Title: A Persistent Shadow (Prologue)

Pairing: Ryou Bakura x Yami Bakura, possible others

Rating: M (Overall)

Summary: The Pharaoh uses a spell to force Yami Bakura out of Ryou's body, but unfortunately for Ryou it doesn't work as well as intended.

Ryou paused outside the game shop. He felt nervous and ill-at-ease, though he couldn't figure out why.

The voice in his head laughed at him. Perhaps it's because your 'friend' was so obviously lying when you spoke to him on the phone.

Ryou rolled his eyes. The spirit always was overly paranoid. How could he be lying? All he said was "Hey, Ryou, we're playing a new game. Why don't you come over?"

And you didn't notice the tone of his voice? The hesitation? How vague he got when you asked about the game?

Actually, Ryou had noticed, but he was so desperate to have some normal time with friends that he was determinedly ignoring it. It's probably just too complicated to explain over the phone.

Think what you will, Landlord, but I intend to be ready for a fight.

Ryou covered his face with his hands. Please, please, don't do anything this time. I can't--

"Bakura?" Ryou heard Yugi's concerned voice and lowered his hands to see Yugi's head peeking out of the doorway. "Are you alright?"

Ryou forced a big smile onto his face. He didn't want Yugi to know how he was really feeling. "I'm fine! So what's the new game?"

Yugi looked surprised for a moment. "The new game. Right. Um... Why don't you come in and see?" He vanished inside before Ryou could respond.

I can see what you mean. This isn't even remotely suspicious.

Shut up. We're going inside. And with that, Ryou took a step toward the door and stopped again when his Millennium Ring started going crazy underneath his shirt. He lifted it out before any of the spikes could stab him – he knew how unpleasant that could be. He eyed the ring warily. What does this mean?

It means the game we are about to play probably isn't so new after all.

Ryou groaned. Why would the Pharaoh want to challenge you to a shadow game now?

I don't know, but I intend to win it. Now go inside.

Ryou tried to look on the bright side. At least the spirit had left him in control of his body this time. He took a deep breath and stepped into the shop.

He gaped in surprise at what he saw inside. What the... It looked like someone's Duel Monsters deck had exploded all over the room, though it would have been surprising to see an explosion leave the cards in such an intricate pattern around the room. The cards were laid out face up in a circle radiating out from the center of the room. Several Egyptian artifacts were spaced evenly around the outside of the card circle and there were even a few on the walls where Ryou knew game posters normally hung. What happened in here?

Nothing happened. This is clearly a setup. Now walk carefully toward the obvious trap in the middle of the room.

The what? Ryou looked around. Oh, you mean the glass. A clear piece of glass stood in the exact center of the room, light reflecting off it. He'd missed seeing it amidst all the chaos. If you think it's a trap, why would you want to go toward it?

It's the only way to find out what the Pharaoh is up to. Be careful. As you are the one in control at the moment, whatever it is should affect you the most.

It was suddenly very clear to Ryou why he'd been left in control.

Yes, exactly. I suppose if you're lucky one of the Pharaoh's friends will think twice about springing the trap when you are the one in control. Though it is a bit of a long shot.

Ryou tried to ignore the implicit comment about the state of his friendships with the group and cautiously approached the glass. It was a strange object. As far as Ryou could tell, it looked like someone had taken a standing mirror and removed the actual mirror, replacing it with a clear piece of glass. Ryou had no idea why someone would go to all that trouble. All it had done was render the mirror mostly useless, though the glass was still shiny enough for him to see a glimpse of his own reflection in it.

He puzzled over it for a few seconds, but realized he was getting nowhere. He looked toward the back of the shop, but the door was closed. "Yugi?"

The door opened and Yugi – no, Ryou could tell it was the Pharaoh who stepped out.

Still think it isn't a trap?

Ryou ignored the voice of the spirit. "Pharaoh?" he asked, his voice uncertain.

"You have possessed that boy's body for too long, Spirit!"

Heh. He's one to talk about possessing people.

Are you sure you don't want to be out there right now? Ryou never thought he'd see the day when he wanted the spirit to take over his body, but the Pharaoh was making him extremely nervous at the moment. It was like he didn't even care Ryou was there. He wants to talk to you, not me.

I believe he thinks he is talking to me.


They've never been very good at telling the difference between us. Not until I start challenging people to shadow games, anyway. The spirit laughed its terrible laugh. Sometimes not even then.

Ryou had been partially aware of this – he'd always thought the spirit had to be pretty good at pretending to be him for it to go unnoticed for such long periods of time – but somehow being mistaken for the spirit still hurt, especially after all this time. "He's not in control right now!" Ryou exclaimed.

The Pharaoh didn't visibly react at all. "Then he will never be in control again!" The Millennium jerked around wildly. The Millennium Puzzle began to glow as the Pharaoh began to speak in what Ryou recognized as Ancient Egyptian.

"What are you--" Suddenly Ryou was unable to speak. He felt his body move itself directly in front of the glass. He felt a little relieved when it happened, assuming that the spirit had taken over and would be the one to face whatever the Pharaoh intended to do to him.

No such luck, Landlord, the spirit growled. I'm not in control either.


Energy started appearing from the cards on the floor, swirling around them in a whirlwind. Ryou's eyes were fixed on his reflection in the glass, which glowed brighter and brighter before beginning to change shape. For a moment he felt like he was being pulled from his body and screamed.

After a few seconds the pulling subsided and he could see that the reflection on the surface of the glass had morphed into the spirit's face and no longer moved along with his body. The figure of the spirit shifted on the glass a little longer before it looked Ryou directly in the eye and disappeared. The Pharaoh halted the onslaught of Ancient Egyptian and the room returned to normal.

Ryou regained the ability to move his body and collapsed on the floor in shock. Spirit? What happened?

The Ring was still. He received no response.