Yugi Moto leaned patiently over Ryou's hospital bed. He had been unconscious for the past couple of hours, but the doctors seemed optimistic that he would wake up soon. Ryou's body looked especially fragile to the pharaoh, who had made surprisingly few comments about the tomb robber since the phone call came in. His face had several cuts and scratches, and his left arm was broken. But Yugi knew that was the least of the problems.
When Ryou opened his eyes, he saw Yugi standing over him.
"Ryou!" the other boy smiled. "I heard what happened, and I came as soon as I could! How do you feel?"
"Different…" was the only answer that seemed appropriate, in more ways than one.
'I'm right here beside you.' Bakura whispered through their mindlink. The comment spread a big smile across Ryou's face.
"Have the doctors told you… about…you know…"
Ryou weakly shook his head. However, he didn't really need the doctors to tell him what he already knew.
"The worst injury is located at the ninth thoracic vertebrae. That means you're paralyzed from the waist down."
From the expression on Ryou's face, it was clear that he already knew that.
"When the swelling goes down, they'll be able to tell if the damage is permanent or whether its only temporary, but…"
"It's probably permanent." Ryou sighed.
"You don't know that."
"But… even if it is… that's… okay…"
Yugi was surprised by that remark.
"If my yami could do it, so can I." He smiled weakly.
Yugi bent down to hug his friend.
"If you ever need anything, my yami and I are just a phone call away." Yugi reminded. He saw Ryou nod to himself.
"Oh, Yugi… there is one thing Bakura wants to know."
"Can we reschedule that duel?" Ryou asked, chuckling a little. "My yami, and I quote, regrets to inform the pharaoh that he can't make it down to the game shop today. But would like to kick his royal butt as soon as he is able."
Ryou waited while Yugi obviously listened to his other half.
"Yami, that's mean." Yugi scolded out loud.
"What'd he say?"
"He said, 'that better be a figure of speech." Yugi replied carefully.
"Hey, you'd better be nice, or I won't give the key back." Ryou scolded back playfully. "I think Bakura kind of likes having it around. He's taken to insisting that I redecorate my soul room."
Yugi smiled, and so did his yami.
'Maybe… maybe Ryou was right about the tomb robber all along…' Yami Yugi whispered slowly. 'He seems to be a lot happier now than I've ever seen him. Even after what just happened.'
Yugi nodded in return.
"That he does." Yugi replied, answering both statements at once. "I've got to run, though. I promised Joey, Tea, and Tristan I'd tell them immediately as soon as I saw how you're doing."
"Thanks for dropping by." Ryou smiled.
Bakura waited until Yugi had left the room before opening his mouth.
'You're really going to keep the key!' he exclaimed excitedly.
"Yami, you're impossible sometimes, you know that." Ryou answered back.
'It was just a simple question.'
"And I am not going to paint my soul room black. I like the light."
'Oh, come on. At least put down some carpeting before you give that key back! I've got splinters up and down my arms from crawling through there!'
"That could be arranged."
'And do mine too!'
"But yami, you'd have to move all your treasures. That would take you an awfully long time."
'Oh, yeah. A long time. Maybe even years!'
"Once a tomb robber, always a tomb robber…" Ryou sighed.
'You make that sound like a bad thing!' Bakura grinned.
Ryou just laughed. Yes, things were going to be different from now on. And better too.
And they would take each day one baby step at a time.