Summary: Drabble so far. This is my version (I suppose) of episode 57, which I have yet to watch. Yusei is badly wounded by Uru's attack, but he refuses to die without finishing his fight. Rudger can't understand why Yusei can still stand when Dr. Fudo couldn't.

I may actually expand this into a story and keep updating it before the new episodes air... or I might just turn it into a story of my own completely... or I might just leave it alone. Eh. I'm undecided.

Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer: I don't own Yugioh 5ds.


Mistakes

The shock had barely settled in when the full force of the Earthbound God's assault slammed into my chest. I felt rather than heard several ribs crack as my feet left the bridge. For a split second there was no pain, only sheer adrenaline pounding in my ears as my weightless body whirled away from the battlefield. Then the ground leapt up, crashing my senses down into its hard exterior along with the rest of me.

If I screamed I wasn't aware of it. All that existed for the first millisecond—such a long moment—was the pain of my chest and lungs. By some deep human instinct I rolled over onto and propped myself up by my elbows, protecting my injuries. So much pain—this was even worse that my duel with Kiryu... this was... this was...

... this was death.

The twins and Ushio were calling my name from somewhere incredibly far away (how far had the attack knocked me?) and Rudger was chuckling cruelly at my expense—as he always did. First Rally—no. First all of my friends from Satellite, then its citizens, then Martha, then Rally, then Bommer, and finally... Kiryu. All of these lives... all of my friends...

The hatred I felt scared me more than as the possibility that I was about to die. It haunted me as I struggled to return to my feet and fight. I knew if I allowed my hatred to empower me, it would be enough to force myself to get up. I also knew that if I allowed my hatred to break free of the chains I had carefully imprisoned it in that I wouldn't be able to pull it back until the fight was over—until one of us was dead.

It was the unknown that frightened me.

I knew what it had done to Kiryu and the other Dark Signers. But I didn't know what I would do while my hate ruled me. I didn't know if I could ever reel it back in. Even after the Dark Singers had been defeated once and for all, some part of me knew that my thirst for total victory over the Gods of Death would not end. And then how would I be any better than they were?

My love had to be enough then. My friends, my family, were counting on me. There had to be five Singers to claim victory over death. I refused to lose this fight.

"Yusei!"

Their voices were stronger now, ringing more clearly over my pain. For them. Not for revenge, not for death. I would fight for life—both mine and theirs.

I put more pressure on my arms, lifting myself up higher, and opened my eyes, surprised by the blurriness... and by their closeness. I had only been blasted back a few feet, and they were standing right in front of me. Why couldn't I hear them properly?

"You ok Yusei?" Rua asked, his voice trembling. Ruca was clinging tightly onto his arm, her birthmark shining bright red, both trapping and protecting them in its glow. Ushio took a hesitant step forward, knowing better than to step out of the light but also knowing enough to see that I was far from ok.

But I smiled at them anyway and forced my voice out, "Yeah."

Relief splashed across their small frightened faces, and guilt flared in my heart behind my strong mask. The truth was I didn't even know if I could get up.

But I have to try. I have to get up and fight to protect them. This was my duty as a Signer and as a friend.

I forced my arms to push me up when my vision settled a few moments later, stifling a scream when what I knew was a broken rib dug itself into something. The pain cut off my movements, and then there was something wrong.

I couldn't breathe.

I was literally drowning in pain. Any breath I took was useless, and there was something choking me. I coughed once to try and get it out, but one quickly multiplied into something beyond my control. My hand went up to my mouth, a trained manner taught by Martha, and I toppled over once more.

The ground was just as hard the second time.

More coughing. Every single movement sent more and more ribbons of pain throughout my ribs and punctured lung. I couldn't stop. There were hands tugging at me now, trying to lift me out from... from what? Underwater? More coughs more pain. Still can't breath.

My heart is pummeling against my chest, begging for release. My uninjured lung begs for air. Is this the end? Is this how I will die?

Their terrified faces swim across my vision in blurred waves of green, blue, pink, and gray. My focus shifts towards the spider-web of momentum trapping us, caught by its dark beauty. Was this the last thing my father saw before he died, I wonder? The radiance of momentum as it bore down on him?

My father, would I see him when this was over? Would I see my mother for the first time? Kiryu?

Suddenly the glow of momentum isn't beautiful anymore. Rudger used it to kill my parents. Rudger used it to create an explosion. Godwin used it to destroy Bommer's town. I will not use it to distract me from life. Death is not an option.

I will not let my friends down. I will fight.

