-reflection. Why do you look like me?I yelled. My not-reflection gaped at me, then spoke tremulously in a tongue I'd never heard. He turned and looked at the door behind him.
Memories of Mana flooded me, spurring me to jump across the room and clap a hand across his mouth. No! Don't tell anyone about me! Don't let them make me a slave!
/Wh-wh-who are you?/
I stared. The kid stared back. /How did I...?/
It's a gift you have now,I invented. Tell me. Where did your hair colour come from? Your skin colour? Why do you look like me?I hissed.
/I d-don't know,/ the boy stammered. He was young – and so, I realized to my disgust, was I. Young and terrified.
Maybe it was the big,
scared eyes. Or maybe it was because he looked like me. I don't know. I just
felt...protective. Weirdly so. Protective like I hadn't felt since I was
younger than he was now, towards people long dead and buried.
I looked at my hands, at my body. Seven years...I sighed. It just keeps getting worse, doesn't it?
I almost smiled, and had no idea why. Never mind. Now listen. I'm going to be stuck in your mind for a long time. Don't tell anyone about me.
I sighed impatiently. Because not everyone is as sweet and innocent as you,I snapped. You're not going to hurt me. Yet.
The boy looked at me for a long moment. /And how do you know that?/
I looked back. I don't. Now. What's your name?
I stiffened. Stared. That's...interesting,I said carefully.
/Interesting?/ Again with that inquisitive stare. /Why's that?/
Bloody curious kid. Because my name's Bakura.
"You convinced me I was schizophrenic," Ryou says, poking me. "You – what's that?"
I crane my neck, my heart in my throat. "You're early," I whisper.
Kaisei shakes his head. "Your clock is slow."
"Yami? Yami, I don't understand what you're saying," Ryou murmurs in my ear. "Should I?"
"Don't worry about it," I reply softly. "Well?" I switch languages again, looking over at Kaisei.
"Yami," Kaisei repeats. "Unusual nickname."
"Does anyone ever call you that?" I challenge.
A small smile tugs at his lips. "Perhaps."
"Don't you have any pity?" I wonder.
He laughs, his orange eyes glowing in the dimly lit room. "Bakura, the tomb robber we all loved to hate...Bakura, you're asking me about pity?" He shakes his head slowly. "None of us have pity. We all failed our pharaoh, and we will all pay the price."
"I wasn't in his employ," I snarl.
"But you were. Just by living, you were," Kaisei points out. "And by thwarting him, you joined us all in this eternal hell."
"The priest escaped," I spit.
"And so did the pharaoh," Kaisei replies. "Did you think he was going through this charade too? No. It's just for us. The ones he didn't trust so much, the ones he didn't count as family."
"He destroyed my life." I gently push Ryou aside and rise to my feet, stalking around to face Kaisei. "He murdered everyone I loved, then bound me to a goddess as a puppet! He killed me, then brought me back to life seven times. And he destroyed my life seven times. And now it's going to be eight."
"Listen," Ryou says shakily from behind me. "I don't know what's going on, or what either of you are saying. But Yami's been telling me the stories. All six of them. And it's never ended well. Never."
Kaisei looks at me blankly. "What's he saying?"
The role of translator is not one I relish or plan on sustaining. "That he knows what's going to happen to him."
Kaisei smiles. "You never know. This time it could be different."
"And why would that be?" I demand. "Why the hell would it suddenly be different, just because I want it more than ever?"
"Do you really want it more than ever?" Kaisei asks, an odd light in his eyes.
"Yes! Of course I do!" I snap.
"More than the lives of your other hosts? The ones you had to murder?" Kaisei folds his arms, the Scales dangling from his left hand. "Do you hate them all so much, that you would take one life before all of theirs?"
"I could only choose one anyway," I whisper, looking at my hands. The blood was there. I just couldn't see it.
"Did you want them all to die?" Kaisei asks, his voice barely above a whisper.
I look up, biting the inside of my lip hard. It's a move I learned young to take away distractions and outside pain. It hurts, but no one else can see that you need it. It's your own little secret.
"No," I answer.
Ryou scrambles around the couch and parks himself between Kaisei and me. "Okay. I understand you two have history. I understand the whole Ancient-Egyptian-thing must be a lot of fun. But I'm confused as hell, and since I'm going to cark it in about a minute, someone humour me." He glares at Kaisei. "What. Is. Going. On?"
"Kaisei is baiting me," I explain. "He wants to know if I'd prefer the lives of any of the others over you. If I wanted them all to die."
"And?" Ryou breathes.
"No and no," I tell him. Right. Can you both understand me?
/Yes,/ Ryou says.
We both look expectantly at Kaisei. Who looks expectantly back.
"Bloody hell," I growl. "Is there any way to get through this with clarity?"
"You never worried about clarity before," Kaisei points out.
"You didn't prolong it before," I retort. "You just swept in, did your funky little thing, prayed to Ma'at, and hey presto, I've skewered another host and am disappearing off the face of the earth for another few centuries."
"Have you ever prayed to Her?" Kaisei asks.
"No. Seshat. Your own Lady." Kaisei smiles. "You might find it interesting."
"I'll keep that in mind when I'm trapped in limbo after I kill my host!" I take a step back towards Ryou defensively, though whether it's for my own sake or for his, I'm uncertain.
Kaisei considers my reaction. "Are you impatient to get this over with?"
"No! Yes!" I grit my teeth and glare at the judge. "I don't know. I don't want to know!"
Kaisei unfolds his arms and holds out the Scales invitingly. But he's not looking at me anymore...
