Hmm … :glances around: S'been a while since we wrote anything here. Strange view, what … looks like we need to slash Ryou with Bakura more often, just to bring some good old yami/hikari action back onto the scene.
So … yes. Here. Strange semi-fluff.
Summary: Ryou builds card houses. Bakura knocks them down. And maybe that's alright. tendershippy.
(Ryou – the hikari; Bakura – the yami)
Disclaimer: we heart the pretty split personality boys, but alas, even all the love in the ocean cannot make up for the millions of dollars in copyright rights we'd need to be able to claim we owned them. The song is also not ours. Nothing is ours! We own nothing! Agh!
house of cards
-There's something about the look in your eyes
Ryou builds card houses. It's always been a bit of an obsession. Even though Duel Monsters is not his game (it's Monster World, really), even though he always loses at poker and has only ever won one game of solitaire, he builds houses with cards.
At first, before he really entered the card game scene, he'd build them out of decks of playing cards.
52 cards – 2 jokers. Sometimes 4 jokers, if he was lucky.
Two cards, balanced delicately on their sides, one laid carefully over top. Everything begins with two little cards.
After a while, 54 cards were no longer a challenge. He could build them quickly, mastery in the way his delicate fingers picked up two cards, balanced them exactly the right width apart, laid the third over top.
Then there was Duel Monsters, and he could have an infinite number of cards to build with (even though it was a touch expensive).
And then there was Bakura, and then they started falling down.
-Something I noticed when the light was just right
Building friendship is sort of like building card houses, Ryou muses.
It begins with two – two people, tentatively held, not too close, not too far. Two people cautiously, warily finding a balance. Finally striking just the right angle, and then the seal of friendship laid over top.
So easily collapsible.
Ryou builds friendships like he builds card houses – precisely, dexterously. He's polite, almost frigidly so, but when he smiles his soul falls out of his eyes. Let's be (two cards, perfect angle, perfect balance) friends, (last card, careful equilibrium) okay?
He's not really a loner, exactly. He picks and chooses his targets carefully, after watching them for a few days, and then approaches them. Flawless strategy – finding a place where he belongs and where he knows he won't fall down.
Ryou builds friendships like he builds card houses – painstakingly, fragilely.
Bakura knocks them down like he knocks down Ryou's flimsy card houses – careless, smiling.
At first, Ryou had no idea. At first, Bakura just did, and Ryou would wake up one morning to find that his friends were in comas and there were new additions to his Monster World dolls.
Little card houses, castles of cardboard, one swipe (Penalty Game!), and everything tumbles down in a flutter of useless scrap.
-It reminded me twice that I was alive
What hurts the most is that Bakura was doing it for fun, and for him.
Bakura didn't really have anything better to do. He didn't let Ryou know of his presence, so he couldn't talk to him. He didn't have friends or anything. So he amused himself by turning Ryou's friends into toys.
And he justified himself, saying something like Now your friends (two cards, perfect touch, perfect poise) are with you forever (last card laid over top) they can never leave you, yadonushi (card rain).
Ryou builds card houses like he builds friendships, and Bakura knocks them down the same way.
Ryou reaches out, pulls two cards off his deck, and stands them on their sides.
Set two, place one. Set two, place one.
Basic monsters, basic effects.
Set two, place one. Critter, Critter, Thunder Bolt.
Bakura appears, ghostly form translucent in the morning light, and he sits on the table and doesn't even add any weight.
"Card houses again, yadonushi?" He asks. "Why do you do this all the time?"
"Why do you knock them down?" Ryou replies.
And it reminded me that you're so worth the fight
Once, Ryou dreamed that he was walking through Bakura's soul room.
Traps were everywhere, but he was transparent (like Bakura), and he floated right through them.
He'd thought, How convenient, and Where's Bakura, and Why is everything so dark?
And he'd wondered why there was blood mingled with the sand on the stone floor, and why when he reached the exit of the maze, there was no treasure, only a dark hole.
He'd looked down, and Bakura was there.Why are you down there, yami?
I can't get out, Bakura had replied.Why not?
I'm chained, Bakura said. Chained forever.
Can I help you?
No one can help me.
