"Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted." ~Percy Shelley
Ryou sat at the kitchen table. The clock ticked annoyingly; a constant reminder of the hours slipping by. The light was slowly fading, the shadows making their journey across the walls. It was totally silent, and still Ryou sat. In front of him on the table were a piece of white paper and a black pencil. Ryou's stare bored into them as though if he just thought hard enough, they would begin to move and write the words that were eluding him. He sighed in frustration. Another minute passed of Ryou just staring down the pencil, frustrated at his own lack of 'inspiration' (if it could be called that.)
'What is this?'
The question was for Ryou's ears alone, because it wasn't really spoken. It was just a thought directed at Ryou's consciousness by the Spirit residing in the Millennium Ring. The Millennium Ring itself was in its usual place around Ryou's neck. It was heavy, but the weight had become so natural to him that if he ever left it off, he almost felt like he would just drift away.
He pushed the thought away, trying to concentrate on his work. But the spirit, Bakura, wasn't to be so easily gotten rid of though. Ryou felt a momentary flush of his Yami's anger. Bakura, unfortunately, wasn't like a fly that could simply be waved away… He once again shot the thought at his Hikari. This time, it was less like a curious probe, and more like a finger being jabbed into Ryou's side. Bakura smiled mentally to himself when his Hikari hissed in frustration.
'So, what is it?' Ryou ignored the question a second time, but quickly changed his mind at the unperturbed threat of a second, more painful, mental jab.
"What is what?!" He cried out loud in exasperated irritation. The spirit rolled his eyes invisibly and said in a thoughtful, sarcastic tone.
'Oh, I don't know…the paper that you have been staring at for a good part of the afternoon! Dolt…" The last part was playful, but Ryou obviously missed the humor, because he promptly ignored Bakura's comment. He picked up the pencil in a tight hand and put it to the paper as though to write something…then he froze. The pencil stopped. No words flowed neatly onto the paper.
He didn't know what to write! He'd always been terrible with poetry. He had no sense of the rhythm that would change it from simple words to art. He couldn't find the phrases that would connect the different stanzas into a single entity. He couldn't write poetry, and this was impossible!
'You haven't answered my question yet…' the spirit reminded Ryou. Ryou immediately threw the pencil back down on the table and tossed his arms in the air.
"It's just an assignment. Ok? That's it." Then he went strait back to staring at the still blank sheet of paper, mocking him cruelly. Another few seconds passed before the Spirit of the Ring had another question for his frustrated host. To be honest, the question was meaningless to him. But it was fun to see Ryou so uptight. His Hikari was easily stressed, and there wasn't much else to do except for continue to torment him.
'For which class?' He asked simply.
Ryou answered impatiently, "English." Then he stood and walked to the fridge. Finding nothing appetizing, he got himself a glass of water and then deliberately walked to the freezer and got some ice. He precisely dropped each individual cube of ice into his glass. Anything to avoid going back to that evil piece of white paper that refused to be covered in words. Words that would probably come to anyone else in an instant. Only he would have such trouble with such a simple assignment, he was sure. Finally he returned to the table and sat, or rather, slumped, down.
'What are you supposed to do?' Bakura was honestly curious this time, but his curiousity weighed less than his amusement at seeing Ryou struggle and fume.
"I'm supposed to be writing a poem." He growled at the pencil, as though it was its fault he couldn't come up with the right words. But the only one he could blame was himself. After all, it wasn't the pencil that couldn't even come up with a subject, let alone what to write about it. He put his elbows up on the table and balanced his face in his hands, frowning consistently. By now, Bakura was chuckling quietly in Ryou's ear, as he had entered his ethereal spirit form and was standing over his shoulder. Then he calmed himself, acting serious, but a smirk was on his lips and his eyes were laughing at the teen.
Just as Ryou picked up the pencil and put it to the paper, Bakura shot out yet another question.
"A poem about what?"
"For the love of my sanity, Bakura!" Ryou yelled, almost spearing his Yami with the pencil. "You are being a serious nuisance, and, frankly, your interruptions are really distracting!" Bakura didn't say anything; just stood looking over his Ryou's shoulder at the paper, waiting to be filled with words. A couple silent seconds went by, Ryou still holding the pencil as though he were going to begin writing any second. A minute passed, then two, then three.
At five solid minutes of complete silence, Bakura finally broke the awkward silence and said, "So, are you expecting the words to just appear, or are you waiting for someone to write them down for you?"
The pencil snapped. Ryou would have been red in the face, but because of his pale skin, his anger just caused him to become more pale (if that was even possible.)
"Don't you have someone else to terrorize!? A city to destroy? A world to bring crashing to its feet? A Millennium Item to steal? Something!?" Ryou was now standing, looking up at Bakura desperately. Bakura, meanwhile, was laughing maliciously at Ryou's frustration.
With some difficulty, he kept a straight face and said more characteristically, "There is always something I could be doing that would be better then just sitting around here with you…" He frowned, then, playing up the drama, he sighed, "but for me to be doing something really fun, I would need your body. You see I don't have one of my own, and you currently seem to be tied up with something else!"
Ryou glared at Bakura. "You're impossible. Please leave me alone, so that I can write my poem, so that I don't fail my assignment in English tomorrow."
Bakura shrugged. "As you wish, Yadonushi-mine…" He reached out and tugged slightly on Ryou's hair before fading out and disappearing into his Soul Room.