So I did. I fought bitterly against the darkness filling my vision and mind. There is too much riding on this duel, on my life (such a strange thought) for me to die before I can finish my battle. I... won't... die... here...

My coughs increased still, become harsher and wetter. The air still wouldn't come, my chest felt as if it were about to explode, the darkness was still winning, but I continued to fight it, acutely aware of the presence of my friends.

And then, finally, relief. I tasted something metallic in my mouth and spat it out as quickly as I could, sucking in air before another fit can overtake me. Sweet, sweet air.

"Yusei!" Ruca shouts in my ear, her voice smaller than normal. I can sense the tears streaming down her face as my chest heaves and the coughing begins again. Rudger has fallen strangely silent, either that or I just can't hear him anymore.

Someone whispers a name I don't know, but it sounds vaguely familiar.

"Yusei, stay calm," Ushio murmurs to me, gently moving me upwards and tipping my head to the side. I try to move my hand over my mouth again, but he tugs it down softly. "None of that... just relax. Let it work itself out, kid. You'll be fine. I'm taking over this duel."

Surprise brings me a sharp gasp of air, enough to say as loudly as I could, "No!" I turned the full power of my gaze on him, just barely making out the scar on his left cheek and his bushy eyebrows. My chest rises and falls easier now, and my heart is slowly returning to its normal rhythm. But the pain is still too much. Unconsciousness beckons to me gently behind my eyelids, promising a relief from this pain, promising absolutely nothing.

And that sounds so wonderful. But I won't pass out. Not while another friend is putting their life on the line for me. I won't let that happen again—I'll never let that happen again.

"No," I repeated, softer this time. He ignored me, his hands already trying to remove my duel disk. Angry now, I threw my right hand over his and pinned them down with all of my remaining strength.

100 life points glowed under our fingertips.

"Yusei, you can't duel in your condition," Ushio said, looking me straight in the eyes. I could see his every emotion clearly through the haze. He wanted to do this. He wanted so very badly to save my life. Why? Hadn't he been trying to throw me in the detention center for this past week? Didn't he say he could never forgive me for getting him that scar?

Did he think finally think of me as a friend?

"No," I said as firmly as I could. "Not... again. I won't lose... another... person. Don't sacrifice yourself... for me."

"Who says I'll lose?" he asked, pulling his hands out from under my limp one. They blazed strangely in the light my mark gave. He tried to get at my duel disk again, but I was getting my second wind. My vision was clearing and the pain was subsiding slightly. My mark seemed to radiate even more light, but that was just probably because of Momentum's strange setting.

I wouldn't let him do this. He can't just give up his life to save mine, he can't win this duel! Only Singers can defeat the destined Dark Signers, and Ushio is as far from a Singer as anyone can be. He can't save me, no matter how much he wants to. Just like I couldn't save Kiryu in the end.

But... I can save him.

And, just like that, I sat up, disregarding Rua and Ruca's small hands remaining at my back. It hurt like hell, but I refused to show anything other than determination in my eyes. It wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. It was all I had left.

"Yusei," Rua and Ruca whispered together, their tiny grips tightening. But I couldn't look at them until I was sure that Ushio gave up his stupid plan. "Ushio..."

The Security Officer and I continued to stare each other down, his eyes full of pity and concern. Then, agonizingly slow, they shifted into understanding. Sighing, he broke eye contact to take up my gloved hand and show me the dark red stain across my palm. Blood.

But I already knew that.

"I don't care," I retorted, just as suddenly pushing myself up to my feet. I almost immediately blacked out right there and then, stumbling around, but Rua steadied me, the quickest of all three of them. His strength gave me the split second I needed to recover myself. Smiling weakly once more, I put my hand on his head and looked him straight in the eye. "I'll be fine."

The pain argued otherwise, and I knew, in the darkest part of my mind, that I would die no matter what the end result of this duel was.

I looked up at my enemy, letting the emotions I hid from my friends play through my eyes... my anger, my hate, my fear, my determination, and my confidence. I knew that I wouldn't be the only one to die today. And I wanted him to know it too, right here and right now.

"Yusei, stop this!" Ushio tried again, his hands hovering around my shoulders, trying to figure out how he could pull me away from my fated duel without physically hurting me. There was no way, and he knew that. I could tell from his eyes that he had seen people suffer like I was during his duties as an Officer.

"Get out of here," I replied, turning my back to all of them and painfully walking back into my place. "Take the twins, find Crow, and leave. It's only a matter of time before Momentum takes a negative spin. Go to safety."

