bA/N: this was written when I was in a very dark frame of mind. Which means the story contains a lot of bloody violence, and is probably not suitably for anyone with a delicate disposition. On the plus side, it does contain your Recommended Daily Allowance of protein, calcium and fibre, with no added sugars or artificial sweeteners. So read away people, and remember how much goodness you are getting out of this possible sick and twisted piece of writing.

…I don't own anything. Not Yu-gi-oh, not the Stephen King novels from which this was influenced by, and certainly not any sanity worth stating. Read. Review. Or…things will happen.

Or, and this is certainly not an abuse fic. I only stated that because the first few paragraphs might lead a reader to feel that the story is heading in that sort of direction. It isn't.

Splinters.

4.01pm

Mud-scuffed trainers kicked gloomily at random pieces of litter, sending crinkly plastic packaging spiralling ahead of them. Earthbound by the dirt that lodged inside, a shiny foil crisp packet could become a slave to the will of the feet that were encased in an old pair of Reeboks; and in this way the wearer of the shoes could derive a vaguely sadistic pleasure from this suddenly total control he had, albeit it a temporary one.

Perhaps it was a rather melodramatic way to look upon the event; Ryou didn't think so, however. It had become natural to him to divide everything that occurred in the world into two: action and reaction, controller and controlled. Only one of those two was worthy of respect.

"Beating time tonight." The words a whisper, said so softly that none of the endless passer-bys, with their collars of their jackets drawn up tight and forbidden against the cold, heard him. Ryou's own coat was securely buttoned, body safely contained within; black folds of material giving nothing away. There was little about the people on the street that wasn't black or beige or some other shade of drabness; it was as if all the colour had been leeched from the scene, and they were something out of an old black-and-white film. Their shivering dull. Their limbs plastic and artifical.

"It isn't so bad. It never is."

And as if to convince himself, he laughs softly. The sound is no more alive than the blank, mooning faces of the houses around him.

4:18pm

The door swings silently inwards; there is no comforting scrape of wood on carpet. Perhaps that is all that is missing from this house, but it doesn't seem so. A lingering stench of alcohol is drifting down the hallway, causing Ryou to wrinkle his nose at the acrid odour; the floor is littered with empty bottles that do not crunch underfoot because he is picking his way across with the weary experience of he who has done this too many times before. You can just about discern an expression of distaste on his face, in the way his lip curls just a little.

He opens another door, and again no creak, no scrape, just the smooth gliding of joints in their oily hinges. There is a person reclined on the sofa, legs folded elegantly over each other; and at the sight of him Ryou gives an uneasy shift, like a child returning home with a bad school report. He doesn't need to announce his arrival. It has already been done; perhaps by the oh so slight draft of air caused by the opening of the door, or the shuffling sound of him wiping his feet on the doormat, or the tingle of the link that binds them together tighter than an umbilical cord.

The spirit raises his head, and a long, slow smile spreads over his face. "My yadonushi. My life has been all the worse for your lack of presence. How was school"

Ryou mumbles something nonsensical, eyes darting nervously around like dragonflies; all the while looking for the hidden knife, the dagger concealed behind a closed palm.

"You need not fear me, host, you know that. I never hurt you. I never mean to hurt you." He comes nearer.

"I-I know. I understand."

"Do you" Cold breath on his face. "Because, sometimes yadonushi, I don't think you do. I don't think you understand at all."

"I" He stumbles back, trips over a cushion, and falls. It feels like another defeat already.

"So do you" his yami continued. He is leaning over, casting a long, lean pool of darkness to flit briefly over the teenager, before moving slightly to one side.

Ryou slipped out the knife he had hidden in his jacket, and slammed it into his yami's ankle. "Yes" he whispered.

4:20pm

The spirit of the Ring let out a startled yelp and, as if it were a snake, yanked out the knife. Ryou rolled out of the way just in time to avoid a kick.

"You little"

"Bastard? Shit? You really need to use something more original."

"You're awfully cocky for someone who is about to be sent to the Shadow Realm" A bolt of pain suddenly shot up the yami's leg like a firebrand, and his mouth contorted into a grimace.

Ryou was grinning. "The knife was poisoned. Completely coated. And- why, yami, you've gone pale. Is something wrong"

"You planned this, didn't you" He examines his leg, hissing with pain.