Ryou sighed. The peace and quiet was good. It meant he could work on his poem, which, though he had avoided telling the Spirit about it because he wouldn't understand, happened to be about friendship and caring. He had to pick someone, living or not, that he cared about. Then he had to write a poem describing his feelings about them. For whatever reason, he couldn't even pick a subject, let alone write how he felt about them.
Should he do his Father, the last living member of his family? Or perhaps his sister or mother who had died so long ago…Yuugi, Anzu, Jou, or Honda were also completely feasible options, although they weren't the best of friends. But there were just too many choices, and none seemed quite right. He sat back at the table, but not before grabbing a freshly sharpened pencil from his supplies cabinet. As he plopped down again, his Millennium Ring jingled. The dangling tassels glittered in the now quickly dying light of the sun.
Ryou took the rope off his neck and held the Ring up in front of his face. He smiled knowingly and his face settled into a calm expression as he set the ring down on the table next to his paper.
Inspiration had struck.
He grabbed the pencil and tapped it on his head as though to prod the words out of his mind. Then he began to write. The words flowed as if they had been there all along, and Ryou just had to let them out.
You are there for me,
especially when I need you most…
Ryou walked in the door to his small apartment. He unbuttoned his suffocating blue uniform quickly, letting the Mellennium Ring dangle loosely on his chest. He walked over to the fridge and pulled an orange out of the bottom drawer. Then he went and sat in his 'comfy' chair, thinking about the Poem he had written. He had gotten an A, and been instructed to share it with the class. Out loud. It had been awful. He hated the spotlight as it was, and he hadn't like the way Tea had looked at him with worry when he read it. Nor did he like Yugi's knowing frown.
Maybe he had chosen the wrong subject. He hadn't told anyone who is subject was of course. He had told them all it was anonymous. Since Ryou was sort of a teacher's pet, the English teacher didn't have a problem with him not telling anyone whom he had written about. He was glad of this. Had he been told he had to tell them, or risk his grade, he would have let the score drop. He would let all his grades drop if it meant protecting his Yami.
Ryou took the poem out of his pocket where it was folded in neat creases. He opened it slowly and read it to himself…
You are there for me
Especially when I need you the most.
Sometimes you get angry with me,
But I understand, and I forgive you.
You are your own,
But I feel like one with you
You are my best friend
I am lonely, but you fill the space
I am weak, but you make me stronger
I don't feel complete when you aren't around
I need a companion, and you need to be cared for
Sometimes you do things I don't like
But how can you help it, if that is who you are?
We are like two kindred souls
Two parts of a greater whole
You are the strength, and I am the compassion.
You are the Dark, and I am the Light
We are opposites, but I know we are friends
Are we friends?
You told me once, but I must've forgotten
I hope that we are friends,
Because without you, I am only one part of a whole.
Never complete, and never happy.
Ryou finished reading it and placed it on the floor beside the chair. He felt a cold, soft hand on his shoulder and looked up to see Bakura. He knelt down and picked up the paper.
"Is this how you really feel?" He asked softly, his eyes scanning the words a second time. Ryou's cheeks flushed in embarrassment. Bakura was the last person he would ever want to read the poem. The spirit wouldn't understand, he wouldn't care.
Ryou's embarassment made him flounder for words. "I-I don't really, I mean, sort of, well,--I-It was just an assignment." Ryou bowed his head, knowing that the spirit probably found his poem disgusting. Friendship speeches and acts of kindness always seemed to make him gag. Then the paper was before him.
"Take it." Ryou accepted the paper and folded it again. Then he placed it back in his pocket as though to protect it from Bakura. He stood up, meaning to go up to his room, but Bakura stopped him. The Spirit turned Ryou around to face him.
"Don't be embarrassed." He said, a smirk on his face reminding Ryou why he'd been embarassed in the first place. Ryou tried to pull away but Bakura kept his grip firm. Looking Ryou in the eye, he narrowed his own crimson-brown eyes and said, "You write very well, Yadonushi."
Ryou smiled, looking down, and whispered a quiet, "Thanks." Then he turned and walked up the stairs to his room.
Ryou finished reading it and placed it on the floor with a sigh. He felt a cold hand on his shoulder and looked up to see Bakura standing by him. He knelt down and picked up the paper.
"Is this how you really feel?" He asked incredulously, his eyes scanning the words a second time. Ryou's cheeks flushed in embarassement. "If you were going to write about me, you should've made an honest effort." He chided. "You didn't describe me well at all. It doesn't do me justice."
Ryou stammered, floundering for words. "Well...I-I don't know. I guess that didn't occur to me. I just, well...um..." Ryou stopped talking before he embarrassed himself even more.
"Here" Bakura stuck the paper in front of Ryou's nose. "The poem is alright, I suppose." He said grudgingly. "But next time you plan on using me as your assignment subject try telling me. You won't get any details wrong then, Hikari." He smiled.
"Okay." Ryou said quietly, face still slightly flushed. Then he stood up and walked towards the stairs.
Bakura called out, stopping him, "Yadonushi." Ryou turned and looked at him questioningly. Bakura smirked and said, "Good night." Ryou shook his head, smiling a little bit.
"Good night." He returned humorously, and then he turned and walked up the stairs to his room.
I'm amazed at how popular this One Shot was. Please Review!