By The Inspector

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters. I make no money. Don't sue me. It's just for fun.

Author's Note: I know I haven't updated in a while, but it's because of school. This was just a rapid little plot bunny that wouldn't let me do my homework until it was written. As soon as school is done, I'll get back to writing.


Yami woke slowly, his eyes blurry and his head pounding. Groaning, he shifted his weight, trying to sit up. His mouth felt dry as sand and his stomach churned unhappily. Somewhere behind him, Yami heard the unmistakable sounds of someone throwing up.

Taking a deep, steadying breath, Yami lifted his head and tried to take in his surroundings. The whole room was dark. Weak light filtered in from somewhere, but shadow had the strongest hold. Yugi lay beside him, still unconscious, a thin sheen of sweat over his sweet face. Yami wrapped one arm around his little hikari and turned his head to look behind him.

Jou whipped his mouth and smiled shakily. "You alright there, Yami?" Jou asked, his voice hoarse and scratchy. Yami nodded, though the motion sent bright stars across his vision and made his head hurt worse.

Beside Jou, Honda was also starting to wake, as was Anzu. "What-" Yami coughed dryly, "What happened?"

"Oh, you'll have to forgive me that," a low voice jeered from the shadows. "I suppose it was terribly rude of me to drug you all and drag you here."

Yami's head whipped around, trying to find the speaker. He knew that voice. He had thought they were rid of him. "Bakura," he hissed.

The dark spirit of the Sennen Ring snickered and steeped forward from his watchful place. "At your service, my Pharaoh," Bakura sneered, giving Yami a mocking bow.

"How did you get here?" Yami demanded, "You were banished to the Shadow Realm!"

Bakura snorted and tossed his hair over his shoulder. "The Shadow Realm can't hold me," he said. "Nothing can contain the darkness. Not even death." He looked at the group huddled at his feet and smiled. "Now, I want the Puzzle. Please."

"Never!" Yami snapped, placing himself between Bakura and Yugi. Bakura would have to get through him first! And besides, "You said that death can't contain you, Bakura, but your Sennen item can! I will seal you back in there so that you can't cause any more damage!"

Bakura shrugged carelessly, not bothered by Yami's declaration. "Try," he challenged. "As long as my hikari lives I will be able to come back. You'll have to kill dear, sweet, little Ryou to get rid of me!"

Yami's eyes widened in surprise, freezing the words on his tongue. "Ryou?" he repeated instead. The face of Bakura's hikari floated before his mind's eye. A pale, fragile, white-haired child. "He still lives?"

A dark shadow crossed over Bakura's face. "Obviously," he snapped.

"What have you done with him?" Yami demanded, "Where is he?" Ryou had helped them in the past, maybe… "What have you done with our friend!?"

"What do you care!?" Bakura shouted back. "You didn't even think of him until I mentioned him. How dare you try to call him your friend!" Bakura closed his eyes, his chest rising and falling sharply. "He and I are more alike than you realize," he said, quieter.

Then he opened his eyes and smirked. "Let's play a game, Yami. For your puzzle, for the lives of your friends. Surely you've noticed that you and Yugi share that annoying trait of winning almost every game you play. Marik and Malik are both insane and lust for power. So, what trait do Ryou and I share? You have five guesses." He held up five fingers. "One for each life of your posse, one for your light, and one for yourself. Guess right and I will let you all go. Run out of guesses, and I will kill you all and take my prize." He held up a large hourglass. "You have ten minutes."

Yami's mind began to race even as he watched the sand drizzle into the bottom of the hourglass. What did he know about Ryou? What could he and the dark spirit have in common? They seemed nothing alike. Like night and day. Well, Ryou cared a lot about the well being of his friends to an almost possessive degree. Bakura was possessive of everything he considered his. "You are both possessive," Yami said at last.

But Bakura shook his head and put down one of his fingers. Wrong.

Yami looked down at his hands and flexed them. Ryou, Ryou, Ryou…Ryou didn't live with his family, right? Was Bakura an orphan? That could be it. "You both were abandoned by your family."