"We won't leave you here Yusei!" Rua called loudly, dashing in front of me, in the middle of the dueling field, and planting his feet firmly.

Before I could gather the strength to reply, Rudger finally spoke. But what he said caught us all off guard.

"Dr. Fudo?"

Startled, I jerked my eyes to meet his. Even I couldn't hold back a gasp at the sight of his horrified face. The whites of his eyes were returning in strange alternations, in rhythm with the pulse of his consuming Spider Mark. His skin was unusually pale, and instead of clutching his right arm, he grabbed at his left as though it pained him terribly.

His guard was down. His face wasn't set in mocking laughter or cruelty. He was scared out of his mind—scared of me.

"B-but this cannot be!" he shouted suddenly, taking a long stride backwards, shaking his head violently. "You could not possibly... he couldn't possibly... How are you standing?!"

I didn't answer with words; I was much too confused for that. Looking at him over the top of my raised duel disk, I drew my next card slowly and carefully. Then I pointed to my heart with my left thumb, keeping the card I had just drawn in it. A strange gasping sound escaped his throat over my deliberate breathes.

"T-that's—!" he began, and then his anger returned to him rapidly, overtaking the rest of his sentence with a peculiar glare. "Yusei Fudo. This is your last turn, we both know it."

I didn't argue with him, he was right.

"Get on with it Rudger," I said calmly, the perfect illusion of health. Just by looking at me no one would know how badly I was hurt... if they ignored the trail of blood at the corners of my mouth that is.

"You will die, even if fate smiles down on you and you can defeat me," he clarified, seemingly trying to convince himself. "I've seen a wound very similar to yours before my own life ended... there was no way that your father could have recovered... even if I hadn't have... he still would have died."

"My old man?" I wondered, narrowing my eyes. He wasn't making any sense with all of his babbling. His eyes unfocused for a moment or two before returning to me. "What the hell happened between you, my father, and Godwin?!" I demanded.

"This is my gift to my colleague's son, my gift to him before death," he replied as if I hadn't spoken; a frown on his face where his grin usually was. "Because I want you to die suffering as I did!"

"What?!" I exclaimed. Rua turned around and glanced back at Rudger uncertainly, then shared a glance with his sister and Ushio behind me. I showed him the card I had drawn discreetly and his eyes widened before he grinned, thumping my duel disk, and shooed the others back to a safe distance away.

"The so called accident seventeen years ago—I am going to tell you what happened to your parents Yusei, so that you can die with the same pain and hatred I did! Who knows, maybe your mark will change sides as well!"

"As well...?" Ruca echoed.

There's no way... I thought quickly. Is he saying that he was...?

"Seventeen long years ago Rex, my younger brother, and I were Dr. Fudo's, your father's, assistants for the Momentum Project. In order to run things more efficiently, your father and mother moved to Satellite temporarily. Then, of course, Old Momentum began to take negative turns. Your father, Yusei, thought that these were signs of disaster and demanded that Old Momentum be stopped and reexamined," he paused and laughed, thrusting his left arm out in front of himself violently. "Of course, the sponsors would not listen to him at all! And thus, Dr. Fudo refused to continue his work as the lead researcher, and I was put in charge over my brother. Of course, your father was still on the project, he wouldn't just abandon his work when he believed that it would blow up in our faces."

My breath hitched for a moment, and I worried that another fit was about to find me, but it passed silently. Alright, I already knew all of this; Rudger himself had told me last time we dueled... when he used Rally and Rally sacrificed his life for "the hope of Satellite."

"He was a stubborn man," Rudger continued, chuckling fondly, "much like yourself Yusei, he didn't know when to give up and leave things be. With all of that knowledge, he didn't have one grain of common sense. His heart was the death of him..."—he paused, gaze reflected inward—"I had been independently working on the negative turns of Old Momentum for a week before it happened, before he discovered the cause of those turns. He shared his theory with Rex and I, for it was an assumption that had no credit in the scientific fields. He told us of the Singers and the Dark Singers. He told us of the legend of the Crimson Dragon and how Old Momentum may be breaking the seal on the Gods of Death. But he was telling me something I already knew, and something Rex suspected."

"So," he grinned looking me straight in the eye, "now that I had my theory confirmed by Dr. Fudo, I finally acted. That night, I 'worked late', pretending to find a more 'logical' problem with Old Momentum than a Star-worshiping cult. Mainly everyone had exited the building, so there would be very few casualties if it did explode."

"But what about you?!" Ushio interrupted suddenly, even more disturbed by the story than I was. "You'd be blown to pieces!"

