Summary: What you don't know, can't hurt you.
First posted Sept. 1st, 2010 on deviantArt. Standard disclaimers apply.
It was Tristan who suspected it first, despite the fact that he'd wiped the fool's memory clean. Bakura wasn't sure what had given it away. After all, it was more or less common knowledge among the Pharaoh's groupies that there was something wrong with "Bakura," but no one had suspected there was anything wrong with "Ryou" until now.
Dear Mother and Amane, the letter started. How are you? Father is still travelling abroad and I'm told he'll be spending a few months in Nepal. I'm sure he'll send some wonderful souvenirs. I miss him dearly, but I miss you both even more. When will you be coming home?
His landlord's father had called, once, not long after Ryou had first worn the Millenium Ring. The old man had asked after the boy's health and made some inquiries about life at school. Ryou had smiled - with the pointers of the Ring buried in his chest - thanked his father and replied that he was fine.
Dear Mother and Amane, the letter began. Some strange things have been happening at school. A few students have fallen asleep and refuse to wake, rather like Sleeping Beauty... without the beauty. Rumors are running rampant from exotic illnesses to occult curses. Isn't that odd? Anyway we've been told to keep a lookout for anything out of the ordinary and advised to go straight home after school.
Bakura smirked as he watched the trio of fools sink deeper into the graveyard, struggling uselessly against translucent hands. Dueling against Bones and his tag-alongs had been sufficiently amusing but Marik was waiting. Both of them had a score to settle with the Pharaoh, after all.
"NO!" someone wailed.
"-nything you want! Lemmegolemmegolemmego!"
Bakura barked a laugh. Was that last incoherent sentence a curse directed at him? He was already well and truly damned.
In the back of their mind, Ryou was obliviously content.
Dear Mother and Amane, the letter began, I hope you're doing well. I haven't heard from you in some time now. Are the you keeping busy? I've entered a Duelist tournament with some of my friends... but I fainted before the end (don't laugh, Amane!). I know you'll scold me, mother, but I suppose I simply forgot to eat. Absolutely starving by the time I woke up. Raided the fridge and almost made myself sick. Its somewhat amusing in retrospect, especially when I think about the looks I received afterwards. I promise I'm fine though, so theres no need to worry. You know how forgetful I can be without you here to ground me.
Contrary to popular belief, he'd never broken his landlord. He'd never needed to. Ryou's psyche had fractured years ago, leaving pockets of bright, blinding emptiness behind. Even now, it seemed like he could feel that desert expanding, grains of white sand trickling slowly outward, encroaching on places once hospitable. Turning barren.
Ryou was remarkably apt at lying to others, but he was even better at lying to himself.
Dear Mother and Amane, the letter began. I'm doing well...
"Bakura!" Tristan called, breaking through a crowded hallway.
Ryou turned at the sound of his name and greeted the other teen warmly. "What can I do for you, Tristan?"
"Er... I was just wanted to check up on you," Tristan admitted, looking a little uncomfortable. "You sure you're alright? After everything?"
"I'm perfectly fine," Ryou answered. "No ill effects."
"...And that guy? He hasn't come back?"
"My dad? He's much too busy-"
Tristan's brow furrowed. "No, I mean that guy."
Bakura snorted in derision, invisible and unheard by mortal senses. Asking his landlord would be useless. The walls of his other's mindscape bled white and nothing dark could stain with any hope of permanence. Someday, there might not even be space left for him.
Tristan frowned, searching for a hint of untruth.
And Ryou blinked back once, eyes wide and absolutely guileless.
"...Tristan, I have no idea who you're talking about."
Author's Note: Sorry about that weird introspective slightly AU-ish thing. I imagine Yugi would suck at lying, but Ryou would be very good at it... not just because of his yami either. He'd be especially good at lying to himself.
Anyway, going to sleep. Now.