Bakura rolled his eyes and put down another finger. "Wrong again, Pharaoh. My family was murdered before my eyes. Try again."

Yami closed his eyes, trying to think. Behind him he could feel the warmth of his friends. They were supporting him, they were always with him. Did Bakura convince Ryou he was alone? Was that it? "You and Ryou are both alone," Yami said, pulling Yugi closer to him. Yugi stirred slightly and moved closer to him.

But Bakura laughed and ticked off another finger. "He is never alone. I am always with him, and he with I. Guess again."

Only two guesses left. He couldn't loose, the lives of his friends depended on it. How could Bakura stoop this low? The coward! Wait, Ryou never stood up for himself either! "You are both cowards!" Yami shouted.

A nasty look crossed Bakura's face and he strode forward two steps, almost faster than Yami could follow, and punched Yami in the face. "Never call us that," Bakura hissed, his hair standing on end. "Or I will do worse than just mess up your face." He glanced back at the hourglass. "Two minutes left and only one guess. I suggest you think fast."

Yami shook his head. What was he missing? He could feel it, but he couldn't name it. He couldn't loose!

Yugi blinked his eyes open slowly and looked around slowly. He saw Bakura standing in front of them and frowned. "Ryou?" he asked, confused. "What's going on? Where are we?"

"That's not Ryou," Yami said, shushing his light. "Bakura is back."

Yugi frowned and shook his head. "But, Yami-"

"I have it!" Yami said. He let go of Yugi and got to his feet. "The trait you both share is thievery! You think I've forgotten how small things went missing at Yugi's school? I thought it had been another student or possibly you, but it was Ryou, wasn't it!? You are both thieves!"

Yami held his breath and watched Bakura's hand with the single finer still up. Bakura starred at him, and then the finger dropped. Behind Yami, Anzu let out a soft wail.

"Wrong again," Bakura whispered, a soft, cruel smile on his face. "You loose, Pharaoh." His eyes flittered over the others. "You all loose." Slowly, he drew a long silver dagger out of his clothes. He moved closer and knelt in front of Yugi. "Your puzzle, please."

Moving as if in slow motion, Yugi took the Sennen Puzzle off and placed it in Bakura's hand. Tears sparkled in his eyes and he had to look away. "Thank you," Bakura said with a smirk.

"What was the right answer?" Yami said. If he had really lost, he at least wanted to know the right answer; there was a chance that Bakura cheated. Bakura opened his mouth to answer, but a low, dark laugh cut him off.

"Deception," the owner of the laugh purred. And then he stepped into the dim light. "Very nice, hikari," he said, ignoring the startled gasps of Yami and his friends.

"Bakura?" Yami asked, looking from Bakura to Bakura. Then the first Bakura, the one he had lost to, began to giggle. His hair flattened and his eyes lost their sharp edges.

"Catch," Ryou told Bakura and tossed him the Sennen Puzzle.

Bakura caught the puzzle and inspected it, turning it so that the light made it sparkle. "At last." He smiled a jackal-like grin. "Thank you, Ryou."

Ryou leaned easily against the wall and smiled. "No problem."

"You should have known," Bakura, the real Bakura said, turning to Yami, "That as well as I can play Ryou, he can play me."

"Why!?" Yami yelled, his whole world crashing down around him. Ryou, Ryou had betrayed them. "Ryou, why are you doing this!?"

Ryou giggled again and moved away from the wall to lay his head against Bakura's shoulder. "He's my best friend," he said happily, wrapping his arms around Bakura's waist. "He never leaves me."

"Right," Bakura agreed and turned to face his light. "I will never leave," he promised and draped the puzzle over Ryou's neck before kissing the tip of his nose. "Hold on to this for me?" he asked Ryou. "I have to finish what you started."

Ryou grinned and handed Bakura the dagger. "Can I watch?"




Author's Note: I don't know, but I kinda like slightly psycho Ryou. Too many people make him a wimpy little wuss who just asks to be beat up and can not stand up to anything. I can't see Ryou being able to exist with Bakura and not be affected. See my other story, A Part, for why Ryou doesn't see the gang as his friends.