Rudger grinned at him maniacally, "Don't tell me you haven't figured it out yet. Yusei has."

"Figured what out?" he demanded, taking a threatening step forward. Laughter met his challenge. I only half-heard their bantering after that, the room was spinning around in the glow of Momentum once more. I couldn't seem to focus on one point or keep my breathing even any longer. Everything hurt so much...

"Ah! But it seems that Yusei is fading fast, so kindly shut the hell up and listen," Rudger shouted, drawing my attention quickly. I stood up straighter, trying to project an image that said otherwise, that said I was recovering. I don't think I was very successful.

"Anyway, I stayed late that night, but I didn't know that Dr. Fudo and Rex were also staying. They had made a meeting behind my back. I found out later that Rex had set this up to pass on his knowledge from Ylister to the Doctor so that he could help us in our fight against the Dark Signers."

"Our?" Rua wondered, and I knew his eyes were wide in disbelief.

"Rex believed that Dr. Fudo's one-year-old son may contain the power of the Crimson Dragon, the hidden birthmark, and thus decided to tell him all of our secrets. But I had secrets of my own. I didn't care about this Crimson Dragon, and I don't believe that it is all-powerful. How can five people and one useless dragon conquer the Gods of Death themselves? It didn't seem possible, and we all know that history is written by the winners. So,"—he held both of his arms out in front of him, his eyes finally settling back into black; he was a monster again—"I decided to wage my own battle to see which side was truly stronger, light or darkness."

"It would be simple. I would initiate a negative rotation of Momentum—the power of the Dark Singers—and continue its conditions so that normal momentum—the power of the Signers—wouldn't automatically correct itself with the machinery. I created a condition so that the two energies could fight with each other until there was one victor, and that winner would be the force that powered Neo Domino City and Satellite. And if there was an explosion..."

He trailed off, obviously waiting for me to finish his sentence. But could it really be true? How could somebody be both at once...? Was this...? Could he really be...?

He got tired of waiting for me. "My own mark would protect me!"

The twins and Ushio gasped out loud completely caught off guard. Surprise was on my face as well—how could he be both a Signer and a Dark Singer?

"But as I was trying to initiate my experiment, your father and Rex walked in. Dr. Fudo realized what was going on before Rex did and he ran up to try and stop me. But I was so close to achieving my goal, to seeing which side was truly stronger," he enunciated, a strange light gleaming in his eyes, "that I couldn't let anything stand in my way. We fought for a while. There was a pole next to me that I had been using to adjust a few mechanics in the machine, and I swung it without any second thoughts. I crushed his rib cage, just as Uru did to your life points Yusei. But then again, do life points even really matter? Perhaps I'll discover the answer as a result of this duel!"

"You..." I couldn't find a word horrible enough to describe him. He had killed my father in cold blood. Before I had only thought that my father's death had been a consequence of the explosion... but no. Rudger had taken his life even before... the hatred was even stronger now, steadily wearing down the chains around it. I was so close to death anyway... what could it hurt to release it when I would go down...?

No. I promised myself I wouldn't do this.

But... he killed my father!

"By this point Rex had approached us and he carried Dr. Fudo off to the side and spoke with him. Your father gave Rex Stardust Dragon, Black Rose Dragon, and Red Demon Dragon to be used as seals against the power that I was about to unleash and told Rex to warn his wife and get to safety. The coward agreed and ran off instead of avenging your father, his close friend. He didn't even challenge me, his brother! Ha, he was always a weakling."

"But after I realized what I had done, I felt such a powerful sorrow and hatred for myself, for taking the life of my colleague and friend. I was such a fool. I did not appreciate the life that the Gods had handed me then; I didn't understand how they were guiding me onto the correct path, onto immortality and complete power! So as your father was coughing out his last breathes, still trying to convince me to stop, I was thinking of you, his one-year-old son, and his wife. I was thinking of the father and husband I had just stolen from the two of you. I was thinking of the life that had just been ruined to find one stupid answer. The first kill is always the hardest... In my horror, I readjusted the Old Momentum's machine once more, increasing the power dangerously. There was no hope for Dr. Fudo, and there was no hope for my coward of a brother either."

"So I gave the negative momentum as much power as I could and watched it clash with positive, willing it to explode, willing it to end our shared suffering. But it didn't explode for the longest time. The darkness fought against the light with surprising amounts of energy, nearly extinguishing it. Just when I thought I had found my answer (a small amount of comfort as well, perhaps Dr. Fudo would hate me enough for destroying his family that he would return as a Dark Signer, on the winning side) the light reared back and pushed it away. It was the thing I never expected, the two forces were equally matched. I barely processed this when the machine overheated and finally blew."