"I don't see why you are so concerned. You are immortal, aren't you"

"Shut up" the spirit muttered out of the corner of his mouth.

"Yes then."

"You fucking little"

"Don't be rude, yami. The fact that you are injured means I have the upper hand."

Scoffing"it's a mere scratch."

When he looked up again it was with the certainty that he had become delirious, for Ryou now had a broom in his hand, fingers lightly caressing the wood.

"What are you going to do with that"

The light continued to run his fingers up and down the handle. "I like this thing. Its texture…it's pleasant. Smooth. Almost reassuring; and completely predic" He bit off the words, and his yami saw that a single shard of wood lay trapped beneath the perfect skin. Ryou dug a nail into his finger, trying to get the splinter out, but only succeeded in pushing it in further.

"…I hate splinters. The way they lie under one's skin, it reminds me of a parasite. You're a parasite, yami. And do you know what happens to parasites in the end? This." Ryou put his finger to his mouth as if to suck it, and bit the end of it off. There was an audible crunching, before the section of finger dropped to the ground in a spiralling movement, trailing flecks of blood. It hit the ground in a fleshy splodge.

The Ring-spirit's breathing was quickening; he started to edge away and towards the door.

"Don't go. You must stay. We belong together; you can't leave me."

"Just watch me."

"I can't do that." Ryou put his mutilated hand to the broom, turning it in a forty-five degree angle towards his yami, and the dark saw that the end had been sharpened into a point. The sight made him laugh.

"Oh, please. Do not tell me that you plan to"

"Your speculation is correct."

Ryou lowered the broom handle and charged at him, and the spirit was so unbelieving that the only thought which bubbled into his mind was that the whole situation was like something out of a mortal film. Then he moved, but too slowly, for the poison in his veins slowed his reflexes; and when he looked down, the shaft of the broom was protruding from his stomach. As he watched, blood slowly formed around the wood and began to run down it, staining the grain a bright crimson.

"…Oh." He should probably try and get it out. And so he took the handle in his hands and tried to pull it out, but his arms were strangely weak and could do nothing but flounder uselessly.

"How does it feel" Ryou whispered.

He thought. "The pain is quite exquisite."

He almost expected his light to rub his hands together and cackle"excellent."

Ryou said, calmly"fine."

"Anything else"

Then the broom was pulled out and he screamed.

"Good enough for you"

It felt as if his lungs had come out with it. But they couldn't have, because weren't the lungs higher up? About-

"Here" Prod.

Choke. Ryou had used a knife.

"Yes" the spirit managed, between gasps. "I would say that at some point my lungs were about there."

"I love listening to you talk, yami. You are always so…quick to adapt to a situation."

He tried to laugh, but it came out as a hacking cough. "I try."

The light's tone turned business-like. "It is time to stop playing games now. What is going to happen is that I am going to hurt you. And I am not going to stop."

Another laugh. "Fun, fun, fun."

"Stop it, yami. You're delirious. Not that I am concerned in any way, but it does get a little trying after a while." Ryou placed the broom handle on his dark's chest and leaned thoughtfully on it like an elderly person leaning on a stick. "Perhaps, by introducing a more challenging level of pain, I can persuade you to take me more seriously. Because I get the feeling that right now you aren't taking me very seriously at all."

The spirit put on his best sarcastic tone. "Oh come now, yadonushi, you know I" He screamed again as Ryou yanked the broom upwards, ripping open the hole into a wound that seemed to cover his entire body.

"Why do you persist in calling me that? Was I ever your voluntary host"

"No; but that doesn't change the fact that you are still my host"

"But" his light said softly"it also does not change the fact that you are still a parasite. And, although firmly attached to their hosts, parasites can be removed. Even though the methods involved can be…unpleasant. But I don't care. I want you out of me. And I don't care what I have to do to you to achieve that."

And it was at that moment, gazing at his light through his blood-soaked vision, that the spirit of the Millennium Ring began to feel the first semblance of fear.

4:37pm

"Oh, you have got to be shitting me."

"Not at all." Ryou cradled the rifle lovingly, rubbing it up and down his yami's collarbones.

"Where the fuck did you get that"

Ryou giggled, waving the gun at him like an adult wagging a warning finger to a child. "You'd be surprised what sort of things Daddy keeps upstairs."