No one can help me. I've imprisoned myself. I'm locked away.
Why can't I help you?
I won't let you.
Ryou had watched Bakura tug at the chains until his hands were bleeding, and he'd thrown himself onto the stone and reached his hand out as far as it could go, and Bakura refused to take it.Why are you alone, yami?
I have no friends.
I won't let me.
Doesn't anyone love you?
I'm not lovable.
Can I love you?
And Bakura had started over, like a broken recording.
No one can love me. I've imprisoned myself. I'm locked away. No one can find me.
Ryou had stretched out his hand until he woke up, and his hand had knocked the homework he'd fallen asleep on off the desk.
-My biggest fear will be the rescue of me
Sometimes Bakura tries to help. He'll steal Ryou's hand, almost always his left hand, grab a card, and put it on top of two that are already standing (he hasn't got the patience to stand the base).
Sometimes Bakura can actually manage it. The card will balance, and he will grin triumphantly, and say something like See, I can do it too, yadonushi.
Most of the time the entire thing just falls over, shuffle of card on card on card, and Ryou wonders why so much destruction is so very, very silent.
Bakura is never silent. Not laughing, not screaming, not bloodyragingmad – but when he knocks over Ryou's card houses, he's quiet. And Ryou hears only the shuffle of falling cards.
After the silent explosion, Ryou has to clean the cards, put them back into order, back into the deck, and it takes hours. Card on card on card, building.
-Strange how it turns out that way
Once, Bakura dreamed he was looking for Ryou.
Somehow he'd lost him, and he knew the longer he was away, the less tangible he would be, until finally he faded back into the Ring and was lost for millennia.
Yadonushi, he'd called, and old fat men with beer stains turned to look at him, and he'd wanted to laugh.
Ryou, he'd tried, and looked for that white hair, and couldn't find it.
Why are you searching? A voice had asked, and he'd whirled, and Ryou was there, but he was a little child. At most six, the same age Bakura had first seen him, red swirling into green eyes and scrutinizing the young body in the mirror.Why are you so young?
I'm Ryou, little Ryou had said. Why are you looking for me, mister? and Ow! as Bakura grabbed his thin wrist angrily.
Why are you so weak?
I'm not weak, little Ryou said, looking offended in his too-polite-to-show-it way. I'm growing.
You're already grown where I know you, Bakura said.
No, not yet.
Why aren't you grown?
Because I'm searching.
I don't know.
Bakura had laughed.Then how will you know when you've found it?
I'll just know.
Bakura had laughed.
-Could you show me dear…something I've not seen?
Ryou picks up three more cards, sets up the base, lays the third over top.
"Why do you bother?" Bakura asks.
"Because I want to," Ryou says.
"I'll just knock it down later," Bakura says. "Whether I mean to or not."
"I don't care," Says Ryou, although he does and they both know it. Three more. Two beneath, on top, Dark Corridor.
-Something infinitely interesting
Bakura tried to make his own card house, once. He'd spent half an hour putting together the basic three, and then when he added another sideways card and tried to put the fifth one over top, the entire thing had fallen over.
He'd screamed. For an hour. At the cards, at the table, at the wind, at Ryou, who was still sort of unconscious in his soul room and not there to hear.
Ryou had come back to find his entire deck scattered over the living room and Bakura, translucent again, sitting in the middle, sobbing uncontrollably.Why … ?
I can't build, Bakura had shrieked into Ryou's shoulder, when Ryou tentatively came to hold him. I can't build anything. I can only destroy.
That's okay, yami, Ryou had whispered. It's okay.
Bakura had screamed himself unconscious and fallen asleep in Ryou's arms. Long after the spirit slept, Ryou sat, contemplating the cards, contemplating the fact that, although Bakura can touch him, Ryou cannot feel Bakura, tears tracing silent trails down his face.
After that, Bakura never tried to make his own card houses, content to let Ryou do the building.
There's something about the way you move
"Do you know, yadonushi, how these were made?" Bakura, thoroughly bored, reaches through the card house – the slightest trembling, Ryou shivers, but the thing doesn't fall – and touches Ryou's chest with a translucent finger, hand passing through the glinting gold of the Ring.
"Yes," Ryou said. "Blood, and gold."