Ryou gently pushes me aside and takes a step forward. "Well," he finally says. "Whatever you're going to do to me...do it." He holds his hands out palm-up. "Enough of this torment."
"What's he saying?" Kaisei asks me, almost mockingly.
"What do you think?" I reply. "Whatever you're going to do to him, do it."
Kaisei's orange eyes darken. "If you insist." He releases the Scales and smiles. "Potential pretender who may have desecrated the purity of the Millennium Ring, I now put you on trial. If you are truly the one destined to wear the Ring, as you may well be owing to the fact that you have not been incinerated upon your wearing of this sacred item, you will be granted eternal life and a wealth of power. However, you still may be a pretender and unworthy to continue life. If you are thus, then this servant of Seshat will terminate you immediately following your Judgement." The smile disappears from Kaisei's face, replaced by a blank mask. A judge's face at a murder trial. The face of one who has seen so much death, one more won't mean a thing.
So much death.
So many murderers.
There is no pity for us.
"Are you ready to be put on trial?"
Ryou looks at me. Looks at Kaisei. "Do I have to say anything?"
The smoke from his mouth is black.
Everything goes hollow and empty, including me. The voices around me, the ground, the air. I can no longer feel.
...just another murder...
"Will you seal his destiny?" Kaisei asks. His face is still expressionless.
"If he is a pretender, let him die by my hands," I grind out.
The smoke produced by my words is white.
I look at my hands. The knife is there, sitting harmlessly in my palm. Engraved on the blade is a woman holding a feather and a scroll.
I think my legs give way. I don't know. All I'm sure of is that I'm kneeling in front of Kaisei, who is looking thoughtfully at the whirling Scales. "This servant of Ma'at witnesses this Judgement and pronounces the mortal True."
"Wh-what is going on here?" Ryou finally whispers, staring wide-eyed at the knife in my hand. His gaze shifts to the Scales still spinning around in front of Kaisei. "Am...am I going to die?"
"The Judgement is concluded," Kaisei says. He reaches out and touches the Scales, halting their movement. The smoke on both pans dissolves, leaving gold glitter scattered across the carpet. "Your contract is broken, Seshat's toy-no-longer. She has taken pity on you, where no pity was thought possible. You, worst of blasphemers. Your suffering is not what redeemed you," he cautions. "Her pity is."
"I thought the gods had no pity," I finally manage to say.
"I would not challenge it," Kaisei replies with a hooked smile.
I slowly shake my head, still unable to quite comprehend what is happening. "No."
"My business here is concluded," Kaisei says, taking the Scales from the air and tucking them into his robes.
"W-wait!" I burst out, reaching for him with one hand. "Will I...ever see you again?"
"Do you need to?" Kaisei replies. "If you do, then perhaps you will. Perhaps you will," he repeats thoughtfully.
The floor ripples, and he slowly melts through it.
"Yami..." Ryou whispers. I feel a slight, delicate touch on one shoulder. "Yami...?"
"It's over." I slowly lower the knife to the ground, unwilling to simply cast it aside. "I'm free."
"It's over...?" Ryou asks.
I slowly turn to behold my hikari, sand-white and shaking. "It's over," I reply. "No more death. No more enslavement. No more puppetry on someone else's strings."
Ryou stretches out a shaking hand to me. "You're not going to kill me?"
I close my eyes and bite the inside of my lip hard again. No.
Ryou flings himself at me blindly, wrapping his arms around my shoulders and crying silently.
"D-don't do that...you don't have to do that," I mutter.
"I almost died!" Ryou protests. "You almost vanished for god knows how long!"
"But I didn't!" I slowly reach up and touch his hair, knotting my fingers in it. "I'm still here."
"Yami..." Ryou sighs and relaxes. "Don't ever leave me."
"I won't. I found you, and I'm not letting you go," I tell him. "You're mine...for eternity. My yadonushi."
How do you end a story?
Especially a story like this?
Fluffy: All right. First off, thanks to everyone who reviewed, critiqued, poked, bugged, flamed, whatever. We love you all anyway. Second off, there will be a sequel called Kiokuryoku. It will be a series of vignettes and memories that weren't covered in Yadonushi. We are taking requests for things you want to know more about. For more information on Kiokuryoku, go there is title art! We'll try and scan it and post a link sometime soon. It displays a picture of every host. Be happy. HAPPY! And THANK YOU ALL!
Inverse-chan: Sorry for the wait! School ended most inconveniently.
TaleneIsMyYami: sweatdrop Uhh...careful you don't break anything...meep?
DreamingChild: ;; Hee. Sorry.
yla/all4him: 'ere ya go!
MeeLee: Hey presto!
Pork Steak the Grande: Your name amuses me. Thanks!
Kerei Kitsune: Thank you!
vixinkitsune: Mana was creepy to write. But Darien was ickier. Icky. flails
lj: Thanks! Sorry for the wait. ;;
Tuulikki: Haunting, eh? I like that.
Scarlet Oasis: No problem at all. I stuck Perdita as one of the last hosts mainly so I'd keep my interest, because I really wanted to write her. Thanks!
Sailor Comet: EXACTLY! Mwahaha. Yesss.
Shinnyu Kudzu: You can hurt Darien. Please. Please. Please.
Saturn Imp: I'm not that evil. Nor am I talented enough to kill him off without this whole thing dissolving into random angsty melodrama. ;; I go with what I have.
russle: Sorry for the wait. Really!
Pyx: Done and done!
Duel: Well. sigh You know the drill. You've been doing it well enough for a while now. So review, and goodbye! See you in Kiokuryoku!