DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction produced for entertainment purposes only. Yu-Gi-Oh! and all related characters are the creations of Kazuki Takahashi.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Text in italics indicates a character's thoughts.
Chapter 1: A New Card, An Old Power
Yami Bakura paced with swift, angry strides across the room and back again. Every few steps, he paused to glare at the teenage boy sitting at the desk over by the window. The boy was silently leafing through a thick book, stopping every now and then to read something. Each time he stopped to read, he'd turn his attention to the notebook in front of him and his pen would move swiftly over the page. He was paying no attention to Bakura at all. Bakura hated being ignored.
With a low growl, the spirit stalked over to the boy, slamming his hand down on the book just as the boy began to turn the page.
Ryou jumped, startled as much by Bakura's action as his sharp voice. He blinked up at his Yami, his wide brown eyes looking bewildered. Not that there was anything unusual in that. He usually looked that way when Bakura was around. It was just one of many things that annoyed the spirit about his light.
"Bakura? What is it? Is something wrong?" Worry flashed through Ryou's eyes, although he remained as calm as ever. His anxiety faded as the spirit shook his head impatiently.
"Don't be stupid. How could anything be wrong and you not know about it? We're in the same room! We've been in the same room all stinking day!" His voice rose and he started pacing again.
"I am so sick and tired of just waiting around watching you read that stupid book!" He whirled around to glare at his light, noting with satisfaction the way the boy tensed in surprise at the sudden movement. Although the promise he'd made in Battle City stopped him from hurting Ryou, he hated anyone thinking that he'd gone soft. He was just as dangerous as ever. His eyes narrowed at the thought. He'd gone easy on his light for a while now. Maybe it was time he reminded Ryou of his real nature.
He stalked over to his light and leaned down, pushing his face into Ryou's until there were only a few inches between them. He could see the boy's alarm in the sudden widening of his eyes. He could hear it in the soft gasp of breath. He could even smell the faint scent of fear. It intoxicated him. He sneered at his weak light.
Ryou blinked. He'd expected his darker half to say something a little more… intimidating. He fought the smile that threatened to appear, knowing that it would only annoy Bakura. Ryou didn't want to do that. Bakura seemed to be quite annoyed enough as it was.
Bakura scowled and leaned further forward, forcing Ryou to move back. "I said, I'm bored! Duel with me! Now!" His voice was strong, commanding, powerful, and had the same effect on Ryou as it had ever since Battle City. Ryou smiled at him with such gentleness that the spirit was momentarily stunned and completely forgot that he'd been trying to give his light an order.
"I'm sorry Bakura, but I can't right now." Ryou waved to the books on his desk, his voice soft and apologetic as he explained. "I have a big math test tomorrow. I really need to study today."
Bakura blinked, backing off slightly in shock. His light was refusing his command? His light never refused him anything! Ryou was too weak to stand up to him! He scowled down at the boy.
"I don't care about your stupid test! I'm bored and I want to duel! Now duel with me!" He winced inwardly. He'd gone from sounding commanding to something so close to pleading that he was sickened by the sound of his own voice. He forced himself not to react to the look in his light's eyes. He hated being pitied even more than he hated being ignored!
Ryou shook his head, trying to harden his heart against the loneliness he heard in his yami's voice. "I really can't just now, Bakura. Why don't you find something else to do?"
Bakura snorted and whirled away, his steps taking him across to the window. Staring outside he sneered at his reflection in the glass. "Like what? Oh wait, I know, I could go for a nice long walk outside. Just me, all alone, in my shadow-magicked body. The one that requires your physical presence nearby just so I can appear in it." He snorted again. "The only place I can go is back into my soul room, and it's even more boring than out here! As if that were possible…"
Ryou winced at the sarcasm. "Actually, I meant for you to… I don't know… Read a book, perhaps?"