"Blood, and gold, and fire," Bakura corrects. "Fire to temper. Fire to melt."
"I thought it just went into a mould," Ryou says, interested enough to set down the card he was holding. Angel's Gift. "Isn't that how gold trinkets are made?"
"Idiot yadonushi," Bakura says, but he's almost fond. "These things aren't pure gold."
"Really?" Says Ryou, startled.
"They wouldn't have survived nearly as well if they were," Bakura says. "You really think they've come down through the millennia and been lucky enough to still look the same as the day they were cast?"
"Well, yes," Bakura concedes. "But there's some sort of hard metal in here. It was melted with the gold and the bodies, enough for strength and not enough to show, and when the final casting came, the finished product had to go through fire."
Ryou picks up another card, Poltergeist, sets it on top of the third level of cards.
"Sometimes," Bakura says softly, "Sometimes it takes fire to become strong."
Ryou pauses and stares. Bakura stares back. For a moment the room is still.
"What are you searching for?" Bakura asks, all of a sudden.
"Why have you locked yourself away?" Ryou returns.
Hand Obliteration goes on top of the house.
I see your mouth in slow motion when you sing
Sometimes, when Bakura is in a particularly good mood, he lets Ryou sing while he builds card houses.
Ryou's voice isn't bad. It's a light sort of low tenor – almost entirely finished changing. He sings in an easy sort of way, and whenever Bakura hears it he hears lullabies and sweet words, so Bakura usually doesn't let him sing.
Ryou sings soft old songs, ridiculous pop ballads, sometimes even attempts some heavy metal or opera in that light breezy voice. His voice when he sings is young and clean, nothing of pain or sorrow or blood coated dreams.
Sometimes Bakura sings, when he's particularly enamoured of a melody. Once, he sang in Egyptian before he knew what he was doing. When he realized it, he shut his mouth harshly, with a look like jagged ice, and, taking Ryou's arm to do it, swiped Ryou's cards to the floor, smooth shuffleslide of falling.
Later, Ryou had looked up the words as best he could, and didn't know whether to laugh to cry.
A child's lullaby, he'd said to the online translator, blinking whitely at him. A child's lullaby, wanting the moon.
And houses crashing to the carpet in a miniature muted thunderstorm.
-More subtle than something, someone contrives
"Why do you hate me?" Bakura asks. Ryou's hand twitches and he quickly draws it back before it can hit the card house.
"Why do you ask?" He asks, unnerved. "I don't hate you."
"Why don't you?" Bakura asks. Ryou steadies his hand enough to carefully place the card onto the fifth level. Raise Dead.
"You're part of me," Ryou says. "I can't hate you for being you."
"Why not?" Bakura asks. "Pharaoh hates me."
"Mou hittori no Yugi doesn't hate you," Ryou says. "He's just constantly angry at you."
"The bastard hates me," Bakura says in a tone indicating that the decision is final.
"You've given him reason," Ryou points out, figuring that diplomacy is overrated anyway.
"More than he's given me to hate him?" Bakura glares. Ryou's left hand leaves his control and taps threateningly against the tabletop.
"No," Ryou says truthfully.
"Why do you think the Ring chose you?" Bakura asks. The tapping ceases.
"I don't know," Ryou says. "Aren't you the one that chooses?"
"Ah, yes," Bakura says pensively, then, "Why do you think I chose you?"
"Because we have the same hair?" A corner of Ryou's mouth turns up as he sets two monsters on their side. Compared to his usual face, it looks like a smirk. Compared to Bakura's expression, it looks like a perfectly normal smile.
"Mine's better," Bakura says. "But really. Why?"
"Because we're the same," Ryou said quietly. He picks up another card and puts it on top of the two monsters. Sealing Swords of Light.
"We are?" Bakura asks, startled.
"Yes," Ryou said. "We both hate and love with the same intensity, at the same time. We both hurt ourselves, and others, at the same time. And," He smiles, finger hovering just short of the slightly ragged side of Sealing Swords, "We cheat."
Bakura is silent.
-Your movements echo that I have seen the real thing
Ryou says, "We both have to die to live."
