Disclaimer: I don't own Yu-gi-oh.
I have decided that I will make this a trilogy, the first part being Deny Thy Father, this being the second part, and the third part being Yugi-centered. I still have to work out the details, but look for it to start the week after this is posted, okay?
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Ryou: quantity, amount, volume
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"You have to make it a fun game. It would be easy for the Dark Master to just make it so the heroes can't win. What you need to do is create a balance."
"Make it a fair game." Yugi nodded. "Have there be enough enemies it's a hard game and it's possible to lose, but not so many it's no fun."
"You always have to give people a chance." And a second chance? Ryou smiled. "It's not as easy as it looks to be Dark Master. There are many guide books, but in the end it comes down to you, just like when you're playing any other game."
"But this game is your favorite. And you're really good at it, Ryou. We all had a lot of fun playing with you." Yugi studied the board pieces. "I hope I can do a good job."
"I'm sure you will." Ryou put a hand on Yugi's shoulder and when Yugi turned to look at him smiled at him. "You're the King of Games, after all."
Yugi grinned. "In my own right, too. It's nice to play the occasional game that isn't televised worldwide, like my last duel with Kaiba."
"I saw it. It was a very close duel."
"I know. Kaiba's tough. The other me always loved dueling him. He must miss Kaiba."
"He must miss you more, if you think he's lacking worthy opponents."
"We… we didn't duel against each other. The Ceremonial Battle was the first time. It was a once in a lifetime experience." Yugi laughed in a way that could almost be called a giggle. "Literally. But it's one I want to repeat. How about you?"
Ryou understood the question. "I would like to play monster world against the Ring's dark personality again. Against the 'Thief King Bakura."
"You have the same name. Even Atem and I don't have the same name, although we shared the name Yugi for a long time. I think I'm jealous." Yugi clearly wasn't serious.
Ryou chuckled at the joke. "We confused a lot of people with the twos of us. Do you want anything to eat?"
Yugi laughed. "Ryou, I think you're almost as much of a bottomless pit as Jounouchi. It seems like every time I see you you're eating."
"Well, that used to be because he was so focused on whatever he was planning he didn't eat. I was always starving when I took control again."
"Atem always took good care of me. It's a shame yours…" Yugi patted Ryou on the shoulder. "Now he's free of Zorc's control, I bet he's really sorry."
"I'm sure he is." Ryou smiled at Yugi. "It's very you."
"What is?" Yugi blinked.
"Not hating him for everything he did to you."
"Well, I was the one who asked to become a miniature in Monster World. It was fun, I got to play with my friends. And being the Black Magician was incredible. Black Magic Attack!" Yugi flung his hand out mimicking the attack.
"But you were hurt. And he was trying to kill you, Yugi."
"But he didn't. I don't think his heart was really in it." Yugi shrugged. "Anyway, it's all in the past now." He returned his gaze to the table. "It's all over an no one was hurt, except you and you've forgiven him. I think that's enough. There's no reason to hate someone when you can be friends with them."
"But he's dead, so you can't be friends."
"We'll see them again, Ryou." Yugi smiled at him. "I just know it. You miss him a lot, like I miss Atem." He took Ryou's hand. "You've been really great, listening to me even though you're kind of jealous. It's been so wonderful to have someone who understands what I'm missing. I hope I can help you… I hope me being your friend makes you feel less… incomplete. I know you help me a lot. You're someone to talk to. I mean, all of my friends are really great, but you're special."
"Yugi…" Ryou felt really touched. All he could do was return Yugi's smile, still wisely innocent despite all of his experience and fell that his heart was full.
"So I want to thank you, and the best way to express your feelings is with a game. So I'm going to make this the greatest game of my new life!" Yugi punched the air in emphasis, grinning widely.
"I'm sure I'll have a wonderful time playing the game that's a product of your friendship." Ryou blushed.
Yugi frowned. "It's not going to be just for you, though. All our friends will be playing, because that's how Monster World works."
"Don't feel sorry about that, Yugi," Ryou pleaded. "That's how the game is meant to be played. And… I wouldn't have these friends still if not for you."
"Jounouchi was the one who reached out to you, not me," Yugi seemed disappointed in his younger self.
"But you made them stay friends with me despite Bakura. That's enough, Yugi. You've been a wonderful friend, my best friend ever!" Ryou tried to send his sincerity out through his eyes like light, his heart overflowing with it.
Yugi blushed. "I try to be a good friend… I really do care about you, Ryou."
"I know, Yugi. It really means a lot that you do. I can't say how much it does." Ryou took his hand. "Thank you. I haven't felt… Well, you'll understand when I play your game. Words aren't enough, no matter how many I use."
They turned back to the table, resolve burning in their hearts.
Later, Dear Bakura,
You seemed to want to keep me to yourself. Well, he had kept Ryou's friends with them, but as dolls, not people.
You let me be around Yugi to trap him, I know that. But, still, thank you.
Are you jealous? We're becoming a lot closer now that I don't have to worry. I did, you know, no matter how much you surpressed my memory.
I think Yugi and I might end up… more than friends. The way I feel about him…
I don't know how I feel about you, though. But I don't want to wait until death to live.
He belongs to Atem, in any case. I understand that, I don't mind.
Even if… death will part us, and then reunite us with you.
Stealing the Pharaoh's Light's heart?
Can I ask for your blessing, Master Theif?
Ryou laughed and put everything away.