The spirit snorted again, looking away so Ryou couldn't see his eyes. Not for all the world would he admit the truth to his light. He didn't have Ryou's gift for languages. Although he could read hieroglyphs fluently, English and Japanese gave him a headache every time he tried to make sense of them. But Ryou was waiting patiently for a response… "Books are your thing, not mine. Besides," he glared at the reflection of Ryou he could see in the window, "how do you expect me to turn the pages? I can't touch anything, remember?"
A slight frown creased Ryou's forehead as he distinctly remembered a couple of times when he'd seen Bakura touch something in his spirit form. He made a mental note to ask Yugi if he'd noticed it with Yami too. For now though, he put that thought aside. Bakura was obviously not in any mood for that kind of conversation. Or any other kind of conversation, for that matter.
"Hmm… well then…" Ryou looked around the room, trying to think of something his yami could do, so Bakura would leave him alone to study.
His eyes came to rest on his duel deck and he suddenly remembered something. "Oh! I know! I bought some new cards at Yugi's Grandfather's last Friday! I can't believe I forgot about them!" Jumping up, he hurried across the room to where his schoolbag was neatly tucked away on the bottom shelf of his bookcase.
Bakura blinked, his interest caught by the mention of cards. He turned to watch as his light searched through the bag. "New cards? Any good ones?"
"I don't know. I haven't looked at them yet. I was in a hurry so I just put them in here. Somewhere… Ah!" He turned, smiling triumphantly at Bakura as he waved several small foil packets in the air. "Found them!"
Returning to his desk, Ryou carefully cut the packets open and tipped their contents into his hand. He turned to speak to Bakura and gasped, startled to find his yami standing right behind him. "Don't do that!"
Bakura snorted and stared at the cards in his light's hand. "What are they?"
Ryou shrugged and held out the cards, smiling slightly at the eagerness his yami couldn't quite hide. "Why don't you look through them while I study? If there are any interesting ones, you might be able to come up with some new strategies." He almost laughed as Bakura snatched the cards out of his hand and hurried over to the bed.
As Ryou sat down at his desk again, he thought of something. "You can touch some things. You have no trouble holding those cards." He glanced over at Bakura, smiling slightly when he noticed that the spirit was already lost in thought.
Bakura shrugged, his mind distracted from his light's words by the cards in his hands. "That's because they channel the Shadow Magic. I can touch them, just like I can touch the Millennium Items. Now be quiet and let me concentrate!"
Ryou barely kept from chuckling as he turned his attention back to his textbook.
As Bakura looked at the cards, he barely managed to keep from smiling. Ryou never just bought one packet of Duel Monster cards. In this case, he'd bought five. Bakura carefully counted the cards to make sure Ryou hadn't been cheated. Satisfied that all forty-five cards were there, he started looking through them. But his thoughts weren't entirely on the cards.
He's right, I can touch some things. If they have enough Shadow Magic in them. But nothing else. It's annoying. I hate having to rely on Ryou for my physical form. He's so weak. Half the time I can't do what I want to do even in his form! He just doesn't have the strength for it! Even when I can do what I want, I have to wait until it's 'convenient' for him! Like now! Cards or no cards, right now I'd rather be anywhere than cooped up in this blasted room!
Bakura sighed softly, careful not to do it loudly enough for Ryou to hear him. He was also careful to keep the mind-link between he and his light closed. His thoughts would only distress his light and he didn't want that to happen. The Pharaoh had an annoying habit of finding out whenever Ryou had been distressed.
Cursed Pharaoh and that cursed light of his! If I had my old body back, I'd show them who was the strong one! He scowled as an irritatingly insistent voice at the back of his mind reminded him that the Pharaoh's control over the Shadow Magic was stronger than his own. The voice sounded a lot like Ryou's… He glared at Ryou's back, then returned his attention to the cards as he idly shuffled them.
If I could get my hands on one of the other Millennium Items… His hands stilled and he shuddered slightly at the thought, forcing his mind away from that particular path. He'd walked that road once before and it had almost killed him, and his light. He glanced over at Ryou, instinctively seeking to reassure himself that the boy was there, safe and well, even though he'd never admit to anyone that he cared at all. Not even to himself. He started shuffling the cards again, the familiar action soothing his temporary agitation as little else could.