"No way." The spirit began to edge away. "Look, yado- hikari, I appreciate I fucked you over pretty badly, but this is taking things too far."

Ryou shook his head. The gesture was very loose, as if his head was attached to his neck with a spring. He carried on shaking his head even as he talked, with the eerily soullessness of a puppet. "This is just what has to be done. Sometimes…sometimes a person can do something and at the time it may seem over-reacting, but then they look back later and see that it was actually quite necessary. I have to do this. It's the only way I can be free of you."

He took off the safety catch, aimed the gun at his yami's temple, and fired.

4:38pm

"Don't you just love the concept of immortality"

The wallpaper was splattered with red, along with a greyish-substance that by all rights should not have seen the light of day. Clumps of blood-clotted hair were stuck to the paper, but not firmly; Ryou touched one gently and it slid slickly down the wall.

"I think it's actually a rather vague term. The rules seem to vary depending on what book you read. Can sufficient force kill an immortal person, or illness? Obviously age plays no part. You've proved that yourself, haven't you? How old do you always say you are? Three-thousand, isn't it, or something silly like that."

The Ring-spirit stared dully back at him through faded red eyes.

"Three-thousand is actually quite a nice number to live to, really. I like the thought of dying aged a round number, so you can say you made it into the next decade or century or millennium." He examined the wall behind his dark. "I don't think I'll shoot you again, yami. Twice was enough. And we don't want the house to get messy, so we"

"…You'll be the one who has to clean it up."

Ryou rapped his temple with the butt of the rifle. "Silence, parasite. I'm trying to think, and you are distracting me. I would have thought that you would know better than to attract my attention." He started toying with one of his yami's fingers, seeing how far back he could bend it. There was a brittle snap, like that of a dry twig, and the spirit whimpered.

"You know, I always associated whimpering with weak people. You're not weak, yami. Don't whimper."

Holding the limp wrist loosely in one hand, Ryou began, methodically, to break all the fingers on the spirit's left hand. Another whimper squeezed out. The spirit's eyes were huge round orbs of agony.

"Stop! Whimpering"

He shrank back.

"If you whimper then you can't hear it. And you must hear it. Listen."

The yami swallowed the blood in his mouth, and nearly choked. So salty. Why was it so salty? Where was that almost nauseating sweetness?

"No one said arsenic would taste nice."

"…You…you used arsenic"

"Something like that" Ryou answered absently. "I can't remember now. Ssh now. Listen to it."

"To what"

Ryou smiled. "The bones, yami. Can you hear them? They don't crunch. They…they crumble beneath me. Splinters of marrow and cartilage and whatever else they are made up of. Listen to them splinter."

"I…can't hear them."

"Oh" Ryou took a leap and jumped upon his dark's chest. "Listen to them now, parasite! Listen to them! They do crunch"

4:50pm

Immortality is the greatest curse you can ever bestow upon a person.

The spirit of the Millennium Ring, curled up into a ball of the most intense agony imaginable, had just had this one thought. It had been haunting him for the last twenty or so minutes: the concept of true immortality. The idea that he could be reduced to a bloody pulp upon the floor, and yet would still be alive and conscious to appreciate it. Every bone in his stolen body crushed into shards, blood leaking from every pore. And no escape.

It was true that his light had already mentioned this possibility; it was also true, however, that it was starting to seem a great deal more real and certainly more frightening when it was actually happening.

"You always said you had a high pain threshold, yami. Let me see how true that is."

And out would come the switchblade, or the axe, or the chainsaw…you had to give Ryou some credit: he had imagination. Just when the spirit had thought that nothing his host would do could surprise him any longer, he would find himself screaming again. He had always thought that there would come a point in the pain where he would find himself so utterly exhausted the energy to cry out would be gone, but it wasn't true. You could keep on screaming forever and ever, and the pain would go on. How could there be any sensations remaining in his severed nerves?

"I don't know. You must be very resilient."

Yup, just look at me. Look at how Ra-damned resilient I am.

"I don't know whether you are aware of this or not, but after a while, after a great deal of constant pain, there comes a point where the nerves are blunted, and one spirals down into the blackness that heralds unconsciousness. You must be looking forward to that."

And just what defines 'a great deal of constant pain'?