He paused in his narration, taking me in once more. Now it wasn't fatigue clouding my vision, but a steady red haze, anger and confusion blinding me as effectively as death would. "Godwin wasn't the weak one," I spat, hardly recognizing my own voice, "it was you. Only a coward would choose to end their life instead of facing their mistakes."

"Huh," he grunted. "That may be, but the explosion did not kill me. In my last moments I had forgotten about the wretched mark that I carried on my left arm. It did as I predicted, it protected me in a circular red dome, just as the girl's is doing now, and I watched in amazement as the negative momentum flooded over my right and the positive my left. It was such a hauntingly beautiful sight... but it did nothing to ease my own self-loathing. And thus, as Dr. Fudo died with his son's name on his lips, as my brother was caught in the wreckage and lost his arm, as your mother hurried towards the lab to try and help your father thanks to Rex's call, leaving you with Martha, I left."

"Fate has such a strange way of working out, doesn't it Yusei?" he laughed. I couldn't unclench my teeth long enough to dignify him with a response. "It was because I killed your parents that Martha took you in and you met Jack. And because of those bonds you made with him and Kiryu, you were able to unite both the Dark Signers and Singers. If you had not have gone after Jack and defeated him, he would have never fallen into the hands of the fifth Dark Signer, and she would not have died trying to help him. If you hadn't had turned in Kiryu, you wouldn't have spurred him into becoming his true self. So I thank you for helping me build my army Yusei!"

He's insane.

"And fate led me, all those years ago, to Peru, the origin of the Nazca Lines. I came there still searching for the answer to my question, which side was stronger? I also went there to see if the destruction of your family was justifiable. I had done what I did in the name of the Crimson Dragon, to give it a chance to show me that my side was the strongest. But it had failed to gain victory and defeat. What did that mean? I had no idea. But while I in the middle of the desert, on top of the Spider Birthmark, calling my questions to the heavens and earth, I met someone who had the answers."

I barely cared who this someone was. But Rudger didn't notice, of course.

"He told me of the power of the Dark Signers, how there had to be five Signers to defeat them, no less, and then how death had still succeeded in vanquishing a dragon while it was defeated five thousand years ago. He told me many things about the Singers as well, and how weak they truly were. Five of them had to gather to summon their beast while each Dark Signer could individually summon their own God! I had my answer. Dr. Fudo's death was for nothing. The Singers had no true power, and I had sacrificed him in the Crimson Dragon's name."

"The hatred and pain I felt for myself was so overpowering that I couldn't take it anymore. That mark was the cause of all my pain and suffering, of the suffering of others, and I didn't want it. I expressed this all to the man, and he gave me a gift in return..."—a sick expression suddenly plastered across his face—"he gave me a knife and told me that he would be waiting on the other side."

"Oh my God," Rua whispered, her hand muffling her words. "He didn't—!"

"So I hacked away at my left arm, separating myself from the mark I hated, from life, and then, from death. It's a strange thing, hating your own mark so much that you're reborn to destroy it!"

"You're insane!" I hollered, disgusted and disturbed.

"No, Yusei! I am immortal! And when I defeat you and all your friends lay dead at my feet, my Gods will rule all, and I will command them as their King!" he howled with mirth, throwing his head back and spreading his arms out wide. Then I saw the metallic gleam where his left arm should be. It was metal.

"You're still the Fifth Signer?" Ushio asked tersely, confusion knitting his brow together.

"Yes and no," Rudger answered, "but enough talk. Make your last move Yusei! Show them how the power of the Signers wilts before Death!"

"I will never forgive you for what you've done Rudger!" I rebuked, angrily activating my card. "I will defeat you for all of the loved ones that you've taken from me! I won't stop until the world is safe from your insanity!"

And I meant every single word. He had destroyed too many innocent lives for me to hold back. I was going to take him down no matter what the personal costs are. My life is small if it means I can defeat the leader of the Dark Signers once and for all.

My death won't affect fate in any way—Rudger was right. The legends were lies. How could they be true when he, the Fifth Signer, is also the one destined to bear the Spider Mark?

I would duel him with everything I had left in me. I would destroy him with my hatred.

And that was the worst and last mistake I made in my life.


Eh... it turned out more like a long chapter ending on a cliffhanger... didn't it?

Oh well. Review, please, to tell me what you think.

AxJfan