Bakura says nothing, red eyes boring into Ryou's through the sixth level of the card house, peering between two segments – Ouija Board, Death Message E, Death Message A.
Ryou says, "It's like these gold things." (He touches the Ring briefly, bittercold fingers on cold metal) "They have to be burned to become strong enough to survive. The fire becomes a part of them."
"That fire was made of bodies," Bakura says softly. "The remnants of those melted into gold."
"Then this pendant has the ashes of the dead in them," Ryou says in the same tone of voice.
"Ahh," Bakura sighs, and puts one ghostly hand to the Ring on his chest.
"We make a whole," Ryou says.
Bakura is silent.
"Now I want to ask you," Ryou sets another card onto another pair of two, seventh level, Change of Heart. "Why do you hate me?
-Your biggest fear will be the rescue of you
"Because you're weak," Bakura says. "Because you're weak and you can build."
"And you're strong," Ryou says. "You're strong and you destroy."
"And we're a whole, aren't we?" Bakura says, slowly understanding.
Strange how it turns out that way
"I will kill for you," Bakura declares.
"I will build for you," Ryou whispers.
Could you show me dear...something I've not seen?
And they are a whole, dark to light to light to dark, and Ryou will build and Bakura will destroy, and that is the way of the world and keeps them spinning.
Bakura takes Ryou's left hand and reaches out, picking up a card, shuffle of card on card.
(and Ryou will build card houses and Bakura will knock them over)
And so Ryou doesn't have to look to know what card Bakura has drawn. Dark Necrophia finishes the house.
(and together they will die through fire and be reborn with fire)
And so Ryou doesn't have to hear the swishshuffleslide of collapse to know the cards have fallen over.
(and whole they can face a burningbloody world)
And so when Bakura leans over the carnage of cardboard pieces to kiss Ryou, Ryou lets him.
-Something infinitely interesting
The song is Incubus' Echo.
This arose from consideration of what is commonly known as Bakura's Occult Deck. We went online and searched out a list of what cards were in his deck and some of their properties, and a few things became clear. First, if the deck represents the duellist, and both Bakura and Ryou use this deck, neither Bakura nor Ryou are terribly good people. They're not evil, either, but they have to balance. Ryou balances out Bakura's relative darkness, and Bakura balances Ryou's relative light.
Hence, Ryou's weakness (dark) and ability to build (light) balances Bakura's strength (light) and ability to destroy (dark). Note this is gross simplification.
Second, the deck is not based on monsters, like most of the other major duellists' (Seto's dragons, Yugi/Yami's Black Magician, Jounouchi's miscellaneous beasts, Mai's Harpy Ladies). Bakura's Occult Deck is based on control. The three most powerful and important cards in the deck are Change of Heart (allows the duellist to pick and control an enemy monster), Dark Necrophia (after dying, becomes an Equip on opponent's monster and controls it that way), and Ouija Board (dependant on Dark Necrophia). Thus the deck is based on controlling an opponent's monster. If played with proper strategy, it can be unbeatable.
It is also based on death. Dark Necrophia and Ouija Board both come into effect only after Dark Necrophia's initial death. Thus, the true power of Bakura's Occult Deck is based on the death of its main monster.
As a result, this fic was born – from the concept that, since the deck reflects the duellist, both Ryou and Bakura are into control, and it probably pisses them both off that they have to share a body, and that they can't do things the other can. And also that their true power comes only after death and fusion, or something similar – fire, perhaps. Thus, Ryou and Bakura have to suffer together before they can truly become whole in one another and face the world unscarred.
This fic is assumed to take place after Bakura has been "banished" from Ryou's body and has returned.
Of course, it can be read any way you like :)
Also, please keep in mind, we are not in any way a duellist. We just went online and googled the card names to see what we could find. If something is wrong, please don't behead us for it! To all you super-duellists out there, we're sorry! TTTT
Oh, yes - at the end, Bakura comes to understand what Ryou seems to instinctively know, and Ryou relinquishes control. So, why not Change of Heart as the last card placed?
Well, we thought, Dark Necrophia is really underrated, it'd be nice to give her some screentime, you know? … nn;;
(Also, she does end up fitting a touch better.)
Wow, this is a long author's note. Sorry!
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