Narration refers to YamiBakura as Bakura, Ryoh Bakura as Ryoh. Characters don't.

Notes on colours: both Bakuras have somewhat ice-blue eyes in the manga. Ryoh has pale peridot/moss agate eyes in the first anime series. (that's a light green colour.) Garnet is a purple/red.

Emerald is a much more valuable stone than moss agates, though moss agates are the gates to the faerie world.

Warnings: ::cackle::

"What makes me think I could start clean slated? The hardest to learn was the least complicated."

--Least Complicated by Indigo Girls

From Agate to Emerald

Ryoh stared, knowing he would remain unnoticed. Fading into the walls was somewhat useful, especially for observation. So he observed Yuugi and the others, as Jounouchi and Honda were their usual delinquent selves and Yuugi and Anzu nudged each other's feet under the table. And he didn't get it.

The fact was, he could still stare. There wasn't anything different. Yet that morning, Yuugi had greeted him nervously, as though expecting something to be wrong. The shorter boy had toed the ground and moved his hands from his pants pockets to twiddling his thumbs to playing with the Puzzle's chain. The standard "how are you," greeting was stuttered and soft, and Ryoh was still confused by it. He was fine, if not already missing Bakura after just the five minutes it took to get to school. But that wasn't the point – the fact that Yuugi had sought him out that morning was the thing bothering him. He couldn't find a reason for it.

And then Yuugi turned his head and caught Ryoh's stare. The shorter boy's eyes widened and his mouth shut abruptly. Ryoh raised his eyebrows, but by then Yuugi had looked away and gone back to chatting with the others. Yet his grin wasn't as big and his voice wasn't as loud.

Ryoh stared, resting his chin on a hand.

~~~

"They always have that guilty look whenever we're around lately." Ryoh flopped down onto the couch, exhaling loudly. "It's really…. I don't know, annoying. Makes me paranoid."

Bakura, seated on the other end of the couch, didn't comment. Ryoh waited for a reply, turning his head to see his other half. The thief had his head lying back against the couch, eyes closed. He wasn't sleeping, or at least Ryoh didn't think he was… Always impatient, it was only a few seconds before Ryoh decided to make his way into the older one's lap, wrapping arms around Bakura's shoulders. The thief was still quiet, though, and not smiling yet, and Ryoh tilted his head to really look at his darker half.

Bakura's eyes were open now, and he caught Bakura's gaze and held it. The thief's eyes were gorgeous, dark and sapphire blue, so close to black that it was hard to tell where the pupil began…. The colour was amazing and alluring and Ryoh tried to remember if they'd always been that way.

~~~

Marik was yelling, and Yuugi was scared. He didn't know what to do or how to placate the blond, and so he could only stand and listen to the loud and forceful words.

"The Hell did you think you were doing!?" Marik demanded, waving an arm in emphasis. His entire posture spoke of fury. One hand was clenched, and the veins of his neck stood out, tension running through his body. "You can't just mess with somebody's head when they don't want it! It's," he turned to glare at Yuugi, suddenly unnervingly calm except for the scarily wide eyes, "it's just as bad as what I used to do, did you think of that?" Then he was back to shouting with his mouth snarling and showing teeth, "Of course you didn't, you don't stop to think about those things! You're Pharaoh and you're right and just. And of course there wasn't ever a reason for Bakura getting the Ring! Did that occur to you?"

He moved too quickly, his face in Yuugi's, the whites of his eyes gleaming in startling contrast against the dark garnet irises and the tan skin. "The Ring didn't kill him on contact… you might have destroyed something you weren't supposed to touch. They might have killed each other if you'd left them alone."

"But," Yuugi's voice was barely there, ready to leave him again at the slightest move from the enraged blond, "I didn't want to see anybody else die…."