"It varies."

In the spirit's shattered mind, that was a pretty good answer.

Ryou kneeled down, jeans instantly soaking up the pools of red that his dark lay drowning in. Tenderly, he stroked his other's bloody cheek. "Not so long to go now, yami. Hold on a bit longer."

Eyes close.

Ryou smiled to himself; the expression was one of love and resignation, like that of a parent on seeing that their child has fallen asleep on the sofa again. He raised himself up, and went into the kitchen to get a Coke.

…………

4:52pm

Cruelly, the yami was only unconscious for a few moments. In the half-second before the pain returned he forgot where he was, and tried to get up. It wasn't a long fall, as few of his limbs responded anyway, but the resounding thwack as he fell back sent fire shooting through his chest. It might have done so to other areas as well, but he was no longer capable of feeling sensations except in a few places.

He stared at the ceiling for a short time, blinking away by reflex the semi-clotted blood falling into his eyes. Yadonushi…where was his yadonushi?

After two minutes had passed and the pain-bringer had not returned, some shrivelled survival instinct compelled him to try to turn over. He managed to lift his body forty-five degrees and then fell back down, chest a pin-cushion of shattered ribs.

The instinct renewed itself, bringing with it a new-found sense of urgency. Not hope, it was far too small for that; but instead a niggling voice that told him to get the hell out of here before Ryou started seeing how many degrees his neck could twist through.

Not many.

Shut up and get on with it, you idiot.

His right arm shot out, hand a claw, and groped for something to pull himself up with. After a moment he felt the leg of the table and, fingers pulling weakly at the fissures, began to turn himself over. He had to hook his wrist around the leg; his fingers were black and swollen and couldn't grip properly.

It took four and a half minutes. He fell onto his stomach with another crunch, and began to drag his crippled body along the floor.

5:13pm

"Wake up"

Someone was slapping his face. He couldn't work out why it didn't hurt.

"Wake up"

"Schtop it" he slurred.

"At last. Do you know that you were out for nearly fifteen minutes"

((No.)) He had worked out why his face didn't hurt – he had fallen forward when he had fainted, and slammed his face into the carpet. He could still feel the imprint of the fabric.

"Closer to twenty, I think. Anyway, have a look at what I have here. It is a present for you. I am not in the nature of giving presents, and this will certainly be the last one I give to you. Now be polite and have a look."

The spirit wearily tried to focus his gaze, attempting to decrease the number of faces swimming in his vision to less than five.

"…Oh." It sounded more like a groan.

"Do you like it" Ryou asked brightly; "I spent so long looking for it. I was beginning to think Daddy had got rid of it; but then I found it. Do you like it" he repeated.

His yami stared dully at the axe. "Yes."

"Wanna play"

The structure of the sentence seemed so odd when compared to the formality of before, but the dark barely noticed. He was finding it hard to follow what Ryou was saying. "Okay."

The light smiled. It was a strange smile, almost hopeful, and there was a wistful longing to it.

"For ever"

"Yes" the other whispered back.

Ryou grinned a fully-fledged grin, and there was no wistfulness in it now. "You'll like this, yami. I promise." He raised the axe, and brought it down upon his dark. And Bakura, eyes closed, pulled up the Ring in front of his face, hands holding it out as an offering or perhaps merely to implore.

The blade struck the gold and the Ring shattered, the sound as quiet and undramatic as it was possible to be. Infinitesimal pieces sprinkled without fuss to the ground, landing at the light's feet.

Ryou stared down at them. After a moment of incomprehension he bent down and picked up one of the fragments. It lay in his hand, cold and meaningless; then, as he wonderingly inspected it with a finger, it crumbled into dust. He stared again.

And as he turned his hand so that the drab little pile of dust that could have been soot or gunpowder or even just another little pile of grime trickled between his fingers to the floor, and the water joined them, he stared.

…………

A/N: …And that's it. I am not quite sure what to make of this story; I wrote most of it while I was feeling depressed, then went back to finish it and could not believe what I had written. I do feel as if I've let out a lot of anger and frustration in this…shrugs yeah, well, whatever. Reviews are welcome, even if they are just to tell me what a load of crap this is. Even though I am an angst writer, I don't normally go this far, so I am sort of curious to see what people will make of it.