Written for a Yami no BakuraxRyou Bakura claim on 30Kisses on Livejournal. Theme: The Road Home.

The Road Home
By Halys

The battle was won, the spirits laid to rest and the Items cast into darkness, where they could never cause harm again. Each and every one of the band that had the world's fate wrapped around them had come to their final destiny, and the Pharaoh had been finally laid to rest.

It was these notions that came to Ryou's mind as they drove Yuugi, Jounouchi, Honda and Anzu to the airport. He recalled how as the shorter duelist had fallen to his knees while he called the final attack, how the Pharaoh had helped him to his feet and supported him, gracefully handing Yuugi his title before stepping through those two stone doors.

For a moment, Ryou had pondered what it might have been like beyond those doors, but the thought soon slipped his mind as the party made a dash for the exits to avoid being crushed. Now, however, his thoughts drifted. It had been a long two years… much of which he had no memory. He couldn't say he was disappointed, really. He had long since given in to the fact that being the vessel for the king of thieves was his destiny. Ryou might have questioned for some time why he had been chosen for such a task, why he couldn't have had the more benevolent spirit, but snide remarks from his darker side quickly brought this to a halt.

No. As their car sped past sandy, dusty dunes that have dominated much of the ancient and nearly forgotten land, Ryou's thoughts surrounded none of these concepts. That was for the past. But one question just wouldn't leave him: What had happened to the thief? The pale haired teen couldn't say why he wondered this, for his relationship with the vindictive spirit was less than healthy, when they even confronted each other at all. There was no reason for Ryou to worry or have cause for concern. The thief was gone and he could go on with his normal life.

But maybe that was it. Life really couldn't be normal now, could it? Ryou's jade eyes shifted to Yuugi. It was obvious that the shorter boy was trying to hold back tears, trying to be strong as his other self had said. His friends pointedly ignored his distress, knowing that he wanted to overcome the pain alone.

Ryou often wondered just how close Yuugi and the Pharaoh had come over time. Once glance into the Pharaoh's eyes as he gazed upon Yuugi revealed more than the Pharaoh probably thought. Despite the man's determination to seem emotionless and subjective, behave as was expected of Horus incarnate, his eyes always gave him away. His partner didn't seem to notice, it seemed to Ryou, and he thought it possible that the Pharaoh was suffering. Yet, as he watched tears forge trails down Yuugi's cheeks, he began to doubt.

So, there may have been something between the two. Such was not the case for Ryou, and he had already come to terms with that. He had not shed a tear as he had learned that the spirit had been defeated for good. Maybe it was doubt, because of all the times the thief had been banished or defeated, he had managed to survive (as was possible for one who was already dead). Could the thief come back again? The ring was gone, but it seemed as if his darker half had been able to control him without the ring…

A soft sigh that no one noticed escaped Ryou's lips. He just couldn't discern why the thief was still in his thoughts. By all accounts, he should feel grateful and pleased that the man that had left for certain, however the spirit that had kept him hostage in his own body for years was still dominating his thoughts.

The rational part of Ryou's mind pondered where the spirit had have gone after his defeat. He did not go through the doors as the Pharaoh had done, as far as Ryou knew. Was it that the thief, who claimed to be the darkness itself, had been banished like the darkness of an illuminated room? Had he ascended to the scales of judgment as depicted in Egypt lore? Or was he still lingering, possibly in a dark corner of Ryou's mind?

Brushing pale locks from his eyes, his bows furrowed. They were now passing houses and shops upon entering Cairo, and soon they would be arriving at the airport. Another glance at Yuugi reveled that the boy was still brushing back tears, trying to stop the flow.

Again, the thought of where the thief could possibly be surfaced in his thoughts. He nearly growled from frustration. He shouldn't be thinking about this! He shouldn't even care! But… if Ryou was to be honest with himself, he did care, and as he continued to discretely watch Yuugi, Ryou came to understand that maybe he cared more than he'd like to admit.

The car slowed as it pulled into a parking spot, and one by one the teens climbed out, standing around, unsure of what should be said or done. Yuugi was still sniffling softly, eyes on the ground. Anzu watched him, concern in her eyes. Jounouchi scratched the back of his neck and turned to make some remark to Honda. All the while, Malik and Isis were quietly conversing the day's events. Eventually, someone had to break the ice so that they would not miss their flight. Ryou coughed softly, and glanced at Yuugi for directions. He gave a soft question to the shorter teen, who looked up, hastily wiping away tears and gave one of his owndazzling smiles. Ryou quirked his brow inquiringly.

Giving a gentle shake of his head, Yuugi turned tospeak to the group and they began to shuffle their way to the doors, pausing to give a goodbye to Malik and Isis, and then walking inside. Ryou followed as he always did, keeping to himself. They all walked silently to the departure gate and sat nearby, waiting until the time came when they would leave.

Anzu sat next to Yuugi, who didn't seem to notice her, taking to morosely gazing out the large glass windows. The girl leaned over, pressing a soft kiss to Yuugi's cheek, and to Ryou's surprise (and most likely Anzu's as well), the boy paid no heed. Instead, he turned and gave a soft apology to her and then turned back to the window.

Ryou turned his eyes from the two, and pulled out a small journal and a pen. Again, the thief surfaced in his thoughts, but Ryou knew that he could do nothing. If Yuugi's demeanor suggested anything, then the spirit would always hold some sway in his memories, some hold on his thoughts, and probably some grasp on his dreams. It was funny, though. He had never known much about the thief, not having a chance to truly converse with him.

Another soft sigh slipped from Ryou's lips and he set the pen to the paper, lovingly tracing an eternally young girl's name. Maybe writing a letter would help him clear his thoughts. Somehow, he knew it'd be lengthy, for the road home would be long.

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