#3 – Path of Sin

DISCLAIMER: I'm not religious, myself, so the religious entirety of this piece is from movies and TV—yes, yes, I know—but I apologise in advance. In case you're wondering why I made Ryou a Catholic, it's mainly because in the first episode of the Lost Memory arc and Ryou just happens to go running into a church. The fact it near on explodes on him and is full of artistic meaning is beside the point. I'm a Cultural Studies student, I'm not supposed to care about the facts. It was made Catholic because… they have the confession boxes. Heh… sorry. And sorry again.

By the bye… I've been in a proper Catholic Church a grand total of ONCE, and it had these weird kneeling platforms and bible rests attached to the back of the pews. I don't know if that's the actual set up of most churches, but I used it here. I apologise if I'm wrong.

Catholic Churches were never busy.

The fact shouldn't have shocked him, since Catholicism in particular was one of the miniscule religions in the country, but he was always a little stunned when he entered a church on holy days and found only a dozen or so people praying.

It didn't bother him. He found the emptiness almost comforting. There was no one in the big, empty hall. The priest was usually out doing whatever it was priests did, and lately he had begun coming late at night; trying to escape the stillness of his flat for the stillness of God.

He passed the confession box, absently noting that both doors were closed. That meant a priest was actually taking confession tonight. He didn't remember ever seeing that before. But he didn't pause. He would never talk to a priest. He had given up on priests long ago.

Most sneakers often squeaked on wooden floorboards, but never in this church. He looked up at the cross as he walked down the aisle, trying to misplace a step so he could startle the silence with a quiet squeal. But there was nothing. This church was always still. Always silent.

The Ring's jangle was muffled in his shirt as he knelt down in front of the altar, closing his eyes in respect a moment before he stood up again. He quickly lit one of the candles before turning on his heel and heading to a pew in the middle of the rows, where he sat down to stare up at the cross.

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.

Sometimes he wondered why he still came here. Why, when he had immersed himself so far into the occult and screamed out his hatred for God so many times, why did he keep seeking out these places? Was it because of Amane? She had always thought that The Lord was someone who would love and protect you for your entire life, and that you should thank Him for it. She had always said that the only way to show how grateful you were was to visit His house and pray to Him.

She had never had time to grow out of that belief.

It has been two years since my last confession.

Amane had followed their mother in religious teachings. She had honoured God and followed all the rules. She had laughed off her friends' discomfort at the self-righteous religion and ignored it when adults frowned at her prayers. She never complained about the Sunday morning sermons, like he did. She had never sworn, or took His name in vain. She never committed any of the seven sins and she followed the teachings of the bible. But she had always allowed people their own beliefs and opinions. Like their mother, she never claimed to be a very good Catholic, but she was a perfect Christian.

Maybe that was why she went away.

I have committed an act against The Lord's teachings. I have Hatred. I have Anger.

He eyed the nails embedded into Jesus' palms, quietly annoyed by the lack of blood on his hands, and wondered how it had felt to be nailed up on the cross that way. He was so exposed; left to die for the sins of people he would never meet or know.

Forgive me Father… I hate The Lord. I hate His teachings. I hate His house and I hate His people. I hate His world, and sometimes I hate everything in it.

He sighed, leaning forward until he was kneeling, arms folded over the bible-rest in front of him. The Ring swung forward with gravity, confined by his shirt, and the fingers of his left hand rose from his bicep to finger the leather at his neck.

According to Honda, he was a little bit like that. The spirit of the Ring committed huge sins, using his face and voice to hide himself. He was left to take the fallout whenever Yuugi's spirit banished Ryou's spirit. He was left to pick up the pieces; to deal with the confused former dolls and the bloody evidence. But he had never actually met the spirit of the Ring. He had seen him a few times, out of the corner of his eye, or when defying the spirit's right to control him. But he had never spoken to him.

It was kind of funny, in a way.

Forgive me Father, I am angry with The Lord. He has taken my sister and given me a curse. I do not understand why and it makes me angry. And I know I should not feel these feelings, and that makes me angrier still because there is nothing I can do to stop myself.

He didn't really like to think about what Honda always said. When he thought about what Honda said, then he would always begin to think about the things the spirit had done. And it wasn't just dark magic, he knew that in his heart.

In his heart, he knew that the spirit had killed people. Really killed people, as in taken a knife—or worse, his bare hands—and hurt them. He remembered finding a little golden ball in his pocket, just after Duelist Kingdom, and been sickened to realise it was Pegasus' real Millenium Eye. He didn't want to think about how he had gotten it. He didn't want to imagine how it had been removed.