No, not the Millennium Items. What I need is something else. Another source of magic. Another type of power.
Bakura sighed and shook his head. Out of habit, he held the cards in one hand and drew the top card with his other hand, as though he was dueling. He paused before turning the card around.
Who am I kidding? The only magic that exists these days is the Shadow Magic, and the only way to access it is through the Millennium Items or through the… cards… Bakura's eyes widened in shock as he stared at the card he had just drawn. It was a good card, but that wasn't what made Bakura's skin prickle or his heartbeat begin to thunder in his ears. It was the idea that had just dawned in his mind.
Of course! Why didn't I think of this before? That's it! That's the answer! Bakura smiled as he gazed at the card in his hand. I don't need a new source of magic. All I need is a new way to access the Shadow Magic, and with this card, that's exactly what I have! All I have to do is use my power to bring this card to life, and I can have everything I've ever wanted!
Bakura threw back his head and began to laugh. Ryou spun around at the sound, his wide eyes filling with alarm as he saw the expression on his yami's face, but Bakura didn't even notice his reaction. Standing, the spirit held out the card in his hand.
His eyes gleamed as he called upon the magic of the Shadow Realm to do his bidding. Across the room, Ryou started to stand, instinctively knowing that his yami was about to do something that Bakura, and possibly everyone else, would regret. His first thought was to try and stop him, but it was already too late. Bakura was speaking and his words stunned Ryou into stillness.
The image on the card in the spirit's hand began to glow as a mist shimmered in the air in front of Bakura. The mist began to condense, quickly forming a physical version of the item the card had held. As the physical form became more solid, the image on the card faded. Finally, the card was blank and Bakura was holding an ancient spellbook covered with faded green leather etched with mystical symbols.
Bakura looked down at the book and smiled, his brown eyes gleaming intensely as he ran his hand reverently over the book's worn cover. His idea had worked!
Ryou sank slowly into his chair, staring in shock at the book in his yami's hands. It was the Book of Secret Arts. The most powerful spellbook in Duel Monsters, and in the Shadow Realm. Ryou knew what the book could do in the game, but he had never thought about what it actually was. Now though, he suddenly realised the truth.
It was a spellbook. It contained magic spells. Since it was from the Shadow Realm, the magic was Shadow-based, which meant that Bakura would be able to use those spells!
Ryou's eyes narrowed as he frowned at his yami. "Bakura! You promised!" He hated that his voice trembled slightly in fear. He had to be brave. His yami could not be allowed to hurt anyone! As Bakura's light, it was up to him to stop his yami!
Bakura scowled at his weak light, annoyed by the fear tainting the boy's voice. "I know! Stop reminding me! How could I ever forget?" He sneered at Ryou. "What? Do you really think I'm going to be so stupid as to try anything against that wretched Pharaoh and his brat? I'm just going to use it to get what I want, that's all!"
Ryou frowned slightly. His voice was very quiet when he finally spoke. "What do you want?"
"Control." Bakura's reply was unhesitating, his voice sure and strong. "I want to be in control of my own life again. I want to be able to go where I like and do what I like, without being held back by…" He had been about to say 'you', but something in Ryou's eyes stopped him. "… anyone," he finished more quietly, before shaking himself out of the slight daze brought on by the pain in his light's gentle brown eyes. He really hated those eyes. They had the power to make him… feel. Luckily, Ryou had never realised it.
Bakura blinked. Ryou was talking and he'd missed half of it.
"I said," Ryou repeated with his usual calm patience, "What are you going to do now?"
"Oh." Bakura hesitated, suddenly aware that he really hadn't thought that far ahead. He hadn't honestly thought that it would work at all. With the book in his hands though, he could feel the power within it. He felt like he could do anything.
It was so different to how he'd been feeling only a few minutes earlier. Then, he hadn't even been able to go for a walk to ease his boredom. He blinked and smiled as the thought stuck in his mind. Suddenly, he knew exactly what he wanted to use the book to do!
Bakura smiled at his light. "I'm going to get myself a physical body."