"You selfish bastard, it's not about you. Life has value because it ends. Life is worth living because of the difficulties," Marik spat, jeweled eyes flashing. "And double-suicides are so romantic...."

~~~

Ryoh and Bakura were still on the sofa, though they'd moved now so that Bakura was lying with Ryoh on top of him. Between gentle kisses the two continued talking. Ryoh's hands were lost in Bakura's hair, fingers absently stroking the messy tresses. Bakura's arms were tight around his landlord and his eyes were closed. Dark emerald eyes examined the contours of his face, and Ryoh leaned down to give him another kiss.

"It's just," Bakura moved one of his hands and dragged the fingers softly down Ryoh's spine, making the boy on top of him smile and give an appreciative noise. "These past couple days, it's like my head's been fogged up…. My memory's so blurry. I can remember what happened before now but I can't… I can't see anything specific." Ryoh's thumb traced along the edge of his ear. "I know we met before we met the others and I know how but I can't remem… I can't see it."

Ryoh leaned down and reassured him, wet lips meeting gently. "It's okay," he whispered against the thief's mouth. "I'll give you something to remember right now…"

~~~

"What'd you do?" Bakura asked. His expression was that of a little lost boy – the mouth was drawn tight somewhere between hate and frustration but the eyes were too large to be angry. His voice wavered with his question. "You… you did something, I know, but…." The accusation was weak and questioning, floundering for something solid to hold on to.

The Pharaoh was quiet.                                            

"I…" Bakura frowned. He should have been stronger than this, shouldn't he? "I wasn't like this," he stated, gaining confidence. The words were right – he knew they were right as soon as they were spoken aloud. His back straightened and his eyes narrowed. "I was a monster that deserved to die… right?"

"How's Bakura-kun?" The question, nonchalant and on a completely different subject, silenced Bakura. And then he realized – if he'd been an irredeemable bastard, then Ryoh… the querying thought was confirmed as surely as his assumptions on his true character were. That miserable, lonely life, though, that wasn't what his Ryoh deserved.

"I hate you," Bakura whispered angrily.                       

"Some things can't be changed," the Pharaoh replied, shrugging.

~~~

"I love you."

It was true; the feeling and emotion was absolute love and completely undeniable. It was pure and eternal love, and it would last until they died, magically enforced to do so. The corners of Ryoh's eyes were wet, and he held Bakura's hands tightly, their fingers locked together. Beneath him the thief moaned, sapphire eyes closed. Somehow they had made it to the bed, and somehow their clothes had made it to the floor, because actions spoke so much louder than words, but they felt like adding the words in anyway.

"I love you I love you I love you," Bakura whispered.

"I know." Ryoh kissed his neck, and then his ear, and the once-powerful man shivered helplessly.

One of Ryoh's hands left his and began to move lower. "Oh, gods," was all the thief managed to get out before Ryoh's mouth covered his. 'I don't deserve you at all,' he told the teenager.

'I know,' Ryoh answered, but he didn't stop. Then he moved and had to break the kiss, but Bakura didn't complain because then he was inside Ryoh and breathing was entirely too difficult. The younger one found Bakura's other hand again and held it.

"But I'm selfish," Ryoh breathed, "I don't want to go back…" He shifted, making the thief squirm. "I love you like this." He lifted himself, only to return back down to Bakura, and the motion received a wordless response halfway between a moan and a shout from the thief.

"You deserve to be happy," panted the older one, starting to move in time with his partner. He kept his eyes closed. "I won't take it away from you."

There were no more words for a long time, only shouts and desperate panting, then a near-scream from the thief.

In the aching pain of the afterglow, Ryoh curled up onto Bakura's chest. The sapphire eyes were still closed, even though the younger one wasn't watching Bakura's face anymore. Ryoh squeezed his hand, though he knew any attempts at comfort would be futile. If only there was some way to make the darker one stop hating himself for things he couldn't even remember, to make him forget that he didn't deserve to be happy with Ryoh, and then they could both be totally happy….

Ryoh's dark eyes widened as he recognized what he'd just thought, and then he understood. He started crying onto Bakura's chest, and the older one helplessly tried to comfort him.