DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction produced for entertainment purposes only. Yu-Gi-Oh! and all related characters are the creations of Kazuki Takahashi.

A New Beginning
Epilogue: A Whisper of Truth

By Shadow's Mirror

He stepped into the portal and was immediately surrounded by light. It lasted only a moment, but Bakura was conscious of how very warm the light was and how it seemed to be embracing him. Then he stepped out of the portal again and the moment was lost, but the feeling of being welcomed back to the mortal world remained with him. Even though it was not precisely that world he had returned to.

He looked around at the place in Ryou's mind that was as familiar to him as his own soulroom and smiled a little. His smile slipped when he noticed the figure curled up asleep in the bed on the far side of the chamber.

Even from where he was, Bakura could make out the tracks of tears on Ryou's cheeks.

A heavy ball formed in the yami's stomach. Had Ryou been crying at the thought of his yami's return? Or had it been because he had believed he would never see his yami again? It was suddenly important for Bakura to know.

He strode over to the bed and reached out, fully intending to shake his light's soul awake and demand to know the reason for his tears. His hand stopped in mid-reach and he eyed it with more than a little disgust. When had he become so weak that the thought of waking his light and asking him why he had been crying was enough to make his hand tremble?

Steeling himself, he tried again... and stopped again. This time, his hand was so close he could almost feel Ryou's soft, downy cheek beneath his fingertips.

When had his goal changed from shaking Ryou's shoulder to stroking his cheek?

Whatever his reasons, whatever his intended actions, Bakura was sure of one thing. He definitely did not want Ryou to wake up and find him stroking any part of his anatomy. Quickly straightening, he backed up a couple of feet until his back was against the wall. Leaning against it, Bakura folded his arms and looked down at his light. The slightest of smiles curved his lips, although if he had been asked about it, he would have denied its existence.

A second chance, huh? A new beginning. Whatever I expected to happen... this wasn't it. I was so sure that he'd be happier without me. Why did he want me back?

Bakura was still wondering about it when a soft gasp warned him that Ryou was awake. He looked up, just in time to see Ryou's eyes shining with delight before the boy burst into heartrending sobs. But as astonishing as Ryou's reaction was to seeing him, Bakura found his own reaction to Ryou's tears to be even more baffling.

Moving to sit on the bed was fair enough, he supposed, but since when had he been the sort of guy to pull a boy into his arms and hold him as he cried into his shirt? More to the point, since when had he welcomed the strange rush of warmth that Ryou's fiercely tight hug brought him?

Bakura was still wondering that when he realised that Ryou was saying something. No, actually Ryou was sobbing something... over and over again. The yami bent his head a little and concentrated, trying to make out what the boy was saying.

"...missed you. My yami. I missed you. My yami. I missed you."

Bakura gave up the battle that he would never acknowledge he'd fought, much less lost. His vision blurred with the price of his defeat, but he pretended not to notice. Just as he would never admit that it was the second time that day he had lost that particular fight.

As Ryou sobbed against his chest, Ryou's yami held him tightly and ignored the dampness on his own cheeks. When he spoke, Bakura's whisper could not possibly have been heard over the boy's cries. It would have remained forever unknown to him... if it hadn't been whispered in his mind at the same time.

"I missed you too, my light. It's good to be home."

The End