Somehow, it was made worse by the fact it was clean. Meticulously clean. That scared him.

I know there is nothing that can be said or done to stop these feelings, which is why I have kept from confessing.

There had been times where nothing had been cleaned up. He'd woken up in a dark alley once, his jumper splattered with blood and two men lying by his feet, cold and unmoving. He had run, just run, as far as he could get. He had never gone to the police. He had never told anyone.

A voice in his head had laughed.

He lay his chin down on his arms, still gazing up at the cross. This was the church he had run to, that night. Maybe that was why he kept coming back. Maybe he was waiting for someone to ask him what was wrong, so he could tell them about the men in the alley. But no one ever came. No one ever asked.

Once, he had tried to tell Yuugi. He had thought Yuugi would understand, and could maybe help him. But then he'd looked up at him with those big, innocent eyes of his, chin resting in those small, childlike hands, and he had remembered that Yuugi's darkness was one of the good guys. Yuugi would never understand blacking out the way he did, or know what it felt like to read about someone's death or insanity in the newspaper and panic when he couldn't remember where he was the night before.

So was that why he came here? Was he looking for someone to understand?


No, he knew that wasn't it.

We all feel anger at times, my son. Not even The Lord Himself was above such feelings. But you must understand that all those who are taken from us are taken for a reason. It is not for us to understand His work, merely to understand that it must be done. If you seek His forgiveness, may I suggest you Hail Mary, and have my blessing. I hope you can find yourself soon.

Why did he come here? What was it about the big empty hall and that big stupid statue that he found so comforting? "Why am I here?"

"Because everyone needs something to hate."

He jerked his head up, staring around in shock. The confession booth was still shut tight, and there was no one else in the hall. He swallowed, hand automatically clutching the front of his shirt, feeling the hard metal of the Ring beneath the fabric.

I didn't hear that, I didn't hear that, I didn't hear that, I didn't hear that, I didn't hear that, I –

He shook his head firmly and rubbed the Ring through his shirt, turning his eyes back to the cross.

Still hanging there. Still mocking him with its bloodless hands.

He pushed himself up to standing and walked back down the aisle, kneeling in front of the altar to cross himself. His shoe squeaked as he stood up, turning on the ball of his foot to leave, but he didn't notice, already thinking about the school project he was supposed to be starting the next day. He slipped through the heavy oak doors and trotted down the steps, curling his overshirt further around himself as he headed down the street.

"Hey, did you hear about the new Duel Monsters tournament?"

His footsteps slowed as he neared the alley, his eyes and ears open in curiosity. Maybe Yuugi would be interested in this.

"Is that the one Kaiba Corporation is going to hold? Yeah, I saw it on the website. Didn't say much about it though."

"I figure it's gotta be held here. It's in Japan, 'cause Kaiba Corp.'s in Japan, and it said something about ancient carvings. Those weirdo tablets are in the museum, remember?"

"What tablets?"

"The weird ones. You know, with those whacked Duel Monsters on 'em!"

His eyes narrowed, and he could feel the hair on his head stiffen slightly, the spikes becoming more defined. He ignored it, brushing the feeling off as a warning he was cold.

So… a new tournament and some tablets with Duel Monsters on them.

A new tournament…?

It was supposed to be all fun and games, but someone had already lost a Millenium Eye. What was Kaiba thinking, holding a tournament here? It was practically inviting people to cause trouble for Yuugi and his puzzle.

His hair definitely felt stiffer now, and he shook it back from his face as he started past the alley, casually eyeing the shadows as he passed.

The streets were dark and dangerous at this time of night, but he still didn't care. His eyes narrowed, a slight smirk brushing over his lips at a dim glow from beneath his shirt. What were showers for if not to remove the stains of a path he knew all too well?

He glanced back over his shoulder, his gaze flicking over the church, before turning back to the road ahead.

Let the tournament come. He could clean up the fallout.

It was worth the price. Nothing could hurt him now.

I actually wrote this months ago, and just randomly refound it when I realised its TTWD number corresponded with another one. Don't ask me why I felt the need to write introspective!Ryou, I mean… Ryou and I usually don't get on, and when we do, he's usually just being comic relief with a solid Bakura. Sorry if he seems kinda OOC, but I haven't read enough of the manga to really know his character (anime!Ryou seems nothing like real!Ryou), and he always seems a few cents short of the metaphorical dollar when it comes to the ring. Oh well.

Feed me please?